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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Goats, goat, goats, and other stuff

If you are over on 'the facebook' then you know the reason I've been a little quiet lately is that I bungled up my hip again. Remember when this happened? Yeah.. I had to go back and get urgently cared for again. But they fixed me right up and I'm on the mend. Just watching a lot of TV with the cats.

 Baby goats are very adorable!

So here are some links to keep you entertained. Are you considering getting your goat this spring? Now is a great time to get set up. Folks LOVE goats. I do not. But they are the perfect addition to any barnyard, provided you have patience and good fencing.

Around this time of year folks get really interested in a couple of things:

1. How to bottle feed baby goats (complete with an adorable video)  and...

2. How to fix a broke down goat - an easy peasy way to treat goat polio. 

But there are some other topics folks ask me about including....

How (not) to milk a goat. - Be the Boss Goat.

Goat Milking 201 - once you've gotten up your courage here is how to take it to the next level.

Goat Pimpin' - My hatred for having a buck goat on the farm but why it's sometimes necessary.

How to butcher a goat. For when that buck goat just pushed his luck just a little too far.

If you are investigating getting goats you might wonder what surprises you might be in for or what everyone is NOT telling you. I'm here to blow the lid off What You Need to Know:

What goats are really like?

Not everyone loves goats. Here are five things I do not like about goats.

Just one example of goat foolishness I do not have time for - Goat on a Rope.

So what happens when you go out and and realize that you have too many goats?  One of the hardest thing about farming is that not every body makes it and not every body gets to stay. If you get goats the easiest thing is to let your goat herd get out of control. You must run your farm like a business for your own finance sake....and the sake of your livestock.

Right now we still have Nibbles and Debbie. Mostly to keep them around for grazing and also because they are the two we like. But now that another season is rolling around we may just be at the point where we may be entirely goat-less. But we are still mulling that one over.

Happy Sunday everyone! Are you thinking about getting goats? Any questions I can answer? You know I'll always tell you The Truth About Farming.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Just in case you chicken out.... King's Poultry

So we've been talking about meat chickens and the other day we had a huge butcher day. One of the things I suggest is that you start small in meat chickens just to make sure you don't "chicken out" and decide not to butcher them yourself. But what if you freak out and just won't do it? What do you do?

Hilarious 'Bucket o' Chicken' picture that always makes me laugh.

The easiest thing is to get someone to help you so at least you'll know if you really don't want to do it. However I will tell you that almost to a person, almost everyone that I've talked to has the same experience. At the end of the day they are convinced that this is a great project and one they can do. After they have a couple 'home made' chicken meals they are determined never to go back to store meat.

But for whatever reason it may just not be your thing. That's find too. There is almost always someone on Craigslist that will buy them from you.

Or you can find a local processor. This is more difficult than it sounds. Getting the right approvals and inspections is very difficult. Sure you might be able to find someone to do it on the sly.... but not a lot of folks are willing to take the risk.

In Ohio I know of one Department of Ag inspected facility and that is King and Sons in Bradford. I have never done business with them but I know of a guy who takes his turkeys there. For us this place is so far away it would never be "worth" it - but their prices seem reasonable.

I saw on their facebook page that they had a terrible fire in one of their barns... so I was wondering if they were still processing? Yep! Just got an email back from Levi that they are still doing processing. Make sure you contact them for an appointment. From the looks of it they can be really flexible - especially if you are coming from a distance.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you having chicken for dinner?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sun. Shine. On Chicken Day!

Yesterday was terrific!  The sun was out, it was 65*, and it was chicken day!  All of this in February - can you believe it?

The sun was as golden as all of this chicken fat. 

We sent about half of our remaining creepy meats to their glory yesterday. It was fabulous to be outside. All the laying hens and the rest of the poultry mob were out also - everyone was soaking up the sun. Our winter will be back soon but these mild days have just been heaven.

I posted this over on the facebook.... it's my Top Ten Butcher Day tips. Can you butcher your own chickens? Yes, you can! We are just regular people and if we can do it... then so can you. Now is a great time to start planning for raising your own creepy meats... and stalking the feed stores. The farm stores will start having chicks soon.

Our Shine soaked up the sun on chicken day. He was very helpful. 

If you want to give it a go then I'd say start with 10 creepy meats. That is a good number because it allows for attrition and is enough for you to get a feel for what a yard of creepy meats is like....but it's not overwhelming. Also, if you "chicken out" and decide not to butcher them then it's an easy number to sell on craigslist.

Should you chicken out? Nope. You should give butchering a try - at least then you'll know if you can do it or not. But everyone is different so do what is right for you. 

But you should still give it a try on your own. Our process is extremely easy. We noodle around with chores in the morning, take our time getting our tools ready, and then put the dogs on the deck so they can watch the best show in town. The Big Man goes and gets a volunteer, dispatches it on the block, then I skin and gut them. We save the fat, liver, and hearts in a big bowl. The hardest part about the day is keeping the regular chickens from stealing my fat and liver.

Under all that creepiness is a chicken just like you get in the store... but usually without all the green muscle disease.  And yes, I'm still mad that the one package of chicken we got at the store was so gross. Talk about a message from the universe to keep growing your own! We got it, believe me.

The chickens we worked on yesterday are resting comfortably in our coldest fridge. Today I'll part them up and get them into the freezer. I'll make stock and can it the next day. I've already rendered the fat and made pate from the liver.

After we finished up I laid in a big pile of dogs on the dog bed with my crew and it was the best day ever.

Happy Sunday everyone! Are you having chicken for dinner tonite?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ti's Baby Pictures

I was going thru some old files and found a treasure trove of Ti's baby pictures. He was so little! You'll remember the story about how we got Ti and Lucky.

 This is one of the first pictures of when we brought Ti home. He was just a little baby!

Why don't I have a ton of pictures when Ti was a baby? Well, I was a reluctant dog person when I first got here. So the dog thing was new to me. I had no idea I would end up with a house full of huge dogs. I couldn't understand why people would want big dogs.

At first it was just our old lady Shady and Ti. They were a terrific team.

Looking out for adventure.

But then I found out that working dogs are terrific. And so we grew our pack....and I found out I really really really love puppies. So that's why I have tons of pictures of Kai and Zander. Plus, I have a better camera now.

 He was so small in his big dog bed... now he barely fits on any of them.

 He started to grow into it. 

I was also busy shutting down my old life so I really didn't have a lot of puppy time with him. We got Ti when he was more toward the 12 week mark... it was very different than when we got Bubby as a very young pup.  Not everyone loves puppies - they are a lot of work but I just adore every second.

 He's always been a hard working dog and my best helper. Those ears tho..... ha!

Ti has alwasy been a very serious dog - he was never very really silly like our Wiggles aka Kai.

We were so excited to get him that big bone...but then Shady took it and buried it. 
We never saw it again. Ha!

I also found a few pictures of Lucky when he was little and his funny ear almost stood up straight!

Our first picture together.

This is my favorite picture of My Most Excellent Good Dog, Wolfgang Titan Big Bear. My Right Hand. First in Command. The Other Half of My Sky.

Happy Friday everyone! Did you find some baby pictures?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What a snow! And Bubby blows his coat.

Sometimes this blog is about my personal record keeping - like today. I need to note that we had a ridiculous snow over night.... so bad hat we have been under a "Level Two Snow Emergency." This means that pretty much everything is shut down.

There be dire wolves here. My Zander's paw print.

Our roads have been plowed but it's still a disaster out there. To make it worse it's a big ol' heavy, wet snow that is bending over all the trees. We had some flickering lights earlier. So far so good... for now.

Foolish me. I shoveled off half the deck so the dogs wouldn't have to sit in the snow. *sigh*

Of course the dogs love it. My crew can't get enough of mushing thru the snow. As you can see from the above pic.... that whole "If you are cold, they are cold. Bring them in..." thing is  a bunch of crap. Ha! Not my crew. They are happiest in the snow. I'm the one that gives up first and makes them go inside.

And as luck would have it, over the last couple days with our coldest temperatures of the year, Zander is blowing his coat. That means he is shedding all at once. There is fur everywhere. EVERY.WHERE. The local birds love it - there are a lot of nests being lined with Bubby fur. It's hilarious to find them. But pretty much the vacuum started crying when the fur started flying.

We are calling Zander, "Patchy" for the foreseeable future. 

Today will be about brushing out my Bubby and hoping the electric stays on.

Happy Tuesday everyone - are you getting a snow day?

