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
It’s that time of year again. Oh how I love the crisp cool mornings while the stars are still out blanketing the night sky with the shimmering lights and the darkness envelops you like a swaddling cloth. Seeing and feeling this makes you realize just how minute you are in this vast universe. As I make my way inside with fingers and nose tingling from the cold the scent of freshly ground coffee fills the air. We may have lost an hour of daylight in the mornings but that’s alright with me as it gives me an hour to relish in all I have been blessed with.
We have been quite busy on Two Moose Farm. New life sprouting, new births and the moose have returned and with that we have had fence repairs and new fencing to do. It seems the momma moose who has come around for the last 2 years has made her return. She will hang around most of the summer in the woods by the house, sneaking in at night to see what kind of treats she can find. I just wish she wouldn’t kick the fence down and would leave the items I have nailed high on the north wall of the cabin in their place.
As I mentioned we had fence repairs to do and as the ice is still with us I needed to finish fencing an area but couldn’t drive posts so we made a couple of temporary panels. Now the yard is almost goat proof as long as the moose leave it alone.
Dear hubby spent the last couple days doing some welding on a friends equipment and that was a nice change for him. He’s anxious to get on the water but since halibut season has been delayed he will find other things to occupy his time.
Our little piggies are growing and venturing out now. I missed the opportunity to get pics of them in a water puddle but I’m sure it won’t be the last time as much like human children they find water puddles too fun to ignore.
Today I have planned to start building another greenhouse. Dear hubby has the lumber cut and stacked already and with his help we should have a good start on it today.
With the day’s growing longer and the abundant sunshine it is getting increasingly difficult to keep the kids focused on school work. I believe it may be time for hands on learning. Building projects require the use of math skills right? Then of course growing plants will involve science and let us not forget the earthquakes and volcanoes venting. We are going to have to move our classroom outdoors for sure.
Well the sun is peeking through the trees and the roosters (11 of them that need to go to freezer camp) are crowing a concert and telling me it’s time to begin my day. As usual I will leave you with a few pics of my world. God Bless and don’t forget to enjoy this day.
Our seasons are so confused-rain all winter then bam!three feet of snow. Well guess what-it’s raining again! Almost all the snow is gone and with the temps hovering around 40 it won’t be long. Of course there’s some minor flooding but that is to be expected. The kids had fun in the snow and now are ready for it to be done. Isn’t the changing weather amazing though? It’s like the picture changes every day. Winter brings ice and dreary short days but also bring us snowstorms to change it to a portrait in white. Spring brings rain but longer days and new growth and life, the green haze is beginning to show itself in the trees and on the ground where the snow has melted. Yes, I do love the changing seasons even if they are a bit fickled.
Finally got the snow cleared away from the smoker and got the salmon finished smoking. 12 pints of smoked salmon (my kids call it fish candy) slightly sweet, a hint of salt and the mellow smoke of birch made it a hit with all. After all of the years I have canned my family still insists on opening the first jar of anything the minute it is cooled. Strange but hey if it makes them happy. More smoking to be done later this week as dear hubby’s friend Norm called and has more fish for us, I do love that we have friends who support and encourage my smoking habit but that doesn’t mean the little goat wether is safe. Smoked goat just sounds yummy! For you vegetarian followers I apologize but I am a meat lover.
Spring fever has come-I’ve been cleaning and making new curtains, basically doing anything I can to take my mind off of gardening. I did get 3 sweet potatoes going in water to grow my own slips. I have never grown any sweet potatoes but reading up it is said for best results start with slips. Slips are the little shoots that grow from them. I’m going to give it a try though as we all love sweet potatoes baked with butter it’s almost as good as regular potatoes.
My kids seriously need to quit growing. Stretching to try to get the yeast from the top shelf Cati (11 years old) reaches over me, says let me help mom and gets it down. She is now 5’6″ tall. Caleb is the same height at 12 years old but he is about to shoot up again. He is eating us out of house and home. Cami is still the smallest of my twin girls but what she lacks in size she makes up for in attitude.
Always something that needs to be done and hoping the rain stops soon-fishing season is coming up quick! I’ll leave you with a few pics as is my norm and pray your blessed beyond measure.
Hi all, it’s been a few days since my last post so I’ll give you a quick run down of what’s been happening. Monday we butchered a hog and the video camera ran out of battery about 1/3 of the way through so I’ll do my best to piece together a video at a later date.
