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, April 30, 2015

Goose Salad

Yesterday I went out to plant my tray of perfectly sprouted, ready for action lettuce. I've been dying for real salad and my victory was close... But instead of finding my tray of sprouts, I found this....

Destroyed. Gone.

I looked around for the perpetrators. I found them.


Dang. Nothing is more disheartening then having your gardening efforts thwarted by badly behaved poultry. Nothing. 

So what do you do when you have a barnyard full of flying monkeys who live only to destroy everything you put your hand to?  As always... the best you can.

Hoops with netting are protecting the broccoli and bok choi.

Sure you can fence poultry out of your garden but they will always find their way in... so while fencing is your first step it is not your last. I've had terrific success using hoops. Cutting up fencing might make you grind your teeth but it's better than finding all your seedlings scattered. Using hoops also keeps the dogs from trampling everything.

If you really want to do it up right then add netting. It might seem like a high cost way to grow vegetables but you can reuse these materials over and over. Plus you can use hoops and plastic or row covers to extend your gardening season.

I find that somewhat low hoops are best - that way the chickens can't easily get under the hoops and scratch around. For two or three row plantings I cut the fence so there are 5 full holes in the fence piece.... and cut each end piece in the center of the hole.  This way there are pointy end pieces that I can push into the ground to hold them in place.

As for what happened to my my lettuce..... instead of putting the tray up on the table I put it on a low bench. And then walked away. That was my error. I need to put all of my seedlings at least hip high to discourage them from becoming goose salad.

What happened to the geese? Nothing. I glared at them.

I'm going to see if I can plant the shattered remains of the seedlings - they might grow yet. But if the geese keep it up my first salad my indeed be goose salad... if you know what I mean.

Happy Thursday everyone! Did your goose get your salad?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ham Cam

I have to get geared up to think about pigz..... that is the furthest thing from my mind right now. So here is my inspiration.....

I think Steven Raichlen would be proud. Check out those cross hatch marks...

Hear the sizzle on the ham cam....

OK. I can do this. I'm going to turn mine eye toward pigz and all their porky glory. Soon.

Do you want to get started with pigz? Here are some links to get you going....

How to grow out feeder pigs on the cheap- Part 2

Part 1 is actually pretty important... do you know what you are getting into with pigz? Pigz can be big, mean, and dangerous. You gotta have good fencing and be ready for a strong animal that might not be cooperative. That Babe movie is a lie. And don't I know it.

Once you get them grown out you gotta do something with them. Have a plan to get them taken to the butcher... or why not do it yourself? We do! Can you butcher at home? Sure. THIS IS A GRAPHIC BUTCHER POST WITH PICTURES AND EVERYTHING. DO NOT CLICK ON IT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE HOW TO MAKE MEAT!

Want to learn more? Check out my Pig Page here.

Happy Monday everyone! Are you grilling ham slabs?

Monday, April 27, 2015

A little frost, onion sprouts, and a leek in the wrong place.

I was surprised to see a little frost out there this morning - no one said anything about frost! We did not have any warnings so I was very glad that, at the last minute, I covered everything up again last nite. Good thing too!

Onions. Look at those sprouts!

In the meantime the onions I planted are starting to sprout up.

They are intentionally planted very close together - I'll thin them out as we go along thru the growing season. I'll use them in salads and such. I'm just glad to see a little life out there. And you can see that I need to do some weeding this morning. We had a good soaking rain on Saturday and now nothing but clear skies for the next week at least.

These are leeks and not onions. Now they are in the wrong place. Drat.

I woke up this morning with only one thought. That was, "I put the leeks in the wrong place." At the last minute before the rain started I grabbed my last bundle of "onions" and put them in the upper garden. Then didn't think about it again. Until this morning when I suddenly remembered that they weren't onions at all but leeks.


I put them in the wrong place. Well, I'm sure they will enjoy their wrong spot now. I'll see how they do.

