Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Six... no... Seven... Things I'm tired of explaining to (non-farm) people.

The other day I found one of those "What are you sick of explaining to people" posts over on "the reddit." Most of them are funny, some are snotty, but it's interesting so see other people's point of view. I also think it's a good reminder of how folks know about what they know about - and it's good to expand your knowledge and not limit yourself to your own world. People are very interesting.

 Sometimes this is what my day looks like.

Many people don't know about my world. I don't really "get sick" or "get tired" of explaining these things because I think it's important to share knowledge and educate folks. But these are the conversations I tend to have over and over.

1. This isn't the "simple" life. I do not know who got this falsehood started. There is nothing simple about it. Sure I tend to do the same thing over and over but it's all different all the time. There are always complicated problems and the stakes are high when the circle of life spins so close to where you are standing. I'll always tell you The Truth About Farming... and it is not simple.

2. Meat chickens and pigz are not my friends. They are dinner and I don't feel bad about it. Farm raised meat tastes like victory.... or as someone said, "Revenge Bacon."

3.  I used to be someone. With a job. And a nice house. Now I'm someone with a farm, and dogs, and a full time occupation.  It's a long way from there to here. But I remember what regular life is like.

I think it's kind of hard for folks to look at me now and even guess that I was a normal person once. I used to shop at Nordstroms, pay over $100 for a hair cut, and think my biggest problem was that stupid person at work who made my life hard. Ridiculous things happen to me now.

4. No. I don't have nice clothes. This is as good as it gets. Some of us say, we have farm clothes and church clothes and nothing in between. The last clean shirt I ever owned was before I learned to put little creatures in my bra. Nothing I own now has not been pooped on, peed on, or worse.

5. Just because I "don't work" doesn't mean that I have a lot of free time. No, I cannot drop everything. During the growing season I figure that I need at least two weeks notice before I can make any changes to my schedule. This is both frustrating and bewildering to people around me. It's even more confounding because I never actually know what day it is. My closest friends have learned to send me reminders before we are supposed to meet up. I am eternally grateful for that.

6. No, I'm not going back to the rat race. The only rat race I'm interested in is seeing if our barncat, Shine, can run down that huge rat that has been living in the turkey house. Other than that I think I'm stuck with this life - funny tho it is. People are really interested in the money thing tho. Maybe that is what they are really asking and maybe I'll talk about it. But to answer your question, yes I miss the money. But not enough to go back to it.

This next one is a freebie because it was actually my pal, D, was the one who said it....

7. No, I am not wasting my education.

I don't think education is ever wasted and I whole heartedly believe that you should get the best education that you can afford.... but I'll follow quickly with a reminder that unless you are in a specialty field then most likely your education is just a ticket to your first real job. My experience is that from that first job it's more about your work history and your ability to network with other people than your degree.

But am I wasting it? Nope - are you kidding? You always have to be learning, solving problems, managing, crafting, creating, scheduling, figuring, promoting, communicating, and crunching the numbers in this life. You must run your farm effectively - like a business - or it will fail. You have to investigate, research, strategize, and science the shit of of this life.

Regular people think that farm folks are not educated. That is not true. Friend, I have amassed a huge body of knowledge from this life. I couldn't get this education anywhere else. So nope, all those hours sitting in university courses were not wasted a bit. In fact, it helped.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you get asked the same questions over and over? What are you tired of explaining?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ruined day improved by stuff in skillets.....

I probably should have made more of an effort to watch the news last nite. No one was more surprised than me to find out about all that snow this morning......

The dogs were overjoyed. Kai's snow smile says it all.

Yesterday's snow could have been described as The White Malaise.... today it was The White Death for sure.

The Black Death loves The White Death and immediately shoved his big face in it. Oh Bubby!

Chores were tough. All of my boots now leak... but we are more than halfway past the point where buying a new pair of winter boots make sense. The winter mocks me.

Even My Most Excellent Good Dog got all derpy over the snow.

I had no choice but to make my attitude improve with stuff in skillets.

Yesterday I made this skillet cake. It improved things tremendously. Today I had to bring out the big guns....

...bacon. This is the before. There is no after pic ... other than an empty plate.

This is our home cured and smoked bacon. I love it because it's more like a tiny, little bacon steak instead of what store bacon is like. Even the stuff from our butcher is not really bacon-steak-y. You need to eat it this with a knife and fork... and maybe a drizzle of home made maple syrup.

The winter storm continues to rage against my good nature.... but I resist Snow Rage with stuff in skillets.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you making bacon? I mean like... marching out there and butchering a pig? I know someone who is today! Good luck! Yay you!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Aggressive Rooster Rehabilitation Center.

