Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ramblin' (Wo)Man

First, Q&A time:

Hayley: I am pretty informal with curriculum since Beans is still pretty young. We read a LOT of books, I utilize lots of craft books, some preschool aged workbooks, and my mom (a Montessori teacher) has sent me a preschool Montrssori curriculum which we use some parts of. Most of our "school" stuff is arts and crafts supplies. The girls have very few toys, and they participate in all our daily activities. When we split wood, they are outside stacking. When we garden, they are there with their shovels and watering cans. We don't expect perfection, just participation. We answer all the questions (Why? Why? Why?) and when we get stuck for an answer, we look it up together or visit someone who knows the answer.
"Math" is currently explored by counting ("how many eggs did the chickens lay today? How many this week?) and with helping in the kitchen with measuring or recipes, counting plates while setting the table, etc.
I use a PBS series called "Signing Time" for teaching sing language and had to invest in a good ASL dictionary as her signing vocabulary exceeded the scope of the videos.
Hope that helps! :)
girl, I'll chat homeschool with you anytime!

Miss Liz: I have another gluten free/dairy free recipe for a focaccia styled bread. If you (or anyone else reading!) is interested, let me know and I'll post it. My kids LOVED it and ate the entire pan at lunch time. Made GOOD pb&j too!
Also, if you hve a jerky recipe, leave it in the comments. Now I'm craving it and we can't have store bought because most have soy sauce (gluten!).
Also I'm dying to know if you ever baked the muffin recipe and if you liked it. :)

Olive-somebody (I shoul jaw double checked the name, I'm sorry!): when you get to salcha, let me know! We have friends in Salcha we visit often and could probaby help you get connected. Where is your place?

JackDaddy- do I know you in real life? When were you in Montgomery? And Jack woul probably love moose. He should come stay on our farm. :)

Road Kill List Questions: I will ask hubby the full details, but there is some paperwork from the state. Anyone can fill it out, not just established charities. Delta Junction is also considered a subsistence area, so I'm not sure if that affects our eligibility? Hubby would know.
Also- SOME roadkill, not edible. But an animal as big and tall as a moose usually gets hit in the legs. Most of the meat is usually salvageable. As far as an "off" taste, I've never noticed one. The endorphins and such can't be any worse than animals slaughtered in commercial plants. Not to get all "crazy hippie" on you, but do you know that many cattle are only knocked mildly unconscious at butchering, and some don't even get knocked out! They are alive and quite cognizant of their injuries in butchering plants. I would think that gets some
endorphins going!
SOME roadkill is completely not salvageable. Something with internal injuries (especially those that cause leakage from the bladder or bowel into the muscle mass) is not considered "safe". But a moose that the troopers have to shoot because of a leg injury is really no different from a moose that is shot by a hunter (especially if there is a poorly placed first shot!)
I had to giggle about the roadkill questions. They are all the same questions I asked my husband when he went out to retrieve the moose. LOL

If I forgot anyone's question and you want it answered, leave me a comment!

in other news: my hens are laying! I am so thrilled. I was beginning to feel like a chicken farmer failure. Ha! I'm not!
Many chickens will meet their fate this week. We are starting to have crowding issues in the coop and the weather is getting chilly. I don't know about y'all, but I would much rather only have to get water for a dozen birds than fifty of them. If it gets about 10 degrees cooler around here, I'm
gonna have to haul water from the house, as we will have to shut off the outdoor water supply soon.

Weather has been cool and rainy. Chilly mornings (38F or so) and cool, rainy, breezy afternoons (not above 60 ish).
My kind of weather.

A pot of caribou chili simmers on the stove. The tea kettle signals that my water is ready for a thoughtful cup of Earl Grey. A young hen cackles as she marches away from the nest, victorious. The girls nap, the sky threatens to rain, and my knitting calls to me.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Can Be Done In A Day

Whew! We had one BUSY day here yesterday. It started with WAITING. Waiting for the dozer rental companies to call us back (they did). Waiting to see if the rain was gonna let up (it did). Waiting for the dozer to be delivered (it was, eventually).
Not a single member of our family does "WAIT" really well. Toddlers have an excuse. When you are two, a few minutes seems like the whole day will pass before you are granted your wish. The real difference between grownups waiting impatiently and kids? You can send griwnups to time out for temper tantrums when they aren't getting their way.

The dozer arrived. J rushed out the door to start knocking down the remaining forest. I watched with the girls from the safety of inside. We soon tired of being spectators, all of us except Little Nugget, who screamed in excitement every time the dozer made a pass in from of the screen door. To preserve my sanity, I took the girls upstairs. Nugget screamed in protest, pointing to the door and crying, "My papa! Vroom! Vroom!"

A short while later, the phone rang. A friend of J's. "Hey it's me. Troopers just alled me. There's a moose over here hit by a car. If you help me out, I'll split it with you."
A million questions ran through my mind at once.
Why are troopers notifying our friends of moose struck by cars?
Is this a work thing? Are there injuries?
What exactly are we splitting?
Does my husband want to hear about this 30 minutes after renting a bulldozer at $500 per day?

Then it dawned on me: if we were splitting a moose, hunting season could be over! Oh for the love of all that is good!
I threw on muck boots and made my way through why used to be forest and tundra, and tried not to get run over.

It was gonna be a late night, by we were gonna be getting half a moose. J downed a bowl of homemade refried beans and some homemade salsa. Gone in 60 seconds.
Three hours later, J and friend returned victorious. It was a good road kill moose, only the legs broken and the troopers put the poor thing out of it's misery. The rest of the job was exactly like hunting.

