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, May 31, 2013

Potato Lady

I'm still working to get ahead of the weather here so not much time for chitty chat. But thanks to everyone who is interested in my "homemade hay" - I'll do a post with pix and how-to very soon. Until then here are few happy snaps for your Friday....

I love that the lady bugs have found the potatoes. Thanks Potato Lady!

Yesterday I gave up when the temperature hit 91.3*. Today is supposed to be a little cooler but it's already hot our there.

A rose by any other name is still "that stupid wild rose."

This has been my nemesis for the last week or so. I've been working on clearing but I just can't get ahead of this wild rose - or the poison ivy. But I'm giving it a heck of a fight. I'm all scratched up tho.  And I'm all scratchy. Ugh!

Soon will become a salad of love.

In the meantime, my broccoli empire is starting to flower - so I'm taking up a bunch of it. I'll use Pickyourown.com's instructions on how to blanch then freeze fresh broccoli. If there is any left. It is a fact that I'm head over heels for that broccoli bacon layer salad. I have a fantastic row of lettuce that is really producing - so it's fun that just about everything in this salad comes from my yard.

Doesn't everyone love catmint?

I'm heading out but first I have to go and check on my pan of bacon for today's salad. I've got my weather radar up tho - we might get some storms firing up later today. The rain will be here in the overnight. If you are in the Mid West be sure to keep a weather eye to the sky!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

3rd Generation

Here are three generations of goaties...

Grandma Debbie, Momma Dahli, and little Daisy and Darla. The little ones aren't really eating they are just goofin' around. How hilarious are they?

Check out that "homemade hay" - more on that later.  And then the chickens showed up and things just got silly.

Another hot one today - everyone working outside in the heat? I am - but first need to go and scythe down another trolley full of extra long grass and also some thistles.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fruits of Summer

Even tho we've had a few late frosts - and narrowly avoided a hard freeze that hit the northern part of our state - the fruit trees are going like gangbusters!

Our biggest victory is our Grimes Golden apple tree is fruiting like mad! We got this little tree the first year we got here and it's turn out to be a beauty. Last year I think there was one apple on it but now in its 4th (5th?) summer it's really coming into it's own.

We love Grimes Golden for it's excellent baking and applesauce qualities. Not really a snacking apple but it can be used for just about anything. It's a lovely yellow-green apple with a little bit of a blush. Our Grandpa planted several of these apple trees over at the old farm and 40 (50??) years later they are still going strong.

But can you believe these apples? One year we scored a couple of $5 sale rack fruit trees - and they are doing great now! Including this plum tree. Those trees were a bargain and they are beautiful now.

I'll have to check the new pear trees but our mature pear tree isn't producing as well as it has in past years. It might have the fire blight so I'm going to have to fix it up. Drat.

But we are going to be loaded with peaches this summer! A couple years ago I dumped a bucket of peach pits in a compost pile and never thought of it again....until peach trees grew! And they really grew! Now those little trees are so loaded with peaches that they are flomping over - I'm going to have to find a way to rig them up or they'll be on the ground.

I'd say summer is off to a roaring start!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Whatcha got growing on your fruit trees?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A few more days left!

Did everyone have a great holiday?  As May winds down remember that there are a few more days left to participate in our support a soldier project!

Thanks for all the terrific feedback that I've received. Everyone was universally excited, and touched, to get emails back from buying Joe a coffee drink. It's the best $2 you can spend.

Special thanks for all the purchases thru my Amazon store this month - wow everyone really has done a great job! I don't get a lot of information about the purchases...but one of you - you know who you are (I don't!) really went above and beyond. Thank you so much!

There is still time to get in on the fun. If you didn't already run right out and sign up with HB's for Care Packages or go to AnySoldier.com and find a service member to support... or even got off your wallet and spent $2 to buy a Joe a cuppa Joe then there is still time to do some good for someone else. We have a few more days left for you to help support "my soldier" by making a purchase thru my Amazon store!

I get a small percentage of any sale made thru my Amazon.com store and it doesn't cost you one cent extra. It's a great way to participate and it's easy! Everyone needs to buy something this time of year - have a graduate? A birthday party? Need pool, patio, BBQ, garden, or cheese making supplies? Want to watch something from Amazon's Instant Video store?  Just use this link or the black Amazon search both on the right hand side of this page. You can also check out what is in my Tools and Books Store here.

Can't think of anything you need? EVERYONE needs this - have you seen it?

 I'll use any proceeds I get from the month of May to send a care package to "my" soldier. I actually have a couple people I support but one in particular needs some special tools and gear. Doesn't the military provide everything they need? Nope. Read more about how they aren't even providing 3 cooked meals a day here.