Monday, February 15, 2016

What a loaf!

Thanks so much to my pal, S, who reminded me about this terrific way to make bread!  My loaf turned about beautifully.

Wow what a loaf!

I didn't exactly follow the exact receipe as there are a million ways to make bread. Mostly it's just flour, water, salt, yeast...and time. But how you combine those few ingredients make all the difference.

What is a good bread recipe? Take your pick....

But when I want to start a "real" loaf of bread then I start the day before with this method. The real key to making such a beautiful loaf was that I baked it in one of my Le Creuset pans.

Put the dough in the pan for the last rise (lid on). Just before baking rub a little olive oil over the bread surface, score with a sharp knife, then put the entire thing into the oven for about 25 minutes. Take the lid off and let the bread bake uncovered until it is a beautiful golden brown and the internal temperature is 200*. How easy is that? (read all the details here)

Bread making isn't magical.. it's mostly science. How you handle the dough, the time you let it rise, and the moisture you put into it really create the character of the bread. It helps if you have a $12,000 professional oven... or maybe a cob oven like this....  but you can make a good loaf right in your regular old oven.

If you struggle with bread making then here are a few tips:
  1. Get good yeastand proof it - that is.. make sure it is fresh. Then put the yeast in a small bowl, add a little sugar, then some 100* water. Let it set until it gets foamy.
  2. Don't be in a rush. Let the dough rise in a warm area.
  3. Make sure your oven is hot. Turn it on about an hour before baking time. While the oven is heating up you can put your loafs on the warm oven to rise.
  4. Let it bake long enough. Most recipes will tell you the internal temperature to check to see when it is done.
  5. Let the loaf set for a few minutes once you take it out of the oven - this completes the cooking process.

You can also do your research. Of course, my favorite resource is Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. She has a huge section dedicated to bread making. She will tell you to put down the fancy kitchen equipment and just old school it. But I like to use my KitchenAid.

Another terrific reference is The Bread Bible.But I have to warn you... it might scare you off. There is a ton of technical information on this book that, frankly, makes me roll my eyes. But if you are more nerd than chef this might be the book for you. Just don't freak out over all the steps.

It looks like we are getting a break in the weather... after we are tormented with freezing rain and a rain/snow mix... but thank heavens our temperatures will moderate.

We had a great weekend laying around and baking bread. How are you doing? Did you bake some bread?

Happy Monday everyone!

Editors note: Hey I need to tell you that there are affiliate links on this page.....and that 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 - one of these books, movies, 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!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Polar Vortex continues to vex.... but so far so good.

Yesterday I got all my livestock shuffling done. Everyone got bedded down and snuggled in. The cold is upon us now. While it's nothing like the -30* nights we've had before... it's still pretty bad. But we only need everyone to make it to Monday when the cold will ease up.

Baby Bubby! Remember when he was just a tiny little snow face?

The meat chickens took the longest because I had to scoop them up and then haul them into their new pen in the garage - one at a time. Ti helped me keep them contained.

The worst part about livestock in winter? Trying to convince them to live. It's like they are all born to die. It's like they try every single way to shuffle off their mortal feathers.... usually ingloriously and due to stupidity. It was a long day but I finally got them all resettled. Good thing meat chickens are delicious. They are almost too stupid to live.

Despite all our reservations and concerns... the heat lamps worked. The temperature in the garage actually went up a bit. Add to that all the bodies and soon they were right as rain.

Peep feets. The cats have been glued to the heated bed.

The goats were already packed and ready to leave for the Turkey House by the time I got over there. They made a beeline to the newly strawed in spot and belly flopped right on down. Then commenced to bitchin'. For a long time. Because I put them exactly where they wanted to be. Goats. They are like that. Ingrates.

This morning we were very glad that we did not burn down the garage or the Turkey House. Everyone seemed to be doing OK so we are tentatively calling it a success.

Do you need strategies for cold weather livestock care?  Here are a few of ours...

In the end you can only give the barnyard the tools for success and do your best. Winter is tough. But with the right strategies you might get thru it..... but I'm still vexed.

Happy Saturday everyone! How are you doing with this cold? Everyone ok?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Re-configuring the troops for the Polar Vortex

If you are in this part of the country then you know the Polar Vortex is back. Most of this winter has been pretty mild but the snow and cold have come roaring back. It isn't going well here. The barnyard troops are really taking a beating. Having to deal with warm-then-cold weather is tough on everyone.

