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, March 30, 2011

Dust Clucks and Cheese Notes

I love my hens. They are so industrious and are always up to something. So boy - was I surprised when I saw a whole heap of them laying down on the job!

Bunch of slackers.

You'll remember from our Public Service Announcement #42 that hens like to take dust baths. Sometimes you'll find them in very very weird positions.  But today I just found them all in a heap in one of the garden beds. They were having a great time digging and flopping all around.

And yesterday I found them digging to China... I'm always amazed and how deep they can scuttle down in the dirt. They were having a blast in the fresh, dry dirt - so much better than all the rain, snow, and mud we've been having.  Silly dust clucks!

I might start a new category called Cheese Notes. I really want to do a better job at tracking my cheese successes and failures. So in order to do a better job of keeping notes I bring you...

Cheese Notes:
Today (3/29) I started another gouda. All goat milk - about six gallons in 2 different pots. Weather was cold but dry (can you believe "they" say weather actually will affect your cheese making?). I used mesophilic culture but I think I may have used too much in the smaller batch. Also used calcium chloride and rennet tablets (not liquid).  This much milk just about filled the tomme.

Also, I just found this great place online to order cheese making supplies. Leeners is here in Ohio but too far for me to drive. But I'll be placing an order soon.

Chickens and Cheese - what could be better? Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farewell Niblets and whats cookin'

Wow what a day! Monday was great here on the farm and we have a lot to be thankful for.
First, we were thrilled and M and her family came and got the two Niblet doelings. They are going to a great home and we are very glad they are in such good hands.

Little Guinness will be going to his new home later this week. Until then I put him back with the rest of the goaties and he ran right back to his momma, Nibbles. And later he was hanging out with Sunny... and then running around with Dahlia. It was extremely cute.

So we are moving the new kids along and will be back to a "reasonable" number of goats soon. Our milking gals will really kick into gear once the weather warms up and we get the first fresh alfalfa hay of the season.

In the kitchen, the cheese I started the other day is now in the "let it set at 50* for a week stage." The gouda from last fall turned out really well and altho the cheddar wasn't very cheddary.... it works like a Parmesan. I don't know if you've noticed but ever since Rachel Ray started hyping Parmesan the price has gone thru the roof. So I was glad to have a homemade substitute. Tomorrow I'll start another gouda and I'm getting the culture for a provolone next. Once we get out from under our dependence on foreign (store bought) cheese we'll really be making savings!

Also, today I made that blackberry coffee cake again - its just so darn good.

And as far as my rant about cooking goes... here are a few more examples of how all my canning and freezing paid off in saving - both financially and in time saved:

* I made the bacon and two goat cheese pasta again. Actually it was THREE goat cheese pasta.
* Today I made enchiladas for lunch with our canned turkey, our frozen peppers, our salsa verde, goat cheese, and a few other things. Easy peasy and it took just a few minutes. I think the cost was about $1, if that.
* The other nite I actually surprised myself. I set a turkey breast out to thaw in the afternoon. When we came in from evening chores The Big Man started unloading the dishwasher. By the time he finished putting the last fork away I had prepared and put in the oven a dish of turkey breast draped in bacon and savory bread pudding. Cost of goods.... not even $1. And that was  for enough food for us to have dinner, one lunch, and a snack!

Even if you didn't raise your own "free" turkey like we did  - if you took advantage of the $4 on sale turkeys from the store you'd be having Thanksgiving in March too!

All that canning and freezing was a lot of work at the time, but now is when it really pays off. If you are facing the prospect of starting from absolute zero and making a whole supper after a long day - it might seem overwhelming and just easier to run out and get fast food. But if you planned ahead its a snap and only takes minutes.

Here's how I did it:
1. You know all that bread I make? If we don't use up the loaf by the time it gets stale I cut it up into small pieces and put it in a bag in the freezer.
2. I keep a supply of 10 for $10 one pound bags of "mirepoix" mix - frozen, diced onions, carrots, and celery on hand.
3. Who are we kidding? I always have bacon available.

