Sunday, July 18, 2010

This is the continuation of the raised bed for the Jerusalem Artichokes. Once they were planted Susan set some PVC pipes to hold the row cover. The pipes are bent into an arch then a ridgepole is taped over the top using duct tape.

Next, a section of floating row cover is placed over the frame and weighted with rocks. The floating row cover is a thin, paper like material that is porous so the rain can fall through it. It also protects the plants from frost on cold nights and shades the plants from the hot sun during the day.

We're working on getting potatoes ready for the dehydrator. The box on Susan's right side held potatoes from our root cellar. They are still firm even though stored since last fall but most have sprouts on them. Susan breaks the sprouts off and peels them then I cut them into little cubes about 1/4 inch square. They go into the silver pot and will be boiled until cooked.

Once they're cooked we drain off the water and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process. Now Susan takes three vitamin "C" tablets and crunches them with a spoon in a clean bowl. She adds water then puts the potatoes in the Vit. C water and lets them soak for five minutes. She then drains that water off and spreads them on the dehydrator racks for drying. The Vitamin C keeps them from turning brown when drying. After they dry she'll powder them in the blender and we'll have organic, instant mashed potatoes. The number of tablets she uses varies according to how many spuds we're drying. She also used Vitamin C when drying apples for the same reason.

Susan made flour out of both corn and wheat today. We bought the corn and wheat from an organic food coop. She ground the corn first then cleaned the grinder and ground the wheat into flour. The electric grinder does a superb job but it is very noisy. Everyone in the house wears hearing protectors while we're using it. The picture shows wheat in the grinder.

Our younest son decided to run his generator today so, in addition to using the grinder and dehydrator we also ran the water pump to water the garden. It was late afternoon when Susan went out to get started. She went back in and put on a jacket. A cold front moved in this afternoon and the temprature dropped considerably.

We're going through our leftover garden seeds and vacum packing them for long term storage. These are some left over from this year. The older ones will be labeled with the year they were originally sold.

Sunday, July 18, 2010
On Friday (the 16th) we headed into Eureka for parts for the pickup. We got a wire brush to fix the bead leak on the front tire and a new thermostat and gasket. Before we left we had to push the pickup forward. We needed to get the picnic table out in the sun so we could use the solar oven for cooking. Susan was making venison stew for our afternoon guests. I washed dishes and emptied all the water jugs and filled the reservoir over the sink before we left. We brought the empty jugs to refill them in Fortine on the way home. We made it back about 30 minutes before our guests arrived. They are also “homesteaders” we met about four (maybe???) years ago. They had read some of my articles in Backwoodshome Magazine and tried to contact us when they moved to the area. We had an unlisted number at that time so they asked at the post office. She (the postmaster) wouldn’t give them our number or address but let them leave a note in our mailbox. We called them and got together and have been friends ever since. They are the ones who gave us the goat. Anyway, they had thought about buying a solar cooker but wanted to see one in action so we used it to cook the stew. After eating then looking over the garden we played a couple games of Hearts before they headed back home.

On Saturday we ended up spending most of the day in Kalispell. We took our time and made a stealth trip, not telling anyone in Kalispell that we were in town. We stopped at several yard sales and made a few minor purchases but didn’t spend much. We stopped at the Olney Mall (green box/dumpster site) to look for bed frames and rails but there weren’t any there. I use them for building projects around here and they’re always in short supply! By the time we got home everyone was ready to relax for the evening.

Sunday (today);
I installed the thermostat on the pickup this morning then helped cut up the potatoes for the dehydrator. After that I started on my laundry. Once I got the first load finished and the second load soaking we called up another neighbor to see if I could drop by to fill the barrels at their well. I can pump it out of the lake but the lake is low this time of year and it’s kind of a pain to get the suction pipe far enough out to pull in water instead of mud. No one was home so I left a message. I’d drained all the water jugs for the wash water so I loaded them up into the pickup and took them with me. I got there just before they got home from church and we filled up the six barrels and the five water jugs for the house. I began siphoning water into the main tank. It takes about 45 minutes to siphon one barrel so it was going to take awhile. In the meantime I finished up the wash and got the pump hooked up to the extension cord and primed it. While Susan watered the garden I extended the willow branch to the goat. It’s young and a little on the wild side so it’s taking some time to earn it’s trust. This is the first day I‘ve really had time to work with it. When it’s full grown it should weigh between 250 to 300 pounds. I’d like to have it trained to pull a cart and pack a load long before then. It sounded as if our neighbor was doing a little range time with his Glock this evening. I checked traps and dispatched another gopher before heading into the house. That’s the fourth one today.
I’ve been on the computer since coming back into the house and plan on being in bed as s soon as I get this posted..

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