October 17, 2006 – You Think You Had (Have) Trouble Dating?

Today I heard about poor soul – Brian. He is mostly a regular guy looking to settle down. Unable to find any dates, he resigned himself to an online dating service. He chose eHarmony, because he was interested in finding someone with similar values. After filling out the 200+ questionnaire, he clicked submit to find matches in his area. Not only were there no matches in his area (New York City), but he was informed there were no matches for him in the nation! Now it’s one thing to be rejected by women one at a time, the ultimate insult was to be rejected by 6 million at a time!

Not to be discouraged, he started a web site www.settleforbrian.com where he posted pros and cons about dating him. I hope it works for him.

one year ago…

October 16, 2006 – Sugar (Shoog-uh!)

Yesterday the good people at Morning Sun Farm brought a young Alpine goat buck when they came over to make soap. His name was alternately “Whiteface” or “Sugar” and we decided to call him Sugar, pronounced “Shoog-uh” as his job is to impregnate Paullina and Blaze. The two young boys went to the sale barn on Saturday, and the two young girls went to Two Friends Farm for a while.

Here’s Shoog-uh with one of his harem.

one year ago…

October 15, 2006 – Soap

Today was another day to revive an ancient, somewhat forgotten task – making soap from scratch – in this case rendered beef and pork fat, lye, and goat milk. The folks from Morning Sun farm came over to finish what we had started a few months ago when the fat was rendered.

Everybody looks pleased to finally see the soap being poured into the mold without any lye burns. In 6 weeks we’ll be able to test out this batch.

one year ago…

October 14, 2006 – Garden Clean Up Begins

Today was a big get the garden cleaned up day. We hired one of Linda’s students to help and got all the tomato vines pulled and dragged to the burn pile, pulled all the posts holding the tomato cages and bean trellises out, dragged them to the winter storage location, chopped the sunflowers and corn stalks, and weeded the baby pines one last time before winter.

Some of the tomato cages lean against the barn. These are home made out of old woven wire fencing destined for the dump, slid on top of 1/2 of a steel fence post, they make sturdy tomato cages.

one year ago…

October 11, 2006 – Garden Gleaning

You know you are committed when it’s 39 degrees with a 25 mph wind and you are out picking the last raspberries of the year! I had to come in three times to warm up the fingers before getting all the raspberries picked. Tonight will be the end of the growing season at last. This was the last garden gleaning before a hard frost.

This was part of the day’s harvest. In addition to this, some radishes, lettuce, and herbs were gathered. So, today was devoted to freezing the beans and berries, making one batch of salsa, and canning more tomatoes.

I wasn’t necessarily planning on this for today, but something about my upbringing can’t let the food go without one last putting away day.

one year ago…

October 10, 2006 – Egg Production Slowing

It’s the time of year that egg production drops as the light decreases. We don’t “force” our hens to lay like the big egg houses do by keeping the lights on all the time, nor do we withhold feed the last days of the hen’s life to trick her into a burst of laying before death. We’re able to ebb and flow with the chicken’s natural cycles, so we get an overflow of eggs in the spring and fewer in the winter.

We have a few young hens (pullets) just starting to lay. Their eggs the first few weeks are about half the size of regular eggs. They often appear in strange places until the pullets figure out it’s nice to lay them in the warm, cozy, nest boxes to make a bigger clutch with other hens.

October 9, 2006 – Lambs Growing Up

Our lambs are a bit behind most others in the area. They were born in June, so won’t be ready until late, late fall. They get a little bit of corn to help them keep warm and get used to coming when we call. That helps when we yell SHEEPY-SHEEPY-SHEEP to lock them up at night to prevent a coyote feast! Otherwise, they graze to their heart’s content all day.

October 8, 2006 – Corn Wagons Filled

Today is supposed to be the last nice day for a while. Claire and I went on a walk to combat hunger for church and the rest of the gang met some friends for a walk in the woods and picnic. We eventually caught up with them.

Today was also the day our corn wagons were loaded. We dragged them out to the corn field and the neighbor filled them up right from the combine. Now, we have enough to heat the house through the winter. It’s a lot of dinking around in the shed to shuffle wagons and equipment in/out and backed into the best spot for winter.

October 7, 2006 – An Unscheduled Saturday

Finally a Saturday with nothing scheduled (except getting Claire to town at 6:45 am to head to the state marching band competition in Fort Dodge). Otherwise it was a rather mundane day of house cleaning and trim staining and finishing.

October 6, 2006 – Shrinking our Footprint

At some point it becomes necessary to quit complaining and just take care of your own house. Even if the Federal government doesn’t see the value in taking care of the house we depend on to live (earth), doesn’t mean that we as citizens have to go along. After my discovery at the renewable energy fair, just how inefficient some of our appliances are, this week three new appliances were delivered – a new chest freezer, fridge, and front-load washer. Although it’s never a good time to fork out cash for new ones, with three kids at home, our energy use will never be at a higher use, so the quicker we act, the more we save.

Martin’s new favorite pasttime is watching the clothes spin around through the door. He must have spent 20 minutes watching the first load – and with the controls on the front, he can now reach the buttons to start the washer – it’s never too early to get the young man excited about doing laundry!