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, November 30, 2014


It is a fact that I am always extremely grateful when someone else cooks. However. The problem with going to someone else's Thanksgiving is that you get sucked into the abyss of other family's weird traditions... and you don't get leftovers. If you ask me the entire point of TDay is the turkey sandwich the next day. We came home from our "official" event empty handed and a little bemused. Something had to be done.

Dinner rolls. Not spatchcock. But they are awesome.

So we did our own thing - yesterday. I'm still a bit under the weather so an all day cooking marathon didn't really appeal to me. I needed something quick, easy, and Turkeylicious. I put an ear to the ground and heard the rumblings of something I really hadn't known anything about. But my pal, S, raved so wildly about it that I had to check it out. Then it took another friend by storm. They couldn't get enough either.

I marched boldly into the kitchen and prepared to spatchcock.

You heard me. Spatchcock, baby. Once you try it you won't go back.

Hands down this is the easiest and most effective turkey cooking method I've ever tried. And I have cooked a lot of turkey in my day. Moist, delicious, crispy skin, and moist meat. It is sublime. I can honestly say this was the best turkey dinner we've had in a long time. Nothing can compare to a bird lovingly cooked by my Grandma Minnie, God rest her soul, but this one was the best bird I've ever made.

Plus how fun is it to say? SPATCHCOCK!

So what is it?

It is a way of cutting the raw carcass in such a way that you can flatten it out for an amazingly quick cooking time. All you need to know can be found in this link. Seriously, the 7 minute video is worth the watch (it's funny and informative and is a great how to.).

Seriously. Just look at them! Light and fluffy, eggy and yeasty.... divine.

The only thing that I disagreed with was that this is not a "lazy" cooking method - I find it "effective." And in all my years I've never even seen anyone bring a whole bird to the table..... so "lack of dramatic presentation" is not a factor.

Basically you cut the backbone (and the wishbone) out of the carcass then "butterfly" it, that is, lay it out flat. Cook on a rack on a tray in a high heat oven... and we had our bird done in a little over an hour.

Because we had a store turkey (it was such a bargain!) I did not use his "done at 150*" recommendation. The official "done" temp should be 165* for all parts. If it was one of our birds, processed here, we would have used a slightly lower temperature. Why? Commercial raised turkeys can be raised in abysmal conditions. Even in the best circumstances turkeys can be filthy birds so you want to make sure you kill any bad bugs with thorough cooking. But even with the 165* this was the most moist and delicious bird ever. No regrets.

A few things I did differently was that I took off the wings and used those, back, the neck, and one of the legs to make stock. I knew that I'd want good gravy so I skimmed off the fat while the stock simmered and used that as the fat plus flour to make the roux. This turned out terrific. Ruhlman does a great gravy tutorial here.

My friend S said that she soaked her bird in buttermilk the night before - so I did also and added salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. This worked our really well but brining is not required at all.

We liked this method so much that I may never use any other way of cooking a turkey or any other whole bird. One of my pals says that he spatchcocks chickens while butchering then kind of rolls them up to put in the freezer. That way they can easily be defrosted and laid out for an excellent roast chicken.

The aftermath of when I dropped cookie dough on the floor. I was advised by a bunch of weisenheimers on 'the facebook' to apply bourbon. So I did. Note my shot glass is a little measuring cup.

So where are my pix? No one will take better pictures then on this link, seriously. Plus it was dark when we ate and my bad kitchen lighting is horrible. But picture if you will a stunningly roasted bird, fragrant gravy, and all the trimmings. And best of all? So many leftovers.

Happy Sunday everyone! Were you subjected to someone else's weird family traditions? Quick! Run out and get a turkey on sale then spatchcock that bad boy. I tell you the truth, you will not go back to traditional roasting again!

Update! Here is the link for the roll recipe.

Note: Sometimes folks want to know what tools I use - so here is a list. This is also what is shown in the video.

If you don't have them, you really need a good pair of Kitchen Shears. I use them all the time.
This is my favorite paring knife.I use it for everything from peeling potatoes to skinning pigz. It is always in my hand.
Due to badassery, I have this bad boy too. It's totally fun.
I have about half a dozen of these Commercial Baker's Half Sheet pans. I use them for butchering, meat processing, freezing stuff flat, and oh yeah - for baking stuff too. They are not non-stick so I use parchment paper.
These these wire cooling racks are invaluable.They fit with the half sheet pans. I use them for baking and also for keeping over interested cats out of my all-day-simmering stock.

Editors note: Yeah I know.. another post with some affiliate links. What does that mean? It means that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - books, movies, a cool hat, or something you need from Amazon anyway. Just give a click - you can use the black search box on the right side of this post to find what you are looking for.  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 can't see who purchases what or any of the details. If you use these links THANKS for your support!


