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Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Prepper Step

Well not really first step, there are the chickens, wood stove and the passive solar house...
Today I bleached/cleaned 4 Reliance water jugs (7 gallons each) and filled for drinking water. I also filled (but didnt really clean) approx 30 gallons worth of water for the chickens. Soon we will have snow (this being Wisconsin in December) and then I will have a built in supply of water for non-drinking purposes. So at 1 gallon per day per person we are set for a short term emergency. More if I drain the water pressurizing tank. It's a small thing but makes me feel proactive!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

American Preppers Network

Things are calming down around here. The business is sold, I have some work lined up doing hourly relief veterinary work. We close on Mom's house next week. Christmas stuff is (mostly) done. I am starting to 'play' with my art again. (I realized if I called it 'getting ready for the Show'-I would freeze up and be unable to be creative-so I PLAY with paint and pencil). I was almost ready to kick back and eat bon-bons with a good book for the rest of the winter :) Then my blogger friend Ruth had to start talkng about SHTF preppers...oh...right... I was going to be prepared, that was in our original list of goals for moving out here. Damn it! No bon-bons for me.
We wanted to be prepared for emergencies short or long. Prepared for that winter icestorm. Prepared for peak oil. Prepared for shortages of food at the grocery store. Prepared for Planet X Scratch that -if planet x comes we are all screwed and that's that.
Small things first for me- my truck needs a new battery. Bleach and fill those water jugs in the garage. Check the flashlight and battery supply. Be sure to have at least some cash on hand. Check my lamp oil/kerosene and wick/mantle supply. Matches. Diesel for the tractor/snow blower. Build a Faraday cage to protect electronics from EMP strike Whew...
I joined American Prepper Network, they seem sane. I have so many questions about everything from installing a handpump on the well to how much food to plant to how to protect my money from inflation. (No I will NOT buy any stupid gold but maybe some cows...)
What can you do to protect your family from an extended streak of mother nature on the rampage (or widespread civil unrest and martial law)?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Protests- Public and Private

I'm angry. Very angry. I've progressed from oblivious to skeptical eye-rolling into 'what the hell are they thinking' and now into f#cking angry. Angry enough that I need to channel this into something or it will eat me.
I am mad that my government values corporations above people, I am angry that there is a 99%, I am angry that GMO's are not labeled, I am angry that I do not have the (fundamental) right to healthy food -even if i grow/milk it myself. I am angry that more people aren't angry. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands. Maybe I should be shopping online instead of reading Joel Salatin, the Complete Patient and the Food Renegade.
We have been privately protesting in our own way for a while now. Consumer disobedience, free range kids, GoodWill and used cars. Then we stepped it up; moved out of town, quit my job, learned how to can and grow my own food even if we might not be allowed to actually eat it (over my dead body-really, try to stop me).

What else can I do to protest what I feel is wrong about our country? The snide comments on Facebook are getting nowhere. Move my savings out of the big bank and into a local credit union this week as part of the national movement. Call Madison and file a complaint against Judge Fiedler's ruling (oh wait he resigned and is now working for a firm who defends Monsanto) okay call and ask politely for him to be disbarred. Call my state representative yadayada

I'm just angry :\

postscript: i spoke to the Judicial Commission and Lawyer Regulation offices yesterday and have their complaint/greivance forms online...but do i have the conviction to actually file against Fiedler? it is scarey to DO something.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lettuce Alone You Nasty Frost!

Just a quick post on our farm site about my first attempt at extending my growing season. We are having regular frosts overnight, but no snow yet!
Also a link to a microgreen tutorial at You Grow Girl.

I will be posting on the farm site more regularly, but keeping this site up for my occasional rantings/ravings/mumblings. I dont really think the farm site is the right place for that and I do like the anonymity of my Small Life!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Local Economy

I posted last night on the local food economy on my farm blog. Thank you Robert of Roberts Roost for getting the juices flowing on that one!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guilty Pleasures?

ooh that sounds naughty doesn't it :)
We had a hard freeze last night and will have another tonight. Bye-bye garden. I am feeling a bit guilty about this but this is one death in the family which I am happy about. It is a signal to slow things down, another item off my list. No more feeling bad about the 5lb cukes lurking under the vines or the green zuchinni canoes. I can grow the stuff but I am not so good about using it. The rest of my family does not enjoy vegetables. I am also embarrassed to say I have still not learned how to can- i dry and freeze and do refrigerator pickles but there was so much waste in the garden. Even pigs will not eat overgrown summer squash or cukes! I think next year I will plant more herbs and less unpopular veggies. I will stick to early tomatoes (no more than 5 plants!), carrots, beets, beans, greens and sweet corn. Now to deal with the 60 lbs of onions drying in the garage, the 2 shopping bags of semi-ripe tomatoes and 10lbs biggish cukes! The carrots, potatoes and beets can stay in the ground until I am ready for them

Sunday, September 11, 2011

D is for...