No purchase is too small - it all adds up. That online movie or Kindle book can quickly become a snack pack for a soldier who really just needs some breakfast.  The best part about using my Amazon store for this project is that I do all the work - you just order whatever you already need anyway.

We have just a few days left - what do you need from Amazon this week? Click here to get to Amazon's main page and you'll be helping a soldier!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Friday, May 24, 2013

This is why we can't have nice things!

You may be wondering why the walls in the dog area are always dirty... this is why...

Zander likes to arrange himself in silly poses - usually with his huge paws on the walls. He does it all the time. None of the other dogs have ever done this. Leave it to The Bubby....

This is why we can't have nice things. We love him so much.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Strangers in a strange land

Yesterday we moved the chicks from their big Rubbermaid tub to their new home - a small kiddie pool. They loved it. Well. First they totally panicked, then they loved it.

The little buddies in their new set up - food first, as always.

They are growing really fast! We are under threat of bad weather today or I'd move a little faster to get them set up outside. So they are going to stay in the basement for a couple more days, just in case.

Part of our peep containment - hardware cloth wrapped around the tub.

We really like this set up - we hang a heat lamp from the ceiling, set up the pool just under it, then surround the pool with hardware cloth so they don't jump out.

Directly behind me (in this picture) is the door for this basement room. And directly in back of that door is The Insane Cat Posse - lined up shoulder to shoulder and butt to butt just waiting for one of those little peeps to make a break for it, get a little too close to the door, and then be dragged to their doom by one of the awaiting cats. If we have an especially flippy-flier group we'll even put a towel under the door - just in case. I think Nicholas spent about 4 hours down there yesterday looking under the door and just waiting.

Paper towels - not the best bedding but good enough for now.

Today we'll get some fine pine shavings from the feed store to use as bedding. Those paper towels were just what we had on hand. One key to success with these meat chickens is keeping them as dry as possible. You'd be surprised at how much they splash around in their drinker.

And now I'm heading out for another day of hard labor in the salt mines. I got a lot of planting and clearing done yesterday. We are supposed to get that storm front from Oklahoma this afternoon. Might make for some interesting times.  We shouldn't have such severe storms but I'm going to make it a short day just in case. Then I'm going to batten down the chickens and run inside.

Happy Wednesday everyone - and keep a weather eye to the sky!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Work, work, work.....

I'm pretty sure all my friends have just about given up on me. Almost all of my communiques for the last couple weeks have been "Hands full, can't talk, lots going on here..." Wow - are we getting a lot done! But we have to work while we have the weather.

 Broccoli is coming on.

Pretty much it's been nothing but work work work and more work and additional work after that. Mostly we've been working on garden stuff. And tons of mowing. So much mowing. I hate the mowing.

Look at these potatoes (with rare self portrait).

I can't really complain about this spring. We've had the right mix of warm and sunny, cool and sunny, and some beautiful rains. Everything is growing like mad.

We'll have some sporty weather later so I need to get out there.... so my message today is... hands full, can't talk, lots going on here!

Happy Tuesday! Now get out there and get planting!

Editor's Note: I don't know about you but I'm shocked and saddened at the terrible destruction from yesterday's massive storms in Oklahoma and parts of the Plains. Keep a weather eye on the sky, everyone, stay safe!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Holy Surprise Goatlings!

Nothing happened yesterday. Or so I thought.

Meet the mini-Dahli's!

We got home late from church and I was supposed to take a sabbath... because, you know, not taking one is my worst sin.  But instead I was using a power-washer on the kitchen. I was gonna repent later.

At some point in the afternoon I tromped out to give some stuff to the chickens but it was way too hot to be out there. Like real hot. Like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot. So I leisurely called out to the goats, "Hey are you dead yet?" Not hearing a response I figured they were fine. I went back inside to the air conditioning.

Much later I went out to do evening chores and guess what I found? I thought Dahli was due next week but these little cuties made an early appearance. For heavens sakes.

From now on I'm gonna call Dahli "Sneaky Pete" - she had absolutely no signs of impending labor yesterday. In the morning she shoved her face in her food dish like every day and I thought that I'd work on getting her set up in the turkey house today...after I checked her due dates.

So there you have it. Two perfect doelings. They were up and walking around like they owned the place. No one was more surprised than me.

I'll have some better pictures later one but for now please welcome the newest little money makers to the farm! Now I just needs some awesome "D" names..... Dacia, Dani, Danica, Darla, Desdemona, Drusilla....

Happy Monday everyone! Anybody else got some surprise goatlings?

