Here in The Good Land I made my place beside the still waters. I became a tiller of the soil, a keeper of the flocks, and a hater of pigs.
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.
Yesterday we had the farmiest of all farm days. We did it all - I started the day going to the feedstore and we ended with a cool evening walk in our woods.
I'm still working on the computer/pictures thing so here is my magnificent Zander. He was guarding the gate when I got back from the feedstore. No wonder our UPS guy hates our house. The Dread Commander Zander Hannibal BoneCrusher is impressive.
We had action, adventure,...and mowing. No, I did not break anything. But we cleaned a lot of dead rats out of the chicken house so that was awesome.
We did chores, butchered the last of our 3 original creepy meats, we chased the rest of the Chicken Mayhem out of my hostas, we fixed the fences, grazed the goats, mowed, tilled, fertilized, planted, and had burgers from our own home made ground pork.
It was hot but we worked anyway.
We raked barn litter, trimmed trees, and weeded the garden.
I found a tick on Nicholas's bottom. Check your inside-only cats,
people. We couldn't believe that tick attached to Nicholas. I'm sure it
came in with the dogs. Or me. I swear I feel a tick on me right now.
*hops around waving arms and yelling*
Our Itty Bitty - no tick on her tailfeathers.
We even had ice cream. I'm telling you it was a the farmiest of farm days.
What's on the agenda for today? More of the same.
Happy Thursday everyone! I'll catch up when I can!
This could be my only strawberry but I was thrilled to find it!
The rest of my strawberry plants are looking kind of lame. I didn't see any other berries out there. I'm hoping the huge rains we had yesterday and last night will invigorate the plants. We really needed a good soaking and got it. I might also suspect a bunny out there.... looks like I'll have to take Kai out to see if we have a varmint.
I'll be checking the rest of the strawberry plants today but it looks like I'll be hitting up the u-pick place later this week.
Happy Wednesday everyone! Did you find any berries?
It was a hard weekend full of false accusations of "doing it on purpose," of "that's no way to treat an expensive piece of technological equipment," and so forth and so on.
I tried to take my deadish laptop to the Nerd Herd where they shrieked gales of laughter as they ripped open the laptop and shook out about a cup of flour and three pounds of dog and cat hair. After composing themselves they said the laptop was dead and to just get another one.... and that was no way to treat an expensive piece of technological equipment.
Yesterday finally, The Big Man took me firmly by the hand, marched me into the Big Computer Store where I was instructed Not To Touch Anything, and led me back to The Cheap and Good Enough stack of computers.
I got one. I'm still setting it up. That's where I've been all weekend. *sigh*
Did everyone enjoy their weekend?
OFG, Breaker of Things. I am the reason we don't have anything nice.
Yesterday we drove up to the very fancy and exciting Wilson's Garden Center for some hard-to-find peppers. We have only been able to find "Fooled You" jalapenos at Wilson's. I haven't even really been able to find the seeds anywhere.
Fooled You is a mild jalapeno - they are terrific for jalapeno poppers or anything else. All the taste of the spicy peppers but without the heat. We just love them.
We were excited that, not only could we use our discounts dollars from our last trip, but Wilsons was also giving away a free sweet/bell pepper with any purchase! It's a new variety and they want to see how folks like it. I do not know how long that free give away is going on but we were thrilled for the freebies.
We also took a tip from some friends and stopped at a mom-n-pop ice cream place. It was a terrific day.
I also need to note that it was 37* this morning. Seriously. I love the cool weather but nothing is going to grow if we don't get some heat. In the meantime, our meat chicks are completely out of control and we need to contain them.
Happy Friday everyone! Do you have a favorite pepper? How far would you drive to get it? We were in the car for a while yesterday.....
We had an epic dig day yesterday. Zander and Kai dug an impressive hole. Then Kai found and killed two moles - two! Those big nasty ones with the weird feet. We sang songs of her battle glory last nite.
The dig team.
One of the best things we started doing with our best hunter was to teach Kai the command, "Show Me." This means... "I know that you've been up to something so take me to what you've done." Muddy faces, a little blood on her fur or mouth, death screams of victims, or a particularly funny look warrant the command "Show Me" ..... and running.
In our case we especially need this command because Kai and Zander hunt silently. Not one bark. It's the way of the BearSlayers - they are the silent hunters. Which is a problem because I'll turn around and they have disappeared like shadows into the woods. Not entirely a problem tho because I'll ask Ti, "Where is your sister?" Or "Where is the puppy?" He always rats them out.
It was an impressive hole. Maybe a ground hog?
Kai knows to come and get me... or bring me her kills. We've reinforced this by excitedly hopping around, clapping our hands, and then immediately running to the house for a treat followed by all kinds of praises.
