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.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Too Cutes New Home

The Too Cutes have a new home!

We want to thank K and her beautiful family for giving the Too Cutes a fabulous new home!  We are thrilled how this all worked out and were so happy to meet new friends.

We had juuuuuuust about decided that maybe we were going too soft on the Too Cutes and maybe we should keep them ...... Oh golly these little loves lived up to their name or sure. All the adorable pippin' and popping and running about was wearing us down. But then I got a reply to my craigslist ad for the remaining two of five Nibbles' babies. We kinda thought we would keep them.

However, I have a couple of good reasons why we keeping little goats wouldn't be our best idea.   Zander is going to be in his rambunctious phase thru the summer and all we'd have to do was turn our head for a minute ...and those little ones would be done for. And most of our fencing would not contain little goats who are still smaller than our littlest hens. Keeping them probably wouldn't have worked out the way wanted.

But...when I got a reply and asked a couple questions.. well... I knew this was one of those great situations that one of my favorite teachers calls a "divine appointment." One of those "just so happens" situations were it all comes together in a tidy little package straight from heaven.

Turns out this young couple just moved back to Ohio after the husband finished his religious studies so they could start a farm and a ministry for special needs kids.  I know - how great is that?  We knew that this would be the best place for those baby goats - what could be better?

So we loaded up the truck with a few pieces of poultry to help get their farm started - and the Too Cutes - and drove four counties over to meet them at an exit that was just about equal distance for both of us. I'll tell you what tho, two "very-farm" trucks meeting at a gas station off the freeway gets you the sheriff doin' a drive by in about 3 minutes flat.  Even if all's you're doin' is exchanging poultry and baby goats  We laughed. But none of us ended up in the back of the sheriff's car so we were glad.

K let me know that their little boy had already picked out names for the Too Cutes - Bubblegum and Marsellina. Is that great or what? So we loaded them up with what we had, tucked them into the cab of their truck with the babies, and waved goodbye to the Too Cutes. When they got home K sent me the pic above. That's their little one telling the Too Cutes.. I mean.. Bubblegum and Marsellina all about their new home.

And the hens had already done their Good Works for the day and had all laid eggs by the time they got home.

I don't know about you but when folks ask me how we can sell the babies.. well, friends, its easy when it turns out like this. So we pray a blessing over the K and her family, we wish them well in their new endeavors, and we are gonna smile all day thinking about their children playing with those baby goats.

Happy Friday everyone! Isn't that a great reason to celebrate!?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Mo Knows

Yesterday was too hard to explain all in one sitting.... so lets just look at Little Mo.

Mo knows how to take it easy. Lets all be like Mo and take it easy today, 'K?

Here's a fun fact about Little Mo. His name is actually Little Moby Obediah. One nite after mas tequila we came up with this thoughtful name for some folks who were about to have a baby. You can imagine our surprise when they rejected our name suggestion - especially after we put so much effort into coming up with the right mix of literary and biblical references.

Little Mo showed up here to our Home for Wayward Cats soon after. We named him Little Mo to show our friends what a great baby name it was. They still didn't take it. They ended up naming their kid something boring.

Little Mo also has a theme song. Instead of "soul man" we sing "He's a Mo man" - we all sing it together. Nicholas rages on the horn section. There's a dance also.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Big Freeze

Last nite we had a big freeze - dang!  Unlike a short lived "frost" a freeze is when there are below 32* temperatures for more than four hours, or so the weather guy says.

So yesterday I was out there covering up what I could. I'm not too worried about the few things I planted. One of the old timers are church says that the ground is still so warm that we should be OK, especially for one night. However the only thing I'm really worried about, I really couldn't do anything about - the fruit trees.

The peach, apple, and pear trees were booming with blossoms earlier this week. It would have been a banner year for our always loaded pear trees. But now we'll have to see if anything made it. The good news is that the pear tree is pretty tall and on the top of the hill - so maybe it was above the extra cold air. The bad news is that here wasn't much I could do about the peach tree.

The only action that I could take was to get all the plastic, tarps, and sheets I could find and put them over the blossoms and hope they wouldn't freeze. Of course, if you are as short as I am and prohibited from using the tall ladder unless The Warden is home....ahem.... I could really only toss my Star Wars sheets over the lowest branches. Hopefully R2D2 kept them peaches warm.

At the last minute someone reminded me to cover the blueberry bushes - they weren't quite to blooming yet but if this freeze was gonna kill all the local berries then my couple of bushes are going to be worth their weight in gold. Zander thought the blankets on the blueberry bushes were monsters so he gave them a good woofing... then peed on them. Good work, Zander, you've defeated an able foe.

That's the word here. You just gotta love Ohio weather. The other nite it was too hot to sleep and this morning it was too cold to get out of bed. For heavens sakes.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Did you get your seedlings covered up?

