October Journal

Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)October 7, 2002

So far, most of the month (and the last part of September) has been spent preparing for hurricanes Isadore and Lili, neither of which gave us much trouble. We did have a tornado storm come through which took down many trees and power lines in our area, but this was a week after the hurricanes. Total surprise. But happily, we were stocked with emergency supplies and fared okay. We also had a plumbing disaster when an outdoor faucet broke off and the boys proved themselves by making a mad dash to get supplies to repair it, and had it fixed in a few hours. Not much of a "homesteading" event, and I did have some thoughts about what we would have done if we were further away from a hardware store. I dislike the way we are so dependent upon retail establishments. I responded to this event by storing water in every nook and cranny of my cabinets in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms.

I vowed once again to look into getting cisterns. We could have filled a lot of cistern capacity during that storm, and it would have the added benefit of avoiding flash flooding somewhat, downstream from us.

-- Marie

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Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)

I hope this becomes a collective journal, with other folks adding their own homesteading experiences. Check out the was the monthly journal works in the Farm Life forum.

What's going on where you live?

-- Marie

    Bookmark   October 8, 2002 at 8:47AM
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Jwj__(Rocky MT 5)

Hi Marie,
well in my little world, things are running way behind,,I have not been to the forums much because I have been dealing with family following a death a few weeks ago,, so right now I am helping a young cousin trying to design a garden for his mothers gravesite out their front door,,,
other then that lets see tonight we are cutting up an elk which we are splitting with a friend who was hunting with family, we always half the meat in these circumstances,it will also be nice to have the extra help to cut it up,will be making sausage from this as well,
,, the mac apples are just getting ready here as well as alot of the wild ones the bears have been eating,, So I have been processing alot of apples, the last two days have been apple butter days,the next few days are looking like pie filling days,,,
lets see other life, LOL,, greenhouse still getting maters from it as well as peppers,for fresh eating,, you all have to remember it has been cold here,, down in the 20s a couple of weeks ago so hard frosts,, as well as a bit of snow and slush have fallen,, fall colors are quite lovely right now,,
garden improvements are also in the air, which means hauling in several large truckloads of manure,, remaking a few perennial beds, and potting up several hundred perennial seedlings,,
compost heaps are growing alot as well, from fall clean-up,,, I am sure their is much more going on but I am in need of more coffee,,LOL,, thats it need to gather more chicory roots to mix with coffeee, which also leads to more herb and wild plant harvesting for winter use,, so outward to gather rose hips for tea and chicory for coffee,
hope others are having a great october, as well,,

    Bookmark   October 8, 2002 at 11:27AM
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I picked the remaining green tomatoes last night, as I was expecting a frost...there was some on the grass, but it didn't hurt the tomato vines. Have been cutting the fall broccoli, and pulled the rest of the red onions. Last week dug Yukon Gold potatoes, and need to get the Superior ones dug also.
Still need to till up for planting of garlic...soon! Want to pot up some extra strawberry runners. Asparagus and rasperries need weeding--big time!
I also cut any glads last night that had any color and any open zinnias, but things have not been selling the last few days. Took remaining tomatoes off the stand.
I need to process tomatoes, squash, and broccoli.
One chicken looks like she won't last long...just stands around...and one adolescent guinea got out of the cage last night, but reappeared this morning...how to catch her/him???
Broiler chicks about 4 weeks old, and almost feathered out. This is an experiment. I'm trying 10, and if it works, will do more next season.
Still a lot to do to get ready for cooler weather..stack wood, get kindling, mow between garden beds, and fields, etc.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2002 at 1:24PM
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Just wanted to let you'll know I love this forum! I guess I just didn't realize there were so many people out there with dreams like mine of getting away from it all, living life to the fullest doing the things that matter. Thank you for being so generous in sharing your ideas with others.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2002 at 10:48PM
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hollymolecule(sunset z18)

Getting ready to make tuna cactus pear jelly- watching the lemons and oranges put out their buds- other than that, kind of missing an autumn here in the 95 degree California desert. Coming from North Dakota, I've noticed that summers here are a lot like winters were up north- something to be indured indoors. Now I can't wait for winter to come so I can finally get outside and garden!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2002 at 11:50PM
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Erik_z7b_AL(Alabama z7b)

Hey,do you have a recipe for that cactus jelly,I tried to make some yesterday and it won't set,it just turns into syrup.The recipe I used called for liquid pectin,I tried it twice,following the measurements in the recipe,and it doesn't make jelly.Tastes really good,buts its more like pancake syrup,which is what I'll probably use it for now.Still got plenty of cactus pears to try again.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2002 at 1:59AM
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Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)

jwj -- So sorry to hear of the death you and family were dealing with. My condolences. I am and glad to hear of your other activities in October. You make me feel lazy with all you do!! -- Marie

    Bookmark   October 9, 2002 at 6:52AM
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Finished the last of my canning this week. 14 pints of sauerkraut. Got the car winterized today, good for -45 C, so it can snow when ever it wants to now, which I hope is not until Christmas eve. SO still has 900 acres to combine yet, so the weather will hopefully cooperate.

