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It’s been a week and a half of highs and lows here on the little holding we live on. Lots of animal drama.
One cat, Georgie, ingested a feather shepherds hook earring (I’m 99% certain as I found evidence, CSI here I come), didn’t eat or drink or move for two days, then suddenly went outside and came back in happy and normal as ever.
Another cat, Sparrow, hurt his paw somehow, I have no idea what happened as he wouldn’t let me get near it and was dragging around his back leg like a sack full of dead mice. I made him stay in for 3 or so days and then there was no keeping him in, he was causing all kinds of trouble.
Then one of our hens died.
Then one of the young goats got sick, is sick still. Of course with animals you never really know exactly what’s wrong, but in this case my hypothesis is that before we chased him out from around the pond (it’s fenced but easily broken into) is that he chowed down like a pig on the super thick sharp reed grass all around the pond. He’s started to eat finally today again (2 days later) after much massaging of belly, offering water and treats, drenching him with olive oil and baking soda (forcing him to drink it), and pettings and worryings and prayers. Really hope the little guy pulls through.
Then of course a stray dog too.
Even though I know these are not “big” problems, comparatively to many other problems I could have, my stress and worry has drawn me closer to God, he hears and answers the hurts and worry in my heart. He sees my mind picturing and hears me asking for a good outcome.
Some recipes are gross. Sometimes I think we need less recipes and more real food.
Recipes are great! I love recipes… but I sort of feel like recipes are for special times.
The rest of the time I think we should just eat whatever we can gather to throw in the pot and stew/soup up. to nourish ourselves. not to necessarily satisify our taste buds that are used to msg, crazy chemical addictive compounds and other super sonic taste sensations. Our taste buds/bodies are in the same boat as the adhd crowd. too much and too much. We don’t know what’s good for us. there’s too many distractions.
I’m all for making things “better” but if “better” includes not being able to recognize real very lightly and home processed food if it bit me in the fat butt? no thanks…. for the most part.
industrialization created a lot of things for good reasons, including food that would last for centuries…. but then, they had so much, they had to market it too… so they started making recipes, recipes, recipes…. recipe cards, recipe commercials, recipes that require weird ingredients…. and… unfortunately, recipes that require certain brand names of products. Recipes that helped you use that cheap “food” that everyone else was raving about. Recipes that make everything taste like you live on Olympus with everything made of nectar of the gods.
Maybe in the beginning eagle brand milk, velveeta, kraft and hormel had a purpose. “preserve the food so it can be sent over to our soldiers, so it won’t go bad, so nothing goes to waste” i’m not questioning the beginnings of the company or the great things that they have sponsored, if they’ve sponsored anything.
My point is, they made a crap load of this stuff, and didn’t know how to off load it, so they marketed this non-food…. they marketed brilliantly… to the point where we don’t even know what recipes to use without them, because the recipes we rely on are “THE BEST” as long as we use their product. … taste buds everywhere respond.
Now, we’re having a resurgence of more natural foods… but the recipes abound! trying to make our normal food taste as good as our mutant food… let me ask you this….
IF YOU COULD FLY!! would anything else compare? What if flying gave you cancer? diabetes? or other health issues? would you still fly? no? but you would try to make not flying feel like flying.
you would want walking and driving and being in an airplane to feel like flying. but it’s bad for you.
Did you ever hear of cold turkey?
quit cold turkey. u don’t need their chemical compounds, you don’t. real food tastes awesome with a very small tad of natural seasonings.
You don’t need the crazy pseudo non flavours that are the norm with today’s bags of chips. they are not REAL flavours. Eat some BBQ! taste the difference?
Food is good. Food Tastes good. Try it. real food, without salt without anything, just eat something unadulterated. we don’t need all these…
… back to recipes…. I find today’s recipes to be getting more and more complicated and I think it’s because of the fake flavours that have become the norm. What if we did away with recipes for a while? We could make some for special occasions… like Basteeya or Fellafel, or Oliebollen or for the western world hamburgers, sweet potato pie with marshmallows and green bean casserole (comment here or google the ingredients I WILL give you the recipe) or some of these other taste sensations that are SPECIAL! it’s not special if you have it every day, and I think this having to have a special recipe every day is destroying our appreciation of what is special… good, healthy, real food, with our families…and you may find, in the end, on your special family days that… no chemicals need apply.
