Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Frosty Foggy morning

I meant to put this post up a few weeks ago when the weather happened. I put the pics up on face book and totally forgot about putting up a post here.

 I woke up to a heavy fog. The kind were you can't see the neighbor's house across the street. You can't see the hitching rail in your yard from the front door at 2:30 in the morning when you go out for that last armload of wood to stoke the fire before you fall asleep for the night. The kind that really isn't fog, but is a low hanging cloud that is parked over your house, settles on the ground and is letting out a misty, spitting, spray that from the sky and coats everything in ice. Freezing fog. It was just at the edge of being too warm to freeze and be snow, but freezes up once it's stuck to some solid object.

I got a phone call from the neighbor at 5am. My day off of course. I didn't get to the phone in time, but got a frantic voice mail, there is a horse loose, one of the truck drivers from Glanbia almost hit it, please, please go check and make sure your boys are where they are supposed to be. She'd checked her horses and they were still penned up.

I grabbed up a flashlight and went outside to check. I had to be almost on top of the dry lot to see, but yep, both geldings where blinking at me from the dry lot, wondering if it really was time to be awake and fed. Nope. Walked down the drive getting coated in a fine wet mist and back to check on Dave's horses out back. I couldn't see a thing past the fence, but I could see that his gate was still closed. Romeo, one of his geldings, has been known to be an escape artist, but everything was still locked up tight.

Over to the neighbors with my flashlight and a halter. What I thought I was going to catch was beyond me, but the need to be a hero sometimes out weighs my common sense. The guys were on the front porch talking, and told me there was a loose horse in the empty field next to the house. They had seen it, but it dissapeared into the mist before they really could tell what color or where it came from. They didn't think it was wearing a blanket, so they didn't think it was one of mine, but it was for sure going to get hit by someone coming down the road.

It was coming up on shift change at the plant and people were going to be rushing to get to Glanbia, or heading home after a 12 hour shift. The road we live on has a 50 mph speed limit, and you couldn't see from one telephone pole to the next down the road. Hitting a 1000 pound horse at 50 mph in the early morning was going to kill both the driver and the horse.

Armed with my flashlight and halter I walked into the field, stopping every few feet to listen. I could see the headlights from the neighbor's truck making a pitiful attempt to cut through the fog from across their pasture and into the field. Big moving blobs of shadows in their pasture was their two horses blowing and snorting at the something that was me out in the dark where, there shouldn't have been anything.

I was a few hundred feet from their fence line walking on what was left of the tracks from the heavy trucks that had been in that previous fall harvesting the corn.  I could see my feet in the light from the flashlight, but not much beyond that. I see the neighbors horses ahead of me and off to the side when the suddenly get excited and start making those whinny and nickering noises horses make when they see another strange horse. That bugger had just walked up past me, between me and the fence, and I never even saw it.

It's a big dark shape snorting and dancing there at the fence line. Poor thing is got it's head in the air, blowing out it's nose, and you can tell it's spooky. I tried to walk up slowly, but it just trotted back towards the road. I can just barley make out the palomino across the road trotting back and forth against Roger's fence line across the street. The horse I'm following in the bay mare that is supposed to be in with him. She walked back across the street and into Roger's yard. We can't get close enough to get a halter on her. I know she's not broke at all. Rusty walks with me over across the street.

Roger is deaf, he can only hear with his hearing aids in. Banging on the front door and calling his cell phone meet with nothing. I can't even see where the mare got out, or a gate to get her back into the pasture in his front yard. I'm prepared to stand and guard the driveway till either he wakes up, or it gets daylight enough to see. There isn't anywhere for her to get back out on the road except for the driveway. This is really not something I Want to have to do. It's freezing outside, and even though I have on my overalls, winter coats, insulated gloves, and my hat, it's going to be a cold, wet wait. It's something I Was Going to do though to make sure she didn't get hit.

My neighbor comes over to help Rusty and I try and figure out what to do. He's a big guy. He banged a lot harder on the door than I had. YAY! Roger wakes up. We got a halter on the mare, and found out where she'd busted through the fence. We put her away, they fixed the fence,and I finally went home and back to bed.

The fog continued through the early morning and made for a beautiful sight when I woke up. Be prepared for some picture spam. 

Tree behind the kitchen

Boys, looking towards Will and Andrea's  

Boys, looking towards Dave's

Even Stormy's eyelashes got frosted


Ben, frosty mane

Pumpkin and Romeo, frosty tails

Dave's tractor

Trees out front, looking towards Rebecca's 

Calves, chicken and dumplings and Chicken Lips?