She also knows she will not get this response if her kill is a chicken. Or a duck. Just varmints.
The other dogs know this too (mostly) but with Ti I am usually more conversational and say, "where is it?" Lucky is not a natural born killah and Zander and Kai always hunt as a team. So we've really worked on teaching this to Kai.
Of course, after I filled in the hole they started digging it out again. Could be bears down there.
Why do we need this command? Mostly to make sure there are not dead varmints out there in the yard... and also because we need to know what is coming out of the woods. And we really don't want the dogs to eat stuff like that due to possible disease and probably worms and parasites. Luckily Zander and Kai are "soft mouthed" so they mostly just kill it by shaking then spit it out. After they've mouthed on it a while. Ew.
My Fighting Urk-Hai, Princess BearKiller. aka "Wiggles MoleKiller"
Kai found her moles in different parts of the yard so I'm not sure if she was just particularly on point or if the Mole Nation are on the march. But either way she got 'em.. she got 'em real good.
Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you have a big hole in your garden? Does your dog bring you their kills or take you to the slain bodies of the enemy?
Drat. The super hot days we had last week are really ruining my broccoli bed.
Last year I had terrific broccoli and really enjoyed the full harvest. Now I'm kind of stuck with small heads that are already separating and going to flower. I cut the first of the broccoli last nite - no one was happier than I was to have real food from our garden on the menu. But the broccoli disappointment is looming.
Planting continues. I'm glad I held off for longer than I'd hoped because of the few very cold nights we had recently. This week will be cool and much more spring-like.. instead of the super hot and humid weather we've been having. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad for summer... I just have a lot of hard work do to before it gets here.
Happy Tuesday everyone - is your broccoli hanging in there? Or has it gone to flower?
Last nite we had frost warnings. Seriously. Isn't this whole winter thing over? It was 90* just a few days ago!
No frost in this field... thank heaven!
We rushed thru chores so we could get everything in the garden and waiting to be planted safely covered up. I had a lot of seedlings out there in trays. But we got them all under cover just in case.
This morning it was only 37* and then rapidly rose to 40* as the sun was coming up.... so the near-frost-crisis was averted.
But it made for an annoyingly sleepless night. Especially since the dogs were really barky and woofy. At one point we all ran outside to see what was going on.... skunk. Skunk as far as the nose could smell.
But alas, since everything put under your hand will rebel against you..... this happened.
It's like herding bugs.
This gang of chicks is pretty far ranging. Apparently they have places to go and things to do. There is no stopping them. They have gotten over or under every barrier that we've put up. There is no stopping them. Just before our storms the other nite I ran out to shove as much of the barnyard as possible into shelter. Our priority is whoever is most vulnerable and most valuable. And if you run the other way then we just wish you luck.... and we run back into the house.
Dog#1 helped me with the goats and chickens. Pretty much I just need to bring him into the hen and goat yard and the troops start running as fast as they can into the hen house. The goats also run. Fast. So not only is My Most Excellent Good Sir well trained - so are the chicken hordes. I was able to gather everyone up within just a few minutes.
I need to get these little chickens under control but now that they've had a taste of freedom - anything could happen.
We were some of the poor saps who were sitting around in the dark last nite. We had extremely fast moving storms come thru. While we were glad that the storms did not drop any tornadoes.... the sirens were going off for some folks. Now we are in the clear and it's a great time to review your summer storm preps.
What are storm preps? They are the actions you take to prepare your home and barnyard for damaging winds, downed trees, or being without power. A few simple precautions will make a world of difference if the worst should happen.
To be sure there are a LOT of people who pooh-pooh the importance of storm preps. Those are the folks who stand there complaining about how bad it is and say that they "had no warning." Don't be those people. Sure no one wants to be called Chicken Little... but we operate from a "better safe than sorry" perspective. And frankly... out here you may be the last folks to get your power turned back on. It's not like living on the city grid where an hour in the dark makes everyone crabby. You might have to settle in for the long haul.
derecho of 2012 was a significant event - some of the folks in the town nearest to us were without power for days and some folks were in the dark for more than a week. So don't think that everyone running around yelling "do your storm preps" is faking it or over reacting - some of us have just been thru it before.
The longest we've been without power was four days...we were fine because we had our storm preps done. Now we have a good generator so we probably wouldn't even care if that happened again. Our biggest concern would be to keep the freezers frozen and make sure we could get water to the barnyard.
Inexperienced folks might pooh-pooh your storm preps but no one in the know will. So take an afternoon and make a plan, get your preps in place, and keep your weather eye to the sky.
Once we have all our systems squared away our biggest problem is just being annoyed. My husband likes to be power-less sometimes and gets all "isn't this great?" I don't think so. After about an hour I start muttering how I need my NetFlix and start grumping about everything. But we work it out.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Were you in the dark? Did you do your storm preps?
