Tag Archives: Homesteading

Readers ask questions

Lately I am receiving many messages from readers asking questions and thought addressing them here would be a good idea.  Some are serious, some are silly but overall most are asked good naturedly and I am grateful that you all take the time to read my ramblings.

The most frequent negative question I get asked is “Why would you subject your children to isolation and the dangers of living in the wild”? My answer is not so simple.  I for one do not feel like we are isolated nor do I feel that the are in any more danger than living in the city.  We have technology to keep us in communication with others and we do make trips to town.  Yes my children are isolated from other children and I am hoping this will change some BUT I don’t feel that they are being damaged in any way from not being able to experience things like bullying or any of the other things the outside world has to offer.  My children have friends and a social life be it a limited one.  As far as the dangers of living out here remotely, yes they exist.  There are wild animals that don’t consider us the top of the food chain and there is always the chance of an injury.  In the outside world there are dangers too and I am much more comfortable predicting an animals behavior than a humans.

How did you gain your knowledge is the next most frequently asked question-That one is much easier to answer but lengthy.  First of all I have always hungered for knowledge of old ways and from a very young age intrigued by the way pioneers made a new life with little in new lands. I have spent hundreds of hours listening and learning from old timers. I remember once when I was 5 or 6 watching my Paw Paw making fishing sinkers-he would melt the lead and pour  it into molds he made out of sand.  I asked him why he didn’t just buy them at the store like everyone else and he responded by saying “its good to use what you have” and tapped the side of his head, chuckled, then said “and a quick trip to the store wouldn’t be as fun as spending time making them together”.  For years I had one of his sinkers on my key chain to remind me of those times.  I later discovered  old cook books!  Old cook books are full of information and if your lucky enough to acquire one where the original owner wrote down her words of wisdom you have a rare and beautiful find. The contents of old cook books spans mch more than recipes as it was the second most important book in a household, the first of course being the Holy Bible.  Old cook books led me to other books then Mother Earth News and eventually I discovered the internet.  Knowledge is everywhere but you have to have the desire to harvest it!

Another question I receive frequently is how do we make do without running water?  honestly believe that people waste water and should try this experiment-put back 15 gallons of water and you can still use your toilet normally but for everything else such as cooking, washing, brushing teeth and doing dishes you can only use from the water you have. No cheating, no turning on the faucet.  After you’ve completed that challenge spend 24 hours keeping track of your water usage.  It will amaze you how much is wasted. Personally I have grown to love the outhouse.  That may sound silly or crazy to some but even on the coldest days I always find myself enjoying the walk to it and there is lot to be said for the quiet time it affords me.  Heating water on the stove has become habit and in the summer months it waters my plants too.

I love this next question:  How can you be online and “off grid” ?   We have technology out here in the Wilds of Alaska.  Battery packs, solar panels and a generator supply our power needs and cell service keeps us in contact with others and provides our internet connection.

Now for a little humor.  To those of you who want to know if we live in an igloo the answer is no. Can we pet the wild animals? Not while they are living or they think you are dinner. The last most funny and heartwarming question comes from a readers 5 year old son who likes to look at the pictures- Yes Charlie this place is  very real and I’m sorry but we don’t sell admission tickets. It is nice though that you think it looks like a fun place to visit.

Thank you to all of you for sending me your questions. I do enjoy reading them and try to answer each of them to the best of my ability. 

For Charlie I am adding a few more pics I do hope you enjoy them. Good night and God Bless each one of you.

Singing chicks and snoring pigs

The sounds on the farm are quite amusing. At 4 a.m I was awake as is my norm so I took a stroll around to check on critters and had to giggle at the unusual sounds coming from the pens. The pigs were snoring and it sounded like a chainsaw competition, the goats make these little squeaky noises when laying around blissfully chewing their cud and the rabbits excited for a chance to be petted thumped and rattled anything in their cages to get my attention. Of course the rooster who I have finally named Jack could not be out done and had to begin crowing…,repeatedly and very loudly.

The clouds overhead were just thin enough to allow my way to be illuminated by the moon and a few stars even peeked through to twinkle. I love early mornings as they are peaceful. Notice I said peaceful because it’s never truly quiet around here and I am reminded how noisy it is when I return to the cabin and Stitch is singing away and wanting out of his box to start the day. He must stay in a few more hours though for allowed out his volume level goes to high and then everyone is awake. No, it’s still my  almost quiet time when the only chattering I want to hear is that of the coffee beginning to boil.

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


Soap Curing
Soap Curing


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.


Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar Cheese

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

The many faces of Mom

Moms you all know what it’s like to have many faces. To smile when you really want to cry, to keep a straight face when you want to burst out laughing and to not show fear when your scared to death because you are the glue that keeps it all together.

Yesterday felt like it was going to be a typical day and around here I guess it was but never the less it was challenging. Critter chores done and breakfast cooked I was starting the kids on schoolwork when Caleb announced he didn’t feel well. Alright straight face in place I now must determine is the a real sickness event or one of the “I want to get out of doing something illness”. No real symptoms and his appetite proved the illness was the latter I played along. Up to bed no going outside to play until your feeling better. Exactly 10 minutes later he has a sudden recovery. Not being one to let someone off the hook that easily I send him back to bed with schoolwork in hand. 4 hours later he is completely healed! Yes, I am a miracle worker. Still not giving in on this I tell him I’m not convinced he is all better yet but if he could split wood surely breaking a sweat would force out any bad germs that could potentially cause a fever. 30 minutes later the wood box is full but I’m still not totally  convinced he is not sickly and before I could figure out another chore to prove his illness was faked he finally fesses up. Score 1 for mom. I send him on his way to play 2 hours later than if he would of just gotten up, done his share of the chores and his school work without the drama of pretending to be ill. Somehow though it doesn’t feel like a win but an irritation at the time wasted trying to get out of chores.

