Wheel of Fortune III: My First Swarm

What an exciting day, indeed!  I can hardly contain myself.  Not only did I catch my first swarm, but it was in my own garden!  Soo, another miracle?

Like I said in my first Wheel of Fortune posts, I think miracles are mostly amazing synchronicities that turn out in one’s favor.  The distance between it becoming a tragedy or a miracle is 33 degrees, give or take.  Or so I’m guessing.

What had to come together for the easiest, beginner’s luck swarm experience, perhaps ever, in the history of East Texas?!

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First, Handy Hubby had to be not only home, which happens only half the year, but also helping me in the garden, which happened this morning for the first time in months.  He’s been very busy finishing the fencing for the expanded pasture, which he did just finish, and it’s a beautiful accomplishment for which I’m also excited and sending him big applause.  Then, he outdid himself, once again, in his usual non-chalant manner.

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He said something incomprehensible to me from the back of the garden, I said what, he said, again, something incomprehensible, followed by ‘swarm’, which I did hear, but that was still confusing because the likelihood of a bee swarm at the back of the garden didn’t register at all, so I assumed he meant more ants, that is fire ants, that are so bad this spring we’ve succumbed to poisoning them, with manufactured chemicals. No, I’m not proud.

“Just come here,” he urged, which made me think it must really be an exceptionally impressive ant hill, not that surprising.

But no!  A decent sized swarm, right there, ripe for the picking.  And, Handy Hubby right there to help, and their discoverer.

 

We maneuvered them from the fence to the hive without a hitch.

Might it have been from one of our own hives?  Possibly, but that doesn’t diminish the joy even slightly.  They are now happily re-nesting in a top-bar hive which had mysteriously died a month ago, very much to my disappointment.  I never found the time to post about that, though I’d planned to.

What a difference a magical month can make!

 

Interviewed by Crrow777

This is a revisit from over a year ago, because, I still really love these guys.  I was nervous as all hell, I can hear it clearly in my voice, they were the smooth professionals at every level, trying to help me along.

What a humbling pleasure it is and was to have had the opportunity to be honest and awkward before two real gentlemen doing their best to make me look good!

The present crisis is no mystery to them, or to us here on the wee homestead.  This is what we’ve been preparing for and maybe now a few more understand how crucial is self-reliance and local sovereignty.  I repost it because I suspect more will be understanding now how much we need to get back to basics.

Never been a better time to get growing! 🙂

Wheel of Fortune (part 2)

I think much of the time what we are apt to call a miracle is actually uncanny synchronicity in one’s favor.  One of the many misfortunes of 2019 for us on the wee homestead was our young ram got fatally wounded just two days after introducing him to his harem. 

From a financial standpoint this is unfortunate, because not only did we purchase him, but we’d also been feeding him for several months by then.  More than the money though, it was a sad and at the time mysterious accident, which I wrote about here.

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After some time and reflection we figured what must’ve happened to the poor guy was that he got between our boar and his food and got himself gored, right in the gut.  That’s how we found him, still walking around, with his guts coming out.  He hadn’t even noticed yet.

For anyone out there who’s considering getting pigs someday, take note, never get between a boar and his food or his harem, no matter how docile and even friendly that boar might seem normally.

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In fact, the same friend who sold us our Red Wattles sold another friendly boar to a woman who made that awful mistake.  This was a terrifying situation for her, I can imagine, when she, alone at home, got gored by the boar in the thigh.  She had to crawl back from the corral to her car and drive herself to the ER.  She lost so much blood she nearly died, had serious surgery followed by six months of rehab.  A word to the wise.

But here’s the miraculous part of the story.  In just two days of freedom, that young ram got some real action going!  We thought we’d have a lamb-less spring, and we are tickled pink that’s not the case.

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The chances of this happening are slimmer than most might imagine.  He was working against great odds, in fact.  He hadn’t mingled with the girls previously, and they showed no interest in him at all when he joined their posse.  The older ones were downright rude to him, the younger ones very apprehensive. 

He showed immense interest, of course, but still, he must’ve been very persistent in a very short time. And, the chances they would happen to be cycling right then, well we figured there wasn’t any hope.

Nature’s little miracles are blessings indeed.  🙂

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Where’s Your Food $$ Going?

I was called a troll yesterday on one of my favorite shows because I’m staunchly anti-vegetarian, unlike the hosts, who are vegetarians.  It wasn’t the hosts themselves who called me a troll, because they are not adult-children, and they can stand some backlash from the peanut gallery.