I'm fighting my Polar Vortex vexation with tiny pies

The other day during chores we left the goat gate open thinking that Debbie and Nibbles would just shove their heads in the food trough. Nope. They made a break for it - much to the delight of the dogs. Where on earth were they headed?

The Turkey House. Can you believe it?

See? They are little. Yay!

Remember last year all of the goats were cooped up in the Turkey House which is better protected from the wind and safer to hand a heat light? Deb and Nibs remembered those luxurious digs and ran straight over there. They were sorely disappointed to find out that it is stuffed full of meat chickens.

We dragged them back to the Goat House but we got the message.

Despite all of our reservations we hung a heat lamp in the Goat House... but that still didn't do the trick. So it looks like yours truly will be out there shuffling the troops around.

I also made some fresh bread.  It's been a carb free for all.

Re-configuring for this kind of cold ends up being like one of those puzzles. We can't put the goats in the garage and they cant double up with the clucks. So I have to move the meats into the garage, but first I have to build a pen. Then I need to shuttle the creepy meats one by one into the garage, double straw the Turkey House, rehang all kinds of heat lamps, THEN move the goats over... and hope everyone doesn't die and we don't burn the garage and the Turkey House to the ground.

Of course we are kicking ourselves because we SHOULD have butchered a bunch of the meats on Saturday when it was nice and warm. Ugh.

Everyone just needs to live until Monday when our temperatures will moderate. Next weekend it will be 45*.  Until then I'm suiting up for arctic exploration and meat hauling. No one is happy.

But I'm fueled by an 'all meat, all carbs' binge that has included fresh bread, lasagna made from scratch, and tiny pies. It's part of my strategy for staying warm in a cold house.... lots and lots of baking. Is the house really cold? Nope. But I still don't like the furnace and all these Nordi-style dogs don't like it either. Kai and Zander love the cold weather and they would rather be outside in the snow. So we compromise and I bake all day and they hang out in the cooler parts of the house and wish I would just let them go outside and sit in the snow. Dogs. *sigh*

Happy Friday everyone - are you surviving the cold? Are you ready? Is the Vortex vexing you? I'm vexed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Six... no... Seven... Things I'm tired of explaining to (non-farm) people.

The other day I found one of those "What are you sick of explaining to people" posts over on "the reddit." Most of them are funny, some are snotty, but it's interesting so see other people's point of view. I also think it's a good reminder of how folks know about what they know about - and it's good to expand your knowledge and not limit yourself to your own world. People are very interesting.

 Sometimes this is what my day looks like.

Many people don't know about my world. I don't really "get sick" or "get tired" of explaining these things because I think it's important to share knowledge and educate folks. But these are the conversations I tend to have over and over.

1. This isn't the "simple" life. I do not know who got this falsehood started. There is nothing simple about it. Sure I tend to do the same thing over and over but it's all different all the time. There are always complicated problems and the stakes are high when the circle of life spins so close to where you are standing. I'll always tell you The Truth About Farming... and it is not simple.

2. Meat chickens and pigz are not my friends. They are dinner and I don't feel bad about it. Farm raised meat tastes like victory.... or as someone said, "Revenge Bacon."

3.  I used to be someone. With a job. And a nice house. Now I'm someone with a farm, and dogs, and a full time occupation.  It's a long way from there to here. But I remember what regular life is like.

I think it's kind of hard for folks to look at me now and even guess that I was a normal person once. I used to shop at Nordstroms, pay over $100 for a hair cut, and think my biggest problem was that stupid person at work who made my life hard. Ridiculous things happen to me now.

4. No. I don't have nice clothes. This is as good as it gets. Some of us say, we have farm clothes and church clothes and nothing in between. The last clean shirt I ever owned was before I learned to put little creatures in my bra. Nothing I own now has not been pooped on, peed on, or worse.

5. Just because I "don't work" doesn't mean that I have a lot of free time. No, I cannot drop everything. During the growing season I figure that I need at least two weeks notice before I can make any changes to my schedule. This is both frustrating and bewildering to people around me. It's even more confounding because I never actually know what day it is. My closest friends have learned to send me reminders before we are supposed to meet up. I am eternally grateful for that.

