All posts by offgridmom
Long winded post-beware!!!!!
So much going on these days I will warn you in advance, this will be a long winded post and yes I will be elaborating!
First of all we have new babies!!!! Yay!!!!!! I was beginning to think the goats were taking lessons from our freeloading chickens! I am proud to announce the arrival of our first babies though, a set of twin boys from Bubbles. The names I cannot say as the kids (two legged ones) took charge of that and it seems to change hourly. The birth was uneventful and quite rapid. Bubbles came into the yard and was acting strange so I had Cati put her in the pen, 30 minutes later Caleb announced that we had twins. They are quite cute one has floppy ears and the other kind of looks like a donkey and bellers a lot. Still they are very cute and as the rest of the family ooohs and awwws over their cuteness I’m daydreaming of barbque goat. Cruel and sadistic you say? Well first off I’m not dreaming about those two….yet, but the two little nincompoops who decided that coming into the cabin at 2 a.m to steal the pig food and wake me up on a night I was actually sleeping no less AND they left the door open! Yes goats are opportunists and someone must of not closed the door tightly on a late night potty run, Frankie and Klondike (the gruesome two some) seen an opportunity. I guess it’s my own fault as I heard a crash as the lid to the pig food hit the floor but I was finally sleeping and chalked it up to someone knocking things over in the dark. Little did I know it was the two goats from hell. Yep, goat is definitely on the menu!
Papa Fred is experiencing some health issues right now, nothing catastrophic but will be having minor surgery on Thursday. Two weeks ago he started having bladder issues and they put in a Cath now they are replacing that with a permanent one above his pubic bone that can be changed out every month or so. Much easier than traditional Caths and I’m curious as to whether we need a surgeon or a plumber. Hmmmm I will have to ask the urologist if he ever wanted to be a plumber. Okay that was a random thought…even for me!
As you know we butchered my boar hog a couple weeks ago. I tried to get video, charged the camera and everything but Murphy’s law kicked in “If it can go wrong it will” and the video didn’t come out and by the time I realized there was a problem the battery was dead. I have been busy making sausages-lots of sausage! Boudin which is a favorite of my kids, it’s a Cajun sausage made with ground pork, liver, veggies and rice then spiced up and put in casings. I also made breakfast sausage, spicy links and sweet Italian sausage.
That was a huge hog! While I was busy butchering hubby took the old subway oven we were given and made a smoker for me. I just finished up smokin 150 pounds of pork. The hams were so big I cut them into 3 pieces. One piece weighed 31 pounds! Dear hubby did get upset I forgot to save back side pork but after he tasted the bacon he got over that quick!
The weather is still spring like and I expect that old man winter slept through and forgot us again. It’s just cold enough to be icy but it feels like we will be melting off early again this year. That’s okay I’m ready for a change! It’s been an easy winter temp wise but Lordy I’m tired of the rain and ice
Many plans for big events have had to be put off because of the medical issues with Papa Fred and the weather…oh I hate keeping secrets but hopefully soon we get back on track and I can share the news! I really am horrible at this secret keeping stuff-note: don’t Ever tell me a good secret-like a surprise gift for someone or a pending birth-I’m the worlds worst at keeping those kind of secrets! I get so excited they have a tendency to just pop out of my mouth!
We celebrated Papa Freds 73 birthday yesterday and like the ground hog he didn’t see his shadow so spring must be on its way! I made his favorite meal of smoked pork chops and yes they were from our pig and tasted wonderful with the birch smoke.
He also had a jalapeño bacon cheesecake. This is the second time I have made this and finally as I was creating I wrote down the ingredients.
Crust 1-1/2 c walnuts finely chopped1/4 c sugar
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c flour
Filling 3- 8 oz packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla flavoring
Topping 4 strips bacon cooked then crumbled
Prepare crust by mixing the ingredients then oil sides of 8 or 9 inch spring form pan put the crust in and roll pan to lightly coat sides before pressing into pan (the bottom of a canning jar works great for this!) bake 10 minutes at 350
To prepare filling soften cream cheese and mix in sugar then eggs 1 at a time until well blended ( it will have lumps but that’s okay, add vanilla and stir well. Pour into crust then sprinkle edges with bacon crumbles and put jelly in a ring on top (you can also just spoon dollups of jelly over the top.
Bake at 350 about an hour. It’s done when the center is no longer jiggly if you shake the pan. This recipe can be doubled and put in a 9×13 inch cake pan too. The men love it and it’s a favorite of my kids too!
Well now the roosters are crowing and it’s time for another pot of coffee so I will leave you all for now. May your day be blessed with sunny skies and happy thoughts.
Shake, Rattle and Roll
What a week! Not sure where to begin so let’s start with the earthquakes. Yes plural, as in multiple. Literally every few minutes but thankfully we only felt one-a 7.1 on the Richter scale.
The red point is epicenter the blue dot is us. We sustained only minor damage but others weren’t so fortunate. Many have lost their homes so please say a prayer for them and while your at it thank God for his infinite wisdom, love and grace for I discovered through the big quake how truly blessed we are. Let me explain. When we made the big move to Alaska months, years actually we searched the Internet, combing through locations and even put in offers (full asking price on a couple of places) and we’re always rejected. Friends spent many hours touring properties for us, taking pictures and inspecting the sites only to have the offers rejected. Now seriously who puts their property up for sale for 5 years and rejects a full asking price offer? Well it happened to us-twice! Not deterred I knew God had a plan. One evening this property popped up on my computer, mind you my settings blocked pop ups. Closing out of it for fear it was a virus (not a website I had ever visited) it kept popping back up every time I turned on the computer! Finally I said “alright God I think you want me to take a look at this place. Yes sometimes I need hit over the head before “I get it”. I finally tracked down the real estate agent, left multiple messages and emails then finally a response. Now mind you I have never had a real estate agent come across as rude until this lady. She told me stop wasting her time that I didn’t want the property and then I got mad! I decided okay I don’t want it so continued looking elsewhere. Once again with the pop ups. Seriously! I was at my wits end when something strange happened, as if this entire thing wasn’t strange enough! The owners name popped up on my computer screen. Weird! Just plain weird but I took the cue and contacted him. Long story short he had never seen the property. I said I was interested he told me “go to Alaska, go have a look and if you want the property call me back”. Super nice retired farmer who listed the property years ago and forgot about it. So long story short we continued looking at properties all over the state but in my heart I knew that here was where I was supposed to be. Fast forward…we got to Alaska and it took weeks-yes I said weeks to get to the property and locate it. Mind you no real trails, no markers and no neighbors to ask we flew by faith and a GPS to finally locate it. What happened next was surreal. Still letting my head over run my heart I saw only the difficulties but then It happened. I had a dream, I was looking at a painting. The next day we went back out to the property and as I crawled off the four wheeler I turned to see the painting in my dream! Mount Illiamna looked as if it were an oil painting and it was the most comforting feeling I had ever felt. I knew I was home. Alright so that was a long winded explanation of how we got here now here’s the blessing in all of this. We are in a wet area. Our cabin is built on logs sitting on muskeg. Muskeg is simply put lots of moss that grows very deep. Peat moss-a giant sponge. So while the rocking and rolling of a 7.1 earthquake was going on we felt a shake, then things rattled and a bit of rolling like being on a wave but other than a ding on my coffee grinder we were left with zero damage. I was actually shocked to find out it was that large an earthquake as it felt smaller than the one we experienced when we first got here and still in town. That was a 4.9 and it shook! I fully realize how blessed we are and am thankful once again for the blessings we have.
Anyone who knows me knows cooking is my thing. I love to cook and jump at the chance to cook at any event. An earthquake is an event, right? Here’s my earthquake breakfast crepes-serves 4
1/2 lb.bacon fried crisp
4 c. Shredded potatoes (frozen or par boil 4 med potatoes ahead of time and let cool before shredding.
