Living the Farm Life @ Soderlind Farms

Down home, farm fresh living!


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Confession Time…

I know we’ve all be inundated with it. We’ve heard the very differing opinions/facts and been subjected the media’s version of what’s accurate and what’s not. We’ve been told over and over not to panic, not to worry, just take a few precautions.

Well, I’m here to tell you, to CONFESS to you, that I AM worried. No! That’s not accurate. I am TERRIFIED of what’s going on lately.  I am almost in panic mode. Of course, I don’t voluntarily tell people this as they would look at my like I’ve lost my marbles (and maybe I’m beginning to). And I of course, do not want to inflict any panic in my children.

What I’m referring to, my few followers, is EVERYTHING that is gong on lately: ISIS, Ebola, the corruption, scandals, lying, etc, etc. The list continues on. I am terrified that the government is lying to us about just how serious the situations/threats are. It seems that our dear leader is making no move to try to protect his people from these threats. Instead, he opens the borders and allows whoever and WHATever come into our country and invade us and our children. I realize I just opened myself up to all sorts of ridicule and hateful, negative comments, but the fact remains that he, nor the rest of lovely government have done a thing. We would have heard about it had they done anything to actually try to protect us as politicians can’t keep from trying to pat their own backs.

I’ve read all the stories, comments, news sites, etc that I can get my hands on regarding the recent goings ons around here. I’ve heard people’s opinions. I’ve read the “facts”. The facts that the government WANT you to have, anyway. I’ve cried, I’ve pleaded, I’ve gotten angry, and I’ve been in near panic mode since hearing of this.  And finally, I’ve prayed.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that while I DO believe in God, I haven’t stepped foot in a church in YEARS for worship, and I sure haven’t read my Bible (for reasons that is left for another story, another day). So, I AM not some Bible thumper that just feel off the religious branch and cracked each limb on the way down.  I am not hear to preach to you, or demand that you become involved in church or whatever. What I AM doing here, is simply giving another opinion.  Take it with a grain of salt if you wish. But I think God has blessed me by being a pretty insightful person. I tend to see or FEEL, if you will, certain things about people I’ve just met, or things I read, or things that are going on. No, I’m not saying I’m psychic.  I’m just saying I trust my gut.

Having said that, I have a feeling the end is drawing near. It may not happen in the next day or 5, it may take a year or several. But, I feel time is running out. I have felt this on and off my whole adult life, but now, it is ever pressing. The urgency I feel to get things done, to make things “right” is sometimes overwhelming. Guilty conscience? Maybe. Just plan fear of the unknown? Possibly. God pushing me to take care of business? Definitely.

I don’t know what’s to come tomorrow, or next week, or next year.  All I know is that I fear it’s very unpleasant.  I know we should be prepared to take matters into our own hands.  I know that it’s time to get right with God. If you don’t believe, maybe it’s time to start.

I question things all the time. I question WHY God would choose to let bad things happen to good people. I question WHY God’s will is what it is. I question HOW God’s will is beneficial. I’ll never know the answers to those questions probably. I do know that I have been attending church on Wednesday nights for the last several weeks.  I do know that when I leave, I usually have a sense of peace. I do know that it has taken me a while to get where I am. I also know that last night I didn’t want to go. I had things that needed to be taken care at home as we prepare for our trip (prayers please).  I told my kids I’d take them, but I was going to stay home.  They promptly told me no, that they wanted me to go. So, yes, I know that God was there and was telling me to go. See, I had made a deal with myself earlier. I was on my way to pick them up after I got off work. I didn’t want to go to church. I told myself that if the kids didn’t ask to go to church, I wouldn’t go. BUT, if they DID ask, I’d go. Even after they asked to go, I was renigging on my promise to myself. I guess God had other plans.

I tell you all this to let you know that I am still questioning things. Things that others at church seem to know the answer to. Things they would probably tell me that I’m not strong in my faith since I’m questioning those things. Bur, I’m working on it. Because God is pushing me to do just that….for whatever reason.

Maybe it’s simply to have some peace in this unsettling time. Maybe nothing is going to happen like I think (and I don’t even want to go into the details of what I think is about to happen for fear of starting more panic that necessary). Let’s just say again, that I think our time here on Earth is becoming increasingly limited and will be bathed in disease, fear, panic, pain, and hostility. I fear for my children. I fear the worst is yet to come to all our children who believe in Christ and refuse to denounce His name. I fear that most of all.