Monday, March 26, 2012

What are you asking your dog?

I'm always surprised at how regular people talk to their dogs. Recently I saw a video of  a woman who was asking her dog if he wanted to go for a walk. Then she complained when the dog "didn't want" to go for the walk. Um. Are you kidding me?
The only thing we ask Zander is if he knows how handsome he is. Isn't he fabulous?

Sometimes folks ask me for dog training tips. Here's an easy one for you, don't ask our dog what he wants - tell him what you want him to do. If you are having trouble with your dog, it could be the way you are talking to him. Remember that your dog is looking to you to lead the pack.  You can read all about it in Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life. The big idea is that you, not the dog, need to be in charge. Part of being in charge is providing instruction. Part of providing instruction is to do it in a clear, confident, strong voice.

One of the things people like best about dogs is that they seem to understand us.  But they probably aren't listening to the words we are using- except for, your know, "Hey here are some snacks", "Dinner time", and "Look! Chicken hearts!" I'm pretty sure much of what dogs "hear" from us has more to do with the tone of our voice, our accompanying body language, and other non verbal communication. The more I work with our dogs to teach them non-verbal commands, the more obvious this is to me.

Zander is still a big goof. At a little over six months old, we forget he's still a baby.

I'm naturally bossy so I've never had a problem with telling the dogs what to do. So when I see people who have problems with their dog following commands my question is, are you asking that dog or telling him? Does your voice go up at the end like you are asking a question? Are you speaking firmly and with authority? Are you looking at the dog directly? What words are you using?

Passed out after a hard day of doing evil deeds. Check out how big he is!

Anyone who's worked with the general public on the phone knows that if a call gets out of hand the best thing to do is to physically stand up. Even tho the person can't see you your posture and tone will change and this comes thru in your voice. Similarily, sales people are taught to smile even if they are on the phone. The person on the other end will "hear" this change in the salesperson's voice and have a more pleasant experience.

You can use this same kind of "trick" with your dog. Stand up tall, use a deeper version of your speaking voice, pretend you are the king and the dogs are your loyal subjects. Use this newly imagined royal authority to issue proclamations. Your dog will see these kind of changes when you issue commands and respond to them.

If you say in a mild, questioning voice, "Well Mr. Woofy-woof, do you wanna go for a walk?" Your dog will probably just ignore you or maybe roll over in his dog bed. But if you say firmly, "Lets go! We are going for a walk!" He'll probably get up and follow you to the door.

This isn't to say that you should stand there and scream at your dog. If you've ever seen an out of control parent yelling at their kid, you know that approach will only work for so long. But if you've ever seen a parent lean over to a naughty child, and say firmly and just under their breath, "I'm telling you to stop that right now"  - then you know what I'm talking about. There is a difference between berating your dog (or your kid) and getting his attention.

And you don't have to bark orders at your dog all the time. We use plenty of friendly, animated talk with our dogs. And lots of snuggly-wuggly-I-wuv-you's... But not when we are working or if I need them to do something. Using a different tone in your voice between "work" and "play" will help your dog tell the difference between the two. If your dog knows the difference he will be more effective in helping you.

How you behave physically also makes a difference to your dog. Are you self assure and confidant? Does your physical bearing command respect? Do you stride boldly? Or do you meekly make your way around? Do you let your dog push you out of the way at the door or pull you when on a leash? If that's the case you need to stop it right now. You can't have the tail wagging the dog and expect good results. If your dog is wagging you then you need to run right out and find a good dog trainer. Actually you need a people trainer to teach YOU how to be in command of that dog.

Obedience in dogs is probably more about the owner then it is with the dog. Dogs want a job, they want to help, and they want you to be the leader. As the owner you need to show the dog you are a good leader by being confident in the way you talk to your dog.

Smart dogs, given the chance, we start making their own decisions. If they don't have a clear sense of who's the boss they will assume its themselves, not you. Speaking to your dog and issuing commands in a strong voice will reinforce your position as the leader.

So what do you think? Is your dog wagging you? Are you the boss of your dog? What are you doing - or not doing - that is causing success or failure with your hard workin' farm dog?

Happy Monday everyone! Now get out there and be the boss of your dog!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Creepy Meat Butcher Day Freaky Parts and Leavin's

Wow what a creepy meat harvest! We've been working on getting all of our fall creepy meats safely tucked into the freezer. These meat monsters are huge and we are really hauling in the goods. Some of my pals have either just gotten "creepy meats" or are thinking about it. So I thought I'd fill you in on the creepier parts of the creepy meats. 
Guess where I found this egg?

