Monday, December 31, 2012

My Last Post....of 2012 !

Welcome to Frippery Farm : Alberto, Alice and Ana!
Who are they?
Check it out:
Alberto (the blond), Alice and Ana, all in a row

Alice has such a sweet face!

Ana checks out the fence

First meal here

Ana (the Diva of the trio) does not like us watching her eat!

We are selling the sheep and some of the peafowl.
I know, we are about to move and should be downsizing.
BUT, if you check the prices of alpaca, you know they are WAY expensive. In most localities the prices START at around $2000!
We got all three for less than HALF that!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apocalypse Cookies!

Since I have decided that the 21st will be cookie baking day here at Frippery Farm, I figured I would invite everyone else to get in on the fun!
If the Apocalypse comes, you have cookies. If the Apocalypse doesn't come, you have cookies.
Either way, WIN!
So, post your favorite cookie recipe or just a picture of the cookies you baked tomorrow on your blog or facebook.
Share the cookies, share the love!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12 * 21 * 2012 The Elephant in the Room

A couple of folks have dropped me an email or two asking what I think of the "Mayan Doomsday" scheduled, supposedly, for the 21st.
I really don't have much of an insight here, folks! I think on the 21st, we will see or hear of a lot of idiots doing some very stupid and foolish things. Some of the idiots may harm themselves or others doing said foolish things in some twisted belief that what they are doing will somehow *save* them or loved ones from the "Doomsday", or at least spare them the pain of enduring it.
I think some foolish people have sold their future financial well being to buy over priced bunkers and supplies. Some of them will hang on to their stuff for when it gets really bad, others will compound their foolishness by selling their supplies at fire sale prices.
On the 21st I will be baking cookies to hang on the tree.
My heart hangs heavy because of the recent tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Perhaps this IS the end of the world, or perhaps it already ended...and we are just sitting here among the ashes, deluding ourselves into believing that the end is yet to come.
I want to believe that people are generally good, but every day, I find fewer reasons to feel that way.
Everything just seems broken. Broken in a way that can not be repaired. Can't be repaired by education or religion or medicine or by thinking positive thoughts. Just damn broken.
We put armed guards in museums, but not in schools to protect our children.
We pump vaccinations with known dangerous ingredients into infants, refuse to allow parents to discipline their children and dose them with psychotropic drugs when they "act out" by not being compliant at the local "government indoctrination center"
We eat foods that are pumped through and through with petro-chemicals, hormones, drugs, altered DNA and then wonder why so many of our children have psychiatric disorders and serious life-threatening illnesses.
My late father once told me that he believed we owe our children three things....
Unconditional Love, Unconditional Acceptance and to teach them to THINK FOR THEMSELVES.
By not providing our children with pure water and pure food...unaltered by the swill of the chemical cocktail that inundates corporate agriculture these days, we are handicapping our children and taking from them the ability to think for themselves, as all that chemical crap is known to cause changes in brain functions.

So, there's where my head is today.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

*Experts* and Preppers

Patrice Lewis over at Rural Revolution posted a link to this article: Doomsday Preppers Are Socially Selfish .
Read attention to what this *trained professional in the field of emergency management* has to say about preppers in general and the Doomsday Preppers specifically.

A few quotes, emphasis is mine:
"And guess what!  You can get your very own Prepper score!  The survey asks how much food and water you have stored away, AND whether you have a renewable food or water supply. Do you have a bunker, can you generate your own electricity, how many firearms do you own, do you have items for bartering – they recommend silver as the more tradable commodity. (Based on their criteria, I could only survive 1-2 weeks on my own with no outside help – and without helping anyone else.)"
So a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL only has 1 to 2 weeks of food and water stored?
The mind boggles.
She goes on:
"You might wonder why someone like me, who has been in the business of encouraging disaster preparedness for a very long time, is so critical of people who are doing just that. It’s because they are being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else.  Instead of spending time and energy making changes that would benefit the larger community, in their very narrow focus of loyalty they are more concerned about themselves."

What!? Did she even WATCH the show? The majority of the preppers profiled involve friends, family, neighbors and many even strive to educate the general public on the benefits of preparedness!
Kellene Bishop, the preparedness *foodie* runs her own website, makes videos, gives self defense classes for women, firearm training for women and teaches classes (in her locality) on food storage and cooking with food storage.
Other preppers profiled have youtube channels, blogs, websites, books, etc.
Not good enough, apparently, for this *trained professional*.
So what does SHE do?
Her little blurb of a resume:
I am an emergency management 'practitioner' on a university campus. I want to say that right up front so as not to confuse this blog with the 'academic' side of higher education that Jayne Abraham will be blogging about. She'll tell you all about how to get an emergency management education; I'll tell you about practicing emergency management on campus. I think what I do is a lot more fun. (sorry, Jayne!)

Higher education campuses are a hotbed of activity these days. No longer are they just cloistered halls of academia!

The number of campus emergency managers is exploding - many of them are arriving with a "formal" education instead of years in field response. Higher education campuses are the venues that embrace new ideas and technology. This is where social networking evolved and changes almost daily. This is where students pass around the H1N1 influenza virus playing 'beer pong'.

Getting my stats out of the way: I have been in emergency management for almost 20 years with local government, a national lab and for the past four years with the University of California at Davis. Not too much field response experience, but I do have a lot of letters after my name (MS, CEM, CBCP). I have publications, training, conference workshops, offices and all that on my resume. If you are really, really, truly interested, let me know and I'll send it to you.

Meanwhile - I have lots and lots of opinions that I am more than willing to share. This should be fun. :-) 

So....she hasn't actually had to manage an emergency, she just knows how to by virtue of her education.
That's like all those people that have never had kids telling parents how to best raise their children!

Look, I know two people that are *experts* in Emergency Management and have educations comparable or exceeding the person that wrote that article.
One has about a months worth of food and water, no bug out bags, lives in area ripe for social breakdown and chaos and near military targets in a non-sustainable home. A two day power outage sends this person to the nearest hotel with power and room service. This person coordinates emergency management response on a FEDERAL level. They get to disaster areas AFTER a disaster has occurred.

The other was a prepper BEFORE getting degrees in emergency management. They have a gun and ammo collection that puts any other prepper (including the ones seen on t.v.) to shame. They have several bug out bags, cached in different locations and always, but ALWAYS has one with them. If the power goes out, they can live for months, if not YEARS without it. This person also has combat experience, self-defense training and is an avid hunter. They own a *bug out location* in a remote area and have equipped it with everything they will need for a minimum of 5 years. This person does emergency management planning for cities, counties, hospitals, universities and localities in disaster prone areas as a private consultant. They have lived through many of the major disasters in the US in the past 10 years (including Katrina).

Which expert do you think has been of most benefit to their clients/employer(s)?
The one working the federal level decides who gets what AFTER the hurricane, the flood, the blizzard, the earthquake, etc.They decide (sometimes weeks or months later) who gets the funds, donations, medical supplies, housing (emergency or otherwise) allocated to their particular agency.
The one on local level teaches the people in those localities what to do BEFORE a disaster strikes, what to do DURING the event and what to do IMMEDIATELY afterward to preserve human life and protect property.

There is NO substitute for experience, is there?

Back to the original article...
I do not think I have ever met a prepper that was not willing to share their knowledge and/or expertise and experience with someone else. Consider all those folks that violated the first rule of OPSEC to share their knowledge and techniques on Doomsday Preppers!
I, personally, want the general public more aware. I want everyone to have preps and be as self-sufficient as possible.
The more people that are prepared means fewer people suffering, fewer people dying, fewer people getting desperate and stealing, etc.
I share here on my blog, but I also try to educate my friends, family and neighbors.
I feel sad for the lady that wrote the article. She really has No Clue.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So....We Went To The Feedstore....

Yup, that dangerous place. The last few months visits to the feedstore and animal emporium have gone pretty smoothly.
But, we needed a rooster. The feed store wanted to charge 30 bucks for one and there was NO WAY I was going to pay that much. So, I told the Darlin' Man that *I* would do the negotiating this time.
We needed feed for the peafowl anyway, so we had reason to be there.
And I went to the back where they keep the critters and saw him:
How gorgeous is he!? Black and grey leghorn...just so pretty! The hens were mightily impressed! So impressed, in fact, that within 20 minutes of his arrival, 3 hens laid eggs! Maybe it was the shock of seeing such a beautiful rooster in their midst. He has a beautiful crow, too. Very musical, as crows go. We named him *Cab* after Cab Calloway, because he looks so dapper and has that musical crow. He rode home in my lap, not fussing at all and he lets me pick him up and pet him without protest.
Cab has taken matters well under his wing in the chicken coop. The hens have started laying again, after a bit of a dry spell. After weeks of only an egg now and again, they laid a total of 4 eggs yesterday and 5 eggs so far today! And Ugly Betty is TOTALLY entranced by the *new man* in her life. She stays as close to him as possible and cuddled up to him last night on the roost.
So, a very warm Frippery Farm welcome to Cab!

Cab was not our only purchase (of course). The Darlin' Man spotted something back in the animal pens that caught his attention, so we brought them home as well...
Meet Daphne and Drake:

Heloise does a photobomb!
Daphne is the white duck with the fluffy *hair style*. She is some sort of cross between a white crested duck and a harlequin duck, while drake is almost solid black with dark beetle green plumage on his head, so we are not sure what kind of mix he is. They have settled in with Xander and Heloise, the geese, although there was a bit of a quarrel over swimming rights to the pool in their pen, but they seem to have worked that out.

So, one rooster and two ducks....AND, I negotiated and got all three for $40.00.
I know, a bit higher than other parts of the country, but darn good here!

