Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Butterfly Effect

I used to think that these kind of butterfly pix were a one in a million shot.....

But finally I got one!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just at the edge of seasons

We are just barely at the edge of seasons.....

You wouldn't know it with tomorrow's expected high of 90* but wow... the light has all changed, there is more darkness, and the mad scramble to get everything harvested and put up begins. I really love this time of year. I love the cool mornings, the humidity has lifted, and it just feels like something good is going to happen.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This changes how today went.....

I've been working on my clearing project and yesterday I kept hearing a buzzing noise while I was whacking my way thru the tall weeds. So I took the only sensible course of action which was to run away.  This morning while it was barely light and went out and checked.

Yep. This changes everything about how today went. 

Pretty much I'm hiding inside until we can kill it with fire. At dusk we attack. And by "we" I mean my husband is on his own. Me and the dogs will still be inside.

Wish me luck, people.... things could get very interesting around here...

Happy Wednesday! Did you find a huge and horrible wasp nest?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Team Hog!

I shared these pix on 'the facebook' last nite and just had to put them up here as well.  Dog#1 and Zander are the Team Hog.

Team Hog

Last nite my Dog#1 got body slammed by a muddy hog during chores. Don't worry he was just fine - just a little muddy. But good thing we had The Dread Commander Zander as back up.

A little muddy and all he wanted was for me to throw the stick. We did.

Zander and Ti worked together to get the pigz moved back into the woods so we could easily get into their pen, dump their feed into their bowl, and then clean out the waterer without being swarmed or pushed down by pesky pigz. Team Hog held the pigz back so it was extremely easy to get these chores done quickly.

"The Dread" Commander Zander. He will earn the name "Excellent" when we protects me from real danger.... like my Most Excellent Good Dog Titan has done many times.

Zander is doing great at his new job. He follows Ti's lead and he responds to some of our commands and is learning more.  The best thing is that his recall (when I call him back to me) is near perfect. Considering there is a lot of barking, running, and squealing pigz this is really amazing. He's also learning to watch me for instruction. I tell "Team Hog" where to move the pigz and also to come stop moving those pigz and come and get THIS pig. They both also immediately stop moving the pigz and come back to me or get out of the hog lot when instructed.

Someone asked me last nite if they really "herd" the pigz? Yep. This isn't two dogs just wildly running around barking and being out of control. They are intentionally working together to achieve a goal. Now, we probably couldn't take Zander to sheepdog trials or something like this..... but that's also not what we use our dogs for.

I also don't use standard sheep dog commands ("come by", "away") because I think there is some merit in using non-standard verbal commands. Some Military Working Dogs and police dogs are trained in Dutch or German so that their dogs are not distracted by other people goofing around when the dogs are working. I just use words that I normally use - but I use them consistently and in the same way to indicate what behaviors I want.

For instance, I needed a command to tell the dogs to move those pigz away from me and the gate. I couldn't use "move them back" because "back" is a specific command to tell the dogs to get behind me. We use this when I'm trying to work with the goats or the chickens. I might be moving the goats or chickens but I don't want them to run around wildly so the dogs are behind me and we move slowly. Or we use this if you show up unannounced. I will call the dogs to me and have them stand behind me while you get out of your car.

So now we use "move them out" to indicate the dogs should get all the pigz together and moving in one direction which is back towards the woods. The dogs stand in front of the pigz - between the pigz and me - and hold the pigz there. If the pigz make a run for it I say, "move them back" and the dogs lunge toward the pigz to hold them in place. Again, this isn't wildly running around and being out of control. This is specific targeted behaviors.

Hard workin' farm dogs.

Once the chores are done then I call them to me and say "let's go." Then we all go out of the hog yard. Titan only ever wants me to throw the stick for him and Zander gets a lot of "good dogs!" and body rubs. We don't reward our dogs with food or treats. They value the work itself and being part of a team. Zander loves the work and gets excited when I say "let's go feed the pigz!"  He paws around by the door, grumbling and shaking his big head,  then thunders down the hill directly toward the pigz. He knows exactly what we are doing and loves it.

Unfortunately Titan was pretty muddy so we had to get him cleaned up. Bath? We don't need no stinkin' bath! I just washed him off with the hose.

