Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Since it's been an icky day with spitting sleet and light rain, I decided I'd do something half way constructive today and make a batch of soap.
It's the same simple recipe I always use, all oils that are readily available at any grocery store, cows milk and Red Devil brand granulated lye.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
"For the growing plants indoors, my husband and I would like start our own seeds this year. We tried to last year, but they got moldy and were very spindly. We just planted them in peat moss and had them on the kitchen table. What would you suggest for a better seed starting medium and lighting setup? I'd like to have a set of metal or wood shelves with lights on each tier. Would that be feasible?
Also, I'm interested in raised beds. They seem to eliminate a lot of work in the end, but we think they might be a lot of up front expense and work. The up front expense is the main problem :) Any suggestions for how to make them cheaply?
One last question! I've been interested in rabbits for years. Right now we have chickens for meat (and I love not having to rely on the store for that!) but we're still considering rabbits. My main hesitation is the dressed weight. I've heard that the dressed weight is around 2 and a half pounds, which seems rather small. How many rabbits do you fix for a meal? If it takes a couple of rabbits per meal instead of one chicken per meal, it seems the extra butchering would be a pain, but do you find the benefits outweigh the extra time involved in butchering? "
One question at a time, I'm going to start with the indoor growing one. The moldy seeds are a normal side effect of temperature changes. It's a draft that causes them to mold. Temperature fluctuations to below 75 degrees. For me it's leaky, poor quality windows. They are double paned and about 10 years old, the ones that flip out for cleaning and they are junk. Even with the seams duct taped, they still are not good enough to keep my seeds from molding. Peat pellets are not the problem, I use jiffy peat pellets every year. I bought a huge pile of them several years ago at the end of the spring sell out at walmart. Even peat pellets using the ziploc bag method will mold if the temperature changes too much.
Now for the spindly. They get that way, especially tomatoes, from lack of direct sunlight. Even in the southern facing windows, you'll still suffer from spindly plants. A simple fluorescent shop light hung above them will help. Hang it high enough to compensate for growth, 18" to 24" or so, mine are roughly 36". Fish tank bulbs are cheap and work well if you can't find UV bulbs. Yes, shelves are feasible, you can use anything you want to, as long as there's enough space to allow room between the lamps and the plants.
Now to the raised beds. Anything will do, any scraps you can get your hands on will work. I set up raised beds for my neighbors with old railroad ties they had laying around. Her garden looked almost as good as mine did this year! Landscape timbers, old fence boards, whatever you can pick up will work. They don't have to be pretty to work, just hold some dirt. Even concrete blocks can be useful. The big deal with raised beds is how great they drain and how easy they are to maintain. so, anything you can come up with that will hold dirt and allow good drainage is going to do the trick.
Now to the rabbits. I raise a mixed breed hutch here, checkered giants crossed with new zealands and californians. I butcher mine out around 4 months old and 2 rabbits makes a nice meal. Mine butcher out around 3lbs or so. Rabbit bone is very light and almost fragile in comparison to chicken. From the whack to the pot takes me less than 10 minutes. Rabbits are extremely easy to raise and even easier to butcher. Basically you whack em, hang em on a couple nails in a barn post, slit and yank. I've done them enough that I can yank a hide almost in one shot now. Cut the head and feet off and into the bucket. Quick and easy. There's subtle differences in the texture of rabbit plus less fat and way more protein than chicken. Also there's the benefit of the rabbit berries...
Meghan, I hope this post gives you the answers you needed, thanks for the questions!
I can help you with the grocery bill no matter where you live, even in condos and apartments. It is not difficult to grow things such as tomatoes and peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, even melons in small spaces and containers! A sunny spot is all you need. If you don't have a sunny spot, a florescent light or 2 will do.
For people living in rental homes, you can expand a little with a small chicken coop built like a dog pen or even rabbits in wooden hutches. The hutches even work well for a few chickens. Remember tho, if you have crabby neighbors, don't get a rooster! It's also a good idea to check your city or town ordinances to make sure having chickens doesn't violate some unknown law because you don't want to have to get rid of you egg layers as soon as you get them settled in. Chickens are daylight sensitive and lay an egg every 24 to 28 hours so plan accordingly for your egg consumption. Just 6 hens give me 3 dozen eggs a week, give or take an egg here or there.
In an 8x10 coop with a 10x10 run, I have 10 to 14 fresh eggs every day and fresh meat whenever I want some chicken. How to kill a chicken will be another days post.