Okay, now a bit of a question for any readers out there that know about sheep.
This is our first go-round raising sheep.
We have Corizon, Selene and Remus the ram.
Can anyone identify the specific breed of sheep they are for me?
We bought them off of Roy the animal guy and he said the ewes were Navajo sheep and the ram...he wasn't sure (massive eye roll on that, ya know).
Here are some pics of  Remus (the ewes are in the background on one pic):

I know that they shed their wool naturally, no shearing required, but other than that, not too sure about them. Any help with this question appreciated!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Toilet Paper and The Apocalypse

I like watching "Doomsday Preppers" Yes, sometimes I find myself giggling at some of the things people are doing to prepare, but a lot of the time I am taking note of some preps I may have not thought of.
One thing that confounds me, though, is the amount of toilet paper some of those folks store!
I mean, Holy Cow!, a FOUR YEARS supply of toilet paper? My mind boggles at the thought of the expense and the storage space required for that much TP.
Price some washcloths down at Family Dollar or Dollar General. They sell stacks of them for $5.00. 10 or 15 to a bundle, I think. Or take old towels and cut them into washcloths. Seal them up with your food saver (5 or 10 to a bag when the air is vacuumed out) or just put them into ziplock bags and store them all in a 5 gallon bucket. You can put a lot of washcloths in one 5 gallon bucket! After the SHTF or whatever, use them for bathroom hygiene and wash them, then reuse. Easier and more compact to store and much less expense!
A few rolls of toilet paper for traveling and/other emergencies would be prudent, but for day to
 day living and use after the Apocalypse, I'd rather have the washcloths!
Which brings me to other paper products that so many in modern society depend on.
Paper towels...really? REALLY? What ever happened to sponges, mops, dish towels, dish cloths and cleaning rags?
Tissues....get handkerchiefs for everyone in the family. Right now, around Christmas, is a good time to buy them as it is the only time of the year you see them in the stores...Mothers Day and Fathers Day stores carry them as well, just not as many.You can buy them already monogrammed with the persons initial or embroider on a pretty design or initial. Not talented at embroidery? Inexpensive fabric paint will work just as well!
Napkins....again, cloth napkins are readily available, or you can cut up an old tablecloth to make them.
Some napkins I designed on my zazzle store.
Paper brainer here! There are so many pretty placemats out there that can be wiped clean or tossed into the wash, it is ridiculous to buy the paper ones!
Kotex/Tampons/Menstrual Pads....Yes, you can save money here, too! Get cloth menstrual pads! Many good companies make them and they are actually healthier than using the paper ones...the paper ones are laden with chemicals and increase the chance of yeast infections and rashes.
One source of cloth menstrual pads.

So MANY chemicals are used in the production of paper products. Drive through any town that has a paper mill sometime. Roll down the windows, inhale.
Pretty bad, isn't it? Beside the air pollution, the water pollution is even worse.
Some paper products are currently necessary....cardboard for boxes to ship things in, writing paper, newspaper, paper to print books on.
But paper products that are created and intended for one use and then disposal into our already over burdened landfills....not really necessary.
Think about decreasing your use of paper products and increasing your use of cloth products that can be washed and reused.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Food Storage Soups

One of my all-time favorite things to fix from my food storage is Soup!
If you don't have food storage yet, soup is still an easy meal for you to make on a busy day.

I'm going to try to write out these recipes so they can be used either storage or off the grocery store shelf.

Ham and Lentil Soup

1 pound ham, diced (about 1 & 1/2 to 2 cups)
4 cups dried lentils
1/2 an onion, diced fine (about 3/4 of a cup)
2 medium carrots diced (about a cup)
1 stalk celery, sliced in about 1/4 inch slices (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Melt butter (or heat oil) in large stock pot. Add all ingredients except lentils. Saute over
medium heat until onions are translucent and ham is starting to brown.
Add lentils and enough water to cover plus about 3 inches over ingredients. Maybe 3 or so quarts of water.
Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to simmer.
After 30 minutes, check to see if lentils are soft. If not, let simmer another 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve with croutons or a loaf of crusty home made bread.

NOW, to switch this over to a food storage meal.....
A lot of *preppers* have DAK hams in their food storage. This soup is perfect to use those hams in!
Lentils, of course, are a wonderful thing to keep in your food storage and the uses for them are myriad.
Onions, carrots and celery, all easily dried for storage or easily obtainable dehydrated can be rehydrated for this soup.
Most preppers have some oil (olive or otherwise) stored. If you have some of those freeze dried butter granules in your food storage, add a teraspoon to whatever oil you are using to add some flavor.

