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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Goat minerals..got 'em?

I started looking at Debbie funny a couple weeks ago. Her coat wasn't the deep black that it usually is and I suspected a copper deficiency. The had what we call a "licky block" but a combination of pregnancy and being stuck inside seemed to be taking its toll. The had no interest at all in the recommended bucket of minerals so we got them this:

Nope. Its not a sandy beach... its loose minerals for goats!

My pal K, who knows everything about goats and even more about alpacas, suggested that I get something called Sweetlix. Just so's ya know... if you look it up on the internet, but sure to put "for goats" lest you get an eyeful.

Our feedstore knows it as "Meat Maker" so we had a bit of a mis-communication when I went looking for it. It was about $14 a bag.  Its an easy way to get your goat all the minerals they need. And they love it. The goaties went wild with this crazy licking thing when I walked in with some in a scoop.

Just a little at a time is fine

K suggested to just put a little out at a time as the goats tend to prefer "fresh" minerals. I honestly don't know what the difference is between sitting out there in a feeder and sitting in my barn... but whatever. Goats = crazy so I indulge them.

I also started to give them a little BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) at each feeding. From what I can tell sunflower seeds are rich in copper and they are a good source of fat and protein. I usually give some during milking season but now I'll always have it in winter also.

It worked! Debbie's coat is glossier, darker and its loosing the red tint.

Debbie, back in black

Do you have loose minerals for your goaties? If not, run right out and get some. Its easy peasy and good for them too.

Now then, is everyone ready for the ice storm? We are prepping for it today. If you don't hear from us tomorrow we are likely out of power. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ohiofarmgirl Bloodaxe Varmint Killer

Alright friends, since we're all climbing the walls from being stuck inside and I've got my drink on... I'm finally gonna tell the greatest story never told. But lean in close and whatever you do, don't share it with your city friends. I figure if you've been reading this long, you're farm enough for this tale of wrath.  But it ain't fittin' for decent folks. Read on... if you dare. Just consider yourself duly warned.

A rare self portrait of a varmint killer, her beatin' stick, and her dog

Here's the deal. I can't hardly believe this one and I was there.  So its taken me since earlier this summer to get the story together.  And the courage to share it.  So I'm just gonna blurt it out. But if the Fish and Game boys show up I'm gonna deny any involvment and call all y'all liars and malcontents.

Besides who would believe me? My only witness was Dog #1. My only proof was a garbled message to the Good Neighbors and a hurriedly written Sunday morning email to my pal and Farm Master, Bourbon Red. He knows I'm "just that crazy" so I'm pretty sure he believes me (and he gave me an “A+” for bloodlust). But the rest of you will have to judge for yourselves.


One weekend late this summer was supposed to be The Big Man's All Man, No Girls Allowed Weekend. Nothing but beer, testosterone, and motor oil. So on an unsuspecting Saturday morning he drove off on his motorcycle to the Indy Speedway to watch some race. “Bye, Honey!” and away he went. Me and the dogs were just gonna sit around the whole time and do nothing but grumble about having to do double chores. So we went about it. Saturday passed without incident.

Sunday morning started out badly. Both of the dogs were naughty and landed themselves sitting inside on their beds thinking about their bad behavior. Being alone on farm is pretty unusual. Me outside without the dogs is highly unusual. But what could happen? Right? Right.

So I was ambling along and all of a sudden the Rooster Crew started screaming and came racing up from the pond. I figured they finally saw the snake down there.  But the hubub continued so I moseyed down to see what the flap was about.

And there she was.

You know who. If you've been reading long enough you know that nasty varmint who had been plaguing us the whole summer...that vile, duck killin' she-b*tch...oh... I hates that gal. But since the Fish & Game boys may be looking over my shoulder, for legality's sake, lets say it was a....ahem... “coyote” which are always in season.  A small, reddish “coyote.” She killed my favorite duck, Mollee. I. Hate. Her.

She was low in the grass giving me that smarmy look. My blood boiled. I was crazed with hate and I took off running. Me. Alone. Running thru the woods. Chasing a varmint. No dog. No beatin' stick.

I did have some sense tho so I grabbed a shovel as I ran past the burn pile. The chase was on and I lit off after her. She was gaining ground so I heaved the shovel like a javelin and I knocked her down. “That's for Mollee!” I screamed at that filthy varmint as she lay in a heap. 

