Saturday, December 4, 2010
Also there's a plume of smoke. This morning bright and early I went out and gathered up all of the sticks left over from the last windstorm, the ones I could pick up anyway, a lot of them are already frozen in, but everything I can get cleaned up now, will be less to do in the spring. Also, there are some garden leftovers in there. Still left to do outside today is get the grill moved up by the house and get another skidder of wood.
Hubby went in to work, he'll have help there today, so maybe he can get things back on track. He sure is frustrated not being able to do much.
Outside my window there is also a plethora of roosters, too many for the hens I have, so soon I will put one of them in the oven. Can't butcher all of them as the freezers are still full from butchering the steers and also from deer season. And ice fishing season looms.
Mmmmm, nothing like blue gills through the ice, which now that I think about it, will make a nice dinner tonight.
Throughout the winter I'll butcher the roosters one at a time as I need them, until I have only 2 left, that will make a nice ratio and ensure babies in the spring.
I also have one hen who thinks shes a cat. Go figure, I'd have a strange critter. She sleeps in the window wells and up in the hay loft with the cats. She doesn't hang with the other chickens at all, but it's ok I guess, the others are content to be locked up in the hen house at night, but she sleeps out with the cats. Whatever.
Still working on my shawl, got a lot more done yesterday and will knit a bunch today too. Next will be a cowl, big enough to pull over my head for a hood. Would be awesome if I could make one out of Quiviet, but probably no go. I do, however, have some angora sport weight that will work nicely.
Ok, back at it! Gotta get the fish out of the freezer to start thawing, and go see if I can start the skid steer.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I'm sitting here, drinking my coffee, watching the snow fall (the same snow I'll see again in April or May) and just loving winter.
So many summer projects didn't make the cut. My big autumn project (greenhouse) didn't make the cut either but that's ok.
My arms are better so I can knit again, and with the continued pileup of the white stuff on the ground, I can make my goat paths again.
Up here some say it "snows every day". And mostly it does. Sometimes it's just a few flakes falling from the sky, and other times, look out! Today? A few flakes falling. Since we're supposed to be getting snow throughout the weekend, we should have a bit of a pile up by then.
Must get my sled running. Last winter it seized up and hubby has to fix it. He also has to tear down my bike and fix that motor too. And, he has to get all healed up from the nasty fall he took while hunting out in Wyoming (and the subsequent surgery to fix the ankle that resembled a jig saw puzzle). It will be awhile! But he'll get it done, and then I can ride.
Currently I'm knitting a shawl in the most gorgeous colorway of Aurucania you've ever seen! It's more of an autumn colorway, with the browns, greens, oranges, yellows, but it sure is pretty.
And, since it's getting a bit chilly in here, I shouuld probably get the stove going again!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
2 Steers is a lot of little packages to try to fit even in a big chest freezer that's mostly cleaned out.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
All jars sealed and this morning, just because, I flipped them over. I don't know why you do this, but they used to, so I do.
I haven't tried it yet, maybe tonight.
Just eyeballing the big bowl of picked grapes, I estimated 2 gallons of grapes, and complete with the added sugar, minus the skins and seeds I got 4 quarts and 3 pints. Pretty good.
Monday night (when I should have been jamming, but decided to go spinning instead), I went spinning. Not the riding the imaginary bike up and down imaginary hills kind of spinning, but the turning fibers into yarn variety. It's been awhile so I had to get tuned back in, but luckily, I have "J", the spinning extrordinaire instructor at my disposal, she got me going again. I had a nubby pink/blue/off white/brownish fiber that jumped out and attacked me while having early morning coffee in a very small Colorado Cafe. Go figure. I had to have it, you know how it is. It is spinning up into a very nice, trying to keep it a sport/sock ish weight, fiber, maybe a shawl will magically emerge from the bobbins full of this stuff.
Tonight Survivor starts, more knitting of the baby sweaters due in mid November, and maybe we'll get the bike that doesn't run taken over to the "bike that doesn't run so I'll fix it" guy.
Life is Good!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Garden? Planted, weeded once in awhile, harvested- yeah right! Not yet.
Critters? Minimum amount of chickens, no pigs, 2 steers (to be butchered within a month). So there will only be a small amount of chickens to winter over.
Household projects? Stove restoration - still sitting on the front porch. Greenhouse? Still sitting in my head, although I think we have all the windows we need now. Back deck? Still there, still unfinished, still no steps or railings or cute little planters.
And on and on it goes.
Why? Because I got nothing done - or did I?
