Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April 17, 2019

Friends sometimes come in seemingly strange packages.  For example, the black cat we adopted, Merlin, thinks he is a dog, and our dogs are letting him. . .Especially Phoenix, one of our border collies.  Our other border collie, Hercules, takes this too with the same air of complacency that he handles much of everything else, except intruders.

What's left of the leaf pile
Tilled into our potato row
Speaking of friends, it is so nice to have friends that have different equipment than you do.  Thanks so much to our friend Bill with the front end loader who moved a dump truck full of leaves to the garden for our potatoes.  Bill sometimes borrows our tiller, and he loves an occasional taste of my husband's beer.  It is so nice to have such good neighbors.

As far as the garden is concerned, it has rained so much here, we have only managed to find a small window so far to plant the potatoes, beets and corn.  The beets are coming up already.  The potatoes we ordered never arrived, so this year we tried cutting the potatoes from the grocery store.  Wish us luck!  The sweet potatoes are from the grocery store as well.  We are trying to make slips and have them in our usual containers with water.  We have roots that have formed so far, so fingers crossed . .

After buying a new golf cart, we fixed up our old one to get it ready to sell.  We found out one battery was bad and replaced it.  We also reupholstered the seats to make it look nice.  We advertised it on Craigslist, but to be honest, we are not trying all that hard to sell it.  No time to work on that at the moment.

One of the reasons I have less time is I have started working at Edge of the World herb farm.  I have always wanted to learn about the medicinal property of herbs, and now is my chance, thanks to Henrietta and Erin Cummings.  They are great to work for and I am learning alot about plants, some that I used to just think were weeds. . .It is on the account of weeding that I developed my new set of overalls.  They were made out of a pair of scrub pants and coordinating shirt that I bought at the thrift store for $3.50.  I padded the knees with an old towel.  Funnily enough, the first place I wore them was to church to do the Palm Sunday children's moment.  You see, it was all about the donkey.  I gave out cookies that looked like chicks.

Last, but certainly not least, I am so proud of my son-in-law for getting a job recently as a security officer to support his growing family.  Congratulations Leah and Jacob!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019

Today was quite a day in the life of homesteading.  It started with retrieving a blue bird from our wood stove pipe.  The tulle leftover from my daughter's wedding has been used to catch birds three times.  Before, a bird would get completely down to the firebox.  This time, we had to raise the flue, as he had kicked down dust and creosote that blocked his way into the firebox.  He was quite happy to fly away once I carried him outside.

Of course there were usual chores such as making sure my husband had a lunch and to go breakfast, dishes, laundry, and mopping the floors along with all the extra dishes from rendering the pig fat.  I rendered the leaf fat inside and the back fat outside.  I don't think the heat was low enough on the fish fryer, even though I turned the propane as low as possible.  To lessen the time/electricity used/propane used, I first cut the fat into strips, then ran it through the food processor.  It only took about an hour to render.  It wasn't the best way if you really want cracklins, but we didn't care, so I gave all the little left over pieces to the chickens.  I got about two pints of rendered leaf fat (for cooking), and enough rendered back fat for about a batch and a half of soap, so I was happy.  Then there was the continuation of the work on the smokehouse for smoking the bacon and hams once they are finished with the salting process.

Today I dug out and poured the concrete base for the fire pit.  That was quite the adventure.  Once I finished digging and leveling the area I wanted to pour the concrete, I mixed one 80 pound bag of concrete at the time.  With the first one, when I started stirring the concrete mix with water, the axle came out of the wheel on the wheelbarrow.  I had to haul it to the hole to dump it in (without a working wheel) before I frantically had to fix the wheelbarrow before the concrete set up.  I ended up needing only two bags of concrete for this space.

Once I finished that, I went to put up the wrenches in the tool kit, and I made the mistake of closing the wrong side, so all the sockets rolled out and went behind the workbench.  Then I had to crawl on my belly and use the broom to try to get them recovered.  I somehow tore my jeans in the process.

The two pigs that we grew (Red and Freckles) grew well.  One was 406 pounds at processing time, and one was 377 pounds.  Our freezer is overflowing with the beef and pork, and we ended up borrowing freezer space from a neighbor.  I wish I could pull out some pictures, but my computer crashed.  We didn't have any trouble getting them to go into the horsetrailer for transport.  We just started feeding them several days ahead in the horse trailer.

Still, life is good.