It was definitely a chilly day today. Was 6 degrees at. 11 a.m and windy so with the wind chill was minus 48. I must be honest, I do not miss the cold temps at all. I have been enjoying wearing my crocs this winter but it’s back to snow boots. Thank heavens it’s only for another couple of days as I really hate wearing closed in shoes!
Milking this morning froze my hands but my girls being troopers they stood like champs. They were rewarded for their good behavior in less than ideal conditions with a bit of extra grain with molasses. They must have liked it as they were ready for another go this afternoon when I went out to check on them even though I am only milking in the mornings. Evenings are for the babies and since it is so cold they will get the morning milk too as I don’t want to separate them from their mommas warmth tonight.
Many things accomplished today with the kids helping. Loft walls 90 percent finished, incubator is set up and warming and we are all warm and cozy with fully stocked firewood in the cabin.
Hubby went to town today to pick up the 4 wheeler tires that we desperately needed and by Gods grace we were able to purchase for pennies on the dollar-he always provides!
While in town dear hubby picked up some hatching eggs from my lady friends in town and I will be setting them in the incubator tonight. Will have many chicks in 3 weeks as I have 7 dozen chicken eggs and 3 dozen quail eggs (minus a few that were cracked).
Supper is finished and for a treat tonight I’m making goats milk ice cream. I no longer have my hand cranked freezer as parts were lost in the move but it will still be tasty and is outside freezing as we speak. Super simple recipe if you would like to try it. 2 quarts goats milk-3/4 cup sugar-2eggs mix then cook until almost boiling. Let cool add 2 tsp vanilla and put in ice cream freezer or to make the old fashioned way put in a shallow pan and freeze it either outside covered if cold enough or in a freezer stirring every 15 minutes. Don’t let it set up too long or it will separate and form ice crystals. It’s done when you can no longer resist the urge to eat it!
My chicks in the brooder are doing very well but they have quite the attitude now. They insist on the lid being open enough to stick their heads out or they peck it constantly making quite a racket. Betty is still the number one girl but Sassy is vying for the position. They each feel slighted if they can’t get out for a bit each day and chatter on my shoulder.
Received a care package today from my dear friend Cathy. She always send the coolest stuff! There are new water proof insulated gloves for pumping water at the spring, books for the kids, a wood project book and for me she sent a straw bale gardening book! I am going to do a combination straw bale and vertical garden this year and am very excited to dive into that book!
Warmer weather is on it’s way in the coming days so posts may get scarce at times but please know it will only be a brief time until I get everyone caught up on the happenings in our world.
Hope you are all having a blessed weekend and are safe and warm. Pictures of my incubator heated with kerosene lamp, Bella on milking stand.
As many of you know I have been trying to locate tires for our 4 wheeler. Wow a few minutes after prayer I look again at craigslist-bammmm there’s exactly what I needed for pennies on the dollar of what they are worth. Yes, God is good-all the time!
Dear hubby has been quite busy working on my honey do list. Today he completed my milking stand. After a few modifications he made it is perfect and I don’t even have to stoop to milk!
Tonight will be a long night I’m sure as I pulled the 2 goat kids from their mommas so I can milk in the morning. They are put to bed with full bellies and a warm bed but the mommas are throwing a fit. Funny how hard we worked to get them to accept their roles as mothers and now they are frantic over their babies being separated from them by a few feet.
Looking forward to this weekend as I will be starting the incubator to hatch some chicks. I haven’t hatched chicks in 3 years but it’s always such fun. My kids get as excited as I do when the pipping starts.
Now that everyone is fed and bedded down for the night I need to finish putting up the granola I made today and wind down from the day. Tomorrow will be a busy day but that is a good thing. I’m thankful for the strength God has given me and the blessings he bestows upon me each day. Good night all and may you be blessed beyond measure.
Beautiful day here at Two Moose it was almost 50 degrees and sunny in tropical Alaska.
I spent the day catching up on chores that needed to be done like the acid wash rust removing in water tubs and such. Definitely not my favorite thing to do but must be done as goats are picky creatures.
We have been trying to find a replacement 4 wheeler tire for the one that found a sharp stump and got a hole in it. Of course our old wheeler has odd sized tires and there doesn’t seem to be any available in the size we need unless purchased new but that’s out of our budget right now.