The neighbors went ice fishing this last weekend, and I went over and fed the critters for them. Horses, chickens, and the calves. The one with the dark face is ours. I haven't updated much about Bacon, our calf, because he doesn't stay here on our property yet. This spring when we stop feeding hay and the grass is comes in, he will come live here. I did get some pictures while I was over there. He's a Jersey steer, and they don't grow very fast or very big.  He's just under a year old.

Scott had to have a tooth pulled last week. I get to go in tomorrow. Bleh. I was thinking of foods that were easy to make, what I had in the cabinet, and something that was easy to eat. We haven't had chicken and dumplings in a while. Scott likes it fresh off the stove. It has a tendency to turn into paste as he calls it when reheated. 

Chicken and Dumplings
One whole chicken
one stick of butter
three chicken bullion cubes
one whole small onion
three carrots
four stalks of celery
one glove garlic
one batch of Bisquick dumpling mix
one can butter milk biscuit rolls
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse chicken and place in a large stock pot. Add your butter and bullion cubes. Don't peel the carrots, garlic, or onion, just snap the carrots in half, snap the celery in half and add veggies to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill pot with water to cover everything. Cover and boil everything until the chicken is falling off the bone. Empty pot into a strainer over a large bowl. Add the broth back into the stock pot. Pull all the chicken off the carcass. The carcass goes into a bag and into the freezer to make chicken stock for later. Pull the chicken apart into chunks and add back into the pot. Return to the stove and bring back to a boil. I cut the rolls into fourths and add to the chicken and broth. Pull the Bisquick dumplings into small chunks and add. Boil away for about 15 minutes or so. The Bisquick will thicken up the stock. YummiE

While browsing the grocery store the other day making sure I had everything I needed for the chicken and dumplings I happened to look over at a for sale sticker in the frozen section. It was empty but the sticker was still there...

Um... What?! I didn't know chickens even had lips let alone that I would find them in the grocery store. Hm.... So I just had to take a picture and text it to all my friends and family so they could get a laugh out of it as much as I did. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ground venison stroganof

I was given a pound of ground venison from one the girls at work from the deer her son shot. I had a container of sour cream that we just barely broke into the other night when Scott made taco for dinner. The girls just started laying eggs again. Venison stroganof for dinner with home made egg noodles for dinner it is, woot!

1 pound ground venison
half a small onion chopped
2 tbl spoons oil
3 bullion cubes
16 ounce container of sour cream
one batch of home made egg noodles
two dashes of garlic salt
two dashes of seasoned salt
pepper to taste
2/3 cup water
1-1/2 ts corn starch

egg noodles
2 eggs beaten
1 tbl spoon butter
2-1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt

Start your noodles first. They are going to need some time to rest and then dry.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a wooden or large plastic spoon until it gets too tough to stir. Start squishing with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated. Turn out onto a hard surface and kneed until smooth, about 5 minuets. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 mins. I lightly wiped the dough with a little water since I Was having a bit of a time getting everything to come together and smooth out. I divided the dough and rolled out half at a time to about 1/4 inch thick. If we hadn't broken the pizza cutter and not replaced it, they make a great cutter for making the strips of noodles. Place in a single layer on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper to dry. Repeat with the other half of the dough. I think I let mine dry for about an hour.

Start a pot of salted water to boil. In another pan add your oil and heat. Brown ground venison on med heat. Add spices, billion cubes, 1/3 cup water and stir well. Add in your chopped onions and cook till translucent. Drain the venison and onions and add back to the pan. Add in the sour cream and stirring occasionally let things boil down a little. Your water should be boiling for the noodles by now. Drop into the boiling water by the handful and cook to desired tenderness. Drain noodles. Mix the remaining 1/3 cup water and corn starch and add to the meat mixture, stirring until thickened. Serve over noodles.

This was so yummy. I ate two bowls, the neighbor was over and she had two bowls, Scott had some for dinner, some for lunch the following day, and took it for dinner to work that night. I did mix it all in together in the pan before putting it in the fridge, and that's the picture.

Thoughts on being prepared

     Prepared for what you might ask? Like the end of the world? Alien invasion? Nuclear war? Nope. Just the little stuff. We were supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow today and tomorrow. Tomorrow is supposed to be very windy, blowing/drifting snow. The North East of the the country is getting hit by a massive winter storm, blizzard conditions. Thousands of people are going to be without power. 