Yes, lots of you will call me crazy and may look at me differently tomorrow if you actually know me. Maybe some of you will offer words of wisdom and insight and try to dispel my fears and doubts about what’s to come. Yet, even more of you may agree with some of the things listed here, although you won’t dare to make it known that you agree with me. That’s ok. Because while I am still near panic mode and still very much unsettled by what’s coming, I have found that God is giving me a sense of peace, as well. And I’m sure that if I actually surrendered it all to Him, I might feel even more peace. But I’m not exactly sure how to surrender it all. I’m working on it.

I do hope, dear friend, that I am completely off base and WRONG in my opinions. But I don’t think I am. I don’t think I am at all. I think it’s coming for us. I don’t know what will actually “get” us in the end, but I do know, it won’t be good. I do encourage each of you to do your best to protect yourselves and stay safe. I encourage each of you to get right with God, at least to give a try and take some time to listen to what’s in your heart. But most of all, I encourage each of you to PRAY! Pray for our safety, pray for the safety of our children. Pray for our country and our government. Pray that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that it comes quickly.


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Beef prices

So many of you asked for prices on half, whole, and cut beef, that I think this would be the best way to go to get prices to everyone!

First of all, let me give you a bit of background on the beef.  The calves are born from my dad’s cattle right here in Erath County.  After he weans them, we buy several from him and then take them to our place to raise and feed out.  We take them to the butcher at around 800-900 pounds (give or take).  You can expect the hanging weight to be about half of the live weight.  For example, if we took a 1000 pound calf in, his hanging weight would be about 550 pounds.

You will fill out a cut sheet for the butcher, and will be responsible for paying the butcher directly when you pick up your meat.  Butcher fee is approximately $400 for a whole (this cost may vary depending on what cuts you want and if you quarter it).

We do not sell quarters at this time, so if you only want a quarter meat, you will need to find someone to go in with you for a half. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due by October 1, (however, we will start taking deposits now) with an additional $500 due by December 1.  Any remaining money will be due 2 weeks before the butcher date.  NOTE:  if this beef has not been paid prior to the butcher date, you agree to forfeit your portion and no funds will be returned.  This is to protect you, the butcher, and ourselves!

Quantities are limited, so first come, first served.  Will not hold until we receive the deposit.  I will take a personal check for the deposit and the 2nd installment due in December (provided the first check clears), but I will require cashier’s check or money order for the last payment.

You are more than welcome to come out and check the progress of the calves at any time, provided you contact us to make sure we are home!

Whole cow:                                                                             Approx $2,600 (depending on actual weight at time of butcher) + butcher fee (see above).  This should be about 400 pounds of meat, which would equal to $6.50/lb.

Half cow:                                                                                 Approx $1,300 (same explanation as whole cow except would be approx 200 pounds of meat, which would still equal $6.50/lb across the board for all cuts you get).

 

Steaks:  all steaks are 3/4 in thick.                             Price per pound:

T-bones (2 in a package):                                                  $14

Ribeye (2 in a package):                                                    $13

Sirloin:                                                                                     $12

Flank and skirt steak:                                                         $12   (Only 2 of each cut available )

Round steak                                                                           $8

 

Roasts:                                                                                  Price per pound:

Arm roast                                                                              $8

Rump roast                                                                           $8

Chuck roast                                                                          $8

Sirloin Tip roast                                                                 $8

Heal of Round (Pike’s Peak)                                           $9

 

Miscellaneous:                                                            Price per pound:

Ground Beef                                                                       $6

Hamburger patties                                                          $8.50  (4 patties in a package at 1/4 lb each patty)

Brisket (halves)                                                                 $9

Short ribs                                                                            $8

Tongue:                                                                                $8

Heart:                                                                                   $8

Liver:                                                                                    $8

 

CHICKEN:

Whole chicken:                                                                 $15.00


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Garden Goodness and Fall/Winter Prepping!!!

Hello, my fellow farmers, gardening gurus, gardening beginners, and everyone else! It’s been awhile,and I thank you all for sticking with me and coming back to join in the garden goodness (or horrors!)! We have been super busy around our little neck of the woods with various and sundry projects that we are trying to complete and projects that we are just starting!

We have been so blessed this year with the garden situation! And we worked REALLY hard at preparing the soil this last spring! We added tons (literally) of good topsoil, compost, and the really good, homemade compost! Then we put in raised rows! NO TILLING this year, but lots of hard work!

