Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays? What??

The whole argument is getting ridiculous.

This whole thing is about Christmas, period. The retailers all know it and have been working on "marketing" at us for at least 70 plus years. Ok. So it's Christmas. Say Merry Christmas, that is after all what it is. This whole thing has blown up because it's about the advertisers targeting for this time of year. Do they target their marketing at Ramadan? No. Kwanzaa? Not really. Hanukkah? A bit more but only because we are by and large a Judeo Christian society.

Those other religions have their times, relatively unmolested as it pertains to what and when they celebrate. So why should the Christians have to "share" their religion or have it co opted just because of the marketing thing? Because really, that is what it has all come down to. If everyone wants a fair shot then lets not take the Christian aspect out of it by saying something other than Merry Christmas, or worse, trying to make it "less" somehow by including everyone into the mix. Let's instead let everyone have their own time AT their own times and leave well enough alone. Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Hanukkah and Christmas.

This is getting really silly. I love the fact it's Christmas, say Merry Christmas...and guess what!? I'm not Christian. And wow, I'm not the least bit offended by it. I think it a beautiful time and fully respect the Christian worship of this time. Let's find something else to worry about. Like how the heck we are going to get out of this economic mess the government has gotten us into over the course of 50 years while we were worrying over whether or not to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Sheesh.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Living Outside the Dialectic: An open letter to all members of local Tea Parties...

I have found an article that is one of the most enlightening pieces I have ever read. It answers so many issues and questions. I highly recommend this. Long read, well worth it. Our very liberty depends on understanding.

Living Outside the Dialectic: An open letter to all members of local Tea Parties...: "An open letter to all members of local Tea Parties from the co-founder of the Anti Communitarian League Every policy the Tea Party has prot..."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Protect Local Food Sources - Call Your Senators Now!

Please go to the link below and check out the information on how to get in touch with your Senators. If they will listen of course. Sheesh, they are ALL too damn busy trying to save their hides.

Anyway. Onward.

We HAVE to stop this bill! If we do not, then we will have even more restrictions on our liberties, the least of which is choice in healthier and SAFER foods direct from the smaller farmers and ranchers. That big egg recall, remember it? Huge death farms for chickens, and hugely unhealthy. Think the FDA checked em out like they were supposed to? What the hell do we fund such a sham bureaucratic outfit for?? Well, because of that farce, this damn bill may go forward and be passed.

PLEASE check out the link and look into this. Bad news coming down the pike from the federal government taking over even more of our lives. No more buying jelly from the little farmers market. No more buying local honey for your allergies. No more anything if these bastards get away with this.

This is not about public safety, it's about control by the lobbyists for big agriculture squeezing out the little guy because they don't like the competition. Too many farmers markets, too many people waking up to the fact we have been being poisoned by all the chemicals and antibiotics in the food chain for the last 50-60 years. Look at how far removed we have become from our food? 3-5 generations ago the farms and the ranches have been being abondoned. We have so few of them left! Lets not let the feds take them all away from us.


Protect Local Food Sources - Call Your Senators Now!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Cute" Animals as Food

"Rabbits and Guinea Pigs! Are you serious!! No way!! You mean old beastie you!" (or worse names, just check out some of the comment posts to me from my husbands sister Lori on rabbits, but anyway...) We happen to have a meat rabbitry, not the Guinea Pigs. They are national favorites in Peru though, right along with their potatoes. Uh oh, better boycott them!

Yeah, right. Whatever.

I have to talk a bit about people who are SO freaked out over this concept of raising small animals for meat. I have to point a few things out.

Our ancestors did not survive as vegetarians. They survived and thrived as omnivores. Hunter/gatherers definitely did not do without in the "meat as protein" department. Those who made farming their mainstay still had to have sources of protein in meat in order to survive a variety of natural occurrences (such as winter, or winter after a drought and crops failed etc) Whatever, the farmers still ate meat as well.

So while in our age of information vegans have learned how best to survive without meat as protein, more power to them if that is what they choose to do. I don't yell and scream at them and accuse them of being plant killers. I mean seriously. Plants are very important now aren't they? They provide Oxygen and consume Carbon Dioxide. Pretty important stuff there.

