Pondering, Fishing & Pigs

We had a nice, short rain this morning, then the sun came out and warmed things up. My sinuses are healing up nicely, but I am still not doing anything very physical or anything that requires a lot of bending over. So after the morning chores, I thought I would see if I could catch a fish or two from the pond. I always start out very hopeful, and dream of fried catfish for lunch. There are lots of folks that don’t care for catfish because of their life style, but if you were raised in the south, you were raised eating fried catfish. Both of my grandfathers took us fishing as children, then grandma made up some really good things to eat when we got home. They are great memories, and with them came a definite preference for fried catfish.

This time I took the feathery lure thing off the rod and traded it for a regular hook. Frank had me add three prong hooks to our shopping list since we don’t have any, or we can’t find them. This hook is bigger and much stronger than the one that was on there when I tried fishing last time. I thawed out some chicken gizzards to use for bait, got my bucket, a pair of needle nose pliers and a fish stringer, just in case, and off I went.

The fish pond is in the pig pasture, and they wondered why I was there in the middle of the day. The first expectation was that it was feeding time again some how. As I walked down to the pond they followed me with grunts and squeals, wondering where I was going with this extra large feed bucket.

It took a while with sniffing and tasting of the bat we use for correcting improper behavior, nudging the bucket to see what was in it and poking their muddy noses on my radio, for them to calm down and realize I had nothing for them, in fact, I was pretty boring and after a while, they all wondered off.

 

Soon the dog and the pigs all decided it was a good time for a swim.

About five minutes after I threw out my hook, I started getting nibbles. Then I quickly caught, well almost, a small sun perch that jumped off the hook at the bank, flopped around a couple of times, then swam off. Well, that is a good sign, there are fish in the pond, even though it has been about four years since we last stocked it.

You know, for me, fishing is incredibly boring. I know people that would fish all day every day if they could. I think I would go crazy. One good thing about carrying everything in a five gallon bucket is that it doubles for a chair. I also put the jar of gizzards under it so I wouldn’t have to protect it from the pigs or the dog, Pearl. Pearl did get a piece of gizzard, though, while the pigs weren’t looking.

I was glad that the dog and the pigs came wondering back around and provided me with some entertainment. Lance, our boar, decided to hang around and give me hand or take a nap, I’m not sure which.

 

Not long afterward, I caught a catfish! Yea! But it was very small, not enough for a meal. The good news is since we haven’t stocked the pond in four years, and this guy was small, that means they are reproducing. This is very good news.

 

Back to sitting and hoping for a fish. While I was sitting there enjoying the peaceful beauty of the day, my thoughts turned to the events unfolding in the world. My prayers are with the fallen police officer’s family and friends in Houston that was gunned down while buying gasoline. I thought of the video interview Frank and I watched yesterday with yet another prediction of dire circumstances for the economy by October. October 1st is just 32 short days away. I thought of the mounting racial tensions across our country and how the death of a black person causes outrage, riots and speeches by well known political and religious leaders. Yet at the same time, the death of a white person causes silence by well known political and religious leaders. Not to mention the inundation of people illegally coming across the borders in droves and what that is doing to many communities and cities across the nation. These growing phenomenons will be at the root of a great many coming difficulties. There is a sense of the haves and have nots, those that do and those that do not.

There are those that will prepare and those that will not. All of these things are adding to the mounting resentment and unease that is slowly starting to erupt and ooze across our land like a putrid disease. There is no good that can come of it. Our leaders are fomenting actions that will destroy our land and many good people with it. What will be left is anybody’s guess. 

This is what I pondered. You know what? I also dearly prayed that none of it is so. That I could be totally wrong. But if I am wrong, then so are

thousands and thousands of others, whose numbers grow more and more everyday. No matter how hard I wish it weren’t true, and don’t want it to be so, it doesn’t change a thing. I told Frank about this when I came back to the house. I told him I am in mourning for our country. I mourn the coming strife and devastation. I mourn for the children that will be caught up in unbelievable situations. I mourn. But at the same time, I am filled with gratitude for these days that we have been given and the motivation to prepare for what lies ahead.

After awhile, I caught another small, sun perch. Nice looking little fish, but again, not big enough to eat. So after it posed for this picture, it got to swim away for another day. That was it for fishing today. Maybe sometime I will actually catch something we can eat. While I was at it, the pigs gathered for another dip in the water and mud, then settled down for a nap. Lucky pigs.

While I fished and the pigs roamed around, I got a good picture of Liberty, our gilt. She tends to spend time alone away from the ‘boys’, although when I arrived at the pasture today, she and Lance came up from the pond together. Liberty is about five and a half months old now, so she will be breeding before long. We figure we will have our first piglets sometime in January or February. That will be an interesting experience. We will also be having kids around that time since three of our does are bred. If they took and don’t come back in heat, they will all kid in January.

Since I didn’t catch any fish, I lolly gagged on the way back to the house. We’ve been noticing butterflies all over the place lately and they were out in force this afternoon. Several of them were nice enough to pose for pictures, so I thought I would share them with you.

The time has come that we all need to be very aware of our surroundings. More so than ever before. All the preparations in the world will mean nothing if we aren’t here to utilize them. The world is increasingly becoming a more dangerous place, where you may be attacked only because of your appearance. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of the grey man, you need to look it up and start practicing being grey. It may save your life and the lives of those around you. Be careful and watch your back.

Until next time – Fern

Sinus Dilation & Other Stuff

Last Friday, five days ago, I had a sinus dilation procedure in the office of my ENT (ear, nose & throat doctor). For about six weeks prior to the procedure, I had terrible headaches almost everyday that nothing would help. Not nasal steroids, sinus washes, antibiotics, Tylenol, pain pills, nothing. You should really feel sorry for Frank. One, for having to put up with me and two, because I have just not been myself. I have never been one to have headaches, especially not ongoing, seemingly never ending, headaches. Am I healed? Not yet, but I am well on the way. Has this procedure taken care of my sinus problems? The verdict is still out since I still have some occasional pain from the procedure, but the never ending headache seems to be gone, for which I am truly thankful.

Until recently I had never heard of sinus dilation. Here is a site that explains what it is and how it is done. We have a neat doctor that let Frank stay with me and watch the whole thing. Some things hurt and some didn’t. The doctor dilated both of my frontal sinuses and both maxillary or what I call cheek bone sinuses. He calls it bone cracking, and sometimes it sounded like that was the case. When he got to the left maxillary sinus he poked and prodded and poked and 
prodded and couldn’t get in. He said something about a flap in the way, so he cut it out. I think he actually had to cut a hole to get in and when he did, a stream of white, creamy ick came out, which he expected. The CT scan they did prior to the procedure showed the left maxillary as solid instead of with any air in it. He cleaned everything out of there he could.

So now I am healing. It is still uncomfortable to bend over to do much so the garden is patiently sitting out there waiting for me, just doing it’s thing all on it’s own. I think the aphids are having a hey day. By next week, I hope to diminish their population greatly. We have made cheese a couple of times, it doesn’t take much physical effort, I just had to concentrate more to make sure I didn’t skip a step.

The new online program I am using for my contract work with the school district, which is statewide, is really taking a lot of time. Since it is new, there are many, many data fields that have to be populated for each student, and of course with school starting and families moving around, there are many new students to contend with as well as the ones that are returning. I have spent so much time on the computer today, at one point I had this picture of a ball and chain coming out of the laptop attached around my ankle. Silly, huh? It’s not hard work, just time consuming. 

It’s always good to use your mind to learn new things, but right now it would be more fun to research greenhouse plants for winter. Soon enough the school work will calm back down and I will do just that. Frank and I are already talking about the plants we want to experiment with over the winter. It will be exciting to be able to walk out there and harvest fresh food for the table in December or January.