Almost every recipe can be twisted and tweaked a bit to be adaptable to your food storage.
My recipe for Beef and Barley soup is exactly like my recipe for Ham and Lentil soup, I just use barley instead of lentils and a pound of beef (cut up like for stir-fry and browned a bit more) instead of the ham. Sometimes I add a few mushrooms, too.
To make it from your Food Storage, make the same adaptations for dehydrated onions, carrots and celery, etc. as you do for the Ham and Lentil.
For the beef....if you do not have canned beef, use Beef Jerky!
That's right, Beef Jerky can be used to make beef stews and soups and it is quite tasty! Or use Venison Jerky.
In the Old West during cattle drives, or as pioneers moved west, jerky soups and stews were common place.
I have found that if you rehydrate the night before by soaking the jerky (cut it into small pieces first) in water and simmering it for about an hour, it makes it faster the next day when you make your soup.
Some people drain off that first batch of water before adding the beef to the soup mix, as a lot of salt leeches out, but you can leave it as is and just pour the rehydrated jerky, water and all in the soup. Just don't add any salt to your soup!
Why are soups so important for survival?
The broth is suitable for small children, infants, the elderly and anyone who is sick and may be unable to eat a *heavy* meal. The broth is chock full of vitamins, proteins and minerals and is easily digestible.
In a SHTF situation, soup is a good antidote to a diet of MREs and other survival rations. Those rations can constipate you and a soup will taste *fresh* and add fiber and fluids to your digestive system to help alleviate that problem.
Cooking for a crowd? Soup can feed more people cheaply than just about any other meal.
Soup can be made from many items you already have in your food storage.
 So, enjoy one of these crisp and chilly Fall evenings with a nice bowl of soup!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Trouble With Recipes and Other Stuff

The holidays are upon us and that means I am searching for recipes to bring some variety to our holiday meals.
I have plenty of recipes, it is just that I like to place a surprise or two on the table at the holidays.
So, I go through my cookbooks, I search online and I read blogs, I check out shows on the Cooking Channel and the Food Network and (yes, don't judge!), I prowl around Martha Stewarts website.

Here's my problem with recipes:
S-O-O-O-O-O many of the ones I find these days include instructions such as "pulse for 30 seconds in food processor" or "use dough hooks with stand mixer".
I don't have a food processor OR a stand mixer!
Then the measurements. Look, I don't do well with those, lol! I think I have a measuring cup....somewhere. Ditto on the measuring spoons.
I use canning jars to measure a lot, and my hands a lot of the time, too. So, I can usually *ballpark* it.
And why, oh why, would anyone come up with a recipe that has mostly normal, you-can-find-at-the-store-every-day ingredients and then toss in something like "add 3 grams of tears from a bereaved meer-cat" or some other equally exotic ingredient that you can't find anywhere except at the exotic grocer down the block from the recipe creators home!
Come on  guys, we are average folks out here!
At least give me a reasonable substitution I can use!

The humongous Bourbon turkey we had died of a respiratory infection and I am having to treat ALL the turkeys for it.
Therefore, we have had to buy a turkey for the Thanksgiving table. I won't eat a turkey with these antibiotics in it's system. Fortunately, we know others in the area that raise turkeys, so we are assured of getting a turkey that has been organically raised.
My big deal on the table for Thanksgiving is NOT the turkey...I am pretty good at turning out a decent turkey.
My big deal is the stuffing/dressing.
It is so delicious, yet so darn easy to make!
Cubed up bread (wheat, white, rye or corn...all good!), spices and herbs and maybe a few add celery, sausage, walnuts or pecans or almonds, all sorts of good things can be tossed into your stuffing/dressing!
So, I am coming up with some new stuffing ideas this year...maybe some hazelnuts added in? Dates?
Dunno, but I know I'll get creative with it!

What dish do you get the most creative with during the holidays? Or...what's your favorite holiday dish?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back from my Break

Sorry about the long break I took, but there were a lot of things I had to take care of.
You know when you clean your desk, or your room or whatever and get rid of ALL the clutter. You sit back and think "Wow! Got all that done! My space looks so clean and neat, I'll NEVER let it get all cluttered again!" Yeah....but slowly and surely, that clean, neat space gets cluttered again until one day you realize you can't see your desk or floor or whatever anymore.
Well, life can be like that, too. Just when you think you have everything neatly boxed up and can see a clear path to your next goal, BLAMMO!, your life is suddenly cluttered and filled with more tasks and things that need your attention.
That has basically been my life for the last month.
It's a bit better now.
But not everything has gone smoothly...

The new turkeys?
That big bourbon turned out to be pure e-v-i-l . He stomped and pecked to death Trixie and Timothy.
We have sold him to a friend, but they are leaving him here until Christmas. He is now in his own cage...solitary confinement, so to speak.
I also put the Royal Palm tom in his own private pen. Better safe than sorry.

The puppies?
I have one left. I found good homes for the three that have left. Someone is coming to check out the last pup this afternoon. (The black female we call "Lady".) I wanted to keep the runt of the litter, the little brown one. We ended up naming her "Cuddles" because of her habit of hopping on the couch and cuddling up to whomever was there. But....last night a family arrived to look at the biggest pup in the litter, Colossus, our last remaining male. Mom, Dad and their little girl who was around 4 years old. The three puppies we had left at that point all ran outside and Cuddles and that little girl looked at each other...and it was a done deal. Cuddles ran up to her, the little girl bent done...and Cuddles jumped into her arms. And the look on the little girls face...yeah, couldn't argue with that! Colossus left about an hour later, when a family with a little boy showed up and he and Colossus had their "love at first sight" moment.
Baby, our mama-dog, has dealt with the puppies leaving quite well. No fussing. In fact, she seems to be happy about it. She is getting more attention from us and that is just fine with her!