1 med onion diced
1 cup shredded cheddar
4 eggs scrambled
Salsa to taste
Crepes 1/2c flour, 1/2tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp oil, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk (approx)
Cut 1/2 pound bacon cut while semi frozen in 1/2 pieces then browned, remove from pan and add 4 cups shredded potatoes to the pan and 1 small diced onion. Cook it on high heat turning to brown evenly. While that is cooking mix up 1/2 c flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2tsp oil, 2 eggs and enough milk to make a runny batter-really thin batter. In a small skillet coat with oil and get super hot, pour a few tablespoons batter in pan and turn to coat the entire bottom. Cook on high 1 minute remove from pan repeating and oiling pan each time-even non stick pans. After crepes are done scramble the 4 eggs and set aside. Now just assemble them-cheese, eggs then hash browns, roll up top with salsa.
Still no winter but perfect weather for meat processing so the hog has been butchered and all the meat now cut and wrapped. I ground sausage yesterday and made breakfast sausage that my dear hubby says is awesome but once again forgot to measure the spices so I could share the recipe. I am so used to just adding until it looks right. I’m waiting for my sausage casings to arrive then will finish by making boudin (pronounced boo-dan) a Cajun sausage we all live. That recipe I can share as I wrote it down and made notes after tweaking it to get it just right. I’ll include it in the post when I make and take pics.
Today turkey culling will be happening. I finally have decided on who will stay and who gets to go to freezer camp. After they are done my butchering should be done for awhile.
Yep it’s been a crazy few days but all are well here and I pray you are too. Please keep those less fortunate in your thoughts and prayers. Have a blessed day and I’ll leave you with a few random pics
Adventures in life
Hi all, it’s been a few days since my last post so I’ll give you a quick run down of what’s been happening. Monday we butchered a hog and the video camera ran out of battery about 1/3 of the way through so I’ll do my best to piece together a video at a later date.
Tuesday Papa Fred who’s been having some medical issues that needed immediate attending got to make a trip to the ER after I grew tired of waiting (3 weeks) for VA to get back to us. He is having trouble with his bladder emptying and without going into details we were fortunate enough to get a great doctor who understands how and where we live. He drained 4 liters of fluid, sent him home with some medical devices that I can take care of until next Thursday when we meet up with the surgeon. What a great doctor he is-they couldn’t get us in at surgeons office for a month, the ER doc called the surgeon, explained what was going on and got us an appointment in a week. Thank you Jesus for putting us where we needed to be and with such an awesome medical staff.
I’m so grateful Kimberly has come to assist me. She’s been a godsend for sure. We spent yesterday cutting up part of the pig, getting one ham and one side of the bacon curing so I can smoke it next week. Today we will do the other side then begin cutting and wrapping the rest of it and begin freezing it. Our weather has been perfect for the entire process. Mid to high 30s in the day, low 30’s at night.
What awesome kids I have! My daughter Cati had earned some money when she went to assist a friend in town for a few days. At 11 she is quite the hand at cooking and cleaning. She is also a very generous soul who wanted to share her bounty. Dear hubby was going to town to meet up with my oldest son Corbin who had acquired some discarded building materials that would be useful to us so Cati asked if he could do some shopping for her. He came home with the materials and her completed shopping list. A treat for all! Banana splits for supper! I used to randomly do this kind of thing on rare occasions back when we could afford such treats. How blessed am I to have a child so giving.
My sissy invited me to come stay with her in May for a week, I’m so excited!!!! It will be just us girls as Paul will be gone and I have big plans to eat too much ice cream, stay up late giggling and nap randomly. Yes ladies I know you get it-a moms vacation for sure. I just wish May were closer as I’m already antsy with anticipation.
One thing I’ve discovered in life is to always expect the unexpected and trust that God has you covered. With Faith as my fuel and God as my pilot I’m sure that I’m in for more adventures that will be to his glory! Have a blessed day all.
Dan and Robin is it leap year yet? Sure missing you two!
The clouds cleared for a couple of days and brought us cooler temperatures. The night skies have seen the return of stars so bright and numerous it looks as if someone peppered the sky with twinkling lights. Even in darkness there is beauty.
The cooler temps have brought back winter with its frozen ground and we are now attempting to catch up on our winter work. Winter is when the majority of our wood gathering and hauling takes place. It is also when anything from the outside can be brought in on our ice “super highway”.