Friday, May 17, 2013

An Everyday Miracle

I'm not the biggest fan of goats but it occurred to me yesterday that it's an everyday kind of miracle that they take bramble and weeds and, amazingly, make it into luscious milk. Thanks Nibs.

That's all the deep thoughts I have for a Friday.

Have a great day, friends, anything could happen!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Box of Peeps and a Rant You've Just Gotta Read

Here they are! A cute box of peeps arrived perfectly yesterday at the post. The two chicks we already had were terrified of the fuzzy invaders and kind of hid in one corner for a while.
 Heapin', peepin' box o' fun!

But then I brought down more chick feed and everyone started to get along. The white ones are the creepy meats.The brown ones are Welsummers and one Buff Brahma - those were extras I ordered to get a reduced shipping price.

All the little buddies bellied up to the drinker for some sips.

These guys will be in the house for just a couple days then they will be moved out to a kiddie pool in one side of the turkey house.

There were a lot of great things passed around the interweb yesterday, not the least of which was this rant by one of my favorite food guys, Michael Ruhlman. He's my go-to guy for all things Charcuterie. Plus I love how he rips on people who refuse to cook their own food and how Big Food and others  have pulled the wool over our eyes so we don't think for ourselves about how we live and what we eat.

Here is the bottom line, convenience food aren't very convenient if they just give you heart disease, a stroke, or diabetes. All you're really doing is rushing yourself to an early grave and a lifetime of some kind of medication.

I made dinner last nite and it took less than 20 minutes of standing up time. Then I went out and did chores and came back and ate our meal hot from the oven. And I liberally salted our food.

Happy Thursday everyone! Now get out there and cook your own food!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Great Expectations

At this writing (Wednesday morning) I'm eagerly waiting for a call from the local post office letting me know they have a heapin' box of peepin' fun for me.

Remember these little cuties? We took them up from their not-really-their-momma, that little duck hen in the garage, so that she could finish brooding her own eggs. However, there have only been just these two chicks. Unfortunately two really is the loneliest number when it comes to chickens so we used it as an excuse to order another round of meat chickens.

Yep.  We busted clear thru another "never" - we are getting some summer meats. We really do not like having meat chickens in the summer. I couldn't help it tho  - we are getting low on chicken. After the supper I made the other nite I just can't wait until fall for more chicken dinners.  Goes without saying I won't be buying store chicken any time soon.

Much to my surprise, I couldn't just call up any old hatchery and demand an order of chicken! Most of the hatcheries are sold out for several weeks if not into July. I was desperate.

Lucky for me, tho, I called up Meyer Hatchery here in Ohio on Monday morning and asked if they didn't even have a small lot of meats somewhere? They did! I received excellent service and they placed the order quick as a flash. They only had 11 creepy meats but that was OK because I was looking for a small lot. As much as I love chicken dinner I do not like butchering in summer. This small lot will be just two (short) days work and we'll be having chickeny goodness until the fall.

The order taker was really great - she reminded me that I could save almost $15 on shipping if I ordered 4 more chicks (to meat.. I mean "meet" their 15 chick minimum for regular shipping). The chicks were flying off the shelves as we were talking but she was able to get four peeps for the reduced shipping costs. Now I just have to wait around for the call.

Depending on who is working at our local post they will either call me any minute now... or at 9:30 when the counter opens. I have a feeling the guy with zero sense of humor is working or they would have called by now. He won't ever call for early pick up. Maybe he likes the peeping but it drives the other lady nuts so she always calls. He's like the mail nazi - no rule breaking for you! For the record, that guy does not think I am funny. At. All.

So until I get the call I'm going to round up the dogs and head out for some early morning garden work. It's supposed to be 86* here today! Just two days ago it was so cold that I had to wear two sweatshirts and a warm hat with my shorts. Today, tho, it's already creeping toward "maybe I should turn on the air conditioning...."

THEY JUST CALLED! Yay!  Ok this is a great day - yay peeps!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Anybody else waiting for a heapin' box of peepin' fun?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Make Butter

The other morning I stumbled out into the kitchen to find my precious half gallon of cream sitting on the counter - not in the fridge. The cream had been sitting out all nite. It was only half used so someone around here, who is not me, was In Trouble. Dang.

Arty butter making picture.

So instead of getting mad I just got busy and made butter. Can you make butter at home? Sure! It's so easy peasy you might never buy regular butter again.  Why go thru "all that trouble" to make butter? Um... it's no trouble, it's fun, and you get a superior product.

All you need to make butter at home. Or a jar. You could use just a jar and shake it.

