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Friday, December 2, 2011

Cats sleeping in the liter box??

I've been baffled of late. Why, oh why does the cat feel inclined to sleep in her liter box? Is it because I'm using aspen chips? What?! I've had many cats over the years and not once ever felt compelled to sleep in it's cat box. Silly girl.

I have several more frozen blackberries to go through, for pies, for preserves etc. Never ending blackberries from my own back yard, and thorn less too. Can't quite beat that. Some more little images worth taking too, like the crab apples from my dad, who lives in Cheyenne. I hope to have some trees from these pretty little babies one day. And my yams are growing pips. Pretty little things.

And finally, more dehydrated mushrooms and some dehydrated rhubarb. If you have not tried it, I recommend it highly. Keeps the tang and the tart just fine.



Momo in her litter box.

Yams growing pips

Blackberries

Crab apples from WY
Dehydrated Rhubarb and Mushrooms

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Babies, Berries, Good Food and Fun

Garden Potatoes, Onions and Basil in Olive Oil
Just a little of this and a little of that this time around.

I was having a fit for potato chips one night, so I sliced up some fresh potatoes from my garden, sliced in an onion, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and sauteed in a cast iron skillet. Killed the want for potato chips just fine :-)

I went for a lovely evening walk down to the lake with my daughter and of course got distracted by all the blackberries coming in all along the way. Picked some here and there, along with some apples and pears and thought "Hey! I'll make a nice Blackberry Baked Halibut. Gently baked in our own blackberry wine, the fresh blackberries and our own basil...absolutely stunning.


Baked Halibut in Blackberry Wine w/ Blackberries & Basil

Raspberries

Smoked Goat Ready for Canning

Horseradish
Last week I picked the last of my raspberries. I think I got about 2 gallons or so. Not bad. Most are in the freezer right now, I'll probably make jam out of the majority of it. Delicious!

My big blackberries on my property will be coming in soon. I've been picking a few here and there, the ones that are ripe, but there are thousands and thousands of berries on these plants. I will probably get another 100 gallons this year if last year was any indication.

A couple of weeks ago we smoked up a whole bunch of goat to can in jars and it turned out fantastic! One little thing was bugging me though...I really thought we would have more than we got. Turns out I was right because my husband forgot to bring in ALL of the meat from the smoker. We figured this out after a couple of nights of outdoor campfire in the yard, over near the smoker. Egad! The smell was none too nice, yuck! But at least I know I was right! I was starting to complain a little bit about the amount of goat we had for canning. It really should have been more. He said, well, that's all there is. Hah! :-)

The horseradish is coming in beautifully. It should provide us with a nice yearly bit of horseradish for years to come.

Lastly...we had some of our chicken eggs incubated by a friend with an incubator because we need to get our flock up a bit and cull some of the girls out. It's also nice to have chicken in the freezer. So, we gave our friend 24 eggs. 18 hatched, 14 survived. We also had a VERY broody hen who beat me up every single time I went in to gather eggs. So we thought, why not, let's just let her have her eggs. So we moved her over to where the new babies were and she sat nicely on her eggs while the new ones were in their baby box. We were concerned she might try to hurt the babies, so they stayed in their box. But the time comes when they just get too big for the box. We decided to see how she would react if we let them out.

Funny thing. She thought they were hers. She still sat on her eggs but they just weren't getting a full throttle sitting and some were disappearing. We think she may have eaten them, but maybe not because the shells were gone too. Rats? Hard to say. But none of the eggs she was sitting on survived but she sure thought those other babies were hers and she has fully adopted them. To the point where my husband tried to pick one up, it fussed and she came flying at him and pecked his arm a good one! Don't mess with Momma's babies!

