Saturday, November 15, 2014
There have been 3 big booms today. Booms I've never heard before. Definitely not shotgun blasts, I've heard plenty of those over the years and today too. These were louder and deeper. I don't know what a blunderbuss or blackpowder sounds like. I wonder what it was.
We had some sleet a little while ago but it only lasted around 30 minutes and mostly melted. Even so i felt like the temperature dropped at the same time. Not bitter cold but still cold.
I love it here so much but Wednesday and Thursday, with the cold and the wind, my painful hands were screaming "South woman! Go South!". I have pretty good gloves but I think I need furlined and waterproof or something. It's only my fingers really, but they hurt so badly i have to stop working and warm them. It only started a few years ago and I don't know the cause. My son diagnosed me with, as he usually does, old age. But I don't think that's what it is.
Anyway today was nicer and much appreciated. I didn't get as much done as I had planned but that's usually the way. Got to save leftovers for tomorrow :) I made 3 pints of persimmon jam and 2 of pumpkin butter. Boiling water now to wash dishes and then later to wash my hair.
I was recently given a new/old blanket, which i intended to make a horse blanket out of but when i took it out of the bag (it had never been used but had been stored for years) it looked brand new. No mice evidence at all, no moth holes etc.. It just smelled very musty and slightly of cig smoke. I washed it 3 times in the electric washer and once in hot white vinegar. Plenty of good rinsing and it looks and smells like new. I may still make Anya a coat from it but I'm thinking more of keeping it for us. We'll see.
I have been looking for some duck canvas to make Anya a coat, but not found any for my price range/trade. I'll keep looking. I'm also looking for some sort of cotton netting to make her a fly jacket for summer. My friend has one for her cow which works wonderfully to give a little respite from the bloody summer flies. I made her a simple fly mask from an old pink halter and a potato sack. She actually likes it too. She only wears it during the day and when we're home but it gives some rest from them. I make my own fly spray and mist the mask lightly before putting it on. I mist my hands and wipe her ears and other areas they bother a lot. But it's hard to get enough on her whole body and she sweats it off anyway.
I went through seeds last night and today and realized I got and saved more from the gardens this year than I thought. I'm an avid seed save but haven't done as well since moving here. My garden plan this year didn't go as planned and I didn't think I had saved nearly as much as I did. Most excellent :)
I've not finished the moccasins I'm making but did finish and have already sold the skirt I was working on. I'll post pictures soon. It's a first try and I personally don;t care for the design. It's 4 panels, which i like but I don;t care for the shape. Anyway, I've started a new one, a patchwork skirt for myself made with all the leftover pieces from the last few years. I'm also starting another flannel skirt and a pair of flannel pants for Nik.
I've finally been able to set up a working, permanent apothecary. The permanent part is most important and working out marvelously. Before now I kept all my supplies put up in the pantry and pulled them out to work where ever I could, when i could. Now I can weigh, measure, heat, jar, label, print etc etc all in one area and it's always ready to go. It still needs more work but I'm very happy with it and the rest will work itself out.
I also finally got my website back up. It's still in the works but working out much faster and better than I ever thought. This is the site that crashed earlier this year and I thought I had lost everything but when it was fixed there was still a lot left there. A lot was gone but any left was a boon. So WildMoonCottage.com is back up and running, still needs a lot of work but at least it's there t work on :)
Peace on Earth & Goodwill to All Things
Saturday, September 13, 2014
The day is gorgeous!!!! Cool and calm, a perfect day for dreaming of the future, getting things done and simply breathing.
It’s been a wash day for me, washing curtains, rugs, bed and loveseat covers …. It’s to rain a few days this coming week but today and tomorrow are to be very nice. We’re going to load hay tomorrow so today is a big laundry day. I’ve oddly always enjoyed doing laundry. By hand or machine, on the line or even in a dryer. I enjoy the washing, handing, folding … all.
We actually started the day a little wonky in that Anya got her front legs under a top line and over a bottom line of fencing. It took great forethought an effort to get stuck thusly and more so, it took bolt cutters to get her unstuck. One of my greenhouse cattle panels is patching the spot for now.
All of our pekin ducklings were sold before they hatched and are now at their new home. I’m getting ready to start another batch and they’re also already sold.
In my most recent trading I got a little manual ice cream maker with a cylinder that you freeze. I was skeptical at first but now I’m a true ice cream eating believer! It work wonderfully and our own goats milk ice cream is the best ice cream we’ve ever tasted. I’ve made French vanilla, chocolate, banana and blackberry.
