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

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 97 of our lives on the farm....

Today was another rainy day which has caused me huge amounts of grief and money.  the man came to shear the sheep, it was imposable to do as there wool is wet and has been on their for a year and a half.  It took me forever to find this man, who did the best he could, we got the wool off the big boys and a few of the girls, but not with out injury.  One of my ewes got gashed when she jerked when he was working on her.  I cryed to see it, I love the girls so much.  Another got nicked on the leg and one a bit on the ear, they were the worst, but it seemed like all but one girl he did did not go well, so we stopped and he will be back in about a month and G-d willing that week they will be dry.  I may try to cut some of the surface wool off of them before than.  Where is a Bedouin when I need one, they would know what to do, all I can do is my best which is sorely lacking.  the cost for shearing the few we did was $125.00 and most of the wool is unusable, well maybe as insulation some where.

We bougth the calf two socks from a very sweet friend, thanks MK, your awesome.   The kids, Michael and I, took him to the butcher.  MK gets the hide, MR.R gets the feet.  He and I are splitting the meat. The price was not horrible it cost us each $347 for our share in the animal and than $82 to be made into yummy meat, with fuel it cost us each  around $1.25 per pound and we each ended up with 180 pounds, not including the "scap" parts.  I think the butcher people must think me  We wanted everything but the Moo back.  She does not often here this, and we always seem to ask her for things she has never done.  This time it was smoking the tongue.  I have heard of it being done and had it once before, but had no idea of how to do it, so we both had to come up with a course of action.  None of us could remember if you skin the tongue first...if any one out there knows, please let me know. 

Roof has not progressed any further due to money and weather...
We are getting a ton of strawberrys from the garden, not tilling the soil has worked very well, tons of fruit, hardly any pests and the soil does not dry out as fast. Our radishes and turnips are going to seed, so I am letting them, let them plant themselves...we have harvested lots of yummy greens and hope to get the rest of the garden planted soon.  Everything it taking huge amounts of time with the weather, but the rain is good for the land, so we must take our blessing with love.  I looked at artichokes today at the feed store, but they wanted 5 bucks for each plant, just to much money for me, I know they grow back year after year, but really five bucks...I just don't know, it would take a long time to pay for it's self I think. 
Still need hay, I guess I may have to buy square bales to get use threw till the round bales come in.  Still need to make enough money to pay for it.  Right now we are grazing them everyday, so it is making what is left of the hay go further. 
So there is where we are...hope to go to the swap, but no longer counting on

Be blessed dear ones and know that you are greatly loved...

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 96-needing to find a good grinder for flour

ok so now even though I have 50 pounds of wheat in my kitchen I have to go out and find a differnt grinder at least for now as I have nothing that I can hook the grinder up to.  It is set up to work with a thiner table than we have or counter...ughhhh!  ao now I have to go to the store and buy flour, gosh I hate to do that and wuite frankly it is not in my buget for the month.  

If anyone out there nows an inexpensive flour grinder,maybe german made,please let me know.

Be Blessed Shekhinah

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 95 of 365 days in the life of our small family farm in the USA

I hope you have all had a great day.  It has been a hot one here on the farm, well into the 80's. 

Today we had to work on a few horses and we stoped at a indoor flea market where we got some nice bargains.  A show halter for Rachael's horse, for $6 bucks, a great deal, a counter top for the new kitchen for $6.50, a two draw filing cabinet for $7.50 and a pair of new leather sandals fro Rachael for I think $5.00.  Our find of the day at a cost of $15.00 bucks for the pair, below is the retail cost of the item so the savings are huge.

30"wide X 15"tall 12/12 Aluminum Triangle Gable Vent
30" wide X 15" tall 12/12
Pitch enamel finish or primed aluminum Fully Screened
Price: $83.89
Anyway more to tell you all about tomorrow,very sleepy and it has been a long day.

Be blessed and sleep well...Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim farm....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jumping ahead to day 94 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm

Hello dear family and well wishers, I am jumping ahead to day 94 as it has been a full seven days since I last posted, so I will try to catch you up on whats going on.

