Monday, October 14, 2013

A goat milk run down

Full size milkers:
  1. Cleo - Alpine - Currently in milk
  2. Ruby - Oberhasli (has McFly with her)
  3. GiGi - Alpine (has Elmer with her)
  4. Birdie - Saanen (has Ophelia with her)
  5. Eve - future milker - Nubian
  6. Hope - future milker - daughter of Ruby - Saanen-Oberhasli cross

Our other goats are:
  1. Elmer - future breeder - Alpine
  2. Harley - pet - permanently boarded with us - micro-pygmy wether
  3. Farrah - micro-pygmy - first year in milk - 1 cup - permanently boarded with us
Goats for sale:
  1. Collin - current breeder - father of McFly, Ophelia - pygmy - FOR SALE
  2. Liam - uncertain future either dinner, breeder, or sale - Alpine - FOR SALE
  3. Ophelia - future milker - Daughter of Birdie & Collin - pygmy-fullsize cross - FOR SALE
  4. Emily - pygmy - 1 1/4 cup - FOR SALE
  5. Meat McFly - future dinner - Son of Ruby & Collin - pygmy-fullsize cross wether

No longer on our property.

  1. Amber-Rae - pygmy-fullsize cross - first year in milk - 1 1/4 cup
  2. Suzi - not ours, just boarding for breeding purposes - pygmy - 1 1/2 cup
  3. Connie - Nigerian Dwarf - 2 cups
  4. PePe - Just boarding until weaned - unknown parentage - wether


We milk twice per day. We start by getting each goat on a leash, and lining them up on the 5 fence posts near the house kept for that purpose. Then each goat is brought into our "milking parlor" also known as my kitchen. They hop onto the milking stand, are given a bowl of grain, and are milked by hand. We are planning on someday having a real milking parlor and a milking machine.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wasted Talent

I feel it bubbling inside me

the desire
passion
longing

to Create!

Remember...

The keys eagerly
joining in melodies
minor and longing
music of my soul
flowing, rising, falling

Remember

Notes on pages
intimidating
knowledge slips
fumbling

I gave it up
quit trying
unused learning
few remembered phrases

Wasted Talent.

Pounding shoes
grass and gravel
soft strong steady
exaltant strides
flying

Remember

no improvement
sore
slow
last

I gave it up
quit the hard
unconsidered advice
excuses

Wasted Talent.

Music stretches my limbs
graceful thoughtful
beautiful, fluid
story expressed
lost in movement

Remember

prices pushed
new styles
every chance
sidelines, waiting

I gave it up
distance, money
rejection memory
out of place

Wasted Talent.

The orange, red, yellow mixes
sunshine in swirls
brown, red, black trees blooming
from yellow, green earth
blue, white rivers flow

Remember

great time eaters
ruts
no buyers
only inspires
make their own
better

I gave it up
the kids use up
time the great stealer
always money

Wasted Talent.

Silent and sly
I smiled her smile
apples
original sin
piled high

Remember

Exhaustion
recognition avoidance
money
uncertain future

I gave it up
contract lapse
stopped pushing
too much

Wasted Talent.

Words would wind
with wired wands
when written wide
wrought with will

Remember

slow trickle
realization
same things said
over and again

I gave it up
by default wrote little
found my words all
dried

Wasted Talent.

longing

remember

regret

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creativity in the Kitchen

Prestory:
On April 20th I was fortunate in being able to volunteer at the Isanti County Historical Society's Fundraiser: Taste of Home Cooking School. Of the many wonderful recipes they made, the one I really wanted to try was the potstickers. I purchased some of the ingredients but could not locate the wonton wrappers.

Whenever I search for or buy egg roll/wonton wrappers I always wonder whether I could make them from scratch or not. When I search the internet I only find recipes to use the wrappers, never to make them.

On another shopping trip I found the wonton wrappers to make the potstickers. The recipe turned out very good even though I forgot the actual recipe at the office, the internet was not functioning at home,  and I guessed about how the potstickers were made at the show - I know there were ingredients I missed. Glancing at the package I noticed it said, "Great for wontons or Ravioli."

Lightbulb! Maybe I could make my own wrappers out of pasta dough!

The actual story:
Wednesday evening I mixed up a batch of white whole wheat pasta. The kids asked to roll and shape as they usually do. Often we end up with an interesting mix of linguini, spaghetti, and random shapes (bow-ties, strawberries, hearts, apples). Very often it is clumped together because the kids have trouble with spreading it out, but we do not care. We love pasta, and really love the whole wheat home made kind.

This time, Lily made these adorable roses, and when stacked on top of her bow ties, it was amazingly like a flower with leaves. The photo quality does not do her amazing creativity justice.

Vincente started with his usual 3-foot-long linguini, then switched to making squares. I was not sure what his end goal was, but I reminded him of the wonton wrappers and how we could save his squares for making potstickers on another day (I had made a double batch of dough). He then told me he was planning on using the squares to wrap up the lamb steak for dinner.

While the kids are working the pasta, I was milking the goats and doing my other afternoon chores. One of the times I was in the house, Vin asked if he could put sugar in his wraps. I hesitated. Sugar with steak did not sound good to me. However, he has created some amazing recipes when I have allowed him the freedom to do so. I agreed he could use a little.

We started with a plate for papa - the photo above. The two balls are Vin's creation - one is around only steak, the other contains only sugar. I boiled the ones on this plate, but after they were finished he informed me he had wanted to fry them like we did with the potstickers.

