May at Milkenunny

I just realised that I have not caught up via email yet this month.  One of the things I like to do is to look back on my blog to see what we were doing this month last year and if I don’t write an email soon then in a years time I won’t know what we’ve been doing with ourselves in May 2009.  So, what have we been up to….

 

Well to kick things off we have survived eating our ham!  After the 6 weeks we removed the blackened meat from the pickling liquid and wrapped it up to dry.

 

 HamPickled

 

Genuine Suffolk ham would be smoked for 5 days over oak wood but we don’t have any smoking facilities set up yet so that was not an option so we had to make do with just drying instead.

 

 HamDrying

 

Then the ham was boiled and ready to eat.  And are you wondering what it was like?  Well, in actuality we were not that keen on the pickle flavour and found it a bit chewy for use on sandwiches.  It was interesting though.  In the end we had it as a whole meal and it was good in that way.  It would be better to start with a larger ham than the one our little pig provided I think.  Next time we will try a dry salt cure instead, which will not need cooking, and I’d love to try smoking a ham too.

 

 HamFinished

 

On the subject of home grown produce, I tried whipping some cream the other day which we had skimmed from Isabelle’s milk.  Pretty cool hey?  I didn’t make scones to go with it, but home made apple pie is pretty good too.  🙂  Now I wish I had a butter churn.  I have done some bottling recently too, tomatoes, apples and even some carrots.

 

 Cream

 

We have had a lot of sickness since I last wrote, especially with Sam and Caleb but all of us have been affected.  Firstly we had a nasty gastro run through the family, passed on generously by some friends at church – definitely not related to our ham!  Just in case you were wondering.  🙂  No sooner was everyone recovering from that than we started to come down with a head cold.  However in between the bouts of illness we have continued to progress with projects on the block.  One of our main projects this month has been to do more fencing and we have now finished the western fence line for our paddock extension and have the posts in for the first cross fence of which there are 3 planned.

 

We have also spent quite some time on the caravan and annexe.  Firstly we bolted them together, squaring up the annexe as we did it as it had got a bit askew in it’s travels.  Then we ran flashing between the two on the roof and have sealed up around the edges .  We also redid the support blocks on the annexe, levelling it properly and putting some blocks underneath as well.  We also connected the power to both the van and the annexe.  Most recently we connected up the water, although that still needs further work as only the hot taps work at present and we are not sure why.  Today I hope to collect the carpet that goes in the larger annexe room.  That room has been dubbed “The Music Room” and we have all our instruments available to use in there.

 

 MusicRoom

 

Kim picked up a water bed at a clearing sale ages ago for $2 and as we both hate the mattress we have in the loft we decided to give that a go.  Much to our surprise it seemed to be in good condition and so we set it up for ourselves in the bedroom of the annexe last week.  Lydia has been sleeping on a bunk in the van for quite a few weeks, but Kim and myself just started sleeping there last Saturday.  The only downside is that it is a very large bed and a small room so there is not much spare space.

 

 AnnexeBedroom

 

Josiah moved to a bunk in the van as well so currently there is no-one sleeping in the main house, although we all congregate there during the day and gather around the fire on these chilly mornings – it was 1 degree at 7am this morning and is still only 1.8 outside at 9am.  The days are so short too, it is only just starting to get light at 7 and it is dark at 5:30 each day.

 

 JosiahBunks

CaravanBunks

 

We have had some more pig dramas.  We moved all our larger pigs in together, which seems to be going okay although they all give the big black pig Sweetie a wide berth.  However that meant that the middle sized pigs were running alongside the paddock of the little pigs and one morning we heard squeals and found that Mirax (the naughtiest pig) had gotten through the fence and attacked the little fellows.  We moved them to a more distant area but the little runt is now lame, although improving.

 

We are still persevering with the milking of Isabelle although she is not very happy with the whole concept and uses any excuse to kick us.  The  most we have taken from her is 850ml so far, but then she is feeding a growing calf as well.  And boy is Jack growing.  This is what he looked like at 3 weeks of age.

 

 Jack3wks&Izzy

 

And this is what he looks like now at 4 months.

 

 Jack4mths&Izzy

 

All of our hens seem to have stopped laying for winter.  It is hard to blame them when there is so little light during the day.  We have slaughtered 3 more of our turkeys and they weighed in at a more respectable 2.75kg this time.  I would like to do another 5 this coming week if I can.  I am improving my technique and think I can skin and dress a turkey in 15 minutes now.  I gave up the idea of plucking when I failed to find a water container large enough to dip them in.  Skinning works just fine anyway.  If I want to roast one I have to cook it in the microwave as my regular oven is too tiny for them to fit.  I hate killing things though, but I think that is how it should be.  Anyway I am very fond of my turkeys but they can get in the way sometimes.

 

 TurkeyTrouble

 

Our next project is to get the cooking (gas) facilities and the plumbing working properly in the caravan, including the shower.  Then Kim is going to pull apart my kitchen in the house and install a wood stove which will take over the water heating as well.  We will use the caravan to cook and wash during the process.  We also need to get some sort of heating happening in the caravan as it gets pretty nippy over there some nights.

 

We are thrilled to have another family coming along to our little church.  Josh and Jane recently moved to Mole Creek from Queensland and have 3 young children to add to the mix.  That gives us 22 regulars at church now, up from 4 when we first arrived in Mole Creek 18 months ago.  It also means we have 9 youngsters running around making lots of noise!  How cool is that.  It is wonderful to see God working, moulding our church family in stages.  Firstly we started to attend the church with our family, partly because our cars all broke down except for the rusty old ute that we didn’t want to take any further than we had to.  We decided to commit ourselves to going there and that must have caused quite a bit of adjusting for the old folks, though they didn’t seem to mind.  Over time they gradually began to let us help out with the chores, which was not easy for them as they had been doing it all themselves for many years.  Then Simon and Helen and their 5 children began to come to church as well.  Kim and I could relate to them very well as we have similar ideas about ethical Christian lifestyles and homeschooling.  Their children are just delightful, very calm and well behaved, but still children.  The youngest loves to sing to herself in church – whether anyone else is singing or not.  More adjustments needed to be made by our older folk, but it seemed to come easier this time.  And now we have a new family coming along.  They tried our church because they heard that Kim and I did not approve of women preachers!  Their background is the non denominational church of Christ, and funnily enough Simon and Helen used to go to that denomination which gives them a good basis of understanding where these guys are coming from and is helping them to adjust to our church.  We had a good time on Tuesday at our bible reading and prayer night.  Lots of questions and discussion was had afterwards as we worked out what we all believe, the differences and the similarities.  There are plenty of both but the good thing is that everyone wants to base what they believe on the scriptures which gives us a good foundation to work upon.  We should have some interesting times ahead.

 

On the subject of Christianity we listened to a great sermon last Sunday, downloaded from the internet of course.  It was by Fred from the Branch in Launceston and was on the law and we thought it was very good.  If any of you are interested in listening to sermons sometimes then I would heartily recommend it.  It is titled “Perfect Righteousness Required” and can be downloaded at http://www.thebranch.org.au/?q=sermons

 

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