Tuesday, December 4, 2012



I'll be posting more information soon about what is going on, but in the meantime, here is the current song that is foremost in my mind:

He said I was in my early 40's,
With a lot of life before me,
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime.
I spent most of the next days, lookin' at the x-rays,
Talkin' 'bout the options and talkin' 'bout sweet time.
Asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end.
How's it hit ya, when you get that kind of news.
Man what ya do.
And he says,

[Chorus]

I went sky divin',
I went rocky mountain climbin',
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I've been denying,
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin'.

He said I was finally the husband,
That most the time I wasn't.
And I became a friend a friend would like to have.
And all the sudden goin' fishing,
Wasn't such an imposition.
And I went three times that year I lost my dad.
Well I finally read the good book,
And I took a good long hard look at what I'd do
If I could do it all again.
And then.

[Chorus]

Like tomorrow was a gift and you've got eternity
To think about what you do with it,
What could you do with it, what can
I do with with it, what would I do with it.

[Chorus]
Sky divin',
I went rocky mountain climbin',
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I watched an eagle as it was flyin'.
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin'.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What to say....health updates

I've been sitting here most of the day...surfing for news on Sandy.  We don't have TV so this is how we get info.  And scanning Facebook.  Not much going on there.  Looked on Pinterest.  Even looked at the local news website.  When what I should be doing is updating my blog.  I have people concerned (Love YA!) that I haven't updated.

Last week, I had a major flare up of my Trigeminal Neuralgia.  And I mean BAD!  The doctor gave me some (great!) heavy duty pain killers and told me what I already knew...I just have to ride it out.  So here I am about 10 days later.  Feeling some better, but much weaker and more prone to pain.  UG!

So...as far as what's been going on....as little as possible! The last of the garden (except the Brussel Sprouts) have been brought in. All the tomato cages (110+!!) have been taken up and stacked in the barn.  40 bales of hay line the wall of the barn for the winter, along with 10 bales of straw. 

I've "officially" been terminated from my job.  I've been working with a person in HR to try to find something that I could do from home and/or part time in order to stay with the employer I've been with since 1998.  Unfortunately, my time was up and nothing was found...and sadly, I didn't find out from the HR person or anyone else...I received my COBRA paperwork saying "...due to your termination on 10/16/2012..."  Yeah, even when you know it's coming...still bites!  And it came right as I was having the major part of my attack, so....yeah, that's where am.  Having the worst time then finding out my insurance will be gone in 10 days if I don't pay $1100 MORE than I am currently paying>  $1400 per month!  Really!!  OMG! More than our house and my car combined and then another $200!  Not including dental or vision.  Only thinking about dental because Boy is 6 months into his Orthodontics (out of a 48 month plan...)Sigh.

 However, I just found out yesterday that I will finally have my hearing with the judge for SSDI on January 28th, 2013.  This kind of came as an answer to prayer.  I was trying to figure out what the next move should be....should I try unemployment, try to sell more stuff on Craigslist/eBay?  How do you legally (and morally) come up with another $1100 a month? Good question!  (if you know, clue me in)  And if this had come a month ago, I was feeling pretty ok, and was considering how I could maybe go back to work, not doing anything that requires a lot of thought or lifting or sitting or standing or talking or....heavy machinery. But now, I understand AGAIN why I and my doctors started down this road.  Yikes!  So, I have 3 months to wait to see if something can be done with my SSDI, otherwise....

I do have some "farmy" updates, but I will post them seperately, so you can just see all the fun stuff!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bunnies....bunnies....bunnies!

We have lots of baby bunnies!  Now not so much babies as they are old enough to go to new homes.  And it looks like 3 of them may be going home later today, so I thought I better get these pictures posted:  Here is the craigslist ad:
http://columbus.craigslist.org/pet/3382802322.html





Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Odyssey of Snowball AKA Wiz

Odyssey: a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune .


When we first got Snowball, the white lionhead bunny, it was because we bought more cages and she came with the purchase.  Lionheads were not in the homestead "plan".  Nonetheless, she came here to live..Man has always called her Wizard (or Wiz) which is bizarre as we are not into "that" kind of stuff, but he says that the eyebrows and hair going every whichway made her look like a wise old wizard.  And Wiz stuck, and somehow we got it into our mind that she was a he....

After about a week,  I came into the barn to milk at O'dark:30 only to find Wiz's cage open.  Great!  About a day later, Boy saw him outside and tried to chase him down, only to have him run inbetween rows of our woodpile.  Then part of the pile fell and an upset boy thought he had crushed Wiz.

Fast forward another week, Man calls me on the cell phone while I was at Ace Hardware.  Using his "I don't have good news" voice, he starts a story (also usually not a good sign).  "I went out to check on the rabbits, on my way back from the barn..."  He saw Wiz in the cow pasture!!!  WooHoo!

When we got home we tried to catch her.  Well, yeah, she's been eating on the pasture and say possibly the 80 acre soybean field around us.  So not so interested in the pellets in the have-a-heart cage.  We thought we might put a girl bunny out to entice "him" into the cage...only to remember....despite the name "Wiz" it is a girl. 

Everyday we see Wiz as we walk to and from the barn.  Sometimes she even comes all the way over to the fence near the chickens.  But still WAY too fast for anyone to catch.  And off into the weeds and soybeans.  I took comfort in the fact that she was fine and still around and held the hope that eventually we will catch her.

Until this past Monday, this past Monday was different.  I was on the phone with my cousin....and I looked over and I am sure I heard her (the rabbit, not my cousin) snicker at me.  She stood very tall and proud....and mockingly.  Yes, the rabbit is mocking me!

