2012 December Update

I realize it's been a while since I've written here, but so much has happened.

My Tween has turned into a 16 year old with autism and epilepsy. He has some neurons that didn't form correctly in his brain (in utero) and some lesions and a small tumor.

We live out in the boonies, on a tiny 2 acres. Goats: 2 girls, 1 baby girl, 1 buck and 1 wether.  Chickens: about 50 ranging from 3 days old to 2 years old, bantams and standards. Chicken varieties: silkies, cuckoo marans, black australorps, red stars, eggers (standard size and bantam), and all kinds of crosses that we hatched ourselves. 

We grow as much of our food as possible but it'll be years before nut trees and some of our fruit trees bear. Loved the red raspberries and blueberries we ate this summer; we're adding even more plus yellow raspberries, purple raspberries, blackberries and currants in 2013.

Started a goat milk cheese share program in 2012 to help pay for my kid's expenses. Going well and have gotten egg and produce customers from it too.

We still have a LOT more to do but yes, we consider ourselves homesteaders.

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Check out our farm's website we just started: Rosemary Ridge

Pioneer Tips: tea, cheese and more

More tips from the pioneer people book (edited):

The first tender leaves of the ordinary currant-bush, gather as soon as they grow, and dried on tin, can taste the same as green tea. (No info as to whether it has the same antioxidant benefit).

Do you make your own cheese? Have too much? Cover them carefully with paper (assuming butcher paper, but not sure), and fasten with flour-paste (white wheat flour mixed with water and sometimes salt). This will keep out air and probably pests. Keep in a dry cool place, for possibly a year or two, or maybe more.

Save your bottles instead of recycling them. Then, when you go to make wine or beer or cider or vinegar, you'll have a good supply of them.

Do not wrap your steel flatware, knives or utensils in wool. Wrap them in good strong paper. Steel degrades when exposed to wool for a long period of time.

Keeping lard is easy: place it in a dry cool place. Pack in tin rather than earthen. (Wonder how plastic fares?!?)

Pack your butter in a clean scalded firkin (a fourth of a size of a barrell), cover it with strong brine, and spread a good cloth over the top. If you have a little bit of salt-peter, dissolve it with the brine.

That's it for now. I have to stop these tips for a while. I'll try to get to them in the next few weeks. Try! Pg14

Pioneer Tips: Cleaning

More tips from the book of pioneer people (edited):

If you wish to preserve healthy teeth, clean thoroughly after your last meal or snack of the day.

Never throw away rags just because they look dirty. Mop-rags, lamp-rags and all can be completely washed (use the last of dirty soapy water), then dry and place in a rag-bag. (Yes, it's time to bring back the rag-bag!). If rags are beyond repair or hope, scrape them into lint and use to make felt, or old-fashioned poultices.

If a favorite stark-white item becomes dingy, take it apart and thoroughly clean it. While it is still damp, wash it 2 or 3 times in strong and strained saffron tea (to stain it). You could also use marigold leaves or yellow onion peel to make a "dye". Repeat the applications until the item is the desired color. Put it back together, press it on the wrong side with a warm iron, and there you have it!

Moths will attack your woolens without hesitation. Anything with a very strong spicy smell can keep them away. Just brush out the clothing, pack them in a dark place covered with linen. Sprinkle around pepper, red-cedar chips, tobacco, and even cotton balls with camphor.

more another time!

Possible change to blog

I asked this yesterday at www.survival-cooking.com but asking here too ... Keeping up with these blogs is very time consuming ... not that I mind, usually! We're getting ready to embark on an intensive homesteading adventure, and may not be able to work on blogs daily.

So... I'm thinking about combining our blogs (cooking, gardening, homesteading, survival, storage, homeschooling, etc.) into one. I would eventually move posts to the new and combined blog.

We have a lot of readers, and I value your opinion. Thoughts?

Pioneer Tips: Bugs and Cleaning

More tips from my pioneer people book (edited):

Cockroaches and most vermin have an aversion to spirits of turpentine. Use it to take out spots of paint and to clean.

If vermin are in your walls, fill up the cracks with verdigris-green-paint. (The following is from wikipedia: Verdigris is the common name for the green coating or patina formed when copper, brass or bronze is weathered and exposed to air or seawater over a period of time. It is usually a basic copper carbonate, but near the sea will be a basic copper chloride. If acetic acid is present at the time of weathering, it may consist of copper(II) acetate.)

The more often your shake rugs and carpet, the longer they wear. When dirt collects in them, it wears down the thread.

Don't clean brass with vinegar. It makes them very clean at first but soon they will spot and tarnish. Use instead flannel and rum (!) or oil.

Never clean marble fireplaces with soap as this will destroy polish over time. Dust, or take spots off with an oiled cloth, then gently rub with a soft rag.

Feathers should be completely dried before using. After plucking, place immediately (lightly!) in baskets, then stir often. Keep them free from dirt and moisture. Place a light cheesecloth-type cloth over the top to keep them from being blown away. From time to time, dry in an oven (after it's been turned off from baking) to stand for several hours.

When you have a feather bed, change out the feathers regularly (at least once a year, during Spring Cleaning). Empty out the "tick" or mattress. Wash the feathers completely in a tub of suds. Spread out to dry thoroughly. That should make them as good as new.

Rum (especially "New England Rum") can be used to wash hair. It will keep it very clean and free from disease, and supposedly will help it grow in healthy. Brandy strengthens the roots of hair but has a hot drying tendency. (Hmmm... good for people with oily hair, huh?).

more another time!