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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Everyone - go hug your meats!

My friend, C, over at Krazo Acres (who is hilarious, btw) was kind enough to post this news story on 'the facebook' the other day.... and she graciously allowed me a "told you so."  Yep. "Who could have possibly have guessed," "what did you think was going to happen", and "good luck, suckers."

Go hug your meats. 

You can read more about this latest scandal here... and here. Think about the players here - McD's, Yum Brands, and Starbucks. Do you really think these big companies didn't do their due diligence? No one set any standards or had any requirements in these enormous contracts? And the meat companies still couldn't get it right?

Good thing that we have a trade deal that allows chicken to be processed in China.... without any country of origin (or processing) labeling.

I'm sure everything will be fine.

In the meantime, we butchered some more chickens on Sunday and will probably get a few more done today. No one is happier for those creepy meats than I am.

I've had a few discussions with non-farm folks lately about butchering our own meats. These conversations always go about the same way and include arm flapping, squealing in horror, and shocked looks. Sometimes there is crying - not by me.

I recently was up to our Good Vets office when one of the techs came out and tried to pawn off some of her extra roosters on me. She even tried to bribe me with a bottle of wine. Sure - I'll always take some booze.

"But you know," I said, "We always say 'when you start to crow, you got to go' so those roos are going directly into the pot."  I thought she would appreciate my honestly.

Tears filled her eyes. "But... but...they are just banty roosters and they are so cute."

"Ah...so they are useless and small, well... they will make for some smaller meals but that is OK..." I said thinking about how they would best be cooked.

Then I realized a grown woman was about to start crying right in front of me. I hugged her. It didn't work. She might have muttered "you monster" under her breath. I shrugged because I knew she was about to go back to eating her lunch that she got from a fast food place. Where did she think that chicken sandwich came from? After a while the irony kind of grinds on you so I just didn't say anything else.

We also had an incident where a friend of someone we know got a mixed bag of chicks...and a couple ended up being meat chickens. They didn't know what to do with them and asked if we wanted them? Sure. So we ran right over. There was, for me, entirely too much arm flapping and bewailing the fate of those creepy meats. And hugging. There was too much hugging. We just nodded and put the meats in the cage in the back of our car and drove away fast. It was weird.

Some people think that we farm types have a hard edge but I like to think we are just more realistic. The circle of life and death spins very very tightly around here and we have a front row seat.  I'm no longer squeamish about it. We aren't grossed out by butchering - we think it's kind of interesting and results in delicious food that we made ourselves. Are we grateful that we have these skills? Yes we are.

Not only are we free from worry about who, where, and how our food is processed... we also have better quality meat than can be found at the store. Food independence? Oh yes. Thank heavens.

Can you make your own meat? Yes you can. Most folks have similar concerns before they get started with raising their own food. Here are a couple posts to help you get started:

How to eat food that you know

My top 10 butcher day tips

What do you do with the roosters?

How do you decide who is first?

 Rooster day tips

The hardest thing in getting started is... getting started. How you think about it is the key. Can you do it? Yep. Just get out there and give it a try. If it really is too creepy you can probably find a local processor so all you need to do is load up the meats and drop them off. I don't think that is cheating and if it works out better for you that way then that is just fine. Everyone has their limit.

If you don't have anywhere to raise your own meat then what can you do? Shop locally. Go to your local farm market, ask for recommendations, seek out smaller butchers who can tell you where the meat was sourced and processed. There are a lot of great options out there.  Including some very special farmers around here.

While they don't currently have chicken Tilton Hollow has have amazing pigs. You can buy feeders to raise yourself or reserve your half or whole pork when they are processed in the fall. They have turkeys too!

Don't forget about their gofundme project to rehab their glorious old barn.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you shocked and horrified by the latest Chinese food scandal? I don't know about you but the only Chinese chicken around here is going to be later today when I make General Tso's for dinner. 

Friday, June 26, 2015


From time to time my husband has occasion to go to the hippest and coolest eateries for his job. Hoots he has for going to any of these places = zero. I have all kinds of hoots for going to cool places.. but I don't get to go. So I just stand in the driveway sullenly and watch him drive away. Sometimes my sad looks pay off..... and that is how I got this the other day!

