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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category
Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
After a day without snow and rain, which is unheard of here in northern Minnesota this time of the year, we got a two-inch snowfall. Luckily, today the sun’s out and it’s pretty and not too cold. Our critters are happy and fat and seem to enjoy the fresh snow. The horses are running around bucking and playing and even the cows are joining them. (It’s pretty funny to see a big cow with her bag swinging back and forth, bucking and jumping with her tail kinked up in the air!)
We knew the snow was coming so we carried in extra wood and while I ran to town for feed, Will brought in the Christmas tree and got it set up. It seems like every year we have a prettier tree! This year, it’s a locally grown pine. Our own Christmas tree selection is dim; some nice trees are too big and others, too small. Maybe next year we can go out and cut our own again. But we’re happy to have a neighbor to the North that has a small Christmas tree farm. We get a nice fresh tree and keep the bucks local!
I’m excited; we’ll be picking up our beef from the processing plant on Friday! We’ve sold seven quarters of our natural beef, saving a quarter for ourselves. So I’ll be delivering beef Friday and Saturday as well as bringing ours home. Yum, I can’t wait! (We’ve also started selling quarters and halves from the next two butcher steers. Many are repeat customers, so that makes us feel good.)
Keep watching the box at the top of the blog as our new seed business, which we’ve named SEED TREASURES (we believe seeds are more valuable than gold), is up and running with many more selections this year! Click on the link. But if you can’t open it, just e-mail us at email@example.com and I’ll see you get a listing. — Jackie
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
Our temps started out real cold; down to -25 and windy. Brrr. But lately we’ve been having much more moderate temps and we’re maybe going to hit 40 above this weekend. Translated, that means we’re getting more done around here because we can stand to work outside.
Will’s been cutting more lumber on the sawmill. He has almost enough to frame the top walls on the whole barn. (He has two sections finished now.) We’ve been using some of the slab wood every day for firewood as the temperatures have been so warm we don’t need the wood to last a long time in the stove. Waste not, want not! As Will cuts it so carefully, we don’t have building-quality slabs but they’re thick on the butt end and run out to thin on the top. But it does make nice (free) firewood.
Meanwhile, because I sure don’t feel up to helping him yet (I’m still kind of weak from the diverticulitis, which seems to have left), I boned our Thanksgiving turkey, cut it up, and boiled the carcass. Then I canned it up. It ended up to be nine pints and a quart of broth. One jar didn’t seal so I made turkey and potato chowder from it — a pint of turkey with broth, diced potatoes, carrots, and onions. Boy, was that good!
Well, we’ve got to go set out round bales so I’ll see you soon! — Jackie
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Last Thursday was one for me. My adopted son, Javid, is still getting his ducks in a row after we moved him here from Montana. To get his Social Security Disability, he had to have a photo identification card. To get that he had to have a certified copy of his birth certificate, which the “helpful” Social Services in Helena had lost. So I tore off to Virginia (the city, not the state, thank God!) and got one for him. $27. Then we reserved a handicap bus to pick him up at the nursing home. That was $77 for a round trip of 10 miles. (OMG, how could they charge that much?) We were on the bus five minutes. We got to the driver’s license bureau and the bus left. Inside, we filled out the form and took it to the window, where the nice lady informed us that the computers in the whole state (motor vehicles/drivers license) were “down.” Couldn’t do a thing, sorry. So I called the bus back. It took half an hour to get it back, in which time the lady tried again to get the computer to work. No go.
So back to the nursing home we went. Of course there was no refund for the $77 for the bus. There was no way I was going to spend another $77 for another bus the next day, so, thank God, David didn’t have school Friday and he came back with me and lifted Javid into the car seat and back out again at the Driver’s License Bureau. (Yes, I did call them Friday morning to make sure the computers were back “up”!) We got that done and Javid will get his card in about 6 weeks.
Then David and I tore off to Hibbing, 23 miles west, so he could apply for a replacement Social Security card after losing his wallet this summer. Got that done for free with no glitches. By then I was more than ready to get HOME!
