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.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! We've got bugs!

Brace yourself.... starting immediately and until about three weeks from now all you will be seeing will be references to Starship Troopers. The bugs. They are here and they are real. This place crawls.

The bugs emerge from their old bodies. How gross is that?

I thought the whole 2016 cicada brood hatch was a big internet hoax.... but a couple days ago we went out and the whole property was covered in bugs. Yesterday I heard the first low whine of their bug noise... things could get interesting around here. It's starting to sound like a jungle out there.

There are holes all over. I didn't know what they were from. Eeep!

What does it mean? I dunno but there are bug bodies everywhere and weird little holes in the ground.

Remember when I was mowing down toward the pond the other day? It was hilarious because as soon as I was done the poultry rabble all came charging down the hill - all lead by the Guinea. Apparently he is our General Guinea now and is leading the troops into battle against the bugs. The poultry are going wild eating all the bugs. Well, not all of them.

One of my fatty hens givin' those bugs the business.

All of the poultry - the ducks, clucks, turkeys, and the lone guinea eat bugs... but not the geese. They are having a field day.

The bugs are mostly harmless - just creepy.

So far the worst that has happened was that one flew into me and I freaked out. I'm pretty sure I'm stepped on a bunch of them also.

Sorry for the blurry pic - but seriously... look how creepy they are - ew!

Zander and Kai think the bugs are interesting and keep trying to eat them...and we keep trying to stop them. My Bubby has a sensitive tummy so the last thing we want is for him to get sick from eating weird bugs. He was crying this morning and hopping around so we raced right outside. Based on these results we'll keep his nose up and the bug out of his mouth lest he suffers from some kind of...ahem... gastric distress.

In other non-bug news... the heat is on. Hot and swampy for the next ten days at least.

Happy Thursday everyone - do you have bugs?

Editor's note:  Look out! I snuck in an affiliate links in this post!  I'm supposed to tell you that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of these links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. Do you know you can get cool TV shows and movies from Amazon's Instant Video service? We use it all the time. Goodbye tons of DVD's everywhere... we are now (mostly) media free and just buy or rent movies online. Plus with our Prime subscription we get a ton of free movies and shows Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog.  Thanks!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Yesterday was just like summer....

It wasn't even ten days ago when we had a frost and it was very cold.... now it's just like summer. The forecast for the next ten days is mid-80*'s with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. You can't get more summer than that!

Totally random pic of My Mr Good Dog helping me last summer.

Yesterday was like summer. I spent most of the afternoon behind the push mower cursing my task. Mowing. I hate it. But we need to get ahead of the jungle before it takes over.

The frost took out a row of beans and also killed off the tops of the potatoes. I need to replant the beans and I think the taters will bounce back. I also need to do some random planting including a row of beets. I've got some sprouts that are ready to be set out into the garden as well. I'm glad that I didn't put them out until now.

My favorite pic of Lucky. What a goof. 

The other weird thing going on is... bugs. The cicada brood is starting to emerge. It's.... creepy. I thought it was all a big lie but now I think it's a thing. We've noticed a few over the last several days but yesterday we really saw them coming out and on the trees. No loud noise yet. The chickens and ducks are doing their best to help rid of world of loud bugs. We might need more chickens. It's a lot of bugs.

I just can't get enough of Little Mo and his beautiful paws.

Today is planting and more mowing.

Note: to everyone who is about to say "well just put the goats out there" instead of mowing. They are. Debbie and Nibbles are working on the patches of wild rose and other brambles. But goats don't neatly trim the grass to a nice, short, even level. We are noticing a LOT of ticks lately so the whole point of all this stupid mowing is not lawn beautification... it's to keep the ticks off the dogs. And me.

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Are you mowing? Planting? Do you have loud bugs?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Goodbye, Miss Duck

With a heavy heart I share the news that our Miss Duck has gone on to the great beyond... to that lovely pond in the sky. After all these years we found her dead. Goodbye, Miss Duck.

I'm pretty broken hearted, I really loved Miss Duck. She was our beautiful Muscovy hen that we've had for a good long time. The only thing Miss Duck ever wanted to do was set a nest and hatch babies. She loved all babies and took in all kinds of stragglers. Between her funny little walk, her gentle nature, and her sweet little peeping noises I just couldn't be more in love with her. I'm very sorry to see her go.

We got her from my pal, Bourbon Red....along with an enormous drake. Miss Duck and that drake were our first waterfowl and they were just terrific to have around. Miss Duck and that big drake made headlines .... and angry neighbors. But we learned a lot about ducks and we are glad for the huge herds of ducklings that have graced the farm over the years. You can read more about keeping ducks here.

Miss Duck had been failing for a while now and I was surprised that she lasted thru the winter. There was no sign of illness or struggle. Sometimes poultry just up and dies... we think Miss Duck must have been about 9 years old... so she had a good long run.

This is how I'll remember her.... sitting on a nest of little ducklings giving me that cute side-eye.

She just loved....


...a nest. And taking care of her babies.

Thanks, Miss Duck, for everything. Now waddle free of the cares of this life in that great pond in the sky....

Happy Monday, everyone. Do you love ducks?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I knew it was going to be a weird day when.....

I knew it was going to be a weird day when it started off with geese in the rear view....

Geese in the rear view. 

These two ganders goosed me for the very last time. Actually they had been beating up on OD, the old and cranky monarch of the barnyard. We have had an ongoing goose-cage-fight for the last couple of months and I finally was at my bitter end.

Not only have they been extremely aggressive toward me - and OD our main gander - but they have also been bothering poor Lucky. Our Dog#2 has been having problems with his mobility and has been cornered a couple times by ornery geese... I've had to send the rest of The Dog Horde out to protect their brother.

This is why you are leaving, honker.

Between the screaming, the biting, the random goosing, and them picking on the dog we decided we were going to reduce our goose number by half. These two drew the short straws. Also, I mighta sworn a blood oath to my fake brother that I'd never get rid of OD. That was before I knew that geese can live to be 20 years or more. Twenty.Years.

So I loaded up the extra ganders and took them up to the Mt. Hope Auction.

Of course they were perfect angels the whole way up there. It didn't change my plans a bit.

If you haven't been up Mt. Hope lately I'll let you know that the poultry auction is now in the lower parking lot, in the back, in the hoop barn.

The process was really easy peasy. Just like with the goats I just zoomed right up there early in the morning. The livestock auction starts at 11am and the poultry sale starts at 1pm. I think I was there about 10am. The goal is to get there before the auction starts. You can drop off on Tuesday evening but that doesn't work out for us because of the long long long long LONG drive. So I just get up early and hit the road as soon as I can.

I had to wander around a bit before another woman and I, also wandering around, looked at each other simultaneously and said, "What are you looking for?" We were both looking for the poultry sale. A random man who happened to be passing by answered and told us where to go. I just loved that - folks are friendly and approachable around here. It helps to remember this when trying new things. Folks are happy to help and no one is going to treat you badly if you are standing there looking around confused.

I re-moved the car, hopped out by the hoop barn, and walked up to the table and asked what to do. A very nice man told me it was OK to park where I was and to put the geese in the cages. So I did. I returned to the table and he took my name and address, gave me a tag to put on the cage, and that was it. I took my receipt, ran for the car, and drove away fast. I didn't even wave goodbye to those honkers. I didn't even feel bad.

The auction process is really easy. But why didn't I just list those geese on craigslist? Are you kidding - then I wouldn't have an excuse to go to Mrs. Yoder's. It may not be a surprise to you... but I killed it at the buffet. Again. No one made any money that day at that hallowed shrine to fried chicken.

By my third plate of chicken I had shamed the men next to me, horrified the obvious dieters who were there "for the salad bar," and there was a mob of little Am-lets cheering me on. When the waitress came around and asked what I wanted for dessert I told her, "Another piece of chicken."  I tell you the truth, I did not eat dinner last nite and at this writing, the next morning, I'm still not hungry.

I also found a fun new place to get fried pies... Hershberger Farms has fried pies by the gross. I got a box of them. Very very delicious.

So now I'm just sitting around waiting for my big winnings to show up in the mail. I'm hoping that I'll get enough from the sale to cover my gas to drive up there... or my lunch. But even if I get $1 each for those geese the honk-less quiet is worth it.

Happy Thursday everyone! Did you rid yourself of angry geese? Get some fried chicken? Buy an unnecessary number of fried pies?

Monday, May 16, 2016

So there was a frost. It had better be the last one!

Can't tell if it was a hard freeze or not...much of the garden is still in the shade. But the water buckets outside were not frozen so hopefully everything will be OK. Most of the state was under either a frost or a freeze warning... some of my pals actually had snow yesterday!

All I want is lettuce. Real lettuce.

It's very late for a last frost... so this is something to note for my records.  It was cold enough to wear a hat last nite for chores so I was very glad we put all the plants in the garage. This week will be cool but will gradually warm up. We've had plenty of rain with more on the way. I really need to get some of this stuff planted out.

I'm hoping that my little lettuces that were not covered are OK. I'm really really tired of store food.  If I have to start over with my planting I might dramatically throw myself down.

But one good thing happened.... In order to get all the plants in the garage we had to do a huge clean out. Sometimes little emergencies make you do projects you've been putting off.  I'm starting a pile of stuff to take to the dump later this week. I'm pretty excited about it. It's liberating to get rid of stuff that is holding you down. We've been on a rampage to lighten our load of "stuff" lately. It's working.

Today and tomorrow I'll be dragging all my plants out of the garage. I'd better hurry because they are forecasting upper 80*'s within 10 days! Spring is ridiculous.

Happy frosty Monday everyone! Did you keep warm last nite?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

It was cold...but not a frost. Yet.

Sometimes people think that I'm only ever complaining about the weather but I use this blog as my personal record keeping. So sometimes my posts about weather are more about my records and planning. Altho today I am complaining.

