Sunday, June 29, 2014

Good morning from the mountain, more about garlic and onions and what to do with them....

Good morning from the mountain though it is a dreary one, it is raining and has been for many hours.  I will not have to water the gardens, so that is good, but I need to replant, so that is not so good.  It is already near 80 degrees F, and due to reach about 85 degrees F when I checked last night. 
So it is going to be a wash for most planting, I will still get the next round of corn going though.

Corn can be grown at least twice a season here and even if it does to set big ears, it will set perhaps some smaller ears that I can to add to Chinese food, baby corn.  The likelihood however is that it will make, and we will have even more corn.  With this weather, I am going to most likely dry it in the kitchen.  As with all things, one needs sunlight and heat to dry things correctly.

This is why I will clear the kitchen table to dry my garlic and onions today.  Garlic and onions must dry at least a week before storing.  With garlic, you want the outer skin to turn white and be a bit flaky.  With Onions, it depends on the color, but the skin should be dry and flaky on the outside as well, just like store bought ones.   I will replant more onions and garlic as they both with live year round, but grow slower in winter months.  If I know we are going to have cold weather I may through a pile of leaves over them, just to keep them going.  Even if the green parts die back in the winter be of no fear there are still alive and will push back through the soil as soon as temps allow. 

Garlic and onions can be produced easily and cheaply.   Buy a clove or organic garlic break apart all the little pieces and plant each small piece pointy end up, you can even do this in the pot.  Just as a heads up they love sandy soil, as you can see from the tire photos yesterday.  I have garlic planted in other places as well, and it just does not seem to do as well.   



Onions once you cut the bottom off to cook with you can replant it and unbelievable as it seems, it will become a whole new onion.  Now it is going to take some time, it is not an overnight thing.  But it is re-purposing and costs you nothing and yet you gain free onions.  At some point you should have enough growing to be able to do this without ever seeing a store bought onions again and much like the garlic, you can grow them in pots; every window sill in your home is a growing region for onions and garlic.  Because you manage their care, they will be perfect onions with no chemicals and lots of flavor.  You can even cut the greens to use as chives.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you use garlic powder you will save a ton of money, by just drying the garlic cloves at 120 degrees f for about an hour, after that break one and make sure they are dry. Then grind them or running them through a blender or food processor.  If you prefer, you can also mince fresh garlic and cover it in olive oil or peanut oil.  ¼ teaspoon is equal to one little clove.  It will keep many months that way.

If you are storing just the bulbs and that is great, I do that with some of mine, I find old clean hose works well.  You drop one in the toe, and make a knot above it.  Then  repeat, hang where the air can get all around the garlic, you will get about five to six months of storage that way, not that mine ever last that long, we eat a lot of garlic.  When you are ready you just cut one off, you can do this with onions as well.

Now you have control over that item and your food; anyone can do small steps to living better and towards making the world a healthy place to live. 
Back to my chores now as it nears goat milking time…

Be Blessed
Shekhinah


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Home made strawberry soda, easy and fun...

Cultured Strawberry Soda

1/2 gallon filtered water
1 lb strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 cup ginger bug (recipe follows)
1 to 1 1/2 cups raw sugar or regular is you want

NOTE: A wort is the soda liquid before the addition of your culture 
starter of choice. Tasting the wort will not demonstrate how your final 
product soda will taste. The wort will always taste sweeter. So, try it 
with this recipe 1 1/2 cup, and if the final soda is too sweet, you can 
decrease by as much as a 1 cup next time.

Place strawberries in cheesecloth or tea towel tied closed with cooking 
twine. Add water to a heavy bottomed pot and suspend sachet in water by 
tying twine to pot handle. Bring water to simmer and cover for 20 
minutes. Add sugar and stir to dissolve completely. Remove from stove 
and leave the pot covered for 30 minutes. Remove the strawberry sachet 
and discard.

When your strawberry wort has cooled to room temperature (approx. 75 
degrees F), add the ginger bug liquid (straining out the pieces of 
ginger) to your wort and decant into bottles. (I like to use old apple 
cider vinegar bottles for fermenting this soda.)

Place a tight lid on the bottles and allow them to ferment out of direct 
sunlight in a warm or room temperature spot in your home for 
approximately 2 days. If your home tends to be cool at night, consider 
getting a seedling heat mat – like this one. Watch for tiny bubbles 
rising to the top of the bottle and if you are unsure your soda is 
ready, give the lid a slight twist and listen for a gas release. If 
there is a hiss, it is ready.

Chill in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

Makes: 2 quarts
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ginger Bug

3 cups water
3 tsp sugar
3 tsp diced ginger

In a quart size jar combine all ingredients.

Place a tight lid on the jar, give it a shake and allow it to sit in a 
warm or room temperature spot (72 to 80 degrees F).

If your home tends to be cool at night, consider getting a seedling mat. 
Place the jar on top of the mat and out of direct sun light.

Every day for the next week add 2 more teaspoons each of sugar and diced 
ginger. The liquid will begin to get bubbly towards the end of the week. 
If you are using a mason jar lid, you will be able to feel the top of 
the lid for pressure or even a distended lid. Give that baby a little 
burp. Once bubbly, it is ready to use.

Makes: 1 quart

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Good Afternoon form the mountain and Garlic, little birds and bees...Armadillios

Good morning from the mountain, My Mom is in the hospital today and I would ask for your prayers, we do not know if she will need surgery or not, we are praying not of course.  This made us get up at an unholy hour before six had even come close to reaching its mark, but I needed to get as much done as I could just in case my mom needs me.  The hospital she is at is about two hours from my door. The hospitals here in Arkansas are very strange, they are very small, and each seems to only do a few things.  The one she is in is in Batesville, Arkansas, it is called White River Medical center it has a little two hundred and some beds.

The boys and I stated out this morning picking onions, garlic and some potatoes, and then replanting.  We also cut about a wheel barrel full of fresh weeds for the animals, before the humidity and rising temperature drove us back to the house.  Just check out these photos, garlic that dwarfs the onions, and so more potatoes that I missed the first round.  I like spring potatoes to be small and tender, but they will be alright.  Elijah was very proud of them, he must have spent ten minutes telling his dad how he helped to plant them and now they are all grown and sun burnt, which is green on a potato.   Then Elijah was startled by our little bird, Yellow.







Our sweet little garden bird is doing such a job of pest control for the bigger bugs and she is so delightful, she comes up the front porch and shows you what she has caught and if you place a bug up there she will come and take it. I am sure we would not being doing so well with the corn and pumpkins if it was not for her.  We also delighted in the squash bees buzzing about, what a treat we were given this morning.  From our front door we awake to look out at the sunflowers almost nine feet tall and pumpkin plants covered in blooms behind that and the corn which is so tall it looks as if it could reach the sky.  The ears are coming along so nicely and no bugs, thanks to our yellow warble. 

I wonder if this was how it was before we all messed things up, the birds and bees working with man to make a lovely garden, the worms in the soil, making the soil loose and easy for the roots to follow.  We welcome this beautiful orchestra of nature, providing only good.  Our garden provides us with food wholesome and safe to eat.  Our bird friend Yellow and her mate and their baby’s safe bugs to eat, that have no chemicals on them as well.  The squash bees, our bubble bees and the other four or five varieties of bees and of course our honey bees have a safe place to forage.  They have helped us to have a wonderful garden.