Remember my post on raised bed gardens? For those of you that have the opportunity to make a raised bed, I forgot to mention how easy they are to maintain! It is easy to cover the garden in the fall with grass clippings, even newspaper or paper sacks, anything organic that will decompose, kill off the weeds, add to the nutrient value of the soil and keep your soil easy to turn. Just one small raised bed garden here produces literally hundreds of pounds of healthy, pesticide free food for my family.
Now to rabbits- I keep 4 does and 1 buck, I breed every other month for 32 to 40 kits for the table. Rabbit is high protein, low fat and can be served up just like any chicken recipe you have.
Rabbits don't make any noise, their manure is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potash and can be used right out of the rabbit, no composting needed. It will not burn your plants like cow, horse or chicken will. Rabbit is a win win situation! Small spaces work out well as a medium sized meat rabbit needs just 2'x2' to stay healthy and produce for you.
All these things add up to savings. Think about how much money you spend on food stuffs like meat and veges. Canning is easy to do and cooking is just as easy. Think about how much money you spend eating out. A healthy and tasty meal can be whipped up in your own kitchen for a third of the price if not cheaper than that, for just 20 minutes or so of your time. Plus, you get to spend a little quiet time at home relaxing while you do it! Don't under estimate the stress relief of producing your own food.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here's supper for today. It's a nice deer meat sauce with some pasta. Simple to whip up and everybody enjoys it. Just throw some stuff from the garden in the pot. Diced tomatoes, some tomato sauce I made with the squisher thingy, some dehydrated sweet peppers, oregano, rosemary, thyme, some diced onions and of course the meal maker- browned ground deer meat. I like to let my sauce simmer for a while to blend the flavors and cook off extra water from the tomatoes and sauce. I sometimes put chopped up dehydrated mushrooms in too but hubby doesn't much care for them. Just an example of a simple and tasty meal you can whip up easily. This meal also works pretty darn good on a wood fire.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
LOL, can you see the smoke coming from my ears? It is and the thoughts and ideas are rolling... I am the complete opposite of normal folks that are consumer based. Folks that buy everything they need, all the basic necessities of life-food, water, light, heat, etc. I have built my life around the idea that I can produce all those things for myself. That whole concept is made easier by living on a farm. But, living other places can be just as good as living on a farm too. Granted, you can't raise a steer in your backyard, but you can still keep rabbits and a few chickens. You can still grow a good portion of what you eat. That qualifies you as a homesteader no matter where you live. Homesteading used to be a term that was reserved for our more adventurous ancestors. Those people that braved the wilds of the west and created a life way outside the confines of the cities in the east. Some made it and some didn't. Now, we have the luxury of hindsight and modern appliances to help us homestead. The very definition of homesteading now is one that works to produce at least some of their needs, especially food. So, planting a garden, even if it's all in containers makes us homesteaders. Absolutely everyone can become a little more self sustained by just taking the time to grow a little food. Neat, huh?
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Whew, the severe winter weather that was full of ice and snow went north of us. We did have some nasty winds and it's pretty darn cold now but I'll take sunny and cold over 2' of snow anyday!
So, what are we doing around the farm today? Oh, the usual stuff- feeding the animals, chopping a little firewood and baking bread. Plus my all time favorite winter passtime of garden dreaming. Yes, I know it's just December but it's never the wrong time to be thinking about and making plans to start those precious seedlings for a new garden.
The garden is the very heart of this self sustained lifestyle. Without the garden, all I would be is a consumer. Buy it, use it up and buy some more. Breaking that cycle wasn't easy since it's what we all grew up believing was normal. I choose to feed myself and accept the responsibility and all the work that goes with it. So, I must constantly think about last years garden and how i can improve my yields. What worked good and what didn't work so good. Like my potato crop for instance. I also constantly work on how I can beat Mother Nature. What? Yep, I am always trying to get around her, every chance I can get! I want my plants to hit the garden and produce as quickly as I can make them. The sooner I can get tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc, the more I will have for the table. How do I do that? I start my seeds early, way before the last frost in the kitchen window garden. It takes up a bunch of space and usually by planting time, my kitchen is literally taken over by plants. I have a small table full plus a variety of shelves and the "indoor garden" always ends up sprawling over to the dinner table and my counters. It's lots of work tending and watering all those plants but if I didn't do that, I'd not have ripe tomatoes before July around here.
Sounds like a big fuss, doesn't it? It would be if I didn't have that whole line of southern exposure windows. Is it worth it? I think it is. Eating only from what you grow isn't a small accomplishment. It takes 20 tomato plants producing full time to cover just the sauce, paste and diced tomatoes we consume in the course of a year. If my first red tomato doesn't come until July, that just gives me 3 1/2 to 4 months to produce enough to last the 9 months until the next round of tomato plants start producing.
