Sunday, July 1, 2012
6 years ago I bought this orange fabric, that isnt terribly significant. 6 yrs ago my baby girl was almost 4, she will be 10 in 9 days. My boy was 5.5 yrs old. We lived in a neighborhood, in Sc, with no farm animals. I lived so close to my best friend that I saw her every month, it not more than 1 time a month. She and I shared this piece of orange fabric. It was 10 yds of washable wool that we paid 19$ a yd for, we made long johns and long sleeve shirts. We thought it was ugly, but loved pj pants out of the soft, warm wool. Now I know what true cold is, and still love my old pair of orange woolies. Nikki (best friend) gave me an old pair a couple of yrs ago that had shrunk, and my girl wears them now cut down. They are stained and worn, and too small but they were her mama Nikki's pants, so she hangs onto them. Last yr I made the last shirt I could from this for Tad, now this is just a piece that will wait until I have some baby to sew for.
But never fear, I have plenty of wool left. Which is good as we need it for coats, jackets, linings, long johns, pj pants, shirts and hats.
Nathalie has already picked from these jerseys, she wants petticoats to go under winter skirts, and she wants wool leggings to go under, double layer of course. She says that print leggings will go nicely with her snow boots! She knows fashion better than I!
Now why in the hell would I put you guys through this, just because I am crazy enough to look at them. If you listen closely, with your ear at the edge, they sound like rice krispies and milk. Do you know how badly I want true self-sufficiency in every area? The thing we have learned about that, it is varied. So many parts. You can completely sustain your meat, your veggies, fruit, eggs, milk, farm animals, or just some of your farm animals. You can go off the grid, you can create electricity, you can haul your own water. We will do some of these parts, until we can do all of the parts and we want to NOT do water hauling. We know it costs money to save money and right now, are spending it to learn. These worms however, cost us very little. We feed them on scraps and they grow up to be beetles, who breed and create new worms. Once we have enough worms being made, we can hand them out daily to all of our birds, this is called free food! Free protein. I do not think that we can raise their grain up here, but we can in Tn even if it is small scale. My best friend raised corn for her chickens, and just dried the cobs and let them peck it from the cobs. That sounds pretty simple.
It is fascinating to watch them grow and change. It is a science experiment that means a huge savings, my children keep up with this, help to feed them, clean the empty skins from the box. I think it is a good life lesson.
Tad throwing knives, he and Nathalie found Frank's throwing knives and they spent an hr practicing here.
The kitten (AKA Ns dog) was in no way harmed though he total stayed in the way a lot. The kids had to keep moving him, or take turns keeping him away from the target. N is filling the geese pool here, we change their water every couple of days. Unlike ducks, they do not poop in their water but they do soil it.
Nathalie: "I hit it right here mama and kitten thought I did a good job." Hmm. "Baby why are you in your nightshirt?" "Because I woke up in it." Good logic.
Nathalie's cast of characters. From the left- home ground white wheat, kamut, white flour, bosch mixer, dough enhancer, eggs, vital wheat gluten, oil and yeast. Oh you cannot see the sugar,and then quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).
We have her crack eggs in a cup, in case she needs a second to pick out her shells. She is making bread, we learned that eggs in the bread makes the bread softer for much longer. It maintains a shelf life better, which surprised me. I had extra eggs last wk and used one for the bread. I do not measure, neither does N. She knows what her dough should turn out like, and how much yeast to use per cup of water basically. The wet ingred needs to include some water or milk, some oil and the rest is up to you! We learned that bread with no eggs (I am talking kneaded bread-not the neat sponge breads we love to make) is great day 1, good day 2, starting to dry day 3, dried out and crumbly after that. 5 days after I made the bread with an egg, still just as soft and nice as day one. Not at all crumbly or dried out-great for me! I dont have to preheat the oven now and waste energy more than 1 day a wk for baking.
