Wednesday, July 27, 2011

day 170 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm in the US

We have been very busy on the farm, with our gardens, fixing our van, selling off our gold and silver to raise money for a trip, fighting EBay, and of course canning.  There is so much to tell you all, I do not know where to begin.   So I guess I could start with the gardens.

Our gardens are hanging on; soon we will have our first corn.  I have lost all but two of the zucchini to an infestation of pests and have given up on it and will most likely trade someone for some.  Our Jerusalem artichokes are doing well.  We are harvesting our first sun flowers and have replanted for the next run.   Our cucumbers and tomatoes are still doing well and our first cantaloupe is on the vine, we still have pumpkins growing and watermelon and I am hoping for the best.  I have replanted beans and we are starting to pick our first big amounts of beans…I hope to be canning them in the near future.  Our goal on canning green beans is one hundred quarts, believe me it can be done and it is not as much as it seems.  We are still picking peppers, I have canned a few jars already and when the outside temp drops a bit I plan to dehydrate some for winter use.  Our onions are resting for the fall and everything else such as the beets and swiss chard are just starting to poke their little heads up out of the ground. 

We have canned a bunch of food already and my basement shelves are filling back up, it’s really nice, though very hard work.  The heat alone at times makes it twice as hard to can.  As I am writing this to all of you I have five jars of my blackberry-pear butter in the water bath canning and time counting down.  I have another batch ready to go in once it comes out, just plain pear butter and then after that peach butter.  So the whole family is quite busy, our home and kitchen are a mess…lol  I have a huge laundry basket full of pears in my kitchen as well as fifteen more gallons sitting on the side, a half bushel of peaches, and now many bushels of apples and two gallons of tomatoes waiting to become sauce.   I have to have it all canned or at the very least frozen by Friday morning.   By the way, always hot pack peaches, with lite syrup, just trust me.

Ok now that I have that out of the way, let’s talk about the van, my problem child.  I am starting to believe that I am cursed, I have just had the beast hot flushed which did help the getting hot problem, but now I have come to learn that I need to replace most of the seals, I guess it should not really surprise me as it is nineteen years old, it just comes as a bad time, with our day time temps reaching with the heat index well into the one hundreds.  I have purchased the above mentioned seals, so when we have a chance we can work on them.  Why in the world can I not make friends with a good mechanic who likes jam…lol   anyway, we have a goal and we are working towards it. 

Our front meadow, hundreds of bees some ours, some wild.  In a range of colors that amaze and delight, all kinds of dragonflies and other flying creatures of all types and sizes and below our feet army’s of ants marching to the beat of a drum only they can hear.  Together they create a living canvas of color.  Our pond full of water creatures, frogs, tadpoles, turtles, ducks and bugs and beetles of all kinds, water skimmers and spiders grace us with their prescience.  Flowers and grasses add a never ending, but constantly changing back drop to all these lovely creatures.  A baby deer lays in the tall grass close to where I am standing, unafraid and peaceful.  It has taken us over five years to turn this waste land into meadow, but today looking out across it all, I know that it was well worth it.

But to sadder matters, eBay is becoming a constant source of aggravation to us here on the farm, and with their call center people in India; I am frustrated to levels even I did not know I could achieve.  As many of you know most of our income comes from hatching eggs and now with the loss of so many sales it incredibly damaging to us and our livelihood.  This most recent event with eBay comes from a miss reading of a never passed regulation.  I am sick over it all.  I have called the head of the FWS, Mr. George Allen who has talked me with many times over the past year.  Here is what happened, last year in March the FWS tried to pass a law protecting as well as controlling populations of ferial Muscovy ducks, in doing so the law effected (would have effected) all of those who breed, sell and raise the birds.  But the very day I found out, I called him and so did many others, and together we worked out a reasonable  solution to the whole problem, that would do what the law was intended to do and to allow those of us with Muscovy’s to bred , sell and own them.  I personally think that Mr. Allen was amazing and a very polite, kind man who deeply cares about his job.  Once he realized there was a problem, he first asked all the breeders to submit their reasons for keeping the birds and tons of data that gave him real insight into a more positive long term solution.  No one until than had given it a second thought.  However I knew back a year ago that the road would be paved with unwilling fools that did not share his insight and understanding.  Some of these very fools reside at eBay.  Even after they were shown the revision of the law, they have chosen not to back down, what has made matters worse for them is their own words and lack of following the law they were now a year later and many sales latter try to impose upon me.  To add to matter they have now stuck their own foots in their mouths (yes I meant that), by telling me that it was not their job to regulate the sale of illegal products…hmmm sounds like they might be harassing me…any way, I have complained often to eBay and others who sell Canadian goose eggs, swan and other such birds eggs that it is not legal. They look the other way and now they are caught, tried to warn them, and by the way eBay telling me to hunt the me to hunt them down and turn them in, yeah…I may just do that, maybe I will see what sort of reward the FWS pays to people who turn them in, you do your job, I will do mine and I have started my dears with you.  eBay you speak a great game about making internet commerce a better safer place, but you do not really provide it and like many long term American companies you forgot that you business is built on the backs of hard working Americans.  I am wagging my mommy finger at you eBay….

Anyway…more canning to do and good people to help…get your food put up dear ones, it is going to be a long cold winter….brrrrrr I feel a chill already. 

One more note: Hey if any of you out their deal in solar and need a place to test in Arkansas, drop us a note, the same for wind turbines, we are willing to work with you and help show how your technology works in real world applications, let our farm and home be your showcase to the world.

Be Blessed

Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Day 170 of 365 days of out lives on our small family farm in the USA

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 160 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm

Welcome everyone, it has been a long problematic few days. We had a friend/neighbor pass away, the second one this month.  Not only will we miss them, but if I do not act fast I will miss the opportunity of acquiring the land that either held.  Land is very hard to come by here, though not expensive.  But when you are already cash strapped 6 dollars can seem like a lot of money.  So we will have to be very cleaver and wise and do our best to make it happen as the only way I can see our farm making it in the future is to increase our land.

For instance the cow really needs one acre all to her self, the three horses, really should have five to seven acres, that way we would to not need us to hay them. The goat and sheep should have around five to acres to themselves.  One must keep in mind we are doing everything we do on a very tiny 6.32 acres of land, and although it is possible, it is very hard.  Our feed bills alone nearly break us each month and for us it is a race against the clock to have enough feed and hay to get us thought the winter months that are fast approaching.  To aid us in our ability to feed all of these animals we have liquidated some of the animals, but still need to liquefy more, this mean eating allot of birds, and maybe another ram. I am unsure at this point what the future holds for our farm and others like it, with corn and other grains reaching all time highs, and the weather in this country destroying most of the corn and other feed crops, it may be very hard for us very soon.  Aside from that much of our corn in America is made into ethanol, or shipped over seas.  this year we were able to get corn to grow for the first time, however it will not be anywhere close to enough to feed everyone.  I have spent hours, days and weeks, trying to learn new ways of making it work, searching out edible weeds on our property to feed our selves and the animals.  We will be gathering seed heads to supplement the birds feeds as well as edible greens that we are drying in huge numbers as winter fodder for them and us.  We have one "weed" called plantago that spouts up a seed stock, with tiny high protein seeds that has been a favorite by the natives of this country as a survival food and flour replacement, I am unsure how much we can harvest of it maybe by seasons end 50lbs, not a huge amount but added or blended with other things may help us to make this work.  I have other plants I am looking at for this new feed mix, such as lambs quarters (also known as goose foot), it's seed heads will be saved as animals feed as well as the plants, we shall put a way at least five pounds of this dried for ourselves as it is super nutritious and tastes very much like Spinach.  I am thinking about curly dock and some of the other wilds that just seem to produce nice seeds heads.  We have also talked about raising more worms and even fly lava to add to the feed , along with dried greens, kelp and dio earth. 