6. No, I'm not going back to the rat race. The only rat race I'm interested in is seeing if our barncat, Shine, can run down that huge rat that has been living in the turkey house. Other than that I think I'm stuck with this life - funny tho it is. People are really interested in the money thing tho. Maybe that is what they are really asking and maybe I'll talk about it. But to answer your question, yes I miss the money. But not enough to go back to it.

This next one is a freebie because it was actually my pal, D, was the one who said it....

7. No, I am not wasting my education.

I don't think education is ever wasted and I whole heartedly believe that you should get the best education that you can afford.... but I'll follow quickly with a reminder that unless you are in a specialty field then most likely your education is just a ticket to your first real job. My experience is that from that first job it's more about your work history and your ability to network with other people than your degree.

But am I wasting it? Nope - are you kidding? You always have to be learning, solving problems, managing, crafting, creating, scheduling, figuring, promoting, communicating, and crunching the numbers in this life. You must run your farm effectively - like a business - or it will fail. You have to investigate, research, strategize, and science the shit of of this life.

Regular people think that farm folks are not educated. That is not true. Friend, I have amassed a huge body of knowledge from this life. I couldn't get this education anywhere else. So nope, all those hours sitting in university courses were not wasted a bit. In fact, it helped.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you get asked the same questions over and over? What are you tired of explaining?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ruined day improved by stuff in skillets.....

I probably should have made more of an effort to watch the news last nite. No one was more surprised than me to find out about all that snow this morning......

The dogs were overjoyed. Kai's snow smile says it all.

Yesterday's snow could have been described as The White Malaise.... today it was The White Death for sure.

The Black Death loves The White Death and immediately shoved his big face in it. Oh Bubby!

Chores were tough. All of my boots now leak... but we are more than halfway past the point where buying a new pair of winter boots make sense. The winter mocks me.

Even My Most Excellent Good Dog got all derpy over the snow.

I had no choice but to make my attitude improve with stuff in skillets.

Yesterday I made this skillet cake. It improved things tremendously. Today I had to bring out the big guns....

...bacon. This is the before. There is no after pic ... other than an empty plate.

This is our home cured and smoked bacon. I love it because it's more like a tiny, little bacon steak instead of what store bacon is like. Even the stuff from our butcher is not really bacon-steak-y. You need to eat it this with a knife and fork... and maybe a drizzle of home made maple syrup.

The winter storm continues to rage against my good nature.... but I resist Snow Rage with stuff in skillets.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you making bacon? I mean like... marching out there and butchering a pig? I know someone who is today! Good luck! Yay you!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Aggressive Rooster Rehabilitation Center.

A bunch of us have been laughing about this....

Aggressive Rooster Rehabilitation Center. 100% effective.
note: no idea who came up with this but thanks!

If you've had bad roosters then you know that this is entirely true. Yes. Yes this is the only way to handle a mean rooster.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2016

All's well that ends happily for Ajax!

Good news for working K9 lovers everywhere - former Officer Hickey was able to purchase his partner, Ajax for just one dollar from the City of Marietta. This news report was really terrific - you can tell how glad the handler was for all the support. I'm pretty sure Ajax just wants to know what all the fuss is about and to play ball.

My Nicholas. Definitely not a shovel and will never be auctioned. 

You can read more about the goings on here. There actually was some presendence for this discison so I'm not entirely sure that Mr. "He's just a shovel" LawDirector should get all the credit for this resolution. If you listened closely to the very end of that cringe inducing press conference someone in the crowd said that Jim Smith was on his way down from northern Ohio to meet with the city officials.

You can hear the Marietta officials ask "Who's that?"

Officer Smith and his K9 partner, Valor, were in the same situation in 1998. The law was changed then to accommodate that situation. While it might be a "little known" statute... the news and of course Officer Smith knew about it.

However it worked out I'm just glad it did. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us if a bad situation worked out for Hickey and Ajax. It's just too bad that it took so much public outcry to do the right thing. But sometimes.. just sometimes... social media works.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Turnips... still turnipin'!

Turnips really are one of my favorite things... especially in the winter. They just keep on keepin' on.

Still beautiful.