(sorry Judy -i stole your theme!)
D is for depression. I am finally just owning up to it. I suffer from depression. It has been a chronic problem, but episodic. I certainly have a genetic predisposition-all members of my immediate family have been on meds for OCD or depression. I poo-poohed prescription meds; didn't need them-not me! My thought was if your life was so off kilter that you shouldn't be medicated into submisssion-fix the problem (lifestyle, stress, etc) not the symptom (depression). Sort of like having to give confinement animals antibiotics to survive the horrid living conditions. Probably not a very PC way to think. I mean we are being taught that depression is a 'real' disease, just as real as diabetes or heart disease, right?
But here I was living the life of my dreams and I didnt want to get out of bed, I didnt want to do anything except eat sweets and sleep. Stupid chickens, stupid pigs, stupid kids-what do you want from me- just LEAVE ME ALONE! Wow.
I have a theory about my depression. Yes it is 'real', but like diabetes and like heart disease there are things I can do to lessen my likelihood of disease. I believe my fragile brain chemistry is strongly affected by what I eat. This is sort of a 'chicken or the egg' thing for me. Are uncontrolled sweet cravings a cause or an effect of my depression? I am choosing to believe that I have some control over this situation and if I can restrict my carb intake (especially at the beginnings of my period) that my brain chemistry will be more stable. I have given myself a month to work on the problem in my own way. If I am not successful I will seek professional help and a rx.
This is what I am doing: omega 3 FA supplements, St Johns Wort and siberian ginseng. The first 2 have beed shown helpful in treating depression, ginseng for a self-diagnosed qi deficiency. I am also being careful about carbs. The paleo-diets are attractive to me intellectually but very difficult in practice-i dont know what to eat if not bread, pasta, potatoes. Equally important for me is to stop my procrastinating ways; pay bills on time, etc. to reduce that internal stress- i usually have a dozen things in my head to feel 'guilty' about because I havent done them yet. Most are small easily remedied things. My plan for this week is to write them out and remove them from the internal chatter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Wall

...I have hit it and hit it hard! I have gone from suburban professional to local food producer and i know now that i have stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire!! We just rounded up our 75 meat birds and taken them to the processor, the 12 pigs have only 5 weeks left with us, the second batch of meat birds are in the brooder-2 1/2 weeks until they go out on grass. My 8 layers are reliably giving us 3 1/2 dozen eggs per week and there are 25 baby layers growing up in their tractor on pasture. The three calves are trimming the pasture down nicely and are VERY low maintenance. My (human) girls are in piano lessons with a flurry of ortho and MD apts coming up. My garden is growing like crazy- we have had lots of rain and heat- i can almost find the cukes between all the pigweed :). Dad has been wondering if I will come over to pick raspberries- and i really want to but... I.CANT.DO.THIS.ANYMORE!!! I (mistakenly, naively thought staying home would be bucolic, idyllic, just like all these other blogs I read) Not so much.
If we are to be a income producing farm, I need to do something much much differently. Or I need to just be a homesteader and produce enough for my family. I cannot farm like a hobbyist.
I love love love it out here. I love caring for these creatures. I love seeing animals acting as nature intended. I just cant do it for 12 hrs a day 7 days a weeks, etc etc.
balance balance balance- i'll let you know when i find it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Couple Quotes

This deficit stuff is getting to me, I have no faith in our elected leaders. I have some mature savings bonds I have been hanging onto. I will be cashing them in next week and using the proceeds to buy a pressure canner. I have more confidence in my garden and myself than in my govt.

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you… you may know that your society is doomed."
–Ayn Rand

"I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy."

- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's All Just Stuff

I was working with my sister today to clean Mom's house. I was thinking about what a person leaves behind after they leave this life, it is such a nebulous thing. I wish I were a more eloquent writer...I cannot explain, but I was left with the resolution to DO more to positively affect people and acquire LESS stuff. The stuff does not last; it ends up getting sold off or boxed up and given to charity. It is the things we do for other which are lasting. An individuals actions ripple, echo and spread in ways which are truly lasting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Those Damn Hens!!