No bad for a one day harvest, so much more to pick and plant, it is an everyday event that brings us so much joy.   I can see clearly that Elijah at only eight years old has gained a ton of knowledge that he can repeat and teach to others.  I am very proud of him; he understood that root crops wild or domestic are important.  He started talking about curly dock while we were digging up the garlic and how he was going to make root beer with it and the sassafras.  I foresee a busy fall for us, I blame myself for explain to him where real soda comes from, and his desire to make it as well.  I have Barbara to thank for the gallon jars, gosh they are nice and I can see fermenting many pickles and kimchi in them.   
I was also gifted some old canning jars from my neighbors Bill and Pat, they are lovely people, and I was as grateful for the help as jars are very pricey.  A dozen new, can run anywhere from about nine dollars to well over twelve.  If the price were not bad enough they are very thin, and the shatter so easily.  You cannot use them for canning if you have ever used them for freezing.  The biggest problem I have had with the new jars is that the bottom of the jar breaks in the water bath canner.  I would complain about them being made in China, but they are not they are made her in the United States.  The quality is no longer there and it is truly a shame.
I was able to pick up some cloths for Michael that a different neighbor was parting with this aloud me a few minutes to wander off to a local yard sell, I saw nothing at the sale, save a few people I knew. But along the road I found some ripe black berries that I picked for the kids for a little lunch time treat.  I spent too much time in the heat and ended up taking a two hour nap after I prepared lunch for the little ones.  I also called and checked on my mom who is doing better.  She can now hold down water, we are hoping to only here good things.
One more thing I learned about today, Armadillos, care four identical babies, they carry their babies for eight to nine months and can even pause their pregnancy four up to four years in times of low food or drought. They can smell insects two inches under the ground.  I wish they would eat the grubs that become Japanese beetles instead of my eggs. They can contract leprosy just like a human and are used to learn more about the disorder.  I will try to remember this the next time we need to shot one for eating eggs.  At one time they had plenty of bugs to eat and they should have plenty here, but they are groomed from other places where the bugs are gone and the ground is sterile.  Yet another victim of the poisoning of the ground, they too must adapt to the changing world.
Be Blessed
Shekhinah




Friday, June 27, 2014

Good afternoon from the mountain...more eBay whoes...

Good Afternoon from the mountain, I am sorry to come to you today with my posting of what a horrendous day I am having. I messed up an egg order and failed so horribly, and I am so tired of dealing with people on Ebay, I have had two people not want to pay, and they get a slap on the wrist. Tally forth and screw some more people, think not of the women who tirelessly works and feds the birds that lay these eggs, better that the eggs go bad while I wait to see how screwed I am.

 I contacted the person who I had not yet shipped to, and offered to fix the mess I had made by either shipping to her Monday so the eggs would be fresh or giving back her money she opted for her money back with a rude email....I opened a case so we could end the transaction. She did not reply to the case, but upon receiving her money left bad feedback, what a lousy crummy person.

Just look at the email she sent to me from what I said to her:
My email to her:
There was an error in shipping and your eggs we shipped to someone else. I am so sorry! It is so late in the week would it be ok to ship your eggs out on Monday? If not I am happy to refund you. Again I am very sorry.
My phone number is 870-321-6859
Be Blessed Shekhinah

Her email back to me:
Well no, after this I don't want you to ship another set of eggs. I'll order them from a more reliable seller and I'll leave you the appropriate feedback. With that being said I will expect to see the refund to my paypal account today.
Chirs

Of course she left bad feedback and eBay who said this morning that I should not worry is now telling me how sorry they are that they cannot fix it...Mind you I emailed her, I admitted my mistake and refunded her, I do not even get to reply to the feedback from what I can tell. I guess I am just supposed to be ok with this, well I am not....I am so angry I could scream. After a half hour on the phone with them I want to throw the phone....The music is making my stomach hurt.
This is the crud I deal with all the time, not that I make mistakes like this often, this is the first time. Not that it matters....UGHHHH! 

So this is how my farm day is going, I had planned on doing some canning but sadly I have spent most of the day trying to fix this.  So this has eaten up most of my day and I am sick over that. What can a person do when they are constantly faced with such tripe in a average day, it is not good for me or anyone to be so upset, but right now eBay is the only money coming into the farm, not that it is a lot, but it is literally keeping the lights on.  

I so wish I had a fairy that could wave a wand and make solar panels appear in my drive way so I did not have to work like this.  I am so frustrated with it all, and still no word from the power company who like this crummy eBay buyer will continue to do wrong with no one punishing them.

The world is a hard place for the hardworking and honest people; there is no place for us, just no place anywhere.  I will try and go forward with the rest of the day and hold my head up…dreaming of a better tomorrow that does not involve rude evil people.

I will try and get some work done int he garden , in-between the rain and have a nice meal latter and forget all this horribleness.

On the bright side, I think I see the sun trying to peak its head out from behind a cloud and I guess if the worst is the worst I could always play with the kittens.  The boys are hard at work with school and shall be done soon, time to go to the pool for them. For me, back to work.


Be Blessed
Shekhinah


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good afternoon from the Mountain

Good afternoon from the mountain, yesterday was a fun filled day.  I planted and worked in the garden, went to our round of stores with my Michael and our little boy, along with all the other farm stuff.   We had a lovely adventure at our local aquarium; we donated two American Snapping turtles for them to use in their educational programs.  The very nice lady we regularly talk with was off teaching Archery, I am sure the boys with their turtles would have brought a smile to her face.  The turtles are very tame and after their three weeks of quarantine they will become the stars of their turtle teaching.  We had a male and a female turtle and now they do.  They are currently feasting on fairy shrimp and missing the boys I am sure.  We will visit them in a few weeks; the boys are very excited.
The boys and the hubby got new sneakers, an important part of farm life.  I think what it must have been like a hundred years ago; the whole family goes to buy shoes, and some things about farm life never change.  Everything we do each day is based on our farm life, no matter what it is.  Some people have a hard time understanding that, they ask me when I am going back to work; my answer is that I never stopped, just changed phone numbers.  Farming is a full time job with no vacations; you just don’t back up and go to the beach because your animals depend on you, and other people depend on you to grow or raise their food.
Michael has harvested many bags of wild buckwheat, and I foresee lots of food being cooked with it this winter.  Our garlic is ready already, so I will be picking and replanting over the next few days; onions too are ready.  I checked on the runner beans that I planted a few days back, there are gone; bugs have eaten the seed.  I am very unhappy about this, but will start the seeds in then plant them.  Nature has not been our friend this year.
I am not sure what is going on with our bigger trees or wild raspberries.  They all act like winter is less than a month away, goofy things.  The autumn olive tree is near harvest already and her leaves are turning yellow.   Our apples, the pears a few more weeks I think, but it will not be long.  Our corn that is over six feet tall is only dwarfed by our sunflowers that are at least eight feet high.  Every day we watch our first pumpkin on the fence, each day it gets bigger and more lovely.  I hope it or at least one of them will be ready to show at the fair.  I am worried that I will not have enough to show this year, but I am pushing forward.
I have so much more to share with you all, but I am still really tired from yesterday so I will go for now. 
Be Blessed
Shekhinah


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Good morning from the mountain...and more van repairs, kitten work, weeds and more...

Good morning from the mountain, I started my day with a nice cup of coffee and plan to work on the van.  I did go out and take more of the door panel apart in an effort to get the window back up, but I was halted by a horse shoe clip and no tool to remove said clip. The tool costs only six dollars, the switch for the driver’s door around thirty five and the motor another fifty dollars or so, plus the other door switch at twenty four more dollars and then tax plus the cost of two gallons of gas. How frustrating it is to be so close and yet so far from a goal.  It will be a 30+ mile round trip just to get that tool and well if I am already there, night as well get the window switches and the motor.  How will I fund this hundred dollars’ worth of parts.

While taking this apart I found out that I needed to find a better Philips screw driver, I am sure I have many, but at the moment they were elusive.  It took us about twenty five minutes to find one on my desk.  I am guilty of the most heinous of crimes on the farm, not putting a tool back where it belongs.  I at one time said we should put it back where we found is, but I am sure that is how much of the loss of tools got started.  If you put it back where you found it and it is not the right place, how in the world could one ever find it again?  I fear the tools live with the dryer socks.

In the meantime, I need to go and get feed for us and the livestock, which happens to be in the other direction and three gallons of gas, which puts me at empty on my gas budget for the week and then some.  I guess I will have to see something.  I guess I will to double ground the switch to see if I can get the window up one last time and try to make enough over the week to get the parts, plus more gas money.  A long week will surely follow!

I milked the goats, Elijah my eight year old, was out pulling thorny weeds which are not food. In the pulling he picked enough purslan for lunch. Purslan is a prostrate-growing, succulent (lobbed) annual that grows in open areas, often before other weeds take hold. The stems are thick, sprawling, and always have a touch of red towards the root base.  It is known to flower, if you have not eaten it before than.  At one time flowers were yellow, but at garden centers a domestic form of it can be-found in many colors. Purslane can produce a lot of seeds and the seeds may lie dormant in soil for years, making it appear out of no where.
I have enclosed a drawing of some:
Here is what I will cook with it:  I will be using smoked lamb though...

http://www.paula-wolfert.com/recipes/lamb_stew.html


 Enough about cooking and bad to the rest of the story. I was paying him five cents per weed and the little love pulled out four hundred and fifty one of them.  Wow that is more than I have made all day, it came to t grand total of twenty two dollars and fifty five cents.   I am very proud of him and I can see that he is gaining an understanding of hard work equating with making money.  I am sure the people of Denmark will soon be receiving this money towards the purchase of LEGOs.  They never turn my money away and it is a god thing I had this money figured into the budget already.  When we were done with our business transaction is was off to other chores.

The kittens in the large dog carrier needed tending to.  This involved much to my dislike, cleaning their living space out; oh it is so stinky…  I could see that the baby chickens have done a great job at keeping the bug population down.  They baby chickens are very plump and happy.   Next more wood chips, I dumped the rest of the bag in and no sooner was I done then the kittens jumped and tumble and dung through it all, the baby chickens were not happy.  They became kitten toys un-willingly as the black and white kitten and the calico though their feet were new toys, poor little birds they were having none of that and very quickly tired of the game.

Meal time ended most of the playing around, fresh goat’s milk and a can of cat food upon a dish.   All five kittens a blur of color surround the small plate and with much growling devoured the food and proceeded to like the plate clean, and we soon drinking down the milk with the baby chickens.   Nothing is cuter then watching baby chickens and kittens drinking milk together.  We also wormed them all, I am sure the baby chicken and the kittens were not thrilled with this action.  I am sure they will not be happy with bath time latter to day either.
Well off to have breakfast and to feed the two legged children, late again.  Then off to meet with a nice lady who is selling me some canning jars and after that I am off to the feed store and grocer.  It will be a long day, but at least it has rained already so I do not have to water the gardens.   I still will have to check for pest though.   Farm work is never done; it just gets put on and off the list of daily life.

Be Blessed Dear ones…
Shekhinah




Monday, June 23, 2014

Good evening from the mountain...

Good evening from the mountain, I am a bit perplexed by the amount of squash bugs I am seeing, I can only squash so many.  I sprayed the organic bug killer and I so did not want to do that, but like I said I could only squash so many.  I looked into my ARBICO ORGANIC catalog to see what else I could do.   I Might order some Minute Pirate bugs or something like them so that I do not have to spray anymore.   I have spiders working full time, but they are just not doing enough.
Other than that I did get more peppers in the ground.  Michael has been putting in more time gathering wild buck wheat and also cutting down wild grasses for the animals.  He also seeded the regular buckwheat for our bees and some wheat for the animals and us.  It is so wonderful to see him using our seeder which dates back over a hundred years.  I think there will be little left of the modern stuff we own in a hundred years.  Things we really made well back then.
Just pasta for dinner tonight, nothing fancy, I am a bit too hot to cook anything more elaborate than that.  I did not make it out to the store or to repair the van window.  I am hoping to get up early and take the van door apart and put the window up.  I hope I can fix it, but if I could just get it to go up that would be fine for now as I did get the ac fixed.
 Then I can go to the store without worrying about rain.  I can see putting plastic bags on the door every time I stop and I sure do not want to drive around like that.  Putting plastic on your vehicle windows is a more normal thing in Arkansas, but I still not want to do that.  Other than repairing the van window, all I can think about is the rising cost of petro.  I am not sure why it should cost so much and they say it could go up to $6.00 per gallon by fall. That would be a real problem for us with me still attending school; it would most certainly force me to take all my classes on line in the fall.  I am not sure if they are even going to get the bridge done anyway.  Without that short cut, I am not sure I could afford the drive even with the price of gas now. 
Everything on the farm is a negotiation, because having enough money to keep it all running gets harder by the day.  Don’t fret dear ones, I always find a way to make ends meet. 

Be Blessed

Shekhinah

Good morning from the Mountian and mountain lion sighting

Good morning from the mountain, it is 72 degrees and rising, we are due to have storms again today.  So I am trying to get all my chores done early so I can go to town and get a few things.  This morning I need to move pumpkin vines as they are trying to take over the world out there.  I also need to plant the rest of the peppers…and last of the cucumbers, and of course the last of the zucchini.
I was created with eBay problems again; honestly I am so over the frustration of doing business.  I have one person who won an auction and has not paid this is going on 5 days now, I have even sent a nice letter saying, I am sure this is all an oversight, but could you please pay me, well not in those words, but I bet you see where I am going with this.  The other problem is with a demanding person who has had back luck with eBay eggs and demanded extra eggs.  I was not even sure where to go with that, so that is $40.00 I will not receive and in the case of the demanding person, I will refund them their money.  I know $40.00 does not sound like much, but when dealing with such a tight budget, well it may as well be a million.  I need to buy feed and I am now short again and it is also time to pay eBay fees.  I feel as though I am failing the farm; I just cannot understand why people cannot just be honorable. 
I expect I shall spend an hour on the phone with eBay over this and it is all hit or miss anyway, as it just depends on who you talk to and in which country they reside in.  I am on eBay while writing this; eBay understood that I was trying very hard to do the right thing.  It has only been thirty three minutes and they have fixed it, new record.  That is what it like is to be a small farmer.
Michael just returned from a trash run with news of a Mountain lion on the prowl, I am less than thrilled by this news.  Now I have to worry about the kids and the livestock even more.  Michael says that most likely it will stick with eating deer; I do not feel so confident in this answer.  I just see the cows, sheep, goats and horses as food for it, and once it finds easy food, it may try to stay around.  What a year, firs the bears came through and now the Mountain lion.  I guess I continue to carry a gun around the farm a while longer. 
Have tons to get done, so I will try and post again latter.  Maybe with news of a new rug.

