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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pot Bellied Pig info

Well since Sunday I've been searching online for info on raising pot bellied pigs for meat. Well, oddly... there isn't much info on it. The most of the info online about pot bellied pigs is on the “pet” trade for them. The only places where they even mention it tend to be online forums. So I went around and posted pretty much the same question to all of them.

“I'm getting 5 pot bellied pigs, once I can buy and set up the fencing for it. However I'm not finding much about how to care for them. I'd like to know some basic info about care.”

Well, I've had a few responses. A lot say DON'T it's too fatty that it's only good for lard. Also that you don't get much from them. I expected with a small pig you wouldn't get much, small pig; small meat. Now the ones saying it's only got for lard have from the responses only butchered one pig and it was one they bought at what they considered proper weight.

Now aside from the ones who wanted to know more as well there were a few that raise pot bellied pigs normally who have ALL said... “..if you are getting a large amount of lard then the hog is OVERWEIGHT.” Seems that a pot bellied pig NEEDS to be a bit on the “trim” side. Also every one of these regular raisers of them have said they prefer to butcher them a bit on the old side. As in older than most would butcher a typical hog.

They have all said you will get mostly sausage out of them. Though you will get some small hams. That is fine by me, though I am thinking of trying to get some chops out of them. I am not expecting to get roasts out of them at all.

That's what I have learned at the moment. If/when I learn more I'll pass it on!

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Free is Always Good

Well yesterday was an interesting day for us here. A year ago, I believe we cleared (not completely left some nice oak trees) for a pig enclosure. Then me and Silver were discussing it and decided we didn't want the hassle of a full sized pig, as they can be dangerous and require really good fencing here. As if they get “away” from you you WILL be fined. Wild hog (read a feral) is a problem in this state.

Well yesterday our neighbors from down the road came over and asked us if we might be interested in some Pot bellied pigs. 5 of them for free. Well, pot bellied pigs don't get very big and while they still need sturdy fencing.. and “rooting under” fencing their requirements are about what a goat needs aside from height. While the goat may jump a 3 foot fence the little piggy won't. So we are going to go out and buy some fencing and set up a pig enclosure in about 2 weeks then we will be the proud owner of a small herd of pot bellied pigs. 2 adult sows.. 2 young-uns.. and one boar.

Also these same neighbors were looking at Momma and said, “you know, We have a horny goat at home how about you bring her by and we'll see if we can't get her pregnant.” Yeah on 2 counts! So Momma is over visiting a right handsome fella right now and hopefully we'll get something out of that.

I've been up before the sun this morning making bread and feeding everybody else. I even have some laundry going.. and we'll see what today might bring us.

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good News Tuesday!

We had an interesting morning this morning. Well first with the wonderful ..-balmy- temps(in the 20's). I sent the kids off to school bundled up aside from of course the creature known as the teenage boy. What is it about them that makes them thing it's macho/manly/whatever to go about when a penguin won't in just a sweatshirt and pants? Well, as long as the school doesn't phone me to complain about it I'm happy.

We had some good news this morning. The company who financed our building had sent us a late notice, for our last payment on it. Now we thought we had paid it, guess not. Anywho, Silver calls the company up this morning to tell them sorry we'll get it out on the first with the required late fee included. Company had no problem with this, the call lasted maybe 5 minutes. Not ten minutes after that the company calls us back saying that after they looked up our account and did some math.

They owe us $12.


Nice huh? Here we thought we were behind and come to find out we are paid off. Good for us!

Hopefully the rest of the day will continue on this trend.

Hope your day goes so well!

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

We're Back!

Well everyone looks like we have some internet again, though it's not very good and we have a bit of restrictions to it. A good deal has happened here since I last updated the blog. We bought 2 goats, which unfortunately we only have one now as during the time they had been playing together the younger of the two was injured and died from it. The remaining goat we have is named “Momma” she is black except for a small white spot on her head and she's over 5 years old. The only info the seller gave me on her is that she is a “Spanish” goat and that her last kidding she had 4 kids. Now all I need is a buck for her and maybe I can increase my population. I am looking to buy her a friend as well, the one plus to the death of her old friend is that now Momma is a much friendlier goat that she was when we bought her.

In the last few months due to one of our neighbor's moving away we acquired some building materials so we have an addition to the building we live in. So now me and Silver have a fully private bedroom (YEAH!).

Most of our chickens wound up getting eaten by a stray dog, and now we are down to just our rooster and 2 hens. I am hoping to fix that problem this Spring as well as get out rabbits going as well.

I am making some new planting beds based on a few different ideas I have read over the last few years in the clearing behind where the dome house will be built. I have taken the idea of lasagna gardening,Ruth Stout's(correct spelling?) no till method, and a permiculture idea. I have started with a 4 foot wide bed that has at the bottom of it a bunch of brush and twigs. On top of that I have put a layer of composted chicken manure. Next a batch of mixed top soil and bagged manure. I am also sheet composting on it as well as adding wood ash as winter goes by us. Next throughout winter I will be adding the occasional layer of straw to it. Come spring when I clean out Momma's “bedroom” I'm going to add that too it as well as any left over hay once there is good forage for her again. I have high expectations for these beds. I am also going to attempt to plant some bee balm at the ends of the beds in hopes of attracting lots of bees.

Since not having the internet here I've taken up to getting up at 3:30am and starting my day off with the animal feeding chores. I'm usually done in 30 minutes which then I make Silver a pot of coffee me some tea and watch the early edition of the news then I watch AG Day. You want to hear something weird? By watching the program I have noticed that while yes it does fall under the heading of most “national” news broadcasts (AG Day/Farm report), AG Day does contain a lot of good info about what is going on in the food system. Even more interesting is some of the commercials on during the program. Like ones for herbicides...
Did you know...? that now just using glyphosphate is not good enough? Granted I had some idea of this watching local farms who don't grow canola, having canola“weeds” in their corn and soy fields. “Roundup Ready” now includes something called dicampa(spelling?), my guess would be for the “super weeds” and for the unwanted crops(read as weeds) popping up in their fields. So I wonder how long that one will last. I have also seen a commercial for a “weed control system”, this “system” includes 5 different kinds of herbicide. Now I know there are many large scale farmers who farm the way they do to make a living and love what they do. I just wish that we didn't need the large scale farms and could supply the populous with smaller farms who does have time to go out and hand kill their own weed problems.

