Hello there. Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? I hope everyone is doing well and had a safe and happy holiday season. We have been doing wonderfully, staying busy and warm. It took a while for the cold to hit, but it is in full swing now and I'm not that bothered by it. We have a nice fall garden in full production right now, and we have fresh salads, some herbs and lots of collard greens to see us through the cold days. The garlic that was put in in November is really loving all of the moisture we have seen since, and I am thankful to the Lord that he has seen fit to bless our efforts this season. The animals are doing well, and we haven't had any weather casualties so far, and I pray we won't see any when our sheep begin to drop.
About a week ago, when we saw that some serious cold weather was about to hit, we decided to drop one of our beautiful Texas Longhorn steers and haul him in to be slaughtered and hang him as long as we could.
(Note: slaughtering is when you kill, gut and skin the animal, and butchering is when you chop it into recognizable and usable pieces. The more you know....)
We only ended up being able to hang him for five days, because it got warm again. It took us a whole day to get him down and butchered, with Jennifer, Robert and myself working nonstop, but we got it done.
We are now in the canning, rendering and preserving stage. I am glad that the cold has hit again so that we don't have to work in a crazy panicked rush.
The meat will keep and continue to age in this weather, and Lord Willing we will have steaks to share with some visitors from Arkansas and Amish country that we are expecting next week. I am excited to see my friends again, and we should have a happy full house for a few days.
Besides butchering, we have been keeping busy doing some small building projects around the place. Some rabbit hutches, rebuilding the sheep shed for lambing season, and trying to come up with a good way to keep chicks warm this spring. The fox took out my last duck a few months back, so I am also planning a duck house to keep in the barn so my next batch can stay safe. They don't seem to like sleeping with the chickens.
There are a lot of exciting things happening around here. There are quite a few things I can't really tell you about yet, but soon.
Recently, have stayed busy sewing clothes, for me, my sisters and some for profit. I quit my job at the bakery because I was tired of being away from home and I think there is a better opportunity out there for me. I am still baking when I can, starting some sourdough this week and perfecting my bread recipe. There have been some random and delicious fermented things, even in these cold, dark days, and the wine we made this fall is already tasting phenomenal. Beer next, I keep saying to myself. This year I will learn to make beer. (Lord Willing.)
The wonderful siblings (who I now call the sibs) are always around to pick up all the things I drop, do my mountains of baking dishes, laugh when I sing and cut meat at the same time, do my chores when I'm writing about doing chores, and really just be the hard workers that keep a place like this going.
I am still writing away on books that may never see the light of day, but hey, it's all about the process, and I've stopped worrying about it. I'm excited to see what this year brings, but I have determined to take it a day at a time, praying with each step and smiling whenever I can. I can't wait till spring but this time I am enjoying winter, and the relative rest (and really good food) that comes along with the short days. I hope 2014 was the best it could be for y'all. I know it was a happy year for us, and there are big things ahead. I may continue my trend of being a "sometimes" blogger, but hopefully you will stay tuned when I do sit down and straighten it out in words, because I certainly enjoy hearing from my readers.
Blessings to y'all.