Monday, September 8, 2014
Good Afternoon from the mountain, I am sorry it has been so many days since my last post. I am desperately trying to find some way to make things work out on the farm, but I just cannot seem to find a way for all the pieces to come together. At current I have taken the largest cow to the butcher and I know I am not going to get more than a few hundred pounds of meat from her, but it will be good quality meet that will end up costing us about $1.19 per pound, not too shabby for organically raised beef. So I will take what I can get from her, as she was not going to produce any more useable milk for us.
The butcher said we picked a good time to eat her, even with her poor weight as the older dairy cows get to tough to eat. Honestly I had no idea. But I am glad I took her and the place seems very nice, it was impeccably clean as well. The staff was compassionate, and quick in what they did, it was like watching a well composed Opera, where every movement had purpose and meaning. In short I was very pleased.
For those who might be wondering why she did not weigh more, it is because we have had her calf on her for over 11 months now and he is a plump tender looking creature who is now near the size that she was, except with a lot more meat. I felt it was worth the trade for more tender meat. He will be going to the butcher very soon.
One of the things I was most pleased with was the fact I could watch the whole process at the butcher shop and was even invited to return this Wednesday morning to see the cow being cut up and learn more about the whole process. I have seen many videos, but I think being a part of it may give me a better understanding of the greater process involved. All knowledge is good knowledge and if I someday want to be able to hunt larger game animals, such as Moose, Elk or Buffalo, than this knowledge will help greatly.
So that is where I am with the first cow and soon the second. I have decided since I could not find a buyer for the goats or the last sheep, that we will eat them as well. When all the big animals are gone our freezer will be full and that is at least something to look forward too.
In regards to the birds on our farm, I have had two troublesome events take place. First is the fly in and contamination of our Cayuga eggs. I have not seen wild ducks, but our last batches of Cayuga ducks show the signs of wild Mallards. So I will be replacing or refunding that person I am sure, but when you free range birds you set yourself up for these sorts of events. I should be glad it has not happened more often. So my choices are to stop selling them all together or to sell them with a warning of possible duck crossing. I am not sure what I will do yet. My next problem arose with the new OEG self-blues laying and me putting the two pens together, what a mess this now is. I bought what I was told was OEG Dutch Blue, they are not there are a cross at best as worst blue OEG. This mean when they breed they can make blue chicks, lemon chicks, splash, or a combination of them. It also makes them less desirable.
Unscrupulous dealers have put this part of my hatching egg business at risk at best and at worst shut it down. I will never make back the money spent of these chicks, the dealer will not return phone calls and well it just goes downhill from there. So now each hen must be taken out and placed with the roo I know is pure and we must wait on her eggs to hatch and see what we get, if they are half breeds, they will be sold off at a loss, full breeds re-penned in another area. I guess I can sell them as mixed for now, but it is heart breaking to pour your heart and soul into them only to be disappointed so many months later.
Onto other farm events, my eldest son was by about a week ago and butchered out a quail pen, so he has some quail for his freezer and we have some in ours. It helps to size down and I cannot wait to do the pigeons.
The gardens are still holding fast, though we have lost a lot of the tomatoes and all of the beans and cucumbers to the heat. I will try one last batch of beans and hope for the best. I am trying to figure out if I can grow beans hydroponically and that may in the end be the answer for us. I have the young tomato plants and some peppers plants ready for the new hydroponics system, now I just need to get a few tasks out of the way to set the first one up.
I am setting up a disposable dehydrator today to help tiny up the produce and I am hoping to put it to good use. The more I put up the better off we will be and I still have pears and pumpkins that need done. We did get some into the freezer, but I will need that space for meat so I am glad for the cooler weather that is coming so I can get back to canning.
I still have not gotten out to the hives either, so it is another task on my endless list of things needing done. When you have a farm your list never ends and people rarely understand why you cannot just leave and do other things. I guess you could, but you would likely come back to one heck of a mess.
As to our dear little children they are busy learning. They are also ready for their first deer hunt and I am glad that they will be able to hunt. I found bullets for their guns at the feed store of all places and hurried myself to the purchase, so they are ready. I hope to have deer meat for the table and jerky for snacks.
Not much else is going on, other than the College and I continuing the dance of they know what they are doing. I am now being drug through a money counseling event that is of course mandatory. It must be done face to face and I was asked if I minding driving two hours to be there. I explained I did mind and I was unable to comply and then a time was set, ten minutes later she called to change it telling me I needed to compromise, really? Hmmm, so that led to me having to take time from my class to go and see her, even though the class is mandatory as well. All in hopes they can shame me for borrowing money, rolling my eyes, they call it help. I see it as a waste of time, if I have only one semester left at your school why put me through it, I will be one of the less than 20% that leave with a degree. Perhaps they would do better to speak to the new people coming in, as I myself am in for a penny and a pound with no choice but to do the deed and finish my degree. It makes me sick to think that people from outside of this country coming in as illegals and they will go to college for free and I must work and struggle, go into debt.