So we fried another batch. One of each type. I mentioned to him that we did not have to boil them as well if he wanted them to just be crispy - something I think he had wanted to do when we were making the potstickers. So we only fried them, and it was amazing. The steak wrapped in pasta then fried was lovely, and the sugar was just like a doughnut.

Vin handed me his 3 foot linguini that he started rolling it into a ball - he wanted more.

Then I had the ultimate idea.

Deep Fried Mini Cinnamon-Sugar Pasta Egg-Rolls (our digital camera is very bad).


The rolls are about the size of a finger. They are thin rolled out pasta - my pasta machine's thinnest setting (although the husband said he preferred them one setting thicker). They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, then rolled like a cinnamon roll. I even sliced a few into Barbie sized cinnamon rolls, but they were too hard to keep up with.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cookies for Breakfast

I have a confession to make. My kids do not like everything I cook or bake.

Girl child especially has particular tastes, most notable in the realm of foods that are mixed together or cooked. Spaghetti should be in 3 separate piles, one for meat, one for sauce, and one for pasta. Oatmeal should be raw. Vegetables should be raw. And she does not always like milk.

Boy child is currently retesting his theory that he does not like peanut butter. He has had it three times this week and has not told me he does not like it. Perhaps we are past that phase. He does not always like all the meats I cook.

I like the kids to have a hot breakfast in the morning. Usually I try to make something the night before, or right away in the morning before work (hubby gets the kids up and off to school in the morning). The hubby's current standby for the kids is oatmeal since I stopped buying cold cereal.

Girl child turned to me today and told me she did not like anything but pancakes or waffles for breakfast. My mama heart wants to scoop her up and feed her pancakes and waffles every morning.

But I am out of flour again. What can I make that both children will enjoy for breakfast with oatmeal as the main ingredient. I have tried a oatmeal pancake which child neither was fond of (I loved it).

To the internet I went with this list:
Oatmeal
Honey
Peanut Butter
Eggs

Sounds like a cookie right? I went to supercook first. Because it usually pops up with just what I want. Only this time it failed me. No cookies to be found anywhere in the first page of desserts.

So I typed in a goodsearch for the ingredients above + cookie recipe.

After much browsing, here is what I found: Click here for Source

Of course I did not follow it exactly.


  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter    I used a natural creamy just peanuts variety
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar    I used honey
  • 1 egg    I used 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups quick-cooking oats    Because of the extra egg and honey, I needed 2 1/4 cups
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • I added chocolate chips
  • I added 1/4t salt (2nd batch)
  • I added another 1-2T honey (2nd batch)
The first batch was not quite right. After having the hubby taste test, we decided it needed salt and a little more honey.

Directions

  • In a small bowl, cream peanut butter and brown sugar honey until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add oats and baking soda to creamed mixture; mix well. Add salt and more honey; mix well.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets; flatten slightly. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes (8 minutes for me). Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 dozen. I got closer to 3 dozen with my modifications.
Cookies for breakfast.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grandpa

I do not remember much about my maternal grandfather, Tom Norton.

We did not see him or grandma Alice, much while I was growing up.

The thing I remember most was his music. He would pull out his concertina, or fiddle, or harmonica and we would all sit and listen.

I also remember dancing. Grandpa & grandma dancing. I would dance with grandma too while grandpa played. This is what I remember most about him.

That and his smile, "And how's April today?"

My aunts tell me that he was always telling stories. I do not remember the stories. Perhaps I was not there to hear them. I wish I had.

On Monday he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. They said he didn't have much time left.

My grandpa is preparing for his final journey. He has lived a full and wonderful life. In photos you can see the long and caring relationship he had with my grandma. Their life long love and service is admirable.

This Sunday morning I got a text from my cousin telling me that Grandpa is now in heaven. He passed peacefully held by his loving bride and surrounded by his children.

Once I finally got out of bed this morning, I looked out the window and shouted with glee, "Bella has two" ran down the stairs. Our last babies of the season, now are named Tom & Alice. Although Tommie might be a girl.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Emotion

There seems to be a shelf-life to my resolutions. I start to feel stressed or hurried and they go right out the door with the compost.

I spent much of the last several months keeping my eating of grains and sugars to a minimum. I was feeling good, losing weight, and generally keeping higher energy.

Then the stress started piling up, stacking up in impossible piles, tipping over and spilling all over the floor, spreading to every flat surface in my home and life.

Today marked the passing of another mama sheep. She labored hard to deliver her babies but they refused to be born. I have participated in two unsuccessful animal labor interventions. I did not want to have another one staining my hands, so I let her try. Once she had passed I thought there might still be life in the three who were inside. There was no life.

Add to today, the load of those who have not survived on my farm this year. The mistakes and unexpected expenses. The trials and failures. The money gushing away from us like water breaking before birth. The failing health of my grandpa. The emotion of knowing he is not long for this world. The stress of work overload and training someone new during our busiest time of year.

I cried a little today. Here and there. In chorus with my sister. During a stolen moment in the car. When my son inquired, "Are you OK mama?"

A really good cry is in order, but so far there is not time for it. Perhaps tomorrow.

Does any-bunny hear me?



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Big Black the Chicken


It was one of those days.

A crazy, you could never imagine it kind of days.

A frantic phone call, a goat baby is unwell, buy medication on the way home.

Arrive home before the goat arrives. Poor baby. Tetnus - we do all we can.

Struggling for life on the kitchen floor with my husband as doctor. 

I take the kids, mine and theirs, outside to see the animals, lead the horse around, ride bareback. Kid fun on the farm.