Then realized I was standing there, unarmed, cursing a mangy cur. So I turned and ran away. Fast.

I needed reinforcements and to be armed.

So I got the dog. And then looked around for small arms. Of course, if you don't have kids you can kinda leave guns laying around anywhere so they are rarely in the magical place called “away.” So the ONE time I really needed it I couldn't find any of the firearms! So I grabbed what I could out of the garage and my beatin' stick.  Titan took his position behind me and we charged down the hill.

To be sure,  I would have had my big axe but since SOMEONE won't put my tools away I ended up with the smaller chicken, killin' axe. More like a hatchet. But I felt mighty fierce. I felt ready for battle since I'd been reading a book series on soldiers in the ancient Roman army. As I ran down the hill I mentally prepared for hand to hand combat.  I reviewed what I'd learned about being a Roman legionary headed for battle:

Block, perry, thrust – check!
Throw your opponent off balance – check!
Stay out of your opponent's range – check!
War cry – oh forgot about that.

So I yelled my war cry, “AAGHGHGHGHGHGH”... except on me, bein' as short as I am, it was kinda like “eeeeeeeeeek!”

The dog thought that was great and stayed at my six.

We caught up with that evil varmint down by the pond. She was still down and apparently wasn't afraid of my war cry.  The dog started to lurch at our foe but I commanded him to “Hold the line” so he stayed behind me.

She screamed at me.

I screamed back.

Then I cocked my arm back and threw the hatchet, hard...and I got her. Me and the dog looked at each other. “That was so cool, Momma.” Said the dog, kinda shocked. “Yeah I know.” I said, also kinda shocked.

We looked back at that varmint. I was pretty sure she was dead. Her head was flopped over and her tongue was hanging out. I wanted to make sure but I wasn't going any closer. We had to be sure.

So we ran back up the hill. I figured I'd call over to the neighbors to see if the husband could come over, bring his gun, and blast that varmint to kingdom come.

When I got their answering machine my plan was to say “Hey Bob. I just saw the family drive off but I'm hoping you might still be around. I kinda have a situation here and could really use your help.”  But all hopped up on adrenaline as I was, what I actually said was:


And then hung up. Dang! That did not go right.

Well, I'd fix that later - back to the problem at hand. I still had to figure out a way to see if that varmint was dead. So me and the dog headed back down the hill. This time with a pitchfork.

Gingerly we approached the spot where I threw down my enemy and smote her ruin upon the pondside.

But she was GONE!  And so was the axe.

Now, this is the part in Scooby Doo when the villian is hiding behind the tree with the axe in hand waiting for our heroes to get just a little closer.....

As I was frozen with fear the dog took off snarling. Oh whew! She had just scooted off. I called him back so I could get a clean line of sight on her and I raised the pitchfork and sited it for a final volley... but then she gave one last scream and scooted into the bramble.

So she got away....I didn't think she'd last long tho. I'm pretty sure she was mortally wounded.

But either way I didn't think she'll come back because she knows this place is guarded by an axe wielding crazy person.

Shaken and battle-weary, the dog and I trudged back up the hill. But then I kinda picked up the pace because I had to go and re-call the neighbors before they got home and explain the message on their machine. Yikes!

Next, I tried to call The Big Man but he couldn't hear a word I said at the thundering track. Well. He heard “that b*tch”, “axe”, and “got her.”  All day long he thought that one of them pigz got on my last good nerve and one of them was hangin' in the garage. He was about to get a group of bikers together to ride with him to the hog roast.

Later when he got back to the motel, where he could hear me, he got the full story. Initially it was met with stunned silence. Then he said that he was coming home. That minute. Even tho he was supposed to stay another nite. Then he said that nothing I do surprises him anymore and that I was “something else.” It should have taken him about 4 hours to get home... but he made it in just about 3.

I ended up going over to the neighbors that night and we all had a good laugh. Actually my tale was initially met with stunned silence. The husband just shook his head and said that nothing I do surprises him anymore.

The youngest boy thought about it and said, “So Auntie OFG, when you went running down that hill... it was kinda like the dwarf with his axe in that Lord of the Rings movie, huh?”

“Yes, honey,  I imagine it was just like that.”

So that's what happened. We haven't seen hide nor hair of that mangy cur since. The dog thinks I'm “wicked cool” and The Big Man spent the next month out there patrolling with the gun.

