Unplugged …. Nope, Turned Off.

Enjoy this picture of beautiful Edgar, cause it’s the only beautiful thing about this post.

EdgarOutsideOct2013

post deleted due to overuse of the word “I”.

Couldn’t delete Edgar’s picture, though!
Debbie

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Fall Adventures

Our Texas fall temps are still in the high 90’s, which is miserable for the fall garden but great to brood out meat chickens.

ChicksSept2013

We ordered 40 meat chicks and 12 Buffs to replace the current laying flock. The new Buffs will take over in the spring time which will hopefully be a good time to sell of the old laying flock.

Right now the brooder heater only has to come on at random times during the night or very early morning. I mean, we wake up to temps close to 80. After this first week we probably won’t need a heater at all unless this heat breaks. Which we are praying it does!

Debbie

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Edgar, the Big Yellow Hunter

Edgar doesn’t like this heat any more than we do so he’s most active in early to mid morning. As he’s maturing his great hunting lineage is maturing in him as well. I never thought about how the hunting championships in his blood line would effect him. Duh. I know it with milk goats but it never occurred to me it would with dogs as well.

The last several mornings he’s brought me his treasures. One day it was half of a kangaroo rat that I hope he took away from the cat. Yesterday morning he brought me a dead baby guinea …. one we’d rescued and raised from a hatchling. I felt like a murderer as that baby guinea had followed me around that morning and I tried to get it to go in a temporary coop to no avail. I kept Edgar in the house til I saw the baby guinea go in the pasture and prayed he’d be safe.

It’s hard to discipline a bird dog for doing what is natural to him but there’s times I don’t like nature.  I’ve seen how well he stalks and thought it was cute. I still think it’s cute but will have to closely watch the meat chickens when they’re old enough to go on pasture.

This morning I found a dead baby snake by Edgar’s pillow in the living room. I’m so glad it didn’t appear to be poisonous, more likely a garter snake. I’d hate to think it was my lizard with it’s legs chewed off…. no, no, no!

And outside the back door was another dead kangroo rat. At least he didn’t try to bring both the rat and snake in at the same time.

We’ve taken to examining Edgar’s mouth before we let him in the house. He hides things in his mouth so well but he’s also really good about “Spit it OUT!” It’s nothing we’ve taught him so maybe it’s part of his hunting genes – retrieving and dropping.

Too bad neither John or I hunt. I think Edgar would enjoy real hunting. And I’m very glad he doesn’t sleep on the bed any more. It’s startling enough finding his hunting treasures in his bed.

happy dog days of summer,

Debbie

 

 

 

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Turkey Days and Days and Days…..

This week is turkey promotion week. It started Saturday when we butchered two toms and a hen. We didn’t have room in the refrigerator, roaster or pressure canner to process more than 3 at at time. Here’s picture of the tom, pre-promotion. I wanted you to see the black spot on his breast. It’s called a turkey beard. Google it for more info.

TurkeyBeardLiveAug2013

TurkeyDunkAug2013Here’s a picture of the naked beard. You can tell by the length of the beard this is a young tom.

TurkeyBeardDeadAug2013Sunday dinner – yummmmmmmmm!

RoastTurkeyAug2013

Monday work. Canning2Aug2013

Tuesday work. By the way, the jar on the far left is a jar of ranch style beans to fill up the canner. First time I ever tried canning them without cooking them first. We’ll see how it worked out.

Canning1Aug2013

Wednesday work – everything that didn’t get done Saturday – Tuesday!

Thursday – Saturday work – repeat above.

I’m sure we’ll appreciate this all a lot more this winter while we’re eating turkey soup, turkey casserole, turkey and dumplings, turkey and ….. we may be sick of turkey by then.

Here’s a picture of the eggs-in-formation we found inside a turkey hen. I remember Mom breaking these open and using the rich yolk for noodles. I would have, too, if I’d had the energy and if I hadn’t just made a ton of noodles a couple of weeks ago. Instead the dogs appreciate them cooked up for breakfast one morning.

TurkeyInsideEggsAug2013

I was so tired when I finished the canning Tuesday I got careless and broke the French Press coffee pot I was using cause the Mr. Coffee pot blew up on Monday. NO, it is not a sign to give up coffee. Thank goodness I found this glass percolator in cupboard. My mother-in-law gave it to me some 30 years ago and I just couldn’t get rid of it. Today I’m so glad I had it still!