My son comes to tell me a chicken is stuck in a watering bowl.

I check a few bowls, I do not see her, then I enter the chicken coop.

There she is, frozen into the water bowl.

She was still alive. Amazing.

I bring her into the house, "As if this day could not be any odder".

I take her upstairs to the shower, while my husband continues to struggle in the kitchen.

Not only were her feathers stuck to the ice - something that had happened to one of our ducks earlier this winter - her feet and legs up to the knees were buried in the ice.

Because my bathtub is out of commission, she had the joy of an extended shower. I tried to aim the water at the bowl only, but she did get quite soggy.

I had to completely melt all the ice to finally get her free.

As those last few bits are melting, I get the news that baby goat has not made it.

I care
fully wrapped Big Black up in a towel, even ran the blow drier on her a bit,  and finally planted her is a box near the space heater.

She survived. She seems to keep up just fine with the rest of my basement chickens. We are hoping to release her and the other adults to the back yard in the next few weeks.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Birds

Birds

Today I saw a pair of Robins - Spring is getting closer.
Earlier today I saw a Heron.
Earlier this week I saw a pair of geese setting up housekeeping on the edge of our pond.
Last month the doves returned to our yard.

It may seem like winter will never end, but the birds know for certain in their bones, and so we have hope.

The birds have returned
as winter slowly lets go

Soon shoots will appear
and green will grow

Warmth will be common
with spring no snow


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hay


Hay

We had hay delivered today. Good hay. 

After reading about pregnancy toxemia today I know that I have to improve the nutrition of my animals. Hay is really expensive this year. $4.25 per bale, plus $50 for delivery - brings the bale price up to $5.32 each.

Someday I will grow my own. Somehow, someway!

The farmer who delivered it was saying he has lost several animals this year too. It is reassuring to know that it is not just us newbies!

This better hay should increase the milk production in our goats, and sheep. More milk means we can care for our bottle babies, make sure the mama's are caring for their babies, and we will have enough for ourselves too.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Death

We have lost so many goat, sheep, and chicken babies this year. Babies are so much harder to lose than adults.

I found out today that my grandfather has terminal lung cancer. He's 90+. While I will miss him once he is gone, it does not tear my heart the way the death, or even pain of a child does.

I have people ask me how I do it, how do I keep going even though I face the death. I turn myself off, shut down the thoughts and keep moving. I do what has to be done knowing I can save the tears for later. Hold my children while they cry, comfort them, reassure them. "I will think about that tomorrow."

I do not recall how many we have lost, or what all their names were. I could come up with a list if I tried, but I really don't want to know how many. It won't make it easier. Instead I keep moving, no time to get attached. Take care of what I can, rejoice in the eggs I collect, or the bread successes.

I do pray, that tomorrow there will be no more death.

And in case I have now depressed you all and made you not want to ever raise animals: Let me introduce Licorice. Born Today. He is a little fighter.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finished


Finished.

I actually did it. I stuck with something for the entire length of the challenge. I wrote every day, perhaps not my best work, but I got in here and wrote. I put a photo up too. Somedays I tried really hard, other days I just threw it together - as I am sure you could tell. Still, every day writing.

Amazing. I never do this.

Now the real food thing did not go as well. That was my usual attempt that faded off. Especially this past week - week and a half. Too much stress led to not saying no, and ending up eating a ton of junk food. The scale at the store agreed with my feeling that I had gone overboard. 

Here is to a healthy change reboot.

Fun little experiment:
I put the last inch of a celery bunch in a cup of water - look it's growing!




46 - Roots

Roots

I am slightly late with this post. There were Easter Baskets that needed filling. The plastic tomato containers will have chicks in the tomorrow morning.


My daughter lost another tooth. In our house the tooth fairy turns teeth into gold dollars.


The roots of traditions are wonderful things. Small things we do to create magic and wonder in our lives. Days set aside for something as simple as pizza, or as amazing as family holiday gatherings. Our new traditions branching out from the roots of childhood traditions.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 45 - Far

Far

How far it must have seemed that day to climb the hill.
How lonely it must have seemed that day hanging high.
How dark it must have seemed that day watching them weep.
How quiet it must have seemed that evening.

How far it must have seemed that morning walking to the tomb.
How horrifying it must have seemed that morning staring in.
How heartbreaking it must have seemed that morning, empty.

How startling it must have seemed that morning seeing the gardener.

How far it must have seemed that day rushing home.
How astounding it must have seemed that day hearing the news.
How anxious it must have seemed that day waiting.

How brilliant it must have seemed that day.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 44 - Cup

Cup

I blew out a cup's worth of eggs today. Eggs for the kids to paint. The eggs I will be able to use in baking for an Easter Party. We rarely do the typical hard boiled color kits. I like blowing out eggs because they last longer and you have a lovely collection from year to year. I need to start storing them more securely though, we break a bunch throughout the years. Maybe this year I will remember to put them in egg cartons!

The amount of unreal food in the house is dwindling. It has been especially hard on my husband who is a devout follower of all things fake. Because of this I try to mix up the usual meal choices, make new treats, bake more. Unfortunately I am out of flour again, and there is nothing easy for my husband to feed the children who are home from school tomorrow.

I have a few boxed baking mixes in the cupboard, Completely unreal and full of junk, but I may have to resort to baking them for consumptions tomorrow and the family Easter Party so that I do not over extend the budget.

I really should find a place to get 50lb Bags of whole wheat flour like my mom did when we were growing up. Maybe I would stop running out.