Spring is really here! A whole weekend of 60's. Enough sun to pink my cheeks and make me a REAL red neck! The hens are really enjoying the grass and bugs as well-they have freee range of our place during daylight. They also helped themselves to a tasty salad consisting of my pepper and tomato seedlings! In hind sight it was not a great idea -but i thought i would treat the tiny seedings to some out-of-doors, you know just an hour of cloudy afternoon. I came around the corner of the house to find the birds having a snack!! Uggh, some of the tomatoes will survive but every pepper was nipped off. Now this is Northern WI and I still have time before anything can safely go out--time to start some more seeds tomorrow :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cutting Ties

It has been an emotional couple of weeks. I am completely 'out of the closet' about leaving the practice with both clients and staff. It is such a relief! I am torn between doing a goofy happy dance every time i think about leaving and the sadness of leaving my client-friends behind. I have quite a few really special relationships built-up over the years. I have been talking to those special people the last few weeks as they come in -to let them know what is going on. It has been heart warming, without exception the response has been 'good for you!' What a great bunch of human beings!
On the other hand my business partner has not been so great. Locking me out of our business software program, not paying me the first quarter's management paycheck. I final told her how unacceptable that was, I was such a wimp with her, but yesterday I was ready to walkout and hire an attorney if she would not cooperate. I almost caved but in the end she will not be shorting me. One small battle won! I am trying very hard to be calm and professional-I would like to salvage a professional relationship with her if possible. Career wise it is a small community and it just reflects poorly on both people if we resort to petty crap.

Deadlines (and Luck!)

Nothing like a deadline to get a family motivated...we annually host the Easter Dinner for our extended family. It is never a lavish fancy meal, usually a little more lighthearted and casual. One year I made blender drinks and made everyone wear loud shirts and fake flower garlands; I forget what we actually ate... :) In a burst of adrenaline I realized spring farm season, Easter, and the end-date for the construction loan were all on the horizon! Whoa, were did that long WI winter go? We have been puttering along with finishing the trim work on the house. Since we do not (yet) have a garage, my earlier excuses revolved around cold temps and stain fumes in the house. The house sat unfinished all winter-no doors, no trim, nada! It has been a flurry of activity around this place. Trim, doors and casements stained and hung. We will not be 100% complete by Sunday-no closet doors yet and a special order door for the laundry alcove has just arrived but it looks more like a real house now! The general messiness of a new construction site long hidden by snow has also been cleaned up.
I am also re-doing our laying hen's tractor, they need to get out of the shed/brooder so I can get it ready for the new laying chicks (10 leghorns, 5 welsummers, 5 new hampshire, and 5 golden buffs) and 75 freedom rangers which will arrive in 3 weeks. I will pick up the feeder pigs in 2 weeks. Another first-first time pulling a trailer with the truck. DH says as long as it's a straight line I should be fine :P
I have 2 more weeks of my regular work schedule, then I will go to one day/week for the rest of May. By June i will be a full time stay at home Mom/grazier! I am constantly amazed by how things work out for us. I feel like the luckiest person. I have to remember how hard we have worked to get here. Does a person make his/her own luck? IDK, but I feel peaceful, content and energized at the same time-no looking back with regrets!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Did the Deed

Yesterday I did it. Really, really did it. No going back. No someday. It's now. I handed in my resignation letter. Part of me wants to do the happy dance and shout out loud, but another part of me feels bad for 'jumping ship'. I find my self mentally saying goodbye to many of my favorite clients-wanting to give them big hugs and thank them for allowing me to care for their beloved pets.
I have shared my story with a few people outside my immediate family, it has been so rewarding to hear their enthusiasm. One friend, who taught art lessons for my Mom and myself told me 'this is the BEST thing I have heard all week!'
I have suddenly been released from the inertia of all the drama in my life lately, and I've got work to do! Tomorrow I will 1) stain trim for the house -needs to be done before we can make the move from construction loan to mortgage, 2) meet with the USDA grazier for our county -before the federal govt shutdown :) 3) start garden seeds -i know seems late but we can have frosts into June here. 4) order chickens -no wine before-hand this year, damn it, it is a business after all!

Goodbye Winter...

