A short break from the heavy subject of addiction to share some homestead updates lately as well as highlights and misfortunes from the last year.
Starting with the good news, we have two new happy thriving lambs!
They are the first of the year with two more mamas looking full and ready to follow with some of their own any day now. Or more likely, since today it is beautiful and sunny, it will be the next time it’s pouring rain and freezing cold.
That was the weather once again for this rough start. Unfortunately, our permanent corral space is not yet finished.
I had to cancel a holiday trip at the very last minute and I spent a lot of time stressed and worrying. I couldn’t handle a repeat of last year, which is such a tragic story for me I haven’t yet been able to tell it publicly.
It was nearly a repeat. Hubby was at work again, and to keep it short and simple, I found one of our not-so-well-trained LGD (Livestock Guard Dog) had jumped the fence, grabbed one just after birth, jumped the fence back and was ‘guarding’ it until I found it barely breathing and injured.
Luckily there was a completely unplanned, last minute visit that cheered me up after my canceled trip.
And it’s hard to think of anything worse in the garden than poison ivy and wasps!
And my bee colonies didn’t even last the summer. This is an enormous disappointment. But I don’t give up easily and have next spring’s bees on order, locally sourced this time.
Additional misfortunes include the duck that was mysteriously fried by our electric pole in the front yard. And another incident that shot an electric impulse through my hand, up my arm, and landed in now nearly 2 months of stabbing shoulder pain. Then there’s the ram that’s butted me 3 times and therefore will meet his demise prematurely ASAP.
I don’t think Hubby shares this sentiment, but in my case, I’ve definitely had better years.
Here’s to better fortune in the coming year, for me, and for all y’all!
Late summer here is my personal version of hell and I bitch about it every year.
What better time to take a break from my current reality where I feel like an indoor prisoner and wake up daily wanting to lash out at all the idiotic Geoengineering causing drought here and weather chaos all around the globe.
I even want to take a break from my last post pondering passivity and violence and just notice for a day, or so, all the little things and little ways we have improved upon since I last felt this level of droughtrage.
I know I am just a bit more blessed this year than last, mostly by my own sheer will and resilience, and that of Hubby as well, no doubt, and that of some inspiring neighbors and cyber-friends, and perhaps if I dwell on that fact just a bit, next year will be just a bit more blessed in turn.
Last year’s late summer garden
Or rather, lack there of 🙂
Last year’s late summer garden vs this year’s, not great, but still better!
A new young friend who loves plants as much as I do helps me identify the hardy, native heat-lovers of our area, and diligently and graciously watched our wee homestead so I could join my extended family at a reunion in July. I look forward to returning the favor when her family vacations in October. This is the sort of small steps a resilient community is made of, not the top-down control of Rockefeller’s ‘Resilient Cities’, because it’s the neighborly reliance that brings real hope and treasures and peace of mind.
I still don’t like okra, but I’m harvesting it anyway for the pigs and neighbors! Every once in a while I throw a few into a meal, along with other traditional Southern favorites we didn’t grow up with, but are learning to appreciate, like collards and Southern peas, eggplant and jalapenos, all which have survived the heat, but would not be here now without regular irrigation.
It’s very hard to keep up with the constant weeding and mulching requirements in such circumstances, but these plants, along with the sweet potatoes, are actually successfully competing with the grasses in some cases. Amazing!
I won’t mention the melons, because I’m hell-bent on keeping this post positive. So let’s mention instead the ‘mouse melons’, aka sanditas, or, Mexican Sour Gherkins. 🙂
Instead, let’s mention the fact that the young sweet potato vines and okra leaves are edible and quite tasty!
And the fantastic find this summer which I’m most excited to expand next year considerably, the Mexican Sour Gherkin.
Crop of the year, in my humble opinion!
Even in the dead of summer, of brutal heat and no rain, we enjoy meals raised primarily on this land. As an added bonus now my raw milk source is 5 minutes away, whereas last year at this time it was 5 hours round-trip!