Can i borrow a cup or two of flour ;)


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 43 - Help

Help

Today a miracle or sorts occurred. My husband was officially recognized by the Social Security System as Disabled. We have been jumping through their paperwork hoops since September 2010 (this time around - we tried this once before).

His lawyer freaked us out a week ago. The laywer thought we should just drop the case because of lack of evidence. We lucked out and we had an awesome judge who listened and was thoughtful and their expert job placement person said definitely no work. Wow.

I feel like I now have "proof" of what I have been aware of for years. Something to show the doubters.

Today was hugely stressful. My husband has been having panic attacks for this past week. Horribly debilitating spasmic breathing attacks.

To help calm him, I told him that this decision would change nothing. We would still have the same life, the same goals, the same plans. The only difference was the amount of time it would take to reach those goals. I told him that God was in control and He had a plan. I told him that God placed the people in authority. I told him and kept repeating the same phrases to myself.

Then they told me I could not go into the courtroom. I almost broke down then. All that stress, all that prep time, and now I was shut out of the proceedings. It was the more nerve wracking hour in my recent past.

Then when they came out and my husband was smiling, and he gave me the thumbs up. Tears were brimming, as were my husbands, and I think even the lawyer would have joined us if we had given into them. Wow.

This will help our budget amazingly. We have been toiling away bit by bit, paying down the debt, scraping by, driving cars past their fix it dates, using make-shift animal shelters. This may be the year that we finally get things going the right way.

We are currently pondering priorities, but this is the basic idea we had discussed prior to today's decision:

1. 10% Give
2. $1000 emergency fund (I would like to increase this to a months worth of expenses if the amount is enough $3000)
3. Debt Payment
4. Fix Cars
5. Tractor
6. Debt Payment

The lawyer said it will take 1-3 months to begin receiving funds. They are paying back benefits to September 2010. Even after the lawyer fees, it should be a decent amount.

Help will come!



I splurged and brought home ice cream, chocolate, strawberries, and pineapple. It was a lovely treat at the end of this emotional day.
---
Side note - no deaths today - yippee!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 42 - Light

Light

I just brought home two baby chicks. They are Seramas - they are a tiny breed. We had purchased 3 of them originally, but they have all died, I do not know why. So why did purchase two more. Because I wanted to surprise the kids for Easter.

Problem 1: I still do not have the best set up for my chickens and I still do not know what I am doing wrong this year.

Problem 2: My husband does not like the chicks, he does not like the set up we have, and he really does not like the fact that we brought home two new chicks.

Problem 3: I simply do not have the money to make the changes I wish I could make.

My two new chicks need temperatures around 95 - 100˚ which means they need to be close enough to the heat light to be warm. The rest of my chicks are old enough that they do not need that temperature. Plus, they would just pick on and hurt my new babies if I kept them together.

So I am once again faced with the problem of sorting out who goes where and how to contain the chicks I do have. I wish I was living the life I used to live. Where things I needed were just charged because we "needed" it.

I hate this month by month struggle to just get by. I hate having  to worry about whether or not there is enough to pay the bills and feed the animals. I hate having to spend the last few days of each pay period wondering if I will have to give in and use my line of credit. I haven't for a few years now. I somehow manage despite myself to keep going. Somehow each month we get by.

This horribly hard spring has made me second guess each decision and each choice and each plan. I wonder if the signs are pointing toward just giving up, getting rid of all of the animals, planning, and starting over.

The mud is starting to appear everywhere making me realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 41 - Rejoice

Rejoice!

How can I rejoice in suffering and sorrow. Trials and tribulations mean we are growing stronger in character, however, it does not make it easier to bear.

This winter and spring - if you can call it that - has been hard. We have lost so many animals especially babies this year, it has been horribly tough. I feel like everything I have learned this far is pointless because it does not seem to have had an affect. Money has been too tight to call a vet - not that there are any actual vets who will help us with our goats.

In this area there are one or two vets who are goat qualified. Neither of them can take any new clients.

We need to go to vet school, and learn more about our animals, and provide better care for them, and for our friends who we are selling goats to. I also need to figure out a way to afford a barn which will ease much of our problems, theoretically.

Rejoice.

Perhaps I have gained a better perspective on what we should be doing or what we need. Perhaps I have gained a thicker skin toward death. With winter hanging on with both fists, and my shrinking paycheck, I am having trouble seeing the silver lining.

Rejoice.

I have much that I have been blessed with, and I rejoice in all the good around me. I can rejoice in the every day small pleasures and pray for a better tomorrow.

Rejoice.

Right now I am rejoicing over the blueberry filled rolls I just took out of the oven - mmmm.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 40 - Blessed

How am I blessed? Let me count the ways.

I have a husband who loves me even when I am not being kind in return.
I have children who adore me even when I am too busy to be with them.
I have family and friends who love me.
I have great neighbors.
I have a beautiful home full of items I enjoy.
I have a vehicle that runs.
I have a job.
I can bake very good bread that people will pay to buy and eat.
I can raise goats who produce milk that I can make into cheese and yogurt.
I got more than 1 gallon of milk from my goats today!
I can read.
I fall asleep easily.
I am good with numbers and paperwork.
I have paid down my debt, slowly but surely.
I have a budget and I have been sticking to is for at least 2 years.
I have property.
I know how to preserve food.
I have internet and computer access at home.
I can work from home at least once per week.

I could continue but my time is running short. The bread is out of the oven and I need my sleep.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 39 - Restore

Today we were able to restore our septic system to a temporarily working order. I say temporarily because part of it is frozen, and we just need to wait until spring to have it functioning fully again.

In the mean time I must conserve my water usage - significantly.

Restore.

While digging through layers of hay, ice, and refuse we came upon a wonderful sight, blades of green grass, hidden beneath those layers, safe and delicate. A restoration of the green from the deep layers of white and brown and slop. A moment of hope in a murphy's law kind of week.

I made this lovely mini fudgey chocolate cake recipe this evening - ringed in strawberry jelly. Too bad i forgot to photo before they were eaten. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mini-Fudgey-Chocolate-Cakes-232714 this lovely dessert has helped restore my husbands good mood.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 38 - Alone

It is Friday night.

It has been a long week, and a long day.

I am sitting here alone on the sofa while the rest of the house sleeps.

I really want to go to sleep.  So goodnight.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 37 - Home

Home is the place where 
Chickens cluck from the basement, 
Goats bounce across the living room floor, 
Lambs drink from bottles, and 
Rabbits explore the kitchen. 

Home is the place where
The oven is almost always on and full of wonderful smelling food, 
Counters are cluttered with recipes and remains of dinner, and
Fridges are packed with fresh colorful produce. 

Home is the place where 
Teeth turn into gold dollars, 
Tiny spoons are used for ice cream, and 
Wrestling tickle fights occur often. 

Home is the place where 
Walls are smothered with photos, 
Shelves are lined with books, and 
Beds are piled with blankets.

Home.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 36 - Beloved

I have been trying to be honest and open with this blog lately. Saying exactly how I feel. I have not spent as much time editing and making it perfect either. To continue with that theme I would like to tell you about my beloved.



I love my husband. I really do. It is a forever, no matter what kind of love. In it for the long haul. Forever. This is one small instance in the many happy moments of our lives.

I realized again tonight that when husband is sick or incapacitated from pain I get angry.

He called me today at work with a complaint and I really did not know what to say. I tried to offer ideas on how to make it better, but mostly I was just wanting to get back to work.

I did not think of it again until I arrived home and he was still unwell. I started feeling angry. He was supposed to go to work tonight. I was hoping to have a quite kid evening and get caught up on something.

"I can't work like this tonight"

I get very worried when he calls in unable to work. I worry that one of these days they are just going to let him go because he cannot work consistently. It has happened so often before this line of work. This is the only time I have seen him keep a common interest, job, and employer in all the years I have known him. What if this call is the one that gets him fired.

"I think we better go to the ER."

I get so mad that I have to bring him to the doctor. Why couldn't he have taken care of it earlier (on his own without a vehicle). There should have been some way. Why am I always reminding him, nagging him, to get him to the doctor appointments, but suddenly the world is ending and I have to bring him to the ER instantly.

I do not feel any compassion, only annoyance. I lose all my kindness and instead I become this odd, business faced automaton helping him get up, bringing him to the car, throwing together snacks for the kids, driving, answering check in questions. Annoyed. Mostly hollow and kind of empty. And very, very tired.

I am always painfully aware of how unfair it is that I react the way I do. When my kids are injured I am by their side, cuddling them, offering medicine, suggesting, talking through solutions.

I am at fault and I do not know the solution.





Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 35 - Dream

I am working on perfecting my 100% whole wheat bread. I found two recipes online that were within my requirements and tried them both out - new methods. Looking for the best method to make my dream bread.

Unfortunately they both require several hours and extra steps which leads me to now, 10:28 pm and I am just putting them in the oven - and it is before I am supposed to, so they will not be as highly risen as I was hoping.

It was either that or set an alarm and nap on the couch and hope I got enough sleep between rising and baking.

So here I sit waiting for the bread to bake and thinking about today.

My husband has a social security claim which has finally come to the hearing phase. We are scheduled next week. We went in to talk with the lawyer today and he said we should just drop the case with no contest because there is no evidence to support our case.

Seriously.

How do you wait for 2 1/2 years, going through endless waiting periods, filling out paper work, struggling, hoping, only to have the lawyers give up on you a week before the hearing. Apparently Seth does not go to the doctor often enough, and does too much. Never mind that chores that I can finish in 30 minutes take him 2-4 hours depending on the day.

The problem in my sleep deprived brain's opinion is I have not staying on top of this. I have not kept all the medical records, I have not been recording days he can't go to work because of pain, I have not been pushing him to go to doctor's appointments. I did not have the energy or organization capabilities to do that. I thought this lawyer was different and was keeping on top of things. So maybe tomorrow I will call the doctors and ask for copies of all the records and fax them to the lawyer, and maybe I will write up statements about his work record, you know, do the lawyers job for them.

I am so tired of struggling against this. I just want to give up. Can I please?

Photo won't post.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 34 - Rise

Breads rise.

I love baking bread.

When I came home from work today my husband sheepishly told me he had consumed an entire bag of  scones from the freezer. "I eat a lot of bread during the day, and there is no other bread right now."

I set about starting a batch of bread. I asked my son what kind he wanted me to bake and he requested something new, something from a cookbook.

I pulled down my "French Farm House Cookbook" by Susan Herrmann Loomis (thank you Chris & Jackie!) and turned to the Pain (bread) section. There were several typical recipes for yeast breads, then he got excited when he saw "Ham and Parsley Bread." I was hoping we would all like it because I was not sure what else we would eat for dinner.

It is amazing! My son has requested that we make it again, and we are not even through the first loaf. Very rich and filling. Eggs and baking powder are what make this bread rise.



