Counting Blessings, Cutting Loses, Culling Critters

A respite from the heat, but still no rain. We surveyed our fenced land for grazing and have come to the sad conclusion that our intention last year to grow the herd will not be achieved in the near future.

Seemed like the right thing to do, growing the herd, considering food inflation and especially high meat prices, and the fact that Hubby is here full-time now, and that more bartering/trading could be in the foreseeable future. But, the parched land screams otherwise.

Between the steeply rising cost of feed and the meager forage available, and no guarantees the stranglehold of the weather terrorists will let up any time soon, we come to some difficult decisions.

We will wait another year to freshen the goats, drastically reduce the number of sheep, and breed back only one sow. We will maintain the poultry flock as-is for the most part, but had hoped to add ducks once again to the mix. No rain means fewer bugs means more supplemental feed. So that plan is not looking too good now either.

Planned building projects are also getting postponed. A ‘milking parlor’ was on the list, some much-needed repairs to the deck, rebuilding the greenhouse, a field shelter for the herd, and on and on, plans are easy, implementation, not so much!

We are blessed with an already achieved minimalism: Living seasonally, frugally, well-acquainted with the boom-bust cycles of our overlords and still small enough to be flexible, and with enough local support to know we’ve got each other.

Our most crucial long-term goal remains: Growing our own feed—perennials as well as annuals.

We hear the word ‘sustainable’ repeated multiple times a day these days, but there’s rarely anything truly sustainable being suggested.

It’s 99% hype and green washing. But actual sustainability does exist, and the more self-reliant we can be, the closer we are to achieving it.

How do we measure up?

And it’s not like there’s not plenty for us still to do and learn here, even with squeezing the belt tighter.

I’m still very interested in herbalism, especially as it pertains to our local environment. The best things in life are free, or nearly so, no?!

And while I do appreciate the allure of the consumer life, I’m far more fascinated by the natural world all around me. It’s always a matter of slowing down, observing ever more closely, teasing out the potential of all that is all around me, and some of that certainly means our local community, but that doesn’t just mean the people.

I’d love to learn more wild crafts, as well as more fine art tuning; more science, and more speculation; and much, much more about where and how these endeavors mesh.

There is a different brand of “More!”, isn’t there, than the furious Billy Idol sang about?

Or, maybe it’s all the same, in the midnight hour?

Nature’s Myriad Mysteries

Every day on the wee homestead brings some new mystery, most of which go mostly unsolved. No need for UFOs, Jesus’ image on your morning toast, or Big Foot sightings around here—we’ve got baffling bees, mystical mushrooms, and unexplained murders.

I’ll start with the most dramatic. A rancher neighbor was terribly shaken up and recounted a recent disturbing event at their place, meaning to warn us. They found two calves bleeding, one dead, one still barely alive, which they had to put down, the injury was so severe.

She had been crying, as I would’ve been as well, and told me in their nearly two decades here they had never seen such a thing and had no idea what creature had done it. It wasn’t any kind of injury they recognized or have had to deal with before. Each one had a single tear right up its undercarriage, with the entrails spilling out, and nothing eaten. Coyotes being our typical predators around here, I inquired along those lines and she shook her head, clearly, not this time. We do hear stories about panther sightings on occasion, I myself thought I saw one once too. But again, the gnawing question, predators don’t just kill calves for the fun of it. Two calves killed, no markings or traces of a struggle, and nothing eaten. That is a mystery I prefer not to think too much about.

So, quickly, on to better stories!

I have an update on the bizarre ‘mushroom blob’ from a recent post. Over the last weeks it has developed into typical bracket or crust fungi. While now at least it is generally identifiable, the mystery still remains, because bracket mushrooms grow on trees, not under vines in regular garden soil. There is not even wood mulch on the top of the bed where it’s growing.

The fungi when I first found it above, and again today, below.

My only guess is that the mycelia network is coming up from below this raised bad. We threw a bunch of wood chunks down before piling on the soil. But, that might be a stretch, as I’ve never heard of these mushrooms growing on anything but living or dead bark. I just don’t know.

Mushrooms being my second favorite mystery after bees, we end with a sweeter little story.

This bitternut tree was all abuzz with activity this morning. It’s hard with photos to get a sense of how many bees were working it, so there’s a short video clip below for the sound effects.

