Friday Rambles- Fish and Feathers

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What a week its been coming into my first Friday Rambles for 2021..

Bloody @$^@&%* hell.. $^@&%@& it all anyway.. O my did that #$@&**$^*^* really just happen..

Yes, yes it really did just happen and I do not know about you but this week’s highlights have made my gut clench a few times, made me cry a few times, made me rant in my own house and at my kitchen table more then a few times..

My radio has had me flip it the bird at it more times this week then I want to own to.. I have been reading my friends thoughts and comments.

So the first thing I want to point out is that as Canadian we are not in any way immune to this kind of thing happening, so anyone who thinks.. o we are canada and we are better then that.. then your head is firmly stuck in the past or the sand or up you own.. well you know what..

Shake yourself out of your “eco chambers” and take a good hard look and do not think for a moment that kind of crazyness is only on one side.. O no, I got to read some of the most “liberal” folks using words like crush them. I find it very interesting to watch peaple who truly believe they are hard core C and hard Core L’s both spout the same thing at each other..

Anything like a middle ground where you can find common goals seems much further away these days then ever..

So what can we do about it at the moment.. for the average person.. pretty much nothing! We can work on our own homes, lives, relationships, our plans for how we will manage the coming year. These thing are in our control..

All “that” pretty much out of our control..

So what do we do with that stress that comes with it it.. For us in our home two of the things we both enjoy that helps us lower that stress down, down and down is Fish and feathers.

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Upgrading our main fish tank to a bigger one was pretty much a big gift to me and to the whole household, I have always had fish tanks but most of the time I use them spring/fall for outdoor growing, we have a nice little 10 gallon that has a fish or two in house.  The big second hand tank that we had and use for many years for raising up hundreds and hundreds of tadpoles turning into toads/frogs took a beating. 

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So when a big sale came on, we picked up a new tank and some new fish and moved the 10 gallon fish etc into the new tank, it has proven to be a big boon this winter..  both of us will take time to stop and just watch the fish..  you can just feel your heart rate slow down.. 

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The second thing we enjoy in a crazy way is our big yard filled to the brim with fluttering feathers, we currently have 4 feeders in action, Mr Red is a young male that found the farm and has claimed it, as we had a young female pass though the year before but she moved on, he has settled and I have great faith that he will call in a female. 

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He adores our big spruce trees as one of his favorite sitting spots but he really enjoyed munching on the hawthorn berries.

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The flashes of red are him or the three kinds of woodpeckers we have coming in or sometimes the red caps

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When it comes to yellows, we have a flock of grosebeeks about 20 of them that are coming regular and man they are a fun bird to have around, so pretty indeed.

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We also have about 40 finches..

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plus all the wild zones that is providing natural eating for them.

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of course we have lots of sparrows

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and chickadee’s, I adore my little friends.. and they are for sure the most freindly of all the wild birds!

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We often take the time to stop and just go to the window and watch the bird at the feeders, we have walking trails though the gardens and the food forest’s marked out and snow blown and as we walk the birds move from tree to tree and swooping over our heads and moving behind us or around us.

So what is your? Are you working on a puzzle? do you play a game of cards? Knitting? Writing (hubby does writing for sure) What are you using as short brief breaks to bring your stress down, or are you just turning everything off?

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Declutter 365 – Homestead Way

The title of the post says it all and yet it does not.. the past two years have been crazy hard on the farm and I have never felt like things have been less on top of. There is a great need for a spring clean up, a sort though and a declutter.

Now if you were to listen to the fads, that would include possable ways of

A) sit with it and feel if it brings you joy

B) Pack it up and if you do not use it in a month get rid of it by gifting, selling or donating

c) Go thought everything and get rid of all the extra’s example, pick your favorite 4 pairs of pants and get rid of the other 10 in the closet.

Now the issue with all of those is clearly these peaple have never run a homestead or a farm.. Lets break down a few of these issues

A) says sit with it and feel if it brings you joy, haha.. I have lot of things on this farm that use weekly, monthly and seasonly and I promise you they do not bring me joy but they are needed and they work hard.

Strange things I do have that bring me joy.. 5 gallon buckets, amazingly thick leather work gloves, my leather cowboy hat with the mess screen on the top, I swear when you learn to love a good bucket on the farm lol..

What brings you joy that is a common everyday item.. o.. your favorite coffee mug? that’s a good one.. I think we all have our favorite mug right?

I could sit with my worming gun for the sheep and it is never going to bring me joy, but its needed that’s for sure. (the ewe above says yup.. its useful but not loved by either of us)

B) Pack it up and if you have not used it in a month, let it go.. haha.. again.. clearly this is advice for someone in a apartment or house.. not a homestead or a farm.. if you got rid of everything in those boxes after a month, you would be spending money hand over fist for the rest of the year replacing a huge amount of it as the seasonal things need to be done. There are many things that only come out at certain times of the year..

I mean my lambing kit only comes out during lambing time.. its in use for maybe 3 weeks of the year pretty much but can you imagine replacing it yearly.

C) Once again I guess this works in a normal way but lets look at cloths, they start out as either a) go to town cloths or b) straight up farm gear. Now most :sunday best” can last you years with good care and while you might freshen it up with different jewelery or sweater or boots etc.. you are not normally replacing sunday best that often.. I mean, we paid big bucks for my hubby’s good suit (around a thousand) but its also last with care 16 years, we might change the shirt for a big event but most of the time, its just a matter of updating the tie if needed.

But sadly average cloths these days do not hold up, I still can buy some things from some company’s that last years but the flood of cheap clothing often means they only look good for a limited amount of time.. so they can move fairly quickly from go to town to farm wear.

Speaking of hard wearing, I have finally after 14 years worn out my knight in white flannel cotton summer gowns and that is one thing I do plan on ordering in a few more for my extreme hot summer garden working times. I adore their sleeveless gown, wears and washed like a dream.

My two big heavy winter gowns are still going strong, one is now 18 years old and one is 12 or 13 years.. I am giving thought to picking up one or two pj at some point

So that swings me back to my own plan to declutter.. the goal is to go thought the house, yard, farm, barns and sheds with a goal of 365 items to be, donated, gifted, reused, Sold or recycled and only lastly throw out this year.

I am only going to update now and again though the year.. We will see how I do. I am expecting the first say 50 to 100 small items to be fairly easy to track and find.. I mean I know I have a rusted solid tool that I have in a bucket that I have sworn that I am going to soak and see if I can fix but in truth, I most likely will never be able to fix it properly.

Just to keep it a little different, just as i will snag a photo or two of what is going out, I intend to snap a photo or two of things that I found that is going to be kept or reused, these will be items that I “expect” I will have forgotten I got at a farm sale, at the second hand store or bought? at a sale price, going hmm.. 70 plus percent off.. this could be something we need..

I hate paying full price for something and will often buy deap sale discounts while hedging then have to go pay full price.. so we will see what treasure or trash I find and report back on.

Posted in frugal, Goals, homestead | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

New Years Eve 2020

The end of the year.. Man what a year 2020 has been.. we all know it and so I am not going to recap it.. Really we lived it.. that is enough right?

So today is the day we are to be looking forward too..

Forward to 2021 and all that it will bring.. and on a normal year, we should be looking for bright shiny things and goals that are set to high in the hopes that if we get even some of them done, we will still be happy

Normally I would be looking at how and what and where I would be spending my budget for my continuing education.. but that’s not going to happen this year, at least not in person.. it will be books or online courses.

I mean lets face it, the norms do not work this year..

Can you really plan for that awesome trip

That amazing concert

That wow camping trip with your best girl friends

Heck we are not even sure if we can do more basic’s like have game night, suppers in, or sitting around the camp fire or fishing in the boat.

No, its 2021 and if you are smart, you are hunkered down and you have that grit in your eye that says..

Lets do this! One foot in front of the other..

So that my plans for the year in life and here on the blog.. Real life 2021, Day to Day life, its going to so be all about the small things folks. We have a number of projects on the go and I will share how they are going.

The farm and all the things that make my world go round..

So what do you think our first thing is going to be?? Hmmm..

For Hubby, he is currently working on his Second Novel, so lots of writing going on right now, he is also still writing short story’s.

well, anyone that has been around for a while knows I love a good challenge.. Short Challenges, Wierd Challenges, Basic Challenges.. I just find them fun..

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The 12 Week Winter Horse Challenge (from England) at the most basic bronze level!

This means 3 hours of working with horse’s weekly, thankfully I can do up to a hour of grooming work per week but I still need to do ground work, take mini challenges ( I have a massive list to choose from) and I will be sharing along the way..

Typically they do less and less at this time of the year, so it will be a good thing for eveyone to do a bit more, however when its really cold, you can expect that I might be doing trick training in the barn lol

The weather so far has been a mix of rain (so much rain), sleet, ice and snow.. so it will limit me to a point on what I can do with the horse’s both for safety for myself and them in regards to working as we have no indoor riding area.. but I have a creative mind and we will work on a number of things none the less.

Not going to sugar coat it, my horses have been lean pasture puffs, (normally pasture puff horses are fat, but that at least I made sure they did not get fat, its really bad for them to do that) and while they get their daily love on, they have not been worked much other then the basic’s that come with daily living.

They are both far to well broke to say they need retraining would be unfair to their awesomeness.. but they do need a refresh on a few things and they both need to be slowly brought out of Pasture Puff shape into Riding Shape for the spring.

So tell me one thing you are working on over the next couple winter months? It can be anything really..

Posted in draft horse | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Just keep Moving Forward..

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Only a few more days for 2020 to be done, and its going out strong, came in with fires burning and its going out on the rising crest of horse pucks and then some..

Normally at this time of the year I would be breathing out a sigh, as this is my two month break time. the gardens are done and I am not starting new plants yet.. the livestock raising is done, the butcher is done, the freezers and jars are full, the extra that overwhelmed at a early point in the harvest has all been processed.

The ewe’s are getting fatter and maybe I might have one or two new lambs come early but most will not arrive till March.. so I even get a break on milking..

O yes on any normal year I would be saying hunker down, get ready for the winter rest.. Everyone certainly should and needs that rest..

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Take the rests in small naps this winter.. that lovely winter walk.. enjoy each one of your bright spots, hold those small and maybe bigger joys tight and get every moment you can from them..

However keep in the back of the mind that 2021 is coming at us like a run away freight train, so I will say it..

Just keep moving..

  • Order your seeds NOW
  • Order your wood for any build projects NOW 
  • Need a new freezer? or parts? Order them NOW
  • Need to repair a tool, a mower or anything else, get it in the shop, get the part now while you are seeing it start to wear. 
  • Get your summer boots NOW
  • Got kiddo’s growing leeps and bounds.. GET THE NEXT sizes Now
  • Need to get a dog fixed- Book it
  • Need  spring chicks- talk to your feed store, call the hatchery, find out the first order date and make it happen
  • Need a butcher date.. locally they are requiring peaple to book a YEAR IN ADVANCE
  • Need jars or lids : order them in now in bulk.. 
  • Need another pressure canner? Put your self on te wait lists.. 

Wait.. hold.. the above only works if you still have income, if you have a steady paycheck, if you can afford to put money down and then wait weeks, months to get the yield or return.. 

If you either don’t have a steady job and or its touch and go.. back up.. start watching those kijji and market place ads.. Put the word out.. maybe you can trade your smaller apartment size freezer to someone who is downsizing and swap out their big one for your smaller one.. 

Maybe you can talk to your friends, share seed packages, only need to grow 4 plants and your friend does two on her deck and someone else does a half dozen.. split it up folks..  

Think outside the box.. buy a organic local tomato and save the seeds, ask online if anyone has seeds to share, ask at your local church if anyone has extra’s.  

If I had to put a motto on 2021.. its the year to ask.. 

Ask for advice

Ask for help

Ask to trade

Ask to barter 

Ask to learn

If you have money and pay.. great.. keep that money as much as possable in your local area, your county, your province or state, your country.  

But if you are riding the line, going paycheck to paycheck and you are selling off things to make ends meet, taking on small part time jobs, needing the help at the food banks etc.  then I can’t say it loud enough ASK.. 