Anyway I must go back to work…
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Good Morning from the mountain, dreadful day, I am up, the sun is up and no rain. I dreamed of thunder this morning. The ground is so dry that even upon watering it, it becomes dust again. My plants just need to hold on a few more days.
School is coming along as well as it can be expected. I finished one section in math and thought I heard the angles rejoicing at that moment. I just pray I can finish and retain the information long enough to finish the class. My other classes are fine, answer questions, read reply…
We have a bit of a predator problem at the moment, Michael saw a coyote up near the house in midday and we are both horrified over this as the puppies were outside at the time. It is not normal for the coyotes to appear in the daytime like that. It could be that it is sick or worse that it has been watching our animals for a while. So we are on alert with loaded guns, I cannot let the pups get eaten or our birds. To make matters worse, our geese are molting which makes them a target for predators like this. Everywhere we go on the farm the ground looks like snow, but it is goose feathers. Poor geese, it is so hot and they seem to suffer in this heat.
I will be doing a lot of trapping this winter, you can be sure of that. The predators have gotten so much worse over the last year. At this point I am unsure why this is such a problem, the wild animals have plenty of deer and rabbit to eat, as well as squirrels, but still they are looking for a free meal.
I have finally made an appointment with the butcher for the big milk cow, so next month she will be in the freezer and since the bull calf is near to her size, we will do him very soon. I plan to put the goats in the freezer as well. They will fill our freezers and provide meat all winter long, I feel a cold winter coming and the thought of being without meat is not one I chose to think about.
In other news I have found a new mill to buy from in our state, so blue corn meal in on the way. They have much of the grain I was buying from another source, but it was out of state and would often take weeks to get out grain and I really do like having bread. So I am hoping this will all workout. The best part is the mill is one of a handful in the States that is using a millstone that is over a hundred years old and that the grain is ground using it and water power. To me this is the way all meal should be produced. I hate store bought flour and meal.
Well, dear ones I need to get to work, there is nothing but work that needs to be done before winter gets here.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Well no rain here, thunder and the sky fell dark, but no rain. Yet is was so unreasonable hot I swear I saw a butterfly melt. Tomorrow it may rain, oh how we hope so, oh how we pray for rain. Our gardens are in a terrible state. I would like to talk to you more about the farm, but I feel I must get something off my heart.
I am now totally sick of Ferguson and the killing of a "teen", first off that "teen", was voting age, a thief and many other things. I was not there to see why he was shot and I am sick that I even feel the need to side with the police on this. I would love to see a toxicological report on that "teen", who minutes before robbed a convenience store on camera, brutally shoving a man, while clasping cigars that he had just stole. I feel that in an area where over 60% of the population is black than a larger number of black people are going to commit crimes. In my area most people are white or mixed with Native American and guess what hardly any blacks go to jail. Does that mean the police here are brutal towards people who are not black...no that would be stupid, don't you think? It is all relative, now ask me about the man who died in a police choke hold, cause that is what people should be angry about, and not so much this. Every bad person that is shot, black or white, native or other is first and for most a bad person, to say more is being raciest. If you think that it is profiling to arrest a criminal, then that is the problem, race does not matter, right and wrong matter and at the end of the day that is all that should matter. As long as we allow race to be used this way, we as a race shall stagnate and die, because there can be no better tomorrow until we understand that we are all of race, the human race, though at this moment it saddens me to be a member. Instead of dwelling in darkness, turn on the light!
Be Blessed dear ones
Friday, August 22, 2014
Good Morning from the mountain, I awoke to a flat tire, not that I went anywhere yesterday, but there it is staring at me from the front porch. It seemed quite alarming to me when Michael pointed it out. No less is my pain than to see it is one of the better tires, that has caused me this grief and of course it must be fixed this morning and dealt with in an appropriate way or it will grief me for the entirety of this upcoming week end. I will have Michael put the spare on for now and I will try and make the best of it, till such a time as I can find more time to drive to town and get it fixed.
I had friend call yesterday me asking about tags on goats, so she could take her goats to the auction. Come to find out the tags are quite worthless as they are not running the health test that I was told was required to use the tags. Yet, another empty promise of safety, offered by those who deem with loud rhetoric that they are protecting our food supply. Fine job lads, fine job…
I hate the auctions, they are cruel to the animals and so many sick animals come through them that buying there is less safe than the bed of a town prostitute. I am sure the prostitute at least washes herself up to at least look presentable. By similar token the auction house does not even attempt to hide its filth or mistreatment of said animals, rather it states that it is all business. I am sure they feel that way, the heartless brutes, but farming is also about family and kindness, so I leave them to their folly of fools.