I planted tomatoes earlier than normal this year as I was told that they need to be in the ground and rooting and blooming BEFORE it gets hot or the blooms won’t set and thus, won’t produce. I also added crushed egg shells and epsom salt to the first round of maters that I got in early. I then planted another flat of maters a few weeks later and forgot to add the shells and salt. Let me tell you, they produced, but NOTHING like the first set! We canned over 9 gallons of maters this year! WHAT!!?? I know! I will be doing this again next year (planting early and then putting the shells and salt in the hole when I plant!)

BASKET O MATERS LOTS O MATERS and this is just towards the end when they had almost stopped producing.

We also got an abundance of peppers! From bell, which I’ve never been able to grow, to jalapenos, piquins, tobasco, and banana peppers! Our corn did well and everything was so yummy!  I was so excited to FINALLY see some of my hard work pay off!!

We also had a few helpers along the way with canning and preserving our foods! The rugrats and mom SAID they had a wonderful time! 😉MOM HELPING the helper and now you really see how my house looks during canning, preserving, making bread days! (don’t look!!!)

This has been a really wonderful year! However, it is quickly coming to a close! And I realized that as my kids went back to school Monday! 

Time to prep the garden for the fall/winter season!

Here’s what we are doing this year:

1.  Remove old plants so that there is no where for bugs/disease to hide and kill future plants.

2.  Plant a few cool weather plants (to be done this weekend and some of the lettuces will wait until mid-September)

3.  Mulch the areas with new plants/seeds.

4.  Plant cover crops in the remaining rows to add nutrients back into the soil and keep weeds and other unwanted plants from growing.

5.  Pull up most of the irrigation system and store over winter.  Be sure to blow out any remaining moisture with an air compressor so that it doesn’t stay in the lines and rot them or cause mildew to grow or bugs to seek out a nice damp spot all winter.  Also, removing the moisture will prevent ice from accruing and busting the lines.

6.  Make sure our plant covers are ready for the cold spell IF we need them at that time.  We use the water towers and so far, they work GREAT!

7.  Amp up the compost pile.

8.  Put down cardboard or newspapers to cover the dang coastal grass that Just. Won’t. Go. Away. (hoping this smothers it out and we can pull it out will relative ease next spring.  We will then put down another layer to help prevent it from coming back again.  We’ll see how it works!)

9.  Building up our rows again as some of them have eroded slightly.

10. Add compost, compost, and more compost! 

Do you have any tips for prepping for fall/winter in your garden?  Let me hear ’em!

Until next time, happy farming!


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Lordy, lordy! Feels like 140! (Degrees, I mean)

Well, summer has officially set in in Texas. Oh my! I start sweating just thinking about the heat!!!! However, in all this summer heat comes more work. More work that won’t wait until cooler weather. More work that demands we take action NOW, dang it!

For instance, we ordered chicken plucking “fingers” (which don’t even resemble fingers at all) so that the Handsome Hubby can rebuild our chicken plucker. Handsome Hubby doesn’t want to pluck 50ish chickens by hand! I don’t know why! So, THAT has to be done this weekend so we can butcher next weekend. Yes. It’s FINALLY time. Then, in another 3 weeks, it will time for round 2. Of course, round 2 will be much smaller.

We need to clean the coops out. Both of them. Again. Chickens are some of the nastiest things I’ve nearly ever seen.

The garden needs tending to. BADLY!!! We need to pick whatever’s out there. Which consists of several different things. That means canning. We are going to have to can whatever we pick. And then we dry. Just look at the tomatoes I dried last weekend!!! Don’t they look YUMMY!!!! drying maters

I can’t wait to use them!!! How’d we do that? Easy peasy! You just slice the maters (in half for the small ones. If they were larger, I may have made 2 slices) and then fill up the trays on the dehydrator (get them super close together and shove as many maters as you can on a tray cause once they dry, they will shrivel and it won’t look like anything is on the tray!) Once you get as many as you want/have, just set the trays up and plug it in! Away you go! Don’t forget to rotate the trays once a day so the bottom tray is now the top, ect. so that the maters will dry at the same time! We just Use a plastic baggy to store them in. However, this year, we may put em in a jar! That’d be pretty!

