Monday, November 28, 2016


Butchering young Turkeys

Hello All,

Again it has been way to long since my last post. We had an insanely busy spring that just seemed to keep on rolling with very little time to settle in at the computer and type much of anything. Even e-mails and facebook posts have been short, sweet, few and far between. We also missed out on most of the fun local events that we usually attend. It would be pretty much impossible to talk about everything that happened over the past several months but I'll try to hit on some of the highlights. 
The least complicated birth of the Season.Iris and her triplets Luke, Bo and Daisy
Turkey Hen with 11 babies under her.

Our kidding season was the most difficult one we have ever  had with soooo many challenges and so much loss. We got a huge batch (over 100) of heavy breed cockerels in place of our usual meat birds and that was also a huge flop. They were unhealthy from the start, we had huge losses and the birds were so small at butcher that it was not worth the food that they ate. A hard lesson to learn. Thank goodness God was looking out for us and we ended up with an abundance of baby turkeys. Many of which we sold as poults. Others were butchered young and replaced the fryers that we lost. Still others were raised and butchered just before Thanksgiving. We may not have much chicken in the freezer but we have plenty of Turkey. 2 of our 3 pigs did really well. The third did ok it just didn't grow as big as the other 2. They were also butchered about a week before Thanksgiving and were processed out over a few days. We try to make use of everything we can. I even made head cheese for the first time this year. 

Pork Steak
Making Sausage with our new Meat Grinder that we got as an early Christmas gift from Donna. 
Head Cheese!
Raw Hide Chews for the dogs.

The high tunnel performed well again this year and we had a wonderful abundant harvest. The only thing that didn't do well was the corn and I'm still not sure what happened there. We had basically a small crop circle in the middle of the corn and of coarse what fell did not produce. The potato garden also did well and produced a LOT of potatoes for us again this year. The bees were a flop again this year. When hiving we lost a queen. Then we had a spring swarm which I caught and re-hived. We ended up with 5 hives and only got about 4 gallons of honey. Very disappointing. 

We had some great helpers here this spring and summer. My cousin Cole came and stayed with us for a couple of months in the spring and was a huge help getting everything set up for the growing season. To add blessing to blessings Cole accepted Christ while attending Rock Crossing Bible Camp here in Alaska.  Then we hosted our first wwoofer Stephanie. What an amazing experience! We could not have asked for a better first wwoofer. She is an amazing, smart and wonderful person, a true joy to be around. We worked hard and had fun. She will always be a part of our family from here on out and we hope that she will be able to come back and work with us again or just come for a visit. 

Stephanie Milking Lilly

Me, Stephanie, Wyatt and Oak checking hives

Relaxing in front of the fodder house enjoying hot dogs and s'mores 


Our biggest structural change this summer was the addition of a well!! We now have our own water and don't have to haul it from Manley any more. There is still no plumbing from the well so once a week or so we hook up a hose and filter and pump water into all our storage tanks. We also got a tankless propane water heater so we can now take a nice long hot shower! Yippee! All our plumbing is located in the fodder house/bath house. The cabin is still dry with a small tank that hooks to the sink for washing dishes and the tanks on the back of the wood stove for hot water. 

We were on TV this fall. This summer the cast and crew of the Animal Planet show Dr. Dee Alaska Vet came out and did a clinic at our house. So...our family was on the season 2 episode 7 called Farm Frenzy. I do NOT envy people who are on these kinds of shows. It's extremely hard to get anything done while they are filming. Having to repeat yourself all the time and having people in and out and all over your place. Don't get me wrong they were all really nice people just not very considerate of farm life. Leaving doors and gates open, going were asked not to go etc...

So here we are ending out November. We had a wonderful laid back family Thanksgiving with great food.  The school craft bazaar is done. The butchering is all finally done, school is in full swing and we are impatiently waiting for more snow so we can start running the sled dogs. The Crafter's guild Christmas store is coming up on December 3rd so we're getting some more stuff made to replace what we sold at the school Bazaar. Lisa is learning how to quilt from Donna and did well selling her quilted trivets. The boys are learning woodworking with daddy and have been making peg games, they also sold well.  

Lisa's Lap Quilt

Boys bear face peg game, They also have triangle ones and bear and moose profiles.

Now we're getting ready for Christmas and today I recorder the coldest temps so far for the season -33* f. Oh...did I mention that we now have an NOAA Co-Op Observer weather station on site? I record and report each days 24 hour totals (high, low, temp at observation, precipitation amounts, snow depth, 24 hour snow fall etc..). Today's 
Observation timeNovember 28, 2016 at 08:00AM
Observation typedaily (24 hr values/totals)
Max temperature0 degrees F
Min temperature-33 degrees F
At observation-32 degrees F
Precipitation0.02 inch
Multi-day AccumulationNo
Snowfall0.1 inch
Snow depth3 inch
Observation period weather


What I'm hoping to do from here out is to try to update once every week or two. I need to try to set aside a time. They will be shorter posts but more often. As I pull out my garden records I still plan to share with you all the varieties that did well for us this year. We lost over 80 plant starts this spring to the goats when they got into our front entry while we were gone visiting a neighbor so that put a crimp in some of my garden plans and record keeping. I'm also hoping to make a small e-book with some easy from scratch recipes, stories and advice to people considering going off grid. Not sure how long that will take but it's a goal. We're hoping to find a way to raise some funds to purchase fencing supplies. We're hoping to be able to fence off the old runway and turn it into a field for grazing and ultimately get .......drum role please......A MILK COW! Fencing supplies tend to be pretty pricey up here so it's a long term goal, but hoping for sooner rather than later. 

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV