Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20, 2018

Winter is upon us!  7 inches of snow!  Unheard of in these parts.  Beautiful!  We are nice and cozy in front of the fire though.  Love that warm heat.  The day after this was taken, our wood stove started smoking really bad and we have had to troubleshoot the problem.  Thanks to our buddies at the Homesteads and Sustainability Facebook group page HERE, we narrowed it down to the vent cap being blocked. My husband cleaned that up and we were back to no smoke.  Yay!!  It does make us feel a little guilty that we are on the inside looking out though.  Don't worry, in below freezing temps they get to spend the night in the basement.

Bean sprout and corn relish salad
Our fresh vegetable for the winter (other than the russet and sweet potatoes in the basement) is usually mung bean sprouts.  So far we have made about three batches using one batch for venison chop suey, one for a salad with corn relish and cheese with ranch dressing, and one for a salad bar we took to a late extended family Christmas celebration.  We are using the high tech method of a quart jar with a cheesecloth top put on by a rubber band.  We add the bean sprouts and put them in enough water to soak them overnight the first night, dump it out the next day and rinse them morning and night until they are ready about the fourth day.

We have been having trouble with our pond getting too low this year, so we have been taking this time to put in a pipe to divert water from another low spot to the pond.  We are hoping this will work.  Our pond has been looking sad and we have been worried about the health of the fish.

Be sure to check out the new tab I added called "Our Homestead" for pictures of our place in the snow!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January 3, 2018

Happy New Year from Powell Acres!  We are starting off the new year right with our goals for the new year encompassing their own Pinterest board so we can try to stay on track.  You can see them HERE.    A small list at this time which I am sure will grow.

The first thing we had to do this year was insure that our cattle had enough to eat.  We wanted to find hay that was grown without chemicals, so we bought some organic hay from the Cohen Farm.  We were unsure of our ability to handle the large round bales, as we don't have the equipment.  However, we managed to move them by doing some rolling, then by putting a tie down band around one and moving it the last little bit into place in the calf barn by pulling it with the truck.  We had to unscrew one side of the stall to get the hay bales in there, then screw it back.  We placed it next to the stall side (cattle panel) and removed the mesh so the cattle could eat it from there.  In this way, we were able to avoid buying a hay ring, and able to keep it inside out of the elements.  We were only able to buy two bales as this was as much as we could transport and store.  They weigh about 1200 pounds each and are 4' x 6'.

Another thing we accomplished in the new year, was a new pirate sweatshirt for my husband.  I had bought a Pirate sweatshirt some years ago for $.50 at a yard sale and between the collar coming apart and the tractor oil on the sleeve, it was time for it to go.  So I bought a new sweatshirt ($5.64) and cut out the old "Pirates" logo from the other shirt and appliqued it to the new one.   I used fusible webbing to hold it into place while I did the sewing.

It has been really cold here and we have learned new tricks in how to deal with it this year.  The first one is using to heat lamp that we use for chicks to heat up the pipes at the well to thaw out the frozen spots when we lose water.  We have also put in pink foam insulation around the base of the water pump to keep it from freezing in the first place.

Another thing we have learned in dealing with the cold is now that we have a woodstove with a tea kettle full of hot water on it all the time, one good use for it is using it on the stock tank to thaw out the ice so the cattle have somewhere to drink.  Works like a charm.  We also like to use it to put in our percolator for quick coffee in the mornings, and for a quick cup of tea during the day.