Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunny Days and a stiff Breeze

The wind is whipping today but it's sunny and warm. I love that! The old cat in the house, Cookies, decided she would get even with me for whacking her yesterday(she peed on my doormat) and tore up my strawberry planting. Shame on her but I will just have to restart it. I found tiny little sprigs of green in the ice cream bucket I planted my chives in 4 days ago. I love it when seeds sprout quick! Speaking of seed starting, I saw my good friend ScifiChick did a really cool post about seed starting. Scifi did some research and has several ways to start seeds, including a method using egg shells! The blog is called Bacon and Eggs, go check it out!

I learned something new just the other day while I was blog reading. I've used the old tire method to grow potatoes several times but I never thought of doing what blogger upinAK suggests. Potatoes and old tires....... I'm working on cutting a sidewall off all the tires I have here and getting my taters going in them. As I mentioned last year, my potatoes were hit hard by the heavy, constant rains southern Illinois suffered thru during our planting season. My potatoes pretty much drown. With this new method for the tires, I can see a great crop this year.
Today is kind of a mix of several little projects going on here. Mostly in and around the kitchen. I've got cheese going on the stovetop and I'm working on another variation of ingredients for the hash brown crust egg pie. I sold a couple dozen eggs yesterday but i still have 11 dozen in the fridge so we're going to have to eat some of them.

the boy and I found another $28 worth of aluminum cans. Thanks to a couple people that have helped us out, we're just about $100 from making it to the paycheck. Thank you for the help!

We'll be turning the garden spots next weekend and possibly putting some seedlings out. Weather permitting of course......

Monday, March 29, 2010

All Too Familiar

I read something this morning that hits an all too familiar chord here. At all places, the Huffington Post no less. Former Middle Class....... The story talks about a normal middle class family, 2 young kids, struggling to make a better life for themselves and then, whack, just like the rest of us, they're unemployed.

I know how they feel. It's not pleasant at all. One by one, you sell off things you worked hard for at a loss so you can keep the mortgage paid and food on the table. It's been uncomfortable here but I do have one small advantage here that most people don't have. I have something to eat because I grew it and preserved it. I did not have to spend my resources on food. Also, some wonderful people helped me out when I really needed it so I could make it to here and now. We're not out of the woods yet, but close. Closer than we were 2 months ago when the bank was wanting to default our land loan.

There's thousands of families out there in the same situation. They've lost their employment, no saving left, nothing left to sell, nothing left to cut back but the electric and the water. I can't make a job for them but I can help them to learn to feed themselves. At least they'd be eating well. That's a pretty good piece of mind at least.

For us, we're 6 days of fuel short to make it to the first paycheck. Somehow, it will work out.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stormy Spring Days

A dandy of a storm rolled in late last night. Some lightning, thunder, wind and a bunch more rain. All day today has been mist to light rain. Sloppy, sloppy, muddy mess here. Even so, the beefsteak tomatoes are growing and just 4 peat pellets didn't sprout a plant.

My little one eyed orange buddy is back to babysitting. I'm really going to hate putting him outside if he ever gets any better. He's still sneezing himself about half to death. At least he's eating a little more.

Not too much else is going on around the farm. We're all just holding our breath, waiting for something good to happen...

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Sun is Back!

The rain poured down all day yesterday! What a sloppy mess! I did have a wonderful visit with a man and his son from Mo tho, and they had a pretty good sense of humor over the mud. Even with not much to see but mud and critters, it was a great visit just the same.

This mornings local news stories are a little distracting. Of course, I found one that disappoints me. It's about the rise in allergies the country is seeing. I made it about half way thru the story and dismissed it as pitiful for calling the "causes of this new rise in allergies a mystery". come on guys, you spent all that time in medical school and you didn't think it just possibly could be all the chemicals we are now consuming in our foods??? You never considered the possibility of the chemical flooded, poor nutritional content, shelves full of junk food diet? Even commercial canned corn has chemicals in it now. How can people that are supposed to be so smart be so stupid?

My buddy Don got his picture in the paper. he works for Tractor Supply in a town 25 miles from me. I guess our struggling economic situation has spurred some folks into at least trying to produce some food for themselves. Looks like the chicks and the over priced chicken supplies at TSC are flying off the shelves. That to me is good and bad both. It's good because there's people out there that recognize we have an economic problem and it's bad because now there are a couple hundred novice chicken owners out there bound to do some pretty silly things with those chickens.

I haven't been to town in a couple weeks since we're about broke again so I can't say what the local feed and seed store has been doing in the way of seedling plants and seeds. They sell tons of "Bonnie" brand plants every season. Over priced hybrids mostly but I do like the flowers.

Hubby gets to finally go to work! It's been a long road getting here! It will still be another 2 weeks before the first paycheck and we'll still need to come up with $250 dollars give or take a buck or 2, for his gas money back and forth until the first check. We're pretty excited about it since we still haven't made the land payment for March yet. It's still good news tho!

