Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Canning season has been great. I have learned so much from you fellow bloggers, Kathie and others. Somewhere I have lost track of my tally but the pantry is really starting to look awesome. We have shared with family and friends and have received lots of mmm, mmm, goods. Makes you feel proud that you did that. Just another reason I love canning besides providing my family with healthy, economical food choices. Speakin' of familiy, canning is a family affair. Everyone helps and feels the pride of a job well-done.
We made a fast and furious trip to Texas. It was so awesome to see family and friends and to feel the pride of seeing our eldest take another big step in her life and give to us the gift of a wonderful son-n-law. Welcome, Andres, we are so blessed to have you in our lives.
First Day of School
Everyone headed off to school, hopeful for another great year. We have five teenagers, 4 at the high school and the baby is an 8th grader at the junior high. Can you say TAXI??
I'll try to not wait so long between posts. Sorry I left you guys a hangin' but I'm back and so grateful to be.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
My name is Betty and I am the baby cow but I am also the cow that isn't going to be eaten. My counterpart is Gertrude and she is going to be eaten because she is a freemartin. A freemartin is a female twin to a bull that 93% of the time will be sterile and unable to reproduce.
So many things that we've have learned since having cows join our family farm. Who knew having a twin brother would make one sterile. Both cows are 5 to 6 months old and are Simental/Red Angus cross. Gertrude is a much bigger cow than Betty. Betty had diarehea on Sunday and we had to give her Pepto-Bismal. It looked like she had on pink lipstick. Quite the look but she is all better now and no longer has mud-butt.
This is Curly. He was originally one of three white cochin
roosters. Larry and Moe went to live on other farms because
we had to reduce our rooster population. Curly is very sexy and this is his getting down to business pose for the ladies. He is not the top rooster on the farm but don't tell him that, it would really deflate his ego.
This is Sam and he is the top rooster. Sam is an Araunacana. He is the only Araunacana in our flock. He is a real gentleman to the ladies but not so much so to the family. He isn't bad enough to go to freezer camp but you don't want to turn your back on him if you know what I mean.
I feel so blessed to share our home with so many animals, both 2 and 4 footed. These are just a few and I will be sharing more along the way. My own therapy is calling the chickens and feeding them old bread. They eat out of my hand, but they really get excited when they get worms. Oh the simple joy of everyday life. Don't miss it, it will pass you by.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Christopher and Michael are continuing to hay and boy it is proving to hot and hard work...but they are hanging in there. I am so proud of them. Between haying sessions, the boys took the four-wheeler dragging the boat down to this lake just on the other side of the river. That kinda goes back to my post about why I live where I live. Where could you drive (without a drivers license) a four-wheeler towing a 14' fiberglass boat down the county road? I wish I had been home to see it but I wasn't. In fact, I heard about it from the neighbor at the grocery store where I dashed in to pick-up hamburger buns for dinner.
This is a picture of Christopher with the catch of the day. A 3 lb large-mouth bass. It got added to the freezer bag with Katlyn's trout from last week. They are beginning to add up. Everyone is looking forward to a fish fry. Terry frequents a site also focused on self-sustainability and shared pics with me of one of the board-mates who has 70 pints of salmon canned. Of course, he lives in Alaska but wow that would be SO nice.
Currently we are focusing on the following projects. 1.)Growing as much food in our garden for fresh food and canning the excess for use this winter. 2.) Canning all the fruit from our fruit trees (cherry, apricot, plum, pear, and apple). 3.) Picking raspberries from a friend for jelly and pies. 4.) Picking huckleberries locally to make jelly and to freeze for use during the winter. 5.) Scavenging the local thrift stores for more canning jars and asking everyone I know to keep an eye out for folks selling their un-used jars. 6.) The boys are getting us set up with hay for the winter for the animals. We will store the hay in the barn at PawPaw's house as we don't have a barn yet. 7.) Getting a weiner pig to raise for the freezer. 8.) We just moved the chicks from the "crowded stock-tank to the goat-house. The goats have vacated the house for the summer and hopefully the chicks will be ready to be moved to the hen house by the the time the goats need their house back. 9.) Siding and roofing the hen house and goat house before snow flies. 10.) Build a shelter for the horse also before the snow flies. 11.) Taking a big trip to Texas to marry off our daughter and to visit friends and family. 12.) Gather more firewood, cut, split and stack. 13.) Start a recycling bin for aluminum cans.