She really is a very good Momma. Show's them how to dig, how to catch stuff. It's really neat to see. And they pile in with her at night. I went out to pick some lettuce, beets and berries for a salad and I heard a ton of fussing in the little baby house. Looked in and the babies were all fussing because they each wanted to be close to Momma. So cute. She was very patient, gently clucking. Believe it or not, there really are 14 babies in there somewhere! I just love this stuff!
Momma chicken and her adopted chicks

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Raw Goat Butter

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I've last posted. I guess that tells me how busy I've been. And indeed it has been busy.I was unable to document anything from the process's of getting items from the freezer put up, but we did can quite a bit. I was also offered a bit of a respite by my neighbor who is only using about 1/3 of his freezer and said I could balance it out if need be. So I took him on it and have not had to fully go crazy right away with processing all the meat. Some jostling around of milk and meat among other items, but I had more time to get it done.

The one thing that does bug me is that I ended up having to give a whole lot of my milk to my dogs. While I love my dogs, I gave them a good 8 gallons that I would have liked to have for us over the winter. Oh well. Live and learn. I also pulled my girls back to milking once a day, another maybe not so wise decision. You get less milk once a day, which is fine because I was getting buried in it and had no where to store 2 gallons a day. We can run through about a gallon a day, but running out of room to make my soft cheese too. So how to solve the problem? Bring them down to once a day. The only problem is they are now only giving me about 3/4 of a gallon a day. Sheesh. I was hoping to run them through to next year but if they keep dropping and drying off I may have to get them going again this fall with new babes for the spring. We shall see.

My one girl Cassie is probably pregnant. Due in November. When the weather starts to get rougher. Some positives and negatives there. Not good to have babes in that kind of cold that comes in December and January, but I do have a green house converted into a baby nursery for babies to keep warm in. Plus, if my two big girls start to dry out, then Cassie might be able to help us to stay in milk. It won't be much, but could get upwards of 1/2 a gallon a day from her alone. Always good to keep barn records.

All of that said, these are things I was able to get finished up. Smoked and canned the two young bucks I had to take out. I also dispatched two young animals for meat this Thanksgiving. Absolutely gorgeous little roasts, I couldn't believe it. They were both 6 months old. So young enough to be very tender and still manageable size for dispatch day (we do it all ourselves) and small enough to fit in my existing freezer well. I love it. I canned 30 qts of cherries too, made bread, you know...the typical stuff. I have harvested about 5 qts of raspberries thus far, and have more to go. The wild blackberries are ready and my thorn less will be ready in about a month. Potatoes need harvesting...onward. Oh, and we have 14 new chicks with hopefully 10 more on the way. They are sitting under momma now. Half will be roosters most likely, so some fowl for the Thanksgiving table too :-)

Another thing I'm really looking forward to next year is even more milk (I'm crazy I suspect) Because look at this picture!! My very own butter!! It's the first I've made. It is raw goat milk butter and wow, I've never had anything this amazing. Smooth, really lovely flavor, ever so slight tang. It was extraordinary. But I don't get enough milk right now to make anymore. I actually insisted the day I made it that I will never do that again for such a small amount of milk, but really, just because whey was flying all over the kitchen and huge messes were being made for one softball sized ball...doesn't mean I should not try again. I was being too fussy. I've since come to my senses and cannot wait to have more next year. I should have 6-7 milking does. Instead of 2.

Yeah, I need that freezer don't I?

Ok, a few of the sights and sounds of the last month. A lovely rabbit salad and some fried rabbit "wings" and my fabulous, over the top butter!

Fresh Raw Butter from Goats Milk

Rabbit Salad - my Rabbits and Garden w/Blackberry wine



Sunday, July 3, 2011

My large freezer gave up the ghost - lots of canning and preserving ahead

Well now. Over the course of the last three years or so my family and I have been learning ways to be more self sufficient. All by books and by helpful posts on the Internet by other bloggers and farms.Thank goodness for that and for the people who share their knowledge of how to do this stuff. We have learned how to slaughter and butcher your own goat, how to butcher and prepare certain rabbit dishes. How to milk goats and care for them on youtube, how to make cheese, how to can various different goods, be it animals or plant, the list goes on.