My Dad (my hero, my superman, my Daddy) is dying of parkinsons. Could be days. Could be weeks. Knowing the strength of my Dad's character, will and personality, could be months.
This is what I know about parkinson's (no respect for this disease, so you get no caps! Deal with it!)
The experts all say that no one dies from parkinsons, but that it's just a miserable way to live until something else kills you. I respectfully, now, disagree.
My dad can no longer eat much. He can't stay awake long enough to eat enough or even drink enough. He is quickly losing the "swallowing" instinct so chokes frequently.
How does this not kill him?
He's been totally and thoroughly degraded, humiliated and broken down by this disease.
How does this not kill him?
His body is ravaged to the point where he can no longer walk, talk, communicate, think, or even spend any amount of time awake, let alone spend any time at all in this world that I still live in.
How does this not kill him?
There are no more "good" moments for him, he is just lingering.
How does this not kill him?
So, while I don't have the appropriate letters after my name to make a statement like "parkinson's does not kill...." I disagree.
So, what did I do this summer? Between my mother, my daughter and myself, along with the awesome, wonderful, bestest (not a word? don't care!), most compassionate people on earth who fall under the tent called "Hospice", I have spent lots and lots and lots and lots of time with my Dad. Time that will never be wasted. Time that I can never get back with my home and farm (again, don't care). Every day I still learn something new from this man who most would only see as a shell. Every day I gain time, more valuable than all the gold on earth or in heaven, with this man who when I was a small child, did the same for me.
Because he's still there. I defy you to look in his eyes. Deep into his eyes, into his soul and tell me he's not still there. He is.
Whether he has days, weeks or months left, we will still continue to give him our best, to give him everything we have, while our heart breaks. While we watch him slowly slip away.
Because he's my Dad. And he would have done it for me.
And when it's my time to linger at death's door, I can only hope that I can pull it off with a shred of the amazing strength that he has shown. And when I am able, when he's asleep, I will tell him to go. That's it's ok to go. That his parents, siblings and one of my brothers are waiting for him. That he's done his job here on earth in shaping the lives of myself and my brothers, who are 4 of the most amazing people I know. And that it's time for the next chapter of his life, to make his Heaven into an equally amazing place.
I love you Dad!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
But that didn't happen.
Was very tired. Too many nights of bedtime in the single digits of the AM takes it's toll.
So what did I do instead? Well, chores are a given, critters do appreciate being fed and watered. As does hubby.
As I was dreaming up reasons to not clean up the kitchen I hear the unmistakeable rumble of the skidsteer motor coming to life. Here's the sequence (the part I understand anyway). Skidsteer rumbles to life and tears it's way across the yard. Skidsteer is engaged in moving "stuff". "Stuff" has to be moved for reasons unknown at that particular point in time. Skidsteer, after moving "stuff" rumbles back across the yard, tearing up things as it goes and rolls to a stop in it's place of residence.
Next I hear the "invention of words". This is indicated because hubby, who's big, strong, and all that, isn't as big and strong as he needs to be at the moment and a particular piece of machinery is trying it's best to defeat him.
This piece of machinery is the power auger. And lifting it up to put it on the PTO of the tractor is a 2 person job at best. But since no one came in to ask for help, and since I was in the process of making dinner and didn't go out to volunteer my services, it became a 1 person job. A 1 person job that required the "invention of words".
Mission accomplished on both fronts. Dinner? Done! Power Auger? Done!
Next thing I know, tractor, complete with power auger properly attached to PTO, rumbles across the yard and starts drilling holes for the often talked about but not yet planned, larger chicken pen. Guess what this means? I'll tell you what this means. This means that although my "current project" of finishing my back deck has now been put on hold, my chicken pen is FINALLY getting enlarged. YAY!!! Pictures to follow.
So, holes are dug. Poles are set. Plans are made for finishing, which likely will fall to me since the use of big toys is no longer needed. So tonight if it rains, I'll try to reclaim the house. If not, I'll work on the pen. Then try to get the deck finished. That will probably round out the summer, and my fall project is my greenhouse.
This is my world. Welcome to it!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I ordered my supply of chicks from one of my favorite hatcheries (Mt. Healthy Hatchery). Originally wanting 25 we noticed that they had a special of 25 free chicks with the purchase of 50. Well, math not being my forte, I figured, ok, 25 more chicks. But then when that little concept sunk in got it was realized that 25 + 25 + 25 does not equal 50. Not even in my world, but more like 75 (most days). This was still ok (sort of), I'll let them grow and then put them in the freezer, keep a rooster and maybe 8-10 hens over the winter to re-populate next spring. But then a niggling feeling kept at the back of my brain. 75 chickens is A LOT of chickens. Way more than we need, really, and started thinking that maybe I should just call and re-do the order (even if that means giving up 25 free chickens!). So I did it. Just today. They're due to ship May 2, so likely they haven't even been laid yet (the eggs, not the chickens, let's not get into that).