Remember when it was summer and everyone was happy and full of tomatoes?

The weather guy is pointing out the snow that was in the northern part of the state earlier this morning. As for us, we only got down to about 40* last nite...but tonite they have a freeze warning off to the east and we are under the frost warning. The difference between a frost and a freeze is how long the below freezing temperatures last and if frost can settle on the plants.

Yesterday we spent about two hours moving all my tender plants and veg starts into the garage. It was a lot of work and thank heavens for my husband who figured out how to double our space to stack up the sprouts. I'm glad I didn't get all my little veggies planted out last week. I think everyone is a little surprised about this cold. I was also glad that I ordered more Agribon (the floating row cover stuff). I got just about everything covered in the garden. There is one row of peppers that might take a hit. 

I'll have to wait until Monday to take all the sprouts out of the garage. Then hopefully we will be in the clear.

Happy Sunday everyone! Did it frost/freeze/snow for you?

Friday, May 13, 2016

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

I love this question.... what would you do if you weren't afraid? What's the first thing that pops into your mind?

My Zander is entirely fearless. His boldness is the best thing about him.

Would you change your job? Change your mind? Get rid of everything you own and set off on a cross country walk? Get out of a relationship? Get into a relationship? Get out of a rut? Get into a pattern? Find yourself? Lose yourself?

Are you just meeting other people's expectations or are you living up to your own?

I first heard this question from Oprah a loooong time ago. I remember the first thing that popped into my mind was to change my life. Dramatically.

So I did.

I was living my "should" life back then. Everything I was doing was because I should....  but it really wasn't what I wanted to do. What I wanted was to wake up every day in a life where I didn't need a vacation.

I remember driving to work with someone in my very early twenties and I asked, "You mean I have to do this every day?..... This is stupid." I couldn't understand why the only "real" option was to work for someone else. It just felt stupid.

I kept having that same thought even when I was considered successful.... walking fast thru the Denver airport with my computer in my backpack, thinking about my work goals, and worrying about my stock options.

I had that thought when I had an office in a stunning high rise with a sweeping view of the water, waiting for my real estate agent to call me, while I looked over into pricey neighborhood where I was about to close on My Very Expensive House.

I had that thought when I was on the plane to Paris and my seatmate woke me up to show me we were over the very cold expanse and the Northern Lights were shining in waves across the ice.

This is stupid.

I couldn't understand why I couldn't have a life where I didn't need to have a vacation to by happy. Why couldn't every day feel like this?

I stood by and watched both my parents die from cancers that were not immediately related to their lifestyle. It was random and unnecessary. It was cruel and incredible unfair. The only good thing that happened was that I had no one left to answer to and no one who set any "shoulds."

To be fair, both of them would be laughing hilariously at my life right now. I'm sure neither of them would believe that I walked away from a very comfortable life to move out here and butcher pigz in my yard. Both of them would be stunned for different reasons.

But both of them would be very very glad that I finally ended up with The Big Man. Both of them loved him very much and were stupefied that we broke up in college and also in our 20's. Both would be extremely glad that he finally married me so I couldn't get away. Neither of them would dream that this would be our life now.

We have a funny little life. Every once in a while we start laughing about it. A lot of people ask us about how we did it. We usually just shrug and say that it was because of the age old recipe for success... where preparation meet opportunity. I can't figure out if we are incredibly brave or remarkably foolish.

I was trying to explain this to some folks and they mostly just stood wide-eyed looking at me. Most people ask me how I knew for sure this would work?

I didn't.

I didn't have charts or graphs or spreadsheets or even a vision statement. 

I wasn't entirely without a plan but the problem was that the economy crashed just when we were getting started. If you weren't caught up in all of that then you don't know how bad it was. It was a lot worse for some other people. I know folks who lost their homes, their careers, their families. We just lost the security of having at least one pretty good job. But what we gained was the opportunity to build this life - our life together. No one was going to help us. In fact, it felt like a lot of people were working against us. But we made it work. So my plan didn't even matter. It was useless once everything went bad.

I think it is less about planning and really comes down to how much confidence do you have that you can make it work. How do you handle adversity? When the chips are down are you ready to take action? Are you willing to do what needs to be done? Do you fight the problem or fight each other?

How do you handle fear?

I'm really only afraid of three things - bears, sharks, and the house burning down. OK.. technically four...I'm afraid of catfish... but come on, that is just common sense.

I watch people gripped with fear and it doesn't make sense to me. Mostly they are afraid of a thought. Or someone else's thought - which makes even less sense to me.

I am not afraid failure, criticism, expectations, judgement, or ridicule... and least of all someone else's thoughts about me.

I think I have the good kind of courage... not the 'here hold my beer and watch this' kind of courage... but more like the confidence to figure out what is the worst thing that can happen and then the expectation that we can overcome that "worst thing."

We are doing a lot of thinking right now.. What about you? What would you do if you weren't afraid? Why aren't you doing that? What is holding you back?

Happy Friday, everyone!  Lots of thinking going on here. What about you?

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