Then we ran around some more, got a drink, and then I told them to "go watch the house." Which means I wanted them to both go up on the deck. They did. I gated them in while we did the rest of the chores and they could cool down.

Could we use Zander to round up the goats or herd the ducks? I don't think so. Maybe one day.... but his prey drive is really strong so we will probably just use him to work livestock that he can't easily pick up and shake to death.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you working your dogs?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Life is Good.....but soon. Pigz, soon.

The heat dome is in full effect and we are all going to be sweating it out in the Fire Swamp as the Dog Days of summer rage on today....

Life is good.... for now.

But for now life is good for those pigz. It's too hot to butcher this week. But soon.

Happy Monday everyone! Isn't life good?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My funny Kai photobombs Lucky...

I grabbed a quick happy snap of Lucky the other day - he was so cute and I wanted a good picture.

It wasn't until later that I saw the imp on the right had side of the shot. 

Look at that grin.


Our funny Kai may be 103 lbs of "hell yeah," a tenacious hunter, and no doubt she has a stout heart... but to us she's just our funny girl. We call her Wiggles because of the funny way she dances around when she is happy and swingin' her bonbon tail. Silly Kai!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, August 22, 2014

So that's where they are....

I couldn't figure out where all my eggs were....

Found them. 

And then found this malcontent in her new hiding spot. Do you see her? Look closer....

Chickens.  I see you, Missy! Now give me that egg!

Happy Friday everyone! Did you find your eggs?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Two projects that were total failures.

If you've been reading for a while then you know that I like to to do "Winners and Losers" and talk about projects that worked... and those that didn't. I always said that I'd tell you The Truth About Farming and this is all just part of it.

This is our best goat. Honestly.

I've had two projects this summer that were total failures. Complete failures. Total, abject failures. F-. Dang.

First, my home made hay project is a total fail this year. I got half a good cutting and then... nothing. I loved my home made hay so much last year. It was so productive! It totally worked! Everyone loved it and I saved so much money. And now.... F-. I probably need to just mow the whole thing off, overseed, and try again for next year. That is my plan.

I knew that my bad soil was iffy... but I really thought it would do OK. But I don't think I fertilized it enough. I did not listen to you-know-who-you-are when you said to apply some potash. So my hay sucks.This is part of the reason that I had to go and get hay the other day. 

Daisy. Not a failure and safe from the auction block.

The second complete failure.... keeping the goat babies from this year for meat. Remember when we butchered a goat and it was terrific? And all I dreamed about all summer has been cabrito? Yeah. F-. The first goat loss was a complete shock and a surprise. So it was even worse when we lost a second one the other day.

To be honest the goats have been fraught with problems this entire season. I cannot believe that I'm typing the words, "at this point Dahli is our best goat."  I don't like her at all but she is milking like a demon, is as sleek as a seal, and free ranges like a pro.

I am not a goat "lover." If anything I have been a goat "liker"..... but at this point I'm a goat "tolerater." There is a million things that can go wrong when you own goats and we have been lucky enough not to have any of them happen. Until now. When it rains, it pours goat woes.

I have no idea what changed.... other than we have more goats now. I don't think that overcrowding is an issue tho because we are using the goat house and both sides of the Turkey House as over night quarters. And they are spending a lot of time roaming around, free ranging while I sit, annoyed, shepherding them as I silently make up my list of "1,000 Reasons Why Dogs Are Better than Goats."  The first reason, obviously, is that a shoulder mounted Malinois is a thing of beauty and power.  Carrying a goat on your shoulder is just ridiculous.

But back to our second loss.

To tell you the truth, that guy was not doing well. We had already treated him for urinary calculi - which he responded well to and he very quickly seemed to bounce back. So we thought he was OK. But then we weren't sure. He didn't have any symptoms... just seemed a little "off."

Fortunately for me, shortly after the first goat loss a couple folks suggested cocci. I immediately dismissed the first person's diagnosis as he is known to be of ill-repute and once suggested I was a communist.

The second person was much more learned and provided me with some great information on "sub clinical" instances of cocci. This launched me into a whole new path of investigation. Unfortunately the treatment was not successful and the little goat succumbed. The remaining goaties are doing well tho. I'm completing their course of treatment over the next couple of days.

