Thursday, October 13, 2011

October brings some Autumn...

Finally...pretty decent temps and a shut down to the a/c here on the homestead. Whew! It's about time Mother Nature catch up with the calendar pages and bring some relief here.  My electric bill is heaving a huge sigh of relief!

Let's of the homestead...

Goats are slowly cycling through with the golden boy here for breeding.  The young buckling is even getting his feet wet (or beard...inside joke, if you know goat rut behavior) with a couple of young does of his own this year.  We'll see how things progress. My track record for breeding isn't exactly stellar.  Ran all my goats through for 8 weeks each the last 2 seasons and still just produced a small number of bred does.  Guess it's not my forte. I keep plugging along though...goats milk soap, cheeses, and just plain cute little babies keep me trying.
This year will be a toss-up again.  The bucks have mastered fence climbing...or in the case of the young buck jumping...and have had some unscheduled visits with the herd at large.  You want funny, watch an active heat buck, tongue wiggling hither and yon, running like a little girl along the fence line, making some really hilarious, bording on pathetic, noises jump the fence line. Literally, he brought up those front legs and stood on the fence, and sort of did a climbing pole vault sort of jump.  All 300# of him.  I let him have a couple dates...he certainly deserved it after the great show.

I have all my hay needs in place here in the back clearing, tarped and ready for (hopefully) some good storage. I hauled in 30 large round bales this year, tyring to avoid the out-of-hay cruch in February and March like we went through this year.  We've been under drought for hay for the past few years, and I got lucky to find some like I did. I'm not chancing that again. My aim is 1 bale per grouping every 5-6 weeks, so 3 bales at a time.  What they pluck apart and trample gets a second life in the chicken area, or even put into the barn as additional bedding. I don't waste hay here. By the time a bale is truly spent, I've squeaked every ounce of potential use from those leafy stalks! The last of it hits the garden for mulching, (we've had some good luck without much in the way of weeds from the hay, too).  I've been pondering over where a good location would be for the hay storage here. Ideally under at least a pole barn, sure, but I don't have one, and if I do get one set up, it will be for animals and probably not simply hay storage. Gravel is a good ground cover as it were for bale storage, but I really don't want gravel laid out in the back pasture clearing, kwim? I set the bales out there this year and sectioned them off with fencing, but it isn't really ideal. The ground is hard-packed back there and even with the heaviest storms, it has great run-off and stays fairly dry...much moreso than the usual mud flow we live on when it rains.  I don't know.  The front area, the panhandle going up the road, would probably be a good place, but I really prefer the heavy weeds and brush between us and the neighbors.  Guess I need to put more pondering to the issue, heh?

We've been canning.  Yes, I have a smooth-top electric stove. No, you are NOT supposed to do anything like can with a pressure canner, or even water bath canner, or use cast iron, etc. on this style range. It is unsafe and highly discouraged. 
That being said, and standing as my disclaimer to those who come back later and chew me out because they have a cracked (or worse) stove-top from canning after I said I did...honestly I don't expect that problem here as I truly doubt I have a cult like following or anything, still...I have been canning.  Dewey was home for a week and found a great deal on bulk white potatoes.  We had just picked up a 50# bag for around $15 and then he brings home 400# of the beauties for around $7 per 50#.  Can't pass that up, not in this starch eating family.  So we went to inventory the canning jar status, grabbed more as we could find them this time of year, and went to scrubbing, peeling and cubing taters for the pantry.
Yes, most folks have little trouble keeping potatoes for the winter in plain storage.  This being Mississippi and a pocket of humidity that lingers all year round, as well as being a double-wide mobile home, I don't store even the hardiest of fruits and veggies for ling-term keeping, I can them. I'll share a post soon on the process, though there have been some great blogs out there about canning goodies for long keeping.

Did you catch that part about Dewey being home for a week?  It was wonderful! We haven't had him home since early August.  We did meet up with him on those shuttle trips back and forth with children to visit Grandma, but we're talking fleeting, meet at the gas station or fast food parking lot to swap children times.  He decided it was more than enough to be gone that long, and he needed some serious down time on his own homestead.  Not that he wasn't tethered to the jobsite via phone most the time, and he had to go to a job locally to wrap up a few minor things and tie up the ends, but he was HOME from Wednesday thru Tuesday and we loved it!
We set up the game plan for getting the sheetrock up in the bedrooms, digging out some better footings/sonatube under the problem front room (used to be the front deck but we enclosed it and added it into the house), and had some fun 'campfire and a movie' nights in the back clearing.  We tried to keep a stiff upper lip when Tuesday rolled around, but it wasn't easy.  This current job should wrap up around November 16th,  and if the plan doesn't change before then and they get a much closer to home job next, he'll be coming home regardless. 
I know...I've already heard volumes on the stupidity of quitting a good paying job, or any job, given the current status quo of employment, especially around here.  All that is well and good, and I agree, really I do...but I MISS MY HUSBAND AND WE WANT HIM HOME, employed or otherwise.  He has been away for far too much of the past 3 years now. It was all good in the beginning, we prayed over it and it was definitely what we were led to do. I don't doubt that even now, but enough is enough already.  We don't feel that leading anymore.  The income is definitely a good thing, but at what expense to the family, kwim?  Emily is 5 years old...he has missed out on a lot of her life, not to mention the other children.  A couple weekends, just 4 days, a month being home is not exactly family bonding time.  I can raise my children, I'm not some weak Mother who can't function without her husband, but the flipside to that is that I AM a weak Mother and I NEED my husband to be home, the children NEED their father to be here for them, to listen to them, to teach them and to direct them.  I can raise my children, if I have to, on my own as it were, but that is simply not the way it's supposed to be, and while I may raise perfectly wonderful children, I cannot raise truly raise my children with only my 'motherly' perspective.  They need a father. That's just the way of things.
Speaking of that...Paratus Familia has a great post on A Case for Men...

We are giving the current school plan a once (and twice...) over.  No, I'm not falling back into that rut of switching up the curriculum or anything so drastic like that.  We like our Rod & Staff core and I have no plans to quit that direction.  What I do have plans to quit is the schedule we have been rolling with.  It is too bumpy.  We need more structure and more distinct time frames to our schooling.  Dewey agrees, so we are in the tweaking mode here.  Not easy when there are all those potatoes being processed and the joy of having extra hands in that process, but we are working out some new routines here and so far, so good.  I'm just beginning with the revision, but I think we have gotten off to a good start with it.

My sewing list is....well, not exactly 'finished'. At least not in the traditional sense of the word.  Ok, not in any sense of the word.  It is probably never going to be truly finished, but it has progressed to a very nice stage of done-ness.  I have to produce the boy's clothes yet, but I am seriously looking at farming that work out to Lois in TN.  I stress more over the boys' needs than I do the girls' items. I don't like button holes, despite the great attachment for my machine.  I don't mind the pants as much, but if I can budget it off, I will order up at least 3 sets for David and Jacob, and at least 2 sets for Matthew.  I will have to find that dry goods paper from an Amish fabric source (hmmm....can't even recall when I saw the list last...ugh!) and I can get some more fabrics in so we are ready for the next round of sewing needs here. I have pretty much used up my stash.  Funny, it took me a good 4 years, but I finally used up most of my scrubs fabric here. I hate that it's gone.  Man that stuff held up and washed up like iron. Oh well, back to the world of regular fabrics again.  I would like to get some Tropical Breeze for our summer dresses. I've talked about ordering that for the whole 6 years we've been down here and I keep putting it off.  Time to get it back into the serious side of the budget.

I suppose that about covers it from here on the homestead. We will be having a great Thanksgiving this year....maybe an unemployed husband, but oldest son and his girlfriend and her children will be coming we think.  He hasn't been home either for a while, and he's talking about coming for a week or so to lend a hand getting some of the bigger projects underway.  Oldest daughter should be home when this job ends for Dewey. She headed up after the others finished their Grandma visits so she could lend a hand getting Grandma and Great Great (Great Grandma) set up for winter.  My nest isn't empty with 7 still here, but it sure feels empty when even 2 are gone! What on earth will I do when the last one leaves for their own homestead???? Better be plenty of grandchildren to feather my nest with! I'm just sayin....


Anonymous said...

Do you have to constantly adjust the temp with your canning? For the first time ever we have a smooth top range and I'm not sure about the ends and outs of canning on it. (For the record you aren't the only person I've read about canning on them.)

Stephanie said...

I know what you mean about the schooling schedule...we are only 3 weeks in, and already off track due to various things. Need to get back at it.
Praying for you all on the job situation, and can't wait to read the post that your hubby is finally home for good!

Greg and Donna said...

I finally took the lunge and canned this year...first time on my flat top stovetop. I had read on someones blog they had done I just tried. I only had one jar not seal...2 did break but they probably hit each other in the canner. So glad your hubby has been home! I am sure you enjoyed every minute with him!

Scarlett said...

Just so you know, I have canned and used cast iron on my flat top. What can I say, this is a rental I had never had one and didn't have a clue I wasn't supposed to. Been doing it for five years and haven't broken it yet. I guess I should be counting my blessings lol.

Dana said...

Glad to hear your getting more time with your hubby soon!! Mine works alot of late nights and is away for training for short bouts of time but nothing even remotely comparable to what your living right now.

I love hearing updates from your homestead and about your family!! Its inspiring and encouraging!!

Thanks so much for sharing with us!!

Dayna Molloy said...

I have a glass top electric stove and hate it. I do use my canner and cast iron on it though and so far, nothing's broke. when it does ever break, that is my excuse to get a gas stove, LOL

Kim said...

It's wonderful your hubby has been able to be home for a while!

The weather has really cooled off here as well. Actually it feels more like it should in November then October! Big change after such a hot summer.


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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