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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wick, Chi, Life, Spark, Engergy

So much happens so quickly in my life it's hard to keep up with it all.

A few bummer things have happened. One of our Buff hens was killed. We're down to 10 Buff hens.

Also, we were very sick last week. very sick and it's lasted over a week. Not usual for either of us. We rarely get sick and when we do, are very quick to heal and recuperate. This is very different and unnerving.

We missed the last Bakers Creek of the year yesterday. I was very bummed but we're just not well enough to make it. I was also not sure I had enough gas to get there but I was going to try. Besides just loving to be there, it's hard hit to my finances. A loss of 200 or more this month. But, I always think things happen as they should so I will do what i do best, make do with what I have.

I got a letter from my homeowners insurance last week or so saying that they were dropping me for a nefarious "heat source" reason. According to the letter they were recently informed that we don't have a thermostatically controlled heat source. What the ... ?? Then 2 or 3 days later I got a letter from the same company saying they were dropping me because of lack of payment. A quick check online and I can plainly see that the payment came out just like it always does. But according to them they have no record of it so i have to send copies of the deduction, which I have to get from the bank because online doesn't have all the information they require *-* To make it all worse I was told that I could lose the house if it's not straightened out very soon. Way to much drama for me! I have spoken with the company and with my regular agent today and I believe it will be worked out but it is very vexing!

We were without communication for around 6 weeks. No landline, no cell phone, no internet. It was an odd situation that would take to much time to explain but the simple version is that I made a financial decision to have the landline temporarily turned off for 3 weeks. That somehow turned into the loss of all communication for 6 weeks. Now all 3 are straightened out again but I'm much more mindful of it all. Aside from not being able to communicate with a few people I care for out of driving distance, running my business and missing my blog, I was actually a bit easier to be without those things.

Aside from those things, life has been very good and getting better all the time :)

A few weeks ago there was a day it got up to 95 here so we loaded Star and Apollo in the blazer and took them to bathe in the river. It was a glorious day, the sun was bright and hot, the water clear and cold. We ended up just taking the whole day off, aside from regular chores we did almost no work. It was a wonderfully healing lazy day. And the dogs got a good last bath before winter! baths being baking soda. There's no name sign on the river but it's just a few miles from our house and usually very private.

Our hens have not been productive at all this year, (it actually started summer 2010). But after some research into some things, they're now laying wonderfully and we have eggs to spare again. We're averaging 9 eggs a day and it continues to go up. When all hens are laying their best again we should average a dozen a day. Right now the animals are getting most of them but I will be putting out the Eggs For Sale sign again very soon :) I discovered that they were not getting enough protein even tho they are fed very well and freerange.

Mr Pig will hopefully be getting his new love, Acorn, soon. A dear friend offered a little new female in trade for herbs and she'll be here in the next few weeks :) Mr Pig & Acorn will be our long term homestead pigs with the hopes that they're offspring will be a good boon to the homestead in meat and to sell and trade. Mr Pig has already proved to be an incredible boon in his tilling and clearing skills. If for no other reason, I will always want to keep a small pig as a very self sufficient garden tiller and clearer.

We may also be getting some mini Rex rabbits to start raising. Another dear friend decided to get rid of all of hers and offered them to us. I have been very interested in raising rabbits for about a year now as a homestead resource, possibly meat, definitely manure and hopefully a little money to help them pay their way and as trade. I am particularly interested in raising them in a colony, I'm not set up for that at all yet but that is my eventual goal.

Our next great thing is that i believe Thistle is pregnant! I believed she became pregnant last month so Hopefully, we'll have a couple of goatlings here next spring. My new plan is to sell our buck now (I'm a little afraid to until I'm surer but ...) and every spring trade or buy a new buckling to raise here during the summer for mating and selling in the fall. That way we don't have to keep and feed a buck through the winter. However, aside from wanting to be positive Thistle is pregnant before selling him, we are also quite attached to him. He's one of the sweetest, gentlest goats we've ever had. Which is even another reason to keep him, he has excellent milking lines, a beautiful coat and structure and his wonderful temperament to pass onto his kids. On the other hand, because of all those things being passed onto his kids, I want to keep the females for our milking goats. I don't want to raise a herd but my plan is to have 2 to 3 milking does and spring kids to sell and trade. Possibly also for meat.

Hopefully we'll be adding poultry to the list of things we can trade and sell and, by next late spring, the homestead will start making a little more. Not that it doesn't already hold it's own and more. With almost no work it has provided us with so much. It is a loving, living, fertile place.