At this point, tho, this project is still a total loss. We don't want to butcher a diseased animal or one that has been pumped so full of chemicals. The whole thing is enough to make you hat-throwing mad.

So what do you do?

As always, the best you can. Onward and upward. Solve the problems that you can. Deal with the fallout of the problems you can't. Take your loss. Learn from your mistakes. Keep moving forward. That is all any of us can do.

On the upside, Nibbles recovered from her pink eye and she looks terrific. She is back with the herd and complaining daily about "those other bitches." Debbie also recovered very quickly after she was wormed. The better hay did wonders for her milk production and she looks lovely. Dahli is, as I said earlier...and I choke these words out... our best goat. And Daisy is going to be a superstar milker next year. She looks beautiful. She free ranges. And she is a good milker.

Darla is going to the auction as soon as my husband gets his next day off from work. She is not a good milker, is not a good producer, and was not a good mother. Plus she is a screamer. The first time she screeched at the top of her lungs that "those other goats are getting all the good snacks" was the day she committed herself to the auction block. Now she does it every single nite. Every.Single.Night. I can tolerate a lot from these silly goats but with three strikes, and all that screaming, she is out.

That's the goat round up here. Today is going to be a better day. I just know it.

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you have goat woes? Did the cocci get your goat?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Broccoli Empire....

My broccoli empire has entered a new phase.... Round Two - the fall edition.

A small start to a mighty empire.

There will be broccoli this fall.. oh well there will be.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you fall planting in the summer heat?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I need to make a note that we got 20 bales of hay on Sunday. I'm trying to do a better job of tracking our hay use and also get ready to stock up. Last year we waited much too long.

In other news, our summer came roaring back. I wondered why it was so hot dang hot yesterday.... it was because it WAS hot. Almost 90* and tons of humidity. It was so cold on Saturday that I needed a knit hat when I was outside early. What a swing!

Zander helped me with the pigz again yesterday. He was a superstar!  The pigz are completely outgunned now. They didn't even try to come back around but stayed down near the woods. Good job, Bub! Kai was in a little bit of a snit because she didn't get to work... but she needs to rest her paw anyway. I think she stepped wrong on it the other day. She can do dinner chores with me tonite.

I need to get outside before the heat comes on... I'm still working on a clearing project and that is taking up most of my time.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you starting to think about putting up hay? Do you have adorable cats?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Zander Works the Pigz!

He did it! Today our Zander helped us with the pigz for the first time! He was amazing! He did a great job! We were so wow'd that he has now earned the name "The Dread" for his exceptional hard workin' farm dog skills. From now on our Bubby will officially be known as The Dread Commander Zander, FoeHammer, Hannibal Bonecrusher.

The Dread Commander Zander

After Lucky's lackluster performance the other day we really wanted to give Zander a shot at working with the pigz. Today was the day. After Kai and Dog#1 moved the pigz off long enough for us to dump the food in the pig feeder I went back up the hill and got Zander's harness. Then Dog#1, Zander, and I went back down the hill where my husband was filling the pig drinker. We figured we'd just see what happened.

It was awesome.

I had Zander by the handle... I mean... harness and we marched into the pig yard with husband standing close by. Dog#1 easily moved the pigz off their feed while I held Zander close by my side and told him, "Guard Momma."  He leaned in.... but whined and pulled toward the heavenly poop-scented pigz. Dog#1 was barking them off and heading them toward the woods. Zander wanted some of that action.

He's our big Bub. Look at that harness!  See the easy access handle on top?

Of course the pigz were all, "Look, man, we just want the milk and corn."  Too bad. We had some farm dog work to do.

After a couple minutes I called Dog#1 back to "Guard Momma" position and let the pigz come back up. "Move them off!" I commanded.... and let go of Zander.

He was extraordinary. Zander immediately stomped toward the pigz. He watched Dog#1 bark and circle toward the pigz and followed suit. It was incredible. The pigz moved off. Zander peed in their general direction.

We let the dogs move the pigz off and then had them come back to us several times. Zander's recall was near perfect. Believe me, this is quite an accomplishment for a "stubborn" breed dog, surrounded by pig poop, and hyped up by a new adventure. He never ran off, he never was over-aggressive, he didn't run around wildly or bark, but instead he worked those pigz and came back to me when called.  The only time he was distracted was over the ground hog hole...and the poop of course.