Friday, November 28, 2014

OFG's Favorite Things 2014

It might not be Oprah's list... no $700 earphones here.... but this is my favorite things list for this year. I was shocked, tho, that we both had something from Le Creuset on our list... But I bet I use mine more than she does.

My Felcos are beaten to heck. But they still work great.

First up? As always...  a good pair of gloves - specifically these gauntlet Rose Gloves.  I'm always working in the brambles and while these are designed for trimming your lovely roses... they really stand up against my arch enemy - the wild rose that is like a pestilence around here. I use these gloves for weeding and bushwhacking thru the toughest bramble. And, of course, a good set of shears - my Felcos are extremely well used... beaten to heck actually.

My new favorite hat - Zander's too.

Next - a really good hat. Preferably one with a wide brim and maximum sun protection. Or maybe just a fun Life is good hat to spread optimism while you are working. Or maybe my new favorite Life is good knit hat.

Zander loves his real working dog harness.

I can't stop talking about the real working dog harness from Julius-K9. Zander loves it. This is probably our best purchase ever. We normally don't collar anyone - not the dogs, goats, cats, nope. Nobody. But when we need to get ahold of Zander - or if we are taking him somewhere - this is an incredible harness.

As we are getting into winter all I can think about is how glad I am to have a pair of real MuckBoots.  These guys really take a beating and keep your feet warm even in the worst weather.

My favorite knife ever. Perfect for slaying your enemy.

But if I had to choose just one thing that is my "favorite" it has to be Victorinox Curved 12" Blade Cimeter. Hands down this is the best gift I have ever - or will ever - receive. It's my favorite knife and it really gets the job done. This comes with a huge warning tho - this knife is not for beginners. The blade is curved so you really have to keep an eye on it - and keep onlookers back. Don't ask me how I know this.

So that is my favorite things list. As you can see  - this is all stuff I actually use and love. There are tons of gadgets and stuff that claim to make your life easier - but these things really do. I couldn't get my work done without the right tools - and a good hat.

Happy Friday everyone! Are you shopping? What are your favorite things?

Editors note: Happy Black Friday! Yep we have affiliate links in this post. What does that mean? It means that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - books, movies, a cool hat, or something you need from Amazon anyway. Why go out shopping when you can just shop online? Just give a click - you can use the black search box on the right side of this post to find what you are looking for.  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 can't see who purchases what or any of the details. If you use these links THANKS for your support!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

So Nibbles is in heat...

I know this isn't the pre-Thanksgiving post that you want but it's the one you are going to get. I need to make a note that Nibs is out there screaming her head off, wagging her tail, and looking longingly at..... the pigz. Things could get ugly.

 Bitty - not Nibbles. No one wants to see Nibbles out there wagging her bottom.

Hopefully all that will happen is that 3 weeks from now I'll do a "hot goat" transport up to the breeder. Presumably, Nibbles will shame herself and I won't have to think about it for five months.

But Bitty is very cute and look at this little paw!

Next on the agenda is tracking down a buck for the rest of those harlots. I believe Daisy was in heat yesterday so now I have at least a calender of events, such as it is.

As for Thanksgiving, I don't think I'm up to butchering two pigz this weekend so they are getting a stay of execution and we'll just sit around and eat turkey.

Here are a few more appropriate pre-Thanksgiving posts.

Turkey Day Tools - what you need to pull off the perfect Thanksgiving.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - since it looks like the Eastern Seaboard is gonna be a hot mess.. you might want to stay home, make some cookies, and watch the best Tday movie ever.

Upside down pear cake - Do you need a stunning dessert that is not pie? Check this baby out. It's easier than it sounds and makes a big splash.

World's Best Pie - What about a not-exactly traditional pumpkin pie? How about this one. Seriously, it is a hit....and a breakfast food.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you ready for Turkey Day or are you distracted by a hot goat?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Before and After

I'm still a bit under the weather - and what wild weather we are having! So we'll go for "Minimal Word Monday."


and after last week's cold snap.

Now it's 64* but the temps will be falling all day and we'll be back to cold.  Any leaves that are left on the trees are coming down today. A big windstorm will be blowing thru soon.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sun pigz

This was the pigz yesterday - soaking up the sun.

Sun pigz. Doing just fine. Note the frozen waterer that I had to keep busting open for them.

Today our extremely cold weather broke so instead of being 17* this morning we have freezing rain. Later it will be above 50*. Until it warms up, tho, it's nothing but ice out there.

I can't tell if the pigz would rather have cold, dry, and sunny... or cool and rain. But they did great in the extreme cold. We just made sure they had dry straw in the Hog Hut and just kept pouring on the feed. They never seemed chilled or unhappy. They had plenty of protection from the wind so they just hung out in the sunshine.

