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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just another story of a long winter's week.


We have been trapped in the holler for a solid week. 

It all began innocently enough. Sunday, I dropped Husband off at school 3 hours away, and slowly made my way home. The radio warned us, promised us, threatened us with 10" of snow by the morning. I could only sigh in response. Over the winter threats have been banded about, snowagedeon! Yet we have seen very little. I stopped for gas and a bit more groceries, as we haven't been able to hunt this year. I purchased some treats for the boys, and made my way home. 

My thinking was thus; they tend to over exaggerated, and even if they don't this time, I will be able to get out, and retrieve Husband by the end of the week. I was correct about one thing, they lied. No one saw fit to warn me about the 3 extra inches we were to receive on Weds. 


We were trapped! We went about our chores, and our day. Muttering all the while. Then the temperatures bottom out.  Well below negative 20F wind chills zipped through the holler. By morning Large and I were screaming and slapping, pulling and lifting. Trying desperately with tear stained eyes to provoke our bull calf, Bullbo, to move. The girls had froze him out. He must have laid there alone all through the night. When he would no longer respond, no fight left, we ended it for him. Mercy.

Wood, that should have lasted the week if I had been leaving during the day, dwindled. Large and Medium took sledge hammers to our pallets. Smashing and breaking them small enough to burn and keep us warm. Anything on the ground, tree wise, was too frozen to chop through. We had to sell our log splitter last summer, and now it is difficult for us to produce enough firewood for an entire season. 

One more day until Husband was to be home. And how was I to go get him? Luckily he was able to catch a ride, almost all the way home, to a friend's. Now our friend's car is stuck down in the holler!   I was shocked to see headlights erupting in the house. Oh, no! Why would he allow him to come down? In a way it was a blessing. The cold had sapped the life from my battery. At least I could get a jump, and have a way to escape once it was possible. But now I might have a houseguest for the foreseeable future. He ended up walking up, and being met by his wife. The roads uptop were pretty bad, from what I was told. 

The next day, Husband walked up top and was able to catch a ride into town for much needed grocery items. The neighbors even brought him back down on their ATV. It made me long to have one again, just for this type of situation. And then the shoveling began.

That evening, I opened the door for Large. Gratefully he was still several feet out from the house and I was the one that opened the door. For suddenly all the snow on the roof crashed down into the frozen gutter, taking it all with it to the ground. 

Two days and 1/4 mile later, it was time to attempt an escape. The morning attempts went badly, as in a smashed taillight against the cattle pen. Soon we were almost all the way up! And stuck in the ditch. The boys and I scampered out, and pushed, and shoved with our collective might. Until fatigue set in and a foot gained. Two hours later found the boys and I walking the rest of the way up, with Husband and truck awaiting.

Darkness fell, and I, the pretty pretty princess that I am, slowly shuffled down the steep and slick hill. I fell behind the clan.  Branches collapsing from the weight of the wet and refreezing snow, perked my paranoia. Shuffle shuffle, who goes there? Large predators have been recently rumored to be in the area. Shuffle shuffle, slip. The worst was the fact that the snow would hold you up for a scant second and then drop you. My knees naturally hyper extend, however it really hurts my right knee (surgery). I tried stomping to lessen the impact. Ruts were now iced over, and dangerous. Soon however my knight in shining flannel returned. Hands firmly grasped, I went down, pulling Husband down with me.  Tailbones cracking echoed against the hills. 

We made it down onto the flats. Husband was kind enough to shorten his steps, allowing me to walk in his path, and cease the pain that my swollen knee was feeling. I cried a bit and thanked him once we were finally inside the warm shelter. You, my Husband, are truly wonderful.



Friday, February 13, 2015

Another Casting Call

I received this email last night, though I declined, I offered to pass the info along. (Thank you for your emails and comments. I will be able to post a full report of going ons soon)

 

My name is Felicia and I am a casting researcher for a new family docu-series we are currently casting, and I just came across your blog. We are looking for hardworking couples & families throughout the U.S. I wanted to reach out to see if you and your family were interested or if you knew any families who would be. 

Below is some more information about the show. 


Inline image 1 

MAJOR TELEVISION NETWORK CASTING IMMEDIATELY 

FOR A FAMILY/ FEEL GOOD SHOW!

(Applicants must be at least 18 years old and US Citizens to apply)

Are you a hardworking family living paycheck to paycheck?  

Has your work life kept you from spending quality time with your family? 

Do you ever have a hard time making financial decisions together as a couple? 

 Is Dad the “saver” and Mom the “spender” or vice versa?

If so, wed love to talk to you and help you in a fun and creative way on a new television show!