Finished the rest of my Christmas shopping today, all except the SO's big present. I know what he would like, a new air seeder, new tractor, a new truck, but Santa is not that flush, soooooo.....lol

Tonight, I cut out some more quilt squares and worked on some Xmas crafts, hemmed some pants.

Just killing some time now until we butcher, which will hopefully be at the end of the month, if we get a little cooler weather. Funny how we are never happy with the weather. Need a few more weeks of good weather to finish getting the crop in, yet the rain we have been getting is sorely needed, and it needs to be colder to butcher. No satisfying us, eh?

Other than that, October is definitely more laid back than August and September. Hope all of you in the Hurricane region came out relatively unscathed these past two weeks. I know first hand the mess that comes with cleaning up after some really bad storms. Lost my roof in a wind storm a few years ago. My thoughts are with you.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2002 at 11:47PM
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Here in England, the weather is very sunny today, and quite warm. I picked the last of the autumn raspberries this morning and a few more blackberries that were hanging around. I put them in the freezer for Christmas. I'm amking apple jelly today, and lemon marmalade. (Bit sidetracked at the moment as I started cleaning children's bedroom, and am beginning to regret it!) Still lots to do in the garden for autumn - path laying, weeding, cutting back, etc Pumpkins have been good this year, and yesterday I picked the last of the tomatillos and Brandywine tomatoes. Next week I have to fix up the chicken and duck houses and creosote them, and tidy out the greenhouses. Have made jam and pickles already, enough to see us through the winter, I think. I want to get lots of kindling chopped and some more logs stored, then the hop bines cut down. Indoors, I have hats and scarves to knit for the children as well as a jersey of some persuasion for hubby's Christmas present. The weather never gets too bad here in the south of England; the lowest in the last five years we have been here was -7. As a result, very few people seem to get prepared for any powercuts or emergencies, and if a blip does occur, most of them are totally lost!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 8:19AM
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Jwj__(Rocky MT 5)

Thanks Marie
,, now ya know a girl has got to keep busy,,
my youngest is now in the apple making mess too,, yesterday he started crock pot apple butter,,the weather here is getting ready for a possible change, with winds coming through with a cold front and the possibilty of snow over the weekend,,,so today I am going to hit the great outdoors,,and try to get a few other things outta the way,,

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 10:08AM
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hollymolecule(sunset z18)

Sorry so late posting the cactus pear jelly- I have used various recipies in the past, and some, like yours, didn't set up at all. I use basically the recipie from the link below, and have about 90% success. I've only used envelope pectin (Suregell?) and added some lime juice- I think the key is to boil the bejeezus out of it. Everytime I've had problems with it setting up, I think I rushed it a little...But it makes the most wonderful pancake syrup! I'd like some day to make the wine from this webpage, too! Good luck- I'll let you know how mine turns out.

Here is a link that might be useful: cactus pear jelly

    Bookmark   October 12, 2002 at 12:13PM
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This week was pretty quiet, celebrated Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Got my parents packed up and on their way to Arizona for the winter. Some day, I too, shall be retired. LOL

But now that they are gone, (they live with me in the summer) the house seems very quiet and still, and I miss doing stuff with Mom already. No more sewing together, cooking together tripping over each other in the kitchen. LOL

So to keep myself busy today, I made my first batch of homemade soap. It is cooling now. Was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I can't wait now for it to cure so I can try it. If it works out well, DS can sell it to raise money to go to Spokane for Bloomsday. We are already well into making crafts that she is selling to her teachers and the neighbours to raise funds.

Just having a cup of coffee now and working up the energy to get back to the sewing machine to finish some slip covers for my loveseat.

