Maple’s First Litter, Beef Stock, and Flushing Toilets

We now have sewer!  AND we have a driveway.  We are practically back to normal.  We still don’t have good road access beyond the driveway, but besides that, our little piece of the planet is feeling much closer to normal.

We are planning to get the sheep back in about 3 weeks, and we are working on getting the cow back in a week or two.  Then, at least as far as our property goes, we will be totally back to normal.

The flood recovery is far from over, however.  Once off our property everything is still a mess and it is going to take a year or more the get things back.  But they are working hard to get temporary systems in place before the winter hits (our water and sewer are temporary).  We are hoping the road fix is coming up soon.

We really are amazed at how quickly they have done everything.  When we were evacuated we were told that it would be 3-9 months before we would have utilities and road access to our property.  Here we are, less than 2 months later, and we have all of it!  And at the same time, it is overwhelming how long recovery from a natural disaster takes.  This is our first (and hopefully last), so we didn’t really understand how hard it is to rebuild infrastructure.

Because of our trips to third-world countries, we have never really taken for granted the fact that we have running clean water, and flushing toilets, and all the luxuries we have daily.  But I must say, that living in our own house and going without the utilities for a month really made us even more so realize how blessed we are to have what we all consider basic necessities.  And I think it has changed us for the better.  Now we REALLY don’t take for granted turning on a faucet, using the dishwasher or clothing washer, taking a hot shower, and flushing the toilet.

We are prepared, in case the temporary water lines break, to go back on our own water system.  And we have almost saved enough money to buy the generator.  With those two things, we feel good about being able to make it through the winter, no matter what weather or infrastructure problems get thrown at us.  And that feels good.

Maple and Ebony are both due to kindle today.  Maple kindled this morning.  She did excellent and put all the kits into the nest box!!!  I was very glad because it was very chilly in the barn this morning, probably in the 20s.  We have not had many does do that on their first kindling, so that bodes well for her as a mom.  We haven’t investigated the box yet to count kits, we will let her settle a bit first and then check it out to count kits and remove any dead ones.  The kids are anxious for me to get to it because we don’t really know what color(s) to expect from this breeding.


Maple, right after she started pulling fur but before kindling (you can see the fur on the bottom of the cage)

Now we continue with the kindling watch for Ebony.  With first time mom’s we check every hour, and when they start pulling fur we check every half-hour, and then when they are actively birthing we check every 10 minutes.  Our checks are more often on colder days too.  It is important that if any kits are born on the wire they are warmed and moved into the nest within a few minutes, especially if it is very cold.

I went ahead and made the beef stock.  After about 6 hours of simmering I poured it off, and then kept the bones and refilled the pot, added new veggies and seasoning and ran it a second time like I do with the chicken stock.

The second round of beef stock was definitely more bland.  So I reduced it a bit on the stove, and then we went ahead and canned it.  It isn’t the most flavorful way to do it, but I feel like it is important to get every little bit we can out of it, so I will probably double run the bones every time and then just add more seasonings when I use it to cook with.  We must be frugal, and this is a way to do it.  I got 9 Qts of beef broth canned.  It feels good to have that stocked up along with the 10 Qts of chicken stock.  We decided to use the pink lids on the beef and the white on the chicken so it would be easy to tell them apart, even though the color of the stock itself is definitely different.



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