Friday, June 3, 2011

Overload of work

We are at that time in spring when we have an overload of work and not enough time to fill it. I don't know what we would do if it was dry however. It is so wet here that I think we should start building an ark or at least buy a boat!!! The garden isn't planted, nor are the fields. We did manage to plant 88 hills of potatoes two weeks ago but I think most of them rotted in the ground.
Two weeks ago or so I managed to pick wild mustard tops to make Vourves, which is a French delicacy. Mustard greens are an excellent source of many vitamins including vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, folate, and vitamin E. They are also an excellent source of the minerals manganese and calcium as well as dietary fiber. They are also a very good source of potassium, vitamin B6, protein, copper, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2, and magnesium. Mustard greens are a good source of vitamin B1 and vitamin B3 (niacin). And I picked stinging nettle.




The mustard I boiled in salt water and then froze some. To prepare, I sauteed in butter with some garlic and then added a little lemon juice. They were very good. You pick them just before the flower buds open up. Yummy!!!
Stinging nettle is also loaded with vitamins and minerals. You just pick off the tops anytime before they get more than a foot tall. We have lots of them growing here. Make sure you were gloves though. Once the nettle is cooked it loses it sting. This I just boil in salt water and use like spinach in quiches or whatever hot dish I make. If I am making soup I just add it in fresh if I have it fresh. I also save the water that I boil it in and use it in tea. I dry a lot it to make tea with. This is just like a liquid vitamin!!!!
I also managed to find time to make a batch of dandelion wine. This is very time consuming to pick all of the blossoms but well worth it.
We have been busy putting up fence. We are putting up woven wire with an electric strand on the inside and barbwire on the top. We completed the lamb pen which is were they will be during weaning. We have all of the wooden posts put in along the yard so today I am going to try to get wire up. We had one set back though. A huge cotton wood tree fell (2 of the three huge trunks) right where we were going to start putting in more posts. We cut on it one evening but still have more to go. This might take awhile.
It will be so nice to have the fencing done as this took up so much of my time last year and this spring but once it is done I will have more time for other things.
We also rented out the main pasture to some beef cows in exchange for a calf this fall so we can start raising our own beef. So, that was another project to get that fence ready to go for them. That is just two strands of electric but the deer knock down and break it over the winter and their was some branches and stuff to clear.

Friday, May 13, 2011

New additions and plants





Yesterday the chicks started hatching. We made a big box for them so I am going to keep them in the house for a few days as it is cold here again.
And here are some of my plants...I can't wait to get out in the garden but I think it is going to be quite late this year.    
I went out this morning and harvested a bunch of stinging nettle and wild mustard tops which you make Vrouves with. I will blog about this on Monday! Happy weekend everyone!  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Website with just about everything!

I found a new website that is really interesting. As I am constantly upgrading at the farm I am in need of lots things that I find easier to buy on the web. This site brings lots of businesses together that carry a broad range of things I need here. You can search by product and then find the closest source for the product you need by entering your zip code. The web site is http://www.thomasnet.com/. They have more than 67,000 catalogs on a wide array of products to choose from!!
For instance, I need some new hinges for the barn door so I went to http://www.thomasnet.com/products/hinges-38101804-1.html and found over 2,000 companies that supplied hinges and then I narrowed it down to my zip code and found just the hinge I needed at our local Fastenal store.
Then I needed a specific nut for my weed trimmer, which I lost last summer in the pasture. I went to http://www.thomasnet.com/products/fasteners-27541200-1.html and found just what I needed. This one took just a little more digging because it was a special nut but I probably wouldn't have found it any other place.
So give this one a try if you are looking for something to help you organize or fix things.