But first.....alright tender victuals.... don't look if you don't want to see blood and guts and weird chicken parts!  All of these parts are creep-tastic and you might just get the vapors and fall right over. Look away...last chance...Don't say I didn't warn you and don't burst into tears and then complain about it later. If you would rather see adorable little goats then click here.

Everyone still with me? OK so here is the deal. We should have whacked these creepy meats a while ago. However, it was either too cold, too wet, we were too sick, or we were just too lazy. The good news is that we still haven't had any big losses. Out of the original 30 one didn't make it during shipping and one randomly give up the ghost.. but the rest have done just fine. Winter meats really are easier than summer meats. Its easier to keep them warm then to cool them down.

Rather than do one big butcher day its easier for us to do just several at a time. This works better with our weird work schedule during the week and also lets us get all our other work done. We had some interesting finds during the last couple days.

Remember when we found those unhatched eggs in a batch of meats a while ago?  Can you believe that one of the creepy meats actually had the above egg in the shoot!  That's right - I found the egg (in the first picture) still in the chicken! It was very very interesting. Most of the meat hens have some unhatched eggs in their egg producing system - this is because we waited so long to butcher them. Now they haven't had a rooster with them for a while so I don't think the egg is viable. But isn't that amazing?

The center one is what a liver is supposed to look like... nice, plump, and red.

Next, remember when I had that amazing pasta and liver dish? Check this out - most of the livers from these chickens are not red and lovely like I used for my pasta.. they are orange and weird. I believe its because of how fat they are and because we've been mostly feeding them corn! Makes you want to put down the bag of "Itos", doesn't it?
Use a heavy pan and low heat to render chicken fat.

Speaking of fat - my gut bucket has never been so full. We pulled out chicken fat by the handful and I'm rendering it all down now. This is just from 4 chickens! Our eyes boggled when we saw all that lovely fat.

Unlike pork fat, chicken fat cooks down really quickly.

Folks ask me what we use chicken fat for.. well.. everything! Any time you reach for a bottle of corn oil, we reach for chicken fat. I've been using it to fry eggrolls in, or eggs in the morning, or to grease the pan for grilled sandwiches. After its cooked down I strain it and put it in little plastic tubs then store them in the freezer. Easy peasy.

Weird bits. Dogs love 'em.

My next step is to take care of all the weird parts. Mostly this means that I cook down any leftover bits for the dogs. Kai nearly died of love for me when she sat patiently waiting me to feed her cooked chicken hearts, one after the other. I'm also cooking down the biggest of the unhatched eggs for the dogs. Some of the old timers say to put them in your pot of noodles for a real treat. I might just try that one day. But not today.

One carcass barely fits in the crock pot. 

We always let our creepy meat chill in the coldest fridge for a day or two. Then after I part them up we make stock. I only cut up one chicken for supper tonite (from yesterday's work), so I fired up the crock pot and am letting the carcass cook down low and slow. I cut the carcasses generously because we use so much of the meat after stock making. All that "unused" leg meat will find its way into eggrolls or chicken salad some day.  One creepy meat carcass, including the legs, fits into our crock pot. In the morning the house will smell like heaven.

Fried in chicken fat, of course, and finished in the oven. Delish!

And last... frying it up in a pan. We had a super supper tonite - fried chicken cutlets in a cream gravy, Grandma's corn pudding, and green beans. That's what I'm talkin' about.

So pals who have creepy meats - this is the kinda thing you might run into. Now if you butcher them young enough you wont have such weirdness. But on the upside, if you grow them out slowly you'll get a heck of a haul ....and a few strange bits.

Happy Saturday everyone! Who wants some fried chicken and gravy?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yesterday was perfect

This is what yesterday felt like....

The Too Cutes catchin' some air

This is what yesterday looked like....

The pear tree is stunning

This is what we did....

Planting onions in the upper garden, Kai for scale

This is who helped me...
Titan and Kai kept watch over me

Wow what a day!

Yesterday was one of those perfect days - you know, like I talked about here... one of the really good ones. It was all sunshine and baby goat spring poppin' and blue sky and dogs playing tag and everyone was happy.

It was all upside...We went into town and happily delivered the stuff to the tax lady and none of the paper had been peed on by cats - I think that's a first. My power cord came in the mail and we also got a few pennies from heaven.  So with some some foldin' money in our pockets we went and had a fun lunch and it was nothing that we could make ourselves so it was really a treat. And the best thing... I chatted with a very nice lady, she might be an angel, and I think the Too Cutes are going to the heavenly situation. More on that tho, once it happens.

We'll get some rain later and a few storms but for now I'm looking at all upside today.

Happy Thursday everyone - now get out there and watch your dogs play tag, plant some onions, and watch those little skip pip poppin' goatie babies catch some air!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peach Blossoms!

Can you believe it!