I took a break a while ago and gave the quail some yummy greens, they seemed very happy.  If you are every looking for a super easy to care for bird, cortunix quail are the answer, they are small, easy to keep in a limited amount of space, eat very little, lays lots of eggs all year round and from the time they hatch it only takes 5 weeks from them to be ready as a table bird.  If one could gather and supplement the feed with free weeds, then they are almost free to raise at least half of the year.  You can start with as few as 4 birds and have plenty to eat.  If you plan to raise these, you need to know a few things, you need three hens for every rooster.  A cheap 10 full spectrum florescent light will keep them laying all year long and they can tolerate extreme heat and cold very well.

Everyday is a challenge to get the most basic of tasks done in the time the extensive heat allows us. We gather what is ripe, process it or eat it, water everything, replant where needed and than of course the feeding and care of all the animals and birds as well as things that need done at the house, it really does take a family to run a farm and I am grateful for mine...
Be blessed , Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 158 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm in the USA

Our Moo cow, home after her long romp with the

This is summer our sweet little ewe lamb....

She is very cute...

Just mintes old and already has mom on the run, her aunts as well.

Elijah age five with our Lady dog.

They really love each other...

Moo always watches every thing that is going

This is the new girl we just brought home, I forgot her elfish name that she said, I call her angel.

She has such preety ears...

They said she just had quards, so I am guessing it will take a while to put some weight back on her.

Miracle things she is niffty...

This is after we took her off the trailer...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 157 of 365 days of life on our small family farm in the USA

All I can say is I wish I was middle class and I wish there still was a middle class, not just poor people and rich people, but I am just a humble surf farming...helping to produce the 40 percent of food that everyone in America eats, if I do not find a regular job, I will soon submit to paying 60% percent of what my farm earns in taxes, hmmm maybe that it where Netflix came up where there number...anyway while everyone talks about entitlements and raising the debt celling and these rep or these dems, it truly goes deeper than that. It really needs to be a complete restructuring of the entire system and it will happen on it's own, has before, or we can start by asking the people that believe they are in charge to stop, think and listen, the road they are crossing is a dangerous one and once crossed it is not any safer. Waring among ourselves it is never the answer. My males rams would will whack each other all day long till someone gets hurt or even dies and that never fix the problem as there is always another ram behind the first, yes I said it we have degraded to the state of wild beasts. How can we fix it, well first pay the ssi people and the poor, riots do not help control costs, pay the military, everyone else just needs to wait, while it is all looked at by the people, not a group or delegation or board or committee, but just regular folks who are not so far removed from the problem that six dollars is just a cup coffee. I would like it solved by those who six dollars is a meal or a day of shelter. Just to remind every one reading this that the last time a regal spouted off crap about let them eat, she and her hubby had their head whacked can not tell starving people to eat, not even peas...but funny enough one can turn it around to peas on earth...get it, a pun.  Anyway. I wish every one would get it and start thinking beyond the threat of money and too the greater picture...

Be Blessed Shekhinah  Mahanaim Farm

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Still day 155 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm

You have got to be kidding, Netflix and Obama, both think we should all eat our peas while they eat very expensive steak... Netflix thinks that 60% is fair and the Prez thinks we can live on air....gee to be so rich and out of touch with the rest of us...

Well Mr. Prez Obama, if that is your real name, I refuse to live on peas and if you try to starve the people who put you in office, you are gonna find a moving van outside your door and your chance for re-election will be over, just like that.  

Netflix get over your self, how much of my money will make you happy, your not Direct TV you know.  You do this in cycles, I have studied you and your infostucture.  I loved the part about how you are saving dvd subscribers money, yeah while screwing me...I have both dvd and streaming and you want to double what I spend...WTH...Sept 28 we will part ways, like a pair of angry lovers, I am getting the kids and the house, you are getting nothing...just thought you should know...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 155 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm in the USA

Welcome to everyone who is joining us.  It has come to my attention that some farm in Florida is using our name and started in the last few years.  Please note they are not a part of what we are doing and do not represent our values.  I just wanted everyone to know.  Now on to fun farm stuff.
Yesterday a sweet little lamb was born, we have named her summer.  She is the baby of my oldest ewe and I and everyone else is keeping a close watch over her.  We lost two ewes this year, one to a terrible shearer and one by cow...It saddens us to have such a great loss and our now forced to keep the very expensive ewes to recover some of our lose.  It will be over a year before they can bred, unlike goats which can be bred at 6 months, but should also not be bred until at least a year old.  Encase you are wondering cows can be bred at 18 moths, though I have seen farmers bred them purposely at 12 months.

Our gardens are producing nicely, I have had to use Diatomaceous earth this season. We had aphids, so if the edges of your plant leaves roll up, you most likely have them too.  The cure or treatment if you will is spreading out huge handfuls of Diatomaceous earth on everything. You can only use it for a few days at a time, as it will kill the bees and other good bugs as well as the bad, also earth worms, if used to often.

For all who do not know what diatomaceous earth is.  Well first off I guess I should start by telling you all that it does have other names such as Diatomite and kieselgur.  It is made up from earth that consists of fossilized remains of  Diatoms, a shelled algae that lived a really, really long time ago.  It has over the years been used as a filtration aid, a mechanical insecticide and a moisture absorbent, in products like cat litter, some people like us, even put it in our flour to keep it from getting buggy.  It can also be used to clot blood and believe it or not is used to stabilize dynamite and is even used in some paint products as a thermal insulator.  Just for fun here is the science name of Diatomaceous earth SiO2·nH2O, by definition it is a type of biogenic silica made up of tiny fossils ( note above ).  How it works as a bug killer and most other things can be contributed to it millions of tiny share edges, that as a bug killer cut the insects to shreds on a microscopic level.  The little tiny edges help it soak up moisture as well as it's ability to help clot blood.  it is all very cool and extremely safe to humans and other animals, but absolutely dreadful to bugs. So there you have it.

On to other things I have to buy flour today, but we have learned how to make a mill for the house from concrete , so we feel we are making progress and shall try very hard to keep you updated as we go.  Flour at a local store that supplies discounted grocery's as well as restaurant supply has 50lb bags of flour for around 18 bucks so the price has not gone up yet, thank goodness.  It is whole wheat flour and will cost around $1.80 for 5 pounds, far cheaper than the $2 super cheap scary flour from unknown sources and much cheaper than the good King Aurthur flour, or Bob's Mill which are both well over $4.00 per 5 pounds.  We go through a lot of flour and the flour you buy in the store - even the whole wheat kind - is dead. Once ground, wheat loses all of its nutrients within 12 hours. leave it out longer than a week will even become toxic.  Manufactures of even the finest wheat and whole wheat flours will add preservatives and vitamins to help preserve it longer. Some of these preservitives over time build up in the body and have been show in some studies to make people very ill.  Thus the reason grinding our own flour is so important to us.