Most instructions say to let the cream come up to room temperature and since that was already done I just dumped the whole thing into my mixer with the balloon whisk attachment. Then I just turned it on low and walked away. But don't go too far! You need to watch or listen for it to be done.

Pretty soon you'll get whipped cream... then you are getting closer to butter...

You are even closer still when it starts to get grainy....


And then finally it "breaks" - this is when the butter fat all clumps together and the liquid separates. You can hear this happen - when the mixer starts to slosh around - so run right over and turn the speed way down.

I let it mix a minute more just until the butter all formed up on the whisk.

Pour off the "butter milk" and put the butter into a sieve so you can "wash" it with cold water. You want the water to run clear. This sounds weird but it totally works. Use a spoon to kind of squish the butter around to make sure all the liquid releases.

You get butter and butter milk (not the cultured kind) that can be used for cooking.

Then the only thing to do is get some radishes and dig in.

See? Making your own butter is easy and fun. You don't need special equipment - you can even just shake it in a jar (or get the kids to do it).

One thing to be on the look out for - check the label on your cream. Is it JUST cream - or are there stabilizers in it? Check the label to make sure it just has cream in it.

If you think it's weird that the cream in your coffee isn't just cream - remember that some folks still want the FDA to allow aspartame and other weird stuff to be added to dairy products WITHOUT LABELING IT. That's right - your kid's chocolate milk could be chock full of who knows what if this passes. Maybe you should run right over and tell them what you think.

So there you have it - how to make butter at home. It's fun and easy!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Did you find your cream sitting on your counter? Don't get mad just make some butter.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chocolate Chips Scones

Because it sounds better than having cookies for breakfast.....

I'm pretty sure I'm not fooling anyone but wow they are really good! Use this recipe but substitute chocolate chips for the blueberries. Even better if you make your own butter. 

Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Mother's Day Surprise!

Look who I found!  This crazy little duck has been "missing" for a while - honestly we thought that something got her but here she is!

Hey - that is not a ducklings.....

And that is not a baby duckling it's a chick! Actually there are two chicken chicks peeping around and she still has a clutch of duck eggs under her. Sometimes these mixed nests happen - the hennies will lay eggs in a duck nest. However the duck eggs still have about a week or so to incubate. Since the momma will quit her nest after a day or two to take care of the live babies - I think we are going to have basement chicks for a while!

Also - remember what happened last fall to my little dwarf duck's nest - so I think we are going with safety first.  When the rest of the eggs hatch we'll move this momma to a safer spot.

Isn't this a cutie patootie!?! Both chicks look like this - either barred rocks or Australorps.

Speaking of mothers.... have you done all your Mother's Day shopping? If not here is a last minute option - how about some flowers? It's easy and fun to order thru Amazon from either this link or the black search box on the right of this page. What can you buy? Anything you normally would purchase from Amazon - books, Kindle books, Kindles, movies, groceries - anything they offer.

Remember that I'm using all the loot I get from my Amazon store from the month of May to purchase supplies and snacks for "my" soldier! I just got a cute note back from my soldier thanking me for the stuff I've already sent - it's so much fun to make someone's day!

Happy Friday everyone - anybody else get some surprise chicks?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Emperor's New Clothes

By now you must have seen the news story about the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch and his comments about his customers - and the customers he doesn't want. When I first caught the headline I thought it was a joke...but then I've seen the story circulated and even on our local news.

Life is Good - not jerks.

Having the declared marketing strategy being the stuff of most kid's worst high school nightmares is a pretty crappy way to run your business. You know how I'm always yammering away about marketing - well, this is what it really looks like:  Paraphrased A&F says  "we only want the cool kids and you don't belong in our clothes - especially you fatties." They don't even feel bad about it. For a publicly traded company this is kind of unseemly.

I think this is a good lesson about voting with your dollars.

At a time where most folks are trying to end this kind of bullying and mean spirtedness this guy has really swung for the cruelty fences. For every mean girl feeling pretty smirky about herself right now because she IS cool enough.... there is another kid crying because now it's not just the other kids - but adults are telling her she just isn't good enough either. I think it is profoundly sad.

While I won't pitch in with the other folks who have said that the CEO, Mike Jeffries is a fine one to talk seeing as he's kind of a odd looking duck, I do think that he's kind of like the nekkid emperor who has convinced himself how great it is to be him. Maybe that guy, jetting around the world with his bevy of male models flattering his every whim, might just have drank to much of his own me-ism. But his unvarnished unkindness has show how ugly he is inside. I hope that sound you hear is his precious brand being flushed down the toilet.