Peach blossoms a the same time a daffodils? The pear tree exploded with blossoms also. We are going to have a bumper crop of fruit if these blossoms hold on for dear life and don't get a hard freeze.

 And guess what I found lurking in the asparagus bed....

... lets all hope we just go directly into full spring!

In other news... the saga of the power cord continues... today I'm waiting at the end of the drive for the mailman. This is vexing. I'm still vexed. *OFG glares at Nicholas* Very, very vexing....

Happy Thursday everyone! Is everyone else blooming too?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OFG, Micro Goat Shepherd

This is what it looks like to be a micro goat shepherd......

I look like a giant!

I guess technically its a micro "goatherd"... but would you check out the Too Cutes!  They are adorable! And so fun and bouncy. They love to get out and stretch their little legs. They are only this big...

That is a small shoe, folks. And the goat is tiny also.

I'm supposed to tell you that I have a size 7.5 shoe.... just so's you don't think I wear a 14 and them little goats just aren't that small at all. Can you stand how cute they are?

Look at her sticking her tongue out!

I think we are going soft on them and might keep them. One of the barncats is spreading wild rumors that I smooched one of the little goaties... that I'm a goat smoocher. My legal team, the ducks, have instructed me not to make any comments. I say no more on this.

Aren't they a hoot!?

Wednesday is going to be another record breaking, sun shiney day! 80* here will come!

But first a bit of housekeeping....

SOMEONE destroyed the power cord to my laptop... so I'm having technical problems. Sorry for all the short posts... but to use this computer I gotta kill a few trolls and find someone named Leeroy Jenkins. Oh power cord...please come today and save me from this nerd-dom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to Milk a Goat the Easy Way

I'm just saying.... there is more than one way to milk a goat.

This is Dahlia being milked. Not by me. And yes it counts as milking. Dahlia puts up with me letting the babies nurse off her. She's figured out that I control the snacks -and since she wants the snacks... she puts up with it. Sometimes I have to hold her but she's pretty careful about this little ones - she doesn't try and kick or hurt them.

And  they do a great job in their new positions of "Assistant Junior Milker, Apprentice Level One."

We might be going soft on these Too Cutes... they are pretty stinkin' cute. And the snuggles are pretty good. And their funny little noises... Oh geez.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Got pollen in the air? I might need some allergy stuff!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Tale of Two Stocks

I've been getting all the stock canned up - wow its great!

This is from the creepy meats we've been working our way thru recently. But the big story is the difference in the color (and taste) of the stock. See the top jar is more light colored and the bottom jar is deeper and richer.

When I was parting up the chickens it just so happened that the carcasses ended up in one pot (the light colored stock) and the legs and thighs ended up in the other (the darker color).  I was surprised at how different it turned out.

I've got another big kettle cooked down and ready to can and I'm really wondering how it will turn out.  But the beautiful weather is really calling me outside.... got to get busy!

Happy Monday everyone! Anyone else canning?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Watch The Gate

My pal SD has asked me for some videos showing how I work with the dogs - or rather how the dogs work with me to get all this farming done. I've said before that having hard workin' farming dogs is like having an extra pair of hands. This is an example...

I posted this on my Facebook thingy - does everyone know I have this? Come on over and "friend" me to be part of the fun. Anyway this video was a big hit so I thought I'd post here also.

This command is called "Watch the Gate." That's Titan and he's keeping Dinah, the baby goat, in the pen while I'm busy with the Too Cutes. See how he goes and gets her, scoots her in, then keeps her in the pen with his paws?  See also that he is not aggressive but is firm. He uses is nose - not his mouth - but mostly his paws.

And she is a pip isn't she? None of the baby goats are afraid of him at all. Remember that he's been helping me with them from the start. I think its funny when he "gives licks" - and, no, he isn't tasting her. I taught him to "give licks" to the babies so he would clean them after their bottle feeding. This kept them clean and also stimulated them after their meal, kind of how a momma goat would.  I'll do a lot of things but licking goats is not one of them.

I should note this command, especially with a baby goat, is a fairly advanced move and folks with regular dogs may not have the same result. Unless you can stop your dog at a dead run while he's in full prey mode, I would gradually work your way up to this kind of thing. She is very very small and his huge paws could easily hurt her. Not to mention the pointy bits. Kai or Zander would not do well with a command like this. Sure they'd go and get her... but they'd bring her back limp.

Titan knows that the babies are "mine" and I've worked with him to make sure he knows not to hurt them. A rambunctious pup would just get over excited and would easily tip into "prey" mode. An untrained dog wouldn't know what was "play" and what was "work." You can see here how dogs play - this would not go well for a goat.

Note that Titan is intentionally keeping her in - he isn't randomly playing with her. All his moves are to keep her back.  I don't encourage people to let their dogs "play" with livestock. At all.

