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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

So we got a little rain last nite....

So we got a little rain last nite - just before we were supposed to go out and do chores.

Yep. That's a zucchini in that wheelbarrow - bobbin' like a sausage......

Bean sprout!

We needed a little rain because these little Dwarf Horticulture Beans could use a good soaking. I planted these, turnips, and beets up in the furthest grow area on the hill. The hose doesn't really reach up there.

You can always count on turnips to turn up!

Not sure who much I can get done today outside. I have a ton of weeding but I need everything to dry out. The good news is that our humidity is supposed to drop from "The Fire Swamp" to "Three Levels Before Hell." So hopefully it won't be too bad.

The ladies spent the day in the shade.

Yesterday it was so bad that the little roosters kept all the fatty meats in the shade. I swear they were herding them. I'm afraid that all of the barred rock chicks we got from the TSC are roosters. But that's OK.... as we always say, 'when you start to crow, you got to go.' So we'll have rooster day here sometime soon.

It's a big tomato.

In the meantime my march thru summer food continues..... I'm going to pick this big oxheart tomato today. It might be lunch.

Happy Thursday everyone! Did you get a little rain last nite?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Garden Dogs....or what smart dogs do in the garden.

Every single day I'm glad I have smart dogs. Sometimes I see dopey or goofy dogs and I think, "Thank heavens I have smart dogs." Unfortunately that sometimes comes with a price.

 Kai thinks this is the best game ever.

Not only do I need to make sure that the dogs get their wiggles out all day by running them around... but I also have to make sure that they have plenty of mental stimulation. Bored big, smart dogs can be extremely destructive so I like to point them in the direction of adventure and let them figure things out.

Zander is blowing his coat - we are calling him Shaggy Dog.

So they usually work in the garden with me in the morning. Why? Because there are plenty of reasons for them to dig and sniff around. They usually make their own fun. Also, Kai is a stone cold Mole Killer so they actually do a lot of good.

But sometimes they dig in the wrong spot or sit on my pepper plants so we have a command just for the garden. It's "Get out of my dirt!" They all know what it means. They can sit on the grass - not in my dirt. Mostly it works out. If they dig in the wrong spot I tell them "No! Here.. come here! *points* What do you see?" And then they investigate the new spot.

This kept them busy for a good long time.

The other day while I was weeding in the upper garden I heard weird noises so I turned around to see Zander and Kai trying to get something out of a hollow fence post. I'm guessing there was a mouse inside of it and they were both on one end trying to get it. This went on for a long time. They even dug impressive holes in the dirt on their own side. Occasionally I'd hear huffing noises as they tried to sniff out their prey.

I let them go at it for a good long time. The digging was physically tiring for them and trying to figure out how to get the mouse out of the post was keeping them engaged. It was the perfect activity for them.

However, I dropped the camera and starting running and yelling "No! no no no!" When Kai started chewing on the end of the metal fence post. We do NOT need another jaw dropping vet bill for expensive dental work.

We are about ready to run right out there this morning. Today who knows? More mole hunting? Maybe they will get that rabbit? Or maybe they will just glare at the neighbors dogs. Anything could happen.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you exhausting your dogs? Do they work with you in the garden? Did they catch that mouse?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Corn Fritters

One of my favorite summer treats - corn fritters. They are heavenly.

Fried in lard in a cast iron pan. (Sorry #badfoodphotography)

I was thrilled when I found this recipe online several years ago. I actually used to go to that restaurant back in the day and I remembered that the corn fritters - along with the pomegranate martinis - were the best thing about it. I don't think it's there anymore.

I really love Cooking for Engineers - it's very straight to the point and his directions make sense. However, I don't think he keeps the site up anymore. One thing I don't like about some food blogs is that the writers feel the need to go on and on about a hilarious/poignant/boring story about what the recipe means to them... Look, honey, I just want the recipe and I don't need a macro photo of every ingredient.  *sigh*

Anyway, summer is back, baby and things are really heating up around here. To try and keep the house as cool as possible we've been using the grill a lot.

The latest grill cam.

I'm not sure if this is our very last ham slab...but I think it is... hum... We should do something about that.

Happy Monday everyone! What are you grilling? Do you love corn fritters? It's the one thing I could make myself sick on.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Worker Bee

Today is sunny and beautiful... not time to talk so enjoy Macro Friday.

