Another summer has come and gone, fall is quickly changing to winter and recent events have caused emotions to run as rampant as the winds in a brewing storm.
We have finally experienced the brutality of nature first hand with a vicious attack on our goat herd from wolves. It was quite a strange day, unease was in the air-we all felt it. It was as if we collectively knew the day in its calmness was masquerading the evil that was about to take place. Suddenly out of nowhere they attacked at once and in a split second it was over. A total of 5 goats lost and one struggling for her life. Mixed emotions for a moment overwhelmed me. I felt sorry for the goats going through the pain and trauma of dying, I felt sadness for my children experiencing it first hand, anger at the wolves for their being wolves but at the same time I felt angry at myself. The self directed anger was more confusion in retrospect. I know that the wolves were hungry as they didn’t just leave the animals they drug them off so while my heart was aching at our loss I was angry at myself for being mad at wolves for feeding their family. Yes, I am sure this all sounds very odd but I asked myself would we as humans do the same when the need arose. It is with mixed Feelings I realized we must do what is needed to protect our livestock but care is also needed to maintain balance. Sometimes I think too much.
It’s been a busy fall preparing for winter. My little green giant that sissy and Paul provided has proven to be worth its weight in gold-for those who don’t know already the little green giant is the Argo my sissy and her husband so thoughtfully provided for us to use to navigate through this boggy terrain. I’ve gotten used to driving her now and can go places without sinking to my elbows!
Hog butchering has been completed for the fall and I was able to do some trading to get enough animal feed to last us through winter and some help getting our roof on. We also had enough to share with others and I am thankful God provided us with such bounty not just for us but for others too. Losing the goats means there won’t be any money for Christmas this year but we will be eating good with the hams and bacon We’ve smoked, all the canning the girls and I did, the fish dear hubby caught, our birds we still have to butcher and still some canning left to do as I acquired lots of potatoes in another trade.
Sitting here alone in the late night I reflect on what has happened over the last few years. We’ve had so many good times, some bad but the reality is I’m still at peace. I know some of the lessons life has taught us were difficult for my children but they have learned from them. I’ve never been one to shelter my children from reality and the recent events have shown them just how precious every minute of life truly is.
The cloudy rainy/snowy day has ended and the stars are twinkling bright enough you can see the ice crystals reflecting light. At my age it seems silly but I still find wonder, awe and beauty in that. We have also been blessed with many nights of clear skies and bright northern lights dancing across the sky. We are all excited that the freeze seems to be holding unlike last year when it would warm up for a week and thaw then freeze and repeat. The freeze up means we will have guests out more frequently and Thanksgiving will be a party. I’ve always been one who loved to cook and to have friends and family celebrating the holidays with us. With the size of our turkey and ham there will be food aplenty.
One last thing to share is the newest member of our family. Papa Fred has a new puppy that we got from a very nice lady across the inlet. She’s a mixed breed but looks very much like a Labrador and her name is little girl-it’s what she answers to so she must like it. Papa Fred and her are inseparable already as she cries and howls when he steps outside alone even for a minute.
Well I pray your all safe, warm and happy and as is my norm I’ll leave you with a few random pics. god Bless all and thanks for reading.
The last few days have been like a roller coaster. We’ve had beautiful weather, completed a video session, hatched out some chicks and then the mood changes to somber all due to things beyond our control. We lost a baby goat to a freak accident and then last night the Owls returned. One of our young pullets was his prey and even though she was in a sheltered place the owl managed to get her. Tonight I sit on owl watch. All the critters are tucked away in pens and I’m armed with enough noise makers to make him lose his hearing for days. Time to make it look like Fourth of July!!!
Let’s move on as I am getting side tracked once again. Back to the chicks. What began as a science experiment for the kids has turned into a brooder full of chicks. We had been doing some studying (yes even though it’s summer) and the kids were wanting to do an experiment they found online where you hatch a chick out of its egg. We acquired a 12 volt incubator and decided to first try hatching eggs the traditional way. Not wanting it to be boring we used eggs that were 1-14 days old. To our surprise the eggs all hatched except 1! The only difference we have seen so far is the older eggs have had 1 chick to weak to go beyond pipping and it died in its shell. The rest hatched and are doing very well! We will be doing our science experiment at a later date and I will keep you all informed of its progress and results.Our videos are now up and running and can be seen on YouTube. Here’s the link and our channel is Off Grid Alaska. Please join us in our everyday life and future videos will have how to’s and tips to living the off grid life. If there’s anything your interested in seeing please leave a comment here, on our Facebook page Offgrid Alaska or in the comments section of you tube. We want these videos to be for you and to share with others why we love this crazy, hectic and yet peaceful life.
