Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wild Week and Weekend

Well, this holiday season was a total bummer on the farm. As usual, I cooked and cleaned it all up too. Wednesday was a decent day, I got the milk cow paid off! I can't believe I managed to get the extra $500 I needed in 5 weeks with aluminum cans and misc farm work. I recruited the neighbor to bring it home for me and we made a deal to move her home first thing Friday morning. Of course, that did not happen. It was late Friday afternoon, almost dark before the truck and trailer showed up. So, settle the cow in the double horse stall in the dark and wait for daylight. Saturday morning came around and I'm pretty excited, I get to milk a cow! ¾ of a gallon is what the Amish man told me she was giving. Yah, right, hello! A quart is all she has in her. That Amish man sold me a cow he was drying off as a milker. I was also told that his kids milked this cow and she stands tied. Another yah right! Our first round of milking was a rodeo. The cow kicks, she knocks the pail over constantly and dances all over the place. It took me almost an hour to milk her out. Sunday morning went a bit better, I got smart and held the milk pail in one hand and milked one teat at a time. I still ended up with straw in the pail. I know how to milk a cow and this pretty little jersey cross is an outlaw. That'll change but it'll take time.

Oh but so much has happened in the past couple of days. More farm disasters, LOL. I got a text message first thing Friday morning, the last calf over at the farm I work on occasionally was dead. No big surprise, I knew it was going to die. The cows were thru the fence and in the hay field, again. I just don't understand that one, they have hay right up by the barn so why do they keep tearing the fence down for a dead hay field? Stupid cows. They tore up several of the round bales stored in the hay field. Slopping thru the mud in boots with holes in them was not my idea of big fun. Saturday morning was a little better. I met Gary to help move his cows. Half the herd went wild cow on us and would not come up. We spent 2 hours chasing them around 50 acres. I did manage to corral the good half up so when Gary was ready to give up, we headed back to the barn. Coming thru the run off ditch, I stepped in a mushy cow pie, slipped like a cartoon banana peel and popped a tendon on my forearm protecting the rods in my back. My forearm swelled almost instantly and boy, does it hurt! Which brings me back to milking the cow. That swelled up arm I can't straighten out right now sure did make it uncomfortable to milk a cow!

Okay, LOL, enough of my misery, eh? What about the wonderful celebration of giving Thanks for being alive??? Oh yes, I am very Thankful to be alive, Thankful for my good soil, my harvest and the bounty I am able to preserve. I am Thankful for my good health and still being able to walk and work. I prepared a nice meal of what is left of my butchered steer mixed with deer meat mixed into a nice meat loaf with chopped onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, a couple of eggs, oregano, thyme, marjoram and some bread crumbs. Side dishes of things I grew this year, potatoes, corn, beans, carrots and of course pies. One apple and a couple of pumpkins. Fresh bread topped it off. Perhaps next year I will manage to get a couple of turkeys raised up. I miss my turkey, LOL. Just could not bring myself to buy one from a store. My morals just would not allow it.

So, now it's back to enjoying the bounty of my harvest for the rest of the winter. It is winter now, even if the season is still technically fall. The last couple of days have been below 30F overnight and the water tubs all have ice in them. I actually like winter because it's when I do all my baking. It's too hot in the summer to do much baking and I love breads, pastries, pies, roasts and cookies. I make more pizzas during the cold months too. I love fresh, home made pizzas with fresh dough crust, sauce I made myself from tomatoes I grew, the veges I grew, meat I butchered and real cheese. It always reminds me of my childhood. My parents used to take us kids to this great pizza joint called Home Run Inn. I have never had pizza as good as that, anywhere else in the whole country. So, when I make my own pizza, that is what I measure it by. So, I am looking forward to a wonderful winter....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Deer Season Again

There's the huge buck my friend got on Friday morning. I didn't take a better picture because I didn't want anybody to think I got that monster buck, LOL. It was a 13 pointer, monster big! My friend caped it to have it mounted, I don't blame him a bit. Very nice buck. The weekend ended good and I have a freezer full of deer meat. Deer season is always important around this farm because a good portion of our meat comes from hunting. Just another aspect of living as self sustained as we can. After all, we really do practice what we preach here. I spent 3 days butchering deer and am I ever glad that it's done for now! Of course, I still have plenty of cleaning work to do but I can do that as I use the meat.

We're still experiencing a drought here, very little rainfall and we sure are hoping to see some with this warm front. It is 70F here right now with a strong wind blowing. The poor rabbits have been panting all day. They've put on wonderful winter coats. The horses and goats like like huge furballs waiting on the cold weather. the persimmon seeds have spoons in them so I know it's coming......

The cow is not home yet. I still owe $250 on her and the poor weather kept me from any sidejob money last week. Hopefully I can get her home this weekend, side job willing............

