Thursday, June 14, 2012

A day full of experiments!

This was one of those FULLLLLLL days. It started early with laundry. I like getting it started early so it's done early, and then I can feel virtuous.

There was a mouse in one of the kitchen mousetraps that I keep out all the time. He was caught by the upper lip and whiskers on one side of his face. EEEWWWW.

Milk goats, feed goats, feed bucks, feed dogs, put away milk, clean up milk, clean up kitchen. The usual morning drill.

Two of Lonnie's rectangular planters now have portulaca and sweet pea seeds in them. Watered and ready to grow.

The turf grass seed got its obligatory morning rotation of 10 minute per section watering cycles. I only have to move the hose eight or ten times!

Checked on the guys who are taking the dead oak tree down at the Cabin in the Woods. It's huge, and they worked all day. I also tried to get the water system up and running again, but the gaskets on the water filters have GONE MISSING!! Those will have to be replaced.

The fellows who are taking the tree down are also my vehicle mechanics. What can I say, it's the Ozarks! Turns out my Tundra needs a new transmission. Rick showed me the ounce or so of metal shavings that came out of the transmission fluid pan. Curls of metal, metal filings, chunks of gears/fins. Pretty scary.

The security/alarm system repair man showed up to work on the wireless alarm that's in the workshop. We're having trouble with that, plus the two hour electrical outage the other day did bad things to the control box. That's all fixed again.

Today's cheese experiment is jalapeno cheddar. That's an every 45 minute "do something with the cheese" project that started at 6:30 and ended in the afternoon when the curds went into the press. A couple of turns in the afternoon and one before bed, then it will press at 40 pounds overnight.

Burned feed sacks and some branches. That wasn't really successful. The branches are awkwardly stacked, and the fire didn't catch well.

My Sun Oven came yesterday, so I experimented this afternoon by making egg custard using solar energy. Unfortunately, I used an unfamiliar recipe. I'll try again tomorrow, and the dogs can have eggs for breakfast.

Cyndy and I cleaned up one of the carports, putting away tools, throwing away trash, moving stuff to the SELL shed, and just making the area look tidy. It's ok with me if it looks like we live here and have lawnmowers and a charcoal grill, but I don't like the CLUTTER look. There's still a few things to be moved, but it's much better already.

I experimented with charcoal grilling the kielbasa from the Mennonite butcher shop. They were awfully bland when cooked indoors, but this time I seasoned them and grilled them. That improved them tremendously. I've just got to improve my charcoal igniting skills. I'm charcoal challenged.

Had a nice visit at the "Outback", which is going to have a name change. Angela likes to call it Meadowsong. I brought three cheeses: Ch'Rella, Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar, and the coffee and lavender aged cheddar. The first two turned out well. I fear the coffee/lavender is a bit bitter, and I don't know why.

After I got back, I planted Rudbeckia and Zinnias on the west side of the house. I hope those seeds will get enough sun to sprout there.

Then, I mixed up the Agri-gro foliar fertilizer and FINALLY got an experimental plot sprayed in the hay meadow. This is the first time I've used this 15 gallon tank sprayer, and the project went smoothly. The spray tank sits in the utility trailer and is towed behind the lawn tractor. The pump for the sprayer hooks by a long wire to the tractor battery. Very handy system.

Then, normal evening stuff. Milk goats, feed goats, feed bucks, feed dogs, put away milk, wash milk bucket and strainer, etc., etc. I think I'm tired now!

Friday, May 18, 2012

What I want to do

A. Finish getting the forest buck pen put back together

B. Mow the overgrown areas in the doe pen(s)

C. Call Dish Network and cancel their service because the receiver hasn't worked consistently in weeks anyway

D. Paint the outbuildings

E. Build my outside shower

F. Build an outside sink/counter

G. Replace droopy pen wire with cattle panels (by milk house and behind milk house)

H. Go hear some live music played some where

I. Sew

J. Sight see

K. Swim in the river

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Interesting stuff

Sweet pea seeds:

Perennial sweet peas:

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Itchy, dusty work

Cyndy came to work this morning, and we cleaned and sorted for six hours. We got both sheds cleaned out and tools moved to the main garage. Found Kathleen's sewing machine and her camera equipment from when she was in the Navy. Started moving stuff to be sold into the storage shed by the backhoe. Made more inventory lists for the probate court. It really went pretty smoothly.

Cyndy took another batch of clothes to the Sheltered Workshop. There were two LARGE containers of clothing and some hanging clothes in one of the sheds.

This morning before she came, I badly jammed my right big toe. It didn't get sore until almost 3:00 PM, and now it's REALLY sore

Got back into the Maze Runner this afternoon on my MP3 player. I listen to audio books while I'm working. It's a young adult series of books, and I'm on book one. It's similar to Hunger Games.

Planted Purple Hyacinth beans. My lettuce and chard and kale bed is coming up. I want to get some beet seeds, too. Kirsten made a beet/strawberry/apple juice smoothie that was wonderful. She used the tops and the beet part.

Planted two more tomato plants that I got from Angela. These are heritage tomatoes that are very meaty. I don't like goopy tomatoes.

Looks like my squash seeds that I put out right away when I got here are almost a TOTAL failure. I had six hills with a couple of seeds in each hill in that one bed, and only ONE has sprouted. I had planted a short row in front on the beans, and only one is up there, too. Very disappointing. I planted a few in one of the tires that used to have blackberry plants, and those are up. Perhaps those few really cool days after they went into the ground hurt my seeds.