Since I have been in recovery mode and busy with school work, we are behind on answering the comments and emails on the blog. Please bear with us, we will respond, it just may not be quite as timely as it has been. We really do enjoy hearing from you and appreciate the time you take to share with all of us.

I know you are watching the financial news, the news of yet more hatred and murder being splashed in our faces, the news of countries flexing their military muscles and the news of natural and man made devastation around the globe. Ponder long and hard what you need to be doing for the near and far future. We sure are. We think about it, talk about it, and pray about it every single day. 

Until next time – Fern

Daddy, I’m Hungry……..

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

Folks this is not going to be a pleasant article. It’s never pleasant when your neighbor calls and says there is a tornado coming straight at your house. It’s never pleasant when your house is surrounded by forest fires. It’s never pleasant when you get news of a loved one passing. And it’s never pleasant when your four year old boy comes up and says, “Daddy, I’m hungry.”

Okay. Let’s talk for a minute. I’m going to ask you to read an article by Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse. His article today is just like one of many, but I like the way Michael writes, so I’m going to encourage you to read what he wrote today.

Back to that little four year old. If your neighbor called with imminent danger approaching your house, you would probably do something. Let’s see, what are some things you could do? Now remember danger is imminent. Pick any scenario you want, tornado, forest fire, hurricane, death, economic collapse, civil unrest, rioting, pick any one you want. Now, you’ve got your phone call. Your neighbor is not some whacko, weirdo, you’ve known him for years and you trust him. There is danger coming directly toward your house and your family.

Here’s what most people are doing right now. 

“Well, let’s go out and have dinner. We will put it on our brand new credit card, and after dinner we can go shop for a brand new, big screen television. We need one more to go along with the five we already have. We’ll put it in the back of our SUV.” 

Is this what you would do? Is this the scenario you see your family doing when there is imminent danger?

Try this scenario. It’s the day after the danger. You had dinner last night and you got your brand new big screen TV. You know, it’s one inch bigger than the man’s next door. You’re sitting there on your couch, which is financed, by the way. Your little four year old boy walks up to you and says, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” 

What are you going to tell your boy? Are you going to tell him, “I’m sorry son, but we don’t have any food in the house, because Mommy doesn’t need to cook. That’s why we eat out every night.”

“But Daddy, I’m hungry.” 

“Well, son, I would go to the grocery store and buy some food, but I don’t have any cash. The banks are closed and the ATMs don’t work. You see, son, your daddy is a blind, fool. I have put all of my faith in a world that I cannot survive in, and son, neither can you. You see son, I didn’t listen or pay attention to the warnings. They were there, but it just wasn’t cool to prepare for the obvious. I’m sorry son, but you’re going to have to pay the price because of my stupidity. I know your Uncle Henry has been warning us for years to at least have a little bit of food, water and cash set back. Remember all those times that Mommy and I laughed at dinner about how silly Uncle Henry was?”

“Daddy, can we go visit Uncle Henry?”

“No, son, the SUVs are both out of gas. I don’t have any cash and all of the local stores are closed. We can’t go visit Uncle Henry, he lives too far away to walk. Besides that son, that sound you hear that I told you were fire crackers, that’s actually gun fire.”

“Daddy are you going to protect us?”

“Well, no son. Your Mommy and I always thought it was a waste of money to buy one of those dangerous guns. Besides, I always needed a new set of golf clubs.”

“Daddy, I’m hungry.”

“Well son, you know that somebody from the government will bring us food real soon.”

“Daddy, there is somebody banging on the door and screaming!”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, what are you going to tell your four year old? Look at what is happening in our financial world. There are people that actually believe that since that they do not have direct investments in the stock markets, that a financial collapse will have no effect upon them. How naive. When the financial system goes belly up, banks will close, trucks will quit rolling, store shelves will go empty and there will be utter chaos and devastation. Somebody please tell me how that will not affect us all.

We are on the verge of the greatest financial collapse of all times. Nobody knows for sure how it is going to play out. But if there is no food on the shelves, don’t kid yourselves that everything is going to be peachy. That is a child’s view.