Anyway, some vegans choose it for conscientious reasons, some for health...whatever the reason, fine...for them. But I will say, it is very difficult to grow your own food if you don't have the land. I mean ALL the food. What to do if the food grid fails? Have enough land to support yourself with just vegan fair, for a year? Probably not. Anyway, I digress a bit.

The problem I have is anyone getting seriously fussy with anyone who raises rabbits for meat (as well as goats for milk and meat and chickens) The garden part seems to be fine because hey, that's normal. The goats too (mostly) But rabbits??? Egads! Chickens even, that seems fine with most but let me tell you...those chickens are 10 times brighter than the real prey animal, rabbit. And there have been stories of silly people asking "Where do you get your eggs" Uh...from my chickens. "Really!? I get mine from the store!"

Or the gal who was buying farm fresh eggs and loving it until she found out the farmers wife washed them by hand before selling them. Because they come out of the "vent" Which is also the poop spot (different chutes, but still) She freaked out and went to back to buying them from the store. Uh...those eggs also come out of the vent and they wash them too I reckon, one hopes. Same thing...I'm digressing again, sorry.

Our western culture is horrified by the thought of cute critters because we must not get our hands dirty (those who are meat eaters even freak out over this because it's not normal, not from the *gasp* GROCERY STORE!? EGADS!) or we get TOTALLY freaked by the thought of eating Peter Cottontail. We as a society are and have been WAAY too removed from our food. Weird, isn't it? And eeekk!! What about all those eggs!? They might have been chickens! Cute little fuzzy chickens! Sorry...I'm running into digression again. Can't be helped.

I'm going to venture a big guess here and think that even those who settled this country from Europe didn't let that pesky little problem of Peter Cottontail get in their way of survival, let alone the natives who were here already. I'll just bet they hadn't had all that cute Easter Marketing. Or rather, being marketed AT - like how we constantly are in this lovely information age.

I could get started on the big agri "farms/ranches" and how they are ruining the food supplies for us all, omnivores and vegans alike...but I'd better stop digressing. I'll be addressing that another time. But in the meantime, I know what is going into these rabbits and chickens and goats. And what is hormones, antibiotics, etc. My animals are all in healthy large cages and yards and have nesting materials with lots of room to stretch, not tiny little cages with no room to move or in huge broods where they can't move. And when they are cleaned after slaughter they are not sitting in their own feces and blood for hours while "being chilled" - Yep, that's what they do with chickens. Gotta get mass production out there for those masses...even the "organic" chicken.

Just some thoughts for the day. Still more to come as it pertains to my husbands sister. I need to get some of my home grown herbs ready for more cheese. Yeah, that would be cheese from my goats.

I think some people thrive on anger, hatred and bitterness, don't you? Why do they act that way otherwise? More thoughts later.

As Hank Williams sings "Mind your own business, then you won't be minding mine."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Insanity in Families - a discussion

5/26/2016 -------I now have an update....more has come in, as it always does with this woman. I will direct those interested to see my new post on it with all the lovely details. It has been bad for years but got much worse with the more daily usage of facebook. Lori also now has been seriously harassing my daughter. So. I will now start sharing everything she has been doing. Like I said, this has been ongoing for years and she just will not stop. So, I am sharing it all. Here is the new post::

I wanted to put this up so that when I start responding to it folks will have time to digest what this is.

It's a comment from my other art blog as it pertains to this farm blog (I had linked one of these articles to the art blog for more viewing) My husband's sister Lori Wasankari Allen left this lovely little ditty. It has now sparked me to discuss and refute and all that jazz a wide variety of topics which I will be sharing in the days to come. As it is right now, I do have an awful lot to do in taking care of our little micro farm. But in the meantime....

Enjoy the rantings and lunatic ravings. There is a lot that needs to be said and I'm tired of this woman harassing me. So...more to come in the days to come.

Blogger Lorirae said...
Great Work ! I applaud you & Joel for not living off the Govt. Especially since the good ole' Govt. must take care of Joel's son, Adam, insane as he is ! So sad. At least Joel does not mind, in fact, probably Enjoys :) ! killing fuzzy bunnies and eating them. I would suggest you and he look into killing & eating Rats ! They are at least not so cute as a bunny ! But, what the hell, who cares about Cute, just keep Govt. OUT of Our Lives ! As long as Joel does not have to Care about his own Son with his own Money, God Forbid !! Family, moral, ethical responsibility ? Hell No ! Not for Joel.