I'm so very thankful for all of these kind folks who take the time out of their busy lifestyles to share this with the world. Especially today.

Why today over any other day? Because my large freezer gave up the ghost. The large one. The one with 2 goats, several rabbits and gallons and gallons of milk are stored. As well as other fruits and vegetable that we have put away.

I'm going to be relying heavily on several more of these websites over the coming couple of days, mostly in canning up goats milk and preserving more in cheese. I've got the cheese part down pretty well, but only the farmers style soft cheese. No hard cheese's yet. I found this wonderful blog on canning milk at home from Razor family farms. There is a very fun read down toward the bottom of the post that I found especially intriguing, from 1918. Here is this neat article.

Well, when the ship hits the sand it's always good to know what the heck to do next. I have a full couple of days ahead of me. Canning and other wise preserving through drying and smoking and other "old style" preservation methods. I'm so glad I just got this book "Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation" by "The Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terre Vivante" -- absolutely excellent resource.

At any rate, I'll try to take the time to document what I've done and perhaps even share how it was done if I have the time. It may take me a few days to a month but I will try to do it. It's the least I can do after relying quite heavily on other's who have taken the time to share.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sourdough!

Sourdough - a fun new project I've been doing for about the last 5 months or so. I forgot when I started LOL. At any rate, start I did. I began one starter using regular store bought milk, unbleached flour and white sugar and another using raw goat's milk, unbleached flour and honey. I feed them both regularly. I've since moved on to all kinds of other feeds for the starter but prefer the goat's milk and honey. I always add honey, sometimes just water (spring fed water only, tis all I have and all natural to boot) and not milk. Sometimes I do add potato flakes too. I got this suggestion from a colleague of my husband's. I always use unbleached flour though, when I'm using flour as a food source.

I have to say, everything I've done has been wonderful. All results have been great, even the store bought milk and sugar. I've since just opted toward the natural because that is how I'm endeavoring to do everything now but I have to be honest and see I didn't really see or taste any real discernible difference. More piquant perhaps with the goats milk and honey, but all have been beautifully flavorful.

Since I've had this starter running now for about 1/2 a year, I'm pretty sure I have the natural yeasts that are here as well and I have to say, I don't think that the San Fransisco sourdough has anything on this area. My sourdough is excellent :-) I'm going to try and get my own yeasts for sure later this summer when the blackberries and the potato's come in (I did start the current with conventional yeast from the store) The "bloom" seen on grapes and blackberries are the yeast we want. Potato water is another way. So I will be trying those too. I can't wait! I'll try and make sure I get the posts up on that.

In the meantime, here are a few things I've been doing with the sourdough. I've done a ton of fun things, these are but a few! All with great results, very tasty!

Sourdough butterscotch cookies


Sourdough cinnamon raisin cookies


Sourdough flat bread being prepared to turn to "crackers"


Sourdough bread crackers


A happy, bubbly sourdough starter


Yes, that is 6qts of sourdough "critter"


Sourdough Bread - Artisan Style

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread | Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

I've been using and baking with sourdough for about 6 months now. I love it. I haven't perfected the breadmaking from straight up sourdough yet, but I'm very close and I'm not unhappy with the results I have had. A little more tweaking here and there and I'll be feeling fully confident. I've made several loaves with just sourdough, which is time consuming. I've also made loaves with both yeast and the starter (guaranteed rise yet still enhanced health benefits of sourdough) and I have made sweet breads, cookies and cakes with my sourdough starter. All in all it's a fun process and the taste results have been excellent.

I ran into this blog explaining the health benefits while searching around for some muffin recipes. It's worth a look and understanding that perhaps you will want to start a "starter" of your own!

Cheers!

Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread Kitchen Stewardship A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Know your goats before you leap!


Shane, when he was cute.

So I'm ready to pull my hair out. One of my girls flat out won't shut up. Miss Cassie pants is yammering and yelling away for seemingly no reason. Or at least I thought it was for no reason. Turns out I could not possibly be more wrong. Turns out she's an "Equatorial type" goat. Has both Boar and Nubian. Aren't I lucky?? Humph!

