- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
This is the chicken coop. Here's Molly gathering eggs.
This is a picture taken form the other direction.
This is the room just outside the chicken coop. It contains feed and other odds and ends, and also has shelves to store canning jars. Lots of them. It will also soon contain lots of hay and a milking stand for me to milk the goats on.
This is the rabbitry. We have the fourth cage almost ready. It will hang with the other three and then we'll separate the girls. In a few months they'll have families!
This is the future goat barn. It has a door to the outdoors where they'll have a small amount of fenced in pasture. We'll add to it as we can, but omigosh that fencing is expensive!
This fall we're supposed to get electricity to the building. I sure pray that happens, because if not, it's really going to be difficult to do evening chores in the winter! We'll have to keep the kerosene lanterns handy! Let's all hope that doesn't have to happen!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Katie's much too busy to have a proper photograph taken.
She's trapped a chipmunk in this "pipe" thingy.
She worked on getting it out for most of the morning.
I think the chipmunk was laughing from a safe vantage point somewhere near his back door.
Katie's a funny dog. More funny neurotic, not so funny hahaha. Watching her dig for this chipmunk was amusing though.
One of the "funny" things about her is that she's afraid of gun shots and fire works, and anything else that sounds remotely like either. Recently she decided that thunder fits in that category. Usually she runs to the house as fast as she can when she hears one of those scary noises. This summer she decided that fire works were actually things to chase, even though she's terrified. That seems strange to me, but it's true. When she's finally finished chasing them, she runs inside and hides in the basement or her bed.
One evening a couple of weeks ago, Katie was asking to go out. It was around 10:30 PM. She ran out the door, hackles up, and started to growl and bark. She ran to the barn and back growling and barking furiously. Just then I heard a sound like something heavy and metal falling or being knocked over (I thought). I told Dan that Katie was really mad at something that was outside. I was sure there was something there that wasn't supposed to be. Dan then thought he heard a gun shot. He decided that whatever it was that was out there had just been shot at by a neighbor. He got on his bicycle to find out what it was, and my sister and 12 yo daughter followed him. The girls started to get a bit scared as they were heading down the neighbor's long driveway because everything was so quiet except for Dan's whistling. As Dan approached their house he called out, "J______! J______ ?!" Just then the other neighbors shot off some more fire works. Needless to say, the trio of curious folks headed to neighbor number one's house quietly turned around and came home. Katie was busy thinking she was chasing the fireworks out of our yard. When they all got back to the house we had a good laugh! But Katie hid in her bed, completely tired out from all her hard work defending us from the big bad fire crackers!
She also chases large birds "out of our yard" as they fly over. The birds are just minding their own business. They certainly don't think they're being chased, but Katie is so pleased with herself when she's "chased" them to the edge of our property. I do feel that the chickens are safe from any large birds who might be hunting them with Katie out there though.
The cool thing about Katie (well, one of them anyway) is that she's never chased any of the chickens. She has occasionally helped us herd them. She's even herded them on her own on occasion. At one point she decided that they shouldn't go onto the drive way, so she would herd them back into the grass whenever they did.
A couple of years ago we had our chickens free ranging and they decided they'd rather lay their eggs in the raspberries than the nest boxes. Once in a while Katie would come to us with an egg in her mouth and gently lay it at our feet. She never broke any, and she would even show us where they were!
Now that's a cool dog! "Funny", yes, but way cool!
I made a permanent door in the fence to let the chickens out to free range. It's patterned after the doors and latches we created for the rabbit hutches.
Here's the new door closed.
Here's the door opened.
It is held opened by the same latches that hold it shut. Here's Molly trying to show the chickens the new door. It took quite a while to convince a few of them that it was safe to go through that hole.
The happy chickens free ranging to their heart's content. As long as that's NOT the gardens or potted plants!
I have so many things I want to post about! I have a series of photos of our crazy border collie/lab, Katie that I want to share.
I also want to take you on a virtual tour of the barn.
I have another recipe and a meal to show you.
I want to share some sweet things my twelve year old has been up to.
So, stay tuned for more!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I didn't know it yet last night, but Molly had already put a feeder with laying mash in the coop yesterday. We also just let them all out for a while to free range. Boy are they happy chickens! We are now on chicken shepherd duty, to keep them out of the garden! I sure wish we could teach Katie to do that job! Actually, we probably could, but she's much too busy with the squirrels to be bothered with actual work. :) If anything changes, I'll be sure to let you know!
I found this one in the lilac bush near mine. :) So sweet! It's being used again today. My 7 year old hung laundry on it while I was hanging a load today. This time it was clean and part of the load I was hanging. The clothes in this picture aren't clean. Dani explained to me that she wanted some laundry to hang on it, so she got some dirty clothes wet so she could hang them. :) They just do the cutest things!
After spending about an hour and a half today just watching my flock (which I should do much more often) I have found out what's going on. Today it all became clear. The incessant scratching (which I noticed for the first time today), the broken feathers and bald rears, the general ragged, fluffy appearance of their plumage...MITES! So that's at least part of what's going on. After about an hour and a half of observation, I've figured out that they must have pulled their own feathers out. They're not picking on each other at all, only themselves.
Dan always says that it's my job to see anything unusual about the animals because he doesn't notice things like that. Well, I've failed my job! This seems like something I should have picked up on sooner. But, now what? As soon as it dawned on me that mites were the culprit, I added sand and wood ashes to their favorite dust bath spot. I really have no idea what else to do at this point. I'm going to do some research to see if I can find any answers. If anyone has any suggestions for me, I'm oh so ready to hear them! Thanks! :) And hugs to all you smart homesteader types!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Low and behold, it made a whoppin' 3 pints of pickled beets! I also canned salsa, 3 pints again. I guess it was a 3 pint batch day. It struck me sometime during the process of canning these 2 batches of food that this wasn't really worth it, at leas in some ways. I could have put these things in the fridge, and we would have used them up long before they'd gone bad.