A little bit of excitment

Here at Sheep Hollow Farm spring is slow in coming. You can barely see the buds forming on the apple trees. Usually by now they would have flowered. It is cold and wet. We live where we have a very high water table (read..Swamp!) With all the rain we received last year and so far this spring, I cannot set foot in my garden yet. I am planning on putting in a bunch of raised beds this year in preparation for next year so I can start gardening a little bit earlier. Anyway, we ran out of wood last week so we had to go out and get some. We have in floor water heat so our floors are cement and with the heat off the floors are very cold. It is nice in the summer time as the house remains cool but we usually burn wood all the way up to June or this year looking like maybe even longer. Friday the temp. is only suppose to be 49. So, we hooked the John Deere up to the rock wagon last night and headed out to the pasture to scrounge up some wood. Mind you, there is water standing everywhere on our place. Even on the lawn. We figured with the light tractor that  we would be okay. We were until we tried to come back with a load...okay it was only a 1/4 of a load. It pulled the JD right in. Half way up the tires!!! The hitch was below ground! So we walked back up to the yard and got a little bigger tractor. We had unhooked the wagon to try and get the JD out so we chained the wagon to the back of the JD and pulled the whole shebang back to the yard with the Minneapolis Moline. As we were coming up in the pasture we see BF's daughter walking out to us. She needed a Moline at her place because the septic guy buried his fully loaded truck on her lawn. It was only about 15 feet off the driveway. The Moline he used was almost out of Diesel so we hopped on his MM UB tractor pulling tractor and headed over there. We pulled him about foot and then had to shovel out in front of his back tires because the sod was up to the top of the tires. Then another foot, and figured this wasn't going to work. So, we headed back home and put the batteries in the biggest tractor we had and went back to try again. No luck. The back end of the truck just kept sinking away and he had a square tubing bar on the back of his truck that was dug right into the sod. So, BF's daughter drove me home and I drove over his other tractor pulling tractor...and Oliver 77. I hooked on in front of the big tractor with a flexible tow strap. Still nothing. So, she has a septic truck spending the night at her house because by this time it was dark and we couldn't see to dig out the tires anymore. The septic man is going to have his brother bring his truck over and unload the &*%$ out of it and then it will probably just pull right out..after all a load of crap is a LOAD!!!!!!!! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pasteurized Dairy and rBST

I was recently asked why I am against pasteurized dairy so I am going to blog about it today. I wanted to try and blog more about the things that are so wrong with our food system and other stuff so this is the perfect opportunity.
For one thing, the whole advertising campaign about 'milk does your body good' and you need to drink it for strong bones is utterly false! You don't get calcium from pasteurized milk. I will go into more detail about that later. Then there is the fact that cows are injected with rBST which I will also talk about.

People have had cows for milk consumption for ages. In order to keep up with today’s demand for more milk, we raise our cows in crowded quarters, pump them full of hormones to increase production, feed them grains that their stomachs can’t digest, and then give them antibiotics to prevent illness that naturally occurs under such living conditions. The end result is something very different than what our ancestors consumed, and pasteurization becomes necessary to kill the harmful bacteria that are now present in ever greater numbers.
Not only is modern milk loaded with antibiotics, toxins and hormones, but the pasteurization process intended to kill the bad bacteria also destroys the good bacteria and natural enzymes that allow its digestion. Our bodies don’t manufacture the proper enzymes to help our digestive system break down the milk and absorb all its nutrients. Consider phosphatase, a heat-sensitive enzyme essential for absorption and assimilation of calcium, which is destroyed during pasteurization. That 300 mg of calcium per glass? It won’t end up in your bones. (You will keep the fat though, but it won’t be the good kind of omega-3 fatty acids, unless it comes from a grass-fed cow.) Unpasteurized milk, however, contains more than 60 naturally-occurring enzymes, including lactase, which breaks down lactose (milk sugar). After years of consuming milk minus the lactase, your body can easily become burdened with breaking down all that lactose and you become lactose-intolerant.
So, you think raw milk is not safe but this simply is not true. Because of the way factory dairy farm cows are kept and all the stuff they are injected with the milk has to be pasteurized to kill all the bacteria. I have worked at several dairies and believe me you don't want to drink their milk even if it is pasteurized. It is loaded with mucus and pus and all kind of gross things.
http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/  and http://www.realmilk.com/ have lots of great info on the benefits of real raw cows milk that comes from cows that eat grass, hay and silage only and are out in the sun and not cooped up in barns. I will blog another day about the benefits of grass fed meat, poultry, eggs and dairy.Cows pastured on organic green grass produce milk with amazing health benefits.
If you go to the first link and click on FAQ'S it tells you what pasteurization, homogenization, and lactose intolerance is.
Drinking raw milk, kefir and eating yogurt give you many health benefits.
The other reason why I don't like store bought factory farm milk is rBST. This is the Bovine Growth Hormone that is injected into dairy cows to make them produce more milk. When I worked for the dairy they in injected the cows every three months or sooner with rBST. I could always tell when it was about shot time because the cows were not producing much milk at all and then all of the sudden they came in with huge bags and were cranky and miserable because of the unnatural state they where in. rBST is a hormone. Monsanto (no surprise there) is the company that is behind this hormone and of course all of our genetically modified food (GMOs) and lots of other evils. Posilac (this is what it is called now that Posilac bought it out from Monsanto)was banned from use in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all European Union countries (currently numbering 27), by 2000 or earlier. Dairy cows used to be productive for many years, but now a typical cow only lasts 2 to 3 years and they are burned up. They have much higher incidences of mastitis, which is bacteria in the milk, and milk has much more mucus in it which is why we have more frequent colds and sinus infections and why heart disease and obesity are so high in the United States. It has been found that due to the health and welfare of the animal that it should not be used and thus the banning of it from many countries.
In humans, it has been shown to increase new tumors, breast, colon an prostate cancer. It has been shown to be the cause of teenagers coming into puberty at such a young age. It is a hormone after all. I believe (but have not researched) this is the cause of so many young women having problems with PMS and ovarian cysts at such a young age. When my daughter was a teenager (we had our own milk cow for awhile and when we didn't I never bought milk with rBST) she had no problems but all of her friends were being put on the birth control pill to alleviate all of the female problems they were having like very painful and long periods and cysts. I believe (and it probably can be proved) that all of the pus and mucus in the milk is causing cysts.
You can buy rBST free milk if you look at the labels but this still does not put my mind at ease about factory milk. I buy my milk from a local Amish farm and have since found cheese made from unpasteurized milk at the new local Amish run store. The cheese comes from Ohio, but I am looking for a local source and when time permits I would like to start making my own. I have some milk kefir grains coming my way soon and will start making this healthful drink also. I will also be making my own yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese, too.
Here is a good article/report on rBST. http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/rBGH.pdf
Injecting otherwise healthy cows