My buck and his supposed companion wether (hah! - he's actually a buck) figured this out before I did. Shane got frightened by my husband coming down the hill with a large cleaned rabbit cage that he set on the ground non too carefully. What did Shane do? He lept over his fence and lept right on over the girls fence too. Shane soon figured out, that "HEY!! THERE BE PRETTY LITTLE IN HEAT GIRL GOATS OVER HERE! WOO HOO!!" "The smell is positively divine and I can't stand it anymore, I gotsta, gotsta have that sweet little girl" Oh boy, are we in trouble.

We've been battling this problem now for about a week. Thinking it would blow over. Not knowing that Cassie is actually in heat. And then doing some research and finding out that woah! I have "Equatorial type" goats. This is ridiculous. I would have never known. I guess I should have known if I'd of researched a little harder, a littler further, a little DEEPER! Grrrr. Now that I'm looking, I see all the signs. She is indeed flapping around and fawning her little fanny. *sigh*

So now I have some decisions to make. I'm not so sure my neighbors will be anymore patient than they already are. We live in the country but yes, there are some houses a bit on the close by side of things. I'm sure they hate us. I know I'd be uptight if I had to hear all the silly noises coming from here. And loud. And aggressive. Did you know that buck goats ROAR? Sheesh.

Anyway, here is the research I found and I highly recommend this website. Might do you some good to read the entire website before actually making a decision if you want to buy some goats of your own. Knowledge is power and I'm sort of powerless at the moment. Dang nab it.

From one of the very best goat sites on the net: http://www.fiascofarm.com/goats/breeding.htm

When can I expect my doe to come into heat so she can be bred?

As far as breeding goes, there are two "types" of goats:

"Equatorial type" goats that come from climates that are hot all year long.
These goats will breed all year long. Examples of these breeds are most meat breeds like Boers, Spanish & Fainting, and also Pygmies and (sometimes) Nubians.

"Alpine type" goats. These are most of the Dairy breeds. These goats are seasonal breeders,like deer, and have a definite breeding season. This usually is from about Aug. to Dec/Jan.The does will come into heat about every 21 days and the bucks will stay in rut during the entire breeding season. Once the buck go out of rut, they loose most of their interest in sex until the next rut.

UPDATE:

I am purchasing a young buckling who has more "Alpine" blood lines. I hope to get this problem nipped as soon as possible. Just talked to the gal today and will have him on Monday.



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Real Liberty and the Estrella Family Creamery

Watch this video. These are real people. Consider two things if you would.

1. We do not live in what we thought was the USA, we live in tyranny and under a dictatorship. Period. No matter who is in office. It just seems to grow and grow with each new administration.

2. Please, consider donating to help these people. We CANNOT just turn a blinds eye. We CANNOT just let the government keep taking away more and more and more of our liberties. It is happening to us ALL and on all levels. Stop watching the boob tube, stop racing off to work just to be stressed out (so you can be medicated by big pharma) so you can pay the bills for the things you don't need. You need real food. Not the junk in the grocery store that is dead!

WAKE UP! TIME TO WAKE UP!!

When are the feds going to just come in and take my milk away? It's for my own and my families consumption, right? Or gifts for friends and family, but what makes me think after seeing this that they won't come after me for mine? What about people who can't farm, but want to live a healthier lifestyle? They don't get to have the choice, now do they?

The implications here are huge. We have to make a stand somewhere. I've never been an activist in my life. At least not until now. I am now AWAKE!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Raw Goats Milk and Farmer Cheese

One of these days the weather will turn nice for good. Today is a pretty good day, high of 67 degrees so far. But we've had so much rain! My garden isn't fully planted yet either. We have had 60" of rain so far for the year and if that isn't record breaking, I'd be surprised. Then again, nothing should surprise me I guess.