But what is this? Why are there only two pigz? Where is the third one?


Ah yes... here is that third one. Looking good!

What? Bacon already? Yep. We ended up butchering the 3rd pig a little while ago. This was the bacon that I made. I didn't think there would be enough of the belly to make any bacon but this turned out really well.

The best part about this bacon is the smokiness - it is like nothing we've had before. I think it was because I used an actual small fire, and very little charcoal. I also used the branch trimmings from an apple tree from last year.

I used the cure for pancetta but then smoked it. The savory spices and the smoke work really well together. We use this kind of bacon for cooking mostly - and not as a breakfast side. Altho it fries up really nicely.

I'll share my bacon makin' links again here for easy access. If you are even thinking about giving this a try - just do it! Really. It's a fun skill and is not complicated. The hardest part is waiting for the cure to cure... then you just need to fire up the smoker and give it a go!

Making bacon - I got my cure on!  Lots of pix of the process - including when I started brining a ham.

Bacon makin' and butcher day tools.

What bacon day looks like. The results of smoking our bacon - it was incredible!

Making pancetta.

A fabulous pancetta. See the results - this one was insane. We don't "roll" our pancetta - but this one was a hog so big that it naturally rolled itself! 

If you want just one reference for making bacon at home then immediately stop what you are doing and order Ruhlman's Charcuterie.Hands down this is the best reference for home curing and smoking. Plus I just really like his books.

We've been making bacon for several years now and my best advice is to just try it. You don't need a lot of complicated equipment or special skills.  Can you make bacon at home? Sure! Who told you that you couldn't? I'm telling you that you can!

Happy Saturday everyone! Do you have one pig down and two more to go?

Editors note: Alright, alright, alright... Obligatory notice that there is an affiliate link in this post. What does that mean? It means that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - books, movies, a cool hat, or something you need from Amazon anyway. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. If you use these links THANKS for your support!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Got my big winnings from the auction!

I've been a bit under the this ridiculously cold weather so let's short hand this...

 Nicholas. Not sold at the auction.

Gas up to the far away auction: about $20
Time: most of the day but it was superfun
Fees to the auction:  $16.50

Total big winnings: $133.50

Getting rid of no-good-nicks and the Loudest Goat Ever: Priceless.

It looks like they sold Darla alone ($75) and the two little ones together ($75). 

So I'll go with "good enough." Wish it was more, glad it wasn't less, and still totally worth it.

Happy Thursday everyone! Looks like we'll get a break in the weather on Saturday. What a week!

Monday, November 17, 2014

First real snow.

Here it is... the first real snow. I'm noting this because it's kind of early and entirely annoying.

But hey! I get to use my "snow only" coffee cup!

The dogs are over joyed by the snow. Zander and Kai don't want to be inside at all. Zander has been woofing for me to hurry up so he and Kai can get back to goofing in the snow.

Kai couldn't be happier about the snow.

At this writing it's still snowing but should clear off this afternoon - then things will get dicey. Tomorrow will be a crippler with possibly record breaking cold - windchills will most likely be below zero. I'm expecting the barnyard will have an inside day.

The goats are extremely angry about being cooped up together but that is their tough too bads. Unfortunately that is also my "I guess I can repair that later." They are destroying the inside of the Turkey House and have busted thru all the latches. I needed the dog and my husband to help keep them in so I could feed and water them yesterday.

Sure I could let them out - where they would promptly start bawling about how cold it is and what is this snow and will I pah-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze let them back inside that nice warm Turkey House? Goats. I need to tell them how shockingly easy it was to dump those extra ones off at the livestock auction...and I didn't even say goodbye.

I think Zander is going to help me with them this morning. I'm pretty sure those goats won't be so lippy with The Black Death giving them the stink eye.

Happy Snow Monday everyone! Are your goats inside? Are they mad?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Goat Notes: who is in heat.

We are still gripped by our cold snap and it will only get worse in the next couple of days. This morning all of the remaining goats were chilled. We ended up putting them all in one side of the Turkey House. This should be interesting....

Nibbles, back in the salad days of early summer when everyone was happy.

We'll see who and what is still standing out there tomorrow because as far as I can tell... most of them are in heat. Like I said... should be interesting. They haven't killed each other. Yet.  And so far no one has busted out looking for a man....er... buck.

Which leads me to my yearly griping and complaining about goat breeding season. I don't know why I do this to myself.  You you will recall, keeping a buck did not work out for us at all. Altho he was delicious, I am not putting myself thru that again. Good thing Nibs turned out to be just fat.

I need to look around, begrudgingly, and find another buck - who will be here for a limited time ONLY. I have a line on a couple of options so we'll see what happens.

Today, Sunday 16th:
Nibbles = in heat
Debbie = in raging heat

Which puts their next heat about Dec 7th or so.... so more May babies.

