Well this morning on my way to feed the chickens I got myself a nice surprise(yes I know "got is baaaad grammar but in this case it suits my needs). pond half full 2 As you can see we seem to have a tad bit more water in our pond.  As yesterday when we went out to work it was about 1/8 of the way full seeing it at about 1/2 was a big surprise.  A good surprise  but still a surprise. Yesterday the pond was not was smooth as it is now in this picture, and as you can see it is only half the pond.  That... unfortunately is due tot he fact that after I fed the chickens I ran back into the house for the camera and got a beautiful picture of the full pond.  Then I slid on the ice and it fell into the water. I fished it back out, but as I don'rt know if I'll get the image off of the camera I went and got our old smart phone and used it's camera as I know it has a nice camera on it.  I guess if this keeps up I need to get use to using the phone camera, we should know in a few hours to a couple days if the camera survives the trip into the pond. As for the pond itself we are suppose to get more rain today then it changes to snow tonight for the next to days.  So it is very possible we will have a full pond by week's end.  Now we just have to hope it stays full.  If it doesn't we will try Silver's method of "sealing" the pond bottom with clay cat litter.  He says if you get straight clay cat litter and make a slurry of it and coat the bottom of the pond it will seal the "leaks" in it.  Hey, if it works that's good. Here is the other picture of the pond. pond half full 1The only spot it hasn't done much yet is on the shallow end, which is where my cat tails are going to be growing when the pond is full and it gets warmer.  Though I imagine the blackberry canes that grow on that side of the pond will now wind up HUGE with all the extra water they will have there. Pity Paris died over the summer she'd have a blast this summer with a pond in our yard, the two pups do not even seem interested in investigating the pond as it is now.  Neither does Midnight their daddy.  Can't wait to see the cats when it's full of water and try to walk across that log over the middle. As for the rest of the water that is in our yard... All of our trenches have water in them, also the new septic for the house has a layer of water in it as well.  Funny thing is as I was leaving to feed the chickens and was walking next to the electric trench and noticed the water I thought to myself.  I'd live to see that much water in the pond.  Guess that falls under the "ask and ye shall receive" heading huh? We still need to get the piles of mud down a bit, which I am figuring they will work good to "deter" some of the plant growth I don't want in some areas.  We also have to restore the trench that went from the section of woods that line the road to our pond as it was the natural draining area.  I'm going to have to hand dig it.  At least it will ensure steady influx of fresh water though. I also did notice that when I watched the water in the pond yesterday that it was still bubbling from the ground up, so it's possible it may stay liquid at the deepest parts in the winter which would be great for raising fish. Well that's it before breakfast, which is going to be beef hash (leftover from last night's roast) with eggs on top and maybe some of my fresh sourdough.  While my oven is on the fritz I can only make my "no knead" sourdough bread as it cooks at 500 degrees. ..and don't forget today's moral... don't stand on ice above a pond to take pictures with your camera!   Have a good day all! Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...
Well here we are the morning after the storm and I'm making brownies.  Sourdough brownies specifically, it takes about 25 minutes after the sponge sets most of the night to mix them.  However I am a tad worried that they might come out a bit burnt as my oven is now running a lot hotter than it was before.

As for the storm...?  Well we have ice, we have snow, and we have power.  That makes me happy, not long after my post yesterday our internet went out for the whole day, it was expected as we have satellite internet; breathe the wrong way and it goes out.  The kids again have no school so lets see... They had a total of 2 days of school this week, guess it's better then them not having any school at all.  Granted though some school are having a late start today it would be near impossible for them to walk to the bus stop safely.  Also as Silver mentioned yesterday due to the ice, we are not driving for the next couple of days.

We are planning on either tomorrow or Sunday to go out and set the rebar stakes into the ground, more likely on Sunday as we are going to be in the 50's then.  Maybe I'll cook something outside on our mini grill if it's going to be that nice out.  Though we had something interesting in the storm previous to yesterday's.  The old dishwasher that was left on our property before we got here that we are going to turn into a smoker was knocked onto it's side by wind.  Now it's sat on it's base for years and a couple of days ago it gets knocked over?  Defiantly a strong wind, or rather strong gusts.  The wind that day also picked up one of our 2 good outdoor chairs and dropped it in the pond breaking it.  So now we are down to one outdoor chair, we need a couple more; hopefully we can find some more cheaply as we still have building supplies to buy.

