Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

10.28.15 – 12.6.15

I can’t believe it’s already December! The year has gone very quickly. I suppose having much to do, and not getting it all done, makes it seem so. And, since that’s always the case…..

Thus far, we’ve been blessed to have mostly good weather and very tolerable temperatures.

The days have been a little crazy but in, mostly, good and bountiful ways. Our Thanksgiving as wonderful! Filled with so much thanks and good food. Last Friday was my birthday, a grand day! I’m now 52 and proud to be so! I got a jar of pumpkin butter and two new shawl wraps. Puuurrrfect!

52 years old with bags under my eyes from a long day  :)

Nik got his first deer on his second hunting day. I feel terrible for the deer but we’re so very thankful for the meat!! And I’m so proud of Nik!!

Nik and his friend Jared and their deers, poor things

We’ve had no milk or eggs for a while now. We’re down to 9 hens and all are molting. And as for milk, I traded our old milk goat for fence posts and firewood. Our other does are, hopefully, pregnant. So, I’m having to buy eggs and milk and it always seems so weird to do so.

Goatwise, we have 3 new ones over the last month or so. A full little Nigerian Dwarf buck with blue eyes and very pretty coat with reddish skin, which I didn’t want but took because he was part of the deal. I estimate him to be 8 to 10 months. Turns out I’m very glad we got him. He’s very sweet and a beauty. I named him Cedar. I’m still not sure what I’ll do with him but he gets along great with our other ND buck, Hickory, and the does… Poppy, Ivy and Willow.

Ivy is the second goat we got and may be bred to Cedar. She was believed to be full ND as well but I’m certain she’s a mini Alpine (half Alpine and half ND). She’s 2 and may become our second milker, we’ll see. She’s a lovely thing and has a good temperament but is a queen. I bartered Ivy and Cedar from a friend..

All were wonderful boons but the 3rd one was particularly a boon. A sister-friend emailed and asked if I was interested in buying a doe from them. I needed a good full sized Milk doe for my hands but figured I wouldn’t be able to buy one until next summer. But I’m going to be able to make payments and we got to bring her home now. Her name is Poppy, she’s 1 1/2 and she’s a beautiful full blooded Alpine. Sweet and gentle temperament and, hopefully bred to a full LaMancha. I believe Poppy will be our new family milk cow and she’s become very special to me.

We still have our ND blue eyed buck, Hickory (bartered for fall 2014) and our full ND doe, Willow, (bartered for early summer 2015). All the does are believed to be pregnant with Willow due in March, Poppy due in January and Ivy due unknown. This is both a boon and a drawback. I didn’t want anyone due until April (breeding in late Nov.) but life had other plans and we’ll hopefully have healthy births all around. It will be Ivy’s 2nd kidding and Poppy & Willow’s 1st.

If Poppy has a doe we’ll likely keep her but sell the rest for homestead income. My current goat goal is to raise a few quality ND kids and maybe some mini Alpine and mixes to sell each year and have a couple of milking does for our milk and dairy, dairy for some of the animals and some to sell as well. We took a big homestead loss in 2013, when I got so sick and we lost both our goats which also took our dairy and kid sales. Now we’re getting back to it And so, our goatherd is renewed.  :)

Also in bartering I got two big boxes of sewing stuff. One had supplies (stuffed full) and one had fabric. Tons of elastic (which I was very low on), all sorts of Rick Rack and edging, trim, Velcro, buttons, clasps, sizing, heavy wonderful old pinking shears, a rotary cutter with extra blades,  snaps, hooks, pattern book, patterns, crochet book, and fabric including several yards each of two different gauzes (excellent for summer skirts, dress and curtains).

I’m making Irish Bog shoes for 2 friends and started cutting out the first pair today. When I’m more confident and have more experience making them, it will go very quickly. But for now I worry about ruining the leather so always take a long time. I’ve made moccasins before but never these wonderful Bog shoes, so easy and useful. I’ve started on the bigger of the two because it’s close to my own size. I can’t wait to get the hang of it and start making them to barter with!

I’m also working on bags with round bottoms, that stand up on their own, somewhat. 2 new skirts, one to keep, one to barter. Large sized reusable shopping bags. A dress and a top. Moonpads. And a bright Holiday tablecloth.

Not much more going on except that November was a weird money month….. 
But I can’t even really complain about those things. They’re so small compared to other things and we’re so incredibly blessed.

Thanksgiving table

Teaching myself to crochet

-Harvest  –
Black walnuts
Hickory nuts
Grasses and seeds
Thuja tips
Cedar tips
Pine nuts
Pine tips
Violet leaves

-Barter –
Huge spool of Crochet thread
Hank of rolled rag for rag rug, pot holders etc.
Elastic for skirts etc
Manual crank juicer
Old Mortar and Pestle juicer
Antique black leather lady’s gloves
Nigerian Dwarf Doe
Nigerian Dwarf Buck
Antique French fry cutter
1 box of fabric
1 large box of sewing things
Alpine Doe
Fence posts
Electric stove with oven

-Gifts –
a jar of delicious pumpkin butter (birthday gift)
2 beautiful, second hand, shawl/wraps, 1 heavy camel and 1 light eggshell (birthday gifts)

-Working On-
Tarp barn for hay storage over winter
Space in barn in case a doe kids in bad weather
Sewing – moonpads, 2 skirts, a dress, a top, a tablecloth, larger shopping bags
2 Spirit Dolls

*Tilapia salad sandwiches on potato flour bread with pepper, onion, celery seed, real mayo. Farm raised tilapia.
*Chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and copper penny carrots.
*BBQ ham on homemade rolls with organic corn and local squash
*Biscuits and gravy
*Creamy wild rice soup (recipe below)
*Oatmeal – Irish oats with our elderberries, dried cranberries, local honey, organic cinnamon served with homemade wheat bread with cow butter
*Vegetarian soft tacos from …. Spanish rice – rice steamed in tomato sauce then add onions, peppers, garlic and spices. Refried pinto beans (milk is the secret to creamy beans). Leftover organic corn and a mix of commercial and homemade shredded cheeses on a homemade tortilla. With shredded dandelion and violet leaves, homemade garden salsa and sour cream.