On another subject the recent decrease in the food stamp amounts federally. Now I know there are a good deal of people out there who do abuse the system, however for those who do need it; this is really going to hurt them. Our local news this morning highlighted a college student who needed to go to a food pantry due to this decrease. Problem locally here is I know in the county I live in if you need to use the food pantry you can only use -ANY- of them once a month. So if you go to one that gives you only one day of food and you still need to cover a full week because you funds won't stretch that far you can't do anything but try to make what ever you have on hand last till you can buy more or go again. With the talk of milk prices possibly going up very high and the talk of all food prices going up if the farm bill doesn't pass soon... I think there will be big problems in this country involving people having enough to eat if they don't make enough money.

Well I guess if you living in Washington state now you might be able to afford your food bills with the increase in the minimum wage there to $15.. however I get the feeling that due to that the number of jobs will drop considerably.

I am hoping to be able to keep the blog up to date, and I hope I give everyone something to think about as well.

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

Friday, June 14, 2013

Busy Weekend Ahead.

We spent most of the week relaxing as the kids have been visiting their grandmother.  So we had been hoping to get a ton of work done, but then it got hot, so due to no kids we'd sleep late then it would be too hot to do any work outside shrugs it happens. Yesterday we spent about half the day helping out Queensized Tink and her family with a building project.

I managed to pick some broccoli out of the garden this morning which we will be eating with our dinner tonight.  We have been getting strawberries and I've been drying a good portion of them.  I am also putting some away to make jam with once I have enough.  My Elderberry should be blooming soon and I'm hoping  that they don't do like last year and die after blooming.  Now the broccoli I picked today made me smile as last year we had one "make it" and it only got as big as my thumbnail.  This morning I got 4 big florets one the size of my fist with wise.

Our tomatoes are coming along nicely and I'm starting to get some tomatoes on the plants, my peppers will be "popping" soon.  As like my tomatoes and all my cabbages they are growing huge.  They are also covered in flowers.  The new rosemary plants we potted with my onions and hot peppers is trying to take over the pot.  Our other rosemary does not grow as happily, so that's really good.

The roses are getting ready to bloom as are the dahlia's I have planted.  Pity though that they will probably bloom this weekend  while we aren't home.  See we have to go pick up the kids Saturday night.. and will be back very late Sunday.  So knowing my luck they will both bloom Sunday morning.

I have also started gathering off of my "old fashioned" day lilies the buds so I can dry those for putting into soups and stews this winter. I have a recipe for making paste that I'll post when I have a chance that takes dried tomatoes and shows you how to make tomato paste from it.  It sounds much easier than the "cook down" method.  The person who wrote the book that it is in in stated that the point of making paste is removing enough water to make it thick so if you start from dried you only have to add enough to thicken it.

Well, I'm heading out now as we have some prep work for our trip and for our shopping trip tomorrow.  Everyone have a great weekend!

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

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Early Morning Bread

So I'm sitting here this morning baking bread and I figured I'd at least mention what I'm doing different to it.  I am using my sourdough dinner roll recipe, and I'm going to stuff them before baking.  Well, all but one that is.  My son the picky eater is getting a plain one.  The stuffed ones are going to be stuffed with some   fine diced lean pork, bell pepper,onion, and cheese.  I have precooked the pork to be safe at the second rising so that when I form the rolls I can do the stuffing.  Also that perhaps the meat will be slightly cool then.

Dinner Roll recipe follows...


1C sourdough starter
1 1/2 C white flour
1C warm water

Place your starter in a at least 2 quart bowl,  add flour and water and mix.  Cover to prevent flies or anything else from getting into it and set in a warmish place for 8hrs or overnight.  Before working the second part return 1C from this to your starter.

1 1/2 C of the sponge (remember you put back 1C)
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
2 T melted butter
1 egg beaten
1 3/4 C flour

First make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.  Then (I use the same bowl that the sponge grew in), make sure your sponge is in a warm bowl and add to it the salt,sugar, and melted butter and mix in; I use a tablespoon to do this.   Then add in the beaten egg and mix it in well.  Then you add in 1 cup of the flour and mix until it kinda forms into a single piece of dough.  Then turn out onto a floured (3/4 C ) board and knead until smooth and elastic.  Then place in a warm bowl (I grease it first) and cover with a towel for at most 2 hours or until it is doubled in bulk.  (fyi... easy way to tell is to take your first 2 fingers and try to make a depression and if it leave a depression it's double)  Then punch it down and let rise again for an hour and a half.  Then you put it on your board and shape it into the size rolls you wish, place on a greased baking sheet and let rise again for about 30 minutes.  Then bake in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for 20 minutes or until browned.

I have in the last few days bought a few new plants.  a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and a lavender.  I planted them and didn't water them as we were suppose to get rain.  Well the next morning I had to water them, as it did not rain.  We bought some cherries for $4 a bag at the store.. one for eating and one whole one for drying.  I love cherries and I want some for the winter. Maybe I'll make some oatmeal cherry cookies this winter.
The kids go and visit my mom for a week starting Saturday, so me and Silver will be having a nice quiet week then.  Maybe we can "recharge"  as I think the teenager is designed to make a parent's life stressful.  Well, I have to get back to my bread for breakfast.  Everyone have a great day!

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

Sunday, June 2, 2013

After the Rains

We survived all the storms moving through the area.. though I am wondering if we shouldn't call Noah in with his boat... grins

Well I know I haven't posted in a while... using the Internet is just so irritating to me right now. Not in a “I don't know how to use it” way. More like.. I don't see the point to being online unless I have good reason. It's weird.. but it's me.

I am going to keep my blog going I just seem to need a bit more motivation to do it right now.

Bit of news, kids will be going on their trip next week sometime on Saturday unless my grandmother winds up ill. My mother is spending this week caring for her then she'll pick the kids up on her way back home. We're picking them up and getting her washer and dryer as well. One long week no kids though! That is going to be sooo nice.


