Shiver me’Timbers an a once a decade snow storm

Well, the little Chocolate and White ewe lamb  Shiver me’timber is doing very well indeed, she spent a full 24 hour plus out with her momma in her jug pen, and is drinking steady now, using her heated spot, or sleeping tucked beside momma sheep and has even been spotted doing wee hop bops on the camera that lets me peek on them whenever I want from the house..  man is that handy

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We were prepped for the big storm and it did come to our province and even by us, 45 min away they got large dumps of snow that shut down roads, trapped peaple in vehicles for upwards of 9 hours, stopped all the foolish peaple that were told to stay home in the morning and didn’t and then could not get back into their side roads or driveways and there for let their vehicles on bigger streets blocking even more traffic and the snow plows..

Our farm however did not get anywhere near what they said, we got 8 inches, no power loss and if anything the temps warmed up beautifully, going from a chilly -28 with wind chill of -35 to what felt like a warm -3..  now we did the winds.. hard heavy winds that for sure have made some good drifts at 60 to 80 km.  Thankfully the wind blew in from its most common direction and there for the shelter belts did their job as well as they can.

The wild birds were all fluffy and tucked him from the wind, the dove above was sitting on my pea/bean fencing with its friends, swaying in the wind, at first I was was confused until I realized that the whole line of willows was breaking the wind for the birds, so they had a good view but far less wind then they could have had..

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Now they say that its not fully over till weds, but the today tuesday has come in grey overcast and no snow yet.. Bells kitten among others was very happy to have sleeps on the warm sheepskin rugs, and I was grateful for the big winter feather quilts made by our friends out at the colony in alberta.  So warm and the quality can not be beat anywhere.

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The house was fuller then normal, most of the indoor/outdoor kittys were indoor yesterday and while they were dreaming of being outside, they didn’t want anything to do with it when the doors were open lol..  content to be warm and sit and watch the outside world from the windows out to the gardens

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The day was quiet for sure, hubby put in his work hours, earning the steady paycheck, I puttered on household and side gigs. The first grinds are done on a few different types of rocks and we are on to the second finer grinding of three kinds.. updates on them in the future..

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Bad Day to be Born

It did not matter that your momma was in the big barn

It did not matter that your momma picked the most draft free jug corner in the far end of the barn

It did not matter that Dear Hubby had hauled down extra chips of bedding for the “girls”

Nope.. it was still a bad day to be born little one..   Your momma did a great job cleaning you up, and you are dry for sure.. but its a deep, DEEP BITTER COLD and you still got chilled..

No matter how good your momma was, no matter that she is the sweetest momma, you still picked a BAD day to be born.. We moved you guys from the big barn to the croft, carried with care deep in the jacket to keep the wind off you.. into the jug you went with the extra in floor heating spot for you..

Still you are not strong like you should be and you chill far to easy.. a little extra lamb jacket added, extra care, your momma is loaded with milk, teats striped of wax plugs and you drank some but not as strong as you should..

So, what is a farmgal to do, milked your momma out, as expected given her breeding, her teat size and placement made milking a dream, took out 12 oz for the night feedings and she had more yet, and I will milk her again in the morning, got a good feeding into you wee lamb, into the house in the warming box you go..

Its going to be a long evening/night with little feedings regular  (I sent Dear Hubby off to bed for first/second rest)and soon I hope things will look better by the time I hope to get sleep on 3rd rest..

I hope that tomorrow will be a good day to be one day old because tomorrow night a big old storm is moving in, all the ewe’s have been moved up to the croft, as we are to get dump loads of snow coming in over the next three days.. so lets keep everyone close and plan for power outages..

I know I have said it before and I will say it again.. the pressure changes during storms seem to bring on the babies..

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Splintered

Just that log in the kindle cracker I feel like I am being split, splintered, that I am living a odd kind of double or even more life currently..  No do not worry I do not mean that I am having mental issues, well no more then anyone is during this time really.. I think we are all stressed and worried and our minds are chewing on things either in our hind minds or in the front actively.. 

No, what I mean is that one part of me is preparing for slow collapse, for local and global Climate change, for what I see is a real coming storm,  droughts, food issues, material issues, political issues and so on..  Its not going away and its not one thing, its hundreds or even thousands of little snow balls, all rolling down hill at different speeds and different point of gathering more snow as it goes..  or mud, or water, or lava or fire.. 

I am increasing storage, I am upgrading while I can, I am stocking up.. we are building in aging out into the farm in a big way, we are leaning down hard on some things, increasing other things that I believe will prove to be worthwise for us, for barter, for community locally. I am looking backwards in terms of proper root cellar and adding in hives, increasing security.. and so on.. and on.. an on…

BUT… 

I am also moving forward with day to day life.. Hubby is working away, we are looking and preparing retirement plans like we are going to get his pension (see above, will we?) I am working on my new little side gig (photography)

 

I have rented a space in a local store where I will be selling a assortment of things, yes I will be doing some ad’s for my photography but we got a lot of my Mother in laws leftover stock in regards to her rock/gem and fossil store and so I will be doing a bit of that, plus some natural products/teas and so on, with seasonal off the farm products popping up here and there as well. 

I am moving forward in regards to teaching homestead skills and food preservation, including canning, pressure canning, fermenting, drying, curing and more..  I am growing extra seed for a seed house for sale across canada, I am bringing in bulk plant orders to continue to work on building food sheds in the local community, I am updating my food handler programs, I am updating my first aid training, I am taking online courses in different subjects..  

All in all life is moving forward daily.. each day a bit more gets added, done, planned for, used.. old skills worked, new skills added, some that will only be useful in the now, others that would be O so useful in the possable future on both sides of that split.. 

Strangely with the bigger push down on Omicron, I am starting to understand why lipstick was such a big thing to my grandmothers.. why taking the time to curl their hair and have a sunday best or a company apron mattered..  I have had the urge to do my hair more, put on a bit of lipstick, put on one of my amber necklaces, but I have been wearing more moonstone as well.. use the good perfume.. I have even changed from the work cloths to a dress better for dinner..  and I have taken to making “sunday” meals..   

I think I get it now.. after being home both of us home for 22 months and counting, being on the farm and really not “going” back to normal for us.. I get why they needed to “break up” the time on the farm, the week, the season’s.. why gathering times were so special, why you dropped EVERYTHING to have tea when someone pulled in for visit and you pulled out the good dishes, boiled the water and just focused in on the moment..

I can remember my grandmother saying..  that can wait a hour, put the coffee pot on, bring out the fresh whatever if baking or saying, go pick fresh berries or go down to the cellar and bring up two jars of canned saskatoon fruit..  a few spoons of fruit with a drizzle of cream or not would be served.. 

I understand so much better now.. so whatever it is for you.. do it now..  use the good whatever, drink tea from the tea cup, put on the lipstick to feed the chickens, curl your hair just cuz.. 

How you doing on this.. you feeling that split?  Do you know what I mean by that? Seeing it in yourself, or your family or your work? 

 

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Broken..sigh..Tears over a machine..

Yesterday I made a wrong move taking my jacket off and caught the strap of my workhorse of a camera and up it fly into the air, somehow coming off me and coming down in my foyer at clearly the worst angle possable broken camera, broken tile..

First offical photo of my new camera dec 2018

At first I was just in a bit of shock and No, I checked a few things, but I could see clearly what I had broken and I felt a sinking spot in my gut..  not even black camera repair would be able to fix it, I had cracked not one but at least two parts that are not on the “fix” replace that list..

Man, I have loved my Micro setting!

I went to the table and started fiddling even though I already knew.. then I googled.. maybe by some magic, someone would tell them, they had taken it in and nope..

The detail it could get, look at those snow dusted fluffy kitty

Then I looked at my husband and had a bit of a cry.. not for the camera, its a box, a magic box really.. I mean I am very sad that I only got just over 3 years with it, taking on average about 10 thousand photos a year of which several thousand made the grade for keep.. while around 26,000 plus being deleted.. the joy of a digital.. you can take a 100 or more photos to get that “one”

I had to really think it though because while I always regret the loss of a good tool, this was a bit more, in the end I realized that it was a combo of a) the loss of a investment by a foolish move b) all the memories tied to the camera, the trips, the walks, the family time, the first photos of the boys, of bell and more

Then came this one.. (yes I surprised myself when I said it and then went duh) as I was talking to hubby, I said, its been one of my pandemic “outs” stressed listening to the radio or reading, in another lock down.. grab the camera, head out to take flower photos, take the boys for a romp, take the camera, get creative and set up a scene and take photos, bird watch to see if I can get something with our wild feathered friends..

I mean I knew that I was taking more photos but until that camera broke and I had to sit with it, I don’t think it had really sunk in just how much looking though the lens let me push all the cray-cray of the world out and focus in..

My new work mirrorless camera is awesome but it does not go outside much, and its limited on what it can do outside compared to my old faithful workhorse..

I have ordered in the upgraded version of the one I have lost..  I will have a week plus of mourning for my old guy till the new arrives and I guess If I need to use the mirrorless with great care till it arrives..

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Looking a little lean “sort of”

Its been 14 days since we picked up our last fresh food box, plus it’s now Jan which means alot of things that came in sept, oct fresh into storage has been used up.  The fridge is looking very “winter” lean..

The top shelf has our only “fresh coming in daily item” eggs but even they are slow this year, I should be getting 6 to 8 of them and I am getting 3 to 4 all chicken, the ducks are not laying yet.. but they will start up soon now that the days and daylight are getting longer.

Canned milk (or made up powdered milk depending on what I want it for) and behind that is a half used home canned white chicken breast, I only need half a pint jar for a standard 4 bowl of lunch soup.. on the flip side is some jam/jelly and homemade rubs

Second Shelf, 5 kinds of canned fruits, pears, plums, blueberries/saskatoon mix  and apple sauce and two juices, plus some left over meals bits and bobs..

Third shelf on the left is pickles, relishes and fermented honey garlic, homemade BBQ and Mustards on the right is last of the celery, some carrots and parsnips..

The greens are growing in a different area, the sprouts same.. still have lots of pumpkins, squash and some holding big zucchini’s, plus parnisps, onions, garlic and oranges fresh (but getting older)

Otherwise, everything is coming out of storage be it dried, fermented, canned or freezers or the inhouse greenhouse, we are not hurting in anyway but we are limited at the moment and it feels strange..  I am starting to understand just how FREAKIN spoiled I have been getting my fresh fruit and veggies boxes twice a month.. wow do they make things easier.

I will need to be very careful in terms watching carb counts on the meals.. and I can’t wait for fresh milk to be added into the mix, so we can add in a lot more dairy..  The one meal I just looked at it, sighed and made massive T-Bone steaks, used the drippings to make a sauce and poured it over and served up the plate as a meal lol..  it was good, and we were full but can’t do that to much lol

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New Freezer or Fridge Unit

 

A good Freezer is to a point a must have if at all possable, a small chest freezer in a apartment can be both freezer, covered with a pretty table cloth and a shelf/storage. Once you get to the point of wanting to buy bigger deals for cost savings, you need a bigger freezer, these ones can go in spare rooms, or basements or if selected right unheated garages

But at some point if you are homesteading, while you can do a lot of canning/drying and fermenting, you are going to need freezers if you want to be able to store and eat “fresh” meat.  

Back in the day when I was a young one, It was always a massive heavy duty in the shed or garage or by the side of the house/sheltered big chest freezers.. they were massive, you could put half a beef, a pig and a dozen chickens in there..  I never remember them using freezers for fruit or veggies or bread..  Fruit was canned or dried or eaten fresh, Veggies were canned,dried or root cellared or eaten fresh, bread, cookies, cakes and so made and eaten fresh with the odd extra being put away.. 

Christmas might be the only time you would find for a few weeks a selection of baking goods in the big freeze but they were off limits, no eating them, they were being bulk saved for the big spread, company before, during and New Years eve.

We needed a new Freezer but I wanted a upright for the working space in the main floor pantry, by moving out med sized chest freezer, I would have a lot more room for storage while having eqaul amount of freezer..

I was waiting for Boxing week sales, I wanted to try for discount and free delivery, I didn’t expect great deals but it was still some off in the end, so it was worth the wait.  However so many makes and models were out of stock and those you could order would take till april or longer to get to me. 

Then I found a new to me, store in ottawa and they had a very interesting model, its a upright that I can set with the dial on the front to be a full fridge or a full freezer..  it was within the same price range as a good freezer only.. Research was required and it appears they have good reports.. SOLD!

Introducing “steel” my two in one..  

In summer/early fall after a good use up of my winter supply, I will switch the last to a small chest and move “steel” to a full fridge, giving me the ability to hold more fruit, veggie and so on till I can process it.. then come later fall (butcher time) I will move it back to a full freezer.. it has a rapid freeze cycle to it for bulk buying or in my case butcher days.. I like it, I can spread out the fresh wrapped and hit the flash freeze and then move to other freezers. 

Hubby and I worked for a number of hours yesterday, sorting and shifting, old in front of new, but also pulling from the different freezers to make “Steel” my working freezer for the winter/spring.. 

By that I mean we have different sections, we pulled fruit, Veggie, Wild Game, Pork, lamb, Beef, Chicken, Duck, Goose, Rabbit and Cheese.. This will allow me to do the fullest shopping choices from our home grown, home butchered supply.. by sorting all the freezers, we have done full rotations and counts.. 

I strongly recommend that if you have a freezer or Freezers, that you give them a shake up.. sort them out, go though them, see what is tucked in there, if you had fresh coming in this fall, find last years and make sure they get used up.. 

It might seem like a lot when everything is in.. but if you are shopping from home and not the store all year long.. its amazing how fast your fills can be but also how steadily they empty.. 

Do any of you have one of the combo units where you can choose to make it a all fridge or a all freezer?

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Thermos Shuttle Chef Review – TEN years later!

Can you believe it, my 10 YEAR review on the Thermos Shuttle Chef..  and I still love it!

First Thermos Shuttle Chef review  2011 and lots of photos, cooking info and more..

thermos Shuttle Chef Pot

Thermos Shuttle Chef 5 year review and round up!

Thermos Shuttle Chef Recipe Post – Ways to use it

2021 Ten plus years and going strong!

I have made hundreds of batches of perfect yogurt with it over the years.. the trick is to prepare your milk/culture prepare in a different pots, bring it down in temp, pour boiling hot into the pot and let it sit for a few min with lid on to “heat the bottom” then pour your cultured yugurt milk into it, close the lid and walk away for 8 to 12 hours depending on how firm/sharp you want the yogurt..  Eight hours is perfect for smooth/creamy stir and go yogurt.. 12 hours is perfect for firmer, thicker, going to drain it to make herbed farmer style cream cheese or spreadable cheese or really dry it and salt an crumble for different dishes..   Its a very short amount of energy cost to make it and go.. and you can always chill it in the pot by placing the pot in the fridge itself, allowing you time to come back and split out the big batch of yogurt and drainage for the cheese..    now you can make it in the same pot but the results can be a bit more tricky and varied.. sometimes I have lots and lots of milk in the house and I am like just go for it.. but for perfect results see above..

I can not say it enough, this pot is perfect to take with you, it has gone to so many pot lucks, gatherings  and day trips.. nothing like getting back to the car after a long hike and serving up piping hot chili from the pot..

One of the things I do with it almost always now if there is a power outage and I do not need it for “cooking” or before bed, I will do a full pot of clean water to full boil and then bank it..  this allows me to get up to hot water in the morning for coffee/tea and a wash up..

Speaking of hot drinks, I have made this up with boiling water and then put it out to be used to fill up mugs with peaple choices of coffee, tea or hot chocolate at winter events.. or I have made hot apple cider in it and then folks can take it out as needed..

Now lets get on to meals..  it does best when its mostly full  or full for keeping its full heat for the longest time, if you are going to regularly make half meals, then a smaller one might be better, I tend to add more broth so its got the mass needed to make sure it will not just cook but keep that full heat.

I love making soups, stews, chili’s, rice and more in mine..  I also use the pot for pasta, bring it to a boil, turn it off and pop the lid on and let it sit.. it will save you energy costs and perfect pasta to how soft you like it..

In today’s climate, with more storms, more power outages lasting longer and with everything costing more, the very reasons I got my Thermos Shuttle Chef stand today just as they did 10 years ago..  This pot given the use I have made of it certainly has paid for itself over and over again..

So what did I get for my 10 year mark! I ordered a second one, same size LOL..  Now I have my hot water pot and my meal pot going at the same time!

Now here is the crazy thing, when I got my first one, I had to order it from Austalia and paid twice as much as I just did to get the same company, same pot from Amazon today..

I am glad to see it has become more main stream and more affordable in the past ten years!

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Hello Lockdown.. Brace for Impact 2022

Well the powers that be.. that run our province of ontario just informed us!

“BRACE FOR IMPACT” media report..  point in fact, that was one of the most honest reports of what we had now and what could be coming while admitting and point out different models.. 

So we are coming into another round of slow downs, lowered limited and in many cases lockdowns..  I just went and did a much more detailed reading.. this is not a moderate shuffle.. this takes us back to the March lockdown rules of 2021.. 

While the experts and so on is talking about 21 days, if you listened live.. the leader himself said.. this is going to be a very hard push for the next 3 to 4 months..  (again.. he tends to be more honest then he should at times) 

He flat out said, we can expect 20 to 30 percent of the workforce to be out sick in waves for the next 4 to 8 weeks at a min and that’s with the shift they did to take it from 10 days to 5 days

Now lets break that down for what it means for us..  very little to be honest at this point.. and I am not at all sure it will mean much for the next weeks to months, we had already figure this out and planned for it.. 

What it means for our community.. its massive, its heartbreaking for some, I know just how many peaple were holding on by their finger nails.. yesterday on the 1st day of the new year the pandemic rental freeze came off and across this big old province, all the landlords have sent notices of rent increases. With the lock downs, its fair to say that K recovery is in full forces, all the work from home will just keep on getting those paychecks.. 

HOWEVER the supports put in place in 2020, extended in 2021 are not there and what is there is designed to be not enough..  you see they figured out what the qoute “middle class makes” and they gave out the funds and danged if it turned out that for the lower income households 2000 per person, per month is more, in many cases, MUCH more then what many peaple make, plus they had massive savings while getting those funds, the kiddo’s came home,  no more daycare costs, no more before and after school costs no more extra school costs, no more commute costs, no more eating out, time to make meals, time to plan things out.. s

o many folks suddenly had the CHOICE and the results were seen on both sides.. some were able to get teeth fixed, new glasses and more.. bottom line, if you are used to living on 1200 a month with two working jobs and maybe a under the table side gig that makes a extra couple hundred, and you suddenly have a extra 1600 a month plus more under the table work (and don’t kid yourself, the amount of GREY grew hugely!) why would you go to work until you are forced to do so. 

I would like to tell you that they learned that a small basic income would go a long way to creating a more eqaul country helping all the peaple in lower income brackets but nope.. they are throwing the lower class to the wolves.. need to get them back to work, work with bad pay, work with bad hours, work with health risks, work that typically lead to physical issues..  Crack, Crack.. GET TO WORK.. the machine must chew on.. 

But its also not that simple.. o if it was only that simple..  no, no.. 180,000 small Business with the average of 1 to 50 staff have closed in the past 20 months and this! THIS will push that number in a massive way..  and they do not need loans, they need cash grants.. I am not at all sure they are going to get them..  the current 25% income loss to get even the smallest amount of staff or rental help from the feds and the red tape is massive.. 

We are not living a vacoom and this is not happening just here.. this is happening all over, even if we get lucky(ha NOT, its going to SUCK!) with just 3 months, the ripe effects are going to be felt in many ways for the rest of 2022.. 

All I can end this post with is..

if you had the ability, I hope you prepped,

if you can do so now, put up some extra,

if you can get side jobs lined up, take them, 

if you have the ability to do so in a safe way and you can offer small/med side jobs to those in the community, do so

if you can grow any of your own food, do it

if you can help those in need without creating hardship within your own household, do it..  

When possable give a hand up, not a hand out..  

Stay safe out there! 

 

 

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Squash or Climbing tunnels

This lovely photo/drawing is not mine, its from the site I bought mine from..  While I still would like to use Cattle Panels at some point in the future, they are proving harder to get and far more costly then I am comfortable with.. I have for years gone.. ya that would be great and then it just never happened.. 

However as a big goal for 2022 in the kitchen garden, the food forests and so on.. we are at the point that while we need to prune, mow paths and so on, things are planted and growing well, we have interplanting to do ( I am not sure that will ever really stop lol) but the “garden” area’s are well set up, so this year, its all about adding in vertical growth into a number of places within the already made gardens..  

I love these because they can be easily set up and taken down for storage, which means that I set them up in areas that have space now but that once things are grown in will not in a number of years to come, also I have some spots I have given much though to have a arch over and this allows me to do it and see if I do in fact like it there before its built and put into place.. a trail and test as they say.. 

We have 4 of these coming to the farm and into use this garden season and there will be photos and overviews given on them and how they worked for us.. 

Do you have a Squash tunnel? Do you have a cattle gate tunnel? A old trampline frame tunnel (I keep watching for one of these lol) or ?

I know that these are crazy popular in the garden box craze.. I swear its like there is a whole market that is working hard to make folks believe that they can’t just plant directly into the soil..  (Yes, I know boxes can make sense in certain times and places) and this is very sad to me because most of the time, we can directly plant and for those on a budget, the costs between the two is massive! 

I am not planning on only planting squash in these, I want to try different things on each one and see how it goes.. what would you grow on yours if you had one?

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Staples Baked Beans

If you eat beans, then one of the first thing I would recommend for making as a filling staple is without a doubt would be baked beans..

In this case I soaked a pound of Molasses Face heritage beans over night in double, then after a water change, they got a slow simmer till tender before being baked off in a low 300c oven for a couple hours.

I had a couple bacon ends that I finely sliced up, (about 4 regular slices of bacon), two med onions diced, salt, pepper, dry mustard, tomato paste and beef broth to cover.. it was a delightful hot lunch on a good work day to bring in the new year 2022..

A double portion will be going into the fridge for fresh eating, the rest will be split, half will be put into pint jars with extra beef broth with some molasses as needed and pressure canned..

The second half will be made into a Old Settler Bean version.. one pound of ground beef will be cooked up, to which will be added my BBQ sauce, some chili powder and a bit more black pepper.. then that will be canned up at the same time..  Allowing me to get three different types of baked beans out of the same big batch and making two kinds in the pressure canner load to keep everything shelf stable.

If you want a bean that very much takes on all the flavour, then stay with white navy beans, as the Molasses bean has a lot of its own flavour as most heritage type beans do..  Its a little bit, with a little more “tooth” or firmer bite to it then the navy will have. however I also find it holds up a bit better in the canning process.

I love freshly made beans and I know they can be frozen but for me at least, I perfer them canned.. What about you? Do you like baked beans? Canned baked beans? Do you like your beans with or without bacon? Maple based, Tomato based, Dark Molasses style? Sweet or with heat?

What kinds of Heritage beans do you grow that you love in a baked bean dish?

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