Self sutained living isn't any different than the way everyone lives, we just don't go out and buy what we need, we create it for ourselves. Yes, it takes more time and effort to do it for ourselves and sometimes it's no so much fun but in the end, it's worth it. If it weren't for my dedication to doing it for myself, I would most likely be among the thousands across the country in mortgage default right now. Growing my own food has allowed us to stretch what little money we have much, much longer than what it would for people that are consumer based. All the animals here are fed from what we can produce. In turn, that gives us free chicken, free eggs, free rabbit, free sheep, free pork, free beef, plus free produce! When all you have is $100 to make it the whole month, that sure does mean a bunch! Especially when fuel is $2.80 a gallon...
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
That is a picture of some Roma tomatoes I grew in a bucket this summer. The seeds came from what I saved from my harvest last year. I'd like to share my thoughts on seeds, gardening and seed saving with you tonight.
How do I grow all my own food and how can it be free? Well, it's not free the first year of planting because the seeds have to come from somewhere. I bought some and traded for some. All the seeds are what is considered heirloom seeds. So, what's an heirloom seed? It's a seed that will produce the same quality plant as it's parent plant. For instance, the tomato. I plant a seed and it grows. Then it produces fruit. I save the seeds from that fruit, replant them and they grow a plant just like the first one I grew. Same quality fruits, same growing habits.
Nature all on it's own cross pollinates plants all the time. It's normal evolution. The problem with a hybrid is that the fruits of such a cross very rarely grow a plant like it's parent. The seed will grow a plant that reverts back to one of it's parent plants. So, if you plant a hybrid tomato that grows quickly, produces an early tomato with good flavor, the chances of a saved seed producing the same results on the next generation is kind of slim. That's why I plant only heirloom seeds. I want to have the same quality and performance year after year so I know what to expect and I know how much food I will produce. That's a good thing to know when you are eating only from what you grow.
Now, here's a type of seed that is what I consider to be the root of all evil. A GMO(genetically modified organism). This seed is the product of molecular genetics and can often have other organisms spliced into it such as pesticide genes that would never occur naturally. There is no scientific proof that plants and fruits produced from GMO seed do not harm organisms that would normally feed from these plants. Monsanto is now producing GMO seed that grows a plant to produce fruits that are sterile. The resulting fruits from the original GMO seed will not produce a plant. Hmmmm, don't fool with Mother nature boys, it never turns out well........
It makes sense to plant heirloom seeds, grow your garden and save seeds to grow next years garden from your bounty. All the following years you plant, you food is then free. Wouldn't you like to have the same bounty every year? Only use and save heirloom, open pollinated seeds for your self sustaining, survival garden.
Okay, where do you find heirloom seeds? Reputable seed companies such as Johnnys Seeds, Burpee and Seed Savers Exchange are good sources. Seed Savers is exclusively open pollinated. Other companies will tell you in the description and on the seed packet if the seed is hybrid. Never trust a packet or company that does not disclose which kind of seed they are selling. Do your research, read and read some more!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Hello everyone, I hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant! With the holiday comes black Friday and a miriad of goofy people standing around in 32 degree night time temperatures to be the first ones in Walmart for all the great deals on crap made in China. I know this should not surprise me but it still does, every time. I am soooo glad I'm not like that!
Living off your land is a lost art form it seems. That's such a shame. I fed my neighbors today because they just aren't very thrifty. They are severely underemployed, living in a run down rent trailer with 2 kids and they're hungry. They asked if the could have food off my farm on credit, I just gave it to them and even baked them some bread. They've lived near me for a year now and had plenty of room to grow themselves some food but simply chose not to bother. Now they are hungry. I fear all of us will be seeing this same situation more and more all over. How will we handle it all? I don't know.....
I am already gearing up for the next planting season with a couple new items for the gardens and replacements for the damaged trees in the orchard. This could be a long winter for all of us.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Look what I found this morning during morning chores. A new set of kittens, i think they are Shadows kittens. Like I need any more to add to the list of kittens I need to give away. Cats are an important part of farm life. Whithout them i would be over run with mice from all the grains i grow and store here. But, one must draw the line somewhere! I have at least 10 kittens that need new homes if anyone wants a kitten.....