Ask if you have skills someone else might need?

Ask if you can trade your time for something you need?

Ask if you can trade part time farm work or yard work for a cut in rent on that extra bedroom someone has..  Better to ask and downsize, then struggle to keep your one bedroom and lose everything.. 

Ask now with those you trust about what if I lose my job? What if I lose my car? what if I lose my health? What if I lose my home? 

Figure out what you need for the coming year, make the lists, make the plans and then work on how you are going to make that happen.. then take a hard look at the bottom line.

Stay flexable, think outside the box.. make it work.. and JUST KEEP MOVING..

Posted in At the kitchen table | 15 Comments

Another Day Another lockdown Covid Christmas 2020

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What can I say..

We are having a covid Christmas.. Its just us on the farm.. and our whole province offically goes into lock down at 12.01 boxing day for a 28 days.. well that is what they are saying right now.. Broke the daily record locally both for number infected and highest single daily death rate.

I hope you are all prepped up for a very long dark winter, stay warm, stay safe.. and if possable spend the holidays with your family and loved ones. See you in 2021

Posted in Life moves on daily | 9 Comments

Old Fashion No Bake Mudpie Cookies Recipe

Welcome to our Christmas Cookie Round up!

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This is a childhood cookie for me ( I started being allowed to make these around the age of 8 or 9) It was easy fast one pot cookie that everyone in our family loved!

Old Fashioned No Bake Mudpie Cookies.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4th cup butter
  • Half cup of milk
  • 3 tbsp. of coco powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 and half cups of oatmeal

Place the sugar, butter, milk and coco Powder into a heavy bottomed pot and with a whisk or a spoon stir it as it melts and heats up.. bring to a boil, stirring the whole time, Boil for one min, then add the vanilla, salt, coconut and oatmeal, mix well..

Drop by small teaspoon onto wax paper.. allow to cool and harden before eating.. (but don’t worry, we all eat at least one hot, juggling it back and forth between hands)

Its like a candy treat these are very sweet chewy treats.. Enjoy!

Now on to the Christmas Cookie Round up.. 

Oh my goodness these Lemon Crackle Cookies  look amazing..  coming from Jenlynn401 blog.. 

Super simple recipe and another old fashioned one that uses a cake box as a base to this recipe but with extra’s that make it pop.. great color for the cookie tray.. one to check out for sure.. head on over and see these bright and lemon flavoured cookies and the recipe for them!

Next up.. Peanut butter and Chocolate! What a combo.. we all know it and love it! Head on over to Megan’s Simply Rooted Farmhouse to find out more

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies: A Simple Heirloom Recipe..  those cute little chocolate buttons on that wonderful Peanut butter bottom.. a great cookie for the Christmas plate for sure.. this is one that we all know that kids of all ages will enjoy. 

 Making Delicious Chocolate Crinkles for the Holidays

15 Acres Homestead is bringing us both Chocolate and Crinkle Cookie combo! She has a great looking recipe and if you have little ones around, we all know how much they love to help mom or grandma on the rolling in the sugar or using the cup to press them down to get that o so pretty crackle top.

 

O my, heading over to The Farm Wife Blog will be bring another amazing old fashioned much loved cookie to the table.

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

Everyone loves a good spiced cookie and add in oatmeal and its a family favorite for sure!

Festive Raspberry Linzer Cookies

What a pretty cookie, red and white is just perfect for this time of year and that star.. this recipe is delightful!

Posted in Cookies | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Pandemic Pigs

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This spring trying to find a weaner piglet or two was for many peaple a huge challenge, just like the run on chicks.. meat chicks sold out hard and fast locally..

Thankfully I had my name down on a waiting list for 2 heritage piglets from a lovely pure tamworth breeding and i was able to get a very nice brother sister set of pigs.

They were healthy, good temperments and never gave a moments issue.. this past weekend, I woke up after setting my mind the night before to being in the zone.

Out I headed with my rifle/knives and it went as well as it can.. As homesteaders we all talk about one bad day or the freezer camp.. but lets get real, its death.. I was killing my pigs..

All kills are hard.. pigs are very hard, never ever let anyone tell you that pigs are not smart and very VERY MUCH there.. they know their names, they have favorite treats, they clean (having a bathroom corner) they fluff their beds just so and they learn that myself and the other humans bring food, treats, garden offering, hay, bedding and rump rubs.. I have never meet a well socialized pig that does not view us as ear scratchers or rump rubbers..

We all want it to go perfectly, picture perfect! Thankfully more often then not, someone will help you learn and once you have the basic’s you will get the job done.

However the larger the animal, the more it needs to be done just right because most homesteaders will not have the equipment that larger will. Its worth noting that the goverment federally and provinally also has rules in place and you had better know them..

They will tell you where you need to shot, the degree of power you need and what choices you have to do it per stock.. what is needed for lamb is NOT the same as what is required for a 18 month old steer..

So when I say, that it went well, I mean it.. Training is key.. teach your animals a routine and do it well before you need it.. My pigs had been raised in the croft as littles and big barn but I needed them up close for the butcher.

We created a small pen to train them in for the D-Day..

in my case I would call them to the front and I had set it up that they had a space to put their head partly into which gave me the right view and ability to get the right angle.

the male was the leader of the two and he went first.. its was so perfect, he went back two steps and dropped (didn’t even get a kick) the female took about 20 to 30 second to line up and she was done..

From the time of saying good morning to both being down.. under a minutes.. eye checks done then washed feet, slide out of the pen to clean ground, washed necks and then cuts from side to side to where done

They both came in around 250 to 275 live weight and thank goodness for hunting gear, in went the hooks, onto the pulley and up they went for washing skinning, cleaning and quartering and then break down for hams, bacon, chops, stew and ground.. fat to be rendered down

It was a long work day but it was so worth it..

Did you raise pigs this year? Did you send it out to be done? or did you home butcher? Did you also cure your meat into hams, bacon and making sausages?

Posted in 100 mile diet, Pigs | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dollar Store Challenge Day 3

I woke up today knowing that it was the last day of the challenge, that my basket had lots of food in it still and that if I was to ever do this again, that I would shop for it very carefully and differently.  If hip roof barn decides to do it again.. I have thoughts on it that’s for sure.

Well, that upset tummy meant that I was up for a while in the night if you know what I mean folks..  So lesson number one learned..  while you can go from eating a low sugar, low carb, high fiber, fresh organic home raised fruits and veggies, grass fed farm raised meat, fresh eggs and raw milk to store crap.. but you will pay for it..

Not just in tasting the chemical’s in the food, not just in tasting the difference between sugar and corn syrup in the food vs the non-gmo sugar or local honey i normally use. or my local maple syrup..

Really if you have to go from eating whole foods to some of the lower cost foods, this is not the way to do it!  H and hip roof and even silver did so much better because they were able to find rice, grains, dried beans and oatmeal at their dollar stores..  This is where I would start if I could do it again.. at the most basic of whole foods you can get and I would go with as much dried food as possable

I saw that Hip Roof made a soup on day 2 with one of my favorite soup blends and she didn’t much care for it..  now this is a blend I keep in the house always, I throw a handful in soups, stews, even chili at times, I use it in my canning jars, a heaping tbsp added in dry with 1 cup of mixed veggies with 3/4th cup of ground meat, and broth over and pressure can and go.. its a staple here.. but I stopped and thought about it, as it was cooked in a broth, it was done in a way as a side dish, ok, a bit of a soupish side dish.. and no on its own, I can see why she got it down and went nope..   I can’t see myself wanting to eat as a solid full only it in broth meal either.. totally understand..

Hubby is sitting across from me enjoying bacon and eggs with homemade cheese.. fresh yogurt and blueberries.. sigh..  I am still holding off because other then meat and kippers I do not want anything in there..

This honestly could be a water/coffee breakfast type day..

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Ok so my official breakfast was the tin of salmon and the rest of the canned pea’s.. I fried them up in the coconut oil with salt and pepper..  It was one of the  better meals I have had so far.. but kippers are still the favorite!

Snack- Apple cup

Lunch -One can of the mushest aspagus spears Blended with almond milk, a tsp of coconut oil and 2 heaping tsps of cheese whiz with lots of black pepper and salt to taste.

All blended together and simmered till hot? Not bad.. not bad at all..  it was tasty .. I give a solid 5.5 out of 10..  so far we are doing better today for meals..

supper -Mixed the rice pudding with the tapioca pudding and the last two fruit cups and added a little salt and pepper and eat it cold!

Hubby chopped up onions, peppers, mushrooms and more beef and used up the last can of chili with extra spices added..  lol

For sure a costly day of eating..

Breakfast  Salmon 1.50 Peas 1.00

lunch – Aspurgus 1.25, .75 worth of almond milk .50 worth of cheese whiz

Supper -Rice 1.25, Tapico 1.50, fruit cups X 2 83 cents

Apple cup .35 cents

Coffee 1.00

Total cost for the day 9.45 cents.

Calories 2480 for the day..

I still have a number of things left in my basket! It was a learning curve for sure and I can’t say that I am glad to have eaten like this for the 3 days but it was eye opening thats for sure..

The biggest thing I learned is that if I was to do this again, I would pick totally different food items..   there was box’s of a “oatmeal bar with fake strawberry jam in the middle: and I would get two boxes of them for a total of 8 bars, eating two or even three if needed for my breakfast with coffee and sugar.. lunches and suppers would be dried veggie based knorr soups, and I would have gone and bought 6 or 8 of the little seseme seed snaps..   Maybe it would not have been as “balanced as I tried for” but it would have been easier to get, healthier in the long run and had much less chemicals..

I can all the time, I do not understand why the canned food was so poorly! but its done!

Do not forgot to head over to Hip Roof Barn or Silver to see their updates for day two and day three..

.

Posted in 30 day challanges | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Dollar store Challenge Day 2

Breakfast : 2 fruit cups and one tin of kippers black Coffee with sugar.

I had slept well but woke woggy and fog headed, my body is not happy with something I eat yesterday as my fingers are swollen, I can tell that my whole body feels heavy and cranky..  I do reaction this way to MSG so I am guess there is some in the beans and franks.

The fruit in the cups is delightful but again so sweet, its in what we canners would call heavy for the syrup.. I poured it into a glass, added water and drank my fruit sugar water.  The kippers are as always good.. and I am so glad I bought 4 tin.. I remember thinking 4 might be to many and now I can see, should have got more.

I have already figured out that I have made a mistake, I should have gotten more of the knorr brand dry soup mixes and less of the tinned food..  while I did not have milk for some of the choices, there were a number of the soups blends that work with water..

I remember thinking.. I can have a bit of freedom with the tins, not needing to cook.. boy was that a mistake.. BIG mistake!

Silver over at Silveryew has posted her day one.. Go check it out! loved her use of jam on oatmeal!

Hip Roof has her  and H’s Day on up as well. I liked that she baked and that bread and butter..  H’s meals look great!

I spent the morning breaking down the back half of a pig into what will be ham’s, roasts, pork chops, stew meat, sausage grind and fat to be rendered as well as split pea ham bones for canning up soup.

Lunch

I enjoyed my bitter black sweet coffee but looked at my basket and  passed on snacks..  However by 1 for lunch I was hungry.. I took out can of my mild chili and opened and stuck my spoon in and tasted it.. hmmm.. not bad.. 4 out of 10.. into the pot it goes.. and my head goes hmmm.. its got flavour.. got back to my basket.. grab a can of the beans and weaners, add it to the chili.. then grab the can of mushrooms, open, turns out its whole mushrooms, diced them into bits using half the can.. add a little pepper to the whole brown mess of beans, simmer it slow till fully heated up.

And its not bad! Its my lunch and I enjoyed two small bowls of it..

Supper

I am going to take the leftovers and add half a can of pea’s to it, reheat and call it supper, wishing once again that I had rice or instant potato’s or bread to go with my stew..  Its tasty and its hot and I force myself to eat it..    my tummy is upset with me.. its rolling but good!

Big old coffee so good!

