All’s Well That Ends Well

An early frost again this year means no pumpkins for us.

So close, and yet so far

Most folks think it’s climate change, others claim it’s the Grand Solar Minimum. I suggest it’s something else completely—chemical ice nucleation for weather modification. I don’t think mother nature swings quite like that without the hands of man involved. I suppose only time will tell.

I will today, however, stay focused on the nice and easy, if only to prove I can manage to do such a thing whenever I choose.

So, here’s a fun family walk.

And a huge harvest of sweet potatoes, along with some ginger and tumeric, too.

And a sweet little harvest of honey and wax.

Resourceful bees happily cleaning up my mess
Prepared for the next crops, garlic and onions, coming soon.
The final scent of summer—the last bloom of Macy’s Pride

And to end, a tender and thoughtful bow to a dear man we’ve lost today, sparing him, and our extended family, of potentially many painful years coping with a debilitating disease. A merciful passing for which we are grateful.

Papi, now completely blind and mostly deaf, is also not far from
his final journey to the great beyond.

May he rest in peace.

New Thoughts on Old Age

We’ve been at this about a decade now, learning by trial and error. Because of a major health crisis in the family, I’ve been introspecting even more than usual these days. That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately.

I thought it high time to deeply consider what our own health futures might hold, Hubby and I, while we are not under the immediate duress of old age and poor health. Health is one of the main reasons why we committed to this homesteading lifestyle. Other reasons are political, esthetic, quality of life and, for me at least, a sense of urgency to hold on to something precious for future generations—nature—before it slips completely from our lives.

Tumeric flowering, didn’t know they do that!

Watching the impact of the Scamdemic not only on the economy, but also on our ‘health care’ system has demonstrated unequivocally that, despite the challenges and hardships, we’ve made the right choice.

Our ‘health care’ system, which is actually a disease promoting system, is beyond hope, in my estimation. (This one’s surely gone viral by now, but in case you haven’t seen it yet, it’s brilliant!)
The DEVOLUTION of covid vaccine efficacy

I truly believe the only way out of the mess this country has become is by reclaiming our natural rights back from the government.

However, that first means reclaiming our natural responsibilities—those ‘unpleasant’ aspects of life we’ve come to outsource to the government (and their corporate partners in crime) in the first place, which has made it ridiculously powerful, as all governments (and their co-conspirators) are wont to be.

We are trying to accomplish that by first demonstrating to ourselves, and then hopefully to others, that such a thing is possible, and also desirable.

But what if, due to our increasing age, we had to choose?
Limited strength, mobility issues, cognitive decline, all are serious potential threats to our continued lifestyle here.

Considering this I’ve made a few lists, ranking our current activities against future realities based on: Required inputs, health impact, pleasure principle, and bang for the buck.

It isn’t pleasant. I don’t want to give up any of it, ever! Bees, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, veggie garden, fruit orchard . . . .
But, here goes.

  1. Kombucha, no caveats, it stands alone. If you can make tea you can make kombucha. It’s healthy, it’s fun, it’s delicious. Hubby no longer drinks beer or soda thanks to this amazing beverage, better for health and finances for us, and far better for the environment too, with almost no waste.
  2. Sourdough bread, and already we have caveats. I know loads of folks think they are gluten intolerant; I used to think I was too. Grains properly prepared are nothing like most store-bought breads, for health and taste. Around these parts you can’t even find good bread. In other locales you may be able to find it, but I’d guess the prices are scary. Making your own sourdough bread is time consuming, but it’s not difficult. Same goes for sourdough cookies, brownies, pizza crusts, etc. And, let’s face it, gluten-free products are not tasty, so there’s some extra incentive.
  3. Raised garden beds, and more caveats. Starting to garden at an advanced age is probably not going to be too successful. Of all we do here it claims the prize of Most: most expensive, most labor intensive, most greatest learning curve, most unreliable results. Still, I love it! So, continuing to garden with some foresight and adjustments is perfectly doable. I insist!

That short list makes me sad. It’s the bare bones and I hope such sacrifices will never be required of us—no more chickens, goats, big dogs, great big garden?!

I don’t even want to consider it, but there it is.

Tori surveying the gopher damage. Bad rodents!

There are also many projects still on my list to successfully accomplish, which are in trial and error mode now. Like making all our own body care and household cleaning products and herbal medicines. Hubby has future hopes of making furniture, if his current to-do list will ever allow it. No time for poor health here!

So, another short list is in order. The three things, in addition to those above, that I hope and pray we never get too old for:
1. Bees — not even for the honey necessarily
2. Chickens — they are easy enough to manage, but they attract predators
3. Goats — mostly for the cheese making, but they’re pretty good company too

And the three things we would most likely not be able to continue into old age:
1. Slaughtering — tough work, no doubt about it
2. Orchard — even established ones are a lot of work
3. Pigs — high maintenance, yes, but so delicious

We have no intention of ever rejoining urban life. And as far as intentions go, avoiding nursing homes and hospitals is right at the top of that list as well.

Thanks, Decker https://dispatchesfromtheasylum.com/ for sharing this good one!

I’d love to read any comments on how you’ll be avoiding the hospitals and nursing homes too! And, are you sick of ‘civilization’ yet?!

Homestead Happenings ‘Winter’

It’s GORGEOUS here. Sorry. The ‘weather gods’ Or, maybe that’s the weather engineers, are smiling on us, which is rare enough that we must embrace it for all it’s worth!

Sometimes I joke with Hubby, who chuckles like the Hero he really is: “Sweetie, the Sultans must be in town!” 😉

Time for few words, photos do it justice much better anyway. Happy Solstice, wherever y’all are!

New dog house and coop 3.0
Weather whiplash less extreme, here, for the moment
Ghost garden :). Floating row cover keeping us in salads.
Not too concerned about it
Retirement sucks

Homestead Happenings

Just another loungey Sunday on the wee homestead.  I’m so grateful I don’t have to go to the grocery store, or venture to town at all or anywhere near where masks are apparently now required, and witness the ‘shitf**kery’ (Decker’s choice expression from Dispatches from the Asylum, highly recommended for anyone who might wish to choose a few minutes of lucid reality) happening all around us, apparently, like a super-creepy episode of the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.

Here we have problems, who doesn’t.  Even if might be completely unmanageable problems, at least they are sane, rational problems.

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Another 20 pounds of wild grapes, whatever to do with them all?  And melons harvested a bit early due to disease, no where to store them but the living room as they ripen, so problematic.

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Girls gone grazing!  Whatever to do, what if the kids flock with the sheep and forget all about me?  This is what keeps me up at night.

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Why are some of my very favorite plants considered toxic and are pooh-pooed by ‘science’ and most of my modern-day neighbors (and certainly NOT by my ancestral ones!)?  Like this gorgeous castor bean, the ubiquitous pokeweed everybody wants to kill, and especially my most beloved Datura?  These heat-lovers belong in the South!

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A gorgeous volunteer Datura growing here in the background.  No poultry have died from it, though we’ve lost more than usual to something mysterious, about 20 now, one or two at a time, with no clue as to why.

Here’s a wonder: why do Lowe’s, Walmart, and all the other shills of the Corporatocracy sell the same zucchini and yellow squash seedlings that are nearly impossible for organic gardeners to grow according to everyone I’ve talked to, including the Master Gardeners to whom I once was a member?  Get out there with your hand-vac at dawn, they all said, to gobble up all the squash bugs and vine borers they attract, meanwhile this gorgeous heirloom squash (Trombetta) takes it all, virtually maintenance-free, with the stamina of a giant, even in our crazy summer heat?!

Bubba & Buttercup: “How to stay cool in incessantly manufactured weather, we wonder?  Don’t worry, we’ll find a way!”

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And here’s to the countless ninnies and nitwits claiming Trump is solving the weather modification/geoengineering issue.  Come on now, do I have to go back to photographing the sky every damn day?

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“Mamma, we’ll follow you anywhere, just save us from the chicanery and chaos of civilization!”

Spring Chaos to Summer Swelter

The geoengineered ‘tornado’ this spring has been a big setback for us, but we’re adjusting with a blossoming ‘f**k it’ attitude that will surely see us through the misery of the current hazy-swamp setting per the weather controllers.

BE7E2441-5C49-4460-A650-79BE67B77BC1The ‘feels like’ temperature promises to remain in the 100s for a few months, no doubt.  Most folks around here say that’s normal, but that’s because most folks alive today have been living with modified weather for decades without realizing it.  Weathermodificationhistory.com

Since the politicians and select scientists have partnered up to bully the public into buying their global climate change scheme, the few who even notice the atmosphere is different think the technocrats will swoop in and fix it all up again.

 

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Seriously?

The ‘f**k it’ attitude is necessary to maintain sanity currently, but knowing it must be temporary makes it especially bitter-sweet.  Downed trees remain a keen reminder still in looking out through any window of the house. 

But, I’ve adjusted to them now, labeling them in my mind as satanic yard art.

My shoulder injury persists, Hubby’s working loads of overtime, and there’s plenty to do just in maintaining what we can without tackling a difficult clean-up project just now.  Or just about anything else.

As a bonus, the birds love it, we have cardinals nesting, super happy woodpeckers, bouncing bunnies, and the sheep are cooperative enough to take on the garden mess for me.

9F292E52-E5D7-4693-9230-B4589359A886

85F6D33B-6E44-4ACF-A288-2A82BFCAE4D2Since I can’t make cheese or garden or can, I’ve been trying to foster some new hobbies.  Learning to paint and sew helps to pass the time, but mostly they are too sedentary for my nature.  I’m trying to adjust. 

But, it feels like trying, as does reading, which doesn’t fit so well with the ‘f**k it’ mindset.  For now we join the masses in their preferred great American pastime of apathy, avoidance and distraction by binge-watching movies with a good buzz on.

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Now what bee in her right mind wouldn’t find that to be a pretty home?!

 

The bees are growing fine without my participation, yay!  And, I think I heard Mr. Dragonfly volunteer to help me train the young grape vines.

DF2E3819-B11C-4FFE-BEFF-48AA1D0B61A6The roses aren’t happy suffering through brambles and grasses, but they’re handling their neglect with grace nonetheless.

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But, there should be butterflies all over these zinnias, and that’s cause for concern.

Which then reminds me, it must be cocktail hour.  Like Grandma used to say, “It’s 5:00 somewhere!”

 

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Do you have a favorite song?  Did you love it from the first moment, or did it grow on you?

Do you have a favorite hobby?  How did you find it?  Was it passed down to you from a parent or seem to appear from nowhere?

Have you ever doodled, maybe even just randomly while chatting on the phone?  What did you draw? Did you wonder why?

Have you ever pondered what makes your preferences your preferences?

When confronted with your obvious limitations have you ever said, “F*ck off!”?

C707492B-9C4A-442E-9106-957FE4671BA4

When you hear again and again, apparently sold with all the best of intentions the same menu:  You can’t control the weather; You can’t fight the government; You can’t be David against Goliath; You can’t conquer the dragons; You can’t rise above your lot . . . Have you ever said, “Excuse me, why the bloody hell not?!”

Some are most certainly doing it, so why not me?

You can call that a sense of entitlement if you want.  I call it something else entirely.

 

 

 

When the Going Gets Tough

 

We have all kinds of sayings to ward off all kinds of issues, mostly with the intention of bypassing, minimizing, and moving on.  Shit happens, right?  Don’t let the bastards get ya down, eh?  There’s always a silver lining.  Don’t sweat the small stuff. The sun will come out tomorrow.  Look at the bright side.  Don’t cry over spilled milk.  Buck up, buttercup!

DCD476B5-07FF-48ED-9665-286C0B2D571D
The falling trees missed the roses, and the deck and house, and all the critters, and me, PRAISE BE!

I know, I know, I’ve heard it all and I’ve probably said half of it myself.   Really though, when someone’s truly feeling down, no one wants to hear another ‘pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ slogan.  A friend to cry in your tea or beer with would be loads more helpful, but sometimes that doesn’t help either.

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Thanks to more experienced friends at Melody Acres Ranch the overturned nuc has been righted and it’s doing just swell.

I count my blessings, really, I do.  I’m very good at that.

It’s just that, sometimes, nothing helps, at least not right away.  Sometimes there’s a ‘something’s gotta give’ feeling that lodges itself for a while after a big, bad event, even if everything mostly turning out fine in the end.

The triumphs still feel too short-lived and the setbacks too many.

I remember to remember my favorite things, but the joy in them seems less renewing. This in itself is solemnifying.

Visitors are welcome, yet distracting.

I know nature is resilient and life goes on.  The very morning after the ‘tornado,’ as I was assessing the damages, the birds were chirping, the critters begging for their meals, and Handy Hubby headed back home from work out-of-state to get us back into gear.

Still, despite my usual mood-shifting tricks, my gears still feel a bit stuck.

The snake getting fat on our eggs in the coop, a rabbit devouring the garden.

Oh, just let them be, I think, which is not really like me.

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Sometimes that’s just the way it is.
And, this too shall pass.

 

 

 

A Spring Stroll

Little is finer than a country meandering to wake your spring wellspring!

Playing in the creek is still GOOD TIMES around here!

And to celebrate spring you just might have delicious, unadulterated, natural spring water closer than you think.

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A public natural spring near Frankston, East Texas

Www.findaspring.com

As I recently wrote, ‘taking the waters’ was considered a health and leisure pursuit in this area, and many others around the region. Taking the Waters

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The dogwoods are particularly showy this year

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The grapevines already coming in, this could be a good year for our locals wines!

DE614A01-AAE2-4A37-9663-636FFF8138C1
The ‘flare’ is part of the trunk, not the root, and should be exposed to air, which is a very common modern myth, according to Malcolm Beck.  The old adage rings true it seems: “Plant too low, it won’t grow, plant to high, it won’t die.”

I learn so much everyday just by traveling in tandem from nature to cyberspace! What miraculous times we have here to explore!