Finals week was a mess and so was I.  I feel I was lucky to get out  I scored very well with a 3.88 GPA this term and a over all GPA of 3.65.  I hope to be able to join their honor society this next term, as I have never had the time and desire to do this before now.   Other than school books which I will try very hard to do on Tuesday of this week.  I miss most my Dear J, who had lunch with me once a week, and was truly enjoyable and enlightening.  I go back to school in about 3 months and hope to have much accomplished on the farm by than.

We survived the storms, the house of course did not fair quite as well, as we still have not had enough dry days and money to make the repairs that need done, but we are working on it and hope to have it fixed soon.  Truthfully I can not wait to put the shingles up and would do all the shingles if I could, there is something so peaceful about hammering the 4 nails in each one, the way they all line up in such perfect order, it is like a form of meditation for me and a joyful task. As I have said in a previous post, we now have the bulk of the shingles, but are still saving for the plywood and other stuff, I hope to start on it before the end of the month, G-d willing.

We have had tons of rain, our wild green crops as well as our garden is doing very well and we have our first tomatoes on the vine already.  To date, we have harvested, shell peas, snow peas, strawberries, radishes, beats,spinach, onions, asparagus, Brussels spouts and dandelion greens, oh and lettuce.  While this is not a huge amount of food, it is very helpful and along with our wild greens can sustain us quite well.  Currently we have eaten milkweed flower tops (sort of like broccoli), curly dock(very yummy), dandelion of course, plantago, both long and short, lambs quarters and wild garlic.  Soon I hope to cook burdock and polk greens, Kudzu and who knows what other wild treasures we will find, cattails,Day Lily bulbs?  Maybe some nice mushrooms, it is time to start looking with all the rain they should be choice this year.

We are still planting in the garden, zucchini,dill (mostly for our butterfly's),more cucumbers ( we make and eat a lot of pickles nearly 70 jars a year), plus lettuce.   Got the sweet potatoes planted  in the baskets yesterday, they are gonna make some great salad greens in a few weeks, the leaves are very tasty and great for you .  Found a new forage patch of lambs quarter, they are so yummy and a member of the spinach family that truly is a weed , grows like a weed, totally food, from leaf to root. 

Our neighbors below us the R's were very kind to offer us some interesting fig trees, which are now in the ground and our other kind and lovely friends, just today brought us some red raspberry plants.  We had planted red raspberries last year, but my guess is we failed by planting them to late in the year before the roots could take hold in the soil, so they died.  I will get the new ones which are sitting in a bucket of water, in the ground tomorrow.  I hope they make it, I plan to talk very nicely to them.  We have many black berries which are some wild, wayward cousin to the humble raspberry, so a change of color and flavor would be nice.  Earlier this year I did order golden raspberries from a friend of our who owns a small berry farm but he never got back with me, so I have no idea what happened with that.  Sad really, we were so looking forward to having all three colors, they are all so very pretty and the bees just love them.

An update on the bees they are doing great. The girls have not stung anyone yet, and are just making oodles of honey, three combs out of the ten are full all ready and they have not even been here a full month yet.  I plan to pull and drain those combs and give the first of our honey to our neighbors the R's who live not far from us, his breathing is a little off and I hope it will help him.  He,his wife and daughter are very good people and have made livening the middle of no where a whole lot nicer. 

Speaking of such things I went and saw our meat cow today, all I can say is wow! What a tight short pack of meat, I want to rub him down and feed him beer for a week and have him butchered, he looks very yummy, but not very large, around 500 pounds or so, but all muscle.  The people who raised him have a wonderful healthy, beyond organic farm and raise just a few head of cows, all lovely, and that is what I like.   When you have a manageable number you can give them more care and greater love, there by producing a better, higher quality of meat.  Now if only other people would see that , maybe they would quite mass producing the cows, chickens, turkeys and other animals that they raise and go back to small family farms.

In my life and in the lives of my children we have stopped drinking diet anything as feeding ourselves dangerous nerothougtht and get back to me...I will be awaiting your reply.

As to work it is slow because of all the storms, I 40 in Arkansas is closed and sadly it is one of the ways one would get to Calf.  This will for sure drive food prices up in the states...