A bunch of us have been laughing about this....

Aggressive Rooster Rehabilitation Center. 100% effective.
note: no idea who came up with this but thanks!

If you've had bad roosters then you know that this is entirely true. Yes. Yes this is the only way to handle a mean rooster.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2016

All's well that ends happily for Ajax!

Good news for working K9 lovers everywhere - former Officer Hickey was able to purchase his partner, Ajax for just one dollar from the City of Marietta. This news report was really terrific - you can tell how glad the handler was for all the support. I'm pretty sure Ajax just wants to know what all the fuss is about and to play ball.

My Nicholas. Definitely not a shovel and will never be auctioned. 

You can read more about the goings on here. There actually was some presendence for this discison so I'm not entirely sure that Mr. "He's just a shovel" LawDirector should get all the credit for this resolution. If you listened closely to the very end of that cringe inducing press conference someone in the crowd said that Jim Smith was on his way down from northern Ohio to meet with the city officials.

You can hear the Marietta officials ask "Who's that?"

Officer Smith and his K9 partner, Valor, were in the same situation in 1998. The law was changed then to accommodate that situation. While it might be a "little known" statute... the news and of course Officer Smith knew about it.

However it worked out I'm just glad it did. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us if a bad situation worked out for Hickey and Ajax. It's just too bad that it took so much public outcry to do the right thing. But sometimes.. just sometimes... social media works.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Turnips... still turnipin'!

Turnips really are one of my favorite things... especially in the winter. They just keep on keepin' on.

Still beautiful.

These are the turnips I planted late in July. And then didn't thin them very well. They are still going strong even this late (early?).  You would have thought that the cold weather would have killed them by now but nope. We had them for dinner last nite.

Turnips are a terrific cover crop. I'm making these notes so I remember to plant them again - even very late in the season - and to remind myself how long they lasted.

Happy Thursday everyone - do you still have root veg in the ground? How are they doing? Or are you planting for spring?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Claw

So this happened yesterday....


Our El Grande Fuzzalotopuss can easily reach the tops of the counters if he stands on his back feet. I was parting up chickens. It was a bad combination.

After a lot of complaining, and some hand to hand combat, I finally relented and gave Nicholas a chicken neck. I thought maybe it would be good for him to chew on to clean his teeth.
(Note: this is not an invitation to start the fight about feeding raw. Just no.)

Nicholas completely went feral. Completely.

He even hissed! At me!  Then things went bad for him - I took it away because we can't have that level of insubordination.

The Claw seeks it's victim....

But he got me back later with all the puking. So. Much. Puking.

Never again, Nicholas! Keep your paws off my chicken!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you have a lot of help in the kitchen?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The curious case of K9 Ajax and why it matters.

If you are over on 'the facebok' then you know that yesterday I pretty much had a melt down over the cringe-inducing story of K9 Ajax over in the near-ish town of Marietta. I normally don't  talk about politics so what follows is as close a political commentary as you are going to get from me. But this made me mad.

Last week the story broke that the a long time officer in the small town City of Marietta was retiring and he thought he'd be able to keep his K9 partner. They didn't have any other K9 handlers. The officer brought in the money to buy the dog ($3,500 which was the value of the K9) but was told instead that K9 Ajax would have to be auctioned off.

My Most Excellent Good Dog. I call him "Sir." Not a shovel

In a now legendary comment the legal director for the town justified this by saying that K9 Ajax was personal property ..."just like a shovel."

To say there was an outcry on social media in an understatement.

There was an online petition and the gofundme donations are up to just about $70,000. What can I say? People love their dogs. Who doesn't know that?

The City of Marietta, that's who.

Their facebook page is a bloodbath. The handling of this situation should become a case study for first year Communications majors in What Not To Do. The press conference was live-streamed by the local TV station and was nothing short of a caricature of what is wrong with this country.

My Bubby is a BucketHead... but not a shovel.

To be sure, I doubt that K9 Ajax is the world's best police dog. I doubt if he could hold a candle to retired MWD Layka. He's probably never been in the Hard Dog Fast Dog competition. No one is saying he is on par with Mike Ritland's spectacular Trikos dogs. But all working police dogs are important.

It would take hours or days for people to find a missing kid when a well trained dog can do it in about 15 minutes. Police dogs are also good community outreach ambassadors, not to mention they usually get their man. So there is no doubt of their value.

People love their dogs. People love working police dogs. The folks in Canton know that their police dog K9 Jethro was not just a shovel. This is how you treat a working dog and his handler -with respect. Who didn't understand when Officer Popp collapsed to the ground in relief when he found his partner K9 Karson after being lost during our coldest weather last year? Heck, who hasn't thrown themselves down and hugged their dog like this gal?