Oh, try researching some recipes, perhaps Shepherd's pie ! I heard you are good at producing puppies ! They are probably pretty good cooked with some potatoes and carrots. But, PLEASE Chris, DO NOT over cook the Damn Food, When it all get too mushy we can't tell the animal from the Veggie ! And then What ? Accuse me of being a damn Liberal Vegetarian, Damn Straight ! Keep my Meat separate from my Vegetables, and my Wife's pussy from my Dick, 'cause we are all SO Damn American! Smile, as you hear the Rabbit Scream, Look Into ITS eyes, and Thank HIM for your LIFE. Go to Hell Very Soon and Stop your Suffering and Waste upon This Earth of MINE !!

My Taxes support Your Sorry Asses, and I am sick of it and YOU!

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It is very wise of you and your husband to try and support yourselves without Government help ! I applaud you for this, especially since your son, Adam, R

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Yep, a chef was willing to give slugs a go!

My last post about slugs was obviously tongue in cheek :-) You'd think the person who posted the nasty comment would get it. But she has an agenda of hate and bitterness so she missed it. I mean really...whew. But I DID find something rather interesting by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in England:

Gill's slug satay recipe

It is well worth the watch and funny to boot.

Lori, hope you enjoy the video!

There is more to come!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Slugs - At least they are edible

After they get done with my lettuce that is. When considering eating slugs, let them take over your lettuce patch first. Cleans them out great and a nice purge is needed first. I had to go and research this first because I am at my wits end with these guys!!

These critters are so frustrating I could scream! We don't have regular slugs here in Washington States temperate rain forest (Twilight Land for those who don't know about the rain forests out here) Anyway, the slugs we have can get up to 10" long. No kidding. Most are around 5-8" long, but whose counting when you have hundreds of thousands of the bastards.

I have been trying my darnedest to stay natural and organic with this one. Eggshells...need much more grinding up. Large pieces they cruise right over (they are quite large themselves, after all). So I used my blender. That doesn't work real well. It all stays down in the well and it's a fussing match to get it all out. So I will use my food processor next. I do have a reasonable sized flock of chickens and get close to a dozen eggs a day. So will revisit that...with the food processor.

Speaking of chickens, I read in Mother Earth News that a few folks use their chickens and ducks for slug control patrol. My chickens won't even go near the big beasts. The little jelly bean sized slugs they will occasionally eat, but then they are reminded of the glue goo stuck on beak so will not try that again soon. The big ones?? No way. I know this from experience. I was so pleased with myself a couple of years ago. FREE protein for the birds and slug problem down to a dull roar! How perfect a solution.

Right. I gathered a full and heaping dinner sized plate full from my front herb garden area one evening (I'm not kidding) I got these creeps in just about 15 minutes or so. I sang and danced my way out to the chickens with their delicious gourmet meal. They all ran over to check it out...and then turned around and left. Seriously. I then took one off the plate and put it in front of a girl. She dignified that act with a decidedly nasty look and turned around and left. Slowly and with indifference. Ok, so then I chopped one of these huge slugs in front of more chickens. They checked it out, decided it wasn't worth the gluey beak and just left it there. To be wasted. I was stunned. They are spoiled and much prefer the delicacy of worms I guess.

Ducks might do the trick because I know they adore slugs...but how to protect the little plants until they are large enough to withstand being stomped by the big birds? I'm in a quandary.

Until I get ducks (maybe never) I guess I can go back out and gather them up and fry them up for my dogs. It's worth the experiment right? And they ARE full of protein...most dogs don't put their noses up to that quite like the chickens did.