Well I have enjoyed sharing with you, but I have to go and take my Rachael to her job as a 4-H camp councilor...
Know that we love you all and pray for you all often...Be Blessed and be kind to one another, spend lunch with a friend, visit some one who is ill and make there day...just be good to one another...Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 152 of 365 days of our live on our small family farm in the USA

Ten days have passed since I have been on sharing about our lives and I guess allot has happened.  We were offered to set up a petting zoo for a community event, we are not sure if we will be able to do it yet.  I found out that even as a farmer I must get a new licence.  There are three you can sort of chose from, one is for selling, but I do not need that one,one is for having exotic animals, and one is for exhibition of animals.  As a farmer I sell animals all the time, people see them, so it is all a bit confusing.  Now I have to apply for a class "C" license which can cost anywhere from 30 bucks to 300, the fee is based ont he number of mammals I will be showing, they said birds do not count..hmmm maybe I should just have a birds petting  I also have to get a vet to say they are all healthy and than submit to a farm visit when ever they feel like it, as often as they feel like it. All this to put on what will be a free event, plus the cost for fuel, fencing, hand sanitizer, and endless other things will will need to make this all work out. 

We have had a run of people wanting goats in milk and willing to pay, too bad I do not have any.  Today I got a call for baby goats and or sheep, the people wanted to know if they could feed them cows milk from the store...that is why what I do with our line book is so important, people really as so far removed from the process of food and raising these type of animals that they just do not know and then there are unscrupulous goat and sheep dealers who will raise the goats on cow milk, only because it is cheaper.  The long term problems to the goat or sheep have no bearing on their behavior as to them they are just a pay check.  Just for the record, sheep and goats milk are both universal milks, meaning almost any human or animals can drink them, how milk is not and that is why so many people get sick drinking cows milk. 

Some cool thinks I have done this week was to go to an old west town here in was very cool and looked nothing like the story books from the wild west that I have
I found out that grasshoppers and crickets are Kosher...and now I just want a few different ways to cook them.  Maybe tacos...I also found out goldfish are Kosher which is cool, cause I bought some big ones today for our swimming pool/pond, made from last years pool.  I also got a few sun fish.
Still trying to get all the hay up for the winter, got quite a bit and it made a huge dent in our wallets, I can tell you that, but not as bad as the grain has.  Egg layer mash is now 12 bucks a bag, that is crazy.  I am still working on new ways to feed the animals and us as well, as you could tell above.  We harvested some Kudzu or Kuzu (クズ or 葛) a couple of days ago, here in the US it is a weed, but to use it offers, free fodder and food for the taking. For any of you who do not know Kudzu is a member of the pea family and was bought to America from Asia to help prevent erosion and recondition the soil.  Again for fodder it is fantastic having a crude protein of between 15-18%.  Over 60% of the total digestible nutrient value of the plant, and I have not found one animal who did not like it.  By the acre it is said to produce 2 to 4 tons of dry "hay"; on ground that would not grow anythings else and it needs no fertilizer and no bug spay.  It is hard to bale and that can be a down fall, unless you are doing it by hand and can take a long time to dry out.  The fiber from this plant can also be used to make paper, cloth and other such things.  Aside from feeding to my animals  I make kudzu blossom jelly ( it takes 8 cups of flowers to make one batch ), Kudzu syrup (also takes about 8 cups...), Kudzu baskets, salad from the leaves ( I also dry some for use in stews and soups),I pickle it, make it into Kim chi, brine and stuff the leaves, they have so many uses, I even fry them just like any other green with lots of onions and some wild garlic.  There is even a book: The Book of Kudzu: A Culinary and Healing Guide by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi.  I think every one should have a copy. 

Our cow is coming along very nicely...and her bag seems to fill a little more every day.

Rachael has gotten her first job as a counselor for the 4-h day camp, I am very proud of her.

Garden is doing well, we have harvested a bunch of cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans and such...
over all the farm is coming along.

Well I guess I need to go and study, I have a test to take some time this week.

Be Blessed dear ones and know that we think of you often, Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 142 of 365 days of our live on our small family farm in the USA

Been a long day her on the farm, not a bad one, just long.

Right now I have so much to get done that I am not really sure where to start.  I may scrap some more metal, that seemed to go really well today, we had a lot of fun and made a few bucks, even got some t-posts and an old amo box for the bears to put there treasures in (at least their pennies are off my floor, lol).  We ended up giving 8 bucks for the t-post and box, t-post sell for over five dollars and closer to six, so they were a bargin to say the least.  That is 30 plus feet of fence we can get up and that thrills me. 

The garden is coming along nicely, and each day I add more stuff.  Our little blue berry bush yeilded only half a cup of  berries, which is ok since the goat ate most of the bush when I bought it home. I am sure it will do better next year.  The autim olive and the pear tree are both in fruit along with the black berries and the chickory is also ready to harvest, so my kotchen is about to get busy.

I am thinking about giving away some garden seeds to city people who might like to try their hand at growing something, I figure if they grow a food plant maybe they will start to get an idea of not only real food but the work that can go in to it.  Feel free to let me know what you all think.
I am ready for a vacation, none planned in the future until the roof is fixed and up to snuff, but is is nice to dream of Drury inn's nice soft beds, clean rooms, that I do not have to clean, hot food, cold drinks, indoor pool and jacouzi and large color screen color tv and bath tub....ewwww have to quite talking about
Anyway back to work, we love you all and are glad you are there.

Be Blessed
Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahaniam farm

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 141 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm in the USA

I know it has been 13 days since our last post here, but things are like crazy busy and sometimes just crazy.  Ok, for one thing our cow is back and building a lovely bag, of course we are all very happy about this and she seems to be glad to be home as well.  I bet she was super glad this morning as we had a rather nasty storm here and she got to ride it out in the safety of the barn. 

Money continues to be an ongoing problem with the farm, I have tried all kinds of ways to generate new revenue, so far none have worked, perhaps it is too close to the 4th of July for people to want to part with their money.  None the less I Will not give up and will just keep movingvforward.  Tomorrow I hope to scarp some metal and get a few bucks to get us threw, I know it will be ok. 

The weather has been brutal here in Arkansas, where it has gone from very wet to desert dry with super high humidity which has made every outside chore an over whelming task.  It is talking so much longer to get anything done it is just crazy.  When we do get rain now it is explosive, often we get hail as well, plus high winds, not the greatest weather for ones garden or live stock.  When it storms it is impossible to sleep as there is aways the worry of lightning starting a fire or animals getting struck; it can some times be very scary living on the mountain.
Living on the mountain makes you aware of how fragile life can be.