*Our own pumpkin seeds, roasted with sea salt
*Homemade tortilla chips with homemade garbanzo bean dip
*Our dried apples
*A mix of roasted sunflower seeds and pine nuts

-Evening Tea- (dessert)
*Walnut scones with caramel sauce
*Baked apples
*Pumpkin cake
*Homemade chocolates – Dark chocolate filled with homemade caramel and chocolate pine nut clusters.

-Sunday Dinners-
* Kielbasa, wild rice, peas, onions, herbs and spices. with organic hothouse spinach and homemade rolls with cow butter
*Ham, our eggs with our peppers and our onions, potatoes diced and lightly fried in olive oil with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, homemade flat bread.

*Organic apple juice
*Jasmine tea with commercial creamer
*Lemon spice tea with honey
*Rooibos, rosehips and honey
*Pekoe with cinnamon, ginger, clove and honey


To make caramel filled chocolates…. Make your caramel. The last batch was crockpot caramel from homemade sweetened condensed milk. Allow it to cool until firm. Melt chocolate in homemade double boiler. Use a spoon to drop chocolate on butcher paper or whatever you use. Use the spoon to flatten our like a coin. Drop a small dollop of caramel on each one and then use spoon to cover each with chocolate. My favorite is dark chocolate. I also added a tiny bit of coffee to my last caramel.

To meat chocolate pine nut clusters…. Melt your chocolate and pour a little at a time into a heat safe bowl. Add pine nuts and mix thoroughly. Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto butcher paper and allow to cool and harden.  The ratio of chocolate and nuts or seeds it entirely by taste.

Wild Moon Cottage - Creamy Rice Soup
(cooking from the pantry)

As always, use what you have. I make it differently every time I make it but the base and basics are generally the same. This is how I made it today. All ingredients except for the olive oil, rice and flour came from our homestead …

1 T olive oil
1 T organic wheat flour
4 cups raw goat milk

1/3 c mushrooms (I dried honey mushrooms from the yard and precooked before drying)
1/4 c total of dried greens (I used spinach, lambs quarters, dock and dandelion)
2 to 3 T dried celery
1/4 c dried shredded carrots
2 T dried mixed red and green bell peppers
1 T dried amaranth seeds
1 T dried foxtail seeds
2 T dried yellow onion
1 T dried wild green onions
1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice – (leftovers or presteamed)
Pinch sea salt
Black pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven or pot, start by making a roux, just like for gravy. I heat the olive oil and add the flour, cooking until brown. Lower heat and slowly add the liquid, stirring constantly. When all the liquid is in, continue to stir until thickened, then lower heat to just keeping the pan warm.

Add every thing else except the rice. You’ll lose up to two cups of liquid as the dried ingredients reconstitute. You can add a little more if needed but it may water down the soup. Cook low until everything is cooked and tender. (if the rice is cold, heat it slightly in a pan with about a Tablespoon of water. Just so it doesn’t cool down the main pan. Add the rice and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

It’s easy to make, very easy to eat, nutritious and real. It’s also very easy to exchange for what you have. No rice? Use another starch or grain…. potatoes, other grains or homemade pasta. The liquid can be home canned vegetable or meat broth or a mix of water, broth and milk. To make it heartier you can add precooked meat. I often add venison or chicken. Or tear up old bread or biscuits and add just before serving. This makes the soup more filling for when you need to feed more with very little.

Don’t have homemade? Use what you do have. We do the best we can, I’ve had to scrounge for food on the street, there’s no wrong way. If you can use organic, homemade, homegrown etc… all the better, but if you can’t, no worries! Eat what you have and be so thankful  :)

This soup can very easily be cooked over coals, on the wood heat stove (where I do most of my winter cooking) on the fire, in a fireplace, on a grill etc…

It’s great served in a bread bowl, in a bowl with a wild salad on the side, with a fresh hot butter roll, with fresh tortillas, homemade crackers, How ever you want it. Tonight I had it in a cup, with a fresh warm biscuit :)


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

10.13.15 – 10.27.15

Dust top of armoire

I love this time of year! It’s been a very dry Fall for us but they’re predicting a wetter than usual winter. I dread it but we do need the water. Hopefully it will be warm enough that ours comes in the form of rain instead of ice or snow.

October Mantle

I’ve finished drying the last of the apples. I’ve been doing this for many years and still amazes me how you can start out with so much and end up with so little. Around 12 apples fit into 2 quart jars once dried. Of course once piece of dried cinnamon apple is soooo good, it almost equals a whole one  :)

Dried cinnamon apples. Excellent for winter munching and added to oatmeal etc...

I still have more squash and pumpkins to dry and I’ll be making more pumpkin bark as well.

It was down in the in the 30s the other night, around 38, so the day was about getting all the potted plants inside. The hard part is finding a place to put them.

I made chocolates for the Kith & Kin potluck. White, dark and milk chocolate with our own black walnuts and purchased English walnuts, our own and purchased sunflower seeds, our own pumpkin seeds and our own cayenne. I made dark chocolate pumpkin seed clusters… dark, milk and white chocolate walnut and sunflower seed clusters…. Milk and white chocolate sunflower seed cluster and dark chocolate cayenne drops. They’re magically delicious!