Tuesday Papa Fred who’s been having some medical issues that needed immediate attending got to make a trip to the ER after I grew tired of waiting (3 weeks) for VA to get back to us. He is having trouble with his bladder emptying and without going into details we were fortunate enough to get a great doctor who understands how and where we live. He drained 4 liters of fluid, sent him home with some medical devices that I can take care of until next Thursday when we meet up with the surgeon. What a great doctor he is-they couldn’t get us in at surgeons office for a month, the ER doc called the surgeon, explained what was going on and got us an appointment in a week. Thank you Jesus for putting us where we needed to be and with such an awesome medical staff.
I’m so grateful Kimberly has come to assist me. She’s been a godsend for sure. We spent yesterday cutting up part of the pig, getting one ham and one side of the bacon curing so I can smoke it next week. Today we will do the other side then begin cutting and wrapping the rest of it and begin freezing it. Our weather has been perfect for the entire process. Mid to high 30s in the day, low 30’s at night.
What awesome kids I have! My daughter Cati had earned some money when she went to assist a friend in town for a few days. At 11 she is quite the hand at cooking and cleaning. She is also a very generous soul who wanted to share her bounty. Dear hubby was going to town to meet up with my oldest son Corbin who had acquired some discarded building materials that would be useful to us so Cati asked if he could do some shopping for her. He came home with the materials and her completed shopping list. A treat for all! Banana splits for supper! I used to randomly do this kind of thing on rare occasions back when we could afford such treats. How blessed am I to have a child so giving.
My sissy invited me to come stay with her in May for a week, I’m so excited!!!! It will be just us girls as Paul will be gone and I have big plans to eat too much ice cream, stay up late giggling and nap randomly. Yes ladies I know you get it-a moms vacation for sure. I just wish May were closer as I’m already antsy with anticipation.
One thing I’ve discovered in life is to always expect the unexpected and trust that God has you covered. With Faith as my fuel and God as my pilot I’m sure that I’m in for more adventures that will be to his glory! Have a blessed day all.
Dan and Robin is it leap year yet? Sure missing you two!
It’s a chilly 15 degrees out but the fire in the stove is keeping us all warm. Soon the aroma of sage, cinnamon and cloves will fill the air as pies bake and dressing is made. Yes in our home food is important and tradition must be followed.
Tradition. I didn’t realize until a couple of days ago just how important it has become to my children but my eyes were opened when I mentioned instead of making my traditional cornbread dressing I would try a simple stuffing. You could of heard a pin drop. Suddenly my noisy, chatterbox children ceased all activities and stood there staring at me like I had just sprouted a tree from my forehead. Cati was the first to speak up and asked “why”? I told her I thought maybe they would enjoy something different but was quickly reminded that there were only 2 days of the year that I made cornbread dressing and how could I think of cutting out one of those days. She then went on to say and how will we have our Christmas scrapple if you don’t make dressing? I will be making dressing and we will have our Christmas scrapple.
I’m sure your wondering what we do as far as gifting for Christmas. It’s quite simple-we don’t. Finances don’t allow for any luxuries but that doesn’t mean my children go without. Aunt Cathy spoils them and they did recieve gifts from a secret Santa but they learned long ago that Christmas isn’t about spending lots of money to buy things that will soon be forgotten, Christmas is a time for remembering the birth of our Savior. I am truly blessed that my kids get it. They don’t expect, they don’t demand they are grateful for the simple things and thankful for tradition.
Another tradition we started last year here on the homestead was “building” a Christmas tree. Not having much room we have to be creative. This year our “tree” is made with twigs and decorated with fishing tackle, spent shot gun shells and fly tying yarn. We hung it from the ceiling over the table. The entire family took part and it was a slow start (Caleb dislikes crafts immensely) but when I asked him to provide his shotgun shell casings he suddenly got in the spirit! My kids are growing so fast and when they are grown I think the time spent together doing things like this is what I will miss the most.
You have heard me mention our friends Dan and Robin before and how Robin hatched out some chicks for us. Dan and Robin are doing well and on the outside in Texas for a few months enjoying warmer weather but their son Brandon and his family are still here. I was contacted by Brandon and his wife Joyce because their chickens hatched out early fall decided to be roosters. They gifted us 7 birds that are destined for freezer camp even though it will be difficult to part with them. They are beautiful birds. Now to the point of my long winded story-while picking up the Roos Brandon’s daughter Courtney asked if we wanted a duck. They had one too many drakes and he was too cute to say no-yes Ducks can be cute. Brandon stated he had been well fed and should be good eating gasp how could I eat him he is too cute. I made it clear to Courtney that he would have a happy life and I would find him a mate to spend it with when Brandon interjects “grab that extra hen and then they will have a pair” so now you know the story of how Quackers (the drake) and Cheese (the hen) came to Two Moose Farm. Thank you again Brandon,Courtney and Joyce!
