Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The commentary slows, but the adventures continue...


Motivation to write is hard to have when being interrupted 100 times an hour by dogs, kids, cats, goats and chickens. Oh, and facebook. I will take the opportunity to bash FACEBOOK. Without facebook, I'd get a lot more blogging done, and have a lot more to show for my urban homesteading efforts and many more trips to the POOL. CURSE YOU FACEBOOK! You have successfully helped me be lazy enough to condense my life into anonymous status updates, shortly captioned pictures and random links. People can either "like" or ignore me. I don't have to have another "real" human interaction as long as I live! Alas, I digress.

I really do have things to chatter about. My mental health doesn't always allow me to share my day to day or my week to week in a written form. Therefore, if I don't update, I'm still posting photos. Find me on Facebook or check out the pics on Flickr.

The summer was FULL!
First Harvest of Honey was in late June!!!

The girls have been awesome all summer.

The honey harvest showed me what an "angry bee" was. I got 5 stings that day. Remind me to shower before collecting honey. AND wear a suit? der...
The bees in June are NOT the same bees in August. I promise.
I think We ended up harvesting about 50 lbs. out of that one hive.

The summer finished off with a bang.





The garden, I can't complain about, given my experience and effort.
I ate well all summer from it and canned a million things that I have been enjoying all winter.


A short list of canned:
10 quarts of salsa- 4 different kinds
10 quarts of tomato sauce- 4 different kinds
6 half pints cherry jam
6 half pints meyer lemon/vanilla bean marmalade
8 pints plum chutney
6 quarts summer squash chow chow
5 pints liquored cherries
4 pints apricot preserves
6 quarts pickled beets

3 gallons of tomatoes
4 quarts plums
9 whole chickens

1 gallon sauerkraut
3 gallons dill pickles
enough kim chee to choke a horse

Gallon bag of paste tomatoes

It's awesome too to be eating "fresh" sauerkraut from the fall harvest! Crunchy and full flavored, maybe it's a good thing that the husband hates all things fermented. The pickles are holding up amazingly well too. Probably the best pickle I've ever eaten. Lacto-fermentation rules.

We got 50 Jumbo Cornish Cross chickens in September, right before we took that long road trip to Cali.

Forty four of the chickens made it to slaughter. The design flaw of the brooder where we lost most of them became painfully obvious the minute we left town. :-( Thanks Swiss, my multi-faceted & multi-useful friend, and Celia, my fellow urban homesteader and neighbor, for taking care of that little problem for me. :-D

Other than that, raising meat birds is pretty easy. Stinky, dirty and will eat you out of house and home. The good news is, we were able to re-coup the cost of feeding them and the price of our own chickens with what we sold the surplus. Basically, with some dirty work and the money up front, we got a freezer full of fresh, healthy, home grown chicken. The chicken harvest was awesome even though by the time I was finished cleaning chickens, I was DONE seeing dead chickens. I didn't really enjoy chicken for at least a month. We took that opportunity to empty our freezer of Costco chicken. I can say though, without a doubt, that when I finally did get around to cooking one that I could just sit down and ENJOY, it really is the best chicken ever.
What made it delicious? I worked for it, that's what. They were healthy, happy chickens that I EARNED. Even HUNTING is easier. Easier on the mind, the body and the pocketbook. I honestly believe that if someone is to eat meat, they should be REQUIRED the act of killing and butchering some, even if only for a day. I think it is a luxury that we, as Americans consider a basic human right, sadly enough. Industrialized meat should be outlawed, and we should return to our "will work for meat" lifestyle. I can bet it would lead to an overwhelming decline in health care costs, less consumption of meat in general and a population that would actually be GRATEFUL for where their food comes from, instead of feeling entitled to cheap (very costly), easy (not so for the animals) and filling (oh so bad for you) industrialized meat. Lots of it. Given the fact that eating industrialized meat is akin to not only torture to the poor sickly animals, but it is also eating nothing but antibiotics, e.coli and processed, genetically modified corn products. Why not save your health and just grab an ear of organic corn for simplicities sake? I promise you the results would be profound.

Anyway... end my rant about industrialized meat. Raising my own meat chickens was hard but awesome and I think everyone should do it. I will most definitely be raising our own turkeys this year, and look forward to seeing a 2nd generation of chicks running the yard at some point.

Just another day in the Farm Prius.

So since I last blogged, I have yet to be entirely "cured" of my physical and emotional ailments. I think the key to that is going to be a change of location, but more on that later.

I came to the realization that my husband is DEFINITELY of the Asperger's variety. A relief for me, and a huge blow for him (although I am not sure why). It has made things both easier and harder. Easier because at least it explains a lot and gives me a textbook to work from. It helps explain a lot of the head pounding I've done the last 3 years. I can stop now. It is harder because I thought I really wanted a fully participatory and "equal" relationship. That will never happen, and now I have to re-think a lot of things. That's what February will be for! He says he's ready to "move on and out of Utah" but we will see. I'm always up for a change, he's a little slower to come to happy terms with it. lol For now, my personal life "is", and what keeps me sane until it is... hopefully... MORE? well... the adventures of course!!! I'm sure I am hard to live with, so perhaps we are perfect for each other after all. Well, as long as I travel 6 months out of the year. ;-)

The summer was busy.
We hiked.

We relaxed.

We went to Bear Lake in August.

That's my cute Ember, my sexy husband and my sandy toes. :-D

We went on a trip to Northern California in September.

We did so much on this trip! Humboldt County, Bay Area, Yosemite. We were exhausted by the time we got back. I highly recommend the entire album if you are interested. Some really beautiful pictures!

Prius, road trip-camping style.

Did that whole Halloween thing in October.
Day suit:

Night suit:

November was the usual feast fest.

December was a flurry of rush and finish craft projects. I made almost all of my gifts this year. Felted ornaments and playsets, a dolly, a money bank, some scrapbooks. I tried to give thought to what I was buying this year, now more than ever, as I step toward a less commercial, less plastic, and less toxic future.

Planning a long road trip next month.
That's some trip! 4500 miles, AT LEAST 25 days, and 3 major destinations: New Orleans, Nashville, & Memphis.
I'm excited to visit some places I haven't been for a long time. I am nervous about leaving the "farm" alone to the husband. It's not really his "thing", so I hate to ditch him for a month with it.

We have a new addition!!! Toya, the Alpine/Angora cross. She is supposedly due in March so I don't want to miss it. I will most likely be back early March to pick up goat kidding, seed starting and the like. Well, unless I find something that calls me louder than goat kids. Ya never know. ;-)


I want to make sure to be here to start milking her shortly after she kids. I can't WAIT for fresh goat milk that is MINE and lovely mohair that is MINE and adorable little goat kids... that are... ADORABLE. Any doe we will keep, any little buck is up for grabs.

On the way home with my new Yule Goat!!! Yep. In the Prius. :-D

Winter has brought us over a month with one crappy little hen egg a day, a frostbitten rooster comb, no quail eggs since October, rare sightings of bees, a vacant garden space and a very stir crazy lot about the house. I can't wait to do something outside without freezing to death or choking to death on the pollution.

The good news is, we are finally getting 3-5 eggs again per day. Not exactly the bakers dozen we were getting during high summer, but it is hope.

My time in Utah is growing shorter. The pollution, the sociopaths, the repressed, the politics, the lack of rain, the barren desert, the dark winters, the COLD winters. I don't know where or when, but I am going to have to pick up this lifestyle somewhere a little less... you know. Utah. I think a 21 year run is pretty good. My health and my sanity is really calling me to more moderate climates and progressive populations. I guess we will see how long I can hold on! Until then... it's road trips and urban homesteading to keep me sane.


If only I could spend every winter doing the same as Script Kitty!

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