Chocolates for the Oct. Kith & Kin

The Kith & kin Trade Gathering turned out wonderfully. We sat around a table, like family, and shared and talked together. I learned how to card wool by hand, without carders. Very simple and anyone interested in spinning should know it but I could find no reference to it online. Every place I searched said you had to have carders but I knew that ancient folk didn’t and still managed to turn wool into yarn.

I’ve also taught myself how to spin without anything or with something as simple as a stone or stick. A drop spindle is on my list and a spinning wheel too but I can do it without either.

Lovely mushrooms

We got our other sheep on sunday. A lovely black Shetland wether. His name was Evan, Nik named him Evan Oaken-Horn, we’ve been calling him Oak. He’s a companion for Sage and I really wanted black wool  :)  We got him from a wonderful woman who raises them north of Ava. She has a big, beautiful flock, all colors and so sweet. It made me want a tiny flock here. Shetland sheep are a primitive, landrace breed and produce wool, meat and milk. Very hardy in every way. When we get all fenced in I might just get a few ewes   :)

When we first put Oak in with Sage, Sage was terrified of him. That was last evening and now they’re eating together  :)  I look forward to lots of wool and sheep time!


About The Rose Line
About banding male smallstock and horns
Hand carding wool without carders
More on Shetland sheep husbandry (primitive, landrace)

-Harvest  –
Horseradish root
Burdock root
Wild ginger
Cultivated ginger
Ginseng (tiny amount)
Dandelion root
Chicory (small amount)
Hickory nuts

-Barter –
Small bag
Ribbon holder
Emerald Bell Peppers
Motherwort plant and seeds
A black shetland sheep wether

-Gifts –
Organic Life magazine
Jar of dried Gala apples
Baby food jars
Assorted glass jars
Mule magazines
80 lbs of dirty Gulf wax
Daikon radishes and greens
Motherwort tincture
Cushaw Sp? squash

*Oat/wheat bread
*Wheat rolls
*Pumpkin bread and muffins
*Apple Bake

*Baked potatoes topped with baked beans and horse radish coleslaw
*Omelets with our eggs, our onions, local peppers and local mushrooms with potato cakes (from leftover mashed potatoes) and toasted homemade potato flour bread and homemade butter.
*Ham salad made with commercial mayo and our onions, on oat/wheat bread with shredded violet and dandelion leaves. Apple slices on the side
*Fast food breakfast wraps – directions below
*Spaghetti – organic whole wheat pasta with my homemade and a heap of parmesan. Organic green beans with real butter, pepper and onion. Meager wild salad of violet leaves, dandelion and dock.
*Biscuits and vegetarian pepper gravy (olive oil base and organic flour base with Daikon radish tops) with home-canned green beans cooked in their own juice with onion, sea salt and ground pepper.

*Corn ships with homemade salsa
*All natural peanut butter and organic jam on home bread
*Last of the pears
*My homemade chocolate seed and nut clusters
*Dried apples

-Evening Tea- (dessert)
*Apple bake
*Pumpkin banana ice cream
*Chocolate nut and see clusters
*Baked caramel apples  :)

-Sunday Dinners-
*Roast ham with roasted potatoes and squash

*Lemon spice tea, made with black pekoe, lemon balm and a pinch of cinnamon. Sweetened with honey. Hot and cold
*Stash Chai with commercial creamer - hot
*Cold chocolate milk
*Hot chocolate
*Hot pekoe with honey, vanilla and goat milk
* Spiced Rosehip tea- hot


Spiced Rosehip Tea

1 t tea base (pekoe, rooibos, oolong etc..)
1 t rosehips, lightly crushed
3 to 4 cloves
honey to taste

Add the first 3 to your tea bag or ball etc.. Bring water to just before boiling and pour over tea. Cover and steep for a few minutes. Remove bag, add honey to taste and enjoy!

Also great with a splash of goat milk.


Fast Food Breakfast Wraps –

To make 8 to 10 wraps I use 6 eggs, a splash of goat milk, chopped onion and sweet pepper, sea salt and black pepper powder. Whisk well and scramble in medium hot CI skillet. Fry ham in separate CI skillet. Drain but leave a little grease and then cook potatoes (shredded, diced or sliced thin). Use homemade or commercial tortillas precooked but not warmed. On each tortilla add cheese then meat, potatoes and ham. Fold and place single file on cookie sheet to freeze. When frozen through, carefully put each one in a storage container or large freezer baggie etc. You can also wrap individually in plastic wrap for taking to lunch. You can reheat them in a microwave, oven, grill or woodstove. To heat in microwave – heat uncovered on safe plate for 1 minute. For oven, grill or woodstove – wrap in foil or place on CI skillet and cover with something ovenproof. In hot oven around 1 minute, top of hot woodstove 1 to 2 minutes, on low coals 1 minute. On woodstove and coals, turn halfway through. Just check it to see that it’s hot through and cheese is melted.

You can use the same basic idea to make all sorts of fast food wraps. One of my favorites is chicken, cheese, bacon, rice, lettuce and ranch (homemade or commercial). Just assemble everything but the lettuce and ranch – add them after reheating.


Pumpkin banana ice cream

2 frozen bananas
½ c cooked pumpkin, cooled completely (could use canned)
1 t pumpkin pie spice (or 1 t total of your choice clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch on ginger)

In a heavy bowl, mash the bananas and pumpkin with the spice until they take on an ice cream texture. Deliciouso!

Monday, October 12, 2015

10.4.15 – 10.12.15

It’s been beautiful, cool and bright and filled with an anxious, but positive, energy.