Gotta go - need to get some work done before the heat comes on...and before the storms later. I'm hoping for the cool down tomorrow. It's just like summer out there! I love it but I have some hard work to do and could use a break from the heat.
Chicken dinner, y'all. Oh yes. We are having chicken for dinner tonite. We butchered some of the meat chickens yesterday and I've been dreaming of this day for weeks. Last nite I told hubs that he was having the last non-chicken dinner for a good long time. From now on it will be all chicken, all the time. Nothing but chicken - yipee!
One of my pals asked when we let our chicks outside to run around. The short answer is.... when they are safe from the crows...and if the weather is mild. So when they are about "pigeon sized" we think they are OK to be out there toddling around. At this point they are entirely feathered in and can regulate their body temperature.
The barred rock are about the right size to be outside.
We also know, tho, that they will stick close to their pen...which is in the garage. So we just open the doors and let them peck around. They think it's hilarious to run outside, flap around, and then run back inside. All day long. Kai loves this. She thinks they look delicious in that snack size.
Batch 2 - in the ugly stage. Still 'handful' sized. Too small to be outside.
Batch2 and Batch3 of the meat chicks are too small to be outside. However.... we have had extraordinarily warm weather. It's supposed to be 70* this time of year. But we will probably clear 90* today.
Batch3 - not feathered out and love the heat. Way too small to be outside.
It's too hot for them to be in the brooder so we let them loose in the garage. Mostly they stick together where the food and water is located. We open both ends of the garage (which is a big pole building) and put up hog panels on one end to keep the chicks in and the geese out. On the other end I just put up a low barrier so the barred rocks can get outside - and flap around until they run back inside. This also keeps some of the hens out.
Aren't we worried about the barncats? Nope. For whatever reason our Shine, King of Barncats, has zero hoots for the chicks. He's a stone cold killer but he's never been interested in any of our baby poultry. Mostly he thinks they are annoying but that is it. Bobbi has even fewer hoots for them. The chicks are safe as kittens.
Tuesday was a day of days. It was epically ridiculous. There is no explaining everything that happened. Just when I thought it couldn't get more stupid....
Meet Winnie. She showed up unexpectedly. She has a brother too - who is probably just named, That Other One. I gotta had it to Daisy. She has terrible timing. She snuck these new goats in without a peep. We had no idea.
Our two newest interns.
The day started with quacking and flapping... followed by Zander and Kai lopping along the flight path, all smiles, and amazed that runner ducks fly. I was surprised to as I watched one of our ducks fly about a mile away, bank to the right, and then land on the pond. At least it was OUR pond. Eventually she came up to the barnyard. Zander and Kai were sent to time out.
Then we went and looked at our kitchen floor. Remember the leak we fixed and how glad we were that it wasn't the roof? Yeah. We found out that it leaked under the floor...bad. The first day I thought I was imagining it when I felt the bump in the wood floor in the kitchen - so I pretended that it wasn't real. The next day I started to panic because I was pretty sure it was real.
Tuesday we started ripping things up.
First it was just to peep under the sink cabinet. We found a dead mouse and moisture. So we took off some trim around the wood floor. Underneath it was soaked. Soaked and horrible.
I got more tools.
The wood floor started to come up and each board revealed even more damage. By the end of the day we had taken up about a third of the kitchen floor. The shattered remains of my dream bamboo floor is now in the trash. The subfloor is ruined.
We need more tools. And more materials.
Of course, we immediately took action and got 2 HEPA air filters going and turned on the air conditioning to help get everything dried out.
And then the air conditioning stopped working. It was a hot hot day. It was almost 90* yesterday.
And then Daisy. After finally finding where the water damage ended in the floor we struggled to find positives. Fortunately we know how to fix the floor. We just need the materials and tools... cuz you know, all's I got is time and money to spend on stuff like this..... *dies just a little* So while I'm glad it wasnt roofing - something that I can't do - the flooring is expensive and a little tough to install.
But at least we don't have to call someone to come in and do it.
The single best thing about this house is.... was... the kitchen floor. When we got here we immediately ripped up the tile and I worked for days to lay the bamboo hardwood. It was beautiful and perfect for us. It's "soft" to stand on (unlike tile) and is practically indestructible. This is important because of the sheer amount of damage our Dog Horde can inflict on any surface.... and because Itty Bitty has to Tokyo Drift around every corner. Every time.
Nicholas helped by sitting in the middle of everything we had to move from under the sink.
After ripping up the floor all day I skulked outside to do evening chores. I literally dropped the chick waterer when I saw new goat butts out there.
Daisy looking confused and less pregnant. I thought she was due next week.
Of course I immediately turned and ran inside. My husband came out to help me get the goat situation sorted out.