Talk about a hipster breakfast!

I love Stumptown coffee so much... but I haven't been able to find it locally and it's expensive to order. So I was thrilled when The Big Man brought me home a bag of beans.

I got up early the next morning just to make some coffee. (Here are my coffee making gadgets.)And then I had a maple bacon bar to go with it, of course. Thanks, 8 Sisters Bakery!

Even more rain coming in... I dunno.... this getting hard to deal with. I had to rip out the rest of the broccoli and everything is soggy. Good thing I have some spectacular coffee to make me happy!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Blueberries and bee update

The blueberries have come on!

Yay! Now I just have to keep the birds from eating them.

About those beez from yesterday... they flew away. Good thing my husband didn't drop what he was doing and rush home. The beez were gone less than an hour after I took the picture. When he got home, tho, he looked all around for them. Nothing. We think it's kind of a weird time for hives to split but hey - if we can snag some free beez then that's OK with us.

Happy Thursday everyone!  How are your beez and berries?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I didn't think anything interesting would happen today...

..until I almost walked into this SWARM OF BEEZ!

Holy cow! Look at them!

They are in one of the smaller fruit trees in the garden - and wouldn't you know it... My hubs is working today. Drat. I'm going to go and set a nuc box up by them and hope he gets home before they fly away.

Look at that!

And no, I'm not going to capture them. I am not the beekeeper in this family. Mostly my job is to stand on the porch with a can of Raid and yell to my husband, "NO! DO NOT RUN THIS WAY!"

I hope they hang around for a while so he can get them.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you expect anything interesting to happen today? How about some free beez?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Potatoes - got 'em!

My friend K reminded me to go and check for new potatoes.... I got some! We had a few for dinner last nite and I was very very glad. What a super find!

First of the potatoes. 

These are from the April 20th planting... so that is just about right. Even tho I planted a 50lbs sack of seed spuds, I'm not sure I'm going to have a huge harvest. I'm not sure what went wrong - maybe too cold, maybe too wet, maybe not a great batch of seed starts. So we'll see.

Unrelated pic our of Shine in an old apple crate.

In the meantime the rain finally, mercifully stopped. Tropical Storm Bill was a total downer... we got two months worth of rain in a week. Everything is a big muddy, soupy mess. No one is happy but the ducks. But it looks like we are on the upside and hopefully we will dry out.

There will have to be a lot of weeding - it's like a jungle out there. I'm hoping to get caught up. I'm mulching as fast and I can go and using a lot of cardboard to try and smother out what I can.

Happy Monday everyone - are you getting your taters taken up?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Affogato - OFG Style

I've been in a muddle ever since I found out my favorite local ice cream place closed again due to production problems. I see they are about to reopen their shops so hope is on the horizon. But until they are up and running I've been taking matters into my own hands. I've been making affogato.

Affogato. OFG style.

What's that? Heaven.... affogato is pure heaven. Pretty much it's just espresso poured over ice cream but something magical happens when hot, strong coffee mixes with ice cream. Of course, I have to add my own special fixin's to get it just right.

Magic is happening here. I love you coffee!

First, start with some espresso. Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. I have the stainless version. I just love it. Of course I have a friend who owns a coffee shop so the beans were a gift - a special roasting.

Bittersweet hot fudge is the foundation for this tasty treat.

Next, get your favorite cup ready. You'll need a dollop of hot fudge sauce - you make your own, right? I love this recipe.

Look how easy! And you can make just a little bit.

Now get just a little bit of whipped cream ready. No, not the fake stuff - you can make just the right amount with your milk frother. I use mine every day. It's perfect to make the foam for my coffee in the morning... and perfect when you want just a little whipped cream.  Just put a cream little in a cup and give it a whirl.

Look at this pour over....

Here is where everything comes together. Quick as you can get a scoop of ice cream into the cup - right on top of the hot fudge..then pour over the espresso. Plop on the whipped cream... and if you really really want to be fancy then shake the smallest amount of cocoa on top.


We are having another supersoaker of a day so nothing to do inside but sit around and make snacks.

Happy Saturday everyone! Are you making affogato?

