So here is what it’s all about. For one year we will make our lives a bit more public in order to share what is it is like living on a small family farm in rural America. You will share in our real world, uncensored. You will see how we do what we do, how we live, how we make ends meet or not, what we eat, what we raise, in general how we live. You can ask us questions, we reply back in the blog.
So the apricot tree bore fruit after only 9 or so years.
We got about 90 or so pieces of fruit that we shared with the insects and our pigs.
Big, meaty and beautiful, maybe next year we will have some to share.
I processed it all yesterday, except for this handful posted for your delight.
These are the fish the boys caught during the fishing tournament in Mammoth Spring, near dam 3. I would personally like to thank everyone who volunteered and worked so hard to give all the kids of our community a fantastic day fishing. A special thanks to Tommy Garner who helped to put a hook on Elijah's pole for us. Our boys had a great time and are learning to love fishing, we could not be any happier!
This is Michael, teaching the boys how to clean their fish.
Other than this we have been getting the gardens planted. We have planted the last of the peppers, still have some black tomatoes to get into the ground and some more beans.
We got a new electric canner that should help with the canning and the heat it puts off. However if you are getting one, I can tell you not to buy the Power Pressure Cooker XL. This company sells this item as a canner/cooker however they do not have all the parts with it to make it work as a canner out of the box. When you call their number you will get a call center in India whose workers are less than helpful. I was told to go to their website and buy the rack, I asked the man who would buy a canner without a rack and to my demise he said I did. Hmmm, well ok, so I will make the part, which I did, not buying anything else for the canner. He did feel the need to tell me about the great free gift they put in the box with the canner, a chopper. I said you can keep the chopper I would have welcomed the rack for the canner. Oh well...you live you learn!
In the end, I made my own rack using a slicing disk from a dead food processor and a stainless steel triviot. I had to have Michael break the black plastic off of it, but that's cool. I am removing the slicing knife on it, as it is curved and serrated and will make a great knife once I make a handle for it.
My van decided today that it needs repaired and very soon and it gave me the sound...clunk, clunk, bang, the rear universal, again and the rear transmission seal is leaking and of course that means replacing the transmission mount, over $150 bucks worth of parts and I am broke, the joy continues.
On the side of happy I did score some great meat at the store and have a full freezer and meat to can with the new canner. I got three black Angus new york strips, 6 pounds of ground chuck, 2 pounds of ground veal, 2 pounds of lamb chops, 3-three pound black Angus Roasts, three one and a half pounds packages of stew meat also black Angus, cost 50 bucks. It was a good day to have popped in the store.
That is all I have to report at the moment, I send a blessing to you all from our hearts to yours...be blessed from Shekhinah, Michael, and all the kids and critters on the mountain.
In driving my son back from his job at Wal-Mart around 7:30 am this morning, I was witness to just how quickly life can change as well as to why it is also so important to be a vigilant driver. As we were headed toward Salem, Arkansas on Hwy 62-412 I saw a deer crossing the road, nothing out of the ordinary there happens almost every day here. However how the next few seconds played out is what is important. Unknown to me at the time it was not a lone deer but a small herd, I saw three quite clearly, the one that passed in front of us and then two more.
This left little time for anyone to react and when I saw a motorcyclist driving from the other direction hit one of the deer. Upon impact the deer exploded and for a brief second it was much like watching an explosion on a movie screen, parts of deer whizzed past us and simultaneously the motorcycle rider went down as the bike spun and slide in the dead center of the road. The bike still in a spin when he pulled himself free stood straight up and busied himself to the ditch that was on the side of the road that I was on, he laid down in the ditch face down, head facing the road in what I can only imagine was kissing the earth or a prayer of gratitude to have walked away.
I think the other deer maybe have been hit as well; it is hard to say as I was so focused on the event playing out in front of me and sometimes your mind tries to fill in the blanks, so I would rather not say if I really saw the third one get killed. One has to understand how traumatic it was at the moment. The whole event took place in seconds.
Since there were so many people on screen I left and continued onward towards home, traumatized and shaken up but happy to have been alive and no more involved then I had already been. The police and ambulance rushed passed us I can only offer my prayers for all those who were involved and a sublime word of warning if you think you can look away from the road even for a split second you are wrong. It only took a split second for all this to happen and had I not already been engaged in stopping for the one deer, I would have most likely been a part of the mess.