Worker Bee.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you are enjoying the weather like I am!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Taters and beans and maters

Today we are having another stunning day - blue sky, low humidity, and sun-sun-sunshine all day! I'm heading out in a second but here is what is going on in the garden....

Taters are coming up!

Remember those free potatoes I got from a nursery - they were just giving them away? Yep - check it out... they are doing terrific! They have already sprouted up a lot. I'll have plenty of time for these taters for fall harvest.

Remembers also that since I deeply mulch them with clean straw this part of the garden will be friable next spring. Taters are such hard workers.

Cutest little beans ever.

My baby beans are coming on - these should be full sized in a couple weeks. Aren't they late? Late for what? I'd rather can them later in the year so I'm happy with how these are coming along.

Ripen! Ripen! Ripen!

The tomatoes tho... they really need to get a move on. Nothing is better than a fried egg sandwich with a big ol' slab of mater. So I'm eagerly checking these everyday.

We apparently have a bunny in the upper garden. Zander and Kai took off after something and crashed into one of my rows. I was wondering what was eating the leaves off my peppers... that bunny had better find a new spot because the BearKillers are on the job. Say, that reminds me of a story... hum....

That's what is going on in the garden.

Happy Thursday everyone! How are your taters, beans, and maters coming along?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Finally! A dry spell!

The weather guy said that we are now entering the longest stretch of dry weather since May! It's about time.

My trusty garden hat.

Yesterday I worked outside all day. Mostly it was on garden cleanup and hauling gravel. The weeds are out of control. It was great to be outside but my job was mostly tedious and boring. But I loved it.

My trusty garden dog.

Someone needs to do a lot of mowing. Hopefully it will not be me. I'm already on notice for trying to break the tiller. Anything could happen.

Everything I love about summer right here.

We are also loving more summer food. Last nite I made my favorite risotto.... sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and basil. It's perfect for summer.

No time to talk - I need to get out there. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer dinner

I love summer... I love dinner... I love summer dinner. We usually don't ever go "out" for dinner - there aren't a lot of good choices nearby and both of us hate to drive into town in the evening. So when we go "out" it's usually actually in...but we just get stuff we don't usually have here.

The lack of summer fruit has been abysmal so we got some berries and peaches for a crisp. 

But these are our potatoes for the tater salad. I think they are lovely. 

And we got steak! I love meat. Yay!

Meat.....meat meat meat meat MEAT!

We also had corn on the cob and mushrooms two ways (stuffed and sauteed). I had my huge t-bone smothered in onions and Gorgonzola...it was heavenly.

Unfortunately we had to run for our lives.... we were just finishing up on the grill when yet another storm system blew in. Hard. It blew in really hard and I was afraid it would blow the flame out of the grill. But we got grilled just in time.

Dinner was so good that I declared that I needed a cow... such is my love for meat. But I was hastily rebuked by The Warden... I mean... my husband with a reminder that cows hate me. I don't know why but it's well documented. In fact, there was an incident that may or may not have happened exactly like this.
(Part Two here.)

It is entirely true that, as I was standing there alone in a field with a big stupid cow running right at me... I thought to myself, "This is stupid." The worst thing that could happen to us isn't if the chicken house burned down or if a storm blew down everything in our garden. Nope, the worst thing that could happen would be if I got hurt. So we choose our battles wisely and for whatever reason, cows just do not like me. So, nope I'm not chancing it.

About this time someone declares that all's I gotta do is snuggle up them cows and then all my problems will be solved. Or worse some yahoo says that I'm afraid of them. Nope. It's just plain physics. Or animal instincts. I don't know. Maybe I'm just unlucky.

Sure they like my husband. They follow him around like puppies. Me? They start eyeballing me and then either start crowing me or just run away wildly. I do not know why.

We also don't have the pasture for cows. Sure we could feed them out but only a fool would take on cows in this part of the world right now. No one has any hay because of our bad summer...and I'm guessing things are going to get much worse as winter gets closer. In fact, we are going to have to start buying hay now for our new-and-improved-limited-goat collection.

As an aside and just so's ya know.... I do not miss Dahli at all. Good riddance!

Anyway. That's the story on why we remain cowless despite by love for meat.