As for the rest of you, you may now call me by my new Viking name, “Ohiofarmgirl Bloodaxe Varmint Killer," and sings songs of my fell deeds around the campfires. And for me, I put my big axe in a convenient spot. Just in case.

I swear I don't make this stuff up. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ham-tastic! How to cut up a whole ham

Its ham-tastic.... isn't it just beautiful?  This is why I put up with them hateful pigz all summer.

Is that a ham-glam shot or what?

Today I worked on cutting up one of our whole hams into manageable pieces. We took our hams to be cured and smoked by an good old guy down the road. Primarily he has done deer processing but he smokes a mean ham and has recently increased his pork and beef business. It cost $1/pound to get the hams cured and smoked and took a couple of weeks.

We had one of the hams cut into thick 1-inch or more steaks and wrapped for the freezer. The rest of the hams we asked for whole. Cutting and wrapping is the most labor intensive part of the process and can double your cost. Getting hams back whole saved us a ton of money and its not hard to part them up yourself.
We like thick steaks like these

To be fair, he did right by us by not charging extra for the ham he cut and wrapped. I think it was because we made him laugh when we dropped off our hams.  When you walk into his shop you can see into his butchering room. A couple of his guys were working on parting up a side of pork. When he walked out to greet us we said, "Hey I recognize that pig! Isn't that Bob GoodNeighbor's hog?"

His eye's bugged out of his head and we nearly bust a gut laughing. In truth, we'd just talked to our Good Neighbors so we knew they'd dropped off their hog. I guess it made an impression tho - being able to identify a pig that was in the process of being disassembled. 


Here is the whole ham. You can see the threads where he hung the ham in his smoke house.

You can cut a ham however you'd like but since there's just the two of us we like big ol' slabs of ham to easily fry up in a pan. We laughed that the 3 pound ham steaks in the grocery store were $13. We know the meat manager at that grocery store - that poor guy... I think my husband and I are giving him a complex by standing in the meat section hanging off each other, laughing, and asking each other.. "Hey do we need ham?" And yeah, we think we are hilarious.

Behold. Ham.

My initial cut was to saw off the hock (the thinner, pointy end) to be used in beans, makes 'em nice and smokey.  I used a very long chef's knife to cut slices down to the bone, and then cut the ham steak off the bone. You can see here that I've taken a couple steaks off the whole ham and left the bone.

Look at that layer of fat! Whoot!
I try and cut the steaks so they will fit in a a freezer bag.  I don't worry about trimming very closely around the bone because I'll use that meaty bone for soups and stews.

That's one lovely slab of ham

I left the roundy part at the top as a small ham roast. These can easily be popped into a crock pot for a super easy, hands free supper.

You'll end up with some odds and ends. I cut these into uniformly sized pieces and put in smaller bags to be used for stir fries, fried rice, mac n cheese, egg scrambles, and such.

How easy is that? If you don't have your own hogs, or can't find local pork like my pal D at Springhill Farms provides, you can always get a whole or half ham at the store when they are sale.  Then cut it up like I just did. Its a great way to save money and eat great. Tell the meat manager I said "hi."

eta...I mean... SUNDAY is GW's birthday - go and wish her a happy one and see her beautiful crafts! Happy Birthday The Goodwife, on Sunday that is! Hope you have a wonderful day, baby!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Emergency chocolate cake

My winter woes were getting the best of me the other day so my pal, Freemotion, rushed to my rescue with this emergency chocolate cake recipe. Just mix a few ingredients (that you probably have) in a mug and microwave. Three minutes later - viola! Cake in a mug. Can you believe it?

Easy bake emergency chocolate cake

While it was a great emergency chocolate fix neither of us thought that the texture was quite right. So I monkeyed around with the original recipe and came up with an easy baked version.

My inspiration was from Steamy Kitchen's 10 minute shrimp curry recipe. Even tho I wasn't making this fabulous dish with shrimp nor did it take 10 minutes, it did leave me with about half a can of coconut milk...which would be perfect for...