So, saute the frozen veggies in a little butter. Put the bread cubes in a big bowl and season with poultry seasoning (or sage, thyme, or whatever you like). Separately mix up 2 or 3 eggs and a cup and a half of milk. Pour the eggs and milk over the bread, add the veggies.

Butter a dish and add the dressing. Plop the turkey breast on top of the dressing. Cover with bacon. Bake in 350* oven for a little over an hour.

And that's it. Really. How easy is that?

I made the green beans after I took the turkey and dressing out of the oven to rest.. and heck.. there is always pie around here. This time it was The Worlds Best Pie. So that's how you make a super fast supper.

This is also an example of how we use what we have. Sure I could have been hungry for lasagna.... but we had all the ingredients for turkey and stuffing and pie so thats what we had. We weren't suffering, believe me.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Now what are you making for supper?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Grand Poobah of Goosenstein

Did you win the $319million megasuperduper powerball lotto? I didn't either. It was one of the many things that didn't work out yesterday (Saturday).  We were supposed to have a big day in the city - I was gonna go to Starbucks and Trader Joes and eat a meal that I didn't have to cook myself. That was gonna be my lotto-winning day.

Instead I sulked most of the day. I sure could have used that trip into town - or the winning lotto ticket. Have you thought about what you'd do with the big winnings? I have it all worked out. The first thing I would do with that king-sized check is run right out and buy a thousand geese. You heard me - 1,000 honking, flapping, screaming, flippity-floppity footed geese. Why geese? Why not. I just love them. If I could I'd have a whole field of them.

My minions and loyal subjects

The next thing I'd do is go and buy myself a country somewhere for all these geese. And I'd appoint myself the Grand Poobah and my first official act would be to name the country Goosenstein. All my adoring masses would honk and scream and cheer for me, their beloved leader.

My Deputy Grand Poobah

I'd tool around the country all day in a big Boss Hogg Cadillac - complete with the big bull's horns on the front and a horn that toodled "Jingle Bells." I'd ride around with the dogs in the back and our barncat, Shine, in the front keeping an eye on all them geese.

My Generals and Men At Arms

In my kingdom every Friday would be Pie-day and it would all be free, provided you greeted each other with a big belly laugh and sang out joyfully "Its a glorious day!" to each other.  Angry people with nothing nice to say would get a ticket and we'd have no tolerance for bad shrubbery.

Free Pie - what could be better?

Not that I've given much thought to it... but that's what I'd do if I had the winning  megasuperduper powerball lotto ticket.

But I didn't win and I sulked about not getting into town while we worked on fencing. Even tho yesterday didn't work out the way I wanted to, my pal Freemotion reminded me that things have gone pretty good for us this spring. We got a prize winning, bucket filling, milking machine - Sunny.  And we had two sets of triplet goatie babies. And thank heaven - we haven't had any losses from the local coyotes or other assorted varmints.

One of two sets of trips

Even tho we had to part with some of our flippity floppity friends, the sale did pay for some of our expenses and the rest of the fencing is darn near paid for. So, yep. Freemotion is just right. After some tough days this winter we are on the upswing. And spring is coming - I can just feel it.

Remember when it was summer and everyone was happy?

So happy Sunday everyone! Now I'm going to sit around, have some sloth, eat some pie, and dream about being the Grand Poobah of Goosenstein.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nothing weird happened

Unlike yesterday, today (Thursday), nothing weird happened. And so I bring you a cute picture of a baby goat.

Little Guinness is going to his new home soon. We'll miss his smiling little face. Safe travels, little one!

He and The Niblets have been doing great on their bottle training. Its kind of a funny process. Once they figure out you are the Bringer of Yums, they are just your best little friends.

Happy Friday everyone!  Wait! I nearly forgot... its Farm Friends Friday! Yay!

Thanks Verde Farms for organizing this fun blog hop!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An epic milking day, storm, chased by beez.

Today (Wednesday) was an epic day here on the farm. I'm exhausted, my arms hurt, I'm covered in mud, we were chased by beez, and some small creatures have decided that I'm an udder.  And that's not even the half of it.

And the daffodils bloomed - what could be better?
What a day!

So much has happened my head is spinning and so I'll just have to summarize:

* We pulled the Milk Stealers from Debbie last nite - and this morning (Wednesday) Debbie was so full she could barely walk. So I ran for the bucket and she milked 12 cups!!! That's as much as Sunny!
* Sunny milked a total of 22 cups today - she didn't even break a sweat.
* Nibbles' babies - the Niblets (thanks Freemotion for their new fun nickname!) did just fine on their first day with the bottle. Little Guinness did the best and he's excited about going to his new home. During the last feeding Stout decided that the bottle was the business and she filled her belly. And decided that I'm an udder. She even bonked me trying to get more out. How cute is that?

Little Stout - thinks I'm an udder.

* We started the day with weirdly warm weather so I ran outside and started another tray of seeds - asparagus and more greens. I've never done asparagus seeds.....of course I skipped the "soak for a day" first figuring the rain we'll be getting the next few days will be plenty of soaking for them. They are currently outside with the flats I started the other day. Some of the sunflowers are starting to pop. I need to be careful to cover them when we get a frost. But so far so good.
* Daffodils are starting to open and its wonderful to see a little life out in the yard.
* I tried an experiment with some potato trimmings. I had some that had formed little sprouts so I trimmed them generously and planted them in a tub. We'll see if this works.

* Our weirdly warm weather resulted in a a tremendous storm - the news kept cutting in with watches and warnings. I even abandonded my post at cutting the cheese because it got so ferocious.
* Of course with all the milk we got today, I started a gouda. It was gouda...I mean.. good to get back to cutting the cheese...curds. And I finished up the fresh chevre I started yesterday. I had some of the fresh cheese in an egg-bacon-goat cheese scramble with some fresh chives that popped up. It was fabulous.
* I also had an epic baking day - did you see the Mennonite girls making pop tarts? So did I! So I did too. And then we had to have at least one tiny pie, two loaves of bread, and biscuits. I'm very carby and I like it.

But then disaster. As we were finishing up our evening chores we found that our front hive had been blown over! It was in pieces and all tumbled down! So The Big Man sprang to action to save our beez. Part of the action included some running and some stinging. But we regrouped and saved the hive. Tonite we'll have temperatures below freezing so thank heavens we got the hive put back together and saved the beez!

Of course, when I say "we" I mostly mean The Big Man... but I did a lot of long distance directing and hopping about. And I yelled helpful encouragement like, "DON'T RUN THIS WAY! YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!" But I got to work the bee smoker thing so that was fun.

The good news is that the hive is full and vigorous. The bad news was - they were really ticked off.

As I was mentioning to Ginny in the comments the other day - this is just the start of our busy season! We'll be ramping up soon. I have a feeling we'll have one more round of cold weather  - then we'll be home free.

Happy Thursday everyone! And remember...if you see a beekeeper running, try to keep up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Minnie Rose Lovegreen's Recipe For Raising Chickens

Has everyone seen this amazing little book, Minnie Rose Lovegreen's Recipe For Raising Chickens? I was thrilled to find out its been re-released and is available on Amazon.com. If you have clucks or know someone who does, please run right out and get this most helpful, most wise, most incredible book.

"The main thing is to keep them happy"

Mrs. Lovegreen had an amazing story and she lived a long and wondrous life. And she loved her chickens. She wrote this little how-to book with a friend. Its hand written with charming illustrations. She really knew her stuff and she embraced the old-timey way of doing things that I love so much. She says about chickens, "Then main thing is to keep them happy."

The book has beautiful, simple illustrations like this - and lots of simple wisdom.

A while ago I discovered I had this little book in my possession -  from its original printing in 1975 no less. A relative knew Mrs. Lovegreen and I vaguely remember visiting her farm as a little kid. I received the book when my relative passed away. At the time I had no idea I would one day be raising my own chickens - which was why the book was forgotten in a box.

