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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?)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Sunday

We know that we will be lucky to get two years out of these posts. However, that is more than enough time for what we are doing.

Monday, October 06, 2014

A wonderful visit

Longtime wife and her husband came out this weekend. It was wonderful meeting them. We had a great time, showing them around, and talking.

They also brought us a housewarming gift.

We will soon have walls! 

Longtime wife told me to stop beating myself up over my bad decisions of this past year. And I am trying.  I huge part of me wants to go back to Kansas. Another part of me is spiteful, and hardheaded, and determined to make this work. Even though it has been the hardest time of my life. Even through the homelessness, I never felt the despair that I have felt now. But.  . . I have an awesome support system in place, people I trust, adore, and admire for what they have done in their lives. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Picante Sauce using unripped tomatoes

Reader has requested the recipe once again. This is a medium spice recipe. Enjoy!

2 lbs unripe tomatoes, quartered and skin on

1 large onion
4 bell peppers
13 jalapenos
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil
pinch of hand crushed fennel seed
dash paprika
dash chili powder

Using a food processor (or your amazing knife skills) finely chop the onion, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Add everything to a medium size kettle.

Since unripened tomatoes have little juice, you will need to stir this constantly over a medium heat until the liquid at the bottom begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover and place in a slow oven (200F) for 1 hour. Remove and carefully chop the ingredients in a food processor or blender (too hot for your mad knife skills) get those tomatoes finely chopped. Return to kettle or a new one, and place in the slow oven for 2 more hours.

jar and can in a hot water bath for 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seems like a losing battle to me alright.

You ever been so sick that you wiggle your fingers as you sink into a vat of toxic waste, then get your super villains confused and mutter "what a world. What a world"?  Yes, that ill. I am that ill. Yesterday I wanted to separate from my body, shake my head, and inform it that it was dying. You know those nights where you soak the bed in sweat and drool, then freeze to death in the wetness once the fever breaks? When 70F degrees puts you in sweat shirts because of the bitter cold? At least a can breath a bit this morning. The fact that I am no longer considering cinching myself up in a corset just to help reduce the amount of pain my chest and abdomen are in, should be a good sign. Still unable to take any deep breaths however. And now this monstrosity has attached itself to the children. Luckily with forced insurance (that denied Small's recent ER visit) they can go to a doctor. However I hear this is viral, not much can be done for that. Hot teas for all! 

I did allude to a losing battle, maybe I should get to that subject. 

I have loved homesteading for the last 13 years. The rewards have always outweighed the horrors. However I have met my match here in the Appalachian Foothills. I have found misery. Everything that can go wrong, has. I think I would like to stop now. However we gave up everything to be here. We have no choice but to continue on, even if we are on pure survival mood.

Last night I awoke to a very loud metallic noise. My brain being on sleep mode and recently oxygen deprived due to the illness, mumbled stupid cat. I assumed that the cat hadn't realized that the wood burner was once again in use, and had jumped up top per usual summer days, only to discover that cool metal wasn't there to meet his tender paws. With the lack of painful howls, I then decided that the wood merely shifted and in dream mode it sounded louder than it was.

(Speaking of cats. Those of you that have been with me for awhile, know the story of my cat, May Maybe Maynard or Maynard for short. He has been gone three months now, and I have mourned his loss. He was an important player in my life)

What actually happened was that the stove pipe exploded!

Luckily nothing worse, like the house catching fire, happened. 

Not a thing I can do to fix that right now.

On to bamboo and cows.

I dislike my cows. Once upon a time I adored them. Now they have caused a community to dislike me (shrug) and a stomach ulcer to form. They will not stay in their pen! Every day is a battle. (Right now I am waiting for a text informing me my cows are somewhere). No matter what I do, they break the barb wire (which is now so stretched out due to them and trees falling on it). This is an unneeded stress in my life. Even unable to breath, I am forced to hunt them down, chase them down hills (ok, well more like a zombie shuffle with the sound of death rattle emerging from my chest) and repair fence. Which I have started using the bamboo.

It's not what I wanted to use it for, but it is all I have to work with right now. I don't have the reliable connections here, as I did in Kansas, yet. Luckily I have access to more bamboo.

