Here I go again, daydreaming of this year’s garden…imagining delicious tasting, perfectly plump, vine ripened tomatoes, crisp hot peppers, large, manageable mounds of fresh herbs strategically placed to ward off invasive insects, beautifully tapered crunchy-sweet carrots with strong tops that never break off when you tug them, oh and loads of summer squash growing on compact bush style plants that respect the boundaries of my weed-free garden paths! I’m dreaming of okra and tender green beans that never hide from me, sun ripened strawberries, those little tiny cucumbers you can make sweet pickles with, oh and sweet potatoes! Lettuce that stays sweet and buttery all summer long, onions and leeks and radishes and beets and swiss chard and pok choy and cow peas!!! A weed never grows in my garden and it’s always 85* and sunny with a slight breeze. There are no squash bugs, no aphids no fungus or blight. Everything is organic and the moon tells me secrets about when to plant and when to harvest.
February 15, 2012
February 14, 2012
Let’s face it; part of being self sufficient is being able to defend yourself. No one likes to think about the possibilities of someone doing them harm but the fact is none of us are exempt from danger and the world is full of misguided souls. My personal choice for protection is a good old fashioned pistol. Sure it’s a good idea to know some martial arts or other fighting techniques. And sure, there are plenty of other weapons one can use for self-defense but nothing beats the power and easy use of a semiautomatic handgun.
I wasn’t raised around firearms and self-defense was never really talked about in our house. I guess, like many families, we just assumed nothing bad would ever happen to us because we’re good people. Or maybe we never really thought about it at all. At any rate, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I ever held a gun. Guns were scary to me and I never imagined that one day, not only would I own a gun, but I would also enjoy target shooting and learn how to take apart my pistol and clean it.
My first experience shooting was a project for a Women’s Study course I was taking in college. The goal of the project was to engage in an un-lady-like activity. Well, this was right up my alley! I was so excited that I was having a hard time deciding which un-lady-like thing to report on first. But then I thought back to earlier in the semester when my professor told us how she had been assaulted once in a parking lot and that got me to thinkin’ about how the heck I would defend myself if, God forbid, some misguided soul tried to hurt me. Bingo! I knew exactly what I was gonna to do for that project. Get a gun and learn to shoot it. And so I did. And I got an A.
Now that I know how to safely handle a gun, there’s no doubt in my mind it’s the most effective means of self-defense available. And it’s a great feeling to know I don’t have to rely on someone else to come to my rescue.
The thing is though, nobody’s ever truly self sufficient. We need each other if we’re gonna make a go of this republic. So go ahead and learn to shoot if you haven’t already but don’t forget to introduce yourself to the neighbors, lean on a truck or two and share a few minutes face to face with the folks most likely to save your ass when the shit hits the fan.
February 6, 2012
Today, me and the hubs cut up an oak tree that fell in the side yard an eon ago. About half way through the project I caught a glimpse of our neighbor, Lucy, making her way up the drive with a bag in her hands. Come to find out Lucy’s daughter got herself a bread machine the other day and we’re the lucky recipients of her latest effort.
After the hauling and stacking of that old oak tree and the eating of Lucy’s daughter’s homemade banana walnut bread, it was high time for a nap. Just as I was about to doze off the phone rang. I answered to hear the earth shattering news that my dog was in the across-the-street neighbor’s yard. Not that that neighbor minded; he don’t live here…No the call was from the overly-concerned-about-everyone-else’s-dog-in-the-whole-freeking-world-neighbor who lives up the road a good bit. You know the one who is likely to “rescue” your dog from a 4 inch gap in your passenger side window while you run into the “convenience store” to grab a bag of Gardettos and a lemon lime Gatorade small enough to actually fit into the cup holder on your 27 year old pick-up? Yeah, that’s the one who called to inform me of my dog’s whereabouts on her way home from church this afternoon. Bless her heart.
So much for a peaceful nap. By the time I got off the phone and my boots on and my hat on and my jacket on and then off again (cause the daffodils are blooming and its too damn hot for a jacket even though it’s the first week in FEBRUARY. Hear that Mother Nature?! Its FEBRUARY!!), the goats were hollarin’ for their dinner and the dog was headed up the drive. Time to feed.