Dear hubby and Caleb have been busy hauling logs from a blow down area and even had some help from poppa Fred. Cati is in helping a friend of mine who was in an auto accident and the rest of us girls are busy cleaning pens, animal care and doing repairs. The sawmill will be up and running today and that will provide lumber for the many repairs to animal pens that the flooding took out. There’s never a dull moment around here and thankfully the days are growing much longer quickly so we can work by sunlight versus lamp light.
I’m impatiently waiting for the new kids to hit the ground. We lost a couple due to the ice and wet conditions. Poor goats I wish I could find a way to keep them from falling on the ice.
It’s chilly this morning at 21 degrees and the humidity is high but the fire is warm and my coffee seems to taste particularly good this morning. I will chalk it up to being in better spirits due to the weather not being so gloomy. It’s a short respite though as warmer wetter conditions are in the forecast.
Hoping to butcher one of my older hogs soon as it’s no longer servicable for breeding. Here’s a question for you all and please give me some feed back. Would you all like to see more detailed pics or perhaps a video link to YouTube of the entire process? I’m never sure how much of “farm life” I should show-there’s the ugly side of it that while informative can be quite graphic. Please give me your feedback and I’ll proceed from there.
The family is rousing and I’m sure will soon be looking for breakfast as they start their day so I’ll bid you all farewell for now and leave you with a few random pics as I usually do. God Bless and keep you until next time.
My friend Kimberly and Cati taking selfies
Yay the girls are working again
Finally! I was beginning to think my hens were going to be freeloaders forever. They quit laying this fall when the weather turned wet but finally they are once again laying. I guess butchering a bunch of birds in front of them and telling them constantly to produce or go to freezer camp finally paid off. They are slow starting but it will pick up I am sure-in the mean time I will continue to baby them and gently explain that a few little eggs are much better to part with than ones head. Yes, I do love my chickens but out here no one-not even cute little hens-get a free ride.
It’s so nice having my friend Kimberly here. She has motivated my children to get the loft clean. Unlike mom who isn’t welcome simply because I am the momster, they readily accept Kimberly in their domain and her subtle encouragement to get things done. Kimberly has also been an extra set of hands to help with the ever present problem of water everywhere. It’s a full time job keeping drainage ditches cleared, pens clean and dry and all that
comes with the heavy rains and thawing we are experiencing.
The weatherman says we will be seeing a drop in temps in a couple of weeks. I cannot decide if I’m happy or just want it to hurry up and be spring. I can tell you I am sick of rain. Months of it has made me water logged and snippy. My kids, critters and hubby are obviously tired of it too as tempers are getting short but I have to just remind them and myself this too shall pass. I frequently say to myself “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. Thank heavens for scripture-it sees me through these trying times.
The days are getting longer and that makes me glad, darkness will soon be replaced with long days and busy hands. I’ve poured through so many seed catalogs I am gardening in my dreams. The little sleep I do get is filled with happy dreams though so I am feeling more rested. If any of you live in an area that grows sugar beets I am looking for some seeds so let me know please.
Well my phone is almost dead so I will bid you good night. Praying for all those affected by the strange weather. Stay safe, warm and dry. Dan and Robin if your reading this everyone says HI!!!!! We miss you and will be glad when you return. God Bless and sweet dreams all.
New day dawning
It’s a crisp winters morning here in Alaska,26 degrees out and clear skies. I love mornings like this when the stars are so bright they seem to come to life and the ice appears to twinkle with them in unison as if they are dancing to an unheard melody.
I’m back to making goat rounds every couple of hours but will admit I missed one check last night as I slept-finally. Insomnia is something I have always battled but lately it’s been even worse. No new babies yet but will post when they arrive. Yay it’s baby time again!
Spring is just around the corner and with the arrival of spring everything is fresh and new. Yes spring is my favorite time of year with the trees budding out and grass growing but all in due time. We mustn’t rush it as each season has its purpose and with the confusion our world seems to be in I definitely don’t want to add to that.