Many of the things I’ve learned over the years had a romantic haze of Ingalls/Wilder fog obscuring the reality of the thing. I read and dreamed about a pioneer life and thinking how wonderful it would have been to live on this continent when things were untainted and undeveloped. Each time I learn a new thing I realize that it was a pile of non-stop hard work (which I knew in theory) the resources of energy and the drive of need just aren’t there to sustain. I think we have devolved from these strong minded women who did what needed to be done with no other options to ones who run to the store for a frozen pizza when we just don’t feel like cooking. I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying that it’s a far cry from our pioneer and immigrated ancestors.
Where did all our strength go? Is it mostly in our thought process? Our plethora of inundating paralyzing yet useless information and news? Too many issues and not enough real life?
Anyway, this post started because I’m rendering pig fat into lard. While most of you might think “YUCK” I had a rosy wholesome glow in my mind about it. It hasn’t been hard work, but it’s not been a “have to” it’s only been a “want to”. I’m thinking about the women who HAD to to this in order to have soap to wash their family and their clothes, house, dishes. They didn’t have the luxury of running to the store for detergents and/or even handmade artisan goats milk soaps that smell so lovely. They had a pig, fed it the slops, and used every part of it in the fall when they butchered it. They didn’t even buy feed. Sometimes they would just let it go in the woods and eventually find it in the fall. But if they couldn’t find it, they were out their lard for soap, and much of their fat for cooking.
With the lack of fridges, freezers and trucks making daily trips from Mexico and California, the fat was a very, very important and necessary source of calories, vitamins and minerals. There’s a passage in Farley Mowat’s “People of the Deer” where one of the guys is so sick from eating so much lean meat (ie. NO FAT as there was nothing for the elk and rabbits to eat except twigs) and no veg that the only thing that helps him is to drink a pound of melted butter or lard ( I can’t rightly remember). The settlers had to have that fat to survive. We have no such feeling of need. Well, I don’t anyway. My need is mitigated by the ease of running to the store.
While I love all of this pioneer, make-it-from-scratch, do-it-yourself stuff, sometimes it’s just not pretty and romantic (okay, 90 % of the time it’s really not romantic and pretty). I’m driven to learn it though, so I keep trying.
so, here’s a pot of rendering pig fat… nice hey?
The ongoing saga of the ducks!
So Early this year we lost our chickens from a neighbour dog attack. The neighbours paid for us to renew our flock and I decided I wanted ducks as well as chickens with the money we got. I bought a breeding pair from another neighbour and 3 to eat, and drove to Nelson (about 2 hrs away) to get 6 more ducks, two females and 4 males from a different breeding stock, but the same breed, Muscovy.
Out of the 6 we got from Nelson, all but two got killed by a bobcat and one of the remaining two died of… something, don’t know exactly what. Just fell over dead one day. The last one was a female, but boy, compared to the 2 that remained from the other batch, she was so timid, unhealthy looking and not strong. She seemed happy enough by herself, swimming around and the male left her alone so I thought maybe she’ll just get healthy and strong and then start laying eggs or something. No such luck. I hadn’t seen her for a couple of days so I walked around the pond and there she was… just curled up dead. She had either starved herself cause she didn’t want to make the 10 ft swim across to the bank to eat or something… who knows.
I had to leap in the pond, swim over to the island and fling her rotting carcass to the shore with the dog shadowing my every move and trying to roll in the dead duck carcass. Fun and games.
Then last night our youngest cat, Georgie, slipped outside and never came back. She’s usually back by morning at the very latest, but usually within an hour she’s meowing at my bedroom window wanting to come in. She doesn’t like being away from us for long.
This morning, no Georgie. hmmm.
Then Kate comes out of her room in tears and bunched up in pain :( we had to take her to emerg when she threw up some streaks of blood. yikes. Of course, like always, people start feeling better on the way to the Hospital. Anyway, the Dr. gave her a Gravol and reassured us that it was probably just a tummy bug of some sort. We were there for 3 hours.
