Friday, December 31, 2010

HDV 0048

This is how I feel now: Amos 8

11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wildlands Project



I am in a tin foil hat mind set lately. When you look at something like this you have to wonder where it will end up? What kind of world will our adult grand children live in?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ROAMING BABIES

The babies are beginning to jump out of the box and roam around. They are very curious.




My daughter who is taking care of me after surgery can't stand to see one hopping around. She just has to grab it and hug it.

The box is getting a bit crowded.



It is a gloomy drippy morning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Wonderful Son and his family at Ft Bragg

MERRY CHRISTMAS

As I sit here in the dark, the turkey is just beginning it's 5.5 hour roasting process, the sweet potatos are in the pressure cooker and the homemade cinnamon rolls are cooling and ready for the icing, I ponder last year. My daughter and grandsons are still in deep slumber.

If you go back to see what I wrote you will see that I did not. Last Christmas was a forced time of peace and reflection.

My son was in Afghanastan. So my phone was very important. I knew he would try to call me. As I fed animals that day, a "blue northern" came to town. It had begun to rain earlier in the day and that changed to sleet and as I fed animals, to ice.

Soon upon arriving home the roads became impassible...at least to me who owned a brand new truck. No biggie. I thought I was ready.

I started a roaring fire in the stove and put on carols. Started laundry and made last minute preps for the arrival of family the next day.

I finally sat down in my recliner and picked up my laptop to note my blog. Nothing. The power was on but the screen was black! At that time I was blogging heavily...not just mine but watching many other blogs. I did not have a good book to read so I decided that I would read my Bible and some gardening magazines before bed.

After a while I realized it was unusually quiet for Christmas eve. I looked down and my phone was not in it's usual spot. I got up and began a frantic search which included the truck....nothing.

I stopped and mentally retraced my steps and suddenly got a sinking feeling as I realized the last time I had my phone was when I came in from feeding animals and put on my pj's to do the last load of laundry.

I ran to the washing machine and there is was...inside the washer that had just completed the final spin cycle!

The screen glowed with an eerie white light...the light of death.

It never came back. I have no house phone, no computer, no cell phone and was iced in. I could not even get a call from my son overseas! I knew my family would be upset but there was nothing I could do. I don't know my neighbors well enough to ask to use their phone and it would have been a treacherous 150 yd walk in the ice.

Yet I was at peace.

When the ice melted the next day my daughter walked in the house in tears. She was so upset because my family had cancelled coming to my house for dinner and she thought that it was because they could not contact me.

I hugged her and wished her a Merry Christmas and told her it was ok and used her phone to contact everyone (who had developed bad head colds) to wish them all a Merry Christmas.

My grandboys came over though and we had a huge feast. My son called too so I could tell him again how proud I was of him and how much I loved him.

So although December 25 is not really the day that Christ our Savior was born to this horrible earth, He was very much here that night providing me with the peace of the season.

I wish you and yours the Peace intended for this Season of Joy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CHANGES

I thought I would do a short series of the changes to my farm since I moved in.

Before:



Now:

YEP THIS WILL BE HARD!

video

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DRAWN TO A BOYS SOUL

I drove to the farm yesterdy to pick up fresh milk. The route there is down gravel roads that meander through miles of cattle ranches. Since I had to drive slow, I told the boys they could roll down their windows.

They were chattering away for a few minutes and slowly became quiet. Now and then one would say how beautiful something was....point out a flying hawk....angus cattle roaming freely over miles of grass land.

Then we arrived at the farm. The boys got to play with Misty the huge farm dog that loved them as much as they loved her. They chased her through plowed dormant fields and then she chased them.

I talked to the owners and paid for my 4 gallons of milk and pounds of shelled Texas pecans and almonds.

Then we headed home. Back through the fields of grass. The boys began to talk about how old time cowboys lives in the wild west. About the time we pulled back in to my driveway, their dad called to ask them what they wanted for Christmas...and their answer? Cowboy hats, belts, wranglers and boots.

Their is something about wild land that speaks to a child's soul. I remember wandering the hills of West Virginia in the late 60's and my spirit was at peace. At no other time was I truly at peace.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

10 DAYS WITH GRAND BOYS! EXPERIMENT #1

4 Gallons of fresh raw milk will be picked up on Saturday noon. Got this in today! I can't wait to try it out!









Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

HOMEMADE BUTTER

So since I don't have any baby rabbits to go ga-ga over, I made butter. I left a gallon of milk out on the counter. (ok this part is wrong...you are supposed to suck out the cream from the top of the milk and let THAT set out on the counter).



Then because I wanted to experiment I started the food processor and a jar of milk to see which one formed butter first.





Well duh!! This was really cool though because my grand mother never let me help with the last part. Only the churning.

After about 5 minutes, I stopped the processor and what was floating at the top was "foamy chunks". I know that this time of year the butter is going to be more white than yellow due to cows eating more hay than grass.



I took a slotted spoon and dipped out the butter and using the round side of a metal teaspoon I started pressing on it and the buttermilk poured out of it. I kept pouring it off back into the processor.

After I could get no more out I poured very cold water in to the bowl. I kept working it and pouring out the water, adding fresh for 3 times until the water stayed clear. This was very fun.

You can expect to get about 1 stick of butter from 1.5 quarts of cream. This milk probably only had 1/2 quart of cream per gallon. So until summer I won't get much butter. I may order straight cream this weekend just to have fun with the grand boys and show them how to make butter. We will freeze it for Christmas day dinner.

The second way to make butter is cultured butter. I bought plain raw organic yogurt. Into the second half gallon I place about 1/3 cup of yogurt. I let it sit (where it is now) and before bed I will process the same way to see the difference in texture, color and flavor.

