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Archive for January, 2017
Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
Ever have to be in two places at once? Not uncommon for us. For instance, we had two steers butchered and yesterday was the day we’d arranged to meet various customers who bought quarters of beef. But it was also the same day our son, Javid, was going skiing! Luckily David and his girlfriend, Ashley, drove Javid to the Giant’s Ridge Ski hill while we delivered beef.
Javid used to ski in Montana, using adaptive equipment and he has sure missed it here. He joined a special program here and yesterday he had a ball on the slopes. I asked David if they put him on the bunny hill. David laughed and said, “No, it was a pretty good hill!” And because David snowboards, I took his word. So we got it all done and everyone was happy.
Today it’s snowing pretty good and I’m getting ready to can up a big batch of baked beans. Like our beef, our pork is getting a little old so I need to use up the hams and bacon we have left. And we all love baked beans! So the beans are soaking and I’ll get at it soon. Mmmm!
We’ve finally set our program for the fall seminar so if any of you are interested, just click on the Seed Treasures link and check out what we’ll be offering in August. We’ve already got four people signed up so if you’re interested, I’d suggest getting signed up. We can only accept 14 people so everyone can get a good, hands-on experience.
It’s hard to believe we’ll be planting seeds soon! Especially when it’s snowing outside. But we’re real excited and are already discussing the wheres and hows of our 2017 gardens. And with the political unrest, we will be planting even more. Just in case … — Jackie
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
We were until I came upon some of my photos taken in June! My gosh, the colors just knock us out after a winter of drab and white. Now I really can’t wait till spring.
We’re planning and ordering some interesting new seeds. As always, we look for beautiful, tasty and often Native heirloom varieties we can grow here in Zone 3. Already we’ve found some new-to-us old beans, squash, corn, and others. David’s girlfriend, Ashley, can’t wait to help out in the garden as she’s never had the chance to garden before and just loves all things “homesteady.” We have a lot of fun together.
Our warm weather has cooled and is heading back to normal for January. As long as I’ve lived in Minnesota — more than thirty years, in all — I’ve never seen a January thaw before. What a nice surprise that was! And it lasted nearly two weeks in what is usually the very coldest time of the year. Spring seems a lot closer even though I know we’ve still got a lot of winter ahead of us. (But, hey, we get to plant our peppers and petunias next month!)
I’ll be canning up some ground beef next; dozens and dozens of pints. It’s so easy to put up and so very handy to have around. I season some for tacos and leave other plain for a variety of mixed recipes. We just love having that pre-cooked burger handy for quick, homemade meals. — Jackie
Monday, January 23rd, 2017
Since we have a freezer half full of nearly year-old hamburger, and Will just took in two steers to butcher, I’ve been canning like crazy. No more putting it off for me! So far, I’ve put up 36 quarts of chili. But I’ve got a little warning for you. I learned something in the process. I had nearly run out of quart jars so at WalMart, I saw Anchor Hocking quarts, with lids and rings for more than a dollar cheaper than Kerr jars. Being cheap, and have used “alternative” brands for years, I bought two dozen jars.
Okay, fast forward. Two jars’ rings let loose during processing, blowing chili everywhere! One in one batch, one in the second. Not good! Will checked the rings and found that if jiggled a bit loose, they would pop right off! So I threw away ALL of the shiny gold new rings and finished the batches with old Kerr rings. Yep, all sealed fine. Surprise! I figured Anchor Hocking had been around for decades and the jars would be okay; but I didn’t think about rings. Lesson learned! Just a warning to all you who can. Don’t use the rings that come with Anchor Hocking jars!
I have to correct a statement in the last blog; we did not buy a battery from DB Electrical, but a starter. Love the company!
We had one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen the other evening. I grabbed my camera and tore off around the house, trying to find where I could get a shot. Nearly killed myself, dashing under the deck! But I did get a few good photos and it was all worth it.
I bought a used rocker-recliner from Goodwill years ago but it was getting pretty shaky. So over the weekend, Will took it apart and re-glued and added a few screws to it to strengthen it further. Now it’s in great shape. It’s amazing what a good man, some glue and screws can do!
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
On Saturday, we drove down to my son, Bill’s, for granddaughter Ava’s fifth birthday party. The weather was nice and we had a great time visiting with all the family and Bill’s friend, Andy and his family. Again, the kiddos played Pie Face and both Mason and Ava got a face full of whipped cream.
Thank goodness, our severe winter weather has broken. Yesterday it was sunny and 31 degrees and today it almost hit 36! Wow, I can tell you it sure feels great, just being in the sunshine and breathing in warm air. I’m sure we’ll still have plenty of snow and cold but a break is sure welcome, and it’s supposed to last for a whole week!
