The Benefits of Goat Milk

Here we are at the farm for another week, posting about various thoughts concerning living a more simple, wholesome, (if somewhat) rural life.


The thought for this week is … the dairy goat and her many virtues.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful gift of goat milk. Before you turn your nose up (as some in my extended family who read my blog may be tempted to do), let’s spend a few minutes discussing the various benefits of drinking raw, unpasteurized goat’s milk.

First of all, for those with a milk allergy (lactose intolerant) goat’s milk is a great choice. The calcium content of goat’s milk is reported to be superior to that of traditionally processed cow’s milk, without the adverse side effects that usually accompany cow milk consumption.

There is less mucous production from goat’s milk consumption due to reduced fat content in goat’s milk, which results in fewer allergy-related symptoms and less inflammation of the gut.  Also, raw goat’s milk more closely relates to the chemical make up of human milk, making it more easily digested in young children and babies.

There is research to support the idea that there are more bone-building amino and fatty acids in nutrient dense goat’s milk than there is in cow’s milk. One cup contains almost 35% of your daily calcium needs. It is also high in riboflavin, giving you 20.0% of your daily recommendation. There are also high amounts of phosphorous, Vitamin B12, protein and potassium in raw goat’s milk. (Source)

So, now that we know it’s good for us, the important question remains …


Does it taste nice?

That all depends on you, really. If you are not particularly fond of cow milk, goat milk might really hit the spot. However, if you are a cow milk connoisseur, (we have a couple of those around here), goat milk might take a little getting used to. (Note: if you are milking during breeding season, your milk will tend to taste a bit “bucky.” Translation – it tastes a little like the big, smelly, disgusting Billy that has been courting your Nanny.) However, under normal conditions, (and if you keep the buck well away from the milking ladies), if you milk into a stainless steel bowl and immediately strain and cool your milk, it should taste really nice.

Goat’s milk isn’t only good for drinking (or adding to your hot tea, like some British folks around here do). There are several other ways to enjoy it.

We have made our own yogurt using a heating pad and a quart-sized canning jar. Simply add a tablespoon of regular yogurt to your uncooled, fresh goat’s milk. Place it into a box or bowl with a heating pad on low heat surrounding the jar. Leave it for 24 hours and then cool it in the fridge. It isn’t always as thick as store-bought yogurt, but it has all of the probiotic and wholesome goodness of raw goat’s milk. (We like ours plain, but I have read that you can add flavoured jello to the mixture before it sets to make whatever flavor you like best.)

Fresh ice cream is always a hit around here. I add a bit of sugar and some peppermint oil with a few ground up chocolate chips and a tsp of vanilla to the goat’s milk before I put it in the freezer in a quart-sized jar. (Be careful not to break the jar with opposing temperatures and don’t use that jar for canning in high heats in the future. It’s best to have designated “milk jars.”) As the milk is freezing, shake the jar every couple of hours. It makes a delicious soft-serve consistency. (It may eventually harden, but we always eat it up before that state!)

Lastly, you can make the very popular goat cheese with fresh milk. We haven’t had as much success with this project, but I know it can be done. (Our attempts at making cheese have laughingly become known as our “squeaky cheese” endeavor. It literally squeaked when we ate it! If you can tell me what I did wrong, PLEASE leave me a comment!)

Oh, one more idea. I was given a lovely gift once of “goat milk lotion.” I have no idea how to make beauty products out of goat milk, but it obviously can be done.

For more information on dairy goat keeping and milking, I highly recommend Jerry Balinger’s book Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats.


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A Trip to the Farm

Around here, we are always open to new experiences. So, this year, we have decided to do something we have never done before…

Show chickens at the state fair!

WinslowHomerFreshEggs1874We have had a bit of experience with “yard hens” for our own fresh eggs, but now we have decided to venture forth into uncharted territory – for us. So we joined our local 4-H group and will be growing meat chickens to enter into the state fair in the spring. Oh, this will be one of those “learning and growing” experiences for everyone. The 11 y/o and 13 y/o will show the chickens while the 9 y/o will document the entire process with her camera.

