Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend Plans and More...

My birthday was lovely...cheeseburger meatloaf for dinner...yummmmmmmm.. I'll post a few of my favorite recipes on Sunday and I'll include that is awesome!

This weekend I will be making some alterations to the chicken coop, plus doing a bit more work on the raised bed gardens.
The chickens had not laid a single egg for several days. Red, the rooster was in the bachelor quarters for bad behavior. He got his reprieve on Sunday, was returned to the chicken coop and was sternly lectured by my Darlin' Man as to what his responsibilities were and the consequences of not fulfilling said responsibilities. (In other words "You are supposed to be getting these hens to lay eggs! If the hens don't give us eggs, YOU will end up in a stew pot!!!")
Well, no eggs all week.
Today I went out around 3 pm to check the coop for the umpteenth time eggs. Darlin' Man got home about 2 hours later, went to check on the hens...THREE EGGS!!!

The compost with chicken manure and lots of goat manure is looking GREAT! Tomorrow I will start working it into the raised beds , although each raised bed already has a base of compost, then dirt on top of the compost. I never knew how fast goat manure *cooked* compost. If you can acquire some goat manure, get it! Add it to your compost heap and watch it take off.

I set up my sewing area today. It was in the bedroom, but it was just so cramped in there. I moved everything to the dining room and now I have ample room to stretch out and actually sew.
My sketches for my quilt gifts are done (whew!), so by Monday I will be ready to roll on my quilting.
First step...cutting out my quilt pieces. I figure I can cut out all the pieces for one quilt in two days. After all the pieces are cut out, it will take me about a week to make each quilt top. Maybe 4 days if I focus!
Yes, these quilts are machine sewn by me, but they still look lovely when done.

I hope your weekend plans are shaping up!
Have a safe and productive weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is my 54th birthday!
There are doctors, family members, friends, high school acquaintances, etc that all thought I would have kicked the bucket by now!
How wrong they were....
Not only have I survived various health crisis's, accidents, risky endeavors, stupid decisions, etc, I have THRIVED!
Today I am planting my winter in El Paso the weather is still warm, so my seeds will sprout and there is time enough for the greens I am planting to grow so that I will be able to harvest them for yummy salad greens and stir fry's. I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek seeds. I strongly suggest you check them out! Their seed catalog can be classified as "gardening porn" as the photography and descriptions are amazing. Check out the massive amount of heirloom tomatoes they offer!
Don't forget to order their FREE catalogue for 2011!

Tomorrow, for my birthday, I plan on doing as little as possible...I think I deserve a day off!
I will sleep late ....won't get up until, oh, maybe 6 am as opposed to my usual 4:30 am.
I will have a leisurely breakfast of chai tea and cream of wheat (my favorite) with a dollop of strawberry jam on top. Leftover beef stew for lunch.
I have informed the darlin' man that HE will be cooking my dinner!
Maybe that's a risky decision...but I think he can handle it!

So, one thing I do on my birthday is think about one or two skills I want to learn over the next year.
I set a few goals in areas of my life as well.
Kind of like New Year's Resolutions, except I do it on my birthday!
I find I stick to goals, etc made on my birthday better than New Years.
I also usually get myself a present. This year, unfortunately, the water pump on the car went kaput this week and payday for the darlin' man isn't until the first, so all the funds I had saved up in my paypal account I transferred to my bank account to help out.
I guess that gorgeous corset I found on ebay and the art supplies will wait! comes birthday 54 !
Since I plan on living to 108, I guess I am halfway there!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making plans for Christmas

I know, I isn't even Halloween yet and I am already making plans for the Christmas season.
But, as any prepper type will tell you, planning is vitally important!
I am making most of the gifts I am giving.
One duvet cover and four quilts. A couple of tote bags and other small things.
Today, however, I am perusing recipes.
When my kids were younger, I tried to make the Yule meal more festive by making a traditional holiday meal of another country or era.
Sweden, Mexico, Germany, France, even Argentina and Korea found their way to my table---with varying degrees of success.
I haven't  done this for several years, but since I will have my Darlin' Man and his possibly one of my kids visiting AND my fella's mother here, I think I will try it again!

I am thinking about a few different "themes":
A Charles Dickens Christmas
An Irish Country Christmas
An American Pioneer Christmas (circa 1800)

Menus and decorations go with the theme.

Now, I have not decided which one to go with here. I am open to suggestions of different themes as well.
So, dear readers, put on your thinking caps and help me come up with an idea or two or three!