An hour later I was back in the house to whip up some skillet mac n’ cheese with a side of vodka. Yep, suppose I can think of many worse ways to spend a Sunday in February. Thank you Jesus. Life sure is good.
This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop
June 10, 2011
I began calling myself the Outlaw Farmer because I wanted to make the statement that at this point in time, growing and eating real food is an act of civil disobedience in America. But over the brief course of my blogging career, I’ve realized there’re more layers to this story. Namely that I am somewhat uncomfortable being outspoken about my love for America and my patriotism.
This uneasiness stems from prevailing negative attitudes toward America among my peers and in the media. What has happened here? When did we get so down on ourselves? When did our flag come to represent domination, greed, racism, and other such evils? When did we give up on the American Dream?
The flag and America Herself are symbols not of imperialism and capitalism but of freedom, opportunity, and the individual. The flag represents humankind’s God given rights to worship and speak freely, to protect ourselves and to pursue happiness.
I have concerns about many things politically speaking. But it all boils down to one final question; will we trade our freedom for false security? Will Americans willingly exchange personal sovereignty for short term creature comforts? I fear many will and thus seal our future fate. So many are ignorant. So many are helpless. So many are dependent. So many are unhealthy. This is not the recipe for freedom.
And we carry on with our bottled water, our ipods, our cell phones, our cable TV and our prescription medications. We carry on with diets that are killing us. We carry on with credit card debt. We carry on with domestic violence and brat dolls and disposable vacuum cleaners.
Those of us who are desperately trying to salvage America from the hands of global oppressors, those of us who are going to great lengths to be healthy productive members of society; those of us who still believe in the American Dream… we’re vilified, portrayed as a bunch of extremist haters. Our resources are plucked away one at a time by illegal taxes, restrictions, regulations, road blocks…by any means possible to usurp our power over our own destinies.
Thus the Outlaw Farmer is born an outcast in her own beloved country because she believes in the freedom on which her country itself was founded. A tad ironic wouldn’t ya say?
This is my Soap Box Saturday post on Bleustockings
June 9, 2011
I have “kill chickens” on my to do list this week, right there between “pay water bill” and “call CPA”.
May 29, 2011
May 24, 2011
My friend at the feed store gave me this recipe. She and her husband drive around this time of year looking for wild patches of pokeweed. They love the stuff. She says the younger leaves make the best salad.
Oh, and I should mention that while pokeweed, including the roots and berries, has been widely used in folk remedies the entire plant especially the berries but also the tender greens, are considered toxic. That’s why you have to cook the tar out of it and drain off the water between boilings.
Poke Sallet Scramble:
Start with a mess of fresh poke greens
Shake debris from greens
Parboil for 30 minutes
Parboil for another 30 minutes
Drain and squeeze dry
Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over med high heat
Add drained greens to hot bacon drippings and cook over med heat for several minutes
Lightly beat 12 eggs with ¼ cup sweet milk or goat milk
Pour egg mixture into skillet with greens and scramble until done
Here’s some more unverified info about pokeweed I found on wikipedia:
Since pioneer times, pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsillitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Dried berries were ingested whole as a treatment for boils, taken 1 berry per day for 7 days. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. Independent researchers are investigating phytolacca’s use in treating AIDS and cancer patients. Especially to those who have not been properly trained in its use, pokeweed should be considered dangerous and possibly deadly.
Ingestion of poisonous parts of the plant may cause severe stomach cramping, nausea with persistent diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes bloody, slow and difficult breathing, weakness, spasms, hypertension, severe convulsions, and death. However, consuming fewer than 10 uncooked berries is generally harmless to adults. Several investigators have reported deaths in children following the ingestion of uncooked berries or pokeberry juice. Severe poisonings have been reported in adults who ingested mature pokeweed leaves and following the ingestion of tea brewed from one-half teaspoonful of powdered pokeroot.
Pokeweed berries yield a red ink or dye, which was once used by aboriginal Americans to decorate their horses. Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. The red juice has also been used to symbolize blood, as in the anti-slavery protest of Benjamin Lay. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.
This post is linked to Hearth and Soul.
May 23, 2011
The big day is almost here, my first ever farm party! At this point I am more nervous than excited but I keep telling myself to relax and have FUN with it because that’s the whole point right?