The aging fridge is full of cheeses we will enjoy all winter: Cheddars, Goudas, a Parmesan and an Alpine, several Brie almost ripe, a Muenster even! YUM! Last week I taught a couple of neighbor ladies to make 30-minute mozzarella and we had such a nice time.
Next they will teach me skills they’ve acquired—spinning, dying, soap-making–a few more small steps in our agorism adventures. Skill-sharing has been such a crucial aspect of our most successful ancestors and I would be challenged to express how rewarding it is for me still, at 50 next month, to be learning so much that is new for me. It is indeed a sort of middle-age renaissance!
I also foraged for elderberries, mustang grapes and peppervine berries, dried some and made some syrups and preserves.
And, Another 400 pounds of pears, or so!
I do believe still that’s thanks to our bees. For several years we thought it was a weather issue, late frosts, whatever, but I am beginning to suspect it was a pollinator issue all along.
We will see, that’s just a hypothesis so far. And in any case we continue for another year to benefit from the cider, the preserves, the cobblers, and the pigs are getting their fill, too!
The Datura remains an absolute favorite of mine, blooming in crazy heat and exhaling the most exquisite fragrance into the evening air. The thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano are gracefully resilient as well, I appreciate all y’all!
And our dear Tori, who just as I was typing this post chased an enormous coyote off our chickens!
The blessings are very close at hand, the frustrations a million miles away. I vow to maintain that truthful balance deep in my heart as I brave the coming days.
Handy Hubby says my first attempt to burst your bubble was too long and dry to have the desired effect. I agree, bless his heart, so here I try anew.
Again, as in part 1, I quote from The Paradox of Progress, available online to anyone thanks to the efforts of the National Intelligence Counciland intended to inform the incoming U.S. President, among others of course.
From page 197:
“Global governance of common-pool resources such as public health, water, food and other key resources will inevitably challenge current ideas of privacy, control and power.”
Let’s just consider that one sentence for this post—how’s that for short and sweet, my dear?
The entire notion of global governance was considered the territory of conspiracy theorists until quite recently, except by only those few most in-the-know, meaning the powers-that-shouldn’t-be, who’ve had that agenda, and been planning and discussing that agenda, even openly, since WWII, at least.
Now we hear within the next decade the precious moment will have arrived, according to those paid to know and plan such ‘challenges.’
Centralized control of the world’s resources, held in the hands of an un-elected yet ‘official’ government to which all nations and people will surrender their current ideas of privacy and power. How does that sound to you?
One ultra-huge government to control all the other governments of the world.
How do you find it now trying to get Washington, DC to act in your interest?
Do you already feel powerless in trying to get those GMOs labeled? Or in getting your voice heard on weather manipulation and climate engineering? Or in understanding how constant wars around the world are an advantage to the average citizen? Or in holding criminals in government accountable?
If you don’t feel powerless against the establishment already, it’s because you haven’t yet tried to go up against it, even in the most remote fashion.
If you do already feel powerless, now imagine that powerlessness exponentially worse as the strings of the control system move permanently away from the vestiges of what’s left of the public’s meddling grasps at authentic law and order, by those precious few still futilely working to replace the current state of perpetual posturing.
Should you find yourself curious or concerned about the global government being planned for us you may choose to do some online research. If so, and if this is new to you, you will most certainly fall over the first stumbling block very quickly. That is, all the morons screaming, “It’s the Jews!”
To appease for these loudmouths, shills and disinfo agents you might feel tempted to call your favorite Jewish friend or neighbor and assure them you don’t think it’s the Jews. It might make you both feel better about the whole thing in advance.
And then get down to some serious research.
Before you get tempted to point any fingers at all, at any group, for any reason, remember that groups are made up first of individuals. Maybe that Jewish friend might even like the idea of a world government, some do. That’s fine.
So then let’s get some good, open, very public debates going about it on the national media. Because, we are a free country still, right? We have a functioning, unbiased media informing the public of those things that should most concern us, right?
That is the illusion we are currently and have been being sold for many decades now. Yet here is the National Intelligence Council telling us to expect world government within the next decade while the average American citizen still thinks this is a conspiracy theory thanks to our media.
When you start your research, you may want look at what’s happening right now, in cities like Santa Rosa and New Orleans. These are considered to be the great models of Disaster Capitalism. All coming soon to a city near you.
“Global governance of common-pool resources such as public health, water, food and other key resources will inevitably challenge current ideas of privacy, control and power.”
It is intended to envelop every nook and cranny of the countryside too, with the Internet of Things and the 5G grid. They sell us the benefits and conveniences, but always leave undisclosed the potential and even imminent dangers.
Will you lounge passively as the string-pullers draw up our last vestiges of power and autonomy, sovereignty and local and self-reliance?
My personal opinion is Jesus will not save you, or anyone else. But, unfortunately that’s bound to be your next stumbling block.
Of course, the National Intelligence Council could be wrong.
Or, global government could be marvelous. But, as for us on the wee homestead, on that remote chance we’re just not willing to bet our bacon.
I lived for decades at the command of Time, Inc. That’s how I understand it after nearly a decade now adjusting to the rhythm of nature. Before that I’d lived like most others in the post-industrial world with a calendar that was invented not by nature but by men. As a young student bells sent me scurrying from one room to another along with the rest of my peers.
I didn’t like it even then, didn’t understand it, though I was always curious and loved learning. But as I had known nothing else, as a university student I thought it a fantastic improvement to be free to walk from building to building based on my watch, free-range and bell-free.
I thought Time, Inc. was ingenious as it got me on the planes and trains and kept me punctual for my various social roles as a student, a teacher, a patient, a shopper, a volunteer, and the various other obligations of ‘she who is participating.’ The clock got me to the concerts on time.
“Get in the game!” was the advice from all directions. I did sometimes question this word, ‘the game.’ Is that what this is?
I have never been a big player of games; I don’t particularly like them. At one point it occurred to me, so, if this really is a game, I can choose whether or not to play?
So, slowly, little by little, I began to remove myself from the game. Like all games the ones who’ve created the game make the rules. It is only a one who follows the rules who wins the game. You may scoff at this analogy now and say, but there’s so much corruption and crime and it clearly pays, so it’s actually breaking the rules which gets one ahead. If this is what you are thinking, you haven’t yet understood the game. The game is working as it is meant to function.
I figured not only did I not make the rules of the game, I don’t particularly like it and I started to resent all the advice that insisted I continue playing it. Seems logical enough that you can’t win a game if you don’t like playing it. Or, maybe you can, but then you’d be winning just to win and not because you enjoyed playing. Not really my style.
Notice I have now started five paragraphs with “I.” I do this quite deliberately.
“I” is who I know, not you, not we, not them. To know oneself is not to know all men and this is part of the on-going collectivist brainwashing flooding the culture. We are not all one. We are not all in this together. We are not all created equal. In fact, we should, in my opinion, stop striving for equality altogether. It’s not working.
I admit, I was once one who said such things as this on my first website nearly 20 years ago: “Once we have leveled the playing field in education around the globe communication will flourish and then we can call ourselves One World.”
I had drunk the Kool-Aid. I really believed this then. I was too young and optimistic to understand that ‘leveling the field’ meant leveling it to the least common denominator, not the greatest. I did not understand Globalism at all and thought ‘One World’ sounded pretty awesome and fun.
I was a card-caring member of Time, Inc.
I remember one night on the exquisite Old Town Square in the Czech Republic gazing with a large group of tourists many an evening at the famed Prague Orloj, a working astronomical clock 600 years old. It was one of my favorite spots in the city, a city where I was lucky enough to live before the latest great invasion of mass tourism.
I remember what the Charles Bridge looked like at night in winter with only a handful of locals walking over it. Back then there was a free puppet show behind a makeshift stand under the bridge where I sat on the ground with a dozen children listening to them laugh, which was making me laugh. That was 1989. I have photos somewhere in a box that are mostly blurry or dark, sometimes in black and white, because that was the only film I could find there to buy.
