Friday, June 21, 2013

Let's Have A GiveAway!!

To show you how much we appreciate all your support by following us on facebook, I have decided to do a small yet fun giveaway.
It's going to be 2 contests. You may enter both or just one.
Here are the rules: You must like us facebook to enter and then share our page with your friends.
Then send me an email at with your photo(s), limit 3, with the contest entry in the subject line.
Tom and I will decide at the end and announce the winners.
Contest runs from June 21, 2013 thru July 5, 2013
First up:
Send us your funniest farm animal picture.
Your farm animal can be any animal you choose. Horses, Chickens, Goats, Dogs, Cats, you get the idea :)
The prize awarded to the funniest farm animal picture will be.......
Building Chicken Coops For Dummies
As the popularity of urban homesteading and sustainable living increases, it’s no wonder you’re in need of trusted, practical guidance on how to properly house the chickens you’re planning (or have already begun) to keep. Building Chicken Coops For Dummies gives you the information you need to build the most cost-efficient, safe, and easy-on-the-eye enclosures for your backyard flock.
This practical guide gives you easy-to-follow and customizable plans for building the backyard chicken coop that works best for you. You’ll get the basic construction know-how and key information you need to design and build a coop tailored to your flock, whether you live in a small city loft, a suburban backyard, or a small rural farm.

Second Up:

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary How Does Your Garden Grow?
Show us how your garden grows. Send us pictures of your garden or favorite flower or vegetable, etc. growing in your garden.

The prize awarded for your garden pictures is.......

The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook
No longer content with separating the plants they grow to eat and the plants they grow for beauty, gardeners are discovering the pleasures of incorporating both edibles and ornamentals into their home landscapes. The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook makes it easy by showing how a well-designed landscape can yield both bounty for the table and beauty for the soul.
Whether she's sharing tips on planting radishes in spring, harvesting tomatoes in summer, or pruning perennials in winter, Bartley's friendly advice gives gardeners the tools they need to build and maintain a kitchen garden. Readers will learn how to plant, grow, and harvest the best vegetables, fruits, greens, and herbs for every season. They'll also find seasonal recipes that celebrate the best of the harvest, monthly garden chores, eight sample garden designs, and information on using cut flowers for decoration. The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook is a guide for gardeners who want it all — the freshness of fruits and vegetables and the beauty and simplicity of hand-picked bouquets.

I will upload all your pictures into an album on Taking Roots page so we can all enjoy them and we will leave off any names.

So come on, grab those camera's and let's get started & Good Luck!

Contest Ends July 5, 2013


Wednesday, May 15, 2013




Feverfew plant also know as tanacetun parthenium is a plant very well known for it's natural cure of migraine headaches. It grows into a small round bush usually 18 inches high and has daisy like flowers with citrus scented leaves.
This plant falls into the 4 main Herb categories: aromatic,ornamental,culinary and medicinal. It attracts bees and butterflies and is an excellent companion plant for enhancing growth of the plants around it.
Aromatic: The flowers are used in potpourri, it's essential oils are used in perfumes and the leaves help deter moths
Ornamental: The double blossom variety is beautiful used in your landscape and they will provide color all year long. They are the first to blossom in the spring and as long as the winter is mild, it will stay green.They will continue to blossom all summer as long as you dead head them, if you let the blossom go to seed, they will re-seed themselves and spread very very quickly.
Culinary: The leaves are usually eaten with honey or even sauteed in oil. They are bitter so this helps prevent mouth ulcers. You can add the blossoms fresh or dried to salads.
Medicinal: Be very careful with this and do not take if you are on blood thinning medication, pregnant or nursing. It helps reduce the pain of migraine headaches, lowers fevers and helps dilate the blood vessels. Used as an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It aids in digestive stimulation and is used as a relaxant.
Feverfew can be grown indoors and as long as you keep it pruned back so it grows out and not up. It is a very easy plant to grow and can be grown in any soil without fuss. When planted close together they will block out and suppress weeds making it suitable as a ground cover.
Propagating is done by seeds, cutting or dividing.
Seeds: start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost or directly into the ground when danger of frost has passed.
Cuttings: this should be done in the summer. Cut the shoot at an angle just below the leaf node. Use sharp scissors and be sure the cutting is 4-5 inches long.Remove the leaves from the very bottom and dip in root stimulant and plant it in a light soil mix. Water very well and keep protected during the winter months.
A good light soil mix for cuttings is
2 parts soil
2 parts peat moss
2 parts sand
To encourage new growth, prune after the last hard freeze in the spring and remove any damaged areas. Pinch back tips where you want it to bush out. It can be pruned back at anytime to keep it under control.
Another great benefit is they don't have problems with pests or disease due to their bitter taste.
Once your plant has had a chance to establish you can begin using them. The leaves and flowers can be harvested anytime. Gently snip the leaves and sprigs off with scissors. Use them fresh or dried.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Cayenne Pepper Plant

