Monday, March 23, 2009

Long Over-Due Update....for what its worth :o)

If the SD card ever uploads my pictures, I'll start posting them. It seems rather slow today for some reason. Well, probably user-error, but's slow. Of course, I could just stop using my cell phone for a camera (even though it does take really nice pictures...and is handy...). I could just take real pictures with a real camera like normal folk.

Not sure when I even posted last, at least anything of worth in terms of an update. We've been busy, although I don't know that on paper we have actually accomplished much really. I'll probably work through the update in a hodge-podge manner, nothing in any particular order. LOL....that's how we roll here on the homestead most days it seems. No rhyme or reason.

We finally had a nice Wednesday, one where we could get to the spring for water. We were pretty much on our last 3 gal jug....we had to go get water somewhere, no matter what. Luckily the weather was perfect and the spring was clear. After a hard rain, or just a long rain, the water is rather mucky and it settles too much in the jugs. Just creates a mess all around. I'm glad we finally had a clear week for it. I didn't fill all the containers (23 of those 3 gal jugs) but we did about half. It will be raining all week, so none this week, but next week if it looks decent we'll have to fill them all. There is a spring not too far from here, over the mountain, but it has a distinct iron taste to the water, no matter what. We try not to get our water there unless we are desperate. With summer coming, we might want to make sure all the jugs are filled each week...we go through a lot of water here.

We spent this weekend really busy -- planted 16 raspberries and 2 grapes. Sure, that isn't sounding like much, but when you are talking red and gray sludge clay soil, and a post hole digger that uses me for the's a lot, trust me. I had to keep going, it had to be done, but man oh man, but midday, I was dying. My wrists were throbbing they hurt so bad. I spent the night and all day yesterday wearing my wrist braces and popping 800mg Ibuprofen. Yes, very herbal, I know, but I was hurting and I wanted what I knew beyond a doubt would make it all feel better. I took 4 tablets over the course of the 24 hours and I was able to sleep without wanting to crawl in a corner and cry all night. That's a big plus.

We (well, ok, technically it was Jennifer...but I told her how to do it...) used the pick/mattax to chop away all the sod from an area giver or take 5x7, then built the grape arbor...then read directions and found out we could plant the grapes about 8 in apart. we can actually fit 6 grapes in that arbor we concocted. I need to get 4 more plants out there! We will probably go ahead and make another arbor the same way, and plant 10 plants total. I think a dozen concords should yield more than enough grapes for jelly making, don't you think? Yes, it will be a good 3 years to a decent harvest, but time like the present to get it done.

Sunday morning, we were surprised (just a bit -- we knew it was coming, just not totally sure as to the when) by puppies on the homestead. Just before sun up, Lady had her puppies. She's been penned up in the barn, in the center stall, for about a week now. She is typically our escape-artist, climbing up cattle panels and other fencing like a human on ladder. LOL...not this time. Too fat ;o) She had 8 pups! Eight! Dewey just laughed (well, more of a shocked laugh, one of those nervous nelly kind of laughs...) and wanted to know what right she had popping out 8 her first time.. She should have kept it simple at 3 or 4.

You gotta remember where we are. This is the homestead for lost odd ball animals. Throw-aways from others. Misfit Acres. No self-respecting animal around here is going to waste time on the small stuff. We go big.

Lady and family is resting comfortably in the middle stall of the barn. The black dogs are beside themselves wanting to check out the action in the middle stall. Buddy, the Great Pyr, has taken an active role as well. Near as I can figure (being the dog whisperer that I am...ahem...) he thinks they are his now. They were born in the barn, the barn is pretty much his domain, hence, the puppies are under his care and authority now as well. He won't let the goats back in the barn. He literally nailed the bind goat to the ground this morning when she went too close to the fence between pens. Poor girl -- she didn't have a clue. She likes to follow noise. Those pups sound like catfish in the bottom of a boat.

We'll have to have a talk with Buddy and let him know the goats are still welcome in the barn, puppies or not.

Last Monday, we drove up to Linden TN and visited Linda and her family for the day. Immediately upon arriving and saying our hello's, we went to collect things from the van that we had brought along. We like to bring food....we're a rather large group, descending on someone for a day, so we brought dinner :o) (yes, I look incredibly goofy here...I was starting to say something to Jennifer and bingo, dear daughter took the picture....she loves her momma...)

Anyway, the doors were locked. Abigail ran to the front door and opened it to hit the lock button. Just as I reached for the back doors, she climbed out of the driver seat, using the arm rest....need I go on?

We are 2 1/2 hours from my closest van key. Dewey and Chris are over 6 hours away with my other van key. There's one in my mom's safe, but that's in northern Illinois. Get the picture?