For those still wondering (like I was) why troopers were calling our friends, well... I learned about something else I never knew existed: The Roadkill List.
No. I'm not joking.
Apparently there is a state list you can sign up on, and when it's your turn and there is something recently deceased, the state will all you and tell you to come harvest it.
Before you start saying, "Eeeewww!" keep in mind that if the state ever calls offering up skunk or something of that nature, we will decline. But a moose? With minor injuries? Which means my husband doesn't have to spend another week away from home in search of the elusive dinner? Sign me up for The Roadkill List.

That handled, some hot coffee to warm up the "hunters" (it was raining and chilly all day yesterday) and a short visit with our friends, and J decided to skip dinner and head back out to finish the dozer work. Not a small feat, mind you. The plan was about an acre or so of heavily wooded land. I don't know when he called it quits, I just know it was nearly 1 am when he crawled into bed.

Meanwhile, another friend dropped off our caribou sausage from THAT hunting trip. I made room in the freezers, and wondered where we were going to put a moose. I might be trying my hand at canning meat this fall. Or some of the salmon taking up space in the freezer.

The girls and I ate a dinner of popcorn and fruit salad. We wandered to the chicken coop between dozer passes and made an excitig discovery:
An Egg! From one of the young hens! Hooray! Hooray!
* Today there were TWO. Hopefully this means we'll be able to stop rationing around here soon!*
* Also, the first eggs a hen lays are usually smal. They are called pee-weed. Adorable! Tiny! And still edible. We celebrated by baking gluten free flat bread with the egg today.

Us girls continued our day from inside. We felt bad for J, in the dark and the rain, but when that man wants to get something done, well... Best to just leave him to it. I made a cozy fire, snuggled with the girls and read a hundred and one bedtime stories (ok, it might have just been ten or so), tucked the girls in, and fell asleep to the sounds of the dozer.
Poor J had to get up just hours after he went to bed. Off to work for the day. He was kind enough to let the chickens out for me. I made a hit cup of coffee, watched the rain come down, and surveyed the future farmland, animal pens, play yards of Little Farm on The Tundra.
It's gonna be fun.
Once the mud settles.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Guess Who's Not Gonna Be A Dairy Farmer

So our being able to consume dairy was a false alarm. It took a couple weeks to build back up in Little Nugget's system, and now we are back to managing severe tummy troubles and other issues.
Incidentally, we also had a gluten exposure, so Beans and I are itchy, scratchy, tummy troubled gals.

What I can say is this: after months without dairy, I thought I would really be excited to delve back into a world of cheese, yogurt, and ice cream but you know what? It wasn't really as good as I remember.

So, I don't ever have to worry about milking a cow at 40 below.


The chickens were granted a stay in their death sentences. We ended up knocking out a closet in our living room instead. We have discussed knocking out the closet before, but didn't plan on it being any time soon. After a leisurely morning of playing with the kids, we decided (at 5:00 pm) that the closet should go. So it did.
Demolition and clean up only took a couple hours.
This project added about 8 sq ft to the cabin. This is a lot when your cabin is already only 850 sq ft.
Other changes to the living room involves rearranging the furniture, then decking we are completely done with the television.
Um, this decision may have had something to do with an almost three year old shriekig at the top of her lungs, "I WILL SO watch tv whenever I want and you get my movie RIGHT NOW!"
Daddy wasn't having that little number, and within moments, the flat screen was in a box and in the crawl space.


The chickens also avoided sudden death today because J helped some friends move into their new home. By the time he got home and remembered thy he wanted to rent a dozer tomorrow to flatten the property, well... Let's just say he's STILL outside getting the rest of the brush cleared in preparation for that. No time for chicken killing.


The rest of the farm work is slowly grinding to a halt. A recent cold snap killed off the remaining pumpkin vines (sans pumpkins), and "Tommy Boy" (one of the turkeys who really does look like a fat man in a little coat) got to the last of my green onions. There are still three rows of potatoes to dig up and process, and a handful of tomatoes in the greenhouse trying to decide if they are goig to ripen or give up the ghost. The chickens continue to eat grain an feed without desire to earn their keep. A light and a timer will go
in the coop this weekend, as our daylight hours will finally fall below 14 hours of light.
Now is the season of "puttering".
The time of year where you wander around on the homestead trying to find work with a purpose. Aside from splitting and stacking wood, or making minor repairs, there's not a LOT of work to do. Or I should say, what's left is little tasks- draining and storing hoses, emptying the flower pots, pick up odds and ends debris, but mostly just take in the crisp fall air and wait for everything that's left to die or get buried in snow. There's still enough outdoor work (and sunshine with nice temps) left that you can't justify hunkering down indoors with winter projects, but not enough work to stay perpetually busy. Back in the south, that's what college ball was for.

I puttered a lot today. Let the girls play in the yard, watched J load brush on the trailer. Poked around in the chicken yard and watched Ricky Bobby try to woo the young hens, most of whom are undecided about chicken sex thus far. Enjoyed the fresh air, took in the scenery. Missed tailgate parties a little bit, then puttered around a bit in what's left of the garden. Was glad to go in and get supper on the table. (Salmon, peas, and potato salad, followed up with gluten free/ dairy free chocolate cake and coffee). Called a friend in the lower 48. Puttered some more.

Sure hope we can get a dozer in here tomorrow. All the puttering is driving me crazy. I'm ready for the next big project.
Meanwhile, it is time to sharpen the hatchet.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails