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Life and Garden Update!

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So sorry for not posting in a while.  Life is hectic, strawberry is still getting out of her pen so she now has a date with the freezer.  Won’t be till close to Thanksgiving but still.  The “last straw” is when she got all the way to the front of our property and to get her back Silver made a chain leash to go behind her front legs so we could at worst drag her back.  Well.. she dragged him.  Not good for a 56 year old with RA and diabetes. *sigh*   Also doctors put Silver on insulin, odd thing about that.  Last few mornings with his shot the night before his blood sugar has run high.  Last night he forgot to take his shot and is was much lower, go figure.   Sadly however, his toe is no better and might  actually be a lot worse.  So bad it might have to be amputated.  We’re waiting on the VA  to contact the podiatrist so he can go back to seeing him.  The VA drives me nuts sometimes.

Another downside, for those of you who know.  While I am trying to get us “food sustainable” here , right now we are not.  Also because of living on disability we get Food Stamps.  We just went up for re certification, was told a worker would call for an interview here back on Friday at 9am my time.  Ok, no problem.  ..yeah, I sat in the house all day waiting for that call.  At about 10 am I tried to “talk to a person” via their various phone numbers.  Yeah, nope sorry.  Seems you can’t talk to a person, but I did wind up leaving 2 messages on their  “person call worker” interview option.   So it’s possible we’ll lose our food money.  Plus side is it’ll be when our garden is producing and we have eggs so I’m not terribly concerned.  However it irks me.

As for the garden…

I have PICS!

This is my acorn squash, we are hoping to have a lot of these for this winter, I have put some marigold seeds in the center to both attract pollinators and to make the insects that don’t like them to run away.  Funny thing is I planted these about the same time as my zucchini and look…

Definite difference in size there.  The zucchini  is smaller right now.  Though I know it will catch up eventually.  We’re planning on drying over have of what we produce of these for animal feed this winter.

Here is one of my bunches of snow peas (I got my first pod off them this morning!), they are loaded with flowers though not many pods just yet.  I’m hoping they finish before the Cherokee purples and the lemon cucumbers get too big or the peas will be coming out.

Speaking of the tomatoes…

If you can see, just past that pea is one of my tomatoes.  They are starting to flower already!  We’re definitely waiting on these to produce fruit.

This is one of the bell peppers, it’s also looking like it’ll flower soon even though it’s not very tall yet.  I am debating pinching the first flowers off to let it grow more.

My pole beans have sprouted, we’re hoping for a lot from these for chili making this winter.  Also this is one of two varieties of dry bean we are growing.  I planted tiger’s eye as well.  They grow as a bush however and can also be eaten as a green bean.  I don’t have pics of those as they only just started coming up.

Here are the cucumbers I planted for pickling.  If we have an over abundance of the lemons don’t do well we’ll be eating these too.  They were planted next too the pole beans.  I am thinking of growing some kale for the rabbits and the chickens for winter on the other side of these.

Now, this “mess” is my spinach patch.  It’s really taking off after the rains we got this weekend.  Seems to be very happy.

These, would be the sunchokes.  They seem to be a prolific as I have heard and seem to be growing just fine.  That is a two foot stake in the foreground, so you have some prospective.  I have discovered that I have a few surprises in my sunchoke bed however.

Apparently, there were some tomato seeds in the chicken manure I added to this bed.  I staked two of the tomatoes this morning.  However, it seems there are five plants growing in my sunchoke bed and they seem very happy.  So I will let them grow where they are.  Also I have no earthly idea what kind they are as I  grew three different kinds last year.  So I will wait and see what they produce, here’s to hoping they are edible at least.

I thought I’d share this.  It’s one of the wild roses from around here.  Seems all the blooms came out white on the roses this year.  It’s wonderful to walk past this and take a deep breath in.  I do wish I knew why they all are white though.  Last year they were all pink, so maybe it’s yearly change?