Editors note: Gosh we haven't had an affiliate post for a while... sometimes I forget. So here we go - some of my favorite products that I use every day. Why am I posting these Amazon purchases? Well, I need to be able to cover the "cost" of this blog and this is how I do it.  If you click on one of the links and buy something then I get a small percentage of the sale. It could be anything from Amazon - hopefully something you need anyway. Books, movies, any of these products... anything. I have to tell you this so you don't think I'm pulling the wool over your eyes. So 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. Thank you - I really appreciate your support!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sometimes you have to go and look for your blessing

I have determined that everyone has lost their minds. Especially in light of the troubling news this morning. What kind of world do we live in? Then throw in your own problems - like the unending rain, flooding, endless mud, the heat of the fire swamp...sometimes it's easy to get down.

Well, what do you know?

Sometimes you just need one thing to go right.

We've had a bunch of stupid stuff go wrong lately. Not anything earth shaking but tough enough to send us into fits. Some of it is self-created - but that doesn't mean it makes it any easier. It was so bad the other day that I actually laid on the floor with the dogs. Knowing I needed comfort my Dog#1 snuggled up in front of me and Zander laid right down next to me, back to back. Kai and Lucky tucked in where they could.

With my Good Shepherd before me and The Black Death behind me - whom shall I fear? What harm could befall me?  Mostly just Nicholas making his way into the dog pile but he just wanted to see what was going on.

I really needed one thing to go right today. I'm on my third shirt of the day and have been working out in the fire swamp doing battle against the Weeds of Doom. I had to rip out all my ruined broccoli and I'm fighting my way to the onions. It's just really frustrating being out in shirt-soaking humidity and the boot sucking mud - and then I couldn't find any good solutions for lunch.

Of course I turned to pie.

To be fair, I had a pie crust that I had to use... or that would go bad. Just another stupid thing in a line of annoyances. But we didn't have any fruit, nothing interesting to make, so I decided on this. But I really just needed three perfect eggs. I had some "been on the counter a while eggs." Dang.

So I put on my muddy boots and stomped back outside with very low expectations and I found..... three perfect eggs. In the easiest spot ever. Just sitting there waiting for me.

It was a good reminder not to get overwhelmed by all the boot-sucky things that happen or fall into the pit of negativity. Sometimes your blessing is waiting for you - you just have to get up and go out to the barn and get it.

This weather will pass, we will all pull together, and everything is going to be alright.

Lift your eyes up, friends. We are all in this together. Now lets all have a happy Thursday! Did you find your blessing right where you needed it to be? Did it result in pie?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tropical Depression

We are soaked! Talk about the fire swamp - we've had several days of extremely high humidity and now the rain has come on. It's been so hot and steamy that Zander only lasted until 9am yesterday...then he was slumped against the door and was begging me to let him into the air conditioning.

Hey look! It's the first cherry tomato! A little muddy but just about ripe.

We'll be in this pattern for a while - a lot of instability and tons of moisture in the atmosphere. We needed some rain but not THIS much. It's just down right tropical out there - but without the ocean. It's kind of depressing.... it's a tropical depression.

To make it worse there is a real tropical storm sitting in the Gulf of Mexico... which will make it's way up the Ohio Valley. So nothing but rain rain rain and more rain.

The celery is doing great...and so are the weeds.

What does this mean? Forget any gardening. I tried weeding but only managed to make the mud worse. So we just have to wait it out. Meanwhile the weeds are really going to town out there.

We also can't do any tilling or planting. I'm glad I got another row of beans and also lettuce in the other day... because succession planting has ground to a halt.

The garden woes are nothing compared to what's going out in the barnyard. Talk about poop soup! It's all a big muddy mess. Everyone can get into their dry roosts and houses... it's just yucky for them. The goats also won't go out and graze so I'll probably have to buy more hay.

So what do you do if you are in the midst of a tropical depression? As always... the best you can. Use this inside time to get indoor projects done and get caught up. Get organized and ready for harvest.

Ready for canning? Get your tools ready and order any replacement parts.

You could always just sit around too..... We still love our Amazon Fire TV so much. Honestly I use it every day. Talk about a game changer! Unless it's the news I don't even bother watching "live" TV anymore. Appointment TV? Nope.... ain't nobody got time for that. I love being able to watch the shows I want to see and not have to sit thru a bunch of stupid commercials.