I'll have to see how Dahli and Daisy are doing but they were not acting like loons this morning. I had to get the dog to get ahold of Debbie. She gets an F- for today. The dog gets an A+. 

I'm pretty disappointed that none of the ladies were interested in that little buckling. But I guess they just thought he was some kind of upstart and didn't want anything to do with him.

And now that I have my goat notes done I'm going to make a monstrous, meaty bolognese and sit around by the fire.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Do you vindaloo?

Do you vindaloo? I do!  Actually while I love Indian food I don't like to make it.  I get turned off by the extra long list of ingredients - especially when some of the spices are hard to find. Let's face it - most ethnic food is just better at restaurants. Unfortunately around here.... it's hard to find a real Indian restaurant.

That's why I was so glad to find this recipe for vindaloo!  I made it for dinner last nite with pork. It was really really good - and easy to make.  

And here is the best news - if you make pickles.. or pickle just about anything... then you probably already have the ingredients.

Since we both really liked this dish we'll be making it again. I need to jot down a few notes so I remember it for next time. Also I kind of got lost in a few of the steps as I had to improvise. I also prepared all of the spices, in their correct measurements, in little dishes so I could do all the steps without having to dig around in the spice rack.

It helps me if I can break up the ingredient list to go along with the steps, so this is what I did.

About a pound of meat
A couple red chile peppers - but I should have used hotter ones and not just the mild jalapenos.
White vinegar to cover.

Next time: marinate for longer (I only had about an hour so I should have started earlier), use hotter peps or add a few red pepper flakes. Two whole cayenne peppers? Zoikes! Not on your life - I'm more of a 1 or barely a 2 star girl. 

The meat is browned and then removed from the pan. Keep the marinade for later.

Cumin, mustard seeds, and cinnamon sticks go into the pan until fragrant. I broke up the cinnamon sticks but next time I should keep the pieces bigger so they are easier to take out for serving the final dish.

I did not have black mustard seeds but I used the yellow ones that I had for pickling. I'll remember to get the black ones the next time I'm up at Penzey's.

Next into the pan:
Onion - minced in my little handy chopper.

Fried until soft and translucent. 

Then add:
Brown sugar

Now add the water, the left over marinade, and any peppers that didn't sneak in with the meat.

Bring to a simmer and then add the meat and any drippings.

I mostly covered the pan and let it cook for about 40 minutes. It would have been better if it would have cooked for longer but by then the house smelled like heaven and we couldn't wait any longer.

See? That wasn't so bad. And having everything " mise-en-place" made it much easier.

Our sweet Peep - she is kind of spice colored....

So where are the pix? Um.. yeah so... we ate it all. Next time I'll take pix of the steps but for now we just really wanted to make sure I got these notes down we can do it right next time.

Happy Saturday! Do you have a favorite Indian recipe? This could be mine but I'm going to be trying his recipe for butter chicken next.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dog selfies gone wrong. And we had snow yesterday.

The Big Cold is upon us and looks like it will be parked here until mid next week at least. Yesterday we even had some snow flying around. Last nite there were a few flakes stuck on the car. We should have our first "stickable" snow this weekend.

 I tried to take some dog selfies.... it didn't really work. 

I'm noting the weather because this Big Cold is kind of early. Normally we don't have a recordable snowfall until later in November and honestly these temps are more like January. 

 Bubby kept squirming around.

The only real problem is that I have a lot of work to do outside and so I might be a little stuck.  It's one thing to work when it's cold and damp and about 40*.... but with a current windchill of 18*? I think I'll get some inside work done. But I really needed to finish staining the deck. Rats.

And Kai is so darn cute.

Also I went out for some greens this morning and they were frozen solid. I'm hoping I can get a few more salads from the late lettuce I planted.

Little Mo knows how to rock a selfie. That's our Mo!

Right now I'm really enjoying a salad of pears and blue cheese - with whatever greens I can find. And yes.. I put some beet eggs in there too. I brought in the last of the pears. Nothing out there is going to survive this cold.

Happy Friday everyone! Are you noting the cold? This is ridiculous. I need to get some work done!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Auction, adventure, and fried chicken.

Yesterday was amazing. I went on an epic adventure that involved "auction, adventure, and fried chicken." It was a day of days. It was probably the best day I've had in a long time. But first, do you hear that sound? Yes.... it's the sound of peace and quiet. I took some of those no-good extra goats up the livestock auction. Yes I did.

I am the reason we don't have nice things. Part 2. Not really an acceptable use of our "new" car. Bubby checks it out. There were goats in our new car.

Despite a long patch of weird things occurring around here - one really great thing happened to us. We happened upon a used car that was screaming our name. It was for sale at one of those "buy here, pay here" places not too far for us. We snatched it up for nothing.