My life is a bit complicated right now, and I neither have the time or space (or time to make more space) for 75 chickens. 25 additional will be a stretch, but MUCH more manageable. And they can still re-populate. And that, is how you deep-6 50 chickens!
Finished a pair of slippers last night, now have to throw them in the washer and dryer to shrink and felt them. Doesn't seem like the season to be knitting slippers, but my toes still get cold. I knit them out of bits and pieces and scraps of Lopi (which is really more of a roving than a yarn, but it knits up nicely, and will
Lots of miles on the bike. Another YAY! The bike is my Zen, I start off down the road and "whoosh" everything just goes away. Very relaxing. Hubby and I are planning a 5 day bike trip around Lake Superior in July. I cannot wait. Have to talk The Mouth into taking care of my farm (and the Bu-Dawgh). She's more than capable, having grown up there, but she has time constraints too. My ultimate dream... one of these days I will ride my bike out to Colorado (brother), then on to San Diego (another brother), then up to LA (another brother), then up the coast to Alaska (another brother, that's all, I swear, there are only 4 of them, sometimes that's more than enough!) Then I will ride through the Canadian Rockies back down home. One of these days. And if hubby wants to go with, that will be even better!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Yeah, probably, but that didn't stop me. After the first 2 miles my face was frozen anyway, so it was all good.
So we have less than 32 in the morning (see above mentioned ice in chicken water) and up to 70 (tomorrow possibly 80) in the afternoon. What the heck? I will ride later this afternoon and tonight, I get on my motorcycle and whoosh. Everything goes away. It's a Zen thing.
Hubby and I built a couple of wood duck nests to take out into the swamp. Ok, I should clarify. Hubby built them and I stood there offering various opinions regarding sizes... with my hands in my pockets. Then on our trek out to the swamp I carried the hammer. He couldn't have done it without me. You might ask why we did such a thing? The recent acreage that we've aquired has a few swamps on it. Those swamps are ringed by trees. Some of which fell down over the winter. Trees do that sometimes. Especially while holding 583 tons of wet snow. Trees also contain nests, and when said trees fall, so do the nests. We felt it was our responsibility to help out the little wood ducks with new nests. That and it was a nice day and we didn't feel like doing anything else.
I planted peas yesterday. The seed package clearly stated and I quote, "As soon as soil can be worked in the spring".... we'll see. I only planted a few, then every couple of days I'll plant more, that way I'll have a steady supply of seeds for the chickens to dig up, I mean I'll have a steady supply of peas come end of June. The strawberry plants weathered the winter beautifully. No, they're not blossoming yet, it IS only March, but they're green, and growing. Peppers, tomatoes and cabbage have been started in flats. They go outside on the back deck once in awhile when it's warm enough, which would have been today if I had been home.
The cows have persisted in testing the fences and a few times I've had to chase them back into the pasture. They're so affectionate, but this is not good. They're big. And they have horns. And when they come at you at a good speed with their heads waving (presumably to get scratched behind the ears) it can be a bit daunting. Always want to make sure there's a tree to hide behind, they really don't know how big they are.
Some of my onions that I missed from last year are poking their heads out of the ground, I pulled up a few and they're mushy - duh, so they'll just get tilled under. The asparagus has been under attack by the chickens but the rhubarb is really doing well. My mints are coming up as are the wild violets back behind the cabin.
The stove restoration project still sits, I really have to get back to that. The only oven I have right now is a little toaster oven, which is a marvelous excuse for not having dinner ready, but when I want to cook, it's a pain. The chicken pen needs to be enlarged. I ordered 25 baby chicks this year from one of the hatcheries that I use and while checking out I noticed that they offered free 25 chicks if you bought 50. So instead of the 25 I really wanted, I will end up 75, all because no one ever showed me how to say no to a good deal. And, since the pen really isn't big enough for the 8 hens I have, it probably won't be big enough for 75 to grow until we butcher in the fall. They've been running around the yard scratching to find bugs and pecking at new green coming through the soil, funny to watch them. And they've started laying again. 8 hens = between 7 and 8 eggs a day. There's only 2 of us, but there is a steady stream of people who can and do use them up for us.
Been experimenting with making gas.... yeah, that's gonna wait for another post....