And the Odyssey continues......

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Well....Man and Boy just butchered our first rabbit.  I am not going to include pictures as I am not involved in that part of the homestead.  Maybe someday, but right not I'm not even sure I'm ready to cook it to be quite honest.  It's my job to keep things alive....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lots of little things....

Today was a catch up kind of day.  Got lots of little nagging things done.

Milked X2
Made a batch of cheese.
Ground wheat
Made bread
Used the ham bone to make stock
Made bean soup
Put away laundry
Folded socks
Straightend up the living room
Worked on decluttering laundry room
Cleaned out catch all bag.
Cleaned off desk
Emptied Boy's school desk onto my desk
Cleaned off my desk...again
Filed bills
Filled out insurance paperwork
Got 3 rebates ready to mail.
Made chef salads for dinner
Planed wood with Boy for Man to use tomorrow.
Swept shop
Emptied 3 gallons of water from the dehumidifier in the pumphouse
Hauled water to chickens
Gave chickens whey!!
Fed & Watered all the animals
Made butter.
Bean soup into jars. (Quart for us, Quart for Dad-it was his hambone, and a Pint for my landlady who had surgery today)
Emptied dishwasher X2
Worked on packing a care package-will mail before 9/20
Read a (short) book
BLOGGED ! (well, kinda!)

Now it is 9 and I am beat...off to bed!
Love you!  Thank you for all your encouraging words!  they made ALL the difference. 

Oh, and here is a few pictures of my new daily "norm"  Yes, that is my son's Little Tykes chair from when he was 2!!


I made a grown up decision...

...I decided that there was no way I could get the stuff tagged for the 3Bags Sale, so I withdrew....gasp!

And my Man, knowing this was a dramatic turn, told Boy that they needed to pray for me.  Snort.Grin!

So I have a pile of kiddo stuff that is pulled out and cluttering up my bedroom (laundry room, etc) that I'm not sure what I'm doing with....I could put it in the Delaware 3 Bags Sale next month.....

In the meantime...I am a bit bummed not to be able to get into the Hartford Sale early because I'm a consignor/worker.  My kid is in dire need of clothes and shoes!!

We will be going to Athens to deliver a bed on Thursday (and that is the preview sale) so I wouldn't be able to go anyway.  (No, not bitter....grin)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm...I'm....chagrined!

cha·grin (sh-grn)
n.
A keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event.
 
Yep, that's me....not..


Anyway....I have not been blogging as I had hoped.  Here's the thing...if I could find a brain to blog app life would be awesome.  I compose so many posts as I am milking the cow (hands a bit busy) or driving to the city to help my mom (eyes kinda busy...ok hands too).  Or trying to fall asleep....mind not supposed to be busy.

This summer has gone by in a blurr....so much to do and I haven't done much of it.  We haven't gone swimming.  I haven't canned.  The farmer's market has been very neglected as has the garden.  I may have mentioned that my mom tore her rotator cuff (shoulder) completely off and had to have surgery to reattach.  I've been going down to town (37 miles each way) to help her and my dad three times a week.  No, not because I am an awesome daughter, but because I should and my parents do pay me for my time.  It's nice that I can take Boy with me and occasionally do a load of laundry while there.  They don't mind if I'm late or have to leave early.  And I love them, so I really do wish I were just an awesome daughter and could just do it for free.

That is 3 days a week that I'm basically not here on the farm.  The inbetween days I am frantically trying to get the other stuff done.  While I was on steroids, I could do it.  Now not as much.  Right now, I am in the midst of trying to get 7 loads of laundry done.  (And my washer currently leaks....I've been praying for it to be healed, but I think it's telling me that I need to get on Craigs to see if I can find another....) 

All the stuff on my 101 list that I wanted to get done with my kid didn't happen either.  The days of childhood are almost past and I have missed most of his childhood, either by working nights, being unconscience waiting for surgery, or just being busy with stuff that in the long run is probably not important.  Boy is growing beyond quickly.  He's over 5 foot tall (I think 5'4" now) and over 110 pounds.  Wearing size 8.5 mens shoes!!  He's not going to fit in the hammock with me for my 101 list!!

OK, enough complaining about what I cannot do and how fast life is passing by.  I went to the doctor on Friday.  (Both were late by 2 hours...I spent almost 8 hours sitting in waiting rooms or the office on Friday).  Found out that my vitamin D is still dangerously low.  Had another round of blood tests, new meds to try, a new doctor with still more blood tests and a follow up visit in two weeks....

We've been puppy sitting for the last 10 days...but he is going home tonight.  Ah...the buzzer on the dryer...be back soon....hopefully!
 

Maxx

I mentioned that we were puppy sitting for 10 days.  Here is our guest...Maxx.

Maxx is a 4 month old Samoyed purebred puppy.  He is very sweet and loves to harass the black cat.  And black cat loved it right back.  I think the cat has been a bit depressed to have no one to hiss at since Maxx went home last week.



 

 
Boy really enjoyed playing with Maxx.  After awhile, Danny would play with him as well.  Kristl...well she is kinda cranky and anti-social....

 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

OK...to do list....take 2....

Home again today...still have most of my list from Monday to do...plus some...AND a friend is bringing over her 16 week old puppy for us to puppysit for  10 days...so I need to "Puppy-proof"  And the "3 bags" sale is in 10 days....and I haven't even started to tag items....Man.  So....not much in the way of blogging today. 