More seeds to plant, but they are gourds and pumpkins and sunflowers.... non-essentials. I'll get to those sometime.

The blue Previa runs again. The battery was not only dead, but it had a "bad cell." Had gotten a new battery in town the other day, but it took necessity (a place to put boxes waiting to be shipped) to be the motivation for installing the new battery. The van seriously needs a bath now. I rinsed it, but six months of dust doesn't rinse off. There are errands for Thayer tomorrow, and I'll run it through a car wash somewhere.

I am at the point of needing to make new lists, and that feels good.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday, Monday

I thought I was going to do office work this morning and run down to Thayer in the middle of the day, but I awoke to an intimidating weather report. We were supposed to have wind and rain by mid-day. Plans were shuffled, and I headed to Thayer after securing everything for the weather.

The weather gods didn't see the forecast. Finished all my shopping at Wal-Mart, Hirsch Feed, and Harp's grocery store, and it didn't rain. Bought the van a new battery. Went to the post office. No rain.

Came home, ate lunch, tried to take a nap. The lawyer's office called with the news that the letters testamentary from the court had come in, and the UPS delivery man scared the dogs... or they scared him.... whichever.

Packaged up goat blood and milk samples to ship off for testing (routine stuff), scooted to town to the post office and the lawyers office, and then discovered that the bank closes at 3:00 PM. So, I'll have to go BACK to town on Tuesday. It's a ten mile drive one way, and I really try to avoid making that trip daily.

The plan for doing paperwork never materialized, either. I started on the inventory for the estate because I have thirty days to get that done and turned in to the probate court. I only inventoried the garage and workshop, but it's a step in the right direction.

Here is a wonderful poem by Wendell Berry that my good friend, Angela, sent me. It certainly applies at this point in my life, and I felt much better after reading it.

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

~ Wendell Berry ~

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wonderful Sunday

I've got the Halloumi going. It's a middle Eastern cheese that you can grill! Non-melting. Often served with caramelized onions.

I mowed around the goat playscape and weed eated under the fence separating the goat yard and the house.

After lunch, I went to Kirsten's and drew blood to send for CAE testing on all her adult females. She has one goat with a hard udder, and I took milk samples to send in to the mastitis clinic.

I brought her a quart of milk (all I had) because one of her does had triplets, one doesn't make much milk, and she's grafting that one's kids onto her other milker that's in milk. No milk for her house! Darn, I wish I'd taken her some of the frozen milk. Didn't think of it!

I came home with a beautiful loaf of Tuscan bread, just out of the oven, a few tomato plants of unknown heritage, some goat ribs cooked with Garam Masala, and mint roots. Also brought home the long flatbed trailer that she kept safe over the winter, as I need to pick up more cattle panels on Monday.

This evening, I planted the tomato plants and mint from Kirsten, then planted rutabaga seeds. I've never grown them, but I like saying RUTABAGA. Rutabaga, Rutabaga, Rutabaga.

Snowbelle's walking better after I trimmed her hooves this morning.

When I went out the door to milk this evening, Orange, Bella, Tonto, Prince Charming, and Aster were coming up the hill in the back yard, between the house and the birdbaths. This is not where goats are supposed to be. Sigh. The fence that separates the hay field from the little orchard was down in one spot, and they found it, of course.

When I was giving Prince Charming his bottle after I milked, Tonto chewed through my ear bud cord on my MP3 players. Luckily, there are extra sets of ear buds in the desk drawer.

Goats. Gotta love them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Back to paperwork, mail, and bookkeeping

Yesterday was a VERY full day, and we got a lot accomplished. My friend, Cyndy, came over and we sorted through three closets of stuff and uniforms. There's a stack to go to the daughters, a stack for the auction, a staging area full of items for the auction in the fall, and a large sack of clothing going to the Sheltered Workshop in Alton.

After that, we cleaned the milk house and installed the new washable mats on the milk stands and floor. I caulked the seams that had allowed rainwater to come in.

Then, we mowed. Three of the mowers are working now, thanks to Lonnie's stash of new lawnmower batteries. Cyndy mowed around the house, and I mowed the front pasture/yard.

This morning, I'm decluttering. Sorting and cleaning makes more mess!

In a little bit, I'm going to start on the stack of mail, paperwork, and bookkeeping. There are Lonnie's things to deal with, and the end of the month approaches, so there's the normal bookkeeping.

I'll run to town later to go to the post office, bank, feed store, etc. It's nice to do NORMAL things.

The garden is looking good, even if it's only partly planted. The peppers, tomatoes, and herbs survived transplanting in fine form. The lettuce is starting to sprout. Still waiting to see little beans and squash coming up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back in the Ozarks

I returned to Missouri on April 17th. The migration north was a bit early this spring due to several factors:

1. I have goats due to kid in May, and they needed to be settled in and NOT traveling for a month before their due dates.
2. The Go Green Festival in Thayer was scheduled for the following weekend, and I wanted to attend.
3. I needed to begin the process of settling Lonnie's estate.

After a week of being here, all is going remarkably well. The goats are happy. The festival was outstanding. The legal process is underway.

Today, my plan is cleaning and sorting out things in the kitchen, making goat cheese (cheddar and feta), and doing goat stuff. I need to separate the bucklings from the girls, clean up the fence lines so the electric fence doesn't short out, and clean the milk house.

However! I got distracted by cleaning the kitchen drawers because of the mouse droppings I found when getting out the utensils for making cheese. So, washing all the kitchen spoons, spatulas, silverware, etc., took precedence!

I did get the buckling's fenced area ready.