Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday 8/19

We are still getting rain nearly every day it seems, it may just be a shower but it keeps things wet. A real good environment for mushrooms.
I got things done around the house this morning and then left to pick up the rest of the beef in Floyd. It was cloudy here but sunny there the whole time.
It was in 9 bushel boxes and I wrapped the load in blankets and threw my fire wood on to hold it down.
Of course it was pouring rain at home so I used the wheelbarrow to haul the boxes to the cellar. 8 boxes filled up the freezer and the 9th went to the old freezer. Lots of burger, roasts and some steaks.
I fixed tacos with real hamburger for supper.
Here is a neat photo that I took of a crow taking off from the road while we were waiting on the bus. It is using full power with each wing stroke coming from vertical to get the most lift.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday 8/18

The chicks are growing and have wing feathers now. This one is stretching to limber up in order to get in more trouble. They were little hellions this weekend and spent the day Sunday making 3 escape attempts. One resulted in getting stuck in the fence but then 5 of 6 actually made it out later. Another made it out only to escape to the fenced area next door and end up swimming in the big chicken water. Luckily I happened by and rescued it, not sure how long a chick can swim. I worked on the fence some and haven't had any more escapes though it poured rain today and wasn't a good day for digging tunnels I guess.
A strange bug, might be a walking stick of sorts.
I didn't take a lot of photos yesterday as I was working in the root cellar much of the time. Every year I need to go through the inventory and throw out things that are out of date. The more I use Tattler lids the less this hurts as I just clean them and they are ready to use again. We can't eat everything but in an emergency situation we would so it is essential to have a large stock of food on hand and check it's age and quality.
Today was rain much of the time. Dusty was under a tree on the hill so I had to go get him at the time of heavy rain as it turned out.
C'mon take a selfie of me and you!

No Dusty, it is raining hard and it will look bad.

Aw c'mon buddy boy just one photo.

The rain finally stopped after I got soaked. The three roosters hang together and are trying to crow now. The one closest seems to have some back problem, probably a hen kicked his butt and injured him.
It would be nice if the rain is over as there was water standing everywhere and we have had enough.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday 8/16

Nice clear morning and I was off today and after a few early errands, the big project of the weekend was under way.
The project was for me to drive over in Floyd Co. between Hillsville and Floyd to a little place called Willis where the butcher shop is located that is processing the steers. There was no missing it as that was the main business in town. I only picked up 65 pounds of cubed meat that we want to can in our pressure canners. The rest of the meat is vacuum packed and will be frozen by early next week and I will pick that up.
I didn't split a couple cords of firewood like the girls at work but I did make a point of stopping in Floyd for a huge ice cream cone. Butter Pecan and it was good!
Lots of nice scenery along the old turnpike between Floyd and Franklin. This hillside is a shrine to something, haven't figured it out yet but I am sure that one day archaeologists will determine it is a religious shrine.
I don't remember these building being crooked the last time I was here.
I cross the Blue Ridge Parkway on this road, not much traffic today.
Floyd is high ground and we have to go down 5 mile mountain to get home. It is a fairly steep and crooked road down the side of a mountain but they say that I should have seen it before they worked on it and took the bad curves out.
So back home and got the pressure canners set up. One of the errands this morning was to pick this one up at the extension office as they never tested the gauge for me. So I put plan B into action (always have one) which was to pull a weight pressure control off of an old small cooker and put it in place of the old manual pressure control that was turned to keep the gauge on the right pound mark. Anyway it worked perfectly as the gauge went right up to about 11 pounds and sat there, it is actually safer this way than when it came from the factory.
Cleaned up jars and got some of the meat cooking in a pot. The idea is to cook it until it is rare and it will pack easier and also be hot and make a broth as it cooks. I got 7 quarts processed before supper as a test to see how things would go.  The rebuilt pressure cooker worked great so now we have two and were able to keep them both in action to where by this afternoon we had canned all 65 pounds of beef into 14 quarts and 42 pints.
Here are some pints with Tatler lids cooling down. Once cool the bands come off as the vacuum holds the lid down. If there is no vacuum you want the lid to fall off to signal that it is a bad seal, keeping the band on may keep a lid secure on a bad seal. I see people on TV and in magazines with the bands still on the canned food. It is a wast of bands and not safe but do what you like.
Some more pints almost ready to go to the root cellar for storage.
It takes 90 minutes for quarts and 75 for pints at 10 lbs of pressure. Having two canners saves time as there is additional time for things to heat up and cool down.  Since our steers weren't real fat, we didn't have a greasy mess to clean up as some had predicted. Of course we don't have the marbled beef either but believe me I don't need any more fat.
We had to time things so that we could do regular chores as well. Dusty being stubborn yesterday. He acted like he was going to bite me today as he doesn't want to leave the field of grass. I swished the end of the rope by his nose and he straightened up real fast.
We had predicted that the pullets would start laying in the middle of August and one actually started at the end of July but today all 8 put an egg in the nest box right on schedule. Small pullet eggs but they are good to eat and we had some for supper tonight. So the big project is finished and I can start on regular things tomorrow if it doesn't rain.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday 8/14

A clear morning with nice light and enough moisture in the air to take the color.