"Het! Het! Het!" I called...and both dogs stopped what they were doing and came back to me. "That's the way! Good dogs!" Then we all stormed out the gate and up the hill. We gave Zander tons of "good dog's" and lots of ear ruffles, and body rubs. He was very excited to be working and be part of the team. Even Titan gave him an approving nod.

Afterwards we cooled off in the Bub Tub. He likes to stand in it.

Given the possibility that this could have gone very wrong... we were absolutely thrilled at Zander's performance. From now on he can come and work the pigz with me because we have so much confidence in how well he performed.

I'll probably keep using his harness for a while - but only as a signal to him that we are "working" and not just playing. Also it's easy for me to keep him close until he really learns "Guard Momma" which is our command for him to be right by my side and stand his ground in the face of danger...or that mean gander.

Why the harness and not a collar? We don't collar anyone - not the goats, cats, or dogs.  The supersmart Dog Horde quickly figured out that a collar is really just a handle that you can use to grab your opponent and throw them down upon the pondside. Plus, Zander and Kai have huge shoulders and can slip out of any collar in about 3 seconds. So we don't use them. We have harnesses for Kai and Zander and regular collars for Dog#1 and #2 if we need to go somewhere like the vet. Otherwise everyone is collar free and we control them with verbal commands.

Ever wonder what it's like to walk beside an enormous bear killer? Look how happy he is!

We are so proud of Zander. This is a huge accomplishment and it could not have gone better. We probably won't have Zander and Kai at the same time - they are too instinctively attuned for hunting together - but one or the other will keep working with Dog#1 with the pigz.

Congratulations, Zander! What a good dog!

Friday, August 15, 2014

That pig is plenty big enough....

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo......


One of these pigz is plenty big enough and I'm tired of eating out of the bottom of the freezer. Soon, pig. Soon.

So, we had some hilarity. I decided to take Lucky into the pig yard with me as my second instead of Kai. Mostly because he needs more running and also because the pigz are getting big enough that they are starting to get pushy with my Most Excellent Good Dog#1. To be sure, Lucky is good with the poultry. He has a special sort of hatred for that gander....and the turkey. So I figured that he could add some muscle to Dog#1's reign of terror on the pigz.  Kai does a fine job but she need to learn more teamwork instead of working independently....and getting distracted by the ground hog hole.

It was a disaster.

Lucky could not have cared less and all he wanted was to drink the milk out of the bucket. There in the distance my glorious, good and true dog soldier, Titan, held two of the three pigz at bay and Lucky just stood there slowly wagging his tail at the spectacle.

Meanwhile the Curious Pig scooted around and walked up behind Lucky.

Wap-wap-wap... Lucky's tail smacked into Curious Pig's face. The pig didn't seem to mind.

"TURN AROUND AND GET IT!" I pointed and commanded the dog.

Lucky turned around and smiled. The Curious Pig smiled back.

"Will you be my friend?" Asked the Curious Pig.

"Sure!" Said Lucky.

"NO!" I screamed. "Sir!" I called to Titan, "Get over and and move this pig back! Lucky - get over here and guard momma!"

It kinda went like that. Lucky is back to Poultry Duty and Kai has been reinstated. We are moving up our plans to throw Zander into the mix. Now that... that should be interesting. Either it's going to go really well or we will be having an impromptu butchering session.

Then this happened later in the day. I'm pretty sure Nibs is trying to contact this cow.

Really, Nibbles?

Happy Friday everyone! Are your pigz about ready? Is your weirdest goat trying to contact the outside world?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Have you seen these projects?

I know the some amazing people. Have you seen these projects on Kickstarter?

You know Cold Antler Farm, right? She's getting funding to write a novel and backers can even participate in creating the story. You could even be a character. How great is that? Talk about the perfect gift for someone who has everything - do you know a character who should be in a book?

Next, I have a friend who is looking for funding his tiny house dream. Backers can get some fabulous photography and/or a CD of how the project comes together. Are you interested in a tiny house? This could be a great way to see how a project like this can come together.

Is this your dream?

As for me the only nifty project that I'll be working on this fall is to build a "lettuce table" so I can have fresh salad fixin's growing in my greenhouse this winter. But I don't need funding for that - I just have to get out there and do it.