  • Make bread

  • milk/cheese/butter

  • roast peppers

  • make bean soup

  • make salsa

  • pick cabbage

  • make saurkraut

  • make coleslaw

  • make cabbage rolls

  • clean out garden

  • mow garden

  • rototill garden

  • replant beans

  • take coveralls and Iona's blanket to laundry mat

  • find out what is leaking on washer

  • laundry (4 loads)

  • price 12 items for 3 bags full

  • answer business emails.

  • call Aunt S about banty's

  • get sweet feed and chicken feed

  • go to the grocery store

  • go to Meijer

  • put out chair

  • clean laundry room

  • picture of Danny

  • brush Kristl (shedding-bad!!)

  • clean out fridge

  • straighten front room

  • vaccuum steps

  • Added today:

    • Bread  (again)
    • Milk / cheese / butter
    • 2 more loads of laundry
    • vaccuum downstairs
    • puppy-proof
    • tag 30 items for 3 bags
    UPDATE (DONE!)
    • brush Kristl

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Day off?  Um.....not so much.

    Saturday was supposed to be "Get the garden under control" day.  Worked on it after milking for about an hour until thunder took me under the porch cover.  I still worked on pulling old beans off the plants that I had yanked.  These will be next season's seeds.

    Then....we discovered something on the well pump burst.  And it ran all night....and emptied the well.  So no water to the barn and coop and everything in the pump house was wet and a mess.  And let me just admit.  You couldn't even really get into the door because we've (me and Boy) have just been putting stuff "temporarily" out there.  So then I spent the rest of the day (and man, it was hot and humid) cleaning out the pump house.  I filled up both trash barrels, the wheel barrel, and a huge pile.

    Last Thursday, I filled 12 feed sacks of dirt, nails and junk from the tool room in the barn.  The trash guy will LOVE us on Wednesday.

    So here is my list for today:
    (I know that if I have a plan, it will get changed!)

    • Make bread
    • milk/cheese/butter
    • roast peppers
    • make bean soup
    • make salsa
    • pick cabbage
    • make saurkraut
    • make coleslaw
    • make cabbage rolls
    • clean out garden
    • mow garden
    • rototill garden
    • replant beans
    • take coveralls and Iona's blanket to laundry mat
    • find out what is leaking on washer
    • laundry (4 loads)
    • price 12 items for 3 bags full
    • answer business emails.
    • call Aunt S about banty's
    • get sweet feed and chicken feed
    • go to the grocery store
    • go to Meijer
    • put out chair
    • clean laundry room
    • picture of Danny
    • brush Kristl (shedding-bad!!)
    • clean out fridge
    • straighten front room
    • vaccuum steps
    Here we go.....

    Friday, August 31, 2012

    Quick update!

    Are you wondering what is going on?  Three posts in ONE NIGHT!

    This evening while I was milking, my Man told me that two of our 6 pregnant bunny mama's have kindled!

    Boy's Lucie had 2 kits.

    Mopsy, Sr (my Red NZ that we've had the longest) had her litter (her third).  This time she had 5 kits.  3 black, 2 grey.

    Right on time....tomorrow we should have some more!!  I'll update then.

    You need cheese.....

     
    OK...now that you are totally cracking up!! 
    (Shout out to DH for finding this video tonight!) 
     
    Almost everyday, I make farm cheese.  I haven't gotten the courage up to make any of the other kinds.  (OK, I made Motzerella one morning and even took pictures for a tutorial...but it totally flopped, so those pictures are currently in limbo).
     
    However farm cheese, you can't really mess up.

    Heat your milk up to 160* to 180*.  Pull it off the heat.  Put a splash of vinegar in it.  Stir until it clabbers (seperates).  Let it sit for 30 minutes.  Pour off whey.  Pull the cheese apart, salt.  Smush back together and put into cheese bag.  Let drain for 30 minutes. 
     
    Eat!  Defeat mouse traps!!
    (BTW, the cheese actually squeaks!)

    Progress on 101....

    We're past the half-way point of my 1001 day challenge...gulp.  Need to kick it in gear!!

    Out of 101 items....

    14 completely done
    30 in progress
    57 not even started (GULP)

    With $10 on the line for each unfinished item...I don't have $570....yikes!!  So....



    Without looking....pick a number between 1-101 and put it in the comments!



    By the way....17 weeks until Christmas......

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Our new bunny, Niki

    The Thrianta rabbit is one of the newest breeds to be recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder's Association in 2006. Thriantas (pronounced Tree-an-ta) are known as "The Fiery Red Rabbit" or the "Fire of the Fancy". They have a beautiful orange-red coat and brown eyes. Thriantas are between 4-6 lbs, which makes them a good small sized pet rabbit.

    The Thrianta traces its history back to the Netherlands in 1938, when Mr. H. Andreae, a school teacher, began developing the breed as a tribute to Holland's royal house, the House of Orange. Bred from Black Tan, English Spot, and Havana rabbits, the Thrianta was accepted in the Netherlands in 1940, but the original standards, stipulating a hint of tan coloring under the orange top coat, made the breed difficult to maintain. World War II also took a toll on the Thrianta population, as the Netherlands were invaded by German forces just days after the breed's first official recognition. By 1966, Thriantas were no longer listed in the Dutch standards.

    Thrianta rabbits look like a larger rabbit in a small package. For those interested in the longer ears and sweet personality of the large breeds, but don't have the space. You might be interested in these fiery rabbits. They probably come with a higher price tag though, since they are still fairly rare and hard to find ($75-$100).

     
     




    Milk, milk, milk

    So What do you do with your time?  Mine seems to always involve milk.
     