OFG's Easy Bake Emergency Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350* and then find and grease the smallest cake pan you have - this worked perfectly in a 6" pan

Melt in a medium sized, microwave safe bowl:
6 Tbls of butter

Then mix into the butter:
8 Tbls flour
4 Tbls sugar
4 Tbls cocoa

It won't all mix in but at least you won't cook your eggs with the hot butter, so now add:
1 large egg (or two very small pullet eggs)
4 Tbls coconut milk
A big splash of vanilla

And then....
A big handful of  chocolate chips

Pour into your prepared baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes at 350* or until it starts to crack a bit on top. The texture is pretty fudgy so it's kinda more brownie-like. And its best served warm with a huge scoop of ice cream. Or for breakfast.

Now go and put on your favorite snuggle socks, put your feet up by the fire, and have yourself some chocolate cake!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Got sloth?

Seein' as its Sunday I have some confessing to do, friends. I've got a powerful case of sloth.

What sloth looks like.

I won't add to my list of sins by saying this was today and I was merely observing the Sabbath. It was yesterday. Honestly, it looks a lot like the day before also. Tomorrow looks to be more of the same.

I've got sloth, yes I do. I've go sloth, how about you?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

$58 worth of fun! Do you restaurant supply shop?

Last week we had the time to run right into civilization and go to one of my favorite places.... the restaurant supply store.

All this for $58! Nicholas not included. And yes, that is a cat on my counter.

Does everyone know that you, as the general public, can shop at most of these places? Here in our state we can drive on over to Wasserstroms. Its amazing. There are incredible bargains and fabulous heavy duty, industrial quality kitchen tools. Its my kind of heaven. And while you might not see the fancy consumer brands, oh golly you can't go wrong with a pan that just won't quit.

Just search online for "restaurant supply" in your town.  Even better than the normal stores.. sometimes you can find used restaurant equipment places where you can get tools, tableware, stem and barware, and even equipment for next to nothing.  Well, the walk in freezer will cost you a pretty penny but wouldn't everyone love one of those? I sure would! If you can't find somewhere local, Wasserstroms has an online shop here.

This is what I came home with:

* a heavy duty baking sheet
* another pizza sheet (used for bread baking the other night)
* a 2 gallon food quality plastic bucket
* a ladle (6 oz)
* a pair of tongs the perfect size for my small hands

And the best find.... a 4 quart HEAVY stainless steel sauce pan.. for $32

You heard me....$32 bucks! Its the sauce pan of my dreams.....

All of the commercial/industrial stuff I've ever gotten has been really fabulous and waaaay cheaper than the consumer name brands. For instance, I think the baking sheet was about $8. You can get a 'regular' one in the store for under that.. but mine holds 4 dressed chickens without getting all wobbly and bendy.

Having heavy duty kitchen tools really suits our needs especially since we dress our own poultry and meat. We need tools that can take a lot of use - much more than the casual cook-at-home consumer.

A lot of the restaurant supply places are open to the public and as long as you dont mind a big warehouse to shop in... its a great way to stock up.

The next time I go I'm gonna get a huge stainless stock pot for about $100.

Happy bargain hunting everyone! Now run right out to the restaurant supply place...and prepare to have your mind boggled.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Six more weeks.....

Last night the weather guy said that the next six weeks are going to be colder and snowier than the last six weeks...
If I were really arty I'd have a clever caption about how I feel like this feather trapped in winter.  But I'm not.

No one is happy about this forecast.  At all.

So I propose that the rest of the winter be brought to you by the letter "S:"




Today will be spent by the fire sulking and eating Oreos. Mostly I will be working on my sloth altho there will be periods of standing by the window looking out in despair, shaking my fist at the weather guy, and finally accepting that I'll be trapped in the house until the end of February.

Anybody else stuck in the winter doldrums? How are you coping? Oreos anyone?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Everyone who lives in the country knows that when the weather gets bad mice leave their fields for any building they can weasel their way into. It usually doesn't go well for the ones who enter the domain of The Insane Cat Posse.

 And yes, LOTR nerds, say it fast and Paws o' Doom becomes Khazad-dum.

Unlike Little Mo, our 17 pounder (Maine Coon x raccon), Nicholas actually has lethal paws... Paws of Doom we say. Once we gets off the couch he's a a skilled hunter, descended from a long line of feral cats and possibly from the most feared of all barncats, Dragon himself.

We know when a foolish field mouse has come into the house when I walk into the kitchen and see cats butts lined up along the cupboards, and the cats staring murderously under the sink.  All except for Peeper who thinks mice are gross.