Oh one of the rabbit moms had her littler and it seems she had between 6-8 babies, they have a date with the freezer in 2 months.  (yes i eat my rabbits and if one bit you they wouldn’t be cute anymore)

Well I need to head back out and weed some more, happy gardening!

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

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Strawberry goes for a Walk

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So we’ve had an interesting day today so far. On such a nice gentle rain (honest slow easy rain) we decided to sleep in after I go the kids moving and most of the animals fed. I learned feeding the rabbits and goats work better after the sun rises they eat better. Upon waking as I get ready to make Silver some instant coffee (we ran out of ground), I hear our oldest dog Midnight doing his playful/you shouldn’t be out bark. He is so helpful when one of the other animals gets lose he has a special bark for it. I head out to see what/who got lose, so I head back as all three goats are in their pen.
As I get close to the chicken yard (btw it’s still raining at this point), and see Blu our heeler/lab mix standing in the rabbitry looking miserable. Of course she had tore the side (tarp) of the rabbitry down. Blu does love chasing chickens and had tried to get to them. I get to here and discover how she was lose. She had snapped her choke chain. I did a cursory look over the rabbitry to make sure nothing else was broken on it as Strawberry has her bedroom on one side of it. It looked ok, so I put Blu back and went and made breakfast.
So about an hour or two later I hear Midnight again. I go out and this time it was Strawberry out, we chased her back into her yard (took 15 mins) and we thought we found the problem. We thought she used the heavy tire we placed on her last escape to climb out.
 
So we go back in the house and ten to fifteen minutes later Midnight starts again, Strawberry made it out of her yard again. I was alone this time and after setting her door as a “chute” I slowly and quietly walked up to her grabbed her tail and an ear. Did you know while pigs like their ears scratched they don’t like them grabbed? So I let go of her ear and kept a hold of her tail and she ignored that. Yeah I’m thinking so I make sure I can’t lose my grip and I start trying to get her back to her pen. If she went a way I didn’t want I held her still saying no. That worked, and after I stood around trying to figure out how she got out. No idea, how she got out though and I went back inside.
Ten minutes later she does it again, I repeat the process to get her back and then as I am standing next to her pen trying to figure out how she got out. She strolls into her bedroom and I hear a weird noise. So I walk in and see her pushing at the bottom of the wall to get out. Yeah I told her no and held it in place trying to figure out what to do next when Silver made it out asking me if I found the spot yet. Looks like Blu’s fun this morning damaged more wall than I had thought. We got that fixed so she can’t get out (she tried and failed) and now I can breathe easy until next time.
She’s a good girl, but damn she’s almost too smart for her own good I swear. Enjoy your day!
BE Well BE Safe and Blessed Be…

Goodbye Crookie

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Well for those of you who have followed the Blogger Blog since the beginning you may have heard of Crookie (aka Crookshanks) our kitty with a neurological issue.

Well a few days ago we buried him, the big guy had gotten an infection in his cheek about 3 months ago and it never healed right and he was slowly going.  So we’ve been making him comfy for all that time.

He was our big bad ass Tom cat who fathered many a kitten and would let any kitten do anything to him.  He was even teaching his look alike from the last year’s kittens on what he was doing.  We don’t know if he finished this amazing education, but I do know young Devil is very much like Crookie if Crookie never had his stroke.

Now for those of you who don’t know anything about Crookie, back when he was 3 months old he had a stroke.

He could not lift his head for some time (a week or more) after the effects of the stroke went away.  It gave him a permanent crook in his neck and he had to relearn to do many things.

An fyi, what we did after his stroke and he was able to see and speak.  I make that statement because right after his stroke we went fully stiff for about 2 days and we had to work his muscles to get them to release.  We started him on slightly watered down condensed milk, just watered enough to make it easy for  him to swallow.  then when he could move aside from not being able to hold his head up (points to pic of Silver holding Crookie up) we gave him bits of cooked pork fat to get him to try to eat.  We fed him like this for a week before he could stand unaided for a few minutes.  We had to show him cat food was food to eat after that, then Bandit the super mom took over and taught him everything else.