No, it was fellow peanuts in the gallery who called me a troll, and an ugly troll at that!  My sin?  Stating unequivocally that vegetarianism does not bring one closer to nature.

I could’ve gone on.  Vegetarianism is not sustainable.  It’s not more compassionate.  It’s not more healthy.  It’s not how our ancestors ate.  And more.

But none of those are even the most serious of the issue.

The vegetarian lifestyle feeds directly into an agenda of Globalism.  This is because the vegetarian lifestyle requires massive centralization and vast supply chains.

It’s a question of economics.  If folks were closer to nature, and grew their own food, they’d know it’s impossible in most places to grow enough vegetables and grains on a small farm all year long to sustain even a large family without livestock.  Certainly there are exceptions in small heavily-populated regions like California and Hawaii.

I understand that vegetarians think they are being more compassionate toward animals and nature, but what about the farmers?  How much compassion do you have for them?  Vegetarians are making matters much worse for the small farmers, and they are the solution to Globalism.

Of course the industrialized meat system is cruel and disgusting!  Yes, please, avoid it if you can!

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But the answer is not keep the industrialist food system alive and thriving with veggie burgers and soy shakes.

Without a local market to sell their products, farmers can’t make it without these vast supply chains.  The solution really is to buy local and eat seasonal, this is what’s good for the soil, and therefor the soul.

20 Ways EAT Lancet’s Global Diet is Wrongfully Vilifying Meat

Am I Less “Woke” Because I Eat Meat?

Film Update!

Lab to Table – The Weston A. Price Foundation

Find Nutrient-Dense Foods – The Weston A. Price Foundation
TAKE THE 50% PLEDGE!
Help us celebrate twenty years of accurate information on diet and health by strengthening your commitment to support local farms. Spend at least 50% of your food dollar purchasing raw milk and raw milk products, eggs, poultry, meat and produce directly from local farmers and artisans. info@westonaprice.org.)

Slow and Low

Not only do I show my age with this line, I also show my very poor taste in music during my university years.   But, I did always love that line from the Beastie Boys:  “Slow and low, that is the tempo.”

I repeat it to myself now because I know after a year like we had last year, this year for us on the wee homestead needs to be less work, no new projects, and more deep diving into those tasks, learning and activities we deem most necessary for the critters and the gardens, and most conducive to our own personal well-being.

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This old fart agrees—slow and low!

This morning I stood for a while under our beautifully-blooming old pear trees bursting with lively buzzing—so much noisy activity was actually soothing, peaceful, motivating— there’s such a calm diligence in the bees’ seeming frenzy.

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Now there’s some happy worker bees!

Winter’s not over yet, and we had what seems to be now the new-normal of continual weather whiplash, still I’m thrilled to report all our hives have made it so far, on a completely treatment-free program. Yippie!

In slow and low tempo we make a big stink of every success, small, medium, or large. 🙂

This is my favorite time of year for making pesto and chimichurra from foraged ‘weeds’.  Making pesto in summer when everything else in the garden is demanding attention is not nearly as pleasant as crawling through the flourishing green beds snipping chickweed, violets, henbit, and more.  Here’s an old post with links and recipes, if this is the year you want to try it for yourself.

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Don’t see weeds, see pesto!

Handy Hubby is soon on vacation for six weeks—the best time of year for us here!  He’ll be wrapping up the fencing for the second pasture, and helping me redo the garden drip irrigation (neither being his preferred jobs by a long shot, thanks lovey, our greatest and most necessary trooper!)

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Downed trees from the spring ‘tornado’ opened up our view to the corral, a definite silver lining.

In tough times it helps me to focus on the big picture; it helps Hubby to put his proverbial nose to the grindstone—that’s a damn good recipe for wholesome collaboration, and the perfect environment for talking past each other.  All the more reason that slow and low will be the tempo.

Philosopher-homesteaders, don’t know this man yet?  Appalachian wise man for deep thinking.

 

Do You Kombucha-cha?

I realize it’s already a thing, considering it’s now a $600 million annual industry, but I thought I didn’t like it.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, I’m happy to say.  I haven’t been this excited about a new thing (for me!) since I started making cheese.

In fact, it’s not at all new, just popularized and mass marketed these days.  Kombucha has an ancient and fascinating history and far more uses than just a really healthy and delicious beverage.  I’m just learning about them all, but I’m keen to incorporate this little miracle into our homestead lifestyle.

Sally Fallon, my favorite cookbook author, believes as I do that, “the craving for both alcohol and soft drinks stems from an ancient collective memory of the kind of lacto-fermented beverages still found in traditional societies.”