    We are only getting a gallon and a quart (about) per milking.  I say only as when she if fresh it could be upto 5 gallons per milking.  I don't know what to do with the 2 1/2 gallons a day I get now....good thing there will be a calf to help out!
     
    Here's last nights milking.  See the line about 2 inches down?  Yes, above that is the thick cream that I shake into butter.  Below is whole milk.   


     
    Almost every day I make farm cheese (Fast, easy, and hard to mess up).  It tastes like a really mild motz.  I think I like it the best when I mix chives into it.   It's wonderful on PIZZA!!  Every other day (about) I shake butter.  This past Tuesday, I tried canning butter.  (Post coming)
     
    Boy making butter!

     

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    The new rabbits..

    My Man and Boy have really gotten into the rabbitry this summer.  We started out the summer with two rabbits: Spot, the pet lop buck of the Boy.  He has been a survivor, I think because everyone that comes onto the farm either holds or pets him.  Then there was Mopsy, the red New Zealand doe.

    Mopsy had a litter of two in April:  Mopsy Jr (a red doe cross) and Jacob, Jr.  A white and red 'broken" (Which means he has spots).

    Jacob, Jr.
    Mopsy had another litter in June.  8 kits: 4 red, 4 broken.  They mostly have floppy ears like their dad.
    All the broken are girls and 1 red girl.  We had an unfortunate accident and ended up having one of the boys for lunch....long story....some other time. 

    We've sold the solid red girl. 
    The "girl" cage
    We wanted to get a male New Zealand so we weren't using Spot to breed as he is very small and ultimately we are breeding rabbits as a protein source.  So Jack and Jill because a part of our herd:
    Jill is the broken black, Jack is the solid black buck.
    Well then, along about July, Man decided that he would like to breed Florida White rabbits.  They are smaller than the New Zealands, but have a great feed to meat conversion.  Finding a breeding pair was quite a challenge and Man hunted and inquired for a month.  Finally for his birthday, I went and picked up:
    Lightning
    Lightning is the Buck, Sally is the Doe.

    In the meantime, we needed to add cages.  Man and Boy went up to Manfield and got two really nice sets.  The next day he found a nice breeding White New Zealand near Waldo
    Waldo...otherwise known as Killer (sorry blurry picture)

    Boy decided that he wanted to be just like Dad, but breed rabbits as pets, so he needed a pure bred Holland Lop Doe.  We found a nice one on Craigslist.  He did all the email correspondence and arrangements.  Lucie was added to our farm.

    Then a week later found a family that was getting out of rabbits not far from us.  They had a nice 6 cage set up with all the accessories....the only thing was....it came with 3 more rabbits.  And all different breeds than the ones we currently have:

    A Lionhead, named Snowball (or Wiz) I personally think the name should be Einstein:
    Snowball

    A Thrianta Doe named Niki.  Seperate post about this one as it is a fairly rare breed and I have some more info to share.
    Niki
     And a little Black Polish...that I don't seem to have a picture of named Scottie-dog.

    You would think we were done.....you would be silly!  Then we went to an animal auction last week.  Man wanted just 1 white New Zealand Doe for Waldo.  Boy won a Black Holland Lop that is already pregnant (and due this week).  Two white New Zealand Does, and my broken red New Zealand Doe, Speckles. (no picture of Speckles, yet)

     
    So....as of now...we have 19 rabbits, with 6 of them expecting litters in the next two weeks.

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    UG...poison ivy again!

    Well, here it is mid-August....I"ve been a neglectful blogger.  Once I get out of the habit it's hard to get back into it.  I told myself that I needed to get going on the 101 list again.  I've finished two in the past month, but the ones that seem to be niggling at me are the ones that have to do with me being more regular about blogging.  It's not that I WANT to neglect my two faithful readers *wave* but.....well, you know.  So, since school will be starting soon and we know that means I will have less to do (snort), I will make it an assignment to blog daily.  Gasp!  Maybe do another blog hop and see if anyone else wants to see what I have to say...anywho...

    When we first got Bessie Moo, I was under the influence of Steroids.  I could do ANYTHING!  I even thought I could walk a reluctant cow 5 miles in 98* heat.  (More to that crazy story soon!)  But as all good things must come to an end...the taper ended and no more meds.  That made me just a bit sad.  I was so excited because the steroid had actually helped my Trigeminal Neuralgia seizure become less frequent. I started to feel like the "old me".  I had lots of energy and got stuff done.  But then it ended and the seizures came back...and I don't know if it was because I had briefly felt like my old self, that I crashed so hard...but when the pains started again and nothing was getting done and I was tired when I got up in the morning, I became very depressed.  My wonderful doctor upped my seizure stuff that, though it works, makes me "unable to operate heavy machinery", like say the alarm clock.  I joked about getting poison ivy again.....this was not the intention....I promise.

    Do not touch...trust me!
    I weeded the front garden two weeks ago.  It was a jungle.  I have no idea what I pulled out and feed to the cow.  She ate it all.  Two days later, I had poison ivy.  Obviously, that is what was in the jungle.  So I've dealt with it and tried not to itch for 10 days.  Today it needed to be addressed.  My DH saw my one arm and urged me to go to urgent care or something.  Luckily, my doctor was in and I was able to get an appointment (her last of the day!)  Steroids and antibiotics.  Poison Ivy with an infection.  So....that's the bad news...the good news is that for at least the next 2 weeks (starting tomorrow) I might actually get something accomplished!  WooHoo...Stay tuned.  Also, I made a promise tonight that I would get to posting all these posts that are sitting in my "To-do" so there are pictures to go along with the stories.  I'm going to date them to when they actually happened, so you might want to check back a few  weeks from time to time if you don't want to miss any of the posts.  I will also let you know if I pre-date a post so you can go find em!

