All we are in dust in the wind…

That is what it feels like right now.  We are so dry.  I have been battling a massive headache for many days now.  Every time a car goes by a cloud of dust goes up and it spreads across our land raining dust over everything.

As you can imagine that makes everything just a little bit dirty.  With the high winds, scorching sun and dry earth,  everything has a slight crunch to it now.  The past couple of years it seemed that by this time of year the rains had started again, but they haven’t yet.  I am slightly optimistic with what I see on the forecast, but I am also not holding my breath.  At this point in time, it is going to take a lot of rain and healing to make the earth feel better.  

It feels like that is extending to people too.  Everyone seems to be needing a little bit of healing.  A fresh wash of rain to wash away hurts and pain.  I see, being around many others who live close to the earth, that this time of year is extremely stressful.  It doesn’t seem easy to deal with a lot of things while you are getting ready for winter.  Can I say how odd it is to have written that while it is sunny and hot outside?  Anyway, it makes me wonder just slightly about harvest festivals.  This is the time of year for them.  In a couple of weeks it is Mabon.  This has always been my most favorite holiday.  Witch’s Thanksgiving.  This year, as I look at my filling pantry, it seems to have a lot more meaning for me.  Really, this is only the second harvest, Samhain, or halloween as it is most commonly known, is the last harvest.  By Mabon though a lot of the food is in, put up and you can see how much excess you have to have a feast with.   Like I said, I have always felt a very deep connection with this holiday, even though I really don’t like autumn much.  I feel that as I grow as a homesteader, I am starting to see why.  I feel a great fulfillment in meaningful work.  Looking at my cans of food, seeing the lambs that are almost butchering age, milking my goats and making cheese, planning when to let the buck have fun with all the does (I do not want winter babies again!).  These things bring a sense of peace and contentment to me.  They fill my life in a similar way as my family does.  I don’t need anything else.  

Now feels like  a good time to post this weeks pantry…  I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but it has been hot and it is really hard to can while it is in the high 90s. 

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On the right side of the pantry there are a lot of jars of green things.  Those are actually dehydrated greens, chard, kale and collards.   I still have an insane amount of tomatoes but I have to choose each day, make cheese or can…I can’t do both.  Now if I had a couple of stoves around I could but I can only fit so many huge pots on my stove.  

Today I am making cheese, five whole pounds of it.  I am waiting for a cheese press to be made.  Then we will be able to start storing cheese, which is exciting for me.  I think I have touched on how exciting that is for me though so I will refrain from waxing on again about it.  

Things are going slightly slow because of the heat.  The barn is almost ready to have the concrete footer poured.  Or the stem wall, or whatever it is that will make it so the whole thing doesn’t collapse under the pressure of dirt.  We are hopeful that we can have it poured tomorrow.  Then leveling out the floor and finishing the walls will happen.  

The mudroom is in a state of unmoving.  Right now it isn’t so much of a priority, though if it starts to rain that might change.  The cistern is moving along slowly.  There really is not much more that needs to be done, but again, when is it going to rain? I think that to an extent, we are hoping that if we don’t do these things we will get insane showers and our rain problem will be over.  We can hope.  

Animals have been doing well.  It does amaze me how well they do.  Our grass is crunchy, it is hot, the leaves are falling from the trees, from drought stress not because of fall.  Still they go on.  I talked about it a little last year, how hard it can be to live outside when it is this hot.  It starts to get to you.  First you start to not want to eat very much.  Then drinking becomes harder.  Why would you want to drink water that is 90 degrees?  You still have to go out and take care of animals, so you drag yourself around, but it really does start to get hard.  It wears on you the same way the cold can.  I do feel though that it is becoming easier for us.  I hope that one day we get to be as strong as our stock, in such that we don’t notice the heat, cold or rain as much.  Okay, the goats REALLY notice the rain…

I have been having some problems milking lately.  My hands, wrists and arms hurt.  I started getting pins and needles feelings and sometimes an odd burning.  This doesn’t make me feel that happy actually.  I am not sure what to do about it besides doing some stretches and trying to get feeling back in some way.  I love milking the goats.  I love how they each run and jump up into the stand, looking at me with an excited face.  Oh yes, I know that a part of it is that they get some alfalfa and sunflower seeds, but I do think they actually like being with me.  We enjoy our walks back to the pasture.  I thank them and tell them how much I appreciate them.  I am curious sometimes if they think I am a very backwards goat who doesn’t know how to nurse properly but hey I give them food, so it is alright.  Gwendy has also been trying to wake up earlier in the morning and trying to get out there to help.  She comes up to the milk stand and asks me to squirt milk into her mouth.  Depending on which doe I am milking sometimes Gwendy ends up with milk all over her.  She laughs and runs away.  These are moments that I never want to forget and I never want to end.  

I have been thinking about making sheep jackets.  The poor sheep have agrimony seeds and other burrs all in their wool.  The goats do too, but for the most part it seems to work itself out.  The sheep though.  We have them for wool, it will not do to have to pull out every burr one at a time.  In ways it seems crazy, but then, I think about how much time I put into cleaning fleeces and if I can cut that by trying to sew something.  Well, that is part of the issue, me, sewing???  Yeah.  But really, how hard could it be?   So that might be part of my winter projects.  I have a list starting in my head right now.  First off I would like to work on making more of this wool into yarn and into winter clothing.  Yep.  Second I would like to make thermal curtains for our windows.  I would also like to make a hot water bottle holder.  The hot water bottles did a whole lot for us last winter.  Going upstairs to a room that is only about 50, well, it doesn’t seem like it should be cold, but it is.  

There is always so much to do.  I don’t think it will ever stop.  In many ways I am glad that it doesn’t.  Again, it fills my life.  My life is filled like a canning jar, sometimes you just aren’t too sure what’s in it 🙂

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