Be Blessed

Shekhinah

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Good evening from the mountain

Good evening from the mountain.  On the side of good news I am on the mend, no thanks to Obama Care which has made it even more difficult to get in to see a doctor; since they are now all overbooked, but living on the mountain you have to be proactive and able to take what life throws at you.  A few days of drinking a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water for a few days helped to take down the swelling.  I was then able to shift the bones back to where they belonged with a loud audible pop.  I am now able to walk and step down on my foot again.  I guess I knocked the bones out of place when I feel many weeks back and with constantly being on it, I was not able to keep the swelling down.  Just to let you know baking soda at one time was used to treat gout.  What it does in the body is break down chemicals such as uric acid; it also can take down swelling from joints.   
Meanwhile, during my recovery, my husband managed to re-injure a horse shoeing wound.  Then our littlest one got stung twice by wasp; it is has been a rough few days.  Both Michael and Elisha are also doing better.  I promise that when we tell the boys to stay away from the area because of the wasps, they will listen. 
Wasps here in Arkansas are darn near as bad as the flies.  We have these big red wasps; I do mean big, and they will chase you down, they rarely give up.  We try hard to keep their nesting areas away from the main building on the farm, but this year it has been impossible with all the repairs we are in the process of making.  There is wood everywhere, and that is what they love to live in.
When you have a farm that is often how it is, you work through the pain as long as you can and bad things do happen.  When you work with large animals, or animals, getting hurt is always a risk you take.  Most days you may get off easy, a scratch here a bump or bruise there and then there are those other days when you are not so lucky.
  A few days ago I had reached that point and will great sadness canceled a speaking engagement that I was truly looking forward to. It is not often that I am invited to talk about foraging, making do with less and our family’s hardscrabble life.  Unless of course we have guests at the farm or on here, the rest of the time no one hears from us and no one knows. 
Today we will be blessed to have a very nice lady and her husband bring us bringing our hay.  We have not been able to produce enough hay to support the larger animals, another fine reason that it is time they become freezer meat.  Hay is expensive and good healthy non GMO feed is as well.  A bale of hay is currently running us $35.00 per round bale.  Our largest cow will eat this quickly in a week, plus a few hundred pounds of grain.  The grain we feed runs anywhere from $8.00 a bag for a 50 pound bag of millo to nearly $13.00 per 50 pounds of wheat.  The alfalfa cost us around $15.00 per 45 pound bale of dehydrated leaves.  You can see how quickly it adds up, growing real meat is expensive, if you can buy beef cow in the store for under three dollars a pound, you should be concerned for the quality as in the real world it is impossible to raise meat that cheaply.
 I do know that most large beef farms are subsidized in the United States; almost all cooperate farm, better known as factory farms, receive government money, unless they provide produce, and then it seems for some reason the government thinks it should get a share.  I have told you  in recent posts about the raisins and how the government seizes a part of their crops every season, but there are many more crops that the American Government takes a share of.   It more commonly called a marketing order:  

Marketing order authorizes volume control measures in the form of free and reserve tonnage. Tonnage is released gradually through the season by preliminary, interim, and final percentages. Under the order, free raisins can be used in any market. Reserve raisins may be sold to handlers for free use; used in diversion programs; exported to authorized countries; carried over to the next crop year; sold to government agencies; or disposed to other outlets noncompetitive with free raisins. All of these outlets have been used in recent years. The order also authorizes minimum grade and size regulations, and minimum requirements are currently in effect. Grade and size requirements established under the order are applied to imported raisins.



He is a list from the USDA website of all the products that they currently admit to using, “Market Orders”, for…

Back to farm news, I pulled up the first green beans I planted, I was not paying attention and they were a new variety, I will watch better next time.  So I have replanted them and hope to pay better attention in the future.  I really do feel stupid about the whole thing, but what can I do, what is done is done.  I planted some more pepper plants and some more corn that I had started a few weeks ago and some garlic, as one can never have enough garlic.  I still have plants to get in and then fall planting starts.  We did get spelt to plant and I should be able to get a 10 by 12 section to plant in very soon. I plant to plant a 10 by 12 of wheat and one of barley; I have that seed ready to go as well.  An area of 10 by 12 feet will produce 30 loaves of bread or so.  It puts things into perspective as to how much we all consume and what it takes to create that food.   
Our corn Oaxacan green is about six feet tall and starting to tassel…I cannot believe it, but it is true so it will be a future planter for sure.  The blue corn still has not done much; I think it is a drier climate corn.  I look forward to the first years of corn and the replanting which will go on this week, without fail.  I have already picked the site that I am going to plant in.  This corn is not found of rows and likes to crow with a few stalks together; it also like to grow with the pumpkins and beans.  Most of the beans did not come up, and I will replant those.   The first baby pumpkins are on the vine; it takes many bees to pollinate a pumpkin, most of them are squash bees an almost extinct bee that pollinates primarily morning flowers.  Most honey bees are not out that early and squash, and pumpkin flowers shut most often before noon.  Maybe in the future there will be no pumpkins at all…
It is all too sad, and I must stop talking about it for now as it brings my heart to a sorrowful place.  Instead, I will say that it is dusk here on the farm, and we are having barbeque beef that we raised, with fresh greens.  So I will go and have supper and maybe work on, “ABIGAIL” a little. 

Be Blessed dear ones…
Shekhinah


Friday, June 20, 2014

Good evening from the mountain....and so sad...