I've got some cheese in the fridge. I've got 2 pieces of Cheddar, 2 pieces of Colby and 2 pieces of the Caraway Cheddar(tastes like rye bread). The donation is $12 for a gift of some cheese so if you'd like to have some and help us out with fuel money, I'd be happy to send you some.

The seedlings are looking good today. They sure are loving the sunshine and the warm up. It got of cold yesterday and overnight. I worry about that because some of these little buggers don't take the temperature changes so well. All looks good tho and I'm really itching to get the gardens turned over and prepped for planting!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Self Sustained Living-home grown meal

I got this idea from an old Taste of Home magazine. My neighbor gives them to me. It's an egg casserole that originally just had 4 eggs, some half and half, a little bacon and sauteed onion in it with a hash brown crust. I worked it into something made completely from food I grow right here on the farm. I've made it 6 times now, made it different every time and it's good no matter what you put in it. This time, I put some sweet corn, green beans, carrots, onion and a home butchered chicken in it along with some fresh goats milk and cheese I made. I used shredded potatoes I grew for the casserole crust. I just set them in a frying pan and browned them first in a little olive oil. I used 18 eggs, a whole chicken cut up into little chunks, around 3/4 lb of cheese I shredded up, around 2 cups of fresh goats milk and around 2 cups of my vegetables. I simply baked it until firm and everybody seems to like it.

Hows that for eating well with what you grow? Sure beats beans and rice......

Spring Rains

It poured rain here all day yesterday and been raining on and off so far this morning too. Glad I got all that clean up done last week! I should of taken before and after pictures. Sometimes the farm gets a bit trashed up and when it's clean, it looks so good.

The rain brought a cool snap in with it and the Roma tomatoes didn't like it too much. they seem to be struggling a bit so I started another 2 dozen yesterday just in case. The yellow cherries and the beefsteaks are doing so much better than the Roma this year. I'm also going to start another round of cauli and brocc since the first round did miserable along with the Borage. 2 of the 9 plants I sprouted have made it thru the cold snap, the others turned brown and died. The cucumbers have loved the cooler temps and are growing nicely. Ah, this is the same fight I go thru every spring living in this house trailer. I hate it, seriously despise it. Oh well, you just deal with what you've got and go on. Sooner or later, I'll get it all sprouted and growing.

I've got 3 slices of cheddar cheese and 3 slices of colby cheese if anybody is interested in them. The $12 donation will help us make it back and forth to the Kentucky coal mine office while hubby is getting all the ducks in a row to work in a Kentucky coal mine. Looks like he's got a job lined up if we can make it thru all of the paperwork, fees and daily 300 mile drives to the mining office. Seems like nothing is ever simple for this family.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Freakyness on the farm

Okay, look what we found this morning! The first egg(bottom to top) is a banty egg, then a regular chicken egg, then a normal duck egg and then on top is the monster, freak egg we found this morning. 3 1/2" long! It covers the whole palm of my hand! One of our ducks laid that egg!

I am going to keep that egg, remove the innards and glaze it to keep as an ornament. Something that unusual needs to be saved......

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Farm Work, more babies

We've got new kittens in the house. Purely by accident, Sticky cat, one of last years kittens, pestered to come in by patting the window. I let her in because she's one of my favorites. Normally, it's the "get something to eat" and right back outside.
This time it was get something to eat and sneak off and have kittens. The orange cat is not one of the kittens or the momma cat. He is Shadows last kitten, in the house because he's got some vicious cold that has his eyes swelled up. He decided he would help out and crawled right up to Sticky cat and has been babysitting the kittens ever since.

The cucumber sprouts are about ready to be transplanted into something bigger than a ziploc bag. They are starting to shoot roots out of the peat pellets. After I get a round of caraway cheddar set in the press, I will work on transplanting them today.

I've been working on cleaning up the winter mess around the farm. I spent most of the day yesterday working on it and only managed to get 10 wheelbarrows of firewood moved and half of the chips and bark cleaned up. I did get a bunch of the junk and garbage stuff laying around out there burned tho. It's amazing to me how some people just can not throw things away.

The barn is still standing. It hasn't moved again, yet. I've been measuring it every morning. It's really going to make a mess when it goes. Plus, I hate to lose the storage it gave me. Nothing I can do about it tho.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Muddy Monday

First thing this morning there were horses standing in the barn lot. We're about to lose the old barn. It has shifted over to the west and is leaning enough that I spent a couple hours moving hay and straw out of it. I blocked off the hole created in the corner from the new lean so the horses will stay put. I still have more straw to go but my stiff back won't let me get it right now. Maybe after a bit of a break I can get back to it.

Here's the new Momma and her pygmy baby, at least the baby's butt anyway. A little pushing and shoving when the 2 nanny's got together, I think they're pals now and getting along.

Should have baby bunnies in about a week! I'm looking forward to that, I love bunnies.

All the seedlings are looking good and my round of sweet pepper seeds are sprouting, finally. I'm going to get another grow shelf built for the kitchen windows and get some beans started sometime this week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just a quiet Saturday

Nothing much going on around the farm. The seedlings are progressing right on schedule and I'm working on a round of colby cheese.