Speaking of which on next Friday we will have money again and after bills/animal  feed/gas are paid for and my DL is replaced we are going to go and buy soil for the apple trees then the next item on our building supply list.  Which may be either wire, pipe or fencing for the dome itself.  Depends on what we have left really.

Well have a nice day all, I have to go check my brownies as they are starting to smell very done way to soon.  Where did I put that aluminum foil again?

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Well today was FUN, we picked up the track hoe,;(again I am amazed that there is such a thing) and after seeing the full sized back hoe up close I defiantly think the track hoe is the better option for us. I was very happy when we picked it up that the hitch held, which I was worried about it. As we left the young man who got us hooked up (literally)

However as you can see when we got very close to home the tire..

...didn't last. Well I called the person about it, and he came out quickly with a replacement. Within 20 minutes and considering where we were sitting that was fast. He even made a joke, as he used the track hoe to lift the trailer. “It comes with it's own jack”, cute joke especially while we were pissed off at the loss of the time.

So we drove it home, the dirt road was so much -fun-; we had no traction and we had to go at about 15 miles an hour to go up the first hill. We had to “get off to the side” twice on the way to the house on the dirt road as no one would yield for us.

So the first order of business when we got home was, COFFEE! For Silver anyway, (btw pics will now be tossed in at random)I set up a new pot of coffee and put cookies in the oven for a warm treat. While he “figured out” how to start it. While he has used heavy equipment before this was a different model than he was use too using. Of course our dogs were not happy with this new loud scary looking device and only stopped barking once Silver stopped using it at about 4pm.

After he figured out how it worked he started on digging the pond out for our fishies to go in. I am also going to grow the edible water lilies and cat tails for food production. We are also considering either ducks or geese to keep in the pond, mainly to keep the algae down. If we get pairs then we can butcher the extras.

So we have a short area for the little fishies and the cat tails to grow in. Then a deeper area for catfish and full grown other fish. We are considering Tilapia. I think the deep part is at least 6 foot deep maybe deeper, hard to tell until the extra dirt is “ground down” and we can tell the “actual” ground line. After we finished it off and worked on a few other projects we discovered something that may be very good news. We may have a spring under where we dug for the pond. I will know more tomorrow after it has sat overnight.

When we finished working the pond Silver went out and dug a septic for the dome out past our tree line. The only problem we had there is he was hitting something too hard for the track hoe to cut through after about 3 foot down. So he had to opt for a wider septic than a deep one, which we would have preferred. Once he finished that he dug the trench for it all the way into the area we have cleared for the house.

The next item we did was “unpleasant”, but necessary. We needed to dig out some more on our current septic. No I did not take pictures of it, I didn't want to take pictures of it shudders it's disgusting.

After that Silver went and turned the garbage pile of things we cannot burn or are already burned and is just the garbage ash. The thing that surprised me was that it seems some of the things “out there” are decomposing. Now before anyone rips my head off. Please recall the post where I commented on the fact that while I really want to be “green” I know in some things it not possible. Garbage, is one of those “things” I burn my trash, then I dispose of the ash and the “unburnables” in a pile that will not if it ever composes down be used for food crops. However, I will be happy to grow flowers over them.

That is all we have managed to do today, tomorrow we dig the trenches for the well and the electric. Then Silver will have to find things to do with it.... I am sure he will figure something out, one thing he wants to do is remove that engine block that was here when we moved in.

I am baking some sourdough brownies right now, and tomorrow morning is a bread/laundry day. Have a happy weekend everyone!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

 We have had a great weekend so far folks! We got some of our building money, and we have a load of rebar coming tomorrow. We have decided to go down to a 34ft diameter dome. When we staked it (40 ft dome) out we noticed that we mis-staked it and the 34ft is not that much smaller than what we had staked out..

I got my apple trees ordered, I ordered ultra mac's for Silver and double delicious for me. I love the golden and red delicious. The company I ordered from a local nursery for this state Stark Bros nursery, they offered free shipping on orders over $85. So as I ordered 2 of each the order with the free shipping was just over $100. So I saved at least $20.