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you know amazing people? Are they working on cool projects?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catching up, updating, and a better mouse trap

A lot has been going on so it seems like we should have a catch up day. Thanks to everyone who has commented recently on here and also over on 'the facebook.' We've really been working hard here so apologies if I haven't gotten back to you. I've really enjoyed all the feedback - thanks!

This pig need to become bacon. Soon.

I loved some of the suggestions from the "11 Things They Don't Tell You About Farming" list. I especially loved J's suggestion about her favorite pair of work gloves, B's hypothesis that eventually you will go insane, and this extremely astute observation from F, "That city folks cannot believe it is possible to get some much done before breakfast and not consider it work." Exactly!

I also want to thank everyone who for their excellent suggestions about the mice in my truck. Especially about putting mouse traps IN something... you know me. If I just used those snap-traps I'd end up with springing them as I was roaring down the freeway.... But it gave us a great idea and my husband found these these "Kill and Seal" traps. What a great idea! And they work. We are racking up the bodies with no danger to over interested barn cats... or me.

I have also taken everything out of the truck including the floor mats so there is no where to hide. Every morning my best mouser and I check out the truck. He can smell them in there so we will keep up with our mouse eradication program until my truck is safe!

In other news, it looks like we are on the upside of all the summer foolish frustrations. We got our Pepper all fixed up and she has the pep back in her step. Actually she has been on a rampage and fortunately for us is directing all her new found energy toward chasing Nicholas around. It took a couple days but she has fully recovered from her dental surgery and is back to eating dry food - even tho we primarily give her canned. What a relief!

Our Pep - back to being aloof and dismissive. Yay!

Our big lesson learned was never to second guess our intuition. The ONLY sign that something was wrong was that Pep started sitting with me. After 8 years of treating me with casual disregard she was always on the couch with us. That was it. No pain behaviors, no pawing at her mouth, no problems eating, nothing. We are glad we took quick action and that Pepper is now tip top...and back to largely ignoring us.

I canned my first batch of tomatoes yesterday so there is no doubt that we are over the summer hump and clearly into fall. And it could be an early fall - today it was in the 50*'s when we got up and we won't break 80* until next week at least. It's been an odd year.

My tomatoes are off the hook. Time for canning!

So I'm off to do more weeding. That is mostly under control and I have been keeping up with it. I also have to harness our huge jalapeno pepper haul. Wow! We even went and got one of those jalapeno racks. How fun is that? We'll letcha know how it works.

We still need to butcher one of the pigz - soon. So that is our update.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you feeling caught up?

Editors note: It's been a while since we've had any affiliate links to my Amazon store - so there are a few in this post. I really love ordering stuff from Amazon - they have great systems, have terrific customer service, and have never done me wrong. The best is that I don't have to drive into town! This saves me a ton of gas money since we live so far out. Ordering things like that jalapeno racks is awesome. Delivery was really fast and I got just what I wanted. Do you need anything from Amazon? Canning supplies, back to school stuff, or whatever? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. This gets me a tiny percentage of the sale and doesn't cost you once cent more. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. I never know who orders what so THANK YOU for your purchases!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I don't know about you but I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of actor Robin Williams. I had a funny post planned but I think that maybe we should just look at sunflowers instead.

We are all in this together, folks, so let's all hug each other today. If you need a little lift - I found this floating around 'the facebook.' I loved it.

Happy Tuesday everyone. Onward and upwards?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

11 Things they don't tell you about farming....

I saw one of those lists the other day... it wasn't about farming but it got me thinking.  Here are my 11 things...

1. Get good tools. Seriously. You'll be using that hammer, hose, or fence post pounder a lot. So get a good one. At the end of last season I got about a dozen of those cheap-o sprinklers from the Dollar-More. None of them work now. But the heavy duty one from TSC? Works great.  I wasted money trying to save it.

Our Bubby really loves his bucket. Good dog.

2. Get a good dog and train him up right. Good farm dogs just don't happen. Sure, some are more intuitive than others but a well trained dog - or Dog Horde - is a joy. My life is so much easier with my crew helping me out. I spend a lot of time teaching them, talking to them, and keeping them in line. It's worth it.