This is by far my favorite plant to grow. We grow them in the garden and grow them in containers.
Cayenne peppers are one of the favorite hot peppers grown today. They are medium-hot, colorful and spice up most any
Cayennes, like most peppers, are very easy to grow. They usually stand about three feet tall and two feet wide at maturity, making them ideal for containers or fence row planting. Most pepper plants also bear abundantly, so the average household will need no more that two bearing plants for as many peppers as they, and their neighbors, can use.

Outside their native hot climate, peppers are annuals and prefer full sun. They should be slightly shaded from the most intense afternoon sun, to avoid sun scald. Cayenne pepper plants usually bear fruit from 70 to 80 days after planting. They should be set out after danger of frost has gone. Cayennes like moist, but not soggy, soil. They should be planted in a container or bed with good drainage and can be mulched with straw or something similar. As a rule, peppers are hardy plants and the gardener can usually plant them in most climates with confidence.

The peppers are ripe when they are four to six inches long, feel firm and the stems come easily off the plant stalk. Cayennes may be green or red when mature.
Cayenne peppers are wonderful for making many dishes including salas. It can be used fresh or dried out and ground up. You can use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestel. Some cooks crush dried peppers by placing them in a plastic bag and rolling them with a rolling pin, then crushing the bag in their hands.

Dried ground peppers are great for use in a shaker, wh
ere they can be used on pizza, pasta, refried beans, Spanish rice, or for stir-frying. The heat will last for months, and considering how many peppers most plants produce, they are a real bargain over buying the dried pepper in stores.
My favorite thing to do is make Capsicum Tincture. It has some many health benefits and I make it all year round.
I encourage you to research it and find so many more benefits of this wonderful plant. Here are a few examples....

Conditions and Herbal Remedies for Cayenne pepper tincture taken directly from the book "Herbs to the Rescue" by Kurt King M.H.

"Bleeding - Apply pressure to the wound to help stop blood flow. Internally, use Cayenne Tincture 10-12 drops every few minutes until blood flow stops. Topically, use Cayenne powder directly on wound.

Blood Pressure (High or low) - Cayenne Tincture: 10-15 drops 2 times a day.

Bloody Nose - Put pressure on both sides of nose with cold compress. If is doesn't stop within 5 minutes, moisten a piece of cotton or gauze with water and dip it into Cayenne powder and snuff into nose. Internally, take Cayenne Tincture 10-15 drops every 5-10 minutes until bleeding stops.

Circulation (Poor, cold hands & feet) - Cayenne Tincture 10-12 drops 2-3 times a day.

Exhaustion (Fatigue) - Cayenne Tincture 10-12 drops 2 times a day.

Heart (Heart attack, palpitation) - Cayenne Tincture 1 dropper under tongue.

Hypothermia - Cayenne Tincture 1 dropper under tongue

Pneumonia - Cayenne Tincture 5-10 drops, 3 times a day."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let's Talk Lavender

I Love Lavender!!!
But, I lost a couple of my lavender bushes this year and haven't figured out why.
I would say it was due to our freezing weather but out of 15 bushes we lost only 4. In the beginning of April, I had decided to cut those 4 bushes back because I could still see a few sprig of green and thought if I got rid of the dead branches it could concentrate on the new growth. Unfortunately I don't think I was able to save them. They are now just brown stumps. It probably didn't help either that the chickens love to lay under them, but who could blame them. They smell so good and have such a calming effect.
Luckily I have several plants in the greenhouse just waiting for a spot in the garden.
 While trying to figure out these beautiful plants, I thought it would be a great opportunity to write a little about them.
There are a lot of different varieties of lavender; each having it very own special quality. It can be the size of the plant or flower, the color of the leaves, and different fragrance and hardiness. Even though we are most familiar with the shades of blue we see most in lavender, it does come in different colors such as purple, lilac, white, pink, mauve and yellow.
Planting and Growing Lavender:
This plant is pretty easy to grow. It is tough, hardy and pretty drought resistant once established. It will tolerate many growing conditions but it thrives in warm, well drained soil with full sun.
The soil should be well worked, well drained and loose enough to dig your bare hands in easily.Some sand and good compost will get the plant off to a great start. A lean soil will encourage a high concentration of oils. An alkaline and chalky soil will enhance lavenders fragrance.
Lavender does not like wet roots. A raised bed is a good choice in soil with less than prefect drainage.
I have heard that starting lavender from seed can be difficult, with that said we have had good success with seeds. But if your new to lavender, starting with an established plant may be best.
When you remove the plant from it's pot. spread the roots and place it in a hole that accommodates the roots. The root system is a lot bigger than the plant itself.
Place your plants so that they will have plenty of air around them when they are grown and flowering.
Although lavender plants get regularly pruned simply by harvesting the flowers, to keep them well shaped and encourage new growth, a bit of fall and spring pruning is a must!Aggressive annual pruning will keep a beautiful shaped plant and maximize flower growth. Leave about 1 inch of green foliage on plant when pruning.
Lavender can be harvested for many uses.
If your looking for a fresh bouquet of flowers, harvest them when the half the flowers have opened. If your looking to dry a bundle for crafts,harvest when three quarters of the flowers are open.
I hoped this has helped and you will give lavender a try. It really is a wonderful rewarding plant that deserves a spot in every garden.
Happy Planting!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cute Chicken aka C.C.

C.C starts it all! But lets go back for a second so I can tell you how I got into chickens.
Tom had chickens before but didn't have any at the time we got together. One day he say to me let's get chickens. I say sure, Ive never had chickens before, What do you do with chickens. Eat the eggs he tells me, Ew that's gross, do you know where that egg came from. There is no way I am eating those eggs. Where do you think the eggs from the store come from he says. That's different, I say. I don't see it coming from the back end!
So off to the feed store we got and get 4 ( I admit it ) cute Rhode Island Red chicks. OK, I can do this, they are adorable after all. Well day one with those chicks that he put in our bedroom in a cage with a heat lamp and I was ready for them to go. Chirp chirp chirp all-night-long! The next day they moved to the living room :)
When the chicks got old enough to move outside, I tell him lets get a rooster, He says sure so we found a RIR rooster and brought him home to live with the girls. OK they were kind of cool having around the yard, following us around all over. Still wasn't eating those eggs though.
The RIR's have now grown up and are giving us far more eggs then we know what to do with since I'm not touching them. We take a trip down to the feed store to get hay for the horses one day and there is a brooder full of baby chicks. These are black and I ask what kind they were. I was told Black Sex Links. So yep, you guessed it, 4 more came home with us. I was having fun just playing with chickens. This was new to me and kind of fun. This time though the chicks started out in the living room with their cage and heat lamp and we got along great. I handled them a lot and made them very friendly. The RIR's were never keen on getting to know us, therefore not that sociable.
Soon it's time for them to be introduced to the others through a separate run but where they could see each other. Eventually the sex links were set free and all went mostly well. The RIR girls still weren't thrilled with them but the rooster was just fine. Since I had them tame I continued to pet them and hold them so they would continue to be sociable with us UNTIL that rooster decided that he would not tolerate me touching HIS girls any longer and attacked me, not once but twice. Well being new to chickens, that scared the heck out of me and I said he had to go! So he did!
The following winter was a bad one for Texas. Lots of snow and ice and sadly we lost a few girls in the process. We ended up placing the others and had no more chickens. I was okay with that. I still wasn't touching the eggs :)
About a year went by and off to the feed store we go for hay and supplies. By this time Ive gotten to know them there very well and my very dear friend Ronda says to me, come here you have got to see this!! So I follow her outside and lo and behold there sits this very small, very very fluffy black little chicken. She tells me it's a Silkie. "Ive heard of those and seen pictures, those are so beautiful! I have to have this baby and why do you only have one?" She tells me a guy brought it up there because his dogs had attacked all the baby chicks and this one was the only survivor and he didn't want it.
So I reach in and pick up this tiny ball of fluff and take it home with me. I am in Love!!
This small baby is so very friendly and so sweet, she climbs into my lap and wants to take a nap and doesn't want me to far from her at all. I was hooked.
I kept trying to come up a perfect name for her but nothing ever seemed to fit so she became C.C, short for cute chicken. Well she was!
Silkies are like potato chips, you cant have just one and as much as I was enjoying have this tiny fluff follow me everywhere, I was convinced she needed some friends. So I jumped on Craig's list and found a breeder not to far from me who had several silkie chicks for sale. I took the trip over and came home with 4 new friends for CC. 2 white and 2 paint. I was in pure heaven, and now completely chicken crazy. And this is how it all began and how I started raising chickens.
Unfortunately, CC became very sick after only a month and she passed away one day while i was at work. I was devastated, but I will never forget that adorable little ball of fluff. She was my best friend and I owe my new found love of silkies to her.
We are now currently breeding and raising Silkies, Seramas and occasionally Easter Eggers.
Oh and yes, after 2 years of having chickens, I do eat the eggs LOL I finally got over it and learned that these were the best eggs I ever tasted.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Welcome To Taking Root