“Well, the electricity will still be on,” you say. How? How is it still going to be on? Are the workers going to drive to work with the imaginary gasoline that is not in their cars? In the last few weeks all of the world’s major financial markets have dropped sharply. All of the major financial markets have their respective countries printing money out of thin air. Don’t kid yourself that this can continue and have no effect upon us. It’s like a heroin addict increasing their intake of heroin everyday. It is fatal. 

So, really, what are you going to tell your four year old? No joke. What are you going to tell your four year old when he looks at you and says, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” And what are you going to tell him when there is somebody banging on your door? It’s your choice. Most of the readers here are adults and you better pray to God that you don’t have a teenage daughter, or otherwise the unthinkable is about to happen.

Read the article by Michael Snyder and then put it into an adult perspective. I’m sorry I write these things, but there is nothing pleasant about calling your neighbor and telling them a disaster is heading directly toward their house. A prudent person would already be prepared. Your time is very limited. Use it wisely.

We’ll talk more later, Frank
 

Please Enjoy a Review – Too Big to Fall

My sinus dilation procedure went well yesterday and I am recovering nicely. I think. But since I am not quite up to speed, I thought I would share a post with you from about a year and a half ago.

The dramatic drop in the stock markets yesterday have made headlines around the globe. This is yet another example of the roller coaster ride that will eventually grind to a halt, or go out with a bang. It reminds me regularly of James Howard Kuntsler’s book The Long Emergency. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it. Even though it is a novel, it is great food for thought and may give you some ideas of things you may want to acquire that you haven’t thought of, or purchased yet.

The current state of the world economies continue to reinforce our decision to invest in tangibles instead of increasing our savings. There are still a number of things we are considering and weighing. Things that will not only increase our comfort, but the ease at which we can perform daily tasks that will be necessary for survival. Because once the final curtain closes and the end of life as we know it arrives, it will no longer be how to survive, but how to live. We talk often of surviving the coming collapse and that’s exactly what we plan on doing. If we are blessed with the option then life will go on and become a new normal, a new kind of life.

Consider your life, when all else about you has changed. That’s what it will continue to be. Life. There may be many things about that life that have changed dramatically, but it will still be your life. What you make of it will be up to you.

Until next time – Fern

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Originally published February 3, 2014

I was reading over the news and ran across a link from the Drudge Report that went to Alex Jones. The gist of the article was the small scale rioting after the Super Bowl, none of which was of much interest to me. At the very bottom of the article was this quote.

“While their entire country is being bankrupted, hollowed out, and flooded with illegal immigrants as Obama announces that he will ignore Congress and pursue his agenda via dictatorial executive fiat, Americans remain unmoved.

The only things that get them in the least bit animated are Black Friday sales and NFL football games. When a civilization reaches this point of decadence, a Roman Empire-style collapse is soon to follow.”

As the day went on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 300 points, today alone (February 3, 2014). This was after the “worst monthly loss since May 2012 on Friday.” I don’t pretend to know much of anything about the stock market, but I do know that is not the norm. Frank follows the markets very closely. I have also read enough to know that the stock market is being propped up in our fragile, artificial economy, somewhat like a house of cards. When, not if, will a strong enough wind come along and blow this house down? Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs? Is ‘your house‘ built in such a way that the Big Bad Wolf will not be able to ‘huff and puff and blow your house down’?

The events in the world comprise a complexity that is impossible to comprehend in it’s entirety. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke” Is this where we are today? Is that why many people don’t take notice of the more significant events going on around them? Or is it an escape of sorts? Or are people afraid to say or do anything due to retaliation from our government? When things are too big to accept and conceptualize, is it better to distract yourself with the fantasy world presented on television or at the ballgame?

We have read many people that talk about those they know who think everything is fine. Prices may be higher, health insurance may be changing or disappearing, but everything is fine. We’ve had these types of things happen before and everything turned out fine, you’ll see. Really? I don’t think so. But I only mention some things in passing to some people because, otherwise, I will draw too much attention to myself, which I do not want to do. I would rather be somewhat un-memorable. Plain, simple. Do not talk, act, dress or live in a way that draws attention. I definitely do not want to be part of the ‘look at me’ crowd. I would rather be somewhat invisible.

