Happy Birthday to my two beautiful sons Jason & Brandon. I love you both so much. I hope your day, your year and your life are filled with love and happiness.
I spent the better part of a week in the hospital; 6 days actually. I thought I had the flu so I didn’t go in to the doctor until the 3rd day. He immediately sent me to the ER. They thought I had meningitis, but I wouldn’t let them do a spinal tap. I was in so much pain, vomiting, diarrhea, a temp of 102.6 (I run a degree low so it would have been 103.6 on a normal person, I was dehydrated and on IVs. My urine was black and syrupy. I was on two types of antibiotics, morphine; I had x-rays, an MRI a CAT Scan (found out I have arthritis in my neck) – they did lots of blood cultures, lots of stool cultures – they found nothing.
I kept getting sicker and sicker. I was sleeping 23 hours a day (or just unconscious?) Sound hurt my entire body. I had Kevin call Denise Norbert at The Herb Cottage in Lake Elsinore. She’s done energy work on me before for a migraine. She wasn’t in town but she said that she could send energy anyway; she didn’t need to be with me. She is the reason that I believe I am alive. Kevin texted her and told her about the urine – two hours later it was as clear as could be. She would send energy and I would get temporary relief from pain.
Eventually my idiot doctor came in and said he couldn’t find anything wrong with me. All the tests came back negative so he was sending me home. I couldn’t walk without help. I was still in pain, I was still sick. I told the idiot that I didn’t think I was ready to go home yet and he asked if I had a ‘social issue’ at home.
“No” I said, “I’m just still sick.” “Well this is an expensive hotel”, he says. “Do you have a problem with your boyfriend? I could call in Social Services”. “No, I don’t need you to call social services, but he works, I don’t think I could manage on my own.” I say. He says, “I could send you to a nursing home if you don’t want to go home.” “No, I don’t want to go to a nursing home; I just need another day or two to get stronger,” said I. “Is there someone who could come stay with you?” He asks “I can ask my sister if she could,” I respond. “I can have Social Services call her and talk to you,” he says. “No. I don’t need Social Services, I’m sure she will,” I say.
At this point I’m exhausted, I’m in pain, I’d been vomiting, I’m frustrated because the man is an IDIOT!
He leaves and a little while later the nurse comes in. I ask her if I could vent to her. I told her what happened – at the ‘this is an expensive hotel’ part she says, ‘Wow that was mean.” Then she tells me that he told her he wanted to discharge me and she even told him that she thinks I need a day or two more that I wasn’t ready to go home yet.
Visiting hours start and Kevin comes in. I’m upset and tell him I want to talk to him, but help me to the bathroom first. As I’m almost to the bathroom a woman comes in to talk about discharging me. Kevin hadn’t heard the story yet but yells at the woman. “What?! Look at her! Does she look like she’s ready to go home?” The woman backs out of the room and leaves. Then I tell Kevin what transpired.
We talked to the nurse and asked how we fire the doctor. She had us talk to the charge nurse who tells us that the easiest way is to let him discharge me and then go find another doctor. As it is a week into the case another doctor probably wouldn’t take me as a patient – she beat around the bush but basically came to it being because they all have to work together and their egos are at stake.
I went home the next morning. Kevin still had to continue nursing me for a few days and I eventually got to where I could take care of myself. I’m still weak but I’m steadily gaining strength. It’s been 3 weeks since this all started and I’m not a patient person.
I went back to work last Monday and was planning to work on Wednesday too, but ended up working from home. I was too weak to get far from the bed. I did go in on Friday and after 2 ½ hours had to lay down for about an hour to rest. This really sucks.
So I did go in to see Denise (she was back from a weeklong conference). She puts her hand up to me (not touching me) and the first thing she says is “Wait, you’re not a vegetarian are you?” “Yes, I am now” I respond. “You’re really low on protein! You need to eat meat. Not just protein, but actual meat.” How does she do that? It’s amazing. Last time I’d seen her we were working on nutrition and I was a carnivore. That’s why she was surprised that I was a vegetarian. But how did she know?! I want that gift. Anyway I digress. She worked on me, mostly my stomach area – and I felt so much better afterwards. She worked on my neck and shoulder and my head a little also. She said the she knows I hurt, but the most important thing is to focus on my digestion and getting things back in order there. Still she took my pain level down considerably. Every time she would touch me in an area that needed work she would get really, really hot! I could feel her heat up like she had a fire behind her fingers. I have an appointment with her again next Friday.
