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Archive for the ‘Just stuff’ Category

Oh, Yay!!  A big box of hope and inspiration arrived today.

I also picked up a couple awesome goodies at an antique shop!

A Kraut Pounder…turning that huge cabbage from the farmer’s market into lacto-fermented sauerkraut tomorrow!

Bellows!  I have been looking for a functional bellow.  Bellows?  Not sure.  Anyway, I wanted one and today I found one.  Great condition… $12.00.  Can you believe that?  I couldn’t!

An amazing book called “Feeds and Feeding ” written in 1907 and updated in 1950 by a Cornell University Pprofessor.  It covers the feeding of swine, dairy and meat cows, chickens, horses and mules and sheep!  It also outlines the different feed components/options and the benefits and drawbacks of each.  Brilliant!  We so often, as homesteaders or small farmers, rely on bagged feed for our animals, but this book goes in depth into the how and why.  Jessica and I were reading and discussing it in the car on the way home…oh, and all that wonderful information for a scant $3.00!

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I have been wanting to learn how to use a chain saw for a very long time now.  The problem is, I had been asking my dad.

It seem like a good idea.  He lives next door, has a chain saw, knows how to use it, is a very safety conscious guy, and let’s face it, has taught me much of what I know.

Why it wasn’t a such a good idea…he’s my dad.  He doesn’t want his little girl to cut off a leg, because she was using his chainsaw, that he taught her to use.  He doesn’t want a saw to kick back and hurt me.  He has known me my whole life…even during my clumsy stage, or more to the point, he knew the 11 year old who hated helping cut the wood so much she would drop a log on her hand, early in the project, thus spending a good deal of time crying and sitting with an ice pack on her hand…in the house (note: far away from the the cold, hard work of lugging wood, you’re seeing the picture), but the point is, he’s my dad and he wants to protect me from danger.

I did prevail…it took some fast talking, lots of assurance of not cutting down anything bigger than I could put both hands around, and agreement of both eye AND ear protection.  Some great patience as he did his “old guy” tinkering routine (the use of quotes here, because he’s not an old guy but likes to try on the role, he intends to wear proudly, in the not so distant future)…seriously it took what seemed like forever for him to fill that saw with gas and oil, and tighten the chain.

Finally the debate was over the saw was ready to go, and I got my first lesson in how to cut down a tree.  It went pretty well, and off I went to cut some things down!  A nice little starter pile.

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Little Miss Ewoyn had her first ballet recital today.  What an amazing little girl.  It’s hard to believe she’s almost 5, but even in her fourness, it’s hard to believe what she’s capable of.  Children really deserve far more credit as actual people, than they are given.  The recital was very well done, and enjoyable to watch.

Ewoyn was a butterfly, and the whole group enlisted all kinds of awww’s from the audience simply due to their size, when they came on stage.

After the show, and pictures, we headed to our house for a little reception.  Her grandparents on both sides, and my grandmother and aunt were in attendance.  We had a lovely time of eating, and chatting, including a private viewing of Eowyn’s dance.  She did the whole thing, for us, in the living room.  It was impressive.

Oh, and she loved the doll I made her.  She opened it, and hugged it immediately.  She was very pleased with the date on the back.  I love making special things for my girls.

 

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The bad news first.  My experiment with the two sister rabbits didn’t go as I’d hoped.  The one with three left had her nest box full of litter and all the babies were dead.  Not sure if it was an issue with them sharing a space, or if she’s a bad mom, or what, but I decided to pull her out today, leaving the other sister in the housing with her one baby…Considering what to do next.

My broody hen finally got some real eggs today and she is on them like a pro.  So in 21 days we should have baby chicks.

So there was a bright spot to ease into more bad news.  I have now lost all but 3 of the 10 Muscovy Ducklings.  I have no idea why the last group all stayed alive and why these little ones are dropping left and right, but the next hatch will be put in a brooding cage for 2 weeks, or more so they are stronger.  That way, I might end up with some duck in the freezer for winter!

Ending on an up note.  Nellie got her new lead today.  She was so pleased.  It was longer than her older one, by a few feet, giving her access to new grass.  She was super friendly tonight, and gave a little moo-ish moan when I gave her neck a little scratch.  Nellie and I are learning to understand each other.

Tomorrow night after the animals are in bed, Nellie is tucked in, and our girls are off to dream land, Grammy is coming over so we can go out to the Brookford Farm Movie Night!  Two cool documentaries about farming, some local farm made goodies, under the stars, on a nice cool night!  If you’re free around 9pm tomorrow night, head on over!

Free Outdoor Film

The Plow That Broke the Plains & The Greenhorns
June 4th – 9:00 PM
On the Farm at 278 Sligo Road, Rollinsford, NH

 

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I’ve mentioned before that I want a milking animal because I have veggies, meat, and fruit all coming from my own land, but not milk, and we drink a lot of it.  We also would love to have “extra” to make cheese or feed to baby chicks, but when you buy it in, buying extra is a luxury, that we don’t allow ourselves very often.