There is a growing stress in the world. People on the phone at a variety of businesses are becoming rude and condescending. Why? Don’t they need the business? Most businesses I frequent in person are hurting. Does management want to say something to these rude employees, but feel

their hands are tied? Are they afraid of being charged with some kind of a hate crime in court? Or, does the person answering the phone think this is normal behavior since that is the way it is on television? You know, that big make believe screen that for the last 50 to 60 years has been teaching Madison Avenue values and morality. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anybody would want to watch television. I can find no value in that big make believe screen. But everybody I listen to, asks the same question, “Did you see ______ on television?” Just unbelievable to me. Not to mention how hypnotizing it is. Just look at a room with a television and see how everyone is drawn into staring at it. You can’t hardly keep from it. It’s creepy.

The Roman Empire didn’t collapse overnight. I’m sure there were many, many people then that couldn’t conceive the fall of that mighty Empire. It was just TOO BIG TO FALL. Hmm…doesn’t that sound familiar? Too big to fail. What does that mean for us? It worries me when I read that many of our government agencies have stocked up

on millions of rounds of ammunition and weapons. It worries me when banks start questioning why people want their money. It worries me when executive orders become the standard way of running the government. It worries me when lying and cheating and spying become the norms of our day. It worries me that many police forces appear to be more concerned with controlling and intimidating people instead of serving and protecting them. It worries me when there are millions of people running around singing ‘All is well’ when I know there is no chance of our nation recovering and resuming our previous ‘eat, drink and be merry’ way of life. It is impossible. It will never happen. We are in for a major correction in the way we live. It is inevitable.

The almost instant availability of everything from donuts to pedicures to brain surgery will soon be a thing of the past. We now live with a new

generation of people that have never even considered living without cell phones, computers and big screen TVs, not to mention refrigeration and air conditioning. We live with a generation of people that have been taught it’s okay not to work, but don’t worry, we’ll feed you and house you and make sure your standard of living is better than many who still choose to work hard every day for the clothes on their backs and the food on their tables. I cannot even begin to imagine what this generation will think when there is no longer anyone there to ‘take care of them’. This worries me, too.


“When a civilization reaches this point of decadence, a Roman Empire-style collapse is soon to follow.” How soon? I don’t know. I only know that God has given us the task to warn our neighbors. Please heed this warning. Hold your family close. Try to get them ready. 


Until next time – Fern

Homestead News, Volume 9

Time continues to fly by and autumn will be with us before we know it. We are finally out of the 100+ temperatures. It was 59* here last night! I don’t think it will last, though, we are supposed to be back up into the low 90’s by early next week, and that is fine. It is much more manageable than the 100+ stuff with high humidity. With the cool weather this morning, we were able to use our new double hung windows to fill the house with cool, fresh air. They work great.

We want to send our thoughts and prayers to those that are being affected by the wildfires around the country. We have friends in the northwest that have had to evacuate their home, and we haven’t heard from them since yesterday. It must be very difficult to leave your home not knowing what you may return to. There are many different types of challenges we are all given, but many times on the other side of it, we are stronger for having been tested and refined.

We continue to pen up the youngest kids and accumulate milk for cheese making. The last batch of cheddar is ready to wax, but I ran out of steam before I got to it today. Two more wheels of cheddar are now in the cheese press and will be ready to remove and start the drying process tomorrow evening. Since I won’t be able to wax these two wheels until Saturday, I put them in a plastic storage bag in the refrigerator. I will be having a sinus dilation procedure tomorrow morning, so I don’t expect to get much of anything done for the rest of the day.

 

We continue to eat our cheddar at room temperature, but have found that it gets too oily if we leave out the whole wheel. This time we cut it in half covered the open end with plastic wrap and put it back in the cheese frig until we are ready for it.