I've seen videos where people think their dog is "playing" with their goat. The people think its hilarious. But friend I'm here to tell you the next time that happens, or when the people weren't standing there..... that goat would be a gonner. And that goat is terrified, she doesn't think its funny at all. Remember that goats are a predator's delight - they smell like poop and run when chased. Goats = not playmates for dogs.

Titan never gets to decide he's going to "play" with the goats or any of the livestock. He only works them when I tell him. Smart dogs get themselves into trouble when they start making their own decisions like, "Say, that rooster is lookin' at me funny - I'm gonna go kill him."

If you see your dog take interest in any of your stock you need to stop him immediately. Make him sit in front of you, give him the "finger of discipline" (think mean teacher scolding you) to make sure you have his attention, and tell him "NO! That's mine! We don't touch that!" And then give him a time out. We gate our dogs on the deck if they are naughty - that way they can see all the good dogs having a fun time with us...while they sit up there sadly. Since dogs are pack animals and want to be with you this is very very very effective.

We started working on "watch the gate" awhile ago. Mostly so I could walk thru one of the gates with my hands full and not have to latch it. I'd call Titan to the gate, tell him "watch the gate" (which was a new command) then tell him to sit and hold. And lets face it, very few of our barnyard critters is gonna try and scoot out of the gate with a huge "wolf" sitting there. I'd keep repeating "watch the gate" to keep him there and pretty soon he knew what I was talking about. Then when I was in the goat yard, I'd randomly say "go watch the gate' and point to it. He'd run over and sit down next to it. Voila.

So now you know how Titan helps me with the babies. I'm working on some videos to show how he helps me with the Too Cutes also.

In the meantime, I'd like to thank C. who gave this baby, Dinah, a new home! We are thrilled that she came by yesterday and know that Dinah will be a welcome addition to her flock.

Happy Saturday everyone. The next time you see your dog just sitting there - give me a job. Teach him to "watch the gate."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Two things I'm extremely grateful for right now

There are a couple of things that I am shockingly grateful for right now. First, that we didn't spend any money on heating oil this year. Not a penny. Our entire heating bill for this whole fall/winter/spring has been exactly $200. This is why....

The wood was only $50 for a whole truck load!

...we judiciously ran the furnace but mostly we heated with wood in our wood burning stove. Careful planning, wearing a sweater, and a warm non-winter saved us at least $600. We are so glad!

For anyone about to start screaming about climate change, please sit down. We got most of the wood from an Amish neighbor down the hill from us. He uses his big ol' draft horses to pull already downed trees out of his woods. The sawmill he uses is from the 17th century so, aside from the horse toots, I'm pretty sure the carbon footprint is pretty small. Much smaller than buying heating oil shipped from halfway around the world and such.

Next, especially right now (Thursday nite) I'm extremely grateful for our creepy meat chickens. They were incredibly cheap to raise over the winter and are extra delicious. I just had another pile of livers in a Marsala-cream sauce. Yum!

For my pal who requested the recipe.... This is sorta what I did... but substitute the Marsala for the brandy. One nite I had bacon in it but tonite I didnt. This version doesnt even really need cheese on it. The other nite I just poured it over polenta.. honestly it was so beautiful I couldn't even hold the plate to take a picture of it.

Just pretend that this is a perfectly framed picture of my supper. 

So a bit of housekeeping....Under the heading of "just so's ya know..."

It is a fact that I am a nerd. I don't step back from it, excuse it, or explain it. I embrace my nerd-ness. So you can imagine I was crushed on Tuesday when I forgot it was Pi Day! And I made no pie to celebrate.  My nerd card was summarily revoked (you know who you are). Well. I think I have re-nerd-i-fied myself.

One of you, you also know who you are, sent me on a Weird Al rampage the other nite. So I've been playing and re-playing my favorite video, White & Nerdy. Because... well,  I am. But here's the thing.... I didn't know it was based on a real song and video. Who knew?  This does, of course, make Weird Al's version even funnier.

Me = nerd

And I really, really need to get off farm more often. I'm gonna go watch something from popular culture just so I can keep up. Or I can quote Dune with some of all y'all... and you know who are are too.

Happy Friday everyone! Now get out there save some money on home heating, make some awesome pasta..and nerd it up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

At last

I'm not sure if its a false spring or not but these new arrivals are most welcome!

We are having 70*+ days for the next week or more and I'm thrilled to run right outside and get to it. We've gotten a lot of work done in the last couple of days. The pace is really starting to pick up.

