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Another Day in the Life
Today was much like every other day feed kids, do schoolwork, animal care and preparing for the arrival of my 25 Barred Rock pullet chicks. I have to admit I have been bitten by the spring bug and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.
I spent some time today going through my seeds and have a confession to make-I’m a seed junky. I bet I have enough seeds gathered that I could plant 10 acres-okay more than 10 easily. I do plan on maximizing my greenhouse space though as I have been doing a lot of research on companion gardening and also vertical gardening. Come on spring!
I have had many sleepless nights with the goat babies. Just as one accepts her role as mother here comes another kid and a momma without a clue which means I must intervene and assist until she finally gets the hang of it. Yes this does have many moments of frustration!
The clear nights and beautiful moon have had me distracted too. I go out for a quick trip to the barn to care for the babies and find myself spending much time just gazing up at the sky and have been rewarded twice this week with the entrancing dance of the aurora borealis. It is quite spectacular to see the waves of green dipping and swirling, the green hues so intense then quickly fading away. The moon has been so bright at night I am surprised that I could see any northern lights at all. Its an amazing thing when you can watch the moon setting in front of the cabin and the sun rising in the back.
Today while I spent time with the other goats who have yet to kid, Henry and Lil Bit the Billies I was giving them their peanut butter treat (yes they like to eat peanut butter from a spoon) and I suddenly found myself on my back, feet straight in the air and surrounded by very concerned goats. Henry had to rush up to me look down and console me as only he can do. It is remarkable how each animal takes on a different personality depending on the circumstance. Henry as you know is ALWAYS in trouble. His inquisitive mind keeps him in tight spots and he has developed this low murmuring bleat that tells me he is in a bind and needs help. When I fell he immediately began that same bleat that told me he was concerned or maybe he was just letting me know it was my turn to be in a pickle! After getting assistance from two of my 2 legged children on getting upright on the ice and assuring my 4 legged children all was right in the world I had to chuckle, who else talks to their goats and has the goats talking back?
Still winter has refused to make an appearance but the sawmill is once again running and soon we will begin building more cages and pens for the ever expanding animals here on Two Moose and the greenhouse will be going up late next month. I will then put a woodstove in to keep all my little seedling warm as they begin a new life and I can once again have the feel of soil between my fingers and breath in the aroma of the earth.
I once again apologize for the poor picture quality but it is the best I can do with what I have and I hope they give you a glimpse of this blessed life I am living.
Still no winter here in Alaska and that brings an entirely new set of problems. Most would see this warm weather as a blessing but when having to go out at 1a.m to prepare to assist in a 2a.m feeding it can be a daunting task. I am getting a bit ahead of myself so let me explain. Princess being penned up with Bella and baby Etta for so long decided she was the surrogate momma to Etta. Along comes Racer this large annoying little fur ball who was demanding her attention and she was having none of that and Bella not liking Racer either I was forced to pen little Racer and Ella separate from the mommas and assist in feedings. Not wanting a new set of chores (bottle feeding babies) I must hold and guide Princess in the fine art of motherhood while little Racer is nursing. Now this may not seem like such a daunting task until you take into account before even getting into the barn you have to remove the icy sludge that has drained down due to the warm weather not completely freezing water from the rain. This is causing quite a mess. Yes folks I will take cold and snow over semi cold and rain any day! Once the slushy semi frozen tundra slurpee has been removed from in front of the doors I open the babies doors and inevitably Etta will dart around or under my legs then a 5 minute game of chase me ensues as she darts back and forth over the icy hills and dales of her imaginary play land until SHE decides the fun time is over and is ready to sidle up to the milk fountain at which time she will then allow me to pick her up and take her to her momma. Next comes reopening the door at which time it’s anyone’s guess whether Racer is going to jump from a stack of feed sacks or dart from beneath something to repeat Ella’s little antics. Once I have him cornered I must then hold onto this wiggling bundle of legs while renegotiating with the mommas door all the while holding a flashlight to navigate with and praying Etta has not finished eating yet and wants to play another round of catch me. Yes 2a.m. feedings are quite the workout and I find myself being quite thankful that she did not have twins and grateful that through all the frustrations my dear hubby responds with “sure honey” when I awake him in the middle of the night to assist me with shoveling/kid chasing and nurse mate duty.
Just another blessed day on Two Moose Farm. Goodnight or is it good morning all!