On to my girls and their milk production! Here you see my sweeties, hanging out chewing cud and building milk for the evening milking. Lily and Amelia are on top of the spool and Miss Cassie (Sassy Pants) is below. Notice the mud? Ugh. I have since moved another spool into place so all the girls can hang out together. Of course, they had to battle it out over the new one but all now well and good in fussy, bossy girl goat land. We have also added more concrete blocks to help with tippy toeing through goo. We are all getting irritated by the mud.

The two girls on top are two years old and they are giving me some reasonable milk. I'm impressed because hey! They are half boar and half dairy. Lily is averaging a gallon a day, small teats and all. Amelia (super big teats) is averaging 3/4 gallon and Cassie, the one year old new freshener is actually giving up almost half a gallon. Not bad for a first year doeling. And she has more Nubian than her mother or her aunt. So while she's a big mouth ornery little girl, she is showing some real promise. Good record keeping is a must! I went back to last years records and was sort of stunned to see that Cassie is giving more than the two big girls did first year. So all in all, very happy with the results.

Every day I get 2 plus gallons of milk from the 3 girls. So I usually try to keep one gallon as milk and one gallon I turn to cheese. At this point it's still soft farmers cheese (dressed up with herbs and spices) but will be doing more in the way of hard cheese's here soon. Trying to find/fabricate something that will be healthy and safe to use as a press. I thought I would be using food grade metal cans, but no, they seep some not so nice toxins. Same with some plastics. I may end up building some out of good quality, high grade hard wood. Untreated of course. We shall see. I'm looking forward to trying some alder smoked goat cheese!



LILY, AMELIA AND CASSIE



CURDS AND WHEY



FARMERS CHEESE - DILL



ASSORTED FARMERS GOAT CHEESE WITH HERBS & SPICES




Sunday, May 8, 2011

Goat Kids are healthy and strong

My goat kids are really growing like weeds. Everyone is healthy and strong. It's interesting to see the different qualities of the babes from the three mothers. All total I have 8 kids out of the three does, two being two years old and one is a first year freshener. Excellent stock so far, I am very impressed.

One of the more humorous parts of this whole experience is well, experience. This is our third year of having goats, second year in milk. I'm getting an average of 2.5 gallons of milk from the three does and it's my understanding that is pretty darn good for such young goats. They will come into their prime between 4-6 years. The two older ladies are only half dairy so it's even more impressive. The young doeling is mostly Nubian as her sire was a full blooded Nubian. Mom and her sister are 1/4 La Mancha, 1/4 Nubian and 1/2 Boer. So all in all, I'm very pleased.

On to the humor part. Last year, we kept two young bucks. One as a sire and one as his companion wether. Sandy, the two horned goat below is supposed to be the wether. Supposed to I say because this spring I noticed something. He had a testicle. Just one. But it explains why he and Shane, the sire had such horrific battle in the pen last fall. I was so baffled!! We castrated him (we thought) and we READ that the whethers have no interest in the rut!

It turns out that we did not get both of the little buddies when we banded him last year. One of the little buddies slipped right up and away to hide. Just to come back down later when it was safe to do so. Once we noticed that we thought well now, who is the father of all these kids?? It's my understanding that the one balled boys usually can't impregnate, but I know my luck. Sheesh.



SHANE - the unicorn and SANDY the "wether"

The second humorous story is our abysmal failure at dehorning last year. Remember, this was our first year of having to do any of this stuff. We bought our first three kids all done up and taken care of. Buck intact and all dehorned beautifully. Not only did none of our dehorning work, we have a buck, Shane, who is a Unicorn. We have poor Sandy, the supposed whether having had the bad experience of having to be dehorned twice...and he has two big horns. That poor boy has been run through the ringer of our learning process. I feel so sorry for him. He's such a sweet boy. Actually both of the boys are super sweet. I just will not go in that pen with them. They are so big and they just LOVE you to death. Gentle rubs and pushes just about ran me through the wall a few months back so I'm just not going in there again without a prod. As sweet as they are, they are goats after all. Wow! Sadly, we can't keep Sandy and he's no good as a buck, or at least that anyone would buy on a chance. So he will be in the freezer here soon.



