I have had a great couple of days here sharing our little homestead and our lives with my new friend.
Kimberly has recently followed her heart to Alaska and our family has been blessed to make her acquaintance. The kids have been very excited to share their space with someone new, I have gained a friend who has much in common we me and dear Hubby and Papa Fred have enjoyed having this young woman around to teach the useful art of safe gun handling. As it turns out she is a natural and is already handling both
pistol and rifle like a pro!
Kimberly is an adventurous woman and reminds me so much of myself in the fact she wants to experience all life has to offer. I feel very blessed to call her friend.
My chicks have a had a rough go of it but still have some that are growing and doing well so I just keep reminding myself of the successes and working on a new brooder plan to ensure a better survival rate for the next batch. Off grid is not easy but to be successful you cannot dwell on the losses you must keep moving forward and that’s exactly what I plan to do.
I submitted my first article ever to a major publication last week. I may not know for awhile if it is accepted or rejected but will tell you either way I won’t be discouraged. I have had many contacts with magazines that have asked or suggested that I submit articles. For awhile I questioned their sanity, then I questioned why would anyone want to read anything I write and after much deliberation, speculation and a severe case of what I now know is writers block I have decided I am not a writer. I cannot just magically make words appear on paper (or a computer screen) I have to just share what is in my head like I was telling a friend about my day.
I love Alaska, our homestead and my life so much and feel so blessed to be right where I am right now I guess it’s contagious as I have had a lot of nice people out there telling
Me how they are living their lives vicariously through our daily adventures. I’m thankful that I get to share it with others as it’s just too awesome a place to keep it to myself!
Still no winter here so moving on to spring and praying that winter does not decide to make a late appearance. I hope to begin my plant starts soon (when I can find room indoors) then get the greenhouse started. I feel like I’m behind schedule already with much to do in a very short time frame . Worrying and fretting about getting things done is weighing heavy on me and is probably the cause of my latest bout of insomnia that is leaving me feeling completely drained.
Well folks that’s about all I have to share right now so for now I will go. May you continue to be blessed beyond measure and I will see you all soon!
I feel like spring is in the air with the new life here on Two Moose Farm. Baby chicks arrived today and although we have lost two, one was crushed by the others during shipping and one was being pecked on by the others (which is usually a sign something is wrong with it, the rest seem to be doing well. Here is a video of when they first arrived
As you can imagine it’s quite noisy but they do have their quiet times and seem to have quieted down more now that I have added an oil lamp to the brooder for light.
Little Racer has become a pest. He does really well outside playing with Etta until one of us goes outside or he hears something inside-today he heard the chicks and had to come investigate. His curiosity got the better of him and he proceeded to jump into the brooder and that ended his meet and greet with the chicks.
Here is a video of Racer and you will hear Missy in the background reprimanding my son Caleb for daring to mess with the babies.
We will begin our rabbit breeding season again in the next couple of weeks so we can be sure to have plenty of Easter Bunnies available. Don’t worry though we have a program that keeps the rabbits out of the shelters. Rabbits are so cute to so many until they become adults. Personally I think rabbits make great pets as they are easily litter box trained, can be taught to fetch, sit up and many other tricks. They are very clean animals who love attention.
Spring is in the air and I am noticing more and more green growth out here during my walks. I so want to hurry it up but I know that winter could arrive at anytime so will try to be patient. I will say that the thoughts of the greenhouse going up early have crossed my mind many times and I may have to sweet talk my dear hubby into beginning construction soon.
Weatherman is calling for snow next week but at the same time continued warm temps so I will expect rain as it appears to be the norm this year. One thing I have noticed is the ice is getting thinner so maybe breakup will not be so bad this year.
Well I am off once again to gaze at my gardening charts and dream of green things growing in abundance. If I can talk dear hubby into it, my greenhouse could be producing potatoes by May! Have a blessed weekend all.
p.s. I do have a favor to ask. If you could please go to my “About” page there is a follow button on the left hand side of the screen. If you haven’t followed already would you please do so? Thank You!
Many times you see me post about having Moose, Wolves, and Bears for neighbors but truly we have some awesome human neighbors too. We have met so many people since we moved here and they are all so very kind, always willing to share advice, assistance and the bounty they have. We may be remote but we are definitely not isolated!
Last week a couple of guys Mike knows came out to the cabin as they wanted to get away and play in this wonderful land we call home and George the bachelor (we know several Georges he is the only bachelor-hence the nickname) decided he needed to clean out his freezer and cupboards of non essential bachelor food that I assume was accumulated from visitors coming from the lower. What a great gift! Lots of baking goods like chocolate chips, walnuts and the like and he filled my little freezer with salmon, halibut and a few other things. It was like Christmas!