Weather here has been beautiful this week. Good for the SO, so he can finish combining, but doesn't look good for setting a butchering date. May have to do it in November if the temps stay balmy. But it better be soon, because the old meat supply is down to nubbins in the old deepfreeze. Just chickens and ducks in there right now, and after turkey all week, another bird for supper just does not seem all that appealing right now. LOL

Well, off to those slipcovers.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 12:11PM
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Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)

I'm going to be having some trees cut down sometime in the next few weeks. I got estimates for two trees -- a tall pine, 80+ feet, which leans over a fence and road, and a maple with dead branches over the top of my two-story house. The estimates were from $250 for the pine, $50 for the maple, to over $1,000 for both. This is just to take them down and cut them in 4' sections and we'll do the clean-up. I'm taking the low bid and planning for a very entertaining Thanksgiving weekend for my college kids and the guests which inevitably show up. They can have a bon fire!! How much does tree removal cost where you guys are?

-- Marie

    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 1:00PM
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My Goodness, Marie. Up to a thousand bucks? I have no idea what is all involved or the costs but the spread you have given is way to large not to have some questions answered.
Have never had to have any trees removed, have no idea what the cost should be, so I can't say what is fair or not. But I would make sure whoever I got to do it is licenced and bonded. I remember hearing of someone cutting down a tree and it fell onto the street and an oncoming car. I'd make sure my a$$ was covered in that area, for sure.

But, once you get it down, I think the bonfire idea is neat.
You missed inviting me for Cajun/Canadian Thanksgiving, so can I come to US Thanksgiving dinner and the fire? Or do we just all show up for dessert and fire? LOL


    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 2:19PM
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Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)

Sure to Thanksgiving Dinner!! I'm going to try some new things, like wild rice, brown rice, and craisin dressing. I'll make half with nuts and half without since there are some special dietary needs in my family. The main vegetable dish will come from Asia: Baby Bok Choy rosettes with lemon cream sauce. I steam the Bok Choy whole for a few minutes, then cut them so the bottom is an attractive rosette. I arrange the greens (leaf tips) on the platter and place the rosette on top. The sauce is poured over the rosette when served. I have done this for several years and the women love it, the men usually say it seems like too much trouble for greens. After the meal we have a tradition of taking a walk in the woods. I live where there are 2,000 acres of hardwood and pine forests to the west, north, and east of me. Development is creeping toward us from all directions. Every year we wonder, how much more encroachment can we stand? My son showed me an aerial photo of our area on MapQuest. We could see some land being cleared in the middle of the woods, with roads laid out. Ouch. Didn't know that was there. -- Marie

    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 3:12PM
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babanna(z5 NY)

Wow! Can't even imagine paying someone to cut the trees down. Most people around here would do it for free if you let them take the wood. Put up a sign in a few gas stations or hardwar stores...? Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 9:20PM
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Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)

This is pine that was struck by lightening. The bark was split all the way down, so the tree died quickly. No one wants the wood of a pine tree that has been standing dead. I might have sold it as a log to a lumber mill if I did it within a few days, but they only send equipment out for fifteen or more logs. It can't be used for firewood because of the resin. So, sad to say, it will be cut and burned in my bonfire. Seems a horrible waste, doesn't it? The maple tree has been standing dead too long also. It's full of bugs and fungi. I was hoping to get something carveable. The chisel just goes through it like mush, though. I also have a dead willow that is full of mushy fungi. But it is not a danger if it falls so I won't do anything about that one. Seems like dead tree city here, but really that's not the case. I have over 80 other beauties including some wonderful oaks. I will try to photograph the "felling" for the journal. -- Marie

    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 10:08PM
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Made another batch of soap this morning, oatmeal, and it is in the molds cooling right now. Thought I might make some candles today, get them done for christmas. And have to finish my slip cover for the love seat.

We are still waiting for the weather to cool enough to butcher, although at the look of the sky today, the weather may change soon. Makes for a blah day, though, and hard to get motivated to get the stuff done I need to today.

Part of the problem is listening to the news about the sniper striking again last night. I cannot imagine what it would be like living with that fear that those in Virginia and the DC area are right now. Not to say it can't happen hear, but my prayers are with all of you now.

Marie, on a lighter note, it sounds you will have enough wood for a couple of bonfires. I'm with you, let nature take its course with the willow. Until it becomes a problem let it stand where it is. I'll be there for Thanksgiving, if only in spirit. LOL


    Bookmark   October 20, 2002 at 10:49AM
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Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)

Well, we finally got the tall pine down. It had been raining too much for the men to work. We had 6.6 inches in the 24 hr. period ending Mon. morn. I had so much tension all day from this tree cutting I am going to go lie down and rest. I have a more detailed account on The Garden Party if the details are important. I tried to rest awhile ago, but the phone and doorbell kept ringing. Don't people know to leave me alone?

Oh, yeah, Happy All Hallows Eve, everyone. Hope you are safe from the goblins. -- Marie

    Bookmark   October 31, 2002 at 2:18PM
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