Speaking of leeks... I mean.. leaks... Thank heavens we do NOT need a new roof. We had a leak and couldn't figure out what to do about it or where it was coming from. Initially we braced ourselves for having to do some work on the roof - or our big fear - to get a new roof entirely..... but then thankfully The Big Man figured out that it was just a drip under the kitchen sink. It turned out to be a $7 fix.

Every day I'm grateful for my husband. He's good with stuff like this - I'm good with other things. We both had different leeks/leaks to deal with this weekend. Mine are in the wrong place and his is perfectly fixed.. and it all worked out.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2015

27* and New chicks! Creepy Meat Update #4

How low did she go????? 27* this morning at least. Yikes! Yesterday I brought in most of the trays of seedlings that were still outside. I'm hoping for the best for the rest of the greenhouse. Of course, now we are out of the danger zone and I have to carry all these trays back upstairs and outside. I'm thinking of it as an opportunity for better organization.

The new box of little buddies.

But the big news is that TSC has their chicks on sale! Quick! Run right down and get yourself a deal. We couldn't resist so we got 10 more meat chicks for $1.49 each! What a great price and no shipping. I asked them for an even BETTER deal... but no dice. It never hurts to ask.

About this time the TSC employees are really tired of the incessant peeping so I'm hoping they might be willing to go even lower on their price. We'll see what happens.

The 2nd batch are showing the newest chicks how to chicken.

If you are keeping track we need to get another bag of chick starter - my hubs will bring one home today after work. That will be a total of 4 bags at $15 each. For everyone wondering if it's "worth it" to raise your own chickens.... yes... yes it is. Good luck, suckers. This story is both heart breaking and scary.

Our total count is 10 first batch meats, 5 barred rocks, 10 second meat batch,  5 Buff Orpingtons, 1 weird, sad story one that could be a roo, and now 10 more for the 3rd batch meats. When you look at it all written down it kind of... looks worse than it sounds... hum... That's a lot of chickens. Yay!

I'll have to get some pix of the first batch meats so you can see how big they are. Still holding off on butchering as they are not big enough for us. They are just over six weeks old. Many people butcher at 7 weeks but we usually do not.

Won't they flop over dead? Not necessarily. Remember we've had meat hens live long enough to actually lay eggs! So we aren't worried about creepy meat heart attacks just yet.

However I am very very hungry for chicken. I mighta been inspired to go back up to Mrs. Yoders after I saw this article and that they were voted one of America's Top 12 buffets. And yeah, I put the hurt on that buffet real good... so much chicken. But more on that later.

I need to get to work on hauling all my seedling flats out of the basement and work on being better organized outside.

Happy Friday everyone! Did you run right down to the chick sale? Or were you too worried about the freeze last nite?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Frost today - freeze tomorrow?

I can't believe I had to turn on the heat this morning! Baby, it's cold out there. Good thing I moved all the plants and seedlings to protected spots.

Frost bud. 

What is the difference between a frost and a freeze? Here is a very boring explanation. Here is a slightly less boring explanation. The most important thing is how it affects your plants. A freeze is much worse.

Do you rush the gardening season? Sure, I do too. I figure the worst thing that is going to happen is that I'll waste some time and a little money. At most I'll be out $11 for a flat of broccoli and a couple bucks for some seeds I already put out there - but if it pays off then I'll be a couple of weeks ahead for home grown salad. I'm dying for fresh salad. I'm sick of store-bought salad. I'll take the risk.

To me it's not much of a gamble... I've been to Vegas. In fact, you could say that I've almost burned Vegas down.... so I've lost a lot more money than what I paid for a flat of broccoli.

I'm hoping this apple blossom will be ok.

I'm not sure why some gardeners are so critical about us "season rushers." I'm excited to get out there and work and if it pays off then great. If not, that's fine too. We just take some precautions and hope for the best.

Yesterday we moved a bunch of trays of seedlings into the basement and a bunch of potted up veg into the greenhouse. Then I covered up the stuff in the greenhouse with sheets, blankets, and row covers for extra protection. I also covered up the broccoli and onions in the garden.

