Monday, February 17, 2020

Skunky Sunday Visit

So this happened. Sunday morning around 4am our dogs were barking close to the house, right by the back door. And things were getting thrown about. So we got up and went around the house to the back door armed and groggy. It was a large skunk trying to get to the dog food which is in sealed 5 gallon buckets. But there were some un-eaten dog chow bits here and there.

This was where the skunk hid. Our firewood holder was decimated by our 200lb German shepherd. So we cleared the mess and lifted the pallet to get the skunk out. I got sprayed and it was not afraid. We think it was rabid. Eventually with lots of noise we chased it away from the house. It came back about an hour later but Zilla finished it off. So we stayed home and tried to get the skunk off us and the house. It will take time.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Lysine Me Coming

This past year my husbands health came into a crisis. All these tests and no answers from the doctors. He lost weight and energy and started to look like a war camp survivor. At wits end I dove into my herb books and remembered lysine for felines. I have used this powder to save kittens on the brink. I read that people take this for similar issues like failure to thrive. He tried this and in less than a few days came around the corner. He got his appetite back and gained weight- the same results for kittens. We think it could have been a gall bladder issue but again the test were normal. Whatever happened to his health, this made him normal again. He is back to his normal weight again.  For his safety I always try a vitamin or herb before I give it to anyone. I research conflicts with meds before recommending anything. This is one of the good ones that works. It kicks the body into gear again. 

Love Living in Ozarks

When we moved to Summersville, MO this is one of the reasons we chose this place. Small home town of less than 500 people. They live and work here and love living here in the woods and large farm lands and crystal clear rivers. Farmers, loggers, teachers and more working together. There is a cafe that opened 6 years ago owned by a local farm family. They made meals and sold produce from their farm at the cafe. Then one night the poorly set up gas line leaked and the place exploded. No one was killed as it happened after hours. But the building was gone. But last year they rented and restored another building and are back in the swing of providing homemade meals. And when we are in town (15 min away) we pick up a to go meal and they put a message on the box. How cool is that? It is winter now so no fresh produce, yet. But I will be posting the wonderful veggies they have for sale this summer. We love the Wuertly Farms Cafe!

Back at home again and our cats are passed out by the wood stove This is Puff and Ump both rescued cats. Our stove has been so worth it. I thought it would be a lot of work cutting and splitting wood (city girl) for heat, but it is not. The wood comes from our land and we get a workout splitting and hauling winter wood for heat.

The ashes go into compost and the chicken yard. My hens love to roll in the ashes. And it cost only gas for our tractor/log splitter and chainsaw but it heats the whole house. And most of the people around here still use a wood stoves like us. When the power goes out we can count on this cast iron Jotul to keeps us toasty. But that is rare in these parts. Plus we have solar panels and do not worry about that. And I really do not like central AC nor central heat. It smells funny and never seems to get the house cool or hot enough. I grew up in New Orleans and had no air conditioning. I do not like the noise of AC. I love to open the windows and turn on the fans. I can hear the farm and the animals.  And when it gets too hot we head down to the rivers like the rest of the town. To play in the rivers and float until the sun sets. Looking forward to some river time this summer.

Et Tu Tattoo?

If I ever wanted to get a tattoo it might be one of these designs. These are the tools of my trade. Scissors, threads, buttons, measuring tape, pins and needles. I must have over 25 pairs of specialty scissors, 100 types of threads, button library and needles for just about any type of sewing machine I have worked on. But we want to visit Japan. And in Japan they are suspicious of tattoos you can see. And if you got to an onsen (public bath) you are in your birthday suit and many do not allow tattoos. 
So you have to cover them up. Plus tattoos change as the skin gets older. Colors fade and scissors become shrubbery clippers over time and depending on where the tat is located it could get weird.
I also study tattoos for forensics and lost person info ID's. Skin is a wonderful thing to ID a person with. What was unique and rare is now mainstream. Everyone now has grand tattoo work all over their bodies. This makes my job easier to find and locate and ID a body or a living person. We can even locate the artist who created a certain style of tattoo. It makes for very interesting field work.
So if I finally cave and decide to get inked, it would be one of these.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Birds and Biscuits

Indian Runner looking for dog food and a hand out.

When you clean the glass all the girls come out to inspect your work.

One of four roosters I raised that are filling in a need. All my roosters got eaten last year. My game hen hatched these guys- all boys. I gave 2 away and have 4 left. Two are worth keeping and the last tow need to be re-homed or eaten.

When it snows and is very cold it is time for biscuits. Made from scratch and very tasty. This is the Southern Living recipe. I never have buttermilk, so I add 2 tbl. lemon juice to the milk to make it curdle (about 15 min at room temp) I use salted real butter. After 10 min I broil the tops to brown them and brush on melted butter on the tops. Melt in your mouth tasty.

King Cake Season

Even though I live in the Ozarks I still miss king cakes from Louisiana. Even though I have an older brother living there, it is too expensive to ship these here. So I buckled down and searched my recipes. I found the best one to be from King Arthur Flour. I always have flour, milk and eggs on hand.

I added dry malt and dough enhancer to give it more lift and fullness. My yeast did the job but sometimes you need fluffy. It is a basic brioche recipe with filling. I only had green sugar on hand. So using sugar and food coloring I made gold and purple. Not a bad braid as it has been over 20 years since I worked in a bakery. Thanks to Mary Lee donuts and Albertson's bakery I learned a ton of baking skills while going to college.

Icing while hot.

Final product. It was fluffy, soft and very tasty. King Cake made from scratch in the Ozarks because that is how we roll on the farm.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Snow and Best light bulbs ever

Fixing a Kenmore and keeping warm by the woodstove.

It is snowing again for us here in the Ozarks.

This is a game changer for dark rooms, basements and garages the LED garage bulbs. They have an extender and screw right into those hot old canister ceiling sockets we all have. And no tools just a ladder. You will have daylight in an instant. I got one and then got more for the shop, my studio and for friends. And you save money as LEDs use less electricity. You will not be disappointed. They are cool color and not warm color. And they are adjustable but I like them open like a flower. Very cool sleek design.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Winter Work

Horses are hay burners. They wasted a bale a week last winter. We have not replaced the crumbling marine board on the lean too- but makes a good net holder. They pulled out all the good forage from the round bales and soiled the rest. So this winter we decided to use hay nets. This means unwrapping a bale and stuffing nets every morning and night. I was able to make a bale last 4 weeks instead of 4 days. I get a workout everyday. Last summer no one was selling hay as second cuttings were not expected. Wet springs and wet summer means hay can't dry and is turned and sold into silage. We bought barn kept cow quality 6 foot bales at $50 each. We usually by about 45 bales but this year only got 25. The plan is working. We do not have a barn big enough for bale storage. So we bought black bale wraps. They are open on the ends and keep snow and rain off the tops/bottoms. Only have about 3% spoilage over 2 years of outside storage. This means on lean years we have back up hay when it can't be bought. Our herd had pasture rotation during the rest of the year.

It was 10 degrees a few weeks ago. I was warm but my fingers were not. Very painful to have frozen  wet hands. My hunt for the best farm waterproof gloves continues. I have neoprene one but they failed me this year. They are over 8 years old so I guess time to get new ones. The parka/coat I am wearing is a Lands End mens 3x parka. I bought it used on ebay 10 years ago. I am much smaller now but the coat is still great. Waterproof and very warm, I love Lands End coats. I replaced the  original plastic zipper last year with a sturdy metal one. Good for another 10 years. I can move around in the coat, carry tools and am cushioned if I fall. It has held kittens, chicks, eggs and a hummingbird in its pockets over the years. And the parka is machine washable. Everyone who works with the land in winter needs one of these coats. 

Our mud room is actually my studio. Boots, mud mats, coats and gloves and a warm older dog.

One of the neat things about living in the Ozarks plenty of wildlife. Over 25 head came out of the woods on this cold morning.

Reliquary Restoration

I received this reliquary and was asked to fix it if possible. It had been dropped and not repaired for 40 years.  It sat in storage in not the best conditions. After cleaning and polishing the brass.

taking apart the reliquary all original parts were cleaned, repaired and set back.

Restored reliquary for St. John Vianney.
Our wood stove feels so much nicer than any other kind of heat. So nice to have in the basement to keep my studio cozy and dry.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sewing Machine Army

This is an antique Singer hand crank I am retro fitting for leather work. It is quite good at sewing leather. 

This is a Kenmore I put a new belt on for a friend who sews jeans for her farm family. I have repaired this machine 2 other times in the 10 years I have lived here in the Ozarks. It is a good little machine. This is my studio and farm mud room/ foster kitten HQ. And yes, that is a real wood stove. It is how we heat our home in the cold months. We chop, split and burn from our own woods.

And then I had to get a made in China cobbler leather. It needs to be put together, is a greasy mess at the moment and needs to be filed and cleaned. It is rough and not ready. Tiny bobbins, roughly made and needs a lot of work. But thanks to youtube I have teachers for free in this realm.
But I have a quilt to work on so this will stay in a pile until I have time.
I use a lot of machine and I repair a lot of sewing machines. It is part of restoration and the tools you need to get the job done. 

New Year, New Crafting

We went to a leather shop and they had a Glowforge on display. It lasered rock, leather, paper, metal and wood. After a long talk we got one and are learning something new.

Using the glowforge pattern and my own logo design we made this the first night.

 We have moved on to slate and cedar scraps. We are learning inkscape and going from there. It is very fast and very easy to deal with. We did have to hook up venting from a window and all that, But it is so worth it. Looking forward to all kinds of new crafting and restorations.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Advent this

At our small Ozark church I put up the advent wreath bulletin board for the season of Advent. I used the marbled card stock and glitter from our local walmart. 
Advent is a Catholic event before Christmas to prepare for the birth of Christ and the second coming of Christ. So each Sunday in December before Christmas we light up a certain candle for peace, hope, joy and love. No other secular decorations are allowed until Dec 22nd. So no trees, no santa, no reindeer- nothing but the Advent wreath. It is a nice calming tradition in the chaos of the secular holiday. It is a good time to reflect, reconcile and renew with Christ in your life. We are so blessed in this country to have the freedom to worship and honor our Creator openly.  
Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a great new year.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Moving Forward

We have no answers on my husbands test. CBC, Hep, Stool panels are all normal. Frustrated with how slow the medical process goes, we took advice from a friend- apple cider vinegar to drink each morning- to straighten out his gut bacteria. It seems to have helped. His hunger is back but he is not healthy. Will wait and see how it goes. There is a colonoscopy coming soon. All has to wait until the new year and medical insurance.

On a good note my friend got married. She and her fiance have each lost a spouse. She cleaned his house one day and he was smitten. After a year of courtship they married. Two very kind people who fell in love. I am so blessed to see them together as husband and wife. And she will be moving closer to our farm. I will be very fortunate to have Alfreda and Gene nearby.

I have been busy sewing memorial pillows for a friend who faces her first Christmas without her husband. I sewed each of his shirts into 8 pillows for her adult children and grandchildren.