I found one of my young banty hens defending a nest of eggs this morning. I'll keep an eye on her to make sure she's really gone broody and if so, I'll set her up for a little cat and puppy protection for her and the nest. I might get some new banty chicks now!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Well, I was disappointed that my Kodak camera program would not load to this new computer so I spent a little time cruising the Kodak website and found a whole page of upgrade software for Vista and the new win7 programs, all free. Now the camera works!
Tobacco Photo tutorial by hillidilli(dilligaf)
Now for what's going on around the farm.....
Cody the coon dog killed a laying hen yesterday and the blue heeler pup wiped out almost all the Rouen ducklings. We saved 2 but I think one of those is going to die too. I spent a couple hours in the grinding room working on the feed mix. Grinding corn and mixing it with the rest of the grains I have. I like to have a weeks worth at a time to keep it fresh and save time on the daily chores. I was serenaded by the sounds of ducklings and chicks in the brooder tank in the corner. I'm worried about them being hatched out so late in the season, cold weather is coming very quickly. The unseasonable warm weather we enjoyed tricked the hens into thinking it was spring. It's harder than you think to convince a broody hen to not sit on a nest. Even taking the eggs away doesn't help much, they just lay more to sit on and gather eggs from other nests.
Did you notice, Queenbuffness made a comment on the chicken feeding page, she feeds her chickens meat scraps with great results. I think I will try it with my turkey scraps this holiday. Thank you Queenbuffness!
I still haven't gotten any of the projects that needed store bought supplies done yet. Seems the bank has a policy where they hold big checks for 2 weeks. Funny thing is, they claim it's because the check is an out of state check. They didn't have any problems cashing the small checks drawn from the same bank as the big one since June...... So add 2 extra days the bank is closed for the holiday to our wait, it will be December before i can have our own money to work with. I've already wrote several checks paying our overdue bills and I'm sure I will receive plenty of overdraft penalties for them. Thieving bastards. Glad they get to collect 2 weeks of interest from the Fed on my money.......
My Seed Savers Exchange seed catalog is all wrinkled up already ;) hubby and I have marked all over the poor thing working on what we want to try in the garden this year. The catalog is all heirloom seeds, some certified organic. Most of the seeds can be traced back to the 1800's.
I also order plants from Starks Brothers and Miller Nurseries. I'm also fond of a couple sellers on ebay. I get exoctic seeds there like coffee, tobacco and oddball fruit, vege and herb seeds either not readily available thru normal channels or too expensive commercially.
I put the nesting boxes in with the rabbit does last night, I should have 2 more batches of bunnies in the next couple of days and another at the end of the month. I need to get a good stock of bunnies up so I can meet what my new customer wants plus have a few for myself. You just can't beat the high protein/low fat of rabbit meat for your diet.
yesterday I tried once again to make some cheese with the poor quality milk. It's just not going to work, no matter what I do. Disappointing for me but more drive for finding my own cow. Cracked corn is just not a good animal feed all by itself. Not enough nutrient in it. While I know this to be true, it's hard to get some of these hard headed cheapass farmers around here to believe me. They think corn is some kind of wonder grain. They starve their animals all the time on cracked corn. Oh well, I know better anyway.......
ARG! This new computer with it's fabulous windows 7 will not support my Kodak program so I am still without pictures from my camera. I guess I will have to wait for the old HP to be fixed so I can share some farm pictures. I know it's a little boring without all the cool pictures from around here, hang in there, I'll have some soon!
Off to get some bread made..........
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tonite I'm going to share what I do to feed my chickens without having to fork out $12 for a 50lb bag of commercial chicken feed. Chickens are notorious for eating just about anything they can peck so table scraps are always on the menu. they will also eat about anything you try to plant in your garden if you don't keep them out. Chickens are particularly fond of beets, kale, potatoes, sunflowers, wheat, oats and all types of grass seed. Cracked corn is something they dive on but it lacks protein so I supplement cracked corn with ground soybeans, sunflowers, wheat, some barley, milo and oats. To keep my egg shells nice and solid, I wash every egg shell I crack, dry them and crush them up for the feed mix. I give my chickens all types of squash I grow here. They love the fruit and the seeds and devour pumpkins in a heartbeat. chickens will pluck your almost ripe tomatoes right off the vines. they aren't real fond of sweet pepper but eat your cucumbers every chance they get.
I have also heard it said that you can even feed chickens meat scraps but I do not. I also do not feed my chickens cooked egg.
I have heard that milk and cheese/butter byproducts are good feed supplements but have never set whey, milk of cheese out for them. I may try soaking their grains in it when the goat starts giving me milk.
