Monday, September 29, 2008

pray for our cow

yet again our cow is sick--choking on an apple. there is almost nothing to be done except pray. she's at the vets right now. we'll know more in the morning. prospects are very bleak.

thanks in advance for your prayers and good thoughts.

she's still alive but not out of the woods completely yet. apple is out but risk of secondary infection is still pretty high.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

my wish, that i actually said out loud

warning political rant in red against mccain

six or seven months ago i made a wish that things would get so bad that society could lash back and actually solve our problems. i was wishing this because of the slow steady decline of our world has caused us to get accustomed to far to many bad things--from hydrogenated oils in everything we eat to the disposable made-in-china widgets we get at walmart. i wanted another 60's movement where the young people coalesced into a force to be reckoned with. will it take a complete economic collapse before we change our wasteful ways? are we so blinded by political maneuvering as to not see the precipice before us?

i'm sorry for my wish because i thought most people would finally see the light. maybe we deserve a war with russia which i predict is what we'll get if mccain is elected. i've spent months in russia and found them to be wonderful and proud. mccain is bush #3 only worse because he is a war monger to-boot.

now i've got that out of my system

back to the regularly scheduled program..

the calves are both on nimue. she is really swollen and needs all the help she can get.

kassi, my hippie farm girl

toly is mad

so is tristan

several trees fell on one of the cabins at work.

i brought some of the wood home.

i plan to stack wood along this fence. it makes a wonderful barrier from the road.

we worked in the garden today. kassi had the find-dangerous-metals-stick.

toly wanted it

what are you doing

we also burned the horns on those calves.

it was one of the more evil things i have done.

i really didn't like it. that smell is like a lesion on my brain.

toly loves the swing

fun fun fun

he was scared of the swing less than a month ago.

not anymore

Thursday, September 25, 2008


i got a cool award. i never know what to say. i'm still amazed that anyone bothers to read my blog.
thank you saille--that umbridge post entertained me greatly also.

i have thought about making my own blog award to hand out to all of your worthy blogs. alas i barely have time to post once in a while.

tabitha just signed me up for facebook. it's kinda like a virtual high school reunion. my jury is still out on it--past, present or future? where does it fit? i like this moment right now... no, no, riiiigghht now... wait wait.... riiiiight now..

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


our universe is all about milk these days. we are getting over eight gallons per day. what is a little family supposed to do with such a quantity of milk. all planning aside it seems an insurmountable task to adequately package and store that huge quantity of milk. we want to see how things settle out before we solicit too many regular customers. but we are almost so overwhelmed that we need to get those customers and get them now.

our system isn't refined yet so milking takes a huge portion of the day. last evening we lost the calf for about 20 minutes. nimue obviously told phoenix to go hide--and hide he did. i think i stepped directly over him at one point. he didn't reveal his hiding place until she called for him. crazy.

jocelyn is flourishing. she is such a slick calf compared to phoenix. she almost glows while he looks a little scruffy--albeit cute. feeding jocelyn is being a pain. our bucket feeder lost some of it's critical parts. we ordered another bucket feeder and parts for the old one so we'll have two soon. i'm using a lame bottle in the interum.

one might ask, why don't we just share with the calf? well we have always had tragic results whenever we have tried. at best, we miss out on all the creamiest milk which the cow holds back.

tabitha has a new blog. she is a much better writer than i am and has more time to blog. check it out

Sunday, September 21, 2008

nimue had her calf this morning.

we'll probably name him phoenix--risen from the ashes. maybe our luck will change too.

he is a bull calf which is fine since we'll butcher him to feed us when time comes. we plan to fatten him out on milk for a long while.

so now we have two calves and two cows fresh in milk. feast or famine...

after much effort we have contacted the people who did rory's artificial insemination. she was bred to a show bull and rory's lineage is excellent. what i'm trying to say is we have a "show-heifer-calf"--jocelyn.

we have to do something very sinister. i hate the idea of it but given our circumstance we must. we have to burn off the horns on both calves. we'll do it ourselves and it will be evil. we can't leave the horns on any of the cows because we have cows without them and accidental goring happens frequently. plus we enjoy letting our kids frolic through the fields and having cows with horns is way too dangerous even if they are friendly. also we want to pasture our bull elsewhere and no one will take a cow with horns around their herd of hornless cows.

i fixed tristan's bike and put training wheels on it. he has been walking up the little hill in the back yard and riding down for the past few hours. he'll sleep good tonight. i had to walk behind him while pushing for a few trips but he got the idea fairly quickly.

kassi and toly were his support team. they would push him and cheer him on. kassi would say "keep trying, never give up." cute kids.

oops tristan's first bicycle accident.

we were going to pick apples today but we got ruined by the stress of having a new calf this morning. we might go visit the folks that will sell us our pigs. i guess they have a cheap way to make a waterer for the pigs. we plan to let them into the garden to till things up. i'll include the new garden annexed yard. they will likely root up and till the area. i still plan a scorched earth burning of the garden but pigging the area first seems like a great idea. we'll also train them to the electric fence during their term in the garden.

i'd like them to work a few areas so we can plant grass for pasture. this will be quite an adventure. controlling them with electric fence is allegedly fairly easy. they are smart creatures.

we are hoping to sell quite a bit of milk this freshening. there should be tons of cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, butter and so on. two fresh cows will probably cost us $8 per day. that means we need to sell ten gallons of milk per week to make them pay for themselves during lactation. rory is roughly making four gallons per day and if nimue does the same we'll be over loaded--8. the calves will take two gallons per day--6. we drink and use two to three gallons per day--3. if we sell one and a half per day--1.5. we give our friends with a large family milk three gallons per week--1. that leaves one gallon of milk per day and all the whey and milk waste for the pigs.

