Living the Farm Life @ Soderlind Farms

Down home, farm fresh living!


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Rain, Rain and Weeds?

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock and have not noticed, these here neck of the woods have received some rain over the past couple of months. LOTS of rain. And if you have been hiding under a rock, you probably DO know this! LOL

The rain has been wonderful! It delayed the hot, humid weather that usually accompanies this part of the world starting in May and June, it has filled our tanks, rivers, lakes, and ponds. It has turned our dry arid, dust bowl into a lush field of green again. It has provided hay and feed for the animals. It has provided much need water to the ground and our yummy veggies in the garden. Oh, the garden!

With this wonderful rain, it has brought about some other things as well. WEEDS! My garden is overrun with them!! In just a matter of days!!! And now, I can’t catch up! photo (1) photo They are everywhere! As you can see in the first pic, I’ve been out there pulling as fast as my little arms will allow me! As soon as I get a half row done, the first part needs to be weeded again!

I hired a couple of people to come out and help. The first guy last 45 minutes and told me it was too much. The second girl lasted about 2 hours and did about half a row and said she’d be back early morning. She never showed. People are afraid to actually work anymore. They just want things handed to them.

Granted it looks bad. And parts of it are hard to pull. BUT, the ground is still moist and once you dive in and start pulling, the weeds come out fairly easily and it goes faster than you’d think.

We have a TON of nut grass that Just. Won’t. Go. Away. (If you have any suggestions, for the love of all things yummy, leave me a comment and tell me your secret!!!!) Cause they don’t want to pull out of the ground either.

We are debating about just scraping the first 2 foot of soil off and bringing in lots of topsoil and compost and attempting to eliminate some of it. OR, another alternative, is to make raised beds that are contained. We have raised rows, but no boxes or anything to actually keep the dirt from sliding down into the paths. So, we are considering building some boxes and then filling with dirt and compost and just letting the grass take over the pathways (of course, we would make them wide enough to mow between them! ha!)  I have a master plan my mom gave to me ages ago that just may have to be put into effect!!! AFTER this growing season, of course. Although, I think this season my be short lived as all the rain we’ve had has also rotted the potatoes and bent and broken the tomatoes. They just aren’t producing well. 😦

Either way, I need to do something. This is just too much for this momma to handle with 3 littles and a full time job! I long to get back to simpler times.

What are some of your garden tips/secrets to keep things manageable?

Until next time, Happy farming!


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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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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!

 

 


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The Coop Project

Some of you may recall in some of my earlier posts that the hubby and have been discussing building a better, somewhat larger chicken coop with a nursery to occupy current and future feathered guests (both short time guests and those that are there for the duration).  Well, we have come up with a plan.  A plan, that to many, will be extravagant.  A plan, that to those of you who also homestead, have livestock, or just love chickens, will be right on spot.  A plan, that to those who have done this before, will need some tweaking.  So! Bring on your ideas, comments, suggestions, YOUR plans, etc. (as long as they are positive! Actually, it doesn’t matter if you comment is negative.  We usually do what we want around our neck of the woods! LOL)

I don’t currently have a pic of the plan because the hubby just drew it up… and it already has some tweaking done to it via our further discussions! Of course, you know how PLANNING goes! You start with plan A and quickly discard that one, as well as plan B and C.  When you finally settle on a plan and carry it through, you realize it’s like plan z or something after that! That is why, again, I welcome all your comments, especially from those that have walked this path before!

Now, I know you will find this crazy, stunning, and completely off the wall! BUT, what started as a discussion for an improved (but still small) chicken coop, has now expanded into a 30×30 foot building, complete with the main coop, a nursery, a juvenile detention center (for those birds that have turned into juvenile delinquents overnight and want to bully the smaller chick but who can’t quite hold their own with the bigger inmates), a butchering room, a cold room (to hang and rest the meat), a pig farrowing room, and a feed room.  There will also be an 8-10 foot walkway down the middle and all pens will have outside access.  I may be forgetting a room or two, but I think I’ve got it all down!

Pigs and butchering will be on one side, while the chicks will all the other side of the coop, barn, building, oh! whatever it’s going to be called now!

And this, or course, takes us to the WHY we are building a new … something! Well, for starters, we do not have an adequate space to do what we would like to do.  Second, because the old coop is, well, not fit for a pig! It’s small, it’s dark, it’s ventilated, but not well, it’s hard to clean, and the pigs have torn it up on several occasions, making us have to do some patch jobs.  And then there is the dirt floor that I DESPISE having to clean.  Ok, maybe that’s the main reason. Because I’m tired of looking at that makeshift coop that we threw together a few years ago just to get started on the chicken stuff.

I’ve learned and grown when it comes to chickens since then.  This new building wouldn’t be complete without concrete floors AND some much needed ventilation for the birds.  I think the hubby wants to put in doors along the bottom portion of the building that are actually covered with chicken wire and the swing open to circulate the air.  We shall see how that actually goes.

Looks like we are setting production for the first part of June.  It should be plenty hot by then so the concrete can dry and then we can start the building process.  I’m looking forward to this!

What are YOUR plans for the homestead/farm/etc this year? And what are your suggestions for ours??

Until next time, happy farming!