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, April 13, 2014

4.12.14

It’s been summer warm for the last few days. 88 here on Thursday. And very breezy. I’ve never lived anywhere as windy as often as it is here. We have a good place for solar and wind, and I so look forward to when we can move to that.

Last night I worked late into the evening and when I came out of my studio I was overcome with an intoxicating mix of scents from all the flowers blooming. I just stood for some minutes looking at the moon and starts and breathing in the sweet magic of life. A gentle reminder that everything comes around and all things are possible.

Our current batch of eggs in the incubator are due to hatch next weekend. I’ll be glad when the hatching is done for a while. Even so, turning this batch has been much faster. I used old paper egg cartons to make simplified egg turners. I just cut them to fit in sizes of 12 and 18 eggs each, cut notches between each egg cut for moisture and humidity, trim all excess so they fit to one another easily and close (so the eggs don’t drop hard) and make twice what I needed. When it’s time to turn the eggs just put an empty one on top, hold together and gently & slowly flip. I can turn 5 doz eggs in the time it took to turn 1 dozen individually. I’m keeping a little more water in than usual to compensate for the paper absorbing some. I’ve candled several times during and all 60 eggs are fertile and doing well. On the day they are to begin their rest in preparing to hatch I’ll remove them from the cartons just like from an automatic egg turner. We’ll see next weekend.

We’ve finished the main part of the new chicken pen and the ducks and first 9 chicks are loving it. We still have to put on a top and build the new hen house but they have shelter and won’t need the henhouse until later this summer.

And some strange chicken magic! Old Hen, who is around 14 years old now, has laid 5 eggs over last week. She’s not laid any since but those 4 are amazing. I wish they had been fertile so we could have some Old Hen babies. But we’ll save the blessed eggs for Ostara, an unexpected bounty to bring more of the same.

The first of the mead may also be ready for Ostara. Not as ready as it should be but ready enough to partake a little. I’m going to rack the first batch to 4 smaller bottles, flavor 3 with herbs and leave the 4th simple and dry.  The 3 will be 1 each Sage, Lavender and Melissa, and will be a bit sweeter. I’m hoping to be able to have a little of the dry for Ostara and leave the other 3 to age.

The next batch after is Pumpkin spice but the next batch, which I will start in about 2 weeks, will be very sweet winter mead acked off into 1 Elderberry, 1 Cinnamon & Ginger and maybe 1 flavored after racking with some homemade orange extract.

I’ve not had to water the orchard since the first day we planted the new trees and bushes. It has rained perfectly for them. First every day, then every other day or every few days. I wouldn’t have minded hauling the water, it’s worth it for the return of fruit and nuts some day, but what a gift of extra time and energy not to have to. The Service and Beauty berries are already leafing out  :)

The blueberries and thimbleberries should be here soon too.

Strange how dry things can get so quickly. Our road is already very dusty. More strange is how things in a closed pantry can get so dusty too.

We should have the solar shower rigged up by the end of the next week. I need help to work on it so it’s left for Nik’s days off. It’s nothing fancy at all, not as nice as our old one, but if it works I’ll be very happy.

I gathered up a passel of violets the other day, there’s an abundance of them this year. Got them in and rinsed and started steeping and then discovered I didn’t have any lemon juice. I was sure I did but nadda. So no jellies until I get some  :(   Does anyone know of a substitute for the lemon juice? I believe it’s only function is to prevent oxidization and improve color but gray violet jelly just wouldn’t be the same. And it may have a more important role as an acidic in canning the jellies. I’ll get some lemon juice soon and be making Violet, Dandelion and Sassafras bud jellies. I’m going to try making a small jar of Redbud jelly too.

Today I’m making cheese and may start some yogurt later, but that may wait until Monday.

I also need to make some soap. I’ve not made any in years and have been buying it. I do plan to make some as soon as the honeysuckle blooms, I’ve been wanting some honeysuckle oatmeal soap. Maybe grind up some rosehips to add to a few bars for my face soap as well. I have everything I need and just need to take the time.

My secret business venture goal has gotten a bit closer suddenly and unexpectedly. Anything can happen but anything is possible. We’ll see  :)  I’m very excited about it!

I’m not making house calls anymore unless it’s an emergency. I’m trying to figure out a way to host folks here to see. The cost of house calls has become overwhelming. People give what they can in trade but no one, including me, can spare even a few dollars for fuel costs, which I understand and place no blame. I’m hoping the above secret business venture will include something for that. Even so I’m trying to figure out some way to have a space here for them to visit without bringing it into the cottage. Things work as they should so I know it will work out.

Lastly, some folks have gotten together in the Gainesville area and started the Ozark County Homegrown Food Project. Jessi is heading it and I have high hopes for her and the whole thing. It’s about buying local and as truly local as possible. I’m so proud pf them!

There was a great article about it in the Ozark County Times April 2nd.   I believe great things will come from it.

This is something that has always been of great importance to me. I was hoping to be more a part of this but lack of internet has dampened that. Things are as they should be. I wish them the absolute greatest luck!!



1 comment:

JT Croteau said...

Glad to hear your spring is going so well. I'd love to try your mead sometime and learn to make my own.

- Tobit