Come home, still no Georgie. I called all over the property making she she wasn’t stuck anywhere or having a deep sleep. I went up to the neighbours to see if she got trapped in any of their buildings or if they had seen her. I went down to the other neighbours and no go there either. I went across the road to another neighbours and hear “MEOW” MEW” “MAOOOWWWLLL” from waaaaaaayyyyy up high in a huge pine tree. My guess is she got chased up by the dog and spent the night there. The guy helped me get her down and she was panting and hot and when we got her home she drank water for about 5 min.
Kate is sleeping and feeling okay. I think I will pick her up some Gatorade while I’m in town having a birthday lunch with the girls.
Sigh! At least the day doesn’t seem to be continuing in this weird disjointed fashion.
Long story short….
I had caught all my remaining ducks (only 4 left) except Priscilla, to keep them safe from a bobcat… I stalked her several times during the day and for an hour last night but she’s very smart, spry and wary so I couldn’t catch her.
I went down at first light this morning to make sure she made it through the night without “Bob”cat getting her.
She was chasing a muskrat and made him get out of the pond and wouldn’t let him back in! I wished I had my camera.
It gives me great hope for her survival anyway
She has been laying eggs, but not setting, up in the hayloft.
Yesterday we blocked the entrance so today I got to witness the antics of a single minded chicken, desperate to get to her “Secret” nest.
Hanging off the side of the barn, perched precariously on dead grape vines etc. So tonight, i go to tuck the chickens in and she’s missing … looked all over for her.
Couldn’t find her.
Then, lo, what do I see?
Some feathers sticking out between barn boards… a 2 inch wide spot, she had some how managed to wedge herself into that spot and got stuck against a hay bale and couldn’t move.
At least we found her! I would hate to lose one of my Americaunas!
In case anyone who follows this blog is interested, here’s my instagram site: http://instagram.com/42things
As the summer was waning we realized, we had to move for the winter. Our summer house had windows that didn’t close and even doors that would not latch properly and only electric heat. We would have easily been paying $4 – $5 a month for the electricity to heat that place. Hoping against hope we waited for something to happen in our financial realm as Charlie (the guy who owns the property we want) had stated before he would not rent to us.
One morning he came over and had a crushing blow. Someone had made an offer on the property and pretty much had it in the bag as he had the money already in hand. We were so confused. That was a difficult morning. We knew that we had not just come here on a whim, however it may look to the rest of the world, but that we were lead here. So after a few hours of crushing incredulous meanderings of thoughts and words, we realized, God MUST have something for us or he would not have brought us here. I don’t know why we fell in love with Charlie’s place or why it feels like home to us but we have to move on.
The next morning we had found a 10 acre parcel with a tiny house to rent, great out buildings and it looked like we could eke through the winter there. We could have chickens, there was lots of space to do stuff outside. My office would have to be outside in one of the outbuildings but, we’d make it work. It seemed impossible to get a hold of the owner, and he was slow in getting back to us. But we were in a time crunch because the longer we waited we would have to be paying rent in two places for two months due to the rental agreement on the summer house. Finally a week later with many emails, phone calls, meetings and the like we signed a year lease for the new rental thinking that perhaps this was the plan. To just rent here and eventually we would be ready to make an offer on something better or more expensive than Charlie’s.
Two hours after we signed the lease, Charlie drove up.
“The deal is off, the guy lost his job and I want you guys to rent from me until you are ready to purchase,” he said.
I stood there in a daze wondering, what the heck is going on?
Obviously we figured things out and we now live up here and I hope I never have to leave. I have so many dreams for this property.
Best scenario, someone drops $250K into our bank account, on our doorstop or in my mail box and we pay Charlie in cash. Worst scenario, we can’t jump through the hoops for mortgages, bc laws regarding “mobile” homes (it’s as permanent of a structure as any house for the last 40 yrs) and we lose the place. We know we can afford it, we know we can make the payments, but even if the bank agrees there are housing laws here that make it really really difficult to transfer titles because of the house (trailer).
Pray for me my friends. This is sitting heavy on my heart. I think of it every day and pray we don’t ever have to leave. It’s hard to hold back on the things I want to do, I begin a thought, a dream and then remember, “right, it’s not mine yet”
I leave you with a couple pictures.