    Love y'all!

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    Canning Spaghetti Sauce
     
    1 1/2 large onion
    36 cups cleaned, cut up tomatoes (we do not remove skins because they get pureed later)
    1 1/2 tbsp salt
    4 tbsp brown sugar packed
    1 red pepper, finely cut up
    2 green peppers, finely cut up
    1/2 tsp pepper
    2 large carrots

    Simmer for one hour, then puree.

    To puree add:
    6 cloves garlic
    3 tbsp fresh oregano
    3 tbsp fresh thyme
    3/4 cup parsley, chopped (12 tsp dried)
    3 tbsp fresh basil
    3 bay leaves

    (if you do not have fresh herbs you can use dried. The conversion is 1 tsp dried per 1 Tbsp fresh)

    Put back into pot and simmer until desired thickness. Stir often to prevent scorching.

    Pour into clean jars. Wipe jar rims and place lids and rims.

    Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes. (water covering tops of lids by at least 1 inch)


     

    What else can you do with cucumbers??

    We have an abundance of cucumbers!  And I keep missing them until they are ginormous!!  (OK, about 8 inches long)


    Cucumber Ketchup
    ripe cucumbers
    1 red pepper
    1 cup chopped onion
    4 cups vinegar (I prefer Apple Cider)  
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cloves
    1/8 teaspoon pepper

    Peel enough cucumbers to make 8-10 cups. Add onion, capsicum, and enough water to prevent sticking. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until tender.  I put mined in the crockpot and let it go for the whole day. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until thick.

    I made a batch of this last week....loved it!  Sadly, I didn't get it canned in time and someone thought it was the stuff I was setting aside for the chickens.....the chickens loved it too!

    So I have another batch in the crockpot as I type this. 

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Getting into a routine..

    Good morning!  Well, I'm starting to get into a routine...I think.  Today I am going to figure out when to put blogging back into it. 

    Bess was A.I'd yesterday.  What that means is that she had a visitor (human) with a straw of frozen bull "stuff" and hopefully now she is pregnant.  Hmmm....it was a bit more involved than that. Being as this is a "family friendly" blog though, I'll leave it at that.  I had to have a very VERY interesting conversation with my 11 1/2 year old son last week.....

    I was out and about and actually wasn't here for the procedure.  My wonderful sweet hubby took care of holding Bess while Mike the AI guy did his job.  Big love for a DH that is here for me!  So today I am (hopefully) going out before the big wind storm to get his (early) birthday present.

    Which brings me to his new interest.  Rabbits.  Yes, Really!  He is interested in keeping, breeding and eating rabbits.  There is a fairly hard to find breed that has a great feed conversion rate that he would like to try, so I will be heading out to get a pair later today!! 

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Cheese...cheese...cheese...

    No, I'm not taking a bunch of pictures...tho I should....

    We are blessedly overrun with milk...so almost everyday I am making butter and farm cheese.  Yesterday, I gifted some ladies with a quarter block of cheese and they all insisted on buying my honey butter.  WOOOP!

    This morning I found a blog that is giving away a cheese making kit.  I entered to win it.  (Though my luck with this kind of stuff...remember the book...still not here).

    If you want to get some milk from me and make your own cheese...enter to win over here on this blog...

    http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/07/learn-how-to-make-cheese-and-win-a-45-soft-cheese-making-kit.html#comment-119607

    I'll post some pictures soon....CHEESE!

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    One week later....

    My hands are getting better (???)  Well, at least I can type now.  Holding a pencil or pen...not so much.  We've had Bess now for about 10 days.  We've had bad days...and better days.  The last few milkings I've done without tying her.  She gives me about 20 minutes to milk before she is ready to moooo-ve on.  I usually give her some sweet feed at that point, change where I am sitting and milk like mad to try to get her milked out.  See if you don't take the milk, the next day she will produce that much less.  So each day it would be less and less until....you just have a great big smelly hay burner (although right now she is an expensive, not very accurate lawn mower.)

    I don't think there are any picture of me milking yet.  I told my grandfather the same thing my cousin and I joke around about....I need a full time camera man to just follow me around and take pictures for the blog....and then I need a typist to put all my thoughts onto the blog as I am always blogging in my head, but never seem to have time to stop and DO it!

    So....it's crazy busy here!  I have been off of work for quite some time.  With the doctor restrictions I have not been able to find anything within (or out) of the company that I can do.  (I need a job that I can change my position frequently-no extended standing, sitting, or walking.  Limited talking.  And if I have a seizure-I may need to lay down to sleep it off or take the anti-seizure stuff that knocks me out.)  I have in my mind, if there is something that I could do data entry and have to do a certain amount per day, but am not limited to just a certain 8 hours -so I might do it in 10-11 hours, say.  And I could do it 90% from home....I could do that.  I am working with HR to see if such a position could do that.  I am doubtful.  I have until the end of July.  (Yes, 2 week.) to find such a job.  I am also needing to do my final appeal to the Long Term Disablity Insurance.

    My Man has taken over a lot of the garden work and spends most evenings weeding and watering.  The mornings picking and grumbling that the ducks keep getting into the garden and eating the cucumbers (Anyone need a duck or two??).  He's also gotten VERY interested in the rabbitry.  We picked up two more rabbits to add to our breeding program.  And the most recent set of bunnies are almost old enough for freezer camp.  Speaking of camp,  Boy went to camp last week (NOT freezer camp!!) and then came home with a cold.  I am hoping to get him back into the helping routine. 