In that same deal I got a lovely huge cotton Fall tablecloth, a set of 8 drinking glasses, a little sturdy warm rug, a set of curtains and a little table runner. It was a fairly unusual deal but well worth it .
And speaking of trades, last year I traded for some rabbit furs. I’ve been planning to make a winter patchwork fur bed cover and still might eventually but I’m getting ready to make a couple pairs of moccasins and if one fur is large enough I’m going to make one pair of fur lined. I’ve not made them in years and no longer have a leather needle (which I might be able to find) but if they do come out well enough I’ll use a pair or two for trading as well. Probably wait and make them custom to fit. I’m limited on leather but have several large pieces that someone dyed red (given to me free), so red moccasins will be it :)
I’ve finished all the tomatoes and almost all the zucchini and am waiting to find out about shell beans and then hopefully some more tomatoes plus cucumbers and green peppers. We’ll see. We could surely use them.
There may be a deal on trading some propane things I have for sale, for firewood. That would be a great thing! We’ll see on that as well.
I’ll be unpacking some blankets a little later, it’s been that cold at night :) They always washed, dried well and stored in cedar chests until needed again. When I unpack them I usually hang them outside for a bit to airout. I love the cedar smell but it can be overwhelming too.
It seems like I just packed the blankets up a couple of months go.
I still need to get the last curtains done, start a batch of walnut salve, start a batch of elderberry cough & throat syrup, rack off another bottle of mead, check the Winter Tonic, sweep the floors, do the dishes, milk the goat …….
There’s a lovely garden spider just outside the window. How very blessed we are.
Within the last 24 hours
12:12 / a few minutes apart on two different clocks
Friday, August 29, 2014
We have, like everyone else here, been hot and dry. No rain at all for weeks now though the weather site has said we were to get thunder storms on several occasions. How much sweeter the rain will be when it does come. And how welcomed jacket weather,
Life is abundant here and we prosper in what many would describe as poverty.
The most recent batch of
eggs have hatched. 9 lovely new ducklings! Igora, one of the rabbit does, is
due any day. Orchard and gardens are struggling but still alive and producing.
The wildlings are likewise, a bit sparse but certainly still there.
I’ve not been wild harvesting nearly as much this year. I prepared to go a few days ago, Anya saddled and with harvest bags and all. But we were both so sweaty from just preparing that I decided not to go and just unpacked her.
I did go searching for cattail pollen the other day, just needed a little for a recipe but nada. The cattails I did see were pretty dried up looking so I left them alone.
Today I’ll be looking for dandelion, lambs quarters and others to dry for winter potherbs. And harvesting some mints, mugwort and wormwood and anything ripe in the garden.
The dehydrator runs almost constantly with the most recent being portabella mushrooms and carrots. 1 pound of fresh carrots makes approximately 1 quart dried.
Some recent meals were …
* 3 bean chili con queso. I made it with leftover ground turkey and venison. Red, white navy and black beans and local fresh corn. The beans were precooked individually before. When the whole thing is almost done I added the cheese, covered and removed from heat. Just before serving add chopped onion, tomato and peppers. Delicious!
* Kabobs. I love kabobs! These were venison, portabellas, squash, black olives, onion, potato, garlic, zucchini and tomatoes. Served with rice and mushroom gravy.
* Baked Apple hand pies - I made applesauce from some lovely little barnyard apples and had a little leftover so I made up some pie crust (half a recipe) and turned it all into apple hand pies. I cut out circles from the dough. Added a heaping teaspoon of applesauce to one side and folded over the other side, brush with egg to help seal and press lightly. Brush top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Baked in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes on 350 and then 5 mins on broiler. They were fantastic with evening tea. We are so blessed!
Speaking of blessings ….
We were gifted a much needed lawn mower!! Ours is beyond dead, poor thing. I had posted looking for one to trade for but a friend had one she wasn’t using and they just came by and dropped it off Monday. No trades, just gifted. Most excellent!
And then I received a box today from a dear friend (and my HPS). It was filled with wonderful things :) 3 enchanting glass candle holders, candle molds and books! A wonderful old Foxfire book, the excellently dogeared Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook and an amazing book I’ve never seen nor heard of Living On The Earth by Alicia Bay Laurel. Plus a soap making book and a much sought after Professional Manual of Botanical Medicines ( a dosage book). I am so very thankful.
And now a few pictures from the cottage .....