I recently "found" the book again in that box of things. I was delighted to have it and then shocked to my shoes when I read this little poem, hand written in the back of the book:

The apple trees and early peas
Are Mrs. Lovegreen's pride
Her cabbages and marigolds
Are growing side by side
Memories and honey bees
Are living in her barn
Its just a mile down the road 
To Mrs. Lovegreen's farm

Feeding chicks and herding ducks
Make Mrs. Lovegreens day
And planting seeds and pulling weeds
And watching kittens play
Lots of work and lots of love
And lots of country charm
Its just a mile down the road
To Mrs. Lovegreen's farm

Children like to visit her
And spend a sunny day
And when the evening sun does down
I often stop to pray
God bless each little place like this
And keep them all from harm
The world is so much better now
For Mrs. Lovegreen's Farm

I don't know if my relative wrote the poem or not. But I think they did. I'd love to think they were looking down on me - on my little farm with my clucks and ducks and beez and weeding and working and playing and apple trees and peas. I think I would have their blessing on our funny little farm. So I'm praying this blessing out to all of you - the world is so much better now for all of our farms.

Happy Wednesday everyone - The main thing is to be happy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Meet the New Girl - Sunny

You know, I was so excited about the business end of our new girl that I never got around the rest of her! Meet the new girl, Sunny

Of course, every time I see her I want to say "Why the long face?" Its another one of my stupid jokes and I say it every time I see a horse.  Or Sunny.  Debbie looks like some kind of small fry now.

Sunny is an older, full size La Mancha doe. She is part of a prize winning herd and has spectacular kids. In her younger days she was a show girl but now she's a brood doe who's kids are shipped all over the country to herdsfolks eager to have them. I love her because she's kinda bossy and kinda pushy - kinda like me.

She immediately gathered up all the little ones around her. To my knowledge she hasn't nursed her own babies - but wow she loves all our little skip poppers! She even lets them sip off her. Nibble's tiny babies very nearly passed out when they saw Sunny's huge udder. With as much milk as she produces all the "treats" the babies get don't even make a dent her in production.

I'm not sure what the other momma's think of all the attention Sunny gives their babies - but I think they are glad for the help. All except for Nibbles - of course. She thinks she deserves a special nanny for her kids. I heard her talking on her cell to her frenemies in the herd next door. She was telling them that she needed more "me time" and wanted to concentrate on her career as a full time dairy gal.

I'm sure you'll be hearing more about the new gal - and especially with all the cheese making we'll be doing and all the other stuff we do with all this milk.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We're gonna need a bigger bucket

Great googley-moogley!  We got a new gal on the dairy team - she came with fancy papers and an even fancier name. We're just gonna call her "Sunny." The only problem is....

We're gonna need a bigger bucket.

Holy bustin' udder, Batman! She milked almost a gallon this morning and shes only been "fresh" for about a week. All I can think about is cheese.....

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What's for supper?

I was shocked to my shoes when a working person recently told me that they didn't have any money for groceries and they didn't know what to do. I honestly didn't know what to say. Friends, with times hard as they are you just never know what someone's situation is really like.

My kitchen - where all the magic happens. Note cat on table.

Unfortunately, it wasn't someone I could directly help. But I could provide a list of websites with tips and strategies on how to save money on the grocery store and other ways to reduce your bills. We are cheap with a capital "CH" so its easy for us to do without fancy cell phones and cable TV. Some expenses you can't easy cut but I'm telling you, there are lots of ways to save money on food and still eat like kings.

Last nite for supper we had two-goat-cheese and bacon pasta. Tonite (Friday nite) we had nachos. Both meals cost me under $1 for both of us - and we'll get another meal (at least) out of the nachos. And both meals took me less than 15 minutes of standing up time - and it took me that long because I was fending off The Insane Cat Posse the entire time I was cooking. As far as cheap goes - I'm not entirely sure how to get cheaper than that.

Here is how we did it:

Two goat cheese & bacon pasta:
The other nite we had a tomato and meat sauce pasta. When I made that dinner I made the whole box of whole wheat pasta (on sale, 10 for $10) and saved half. Last nite I sauteed some bacon (cost = free because it pays to be nice to people) and a little onion. Then I made the sauce from home-canned chicken broth and a splash of cream. I finished the sauce with some of the hard cheese I made last summer and tossed in the pasta. When I served the pasta I put a big spoonful of fresh goat cheese in the bowl and gave a stir. It was spectacular. And easy peasy.

