Tag Archives: blessings

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

Ingredients-filling

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 

    

my friend Kimberly and my daughter Cati
 

The Runaways

Today was a hectic day for sure. Taking advantage of the beautiful sunny day I decided to deep clean some pens-starting with the meat chickens. Due to the mud and water all of the young critters have been confined to close quarters to prevent any more drownings. Yes, the water has gotten that bad. Closed in animals equals lots of shoveling. Just as I had completed the meat chicken pen cleaning (and wrangled all the little escapees) my phone rang. Dear hubby was calling from the trail where he and the kids were working to drain some of the standing water (some spots were over 3 foot deep),placing logs over areas that had turned to soup and replaced logs that had completely washed away. Back to the reason for his call-it went something like this: Your pigs are almost to the swamp (our description of where the timber ends) call them home. Click. Hmmm, someone was clearly upset. I went out to the trees and began hollering and calling….nothing. Not a squeal or grunt to be heard. By the way have you ever noticed how “Ours” becomes “Yours” when children or critters are being difficult? Still no answer or site of the wandering pigs I call dear hubby back and he tells me they are heading back-apparently it isn’t a good thing when you fight to place a log in deep mud and a pig roots it out while your retrieving another log. Thinking the pigs have gotten sidetracked by some tasty morsel-or more likely taking a nap I am diverted to another call for help. I can hear a goat screaming like it’s been caught by the devil himself so off I head in the direction of the distress call. Two hours of hiking through willows, over and under fallen trees and through tall grass hiding said fallen trees I locate the screamer. Next to the creek, completely fine except she had gotten separated from the herd. Really?  That is all I could think of at the moment to say to her. Now all her screaming was like calling every predator in the country out and I reach down to get some reassurance that I will be okay and guess what I did not have on my belt. Yep! In my haste I forgot to get my pistol. I had purposely left it in the cabin while cleaning the pens because this acidic slop is no good on gun metal. So I find myself in the middle of the banquet table and not a weapon on me. Thank heavens the Bears, wolves and coyotes were taking the time to enjoy the sunshine and not hunting idiots or I would have been dinner and the screaming goat dessert. Of course Doris the screaming goat got a severe reprimand and my yelling had caused the rest of the herd to come to investigate.

Hiking back to the cabin to resume my pen cleaning (nine goats following) I came upon a nice patch of cranberries. Of course I didn’t have a thing to put them in but there were so many! I couldn’t leave them just sitting there so I filled my shirt front and once again headed for home. Now for normal people this would have been a great reward for the effort of saving a little lost goat-NORMAL being the key word. Well if your as graceful as I am this is just one more of those incidents better left in the woods but of course I have to share it. Now mind you I already said it was a beautiful sunny day and I was outside working. That means I was wearing a tshirt-an almost white tshirt. When you couple an almost white tshirt full of extremely juicy red cranberries with a woman who has two left feet it’s pretty much a disaster waiting to happen. Yes, you guessed it-I tripped over an unseen log and try as I might not to lose the berries or break any crucial bones I land arm protecting berries mind you, on a soft but very large moss hump. It looked like I had been eviserated. Dripping red down one arm and all over the front of me my berries were now cranberry sauce and had anyone come up on such a site they would have thought I’d escaped being mauled. No harm no foul I continued onward to home, threw the “bloody” shirt in the burn barrel and only after I lit the trash did I think “wow that would of been a cool costume for one of the kids for Halloween”!

By now it is after 3 and I’m still not finished with my chores for the morning. I finished what I could of the pens, fed the ever starving meat birds again and was just getting the stove going again to heat up a cup of coffee when I look at the clock and see its 5:30. Wow where did my day go? More importantly where is my family?  They had run into town to check the mail since they were already out by the truck and I got yet another phone call. This time it was one of the kids asking if the pigs had come home. Well, no……. 2 minutes later the phone rings again and I hear-found your pigs they are at the truck. Apparently they were wanting to go to town!

By the time dear hubby, the 3 kids and 2 wandering pigs pulled into the yard it was right at dark. Time for the evening chores to hurriedly get done and then back to the cabin where my cold cup of coffee sat there right where I had forgotten it. Supper wasn’t on the table until after 9 and it was a thrown together pot of chicken and dumplings from a jar of my home canned chicken.

As I write this it’s 2 a.m. and I have just made the rounds checking critters who are all sleeping snug and dry in their pens. 

It’s a crazy, hectic and sometimes frustrating life here on Two Moose farm but as I climb the ladder to kiss each forehead of my sleeping children I thank God for his blessings he has bestowed upon our family. Now time for a quick nap before I have to start another day. 

    
 

Wild Critters dine and dash

Living in the wild one must expect losses from wildlife looking for a fast meal, right?  WRONG.  Now to get this through the wild critters heads may take a bit of encouraging or is it discouraging?   Either way the latest task is to get my chickens off the menu of a weasel or mink or whatever the nasty little creature is that has been raiding my-MY henhouse!  The nerve!

