It's so windy here today. It is drying everything out really nice but I hate to put tender seedlings out to get hammered by 35mph winds. It seems today is the proverbial rock and a hard place. That's okay tho, I'll do some tilling later on and try to get everything I want out planted before the next round of rain comes in.
The latest batch of house kittens seem to have a "thing" for my shoes.
The latest round of pound cake did not make it to the canned cherries. I'm not that surprised, anything sweet is a comfort food in this house and it never lasts very long. The past 15 months have been pretty rough for this farm and it shows on the faces and in the behaviors of each of us. Even with the new employment, it's still very stressful. Barely scraping by from paycheck to paycheck is a lousy way to live. I can't imagine what would happen to us if I didn't grow our food. I guess we'd either be starving or homeless. Speaking of which, I have 9 chickens and 6 rabbits to butcher sometime in the next day or so.
Woohoo! How about them taters? All 4 tires look great and the red potatoes are very quickly catching up to the russets. I've always had trouble with red potatoes in the ground. They never seemed to produce well. The tater tires may very well be the red potato jackpot. So far, so good tho. Just the thought of a good potato harvest is somehow very comforting to me. We sure do like our potatoes around here.
My second round of radish and carrots have finally sprouted. I will keep a couple from this round to grow to seed production so I can harvest my seed for next season. I still have enough seed for 2 more plantings but I learned last year it is better to way too much seed than barely enough. So, as long as I can keep the cats from laying all over the plants, I should be in good shape there.
I finally got 2 gourd seeds to sprout! I have been waiting more than a month for those seeds to do something. Just 2 out of 10 so far and they are the cannonball gourds. Still no bushel or apple gourd sprouts. I did manage to get 1 luffa seed to sprout too. I was really surprised about that, the seed is more than 10 years old. I'm going to try another handful so I can replenish my luffa stockpile. I'm on my next to last sponge here.
Well, back to the kitchen, we're out of bread, again.......
Oh, is my blood ever boiling right now! I just got a letter in the mail informing me that my address has been "chosen" to participate in the American Community Survey! Yay Rah! My compliance is "required by law". Oh yah? You show me what law????
Where does it say that I must SUBMIT to telling the Census Bureau how long I have owned my home? How many acres of land I own? How much money I make? Which fuel do I use the most of to heat my home? How many separate rooms are in this home??? How many are bedrooms??? What was your last months utility bill for electric? What are all your sources of income, including other incomes?? What was the total income for the enitre household last year??? What was last months gas bill?? WTF? I was just going to put the number of people that reside here on it and send it back but then, the more I thought about it, the more pissed off I became. I am so unbelievely angry right now. Here we are, just struggling to make it back and forth to a job that doesn't pay enough to pay our bills, keep our heads above water with the tax hikes, utility rate hikes, the unGodly cost of fuel to get to work and the prices of everything else that has tripled over the past 18 months, not to mention us making it thru 9 months of unemployment with ZERO state or government help and the Census Bureau thinks it should threaten me to pilfer private information from me? Here's my line, it drawn.
SHOW ME THE LAW WHERE IT SAYS I MUST PROVIDE PRIVATE INFORMATION ABOUT MYSELF, MY FAMILY AND MY HOME TO THE GOVERNMENT. SHOW ME WHERE IT SAYS I AM REQUIRED TO DO ANY MORE THAN BE ENUMERATED EVERY 10 YEARS.
Until I see that law, in writing, the Census Bureau can kiss my Constitution and my ass too while they're at it.
It's a mess here with all the rain. Now, the weather center is calling for 39 degrees over night. Yay rah! So, all the seedlings on the window shelf must wait, close to another 10 days before it dries up and warms up enough for them to go out. I may end up losing the cucumbers I planted outside, they are flowering but looking kind of rough. They sprout quick so if I must, it will be okay.
Welcome to the new followers, I'm thrilled you joined us!
So, today I am working on a couple more pound cakes. I only got one piece from the last round! I guess the family likes this more than I thought. So, let's talk about pound cake.
3 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder and a teaspoon of salt mixed together. Then I add in 2 cups of butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of almond extract, 1/2 cup of milk and 6 eggs, one by one. Scrape the bowl and mix well. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans and bake at 350 until done. There is nothing like chemical and preservative free food. Give this one a try, it tastes better than store bought and is most certainly less expensive.