We couldn’t help but think it was such odd bee behavior, because nothing on this tree is blooming—no pollen, no nectar. Yet the bees were clearly eating something off the leaves. So, we licked the leaves, and they taste sweet! I have no idea why this would be, but the leaves seem to be exuding some kind of sap. The bees have been all over it all day, so it wasn’t just morning dew.

This sounds like the simple sort of mystery a local arborist could solve for us. If I find out, I’ll be sure and let y’all know, so you don’t loose any sleep over it! 😆

Homestead Happy Snaps

High 90s again this week—will it ever end?!

Kinda hard to stay motivated when we’re melting!

Luckily as mood boosters we have Hubby’s homemade sparkling wine coolers. It’s his own concoction, made from our own ‘new’ wines—pear mixed with wild grape—complete with bubbles! It’s really tasty, not too sweet, and a lovely color. And bubbles!

Delicious!

The goats are still impressively darling and annoying and belligerent at once.

Beautyberries and mist flower don’t mind the late summer heat.

The garden still has many happy visitors, but I’m not one of them!

You’ll find me inside with the air conditioning, an icy wine cooler, and a pile of books and movies to attend to!

The Dark History of the Royals

James Corbett, The Corbett Report

“Queen Elizardbeast is dead, long live King Charles?!

Yes, for those lucky souls who are so blissfully detached from the 24/7 newsfeeds that you haven’t heard yet, I bring you the news that the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II, is dead.

It’s tempting to interpret the double rainbow that appeared over Buckingham Palace when Her Royal Lowness kicked the royal bucket as a sign that her death is indeed a present from God, but—as I am always at pains to observe upon such occasions—the death of an unrepentant sinner is no victory and there is no solace in the removal of but one of the Hydra’s many heads. If anything, the reign of King Charles will doubtless be even more ignoble than that of his mother.

Whatever the future may hold for the loyal subjects of His Royal Highness, the Great Reset-shillingpedophile-befriendingcarbon eugenics-pushing King Charles III, given the disheartening (if predictable) reaction of the normies to this latest royal passing, nothing could be timelier than an in-depth exploration of the lowlights of the British royal family. So, even though I am going to drop an 18,000 word, two-hour documentary conclusion in the next 24 hours(!!!), I have taken time out of my schedule to bring you this.

“Enjoy” is the wrong word, but you get the idea.”

Read more . . .

Behind The Scenes — The Unmasking of Maine….and Beyond

Former CIA Chief Of Disguise Explains The Use Of Human Masks “Watch this 7 minute video from a CIA specialist about masks, disguises, and “twins” in the CIA over the years in conjunction with Hollywood. She says each operation was actually a “performance”‘.  Link to video.

Behind The Scenes — The Unmasking of Maine….and Beyond

Homestead Happenings

Still hot, humid, and dry. An odd combination, no? We have lots of cloud cover regularly, very high humidity most days, with lots of surrounding areas getting lots of rain, yet here we get none of it.

Mother Nature or Manmade?

Why doesn’t our own “local” (HA!) or national news cover weather modification and geoengineering like the UAE does?

“The National Centre of Meteorology carried out a series of flights over Texas while working with the US state’s local weather association.

Nanomaterials are tiny manufactured substances that can be designed for a specific purpose.

In the case of cloud seeding, they replace traditional salt, dry ice and other chemicals as a more effective tool in generating rain from existing clouds.”

“New UAE cloud seeding test in Texas shows promising results”

Now why do you suppose the UAE experiments over Texas instead of over their own country? And if the results had been shown to be ‘less than promising’ what would that mean exactly and how the public might learn about said results? I won’t be holding my breath for answers to such obvious questions.

Drought-deluge scenarios are a hallmark of geoengineering, according to Dane Wigington, as are wildfires.

“Scientists have developed special drones that can fire an electric charge into clouds to make them rain, potentially paving the way for downpours in the Gulf region.

The project, led by British researchers and funded by the UAE, could see fleets of unmanned aerial vehicles replace manned aircraft that seed clouds with chemicals to create showers.”

The rainmaker: UAE-funded electric drone project designed to be the new cloud seeding

What they fail to mention is, cloud seeding works both ways—as we like to joke here on the wee homestead—we’ve got the spray-on rain, and the rain spray-away.