Tonite will be even colder so I'll take even more of the flats into the basement. Then it looks like we will be back on track.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you getting  frost? Or a freeze? Did you get everything covered up?

Will it work? I dunno... I hope so. If not then I'll just shrug and start over.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I think I figured out why the tiller wasn't doing such a great job.

Mighta run over some stuff that caused the till not to work so well.....

It could be that all this twine and stuff may have impacted the performance.

I think the wire was probably also a contributing factor.

I am the reason we don't have nice things. For those of you who are following along with The Great Mower War.... I am prohibited from using the mower and someone was just a little too smug about how he mowed the other day without bending the blade.

I think he just wasn't trying hard enough.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you making sure your tiller is at peak performance?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tater planting

I need to get some garden notes in here.... sorry for a boring post. Later this summer someone please remind me that the potatoes I planted yesterday were from the sprouted buckets in the basement.

These were some of our taters from last year.

I also had some from the grocery store that look to be from the Norkotah variety.

I think this will totally work.

I had two half-to-mostly-full, 3-gallon buckets of the sprouted taters. They had already started growing so I had to get them in the ground quick. I put them by the pear tree and the garlic in the newly cleared area.  I will never remember this.

 I think these were $1.99 or so. Fun and easy!

I plant these little onion starts closely together then thin them out as the growing season goes along to be used in salads and such. The remaining ones will then be properly spaced and grow to full size. That's the plan anyway.

I also put in a bunch of white onion sets, and some starts of purple and sweet/candy onions by the broccoli. This is going to be an onion-o-rific year!

Planting potatoes is easier than falling off a log. Seriously. You can read about it here. You can read more about it here. After I made shallow trench for them and then covered the sprouted taters with dirt, we went and got some fresh straw and bedded them down deeply.

Potatoes are great for new garden areas because the straw will improve the soil and help smother out any pesky weeds. I found some poison ivy in this new area so I hope I can be rid of that. *absently scratches arm.....*

Someone asked me if seed potatoes were different than regular potatoes? Nope. But sometimes they will treat eating potatoes to keep them from sprouting. (ew!)  So yes, if you have taters from the store and they sprout you can plant them! Might as well try, right?

Our favorite taters are the Yukon Golds. I think they are pretty and they are a good, all around use tater. So we got a 50lbs bag of them. You'll remember what happened the last time I got a 50lbs bag of seed potatoes, right? The never ending potato harvest. Of doom.  Oh boy. Potatoes for everyone!

Happy Monday everyone! Are you planting potatoes and onions?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Deviled Eggs

The chickens are firing on all cylinders lately so we have a lot of eggs.... like.... a LOT... many many eggs. So we've been making deviled eggs.

Deviled eggs. Old school. No fancy stuff. There is no way I'm piping in the filling. I use a fork.

For a while there we fell into the trap of only making them on certain holidays but that is crazy - deviled eggs are great any time. And they are a terrific breakfast food.

The thing that revolutionized our deviled egg consumption was learning how to steam hard cooked eggs. Completely life changing. One of the problems with fresh hard boiled eggs is that they are hard to peel... the struggle is real for us chicken owners. Before I learned how to steam hard cooked eggs I'd have to put some eggs aside for several days so they would be easier to peel. Nope. No longer!

Five minutes in ice water. No more. No less. Perfect. At the most these eggs were 2 days old.

I'm not sure what the steaming does - but it works....however the trick is to make sure that you chill the eggs in ice water for 5 minutes. For whatever reason - no more or no less. Five minutes. Then peel them.

We make old school deviled eggs without any of that fancy stuff. Helman's, yellow mustard, a splash of pickle juice, and salt n pepper.... dusted with paprika. Sometimes I'll sprinkle a little curry powder on a few.

The beet eggs are just lovely.

However, now that I've discovered beet deviled eggs... we've veered off course a little. Have you had these? Just beet up some eggs - they only have to soak in the pickled beet juice for a couple hours to turn color - and then make good old fashioned deviled eggs. Some of my beet eggs had been pickled for several days - and this makes the yolks a beautiful pink-orange color. They were spectacular.