SANDY - the supposed "wether" and dehorned, twice.



JASMINE and FAUNA on the left, wanting their bottle. JASMINE'S brother AB1 (he's going to the freezer in fall, can't name food) is to the right. Kids are 10 weeks old here. The two girls are my house girls that started out life with bottle. I'm feeding them a little longer than the other kids that I weaned at 8 weeks.




FAUNA my sweet little "heart" girl. She has a perfect little heart on her back. I love this baby. She will be a keeper of course :-)



Kids in the barn at about 6 weeks old. Learning how to battle it out for the grain feed. The black one is our new whether named Christopher (after a good friend of ours) He will hopefully replace Sandy as the companion wether to the buck, Shane (his daddy I presume)



A bunch of curious babies!




More curious kid pictures. It's kind of like having human kids. Once I have pictures I can't stand it. I have to share all of them. It was difficult to figure out which ones to leave and which to post. I behaved and did these...few. :-)


More posts to come with the milk and cheese!





Friday, April 22, 2011

Some time on my hands, for a change

I can't believe I actually have a wee bit of time on my hands, for a change. Pretty nice really.

Actually I probably should be outside working because the sun is out! Oh man, for the first time in a while the sun is out and it's actually fairly warm. It has been a cold long winter and spring. And wet. Wet, wet, wet. 55" so far this year. I don't know if it's record breaking but it's sure tough when one has animals to tend.

Especially for the goats. They hate wet feet and foot rot goes from a not so fun problem to a serious, horrible problem in a hurry. I think we might have that issue licked for now. I do hope, because the one suffering from it is/was Amelia, my best milker. She has gorgeous teats, very easy on my hands. Her sister Lily has horrible little bitty teats that murder my hands each day twice a day. Grumbles... But she is giving me a whole lot more milk right now, so no more complaining about my hands I guess.

All in all my goats are putting out some good milk, quantity wise. I'm real close to 3 gallons and that's with a first year freshener too! Not bad for gals who are only half dairy. Lots of milk and lots and lots of cheese, I love it. Each morning I keep the milk and each night I make soft farmers cheese so I can save the whey for my dogs the next morning. Eggs, whey and rabbit goodies makes the dogs real happy and healthy. :-)

I took a ton of pictures but of course my camera battery died so I have to wait to charge that up to get the stuff up for viewing. I'll try and get that done very soon.

In the meantime, I'd better run and get some of that outdoor stuff started...toodles!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

We are working all of these, are you? Better start. Great article with links to other great articles. 11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amelia's triplets.



Here is one of the video's of our Doe Amelia's kids this year. The babes are but a few minutes old here :-) Our surprise triplets...the first surprise. The other older Doe also had a set of triplets. I'll try to get some vids up of her as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New baby goats, a whole month early!

We have three does, so I was expecing 6 babes. Well...we had two of them have triplets. So now there are 8 new babies. And!!!! They are a whole month early. Not because they are premie mind you but because my sweet hubby felt sorry for the buck back in September and he let him out with the girls for a romp down at the creek. Here is the result. Sheesh.

I'll be posing some video here as soon as I get it up on youtube. Till then, here are some picts real quick of my new babes:


Lily checking and cleaning and talking with the 2 of 3 she accepted.


Lily confused with this one. She can smell herself but didn't clean her so flat out will not take her. *sigh* This is one heck of a learning lesson. No matter how exhausted you are from staying up for the other doe, you need to stay the entire time if you suspect the other is going to give birth as well. If we would have been there we would have put all babies up to mom to clean. We were lucky to even find this little one, she was just laying motionless in her birth goo off in the corner, very cold. So, now she's my house goat for a while.



Little rejected Fauna, now inside the house and being cared for by me for about 2 weeks or so. Till we get the baby pen put together like were originally going to do...thinking we still had a month. Sheesh.