Happy Monday everyone! Did you grill out yesterday? Was it better than going to a restaurant?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This is how my morning started.

I don't know how your day is going... but this is how my morning started.

Yep. That's Lucky. 

Yep. That bucket is really stuck on his head. Kai is coming to check it out.

Not sure how the rest of the day is going to go but we are off to an interesting start.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, July 17, 2015

It WAS a better day!

I almost didn't believe it but yesterday WAS a better day! There was gardening, weeding, chain sawing, gravel hauling, and a little bit of 'hey you chickens! get out of there' going on. It was great! Just like summer.

See this tomato? It's gonna ripen. Oh yes it will.

The weather guy is saying that after a few more unsettled days that we will fall in a 10 day period, or so, of sunny, summer, and and rainless days. I can't wait. I don't even care if it will be hot.

Of course, you know that I'll be complaining about the hot soon enough but I'll try and keep it to a minimum. Maybe. It we go from yesterday morning's 50* to today's possible heat index of 100*... I might complain. A little.

This little green apple? It's gonna sweeten. Oh yes it will.

All I can think about is blue skies and glorious sun. I might even be able to resurrect the garden!

Happy Friday everyone! Is your summer about to have a turn around?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mud bog, cicadas, and a better day

I tried to work outside yesterday but it's one huge mud bog. While I appreciated the cooler weather we are never going to dry out at this rate. One of the weather sites said yesterday that the 30 day period from June 15 - July 15 was officially the wettest on record. Yay.

The water has no where to go and the ground can't take anymore so we have standing water everywhere. Of course, folks are hopping around about West Nile and all the mosquitoes. We haven't seen too many bugs but the frogs are enjoying the lake that is the front garden.

 I pulled up these stepping stones and water just filled in where they were. I need more gravel.

I tried to do some weeding - because heaven knows the weeds are growing really well - but I just ended up pulling up huge chunks of mud with the roots so it was not very effective. There was a lot of gravel shoveling.

I need to note that I started hearing the cicadas a couple days ago. The lore is that means there are 90 days until the first frost. We'll see if that checks out. There is always a point in the summer when you realize you just aren't going to get everything done Yesterday was that day. Summer can be wonderful and it can also be very very frustrating. 

I'm scrambling to try and get the fall veg going - I'll be working on getting a lot of cool weather plants like broccoli started from seed. We need to pivot our strategy and do the best we can.

 Gravel and smoothies. This is my life.

One of my favorite hipsters made me a smoothie the other day. With kale. It was terrific so I made one at home.  This one has kale, a little basil, a peach, and since we didn't have any yogurt.... ice cream. I think that's what made it good. Ha!

I've had the mud mopes pretty bad these last several weeks. I'm feeling like this summer is a big rip off and I got cheated out of glorious days and blue skies. The growing season is the best part about living here so without that I'm feeling a little down.

Just keep swimming.

But today I took the dogs out and it was a stunning 50* with nothing but clear blue skies promised. So here is to a better day today.

Happy Thursday everyone! Is the sun finally shining there?

ps THANKS to everyone to checked out the sales for Prime Day yesterday - hope you found some good bargains!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's here! Prime Day - yay!

I don't know about you but I ran right out to the computer this morning to check on the Prime Day deals from Amazon.  So far I think this is the best deal....

We have the black and white Fire and my husband really loves it. It's easy to check out the latest ebooks from my friend, Boyd Craven. We might have to upgrade to this Kindle.. how fancy is that?

As I was clicking around I found some of my favorite things... and a few that I think I really need to get.

Like... a roomba.... I totally need this. I totally need this.

But maybe I'll just stik to getting another of my favorite knife holders... which i found out will also hold spatulas, measuring cups and measuring spoons.

Maybe I should get a back up stove top espresso maker. Last nite as we were scrambling to do our storm preps I had to make sure mine was clean and ready to go in case we lost power. Priorities you know...

Ohhh... hey look! Who needs a cordless sawsallto improve their pig day butchering experience? We use ours all the time. Just um.. be sure to use a clean blade and then be sure to clean up the saw really well afterwards.

I will probably just stick to the basics tho... like my favorite gardening gloves. Or maybe I should just order another lawn mower now.... you know, just in case.