The Darlin' Man did an *end run* around me and acquired a second peacock for our flock of peafowl. I actually didn't know about it until I went out the next morning to feed!  Thought I was seeing double for a second as he and Pericles were sharing a roost.

I need a new rooster. We are currently *roosterless* and it is having a bad effect on our hens. They are NOT happy. Unhappy hens = fewer eggs. NOT good! A few of our older hens died, but I think that was due to age more than anything else. Priscilla, our oldest hen was one of them. Made me sad as she was such a lovely hen and a good layer. The climate here, with the severe heat in summer and the extremely low humidity, is not conducive to chickens having a long life.
So, I am haunting Craigslist looking for a rooster. I looked down at the feedstore, but they raised their price from 10 bucks for a rooster to 30 bucks!!! RIDICULOUS! Now that cold weather is here, maybe they will drop their price, but I won't hold my breath!

The bunnies are doing fine. We sold the baby bunnies to the feedstore and they sold out of them within 24 hours! We took store credit as it was a better deal and were able to get feed for the chickens and peafowl and turkeys, plus a bag of doggie treats.

I am gearing up for the holidays and doing a lot of baking, so that is taking up some of my time. Also doing some quilting and that is taking a LOT of my time. I need to get to the fabric store to grab some fabric and maybe the thrift store to get some old blankets for quilt filler. Batting is SOOOO expensive, so I usually just use old blankets that I wash and mend before using them in a quilt. For the *reverse* side of my quilts, I usually just use a sheet in a color/pattern that complements the quilt.

That's what I have been doing and it just eats up my time. Also, getting the livestock pens ready for winter. Raking them out, putting down fresh bedding, etc.

Hope everyone out there is getting ready for winter...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sorry About the Lack of Posts Recently!

A lot has been going on here and in the world and here in the US as well.
Hurricane Sandy has me worried about all my family members back East.
I had my birthday.
My aunt died here in El Paso. A charming, vibrant woman that I hadn't seen in many years.
So, there has been a lot going on that has distracted me from blogging.
I'll be back in a few days.
Love to you all and stay safe!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Various Thoughts...

Found a lot of stuff about kitchens that was interesting...
1920s kitchens:
What do we notice here?
No built in cabinets!
Now SOME kitchens had built in cabinets, but those were usually in the richer neighborhoods, and they had "butlers pantries".
Lovely....but that's not going to happen!

I am trying to figure out how to sorta replicate a farmhouse kitchen from the 30s or 40s...with a little of the 1860s thrown in (wood cook stove!).
Still searching out pictures and resources for when we find our dream property and move.
At least that time is getting closer!

I am ignoring as much of the current political season as I can.....sigh.
Watching ANY of it just reminds me to get ready for a much faster economic decline than the one we are already in.
Doing pretty good on rice, still need some more beans. Also need more honey and oils and oatmeal and wheat....heck, just more of everything. Not paranoid, just damn cautious.

Grocery shopping trip today. The store I normally shop at was having a "buy one get one free" sale in the meat department. Now, normally, it is one 3 or 4 types of meat cuts that are on sale for BOGO sales.
This week, however, over a dozen meat cuts were BOGO. Steaks, Roasts, Pork Loin, London Broil and so on and so forth.
To me, this is a sign of the bad drought most of the country went through during the past year or so. So many ranchers and farmers *dumped* their cattle and pigs and chickens to avoid the expense of feeding them through the winter that the market is simply flooded with meat right now. Yes, I am buying, repackaging and freezing as much as our freezer can hold.
Sadly (and predictably), no sales in the produce section. Prices in the produce department were sky high!
Just another sign....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kitchen Porn!!!! (Pic Heavy!)

While we are looking for our dream house/dream property, I am already planning my dream kitchen....

Most of my dream kitchen focuses on the stove...I want TWO stoves...One gas stove and one wood stove.
BUT, I want both of them to look old. Not old as in worn, used and battered up , but old as in classic, antique and practical.
Which leads me to the following pictures (ladies, get out your smellin' just might get the vapors looking at these pictures!)
From Antique Gas Stoves
Which turns into THIS:
Actually, that shot is a different stove, but they both have the me a SQUEEEE moment!

Want something with a little color? How about a touch of red?

Or maybe a LOT of color!
Those not *retro* enough for you? Wander over to Antique Appliances
All those are gas stoves...but on that site they also showed a wood stove they did...
That's as big as I could get the image to copy and paste...grrrrrr. But it IS lovely. Someone recently posted a pic on Facebook of this beauty, which is coal or wood:

I am trying to hunt down where the pic originally came from or find out the model/maker. I think it would be wonderful for a summer kitchen.

The prices are....jaw dropping HIGH for those refurbished gas stoves.
But consider this...these stoves were built to last a lifetime. Not just 5 years or 10 years, but 50 to 100 years---with proper care and maintenance.
Go to the sites, browse around and droooool at the thought of having one of these marvelous stoves, totally refurbished to perfect working order ...and I am going to look at other kitchen goodies...