I have also noticed that chickens like alfalfa and clover, they occasionally steal it from the rabbits and very often get right in the hay pile with the goats and sheep.
The hottest spot for hungry chickens around here in the manure pile. As it decomposes and turns into my growing compost, it is always full of worms, dung beetles and other various insects. Japanese beetles are a favorite for chickens as well. I shake them out of the peach trees and scoop them into buckets with a bit of water in the bottom(keeps the beetles from flying out) and I dump the water filled beetles in the feed pan and get back because a whole avalanche of chickens will appear to scarf them up.
So, anything you grow and harvest for yourself will make decent chicken feed for your backyard flock. don't forget the calcium and you'll have quality eggs and chicken meat without having to spend a dime on feed.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Some sad news on the farm this morning, Moo cow gave up on me. This morning at sun-up, she wasn't with me any more. I was really surprised, I thought she was doing so well. guess I was wrong because she passed sometime in the night.
Today is the day I had written down on the calendar to put nesting boxes in with rabbits. With that done, I hope to see some new baby bunnies by the holiday. The weather has turned a bit cooler than it's been, hope that doesn't throw the momma bunnies off track.
Now that we're in a bit of a better situation for the time being, some of those projects around, here are going to get done! I'm relieved, a few sleepless nights thinking on how I was going to get them done. No worries now.....
I'm already getting seed catalogs, my all time favorite one just came in the mail today. My seed savers exchange catalog. I can get into so much trouble looking thru that little book, all the plants I'd like to try out. Makes me itch for spring and it's not Thanksgiving yet, shame on me. I'm trying to keep my mind where it should be but looking at all those seeds makes it so hard.
I'm going to gear a few more things toward container growing this next season just to see what I can get to prosper in a bucket. I'm also thinking on a new home made fertilize mix to try. Now that I have goats I want to try my old mix compared to a mix with the goat in it to see if i can improve plant production. Hehehe my own little science experiment.
Oh, I almost forgot...... I picked up 5 gallons of fresh milk yesterday and made a couple wheels of cheese with it. Not sure I like the milk tho, the colby cheese seems a bit mushier than it should be. It cooked up right but it just doesn't seem right. I won't know for sure until it dries a rind and I cut it but it seems a bit soft. I also made a batch of cheddar but it doesn't come out of the press for a few more hours. I'm anxious to see how it looks. I'm not feeling like the milk qualtiy is as good as I used to hget, different feed and all.
I've got 9 young roos lined up for the cook pot for tomorrows supper. All are from this past springs hatches. They're starting to do a little bit of fighting and they're chasing the hens quite a bit. I'm worried it might be affecting my egg production numbers so they gotta go. I'm thinking chicken and dumplings sounds pretty good!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Oh! When I tended that English Game Cock yesterday, the bugger escaped on me and then spurred my leg! Got me front and back, drew blood. Normally I'd squash a flogging rooster instantly but this feller can't help it. He was bred to be aggressive and he just can't help it. Of course he ran right out into the barn lot and jumped on the first roo he saw which happened to be my little Seabright. He didn't get a chance to do any damage tho, I trapped him quick with a manure fork and put him back in his pen. Now I've got a nice bruise on my shin from that goofy rooster with a matching spot in the middle of my calf muscle. Ah, the joys of farm life!
Hey Gen! Yep, I only got a couple eggs compared to normal. Not sure what happened, it's possible that the chickens have chosen to lay in a new spot I just haven't found yet or the weather coming in contributed. They were all up to roost by 3pm and then there's the natural fact that chickens do not lay every day. Sunlight is a major factor along with the 26 to 28 hour laying thing. I'm sure I've have a pile of eggs today tho, the sun is back out!
The baby bunnies I've got right now got sold yesterday. They aren't ready to go yet but the guy paid me and said he'd wait to pick them up until they are. He also bought 4 banty roosters. Can't imagine what he'd want with 4 roos but it's his money, he can do what he wants with it. I'm pretty happy about it all and this man could turn into a regular rabbit customer from the way he talked. Might be a good thing!
Some more good news for the farm.... looks like hubby has a good line on employment. A little farther away than he wanted to go but we kind of need it right now. It looks like he should be heading to a new job by the end of next week. Good things always come to those who have the patience and fortitude to wait for it. I hope it works out the way it's supposed to....