There is worry, there always is for me this time of year. I think it comes from deep inside, from memories of past winters 100s of years ago. And from this life also, from hard things happening this time of year. But, all I can do is my best to prevent and prepare, the rest is beyond me and I will let it go and deal with it as I must.

I’m working on getting down to the bare minimum of smallstock and outside work for winter. The barn is filled with hay. Working toward filling all the feed bins. The larder is stocked and still being added to. We’re very low on wood but that should be coming in the next few weeks. Will be putting in the cistern pump very soon. Working hard to find an electric water heater. We’re working on filling the freezer with meat.…  As is, aside from the need for firewood, we would survive the winter. That’s a good and powerful thing but my goal is always to thrive.

And going through the pantry, taking note of what we need more of, making sure things get rotated etc.. I had planned to empty the pantry, paint, build more shelves …. But haven’t gotten to it. Maybe next year!


Still dehydrating pumpkin and squash. Some will keep fresh for months of eating but I want to be sure we have some for deeper into winter  :)  Drying apples, pear and peppers too. What bounty! I’m going to try drying some spiced raw pumpkin and see how it tastes as pumpkin chips.

Since getting my studio moved back to the enclosed back porch I’m able to work but also to work more often because it’s right there. I moved it from there to the stone house to have more room but, while it’s smaller space, it’s better light, easier to heat in winter and so much more accessible. I’ve finished two of the Spirit Dolls I was working one before and have started 3 other projects  :)     I also changed the Juju Dolls name again. I had changed to Totem dolls but that didn’t feel right to me at all. They’ve always felt like Spirit Dolls and so that’s what they are.

 ElderMa - Sold

Bodhi - sold

Squirrel Watcher

I took a wonderful little walk about along the Bryant one Sunday. I went alone and relished in being away from home but also being at home. I did wish for a canine companion, I miss Star so much, but I had a glorious time just the same. I didn’t have a lot of time and I stopped to examine and enjoy too often so I didn’t make it as far as planned before I had to head back.

Along the Bryant

I’ve also been getting more blankets, flannel sheets, jackets and warm clothing out of the trunks and hanging to freshen or washing the ones that smell too strongly of cedar.

Working on cleaning out the storage part of the barn and in the cottage. It’s much too easy to accumulate more than you need. I’m selling a few things but mainly giving things to the charities and on the new Ozarks Free Exchange groups.

-Harvest  –
Seed pods
Grass seed
Quenn Ann seeds
Polk berries

-Barter –
Little spice chest
New Zealand buck rabbit (named Zeus)

-Gifts –
2 wonderful quilts (given to me about a year ago but felt like new gifts when I took them out of the trunk)

*Grilled cheese with smoked swiss/cheddar on farmhouse bread, a little bowl of non gmo sweet corn with butter and sea salt.
*Chicken & Rice- leftover brown rice with pieces of leftover chicken, bell peppers, onion and mushrooms.
*Baked cheesy penne. Cooked organic penne with my homemade all-purpose sauce, extra garlic and oregano from the gardens, topped with shredded cheddar and mozzarella. Baked until cheese bubbles. Served with wild salad and a slice of fresh potato bread.
*Rice wraps – leftover chicken and rice on homemade tortillas with dandelion leaves and yogurt ranch dressing.
*3 Sisters Chili – ground venison (with a little beef fat), non gmo corn, squash and black beans with herbs, spices, peppers, onions, tomatoes. Slow cooked, served with rustic flat bread and topped with a dollop of homemade sour cream.
*Chicken and dumplings – leftover chicken, fresh homemade broth, homemade biscuit dough dropped in by small spoonfuls, a little butter, garlic, onion, black pepper.

*peanut butter granola
*non gmo corn chips and homemade salsa
*Homemade yogurt
*commercial graham crackers

*Apples and homemade caramel sauce
*pumpkin bread
*peanut butter and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
*Pear bake – pears with cinnamon topped with a sweet biscuit dough and baked until golden. A giant spoonful in a bowl with a splash of fresh milk.
*Milkshakes made with homemade goat milk chocolate ice cream
*Grilled pears and cranberries on homemade goat milk ice cream

-Sunday Dinners-
*Crockpot chicken (oregano, onion, peppers) with brown rice and peppered peas (with butter and freshly cracked white pepper). The chicken cooked in the crockpot while I was on a walk about at the Bryant. I precooked the carrots the day before and finished cooking when I got home.
*Kielbasa kabobs with squash, cranberries, onions and peppers. Herbed butter pasta and commercial wheat rolls.

*cold black pekoe with real lemon and honey
* ice cold goat milk
*fresh apple juice
* cold well water
*hot tea with creamer

wonderful little spice chest

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weeks of 9.20.15 - 10.3.15

I Love this time of year!!  Chilly mornings, warm days, cool nights.  Mist on the hills and magic in the air  :)

I’ve been doing a lot of drying… squash, pumpkin, peppers, pears, onions, ginger, apples.. Made some pear sauce and candied some ginger. I’m going to be making pumpkin and pumpkin pie bark next week. I also made cheese and yogurt last week.

Blessed food!

We bucked hay all day last Sunday. It’s been years and I wasn’t feeling good and probably only did ¼ or less of what the guys did, and was still sore the next day. But it was good hard work, we enjoyed it and being able to help a friend a little. We also got hay for ourselves!

I’ve gotten almost my whole studio moved back onto the enclosed back porch. It was a huge black snake spending time in the Stone House. Henry, I reckon. Anyway, I can work again!!!!  Thank the Mother!!!