Today I'll be steaming up another round of hard cooked eggs....and then we'll have deviled eggs for every meal!

Little Mo photobombing the pix. Thanks Mo-Zee.

Happy Saturday everyone! What are you waiting for? Go and steam some eggs - it will change your life.

Friday, April 17, 2015

More little buddies: Creepy Meat Update #3

Two of my goals for this year were to do a better job with the housework and also to get down to a more reasonable number of chickens. Apparently neither of those things are going to happen. I can't find a matching pair of sox and this happened yesterday....

Next batch of little buddies.

Technically I went back to the feedstore to get dog food and came out with more little buddies. You'll remember that we intended to get another round of meat chickens - which was always the plan - but you know how it goes. I also got 5 Buff Orpingtons and one, lone singleton of ambiguous origins.

When I looked into the bin of Buff's I saw one bigger, weirder looking chick and I thought, "Gosh I hope I don't get THAT one...." But then the gal who handles the chicks at TSC gave me his sad tale....and I ended up with one weird chick. He is probably an Americauna... and may be a rooster. We'll see what happens. But I was glad to give him a home.

We love the Buff Orp's for their beautiful shape and coloring, their easy going nature, and their laying abilities. We haven't had them in a while so I'm super excited to have them back in the barnyard. 

Around here TSC will only have chicks until about the 28th. They will probably have a last ditch blow out sale on or about the 26th so keep your eyes open. Be sure to compare prices also. The first TSC I went into had meat chicks or $2.99... the second had the better price of $1.99. I do not know why they are priced differently.

If you are keeping track I also purchased our third bag of chick food at about $15. Tracking costs will not get kind of dicey because we have the second group - but I'll keep you posted.

The first group are doing great. They still want the heat lamp on which seems weird but we've had fluctuating temperatures. While I'm going to do some moving around today I don't think the first group will be outside yet - especially with that owl that has been hanging around. And we've heard at least 4 hawks as well.

Big and creepy.

The meats have outdistances the "normal" chicks by a mile - and at about 5 weeks they are closer to the recommended butcher age of 7 weeks. But we'll keep them going for a while yet.

If you'd like to follow along, here is the progress of this meat project:

Initial purchase - March 10
Update #1 - March 20
Update #2  April 1

Happy Friday everyone! Do you have a matching pair of socks and a reasonable number of chickens? If not, friend, you are not alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Duck in a truck.

So, this happened the other day....

Nothing to see here... just a duck in a truck.....

This is our limpiest, lamest, little duck. Mostly she just hangs around in the garage and peeps a lot. She doesn't like to be with the other ducks because she is a dwarf variety and they pick on her. Plus she is kind of a goose - she was once brutally mauled by a the lawn mower. I should point out that the mowers wasn't even on.... or moving.... she just got her foot tangled up in it. I can't believe she lived but she did.

So we baby her and make sure she is safe.

She is very adorable.

We had a big rain the other day and the back of the truck filled up with water. So I let her have her own bathtub while I was doing chores. After she splashed around a while I called her over to the side of the truck and a put her down on the ground gently. She peeped and waddled back to the garage to preen.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Do you have a duck in your truck?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bird of Prey?

So I found this in the yard the other day......

 Little pile of bones and fur.

Right under here.

I think this is from a hawk?  Initially there was a lot of the white poop-like stuff you find with bird droppings but then just this little pile of bones remained the next day.

I'll be keeping a close eye on the chickens!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

How to get free nursery pots and flats!

I'm a constant source of embarrassment for my husband. I talk to people - all the time. Mostly I ask for stuff.

You can get free nursery pots and trays for free!

It is not at all unlikely that as we are driving along I'll say, "Honey stop the truck! Go back - I wanna talk to that guy. I bet he'd let me have that piece of fence he's about to throw out." My husband just usually drives faster and pretends he doesn't hear me.

So when my husband isn't around I ask for all kinds of stuff. And sometimes I get it. Like yesterday - I got a whole stack of nursery pots for free.