Friday, October 12, 2012

That's The Way I Always Do It!

Do you have something you do just because "that's the way I've always done it"?
Maybe you learned from trial and error, maybe you learned from a grandparent or parent. Doesn't matter, you do it "that" way and any other way just feels "wrong".
Well, that sort of got hammered home with me last weekend when the fella had a couple of friends come by after they had gone to the shooting range.
I had fixed lunch for them and dessert was apple pie.
Now, when I make apple pie, I almost always put a layer of walnuts on the bottom.
This surprised our guests who had never had apple pie fixed this way.(Which surprised me!)
I take about a half cup of crushed walnuts, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a pat of butter, a drop of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon, mix all of that together in a pan over medium heat until the brown sugar melts and walnuts are glazed and put that mix in the bottom of my pie crust. Then my apple mixture goes on top, then my top crust and I bake it.
Apparently, not everyone does that with their apple pies.
I've always done it like that.
Because that's how my maternal grandmother did it.
I don't know where or how she learned it. I do know that sometimes she used black walnuts as they were easier to come by. She had a black walnut tree on the small farm she and my grandfather owned.
I prefer my apple pie with the walnut *bottom*. It adds a bit of crunch and a pop of flavor.
When I have apple pie without a walnut bottom, it just seems lacking.
I also put crunchy bottoms on other pies.
Crushed almond pieces (butter, a drop of vanilla and white sugar or light brown sugar) in the bottom of cherry pies.
Pecans or hazelnuts in the bottom of blackberry pies. 
Yeah, so I'm weird, but I like to think it's the good kind of weird!
So...have anything you do just because "That's the way I've always done it"? 

Friday, October 5, 2012

More Pictures and Questions

First, the pictures!
4 of the 6 new turkeys

Long view of the turkeys

Gotta admit, they are pretty!

Inky, Ugly Betty's other chick.

I think Inky is rather elegant looking. She and her sister Bo have steadfastly refused to join our small flock of chickens. They wander the yard together, scratch and peck together, eat together and sleep together on top of one of the feed barrels. If I go out on the patio and sit down, both will scamper over and jump up in my lap! They both like to be petted and make little chirring sounds when I pet them. They let me pet them and my son can pet them as well, but they don't let anyone else get close enough to pet them.

The turkeys, as you can see, are mostly toms. Four toms, Two hens. We already had Trixie and Tinkerbelle, so now we have an equal mix of male and females...until Thanksgiving!
Yes, we will be butchering at least one of the toms for Thanksgiving....probably THREE of them. Several of the Darlin' Mans coworkers have expressed an interest in learning how to butcher their own turkey for Thanksgiving, so we may have a class.

Now...a couple of questions...
We received as a gift a HUGE bag of dried chili peppers. I whirled some up in the blender to make dried red pepper flakes for my pantry, but I still have LOTS left over.
Any suggestions on what else I can do with them?

Other question:
I like to make as much as I can from scratch. One thing I have NEVER successfully been able to make from scratch is Graham Crackers. I have tried several recipes over the years and none of them worked quite right.
If you have a recipe that works...please let me know or post it on your own blog or in the comments. I don't think I am the only person looking for such a recipe!
Thanks a lot!

Oh, for those wondering...The Darlin' Man's health issue is being addressed. He has a few spots of skin cancer and went this past week for surgery. It caused him a lot of pain (9 stitches!), but he is recovering well. The doctor said they got it all. One more place to remove and all should be well!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Picture Day!

Bag of dried chilis I will process later today

Bo, one of Ugly Betty's chicks, almost full grown now!

Cori and Selene with their new spiffy collars

Selene in purple, Cori in red

Baby bunnies getting BIG!

Such a cute face!

I will be posting pictures of the new turkeys and a lot of other pictures this evening!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Well, What Do You Know.....

The Darlin' Man went to church Sunday and afterwards went to lunch with church friends at a local buffet type place. While there, SURPRISE!!!, he ran into Roy the Animals Guy's FATHER. The guy who owned the female goat and then suddenly didn't own the same goat....?
Yeah, him.
Well, the Darlin' Man got to talking with Roy Senior and found out a few things.
While he was doing that, I talked to some folks that live  in our neighborhood and also had dealings with Roy.
Turned out he had lied to everyone, including his own dad.
Never told his dad he was keeping his animals out here. His dad had 4 turkeys for sale and Roy told him the most he could get for the four together was 100 bucks....offered US the turkeys for $270.....said he "wasn't making any profit" on them. Bought some chickens from one neighbor for 5 bucks a piece, sold them to his dad for 20 a piece...telling him that was what he paid for them...
And so on and so forth....

I wish I hadn't been so patient with Roy and hadn't bit my tongue over and over again as I didn't want to upset the Darlin' Man as he was friends with Roy.

Anyway...Roy Senior and the Darlin' Man made a deal on the, not for 270. It was for 150. Fair price for both parties.
The Darlin' Man did not tell Roy Senior about his son's shady dealings. He says he will save that information for when it is appropriate.