These are the turnips I planted late in July. And then didn't thin them very well. They are still going strong even this late (early?).  You would have thought that the cold weather would have killed them by now but nope. We had them for dinner last nite.

Turnips are a terrific cover crop. I'm making these notes so I remember to plant them again - even very late in the season - and to remind myself how long they lasted.

Happy Thursday everyone - do you still have root veg in the ground? How are they doing? Or are you planting for spring?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Claw

So this happened yesterday....


Our El Grande Fuzzalotopuss can easily reach the tops of the counters if he stands on his back feet. I was parting up chickens. It was a bad combination.

After a lot of complaining, and some hand to hand combat, I finally relented and gave Nicholas a chicken neck. I thought maybe it would be good for him to chew on to clean his teeth.
(Note: this is not an invitation to start the fight about feeding raw. Just no.)

Nicholas completely went feral. Completely.

He even hissed! At me!  Then things went bad for him - I took it away because we can't have that level of insubordination.

The Claw seeks it's victim....

But he got me back later with all the puking. So. Much. Puking.

Never again, Nicholas! Keep your paws off my chicken!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you have a lot of help in the kitchen?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The curious case of K9 Ajax and why it matters.

If you are over on 'the facebok' then you know that yesterday I pretty much had a melt down over the cringe-inducing story of K9 Ajax over in the near-ish town of Marietta. I normally don't  talk about politics so what follows is as close a political commentary as you are going to get from me. But this made me mad.

Last week the story broke that the a long time officer in the small town City of Marietta was retiring and he thought he'd be able to keep his K9 partner. They didn't have any other K9 handlers. The officer brought in the money to buy the dog ($3,500 which was the value of the K9) but was told instead that K9 Ajax would have to be auctioned off.

My Most Excellent Good Dog. I call him "Sir." Not a shovel

In a now legendary comment the legal director for the town justified this by saying that K9 Ajax was personal property ..."just like a shovel."

To say there was an outcry on social media in an understatement.

There was an online petition and the gofundme donations are up to just about $70,000. What can I say? People love their dogs. Who doesn't know that?

The City of Marietta, that's who.

Their facebook page is a bloodbath. The handling of this situation should become a case study for first year Communications majors in What Not To Do. The press conference was live-streamed by the local TV station and was nothing short of a caricature of what is wrong with this country.

My Bubby is a BucketHead... but not a shovel.

To be sure, I doubt that K9 Ajax is the world's best police dog. I doubt if he could hold a candle to retired MWD Layka. He's probably never been in the Hard Dog Fast Dog competition. No one is saying he is on par with Mike Ritland's spectacular Trikos dogs. But all working police dogs are important.

It would take hours or days for people to find a missing kid when a well trained dog can do it in about 15 minutes. Police dogs are also good community outreach ambassadors, not to mention they usually get their man. So there is no doubt of their value.

People love their dogs. People love working police dogs. The folks in Canton know that their police dog K9 Jethro was not just a shovel. This is how you treat a working dog and his handler -with respect. Who didn't understand when Officer Popp collapsed to the ground in relief when he found his partner K9 Karson after being lost during our coldest weather last year? Heck, who hasn't thrown themselves down and hugged their dog like this gal?

No one doubts the bond between the handler and their dog. So to most folks it was completely understandable when former Officer Hickey was upset when he learned his partner would be sold at auction ..... like a shovel.

My beautiful Kai. We call her Digger but she is not a shovel.

It seemed to be a tough weekend for the City of Marietta. They tried to calm everyone down by putting useful posts on their fb page such as telling folks to send emails instead of crapping up their page. That didnt' work out very well for them.

So they announced there would be a press conference. We all tuned in. This is what I expected to see...

*Cut to scene - The former officer, the dog, the mayor, and the Chief of Police standing on the lawn somewhere... everyone smiling. The dog wags his tail. The Mayor speaks...... "Folks, thanks so much for your concern. We understand you are upset at what is a complicated situation and we want to assure everyone that we are doing everything we can to keep this crime fighting duo together in their golden years of retirement!"  The Mayor and the former officer shake hands, pictures are taken... everyone goes on about their business confident in their City's leadership.*

Nope. Look at them all sitting there. It went just about how you'd expect. Here - watch for yourself. See the spectacular display of finger pointing, name calling, who is a liar and who isn't, the ever popular quoting of regulations, the non-apology, the dismissiveness, the acknowledgement of the apparent "bad blood" between the parties ..and all of us just waiting for that law director guy to actually utter the words "What are you all so upset about it's JUST a dog?"