We had gotten a “pay later” flower catalog, that had Dahlias (edible root) and a few herb and bee friendly plants, We have been approved on their credit plan and I have a order of quite a few flowers coming that will be planted in a few various places one being our outdoor kitchen that will make it nice there and I will have lots of butterflies, bees, and humming birds stopping by.

We have also prepaid on the track hoe for next weekend as we had rain yesterday evening and this morning it would have been a waste of time and money getting it for this weekend. My son is crossing his fingers and behaving overly well in the hopes of getting to learn how to use it. Well, a 16yr old boy should have that opportunity to learn it. He's not doing all the work however. Especially since we need to dig a ditch from the power pole out to the clearing. I'm NOT having a child no matter how old digging near the power pole.

The next pay day we are going to get the chicks ordered, I wanted to do it Friday; but we didn't get a chance to. I did get the chick food and the new light for them. We will still need some pine bedding and a cover for the brooder before they get here though.

Now for the next week we have to clear area for the track hoe to run in. Yesterday my son and Silver started on it before the rain showed up. They'll go back out today after the rain lets up and it drys up a bit. Tomorrow it'll be just me and Silver working out there.

On another note, I was thinking about the weather and I believe we are already in our “Spring pattern” for here as we are getting tons of rain. Which is normal Spring weather here. Oh, my plant starts have started sprouting. Cabbages, grains, and tomatoes; also a couple of herbs! I am very happy about that.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

 So here I am with what now seems to be a once a week update of sorts.

I started my plants yesterday I filled 2 trays so far, and I'm thinking of in a month or so starting cukes and squashes to see if they grow better from starts. I discovered that I did not use up all the sugar cane seeds I got from Listia so I put six into the tray to see if I can get them from starting in the house. I'm using a “all weather” birding journal to keep tabs on this year's plants and with what I planted yesterday I have nearly filled all the lined pages.

Silver has pointed out that I probably should wet the starting mix before I put it into the “cells” so I don't have to water under them to avoid losing my seeds. ...hindsight... I defiantly think I'll be doing that next time.

I am hoping for 100% on my plants, but who really knows right? I have it set for 12 of each of the two types of tomatoes that I want to grow. I did 6 sweet peppers 2 of each of the ones I have and 6 hot peppers 3 of two of the multitude I have of those. I have some onions planted as well as cabbage, mini Bak Choi, edible chrysanthemums, nastrums, Kale, and a variety of herbs. I am hoping this time I get the lemon grass to grow good.

We have gone and found out how much a track hoe (wow it really is a “track hoe” ) would cost from a Saturday to Monday. It would be $350, and that's considering that Sunday is given as a freebie. Just need a nice weekend and the money and we can get the digging we need done. Oh, that price includes the trailer to bring it home.

We didn't get the package of insulation that I wanted to try to make the papercrete to try out, so we'll have to make an extra trip before we can buy supplies just to try it out. As I'd rather buy in large quantities only once and have it all delivered. We did discover that we are paying about ½ price when we buy the rebar in 20ft lengths, it's just a matter of getting it home after the fact. Which again would be best to include in a delivery option.

We did find out during the last rain storm that the area the house is going does get water during storms, but we are planning to build a bit off the ground; so we should be ok there.

Well I'm up again baking bread at this early hour and I need to return to it. Have a good day everyone!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

 We've been silent on the blog as we have not been able to get on the net as much as we'd like too. So an update to things going on here. Well we've had crazy weather again. For 3 days we've had spring-ish temperatures, yesterday we had severe weather in the form of severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes. Today the forecast is for occasional snow flurries and what ever our temperature this morning at 6am would be our high for today. It's so nice to see winter coming back, and I'm serious as I do have flowers that I don't want killed off due to the weather being wonky. Due to the rain yesterday our “pond” (which is still not finished being dug) is filled to the current spill over.

We have finally come to a good place in working with our wood stove, we have it burn new wood at the coal stage only and we have a smoldering fire all day and night. We don't “burn ourselves out” and it stays toasty enough. We also seem to have hit the spot in the wood pile where the densest wood seems to be at. Which is good for long burning anyway.