Some folks had questions about this Amazon Prime thing yesterday so I'll see if I can cover some of them here.

What is Amazon Prime? 
It's a yearly membership in Amazon's program that gets you access to movies, TV shows, books, special deals, and best of all.... free two day shipping on Prime orders. The cost is $99 a year.... which we balked at for a long time. But now we are sold. The cost of the membership pays for itself if you use it. Meaning - if the only thing you do is watch four or five seasons of the Sopranos. I think you can watch the first episode for free right now... it will pay for itself. Otherwise each season is about $20 - $25.  So five seasons x $20 each = $100... there you go.

Who cares about two day shipping?
Me! It's so easy just to order what you need instead of driving into town. Maybe you live somewhere that is close to shopping but we don't. Any savings I might get by driving into Walmart is countered by the gas it takes to get there. We do not buy a lot of stuff... but some of what we need is specialty stuff and there are no local options. So I can either drive into the nearest big city which is about a 48 minute hard and fast drive one way to get what I need... or I can sit on my couch and two days later my stuff will show up.

The "two day" is the hook - otherwise you are kind of limited by what the shipping policies are from  wherever you are ordering. Sometimes it's 5 days.. sometimes 3 days.... or two weeks... but having two day shipping makes it easy to plan and prepare for the delivery. I know about what time the delivery guy gets here so me and the dogs just hang around and wait for him. Easy. Peasy.

Why don't you just plan better?
Right. Sure. That's it. But just in case I don't..... this is still much easier for me. Besides - it takes all day to drive into town. At minimum it's three hours off farm. During those three hours so much can happen here... so no. I don't need better planning I just need to be here on farm and get my work done. Someone else can do the driving and that is my delivery guy and that is his job.

So what is free and what isn't?
Especially for movies and TV on Amazon's Instant Video there are two categories.... "Prime Movies and TV" and just regular. The Prime movies and TV are included in the cost of the membership. There are tons of shows and movies to watch. Or... if you are like me and couldn't wait to couldn't wait to watch Dark Matter... we just paid for it.  What a great show!

We were thrilled to pay $1.99 per episode for our recent "SciFi Saturday." It was terrific and worth every penny. Dark Matter is a show currently on SyFy channel. We don't have cable - and never will get it - so this is how we watch the latest and greatest shows. We don't have a cable bill, usually don't got to movies, and really don't watch network TV anymore. So this works for us.

The key to making this work is to be careful about what you pay extra for and what you don't. For instance, both The Americansand Orphan Black (oooh! another free first episode right now!) will eventually get to Prime and be free for me to watch. So I'll just wait around until they get over to Prime. Easy peasy.

What's the bottom line?
So the bottom line is, yes the $99 is a big chunk all at one time but it works for you if you use it. Yesterday on 'the facebook' lots of my pals chimed in that their love their Prime membership also. But if you don't use it then it won't be worth your time or your money. Or maybe you like shopping - I don't and we don't have a lot of choices anyway. So this works for us.

The other great thing is that Amazon customer service is second to none. Really they are terrific. I love the "chat" feature instead of calling. So easy! I had a really complicated return one time and they went out of their way to help me out. Someone gave us a "gag" gift and it was not funny at all. I knew they got it from Amazon but then our friends used a different box and then shipped it to us directly to us. The customer service guy was able to figure out where the original order came from, email me a return label, and then I got a credit - which I used for something better than an unfunny gift. I was so glad.

I know folks who buy all their Christmas presents from Amazon and they are shipped directly to their friends and family. (I think you can even get gift wrapping.) How great is that? When was the last time anyone tried to ship a box by UPS? I don't even know where the UPS store is!

So there are lot's of ways to use Amazon Prime - you just have to get used to it. For us the biggest benefit are the online shows and also the two day shipping. We need to remember to use the free Kindle books, photo storage, or whatever else they have with it. I should probably make sure I'm not leaving anything else out.

What if you aren't sure.... 
Hey sign up for the free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime and you can check it out! Yes, you can sign up and check out the sales... and cancel it if you want. No one will be mad and it's just fine.