It’s not that funny, but it’s a whole helluvalot better than what I really want to say about it all!

In better news, we’ve got lots and lots of pears and okra. Hubby’s been working hard on the hard cider with our new heavy duty press. We’ve also been canning both and trying to put them into as many dishes as we can. Neither are my favorites, but since that’s all that’s growing, we’re going to find a way to like it!

The goats are venturing further for forage—good thing there’s lots of neighbor-free land for them to roam! And of course I still bring them their favorite vines.

In the garden we are already harvesting some of the sweet potatoes as they are not looking too good. Hopefully the other areas will come out nicer—we planted them all over the place.

Some of the peppers have been dying mysteriously, full of fruit one day, dead the next. I have no clue. The tomatoes I started indoors in July and transplanted outside a couple of weeks ago are still looking ok, fingers crossed.

We’ve got the very welcome garden visitors, and the not so welcome, as usual.

And then there’s the leaf hopper—how can such a cute little critter do so much damage?!

Luckily it doesn’t take much rain for the swamp lillies to make a show, and a good way to end this post.

Thanks for stopping by!

The King and I – Search for the King Cobra

Fantastic! I love this man’s posts and this one is particularly impressive!

incidental naturalist

The little island of Singapore has an abundance of wildlife. The government strategy is to evolve from a Garden City to become a City in Nature. Singapore already boasts an impressive list of iconic wildlife such as huge Saltwater crocodiles, otters that roam the city, wild boars in suburbia and hornbills in the sky above.

Icons of wild Singapore at Sungei Buloh Wetlands

The green spaces are wriggling with a jewel box of snakes. Always nearby but hardly ever seen, there seems to be a snake for every occasion in Singapore. They range from the huge Reticulated python to the deadly Blue Coral snake, but there is one snake that captures the imagination of people all over the world like no other – the King Cobra.

Singapore King Cobra

I have seen many snakes in Singapore, but the elusive King cobra had evaded me for almost 2 years. It was…

View original post 1,104 more words

Mushroom Abundance

While just two hours away Dallas was getting flooded, we got a measly two inches. Certainly not enough to fill the pond or raise the creek or get the ravines flowing again.

But it was enough for a crazy number of mushrooms!

I was collecting mushrooms for several days afterward, including some first-time-finds—a choice edible and the weirdest mushroom I’ve ever seen.

The ‘Giant Blob’ mushroom? These are all through one of our raised beds planted with sweet potatoes, scattered throughout the vines.

Mushrooms popping up everywhere.

And now on to the good stuff!

Foraging for anything is just about my favorite thing to do in decent weather, and mushrooms especially. But in hot, sticky weather there better be some bang for the buck, as the saying goes.

Especially because the chiggers thrive here when it’s hot, wet, and humid, so shorts and sandals are not an option.

Last year with our very wet spring we had chanterelles all summer long. We’ve had very few this year, so this nice haul has been a real treat.

“Chicken” mushroom — Laetiporus sulphureus

Hubby found this ‘chicken of the woods’ on a rotting Oak tree while feeding the pigs. It’s a first-find for us here and is considered to be a good “Beginner’s” mushroom, because there are no similar mushrooms to it which are poisonous. It’s very tasty in cream of mushroom soup and does indeed have a texture similar to chicken breast.

Another new find is considered to be “choice”—related to the shiitake mushroom—Lentinus lepideus.

Found on rotting pine, which there’s loads of around here, so it’s surprising we don’t find them more often. I’m going to try to cultivate them!

We got a marvelous wild harvest right in the back yard. These “Pink bottoms” (Agaricus campestris) are very common and closely related to commercially cultivated mushrooms in the grocery stores.

They resemble another common yard mushroom that fools a lot of folks—the toxic Chlorophyllum molybdites —including me once when I was a beginner. It was an excellent lesson considering spending the night hugging the toilet has made me a much more cautious mushroom hunter!

These two often grow together as well, preferring the same conditions, sometimes in ‘fairy rings’. When they are very young the gills of both look white, while still mostly closed.

As they open, the good ones have pinkish gills that change fairly quickly to chocolate brown. The toxic ones have greenish gills that get a grayish-olive tone with age.

