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
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.
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May God Bless each and every one of you in your endeavors and I pray that you find happiness in all that you do.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.