I know, I know the list may seem overwhelming to some but to me it really helps me to visualize where we are going and need to go as a family. The list above is not in order of priority but a jumping in list to then discuss and order by importance. Research proves list-makers are more successful than non list-makers. Terry hates lists but has conceded that they DO work. Feel free to share your project lists and we can encourage one-another......
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday was spent canning. I think I posted that I have 2 22qt Presto canners. Should make the work much quicker.....but on the older one, the gauge doesn't work properly and the seal is dripping, so looks like I need to replace those couple of items. No biggy because it was given to me for FREE. I called the hardware store in Sandpoint and they have both items in stock so I will either pick them up or see if my friend who works in Sandpoint can pick them up for me - saving me both time and gas money. Both are big commodities at this point.
Today I helped to deep clean Terry's shop. I should say un-bury. There was a shop there under all the sawdust and wood chips. He is working on a major furniture order and hasn't had the time or energy to keep up on the cleaning....but at some point it takes longer to find a misplaced tool than it does to just go ahead and clean. Terry really appreciated the help and I know that will really help him ten-fold this week with his productivity.
Cleaning sure works up an appetite so I cooked a really good dinner and everyone enjoyed themselves. We have t-bone steaks, squash casserole (squash from my garden), carrot salad, ceasar salad, fresh green beans and yukon potatoes, and cherry cake topped with ice cream and some of the wonderful cherry sauce that I canned this weekend. Thank you so much Kathie for the awesome recipe. It is yum-oo!!
Watched a movie with the fam and now I'm getting ready for bed and Terry is in the shop sharpening his chisels and hand-planes so he really can hit the ground running. I'll look forward to hearing of your weekend activities. I've already checked out Jeff and Kathie's over at Two Frog Home. They are working up a storm on their new place, so exciting.....Take care and let me hear from you....that's the best part!!! Until then,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Our neighbors the Amoths also suffered a huge loss. They own an old grain elevator at the end of our road that was severely damaged. Every summer they use the elevator to store grain for the winter for their animals. Today there was a large crowd, probably 30 men and boys, gathered to begin taking down all the demolished wood and metal and getting everything sorted and readied to be rebuilt. They had also delivered in portable potties and the women had food and drinks all set up. It made me proud to be a part of a community that pitches in and helps one-another in times of need. Tonight around 9:00 p.m. they were still working. Awesome.... friends helping friends.
Terry made the comment that you probably wouldn't see this kind of support in a large metropolitan area. Really reinforces our decision to relocate to Idaho and raise our children in this environment.
Get out today and help someone!! It will help them and will help you also in the process.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Other horsey news is that I purchased a just like new saddle off Craigslist. Yes I know, I better check out the Craigslist Anonymous meeting schedule soon because I am a Craigslist addict. I can admit it.
Anyway back to the saddle, it is a chocolate brown synthetic 17" western saddle. It was still in the box. The cinch strap was still in the plastic. It was an awesome find. The lady was only selling it because she needed a different saddle for her gaited horse. Thank you so much Sandy!!!!
We only had a small saddle for the kids and a bareback saddle. Terry tried to ride Tanner last weekend with the small saddle and lets just say that didn't work out so well. Terry landed on his feet and Tanner was glad he was off his back because I think the saddle was pinching him. I can't wait to try out the new saddle later today.
Also another great score from Craigslist, 2 double-wall fount chicken waters and 2 large feeders. I got all of them for a $20 spot and the small double-wall fount waterer alone would be more than the $20 paid for all of them.