Other things.....
Red, our cantankerous rooster, is currently in the *bachelor quarters* . He had lorded it over the four hens to their detriment. He shoved them out of the way and ate the majority of the food, and spent his non meal time humping the poor girls until they were hiding under the little henhouse in fear. They went two days without laying eggs!
So, yesterday, the Darlin' Man decided the hens needed a rest from Reds attentions.
Red did NOT want to leave! The battle ensued across the back yard...the Darlin' Man armed with a broom and Red, armed with beak and talon, duking it out for supremacy. First, Red had to be persuaded to leave the chicken coop WITHOUT his entourage of hens. Not an easy task!  Red was swept out of the coop, but he took Matilda and Miss Priscilla with him. I herded the girls back into the coop as my fella chased Red around the yard with the broom.
Red, seeing the battle was not in his favor, suddenly decided to opt for the "ostrich maneuver" and dove into the fence, burying his head under the fence and getting stuck--with his head in the sand.
It took a few minutes, but the Darlin' Man emerged triumphant, carrying a rather sedate Red into the pen built for the billy goat (for when the does give birth).
He gently lay Red down, thinking the rooster had no fight left in him.
As the fella headed for the gate, Red roused his self and attacked! A quick dash out the gate while fending off the outraged bird with the broom and the Darlin' Man escaped.
Red spent the rest of the evening muttering to himself and scratching furiously at the dirt. He eyed any one who came close to the pen with fowl fury.
This morning, Red was still eyeing me with suspicion when I fed him. The hens seemed calm and content.
And there were 2 eggs...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boring Oatmeal? I think not!

Boy and Girl were aghast during our last shopping trip to discover that I had loaded 3 containers of  Quaker Oats in the cart. Not the kid friendly stuff filled with sugar, artificial flavors and colors. Just plain oats.
"Oatmeal is  b-o-r-i-n-g " they complained.
HAH! They never had MY oatmeal!

Now they have...and they LOVE it!
First, get your bowls out. Put a tablespoon of brown sugar in the bottom of each bowl. I also add a quarter to half of teaspoon of cinnamon OR a teaspoon of real maple syrup.
Cook one slice of bacon for each bowl of oatmeal. Drain off bacon grease (I put it on the dogs kibble in the mornings)
Cook oatmeal.
Spoon 1 cup oatmeal in each bowl (or more--depends on individual appestite)
Stir each bowl until brown sugar is mixed through.
Garnish with slice of cooked bacon (some kids want the bacon whole, other like it crumbled on oatmeal)
Watch it disappear!
Other add ons instead of bacon:
Brown sugar + raisins + walnuts sprinkled on top
Brown sugar + dried cranberries + peacans sprinkled on top
Brown sugar + dried  (or canned) pineapple + toasted coconut sprinkled on top
Maple syrup + dried (or fresh) diced apples
Tablespoon of pineapple preserves + coconut + macadamia nuts sprinkled on top (Hawaiian oatmeal!)
Tablespoon of strawberry preserves + salted peanuts on top

You get the idea!
Oatmeal or cream of wheat or any hot breakfast cereal/grain, does not have to be "boring".
A couple of add ins or add ons can make it a treat for even the pickiest palate.
Eat your oatmeal! It's good for you!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chickens and Goats and Dogs and Teen Agers!

Girl and boy decided to test me a bit. Their bus arrives at the corner at 0755. The kids should be out the door no later than 0750. Yet the battle to get them out the door wages on daily. Yesterday they scrambled out the door at 0753!
So...I instituted a new program...for every minute past 0750 they go out the door, they get up 10 minutes early the next morning. That meant that this morning they were roused out of bed at 0630.
They are not pleased. Currently, Girl is brushing her hair and muttering on the couch. Boy took his shower and ate his breakfast. Girl, I suspect, will indicate her displeasure by ignoring the breakfast sitting on the dining room table. We'll see.

AHA! Brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal won the day! Girl grudgingly ate her breakfast and actually SMILED! Didn't hurt that I used my grandmothers trick of sprinkling bacon on top of the oatmeal (Try it! Works great with brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal or maple syrup oatmeal) Boy had his favorite...breakfast burrito with cheese, eggs and bacon.
Before I got here, it was usually cold cereal or nothing. Something to be said for a good breakfast before you go out the door. As a teen, I was always RAVENOUS. I ate breakfast every morning. Usually fixed it myself as I got up pretty early.
The kids went out the door at 0749.

This week we had an addition to the chickens...the feed store had a lovely young hen that had already started laying---left over from their crop of chicks they were selling a few months ago.
She arrived yesterday, courtesy of the Darlin' Man.
She was christened Beatrix.
So, currently, we have: Big Red (the rooster in residence), Gertrude, Miss Priscilla, Matilda and Beatrix.
I added oyster shell to their feed and the chickens seem to like it quite well.