So, for the next few posts we will take a wee break from the “oldies but goodies“ and the lovely land of literature to get a bit practical around Wholesome Reads and take a trip to the farm, so to speak.

First stop – the chicken coop! (Naturally. :) )

For the chicken enthusiast, who likes to have a “real” book in hand, we recommend …

(Note: there is an updated copy of this book available. However, being the price-conscious shopper that I am, I linked to the less expensive copy).

Families Raising Chickens is also a good resource for those of us who have a lot to learn, and don’t mind reading on a screen. There is a free e-book available for a limited time about raising backyard birds. The site also has resources for coop-building, brooding tips, nutrition and basic chicken husbandry (if there is such a thing).

Also, Laura Childs at Goodbye Citylife has a great archive on all-things-chicken.

So, reading friends, I hope this little series doesn’t bore you. If you have no interest in farming life, stick around. We’ll get back to the regular posts shortly.

Until then…

See you in the coop!

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Meet Agnes Sligh Turnbull

In our ongoing discovery of older writers worth reading, we have stumbled upon Agnes Sligh Turnbull.


Mrs. Turnbull specialized in wholesome stories and books for children during the early part of the 1900′s. At a time when many of her contemporaries were “pushing the edge” in the writing world, Turnbull focused on uplifting, moral stories of regular people who still maintained a modest view of propriety and a Biblical foundation.

As part of my book blessing, I received a  copy of “The Gown of Glory” as my first introduction to Mrs. Turnbull. The story is set in Pennsylvania in the early 1900′s. David and his wife Mary have faithfully served their local community as “the Pastor and his wife” for twenty-five years. Through their years of service, there is a constant hoping for promotion, which is always thwarted for one reason or another.  The character of this couple with their three children (who are entering “marrying years”) is beautifully displayed as we live “a year in the life” of their little community. Many and varied are their experiences in which we see David’s Christ-like service have an effect unbeknownst to him. Then an unthinkable sin in his very ordinary flock is revealed. David’s handling of this situation is a lesson to us all of the mercy and compassion of our Savior.

I haven’t read any other books by Mrs. Turnbull. I was impressed with her discretion and uplifting moral tone in “The Gown of Glory.” If you have read any other wholesome reads by her you would recommend, leave us a comment.

Disclaimer: I would recommend this for adults. The nature of the sin that is revealed is not suitable for younger readers.






A Great Opportunity

I’m not usually one to advertise on my blog, because I figure, well…

You probably aren’t going to read it.

But, for those of you old book collectors out there, I want to let you know about a great opportunity.

World of Rare Books  , a British-based rare book site, is having a free shipping week! It is already underway and will last until Saturday, September 27th.


If you have a particular author you are interested in collecting, they very well may have what you are looking for. I, personally, have already placed two orders this week simply because this is such a great opportunity. (Shipping on books from the UK can range from $5 – $10 per book, depending on the seller). Also, if you like to dig for a deal, many of their books are listed as “final reduction – get it whilst you can at this price!” The prices are listed in British pounds, but when you check out, they will redirect you through Paypal and you will pay in US dollars. The pound is presently worth about $1.64 to 1GBP.

Hope you find some real jewels!

By the way, this is not an affiliate post. I just wanted to share the great deal I found.


Going on a Treasure Hunt

If you could go on a treasure hunt and search for something very valuable to you, what would you look for?


Gold in a chest?


Fabulous jewels and untold wealth?


I was recently blessed with a wonderful opportunity to explore.


To search.


To dig.


Boys Playing on the Shore by Albert Edelfelt 1884

Boys Playing on the Shore by Albert Edelfelt 1884

To hunt for valuable and rare treasure.


And you know what I found?




Before you groan, (which you shouldn’t because you know this is primarily a blog about books) let me tell you about a most lovely day in my life.

Being an international family occasionally we have the opportunity to visit jolly old England to see the relatives still living there. While on a family “holiday” recently, my forbearing and ever-patient husband allowed me some time to treasure-hunt.

Translation: I got to go BOOK SHOPPING!!!