I went on down to the Lowe's to see if they had their veg starts out yet... nope. But I did walk up to one of the guys and ask if they had any recycled nursery pots that I could just have?  I remember reading a post from Mavis about it a while ago. I figured I should give it a try.

"Sure!" He said. Go on back there - to the way back and look in the bin.

"Really?" I asked, "No one is gonna think I'm stealing anything?"

"Nope. Feel free to check anytime and take as much as you'd like."

So I went back and got an armload of those trays that annuals come in. I was agog. And then I walked kinda fast in case they changed their mind. The gal at the check out didn't even look at me weirdly. Yipee!

I tried this at a couple places. The local nursery had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. But then again, they did not recognize a certain well known seed company and they had no idea what rutabagas where. I tried somewhere else.

One of the ladies walked me to the secret back area where all the magic happens. There it stood, a mountain of black nursery pots. She helped me load up a trolley full of them. It was like Christmas. But it was free! All free!  It was amazing.

Soon there will be basil. Oh yes.

I'll be using these nursery pots to get my veggies started. It's still a little cold - and we have a slight risk for frost. But while the weather is warm I'm going to get a head start on the season. My starting the seeds and starts in pots I can move them inside if I need to - and these are warmer than our soggy cold ground. I can't wait for fresh basil and lettuce - which does great in pots.

I absolutely love that all you have to do is ask and you can get stuff.  Most folks are happy to help you and love to give stuff away if they can. You just have to ask. You'd be surprised at what you can get.

If you are nervous about asking for free stuff just slap a big smile on your face, stand confidently, and start with, "Say... I have a crazy question... I was wondering if....."  And then see what happens.

Of course, if you aren't lucky enough to score some free nursery pots at the nearby big box store or local nursery you can always buy them. I checked the racks at Lowe's and promptly walked away when I saw how expensive the new nursery pots were. Of course you can always order them from Amazon. These are kind of lightweight but they are durable and a nice size.

You can order trays also. But you can see from the price that I totally scored a deal with those free ones. I have not found a better price on these except at Meyards where they are about $1.19 each.

If you are worried about recycling or reusing nursery pots or flats you can always bleach them - or just buy new ones and then recycle them. Someone I know will be hanging out around the recycle bin just waiting for you to come by and dump them off.

Happy Saturday everyone! Are you asking for free stuff?

Editors note: I'm linking to my Amazon store today! I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - a book, movies, gardening supplies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  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. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Fence Posts

Is anyone else working on fencing? I have a couple projects that I'm working on. One of them involves getting a few more 16' hog panels. Do you know how to get them home?

Here are a few posts on fencing to help get you started:

Do you need to move cattle panels? Just hoop it up!

How to transport 16' cattle panels.  There are a couple ways to get 16 foot cattle panels home - you can either cut them or hoop 'em up.

How to put up fence even if you don't know what you are doing.  Think you need to be an expert to get your fencing up? Nope. You just need some tools and some patience.

How to put up electric fence even if you don't know what you are doing.  Holding off on electric fence because you think it's too hard or because you are afraid of it? Don't be! Just get out there and get 'er done. Electric fence will be your new best friend.

Fencing for pigs. Everything you need to know about setting up fencing for pigs. If you are new to pigz you may think you have good enough fence. You don't - make sure you double down on your pig fencing efforts or you may find yourself running thru the woods chasing escaped pigz.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you have your fencing tools? Are you ready for action?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kai the Destroyer

Lots of rain the last couple days and more storms coming in later today. Everyone has been cooped up and frustrated...... this is what happens... The dog bed got the worst of it. I think we are going to go and chase squirrels this morning and try and get their wiggles out.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you trying to balance between muddy dogs and frustrated dogs?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Adding Ag Lime to Soil - How and Why

Yesterday one of my pals asked about adding lime to my bad soil. So here are some quick facts about how and why to add agricultural lime to your soil.

My eye is fixed on summer.