More about making bog shoes
About Sage Grass, Crow’s Foot Grass and Foxtail grass
How to stack hay for safer travel

-Harvest  –

-Barter –
3 Ghost pumpkins
A box full of Green Bell Peppers
A huge long squash
A bunch of pinkish orange pumpkins
A ton of butternut squash
Several books
Heavy denim curtains
A few candles
2 months of natural Prairie grass hay

-Gifts –
Elk butter (it tastes just like butter!)
Shoulder of venison
Big bouquet of dried Sage Grass
Squash, pumpkins and peppers beyond our bartering

Homemade venison and barely soup with carrots, celery, lambs quarters, dock, onion and mushrooms. Served with homemade whole wheat soup crackers.
Butternut squash stuffed with wild rice, savory herbs and spices, onion, peppers, spinach and poke.
BBQ venison on homemade organic corn flour rolls, steamed organic broccoli with cheese.
Egg and smoked cheese sandwiches on homemade oat bread with carrot sticks on the side.
Cheese & Meat plate, summer sausage, smoked gouda, medium cheddar, olives, grapes, apple slices, crusty bread and pumpernickel rolls.

Homemade salsa and organic blue corn chips
Commercial hummus and O blue chips
Raw apples and pears
Homemade peanut butter granola

Pumpkin muffins
Biscuits and wild raspberry preserves
Cocoa oatmeal drop cookies
Scones with pear sauce
Cooked pears with caramel
Baked apples with cinnamon and butter
Goat milk ice cream with pear sauce
Pumpkin bread with walnuts

-Sunday Dinners-
Grilled split chicken with grilled squash, carrots and potatoes.
Venison kabobs – cubed and marinated over night. With potatoes, carrots, onion, squash and green bell peppers. Served on steamed brown rice.

Hot tea with goat milk and honey
Cold black pekoe and raspberry zinger
Cold Black pekoe with orange peel and honey
Ice cold goat milk (reg and chocolate)
Milk shake of ice cold goat milk and frozen banana
Cold Black pekoe
Mint tea (hot and cold)
Lemon Balm tea (hot and cold)
Hot chamomile tea
Cold green tea with honey

the portable firepit I got for 3.00. It was all rusty, the top screen all smashed in and the bottom rusted through. I cleaned and sanded, pushed the screen back out and painted it with heat proof paint I had leftover from painting the outside of the rusty grill oven from last year. I still need to find a metal piece for the bottom but it's usable now and looks almost new  :)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Aug 25th to Sept 11

Aug 25, Tuesday

It started out chilly but bright and beautiful. The first thing I did was grab a shawl and turn on the stove for my tea pot. It started to warm around 10:00 and by noon it was quite warm.

Yesterday I got the orchard path, campsite and front mowed. I’ve been having a feeling that the campsite will be needed soon, We’ll see. While mowing, I found one of the Pawpaws we planted a few years back. The others didn’t make it but I kept feeling like this one was alive, although I couldn’t find it when I looked. It’s small but healthy and growing!

We have a 3rd turkey poult, hatched yesterday. I hope to get a lot more but if not, I hope these 3 are a Royal Palm tom and 2 hens. Whatever they are, we’ll be thankful for them.

~Recent notes from my Wild Harvest journal…
There are very few black walnuts this year on the trees. They’re already staring to fall. No persimmons on their tree so far.
Poke is - abundant.
Parrilla - abundant
Queen anns - low
Bergamot – none on our property at all this year but abundant elsewhere (must establish in the herb gardens)
Rosehips – moderate but not nearly as abundant as previous years. Huge this year. There are some covered in white and look to be fused together with it.
Elderberries – got only what I covered. All others picked completely clean.
Vervain – abundant

We’ve been having a lot of trouble with internet again lately and some days can’t get online at all.

We have so much to do this fall I doubt we’ll get to the solar shower but, when we can, we’ll be moving the barrel set up closer to the house and running a hose from the barrels to the indoor shower. Possibly through a window at first but eventually through the vent pipe for the old propane water heater. This will give more privacy but also be warmer on cool days. It will still be set up for outdoor showers too though.

Anya’s wound is almost completely healed! I’m planning to go on a big wild harvest and wandering very soon. The only drawback to my new (bartered) saddle is that it has no tie ons at all. I was told I could cut it for them just like leather (reinforced with leather) but have been hesitant to try. Maybe I’ll try one and see. I need lots of tie ons for carrying my gear and harvest bags.

We had a very hard loss of poultry over the weekend. I can’t think what it could have been except for Coyotes. We lost 5 ducks, including both of our drakes. Boot, the Pekin drake, was the size of a goose. Nothing takes that much at once. Even a big cat would only take one and then leave with it. We never heard anything either and found no evidence.

Then yesterday I let the poultry out to freerange and we lost one of next years hens, a chick hen, very young but not tiny. She was about the size of a full roll of a grapefruit. She could have easily been taken by a hawk though. We expect some natural loss, we gratefully share this space with all sorts of wild folk, but it’s a hard loss nonetheless. The chick’s poor mother, Sunflower, waited and waited for the chick to come back. She sent her other 3 up to the barn but stayed out in the paddock for a long time. I had to go get her to put her up.

I’ll be leaving all the poultry in the pen for awhile. We free range year round but this time of year they really need to be out, building up for winter.
Pennyroyal and Pansy (our big does) should both be due any day now but I must have been off a month because, although they’re quite pregnant, they don’t look that close to birthing. They are both carrying minis though, they’re bred to Hickory, our Nigerian Dwarf buck. We’ll see. I usually keep good records but I forgot to write down the exact date that I separated them from him.

I got stung by a red wasp today! On the face, on my left cheek. It‘s a big deal because I’ve always gotten along very well with them and have only been stung twice in my life, when I was little and once when I put my hand down on one. I was folding tarps to put away and there must have been one, or a nest, in one of the tarps. It came straight our and hit me in the face, stinging instantly. How odd.  A little of my black walnut salve took the sting and most of the fire out. It’s a little sore and slightly swollen. The little bastard could have just buzzed me to tell me to leave it alone.