Then he grew up into our big beautiful orange cat.  We had a few hiccups with him as he lived.  He learned that “mommie” didn’t like him spraying in the house (quick kick to his backside taught him that).  He then learned that “mommie” didn’t like him asserting himself to the other males in the house, seems when he does “mommie” steps in and picks you up by the tail and has a few words with you.  That aside he was a very good cat and as I said would let the babies crawl all over him chewing their way along.  One even tried to find a working nipple on him.

Well my pretty boy I hope you enjoy your spot in my flower garden overlooking the pond.  We will miss you sleeping with us this winter and I will miss how you followed me all over the property as I did my work for the day.  The kids will miss how you’d turn your head a meow when I’d say your name.

There is a few lines from  Watership Down that I think have a moment here:

My heart is filled with sadness,

                                           For my friend stopped running today.



Goodbye Crookie we miss you!

Be well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

What is it with Young People? (A Rant)

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I again am curious as to where the work ethic of the younger generations went. The young man who is one of our intern’s over the last few days either would say there was no work he was suppose to do, or that he only wanted to do something relaxing. So to be perfectly frank I ripped him up and down verbally while chopping the wood he was suppose to be chopping that he said was not there. So at Silver’s suggestion I am having the young man follow me around all day today to see the work I do all day. So I got him up at 5 am to start on the animal feedings.

Well I did all the work myself with him just standing there arms crossed over his chest the whole time I am going around feeding and watering everyone. I mean geez at least offer to hold the 5 gallons of water for me if nothing else yeah? All that I can say in this case is that thankfully he’s not a WOOFER as if he were I’d never use the program again. Maybe when we have more housing I can look into that program and have better luck with help around here.

Next on the list of morning chores after I wake the kids for school will be to go and check the garden and due to timing, I can probably even weed the paths. I have to get some forage for our penned up goats (my dears learned how to unpicket themselves), some forage for the rabbits as well. Oh I also have to go out and use the weedeater to clear some areas for Silver to work on his project for out storm shelter/new well house/cold storage room. I might get to moving some dirt by the bucket right now as our wheel barrow needs a brand new tire the old one is destroyed.

This doesn’t even count all the cooking I have to do throughout the day and the dish washing, and house cleaning. Then the constant check on the animals all day. Funny thing is all the intern needed to do daily was take care of my chickens (which includes random checks for eggs) chop fire wood and move dirt to the various spots around the property as well as get us some downed wood that we can use as kindling for the winter. Oh and also bring up the log segments that need chopping to the wood chopping area.

My complaint about the younger generation includes the discussion on what is a proper wake up time. I wake up at 5am every morning the kids go to school so I have an hour of work before they get up to do all the animal feedings then I can do everything that -needs- full light after they get up. This young man has issues waking up in the morning and for the whole time he has been here it has been a trial to get him out of bed in the early morning to work before the heat is too bad. Now there are two.. count them two stupid comments that go with this. First is “I’m tired”, duh you went to bed around midnight of course you are tired. The second is “I lived in Texas I know heat and humidity”. Uh huh, so why do you have an issue then with working in the day time after 10 am? The young man has a answer to that too it is “well I burn easy so I don’t like to be out during the day”.

That just falls under the heading of really? We live on a homestead a small farm where there is never ending work. Generally the only breaks we get is in the night and sometimes when it rains (and only for any major project as long as the rain isn’t days long). I swear do the younger generation just not think that people work hard all day ever? (btw what I mean by younger generation are teens through to 30 years as from my current experience they do the least work. I am sure there are exceptions to that rule.) I grew up in a middle class family where my dad was a welder and my mom was the daughter of a carpenter. My parents believed if we wanted something we had to work for it. I try to instill that in my kids but they also expect to just do fun things and work isn’t important. Granted since going to boot camp as soon as I ask my son something he has jumped up to do it.

We have had 2 young men of the same age here within the last year to assist us and they both pretty much think that the highlight of the day is when they get to go play their games. Now both of these people wanted to come here and explore the woods surrounding our home. Neither have done so (hell the 30yr old hasn’t either but shrugs), do the younger generation also have an issue with following through on something they say they will do too?