If you are over on 'the facebook' then you know I just love the Life is Good folks - they have a terrific brand, don't care if you are a larger person, and actually try to do good in this life. I don't know about you but my high end tshirt dollars are only going to these people.

I used to have a lot of A&F tshirts but I gave them all to Goodwill a while ago. My only regret is that I didn't keep at least one. If I had one of their shirts I'd march right out there, put it on Nibbles the goat, take a fabulous picture and send it to their Board of Directors to show them their new customers. If fact - if you have one of their shirts and a goat - feel free to email it to me and I'll post it and send it to their muckitymucks.

Life is too short to be this mean, folks. The next time you are in the mall with your kids and they want to go into A&F or their other brands: Abercrombie kids, Hollister Co., and Gilly Hicks, you might want to think really hard about buying into what they are selling. If that guy doesn't want me to wear their clothes then believe me I won't.

Come on everyone, let's combat this meanness with a little good will (or just take all those clothes that you got from A&F and give them to Goodwill) - has everyone bought a cup of coffee for a soldier? How are you doing with our project to buy a soldier some breakfast?

Happy Thursday everyone! Life is good so let's get right out there and enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Favorite Garden Gloves

Nothing but rain here today, yesterday, and tomorrow so let's just talk about more fun stuff you can get for Mother's Day! (Remember the reason we are doing this is to benefit our troops!)

Here they are - my favorite garden gloves....

Aren't they a vision? I got a pair of these a while ago - mostly because we are infested with that stupid wild rose. I got tired of getting my arms all scratched up even if I had heavy work gloves covering my hands. These gloves are incredible - they are easy to work in, keep your hands safe, and are washable! Dubious of this, I washed them and they came out just fine.

I use these gloves for everything from picking thistles for the goaties, to bush whacking my way thru the Impenetrable Forest, to taking really angry momma ducks off their nest. (It is a fact the ducks, despite their lack of teeth, bite surprisingly hard.)

If you are looking for a fun garden book - I just love this little gem about companion planting.

Another favorite is this little known book - probably one of my favorites. Not only are there great planting tips but there are fun recipes and you kind of get to know this gal. I'd love to be friends with her and visit her place.

She is the one who taught me to plant potatoes the easy way. 

But hands down the best gardening book that I have is the fabulous tome by by John Jeavons.

This is an incredible reference with tons of information, great 'how to's', and planting plans. This is also a great source if you are trying to figure out who much room or how many plants you need to provide enough groceries for your family.

Lots of fun options here for Mother's Day gifts - just click on these links, use the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page, or click around in my store to order.  If you order thru any of these links I will get a tiny portion of the sale and it will not cost you one cent more. Any proceeds I get from sales thru the month of May will go directly for snacks and supplies to help a soldier. Why am I doing this? Because it's a great way to help our troops and raise awareness that they need our help.

 I'm also kind of tired of seeing so much selfishness in our culture. If you really want to feel better about yourself, don't look for some "thing" to fill that sadness - just help someone else. Nothing could be easier than spending a few minutes clicking around to send a care package. You don't have to over think it or even get up from your chair. And don't forget that sending a $2 coffee drink will really make someone's day - you will probably get a fun note back thru Green Beans Coffee's website!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Now get out there and help someone else - and get some awesome garden gloves in the process.

Editors note: THANKS to everyone who has made purchases! We are off to a roaring start and I just know we are going to get enough to fill a box - folks are going to get some breakfast for sure!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chickens! OK... books on chickens

Thanks to everyone for their tremendous response to the Buy A Soldier Breakfast post - wow what generosity!

Special thanks to my "coffee hero" - you know who you are - who gifted a bunch of coffee drinks for soldiers. I got a fun message back thru Green Beans Coffee from a soldier thanking me for the "pick me up" that I sent. I thought that was terrific and I also thought - gosh if you ever doubted that our soldiers needed a little love from home then this is a way to really find out how much it means to them.

Harvey is one of my favorite poultry people of all time!

I know I said that I'd talk about chickens today but we had such a great response I wanted to fill in the blanks a little with some questions and comments I received.

First, if you are purchasing supplies and goodies thru Amazon the shipping address is a little wonky - so we figured it out. Remember that you are shipping to a facility in the States where the military post takes over - that's what the APO is all about. Here is how you fill out the shipping address on Amazon and if you have any questions you can use the "Contact" button on their site and it's really easy peasy to "chat" with a customer service rep and they can walk you thru it.