I'm also working on some Italian sauce for supper. Diced tomatoes, pasted tomatoes from last years garden, throw in some garlic, oregano, basil, ground sweet pepper, ground, dehydrated mushrooms, salt, pepper and any other herb you are fond of, simmer until it reaches the thickness you prefer and serve. I plan on using it for some baked Ziti with home made cheese and some sweet pork sausage I made last fall.
I'm still sitting on "go" for all the projects that need finished around here. It's going to take longer than I thought for us to catch up. The poor goats think they are attached to the fence posts they are tied to. The baby goats are growing quickly and they are climbing all over my firewood pile. Wouldn't be so bad if they didn't knock half of it down each time. Ah, they're goats, they can't help it.
Half my bird flock is setting eggs. looks like it's going to be a good winter for chicken and duck! Lots of good eating in my future....
I still have tops on my beans! The row cover is working great! Now all I need is another 20 of them, LOL. While the hubster was sub soiling, discing and tilling for me, I was working on some cheese and eliminating some of the 10 dozen eggs in the fridge. I made a couple home made pound cakes. A simple recipe, just some flour, sugar, baking powder, home churned butter, a dozen eggs with vanilla and almond extracts. They came out much better than the cheese did. Apparently, 3 day old whole milk does not make good cheese. I know, why didn't I make it the day i got the milk? I was busy and making cheese takes up the entire day. sometimes I just can't stand in my kitchen for 6 hours. The cheese ended up in a pile in the barn lot for the chickens to peck on. Darn shame too, I'm out of cheese! Guess I will try again tomorrow.
I've got my rain water catcher sitting under the eave, it's close to full. I dipped some to water the inside seedlings this morning. They just grow so much better with rain water. When this nice spring rain breaks, I will be creating a couple more grow tubs for the cherry tomatoes and the rest of the beefsteaks. They are flowering in the house and need to get outside quick. I simply can not wait until I can build the arbors to transplant them. The way it's looking, it would be at least 3 weeks before I could even consider getting a few supplies. Time to do something else less attractive but just as useful.
So much needs done, I sometimes feel a little lost trying to get so much done at once. I always want to be everywhere at once instead of concentrating on one thing at a time. Ah, it will all get done........
A major part of living self sustained is feeding yourself. So, what do you grow?
You want to think about what you eat first. If you like potatoes, grow them. Grow a bunch of them.
What about tomatoes? Diced, stewed, tomato paste, tomato sauce... You are learning to cook healthy meals at home right? How many of those recipes use tomatoes? I have stew recipes, rice recipes, egg recipes, bread recipes that all use tomatoes or something tomato. 3 or 4 plants won't do it tho. If you're just wanting to eat a couple here and there, you're in luck. If you want to can up enough tomatoes to make those pots of chili, a few stews and italian sauce dishes, you better think more along the lines of 3 or 4 dozen plants.
I cook with onions and garlic. Everything has at least onions in it. So, you figure a dozen onions in a baggie from the store and you buy one bag a week? How many onions do you need to plant? A bunch of onions!
What about your mixed veges? I use carrots, peas, beans celery and such in several dishes I cook. These can all be grown easily. How about corn? Think about how much corn you eat a month. You would probably eat more corn if it didn't cost so much. Grow yourself some and it becomes free and it tastes sooooo much better than store bought corn.
Sweet peppers is another one. not only can you eat them fresh, they dehydrate very nicely and will add a wonderful flavor to so many dishes. I even use ground sweet pepper on my roasts and in stews and soups.
Do you like hot peppers? Have you priced them in the grocery store lately? Not only are they expensive, the variety is limited. Grow your own hot peppers and you can have habaneros, cayennes, what ever you want!
don't waste precious garden space growing things you are not going to eat. If you don't eat brussel sprouts, don't grow them! If you don't eat leeks or cabbage, don't waste the space to grow them.
Stick to what you are going to eat and use the space you have to grow as much of it as you can. The more you can grow, the less you have to depend on the "system" to feed you.