Good evening from the Mountain…After the power outage yesterday I just needed some time offline.   I am still sick over North Arkansas Electric Cooperative killing my small tree and my purple cone flowers, not to mention the death of many lovely bees; but then leaving the big tree that took out the three phase and left us without power for hours.  So I wonder how that person was able to keep their tree.  I have to wonder in the back of my mind, since they had been told to stay off my property just a few months before and us having to call them to replace a power with a hole in it big enough to pass a large man’s hand though, how they forgot not to do it. 
The fact is stranger than fiction as they are now talking about families and farming, a smoke screen for the destruction to my farm and many others.  They knew it was an organic farm; they did not care, and Mel’s words echo through my head as clear as if he had just said them.  “I am sorry that we sprayed your little garden.”   This was followed by months of hell as they tried to get me to settle for a small amount of money that in no way could compensate me. They have poisoned the lawyers, who will not even return phone calls to us.  In reality all I wanted a way to one protect it from happing ever again and two, to protect others from the same fate, yes I would like to be compensated for my loss, I will never in good conscience be able to grow on that part of my land.
 Even after the three years have passed, and there might be a chance that I can get my status back as a self-certified Organic farm, that poison will remain in my soil forever.   It has broken my heart and killed my dreams; I have a hard time even leaving my house.   This had made me so fearful to leave that they will come back, as I was not here when it happened.  Michael was, and he did the best he could, not that he could have stopped them.  The deed had been done…Now I live every day with I fear, it is so horrible I wish I could just move to somewhere else where there are no people.
This is the life I lead and each day; I try to move past it, I try to look at my plants growing and be blessed in the fact that they did not do more damage.  I do not think I will ever get past this; I am not sure anyone could be that strong, I know I am not.
As I said yesterday about the raisin farmer, I have found you all a link to watch the video about it. I think you will all find it interesting.  I feel for him as well.  They have done worse to him than us; they photographs his family, threated him and forced him to capitulate to the ruling of an unfair act that takes more than half his crop, just because they, not the farmer want to set the price for his crops.  Much like us it is impossible to be heard, and few people care, but they should. When they are done with the farmers, they will attack other business and demand like compensation in the name of helping them, by robbing them of what the sweat of their brow has created.

These are very sad times; I honestly do not know what tomorrow holds, I just know that if people do not stand up for the farmers they will not have safe food to eat. 
As to my day, I spent it mostly in morning…for the loss of my land, to use it the way I see fit, without big business taking away my right to farm in clean soil.

Be Blessed
Shekhinah






Thursday, June 19, 2014

Local power grid down

Power grid is down here; only four towns were affected, of course living in one of them. It is shocking  to have the power go out on a clear night to have the power in the whole area just go out. It came off and on many times and then was done.  It makes you think and I feel it is a great way to test drives the worst case event scenario.  Pitch black, no power, what do you do, if you are like us you have candles and flashlights in nearly every room, so first we gain light, and light the lanterns that provide us back up light.  Lanterns, engaged.  Next calm the child who was unprepared for the dark and no power.  Once that is done, and his lantern is lit, he becomes the caretaker of the room, a very important job as we secure the homestead.  My husband readies the generator; I because of an error on my behalf was forced to go out to the van to make a call.  My cell phone battery is dead, have no idea what I did with the hard line dial up phone.  I have failed!  Then to make matters worse I left the light on in the van.  I need to work harder on paying attention in these sorts of situations. 
A few minutes ago I heard the generator roar to life…never has a sound been so welcomed to my ears.  I have no idea what will happen or when power will return, but I know it will this time, for next time I must be better prepared, and I will never leave the cell phone without a full change.  I never bring the van home with less than a full tank; we always have gas on hand for the generator, but I know we will need to have a more long term backup for the future. 
Be Blessed

Shekhinah

Good afternoon from the mountain...

Good afternoon from the mountain, another hot day here, I am waiting on the rain.  So today started early so I could get the goats milked, and other morning chores done early, just to beat the heat.  I fed the kittens milk this morning and just a little while ago gave them some wet cat food and a bowl of water, we also introduced two, eight week old chickens into their pen.  It was a rough start, but is looking good for all.  It is important to let the kittens and chickens get to know each other.   The chickens teach the cats to get along with livestock and not eat them, and the chickens keep the bugs down.
 The kittens should be ready for their new homes in a week or two.  I want them to get their first round of shots first, and a rabies shot.  Rabies is on the rise here in the country I live in, most of the cases are from skunks or raccoons, but when you live out where those animals live you have to protect your animals.  All the dogs have rabies shots and even the horses and goats and our one remaining sheep. 
Have to shear the sheep, darn it, I need to remember this in the morning, not at one in the afternoon.  It is too hot to do it now; I will have to wait till tomorrow.  I like to do it early as there are fewer flies as well. Summer in Arkansas is like living in a moving sheet of flies; everywhere you go there are flies.  I am not fond of them, but it is part of being on the farm.  We kill as many as we can each evening, but there is always many more to replace them.   I think they are a lot like Politicians, you know they have some sort of purpose, but you just can’t figure out what it is, plus the both like poop.
Sadly their poop does not make things grow.  The news here in America today is about the president playing golf, and doing it poorly.  What an embarrassment he is to us!  His wife as well, she calls for the return of some missing girls from a foreign country and says nothing about the hundreds of girls and young women that go missing here in our country every day.  I think it is easy to see why the women and girls in America are less important to them, it is clear to see that they do not favor Christians or Jews.  I do not say this as if it matters;  because there is no changing it. It is what it is.
Tonight I am cooking roast tonight for dinner and fresh potatoes from our garden.  I just got some of our onions put up in the hose that should help them to keep for at least six months.  By then I will have new onions to replace them.  Too hot to bake bread today or can food.  Instead, I am working on bead work and math, going over the kids school work from the week.  It is so hard to image that the week is almost over already. 
What else did I want to share, I read some interesting news in our weekly paper; the government is going to be giving free meals to all area children.  It is funded somehow through the USDA, and I believe if I read it right volunteers would be preparing and serving the food.  I have been looking into the food that is provide to Native Americas, the poor, schools, prisons, day care centers, food banks and the like.  They call it commodities.  Some of this food is taken from farmers, without receiving payment, like raisins.  A portion of all raisin crops in America have to give the government its share, there are other crops as well, I can look them up if anyone is interested.  If they do not give the potion over willingly, they will sanction the grower until there is nothing left.  It is all very sad. 
The food most commodities programs use is graded, what that means is that it is not up to the standards of the company that made it in many cases.  That means that this food is not able to be sold to grocery stores and depending on the thing that is wrong with it, it is sent through the different levels of grading.  Public schools receive very low graded food items.  Most food is so much less than food anyway, more like food like stuff.  The chicken that most public school children eat is more by product than food and until recently Ketchup was considered a vegetable. 
The point is that they are feeding the worst of food to the people who need good food the most.  Feeding poor quality food to these people causes them in many cases to become ill, whether short term such as inappropriate weight gain or the latter effects, and potential for diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.   If I were to exhibit this sort of feeding programs to my livestock, they would most likely, have me arrested for animal abuse.
 It should be human abuse if you are going to feed the poor children or the elderly they could at least feed them fresh fruits and vegetable and real meat.  The do much the same to the elderly with a program called Meals-On-Wheels, the food is loaded with salt, fat, food like products and often either 2% milk or skim milk.  I am sure there are many deaths in America every day due to food related causes like these.  If this is the best we can do for people, we should just stop.  The shear cost of medical care for people being exposed to this quality of food, I am sure is staggering.  Perhaps some of the money spent making war, could be spent to revamp sad programs as these. Just my thoughts mind you.

Anyway back to farm chores for me.
Be blessed dear ones
Shekhinah




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Good evening from the mountain...