In the last week I have gotten up at 3 am to bake bread, I have to say I may be doing it more often. The bread I have made these last two times has been heavenly. Good flavor and just the right “weight” (if that makes sense), silver told me today that I need to get up at 3am every morning now. Guess that means he likes it huh?

We have made a small discovery that we hope will work like we think. Loews sells “blown in” insulation that is “green”. This insulation is made from shredded recycled paper. Silver has been wanting to do papercrete on the interior of the dome to insulate it. My only issue had been, where do we get that much paper. Then we noticed that insulation, we are planning on buying one bag and trying to mix some papercrete up and see if it does well with the insulation. If it works out I will let everyone know. Silver is also looking for a way to combine the wall flue of a Russian Masonry stove and a rocket mass heater. Any Recommendation would be helpful.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Hi folks, got some good news / bad news... so as typical the bad news first. Our net is down again (yippie) for probably a couple weeks to a month so I won't be writing blog posts for a little while. We had an overage on our last bill that we were one surprised by.. and couldn't at that time pay so this morning we found out that they cut off our entire cell service. What fun... but hey, c'est la vie.

The good news, well at least I consider it good. We have been berry picking a lot right now and I have a few gallons of black berries in my freezer right now. The plants are still producing so we are going to be picking for a while. The ones on our property are producing good as the ones on the road, granted they aren't necessarily as big as some of the ones on the road. As 2 spots on the road have water that means the plants have a constant supply and the berries are huge. We are going to look up how many black berries you need to make black berry wine and once we can get the supplies we are going to make some up. The idea is to buy a complete kit for a standard red and learn the process, then move on to making some of our own types.

Now all three sets of our zucchini have flowers on it. ...and not just the male flowers either if you notice the picture. I can't wait to see how big this one gets, and I can't wait for the lunches with them stir fried. We also have the starts of some cucumbers, they are tiny right now; but at least I saw two of them last night. You'd think with them being volunteer ones they would have started producing already, but they are not.

I have set up a teepee for our long beans and the luffa gourds. The luffa's are just starting to climb right now, and I expect that the long beans should “kick in” and put on enough growth soon so that they will be too. When we did that I also have started staking the eating tomatoes as they are growing very vigorously. I guess they like the chicken manure/perlite/oyster shell/ clay soil we gave them. Not to mention how well the dill plants that are growing just as well.

We started picking beans today, this is the first batch; they are in an 8 inch cake pan. So you can figure about how many we harvested this morning. I also picked some more Lamb's Quarters, with some male squash flowers for breakfast. I also harvested a couple leaves of the wintergreen to try to make some tea with it. I'll find out later how it comes out.

Well we are sitting here at the local library so we can get our podcasts and so I can post this today. A week from now we should have our first “farm hand” here, his bus is suppose to arrive at about noon then. So we'll see how that goes.

The kids leave on their trip next Saturday, my mother decided she just wants to do a half way drive both “ways”, which really will be the easiest way to do it. She's going to pick up the couple food items we wanted and bring them with her. The kids start the new school year on the 15th of August here, I'm not sure but that seems a tad early. All three of them will be going to the same school, just different parts of it.

It's funny how the thought of no internet doesn't really bother me, aside from not being able to write on my blog(s). ...and this is after watching a show on frontline last night called “digital_nation”, which was about how “connected” the world is now to the internet and how people really can't “live without” their connection to the online world(s). Even more so how people who say they are “multi-taskers”, really aren't very good at multi-tasking.I do wonder to some extent if this ability to reach any bit of information we could want at any moment of the day; with it have a bad effect of any kind? What happens to creativity when you can look up any subject and find information on it?

How would you feel if you were “unplugged” even for a day? Could you manage without your connection to the world of everything? Could you live in your own piece of the world without your escape into the “connected” world? How many people don't read actual books any more because they can get a kindle or a summary of the info? Or even just a part of the book that you find interesting somewhere online?

Now please don't mistake, I do think the internet is a good tool; but to me that is all I consider it. I've been trying to keep my kids from being so enraptured in the internet, yes they are fully capable of “surfing the web” sometimes much better than me. I have no issues with using it, but I have unfortunately seen people who get so wrapped up in the internet that they do not know how to live in the real world. ...and it can affect their families, their jobs, and even their own lives. Just something for everyone to think on...