    My mom completely tore her rotator cuff and had to have surgery.  So I've been going down to their house 3 times a week to help them out.  It's actually been nice spending time with them and with my Grandfather who lives down the street.  He is obsessed with my cow and keeps telling me that now I need two pigs.  (with leashes--that will make sense once I get the whole story up here!)  Later today...I mostly promise (WINK).  I cook for the 3 of them, then come home and cook here.  Laundry here and there.  Cleaning there...not so much here, but trying to do better with that....but.....

    Typing all that makes me realize the time, I have to get going and get some stuff done in the next 20 minutes before I leave for the "city'.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    What's been going on...

    I've been wanting to post the daily goings on of having a new cow, but haven't gotten it done.  I spend alot of time dealing with milk! 

    And for the first 4-5 day my hands were too tired or hurt too much to type. 

    I want to get Bess' story up here before I forget....and so you can laugh at me like everyone IRL (in real life)  Glad to be of service as the court jester.  If there were only a thought to blog interaction tool I would have SO much for you to read, as the hour I am milking I am usually composing in my head.

    The best laid plans.


    What do you do when your best effort is just not good enough?  Well, cry vent and have generally a hissy fit….I would say have a cow…but that’s why I am so overwhelmed right now.  I have a cow.  I am spending at minimum 3 hours a day on her and usually closer to 5…trying to keep up with everything else, and taking care of my family and mom.  Please know that I am thankful and grateful for all the at I have, but right ow I need to just vent this out.  This morning is a perfect example.  Woke up at 4 with the worst charley horse…this is because of the erve damage in my leg.  Should take more lyrica, but trying to hold steady at 2 a night.  Frustrating because last night I took a muscle relaxer too…first time in about 3 months., also my standard 4 aleve.  Anyway….tried to go back to sleep.  Alarm goes off and I struggle to get out of the bed.  Out to milk Bess.  One hour of milking, getting pushed into the mud, screaming hands….Into the house.  Put a pot of water on to boil.  Strain the milk.  Scrub the milk bucket and then wash up.  Put milk in the boiling water and stir for almost 30 minutes while holding a thermometer in it.  Hands are steamed and sore.  After 30 miles tit finally gets to 161*.  Hold there for 20 seconds, then it has to be cooled as quickly as possible.  Lid the jar, and quickly go to put it in the silk full of cool water (not yet iced as I don’t want to break my only 1 gallon jar….and as you are moving it from the stove to the sink…have it slip out of your hands and crash to the floor.  Scalding hot milk in your socks, Glass and a gallon of freshly pasteurized milk all over the  wood floor (the has gaps that make it almost impossible to get everything up.) SIGH. Spend the next hour picking up glass, sopping up milk with 7 bath towels (that now will be ANOTHER load of laundry to do today) and then try to wash the floor so that it doesn’t get sticky and stinky.  Now the house smells of farm milk.  Then add that I already have a bunch of stuff that needs to get done today because I’m only home during the week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  And  a friend from out of town asked to come out and see the farm tomorrow. 

    To do: 
    • Pick beans and squash, and cucumbers
    • Weed my 1/4 acre garden.
    • Start mucking out Bess’s stall
    • First have to figure out how to get broken wheel barrel work.
    • Pick Blackberries.
    • Do something with the 3 pounds of blackberries I currently have.
    • Figure out what to do with the 7 gallons of milk that no one will drink because it is Farmy.  Also another reason I am trying the pasteurization.  What’s the point if no one likes it?? Really>
    • Make bread.
    • Make a decent dinner for tonight.  Frozen pizza is out..that was last night and was the last on in the freezer. 
    • Try to stave off the seizures that are increasing again because of the decrease in the steroids.  Consider rolling in the poison Ivy to be able to get more steroids.
    • Wonder where there might be a stashed bottle of wine.
    • 4 loads of laundry to wash dry, fold and put away.  I do fine with the first, had to rewash last nights load because I’m not the best with the moving on to the next step…and then the folding…bout 25% there…and putting away…Really? Plus, now both my pairs of shoes need washed too!  One  has been stepped on (repeatedly) by Bess (Yes, ouch) and the others are now milky and will likely start to stink from the outside.
    • Water the garden and the corn and the chickens,
    • Wash the dogs as they are a grass stained mess.
    • Milk the cow again and figure out what to do with that milk.  Should I try the whole pasteurization again?  Will the butter and farm cheese and drinking milk not taste ‘farmy”.
    • Get my flyers printed for the farm market on Saturday.
    • Mop the kitchen floor again.
    • Make dinner.  Do the dishes.

    OK.  Stopping for now because I know there is no way I can get all of this done today anyway. And I if I keep the list up I will likely be even more overwhelmed.

    I guess my frustration lies in e the fact that it’s only been exactly one week.  Mostly I don’t mind being the “punchline” for every family gathering.  And the fact that most everyone is questioning my sanity (including myself.)  It’s more that this morning was my best effort so far and I felt like I was really getting a rhythm and a routine…and it all crashed around my feet…literally.  And I have to wonder if my best effort is for naught….what’s the point?

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Meet BESS.....


    It's not a great picture as we were having a terrific lightning storm.

    Bess is a Jersey/Holstein Cross.  She is 2 years old and had her first calf on March 15th.  She is currently giving milk as well. 

    She is my way of Declaring my Independence!! 