On to our gardens:
We are up to watering twice a day most days now.  As to the most recent storm, we did not lose any plants from the garden , we did have to go out and pick them up as we had what I can only guess were very strong straight line winds, by gosh it was scary.  Rachael and I were at the door during part of it and the wind seemed to roar to life and move everything in its path.  The plants that did take the worst damage were the Jerusalem artichokes and the corn, only one tomato plant saw any ill of the storm and it was blown over basket and all.  The gardens themselves, even in our drought conditions are doing well and we have harvested lots of fresh yummy food.  Our bathtub lettuce patch has produced five salad dinners for us and along with our green peppers, tomatoes and onions were a big hit the other night, when friends came over.  We have harvested out first green beans, tomatoes (daily task), peas (almost done), onions, green peppers, hot peppers, spinach, cucumbers, wheat and a few other things I can not think off of the top of my head.  I have harvested some peppermint and dried it for winter use and plan to list some for sale soon as well.  We had a really hard time for some reason finding pole bean seeds, but in the end we did find two nice varieties and they are in the ground, one is a purple bean the other a yellow wax bean, so in a month I should have plenty to can.  Our wild gardens are doing well, we are already picking wild black berries and today Rachael brought in five pounds of hen of the woods mushrooms.  They will go nice in tomorrow dinner...

No new babies in the barn yard yet, soon I hope...

We are getting a new mini horse at the beginning of the month, I wanted to have a place for the little guy as he needs to be worked with.  We got him from some very nice people and he is quite lovely. I know the babies are going to love and cherish him.  I bet they are riding him in a month and getting him to pull a wagon as well.

Lets see what else is going on, 4-h stuff as always, my daughter will be the new leader for our area in Jan of 2012, I know this will make all the area parents happy.  She is really great with kids and wants to work with children and horses in the future.

Some things I have learned this week, trac pone is not the phones from us...the company has no idea how to do business and are rude.  Just try to find some one who speaks English there...go a head I dare you and if they threaten to return your call , they are doing just  By the way even with their double minutes deal you still end up paying nearly 15 cents per minute.  I did not buy this for me to use, I bought it for my eldest son.  It took a total of two weeks to activate this phone, I told him to donate the phone to charity when the minutes are gone and we will try another brand.
As to the new house phones, they are junk, Uniden direct 6.0 are not the phones for use, it is hard to use them, they are hard to hear on and I have decided that my ten year old phone are getting new batteries, the new phones are going to charity, maybe some one else can use them.

Gonna watch Soliet green with the kids tomorrow...if you have not seen it, you should watch it.

Well dear, I have to get back to the every day farm chores and water the garden...

Be Blessed and know that some one some one is thinking fondly of you right now!
Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 128 of 365 days of life here on our small family farm in the USA

News From the Doghouse
Been awhile since the last post, and my previous did not get posted for some reason. Got woke up by a Happy Bear who tricked me, 1st said it was 8 and I said it was too early to be 8, then he said it was 6 and I said wake me at 7 and he said it was already I pry my eyes open to see the clock and it was 7:11 AM lol my future chess games are in trouble with him, I see.
Yesterday walking dummy dog we spooked up a wild turkey early in the morning. When we dumped trash on Monday, Elisha went with me and we found a cute little turtle. He told everyone it was a baby mountain turle, and everyone said it was a land turtle, he said no it was a baby mountain turtle and they were dumb and stupid, or so I was told lol
Been doing horseshoeing work as well as other stuff... we made $65.60 selling scrap metal junk from cleaning up the yard and property, the other day. Today (Wednesday) we went and did an old horse and made $40 and then in town the Boss made $35 on the lottery scratch tickets, so we had a pretty good field day I guess. At 1st, felt bad about buying gas for the van and filling up a gas tank, but figured that we were working tomorrow and needed the van gassed up, just the extra for the gas can was a squeeze, but it worked out alright.
We went to the grocery store and the feed store, so we are stocked up for a few days a least. Finally got a planted box built for the Bears and got the giant pumpkin, watermelon, squash, and sunflower planted. We have blackberry starting to ripen and the apples are doing ok, the pears seem to be coming along alright as well.
The incubator had a gizmo malfuntion and killed a nice clutch of eggs, including a few peacock eggs, turkey, ducks, black quail, silkies, turkens, and a special turken variety crossed with silkies. We got a few turkens with extra silkie toes, and was looking forward to the next established generation of them.
Have been doing all sorts of things around the farm, trying to get it all contained and organized I guess. Making progress getting things built sort of. Got the big new pool up for the Bears, and been slowing filling it up, trying not to put too much of a drain on the well systyem and water level. Got the back porch pretty much cleaned off of cages, and started working on clean up of the studio house. Trying to rearrange everything to function more efficiently and /or smoothly.
Its been 6 years since we were in Ingless, Florida and seen Opar, the father-in-law, patriarch of everything, being the last remaining sole/soul survivor of that generation for our families. Its approaching the 6 year mark since we came to Arkansas and left the comfort and security and consistancy of civilization to come here and live in the challenge of day to day attempt at harmony and certain inconsistancy. I guess we have done well in one sense and just seems we have failed so miserably in another sense. Not sure how to explain that more clearly at the moment.
To answer an e-mail question....we use @ 56 to 58 kg a day on grain, although we are bringing that amount down in usage, due to butchering chickens and some sell offs. We sold some pigeons the other day, more helped us out buying more hay than anything else.
Lots has been going on the last few weeks, just been too tired to type or the Bears are on doing school work. Think about writing alot of stuff all day long, but when I get in and rest and eat dinner, have a shower I am about ready to go to bed anyway. lol
Be  Blessed
Michael, shekhinah and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 127 of 236 days of our life on our small family farm in the USA

Another fun filled day or running about and getting stuff done, before Rachael and Dah'veed go off to their 4-H event.  We worked on a few horses had to make an emergancy trip to the dentist for Rachael and than off to Walmart for sneakers for Michael, who bought 2 pair.  Michael and Dah'veed went to help some one move a bed.  We got a call latter about al the 4-H plans getting changed, some one died, another person had just had surgury, so the kids will be leaving here at 3 in the morning to go, boy is it going to be earily.  We still have no idea when they will return, never a dull moment.
Still working on replacing the cow and holding our own in these tight economic times, sometimes I wish I was one of the farms where the govenment was paying them not to grow stuff, than I would be rich.  Only kidding, but just working the gardens seems to be an endless task, all by it's self.  Still need to plant more stuff, I wonder if I will ever be done.  I picked cucumbers today, small ones, but they were yummy the kids said.  I guess the peas are done and need to be replaced with beans.  I bought the wrong green beans, I bought the bush kind and the fava should have be planted at they will go in around  Sept and I will hope for the best.  the corn is coming along and I fee we will be able to make use of it.
  Well got to go and get the gardens waters...
Be Blessed and know you are loved...Shekhinah Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 126 of 365 days of our life on our family farm in the USA

I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted.  The loss of our dear Moo cow has been more than I could bare.  Currently we are looking for another cow, but they are very pricey and not being wealthy, it will be a little while till we can replace her.  I did find one a good price, full Jersey, 5 years old, AI bred and due to calf in Oct, her last milking she gave 4 gallons, not too bad.  The price of this wondrous cow was $850, very reasonable, but currently out of our range.  So we will pray that work will come our way and provide us the money to afford her.