My Great Grandmother Lilly's hoosier
The Hearth and where i cook in winter
In the kitchen
Dried grated carrots
Old loveseat free from craigslist
Same old love seat covered until I can recover it properly or find another. I like the lines of it.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
First, my reading glasses broke. The lenses are small and I can’t find frames to fit them. They will not make me new lenses in my prescription becayse it’s 8 years old and I do not want a stronger prescription nor do I currently have the funds anyway. So I’m tyoing without being able to proofread. This should be interesting
Ebola … the talk is everywhere and much too often I’m seeing people believing what they read as certain fact. Truly, the Only Certain Fact in all of this is that No One Knows Anything for Certain. They are giving their (mostly) honest beliefs based on what they’ve been told, learned, experienced, studied etc etc. No matter how many degrees a person has or how large their paycheck, how famous their name ….. They may be right and/or be wrong.
On top of that, Anything Is Possible. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Viruses can mutate ….
That is absolutely no cause for panic, chaos, lunacy. There’s plenty of that in the world as it is. Instead we should Educate ourselves. Read everything we can find and take the common facts from that to build our own knowledge of the situation. This is not just about ebola, it’s about life. Do the research, learn the actual facts and act responsibly.
As for me, based on what I’ve learned about this and other viruses and bacteria etc. Is that our best defense is a strong healthy immune system and body.
Winter preparations …. It’s that time of year. This wonter may be very hard or may be very mild but it’s the hard winters we prepare for.
My winter goal has always been to be able to sustain us through 4 months pf no outside contact or help. That might seem extreme to some folks but so does 14 days with no electricity, heat or transportation during an ice storm in the middle of
and yet that is exactly what happened one winter in the late 80’s. During that same ice storm people all around went much longer without. A great many people’s only source of water or heat was electric. Springfield Mo.
If we can be prepared for 4 months then winter is so much more enjoyable. It can be spent planning next years gardens, creating things for market, getting things done that didn’t get finished the year before, knitting, reading, sewing, painting so many wonderful things that get left out when I’m scrounging for firewood or food or to pay a bill.
High on my list of things to stock up on this year are…
Echinacea (purpurea or augustafolia) - Use ONLY as an antibiotic or antiviral
Vite C - immune booster
Yarrow – internal and external blood stop (can stem hemorrhaging)
I’m looking to trade for one or two wool sheep.. I would like to have a soay but would take any. I believe the coarser long wool is the easiest for hand spinning but the fine wool makes the best clothing. Also a small loom and spinning wheel and any spinning supplies. I wouldn’t mind the loom before the sheep or the sheep before the spinning wheel. I can probably trade for wool to spin and weave and I can hand spin our own sheeps wool, so whatever and however.
I have pear chips in the dehydrator now and they smell wonderful! Some are just sprinkled with cinnamon for eating and some doused in lemon water for using in other things.
Today’s harvests plus seed to sell and trade
Food and medicinals………
Horse radish root
Organic seed ….
Kentucky Colonel Spearmint
Garlics (hardneck and elephant)
Everyone is doing fine, we have plenty of fresh milk , fresh duck eggs. Hopefully soon fresh hen eggs too. At the moment we have -
Goat for milk, dairy, meat and fertilizer
Horse for transportation, hauling and fertilizer
Rabbits for trade/sale, meat and fertilizer
Chickens for eggs, trade/sale, meat and fertilizer
Ducks for eggs, meat and trade/sale
Poultrywise, we have
Barred Rock roo and 3 hens
Ameraucana roo and 6 hens
Australorp roo and 6 hens
7 roos for sale/trade or going to the freezer soon
Still wanting a few RIR hens, Orpingtons any color, Ruuner and
I’m already trading/selling Pekin hatching eggs and hope to be selling/trading chicks, ducklings and hatching eggs from all the above soon. And have a hardy barnyard mixbreed as well. For our own meat and eggs. I've got 15 eggs in the incubator now to start hatching around the 28th and the duck hens may start sitting on thier own eggs soon.
I’ve actually been a bit sickly the last few days. Severe allergies and sinus, which is not my usual. I’ve talked to a few other people who have also experienced the same or similar and not generally afflicted by allergies, at least npt this time of year. I’ve no iea the cause but am better and that’s what I need for now.
Homemade hazmat suit … Here is a simple, easy to make version. It is NOT 100% secure but can help when dealing with contagion, hazardous material, stinky dead cow carcasses …
You’ll need –
Heavy rain coat with hood
Heavy rain pants or pant overalls
Heavy rubber muck boots
Heavy rubber gloves (2 pair)
Face mask that covers entire face
(ie motorcycle helmet with face shield, full gas mask, )
Improvise with what you have or can get but be sure to make it as airtight as possible. Put on the outfit except face mask. Jacket over pants, pants over boots. Tape all air holes with tape on inside and out. These are often found under the arms. Tape over all zippers, buttons, snaps and grommets, and tape close all pockets. Use a separate bag for anything you have to carry.
