Well, the sun is coming in at an angle so I should have taken a picture last night, when I first put this jerky on the racks. But I hope you get the idea! they are still a bit moist after 5 hours drying at 80-90 degrees. The reflecting circle is the thermometer. The air is being gently blown off by the induction fan behind the racks. I'm very pleased! In the words of permaculurists: "Stacking Functions"!
This is the basic plan so far and it is quite open to manipulation and flexible, so any who wish to provide input may do so. We would love to see children aged 5 to adult join us. Children under 10 will need to have an adult along to help them with the more fidgety activities.
Arrive at Good Note at 9:15 and day ends when we're feeling done or around 3!
There will be ten weeks of Fridays working out to about 2 or 3 per month. (I have kept the First Friday free as I will be preparing those days for the monthly fiddle jams). It is my hope that participants come every time so that they get a good idea of what is involved in making their own food, and develop a true do-it-yourself, from scratch, attitude.
The cost is $200 for all 10 sessions or $25 as a drop in fee. Those wishing to drop in will have to give me two days notice so that I can get any needed supplies. The price would be $5 for siblings and parents that are accompanying, likely watching more than participating, but who knows !
Each day will begin with animal chores including milking Vicky, feeding chickens, goats and buck kids and general clean up of stalls and lounging areas. The cow will still be in milk until the end of April, so most cheese making activities will happen before that. The cob oven may need firing on warmer days as well, early in the day, as it may be needed for lunch! Gardening activities are still slow this time of year but there may be tomatoes to transplant, onions to trim, and beds to prepare. We will then go to a potluck lunch, either in or out depending on the weather. The afternoons will include the following activities on these days:
Mar. 14. Sourdough Bread and soft cheese
Mar. 21. Candles and Soap Felting
Mar. 28. Willow Tray
Apr. 11. Willow Basket with wood base (possible extra costs here)
Apr. 25. Wool carding and Spinning
May 9. Wool knitting and/or weaving
May 16. Cattail Mats and Mozzarella stretching
June 13. Cattail baskets
June 20. Soap making with herbs
June 27. Chicken feast - preparing chicken from scratch!
Register by calling me! Payment on the first day. Thanks, Maryann 780-887-7167 (cell) 780-941-2341 (home)
We have a bit of extra time these days to sit by the fire and read all the good books we got for Christmas, and because the girls are all either newly pregnant or not quite yet, they are making us lots of milk and we no longer have to share it with the kids and calves. So I am back to experimenting and making my title of "best dirty dish maker" stick to me forever! So far they all taste pretty good too. we'll let some age (in the fridge, as the cold storage isn't quite cold enough) and try them again in a few months.
This is the most awesome picture ever painted of our place, painted by Valerian, a wwoofer extraordinaire!!! while he sat on the hill beside the pond with the electric fence all around him and goats coming up for a nibble every now and then:
Well, this phone-camera-app combo sure makes bragging about our babies easy! Here are some photos I took today in prep for putting some of them onto Kijiji.
Well here goes. I'm updating this blog using my phone. I feel so .... so.... hmmm 'up to date'! That's a new feeling! Well its probably something others have been capable of for years but its new to me!!!
Speaking of new things: Murree had two boys yesterday. Andreas and Ashley.
Its hard to put it all down without just making a list of our current craziness. So far there are four kids; two each from the two newest does, so I guess they accepted the buck before the old girls did. I'm hoping for at least two more (Xindy and Xanadu) but the winter's worm load was too much for the others and the addition of an unproven buck seems to have aggravated the kid crop this year. Kinda sad, but glad we have a few anyways. Its pretty cool that both first time mommas had twins and that three of them are girls!
All 300 chicks are still doing great. Whey from Brano again this year and all eight families are contributing wonderfully.
The barn poles are going in the holes (drilled Sunday by Dave Ducherer) on Thursday. They were towed in backwards off the road by Kevin (<3) with his tractor. They sure are big and the process of getting them vertical still escapes me. I am hoping that I will have Marten's old phone working for me soon and I can update this blog with pictures off the phone. Yaaay for Travis.