What's on the schedule for tonight? Well I've GOT to get out on my bike, that's a must, no excuse for it, but also have to scrounge out some t-posts so I can start on the chicken pen. And hang out laundry, and make dinner, and, and, and.... and then when the light goes away I'll sit and knit for awhile. Currently making some slippers cause my toes in their old and arthritic condition still get cold.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The chickens have started to lay again (good thing as I was getting down to my last 3 dozen eggs). I froze eggs this year in batches of 2, 3, and 4 for baking, but never needed them. Now I haul them out of the freezer and give them to the barn kittens, they love them!
I've had some coon problems the last week or so, so the chix are locked up again, unless I'm around and can hear the commotion, and the 22 is loaded and by the back door, just waiting.
My new batch of chix is due here the first week in May. I have to wait and get them later in the year because of the temps. We are "officially" zone 4, however, because of this little microclimate that we enjoy, it's probably closer to a 3.5. Anyway, because of this, unless I want to keep my chickens in the house until they're half grown, it's just easier to wait until later in the spring to get them. This year I got all Buff Orphingtons. Last year in my "mix-o-chix" I got one and she's such a nice size, lays nice big eggs, is docile and tame, so this year, we're going with all of them. I ordered them from Mt Healthy Hatchery and they had a special. I wanted 25, but if I ordered 50 or more I got 25 free, so I jumped at it. Only later did I realize that while I only really wanted 25 chix, I'm now getting 75. Good thing I like me my baby buk buks. And, it's still a crap shoot as to whether I walk into Tractor Supply and find turkeys that call to me. I like raising turkeys, but they sure are messy, and dumb. Turkeys are really dumb, but oh, so personable!
It's time to start seeds too. Tonight after work, I'll start some hollyhocks, tomatoes, peppers, and parsley as my parsley that I brought in died over the winter. It's a good thing I brought dirt from the garden up to the barn so I'd have some to start seeds. The garden itself is still under about a foot of snow and the dirt beneath that is frozen.
Part of my front yard will become garden this year, I'm thinking maybe the potatoes, and I'm going to start them early, outside in tires (which we have about a million of them around). Then, as they grow, you put in more dirt, and add another tire, then more dirt and another tire.... To harvest, just knock down the tires and you don't have to dig for the taters. Plus the tires help keep the soil warm during the cold nights.
And, if I have tires in my front yard, that's less yard to mow, right? The front yard is also going to see more berries. Raspberry and blackberries to be specific. I'm just flat out tired of mowing everything and I might as well use it. Want to extend my grapevine wall too, it will border one side of the chix pen, which I also have to enlarge, because in some strange universe, ordering 75 chickens when you only wanted 25 makes sense.
Have some fences to fix tonight too, while I was out chasing coons I noticed that the cow fence is down in at least one spot, so that needs to be fixed. Bu-Dawgh also pulled one end of his run line loose, gotta grab the ladder and secure that before he pulls it all the way out.
Tried a yarn dying experiment this weekend. I dyed some angora yarn in the crockpot using koolaid. Result... didn't use enough koolaid but it did smell good. The colors are more pastel than I wanted. Pink socks? Not so much, oh well. I'm in a sock knitting frenzie lately, they're a good take it and go project, can't ever have too many of those. My shrug is almost done, actually, probably tonight I will finish up the knitting and sew it up. Big Bang Theory is on and that will command my attention in front of the screen.
Also made yogurt in my crock pot. (Not the same one, I have 2) Don't know if it took or not, I'll have to try it and let you know.
It's a beautiful day today, me and the Bu-Dawgh walked to work and it was about 30! This afternoon, walking home it will likely be 45 or maybe even higher. The daylight is shining longer and longer during the day making outside chores more pleasant, but we're still burning wood at night. That will likely continue until May.
Getting anxious to ride my bike, but there's still ice on the back roads, of which I live on one, and salt on the main roads. So I really need to wait for a good spring washout rain to take the salt off the roads and that will also likely help to melt the ice. (I road my bike on ice once, didn't turn out so well, and while it seems I like to learn the hard way, eventually I do "get it").