  Hay season is now upon us and to get the better price on square bales we must buy out in the field, which mean many days of going out and driving 40 plus miles and then loading the hay into the horse trailer.  We can get 22 square bales at one time this way and the cost is $2.50 per bale, if we wait and he sticks it in the barn the cost goes up to $4.50, so haste is important in this matter.  Often when I get the call, we drop what we are doing and get hay, seems odd I know, but after a while it is just another day at the farm.  Our round bales are ready now as well and are a  bit more than I wanted to pay at $30 each, but we need them for the horses, so I will pay what I have too.  With the three horses we go through a round bale a week, so storing hay, is always a problem here on the farm.  I am grateful to G-d that we have good friends that are kind enough to store our round bales for us.  With our new method of buying and useing hay, we will save alot of money.  The horse hay will cost me $1680.00 per year and the other hay, if we get it from the field will run us about $3360.00, for a grand total of $5040.00 per year.  We can make that work and it beats the over 7000 grand I paid last year.   The grain on the other will not be an easy fix, the cost seems to rise every time I go to the feed store.  It is nearly $10 for 50 pounds of corn.  This is what I have come up with, I plan to sprout wheat and corn in 100 gallon barrels, I should be able to fill the barrels one quarter of the way(about 20 pounds woth of grain) and sprout about 100 gallons of sprouts for the animals from it.  The best part is I can do this year round with about any grain.  It will not only quadrupal the amount of feed, but it will enhanse it, giving it more protien and vitamins.  My plan is not new, farmers in some parts of Europe have been doing it for hundreds of years and farmers here in the States during the last depression, used this method. 

Being a small farmer in America gets harder every day and we must learn to change the way we do things or we are going to go hungry, very soon.  I have heard a lot of discussion as to the way we farm, how it will produce less than corporate farms, but here's the thing, more than 40 percent of what we grow in this country ends up in the trash.  So even if farms like ours grow less food on the whole, it of a better quality and less likey to find it's way to the trash.  We need as a people to waste less and take some reasonability for ourselves.  Just growing one tomatoe plant can produce over 10 pounds of fruit and takes up very little space. It saves fuel too.  If everyone planted a few pots of garden plants, they would reduce the need for corporate farms that are poising the plant and destroying the future for our children and grand childen.  It all starts with us, when we are willing to throw away an apple with a soft spot, instead of cutting the spot off, feeding it to livestock or composting it there is a problem.  Most produce is like that, a small blemish is all that gets it thrown into the trash.  While we are on the subject of food in the trash; in Orlando florida and other places like it; people are being arested and thrown in jail for gathering this waste food and feeding hungry people.  I know it is hard to believe that some one could stop people from feeding some one , but it is true.  I can hardly understand why since no one in the many years they have done this has never gotten sick from eatting the food and they are not profiting off of it.  I wish many more peole were doing it.  Just me I guess.

Our incubator is off at the moment, due to need a bit of repair which I am planning to do very soon.  I have to replace two wafers and than see if it corrects the problem.  It was all very sad as it spiked a few days ago and killed, what would have been many lolvey birds.  I could have cried. 
We are still working on the garden, it is an endless task and I guess I will never be finished, lol.   I canned a bunch of strawberries and blueberries already and plan to can some pickled radish greens and pods latter today, they should be yummy and provide us some much needed winter greens, which we always seem to lack.  This winter we will have to work on sprouting more greens for us and not just the animals.  Anyway, bunches today, a nice roast in the oven and potatoes waiting to be mashed in the kitchen.

Be blessed dears ones and share what you have, as full hands can not be share with some one else who hands are empty and soon everyone will eat.
Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 111 of 365 of our lives on our small family farm.

Today has been a day, our milk cow ran off while I took the kids to a local event.  I almost hate to leave the farm anymore.  Anyway, she got out where the fence is down from the storm and I am a mess over it, as she is a big part of our farm and due to calf at anytime as well.  I love her, but she makes me so made.  The people on the next farm have kindly offered us cedar trees to cut and make into posts and some more barb wire.  I bought some the other day at a yard sale while I was out with Mrs.R and I was happy to find it, since our last repairers were done with scrap wire...all that said I am frustrated and worried I will never see my poor Moo cow again.  People in this area over the past few months have been walking off with animals ans well she is such a sweet healthy cow , I just worry for her.  I also worry for us as a farm and family as we depend on her milk to drink, make cheese, cream cheese,yogurt, sour cream and some of stuff, which is about a third of our total diet.  We will not make it through this winter with out her...not well fed anyway. 
On a good note the geese started laying again and I have orders to get out, after that I may be able to make a few bucks for animals feed.  I need to buy hay in the worst way and have decided to scrap some metal to buy as many square bales as I can to get us though.  I hope the weather permits this week. 

News From The Doghouse and the Friday Edition
Slept late this morning even with tickling my feet by Bears, was really tired. Stayed up last night with the generator running until power was restored. Was it sure dark outside, cloud cover and no star light at all, pitch black. The geese really hollered when it was so dark. All the animals were quiet after I got the lights on.
Got the chores going after coffee and trying to open my eyes, at least I did not have to fix any Bear toys, lol Had the fire going and it was toasty when it was 40 something outside.
Cleaned the guineas' coop today and more wheelbarrow loads of Moo's stall and Rebekah's too. Piled it into the garden and around the duck pond berm area. Did not get anything planted though I wanted to, and need to soon with the giant pumpkins and other super max veggies. The apple tree has some nice big apples but not many of them, my fear from the cold has come true it appears. But at least they appear to very large this year, think the same is true for the pear tree as well.
Worked with the new chainsaw today as well, and cut a couple of wheelbarrow loads from the fallen oak tree on the north fence uphill of the barn. Had some tech problems, but just learning with this new equipment, hope it all works out. Not much else today, just the usual I guess....seems like I have a lot to say then when I get typing I go blank...was going to type earlier but Elisha was on with ABCMouse again, doing school level work.
 Took some pictures today of Rebekah and Moo out by Eagle's doghouse, and tried to zoom in on Rebekah but Moo keep getting in the way, turns out she is a glamour girl lol
Well go night dear blessed
Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters...


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 109 and 110 of 365 days in the life of our small family farm

 Another storm couple of days for us here on the farm and as current the gardens are taking much more work than I would have ever thought.  Because of all the rain we are going to be eating a lot of greens and strawberries.  In fact I just found out today he a friend who has a farm has invited people to come out and pick and keep strawberries, gosh I wish I could go tomorrow, but I need to take Rachael to the dentist before her state share of cost stuff runs out at the end of next month and the cruel reality of young adult-hood sets in.  I just found out that half the cow is ready to be picked up and I am taking Mrs. R to pick it up ion Friday, maybe after that I can go and visit Ida and pick some berries.  I could always use more berries...emmm yummy pies and jams of all is a dreamy thought ewww and the big mess this is all gonna make in the kitchen, lol.  
So I have to replant sections of the garden over the next few days, killed the first round of corn and radishes and beets are going to see, once they are done, into the wok they goo and I will plant green beans and more squash.  We are so close to having the new section up and I am ready to get the rest of the plants in the ground and be done with at least that part for a while, but it all depends on the storms.  My peas are all over the place, they were knocked about pretty bad from the winds, hail and heavy rains,I may have to pull them and use for animal fodder, we will have to wait and see.

We have been rotating grazing land for the animals and part of our afternoon time is spent grazing sheep, goats, horses and moo, who for a few hours a day has the run of the farm and sometimes further.  Today once again she thought she would knock on the door and get us to come out and pet her, honestly she is a sweet goofy cow...I think she thinks she is a  I was worried about her hoofs being a bit longer than I like but since she has been on the road more she is wearing them down nicely.  She has of course still not had the cafe yet and I must admit I am concerned.  I found out after may hours of research that there are cow pregnancy tests, for about five bucks each or so, they make one where you test the blood, one for the urine and one for testing the milk and each one will tell you in a very short time, if the cow is pregnant or not.  Now here is the interesting part, no one here in Arkansas Carry's them, even thought they are like 99.9% accurate.  they would rather do what is called slieving the cow, they put on a glove go up the cows rear end and palpitate the womb.  I think they are all cruel and rather a few cards short of a deck.  Why in the world would you want to risk the life and healthy of a cow to do this, when you can run a safe non-evasive test.  Now if the test came up with a problem, well than maybe, but only as a last resort.  I plan to keep many of these tests here at the house and give them to other people as animals have the right to kindness and should not be treated cruelly.
As to other things we are using our sweet potatoes to bake bread and it was nice, I like the black walnuts, but intent to work on the recipe a bit more before posting.  

We are getting some more geese and a few more Muscovy ducks added to the gene pool some time soon , the nice lady came down and talked to me about it today, while we were swapping eggs, I still owe her eggs, guineas just to let you know hate thunder and quit laying.  Out of 50 plus birds no eggs today, the geese are equally not as happy and have also not graced us with eggs.  I hope they both start laying again very soon.

Corn is going up in price so high so fast it is crazy so I am going to see about getting a few bags of whole corn put up for the winter for family use and I am unsure what to do about the animals needing it.  Michael says that some of the birds do not like the soy and layer mash, I say they better learn to like worms, yup, I am setting up more worm beds and I guess I can dry the worms for the birds for winter use.  I still plan to scale down the number of birds we have as well.
Other things I am up to...trying to get the bags done for a batch of soap, making mustard seed pendants and thawing all the freezers and fridges, in prep for summer and new cow meat...
We have made no further progress on the roof as we can not seem to get it dry enough, long enough, but it will get done before winter comes.  
anyway I am adding some photos to share with you all and I hope you enjoy them and than off to bed for me.

News From The Doghouse and Gotta Keep A Running...
Well, Tuesday was a blast, had the air conditioner on from the heat and humidity, (miss the weatherman in New York saying hum-ditity) AND had a fire going in the basement to take out the chill and dampness
Got the chores done and worked over in the studio house and got some cleaning and organizing done, then had an area to work in and got the wiring done for the welder. Had lots of problems, but managed it all quite well I guess, still have to have the test run though. Also, put some scrap junk together and made a locking latch for the goat gate and successfully held in the 2 primier escape artists, so far that is. The little critter crew all escaped from the pen somewhere, even after my mending and patching the fences that Jim Bob, Joe Bob, and Hammerhead put up some time last century...oh well, I put those 5 kid goats back into the makeshift goose/geese enclosure that is supposed to be the porch for the studio, guess I just liberated the momma goat from all of them and took the other milk goat, Miracle, from the barn away from her cellmate Rebekah. Rebekah has just been getting tied up outside mowing different areas and seems quite content with this new job and status, does not jerk the lead line or anything, coming or going, anymore.
Today (Wednesday) started out with a very loud suction noise and a door slamming shut at @ up and checked out lightning outside, and turned the weather channel on to find out we were under a tornado watch until 4 AM...Elisha climbed into the bed with us at 1 AM, before this storm...the night before when it was a really bad thunderous storm, he slept through it all and when it was over and just when I finally fell asleep he climbed in, waking me up...what can I say, he's only I try to enjoy it while he still feels the need for security, or just go bonkers, if I wasn't already.
So got woke up today, to garlic breath Bears, tickling my feet, and I sat in the easy chair with coffee, just exhausted, taking my time getting started. Took the Bears out on the walk with Lady and we collected mushrooms, all sorts of types, sizes, shapes, and colors. I had only seen a couple of them the evening before, I planned this expedition. Didn't think of taking the camera until after the fact and seeing this really nice orangish red coral looking mushroom. Most of the mushrooms today were not edibles, but we all had fun on the adventure and got school work done doing the whole thing I guess. Got all the other chores done, with some nice egg collecting, but not as great when I find a peacock egg or the large amount of geese eggs, as something like that really helps the farm pay for feed, or get ahead on things, supposedly. One good day means the feed bill for the week in some cases, or something to splurge on, whether it is groceries, or yard sale-ing, or a beer lol
We had a nice dinner tonight, I think it was called Plotnik somewhere sometime, just tired now and getting hard to think or recollect clearly at the moment, of course I am sure it did not have gold corn kernels like ours did...the Boss said it needed garlic, my line to say usually, but I thought it was sweet tasting, the lambs quarters was succulent and tender, that's wild spinach to you un-ed-you-krated cityfolks ;-P
Be blessed dear ones and pray for the Prez of the USA as it tells us to in Psalms...


Monday, May 23, 2011

day 108 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm

News From The Doghouse and Lions, Ticks, & Bears...
Oh, boy, it's been a long long time since I last wrote and posted....sorry about that, partly due to exhaustion, partly due to Bears and their school work on ABCMouse, and in great parts due to storms...
Had planety of things to type, but kind of blank at the moment. Today was trash run to the curbside dump day, after a long drawn out storm last night, the news says 75% of Joplin MO is gone, and maybe 300 casualities...I wonder where the survivors are staying in all this rain now...when I was finishing chores at the barn it started raining and pelting hail the size of peas then marbles, they were solid ice centers then clear the outer half, of course I did not have the digital camera...
Had to go get the horses this morning as well, the storm from last night knocked over some big trees and branches, some old ones from the previous years ice storm, some new as there was leaf on the branches...also had got the horses Saturday as they escaped then after a storm as well, in that case I thought they jumped over the fence...had the gates and barn open for them last night but they stayed out in it, they come in when it is hot and too sunny I guess...then to top it all off, Moo decided to go visit our neighbors as well, guess she wanted to go visit and see how they did from the storm...
The Bears have been doing good, we had some more turtles and what not, planted some red raspberry bushes, transplanted some sunflowers from when we moved the old pool to a shady pasture spot for a fish pond, lost the 3 small mouth bass they Isaiah had got fishing awhile back, in that move...
Cicadas are coming out, this batch is a 13 year variety, and is it ever noooooiiisssssyyyy!!!! They have red eyes and seem smaller than the usual every year types. Got some pics of them.
Did some work on some horses on Mothers Day and the horses were mothers as well...what a fight and struggle, but got the shoes on and it made a nice down payment contribution on a beef calf we bought, and got it to the butcher already and it was a chore and adventure as well. Also did some horses after Mothers Day, the next day, and had an adventure getting there as well as the road was washed out at the last half mile to get there, so we back tracked and stopped at the nearest place, which was for sale, and is quite nice, and turns out these people had looked at our place back when it was for sale, before we found it and bought it, talk about feeling like WOW!, it was strange telling about our experiences to them at a quite different level than the usual normal, I don't know if I can explain it any better.
There's more stories and other events, but my fingers are tired of walking on the keyboard...hope to type some more soon, hopefully tomorrow. Oh, by the way, I got lots of pictures downloaded on Kodak share file, now just have to figure out how to get them transferred and what not. Got cool pictures of wild flowers, Bears and doing things, and other bizarre events revolving around us constantly, like black helicopters flying over the farm, the windmill we started to build, the aliens from Cygnus X-9 landing...LOL