The production company we are working with is amazing!!!! Stagvid Media can be found here Stagvid Media. What great guys they are to work with and they are so multifaceted in their abilities! No matter your needs from a small shoot to a major advertising campaign these gentleman can take your vision and bring it to life. If your at a loss as to which direction to go they can help build your campaign from the ground up. I am so blessed to call them my friends and creative partners on our video series.
The greenhouses have become mini jungles and I’m pleased at the progress we are making. Soon it will be canning and pickling time-my favorite thing to do! I love putting food up and knowing that it was produced right here. My kids like taking part as do dear hubby and Papa Fred so it’s a time of work, learning (for the kids) and memory making.I’ll bet you all were thinking I had suddenly become graceful as I haven’t posted any “oops” moments lately. Well, never fear-I’m still a clutz! You would think that pouring water from a large barrel to a five gallon bucket would be boring. Ha! You were wrong! While transferring water for most is a simple task, for me it involves lots of assistants. Turkeys and chickens are always present but now I have that silly drake who hears the sound of water pouring and thinks it’s bath time. While using both hands to lift the barrel and one foot to attempt to keep the chickens and turkeys at bay because they think there might be some magical treat suddenly appear I forgot about the duck. Now Ritz (or Einstein as Caleb calls him) decides flying onto my head then diving for the bucket looks like a great idea I’m dodging various fowl and thinking how appropriate the word foul is at the moment-somehow my foot catches the bale of the bucket. While still holding the barrel which is now pouring down the front of me, kicking at birds and attempting to dislodge the bale from my foot I end up on my backside with the barrel across the yard and the bucket on my head. To add insult to injury I have an irate duck on my chest quacking out something that sounds a lot like a foghorn on acid. Yep folks Grace has left the building! Thank goodness it was warm out as if of had icicles in some pretty strange places.
Well it’s back to owl duty but I’ll share some random pics and pray your in your happy place. God Bless
Today as I was working through my multitude of chores, doing school with the kids, getting ready to butcher a few turkeys and thinking of decorations for our homemade tree, the old nursery rhyme popped in my head-The butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Silly of course but it brought to mind a conversation my husband and I had the other day about our lives and multitasking. Someone had asked him “well what do you all do when the work is done”? What do people think our lives are like? I am beginning to think they either believe we are sitting around passing the time away at a leisurely pace and the ones not thinking that believe our lives are endless drudgery.
As homesteaders we wear many hats and work more than a 40 hour week but it’s definitely not drudgery by any means. Let’s take today for example. Of course we have the normal daily chores as any family does, feed animals, clean pens, cook meals and ugh-dishes. Yes dishes are a least favorite thing even on the homestead. After the chores and schoolwork were completed we butchered a few turkeys to use as bartering for other things we need or in one case to repay someone for sharing with us when we had a need. Bartering and sharing are a big deal around here and paying back a kindness is important. I’m getting sidetracked again….back to our day. We were butchering turkeys and it’s not a favorite thing for Caleb to do so he volunteered to split wood instead. So here we were all 6 of us-in the yard doing seperate chores together. That time we spent laughing, talking, catching up with our kids’ hopes, dreams and aspirations. We were entertained by the girls singing and Caleb making jokes. We had a few serious moments when we needed to give advice on life and even a few moments when we were mesmerized by our children’s knowledge. You see there is nothing boring or dull in our lives. It’s all in what you make it. We took less than “fun” work and made it enjoyable.
After the outdoor chores had been completed the girls and I went inside and started the indoor chores. The days are getting quite short now so the men stayed out finishing cooking pig food and getting wood stacked. Inside we had laundry, bread baking and supper to get on. This gives us girl time and the men guy time that I’m sure they need. Drudgery never entered our minds until someone pointed it out. Maybe we’re an odd bunch but we like working together and being around our kids. Memories are built everyday-let them be happy ones!