Mike was in town and some folks he met out here on the trail told him to stop by for a cup of coffee and he came home with me fish and two packs of wild pig sausage-Thank You Robin and Dan that was the very best sausage EVER!!!!! I do love wild pig and its been many years since I have hunted or ate any (I hunted them as a kid in California. I highly suggest to anyone who gets the chance to eat wild pig do so and you won’t regret it. (I met Robin in town for the first time yesterday what an awesome lady!)
Then there’s my lady friends out on the road who I rarely get to see anymore but who I chat with on facebook or text message. Shana, Maura, Mary, Carly, Heather, Kristine and Stephanie who have made me feel like I belong here. They are always full of encouragement and crochet hooks when mine are misplaced
Living offgrid is definitely different today than it was 30 years ago. Technology has it so we don’t have to be disconnected from the world as people are just a phone call or a few clicks away. My two dearest friends Cathy from North pole-Aunt Cathy to my kids and Jen in Colorado are my support system when I am having one of those days that we moms seem to have and talking to another mom is the only thing that will make things right again.
So now you all know we aren’t hermits we have interaction with other humans and yet I still talk to my animals-some things will never change. Good Night and God Bless you all.
3:30 a.m and once again I’m awake listening to the rain fall and wondering what will flood next. This first year in Alaska has taught me a minimum 18 inches above ground level will be the norm on any and all new building projects.
The constant rain freeze melt cycle this winter has made lots of extra work to keep the critters snug and dry. The goat barn has flooded and so has the pigs shelter. Dear hubby has elevated the floor of the barn temporarily until the actual break up when we will permanently elevate it to prevent any further problems and he has diligently cut drainage ditches in the ice to keep piggies on dry ground. So blessed am I to have a man that works so hard to keep things going.
Received a much needed tool for Christmas from my friends Tracy and Ken. They sent us a 3000 lb. winch for our 4 wheeler. Hopefully I can rescue myself when stuck in the mud and muck instead of having to be rescued so much by dear hubby. Yes, I realize that many of you will miss my mud diving antics but never fear I am sure there will be other mishaps to take it’s place!
Yesterday we made a quick trip to town to get the mail and attempted to beat the rain but were not successful. We probably would of returned much drier had a gentleman not stopped at the beginning of the trail to introduce himself. I’m not much for socializing in the freezing rain but when he stepped out of his truck said “my names Marty and I have a junk yard” he had my full attention. Yes I am a junk yard junky. I live scrap metal and old things of all sorts. The world we live in today is disposable and such a waste. I look forward to my next trip out to go and visit his junk piles. He even said come spring I could have some rhubarb from his patch! Scrap metal and rhubarb-this guy and I have much in common. Hubby is already cringing I’m sure at the prospect of the next project I will have for him to build.
While we are on the subject of building here are the latest projects that have been completed. Papa Fred bored with the rain and outside adventures is spending this rainy time out here helping with projects. Tired of my complaining about storage he got my over the stove shelves built and they are perfect. No more clattering of stuff falling as I am shuffling around at 3 a.m doing the daily baking.
Dear Hubby decided the rain wasn’t going to keep him idle either. Off to the sawmill he went and returned with beautiful water logged boards that were milled last week. My job was to dry the boards so he could build the shelving over our bed. Not one to hold up progress I expedited the process with the woodstove. Mind you I was multitasking as usual and a couple of times the kids reminded me that the boards needed turned by yelling “Mom!!!!! Smoke!!!” Alright so a couple or three boards got a bit drier than the rest but the lumber now dry was soon transformed into shelving for storage. Much needed storage.
Rain, sleet,snow nor wind will slow down our progress and neither will a bit of smoldering lumber!
Looking forward to another arrival of baby chicks and praying this batch gets here alive. So sad to see the loss of life but as with all things there will be losses. My homemade non electric brooder is ready and so am I for these new little babies. I will post more about this after their arrival.
Kids staying busy with schoolwork as we have a goal to have the majority done by the end of April and then can spend the last month of school on science projects aka gardening. Growing things is an important part of our lives and the kids are excited to be able to take a more active roll.
Not much longer until the birch tree sap will be flowing so I’m busy gathering containers for that and will need to get more taps made. Thinking this will be a good project for all in the evenings. Whittle a willow branch and hollow it out. Not much to it but still another project that needs to be completed in a timely fashion.
Once the run starts it will be a busy time collecting sap and cooking down to syrup and bottling for sale. I will keep you all posted when it’s complete and ready for shipping.
Never much idle time around here but God continues blessing us with the bounty of this earth and the health and strength to reap the harvest and I will continue to be thankful.
Have a blessed day all.
I’m sure I am not the only one who has “just one of those days”. You know what I’m talking about where your motivation level is scrambling to get above zero yet you know there’s much to be done. Today was my day for that. I haven’t been sleeping, in part to critters needing checked on but mainly because I am an insomniac.
