Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Good afternoon from the mountain...
Good afternoon from the mountain, Mom is still in the hospital and still sick. I hope to be able to report that she is better soon. I wish I was closer to this hospital; I am concerned with how long it is taking to treat her and how sick she is this morning. Obama care at its best, I think.
Onto other dreadful matters of farming, my Excalibur dehydrator has died, well not entirely, at the young age of forty her thermostat went out. The company is completely oblivious to the idea, I believe of keeping one this long. I say if you have something that you like and it does all the things you need it to do, keep it. However, they have informed me that the company who makes the thermostat went out of business many years ago and that at that time they purchased the entire supply of parts. Which are now gone and that they have gone to great lengths to try and have the parts remade. She also mentioned that she would comp me the part if it were available, I believe it is easy to offer a part that you do not have for free, as if that would make me feel better, what bunk. I think she was a bit thick because she did not seem to like the fact that I was unhappy. Meanwhile, they would love to sell me a new one.
I could not imagine the waste that replacing my unit with a new one would cause; moreover, the new ones are nowhere near as good as what I already have. So I have decided to use some of the parts to build a new one. Nothing from the old one shall be wasted, and I have control over the parts. I will not be held hostage by a company ever. Michael and I have spoken about making the designs available online very inexpensively with a parts list and where to acquire parts, I promise to make it simple and cheaper than buying a new one, which might or might not do the job you want it to do.
For me, it must be able to go from 95 degrees to 145, below I made a little list of what temp different things need.
· Herbs- 95F
· Proofing bread-110F
· Fruits and fruit leathers-135F
· Meats and fish, as well as jerky- 145F
So it is not so hard to do something like this, it just requires a little thought.
I am still having predator problems and this time the beast left a half-eaten tomato on the vine. I am so angry; I mean I am happy to share, but not to give up the whole crop. I have set the coon cuff; I think I will also set a jaw trap with the wasted tomato as bait. Goodbye naughty raccoon. I will not lose another tomato!
On happy news, a nice young lady who is visiting her Grand Parents came by for a lesson in skinning the other day and to my sheer joy called me today to say that she had caught a raccoon and skinned it by herself, with a little added muscle from her Grand Father. Another neighbor a few miles in the other direction gave her chemicals to tan it with. I was very glad to hear that, as I had explained the process of brain tanning and that the brain of the animal is just enough to tan the whole hide. All the while I had forgotten to tell her not to use the brain of skunks, raccoon's, squirrels or other animals that may have rabies. That means pig brains in a can, yuck! But all is well, and I cannot wait to see how the fur comes out for her, I am sure it will be amazing.
So even with all the commotion I have been able to get my bookkeeping caught up, I have put away the flour and popcorn and hope to get a few more things done today, it is a never ending list, but it is still better than being beholden onto another for my income. No matter how good or bad at the end of the day it is ours, we own our lives and are not slaves to anyone. I know many people think our lives are odd, we prefer to think of them as blessed, always having our children around, always having plenty to eat and a place to lay our heads at night. We prefer to live life on our own terms; we have been called many things, such as subsistence farmers, as well as dirt farmers, , but no matter what anyone says, at the end of the day we are a happy family doing the best we can in a world overrun by consumerism, greed and sadness.
Tomorrow Michael and I must gather up our aluminum cans, scrap copper, compressors and other scrap metal items and take them to the recycling center. This is how I get my toilet paper for the whole year; I cash in my scrap. I know it sounds funny, but all of the metal from grocery store cans, from dead appliances, from soda and beer cans found on the road, they all add up to money. The people who own the scrap yard also own a small store across the street and that is where they pay for the scrap that we will bring in. They have this really great deal on a brand of paper that is safe for our septic and gentle on us and the environment. I think it is a nine pack for fewer than six dollars, and we tend to go through about a roll a week here on the farm. About ten packs will do us for a year, with a little to spare. I do not know of many people who buy their toilet paper this way, but it is what we do, and I feel great knowing how much metal that we as a family have kept out of the landfill. Normally there is even a little money left over to buy a few more things, it is good to be thrifty.
Be Blessed Dear ones