I finally got some cantaloupe from the garden! They are so sweet, feels like they’ll rot your teeth just looking at them!
cantaloupe

I’d show you a pic of the garden, but it looks wild and wooley out there! Maybe a before and after pic, once I actually get it cleaned up and weeded!

We are also needing to prepare the garden for the fall crop. What are you planting this fall?

It’s too dang hot to even think. This post may ramble. It may not. Don’t judge. I’ve been sick and sweating my behind off lately.

Until next time, happy farming!


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We’ve gone and done it!

UPDATE:

It’s been a couple weeks now with no actual TV.  It’s glorious! And it’s difficult.  No, difficult is not the word.  It’s WEIRD.  It’s hard to get used to.  We normally go to bed and turn the boob tube on and watch it until we grow weary, and then even longer.  It was difficult for me to turn it off if I was watching a show, even if I had already seen it or had it recorded.  Now, I don’t have to worry about that.  The kids are fine watching a movie every once in a while, and now they can’t just go push a button and turn something on.  It takes a bit more effort than that! And Dillan doesn’t know how to work everything yet! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! As far as I’m concerned anyway! Should’ve done this last summer, or the summer before, or the summer before, or… Well, you get the picture! 

 

OH NO! WHAT WILL DO ALL SUMMER LONG??? I’m sure that’s one of the many things running through my children’s minds right now! Along with being mad at me, like my 6 year old son was this morning after awakening to find *GASP!* we have it no more!

I gave them ample warning! I told them I had been contemplating this for several months (several months ago).  I told them several days  BEFORE it actually happened.  The hubby and I have been discussing it for awhile now! And it finally happened.  We turned the T.V. OFF!!!! I know.  I know.  But I strive to go against the grain.  It’s one of my pure joys in life! To stir things up a bit (not all things! Just the non-smelly things!) The things where I think my family and I will benefit most from!

And this is definitely one of those things!  Not to mention the savings per month from not having to pay for multiple channels we don’t watch and don’t want.  Oh, don’t think they didn’t try to convince me to stay. Dish gave me a VERY tempting offer! And it almost worked! For a split second, I almost said yes! Then the brain fog that had pumped through the phone, lifted and I could think rationally again! One of the main reasons we cut it off is because I’m tired of paying for services and not having money to spend on enjoyment.  Sure, the T.V. brought us joy, but it also brought long nights of staying up to watch a show, reduced family time, and arguments in the morning from my kids who want to watch it all morning until we have 30 seconds left to get dressed, eat their breakfast, brush their hair and teeth, gather whatever they are taking, put shoes on, feed and water the dog, and WHEW! run out the door! I’m hoping this will eliminate much of that stress from the  morning ritual!

And it’s not like they will NEVER get to watch T.V.  My mom is keeping them this summer, and she has T.V. so they will get to watch it occasionally (ok, probably more than I’d like to think.) The point being, is that I’m not taking away from their little bitty, full-to-the-max life! I’m adding to it!

I’m adding more play time.  I’m adding more time to get to go out and enjoy the beautiful world and all that’s in it.  I’m adding more exploring, dig-in-the-dirt, toes-in-the-water, bug-finding, bike riding, friend-grabbing, egg hunting, getting-into-trouble, fun-loving summer kind of days that I want my kids to cherish and be able to remember when they get old.

Let’s be honest.  They won’t have any great, fond memories of sitting on the couch watching Dog with a Blog (and neither will mom and dad!).  But they WILL remember all the summer fun they had when they were little and mom and dad decided to do the cruelest thing they could imagine.  Of course, when they look back at these memories they are making, I do hope they realize we did it FOR them and not TO them.

So, here’s to lots more, garden tending, bug fighting, tomato pluckin, veggie pickin’ , dirt plowing, chicken egg hunting, fence building, hog raisin’, dog playing days this summer, and every day after! I hope you’ll get up and out and spend more time with your fam and turn that T.V. off every once in while!!!

Until next time, Happy Farming!


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To rise… or to fall?

I am determined to master the art of sourdough bread! However, it’s giving me quite a bit of resistance! I have tried every sourdough starter recipe known to man!! And it just..falls flat (pun intended).

It seems to start out well.  Then slowly but surely,  it disappoints me. It’s not sour enough, it molds, fruit flies and other buzzing insects get inside my container, it doesn’t bubble away like the instructions say it should, it DOES bubble away but won’t rise when you make the actual dough, the dough rises slightly but makes a very heavy bread, etc, etc, etc.  I know not what I do.