Fast forward a decade, then two, and you can barely get over the bridge and it has become a sort of tourist marketplace. That pesky Progress at work again.
I’m not bitter, though I know I sound that way sometimes. I still have my memories, one of the few states which has remained, at least in part, at least for now, beyond Time, Inc.
So it was one night, as I said, on the exquisite Old Town Square gazing with a large group of tourists (not quite this large!) waiting for the Apostles on the clock to do their nightly dance, when an English-speaking drunken youth passes between the clock and the upward gazers, his back to the crowd, raises his arms in worship and slurs at the top of his lungs as it begins to chime on the hour, “Oh my God! Oh my God! OHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!!” Falling to his knees theatrically then, to the astonishment and awkward chuckles and eye rolls from the crowd.
I laughed at the time, mostly at the audacity of it. Now I wonder if that sauced joker realized how genius his move actually was. And how memorable.
Cheeses currently in our aging fridge, which is nothing more than a cheap beverage model sadly impersonating a cave in Switzerland: Swiss (of course), Tomme (another Alpine cheese), Munster, Camembert (wrapped in fig leaves), Pepper Jack, Farmhouse Cheddar (cloth-wrapped), Gouda, Dill Havarti, Mozzarella (the old-fashioned way), Ricotta. Plus, in the kitchen fridge: yogurt, kefir, Mexican queso, and chocolate ice cream–all homemade with the freshest Grade A, raw milk from small farm, grass-fed cows available for purchase in East Texas.
Some of these are cheeses the way our ancestors made them–even using fig sap as rennet and kefir as starter culture. Others of them have been made possible only with the help of modern science–freeze-dried cultures in order to create the holes and flavor of Swiss, for example, or the orange-rinded stinky varieties like Munster or Limburger, or the blue veins of the pungent Roquefort, the reliable white mold of a Camembert–which make it possible to imitate, with a reasonable degree of success, the most famous of region-specific cheeses we’ve come to know and love over the generations.
The first time I tasted cheese that did not come wrapped in plastic I was a teenager in France. It was also the first time I tasted milk straight from the cow. I was stunned to realize these products, considered the same from my own home to my host family’s home, had almost nothing in common. To the eye they appeared congruent, but to the other senses they were not even distant cousins.
But it’s one thing to harness an appreciation for the depth and subtitles of a finely- crafted cheese, it’s quite another to think you can make one. In Texas. In an ‘aging fridge’ from Wal-mart. With $7/gallon milk you drive 3 hours to acquire and sometimes using cultures manufactured in a lab.
Is it just for the love of cheese? It’s true, while doubtless they can’t compete with their cave-aged predecessors, still available in their natural state to only a precious few, I’ve made some of the best cheeses I’ve tasted available in this neck of the Piney Woods.
Handy Hubby appreciates my rather expensive and quite time-consuming hobby, but that’s just a bonus. I think these old skills and crafts are crucial to maintain and pass along to future generations, that’s for sure. But none of these good reasons would be enough, even all together, if it weren’t for the pleasure of the process.
The sensuality of cheese-making cannot be over-stated and to describe it would take poetry far superior than is my capacity to create. This is a hobby that touches, demands, cultivates every one of our senses and a fair amount of intellect as well. A whole-minded approach is crucial for success, because process alone will only get you so far.
You may scoff and think a cheese is a cheese, it’s a matter of taste alone, and they mostly taste the same. If so, you poor, poor dear.
“Those . . . from whom nature has withheld the legacy of taste, have long faces, and long eyes and noses, whatever their height there is something elongated in their proportions. Their hair is dark and unglossy, and they are never plump, it was they who invented trousers.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin The Physiology of Tastequoted in A Natural History of the Sensesby Diane Ackerman
You may laugh and say . . . “sound?” If cheese-making requires a subtle practice of every sense than that includes sound . . . how silly.
Someday I will make the case for sound in good cheese-making, because I think there’s a case to be made. In addition to my own experimentation, I suspect I need search no further than the many monasteries made famous for their cheeses for more supporting evidence.