1. How did I know I needed to add lime to my soil?
Because nothing would grow. Not even. The first year I barely got seeds to sprout - and they barely made it out of the soil. I was stunned. Back at the old farm seeds would fly out of the ground and grow without any effort at all. All around us - at this property - we have farm fields bursting with crops. So what was the problem? Our very very bad soil. It was never improved at all.  You know how you always end up hating the people who had your house before you? Yep. This is one of the many reasons.

2. How did I know for SURE?
I had the soil tested. Some where around you is the county Extension office. What's that? The Cooperative Extension System is a non-formal educational program implemented in the United States designed to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives. The service is provided by the state's designated land-grant universities.  How do you find one? Check out this list here.

I looked at our local site and found the instructions for the soil sample. Pretty much I just marched out there, dug a hole, got some dirt, drove on down to the office, and paid them $11. They emailed me the results but unfortunately were a little lacking in details. When I asked the guy harrumphed at me to just keep adding lime. 

Fortunately tho, I talked to an old timer about my results and he had more good info. My bad clay soil needs to be improved by adding lime, tilth, and nutrients. So I've been adding ag lime, busting up the clay, and adding as much barn litter as I can come up with. The process takes a long long time but it's coming along.

3. How do you add lime?
Ag lime comes as a fine powder in 50lbs sacks. I can get it at the feed store for a little over $2 a bag. It's a total pain to work with. The bags are heavy, the powder blows everywhere, and it's hard to scoop. Or I can get the pelleted version at another feed store in 40lbs sacks for about $4. It's less of a pain to work with but twice as expensive. So you know.. I'm cheap so I just stop complaining and get out there with the cheap stuff.

I just use a scoop and a trolley and go around spreading it out on the soil. Then I go along and till it all into the soil. You have to dig it in about 6 inches for best results. And then you just have to wait for it to do its thing. It's best if you can add lime just before it rains. Yesterday I worked really fast and got a lot tilled in....and then rain... glorious rain has been beating down working that lime into the soil. 

3. How do you know for sure that it's working?
I was very skeptical because these things have a very long "tail" - it takes a couple years for the full benefit to be realized. But a couple years ago I was out there skeptically scooping out the lime and I had a little bit left in the bag. So I just dumped it out where I was walking back thru the gate. Then it rained. Then I went out there. Exactly in the wavy pattern where I had dumped the extra the grass was remarkably greener than the rest.... like... much greener. So I ran right down and bought more lime the next day and dumped that all over the garden. Slowly but surely it's been working. 

4. How do you know if you should add lime? 
Go on down and ask your local garden center or feed store. If you are in an area with high ph then they will know. Or better yet - just contact your local Extension office and ask them. It's easy peasy and way less intimidating then you think. Why don't you get a bucket of soil - just a couple shovels full in a bucket - and drive on down to get your soil tested today?

If you'd like to know more here is a very very boring article on adding lime to your soil - from an extension office in Pennsylvania. Here is a much less boring article that is in bullet points so it's easier to read. 

If you drive around farm country in January for February you'll see huge heaps of light colored powdered stuff in the fields.... or you see hand panted signs saying "Lime" out in the fields. This is how big operations add their lime. They get it by the truck load and then work it in with tractors. I don't have a tractor and my ground is too muddy to do that during the winter so this is the best that I can do. But it works so good is good.

So that's the scoop on adding lime. 

Happy Tuesday everyone! Have you gotten you soil tested? Do you need lime? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

First Work Day

Before all the Bubby hubbub I finally had my first real work day outside. I like to note this for planning purposes - it helps me set the stage for my work schedule. So Wednesday April 1 was the first real work day - and that is no joke! It was glorious. I might have even gotten a sun burn.

 Fresh tilled soil.

Most of the work I did was prepping my extremely bad soil. I've been adding lime by the bucketful and tilling it in. I was able to get about a third of the upper garden limed and fertilized before it rained - which was perfect.

Yesterday we had another super work day. We got some "wait until a sunny day" work done - including pulling all the taps from our maple trees. We did not have a great harvest but were glad for the 3 pints that we got.