I follow the recipes.  I feed it every day as instructed.  I dote on it.  I talk to it.  I cajole it.  I BEAT THE EVER LIVING CRAP.. Oh, wait.  Sorry.  That wasn’t meant for your ears (or eyes I should say).  What?

Anyway, back to my uh.. story.  I can’t get the filppin’ dough and/or starter to do what it’s supposed to do.  I remember my mom making sourdough when I was a child.  And I LOVED it! I don’t remember her having a super hard time getting this stuff to ferment! I DO remember EATING it though! It was like heaven on my palate! Such goodness!

And now??? NO way! I can’t make it do what I want. So frustrating.  But I WILL master the art of sourdough! At least ONE TIME!

Here’s my most recent experience:  The dough took almost 12 hours to rise (and really I could have left it to rise a bit longer).  I hear this is normal and may take up to 24 hours to fully rise.  My hubby then shaped it and let it rise again (though probably not long enough again).  After he baked it, the bread look delicious! And it takes good, but it’s heavy.  It’s not light and airy.

sourdough bread

Guess I’ll be trying again this weekend.  Along with making more of my regular white bread!

Let me know any tips or tricks you have for sourdough! I’d LOVE to hear them!! I might even bake you a loaf of sourdough if your trick or tip works! 🙂

Until next time, happy farming!


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Well Hello there!

I know! I know! I have not made good on my resolution to blog at least once a week… Seems like I turned around and half the year was gone!

So many new things to speak of! Where shall we start? How about HELLO SPRING! So good to finally see you again! I was wondering if you were ever going to stick around or if you were just going to tease and titillate us with your promises of warm, wet weather to come.  Guess you have decided to stick around finally (albeit without the wetness 😦  )

With spring, it brings new meaning to “life on the farm”.  So much new life abounds on the farm at spring time.  It’s a time of rebirth and new beginnings, at time to celebrate life in general.  It’s also a time for the hard work to rear it’s ugly head.  It’s a time I love and look forward to each year.

This spring, however, has been full of ups and downs.  Mostly downs I have to admit.  If you’ve been following me here or on Facebook, you know some of the trials and tribulations we’ve experienced over the last few months.  If you are just now joining us, let me fill you in on the majors:  In March, 2014, we experienced two fires because of heat lamps.  The first took the entire barn, killed our beloved Maxine (our sow) along with 2 of her babies.  Two of the babies managed to escape.  The fire also took several chickens we were about to butcher, an entire deep freeze of fresh, homegrown veggies, and home raised and wild, meat we had processed ourselves.  It took canned goods from our garden, motors, tools, you name it.  It ravaged the entire barn and storage area, leaving nothing but a charred, smoldering mess in its wake.  Fire 1

Fire 2 Thankfully, all of us were fine and no one got hurt.  We managed to save a few things out of the shop area.

The next fire, almost took the house.

We won’t even go there.  We were lucky and no doubt, had someone watching over us those days.  Several other things happened over the course of the next few weeks.  Smaller, minor things, but they still packed a punch after our recent loss.  We were on an emotional roller coaster that we couldn’t seem to get off of or slow down.  It was one thing after another.  Slowly, we were able to see the finish line and that roller coaster started to coast until it came to a full stop.  Not a screeching stop, but a stop nonetheless.  It was strange to be in the midst of something like that and have virtually no control over what was happening.  Scary.  Strange.  Unfamiliar.  I wouldn’t want to do it again.

It took a toll on the family.. in more than one way.  We were behind on everything since we had to take a hiatus from all that we would normally do in the spring to clean up a nightmare that we thought would never happen.

Finally, it seems we are cruising along, finally getting back to where we need to be.  The garden has been planted (except for a very few hot weather items like okra), the new barn is coming along, the new chicken coop is built, along with a new farrowing pen (now if that dang pig would just have those babies), and we have almost finished the new porch.  Just minor details on the porch now.

So, although this spring wasn’t what we planned, it WAS a time for purging, spring cleaning, and a new slate.  A time of new beginnings and of rebirth.  We had some really great things happen, as well.  Some things that I’ll share in another post… some day.

So for now, I say HELLO SPRING and WELCOME!  Maybe now, I should be saying Good-bye to spring and Hello SUMMER! It’s close.  And we are ready!

Until next time, happy farming!