Spring foraging is lovely here, just made a huge batch of chickweed chimi-churri, YUM!

More Foraged Favorites

Happy Spring & Summer y’all!

 

Earning My Mid-Wife Badge

The Girl Scouts was as close as this suburban girl ever got to learning any kind of traditional skills growing up.  I quit it early on, considering ‘badge earning’ to be well beneath my expanding “cool kid” facade.

But if there’s a badge worth earning, midwifery would be up there with the loftiest of them.  I’m humbled and proud to say I got to experience it last night for the first time.

I bit of critical background:  I’m squeamish.  Considering we didn’t have children of our own and I didn’t have my own dog to take care of, let alone any pet previously to our dear Papi, at about age 42, it seems to me squeamishness pretty much comes with that territory. 

It’s because I was well aware of this personal limitation that I NEVER imagined we’d have so many animals.

Chickens, for us and many other clueless homesteaders, are the Gateway Livestock.  Then came ducks, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and more dogs.  But we both swear we’ll never get cows or horses.  (Ahem)

Considering my penchant for ‘Too Much Information’ I’ve now been acclimated to loads of poop, vomit, blood and morbid sounds of all sorts.  It also got me scared, very scared, about all that can go wrong with pets and livestock.  And how painful that is, and knowing this truth in advance is useless.  It does not help the pain by expecting it.  It does help though to be prepared.  So far I give us a C+ on that when it comes to the critters.

My TMI penchant leads also to so much online and in books about serious diseases and awful complications and the myriad very dirty deeds endemic in the farm life.  Talking to others more experienced will also always bring sad stories and sometimes tragic ones.

 Maybe I don’t quite deserve my badge just yet, but I’m fairly certain I saved our ewe and her young lamb last night by being at the right place at the right time and doing my usual C-level work.  🙂

When our ewes have lambed in the past I was not there to witness the actual event, only woke up to find the lambs delivered, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  On one occasion I found one mutilated by our young puppy and I had to kill it.  I cannot speak about this moment still today a year later without tears.  It was the most confusing, stressful, tragic, sorrowful day of my life.  Like most in the so-called advanced economies, we grew up very sheltered from death and from the act of killing.  Hubby would’ve handled it far better had he been home.  I was alone and a basket case.

I was alone again this time when Buttercup gave an unusual and very loud bark audible from inside the house that clued me in that something was going down.  I went to the stalls and saw mama was in labor.  I was determined to watch it all and learn. 

I was hoping and intending to remain a bystander to nature’s miracle.

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Take a bow, Buttercup!

As it happened I could tell something was wrong right away.  Then I doubted myself.  Then I went back and forth a dozen times, yes, no, yes, no.

Then I concluded, no, something’s really wrong here, get help.  Help?  Like from who?  I called two friends with more experience and they didn’t answer.  I looked through our book on sheep, panicky by that time.  I call Hubby.  He calls his folks and searches online while I pace waiting for the bread in the oven to finish so I can go back to the stalls. 

I muse, even in this stressed state: “Oh, we’re both waiting on buns in the oven.”  Yes, that’s how I cope with stress, and most things really, goofy humor.

It doesn’t occur to me again that the fetus that the ewe cannot seem to push out is in fact dead until hours later.  Yet, I felt it, even considered it immediately, instinctually at the very first moment I saw it.  I just tried to over-ride that feeling with too much doubt and reasoning and wishful thinking.  

On the phone with Hubby we decide there’s really nothing I can do alone in the dark with no experience and no equipment and no nearby vet.  Then he calls back and has changed his mind.  He urges me to go back out, put on some rubber gloves, and see if I can help her.

And he was right!  As soon as I touched the fetus it was obviously dead and my foolishness at waiting hours to “realize” this washed over me.  I strained, along with mama to get it out, knowing if not she would surely die as well. 

At last it came free, followed by another smaller, but wonderfully alive little treasure!

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We did it!

I’m happy to report as of this writing about 16 hours later, mama and babe are doing well, eating and drinking and getting to know each other.

Yes, I was alone, but really, it was very much a team effort.  Thanks y’all!

 

Wins & Losses 2018

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.

bubba.buttercup
Naughty, naughty!

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.

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Their first day roaming the land with the herd.

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Last winter’s model looking great

 

 

vacaproject
Almost there, so close, but not close enough

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.

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Pappa Chop getting friendly!

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It’s hard to think of anything sweeter than kids and animals!

And it’s hard to think of anything worse in the garden than poison ivy and wasps!

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Poison ivy in the same spot 3 times, many weeks of torture.

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And wasp stings 3 different times, miserable.

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.

packages
Last spring’s packages brought home from Arkansas

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!

cheeseYT
I still love making cheese 🙂

 

 

 

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