I'm sure my husband will NOT go for us trying it out any time soon. He's really an open minded kind of guy. With limits that is, and believe me, he makes them up as we go. I made the suggestion and it sort of fell flatter than a fleet of lead balloons. :-)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

History at Sekiu

I love learning everything I can about the area in which I live. When I come across a site that shares information and pictures so readily I will eagerly share them. Thank you Craig Magnuson! -- Click to see some amazing pictures of the area back in the 30's and 40's

And click here to see what it looks like today:

This IS my favorite place out here. I feel fortunate to live here. :-)

Friday, June 25, 2010


Shane, Amy, Cassie, Sandy and Lily

I really need to get some pictures up of my girls in milk or a video maybe. Just need to get my family to cooperate with me. More on that later!

My main reason for jumping in and babbling about goats milk is to try my darndest to dispel those silly but persistent rumor myths out there that goats milk tastes yucky. IT DOESN'T!!

There is positively no discernible difference at all between it and cow milk. None! If you take care of the feeding of the animal and don't feed it weird yucky weeds (they stay away from those naturally anyway) and keep the diets have fantastic milk. Period.

This is our first time of trying this and we've learned some interesting things along the way. We had our little suburban silly fears of what goats milk is and what it might taste like. Fears about making sure it's pasteurized and not raw because it's just too scary!! Bologna!!

We pasteurized our first three gallons back in late March and never did it again. When we got the milk straight out of the girls, we tried it warm and it was fantastic. First try ever of goats milk too by the way. So we saved up enough to pasturize and that is when it tasted a little "off" Not bad mind you...just a little off. So we thought ok, fear be damned, we'll do it raw (after the correct cooling - 40 degrees with an hour/hour and half.

We have never gone back. It's sweet, it's rich and it's better than anything else I've ever had.

So no matter how hard it can be getting out there twice a day to milk the two girls...the almost two gallons a day I get are well worth it. We are keeping the one little girl born this spring so that next year we will have three milkers. Then I can do all the soap, cheese, yogurt and milk I want. If I'm really crazy I may keep even one more the following year.

By the way...My girls are 1/2 Boar, 1/4 Nubian and 1/4 La Manche. Nice little mix for both meat and for milk. I'm very happy with my girls!!

Except when they get out and get in my garden. Humph! Then I'm none too happy LOL!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Starting some herb and goat cheese!

I'm going to be putting together some goat cheese and fresh herb combo's here in the next few hours. I hope. :-)

Pictured here are Candy Mint, Garlic Chives, Oregano, Bronze Leaf Fennel fronds and Sage. I'll try and get some pictures of the cheese as it's being done.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lost a Chicken

Well phooie.

We have been pretty well spoiled over the course of two years by having the shepherds be a nice little (big) deterrent by proxy. The wild critters know full we have all these big scary beasts SOMEWHERE on the property, just not sure where. So by and large it has worked to protect the flock of chickens and the goats. Rabbits...not so much as the rabbitry is pretty far removed from the dogs. But they have sturdy cages, so hope abounds there.

Anyway, last night the critters knew exactly where the dogs were not. Anywhere near the chicken coop. And when they find that out and you don't have the door latched...guess what happens? We were lucky to lose just one and no eggs. One hen. Not fun and not nice but at least it was only one and it wasn't the rooster. Whew. I would be out getting rooster number 4. They are usually the ones biting the bullet in protection of the girls.

I hate it when this happens. Learning by the death of an animal. Makes me cranky. Never mind it's all my fault and we sat on our laurels a bit too long. The critter in question here I think is a momma raccoon because holy moly there was not much left. I'm assuming she was trying to drag it away to feed babes because only one was taken and it was pretty much demolished against the fence. They tried like heck to pull it through but didn't make it. So they ate it through the fence. Could be a mink or a weasel to be sure...but what ever it was will not get away with this again.

Whew. Shocking sight to say the least.

Tonight the chickens will be all locked up and cozy and two of the dogs will be placed in that section of the yard because I know full well momma raccoon will come back. Easy pickings right? I would if I were her. So hopefully she makes it out alive tonight and her babes will not be motherless. Hopefully she realizes she can't get it done and doesn't even try to get in the fence.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Basil and I have issues

I love basil. One of the most useful and tasty of herbs. Easy to grow so "they" say.

My rear end. My basil hates me. I lovingly planted seeds, they all came up then died. I put them out in the sun (protected by a nice little cold frame) and they croaked. Humph.

