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Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Busy Saturday

The weekend weather is mild, sunny and perfect for calving. We had another calf born today. A heifer. With the full moon tomorrow, we are hoping for a few more. I was busy today making soap. A friend gave me some pork lard and I rendered that, while I made a batch with beef tallow. I decided to add Birch Tar Essential Oil to this batch along with some Citral Essential Oil to tame down the smokey smell of the Birch. Here are pics. Tomorrow I hope to get another batch made with the beef tallow and the pork lard combination.

Finished batch in small mold with dividers.

Oils are about half melted.

Lye solution cooling in the sink.

Tallow, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil on the stove and ready for melting.

I also got the floor painted in the back half of the workshop room. What a lovely color. This pic makes the color look more plum than it is. It's actually a more purple color. A dusty purple. I plan on hanging a burlap on the walls in a very bright yellow. Won't this look fabulous?! Yes! Perhaps tomorrow I can get the other side of the floor painted. It will be nice to get my shop in working order again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Memory Lane

Here is a picture of me and my boys in 2000. Winchester (on the left of me) was born in 1990 and Remington (on the right of me)in 1991. Are not the boys just too cute? I miss those days of little boy hugs, smiling faces with missing teeth...I have so many special memories to remember for when I'm sitting in my rocking chair in my old age.
But alas they are all grown up as young men of 18 and 19 years old. Both are Eagle Scouts, seasoned ranch hands, avid hunters and all around nice guys.
I'm working on a web page for each of them and have Remington's loaded with his photography. Visit our ranch website and click on the "The Gun Brothers" link.
See ya later!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Sunny Day

Spirits are sunnier with the warm, sunny days we've had this week. It was still very chilly yesterday with that wind but today is calmer and ohhh so nice. Of course no calves were born far. Now what are they waiting for?
Here is a pic of Sylvester and Squirt. They decided to snuggle with me last Saturday when I was laying down for a quick nap. I had what I thought was a migraine. But now I believe it was sinus. My teeth hurt! They are as all cats, delightful and into everything! Sylvester has the most white on his face and is a chirper. Squirt just meows all the time and sounds like he's whinning.
I've got everything ready to make laundry soap tonight. All the oils are set out and lye is ready for mixing. I've got just a little left of my lavender blended up.
It was a productive day for me in the shop. I got all my Kombucha strained and put in the fridge ready to drink. I've got 8 gallons, so that should last a bit. I do have SCOBY's to share if anyone needs one. Here is a good Kombucha link that Jess shared on her FB. Jess is another Kombucha fan and is the Assistant Mgr at the Crow Wing Coop.
I'm heading out to do afternoon chores so we'll check in with ya later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Comfort Doll Project: OK, Here we GO!!!

Comfort Doll Project: OK, Here we GO!!!

Calving Time on Cedarbrook Steading

Our days and nights are filled with chores and caring for the animals. We have 5 calves born so far...and about 38 to go. The weather has turned cold and blustery, so three calves and their moms are still in the barn. We hope the weather turns and we can put them out to the cow yard to get the precious sunshine they need for health and vitality.
We have our routine pretty well established and all is running smoothly. Winchester, my oldest deals with the night shift well. He checks on cows at 11:30 pm.-1:30-3:30 am and then Jeff checks around 5:30 am before getting ready for work. Remington and myself take the morning shifts after Jeff goes to work and we check cows at 7:30-9:30-11:30 am. Me and Rem do the morning chores as well as Winchester sleeps in till about noon.
We have a few hours before afternoon chores to get a few other things done around the house. By the end of the 6 weeks of calving season we are pretty tired of the day in and day out routine!
We don't venture far from home for more than an hour. In this weather, we can loose a calf very easily if the mom chooses to have it in a snow bank. So, I've been asked why do we choose to calve out this time of year with the cold and snow? Because we live on Cedarbrook. Chances are high that we can experience flooding. This usually happens right after the first of April. We want to be done with calving, in case we have to move the herd to higher ground, down on the County Line pasture. We do not have the facilities there to be calving. No buildings, no corrals, just a pasture.
Pictured is our second calf, laying along the shed wall. He looks pretty content in the sun and taking a snooze.
I'm going to look for some pics of the last spring when we last flooded. I don't even remember how many springs ago it was. It's hard to imagine that it looks like we live on an island. That's the only way, I can describe it. Living on Cedarbrook is full of wonders, but when it chooses to accept the water from the Mississippi and it spills onto our land, we have learned to endure what nature hands us.