Good evening from the mountain, it has been a long day, I went and picked up the saw horses and got a few things at the grocer, met one of my sort of neighbors.  It was interesting to hear someone else talk about the troubles that have fallen upon all of us and the ways we are all trying to deal.  She was explaining to me that we could no longer sell eggs at the towns square; I did not know anything about that.  I was expressing that at least I could still as a farmer sell there. I found out I was sort of wrong, if the item is eggs they must be refrigerated, so they say and there for cannot be sold.  I can still sell vegetables and jarred food as well as bread, but no eggs.  Who are these people refrigerating eggs? Honestly I am perplexed by the whole idea.
To tell you the truth it is getting very hard to make money as a small farm that refuses to use nasty chemicals and GMO seed.  I am so frustrated with trying to make money in general.  All the skills I have are worthless in this China economy and each day I feel as though I lose more ground.  I can make lovely beaded hat bans, necklaces, chokers, bracelets, etc., but since the China is making these in their country and selling them here, well I stand little chance of selling any of mine.  Here is my example; I charge 5 dollars an inch for a ¾ wide piece, ten inches $50.00 American dollars.   They can sell a loomed piece for of the same size for $5.00. 
I am guessing I will have to find a new nitch market to make money, though I am not sure what that shall be.

Have to go and milk the goats, feed the kittens and make the evening meal.

Be Blessed
Shekhinah

Good morning from the mountain...

Good morning from the mountain, woke up with the sun crossing the mountain, through the midst, it was white sunrise…The weather  people say it may rain; we had almost a day of no rain, it was hot, bring back the rain. 
When I checked the garden today, peas still producing, but the heat will take care of that soon.   Our tomatoes on the vine; it is amazing, and I cannot wait to make tomato sauce out of them.  Peppers are coming along nicely, and I think the beans shall follow with the dryer weather.  I can say the rain has been good for the pumpkins and the corn.  The pumpkins are loaded in male flowers a sign that fruit is to follow; the flowers, by the way, are edible. I often dry them for use in soup, but they can be sautéed, or batter coated for frying as well. 
The corn is trying to send up tassels already.  I see about 2 to 4 ears on each stock, so that will be good.  It looks like the corn will be done far ahead of the pumpkins and trail of tears beans.  This is the green corn; the blue corn has not made this progress.  So I will double the corn from the North Eastern Tribal Association and report my findings that it is not suitable or sustainable for this area.  I do not think the blue corn liked the rain as well and with constant weather change I am guessing that where we live in Arkansas may soon return to swamp land. 
It is good to try more than one type of corn and put back the seeds for the future.   We will continue to volunteer to grow for the Tribal association as it is important to preserve the integrity of the corn, but we will sure not produce bumper crops of the blue corn of this line.  Most people would not understand how each kernel is the key to food security in this age of bio-engineered food.  This corn has been around for many hundreds of years and is in danger of not only extinction, but contamination from GMO corn.  I do not want to eat food with poison built in, and that has also been sprayed with chemicals that never leave the soil.  It is a sad fact of the world we live in, and while many countries have banned the use of GMO crops, American is not one of them. 
I have no idea why the country I live in feels the need to destroy ever last acre of land, but it seems like the main plain.  It is so bad here in America that China has decided not to buy apples from us.  Not that I blame them, our apples are sprayed with a radioactive fluoride cousin, so are many of our grapes and potatoes.  It is grim that this is what we do to our food in this country, but they will not listen to the small farms, we are like dust on a pair of spectacles, something to be wiped away, a filth in the eyes of those around us.  I am starting to feel as though I am a lowly creature just because I want to preserve the land and my farm and grow real food.
On television they show all these people growing fresh organic food, this is not the norm in America, just a form of warped propaganda to make us look like we are doing better than we are.  Believe it is not true.  Our waterways are polluted, our ground worse. The rules for organic are quite lax if you are a large company, in those people you put your trust to keep safe the food and seed.  Monsanto bought our many seed companies here in the United States, many organic and heirloom breeds, I quite frankly do not feel comfort in this.  Here are the people poisoning the land buying the rights up to the only safe seed we have.  It is thought that they will patent these other breeds and make it illegal to save your own seeds from year to year, like they have done with their GMO seeds. 
When comes to pass the world is doomed; this is not to stick a cord of drama, but one of facts.  You lives may depend on having seeds that have not been contaminated or owned by large corporations.   I think small farms need to consider getting patents on seeds of plants they have grown for many years and saving the seeds.  Just to avoid these future issues with Monsanto we must act now, yesterday was already too late.
In other news:  We managed to get our van fixed and at half the cost we had been quoted.  I wanted to jump for joy, so now my vans front end is as good as new, new breaks all the way around, and cold ac and a front end alignment, plus the replacement of the upper ball joint which my very kind mechanic said, had never been replaced.  However, I was not able to get the window fixed.  He was unable to fix that; I want to think it is just a wire lose some whereas it started out on only one side, with the switch seeming to malfunction, I could still shut it from the driver’s side of the vehicle, but now nothing.  So for the moment a big black trash bag sits on the door keeping rain and vermin from entering the van.  I am adding it to my, to do list, which is long and never ending.
Well, my dears I must go for now; I have to drive to the small town and get two sets of saw horses for my husband.

Be blessed
Shekhinah


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Good morning from the mountain and how to make water clean enough to drink

Good morning from the mountain, I wanted to talk to you all about water as I read that our friends in the Ukraine are having a hard time with water at the moment.  Any time you depend on someone else to provide you something as important as water you will fail!  

Water which is so precious is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  How to find safe water is sometimes on of the most difficult things in the world.  Most bodies of water are contaminated whether they are in your country or the one I currently live in.  If it is all you have there are some simple cheap things you can do to remove the larger particles and render it safe to drink.  You can make a very easy filter system with a bucket of almost any size, however the larger the bucket the more water you can run through it at a time.  You will need holes at the bottom of the bucket for the water to go through.  Next you will need a few others things, sand, grass or straw, some pebbles.  If you cannot find a bucket a two little bottle will do, it will just filter less. 

First place sand in the very bottom, then larger sand or pebbles, at the top straw or grass, pour water through and you will see the water become clear.  You will still need to boil this water to drink it.

Do not do this with salt water, you will die!!! 

Gathering water from the air, will give you small amounts of water.  You need a piece of plastic sheet and a can.  Place plastic sheeting vertically with the ends coming down into the can, at night moisture will form on the plastic; it is a form of condensation, which will pool in the bottom of the can as water, you may not get much, but if you have no water it is at least some. 

Rain water if you can get it, will still need to be boiled, but should be used sparingly.

Here in Arkansas we have had periods of no running water, either because of weather or power grid failures.  If there is snow on the ground it is not so bad, as you melt the snow, but it is a lot of work.  I have used the filter method that I have described above to get water from a fish pond.  It works, and it will get you by.  

If you have no running water and need to flush a toilet, you will need about a gallon and a half of water to pour into the bowl to flush.  If very short on water you may need to apply the yellow fellow rule.  Which breaks down to:  If it's yellow leave it fellow, if it’s brown flush it down. 

In times where water is scarce, water from doing dishes, or bathing should be used to flush toilets.

I know it is all a bit much, but we have been there as well. 

Off to get my van fixed and pick up the new grain for planting…

Be blessed
Shekhinah




Monday, June 16, 2014

Good night from the mountain...