I know many of you are wondering how I feel about the US "#1 terrorist " being killed.  So here it is uncensored:  I hope that it is not true, not because I side with the man they allegedly killed, but because it was done in a underhanded and crude, unsophisticated way.  You do not march on to another country's soil and do that sort of thing.  We are lucky India did not declare war on the US that day, who would blame them.  Imagine I saw your dog out in my pasture,I saw a dead lamb at it's feet.   I knew it was your dog, so I went into your yard and killed your dog, took it's body away and told you how it was your fault for not playing by the rules I had just invented in my head five minutes prior to all this.  Where is the UN and why in the hell are they not kicking some one's hind quarters and taking names.  The fact the US went to another country and set soldiers on the ground and the UN looks the other way, yeah, very impressive civilian protection there.  Lets get real it's about the oil, nothing more, nothing less.  We do not need to lie about it, lets just say, to the ruler of this place, give us your oil and we will leave you alone, oh wait I remember why.  He was the guy who organized all the other Arabs selling oil and set new rules and pricing outside of the control of the British and the Americans.  Now he wanted to change things and both world Powers through a fit.  Grow up boys you are not world leaders anymore, you are like France.  America is broke and we need to tend to our own and butt out of the lives of other people, especially the Arabs.  As a Hebrew I can tell you all, that we and the Arabs have been fighting for century's and we all we end up with a stale mate as we are both fierce and have no word for surendered that we can understand.  Once you make any Arabs angry they will never stop coming, it is just not worth it.  There are no winners in war and peace can only come by understanding.  No one fits in a one size fits all t-shirt, nor will they fit into a one size fits all government.  I feel as Americans we are doing the world a huge injustice by not being kind, once again, we can not buy our friends and we can not win unwindable wars, with non-existent causes.  There is still time for all of us to change and learn to work together with out stepping on each others toes.  To do this we must all set aside our notions of each other, our religions, our hatred and allow each nation to rule as it sees fit, no one group should have the power over all groups, it can never work.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely...

I want to say I am very proud to be an American, I love this country, but I am really pissed at my Government.  Right now while you are all reading this, America is coming up with a way to take benefits away that have been payed for once already, medicare will be switching to a voucher type program.  Why you might be wondering, well our government borrowed from that fund because it had so much money in it, and now all the fund contains is a worthless I.O.U. , so these other people will now suffer.  Programs that take care of our women and children were cut in favor of sending more money to foreign countries and governments, all at the cost of some of the most vulnerable members our young and old. A culture is not based upon the wars it wins but on the care of itls people and compassion.  Education was also hit hard in these new budget cuts, but good new women of Afghanistan, American will still give you a free education, free medical care and many other perks as they try to draw you into the demoralizing lifestyle of the American women.  American women for the most part let others raise their children, sending them to daycare centers,then to publicly funded schools, so they can work, keep house,care for their husbands, ect....yes you too can enjoy the benefits of working your self to death and never seeing your children and when you do, being to tired to enjoy it, and what mother would not want her child to grow up and be Brittany Spears...all this can be yours and more.  Consider the working class medical plan you maybe offered, in just five years you will be forced to except government health care, no matter the cost or face fines, maybe even jail, but that is more good news, in American jails, more often than not, you will get medical care, a free education, free food and shelter, clothing and other perks as well.   If all this is not enough, you will live in constant fear of all the people your country has pissed off doing all of this, and you will never feel safe in your own home.  Think American women are safe from abuse, just Google it and see how many are abused ever day and how many men get away with it.

Just to let you know the Native Americans as they are now called, were given these same perks as listed above, some even still get most of them.  Most started with nothing and they still have most of it.  Today they are still by rights prisoners of war in their own country.  Most live at second world conditions, with doctors far from their homes and lack of quality, water, food and education many fall pray to drugs and alcohol  In some reservations they still do not have running water.

When I see our vets homeless, with out medical care, food, shelter and other things, I can only be angry.  I become more angry when people from another country are also given these things before our vets...

It is with in our reach to change tomorrow, to make the world a better place, it starts with one person, one act of kindness compassion and understanding, we may not all be alike, but we can all try to understand each other.  In the end it is not about some one being killed, it is about us living...and doing it well with out destroying others to gain.

Be blessed dear ones, know that you are loved!  Know that G-d loves every one, we should at the very least try to meet him half way!  Know that one candle can light a room, one light can illuminate the the light!