The other night Nicholas was in a pounce pose when, like grey lightening, he struck...and grabbed a mouse from under the dishwasher. In one fell swoop he struck his target with his mammoth mouse-stompers, and his victim was his mouth in a wink of my eye.

And I was instantly up on the couch shrieking at The Big Man to save Nicholas from that mouse. Mind you, that mouse had the raw end of that deal.

 Talk to the paw, mice.

Now friends, you know I'm pretty stout. I don't flinch, I don't back down, and I certainly don't run from a fight... unless its a mouse. I know. I know. It's lame. But there is just something about a mouse in the house that freaks me out. Yikes!


The Big Man scooped up Nicholas, and his prey, and took the whole shootin' match outside. He returned a bit later swearing that he had gotten the mouse out of Nicholas' mouth. So he says.  But I could have sworn that I saw Nicholas later that night patting his belly contentedly. I'm never kissing him again just to be sure.

At this writing there are 4 fuzzy bottoms lined up along the under-the-sink-cupboard... There will be blood tonight!  And a certain amount of screming by me, for sure.

Happy Wednesday everyone - are you all ready for the storm? We are fixin' to get a pounding. Again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fat Deb and Tubbie

The ladies are looking large and in charge. You can see that Debbie (the all black, full sized la mancha) is right as rain after her bout with polio. And she is starting to make and udder, which is goat speak for "developing milk in her udder to be ready for the babies."

Nibbles...aka.. Tubbie is hanging LOW.

Hey Tubbie! Those ducks are talking about you!

Pretty soon here we'll be having some new additions to the team. And we'll get our milkers back... Free milk for everyone...at last.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


They are back. Behold....

We got our hams back from being cured and smoked. Could anything be more beautiful?

More tomorrow... I got me some ham to fry up in a pan......

btw, we were just at the store and we saw some ham steaks about the size of ours (we had the butcher cut one of the hams for us)... they were $13. Is it worth it? Oh yes... its worth it.

BTW... Chai Chai... THANKS for the card! Debbie loved it and yes, she is feeling better. Did everyone see the adorable goat card CC's goaties made for Deb?


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mo Scape

I'm so sick of snow snow snow and more snow that I can't look at one more snow-scape... so here's a Little Mo Scape.

Little Mo's ears are both notched from his hard days outside



Up close of one of his Doomspoons - be afraid... be very afraid....

Sweet Little Mo face

Little Mo is the youngest member of The Insane Cat Posse. He was The World's Worst Barncat who came inside when we couldn't stand worrying about him one more second. His superpower is cuteness - he's a vortex of adorableness. Right now he is laying by the fire sucking all the cute out of the room.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to fix a broke down goat: Goat Polio

We went out yesterday and found Debbie, our pregnant La Mancha goat, down. Not just unhappy - she was laying down and wouldn't get up. And she was looking up at the ceiling like there was something really interesting up there. And she wouldn't eat a bite. So we tried to get her up and she did this weird stiff legged, stretch. Oh-oh.

What you need to fix a broke down goat

We immediately sprang to action. This 'star gazing,' being off feed, and that weird stretching thing are symptoms of a very serious condition called Polioencephalomalacia. It sounds horrible, doesn't it? Well, friends it is. But it can be fixed up in a jiffy if you treat quickly.

First a disclaimer: I am not a vet. I don't play a vet on TV. I never wanted to be a vet. I am not diagnosing your goat now or ever. If you goat is sick, call your vet. Got it? OK let's move on.

After she had her babies last year Debbie had the same exact symptoms. Back then we didn't have any idea what was wrong with her. We finally got a vet on the phone who provided information on how to treat poor Debbie. You'll remember that it resulted in an early Sunday morning trip to walmart. Since Debbie got it again, and it came up with someone else yesterday, and I've since learned that it is more likely to happen in winter... I figured I should tell everyone whats its all about.

Polioencephalomalacia is also called goat polio. Its a vitamin B1 deficiency. It starts as a problem in the gut and throws everything into a tizzy. If you don't immediately treat your goat, she could die - within a day (or maybe three). There is a great article about it here. And here.

If you suspect goat polio do not delay in treatment! Don't "wait and see" or call to get a vet appointment "in a day or so." Take action immediately. Drop what you are doing! I'm not kidding. The worst thing that will happen if you treat your goat for polio and she doesn't have it is that you'll make her mad. The best thing is that you'll save her life. The treatment is easy-peasy and you can't easily overdose her.

