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.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer and other odd things

The Solstice was upon us before I knew it, at with it came oddly cooler weather than the Spring brought with her. Things here have been going so quickly along that I'm not sure I tasted more than a tiny sip of Spring. And so Summer is here.
So much has happened and continues to happen, like everything has speeded up a bit. So speedy in fact, that we've begun having trouble sleeping, or more so, have stopped being able to sleep. I don't know if it is the times, the place, something more or different or everything. Whatever the cause, things have been odd.

The first week of June we butchered a goat. Not because we wanted to but because it had to be done. Ivy was one of our dairy does and the one that was currently our main doe for breeding and a little homestead income. We got thunder, the buckling, with her in mind, both being Alpine and Saanen. She died in a very strange accident, she got her collar hung on a nub, at the base of a small tree. If she had gone forward I believe it would have come right off, but instead she went backward and around the tree, strangling to death. It made no sense at all. But thing are as they are and I didn't want her meat to be wasted so we went to work to save what we could.

Nik was brilliant and efficient. It wasn't as difficult as i had expected tho i have seen and helped clean deer before. I used Emily's directions http://www.ozarkjewels.net/homebutchering.htm for some parts as well. I didn't do a good job of cutting the meat and there was some loss but his will all go to the dogs anyway. It was a bit horrifying but needed to be done ...

We've also recently lost 1 duck hen (just disappeared), 1 rooster (just dead with no sign of illness or attack), 2 buff pullets (both found dead on different days in the henhouse - possibly killed by a very large black snake) and 2 chicks (both died similarly - healthy one day, feeble the next, dead the next) 2 other chicks that were in with them are doing great.

Speaking of black snakes, there have been two in the henhouse lately. I suspected one when we stopped getting eggs. I've never seen two in the same henhouse. One of them is pretty big, over 5 ft., the other is average size. I've been trying, to no avail, to capture them for relocation. But they're slippery little buggers and I have a hefty fear of snakes. We haven't seen them in a few days but I don't doubt they're gone. We've tried several things but have a new plan to knock them out the hen door and into a trash can. I wouldn't mind them staying but with the cats de-mice-ing and de-mole-ing the place, there probably isn't much else for them to eat beside eggs. Plus I do believe the big one killed the 2 buff pullets.

In better news ... I was able to get a private Trade gathering started here a few months ago. It took a little while, I started trying last year, but it's up and running and doing wonderfully. It's just a few people getting together to trade amongst themselves but it really is working out better than I had hoped.

Then, just this month I was able to get a private little buying co-op going. Not as hard to get started as some of the other things, i think there was some fear and confusion at first but, while we still have things to work out, it's going along quite well and only a few weeks old.

If anyone is interested in starting anything like it in your area, please do! I think there are several very important reasons to have both ... folks working together, making new connections, trading and bartering, buying in bulk, talking and sharing, creating villages, etc, etc ....

Some most excellent news is that we've adopted a new LGD puppy. He's believed to be half Pyr and half Anatolian, he looks Irish wolfhoundish to me and someone else thought he looked Akbash. He was rescued by a woman who found him and his 3 siblings. The other 3 looked a mite better but no doubt had similar ailments. When we got Nemo he was recovering from mange, malnutrition, cuts, scrapes and gouges. The woman who rescued them put so much into them, I think they must dream of her at night with wings and a halo. I think Nemo would have died if not for her. He was the runt and the sickliest looking. Our friend Mona picked them up and transported them for us and all 4 were adopted :)

Nemo is thriving now. Fur growing back in, filling out, playing, smiling. And he's so good! He seems to know so much and has a calm, gentle, watchful and ever learning aura. I miss Leader terribly but I think he's still looking out for us and helping Nemo find his way too.

Another good news is that i broke down and finally got a market canopy. It was bloody expensive but the shade was worth so much and it's actually given me more display space. I'm able to hang jewelry and the little market purses to free up table space. As expensive as it was I think it will pay for itself in just a few market days. For one thing, we wouldn't be able to set up at Bakers without one. they require it.

I also ordered new business cards, I was almost out and now that we've found our home I can put more information on them as well.

And speaking of bounty :) We've been eating like kings lately. Fresh raspberries, wild salads, Daylily pancakes and waffles (Nik's favorite), grape leaves on burgers, a pot of wild greens, wild teas (mint, rose, raspberry) ....

Then there's the tiny bit we've gotten from the garden ... a little lettuce, a few peppers, tiny celery stalks. I never got the big garden in and have given up, somewhat, for this year. A couple of big spends (the canopy and the Blazer brakes) and no money left for the tiller belt. Hoe, shovel and pitchfork can get the job done and is. But there is so much else to do as well, with the move and need to get other things done soon and/or before winter... We did get tomatoes and several different peppers in. Garlic, which probably won't be ready until next spring. And, very importantly, herbs. I focused mainly on things i use most that I knew weren't here or couldn't find here. Feverfew, Wormwood, Echinacea (plenty around but not on our property), Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Melissa and others.

I've been able to go back to making my own wormer for the animals again. I'm hoping to have enough mugwort and wormwood dried to be able to sell some as well. And we'll have plenty of black walnut hulls come fall. I think it's important to stock plenty of these things too. Especially with goats.

I've also been harvesting and drying raspberry leaf, cinquefoil, red clover and black walnut leaves. the list would be longer but I'm out of drying room.

Even with the most difficult things here, I am in my bliss. I think it's really just perception and value. What we each perceive as valuable to us. Some folks see value in precious gems, I see precious gems on every limb, vine and stalk.


Kimmie said...

I have missed your posts :]

Moonflower said...

Sounds like everything is coming together for you an Nik so happy for you Life is Good.
I have had more Black Snakes this year then I have ever seen I have found the easiest way to catch them is with a rake then put in something to haul off. Good luck with all of your projects sounds like you all are busy all the time.
Take Care,

the wild magnolia said...

Your life is full and to be living your bliss, well there is nothing better! I see beauty in the same things.

I love reading your stories, the trading and co-op is so how we should all be approaching life.

Happy Sunday!

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Much Love,

Knitted Home said...

I love the idea of starting a trading group & buying co-op. I've glanced at one site for bulk-buying but didn't have anyone interested in splitting with me. What do you do to set up a trading group?