Update on the stove project, - yeah, it's gonna be an outside thing when I start sanding, so I will also wait on that for a bit more.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
3-5" (with up to 8" possibly) of snow is likely. Yeah, ok! 3-5? I get it, really I do. The folks that issue these dire emergencies live down in the cities, which just happen to be populated with citiots who either can't or won't stay off the roads when The Weather Alert happens, thereby turning a stretch of asphalt into a slippery, icy length of destruction. Up here? Put it in 4 wheel drive and keep going, oh, and if you happen to have a plow on the truck, lower it and help out the road commision.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Last night, being Wednesday night, and taco night, I took my Dad to the bar (why, yes, I take him to the bar regularly, don't you take your dad to the bar?). Apon (upon? I really need to look that up someday...) coming out of said bar we both looked up to notice that the stars were very bright and twinkly, as stars have been known to be. So I issued the command..."Cold, Clear, Night....Ready...Set...Go!" to which he promptly (don't you love texting!) responds. "No, Can, Do. It's overcase up here so we've turned them out". Excuse me? So Not An Option! He knows better than to tell me "No", we're gonna have to have a 'scussion about that.
I took today off. Yay, right? Not so much. This requires planning, and I am a planning GENIUS!! Planning must be done, not only to secure a day off, but also to make the most of a day off. Rather than jump out of bed this morning excited to have a day off, I nudged. You know. Inch by inch, very unwillingly, crawled out of bed. Why? Why am I not excited that I have a day off? One reason, well, two reasons actually, one involving the inside temps this morning in the cabin, but the real reason:
So rather than scurrying to start my day, the coffee was made, poured, and sipped while I made lists. This never fails to get me going. A list maker extrordinaire, (I have lists of all of my lists, just can't always remember where they are, or more importantly, to look at them) my reason for being quite often includes the making of lists, which always leads to more lists and adding to lists that already include sublists.
Tomorrow? Dad and I have a pizza date! Maybe with wine, which is usually a good thing, actually the only thing better is a cold beer, or homebrew (ahem... Jeff...running low here.....)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Immediately, my plans came to a screeching halt!
I'll say that again so you can get the full effect:
Is everyone ok? Yeah, it was a rough realization for me too. So, the next best thing being hot cocoa, we made do. Hot cocoa with marshmallows and coffee creamer (chocolate, raspberry) was in line. Although the lack of caffeine made the starting of the day a bit rough (yeah, I get it, there is caffeine in hot chocolate, but It. Was. Not. Coffee).
First thing hubby pops out of bed and says, "Is the coffee done"? After relaying the events that lead up to resigning myself to drink hot cocoa, he promptly dug into one of his bags and produced a hotel sample of coffee.
Augh. Sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown holding the football for Lucy to kick it.
I knew I had to go to work for awhile so I did that early to get it out of the way. Got home late in the afternoon and noticed that hubby had cut and split a bunch more wood.
Cool! Except that the last batch he cut and split hadn't been stacked yet.
I stacked the last load, took the wheelbarrow up to the woodpile and got a bunch of starter stuff. We have 3 kinds of wood. Starter stuff, stuff that will keep the warmth going after it dries out a bit and "holy cow it better be -84 outside cause it's gonna get hot in here". Stacked all in their appropriate pile and swept off the deck. The cows were demanding to be fed so I did chores. They're so funny, since I've been giving them a bit of grain now and then all of a sudden hay isn't good enough! So they watch me up in the hay loft and moo at me until I drop down the grain. Then they're happy. It's good to have happy cows. Kind of like the commercial, but mine don't smile. I know they're happy cause they're not yelling at me.
Finally got some of the clothes off the line. I believe they were wetter than when I hung them off, but we have a storm coming, so there's just no use in leaving them there, plus we do need clean clothes to start the work week.
Got 4 varieties of lettuce started, and some parsley. These will obviously live in the cabin for quite awhile, but I'm tired of paying grocery store prices for iceberg lettuce, so I've started some of my own. Plus parsley! People! Parsley! The folks that sell that little item must have seen me coming and know that I use it in just about everything! Well, take that "parsley sellers", I'll grow my own. Currently I've put all over by the woodstove to get a bit of heat and some light from the window.
Pouring through seed catalogs in January is a favorite activity. I've got my tomatoes and peppers picked out. Potatoes and onion sets I'll buy locally, but I like the heirloom tomatoes. One of these days I'll get organized enough to save seeds!
Currently I'm fixing dinner and trying to figure out which project to knit on tonight. Probably the baby sweater, I do need to get that done.
The next step in the stove saga is to construct some sort of "container" to keep the sandblaster sand in. Apparantly it is quite spendy and while hubby went yesterday to get new tips for his sandblaster, he ended up picking up a pneumatic hand held deal for me to use. That's his way of telling me he's not ready to bail me out of this project yet. So a "tent" will be constructed to put the pieces needing to be sandblasted in, so as to catch the sandblasting media for re-use.
This will be a good time!