No one doubts the bond between the handler and their dog. So to most folks it was completely understandable when former Officer Hickey was upset when he learned his partner would be sold at auction ..... like a shovel.

My beautiful Kai. We call her Digger but she is not a shovel.

It seemed to be a tough weekend for the City of Marietta. They tried to calm everyone down by putting useful posts on their fb page such as telling folks to send emails instead of crapping up their page. That didnt' work out very well for them.

So they announced there would be a press conference. We all tuned in. This is what I expected to see...

*Cut to scene - The former officer, the dog, the mayor, and the Chief of Police standing on the lawn somewhere... everyone smiling. The dog wags his tail. The Mayor speaks...... "Folks, thanks so much for your concern. We understand you are upset at what is a complicated situation and we want to assure everyone that we are doing everything we can to keep this crime fighting duo together in their golden years of retirement!"  The Mayor and the former officer shake hands, pictures are taken... everyone goes on about their business confident in their City's leadership.*

Nope. Look at them all sitting there. It went just about how you'd expect. Here - watch for yourself. See the spectacular display of finger pointing, name calling, who is a liar and who isn't, the ever popular quoting of regulations, the non-apology, the dismissiveness, the acknowledgement of the apparent "bad blood" between the parties ..and all of us just waiting for that law director guy to actually utter the words "What are you all so upset about it's JUST a dog?"

Thank heavens that last bit didn't actually happen. But you could tell it was on the tip of his tongue.

Somewhere in there, in between calling the former officer a liar and that "I'm a big fish in a small town"attitude that we all recognize...and the statement that the Chief had his own damn problems.... there seemed to be an offer to the former Officer that he could become an "auxiliary" member of the force and in this way the dog would still be in active duty and he could keep K9 Ajax. There seemed to be a lot of conditional statements attached to this. It wasn't a firm plan but it might be plausible. Maybe.

Lucky, actually is a Bucket Head.... Not my most able warrior but still not a shovel.

We also learned that last week, somewhere along the way that the Chief said he was sending another officer out to get the dog back from the former Officer Hickey.

Who was a jerk? Who is a victim? Who was right? Well, I think they all pretty much deserved each other and there is a lot of backstory that none us really need - or want - to know.  The hard truth is that the way the law is written, and in this circumstance, there has to be an auction.

But in this case there is a pretty big divide between being right and doing the right thing. There should have been a way to work this out. It should have been case closed. Everyone should have had confidence in the right thing. But it wasn't. Therein lies the rub and why folks are mad.

Not to mention, in a parting shot the Mayor told everyone who was commenting on the facebook to "get a life."

Oh no he didn't. Oh yes he did.

This is your elected official, folks, this is how he responds to the community's concerns.

Here's the thing. Sure, there are a lot more 'important' issues out there. This country is divided. None of us can solve the refugee crisis, racism, or put the broken economy back together. But regular, normal people can see that guy should get to keep his dog. Should be a done deal, right?

Instead what we all got to see is a microcosm of how far removed our leaders are from regular people. Folks are frustrated and no one is listening. How are you supposed to trust the leadership when they can't even use a little common sense in this situation? What if something really bad happens? Do you really want these jokers be in charge?

It's not just Marietta - it's everywhere. In a not-too-far-away community the County Clerk went to the hoosegow for skimming funds off the top, the wife of the mayor elect will probably be getting a lovely orange jumpsuit for "allegedly" feeding her gambling addiction to the tune of $80,000's worth of someone else's money, don't get me started about a 'keep your hands to yourself' situation in the Prosecutor's office... and no fewer than four somewhat-local teachers have been hauled off for having inappropriate sexual relations with their students.

Oh sure big cities have their problems too. A black kid will get shot 17 times because he looks dangerous... but this guy gets a get out of jail free card even though he killed four people on a drunk driving charge. And apparently it's kind of OK to poison an entire generation of kids because they are poor and no one cares.

This situation needed a hero and there wasn't one. We all need a hero right now. We all need to see something work out. We all need the right thing to be done and for regular folks to get a fair shake. If this guy, who has worked for the police department for what - 30 years? - if he can't get a fair deal then what chance do the rest of us have?

So go on now City of Marietta, keep up with your public relations disaster. Keep showing us you know best and we should all just get a life. Or I don't know, maybe actually lead the community out of this? Show some compassion. Come up with a winning solution. Just be that light. Prove to us regular people that it can all work out.

That's all we can ask for, right?

Anyway. That's all I've got to say about it for now.

My thanks to a good pal who saved my bad day yesterday by posting this adorable video. Yay!

Happy Tuesday, everyone, such as it is.

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