    It was quite a story how she ended up here. I want to post the whole thing, but going from never milking a cow to milking out for an hour twice today....after I fell down the steps back on Sunday and banged up my arm...my arms and hands are too tired!!  I promise a longer post with the whole funny story....teaser...we were the Marengo 4th of July "parade".

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    So.so.so.EXCITED!

    But I forgot to take a picture, so I can't spill the beans until tomorrow.  I know, what a rude thing to do...but it is SO...BIG....SUCH
    HUGE NEWS!!!!

    Tune in tomorrow....

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    It's Saturday....

    First of All....
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to My ReynBFF!!!!

    It was farmer's market day...pretty good day.  Told lots of people about my lacto-fermenting jars and sold two to a mother and daughter.  It was the dilly green beans that sold it!

    I have had so many of my friends (and folks at the market) say "I got one of those....but still haven't used it.  What?  Why?  So I am thinking maybe I should have a class here on the farm for everyone that buys one to learn hands-on how to do it.  It's really easy so I never thought I needed to do this, but....what do you think?

    I need to spend some time this weekend on my www.InAPickle.homestead.com website and get it updated.  Haven't been working on it in quite a while and with the website being on all the information I am giving out...it's time to do a spruce up!

    I didn't sell any more of my tomato plants, so into the garden they are going today...plus the 6 plants I bought from my friend at "Dragonfly Farms".  Yes, I bought 6 more...because I guess the...I don't even know how many now...plants I have are not enough.  But I didn't have any Hillbilly Maters....now we do!

    I'll count and update on the total plants!

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Busy...busy

    Spring, early summer on the farm is quite busy.  We've been working in the garden and getting the 48+ tomato plants well situated.  The squash is in an blooming....

    Our barn is being "re-vamped",  What started out as just the corner support post being replaced has ended up with new siding, new doors & windows, new gutters...whew...it's been 3 weeks so far and there is at least another week to go.

    Then the update on the failed septic system that has not been working for at least....um....3+ months.
    A whole new system is being put in on the other side of the house (the orchard) next Tuesday.  So both sides of the yard will be all torn up next week. 

    I'm thinking by the time everything settles down around here it will be September. 

    Still struggling with my health, but doing what I can when I can.  Finances are still very, very tight as the orders for our homestead business has dropped off (our usual lull time is August-it came 4 months early and we are afraid that it may last until August due to the rotten economy---but praying it won't be so!)

    So all three of us are working at the farm market.  It's nice to have my Man there to help.  Boy spends more time walking around, but he's there to help set up and tear down.  And it's nice to see the other vendors....we're "regulars" like they are so there is a bit of a sense of community there).

    Still doing the lacto-fermenting jars.  Just made some awesome (fermented) salsa!  Yum.  Love the kick.  And also dilly beans.  I can't wait to start getting beans from the garden to start fermenting my own!

    Well, the timer just beeped...time to get the bread out to rise.  Have a great day!




    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Summertime!!

    The temperatures tell me it's summer, but now officially it is summer.  This was the first week of the farmer's market.  Being at the farmer's market on Saturday morning signals summer to me.  I had forgotten how fun it is!

    I sometimes feel like Vinnie in the "Slap Chop" commercial, (minus the microphone-grin)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTmC7UQj7_M
    when I am explaining our lacto-fermenting probiotic jars.  I know I am saying the same thing over and over, but what's neat is that it's new for each person I talk to.  Some of them have never heard of the idea of fermented and probiotic foods.  And that is cool!  At one point today, there were 10+ people standing there listening to me.  And I was hoping that I made sense, and that I wouldn't have one of my TN attacks in the middle of it. 

    I didn't have an attack during any of times I was talking to someone (I had one early while we were setting up-BOO!)  The whole health thing is very confusing.  Just like everyone, I have good days and bad days.  The good days may have an attack or two, and the bad days are just bad.  (Mainly it's the reason I haven't been blogging as I've been having more bad than good.  Been to the doctor and had new and more meds added and that has messed my head up.  But I've missed y'all!!)

    Anyway, back to more important things...the market.  It was nice to see all the vendors I knew.  To be out in the morning cool (although it got HOT!). To be out among people. (something I miss since leaving work-although the homeschool fellowship group helps with that too)  And my DH came along today.  Things have been really slow with our homestead business (our main source of income since I became disabled with this nasty disease), so we are trying to drum up more business for him.  He's branched out into making wood signs (hee hee...branched....nevermind).  I'm so excited as we did get an order this morning for his business.  Praise God!!  It was an answer to prayer.  We are also praying about another call I got yesterday of someone that may want 3 pieces of furniture. That would get us through the next two weeks!  If you are inclined...would you pray for our business to pick up?  God has had our business in His hand for the last 6 years and we know it is now too.  But I know He is faithful to answer prayers.


      "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16"


    We've been working hard to get the garden in.  It's at about 3/4 way done...except the corn patch.  Alot of tomatoes are in, but we still have about 5 varieties to still plant (I'm out of tomato cages-ug).  Part of the peppers are in, but the ones that I'm so excited about (Fooled You, Jalepenos-taste of jalepenos without the heat) are still too small and only 1/2 of them have their first set of "true" leaves.  Beans are in, Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Summer Squash, Beets are in.   Boy tilled a new big patch for the corn this year.  We are trying some neat new types.  Popcorn that the kernals are blue and green!!  And we have sweet corn to put in.  We are planting the pumpkins out there, but haven't yet gotten the chickens reined in so they don't eat the seed as we are putting it in.  That section is not yet fenced.  So there is still work to do out there.  We had a nice rain last night (first one in two weeks) so that should have helped the seedlings. 