Remember when we got all those $4 turkeys on sale last fall? We ground up a bunch of turkey meat, cooked it in mexically spices and pepper, bagged it in about 1 pound portions and froze them. Tonite I nuked one of the portions until it was thawed. While that was going on I opened 2 cans of home canned pinto beans and heated them in  a pan with a little homemade salsa. Then it was just a matter of mashing up the beans, pouring them into a pie plate, putting the meat on top, adding some blops of fresh goat cheese, shaking on some (on sale) bagged cheese from the store, and baking in at hot oven (425*) until lightly browned. And then we dug in with chips. Ok, I might have gone over the $1 if I include the chips - but we got them on sale and we didn't have the whole bag. And this can easily be served over rice. The leftover meat and beans can be used to make rancho huevos or in super quick tacos. Or just more nachos.

Sure these meals aren't fancy - altho I know for a fact I've paid $15 or more for a plate of the pasta at an Italian place - but they were hearty and delicious.  And sure we aren't feeding a bunch of kids but even if you doubled the cost of these meals for the two of us - you're still under $5 for two meals! That is still a better deal than the dollar menu at drive thru any day.

I can't tell if these folks who were in such a tight spot did not know the value of cooking, or just didn't know how. But its a valuable skill that somehow has fallen out of favor. As far as I can tell a lot of people waste a lot of money because of this lack of knowledge. Sure a life of eating nothing but take out or frozen meals may sound like a good idea... until someone looses a job, or there is a medical crisis, or whatever crazy thing life throws at you happens.

If you are in a place where you can't make it to that next paycheck, go and have yourself a good cry. Then get up and march in there and teach yourself to cook with low cost, low stress, nutrient rich food. Plant a garden, go and make friends with people who you can trade with, come up with a plan, do your research before you go to the store, and work on making savings.

Remember when it was summer and everyone was canning?

I have to tell you. I got a certain amount of flak from people who made fun of my canning and cooking ways last summer. But now we are eating high on the hog because of our efforts. Which reminds me - I gotta go and set some pork chops out for grilling tomorrow. Cost of chops = free (just about).

Now get out there and get cooking! Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday's Perfect Day and Farm Friends Friday!

Today (Thursday) was almost a perfect day. The sun was out, the weather was 'shorts-n-tshirts', and I could actually do something that felt productive. So did all the critters.

First, the turkey hens sunned themselves...

Then all the goats goofed around

Including little Porter, who tried to get IN the big tub...but didn't quite make it. Grandma Vita stood by patiently tho.
Then our barncat, Shine, lazed in the hay in the back of the truck.

But mostly it was about hauling and shoveling. One thing that is for sure is that there is a LOT of poop shoveling in the spring. I used most of the litter from the turkey house to start a compost "pile" that lined a new garden bed along the driveway.

We cleaned out the turkey house to make way for the new "Milk Stealer Triple Max Slam Pen(itentiary)." They'll keep a cell open for the milk stealers and I hear the waffles are good (If that didnt make sense - its ok, Chai Chai will know what I mean).  Half of the turkey house will now hold the baby goats and we will also work on fencing in a new yard for them.

We need to separate the little ones at nite so we can get most of the milk from the mommas in the morning for us. But don't worry - there will be plenty for the little ones to eat. This way we can also transition them to eating grain. They won't be fully weaned until they are about 8 weeks old.

The day ended with a warm and breezy sunset. Then I had a double goat cheese pasta - with bacon. What could be better?

Oh yeah... its Farm Friends Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Cabbage Day!

Not being Irish, Catholic, nor interested in drinking green beer... I don't have much cause to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But there is always cabbage on sale this time of year. Cabbage means sauerkraut and now that I know anyone can make sauerkraut at home... baby, I LOVE this time of year!