Night time from the mountain, it was a scorcher here today; at the height of the heat it was 104 degrees F on the one porch, and 98 upon the other, both in the shade.  How amazing that is thinking the other night it was 49 and a high of just 72.  They show us as being very hot for a few days and then back to rain and the low 80’s, it all a bit sixes and sevens as of late, very hit or miss for the weather people. 
I took advantage of the cool of the morning and the evening to get some more planting done.  Still a bit more to do and then I must start the garden for winter.  The kids took this time as pool time, and yes it is still a bit green, even after being shocked reputedly and having chlorine tablets added.  It is a frustrating that we have not been able to keep crystal clear as in previous years, but we do the best we can with all the rain and poor weather we have had.

Tomorrow I have to get up early, get the chores done as quick as I can, so that I can get the van fixed. The front end needs a bunch of work, and the breaks, and the power steering pump…yikes!  But it has to be done, before it gets worse.  I also need to get it done so I can take the cow to the butcher and get it ready for the freezer.  Everything must get done as quickly as we can, since there is no way of knowing when winter will arrive. The plants do not even know.  Our wild buck wheat which is normally ready to harvest in November, is ready now.  I have harvested onions and potatoes already and replanted them.  It just seems as if everything is making ready for winter.
Our next task is to sell our sons car that is blocking the road that the hay truck needs to come down and we need more hay.  A truck load of ten bales will set up back around $350.00.  It should last us much longer since the big cow should be in the freezer soon.  The bull soon after, G-d willing!


Working on the farm is hard and there is always something needing to be done, something needing fixed, something needing fed.

Be Blessed
Shekhinah

Good morning from the mountian

Good morning from the Mountain, today is a hot one, already in the low 80’s here and very humid.  Even with that I was able to get the Yard long beans planted and the sweet potatoes below the tomatoes.  So that section is in, and more plants still need planted.  Our okra had flowers that had rotted on the steam, so I cut off the bad portions and maybe with more time and little more dry weather they will produce.  The first of the transplanted Artichokes seems to be doing well.  I lost of few of the plants before they even went into the ground do to the constant wet.  I lost all, but two of my Italian gourd plants, boy they do not like rain.  The tomatoes, potatoes, and onions seem to love the content wet, and I feel I will have lots to can this year.  I have already got everything to do my hot pepper Jelly so that need to be done, and I still need to make soap.  
On to other matters of the heart, have any of you, my dear friends lived in Alaska, I am looking into moving there in the future and want to learn more about it, from people who have lived there.  The Area I am looking at it is in the temperate zone in the southeast.  I love the thought of the moss filled forest.   I am weary of all the stress that comes from living the way we do.
 We have blown off moving to Oregon because they are metering wells, and I feel that is the start of foolishness that I do not want to be a part of such insanity.   I just want to live where I can be in control of my own life, where we can hunt and forage in peace, but mainly where I do not have to worry about people spraying my land with toxic crap, people trying to rob us, etc.  Life in Arkansas has become a consent crap shoot, each day more fearful than the last and well I grow weary of having to have people at my home 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I have no piece! The worst is that now a neighbor has cut down a bunch of their trees we, and we can now hear traffic up on the main road; I hate this most of all. 
I moved out here to the mountain for the quiet and to be away from people.  To live our lives on our terms, raising our own food, hunting, etc…but that seems impossible when you live in a community that is so beat down that they no longer stand up for themselves.  The result is that people like our power company, North Arkansas Electric cooperative, can do what they want to your land, and you have no recourse as no lawyer will talk to you out of fear of their retaliation.  There is also the fact that people here have no problem  robbing you or destroy your property, and you have no rights because they are wealthy. 
To farm the land its self is a struggle to do it with all this going on, is impossible.  I long for quiet and freedom.   In the meantime, I still have plenty do to here.  I need to get this place off grid and give more thought to Alaska.
Back to work for me…


Be Blessed

Shekhinah

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mystery meat and biscuits

Good evening from the mountain…

Restful day and I am now making fresh biscuits and mystery meat gravy, with fried cabbage and onion tops from the garden.  The meat really is not a mystery, it is ground cow meat from the freezer, but the kids got to pick, they wanted goat, but I did not have any ground goat left, I think I had ground lamb and deer in the other freezer, all from here of course.  I just wanted the kids to feel as if they get a say in dinner and the meat they eat.  I want them to know all meat is good. 



Here is my recipe for mystery meat gravy:

To feed 4 people well, you will need to brown two pounds of meat, next take ½ cup of flour, I used fresh ground red wheat flour.  Mix with the meat and grease.  You will now start to add your milk, you will need 5 cups; I use whole milk, never use 1 % or 2% milk or even skim as that is what people feed calves in productions farms to make them fat.  I use whole goat milk for mine; I would use cow if I had it.  Add milk about a cup at a time until you have added it all, keep stirring over medium heat until it starts to bubble up a bit, them once it is almost thick enough pull from the heat, it will thicken a bit more as it cools.  Add a little pepper..and land salt or salt, do not use white store bought store, believe you don’t even want to know.

Quick drop biscuits:

4 cups fresh ground flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon –cream of tarter
½ teaspoon salt, I used pink salt, lots of good things in there.
1 cup melted butter
2 cups of milk

Mix all dry ingredients together, then add butter and milk, do not over mix, should look a bit lumpy.   Drop by big spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet, bake at 450 degrees until a bit golden around the top.


Now you too can cook like we do here on the farm…
Be blessed and rest well

Shekhinah









Baking soda-washing soda...one in the same

Good morning, today I would like to share with you the merits bulk buying of baking soda.  I told you a few days back about being able purchase it at feed stores and it saves a ton of money.  I buy baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, whose chemical structure is CHNaO3, it can be purchased at the feed store as sodium bicarbonate very cheaply, and currently I pay less than $14.00 American dollars for 50 pounds.  Many people do not know that you can change the chemical properties of sodium bicarbonate by simple putting in on a cookie sheet in the oven for one hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  It then becomes washing soda or if you prefer its chemical name sodium carbonate NA2CO3.  The oven burns off the carbon dioxide, so does this with windows open please.  Now you have two ways of using the same product and saving a ton of money while doing it.


Be Blessed
Shekhinah

Friday, June 13, 2014

Good morning from mountain...my morning, my mess...