I have to say I’m saddened to see tomorrow come. Our friends Dan and Robin will be going to the outside for three months. It seems we never get enough time to visit-even when we are visiting! Yes they are our dear friends but also our advisors. If we need to know how to do something we know they will of experienced it before as they too homesteaders in the past and have already done it. All I can say is it will be a long 3 months and I’m glad they have cell phones so I can still keep in touch.
My girls share a birthday with Aunt Cathy (a couple days apart but who’s counting) and she is so very hard to gift to as she has everything but she didn’t have a snowman. She does now! I was so excited waiting for it to get to her I almost spilled the beans on several occasions but I did it! I kept a secret! Those who know me know I’m the worlds worst at keeping presents a secret-I get too excited. I think she likes it as she wants a mate for it and that she will get!
Dear hubby sat up late the other night and helped me put my tree idea into creation. It doesn’t look right yet but it will and suits our little cabin well as its hanging out of the way above the table.
Earlier we heard quite a commotion outside. It was an odd banging like someone tied a bucket to a Mooses tail. Upon further investigation it was discovered 2 goats and a large turkey decided the few grains left in the bottom of the Bucket were worth fighting over. Okay, I’ll admit it my first reaction was to laugh then I decided the noises coming from inside the bucket had turned from startled and frightened to “I’m just plain mad”. So after my laughing uncontrollably ceased I had the chore of getting two horned goats and a very angry turkey untwisted and untangled from the bale of the bucket holding them all 3 firmly inside a 5 gallon bucket. After all was said and done the goats were pleased to be free but the turkey decided I was the cause of his distress and proceeded to chase me and peck at my backside-a broom taught him a few manners but if he forgets I have the perfect spot in freezer camp for him.
Well until next time folks I continue to pray that you see the blessings you have and recieve all that you need.
4 in the morning and sitting here enjoying my first cup of coffee. Already went out and slogged through the mud checking on all the critters who are quite content and still sleeping. The pigs were snoring loudly and it sounded like a bear growl about made me jump out of my own skin. Alas I have a few minutes of quiet time-alone. That’s rare! Hubby was up late last night draining water from pens and shoveling the muck so he is happily snoring away-louder than the pigs I might add and I’m not even going to wake him.
Ponderings-when your mind has many thoughts and you just mull them over, much like when tasting a fine wine when it’s just been uncorked. You look at it, inhale it, swish it around and determine if it is worth further consumption. It’s mornings like this I ponder many things. The current thoughts are-will we ever see winter again? How many buckets of sand will it take to create solid ground where it’s muck, and of course the normal thoughts of am I being a good parent.
Winter, it feels as if I haven’t seen winter for years. Not these little passing storms but a real winter with cold, snow and the magical feeling you get when you look outside to a blanket of white, pristine and a pure world. I do love winter, at least a few months of it.
This muck and rain have finally got to me-now I’m plotting revenge. I will conquer it. I will tame it and make it work to my advantage. Through diverting, adding amendments and creative engineering it will be my slave. ( insert evil laugh)! By now anyone who knows me understands challenges to me are like a dare to a child. I will do it because it “supposedly” can’t be done!
Now for the tough one:Parenting. Having 3 preteen, hormonal, Jekyl and Hydes under one roof is daunting. I can face bear, moose and wolves and am fearless compared to the hormonal mood swings these three have that bring chills to my spine one minute and get me so angry the next I am sweating. Yes, I know how many deep breaths it takes until you hyperventilate-11! I think I can get that number down to 9 if I speed them up-at least then I’ll have a couple of minutes of quiet while I’m passed out. Oh no worries I’m just kidding! Maybe…….
Life on Two Moose is full of ups and downs but through it all I know I am blessed to live this life. For those of you contemplating beginning on such an adventure-do not get discouraged for life would be boring if everything went 100 percent as planned.
For now I must go and put on my mom cape which doubles as an apron. An apron that is an umbrella sheltering my family through any storm. Keep the faith and trust God to lead you~