After the event, I was glad that I had already been slowing to a stop. I was glad that I had not been distracted by a cell phone or the radio and that we were safe. Upon arriving home I found blood splatter on the chrome of the bumper and one small spot of the deer on my windshield a reminder of how dangerous life can truly be.
Yummy, boc choy from the garden and red romaine. First time in days I have been able to get out there, the ground is still really wet. By tomorrow, I should be able to get back out and weed the gardens, and start to drain the pool and move the tadpoles to the hydroponic system so that they can grow to be nice strong healthy frogs. so far I have lost 4 Okra plants and one celery for sure, might lose the other two...I may have to harvest them early, which for me would be truly heart-breaking as it has taken me two years to get the to go to seed.
I am getting an electric pressure canner delivered on the 13th, and if I can keep them going to then, I will cut up some potatoes, the celery, and some carrots and make a few batches of mixed vegetables. At least it would not go to waste.
The gardens are in a constant state of replanting due to the weather, but we are pushing forward and restarting seeds. I have the organic black tomato seeds started, still have to start other things, but I guess it is progress.
In regards to finances, well they are not so well, we are doing our best to hold our heads above water and my attempt to acquire a job failed before it even started, I feel like it was a wasted effort. I still have school of course and two courses that I had to take this summer so that I could return to regular classes in Aug. All of it is a bit overwhelming, but it is what it is.
Today we rock climbed in a 1992 Chevy van not out of fun mind you, but out of necessity, the road is gone, it is the worst it has been in 11 years. It features large unpassable areas of deep trenches and huge rocks. I am glad I have new tires, the old ones who have never made it. My tires are all 6 ply light truck tires. Anyway if any of you tv people with your fancy rigs what to give It a try I will challenge you. I was thinking about it today when I moved here and we had ruts in the road I would do my best not to hit them if I bottomed out the car I would cry. Now I am a real trooper, except with ice, I just power through. Like today.
So that is about all I have to report, broke, tired, but it still beats living in the city!
From all of us on the mountain
Shekhinah, Mike and all the kids and critters
Our lives here on the mountain are full of amazing moments and sad ones...Storms have been hard on us this season, we have lost many fruit trees and some of the older oak trees. With all of that, we are still blessed to have good friends and sweet little creatures to love. Our baby horse is doing well and although we lost most of our goose eggs we did have one hatch. Our poor hatchling was so lonely and then a neighbor called, she had one lone baby goose with no one to love it. Now our little goose has a friend. They are adorable and get under your feet any chance they get.
Then there is the ever constant threat of snakes. The snake is the photo is a harmless snake that was released back into the wild, though just a day before a cotton mouth had to be killed and before that a copper head that bite and killed one of our dogs. It is never easy on the mountain and each day presents us with unique opportunities to learn and become better people.
Today we planted tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, peppers, fennel, basil, and some other stuff. I am glad to have that part finished. Not the rest will seem so easy after all this. We are do for more rain, this is our rainy season and we are glad to have it and we hope for a good growing season this year. I still have seeds to plant, some black tomatoes, some peas, some yard long beans and some pole beans. So that is it, not much to talk about, just those few things to share.
All of us on the mountian send blessings to everyone who reads about our little farm on the mountain!
Shekhinah, Michael, and all the kids and critters here on the mountain...
Good morning from the mountain...it is a long day already and I am really dragging.
Your edible plant identification of the day and led into the blog post.
This plant is called lambs quarters, it is a wild spinach and does not require any prep work to eat other than a good washing. It can be eaten as any salad green or cooked. I have like ten pages about this plant and it's uses in the past and future, but they are not handy at the moment.
So, I know not a great way to start a sentence, but mercury is in major retrograde and I feel it all around me. I lost one of the adult sheep today, just dropped over dead. What a great way to start one's day. 150 pounds of meat wasted, I am sick over it, so I am worming the ones that are left. I hate to use wormer, but I have to safeguard our meat as that was winter meat. I still have two sheep, need to replace two now and buy a ram. It is all a bit overwhelming. Thi sis life on the farm, we have good days and not so good days, each day is a lesson. When you have a farm you have to always know what is going on all the time, otherwise you can lose $500 bucks just that fast. So that is that...now even if I want to eat them I must wait a month.