To one who appreciates old books, (and frequently orders them from the UK), this day in my life was a very happy one. We scoured charity shops, antique stores and even visited a rare bookseller’s warehouse in our quest for oldies but goodies.

The result?

I’ll probably be blogging about my “finds” for weeks to come, but let’s just say…

The search was profitable.

Ok, the search (and the subsequent “finding” of one particular treasure by Susan Warner) left me almost squealing with American delight in the ponderous face of my British book benefactor.

I had SUCH a lovely day!

And since we take the Scripture literally that when we acknowledge God in all of our ways, He is certain to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6), I’ll encourage you with this testimony.

As the time of our visit drew to a close, and my list of desired authors was not completely satisfied, I humbly thanked the Lord for all He had done for my little book quest and asked Him to allow me to return to America with every book He would like for us to have – even if my “list” was not complete. (I am one who firmly believes that there is nothing too small in our lives that we cannot share with our loving Lord).  The next and final day of our stay was to be spent visiting with family. As we sat talking, the door-bell rang. A lovely friend from church stopped by with a bag full of books she had taken from her bookshelf to give to our family. In her generosity, she gave us several of her mother-in-law’s childhood books from the early 1900’s. Among this bag were three of the most precious treasures of the entire trip! And guess what? My list was complete.

So, sometimes, we search for our treasure “as for hid gold” as the Scripture says.

And sometimes …

Just to show us how infinitely precious is God’s care for us …

Our treasure comes looking for us!

Happy Reading!


Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Have you ever read a book and it so reminded you of the goodness and greatness of God you just had to shake your head in wonder? I recently had that experience.



The Wonder Within You by Carey Wickersham is a beautifully constructed, interactive journal of the wonder of the season of life called pregnancy. Ms. Wickersham takes you week-by-week through the entire gestation period in a very innovative way.

There is a glut of pregnancy books out there, but this one stands out from the crowd. Using the latest in technological innovation, the book comes alive through actual video footage of ultrasounds that can be viewed by using the available links throughout the text. Not only is this a beautifully constructed, informative manual of sorts, but the tidbits of wisdom strewn along the way give the reader a sense of friendship with the author.  It’s as if Ms. Wickersham’s well researched, highly documented resource is delivered to her reader at her kitchen table over a cup of tea.

Here’s a sample of the incredible video footage available throughout the book. This is ultrasound footage from week 28.

What I appreciate about this book is the read-ability of the information. Every week we begin with a “Mommy Moment” which includes thoughtful quotes and insights on motherhood. A “Prenatal Postcard” is also included to encourage the Mother-to-be that she isn’t alone in her thoughts and feelings. “Nutritional Nuggets” and a “Did You Know” sidebar provide facts and tips for staying fit and feeling great while you are expecting. Each week closes with a journal section to make the book more personal.  Our journey takes us from conception to the delivery day, with a lovely calendar (complete with stickers!) to mark the landmarks along the way.

Of all of the pregnancy gift books I have seen, this one takes the cake. I will be giving this to new Moms who are experiencing the joys of motherhood for the first time. Who knows, I’ll probably give it to a veteran Mom too. There’s just so much neat information included, it would be a great gift for any expectant mother.

I received a copy of The Wonder Within You from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.





Dear Aspiring Christian Authors

Dear Aspiring Christian Author,


As an avid reader and subsequent thinker about what I have read, I have a few thoughts to share with you that may help – or hinder your writing endeavors. Before I get into my suggestions, let me say that I highly respect anyone who can actually develop a story beyond a couple of chapters, and keep it going – with interest – all the way to the end of the book. I often wonder how that process works – the planning, the character development, the putting forth of the thoughts of the author through the characters in the story. So, please know that what I say (and think) is really of very little significance in the whole scheme of things. I am simply writing as a reader to the writer.

One more disclaimer – I respect the time and thought put in to writing ANY book, whether I agree with the author or not. I am merely taking the opportunity to share what is important to me when I spend my time reading what has taken you so long to get on paper.