The day’s harvest –
Rose hips
Vervain  (probably the last for the year)

-Breakfast- bagel with butter, hot tea with creamer
-Lunch-  Irish oatmeal with brown sugar and local dairy milk. Hot tea
-Supper- leftover rice and broccoli with cheddar and raspberry tea
-Evening Tea- granola and hot tea

I may change our name to Abundant Moon Cottage  :)


Aug. 28, Friday

I am Not amused!  I just got stung 4 more times by the red menace. Same thing, same area. I checked, didn’t see any sign of red wasps, started working in the laundry yard, heard a buzzing, started for the house and the little compostable bastard stung me on the shoulder, under my upper arm and twice on the side, below my arm. 2 stings in 51 years and now 5 stings in less than a week. Tonight, when he’s dormant, I’m going hunting and we’ll see who has the last sting.

When Nik woke, late morning, he was pretty sick. By that time, I was also feeling a bit poorly but figured it was the 4 new stings. I realize now that we are both having some sinus things. Pressure pain, headache, weird throat.  Echinacea (virus or infection), vitamin C (immune boost and backup), Elderberry honey (throat care and back up to the others), sleep.

The day’s harvest –
4 hen eggs

-Lunch- spiced/herbed ham on homemade flat bread with my homemade dill dressing, and fresh tomato, onion and lambs quarters from the garden. water
-Evening Tea-

Lunch was an attempt at something like Gyros using what I had. It turned out surprisingly well but not Gyro like.  The ham tasted like herbed ham, the dill dressing was delicious but not cucumber sauce, and my flat bread is not fluffy like the tradition flat bread for Gyros.  Even so, I’ll make this again and just call it something else  :)
On Thursday, I sliced leftover ham in a similar shape and put it in a bowl with a cover. I added paprika, rosemary, onion, tarragon, sage, assorted cracked peppercorns. Made sure all the meat was well covered then covered with water and a splash of lemon. Marinated  for 24 hours.


Week of Sept. 11, 2015  

It’s quite cool today. I missed much of it again because of either over eating yesterday or eating something that didn’t agree with me. I’m fairly sure it’s the latter since I chugged a bunch of organic vanilla soy milk followed by a glass cold ginger ale. *-* 

The days have been busy but filled with good things. Putting up foods, moving my studio back into the enclosed back porch, putting in hay, general work toward fall and winter.

For two days we worked on loading and unloading hay bales. For ourselves, and to help a friend. I still have some sore muscles but it was good hard work, that I enjoyed.

We (or I) have been having terrible communication problems, again, AOL has gotten horrible and we can only get online every few days. The tracfone got funky and had a system fail and, even though I have plenty of minutes and days, we can’t make or receive any texts, voicemail or calls. They say they’re working on it but I don’t reckon it will work out until it’s time. I seem to have a Gee with communication and it could be caused subconsciously because of my severe hermitness. Which is growing stronger. Funny, I yearn for a clan (kith & kin) and to be all alone, at the same time.

Nik and I have both had terrible ragweed allergies this year. Never had them before, ever! I used to bring cut Goldenrod in for vases.

I think I have decided to switch over entirely to New Zealand rabbits. I love Mini Rex, particularly ours, but the 3 month old NZ does are bigger than the full grown MR. Meatwise, 1 NZ will equal almost 4 MR. And I’ve discovered that they come in several colors and broken (spotted), Their fur is softish but also coarse, nothing like the MR. But I understand that the NZ are easier to save the fur on, so that might also be a boon. And the fur is soft enough to use in lining shoes an making mittens etc..The NZs are also supposed to be much more efficient for meat than any other breed, except Californias.

Aside from bring more rabbits in, I’m working toward getting the population down for winter care. The goal is to have only the minimum smallstock needed to get through winter. And to have a fully stocked pantry and freezer. That will equal a lot less work outside for a hard year, which I seems we’re to have this winter, but still insure we and the animals have what we need and to have breeding stock come spring.

We’ve had some very bad poultry losses. We lost both drakes, an Ancona hen, 2 ducklings, a pullet, our only Buff Orp hen and all 3 turkey poults.

I've discovered what's living in The Stone House (my studio). It's a Huge black snake! I found it's shed which is incomplete and almost 4 ft long and over 8 in around  *-*

The week’s Harvest….
27 hen eggs
4 duck eggs
Hay grass seeds
Rose hips
Queen Ann seeds
Vervain (I found another batch to harvest)
Poke berries
Elderberries  ( very few)

The week’s Bartering has gotten us…..
8 pounds of oat bran
8 pounds of barley grain
5 lbs raw beeswax
3 doz. quart canning jars
Book on horse packing
2 New Zealand rabbit does (3 mths old)
A beautiful set, service for 8, brick red pottery dishes
A king size set of flannel sheets
(neither of us has a king bed but they’re in beautiful condition and can be made to fit a full bed or used as fabric)
A flannel patchwork skirt
A pair of black flat shoes
A little plaid purse
44 bales of good natural grass hay

4 magical little peacock feathers
A lovely horse book
A bag of small jars
A couple of pounds of whole oats
Some MRH Cat’s Claw
A huge wonderful squash
2 quart vinegar bottles

Nemo and me, growing older  :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug. 18th to 22nd

Aug. 18 Tuesday

Chilly this morning and absolutely stunning. We have mist almost every night and early morning. In the morning, when I look across the clearing, to the edge of the upper forest, it looks like gossamer decorating Her cathedral. Another gift on the huge list of blessings.

