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.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Your 4th of July PSA.....

We had a particularly hard day yesterday so I've got nothing to add to my yearly 4th of July Public Service announcement. You can read it here. And no, no one likes your stupid fireworks. 

 Unlike the stupid fireworks and bottle rockets, I never get tired of gathering eggs in my shirt.

It it insane to me that there we need warning labels on a hammer to advise you not to hit yourself in the head with it... but folks are perfectly willing to let a 3 year old hold a 1200* sparkler. You can't ride a bike without a helmet but explosives in your yard? Sure, what not.

It's not just curmudgeony old folks like me who don't like fireworks.... I know at least one combat veteran who is about to have a very very hard day and night. So look around and think about the folks around you before you grab the lighter and run right out there. Or better yet, just enjoy one of the professional displays in a nearby community.

Or even better yet, stay home and repent for annoying your neighbors with your stupid fireworks. It will be a hard hard day if this is the year the stupid neighbors burn down our chicken house with their stupid fireworks.

That's all I have to say about it.

*OFG grumbles some more about stupid fireworks and goes outside to check all the gates and fences*


Thursday, July 2, 2015

I totally dig potatoes....and plant some more!

I took up some more potatoes the other day. Really I had to rescue them from the mud. We ended up having 19 days in a row of rain rain rain. It's been horrid. Thankfully we are starting to dry out. But look at these spuds!

Delicious! Plus check not my onion - yay!

As I was digging the potatoes with my potatoes-only-pitchfork I was thinking how effective planting potatoes is... what a great project! You improve the soil, get potatoes, have the fun of a 'treasure hunt', and then just when you need it - you get to use the straw just when you need it! I'll use the just-dug area to plant some beans - the soil is all ready. And I used the used straw to mulch down some other things. It's just a great way to manage the garden.

I had an adventure yesterday (more on that later) and I found myself at a nursery that was clearing out the last of everything....including their seed potatoes.  I saw a sign that shocked me.

"FREE potatoes?" I asked incredulously.

"Sure! Just take some." Replied the sales gal.

I still couldn't believe it - but I grabbed a couple of sacks of Cobbler and Red Pontiac seed potatoes and thanked her profusely. Then I drove away fast just in case she changed her mind. No one followed me so I figured I was OK.

These new seed potatoes will be planted today and then will be ready in September. I have plenty of time to get them in the ground.

I'm always so surprised at this end of the country. They act like the only planting time is until June then everyone just gives up. I'm not sure why - it seems so weird to me. Succession planting is a terrific strategy and is easy and fun.

We should have a couple of dry, rain-free days so I'm thrilled to get outside and do some work in the garden. The weeds are horrific and have taken over everything. But I'll fight the good fight and get these spuds in the ground.

Happy Thursday everyone - are you planting? Did you rain stop? Did you wish you had some rain?


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Everyone - go hug your meats!

My friend, C, over at Krazo Acres (who is hilarious, btw) was kind enough to post this news story on 'the facebook' the other day.... and she graciously allowed me a "told you so."  Yep. "Who could have possibly have guessed," "what did you think was going to happen", and "good luck, suckers."

Go hug your meats. 

You can read more about this latest scandal here... and here. Think about the players here - McD's, Yum Brands, and Starbucks. Do you really think these big companies didn't do their due diligence? No one set any standards or had any requirements in these enormous contracts? And the meat companies still couldn't get it right?

Good thing that we have a trade deal that allows chicken to be processed in China.... without any country of origin (or processing) labeling.

I'm sure everything will be fine.

In the meantime, we butchered some more chickens on Sunday and will probably get a few more done today. No one is happier for those creepy meats than I am.

I've had a few discussions with non-farm folks lately about butchering our own meats. These conversations always go about the same way and include arm flapping, squealing in horror, and shocked looks. Sometimes there is crying - not by me.

I recently was up to our Good Vets office when one of the techs came out and tried to pawn off some of her extra roosters on me. She even tried to bribe me with a bottle of wine. Sure - I'll always take some booze.

"But you know," I said, "We always say 'when you start to crow, you got to go' so those roos are going directly into the pot."  I thought she would appreciate my honestly.

Tears filled her eyes. "But... but...they are just banty roosters and they are so cute."

"Ah...so they are useless and small, well... they will make for some smaller meals but that is OK..." I said thinking about how they would best be cooked.

Then I realized a grown woman was about to start crying right in front of me. I hugged her. It didn't work. She might have muttered "you monster" under her breath. I shrugged because I knew she was about to go back to eating her lunch that she got from a fast food place. Where did she think that chicken sandwich came from? After a while the irony kind of grinds on you so I just didn't say anything else.

We also had an incident where a friend of someone we know got a mixed bag of chicks...and a couple ended up being meat chickens. They didn't know what to do with them and asked if we wanted them? Sure. So we ran right over. There was, for me, entirely too much arm flapping and bewailing the fate of those creepy meats. And hugging. There was too much hugging. We just nodded and put the meats in the cage in the back of our car and drove away fast. It was weird.

Some people think that we farm types have a hard edge but I like to think we are just more realistic. The circle of life and death spins very very tightly around here and we have a front row seat.  I'm no longer squeamish about it. We aren't grossed out by butchering - we think it's kind of interesting and results in delicious food that we made ourselves. Are we grateful that we have these skills? Yes we are.

Not only are we free from worry about who, where, and how our food is processed... we also have better quality meat than can be found at the store. Food independence? Oh yes. Thank heavens.

Can you make your own meat? Yes you can. Most folks have similar concerns before they get started with raising their own food. Here are a couple posts to help you get started:

How to eat food that you know

My top 10 butcher day tips

What do you do with the roosters?

How do you decide who is first?

 Rooster day tips

The hardest thing in getting started is... getting started. How you think about it is the key. Can you do it? Yep. Just get out there and give it a try. If it really is too creepy you can probably find a local processor so all you need to do is load up the meats and drop them off. I don't think that is cheating and if it works out better for you that way then that is just fine. Everyone has their limit.

If you don't have anywhere to raise your own meat then what can you do? Shop locally. Go to your local farm market, ask for recommendations, seek out smaller butchers who can tell you where the meat was sourced and processed. There are a lot of great options out there.  Including some very special farmers around here.


While they don't currently have chicken Tilton Hollow has have amazing pigs. You can buy feeders to raise yourself or reserve your half or whole pork when they are processed in the fall. They have turkeys too!

Don't forget about their gofundme project to rehab their glorious old barn.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you shocked and horrified by the latest Chinese food scandal? I don't know about you but the only Chinese chicken around here is going to be later today when I make General Tso's for dinner. 



Friday, June 26, 2015

Stumptown!

From time to time my husband has occasion to go to the hippest and coolest eateries for his job. Hoots he has for going to any of these places = zero. I have all kinds of hoots for going to cool places.. but I don't get to go. So I just stand in the driveway sullenly and watch him drive away. Sometimes my sad looks pay off..... and that is how I got this the other day!

Talk about a hipster breakfast!

I love Stumptown coffee so much... but I haven't been able to find it locally and it's expensive to order. So I was thrilled when The Big Man brought me home a bag of beans.

I got up early the next morning just to make some coffee. (Here are my coffee making gadgets.)And then I had a maple bacon bar to go with it, of course. Thanks, 8 Sisters Bakery!

Even more rain coming in... I dunno.... this getting hard to deal with. I had to rip out the rest of the broccoli and everything is soggy. Good thing I have some spectacular coffee to make me happy!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Blueberries and bee update

The blueberries have come on!

Yay! Now I just have to keep the birds from eating them.

About those beez from yesterday... they flew away. Good thing my husband didn't drop what he was doing and rush home. The beez were gone less than an hour after I took the picture. When he got home, tho, he looked all around for them. Nothing. We think it's kind of a weird time for hives to split but hey - if we can snag some free beez then that's OK with us.

Happy Thursday everyone!  How are your beez and berries?


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I didn't think anything interesting would happen today...

..until I almost walked into this SWARM OF BEEZ!

Holy cow! Look at them!

They are in one of the smaller fruit trees in the garden - and wouldn't you know it... My hubs is working today. Drat. I'm going to go and set a nuc box up by them and hope he gets home before they fly away.

Look at that!

And no, I'm not going to capture them. I am not the beekeeper in this family. Mostly my job is to stand on the porch with a can of Raid and yell to my husband, "NO! DO NOT RUN THIS WAY!"

I hope they hang around for a while so he can get them.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you expect anything interesting to happen today? How about some free beez?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Potatoes - got 'em!

My friend K reminded me to go and check for new potatoes.... I got some! We had a few for dinner last nite and I was very very glad. What a super find!

First of the potatoes. 

These are from the April 20th planting... so that is just about right. Even tho I planted a 50lbs sack of seed spuds, I'm not sure I'm going to have a huge harvest. I'm not sure what went wrong - maybe too cold, maybe too wet, maybe not a great batch of seed starts. So we'll see.

Unrelated pic our of Shine in an old apple crate.

In the meantime the rain finally, mercifully stopped. Tropical Storm Bill was a total downer... we got two months worth of rain in a week. Everything is a big muddy, soupy mess. No one is happy but the ducks. But it looks like we are on the upside and hopefully we will dry out.

There will have to be a lot of weeding - it's like a jungle out there. I'm hoping to get caught up. I'm mulching as fast and I can go and using a lot of cardboard to try and smother out what I can.

Happy Monday everyone - are you getting your taters taken up?


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