Why are you talking about this anyway?
Because I love Amazon and it's programs. Their affiliate program is a great way for "micro business" owners like me to make a little money on the side. I don't have any "thing" to sell but I can make recommendations for products that work for me. If you use any of my links to go to Amazon and then buy something I get a tiny percentage of the sale. This helps me with the "cost" of this blog. The Amazon ads and the affiliate links support the time and effort it takes to blog. Otherwise, I would not be able to do this. Am I making a million bucks? Nope. But it pays for some tools, seeds, and things we need to help with our farming efforts.

I never know who orders what - I do not have access to order details. But I'm always so glad when folks use my page to go to Amazon and buy what they need anyway. So that's why.

Happy Prime Day everyone! Hope you find some bargains out there!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I'm interrupting your regularly scheduled program of complaining about the rain and mud, dog pictures, and chicken hijinks to tell you about an exciting upcoming event!

Unless you've been living under a rock you know that Amazon is having a Prime Day on July 15th. This is a kind of 'Christmas in July' promotion that promises more deals than Black Friday. Prime members will have exclusive access to big deals and tons of sales.

Why? Who cares! It's a sale, man!

Actually I think it has to do with the company anniversary or something.

But the great news is that you can totally take advantage of the sale by signing up for the 30 day trail period of Primetoday. Is that cheating? Nope. It's a great way to check it out and then decide. The one day only sale is July 15th so give a click, sign up, and then see what the fuss is about.

If there is nothing you want to buy then hurry up and watch a bunch of movies online and then cancel the trial offer. No one will be mad at you. It's not cheating. It's a promo and that's how these things work.

The truth is, we nillynallied around about getting Primefor a long time. The $99 yearly fee felt like a big whack all at one time. As one of my pals said, "I wish they would make it a $9/month payment." Me too. But they aren't so we just worked it out.

What is Prime? It's a yearly subscription program that gets you tons of benefits on Amazon including thousands of movies and TV shows, special pricing, and best of all... free two day shipping on all Prime purchases. We loooooooooove the two day shipping. My delivery guy does not. But we've come to an understanding.

So what do we use Primefor? Mostly for watching movies and TV shows online. We don't have cable so we watch all our shows on our TV using the Amazon Fire TV box. We love it. It works perfectly and is a lot of fun. We can watch NetFlix using the Fire TV box also. Pretty much, except for the news, this is the only way we watch TV....and we found an app on the Fire TV so now we can watch the NBC Nightly News whenever we want.

But we also use it for shopping. For instance, I regularly buy a supplement for the dogs. It's kind of expensive and I can either drive a really long way or I can sit on my couch and click one button - two days later it's delivered to my gate by a slightly annoyed delivery guy. It's the easiest thing ever.

Unlike trying to get together $35 worth of purchases on Amazon for free shipping, there is no minimum purchase. You just need to order your "whatever" that has the Prime banner on it. Then it just magically shows up. It's like a dream.

To be sure, you have to use Prime for it to be "worth it." Since we watch a lot of shows we feel like that alone has already covered the cost of the membership.

But it works like this. For instance, we need some ice cream bowls. Now, I can put that on my regular shopping list, try and figure out when I'm going to drive all the way into town, and then try and remember to look around when I'm in town, and then buy....where I can decide between Walmart or that weird knock off shop. Not great options.

Or I can just search for what I want on Amazon using "Pyrex ice cream bowls" and then look and see what they have. Set of four, 10-Ounce Pyrex custard cups....? Yes. That is exactly what I want - for $11 with free shipping. Yes I will take those. *Clicks* See how easy?

For Prime day we'll be on the lookout for tools, fall planting seeds, canning supplies, and shoes. Yep. Shoes.  I can only wear one brand and one model of sneakers so I just use the manufacturer's model number and search on that to order from Amazon. My husband has freakishly large feet so it's hard to find his size in stores... but buying them online is a breeze.

If you buy the same stuff over and over again like we do, it's just so much easier to shop from your living room instead of wasting time driving around. I do not think that shopping is fun. Either we go to the same stores and see the same thing or I have to drive a really long way to different stores. It turns out to be a big ordeal and I'd rather just get it all done at one time.

What about you? What do you need? School supplies? Text books? Something for your Kindle? A new TV? Boots for winter? A new electrical fence charger? What are you driving around for?

Happy Almost-Prime-Day everyone! If you don't have Primethen check it out. The trial is FREE and you can cancel it at anytime (before the 30 days) and no one will care.

