A journal of the happenings around our home and rabbitry!
|Posted on March 24, 2011 at 6:20 PM||comments (0)|
Well, Spring of 2011 is here and the time has finally come to begin the move to our land. Although the house hasn't sold yet, we need to bring our cattle home. May is the chosen month. So, the dogs, cat and myself will become full-time herdsfolk in the country, living in a borrowed travel trailer, while Tom remains at the house with the rabbits. If the house doesn't sell in a reasonable amount of time (I say two months is all I can handle being apart), then we will rent or lease it out. Not our 'plan', but we're moving forward! Exciting times indeed!!
This also means I will not have access to a computer except for the occassional visit to the library in town. I just can't seem to find a convenient spot in the travel trailer for a desk top computer! Go figure. So, I will scale down on my blogs/journals. After 5 years running, I will no longer maintain the Homestead Journal on our rabbitry website. Instead, periodic postings about bunnies will appear on our new Ranch website. Yes, it has a name - Highland Glenn Ranch. However, I will focus mostly on our Journey Into The Country blog, and the English Shepherd blog especially as we get to know the new cattle. I extend a warm invitation for you to follow along on those!
Thank You to everyone who has read this journal along the way. It was my first online voice. It gave me courage to move forward in many ways.
|Posted on December 8, 2010 at 1:28 PM||comments (0)|
Some friends recently offered to sell us their 2 year old grass-fed/finished Hereford beef steer. Of course we jumped at the chance! We split it with my sister, who then split with two other families, so this steer is feeding 4 families. Pretty awesome, eh!
Our friends also had a 2+ year old heifer being butchered the same day. We gladly accepted the organs/offal from both cattle for the dogs! That came to around 250 lbs... yes pounds... of dog food. Incredible!
After two long weeks of waiting while it aged, Tom collected it on Monday. Have you ever wondered how much beef you get from a side of two year old Hereford? Allow me to enlighten you. From a steer with a hanging weight of over 900 lbs, our half being 460 lbs, you get:
(listed as # of packages)
7 T-Bone steaks
3 Rib steaks
6 Top Sirloin steaks
4 Round steaks
4 Cube steaks
1 Flank steak
4 Rump roasts
1 Prime Rib roast
8 Chuck roasts
4 Pot roasts
1 Tenderloin log
2 Bottom Round roasts
2 Top Round roasts
9 Short ribs
113 lbs. of ground beef- 80% lean
15 bags of Soup Bones
3 bags of suet
Holy Cow! We're swimming in glorious, healthy beef!!!
I can hardly wait to start cooking it! Well, actually, I did cook a pound of ground beef last night for soft tacos with no seasonings other than celtic sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Oh, yum!!! Being that it's 20% fat there is a lot of wonderful CLA and Omega 3's in there, baby!
The suet I will render down for tallow, using the same method for rendering pork lard. Each bag of suet is about 5 lbs. And I still have 10 lbs. of pork fat to render. We'll have cooking/baking fat to last over a year. There is nothing quite like that feeling!
I don't have much experience cooking grass-fed/finished meats, so yesterday I ordered a highly recommended cookbook called "Tender Grass-Fed Meats" (sorry, I can't remember the authors name!). You can find it on Amazon.
We encourage everyone to search out local grass-fed and finished meats!
|Posted on December 2, 2010 at 7:53 PM||comments (0)|
We had about 2 inches of snow, and the rest of that week temperatures hovered around 25 degrees for a high, 17 for the low. Mighty chilly! And quite early for us in these parts, too. The experts say we're in for a cold winter, adn we'd have to agree with them. But the bunnies did fine as usual in their winter coats (cold doesn't bother them!), as did I in my new parka that arrived just in time, and we were all warm in the house by the wood stove with a good supply of firewood stocked up. The rains came back in typical western Washington fashion. Yes, it does rain here folks! But without all that wet we wouldn't have the beauty of the forests we call home!
Now is the time to get the house listed for sale. Yes, we hope to move to our NE Washington land in spring!!! So, if you know anyone looking for a suburban homestead with the foundations for a semi-self-sufficient lifestyle and room to grow, send them our way! I may even link a file to our Home page with photos and lots of details about it. Every little bit of publicity helps!
To go along with that, we'll also take the winter down time to plan our new veg/herb gardens, orchard, barn, rabbitry, fences, and cabin plans. So much to do to accomplish such an undertaking! And it is ever so exciting!!! I am journaling our progress at http://journeyintothecountry.blogspot.com/. Granted, the posts are a bit sparse until we get closer to moving time.