Good morning from the mountain…
My day has started and at the moment it looms above me like a dark rain cloud.  In the retrieval of a jar of honey I discovered a huge mess, which will take me a good part of the morning to clean up.  I quite apparently and without good knowledge over filled the honey jars in the fall, so when it was cold they crystalized and with no shortage of warm days they have become liquid again.  Perhaps they fermented a bit as well, all part of the process of storing honey.   The new jars that will be retrieved from the hive in a few days will be filled leaving a good two inches of space.  I love honey, but the mess this has made is unbearable.  I can attest that waking up to a sticky cupboard is less than pleasant; it puts an awful shine on that first cup of morning tea.  Life being what it is; I shall overcome and go forward on my day.
My children under good judgment have advised me that are fruit stores are low, and even though our blackberries are now becoming ripe upon the vine, I must do the un-thinkable and go to the grocer.  A place I dread more than any other on the planet, save prison of course.  I shall be tempted and beguiled by all the food like items, which are cheap and in good abundance.  I will walk through the many rows of food like items, much like a grand treasure hunt for the real food, my prize beyond value.  All because I am out of bananas, and pectin; for it is now the joyous time of year when we start to can our food for the winter.
 It is hard to believe that this time is upon me once again, which leads to all new cleaning adventures, not that I have yet completed those of regular days.   These adventures start simple by sorting the food of past seasons.  It must all be gone through; products that have changed into biological weapons of sure death must be found and destroyed, jar and all.  Items must again be sorted, and jars cleaned and shelves cleaned.  Moving forward one comes to the joyful task washing of the empty jars, an un-daunting duty taking many days and, alas never truly finished.  I have often thought in a quite delusional way that there is an imp hiding just a few jars from my site.  That once the sink is emptied, and my heart is light feeling an overwhelming sense of joy at being done, that this cruel creature of unknown reason feels the need to play upon me the cruelest of deeds.  For this imp being quite the cleaver being will than as if by magic cause to appear just a few more jars.
Still much to do in the gardens and in my mind I heard the clock clicking down the count till winter rejoins us, the work of one living on a farm is never done, and it is a full time job to say the least.

Be Blessed

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rainbow and rain

So much rain, but at least there were rainbows.  We had three total, one double one and a single one, maybe it is the universe laughing at us.  

It has been a long day, dealing with DELL computers.   Just a heads up, if they offer you anything for free, they will charge you for it and say they had to do that to ship it. When you say please send a pickup for it, they ask you to send both back, the one you bought and the item they, "Gave" you. So you are stuck paying for it, I am sick over the type of business they do, but I need a laptop so there you have it, I am stuck buying a tablet, I hope the kids enjoy it.  

Then I had to deal with eBay over a person who was all sixes and sevens over eggs she received from my farm.  I can tell you no matter what I had done for her; it would not have been enough.  It was a trying day to say the least.


Goats are milked; supper is done, chores are done, and night is falling upon the farm, the rain continues with it...

Be Blessed

Shekhinah

One hour of hard garden work...

The weather has not been as friendly as I would have liked, after just an hour of work in the gardens the sound of thunder can be heard in the distance.  It is hot, humid and altogether disagreeable, if not extremely unpleasant.  I was able to clear more of the edible weeds out for the livestock, and so far a wheel barrel and a half has made their transition into our animals.  I have cleared out some of the peas as well do to what I call rot.  Too much rain and not enough dry soil, but there are still some in dryer areas of the garden thriving and the ones that were not have been sorted out.  Pea plants are edible, so of the ones I pulled, I saved as much of the leaf matter for part of our dinner tonight.  I have harvested about five pounds of potatoes from the tiny trailer bathtub which housed them, peas, and a tremendous amount of radishes.  I tell you I am very happy with how much food this little area has provided us.  In a few minutes, I will replant potatoes and beans in that area.  This should provide a good crop for late July early August than I shall plant it for winter, beets, radishes and the like.
On a sadder note, I have lost the last of the Chinese cabbage to rot as well, I will need to harvest the regular cabbage now, ready or not, so that is a bit disappointing if not madding. The decay happens so fast there is no way to have kept up with it. In revolt, I shall plant tomatoes, peppers and carrots there as they will do fine with the extra moisture.   
The new planting of corn is coming along nicely, and new beans have broken the soil and should do well.  The first planting of corn is taller than I am which means they have made the 5’5 mark…  There for are they are very tall, or I am very short, but I can see the signs of corn forming, and I am excited. 
Still much to do so I will drop back in on you all later if weather permits….

Be Blessed

Shekhinah

Almost sunny morning from the mountain

Well, it is almost sunny here on the mountain, welcome Ukrainian friends and to all our other friends.  My day has started off as a landslide or events that made themselves know at 6:35 this morning. For days, I have been dealing with a very unreasonable customer on eBay and have been phoning eBay every other day.  I shipped eggs to her that she had won at an auction of mine.  They were Americana eggs that means they a heavy build bird that has puffy cheeks and a little beard, they have smooth legs, which are often blue or willow color, and they lay a blue egg.  They are lovely birds, none old then three.  I keep them young as to keep fertility rates very high.

So here is what transpired:  The eggs I shipped her we broken in transit, the box was smashed, and suddenly I am the blunt of her life's pain.  I careful explain that the eggs are insured, she tells me that her post office will not honor the insurance because the box was not marked fragile.  In America boxes that are marked fragile rarely make it to their destination unharmed and in my mind I imagine them playing basketball with the boxes, so to protect my little eggs I wrap them to the hilt.  I wrap each one in bubble wrap, and then I use an egg carton cut in half, the end you put the eggs in.  I split the box into two sixes, placing six eggs each wrapped in bubble wrap in the carton, placing the other half on top. I tape that put more bubble wrap around it and then do the other 6 eggs.  I use the smooth tops of the egg cartons to brace the bottom of the box, encase the box is dropped. I have shipped too many places and shipped out hundreds of boxes of eggs; I rarely have eggs get broken, but when the box is smashed there is little I could do to have saved the eggs.  


Her next complaint, the eggs we mixed sizes, she felt they were too small.  She said they must be from bantam birds, which look nothing like the photos of my birds or from pullets.  Pullets are birds less than a year old and not running with a rooster.  This is not the case, and I tried very hard to explain that to her.  Our birds are less than three years old, to ensure good fertility rates and hatchability.  None is a year old; most are around a year, and a half and all of them are running with a rooster. 
Needless to say, the emails continued. This morning included, why I did not send extra eggs; my eggs are not the right size, her post office saying they were not responsible for the box that was insured, etc. and of course her leaving bad feedback.  This caused me to call eBay once again, go through the whole story again and to be transferred to a nice woman in the Philippines.  The Philippines is a commonwealth of America for those not aware.  America freed them from Spain and then took their freedom and made them a commonwealth, how very British of us, don’t you think? I apologize to my British friends; Eddie Izard made me do it, flag, and all!
 Back to what I was saying but the history lesson, the lady in the Philippians, was laughing as she read these emails, I think she felt a bit sorry that it had even gotten this far.  She could see that not only had I answered each email with great kindness but that I was being harassed unfairly but this woman over eggs.  Honestly it makes it hard to be a good farmer even a person under this sort of stress. 
On to other more pleasant farm matters, our dog that had been bitten by a snake has made a full recovery.  I think he has learned no to play with snakes, or at least I hope that he has.  His mate my dog may be bred, so we are happy with that news, so all is well with the dogs.
Our new kittens at the moment are safe from my dog, who in reality may have only the very best intentions of loving kindness, which I fear may cause the death of one or more of the little kittens.  I feed the kittens fresh goat’s milk twice a day as our poor Sammy cat seems to be having a hard time keeping up with the task of feeding so many mouths. She is a good sport I think rearing this little loves with my dog hanging about. 
The gardens are amazing, and I am planting more beans today.  I guess we will have fried cabbage with dinner tonight, and I may try and harvest the rest, since it will rain again later today.
I am hopeful for a pleasant day and maybe cheese or soap making if I can find the time.
Be Blessed dear ones…
Shekhinah