It is a fun book because it gives stories about the areas the recipes are from as well as about the food or the people the author gathered the recipes from. The bread section has a definition of sorts about the difference between a Boulangerie and a Patisserie. The first being primarily breads with some sweets, the second being mostly sweets and some breads. I would rather own the Boulangerie!

For dinner I also wanted to make some ratatouille. However the directions are very long and involved. While it cooked we ate bread and raw vegetables. I only just finished the ratatouille. Too bad I am not hungry because it tastes so good. I also pulled the recipe from the French Farm book.

I love it when a new recipe exceeds my expectations.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

day 33 - New

I tried some new recipes for preserving tomatoes and peppers this last week.

Roasted peppers, roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste!

I am most excited by the tomato paste - so many recipes call for those little cans of super concentrated tomato flavor! It took me 2 days, and many Roma tomatoes to create the final product: 3 cups of tomato paste.

Tonight we ate pizza: smothered in tomato paste (mine is not as thick as the store kind), roasted red and green peppers, onions, turkey ham, and home made feta. It was amazing! Too bad I did not think to take a photo because it is now all gone.



Tomato paste:
Chop and cook tomatoes until soft
Push through metal strainer or use a food mill to get out seeds and skin
Put in the oven 300 for a few hours, stirring occasionally, turn off oven, go to bed
Forget about it
Turn on the oven for something else the next day
Realize the tomatoes are still in the oven, stir, see that they are still liquidy
Leave oven on for a few more hours, stirring occasionally
Leave tomatoes in oven and turn it off
repeat
Suddenly realize when turning on the oven for pizza that there is tomatoes in the oven, pull them out in a panic because they are starting to get a little black around the edges, realize they are actually perfect consistency, rejoice.
Put paste into jar or jars, cover with a thick layer of olive oil to preserve.

There are recipes online that you are probably better off following for time and temperature.

Roasted peppers:
Turn on boiler
Coat pan with olive oil
Put whole peppers on pan
Put under broiler for about 5 minutes
Take out when black on one side
Flip to unblackend side
Repeat until whole pepper is mosly black
Let cool slightly in paper bag or covered container
Peel (red pepper peel the easiest, yellow are a little harder, green are the hardest)
Cut out the seeds

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 32 - Surround

I am lucky.

We brought home the two baby goats who we had sold but things had turned bad. Apparently the woman who bought them surrounds herself with the wrong sort of people. Overbearing, bitter, controlling people - or at least one friend. The friend was the one who sent the startling messages with unforgiving tones. The purchaser was simply worried about her baby goats and asked a friend for help. The friend then made assumptions which lead to accusations. The fleas assumption was from one goat having sore ears from his car mate trying to "nurse" on his ears. The other assumption was how to feed a baby goat a bottle. Goat babies need it upside down or nearly so to duplicate typical nursing position on a mama goat. I wish she had just called us and asked for advice, it may have saved many hours of heartache for all of us. We are now planning a fact sheet for all future purchasers.

I have many wonderful people who surround me. One of those friends drove the over 140 miles to go fetch the babies and bring them home, and then helped us milk all our goats and feed the little guys. In exchange Harold is now theirs.

We are fortunate indeed.

Thank you all who offered good words and kind thoughts.



And speaking of surround - I am surrounded by some of the best kids!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 31 - Temper

We sold some of our baby goats today. I always hate to see them go so early, but people enjoy the idea of bottle babies because they are much friendlier.

Unfortunately one of our customers discovered fleas on the goats after they brought them into their home. Then paid $100 to get rid of the fleas. Now they expect us to drive 70 miles (140 round trip) to refund their $100 or they are threatening to report to craigslist and the humane society.

Now we have a horrible cold sinking feeling in our guts.

Their temper tantrum is potentially going to cause a huge problem.

Our minds are now rolling with what ifs. The texts are such that there is no way to speak logic to them. They purchased farm animals, on a cool, muddy, gross, end of winter day. How do you calm them before they tear a hole in the very fabric of our lives.

I am familiar with this type of customer, they are not happy no matter how far you bend over backwards for them. There is no smoothing it over.

What if the humane society inspects us and claims our animals are neglected and takes them away?
What if craigslist black lists us and we no longer have that option for selling things?
What if they see the state of our home where sometimes goats roam, plus chickens in the basement, and they decide that we are not properly caring for our own children?

I know our animals are happy. I also know that things in the early spring on the farm are horrible and gross and mucky and full of poo. We think the fleas were brought in by our new milking sheep. We have just realized they are always itching themselves. There is no way to treat them until their wool is shorn in a month. Can I possibly clean things enough to satisfy someone fueled by a temper rampage or smooth things over with a unsatisfied customer?

Are we one of those horrible places you see on the animal horror shows. Where people can hardly believe the conditions the animals live in. I know it is not clean, but is it that bad?

Given the option, I would drive to their home, give them their money back and bring my babies home.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 30 - Go

That's all. I have to get up early. I have to make the kids lunches and leave super early if I am going to commute in the ugly weather tomorrow. So no go on the go blog post.




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 29 - Water


My kids are taking swimming lessons, first time, level 1. I am amazed at how quickly they are catching on to swimming. Girl child has no fear and is swimming underwater a little already. Boy child has a little fear, but is trying and is not far behind girl. Very proud and excited for them.

My picture is related to something else that came up today.

I was reading a small business newspaper. It was talking about how it really is not as risky as you would think to start a new business. Perhaps it is more risky to start a new job - most people stay at a company for less than 5 years. Most small businesses last more than 5 years. 

