Thursday, November 26, 2009

Doghouses and get rich quick schemes!

So, I decided to make my fortune building dog houses! "How hard could it be," I said to hubby. "We have lots of material left over from the renovations we did to the house and from the big shed you built". "I'll just whip up a couple and sell them via the local trading post on the radio".

I thought I'd build them for big dogs, making the house at least 4 feet long, 3 feet wide and 2 feet high inside, completely insulated good enough for 40 below, painted cedar siding and a shingled roof. Hubby said "Go for it", (he has learned that it doesn't matter what he says, if I get a bee in my bonnet I will do it anyway).

After 3 days of measuring, cutting, screwing together, taking apart and redoing I realized that there was no way I could get this thing out of the basement if I finished it down there, so I had to take it apart once again and drag everything out to the garage to work on it. I also realized that it was so heavy by this time that I couldn't move it by myself!
At this point hubby took pity on me and came to help, he cut the cedar siding and shingled the roof for me. Good thing or I would still be out there! Once it was finished I couldn't wait to advertise it and field the hundreds of telephone calls of folks wanting such a fine dog house. So far I've had said it was too expensive, and two said they would call me back, I'm sitting waiting for that phone to's not ringing - do you think they lied to me!
In the words of Randy Travis "Since the phone still ain't ringing, I assume it still ain't you (them)"

In the meantime I still have enough material to build another one....think I'll wait till this one is sold, no use having 2 doghouses sitting around not being used!

On the other hand I did build a house for the squirrels in the trees next to the driveway - they were very grateful. They have filled it with all sort of neat stuff including stuffing from under the hood of an old car, peanuts and pine cones. I'm glad some one appreciates my!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's a girl to do....

....when the flowers are gone, the garden is finished and winter is coming? Well, if it's this girl I play with dead people, at least that's what my hubby calls it.

It really started with my search for my ancestors and the web site Find A Grave. There were tons of my family listed on there, all done by volunteers who like me, like hanging out in graveyards. Whenever I get a chance I stop by one of the local graveyards and take a few pictures, load them onto the website. Later when the snow is falling and the winds are howling I can do some research on who they were and maybe help someone else find their ancestors.

Some stories are happy with epitaphs such as "We live together in happiness, now we rest together in peace", some are sad as was little Esther Erickson.
Esther died in 1928 in what some say was a murder/suicide by her father, others say it was an accident and her father was so horrified by what he had done he then shot himself. Maybe one day I will find out the truth. In the meantime her marker was broken and in danger of being lost........ I bought her a new one. It was odd even before I knew Esther's story I was always drawn to her grave, and yes, I know the people who made the marker spelled her name wrong, I hope she doesn't mind.

Some stones are just so peaceful like Kerry Haywood's. On the back it says "Gone Fishing" with a picture of a fishing pole and with a fish on the hook. I always smile when I see his marker.

Then there is the unexplained!! I stopped by to start photographing this small cemetery, I took pictures of about 80 graves and a few of them in the middle of the group didn't turn out. Two of children's graves and this one. The picture after this one is as clear as a bell, but this one is blurry and give me your that an orb in the middle?
I am hopefully going to get back before the snow flies (I'd better hurry) and redo the few that didn't turn out. I will have to have a talk with ghosts and tell them I'm not going to do anything to upset them and would they please let me take their pictures.

It's OK if you think I'm a bid odd in my hobby, truth be known I'm quite sure my family thinks I'm completely off my!

It really is a peaceful way to spend an afternoon, just the birds singing, my dog who always accompanies me and maybe, just maybe an occasional ghost.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I canned venison today. I only got 7 quarts so far, but have more to do tomorrow as well as some moose meat to can too. I will probably do the rest in pints and maybe even mix some deer meat with the moose for a little different flavour. Hubby and I actually cut up an entire deer carcass and froze steaks and a couple of roasts. Any pieces that didn't fit into either of the first two categories got cut into chunks and canned.
Canning meat is very long and labour intensive, if you don't have a pressure canner (I bought my first one last year), it is even longer. Meat being easily contaminated takes extra work to keep it clean, the jars must be sterilized and the canning time must not be cut down. Although the pressure canner is only 90 minutes cooking time as compared to 4 hours cooking time with the standard boiling water bath, the prep time and cool down time make it feel like 4 hours. The best thing about the pressure method is there is much less chance of any contaminates living through the process.
It all got me to thinking about the "olden" days, not even that "olden", just 50 years ago. My parents didn't have a freezer until the 60's and my grandparents never had one or even electricity! I remember the brine barrel in the basement when I was very young, we would butcher a pig, cut it up and then keep it in brine in a oak barrel in the cool. Roasts and cuts that could be cut into chops would be kept in there, the bacon and hams were cured by Mum and the rest was canned.
Mum also told me that they used to try to butcher or get wild meat late enough in the fall that it was freezing out, they would cut it up, wrap it and keep it buried in the grain in the granary, natures own freezer. Maybe that's why farmers kept and ate a lot of chicken, you didn't have to worry about the meat until you were ready to eat it.
On another note - my Christmas cactus is blooming. It is one I've had for 5 years and started as just a little branch., this is the first time it has bloomed. I have a really big one I got from my sister -in-law Genny, and it is covered in buds too. It usually blooms from November until late February a bright spot in a cold grey winter.