3. An excellent barn cat is worth his weight in gold. We treat our Shine, King of Barncats, like a prince. He is well fed, is safely locked up at night, and we spare no expense on his veterinary care. Over the years he has saved us hundreds, if not thousands, in lost feed due to varmints. All he wants is his can of catfood a night, his "cat-puccino" in the morning (goat milk fresh from the tap), and for me to stop taking his kills. The other day I saw him trotting thru the garden with a fat field mouse. When I called for him he ran faster. Yes, I would have taken it from him and he knew it!

4. Life is too short for a mean rooster. I'll have to do a post about this one day but due to extreme immaturity I haven't been able to do it. We'll just cut to the chase and say - everyone should have a big rooster who is not mean.

5. You will lose friends. Your city friends will get tired of your constant yammering about chickens, poop, and dirt. There is a lot of ways to hear the sentence, "I worked outside all day." Either they will think you are bragging... or complaining. They will think, "I wish I could work outside...." or they will think you've had the worst day ever.... slaving out there all day in the hot sun.

Sunflowers in the sprinkler. You need to know if it's going to rain that day.

6. Find farm friends - people who understand how gut wrenching it is to find your best rooster dead. Or how frustrating is is when your best Momma Hen quits her nest. Or who knows exactly what you mean when you say, "I worked outside all day."

7. Nothing will bring you so much joy as well a stranger gives you four cases of canning jars. For free. This happened to me this weekend. She just had them in her mother's basement and no one was using them. Free. She gave them to me for free. I hugged her and was speechless.

What a non-work day looks like. Even hard working farm dogs need a break.

8. You need to take a day off. This is my worst thing so I'm preaching to myself. About this time of year I start to get a little run down. My shoulder hurts and I tweaked my knee. The long days of working outside all day are starting to catch up with me so I need a day when I can just rest. Altho, my "rest" days are sometimes like other people's work days.... I still have a list of chores to do, dinner and snacks to make for the week, and I have to weed and run the sprinklers. THEN... then I'll rest.

9. Living life largely without any sense of time is tough on people around you. I never know what day it is. Everyday is a work day. But it's either Church Day or Not Church Day... even so there are still the basic chores that need to be done. My best pals remind me the day before that I'm supposed to do something - like meet them or to mail something. I always appreciate it so much.

10. You need someone to talk to who doesn't cluck or quack at you. Living pretty far out can be tough. It's worse when you have bad neighbors. So I love being able to have a quick chat and exchange work lists and farm victories with other farm nerds. Most of my farm friends are online and that is great with me. But sometimes you just have to see other people. I make a point to drive into town once a week even if it's just to get a milkshake and chat with the ice cream ladies.

You need a good sprinkler and a good barn cat.

11. You'll be obsessed with the weather. Many of the feeds on my 'the facebook' are weather related. Most of my conversations are about the weather. The weather determines what you can and cannot do that day - and sometimes who lives and dies. When I first got back here to The Good Land some non-farm-folks were complaining that the local news only talks about the weather - but if you work outside the hour-by-hour forecast is the most important news of the day. The second-string weekend weather girl on the one channel we get never has her act together so I have to hunt down the real forecast on websites or whatnot. It's very irritating. Those are usually the days I head to town and check in with the ice cream ladies - they always know the forecast.

What about you? What things didn't they tell you about farming?

Happy Sunday everyone! Are you having a rest day?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Feelin' Saucy

There is going to be a mutiny around here unless I get more pizza sauce made. So today is about making and canning tomato sauce.

The big tomato.

My sauce tomatoes aren't ready yet so I'll be using some big ones like this. Not only are they nice and meaty but they are very delicious.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you feelin' saucy?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Skillet Cake!

It's cake! In a skillet! It must be a breakfast food!

My shabby attempt at an arty cake picture. It is just reminding me that we have to paint the deck.

Immediately stop what you are doing and go and make this cake. I am not kidding. This is the easiest thing ever and it's so delish! And fun! Plus this gal is really terrific and she makes all kinds of fun stuff in skillets. Like pie. Her blog is beautiful. 

Last nite we were in desparate need of snacks. We had none. Due to poor planning and someone falling asleep in her chair down in the woods whilst grazing the goats... things did not go as we planned. However, we rallied. We did not achieve all of our objectives... but I did whip up this cake.