I found a new book to read, it's a book on the older farming and farm living skills. The print is very small and I am in desperate need of a new pair of glasses so I'm stumbling thru it the best I can right now. Maybe next week I can get a magnafying glass and I'll tell you all more about it then...... Now I must get off the library computer and get back to the farm, the bread won't bake itself! LOL
Monday, November 16, 2009
I made a nice loaf of french bread last night plus my normal every day bread to go with the chicken I butchered. I breaded(home made breading mix) the pieces and fried them up with corn and potatoes I grew for the sides. For some reason, my chickens were in roost by 3pm yesterday and I only got 6 eggs which I used for the egg dip with the chicken.
I'm concerned about the weather we've been having lately and how it's going to affect next planting season. November and February as normally our wettest months and so for November here has been unseasonably warm and dry. So, I've been working on plotting out what I will container garden next season to ensure I don't suffer crop failures with plants I need to eat with in the coming year. Container growing will help me a great deal if we have another wet spring as well as a dry one. Control of the plant is all mine with the containers.
Okay, now a news flash for all you early risers...... the Leonid Meteor shower is going to be at it's peak Tuesday in the pre dawn hours. I'm hoping it's not overcast here like the last meteor shower... I just love that stuff and hate to miss it due to weather.
I'm having a bit of a craving for carrots and radish. I'm thinking about pulling a planter out of storage and setting it in the kitchen window and planting some carrot and radish in it. Both are super simple to grow and the 10" deep windowbox planters work pretty good for them. Maybe I'll have fresh baby carrots for Christmas!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I had a wild day with the chickens, I guess we have to be missing some eggs when we pick up each day because I found 48 eggs last night! I'm going to have to whip up a couple quiches and some pound cake or we'll never get all those eaten.
The countdown to getting the home computer fixed is coming to a close and boy, am I glad about that! I so can not tolerate nosey people at the library, they just can't mind their own business! Also, you get these kids sitting next to you that think they are computer guru's and constantly mumble and curse..... not to mention all the work I need to be getting done around the farm that I have to put on hold so I can go to the library. LOL, I so love being in public. Can you tell I miss my home computer??
Easy stuff happening around the farm today. I'll just be gridning a little chicken feed for the week, digging some potatoes from what's left of the patch out back, working on Moo, cleaning up more of the straw in the loft that the chickens have so graciously scattered for me(they peck the strings and break bales) and maybe a new bread recipe for supper. Nothing special for supper tonite, just a couple of pork butterflies from the hog I butchered.
The weather is still nice here so it will be an outdoor day and supper will be made on the grill over a fire tonite. Just can't beat a real wood smoke and flame pork chop!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I had to take a quick cell phone pic of the baby bunnies this morning, they were just so darn cute. They are eating feed now and completely out of the box. They grow so quick.
I had a nice time last night, my daughters first home game, they won. I took around 30 pictures that I can't get off that old Kodak camera until I get my computer back. The countdown is killing me, I should have it back in around 10 days. I'm so excited about it, I can finally get all my garden plans for the coming season worked out. I've got all my old garden plans on a cd-ROM I can't access until my computer is fixed so I'm wormy waiting. Hahahaha, I guess I'll live thru it okay.
Moo Cow got up yesterday! She stood for just a few seconds but it was great. Now she knows she can get up and she's really moving around the barn lot now. I'm pumping the feed to her in the hopes she continues to get stronger. After all this time, no one around here can beleive she's not dead yet anyway so when she gets up, she will surely be the talk of the farming community. Not that I really care about that but maybe some of my farming ideas might rub off on others because of her.
I still haven't found a milk cow but I haven't given up. I've got a few leads to run down in the next week or so that hopefully will give me an opportunity to aquire my own milk source. Speaking of milk, the nanny goat is doing well and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's got at least one kid inside her growing. 2 would be better ;)
Not much going on around the farm today other than enjoying the warm weather. I've been tossing the idea of making a different goat pen away from the barns but nothing serious yet. I've got a couple spots in mind but they need some cleaning up and clearing out. Brush and a few pieces of farm equipment in the way. Maybe by the end of the week I'll get more motivated toward getting something solid going.....
Monday, November 9, 2009
I've got a bucket all set up to transplant the mini bell peppers from the tub by the porch to the kitchen garden for the winter. Since the frost didn't kill it back and it's still flowering, I might as well save it. The peppers are sweet and spicey, a nice addition to just about everything I cook around here. I will give the plants a juice of rabbit poo as fertilizer and let them grow in the windows.
The Muscovy duck hatched a chick out yesterday, she still has 6 chicken eggs and 7 duck eggs under her. I'm not sure exactly how long the Rouen has still, she's just got duck eggs under her, all her own. So, we've got 7 more days before the ducklings start to hatch, 21 for chicks and 28 for ducks.