There will be dill... oh yes.

I also started a lot of trays of seeds. The lettuce that I started last week didn't make it past the sprout up stage. On the warmest day last week I forgot to open up the greenhouse. So the poor sprouts were roasted...and then that nite was the coldest so then they got frozen. They didn't have a chance. From now on I really need to keep an eye on the temperature in there.

In other news, today I'm going to be planting potatoes.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Schnitzel Fit and Day of Doom

Yesterday was a very bad day. Epically bad. Usually when someone who farms says it's a bad day it usually means all your chickens were killed or you found a goat dead in the yard. So I'll preface this by saying that no one died. It was still a bad day.  Everyone had their own set of "worst fears" and yesterday was about one of mine. This may not be your worst day but it was my Day of Doom.

Bubby was a good sport the whole time.

We were scheduled to take Zander up the Good Vet for the first of his Lyme shots and to get a tune up. In the confusion of getting everyone settled and ready to go our barncat, Shine, got his tail shut in the truck door.

Running. Screaming. Running and Screaming. A chase, we got him cornered, and hey since we were going to the vet anyway we shoved him in a carrier and loaded him up. Then we got Zander loaded up in our zippy little car and away we went.

Unfortunately we had just fed Shine so in addition to him pooping all over ... he puked the whole way up there. It was awful. He hated us. We were rattled. We drove faster.

We hurried Shine right in and the vet staff helped me clean him up and then they carefully inspected his bruised tail and declared that nothing was broken. He got a shot of long acting pain medicine and crawled back into the accursed cat carrier which was better than being poked and prodded.

Zander did just fine also. He was a little grumbly but I'd grumble too if some weird guy was shining a light in my eyes. But all was well. We go back in about 3 weeks to get the second Lyme shot. We had to do some fancy shuffling to avoid a pittie in the waiting room but we got Zander reloaded into the car, gave the vet a pile of our money, and started home.

That's when the bottom fell out of our day.

I was just telling The Big Man to pull into the grocery store when....





But The Big Man was able to drive us to safety because he is a boss and he's good like that.

Our poor little car limped into the grocery store parking lot. The car was dead. Real dead. Not mostly dead but entirely dead.

At this point I should say that my second biggest fear is that the car will breakdown while dogs or cats with us. There we were - with a dog and a cat in a broken down car. Of course, Zander and Shine were the worst ones to have in this - my biggest fear. An hour from home.

To be sure, if it was just us we'd just swear a lot, make jokes, and then do whatever to get going again. But the only reoccurring nightmare I have is that one of our dogs or cats gets loose, runs into traffic, and well... you can imagine the rest.

The car came to a sad stop in a busy parking lot beside a very very busy road.

Queue thunder and lightening with rain. So much rain....

Mild panic starts to set in. But we are people of action so we start problem solving.

I called that rental car company that will "Pick you up!" Lies. They might want to work on that marketing. After being tossed around in their phone system for ten minutes I finally got to a guy who said they can't get car to us because they have no cars.  Mind you this wasn't on the weekend. This was a Thursday morning.

Me: NONE? Not ONE car?
Them: Nope.

More mild panic. Then my husband was on the ground yelling and pulling stuff off the car. After a while he held up shredded remains of a somethingsomething. It did look like a dead snake...so much for the serpentine belt.

Me: Is this where I start crying?
The Big Man: No.

And then he handed me a Reese's peanut butter egg from the store 'cuz he's good like that.

Meanwhile Shine had passed out in the carrier from the drugs and Zander was just looking around quietly.

The Big Man and I tossed around ideas. We had to get our people home and that was really the only thing that mattered. But we were mostly out of options. So we finally just had to ask for help. We aren't ask-for-help people. Mostly we take care of our own business. We'll help other people all day long but for us to ask someone is kind of a big deal. But we were stuck and we had a huge dog who was about to time out and a drunk cat with a sore tail that needed to get home...and I was sitting in my biggest fear.

We called for help. It was at least an hour away.