On the other hand, I'm gaining experience. Now I know that a pile of pulled beets this big makes 3 pints of beet pickles, and that's not enough to mess with. I need to plant more if I want to can beets. I also know now that a mountain of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, nectarines and herbs will make 3 pints of salsa, also not enough to mess with again. Lessons learned.
I also gained some knowledge of how l-o-n-g the process will be next time I go through it! So, 6 pints of food, and lots of experience gained.
Molly found this nest of 5 gold finch nestlings living in our french lilac bush. They have very busy parents! I can't believe they're nesting and hatching chicks already! They're at least a month early, I think. They're supposed to hatch chicks when the thistles go to seed. I guess this year that's happening early as well.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I was more successful in the wild food gathering category. Dan and the kids even helped. We got some raspberries and pin cherries. When I have enough juice from them I'll make jelly. We also picked another 10 cups of blueberries, and a gallon and a half of hazel nuts. That won't be very many when they're hulled and shelled, but they'll be nice to use for something.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Here's the recipe:
Ummm...yep, "BAD" turkey waiting at the bottom. Since I watched Food, Inc, it may be waiting a L-O-N-G time. And ace hardware buckets...really food safe there...but any way, there ya have it!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
And these are the mystery peas. I was sure that I'd planted stringless sugar snap peas, but now I don't know. The pods, when small, DO have strings and are bitter. If I let them go until they're fat and round, they have about 6 to 8 small peas in them. The peas themselves are sweet and tasty, but develop so slowly and the pods contain so few that I'm sure they're not a shell pea. I think I just chose a poor snow pea, but I'm not sure. SO, I'm letting the peas develop as much as I can and shelling them even if that's not what they're for. We all agree that we're not eating those pods.
I've decided that we're going to go with all open pollinated or heirloom seed next year if possible, so I'm sure I won't end up with these again anyway. I just purchased these peas from the grocery store.
I didn't get any pics of the squash or tomatoes. Some of the squash looks like it's actually going to blossom, but I feel like it's too late in the year to actually get squash by fall? One of the tomato plants has tomatoes growing on it. They're about the size of peas today. I'm not sure if they're too far behind to grow into actual nice size tomatoes this year or not? It's fun to see them growing, anyway. I have a zucchini and squash plant that were given to me almost at the point of death. They've stayed alive but never really thrived. The funny thing is they get a lot of blossoms, but they fall off. I don't know if that's because they were just too far gone, or if that's something that happens to squash. Hopefully some of you can tell me the answers to these questions? ;)
One more question:
Does anyone have information for me about where I can find organic produce that's locally grown to buy/barter for? I've heard somewhere that there's some kind of a group that you can pay a fee to get a certain number of deliveries of whatever is being harvested each week. I know that a friend of mine in Two Harbors belonged to something like that. I think I might be interested in something like that until I get more garden space to grow more stuff in greater quantity.
OK, that's all!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Molly and Sam got the opportunity to go blueberry picking with some dear friends of ours over the weekend. They brought home over 11 cups of berries! I must say I was surprised that they managed to pick so many. I guess they're growing up. We used 2 cups for buttermilk pancakes. I used the applesauce pancake recipe that's posted in this blog, but replaced the applesauce with canned pumpkin since we were out of applesauce. It was fine with the switch. I also used fresh sweet cream buttermilk from Lake View Natural Dairy. Yummy! The recipe really makes a LOT of pancakes, so unless you'd like a ton left over, you may want to half it if you decide to try it. Our family of 6 can eat a LOT of pancakes and still have plenty left over.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
In a food processor, place the following (all approximate measurements):
2 oz. balsamic vinegar
2 oz. apple cider vinegar
2 oz. olive oil
1/2 c. raspberries
a sprinkling of sea salt
some raw sugar (or sweetener of you choice, or none at all) to taste
Whirl in food processor and taste, adjusting as necessary.
I'm not often a recipe user, and pretty much just make what sounds good to me. All I can say is, we loved it. Hope you do too!
We also had potatoes that I grilled in foil with olive oil, basil, sea salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and MEAT! Oh, I'm wearing the potatoes now too! They are my downfall!! I have an excuse: I'm Norwegian. Aren't potatoes a food group all their own?
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I was pretty disgusted with the thought of eating anything, so I thought of the least processed, most home grown and raised things I could, and we ended up with this fried rice.
organic brown rice, organic quinoa, home grown onions and pea pods, home raised eggs
It was delish, and even the kids liked it!
At this point, I'm done, because it's either that or rant insanely...
Thankfully, I believe there's a God in heaven who's eventually going to make sense of all this. Until then, God help us to live in a way that respects His creation and sustains this earth and the life on it.
Genesis 1:26 - 31
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
I've been contemplating what God's idea was compared to what we've done.
OK, I ranted just a bit...;)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Pretty cute little guy!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
And this very welcome creature. These three insect varieties are really working wonders! The aphids really seem to be disappearing, and it's interesting to watch, to use as a science lab for the kids, and to photograph! So, I guess it's been a blessing in some way.
Here are the onions as of a week ago. Did I plant them too shallow? Are they ok sticking out of the ground so far? They've grown a lot since this pic and stick up even farther now.
Wild raspberries will soon be ripening in our yard. It seems that things in general are slower in our yard than many other places. I've seen a lot of ripe berries other places. I've also heard that the blueberries are already ready, so if you want to pick I guess it's time. What a great year for it too, no bugs!!
And, I've got blossoms of the tomato plants! Yay!