The bunnies have jumped out of the box and this is the size where they are so darn cute! I love playing with them. At this size, it's hard to imagine them as supper. I've got 3 does hopefully to kindle on the 24th as well.
I've been doing double duty with the cooking, more than one meal at a time going. I've got a sweet sauce simmering on the stove today for pizza sauce, a couple italian dishes and what's left will go with meatballs. A little of the pork mixed with some of the beef rolled up with my own little recipe. I made a couple batches of french bread so we could have garlic bread with our meals. I like the french bread better than the italian bread.
Hubby is still unemployed and we're starting to feel the squeeze just a little bit. I'm still sitting on a few projects that need finished before the bad weather comes along. Always thankful we had a decent harvest this year, plenty to eat!
It's time to start thinking about the coming holidays. I love this time of year... I need to make some soap and some cheese, get back after that quilt that's been sitiing folded up in the drawer for more than a year...
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Yesterday turned into a pretty nice and easy day for me since I had nothing really planned. On the way home from the library I stopped at the gas station and picked up a couple gallons of whole milk. I used it to make up some ricotta cheese. it's about the only kind of cheese store bought milk is good for since being homogenized ruins it. I hit my food storage and whipped up some home made lasagna. I used my handy dandy Joy of Cooking book for the french bread recipe, whipped some of that up for garlic bread. I like the recipe a bunch since it doesn't call for sourdough, you just scald your milk and go. Fresh garlic pressed with the hand press for the bread and we had us a fine supper. LOL I am still tasting the garlic with my coffee this morning. Maybe I went a little overboard with it but it's just so darn good!
Moo cow is a real dandy, I think she's been trying to get up in the middle of the night. This morning she was turned back around and headed back toward the barn and on her other hip. That's good for me since now I don't have to strain myself trying to get her pushed over but now the hip I wanted to doctor this morning is down. She'll shift herslef again I hope and I'll get it doctored then. She's full of spunk and she's bright eyed, glad I didn't give up on her. She may get up yet!
Polar Bear is in the dog house(literally), she woke me up at 4:30 this morning to go out and when I let her back in, she peed the floor! Wouldn't have been so bad if it was on the tile but she peed the carpet, again. She's smarter than that, just being a turd I think. So, she's been outside all morning chasing the cats.
This warm weather has me thinking I might try and start a few more plants for the kitchen garden. Maybe a couple more pepper plants and a cucumber or 2 more. The tobacco plant I grew in the ice cream bucket is finally coming to seed. I hand pollinated all the flowers and almost every one has a seed pod. Should give me plenty of fresh seed for spring planting. Hubby is already eyeballing the leaves and I haven't even mentioned cutting it yet. he must be running low on his tobacco stash. He smokes too much anyway.
The coffee plants I started this past spring are looking pretty good. I'm thinking of seperating them into their own little pots. I've got my pop bottle pots all cleaned and sanitized, I just need to get a bucket of composted dirt in the house to warm up. It should be good to go after 3 days in the house, don't want to shock the roots with cold dirt. All 9 plants are doing pretty good, I look forward to their first flowering.
I'm also thinking hard about tearing out the kitchen cabinets and counter over in the corner of my kitchen. That space seems to be a catch all for every piece of junk the hubby and the son can get their hands on. I'm thinking about building a walk in pantry in that space. It will eliminate a clutter spot and be much more useful as a meaningfull storage spot. If I do it, I'll take pictures. I am seriously considering it.
I need to go check on my neighbor with Cancer today, he just had a chemo treatment yesterday and he might not be feeling too good. I'll stop in and see if he needs anything done around his farm. Until tomorrow.............
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I finally got a cup of coffee tho it was around 25 minutes later than I intended. That's life!
I have no plans at all for around the farm today but I'm sure I'll find something to do and share it with you all in the morning.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
I am in the process of butching a hog today. It's hanging right now, gutless and skinless. I'm looking forward to stuffed chops and sausage. I've been out of sausage for a couple months now.
I already have my meat grinder set out on the counter and I've gone thru all the parts, made sure they are clean and properly oiled for smooth operation. I use a hand operated grinder, it's efficient, operates smoothly and does a great job for just a small amount of effort.
I don't get fancy on my hog butchering. I keep the hams, the loins, prep myself a couple of roasts and the rest gets made into sausage. It's what we eat the most of so it makes complete sense and I've never been much of a chop eater anyway. I'll have it all cut,wrapped and ground up by this evening.