Oh...the little goat that triggered my telling Roy to leave the property?
She belongs to Roy Senior, seems HE picked her up in New Mexico along with the male goats for Roy, Jr.
Of course, he told his dad she had died....

The Darlin' Man came home with SIX turkeys....Roy Senior had a couple of *extras*. But he sold the whole package....6 full grown turkeys, for $150.00. Four toms, two hens.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bye-Bye Roy the Animal Guy!

Well, that little partnership is kaput!
Thursday afternoon, Roy the Animal Guy brought over some more chickens and decided to build a pen *just* for HIS animals, as in his lambs, his goats. Okay, no problem with that.
BUT during a discussion before he built his pen, he told me he had sold Desi, (I originally named her Jeannie), a small female goat I had bottle fed and raised.
Initially, when Roy had brought 4 baby goats over here, 2 of which needed to be bottle fed, his story was:

His dad had traveled over to New Mexico and bought all four of the goats. Three of the goats...male...were Roy's goats. The little female goat was his dad's, as his dad had paid for it, along with driving over to pick up the goats, paying for the gas, etc.
I told Roy at that time that we had a deal with him not his dad and his father would have to pay us for the care and feeding of the little female goat. Roy said he would pass that along to his father.
We discussed this several times over the almost three months I cared for and fed Desi.
Thursday, Roy sat on our back patio and told me that the little female goat was now HIS as his dad owed him money and he had arranged to sell Desi. I told him "No, Desi is MINE until you pay for her care and feeding. She stays HERE."
Roy insisted that HE owed NOTHING for the milk and then the hay and feed we had provided for Desi. He said his dad owed that. I called Bullshit and said Roy now owed the debt.
Then Roy committed the cardinal sin.
He told me HE picked up the goats in New Mexico and Desi had been his goat from the start.
I told him that was NOT what he told me initially. He told me "Oh yes, I told you from the start she was my goat."
I called the Darlin' Man and the Girl outside, told Roy to shut up and asked them each if they remembered what Roy had told us about the goats ownership.
They both remembered what Roy had initially said about the goat being his dad's.
I then asked Roy again...who bought the goat originally and whose goat it was.
He repeated that HE bought her and she was HIS goat and he owed NOTHING for her care and feeding.
I looked at him, told him that Desi was staying precisely where she was and that I did NOT appreciate being lied to.
I came back in the house.
Ten minutes later, I heard Desi screaming bloody murder and went out and saw Roy putting her in his newly constructed pen.
"Is that Desi?" I yelled out.
"Yes", replied Roy, "She's MY goat!"
I then yelled over to him; "Okay, then take Desi and take ALL your animals and get them off this property RIGHT DAMN NOW!"
So, Roy spent the next few hours getting all his animals off the property, and, from what I understand, temporarily housing them in his one bedroom apartment until he finds someone else who will let him use their land.
2 adult goats, 3 four month old goats, 4 peafowl, 2 guineas, 4 ducks, 100 chickens & roosters, 50 pigeons, 50 doves and 2 ram lambs.
Good luck with that, Roy.

Today the Darlin' Man and The Girl deconstructed all of Roys pens (which looked horrible, anyway) and stacked all the building supplies from the takedown so Roy can easily pick all of his stuff.

It wasn't that Roy refused to pay for the goats care and feeding. It was that Roy straight-up lied to avoid having to take responsibility. That is the main reason I kicked him off the property.
Lying to me like that was the final straw. It made me realize that if he would lie about that, he would lie about everything else in our little business partnership and had probably lied to us before.
I could not tolerate that.

So, it was a lot quieter this morning when I went out to feed. Very peaceful.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Puppies and Bunnies and a Chicken, Oh My!

Here's some pictures!
Baby bunnies...still more or less hairless!

Wriggly little critters!

The biggest of the litter. We call him "Colossus"

"Bear-Bear", little black male

"Lady", wee female black pup

"Runt", yes, this little girl was the runt of the litter!

"Nugget" our front porch pet chicken!

Bad Morning...

I woke up this morning to find Bruno, the buck goat Roy bought, was dead.
Apparently Bruno got in a head-butting contest with the little dwarf-mini buck our neighbor has. They head-butted through the fence. The neighbors wee buck has a busted scalp and was bleeding, but Bruno got a horn hooked into the fence and, we guess, tried so violently to free himself that he snapped his own neck.
So, I called Roy and when he got here, the Darlin; Man borrowed the neighbors pick up and together they took Bruno way out into the desert. Bruno was left for the coyotes.
So...we are searching for a new breeding buck.

The wee peachick from the cracked egg died. I am not checking anymore of the eggs Ugly Betting is setting.

Good news today is that Skillet the rabbit is taking very good care of her babies. One is solid black, one is solid white and the other three are black and white spotted.
I will be taking pictures later today to post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Farmstead Happenings

Well, I posted all the comments I received on my last post, and , sure enough, a couple were political in nature.
Here is what I basically believe:
It's rigged.
The "powers that be" will make sure that whatever puppet they deign appropriate for their purpose will sit in the Oval Office.
No use arguing about it, no use getting upset about it.
Just hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
That's about all any of us can do.
And that's the end of political discussion from me.