Our goats are doing well, and we are picking up a pregnant doe this weekend to add to the herd. The two does we already have are pregnant (I think). I am trying to *gentle* the goats by sitting in the pen for an hour or so a day, feeding them snippets of carrots and other goodies.
One of the  does practically climbs in my lap to get her snacks, lol!
I hope I can get them gentled sufficiently by the time we have to start milking them!
(Any suggestions on gentling them more GREATLY appreciated!)
I am looking forward to having goats milk for drinking, cooking, yogurt, cheese, soap, etc.

Edited to add:
OOPS! Forgot about the dogs!
Kali (soon to be gone) is back with her original owners.
Siona (soon to be here) is now, finally here!
She and the Darlin' Man's dog, Andy had a few problems at first, but they worked it out and Andy understands that Siona, although smaller, is very much THE boss.
Andy, being only 8 months old now, still has a lot of *puppy* in him. Unfortunately, chewing and shredding things is part of the *puppy* stage. The first month I was here, we would wake up to find any and every thing left in the living room area absolutely shredded to death by Andy. The trash can, shoes, sofa cushions...sigh.....
Then Siona arrived. Siona is most assuredly NOT a shredder/chewer...unless it is a doggie treat or a bone.
After her arrival, I woke up one night to hear her snarling and growling and barking up a frenzy. I peeked out of the bedroom door.
There was Andy, cowed and cowering on the floor, next to a partially chewed sock. There was Siona, standing over him, doing her best *vicious angry dog* impression. When ever Andy moved, Siona darted in, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and snarling through a mouthful of his fur, snarled and growled her fiercest!  After a few more minutes of this, Siona allowed Andy to get up and and go to his dog bed. She followed him and stood over him a few minutes, hackles raised and softly growling. Then she stalked off to her bed.
Nothing more has been chewed up since that night!
Siona is spayed (Please spay or neuter your dogs and cats people, if you are not breeding them!) and has never been a mama...but she sure was acting like one tough dog mama towards Andy!
Siona (so glad she is here!) has curtailed a lot of Andy's bad behaviors. Training him is going easier as he watches HER and takes his cues from her behavior. Sit, Stay and Come are all but mastered by Andy now.
The other day I was trying to train him to *Stop* (his barking) and he just wasn't "getting it" despite my liberal use of treats for rewards. After about 15 minutes of efforts, Siona (who had been watching from her perch on the couch) came over and stopped Andy's barking by nipping him gently on his ear. Andy stopped in mid bark in surprise and got his treat. A bit later Andy was barking again (even a bird flying close to a window will set him off!) and Siona wandered over again...just as I said "Stop"!, she nipped his ear again. He stopped.
And, he "got it". He figured it out! Now, a curt "Stop!" ends his barking frenzies.
He still looks around after he stops and looks to see where Siona is,!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wheeeeeeeeeeee! We Have Eggs!

The last week has been SUPER busy here at Frippery Farm (our name for this little enterprise).
We had a goat pen. The chickens and goats peacefully co-existed in said pen...but, sadly, no eggs were forth coming from the hens.
This past week, we got the chicken coop built, along with a separate pen for the billy goat (for when the does have their kids).
Red and his hens were moved into the coop. To celebrate, the darlin' man purchased a new hen down at the feed store. The new hen was promptly named Matilda and also just as promptly began laying eggs!
Two eggs in the first 24 hours she was in residence!
Not to be outdone, Miss Priscilla also presented us with an egg!
Gertrude hasn't *gotten with the program* yet, but I think it is just a matter of time before she is inspired by her coop-mates and starts producing as well.
Red the rooster is acting like it is * all HIM*. He checks out each egg and crows and struts around proudly.

We also started constructing our raised bed gardens. The goat poop has done a fabulous job in the compost heap!
Speaking of goats, I believe both our does are pregnant. We should know for sure in a couple of weeks.
So, we'll have milk and eggs...a darn good start!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

bison survival blog: guest article

bison survival blog: guest article

What to Stock Up On (Your Emergency Food Storage)

If you are in the path of a current Hurricane or other storm, please go HERE: Immediate Emergency Supplies

I got asked the other day "What should be the BASICS for one person to have in their *preparedness pantry*?"
I realized I had never posted a *basics* list here, so, gathering all my lists (yes, another list maker here!), I sat down and made a comprehensive list.

Don't let the size scare you. You could buy just a few items each month and by the end of 3 to 6 months, have a well stocked preparedness emergency food pantry.
Please remember, this is for ONE person. Many of the items you can find at Family Dollar or similar discount stores.
As for the stuff in #10 cans, I suggest  or .For all my LDS friends, get thee to a cannery!
A few items I suggest you make yourself...more about those later as I will explain how to make and store certain food items yourself.

