Live Through Us at The Burrow


October 2011

The dark side

We were invited to a party yesterday!  Arlis did NOT want to be sociable.

Mya just wanted to play

And at the last minute I made my costume.  I went as Morgause (pronounced Morgose) from Merlin/King Arthur.  Here is a good pic from the show

And here I am

Poncho for a cape, letters and envelopes for “chain mail”, and knee high moccasins (not worn at the time of the pic).  My chain mail was real good too!

“Obama is the anti-christ! Pass it on!”
“Make 59 copies of this in the next 3 seconds, or your family will be wiped from earth’s existance!”
“Dan Radcliff loves goats with his horses!”
“Lyndsay Lohan beats puppies!”
“The government is really made of Martians growing us for food with our own tax money!!  Pass it on!!”

Granted, they weren’t in all caps with different colored fonts, but you get the idea.

Marcus wore his outfit…yet again.

See, with the cape over his head, he’s the Emperor, with it off, he’s Darth Vader again…

The cool thing about the party, I did meet up with a fb friend of mine, Nichole, who had helped me with foot rot before. 

So, while the kids played outside

…she helped me learn about my wool. 

We carded some.
, and she showed me how to spin on her nifty wheel.

After much trial and tribulation, a gorgeous skein was had (I really like the color mix) (sorry it’s sideways)

 She gave me some of her beloved wool already carded and dyed with plants and such.

 I’ve already knitted all the spun wool together, and played with some of the carded.  I enjoy knitting from carded without spinning.  I really like the lanolin that gets left on the wool too.  It feels really good!  In order to knit without carding, you have to be pretty comfortable knitting to begin with.  Then, pull of a strip, and pull the strip as needed to even out the “rove”.  I haven’t quite figured out the optimal way to join new roving when the strips run out yet.

 Pull that top bit out as a strip, twisting it a bit if it makes you more comfortable.

Some of what she gave me was “pencil” roving.  It kept breaking on me, so I let Marcus play with it.  I believe I can card it later into full roving if needed.

He’s made “warming socks” and “warming woolen pillows” that he puts in the oddest places.

 (See it down his shirt)

I’ll post the “scarf” I am knitting with what wool I am currently blogging about later.  Currently, I am getting familiar with different fiber thicknesses, compositions, etc.  And the scarf will be awfully wonderful as far as I am concerned ;).  No matter how many different colors, thicknesses of yarns, or big tufts of fluff stick out.  I also plan to make a peg loom ASAP and make a tuffet or something similar.  AND…I found a cheaper drum carder by a brand called Brother, but I will probably buy hand carders first.  Oh what fun!!

Homemade soap IS cheaper

FYI-Here is what I did to make sure

My recipe:
1c Borax
1cWashing Soda (just recently available in my Wall-Mart)
1 bar soap grated
Use 1 Tbsp per load

Sometimes I use more-hey, we farm.  But I would use more of the store bought stuff in those cases too.  Now, a little background.  When I go to the store, I use the calculator on my phone and actually divide price by uses, and NEVER pay attention to the little store labels that tell how much per ounce, etc.  I do this for coke, TP, food, EVERYTHING.  You’d be surprised what the better deal is.  So, I’m using the cheapest laundry detergent at the store that I’m willing to use (some brands will fade or eat your clothes.  I don’t use those)

I have a digital scale, a chemistry background, and a soap making background.  I make my own soap, and tally up how much that cost me per bar.  I weigh how much a cup of this or that weighs and divide it into the total package weight, and that into the price.  Add it all up and divide by the total number of uses I get (using weight) and here is what I found:

Store bought: 19 cents a load
Homemade:  7 cents a load.

Three loads a week will save $18.72 per year.  Not a huge amount, but at least this way, you know it’s cheaper without having to guess.

My complaints for the day-there’s just no comparison

I had an interesting day today.  A relative gave us just enough Dollywood tickets, so we took Marcus today.  Arlis and I complain about Dollywood, for several reasons.  One is that it costs just as much as Disney World and is far less in quality.  But I decided not to blog about that.

Then I thought I would blog about my short journey to get food at DW only to see there are no healthy weighted people anymore, children acting like rabid monkeys are no longer an embarrassment to their parents, and parents with $2000 cameras will force their child to pose most uncomfortably in the hopes of capturing that “perfect” shot.  Not to mention that my food wound up being molded and I had a hard time returning it.  But I won’t blog about that.

Nor will I blog about our adventure on the Blazing Fury where I acted the fool screaming, “It’s Thomas!  He’s gone maaaaad!!” and then Marcus jumped on the tracks to cross them when we got off and made me more mortified as everyone, including us, was terrified he got electrocuted.  Not a scratch.