We did good, though. No one freaked. I didn't freak. We set to picking the locks. Well, let me rephrase -- my eldest daughter set to picking the locks. This is a van door. Not a house door. She's pretty adept with doors on houses, padlocks even, but vehicles....that's different. At least I hope it's different, otherwise dear Jennifer might be looking at a small little room in one of the State facilities.

We ended up prying the wing window on the side door just enough to slip a hanger in past the trim and catching the very slight divet in the door lock. For the most part, all the locks are smooth as can be. That one has a bit of a gouge in it. We got lucky. We snagged it and managed to pull the lock up. My keys...and my cell phone with the free roadside assistance...stayed in my hand the rest of the day, literally!

I have talked to Linda for what now....a good 2 years, maybe 3, I guess. It was nice to have her move this direction from New York, and to finally get the chance to meet in real life. Of course, my children were acting like goofs :o) You'd think they never get to interact with real people.

Dewey was home a couple weekends ago. We didn't really get much done, just family time. It was nice. I bought another monster chuck roast to cook. Oh that roast turns out beyond delicious in that big cast iron pot. Spoon-tender and then some. Delicious. This one was 9 1/2 lbs. LOL...I actually panicked a bit at the butcher's wondering if it was going to fit in the pan decently. Well, it didn't. Not in my usual pan. I had to pull out the big pans for this one. This pot is 6 in deep and 14 in across. It sort of creates a dip in my oven rack when I use it, but so far no mishaps.

Sweet potato canning is finished! yeah me! All totaled and accounted for, we have 65 quarts from 120# of jumbo sweet potatoes (those are just regular quarts, Brenda...the picture does make it look larger, though, huh?). I was tired of seeing little yellow and orangish looking chunks in my kitchen, honestly. Not that I don't like seeing the many (many) quarts in the pantry, mind you, but I am burnt out on sweet potatoes for a while. I started off on the wrong foot...I was doing my best to peel the monster taters with a simple paring knife.

Silly girl. Sweet potatoes are thick skinned, tough to peel really. Yes, I could have bathed them a bit in some boiling water but I already had a stock pot of water for adding to the jars, the saucepan of water simmering with my lids/flats, and then the canner. The humidity level of my kitchen was way past anything comfortable. I thought I could tough it out. I waas wrong. I had blisters....blisters....on my hands from that route.

So I shifted gears and went at it like a big boy. I started scrapping peels off with the butcher knife. Now that made life easy, even if a bit dangerous and I do not suggest it to anyone else. That is my disclaimer...don't try this at home ;o) The blisters started healing nicely -- until I got the wild idea to plant those raspberries with the post hole digger.

I'm so homestead-minded. So pioneer-ish. So country...back country, that is. I bloom where I'm planted...more or less...and use what I have.


...I really really need to get out more. I need some serious homesteady tools here. I need a post hole auger for the tractor....I need a tiller (preferably for the tractor, too Hey, it's here, it's lonely for use...I just want to keep it up and allow it some work hours...).

Seriously though, I need stuff here. You know, when there's no man on the homestead, things don't stay on some sort of holding pattern. They still need done, tending to. I am not a man. My poor arms and body just ain't made for real life, I guess. I'm one of those Type-A personalities....I don't do 'patience' very well, and I don't like things half-done, jimmied together, etc. Hey, I like The Red Green Show same as any other self-respecting redneck hillbilly, but I'm not a duct tape and WD-40 kind of worker. If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. Well, right now, the only handsome ones here are to young to do the big stuff, and we are finding out that none of us are truly what you might call handy. I don't pace myself well, either.

What I really need is a chiropractor :o) Next door and handy throughout my day.


Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

You crack me up!

I have a question. On your side bar you have your "Family Home Plan" (which I love by the way). I was wondering if you would elaborate on the one that says: "Teach purity of language -- no slang terms". I like the idea of it, I would just like to understand it more and why you feel it is so important.

my little corner said...

You poor sweet woman. You have had me in tears of laughter. All the little things in a day that just make your bones ache. I feel for you...perhaps because I too have been over doing things in the wrong way. Oh the joys of homesteading and doing it different the next time.

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

I tried to find an e-mail for you somewhere, but I couldn't :-)

Anyway, thanks for answering my question. What you say makes a lot of sense, it is something I am going to be thinking and praying on.

I really like your family home plan and I intend on showing it to my husband to see what he thinks about it. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question.

Love you blog

tiffany said...

Wonderful post! How nice that you were able to meet a friend that you've been talking to for so long, I have a couple of good online friends that I've been talking to for years that I would just love to meet.
Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into what it takes to keep up with homesteading, and for all the neat ideas that even people who don't have a homestead can use!
Hope you have a great weekend.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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