Goodbye 2014 hello New Life
The last day of 2014 brought a new life to us here on Two Moose Farm. Our goat known as Bubbles Jr. aka Princess gave birth to a healthy and quite large baby boy. Of course this particular goat has been a challenge for months as she was injured by an overly amorous buck and has been babied all winter. Her birthing today was not an easy one as the kid had a leg back and as I said was quite large but I am happy to report he is healthy, quite active and very vocal. As some of you know my friend Shana gifted some of the goats to me in the beginning so was quite excited to hear about this birth as the momma was one of her own babies and I bestowed the honor of naming him to her. The name she chose was Racer as he has a racing stripe down his back-I do hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Shana’s daughter Melissa has requested the next female born be called Illiamna after the volcano across the bay and I decided that would be a great name and we will call her Illy but to make the rest of the season fun for all after little Illy makes her appearance we will have a contest where the winner will be the one to name the next baby. I haven’t worked out the details but will keep you all informed. Goat babies are so much fun!
The New Year rang in about 40 minutes ago and for once I am awake but yet was so busy checking critters I missed it. Happy New Year’s everyone!!!! I have to say though I did spend it with some of my favorite souls even though they are four legged.
We have had three days of rain and it totaled just over 5 inches, the ice is rapidly melting and my husband reported the creek is out of its banks and the water level is nearing the bridge. Such an odd thing to have in the last days of December but I will not let this get me down as the years to come I am sure will make up for the missed snow this year.
Dear hubby got my freezer in today and I will get it placed and well insulated then run it until I have water bottles frozen solid then an hour or so every couple of days to keep it frozen. I debated for a long time on doing this but with gas prices falling I will indulge myself the use of the generator and freezer for a while until prices once again begin to rise and then I will can whatever meats are left. I am hoping to butcher a pig next month as I am wanting to make sausage and I have several more rabbits and chickens that will need to go to freezer camp as well.
I feel silly telling this story but in retrospect it is funny so I will share it with you. As most of you know we are remote-no roads and a not so great trail coming in but town is literally just a few miles away as the crow flies. Tonight fireworks were being set off and we could see them in the distance which was very pretty but on my nightly rounds I kept seeing bright red lights that appeared to be getting closer. I then realized they were slowly falling out of the sky-My imagination went into overdrive, as it has a tendency to do when I have been awake for countless hours fretting over what still needs to be done and I nervously called hubby out to see the “invasion”. After he had a good chuckle he informed me they were simply fireworks that go up in the air, release a parachute and then float down to the ground. What a relief that was and yes I do believe I have watched both the old and remake of “Red Dawn” one or three times too many now.
With that I bid you all good night and say farewell 2014. It’s been a good year and I am sure 2015 will be just as blessed. Praying bountiful blessings to all both near and far away in the New Year ahead.
December on Two Moose Farm
December has been filled with lots of fun and adventure here at Two Moose Farm. From a new birth to an outing with our homeschool group its been quite busy.
Little Henrietta made her appearance on the 21st. She ha thrived and is now showing signs she is her fathers daughter by head butting everyone and everything in site. Her frolicking antics were wearing on her momma and another goat so her into the house for a little play time and she spent a few minutes running from one to another of us for head pats and scratching that were promptly rewarded with a little show of kicking up her heels.
Winter has yet to hit here in Alaska but we did get a few inches of snow. The kids quickly built a snowman before the rain resumed and eliminated it.
Christmas this year has been so full of blessings from friends both near and far. Cathy, Tracy, Ken, Steve and Trudy you all made it a very joyous Christmas and I am thankful but I am blessed even more so to be able to call you my friends.
I have to share this with you all. I have a dear friend Cathy who I want all to know is my inspiration. She has lived an exciting life and is facing health problems but is always there when I need a friend to talk to, am having one of those days we all dread and when I am so excited over something one of the kids have done (both 2 and 4 legged) she is always happy to hear about it, She just gets it! If you are just starting a new homestead I strongly suggest having someone like her to encourage you when the rest of the world just thinks you are totally nuts!
Our children work very hard out here between school work and chores. Homeschooling with Mom as your teacher doesn’t mean there is any slack time but it also has its rewards. Here are a few pics of the kids’ first time ice skating
I apologize for the quality but its the best I could do.
As 2014 winds down I am so glad I have been blessed with all he adventures and that my family is by my side daily. Together we are building memories that will last a lifetime.
Here comes 2015!!!!
The new year is rapidly approaching and I have been busy making plans (alright maybe I do have a penchant for rushing spring) but the days are getting longer if only by a couple of minutes per day.
A major priority on my list of things to do is get a real camera so that I can add pictures of better quality to the blog which by the way will be moving to a private domain soon. I am too limited here on what I can do so I see this as an improvement to allow more versatility in adding videos, links etc. I will keep everyone informed when I do the move and will put a direct link from here to the website. Unfortunately I am not sure if I will be able to move all the comments but I am working on it!