with genetically engineered growth

hormones is, in my view, unnatural,

unnecessary and unfair to dairy

cows. … Consumers should be able

to decide for themselves whether or

not they buy milk from rBGH-treated

cows. We believe if they had the

information to make the choice, they

will not.

– A representative of Ben and Jerry’s

Homemade, Inc., on filing a lawsuit in 1996

to label their products rBGH-free










Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Todays lunch


Today's lunch was sauteed dandelion leaves and roots with garlic and eggs. It was very good. I cut up the leaves and steamed them in my steamer. While they were steaming, I  sauteed the roots and garlic in butter. I then added the leaves and two scrambled eggs. I seasoned this with cayenne pepper (which I put on everything for its health benefits), added some of my turmeric paste, (also for health), and when it was almost done cooking I added some mozzarella cheese that was made from unpasteurized milk.  I tried adding pictures but for some reason blogger won't let me. (Or maybe it is my computer.) Next time, I think I will boil the leaves as they were a little strong tasting.
I was also going to post pics of my bread but...oh well....maybe next time!!!
With spring here I just don't have time to blog like I would like to. Things are very busy! That and having to drive and pick up BF frorm work...well that takes two hours out of my day! Hopefully we can find some help for him to get his cataract surgery soon!!! 
Okay..I went back in to edit and now it let me post pictures....go figure!
I love this quote from Jesse Ventura.
  We Ain’t Got Time To Bleed. It’s Time for the Revolution.

“You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit… we are bleeding… but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution.” -Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, 4/12/11                                        

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Preparedness

I hate to keep being doom and gloom but their is an urgent need in me to become as prepared as possible. Their are signs all over. We must heed them. Their are many countries silently preparing for things to come. World leaders know something is coming. We need to be ready and be  ready long enough to ride it out and hope of prosperity to follow.
I urge you to learn how to grow things, preserve things, cook things, store things, fix things, heal things. Learn about herbs and weeds that can heal you and how to prepare them. Even better, learn how to eat healthy and live healthy so you don't get sickness and disease.
There are so many resources on the web to help you get started. If you have any questions orneed help in getting started in finding something please let me know. Next week, I plan on writing on a topic at a time about things that pertain to preparedness and  self-sufficiency.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Homemeade Pizza

We had homemade pizza last night and it was about as homemade as you can get. The crust was made with our own grown and ground wheat. The pizza sauce was made with our own garden tomatoes and raised herbs. The vegetable toppings were from the garden (zucchini slices and broccoli frozen last year). The cheese,  garlic and herb, was from a new store in our area that is run by Mennonites and was made with unpasteurized milk and rBST free. The Italian sausage was from our local meat market and came from pork raised locally. Next year, or perhaps this fall we will have our own pork.