My chicks I received from Ideal on Friday are doing quite well. I was truly concerned after all the Barred Rock arrived dead but the mixed breed are doing well and I have 19 that are growing and flourishing. I still have 4 from the second shipment that are alive and well so for now I won’t be getting anymore. I don’t want to add any other day olds and have the older chicks picking on them.
Yes there are some chick selfies but these girls are so pretty I couldn’t resist!
I started milking one of my goats today-big failure as she did not want milked and I didn’t have her on a milking stand but super hubby to the rescue!!!!! He started the stand and will finish it in the morning then I will put on my super mom cape and attempt to milk her faster than a sitting goat!
Still waiting on more goats to kid. 4 left and we can start the process all over again.
Haven’t notice Charlotte the pig being in heat so praying she took when she got bred, If so then the latter part of March we should see piglets. In a few weeks I should see her looking quite plump and we will know for sure.
Rabbits are all bred now so March 2nd and 3rd we will have babies from them weaning just in time for Easter.
Spring is my favorite time of the year-I love all the babies entering the world. Spring fever has gotten a tight grip on me now so I have my garden all planned now but with growing conditions here being a challenge (it is very wet here) I have revised my plans after discussing with others who have faced the same challenges and will be doing some unique gardening with a combination of straw bale gardening and vertical gardening. I will be sure to document in pictures from the start in case anyone is interested in using these methods.
The days are growing longer now and soon we will be seeing sunlight 20 hours a day. I have to say I am looking forward to being able to work at all hours in the sunshine. The dark months really aren’t that long nor are the days as short as I originally thought as we are so far south but oh the summer sunshine that is endless makes everything look so much more promising!
Well that’s all the new news around here but soon there will be much to share. I look forward to hearing from all of you on your projects and adventures too. Please continue to follow me here but also join me on Facebook where you can post your pics, stories and question at http://www.facebook.com/offgridalaska
Good Night all and God Bless
Sometimes in life your paths cross with people who you just know are awesome. That’s how I feel about my friends Gene and Lisa Runkis. Gene has been making custom knives for years and they are phenomenal! Each and every one is hand crafted and no 2 are alike. In this day and age of mass production its refreshing to know that craftsmanship like this is still alive and well and I hope you will take the opportunity to take a look at his knives and now I am happy to announce he is making custom cabinets too!
Heres a few pics of his work
and if Gene looks familiar it is because he is the same Eugene Runkis from the show Hillbilly Blood on Destination America.
You can see more of his beautiful handcrafted items at https://www.facebook.com/coldhillcustoms
or his etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/coldhillcustoms
Or contact him direct!
Today was definitely one of those crazy days where I met myself coming and going. The arrival of baby chicks at 6:30 a.m. means rising at least an hour earlier in order to be ready and get out to the truck to get to town and pick them up. This is our fourth attempt and sadly I must report every one of the Barred Rock pullets arrived dead but the 25 assorted chicks 22 of those survived and are quite healthy. I called the poultry producer immediately and was assured they would look into it and would make good on them. Truly I have no fear that Ideal poultry won’t make good as they always do and the company has impeccable customer service but as I stated to them there may be something that requires a further investigation. I am however very happy with the chicks that survived as the came out of the box on a run and went right to eating and drinking.
The non electric brooder is working well and praying the chicks continue to thrive.
After getting the chicks settled in I began making taps for the upcoming birch sap run. They are not difficult to make just time-consuming. After gathering he willows (dear hubby did this for me) I cut them in 5 inch sections beveling one end. They are then stripped of the bark and a hole drilled through them. Not much to it but when it takes 30 minutes to carefully do this so as not to drill through the side making 50 of them seems like a daunting task. I completed 4 today before I had to quit and get chores started again.
Many may question why I am making my taps when they can be ordered for a few dollars each but multiply that few dollars by 50 it adds up quickly. There is a certain satisfaction from doing things old school. After all there are very few people in this fast paced world who want to bother with making birch syrup as it takes at least 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup but once you taste it you will see why it is so special and if I am going to spend that much energy collecting organic sap to make organic syrup I don’t think I want to use plastic taps made from petroleum products to gather the sap with. I am teaching my children the old ways, before our world became a disposable society. Preserving these ways for future generations is an important part of history I want to keep alive. My kids helped with the first taps today and will be a part of each step from tapping the trees, gathering the sap, cooking down and bottling.