And it’s so much more than just a wonderful beverage.

Kombucha’s numerous applications make it a natural component of ‘closed-loop’ systems, in which its waste products can be converted into toxin-free commodities.  Whether as compost or foodstuff, there is some way to turn every by-product of the kombucha brewing process into something useful. The Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

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If you’ve only tried commercial Kombucha you might be like I was and think you don’t like it either.  My home-brewed version taste nothing like the store-bought brands I tried.  And, the first time I tried home-brewing I was doing it all wrong.  I’m so grateful to a friend who gave me another SCOBY and insisted I try it again.  Following the tips and tricks from several great resources, I’m hooked.

A SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) is kind of like a sourdough starter, shared among friends and self-replicating.

There’s far more information available than the first time I tried home-brewing many years ago.  The key to my new love is the 2nd fermentation bottling with flavors, when the tea becomes carbonated.  Even if you’re not a tea-lover you might be surprised, I think it tastes more like a mild, flavored soda.  Some Kombucha lovers have claimed it helped them kick their cola habit and replace it with something far healthier in every way—for the body, the paycheck, and the environment.

Besides the excellent book mentioned above, these sites are also great resources to help you get started, learn more, or stay addicted.

Cultured Food Life

Cultural Revivalists

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Do Better

Happy Holidays, y’all!  The passing of this year is quite welcomed for us.  It’s been our toughest year on the wee homestead by far.  There were even a few times we discussed giving in and packing up.

We moved here in 2009, after Hurricane Ike, having purchased raw land in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina.  It’s the new normal, I guess, that our memory is set by weather disasters.  Now 2019 will be marked as the year of the manufactured storm bombs: crazy tornado and giant hail.

Judging from the amped-up geoengineering agendas, who knows what next spring will bring—floods, fires, more ‘tornados’, unprecedented lightening storms, maybe a land cyclone or two—certainly continued weather whiplash will remain on the menu.

I don’t imagine it’s possible to prepare for every potential catastrophe, but still, we’re staying put.  It’s not that we’re gluttons for punishment, or like to live dangerously, or are too stubborn to see the writing on the wall.  It’s not even that we’ve come too far to turn back now, having learned so many of the essential homesteading skills, having devoted so much blood, sweat and tears, not to mention $$, into this lifetime project.

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We bought the neighboring property that had a nearly abandoned cottage, hauled off the old junk and then the real work began—paint, windows, doors, siding, deck, etc. And after the tornado, a new roof.

It’s for love.  Love of the land, the nature, the work, the critters, the learning, the lifestyle, and of course, love for each other.  Where else would two such misfits fit except in the woods, I wonder?

When there’s no turning back, and as we’re too young yet to sit still, but too old to start over, the best option left is to up-skill.  So, that’s what we’re doing.

Handy Hubby has transformed his butchering talents from mediocre to practically professional with the help of the Scott Rea Project.  It is truly impressive, especially considering  what big jobs he makes work in our very small space.

I’m following his lead by upgrading my own culinary crafts to include more traditional fare, like offal, which really isn’t so awful at all!  This’ll be my last bad pun in this post, I promise, even though I find them offally hilarious.

I don’t really follow recipes, but I’ve been finding guidance and inspiration from Of Goats and Greens and Weston A. Price.  I recently made a rather delicious Lamb Liver Loaf and an offal salad of heart and tongue. (FYI, it does not taste like chicken.)

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The upturned oaks have become the perfect microclimate for Jack-O-Lanterns (Omphalotus olearius), not edible, but an appreciated gift for a friend who dyes her own yarn.
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The hedgehog baked and the pulcherrimum as centerpiece
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An edible favorite: the hedgehog (Hericium erinaceus). And a ‘steccherinum pulcherrimum’ which means ‘appearing beautiful’

I’ll also be doing more foraging with the help of The Forager Chef  and a bookshelf full of expertise on mushroom hunting, wild plants and herbs, traditional cooking and healing.  I’m more committed than ever in holding space for, and gaining knowledge of, the ancestral arts and crafts that were missing from my childhood, and indeed for most of us for many generations in this country.

I’m not going to share any lame platitudes about silver linings and growth opportunities, because that’s slave-speak socially engineered by the faux-authorities to assure the rabble don’t complain about their lot in life.  I intend to continue my fair share of complaining, and then some.

But, I will offer this cliché instead—It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings!  And this lady’s got no plans to plump up any further, or join the choir.

May all your storms be weathered, and all that’s good get better.  Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you . . .”