It was very tasty and filling.
I am very concerned today about news of our economy. It seems that Standard & Poor, who make credit ratings, is going to downgrade the nations credit rating. Then none of the debt buyers are going to buy US debt. Our money will be worthless. The US is going down and I would urge everyone to prepare yourselves. There is alot of info on the net about preparedness so I won't go into here but I urge you to consider it and get started right away. Store food and water. Get your finances in a row. It might already be to late for that but do what you can.
The radiation fallout from Japan is also another reason to get prepared. Pres. Obama says not to worry about it and not to prepare BUT he has a fully stocked fallout bunker that he and his family and all of the Washington elite can live in for a long time. He doesn't care about the rest of us peons!
On a side note, I was asked what my favorite bread recipe was and right now I don't have an answer to that. I am currently using my bread machine recipe that I use all whole wheat instead of half whole wheat and half white flour like the recipe says. I just let the bread machine mix it and then I take it out and let it rise in the pan. I don't have a  mixer at this time and I don't have the time or the patience to mix and knead by hand. I can do it however, if I have to. The draw back to this is that I can only make one loaf at a time. When I get a mixer then I will be making three loaves at a time and I have several recipes I will be trying out then. I need to get one soon as now that spring is here I am going to be very, very busy and outside most of the time so I will not have time to bake one loaf at at ime. I am looking into getting an antique bread maker online. It is like a mixer but you do it by hand so I could grind wheat with my hand crank grinder  and mix bread without electricity if I had to.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here is a great giveaway from Food Renegade.
http://www.foodrenegade.com/giveaway-ghee-ghee-ghee-and-more-ghee/#more-2759
They are giving away Ghee from Pure Indian foods made from milk of grass fed cows. Golden colored Ghee is prepared by melting and simmering unsalted butter until all the water evaporates and the milk solids settle at the bottom. The remaining butter oil is very stable, giving it a high smoke point which makes it an excellent choice to use for frying and sautéing and it can be stored without refrigeration for several months. It is also knownas clarified butter or drawn butter. As long as it is made from grass fed organic cows milk it is very good and healthful for you. Ghee is one of the best oils for cooking. It stimulates digestive fire (or Agni) according to Ayurveda. It has a very high smoke point (~400°F) and its chemical structure does not change at high heat. When you cook with ghee, there is no hissing, popping or splattering. It produces sweet aroma when heated. You use less than half of other oils and it enhances the flavor of food. Ghee is a nutrient dense food and contains healthy fat soluble vitamins which aids in the absorption of nutrients in foods and are essential for good health.
The many beifits of eating grass fed meat is:

More Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):
Pasture-grazed cows have more CLA in their milk than grain fed cows and our lab tests show our ghee has more CLA than plain butter. CLA is an antioxidant and essential fatty acid that has been getting a lot of attention lately. In animal studies, it reportedly exhibits anticarcinogenic and other beneficial physiological effects. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/ScienceForums/forum03/E-04.htm
Ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fats
Research indicates that if the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 in your food exceeds 4:1 then it may not be good for you. This ratio is around 3:1 for grass-fed animals and over 20:1 for grain-fed animals, since grass is rich in Omega-3 and grains have higher Omega-6. So eating more grass-fed products helps you maintain the right balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Are Grassfed Products Safer?
Most of the conventional cows are fed large amounts of grains (primarily corn), soy and other supplements to increase milk production and decrease cost. They are kept in crowded feedlots and don’t get the opportunity to roam freely and peacefully in the sun and eat high-fiber green grass. This makes them vulnerable to various diseases, so they are often given antibiotics in their daily feed to prevent this. Read more here.http://www.eatwild.com/foodsafety.html
Go Green
Grass-fed dairies are generally small. They promote harmony between the land and the animals. They support biodiversity and reduce waste. They work in a sustainable manner and are good for our environment.
So support your local small farms and eat some grass fed beef today!!!







Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Culinary Herbalism

Today I watched an excellent video brought to me via John Gallager from herb mentor.com. He has a new site called culinary herbalism and he has a show on their called John's Herbal Reality Show. Here is the link to the video: http://www.culinaryherbalism.com/funnel_events/9787 You have to sign up which is easy but it was worth it and I cannot wait until he comes out with more shows.
The premise behind culinary herbalism is to eat your herbal nutrition. I am sure there is a more technical  way to describe it but this is the way I think and understand things...simple! In the video he had  K.P. Khalsa, who is the president of the American Herbalist Guild, a holistic practitioner for over 40 years, author of over 30 books, on the senior editorial board of the Harvard Natural Standard, former chief formulator for the Yogi Tea Company, and a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Bastyr University of Naturopathic Medicine.
He cooked two dishes that sound absolutely delicious and are packed with good food medicine and nutrition. One of the dishes used burdock root. For those of you that are not familiar with burdock root it the plant that produces cockle burrs that stick to you when you walk in the woods. The roots are very nutritious and also help cleanse and tone your body. This is one wild edible that I have eaten for a few years. The roots resemble parsnips. They are very hard to dig and some people actually grow them in their gardens for ease of harvest. I thought about doing this also for the last few years but I know they are even better for you if found in the wild and we have plenty of them growing here at Sheep Hollow Farm. The other wild food I eat a lot of is Stinging Nettle. Yes, I do. It is very good for you and it has more vitamins and minerals than spinach. I use it in dishes just like I do spinach. I also save the water which I blanch it in before freezing for adding to my tea or I give it to the chickens. After it is cooked it has no prickly, burning compounds left.
I will blog more about these nutritious foods and many more in future blogs.
Happy wild food hunting!
P.S. I can't wait for morel season!!!


Those dang cats are at it again. One found its way into the chicken coop during the night before and ate three of my little chicks. So I spent the day yesterday cat proofing my baby chick pen. First, I made it so that the babies couldn't get out of the pen because than mom can't protect them and then I made it so the cats cannot get in. What gets me is the cat that was in their wasn't even one of ours! We have a female cat in heat and I have counted 6 different tom cats here in the last week. We are kind of far away from neighbors but those animals sure do figure out when sumpin is up at the neighbors!!!
I also spent the early early hours of yesterday replanting tomato plants and planting all my vine crops in the house.
Today I am going to plant a few more things and then clean up where the chicken house was and clean up all the branches that we cut off the fence line. It won't be long and I will be putting lots and lots of fence!!! Anybody wanna help???

Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy Weekend

Wow, what a weekend. We spent all day Saturday moving our chicken house. It made sense to do so but what a job. It was situated right in front of the sheep barn so if we want to get more sheep it was taking up space for livestock. I am going to expand the sheep pen and make a small pen on the end for a few beef steers to raise for meat. This will be their winter pen. The chicken coop sits on four stringers. The coop was originally a hog barn that was at his daughters place just down the road. He drilled two holes on the end of the outside stringers and put a bolt through it and attached chains to the bolts and drug it down the road and brought it here. This was probably 10 years or so ago. We hooked onto the bolts, gave her a tug and broke the end off one of the stringers! Guess they rotted over time. So, we drilled holes through the center two stringers and hooked on to them. Same thing. So, we tried the one good middle one and the one good outside one. Broke the middle one! So, we ended up going and getting all the chains we had and hooking onto the back of the stringers and running the chains underneath.
First try.
Finally progress!!! Until we got to the huge puddle!!!





So, we get stuck and cannot move any more. We get another tractor and try to pull the first tractor with the tow strap. We break the tow strap. So, we hook both tractors up side by side at which point I had to drive one and couldn't take pictures anymore! So, we are pulling the building tandem style. All was going well except I didn't realize how close I was to my new fence post and took it out and the small door with the ramp that the chickens go in and out with. So, I have repairs to do today. It took us all day to unhook the electricity and ready the building for moving and moving it and it will take a whole nother day to swing the back end of the building over to where I want it and rehook up the electricity. I will be taking pics of where it sitting now and all the damage we did getting it there!
I also had 6 baby chicks hatch out that a hen was sitting on. I have two more sitting. My poor hens don't know where their house went to so they are roosting in the sheep barn on the hay stack but we will get them straightened out!
We got a 1/2 inch or so of rain on Saturday night and even a thunderstorm and then it misted and drizzled all day on Sunday so we worked in the shop. We tore the starter out of the skid loader and cleaned it and tried to find out what was wrong with it. This was no easy feat as the starter is under the engine and you can only get one hand down their at at time. We had to take the seat out and one of us had to kneel where the seat was and one of had to assist on the side with one hand. We determined that it just needed to be cleaned as the solenoid was so greasy in side that it wasn't working properly. So, we cleaned it and put the starter back in. Nope...the solenoid is bad so out it came again. My arms are all black and blue and sore from reaching down in that thing! Today, I will be chasing parts!
I am forgoing my usual Monday cleaning and washing day to be outside as it is suppose to be sunny all day today and cloudy and rainy tomorrow. I want to get the crab apple tree trimmed up and see if I can get in shape so I can get some apples off of it this year. I also have lots of clean up to do from moving the coop. Their is a whole bunch of cement blocks to dig out of the mud where they sank. At least the coop should not keep sinking in the ground where it is moved too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gorgeous Day!

What a beautiful day! We are suppose to hit 70 today. Well, my canner seems to be working fine as I canned 7 quarts of carrots yesterday. I plan on squeezing in 7 more today even though it is so nice out.
Last night for supper I made potato latkes. This is a very good way to use your late stored potatooes that may be getting soft. All you do is mix in an egg or two in your left over mashed potatoes and fry like a pancake. I use at least two eggs and yesterday I boiled up some soft potatoes just to make these for supper. I mashed them with milk but no butter and they turned out great. I season them in the pan with Lawry's season salt or garlic powder or cayenne pepper or sometimes even ginger, whatever I am in the mood for.
Today I transplanted my tomato plants. When they get there first two true leaves I plant them all the way up to the leaves. This grows strong plants that have roots all the way up. Depending on when I get these started I may do this 3 or 4 times before they go out to the garden. When I plant them in the garden, I dig a trench and lay the plant in it sideways and cover. I didn't start my tomato plants early enough this year so I am transplanting them in a big hanging pot that I only filled half way with dirt and I will continue to fill it as they grow. I am also planting my vine crops today, inside of course.
I need to go out and finish my chick starting pen so the cats can't get in there. I peeked under the one setting hen and she had a few chicks hatched. Last year I ordered 50 chicks, received 54, and then lost all but 11 to the &*%$#^ cats. Never again!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Canning in April

In MN???? Yes, canning in April in MN. I have three half barrels of carrots in sand in my cold room. One of the barrels rotted on me. I am not sure if I damped it too much or if their was bad one that spread its badness. Thats one thing about storing them in sand is you can't go through and check on them. Next year I am going to only store varieties that are long keepers and only in a single layer instead of the three I did this year. I am also not going to store so many as I hope to dry alot of stuff this year also. Anyway, back to canning. Last time I used my pressure canner I thought I had problems with it. I haven't used it for along time and couldn't really remember so I thought I would can up some carrots and see whats up. I am waiting for the jiggle right now.
Another thing that is going to be differetn in this years garden is: THINNING!!! My carrots are huge and all odd shaped so they were very hard to clean and cut up. My wrist is sore. How big you say? Well, one carrot filled up 2 quart jars...yes, I said two!!!! Much to hard to cut up!  Over the winter we have had numerous roast dinners with one carrot and one potato and still had leftovers. Thats how big my potoates were too. I had one carrot that looked just like a big fat foot complete with toes and toe nails. I put it in the sink with the rest to wash and  then I was going to take a picture of it for on here but of course I forgot. I forget alot.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Radioactive rain

I had written a blog post last week and then two days later deleted it. I thought I was being silly and doom and gloom but I should have left it. I was depressed. I had read a report of not to be outside in the rain without having your entire body covered up because of the Japan nuclear thing. You should cover up with a plastic raincoat as this can be washed off and take a shower afterward. Well, I thought I was overreacting the other day when it was snowing and I had to go outside so I deleted my overly depressing post. Turns out the radiation has reached MN and it was raining out last night. Now, I am back to being depressed.
There is no safe amount of radiation and the goverment that tells us that it is in safe levels is lying to us.
http:/www.nukefree.org has a good article to read on this and also some action steps you can take to help get rid of nucear energy...if it isn't already to late.
I am becoming most concerned about growing my garden and raising our meat this year. Will our soil be contaminated???
Tommorow and maybe for a few days I will be writing about Monsanto and the very evil of GMO and how poor our food supply is as far as nutrients goes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wheat