This all began a few days ago when I found 2 of my pullets dead and blamed my sweet little (well not so little hen for pecking them).  As some of you may recall I also had a chick with a severe injury to the neck that required stitching the skin back in place but more on that in a bit.  I really did believe that it was the hen so I removed her and the rooster to other living quarters and thought the problem was resolved as nothing happened to any of the sweet young birds over the course of the next 2 hours.  Our friends Robin and Dan came out and we were discussing life on the farm and Robin pointed out that now is the time the wild critters will be looking to feed on my not so wild critters.  Oh the possibility is there I thought but noooooo not MY precious and cute chickens.  That night something DID strike again this time getting 6 of them!  Mad as an old wet hen I drug the carcasses out one by one and examined them and sure enough some wily creature had sucked the blood right out of them!  This means war!   So doing what any rational person would do I immediately apologized to my hen Henny for accusing her of such an awful thing and called Robin.  After teasing her about her wild critters getting my not so wild critters (those who know me will understand I deal with anything tragic by way of humor) she became as mad as I was and said we’re gonna trap that little sucker-or something along those lines and said I will call my son, get some traps and Dan and I will come out this afternoon!   Now you have to understand Robin is a spitfire of a woman all 5 foot 2 or so and a big gust of wind would blow her away but she has gumption.  She is as crazy as I am about the outdoors and is very well versed in everything Alaska.  I am so fortunate to have her as my friend and mentor.  Robin and Dan arrive and I am up to my elbows in cheese-yep more of that story to follow but lets not get sidetracked.  They have traps, bait and more importantly the knowledge we are lacking to catch the beast or beasts that dared trespass and dine on my fowl.  After getting Mike educated on the ins and outs of trapping they joined us for coffee and Robin brought us some blueberries and strawberries she had picked and froze last summer and some canned salmon I have already earmarked for salmon patties on Friday.  Robin came in and immediately got acquainted with my little chick Stitch so named because it took 6 stitches to put the poor thing back together.IMG_3404 IMG_3401

After 6 tiny stitches he or she (not sure which) is as good as new and is making itself quite at home in the cabin. I do believe it thinks it may be a dog as it follows us around and insists on being the center of attention.

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Well, Robin and Stitch found mutual friends in each other and stitch even sang to her. Yes the silly chick coos and sings-not Robin!  It was Stitch singing!

This week has been one of those weeks.  Our 4 wheeler blew the water pump and we are looking for parts, the chicken ordeal rattled me and it seems as if I am constantly moving yet getting nowhere. It is times like this I reflect upon a quote from Mother Theresa which goes something like this “I know God will not give me anymore than I can handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much”. This too shall pass but I am thankful during these times for my faith to carry me through.

It is the time of year that I everything is moving forward and I of course with an already overloaded schedule have to begin my crafting.  In the last 2 weeks I have made soap, Instant cocoa mix with goats milk powder, Lip Balm and with the goats producing milk it is cheese making time once again.  Yay!!! I do love making cheese but since I use old recipes and do things the old ways it is very time consuming.

Goats milk, Coconut oil and Honey Soap
Goats milk, Coconut oil and Honey Soap

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Soap Curing
Soap Curing

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Lip Balm made with Organic Coconut oil, Beeswax and Grapeseed oil
Lip Balm made with Organic Coconut oil, Beeswax and Grapeseed oil

The soap must cure for another 3-4 weeks and then it will be available for purchase.

All of our products are  made with natural ingredients and we use organic materials whenever possible.

If interested in soap, lip balm or goat milk hot cocoa mix message me for more details.

I will leave you all this evening with pics of my goat milk cheddar fresh from the press it is almost perfect except my new oak pressing plates I burnished to seal and it left a couple of charcoal colored spots on the wheels but that shouldn’t effect the taste.  to finish  drying, then waxing and finally the aging.    I will let you know how it tastes in 2 months after it has aged properly.

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Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar Cheese

l pray you are all safe, warm and blessed beyond measure.

With technology, friends and neighbors-We are not isolated at all

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.

Social Media

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!

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.IMG_2583 IMG_2626

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.

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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

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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.

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.

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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.

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Aside from our simple cabin that is built from 90 percent raw lumber milled on our sawmill from trees right here

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We have been blessed with health and happiness and Pray you all have a Merry Christmas and the New Year is filled with joy.

Building memories

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!IMG_2378

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.

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Winter is here!

What a beautiful day it was today.  The weatherman was wrong….again…..but it was beautiful! Snow was falling on our trip out and I felt like I was in the middle of a Norman Rockwell painting it was so beautiful. I took a minute to capture a couple of pics once we were to the truck and driving the 3/4 of a mile to the road.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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The girls and I made our trip to town to stock up on things we may need and check the mail.  I am not much for going to town but have to say today people were even more friendly than normal-could it be the season? I spent half an hour talking to a lovely older gentleman in he post office who spent the tie telling me about the area 40 years ago and being the history buff I am I wish it could have been longer.

Dear hubby met us at the parking area to help haul in the bounty from town and pick up the things I lose on the trail. Yes I get lost in thought and am tooling right along and don’t notice when 20 pounds of potatoes exits the trailer, thank heavens he doesn’t have his head in the clouds too!

The guys had a good time today with the females all gone, they hauled water, cut wood and watched the pig antics.  Pigs that are supposed to be such smart creatures sometimes do the silliest things.  Today Sir Hammington being the nosey creature he is decides sniffing the shovel that is leaning against the electric fence-would be a grand idea.  He of course gets shocked and does a flip, squeals and runs off. Charlotte who is standing there witnessing this and who herself is well versed in electric fences then decides that maybe she should see if it really does shock and repeats the same silly moves.  I guess the smart pig theory has just been proven wrong.

Still no goat babies, I can tell you I am getting antsy waiting.  According to the dates I have down, the appearance of both Bubbles Jr. and Bella they should have had their babies by now.  I guess it’s a waiting game as I have explained to them numerous times I am tired of waiting!

Not much else to report but will post as soon as we have some cue little goat kids on the ground but for now I think I will put on my warm coat, grab a cup of hot coffee and go spend a few minutes watching the snowfall on my little piece of paradise.  I believe its time to go Thank God for the many blessings he bestowed upon this family today.