Let me tell you about a very positive business deal we just had. Four months ago, we bought a battery for our ATV from DB Electrical, online. Two weeks ago, it fried. I got busy and found the order number and Will called, hoping there was some sort of warranty. He was on the phone for exactly two minutes, 22 seconds and the guy said “It’s in the mail.” A replacement, that fast — it seemed unbelievable! No “Well, you must have done something,” or “We don’t warranty electrical products.” Just “It’s in the mail, should get to you on Wednesday.” Wow! So anyone who needs reliable service check out DB Electrical. I know we’re lifelong customers now.
It doesn’t seem possible but in three weeks I’ll be starting my first garden seeds: peppers and petunias. Once seed starting begins, spring seems a whole lot closer, doesn’t it?
Will and I have decided to offer another homesteading seminar here at our place, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 25th, 26th, and 27th, providing there is interest. A lot of people have been asking about another seminar so here is your chance, should you decide you’d like to come. I’ll be posting more information on our website, www.seedtreasures.com, in the near future. — Jackie
Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Well, at least the perennial garden plants will have plenty of snow cover this winter. We just got another five inches today. I can’t lie and say I wish winter would stay for months and months. I’m about ready for spring! At least we aren’t suffering like some folks on the East and West Coasts are, though, with flooding and big snowstorms. We just do our chores and throw another log on the fire.
But chores are sometimes challenging. Like today when we had to set big round bales out and water the big livestock. The wind was blowing, snow falling sideways, and although it was 15 above, it felt VERY cold. I’m the official gate-opener so while Will runs up and down the hill with the tractor, I wait for him to come so I can open gates. Brrrrr! And although we now have a great new well downhill from the barn, you still have to warm up the generator, start it, hook up a hundred feet of hose (sometimes a little frozen in spots) and stand around while water fills this tank, then that tank. Then the hose must be drained twice in hopes it won’t be frozen next time we water.
No, living in the North is not easy but we couldn’t think of anywhere else we’d want to live.
For Christmas, my friend Dara gave me a big North Georgia Candy Roaster squash she’d grown. She said it’s one of the best tasting squash she’s ever had so she wanted us to try it. It is beautiful and I hate to cut into it! But, of course, we will so we can try this squash. If we love it too, we’ll be growing it this year so we can offer seed next year in our Seed Treasures catalog.
Meanwhile, David has been trimming out some spots in his old bedroom after work. (Work right now means taking his snowmobile and sled to Tower, about 30 miles away, unloading the snowmobile, then driving over seven miles across the ice on Lake Vermilion, to where Voyager Log Homes is working on a log house.) By the time David gets off work, it’s dark and the trip back to the truck must be interesting, especially when it’s snowing so much.
We’ve been spending a little time working on a couple more puzzles, first a bear, then deer, and just lately, an old farm scene. When you walk past the table, you just have to stop and find a few more pieces! We all really enjoy it. Hey, it doesn’t take much to entertain us homesteaders.
I just have to tell you about the huge pile of 20 solar panels we just got from a friend, on a VERY good deal! All totalled, it will boost our charging to double what we have now! Wow, were we glad to get them. Now, come spring, it’s one of the first projects Will has planned. We’ll have to run our generator very little once they’re all hooked up. So very nice! — Jackie
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
We were a little crazier than usual this New Year’s Eve. No we weren’t partying, but with David and Ashley moving into our house after their rent became a stone around their necks and company coming for New Year’s Eve, we were pretty busy. The craziest was when David and Ashley arrived with their huge king bed. (We didn’t even know if it would FIT up our stairs to the bedroom!) But David pulled from above and Will shoved from beneath and, lo and behold, it finally popped up the stairs! Luckily, the base and bedsprings came apart so those were a snap to get up the stairs.
My son, Bill and his family came up New Year’s Eve day for a belated Christmas dinner. We feasted and enjoyed opening Christmas presents. Then David took grandkids, Mason and Ava, out with the snowmobile. Mason rode the sled behind it. (David drove slowly and carefully!) Ava rode in front of David. Then they went sledding down our hill to the pasture.
Afterward, Ava and puzzle queen Ashley put all six of Ava’s Christmas puzzles together. Then, on a roll, Ava decided they’d start Ashley’s new puzzle. So they got that started, and now I have two puzzles on the dining room table, and neither is small! Oh well, we improvise well.
The new well is working to water the stock down by the new barn. Great water and LOTS of it! What a good idea that was. — Jackie