Today was a good day to catch up on a few things, such as baking bread. With 4 boys, there's always a need to fill in at meal times, so we go through a lot of bread. I managed to make 8 loaves and 2 large batches of whole wheat buns. That should help get us through to later in the week. Jim went upstairs to check on the state of our potatoes and carrots, and discovered they were rotting.
Early in the growing season we were talking about constructing a root cellar of one sort or another, but never got it going. The boys had all they could do to hand dig out our goat shed, which is located on the side of the hill, and we just didn't have time to dig out a cellar for storing our produce. Jim thought he would try building an insulated box above the wood stove, and cut a hole through the floor to allow a bit of heat to keep the box from freezing. It seemed to be working. However, last night they discovered the box was hovering at close to 60 degrees, which meant there was too much heat for the vegetables. Unfortunately, we lost all of the carrots stored up there, and some of the potatoes. Jim had the boys peel potatoes that still had good parts to them, and we made a big pot of mashed potatoes. Guess I better find a lot of recipes that call for potatoes! We want to use them up before anything else happens. All the remaining potatoes are now in the basement with us instead of up where they were.
Yesterday our neighbors stopped by to see if we would be interested in trading hay for beef. You bet! This neighbor was the one who initially did all the haying, and we still had extra bales after we were given our share. They raised this steer over at their farm, so we know how it was taken care of. What a blessing to have beef in our freezer! And to think deer season is just around the corner as well!
Jonathan has been getting ready for trapping, and this morning came home with his first raccoon. I was proud of how well he did on the skinning. Hopefully he will make money this year from the sale of his pelts.
Later in the day, Jim and the boys headed over to help some friends with their TV antenna. Apparently there was a channel that would not come in, so they needed someone to change the direction of the antenna. I was glad I wasn't over there watching, since the antenna is located at the top of what used to be a windmill -- and a very large one. I can't remember how tall the boys said it was, but I saw the photos they took and Jim and Jonathan were quite a ways up in the air. You can see a couple of photos at Peter's blog. We are supposed to be hit tomorrow with a blast of arctic air, and with winds going over 45 mph, I'm sure glad the deed was done today. While over there the boys were thrilled to see a bald eagle and 2 moose.
I just finished with getting our honey squared away. While the boys and I were on our trip to Minnesota, Jim used his homemade extractor to take the honey from our hives. He placed the honey in large containers, so today I softened it and separated it into smaller jars. We probably got about 3 gallons from 2 hives. I don't know if that is very good or not, but since it was our first year of working with the bees, we count any amount a real blessing. The bread items I baked today were made with our goat milk and honey, and that is quite an accomplishment, considering just a little over 3 years ago we moved up to this land that had nothing on it but a lake, trees, fields, and hills, and little knowledge (but a lot of enthusiasm!) in how to get started.