And back to homesteading. As we had great warmer temps, into the mid thirties, Will and I butchered six big fat meat chickens. With his handy-dandy Tornado Clucker Plucker, it went fast and easy. Today I’ll wrap and freeze the birds to can up after Thanksgiving. (They do need to chill for at least 12 hours in refrigeration before eating, freezing, or canning so they’ll be tender.)
Today Will finished hauling rotted goat manure out onto our garden and buried a bunch of old rotten stumps, logs, and branches, shoved into a dip, with more rotted manure. No, we’re not doing hugelkultur gardening, just getting rid of ugly wood and flattening out a big low spot. One more job well done! — Jackie
Monday, November 24th, 2014
Well, sort of. This summer, our son, David, was in town and was stopped in a parking lot by a couple that he didn’t recognize. They told him they were part of a movie crew that was getting ready to film on nearby Lake Vermiilion. And his truck was the exact truck the main character drove. Could they rent his truck?
To make a long story shorter, they did rent the truck and he not only got to visit the set but landed a part in the movie. The movie is THE BLOOD STRIPE, telling the story of a female Marine Corps veteran who returns from overseas with PTSD. David portrayed a local whom she thought was “out to get her.” David was having a ball and the money he was paid for his acting and truck rental helped him out when he started college again this fall.
Now the movie is being put together and will soon be headed for film festivals. If you’d like to take a peek, check out the link, minnesota.cbslocal.com. (https://www.facebook.com/TheBloodStripe) It’s pretty cool for a homesteader boy!
Meanwhile, Will and I have been sticking to winterizing the homestead. He blew a brake line on our pickup and today, as it was nearly 30 degrees above zero and sunny, he replaced it. He’s been using the truck without much brakes to haul our small poplar wood up from down by the barn where he’s been cutting it on his “mini-cordwood saw,” the table saw he added a Briggs engine to, making it much more portable on the homestead.
We’ve been stacking our “small wood” in the wood shed as well as using it in the house for nice hot fires in both the living room and kitchen range. We try to not waste much around here. We’re burning “waste” wood that was cut on a throw-away table saw with a motor from the scrap pile. I love it!
By the way, we’re sure glad we ducked that six feet of snow in Buffalo! Anyone who got caught by that storm, know that I’m praying for you. — Jackie
Thursday, November 13th, 2014
Luckily, Will and I have about gotten everything wrapped up for winter. He did finally get the stone and concrete slip-form wall poured under the house, next to our walk-out-to-be basement and also the stepped footings for the wall he intends to build next spring, under the south side of our pole-type addition. Even though he has a nasty cold, he worked hard to get that done because after listening to our trusty weather radio, he figured it was his last chance at good, warmer weather.
So he poured. And luckily he did because a couple of days later, our weather turned cold. And is getting colder. By later this week, the lows are going down to the single numbers. Ish!
Yesterday, we woke up to snow. Not as much snow as the folks south of us have been getting, but our first significant snowfall of the year. Brrrr. — Jackie
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
We listened to the weather radio yesterday morning, cringing when they talked about significant snowfall for our area and south of us. Eek! Luckily, we only got a dusting but Duluth and parts south and east got hammered with 12 to 18 inches of snow.
We knew it was coming and Will and I have been working like mad to get things done ahead of winter. I pulled the last ears of our Glass Gem popcorn and was really happy with the ears (and colors!) we got. We didn’t get a full crop as it was quite late-maturing. Next year I’m planting it farther apart so the stalks get more sunlight. I discovered that the rows on the outside matured faster than those on the inner rows because it’s such a thick-growing corn. But the colors — Wow! Colors I’ve never seen in corn: light blue, pink, mauve, and pastels. We’ll definitely plant it again!
I wrapped up the last of the fruit trees and bushes yesterday. Will salvaged some heavy aluminum screening from an old TV dish so we could wrap the honeyberries and a couple of bush cherries that were too bushy for a regular screen to fit around. It worked great. We had quite a bit of vole damage to our trees last winter so we wanted to make sure the same wouldn’t happen this year. We have a friend whose big apple tree was killed because the voles had totally girdled the trunk. That’s depressing. Some of our orchard trees have grown so much that the white spiral plastic tree guards won’t fit. I used old aluminum window screen instead. We aren’t taking any chances!
