Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today around the Farm

I'm wore out already and it's just 9am. The newest editions to the trailer park across the rural route from me brought home chickens yesterday. These people are goofy and they have this bright night light in their yard, ruins the night sky viewing it's so bright. Well, their new rooster crowed all freakin night. It was cold and clear and that damn bird sounded like he was in the front yard, causing my dog to bark randomly. Can you tell I slept well? ;)

I must have held the camera cockeyed this morning when I finished loading the new shelves I built last night. There's a serious lack of storage in this place and I really needed to reclaim my kitchen. The kids are thrilled, we have a kitchen table again!

I'm working on a new cheese recipe, one that can be eaten right away. It's a farmers american cheese. If it comes out well, it can be made with store bought milk and I will post directions.

Stay safe and keep prepping!

Monday, February 23, 2009

More spring fever

It's time to think spring here. Some of the plants I normally grow each year require up to 60 days for germination. For instance, I need to grow at least 20 coffee plants to cover my yearly coffee drinking habit. The beans need soaked overnite and then up to 60 days to germinate depending on temperature, moisture etc. I like the plastic ziplock bag method in combination with an old terrarium heater. My windows leak thanks to a couple of nasty ice storms and I've had trouble with the seedlings dying from drafts. So I'm hoping the heater will help.

Along with the coffee, I've got some peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, cardamom and various herbs started. I'm ready for spring to get here!

Keep preppin!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Getting ready for spring

Okay, we had snow yesterday here, it was melted by late afternoon. Today is cold and sunny. I couldn't take it, I started 120 Yellow of Parma onion seeds. Parma is an excellent keeper in cold storage and has a light sweet but oniony flavor. I'd show you a picture of them but my daughter isn't home from her weekend away with my camera.

We're roughly 6 weeks from our last estimated frost date here so seeds will be started about every day here for plants I intend on transplanting. Corn and beans etc will be direct planted.

Now is a good time to get those container plants going too. They'll be strong enough to go out and get producing by the last frost.

Garden days are coming quick!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Todays Colby Cheese Wheel

Well, this one was a 7 hour cheese making adventure. I think it turned out correctly. The cheesecloth stuck to it a bit after the 12 hour press. Now it drys on the board for a couple days and will get waxed to age for 90 days. This one will actually get waxed! I'll be making another wheel tomorrow a.m. to add to the preps in storage. Just can't live without my cheese!
This is after the 2nd press and the bottom is this afternoon when it finished it's 12 hour. See where the cheese cloth stuck and peeled a little off the edges? Next wheel I'll wet it a bit with some tap water and see if it helps loosen the cloth.

2 layers of cheese wax on it and 90 days to age the colby taste into it, this cheese will keep long enough in cold storage to make it worth the time. Cheese doesn't last around here anyway ;)

If you'd like to try making cheese for yourself, check out Steve Shapson's website, The cheese

You can get the book I'm using, Home Cheese Making, and all the supplies you need to make wonderful cheese there. Just another little piece of being completely self sustained!

Think safe, stay safe, be informed and keep prepping!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Big Weenie

Hahahahahaha, I bet you thought this was a perverted post!

I finally got around to finishing the butcher job on the hog in the freezer. Well, one half of it anyway. Home grown pork turned into home made breakfast sausage! This has been a very pleasant Valentines Day, hubby and my son both got in on this project. We've spent the afternoon laughing and messing around while we're getting the job done. That's what being a self sustained farm is all about!

Stay safe and keep prepping!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The big Cheese

Here it is, the Farmers Cheddar wheel on the board to dry and make it's rind before it gets waxed. This cheese just needs a 30 day cure time so I thought it would be a quick cheese to test out. When I pulled it from the cheese press, it had a tiny bit on top and bottom that had squeezed out of the mold. I trimmed it off and sample tasted the cheese. It tastes like american cheese! I guess I did it at least close to right! I'll have to work on cutting the curd better for a smoother wheel.

I got my cheese press from Steve Shapson over at cheese He puts presses up for auction on eBay for website advertisement at a discount. I purchased my recipe book-Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll and ingredients from his as well. A nice site full of great stuff about cheese.

Stay safe and keep prepping!

A stab at cheese making

An interesting evening here in the farm kitchen. I finally just jumped and tried the Farmers Cheddar cheese recipe. I should have taken pics of the curds hanging off my kitchen cabinet handle but I was so absorbed in reading the cheese book that I didn't think about the camera until I got to here. It's had it's first 2 squeezes and is set for it's 12 hour press. So, until 1:30 tomorrow afternoon....

