Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rabi' Al Awwal 1438 December 2016

December 2nd brought about an inch of snow, masha'Allah – our first snow on the ground this season.

On December 6th, we sold our third cow, Primrose, leaving us fully downsized with just Daisy for milk. We have Azalea, who should be bred next summer and be providing milk by spring 2018. We have Youngbul, our steer who is scheduled for slaughter in autumn 2017. Barbecue is our upcoming bull for breeding next year. Rambo is doing his job, so insha'Allah, our three ewes will be lambing in April/May 2017.

We downsized our chickens again, selling another 10 and keeping just 15 plus our rooster. Calculations are three chickens per person, so we have the exact amount for our family. All the chickens have finished their molt and are in their beautiful winter coats, back to laying on a less frequent winter schedule al hamdulillah.

Funnily enough, we have brush rabbits running around all over the farm, so while we are no longer paying to raise meat rabbits, we have them running wild to shoot whenever we feel like a rabbit stew or pot pie – free!

Focus is on stocking up on wood to get us through the winter, cataloging our seed stock and adding where necessary, and setting reachable goals for our future projects. 2017 is our year for focusing on growing – for us and our animals, insha'Allah and adding extra fencing to our barbed wire on two sides of our 28 acre plot so our sheep and chickens can free range. 2018 is our goal for our own bee hives, ducks, and geese insha'Allah.


We have over the past couple of months added 3 more 100 amp hour, sealed lead acid AGM solar batteries to our bank, upgraded to a 40 watt MPPT charge controller, MT50 meter, and changed out our cables to 2 gauge, 9 inch ones. This gives us maximum efficiency from our main solar power set up, masha'Allah.


December 12th was a beautiful day for cooking, as we prepared all our meals on top of the wood stove. From griddle scones, oatmeal, and tea to chicken, broccoli au gratin, and potatoes, we never turned on our gas stove once. We even made healthy chocolate peanut butter cups on the wood stove, masha'Allah! It also was the day we received a gift of a pressure cooker – another time and energy saving appliance that will reduce our use of propane to nearly nothing insha'Allah.


December 16th we had clear skies and up to 60mph winds, which blew the roof off our milking shed masha'Allah. We could only say Allahu Akbar wal hamdulillah, as we needed to redesign it anyway. Now we will be focusing on doing the roof a bit higher and setting it up for water catchment, channeled into a 1650 gallon tank. The tank will be used for water for the livestock and guardian dogs, and will be a part of the design to insulate and heat the milking shed. Creativity and design details are flowing as we plan our future milk shed refit.


December 17th brought about three inches of snow, up to 40mph winds, and temperatures that never exceeded 10 degrees Fahrenheit. We hit a low of -15 that night, the coldest it has been since we moved here masha'Allah. Needless to say, we were all extremely grateful to be safe and warm inside, taking the chance to make a fresh stock of salves and whipping up some healthy homemade peppermint patties!

December 22nd we started collecting stones for the base of our cob pizza oven from the neighbors land.

December 26th we set up a couple of bathtubs we picked up for free. One will be used as a cold frame, the other for worm composting. We also brought all the plastic tubs we had prepped during the summer with straw, fertilizer, and dirt along our fence line, to be used for planting.

December 28th we ventured outside after dinner to look up at our dazzling New Mexico skies and see Venus and Mars. New Mexico has the darkest night skies and light pollution laws in effect to safeguard them masha'Allah. We can, on most nights, see all the constellations clearly – truly a dazzling display of Allah's Majesty and Power!

December 30th was our monthly shopping trip. We usually try to stop into a thrift store in Las Vegas, NM on the way and pick up whatever is good. One fantastic thing is that the children's books are only 5 cents each. As it is a college city, we have found many good homeschooling books and boxed sets of school books for the children. A few nice books the children have been enjoying from these trips, and as loans from friends, are: Kidnapped by the Taliban, Ishi, A Buffalo in the House, There's a Seal in my Sleeping Bag, The Pioneers, Winterdance, Black Elk Speaks, The Alamo, World War 1 Heroes, Your Chickens – a kids guide to raising and showing, and some nice animal and nature books masha'Allah.

Next month we will be starting our growing – inside and out, insha'Allah. With snow on the forecast, we hope to post some photos of a winter wonderland.