Here is what you do:

The very next time you go to the grocery store get a bottle of regular Vitamin B1 tablets for people or you can order them here. The one I purchased cost under $5 and was on the store shelf.  Next stop by the pharmacy, or just go to your feed store, and get a couple of big barrel-style syringes (without needles) and you are ready. Its much better to have these items on hand then to run out in the middle of the night and try and find them. Goats never have anything wrong with them on a Tuesday in the afternoon. Its always on a Sunday night. They do it on purpose.

When you suspect polio simply crush one of the tablets (mine are 250mg or you can order 100mgs here. )...

...add a little water, mix well, then suck it all up with the syringe

Now comes the hard part. March out there and give it to an uncooperative goat. Your goat might actually like getting 'special treats' - Vita never has a problem taking anything like this but Debbie hates it.

If your goat isn't a willing participant, you might need a helper. Or a 4H kid. If you have a 4H kid let the expert handle it - just stand back and look worried.

If you are alone don't wait to treat. Depending on your size - and the size of your goat - you can either straddle her forequarters - with her neck and shoulders between your legs - to hold her still. Or get her side up against a wall, brace her back legs with one leg and her front shoulder with the other leg (kinda like goat Twister). Be VERY careful not to hurt her belly, especially if she is pregnant.  Don't brace or squeeze her around the middle, use the 'meaty parts' to hold her.

Now, use an overhand grip across the top of her muzzle with one hand, pry one side of her mouth open with the other, shove the non-needle syringe into her mouth, and give it a squirt. Gently! You don't want her to aspirate the fluid. But get the vitamin B solution down as best you can. Its best if you can get her to 'drink' it out of the syringe.

This treatment works really well and really fast. Debbie was up when we went out to check her a couple
hours later and right as rain the next morning. We'll keep up the treatment for another day or so just to make sure all systems are 'go.'

A couple other things:

* This article talks about dosages. It important to continue treatment for an additional day after all symptoms have passed. From what I can tell, its hard to overdose with vitamin B1, but the right amount gets the job done.

* You can get an injectable B complex solution from your vet. But using tablets orally works for us especially since we have a hard time getting goat vet supplies. 

* You should also make sure that she takes some water. Pretty much do whatever you can to get her to drink some water so she isn't dehydrated.

* Take away all grain and bagged feed and only give her hay. When she is ready to eat you want to make sure her rumen is up and running. You can also give some Probios which helps in time of stress. You can read about it here (scroll down to find Probios on the page). I got some at the feed store for under $10 or you can order it here..

 * Unfortunately goat polio can look like listeriosis which is really bad.  If she does not respond very quickly to the B1, gets worse, or has a temperature - do whatever you can to find a vet. Or you'll have to get a shovel (yikes!).

* And polio might look like toxemia/ ketosis which you can read about here. If your goat is pregnant you may want to treat like toxemia and get her some quick energy with some molasses and/or karo syrup.  I don't ever recommend using your hard-to-find-processed-on-the-farm-by-Mr. Miller molasses...it will only make you mad to give it to a goat. 

* You can give B1, or an injectable B complex solution, any time your goat seems off her feed or you need to stimulate her appetite. Vitamin B is easily absorbed and any that isn't used is just excreted.

* Just in the course of owning goats you should have some goat Nutri-Drench. You can use it for the babies, or your adults, if they need a pick-me-up. It smells bad and tastes worse so it might be a fight getting it down. But its good stuff.

So that's what I know about goat polio. Now run right out there and make sure your goats are not looking at the stars. However... she might actually BE looking at the stars - that's what happened to my pal, FD's goat Blossom. She was just looking around. Yay Blossom!

If you need a terrific resource for goat raising don't forget to check out Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats. They have one for meat goats as well.

Happy Goat Keeping everyone!

Editor's note: This post has some affiliate links to my Amazon store. You can see all my favorite books and tools here. If you order something thru my Amazon store, from one of the links on this page, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page I'll get a tiny percentage of the sale. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon to show your support. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The sweetest thing

Our newest little blue egg...
I love pullet eggs.

Isn't this the sweetest little egg? This little blue gem is from Baby Barnee, one of Floppy's five from last August.