During that time The Big Man gathered supplies, laid on the ground again, yelled at the car, and banged on stuff. The car status moved from "entirely dead" to "mostly dead."

Finally help arrived and we loaded the drunk cat and the huge dog into a strange car and I drove off fast leaving my husband with a mostly dead car.

Honestly, I didn't give it another thought. He deals with broken down vehicles all the time and if you are a person who has a dead car you really want him arriving on the scene. I don't even think I waved when I drove off. The best thing about my husband is that he is entirely capable. He fixes stuff and takes care of things. I am glad every day that he is my husband. So I drove away knowing he'd be just fine.

I finally got Zander and Shine home. Profusely thanked the person who helped us. Zander had a tale to tell the other dogs and Shine went and hid in the garage.

Meanwhile, The Big Man got the mostly dead car to a fix-it place.

Fix-it people: That will be at least $alottamoney!

He handed them alotta money and they got to work.

It was a very very very expensive day. We expected $20 in gas and one vet appointment...not two vet appointments and alottamoney for an emergency car repair. Our budget is crushed.

Life has a funny way of dropping your biggest fears in your lap. Someone said that it helps you realize what you can live thru. Thanks, that's super. Since I now know that I can live thru my second biggest fear I'd like you all to fervently pray that we can avoid my number one biggest fear..... which is that the house burns down when we aren't here. 

My next two biggest fears involve bears and sharks. I've had two bear encounters and while I haven't been attacked by a shark I did have a close encounter with a sailfish that left us both screaming underwater. So that only leaves my greatest fear to come upon me and frankly I can do without the damn house burning down.

Yesterday the worst thing that could happen occured under the best circumstances, so we are thanking heaven that.....

1. This didn't happen to me when I was alone. Actually, I probably would have set the car on fire and stomped off.
2. This didn't happen today when I wanted to have Zander's appointment. I didn't want my husband to have to spend his day off driving up to the vet so I wanted to go today, Friday, and I would have been alone.  

If the car would have broken down with just me and Bubby I probably would have freaked out. Bad. But then I kind of had a funny picture in my head of me calling The Big Man at work for aid and him racing across town in his big work truck, driving people off the road, and yelling at them to "Get out of the way! Bubby needs me!"  Because he's good like that.


Finally, my husband got home. I made him a huge pile of schnitzel and a mountain of polenta for his heroic efforts. I'm telling you this was the biggest pile of schnitzel the world has ever seen. It was a cornucopia of pork cutlets. We had, in fact, a schnitzel fit.

Then I made lemon bars because when life hands you a big pile of lemons that is the best thing you can do.

Our budget is in shatters, our nerves are tattered but we survived. The car was saved, no dog or cat ran into traffic, we all made it home. Zander is fine. Shine is still mad but fine. And I found out that I can live thru one of my biggest fears.

Have a Good Friday, everyone. Did life hand you lemons? Did you make lemon bars and soldier on?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Creepy Meat Update

The meat chix are about 3 weeks old and wow they are really growing!  You can see them here when they were little puffballs, here when they were about 10 days old and getting bigger than the regular chicks....and now look at them.

One of the barred rock chicks. A normal chick. Sorry for the awkward chicken. She was squirmy.

And this is a Creepy Meat. Wow. I couldn't even hold him with one hand.

Technically this fatty creepy meat is about at the halfway mark. You can butcher them at 7 weeks but we'll probably let them go longer than that. We will also start letting them go outside in about another week or two.

Check out the cat food can for scale. Wow!

Right now they are outgrowing their brooder...but the regular chicks aren't. So I'll move the meat chix to a new pen. I'm also keeping my eyes open for more Cornish Crosses at the feed stores. Most of the feed stores around here said they will have chicks until the end of April. However, Rural King said they have chicks thru October! Who knew!?

So far we have gone thru one 50lb bag of feed. It's about $15 here. Just in case you wanted to keep track.

Real chickens clucking around in the sunshine.

Happy Tuesday everyone...and that's no joke!

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