Something has gotten into my studio/workshop and is really creeping me out. I can’t find it but it’s left foul evidence on the floor and on my work table. I’ve started work on moving my studio back into the back porch which has halted some of my work.

This evening I’m reading about spinning wool by hand (without a spinning wheel)

The day’s harvest –
3 chicken eggs
Grass seed heads

-Breakfast- granola and water
-Lunch- ham on oat bread wth commercial mustard and veg sticks. La Croix
-Supper- vegetarian chicken patty on oat bread with homemade olive oil mayo and fresh tomato, oven fries with rosemary, pepper and sea salt. La Croix
-Evening Tea-  granola and a glass of raw milk


August 19, Wednesday

Rain and storms and we needed them. I love the rain and thunder rolling across the hills. It was also a bit chilly and the damp seeped in and made me want to hibernate  :)

I got some writing done, worked on my Memoirs and another book. Then sewed most of the rest of the day.  In the evening I did some more reading on wool, carding, spinning etc.. I plan on making candles in the next few days and got some wick soaking.

The day’s harvest –
5 chicken eggs
1 very tiny duck egg
A few Juniper v. berries
Salad greens – dock, lamb quarters, sorrel, dandelion, wild lettuce, clover

-Breakfast- oatmeal with honey and cinnamon. Hot Irish breakfast tea.
-Lunch-  ham sandwich on oat bread. Raspberry tea.
-Supper- soft tacos with beef, black beans, rice, cheese, garden onions, peppers, tomatoes on homemade tortillas. Raspberry tea
-Evening Tea- natural peanut butter and local honey on the last of the oat bread. Hot chamomile.


August 20, Thursday

A bright and chilly morning!  I grabbed a shawl as soon as I got up and put the kettle on for some hot tea.

Pepper’s birthday is tomorrow, that’s been so much on my mind. She loved her birthday and loved telling people her birthday was coming up. She’s at peace and things are as they should be but my heart is missing another piece and my soul feels thinner and more worn.

Finished shearing the sheep. Bartered for and picked up a new cast iron manual pitcher spout water pump for the cistern. Got a load of hay (Nik did most of the work). Worked on running the solar shower into the house. Got some things out of my studio. Still can’t figure out what’s in there. There was a third big splat of something on the floor and in the same area. It came from the rafters above but there’s nothing there.

 Pump for the cistern

Sweet Sage. He's so laid back, calm, gentle, patient and wise.

The day’s harvest –
3 hen eggs
Poke berries
Grass heads for seeds
Unidentified flowers for the vase
2 bags of wonderful, raw Shetland wool

-Breakfast- commercial apple bars and dry cereal. Hot Irish breakfast tea with organic cow milk and local honey
-Lunch- ham sandwich, commercial potato chips. Cold Black pekoe
-Evening Tea-


Aug. 21, Friday

Happy Birthday Pepper, I love you

Cool and overcast, a fine Irish day. One of my favorite kinds :)

We’ve been having trouble with aol again and  can’t get online very often.

I’m keeping the goats in the pens for now because the big ones are near birthing time and this is about the same time last year that I saw the big beautiful Bobcat. Plus we have plentiful Song Dogs, who generally don’t bother anyone but might be drawn to. and Nemo has to be up during the day because of his car chasing.  I’m hoping to have a larger area permanently fenced in before winter. Right now the goats and sheep freerange or get tied out in places, which I’ll still do for mowing purposes, but they need a safer area that Nemo can watch over. The big does go into the horse pen but the NDs, Sage and babies can get right out. Even the big does can get out of there.

Did laundry but it didn’t get dry enough outside so it’s back inside to dry. Cleaning wood today, furniture, window frames etc. I’m all natural for most of my cleaning but I still use Murphy’s for wood. It’s 98% natural, I think. And I like the scent. I learned from my friend Barbara P to add a few drops of lavender. I add lavender oil to all sorts of things for cleaning and more, but hadn’t thought of adding it to the Murphys.

We had our first turkey poult hatch out today and a second is on it’s way!  I’m not sure what Bourbon Reds look like as poults. I’ve gotten a brooder ready  :)

The day’s harvest –
5 hen eggs
Poke Berries

-Breakfast-  hot tea with organic cow’s milk and local honey
-Lunch- leftover taco meat, black beans and rice in a bowl with clover and magenta lambs quarters. Water.
-Supper-  vegetarian chicken patty with mushrooms and carrots. La Croix
-Evening Tea-  apple crumble with last fall’s apples from the freezer. Hot tea


Aug. 22, Saturday

I woke with a headache and not feeling well. I think it’s a sinus thing. Aspirin for breakfast  *~*

It was supposed to storm all day but nary a drop has fallen since I woke.

Got some sewing done. I’m working on making some gathering aprons. Also finished taking in some skirts and a cotton slip with eyelet trim made from a bed skirt ( Thank you for the idea, Barbara!!!!).  Of the gathering aprons, I’ll be making both half and full.

Created a new chick brooder, which seems to be working much better. It’s a metal cage which I wrapped in plastic, covered the top with foil, except for the space for the heat lamp and added an old blanket on top, far away from the lamp but will help hold the heat on the cool side. The poults are doing well, staying under the light but not huddling.

The day’s harvest –
3 hen eggs

-Breakfast- Cooked apples with cinnamon and honey. Hot tea with milk
-Lunch-  tea
-Supper- leftover piece of chicken and tea
-Evening Tea- 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

week of 8.11th to the 17th 2015

Aug 11, Tuesday

The day was gorgeous! High 80s, low humidity, wonderful breeze. A perfect day for working outside.