I got a whole pork loin on sale at our local store for $1.99 a pound. I roasted it up for dinner, cut into two chunks to fit my roaster. Then the next day I warmed it up and canned what was left from dinner, using the pan drippings with water added for a broth. We got two meals plus three quarts and a pint to add to our pantry. And I also got busy and readied another batch of carrots to go in the canner after the pork came out. I’ve only got one more batch to go plus some rutabagas.
We aren’t hunting deer this fall because winter killed off about half of our local deer herd. Besides, we are butchering a steer and we already have half a pig left in my son’s, freezer. And canned venison down in our basement from last fall. And the meat chickens… We sure don’t need more meat and we feel sorry for the neighboring deer herd and decided to let them rest with plenty of feed (Will’s oats/clover patch!). There’s always next year if we need one. — Jackie
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
We have a few warm days but the long-term forecast is for increasing cold and snow. So we’ve been working like beavers, canning, cutting and splitting the last big batch of firewood, hauling manure, and pulling the last things from the garden.
Will has finished the retaining wall under our enclosed porch, beside the walk-out-to-be of our basement. The stonework on the barn is done. And now he’s got Old Yeller, our faithful bulldozer out in the goat pasture, shoving three-year-old leftover hay and manure into huge piles. Then he carries the best of the composted material out onto our garden by the tractor bucket full. Wow, will we ever have GARDEN next year! And a whole lot of leftover rocks will be buried. (He didn’t spread much on the area where our root crops will be planted as they don’t like excessive manure.) Squash, sweet corn, and tomatoes flourish in well-rotted compost.
We moved the goats up to the old goat barn for winter. Next winter, they’ll be in the new barn for winter and the goat cottage and pasture for summer. How spoiled will they be? Hopefully, next summer we’ll dismantle the old goat barn as it’s sure not a thing of beauty. And when our new cordwood chicken coop gets built we’ll be tickled pink.
I pulled the last of our carrots, which I’ve been canning every other day for better than a week. I planted both Nantes and Tendersweet and both grew nice big, sweet carrots. They are so crisp that when I scrape them in the kitchen sink, some actually POP open in my hands. That’s a funny feeling, for sure. I can the big, fat carrots in quarts, in chunks, for stews and to use with roasted meat. The more slender carrots go into pints to use as a side dish. I’ve already pulled and canned a lot of carrots to use in canned mixed vegetables like sweet corn, potatoes, rutabagas, and onions, etc. We had an excellent crop this year of darned near everything.
I also have been seeding our big, fat cukes and drying the seeds. The cucumbers (Homemade Pickles, our favorite for pickles) still taste sweet and I pop a few pieces into my mouth as I scoop out the seeds with a tablespoon.
Gotta run. There’s SO much we want to get done before serious snow falls! — Jackie
Friday, October 31st, 2014
We had snow last night but it didn’t stick. Thank goodness! We still have a lot to get done before serious snow hits. We have gotten more firewood in and stacked and Will got the big pile of small popple from the goat pasture all cut up and that’s ready to come in when it dries out. (We don’t like to stack wet wood because it doesn’t ever seem to dry out well.)
But the drive bearing went out on Old Yeller, our 1010 John Deere dozer, and we spent a good part of yesterday driving to get parts and seals. So much for canning carrots! Then today after I’d gone to town to mail seeds to folks who had ordered them, Will called. Oh oh. Another trip 23 miles to the town of Virginia for another seal. As I was already “out,” I drove on to Motion Industries and got his seal. I’ll pull those carrots today anyway. I remember this time of year about two years ago when I went out to pull late carrots and found that the deer had gotten in and eaten them all. (I forgot and left a gate open…) Don’t want a repeat of that!
Our big turkeys, Christmas and Thanksgiving, are strutting like mad. I guess they don’t realize their time is coming. I sure hate to butcher, but I DO like to eat good food that came from animals who lived a happy life without chemicals and hormones added.
I’m still busy pulling seeds out of squash and pumpkins to dry. We had a slight setback: two of our cows got out and helped themselves to our pumpkin pile! But there’s still a lot left so get busy Jackie. — Jackie