Well I better end my rant here as I have in a few minutes to go back to working, which maybe the issue is the younger ones think that word is a swear word?

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Pot Bellied Pig info

Well since Sunday I’ve been searching online for info on raising pot bellied pigs for meat. Well, oddly… there isn’t much info on it. The most of the info online about pot bellied pigs is on the “pet” trade for them. The only places where they even mention it tend to be online forums. So I went around and posted pretty much the same question to all of them.

 

“I’m getting 5 pot bellied pigs, once I can buy and set up the fencing for it. However I’m not finding much about how to care for them. I’d like to know some basic info about care.”

 

Well, I’ve had a few responses. A lot say DON’T it’s too fatty that it’s only good for lard. Also that you don’t get much from them. I expected with a small pig you wouldn’t get much, small pig; small meat. Now the ones saying it’s only got for lard have from the responses only butchered one pig and it was one they bought at what they considered proper weight.

 

Now aside from the ones who wanted to know more as well there were a few that raise pot bellied pigs normally who have ALL said… “..if you are getting a large amount of lard then the hog is OVERWEIGHT.” Seems that a pot bellied pig NEEDS to be a bit on the “trim” side. Also every one of these regular raisers of them have said they prefer to butcher them a bit on the old side. As in older than most would butcher a typical hog.

 

They have all said you will get mostly sausage out of them. Though you will get some small hams. That is fine by me, though I am thinking of trying to get some chops out of them. I am not expecting to get roasts out of them at all.

 

That’s what I have learned at the moment. If/when I learn more I’ll pass it on!

 

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Cat Of The Day

I was on deviantART posting the pictures of the cats that I take, and someone there commented that I should nominate Crookie for Cat of the Day. Well I did that and Crookie got picked for TODAY!

Check him out!

http://catoftheday.com/

I thought it was so cool when I got the email yesterday about him being on it today!

Chilly, but a nice morning

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Such a nice morning out there even though it’s still a tad chilly outside.  We have one more day before the house guest/farmhand moves on to their new home.  They just didn’t work out here, I do hope their new place does work out well for them.

Any who.. I finally got the pictures from the first snowfall from this year onto the computer.  These are a couple weeks old so please remember this.

first real snowfall front
Doesn’t it look soooooooo…. pretty?  I always like watching snow fall and these were the big fluffy ones.  The funniest thing through was the two pups, neither of them wanted to go out into it.  Like they were afraid to touch the strange “white stuff” on the ground.

We have not had anything measurable since this  snowfall, though Arkansas did get some a day or so ago.  I wish we had gotten it, we could really use the precip.  Though we are ahead on the precip for this new year … so far, things can change and I do know it.

 

 

Now for a really cute snowfall picture:

road west with Merlin
That is Merlin enjoying his first snowfall, mind you when we saw him there he was jumping each step trying to not get his paws wet.  His sister handled the snowfall much better than him… or at least she didn’t do anything silly in front of us.

Well so far I can tell you that putting the chickens onto wild bird food does have a downturn in egg production.  It seems by at least half what we were getting before.  Live and learn is my opinion on it, and while I was hoping they would do good on it; I need the eggs.  I think we’re going to have to really ‘fiddle’ with the feed portions when I start making my own.

 

 

Wood stove update:

It is still working very well, the only thing that I have seen as a problem so far has been one… we needed to do some better sealing around the chimney with the cement.  We are also having an issue with the handle for the door not wanting to move, but I think that’s just a simple mechanical issue with the nuts.  It is still putting out a very good amount of heat, and we can simmer food on the surface, which next time I make my stew I may try putting it on the wood burner after the initial cooking.  The beef stew, my lentil stew already simmers on it.

I have also discovered a side benefit for me anyway.  We have all those cinder blocks around the outside of the burner.  It makes a lovely spot to proof and rise bread dough.  Since having it here my breads have risen beautifully.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

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