Thank heavens that last bit didn't actually happen. But you could tell it was on the tip of his tongue.

Somewhere in there, in between calling the former officer a liar and that "I'm a big fish in a small town"attitude that we all recognize...and the statement that the Chief had his own damn problems.... there seemed to be an offer to the former Officer that he could become an "auxiliary" member of the force and in this way the dog would still be in active duty and he could keep K9 Ajax. There seemed to be a lot of conditional statements attached to this. It wasn't a firm plan but it might be plausible. Maybe.

Lucky, actually is a Bucket Head.... Not my most able warrior but still not a shovel.

We also learned that last week, somewhere along the way that the Chief said he was sending another officer out to get the dog back from the former Officer Hickey.

Who was a jerk? Who is a victim? Who was right? Well, I think they all pretty much deserved each other and there is a lot of backstory that none us really need - or want - to know.  The hard truth is that the way the law is written, and in this circumstance, there has to be an auction.

But in this case there is a pretty big divide between being right and doing the right thing. There should have been a way to work this out. It should have been case closed. Everyone should have had confidence in the right thing. But it wasn't. Therein lies the rub and why folks are mad.

Not to mention, in a parting shot the Mayor told everyone who was commenting on the facebook to "get a life."

Oh no he didn't. Oh yes he did.

This is your elected official, folks, this is how he responds to the community's concerns.

Here's the thing. Sure, there are a lot more 'important' issues out there. This country is divided. None of us can solve the refugee crisis, racism, or put the broken economy back together. But regular, normal people can see that guy should get to keep his dog. Should be a done deal, right?

Instead what we all got to see is a microcosm of how far removed our leaders are from regular people. Folks are frustrated and no one is listening. How are you supposed to trust the leadership when they can't even use a little common sense in this situation? What if something really bad happens? Do you really want these jokers be in charge?

It's not just Marietta - it's everywhere. In a not-too-far-away community the County Clerk went to the hoosegow for skimming funds off the top, the wife of the mayor elect will probably be getting a lovely orange jumpsuit for "allegedly" feeding her gambling addiction to the tune of $80,000's worth of someone else's money, don't get me started about a 'keep your hands to yourself' situation in the Prosecutor's office... and no fewer than four somewhat-local teachers have been hauled off for having inappropriate sexual relations with their students.

Oh sure big cities have their problems too. A black kid will get shot 17 times because he looks dangerous... but this guy gets a get out of jail free card even though he killed four people on a drunk driving charge. And apparently it's kind of OK to poison an entire generation of kids because they are poor and no one cares.

This situation needed a hero and there wasn't one. We all need a hero right now. We all need to see something work out. We all need the right thing to be done and for regular folks to get a fair shake. If this guy, who has worked for the police department for what - 30 years? - if he can't get a fair deal then what chance do the rest of us have?

So go on now City of Marietta, keep up with your public relations disaster. Keep showing us you know best and we should all just get a life. Or I don't know, maybe actually lead the community out of this? Show some compassion. Come up with a winning solution. Just be that light. Prove to us regular people that it can all work out.

That's all we can ask for, right?

Anyway. That's all I've got to say about it for now.

My thanks to a good pal who saved my bad day yesterday by posting this adorable video. Yay!

Happy Tuesday, everyone, such as it is.

Monday, February 1, 2016

We butchered the wrong chickens!

Wow was it an epic creepy meat chicken harvest this weekend! We cleaned out the garage of all the meats and now the beer fridge is full of chicken dinners just waiting to happen. We were over joyed at our full harvest, we congratulated ourselves on a job well done. We even sent that one last meat roo to his glory and then.....


We realized we butchered the wrong chickens! Bah!

I had to buy eggs this weekend because the lazy ladies out in the layer hen house haven't given up the goods in days. Not one egg.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was cleaning out the meat chicken pen in the garage and I found... eggs.

Yep. It's pretty bad when your meat chickens are your best layers.

Those slackers out in the hen house had better get with the program or they will end up in the skillet.

Happy Monday everyone! Are your meat chickens laying eggs?  What about your laying hens?

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