1. Keep Christ central to your story. You may not want to “preach” on every page, but please, please, allow Him to be seen in the general picture you are painting. I tend to ask myself a few questions when I finish reading a Christian fiction book. Am I encouraged to get closer to Christ? Have I learned something of Him? Have I been reminded of an aspect of His character or challenged to trust Him in a greater way? Am I encouraged to love Him better? To love my neighbor as myself? Admittedly, these are lofty goals. However, aren’t they the goals we are all striving toward as we follow Christ? So, I encourage you to reach higher than simply adding the words “faith” and “a Higher Power” to your book. If it is a Christian book – let our Lord be seen!

2. Please do not make sin the focal point of your story. I have read (or tried to read) contemporary “Christian” stories that have me blushing (and closing the book) in the first chapter. If you feel the need to “grab the reader’s attention” by using indecent dialogue, scenes and innuendo – you may need to rethink your audience and write for a secular crowd. You’ve already lost this reader.

3. Make your characters believable without feeling like they have to blame God to do so. One of the rewarding aspects of reading a good book is to truly identify with the characters. In every “believable” scenario, the hero or heroine may or may not be “perfect” in their responses, but their heart is pure towards God! That makes all the difference. If bitterness, anger, and resentment toward God (in short – the flesh) is all the character depth you can come up with, please rethink your story. You may say, “I want my readers to identify with the characters.” That is an admirable goal. Please let us, as readers, relate to the up-side of our Christian life rather than the side we all regret at the end of a possibly bad day. I have enough of my own flesh to deal with – it is not enjoyable to me to have to deal with your story-people’s flesh too.

4. Use older, moral writers as your mentors. I say this because I generally read the older writers. Their command of the English language is so much more (may I use the word?) refined than most of the modern books I have read. If you are writing for an adult audience, use vocabulary and sentence structure that reaches beyond the typical fifth-grade level in which most contemporary books are written today. I remember once reading a very popular modern author – a real “best-seller” in the Christian ranks. I flipped the book open, with a copy of an old classic beside it. The difference in the actual writing proficiency was almost embarrassing. I say that to make the point - strive higher than the status-quo!

Some of the best friends are made through books.

Some of the best friends are made through books.

5. Don’t be afraid to challenge your reader. I enjoy a challenge. If you have a particularly sticky topic you are wanting to deal with, don’t be intimidated to do so through your story. There are many issues that can be dealt with in a non-offensive tone when written through the voice of a sweet character. I’ll use slavery as an example. Harriet Beecher Stowe wonderfully used her writing talent to give voice to an issue that was highly explosive in her generation. Remember that Abraham Lincoln addressed her as “the little lady that started the (Civil) War?” If you have an issue burning in your heart, don’t be afraid to allow it to find it’s outlet through your pen. We may need to hear what God has given you to say.

6. Love thy reader as thyself. That means, don’t get upset when you read these suggestions. :)

So, if you want me – your potential reader – to truly like (and I don’t mean on facebook) your book that you have labored over for hours and hours, just keep these few hints in mind.

I look forward to a long and happy reader-author friendship that will endure the test of time.

Happy Writing!

By the way, if you have a book you have written and would like us to review, please email me at goodbooks (at) wholesomereads (dot) com.  I would recommend reading our requirements first and reserve the right to judge what would be appropriate for our readers.

“Whatsoever things are pure … think on these things”





Why Read When You Can Watch?

I’m sure you have all heard the question, either from your reluctant-to-read-during-summer-vaction kids or from an equally-reluctant-to-read-adult -

Why read a book when you can watch a video?


There are many answers to this question. The most prominent reasons to my mind may not be your reasons. So, if I miss your ideas, leave me a comment. :)

I think a major reason to read a book rather than watching a video is the simple fact that reading stimulates the brain so much more than a video does. I have no ready scientific proof, but it is a fact that when we read the Little House on the Prairie books, Michael Landon is NOT ”Pa” in my children’s imaginations. (gasp!) This speaks to me that reading allows for originality of thought beyond what mere “watching” can do.

OK, let me go ahead and admit that we do allow some videos in our home. However, these are often previewed by the adults and must meet certain requirements. I’ll not go into that here, but it is a very good idea to KNOW BEFOREHAND what is being presented before allowing children to view something.