I bought some healthy plants at the nursery. Lovely specimens. I brought them in each evening so the slugs would not be dining on them. The nights were cold. I babied the heck out of them. Then it warms up, time to go out in a lovingly tended pot with lots of natural plant goodies, worm casting from our red worms being the least of it. All of those basil plants went and croaked too.

I've come to the conclusion (after digging around in my psyche and trying to find a little zen bubble to relax and breath in so I don't lose my temper) that I was not meant to have basil for some reason. Still working on the reason part. I'm baffled. Humph.

I'm also having trouble with Rosemary. I figured that one out though. The northwest, especially the part I live in is too wet (120" plus a year) to plant the herb direct into the ground. If one has sandy well drained soil with a micro climate of a house for it to thrive near, fine. I don't happen to have that. But when I forget to get it out of pots and into the ground it lives. Put it in the ground it dies. So I learn these lessons the hard way over the course of a few years and too much money later. Damned irritating. So I got it this time. Finally. Have one plant that needed rescuing, but I'm pretty sure I got it.

To have a little fun and inject some humor into the whole thing I've decided for a short amount of time to get into minimalism. As an artist, that is terribly difficult for me to do. Usually I pack too much in, whether painting or planting. So this is my attempt at minimalism. Until I stuff some HARDY seeds in and plant bamboo stakes in as well to protect from all my doggone animals. Cats and little dogs. Just about as destructive as my four big dogs. Humph.

I'm turning into a curmudgeon. It can't be helped.

Those little dogs that seem to think it's a blast to dig and rip and tear.

Minimalist Rosemary that was rescued out of the garden.

Minimalist Parsley

Mountain Basil that died off.

Large leave basil that died off as well.

Comfrey will be planted all over the place in the front. It's just about the only thing that can't be killed by all my animals. The goats, rabbits and chickens will really benefit, so all is good that direction. So some good will come out of all this, right??


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rabbits for Meat

I finally have all my stock lined up in such a way as to do a run once a week. With an average of 7 per liter I'm looking at about 1440 pounds of meat in a year. Not bad. Would like to see the liters larger and or survival rate higher, but this is what my numbers told me for last year. So average of 7 is my starting point.

The dogs benefit as well because I won't be buying them nearly the quantity of commercial dog food. I'm going from 5 bags of dog food for the 4 German Shepherds to just one. I'd like not to buy the one at all because I'm unhappy with commercial dog foods, period. We'll see if I can get it down to no commercial dog food.

The pictures below are of some our crew. We have 11 breeding females (doe's) and 3 breeding bucks. Only three of the doe's are without liters currently, two of those are pregnant (we hope) We just moved a liter through yesterday, they are out in the cooler and hopefully we will have some smoked rabbit on Monday or Tuesday. The most amazing meat I've ever had! ...mmmm mmmm mmmm! I cut all the meat from the bones and throw the bones into two large crockpots for stock and to get the bones softened down real nice to grind up for the dogs. Included here are also two other dishes I've prepared: Braised Rosemary Rabbit and Apple Pepper Rabbit. Incredible! :-)

This liter was the largest we've had yet. 12 born, 11 survived. We will be keeping a female from this group to try and replicate the propensity for larger liters.

Momma Rosy and her 8 kits.

A new little nest of babes, about 2 weeks old.

Though we have two water bottles per cage, they still feel the need to bunch in and get squashed. Really funny and sweet little babes.

Braised Rosemary Chicken in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Apple Pepper Rabbit, ready for the oven.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Because I haven't posted anything new on my dogs I thought I'd share just a wee bit of the goings on around here. Big dogs playing and stretching (exciting I know) and the wee one investigating new baby goat. Just a little fun on the farm.

Steve checking out our little buddy JJ in Dad's lap.

Wolfgang, looking scary early in the morning. He is the most wolfish looking of our crew.

Wolfgang, Sasha and Diego watching the goats being let out for some browse. Watching with intent even. :-)

Cheyenne at the back taking off to pick up a bigger stick (log) and Wolfgang getting ready to wrestle Dad Diego as he stretches.