Last fall I learned "how to" and now I'm hooked.  I got a couple of really big cabbages, some wide mouthed jars, and the recipe from Nourishing Traditions and I had at making kraut at home.

Now these are some really big cabbages!

All you really need is some fresh cabbage, a potato masher, a big bowl, some salt and maybe some whey. How easy is that? Pretty much you shred the cabbage, mash it up until all juice is released, and then pack it in jars.

Everything you need to make sauerkraut

The only tricky part is that you may need to add some salted water to cover the cabbage packed in the jars unless you have enough juice from the mashing. Then pretty much that's it. The next step is to let the sealed jars sit on the counter for 3 to 5 days to ferment. After those fermenting days are up just stick the jars in the back of the fridge until its ready. "Ready" depends on how you like it. I waited several months and it was spectacular. Its nothing like store-bought...home made kraut is crunchy and delish. Mine was a little salty but I just rinsed it a bit. 

So now you know. Grab your Shillelagh and run on down and load up on some cabbage!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WARNING! Adorable little goats!

I can't stand it... they are just hilarious. Nibbles' babies at play..

Stout gives a prize winning grin

Just how little are they?

Our Vita looks like an elephant next to this little one! Little Guinness walked under Vita to get to his momma!

Its like a Stir Crazy Goat Popper out there - they are always flying around, being silly.... And getting into funny situations like this:

Sometimes you get all tangled up and...

then you get all twisted....

Quick! Act like nothing happened...

And then sometimes ya just gotta dance!

Here is hoping for a non-rainy day so we can all play outside again!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big tub of cute, killer beez, and glads

Today was ridiculous. I got a teaspoon of milk from Nibbles and I got chased by an angry bee.

Someone stirred up the beez and I was relentlessly pursued by one of those no-goodnicks. I even did the "ohmigosh there's something in my hair" dance. All my shrieking and cavorting did little to hurry The Big Man to my defense. He moseyed. But he did save me. Eventually.  Anyway.

How cute is this?
Debbie's babies exhausted themselves so they all fell asleep in the big tub.

We were all outside today - it was just like heaven. With one little curly tailed imp who was sent to the deck by herself for chasing the chickens. The mouthful of feathers did little to convince me "all's she was doin' was licking that little hen nice and gentle." Hogwash. Kai wasn't cleaning that chicken, she was tasting her! The chicken is fine, Kai was devastated at the punishment of having to sit alone. She's learning to control her puppy self. But its hard when you are only about six months old.

Quick farm notes and apologies for not responding to all the great comments! This time change always discombobulates me so I'm trying to catch up. Thank you to everyone who has taken time to say hello and leave a nice note. I'll get caught up soon.

Farm Notes:
* Started 2 trays of seeds in my outside hillbilly green house - sunflowers and swiss chard. Setting them out this early is a big risk but I can't look at Ginny's greens anymore without doing something.
* Started one tray of sunflowers and scarlet runner beans inside in a window. We'll see how long they last before The Insane Cat Posse thinks I've set out a litter box with a view for them. Taking all bets.
* Started several containers of gladiolas. Two bulbs each in pots and under cover. I got the bag of mixed glads from Sam's Club. They had 90 bulbs for about $13! It was a steal for sure.
* Turned over the compost pile by the turkey house. Dogs thought it was the best thing they'd ever seen. Nice and stinky (in a good organic, "Momma can I roll in it" kind of way). Kai helped by digging. I think she exhausted herself today.
* Got a big truckload of hay from our hay guy - should keep everyone happy thru mid-summer. 
* We drug Nibbles into the garage for her first milking. What a waste of time. She pounded a huge bucket of feed and I got about a teaspoon of milk. Sheesh! We need to get her back into action. I'll start working on her performance metrics soon.

I got an email from a guy today about one of our ganders for sale. He said that he was in Afghanistan right now with the Air National Guard and could I hold a gander for him until he gets back in April? Yes, yes friend I surely can. And thank you for serving our country.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Farm notes - lots going on

Wow is there a lot going on.. but I've got to get some farm notes in before I forget. For the new folks, "farm notes" are my planting and journal notes on the activities going on here - sometimes if they are boring but they are my record keeping. I'll include pictures of cuteness to liven things up.