So the girls really broke down their costs and calories..  so today I will go a little more detailed and I will update the Day 1 post as well

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The day’s foods

  • -Kipper 150 calories
  • fruit cups x 2 140 Calories
  • chili 424 Calories
  • Beans 520 Calories
  • Mushrooms -30
  • Coffee-Sugars -120

Total  1384 calories

Cost Today is 6,50 cents.

Posted in 30 day challanges | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Dollar Store Challenge Day 1

Breakfast :Coffee, Rice Pudding and Apple Sauce.

So first off almond milk is grey.. milk should not be grey.. and its thick and odd textured, I gagged trying to drink it as is.. however in a coffee its like a almondish milk flavour.. it fine and if I get tired of it, a will just drink my coffee sweet and black!

** I have tried twice.. forget it.. I will drink black with sugar.. I expect that the almond milk will stay on the shelf in the fridge till the 18th and then go to the dogs on their food maybe.. or the compost pile.. yuck!!! I drink fresh raw milk, I would raither go without!

Hubby kindly left me bacon (which I could not have lol, so he eat it) and I opened my first of two tins of rice pudding.. its good but o my gosh sweet.. so freakin sweet, so I went and got a half cup of unsweetened apple sauce and put it on top and mixed it to help cut the sweet..

*clearly I am getting used to my no sugar meals because that was just wow!

After chores I came in very much wanting more.. my body was like.. protein so I had a can of kippers.. hit the spot, a bit salty and smoked lightly.. so good..

So it was pointed out to me that I had gotten a larger package of short bread style cookies in small package on this shopping trip and from the food isle, I had gotten them so I would have premade safe each person could have their own for my big pig butcher day but only one package was used, leaving 7 that are whole and as they were bought in the food isle and in the same trip, that they came home as part of the basket.. I am going to take it.. it gives me something to put my cheese whiz lol  its a sweet shortbread type UK cookie so its odd to think about using it in place of a more normal savory type cracker.. but its doable..

lunch -1 can of beans an franks..  I had high hope to enjoy these cold.. nope, for sure they need to be heated and bland is the word..  so I took out my salt and pepper which had been a package.. between the two, its better but once i could open them, I would like to point out that the salt is only 3/4th full and the pepper is only 50 percent full. this was covered up by the packaging and I can honestly say that when I buy salt or pepper at the regular stores.. its a full shaker..  is this dollar store thing.. package in the right size but not fill it? seems shady to me for sure!

Today we have had sleet, freezing rain, hail, and rain.. but we got alot done in the yards none the less.. so I am beyond grateful for hot coffee and just hot water to sip..

After a afternoon of working outside around 4, I was tired and cold.. and went to bed.. slept though dinner, work up at 9:30..  so no supper..

!0pm, second half of the rice pudding from breakfast and water..

Putting me at 4.75 for meals costs today and 1 fruit portion, no veggies.. meat and carbs and way to much sugar! FUN!

On the end of day one, I can honestly say I did eat enough to feel full but I did not enjoy eating from the cans, I did not enjoy not being able to adjust my seasonings.. and I am being reminded just how spoiled I am with my farm fresh food..

Posted in 30 day challanges | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Dollar Store Eating Challenge Nov 15th to 17th

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Hip Roof Barn offered up a blogging challenge which caught my eye.. and I have decided to join in on it.. Silver also joined in from the UK as well as H and family. This is a good as it gives us a snap shot of different areas and different dollars stores.

The goal was to fully shop from your own local dollar store for all your meals an snacks for a full three days. Hip Roof Barn did not give us a limited budget so that was nice.

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The idea being two fold.. A) its recommended that you have at least 3 days of shelf stable food for a emergency on hand and b) a lot of of peaple live in food desert area’s and the local shop is the dollar store, a lot of elderly, or lower income do their shopping at the dollar stores as it allows you to buy small portions with limited heating required on most things and many are also pop the top or microwave an go

So the first thing I had to decide was which dollar store I was heading to.. I do not have a dollar store at either of the two closest villages.. and so I used Google maps to figure out which of the “next” over bigger towns was closer.. I will admit that I WISHED I go to the one with the dollar tree as its all 1.25 max but the dollarma was the closest store to me and it ranges from 1 dollar to 4 dollars per item

I headed into town and the first thing I figured out is that I never shop that row, i mean I do like to pick up the norway fished and packed kippers and fish and I do poke my head down it by 3 feet around christmas time to pick up some amazing UK or scottish cookies normally and that’s it..

So I was truly coming at this with fresh eyes.. the fact that I was to try for a balanced diet within reason while buying all shelf stable seemed and was a challenge for sure..

I do not know if I hit a bad day at my store but I came home with no bread, no crackers, no rice, I could have gotten potato chips but not in the food isle.. there was pasta and pasta sauce and some dried knorr soups that I passed on.

in the end for drinks, I got coffee, sugar and almond milk (I have never had almond milk unsweetened, so that is a new thing for me) i could have gotten powdered creamer but it was a massive bag and I just could not make myself buy it.. I had a choice between almond milk or oat milk.. anyone know both? should I have gone oat?

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the meat section was lean, so I got some of everything they had, my canned kippers, one can of salmon, one can of white chicken breast meat chunks and one can of a version of spam.. again the shelves where not full..

Veggie spot.. I got one of each thing they had which is one can of aspargus tips, one can of peas(the last one on the shelf) black olives and a can of mushrooms.. the lady in front of me, snapped up the last cans of corn, pea’s and carrots, and green beans. I watched them go in her cart with a sigh as I waited my spot back

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Fruit was easy.. they had fruit mixed cups and apple sauce.. that was it, so that was what in my basket.. I looked up and down carefully.. this was the only fruit I could find. I was sure I should have been able to find dried fruit, fruit roll ups, fruit gummys for kids lunches.. nope..

so as I stood there thinking breakfast and supper with a frown on my face, found my saving graces on the highest shelve and down the way on the lowest.. Breakfast, high up was cans of rice pudding lots of it and one last can of tapioca pudding.. snap!

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Down low, beans and franks so many cans of beans and franks and two lone cans of mild chili.. it will do.. it will do..

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I have to admit that I have a feeling from what the other folks have written that I might have gotten the short end of the stick at my store on choices.. I could see that many things were missing, empty areas and there was a huge stack of boxes waiting to be unpacked onto those grocery shelves

I certainly have enough to eat and I expect some things will be left over so I will let you know total cost at the end of each day and at the end of 3 days. I have cheese whis but nothing to put it on and I have coconut oil as my fat.. but again.. nothing to use it with.. and for my spices.. I got a set of salt and pepper..

Money wise I was pleased at least.. the almond milk was 2 dollars but everything else was 1 dollar or 1.25 each.. still costly in the end but better then I expected.

We will see what is left in my basket the morning of the 18th..

Posted in 30 day challanges | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Lest We Forget – The Monument by Jason Sharp

11 November 1908: North of Manaus, Amazonas del Sur

“Passing through?”, the homesteader asked, his rifle resting in his arms.”Yes”, the traveller replied, his rifle dangling off his right shoulder on a strap. “I was told there was a veteran building a monument around these parts. I thought I’d go see it.”

“You’d be talking about Oscar”, the homesteader confirmed, his stance relaxing somewhat.
“I don’t know his name – just that he’s around here somewhere. I’d appreciate directions if you can provide them”, the traveller replied.

“I can do that”, the homesteader replied, kicking an uprooted sapling towards a brushpile. “You a vet?”
“Yes. You?”
“Yeah”, the homesteader confirmed. “Oscar’s about three miles that way. You can’t miss his dogs.”

“Everybody’s got dogs”, the traveller observed.
“Everybody’s dogs aren’t the same as Oscar’s dogs”, the homesteader replied. “Just keep in mind that Oscar’s still in the jungle.”

The traveller nodded. He’d heard the expression a fair bit in the past two weeks. Vets scarred or broken by the experience of fighting skilled fanatics amidst the humid heat of the towering, predatory rain forest were still in the jungle, even if the trees around them had been felled by settlers carving out fields for crops or grazing. “I appreciate the advice. Have yourself a good day.”The homesteader nodded back. “Safe travels.”

The traveller continued on his way, rifle dangling, revolver in unclipped holster, knife in unclipped sheath. The Anahuac had been vanquished, but not wholly exterminated, after their defeat three years earlier. Every few months, it seemed, a pack of them erupted out of the greenery to slaughter whomever they could find before the local militia tracked them down. Any traveller with a hint of common sense went armed, if only to assure himself the quick, painless death that the Anahuac would deny him.

The trail was two yards wide, nothing more than flattened grasses and saplings broken by the wheels of carts and the hooves of horses and oxen. The traveller assumed, correctly, that it was one of the old trails broken by the army in order to move supplies up to the frontlines. Nowadays, settlers and homesteaders used it as a highway of sorts. He’d already passed several fortified villages along the way, and knew of two or three more further on, and had indeed passed a few wary locals along the way.

Perhaps two hours passed before Oscar’s dogs revealed themselves. The traveller had assumed from the homesteader’s remarks that Oscar’s dogs were larger and more formidable than most. They were, in fact, six or seven tiny moppets that raised an irritating, high-pitched racket as soon as they heard his footfalls. “Okay, yes, I see him”, a man’s voice called out from a stand of brush. The yipping continued. “Yes, I see him. Thank you. That’s good.” The mongrels, perhaps half the size of a house cat, continued their assault on the ears. “God in Heaven, enough!“

In the ensuing silence, their owner appeared, wiping his forehead with a filthy rag. “Hello. Can I help you?”
“I hope so. I’m looking for Oscar”, the traveller replied.
“That’s me”, Oscar confirmed. “What can I do for you?” He was, like so many in these parts, polite and respectful, but wary – logical behaviour given that virtually everybody carried at least one gun on them at all times.
“I heard you’re building a monument. I was hoping I could visit it.”
“Well, it’s not really a monument”, Oscar replied, as the tiny dogs pranced around his feet. “But you’re welcome to have a look. Don’t mind these little buggers. They’ll jump all over your knees, but they’re all bark and no bite.”
“I believe it”, the traveller stated with a slight smile.

“Come on, it’s back there”, Oscar said, beckoning past a log shack and adjacent shed. “You must be a vet. Civvies don’t come out here to see me.”
“I was based in Manaus during the war”, the traveller replied, falling into stride beside his host. “Didn’t get out of it often.”
“I’ll try not to hold that against you”, Oscar replied humorlessly. “I marched through it once and never saw it again.”
“Never?”
“No interest.”
“How about San Sylvestre?”, the traveller asked.
“El Dorado, you mean. It’ll always be El Dorado. No way am I going back there again.”
“Fair enough”, the traveller replied. “Can’t say I really want to either.”

A cross came into sight: two rusty wagon axles, chained at right angles. “Didn’t have any trees around after we burned the bush”, Oscar commented. “We had to improvise.”Noting a small glass jar filled with metal tags at the base of the cross, the traveller asked, “How many are here?””Seventy-three of my mates. Out of a hundred and six that started out.” The traveller swore quietly. Oscar grunted in response. “Yeah, it was a rough week. Word came down from Brigade that the savages had established a strong point on a small rock ridge out here – which is funny, if you think about it, there’s not a lot of rock around here. Just red clay. Anyway, the Eye was using it to run raids on our supply train, and it was really cocking things up. So the old man told our captain to clear the place out.

“We tried to burn them out. Set fires when the wind was right. It worked, at first – they bugged out when things got too hot around the ridge. Soon as we had a route that weren’t burning, we went over and took the ridge. About two hours later, they started dropping arty on us. Guess they’d zeroed in the ridge as a precaution. There was no cover, and we couldn’t dig in at all, so we pulled out.”

The traveller noted that, by the standards of the Amazon, the trees were relatively small around here, not more than three or four years old.

“We went back the next day, but the bastards were back on the ridge already, with a machine gun. Waited until we were out in a skirmish line in the burn before they opened up. Those of us weren’t cut down by the rounds just dropped where we were – which didn’t help so much considering we’d burnt most of the cover the previous day. I spent the whole damn day curled up behind a stump, making sure my head and my ass weren’t sticking out.” Oscar pointed out a streak of white hair along his left temple. “Didn’t quite manage that. Still, I scampered back to our start line come nightfall, which was damned lucky, as they went out and caught two of our boys that had stayed put too long. Had ‘em screaming all night and into the next morning.”

