In memory of Brandy Girl

It came up on facebook today that it was 7 years ago that my Brandy Girl Arrived on my farm and my world.  She took a piece of my heart and never gave it back.. it went with her when she crossed over the bridge to the other side.

She was in many ways a truly amazing horse, sadly slowly but surely effected by a incurable health issue that with the pain changed her.. I am forever grateful we got that last summer and fall together.. and that I still know I made the right choice to help her cross over before the bitter colds of winter hit and her pain flared so much again.

I have so many memories, photos of my girl.. I have never been so happy that I am a camera bug and take a ton of photos..

 

I have one or more photos of all my rides, all my hubbies rides and friends rides and so many fun just cauz ground work, hanging out around the farm photos..

Caleb came early to the farm to find his own place and to give me his amazing self to help heal the loss of my Brandy Girl.. and he has truly be amazing that way.. I can only hope and pray that I have at least another 10 plus years with my BIG guy!

Posted in Life moves on daily | 3 Comments

The Garden is in full swing..

Its mid-aug and I think its time for a garden update..  It was a greatly limited garden season compared to normal years and the last four weeks have been HOT and dry.. o so dry..

Its not that there has not been rain or storms.. there have been but the rain just kept passing us by.. finally we did get rains.. we have had a number of very short, very light rains.. not enough to fill up the rain barrels, or the water system..  my pond is very dry.. I am certainly figured out what plants do well in that dry out.. vs the ones that clearly need more water.. Live and learn.

The area’s that were built in the kitchen garden have been outstanding in growth and production. I have been feeding them with composted comfrey and nettle water as well as Rabbit manure tea.  After everything comes out this fall I will be adding a solid inch of compost to all the beds.

In the back potato garden is very poor indeed.. the sub-soil showed me just how much of a difference my normal well done gardens are, despite feeding it, despite covering it with bedding.. it produced about 20th percent of the crop that the well done gardens did..  we will work on it this fall so that it will produce better next year.

I honestly did not expect to get as good of a garden as I have.. the eating garden has been excellent and continues to be so..  I have some limited canning stock.. but I am buying locally produced food or Ontario produced and filling things up

I am limited in what I can do and it changes by the hour at times.. sometimes I get a couple hours where I am pretty normal, and then I move the wrong way and my back reminds me in a big time way that its not fully healed, and that as I am now totally off all pain killers/heat rubs and such.. it leaves me with rest (which in its own way makes me weaker) walking, or ice packs.

Then comes the being tired.. to say that its been draining on my body to be “growing Timbit” is a understatement.. I have at times slept 12 to 14 hours at a time.. its just brutal..  I also have been taking a crazy! amount of naps, and while I mean to sleep for a hour and sometimes that works just fine.. most of the time, my hour nap turns into two to five hours..

I work between sleeping or resting.. and I certainly am noticing the effect on what is getting done!

Still every day hubby goes out and picks bowls of tomato’s and beans and potato’s are now coming in.. and I find the time to top and tail and slice and dice.. I make 0 mile meals and I can up small batches in the pressure canner daily it seems.. 9 jar here and 9 jars there..  It is not as nice as holding things though and doing big batches like I normally do..

However it is working for me.. I am keeping up.. beets come in.. focus and do that one.. plums come in.. focus and make the plum sauce..  and so forth..  The jars are filling, the pantry is filling.  Day after Day!  and many more to come yet..

This is the WEEK that normally our weather changes and we start to get our late summer rain and then the wetter fall rains.. so far, I have been pleased to see it coming right on time.. we have had smaller but still good rains 3x in the past week.. the garden is loving it, the pasture is loving it.

I am pleased..  how about your guys, I have been reading that in Western Alberta, they are in some area’s getting frost this week.. that be crazy.. I know its happened before, I have seen it with my own eyes.. but still ouch!

I have to own up to something about my current garden.. I am not giving space to seed saving.. I know! I know! I always save my own seed and I do have “lots!” of home grown, home saved seed in the house and I will be saving lots of native flower seed this year but I am not saving “garden” seeds.. everything is being harvested for the canning pantry or the freezer or fresh eating..

I ordered in seed for this years garden and had fun trying new kinds of this or that.. so I am not using up “my keep back always” crops.. they are fine.. they will be planted next year and I will save seed like normal.. but it really made me aware of how much you spend on seed if you are not keeping back your own..