Mostly I just couldn't take the stress and crying involved with trying to put Zander in my big truck. Our Bubby is 130lbs of "No, I don't think so" coupled with the vertical leap of as old, fat man with bad knees. He just couldn't get up in my big truck. So we needed some kind of easy-for-him-to-get-into wagon. And we got it. Then it turned into my husband's commuter....and then it fell to it's final disgrace.... that new-to-us-car became the Goat Wagon.

Yesterday day morning I loaded up the completely useless Darla, that little buckling, and the doeling and headed up to the Mt. Hope Livestock Auction. It is a long way from here. Of course, stupid Darla who has screamed every second of every day of her annoying life didn't utter one peep the whole way. I would not be deterred. There was no redemption. I kept driving.

Eventually the main roads end up in a rat's nest of small, hard to figure out smaller roads and I was completely lost. I tried following a guy who was loaded up with hay - I assumed we were going to the same place. But he turned quickly and I lost him! Fortunately my friends guided me by phone, turn by turn, until I reached the Mecca that is the Mt. Hope livestock auction. It was a frenzy and I was completely in the way.

Talk about a newb. There I was - gal in a pony tail, in a station wagon, with GOATS. They all rolled their eyes and glared at me trying to wind my way around all the "real" farmers. I very nearly got out and screamed at one of them boys that not only my truck was bigger than his, but I could butcher anything he had in his stock trailer. But I just smiled and waved...and tried to get out of the way.

Someone finally pointed me to the load-out dock and I backed in. A horde of Mennonite guys snatched the goats right out of the back of the car and before I even turned around those goats where gone from my sight. I didn't even say goodbye. The loader guys handed me a receipt and I sauntered away counting all that money I was fixin' to make from the sale. I'll find out next week how much when they send me a check.

Then I met up with my pal and one of my favorite farm kids. We had a terrific day. We drove around all over the country side and visited all kinds of out of the way places, we took Lehman's by storm, and checked all the roadside farm stand signs for beets. We found all kinds of good scores. Bulk food items, gardening supplies...and the fudge bar at Lehman's can't be beat.

We made our way back to check out the flea market and the auctions. The livestock auction was incredible. They had all kinds of stock - huge bulls, an enormous boar, tons of sheep, and some piglets. The packers were buying dairy calves for upwards of $400! Unlike our small produce auction this professional sale went fast and without a lot of arm waving. It was amazing.

They also had a poultry barn. I was under orders to come home chicken free.... otherwise I would have loaded up some of their 24 week old Golden Comets.

After our minds were boggled by the auction we headed directly to the world famous Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen. Oh yes...veni, vidi, vici. So much chicken.... it was delicious. Stunning in fact. Rookies load up on all the salads and stuff. Not me. Chicken, chicken, and more chicken...and maybe a few tablespoons of veggies just for show. I got my money's worth for sure.

When we got back to the cars we swapped farm gifts and I received riches that I am not worthy of... such bounty!

I drove home in the new car smelling like goat pee but deliriously happy at such an epic adventure. Now that I kinda know what I'm doing, and once I see how much the sale check is, I'll be heading up there again. While I might be tempted to drive my work truck up there to show them boys what I'm really made of.... that sweet gas mileage in our new little silver bullet makes it much easier to do that big drive.  I'll just have to dazzle them with my farm swagger.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you going to the livestock auction?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Last days of working in the garden

Tonite we'll start getting that polar vortex of doom. But today I have one last day to work in the garden. Yesterday we were outside the entire day. It was sunny and beautiful. I got a lot of work done. Then there was this.

That damn mower. It's like an albatross around my neck.

Yep. I killed it again. In my defense, I'm pretty sure that the wingding is all wonky which caused some kind of catastrophic failure of the flux capasitor...or maybe the cardboardmeter. I had to text my husband that the mower was leaking oil...from when I had to turn it upside down to verify that, yes, the new blade he just put on was bent. Then I started kicking it because I think that mower is doing it on purpose.

So I turned my thoughts to happier things......

Like my favorite garden helpers. Note the tiller is not broken.

And finding a stash of potatoes!

And this huge pear. (Kai for scale.)

Today we are working to get the rest of the upper garden cleaned up in preparation for the on-coming doom. We will have at least five days of cold weather. So today we are going to enjoy the warm sunshine.

Happy Tuesday everyone! What are you finding in your garden clean up?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Never go thru a locked gate

Does everyone know Dairy Carrie? She has cows and is fun. The other day she posted a great link from The Farmers Wifee. It talked about the importance of not trespassing.

Seriously. Don't go thru a locked gate. Or rather, don't try and go around or over a locked gate.

This is such a great rule that it is a law. Yes, trespassing is illegal. And really stupid. The fact is, you don't know what you are getting yourself into when you drive up on someone's property. Folks who live out in the country either want to be left alone, have something to hide... or have livestock. All of those are good reasons for just staying off someone's property. No trespassing. It's a law.

I always think that folks know this but I'm always surprised at how many folks don't. Recently we had the fuel oil guy come out. They couldn't give us an exact day when they were delivering even tho we told the office several times that we have a locked gate and they had to call us.

They never called. The driver showed up, saw the gate was locked, and called his dispatch. To our utter shock the dispatch guy told the driver that if that gate was "dummy locked" that is, just closed but not really locked, to just go ahead and open it and go thru. We couldn't believe it.

Fortunately it really was locked and I was able to get out there to open it for him. But I can't imagine that this was an actual company policy especially with a bunch of rural customers.

But we've had all sorts of weird stuff happen - one time we had a car stop at the end of our drive and some gal jumped out and yanked out some of our ornamental flowers planted by the mail box. She didn't just take the flowers - she pulled out the whole plant!

Then we had some guy drive up in a truck wanting to know if I knew where Timmy's house was? First, stay in your truck, pal. Next, I'm not your friend. And all's you are doing in casing my house for future crimes. Who in their right mind would come down a drive where you can't see the house... just to ask directions to Timmy's? Of course the dogs kept him in his truck but shortly after that we got the gate. Now, for a lot of reasons, we keep it locked.

Now it's hunting season and it's even more important to keep folks off your property - and for you to respect the property of others.  Everyone has some story about some drunk, or stupid, yahoo who is tracking a deer and thinks they can just come across your field or into your goat yard to fire directly into your property. Not only is this a crime it's unsafe for everyone.

One day we went out for chores and someone was firing into our chicken yard! We had to scream at them to hold their fire. Nibbles could have been killed or worse. 

I think one of the drawbacks of the "get to know your farmer" movement is that some folks think they can just show up, randomly, to someone's farm and get out and look around. Some farms offer visits and open houses and that is super. We don't. No, you can bring your grandkids to come and play with the chickens. This isn't a petting zoo. Even if you are an adult and want to visit you still need Kevlar and a tetanus shot just to walk on our property.

We rarely have visitors on purpose. And when we do they always fall into the drainage ditch beside our driveway. It's stunning. We even point it out but there they go stumbling right into it. We never fall in the drainage ditch and we walk around here all day.  But that is the point of The Farmer's Wifee's post. Strangers don't know the property, the animals, or what is or is not safe to do, touch, or try and run off with. Go ahead and try and get that gander into a sack and make a run for it. You won't make it down the drive and you'll end up crying.

From time to time we have had worker folks, or that guy from the electric company, or the survey guys come onto the property. There is always a safety briefing. It goes like this:

1. "Stay where I can see you." This is also a command I have for the dogs. Unlike the dogs, visitors never listen and wander off. Then they always get chased by a goose. Seeing a grown man run from an overgrown duck is just sad. Especially if he is screaming like a little girl.

2. "Don't fall into the drainage ditch." They do anyway.

3. "I'm going to stay out here with you. I'm not supervising you but while I can call the dogs off I can't do anything about that mean turkey." They always scoff and then, predictably, there is some running.

4. "The electric fence is on so stay away from it." You an imagine how this goes. They always touch it. That fence will knock you senseless and leave a burn on your arm for 3 days. Don't ask me how I know this. But I'm pretty sure I had a cardiac event the day I was holding a metal tpost in each hand, stepped in a puddle, and touched one of those tposts to the live hotwire. I saw stars and then my jaw ached for 2 days. I think it may have sucked 2 or 3 years off my life.

5. "No, you may not meet my dogs." This one is always weird for me - maybe it's because we have working dogs and not just pets. Someone came here once and declared that all dogs just loved her and could she meet my dogsy-wogsy-woos?  No. No you may not. That dog doesn't want to be your friend. He wants to be my friend and the only thing he thinks about you is that you are standing too close to me. When we are off farm, sure, maybe in a controlled situation provided however you are not hopping around shrieking "It's so FLUFFY" in a high pitched voice. But mostly I don't understand anyone who runs up on a strange dog least of all one who is protecting his territory.

6. "Can I come to your place to pick up those chickens you have listed on Craigslist?" No. No you may not. We will meet you in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Before we knew better we had folks come and pick up some ducklings. It was great! So easy! We didn't a thing about it... and then most of our turkey's died of the cocci. Since we didn't have a problem before we are pretty sure someone dragged it onto the property on their shoes or what not. So we don't do this anymore and some people do not like it. Some folks think you are trying to hide something or they want to see your set up to check out the condition of the rest of your animals.

But those days of picking stuff up at the farm are over. Not only is it, generally, a bio-security hazard but after the Craigslist killings in our state it just seems like a bad idea.

However, I guess if some wacko showed up here I'd likely be safe because he would probably get chased by that gander directly into the drainage ditch where he would fall into the electriec fence and then get flogged to death by that mean turkey. So I dunno maybe it would work out.

Whatever the case, just don't go walking up on someone's property. Mostly it's for your own safety.

Happy Monday everyone! Do you have a no trespassing sign up? Has anyone come on your property uninvited?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nibbles. Just fat.

Remember when all of this was going on? We really didn't know if that bad buck got Nibs or not. For a while there we were very very nervous that Nibs was pregnant and would end up with fall babies.

Nibs. Just fat. 

We even had a guy come out and look at her.

"That's one fat goat." He said.

But was she pregnant? He couldn't tell but he could come back out and bring a mobile sonograph machine and....

"No. That's just fine." We said.

Then he drove off with over $100 of my folding money, laughing at having to do a vet call for a fat goat. I tell you the truth. If I was starting my career over I'd become a large animal vet and then sit around on a huge pile of cash, laughing. But then, you know that cows and I don't mix well so that probably wouldn't work out for me.

We figured we could use Nibbles fatness as an excuse to "establish a relationship" with a farm vet that we heard would drive all the way out here. This way if we ever have some kind of ridiculous emergency we could actually get a vet to come out. We learned the hard way that, no, a farm vet will not just drive all the way out here on a Sunday nite at 10pm if we weren't already clients. So now we are and I think that Nibs did all this fatness just to spite us.

Since then Nibs has been on a restricted diet and from time to time I chase her around the goat yard so she can work off a few of those extra pounds. It's working. Now that the Age of Nibbles' Fatness is over we have to start to think about getting her a date. Heaven help me, you know I can't stand goat breeding season. 

Happy Sunday everyone! Do you have a fat goat? What about a farm vet?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Life is Good! Finally. And I got my new hat.

I'm so excited that I got my new hat! Finally!

The dogs helped me take a selfie. Check out my hat!

I was thrilled to get my new hat the other day. Not only did I need a new hat to keep me warm as the first polar vortex of doom approaches.... but I really needed a pick me up. 

The last couple of months has kind of sucked. My hubs and I have been in the grip of fear and uncertainty over a not-about-farming situation. But that dark cloud of concern has finally lifted. Now we are all about onward and upward and getting back on track. I needed one last little boost this week and my new hat was just the ticket.

Happy Saturday everyone! Isn't life good? Do you have a new hat?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My egg strategy is working...and ham salad.

I wanted to put in my notes that the light in the chicken house is working. Yesterday we got a record four...yes FOUR eggs... which is up from... zero. I'm calling it a huge success. We also got another bag of layer mash so that will help as well.

 Just a few of the eggs from yesterday...

I like how the one in the middle fades in color from one end to the other.

It probably also helped that I stood out in the hen yard shaking my fry pan and warning the hennies that they "are gonna feed me one way or another" so they'd better lay me an egg! The tried and true methods from the Klingon Management School always work.

In other bits and bobs of news. We need a new mower blade. There was no saving it. My hubs drug the dead mower out of the garden and back to the garage. There is a huge ugly gash from that bent blade in the dirt the entire way. We are also looking for a new freezer and hope to have one soon. Then there will be pork chops for everyone. All I can think about is meat meat meat and more meat. And bacon. And ham. Especially ham.

Last nite on 'the facebook' we were talking about ham salad. So I had to run off and make some. It was terrific.

A special request for a special gal.

I fixed up this plate for my new pal, N. She has some really terrific things going on in her life right now. Great job, N! And as requested, here is a right-sized snack of ham salad on home made bread..and a shooter of eggnog.

And now I'm going to run off and make more beet eggs with these lovelies.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are your chickens feeding you one way or another? Eggs or fried chicken?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Got a big pumpkin from the auction!

Some of the nearby produce auctions are still hanging in there... if you are lucky you can score some great deals. I got some super deals last week as the season is winding down. The auction at Chesterhill had it's last day - but next year this should be a great one to check out. Later this month I'm going to take the long drive up to Mt. Hope - it should be worth the trip.

 I was the back up bidder but I got this big pumpkin for $2!

For only $20 I bid on and purchased:

* A bushel of turnips
* Five big "kushaw" squash
* The big pumpkin
* 20...yep you read that right...TWENTY.... small cabbages
* one peck basket each of tomatoes and sweet potatoes
* three big chinese cabbage

To put the pumpkin price in perspective, I recently paid $2 for a smallish pie type pumpkin at a local farm market. The big pumpkin was a total score.  I got skunked, tho, on the carrots and beets. Those beets are still going for $8/peck basket!

