Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life gets hectic

My life has had it's share of turmoil lately, but thankfully things are working out. I no sooner had returned to work after my long post surgical leave before I found myself in the midst of some pretty intolerable working conditions. I have never in my life walked off the job, but that is exactly what I found myself doing. I feel like it was one of those defining moments in life where you have to stand up for what is right at any cost. I quit my job on Friday and thankfully because I am an RN I had a new job by Tuesday. I am now in the middle of reorganizing my life to accommodate my new schedule.

Managing to care for my livestock, milk my dairy goat twice daily and continuing trying to grow some of my own vegetables are projects that I am determined to maintain because they bring me so much self satisfaction. I patiently await the arrival of the first eggs from my hens who are looking fat and healthy. I lost my Barred Rock Hen sadly to my dog Lola, the Boston Terrier who simply loses her mind when she gets close to a chicken or duck. I have tried everything short of tying a dead chicken to her neck and making her carry it around for a few days as I have been advised, to no avail. I still have my original nine Rhode Island Red Pullets and fingers crossed they stay alive and well, but that is a pretty big wish since they are all free range with no enclosure to keep them safe at night. I hope to build a safe structure very soon but have not been able to get to it yet.

I had really good success with my first batch of soft goat cheese made with lemon juice instead of rennet to curdle the milk. I followed a basic recipe for making soft spreadable goat cheese with lemon juice I found doing a simple Google search online. I added some chopped up lemon balm herb that I had growing in my little garden. The resulting cheese was soft spreadable with a nice sharp flavor very similar in consistency to cream cheese. Eaten over flat bread or toast was so delicious I will make it a regular addition to my homesteading projects. I hope to find a recipe for Alfredo sauce using goat cheese as well.

I made made a batch of 6 soy candles with a great pumpkin spice scent the candles are really long burning and I am very happy with them, however, I realized as I made them that they are not really moving me in the direction of self sufficiency because I must purchase all of the ingredients to make the candles from retailers. I need to do more research on home made candles. The only way I can see to truly make my own candles from my own materials would be to raise my own bees, so for now I will have to ponder that question.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making a living.

Finally home cozy in my bed with Lola the Boston Terrier at my feet. She is an amazing escape artist, she can get out of any enclosure which is how she a wrangled her way up on to my bed, I am to tired to object. Worked a 12 hour shift today which in itself is not all that bad. I certainly am grateful t have such a good paying job. I think about what so many people are facing in this country and wonder how they manage to put one foot in front of the other every day. I am very tired though, and would have liked to have fallen into bed feeling like I had accomplished more around the homestead today. All I really managed to do today was water the little garden. My youngest son fed and cared for the animals today, he is 18 and I keep thinking I have got to figure out how I can manage it all when he is not around full time. Its time to call it a night.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Small Steps to Sustainability


I read a post by Jenna Woginrich on the Mother Earth News Website where she talks about her beginning journey towards sustainability. I found it so inspiring to hear how a girl who holds down a full time job in Design (Web, Internet stuff) has completely transformed her life to one that not only allows her to be far less dependant on the consumer machine as well as much more satisfied with her life. I know that feeling, I love that feeling. I too, have finally begun to realize that I can do this myself. I have no idea what the future holds for me but I am determined to live the life that I yearn for with or without a man around. I know by making smart choices and organizing my time I can do this while working full time time and then some. With that goal in mind, I have over the past two months added to my little homestead, a flock of ten Laying Hens and two Roosters. The sight of those happy birds happily pecking around my yard is heart warming. I have also added a Yorkshire Sow and her little sidekick a Yorkshire Boar Hog. The idea is to let them breed and use their offspring as a source of meat and to make a very small income off of any piglets sold. My trough garden is coming along nicely. The peppers I planted are loving the never ending summer here in Central Fl. and are producing fruit already. The tomato plants look great but no flowers yet. The cool weather crops I planted ( you know the ones you are supposed to plant in October) are looking a little rough from the heat. I hear rumor of a cool front coming soon so maybe they will perk up then.

I made a wooden raised bed frame last night,with the help of a friend I learned how to work the drill and went and bought my own set of drill bits and drivers and a chuck ( I now know what a chuck is). I am so proud of those tools, they are the first tools I have ever owned. All the leftover tools in my house were my husbands. I hope to make many more over the coming months adding to the production of vegetables for my home. Additionally, I found a local builder and bought a goat milking stand. I currently have only one small doe a Spanish/Boar mix who is pregnant. I plan on milking her once a day and leaving the baby with her the remainder of the time. I am looking for a real dairy goat to buy but they are pretty hard to find in this area and expensive so I may have to wait a while. I am happy to have this venue to journal my progress and I am constantly inspired by others who write so eloquently about their adventures. Thank you Jenna Woginrich!