Editors note: Yes! There are affliate links on this page! Yes I am a shill for Amazon! Why? Because I love their systems and I love how easy it is to use. I'm supposed to tell you 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 - a book, movies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? 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. 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. Thanks!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Under the weather...

I've been a little under the weather the last several days. I think I had malaria... or food poisoning from eating restaurant food. Whatever it was laid me low so I'm trying to get my feed under me. Drat.

We have all been under the unrelenting rain and it's starting to get everyone down. Mostly we had one nice day of the last ten and that was Saturday. The mud continues and we are working to control it as best we can. But at this point we need to just accept that many of our projects are just not going to get done and make other plans.

We've had some other hubbubery also so we are trying to get ourselves righted. Needless to say things are hopping here. Some of it is worth talking about and some of it isn't. So we've been dealing with that if you've been wondering where I've been.

But the weather had consumed us. If you are limited to being annoyed by the weather while walking to your car it won't make sense why folks like me - who have to work outside - are always caterwauling about it. But believe me it has been a rough go.

While my pals on the West Coast have been having a hot and dry summer we are swimming in mud and cooler temperatures. Normally I wouldn't complain about the cool, but I can't get anything done outside and not even the tomatoes are growing - so it's time to pivot our summer strategy and work on other things.

More on that later. This morning is about gravel and mud control.

Happy Monday everyone - are you having more storms today? The house shook from a thunderstorm for over an hour last nite and more to come today. It wasn't even a nice day - or nite - for ducks!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Food

I love summer food. I always want to eat Mediterranean style food at this time of year. So we did....

We had a kind of Greek mezze plate the other night.  
Chicken kababs, hummus, tzatziki sauce, pitas, tomatoes and basil, lemon roasted potatoes, and zucchinis.

We also finally got a few things out of the garden. One of my favorite kids picked out the pepper plant for me....it's a winner. 

The potato harvest has been pretty good - some onions and garlic as well.

I'm hoping that we'll have a few more drier (and warmer) days to give the rest of the garden to catch up.

Happy Friday everyone! Have you dried up yet? Still in the swamp?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What am I doing with my big winnings?

Just in case you are wondering what I'm doing with my big winnings from Project Goats-Be-Gone.....

This is what.

Ah gravel.... my very thing.... I love gravel so much. Diamonds? Nope. Gimme real rocks. This would be seven tons of 8L and 57 Limestone right there.  To me this load seems a little light...but that's OK. I'm just glad I got it.

Seven tons was the most I could get delivered at one time. But I needed two different kinds - the smaller "8L" and then the standard gravel which is 57. So I asked for 2 tons of the small stuff and 5 of the larger. I told them that I did not want it mixed but separated.

The new guy at the desk was dubious. "That will never work." He said.

"Sure it will. And if it doesn't then that's fine too. Just load the small stuff in the front and the larger stuff in the back." I offered.

He shook his head like he didn't believe me. But previously I had talked to the other guy who knows what he is doing and we had worked it all out.... so I knew it would be a success.

The next day the driver came out and I showed him where to put it.

"There's two kinds of gravel in there." He said.

"Yep. That's fine." I said.

"It will get mixed together, you know." He said.  I just smiled.

So he flipped the switch to dump it....the larger gravel formed a nice pile. Then he pulled forward a bit and dumped it again. Voila! Two nearly perfectly separated piles of gravel.

I reserved my "told you so." I was too excited about all that gravel.

What I am going to do with it? I'm working on a project in one side of the Turkey House... and we also need it for mud control.

The mud is horrendous. The rain has been horrible. This summer has been a big washout. We had one day that was like "real" summer and was dry enough to work in the garden. I weeded as fast and I could and was still out there tilling when it started raining again.

Everything is a big mud pile or a puddle. No one is happy but the ducks...and the geese. The ground is so supersaturated that the continuing rain has no where to go. So we are all miserable.

I'll use the gravel to try and get the pathways walkable and also try and use it to fill in the worst of the puddles.

Since nothing is draining we have standing pools of water which are only getting gross and growing mosquitoes.

Our puddles are turning into bogs. Nothing is draining.

As soon as I drained this puddle it started to rain again. We really need to attack this problem. So much for us hoping that the summer would actually "summer" again. Yesterday it was raining and 70*... it's supposed to be 85*. While I don't mind the cool weather this is just getting ridiculous.

