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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

4.18 & 4.21.14

It’s just after 3:00 pm and I’m just sitting down for some lunch. My lunch is leftover and reheated, steamed brown and white rice with a creamy, thick chicken gravy, fresh lemon thyme and black pepper. Delicious! 

This week has been very productive. Among other things I made 2 pints and 2 half pints of violet jelly, which is mighty delicious! and racked off 2 regular and 1 large bottle of mead from the first batch. I changed it a bit because of what I had ready so there’s 1 small each Elderberry mead from my tincture, Lemon mead from my own extract and a large Clove mead. I’m sure it won’t be drinkable by Beltane (which is what I meant instead of Ostara). It’s very strong and potent and I can’t wait until it truly becomes mead  :)

This month is going so fast! It seems like it just began and it’s already the 18th!

Nik got the tiller out for me and started it a few times to check it and get it going. I’ve made a lot of trades over the years, sometimes they kind of iffy, a few times I’ve been flat out ripped off but mostly they have been wonderful transactions for both sides. The tiller being among some of the best trades I’ve made.

So I’ll be getting to work on the gardens finally, I hope  *o*. I still haven’t gotten the onion sets in and I have several things to move from the veg garden to the big herb garden. Thankfully, most everything planted last year that should have come back has and is doing very well. A few things were lost, like the Valerian, which should have self seeded and had some good seed heads that dropped in plenty of time. Anyway, I’m thankful for what there is and will try again on what I need. Like the Thuja, which I found and thought had some wick in it but I guess it doesn’t after all.

Lunch is done and now I’m off to wash some dishes and make some pumpkin butter.

It’s now the 21st. The pumpkin butter turned out wonderfully and has been slathered on toast for breakfast for the last few days. I made 3 pints and we’ve already gone through the first one.

Tomorrow I’ll be picking up our 2 blueberry bushes and Thimleberries. I’m very excited to have them. I brought a blueberry when we moved here and got another the following summer but both were lost. The new Blueberries are larger and older than the others so will hopefully have a very good chance. Plus I have a better spot for them now in the orchard. The Thimbleberries are very precious to me and will hopefully do wonderfully and produce many amazing berries and leaves  :)

My ultimate goal will never change, it is … to live simply and in peace. But the getting there has changed many times and will do so many times more as I reckon it. We’ve gone back and forth on meat animals, what kind to raise etc… (I would prefer to do without meat altogether but Nik wants it and some of the animals need it).  We’re back to goats. In some ways I would prefer a cow and calf for milk and meat. Much more milk, harder cheeses and blessed Butter! Glorious delicious butter. But cows can be as hard on the land as goats and they can be harder to manage, especially on a smallholding like ours.

So we’re back to goats for milk and meat and will hopefully come across a very creamy doe soon. Our old Anya goat was very creamy and I made butter weekly with just what I skimmed. But our Pansy is not nearly as creamy and butter is very rare.

We’ll also have chickens for meat when we have enough to spare. Eggs are more important to be sure.

I’m in now for afternoon tea break. I’m having black tea with goat’s milk and violet jelly on commercial crackers. Then I’ll head back out to milk and finish a hammock.

We got the solar shower up and working. It’s not been hot enough to warm the water yet but it will get there. I’ll try to remember to take pictures to post.

We’re still working toward the inside shower too. By The Gods! I want a warm bath or shower inside in winter!!  So we’re back to looking for an electric waterheater and will change it over from the propane, which will be a little wonky but not too hard. That will give us a hot shower in winter until the bathroom floor can be set to hold the cast iron tub. And I’m going to start looking for something light enough to be able to drag in by the woodstove or something as a back-up tub where water can be heated on the stove, unless we can get the clawfoot into the bathroom first.

I’m done with crazy, dangerous, stinky propane and will soon have 1 new full tank and 1 old half full tank, plus a little propane stove once it’s cleaned up(which I took it in trade awhile back), to trade/barter/sell. I’ll take a primitive stick on fire any day!

But I’ll keep the old propane water heater and either use it for another solar water tank or a wood fired tank. Most likely the latter. I’m wanting to set up a gravity system that will warm in the sun and catch rainwater when needed, and feed inside to shower/bath and kitchen sink. A plastic barrel could do that job and leave the old tank to use as a wood heated tank for when there’s no sun in winter but I need a way to have it high enough for gravity and still safe and reachable for the wood fire under. It’s all doable :)

In my quest to find out more about our well and pump etc. I got some good and bad news. Good news is that the pump is only around 6 or 7 years old. And both good and bad news is that the well is less than 200 feet deep. Since I can’t do anything about the bad, I will focus on the good. We can get a manual hand pump set up pretty easily and have access to our water on or off grid. 

1 comment:

Jenny Sanders said...

Hi Juli, it's me, Jenny-the-Bear. If you are getting a bad smell from the propane, you have a leak somewhere. Properly connected, there should be no smell at all. Please check your connections, that's what can be dangerous. I've used propane for years, no smell, no trouble at all.