Cheese is still more pleasure than exudes the senses in the thrill of retrieving and treasuring a fading art, and in marrying the inevitable couple of progress and tradition.
“We are all served more and more by factory machines, maybe inevitably, and by schedules, even our own, and in time, as has often been pointed out, we come to serve them. Some of us are becoming chafed by it all. We seek to reaffirm ourselves, to do and make for ourselves, to find new ways to do so–many of them admittedly old ways, but new and revitalizing ones to us and our friends. We want to find out how the basic components of our lives are made and come to us to use. We seek to become part once more of the processes, and possessors once more of the details of our own existence.”
The Cheeses and Wines of England and France, with Notes on Irish Whiskey by John Ehle
A few favorite references and a favorite resource:
It’s been a busy few weeks processing all those pears—I canned over 30 jars of them, we’ve got 15 gallons of pear wine brewing and 9 jars of pear-ginger marmalade. I also harvested our first honey, a whopping 4.5 pints!
(I consider leaving out this part where I admit I did not mean to harvest so much, but I made the novice mistake of lifting out a bar full of capped honeycomb, which in a topbar hive should not be done in high heat, because the comb can pull right off the bar and fall into the hive, which is exactly what happened. It then smashed onto the neighboring comb, killed lots of bees, and meant I had to then harvest two combs and pull out dead bees with tweezers. Not my finest hour.)
Also, we’ve had another agoristic experience I’m happy to report: 3 wild hogs from a friend traded for a half-dozen dressed ducks. No cash exchanged, that means no cash to line the banksters’ pockets or to pay for more illegal wars. I love the idea of agorism, it makes so much sense to me. But, like with all things, the theory is always easier to come to than the practice.
In fact, I could have several more occasions for bartering if I felt more comfortable simply asking. We had a dump truck load of mulch delivered, the perfect missed opportunity. There are many skills involved that require me to up my game and learn things I’ve spent my life avoiding, because I’ve never liked doing them–like marketing, networking, various other entrepreneurial-type skills. I’ve never been that comfortable or concerned with money and I automatically zone out whenever numbers come up. New challenges pop up over the simplest things that hadn’t much occurred to me before, like how to assign value to things or services. What is a dressed duck worth compared to an undressed hog? This is a question a suburban girl never expects to ponder in her lifetime.
Also problematic is distance. I see that bartering sites are popping up quite a bit now in urban areas and folks are exchanging even more now using old standbys like Craigslist. But Austin, Dallas, and Houston are all about a 3-hour drive one way, which make regular trips there un-economical and far too time-consuming. While I’m thrilled to see how popular bartering is becoming, it’s not a decent short-term solution for us.
Now that I’m pleasantly and perhaps permanently unemployed I like the idea of trying to find other ways to exchange and earn that wouldn’t set us back so far that Handy Hubby would give up the plan of an early retirement. That’s our five-year plan. We don’t want to start a business, not in the traditional sense anyway. We like the simple, uncomplicated sort of life; we’ve adjusted to it now. I think it was once referred to as “subsistence farming,” maybe even without the negative connotation. That’s another concept I never expected to ponder in my lifetime.
I guess the criticism from a reader that I am a neo-luddite was valid after all. I’ve changed in our nearly seven years here. Our paradigm has shifted. Cities are too crowded, even social media is too crowded. I hate to think the only option for selling our surplus would be to go back into the matrix and try to navigate the (meta)physical marketplace. Not that I don’t appreciate it now and again, but I’d much rather go for inspiration than labor.
Such thinking of short-term solutions led me to surf the darkweb, to research the black and gray markets. It was a very educational journey full of potentialities. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you about that here.
I’d love to hear from y’all–your links, ideas, thoughts, ramblings, all welcome, both practice and theory!
Our first honey harvest was an accidental success, I learned so much about what not to do!
Of course it’s Handy Hubby who does the real heavy lifting. I’m one lucky unemployed redneck wannabe!