I will try to update the comments section when I am done.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WINTER BIRTH PREPS

I feel like a new father...pacing in the waiting room nervously. My second doe tore apart her nest today and was running around the cage with hay in her mouth like a huge moustaches.

I have watched her all evening building the most beautiful nest I have ever seens for a winter birth. It is like a ball of hay with a hole in the middle.

Now if she can just figure out how to have babies in there instead of on the cage floor.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

PREPPING TO REMEMBER A MIRACLE

SATURDAY CHORES

I have been up since 4:45 am. I have canned 9 pints of chicken and dumplings and have 3 quarts of pickled beets in right now.





Later I will try to pickle some jalapenos..some clinging to the dead plants out front.

Dad is coming over this morning and we are putting up the icicle lights out front and finishing the peg board in the tool shed.

At noon I will be going out to the farm to pick up 2 gallons of raw milk. I did not order rennet to make cheese so I may freeze this milk and order it online. I plan on making mozzerella and cheddar. I want to work my way up to asiago cheese.

A cold front is coming in today so I will try to clean out the hen house and lay down new bedding. Fill food containers up and water the garden so that the spigots can be covered.

Then the most important thing!! I am getting out the Christmas tree and all of the decorations. I will try to see if the grandboys can come and help me decorate and drink hot cocoa with me.

That is pretty much it. Kind of boring and basically just being here to watch the other rabbit to see if she is going to kindle this weekend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

STUFF HAPPENS

Well my biggest bunny had one dead baby 6 days early on the cage floor today.

I am not sure why but it was a very large baby. The smallest is supposed to deliver on sunday. Hopefully that delivery will go better.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

WEEKEND CHORES

Well it was a pretty good weekend.

I got the large tarp up to block the wind on the N side of the car port. This will help the rabbits this winter.

I picked tons of beets, turnips and greens and started canning the greens.

I powdered my first batch of dried sweet potatoes.

I made my hoop house for the salad garden.




I killed 3 chickens and used them to make 8 quarts of chicken and dumplings. I will take some of this to work for lunches and give some to my daughter for her boyfriend (special b day request). And if there is any left over I will can the rest.



I almost completed the laundry.

All of the dishes are washed but I would not consider the kitchen clean yet. It is still cluttered.

I cleaned my room and hung up all the clothes that I had washed yesterday. I emptied all the trash.

I bought (but have not used) a food saver vaccum sealer and some canning jars as well as several needed baking tools for the kitchen.

DEHYDRATED SWEET POTATOES

I love having something cool to do when I can't sleep. I got out the dried sweet potato from the dehydrator.

Some of it was the consistency of fruit leather. Some was dry and shattered. Now I know that I want it very thin for how I want to store it. I put all the parts back in on a couple of trays to see if they would become brittle. And while I was at it I filled the remaining 8 trays with some more mashed sweet potato.

Then I put the brittle potatos in the food processor for the initial run.



I got semi large chunks. I could store this way just fine but I wanted powder. So I broke out the blender for the final run. I am very pleased.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

SATURDAY EVENING POST

Ok it isn't evening yet but I imagine I will be too busy the rest of the day to post and I am resting from the first part right now.

I drank coffee this morning after I slept in til 7:30am. Then burned some trash, fed the bunnies their morning oats and sunflower seeds and just relaxed.

Then I took off for wally world to get a vaccum sealer. I internet shopped for an hour and found that the one wally sells is the same and I don't have to wait for shipping.

Since I was going to a store in more of a rural comminity I decided to swing by the canning section because the one in the neighboring city to me has nothing left in that section.

This wallyworld is well stocked in the canning section which also included a good variety of vaccum sealers.



I decided to try the Mainstay brand of canning jars as they are 7.88 for a case of quart jars instead of the Ball and Mason which are almost 11 per case. From what I see the only difference is that they don't have a fancy picture impressed on the side. If they explode in the canner then I will understand the difference.



Then I went to my local u pick um farm. I am so excited about this visit. I came away with about 8 lb of beets and 5 lb of beet greens.I also came home with 18 lb of turnips and 8 lb of turnip greens.



They have a glass door'd refrigerator in the garage and I saw small bottles of milk without labels. I asked about them and I guess I have a dairy not far from my house!!! I can order my milk and yogurt etc through her. woohooo So I placed an order for 2 gallons of milk to be picked up next Saturday. I will be trying my hand at homemade cheese which I have always wanted to make.

As you can see from this photo, it is rather remote. But Boo doesn't mind. She waits patiently while I pick turnips and beets so that she can carry them hom for me.





This is the turnip field. See in the edge of the photo...that is my ghost. I have been seeing this lately in some of my photos.



I decided to do something different. Instead of cutting turnip greens and then going back to pick turnips, I decided to simply pick beets and turnips and then seperate them at home.

I got 3 bags of turnips and 2 bags of beets.



I will go get 2 gallons of vinegar and pickling spices and I will make pickled beets. Harvard beets are my favorite veggie.



Here are the beet greens that I will blanch and freeze or can.





Here are the turnip roots. These are so wonderful cooked and mashed like potatos. These should keep in my veggie drawer in the frig for a couple of months...if they will last that long.


Here are the turnip greens which will be canned.

I bought 3 pints of local honey which is in reusable canning jars. And I bought a pint of fresh unflavored yogurt.



Here is the most exciting part. We talked about me killing my meat chickens this weekend...which hasn't happened yet but should tomorrow. When I told her about the laying hens she perked up. She asked me if I would be interested in being an egg producer for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We talked about the fact that I produce brown and green eggs and I have roosters (this is a problem for many people) and she said that is exactly what her customers are looking for! Now I have a good reason to increase my flock. I will need to remodel the hen house though. YAY a new project.