The purpose of the event is to bring our county’s farmers and small business owners together for an afternoon of music, games and farm fresh goodies. I got this idea about a year ago when I noticed in a local publication just how many small farmers there are in Hickman County. I thought how great it would be to network, share marketing ideas and customers, get advice and just plain get to know one another. Hence the farm party concept was born.
Here’s the picture I have in mind:
At this point I am realizing how unprepared I am. With just a few days to go I still need to gather scarecrow making supplies for the children’s craft project, follow up with the bluegrass band (I’m beginning to fear they are unavailable that day), set up the horseshoe pit, decorate the photography area and touch base with the other farms to see who’s bringing what. Then there’s sprucing up the barn (hahahaha) and scouring the milk parlor. Last but not least I’ve got to set up a vendor’s area and create the backyard farming handouts for the info booth.
So there it is, my to-do list which was the main motivation for this post. Gotta go now, bye!
This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop.
May 4, 2011
For years now I have wished for one of those expensive umbrella style close dryers to set on my back deck. The sun really hits that side of the house and its pretty convenient to get to from my washing machine. But alas, I can never remember to order one when I have the money and money’s been getting tighter and tighter around here lately so its not really in the budget at this point.
I did however experience a brief break-from-reality a few weeks ago and purchased several new dresses and tops ALL of which must be hand washed and are NOT allowed to go into the electric dryer. Buying new clothes is something I do so rarely that I forget what it feels like in between times. Almost everything I currently own came from a thrift store of one kind or another. So I must admit the thought of taking care of these precious items intimidated me a bit, especially since I had spent the better part of my retirement (hahaha) on them.
After several wears of each new piece and no washings it became apparent to my husband that an intervention was needed. No doubt I was in LOVE with my magical outfits but afraid to clean them due to the, “where the heck am I gonna lay out this entire dress to dry without the cat hairing it up or some other tragedy befalling it?” factor. So one day, and not a moment too soon, Dear Husband came home with a clothesline from the dollar store and a bag of wooden clothes pins. I think it cost about 5 bucks for the entire set up.
Hanging those blouses out to dry was like arriving at a point in life I had always longed for; a sophisticated yet simple and down to earth realm in which I found quiet self fulfillment and profound happiness. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the love of my husband, the richness of our life and the warm, beautiful sun.
July 23, 2010
This is my Fight Back Friday post of the week.
I’m from the south and I’ve been on the farm for over four years so I thought I knew just about all the quirky “thangs” folks around here say until yesterday. I was subtly bragging to a new friend about my husband’s blackberry wine (the wine I used in the rabbit recipe) and she asked me if it was “any account.” Sensing my confusion, she quickly followed up with “Well? Was it any good?” Next thing you know we were in her garage among bottles and bottles of fermenting fruit, some several years old. I left her place with a killer buzz and an added appreciation for country wisdom. She also gave me some great wine making tips but in the end its one of those things people will tell you they do “by feel”.
Disclaimer: Chances are this is entirely illegal so check your state and local ordinances before jumping in. And by all means don’t sell the stuff… no matter how hard they beg.
Take about a gallon of fresh picked berries. They don’t have to be good lookin’ or perfectly sweet. Crush them up in a crock and add about a gallon of water to it. Cover the crock with cheese cloth and let it sit there for about two weeks.
After two weeks or so strain out the juice and discard the pulp. You can do this by pouring everything through a wire mesh strainer or cheese cloth (my friend uses a large tube sock which I think is brilliant).
Next fill a 2 gallon container (she uses an old ice cream tub) with 1-2 inches of warm water and add one packet of yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon. Once the yeast has dissolved, pour your fruit juice in and add 2-31/2 cups of sugar (this is the by feel part). Stir real good.
Funnel the juice/sugar/yeast mixture into a one gallon glass jug. Then fill a bubbler (you can get one of these from any wine making supply place for about a dollar) with water and place it snugly in the top of your jar. Some folks use a balloon but I don’t recommend that method. In about 6-8 weeks the bubbler will quit bubbling and your wine will be ready. By the way, my friend also says not to take your wine off during a thunder storm cause the barometric pressure will turn it to vinegar.
Don’t forget to raise a glass to your favorite Outlaws and all who have fought to preserve Freedom and Dignity on this planet we call Earth!