I've been trying to think of some catchy name for our farm. Butterfield Greens; Family Farm; Rescue Ranch; Russell Ranch.... Thanks to our good friend Todd Mason we have a name. We are going with: R Farm - (for Russell Farm). There is a new guy at work named Dean who said he'd work on a graphic / logo that Jason Fruta helped develop for me. I'm hoping to get it soon. I want to have t-shirts made up to give to friends and family. It will say:
R Farm (graphic) Where friends and family are welcome And chores are a given
We want company - friends, family, distant cousins, neighbors - we would love to be the hub where everyone comes to visit - announced or unannounced - it doesn't matter.
The Grand Plan
There is so much to do! First I'll start with Rose Cottage. This is the original home that the previous owners lived in and their previous owners also lived in. It's a 1 room studio made of brick with a sink, room for a stove, a toilet and a shower. It has 2 windows and electricity - and a lot of dust. Currently it is without water, but that's an easy fix.
I'm going to clean it well - it's musty and basement smelling. Then paint it a cream color and stencil roses on the outside - and then plant roses all around it. It's so cute in my mind's eye. This is going to be a dual purpose building. Foremost it will be my canning room. It's cooler than the house and I can spread out - since it's basically going to be a kitchen. But we are going to put our day bed in there also so it will double as a guest house / retreat. This is my domain and I'm so excited about getting it going. The shed that is attached is where I'll keep my over flow of canned goods.
We were going to use the Sea Container for food storage, but I can't see how that's going to work. It gets very, very hot in there and I'm afraid that things won't keep as long. So instead this is going to be where the miscellaneous things (mostly from the garage) are going to go. It will be our garage in essence - just no cars parked there.
The barn and the shed need some major repair of flooring and sides. I think we can just pull up what is warped and replace it - my brother and brother in law will be enlisted to help since this is their forte. I have been saving wood for a couple of years 'just in case'. I find it free all the time - anything from pallets to plywood sheets to 2x4's.
As for the house - does anyone know where I can purchase wall paper? Not online - I want to go to a real store, sit down and look through their catalogs. The difference between online and a store is that a store shows coordinating accents and patterns - I haven't found that online yet.
I wanted to move the stove and refrigerator - the kitchen is too small so I was going to combine the kitchen and dining room into one room. Kevin has not asked for anything with regards to the farm except that I keep it the way it is - he likes the set up. I can paint, wallpaper, change flooring - but keep the design. Okay, I love him more than I hate the kitchen. He gets his way.
I have a marble top coffee table in my living room that I'm going to have remade. I want a side board using the top so that I can roll out dough and pastries on it. It needs to be higher to keep the dogs from slobbering on and helping themselves to whatever I'm trying to make. They are curious and always underfoot. I need something that is tall enough that I can stand and knead dough. (I had one in Germany years ago and never forgot it - it was made of Formica, but was perfect for this purpose.)
The living room is going to become our library / reading room. The two Lazy-Boy rocker/recliners will go in this room against the window and the wall the used to hold their couch will be our book shelves. We both are avid readers and want a large space for quiet and reflection.
There is one bedroom that we both swore had doors on it, but now we can't even find marks where they would have been. The room has an arched entry way and the doors didn't go to the top - this was going to be a 3rd bedroom, but without the doors it won't work. Instead we are going to put our couch, a recliner and our TV/Entertainment Center in this room. It will be the entertainment room. The closet in that room will be our coat closet.
There is the Man Cave which is the porch converted into a bedroom that the Brhel's son used. This is going to be Kevin's domain. It will hold a dresser, TV, VCR, DVD Player and his work out equipment - weights, bands, etc. And most likely another recliner.
There is the one bedroom that we are going to use for Foster Kids. It is large enough to hold 2 of them. We were given two single beds barely used not long ago that we took just for this purpose. It will also hold a desk and a dresser and they will share a closet.
There is our bedroom and we've decided where to put the bed and how to share the closet & dressers - this isn't going to be easy - we both have way more than we use, but neither wants to get rid of things. I have those vacuum seal bags that take all the air out and makes things small - this is good because we will need to store it in the Sea Container.