Since having children and moving to the farm I have longed to be home full time. Our financial situation does not allow this. I need a home based income source and then i will not need to work away from home.

Then I started pondering as I always do, how to go about starting my own business and what it would be. This always leads to 50 brilliant ideas many of which are at odds with each other.

Thinking, pondering, and praying - which direction do I choose, what should I pursue. Should I really be looking harder for work closer to home, or do I stick were I am and try to create a home business.

Giving in to temptation I picked up a Dove Chocolate Promise:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 28 - Silence

The sound of baby goats and sheep and chickens rules my home of late. Except after dark. Once all the babies are tucked in their respective beds and bins and the chick lights go out silence rules. A strange vibrating silence from the fridge periodically running, the house fan kicking on and off, the rabbits as they shift about their cage.

Earlier this evening we brought in the two born today. They are not silent, they are screamers, and not like the nice soft newborn sound that most of our babies have, no, they are intensely loud, vital, enthusiastic screamers. We named them Burt & Ernie Reindeer. Below is Ernie.



I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. There is much to do and my time seems already spread so thin, thinner than our budget. The kids do not really notice the odd dinners, but my husband is starting to feel desperate for some meat with his dinner.

The lamb will come back from the butcher on Thursday, just a few more days.

One of the reasons I am feeling overwhelmed is the lack of funds for groceries. Not that we do not have tons of food in the house. However, since I am not a planner, dinner always feels odd and thrown together. Because I am trying to avoid the grocery, it is even more odd and thrown together, because I do not feel like I have anything to make. Mostly because we are out of our standard grains. Never mind that I have so many vegetables in the house that we could eat salad constantly for days and still have more than enough. Perhaps if I cook a chicken tomorrow it will feel better. Make a plan.

I know planning helps. I know that if I just sat down and wrote out what we were eating we would have more than enough for the rest of the month. Instead I feel strained and strapped because there are not some of my old standbys. I have all the fixings for a lovely meal of chicken & potatoes. I could make stuffed peppers with wild rice. I could make rattatuii.

Instead I sit here lamenting because there is only ugly white flour in the cupboard and no pasta. Seriously what is my issue.

Mostly I am just worn out from all the babies (we are up to 11 goat babies, 3 lambs - and more on the way, 23 chicks.) There is too much to do with working full time and trying to do this farm life thing.

It will get easier. I will learn to enjoy the silence and the noise.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 27 - Happy

Today was a good day.

Charlie had two of the most beautiful lambs today.

I am happy to present

Blue Bird Butterfly or BB for short

and Molly Dragonfly















We have been helping their mama Charlie out by bringing them in and warming them and bottle feeding them. I am looking forward to seeing what they look like as they fluff out and get rid of the last bits of birthing gook.

My attempts at intervention succeeded today.

Happy dreams of counting bouncing lambs and goat kids.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 26 - Ate

Today for dinner we ate completely against the real food plan. Instant potatoes made with evaporated milk, halloween turns-your-mouth-black Koolaid, canned peaches with sugar in them, and while we were eating I had enriched white flour bread rising on the counter, and jello setting in the fridge.

It has been one of those days.

We had friends stop by to see the new babies, plus we had four new babies born today. We were sorting through my second case of peas when suddenly we realized it was 6 pm and had no plans for dinner. The chili we had eaten for lunch was not what we wanted for dinner. I had used up the last of my whole wheat flour making biscuits earlier and we are still waiting for the lamb to come back from the butcher.

I sent the kids to the basement to dig through the bags of unreal food and choose anything they wanted.

Vin brought:
Instant potatoes
Koolaid


and Lily brought:
Jello
Peaches


There was the pot of peas I cooked and served. Unfortunately only 2 of us like cooked peas.

So now I am sitting on the sofa, typing, reading Facebook, eating white bread smothered in jelly and peanut butter, wondering how I am going to make it through this next week. I am overwhelmed with goat babies. I am overwhelmed with produce. I am overwhelmed with an ultra-tight budget. I am overwhelmed by winters unending grasp. I am overwhelmed by all the ice that surrounds my home making it treacherous for my husband. I am overwhelmed by the daily choices that must be made when trying to best aid our farm in growing and producing.

And so today I threw out the rules and ate too much junk and cried for the loss of one little lamb that I worked too hard to save. It seems my intervention is always wrong.

At least it is homemade warm tasty white bread?


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 25 - Faithful

The word faithful reminds me of the parable of the talents. "He who is faithful with much will be given much."

Today we received much from Matthew 25 food distribution. 5 cases of tomatoes, 3 cases of bell peppers, and 2 cases of snow peas.

My children and husband were disappointed that we arrived late and missed the fruit. Last time I was able to use the blueberries we received to make scones - 3 batches - each of which disappeared in less than 24 hours. Plus the fruit is always nice to have in the house for lunches. Benefits to arriving late were that we could take as much of what was left as we could use.

I have spent much of today faithfully sorting peas, blanching peas, cooling peas, bagging peas, freezing peas. Blanching tomatoes, peeling tomatoes, pureeing tomatoes, chopping peppers, soaking beans, cooking beans, chopping peppers, and still I need to do more to have a super sized pot of chili tomorrow. This evening I remembered the fat jar in the fridge and made biscuits.  Got rave reviews and it went really well with the tomato stew I made for lunch and dinner.


Faithful with much? I sometimes struggle with finding ways to keep up with the much. Sometimes I am not faithful and let it go bad because I lack motivation or inspiration or simply lack time.