In other news here...
One of the pups opened her eyes today. She did this while being held by The Girl. The pup, startled by the light (or perhaps her first sight of a human), started screaming her wee head off! Of course, Baby (mama dog) got very concerned and The Girl returned the pup to her care for comfort and consoling.
All the pups are fat and wriggly now.

Ugly Betty is still setting the peafowl eggs. Yesterday she kicked one out of her nest and I found it had gone bad. Really, really bad. So, I figured this little experiment was a bust.
Today, I pulled one of the eggs still remaining from under Betty and cracked it open.
There was a chick inside.
Fortunately, the chick seemed about to hatch anyway and was chirping and kicking. So, I have put it in a box lined with hay and a soft cloth, sitting on top of the heating pad. All that on the kitchen table. I checked a few minutes ago and the wee chick is still alive and chirping and kicking.
I am not going to disturb it anymore....just let it fight it's way out of the shell and hope it survives the night.

Yesterday evening, Skillet, our female bunny gave birth to 5 baby bunnies! We were a bit surprised, as she had not been evidencing any nesting type behavior and hadn't changed in size in any noticable manner.
We rapidly moved T-Bone, the male, into a separate cage. Today I saw that Skillet had finally made a little nest for the babies. I haven't seen her nursing them or snuggling with them, so I don't know how well this is going to work out. Tonight, all five baby bunnies are still alive and squirming.
I know VERY little about the care and feeding of a nursing mama bunny. So, I am doing a lot of reading today and tonight. Any suggestions and/or tips on the bunnies will be GREATLY appreciated!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just a Bit of Everything!

The puppies continue to grow...and squeal...and whine....and, well, you get the idea. Moved them out of our closet into the living room. Baby (mama dog) is okay with that. She can now escape the whining pups by jumping up on the couch and letting them whine themselves to sleep on occasion. Yesterday she fed them, bathed them and snuggled them...but still they whined. I came into the living room to find her standing over them in their *puppy box* looking a bit perturbed. She looked at me and her expression was the classic "What do I do? What do I do!? Make it stop, make it stop!"
Welcome to motherhood, poor thing.

The political season is going full force. I didn't watch the conventions and I stopped watching the news on t.v. a couple of years ago. I TRY to avoid political commercials, but the sneaky buggers seem to buy time on all the channels....sigh.
Will I vote?
Well, my candidate is not even on the ballot here in Texas. I could go and vote for the Libertarian candidate, in fact, if I go to vote, that is probably what I will do.
Other than that, my main focus is reading news that matters, not the fluff pieces promoted by the main stream media.

The USAs credit rating was dropped lower again and now China is starting to insist on paying for oil/selling oil for yuan instead of dollars. A Very Bad Sign. The price of oil has been stabilized for decades by linking it with the American dollar, as the dollar has historically been the most stable monetary instrument.
Now...not so much.
The drought in the midwest (aka, America's breadbasket) has slowed a bit due to the remnants of a hurricane or two. But...too little, too late. Hay and corn prices had ranchers dumping their cattle at feedlots for slaughter. Small farmers, too, found themselves having to slaughter their small herds to save on feed costs.
The price of beef, and pork will dip a little, temporarily, but meat can only be frozen so long or held so long in grocery stores. When the cheap *dumped* livestock runs out, prices will go up as those farmers that were able to hold on to the core of their herds try to build back up and don't sell.
We had rain here in the desert...too much rain!...and the price of hay went down. Still, corn prices went up and so did feed prices. A lot of folks here have been getting rid of their chickens and other barnyard fowl and small livestock, such as goats and sheep. Roy, the animal guy, currently has 4 ducks rooming with our geese and brought in a couple of new lambs, too. He buys them cheap and then finds buyers that will buy them for a little more. He is doing okay so far.

We have learned that the Darlin' Man has some medical issues that, while serious, can be dealt with. He may be able to retire a little earlier than we thought. While he is slogging through the paperwork for that, we are still looking at properties in Vermont. A couple stand out, but we can't make any decision....yet. I won't be able to make a visit up there this month...or next month. Just too much going on here. Maybe in January or February. We'll see.

The past week, I gained a couple of followers and lost a couple. I admit to not knowing who I gained and who I lost as I still haven't figured out how to navigate the new blogger interface stuff. It confuses me...which isn't too hard as I am a bit of a computer illiterate, lol!
To those I gained...Hi there!
To those I lost...Bye!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Picture Day!!!

Hoping all these post okay!
The biggest of the litter.

All four...sorry it's dark!

The biggest next to his siblings

Meet Bruno!

Gabby seems to like him!

The white pea hens next to our regular one.

White pea hen with our goats and Bruno in the background

The Girl holding one of the "bottle lambs"

:Big Daddy", the Rock Island rooster

"Geronimo", the Rhode Island Red rooster