The good things that came out of it Elijah learned how to skin a large animal. Note the lovely pictures.
Upon further dissection, the lamb had a type of deer fluk that affects the lungs. I will share photos latter. This means I need to worm the wild deer along with our animals. We had to do this many years ago, I guess this spring was just so wet it made an ideal breeding ground for the pests. I buy these natural wormer blocks at one of the feed stores in MO so I guess I will try to do that on Wednesday. At least we know now so we can treat all the animals on the farm at one time as well as those that come in for food and hopefully contain this to one death.
The dogs will get the meat of the lamb so that it is not wasted and the skull will be cleaned my nature and available for purchase later in the year, the hide will be salted and tanned.
Very rough way to start a week.
Back to work for me...
Blessings from all of us on the mountain...
Shekhinah, Michael, Dah'veed, Elijah, and Elisha and all the animals
One more final project turned in...I do not mind saying that I am tired. It can be overwhelming trying to get it all done, but here we are nearing the end of another term. I look forward to a short break. I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who aided me with coming up with new ideas for papers this term, there were so many papers...Now maybe I can get some real writing done, some coloring books designed, meditation music made and some other projects done. I plan to get the intro filming done for our internet show. Have al the gear and equipment now, just need to make the time. Our garden is coming along, the worms are amazing...tilling the soil is the best healing for one's soul that I have ever found. I have got some tomatoes in, some boc choy, some peppers, some romain lettuce and peas and beans. Tomrrow I wil try to get some more in, the okra will need to be replainted it did nto like all the rain. I still need to get the sweet potatoes in, there is always so much to do and never enough time. right now it is storming again, I should be out recording it for the meditation cd I am putting together, but I can not bring myself to get it done right now.
I was honored to visit with some dear friends today and the boys picked almost all their dandelion flowers so fritters will be made tomorrow. Not enough to make wine. My friend Sue gifted me a loaf of banana bread and some lovely dollies for the new living room, I almost cried since most of the ones I had are long since gone and it gives me hope for a better tomorrow. It is amazing how some threads spun in circle of threads can remind you of the brilliant memories removed a thousand times from today. I will love them from tomorrow's forever!
The boys wandered her creak finding amazing finds as all children do. A creek is a magical place for a child, a world away from ours and they are free to explore and conquer. Little creatures become big game and the little crawfish flutter about trying to avoid the hands of the sweet children chasing them. A snail becomes a treasured find, a fossil a conquest larger than life. We should all look at the world like children do, where everything is magical and amazing.
As you can see our bees have been very busy at work...what good girls they are to work so hard, we are truly blessed to share our farm with them. The two domestic hives are looking good and the wild one is also healthy and happy. I can not wait to harvest fresh honeycomb from the hive, there is nothing like it in the world. The way it drips from the comb, the first taste of the season is like liquid gold that melts in your mouth.
What else can I share we have had good days and not so good days, but we continue to move forward because there is no other way to go.
Be Blessed From the Mountain:
Shekhinah, Michael, all the kids and the critters here on the farm
Spring has joined us at last up on the mountain, and we are starting to put in the gardens. We got some beautiful bok choy from the Master Garden people who were at the Salem Flea market. I was gifted a bee balm plant by a very sweet lady, which I hope my bees will love and bought several beautiful cookbooks at bargain prices.
So far we have yellow bell peppers ready to go in the gardens, some tomatoes, some cayenne peppers, some jalapenos and some okra, some more cabbage and some roman lettuce. I still need to replant our peas as well.
In regards to the wilds of the farm we have ripe strawberries, asparagus has been doing great, the wild greens are in abundance, so everyone is very happy.
We took a vacation a few weeks back, and that went well, we went to Hot Springs. The kids very much enjoyed Minning at Ron Colman's mine and they equally enjoyed Mid-American Children's Museum. We stayed at a lovely resort at my mother's request. It was South Shore Resorts, wonderful place, looking forward to going again.