Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happenings on the Homestead

The busy season has begun. The grass has already gotten its first haircut and the tractor has been filled with diesel so that the pastures can get all gussied up. This is quite early for mowing but, with the nonexistent winter, the grass thinks it's the end of April. A lot of planning has been going on by me and hubby. There are so many things that need to get done. The house needs to be re-sided, all landscaping needs to be redone, the tennis court needs to be scraped so we can place the raised garden beds (which still need to be put together), my seeds need to get planted, the old garden area needs to be harrowed, fences need to installed in ALL pastures for future cattle, goats, maybe sheep. That is only part of what needs to be done. We had trees harvested and the carcasses of the old trees and brush still needs to be cleared away.  Not to mention the remodeling that needs to get done. So much to do, so little time and money! BUT, one day at a time, one project at a time. One thing I can cross off my to do list is getting grass fed beef for the freezer. I was just notified that out steer was butchered yesterday and will be ready for pick up in about 2 weeks. I am so jazzed about this!!! No more grocery store meat for us!!! This is the first time we have EVER bought a side of beef. Actually, we didn't just get a side, we got both sides...and everything in between! I get to call the butcher today and go over the cuts we want. I am a little nervous about that but the lady we bought the steer from said she would walk me through it. Now the only dilemma I have is making sure there is enough room in the freezers for the meat. My in laws are giving us a chest freezer and we have a big stand freezer that is only about 1/2 to 2/3's full plus I have the refrigerator freezer that I only have veggies in. How weird is it to be excited by beef?!

On the chicken front, all but 2 hens are laying. I don't know which 2 aren't yet. I don't really care, I love them all and I won't get rid of non layers right now. We now get about 70-80 eggs a week. It is a bit overwhelming since my in laws only take about 18 A MONTH! They aren't big egg eaters...yet :) My parents will take some once my mom can get over the fact that she has seen the chickens the eggs come from. She's funny like that. I used to be that way but, thankfully, I got over it. Hubby has cleaned out enough of the barn that he can get to our old chicken pen, that we used for the chicks, and get it out so I can order some meat chickens. However, he has told me that, before we butcher ANY of them, we need to get one of those plucking machines cuz he ain't plucking! Years ago, we had a mass killing of roosters on Easter Sunday. They had all gone into a frenzy attacking the momma hen and it ticked hubby off enough that he started piling them up with a .22. Once he started plucking, he plucked and plucked and plucked and, after 20 minutes, he still hadn't gotten to skin yet. So he pulled out his knife and skinned every last one of them. As you can guess, we really weren't country people back then. We had only moved from the city less than a year before so we still had so much to learn. Anyway, we haven't butchered another chicken since. Until now, I never really had a reason to. Now I can't stand going to the store to buy meat. I don't know where it comes from. I don't know how it was raised or killed. Most importantly, I don't know how they take a chicken that should only weigh about 3 1/2 lbs once its processed and make it weigh 6 lbs!!!! Okay, I do know how they do that and I don't like it! Good old home processed meat is what I want and it's what our bodies need. We don't need antibiotics and growth hormones!

My twins will be going away this weekend...without me :(  They are being confirmed this May and the church is sending them on a confirmation retreat to Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. They get to go to a resort while I toil away here ripping up landscaping. This is the first time that they have gone somewhere, for an entire weekend, without being with me or their grandparents. I am having a little hard time with it but, 2 of my girlfriends are chaparones so I feel a little better. My son is the only boy going so he will get plenty of one on one time with the youth leader. It will be good for him to hang out with the guys instead of  the girls in his family.

If I could ask anyone reading this, please keep my hubby in your prayers. He was been offered a spectacular job opportunity that could mean some really big changes (all for the good) for our family. He has prayed and prayed about it and is trying to make the best decision possible but he hasn't slept well the last few nights because there are so many details swirling around in his head. Either decision he makes will be fine. We don't need to take this opportunity to be okay but, if he does and it works out, we could be way better than okay!

I think that about updates everything going on right now. I still have posting to do on homemade deodorant, laundry detergent, fabric softener, hand soap and body wash but they will all have to wait their turn.

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