stuffed acorn squash

15 Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipes

This year we were blessed with an amazing winter squash crop. One of the varieties we grow is this White Acorn Squash. It is a nice comp...


how to bottle feed a goat

How to Bottle Feed a Goat

On our farm we dam raise all of our kids. I think it is better for all parties involved and it i...


pesky pest

Keeping Pests Out of the Garden

  The garden is in full swing and so are pests! Do you know how to get rid of slugs? Keep worms off your cabbage? How about how to k...

Review & Giveaway: Light Shine Candles

Light Shine Candlesreview disclosure

I don’t think I have ever lived in a home without candles. Growing up they were the gift of choice for my mom. They lighted our table at night for dinner. They get pulled out in an emergency power outage. There is just something comfortable and homey about a lighted candle. And I will admit, I can’t pass any unlighted candle without picking it up and smelling it!

About Light Shine Candles


Light Shine is a small, family owned business based in Old Hickory, Tennessee.  All of their candles are hand-poured into glass jars and made with only 100% USA-grown, non-GMO, soy wax.  Every candle is dye-free, made with a cotton wick, and only contains fragrances that are free of phthalates.

Each 8 oz candle will burn for approximately 40 hours, and because they are made with soy wax the burning temperature is lower and there is less soot.

Light Shine Candles is also devoted to creating a better world. Every candle purchased supports their work and training in community development in both Nashville and El Salvador. Additionally, a portion of all sales are donated to global education through Global Outreach Developments International.

You can find Light Shine Candles on Etsy and on Facebook!

Light Shine Candles1

My Thoughts on Light Shine Candles


Like I mentioned, I am a candle lover, but my main problem with most candles is that their fragrances are just too strong. I am very sensitive to fragrances and most things tend to give me major headaches. I have been using Light Shine Candles for over a year now and….ZERO headaches when they are lit! Their fragrances are light enough to not over power my sensitivities, yet strong enough to lightly scent my home.

Which brings me to another reason I love these candles- the scent is enough to freshen the air even when there are things working against them. Things like the litter box in the laundry room. The brooder box of ducklings in the playroom. Or 4 smelly dogs who have been out in the rain all day. The scent choices are great too- my favorites are Mint Basil Sage and White Tea and Ginger!

These candles also have some obvious good things going for them- USA-made contents, no dyes, no questionable ingredients. I love the fact that they use plant-based wax, which is renewable instead of an oil-based wax like paraffin, and it is also water soluble, so I don’t have to just toss the jar when the candle is gone, I can wash and reuse it however I want.

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Want to Give Light Shine a Try?


Light Shine Candles  has offered to giveaway 1- 8oz candle to one of my readers! This giveaway will run between Tuesday, March 24 and end at midnight on March 30, 2015. The giveaway is open to residents of the continental US only.  Enter below to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Light Shine Candles is also offering a coupon for 15% off purchases in their Etsy store, use code FREERANGELIFE anytime between now and August 31, 2015 to receive 15% off!



How to Bottle Feed a Goat

how to bottle feed a goatThis post may contain affiliate links.

On our farm we dam raise all of our kids. I think it is better for all parties involved and it is easier on me. But every so often we have a mother who rejects all or some of her kids and we end up with a bottle baby. When this happens you are the kids mother- it can be hard work, especially those first few days, but in the end  you get some really sweet kids that will follow you everywhere just like a puppy would! So if you are in a situation where you need to feed a newborn kid, here’s a look at how to bottle feed a goat.

How to Bottle Feed a Goatbottle feeding a goat

When  you are expecting kids you should always be prepared for the fact that you might end up bottle feeding. This means powdered colostrum, bottles, and nipples should be part of your kidding kit, just in case. You need to work fast and get milk into the babies as soon after birth as possible and won’t have time to run to the store.

If possible, hold the  baby up and force the mother to feed it the colostrum. This gets the powerful antibodies into the kid  and it might encourage the mother to change  her mind on rejecting the kid.

There are different options when it comes to nipples and bottles- some use cheap baby bottles from the dollar store. We have found the Pritchard nipples work the best for us and the kids accept them much easier than the other options. These nipples will screw on to most standard soda or water bottles.

Getting a kid to accept a nipple can be tricky sometimes- and more so if they have been on their mother at all. You need to remember their natural stance when they are nursing from their mothers and get the bottle in a similar position as her teat would be. For newborns, I gather them up in my arm, so that their heads are right under my chin. This should get their reflexes going and they will start to but you like the would their mother’s udder. Sometimes it helps to get them sucking on your finger first and then slipping the nipple in their mouth. Once the feel the milk in their mouths they should start to suck.

Newborns can be pretty sleepy- just like humans. We’ve had particularly weak babies that would hardly suck, but would chew on the nipple in their mouths. I let them to this because they were swallowing some milk down as well. By 24 hours old they had pepped up and were sucking strong. They may not take in much at one time, but feed them often in that first 24 hours.


When to Bottle Feed a Goat:

bottle feed a goatThe following is the basic schedule we follow when we are bottle feeding:

First 24 Hours: Colostrum from a mother (or other goat) if possible. If you don’t have fresh colostrum from a goat you can use Powdered colostrum. 1/4 cup every 2-4 hours for the first 24 hours. Then move to milk.