 




We also filled up the fermentation crock with four heads of cabbage today. The last batch of sauerkraut stayed in the crock for a month and it was the best tasting we have had so far. We still have three quarts of it in the refrigerator that we are eating, and wanted the next batch to have plenty of time to ferment. It’s interesting how quickly things like making sauerkraut becomes routine.

Today was also bread day. The sourdough was still doing it’s thing and predigesting all those carbohydrates for us on top of the frig while I was writing this. We didn’t get the dough mixed up until about 11:00 this morning, so I didn’t bake the rolls until 8:30 this evening. I wanted to give it plenty of time to ferment and digest beforehand. They sure are good.

 


I’ve tried to make cottage cheese twice by leaving the milk on the counter. The first time it didn’t really curdle, so I thought I hadn’t left it long enough.

The second time I left it for about four days and it was definitely soured, but still didn’t really make curds like it was supposed to. That’s too bad, I was really hoping it would work. Now it will be back to the cheese book and making another stab at modifying the recipe so I can get good cottage cheese.

We still have roosters and wethers to butcher, and we hope next week after my sinuses clear up we can get a lot of butchering done. That and get some fall crops planted. My headaches and general feelings of sickness have put everything like that on hold for way too long. So I hope to have more to report in the butchering department very soon.

The pigs are doing much better in the behavior department. There are some folks at church that have raised pigs for years and Frank was quizzing them on ‘normal’ pig behavior last week. We are still learning, and they are still growing. It will be very interesting to see how they do in the long run. I’m also very interested to see how Lance and Liberty behave once we have butchered the barrows. I think the interaction will be different then. We pay a little more attention to them since they are our breeding pair and the barrows will end up on our dinner plates. I have a question for you. Does a pig’s tail continue to grow longer and get more curly as they grow up?

The whey produced from making cheese goes to good use as pig food. They get upset with me if I take them a bucket of scraps without some kind of liquid in it. I can’t help but laugh at them when they fuss at me. It’s a funny little squeal.

By the time we got most of the day’s activities completed, the kitchen was really a mess. 

As the week has progressed we have watched more major fluctuations in the financial markets around the world. It is just another indicator of the instability of the underlying foundations of economies everywhere. We continue to discuss what tangible items we can invest in that we will be able to use in the future, come what may. An example of one of our acquisitions is a stainless steel water bath canner. We have two like the one pictured above that the whey is in. One of them, after three or four years of use, has chipped and has a place trying to rust on the inside of the bottom. Knowing they won’t be durable for long term use, especially if we get to the point that we can’t buy or trade for another one, we chose to invest in stainless steel. As you can tell, it’s still in the box. We’ll keep using the enameled version as long as we can.

We continue to pick peppers, tomatoes, cowpeas and carrots from the garden. I really hope to write another garden article before long with the things we have been able to plant for fall. 

Thank you for all of the great comments. It’s neat to be able to share. Frank and I have learned a great deal from other folks experiences. Please keep sharing. 

Prepare for the fall of the year and the fall of the world. They will both be arriving soon.

Until next time – Fern

A Simple Non-Electric Milking Machine

The time has arrived that I need to employ a milking machine instead of continuing to hand milk our goats. This time has arrived much sooner than I had hoped, but the arthritis in my hands have made that decision for me. I have a finger that will no longer straighten unless I work on it for a while. It is affecting my grip and I’m dropping a lot of things. Rats. One of the biggest draw backs for me is that I really enjoy milking my goats. I’m sure I still will, it will just be different. I can enjoy the still of the morning, watching the animals and listening to the birds, it will just be different. As the goats and I get used to this new routine, I’m sure there will be challenges and adjustments along the way, so later on, I’ll do an update on my new milking routine and tell you what I’ve learned. For now, here is my very first experience with this machine.

I can’t say our milking machine is new because I bought it several years ago. It’s been in a storage building awaiting the time that I needed it. This is an example of storing things that will become useful in the times to come. If you have a future project that will make life easier and more productive after the SHTF, and you can afford it now, acquire what you think you will need now and store it away. It will wait for you, just like this milker.