Stay safe and keep prepping!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Small disasters on the farm

Been a dandy week on the farm so far, almost scared of the weekend now! This sweet looking, half asleep fellow is my now 2 yr old Thoroughbred stallion. He needs cut but I'm of the mind that they grow and mature differently if left intact. So, he's still a stud and has suddenly decided he no longer wishes to be inside the ban, warm and dry. He tore his stall door down and ate a large quantity of feed. Now he's standing in knee deep mud, in the rain and storming weather. He needs the mud on his feet right now anyway, to help with any heat he might have from possible founder. But, he's out there none the less until this weekend when I might be able to afford to fix the damage he created. Good thing I like him.

Second disaster- I have developed what has been diagnosed as a "stress related gum infection". Great, just what I needed. Half my teeth are loose and my gum is swollen. It's a whole new definition of pain. But, the good side of it is, I found out my first aid kit is lacking. No topical pain reliever. That won't do. Things like this won't wait til there's a dentist available so.......
That will change!

Stay safe and keep prepping!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Surviving More Job Losses

An interesting story today in the US News & World Report about 15 companies predicted to fail in 2009. Most of them are companies that don't have outlets near me anyway. Sirius Sat. radio tho, I'd miss that one!

For those of us that are still working, stocking up the pantry for unemployment is looking better and better. The money we'd get from unemployment benefits will feel like an insult compared to the paycheck we used to have. Eating out every day, going to the movies, the daily trip to Walmart, it's all over now. After the initial shock of it all, the bills start piling up. Now, we have to decide if we eat or pay bills. If you're already a prepper, that decision isn't one that's going to bankrupt you. Pay the bills, you're going to eat just fine.

Come spring, plant yourself a garden and renew the stores of food you ate up during the cold months of unemployment. Even living in the city on a lot with no yard to speak of, a few 20 gallon buckets with potting soil in them will grow you some food. Check out this blog I just came across of some folks in Chicago that are growing food for themselves in what appears to be an apartment. It's called Green Roof Growers.

This is what I've been talking about. This is how I grow myself fresh food during the winter. I save hundreds of dollars a month by growing my own food. Think of the extra money you'll have to pay the bills that keep coming in. For buckets, try freecycle in your area, garage sales and even construction companies/sites, bakeries and restaurants.

Stay safe and keep prepping!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sustainable Living with our Habits

Recent conditions created by our government via it's brilliant bailout plan hopefully has you thinking about how much LESS money you're going to have soon if you don't conform to mainstream stupidity. Myself, I am down right pissed off by the fact that a single group of people can force legislation on the rest of us. What am I talking about? Smoking bans and increased taxes put directly on smokers. Hermit wrote a nice blog about it that includes how much our government intends to squeeze out of a small group of people to pay for it's socialist plans.

So, how do we fight back? For me, that's simple since I've been doing it for a couple of years already. Grow your own. Tobacco is not hard to grow, at least here it isn't. It grows like a weed. I like rustic girls webpage for growing directions and wikipedia for a good understanding of how to use what you grow.

There's tons of website out there that will sell you tobacco seeds. What I grow is pretty hardy, drought tolerant and takes the heat and humidity well. There's even types of tobacco that grow well in Canada. If you smoke or like to chew, you might want to plant yourself a little tobacco to support your habit or you may be using your hard earned money to support others instead.

Stay safe and keep Prepping!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thinking Spring

It's almost spring and I'm really trying hard to resist the urge to get seeds started. It's still a bit early here.

I got some new seed ordered today along with some new potato varieties I'd like to try. I know lists make peoples eyes cross, but I thought I'd share what I grow here every year anyway.

The farm produces:
lettuce, kale, carrots, radish, peppers-hot and sweet, cucumbers, 5 varieties of tomato,4 varieties of corn, pumpkins, 3 varieties of squash, brussels sprout,broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, 4 varieties of potato, peas, 3 varieties of melon, onions, garlic, 3 varieties of beans, sunflower, various herbs, coffee and tobacco.

The farm also produces peaches, apples, pears, strawberries and blackberries.

The ground here now that the snow and ice has melted(it's 60 degrees today) is like mush with rain in the forecast about every day for the next week. The planting prep for the gardens can not be done until the ground is half way dried out. No sense in carrying off half of my humus on my boots and tools! Even areas of the arm not set up as gardens produce some of the bounty. Around walkways, along the house and barns, anywhere a touch of sunshine hits is fair game here.

So for now, I will do my best to resist the urge to start my seeds and just dream about the warm spring days and the coming bounty....

Stay safe and keep prepping! For my readers in Illinois, join me over at Illinois Preppers Network