Old fashioned?


Next point – The message of the book is often changed by the producer of the film. We have seen this to be true many times. We are disappointed because the movie is nothing like the book. It may say, “Based on a book by…” but that doesn’t mean that the author endorses the message of the film. It’s a shame when this happens. Sometimes, nothing is similar except the names of the characters.

Another thought – Simply because it takes longer to read a book, you glean more from the characters. Reading a good, wholesome book is like having good friends come over for a nice long visit. When an author has succeeded in creating realistic characters, you feel like you know the folks by the end of the book.


When used for God’s glory, a well written book can influence others for Christ. My favorite authors always teach me something through their works. Sometimes a word or phrase sticks with me. An experience may be illustrated that relates to my own, or a need is brought to my attention that I may have missed otherwise. Other times a thought is presented that I haven’t considered before. I have even read arguments clearly put forth and answered in an understandable way through a book. Even if I do not necessarily agree with the author’s ideas, I recognize and appreciate the sincere presentation of truth through the written page.

Last point -  It takes more personal discipline to read a properly written book than it does to plunk on the couch for two hours and gawk. (Is that a fair statement?) Have you ever read a book like Little Women or Ben Hur? Have you ever watched the films?

I rest my case.

OK – if you feel I have been unfair to the movie industry, comment away!

Just keep it sweet, please. :)




A Swashbuckling American Adventure

Many know and love Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey series.


We recently had the opportunity to read a new Adventure in Odyssey called …

The Imagination Station # 14 – Captured on the High Seas by Marianne Herring  and Nancy I. Sanders.

We join Odyssey’s Patrick and Beth as Mr. Whittaker sends them on an another adventure through American history. This time, the action is focused on the high seas during the American Revolution. Our adventure begins as our friends meet James, an African American teenager who works on the crew of The Royal Louis, an American warship in the middle of a battle. They quickly realize that they are on a new adventure as they are taken prisoner on board the British ship, the Amphion. The cousins are separated from one another for work detail and Patrick receives the commission to help James babysit the captain’s son!

While James and Patrick set out to “educate” the pesky Henry, Beth is assigned to kitchen duty with “Onion Jim” the cook’s parrot.  Amidst sword fights, prisoner escapes and an overly talkative bird, the cousins encounter danger after danger until they are finally faced with the ultimate peril for their young black friend – the slave ship!

Captured on the High Seas is a story of friendship, patriotism and loyalty. The authors present an aspect of the American Revolution that is often overlooked – the role of the young, free black men who sacrificed their lives to gain freedom for all Americans. Through the Imagination Station, we are once again given a glimpse into history from a child’s perspective. As in other Adventures in Odyssey, we are left with an appreciation for our heritage and a desire to “read-on” to find out what happens in the next adventure.

Written for ages 7 and up, this simple chapter book is a great family adventure for everyone.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

A Poet’s Life

Have you ever paused to experience the glory of a sunset?

A Kenyan Sunset

Or felt the beauty of the moment as you gazed in the wonder-filled eyes of a beloved child?


Queen Bianca by Albert Edelfelt  1877

Queen Bianca by Albert Edelfelt 1877


Have you ever felt the sweetness of a friendship that seems to bind your heart forever to another?


Two Girls by Pierre Renois 1890

Two Girls by Pierre Renois 1890

Or the blessed closeness of a sister and friend?


A Little Coaxing by Adolphe Bouguereau 1890

A Little Coaxing by Adolphe Bouguereau 1890


Have you ever seen the joy in a little boy’s eyes as he makes a discovery?

Boys Playing on the Shore by Albert Edelfelt 1884

Boys Playing on the Shore by Albert Edelfelt 1884

Or experienced the peace of quiet meditation…


Sunny Days by Laurence Alma te Demi 1874

Sunny Days by Laurence Alma te Demi 1874


Has the nobility of love’s call been heard in your heart – beckoning you higher?

God Speed by Edmund Blair Leighton 1900

God Speed by Edmund Blair Leighton 1900


Then you, my friend, have lived a poet’s life.