Wow.. a fully done garden that is done by all bought seed is more costly then you would expect, I am SO grateful that I got the BOGO sale from Salts Spring.. thanks to my reader that pointed it out to me! I have been totally impressed by the seed quality!

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 12 Comments

Time time time…..

If you have never read the rare (but so loved posts) from this blog, I highly recommend popping by and having a read!

valbjerke's Blog

Never enough of it I’m thinking…..this is a long long read…..

Stretching the mozzarella…….

My last post – I promised to do a series related to farming/livestock/ etc, using questions I get asked often. I tried. I have a long winded first instalment in my drafts that I’ll likely pitch in the dust bin. I don’t like it. To me….it comes across as preachy. Or uppity. Which is not what I’m aiming for. So bye bye to that effort with no regrets. Might take a stab at it another time.

This summer has been incredibly hectic – it seems I’ve almost managed to nail down the fine art of multi-tasking (at the moment I’m making cheese, blanching and freezing beans, trying to write a post without things going haywire – but hey – I love a challenge 😂). Those of you who have faithfully followed my blog know that I…

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Posted in Life moves on daily | 2 Comments

Video updates :)

Ok, I will get back to writing blog posts.. I have been so busy.. either doing things or napping, there is little between lol

Want Chaga? I am working with a dear friend to help get her new CHAGA line out locally, I can also have a order shipped anywhere in Canada.. I am really excited about this!

The rain garden has filled in so well over the past couple weeks, the plants have grown so much since we planted them in.. I expect I will be able to do some fall splitting next year and I had thought I would need to do it on the 3rd year.

The heat has broken and fall is already dropping hints on us but its time to plant the fall crops.. fog in the morning is always a good sign that the temps are coming down.

Just a overall hiya and chat video 🙂 and yes, as said in the last post, I am currently expecting but I am very high risk so don’t get to excited.. things can change fast! One day at a time.. one day at a time.

A little fast easy Raspberry Freezer jam recipe..  Have a great one..

Posted in At the kitchen table | 4 Comments

Read Between the lines :)

HUH??

Are you kidding me? REALLY??

But.. I am 46?? After all that trying.. really NOW??

WHAT? WOW

Now?? REALLY Now.. but I am really high risk..

Early days.. weeks pass.. more weeks pass..  hmmm.. ok..

Still there huh??

Hmmm.. this could get interesting?

Maybe we should make some planned changes this winter

Cuz someone might be waddling around this winter??

LOL..

 

Posted in 31 Day Self Reliance Challange | 37 Comments

Butchering out..

Hello Folks..

So I am down to just 6 of my meat chickens left to butcher and they have been outstanding! in returns.. I bought 50, raised 48..  (thanks for the advice to change their feed over) and I can’t believe the amazing return yield on these guys.

I have 8 turkeys left to butcher out over the next while.. I could let them get bigger but there is no reason to do so, and I want to clean out the pens early..

I have butchered all the rabbits and at this time, we have closed the rabbit breeding program.. I have lots of rabbit manure to use yet and so much other manure coming from the sheep/horse’s and chickens.

I have butchered out all the geese.. wow.. its so quiet around here without my guard geese..

I have 8 more young ducks to butcher yet and then we are pulling the hens from the nests.. we will keep our ducks as they eat the flies and they are truly hubbies favorites, I think I have a couple extra big drakes that might go yet though.

We are down to just the yearling goat does and they will be butchered out along with most of the lambs and a few of the yearling sheep.. we are butchering out and turning into burger a few of the 2 to 4 year old ewes that I have not been as happy with and replacing them with my top choice keep back ewes from this year.. I might have a new home for my twin ewe full woolie/milky girls.. I hope I do.. while they would give me great meat yields they are so nice it would be lovely if they go to this new home instead.

So that will bring me into winter with my older layer flock (reduced as I am helping a friend start her coop and she is getting some of last years hens a rooster and at least one really good broody to hatch her chicks next spring) as well as my new dozen big brown layers.  My keep back ducks, 6 to 8 sheep and my two horse’s.

This should allow us to do some extra deep clean up, composting and repair work that is needed, saving us on feed/hay/bedding and meds..