Or you could always make some pie. I made this one yesterday.

Pretty much we just have to hunker down until this rainy pattern moves off. Until then you'll find me on the couch watching the NetFlix eating pie.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, June 15, 2015

You may never know where your meat comes from...

In the latest from the category of "Good luck, suckers".... does everyone know this is going on? The WTO decided that our "country of origin" meat labeling requirements are discriminatory. They they want to get rid of them. Apparently we are going along with it.

I love you, little food independence meats!

Let that sink in. Every tshirt you purchase has to say where it is from - as does seafood. And you really want to know where your dog treats come from....but meat? Nope. Could all be a big surprise.

What gives? Canada and Mexico are in a snit because they think US consumers may not want "grown in Canada" meat. Add to that the meat packers have to implement costly record keeping and processing changes to keep the Mexican pork away from grown in Iowa chops.... so someone decided just to get rid of the country of origin labeling.

They are trying to make this out as a marketing issue but isn't it a food safety issue? Don't you as the consumer want to know - and don't you deserve to know - where your food comes from?

Think about it - just about every carrot needs to be bar coded (everyone remembers the new "food safety regs, right?) but meat? Nah... we'll just trust you. I'm sure everything will be fine.

*OFG runs outside and hugs her meat chickens to her bosom.*

I hate to take the wind out of Mexico and Canada's sails... but sorry neighbors, we aren't worried about your products.

Did everyone just forget that a Chinese company purchased Smithfield - the US largest pork producers?

Are we just ignoring the fact that the USDA gave the go ahead for chicken to be processed in China?

Food safety-smood safety. I'm sure this will  all work out just fine....right?

If you really want to put your tin foil hat on... then draw some dots on over to the avian flu...which just came out of no where..... they still don't know how it got started or how it is being spread around. 

OK maybe that is going to far but honestly. We are the most advanced country in the world and we can barely get our food production right. Why the heck are we just going to hand our food production over to anyone else?

Of course if you are concerned you can always purchase your meat locally... unless a neighbor gets a bee in their bonnet and calls the authorities on your farmer because they don't have a heated barn. That guy still doesn't have his horses or dogs back...and he still has to go back to court.

The whole thing just burns my biscuits. Food security, that is keeping food production in this country, is an extremely important issue. If you are not invested in this discussion, now is the time to get involved.

Friends, don't just go along with this kind of malarkey.  Consumer Reports has a link to voice your concerns.  There is a feedback form here.

Here are a few more articles:

New York Daily News

AP news

Star Tribune/Valley News

Usually non-farm friends look at you like you are out of your mind when you start to talk about how "they" are trying to control food production and are trying to take food production out of your backyard. But I don't know - this kind of news, I hope, will make folks think about their food and where it comes from. It all just sounds like funny business.

I don't know about you but I'll be working on getting set up for pigz.. and ordering another round of meat chickens.

Happy Monday everyone... and good luck, suckers.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tilton Hollow - Save our Barn Project!

Hey everyone! Check it out - our friends over at Tilton Hollow Farm have a terrific project going on. They just set up a gofundme to fund the restoration and repair of their historic barn.

My pals, Jeff and Chad, and a few of their goat friends.

Jeff and Chad have a beautiful farm not too far from us. They have an amazing mix of animals living on a lovely property. They also have my dream-within-a-dream barn - the kind that I really wanted when we were looking for our property. We ended up with a stupid pole barn, but they got a prize.

The problem with old barns are... they are old and need repairs. Tilton Hollow's project is to get the barn fixed up not only for it's historic significance... but also to help grow their business.

Tilton Hollow has a terrific line of natural soaps and apothecary products. You'll remember they gave me a beautiful bucket of products that I just loved.  Restoring the barn and improving it so they can expand their dairy business will be a huge win for Tilton Hollow and also for the community.

Folks ask me why I haven't sold dairy products or made cheese available? Because getting the dairy license is expensive. The facility requirements are strict and it's a huge project to get set up. It's no small feat to get a license and this holds many farms back from getting small businesses going. So helping Tilton Hollow along their way is a big step for locally produced products.