The traveller winced knowingly. It had been established very early in the war that it was better to die fighting than to be captured, considering what would come afterward. The traveller had issued the order himself more than once.

11 November 1908: North of Manaus, Amazonas del Sur“Passing through?”, the homesteader asked, his rifle resting in his arms.”Yes”, the traveller replied, his rifle dangling off his right shoulder on a strap. “I was told there was a veteran building a monument around these parts. I thought I’d go see it.”
“You’d be talking about Oscar”, the homesteader confirmed, his stance relaxing somewhat.
“I don’t know his name – just that he’s around here somewhere. I’d appreciate directions if you can provide them”, the traveller replied.
“I can do that”, the homesteader replied, kicking an uprooted sapling towards a brushpile. “You a vet?”
“Yes. You?”
“Yeah”, the homesteader confirmed. “Oscar’s about three miles that way. You can’t miss his dogs.”
“Everybody’s got dogs”, the traveller observed.
“Everybody’s dogs aren’t the same as Oscar’s dogs”, the homesteader replied. “Just keep in mind that Oscar’s still in the jungle.”
The traveller nodded. He’d heard the expression a fair bit in the past two weeks. Vets scarred or broken by the experience of fighting skilled fanatics amidst the humid heat of the towering, predatory rain forest were still in the jungle, even if the trees around them had been felled by settlers carving out fields for crops or grazing. “I appreciate the advice. Have yourself a good day.”
The homesteader nodded back. “Safe travels.”


The traveller continued on his way, rifle dangling, revolver in unclipped holster, knife in unclipped sheath. The Anahuac had been vanquished, but not wholly exterminated, after their defeat three years earlier. Every few months, it seemed, a pack of them erupted out of the greenery to slaughter whomever they could find before the local militia tracked them down. Any traveller with a hint of common sense went armed, if only to assure himself the quick, painless death that the Anahuac would deny him.
The trail was two yards wide, nothing more than flattened grasses and saplings broken by the wheels of carts and the hooves of horses and oxen. The traveller assumed, correctly, that it was one of the old trails broken by the army in order to move supplies up to the frontlines. Nowadays, settlers and homesteaders used it as a highway of sorts. He’d already passed several fortified villages along the way, and knew of two or three more further on, and had indeed passed a few wary locals along the way.
Perhaps two hours passed before Oscar’s dogs revealed themselves. The traveller had assumed from the homesteader’s remarks that Oscar’s dogs were larger and more formidable than most. They were, in fact, six or seven tiny moppets that raised an irritating, high-pitched racket as soon as they heard his footfalls. “Okay, yes, I see him”, a man’s voice called out from a stand of brush. The yipping continued. “Yes, I see him. Thank you. That’s good.” The mongrels, perhaps half the size of a house cat, continued their assault on the ears. “God in Heaven, enough!“
In the ensuing silence, their owner appeared, wiping his forehead with a filthy rag. “Hello. Can I help you?”
“I hope so. I’m looking for Oscar”, the traveller replied.
“That’s me”, Oscar confirmed. “What can I do for you?” He was, like so many in these parts, polite and respectful, but wary – logical behaviour given that virtually everybody carried at least one gun on them at all times.
“I heard you’re building a monument. I was hoping I could visit it.”
“Well, it’s not really a monument”, Oscar replied, as the tiny dogs pranced around his feet. “But you’re welcome to have a look. Don’t mind these little buggers. They’ll jump all over your knees, but they’re all bark and no bite.”
“I believe it”, the traveller stated with a slight smile.
“Come on, it’s back there”, Oscar said, beckoning past a log shack and adjacent shed. “You must be a vet. Civvies don’t come out here to see me.”
“I was based in Manaus during the war”, the traveller replied, falling into stride beside his host. “Didn’t get out of it often.”
“I’ll try not to hold that against you”, Oscar replied humorlessly. “I marched through it once and never saw it again.”
“Never?”
“No interest.”
“How about San Sylvestre?”, the traveller asked.
“El Dorado, you mean. It’ll always be El Dorado. No way am I going back there again.”
“Fair enough”, the traveller replied. “Can’t say I really want to either.”
A cross came into sight: two rusty wagon axles, chained at right angles. “Didn’t have any trees around after we burned the bush”, Oscar commented. “We had to improvise.”Noting a small glass jar filled with metal tags at the base of the cross, the traveller asked, “How many are here?””Seventy-three of my mates. Out of a hundred and six that started out.” The traveller swore quietly. Oscar grunted in response. “Yeah, it was a rough week. Word came down from Brigade that the savages had established a strong point on a small rock ridge out here – which is funny, if you think about it, there’s not a lot of rock around here. Just red clay. Anyway, the Eye was using it to run raids on our supply train, and it was really cocking things up. So the old man told our captain to clear the place out.

“We tried to burn them out. Set fires when the wind was right. It worked, at first – they bugged out when things got too hot around the ridge. Soon as we had a route that weren’t burning, we went over and took the ridge. About two hours later, they started dropping arty on us. Guess they’d zeroed in the ridge as a precaution. There was no cover, and we couldn’t dig in at all, so we pulled out.”
The traveller noted that, by the standards of the Amazon, the trees were relatively small around here, not more than three or four years old.

“We went back the next day, but the bastards were back on the ridge already, with a machine gun. Waited until we were out in a skirmish line in the burn before they opened up. Those of us weren’t cut down by the rounds just dropped where we were – which didn’t help so much considering we’d burnt most of the cover the previous day. I spent the whole damn day curled up behind a stump, making sure my head and my ass weren’t sticking out.” Oscar pointed out a streak of white hair along his left temple. “Didn’t quite manage that. Still, I scampered back to our start line come nightfall, which was damned lucky, as they went out and caught two of our boys that had stayed put too long. Had ‘em screaming all night and into the next morning.”

The traveller winced knowingly. It had been established very early in the war that it was better to die fighting than to be captured, considering what would come afterward. The traveller had issued the order himself more than once.

“We worked through the brush to the north two days later; they had an ambush waiting for us. We fought through it, but it cost us the day and the captain.”

Oscar’s little pack of toy dogs scampered past them, heading down the trail at what was, for them, break-neck speed. “Not your typical Amazon dogs”, the traveller ventured.
“I found the bitch and the stud while we were going house-to-house in El Dorado. I reckon a French ex-pat must’ve brought them in. Can’t imagine how they managed not to get eaten”, Oscar replied. “They’ve had two litters since; four pups have made it.

“So, I was saying, we regrouped that day while senior platoon commander took over the the company, trading fire here and there with any Anahuac that would show themselves.

We’d lost a lot of guys, and the CO was concerned about the company routing. He collapsed us down to two platoons, since there was just one other lieutenant left, and we pushed on. It was like basic training all over again – advance a few feet, take cover, provide cover for your mate while he did the same.

“The Anahuac figured out that we were split in two, and raided the other platoon that night. We joined in on the melee soon as we could. Total pandemonium. Spearpoint to bayonet in total darkness – stabbing at smells, sounds, movements of air. I jabbed somebody, somebody else nicked me. Eventually, our CO just shouted for us all to stay still, shut the hell up, and kill anything that moved.”

They’d arrived at the ridge, Oscar and the traveller. About eighty feet long, twelve or so feet high, it was a pitted grey, covered in fungus. “Come dawn, we found that there were still thirty or so us left. We were over there, to the north, about one hundred feet away. We didn’t see anybody over here, and there were enough of them lying around to believe we’d gotten them all, but I think we were all too damned scared to confirm it. Wasn’t until mid-afternoon that Corporal Rodriguez got impatient and made his way over. He found one wounded Anahuac, shot him dead, poked around a while, and called the rest of us over.”

“So you took the ridge”, the traveller said.
“Yeah. And a few days later, the Anahuac pulled back to another line of defence anyway. We went back to the rear and got merged with another company that had been cut up. Kept fighting.”
“Afterward?”

“I took up the cantonment offer soon as I heard of it”, Oscar said. The army had come up with the initiative to encourage settlement – self-defending settlement – of the central Amazon post-war; several thousand veterans had accepted it. “Wandered a bit, and found myself back here. Cleaned around the grave, repaired the cross, and decided to built this.”
Before them, at the foot of the ridge, was a small pile of rocks, perhaps two feet high.”I’ve got a little book in a tin can in the foot of the pile. Any time a vet stops by, I invite him to sign it. Would you like to?”, Oscar asked.”I would”, the traveller replied. Oscar dropped to his knees, popped the lid off a rusty biscuit tin, and pulled out a small notepad and pencil. He reached up to hand them to the traveller, who flipped the notepad open. Sixteen names were listed on the first page. The traveller grunted, put pencil to paper, and wrote:

Geolog, Santos Soublette; Commanding Officer; Army of the Amazon

He closed the notepad and handed it and the pencil back to Oscar, who secured them in the tin. “Thanks.”
“Thank you”, Geolog, the traveller, responded.

Oscar shrugged, got back to his feet. “I know it’s not much yet”, he explained, “But I’m adding to it everytime I find another rock on the property. I’ve got lots of time, and I’m not going anywhere. Join me for some eggs?”
“I’d be honored”, Geolog said.

Two hours later, Geolog spied the homesteader, leaning on a shovel while the brushpile smouldered and streamed white smoke into the thick jungle air. He waved; the homesteader nodded back. “Back so soon?”, he called out.

“Yes. You were right about the dogs.”
“Like I said, no missing them”, the homesteader remarked. “How was the monument?”
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Really? It was just a little pile of rocks when I was there.”

In his mind, Geolog could see Oscar tending to his friends’ grave and cross, could hear him telling a perfect stranger about the most horrifying week of his life.

After a moment, he replied, “My friend, if you just saw the rock pile, you didn’t see the monument.”




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Liver Pate Duck

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Recipe

  • 1 Tbsp of butter to melt to start the pan
  • 1/2 a cup of finely minced onion
  • 1 tsp of finely minced garlic
  • Half a cup of fresh duck livers chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp of ground dried red pepper
  • 1 tsp of  dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of keens hot mustard
  • 1/4 cup of good Sherry
  • 1 tbsp of butter to finish.

In a cast Iron Pan or your good pan over med heat, I melted the first tbsp of butter, added the onion, garlic and the liver.. Cook them till the livers are just done, add your spices and your sherry, simmer them together.

Take them off the heat, pour into your blender add another tbsp of butter and blend, you can blend it course, med or smooth.  I choose course today, but if you blend it to smooth, it will be almost fluffy whipped in texture, sometimes that’s nice, other times , you just want it to be a bit more meaty. Scrape out of your blender and into a bowl to set up as it chills.

serve with crackers, pickles, bits of fresh veggies, a great choice to add to a holiday starter board.  it is a flavour that works so well with sour dough

Posted in Charcuterie, Duck, On farm Butcher | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Krazulya Pear Tree

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Photo credit to Bernie Nikolai who is growing this out on the very cold canadian Praires

Arriving well wrapped and ready for late fall dormant planting where a few more very HARDY fruit trees. One of these 3 year old fruit trees is Krazulya. Krazulya is Russian for “Beauty” and it is the most flavourful and hardy of all the early ripening pear tree varieties. Hardy to Zone 3 and being tested in Zone 2.

I picked this pear tree for a number of reasons, first that its crazy early.. mid aug for fresh eating, not much is ready at that time of the year pear wise, so I figure its great for us, and that one fully producing, a few can be sold out to friends for that perfect week of fresh eating..

The second reason is that mid-aug is a slightly slower time garden wise so its good timing for canning this pear not hitting me being ready in that heavier fall push..

The third reason I picked it despite the smaller fruit, is that it will be ready and can be juiced in 2nd and 3rd week of aug giving me one of the sweetest pears with good spice flavour to use to help can up our summer peaches in a fruit juice with the lightest amount of sugar possable.

So many others will be ready to late to help me in the canning kitchen, so while some is for fresh eating, most if for juicing for the canning use and the left over fiber and skins will be used for fodder.