We secured the fence in the goat/hen yard to keep out unwelcome visitors. But we need to work on the actual fence line. This will create my much longed-for "dog moat" - a fence within a fence so the dogs can patrol the perimeter of the property. Its only on one side, on the shared property line, but I'm thrilled. The fence within a fence will also keep the deer out as they cannot jump two fences, spaced apart. And if one jumps between the fences.. well.. finder's keepers, right?  This will also help keep the foxes from making their way into the hen yard.

Next, we've been whacking our way thru the winter creepy meats. I had such a dinner last nite - fresh chicken livers in a Marsala-cream sauce over polenta. That's the ticket, friends - just delish.

And all the babies goaties are doing great. The Too Cutes pip and pop their way around, following us thru the yard. They are not even as big as my shoe. Its hilarious to see them try to keep up especially when they are given to randomly springing up like little popping pieces of corn.

Its a happy day folks, get right out there and enjoy the sunshine! Fake spring or not, I'm getting my shorts on and running right outside. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Cats Do During the Day

What Cats Do During the Day

Some of this...

and some of that....

a lot of this.....

It goes on like this for a while.

Now you know. As for me I'm gonna be enjoying the next week which promises to be sunny, 70* !!!!  I think we made it! It might just be spring! Take THAT winter!

Happy Tuesday everyone, what do your cats do during the day?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kai and the Too Cutes

Kai thinks the Too Cutes look delicious......

Unlike Titan who dutifully licks these baby goats clean after their bottle.... Kai just wants to eat these little ones. As our official "ratter" Kai thinks they are just the right size.  Zander nearly lost his mind when he saw the baby goats. Predator. Prey. Don't you forget it.

Dahlia has turned out to be a superstar. Not only is she doing just fine on the milk stand - but she's letting the Too Cutes nurse off her. So for all my complaining about her... looks like she is staying.  She might even get a promotion and a better parking spot.  We'll see how things go along but for now we are pretty proud of her.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's Dinah! Isn't she a charmer?

Look at this little love! Our latest arrival is doing great!

Dinah is up and doing great! She tried to run after us when I walked Dahlia to the milking stand - how cute is that?  Dahli did pretty good for her first time milking. One side was pretty hard to get going - so we brought in an expert. We got one of the Too Cutes to latch on and relieve the pressure. Yay teamwork!

We'll see if Dahlia is good natured enough to take on the Too Cutes - if she lets them nurse then I won't have to bottle feed them! Now THAT is teamwork!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dahlia had her baby! Meet Dinah... and other goings on

Today had everything down here on the farm - action, adventure - chicken butchering.... and the arrival of our newest goat..... Dinah!

The biggest baby EVER. Yay Dinah!

We were surprised when Dahlia was acting weird today.  Even more surprised when she was "laying down taking a nap" and then just plain shocking when stuff started happening. There was yelling, running, and me about to puke. In the end the biggest baby goat we've ever had was up and about and getting sips from Dahlia.

She's up!

Even tho Dahlia was bred by Too Short it looks like she had a full sized baby.  Isn't that amazing? Dinah also has those adorable little La Mancha ears. Welcome to the team, Dinah! 

Without question the chicken butchering was much better. For me. After us being too sick or too cold to get our meat chickens in the freezer - we finally got some work done on them. We would have gotten a lot more done if.....
And she has the same cute crescent that Cressie has - how adorable is that?

...We hadn't looked over to see a beagle standing in our goat yard. IN OUR GOAT YARD. There was screaming. Running. And me not puking but doing a lot of swearing. We found the culprits.

Remember our Old Man Neighbor who cut down my hay? Yeah. Well. They've got some 20-something grandkids living there who couldn't keep ahold of that beagle. I'm making a public declaration of their naughtiness just in case I need to prove it. If you know what I mean.

I'll just say its surprising when folks move out to the country, let a dog run loose, then act all surprised when when a completely unhappy neighbor, covered in chicken guts pounds on their door yelling at them to keep that dog in their yard. So guess who is gonna be doing more fencing this weekend. And yes I'm really super duper mad. So we are going to have to run more fence and also run some electric tomorrow.  We warned them that the charger for our electric will bring them to their knees so they'd best keep away from it.

The good news is that we have way more yard than we thought. We ran a line between some newly pounded in fence posts on the line that the survey guys marked -  and now they have less yard. We don't even feel bad. I'm pretty excited for when the Old Man Neighbor comes home from wintering in Florida to see what we've been working on. Why, I'm gonna be there when he gets out of this car to tell him why we put up the ugliest fence that we could find.  And that I finally have my much-longed-for dog moat on that side of the property. Then I'm gonna plant a lot more hay so he can look at it all summer and twitch.

That's the goings on - we are so glad that Dahlia had her baby!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Well there you have it.

Remember when I was all worked up over the crap they call food in school lunchrooms....and how "they" took a kid's lunch and gave her the school's food instead because it was better?