Back when I researched and looked for a simple milking machine the Henry Milker out of Alaska was the only one I found, so I got one. Now there are several companies that have similar products like the one Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution uses, the Udderly EZ Milker. Patrice did an article on how she uses one to milk her cow here.  If there is anyone out there that uses or has experience with a non-electric milking machine, please share with us. I would really appreciate anything you can share. I wrote this part of the article before we went to the barn and tried out the machine. You’ll realize why I said this later on.

The components of our milking kit included the vacuum pump, four tubes, two tube cleaning brushes, two wide mouth quart jars, two lids, a micro fiber cloth and a carrying case. The directions are simple and easy to follow.

Copper with her kids back in March

Copper, our three year old doe, was the victim for the first trial of milking with this machine. This is the second year we have milked Copper and she is very easy going and a good milker. She looked at me a few times as I fumbled around trying to get the bucket, which we brought to protect and support the jar, and the syringe that goes over the teat in place to begin this process.

At first I couldn’t get a good suction going so the pressure would build up a vacuum and begin withdrawing the milk. With Frank’s help, we finally got things going and the milk flowing.

Yes, we always have our radios, even when we’re together.

The pressure gauge has to be pumped much more often than I expected, and even though I had to squeeze it less often than if I had milked by hand, it really wasn’t that different than milking by hand except I didn’t have to squeeze as hard.

I had to restart the suction/vacuum process twice on each teat because the milk stopped flowing. The directions included this possibility, and directed to release the syringe from the teat and start over, which we did.

Even with restarting twice on each teat, we only withdrew about half of Copper’s milk. The rest I ended up milking out by hand into the bucket. I’m glad Frank recommended we bring it.

I’m sure with practice this machine would withdraw more of the milk, and I would be get much more adept. Even with all of the commotion of trying to figure out this machine, Copper was very cooperative through it all, and I was grateful. Frank did end up feeding her quite a bit more than usual just to keep her occupied while I tried the milker and he took the pictures. Even the flash on the camera didn’t bother her. She did a very good job.

The Henry Milker worked just as advertised. The instructions and videos found on their website were helpful since I did run into a few things that were mentioned. Because I had access to the information ahead of time, I knew what to do when these situations occurred.

No filtering necessary

Pros? The milk goes directly into the jar which prevents any hair or dust from getting into it like it does when you hand milk into a bucket. The milk doesn’t have to be filtered. Just change out the lid for a regular plastic one and put the jar in a bucket of water to chill, then into the refrigerator it goes. Even inexperienced people could milk an animal using this machine.

Cons? I have read in other places and heard from an acquaintance that you still need to finish the milking by hand if you want to

Copper’s udder

make sure you get all of the milk and keep production to a maximum. The thing I noticed as we were increasing the pressure to create the vacuum and get the milk to flow, was that Copper’s teat was pulled down and lengthened in the syringe. My first thought was that I didn’t like that. What will that do to the tissue of her teat if this process is repeated over and over twice a day? Will it cause the teats to lengthen and stay that way? Will it cause them to loosen and lose their natural elasticity and break down the structure of the orifice? Will it cause them to leak over time because the tissues have been stretched so often?

One Stripe’s udder

I don’t even know if these are questions that address a valid concern, but my first thought was I don’t want that to happen to my does’ udders. I have grown very particular about the udders my does have and we have bred them to have certain characteristics. Another thing that has caused this concern is a video about another company that makes non-electric goat milking machines that shows the process compared to an electric milking machine. Some of the does in this video have very large teats and the suctioning motion of the electric milking machine rhythmically pulls on the teats. I think this process over time has caused part of the shaping of the teats. I don’t see how it can keep from it. There are also some people that prefer a large bulbous type of teat, even for hand milking, because you get more milk per squeeze, therefore you don’t have to squeeze as many times to get the same amount of milk as a doe with smaller teats. Maybe I am just backward in my choice of goat teats, but I don’t think so. I think the straight, smaller structure of this type of teat is much closer to what is found in nature as opposed to what is found with structured breeding practices.