“Krazulya is a very attractive looking pear, hence its name “Beauty”. The fruit is yellow with a bright red cheek. It is the best tasting early ripening pear, being very sweet with a hint of spice. In flavour tests, Krazulya received a mark of 4.7/5, which is exceptional among pears, and even more among hardy pears. The flesh is juicy with a buttery texture and the shape is more round than the common pear. Its skin is tender, smooth and glossy. Fruit is about half or two-thirds the size of a Barlett, weights ranging between 90 and 120g. It’s ready for harvest mid to late August and should be eaten quickly as it does not store particularly well (1-2 weeks).”

Thank you to the Hardy Fruit Tree company out of Quebec, I hope to add a few more russian produced hardy pear trees in 2021 or 2022.

Creating pear tree varieties is a lot more difficult than apple tree varieties and finding a flavourful and hardy variety is a huge and lengthy task that requires a lot of patience. It took many decades for Russian scientists and researchers to develop the Krazulya variety by way of  hybridization and selection techniques. It originated in South-Ural research institute of Fruit & Vegetable Growing and Potato Growing from a cross between Pozdnyaya (that means “Late” in Russian) and Malenkaya Radost (which means “Little Joy” in Russian). The author of this cross is E.A. Falkenberg.

Posted in Climate Change, Food Forest, Food in jars | Tagged , | Leave a comment

3 Tons of Grain

122331368_656785541701083_1895759599883326995_nA ton of Barley Wheat and Oats have arrived on the farm this week.. beautiful local non-gmo grains grown locally by a wonderful farming family about 15 min up the road.

Now that is close and that is local and that is community support.. buy local when you can and the prices were fair and on target for the whole grains on the market. I wish we had a area that we could just have the big bags driven into and placed but at this time we do not.. so they arrived and where placed on new clean dry pallets and tarped down in a fresh new heavy duty silver tarp and we will spend hours (many hours moving then into the croft and into the grain storage area.

Moving 6000 pounds by hand is a steady job for sure.. the trade off between paying for equipment vs hard manual labour..

Its going to be hard honest work and it give us enough grain for all my livestock needs for the next 310 days, not quite a years worth and there is a bit of flex on those days depending on how many lambs born, ewes in milk for the house, how hard the horse’s are worked and how many ducklings and chicks are hatched out.

The barley will be used in part for sprouting, and the oats will in part be used as a garden green cover and the oats and wheat will both be used as seed out for any areas that need extra coverage in the spring from winter wear.

I already have my pasture seed for the next three years to use for snow spring seeding, as well as have a order in for planting for higher intense pasture grazing.

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We are planning on getting a ATV next year and with it I can use a number of my horse drawn equipment as well some extra things like a trailer and a few other things we will see..

I know its not nice to say but by next year there is going to be a flood of peaple that will be looking to sell “extras” for cash in hand,, it will have hit the “just a few more weeks, just a few more months” peaple that it is in fact going to be at a min a 3 to 5 year event and a 5 to 10 year global recession.

However at least here in canada, we are very much at the moment and I think for the forsee able future in a K..  the whole country will BE EFFECTED but that back half of the K is huge for how each area and each family will feel it..  those with steady work from home jobs, those with steady in need front line jobs, those who meet the need of keeping things going.. will be on that upper heading up arm of the K and they will be doing a mix of great.. never had more money in the bank..  not eating out, not needing to buy the suit or the dress of the party, not paying for the kids in sports and so on..  then there will be the others that are doing well, but feeling the effect of the pushes and pulls in so many ways..

And then there is those that will be on that downward part of the K.. and they are going to struggle.. they will be selling off toys and extra’s..  right now in my neck of the woods, on the market place we can see this already just not in the way we will next year..

Top big ticket items folks are trying to move.. Pool tables, huge dining room sets, full spare bedroom sets, hot tubs, smaller second hand commute cars, and of course the moterhomes and extra fridges (but a freezer is hard to find, they move by word of mouth at this time)

By next year we will start to see the ATV’s, the motor boats, the canoes, the smaller moterhomes and vans (anything that really takes the gas) Ski-doo’s and more..

While we have always done things by hand and we will continue to do so in many many ways, we are both 48 and we are giving the farm the long hard look at what needs to be repaired, replaced and what would be the best way forward to age out on the farm in the best way possable..

I know its asking a lot but we want the best of both worlds.. planning and using some of the modern things so many take for granted but having the full in use backups in place and still be worked.. a prime example is that we are planning to drill a new well and that well will be on power grid and will be used to put in drip lines, keep the pond full and put in auto water for all year long for the livestock making things so much easier in so many ways..

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But we are keeping the back big barn drilled well and getting the repair work needed done and moving from the smaller hand pump to the old fashioned huge big pump on it..   Making our life easier but keeping the hands on no power ability of the farm alive and well..

So back to our ATV and my planned uses.. one of which is to continue to improve pasture but also to flatten, seed out and plant out fodder stripes in the front pasture in rows that will be done with hot lines within a new food forest type layout.. but I am going to use as much of my land as I can as things are planted and grow in layers..  more on that at a later point..

So did you bring in larger amounts of grain if you are small holder or homesteader..  are you buying monthly from the feed store or did you bring in skids..  What are you seeing for sale already in your neck of the woods on your local for sale sites?

Posted in 100 mile diet, Critters | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Sweet Potato Lentil Sausage Chowder Style Soup

This is a lovely heavier “chowder thick” soup and it can be served at two points.

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Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup.

  • 2 cups of peeled cubed sweet potato
  • !/2 Cup of green or brown lentils
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of powdered ginger
  • 6 cups of veggie broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook till the sweet potato are starting to fall apart on the edges of the cubes and the lentils are softly cooked though..  It took me around 40 minutes at med heat.. Take off heat and let it come down from the simmer and using a metal or heat safe hand mixer blend it in the pot carefully or can blend in blender.. again.. careful.. its hot..

Can stop right there, adjust your salt and pepper and serve up thick and hot with a big spoob of sour cream in the middle with a some chives if you want.. or a swirl of cream on top with some crushed chili flakes.

However as much as I personally adore smooth soups.. Dear hubby does not!

Sweet Potato Lentil and Sausage Soup

In a fly pan at med heat with a touch of your choice of oil cook up..

  • 1 med peeled and finely diced onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 or 2 precooked diced sausages or you could take raw out of the casing and make bits of it..  If you are using precooked like I did.. I sliced it in half and then down the middle giving me many small bite size bits of sausage..
  • Cook till the onion is just starting to get clear and meat is getting some crisp bits and edges or if raw, is cooked though..

Add these the Sweet potato and lentil soup base, mix though and enjoy..

This soup recipe made 4 meal size portions or it would make 8 smaller soup starters or side soups. Its a great way to use up a single leftover sausage and turn it into a whole meal.

Posted in Recipes from the Root Cellar, Soups and Stews | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Dear Hubby Health and Diet

Early this Late summer/fall, we had heart health scare and issue with Dear Hubby, requiring some trips to emergency,  medical treatments and daily medications.

Combined and or in part due finding out that he is now type 2 Diabetic.   He is on two kinds of meds, a very strict diet that needs to be a combo of Diabetic/Heart health and unlike most Diabetics he does not have weight lose.. in fact he needs to stop losing weight, hold steady and start building more muscle mass.  For him because he does not have weight to lose, he needs to work the excess sugars in his blood by exercise.

Both a very good thing and a challenge given he does not have his standing desk at home like he did at work.. this puts him in his chair for longer timings then I would like, at some point, we will see if we can figure out or build a space that can be used as a standing desk.  We are looking into the idea of being able to claim a good percent as we have a full room that is going into office working space.  We are hopeful that we will be able to get the right T4 paperwork to claim some of the costs from working from home.

While the first part was VERY hard, I really like our medical doctor who cheerfully pointed out that we are lucky that DH is so healthy and strong.. this was a total HUH moment for me I will still running on empty from days of little to no sleep.. as she explained that he ran a full running race heart wise for about 5 hours and never slowed down and didn’t throw a heart attack that in the end after 3 IV doses to finally bring that insane heart rate down.. he said.. my heart feels tired.. According to her, most peaple can only have the heart rate he had for 15 to 20 minutes before they throw a heart attack or get the meds to slow it down..

I am beyond grateful that we had a doctor who feel that part of the reason he has no internal damage on any of the tests, scans and so on is because of our food on the farm and understood that while I would need to make changes, that eating whole food, fruit, milk, eggs and grass fed is the way to go!

We had a month were the allowed carb count was crazy low for the whole day never mind the meals.. but as his blood sugars are getting stable in the low and mid 6’s, instead of his worst highs are being given a bit more flex in our carb counts in the main meals..  after his next 3 month testing, we will see if we can go to the more standard carbs per main meal and 2 snacks..

I grew food for our storage that does not work but can go to friends or livestock.. so many winter potato’s.. its a good thing the pigs and chickens and such love them so much once they are cooked..   I have tried 3 times to use even the smallest amount of spuds and he spikes each time.. for now at least.. no more potato’s a staple that must be replaced in our gardens, pantry, canning and cooking..

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I will be bringing in heavy homemade sour dough rye bread back this month and we will see if in small amounts we can have some or if it will cause spikes.   So far Ryvita does not and as its rye based and as sour dough long slow rise bread is the favored way to go, we are going to combine the two of them..

Hubby has a “medical order” for 5 days a week of X amount of walking, which works well for many things but as winter is coming and we are still in a modified stage 2 lockdown locally, we are most certainly not leaving the farm to go anywhere indoors to be able to get his required “this much heart rate” for this long. Poor guy has to stop and do jumping jacks off and on to get his heart rate up higher on his walks/hikes .  so we will be getting one indoor piece of workout equipment..  Still in research mode on that at this point..

Clearly the goal is to work to get those numbers down and to get him off the meds as much as possable..

Stress and worry and a month an some of the new eating and I have lost over 25 pounds myself..  which I certainly can stand to lose.. it will not hurt me at all..  but I am finding myself very tired indeed..

Winter is coming and things will soon give me time to sleep more.. but not yet.. there is things to do and prepare..   In keeping with this, there will be even more whole food, lower carb meals, with lots of Soups, Stews, Chili’s.. more use for Beans, Lentils and Barley..

We are moving from the sweet side to the Savory flavour profiles which is a interesting challenge for me in the kitchen..

Posted in Health, Homestead Diabetic | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Friday Rambles Nov 5th

Friday's Rambles (1)

Normally Friday rambles is a mix of fact, personal views and some good snark at times.. I normally pick at least one or more related current events news and away we go..

But lets deal with the big one.. regardless of your own personal view on the disease itself (which i have heard ALL the view points and I am not touching it with a ten foot pole here on the blog)

The lockdowns, the phases and so on are effecting all of us, even if you live in a area with no cases, and the Canadian north has done a outstanding job at keeping it free of issues.. the eastern provinces in my country are in a locked in bubble with each other and they are also doing amazingly well..

Quebec and Ontario are the most effected and I live one county away from one of the main province hot spots of ottawa and about a hour from montreal (quebec)which is another crazy high hot spot.. my own area is very min in terms of cases and even less in regards to related deaths. However our health unit is in step with the big city in most ways as there is a lot of movement between the city and my county..

My own personal family out west are doing very well in having been in very quiet and or uneffected zones in terms of cases.. The numbers are climbing in their province at this time

So that would be my first question? Where are you currently in regards to lockdown, color codes and or phases.

So far our farm has been under both federal and province wide emerg acts and we have had in order..

-Modified Semi lock down- if you can work from home do so.. but really pretty much all stores and more are open..

-Lock Down.. Everything closes down tight other then food stores, feed stores, modified but still available medical and vet care.. This was a hard full on lock down and we left the farm once a month only though it.

Then we moved to Phases, that did a slow openning up..

-Moved to Phase 1, where you could get your eyes done, your teeth done.. but really phase 1 was just a bit of a modified version of a lighter lockdown, it was still very tight and heavy..

-Moved to Phase 2, patio eating openned up and so did many stores and so on as long as they had their own doorways and so on..

Moved to Phase 3- gyms, bars, event places, schools, even sport teams all came back online.. it was a short phase 3 before the local numbers went from under a hundred a day to within 6 weeks over a thousand a day.