This was my big project for the day. It's not really much but i scrounged 5 pieces of wood up from the neighborhood and used the rest of that scrap chicken wire and build one row cover for some of my kidney beans. I had to put pop bottles over each plant because the ducks were nipping the tops off of them. Apparently, these ducks are lawn mower ducks. I couldn't leave the pop bottles on the beans since they're growing so quickly. I'd hate for them to grow thru the tops over night. How would I get the bottles off them then?
Last spring the ducks were still staying around the barn where I kept them penned up all winter. They ventured out back into the pasture and nipped the corn and kidney beans from my back garden. This year, I am low on seed and I simply can not feed the ducks my seedling plants. So, row covers are in order. Catching up on our bills is harder than I imagined so the row covers are not getting built as quick as I'd like. I may have to find some other way to keep them all from eating the garden.......
There are so many little things that need fixed around here, it's pitiful. The boy knocked a hole in the crank case of the 4-wheeler yesterday and the daughter backed up the dually with the door open and sprung the driver door! If it's not one thing, it's another around here.
It's sprinkling rain and I still haven't got any corn planted....
I really had no intention of writing about this at all. But, the amount of emails asking me about it has prompted me to make a formal response...
First off, I'm a homesteader. I work hard every day to grow my own food because I do not like being fed chemicals and preservatives combined with some politician telling me I am not smart enough to know what's good for me. I use what I know to try and help others achieve a small bit of self sufficiency too. Through this blog and various other forums across the internet. The forum in question is the American Preppers Network forum. "FREEDOM THROUGH TEACHING OTHERS SELF RELIANCE" You do not need to be a member of this forum to read what I wrote in the thread that was quoted. Quoted by whom you ask? Ah, here's the real kicker! The Anti Defamation League (ADL) put out a report in pdf form called "Violent Voices: Anti Government Extremism Takes on New Intensity". It seems, to fit their agenda, they chose to pilfer a single line from what I posted on a thread about the healthcare vote and used it in their opening paragraph of the Introduction. here is what they used..... “The antichrist [President Obama] will sign this [health care legislation] and start stealing money from our hard earned paychecks immediately, with his newly hired IRS agents as his strongarm. Bloodshed is coming…” Post by “mmpaints” on the American Preppers Network Forum, March 22, 2010.
Here is what I wrote in it's original form and context on the APN forum..... Postby mmpaints on Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:03 pm I watched the entire fiasco via cspan live thru the day and into the evening. We have no representation in Congress, the process is a total joke. The people that stood up to speak against the bill were constantly interupted and talked over and Nancy Pelosi is so far out in left field, it's amazing. The speaker of the house has got to be on drugs. Not a single Republican voted yes on any of the votes and the Dems still crammed this down our throats. 2/3 majority my ass, this was nothing short of criminal. The antichrist will sign this and start stealing more money from our hard earned paychecks immediately, with his newly hired IRS agents as his strongarm. Bloodshed is coming..........
So, apparently it isn't defamation if the ADL says it. It seems to me that it's pretty obvious where the agenda of this "Leftie" group is coming from. Frankly, as far as I am concerned, the ADL can kiss my Constitution.
As for me, I will continue to grow my own food, free of the poisons pushed on us by corporate America and I'm going to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every single morning at the top of my lungs, in my front yard so the whole world can hear me.
Now, back to working on the garden. I wonder if my home made pig crap, goat crap, rabbit crap fertilizer mix will explode? ROFL Fecal matter goes boom, they all smell like pig crap. Sounds appropriate to me........
I've got 2 shelves worth of seedlings waiting for me to get screens built to protect them from the ducks, chickens and cats. I'm also needing a few things I don't have to finish the 2 separate arbors for the cherry tomatoes. The multi colored sweet peppers still aren't big enough to go out yet. I did set a bowl of kidney beans out and the ducks proceeded to step all over them. Hopefully they will live thru it. I have 2 more bowls of kidneys not quite ready to go out to finish out the 2 rows I want to plant. The scrap chicken wire is working beautifully on the tater tires. The taters are sprouting up above the soil in all 4 tires. I'm pretty pleased with the whole thing at this point. I just can't see how growing them in tires is not going to be so much easier than traditional in ground planting. I like it so much, I may never go back to conventional potato rows again.
I'm a little disappointed, it's been 30 days and I do not have a single gourd seed sprouted. Apparently, gourd seeds do not like peat pellets. I've always just scattered the seed in the fall but now that I have ducks and chickens, I have to do something different. I restarted some today using the old tried and true paper towel in the ziploc bag method.