My little rejected Fauna girl. Isn't that heart fabulous!!



We were in the barn when Amelia had her 3 babes so we were able to help and make sure she cleaned them all. They have all been accepted. The 2 girls and 1 boy are just 15 minutes old here. Notice Amelia mommies huge udder and teat....


The first girl born to our doeling, Cassie. Our daughter named her Jennifer. She is about 1/2 a day old here.



Cassie with her 2 babes. One boy and one girl. We are not naming the boys, no matter how cute! This is a tough one. Anyway, we have to label em something so this is CSB1 - For Cassie/Shane(Buck)/Boy/1



Snuggled in sleeping after all that hard work.





Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hiatus from Art and a little Grumpy

I thought I should sit down a write a bit of a piece today. Good day to do it because I don't really have a whole lot else to do, or rather that I CAN do. What I mean by that is, I'm usually so darn busy running around taking care of "this and that" that I just don't have the time. Today I have the time because I'm sick. Can't run around doing my normal "this and that" routine very easily. Even though I'm sick I still can't...well, sit still. Ugh. Somebody from my past gene pool imparted the "ants in the pants" gene I guess.



I just wanted to sort of start out with the fact that I'm on a bit of a hiatus from art. Not that I really wanted to per se, but it just ended up turning out that way. I have not created a new piece of art for about 2 years now. Maybe it's even been three years. I'm losing count. I used to be amazingly prolific, usually painting upwards of 2-6 finished paintings a day. For at least a decade or so. Time is beginning to melt together and scream by me. Or perhaps it's swept me into it's time warp. I don't know how to explain it, but I certainly can't think of a way to explain the fact that I've gone for so long without painting anything new. Other than being terrifically busy of course.



We started a little ranch/farm out of necessity back in 2008 (ok, wow...it's been almost three years since a new painting has been created. Woah.) When the gas prices got so high we just got killed by it because we live so far away from everything. Income didn't go up to compensate and we decided we were never going to be caught like that again. So we started a bit of a self sufficiency thing due to that. We got goats, chickens and rabbits as well as really beefing up our garden. Turning that into a serious en devour instead of a hobby thing. We also started vermicomposting out of the need to help with getting rid of all the manure we started to accumulate. Composting worms are a viable source of income eventually too, so there is that. But wow did we need a little something to help with all that rabbit poo.



So fast forward to now and perhaps you might see why it's been a while since I've painted. I've learned a lot of new things along the way. How to milk goats, how to take care of goats in general. How to raise and process rabbits. How to raise and care for chickens. How to make sure we utilize all of this into a nice little sustainable area of land for our health and benefit and not rely on the grocery store any more. A whole lot of fun and a whole heck of a lot of work. I've learned how to make my own cheese, my own dog food (for my 4 German Shepherds and 2 little pipsqueak dogs) A whole myriad of new tracks to trace and follow and learn.



In the back of my mind I always thought about my art. Some days were more painful than others in not creating. I still keep a whole lot of materials "at the ready" for when I need to do paint...but it seems there is always something in the way, like a rabbit cage sitting on the kitchen table. Or my studio having been taken over by tools and canned goods. I really want to get back to it and am feeling a bit more stubborn about it right now. Maybe it's the winter weather. Which up here in WA usually means a whole heck of a lot of rain and just cold enough to be not fun to work in. And mud. *sigh* Whatever the reason, I'm getting more and more feisty about whipping out my stuff and getting to creating again, if only for a while.



This has been just a bit of a chatter and babble...mostly to myself. Just working through the reasons why and where to go from here. And wishing, wishing my headache would go away so I can think straight and maybe even start a small scale painting while I sit here and feel sorry for myself. LOL! I almost never feel sorry for myself, for long anyway. Always pull myself up by the bootstraps and start forging ahead again. But writing helps. Cruising around in my art groups to see all the new work and creativity still going strong helps too.



Never lose sight of who you are.



Till next time...