From a MAJOR TELEVISION NETWORK, comes a new television series looking for outspoken, opinionated and dynamic couples and/or families nationwide who dont always agree on everything, but are willing to talk it out on a new creative new television series!

Email CARRIE IMMEDIATELY:  FamilyShowCasting2015@Gmail.com

1. Name & ages of both you and your significant other & length of relationship

2. Occupations of both of you

3. How many kids you have

4. City, State you live in

5. Contact info (please include phone numbers and email addresses for both parties)

6. Recent photo of your family AND a clear photo of you and your significant other.

7. Write a brief description about your family and why you are excited to share your story with America.  Describe why you answered yes to any or all of the questions above.  Describe your personalities, struggles and triumphs over the years together.  What are your dreams and what is holding you back from achieving them?

(Where did you see this post?)

If selected, you will be paid for your participation.


Thank you so much!

Felicia Rogers

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Not much to say

I really don't have too much to share right now. Though I do miss writing to you. The winter is, luckily, easier than last. We have food, we have friends, we have plenty of heat. No real snow fall yet, so the driveway of doom has been easier to navigate. However things have been freezing. 

So we must take water to the cows.





And that makes them happy. We did lose Xuxi however. Her calf is doing well. Our new year has started out on some very sour notes. But joyful things have been pushing in on us. I have several laborers coming out to do many things. They are some wonderful men. In exchange for their work, I will be showing them some things, canning and gardening are on their list of must learns. 

I could list out all our plans, but I thought it would be better to wait until we are actually doing these things. So much has been pushed back as it is because of circumstances, as they are. We are taking baby steps and building community. That's important to us right now. And that means soon I will be introducing you to more characters in our ever changing story. I think you may enjoy them as much as we have been.

Until the next time I am able to write. . .

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Casting call

I received an email yesterday from a production company I have worked with via phone calls in the past. I thought I would pass the info along to you.


If you have questions, and would prefer to go through me, email me. I do have her phone number and can get those questions answered anonymously.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Visit From Saint Nicholas by Clement Moore

(Been a bit sick. This was published on this blog in 2012. So if you see a comment by you, I just updated the time stamp. Merry Christmas!)

ILLUSTRATED FROM DRAWINGS By F.O.C. Darley.
Fwd:

Twas the night before Christmas,when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief,and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap—

Fwd:

When out on the lawn there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter,
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Fwd:

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blitzen—
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys—and St. Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

Fwd:

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack;
His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;


Fwd:

His droll little month was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke,
it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

Fwd:


He was chubby and plump—a right jolly old elf;
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Fwd:


more Christmas stories available free at Project Gutenburg





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Living

The past defines us as a person, but one can not live there. It can have a strangle hold on your future if you wallow. I have many things in draft, the good, the bad and the petty. And I have several things in draft explaining why I have not been writing. Mainly it has been because of fear. Not fear of failure, nor fear of what you may think, but a personal struggle within myself. I have come to the conclusion that they are best left in the past. To dwell zaps energy and happiness. (I am even having a hard time publishing this) 

But in the past few weeks, I have come to the realization, that no matter what happens, I live with the truth, and will accept whatever fate feels the need to push in my way. It's how I have always lived, but there is something about this place that makes you want to hide within yourself. 

The past few weeks have brought a multitude of blessings. Some I feel I may share, some I feel best to wait to publicly acknowledge. I have been purging the negative, with the help of some wonderful new friends. I am of course still homesick, but the kindness and work ethic of these new people have helped bring me around. 

I have so much to be thankful for. Husband's new job (though I rarely see him now), friends with dune buggies (that has been a blast), friends that see the hurt and want to soothe without anything in return. Suddenly our lives are full of people that want us. It was like a switch being thrown, we met one, then another and it begain to snowball. And so many are of like mind. The amount of Preppers here is awe inspiring. They yearn to learn the skills their grandparents had, that their parents skipped on. I already have a handful of men asking me to teach them to can. This will make an interesting summer. I have been given heritage seeds by many of them. Things they "stole" from grandparent's gardens or were handed down and have been growing in kitchen gardens for years. I have been given the heads up on where to buy things and where not to. I have met with people that have excess, and wish to share, in exchange for knowledge and play time. We have some cool projects up and coming because of this.

I have also met several writers, both novelists and newsmen, and have been invited on a few outings and get togethers. They have been great helping me push aside the loneliness. 