I met Jeff before they got their farm. Then I watched them as their farm built itself up from nothing to the thriving, happy, hardworking farm that it is now. I really love these guys and am cheering them on this in project.

Are you excited about historic barns and locally produced products? Then give a click and give a few bucks to support their "Save Our Barn Project." Who knows, you could receive one of the great rewards they are offering.

Be sure to "like" them on facebook and follow along as they take their farm and their business to the next level!

Happy Friday everyone!

Note: If crowdfunding isn't your thing, that's fine - I'm clear on your position. But you have to check out this hilarious video that my friends B and N produced for them. The gobbling is legendary!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lettuce rejoice!

Let us rejoice! The lettuce is here!

This salad planter is the best. The red romaine is stunning!

No one is happier than me that the lettuce is back, baby. All those meals of bad, institutional lettuce is over and now the salad days are upon us.

Caesar? Sure!

So is the heat so I've been rushing to get everything watered and cooled off so it doesn't go to bolt. I've got some of my salad planters in the shade and within easy walking distance of the kitchen. I'll be working on a bigger bed soon.

I need to take up the broccoli - some of it has gone to flower.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Are you rejoicing over lettuce?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Green onions in pots? Why not!

This could be the best idea I've never had.... green onions in pots.

Green onions in pots? Why not?

Wut? Aren't I supposed to put them in the ground? Sure but why not in pots? This is the best thing going.

One of these is starting to get big... but that will be perfect to put on the grill.

It's totally not my idea at all... my farm pal, Bourbon Red, came up with this earlier in the year. We had the weirdest spring with warm then cold then warm... so it was hard to figure out when to set out the onions sets. So he put some in a pot in his greenhouse - they got started early and whenever he needed some green onions... boom! There they were.

I guess we only ever think about onions in the ground because we want them to get big and then cure for storage. But this is the best idea ever. Need just one green onion and don't want to walk all the way to the garden? Put them in pots where they are easy to reach.

My salad planter has celery, parsley, radish, lettuce...and more green onions. One stop shopping!

Have extra space in a bigger salad planter? Pop a few slips in there and then just wait for them to green up.

This has worked so well for me that I've put them everywhere.

I've never had luck with starting onions from seeds but I'm going to give it a go - just to have potted up green onions. Give it a try - it's the best thing I've done all spring.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Why not put green onions in pots?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Avoiding the interweb today.....

I have to avoid the interweb today because apparently everyone watched Game of Thrones but me. I need to avoid spoilers so here is Little Mo...

Isn't he cute?

Happy Monday everyone. See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Great Meat Migration and more on the bird flu

Yesterday we couldn't take it one more minute. The creepy meats had to get out of the garage. They were ruining everything and completely out of control. We were at our end. So we took action.

Meats in a tub.

One by one we hauled the meats over to the Turkey House where they can sit there and get fat - instead of trampling my hostas. Honestly this is the most hilarious group of meats we've had. They are very free ranging and have a lot of things to do. But it's a veritable meat stampede everywhere they go. So they were sent to the Turkey House and the Small Yard which has chain link fence that they can't get out of.... we hope.

Mostly they just sat in the Turkey House and looked confused. But then they got up and meated around - checking out the scene. They all figured out to go into the Turkey House last nite.

The Dread Commander Zander will be on patrol.... after his nap.

Moving them to the Turkey House is a risk - we've been on an all out Rat Assault for the last couple weeks and I think we've cleaned them out. But the Turkey House is close to the woods and that's where those rat bastards come from. So we'll double patrols and hope for the best. We are thinking the Second Group of Meats will be ready in two weeks. 

In other news..... thanks to my friend, "L" who posted this article about how some of the grocery stores are limiting egg purchases due to the bird flu. Some fast food chains are also limiting breakfast hours to cut down on their egg consumption due to higher prices. Our local news reported no one around here has had these problems. We don't buy eggs from the store so I have no idea if prices have actually gone up.

Also there was this release about how the CDC put out an alert for doctors to be on the lookout for bird flu in people. This is, of course, hot on the heels of when our state banned all poultry events. Overreaction? I dunno... I think it means they don't know exactly what is going on. We are still hiding under our tin foil hats.

That's all the chicken news that is fit to print. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Guess what we did today?

