A conversation with Mabel & homesteading chores

Saturday, December 12

It’s been a week since I took the time to sit down in front of the computer to write. Instead, I spent the evenings knitting and occasionally watching a movie with CountryBoy. I didn’t even get the Christmas cards ready for the mail as I had originally planned a week ago. I just seem to have lost my motivation. It happens. It’s during these times that I actually relax and regroup. Although, it’s also during these times that I come up with more things to do. With twenty acres and an old farmhouse I guess there will always be something to do!

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The other evening as I was locking up the chickens for the night Miss Mabel heard me and began snorting and carrying on until I came to see her. Normally at this time of night she has already buried her head in a pile of hay and she’s happily dreaming the night away. Not this night, though. When I went into her pen she was sitting up facing the door and snorting and grunting like no pig’s business. There was only one thing for me to do and that was to ask her what was bothering her. After several minutes of talking back and forth I eventually came to understand that she was telling me her water bowl was empty and demanding that it be filled. Immediately! Well… the said water bowl is a low, metal bowl that rests on top of a metal heater and is set up in her pen for those nights when the temps dip below freezing. As of late we have not had freezing temps in the night so the heater is off and the water bowl is empty. Try explaining that to a spoiled pig who quickly got used to having food and now water (after only a night or two of freezing temps) a few steps from her bed! She didn’t want to hear it because, by jingles, she was thirsty. I went into the paddock where the large water bowl is and it was plumb full of fresh water. I stood by the water bowl and told Mabel (who was now looking at me through her doorway) that she had to actually leave her pen if she wanted a drink. She eventually came out and started waddling towards me muttering all the way something about ‘can’t a pig be pampered every now and then and not have to walk so far to get a drink?’. She got her drink then proceeded to waddle back into her pen to settle in for the night. I wished her a good night and went back to the house. Goodness,what a pig!

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As I mentioned before I’ve been spending the evenings doing some knitting. Here’s one of the things I was working on…

…fingerless mitts. This was my first attempt at knitting anything other than the Dish Scrubby’s or washcloths and I’m kinda proud of how it turned out. There were several steps in the instructions that I needed to look up and learn so the fact that it actually came out the way it was supposed to is surprising! I started it with some scrap yarn and don’t have enough to do the left mitt but that’s OK. I’ll find some more of that yarn eventually but for now the right mitt is great to have so that I can still take pictures on a cold day and not have my entire hand freeze off. just my fingertips!

I also decided to rip out the bulky blanket I had started. The pattern I was trying to create was not very visible with the bulky yarn and ended up just looking like a lumpy, bumpy mess. I decided to use the same color scheme but with a simple stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row). It’s looking MUCH better!

I also decided to cast on fewer stitches which will make more of a baby coverlet. I don’t think it will be big enough to be classified as a blanket but it will be a nice size to simply cover a baby in a carseat. It’s super soft and should be quite warm. I may make a larger blanket at a later date now that I have a decent pattern figured out. Maybe I should make matching Mom & Tot blankets, hmmm…

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It’s raining off and on today. Before it started raining, though, I filled the bird feeders then we went up to the cabin to finish prepping it for today’s guests. I had also started a load of laundry and put my new stick vacuum cleaner on to charge all before we had our first cuppa coffee. (I decided to bite the bullet and get a stick vac to keep upstairs. I really didn’t want two vacuum cleaners but lately, each time I try to come down our narrow stairway with our heavy, bulky vacuum cleaner I would get nervous about falling. The things we worry about as we age!) When we finally sat down in the greenhouse to enjoy our first cuppa coffee it started to sprinkle. Good timing!

Today has also been about kitchen homesteading stuff. I LOVE these kind of days where we spend time working on things to fill the pantry up for later use!!! (We like to do these sorta things on rainy days.) We started off with a brunch of a BLTE (bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried egg) and apple slices and then strained the latest batch of wine. CountryBoy wanted to do blackberry this time. Our previous batch of blackberry scuppernong wine turned out excellent so he wanted to try just blackberry this time. It is now in a gallon jug with an airlock and will remain there for six weeks. Our job now is to find some more bottles with swing-top lids to store it after the fermentation process is complete.

After that mess was cleaned up we started in on canning some blackeye/purple hull peas. The first batch of eight pint jars is processing now and we have probably about five more pints worth of peas to go. Somewhere in between all that I put the turkey carcass and remnants in the crock pot and turned it on low. It will simmer overnight then we’ll process the turkey broth and put the jars in the pantry to be used in a yummy soup or stew on those cold, winter evenings.

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Yesterday was a busy day as well. After coffee and a quick bowl of cereal we went to cut and split some wood.

Even LizzieBelle got out of the house, got some exercise and blew some stink off her…

CountryBoy had taken me to work Thursday then he spent the day cutting and splitting and came home with a truck load. He left two smaller trunks on the ground so we went to finish what he had started. It was about a half truck load. We still need about four more truck loads to get us through the winter.

Once we unloaded the truck and stacked the wood in the wood shed we got cleaned up and headed to town. Our goal was to do the Christmas shopping then head to Rural King (which is in another town) to stock up on feed. We managed to get everything done and still got home just as the day was giving way to the night. While CountryBoy unloaded the feed I was busy wrapping his presents so that he couldn’t snoop. He ended up wrapping mine today while I was busy with the laundry and getting the turkey broth going.

Speaking of turkey… we are still eating turkey sandwiches and we’ll have another turkey dinner tonight. That should just about finish it off. And no, we haven’t gotten tired of eating turkey yet!

We believe our pet turkey, Speckles, laid her first egg the other day. It’s HUGE!!!

The egg we think is hers is on the left, the one in the middle is a really large chicken egg and the itty, bitty one is probably one of our youngest chickens’ first egg. A normal size egg would be in-between the middle egg and the small one on the right. We have no idea how often turkeys lay eggs. I’ve read that female turkeys in the wild will lay a clutch of eggs and then sit on them until they hatch. I’m not sure what domestic turkeys will do. I guess we’ll find out!

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The first batch of peas are waiting to come out of the canner and I can already hear the delightful ‘ping’ of the jars sealing before they’re even ready to come out of the canner. Yay! One more batch to go.

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I mentioned earlier about LizzieBelle blowing some stink off her. My Mom used to say that to me whenever she thought I needed to go outside and play. I used to reply by informing her that I did not stink. She wouldn’t hear of it so I would put away the book I was reading or the coloring books and outside I went. Today she is celebrating her earthly birthday with her Lord and Savior along with family and friends who have already left this Earth. Happy Birthday Mom! May your celebration be heavenly!!!

2 Comments

  1. ❤️ This

    On Sat, Dec 12, 2020 at 6:21 PM Dream Valley Farmstead wrote:

    > dreamvalleyfarmstead posted: ” Saturday, December 12 It’s been a week > since I took the time to sit down in front of the computer to write. > Instead, I spent the evenings knitting and occasionally watching a movie > with CountryBoy. I didn’t even get the Christmas cards ready for the” >

    Liked by 2 people

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