Another wonderful boon has been that some other dear friends (we have a lot of dear friends :) ) Gave us a bunch of venison again! We would not have red meat at all if not for them. Our first meal of this venison was venison stew. I cut up around 3 cups worth and browned it in a little olive oil. To the crock pot I added cut up potatoes, carrots, green beans, herbs, spices, onion ... and covered with water. Turned on high while the meat brown then added the meat and what little juice, turned on low and cooked all day. We had been very sick all week and this was the perfect meal. Just before serving I added a couple of tablespoons of some dried mixed greens I had dried in summer just to add to soups and stews. I'll have to double check but it contains dandelion, lambs quarters, plantain, lettuces, dock, spinach and maybe clover.

Last time we got venison I tried jerkey, it did not go well but the dogs did not complain. I intend to try again but I will slightly cook the jerkey first, then marinate then dry. the first batch looked to raw and I could smell the blood still in it.

I have not gotten much sewn, another top/dress and mended a few things. I am endeavoring to make my own underpants and possibly try a short or long sleeved top soon. But my next main project is a pair of pants for Nik. I'm just going to try a pair of house pants and use one of his as a pattern. I've searched online for free Amish clothing patterns but found none. I have noticed how simple and straight forward they seem to be and i would like to see if the concept is something I can use for making winter clothing etc.

I think we're getting a new Trade Gathering up. I've been trading with other vendors and made some wonderful trades, the most recent were ... bread for a large bag of green beans, bread for soap, herbs for soaps and breads for fresh greens. But we also need a regular and dependable trade gathering, which was to be last month but because of lack of communication will officially start this month. I'm greatly looking forward to it. Good folk coming together to trade and barter goods, share food (it's always a potluck) and commune :) It's a mighty good thing.

The breads have been selling marvelously! I think I have found my new business. I have had to remake my business to suit what folks want to what I can do more than once. It's always a bit scary for me because I get used to one thing and even if sales fall off, it's still what i know ... But I do so love to bake and it goes with the other things too. My new business signature is "Homegrown & Handmade" that pretty much covers everything :)

I do get breaded our because I make bread all the time now but I still love and love that I'm making a little money again. The current bread list is ...

Old World Honey Sage
Cinnamon Pumpkin (muffins)
Italian Herb
Apple Cinnamon (muffins)
Rosemary Parmesan
Cinnamon & Sugar

The pumpkin and honey sage are the best sellers, one day I sold out of the honey sage bread before I could even get to market. I stopped at a little store on the way and a regular customer asked if I had any Honey sage, I said yes and he said "I'll take them all". I gave him a good discount and 2 pumpkin muffins as well :)

I'm actually saving up money for fuel so that Nik can get a job in town. I need to save up enough for fuel for 2 weeks at least tho so I can get him there and back until he starts getting paid. I may still also have to work in town but we'll see. One of the very few drawbacks to living so far out is fuel costs.

We still have no heat but hopefully will by this coming weekend. Finally!! Thankfully it hasn't been to cold here yet and we are naturally warm people but it has been a big worry to get it done. For one thing, if TSHTF tomorrow, we wouldn't have any way to heat, cook etc etc etc, inside. So that will be a huge relief!!!

The next big and important project is getting the bathtub inside. We haven't been able to shower in the solar shower for over a month and hauling boiling water out to the tub is dangerous and a pain. It takes quite a bit of hot water just the heat the tub enough that it won't cool down the bath water, then we have to haul out the boiling bath water. We have to figure out how to remove the nonworking waterheater and the shower stall completely and then get the tub in through 2 small and very close doors on an angle. The it's hooking a drain pipe and running it through a pipe in the floor that just drains under the house or cut a hole for it in the wall and run it out to the Queens Bridge, where the indoor washer water runs. I would like to eventually get a working electric waterheater set up in the back room with pipes running to the tub and sinks but that's much later and not a necessity at all.

There's so much more I want to write about, like the accidental pear wine, molasses crystallized ginger, clarified butter, hot rocks, the Wild Moon Coop, .... but those are for another time I guess. Tomorrow I plan to get some pictures posted. But for now I'm off to get supper started.


the wild magnolia said...

So happy for the update. Hope you both continue to recover rapidly.

I am always up for the latest Wild Moon Cottage news.

I wish you a successful fall and winter.

Thank you for sharing.

Akannie said...

Oh Juli--

We lost a Rhodie and a Buff this year to a marauding raccoon. Heartbreaking. And my chickens are penned (too many neighborhood dogs) but they haven't been laying much at all the past month. I feed them layer feed and scratch grains...not sure what's going on except freaky weather. (I'm about an hour and a half east of St Louis).

You're an inspiration. I love reading your blog.

Tango said...

I'm so happy to read your update and hope that you two will feel better quickly. Looks like you have a lot going on... a lot of GOOD things going on.

willow said...

hi juli. sorry to hear of your bad run of events and hope you're getting better every day. mark and i had a nasty virus that took weeks to get over. glad you are back and i am back as i always enjoyed reading your blog.

Granny Sue said...

Wow, have you been busy. It sounds like life is full--good things, bad things, irritating things, all life. I would sure love to taste some of those good breads.

Stay well, Juli.