I was asked by a few people how we go about raising wheat for our bread making. It all happened quite by accident that I started grinding the wheat and making bread so I guess some background is in order. My bf milked cows for many years and upon quitting that went to being a crop farmer until three years ago. He sold all his big equipment and most of his land. When I moved in here he was just farming a few acres and working of the farm. We wanted to go back to farming the way it was done years ago and purchased some small machinery like he grew up with. We planted oats and wheat and we cut hay of our meadow land. I wanted to grind the wheat and make flour and bake bread so I started to do Internet searches on grinders. I saw a picture of one that looked just like something that someone had given me years ago. I had no idea what it was until I saw the picture. It was the Family Grain Mill and I am very happy with it. We have since rigged up a way to motorize it. I can purchase a motor for it but that was kind of spendy. So, I took it out of storage and started cranking!! Lo and behold, I started making bread. My bf eats tons of bread and now he won't go back to store bought for anything!
We had planted five acres of wheat. We have a small seeder and bought a small combine. We cleaned the grain with an old Clipper fanning mill and saved two 55 gallon plastic barrels, which I keep in my cold room. The rest we sold. This will probably last us a long time as there is usually just two of us here.
The bread baking is an ongoing learning experience. I have gotten rid of my aluminum bread pans for health reasons and have purchased 2 Old Mountain cast iron bread pans off of Amazon, which I am very happy with. I love cooking with cast iron and that will be my next post!
I hope this answers some of your questions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last week was a busy one. Bf was layed off and M was here all week. We started the week off with sheet rocking the shop office. I moved him out of his original office for my cold room so we are trying to finish the new office. Got the sheet rocking done, the light fixture in, actually two...the first one wasn't bright enough so we had to find another one. Now I just need to paint it and put all his stuff in and it will be done. Then we moved on to rearranging things and cleaning the rest of the shop. We built a new welding table. Then we started back on Larry tractor. We are putting a irrigation motor in a tractor pulling tractor for him. We also cut wood and dragged a bunch of trees up to the pasture. We also refixed the radiator in the work car as it was leaking again after hitting the deer and then brought my car in and glued the window back in the frame.
Monday I went out in the afternoon and cut up some of the trees we drug up and brought them to the wood room and stacked them. Bf helped me some when he got home from work. My car is still in the shop as we have to look at and fix the shocks. We also found a couple tires for the work car as the front ones are getting bad and determined that the alternator belt had broke on the farm truck. So those will be our week after work projects.
I am also constructing a shock mat to put on my car to teach the cats to stay off of it. This week I have extreme house cleaning to do and seeds to plant. I have several shop projects that I am working on also. I also need to get out my pressure canner and deterimine if something is wrong with it and see whats going on with it. I am going to can up some carrots as some of them are gettting rotten.
Today it is freezing rain and we are suppose to get 5 to 10 inches of snow by tomorrow night so I put down more straw for the sheep, made sure everyone was full on water, and carried in a bale of hay for Chester so I don't have to haul it through the new snow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Well, I can tell things are starting to busy around here so I guess that means spring! Last night we had to pull the washer out because it was leaking so as long as I had the them both moved out I cleaned behind them today. The washer is still leaking so he will have to look at them again tonight. I had to dig a trench in the sheep pen as there was huge lake forming in there. I also fixed the doors for the outside chicken run and put Chester (my male ram) out for the day and let the chickens out. We drug up four trees on Sunday so I should go out and start cutting them because they will be in water pretty soon. It was cold last week but this week is near 32 all week. We got another 4 inches of snow on Sunday. Yesterday I took the skid loader out and cleaned up some around the yard. Saturday morning we picked up my new dog. He is half Australian Shepard and half border collie. I think he is very smart and will make ad excellent farm dog. Both breeds are known for herding. The people we brought him from says that his stay by the pasture gate when it is open and won't let his horses out.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Well, I am done lambing. My last lamb was born on the 16th. I ended up with 4 rams and 2 ewes, and I lost 1 ewe lamb. Only one set of twins. We ended putting a pen in the corner for her and her twins as they are just so tiny and I wanted to stay by there moms becuase the other sheep were butting them and knocking them around. It means I have to water her twice a day but it is worth it.
We finally bought a decent car to drive. A Lincoln with all the bells an whistles. I sure do like it though. Bf's other car is nice for a work car but he hit so many deer with it that I hate to drive it anywhere. It looks awful.
Our beautiful weather turned cold again and we suppose to get a bunch of snow tomorrow. It sounds like south of us will be getting lots of snow. Alot of snow melted and the frost even came out of the ground in places. We have our big driveway sink hole again already!
My dd was induced yesterday...grandchild number 2....we are sill waiting as of this morning though. I will probably go up there later today. I hope I will be in their again when she delivers like I was for the last one.
Bf just went out to cut some wood. I didn't go with him because I pulled a muscle between my shoulder blades this morning banging a frozen water pail against the fence to break up the ice!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring is here!!!