And for a details about our new Ranch (including photos of our very own heritage cattle waiting to be collected in Spring!), visit and bookmark
It was our youngest English Shepherd's first snow, since last winter was so warm we didn't even have flurries. Boy did Greer ever have fun! Come to think of it, so did I... introducing her to it and playing with both dogs! If you haven't already, please visit our English Shepherd website to read their journal - http://englishshepherds.webs.com/. It has a lot of natural care information for all dog lover's!
I think that's all the news for now. Stay warm folks!
|Posted on October 18, 2010 at 4:16 PM||comments (0)|
Four mornings in a row of frost. We have reached the point of real need for a fire to warm the soul before heading out into the cold, cruel work-a-day world.
|Posted on September 25, 2010 at 7:37 PM||comments (0)|
Go figure. I certainly can't.
|Posted on September 21, 2010 at 1:42 PM||comments (0)|
Ah, Yes, the telltale signs of autumn have begun to show their colorful selves - changing leaves, shorter days, squirrels busily seed gathering, cooler nights, spiders everywhere, falling leaves, animals putting on winter coats, and lots of rain. Tomorrow is the offical start, but with last night dipping well into the 40's, make no mistake, fall is here.
I know, I've sort of been complaining about the weather this year (okay... a lot), being that we barely had a summer to enjoy. But yesterday's rain showers struck me and I found myself in the mood for a pot of simmering stew and enjoyed the warmth from the oven while gluten-free brownies were baking. I even got a little excited at the thought of hunckering down by the wood stove for the winter. So sue me. Oooo, I hope it snows. I love snow! Call me crazy. I do.
|Posted on September 10, 2010 at 1:21 PM||comments (0)|
For all the skeptics in our lives.
Organic produce superior to conventional on every level, study finds
Mainstream nutritionists often claim that conventional produce is no different than organic produce. But a new study recently published in the online, peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One proves otherwise, revealing that organic fruits and vegetables pack a greater nutritional punch and produce better, healthier soil than their conventional counterparts.
John Reganold, professor of soil science at Washington State University Regents and author of the new study, and his colleagues conducted the most comprehensive analysis of its kind on commercial produce soil and the strawberries that grow in it. (Conventional strawberries, as many now know, are one of the most pesticide-laden fruits available for sale.)
Reganold and his team analyzed 31 different chemical and biological soil properties--including soil DNA--and performed tests on the quality, nutritional value and taste of 26 different strawberries from both conventional and organic fields. And what they found is truly astounding.
Organic strawberries contain far more antioxidants, vitamin C and beneficial polyphenolic compounds than conventional strawberries, and they have a longer shelf life. Organic strawberries also contain more dry matter per volume--meaning more actual strawberry--than conventional ones do.
In an unbiased taste test, samplers indicated that organic strawberries taste better overall, both in terms of sweetness and general strawberry flavor. And when viewed side-by-side, organic strawberries are more visually appealing.
But it does not stop there. In soil tests, organic soils tested extremely rich in key nutrients, enzymes and biological and chemical elements, that are otherwise lacking in conventional fields. Such soil nutrients are vital for producing nutritionally-rich fruit, as well as for maintaining healthy soil conditions that preserve and promote environmental integrity.
The study also revealed that organic produce can be raised with the same--or better--yields as conventional produce, but without all the harmful chemicals and pesticides that destroy both human health and the environment.
|Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
We're not sure what is happening with the weather. We managed to have about one month of summer, even though there were many foggy mornings, so even that didn't really feel like our glorious Pacific Northwest summertime. This past weekend though, it's beginning to feel like autumn, rainy days and all. Ugh. We have a feeling it's going to be a long, cold winter.
|Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:47 PM||comments (0)|
One of the best things about not using any harmful chemicals on our property is the amazing diversity of visitors we get - some 30 birds, insects, mammals. Throughout July, a brilliant Red Damselfly visited the kitchen garden many times, landing on the post at the edge of the compost pile. The warm temperatures and humidity made for many little flying insects which the Damselfly just happens to delight in eating.
This was the daily routine for weeks - each afternooon around 4 o'clock, the Damselfly would alight on the post, wait for an insect to fly near, take to flight and catch said insect mid-air, alight once more on post; repeat numerous times, and then fly off to return the following afternoon. It was a fascinating ritual to behold.
|Posted on July 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
Yep, you read that right. A heat wave. In no way should any of you readers take this entry as complaining. It isn't!!! I am thrilled that the sun is out in force, the humidity is fairly low, my scallions are growing like weeds, I picked fresh spinach for dinner on Wednesday (just before it goes to bolt), the lettuces will be ready soon. I just wish we could have had a gradual transition between the 68 degree rainy days to the past couple 88+ degree days... in order to get the floor fan out and cleaned from winter storage. But, hey, the sun is shinin'!!