This isn't the first big storm of the season. Hurricane Sandy, ice storms, flooding and snow last year left so many people without power. No power also means no water for most people. Can't cook. Can't even flush the toilets. Even without massive super storms you could be left in a situation like this. Mild flooding causes a contaminated water supply. This happened to us in Arkansas a few times a year. We'd have a boil your water alert. An 18 wheeler swerving off the road and taking out a few power poles could leave you in a situation for a few days where you were in trouble power wise. How hard is it to get a few things in order for just in case? 

Water is easy to store. How many people have empty milk jugs, empty two liter soda bottles they throw away every week. Why can't you just rinse, fill, and store a few of these under the bathroom sink? Fill the bathtub when you know a storm is coming. 

A rocket mass stove is built out of soup cans for goodness sake. It's a few soup cans and a larger can. It runs off sticks. Not fire wood, sticks. You can boil water on it in about eight minuets. Here, instructions.
One of these can be stored in the bottom of your closet with a small bundle of sticks. 

It's so nice to have your food stamps loaded onto one of those swipe cards that you use like a debit card. It's great that you have a credit card stashed for emergencies. Fat lot of good it does you when you realize that you can't run one of those through the ATM or get a cash advance with no power. A week later, and you still can't buy food, fill your gas tank, or get toilet paper. Again with the empty 2 liter bottles. Fill one with rice, one with flour, one with sugar, one with dried beans. It may be tasteless for a little while, but you won't starve to death. Stash a couple packets of yeast and a small bottle of oil and you can still bake bread. A small box of powdered milk might taste like crap when mixed with water and you try and drink it, but it's perfect when used to cook with. Buy an extra can of soup every time you go to the grocery store and stick em away in a cabinet for just in case. 

Did you know you can shove a piece of cotton twine down through the center of a can of Crisco and you have a candle that burns for ages? You don't have to get special emergency candles or oil lamps, even though I have them. 

I'm not talking about being, "One of those crazy, prepper, nutters wearing a tin foil hat." Just being aware of how to think ahead for just in case.

I have food in the freezer that can last us for over a week. We may be eating a lot of pork chops and two turkeys in short order, but we won't starve. I have dried, home canned, store bought cans, and bought dehydrated stuff in my pantry. Flour, rice, beans, sugar, yeast. Sure when you open my cabinets there looks like there is nothing to eat, because there isn't ready made crap to just munch on. I have things that you may have to make into other things from scratch. I don't have enough stuff to last through the Zombie Apocalypse, but I do have enough non potable water in the garage to flush, milk jugs of water in the pantry to keep us for a week.

It's not where I want to be in concerns to preparedness, but it's a start. I won't be one of the sheeple waiting with my hands out and my pants caught around my ankles, waiting for the gooberment to come save me from my own self. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The girls got a new boyfriend today

When we got the chickens last year they came with a rooster. They were all Jersey Giants. The rooster was never very thrifty, he was an older bird, and never seemed to be able to get the job done and give me little baby chicks. He wasn't here too long before he started getting skinny, and one morning he just wasn't here any more. I let my chickens free range during the day, and I'm not sure if a hawk picked him off or where he went. I never found any traces of him.

Winter came on and with the shortening of the daylight hours the girls' egg production came to a halt. We thought about putting a light in the coop, but the girls decided to molt and would be putting feather production before egg production, so we just let them rest through the winter. I wanted to replace the rooster before then, but we never got around to it, and with the girls not laying it wasn't something I was worried about it.

In talking with my neighbor, and admiring her chickens (mine are all boring black) she told me how she had split a chick order with a friend of hers, and had gotten 10 little Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets. She was pretty sure one of them was turning out to be a rooster. She didn't want another rooster. She had little bantam chickens and one of them was already a rooster. A big rooster would harass the little girls until he might crush or kill one. She asked me if  I might be interested in her rooster. Absolutely.

This morning when she went out to feed, she locked up the rooster, and this afternoon she loaded him into a crate and brought him over to me. What a handsome man he is. He settled in to eating pretty quick and within the first 15 minuets of being in with the girls he was trying to get down to business. I'm hoping with loading him into a crate, and driving him over instead of handing him off over the fence line I won't have to worry about him wanting to go back where he came from. I'll keep him locked up with the girls for a week and see what happens.

In other chicken news, the girls all finally decided that they were going to use the condo as a roost again, and all five of them slept in the top where they belonged for the last two days. I would have between 1 and 3 of them go up the ramp and sleep in the top at night. I still had one hold out that wanted to jump in the rabbit hutch for the night. After many many evenings of gathering everyone up and placing them in the top of the condo, we finally got it all right.

Here's the new rooster.


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