Everyone in the fray of play - can't get in to visit goats so might as well get the energy out somewhere :-)

And last but not least...a little of what our poor little Steve was subjected to. Same day as the photo above of Steve snuggling with baby JJ. A friend of mine likened it to "Chihuahua or Squeaky Door?" Fun!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More new babies

Sandy and JJ Jackson - 5 hours old

First real nap they've had since being born. Exhausting!

Joel loving up his new boy JJ Jackson

Sandy and JJ Jackson at about an hour old.

Miss Lily Sassy Pants Ornery Goat had her babies too! On March 21st as a matter of fact, but I'm running behind and by the seat of my pants as usual o.O are our newest members of the herd, Sandy and JJ Jackson. Lily has not accepted JJ Jackson, the black one. When we came out to the barn at 5 AM to check on Lily they had both been born already. She was laying down cleaning the lighter one, Sandy but the black one was wondering around toward the top crying with all his birth goo still on him. My husband was horrified we might lose him because it was cold and brought him into the house to dry him up real quick. Turns out we probably should not have done that. We SHOULD have put him to momma so she could recognize she had him and get him cleaned up. If a goat doesn't do that then they don't really realize they just had a baby. Silly I know. Don't ever let anyone convince you that goats are as smart as dogs. They most assuredly are not.

So miss Lily has not taken to her second boy. He did get his first 4 days of colostrum because I forced the issue but he has since been moved out of the main barn for his protection. More on that in the next post. In the mean time, here are the new pictures and video!

The last video has my rooster adding to the dialog!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Babies!

It's been a while since I've posted. What's new right? Well new babies is what's new! We had our first set born on the 16th of March and the second set on the 21st of March.

This first set are a boy and a girl, both of whom we will be keeping. Cassie the little brown one is the girl and the white one, Shane. Shane will be our new buck so we can continue in the milk after having to dispatch our sweet boy Jack. Sad day. But anyway, he was a good boy and gave us four new babies.

Here are the first two and momma Amelia. Our daughter Heather is in little goat heaven! Note Amelia still has the birth goo, the babies are just one hour old here!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learning the hard way

Well. I guess I'm going to have to admit that I really did learn the hard way. Darn it. I HATE having to learn the hard way. But I guess the upside to this is that I at least learned. And perhaps anyone at all who is thinking about goats might read this and realize they might not have to learn the hard way. Like I did.

What the heck am I talking about you ask???

Yes, goats. Bucks in particular. We are probably going to have to dispatch our yearling buck. He will not stay out of the girls pen. That is where we made our mistake. We did not realize that we should have separated him out from the start. We got the three goats, two doelings and buckling when they were 2 weeks old. He was adorable. He is still sweet but not so adorable anymore.

I'm not happy about this at all.

But we will try again with another buck and probably a wether to keep him company so we can still have milk and babies next year. These will start out separated from the starting gate.

I'm definitely sad this evening. :-(

Do not ever, ever run your young bucks with your does and think you can separate them at a later date. We did it because we felt sorry for the buck. We figured it would all work itself out in the end. Nope. Goats are herd animals. They need companionship and will go to great lengths or die to get it.

This sucks. :-( We did our sweet boy Jack a great diservice.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Be Careful Washing dishes

Wow. It has been a while since I have posted here. Busy!! But I wanted to drop in a quickie to say be very careful washing glass cups by hand. Especially the cheap crap we are forced to buy (unless we look higher and lower than ever before - hard to do out here in the rural areas) from China.

I won't be buying anymore cheap crap from China anyway. I'm sick of it. Another story for another day but suffice it to say I threw away (or at least designated them for a different use) all these cheap crap drinking glasses. Probably will be used for candles or something. I can't seem to throw anything away. But they will NOT be used as drinking glasses. And actually, now that I think about it, they might be too cheap to even have a candle sitting in them. Ok, maybe out on the deck only. Sheesh.

Why? Because while I'm washing one it breaks in my hands. Just like that. And just like that I'm in the process of scrubbing and it cut the holy heck out of my hand. I thought my whole thumb was severed off. Scared the bejabbers out of me. What a stupid and so unnecessary accident. >:(

I had to go to the emergency room (thanks to a sweet heart neighbor) to get sewn up. 4 stitches (probably should have been 5) I can't do dishes and can barely type. Amazing how much your wound and actually the whole area aches after something like that. Weird.

But that really was stupid. And of course it's the one day my husband has to drive to work and I don't have the car. See how weird this can get if you are not careful? LOL.

Anyway, it is prudent to be as careful as you can when living way out in the rurals like we do. Stupid and fully unexpected accidents can and do happen.

Will hopefully be posting some of our newest goings on that I have been unable to get to these last few weeks. Lots to share!

My hand is sore, enough typing for now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whole grain breads baked at home by Richard Blunt Issue #112

Whole grain breads baked at home by Richard Blunt Issue #112

I am going to be starting up some starters for sour dough here directly. This is a great resource to learn from thus far.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some humor needed

Never one to be bored around here, I thought I'd share a little humor. If I don't I may very well go mad.

I have 5 dogs. 4 German Shepherds and one Chihuahua. Formal introductions are Cheyenne, Diego, Wolfgang and Sasha the Shepherds and Steve...the little guy. The one that seems like it's a real dog...only smaller.

Anyway I digress (and will never stop it seems)

We have to prepare this bedding material for our specialized composting worms. As I stated earlier we are starting up a worm farm with Red Wigglers and European Night crawlers. We probably have about 25-30 pounds of them and they all needed bedding. The bedding consists mostly of shredded cardboard, newspaper and peat moss. It is murder on your hands and wrists to sit and shred cardboard. No matter how good the movie is, one cannot sit and shred too much cardboard at night without damaging body parts.

So I thought, "Hey! Too bad we couldn't give these to the dogs to do for us!" They destroy everything else, like brand new water buckets. Not the one that is already chewed to smithereens but still hold water. No. The brand new one. Only this time it is toast, no more, nadda. Enough to piss off the pope I tell you. (another moment of digression)

So I think I'm positively clever in my thought here. Give the dogs all the card board they can abuse for toys and we get the benefits. Works great in theory. Probably why most theories sort of stay as theories. Right after the picture below was rained. And our card board turned to muddy muck. So next time I shall have to stay out there with them and play instead of think I can get several things done at once and run off and space out my cardboard. Humph.

Here are some of the results of our experiment.

This is Steve, my fearless Chihuahua...thinking he really wants to get into the action of tearing up cardboard too. "See how great a job I can do Momma!? I can tear toys up with the best of them! Just not out there WITH them, I might get stepped on."

Yes, his tail is wagging to beat the band. And no, there was not enough left of the toy for a decent burial. Not really. If I'm in the mood to pick up a bunch of card board from the floor I may very well give this little boy a try. Better than gooey muck I guess.

My doggone dogs!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Smoked rabbit meat

We smoked 7 rabbits last weekend and it was the most amazing thing I've ever had. The smoked rabbit was so amazing that it will be what I will be doing with at least half of every litter on upcoming butcher day. We experimented with making jerky and it was positively divine. Not quite jerky, but small and portable to take to the beach or picnics quite nicely. I'm very happy with the turn out.

A lovely day to smoke rabbit right? Though it looks a bit ominous, it was surprisingly warm. California is getting all the awful weather we normally get.

In process, about an hour or so into it.

One of the bowls from the smoker, fully cooked and lovely.

Plated up smoked rabbit. Mmmm, mmm the best!

Our home brewed Mead. I used some of this in the brine I prepared for the rabbit meat. Out of this world delicious.

Little do they know! But they hung around with us anyway. :-)

Bones and stock bubbling for the dogs.

This is the meat from the carcasses that would not come of nicely for cutting up to smoke. So I gently bubbled it with onions and home canned applesauce to slip beautifully off the bone and give me some fantastic stock! The bones afterward went into a mixture for the dogs. We pressure cook or crock pot the bones down to pure softness and incorporate that into the dogs food. They also get all the guts and heads. Spoiled dogs no?

Here is the beast in action. Not at all pretty, but was free right? And it holds a lot.

I sat down today and figured out that I can run enough rabbit over the course of this next year with doe's we now have to breeding age. We have 10 does and 3 bucks. The bucks only because I'm going to try a genetic run of black furs as all my others are tan, red and various mixtures of white and such.