Since viewing that History channel film I talked about the other day, hubby has decided I need more garden. He ran up the road and got a subsoiler from a friend of ours and subsoiled the entire horse paddock. Where am I gonna put the horses now? Ah, it's a good idea and I'll probably move the fencing panels over a bit and use a 40x100 strip down the backside and plant extra sweet corn there. It will double the amount of corn I normally plant and leave my old corn patch open for more pumpkins and melons. A good thing I hope!
Look what's for breakfast! Yes, that is a real wood fire. I am still cooking on the smoker grill, I'm not even close to having the permanent cooking area started, let alone finished. All is well tho, the smoker grill works just fine. It's just not what I had in mind.
Sunday brought a frost with it, I had all the seedlings covered and they seem to be doing fine. the cucumbers don't look as good as I'd like them to but they'll come around. The ducks didn't mind, they were swimming and quacking like usual. They've also wiped out my lettuce and done my carrots about in. I will replant this weekend when I have the screen row covers built. I put a few scrap pieces of chicken wire over the potato tires and it's working well. Even the cats aren't playing on the tires anymore.
I watched a film piece from the History Channel yesterday morning. A friend from APN suggested it to me. I'm glad i watched it, thanks Raven! The film is named "After Armageddon". It is a hypothetical presentation of the fall of society from a global disaster. It is presented on youtube in 9 parts. I loaded a couple at a time so i could watch it without stopping. I found it to be extremely interesting. I also found my own thoughts on the matter of city living vs rural living to be about dead on as far as what is going to happen, etc. Over all, it has spurred me to continue on my journey of living more and more self sustained and increasing the output of this little piece of land.
I started my potato experiment on Sunday as well. I dehydrated 8lbs of potato slices like Scifichick said to do and they turned out great. I managed to fit 7lbs worth of them into a half gallon Ball jar. I'm really excited about it, it looks to be a great way to save my potatoes from the rot I get during the winter. With dehydrating them, i won't lose one single potato! How cool is that? Thanks again Scifi, for showing me the light on the taters.
Well, I'm off to do some tilling and planting......
That's right, it's a good day! Even tho my step sons firewood stack job is a disaster with half of it falling and the rest leaning out waiting to fall, the hubby left for work with the last $20 to our name and came home with a full paycheck! Our farm is no longer on the default list and even the water bill is paid! We've even got enough left over for him to comfortably make it to work all next week. I really don't know how we would have made it this far without the help of you wonderful readers and the garden. Without you all, I'd be homeless and without the garden, I'd be starving. I have been doubly blessed!
We didn't have enough to make the seed protectors so after the rain moves thru, back out to the back roads in search of some cans to cover the few pieces of wood and staple nails we'll need for the project. Once it's done, i can plant my corn!
My good friendScifichick over at Bacon and Eggs wrote a post a few days ago about dehydrating potatoes. A step by step from how to dehydrate them to re hydrating them and using them. An awesome post. So cool, I think I'm going to try it! Thanks Sci!
There should be a beat down path around my front garden spot by next week from all the pacing I've been doing. As usual, I get things planted and then pace anxiously for them to sprout. I really need to build some sort of screen set up to protect the seeds from the chickens and the ducks. I planted my taters and my kidney beans and the ducks have dug them both up. I'm pretty sure they got every bean i put out so I restarted the beans inside. 3 days and I have roots sprouted from every bean.
We're expecting a real, full paycheck this week and it better be or hubby won't be going to work next week. We're out of options. We've never been in this spot before, how uncomfortable! But, there's food on the table and everyone is healthy. That's half the battle, isn't it?
I've started to make mini loaves of bread so hubby has an easy way to have his bread in his dinner bucket for underground. I think I like them too!
I didn't want to say anything since I've had such rotten luck lately with them but I've got a new batch of bunnies. 4 days and they're all still alive. I'm afraid to touch them in case the Momma will quit tending them. I haven't had a live batch in a while here, all the new does have let their kits die. I have given up on the one big doe, she got 4 tries and let all of them die so she's slated for the cook pot this weekend. I have another doe on her last chance, she should kindle in another 10 days. So, I have 4 for the cook pot this weekend. 3 male rabbits plus the bad doe. Should be a good stew!