We still have about 40 trees left to plant. Pin Cherries and Manitoba Maples. I've "heeled in" the leftover Choke Cherries on the south end of the raspberry patch, along with a couple of oaks. I also acquired some of Karen's Evan's Cherry suckers and have added them to the food forest north of the playground.
The Strawberry thinning has resulted in about one third of the patch weeded, but we basically scratched at the quack grass and its not going to look pretty for long.... I need some pigs in there! Same goes for the asparagus patch.
I have started the Willow Spiral to the North of the Solar panels, in the wet patch, and there are five species so far, but I would love more of the red barked variety we used this past winter ... must get out to those railroad right of ways and cut some more. Thanks to Rae Hunter for giving me the beautiful ones from Salt Spring Island and the Golden willows too!
I hope I get a couple hours to take in the New Sarepta Fair this weekend! You should all come!
Here's the basic Melon Basket, also known as a ribbed basket. I tried to make it flat on one side to sit against the pole.... it sorta works!
Here's a Round Basket with a 3 by 3 base. In the end I got tired of the simple alternating weave (can't remember the name of that one) so I did a French Rand for the upper part. I love that one... so even and beautiful. Finished with a 5 by 2 rod border. We'll be making a version of this with the homeschoolers this Friday. Maybe a little shorter, as this one took me 3 hours to make and they may take longer, it being their first.
With the help of Dakota and his most excellent patient skills we managed to get the little bull of our eastern neighbour loaded, despite the snowy access, icy gate and straight fence line with no corners. Its all in the grain I guess... I suppose that could be the only reason to have animals addicted to the stuff... they come like babies to candy. He (bull, not Dakota) is settled in nicely and even comes right up to the gate when I let the girls in for milking. The sad thing is that we will now be milking Xixi every evening (as well as morning) throughout the summer. I sure hope we get a better barn set up before she calves... but if all goes well, she should at least have her calf before it gets too cold. I'll miss the summer calf sharing, but maybe that means less milking next winter.... hmmm that might be OK after all! ah ha "on a good note" we will be milking only one cow at night next winter!!!! LOL
We had a wonderful weekend of basketry here, cutting on Saturday and weaving on Sunday. I'm so happy to be learning from Rae Hunter. I would love to go to the weaving retreat she is going to ... must plan ahead for that and go next year for sure. In the meantime I'm joining facebook groups (disregard my last blog... I'm hopeless...) that she has recommended and finishing off great new basket ideas. I think I'm finally ready to teach a few more basketry classes here. I'm starting with our Homeschooling group (with their parents!) Its going to be great! This summer I will definitly be planting bullrushes.
Drying up Vicky this coming weekend and goats should start to show soon.... I'm slowly getting spring fever!
I heard on CBC tonight how we humans are losing our connectedness to others with our increasing dependance on technology and how we have been slowly conditioned to accept this. Well, I can say that I thought I was connecting using Facebook, but now I'm not so sure. What I am thinking now is that I will perhaps change my focus, stop all the time-wasting I do checking Facebook every night, perhaps update this blog more often, with pictures, and keep a list in my email account to send out announcements regarding farmy things in the future. That way no one has to have an account with Google, yahoo or Facebook, etc.
I might miss out on activities, but if I'm meant to go I'm sure I'll hear about it. In the meantime, maybe the dishes will get done, or more cheese will be made, or books read or research and development!
Call me, come for tea, lets cook together....
We had a wiener roast and a ski tonight at Islet Lake in the Blackfoot. Beautiful night with great people. Thanks Anna, Treva, Devon, Christine and of course my little ski buddy, Rigel. There was the almost full moon with her companion, Jupiter, ringed with a double rainbow of colour and wispy clouds passing by.
Well, there seems to be the normal farm flow happening these days. Helpers coming weekly and new ones learning the 'ropes'. This year's hay is a bit disappointing, with more than half of it either moldy or too old to have any nutrition left in it, which means that we are getting quite the spent hay pile for anyone that wants good mulch for next year.
Two things I would really like to see... OK maybe more...
1. pigs eating all the quack grass
2. a freshly weeded and quack grass free asparagus patch
3. a clay oven
4. a thatched shade/wind break around the fire pit
5. Rigel's hut finished
6. More people coming out here to visit and learn and work.
Here are the two fuzzy winter beauties: Zara and Zoe