To make matters worse I had asked another person of the rules which by lead them to think that I was taking my animals there and it did not go well. No good deed goes unpunished, more money to the bad. I cannot put good money after bad, there is just not enough money to go around, it has become more practical to sell the goats for now and buy cow milk from an Amish farmer who I befriended some years back. At four dollars a gallon I can buy five gallons of milk for $20.00, two for drinking and three for yogurt and cheese making. I will also have more time to tend to other farm matters. That said the goats will go into the freezer long before I would consider the auction house.
The cow I am taking to get made in to meat, I will have to study the cuts and have him leave it in the larger cuts, which means more work for me, but also more meat for us. I watched Otto on, “Alaska The Last Frontier”, and he was cutting up a smaller cow than the last one I had done and the number of steaks he got far exceeded what I returned home with. I am not saying that anyone is stealing from me; I just want to keep an honest man honest. This will also afford me the luxury of packing the meat the way I want. I need to get back to doing this anyway and in truth if it were closer to winter I might have gone and butchered her myself. I will for sure do the goats myself, as it is not cost effective not too. The money saved from butchering them can be used in the new hydroponic system or solar panels.
The gardens survive for the moment, though the heat is very hard on them and I just keep hoping and praying that I can keep the larger parts alive for a little long till cool weather flows though. So far no green beans are put up, no okra, and only a quarter of the tomatoes we will need to make it through the long winter months that are coming. I am deeply disappointed and I hope that the hydroponics will help get us through. Yesterday I received the last parts from Amazon and I am elated to get started.
The boys and are reading, “Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi”, in part for research for ,”ABIGAIL”, and in part just as it is such a joy to revisit the works of Mark Twain. I encourage you all to review his books as they are wonderful and revenant even all these years later.
|Barge on the Ohio river at Cave in rock park|
|One of the bluffs at Cave in Rock park and my two sweet boys and husband.|
Well back to the farm chores and school….
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
|I still need a home, I am a sweet little girl and love to be loved.|
Good evening from the mountain, I started on my college classes today, got most of them done for the week save the live class that I must attend at the early hour of eight o’clock in the morning. That means milking goats at around six thirty, dressing gathering my things together and leaving by seven, just to make it there on time. I am not looking forward to it.
I also still have paper work that has to be turned in in order to retrieve my books and in order to get my classes paid for. America that land of endless paper work, it is so bad sometimes, I think I should carry a little file cabinet with me where ever I go. Tomorrow I must turn in paper work that has been traded for other paper work; one group needs my taxes to be from the government the other will not accept the governments copy and insists on. What a mess it all is, then on top of all that, they need me to give them the results of a test I did like two years ago that they had a copy of, in short they lost their copy. I am less then pleased, but I just want to finish this degree and be done with it.
I baked a cake today, just a little reward to myself for making it this far, we are also having pot roast with fresh vegetables from the garden, life is good when you can eat your own food.
I and Michael have been working hard to keep the garden going and tonight I pulled more tomatoes off the vine. I went out and used organic fertilizer in hopes to give the plants a small boost. Hover with temps in the 100’s F there is very little hope the plants will make it. I cannot give them enough water to overcome the heat and bugs. So far I will not be able to put up enough tomato sauce to get us through the winter and no green beans. That means the winter crops have to make, but in case this all goes bad, I have a backup plan. I have been buying a piece here and there for the new hydroponics system that should help us make it through the winter with fresh food.
I may have already told you about it, but if not here goes. The base of the unit is a 20 gallon Rubbermaid tote, or other brand tote, not clear, with a lid. You will put the water and fertilizer in that, as well as the pots. The pots, I bought on Amazon and they are hydroponic pots that measure 3 inches across. I think I got 12 for fewer than six dollars. The next thing I needed was aquarium hose and a two port aquarium pump, and two eight inch long bubble bars, got these at Walmart, Ten dollars for the pump, under three for the hose and less than five for the two bars. All I had left to get was the clay pellets, like you would use for orchids, I ordered them from Amazon, around ten dollars for enough to do two totes full of pots. Oh and the light, I use a very simple and cheap full spectrum florescent bar light, it gives 120 watts of light for under 11 watts, at a cost of around twelve dollars. Total cost for one unit is around forty seven dollars, not including organic water based fertilizer and plants.
The first you must take the pots and trace six of them on the top of lid, then cut the holes slightly smaller than the pots. This will allow the pots to set in the lid and later in the water. The next set of course is to set the pots in the lid, after this you will need to drill two holes just under the handle to run the aquarium tubing through, so that you can add the two bubble blocks in to the bottom of the tote. Once you have the hoses run connect them to the aquarium pump. Fill tote with water and check to make sure that once you turn the pump on you have bubbles. These bubbles are a super important part of the whole process. Once you have bubble and all looks good, close the lid, and add the amount of organic liquid fertilizer into the tote which is now full of water and bubbling away. Now it is time to add the pots and the plants, almost any plant will grow this way; I will start with peppers and tomatoes as we use tons of these. The next tote I will do with zucchini and green beans and maybe I will add more latter. When you add the plants, be sure to gentle wash off all the soil, then place the plants roots gentle in the pot, filling in the space with the clay pellets. A few things to think about, once you add water to the tote is will be really hard to move, so place it were you want it first. I set the light around 8 inches from the plants, moving them higher as the plants grow.
Well the sun is setting in the sky and I need to go and get some other work done.
Be Blessed dear ones…
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Good evening from the mountain, we are done with our trip and have sort of caught up with the farm chores. My trip out of Arkansas and into the vast evil of Illinois was only moved by the much fouler people of the city in Missouri called Popular Bluff. I can assure you all it is less than popular with me. In my many travels across this country, there are few places I will not go willingly again. The list is short but of great importance to sanity. The first place is Indiana, mainly because I spent time as a youth there and their laws benefit the rich. The second is Georgia, they have been fixing the same strip of road since before I was born, I think and have yet to finish. The third is Florida, where people get arrested and disappear forever; I still have nightmares from living there. The fourth and final is not Illinois as one might think, but rather Popular Bluff. This city one a very nice town has fallen to an evil that has made its self very comfortable. Many businesses warn of leaving things of any value in your vehicle, the gas stations are all prepay; they take no cash over a twenty dollar bill and are rude to a level that in many years of touring America I have never experienced. I will no longer even pass through their city, but shall drive the extra hour around them. I would recommend you do the same.
In regards to the riots, we narrowly escaped, by the good graces of a kind and just G-d. We would have driven right into the middle of the nightmarish hotmess that is a direct correlation with the lack of money and proper food in the region. While America is out saving the world, her own people suffer from substandard water, food like substances and lack of viable and gainful employment. I do not blame the riots on racism as much as I do on the expressed factors that I have stated and along with those I would like very much to add. I can most clearly see that overcrowding may be a larger part of the problem. In America cities, there is noise everywhere. There are people everywhere. and I can tell you when I kept too many rats in a cage with ample food and water to feed and hydrate them all, they would constantly fight and even kill and eat one another until the number became nearly half of what I had started with. I think I can see the same thing happening within these cities, you have people who are constantly exposed to large levels of noise, lack of darkness to reset vital human functions, and again the food like substances and poor quality water, it is a war waiting for a time to happen. I think we should be more surprised that it is not happing more often. Is America a racist country, you bet, it all ways has been. Was this riot based in race alone? No, I at least do not feel that it is, I feel that these areas should be depopulated and people moved to regions where there is more space and potential for a healthy life. Of course, many people will say that it is ridiculous to think this way, but it is even more ridicules to allow people to die and fight all the time because they live this way. No one should have to live in a war zone!
Countdown to school starting....one day. I just want to get the last of the classes at Ozarka College, done and over with, it is all just too much. I now know why they do not graduate more people, and it is all very sad. Never the less, life goes on and so will I. I have four classes this term; I have not acquired the books yet, and one class has no teacher as of today. I loathe the lack of seriousness that I feel should be a part of a good college. Sometimes I feel as though the whole world has no order perhaps that is why I cling to this little farm, it is sanity in the middle of complete and utter chaos. When things go wrong here, like the sink in the bathroom leaking, it can be fixed. It is a simple matter of getting the parts and fixing it. In the real world when something is broken, and you can see it is broken, you will need a group of other people to see that it is broken. Then you will need them to meet many times to tell you how it might be fixed, to probe into how much it will cost and what method should be used. If that is not enough, they will meet and vote on how it might be prevented. In truth all things break, things get old and wear out, and it does not take an army of people to know or understand that. Just fix it and quit making a big deal about it, in truth life is just that simple, if you break it, fix it! If you find it broken, fix it! If it looks like it might break, guess what fix it! It is that easy. Everything else is busy work that benefits only the people who are meeting and not the people with the broken item. If we ran our governments like we run our homes, the world would be fixed. In reality, it is all the same problem.
So today I will rest after I get a few chores done, and tomorrow I will start working more on the winter gardens that need put in. I will play with the children and the puppies, because who does not enjoy that? Then I will cook a nice meal and relax.
Be Blessed dear ones