If surprise goats weren't bad enough.... yesterday morning I had to go out there and milk a kicky doe..... after working on the floor I could barely even lift my arms. It was a trial for both of us but Daisy did great.
We had a few more failures as well. Including that my laptop is acting funny and the final blow.... my stove top espresso maker only made half a pot of coffee. I finally gave up and had cookies for breakfast. I stopped taking this whole thing personally a while ago.
Two major house repairs ... surprise goats...and a non-flying duck winging her way towards freedom.... it's just another day for us.
Fortunately I know someone who will let me borrow a floor nailer, I found a box of the bamboo flooring downstairs so we don't have to buy as much as I originally thought, we'll find someone to come out and fix the air conditioning, and this weekend we will become self-taught experts in repairing subfloor. Heck, the only thing left is for me to break the mower again... at this point that sounds like some kind of challenge.
Happy Thursday everyone? I dunno, man... I think I need more cookies....
Here are a few happy snaps of the Meat Rabble.... Batch 1 had a big day recently. We let them out of their pen to see the whole wide world. They were not impressed. Mostly they hung out in the garage and looked confused.
Batch 1 is just about ready. I'm going to eat every chicken in this room. Well. Not the Barred Rocks.
Some of Creepy Meats chased my feet in hopes of finding more food. Then they got to the edge of the garage and clung onto the cement floor. Apparently the ground is lava. Meat chickens are weirdos.
So we are at a little more than 7 weeks for Batch 1 of the Creepy Meats. A few of them are about to go to glory soon. Very soon. It depends on the weather but I'm expecting to have chicken dinner in my future.
The Barred Rocks we got with Batch 1 will soon go to live in the chicken house. But that is really going to freak them out so I need to get them used to the idea. We'll be having "How to be a Real Chicken" training over the next week. I've brought in some experts - some of the laying hens - to provide instruction.
You can pick out Batch 2 - the larger ones - and also the Buff Orpingtons.
Batch 2 and 3 are still in the brooder. They are doing great and peeping along. With the warmer weather they will have to be moved to a bigger pen and start getting out into the real world.
Happy Tuesday everyone! How are your meats? Creepy?
No time to talk.... it's sunny and 80*! The dogs and I have been out there since very early this morning. We are rushing to get some planting done before it rains tonite.
Kai hates that bunny that has been teasing her. She can see it.
We've been working up on the hill. When I was done I had to disconnect the hose that I use for the garden - it's the same line of hoses that I use for the barnyard. We were working very very far away so there was a ton of water in the line. So what did I do?
I just dropped the hose into the bucket and let the water fill it up. Easy peasy!
I let it fill up one of the buckets. No sense in just letting it run out on the ground - so I used it to fill a bucket the ducks like to use. Will this save me all the time in the world? Nope. But it's good practice to be effective and efficient.
Zander was looking at the birds. Good thing he as a vertical leap of an old fat man with bad knees.
Today I'm working planting kale and lettuce. I'm trying to resurrect the starts from the now-infamous goose salad. We'll see how it goes.
Happy Monday everyone! Are you doing little things to save time in the garden? Are your dogs helping you?
I got a new hat- isn't it terrific? If you are like me you need a good hat to wear everyday out there in the trenches. The truth is, I have incredibly fair skin and I can get a sunburn just walking past a picture of a sunny day. So I love a good hat.
The best thing about my new hat is the very broad brim. It's comfy and will flip back into shape even if the barncat has been laying on it for hours. It's light and breezy but keeps the sun off your face. So far it's never blown off with the wind either. I'm totally recommending this one.
But when I need some good solid gloves to go up against brambles, blackberries, or that stupid wild rose.... these are the only gloves for me. I love these I love these gloves. You can even wash them!
We are having another sunny day so if you'll excuse me I'm going to grab my new hat, gloves, the dogs, and head out into battle.
Happy Friday everyone!!! Do you have a new hat? Do you need new gloves?
Editor's Note: It's Friday - how about some affiliate links in this
post? Why do I always put this at the bottom of these posts? Technically I'm supposed to tell you this which is why I'm
including this editor's note. How does it work? Easy peasy. I get a tiny
portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the
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Editor's Note2: Holy tomatoes... someone purchased something very expensive from my store. I never know who purchases what so I'll just say to whoever-you-are.... thank you very much!
In my previous life I was a fussy, type-a tech gal..and now.. now here I am in the flyover zone on a farm. I gave up my Big Life and I became a tiller of the soil, a keeper of the flocks, and a hater of pigs.
Do you like this blog? Would you like to support it? Just purchase anything you need from Amazon from the search box or by clicking on this link. I'll get a tiny portion of the sale and it will not cost you anything extra. Thanks!