Food and Drink

Care Packages

It has been a long time since we had an article about care packages, and it has been ages since we received one! Granted, they do charge us at the post office a percentage of the amount written on the customs form, but some things we just cannot find in Kenya, and we would love to have them. Here is our wish list! For my friends with horse connections, finding some items are quite difficult. We are extremely happy with used items as long as they are in good condition. I will post the horse items here first because they are difficult to find in Kenya, but if that is not an area of interest for  you, please keep scrolling. We really miss certain things like ranch seasoning packets!

Horse stuff: (I am posting links to products so you can see what we are needing, but if you have used items in good condition, we are happy to use those!)

  • lead ropes (seriously, we have broken most of ours!)
  • 4 hackamores (bitless attachment so our horses can be ridden without bits) see this link or this link
  • 1/4" or 6mm thick parachord 100 ft long for making our own halters preferably turquoise or black, but not really picky!
  • 20 pieces if possible 1" Stainless Steel O rings to make our own bridles
  • 3 crops
  • 3 or so (because they break over time, but one will do!) lunge whips
  • bean bags (very important for our therapy sessions!)
  • plush dice
  • game idea books for horsey games (just search for some on Amazon) We aren't picky, and I don't have any!
  • cones
  • reins
  • breast plates (3 ponies, one horse)
  • Stirrup leathers 
  • stirrups
  • helmets
  • Rope halters
  • saddles obviously not easy to mail so designated funds to buy them here- $400 or so? I found one I really like! 
  • extra money for hay (it is tripled in price at the moment, so we need about $400 for 100 bales)
  • hay nets
  • speakers and ipod for music for therapy. Our speakers are not loud enough.

Meds:

  • Nyquil
  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen
  • Children's meds ages 1 year and up
  • vitamin C chewables
  • pepto
  • sore throat meds
  • allergy meds
  • bug bite meds
  • antibacterial cream

Household:

  • Mr. Clean erasers
  • hand towels
  • wash cloths
  • silicone Popsicle molds
  • LED solar twinkle lights (all sorts, these are fun!)
  • flashlights
  • hair bows for baby Starlette
  • hair brushes (remember, we live in a country where we are the minority so finding good hair brushes is difficult)

Food:

  • Ranch
  • TexJoy
  • butt rub
  • seasoned sunflower seeds
  • pistacios
  • pecans
  • almonds
  • marshmallows (both large and small)
  • hersheys
  • chocolate chips
  • peanut butter chips
  • m&m's
  • Reese's cups

school supplies

  • Pens
  • crayons
  • coloring books
  • erasers
  • pencils
  • paint brushes
  • watercolor paper
  • glue
  • notebooks

Pet Supplies

  • Dog sweaters for up on this cold mountain Size Great Dane
  • Dog leashes
  • Chew toys
  • Flea control
  • Dog bed

 


Pork

Part of the reasoning behind buying The Shire, our almost twelve acres here in Kenya, was to be able to grow and raise much of our own food. Plus to be able to produce food for the hungry people we work with in the Nakuru community. We spend the vast majority of funds that come in on feeding the children, ourselves, and a host of other people. When we started to look for a piece of land to buy that was one of the foremost agendas for that new land, production of food.

Now since we know little about farming and gardening we are studying and applying that timeless learning tool, trial and error. I have failed to grow quite a few vegetables and succeeded on a few others. I am confident that in the future this farm will produce an abundance of vegetables.

One aspect of the farm that has been a big success are the pigs. We bought the two pigs from a farmer nearby, and honestly I did not think they would survive. The things were skin and bones and covered with mange. Lots of food and a little medicine fixed them right up. Maggie, our sow, is on her third litter. We have been able to sell some of the piglets, give a few away, and most importantly eat some ourselves. Last week I slaughtered a piglet for dinner and tomorrow will do the same for lunch. One hundred percent organic and well cared for suckling pig is some of the best meat I have ever had.

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Refrigeration!

Some time back, many months back, Juliet Barnes gave us an old kerosene refrigerator. Now if like me you have, or rather had, no idea what a kerosene fridge (or as they say in Kenya paraffin fridge) is don't feel bad. It is a pretty old piece of technology.  I deduced from the name that it was a refrigerator that ran on kerosene, but I had never seen anything like it in my life before.

We drove across the Soysambu Consverancy to get to her house (also a mud house) and pick up the fridge. She had not used it in some time and it is pretty ancient. Juliet advised us to drive as roughly as possible on the way home to shake up the chemicals that cause the cooling. We did so, but alas could not get the thing to work. We tried a couple of times and more or less gave up on it.

Enter Andrew, our nineteen year old son, he spoke with a fridge fundi (repairman) in town and got some advice. The fundi told him to turn it upside down and listen. If he heard the chemicals moving than great. The fundi said to leave it for a day or two then turn it over and try it out. We lit the flame in the evening and had ice in the morning. It works!

Now this refrigerator is small and will not be able to meet all our needs, but it is helping to keep the milk fresh. Thank you Juliet.

P1240637The Fridge

P1240638The flame that heats the chemicals that causes the cooling action.


Dinning Out

When we first moved to Kenya, and when we had the ability to do so, we dinned out as a family once a week. The kids always looked forward to it, and I just love feeding people. Once we added all the extra members to our family it became difficult, nigh on impossible, to all go out. While the majority of the girls were off visiting friends and relatives we took an opportunity to eat Chinese. 

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Unfortunately when the food arrived we were a bit preoccupied and failed to snap a photo.


Biggest Farm Success! So Far.

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This little bull was born a couple of days ago, and for the time being, is our biggest success on the farm front. The birth went smoothly, or at least as far as we know. We looked across the field and saw the cow acting "strangley." Upon further investigation we found a slimy baby bull, otherwise known as a calf, on the ground next to his mom. After a bit he stood up, fell down, stood up again, fell, etc. till he found the udders and had his first drink. 

Everyone was excited to find a baby cow when they got home from school. Unfortunately for him he is destined for the dinner table, but until then we will grow him as well as possible. 

He is not the only success at the moment. Our new donated malnourished cow is doing well, and gaining strength with each passing day. She has had a few bouts with bloat, but thanks to knowledgeable neighbors we were able to save her. She has even started given us milk.

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We also have two horses, two donkeys, two chickens, and a couple of dogs that all appear to be doing well.

On the planting front our potatoes seem to be growing well. Hopefully the rains will be enough to grow some nice big spuds. 

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The learning goes on and on and on and on, but it is good to have somethings go right.


Planting Potatoes

 

One of the big reasons for buying land and moving onto it was to be able to plant our own food. Upto this week that has been limited to a few fruit trees and herbs. Now we have planted potatoes! 

I do not know much about growing spuds, but I can learn. First lesson: potato seeds look like tiny potatoes. We dug up the earth and planted those babies. If the rains cooperate with our plans we will harvest quite a bit of potatoes. Not sure how long that will take, but we will keep you updated. 

Most likely we will not plant anything else this year, except maybe more trees and herbs. Come January we will prepare all the land for cultivation. Still it feels good to have seed in the ground. 

  


Learning to Grow - Tree Tomato

 

I had never heard of a tree tomato before moving to Kenya back in 2005. They are popular here and can be found all over the place. I do not care for the taste of the fruit, but the children enjoy them. 

We planted one on The Shire and may end up giving it a buddy as well. Unfortunately I have since learned that the tree does not have deep roots and has weak branches. Meaning it does not do well in windy areas, and we have a high windy season there on The Shire. So we will not be investing much time and effort into the tree tomato.