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 100-107 of our life on our small family farm in the USA

Good morning friends, family and well wishers, it has been a full week since I have found time to post and I am sorry about that, so many things have happened and I would love to share them all with you.  So lets see a place to start.   so it has gone back into a cycle of rain, which is followed by more flooding and than high winds a few days of all most sun and than it starts again, the good news is it is becoming a regular cycle and at least it gives me a way to plan a bit better.  The temp today is 70 degrees f with an over all high of 84 so we are going back to the couple of days of warm.  With the eruption of many volcano's around the globe and the nuclear power plants in Japan still dumping radiation, I fear for a very long cold winter.  We are putting up food now and feel everyone should do so.  I remember reading about Napoleon and his attempt at concurring Russia; in that year there was also a serious of events of volcanic activity as well as a weird El nino cycle of current, making the summers unbearable and the winters unforgiving.  In some places in the world this will undoughtable be the case, here where I live the winter will most likely turn out to be the worst on record history.  I expect blizzard conditions for sure and plan to lay up enough food for us and the livestock for many weeks.  Here we generally have very mild winters, a few inches of snow rarely a foot, there is no snow moving equipment to speak off so, any more than the normal amounts sends panic in the air. The people here do not know how to drive on snow, anyway it means making blue 100 percent operational before fall, which may also be early this year.  Every girl should own a Jeep Wagoneer.

What I learned from some one else failing this week is that if I sell animals in the amount of $500.00 or more to one person or company, I must get a specail permit and let them go over my farm and inspect it, so this is not gonning to happen as the USDA fined one family here in the states $900,000.  American dollars for 1st not having this permit that no one told them about and than for not having the cages that they(USDA) thought they should.  There area for raising the animals was clean and the animals were all healthy.  If they do not pay the $900,000. they will be fined up to 4 million dollars, now here is the really sad part, they only made about 400 bucks in reality and it was their kids money for doing fun things with their parents.  It would seem the the USDA is having so many issues with small farms no matter what the sort that they have now started using snitches to tell them what small farms are doing...nothing like making hard working good people into crimanals, which of course is what happened here.  Michael and I saw this sort of thing coming a few years ago and feel that if it continues we will beforced to bevome only a supstance farm and no longer sell to anyone, as it is because of how quickly the laws in MO have changed I am no longer comfortable doing the animal swaps there as in the back of mind mind I am always on watch for what could happen. It is just not worth the few meger dollars it might make us.

Repairs on the roof are going slow do to the weather and we are still pushing foward, living below tarped roofs.  It is dry but I wish we could get it fixed.  The fences are still going up and coming down, had the horses get out yesterday, they leapt the fence, which would be ever so lolvey if I were chasing foxes, which I hear is no longer legal in the the UK, sorry to hear that, it was a charming sport and highly enjoyable, but none of that here in the states either.  Anyway, goats pasture is short over 50 feet of fence...ughhh, so I will have to save up for that (rolling my eyes). Another thing to save for, but at least the fence that has been taken down is fine for the gardens I think and we will start using it as earily as today.  I will have to put old chicken wire over the top of it, but it should give us some protection from the grazing herds and athe birds that are running loose on purpose. 

I started packing and moving nonesential items to the new kitchen area and feel good about seeing it moving from this building to that. Still waiting on the roof, which is of couse the hold up on putting in the floor and setting cabinets and such, but all in due time.

I have become over frustrated with the fact I can not find a counter to put the manual grain ginder on, tryed to rig it up , so to speak and it was a huge failure and I have a bruse on my hand to prove it, so I have 50 plus pounds or so of red winter wheat sitting and waiting for me to do some thing with it.  I looked online thinking  maybe I just need to buy an electric one, but oh  my the prices.  When I do get a new one, it will be the stone kind, but currently they are out of my range, selling for between $200.00 and $500.00, hmmm that is almost the price of a used car.  Maybe I should run an add, will trade 1973, running Jeep Wagoneer for working Stone grinder and roofing  Who knows it could work.  Micahel says he will try to rig up my old grinder in the mean time, so I could be making flour as early as today...~smile~

On brighter notes made more tofu, looks nothing like the sort bought, which I find weird, so now I am wondering what the store bought has added to it or took away from it, that makes it such a pretty  It taste fine, be requires draining off extra water before using.

The soy milk came out very nice and might need a straining or two more than I did, but it was all good and the kids seemed to enjoy it very nuch.  I could see making chocolate, strawberry and a few other flavored syurups to add to the milk to make it extra special and never having a drop left over in the

The garden is coming along nicely and with the addtion of the some more plants should provide us enough vegtables to weather any storm...I may plant some  more tomotoes though.  Still picking about 2 cups of strawberries a day. 
I plan to pickle and brine some more of the curly dock, which by the way makes a great pie.  Today I picked spinich from the garden as well as peas and strawberries, got lots to still do....but did plant the dill for the butterflys...

Ok grazed the cow and the sheep and the horses, trying to save and get them fat on natural grass.  I have enough lambs for the orders placed, if they do not fall threw, we should still have at least one to eat.  Still watching one goat real close as she should have had that baby by now.  Still no baby from our cow, I swear I will never dry her out that way again, what a waste...Gettting around a gallon and a half of goats milk a day and it barly cuts it.  We do have our canned milk from last year and plan to start using it, still going to buy another milk cow, but not till the fences are up and in working order.
Life on the farm is very and we do alot in between the storms and such, one headed here now, so I better get out and get the dock picked...
By the way bever did reach  back to turning off the air, putting wood on the fire.

Be Blessed Dear ones and now that if the world ends you are getting no real warning...

Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 99 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm in the USA

Welcome to another day on our farm, today I just could not get over how blessed we are, as I watched small kittens snuggled up against their mom, planted , red, orange, white, yellow and red carrots, and harvested about 4 more cups of strawberries.  Worked on soap bags and other things, setting new fence and getting ready to move the fish pond to the front pasture and put up the pool, it might get warm a few days this summer.  We have started drying curly dock and lambs ear for the winter.  We will bee drying mint as well, some to keep and some to sell with handcrafted reusable muslin teas bags, another thing I was working on today.  Yesterday, Rachael butchered 4 chickens which after being Koshered, were cooked today.  The best way to cook them is with alot of seasoning in a oven bag for about 3 hours at 350 degrees, the meat becomes super tender and very tasty.  We also had some fresh Florida corn, a real treat. (Corn in the past has not done well here on the farm, but we are not giving up).  Checked on the bees and I have two combs full, I guess I am going to pull them and than put them back, so they can make more. Sheep are recovering from being sheared.  We are milking the goats still and hope the cow will bless us with a calf in the near future. 

