Friday, January 24, 2014


Well, she has arrived. Ziva, named for the trained assassin on NCIS, came home today. I personally had some more (what I thought) gentler Bronwyn or Lake picked out but was out voted 3 to 1. The boys were adamant she have a cool name. Ok, Ziva is pretty cool.
Ziva is a Belgium Malinois. Originally used as herding dogs they are now used as personal protection dogs. We hope she chooses to do both. They do make good family dogs but need constant supervision and socialization. I did a huge amount of research before committing to this dog. They are highly intelligent and extremely active. Active is fine, so are we. Highly intelligent....hmmm. I may be in trouble.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The weather roller coaster ride has been a doozy this month. Single digits for several days. A teasing 60* day back down in the teens and then snow. It has made for a most unpleasant month of feeding and getting water to all the animals. The garden has been hit hard and there is little hope it will recover.
The good news is that the greenhouse has been warm and cozy and we have started seeds for the early spring garden. Started thus far are several types of broccoli and 2 kinds of cabbage. A week later we started peppers and eggplant.
The signs of new life springing up is a sight for sore eyes. Yes, spring is coming.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The eye popping gas bill saga continues....
Well I have to say I have been pretty creative on the food front. Last week I spent 16 cents at the grocery store. I needed fresh ginger for a Indian spiced chicken dish made with homestead chicken, garden spinach and a few other on hand items from the pantry. Also on the menu was meatloaf, green bean casserole made with homemade cream of mushroom soup and potato soup. Last night was a whole smoked chicken, fried cabbage and crowder peas. Pretty good eatin' I must say!
For this week's menus I spent $12.40. Most all of our meals start with onions and garlic.We are out. This next year I will be freezing onions and hope that the garlic doesn't rot in the ground. So, those staples were purchased along with two large bags of organic romaine lettuce that were on special for the weekend only. That will be our fresh greens until (if) the garden recovers from the harsh cold we experienced earlier, for the next week or so. One lonely avocado was tossed in the basket.
This week's menu? Spicy leg of lamb, roasted potatoes, salad, chicken tettrazini, crock pot beans and best of all a birthday dinner this weekend with steaks, baked potato, salad and pound cake!
Hubby came in this morning.. we have no paper towels. I'm sorry. I am out of crackers he moaned...that's too bad, was the reply. Eat rice cakes. With the money saved at the grocery, a two week by-pass on the savings transfer, the gas bill will be paid this week. Happy dance!

Friday, January 10, 2014

What We Have Is What We Will Eat!

I am so thankful that we are prepared and that our pantry and freezers are stocked with good homegrown food, beans and grains.
Why you ask? Here is why...
Today I saw the gas truck headed down the drive to fill our tank. I was busy doing other things but it crossed my mind that it had been a while since I had seen them. Later in the afternoon I found out how long a while it has been. July was the last time and they had let our tank drop to 5%. And what would any good gas company do being that they almost let us run out? Of course they would fill our tank! My eyes almost popped out of my head when I found the bill tucked in the door.
Now I am a budgeter. I keep track of things pretty darn well.( I even have a puppy budget for when we make the choice!) Somehow though, this had slipped my mind when Fall approached and on that front I was not prepared. So needless to say, things will be pretty tight here for the next few weeks.

Not to worry.We have all we need. Plenty of critter food and people food and I will just have to be a bit creative!  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

And Freeze It Did!

Wow. That's about all I can say. I listened to the winds howl most of the night and wished I could have brought the whole farm in the house!
We woke to a complete layer of ice over the pond. The water buckets had 2 or more inches of ice. We has to use hammers to break the ice and quickly dip it out so it wouldn't refreeze almost immediately. We did have to haul some water for the goats that were using the pond for drinking water because the ice was too thick at the edge to break. We decided to put the cow in a stall for fear she may try to walk out on the pond and break through.
Doug fed hay before leaving for work and I fed it twice more during the day. The animals seemed way less concerned than I and fared well. I did find one young doe who seemed to be having a hard time and she was moved to the barn.
Only one more day of this and the temps are supposed to level off again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Preparing For The Deep Freeze

Old man winter is rearing his ugly head. Our high for today was this morning around 6 a.m. when it was in the low forties. The temp is projected to continue dropping over the course of the day with it bottoming out tonight at 8* with a windchill of -5*. That will break a 130 year old record and we here in the sunny south just don't know how to deal with that! What is worse is the temp is not going to go above freezing for at least 2 days.
Today was going to be a very busy day. Luke headed to the feed store at 7:30 to stock up on grain for the week. By the time he got home and dumped all the feed the temp has dropped 4 degrees and the wind had already picked up. When I got to the barn at 9:30, it was 38*. I spent the next two hours rearranging animals. Some went into stalls where they would be protected from the wind. Extra water buckets were filled. All of the plastic chicken water containers were emptied for fear they would freeze and crack and replaced with rubber bowls filled with water. I fed everybody grain and put out the first round of hay.
I headed back to the house for a bit to thaw out before going back out to help mom. We needed to hang some tarps to block the wind in her barn and protect her goats. Not pretty but functional. Her animals taken care of I headed in to build a big fire and start a warm supper..two large pots of soup. Chicken noodle, chili and cornbread were on the menu tonight.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Another 3/4 inch of rain fell today. It was cold and nasty. We found a window of clear skies around noon when we could get the outside chores done. We got the animals tended and I was able to pick a large basket of spinach and kale.
I spent most of the day in the kitchen. On my list of things I want to accomplish this year....not a resolution, mind you 'cause I don't do those, is organization. For the last couple of weeks I have been organizing the freezers. I am almost done and have inventory sheets to prove it! Today was about organizing the fridge and pantry. Veggies were cut up and put into individual containers to grab for snacks and lunches and little "dip it" containers were measured and filled. A weeks worth of greens were washed and are now ready for quick salads and green smoothies.
I put a basket on one of the shelves that holds jelly, pickles,salsa, ground flax seed and peanut butter to make for easy finding of all the jarred items that are used almost every day.
Another cool idea I saw recently was to attach small holders on the side of your fridge walls to hold little bags of things that would get pushed to the back never to be seen again. Here are some lemon slices, easily found!
I also made a large batch of granola for breakfast this week and started a pantry inventory sheet. Thus far I have the dried beans and grains listed.
I put two "Command Strips" on the inside of the pantry door and hung clipboards with the inventory sheets so I will be able lay my hands on them. Now, if i can just train the boys to mark off what they take out or use we will stay organized!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Welcome 2014!

I can't believe another year has passed. It seems the older I get the quicker the years go by. Hah! However, I do love the month of January. If you have followed my blog for a while you know this is the month I plot and plan for the coming year. I ponder what has worked (and not) over the last year. January is the month I FINALLY allow myself to look at all the seed catalogs that have been piling up for the last few weeks. That is truly a treat. Sis and I have already made a date for Friday to plow through the catalogs and plan for spring.
So today while our traditional new year's supper simmers on the stove I will grab my trusty notebook and dream.
On the list so far:
A new blackberry and raspberry patch. Add more fig trees. Replace the apple trees the sheep ate. Have the newly purchased 6 acres logged and planted for new pasture. Move the pomegranate trees to a sunnier area. FINISH cold frames..... I seem to see a pattern here. Definitely wanting to add more edible landscaping!
On the animal front we are planning on adding pigs and cutting back on the turkeys. We are also beginning to look for a new personal guard dog. Lots of exciting plans for the new year. I hope you follow along and see our progress.