The farm clean up continues... pruning clippings, fallen branches, piled up debris from the winter, things that got thrown down and never picked up..... it's a never ending battle around here. Plus all the every day stuff that blows in off the highway. It always amazes me what people throw out of the car windows while driving. Do they think all that crap just evaporates or what?
This morning is going to be busy, going to cash in the cans we picked up all week so we have fuel money for the last night of work this week for hubby and I need to worm the goats and work more on the old barn that's falling in on me. I'm sure the cans are going to be enough and maybe even a little extra. The horses are 6 weeks overdue for their wormer and they look it. Thankfully I still have some pelleted wormer for the goats. The barn, well, i don't know what to do about it, it's a goner.
Over the weekend, I got a little busy. I didn't take pictures right away because that daughter of mine left for the weekend and helped herself to my camera. Nothing new, she thinks everything in the house is hers. All's well tho, all that got missed was the transplant shock, LOL.
The empty tub I set up last week got some beefsteak tomatoes in it along with the next tub and the third one got some Chocolate Beauty sweet peppers.
Another good thing from the weekend- new rabbit kits! So far so good, the doe is a first time Momma and it seems like she's doing okay since the kits are still alive this morning.
I am a little disappointed this morning, I had a Barred Rock hen go broody last weekend. yesterday, I found her gone from the nest she was one. She's moved to another nest! So, I have about 20 eggs that are no good now since she sat them for a week. The new nest she has chosen to sit on probably has a dozen eggs in it from the days worth of hens laying. Might even be a duck egg or 2 in it.
Speaking of ducks, the old house trailer we pulled into the back field is finally burnt. We pulled it back there 5 years ago because it was in the way for where we wanted to build the new barn. While it was burning, a critter crawled out from under it. The critter was quite singed from the huge fire so we put it down. I'm not really sure exactly what it was, it could have been a fox. That would explain what happened to 5 of my ducks thru the winter and where the missing chickens and eggs went. What ever the poor creature was, it's gone now so maybe I can manage to raise a few chicks and ducklings.
I've also got an experiment going. Last year, i read a blog/website where the lady insisted you can store cheese long term by simply waxing it. I actually got into an argument over it because I know that it does not work. So, I set out to find a way to store cheese long term so folks don't have to keep a chemical replacement for cheese (velveeta) or some sort of powdered excuse for cheese. 8 more days and it will be 30 days of a chunk of cheese sitting at room temperature. It's a piece of my homestead cheese, no chemicals or preservatives in it. I'll update on it on the 20th of this month....................
The San Francisco Food Police Strike again.... The reporter IMO, made the woman from Defense for Animals look like an idiot..... I won't even get into the part of where some city council thinks they know more about keeping me healthy than I do....
I live a self sustained lifestyle that revolves around growing my own chemical and preservative free food and reducing my dependence on commercially produced energy, etc. Self sustained does not mean that I don't eat meat. I simply raise my own critters to eat and butcher them myself. Meat is part of our every day meals. I even eat meat with breakfast.
Honestly, these people are so dense, it's amusing. It's not "meat" that is making people obese, it's the chemicals in the food they eat! It's the 12 pack of soda they drink every day! It's the couch they sit on when they stuff cheetos in their mouths while watching television.
Working toward living self sustained or even just trying to be less dependent on commercial products does not mean you must give up eating the things you love to eat. All it means is that you produce those things for yourself. You also must learn to cook those meals for yourself.
Grow some fruit and vegetables, turn off the television and eat some grass fed beef. Make sure you eat a double helping on Mondays.
So far this week down here in southern Illinois, we've seen some brisk mornings. The over night temperatures are still in the low to mid 40's with this morning being a cozy 41! A dandy storm blew thru here around 6pm yesterday with some freaky lightning crashing all around the farm and 3/4" of cold rain.
Remember back in the winter months when I was all excited about container growing? Well, I've set 2 tubs up to show how easy it is for even the suburban folks to have some food growing even when they can't have an in ground garden. These tubs are cattle mineral buckets. I would estimate them as being around a 20 gallon tub. I have filled them with a combination of our lousy clay dirt and some 4 or 5 yr old composted manures from the pile. I also added a 3 gallon bucket of creek sand and about the same in bunny berries. Mixed it all up, a little at a time in the wheel barrow and filled the tubs. The empty tub is going to get beefsteak tomatoes planted in it when the overnight temperatures get warmer. The other has the strawberries i received from my neighbor. They still look a little root shocked in the picture but this morning, they are perked up nice and one plant is flowering.