chances are nimue will freshen with a bit more than four gallons per day so we'll have a buffer. if we find that the pigs need more milk we can trim a few areas and shuffle things around.

our new printer has been a big help around here. the kids especially enjoy printed coloring pages and work sheets for home schooling. i'm glad that lazer printers are finally affordable. the one crappy thing is we didn't get our rebate. the fine print got us again. whatever...

i have been burning to finish my root cellar especially since ron is making such great headway on his.

i'm gonna go figure out where the fence line will go to contain the pigs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

apples apples apples...

we put up thirty four more quarts of apples today. it took four hours. the grand total is fifty seven. then there is the the apple sugar juice pectin. we have three more quarts of that. we plan to pick the rest of the tree this weekend as to not offend the gods of bounty. when opportunity arises to pantry-up a bounty one must oblige else really bad things happen--famine, starvation ect... ;)

wendy over at home is has an interesting post. it made me panic for a few seconds. we are not ready to be post economic collapse. we have been working toward that for a while, three years, from scratch.

i have a 1000 watt inverter and two 120 watt solar panels and a deep cycle battery. i'm not quite ready for a power outage let alone keeping our freezer and fridge going indefinitely. we heat with wood and i have the ability to cut from our back property for several years. assuming i can get gas for my chainsaw.

we have hay for the cows and are pretty stable getting more from my father-in-law. grain for the cows would be an issue but we could figure out alternatives. we would survive from our garden if we could pantry our stores. this year was a bust but we might still squeak by anyway. next year our garden will be a different story.

i still have to build a composting toilet and would make serious efforts toward a methane digester. i could power my truck via methane if i really had to. they did it in germany during WWII.

we have a cistern and a well that i could get a pump to fill it during rain shortages. we have access to a pond and would use it for our animals if necessary. we also have a berkey drinking water filter that would provide for our family. i know how to build a solar still to purify water and have most of the stuff to do it. plus, i know how to use make and use charcoal as a water filter.

our solar water heater isn't installed but i could have a makeshift version ready in a few days and have the full scale version working within a few weeks. i'd put the final supplies on a credit card to build it.

we also would have a commodity of fresh milk to barter for many things--assuming we could adequately defend ourselves. we also have hens that lay an excess of eggs but require grain during the winter.

yikes this is too scary to think about anymore.

i still have to put more straw into jaocelyn's pen--see yesterdays to-do list.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the land of milk and honey

i just had a peanut butter and honey sandwich with a huge glass of milk. was it our milk and honey? YES, i love our honey and this was the first glass of the newly freshened rory. it was buttery and delicious. rosemoon, tabitha's stance on how soon to drink a fresh cows milk is as soon as possible. we couldn't make colostrum custard because we used tomorrow® teat infusions to prevent mastitis and that requires 72 hours wait. i must say that i couldn't wait an entire week with no other raw milk source.

here is our milker. we got three gallons yesterday. i look to see a bit more than that once rory settles in.

we got to pick the rest of the apples from my father-in-laws apple tree. so far we have only picked five buckets full. there are still three buckets still on the porch waiting for us this weekend.

today we canned twenty three or so quarts. my job was to operate the peeler-corer-slicer. i remember using one as a kid. it makes short work of a tedious job. tabitha filled the jars, ran the stove and canner.

toly helped. his job was to take a bite out of each apple and hand it to me. we are big on quality control around here.

this was tabitha's station. see the show canner? it holds fifteen quart jars and sits over two burners. it heats up pretty fast--so did the kitchen.

these canned apples look so tasty.

stack/split wood 1/2 a rick
move bees 2 hives
can a mess of apples 23 quarts
fix milker switches
move baby sling hook at barn

fix drain by bees
- - bees still in the way
get hay 16 bales
straw, water, jocelyn pen
- - tomorrow
fork waste hay by feeder into compost
- - need new pitch fork old one is broken
mow & feed grass to cows

Thursday, September 04, 2008

is it just me?

or does Sarah Palin

remind you of Dolores Umbridge too?

**** EDITED *****
tabitha did a search, she said "we can't possibly think that we are the only one that see the similarities"
here is what she found

jeff has even photoshopped them together. below are some of the obvious parallels copied from jeff's site.

Common Interest - Beliefs & Causes
The similarities are astounding. Here's a few:
1. Palin has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the center of politics. Umbridge, likewise, came from nowhere to take over Hogwarts.
2. They resemble toads, wear glasses, and have an affinity for all things pink.
3. Both like censorship. Umbridge censored using wands and having fun, and Palin tried to censor certain books in a public library that were against her morals (bizarre b/c Palin is a communications major--turncoat!).
4. Both were selected to high posts by really old dudes. Come to think of it, McCain might even be Cornelius Fudge...hmmm...
5. They both have acidic personalities--either agree with them or leave. Umbridge polarized Hogwarts while Palin, upon being elected mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, asked a bunch of her staff to resign if they supported the former mayor.
6. Both ignore obvious problems. Umbridge ignored the constant evidence that Voldemort was returning to power, whereas Palin ignores the fact that her daughter is living proof that abstinence-only education is retarded.
7. Both have a tendency of being wicked with a sunny disposition. Umbridge, among other things, make Harry scar himself with pointless discipline, with a smile, while Palin is willing to send our troops to die for an unjust cause, with a smile (idea compliments of Charles Mitchell).

The list can go on, and I'm sure over time it will. But the fact is that we as a country are seriously considering a Fudge/Umbridge--I mean, McCain/Palin ticket.
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