I also won’t blog about our last visit to my in-laws where I learned my sister-in-law is attending a “coupon class”.  Not only did it startle me that it exists, but I was showered with coupons and information I don’t think I will ever understand about spending and saving and combining and sales.  I looked like the husband sitting there with a bewildered look upon my face while the wife tried to explain something simple to her, impossible to me.

I think I was actually going to blog about us being food snobs.  We would never be rude or complain to the cook/servers…but…I still feel awful knowing for a fact I am a snob about something.  We want a nice night out, to go out to eat or something.  Well…we just don’t want to.  We grow our own beef, chicken, and lamb and trust me, the thought of eating grocery store meat is nauseating.  Dine out isn’t much better.  I always try to get the fish or salad or something new or hard to make or something like that.  My husband actually says (he’s a steak man btw), “No, not there.  All they have is steak.”  Dine out steak just doesn’t make the cut any more.  Produce is pretty good though.  We wound up eating at BK and then getting shakes at Arby’s.  We spent $20.  It’s been so long since we’ve eaten fast food, we now know to just go to a restaurant or buy a pizza.  It’s probably less toxic and costs the same.  Fyi, I would much rather mix Nestle into Booger’s milk than drink another shake any day.  There is just no comparison.

Turkeys ahoy!

I never wanted turkeys.  And I’ll be honest, they’re about the ugliest things I’ve ever seen.  But Arlis’s brother wanted our old tractor tires, and Eldon traded us his turkeys and guineas.  He had to get rid of them, they were getting too close to the street, and going into neighbors’ yards.  So off we go, 60 miles west, to get a truck load of poultry.

We decide to take a load to the dump since we’re having to drive the behemoth anyway.  It’s closed.  Soooo….we add another hour to rid our truck of horribly smelly garbage.  It’s time to go shopping, and we thought maybe prices/selection would be better in Algood, so we decide to do some grocery shopping while we’re at it (when going to town, do it ALL).  Nope, high prices….sigh.  Bought them anyway.

Get to Eldon’s and drop off the tires.  At this point I realize we only brought one pair, and we try to make a plan to bring the other set later.  Now, he free ranged his birds, but was getting worried as they were going towards the street and bothering his neighbor.  He, less than gracefully, put five Royal Palm turkeys, and one dark breed of turkey in a good size cage for us.  We set it aside and go for the guineas.  They don’t like being caught….at all….it was so difficult it wasn’t even funny.  That being said, we got them, loaded them up, and mannerly got out of there as half the day is now gone (we left the house before 9) and it’s a LOT hotter than you would have thought.  Poor things were not happy.

Since we were in town anyway, we had to visit as many relatives as possible.  We also had 10 panting birds in the truck bed.  So we quickly visited and got home late afternoon.  (At this point we’re all running on reserves as breakfast has long left us).

When introducing new livestock of any kind, there are certain rules to follow.  We keep our poultry cooped up for a few days, then in the run, then free range.  That way a pecking order can be established, and they know where home is.  We let everyone out into the coop while the chickens were out ranging.  We then took some pics

A few days of being cooped up (and a good wing feather trimming) led to a few days of being allowed in the run.  Below is a vid of our new birds being allowed in the run for the first time.
A few days of that led to free ranging.  We were fearful, but other than one small mishap (one of them tried to roost on our front porch railing), they took themselves back home without help.  The extension office told me to use guineas for my potato beetle problem.  I’ll let you know how that pans out.
Btw, all that old moldy hay has been wonderful.  Not only does it supply our birds with bugs, and cats with mice, but the shrooms that grow on the stacks are eaten within SECONDS of the chickens being back there.  They LOVE the wild mushrooms.

Change of Season

It’s another change of season, and time to recap from the past.  It always helps when you see the fruits of your labors. 

We harvested:

a bunch of salads.

over 44 pounds of tomatoes

11 zucchini
some raspberries
over 7 pounds of carrots

a few pounds of beets

about 120 pounds of potatoes

25 pounds of cabbage

15 pounds of onions

36 pints of green beans
5 pounds leeks
25 ears of corn

8 pounds of sweet potatoes (has anyone ever noticed how absolutely nasty sweet potatoes look?)

And, I honestly didn’t count the melons, cantaloupes, etc.

The garden gets taken down

Mown and fertilized (the coop and barn get a good clean out)  Fertilizing with fresh manure now will allow weather to work it into the soil.  The chickens will route in it, spreading it out, and the rain will wash it in.  We do not plow now as we need the grass for erosion prevention.  Weeds are also vital to a healthy garden, as they bring up minerals and nutrients that are only found deep in the soil.  Regular gardening plants can’t do this.  Leaving a garden to run amuck when it is through can be helpful to the health of your soil.

The first frost comes, and the first fire is lit.

Thank you my God for all You have bestowed upon us this year.  Thank you that we are able to work for it ourselves.  Thank you for this time of rest and joy.

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