As you know our goats are starting to produce babies and I am anxious to resume cheese and soap making. Hopefully winter will pay us a sort visit and ice cream can be on the menu too.
We will be adding 25 barred rock pullets to our menagerie around the 9th of January and it will be a challenge to keep them warm until they feather out but a couple chickens in the cabin should add a little excitement, right?
One of our piggies is getting close to butcher size so I see us butchering in January or February if it gets cold enough if not then plan b. Plan b will consist of hauling a small freezer out which has been in the plans for awhile. Our Gilt I am hoping is bred if so we should see little piggies on the ground by late March early April (I really must start writing these dates down).
Heritage breed turkeys are next on the list and I believe I have a deal worked out with a friend to trade her work in exchange for a couple hens and a tom. I do love to barter so this will make having them even sweeter.
We will resume breeding our rabbits in late January so we will have lots of Easter Bunnies available. We have a unique plan that will ensure no unwanted rabbits will end up in the animal shelter as we will offer a partial refund to anyone wanting to return the rabbit.
Mike and Fred are about ready to resume sawmill operations as we are in need of lumber for building projects and for the outdoor furniture we plan to sell this spring and summer.
Barring any setbacks I hope to have my greenhouse built by mid February and although it will mean extra work for all of us we do plan on heating it to get a jumpstart on our seedlings.
This year we also plan to put up our own hay manually. Mike has devised and will soon build a bale mold that will allow us to fill, compress and tie bales in manageable sizes for easy storage and my hopes are to put up a ton of hay and a 1/2 ton of straw.
I do hope that I have time to finish my cookbook this spring. It has been in the works for several years.
I hope we can get all our projects accomplished as I have an extensive list of additional things I want to do but as with everything it takes time. We have accomplished a lot in a short period of time and I am anxious to do even more.
I will keep you posted on the progress and promise to include many photos.
Praying for a prosperous year filled with blessings for all!
2014 A time of changing
As the year is rapidly winding down I find myself in awe of the changes to our lives. We began this adventure in March leaving Wyoming and all we knew to venture to a new land that was raw and untouched ready to not conquer but to build our lives in unison with the wild.
Our trip here was virtually uneventful in the grand scheme of things but what memories it does hold. If ever you get a chance to ride the Alaskan ferry please don’t miss out on the opportunity! The sights are breath taking, the people friendly and warm and it is something I wish everyone could experience.
We have since seen so many beautiful sights and I awake to the sounds of whispering trees, crowing roosters and the sight of Mount Illiamna on the horizon. Nestled in our cozy little cabin amongst the wilderness yet feeling safe, secure and blessed we are able to venture out and see just what hardwork and perseverance can accomplish. My first thought each morning is I am blessed and it is my last thought at night as I say a prayer thanking our Lord for leading us to such a wondorous place.
Aside from our simple cabin that is built from 90 percent raw lumber milled on our sawmill from trees right here
we have managed to build shelter for the pigs, a chicken tractor for our poultry, and a kidding barn for our goats.
We have experienced both life and death here on Two Moose Farm with the passing of our beautiful Luna and my little hen Kayla.
We are just coming into our first kidding with the birth of Henrietta yesterday and what a cutie she is and there are always new litters of baby rabbits.
This year has seen many changes but each one a blessing and as I watch the year 2014 leaving I look forward to 2015 and the new projects and adventures it will hold. With this as our palette the possibilities are endless.
We have been blessed with health and happiness and Pray you all have a Merry Christmas and the New Year is filled with joy.
Today we spent a couple of hours traipsing around the property locating the western corners of our property. Out here 80 acres looks huge when there are no neighbors, fences, roads and its mile after mile of trees. It was an enjoyable adventure though not so much when wading through grass taller than I am, I stepped into a hole up to my knees and it was full of water. Now that might not seem like a big deal to many but I live in Alaska and by now it is supposed to be short days, cold, frozen and snow on the ground. Well the days are short, it’s a bit chilly at night in the teens and 20s but the days range from 29-43 and there is a couple of inches of snow on the ground so who put that water there! What bothers me is it has not gotten cold enough to freeze the ground more than a couple of inches and that will mean break up in the spring will be a long soggy one but hey, no worries, I am living in Alaska land of my dreams!
Tonight we are predicted to get 3-6 inches of snow and I do hope that maybe just maybe winter is arriving. My pigs and goats say a storm is on the way with their silly antics wanting to run and play. Charlotte the 200 pound grunting pig that wants to be a dog is in the dog house, hmmm or pig house (not sure anymore she has me so confused) because she has decided she wants all the attention all the time. To get an accurate mental picture I must explain when I go outside if they are anywhere in the vicinity they run up to be scratched and get attention-I do wonder if others have pigs that will come when called but I am getting side tracked. They usually will line up in front of me and patiently await their turn often stretching out as if bowing before me and we all joke about how they are bowing before the queen-funny until you realize that perhaps I am being referred to as a queen pig. For the past couple of days Charlotte has been getting aggressive towards the other pigs and I had to finally spank her. Now lets look at this picture. me spanking a 200 plus pound pig who isn’t holding still at all and at the same time my mouth is in high gear telling her what a bad girl she is all the while hubby is once again standing there watching, smirking and when I finally am out of breath from my tirade asks “now ya gonna tell her how you really feel”? Grrrrr, apparently my lesson in manners worked (if only temporarily) After the commotion was over Mr.Bacon, Sir Hammington, and Jasper aka Jazzy all lined up again for the belly scratching and pig snuggle time. Charlotte who was now on her best behavior and as lady like is as possible for a pig quietly waited for her turn. In case your curious, no do not enjoy disciplining any animals but for safety sake you don’t want a pig around who wants to bite and pig or not she is required to act like a lady.
We are still waiting for baby goats and I have checked the dates many times so apparently they did not get bred when I had thought so we will continue waiting.
Well I must go for now the water is hot and dishes need to be done, firewood needs hauled in and kids put to bed.
God Bless all
Short Days of Winter
One would think with the short days of winter that there would be time to set back and do nothing-after all it is winter right? Well apparently winter has forgotten Alaska as we are experiencing the shortened days but at 46-48 degrees during the day and 40 for an overnight low it just doesn’t feel like winter, couple the warm temps with the rain we have been having and the workload just keeps growing.
Animal pens need cleaned several times per week as they get soggy, walking on ice that is covered with water makes one soon realize they are not 25 anymore but just when the frustration level reaches its peak and that little evil voice in your head starts telling you the things you don’t want nor need to hear, Alaska shows you that she is beautiful regardless of the weather patterns.
So as we slosh through the slushy mess to yet clean another pen or cage we get to experience the true Alaska where the wolves howl and sing to one another their mournful song, the moon rising above the trees paints yet another indescribable picture in bright whites, deep blues, greens and black shadows of trees and I look up to the heavens and see the stars that shine so brightly you feel like they are surely going to fall from the sky and you just know the darkness won’t last forever and God has given you these beautiful sites and sounds to remind you of this.
No, the darkness will soon be replaced with never ending sunlight and brighter moods so for now I will day dream of baby animals, gardening and a new beginning.
The holidays are upon us and at times I worry that my children are missing out on getting “things”. We are what we like to refer to as “cash challenged”-not poor but with putting every cent we had into living our dream it will take awhile until we start reaping financial rewards. Today I seen how important this life has become to my children.
We are very cramped in our tiny little cabin, so much so that even though there are literally thousands off trees right outside our door we don’t have room to bring one inside so we improvised!
We made our Christmas tree fit our space! During this time my girls said to me “You know Mom Christmas isn’t about presents its about remembering that Jesus was born and came to earth to save us”. This simple little statement spoke volumes to my heart-My children know what Christmas is all about and at that moment I felt so blessed!
The day slipped by so fast enjoying this time alone with the girls (the guys were all dragging logs to the sawmill). We baked cookies, sang Christmas carols and I then realized I had not baked the bread nor done the breakfast dishes and about the only thing I had accomplished in my normal schedule was feeding critters and schoolwork for the kids.
Now rushing to complete the tasks that needed to be done I managed to make dough for a pizza for dinner, wash the dishes, mix up the bread dough, make pizza, fed the family and got the bread in the oven all in a matter of two hours!
At last it was quiet again as it was just Cami and I in the house. Cati had gone out with the guys to help drag logs and I realized that it was time to get chores done then prepare for supper. Bless her heart Cami comes over says “have a cup of coffee Mom and take a break I will go do chores-alone! 10 years old and she fed the pigs, goats, rabbits and chickens, hauled water to all of them and bedded them down for the night as I sipped a cup of coffee and took a deep breath.
Supper was a simple meal with fresh bead, hamburger steak, baked beans and pickled beets but it tasted much better knowing that even though I was nearing exhaustion from the course of the day my family all realizes this place is home to all of us and together we can build OUR Dream. I am so Blessed!!!
My day is over and I will leave you with this beautiful picture of the moon rising tonight and this simple thought- Building memories and traditions that will be in our hearts forever is much more valuable than silver and gold.