Strawberries!!!  Yay! My strawberry patch yielded a grand total of five berries this year.... so we went to the Upick place.

 Strawberries, baby, yeah!

It was terrific - so easy for us to zip up there and get to picking. Do you Upick?  It's really fun.

The Upick set up is usually about the same. Thankfully with 'the facebook' you can usually check in with your favorite Upick farm for conditions. Then grab some containers (or you can buy them there), drive in, check in at the stand, and they will weigh your containers (or let you purchase them).

If you bring your own containers try to go for shallow containers so the berries don't get squished under their own weight. We used two peck baskets that I kept from last year's auction. 

Then we were directed to drive pretty far back on their property - one of the grandkids was there telling folks where to park. He was happy to tell us to start in the third row and work our way back.

We had a great time and were out of there in a flash - so many berries!  This was just a quick trip for us and not our "for the season" berry harvest. We just needed some strawberry goodness to get us thru the weekend.

Then we drove back to the check in stand, they weighed our berry-filled-containers, and the gave us the price. Easy peasy!

We paid about $15 total for what was about one full basket (from our two partial baskets)...which was about $1.75/pound. I actually thought that was kind of high...which is why I'll be checking out the auction next time. Our Amish neighbors had some quarts for $2.75 so that might be a good way to go also.

All in all it was easy and fun.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you eating strawberries for lunch?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ohio Dept of Ag bans all poultry events

This was a surprise yesterday - the Ohio Dept of Agriculture has banned all poultry events for the rest of this year. Raising birds for the fair, swap meet, or the Ohio National Poultry Show? Good luck, suckers.

My chicken hooligans have destroyed all my hostas. The government can have this trouble maker.

This release says they are trying to get ahead of the avian flu that has caused the destruction of millions of birds in other states. The deadly flu has not been reported in Ohio and they are trying to keep it that way.

I've heard from other friends around the country that their state has done the same thing. I don't know about you but wow I think this was a surprise and that it's kind of late in the season for this decision.

What does this mean for you? If you are looking forward to going to any poultry event - fairs, swap meets, auction, etc.... you'll be standing there alone. I knew I should have taken those ganders up to the auction a couple weeks ago. Now I'm stuck with them.

What about private sales, Craiglist ad, and ordering chicks? No word on that.

Ohio is the second biggest commercial egg producer so I think it's wise to protect those flocks - and the industry. But I always get a little twitchy when these things happen. I worry about the backyard chicken keeper and what it means to them. The meat and egg producers have plenty of attorneys to protect their interest - but you and me? I'm really not interested in the state Ag guys sniffing around.

So what can you do? Not much. Be mad. I feel pretty bad for the parents of the 4H kids who already bought the birds and feed....and now they won't be able to recoup (re-coop?) those expenses thru the sale at the fair. I have not heard from anyone who has received any instruction or information from their own local 4H club.

On the other hand..... this sounds like a terrific opportunity for someone like me to drive around in the big truck and scoop up all the meat chickens that folks are now needing to get rid of... so there could be some upside.

The release from the ODA says to up your biosecurity game - for both commercial producers and backyard poultry raisers. Frankly we did this a while ago. We don't let folks on our property for a lot of reasons - including that I have no idea what you are dragging in on your shoes. If you get new birds it would be wise to quarantine them before putting them in with the flock.

They also suggest limiting contact with wild birds... by, you know, keeping your birds inside as much as possible.

*blink blink* 

I may be pretty country.. and what do I know...but all those commercial producers keep their birds inside and that didn't seem to help them any.

The DOA also suggests that  "...sick birds or unusual bird deaths should also be immediately reported to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health."

Yeah. Sure. Right.

Friends, I don't tell other people's stories... but plenty of folks tell me theirs. All I'm saying is there is no way I'd get involved with that kind of oversight. Pretty much our strategy will be to hide the chickens, lock the gate, and man the gun turrets when they start sending in the drones.

Not to be all tin-foil-hat-y but last nite five military style helos flew over our place... low... real low. We ran the chickens under cover and doubled patrols. I might have shook my fist at the copters and yelled, "IF YOU WANT MAY CHICKENS, COME AND GET THEM!"

Pretty sure I'm on some kind of watch list now. Molon labe.

