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

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