Well... I saved all those Tiger's Eye beans to grow as no one sells them right now. They all sprouted... then... our “tame” buck and his buddies came by and mowed 80% of therm down. Sighs I guess I'll be growing them just for seed this year again.

My grape is finally grasping onto our grip trellis, I'm going to have to work out how to prune it with how our trellis is. I'm hoping the cucumbers will get big enough to start up the trellis this week. Two of the three types of gourds have sprouted, and my sunflowers are spotty. I have all my squash plants growing, and my cabbage family plants as well as my onions are HUGE this year. The cabbages themselves have not started heading yet, but they are twice the size they were last year at this time. The onion stems are about ½ an inch... those are growing in the buckets from last years tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes... My three little tomato plants are turning into trees out there. They also have tons of flowers on them.
We have been harvesting kale and lettuce every other day, while the kids are gone I should be able to daily. The herbs are doing very well this year as well.. also the one eggplant we have seems to be growing. Our strawberries are looking good, we have not picked any yet as Silver keeps saying they aren't ripe yet. Shrugs I am use to store bought ones which are sold under ripe. The elderberry.. TREES are taking over, they should flower this year and if so there will be tons of them.

I got to try an interesting jelly at the farmer's market yesterday it's white zinfindel. Yes you heard me.. as in the wine. It is soo yummy! Goes really well with banana bread too!

That's it for now.

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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Planting Done!

I finished planting today, I got my Tiger's eye beans in the ground, the cucumbers, the summer squash, and three types of inedible gourds. I am hoping to make a few things if they grow well. What surprised me when I started planting my Tiger's eye beans was that I had many more than I thought I did. I think I planted 4 rows in a 8 ft long bed.
I also had a few flowering shrubs to plant that one of the neighbor's sent my way. My son is going to be working for her and her husband on and off this summer and she figured if she was having my son thin the bushes out she may as well send a few my way. They produce a small yellow flower, and she said they were eating her driveway. So I put them where they can grow as much as they want.
My strawberries are starting to set fruit, and I am hoping they produce a lot as I am looking forward to making jam, drying some and maybe make a few syrups with them. I'll have to look around for a few other ways to use them, maybe some chocolate covered strawberries!

That is about it for now as we are still on tentative hold on house building as we need the kids out of school and a ladder to continue.

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Planting too Soon?

Well this morning after cleaning up some and getting half my laundry out on the line, I noticed that my plants not in the ground were looking a bit sad.  Sad as in drooping badly, they weren't dry, or missing sun either.  OK, well one was droopy .. three others seemed to be wilting but not drooping.
So we rushed to finish off the tomato tubs and get everybody in the ground.  Interestingly even though I only had 2 pots of basil they wound up having 7 plants in those two pots.  I am hoping they do well considering I did split them.  The mammoth Jalapeno's are in with some of my onions and my one egg plant is with my lettuce as I've yet to have them grow for me and I want to keep a good eye on it.  My sweet peppers are in the box we got 2 years ago.  Which I think I said before we are retiring the box at the end of this year and we'll move the soil to a good spot.
I still have some seeds to plant.  Three of them are three types of non-edible gourds that I am hoping to make into useful things.  My cucumbers, sunflowers, and a straight necked summer squash.  I also have to get my tiger's eye beans in the ground once I figure out where I'm putting them.
We've been having net issues for almost 2 weeks and today it just got fixed, about an hour ago.  The service guy thinks it may have just been nudged loose during a high wind and only needed a quick adjustment.  We have a meeting at the kids' school in a short while then we get to stick around as the girls have a concert tonight and we don't want to waste gas.
Thought of something interesting while hanging the laundry today .. due to the fact that a young buck has decided he likes to eat across the street.  I've heard vegetarians say that you shouldn't eat meat because the animals are beautiful.. or cute.   OK, flowers and some plants are very beautiful.. yet you eat them...  Interesting thought is it not?

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden Pics

Well lookie at that two posts in one day.  This one being pictures.. sorry about the quality I defiantly need to get a new better camera.
  strawberryThis is one of the flowering strawberry plants we now have by my Elderberry trees.  Who by the way are trying to take over the spot here. It does not bother me that they are trying to take over there as eventually I want them to fill the space in.  Technically Elderberry is a shrub not a tree, however for a shrub it grows very large.
 I believe these strawberries are ever bearing, which would be very nice as I am planning to dry half the total berries, then half of the remainder will be jammed and the rest will be eaten straight.
 My wintergreen that was planted in the same area is trying desperately to come back, I hope it does as I was looking forward to harvesting some of that this year.  Considering only two of the four plants made it to winter, then the two seemed to be doing well all winter then they seem to have just given up once it warmed up.  I do not know why, I can just hope they come back.  Once it drys up out there I need to get into that "bed" and remove the unwanted plants.
  mint This minor monstrosity is the combined planting of the Thyme,Marjoram,and mint.  As you can see it is just a mass of green right now.  I think the thyme is going to be choked out.  While the mint and Marjoram will be fighting the remaining space out between the two of them.
 In a few hours I have my first batch of Marjoram to take out of my food dryer.  That does mean this picture was taken after I harvested mint and Marjoram from it.  They don't seem to be hurting from the haircut I gave them.  Which is a good thing as I plan on keeping it up.  I have some nice amber glass jars that I need filling and I know about how much it'll take to fill them full.
 I don't think you can see it, but the mint is trying to escape under the tire... My thought is if it does "get away" that's more mint for me.  I do now know that at least these two plants will need to be controlled once I have my herb garden set up.
  garlic I do not know if you can see this one or not, however if you can.  That's not onions.  That would be my first attempt at growing garlic.  They seem to be doing just fine, however they seem to grow slower than my onions.
 I wish I had pictures of potato sprouts, but my potatoes seem to be taking the slow route to the surface this year.  I do know they are growing as one day the chickens escaped and thankfully they were so stuffed all they did was unbury the potatoes.  They all seemed to have roots and little sprouts working their way up.
 We will be ordering some sunchokes in this next month.  We may also be buying some locally as it seems right now Craigslist is full of people trying to sell them off.  I have no problem with growing them, and letting them take over if they taste as good as I have been lead to believe.
 Well that's it on my "good" pictures as the rest did not look good enough for me to be willing to post them.  Have a great afternoon!
 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be