Anyway. With this herd I should be able to start having a run of production to go once a week. With an average of 7 kits (due to attrition, blah blah...figures from 2009) and the 10 does I should have around 1400 lbs of meat by the end of the year.

I still have 4 more litters right now working their way into production. I'm excited this is working out so far. Some hiccups and fits and starts but not bad. And by using every single part of the rabbit there is no waste at all. Will be looking at ways to get my furs tanned and prepared and get the feet and tails cleaned up for production too. We throw nothing away.

Next time I'll share a bit on our worms and how that is going!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Butcher Day

Well, we had a group that needed to be moved through yesterday and we finally found a reasonable way to do so many of them at once. Though we have been doing this for a year, we are still relatively new at it. We have only butchered about 75 rabbits or so over the course of this last year, 2009. It's never easy. We make sure not to make friends with them, we make sure not to give any extra attention outside feeding and watering. But it's STILL tough.

We always say a prayer for each rabbit on butcher day. It's the least we can do. 

But, I have to say yesterday was by far the easiest. My husband does the dispatching of each rabbit. This time he did them all one at a time and put them straight into a large cooler. After seven necks were broken we moved the coolor up to the dressing area (an old swing set, works great!) We used to do say, two or three at a time. From dispatching up to dressing out completely and that was just too hard on my husband. That is by far the hardest part for us. I can't even watch. Sheesh.

Butchering rabbits is much tougher than working chickens. Chickens, no biggy at all. Rabbits and perhaps later in the year, goats...much harder. Even harder with the goats. We may have a friend who has hunted all his life come over and do the goats. Goats are so much more hands on it's hard not to love them. Except for maybe my Amelia. I'll get into her later as I start chatting about goats. That damn goat...

Anyway, I'm just sort of musing my way along...thinking out loud.

We did get the butchering done and our dogs are quite happy with it. :-) Our little buddy Steve (the Chihuahua) can barely stand staying in his skin when we have a rabbit day. He LOVES the scraps we are throwing down. The big dogs (who do not get to be there while we do this) get to have the heads raw. The rest we put into the freezer for rabbit popsicles for a treat later. We cook up the good guts and other things for everyone and this is usually what it looks like before it goes in the oven. This is a pot with guts, potatoes and zuchini from our garden and eggs from the chickens. Not a bad deal all in all. With seven rabbits I get two large pots this size. 

This is the pot with just the goodies

And this is the pot with the added vegies.

Sometimes I will make a nice strata for the dogs. This will entail adding some crumbled bread and mixing in a mixture of eggs and milk to cook in. With 4 large German Shepherds, I need to find ways to keep them fed on good quality food. So here we go. They love it!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A beginning with a little of this and a little of that

I figured I might as well start up another blog. I have so many different things I'm doing it just made sense not to overwhelm my poor art blog - Heather Sky Studio, with all my other stuff. So this is the blog for the other stuff.

That stuff is all about small homesteading. Small because we only have one acre. Homesteading because that is really sort of what this is all about. How to get back to the basics, how to take care of ourselves on this one acre. We chose not to live in the suburbs. In fact, we live way far away from any thing that even resembles suburbs. We are about as far away from that sort of thing as you can get and still not be in Alaska. Hee hee...I couldn't resist that one. I always joke around with my friends back in Colorado that one practically needs a bush plane to get out to where I live. Almost.

Until I can get some new stuff up and get my other site nice and revamped, you can see a little of what I mean and where I live here "Why I Live Here" It should do in the meantime. Actually, it may well do for good as I may never even get back to it LOL

Any way! I shall be sharing a little of this and a little of that as I go along with my endeavors on our little place. We have recently started up raising worms. Red worms and European Nightcrawlers. Both excellent composting worms. We have a whole lotta rabbit poo that needs to be worked through and thought why not!?

Here is a break down initially of our projects:

1. Vermicomposting
2. Rabbits for Meat, Furs, and Raw food for Carnivores (dogs and cats)
3. Chickens
4. Gardening in the Rainy Rainy Rainy Northwest Rainforests
5. Goats - Meat and Dairy
6. Everything else - German Shepherd Dogs, Cats and one Chihuahua named Steve. We are nuts and no one is around to tell us no (LOL)

More musings to come!