After a while I realized that I was often bidding against one particular woman. I noticed because whenever something came up for bid that was "weird" the auctioneer looked at me..and at her. So I finally asked her.... "Are you buying for your hogs?"  And then she laughed. "Yep."

A lot of times you can get excellent end of season bargains of not-perfect produce that is perfect for feeding your pigz. She and I laughed that we were doing the same thing. I hope I made a new friend.

I needed the guys at the auction to load my big pumpkin....and then I realized I was going to be in a pickle. How was I going to get this big pumkin down the hill to the pigz, let alone get it over the fence? I had dreams of rolling down the hill at the pigz in a kind of "pig bowling" kind of thing...

Pigz love pumpkins.

But alas we just put it in the wheelbarrow and trolleyed it down there. My husband heave-ho'd it over the fence where it exploded on impact. The pigz were thrilled.

Yesterday we took the failed freezer out into the garage. It turned out to be a total loss. Even tho it kind of froze some things... later when we checked it.... everything was ruined. Luckily I only put a few things in there but still. A loss. So I'll be using that hunk of junk as cold storage for some of these long keeping things - like the turnips. We don't even have to plug it is... it's just a big insulated box for long term keeping. Last winter we had great success in keeping carrots and beets in the garage just using straw and heavy blankets. This dead freezer will work much better. And now we need to buy another freezer.

We had our second big freeze last nite - I'm hoping that some of my celery made it...but it was pretty frosty last nite. Of course it's going to be 60* later...so who can keep up. But the growing season is over. I still have high hopes for my green house.

Happy Monday everyone! What are you plans for long term winter storage?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Getting ready for winter hibernation

It's November 1st and it might just snow. So I have no choice but to admit that my beloved summer is over and it's time to get ready for winter hibernation. I hate being inside but there are a few things that make it more agreeable.

This is how Nicholas plans to spend the winter.

The first thing I need to do is get all my baking supplies freshened up and ready for action. A while ago I wrote that this was my favorite rolling pin. And it is... for pastry doughs that need to be kept as cool as possible. But I just got this one andI really really like it. Especially for pizza dough. It is much longer and smooths out the whole dough easily.

Next, I needed to get some spices and I've been trying to find something like this nutmeg grinderAnd since I'm thinking about making bacon I needed some more Juniper Berrieswhich I can never find in the store. I also needed to get more Pink Salt or Instacure #1. Note: if this is not your thing I am already clear on your position.

Little Mo says, "Really? Again with the arguing over pink salt? Just no."

So aside from making pies and bacon what else am I gonna do? I'm going to soak up the benefits of Amazon Prime.Instead of glaring out the window at the accursed snow I'll be catching up on some TV shows and movies. I kinda forget that in addition to the available shows and movies, and the 2 day free shipping, there are other benefits... like special discounts, and free ebooks.

Next I gotta prep for having a cold house. Actually it's more like a "cool" house. Downstairs by the fire is always nice and warm but we keep the rest of the house cool on purpose. About this time of year folks start posting ominous and sometimes overly theatrical warnings about keeping your dogs in the house during the cold weather. Yes. If you have a chihuahua please crank up the heat, put a sweater on that little dog, and keep them in the house. But for folks like me who have nordic style dogs? My crew can't stand a warm house. So we like a cool house to ensure happy dogs - and we save a lot of money on heating.

Kai is very fluffy and hates to be inside during the winter. So I wear a hat.

But I have to stay warm. One of the ongoing battles in this house is "who has my hat?" I have one knit hat that I like for "inside only." However, someone keeps hiding it. Or wearing it to work. Or taking it outside to get covered in spiderwebs. It's very annoying. So I'm going to order spiffy Life is Good hat like this to spread optimismand keep him from wearing it.  And I really love these...so I should probably get another pair.

Of course, when I snuggle in on the couch with all the cats to watch my shows online.... we need to have popcorn. I tell you the truth, we love the Stir Crazy Popcorn Popperso much you can't even believe it. We never make microwave popcorn anymore. Ever. To us it just kinds of smells weird. What about the convenience? We say, what about the burned microwave popcorn smell in your house? Ew! We never get that with the Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper. Plus it's totally fun - and it keeps the cats entertained.

So movies?? Check! popcorn? Check!  Now all I need are the cats and my favorite snuggle socks and I am all set to ride out this winter.

Happy Saturday everyone! Are you ready for the winter?

Editors note: Hey, what is this some kind of sales post? Yes! Check it out - there affiliate links in this post. What does that mean? It means that I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - books, movies, a cool hat, or something you need from Amazon anyway. Some folks don't like Amazon and I just don't get it. They have terrific programs for micro biz owners like me to make a little money by doing posts like this. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. I can't see who purchases what or any of the details. If you use these links THANKS for your support!

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