It has been so nice for the last five days...almost 50 everyday!!!! I had my first set of twins born late yesterday afternoon... a ram and a ewe. Thy are so tiny. I went to the elevator today and bought some colostrum booster for them so I will go out after this and attempt to feed them.
The chickens are loving this weather as I have let them outside for the past three days.
I belong to five different seed swapping groups on line so I am always getting new seeds in the mail. I love going to get the mail. I only grow heirloom and rare seeds here. I will be starting plants in the house next week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cold Cold Cold

For the last three days we did not make it above zero but today is starting a warming trend! We will be 50 degrees warmer tomorrow but still be below freezing!!!! Gotta love Minnesota. Well, Chester my ram, is not nice and little anymore. I cannot go near him and he tries to charge me. I let him out of the barn the other day for exercise and I could not walk to the house!! Bf says he would make a good watch dog!!!!
Since last fall I have been baking bread with flour that we have ground our self and wheat we have grown right here on our farm. We both agree that there is no way we could go back to store bought bread. I was grinding the flour by hand as we have been testing many ways to automate it without spending money on the motor attachment and we finally came up with a way. We tried using a drill but it was to fast and the grinder got hot, which isn't good for the wheat. After a few more trials with things that didn't have enough power we finally came up with the drill press. He can gear it down far enough to grind the most perfect flour. His doesn't pivot however, so we have to tip it on its side between two tables but we are working on finding and old drill press that has a pivot head and than that will stay in my cold room and be a permanent grain grinder.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today I spent most of my time on my computer. The poor thing is full becuase I have at least a 1000 websites, 20 books, and countless word documents and pdf's saved on it. So, I am trying to clean it off. That is not an easy task becuase of course I have to check everyhitng out and then add more things to the favorite list!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Today I spent most of the day going through the listings on the three seed swap groups I belong too. I am trying to amass heirloom seeds and rare seeds. The things grown long ago have so much more flavor and you can actually save seeds from them and they will grow true.
When bf got home we ate and went to town to get some diesel as we will have to clean the driveway tommorow.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Today was spent catching up on cleaning the house since bf was home for two weeks. Last night was a late night as we had the big tractor outside all day while he worked on his car that he hit a deer with. He had to replace both headlights and soder the radiator...about 10 times! Well, the tractor wouldnt start and we were expecting snow and cold so I ran the skidloader while he directed and we managed to push and pull and maneuver it back into the heated shop. That skidloader sure is tough and I am sure glad we have it as I use it almost every day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Been a long while


I really want to try and post everyday this year. So far...well its the 30th!!!! My sheep started lambing on Jan 2nd and they weren't suppose to until March. I have three so far and lost one. I have two left to lamb but I don't think they will until March. BF was layed off for two weeks so we built them a grain feeder. It turned out really well. We have been busy cutting wood, cleaning and organizing the upstairs and the shop. We moved BF office in the shop and turned it into a cold room. I have three half barrels of carrots in sand, a wooden box of potatoes, onions, pumpkins and eggs. The pumpkins I have since done up and put in the freezer though as they were getting soft. We are suppose to get up to 6 inches of snow again tonight. Tommorow I will be cleaning like crazy as I haven't cleaned the whole two weeks bf was home!!!