I've been digging potatoes from that disaster patch of the hubby's... I'm not any more disappointed than I thought I would be. Hahahaha, hubby is NOT allowed to plant taters for me anymore! Not all his fault tho, the crazy amount of rain we had did not help at all. We'll not be eating taters much this winter but I think we will live thru it.
Not much new with the cow, she's still laying in the barn doorway. We are considering slinging her up to the rafters. She's made several good efforts to get up the last few days, has even rolled herself over a couple of times. She amuses herself by turning in circles to suit her mood. Every time I check on her, she's facing a different direction. I think we need to make her use her legs. It's a work in progress.....
I made a divine tomato/meat sauce last night. I'm going to use it on some pizzas for supper tonight. it's been a while since I made any pizzas and my son asked if we could whip a couple up.
Well, off to finish the farm chores.......
Friday, October 30, 2009
Well, I must get back to the mud and the rain and finish my morning farm chores. Nothing big, just tending all the animals. I have to look at each one every morning to make sure they are all healthy and injury free while I'm feeding them...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I finally got the part for the house oven, it cost me a whopping $40! Less than a year old and already burnt the element out. Guess when a manufacturer designs something like that, they don't take into account that somebody like me might buy it and actually use it! It's just another one of those trend things, companies make products designed to be throw aways. The average city folk that does not make thier own bread every day etc would have that stove a long time before the element, rated for 365 uses, would burn out. I really need to get that brick oven built!
Today I thought I would answer some previous post comments and questions if that's okay with you all.......
From the "World Turns" post
Goat Creek Grandma, I'm so happy to be an inspiration. I hope others will try some of the things I do here, they'll be glad they did!
Scifichick, I feel like we've known each other forever, wish you lived closer!
Katidids, oh yes, there's tons of stuff in the archives! As time allows, I will probably refresh some of the information I've shared over the last year again. Hopefully from the comfort of my own home in the next couple of weeks!
From the "Free Meat Day" post
Katidids, LOL, isn't it funny how those folks don't have a clue? I do that to everyone I can. They think the local processors sausage is a good example of venison, LMAO not hardly, eh?
Hello Gen! Oh yes, I'm a hunting fool! Hubby works midnights so if I want something hunted, I dang sure better do it for myself! I used to bow hunt all the time until my back injury, now I gun hunt.
Happy Hermit, heck yes you need to get paid back for all the free munching out of that garden! I'm a rabbit eater. The wild ones are very sparse here between the bobcats, coyotes and my own cats but the pens full of tame ones that get fed garden scraps make a great meal!
Hello Christine! Nope, I've not soaked deer meat in several years. Once I learned the fat/silver skin secret, I've never had another gamey tasting pile of meat. There's even times I don't "age" the meat for a day. I often will make deer meatloaf or sausage fresh while I'm finishing the processing. Standing there all that time working on the deer makes me hungry! Apple Cider vinegar sweets the meat up and it does change the taste. It could be why some people get turned off deer meat. It also covers the gamey taste from poor meat cleaning. Now, I do soak my rabbits in salt water for 12 hours but my chickens get the ice water bath while I'm processing to get the blood out of the meat and I often cook those fresh as well. But, I also don't pluck my chickens, I skin them.
Did it MY way, your'e absolutely right! The hunt is half the fun! I hate draggin the kill up but the hunt is awesome!
Hello Milton! a 6 point! That will make a nice deer caller. Middle of the rut the big does will even come to it. I prefer the smaller bucks, more tender meat. A nice sized spike or button for me if I don't see any does around.
Even city dwellers can enjoy hunting deer. Living in the Chicago area as a child and young adult, I know they are there. It may take a little time to find someone willing to allow you to hunt on their rural land and a bit of time to drive out away from the suburbs, but it's worth it. Even in a state as uptight as Illinois, the process to get deer tags isn't too complicated.
There's always alternatives to hunting if that's something you don't think you'd like to do. Chickens and rabbits are easy to raise and maintain in small areas and as long as you don't keep a rooster in the pen, the hens only cackle a bit when they lay an egg and the rest of the time they are quiet. Chicken and rabbit droppings make excellent fertilizer for your garden beds so you really can't go wrong.
For those of us out in the country, even a dairy breed cow makes for some good eating and you can get them as feeder calves dirt cheap. Don't forget about the alternative meats available as well. Goats, sheep and pigs are sometimes harder to keep penned up but easy to feed and all make good eating. The best part of feeding out your own is........ that's right! No chemicals, no steroids, no antibiotics!