Yesterday was a fun day. My friend Kimberly has returned from the outside (lower 48). Making Alaska her home now she wants to learn to be self sufficient and part of that is raising and processing your own food. I had 11 chickens that needed to go to freezer camp so we butchered chickens. We use a cone to hold them and dispatch but one particular chicken had grown to be quite large and didn’t fit so well. It managed to free itself (headless) and began running around. It appeared to be chasing Kimberly who stood there, mouth agape, eyes as big around as saucers, looking at it as if it were a zombie chicken about to eat her. Always the trooper she is, Kimberly quickly recovered her composure when I told her grab the chicken as it flipped and flopped it’s way through the water and slush. One thing you will find that will make any job easier is enjoying the moments of surprise. We all had a great laugh including Kimberly and it made the day go much quicker.
For now we have a few days of dry weather much catching up has to be done. The last storm left many trees down and they must be gathered before they absorb too much water and aren’t usable in the near future. Dear hubby carefully selects the logs that will be used for sawing into lumber and those that will be firewood. They then have to cut them to manageable lengths and haul to their proper location. Keeping up with this after a wind storm is a lot of work and leaving them in place is a waste so it must be done. Using deadfall is one of the ways we conserve our forest. It keeps it healthier and more productive for the future.
The second pot of coffee is now happily perking away on the stove, the roosters are crowing very loudly and although sunrise is still hours away it’s time for me to get busy preparing breakfast and critter food. I pray you each are blessed with peace in your hearts and the ability to enjoy each new day. God Bless
Goat love songs and cat food crunching
It’s been a rough start to the year for sure with all the flooding we are experiencing in the area. Sleep has been a rarity as we spend most nights going from one animal pen to the next clearing drainage ditches, removing fallen trees and dealing with the ongoing torrential rains and winds that have plagued us this winter. Finally a night that I can actually get some sleep! Yay!!! Happy dance!!!! Well, it was a nice thought. Here I sit it is almost 4 a.m. And I have had a grand total of 1 hour and 15 minutes sleep. No it wasn’t the rain, the skies are clear and stars shining brightly. No, it wasn’t flooding as the waters have somewhat subsided and no it wasn’t even dear hubby snoring that has kept me awake. In a word-goats. Goats! Those sweet faced lovable, obnoxious, bellering, sneak in the cabin goats! Apparently someone told them I may actually get to close my eyes tonight and they had a meeting to decide who would take which shift in order to cover the entire night of being obnoxious.
It began about 10 p.m. One of my yearling darlings came into heat. Up the steps she would run to escape the billies-down she would go bellering. Then the boys started their waaa waaaa waaaing which for those of you not in the loop that sound is what boy goats make to not only annoy me but it’s a love song of sorts sang to the pretty little girlie goats. They must of been off key as she definitely wasn’t interested. Now you would think that after they finally quit singing that things would calm down and I could catch a few minutes of sleep-ha! Hope y’all didn’t put money on that bet for I was in bed-again-for a grand total of 17 minutes. Whoever went to the outhouse last didn’t get the door latched, Frankie seen an opportunity and quietly let himself in. Such a courteous goat is he that he made sure to close the door so the other goats couldn’t get in and began munching and crunching away at the cat food. I was just getting up to reprimand one of the kids for making such a racket crunching cereal (no they don’t do that really but my mind is not quite right at the moment due to lack of sleep) when I see Frankie and of course I asked him just what he thought he was doing in the house and eating the cat food. Before you even think it yes my sentences are going on forever but hey, zombie moms are entitled to do that. Frankie of course looks up at me as if it’s just a common everyday occurrence to be standing inside eating cat food. I will admit I told him to wipe his mouth he had crumbs on his chin before the irrational side of me crept out and began screeching like a banshee and grabbing the broom. Of course getting him out the door took a bit of doing since the other critters outside heard MY bellering and had to come look in the window to see what was happening. Finally I get the goat gone, cat food cleaned up and I realize that through all that commotion, screeching, thumping,bellering and hollering…..not a soul woke up. Hmmm, well guess it’s time to get the coffee going, dig out the mom cape and start my day. I’ll get the coffee on as soon as I get this chicken out who just jumped into my lap. It looks like it’s gonna be one of those days.