GlassPerkCoffeePotAug2013

gobble, gobble,

Debbie

 

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Week of canning

CanningAug2013

Busy week and weekend canning –
Pizza sauce
2 batches of strawberry jam – LOW SUGAR!!
1 batch of blueberry jam – LOW SUGAR!!
Pickled peppers

So quick and easy to type that out, a little longer and harder to do but well worth it. I bought the fruit to make our own very, very low sugar jam with no added ingredients. I’m so tired of all the unnecessary ingredients. After all, is yellow food dye necessary in pickled peppers?

I dehydrated the tomato scraps to make tomato powder. Not sure if I like it or not. Will wait and see but doubt if I do any more until I prove it out.

I also made 3 batches of mayo. The first two failed so I ended up reclaiming them for mayo cake with blueberries in it. Baked in the sun oven it’s almost too moist, but that’s how John likes his baked goods. I like hard and crusty baked goods but I don’t need to eat them so go with his preferences.

Now it’s time to focus on a dirty house………….
I’d rather be canning!

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A Time for Everything

I was thinking about Proverbs as I was pulling weeds out of the garden this morning. I always wondered what Solomon was thinking of when he wrote it, “A time to plant, a time to pluck up what’s planted, a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to live, a time to die……..” You’ll have to look it up if you want the direct quote.

I was thinking of planting by the moon signs. I’ve waited through the last quarter, barren time, to this time now to plant above ground crops and I was wondering why in the world didn’t I use that barren time for what it was intended for – preparing the soil and maintenance of the existing garden??? I should have been out there, ripping out all that nasty Bermuda grass and it’s runners during the last 10 barren days or so. Instead I was busy doing other things and quilting.

Part of the reason I wasn’t preparing the soil is I always have a hard time pulling up the crops that are almost, but not quite, spent so I can put in the fall garden. I started this morning by cutting the tomatoes back for fall. I ripped out some plants that had sprawled all over the place and found the 3 plants I want to keep for fall. I cut off wayward branches as I harvested ripe tomatoes and pull off any green ones off the cut branches …. yummmmm, green tomato relish or green tomato pie (fake apple pie – it’s delicious.)

AugTomatoes2013b

I picked the sweet banana peppers and trimmed back the cucumbers that want to vine all over the green beans. Found a tender young cucumber hiding in a cut vine. That will make good in the cucumber-onion pickling bowl.

I put all the ripe tomatoes in the crock pot to cook down. Soon as it’s cooled somewhat I’ll run it through the food mill. I may put the results in the dehydrator to make tomato powder for soups this winter. Not sure, it just depends on how thick it is.

Update – I think the tomatoes are thick enough to make a sauce … maybe pizza sauce this time. The skin, seeds and whatever else was left in the food mill went on a dehydrator sheet to dry, then grind later into tomato powder. This is the first time doing this for me but another homesteader said it works great.

TomatoPasteFoodMillAug2013

The peppers will be cut into rings and pickled. That’s the one thing John asked for this spring as he bought the plants himself – a rarity I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a memory I’ll treasure for he’s not a garden-lover by nature. God put that in him just for me.

I used my big white dishpan to hold my bounty. I feel so rich and blessed every time I get to use that dishpan. It was one of the first things I bought after we dug out of debt and I wouldn’t trade it for a huge diamond ring or a fancy car. Well, I might. Then I’d sell those silly things (ring and car) and buy a wood burning cook stove and another dishpan!!

I just finished the Singing River Series (again) by Gilbert Morris. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read the four books in that series but I find them so inspiring. The setting is the Arkansas mountains during the Great Depression. Next will be Willow Springs books with Cooper Smith …. set in the Blue Ridge mountains, about the same time period. Both are prime homesteading books. Old Squire’s Farm books are absolutely fantastic for homesteading instruction and encouragement as well. I’m planning those for this winter.

Gideon, in the Old Testament, was a good homesteader. He was determined to harvest his grain so much he went into the vine vat to do it. If his enemies had seen him threshing his wheat they would have stolen it. Gideon found a way as all homesteaders do.

I’m finding my way homesteading here in Texas when I’d rather homestead and garden in a milder, wetter climate. God has blessed my efforts as he did Gideon’s.

AugTomatoes2013

But I’m still believing for the future ….. a bigger and better garden … somewhere.

Debbie

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Blessings from a Friend

Wonderful new blog picture above!!