Pull pant legs up a bit to give plenty of room for bending, kneeling down etc and use duct tape to tape them to the boots. If you can have someone else help that’s best but you can do this yourself too. Raise your arms and tape the bottom of the coat to the pants all the way around. Use plenty of tape and be sure. If you’re alone, raise one arm and hold the coat hem in place with the other hand, then lower arm and tape a little just to hold in place. Do the same with the otherside and then securely tape all around
If you have help do the gloves next, if alone do the face next and gloves last. Using doubled gloves, do the same with the sleeves over the gloves as you did with the boots. You can use single gloves but double are much safer. You can also use leather gloves over rubber gloves. Make sure you have some room to reach and extend. It could rip the tape loose if you fall or squat down without give.
For the face, put on whatever you’re using to protect your face (this is very temporary, you will be able to breathe but without a ventilator it is NOT ideal and you will want to move quickly). Use the jacket hood to cover all hair and head. If it has strings pull them to help close but leave room for movement. Tape over the string grommets and secure the strings themselves. Pull out the suit to draw in clean air then tape the hood securely to mask.
Double check everything and then move quickly to do what you have to do. I am not recommending anyone use such a thing for any reason. However, if I needed such a thing this is how I have done it and would do it.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Our beloved Star is gone. She crossed the line from discomfort to misery which went swiftly to agony. I am supposed to be a healer but all I could do is end the pain. It was gentle, pain relief followed by the long sleep. I stayed with her until her spirit was released and she became the wind.
The sacred circle turns
Nik and Star as a pup
I can’t believe it’s August already. The summer has gone so quickly. Our persimmon tree is bent with fruit. We’ve never had such a crop before and I’m looking forward to persimmons this winter.
The dehydrators have been going again for some weeks now. They don’t rest often. The most recent batches were a pound of carrots shredded, sweet green bell peppers, banana chips and sweet cherries.
I’ve also just started 15
eggs in the incubator. The Pekins are great ducks, large as small geese, meaty
and very good layers. They’re only around 5 months old and laying daily. I wish
one of the hens would go broody but things are as they are.
The garden is finally producing regularly although the crops are very meager. A few tomatoes and a pepper or two every few days. Still, I feel rich to have that and, while I may not be able to preserve much of it, we’ll have fresh to eat daily for now.
The main herb garden is going along nicely. It’s been so long in getting back to it. I’m not saving nearly the seed from it that I usually do or would but rather letting it seed where it is so to hopefully double each next year.
The Echinacea didn’t bloom at all this year and hasn’t spread. I moved it to the main herb garden and have gathered more wild seed to plant. I had gotten 2 pounds of organic Echinacea cut herb from Frontier a few years ago and thankfully have 1 1/2 pounds of that left, or else I would be completely out. I sold most of ours last year at market thinking I would have even more this year. But things are as they are and I’m so thankful I have any.
Our milk goat went over a fence to get to me and tore her teat badly. It was so bad that I worried we would lose her as a milk goat but it’s healing well. I‘m treating it with my healing salve and the wound is already half the size it was.
Today I’m working on filling a fairly large order of salves and balms, scraping window frames to paint and redoing the caulking holding said windows in.
Supper, and I can’t wait to eat it : ) will be mini meatloaf, new potatoes and green beans, wild salad and cornbread. Evening tea is peach pie with earl grey.
Monday, July 21, 2014
This month has had hardship and sorrow but also, as always, great joy and hope.
Star, my beloved companion and guardian is dying. She a shepherd wolf hybrid, 13 years old. Suddenly, almost 3 weeks ago now, she just stopped going to the bathroom and then topped eating. Rather than go through it all details I’ll just say that she had vet visits, tests and xrays, which could find nothing wrong, no twisted bowel, no blockage... She’s gone from over 100 lbs to around 60. I’ve been treating her, feeding her, moving her around, washing her etc etc etc. Some days she seems better but most days she’s worse. The last vet idea was exploratory surgery which is beyond my means. She’s home, sleeping a lot, wanting to live. If she crosses the veil then she will do so in peace and surrounded by great love.
I’ve also been having a time finding homeowners insurance again. The policy was getting ready to expire and I was able to have a new policy written up with s few things changed to my preference but then my lien holder contacted the insurance agency to complain about me and sent them some of my personal emails. Not surprisingly they dropped me completely and black listed my house as “uninsurable" forever. Humans are so odd.