Goats seemed like the way to go, since most of my land is moderately mature forest.  But while I love to drink goats milk, I don’t love cheese and yogurt made with it.

Today I had a few minutes to kill while I waiting for mom, who had an appointment, so I stopped into Tractor Supply in Derry.  I was flipping through a magazine when an article on cows caught my eye.  Irish Dexter Mini Cows, specifically.  I was intrigued.  Later, while browsing Craig’s List (more on that in a minute), I found an ad for a Irish Dexter Heifer.  I called the woman and had a lovely chat with her about her little heifer.  She has me thinking…

But as for the other Craig’s list finds…I picked up two more sets of rabbit cages with 3 spots each, made by the same person that made my other cages.  This means I can make the same sort of structure for the new cages and have 6 more spots for the does I over wintered and have bred, as well as a little room for growing out babies!  I love Craig’s list.

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Christopher turned another year older today.  It’s such an interesting occurrence to grow older with a person.  The ways we change, the people we become.  I won’t get all gooey on the internet, but I will say, he’s a wonderful man, and I’m honored to be by his side, through another year of this life he chooses to share with me.

We stole away for a little dinner alone, while Grammy watched the girls. Our oldest shoved us out the door, with great enthusiasm, once she heard Grammy was staying.   We went to our favorite dinner spot in Portsmouth, Black Trumpet.  I love that they source a great many things on the menu from local farms and fishermen.  They do a great job with the ingredients as well.  During the week they offer a FIXE menu that contains a starter, entree and desert for a set price.  Tonight that consisted of: Rhubarb tomato soup, Lamb-stuffed cabbage, roasted carrots and golden raisins with a creamy potato leek sauce, Angel food cake with rose scented strawberries.

The food was amazing.  Christopher and I both believe the Lamb-stuffed cabbage, roasted carrots and golden raisins with a creamy potato leek sauce was quite probably the best single item we’ve eaten in the restaurant.  It was amazing.  The staff was a delight, as always.  Our waiter was a great guy who has worked with us before.  We had a nice chat with him, and found out he and his mother are farmers at White Gate Farm in Epping.

It was a lovely evening, and I learned that Angel Food Cake can be a lovely, lovely desert option.  Something I’m not sure I would have believed had I not had it for myself.  In the car ride over, I told my husband all about my strong curiousity of how it was possible that Black Trumpet had Angel food cake on their menu.  Knowing there had to be a way to make it delicious, or why would they have it, but still, I had a smidge of doubt.  I now know that the angel food cake I’ve experienced, in every other form in my life, was just a faint hint of what a really well done version can be.  Very faint hint.  The rose scented strawberries were a fabulous pairing.

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The girls saw their Grandmother’s yesterday and today, so I didn’t want to post about the gifts until all had been given…

Last fall I removed some grape vines from some trees at my grandmother’s house.  She didn’t want them there, so I pulled them out.  She didn’t want to keep them, so those that were in good, flexible shape, I brought home, and the rest were composted.  I soaked the vines in water overnight, to make them pliable.  Then I formed them into wreaths, one for each of the girl’s grandmothers, and their great grandmother.  We cut pieces of roving into 2″ pieces, or so and then fluffed a little.  The little fluffs were then snuck into the crevices in the wreath.  The roving came from Riverslea Farm in Epping.  I love getting roving there, because they sell it in little bags for about $1.00 a bag, so we get lots of colors, giving us a great variety to work with for our needle felting projects, among other things.

This created our take on the nesting balls I’ve seen at local markets and fairs.   The finished wreaths will be hung out near the bird feeders so the birds can take the wool to make their nests.  If we are lucky, we might see a nest with some fancy colored wool, somewhere in one of the yards. Just in case, we also created a field guide for each grandmother.

This will allow the girls to figure out which birds they are seeing at the feeders.  I selected 15 common birds in our area.  I found images on the internet, printed and cut them out.  My youngest helped glue them in place.  My oldest and I took turns writing the names of the birds on the corresponding page.  Then she drew bird themed pictures on some of the pages.  We left a couple pages free, in the back for notes.

For the field guide, I used the great tutorial that Angry Chicken shared a while back.  This has come in handy several times already.  I’m so thankful she posted about what she was doing for sketch books in her house.  If you wanted to make a nesting wreath, and didn’t have vines to fashion a wreath out of, you could purchase a grapevine wreath, or even a grapevine ball, at a craft store.  You could probably also use pine cones, especially larger cones.  Basically anything that you can set wool into, that will hold it there, but still allow it to be easily removed by the birds.

The girls had a great time making the gifts and were excited to give them to their recipients.

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