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, December 29, 2011

Winners and Losers

As we close down 2011 I've been thinking about the projects that worked....and the things that didn't. It helps me do better planning when I have a clear vision of the winners and losers.  You can read about projects that made a difference in years past, here and also here.

The chickens are always winners...That's little Neo with Red, our roo

The big winners this year are....

1. The pigs. Wow. You can't imagine the quality and quantity of our harvest. Not only that, we had a great set up this year. And we had them on such great pasture that our feed costs were really low.  Especially since we had Sunny providing all that milk for most of the summer.

2. Sunny. That was one ugly goat but man.. she ruled. Not only did she do great with our goats and their babies.. but holy cow she could milk. Sunny really put it in the bucket and we were so grateful we had her on loan. Unfortunately her herdmaster moved away and so did his herd - so we won't be getting her again.

3. Fencing. We were able to complete our "all sides" fencing project and it really made a difference. It helped keep the pigs in, it kept the predators out (no losses), and we were able to let the dogs run loose to patrol...which also kept the predators out.

4. Making our own laundry soap. This deserves its own post.. but I gotta tell ya, this is our most cost-saving project to date. Thank to my friend SD for teaching me how to save about a million bucks!

5. Trenching. This project made the most sense  for our house improvement and it totally worked. Unfortunately the weather was against us and the last really dry period we had was when we did the trenching. So we still have more work to do.

Which brings us to the losers....

1. The weather. I didn't just imagine it, 2011 was actually the rainiest year on record for Ohio. We passed the record mark last week. Wow what a rain. The animals suffered, we suffered, the garden was not great....and oh the mud. The good news is that it allowed us to work on projects like the fencing. The bad news was that it totally sucked.

2. Trying to move Nibbles and Dahlia into a new yard down by the pond. They hated it. We hated it. All the goats did was stand there and scream. The good news was that the fencing we did for the goats ended up being prefect for the pigz... so we just turned the pigz out into that new yard when then had "hogged down" their existing yard. The bad news was that Nibbles screamed all day, every day that she was down there. I'm not sure the pigz minded but it drove me nuts.

3. Keeping Dahlia. I had a Scarlett O'hara moment  this summer and determined that I would never, ever keep another doeling. Her momma, Debbie, refused to wean her so I spent a lot of this summer trying to keep them separated. And to be honest, I don't love Dahlia. However, I think she is bred and she is sure to be a prize milker. So she stays. For now. The good news is that she most likely will milk like a demon. The bad news is that if she doesn't she'll be staked out by the road with a "free to a bad home" sign.

4. The stupid green bean bugs that wiped out most of my hill o' beans. Stupid fuzzy buggers.... I was able to get most of the beans but several rows were completely demolished. The good news was that I ended up with a pretty good story - thanks to FJ for egging me on. The bad news was.... I lost a lot of beans. But we were able to buy replacements from an Amish neighbor at a great price.

5. Too Short. I just ain't goat pimpin' again. No way. That reminds me, one of these days I gotta tell you about gettin' rid of that guy.

So that's the wrap up. We are starting to plan for next year and most likely it will involve even more fencing, better turkey management, more effective gardening, more dinner chicks, and selling the goat babies as soon as they are ready. And yes of course there will be more pigz. Speaking of... I think I need to get me a slice of ham.

Happy Thursday everyone!

14 comments:

Robin said...

I am going to have to make the laundry soap. Since I am allergic to all but one brand also.

Sounds like a pretty good year. Let's just hope that the weather is better next year!!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

I'm such a goose.. thanks to CAROLYN for posting this comment... which got discombobulated.. but here is what she said:

Looking forward to the Too Short exiting story.

Have a slice or two of bacon with that ham to round out your dinner.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I think your really rubbing it in with that Ham and Bacon:o( Now I have to add Pigz to my farm list instead of just chickens ...I'm past the age this life, so next life I'll have to have more than "Almost an Acre" and be a lot thinner too, so I can care for my chickens and Pigz (and maybe a goat or two ) :o)

freemotion said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy keeping a doeling....I loved it and am scheming to keep another this spring. You can raise the puppies, though! Great work on all the projects!

Heavens Door Acres said...

I too have been lamenting on the past year. Rain, rain, and more rain...what a year!Raises a slice of bacon.. Here is to you, and hoping the weather co-operates in the coming year for a bountiful harvest! Oh, and raises up a slab of ham...here is to the pigs we will be getting in the spring..for our very own breeding program!

Sonja said...

Send some of your rain west. We're looking at drought again. We make our own laundry soap as well, never going back to store bought.

Here's hoping Dahlia milks out well..
.. raises cup of coffee and salutes...

Tracey said...

I just found this on making your own dishwasher detergent! http://www.diynatural.com/simple-effective-jabs-homemade-dishwasher-detergent-rinse-agent/

And...I am experimenting with homemade shampoo now: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-shampoo/

Goats are on my list for what I want next, after that turkeys, geese, then stinky pigs. :o)

Jody said...

Great post! Very enjoyable. I'm going to make that soap for Belle. Our boys have skin conditions. I'm sure it will help!

farmer_liz said...

I just found your blog and can't wait to read more about your pigs, they are on my wish list, just as soon as we finish the other million and one projects we've started....

David said...

Yes do post the soap! Love new skills and knowledge!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hi Robin! Once you start making your own laundry soap you wont go back.

Carolyn, apologies again for loosing your comment! Had bacon already, baby! whoot!

Oh Ginny I so wish I could walk across the pasture and bring you and Cecil a big ol' slice of this ham. I'll send it to your virtually for sure.

Thanks Free! I'm sticking to puppies for sure. I should have driving Dahlia directly over to you for your expert goat care. sheesh! what was I thinking?

Next year is gonna be great for all of us, HDA, for sure.

Hey Sonja! *clinks coffee cups* you said it!

Hi Tracey! Thanks for the link - I have some pals who are doing great on dishwasher soap. Its totally on my list for sure. They changed the dw soap in our state and now the commercial stuff just does not work at all. boo!

Let me know how it works out Jody! whoot!

Welcome Farmer Liz! click on the "pigs" category at the bottom of a pig link to get all of the posts. And let me know if you have questions - I'd be happy to help!

Coming right up, Dave, actually.. hee hee hee I'll need a couple days.
;-)

Kim said...

Winner - I'm at nineteen registered Nubian does, (15 which are at breeding age) and many are bred to my own "too short" Ruddy da Buck.

In a year I've gone from zero to 10OTTB (Off-track Thoroughbred horses) and have two in foal.

Losers, see above, LOL

Mr. H. said...

Sounds like you had a good year, may the next be even better...but not the very best, lets save that one for last.:)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

great work, Kim! winners and loosers you said it!

Mr. H, Aint that right... I'm not a racing fan.. but I do intend to leave this life like the Jack Daniels car that crossed the finish upside down and on fire. Can I get a 'hell yeah'?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaZLW4GxVcs

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