I wake up with a headache this morning. I think it's my sinuses, definitely pressure. It snowed last night, just a couple of inches, and it's cold again. The boys are tired of their endless pancake diet but make a batch anyway. I get the fat bowl and clean the hardened tallow. I drain more fat from the pot into it and take it back outside. The hardened tallow goes into the coffee pot to melt. I scoop cracklings out to add to the doggy stew and chicken feed.
I dig some bananas out of the freezer to bake banana bread. I add half a jar of jam to each batch, leaving out the sugar. I have to open a new box each of baking soda and baking powder. I have one more box of baking soda, but this is the last powder. I have no idea how long they should last for. I don't remember needing to replace them often, but I never needed to worry about how to replace them before. I write them on the list on the fridge. You never know- I might be able to find some somewhere. The first batch of banana bread goes in to bake.
There's enough chili left over for lunch today. The turkey soup is mostly water, so I dump the remnants into the doggy stew and wash the pot. We're getting low on water again. I send the Littles out to do chores and brush clean snow off the cars, tables, lawn chairs, etc. It's not deep enough to take off the ground. They fill two big pots and set them beside the stove to melt.
The Littles do their work books. Husband and the Bigs go out to work the horses. I ask them to leave Samson until after lunch. I want to go see about getting more chickens today. They give Knightmare an extra long work out today, and she's starting to get it.
I set the clean pot on the counter to plan for lunch tomorrow. I take a package of stewing bear out to defrost in it. I check my calendar for supper tonight. I'm off schedule already, after the beans and chili. Last night was supposed to be roast beef, and hash tonight. Tonight will be roast beef instead. Not a big deal. I get a roast out of the freezer and put it in a roasting pan. We've got enough bread for today, and banana bread for breakfast tomorrow. I put the second batch in the oven.
I peel potatoes for supper and tomorrows soup, adding water to both pots. I add squash, weeds, chives, and a carrot to the soup pot.
The last batch of banana bread goes in the oven to bake. I go to the basement and get two small boxes. I put about 2 pounds of potatoes in each, a jar of dried weeds, a couple of onions. I debate about other canned goods, but don't want to lose the jars. I add a couple of carrots and onions instead. Upstairs I take the banana bread out, remove the oven, and put the roast and chili on the stove. I pour the melted fat into clean pasta jars. That gives me an idea.
I add a small candle to each of the boxes. I'll have to make more candles for trading. I add 'small jars' to the list on the fridge. I bag two loaves of banana bread and put one in each box. I bag another and set it on the side. I put a copy of the weed list in each box.
Husband and the Bigs come in for lunch. The boys load my boxes and two empty cages on the cart after lunch. They go with us to Mom and Dad's.
Dad has a couple of empty jerry cans he'd like filled if we happen across a car that hasn't been drained. I give Mom a loaf of banana bread. She peaks inside one of the boxes. They'd like a couple of chickens themselves. Mom packs a small box with odds and ends- catsup and sauce packets from restaurants, a box of kraft dinner, a can of soup, a can of carrots, and a couple packets of microwave popcorn.
We leave the boys with them to visit, and go to the flea market. Husband doesn't trust my directions, so he stops in to check with Marsha.
At the closest house that had advertised chickens we find out they've already traded or butchered all they want to part with. At the second house the people want all three boxes for one bird. We go to the third house, which is much further away. We get lucky there.
It's a small farm with an assortment of goats, chickens, ducks and cows. They don't have horses, so their travels are very limited. They haven't had many people come to trade for chickens, and they have a lot of them. With no feed available for sale, and winter setting in, they have to butcher them or get rid of them. They happily trade us 16 hens for the three boxes of food. They probably would have given us more, but that's all the cages will hold.
The lady looks through the boxes and looks at the jar of dried weeds. They're running low on veggies. I show her the weed list and we go for a quick walk around her yard so I can point out the ones she's not sure of.
We have a long, friendly chat. They don't get many visitors and don't have any family around. We talk about the goats. They have dairy goats. Ours are meat. They have two that are due to kid soon. I ask what they would want to trade for one of the soon to be moms. They aren't interested in trading them at this time, but they offer us some milk. They'll trade milk any time we want to come back, and maybe a pregnant goat in the spring.
We find a car on the highway that has just enough fuel to fill the jerry cans. We go back to Mom and Dad's.
Dad and the boys have built a small chicken pen out of logs. It looks like the cutest little log cabin dog house. They've built a little fence around it, weaving together thin trees and branches. The boys trim the wings off of 4 hens and put them in the pen. Dad figures that's enough for them.
We drop 8 hens off at our house, trimming their wings but keeping them inside for today. We put the goat's milk in the outside fridge.
We load up half of the remaining bear meat on the cart, grab another loaf of banana bread, and take it to Brother and Sil's. They're a little surprised to be receiving chickens, and at first suggest that we just keep them at our place. Our chicken pen isn't mobile though, so we already have to supplement their feed with grass and weeds. It'll be easier if they keep their own chickens and move them every day to graze. I won't be responsible for providing everyone with eggs if they have their own birds either.
We help them build a little log cabin chicken house to keep them in over night. The boys explain how they built Grandpa's pen, so they can work on that tomorrow.
We go home. The boys put Samson and the cart away and do chores. I check the roast and put the potatoes on to cook. The snow is still covering the ground, so no weeds to pick today. Beets for supper veg.
I still have a headache, so I decide to try some pine needle tea. A friend told me once that pine needles are like aspirin.
After supper I go to bed with a book. Husband has read through all of #1's James Patterson books. He needs to make a trip to the library. The boys play cards.