Hope you all are living your dreams and pray that you are blessed beyond measure.
I finally found dear Hubby’s Kodak digital camera and today after the chores were done I played with shutting off the auto mode and using different shudder speeds, filters etc. I had a lot of fun and wanted to share the pics. Of course there is no way I can begin to capture the beauty of this place but it gives you an idea. Also you will note most of the pictures I take are of the view I see each day of Mount Illiamna that is across Cook Inlet. I am still mesmerized by its beauty every time I look at it.
Off course no picture taking day would be complete without kids and critters!
Not perfect by far but much better than my phone! I look forward to taking many more as we begin seeing signs of spring. When that will be is any ones guess as it is currently 26 degrees and starting to snow.
I did take time to call the postal service in Anchorage today. I was worried over my chicks that are to arrive tomorrow and spoke to a very nice woman who assured me that the chicks were alive and well an headed here tomorrow in the CAB of the truck. She was horrified when she heard the entire story about what has transpired with the other chicks over the last 3 weeks. I also informed her about the very rude gentleman that I had the unfortunate call with at their customer service call center. She was appalled that anyone would behave so badly. I did take the opportunity though to tell her what awesome ladies we have in our local post office who work so hard to get things done in a timely manner.
Chicks should be here at 6:30 in the morning and yes I am excited! The 4 I have now that are 3 weeks old have become my little buddies and soon they will be going outside but not to the chicken tractor like any common chicken-nope they will be in their own little sheltered area (a large netting enclosure) so they stay close enough to visit and enjoy their morning coffee with me.
The brooder is working great, it has been a week now with no glitches. I will begin construction of an incubator in the next day or so and after I have it stabilized will be hatching chicks for resell and also some to fatten for butchering.
Work is steadily progressing on the bunny barns and I will be showing photos of those soon. Always work to be done on Two Moose Farm but I have to say that it is much fun.
If your a facebooker please join us at https://www.facebook.com/offgridalaska and share what is happening in your life.
May God Bless each and every one of you in your endeavors and I pray that you find happiness in all that you do.
This morning we awoke to the weatherman’s forecast once again being wrong. Snowed a couple of inches but was quite nice out temp wise at a comfortable 24 degrees. Once we got through the chores, breakfast and school day it left plenty of time for play. Actually school today felt more like play to the kids as we played scrabble, had a spelling bee and played a game of math hangman. Math hangman is a lot of fun for the kids, get a math question correct then you receive a letter to the puzzle but get one wrong and you get one body part closer to hangman. I wonder if they still allow hangman in schools as I imagine that it is no longer politically correct.
After school was completed and I finished a few more chores I spent some time with the 4 chicks who survived the post office apocalypse. They seem to be doing really well and are feathering out nicely. My min electric brooder is still working great and the biggest temp fluctuation I have had in 6 days was 4 degrees. There I go getting off course again! Back to the chicks-they have become quite friendly now and scramble for my attention when I open the brooder so I have been giving each of them a few minutes a day out and being handled. I will have to decide on names soon as they will obviously be my favorite girls since we have developed a close friendship. One little girl tested the waters or should I say coffee today and apparently it was to her liking as she kept fighting to get back for more. I guess she will have to be named Betty after my hen I left behind.
My neighbors on the road are such a great bunch. They are always sharing their bounty and yesterday I pulled a large package out of the freezer, in it was a whole silver salmon. I baked the entire fish with some Cajun seasonings and we feasted. Still there was much left over so today Cati picked out the bones then she and I made salmon patties from the leftovers. We cooked up a couple of packages of organic cous cous with pine nuts brought out to us by another neighbor who had family leave it behind at his fish camp and in his words (don’t know what it is but maybe you can make it edible) and of course it was awesome and yes I do love cous cous for it’s unique flavor and texture. We finished off the meal with a couple of jars of my home canned tropical fruit that we brought from Wyoming. I do miss Bountiful Baskets produce program. If your in an area where it’s available I urge you to take part as the organic offerings are wonderful and the prices cannot be beat.
Not much left of the day so will do my critter checks then see what the auroras forecast is before calling it a night.