    Well, again my intention is to check in more regularly.  There might be some upcoming fun stuff here on the blog...giveaways and such!  In the meantime, I thought you would enjoy a picture of one of our April born bunnies (about 8 weeks old now).  They have been handled a lot and are really laid back....see.....

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Barn Progress....

    Day 1 (5/16):

    The big crane to hold the second floor up

    

    AH!  Taking a chainsaw to the beam!

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Surprise!!

    Just earlier this week, we put our two baby bunnies in their own cage.  They are so furry and cute! 

    Last night while doing chores I noticed that Mama Mopsy was pulling fur out...what?  So I put the nest box in and gave her hay.  Immediately, she started gathering the hay and arranging the nest (called making "bones") Hmmmmm.....

    Yes, this morning we awoke to new baby bunnies!  She had 2 the first time, and 8 (YES, EIGHT!) this time.  They are very very tiny. 

    Spot likes to jump into her cage..apparently he is a "fast worker!"  Yikes.



    These pictures are actually of them at one week, with their fur.  4 are white with tan crosses and spots on their backs (and faces) like their daddy, and 4 look like mama.

    Here is their cute little faces and a close up:

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    More Drama at the Homestead

    Things here have been busy.  We have been having issues for a few months with the septic system.  It is progressively getting worse.  And there is not much that is worse than septic issues....Hello?  So I'd like to say it is resolved...but that would be a lie.  Waiting to find out what is the next step and being renters, the decisions are out of our hands, so being a control freak is not helpful.

    On another note, there is an organization here called Three Bags Full and they do these HUGE consignment sales for kids stuff.  I've heard of them but have never gone  And of course, one would think, I will go to the sale....but that would be normal. So I am consigning stuff and volunteering to help at tonights pre-sale.  I have no idea what to expect, but I told them of my limitations and they have very graciously given me tasks that should not be too much of a problem.  And my shift is very short.

    My mom & dad are home from Florida!! Yeah!!  We'll see them tomorrow.  Hopefully!  My son has caught a nasty cold and I am hoping he will be better (or at least not as sniffy).  We are doing a delivery and then going to see them.

    Boy, Man and I have been spending hours mowing and trying to keep the grass under control.

    Looked at a cow last week.  I would really like to get it, but our finances are so tight that I'm not sure about the hay for the winter.  The man will deliver her for us (for a fee) and she is due to calve at the beginning of next month, so almost immediately we would be in milk.

    Speaking of finances, I received my second denial letter from my long term disablity provider.  The first denial was denied because they ruled my Trigeminal Neuralgia was a pre-existing condition.  Now, they've ruled that it is not a pre-existing condition, but it does not prevent me from working a normal schedule.  I just called the lawyer working on my SSDI, and they don't do LTD so I think I am going to call the abulance chaser from the back of the phone book.  If they can afford that kind of ad, they must win a lot!

    I am weary.  Not just tired.  I haven't been posting as my mood has reflected the soul weariness I have.  I am blessed to be where I am, to have what I have, etc., but sometimes the pain and the expectations I had for my life that will no longer be just gets to be too much.  My 101 list reflects some of the high goals I had hoped for....but then again, I wrote that list before I started having the TN flare ups.  I am doing much better than most with TN, but it's hard to know as it is considered a rare disease, and the only reference point I have is on a TN group on Facebook.

    Anyhoo....life on the farm in spring brings lots of joyful things.  I will try to post more of those in the next few days!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Canning Baked Beans

    Remember all those beans I got last fall?

    Remember my 101 goal to can something every month?


    Yeah, me too.  So with the leftover ham and ham stock from Easter, I decided that I would can my own baked beans.  We really like the "Meijer version" of Bush's Baked Beans, but at $1.79 a pint, it's a once and a while treat.  So I scoured the internet looking for something that might come close.  I loaded the ham bone (still with a lot of meat) into the crockpot.  I usually make bean soup, but just didn't feel like it this time....so....here is the recipe (I actually doubled it, so we ended up with 11 pints and 3/4 of a pint for lunch today.)


    • 1 quart dried pinto beans (about 2 pounds)
    • 2 teaspoons salt (for soaking beans)
    • 1/2 lb lean salt pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
    • 3 onions, sliced
    • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
    • 2/3 cup molasses

    This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

    Cover beans with 3 quarts cold water and soak 12-18 hours in refrigerator or other cool place. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the soaking water. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat until skins begin to crack. Drain, saving the liquid.

    Put the beans into a Crock-Pot or bean pot. Add pork and onions. Mix remaining ingredients together and stir into pot along with 4 cups of the liquid that the beans were cooked in (I used the ham stock instead). If you don't have enough liquid, add water to make 4 cups (at this point use the "bean water"). Pour over the beans. Cook for 8-12 hours on low

    Pack into hot canning jars leaving 1 inch of head space. Process pints 1 hour and 20 minutes, quarts 1 hour 35 minutes, at 10 lbs pressure (you might have to adjust for altitude).


    Final thoughts.  It was sweeter than I like.  It needed more pepper and salt and then I also added about 2 Tbsp of Ketchup when I cooked the last pint for lunch.  BUT...Though it was somewhat time consuming (I've been working on it for about 24 hours now)....the whole recipe was about $1.84 for 12 pints...about the same as one can of our favorite from Meijer.


    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Easter Eggs....



    Remembering the Reason for Easter!!

    Here is one of the Baby Bunnies...now 3 weeks old.


    And Kristl (the 3-legged pup) checking the bunny (Jacob Jr) out.