Sunday, November 28, 2010

Purple Soup!

We've been enjoying some delicious soups this fall.  Homemade chicken and turkey soup, potato soup, beef stew.  All so tasty!  But they're a little unusual looking...

Potato Soup
Horrid photo, with the flash, but the creamy soup looks a little strange, do you think?

Chicken Soup
 Another bizarre broth...

Turkey Soup?
What in the world could be making all our soups purple?!?  The kids love it, they taste great, and in fact there isn't any wild ingredient, like beet root powder or anything.  Can you see, in the above photos, where the purple is coming from?

I'll give you a hint:

We grew it in our garden.  We harvested a huge tupperware bowl full of them after frost.  We're about through that bowl (better plant lots more next year!)

Any ideas??

Ok; here you go:

Poker chips?
Yes, our favorite Purple Haze carrots!  We grew them in half of our deep square foot garden.  They tasted much better than the orange ones that filled the other half, though both were tasty.  The kids will certainly be disappointed (me too, to say the truth) to go back to those boring old "orange" grocery store carrots.  The first year I planted them, I remember cooking them and I thought the purple cooked out like purple beans do.  Apparently, the purple leaves the carrot, but stays in the soup.  Put enough in, and you have a decidedly purple soup!  Broth, chicken, even the rice [or whatever] takes on the hue!  Lovely!

*sigh*  I do wonder how I survived the first 25 or so years of life before I ever even knew there were carrots other than orange.  My children truly live a different life than I did!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Need This

I don't know how many (unfinished, of course) posts I have begun that all say, "Something has got to give here!  I can't do it all!"  Of course, then I get a wild idea to build more fences, or start more projects.  *sigh*

This book, Large Family Logistics (yes, written by the blogger), looks like something that might be of benefit to myself.  And in fact, there is a giveaway for it!

I hope I win, but if not, I hope YOU win, and loan it to me! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Steps

Four years ago, when I started this blog (are you kidding?  I had to look that up.  Amazing.), I had just taken delivery of my first batch of chickens, which I ordered and brooded in cold weather and wind, in a hoophouse I'd made with my own hands.  I made a trip with Gi-gi to transport rare-breed pigs across state lines in the trunk of MaryJane, my beautiful Toyota Camry.  I bought Joel Salatin's how-to books, and I had plans.  Oh, I had plans.  And half the children I have now. :)

My pigs never managed to clear the small trees out of our field, partly because they hadn't read the books I did about how they were supposed to be managed, and partly because I'd become pregnant with Organique within a month of their acquisition, and oh, that changes plans.  They became very expensive pork chops.

My flock of 30 or so hens began laying in spring, and in summer, when I was 7 months pregnant, a pair of dogs killed all but 2 of them.

We managed to get our first broilers in the freezer that year, but barely, after about half of them died along the way.

My plans obviously shrunk - from feeding the neighborhood down to supplementing our table and managing the household.

Since then we've had a tenant in our 'pasture,' who doesn't have the time to manage really well, but at least doesn't use chemicals.  She has her sheep in there this fall, eating down waist-high grass and weeds after a summer of growth and partial irrigation.

It's been on my heart for some time to try to do more with the land.  The sheep are great to eat things down for now, but I know about rotational grazing, and how it can help remedy the weed problem we have, without chemicals.  I know about the nutritional profile of grass-fed beef, and I know there is potential here that could feed us [and maybe even part of the neighborhood].

Don't get me wrong; we're not out buying cows, by any means, but we're taking baby steps in that direction.  The first order of business is to get the fences in far better shape.  I took a chunk of my carefully-hoarded laundry-room-remodel savings and bought a couple rolls of fence, and some expensive wooden posts, for corners and support every 100 feet or so.  We started working on the south end of the property, along the road, where Hubby has put in H-frames at the corners and across the ditch (more to go at the other end) and I unwired the rotten fence posts from the metal t-posts that were shoring them up, and laid down the 3 strands of barbed wire, excavating where necessary, digging through brush and dead, overturned trees (small by tree standards, big and poky to my standards).

It looks so simple in a drawing...
Still to go on that section is more H-frames to cross the ditch at the eastern corner, removal of the t-posts (might have to get the tractor involved there) and old fence, then stretching and attaching new fence.  Hubby left a space for a "man gate" (I hope women are allowed too...) right near that "X" in the eastern corner.  The "X" represents the headgate, the source of our water.  It might be handy to be able to get to that from the field.

So - it's not much, but it's a baby step in the right direction.  And I'm praying we can get more done before the ground freezes, because once it thaws in the spring, Hubby is working too long and too often to get much done around this here homestead. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Amazon Again

UPDATE:  Amazon has pulled the title.  I have issued a 'thank you' email, and my hopes they will use better discretion in the future, in their decisions on where/how to profit. :)

Some time ago I had a purchasing problem with Amazon.  Within a year (!) it was resolved, more or less, and I went back to buying from them.

Today, however, I am rethinking that.

Raising Homemakers on facebook posted a link (not for young readers) to an article discussing Amazon's defense of a pedophile's "How-To Manual."  I am all for free-speech, but I certainly don't have to support it with MY dollars, if I don't like it.  This bothers me greatly, considering my new favorite treasure, and all my gift cards, but this is pretty disgusting.  I am hoping they pull the title soon, and put the FBI on the author's tail.

Here is my email, to (Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos):

Mr. Bezos,

I am a longtime customer of  I have bought food, books, household products, electronics, and more.  I recently purchased a kindle, and have wishlists many pages long, full of your products.  I have a handful of gift cards I was just getting ready to redeem, and an order pending in my mind, if not yet on your system. :)

However, I am dismayed to learn of your company's defense of the title "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure."  As I understand it, this is a how-to guide for committing (and getting away with) serious illegal acts, the exploitation and injury of children.

I understand the free-speech debate.  As a borderline libertarian, I defend much of what I disagree with.  However, I don't think this falls under that heading. should not profit from encouraging such acts.  Would you sell a how-to manual on kidnap and rape?  On blowing up airplanes, and getting past security?  On murder?  I sincerely hope you would not; those titles may exist, but I would hope you would be above such business.  

Please consider removing the title from your 'shelves.'  It would not hurt you to do so, and it would go a long way in securing future business from myself and other concerned buyers.


Per Raising Homemakers, you can also write to Amazon.Com P.O. Box 81226 Seattle, Wa. 98108-1226 
Or call 1-866-321-8851 reference ASIN#B0049U4CF6

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Farmageddon Documentary

I got this from Mercola.  It looks like a worthwhile documentary, when it releases.  It profiles some of the scary tactics used against small, traditional farmers in the name of "public health and safety."

You may remember the Manna Storehouse raid, where a SWAT team spent 8 hours of on-the-clock time holding a homeschooling Mama and her eight (yes, even the baby who needed a diaper change) children at gunpoint (just an aside here..  What kind of person carries out that order?  Land of the free, anyone?  Good grief.).  They're profiled, among others.

The trailer shows a few woman farmers lamenting that organics doesn't have as much as an advocacy within the government.  Seriously?  Does she know what she's saying?  "We just need more lobbyists."  On the contrary, I believe regulations should be seriously lifted from the small, local producer, or perhaps from farms that sell direct to consumer.  Isn't that risky?  Of course.  So is drinking aspartame, and the government gives that its seal of approval.  Personally, I trust my own eyes and ears more than layers of government paperwork when it comes to deciding what to eat.

So no, don't wish for more lobbyists - haven't you figured out that giving the government authority over any aspect of your business/product backfires?  Organics decided to get "government approval" for that very word "organic," and now there are all sorts of loopholes and the Big Guys (can't blame them, this is the game they play with Big Brother) can use the same label, with far different conditions behind it than the movement first intended.  DON'T turn over your product, or labeling to the government if you have any choice in the matter.  And DO work to get the bureaucracy off the backs of the people you'd like to buy from.  YOU be their advocate; We The People did a little of that in the recent election.  Keep it up, and free up your food!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Five-Week Diet Update

For Little Artist..

We saw the ND today.  He agrees with me that she's doing well on her diet.  Her belly is soft and squishy to the touch, her bowel movements are painless, frequent, and normal (can I just offer a Hallelujah here?!?), and while she is some stubborn and cranky at times, her overall attitude is amazingly improved, she is more cheerful and loving, happier.  Her behavior is therefore also better, and I begin to wonder if Organique is really begging me to change her diet drastically too.  :]

Doc advises 2 more months of the same (the half-life of IgG antibodies is 45 days), and in addition to the L-Glutamine and digestive enzyme, to give her a dose of fish oil once daily.  He says this will keep elimination on track too.

I do have teff in the house, but I haven't used it yet.  Maybe soon. :)  I've been lurking on GF blogs and printing out lots of recipes.  Mostly for things like pie and brownies.  :)  I've ordered or bought locally sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, GF hot breakfast cereal, quinoa (Hubby hates it though!) and coconut milk.

Little Artist misses some of the dairy items, but the 'feeling better' seems to compensate.  In fact, I think she feels pretty special to have "her" biscuits, soup, or cookies.  Poor middle child that she is. ;)

[much of what we eat as a family is diet-friendly, but sometimes expense, efficiency, and preference cause the rest of us to eat somewhat differently.]

I still hate it; hate being 'different' in yet another way (sunday school snacks, are you kidding me?), hate having to change my cooking so much, hate using more expensive ingredients, hate *never* eating out, even just a hamburger, hate the added thought/work that goes into eating anywhere outside the house (we are having a Thanksgiving potluck on Sunday, celebrating a full year as a fellowship "under new management," and cooking begins Friday).  But it is not all sacrifice, and the rewards are a tremendous blessing.  I love seeing my girl thriving, love, love, love it!  And I am so grateful to God for this answer, that it wasn't (isn't) some major health issue that would require surgery or medication or other harsh treatment.  He is good!