Haven't had much snow this year until Saturday night and all of yesterday. We didn't get as much as further south, but we got something like 8 inches. The real trouble is was the strong winds which made for plenty of drifts.
Here are my shots from around the farm:
And here is one that is just pretty and will help us think warm thoughts;
Pretty plant that Greg bought me the last time we were in town.
Last week there was nothing really pressing that had to be done, except for taking care of the meat sheep wether we had. It was time for him to be done eating and for us to start eating him. We had talked about doing it ourselves. We went back and forth. The weather was giving us grief, it was just too cold to work out in it. Then we saw a break and decided to go ahead and do it ourselves. So on January 22 we began the process which in total took three days. Granted one day we did nothing on it as we had something else to do.
Now mind you, we have never butchered our own sheep before. Yes, we just did a goat wether, but the size difference is significant.
The sheep was so large that we had to use the tractor to haul it from where we shot it to where we hung it up to bleed and be gutted and skinned. I would guess it was somewhere close to 175 pounds.
It took us around one hour to get the job done and then we left it to hang overnight. On Friday we proceeded to debone most of the front two thirds. Most of it was made into stew meat with a few nice cuts to be used as roasts. On Sunday we did the hind legs where we got some more stew meat and four nice leg of lamb roasts. The main "hams" were cut into two pieces.
I now know why the price for processing a sheep at Bellengar's is $100, it is A LOT OF WORK. Greg and I were whipped the evening of the first two thirds.
I have the pelt that is now waiting to be defleshed, salted, and stretched to dry. Then I will tan it and decide what I want to make from it. This one has almost four inch long wool, so it would be a really NICE rug.
So now that we have all that work done we have about 70 pounds of fresh almost organic meat in our freezer. That feels really good. As my granddaughter Marion, would say "It feels fulfilling."
Having done this and also having had a short talk with a friend that I haven't spoken with in over 40 years has made me realize something...I am doing just what I have ALWAYS wanted to do, and I think that I am doing a pretty good job at it as well. I can be self-sufficient. I could, should the need arise, feed myself and my extended family. If we worked together we could, at the very least have enough food to keep us all well fed.
Being self-sufficient is something that I have always had as a goal for my self. I can remember buying our first house and thinking where I was going to plant fruit trees and where I would put my garden. I also remember when I was just a kid, two of my friends came over to play and what we were playing was "plant the garden". We were pretending to plant a garden in my backyard. We were just grade school kids. I guess I wasn't just playing, I was setting myself life long goals.
Now if I could just figure out why the pictures we took the other day are not on the camera or my cell phone. I had some really goofy shots and I wanted to use one right here....
Nothing super exciting this week. Did see a Red Fox in the pit on Sunday when I was rabbit hunting.
On Sunday evening Jeremiah brought Marion up to spend a few days. She was feeling kind of cramped in their small apartment and needed some away time. We went rabbit hunting on Monday and I shot one with the BB gun! After Marion and I dressed it we decided to make rabbit stew for supper. We dug carrots from the garden. While we were digging she said "this feels so fulfilling." I like the way the girl thinks! The stew was good and it was made from items from the farm.
Marion ended up staying until Wednesday afternoon. We did really nothing of great interest, just spent time together. We watched our usual programs which are mostly about living in Alaska or being self-sufficient. Along the theme of living like the old days, Greg found on YouTube, the series "The 1900's House" from years ago on PBS. Marion watched the complete series. She said it might be fun to go somewhere so she could do the same sort of thing. I would agree myself.
We also watched the last two episodes of "Harry Potter" as well as "Puss in Boots". Here is what we looked like all cozy on the hide a bed and in our jammies with the doggies too!
Gosh is it cold! Can't do much outside other then what has to be done. Certainly won't be doing anything with horses. I have been studying about training methods. But all that won't help until it warms up some.
I did make myself a hat and mittens that have a horse theme. They go with the hoodie that Jenn gave me for Christmas. Turn out nice.
I also added some pictures to my picture file. Wow it doesn't take long for a cute puppy to become a cute small dog. Check this out:
Quite the armful!
Just barely an armful!
Here is my newest favorite picture of Sigrid. It was taken awhile ago as you can tell by the grass instead of snow.
I love her soulful eyes.
Here is a sentiment that I firmly believe...
Yup that is me...plenty of dog pictures!
I should mention that in the past week I have canned six pints of beef soup and six quarts of canned beef. These will be my convenience foods as I am still planning on not going to the grocery store for as long as possible in 2015. Ten days down and counting.
Wow, it's been six months since I last blogged. Time flies! Sure hope to do better now.
