Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good evening from the mountain and fruit recalls in the USA

Good evening from the mountain, I went to t the college today to fix my schedule and ended up with more classes.  I can hardly believe it more classes.  I have to take College Capstone, a class that requires a workbook that is designed to show what you have learned; I hope they are not expecting much…Lol  Intro to Computer Applications, which forces you to buy a book that has a sample of office 2013, not to thrilled with that, so I will call Microsoft on Thursday and see about a free trial from them directly.  If I can do that, I will save over $70.00.  Algebra I have the software for already, so I am fine there.  The last class Introduction to Sociology requires a $150.00 book; it is questionable about renting the book as you must have something called coursemate.  Not happy about that at all. 

I also bought feed at the feed store; they had wheat, and this made me happy.  I also bought a bag of hydrated lime; low and behold it is the same lime as pickling lime.  I like to make Hominy, which is made from corn and lime or lye, depending on what type you are making.  I figured that if they are selling the Lime for use around animals, the chances of it being less than food grade are very slim, though I will check it before I use it.  A50 lb. bad at the feed store is $9.45; one pound bag at the grocery store is nearly $4.00 makes you wonder why it cost so much. 
Check out hominy and the cool things you can make with it.

Making your own food is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your family.

The puppies are doing great on day 8 of their lives; I will post new photos tomorrow. 

 Our gardens are still coming along, and I hope to get to work on them more on Thursday, tomorrow I must take the children and myself to the eye doctor, it is an hour each way so it will be a long day for me.  It should rain about the time we get back, so no having to water the gardens.  The children plan to see their Grand Parents, maybe we will all do lunch, Chinese or pizza, I am hoping Chinese food.  So that is the greatness of our day.
Be blessed dear ones

P.S. If you are in the states, please read this:

If you’ve picked up fruit at Costco, Trader Joe’s or Wal-Mart stores recently, keep reading.

Wawona Packing Co. is voluntarily recalling peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots that were packed at its Cutler, California, warehouses between June 1 and July 12. Wawona believes the products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Costco, Trader Joe’s, and the Wal-Mart Corp. — which operates Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, have all posted notices about the fruit recall on their websites. The recall is nationwide, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Internal testing at Wawona revealed the potential Listeria contamination, the FDA says. The facility was shut down and sanitized; subsequent tests have been negative for the food-borne illness.

“We are aware of no illnesses related to the consumption of these products,” Wawona President Brent Smittcamp said in a statement. “By taking the precautionary step of recalling product, we will minimize even the slightest risk to public health, and that is our priority.”

Trader Joe’s has urged customers not to eat any of these stone fruits — meaning fruits with large pits — and to return them to a nearby store for a full refund.

In addition, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. has recalled several of its baked goods that contain fruit from Wawona Packing Co. This includes cakes, pies, tarts and other pastries. For a full list, see FDA.gov.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause Listeriosis. The most common symptoms of Listeriosis are gastrointestinal issues (such as diarrhea), fever and muscle aches. Pregnant women, infants, older adults and people with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk for a more serious infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC estimates about 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths are caused by Listeriosis each year in the United States. Overall, outbreaks have been on the decline since 2001, but the largest in U.S. history occurred in 2011. Cantaloupes from a farm in Colorado sickened 147 people and killed nearly three dozen. The farmers responsible recently were sentenced to five years’ probation, including six months of in-home detention.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Good evening from the mountain and a good bug

Good evening from the mountain, oh the plans I had today, many did not become reality.  I was just too tired.  I did get some things done, but nowhere near as much as I wanted too.  Oh well some days are like that.  We did get to spend time with a couple of nice friends under neither the shade trees.  So that was well worth it all.

Today I applied for a writing job, the format was a bit odd, but they pay three cents a word on most articles, some times more.  It would help our family out a lot.  They would want at least 20 articles a week, around 200 words each.  I need to find some way to bring in around $300.00 per week and not have to leave the farm.  I am over selling eggs on eBay, they are driving me mad.

During our farm day, Michael found an assassin bug in our garden today out by the pumpkins; it is a scary out of this world looking creature with a cogwheel like appendage upon its back.  I am not scared of the little fella, but those squash bugs should be.  These assassin bugs have a hearty appetite for squash beetles and those hornworms that love to eat our tomatoes.  I welcome him and his family to our garden and wish them long life and many children.  First one we have found in the ten years that we have lived here, may it not be the last.

Day 7 for the puppies....

Be blessed dear ones

Good morning from the mountain

Good morning from the mountain, I have decided to buy an inexpensive dehydrator to get us by until I have more time to work on making a new one.  It pains me to do so, but I feel limited in my choices at the moment, and I have many food items that need to be dried.  The pear tree and many of our berries are in prime harvest mode and here I am trying to do a million other things, so I have made this choice, and I will have to live with it.  I am buying it at Fin To Fur a local hunting store as they had a basic one that should work that is not too expensive. 

I would have preferred a stainless steel one or to have built one now, but it is what it is and I am bogged down with many other things that require my attention at the moment.  My paperwork pile is alarming and must be done and finished as I now have less than three weeks before I must return to college.  Honestly I do not know why anyone should have so much paperwork, with the advent of computers. 

I have to go by the college today to change my degree plan so that I can leave there with two degrees.  This increases my chance of finding work if the need should arise.  So that is good, but it means I will stay at this college a little longer.  Right now on the top of my worry list is the fact that the bridge is still out, and I do not see the county fixing it in the next three weeks, now I am an hour from school, such a long drive, very early in the morning, it is ridicules today the least.  I must find another way to meet the goal of school without this hour long drive.

Anyway off to get things done…
Be Blessed dear ones


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good evening from the mountain

Good evening from the mountain, today has been a house cleaning day, mainly the kitchen.  I am looking at it as prep for moving into the new kitchen.  Ah to be able to put all my cooking stuff away, no more living out of Rubbermaid boxes.  I plan to hang up most of the pans on the walls, lids on a towel bar, it all sounds rather nice, now if I was not exhausted it would all be great.

I have fallen short on my week’s goals; the soap has again taken second place to other more pressing issues.  Each time I start a project I most certainly plan to finish it, but life has a way of changing my plans.  When it is not an animal related issue, it is quite often one regarding the weather.  The climate change has certainly taken its toll on our small farm.  I have killed all but one Italian squash, honestly I feel like a murderer.  They drown and rotted, and there was not one thing I could do to prevent it.  I have managed to keep over half of the tomatoes I planted alive, but other plants have died in their wake.  What a hard year it has been already.

I am just shy of 9 days from the Country Fair and needless to say I am less than enthusiastic about it all.  I have not finished all the canning, nor did I register the chickens.   I just forgot, and now I am quite sure it will take a miracle to fix it, and I will have disappointed the boys who have been eager to show their birds.  Every year one of them takes first place, and that is so important to little ones. Aside from that if they do not let me enter them late; I am stuck with nearly ten more birds.  I will call in the morning and grovel in hopes of a reprieve from the fate I have laid out before myself.

Other than these trifles of life, I have gotten some more puppy photos for you all and a couple of pictures of the kimchi before I set it to cure.  The kimchi sits and calmly cures, but the pups, that is a different story altogether.   They keep me on my toes, constantly escaping the next only to be found under the dresser or piled in the middle of my floor.  I am only made an aware of these things when the mother whelps as if she is unable to bring them back to the nest, or the pups whimper in need of help.  She will not pick them up, my fault I guess, before the pups were born, I had issues with her picking up the kittens.  I did not like the whole idea and made my point quite loudly, and I see now she will not pick her pups up, either that or she has me better trained than I her.  As I am now a dog slave getting up many times a night to help her with her pups.  I know it all sounds funny, but it is not as funny as all that.
Black berry jam

kimchi uncured

sweet pups day 6

I feel like this some day...

Well, it is time for me to try and get some sleep, busy day tomorrow, papers to fill out, grain to get bought and perhaps a motor for the van window. 

Be Blessed dear ones…

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good afternoon from the mountain...

Good Afternoon from the mountain, sorry I did not post yesterday, we have just had so much to do.  Not that I have got it all done, but I feel progress in the air.  Michael has got the first sliding glass door up in the new kitchen, and I feel as if aiming for fall or winter for completion may not be out of the question.  Just think I will be able to cook in my new kitchen, created from an old house trailer.

It seems like only yesterday that I received a call upon my cell phone that seemed so harmless; but become such a mess that has taken us down this path of creation from another’s waste.  We were asked if they could park a house trailer on the side of our road and being relatively new to the area at the time, I wanted to be nice.  However, they were not nice, I came home to a trailer sitting in my front pasture, seems funny now, but it was not then.  I had been praying for a new roof, and I assure you this is not what I had meant.
In the end, they paid me to keep it, and I paid a few hundred dollars to have it moved to my existing house.  

I do not remember if when it first became ours if I wanted to make it a kitchen, but that is what it became.  An open canvas that has taken me a long time to figure out how to make it into what I dreamed it could be.   I must have changed my mind a dozen or more times, everything from floors to cabinets and all the items in-between.  I cannot wait till it is finished.

I had to do more cleaning in the kitchen and put the grain up today; I also got another section of the closer to the house cleared.  I also got some more pepper plants in and asparagus, so that is all good.  I still have so much to do; I seem never to be done.

Tomorrow I will have photos of the kimchi before I set it to cure and, of course, more puppy photos. Gosh the pups are five days old already. I can not wait to share them with you...

Be Blessed dear ones

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good evening from the mountain and more puppy photos

Good afternoon from the mountain, we have had a busy day.  We have taken care of the dogs, cats and mice.  Plus cutting a bunch of wheel barrels full of fodder for the livestock.  The little bull likes Jerusalem artichoke stalks a lot, next year we will plant a bigger plot of land with them. They are a very sound nutrition for the animals and easy to grow.

Lesson learned at lunch today, when I noticed there was nothing green upon his plate and said so; he presides to return with a jar of green olives from the fridge.  Not quite what I meant, but they are green. What is one to do with such a wise child?

Kimchi is started, thank goodness, now to finish the dishes and get stuff ready for dinner, plus I still have the rest of the garden to clear and plants to get in the ground.  So much to do, I wish the temperature were like this every day.
I have made blackberry jam today; I am so glad to have gotten it done, still have peach to get done, and the pears are the tree look like there will be ready soon.  Work on this farm is never finished.

I did learn how to make kimchi pickles today, and I am looking forward to making some to go along with dinner very soon.  I really like fermented food and I see a lot of it being made in the future.

I know why you are all really here today, because you could be reading about planes, and wars and hunger and storms, but you would rather hear about our new puppies, at just four days old, they are already a handful.  They sleep only in between eating and getting lost.  However can something that for all practical purposes is blind and deaf find its way so far across the room, and in the night I hear my Scrap, the mother of the pups whimper, and I arise to find a pup missing again.  I am quite sure this is at least the fourth time I have hunted the elusive puppy in the dark.  This time it made it to beneath the dresser, and then there is Scrap wanting to go out at two am.  Even with all this they are a blessing and I could not image my life without them.

 Be blessed dear ones

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Good afternoon from the mountain and more puppy photos

Good afternoon from the mountain, I was gifted a tray of peppers, so I planted them, well seventeen of them so far.  I have lovely yellow cayenne and peter peppers and some hot Thai peppers.  I put them all in pots and what’s left will go in the one small garden.  I decided today that I would plant the started corn, pumpkins and beans in the garden closest to the house and that I would start some more beans near the house. 

Our tomatoes are ripening, and some are huge, I am pleased with my choice of planting the Russian black krim tomatoes.  We have lovely pumpkins, and one is black, so black, I cannot venture to think that someday it will turn a dark orange color.  The others all are far lighter shades of green and have begun their transition to rage a little more each day.  I will take some photos tomorrow.

Onto our puppies, they are growing very fast and at only three days old they have already filled our lives with much joy and, of course, more chores.  The eight of them are all starting to develop little personalities and Scrap their mother is patient and kind mother.  I often feel sorry for her, as it must be a never ending daunting task just to keep them in one place. Last night I heard her whimper, and I arose from my bed to a pup missing.  I looked everywhere, or so I had thought, only to find the rascal inside of the blanket.  With a sigh of relief, I retrieved the little love and returned him to a happy mother. 

The pups are now three days old and they just couldn't be any more adorable then they are..., just take a look for your self.

Our Scrap dog is quite amazing, I have been doing as much to help her as I can, we all our really.  This morning I made her breakfast, I scrabbled up four-duck eggs for her. She wolfed them down and went on to eat half a large can of dog food, two quarts of fresh goats milk and a few cups of dog food and some leftover mac and cheese from the night before.  I bought her special food at the store today with more protein as she is eating to feed the eight, and I wish for them all to be healthy.  There is no greater gratitude than that of a dog, so loyal are they, that in turn you feel obligated to return the loyalty.

Speaking of loyalty, I, of course, went to the grocer today.  I wanted some frozen salmon but only found tuna from Sri Lanka and Salmon from Chile.  I was both confused and astonished by this.  I did not know that tuna could be found in the waters of Sri Lanka or for that matter what they knew of fishing, perhaps I am ignorant of their skills, none the less, I wanted Salmon from Russia or if I had to from America, not farm raised, only wild caught. I guess I am quite picky buy life it too short to eat farm raised fish.  Farm fished is full of nasty mercury and other chemicals at twice the amounts of wild fish…Yuck!  So he will order it for me, and I should have some in a week or two. 
I also inquired about a chuck roll and once the black stare left his face he asked, did I really want the whole thing.  Yes, I proclaimed with an enthusiastic spirit to my voice.  He asked what I had planned on doing with it; I guess it must have seemed a bit odd to him that someone would buy such a large amount of meat.  I explained that I had planned to cut it up into steaks and a few roasts, when he kindly announced that he would be happy to do that for me.  By Jove, I was happy to let him, far less work for me.  Upon this, he requested what I would like to do with the trimming; I explained I would take them as they were even with his insistence that he could grind them for me at no additional cost.  It was quite sweet really him being so very kind, but to me it would be expensive hamburger, when what I wanted was really some nice stew meat.  In the end, I acquired 27 pounds of meat at the cost of $4.00 per pound, a full $1.49 off per pound and my freezer is not so empty.
I will however need to take the cow in too the butcher as soon as possible, she has developed some type of hernia, and it worry me to think I could lose all the meat.  I am going to call a friend and ask them to help me as my van is still not up to the task and may require much more work before being made so.  It is what it is, an old van.  Life can be hard with such a small amount of money to work with.

But trouble yourselves not, I will overcome…
Be blessed dear ones