Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Impromptu farm visit

Got a call late this afternoon.... my plea for wool was finally answered. We are very very broke right now, so I really didn't wan't to be spending much of anything extra. We drove up to a beautiful property and the owner came to greet us from the fields. One of her steers got loose and she had the hay all newly cut in the field. He was where he shouldn't be and she couldn't get him back in. She got my hubby out there with ski poles in hand to try to round him up. LOL what a ridiculous and slightly anxiety inducing sight! They got him back into his designated area in record time and then we went to meet the sheep. She thought that they would be too shy but all of the sudden they stampeded the kids. The look on thier faces were priceless. They all had names and they had nurslings still. So awesome. We went to the outbuilding with the wool and I bought one fleece. A mama named Tippy. The owner threw Tippys daughters fleece as well as an older bag of a beautiful black and brown girl to see if we could salvage it. So for twenty dollars I came home with three bags of wool, a gift of a bag of prawns for my hubby and possibly work in trade for some grass fed beef in the future. It was an awesome outing and we all had smiles plastered on our faces. Better than yesterday where papa sharpened the lawn mower blade and slipped while putting it back on the mower... requiring a trip for stitches. Well, the kids thought that that was pretty epic. The nurse even let the boys watch. Funny life we lead!
Tomorrow we attempt the huge feat of washing the wool!! Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I am still here!

The weeks are flying by! I think I have been swept up into the day to day stuff a little bit lately. Papa still isn't working... gah... None of the electricians are back yet in the valley, so it is nothing personal. Still, it has been over a month, maybe over two already. Things are unique and fun at first where you can take advantage of more family time. By a month and a half in I am raring to get back to my own routine. It is too tight ( as in not nearly enough) and I need to start saving to put oil in the heater come september plus tires for the van before winter. So I am crossing my fingers! Papa is getting a ton of writing done though which is a nice bonus.

Lets see... What have I missed out on sharing? We went for a beautiful bike ride on fathers day . We drove to the next town over and biked along the ocean. There are chainsaw driftwood carving competitions there yearly and so the path is lined with all sorts of carving art. We biked about 6 km into the town to the farmers market and then hung out at a playground and had a picnic. We are eating a lot of greens out of the garden right now... a head of lettuce a day, plus lots of kale, herbs, broccoli and edible weeds! We got 3 days of good rain this week and a bit of cooler weather which the garden seems thankful for. We dug an entire new section of garden a couple of weekends back when my brother brought over a bucket of jeruselum artichokes to plant. I sure hope that they thrive because it is the perfect thing for someone who has trouble with starches like I do.( I am feeling so crappy eating too much potato and stuff lately... I struggle most with my health when we are broke. I can't eat the grain we get for the rest of the family and can't afford a ton of meat and veg... which is kind of all I usually eat. I end up filling on potatoes and then get a really bad tummy, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis if I eat too many. It seems cumulative) I can't wait until the rest of the garden is producing! A friend gifted us a beautiful little vintage chair and ottomon a couple of days back. Our house is teeny tiny, so bringing in anything means that we haveto arrange the entire house to make it work! It looks super cute though and I like the new layout. The boys look so sweet jammed into it with the weighted blanket reading Astrix!

Yesterday we went up into the bush in the pouring rain. Someone had spotted a downed arbutus tree. They are protected here, so you cant just cut any down! The wood is rare to find. We didn't find it but I was so sketched out in the woods... I am convinced that a cougar was tracking us. Oh well... maybe I will come across some soon ( a piece of arbutus and a bag of freshly shorn dirty fleece are on my wishlist right now!) A close friend called yesterday and asked me to make her some jewelry for her wedding!!! Yay! I am so honoured, a little pressured and most of all inspired. I spent a chunk of yesterday afternoon in the basement and make a nice part of a necklace for it. Hopefully she will love it and we can come up with something lovely. We will be meeting Tuesday to draw up more of a design and pick up some materials if we need to. I will show it off when it is done!

My oldest little guy turns 8 in two weeks!!!! Where does the time go? He has asked for the final Harry Potter book which we ordered yesterday, and a hommade broomstick, which I still need to go foraging for the parts for. Thankfully he doesn't wan't any big party... just a nice ( specific!!) dinner with the family.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You know you walk a lot when...