God Bless you all and sweet dreams
Today it was almost like winter. A cool 21 degrees out and the sun shining bright. The day started with the usual chores and then I took a few minutes to just be outside, all alone and to enjoy the quiet time. There is much to be said for alone time. The birds were out singing their very melodic song, goats bleating, pigs grunting, roosters crowing and the sound of the ice crunching under my boots all of these sounds combined to make such a beautiful tune that soothes the soul.
Looking forward to later tonight and praying the clouds stay away for the forecast is a promising one for Northern Lights. I do love to sit outside and watch the beautiful dancing colors painting cross the sky. I do wish I had a camera and the knowledge to photograph these beautiful sights so I could share them with all of you.
Hubby put a door on the outhouse today. I would like to say this makes me happy but even though I do understand the need I will miss my view. Oh Henry will miss getting the toilet paper out and decorating the yard I am sure.
Its hard to believe that January is almost gone-how time flies. Looking forward to the next few weeks when I will be butchering pigs, rendering lard and putting up the greenhouse. Yes spring is on the horizon and I for one will be happy with its arrival.
Finally winter is coming for a visit but doesn’t look like it will be staying long. Currently we have about 1/2 inch of snow on the ground and 22 degrees but by Sunday they say the temps will be in the single digits at night and high teens in the day. Next week we’re supposed to warm up again though so will enjoy the change for a bit.
This week has been filled with a lot of ups and downs. We received chicks from Ideal and thought everything was fine until around day 4 and they started dropping like flies. It makes me sad to see little creatures dying and feeling helpless I called IDEAL Poultry to discuss the matter. In their opinion the chicks must have gotten chilled in transport then warmed again. This basically destroys their internal organs so they are once again shipping replacements and with 50 instead of 25 plus adding heat packs. I will tell you I have never dealt with a company with such great customer service. I strongly urge you to patronize them if you’re in need of poultry.
Our brooder was wearing me out with constantly having to keep an eye out for temperature fluctuations so I designed a new one and my dear hubby and I built it. I am happy to say its day 2 and I have nervously checked the temp at least 500 times and its spot on! The remaining chicks are very happy in it and the 50 due to arrive tomorrow will too I am sure.
It’s really a very simple design. Build a box 3 foot square 9″ high and for the bottom attach a metal plate (we used old highway signs I picked up at the dump the other day (when I hauled them in posts and all hubby was questioning it but ha! they were useful!!!) Attach leg to sides, then add boards around the bottom to hold heat in from below that is supplied with an oil lamp, add a cover that will keep the heat contained then put 1/2 inch to 1 inch of sawdust down to disperse heat and cover with either straw or hay. It is currently a toasty 95 in the middle and 80 on the sides. To raise or lower temp you just raise or lower the lamp. Not a difficult thing to do and non electric. Sure beats having to maintain a brooder very 2 hours with my first design.
Once again Oh Henry was up to his curious (or is it obnoxious) self and found himself in yet another predicament. He managed to get himself stuck AROUND and IN a bucket. His curiosity will be the end of him one day. Thank goodness he is calm when he gets himself into the predicaments and comes to us to get him out.
Of course this week was especially busy for Henry. He decided that going into the outhouse, getting the toilet paper and decorating the entire front yard would be a great idea. Of course when I yelled “Oh Henry” he dropped the roll and before I could get my phone that was in the cabin, He ate all the evidence! His newest trick is to on the rabbit cages so the rabbits can get out and then somehow he folds himself into the cages and eats all the food. I really must find some goat proof latches.
Daylight hours are growing and so is the workload. Hoping to get caught up on my crochet orders over the next few days while its cold outside. After this mini cold snap I will begin getting ready for birch tapping and cooking syrup down so if your interested in Birch syrup message me and get your order in early as I am sure it will go fast. This syrup will not have any fillers as thickeners in it. It will be 100% organic condensed Birch syrup. If you have never had Birch syrup on your pancakes you will find it is amazing!!!
Spring will be here before you know it and its hard to believe in just 2 months we will be celebrating our first anniversary here on Two Moose Farm. Its been a busy year and I pray God continues to bless us all with good health and guide us on our path to total self-sufficiency. May you all be blessed in your endeavors.
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!