Sunday the 28th
On the East Coast they are experiencing Hurricane Irene. On the West Coast we are experiencing a heat wave… and our air conditioning went out at the house – again. The last time was during the 4th of July weekend. It’s old, it needs replaced – but we just bought a farm and it also needs a lot of money sunk into it. Maybe my brother-in-law, Mike, can fix it for us. He fixed the swamp cooler at the farm for around $25 for a new pump.
Since the AC is out, we are spending the day at the farm – it’s a good day to start cleaning. We brought the dogs with us so that they could escape the heat too. Of course they keep running in and out because there is so much to explore; all but Bo that is. He’s keeping himself in the Man Cave where there is a window AC unit and so it’s the coolest room in the house. He’s sound asleep.
Max was hanging out with Kevin who was cleaning the closet walls in the spare bedroom. Max is ‘talking’ and standing still facing the wall so Kevin checks on him. There is a full length mirror and he sees another dog. He looks behind and the dog is gone. He looks in the mirror again and it’s there again. Why won’t it come out and play? He’s walked away from it and explores other areas but keeps going back to check on his new friend. Amazing that he’s always there!
I’m exhausted from cleaning cabinets in the kitchen, and I’m just ½ way done. I chose the easy side to start on. The vent over the stove is caked in grease and dust. Ick. All of the guides on the kitchen drawers are either broken or missing all together. I’ll be running to the hardware store sometime soon. I’m sure that my list will grow and grow however.
I don't know when we'll get to it, but it has to be soon - we need to roto-till the garden that is already defined on the farm. It's all weeds at the moment, but seems pretty fertile. We need to start getting plants in the ground soon.
I'm planning on digging up most all of what I already have growing and trying to transplant them. And with much more room, I'm going to space them out a lot more.
Milk - Cream
I have been wondering how to separate the cream from the milk and was on homesteadingtoday.com and found a post for a Novo Cream Separator It has this to say: The 80 Liter/hour Novo cream separator sells for $397 plus $18 shipping to the lower 48 United States.
The only thing bad I've read is that it doesn't work well with Jersey Cow milk. I think it's because of the amount of butter fat that they have - great for cheese making though. I sent off an inquiry to the company about this very thing. Hopefully I'll get a response.
Interesting information about Cream:
Cream (from Greek chrisma, literally “an anointing”) is a dairy product that is composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization. In un-homogenized milk, over time, the lighter fat rises to the top. In the industrial production of cream this process is accelerated by using centrifuges called “separators”. In many countries, cream is sold in several grades depending on total butterfat content.
Cream produced by livestock grazing on natural pastures often contains some natural carotenoid pigments derived from the plants they eat; this gives the cream a slight yellow tone, hence the name of the yellowish-white color cream. Cream from livestock fed indoors, on grain or grain-based pellets, is white. The chemistry of whole milk is such that it separates into cream and milk best at a temperature of about 100º Fahrenheit.Types of creamHere is a list of cream products and associated percentages of fat: in the United States, cream is usually sold as:
Half and half (10.5-18% fat) Light, coffee, or table cream (18-30% fat) Medium cream (25% fat) Whipping or light whipping cream (30-36% fat) Pegs of cream (15-20%) Heavy whipping cream (36% or more) Extra-heavy or manufacturer’s cream (38-40% or more) *generally not available at retail except at some warehouse stores.
Not all grades are defined by all jurisdictions, and the exact fat content ranges vary. The above figures are based on the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 131  and a small sample of state regulations.
Other cream products Sour cream in the U.S. is cream (18% or more milk fat) that has been subjected to a bacterial culture that produces lactic acid (0.5%+), which sours and thickens it.
Crème fraîche is a heavy cream (30–40% milk fat) slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as American sour cream. Mexican crema (or cream espesa) is similar to crème fraîche. Kysana smetana is a Central and Eastern European sour cream.
In the UK, clotted cream (similar to Indian malai) is a very high-fat (55%) product processed with heat. For cooking purposes, both single and double cream can be used in cooking, although the former can separate when heated, usually if there is a high acid content. Most UK chefs always use double cream or full-fat crème fraîche when cream is added to a hot sauce, to prevent any problem with it separating or “splitting”. In sweet and savoury custards such as those found in flan fillings, crème brûlées and crème caramels, both types of cream are called for in different recipes depending on how rich a result is called for. It is useful to note that double cream can also be thinned down with water to make an approximation of single cream if necessary.