Hello Spring,

and Mud Season

Monday, March 21, 2011

quiet on the blog...

turmoil in my real life. I have been pretty quiet here lately, it seems the more I have going on in my life the less i blog. So here it goes...
I am in the process of selling out my portion of the veterinary clinic. It is not going as expected. Despite the bumps in the road I am determined to see it through.
GrasWerka is gearing up for our first year with two batches of freedom rangers, for a total of 150-200 birds -not quite sure yet of the exact number :), 15 berkshire hogs on pasture, a big ol' garden.
Our workshop/garage will go up this spring. Hurray! Right now we are a 1440 sq ft house and a hen shed on 20 acres of mud :p Talk about tying to fit 10 lbs of sh#t into a 5lb box !
Last and certainly NOT least, my mother passed away at the age of 67 just 3 weeks ago. It was a suprize to everyone who knew her, and has thrown me for quite a loop. I am missing her so much, but each day is adding to the healing processs. She was far from a perfect person, but i hope she knew how much i loved her and appreciated all she did for our family ( i think she knew!)
I think this post will be pretty quiet for a few months, but i hope to get back to regular posting this summer. I need to let you all know how things turned out !!
I will close with a quote recorded on a scrap of paper I found tucked into the edge of Mom's dresser mirror- i think it was meant for me :)
'Yesterday is what it was, all we have is today and tomorrow... It's up to us to live our lives to the fullest, to not give others the power to decide how happy, how satisfied, or how fulfilled we're going to feel. Too many of us aren't living the life we want because we're living someone else's dreams, or we're chained to debt, or we've committed to things that our heart just isn't in and now we feel trapped, or we've allowed others to steal our joy. Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons!'

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bread Snob

I have officially become a bread snob. This winter I began baking my own again after the camper adventure. This weekend I resorted to my back-up bread maker for a quickie loaf :) Yuck! Like sawdust. I'd rather buy store stuff.

Largely irrelevant now because bread is a thing of the past for me. After several weeks of very low carb diet-no bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes- I ate some of that yummy homemade bread--what a stink! I have discovered that my system really just does better without the carbs. I don't know if the gas was the gluten or just a dearth of GI bugs to handle all the carbs.

I am back to low carb/no gluten now. Anybody have any good spelt recipes?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

GrasWerka Family Farm

I have started our farm web site-pretty primative and only one post so far, but I gotta start somewhere!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Healer Heal Thyself

I have (re) started the first step in what I hope will be a long and wonderful learning experience. North American Institute of Medical Herbalism has distance learning available and I am ready to learn. Their First Course in Medical Herbalism contains 2 disks, a kit of 15 herbs, and a journal to record impressions on taste, energetics, and effects of each herb as you experience each one. I purchased this last winter but didn't get too far. I listened to the lecture on Vitalism last night. I need to listen again to really let things soak in, but his description of medicine as a balance between tradition and experience, between scientific and intuition was a huge relief to me. He also talked about healers needing to have the insight and faith that goes along with healing yourself first; being able to recognize the vital (the difference between a crunchy carrot and a wilty one!), having the insight to recognize a healing crisis when it arises and the confidence to guide someone past the crisis. I accept that challenge for myself; to remove the barriers which are keeping me from being the extra crunchy carrot :)

I am also working on our farm website at wordpress-more info when it is presentable to the public!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Ohhh aren't they beautiful?!! My hens are gifting us with 5-7 eggs daily and it gives me joy!

The last couple of months have been pretty hard for me, but I feel better now, a little more in control. The craziness of moving out of the old house, making the new one a home, the holidays, and changing my career path have been enough to get my anxiety and depression tendencies all stirred up. After Christmas I was sick-layed out on the couch for 4 full days, very uncharacteristic. But my body knew what it was doing. I required rest. I am now feeling brighter, renewed and ready to take the reins again.

If I am to be a full time farmer this summer (and beyond??) i need to begin working on my number one tool--ME. i am 40 and 50lbs overweight, my joints hurt (duh), and am well on my way to becoming a diabetic if i don't take responsibility for my own health. If i wish to do half the things we are dreaming about i need to be stronger, more flexible and generally healthier. So i am on it, details forthcoming but lets just say it's a Primal approach.

I need help with farm names- we were calling ourselves GrassWorks-but that is the name of the state grazing network-confusing if we wish to grow and be a 'going concern'. So another idea is PastureWorks Family Farm (kinda dry), or the german gras werka (verka) translation of grassworks which makes sense from an intellectual point DH is very german and the german immigrants held a belief of land husbandry rather than exploitative approach to the land. Ive been playing with Hxxx's Field of Dreams which tickles my fancy--but is 'field of dreams' an untouchable copyrighted phrase? IDK Any input appreciated!