So, what about my arthritis? I don’t know. But for now I will continue milking by hand and doing the best I can. I may need to limit how many goats I have in milk at once, I don’t know. It is very interesting to finally get to a place where I thought I would have to give in and quit milking by hand even though I didn’t want to. Now that I have tried it, I really don’t want to use a machine, not unless I really, really, really have to, and for now I don’t have to, so I’m not. I thought about just deleting this article and not finishing it, but then again I thought maybe it would be of use to someone, so here it is. Food for thought.

Until next time – Fern

The Versatility of Things

Frank ran across a very interesting article today at the Urban Survival Site called 32 Foods That Aren’t Just for Eating. This is a very interesting list in and of itself. Better yet, each item in the list is a link to another site with more uses for that particular food. Take garlic for instance, it is linked to a site that has 20 unusual uses for garlic. It’s a great article with lots of valuable resources.

When I came to baking soda on the list I had to smile. It reminded me of our choice to use only baking soda for toothpaste. I also quit using the popular scrubbing liquids for cleaning and now use a small amount of baking soda, a drop of Dawn dish washing liquid and a wet rag. It works great.

More than anything this list is an exercise in creatively thinking about how to extend the use of not only foods, but just about any item that comes in the door. Frank and I look at many empty containers and wonder what they can be used for instead of being thrown away. The scraps of lumber from building projects are kept for use in other projects that require smaller pieces of wood, or are put in the kindling pile. We use stock panels to stake our tomatoes on instead of cages. At the end of the season, we take down the panels so we can till the garden. The panels and t-posts are stacked nearby for use again the next year.

As prices get higher and higher, and in some instances, the availability of some things come into question, it’s a good mental exercise to determine what we really need, not just want, but really need to perform our daily tasks, regardless of where we live. I was talking to a friend of ours yesterday about things we may need in the coming days, weeks and months. She said she used to buy things like shoes or clothes with her extra money, but now she buys things she knows she will need in her garden, for canning her food or for her chickens. Times have changed and our purchasing habits have definitely changed.

Not long ago we had a comment in which the person spoke of her family and friends and their purchasing choices. They told her they knew they needed to prepare, but didn’t know how or where to start, so they just kept living like nothing was wrong or was going to happen. All the while this person has been scrimping and saving to obtain the things she will need should a disaster or collapse occur. There are many of us that have changed the way we look at the world and the value we place on a given item. There are many of us that no longer look at dust catchers as things we want to acquire. The appearance of things no longer determines it’s value, the usefulness or functionality of the item is what puts it higher on our list of things to consider.

An example. Right now I am more interested in getting my outdoor kitchen constructed and in working order than I am in having a dishwasher. I have drawn out a preliminary plan for Frank to ponder. You see, I have many ideas that turn out to be unrealistic in the category of feasibility. But if I can explain or draw it out well enough and give it to Frank to think about, he can adjust it to the point that it will work. It might not even be close to the particular idea I started out with, but it still meets the need I had in the first place. To build this outdoor kitchen there aren’t many things we will need to get because we have already obtained many of the items to complete it. Some of them we have had for a quite a while, not knowing exactly what we were going to do with them, but at the same time, knowing they would be useful should the SHTF. They have worked very well into this plan. 

Versatility. That is what the Urban Survival Site reminded me of. Not only things, but many food items are versatile as well. Use your creativity and imagination, analyze your situation, your supplies and your needs, not necessarily wants, but needs. What are the things or food items you need to acquire before things get dicey or inflation gets worse or the dollar is devalued? What can you do right now to make your family more secure in their preparations? 

Frank and I spend much of our time thinking just like this now days. We continue to hear and read many things that indicate the hour glass is quickly running out of sand. When that last grain falls with a resounding crash, will you be ready?  

Until next time – Fern