I think it took about 10 minutes of standing up time to put this together (including making the frosting) and about 18 minutes of pacing around waiting for it to bake. I used a slightly smaller skillet then the one recommended so it took a few more minutes in the oven. I'm not sure the skillet adds anything other than it was fun and it was really easy to do the first steps (boil the water, oil, and butter) and then mix the rest of the stuff in the same pan.

I was skeptical about the small measures of ingredients but this turned out perfectly. I didn't even need ice cream or caramel sauce. I did, in fact, eat some of it out of the pan.

Thank you so much to whoever shared this on 'the facebook' the other day. And also to my pal, AM, who suggesting using coconut oil instead of veg oil. I did that and it was fantastic.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Quick grab your skillet and make some breakfast...er... I mean.. cake!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A blind goat, a dry goat...and a dead one.

It sounds like the start of a bad joke but no fooling this is what has been happening around here. They say when it rains it pours and we have been flooded with goat problems.

Nibbles in better days...before we called her Winky.

It started innocently enough. The other day I brought Nibbles up to the milk stand, took one look at her, and jumped back shrieking and clutching the dog.

"Holy tomatoes, Nibbles, what the heck?"

"I think I got something in my eye...." She said.

It was horrible. Her face was swollen up one side, her eye was red, and her pupil was cloudy. The dog and I refused to get near her.

I consulted experts.

"It's pink eye." He said.

"There is no way." I replied. "I think it's some kind of injury"

"Pink eye. Look it up."

I did. It was. That guy is always right. Treatment is being applied and Nibbles is separated from everyone - that would be all the other goats who she absolutely hates. She is now standing out there screaming to be reunited because with the herd because, and I quote..."Maybe those other goats aren't so bad."  Tough too bads, Nibs, you are an infectious carrier and you have another five days to stand there. Alone.

Next up. Debbie. Dry. Almost entirely dry. Bone dry. Uselessly dry.  I reviewed all the normal reasons for sudden decreased milk production..... Was it too hot? Nope. Bad hay... maybe... more like "normal and not too bad hay." Then I checked her gums and eyelids. Yep. She needed to be wormed. Treatment applied and I got a bale of better hay while I'm waiting for our best hay folks to cut n bale this week.

Then I went out for morning rounds. One of the little cow goats was down. Real down. He wasn't getting up and his body temperature was cold. None of the other goats would get near him. He was hanging in there but he wasn't going to make it. I picked up the sad little bundle and put him in the garage, wrapped in a blanket, and then texted my husband that he might have to "do something" when he got home.  As it turned out the little goat didn't last that long.

So what happened? I have no idea. The best that I can tell is that he might have eaten something weird when they were grazing. We really don't have a lot in on our property that is poisonous... and one of the good things about goats is that they usually just eat a little of this and a little of that.  So they don't normally ingest enough of anything toxic to kill them. Normally. Outside of that I don't have any idea. He went downhill very very fast. Surprisingly fast.  Shockingly fast.

While it has been a challenging week in our goat world we continue to be grateful that this is our first and only goat loss. We think we are amazingly lucky especially when we heard stories of other folks from this spring. It seemed that many, many folks had hard times with an exceptionally difficult kidding season.

So onward and upward. I might, depending, have a rather hilarious, extremely insensitive, and completely inappropriate tale about goat carcass disposal later. You can only imagine. We'll see.

Happy Tuesday everyone! How's it going in your goat world?

Monday, August 4, 2014


I was never a morning person before I got to The Good Land. I could barely make it to my corporate job by 9:30am.... and I only had a 15 or 20 minute commute. Now I wake up with the sun - the earlier the better.

An Amish field near us.

A very wise man once told me that one hour in the morning is worth more than two in the afternoon. For whatever reason that is absolutely true. I get so much more done in the morning.

There is such a thing as "too" early... but that's only because the sun sets so late. I really don't like the 9:30pm sunset. I used to love it. Going to the beach to watch the sunset and dusk at 10 at night was a treat... now I end up going to bed before the chickens want to go in.

Pretty little sunflower near my basil box.

Right now is actually the perfect time of year. It gets to be about dark at about 9 at night so I do evening chores starting at about 8pm. It gets light just before 6am and that is exactly right if you ask me. This allows me to get several hours of work in before 9am... when I let the barnyard masses out. I like to have the dogs running loose with me in the morning so I keep the hennies and ducks cooped up while I do the morning work and the dogs dog-around.

Early morning is a great time for planting and hoeing. It's better to plant while it's cool and damp - less stressful on the little seedlings and they are not burned in the hot sun. Weeding and hoeing in the morning allows some of the dew to get mixed down into the plants roots and pulls the weeds up to wilt in the hot afternoon sun.

Morning lights up this bloom.

Getting these things done in the morning allows for the soil and grass to dry out for tilling and mowing in the afternoon. It's a great little system.

Today I am working on more clearing. We need to have a big burnpile and yesterday it was just too wet. We are bushwacking our way down into the woods. I was really happy to see that there was a glorious little meadow where those trees came down last winter. The goats will come with me to graze while I'm working down there. Unfortunately they chickens think that the newly mowed pathways are really amazing so now I have a horde of jungle chickens also coming along.

Happy Monday everyone - are you a morning person?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Who's our best mouser?

That barncat had better step up his game - there is a new mouser in town.

Who would have guessed?

The most amazing thing happened yesterday morning. We were all outside, me and the dogs, all doggin' and waggin' around. I went out to my truck to get something and... I found little shreds of chewed up paper and paper towel.


We've suspected there is a mouse, or mice, living in my truck for a while now. And yes this is a dire situation because rodents can really ruin everything - including the wiring in my vehicle. But we aren't entirely sure what to do about it. We've had all kinds of ideas including leaving the windows open and letting the barncat hang around in my truck. But not much luck getting rid of those mice.

I opened up all the truck doors and went and got a little broom to whisk everything out from the floor boards. When I came back Zander was standing by the truck looking very pleased with himself.

Smiley Bub

"Drop it!" I said. He did. A mouse. In the wink of an eye our biggest dog, Zander, snagged that little mouse right out of my truck.

One of the best things about Zander and Kai is that they are "soft mouthed" which means they normally don't tear up, or rip to pieces, their prey. They just smoosh 'em up real well until they are good and dead. They usually don't eat stuff like this either - thank heavens.

"Good dog!"

Bubby hopped from paw to paw wagging his big ol' tail. He knew he'd get a treat for his efforts.

"Yay! Come on, everyone! Let's go in the house!"

Of course, now someone needed to do something about the body.  That someone was not me and he would be getting up soon enough.

In the meantime we all went in the house and Zander got a fine piece of meat for getting that mouse.

We aren't pretending that the problem is solved with that one mouse - but at least it's a victory. That barncat had better step up his game tho... who would have guessed that our big Bub would be our best mouser?

Happy Sunday everyone! Anybody have any good ideas about how to get rid of those mice? We don't want to use poison because, well.... ew. Dead mice in a hot car? Ew. Traps? Well now that would be a danger to yours truly... now what?

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's not too late to plant!

It's true! It's not too late to plant!  I've been spending a lot of time ripping out spent planting, cleaning up the beds, and planting even more.

Check these fun radishes!

It's very weird around here - once you pass a certain date the store take all the seeds off the shelves. Thank heavens for ordering seeds online....and for ordering more earlier in the year so I have them now.

One of the fun things I've found is Easter Egg radishes. I can't wait for these to come up. We'll see how they go.

The weeds have been insane. While I'm glad for the rains lately.... they send the weeds into growing fits.

I'm not ashamed to show you my weeds. It was a jungle.

Much better. And I found some onions!

It took me a while to rip these weeds out and then stake up the tomatoes. I had written this bed off as a loss but wow! The sauce tomatoes are doing great - these are Romas.  I trellis tomatoes by using a 2x2 strung up horizontally between two lightweight Tposts. This works great.

Note: Bubby is as tall... or taller... than I am when he does this.

Next up..... our Zander tried to climb a tree. Silly Bubby... ah... if he ever figures out how to climb a tree we are all doomed. Especially that squirrel or whatever had a nest in the crook of the tree.

I love Zander's big fat face. He loves to "peel" tennis balls.

Then we played ball and everyone had a great time.

Happy Friday everyone!  Are you battling weeds? Planting late seeds?

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