The finally call will be made in another month or two but its highly likely that we are taking the year off lambing.. we are going to pull the ram and ram lambs this weekend from the ewes, I have a friend who has promised me that she will loan me a in milk ewe if I want one at a later point but right now. I am putting up milk so I will have lots for later use in winter. I might breed my best milking ewe only.. we will see

Ordered some amazing beef from a farm down the road, so that will fill up the beef area of the freezer..

I think that’s it for the moment on that front..  and yes, if some of you just went WHAT?  something is up.. you are not wrong.. but hang tight.. I will explain soon enough..

Posted in At the kitchen table, food, Food Storage | 12 Comments

Batter Fried Green Tomato’s

I love Fried Green Tomato’s both in real life and the movie~

In this case I made them with a batter instead of a breading crust.. its a bit different but its good too.. Does not stay as crunchy for as long..

A side of Fried Green Tomato’s

  • 2 large green tomato’s , ends sliced off and then thick half a inch thick.. I like mine thick. try them a little thinner, try them a little touch thicker.. they should cook to be firm, not mushy! but softened.
  • Half a cup flour, one egg, salt and pepper lots of it.. start with at least half a tsp of each and 1 tsp of seasoning salt of your choice..  Add a touch of water start with 2 tbsp, beat until its a thick batter, adding a touch more water  one tsp at a time if needed to thin it down
  • Dip the slices plain flour, then into the batter and then into a pre-heated hot oil(your choice, lard, olive oil or ? but not butter as it will burn before they are done) frying until golden on the edges.. Do not fuss with them.. let them sit at med-high heat.. flip only when well browned on the bottom, repeat from the top and serve hot!
  • Maybe crack a bit of fresh salt over them! if you can’t do salt, crack some fresh pepper on them 🙂

Dig in and enjoy! I eat the whole plate as my lunch!

Posted in Life moves on daily | Tagged | 1 Comment

The “big” switch over~ Freezers

Tupperware has a amazing summer sale on for the freeze its  right now.. They have a set of 14 on for 99..

and this is the very reason I joined was to get the samples at 70 percent off (and I took every single sample that I could order)

This is the samples I got! O heck ya!

and then I ordered in the on sale sets with my own “consultant” price which brought the price down another 30 per unit.

It also meant that I “earned” a number of sets as awards as well..  Thank goodness for this choice. I am thrilled to say I have made the “BIG SWITCH” from single use plastics, be that freezer bags, be that single use vacoom pack plastic rolls or shrink wrap plastics

to.. re-usable plastics with a amazing history and warranty, I did a lot of reading, digging trying to see what choices there was on the market, I really looked at the silicone freezer bags but the stacking on them was not as good, they just do not have the history on them, some of the company’s or products were first or second generations and none of them had more then one year in warranty.

and they cost as much or even more per unit..  ouch.

Finally I went to with something that has a long history, a amazing warranty, this are considered “lifetime” if used properly, which trust me on this, if anything starts failing I will be posting on it and I will be ordering in new parts.

It was a huge amount of money to sink in but hubby and I decided that it was like jars.. we don’t look at jars as a one year cost, we look at it as a jar should last a min of 10 years, ideally 20 plus (it used to be you could say 30 years) but the new jars are not as heavy or thick as the older jars and I don’t care what anyone says, pressure canning vs hot water bath shorten’s the life span of the glass jars)

Plus as a bonus, I don’t have to replace the lids in each use! for the freezer ones..

We will continue to use waxed brown butcher paper for wrapping on meats but we will also use the freeze its as well. On my last round of butchering, we wrapped the legs but froze the tenders and breasts into the freeze its

 

I also got a number of the “door 6 cup units” those are mostly for the smaller veggies units of larger style veggies, the smallest ones are perfect for a side portion x2 for us and then the bigger squares hold 1 pound of ground meat or other choices.  While most of my freezers are chest, I do have one upright and I like that I can use these on the door itself, I also think if you had a split fridge/freezer.  these would be outstanding in that regard.

 

I also got 10 of the big ones.. even with my discount, these to me are spending but they work for holding bigger items but dang they can be heavy, they will hold to average whole chickens, or you can use them for home baking, they will hold two average bread loafs.

I am beyond happy to cross this off my big “goal” list for 2019..  and I believe I have made the right choice to give me the best bang for my buck an have a solid 30 years of use on these.. which puts us into our 70’s lol

Are you thinking about changing? Waiting to see what the market will do over the next few years when the government orders the single use plastics to stop.. how long do you think it will be before they ban single use freezer or sandwich bags? Do you think the larger bulk rolls of the vacoom pack will count or do you think they will let them be? What about single use shrink wraps for turkeys, chickens or ducks? do you think they will be allowed or that they will go to something else..

Let me tell you.. its a big! BIG order to even move our “fast” and easy single use plastic to reuse.. and yes I know that I bought plastic, I am not saying I didn’t.. I did.. I own it.. but I refuse to put that kind of money into a untried NEW and while I could have tried smaller amount for a couple years and let them work out the kinks.. I wanted to make a full break!

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Roasted Cauliflower with Radish slivers

This is a pretty dish to serve as a side on a summer day.

You will need

  • one head of fresh (ideally locally grown) Cauliflower
  •  One bunch of radish just the radish, clean up the greens and use for a different use
  • A good amount of the your favorite choice of oil, I recommend high quality olive oil
  • Seasoning salt, cracked black pepper, basil or dried nettle (your choice but not both)

Clean and slice your Cauliflower, tip and top your radish’s and slice in half, place them into a big bowl, drizzle your oil over them, toss once very gently, then add your spices and herb once they are damp and toss very gently again.

Into a pre-heated over at 350 or wrap in double layered tin foil for the BBQ and roast for 25 to 30 min.. open it up and golden brown it for the last 5 min to get touch of brown bits.

I like it as is.. however for DH and for guest, I add a TBSP of butter and when served up, I scoop some of the juice/butter together and drizzle fresh over the veggies.

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A little Trip!

I had a busy couple days, I carefully stopping often and walk around made the trip to one of my dear friends..  I had not seen her since my birthday in oct of 2018..  and trust me that is WAY to long.

We enjoyed our quieter time then normal.. as I can not do my more normal active quading, fishing and hiking and rock hounding yet..  I tell you if you are sore in the back. wearing a dress for traveling is awesome.. no waist to speak off.. Its a empress style dress.. hikes up the girls and lets everything else be soft and flowing..   I packed some cool drinks and loaded up  my little red Cherry girl and off we zoomed.

Had a crazy driver that was a touch WTF but all was well that ends well.. Was tired, went to bed and slept like 11 hours..

The next day I was up early and dolled up a touch as we were heading off to the a near by city where a dear friend’s was doing a example show for Ballet that he has been training in.. it was a nice 45 min presenting that showed off things being learned in the summer camp. I took a ton of photos and video’s but sadly no permission to share them publicly, so I am going to snag one of the schools photos to make it allowed.. 🙂

Then my girlfriends and I headed off to have a great meal and a even better visit, you can order all you want of these little portions of all kinds of things.. some were amazing, others were ok and a few was.. nope.. just no..  first time ever that I did not like the smoked eel, I didn’t know it could be prepared in a way that I didn’t like it.. but the avacodo overwhelmed the eel flavour and the whole point of eating smoked eat is to taste it.

It was so nice to have a great visit but the heat that day was crazy and it really bothered me.. I was in pain, hot and so so tired, we headed home early and I just went to bed for a couple hours sleep.. was much better after I woke up and cooled off in a lake!

The next day was a putter day, helped my girlfriend ground work her horse’s, I talked and on a few things very VERY carefully showed her a few things I have learned over the years and it felt wonderful to chat horse lol..

I enjoyed seeing how things were going at their saw mill and all the projects they have going on and so forth..

Then we headed out to have a nice meal with Dear Hubby’s Uncle B..  He drove up from his trailer on the lake and we drove down and had lunch at the iron rooster.. nice place for sure.

We did a few other things in regards to soaps, salves, creams and chaga.. as well as carefully driving home..  the hounds and purrpots were so happy to see me.. my gardens are jungles and then some..

I was surprised but pleased that I had some Tupperware orders come in and I learned how to be able to order from away from home.. Felt weird doing “work” on holiday but it was a short terms sale and I had to get the order in by midnight to make it happen..

At first I thought I would need to walk hubby though it step by step over the phone.. (now that would have been fun right lol) but I figured out how to do it from where I was at..

I got a little side job that I will be writing a blog post once a week for someone else and I got a offer to put some of my photography into a little country gallery..  how exciting is that!

 

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 3 Comments