Well there you have it. Just so we are clear - the fast food places won't serve this anymore... but they are gonna sell it to the schools and then feed it to your kids. Super. Duper.  Just so's ya know... I won't feed that to my dogs.

And just in case you need a little more reinforcement... Get a load of this guy and why he won't buy ground meat from the store.  Everyone knows that you can grind your own meat at home, right?  And stuff like sausage is just ground meat with seasoning and you can do that yourself, right?

Or you can ask your butcher counter to grind some beef for you - just get a better cut out of the case, hand it to him, smile, and say "Hey buddy - will you grind this for me?"  Easy peasy.

However, if we've just walked thru and burst into fits of laughter at our classic joke "Hey do we need ham?" the butcher guy might just be crying. Our poor meat counter guy, honest, we aren't laughing at him. Just in his general direction. We about fell over each other a couple days ago when we looked into the meat case for the first time in months. No thank you.

So when I'm prattling on and on about raw milk - remember it is not just about raw milk. Its about YOU being able to grow and eat the food that you want to with out anybody - including school lunch inspectors - telling you that you can't.

Happy Friday everyone - are you really going to send your kid to school with lunch money after reading and watching these articles? Ick.  Lets just chalk this up to reason 942 why home schooling may not be such a bad idea.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

WARNING! Adorable baby goats

So cute your eye may just melt. I'm not even kidding. You can also see the video here on youtube.

Will you just get a load of these little Too Cutes? They are doing great - happy to see me, eager to take a bottle, and willing to let an enormous dog lick their little milk faces.

Little Cali is chocolate tipped and totally splashy.  She is more Nigerian in form.

Little Cressie is mostly black with cow markings and has an adorable white crescent shape on the top of her little head. Don't those little La Mancha ears just slay you?

They are only this big. Well, they are only four days old. They are up and pip popping all around. This was their first trip outside and they thought The Whole Wide World was the best thing ever.

What could be cuter than adorable baby goats!  Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Too Cute's Big Arrival

I mentioned the other day that the nite of the Too Cute's arrival was pretty hilarious. I finally have some time to tell you the tale. But first I'd like to thank D who took the 3rd and last of the bucklings today. He is going to a great home and we are so glad!

And for all you corporate monkeys who complain about your hard days in the salt mines... you ain't seen nothing. THIS is what I gotta put up with all day..... You can imagine my suffering? HA!  Nibbles decided, again, that she needs more "me" time and gave up on the doelings today. So I'm bottle feeding them. Sheesh!  Not for long, tho, we think we have homes for them also.

Back to the arrival...

So there I was tucked safely in bed with our cats, Peeper under one arm and Pepper under the other. I was dreaming my favorite dream... I was in Pie World where everything is made of pie... and was running across a peanut butter pie beach about ready to plunge into a blueberry filling sea...

Angry yelling.

Suddenly the ala mode mountains started to melt and the whipped cream clouds were smeared across the sky...

More angry yelling.

I lifted my "Hello Kitty" eye mask and peeped open mine eye to see The Big Man backlit against the hall light wearing a sock hat and his barn jacket. He was yelling. At me. I looked at Pepper who was just as surprised as I was. She just shrugged.

Then he yelled "YOU HAVE BABIES RIGHT NOW...."

I couldn't tell if it was a statement or a question. I don't have any babies. I looked at Peep and she just shrugged and closed her eyes.


Then he turned and ran. Being a person of action I tossed off the cats, pulled on barn clothes, and ran after the sound of huge feet running across the yard. I was still not entirely sure of where I was going or why. I wasn't even awake when I tumbled into the goat house and for the life of me I still couldn't understand what was happening.

The Big Man was yelling again, this time it was, "ITS STILL IN THE SACK! THE SACK! ITS IN THE SACK!"

I had no idea what he was talking about. Why would he need a grocery sack? I looked around and saw... I dunno... Nibbles and some little things....lots of little things.

Then the haze lifted and reality came sharply into view... Nibbles was having her babies right now! 

I don't know why he didn't just say that.

Still a little befuddled I reverted to my Data-mode and started barking orders in bullet point form,

"Priority One:
* remove all goop from eyes and noses.
* make sure Nibbles licks them all..."

And so on.

Then more stuff happened but I'll tell you about that tomorrow, for now lets just suffice it to say that we stayed out there in the goat house with Nibbles until just before 2 in the AM. We still can't believe that Nibbles had five, FIVE, of them. Nor can I believe they all lived thru the nite.

When we got into the house I immediately turned to my own med'cine and poured myself a couple of huge shots of tequila. I figured I had earned it. However, I was so worried that I really couldn't sleep. Especially since Kai shattered the nite with a bone chilling bark about an hour later.