In case you can't figure out what's in the planter, it's carrots! All three rows have now sprouted just in time for a couple overcast days with rain.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thinking about eating healthy

The last few days, as I keep feeling just a little better every day I drink my Reliv shake, I've been thinking about healthy eating. I eat much healthier than the general population just because I do not buy commercially produced foods. I grow what I eat right here so I know for sure there are no pesticides, steroids, antibiotics or chemicals of any kind in my food. I drink raw milk from the neighbors cows(no rBGH) and soon I will be drinking goat milk. I don't even buy meat from the grocery store and I grow my own wheat.

What about everyone else tho? Can they eat healthier too? Yes they can eat healthy. Your first step should be to not buy milk that has bovine growth hormone in it. It's a Monsanto product and it poses serious health risks even if the commercial dairy industry denies it. Monsanto even went as far as to pressure the FDA and the FTC to "punish" dairies that do NOT use rBGH. rBGH causes cows to have recurrent mastitis which in turn puts puss in the milk they are selling you, rBGH causes the ovaries of those cows to become enlarged and reduces their reproductive abilities. People are drinking that milk without a clue as to what rBGH is doing to them. Of course, nobody is admitting to the harsh truth of such "great" chemical additive since it doubles the milk output..... Thanks Monsanto, we really appreciate it. Just another example of how well "you" are taking care of the world while you're making a dollar........ There is plenty of rBGH free milk out there, Aldis for example, sells rBGH free milk. If you don't know for sure, ask. If they don't know, skip their milk until they do!

What about other foods? What about all the chemicals and additives in other foods? Well, I for one think it's exactly why this country as a whole is obese. The additives commonly put into every food item on the grocery store shelves is why we are sick and why we are fat. Here's a starter article for your reading pleasure.... Chemicals in food Make you Fat....... So, what can we do about it? That's simple! Grow some of our own food. Each of us can grow at least a portion of what we eat, even in an apartment setting.

Learn to preserve what you grow and eat healthy!

Now to

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Little Craziness

Well, here we are, about 2 weeks into the new kids on the farm and with our Henry Goat Milker in hand, we(hubby and I) went out to mess with the goat milker. A fruitless adventure, for sure. The darn thing would not make and suction. So, after about 2 hours of messing with it, we got it to hold some pressure and tried again. We got about a teaspoon of milk. We'll hold the kids off her over night once I figure out a side pen for them and try again......

I'm brand new to this goat milking thing so anybody with suggestions or tips is welcome.......

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Grow Shelves

Today was one of those weird kind of days where nothing quite feels right and you've got a few things to do but they all inter mingle with each other so nothing gets done right all at once. I was going to cook up some new things but the kitchen was dirty from me not being home yesterday evening so I started on that first. Then, the kittens kept messing around the window sills where the seedlings were so I decided to fix that. Of course, the scrap wood was over in the storage house so I took off to get that and found a big mess from the hubby and son. so, I had to clean that up first. Okay, now to the seedling/kitten problem. I got my scraps cut into what I wanted and the battery on the cordless drill is not taking a charge. The hunt for a screw driver is on. Tools never stay where they are supposed to here, I have a hubby and a son that NEVER put anything back. I finally found one and got the shelves put together. I loaded up my first planter and set it with Danvers half long carrots. I stretched my plastic wrap and put it on the shelf. Wasn't 5 minutes and a kitten decided to lay on it! So, I had to hunt down the extra wire I saved from the chicken project to keep those darn kittens out of my planters.

I finally got it set up enough to hopefully keep them off my plants and even set a few seed bags that haven't sprouted yet in there too.

Not sure I have enough scrap to get another one made right now and my daughter came home with tickets to a play at the college. Cabaret is on for this evening!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Organic Foods??

Whole Foods market "Organic Food made in China!"

This link is to a youtube video of a news broadcast and a fine job done by an investigative reporter showing the Whole Foods Market grocery chain misleading customers, charging high dollar for "organic" food that is all imported from China.

Eat your own home grown foods or buy from local growers.

Seed Sprouting

There's tons of ideas and even more ways to sprout seeds out there. Fancy little seed pots and plastic green house trays etc. All work as far as I know but I frequently don't have the money to buy all those things. So, how do I get my seeds sprouted? Here's what i do, it's simple and it's cheap and it's things I use around here every day. I use ziploc sandwich bags and peat pellets. I use the cheap, generic ones and buy up all the peat pellets i can find on clearance at the end of every season and just store them for use later. I just soak the pellets in warm water, put them in the bags, add the seeds, close them up and set my baggies up on a table next to my south facing windows and wait. No special lights, no special heating pads, just the table and sunlight. That is, if we get sunlight. Even on overcast days, the seeds are still "cooking". The bags work like little greenhouses. When the seeds sprout, i open up the bags. The baggies work to hold water without making a mess as the seedlings continue to grow. It also keeps them grouped nicely and positively identified, no wondering what's planted where.

Unless we have some seriously unpleasant cold weather, the seeds sprout every time with this method. For the cost of one box type seed starter green house, I can start 5 times the seeds with the baggie method and have every seed sprout.