AlyssaVeggiesJuly2013

A wonderful friend collected these veggies for me! Plus a cantaloupe and organic mushrooms. Can’t beat a friend who helps run the farmer’s market. She grew the potatoes – don’t they look beautiful??? I can’t wait to grill some potatoes and squash with added onions and sprinkled with oil and garlic ….. yummmmmmmmm!

One zucchini is already in the dehydrator, sliced, oiled and sprinkled with spices. Another squash went in the freezer for zuc bread this winter. I’m waiting on John to bring home the celery seed so I can make relish tomorrow. As I told Alyssa, I’m in hog-heaven.

Hope all of you are enjoying fresh garden veggies this summer but I doubt if it will be as much as I am!
Debbie

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New Adventure

Here’s the newest toy at Beulah Land Homestead –

WorkingDehydratorJuly2013a

a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator! I wish I had thought about how big it was before I ordered. MAYBE I would have made sure it fit in the sink to wash the trays and screens.

WashingDehydratorJuly2013b

WashingDehydratorJuly2013a

 

 

 

But I doubt it. I wanted the larger, more powerful one so I could JUST GET IT DONE! That’s my life’s philosophy on everything.

Here’s the first drying session –

DryingKalePeppersJuly2013a

DryingTomatoesJuly13a

 

 

 

 

DryingYardLongBeansJuly2013a

I filled all 6 trays that I have. After 2 hours I pulled part of the kale off, as it’s already crispy. I want to make a veggie powder mix to add to cheese dips. I’m going to do  some onions but know those will fill the whole dehydrator by themselves. Or I might put a tray of garlic in with those.

I’ve never used an electric dehydrator, just solar as in laying veggies and herbs on an old window screen. I’m trying not to hyperventilate over electric use to dry veggies inside when it’s going to be 97 outside today. I had planned to run the dehydrator out in the garage but I called the company and they said NO!

My frugal homesteading DNA is curling up in a fetal position and crying as inside I hear the A/C running along with the dehydrator and then I step outside to hang up clothes and see/hear the pool filter running …….

but for today I’m enjoying our new adventure!

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The Pot Pie Quilt

I was looking for information on how closely I had to quilt homemade sheep wool batting in a quilt. After googling and getting no where I finally found an old farm bureau’s bulletin on line. It went into detail on how to shear, wash and card the wool into a batting. The directions for quilting the batting was very brief – “Ask your Mother.”

I figured this bulletin was published in a time when no one would ever wonder how to make a quilt or quilt a quilt. It was common knowledge or at least, common sense and would have been considered redundant to bother adding it to the bulletin. If I hadn’t been so frustrated I would have laughed.

I thought of this as I made Chicken Pot Pie tonight. John seldom requests a favorite meal, but he’d asked for pot pie so I was whipping it up and laughed when I saw the recipe card I’d made out.

PotPieJuly2013

If you’d never made pot pie or homemade noodles you’d feel the same as I did while reading that farm bulletin – WHERE ARE THE DIRECTIONS??

I grew up watching Mom make pot pie and have made it since early marriage. It’s a relatively easy meal that is filling and comforting – perfect food.

As a child I was fascinated by Mom cutting through the rolled out dough with a steak knife to cut the square noodles. I always begged to pick them up and put them on a lightly floured plate.

PotPieQuiltJuly2013

Now I wonder if part of the fascination was how the cut noodles looked like a pot pie patchwork quilt!

I said earlier that this was an easy meal to fix …… well, it is if you buy stuff from the grocery. For us who raise their own meat chickens it takes a tad more energy and time…. like 3 months or so to raise and butcher the chickens, then stew the chicken, pull the meat off the bones, strain the broth, bring to a boil as you make the noodles. Roll, cut out and drop into boiling chicken broth. Simmer for 30 minutes, usually covered but watch closely so the pan doesn’t boil over.

Can’t beat a meal that ties back to good childhood memories and present day quilting! Comfort food at it’s best.
enjoy,
Debbie

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America Bless God Again on this July 4th

Our cry today isn’t “God bless America,” but “AMERICA bless God again.” However you celebrate the 4th of July spend some time praying we train our eyes on God and we KEEP our eyes on God.EdgarFace4July2013

I remember the visit by a woman who couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak her language but she came to just sit out in the country. As a child she grew up in a communist country. Her dream was to become a farmer and live in the country but her Country decided she would do a better job for them in an apartment in town so she wasn’t allowed to be a farmer.

HummingBird4July2013a

Today I thank God for the opportunity to choose where we live and how we work. Edgar wouldn’t like it in a city apartment.

PorchSwingEdgar4July2013a

 

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