Sunday, August 6, 2017

Peek A Boo

After a hard fought battle with a nasty pneumonia, Grandma got released from the hospital on July 26. Unfortunately, less than 48 hours later, she fell and broke her hip. So back to the hospital we went. She's had a replacement surgery and is now back to a facility to recuperate. And I'm taking a deep breath and gearing up for the next round of care-giving, this time with my MIL. It's a rough patch right now but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Hopefully everyone will be well and I'll be back to full time homesteading before long.

While I'm busy with the ill folks, I'm still getting some small projects done. This morning I've been slicing tomatoes for the dehydrator. I've already put a few gallon tomatoes in the freezer, where space is at a premium. I feel kinda sad that DH spent sooo much money for my Christmas gift of an awesome pressure canner and I haven't got to use it yet. But there is a learning curve to those things and I want to wait until I can focus all my attention before I attempt it. I want to make sure I don't develop any bad habits by skipping steps or rushing through it.

So if you've got a minute, drop some ideas for dehydrated tomatoes in the comment section. I'll check them out while I'm bedside sitting!
Amish Paste Tomatoes

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Taking Care of Grandma

I've spent most of the past few days sitting in the hospital with Grandma. You might remember her from the interesting conversation (click here) I shared a year ago. 
Grandma turned 90 last October
Hopefully she will be back to her normal self soon. Until she is, I'm splitting up my time between the homestead and the hospital. I'll check in every chance I get. Have a great week!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bees Wax

My DH loves to scare me, in a playful way. One of his favorite ways to do this is to say, "close your eyes and hold out your hand." Most wives would probably get excited if their DH said this, expecting maybe chocolate or a diamond ring. But this wife has gotten a wide variety of surprises- ranging from the first ripe blueberry to an old rusty nail and everything you could imagine in between. So last month, when DH clomped up the stairs to the office/craft room to find me and then promptly announced his desire for me to assume the pose for a surprise, well you can imagine the thoughts running through my mind. And then he presented me with this:

Oooookaaayyy. I had no idea what "this" was. Should I be horrified or disgusted? I took one look at DH's face and knew. I was supposed to be thrilled. So I forced a smile and asked what it was. "It's my very first beeswax!" Oh! All right! This was a neat surprise! Shew!!

A month later he harvested his honey and we worked together to render the first "real" beeswax collection. So now we have this:

 I'm looking forward to figuring out how we will use it. It smells wonderful!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Raised Beds

The garden has been producing like crazy this year. You might remember that we decided to try plastic mulch and how much I hated the idea. But it has really paid off. The weeds have been practically nonexistent except for along the outer edges where we planted the cucumbers and green beans. Even those have been so much more manageable! But using solid plastic prevented us from planting anything from seed. From past experience, I knew that trying to get seeds to sprout through tiny holes in plastic was almost impossible. So all the garden plants were started indoors and transplanted. Unfortunately, we didn't get any radishes, turnips, carrots, lettuce, or any other goodies that would have been direct sown. I just don't have the time or ability to bend over all day pulling or hoeing or chopping weeds. But wait! The gardening season isn't over and DH crafted up some raised beds for me to try planting some of those things in for a fall harvest.

First he took a couple of those cheap metal barrels that the farm store carries and set them up outside his workshop. It was a hot day! Then he found a plastic lawn chair and set it up a safe distance away for me to watch from. (That's how I got my knee in this first picture.)

 After donning some safety glasses, he cut the barrels in half, lengthwise.

Out came the welding helmet for the next phase of welding the open ends of the barrels together, to make 2 long beds. Then he drilled some drainage holes into the bottoms.



 Next up, a short break and a clean shirt! Then back to building a wooden frame to rest the barrels in from some scrap lumber we had stored.



Then I got to help! We carried all the pieces to the garden plot where they will be set up permanently and put some wasted hay in to get the filling started.







As we were adding the hay, I scraped my arm pretty badly on the sharp edge of the cut metal. The next day DH solved the problem by re-purposing an old garden hose into an edge cover.










Ta Da!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

All the New Stuff

Let's catch up! How have you been? It's been very hectic here! I've been on auto pilot for a while but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel and new hope is blooming! All of June through now has been a blur. But I'll share what I can remember.

First MIL's lung cancer had to be removed. This was the 2nd occurrence (first time was 6 years ago.) Her hospital was 65 miles north of us so we did a lot of driving back and forth for doctor visits and pre-op. After the surgery, she had some scary episodes that required an extended stay. She was later released to a local rehab unit where more episodes that were life threatening happened and so we were at the hospital around the clock several times.

Thankfully she is home and improving now but travelling the 65 miles to and from doctors will continue for a while. By the time I go to her home to get her, visit the doctors, return her to her home, and then get back to the homestead, most of a day is gone.

Meanwhile we've had some excitement in the form of a bouncing baby grandson arrive! There were baby showers and shopping trips before his appearing and (of course) this Grammy had to be at the hospital for the main event. He's home and healthy now but home is 60 miles the other direction so I'm travelling that way a lot, too.

And even though I haven't had time to share with you, we have managed to get some homesteading projects completed. I can't wait to show off my new raised beds to you! (If you follow on Facebook or Instagram, you've already seen them.) The garden is doing extremely well and I've found time to can some pickles and dehydrate all kinds of stuff. DH dried some delicious rabbit and goat jerky and got his first honey harvest. We rendered some beeswax! Day-to-day chores have taken on new significance. There's so much satisfaction in feeding and mucking now. New chicks have hatched and the goat doelings are growing like weeds. I picked up 4 guinea keets at the farm store and they're learning how to raise a ruckus!

And blogging- writing mine, reading yours- has wormed it's way back into the schedule. Is it easy? No. Am I caught up? No. Am I going to keep trying? YES!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Back to Normal- Sorta!

Things are finally starting to settle down here and I'm getting into a routine that will include writing time! I can't wait to share all the stuff that's going on. But today's post is just to say "thank you" for all the prayers, good thoughts, and wishes you've sent out for us. I appreciate them all!

Keep Calm-
I'll Be Back Tomorrow!

Friday, June 2, 2017

New Man in Town

A dear lady I met through this blog has so generously given this beautiful rooster to me! I'm over the moon in love with him already!
I wish I had time to write a longer post (but I don't) and I was starting to feel very rude for not thanking her on here yet. So... meet "Splash" the handsome new guy in the coop! (Better pictures to come when I get the chance!)