Like these little cuties!

Farm notes:
* Little PigPen aka Bianca aka Lady Gaga... my little micro duck... is still sitting on the chicken eggs I swapped with her duck eggs when my new pal came by the other day. She should hatch them on March 29th. She's in the garage and is as happy as a clam. She comes out and peeps for me when I'm milking. I'm absolutely head over heels for her. Last year she hatched one duckling, Happy, who is also a micro duck.
* The geese are laying! Penny made a beautiful nest and is guarding the eggs with her life. I'll mark the eggs  in there now (2 or 3) and then take up the fresh ones for the house. One goose egg equals 3 chicken eggs in cooking.
* Vita is in full swing now for milking. Debbie is coming up fast. Remember that milking is an "on demand" process and as the kids get bigger, and need more milk, the ladies increase their milk production. If I can catch Debbie before the little ones latch on, I'm almost getting a gallon of milk between her and Vita in the morning.
* Debbies little ones are totally out of control. The pipping and popping is epic out there. No duck is off limits as the little ones fly around at full speed watching the ducks scatter.
* We disbudded Dahlia yesterday. No big deal at all. No crying - nothing. She is fine and hopefully it took and she won't have scurs (those weird little horn nubs, sometimes really misshapen). 
* Nibbles is doing great with her babies - they all have full tummies and little smiles. Today was their first day outside. They loved it. But they are so little! Even my smallest hen is bigger!
* Kai found the electric fence the other day - there was a lot of crying. She is also learning to "herd' the chickens in - not run them down and stomp on them.
* I spent a good deal of the day yesterday scooping up the mud poop soup from the barnyard and hauling it to parts of the garden. The Great Shovel Out will go on for a while. "Deep litter" is a great strategy but wow the clean up is a crippler.  I'm also working on building up one of the bridges across our drainage ditch so the water flows better.
* No sign of asparagus popping up or even the forsythia blooming. Around here we expect 'three more snows after the forsythia blooms." Honestly I think they are ugly and I'm horribly allergic to them - but if they signal the coming of spring.. thats ok, bring 'em on! Daffs are coming up tho and I spied some chives making their above ground. We are expecting our first day in the 60*'s later this week. We are thrilled.

Jane says, "When's the damn snow going to be OVER!"

We parted with some friends this past week. Some of the geese, a load of ducks, and one of our young jake turkeys went on to join new farms. We'd like to thank L and C for giving them new homes.  There is a cold math to farming - and the hard truth is that not every body makes it and not every body can stay. The money from the sale of our feathered friends basically will buy most of the hay we need thru mid summer. It was a wise decision but I'll miss some of those little flippity floppity feet.

Thats the news. Has everyone ordered their seeds? The gal at Lowes told me that seeds were flying off the shelves this year. Make sure you get them while they are hot! Also my pal, Freemotion, got a humdinger of a deal at Baker Seeds. She got 120 'mater seeds when she was expecting only 30. That's a lotta salsa baby!

Happy Monday!
ps for any one who needs a little lift, the Mennonite Girls who really Can Cook like the dickens, have a lovely prayer about the Japan situation, and a perfect verse. Amen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sweet faces - Nibbles' babies

Oh golly there is a lot of cuteness around here! Check out these sweet little faces...

Nibbles was bred to a really fancy buck - so wow look at all these markings. Each have a little tuft of white on their heads - like Nibbles.

We named them Guinness, Porter, and Stout... Stout is the littlest one with the stripe across her back.

Porter has the dark brown, fade to lighter brown on her back. Guinness is looking right at us.

And oh yes, these little lumpkins will be available for sale.  Guinness will be a great buck with excellent lines (altho not papered) or a fun little wether friend.  Porter and Stout will be amazing milkers. Check out the bag on Nibbles - she was a wonderful udder and insanely rich and delicious milk.  These little cuties will be great addition to anyone's barn or back yard.

Happy Farm Friends Friday everyone!