God Bless you all and keep smiling!
Thank You to my sissy and my readers
In just a short while another chapter in this book I call life will be coming to an end. As I sit waiting for the New Year to begin with anticipation of not just a mere time change on the clock or the turning of a calendar page I once again begin to dream.
2015 with all its wonderful memories and events are now gone. Tucked away in my heart and shared with many through this blog and social media I find myself wondering what lies ahead in the new year. Last year many were brought into my life from both near and far, some I have had the pleasure of meeting face to face, some that I know will happen soon and those that circumstances won’t allow a meeting face to face yet they are very much a part of my life and have brought new purpose to it. For all of you who have messaged me, asked questions or even just gave me a like-Thank You for giving me encouragement to keep writing. As long as I know someone wants to hear about our lives I will continue to share, praying that the information is useful, entertaining and inspiring.
My greatest joy this year has nothing to do with the homestead or blog but is solely a blessing that filled a deep void in my life. My dear friend Cathy who has spent years being my online friend, my telephone shoulder to cry on and my greatest cheerleader and confidant came to see me. We were close before but now we are more so, sisters of the heart which is much stronger than any blood ties. Thank you Cathy for loving me, for being my sister, for always telling me like it is rather than what I want to hear and for bringing such joy to not only my life but to my children too. I love you and hope you know that it is a love greater than words can describe.
Yes the year gone by has had many ups and downs but for every lesson learned I am thankful and truly blessed. I’ll leave you all with s prayer for clarity, praying God leads your every move and you are obedient to him. Happy New Year!!!!!
Saying goodbye to 2015
These last few days of 2015 are quickly passing by. It may sound strange but as the new year approaches I feel a sense of loss at the days past as if saying goodbye to an old friend. Things are evolving and changing here on Two Moose Farm as they must to permit growth but there are days I long for the the excitement of planning, dreaming and building where once there was nothing.
The weather seems to be quite confused, what should be winter is more like spring. Temperatures well above freezing, rain, flooding and the wind storms have been brutal. We relish winter as it is much easier traveling on ground that is frozen. Our trip to town the other day was definitely not a cold one. We drove the wheelers through icy slush and water that was up to a foot deep the entire 3.5 miles. I am thankful we didn’t get stuck as standing in that would have been miserable.
The critters have been plagued by Ravens, Hawks and owls lately. Caleb has been kept busy with his 410 attempting to scare them away-so far it’s not proving very successful. We’ve got 9 roosters who insist the tarp covering the freezer is their safe Haven and they spend most of their time there. Not a pleasant thing considering it is right next to the front door. I see freezer camp in the near future for them-that is if the predators don’t get a free meal first. The hens make a quick dash for my front door too if there’s a predator around.
Our goats have had a few mishaps on the ice and we are nursing them back to health. Soon we will have many kids running around and that will be fun. There’s never a dull moment with goat kids around.
With all the rain and warm temps we are watching closely for bear sign. Poor bears, imagine being snug and warm in your bed and you get woke up by laying in standing water. Yes, I do feel bad for them. Bears can’t do what they are supposed to do when it’s wet. They will be quite cranky too and nothing much meaner than a cranky bear.
Our Tom turkey has decided it must be spring and is courting the ladies…..and my dog. Tommy has found an attraction to poor Missy who isn’t at all interested. Missy used to love to play outside and they had a little game of tag they would play-she would chase him and hit him with her paw and he would then turn to chase her and give her a little peck. They would do this for hours then settle down beside each other to sun themselves and rest. It was cute and amusing until the weather turned warm again and Toms hormones kicked in. It started out simple enough, Missy thought it was just a new game. Tom would strut and fluff up then circle her and they would spin in a circle but then…..It happened…… Tom decided to consummate the relationship and Missy being a nice girl was giving no free “rides”. Poor Missy won’t even venture outdoors if he is in the vicinity so he struts in front of the steps for her. Unrequited love.
Well it’s time to check critters and make sure the drainage ditches are doing the job keeping the water from all the critter beds so I’ll bid you good night. May you be blessed with sweet dreams and a restful slumber.