Making my usually mid morning rounds while kids were inside doing school work and likely fighting I discovered one of my chicks severely injured. It’s neck skin severed completely and the muscle and bone all exposed. Time for the yes it’s gross and makes me want to cry straight up mom face. Looking like I don’t have a care in the world I convince all my little minions it is no big deal and yes I am super mom and YES I can fix it! I carefully clean it up and suture the skin back in place with 6 tiny little stitches. I am happy to report the patient is still doing well eating, drinking, pooping and doing the normal things chicks do. Barring any infection I predict a full recovery.

That excitement over with it was on to more mundane things like cleaning pens and preparing meals but I did take time to plant some tomato seeds in pots and dreaming of fresh tomatoes in a couple of months.

Now to go add sutures to my shopping list as I have discovered I am running low. You all have a blessed day and keep smiling because smiles truly are contagious!

Busy days at Two Moose farm


It’s been quite hectic here at Two Moose as of late. New pens to build as babies being born, new inventions to build and use and the crafting time has begun.
We completed the weaning shed and pen (much to the dismay of little Racer and Etta who would have prefered staying with their momma. You will see in the video what Racer thought of penning him in!

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The Turkey Tractor is complete also and the turkeys have found it quite to their liking.  My daughter thought it would be great fun to play different calls to them and see what they would do.

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Of course no one can be left out on the farm and roosters especially as they have to be in the limelight ALL the time as you can tell from prior videos the voice their opinions frequently.

The goats are our biggest source of entertainment here at Two Moose.  They never cease to amaze me with their antics. Here is Bella who was ready to be milked. When I refused to acknowledge her as it was still hours away from milking time she proceeded to crawl into the feed pan and begin bleating very loudly at me.

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The test tap I did on a Birch tree last week is finally showing signs of the approaching run.  There are a few drops of sap making a show but not enough to tap the other trees yet but soon.  My soap I created last week is aging nicely and although unscented has a beautiful clean scent about it.  I will be putting the website online shortly and the soap along with leather crafts, hot cocoa mix made from powdered goats milk and many other items will be available for sale for those of you wanting a little taste of Alaska I will have the Birch syrup available as soon s the run is complete.

Life here is about constantly moving forward and work is a big part of our lives but there is also time for learning and fun.  The children have been working on school work but their best education I believe is seeing how providing for the animals is returned by what the animals provide for us.  Cati has become quite proficient at milking and loves the goats as much as I do, Caleb is all about the rabbits.  He enjoys feeding them and can tell you which rabbit is due to have babies.  He also is a great hand at splitting firewood.  Cami is our little get it done girl who makes sure every creature has adequate bedding and with her sister Cati they are the ones who monitor the pens for cleanliness.  I still have to assist but am proud they love the animals as much as I do.

We did take a trip to the beach the other day where the kids enjoyed playing with a friend from town and they also gathered a bunch of coal for our cookstove.  Simple things mean a lot to us and a couple hours of beach time gave everyone a break from the daily routine.

Its getting close to chore time again so I must go but will try to post a bit more frequently.  I will leave you with a picture of my favorite view and a prayer God blesses you with health and happiness.


Spring? Let’s hope!

What a difference a few days make. It’s a beautiful sunny 36 degrees and much happening on Two Moose Farm.

Chicks in the brooder almost completely feathered out and have removed all auxiliary heat from them.

The non electric kerosene brooder is a success and will have plans available soon if anyone wants to build one.
The incubator is full and so far is holding right at 100 degrees but will not know until hatching if it is a success.

Pigs growing like crazy and unfortunately Charlotte is showing signs of being in heat again. That will mean almost 4 months until she farrows if she takes this time. Have about 50 more pounds to put on the 2 I want to butcher so looking at about 3-4 weeks of finishing on them. They grow so much slower on a diet with no corn but the taste will make up for it.



Still using every free moment to whittle taps for the birch tap that is coming soon. With the warmer weather I will do a few test taps to see if the run is coming. The 3 weeks of the run will be very busy here for sure.
Goats are doing well and had a friend out to visit. She had her first lesson in goat milking today!

One last thing I want to share is this book on straw bale gardening. My friend Cathy sent this to me and it’s a wealth of information. The book is published by Cool Springs Press and is called Straw Bale Gardens Joel Karsten is the author.

Time to get busy once again so I bid you all good day and pray your blessings be bountiful.

Crazy, Busy, Life

IMG_3039Today 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.

IMG_3035 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.

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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.

New life on Two Moose

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!

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!

Update on our chicks

Sadly I have to tell you all of our chicks died.  It was a good fight though and I believe that had they been from another producer they may not have made it as far as they did.  Ideal poultry already answered my message and let me know they would be replaced.   I did inform hem that I didn’t believe it was their fault but still they tell me they will replace them.  What a great company!