Floppy set a beautiful nest at the end of last summer. When she went broody we put several other eggs under her. One was a rare blue egg from one of our oldest hens, Barnee. We got Barnee as part of our initial five chickens. We think she is at least 8 years old...which is pretty old for a hen. She was lame when we got her but she gets around pretty good. And every once in a while she lays an egg.

The resulting pullet (a young hen under a year old) is Baby Barnee - and she is the spitting image of her momma. She has tuffed ears, a plump body shape, and has lovely dark brown plumage. We're thrilled that she lays blue eggs also.

Thanks Baby Barnee, this is the sweetest thing I've seen all day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow. Again.

It started about 9:30am and hasn't stopped yet. Snow. Boo. No one is happy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ciabatta, Baby!

Did everyone see the ciabatta bread recipe over on Ruhlman's site? (btw, all hail Charcutepalooza!)

Ciabatta, baby... that's what I'm talking about. My crumb was pretty good for a first attempt.

Even tho these were the worst written directions I've ever seen (Sorry! Not trying to be a hater they just didn't make sense to me)... this made an awesome bread.  I pieced the steps together with the help of this guy. The trick was working with a super wet dough.

The instructions didn't really tell you how to make the loaf. So here's what I did. You need a heavily floured surface to work with it.  I baked it on parchment, on a pizza sheet, on a baking stone. Got that?

Also, I just can't bring myself to make a loaf of all white flour, so this was 30-40% whole wheat. It turned out very pretty.
Just out of the oven...baked at 425* for 25 minutes

We enjoyed it with a (whole wheat) pasta bake which featured a simmered-all-day-bolognese sauce. And a big glass of red wine, of course.

And now I gotta get the hatches battened down.. we're getting that snow from both the South and the Plains. Tomorrow oughta be a looloo for sure.

Stay warm everyone! And remember, when it cold just crank up the oven and bake something!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Scenes from a snowy day

It snowed all last nite and we woke up to windchills and single digits. Per our norm with our cold weather care we didn't charge right out there to get everyone up at dawn's early light. Especially since they started black powder/muzzle load deer season today.. so we took our good old time.  Here's what happened...

First the dogs dogged around.. alot.

 There was a lot of running around. See that our little Kai got a harness.. or as we say, a handle.

Then the hens decided that running right out in the snow wasn't such a great idea so...they had an inside day. I love all the activity here. See Mr. Tibbles (the rooster by the door) is shaking his mane, one of  the hens is getting a drink, there is a lot of pecking around by the ladies, Little Pansy (big white roo) is inspecting something, and that crazy black hen is giving me a crazy look.

The ducks sat in the snow...

...and the geese took a bath like it was 70* and sunny.  And yeah.. thats OD givin' me the stink eye. Penny is our momma goose - the grey Toulouse on the left. I just love her. She has a funny wing and a wonky walk but she's a good old gal for sure. And I love the spotted younger ones.

As for us - we got a load of wood and are now sitting around enjoying the fire and watching it snow.. again. Oh look... single digits again and more windchill... how many more days until spring?

Friday, January 7, 2011

He's just a darn good dog

My Mister Good Dog

What else do I have to say? He's just a darn good dog.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Victorian & Edwardian Farm from BBC - check it out!

Mr. H and I have been having a conversation in each others comments that bears repeating.... does everyone know about the BBC programs Victorian & Edwardian Farm?  They are fantastic and are available to watch on youtube. I'm totally sucked in. You have to watch!  Thanks to Bubblingbrooks for sharing this fascinating series.

My chickens, raised in the Victorian way - get out there and free range ladies!

Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn take on the challenge of living and working on period appropriate farms in these two, seems pretty darn real, series. The series are in 10 minute or so sections on youtube to its easy to watch a couple at a time. I watched the Victorian series up until they had Christmas dinner. I'll be finishing up today.

Of course I was very interested in Ruth Goodman's projects centered around cooking, poultry keeping, and house keeping. She has an interesting site here talking about some classes she teaches. Since it hasn't been updated I'm guessing she is working on another series - or sold out and moved to Hollywood. In one of the early episodes Dr Nicola Verdon joins in for some of the housekeeping duties. She has several published works and I'll be checking out some of those also.

They mentioned The book of the farm (published in 1844) by the extraordinary Henry Stephens. I found it online for free here. But I'm probably going to order it from Amazon here in paperbook or wait around until the hardcover is released. The book is an amazing resource for all things old timey - the real McCoy here. I love the tender way he explains overwintering a late season clutch of chicks.