I want to create perfection in my recipes and that often means I am searching the internet for new ideas. I am currently looking up how to make tomato paste. I let myself get lost in the search instead of sticking with what I know and at least not wasting what I have. My husband is really hoping for stuffed peppers with lamb. mmmmmmmm. We should have lamb next week.

I hope to be faithful and use it all even if I just make several large batches of tomato sauce.

---
Thanks hubby for helping me fill out this post.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 24 - Find

I spent much of today sorting out papers. Digging through drawers. Emptying boxes.

I believe that I have officially gone through every bit of 2012! Now I just need to work a few more numbers, slap them into the tax software, and hit send!

Now before too much celebrating, when I say I went through it all, I confess I still have a stack of things I really want to do/read/look into. These things wait because I really need to finish my taxes so I would not let my self stop and look through any of those papers.

I was very happy to find that my file cabinet actually had space for all my papers! AND I actually had the metal hanging parts and file folders and labels to be able keep track of those papers - yeah me!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 23 - No

I have had to say NO to myself multiple times today. Mostly because I am putting off finishing my taxes. I have no problem doing my taxes, I enjoy it actually (yes I am a nerd). However it is the gathering of paperwork that is my issue.

I am unorganized. I keep tons of paper. More than I need to. I am working on keeping less, and do a little better every year. Except, every time I hold a party at my home my go to response is to take the last few items and shove them somewhere, a box, a bag, a bin, a drawer. The plan is always to get back to it later. Well welcome to later.

Today I declared I could not do any of the creative projects I really want to do until I finished my taxes.

I still have a few more items to calculate, but I think I will be done tomorrow.

I must keep saying NO to myself!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 22 - Shadow


Shadow

I have a very active imagination. 
If I let it get the best of me I can become afraid of the dark. 
In the corner of my eye I see a glimpse of something, an animal, a person, a ghost. 
They dance and shimmer on the edges of my vision leaving me spinning. 
The shadows shift and move.

I love walking at night.
The cool, peace.
Natures silence.
Stars brilliant against the violet sky.
The shadows shift and move.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 21 - Night

Night

Right now there are 5 baby goats tucked into bins for the night, and 20 some chicks twittering in the basement. Usually they calm down when I turn out the lights, but not tonight.

I enjoy the quite of the house at night. I like being able to move about without anyone calling for my attention. Some nights I get things done, laundry, dishes, paper sorting. Other nights I sit and veg on the couch and watch the telle
.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 20 - Bless


It is easy to think of all the ways I have been blessed. However, it seems more difficult to come up with how I have blessed others.

I try to be generous but find that I rarely have the opportunity simple because we are always so low on funds. I love having people over and feeding them, or sending them home with canned goods. We have 2 close neighbors who we bring food when it strikes our fancy. I especially love to share a new baked good I have tried making with whole wheat flour.

So if you are in need of pickles, applesauce, or bread. Let me bless you with some. It will make me smile.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 19 - Thirst


Thirst

Today my wonderful goat Emily gave birth. First born was tiny Reuben. He is the smallest of triplets. Three born on 3/3/13. Usually within 5 - 10 minutes of being born a goat will try to stand. Reuben did not do much of anything except doze. I helped Emily out by moving the three to a less soggy location, drying them slightly. 

We decided to bring Reuben in to bottle feed him once we saw his siblings both stand. We gave him a little honey and used a syringe to get some stored colostrum into him. One of our goats lost her baby so we luckily had fairly fresh first milk in the fridge. 

Without that desire to live, the struggle to stand, the thirst, he had to be coaxed into living. Once he found that desire we all rejoiced.

It seemed like it took all day, but he is now truly thirsty. He is up and walking around on his own and looks like he will make it! His (almost twice his size) brother and sister are doing fine out with Emily and the other goats.



In case you are curious, we are selling most of our babies. Reuben has already by claimed. Current baby count 5. More to come!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 18 - Leave

Today I was able to leave the house for several hours. I went out for coffee and shopping with a friend. Have not had the opportunity to do that for quite awhile. It was lovely and less expensive than an event like this would have been during my old spending habit days. We hit several stores to get price quotes on farming equipment. Then picked up a few fun things at the thrift store. Found a lovely pair of red shoes. I have been missing red shoes.

A lovely day without the usual expense.



Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 17 - Prophet

A prophet is one who knows things about the future that most people do not.I am trying to think of what it looks like. I have seen photos of people with sandwich boards with prophetic sayings. I have heard people say things that have later come true. When I hear Prophet I think profit. I also thing aboutold testament men in home spun robes eating odd desert food.Raising goats and sheep makes me see alot of the bible stories in a different light. Learning about the land and eating wild foods makes locust and honey sound intreguing. The fact that we are compared to sheep makes me giggle sometimes because sheep really are not smart. They spook over silly things and run headlong as a group. Buying grown sheep is not always a good idea.They do not know us and so they panic more. good night. i am tired. i have no inspiration today. and my computer will not allow me to update and change any of my mistakes - sorry.








Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 16 - Earthly

Earthly Treasures
Things are lovely.

I read once, do not keep anything that does not serve a purpose or give you great joy. I am not quoting exactly because of course I cannot find it.

I love all my things. That is really the problem. I am easily attached to things. So hard to get rid of things when you really like things.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 15 - Hear


Day 15 - Hear

Today while working from home I heard the twittering of my chicks in the basement the call of the new baby goats from out in the yard. The sky was blue, the sun was warm.

The unique silence of farm life. The animal noises fading into the background like crickets in the campground. Peaceful and comforting.