Name: Fill in your soldiers name and rank as provided
Address Line 1: All those numbers and letters that dont make any sense
Address Line 2: even more letters and numbers - probably the base name
city = APO or AFO
state = AA or AE or AP
zip = 09###
United States = country no matter where they are stationed

The City, State, and Zip are were it gets tricky so use the above to fill it out and remember you are always sending to country = United States. If you are using anysoldier.com they ask you to include that on one of the address lines so the guys know where it's coming from.

Hands down this is the chicken "bible" - what great info!

You should also get an option to write a note to your soldier as part of the "gift" part of the process - you can include your email for fb ID if you would like. While you shouldn't expect a response you just might get one! Remember they are busy being shot at so hearing back from someone would be a great bonus and not an expectation. But our friend "M" let us know yesterday that his son really relied on care packages while he was stationed there - it made a huge difference to him.

Now about these chickens, since Mother's Day is this weekend and I know that you are still dilly dallying about getting a gift I'm making it super easy for you! How about sending your mom some books on chickens like these fine selections here? Why am I hocking these books? Because any purchases you make thru Amazon from my store, the black Amazon search box on the right, or from this link for the month of May will directly help a soldier who needs supplies or snacks. I get a small portion of any sale from Amazon and I'm using the entire payout for this month for "my" soldier!

Could be the most adorable chicken book of all time. 

Why, you ask? Well, why not. Our service people need a little help and a lot of love. This is a fun and easy way to help out. One of the things that is grinding on me lately is how much selfishness there is in our culture so I'm directly "combating" it here today. Come on, everyone needs more books! How about the Kindle version of any of these? How about a Kindle - they are very fancy and sweeeeeeeeeeet! You need to buy your mom one - right now using this link!

You could have this fancy Kindle! Order it! Yay!

And if you really want to "double dip" then use this link to order supplies and snacks for your soldier and then your sale will help me buy stuff for my soldier. How great is that?

Happy Tuesday everyone! Thank you so much for all the encouraging comments, notes, and pm's yesterday. Together we can make a difference for these hard working men and women. Go Team!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Buy a Soldier Breakfast!

Did you have breakfast today? I'm asking this because someone isn't getting breakfast today and not because they didn't have time or because they weren't hungry..... it's because they are stationed in Afghanistan and the military isn't making them breakfast today. Or any day. So soldiers are asking friends, family, and strangers to send them breakfast.

Friends, I am not a crier - my people consider it a weakness. But when I read the gut wrenching request of a young man for someone to please send some cereal or some breakfast bars for his unit so they could go to work with full stomachs... I have to tell you, real tears fell from my eyes. Here's a guy who's job it is to put himself in harm's way and he doesn't even get a real meal to start his day. I couldn't believe it.

Later I went out to do chores and came in with a bucket of eggs that we couldn't even use and all I could think of was that somewhere in a hot, dusty land far away was a guy that could really use a skillet full of breakfast. I had to know for sure.

I checked it out and it's real. You can read the lame account of it here and make your own decisions about how you feel. I also contacted someone who deals with this all the time and they confirmed that yep, it's a real thing. Some troops only get 2 cooked meals and and a MRE and apparently that is good enough.

Think about that the next time you see politicians swanking it up with the Hollywood glitterati - makes you wonder if they are serving MRE's at their lavish parties. I'm sure it's one thing make these decisions when you are reading numbers on a piece of paper - it's entirely different when you hear the requests for cereal from a real person. They may be reducing their footprint but we still have people over there that have to work all day.

That's the bad news.

The good news is - do you know how easy it is to support our troops? You can buy breakfast for a soldier right now - and it's totally fun! I just did it!

Here's how - just go to anysoldier.com and then read all about it. You can select the service person you'd like to support by using their search tool here.  You learn a little about the person making the request- usually it's one person representing a group, squad, or unit - and what they need. Then you request their address by filling out an online form - it's emailed to you in minutes. Next, run right over to DollarGeneral.com or Amazon and then order the items requested. That's it!

Another option is to use the HB's for Care Packages site - they have GREAT explanations and all kinds of tips and tricks. This is more of a facebook group - you have to join the fb group to get paired up with soldiers and then you get a list of items they are requesting. The great thing about this site is that they give lists of items and quantities you can order thru the DollarGeneral.com site that total up to about $25 which gets you free shipping!

Sure you can get an APO box from the post office, drive down to the store, and fill it with stuff and that is great. But shipping for the flat rate boxes is $14. How about $25 worth of stuff and shipped for free? You can either fit 2 boxes of cereal in flat rate box and pay $14 for shipping or you can order something like a dozen boxes of cereal for $25 and get free shipping - and you don't have to drive anywhere! 