The ducks may be happy but they are only making everything worse by flippity flopping with their little webbed feet and "drilling" everywhere.  It's a big disaster. So all my big winnings and extra time will not be spent fixing the mud as best I can.

What do you do when it is like this? As always... the best you can. Keep everyone as dry as possible, make sure you are not letting water stand in buckets or random containers, keep everything drained as best you can....and hang in there.

If you will excuse me, I've gotta get out there and spread all that gravelly love around.... one wheelbarrow full at a time.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you living in a big swamp? Did you get two perfectly divided piles of gravel? Did you give them the "told you so?"

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to take livestock to the auction...and update on my sale!

Hey who wants to go to the livestock auction? If you have made the choice to thin the herd then get packed up and head out to the Mt. Hope Livestock Auction tomorrow!

I just put the goats in my car. Yes I did. See how I used the wire crate to keep the 
goats from getting in the front seat with me? This worked great.

I feel better than ever about taking most of the goats to the Mt. Hope livestock auction. Not only is my barnyard nice and calm.... I already got my check! They pay super fast and wow was I glad. Since someone is going to ask (and it's not a secret) I got a check for $357!  I think that is terrific. This is the total amount of my big winnings after they take out the commission fee (about $30). So, yep! It was worth it to drive all the way up there.

Would I have gotten a better price if I had sold directly to someone? I don't know. But it was worth it to get rid of them all in one fell swoop - and I did not have to deal with any Craigslist weirdos. So that was worth it to me. Any twinge of regret has been washed away and I'm doing my victory dance for sure.  

So how do you take livestock to the auction? Let's do a quick step by step.

The first thing is that you have to make the decision. Thanks to everyone for their comments on yesterday's post - both here on the blog and also on 'the facebook.' We all have had to decide to do what was best for the farm and it was really wonderful to hear everyone's stories. I think sometimes we are hesitant to talk about hard things...but we really are all in this together and we all have the same struggles. So thanks, everyone, for sharing!

Then you just need to make a plan and pull the trigger. If you are like me sometimes small steps are easier - just so you can check things out. So I was glad that I took a few goats last fall. I knew what to expect and was comfortable doing this alone. But I also had to factor in drive time and gas money to get up there...and time off the farm. So I just had to change around my work schedule.

But if you have large stock... or lots of little stock... you might be tempted to try and arrange professional transport or rent a trailer or something.  Not me. Nope. I figured it was best to just rip the bandaid off and use what I had - so  I just put those goats in the back of my car. Yep! In they went.

Now for sure this could be tricky business. I had a long drive so I had to make sure I didn't have to make a lot of stops. And I needed to make sure the goats wouldn't totally ruin the inside of the car. Or end up in the front seat with me.

To best secure this livestock load we had to first put all the seats down in the car (or if you had a swagger wagon I guess you could take the seats out) and then line the back with a tarp. Someone told me once that goats won't pee in your car. Lies. Goats will very happily poop all over and then pee everywhere. So put a tarp down then packed it full of straw to keep the mess under control.

Next I used the biggest dog crate we had and positioned it behind the front seats to form a sort of gate to keep the goats in the back. I put the little goats in the crate and went and got Dahli and Daisy. They mostly hopped right in. Then I drove fast up to Mt. Hope.

It's beautiful to drive around  - be sure to check things out!

The thing about going up to Amish country is that it is a warrens den full of roads. None of them are straight so be sure to take or print a map AND get your GPS. Head directly for Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen. That's not where you are going first but it's easily findable and you'll end up there anyway. The auction grounds are across the street.

I approach the auction from 241 and there is a big, well marked entrance to the auction on that road. However, if you go to the intersection and turn right/south on 77 you will find an even better, easier entrance.

Take this entrance and follow to the right along the fence. On your left will be the big white barns. After the second barn you'll see where people are backing in and unloading. You'll see some folks up on the loading dock - they will wave you in. Or just see if there is a empty spot and back in. Ask to make sure you can load out there. There are other entrances for bunnies and such. I'm not sure if you can load out cows there or not. So be sure to ask. They will be happy to direct you to the right spot.

Now the excitement really starts to build.