Growing up I made 6 loaves of bread every 3 days. I kneaded this on the end of the table that is currently in my kitchen. The table was made by my grampie when my mama was a toddler, she remembers watching him sand the boards. I was 9 when I could make bread with no assistance, and sometimes I total failed. I remember crying next to my fallen bread with my stepdad gently questioning what I had done, until he found my mistake and explained it. (He ended up being a religious nut so they ended up divorced but he was not a mean fellow mostly) Over time, I excelled at baked goods. My stepdad was a good cook, and didnt use any measurements. Just tossed stuff together.
As a child, and even adult until I bought a bosch-I mixed bread, kneaded, it rose, I punched it down and let it rise again in the pans. THEN I baked it. The bosch does something different when kneading. I am not sure what it is, but it means that there is only 1 kneading. we leave it in the bosch until it is smooth and elastic. The book, as well as some friends, say this rises in 15 min ready to bake but I have not had that happen. Instead it takes about 30.
This is rising in the oven because its just plain cold here, it was about 48 degrees the day N made this. Our rise was a little lower than normal for trying to use quinoa. This is not a grain, its actually just a grass seed commonly used in place of a grain in some countries. It is gluten free, low in carbohydrates and high in protein. We are not gluten intolerant but some people that I know are, and I was interested in making bread that was tasty without gluten. I have not made it yet, I am still using some white flour and I do not think that kamut is gluten free.
Her two loaves! I take them out of the oven still, or Tad does. I need to order a 2nd norpro oven mitt as it goes to her elbows and they do not burn, you can pick up 500 deg cast iron and can hold it for minutes and it does not come through and burn. With a cloth mitt, it will burn you if you do not set it down. At this age, I was baking alone and twice I burned my hands pretty badly. So yes, I am over protective about this but she will be big someday...she can use the oven alone then!
We look like alcoholics no? Those are not all beer bottles, all of our glass from foods, soda and beer are on the porch. There is no glass recycling at this time anywhere in Ak, but a place to recycle is opening up about an hr from here. We are saving it up until then, they will be using it in roads. Recycling is exceptional up here otherwise, they recycle almost everything, even cereal bags and other thin plastics. The center is close to the house, I cannot throw away all of this glass. I hate to fill landfills at all, but this is usable stuff! I just have to wait... yes I know it is trashy but it was the only place I had to put it where it wouldnt fill up with water.
Alaskan growth. We didnt plant this so naturally it grows well. This is the front flower bed.
The kids and I moved the chicken coops to the front yard, it was starting to grow long and needed mowing. We do not have a mower, and when we buy one it will be one with no power, just an old fashioned push mower for Tad to use. We may not actually need it, the chickens and geese do a good job. The bucket is their food, it is easier to use from their coops vs the garage where the bags are stored, so we mix their layer feed with grains in this bucket. The step stool here-the only place that I have cell signal. We had cell signal in our house, yard and on our road. Now we have no signal anywhere but the roof and this stool, until we are about 5 miles from home.
What the hell... This is the neighbors cat, she is PUFFY. I think it is a she. She comes to our yard along with her dog. Her dog is a nice dog, and our animals like him.
Our new friends! We were told by our neighbors that a woman just down the road was moving and had surgery, she wanted to get rid of her birds. She has hand raised them for yrs, all of her birds were incubated by her in a home made incubator except this turkey pair. She said someone captured the wild pair and gave them to her a few yrs ago, they fertilize and sit their own eggs. This is very difficult to get domesticated turkeys to do, they do not seem to function well without older turkeys in their flock which we do not have. This is our temporary fenced area for them, though they were loose in the other woman's yard.
She also had this laying duck and a rooster, these two are best friends. We put them in a pen and they are not happy, they spend their time trying to get out. As soon as we can get the barn yard fenced, we will put them in it. we are putting up house wrap on the barn today, we wanted to work on the fence but our t posts are not long enough. We have to return them and buy longer ones. (twice the money...)
The geese like the new birds, they talk to them quietly instead of doing their loud, angry crying and carrying on. This is a rather messy looking area, it is hard to work with animals without the proper area, but they were free!
Kitten AKA the dog, has turned his back on the whole affair.