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!
We are so glad that you have joined us on our new adventure into homesteading.
I'm Kelly and my husband Tom and I live on 2.5 acres in the small town of Rhome, Texas.
I met Tom 4.5 years ago and he already lived on this beautiful piece of land. Of course at the time I was a city girl and wasn't sure what to do with all this. He seems to recall me saying eww, mud! a lot LOL and refusing to go out back to feed the horses with him for that reason. I didn't do mud!
I have always loved gardening but never had the room to do much. My passion was mainly herbs. I loved to grow herbs. So I began with a very small area and planted just a couple of tomatos. I know, not herbs lol
The next year I started really looking at things and found an area I loved and turned into a good sized garden area with a picket fence, a pond and a small area for more vegeatables.
Then one day it hit me, if your going to have a pond, why not have a duck? So we got a peking duck. One duck became 2 ducks and now have Duck Duck and Gracie. Duck Duck started out as Daisy but she would so often walk around quacking and it sounded just like duck, duck, duck, duck, so her name was stuck. Now Gracie, well that duck trips over her own feet walking through the garden. Bless her ducky heart, she just is not graceful at all.
The following year, the garden bug was really settling in good and I decided that where I was growing our herbs and vegetables was just not big enough anymore. We had a huge dog run on the backside of the garden and I kept looking at it thinking that would be so perfect for my new garden. So project move the dog pen began and I now have a second garden :)
And this is how Taking Root was born. I was loving gardening so much that I decided why not share what we do. We could grow our own plants and sell them, a backyard nursery if you will. My wonderful husband built me a greenhouse and we began. We went over a million names and nothing seemed to fit. We gave a lot of thought to what we were doing and what we wanted and finally came up with Taking Root. That is what we were doing after all. We have a nice piece of land where we plan to live for a very long time, we were planning to get married so this is where we were laying down our roots. It fit!
We are a very small nursery at this time, doing what we can handle while also working main jobs. We grow mainly vegetables and herbs at this time. We do plan to expand into flowers, annuals and perennials, trees, and shrubs. We will eventually be offering seeds from our plants as well.
We do not use any pesticides on our plants and never will. We like to think of it as organic but will call it all natural :)
We have huge plans for Taking Root but a little at a time.
Well that is a little about us and how we got started. There is so much more to tell, but we will get to it. Thank you for following us into this exciting new journey.
Stay tuned.. Next post will be how we got started with CHICKENS!!!!