Fyi this is -NOT- my picture... I'm have camera issues again...
  cattail-shoot-wild-foraged-foraging-bicycle-bikeWe went out this morning and gathered some cattail shoots to try. I have never eaten them before and neither has Silver. So we went over to the pond across the street, me wearing shorts. To gather some from our neighbor as the ones we have planted do not have enough of a hold in the pond to be worth harvesting from. I am glad it is a not cold morning as the water was definitely cold and let me say unless you have a dry spot, you will be in the water to try and get your shoots. They are almost at the stage of not being small enough to eat. Granted there are tons of “baby” cattails growing there, no bigger than wild onions. From the instructions I received on it the section I want is the white part closest to the “tuber” without cutting up the tuber. I harvested about 8 of them of different sizes. They have a pleasant aroma when they are cut semi-sweet. After cleaning off the outer section that was a little tough and washing them thoroughly we tried them raw. They taste very good raw, slightly sweet. I have discovered that lightly frying them in olive oil ruins their flavor. Silver's estimation of them they would be best serves sliced up on a salad raw or maybe in a stew. If anyone has an “cooking” recommendations for cattail shoots please pass them along. I love the flavor and want to find other uses for them. BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mint Harvest

Well the mint plant I planted last year is trying to take over it's planted... and even grow under it.  So this morning before more rain hit us I went out and gathered a bunch of it to start drying it in my dehydrator.  I have enough to fill 5 trays, and I added one tray to catch any that fall through.  However I placed it right above the tray that I filled with the small pieces.  I only have 2 mesh inserts so I have to make the best use of them that I have for them.  My thought is that the small bits use it and have one empty aside from the mesh goes above that tray to catch any fall throughs during the drying process.
I had thought the mint completely took over the planted I have it and two other herbs in it.   I was wrong, it only half takes over the planter.  The other half is filled with Marjoram, the Thyme is trying to survive with both of the other two trying to choke it out.  The mint is even growing under the planter and trying to escape.  This has told me that when I do get my full herb garden growing that I'll need to have any mints growing by themselves... blocked off from the rest.  I knew catnip took over, I just did not realize all mints did.
I imagine that in about two days I'll have a bunch of dried mint that I'll have to put away for later, then I'll be working on the Marjoram.  When that one is done we'll see if the mint has grown back  enough to dry more of it.  I do hope we get our solar dryer done soon so I can use a non-electric dryer for everything.

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quiet Days

We have been have a few quiet days here, between the rain and the cold.  My mom has flooding up near her in the Chicago area, though where she lives it would take a great deal of water to flood them out.  All of the seeds and plants I have put in seem to be doing well so far.  The one exception is my mini pak choi and edible chrysanthemums, something seems to like eating them;maybe I just need to give up on them.
Our next set of plans on building things is to get either the well house redo, the outdoor kitchen, or the pipe and wire for the new house.  As we sat down and figured we cannot really do any work on the house itself till the kids are fully out of school so they can help as we have at least one spot that needs three people to do the work.  ...and with how the weather has been I can't guarantee we'll have a clear day on the weekends.  So we wait on house construction till they get out and we have them around all the time.  Silly thing is we only need the "extra man" to put up the rebar for the frame the rest we can do two person.
My strawberries are starting to bloom, I'm taking that as a good sign that they like their new home.  We are going to order some huge jalapeno peppers and some sunchokes around the first and a lemon grass plant.  Seems I cannot get lemon grass to sprout at all shrugs oh well we'll just have to do with a started plant.  We are going to have to buy a pot and keep it inside in the cold weather, but I believe it'll be worth it.  I am considering when we get the dome built to get a laurel tree in a big pot.
I hope you are all about to work and get around in all the rain we've had and I alps hope you won't be in the path of any nasty snow melt when it starts up.

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rain,Rain... we need it...

We do, just hopefully not the severe stuff that is moving around.  My new day lilies are coming up and I have seen that the cattails are all sprouting nicely.  I was worried about the cattails, but seems that I did ok on the moving of the plants, a big THANK YOU to Rich and Daina who own the property kitty cornered to us for the cattails.
I got a plant/seed catalog the other day that has pond plants in it and I'm considering some of the irises.  I would not mind a few flowers there in addition to the other plants there.  My lettuce is coming up, and I believe my mini Pak Choi came up as evidenced by the "mowed down" look they have this morning.
I have found a variety of Jalapeno that is almost the size of my hand that we are considering planting this year so we can make our own "poppers".  I had gotten some a year or two ago and we stuffed them with cheese and a beef/rice mix before breading and deep frying and they came out wonderful. I'd like to try it again.
My grape has flowers on it and the red current while it lost it's top leaves, the lower buds are growing.  Also the Pecan tree seems to be holding it's own.  My mother sent me an early (one week early) birthday gift off my wish list, it's a large Ball brand water bath canner.  To see the wish list here's the link:

It's so pretty I can't wait to get a chance to use it!  However it'll probably be a few weeks as I need more lids to do more canning.  I am planning to make a "stew mix" to dry can as the year goes on, this will be a simple pour into pot add water and heat meal.  It'll contain:
dried berries (probably blue and black though if the currents produce them too)
dried potatoes
dried garlic
dried onion
dried day lily buds
dried peppers
dried potato flakes (home made hopefully)
Now why two kinds of potato?  Simple mashed potato flakes make a good thickener.  So it'll make it into a nice thick stew.  I'm going to tinker with it as I make them, and I'll probably not "assemble" them till later in the year when I have everything setup.  So we'll see how it goes.

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

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bulb Planting Day

Yep I'm going out today to plant some flower bulbs, the ones we ordered months ago showed up early this week.  Due to the rain we were suppose to get (we only got rain 1 day) we decided to wait till today to plant them.  I do not know if they will grow today or in a year.  My cabbages and other planting seem to have taken and this morning I'll have to see if they got too cold last night due to frost.  Which is amazing due to the fact we were in the high 70's the other day.
I have jumped off the "no-poo" bandwagon, Ok not jump I dived head first off of it.  I have discovered that I have one BIG issue with going no-poo.  My hair is very dry and very thick, the issue I'd have is that it would take me a couple hours to comb through my tangled knotted hair after "washing" it.  The first time was not bad, but it got steadily worse.  So a couple days ago while in tears and barely combed through the rat's nest that my hair became I gave up and went and used shampoo and conditioner.
Now I will say if I ever needed to live washing my hair in this manner I could do it... however I'd have to cut my hair VERY short to make it easy to comb through.  Actually I did like how my hair felt while I was off shampoo(s), it felt so much better  I would recommend trying it and seeing if it works for you.  Now trying it means for at least a month.  You may be surprised.
Now I want to mention something about the "school lunch thing".
My local news is still covering how kids are still hungry after coming home from school.  Now I have a few comments in reference to this.  Most kids are not use to eating "healthy" foods.  Also most kids are not use to eating a serving size.  Which is generally much smaller than what you get in a fast food place.  This really is a home problem, however... if the kids are suppose to be properly fed at school. Well, then they need to be satisfied.  i know one BIG issue is kids would rather have chips and candy rather than fruit and cold veggies.  Now my kids will do fruit and cold veggies, however they are still coming home hungry.  Well my son is anyway.  His problem is he is a picky eater, which is his own problem.  If he doesn't want to eat enough to be full it's on him, because he refuses to eat some of the entrees they serve.
Now the reason for the change in the school lunch system is because the First Lady is trying to fight childhood obesity.  Good, however there are other ways to combat this.  The biggest one would be to increase Phys Ed, and making it more physical.  Now I say this because I know when we lived in NY my kids had a few weeks of stacking cups.  Now I know it's now considered a  hand-eye coordination sport, however it's not very physically challenging.  When I was in grammar school... many years ago... the first one I was in make the kids run a track for 10 minutes daily.  Now put that on top of sports.  That would help.  Also saying that recess suffices to exercise kids.  Watch what goes on during recess and I'm sure you'll see a lot of kids just hanging out.
So this in my opinion this is being handled wrong.  I hope someone figures this out and maybe changes something that will work better.
Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Friday!

Well I'm sitting here waiting for my chicken bones to de-pressure so I figured I'd write something today.  Not as much as yesterday mind you... btw in case you were wondering it came out to about 4 pages on my word prossesor when I converted it over.  Looks back a few words.  I love those spelling mistakes that the "suggestions" have no correction for even when you know you spelled it wrong; but cannot spell it right.
I have watered all of my plants that I put in yesterday and they do seem to be doing rather well except for 1 of the red cabbages.  That poor thing is drooping.  I think I know why too, it got only about 1/2 of the roots available when I had to cut them apart.  So it probably does not have enough roots to make it.
We discovered this morning that the 2 hoses we are using can reach everything but... The pecan tree and the current.  No biggie, we need at least one new hose as one of the 2 like I said has a leaky connector.
I have discovered this morning that we have 1 small frog living near our pond.  I hope there is more but 1 is a start.  My blue berry is looking very promising so far and I hope it produces well this year.  It has buds everywhere, it looks as healthy as the Elderberries do.
Once I get my soup going I get to go out and do some clearing near all of my plantings from yesterday.  Just to ensure no over crowding and plenty of sun for my new plants.  I did notice the Kale seems to have sprouted finally, just when I was ready to give up on them.  I also may have one carrot sprout, we'll see as it grows.
Time to go work on the soup,

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Planting Day!

Yes today was my planting day.  It opened with showers that we just barely south of us, and a little cool.  So I started off with getting the laundry out, which kept me busy till about 10 am.  Which is when I figured it would be best to get started as I did not want to work the soil before it warmed some.  Yesterday when we picked up another straw bale for the chickens I "mucked out" the coop to use in the soil mixing I was going to do today.
  soil mix So This is the "mix" I used for my plantings today.  What it contains is:
 Peat Moss
 chicken manure (straw included)
 wood ash
 homemade charcoal
 oyster shell
 leftover compost from last year
 local "soil" which is mostly clay
 The manure and the soil needed some breaking up to be usable and mixed in.  The manure still had some straw that wasn't composted as yet.  The layer closest to the top was this way. pecan in package This is my new Pecan seedling, it's a Stuart Pecan.  From what I have looked up it says that it is a Moderate producer.  Which isn't all that bad for me.  I like Pecans, but I think one tree will suffice for us.  They also  seem to grow to 100ft tall if they do well.
 I planted this one in the end of one of the trenches we dug for the apple trees that aren't coming.  We had to back fill a little bit just so that it would be at ground level.  This little "guy" was a surprise when we went to the farm store the other day.   I had not seen them selling Pecan trees before so when I saw it and noticed the price I felt it was worth the cost to get it.
 When we planted this I put some of the nearby branches and brier into the hole before we back filled.  I know that they will eventually decompose down adding more nutrients to the soil there so it'll help.  When I finally got him out of his wrapper I noticed quite happily that this little one was not root bound at all.  It also told me just how young this seedling is too.
 We wound up putting 2 gallons of water around it.  The peat moss really soaked it up.  I also added some of the fresh straw to the ground at ground level around it.  Just to help protect it.  We had to berm up some of the straight soil next to it as we didn't want the soil or water washing away.
 Here it is fully into the ground:
  pecan in ground Isn't it cute?  I know it's tiny, but my thought on that is; it'll grow up with our home.  It came with a tiny bamboo stake to tie it too until it gets stronger.  Probably a good idea around here as I have seen trees here that are growing tilted or sideways.  I image it's due to the wind we get here.
 Also this was the first thing I planted, I figured due to the size best get it in the ground first so that it'll have the most time to acclimate before night.  That tie on it?  It came with the plant.  I also discovered that there was a second one inside the "bedding" it had.
 Funny story about the ties these kinds of plants have on them.  Like most this had one of those pieces of metal tieing it shut.  On time many years ago I cut it off... instead of untwisting it.  I learned my lesson there... The next plant we put into the ground was a Red Current:
  red current in package We did get this one from the same store as the Pecan.  Now I am a little concerned that this one won't due much as last time I bought a "boxed" plant it didn't do hardly anything.  Those were the grapes I bought from SAMs club before moving here that we planted when we moved here.  Thing is they never grew, and from what a local grape grower told me.  The ones SAMs sold didn't do anything for her either.  This woman grows them for sale to the public so she knows how to treat grapes.  ... but those ones didn't grow either.  That tells me a great deal.
 This lovely little lady has been planted near my up and coming berry patch near my pond.  Actually if you were looking right at the pond from the driveway it would be on the back side of it.  Partially obstructed by a tree stump that we left to use for growing things over.
 I am growing my berries near the pond as the blackberries along the road were the biggest near the stream running across our road.  So my thought is why not try to duplicate this by growing the berries near the pond?  Worst thing that happens is that the plants don't grow huge berries.  Ok, technically the -worst- would be that they don't grow, so far my blue berry does though.  So that gives me hope that the other berries will too.  I know the wild black berries do.
 This one and all the other "non-garden" plantings are getting stakes around them to prevent kids and people from crushing them...
  red current in ground Seeing as how most of the plantings I have done that I recall where the plants are... no one else can.  Even when they have helped me plant them.  See the little leaves?  I also noticed when I unwrapped her that there are some "sucker" plants starting.  If it becomes a massive bush I have no issues.  I want to have as many plants as I can as fruits I can dry or can.  Canning as jams and just syruped fruit.
 Before anyone asked, no I have not had currents as of yet.  However I have not tried a berry that I didn't like as of yet.  Besides if they are dried and mixed with other fruits, I doubt that if I don't like them that I would notice the flavor much.  Especially if I mix them with strawberries.
 Speaking of which, they are doing very well I  am hoping to take a few pics for my next posting.
 Now here is something interesting to note.. while the Pecan is on one side of where the house will be and the current is by the pond, the next plant is going near the pecan.  However I planted it 3rd.  The reason is, we needed to gather a bit more compost so as we had to go close to where the current was going to be planted we just did it while there.
 The next plant?  Why that's my White Niagara Grape:
  white Niagara grape in package I had to take a picture of this one on the table as  with all that growth I didn't dare put it in the wheel barrow to do so.  Yes, another "boxed" plant.  My thoughts however in this case is that with that much growth (including the starts of 3 bunches) It may do very well.
 This one is being planted right next to where my outdoor kitchen is going, it is going to be trained up the side with a goat panel.  We still need to get said goat panel.  This way we'll have a nice green screen on one wall of the outdoor kitchen.  It'll also benefit the grape as that spot gets a great deal of sun.
 Tomorrow I need to go back and do some trimming around it, as I didn't have time to as yet.  I'm sure the bramble won't choke it just yet.  It has a "hook" on the stem that we pointed so that it is growing in the right direction from the start.
 Lets just hope if it grows well in the next month I won't have to do much prying to get it where I want it.  As from what I hear it's not easy getting a wayward grape to go in the right direction if it gets too big.  These first three plants were all bought at the same store, the grape is what decided me to get any plants.  As I could not pass up how healthy this one was.
 So we had the hole for this one dug well before planting as Silver dug it while I was prepping for the current. whit niagara grape in ground The funny thing is the rest of my plantings were harder in some ways than planting these three plants.  We moved on to the garden next.
 What we did first however was to make a barrow full of the soil mix and dumped it on the spot that I had planted the Rhubarb that hasn't shown signs of life.  We planted some horseradish in this. After which we both figured out we might want to get the hose out and set it up to use.  AS it would be a big pain to water in the garden with jugs and buckets.
 We have 2 good hoses and 2 bad ones, or more like 2 "useable" ones and 2 bad ones.  I say "useable" as one of them leaks like a sieve at the connection point.  Other than that it may last the year.
 We moved onto my "middle" bed in the garden, and while Silver wrestled with the hoses I loosened the top soil.  I had to use my pickax for it.
  cabbage plants The track hoe tore up half the soil in the bed so I had to loosen it all up and respread it.  I also added a little bit of the soil mix to help add more to the soil.  These are my 12 cabbages.  They are on the outside of the bed.
 I am planning on putting 2 squash plants in the center when they can be planted.  My thoughts are that the cabbages will help keep the soil cool if we have another bad heat year.  The squash will also help the cabbages in the same manner.
 What I did with the plantings is I went one green one red all around the edge of the planting bed.  I then planted onions between each one, and a line of "spring onions  inside the bed from the cabbages.
 These were plants that were grown locally by a nearby nursery, the only thing I didn't like was that they were grown in a carton that all the roots grow together.  So I had to cut the plants out. cabbages in ground This is what the bed looked like when I finished with it.  I took the picture when I was watering the bed.  I also watered the potatoes when I was out there as they looked a little dry.
 When I was setting up the bed I had to remove a bunch of clover, which my ladies were very happy.  I'd say about 3 pounds of clover to them to inhale.  Which is what they did.
 I know my soil is getting very good now as when I had to dig it up some I found tons of worms in it.  SO I must be doing something right. After finishing all of this I went up front and after making lunch I cleared another of the tires and planted my garlic in it.  We have yet to grow it, so I am hoping it does well.
 We moved onto the sprouts and broccoli next.
  broccli I reused the buckets from last year's tomatoes with the sprouts and the broccoli as well as the remainder of the ONION and the rosemary.  I capitalized the onions as again I bought way to many so I have onions growing every where right now.
 I have 5 of these "supplement" buckets, these are buckets where the farm stores sell a feed supplement to farmers.  They sometimes bring them back to the farm stores and then they in turn resell them for people to use to plant in.
 I have noticed if you need to cut up your plants it's best to let them get a little dry first as I don't recommend cutting them when they are wet.  It's like cutting paper when they are a little dry.
 Our Rosemary is 2 pots of three plants in each pot so we are hoping they grow big, and together. I had one more thing to plant.
  tulips Tulips!
 I like Tulips, I have as yet to plant some before now.  These I bought "spent" for $1 at Walmart before they would be tossed out.  The cashier was happy to see someone buy them.  As you can just plant them in your yard after they stop blooming.
 Each pot had 6-8 bulbs in them, also a few of them had baby bulbs growing.  I had 5 pots worth of them.  I planted 2 pots up by our house sign, 2 pots by my rose, and one pot by the pond.
 So I finished at about 2:30pm so I spent hours planting.  My feet hurt as does my back.. but it's a HAPPY hurt.  I accomplished something today, getting my plants in.  Silver also set out the boards we bought yesterday to plan out our bigger well house and where the floor of the outdoor kitchen will be.  We had to buy pressure treated as they were cheaper than landscape timbers.
 Yesterday if you didn't figure it out Silver got out Wheel barrow fixed.  We had to buy an inner tube that was bigger than the one that was on it.  However it worked and now we have a wheel barrow again.
 That's my fun and busy day, I have to post my pics on pintrest then I will be making dinner!
 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Plants!

I have some new "babies" that I'll be planting on Thursday provided the weather is good.  Yesterday we picked up 12 cabbages, 6 broccoli  and 6 sprouts.  I also picked up more onions to grow, some to be just "spring onions" some crosses fingers to be stored onions.  I checked the strawberry plants and they seem to be doing well and have new growth and almost all of them. 
Today we picked up a few more plants... We almost picked up chicks, but they didn't have any that I wanted in the shop we were in.  I still would prefer to get my new chicks from the hatchery, but if I can get the ones I want cheaper at a store then I will.  I did get a very nice looking green grape, that has what appears to be some bunches already starting on it.  I am planning on putting it next to where my outdoor kitchen is going to go.  This way I can have it grow to cover one "wall" in it.  I found a red current and I am hoping it does better than the black currents that I kept buying.. and died. 
We found some small rosemary plants and as it seems that ours may not have survived the winter we got two of them.  We picked up some  garlic and some horseradish as well.  Now my big surprise was find pecan seedlings there.  I like pecans, and I was very happy to see them in the farm store as it will probably take a few years for this one to produce.  It's about 9 inches tall not counting the root system.  I can't wait till the next no stormy day so I can get all these out and in the ground.. Thursday is the most likely of days for that it appears based on the weather pattern we have coming through. 
I am planning on getting pictures of all of them once I can, the light isn't what I'd like for it right now.  ...and it's COLD outside today.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Strawberry Day

Yep, today is the day to plant...
  looks outside
 ...ummm MUD my strawberry plants in.
  strawberry plant This is one of my little strawberry babies, I have 50 of these.  My thought(s)?  If I have issues with them growing at least some should do Ok, right?  The two worst case scenario's are:
 #1 they all die
 #2 they all produce
 I just don't see with #2 that being a problem and if #1 happens... well then I learned something.  It took me about an hour to plant them all in the mud.  I put them in today as we are due to spend the rest of the week in RAIN.  Fun for us yes?  However I can't leave the poor things in their box for a week or more, they would die.  So I went out today and mudded them in.  About half of the little plants had really good crowns on them really think, a few were pretty small.  So we'll see.  
   I planted them in our old onion bed that the Elderberry trees are planted on both ends of.
  strawberry patch You can if you look very closely the escapee onions that we have growing there.  My thoughts at having the plants there with the Elderberry is that they will become the ground cover for the trees (shrubs, elderberry are tech shrubs).  I know the ground there is very good as it's full of worms and we already have things growing in the soil there, besides the onions.
 From what I have read over the years you should let the plants not produce the first year after you plant them.  I am debating this as I know the strawberry farms harvest yearly including the first year.  Anyone have some suggestions?   My Elderberries have been doing wonderfully since they were planted where they are, I think due to 2 reasons.  First is that they were grown locally, also Elderberry plants grow here naturally.  They have been sending out "suckers" too.
  elderberry 2013 tall This is the taller of the two "trees" see near the base?  that is the "sucker" plant.  Elderberry is one of those that can reproduce by suckers, or plants growing off of roots that grow near the surface.  There are quite a few of them around the "trees"  I do not know how fast they grow, I do know that they are going eventually I should be able to have tons of elderwine, and cough syrup.
 I was covered with mud when I was done with that planting, and when I was done needed a good bath.  
   I need to run for now I have to post these pics to pintrest and start on dinner, have a wonderful evening everyone!
 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Musings

Well, it's been a wet couple of days here. ..wet and cold, we've had rain,snow, sleet all in the last few days. Fun times! (my sarcasm over bounds) I am hoping the weather will be good Monday as our strawberry plants arrived and I need to get them into the ground soon. I am hoping to get pictures of them.

I've been downloading some info on various wildcrafting methods in the hopes of broadening my skills a tad more. Some are about making primitive tools, which I do find fascinating. So we will have those things to work on as well.

Soapbox time...

I had received on one of my posts the other day a message from “Heather” to email her as she wanted to talk to me about something. Now what happened after has me slightly annoyed.

#1 her name is Heather Von St. James
Good, so I have a name yes? Well there is more...

#2 She sent me a “canned” email asking me to post her story on my blog.
Which outwardly I have no issues with, however I did a bit more digging and sent another email asking a few questions about her as person. As I will not post about someone's story without knowing what kind of person they are. Just telling me you survived mesothelioma won't get me to post your story. Even telling me your daughter has it won't get me to either.

#3 She has through whatever method this is she contacts people she has at least 100 private blogs posting her story.
Ok, so again we fall to a question I sent her.. why my blog? I have a small amount of followers on my blog, so why would someone who needs to get info out about mesothelioma use me to do so? Doesn't make much sense to me.

#4 She has a facebook page and a Twitter feed.
This tells me she can reach millions of people is she truly wished to. Again why my blog? So I sent her a facebook message to her asking the same message I emailed her with.

#5 Upon digging deeper I have found out she herself has through lawsuits gained $5mil due to lost wages and medical bills.
Well in my opinion, if she has gained that much money she does not need my help gaining any more money. If she wants money for mesothelioma research then she should send me a message saying that. Not sending me a message saying she is trying to gain money for her daughter. Why not put aside some of her money just for medical expenses for both her and her daughter? Makes more sense to me.

#6 If you wish to make someone pay for what they did for you, do more than hit them in a pocket book.
Besides, the people who made the materials that did this nasty thing to them are probably not being bothered by it. Also, the biggest issues with it is if things are tested more/longer then maybe they will learn that the “thing” is bad and not use it.

Now go back to #2, I sent the email early this week. I still am waiting a reply. Same for the Facebook message, and I know she has her facebook page very active. So my guess is she doesn't truly care if I post her story or not. Now digging I found out that people call Heather the voice of mesothelioma good, they need a voice. However, a good voice would be very concerned if their message got out to all the people they contact. Not send one canned message and then ignore them.

Just wanted to put all this info out to everyone out there, just so that if you get the “hey email me I want to ask you something about your blog” message you you have info to look back at and make a informed decision based on more than just a canned email.

Now it's time for me to step off my soap box and finish breakfast.
Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First day of Spring!

Well it's a lovely cold morning, so nice to have to light a fire on the first day of spring... yeah ...  Anyway. not much going on with the weather not co-operating.  WE have a winter storm warning which starts  I did manage to get something done yesterday, besides laundry.

I went out and first I fluffed up the potato patch and then I planted my seed potatoes (we didn't manage to get the sun chokes again).  The one red potato I planted last fall is starting to  grow as well.  I did have a surprise when I got out the seed potatoes, they had all sprouted and had roots on them already.  So on the few I had to cut down to be smaller I cut them so that they would all have some actual roots on them.

Had some good news from the weather people the other day, due to all the precipitation we have gotten ourselves out of the "severe drought", and are now just listed as "dry"; I am hoping pretty soon we'll be past that too.
A friend of our's Mark Cheneil writer of the "Missouri Journal"  over on is in the hospital, we all wish him good health; and to get well.

That's it for now...

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

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March is almost halfway over!

Well it is...
 I have managed to do a tiny amount of work outside today, starting with some clean up from wind blown trash. After that me and Silver went across the road for a bucket of pond water and were pleasantly surprised to see a frog swimming in the neighbor's pond already. Considering we have at least one more near freezing night coming up it was very nice to see.
 We did get the water for our pond so as to add the microbes and the diatoms that appear locally from a healthy pond. I haven't dug up cat tail roots as yet though. It might not happen till sometime next week. I haven't even seen shoots coming up yet in that pond.
   I then went to start moving the mountain of mud/clay from around the pond. Big problem with this is. Both our wheel barrows are minus a wheel, and on the one we cannot remove the old one so we can't replace it. The other .. well we can't seem to find a replacement for it.
   So I am moving them by the 5 gallon bucketful. So the second issue is where to put the stuff. Well I do kinda have one place that does need some dirt. That would be where we put the ash from the trash burning, if I cover it with the dirt I can put grass over it and it'll slowly decompose. As it's in a dedicated place it won't interfere with anything else we are doing. I have mentioned this before also.. trash has to be gotten rid of some how.. I'd rather have to deal with my trash that can't be composted rather than send it off to a miles high landfill. I am tech composting this “stuff” but it takes a bit more to do and I have no plans on using the leavings after the fact.
 After I got worn out from the dirt moving I decided to attempt to do some out door plantings. I have planted some short carrots and some kale in the box that I picked up for free. It now has “black gold” in it, the soil is perfect; which is why I planted the carrots in it. At the end of the season this year I will have to find a good home for the dirt in it.
  planting box 3-14-2013 Now I also planted in two of the cut out used tires I set up last year. The soil in these while better than just the ground is here still needs a tad bit of work so I went over to the old compost site and dug out what I could of the left overs that were usable. There is a bit of paper and sticks still in it, but it's going down.    
     I took that which filled a 5 gallon bucket about ½ way, and what was left of the starting mix and some wet ashes and added that to the soil in the tires. I did notice when I was mixing it in that there are more worms in those tires than I thought there would be. So the tire closest to the door got some of what was left of my Red Fire Lettuce. It is a red leaf lettuce that we do enjoy. I only planted that in there as I am going to attempt to grow the bushel gourds in that tire this year as I have still to get them to grow for me at all. Since the luffas liked the soil so much it may be possible that the bushels will too. tire by door The second tire got mini Pak Choy and edible Chrysanthemum. Done half on one side half on the other. I am really hoping they both do well there.

 I do have some “bad” news.. I'm not getting my apple trees and it's my own fault. I didn't notice on the receipt (especially since according to our transactions in our account it already went through) that payment won't be billed till they send it. So I had to cancel them, my only issue there is the person on the other end of the line got very pissy once they found out I was canceling the order. Shrugs Go figure, guess they don't like dealing with people who always have money. If I had noticed that on the receipt the money would have been there.
   tire 2 Well need to go for now as I have dishes.. then I have to go bathe this mud off me as the girls have a concert tonight.    
 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Family Problems

Fun times, fun times indeed...   My grandmother last year was initially diagnosed with throat cancer.   Now this came on as a surprise to her supposedly.  However since the tumor at the times was very large I don't think it came on suddenly.  I believe she just ignored it.  Half of her throat was gone when the disease was "discovered"  it had spread badly enough that it had gotten into her mouth.  She was on a feeding tube and medicines for months.  
Then out of the blue my one aunt told my mother that my grandmother was cured of it.  Not remission, which as far as I knew is all that can happen with cancer; except in very rare cases.  Also my grandmother is worse than a chain smoker and drinks her breakfast, so... eeehhhh... I don't think it was "cured".

My proof...?

I got a call last night from my mom saying she is going to be in the area next week as my grandmother is now dieing of her throat cancer that my aunt told the family she was cured of.  Seems when my grandmother left the hospital, got her feeding tube removed she went right back to smoking.
I guess the one "upside" of this is at least it's as smoking cancer.. and not some other kind; and I don't smoke. Yes I realize that cancer of any kind is not good, but this is my effort of finding an upside to anything.
That's it for now... sighs

BE Well. Be Safe,  and Blessed Be...