Homestead News, Volume 17

We are still working on our antenna project. The rains have softened the ground enough that we can’t get in the garden to work on raising the first of three towers. We attempted to raise the first one as the rains were coming, but found out we need a stouter pulling pole to get this tower up. We’ll give you a lot more details in an article dedicated solely to this project when we’re closer to completion.

Our young hens are starting to lay and we get varying sizes of pullet eggs everyday now, and that is great. We were blessed with eggs from Grace and Faith to tide us over until we had enough.

October 29th

The garden is history for this year. There are still a few potatoes that keep coming up out there, but we already have two pots in the greenhouse. I may add another one or two but it will have to be tomorrow if I do since the low tomorrow night is supposed to be 24 degrees. This will be our first hard freeze of the season. We’ve had a few dustings of frost so far, but haven’t even made it down to 32 degrees yet.

Easter & Patch

We brought home a buck this evening that we are borrowing from Faith. It was dark by the time we got him unloaded and settled, so no pictures yet. Faith and her husband have been gracious enough to provide us with an opportunity to add some new blood to our herd, and we haven’t been able to find a permanent replacement buck for our herd yet. Victor, the borrowed buck, has four does to breed while he is here. Our plan is to keep him for 60 days to make sure all of the does are pregnant, especially our two young does, Patch and Easter. Young does don’t always ‘take’ the first time they are bred, so we will be counting days to see if they come back into standing heat 21 days after breeding. If not, it’s usually safe to say they are pregnant.

We tried the pear sauce this morning on some sourdough biscuits and it is very good. To us it seems very sweet even though there is no sugar in it. The very ripe pears I used worked great. Very nice.

The outdoor kitchen work has been on hold because of the wet weather. We need to spray down the plywood walls and let them dry for a day or two so we can paint them before we start setting up the stove, smoker and sinks. Maybe next week it will be dry enough to get the painting done.

We cleared out the stuff that had accumulated in the livingroom around the woodstove so we can get it ready for use. When we paint the outdoor kitchen we’re also going to paint the concrete board that goes behind the stove and get it fastened to the walls. We plan to paint the exterior doors on the house, too. I hope we can finish off the painting soon, neither one of us like to paint, and really don’t look forward to that chore.

The Survival Radio Relay Net continues to slowly grow. There were two new people on the net this week. Our ability to communicate has been somewhat limited with the towers down, so Frank has been calling the net from one of our vehicles that has a CB and a VHF/UHF in it. We are all learning how to be more effective in contacting each other and relaying information between different people. It is a great learning experience and we get a little better at it each time we meet.

Life is good. It has slowed down a little with the coming of winter, but not much. We’re hampered a bit by the weather, but still making good progress. 

The events of the world continue to unfold with increasing speed and TEOTWAWKI comes more into focus each passing day. I often think of Ol’ Remus’ advice, “Avoid crowds”, especially in light of holiday shopping. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing among us.

Until next time – Fern
 

Pear Sauce, Pigs & Vinegar

Remember those five 5 gallon buckets of pears? And I said I was finished? Well there are still tons of pears coming off that same tree and we thought it would continue to be great pig food. So I got five more 5 gallon buckets.

From the last of the first batch of pears, I made my first vinegar. It isn’t ‘done’ yet, and I don’t know how it will turn out, so I haven’t told you about it. But it looks right according to all of the pictures I’ve looked at and all of the information I have read. I’m excited to finally try making vinegar. I wanted to and had to because my friend Grace also tried her first batch out of the same pears, and she started hers before I did. Today she is making her first ever batch of soap, too, something we have yet to do. Good for her, I hope it turns out perfect.

Bowl of very ripe pears, vinegar crock, pig bucket, pan for pear sauce


After I brought home the last batch of pears, I decided that pear sauce would be a good thing to make. Since we aren’t eating any sugar and haven’t in almost a year, I was thinking pear sauce, made out of the really ripe, dripping pears would make a good sweetener for things like winter squash pie. Pears have a good amount of carbohydrates like sugar, but there is no processing or additives in these pears. The tree hasn’t even been pruned, sprayed or fertilized for, well for as long as anyone can remember. The only thing I did to make pear sauce, was peel and core the pears and cook them down. The vinegar got the peels and the pigs got the cores and seeds. I did add a tablespoon of citric acid powder, just because. The sauce has cooked down to a beautiful golden brown. It was canned in the water bath for 20 minutes. I think the next time I try making a pie, without a crust, I’ll add about 1/4 cup of pear sauce for sweetener and see how that tastes.

Since the first batch of vinegar seems to be doing it’s thing correctly, it actually made some ‘mother’. I decided that I should start more vinegar, this time in the five gallon crock instead of the one gallon. I’ll give you many more details about the vinegar once the first batch is ‘finished’ and I find out if it actually worked. For now, know I am once again experimenting on us an hope it works and doesn’t make us sick. That is always one of Frank’s concerns, and rightly so, but I just tell him we’re not dead yet.


The pigs really, really like the pears, and so do the chickens. I am truly grateful for this abundance of food, for us and the animals, and the people that are so willing to share. I hope I am able to share something with them sometime that they will enjoy as well.

Until next time – Fern