Monday, January 30, 2017

Something to Chew On

I'm re-posting this quote because I think it is, once again, worth pondering...

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.  You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.  You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.  You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.  You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.  You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.  You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Quote Worth Pondering




"A gyrocompass is an amazing device, used in ships and airplanes because no matter where it's put, it always enables the pilot to find the horizon and identify true north, especially in rough weather. The Word of God is our cultural and spiritual gyrocompass."

 - Bryan Fischer

Farmer Boy's Provision

Regardless of one's opinion on the subject, my guys, and our little girl, are hunters.  Even our older boys, who now live in big cities and are married to vegetarians or city girls, grew up learning how to hunt wild game.  Albeit that when the "bigs" were youngin's and we lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Mr.B had to drive them quite a distance to find the wild game.  One of the best aspects of living on the Montana Prairie, is that hunters do not have to travel because the wild game comes to us. 

This autumn, our Farmer Boy turned 15 and was allowed to go on an independent hunt.  After obtaining permission, I drove him a couple miles over to a neighbor's ranch and dropped him off.  After finding a nice resting spot on a small bluff and enjoying the scenery while the warm sun shone on his back, Farmer Boy eyed a nice Buck.  In less than two hours he was phoning me to pick him up.  I was proud to find that upon my arrival, he had already field dressed the buck and was dragging it up toward the gate, about 3/4 mile from where he harvested it.  When we arrived home, he skinned, quartered and iced the meat all on his own, as Mr.B was working out of town that week.  I am proud of how grown up our "little caboose" is becoming.  Yes, Little Caboose, is my nickname for him, although he's not so little anymore.


Farmer Boy proudly displaying his provision for our family.
 
As you can see this buck is quite large.  And at the bottom of the photo is our late, and beloved farm dog, Sam, anxiously awaiting one of those legs.



When most folks eat venison from our home, they never know it's venison because their pallets do not detect a "gamey taste" that is typical in wild game.  We process our venison in a manner that removes nearly all that "gamey" flavor.  What do we do?  After quartering the deer we age the meat in ice for 10 days (we drain the water off daily) before we butcher and wrap it in food saver bags for freezing.


This year, I did not have the time nor energy to butcher the harvest myself. So, after our 10 day aging period, we paid a local butcher to process it into breakfast sausage, ground meat and stew meat.  This one buck yielded 123 lbs. of meat for our freezer.  That's about 1/2 our family's annual meat consumption.  Add that to the lamb and hog we butchered after fair last summer, and we have enough meat to last more than a year. 


Which begs another question:  How does one prevent freezer burn if needing to freeze meat for more than six months?  A Food Saver System, of course.  It draws the excess air out of the packaging, preventing freezer burn.  My darling Sister-Friend, Mrs.A, blessed us with one a few years ago and, I must say, it is one of the best appliances we own.  The butcher we used this autumn uses a commercial type food saver and our meat will keep for more than a year, as his commercial version works as well as our home Food Saver appliance.


Is anyone in your family a hunter?  Do you have any tips for processing or storing wild game that you'd like to share in the comments sections?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

45th Presidential Inauguration


 Our Songbird was selected to go to Washington D.C. through 4-H's Citizenship Washington Focus this past summer and again for the 45th Presidential Inauguration.  There were only 500 4-H students, 10 from each state, selected to attend the 2017 inauguration.  Our Songbird is truly honored to be among those 500 students representing 4-H in D.C. this week.  Since Songbird LOVES the U.S. political system and history, I personally do not know of a youngster who would benefit more from these trips.

Here are some highlights of her trip:
 
6, + chaperone, of Montana's 4-H delegation flew out from the Billings airport while the remaining 4, + chaperone, flew out from the Bozeman airport.  Songbird is on the right.
 

While in D.C. last summer, Songbird met Montana's U.S. Senator Steve Daines.  Earlier this week, when boarding the plane out of Billings, she saw him sitting in his assigned seat.  She, of course, stopped for a short visit and introduced the other students in her delegation.  Songbird is the sort of girl whose never met a stranger and if you've had the pleasure of meeting her once, you will from then forward be a life long friend.


While on their way to witness Montana Congressman's, Ryan Zinke's Senate Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Interior, they met Songbird's hero, Dr. Ben Carson.  She is so impressed and has so much respect for all he has accomplished in his life, she incorporated portions of his bio in a 4-H competitive speaking completion she participated in a couple years ago.  She says he was exactly as she expected him to be.  I am so happy she was not disappointed when meeting this man for whom she holds so much admiration.


The students were housed at the National 4-H Conference Center in Washington D.C.  Not only do they room and board here while in D.C., they also attend various workshops and participate in mock political processes.  The 4-H CWF trips fully immerse the students in the workings of the U.S. political system.


Songbird and few others in her delegation gearing up for volunteer work at  the University of Maryland.  This week they spent a day weeding the gardens.  An activity in which Songbird has plenty of experience.
 
 

What a site!  500 of 4-H's best and brightest.


January 20, 2017, President Trump's and Vice-President Pence's Inauguration Day.  Songbird was there.  Thanks to U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Montana's 4-H delegation was seated as close as the general pubic could be seated. 



4-H always hosts a formal evening at all their State and National events.  Here is Songbird, and two others from her delegation, dressed "to the nines" at one of the Inaugural Balls held aboard a cruise ship on the Potomac River.


I sincerely hope this post doesn't come across as braggadocios.  Those who know me personally know that I share this out of genuine excitement for our daughter.  4-H has helped develop so many life skills and afforded her amazing opportunities and experiences, I can not imagine a better extra-curricular for her.  I am fully confident that Songbird's participation in 4-H has been God ordained and He is using this venue to develop attributes within her that will Glorify Him as she continues her journey through life.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Post Holiday "To Do's"

1/10/17 -

I cleaned and organized the basement today.  I will now have an indoor work space to build the mobile kitchen island.  I also listed the extra washing machine for sale in our local newspaper and local on-line sites. Hopefully, it will sell quickly.

1/7/17 -
Marked a couple more tasks off my winter to-do list ... HURAY!

1/6/17 -
Autumn and early winter, like spring and summer, is a very busy season for us.  Not only do we have numerous projects we try to finish before winter, homeschooling becomes a priority. Adding to all that, we also have the business of the holiday season with harvest festival(s), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations. 

Consequently, by the time things slow down for winter, I often think I'm exhausted.  If I don't make any plans to get everything cleaned up and organized, it would be very easy to find myself overwhelmed and napping 2 - 3 hours each day until spring.  As temping as hibernating through the winter sounds, it really is the best time of year to indulge in some of the indoor hobbies I enjoy and any indoor projects that need to be completed.   Experience has taught me that our insanely busy spring and summer will leave me regretting unproductive winter naps.

Here is a short list of this winter's priorities.  I've already completed a few!

 Finish homeschool lesson plans for winter months 
Put all Christmas gifts in their new homes
Build and install second coat rack in entry
Pack & deliver donations to thrift center
Pack & store Christmas d├ęcor 
Write & mail thank you notes
Have the kids write and mail thank you notes
Deep clean kitchen & dining room
Clean and re-organize basement
Prepare the basement for spring thaw
Sewing project(s)
Crochet project(s)
Build mobile kitchen island
Sell extra washing machine - listed for sale 1/10/17
Patch the chandelier hook hole in the kitchen ceiling
Patch the door stopper hole by the upstairs bathroom
Select and order business cards for the farm

What are your plans during these winter months?  Please share, I would enjoy reading about them in the comments section.