Back into phase 2 lockdown.. but now they changed it again.. to color coding.. Now we are in orange, with red a full lockdown again.. yellow in warning and green good to go..

Regardless of how I personally feel about some of the choices made and when above, that is what we have to work with and we are coming into fall with higher numbers, they “say” we have untraceable 35% spread.. which means in lay terms we are going to be in versions of lockdown moving up and down all winter and into 2021.

Are you in one of those area’s that is low case or are you in a area of highly effected? Share if you are willing..

Here is the big things I want to dig into, are you preparing for the winter? Have you put away extras in the pantry? Do you have a plan in place for if or when your emerg act (if you have one in place) is going to tilt your world again.

We are finding some things are very hard to find, example I am currently in the hunt mode for the wool replacement part for fixing the lining of my dryer drum.. its a 15 dollar part with around 45 min to take the broken one off and replace with the new one.. but I never thought to put a extra away.. and so here we sit..

Now I have the outdoor cloths line and the indoor drying racks and can throw up a indoor drying line if I want.. but its just one small but real example of how limited supplies are effecting the global supply chain which is effecting what we are seeing on store shelves and even online.

I am way to frugal and stubborn to “go buy a new one” for something that can be repaired.. I will make due and we will see how long it takes the part I had to order online takes to get to us..

We are fully expecting in our area to be in red mode lockdown again by christmas and into the new year.. We are planning and preparing for it.. but in truth coming into fall, the pantry is full, the fruit/veggie freezer is full, the meat freezers are filling rapidly and the canning shelves are filling up.

The farm continues to produce our own milk(sheep) and milk products, fresh chicken eggs, Duck eggs are pretty done for the year.. we have lamb, mutton, chicken, duck, pork and we bought a whole long yearling from a grass fed farm down the road..

Many of the layers I have spent years building into the farm and gardens all paid off this year in giving us a leg up on planting, growing, harvesting and preserving the harvests..

Are you coming into fall feeling like you are prepared for the coming winter? If so why.. if not why?

Posted in At the kitchen table, farm journel, Friday Rambles | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

If there was ever a time for a couple good dogs!

Farm Dogs.. Needed more now then ever..

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My farm dogs over the past years (other then our old lab that moved to the farm with us) have all been on the smaller side, with the females ranging between 26 and 32 pounds and the boys on the high 30 pound range..

The last two older girls are retired into true house dogs and are coming 13 which leaves me with Dezzy..  my 28 pound 5 year old that is great in some ways and quirky in others.. (they are all right)

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Just not big enough for what is all coming.. I had been planning on adding in a new pup.. but fate stepped in and we ended up with two amazing boys.. I do not recommend getting two pups this close in age even though not littermates.. its a lot of work to raise one pup.. never mind two..  but it can be done.

I had already planned on getting a larger dog with a much deep woof to help me with the coy-wolf pack and I wanted a natural born farm and guard type dog but one that would still bond tightly with his peaple..

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Remmi ((catahoula) is just that.. he is 50 plus pounds at 6 months, is already everything I hoped for and more.. he should come in around 90? pounds full grown.. Adore him to bits!  Having said that.. he has already proven very good at backing peaple up and holding them down on the driveway and or off the deck..  he has some lovely clear different barks which I love that they are so easy to read..

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His best buddy Uther is a labX and he is far more friendly! (its a breed thing) but he is a great chore dog and he is strong on the hunting and will make a solid retrieving bird dog.  He will not be as big.. He should come in around 65-70 pounds but it will be what it will be..

Its been a great choice to add these boys for so many reason.. for the longer terms plans given the state of the world and my own local area having a couple good working dogs with some size and woof to them.. a very good thing..

Adding in puppies at stressful time..  Perfect timing..  lots of training time,  with Dear Hubby home, it was MUCH easier to split them out.. you take this one.. I take this one..  but also starting the training as a unit..  lots of laughs and ah’s and resting baby hound face is crazy adorable! I mean.. REALLY FREAKIN adorable.

Its been such a good thing for the farm to be marked again by males and to watch the coy-wolves pack swing wide around the farm as Remmi shows me where they are at by aiming is very strong nose work and hair comes up his back line by 4 or more inches and WOOFF WOOFF  comes out..

While I know that it means more barking is coming from my farm.. that is also not a bad thing. local’s have said.. new dogs.. big!.. hmmm.. word will spread.. so much theft has been reported in my local area..

Now I know that in our province and our country there has been a crazy price hike and increase in peaple getting dogs and puppies because they are home now. the local shelters are empty, the rescues are bringing in northern or Reserve dogs and puppies by the shipments of 50 or more and they are gone as soon as they go up for sale (call it adoption if you want but when you charge 450 to 800) its a sale..

I was lucky, I got Remmi from a awesome breeder, I had been following the breeder for around 9 years now.. almost got a pup from her 3 years ago.. but it was just not the right timing and had put myself on the waiting list for the breeding that Remmi came from within minutes of her annoucing it..   It was a very reasonable sale price..  right on target for a well bred pup.

Uther was gifted to us by Dear Hubbies Cousin.. (thank you) and the deal is that they get to visit him and watch him grow up.. Covid has put a damper on the visiting but I truly hope for 12 to 14 years so lots of updates, and visiting to come in years ahead.

I expect that we will only have Marie and Paris for another winter or two.. and then we will be down to our pack of 3.. but at the moment, I am enjoy them all each day.. and i can honestly say I have never had a easier time on housebreaking or teaching cueing for bathroom/door

Got to love a clean pup..  (while we do our part, a huge thank you goes to those that raised them)

While I wish the best for all the peaple that got new puppies, I expect that dog trainers will be very busy over the next year or two and that if and when you need to leave your teenage or 3 year old dog at home if you need to go back to the office that we will see a flood of them coming into rescue..

So Farmgal’s helpful tip of the day..  Raise your new pup to learn to be left at home, learn to crate, learn to go truck and go crate in truck..  yes love them.. yes train them, take them to town and walk them around.. train in the park, train on the road.. try and see if you can train with a couple friends at distance with masks if needed but do everything you can to help create well adjusted Canines.

Posted in Farm dogs, Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Ten years.. Today the blog is 10 years old!

Due to personal reason’s I decided to take a break from blogging, something I have done before over the years but never for so long.. Once Covid-19 hit, I had not be blogging for a while and I struggled hard at how could I explain all the things that had really mattered to me (and still do) compared to what was happening..

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It seemed so very small.. At that point, I was thrown into dealing with all kinds of things, a) hubby would be sent home to work but not before he would be one of the last in the office and we would be told that X amount of contacts were testing postive. He would come home to be pulled into a rapid Response C-19 team that would put a new meaning to the word.. overtime.

I on the other hand would close up, lock down and put all those skills and food challanges into full use and the truth is personally we moved though the first months of lockdown with no issues..

Not to be the same for loved ones.. for the family member battling Cancer, for the unexpected passing of friends, the very unexpected passing of Dear Hubbies and mines beloved Uncle..

What happened next was that local peaple reached out for help on planning and planting gardens, help on learning how to can, to get seeds, to get seed potato’s and I did my best.. I pulled on contacts, I put together and ordered in shipments of plants, fruit bushes and trees, I worked with friends that helped bring in soil, kelp, manure and so much more

We had a bitter long cold wet spring that stunted everything that moved into dry, hot late spring and early summer that pushed our whole area into a level 2 drought.. we bought and brought in 2 full tankers of water to fill the well, the water tanks, the barrels and our pond..

This cost us $800, which was a very good thing because it kept the garden watered, the fruit canes, trees and newly planted whips watered in deeply once a week.. giving us excellent yields compared to so many others in our area that did not.

Hay however was a different matter.. the drought was bad enough I had to buy and haul in hay from across the valley.. but So grateful to my friend that let me buy 230 small squares from her and from my regular who has my big bales in storage for me.

Fall arrived and right in the middle of it came health issues for Dear Hubby, I am beyond grateful that it happened in the “lull” of phase 3 in our local area in regards to c-19 that allowed us to get medical needed done.. but still I spent hours and hours in the parking lot waiting for word, not being allowed in is very hard!

A Month of driving for medical, learning new terms, changing some things, harvest and more….

Then today, I got notice that the blog is 10 years old.. and I decided to look at its stats.. I mean, I have not written a post so far for 2020..

The search bars sent over 22,000 peaple to the blog based on what they were searching for, 29,905 thousands peaple had read 43 660 posts.. WOW!

This means that in the past 10 months, just shy of 30,000 peaple searched for and read, used, gain knowledge or got helpful hints, found recipes, garden information and small stock and more.. Wild foraging and Canning and more..

It made me focus down and realize that I need to start writing again.. Maybe not as often, and maybe different on this or that to reflex the current new “world” we find ourselves in.. but the words must flow..

Posted in At the kitchen table, Blogging, farm journel | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Switch grass panicum virgatum

http://ontariograsses.com/main/species.php?id=3080

I have ordered in enough Switch Grass Seed to do a Quarter Acre worth of plants, I have a Multi level  Multi Year plan for them.

This year, I will be starting a number of them and then transfering clumps of them onto the top edge line (down about 18 inches or so on top of my ditch line along the front of my food forest front yard.

The county cuts the front ditch line and the middle line but does not cut my side of the ditch line, which tends to grow a number of things including small fruiting native bushes seeded by the birds.

I touched on this before but in case you missed that post, my county closed a local bridge due to age and that means that everyone on this side of the river is now funneled up or funneled down to the other two bridge crossings and this means that the traffic coming past my farm has massively increased as if you are funneling downward, you are now coming right past my farm..

This also means that the local ATV trail club has needed to change their route and yup, its now coming down my road in droves.. we used to see the odd local on their ATV, right now, we are seeing groups of them, up and down our roads daily, I can see between 20 to 50 of them right now daily..  and soon with the snow, the snow machines will be ripping around behind the farm.. they are to swing wide and for the 90 percent that do so, no issue with them.. have lots of fun but there is always that 10 that do not want to take the longer way around, and will cut across and race up my fence lines freaking out my expecting ewes or making my lambs go bonkers and will roar as they come round.. and I will take their photos and turn their ass in or if its local, I will growl a touch to the land owner and he will remind them that they are to follow the sign paths and not run my fence lines..

I really do not mind them at all when they follow the rules and take the paths marked out.. but back to the new ATV pathway, they seem to love to slow down and be neck crankers and that I do mind..  Not that much to see in winter but I love to putter and I like my dogs out in the yard with me..

So we need to fence in that front line of the yard this year but I also plan to put the switch grass in a line on the outside of the fence line, it grows on average 5 to 6 feet tall, so it should create a living fence cover, it is flower from late summer into the fall, its said that the little wild birds love the seed and that it stays up and tall and helps catch snow..  All good things

Then in the spring, its biomass, as its to be cut down to 6 inches, and it is said to produce a massive amount of biomass once its growing well.. I want that biomass.. I have lots of manure but I am buying a lot of straw..  I am hoping? that the birds will do a great job on cleaning up the seeds in winter, and that way I can cut and use the switch grass both in composting and in layering in the gardens

The second amount of seed is going into a swath down the fenceline in the very front pasture to again give me a living fence cover as the bonus but its going to be cut younger/greener for the biomass, and will ideally once in full growth, 2 or even 3 cuts is possable. Time will tell me how good this will go..

On the other hand I am also on the look out for the smaller more clump, less spreading version called Praire Fire as I want it to be the hair on a project coming for the garden this year LOL.. I love the idea of it.. but more on that later 🙂

Do you have Switch Grass in your back edging in your garden? Do you have it in your landscaping? Are you using it to hold slopes stable? Have you used it as a biomass in your compost? Have you cut it down in the spring and used it as mulch>? Have you cut it in green form to use as Feed? and or dried it and used it as bedding?

Posted in Food Forest | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Garden Center Closures

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The Local company that I bought my soil from, my mulch from has closed and while I am digging, I have yet to find a company even somewhat close to me that has or is planning to open to replace it..  They closed last fall and it was on their website.. 

I have no issue making my own compost and I can get sand delivered, I have lots of extra grown here on the farm but honestly I had planned on jump starting by buying another 20 tons of soil.. not sure that is a choice I get to make this year.. I am pretty sure I can get another 20ish tons of cow manure/wood chips blend delivered to the farm again this year and I will ask for the most aged possable..  its aged enough that its rough soil but not weedy at all. If I mix in a couple shovels of sand into the blend with a hand full of kelp and turn it, it will not look as pretty as the above but it will certainly get the job done.. 

However I am going to have to either rethink the plan to finish out cedar mulching the last of the walking paths in kitchen garden or I am going to have keep calling till I find someone that will deliver a load of natural cedar blend..  I do not need the pretty ones, I am hoping to find the landscaper blend as that will work like a dream and save me a little on cost which will help with the delivery fee.

Last fall on of the biggest locally greenhouse in our area annouced that they were moving from open to the public to being a whole sale only.. this was a planned move as a response to covid, it allows them to move sideways, use their greenhouses in a more effective way, removes curbside pickups and allows them to meet a very active and large local landscapers market..  

While they will be missed in our garden groups and peaple will certainly miss being able to shop at better prices by doing it themselves at least they have not fully closed..

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However the other BIG greenhouse/nursery/plant center in the big city (50 min away) that has been around for 60 years and 3 gens just annouced they are retiring, i was listening to the on the radio this morning..  they made the choice based on covid, normally they have 27 staff and last year due to covid, they were in order to meet the legal requirements down to 7 staff and they said they were working up to 18 hours a day (so assume all family) and that they promised themselves they would never do another Covid season with curbside pickups. 

Clearly they meant it as they annouced their closure, they are done..  They are not the only ones.. I have watched so many other ones sell out early and or off very limited sales and I have seen three places that just did a one year pause.. sold out.. come back next year.. 

The one thing that i was not expecting was the comments from a couple different folks that were interviewed as they offered two other interesting points.. 

a) that all the local big box stores that were allowed to stay open, now have smaller plant sale sections and that peaple tend to pick up a few packs (even at higher prices and lower quality) while getting their groceries..

b)  That in the time of lock down less want to drive to the garden centers and that without the take your time look at everything and buy extras that just the order means many less sales (this one I can understand, how many times do I go for X and come out with Y Z and B lol)

c) Peaple are home and so they are buying seeds and starting their own plants..  I was a bit surprised by this one to be honest.. but three of the places closing all touched on it, they said.. with peaple working from home, having more time and with the online sales from company’s with seeds, that they were losing a huge amount of their sales to peaple starting and growing their own plants.

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Now that one got me lifting a eyebrow because most peaple do not want to start their own, most struggle to grow them, the garden groups are filled with leggy, floppy, issue ridden starts.. no I am sorry to say that the main reason you are seeing peaple buying seeds and starting their own is not because of time or being home, or covid.. 

Its PRICE..  I know its hard to hear it when you are the one paying though the nose.. the seeds cost more, the pots cost more, the soil costs so much more and then staff, greenhouse, trucking and so on.. I get it! I totally get it. I do.. 

BUT last year a 6 pack cell of regular tomato’s last year was 5.99 .. I have no idea what they will be this spring but i can tell you that I know hundreds of peaple that are starting at home this year that normally go and buy.. 

So I will own up that I am also starting at home this year..  for the past couple years I have ordered my tomato’s, peppers and last year eggplants from a outstanding local grower.. and i love his plants!  They are amazing.. 

However with the cost output for my new indoor greenhouse (I have extra growing space for really early starts, I have extended my 3 season greenhouse) but the biggest issue this year is cost savings.. 

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While I fully respect his price increase per plant and the pot price per plant (and I have always gotten a amazing discount due to bulk buying) the truth is what i can save by starting my own is kinda of crazy..  I am saving about $300.. 

That is a huge savings, it pretty much can pay for a different garden project this year, so be it.. I can only hope that they will be lots of folks that do not want start there so he will have no issues filling up his space and selling out again. 

So are you seeing your garden centers close? Are you seeing them move from public to wholesale? Are you seeing a increase on your area’s garden groups moving over to starting their own this year? Have you seen a increase in the big box stores bringing in the garden sections? Where the garden centers open in your area last year?

Do you think more peaple are starting from seed because they are home and have more time? or do you think cost is a huge factor?

 

Posted in gardens | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Garden Records

gardenplanner

Now normally I use a ruled lined book from the dollar store and i do love my farm books.  However I figure that I am putting so much effort into the gardens, the food forest and so forth that this year, I would step up my game. 

This book came highly recommended on the homesteading groups and I liked that it kept a page on costs out, but really liked how much room there is for reporting each day and that it has harvest total place. 

It has two pages for the fruit and I have them filled out and even added in one more spot on the bottom.. I wish it had three full pages instead of the two.. as it only has 24 slots of the fruit orchard and of course I have more then that.. so I had to decide what I would add into it and I was not able to break them down into kinds.. but it has a good note section so i will do more follow up in that regards into note.. 

Example, I had to just go with Apples and then I will need to use the note page next to it to break it down into the 9 kinds of apples I grow and their harvest numbers. I am not sure I can hold this to much.

I expect I will find the same issue with the veggies grown section, not enough pages there either but i do grow a big garden and a lot of different things..  I do think for the average garden/yard that there is enough space.. 

However given that it is for a family large garden, I stand by would be nice to have one more veggie page, and one more fruit page..  

I do love the monthly at a glance spare, and the weekly area looks great! I really like the break down though the day because its true, we putter and I like that it allows you to putter record lol

Saladgreens

We started our baby greenhouse at the first of the month and we are harvesting salad greens already, we have pea’s up, radishes up, and the patio tomato seedlings are up as well. I will need to transplant them into 4 inch pots today. They came up in 5 days.. 

I have hit a snag I didn’t expect.. the cost of soil in regards to microgreens, I have soilless sprouting trays and they would great but they are sprouts, not mircogreens and I used my main soil for doing the mircogreens trays but I figured out very quickly that it will cost to much to do them in soil..  because the soil is full of roots and the bits of stems left after means you can’t just reuse it.. so the chickens are very happy campers and that soil will come back into compost for my garden at a later point.

So I hit the internet and I have a large set of 4 trays including the stand coming that is a two part tray system that is to be used as a mircogreen tray that does not use soil.. I am of mixed hmm on it. I mean the seeds themselves only have so much that they can grow on their own without extra imputes so I will see how this goes.. 

Keep you posted on it..  I should have my first sets in full producing by the end of the month. Do you use the soilless microgreens trays, how have they worked for you?

On one hand I am not happy for another 50 dollar output this month but if it works, then overall it will be a big money saver and pay for itself within the year..  I have heard that soil is hard to come by this year.. I know last year that many peaple by the end of last season where really having issues with the soil that was being sold, and many were sold out, I have a feeling that its going to effect the ability and for sure the cost for buying soil this spring.. 

Mean while it appears that at least here in ontario that trying to find onion sets this year is going to be harder then normal.. So I will be starting Onions and Leeks in the next two weeks.  Its been a good while since I have needed to grow onions from seeds.. but I was able to buy onion seeds for ones that I would never be able to get locally in sets so that at least is fun and interesting.. 

I will share as it goes, I have a interesting bunching Russian one, one that is to be a huge onion, it is said that it can by fall reach up to 5 pounds each (i will believe it when I see it lol) its not a keeping onion but i laughed and said to hubby. dang, those are the onions for sauce making.. one five pound onion per sauce batch haha and a few more.. 

What is the most fun onion have you grown? If you grow onion from seed, do you have a hot tip on a successful outcome!

Posted in Garden | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Chocolate Snow Icecream Recipe

Ah Snow, did we ever get snow! 9 inches in the past 24 hours..  Time to make a speical winter treat! Snoe Icecream..  Never heard of it? Here is my Vanilla Snow Icecream regular way of making it.. so easy and so yummy..

chocolatesnowicecream

Chocolate Cream Snow Icecream 

This is a lighter version that is safe for hubby to eat.. 

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 3 TBSP good Coco Powder (light chocolate, use more if you like it more dark chocolate)
  • 3 tbsp of Monkfruit sugar (or 1/4 cup of regular sugar if you are not diabetic)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 14 cups of clean snow

In a heavy pot at a very low heat, put milk, coco powder and sugar/salt together, whisk till its blended together and just warm.. you are not trying to make this hot.. just warm enough that the sugar melts in and the coco full blends into the cream.

Chill the chocolate cream till its cold.. then collect your snow, pour over and stir till it comes together..  stir it as it melts.. a lovely treat and made with the monk, it did not spike hubbies blood sugar at all!

 

 

Posted in Life moves on daily | 1 Comment

Peas Seeds- One for pot and One to put up..

60 hours ago, we planted out a tray of pea seeds grown and saved in 2019 and in the tray went into the BG(Baby Indoor Greenhouse) it is amazing how fast things are growing in there..

Amazing considering I didn’t even pre-soak them before they went into the damp soil and yet they are all popping their pretty little green selfs up and onward. 

Normally, I grow one row of snow peas and stagger out 2 to 4 rows of regular pea’s that I then pick about 80 percent of the pea’s for fresh eating and or blanching and freezing for future use and then I let at least one row finish out the last 20 percent into seeds. 

Typically this gives me lots of peas for planting out in the fall plants and for next years crop.. if I am a little short, i will only pick 60 to 70 percent in the fall to bump up my stock but I will be honest, I like to save from both the spring started and the fall started,

Saving seed from the spring started pea’s help you save seed from plants that do well in very cool just worked soil, they tend to be shorter plants and they tend to close out faster in the heat..   where saving seed from fall started, tend to be better in the heat and tougher in holding though some very light frostings.  

By keeping each as their own line, you are working towards improving your lines to both suit your own area but also for the conditions they are raised under.. just do not mix the up.. because the cool soil spring ones can struggle more if started early in late summer in the warmer soils/hotter days.

Back to 2021, I need to flip it.. hubby will do better with the whole pod for the increase in fiber, so I will be growing 4 rows of snow peas, one row of fresh eating pea’s and this year with my eye firmly looking at the whole view, I am planting a whole row into just seed saving, on the spring seeds for winter planting in the baby greenhouse.. 

Its a combo of winter plantings for pea shoots (cut around 4 to 5 inches for greens) at pretty much low/no cost but its also because pea’s seeds are a great gift.. 

I am going to bring them as little house gifts (even if its just a driveway drop off).. I am going to do the same with little pots of flowers..  Lets face it, if you gave someone seeds for turnips (not everyone likes turnips) or carrots( they can be fussy to start) pumpkin (o my gosh.. that is a huge plant and take so long to produce), you get the idea.. 

While a “gardener” might be happy with all kinds of things.. for most peaple, they know what pea’s are.. they are pretty easy to grow, they have lovely flowers and I have never meet a child that does not love to pick fresh pea’s off the vine and pop that lovely green boat and snack on those fresh raw peas..  its just a treat.

Consider starting a extra tray of your favorite flowers and bring a few of them in cute basket, box or ?? with you this spring/summer/fall.. it will help brighten someones day! 

 

Posted in Gal in the Garden Series, Garden, seed saving, Seeds | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pawpaw Seeds

I ordered in Pawpaw seeds from a seller one zone harder then my own and I hope to get two 3 year old trees this spring about 40 minutes away as they like to be planted in clumps.

pawpaw

I ordered in 15 seeds and the sellar sent 23, and they have been kept in damp and cold in the fridge till this week.. some of them seem much more plump then a few, so we will see how many sprout.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/pawpaw

They are in damp potting soil in the Baby Greenhouse and once I have sprouting, as they have a heavy thick tap root, they will be planted into 5 gallon pots in sets of two or three depending.

Do you have pawpaw on your homestead? Do you prune them.. have you ever pruned them to keep them smaller? Honestly they appear to get very large, I am not sure I want them to grow up to 10 meters, that’s 30 feet tall.. how are you to harvest the fruit when they are that big? speical picking tools?

Then I have heard that they will not grow that big in my area, many say, no.. in our area, they will get about ten feet give or take.. who is right.. that is the issue..

I am not sure I want more then two or three clumps of them, so if everything starts and grows well, then I guess I will be gifting or bartering out extras.

One of the things I find very interesting is that  they are a shade tree and that they do not like full sun, they need part to full shade..  that say this is very important for young baby trees..

They also like damp soil.. I have plans to place them edged into my slew area with shade from my big tree..  I hope that they will like this spot..  i will let you know..

It felt great to start another project for the gardens and the food forests on the farm..

pawpaw flowers

One of the things that i am looking forward to even if it takes a long time for fruit is the flowers..  I mean a tree in the spring full of amazing scarlet flowers, stunning..

interesting fact on them, they like to be pollinated by beetles, not bees..  or so I read.. I have never had the chance to date to try these real life so I am taking a bit of a leap o f faith that they do taste good 🙂

Posted in Food Forest | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Custard Recipe

I hope this photo shows you how silky smooth this custard can be..

Ah custard, so easy to make when it goes right, and fussy when it does not..

Creamy Homemade Custard Recipe

4 cups whole milk

4 egg yolks

2 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tsp of corn starch (add 1 tsp more if you like a stiffer custard)

1/4 cup sugar (if you want a sweeter but its not needed)

In a heavy bottom pot add your milk, sugar, vanilla and corn starch (blend this together while its cold, then add half a cup of your milk to the beated egg, blend it together and pour it into your milk mixture.  This goes on your small burner for even heating and you want it at a low-med heat.. which on my stove is #4, it does mean that it heats slower but its worth it..  Whisk slowly and softly the whole time.. don’t worry it only take a couple minutes to bring it up to heat, it only needs to cook at that very slow low heat till the yolk cooked in combo with the corn starch thickens..  

Once you have trail lines behind your whisk,, take it off the heat and stir another min or so, it will keep cooking from the heat of the pot. 

Details in regards to your egg yolk Split out your egg yolk from your egg white, (save your whites to add to a omlet or however you would like to use them), beat them till they froth and have that lighter color change.  Do each egg on its own, try as hard as possable to have no egg white in there.

This can be served hot (its very good fresh hot from the pot as is, its thinner but you will not care) or you can put it into a heat proof tub (cover it if you do not want a skin on the top to form and chill in the fridge, it will be thicker this way.. 

Can be served with fruit, can be served on pancakes or waffles, is amazing with banana’s, or a sprinkle of coconut, can be put in your icecream maker.. o my! can be placed in tart shells with a drop of whipped cream on top. 

Now the joy of this is that you can take your recipe up or down as needed.. I find that the 1 cup whole milk to one egg yolk works very well..  I like half a tsp of thickener but if you like a thicker custard, you can up that a touch.. but do try it that way first.

Posted in Life moves on daily, Sheep Milk | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Increase your Skill Set -Hair cuts

IMG_2784

When it comes to increasing my skill set when it comes to hair cuts, there are three area’s to get better at.

Human Hair trims/cuts

Sheep Shearing/crotching

Dogs Trims/Shaping

If there is one thing that 2020 taught us, we can go for ages without getting our hair cut, we can do our own nails, shape our own brows.. If you didn’t already do it.. bring your trims “in house” for 2021

In this case, I am do not recommend any major hair cut style changes and if you can do so, utube is your friend on this.. or just stay with the most basic trim, do your split ends and go..

I started trimming hubby’s hair year one of our relationship, he wanted a trim and we were way up in the north and he said I will get my hair cut next time I am down south, which had me give him the funny look and while it took me a bit to explain that we did home hair cuts 99 percent of the time in my family.. so I did the smallest trim possable for the first cuts he got.. I have been cutting his hair/beard/eyebrows for the next 20 years lol

2020 was the first time he trimmed mine.. he was very careful.. to careful really I wanted more off but it will come with time. Always better to want more trimmed off then to regret that to much was taken off.

I saw someone say, what are skills that we should be learning and or getting better at, and hair cuts was really on the top of that list.. Dog hair trimming was for sure in the top ten skills to learn.

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Makes me wonder how many peaple are sending their dogs out to be groomed.. I do not mind grooming my dogs. My oldest girls are the ones that have the longest hair and need the most thinning/shaping and or shave down depending on the time of year.

I perfer to take the time to thin and shape then shave if I can.. but I have been known to take miss paris right down with the clippers once a year.. Dezzy is very double coated but short haired on her legs and so its a matter of trimming and lots of bush out..

Out of the two new boys, its Uther above that needs the steady daily groom time.. He would shed enough with all that lab blood and that crazy blow the coat twice a year.. but he really shows his Chessie blood all down his back line and he has this crazy course/wire type all over his back and down to his shoulders.. its so thick and water proof that the vet felt the need to warn me twice now that I will need to groom him regular to brush that out, keep the oils moving, and brush it back up after swimming as he says they can get skin infections if its not looked after properly.

So he is learning that he gets a daily brush out and I am always amazed at all the things that come out that you do not see.. little seeds, bits of hay, little sticks and so on..

Then comes the one that I am not fond of but do need to get better at.. shearing.. I am down to 3 ewes that need to be sheared.. and I swear at some point I will get back to only having hair sheep that shed out fully on their own.

Until that day comes, at least once a year I have to tackle shearing the ewes, I promise you they are not more happy to see me coming then I am to do it.. I know that some folks like shearing their sheep, I am not one them.. I wish I was!

So this year, I am going to see if there is any way to learn to be a better at it, to try hard to be safe but just a touch faster at it.. Thank goodness I use the wool in my gardens and I am not shearing for wool..

So when it comes to clippers/scissors use in your house, have you brought them in house, will you be bringing them in house.. Do you do basic grooming but send your dog out for the trim/cut/bath?

When it comes to the sheep, do you have any words of wisdom to make my shearing go better? If so I am all ears? I have power clippers as well as hand shears

One part of me wants to point out that it will save you money and it will in the long run if you keep it up but in truth depending on how much you need to buy in regards to grooming kit (dog) sheers(sheep) and grooming kit (human) it could be a bit spendy to set you up..

Still if push comes shove for peaple at least, you need a straight comb and a pair of straight scissors, if you have to in a pinch, good fabic scissors will get the job done..

Posted in farm | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Carrot Slaw -Lighter Carb

I love a good carrot slaw in winter, the carrots keep so well if prepared properly and they just get sweeter with age if they are the right storage kinds.

This is just one of my Sweeter Carrot Slaw Recipes.. A lovely red Carrot Slaw. I also love it with a creamy dill dressing made of mayo, cream a bit of sugar and lots of black pepper and dill, so good.. or how about this great Sweet Pickle Slaw recipe?

However with Hubby’s new Diabetic rules in place, I wanted to lighten this version up..

Carrot Slaw Light Recipe

  • 2 Medium size Carrots, Peeled and grated med course
  • 2 Medium young Zucchini, ends trimmed, grated med course
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp of golden raisins
  • 1 tsp of poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of salt free herbal salt replacemnt
  • 2 TBSP of a good Italian Dressing

If you need to drop out the raisins you can do so.. but even just the odd one works to bring in that the chew texture at times and that hit of sweetness.. the poppy seeds seem to meld but they do add to a bit of pop in the mouth feel. I personally go unsalted with the seeds as hubby’s heart issue also means we are balancing between heart smart and Diabetic at the same time.

The joy of the Zucchini is that is lower carb compared to the carrot and it takes on the flavors of the carrot in a lovely way..  Enjoy.. 

This makes 4 sides to go with a meal or a hearty salad to go with soup or meal side.. Does not hold up that well in the fridge as the Zucchini lets out more liquid and makes the carrots even more soggy..

If you need to keep in fridge, be prepared to drain off , add a bit more grated fresh carrot and touch up your dressing to bring it back up to full flavour and texture.

If you are looking for a way to turn leftovers into something different, a leftover of this could be added to a cabbage slaw to create a new dish to finish it up very easily.

Posted in Recipes from the Root Cellar | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Increased Theft in Rural Area’s

farm dogs

My biggest and best driveway alarm

Every single day my local police department puts out a notice on what is happening in our local area, I have watched the reports of theft increase.

Now to be fair, its not like theft is not a somewhat normal event in our area and I am sure the same in yours? We have had a small propane tank theft in some of our small towns locally that has struck year after year..

we all try and figure that one out.. do they use the tanks? are you they stealing them to turn them in for the refund on them when you recycle them? Where do they sell them onward because its not local that they are going?

Sure those hit are unhappy at the loss but its one of those.. o again.. when its reported. We have really had a increase in vehicle thefts and they are very targetted and rarely recovered, they are believed to be targetted, chopped and shipped out of the montreal port at very rapid speed. (no idea if its true or not, just here it on the news and radio) this morning, they annouced 5 vehicle thefts of the same make/model in a very small local area..

Clearly someone wanted parts or those makes and has a plan.. no one steals 5 of the same make and model (but different colors) in one night without knowing what they are going to do with them at the end point.

We have very little theft in regards to truckers compared to the big city areas, where they will hit the whole truck and take everything out the back.. it can happen but its rare.. heck we have even had peaple come and steal truckloads of grain..

Of course we have the normal amounts of B&E’s it happens.. not to often but it does happen. We have a mother-daughter set that did local B&E’s for a couple years in a wide ring around our rural area.. they were finally caught and the whole area got real quiet that way.

Right now, the biggest issue is farm thefts, they are using small drones to check the farm out.. a) to check to see if they want to hit your farm b) to see if you are home

now that is taking new tec to a level that I am honestly surprised at.. I am not even sure our dogs really would react to a small drone zipping by.. do you think yours would?

They say the top items that are being stolen off the farms are, mobile generators, wood splitters, chain saws, tools, Jerry can’s, snow blowers, lawn mowers, ATV’s, Moterbikes, Saddles/horse tack,

In the past two years the other one we see is small stock theft, baby goats, baby sheep, the odd calf and chickens.. I mean really.. chickens.. and then there is garden produce theft..

Last year someone within 2 hours of my farm, had someone come in at “JUST” the right moment and cleared out 12,000 worth of garlic.. first to do that in one night did not happen with just one person and second.. who and how did they move 12,000 worth of raw garlic.. ??

I have heard of fruit trees picked clean in the night, I have heard of garden raids, I want to believe that they really needed that food.. but then I think about the time someone raided my own garden as it was to close to the road.. no one is ever going to make me think that a herd of raccoon came, cleanly picked all the ready zucchini on the same night.. as I was growing for canning and there was over 30 plants worth.. I still do not know who or how they needed and used that much of the green stuff lol

I am just glad they did not damage the plants and so it was a blip, but still.. it taught me to not plant quite so visable to the road that’s for sure.

So the stats clearly state that having dogs, really helps and that often the sound of a barking dog or in my case a pack of barking dogs will encourge them to look for easier pickings..

Yes, she put be behind this fence.. yes I could clear this fence in a heartbeat.. she is just trying to make you feel better but know I am watching you..

I swear my new lab boy would help them load stuff(maybe he will grow into a better watch/bark dog) but given Remmi would not let them out of the truck its a moot point.. and my little girls would be raising a rackit that would be loud enough to raise the dead..

Remmi will wake me up in the middle of the night if he thinks he hears something, one night someone parked on the road, I am not sure why but it was around 2ish in the morning and he heard them, woke me up, I went and let him out.. he pointed his nose to show me the issue and barked his fool head off while a line went up his back..

The two men shaped shadows on the road standing out, kind of leaning on their car, got back in and sat for a min or two and then started the vehicle and pull around and drove off.. while he has got me up a few times that I am not sure why.. he is very sure why and I do respect his work ethic.

Camera’s are a good idea if you can make it happen, Locked Gates will help to a point, Locked doors will also help, if you have lots of windows, spraying with the window paint that is that soft white can help, lets the light in but blocks just looking in, unless they scrape it off. Chaining things up can also help.. in some cases running a hot line in just the right place and way can give a nasty surprise.

None of those will really stop someone with good planning and skills but they will stop those that are just looking for a quick grab and go..

So best theft preventing tips? What is the most commen types of theft is being reported in your area? Have you had theft’s happen to you directly, if so what did they take? What do you do to help prevent issues? Do you think with things going the way they are in regards to job loss, that we are going to see a increase in theft?

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged , , | 27 Comments