With Husband's new job, things have opened up for us. Not just money, but in mentors and friends. A member of the Crow nation has taken a liking to Husband, and has been sharing secrets. Some of them rather disgusting, I giggle. But traditional. I have been learning about moutain Magic as well. The odd happenings on the property lead me to looking around. And I have discovered a group of Travelers. I have been warned away from them by a few locals, but they interest me too much. Plus Large is friends with one of the children. I knew Travelers and a gypsy family when I was young. I know not to get on their bad sides. Heck, I shouldn't be talking about it, but I am not naming the families, and from what I understand, there are a couple different families in the area. 

Geeze I am just opening up here. There is much more to talk about, less personal things. But I would like to finish a few things before talking about them. My education has expanded, even though we have decided to do many things prairie style and forego the woodsman ways for a few things. However we have several people willing to show us how to really live in the woods. Part of it is I think they just want an excuse to ride their dune buggies on our driveway.

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cobwebs in my eyes



This weekend some friends voluntarily came over to help put in fence posts. Yes, you read that right, voluntarily! It was nice to see an Irish boy working with a Scotch. 



Well, until that moment when things went terribly wrong. Small,  medium, myself and Irish boy's wife ( should give her a nickname as they might be appearing in the blog regularly) headed into town to grab some lamb at the shop and a couple of ingredients for dinner at the grocery. On our return, Husband's head was bleeding, and Irish boy smugly walked up to the truck. "I beat the crud out of him." Irish Boy's wife and I sat there, our eyes as round as saucers. Husband says "he took the tamping round and swung it at me like a bat." For those of you that don't know, a tamping rod is a 6' pole of heavy gauge metal, (aka pike, sucker rod or spud bar) with a flattend end for tamping down dirt, and a spaded end for breaking rock

Photo is of the next day. Big ole knot!


Suddenly they both start laughing. Husband with a knot and blood in his right eye, giggled. "No, I pulled a stupid, did it to myself." It was that moment that I realized that these two were not only going to give me trouble, but they are fast becoming thick as thieves.  Needless to say relief flooded us both. Silly boys.

They managed to get all the posts into the ground. My job today will be to use that tamping rod to secure the posts. Once that is done I can soon start on the barbed wire. I am actually looking forward to it. I have missed being able to do so much physical labor. The last few years, with the leg issue and all, had basically put a stop to many of the things I use to do. I still do not have full flexibility nor strength, and some days it aches so much that I do resort to using my cane. But I am alive, I can use it much more than I did a year ago, and for that, I am grateful.

Update (even though this isn't yet published) I tamped down the poles and set kickers. Barbed wire is now being placed. Come-along is a girl's best friend. As I was tamping, eyes wide open, I would literally get cobwebs in my eyes! It was a disturbing feeling. 




 I made dinner for our new friends. (Told you I would be back with mutton recipes). They happened to crash here, so I made two mutton dinners. The first night I decided to go traditional Autumn.

Let's call it Fall of the Mutton

2 sweet potatoes (the call them Southern Yams here)
1 medium sized butternut squash
1lbs mutton meat
2 cups chicken broth (plain)
4 red apples
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Butter
Salt
Pepper
Sage

Peel and dice up sweet potatoes. Place them in a pot with the chicken broth. As that heat over a medium heat, peel and cut the butternut squash into larger, yet manageable pieces than the sweet potatoes. You do not want your squash to get too mushy. Add to the pot. Dice up the mutton into bite sized pieces, add salt and pepper to taste and place into the pot. Cover and reduce heat. Cook until your squash is just tender. Remove from heat and drain.

Peel and dice the apples. Add 1 Tbls butter to your pot, stir in the apples. Over a medium high heat, slightly brown the apple pieces. Add the cream, and fresh sage (2 mince leaves fresh, or 4 crumbled pieces dry). Stir until it begins to thicken, reduce heat to low. Add 4 Tbls butter and the mutton/squash mixture back into the pot with the apples. Stir well. The sweet potatoes will purée itself as you stir. It should not be the texture of soup. If it is, slow cook uncovered until the cream sauce thickens.

Salt  to taste, and serve hot with fresh bread.

Mutton and Fall Rice



I was cooking for 7 people.

You will need, 1 cup rice for every 2 cups chicken broth

1 small butternut squash
1 lbs mutton meat
Spinach
Butter
Grated Parmesan cheese
Mushrooms (we used puff ball shrooms)
Fresh garlic
Salt
Pepper
8oz cubed cheddar cheese
Sage
Parsley 

Place broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Add 2 fresh sprigs on minced sage (4 crumbled if dry) and as much parsley as you like. Peel and dice up the butternut squash, add to the broth. Pour in the rice and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until rice is tender. 

Slice the mushrooms and mince 1 clove of garlic. On a skillet, melt 1 Tbls butter and begin to brown the garlic. Once golden in color, add the mushrooms, and lightly brown.  Add the lamb, and cook for a few moments. Remove from heat.

Add as much butter and Parmesan as you prefer to the rice, tear up the spinach and stir. Add salt to taste. Stir in the cubed cheese then serve before the cheese fully melts. Add the mushroom and lamb to the top, serve with fresh bread. 


Irish Boy's wife caught the mushroom hunting bug. She left here with 2 grocery sacks full of wild mushrooms. She was the one that found the wonderfully sweet puff mushrooms.  All in all it was a productive weekend with some really good people. Only spoiler was that someone had tried to break into their car that sat at the top of the driveway. Nothing stolen at least. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mutton Awesomeness

The last few days I have been offline. Instead spending some time with Husband. I won't be seeing him very much over the next month, or so.

I have been experimenting with food. I miss doing that. But with the windfall of lamb and mutton at my fingertips, something has to be done to keep everyone's palates happy.

Unfortunately I do not have photos.


However I do have two awesome mutton recipes. (For now)

My sheep were a bit over two years old. Ideally mutton is preferred over 3 years old. I don't like mutton.  It can be too tough and too flavorful. Yet my 2 year olds came out perfectly flavored. I know that the image above says Dorper, my sheep were Black Belly Barbadoes and Desert Paint mixes. The lack of laniolin tends to help keep the meat from being "greasy" flavored. Similar to Spring lamb (3 months of age) that you tend to find in American Supermarkets. 

Lemon Pepper Mutton

Leg cuts
Dried lemon zest
Butter
Pepper Jack cheese
Salt

I took about a 1 lbs leg cut, and sliced it into bite size pieces. Melt 1Tbs butter in a cast iron skillet. Over medium high heat, add the mutton cuts, around 2 tsp dried lemon zest, and a sprinkle of salt. Stir. The butter and the juices from the meat will rehydrate the zest. You can use fresh lemon zest if you want. Once the meat is about medium rare (takes only a few minutes) reduce heat and crumble the pepper jack cheese over top. Do not strain the juice. Mix together and allow the cheese to melt. Serve hot. 

(I served it with fried potatoes with lots of fresh onion and garlic, and scrambles eggs.)


Mutton Roast

Roast
Mushroom gravy

Very simple, place your roast into a pot or slow cooker, add gravy and allow to cook all day. I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Homemade mushroom gravy

3 Tbls unsalted butter
6 oz fresh mushrooms (I actually used the dried wild mushrooms. Because the flavor intensifies once dried, I did not use as much)
Salt
Ground pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef broth (or stock)

Over a medium heat, melt butter until it foams. If using fresh mushrooms, add. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, allowing the mushrooms to "brown" a bit. About 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, stirring as you do so. Toast the flour for 3 minutes. Pour in the wine, scrapping up any bits stuck to the pot. Mix for 30 seconds. Slowly add the broth, using a whisk. 

If adding to a roast, stop now and pour into your slow cooker. (Add the dried mushrooms here if using)  You do not want it to thicken up just yet. While cooking, add a bit of wine or broth (whisking around the roast) to keep it from firming up too much.

If wanting to use as a gravy only, bring to a boil, stirring constantly for two minutes. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Salt and pepper to taste. 


More recipes to come.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our Monday


Warning; a few of the photos at the end are considered graphic.


Husband pieced together a smoke stack. It won't last all season, but will give us time to get something else.


Medium took this picture as we drove into town for Doctor appointments, and then off to school.


Photos not in order of happenings. 

After dropping the boys off at school, I returned home to find Husband lounging outside. All three sheep hanging from the trees. We can't afford meat this week (long story and hope to share with you all soon, it isn't bad even though it sounds like it right now. Sacrifices must be made! Giggle)

Now the story turns into "My Monday"


Husband went a little psycho on the throat, but the head will come off anyhow. The picture is deceptive. The creek is further away than what it looks like. All three gutted and skinned as darkness fell. 


Unfortunately the ram; getting his revenge, perforated bowel, fun times. Though I made really good friends with our new hay guy's dogs.

The boys got home and Small asked if he could help skin.

He is pretty good at it, though there was a small knick in the hide, and he got upset. I told him not to worry about it. He is so fascinated about animal anatomy. I think Small will be a wonderful vet. He is deeply caring for all the animals, he tends to wounds, helps us with any bigger wounds. He is careful, fascinated, and sympathetic. Hopefully I can get him some books on barnyard animal anatomy, and simple vetting books. 

As the night wore on, I had to finish butcher by truck lamp. Between all the posts I put in the day before, and butchering out all three sheep, my hands hurt. My fingers so swollen that I could barely remove my rings (just telling you this so you will feel sorry for me. Am I too old to do the teenager eye roll?)


 



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