Happy Wednesday everyone. What's the word on your state and how they are handling this?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Goodbye to our Teddi Grumpkins

We said goodbye to our oldest cat, Teddi Gumpkins, on Friday. She passed away on her favorite bed with me washing her face and telling her that she was loved. We rest in the assurance that we gave Teddi a good home but we are deeply grieved.

Teddi was happy exactly one day. This was it.

The truth is that no one is overlooked in The Good Land. Everyone is important and no one gets lost in the shuffle. Teddi may have hated me most of her days here but we loved her. She was our hard luck cat. She came to us half starved with broken teeth on a rainy winter night. You can read more about her story here.

She loved to sleep in a full tuck position.

The vet thought that Teddi was about eight when she first came to us, but we pegged her more at 8 to 10 years old. We think she was about 17 when she died. She had a good long run and got every last dime out of her 9 lives. We like to think that she was happy here but she was our grumpiest cat so it was kind of hard to tell. We always said that she must have been the cutest kitten... the older she got the smaller and more kitten like she looked. She had very expressive eyes.

We couldn't believe that someone would actually dump an older, declawed cat out in December in Ohio. So we made up a story that was easier for us to fathom. We figured that Teddi was owned by a single, older man who we know loved her because he only ever fed her fried chicken and ice cream. She always liked my husband - which was why we know she was owned by a man.

But then this imagined older man must have died and somehow Teddi got out or something. But she made her way to us and saw the visible-only-to-cats-with-expensive-vet-problems sign above our house that says, "Come on in, wanderer, you have a home here."

From time to time she would do very funny things... like to try to figure out who that other cat was.

More realistically, if her owner died I'm sure that the family dumped her or left her when they moved away. The vet thought she had been outside for at least three weeks when we found her. It's a miracle she survived that long. But she did and she begrudgingly became part of the Insane Cat Posse.

A couple years ago she figured out that, not only did I have body heat and was a warm place to sit, but that I was actually trying to understand her needs and meet them. We did what we could to make an angry, older cat happy. She started to fail a couple years ago but the vet and I propped her up as best we could. We were pretty much at the palliative care stage when we tried another medication to ease her pains. 

Several weeks later at a follow up appointment the vet looked at me in complete surprise and declared that Teddi's heart murmur - that I could pretty much across the room - had all but disappeared. "What did you do?" He asked.

I shrugged and said, "I loved her."

Never underestimate the healing power of love. Since I was sure that Teddi was on the way out I determined to double down my efforts and do everything I could to make her happy. Despite my efforts Teddi did not love me back at all - it wasn't until these last several months or, at most, for the last year, that she could even tolerate me.

But she learned that if she meowed at me I would figure out what she needed and give it to her. We believe she was one of the good works that we were appointed to do. She was a reminder to never grow tired of doing good - even if you don't get anything out of it. I was a warm place for her to lay down on and that was about it.

Mostly she just tolerated me. But that was OK.

Did I get loving looks and joyful snuggles? Nope. The best I could hope for was that Teddi wouldn't eat the butter off the counter. But love keeps no record of wrongs. So we went about our business making sure she had everything she needed. Turns out it worked, she was in relatively good health for these last two years.

The last couple of months Teddi needed a lot of care. She had gotten very frail and the other cats were picking on her - she was an easy target. So we shuffled the cats around, gave her a quiet place to sleep, and made sure she could always get to the food and water without anyone bothering her.

The Grand Dowager Teddi Gumpkins. What a gal.

In the end she cried for me one last time and she knew I heard her voice. I put her on her favorite bed and wrapped her in soft covers. I washed her face and told her that we loved her. She had the most gentle passing.

I may not have done a lot of things right in this life but the one thing I can point to was that we gave Teddi a good home. Someone else might have thrown her away but we kept her. She didn't die that winter a hard death of starvation, or being ripped apart by coyotes, or run over by a car. She was safe and warm and lived a good long life here in The Good Land.

We praise God for giving us Teddi, grumpy tho she was. We are grateful that she was one of our good works to do -  which was not a burden. We are thankful for her teaching us that lovingkindness is a gift to give with no expectation of return but is it's own reward. And we say farewell to the Grand Dowager Teddi Grumpkins. Amen.

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