Coyotes! I was sure coyotes had scented the fresh babies, rappelled over the fence, dug under the goat house, and killed them all. I sent Dog#1 out to investigate but apparently it was just some varmint that had gotten up on the deck. I went back to bed. And laid there all nite wondering if the Too Cutes were gonna make it.

At O-dark-thirty the dogs started pawing around so I sent the team out of recon. They had nothing to report and were suspiciously quiet so I tromped out to th goat house not knowing what to find. But the baby goats were fine. Actually they were great. Everyone was up and nursing from Nibbles.

So the record breaking, boat sinking, net busting haul of five - count them - five baby goats was a raging success. And that's just the start of it! pretty soon Dahlia will have her babies and I'm pretty sure that Debbie has a couple buns in the oven as well.

You gotta hand it to Too Short... or Too Pimp... that guy has got the goods. By the way, I know who has Too Short now if you are interested... but based on his success I'm pretty sure his price just went up.

Remember that baby goats can show up at the craziest hours. And as we come into the full moon, anyone with babies due should keep a watchful eye on the flocks.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The "Too Cutes" are doing great!

Thanks to K for inspiring the term the "Too Cutes" to describe the Nibbles Horde. Wow what an arrival!

Feeder for scale - aren't they a scream? They sound like squeaky toys!

And thanks for everyone's will wishes - Nibbles and the Too Cutes (from the baby daddy "Too Short" aka "Just Tall Enough" aka "Too Pimp") are doing great. They drank Nibbles dry tho so I sprang to action, worked the phone lines, sealed the deals, and delivered two of the bucklings to their new home on Monday nite. We thank D for taking the babies and know that she will do a great job with them. We think we have homes for a few of the others so hopefully Nibs will have a more manageable number of Too Cutes to feed in the next couple days.
Like me to a tequila bottle.. this Too Cute latched on and had a couple of shots

My pal the Big Onion asked me how I handled all of this - with two shots of tequila before I went to bed, my friend, with two big shots of tequila.

Aren't they splashy? Such beautiful coloring!

Five kids is pretty unusual - I figured three was plenty but five is a "wow!" for sure. There was no way Nibs could nurse them all - or even remotely produce enough milk. And you know I'm not great at being an udder, so we had to think fast. The best choices were to either "pull" some of the babies (take them away from the momma) and make them full time bottle babies, or supplement all of them a little with milk replacer or just milk from the store in addition to being on Nibbles, or rehome them.

This little love would have had plenty of milk if I had planned better. 

Normally, if we had our act together, Debbie would have kidded first and we would have had plenty of milk for everyone's babies. But we were so excited to get Too Short here and installed at the Pimp Daddy - that it didn't work out how we thought. So we chose Option #3 and found some folks experienced with bottle babies - and one is a vet tech to boot. A perfect fit.

Look at that little face! Ooops! And a little poo also shhh...it happens.

Managing goat babies is a troublesome topic. Everyone has "their" way of doing it - some people like bottle babies, some people don't, some people do thus or such. Honestly there is no "right" answer so do what works for you. We believe in "letting momma do it" but we realize that folks around here want bottle kids. We'd normally let the babies be with Nibs for a while, transition them to bottles, then find new homes for them. But today proved that desperate times call for desperate measures.

We had a lot of the ol' switch-o-change-o going on today. We could not keep Dahlia contained in the stall in the goat house - and she really wanted to be with Nibs and the Too Cutes - which was not an option. Since we think that Debbie might be making an udder (hope hope hope) we didnt want to put Dahlia in with her as Dahlia's still milk-stealin'.... so once again the turkeys got the short end of the stick. We moved my little ducks in with the creepy meats, the turkeys over to where the ducks were, and Dahlia in where the turkey's were. Got that?

The ducks were mad, the turkeys were confused, and honestly I don't know what Dahlia thinks - that gal is crazy.

Tomorrow after I deliver the last of the bucklings to his new digs I'll have a better idea how Nibbles is doing. The Good Neighbors came over and declared Nibs "fit for active duty" and she looks pretty good. All of the babies got big drinks of her first milk, the colostrum, which is so important for their development.  So we are tip top for now.

Next, I need to milk Nibs out, evaluate how she is doing, and make sure the remaining babies are getting plenty of eat. We may end up feeding the remaining babies with bottles to make sure everyone gets plenty of eat. Of course the weather is working against us and we have an extremely cold nite - but we have the babies and Nibs in a great snuggle spot with heat lamps, fresh straw, and a draft-free spot.

The best line of the day was from my friend L who summed it up mightily... she said "only on your farm" could this happen. Yep. We couldnt make this up if we tried.

Happy Tuesday everyone - and oh gosh, don't forget to vote if you're part of SuperTuesday!
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