Let's get started...
6 #10 cans wheat
6 #10 cans beans
6 #10 cans rice
6 #10 cans potatoes (not *instant*! Get dehydrated potato slices or dehydrated diced potatoes. More versatile)
6 #10 cans pasta
6 #10 cans dehy. refried beans
6 #10 cans flour
4 #10 cans sugar
4 #10 cans oatmeal
4 #10 cans instant/dried milk powder
3 #10 cans farina (cream of wheat type hot cereal)
3 #10 cans instant mashed potato flakes
3 #10 cans dried corn (suitable for grinding)
2 #10 cans granola
2 #10 cans dehydrated onions
2 #10 cans dehy. peas
2 #10 cans dehy. carrots
2 #10 cans dehy. broccoli
2 #10 cans of dehy. corn (not dried corn for grinding!)
2 #10 cans mixed vegetables
2 #10 cans raisins
2 #10 cans dried apples
2 # 10 cans dried fruit of choice or mixed fruits
2 #10 cans trail mix (mixed nuts and fruits)

MEATS: I don't buy them dehydrated in # 10 cans(as of yet). They are pretty pricey when you get them that way! Maybe when I get more income or someone hands me a winning lottery ticket....If you are vegetarian, get extra of the basics and double up on the beans and rice!
For meats, here is what I suggest:
40 cans of water packed tuna
20 cans of oil packed tuna
20 cans of sardines
NOW, if, like me, you are allergic to seafood, substitute other meats!
30 cans chicken
15 small canned hams (the kind you do not have to refrigerate)
20 cans ham (the shredded kind in cans like tuna)
40 cans SPAM (choose your favorite flavor or mix and match flavors for variety)
20 cans Beef Stew
20 cans chili
40 cans soup (your choice of flavors)

I buy my spices in the square 5 ounce containers, then again, I use spices a lot! You can make tea from some spices (like ginger), so you may want more or less of a particular spice.
Curry powder
Garlic powder
Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
Chili Powder
Red Pepper Powder
Bay Leaves (get LOTS of these! Bay leaves ward off insects in your food storage!)
Other spices you use

Beverage mixes, coffee/tea as you prefer
 Sprouting seeds
1 gallon honey
48 packages of Ramen Noodle soup (2 cases)
3 jars coconut oil
1 gallon corn oil
1 gallon canola oil
2 containers all vegetable shortening
6 containers of Corn Starch
6 boxes Baking Soda
3 containers Baking Powder
4 containers beef bouillon (cubes or loose)
4 containers chicken bouillon (cubes or loose)
4 containers vegetable bouillon (cubes or loose)
5 containers salt
8 1 quart bottles of lemon juice
10 jars peanut butter
6 jars jam/jelly/preserves
12 bars of soap
6 bottles baby shampoo
24 rolls toilet paper
24 rolls paper towels
3 bottles of body lotion
2 jars petroleum jelly
1 large bottle aspirin
1 large bottle non-aspirin pain reliever
3 containers baby powder


6 pint jars tomato powder
2 pint jars celery powder
2 pint jars mushroom powder
Other powders you like or find useful

Also, GET A GRAIN GRINDER!!! Manual is best (in my opinion), but if you must, get an electric one...just be sure you have a manual one for *back up* in case of long term power outages!
Get CAST IRON cooking pans. These add iron to your diet, will wear absolutely forever and are easy to clean up after being seasoned properly.
Other Good Things to have in your emergency pantry are a small grill and some bags of charcoal and some strike anywhere matches.

This is a ONE YEAR supply for ONE ADULT PERSON. Breakfast, lunch and dinners. You won't have meat at every meal, but you'll have enough.
It provides ample calories, variety to ward off *appetite fatigue* and extra in case of spoilage. You may have to adjust for food allergies, personal likes and dislikes, etc.
I am sure I forgot a few items, so add what you need that I may have forgot!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wow! I won...again!

The past month I have entered a couple of blog give-aways...okay, I entered about 6 .
I won TWO!
The first was for a $140 gift certificate from for following the blogathon for the Downed Bikers Association done by Phelan over at Following the Yellow Brick Road. She has another amazing blog here  about her homestead and adventures there! (And donate to the Downed Bikers...good charity!
With the gift certificate I got a heavy duty wheel barrow (Razorback brand) and a French bread loaf pan (Fox Run brand). Both arrived promptly and are fantastic! Seriously, the loaf pan is amazing and I have NEVER had French bread come out so perfectly! Check it out here !
Today I found out I won over at Chef Tess Bakeresse's blog by sending in my weird turkey roasting recipe. The announcement and my winning entry can be found here .  
If you do not yet read Chef Tess..... Shame. On. You.
Amazing recipes with loads of pics to nudge you through the hard parts. Videos, too, of her recipes and t.v. appearances!