The weather isn’t helping either-more rain. Now don’t get me wrong rain can be a good thing but when there’s been over 200 days of it in 10 months I have to admit it is getting old.
Okay pity party over-time to pull up my big girl panties and get on with living!
Have another batch of chicks coming the end of the week so praying they arrive in good shape. I get so excited about new life. I do hope one of my new girls will have the personality of my girl Betty who I had to leave behind in the move here. I miss Betty. Betty would sit on my knee and drink coffee with me as we discussed the important things in life and dreamt of green gardens. Yes I did talk to a chicken and yes she answered me back-Betty understood days like today.
No new goat babies but getting closer. I will keep everyone posted but for now I must go as my family seems to think they need to be fed. Have a blessed night all.
Wow there are ALOT of social media sites out there! I joined facebook several years ago but that was about the extent of my social media reach until recently.
In the last couple of months I have discovered Twitter@offgridmom, Google plus@Off Grid Alaska, and now instagram@ off_grid_mom.
I ave made many new friends and that is very exciting! I hope that you will all add me so we can make our friendship circles grow!
Sadly I have to tell you all of our chicks died. It was a good fight though and I believe that had they been from another producer they may not have made it as far as they did. Ideal poultry already answered my message and let me know they would be replaced. I did inform hem that I didn’t believe it was their fault but still they tell me they will replace them. What a great company!
Today was one of those days for sure. As most know I had issues with the delivery of baby chicks and lost most but there’s more to the story of how my day went.
Little Racer had the unfortunate luck to be born a little boy goat. Boy goats (Billys) are foul smelling creatures as when they mature they pee on their heads to attract the ladies-I am so glad that is not a human thing! Eeeeewww!!!! Not wanting or needing another billy goat I have decided little racer will be sold for either a companion wether or for meat depending on the buyer. In order to have him no longer a hormonal male as he gets older (and to avoid the stink) he must be castrated and that is exactly what happened today. Dear hubby held the squirming little guy and I did the ugly deed. Moments later he was back out running and being his obnoxious little self and still wanting to follow me around so musn’t have been as difficult for him as it was for me.
Many are probably curious as to how to raise baby chicks without electricity to run a brooder. In the old days they would simply leave in a box behind the woodstove but I have devised a system that allows them to stay at a more constant temp and is easier to regulate. I use a pot of hot water covered with a large stainless bowl turned upside down then placed in the middle of a rubber water trough and the chicks can move closer or further away depending on what is comfortable. I then cover half the trough to keep heat in and leave the other end exposed so if they get too warm they can move. The water temp to start off with is about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This will last about 3 hours as it warms the bottom of the tub also. Every three hours reheat the water. Decreasing by 5 degrees a week until they are fully feathered out. A lot of work but no one said off grid was going to be easy.
Very sad day today. I had ordered 25 barred rock chicks and they were supposed to arrive yesterday but got mixed up in Anchorage and weren’t delivered until today. They were all froze except for 2 that made quiet little peeping sounds. Ice was in the box if that will give you an idea of how cold these little things were.
Many people have a preconceived notion that farmers feel nothing for their animals and that could not be more untrue. Every life is precious. Just because we eat animals does not mean we devalue their lives, it simply means we value them for their purpose and yet believe their lives should be spent in relative comfort until the moment of their demise.
Not being one to ever give up I refused to believe that the end is always the end-There has to be one more chance. So I said a prayer and decided to thaw them out before I gave up. After many hours of thawing I now had 7 chicks that were breathing and chirping yet very weak. Still not ready to throw in the towel I mixed corn syrup and water and began feeding them one at a time. I have lost 2 more but knowing I gave it my best shot made their passing much easier on my heart. I don’t know what will happen but I do know that live or die these precious little babies if they pass will have been warm, dry and nestled in the palms of someone who loved them if only for a short time.
Yes life and death on the farm is a daily event but even though losing animals hurts I pray I never lose the compassionate side of me for that would be a tragedy. There are already too many in the world who are uncaring and unfeeling.
Out here hauling lumber is impractical as the only time it could be done is winter. Our practical solution was to purchase a sawmill and even though it took a lot of work and many hours we finally got it out here and have put it to work.
This sawmill is a workhorse and very economical to run as it will run for 8 hours on 2 gallons of gas. With all the trees we have here (many standing dead or laying on top of each other from a windstorm many years ago) having a sawmill just makes sense.
Here is a video of the sawmill running. It can be ran by one man but is much quicker when 2 are working together cutting and stacking.
Mike and Papa Fred Milling Lumber
We have used the woodmizer15 to mill lumber for our cabin, outbuildings and even furniture.
Everything here at Two Moose is a family affair. We are so very blessed to live in this beautiful country.