Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving!

Hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving. We opted to stay close to the house for Thanksgiving this year as this is the final week of hunting season. So our Thanksgiving went something like this and each thing I am thankful for.

1. Shower. Simple but so nice to start the day out right.
2. Grandkids. While only half of them were here we enjoy every min with them. Nothing better then hugs from little arms first thing in the morning.
3. TEA!!!! Found a wonderful chi tea mix my new fav. :)
4. Cleaned the house with help from the kids. Thankful for this because I learned that the house stays cleaner with just Mike and I but it is so nice to have the kids here to mess it up and help to clean it up.
5. Hung our snowflakes in the window and the walls. We have a tradition of  making ornaments for the tree every year. Well this year we made snowflakes for the windows and walls in the kitchen. The kids had a blast making them and we hung them in the kitchen and shop.
6. Worked in the shop. Did a little work over there and am thankful for all the work that we have.
7. Finished up the pickled heart and tongue that Mike volunteered me to make. Not really thankful for my husband volunteering me to make something I do not like, but am thankful for his generous spirit, even though it causes me more work.
8. Made cornbread to take to Thanksgiving dinner. Glad I have passed down recipes to share. Makes my Grandparents seem a little closer this time of year.
9. Went to Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house. Very grateful for new friends who share the same interest in things that we do.
10. Fellowship. Even though the pig in a pit didn't work and the men had to grill up some of the pork on the grill and put out the resulting fire, the talk among friends made up for it all.
11. SHOPPING!!! Tara and I went to Great Falls for the sales at Midnight. Really enjoyed ourselves. It was not nearly as crazy as trying this in PA, which I have done several times. We had fun even with the crowds and craziness. Had some good conversations with other people in line, got a lot of Christmas shopping done and generally had a good time. I also saved $650 and Michael and Tara won't freeze this winter. I did let them have their Christmas presents a little early so they got their new coats. Hoodies just won't cut it out here. We need real coats. :)
12. My bed!!!! Finally got there at 5 AM and had to get back up in the morning to get to the shop.

We will have a traditional thanksgiving meal (well sort of :-)) on Sunday. Has been a very busy weekend in the shop.
Here are the pictures of our snowflake making and the finished products.
Putting the snowflakes together.
Pile of finished snowflakes.
Finished product in the kitchen.



Now to get a tree and finish decorating :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

An update on our very busy lives.

A few weeks ago, I was a little worried if we had made the right decision in our move and starting this. So worried in fact that I put in for a job and Mike did too. Between the 2 of us we could have made enough money to stay afloat until we figured out what to do. Was a very scary time for us. Had a lot of people telling us it was going to work out, and a lot of people asking questions but not a lot of work lined up. Things were looking a little dim. We got one antelope in and had a few samples left from the open house and they decided to have the whole thing made into bologna. More on this later :)

Then Hunting season started. In the first weekend we filled the wild game cooler and started falling behind. We had 2 beef to cut up and no time to do it. Took forever to cut the one up because about every hour another deer would come in. I had ordered just enough supplies to get started and realized that we had no where near enough. In a panic I found a local place that delivers to Fort Benton every week and had the paper I needed. One hurtle cleared! We had the bologna done and on a trip into Great Falls for spices, I delivered it to the mans work. We started to get caught up but that week Mike and I worked 94 hours in the shop. Most of that time trying to figure out how to make this work better. Wind the second weekend of hunting season helped us out. We were able to get caught up and didn't have a lot of deer come in so we could actually get in the game cooler again.:) Had 2 beef come in that week that were scheduled ahead of time also. In the middle of the week, a guy showed up with an antelope and wanted it all made into bologna. He had tasted it from the order I dropped off 2 days earlier. He had another tag to fill and went and filled it so he could have some of his own. Then drove it almost 70 miles to us to have it made.

We have been steady since then. Have made about 250 lbs of bologna and sausage, 90 lbs of jerky and processed 24 deer, one elk and 8 antelope. I have 110 lbs of sausage and bologna to make tomorrow and 150 scheduled for next week out of the 4 deer and 2 elk in the cooler. Of course we ran out of casings!!!! They are ordered and will be here mid week. A lot of folks have told us they have more tags to fill and word of mouth is spreading so we are getting more and more.

Now this was holding us for now but hunting season ends Thanksgiving weekend. (Yeah, you PA people, 5 weeks of hunting!) We were still a little worried about the beef prospects. Oh and we still were not flushed because we were still buying supplies and paying bills as fast as we were making money with very little left.

This week has turned it all around. We have 3 beef that need cut next week, along with over half a cooler of wild game. And it looks like a good hunting weekend. We have all the supplies ordered for the next 3+ weeks, and Michael and Tara are on their way out so we will have enough help to get it all done. We also have been getting calls for beef like crazy. Have 7 more beef scheduled before Thanksgiving. Also have a few more that will need done in December. 1 of the beef is from a rancher that sells about 15-20 a year and 2 of the ones in December are from another rancher that sells about 15-20 a year, another of the beef is from a rancher that has a large extended family all over the county that raise beef. To put this in perspective we need about 6 beef a month to cover all our costs and live.

Mike and I have decided that we are not going to take the other jobs. Way to busy. Mike also has been getting mechanical jobs on the side. And Michael has 2 standing job offers now if we don't have enough work for him.

Things are looking better but we are very tired. I had planned to spend 2 whole days loving on the grandkids when they get here but I don't think that is possible right now. Will spend every available minute with them and take them shopping when I get a chance.

Sorry I have no pictures but we haven't really done anything but cut meat for 2 weeks now. LOL Work is good. I will have some pictures when the kids get here. Can't wait to see those faces!!!!!