How does this all work? Well anysoldier and hbcarepackages does a much better job of explaining the how's and what's of the whole thing but here are a few things to keep in mind:

* Send stuff that they ask for - check out  hbcarepackages list of most requested items, or check out this thread from "the reddit" for more ideas about the things that are requested. Then just order it and away it goes.
* Note there are things you may NOT send - sorry boys, I'm not sending any hotsy-totsy girlie pix. And you can't send pork products. Or booze. Check out the post service's restrictions and also tips on how to address your packages here. btw, no booze or bacon sounds like hell to me so these service people really need our care packages full of other great stuff.  
* If you use regular mail or one of those "if it fits it ships" boxes (there is one just for APO's) you are really only paying post from your location to where the military post takes over. You aren't paying postage to Afghanistan just to a facility in the US (either on the east coast or west side depending on where your soldier is stationed).
* If you ship your own flat rate box you will need to fill out customs forms! I totally panicked and ran right down to my local post and they helped me figure it out. It was much easier than what I originally thought. 
* Don't send anything that will leak or melt!!! Remember it's hot there and anything that can melt - will and nothing would be sadder than a box of melted chocolate that would have to be thrown away.  But if you chose a female soldier you can send a bunch of jars of Nutella - if I was stationed with a bunch of stinky boys I would need a lot of chocolate. Nutella ships well, as I understand, and everyone loves it.
* Home baked items probably aren't a great idea because they are not made to hold up to shipping and the recipient may have allergies or what not. Just send non-melting, factory sealed, originally packaged stuff.
* Don't forget about security - for heavens sakes don't post or give out a soldier's address! Bad guys will try to sneak their way in - even by fake fb friend requests - so do not say one peep about "your" soldier. They need our help - not us creating liabilities for them. And yep your packages will be screened.
* I'm pretty sure if you have Amazon Prime you get all the free shipping you can use so quick click here and order this for someone who probably really needs a snack about now

Don't have $25 for a box of love with free shipping? How about if you buy a "Joe" a cuppa joe? Check out this great site Green Beans Coffee set up real coffee houses on bases over in "the sandbox" where soldiers can go and get a real coffee drink. For just $2 you can buy a soldier a coffee - how great is that? Better yet - you can send them a message to tell them how much you appreciate their service along with that $2. Better still - they have a superfun facebook page. If you "like" the page you get to see pix of soldiers with their coffees and send them your best wishes.

Still not sure about sending a care package? Don't know if it is for you - how about this.... I'll share "my" soldier with you. Any proceeds that I get from my Amazon store for the month of May will be used to send items to "my" soldier. Mother's Day is next weekend and I just know that you still need to order something..... how about a fun Life is Good shirt? Books on gardening?  I know - a meat saw for butchering day!

OK fine, not the meat saw but do you know you can order flowers from my store? Just use the black Amazon.com search box on the right side of this page to look for bouquets of flowers and order like you normally would - easy peasy. I get a very small portion of the sale and it doesn't cost you a cent more. Order some movies, some Kindle books, whatever you need or are going to order anyway using this link and whatever my payout is for the month of May will go entirely to a soldier. If we don't get to $25 I'll make up the difference so they will get a shipment for sure. (I won't know who orders thru my store so you can let me know if you want.)

At the time I couldn't help the "no breakfast guy" but later I checked and was able to see that other folks took care of him - I'm so glad. But we really need to spread the word so let folks know how fun and easy it is to support our troops. Sending a care package is a great way to tell our troops that we haven't forgotten about them.

You may be asking, "Doesn't the military provide them with all of this stuff?" Nope. Sometimes it depends where they are and what their jobs are - but, nope not always. Plus what if you just really wanted Oreo's and couldn't get them? Ever. "Well then, what about their families? Don't their families send them the stuff they need?" you ask?   This is a hard one..... here's how it goes:

Not everyone has a family.
Not everyone has a family that loves them.
Not everyone has a family that can afford to send them supplies.

That one kills me just a little bit.

Sometimes what the soldiers want the most is just someone to write to them. That person can be you.  Or maybe your kids could send them some drawings? Have an stack of magazines - send them! Your care package doesn't have to be big or elaborate. A case of shampoo can do wonders.

So come on now, get your egg money together or some of your farmer's market money and let's send some breakfast (or whatever) to our military folks who really need it. Can't swing a full $25 box of stuff right now, then use the Green Beans Coffee link today to send just a little love. Don't have $2, you cheap son-o'-a-golly-what, then do what everyone can do right now - pray with me,

Father God, thank you for our service men and women. We ask that you have your hand of protection on them, we ask for their safety and security, we pray peace for the worried hearts of the families that love them, and we ask that you provide them with everything they need especially while they are in harm's way. We ask this all in in Jesus’ great name. Amen.