An Amish man - and probably a helper - will unload your small stock. They will do it for you so it's no problem. It's a little unnerving to see your goats disappear around the corner but don't worry, someone is tagging them. These folks do a ton of trade and they have their systems worked out perfectly.

As your stock is being loaded out the guy on the dock will take your name, address, and phone number. He'll rip off a receipt and give you a copy. Then that's it.

That's it?

Yep! Isn't that fun and easy?

 The parking lot at Mrs. Yoders.

If you've timed it right head over to Mrs. Yoder's and commence to eat your body's weight in chicken. The chicken buffet opens at 11am. Sure they'll ask if you want bread but just wave them off and storm the buffet like you mean it. Eat every chicken in that room. I'm fairly certain that they have my picture plastered up somewhere in the back so when the servers see me they automatically start crying over their lost profits because they know I'm not there to play. And then they go and make more chicken.

Or you can walk around the flea market and the sale barns and check out the auction action.   The Mt. Hope auction and sale barn is an amazing sight to behold. It is a parade of humanity like you've never seen before. You can buy anything there. Tools, guns, antiques, bananas.... I'm telling you they have it all.

I stopped at a house that had a shop on the back. The sign said fried pies. I got all of them.

Be sure to give yourself time to drive around and see some of the other sights while you are in the neighborhood. You can go to Lehman's for all kinds of everything, or some of the roadside produce stands where you might see amazing sights, or one of my favorites... Heinis Cheese Chalets.

Believe me, after a day at the auction you'll go home full of chicken and counting all your big winning to come. It's a great day for sure.

So now that you know where to go and what to do let's do some questions:

So.. where's this again?
It's the Mt. Hope Auction 
8076 OH-241, Mt Hope, OH 44660
Be sure to check the schedule for their livestock auctions. I went on Wednesday. They have other sales on other days of the week including a horse auction and also a produce auction.

What time should you get there? 
I got there about 9:30 in the am. I probably drove home about 2 or so.... and there was still a line of trailers waiting to load out. The livestock sale starts at 11am. Check this schedule for when to load out and for more details. See also they have a hay auction on the same day.

Are you sure this isn't weird?
Nope. It's not weird at all. Mt. Hope has a great reputation and folks come from all around to buy and sell. They have excellent systems and I'm always amazed at how well everything works. It's way easier than you would imagine.

What or who can I take to the auction?
Right now remember that you cannot sell poultry at the auction! I even went over to the poultry barn to see. All they had was rabbits. I've seen all kinds of livestock in all ages, makes, and models. You can check out the market reports to get an idea of what is selling and how much.

Do you have to do anything to prepare your livestock?
What? Like give them a bath and put bows in their hair? I dunno. I just made sure everyone was reasonably clean and I trimmed their hooves.  *shrugs*

How long does it take to get your check?
I got this last one super quick - just a few days!

But what about.... um... cultural differences?
For who the Amish people? It's OK... really. Folks are just folks no matter what kind of hat they wear. Some people are nervous because they don't understand the culture but... there is nothing to worry about. These Amish people speak regular English and are very friendly. You will hear a kind of German/Deutsch that some folks will talk to each other in but that is OK.

You'll also see a lot of buggies around and on the road. Give the horses some room and be careful when you are driving.  Around town there is a buggy lane on the right side. The distances are short but you won't get anywhere fast. Just relax and enjoy the drive.

When in doubt smile and ask questions. Be respectful. If you are driving around and see a sign with something for sale that you want to buy or you see a shop you'd like to visit then just drive on up. One thing that I can't get used to is that it always looks like everything is closed because there are no lights on.... but since they don't have electricity I probably should not be overly surprised. It just takes a second to adjust to that. If the shops have lighting it is usually minimal. And bring a check book. Sure you can pay for Mrs. Yoders with a bank card but some of the shops only take cash or a check. I wouldn't go up on a Sunday as not much will be open.

Anything else?
Nope. Other than make sure you fill up the tank and expect some long stretches of driving without any kind of services until you get up there. The most direct route for me is not on a main highway. And one time I got lost and ended up seeing a lot of scenic roads....and zero gas stations. Yikes! Other than that - have fun!

Happy Tuesday everyone.. what do you think? Are you going to head out to the Mt. Hope auction? Tomorrow is Wednesday!

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