As the weather becomes increasingly warmer, i will be whipping up a couple quick cattle panel arbors and planter boxes for the 2 types of cherry tomatoes to climb on. The arbors will make it easy for me to pick the tomatoes and allow the plants to maximize the sunlight. Plus, it looks cool, LOL.
My kitchen is about over run with seedlings with more sprouting every day. I'm so excited about this years gardens.........
The wind is whipping here for the second day. It's warm and partly sunny but our over night temperatures are still cold. Not too much going on around the farm today. I did manage to get a batch of cheese made last night. No falling asleep over it this time! How pitiful is it for a cheese maker to not have any cheese? Well, now I have some!
Today, I transplanted the beefsteak tomatoes into bigger containers. They had exposed roots in their little baggies so they all got put in some soil. Hate to lose them from roots being dried out. I've got 2 loaves of bread rising on the counter and a pile of potatoes that need peeled for supper. Guess I better get to it!
April showers bring May flowers. Isn't that the old saying? i remember that from my childhood. I don't know why that little rhyme has stuck in my head, but it did.
Things are really starting to green up around here and the yard clean up and garden spot clean up is in full swing. I wish I had more energy tho. The last few days have been kind of rough. I should be feeling pretty good but instead, I just feel wiped out. Hopefully it will pass and I can get on with it.
My friend from up the road a ways brought me about a dozen strawberry plants. The darn things have taken over her raised bed. I'm thrilled because we were eating strawberries off those plants during first deer season, last fall! I put them in one of my grow tubs next to the porch for now.
I turned the little front garden patch over yesterday. It was still a bit more wet than I was hoping but I did make it thru it. One row of onions went in, I'll probably plant another row or so soon with the garlic.
The weather has been outstanding here, a few rain showers tucked in it. I am resisting the urge to put my seedlings out because we've got some cold overnight temperatures coming for this week. 70s during the day but 40s overnight is not good enough to put them in the ground.
The old house cat is misbehaving the last couple of days. She laid in my carrots and knocked my parsley off the table. She's not making me very happy. Hopefully the carrots will spring back but the parsley is a total loss.
Todays picture is one of the tires i cut the sidewall off of per the instructions for tire gardening from the Alaska Preppers Blog. I'm hoping it will improve the drainage and in turn, the potato yields so I can actually have enough to make it thru the winter this year. We're big tater eaters and we get a little testy without them.
Sad morning here, I started a batch of cheese late last night. I know better than to do that, especially when I'm already tired to start with. I made it all the way to the 30 minute cook time and walked off without turning the heat off. The buzzer dinged and I had a melted, gooey mess instead of pretty, cooked little curds. I ruined a 5lb batch! I guess i was more tired than I thought I was. I left it in the sink and went to bed. Oh well, I'll just have to pay better attention and not try to make cheese at 2am. Not today tho, I plan on walking another stretch of back roads in search of more beer cans. Hubby has got to make it to work......
April Fools, yep, that's it. sometimes it really sucks being a Murphy. We lost a u joint on the jeep this morning. 10 miles from home and no tools. there goes a days worth of fuel to get it home and another days worth of fuel getting parts. We simply can not win.
It was at least a pleasant day with a dry wind blowing all day. Just 44% humidity today, I've watered the seedlings twice now.
I forgot about sharing this one... I've got chives up! I had run out of window space so I filled a gallon ice cream container up with soil and sprinkled some chives seed in it. I'd been misting the soil every day and now I have little green shoots showing. So, since that worked out so well, I have another container right next to it with parsley, one with oregano and another with thyme. Hopefully those will sprout right up too. While I was handing hubby tools, I noticed I have some garlic coming up in the front garden spot. That's kind of funny tho, I thought I pulled them all last fall! Guess I missed a couple....
Yes, all of 2013 and part of 2012 are missing from the blog. You can thank Mike H for that. Almost all of those posts were about our great friendship and our partnership in farming. You all know how that turned out!