Happy Monday everyone! Now get off your wallet and order a soldier some breakfast!

Editors Note: Seeing as this can be a touchy subject the appropriate response is self reflection, getting busy and supporting our troops, and/or saying "Amen." I won't publish other comments and if this is offensive then just look away and tomorrow we will talk about chickens.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Come on potatoes!

This is what potato success looks like.....

Come on potatoes! Grow, grow, grow!

And some radishes too...

Happy Sunday everyone! Whatcha got popping up?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Adios Ami-goats!

And then they were all gone. Sold 'em! All of the babies so far this year - even little Daphne went to her forever farm yesterday!

 These little guys scored a great new farm!

I was really lucky because I had all fantastic buyers - a 4H mom, a very nice man who brought 2 other generations of his family with him, and a wonderful teen gal who had an awesome mom.

Sometimes people ask me if it's hard to sell the babies. Nope! I figure they are off to start a new fun life some where and I'm glad to send them on their way. One of the hardest truths about farming is that not every body makes it - and not every body gets to stay. If you aren't careful you won't end up with a smooth running farm - you'll end up on hoarders. Sure they are all cute - but then they grow up to be irritating and weird. Or bacon.

The best part of having livestock is seeing all the cute babies - so you wouldn't want the new owner to miss that would you? Nope. You should have seen how happy this little gal was today to get Daphne - it was love at first sight. And how proud she was - she worked for, saved up, and paid her own money for that little goatie. You can bet your bottom dollar that she is going to take care of little Daph and they will make a fine pair.

So when I drive away with my favorite goat selling song in my head I just think about how happy Daphne will be with her new best pal, and now the first Nibbler is sure to win first prize as a 4H project, and how that little boy is going to help his granddad bottle feed the other two babies goats. That's a happy day, friends.  

And if I feel like I'm going to get a tear in my eye for missing those little ones - I just do this.

Happy Friday everyone! Any body else gettin' paid over here?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Daphne's Big Day Out

Hey everyone! Things are really hopping around here - I think I'm a little behind in my comments but I'll catch up soon. Another big day today but here is some adorableness for your Thursday. It's Daphne - isn't she a doll?

She went on the longest walk of her whole life yesterday. She was a champ. Doesn't she have beautiful markings?

Then she got tired and laid down under her momma, Debbie.

She gave me a lot of cute looks.  Daphne is one big baby - I think she is the tallest baby we've ever had here. She is going to be a superstar milker for sure.

In other news - we've been having all kind of problems with wasps. The first thing that happened to me yesterday was that I got stung - it was in my shirt! I'll leave it to your imagination what happened. Then our poor Kai got all stung up in her mouth and face! It was a very sad day for everyone. I applied a "12 ounce cold compress" to my sting and we gave Kai some Benedryl (per instructions from the vet). I think we are both going to live.

Here's hoping for a less lively day today!  Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oh baby! It's Daphne!

Yesterday was another banner baby day here on the farm. I knew that it was Debbie's lucky day so me and the dog kind of hung around the turkey house watching and waiting.....

 At the end of these shenanigans we got this!

And waiting.... and waiting some more. At first I was saying encouraging things to Debbie to help her with her labor like "Hurry up! I have things to do today and you'll never have that baby if you keep screwing around!" and "OMG! Not on my shoe!"

To make matters more hilarious, one of the geese kept popping his head thru an opening in the wall and biting Debbie on the nose! He was not helping at all.  She didn't think it was funny at all.

Then things started happening and unfortunately it wasn't going so well. I've been worried about Debbie the last couple weeks - this pregnancy has been extremely hard on her. Basically I've been cobbling her together with baling twine and duct tape for a while now. She was looking bad. Real bad.

So I texted the neighbor kid who, luckily, was just a few minutes away. That kid, I gotta tell you - she is something else. But you already know how I feel about her. Actually she's past the kid stage and well on her way to being all grown up.

Anyway, she rolled in the drive with her shades on and wearing her scrubs from her job at a local vet. There I was running around in my kitchen gloves in a panic - I might have been a little "screech-y" at that point. For heavens sakes I didn't even have matching socks on!  But not our kid she had it all together. She sauntered over, hunkered down at the business end of that goat, and before I could pass out she had Debbie's baby on the ground. She didn't even get her shirt dirty! Not a drop!

We made sure that Debbie was OK and the one enormous baby had latched on to the tap and all was well. Once again our fabulous nieghbor kid saved the day - my golly we are lucky to have her around.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Who is going to play with a brand new baby goatie today? I am - and her name is going to be Daphne.

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