There is more woe is me to be shared. But I grow tired and must venture to the shop shortly, where I will hide away only emerging when a parts order is demanded of me . I also realize I have not returned all your emails yet, I will attempt to do that today. I plead illness. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

No, I am not ready.

The past few days have been filled with love. Oh, I can feel it. I have received numerous emails, comments, messages, and texts asking if we are ready for winter.

I know you are worried, but just remember we survived last year, and we will survive this year. Albeit the only thing that will have changed is the amount of food on hand.

Turns out August is mold season here, unlike Kansas. That means my drying options are limited. 

My house and my Ford's dashboard give me a bit more time to dry. 

I have plenty of canned goods from my garden.

I have puréed goodness in the shop freezer, waiting for me to turn them into awesomeness.

One the weekends the boys and I hike out, marking dead standing trees for Husband to down. We do need to get propane, however, I have a wood stove that I have become very acquainted with, and am able to cook on.

Even though we are not where we had hoped to be at this time, we aren't as bad off as we were last year. We will still have to walk up the driveway of doom,

I've accepted it, and will perceiver. I appreciate your love and concern. Your care packages have been sanity savers, as have your comments and emails.  

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Not those kind of shrooms

We decided to go mushroom hunting this Labor Day weekend.

Husband, Medium, Small and I (Large wasn't interested) had a great time hiking through the woods. Small's mushroom finding abilities are truely supernatural. I called him a truffle pig at one point. He didn't take offense, merely snorted. The hike was good for Small as well. Two weeks ago I had to run him to the ER for stitches. He was playing in the creek and fell, cut his knee open and required stitches. He had just gotten them removed. He was a brave one rough the entire ordeal, however Medium didn't take watching his little brother get stitched up too well. A nurse had to take him into another room. I digress, we are talking about mushrooms.

Medium called down to me, "found shrooms!" Then started singing on odd little ditty he made up. "You can't eat those" Small yelled in reply. "Not those kind of shrooms!" Medium laughed. I could only shake my head, what are they learning on the bus? 

Suddenly aliens invaded! These puff mushrooms are too late for eating, however we did find a couple more that were just right. 

I deemed this one poisonous. Firstly I was unable to ID it in my book, and secondly, when I pulled it there was a volva surrounding it. In the book, only the poisonous ones showed having such a thing.

Another one I was unable to fully identify. The top was very slimy, however it had gills, not matching anything in the book. As much as I like "The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms" I need another book.

Husband made me hustle when he found these Straight Coral Fungus. Never seen such a thing above water, and edible too.

Didn't pick this one, due to it looking to much like a no-no.

Now this Chanterelle got me excited. I know these mushrooms, and I know the difference from the false ones.  And we found many of the trues.

No, this is not a mushroom. It is a corner stone to an old road that use to go through our property. Found it with a mess of Bay Boletes and what looked like (in the book) to be Summer Cep.

I can hear the laughter from my conversant shroomers. We will get back to that in a bit.

I think this one is called Old Man of the Woods. Was unable to fully identify though.

We also plucked The Gypsy and Corrugated Milk Caps.

Once home, it was my job to reexamine the mushrooms, to be sure of what they are. 

Now back to the laughter.

I picked up the Summer crep. The book says that there are no poisonous look-a likes. However. . .

I broke off a small piece and chewed. Dear all that is holy! I spit it out as soon as it touched my tongue. Husband uproarious laughter followed me as a swished out my mouth with the water I had handy. It was Bitter Bolete. And it just wasn't bitter. It was so peppery that it burned! I heard Husabnd explaining the old bitter beer face commercials to Medium and Large, and their cackles shortly followed. Was I brave enough to do that again with a different type of Bolete?

You bet.

The Velvet Bolete was Devine,the Bay Boletes turned out to be red cracking Boletes. And the taste was to die for. Small helped me prep them for drying, he loved the way the yellow flesh turned bright blue when cut.

And though you take a risk drying out Chanterelles, I find it is worth it. They work beautifully ground up and added to dips.

The milk caps and (found both Saffron and corrugated) were canned. I added a bit of dill to help bring out the shellfish flavor. 

Oh, and mushrooms shrink when canned. I really should have cooked them for 20 minutes first, before canning, but it was starting to get dark, and I was exhausted.

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