Dear hubby and the kids are working on our snow machine that was given too us. A gentleman who visited out here last year asked if we would like it even though it needed some tlc from years of sitting. Caleb and Mike hauled it in and dear hubby and Cati have been working on it-it should be ready for the trail soon and that’s very exciting as the snow is beginning to pile up. We are so blessed that others think of us and give so willingly. Yes to some they may see that machine as old and worn out but to us it is new and a huge blessing. I’m am so truly blessed by having a husband who can fix or create something out of nothing and the kids are learning so much. Life is good!
Well it’s time to get another pot of coffee going as it will be a long day but I’ll leave you all with a prayer of peace and goodwill.
Christmas is just around the corner and soon after we will begin a New Year. It’s hard to believe that 2015 has flown by so quickly. We started the year off with a new birth on Two Moose, this year we may just see that again as our goat girls are getting quite round.
The months flew by in a blur of new life springing forth, gardening, building, hunting and fishing. With the expansion of our animals came lots of building projects.
The children grew so much I sometimes felt they had done so overnight. Gone is the baby faced years and they have all turned into young adults with ideas, inspirations and dreams of their own. It saddens this momma to see the birds preparing to fly from the nest but warms my heart to know that with the coming years they will gain enough knowledge to be well equipped to move into the world if they decide that’s their course.
2015 showed an old dog (dear hubby) he could indeed learn new tricks. What began as a friend needing a deck hand has turned into a new career. My dear husband who had only heard stories from me about the ocean having a life and personality of its own finally experienced it and now feels her beaconing call. I watch his face as he looks out over the inlet at high tide and see the longing he feels to return to her once again.
For me 2015 was the turning point where I could see how far we had come. I am living where I want, how I want and for the first time in my life I am at peace. There is no place like home. From the first little green sprig in spring to the latest snowfall and every day in between I find something daily to rejoice over. Our little farm is growing despite the set backs living in the wild can bring, my children are happy, healthy and learning more than anyone could ever imagine and my dear hubby is experiencing things he never dreamt he would. Yes life is blessed and I expect 2016 to be just as exciting.
As I sit here with the fire crackling, the aroma of coffee in the air, looking out the window to the light of a sliver of the moon reflecting on the pristine snow blanketed land I see the future. Our future. Where someday my grandchildren may sit in this same exact spot and wonder if granny was right-is this truly good next year country. Of course not all will see or feel the pull this land has on my heart but perhaps one will feel it as I do.
Once again it’s time to make the rounds to check on our critters so I will leave you with random pictures of our life here on Two Moose. May your day be blessed.
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.
It seems winter may just make an appearance after all here in Alaska. The past few days have found us bouncing between wind, sleet, hail and snow peppered moments. Always on the ready we have busied ourselves with repairing animal pens and shelters which is a never ending job, gathering firewood, hauling water and of course dear hubby has been also busy making repairs to the wheelers. He did get excited when he discovered that one of my “mall” aka local dump site finds turned out to be tire chains that would fit his 4 wheeler.
Yes we have finally frozen up. That glorious time of year when the soggy ground almost magically freezes and ends the muddy season. A time for celebration for this off grid family as now we can begin the real work. When the ground is frozen logs can be hauled with greater ease as they slide across the frozen tundra much easier and travel back and forth to town is done by machine versus on foot.
This is also my favorite season because of the holidays. I love holidays! Big meals with family all around and this year will be even more special as we have plans for fellow homesteaders Reese and Ann to join us and perhaps another couple too! Yes I love to entertain. Cooking for a crowd is one of my favorite things to do and although we will be cramped in our small quarters what a time we will have.
The kids are loving the snow and chilly weather. Aunt Cathy sent them ice skates so we are planning on going to the hidden lake once it is frozen solid. I do have plans for an ice rink in the front yard if I can make it happen. It’s not as difficult as it may sound. Once the ground freezes solid I will start emptying the dish water out there and it will freeze. If I can keep the critters out it should get smooth and they will have a fenced in area to skate away in. Yes, creative thinking is a must for sure.it really should not take long to accomplish weather permitting with as many dishes as I do!
I know this is a short post but the roosters are crowing and it’s almost 5:30 a.m. So time to get the dough kneaded and commence my day. I hope your all blessed with joy and happiness. I’ll leave you with random pics as has become the tradition. God Bless!