The Holidays are mostly over. New Years is this coming Thursday. I have one more Christmas to celebrate, that is with my big brother and his wife. Then things will settle down to a different routine. During the cold months there isn't much going on outdoors, I just try to keep up with the usual chores and make sure that when kidding time is getting close I have everything ready.
I have decided to declare 2015 as my year of the horse. I hope to get back to my first real passion and spend a lot more time doing horsey things. I am planning on doing a lot of on the ground work this winter and build a better bond with my pony Porchia. I have been reading books and watch videos about build respect and confidence on the ground, so I think I am ready to begin doing some of the work.
I may even go out after I am done with this and do my first set of exercises. Each one builds upon the first ones. The method I am going to use is Clinton Anderson's method. I watched his program about training a wild horse and it all seemed to be an easy to follow program.
Needless to say, I hope to report on the results here.
I am also training Sigrid. She will be mentioned as well in this record. And pictured as well. So far she is a very quick little girl and I will need to stay on top of her training.
One thing that is kind of note worthy of today, I canned seven pints of turkey soup from our leftover turkey. I also bagged up and froze a good portion of the ham as well. The ham bones are simmering now and I plan to make both bean soup as well as potato soup using what scrapes come off the bones. Both of those will be frozen.
Greg and I agreed to try to see how long we could go before we HAD to go to the grocery store. I stocked up on staples like flour, sugar, and coffee. There is plenty of meat in the freezer as well as frozen and canned veggies. Today I went out to the garden a pulled a few carrots to put into the soup. There are beets, carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips still out there covered with straw to keep them from freezing. There is also winter squash in the attic along with onions from the garden and a 50 pound bag of potatoes from Chita's work place. I think we can go for quite sometime before we have to shop for food.
Anyone else want to except the challenge to eat from the fridge/freezer/cellar along with us?
Well since this isn't a very interesting entry I think I should make good on what I said about starting the first exercise while the sun is still shinning.
Be safe and enjoy your new year celebrations. See you in the new year!
Being in the area of Mt. Morris yesterday, my husband and I went to check out the trails at E A Cummings Center. When we arrived there was a judged trail ride just breaking up. There were several riders left and I spoke with a couple. I asked if there were trails that I horse and cart could maneuver. I was told that there were some that would be okay and others that were only wide enough for one horse.
We decided to walk some of the trail. We drove down to a parking area and then went for a walk. There was a trail wide enough, but the gate was closed and the area next to it that you could see horses that been through was about 6 foot wide. My cart might be able to get through it, but I'm not positive. Aside from that, the trail was wide and lined with underbrush and trees which at this time of year were all in autumnal dress. It would be a very pretty drive.
I didn't have the camera, so there are no pictures, but I am sure if I had been there for a drive there would be plenty to be taken.
While doing a repair job on a knife sheath for a friend I became aware of a feeling of deep deja vu like I had done the same thing before. But I have never done anything with leather working. The stitches came so very easy and even though I had the sheath for much longer then I should have(just kept forgetting about it), I got it done in no time and it doesn't even look like it's been repaired.
I've had this feeling before while learning a new skill. I remember feeling this way when I first was shown how to spin...I felt like I had done it before, it seemed so much easier then I expected it to be.
Doing hay is another time that feels so much part of me. I feel very peaceful when doing this job. Thinking a lot about what it would be like to do with horses rather then our 1950's tractor and equipment.
I've heard it said that some people are "old souls", and I wonder if that could be me. I know some don't believe that we may have lived before, but I have a feeling that that just might be the case. Nothing is more comforting to me then to be doing something "old fashioned". Even sitting around a campfire leads my thoughts to what it might have been like to travel to a new homestead in the wilderness. It is a warm thought, not one wrought with fear, but with comfort.
Here I sit using a computer and I feel quite comfortable doing this, but I really did feel "all thumbs" when I first started to learn how to use this technology, but there are times when I do something very low tech that it just comes without much fumbling. Like old brain networks are relight and muscles remember the process.
And I do, like many others sometimes do wish things could go back to a simpler time. I know it really wasn't that simple, there were just as many worries, just more personal. Now a days there is so much outside stimulation for things that we really have no control over...wars in other countries, religious struggles, Victoria Secret ads, lost and starving children and animals...it just gets over whelming.
I guess it's time for me to put up my stockade around my place and do some blocking out of the outside world. Watch less TV news and such! Focus on what is personal to me...family, friends, and critters. Make my life more simple.
So, I guess this "old soul" is done rambling for the day. Don't know if any of this will make sense to anyone else, but I feel better having said it.
Ad journal writing as another old skill. I have my Great Grandmother diary and to read those entries are such a pleasant adventure for me. Maybe I should go read one now...