First week:  approximately 4 oz  of milk every 2-4 hours. There is some argument about nighttime feedings but in my experience they can go about 5-6 hours maximum. I keep the kids in the house at night the first 2 nights to get a feel for their schedule and then set alarms to go outside to them after that. I try to get them to the every 4 hour mark pretty quickly- usually by 4 days old or so.

Weeks 2-4: Start spreading out the feedings to every 4-5 hours. They will be able to go longer stretches at night as well-we move our babies to an 8-hour stretch by about 10 days old. They should be getting about 5-6 oz per bottle at first but this amount will go up a bit  as they grow larger. We get our babies on this schedule by about 10 days old: 6:30 am, 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30 pm, and 10:30 pm.

Weeks 4-5: They should be getting bottles 4 times per day evenly spaced throughout the daylight hours (morning, noon, evening, and just before bed) with each bottle being about 8 oz depending on the size of the kid.

Wees 5-6: Move to 3 times per day (morning, noon, and night) each bottle containing about 8-10 ounces of milk.

Weeks 7-10 weeks: Give 2 bottles per day, in the morning and evening. Each bottle should have 10-15 ounces milk depending on the weight and appetite of the kid.

Weeks 10-12: Start reducing the amount of milk per bottle or go down to 1 bottle a day. The goal is to have them weaned completely by 12 weeks of age.

The amounts I have listed are just what has worked for us and our goats. Start with less and build up to what your goats seem to be healthy and thriving on. The biggest thing to remember when bottle feeding a goat is to always leave them wanting more as opposed to overfeeding. If the kid starts to play with the nipple they are done and you can reduce the amount of milk in the next bottle according to how much they took in during the previous feeding. And if they start to scour reduce the amount of milk per bottle as well. You want their tummies full, but they should not be round and bloated. All goats should have fresh water and forage/hay available as well. We offer some grain once they are a few weeks old.

What to Bottle Feed a Goat:

If possible we use our raw goat milk to feed the babies, but if that is not an option this is the recipe we use as a milk replacer:bottle feed you goat

  • 1 gallon of whole cow’s milk
  • 1 cup cultured buttermilk
  • 1 can of evaporated milk

Simply pour out a few cups of the cows milk, pour in the evaporated milk and the buttermilk and add back in the cow’s milk until the gallon jug is full. Shake gently before each use.

(Note: I have no experience with using powdered milk replacer, I have always used fresh milk or the above mix. I have been warned by MANY, MANY, MANY goat owners to never use the powdered replacer- it will cause scours and likely death in your kids. I would rather spend money on fresh goat or cow’s milk than use it)

I also like to add a pump of Nutridrench to at least one bottle a day for the first few days for an added nutrient boost. If you use this mix and eventually need to move them to goat milk make sure you do it gradually so you don’t mess up their digestion and cause scours.


I am not a veterinarian. This article is based on our experience bottle feeding our own goats.




How to Eat Local in the Winter

how to eat local in the winter

Eating locally is one of the best ways to support your local economy. Your food dollars are put towards supporting the farmers in your area and less money is wasted on the fuel and transportation costs that accrue while trucking foods in from all over the world.  But unless you live in a tropical or warm climate, how do you continue to eat locally during the colder winter months? Here are 5 tips on how to eat local in the winter.

How to Eat Local in the Winter


Plan Ahead

The most important thing to remember when planning a local diet, is to plan ahead. You need to know your growing season, even if you don’t grow anything yourself (which you should, by the way!). You need to know when strawberries, peaches and apples are ripe and ready to be picked. You need to know when all your favorite summertime vegetables are at their peak. If you know these things you can use the knowledge to plan ahead and stock your pantry and freezer for the months when things won’t be so plentiful. When things are green and growing, get out there and…

  • Visit pick-your-own farms and fill your freezer with fresh berries
  • Buy tomatoes, potatoes, squash, etc. in bulk from a local farm or farmer’s market and can, freeze or store the bounty
  • Visit a local orchard and can fresh peaches, applesauce or other tree fruits
  • Start your own garden and eat fresh all summer, and store the excess for the colder months

Taking these steps will ensure you have a full stock of local foods to eat when the ground is frozen and the trees are barren.

Eat Your Roots and Greens

Roots such as turnips and carrots can be grown in cold frames or under cloches even in very cold temperatures. The same goes for many greens, such as collards and kale. If you don’t grow your own, search out a local farm that grows these crops throughout the winter. Add these to your stored potatoes and squash, or your local meat, eggs and cheese and you will have a feast!

Find a Winter CSA

CSAs aren’t only for the summer. Search your area resources for many of the “winter CSA” options that are available. Pickings will be slimmer, but you will still get a box of fresh, local produce each week to add to your meals.  Some areas, such as here in Western North Carolina, there is even a winter CSA that provides customers with preserved foods- they spend all summer collecting and preserving the summer bounty and then pass it out to customers all winter long.

eat local in the winter sproutsGrow indoors

Sprouts are a highly nutritious and filling addition to any meal and they are quite easy to grow. It takes less than a week and you can have a constant supply of fresh sprouts or  micro greens for your meals.

Eggs, Meat, and Dairy

These things are all available year round locally. In the summer months it is easy to fill up on fresh veggies and fruits, but in the winter consider upping your intake of these high proteins- they will keep you full and warm in the cold months!

If you try to eat a mostly or all local diet, how do you keep your promise in the colder months? I’d love to hear your suggestions on eating local in the winter!