You get to the end of a 9 km walk and everyone is disappointed that it wasn't longer! None of the pictures I got quite captured the beauty of it. We went up the ski hill and hiked through alpine meadows and forests. There were lots of boardwalks built all of the way along as well. We are planning to go back in the next couple of weeks to try doing the 16km loop. I really don't know if the boys can walk that far though. They can easily make it 10 km but we haven't tried more... they were still running by the end of the hike today though.... maybe? If we plan to leave early in the morning and give ourselves all day, they could surely make it. It only took 2 hours and a bit to do the hike today!

We have been taking advantage of the lay off and have been adventuring all over the neighbourhood! In the past week we have done 2 8 or 9 km hikes, one 18 km bike ride and multiple bikes and swims in the lake! Impressed at the boys ability to keep up... stamina and energy are definitely not lacking! We ate our first broccoli out of the garden and have been eating greens from it daily.

It turns out that my skin nerve pain that I was having was some sort of trapped nerve from my hip and back. I have been seeing the chiro for the past couple of weeks and the pain finally cleared after two whole weeks! We REALLY can't afford to go to the chiro right now because the employment insurance doesn't even really cover the basics, but I really needed to go. I got great news though that I won 100 bucks US in a draw for doing online survey thingys. Pretty much exactly what I needed to cover the chiro appointments! Things certainly do come when you need them! Hopefully work will pick back up soon. There were 22 housing starts in the valley last month, so hopefully that translates into the electricians being back to work next month! Oh well... everyone is in the same boat. At least we are resourceful! Speaking of which.... off to sample the home made rhubarb wine I made a couple of weeks back!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bread making binge...

We have been making flour like crazy over the past couple of days.... my biceps are going to be huge!!! So far we have ground brown rice, white rice, millet, buckwheat, red lentil, yellow pea, and toasted mung bean into flours. I have sprouted and dehydrated garbonzo beans as well as brown rice, to grind into sprouted flours today. I also have a jars of quinoa and oats on the go to make sprouted flours out of.

Last night I put together a gluten free raisin bread batter with a mix of our hand milled flours. I added a cup of our home made sourdough starter and let it sit overnight. In the morning I just added the eggs and let it rise a bit again before baking it. I can't even taste grains because I get really bad psoriasis and arthritis if I do... torture for a cook to serve food that he or she can't even taste first. My hubby is getting better though at describing flavours and textures to me so that I can tweak and improve recipes... not in a critical way at all, but more acting like my taste buds! He says that it is delicious. A teeny bit of grit, but so super fine that he would be happy to eat it every day. Everything else is perfect. No bean flavour at all either... and the beans add some great protein and nutrition to the bread for the kids. I am really hoping that the sprouted flours will be really sucessful too. It was too much batter for 1 loaf pan, but I wasn't sure if it was enough for two, so I put it in a round casserole type of pot... it looks flatter because of that, not because it was dense and flat!

It has been super warm here for the coast. It is 22 degrees in the shade right now at 9:30 in the morning. The weather report says that it will get to 32 on the city next to the water... we are inland and the temp is regularly 10 degrees warmer than that here.(and 5 to 10 degrees colder in winter!) Our outdoor thermometer has been over 40 degrees in the late afternoon all week long. Can't be good for the rainforest!!! Oldest son had a heat headache last night. I used to get them as a kid easily too... like a migrane. I have never been able to regulate heat well. Interestingly I have read that some other spectrum and sensory kiddos have similar inability to handle heat well. Secretly I am doing the rain dance!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What luck

Checked the local community news mailout today and in the free section.... a manual grain mill!!!! We actually were the first to call as well! It is an old cast iron one that unfortunately had been used for gluten flours of course. We scrubbed it down and took the dremel wire brush to all of the surfaces. I scrubbed it down and soaked it and brushed it and went to town on it! Lastly I coated it all in a thin layer of coconut oil to protect it. We took it outside on the back steps as that was one of the few VERY sturdy places that we could attatch it. It is EXTREMELY( !!!!!) strenuous; we could only handle short bursts of time on it. We managed to do about 4 pounds of brown rice in maybe half an hour , taking turns in bursts(we had to put it through in progressively finer adjustments too)! Now we are exausted! It looks wonderful though. It will be the perfect interm mill until we can afford something efficient( expensive!lol) I would still love to be able to grind bean flours because I don't tolerate any grains. We are going to be one fit duo! As usual we keep up our nutty neighbour image, grunting and groaning and giggling out there. Doesn't help I suppose, that the temp is reading 38 degrees Celcius in the sun... not that it would be any less funny to be out there in winter!