Blog Birthday: 13 Most Popular Posts in 13 Years

It's the 13th birthday of the Oak Hill Homestead blog!

This weekend I'm celebrating a big event.

Little did I know, thirteen years ago, what significance this new project would have on my life. On that day I started a blog.

I thought, "I'm learning so much here, and someone else, somewhere, might be struggling with the same things. I should help them."

And I recorded what I was struggling with, what I was learning, what I was so thankful for every single day.

Thirteen years later, here I am. Still writing. Still sharing, Still hoping to encourage others. As you've probably guessed, I'm celebrating the Oak Hill Homestead blog's 13th birthday - or as some call it, blog-iversary. 

What a milestone, right?

Looking back, there are some things I might have done differently on the blog over the past 13 years, but this is where I am, where the Lord has brought me, and where I hope to continue to encourage others - you!

So let's kick off the festivities!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate disclosure here.

To start with, here are the 13 most-read blog posts from the past thirteen years. Have you read them all? Which is your favorite?

Why you should have goats on your homestead

The #13 post is Why You Should Have Goats on Your Homestead. It's no secret I love goats, even though they can be very exasperating and can make me pray for control over my tongue more than any other animal I've ever owned. 

But they are of great benefit to your homestead if you have enough land to keep a couple. Mini goats such as Nigerian Dwarfs, Kinder and Pygmy goats require less space. 

Cold process goat milk soap

#12 - The benefit most people think of first when they think of goats is fresh milk, and one of the benefits of having an abundance of milk is making luxurious goat milk soap. There are two methods of soapmaking, hot process and cold process. 

Making soap with milk is a bit different than making it with water. This step-by-step tutorial will show you How to Make Cold-Process Soap with Goat Milk

Vacuum seal almost any jar

#11 - The day I figured out how to vacuum seal jars with my Foodsaver was a huge one! Canning jars are easy to seal but you can Vacuum Seal Almost Any Jar in Your Kitchen if you know what to look for when choosing the jars you will use. 

While this doesn't replace canning by any means, you can vacuum seal jars of pasta, rice, popcorn and dehydrated foods to lengthen their storage life. It's also a good way to recycle jars that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

Printable goat forms

#10 is one part of a series I wrote on keeping homestead records. I'd love to know. I'm a paper planner gal and I'm kind of addicted to my planners. What kind of homestead records do you keep? Do you use a notebook, a planner, an electronic record, or something else? 

I included some free printable forms for goatkeepers in this post. Don't have goats? The medical form is adaptable to any pet or other livestock animal. Record-Keeping on the Homestead [Printable Goat Forms]

My mother's pumpkin bread recipe

Our #9 post, My Mother's World-Famous (sort of) Pumpkin Bread Recipe, makes me happy; I love that a post honoring my mom is in the top thirteen most-read posts. how appropriate with Mother's Day this weekend too, don't you think? Mom passed away about twenty years ago after a long illness and I miss her to this day.

I love using the same kitchen gadgets that she did, tools that I brought home with me after my brother and I cleaned out our childhood home and put it on the market. She would have loved visiting us here at Oak Hill, even though she probably wouldn't have walked far from the house. She visited us in many of the places we lived during hubby's military career and enjoyed seeing each new locale. 

How to harvest and dry yarrow

#8 - right now the yarrow is waving happily in the horses' pasture in the spring breeze. Yarrow was the first new plant I identified when we moved here; I researched its uses and was excited to have such a useful plant on our land. Here's How to Harvest and Dry Yarrow

Hot process goat milk soap

#7 is another post in my series of goat milk soap posts: How to Make Hot-Process Goat Milk Soap.

Harvest Apple Jelly

#6 - Our apple trees produce a good harvest every year and this is one of the ways I preserve those apples. You can use the small, misshapen apples to make this delicious jelly, or use the peels and cores leftover when you can apple slices. Either way, it's part of my plan to let nothing go to waste. 
Harvest Apple Jelly tastes like autumn and the way apples smell. It's one of my three favorite jams and jellies to make each year. Even if you don't eat much jelly on homemade bread, there are more ways to enjoy this deliciousness such as making a sauce for a meat dish.

How to overwinter tomato plants

#5 - I began researching and experimenting with overwintering tomato plants way back in 2012; this is one of the first posts on the subject. What if you could keep tomato plants alive over the winter and replant them again in spring? I've had mixed success, but the successes keep me trying! Have you tried?

10 must-have items for goat keepers

#4 - New goatkeepers might wonder what they need to have on hand when they bring home their first goats. (Hopefully they have at least two goats, because an only goat is a lonely goat and more likely to get into trouble.) Here are the ten items I recommend for new goatkeepers.

how to use a shampoo bar

#3 - Evidently shampoo bars are really catching on, and by this time next year this post on How to Use a Shampoo Bar might be up at the Number One spot; it's the most-viewed post so far this year. Before I started using them myself, I wondered how on earth I was supposed to use solid shampoo on my hair. I finally did figure it out for myself, and I've added my tips and thoughts on the matter too.

How to bale hay by hand

#2, How We Bale Hay by Hand, is one of the posts that I wrote to help others who might be facing the same struggle we were: we had acres and acres of grass, and no money for a tractor to cut and bale it. A friend sent us the plans for this hand baler, hubby figured them out and built one, and we used it for many years. It's an old post, from 2007, and contains "just the facts."

I admit that these days we wouldn't be able to keep up with the all-summer-long physical exertion this requires, but for those of you who might be younger than we are, I hope this helps!

How to boil ground beef

And that brings us to the most-read post in Oak Hill Homestead blog's history: How to Boil Ground Beef, and Why You Should. Learn how to cut the fat content and how to preserve ground beef, and what NOT to do when you're finished.




I'm giving away a selection of goodies
to celebrate the blog's birthday!
Included are a garden journal notebook from Target (isn't it cute?),
a fun metal sign from Purina, a copy of Cluck: a Book of Happiness for Chicken Lovers,
and more!

Read my review of Cluck: a Book of Happiness for Chickens Lovers, here.

This cute garden journal/planner includes the daffodil-decorated binder, graph paper to plot out your garden, seed envelopes, note pages and 3 dividers. I found it at Target's "dollar spot" on one of my rare trips to the City and knew someone would love it! (In fact, I might have to go see if they have more because I think I want one for me! I especially love those adorable dividers.)

Enter below using the Giveaway Tools form.

This giveaway will open Thursday 5/9/2019 at 1:00 am CT and close 5/14/2019 at 11:00 pm CT. Open to US residents only. One winner will be chosen at random by Giveaway Tools and contacted by the email address used to enter. Winner has 48 hours to respond; if winner does not respond an alternate winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools.

Homesteading is more than a dot on a map, it's a place in your heart. Oak Hill Homestead will inspire your vision of a simple, healthy life: gardening, food preservation, cooking from scratch, backyard chickens and more.


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  1. Congratulations on 13 successful years! You are a wonderful blogger and person! I love your posts, your bloghop and I value your friendship! Here's to 13 more!

    1. Thank you, Annie! Your friendship and support are truly appreciated!

  2. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY (is that even a word...maybe it is...if not, it is now!)!!! Congratulations on 13 years! That's dedication for sure! Praying that the next 13 is just as awesome for you! Thanks for all the posts, helpful hints, and advice! :D

  3. Happy Blogging Birthday, Kathi! You are an inspiration!

    All of your posts are wondeful...but I think my fave is your Mom's Pumpkin Bread. What a great way to honor her memory with Mother's Day coming up. I need to share one of my Mom's recipes with my readers too!

    Thanks for sharing the giveaway!

  4. Congratulations on blogging for 13 years! You have been a real inspiration! There are too many favorite posts to list just one!

  5. One of my favorite posts is on vacuum sealing in any jar. My biggest struggle is finding time to do everything I want to do.

  6. Happy Blogiversary, Kathi!!! I love your blog, and I'm so glad you've shared for 13 years! Blessings to you and hope for many, many more great blogging years for Oak Hill Homestead!

  7. Congratulations on your 13th blogiversary! I hope to be where you are someday!

  8. Congratulations Kathi!! This is so exciting and I too love your blog. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. Here's to 13 more years.

  9. Congratulations on your successful blog! My favorite of the top 13 is the homestead records - they have helped me out so much!

  10. My biggest struggle...........TIME!! There is never enough. I'm single with my adult daughter as my "roommate". I work "full-time" as a school nurse with means I get paid for 38.5 hours a week when I actually work 50+ hours a week. Finding time to garden, can, fix fence, do home improvements, etc is very hard.

  11. Sarah L11:00 PM

    My favorite posts are anything about goats. I am going to go back now and reread the posts about goat milk soap making, I haven't tried it yet but hopefully we will have more extra milk this year to try it out. Thank you so much for all the helpful info and posts!

  12. Karen Rowell11:27 AM

    My biggest struggle is knowing where to begin. There is so much I want to do on this farm, but I know I have to prioritiza!

  13. gardenparty123@yahoo.com11:41 PM

    I am with Karen, Where to start? I will follow the link, I have started because I am impulsive like that but what a lot of stuff to do! Who would have thought 3 months ago I would be having a goat pen in my living room with 9wk old goats in it!! okay so only at night.
    Still they worked their way out this morning and my adult son commented that we live in a barn.... no, if we lived in a barn I would keep the door open so they could go in 'n' out as they please.
    Also, I like this article.

    Lots to think about, all tips are welcome!!

    1. We've had a few baby goats in the house too. 😁

  14. How to make cold processed soap with goats milk

  15. Thank you for sharing your top homesteading posts on the Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop, Kathi! If you would like to share a quick comment letting people know about the giveaway on my hop post, you are more than welcome to do so!

  16. Fencing and shelter are my biggest problems. Nobody to help me and I have no clue usually!

  17. Happy Blog Birthday Kathi!!! What a milestone! I am excited for the giveaway. :-)

  18. Thanks so much for sharing your celebration on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!


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