And we should not forget the people affected by today's disaster in Japan and across the Pacific. Our thoughts and prayers to the people who's lives are impacted.  We are especially grateful that our pal NancyDe and her family are safe.  We love you baby!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beez - they made it!

From yesterday, before all the action with Nibbles and her babies.... the beez made it thru the winter!

The front hive - looks like everyone is as busy as...well.. beez!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Three MORE goats!?!?

Friends, I stand here slack jawed and buggy-eyed.... in the last 10 days we have tripled our goat herd. Its late on Tuesday nite and I'm ecstatic to say that Nibbles had her babies! Three of them! Two girls and a boy and they are all spunky and fun and happy. I can't believe it.

Goat herd. Herd o' goats. Big herd of goats. I'm a goatherd of a large herd of goats. Nine of them. NINE goats..sure most of them are small.. but still. Wow!

Earlier today I thought the most interesting thing I was going to tell you was that the beez were out today. And then all heck broke loose and it was "udder" pandemonium! And a lot of goats.

More on this later, I'm sure, but for now I'm amazed. And exhausted. A whole gaggle of goats showed up today. My heavens!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good works and eggs

I can't stand it.. I have to share one more skip poppin' pic.... check out the air this little one is catching as she was chasing the ducks....
As I looked at this I realized that most of our animals are black, white, or black and white. I'm not sure if we did that on purpose or not.

We've had some crazy days here lately. Heck, I think we all have.  Just turn on the news and you might get the heebie jeebies as, Small Farm Girl says. My golly if it isn't some crazy Middle East dictator, $105 a barrel oil, over the top grocery store prices, the train wreck that is Charlie Sheen, or for heavens sakes, the nightmare inducing line up on this season's Dancing with the Stars....its enough to send a person into fits.

But there's help. Do you want to know the secret to staying sane thru it all?

Go and help someone else.

We had the good fortune to help someone today and wow do I feel better. A couple weeks ago one of my pals asked me to save up 4 dozen eggs for her incubator. When she didn't call to arrange a time to pick them up, I wondered why? Then she told me that they suffered a dreadful family ordeal. Its not my story to tell but I will say that they are in a pickle for sure.

They are in no position to take the eggs so there were 48 lovely eggs sitting on my counter. I had no idea what to do with them. They really weren't good enough for eating because they were supposed to go in an incubator and hadn't been property chilled.  Just as I was wondering what to do, I got an email out of the blue from a fellow asking me if I had eggs available for hatching? For heavens sakes.

Two hours later my new pal was standing in my driveway. Turns out he was looking for duck and chicken eggs for his incubator. It was like he flew right down from heaven. I knew it was a blessing for sure because this fine young man actually got out of his car, looked me in the eye, and shook my hand. If you are older than the internet you know that this is a miracle, for sure.(If don't know what I'm talking about look it up on wikihow under "having good manners".)

It further turned out that while we were in a whirl last week one of our little ducks made herself a nice little nest and sat her fluffy bottom right down. So not only did I have just-started-duck-eggs, but I had plenty of chicken eggs to fill his incubator! And I gave him a very good price. Absolutely a bargain. In fact, when we have turkey eggs he'll get an even better deal.

So we did each other a favor and I think we were both happier for it. 

This type of small kindness - helping each other out - is a great way to find sanity in crazy times. Its also a wonderful reminder that we are all in this together. These are hard times and we all deserve a little help. So if you have the opportunity, friend, take time to help someone else. Do you have something sitting in your garage that another could use? Can you cut someone a deal on something they need? Are you on the lookout for what you can do to help someone else? Doing good works is something we are appointed to do and you never know how your small kindness will change someone else's life.  I'm happy today because I got my counter space back and I know those eggs are going to good use.

Happy Tuesday everyone - now go and help someone!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bobbie Cat, Barn cat

Our girl, Bobbie - barn cat extraordinaire.

Bob is very shy so we don't get many pix of her.... here she is looking very regal on the truck.  We saw here once here when we brought home a truck full of hay.

Bobbie says "Happy Monday!"
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...