So I’m on the hunt again to find someone who will insure a house with wood stove. One snooty woman that I spoke with this week called our beautiful little cottage a “hovel”. Another, very nice, woman said that the underwriters she works with won’t even insure her house, their standards are so strict she has to go elsewhere.
I found that it would have made it impossible to get homeowners if I had gone completely off-grid like I wanted to. It sounds as though it will get harder and harder for non-mainstream folks to get coverage. Pretty crazy stuff.
I am very thankful things aren't worse though.
And there’s still wonder…
I picked the first ripe pepper a few days ago and now I’m harvesting peppers and tomatoes daily.
I let the garden grow up, kept putting off work I should have gotten done. And now stink bugs are in the tomatoes but not too badly.
The herb gardens are doing very well. Small plants but it’s starting to look a little like my old gardens before the move. The one big thing that hurt my heart about leaving the Burrow was having to leave my herb garden. It was an ice storm and the was no chance to dig much up. But that’s done and tomorrow is a new day.
I’m still laid off my second job until august so I've been using that time to work on the house a bit. Preparing for an electric water heater, getting ready to paint the window and door trim and preparing to start painting floors.
We also got our first duck egg yesterday. Thank the Mother! We Really need our eggs although we do have a very local source to buy them.
We have at least 4 extra roosters that I have for sale but will probably turn into meat if they don’t sell soon. I don’t eat much meat and even less when I do the processing of it but it’s much healthier for the meat eaters, mainly Nik.
There’s at least 1 more younger roo and maybe a second one that we’ll sell or eat. Otherwise we’re keeping 3 roosters Archimedes – Ameraucana, Onyx – Barred Rock and Fauks – RIR. We didn’t get any Australorp roos and no RIR hens, no Buff Orps hatched out at all. In hens (not counting Old Hen) we have 7 Australorp, 7 or 8 Ameraucana, 3 Barred Rocks
We also have 3
ducks, 1 male and 2 female, wonderful things. Big like small geese, great fun
to watch and good egg layers thus far.
ducklings. We got them on a whim from someone Nik works with. They’re very
pretty ducks and apparently good to eat.
I’m also wanting to expand my little rabbitry a bit. Not too much but enough to better house who we have plus a couple of more does and children. Currently none are on the colonies because I needed one to house an ill cat (who’s almost completely well) and the other collapsed (no rabbit injuries or escapes). I saw that it was going so we moved everyone from it. So new/more colonies, pens and a new rabbit tractor are on the list.
I’m off now to finish supper. I’m baking a chicken crostata with fresh rosemary. A hearty double crust recipe, purposely a little tough to hold in all the goodness. Filled with leftover chicken, chicken gravy, yellow squash, potatoes, peas, onion, garlic, freshly cracked peppercorns, minced queen ann leaves. shredded lambs quarters. Once the crust is folded over I brush it with egg and sprinkle finely chopped fresh rosemary. Fresh slices of tomato with sea salt on the side. It’s a wonderful thing.
It’s such a hearty meal that for evening tea I’m just having tea with honey and goat’s milk. Sometimes the sweet tea is the dessert :)
A basket of beautiful baby bunnies. Our most recent litter :)
Friday, June 27, 2014
I just got in from gathering things for supper. Tonight is a meat meal and I'm making ...
Roasted herbed chicken with sage, lemon thyme and onion
Steamed rice with garlic, onion and magenta and silver lamb quarters tossed in to steam lightly, after the heat is turned off
Salad made of red and green romaine, arugula, grape leaves, dock, violet leaves, red and white clover leaves, dandelion leaves, daylily petals, queen anns leaves, wild onion and sorrel.
Commercial ranch dressing
Iced bergamot tea with rose petals, red clover blossom, raspberry leaves and a little spearmint
Evening tea (our dessert time) fresh raspberry & gooseberry shortcake
Simple black tea with honey and goat's milk
I usually gather everything in the same basket or pot then go through and sort.
1 - sage and lemon thyme for the chicken
2 - bergamot, rose petals, red clover blossoms and raspberry leaves for the tea
3 - raspberries and gooseberries with a few leaves and petals still in
4 is the salad mix minus the romaines
5 is lambs quarters for the rice
6 sprigs of spearmint for tea
Aside from the ranch, sugar, rice, flour, cornmeal, some spices and black tea, everything came from our land or locally grown. The honey and eggs are local (I traded all our laying hens for firewood last year and our new hens aren't old enough yet). But most of the ingredients came from our land and most are wild. If you live in the Ozarks you likely have access to most of these things and much more. We eat this way all the time and have since my son was very little, so it's not a big deal for us and still it amazes me and makes me smile at each meal.
What did you harvest to eat today?