The farm team uses Stephens work as a guide to their work thru the seasons. One of the reasons I like this old timey way of doing things - aside that it works - is that the folks in those days were hard working, thrifty, and resourceful. They couldn't just go on down and get a bag of superduperdeluxe sheep chow and call it a day. They had to figure out and develop their own resources.

They talk about growing and harvesting mangle beets (they called them Mangelwurzels -ha! what a great word!) for their livestock. These highly nutritious, easy to grow beets were over wintered in a big heap on the ground covered deeply with straw. My pal Bourbon Red uses this method for this mangles and turnips - it works! For the price of a sack of mangles from Shumway you can grow a field of beets and have a winter's worth of supplemental feed for your stock. Even on a small scale these kinds of 'grow it yourself' strategies play to our cheap way of doing things here on our farm. 

As I was watched a couple things reached out and grabbed me...

Ruth talked about the importance of light and how your day was set by how much daylight was available. Just the other day I was saying this to The Big Man. Its so hard to get a project started when the days ae so short! And when our power was off last winter for several days we quickly discovered why the biggest meal was usually at mid day - so you could see to prepare it!

And watching her go thru a four day clothes washing routine made me extremely grateful for my big old washer. Altho I wondered why the team didn't have "outside" and "inside" clothes like I do here to keep down on laundry. Just so's ya know.. my clothes would have been yellow, not blued, and not ironed. Yikes!

I don't know about you but I'm just not convinced that the turkey cooked with that bottle jack, turney thing....

The whole pig strategy thing was a bit puzzling but maybe it will all come together later one. If they got pigs in winter then they will be ready in summer to butcher... but without refrigeration, how they heck are they gonna chill the carcasses? And I'm sure D over at Spring Hill Farms noted that the pigs were Tamworths! And yep, these are the best bacon pigs we've ever had.  While I admire the determination, I don't know if I would have built the stone "hog huts" I think I would have found other accommodations for them.

Chai Chai, Kenleigh, and other sheeple probably cringed with me when the guys were chasing the ewes trying to get the ram separated from the flock. Hey buddies! Stop chasing them sheep like that! And big ol' Fred the Ram kinda put the fear into them boys.. ain't that right?

On a related note I was wondering what those guys were doing without a hard working farm dog... and no barncats to speak of. Maybe they will be featured later.

As I said to Mr, H.. this is my kind of  'reality tv' and is much better than watching a bunch of half naked 20-somethings, shamefully strutting around, being snarky, lazy, and hooking up to win the title of Biggest Realworld Jackass Bachelor Millionaire Housewives.

Happy viewing everyone!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A monster meat and a nekkid chicken

The Big Man is not entirely surprised these days when I run up to him shaking some manner of poultry in his face and demanding to know "Do you know who this is?"

This morning my husband stared at me blankly and replied, "Chicken #47?"

The victim, of what looks like a failed late night plucking, was my dear little Fats. She was practically bare and loosing feathers with every shake.

Them's some sorry looking chickens - Spike and Fats, respectively

That's right. Dear little Fats is actually in the midst of The Dreaded Winter Molt. She is a wreck but is in good company with Spike and Angel. Of course they aren't any of the nameless rabble but rather all good layers, and named hens to boot.

The cold weather continues so we had to put them in a coop with a heat lamp. Sure we could have just sent them to The Pot... but Angel is my favorite of all hens, Spike is one of the best layers, and Fats is... well... Fats is Fats and a good snuggler. We think last week's crazy warm snap is to blame especially since Miss Duck is trying to lay her first egg (way too early).  If we can't keep them warm with the heat lamp I'll have to become one of those crazy people who buys little sweaters for her chickens.

In other chicken news, and to Goodwife's glee (I'm sure) and to AL and Naomi's inspiration, we finally finished up the creepy meat chickens. Oh. Mi. Gosh. They were huge. This was the smallest of the mondo-meats:

Our last four went to the block and now we'll see to the task of shoveling out that side of the turkey house, setting Shine King of Barncats on that last rat, and then have us some good eating.

And a final note...

To our pals in the flood zone in Australia... golly what an ordeal! We've been watching on the news and our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families affected. Remember that we are all in this together, hang in there friends.
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