Painted some outdoor furniture - painted a big, old cast candle holder - weeded in the garden - gathered tomatoes - gathered polk berries and prepared and drying for year round use - cleaned rabbit hutches - raked and cleaned a little around the barn - wandered out around the pond with Anya and cats as escorts - then moseyed down to the orchard with Fox and cats as escorts.

This evening I’m reading and learning more about shearing, carding, and skirting wool fleece.

-Breakfast – egg sandwich with melted goat cheese and fresh tomato slices on toasted honey oat bread. water to drink.
-Lunch - small, leftover breaded, oven fried steak on bread with homemade olive oil mayo. Raspberry ice tea to drink.
-Supper – leftover chicken with the last jar of applesauce from last year (made from wonderful little barnyard apples with lots of cinnamon) and oven fried potatoes. More Raspberry ice tea to drink.
-Evening Tea – Berry Bake made with our raspberries and local blackberries from town. A cup of chamomile tea.

Berry Bake  (or Apple, Pear, Peach Bake etc)

Melt a little butter in a dutch oven and layer fruit at least an inch thick. Depending on natural sweetness, drizzle honey or sprinkle sugar (cane or brown) over the fruit and dot with a little unsalted butter. Add any spices you want in the fruit here too. Cinnamon and clove for apples and pumpkin etc.. I don’t add anything to the berries but a little honey or sugar.

Make a batch of biscuit dough to drop biscuit consistency and add a little extra sugar if you want a sweeter dough or save it for the top. Drop by spoonfuls on top of the fruit and smooth the globs together a little here and there. Be careful though, not to push the dough into the fruit to much.

If you want a sugared top, which is very good with apples, sprinkle a little sugar over your dough. For apples or pumpkin I usually sprinkle a little cinnamon too.

Bake covered, until wooden skewer comes out clean (careful not to poke it into the fruit) and top is lightly browned.

You can use pumpkin or sweet potato but I always cook both of these until they’re soft before adding. Combinations are wonderful. Apple and any berry, cherry berry, apple and pumpkin, apple raisin or cranberry ….   I also sometimes add walnuts or pecans to fruit.


Aug. 12, Wednesday

Another absolutely beautiful day! Perfect weather for summer doings.

Only got a few things done today but they were big things and took much of the day. Mowed (easy but takes a lot of time. Thankfully it’s something I enjoy), got Sage the sheep partially sheared (took over an hour and didn’t get to the main fleece (back) yet), painted the indoor wood rack, burned trash, cleaned more around the property, bagged up dry herbs

-Breakfast – sausage gravy and potato potpie. Water
-Lunch – leftover pinto and navy beans turned into baked beans with bread and butter, Ice tea
-Supper –   Ice tea
-Evening Tea – animal crackers and chamomile

Aug 13, Thursday

Town day and beautiful weather for it. In the mid 80’s with low humidity.  Always plenty to do on town day. Bank, feed store, grocery sore, parking lot for an hour free wifi, walmart, stopped by some friend’s house and picked up my new (very old) treadle sewing machine I bartered for. It’s in a lot worse shape than I expected but it’s still very beautiful and (I think) fixable.

- Breakfast – water
- Lunch -  A big bacon burger in town with an unsweet  ice tea
- Supper – raw carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and cherry toms with commercial yogurt ranch dressing. Raspberry ice tea.
- Evening Tea -  Kisses and black pekoe. It’s been cool enough in the evenings to have hot tea.


Aug. 14, Friday

Another beautiful day! How blessed we are  :) 

Aside from the usual…. I did 3 loads of laundry. Mowed the laundry yard, back and campsite. Still working toward painting in the kitchen. There are a lo of little things hat need tending… pulling off old board, filling holes, filling cracks large and small, a little sanding etc.. I could probably get it all done much faster, if I didn’t do anything else. But this is working well, doing a little at a time then going on to something else. I finished painting the indoor woodrack and the base of the portable fire pit.

- Breakfast -  homemade granola and water.
-Lunch- Jasmine rice with broccoli and cauliflower, with sharp cheddar and cracked pepper. Ice cold La Croix
- Supper –


Aug. 15, Saturday

Gathered up all tarps and hung on lines to clean and see what we have for winter use.

-supper- homemade pasta in parmesan white sauce with onion, cracked peppercorns and peas.


Aug. 16, Sunday

Beautiful day!

We visited a friend who had just gotten home from the hospital and took them a basket of things to make life a little easier for the next few days. From there to get a load of hay. And then home for Sunday Dinner.

-Breakfast – commercial apple fruit bars and water
-Lunch- commercial sweet roll and commercial raspberry ice tea
-Supper- grilled pork steaks, grilled carrots, celery, peas in pods and cherry tomatoes and cooked sweet corn with cow butter and black pepper. Iced vanilla tea.  Delicious!
-Evening Tea- grilled peaches with goat’s milk ice cream and a cup of black pekoe.


Aug. 17, Monday

Looked like it might start raining at anytime but never did. A little more humid but still a lovely day.

Cleaned around the barn, checked on things for the storms coming, moved some things to safer areas, checked feed supplies and made lists of what’s needed,  worked more on the kitchen (having trouble removing some of the old tile board), prepared the wood area for more firewood, started clearing out for the next fencing to go up.

The day’s harvest –
5 chicken eggs
1 duck egg
Sage leaves
Echinacea leaves
1 tomato
4 carrots
Queen Ann’s dried seed heads

-Breakfast- water
-Lunch- leftover pizza, raw veggies and yogurt ranch dip. Ice black pekoe
-Supper- leftover chicken, leftover swt corn, leftover pasta, honey oat bread. Ice black pekoe
-Evening Tea- dry sweet cereal and a glass of cold raw cow’s milk