The ‘campestris’ after a few hours on the left and another fresh from the yard on the right.

And to make matters more confusing, once a little older and browned they could also be confused by a novice with another yard mushroom, the ‘magic’ mushroom, the common psychedelic Psilocybe cubensis. The very bitter taste will be enough to figure that out.

And now, for the grande finale . . . the most perfect specimen of Macrolepiota procera I’ve ever seen! A delicious edible, fairly common wherever there’s been ruminants wandering, like quite a few other wild mushrooms.

It’s the System, Stupid

To me this entire story positively reeks of stagecraft. But, even if we take it at face value it demonstrates how screwed up our food system really is.

MONDAY, JAN. 26, 2015 PHOTO In this Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 photo, cows are milked on one of the carousels in a milking parlor on the Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Ind. Fairlife, which is rolling out nationally in coming weeks, is the product of a joint venture between Select Milk Producers, a dairy cooperative, and Coca-Cola. The product is filtered to have more protein and less sugar than regular milk. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Here’s the story in tiny nutshell: The McCloskeys were sued for animal cruelty at their dairy farm following an undercover employee’s secretly videotaping several instances with four workers involved. Now a settlement has been reached:

Completely denatured milk sold as natural, tasty and healthy

The Fairlife ads, cartoon milk dresses.
Classy.

A $21 million Settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit filed against Defendants The Coca-Cola Company (“TCCC”), fairlife, LLC (“fairlife”), Fair Oaks Farms, LLC (“FOF”), Mike McCloskey and Sue McCloskey (“the McCloskeys”), and Select Milk Producers, Inc. (“Select”), relating to fairlife and FOF Milk Products. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants falsely labeled and marketed certain dairy products produced using milk from cows that were allegedly not treated humanely. Defendants deny all allegations and have settled this lawsuit to avoid further litigation.

The Court has not decided who is right.You may submit a Claim Form to receive 25% of the average retail purchase price, up to $100, for your purchases of fairlife Milk Products and FOF Milk Products, if the products were purchased for personal use and not for resale, and were purchased on or before April 27, 2022. Claim Forms submitted without Valid Proof of Purchase will be capped at a Cash Award of up to $20 and Claim Forms submitted with Valid Proof of Purchase will be capped at a Cash Award of up to $80, subject to certain adjustments (upward and downward) depending on the number of claims submitted.

So, there’s video evidence, but the Court has not decided who is right. Must be so confusing, poor kids.

But you get some money anyway if you can come up with your milk purchase receipt, potentially from 2015. Brilliant.

In an interview the McCloskeys talk about all the fantastic improvements they’ve made to garner public trust once again in their dairy products since the video’s release, and the broad coverage of ‘the scandal’ by MSM (I do believe they neglected to mention the product line was owned by Coca-Cola, but I may have missed that part and really do not care to re-listen. It was annoying enough the first time listening to Mike Rowe pander to these creeps).

What I did hear in the interview was how proud the McCloskeys are now of their complete video surveillance system, how they are well on the road to becoming ‘Net Zero’ so that they can help curb climate change as responsible business owners, and how very excited they were to see the gleam in the eye of the school children who came there to tour their facilities and were so thrilled to see cows being milked by carousel machine.

Now they might grow up to become mechanical engineers, Mrs. McCloskey beamed!

I’m so excited for our Green future too, aren’t you?!

Funny Friday

Oh my, how the weeks fly by! We are in particularly high spirits here on the wee homestead as the scheduled weather is finally in our favor. We’ve had a whopping 1/4 inch of rain, for which we paid in a loss of electricity for half the night. It was well worth it! Now looking at the forecast and we are positively beaming . . . Lots of rain chances and cooler temps coming up, yippie!

KH: Oops, that one is not a joke! But we’re still laughing!

If that wasn’t enough for y’all to tickle the funny bone, we have been enjoying a new funny series. Learning some crafty British slang with it, too!

Hey I’m watching The Outlaws – Season 2. Check it out now on Prime Video!

‘The Outlaws’ on Amazon Prime
The short fat ‘patrol’ woman is positively hilarious!

Wishing y’all a lovely weekend!
And, thanks to those sharing and sending funny memes, we appreciate y’all!!

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