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed be...

I love fresh bread, just ask anyone!  I also really love my sourdough so when I found this new recipe I had to share it.

Now I am at this moment baking some of this bread, yeah it's a tad late in the day for us.  However, we have a VERY good reason for it.  I found another no-knead bread recipe for my sourdough.  It's a white bread recipe, that you make a "batter" in the long rise time; it seems more like a sponge though.

The book is called:

"Adventures in sourdough Cooking & Baking"

By: Charles D Wilford
Copyright 1971 and 1977
ISBN# 0-912936-00-2
The First part of the recipe Page 31:
Primary Batter "B"


1C sourdough starter
1 & 1/2 C white flour
1 C warm water


1 & 1/2 C Primary Batter "B" for baking
1 C batter to return to your starter
2 & 1/2 C total

1.  Assemble all ingredients and utensils
2.  Remove your sourdough starter from the refrigerator and stir well.  Take out one cup and place it in a warm bowl of 2 qt capacity or larger.  Return remaining starter to refrigerator.  The large size bowl is necessary to prevent spillage as the batter will expand greatly during it's proofing period.  The final quantity will be around 2 & 1/2 or 4 cups total.
3. Add the warm water and stir until well mixed.  Slowly add the white flour stirring continually to blend the flour in well.  Stir 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and lump free, or use an egg beater or electric mixer. (yes it says a MIXER!)
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area for proofing.  (now I use a plate that fits over my bowl and it works fine)
5. The proofing period is 8 to 12 hours depending on how active your starter is when taken from the refrigerator.  Your batter is ready when it is foamy and full of large bubbles.  It can be used at any time after this point up to 4 hours.  If your batter has many tiny bubbles in it, it has already reached the proper state.  If no or few bubbles are present during the 8 to 12 hours after proofing your starter is not acting properly and you should determine the reason for this before continuing with the recipe.
6. During the proofing period there is a chance that crust will form at the top of your batter.  If this happens just stir it back down into the batter.  The same is true of any liquid which might form on top.
7. At the end of the proofing period stir the batter thoroughly.  Take out one cup and put back into your starter container.  Stir your starter thoroughly and return it to your refrigerator.

White Bread recipe on page 86

No-knead Sourdough Bread (white)

1 & 1/2 C Primary Batter "b"
1/2 C warm milk (I let it get to room temp)
1 &1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
2 T cooking oil or melted Shortening (I use butter)
1 egg
2 & 1/2 C flour

Yield: 1 loaf

1. Prepare the Primary Batter "B" following the directions in Chapter 4.  Be sure that you return one cup of batter to your sourdough starter container before adding any other ingredients.
2. Assemble all ingredients and utensils.  Let all ingredients come to room temperature.
3. In a warm 4qt bowl (I use my 8 qt pots) mix the milk, salt, sugar and cooking oil together.
4. Beat the egg well and (then) mix it thoroughly into the mixture in step 3
5. Add the 1 & 1/2 cups of Primary Batter "B" and mix well again. 
6. Add 2 & 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time; and beat vigorously until all the flour is blended in.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
7. Cover the bowl and set in a warm 85 degree place for about 2 hours for proofing.  When dough has doubled in bulk stir it down thoroughly.  (now I find this one "odd" no "punching" down)
8. Pour into a well greased loaf pan and spread it out evenly.  Pat the top smooth with floured hands (btw.. I have not done this in the 2 times I have tired this)
9. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm 85 degree place until it reaches about 1 inch from the top of the pan.  About 1 hour and 45 minutes.
10.  bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.  When bread starts to shrink away from the sides of the pan it is done.
11. When done, remove bread from the oven and brush the top with melted butter.  Place on a wire rack to cool immediately.
Now this produces a beautiful loaf of bread, so good that when we made it the first time we ate the whole loaf as soon as it was cool.  Well... ok... not quite all the way cooled.  It is very good and I suggest trying it out.  My family loved it, I am sure your's will too.

Be Well, Be safe and Blessed be