I took the pressure canner lid to the extension agent this morning on the way to work in order to get the gauge checked. Pulled back on the street and saw this nice color.
I was real impressed with the girls at work today, they split a cord and a half of firewood for the house to cook with. It had to be split fine for that. They worked up a sweat and I heard later that they got ice cream.

Ready for take-off.
If we weren't chicken, we would bust out of this place.
Hops.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday 8/13

Some crows yesterday afternoon discussing the return of blue sky to the west, soon the sun would be out and the 5 days of clouds and rain over.
The head supervisor was laying in wait where the sun would soon shine on her.
Dusty was happy to get some sun on his back and yes that is a shadow under the tree and I switched to color again.
It was sunny and cool this morning, felt like fall. Soon some clouds moved in to make it partly cloudy but no rain.
It has been so wet that I see frogs hopping around in the grass no where near water.
It was pretty cool so the hen had the chicks under here to warm them some after they ate.
It was warmer in the afternoon but still not hot. It is too muddy to do much. I did call the extension agent today and plan on taking the old pressure canner to them as they will check the accuracy of the gauge. It seems fine but it needs to be accurate or you get stuff at the wrong temperature. So that might be a project for tomorrow morning if I can remember to do it.

Blog Hop Around the World - Creativity

Blog Hop Around The World - Creativity

I was nominated to participate in this Blog Hop by Liz of Eight Acres
who I have followed for years as she is creative and teaches others about her animals and food preserving. They moved a house on to their land a while back and figured out how to bring it back to life.  

The theme for this blog hop is creativity and like most blog hops there are a few basic rules/guidelines to follow....

Within a week of your nomination answer the following questions:
 
Why do I create what I do? 
I was an artist (painter) for many years and creating was just part of it and became easy, that is a reason to learn what art is all about. When we moved to our homestead I had to create solutions for all kinds of strange problems such as using a wood stove with no chimney. I created my own smoke stack using a steel culvert that normally goes under a road along with an insulated stainless liner. Not pretty but it was getting cold. 

How does my creative process work? 
The first thing that I try to do is to figure out what I am really trying to do or what is needed. The second thing is to search for what resources I have to complete the project. This is the fun part as the resources really get the mind going and I may end up with something totally different than I first imagined based on finding some new resource. I was going to use blocks an old poles to build a bridge but found an old steel hay elevator while looking for boards and all of a sudden I had a welded steel bridge framework and went from there.
How does my work differ from others of it's genre? 
I think that I am a little different in that I don't have much money to do things the right way so I do them a different way that usually works. I try to think outside of the box and this sounds bad but sometimes if something doesn't fit, well you need a bigger hammer. It is true sometimes depending on what kind of rocket ship you are building.

What am I currently working on? 
I am just finishing up a wood stove project and only need to put fire brick in one and polish them both. The project was to refurbish an ancient double chimney which wasn't safe. I found 2 stainless steel liners on Craigslist over about 3 years (this was a long project if done cheaply, patience is golden). I found one non electric wood stove on Craigslist and had another smaller one. A buddy and I installed the liners and then moved the stoves in place. I hooked them up last weekend and both draw fine and are safely on fire proof pads. We can now easily cook and stay warm during power outages as our old wood stove needed to force air and backup propane also needed electric. This was my most important project this summer.

Who inspires me to create? 
My years of being in touch with other artists who are creative inspired me and now that I am homesteading, I see so many neat inventions and problem solving on blogs that I follow and Youtube. I saw a guy on Youtube make an over the air TV antenna with wire and  a board so I checked my resources and only had to buy one thing as I made my own washers with old coins. Anyway I couldn't get it out of my head because of that guy so a year later I finally designed my own and watch TV with my own antenna.
Finally provide a quote 
Measure twice, cut once.

And now I just need to nominate two others:

The first blog is that of  The Walden Effect, these guys live fairly close to our location but I have never met them but follow their blog and really admire their creativity. They even came up with a new chicken watering system.
The second is a blog that most have probably seen, The Deliberate Agrarian.
Herrick Kimball is one of the most creative bloggers that I have seen, he comes up with all kinds of neat well thought out inventions (everything from clothes pins to chicken pluckers)  and writes on a variety of subjects. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday 8/11

It is still raining and has been off and on since Friday. The persimmons seem to like it.
 Another cabbage, had a hard time finding it as the pumpkins and butternuts have covered the area.
One would think that what with all of the rain, Dusty would be clean but it has given him lots of mud to roll in as things turned out.
It gets kind of foggy at times and it looks like a damp jungle if you walk out there.
First day of school! Happy bus ride.
Still raining on the way home today, I went into town and then back on the main road to miss the school buses.
Looks like it is going to keep raining tonight.