Sunday, November 14, 2010

interesting and boring all together

I have a big sugar maple in the side yard. It's huge. Back when we had that inland hurricane, a large side branch had been knocked off it. The tree was apparently not too healthy to start with but you'd have never known, all the branches had leaves on them and it looked good. The truth of it is, the branches are mostly hollowed and every time we get a good storm, another gets knocked out of it. Well, we had another big storm and the tree is about done for. I will need to cut it down sooner or later. I hate to, but there's not much left of it. The branch now laying in the yard has not been cleaned up yet. It's full of bees. I mentioned this before, the bees were getting wiped out by the birds. Well, some made it thru the feeding frenzy and they are still active in the tree branch. I have decided to learn about bees and honey. I didn't come up with this brilliant plan on my own, one of my regular read magazines has a whole beehive article in it. I thought it was Mother Earth News but I just checked the latest issue online and it's not in it. Maybe it was Hobby Farms or Grit. I found this article online over at Living off Grid and it has the top bar beehive as well. This is what I plan to do about the bees before they swarm in the spring. Now, what am I going to do with that huge branch laying in the yard? Oh, I haven't a clue at the moment.

Life here at the farm has been pretty boring the last few weeks. I am spending all my time around here cleaning up after others that live here. I have to say, it's gotten old darn quick. it's hard enough that I do everything around here all by myself anyway but having to play maid to others on top of everything else just pisses me off. Nobody ever misses supper but they sure can't seem to find the dish rag. Everybody loves the cats but nobody can clean up after them. Cats are NOT clean animals. No use putting them out, somebody just lets them back in when I'm not around. ARG is the only polite thing I can think of to say about it right now.

So, instead of catering to others this weekend, I have spent all my time going thru my pantry, looking at my stock of herbs and such. Working out in my mind and on a list, what I need to be concentrating on in the herb garden next season. I have also looked at things I can't grow that I still need to purchase or trade for. Since there isn't a good set-up for trade here yet, I guess the salt, sugar, noodles and various other odd stuff will have to be purchased. I hate that. I hate having to buy anything at all. The whole commercial thing just chaps me.

Here's something depressing. I just owe $200 on the cow and was hoping to have her home this coming weekend. I had a side job set up that would have given me what I needed. It fell thru. On top of that, I turned my front burner on the stove on this morning, the element has apparently burned out. Guess I used it too much. The stove isn't 3 years old yet. This is the same stove the oven element burned out of in just 8 months. It's a Frigidaire glass top. I haven't a clue how to even get to the elements to repair it. I will need to repair it, it's my cheese making element, the one that fits my cheese making pot perfect. Guess I just need to say ARG and move on with it.

You know it's a bad week when even baking bread doesn't cheer me up. This week it felt like a chore, a boring, time consuming, unrewarding chore. Wow, I need a vacation...........

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Never Dull Moments

Ah, once again, I'm fixing fence. Somebody elses of course. I always seem to be fixing other peoples things lately. Those darn cows are job security tho! LOL
Not much new going on around the farm, still dry as a bowl of popcorn. I did give a bread making lesson yesterday. it went well and the italian bread came out beautiful! I love it when a plan comes together, LOL.
Lost the alternator on the dually today so add that to what needs fixed. unfortunately, it won't wait long since hubby needs that truck to get to work. One night missed, no choice. The alternator is being rebuilt, will be ready tomorrow afternoon. There goes part of the mortgage money, dang. Still, better than having to buy a new one!
All else is good tho and no sign of any new possums. I will be baking this week and hopefully making cheese by the end of the month.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh yah, it's that time of year again! It's down right cold overnight now, with temperatures heading toward the mid 20's for the end of this week. I am so not ready to be busting ice in November! But, what can you do other than just go with the flow.

Speaking of cold, have you read next years farmers almanac? Hmmm, cooler than normal and dry all thru the growing season. Might make for some poor crops next season. I hate to think we will see 2 years of drought. The way the almanac is reading, I won't get my warm crops out til mid June! That simply will not do! I will be applying some new techniques to keep the plants warm and growing this coming season.....

ARG, i still owe $500 on the milk cow so it's going to be a while before i get it home and milking for me.

I moved and restacked the 200 bales of hay in the big barn this weekend. I needed to clean up the pile a bit and move it down where I had some room to put the indoor goat pen back in the barn corner. I got a bit of a surprise about half way thru it. 2 possums hiding under a wood pallet! now I know what's been happening to all the chicken eggs! poor Polar Bear had been getting the suspicious looks. I killed one and she killed the other. I am already back up to a dozen eggs a day. I was only finding 3 or 4!

I'm back into the no kits thing. The rabbits have all been bred but no kits. I had this trouble a couple years ago too. I still don't know for sure what it is that causes that. maybe it's the weather change, maybe something else. I just keep breeding and waiting. Sooner or later I'll get a round of kits!

A friend has given me a whole stack of Taste of Home magazines so I'm sure to be cooking up something good this week.........