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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Silly Things in Life.

There are some really silly words/phrases in the English language and sometimes other ideas are strange as well. Example... “They shot him dead.” So can someone shoot someone alive? Really, come on folks think about it. The phrase is just downright silly.
We even have silly things in gardening, Everytime I look up how to grow something different, everything says “sandy loam” is the perfect soil to grow “X” item. So what doesn't like sandy loam if you are going to grow it? Think on it how many things tell you that what you want to grow wants hard pan, or heavy clay soil?
On the concept of silly things in existence, P.E. class at my kids' school. Now, this school always has the money at the end of the school year to buy all the seniors a gift because they are graduating. However, they don't wish to keep up the gym floor constantly so all of the children are required to have brand new gym shoes that have never been worn outside for the kids to wear for gym class. Otherwise they are required to do P.E. in just socks, which personally I have an issue with.
Now anyone who regularly reads my blog knows that I am a Pagan, and I let the kids go to a local baptist church as it's what they want. I discovered something that is done there that I have an issue with. They bribe the kids with candy to learn their bible verses, and to get them to keep coming back. That isn't right because it shows kids that you only want what someone is willing to pay you to do something. Also I find it wrong that kids are gaining belief in something because someone is paying them to believe in it. What happened to following with your heart?
As for a homestead update, tomorrow barring rain we pick up rabbits and we just got the rabbittry built yesterday. It has temporary sides on it at the moment (tarps) but it is weather proof, as Harriet and Snowball have shown us as they did not get wet with all the rain we had last night and this morning. We have constructed a new sawdust toilet for the building my and Silver are in for this winter, it still needs a seat on it, but shrugs we'll get there. Granted it would have been great to have had it done this morning with the downpour and all the lightning we had. The garden is still producing tomatoes, cucumbers,peppers, and squashes. Seems we did have one pumpkin on the vine, however once it started turning orange it started rotting away. The chickens loved it.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My plans, Future and close future

The other evening I watched some video's on Turtle Island Preserve. I think that place is amazing, personally I would love to live like that with 99% of “modern amenities” gone from my life. I sit and think on it a bit and you know what aside from needing a well here most of my power usage is the kids watching tv or our fridge/freezer running. We also have electric stoves and water heater. Now when we first got here we heated our water on a simple wood cook stove and only had power in a little box of 4 outlets. (granted this was 4 months after we got here)

I would not mind going back to not using power for the most part and being outside in the shade when working on things that do not require me out in the sunlight. Part of this will be getting my outdoor kitchen built... -soon-. This will be a big plus for us as I could get most of our meals cooked there instead of in the house and heating the house up. Not to mention outside I wouldn't really need to much in the way of artificial light. What little we might need we have discovered solar garden lights work nice. This would mean more wood chopping, but to me that isn't a real big deal really. I can easily cut enough wood in a day for just cooking. It's doing the wood chopping for our winter heat that is a bit tedious.

Our new building that me and Silver are living out of is getting a sawdust toilet, so I will be back to having to take it out and finding a good place to compost it. I cannot use it like the humanure book suggests in my veggie beds as Silver is on a good deal of medications (blood sugar and thyroid), however I could use it to mulch my non-edible flower beds.

When we get around to building other home structures on the property they will be tucked into the woods (in the hopes of something like an eco village small scaled), however I am thinking of making them all sawdust toilets, so I need to plan a good composting spot for all of that.

Starting tomorrow I am going to be starting the work on expanding my vegetable garden. Hopefully I will get some actual help on the project verses someone who just sits there and stares blankly at me while I am just trying to get the work done all the while asking ever minute what they should be doing. I swear some younger people don't know how to take ques on how to do things by just watching others.

Silver made a chicken feeder the other day. He took a plastic pan about the size of one of those large rubber feed bowls and attached it to a 5 gallon bucket he drilled holes in for the feed to flow out of. It works well and I have been able to gauge better how much they are eating now. This batch of chickens just got their first straw bale to tear apart. Now they got it 3 days ago and they are still tearing it up.

We have a minor hangup on building the rabbittry, Silver's toe has opened back up again and the podiatrist has him on a major antibiotic and has his foot in a “boot” to prevent pressure on his toe. Good for the toe but bad for projects that need to be done by this time next week. Especially since the meds sometimes knock him out if he's really not feeling well. Hopefully in the next few days we can get to work on it. This weekend we won't be able to do any building as we're due some rain then (YEAH RAIN!), think it falls under the heading of -FINALLY- we get some rain here that might last more than an hour (yesterday). The dogwood trees here are dieing due to heat and lack of rain. I hope they produce next year.

Unfortunately due to that bad rain deficit, my elderberry trees gave up. I hope they make it to next year. We'll see though, they were going to be major covered with berries too!


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good Bye Crookie

Well for those of you who have followed the Blogger Blog since the beginning you may have heard of Crookie (aka Crookshanks) out kitty with a neurological issue.

Well a few days ago we buried him, the big guy had gotten an infection in his cheek about 3 months ago and it never healed right and he was slowly going.  So we've been making him comfy for all that time.


He was our big bad ass Tom cat who fathered many a kitten and would let any kitten do anything to him.  He was even teaching his look alike from the last year's kittens on what he was doing.  We don't know if he finished this amazing education, but I do know young Devil is very much like Crookie if Crookie never had his stroke.

Now for those of you who don't know anything about Crookie, back when he was 3 months old he had a stroke.

He could not lift his head for some time (a week or more) after the effects of the stroke went away.  It gave him a permanent crook in his neck and he had to relearn to do many things.


An fyi, what we did after his stroke and he was able to see and speak.  I make that statement because right after his stroke we went fully stiff for about 2 days and we had to work his muscles to get them to release.  We started him on slightly watered down condensed milk, just watered enough to make it easy for  him to swallow.  then when he could move aside from not being able to hold his head up (points to pic of Silver holding Crookie up) we gave him bits of cooked pork fat to get him to try to eat.  We fed him like this for a week before he could stand unaided for a few minutes.  We had to show him cat food was food to eat after that, then Bandit the super mom took over and taught him everything else.

Then he grew up into our big beautiful orange cat.  We had a few hiccups with him as he lived.  He learned that "mommie" didn't like him spraying in the house (quick kick to his backside taught him that).  He then learned that "mommie" didn't like him asserting himself to the other males in the house, seems when he does "mommie" steps in and picks you up by the tail and has a few words with you.  That aside he was a very good cat and as I said would let the babies crawl all over him chewing their way along.  One even tried to find a working nipple on him.


Well my pretty boy I hope you enjoy your spot in my flower garden overlooking the pond.  We will miss you sleeping with us this winter and I will miss how you followed me all over the property as I did my work for the day.  The kids will miss how you'd turn your head a meow when I'd say your name.

There is a few lines from  Watership Down that I think have a moment here:

                                           My heart is filled with sadness,
                                            For my friend stopped running today.

Goodbye Crookie we miss you!

Be well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rambling Thoughts

Well we have 2 weeks about before we get our extra rabbits, we have some work to do to prepare for them. Mainly as where we have the 2 we do have won't work for this large amount. We figured putting them next to our chicken coop will mean that we can keep the chicken feed stored in there with the rabbits and their food.

My biggest hope in this endeavor is to have the extra meat for us. To me having our grocery bill going down is going to be a major help to us. I am planning on making an attempt to can a bunch of the rabbit meat in different formats. One of which being breakfast sausage, I hope it does well.

I am hoping that due to the amount of rabbits we are getting that I'll be able to just cover the garden beds all winter with rabbit manure and in the spring maybe mix it into the soil there or I might just continue with the no till/layer method.

While looking about on Craig's list I have noticed some trends. A lot of people are getting rid of animals due to just their coloring. To me I find this silly because personally I am not showing animals, and though I do prefer certain breeds. I know that right now I will take what I am offered animal wise. Someone is selling their Holstein cows because they now only want to do reds. I saw one person selling off sheep because quote “their sheep project is done”. Personally if they we no longer wanted and they are an animal traditionally used as meat I'd butcher it. That's part of the reason our food type animals are all getting food names, so it's a reminder that we are eating it at some point. I guess not everyone can do that.

I have seen people out here with huge goat herds that have more than they can handle because while they are not using them for any kind of food they just can't get rid of them and they are not willing to butcher them either. Got too many buck goats? I hear Chevron is a wonderful meat similar to sheep. I guess it's a good thing blogs are opinions because some people would say I am being cruel, but hey. To me having a “meat type” animal means that I have more meat in the house.

Well I have to get out to my garden and capture some tomatoes before they take over.


Be Well, Be safe, and Blessed Be...

Monday, August 18, 2014

What is it with Young People? (A Rant)

I again am curious as to where the work ethic of the younger generations went. The young man who is one of our intern's over the last few days either would say there was no work he was suppose to do, or that he only wanted to do something relaxing. So to be perfectly frank I ripped him up and down verbally while chopping the wood he was suppose to be chopping that he said was not there. So at Silver's suggestion I am having the young man follow me around all day today to see the work I do all day. So I got him up at 5 am to start on the animal feedings.

Well I did all the work myself with him just standing there arms crossed over his chest the whole time I am going around feeding and watering everyone. I mean geez at least offer to hold the 5 gallons of water for me if nothing else yeah? All that I can say in this case is that thankfully he's not a WOOFER as if he were I'd never use the program again. Maybe when we have more housing I can look into that program and have better luck with help around here.

Next on the list of morning chores after I wake the kids for school will be to go and check the garden and due to timing, I can probably even weed the paths. I have to get some forage for our penned up goats (my dears learned how to unpicket themselves), some forage for the rabbits as well. Oh I also have to go out and use the weedeater to clear some areas for Silver to work on his project for out storm shelter/new well house/cold storage room. I might get to moving some dirt by the bucket right now as our wheel barrow needs a brand new tire the old one is destroyed.

This doesn't even count all the cooking I have to do throughout the day and the dish washing, and house cleaning. Then the constant check on the animals all day. Funny thing is all the intern needed to do daily was take care of my chickens (which includes random checks for eggs) chop fire wood and move dirt to the various spots around the property as well as get us some downed wood that we can use as kindling for the winter. Oh and also bring up the log segments that need chopping to the wood chopping area.

My complaint about the younger generation includes the discussion on what is a proper wake up time. I wake up at 5am every morning the kids go to school so I have an hour of work before they get up to do all the animal feedings then I can do everything that -needs- full light after they get up. This young man has issues waking up in the morning and for the whole time he has been here it has been a trial to get him out of bed in the early morning to work before the heat is too bad. Now there are two.. count them two stupid comments that go with this. First is “I'm tired”, duh you went to bed around midnight of course you are tired. The second is “I lived in Texas I know heat and humidity”. Uh huh, so why do you have an issue then with working in the day time after 10 am? The young man has a answer to that too it is “well I burn easy so I don't like to be out during the day”.

That just falls under the heading of really? We live on a homestead a small farm where there is never ending work. Generally the only breaks we get is in the night and sometimes when it rains (and only for any major project as long as the rain isn't days long). I swear do the younger generation just not think that people work hard all day ever? (btw what I mean by younger generation are teens through to 30 years as from my current experience they do the least work. I am sure there are exceptions to that rule.) I grew up in a middle class family where my dad was a welder and my mom was the daughter of a carpenter. My parents believed if we wanted something we had to work for it. I try to instill that in my kids but they also expect to just do fun things and work isn't important. Granted since going to boot camp as soon as I ask my son something he has jumped up to do it.

We have had 2 young men of the same age here within the last year to assist us and they both pretty much think that the highlight of the day is when they get to go play their games. Now both of these people wanted to come here and explore the woods surrounding our home. Neither have done so (hell the 30yr old hasn't either but shrugs), do the younger generation also have an issue with following through on something they say they will do too?

Well I better end my rant here as I have in a few minutes to go back to working, which maybe the issue is the younger ones think that word is a swear word?


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Birds!

So last evening me Silver one of our interns and two of the kids went over to my rabbit person to catch as many of her chickens as we could get our hands on. We did this around sunset in the hopes of catching them roosting. From the looks it seems most are crosses of some kind. We now have a good number of roosters (I am going to be culling there and I am trying to decide which roosters to keep), there is a few young birds; who keep close together thankfully. One of the youngsters is a guinea fowl, she (I think) has a lame leg; seems to be twisted backwards. I am hoping as she grows she'll be able to walk ok so I can let her loose come next spring to eat bugs for us. We did get some turken's otherwise known as the “naked-necked chicken”. The two adults are roosters and seems we have two young ones of indeterminate sex. I am hoping for at least one hen in there as I want the size of those birds added to my flock. So if we don't have a hen I might be keeping one of those roosters as they seem very vigorous in mating with hens from watching them for a few minutes this morning.

I was also offered to take the one homing pigeon she has. Seems at one point she had more and the rest flew off and left this one female by herself. We are thinking of taking her, we just need to make her a house. I was thinking of buying a couple more to raise as squab maybe, though the birds seem very pricey to buy. Lowest I saw was $50 a bird and that did not count shipping. I'll have to see what I can about getting a few more somewhere down the line.

The guinea isn't the only one with a foot issue it seems either. There is a hen who is missing at least her claws, and a white rooster who walks decidedly oddly like one of his feet don't work right. The woman said the guinea is due to her incubator, that is possible I imagine; I will have to see when we use it. Granted Silver is thinking of rebuilding it so it might not be an issue at all for us. I plan on checking on everybody a few times today to see how they interact to help me decide which roosters to keep around for my ladies. I also have a few that I am still trying to see if they are hens or roosters, as I learned when I had just the Rhode Island Reds and Jersey Giants that the hens sometimes get big combs. So that's it for now, I wish I had a -working- camera so I could snap some pics but that is one expense I can't afford right now.


BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Green" Ideals

Now recently I was asked what my stance on being 'green' was as I do -want- to have a green homestead.  I thought about what this person had asked me and I gave them a simple answer.  I believe in the ideals of a 'green' lifestyle and keeping the world 'green', however I live in the real world.  The full explanation there is semi involved.

Garbage.. the Big "G" word.  Garbage is an issue no matter where you live, a homestead is no different.  No matter how you live you have to deal with some garbage and trash on a daily basis.  I -unfortunately- have a trash pile, which I do plan of "taking care of" eventually.  I have burned trash, it tends to lower the amount of solid trash you need to do 'something' with down to an easier level.  Modern day gives us so many things that require disposal of some point/kind.  Not every place has recycling either and if there is a place that offers it you have to look at the cost to you in gas/petrol to get to and from the facility.  I firmly believe people should have to personally find ways to deal with their own trash issues as, until you have to for a period of time; you have no idea how much of it you generate.

Building, ... hmmm there are many 'green' building methods out there but let us analyse a couple of them for a minute.  Cordwood is a wonderful building method and is purported as a 'green' building method.  Well, -if- you have softwoods growing on your property and don't mind doing some clear cutting for the most part it can be.  Otherwise you need to figure out the carbon footprint of getting the wood for the construction of that home/shed/whatever.  Then you have what you need yo seal the log ends so they won't rot over time.  Oh yes, then the roofing materials and all those windows you want on your house.  After a while the carbon cost is up there (not to mention the cost in money to you).  Strawbale houses, again a 'green' method, but unless you have acres of straw growing on your property and you are baling it by hand after cutting and drying it; figure the fuel cost there.  You also have to cover the straw bales as well after the fact to keep them from rotting away.  Then if you aren't growing the straw yourself you have to have it trucked in.  So the cost in carbon is still kinda high.  If you want a low carbon cost house build one out of cob, cob you have made totally on your own property.  I am personally going to be building concrete dome houses here as we live in a tornado zone and near the New Madrid fault line, so I need to think about both of those factors in a permanent building.

Free Ranging Chickens..., ok I can see why this is such a 'green' method.  However, for me it has issues big time.  The one time I tried free ranging chickens they ate my garden to the ground and what they did not eat they trampled.  I have less damage from deer grazing through my garden and I don't wish to box my garden in when it's easier for me and my disabled partner to get in and out of the garden without a boxed fence around it ('boxed' as chickens can/do fly).  So I give my chickens a large yard and all the food either in grain ration or cut greens/bugs/table scraps they can eat and  I get eggs from very happy birds.


Now for me 'green' principles are extremely hard to do when you are low income and pretty much have a small amount in that income to purchase they things you need to take care of your day to day life.  We are low income and my partner is disabled ( former military and federal) we get money once a month to cover all bills and what we do need to buy and what we can buy extra for around here.  (btw for the one person who once said I needed to get a 'real' job and stop  playing.  I spend my day caring for my disabled partner and taking care of our homestead doing 90% of the work here)  We have learned a while ago that while we like the "idea" of living green we have to determine which is more necessary.  Sometimes not being 'green' wins out due to the cost in it verses what we need to have for us or the kids here.

Maybe one of these days I will be able to be as 'green' as I'd like to be, but till then I look for the balance I can work with.  We eat as much food we grow ourselves as we can.  I compost or feed to the chickens as much of our 'leftovers'.. or paper too; that we can do.  The rest is tossed onto the pile.  We reduce the amount of lighting we use to a lot of the cheapy solar garden lights except where we need "full light" for a job.  We cut all our own firewood, and eventually we are converting to rocket mass heaters.

So for now that is it, I hope this helps people understand me a bit more.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...