Getting into homesteading isn't an inexpensive endeavor by any means. I love saving where and when I can. I picked up some pint canning jars at the thrift store this week. I also got a couple of new issue magazines. Katlyn made a sour cream cherry pie from a recipe featured in one of the mags. Definitely worth its .10 cents sticker price, don't you think? It only takes a little more effort to shop smarter. Yes, I could have purchased the same magazine at the grocery store and paid the full cover price of $4.95. I could have purchased new jars at the store but I choose to re-use and shop smarter, any time I can. I love finding a deal on something that can really benefit the kids or the homestead......woohoo!!! I think that is the essence of homesteading - being able to make something grand out of something simple. Again I say, less is more. These are important lessons not only for our children but also for us.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tucker has a girlfriend. Dean, a good friend and colleague of mine, gave us a 9 month old female black lab. Her name is Molly. This is a photograph of Christopher and Molly. It is amazing the difference between genders of the same breed. Tucker is a very rambunctious, play all the time dog and Molly is much calmer and very affectionate.
You don't have to look far to see the many blessings that we have on our homestead....from the natural beauty of the mountains around us, to the funny animals, to breath-taking wildlife that live amongst us. Count your blessings one by one everyday and it will make your day all that sweeter.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
We didn't end up with enough fish to try our hand at canning, but we had a wondeter rful addition to our Sunday night meal. We had salmon croquets, macaroni and cheese, pinto beans, and fruit salad. Everyone really enjoyed the fish and Christopher headed down the road on the 4-wheeler earlier this evening with Michael and Emily in tow to see if they could catch some more.
Today was a work day around the homestead. Last night after we got home from the lake, we made a weekly goal work-list. Terry and the kiddos got quite a few items checked off today. The biggest accomplishment was moving our tractor (in-process restoration - waiting for a part) off the trailer and onto the ground. This allowed for us to utilize the tractor to take down the road to the Kootenai River where we pump water into a 300 gallon holding tank. We utilize the water to water the yards, veggies, and flower garden. We belong to a rural water coop and the last few summers there have been issues with the water, both in pressure and rationing. So last year we made the investment in the tank, a pump to pump water into the holding tank and another pump that pumps water from the tank through the hose and/or sprinkler. This has sure been nice because previously our water bill in the summer would be so, so, so, expensive and still everything wasn't watered as much as we would have liked. So now, it only takes two minutes to fill the holding tank and with very little labor we can water all we want for free.
We are trying to be very productive, individually and as a family, throughout the week and play more on the weekends. It will only be a short time and all the teenagers will be out of the house. This message is really sent home when we think about our eldest daughter getting married this summer. It seems like only yesterday that Woo was having a fit over having to eat a sloppy-joe.... so many memories to remember and so many more to look forward to.
Lindsey and Andres' - Winter 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
We tried to purchase both a western and english saddle but they didn't fit. It seems buying a saddle might be harder than buying a pair of jeans for my teenage son, Christopher. Anywho, I digress. Neither fit the horses. Both were too narrow in the gullet area.
This is a picture of Katlyn, aka the Pioneer Princess, giving Lena a pedicure (cleaning out her hoofs). Please don't miss her perfect pasture footwear - pink suede furry slippers. Always the diva.
So many lessons to learn around the homestead....we are always open to any helpful hints. Feel free to post in the comments section. Looking forward to a new day and a new lesson....
- Know the rock-bottom prices of the food items that you use the most. So when things are on sale, you will be able to know if it is a good price or not.
- Get weekly circulars from your grocery store and buy ONLY things that are on SALE. Plan your weekly menus around what's on sale.
- Wal-mart will match advertised prices, but I decided months ago to stop shopping at Wal-mart. What if everyone shopped at Wal-mart and the small local grocery store went out of business? Our Wal-mart is 40 miles away and I want my local groceries to thrive so that if and when gas is 8.00/gal., I can pick up groceries in town, when I am there for work.
- If something is at a rock-bottom price, stock up. There are certain items that go on certain times of the year. For example, around Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, almost all of the baking items are on SALE.....stock-up. At the before Easter sale, I stocked up on both brown sugar and powdered sugar for .68 cents a bag. If you know your rock-bottom prices, you know that is a GREAT price. I bought six bags of each. Memorial Day and 4th of July is a great time for out-door BBQ fixings.
- LOSS-LEADER. That means an item that is marked down so so so cheap just to get you in the door. I make it my stock-up extravaganza. I recently got flash-frozen chicken breasts in the 4 lb. bag for 3.96. I bought 6 bags. Recently I got pork-shoulder roast for .69 a pound and put them up in the freezer.
- Shop your grocery outlets or Amish grocery stores. They have items significantly below grocery store sale prices and is a great time to buy case-goods. I just bought 40, 32oz. Gatorade for $24.00 (.60 cents a piece).
- Buy in Bulk. You can either buy from a food coop, wholesale club (Costco), or from the whole food grocery. Recently I was buying dehydrated red bell pepper by the ounce and they were getting a little spendy. I spoke with the store owner and ordered a large bag for 17.00. GREAT price and with our short growing season, I could never grow enough red bell peppers to even fill a small ziplock sandwich bag.
- Finally, now is a good time to start gardening. We put in a nice garden last year and we were able to can both veggies and fruit from our fruit trees. Canning has some start-up costs the first year, but once you have the jars and canner, you are set for the next time.
Hope these hints help to stock your pantry and feed your family well. If I missed a tip or you have a good one to share, please post in the comments. We can all learn from each other.....
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
We were so blessed this weekend to add not one but TWO, four legged animals. Terry has been dreaming of getting a horse for a long time. This was further encouraged by our best family-friends, The Lobby's, who are total horse people. We have learned so much from them and look forward to learning so much more.
Please meet Lena. Lena was purchased from one of my co-workers, Sharman. Thanks so much for being willing to share your joy by letting us purchase your baby-girl. Lena is very affectionate and loves treats and attention. She is a ten year old registered quarterhorse with nice training in western and trail-riding.
Next is Lena's HOT sexy companion. Please meet Tanner, aka Tanny Man, whose registered name is Tristan. He is technically a paint because of the markings on his belly (underneath and not visible in this picture) but I would call him a chestnut gelded quarterhorse. We bought him locally and feel so blessed to have him join our family farm. He is a ten year old registered paint, professionally trained in both english and western.
We had quite the adventure loading and unloading the horses in the trailer and moving them to our home. Thank goodness they both lived not too far from us because let's just say the least amount of time in the trailer, the better.
We spent part of the day today, grooming the horses, leading them around, feeding lots of treats and introducing them to the calves. They weren't thrilled about having to share their grass with those scrawny cows......but they finally made friends. Emily took the first turn riding Lena, bare-back, while I lead her around the pasture. I think we will give Tanny Man a little more time to get used to us, or is it the other way around???? Either way.....no hurry, no rush, so that everyone can feel safe and confident.
The rest of the day we worked on cleaning up around the homestead. Pulling grass and weeds and weed-eating under the electric fence so it won't let the animals go wild. We cleaned out from under the apricot trees and reclaimed some additional land from wild roses. The gardens, both flower and vegetable, are coming along nicely. We should harvest lettuce, onion, and herbs this week. Keep posted for tempting photos and recipes.....until then
Monday, June 2, 2008
I am married to a wonderful man named Terry or Terdy affectionately called. Besides being a full-time Dad, he is a professional furniture maker. Check out his site, http://www.wrightwoodworks.com/ and send him an email and let him hear from you. Terry is one of those guys that can fix, build, restore, or Southern engineer anthing.....quite handy to have around the homestead. He is currently finishing up a BIG furniture order that he will deliver to Texas towards the end of the month. He has also been busy working on our new land......Wormwood Estates.....I mentioned it yesterday. It can really no longer be accurately called Wormwood Estates because we mowed all the old gray growth down and then have sprayed the field to kill the wormwood. It sounds like we might have a heck of a time gettin' rid of that stuff. Anyway, it looks significantly better. We have had so many neighbors and strangers stop and comment on the improvements we've made so far. That feels awesome when someone notices your hard-work.
We are parents to six children, five of whom are teenagers and still live at home. The eldest is Lindsey and she is a deaf educator in an elementary school in Tyler, Texas. She has recently become engaged and we are so happy to welcome Andreas into our family. Then there are the terrible teens...not really, well at least not all the time. Christopher (16), Martina (16), Michael (15), Katlyn (14), and Emily (13). Pictures to follow....sometime, when somebody emails me and tells me how to fix my pics so that they end up in the body of the blog in proximity to what I am talking about versus at the beginningof the narrative.....somebody, please help. Until next time, I'll leave you hanging wondering how haggard Terry and I must look to have one marrying in a couple of months and five teens........