Whipped creamCream with 30% or more fat can be turned into whipped cream by mixing it with air. The resulting colloid is roughly double the volume of the original cream as air bubbles are captured in a network of fat droplets. If, however, the whipping is continued, the fat droplets will stick together destroying the colloid and forming butter; the remaining liquid is buttermilk. Confectioner’s sugar (also known as icing sugar) is sometimes added to the colloid in order to stiffen the mixture and to reduce the risk of over whipping.
Whipped cream may be sold ready-to-use in pressurized containers. Nitrous oxide is used as a propellant, and when the cream leaves the nozzle, it produces four times the volume of cream, i.e., twice the volume produced by whipping air into it. Using this technique, it may also be prepared in reusable dispensers, similar to a seltzer siphon bottle, using inexpensive disposable nitrous oxide cartridges. However, the whipped cream produced with nitrous oxide is unstable, and will return to a more or less liquid state within half an hour to one hour. Thus, the method is not suitable for decorating food that will not be immediately served.
Chantilly cream (French: crème Chantilly) is whipped cream with sugar and vanilla. Perfect on top of a waffle with strawberries, it is used in pastry both for its taste and as a decoration. Ice cream is also frequently served with Chantilly. The original recipe was created by François Vatel, maître d’ at the Château de Chantilly in the 17th century. The basic Chantilly is made of whipped cream and sugar although there are slight variations in some countries. The most important thing to get the correct result is the ratio between the two ingredients. The ideal portions are 60 grams of sugar for every 200 millilitres of whipping cream. Before whipping, you can add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean to taste. Remember to use cold utensils when preparing Chantilly cream!
Novo Cream Separator
I’ve been researching grass lately. What do you plant for cows to graze on? There is Caucasian Bluestem Grass Seed; Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, Switchgrass. Then there is Timothy, Oats, Rye… what do I need to plant for my cow? I found the California extension office online and the person to contact for Dairy Cows in Riverside County. I sent off an email and I’m hoping that they respond and help make things clearer than they are now. If anyone out there can give advice, point me in the right direction... please do. Thanks.
My mobile kitchen
I closed down my business Minis And More. It just wasn't working out for me. I still need to sell my food trailer, but haven't even taken pictures of it yet to post on Craigslist. The issue it has is that it fishtails even with stabilizers on it. It makes it scary to tow.
Kevin suggested that we wake up early on Sunday morning (8/21/11) and move it in the middle of the night when there is less traffic. Great idea! So we got up around 3:00 am and hooked the trailer up to the truck. Traffic is minimal and we drove 25 mph - all went well. As we were driving we were discussing where we were going to place it at the farm. Some debate about having it in front of Rose Cottage, some about having it on the far side of the Sea Container. For aesthetic reasons, we chose next to the Sea Container.
Once we got there and looked at the side of the container I vetoed it. It's on a hill and the trailer would be tilted sideways. We put it on the other side instead - but first we had to go to the barn, find a saw and cut down some tree branches. (Ok, there was no 'we' about it - I held the flashlight.) Then we cleared the buckets I'd taken over on an earlier trip and just moved things out of the way.
Kevin gets into the truck and pulls it through. When the truck is at the back of the Sea Container the trailer still has a long way to go to be flush with the Sea Container - which meant that Kevin had to drive down a hill, through more trees. This was accomplished and he was at a pretty steep down grade while the trailer was flat (at one time the front wheels were off the ground though). All goes well and we unhook the trailer.
Then we had to get out. There are trees everywhere and a fence in front of us. The ground was like sand and when we weren't stuck spinning our wheels, we were sliding all over the place. A few trees took the worst of it as we slammed into them sideways, backwards - at least never forwards. While trying to get us out of there he kept saying - Two Feet. I have two feet. Trying to remind himself that he could use the break to keep us from going forwards or backwards while he shifted gears. We weren't sure we were going to get out last night and debated sleeping there until daylight, then cutting down some trees to make a passable road. Kevin was great though. He got us out of there and tired and freezing (we were both in shorts) we got back home and slept. Me until around 10:30 am.
It’s your life, your one and only life-so take excellence very personally. Scott Johnson