Last year we caught a show out of the UK called Rebecca's garden.  The show was about a lovely women named Rebbecca who had once been a wildlife photographer, but now had returned to her family farm.  Upon being back on the farm she realized that in order for her farm to continue she would have to find a better, more earth friendly way of doing things.  When I first watched the show, I thought, wow  I can so understand what she was saying and from spending my older teenage years in the heart of Farm country in Indiana, I could really grasp a much better understanding of the whole thing and the endless damage people have done and continue to do to this planet.  I felt as through I was truly sharing in her hopes and fears as she learned that the constant tilling of soil was killing every living thing and one of the most powerful reasons for no longer doing it.  After only 20 years of tilling a farm field , there is no life in the soil, no worms, no bugs, nothing and why, in hope of producing more food.  Sadly most of the food grown on most farms looks pretty but is lacking key nutrients and by growing more food we have only become more wasteful.  Anyway back to the point; one farm she went to was so amazing, it looked sort of overgrown and such.  It was anything but, the couple had learned to grow with the weeds and with the trees and such.  They grew more food on a smaller space and will no poison, no tilling.  The gave up fighting nature and worked with her.  We started doing this on our farm last year,I heisted as I had always tried to plant in neat little areas of weed free ground, but this year the weeds are our friends, most of them we  The rest protect and nurture the soil.  The soil holds more moisture and nutrients and the plants are doing unbelievable things. Out of the tiny 7 by 2/12 foot area, I am getting nearly 4 cups of strawberry's every other day, no pesticides, no straw.  There are a few bugs and I lose at least three berries a day, but the trade off is worth it.  Each time I harvest I am more amazed than the last.  Our peas and other plants are being wild creatures, making their way to the groupings of beets, and radishes.  Potatoes poking up next to them...further down Jerusalem artichokes have pushed their way up threw the soil to great the some times sun.  The asparagus growing with in zuckines and tomatoes, cucumbers next to  to them and the onions being weedy on one side and protecting tomatoes from pests on the other side..dandelions and portage(plantain), squishing in along with animals grade weeds.  It is truly a site to see and the food we are growing is worth the change.  We plan to plant corn with pumpkins, and other crawling squash to grow on the beams that last year held our sun cloth and beans close to the corn, thank you grand parents for the lessons of conservation that we are returning to.

We are counting down the days till we pick up our meat and are looking forward to filling the freezer, now I have to defrost it this week.  That will be a joyful job, I get out the hammer and blow dryer, no frost free junk here, just good old American craftsmanship, made back when "made in America", meant it was top of the line.   The hide is safely in it's new home, in her freezer in hopes of being tanned soon, the cows feet at Mr.R's and the head after being de-brained is hanging out on a tree.  Nothing but the entrails was wasted and had I thought about it a bit more, I might have saved some of them.  I still feel all and all we did a good job.
Well my dear ones, I have eggs to wrap, emails, to answer and dreams that need dreaming...know that we love you and G-d loves you as well.  Be Blessed and try to feed just one person who is hunger and the world will be a better place...

Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 98 of 365 days in the lofe of our small family farm

Well today I though I would share with you about one of the plants the grows wild here on our farm and is quite tasty and useful, the best part is this plant grows in most of the world, so who knows it might be lurking in your yard right at this very moment.
Curly Dock or Yellow dock

A little about curly dock:
Common Name: Curly Dock
Scientific Name: Rumex crispus
Family: Buckwheat/Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae)
Other Common Names: Curled Dock, Yellow Dock, Yaller Dock, Sour Dock, Bitter Dock, Bloodwort, Coffee-weed, Garden-patience, Narrowdock, Out-sting, Winter Dock
Flower Color: Green
Habitat: Fields, highway ditches, waste grounds, disturbed soils, riverbanks, found coast to coast in North America
General Bloom Dates: June - September

General Characteristics:
The tiny green flowers grow in dense heads up a spire. Each flower has six sepals that are light green/white/pink in color. Curly dock is a biennial plant, which means it takes two years to reach the flowering stage.
Alternate. The leaves have a coarse texture and wavy leaf margins with noticeably curled edges. Small veins curve out towards the edge of the leaf and then back in towards the central vein. Older leaves have a red primary vein. At the base of the stalk there is a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves grow in a circular pattern and are long (up to 2 ft) and narrow (3 1/2 in wide). There is a papery sheath that covers the seed and the leaf axil, a common characteristic of the Buckwheat family.
The winged seeds are dark brown. Seed wings are described as triangular shaped or heart shaped. There are up to 40,000 seeds per plant!
The plant grows 3-5 feet tall. New growth can be observed in the spring alongside last year's brown stalks. The new plant is green, 12 - 18 inches high with wavy green leaves.
Taproots are long, stout, and yellow. A plant can regenerate from only the roots.
                          HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY
 The presence of anthraquinones in yellow dock enables the herb to function as a laxative. In fact, yellow dock is mainly prescribed by herbal medicine practitioners for its laxative and cleansing properties. The anthraquinones invigorate the colon which in the process helps to throw out the waste and toxins from the body. It may be noted here that any substance that has laxative property also helps in cleansing the system when taken in small proportions. However, when they are taken in large doses they act as purgatives leading to peristalsis (causing a rippling motion of muscles in the intestine) and gripping pain. Nevertheless, when yellow dock is taken in the right doses, it acts gently and helps to alleviate constipation. In addition, the yellow dock is also beneficial for the digestive system. When mixed with other herbs, yellow dock is also useful in assisting the liver, removing toxins from the skin as well as healing ailments like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Yellow dock also acts as a cleansing agent in the musculoskeletal system where there is regular accumulation of toxins owing to constipation.

                 Things you can so with it...

Fermented Curly Dock Leaves
2 large handfuls of young curly dock leaves
1 T salt(5ml)
1 clean quart-sized Mason jar
Wash your curly dock leaves well. Take a clean quart sized canning jar and place rolled leaves into jar.
Add salt to roughly 3 cups of water and pour over curly dock leaves, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace in the jar.
Push leaves down to the bottom of the jar, and if they float to the top you will need to weight them down.
All leaves need to be submerged below liquids, otherwise mold will form! Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days, then transfer to cold storage (refrigerator or root cellar).

  • 4 cups (1 liter) water
  • 2 lb (300 g) fresh yellow dock roots
  • 2 cups (500 g) wildflower honey
Slowly boil the roots until half the water has evaporated. Strain and melt the honey in the liquid, heating slowly. Keep this syrup cool: it's ideal in the fall for treating respiratory ailments. Take 1 t (5 ml), 3 times daily, as a pectoral, and laxative syrup.

                       Homemade Root Beer Syrup

Now I know this is not a traditional root beer. Traditional root beer is brewed with yeast, is mildly alcoholic — and can be tricky to make. This recipe will give you a root beer flavored syrup that tastes amazing, is stable in the fridge for a year, and needs only seltzer water or club soda to become a wonderful homemade root beer.

When you make your root beer, start with a tablespoon of this syrup to a pint of seltzer water.
You can adjust the strength of your drink from there.
Makes 2 quarts.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 ounces of sassafras roots
  • 1 ounce of curly or yellow burdock root
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 clove
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 drops wintergreen extract or peppermint extract
  • 6 cups sugar
  1. Run the sassafras and burdock roots in a food processor until they become small pieces into small pieces, about ½ inch or smaller.
  2. Put the roots in a medium-sized heavy pot with the clove, star anise and coriander seeds and cover with the water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer this for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the molasses and simmer another 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the wintergreen or peppermint extract. 1. Put the cover back on the tea.
  5. When the mixture cools, strain it though cheesecloth to remove any debris.
  6. Return it to the pot with an equal amount of sugar. Stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer and cook it for 5 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Pour into sterile quart mason jars and seal. Keeps a year in the fridge.

Be Blessed Dears ones and enjoy....

Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm