We have decided not to sell our house. That means buying a farm is on hold. For a minimum of 5 years. Our furnace and air conditioners were over 15 years old so we replaced them with a new geothermal heating and cooling system. It will take us about 5 years to pay it off. I am settling in here for the long haul. Dear husband and I have been discussing perimeter fencing our tiny 3 acres so we can get sheep. We doubled our bee hives and bought a pressure canner. We fenced our garden and put in a few tomato plants and comfrey starts. Next year I should have enough comfrey to surround each of our fruit trees.
I can be happy here. I am helping out several other small dairy farms and enjoying working with their cows. I will be content while I am here.
We have found a new church and I am enjoying a women’s bible study group there. It is well with my soul.
I recently ran into a woman in Ann Arbor who breeds and trains and shows Weimaraner dogs. Turns out, she lives just down the road a bit from us! She had two litters of puppies that she was just beginning to socialize and she invited our family out to visit. The mama dogs were appropriately protective, but allowed us to handle her precious little pups. Everyone left feeling warm and fuzzy inside….and wanting a new puppy. Maybe next year.
Mmmmm….how about a nice warm mug of milk with some honey stirred in? Maybe a little cardamom too.
It’s getting chilly! Does anyone else heat with wood? Do you buy your wood or cut your own?
With the daylight hours waning, we have been experiencing one of the tragedies of farm life: not enough eggs to keep my family happy. My sister suggested we tag along to an auction that her family attends once in awhile. I had no intention of buying anything, but my heart raced when I saw a particular trio of hens and a handsome rooster. Easter Eggers. Americaunas. Blue Egg layers. And then I saw another cage of Black Copper Marans. Feather legged Marans. Marans lay a dark, dark brown egg.
Auctions have a reputation of being a good place to get rid of sickly, past their prime chickens. Well, one of the Marans had a runny nose and she tended to hold one of her eyes closed. And she was missing her tail feathers.
I quarantined all the new birds in rabbit cages and dog pens. The new birds then got doctored up: apple cider vinegar in their water, cayenne and garlic in their feed, each bird was dusted with diatomaceous earth and all bedding was sprinkled for good measure. I did the same for my flock as a preventative measure. Within 48 hours my sickly girl was the picture of health. The third day she presented me with a beautiful, dark chocolate colored egg.
Here is the kicker: these “auction birds” are all hand tamed! They will eat out of my hand and sometimes even let me pet them! Wherever and whoever you are, dear, previous hen owner, I want you to know that your beautiful birds are loved. I appreciate all the time and effort you poured into these animals. And my family appreciates their eggs.
A week later, the new flock got introduced to my old flock with only a few squabbles between the hens. My big Roo, Cogburn, immediately establishing dominance over the new smaller Roo, who has been dubbed Burl.
Can you guess why I named him Burl?
These beauties came to my friends farm from a dry lot, fed grains and hay. They were underweight when she took them in. After a few weeks of good hay and being on a dry pasture, she moved them to a greener pasture. After a week of being on better pasture, they are still experiencing really liquid-y poo. What do you think she should do? More hay/less access to pasture? Give them more time to adjust? Any suggestions for her?
I love how serious FlyingBoy looks when he is engrossed in a task. I asked him to help me season, mix and pound the sauerkraut this weekend. He worked very hard at doing things just right. “Is this enough salt Mama?”, he would ask. “Okay, I’m done mixing it now.”
“Ohhhh! Look how juicy it is!” I think his favorite part was mixing it and squeezing the cabbage shreds with his hands.
Maybe he enjoyed using the wooden pounder a teensy bit more though. Here it is, all tied up pretty with a weight on top of the cabbage. I covered the soon-to-be kraut with sea salt, water and whey and then sealed up with a cotton tea towel and tied with some hemp string.
We strung apple rings onto hemp strings and ran the string back and forth over a wood clothing rack. Them we tucked it right in front of our new wood burner, henceforth to be referred to as “The Grizzly”. Then we waited. It’s been a full 48 hours and they are now the perfect balance between chewy and hard.
DearHusband ran them through the apple corer, peeler, slicer thing-a-ma-bob and then we dipped them in a delicious brine of lemon juice, raw honey and water. MyGirl and I strung them up together. LeadBoy taste tested. Apparently he taste tested more than I witnessed because even allowing for shrinkage, I’m pretty sure we are missing quite a few!
I popped these into glass jars, but
I’m betting there’s a better way to store these. Any suggestions? I don’t want to use up all my milk jars on apple rings!