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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Hands-On Home!

I'm so thrilled that the book The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping released yesterday! I really love my pal over at Northwest Edible Life. This is her first book and I'm so excited!

Northwest Edible Life is a terrific blog - I love her recipes, garden advice, and she makes some awesome drinks.

Don't forget she was the one that had us all screaming with laughter about the duck.. um.... "stuff" that we may have laying around in our barnyards. I may never look at the same way drakes again. Be sure to watch the video.. but not at work or at least turn the sound down.

So when I found out about her book I just had to let you all know. I can't wait for my copy to arrive and yep, you guessed it. I ordered it from Amazon. Now all I have to do is stand around and wait for the delivery guy to show up.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you know Northwest Edible Life? Quick! Go check it out!

Editors note: Promoting a book launch? What am I doing? Did someone pay me off? Twist my arm? Get me to do this? Nope. She really is my pal and I'm thrilled about the book. I am eagerly waiting for my copy to ship so this isn't even a review. But I do need to tell you that some of these are affiliate links. This means 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 - this 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, September 28, 2015

No one was home.

This is what happens when you don't clean out the greenhouse.......

Hey! What's in my bucket?

At first I thought it was a mouse nest...but then we looked closer and it was a bird nest!

But no one was home. 

One of my goals this week is to get the greenhouse ship shape. My season extension project is a little muddled right now. For whatever reason I can't get my lettuce to sprout. I think I'm on my third tray of seeds that went no where. So that is a little frustrating. Maybe I need to start my seeds inside... this could be the work of mice. We've had really mild weather tho so I have a little bit of time to get organized...and to see if anyone else is living in my greenhouse.

Happy Monday everyone!!! Did you find anything interesting in your greenhouse?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

And then there were none.

That was it. The final meat chicken from the season was sent to the block today. I'm pretty sure those last three meat hens will not last until the fresh ones are ready.

They got me. My only chicken-related injury this entire summer. On the very last chicken.

So what are we going to do? Well. Scrape the very bottom of the freezer, plump up those pigz as fast as we can, and generally just make it up as we go. We will probably have to buy some meat. However, my husband is pretty freaked out by an article he read in Consumer Reports about ground beef. 

Normally we don't buy store meat. But on a few occasions we did - we were not impressed.

I'll probably also start stalking Craigslist to see if anyone chickened out on butchering their own creepy meats... or turkeys. Or maybe someone's fair project didn't go as planned. So we'll see.

But until that sad day when I'll have to go in to the store with the rest of the suckers.... I'll be enjoying every bite of the last of our chickens.

Happy Saturday everyone! Winner winner - chicken dinner. For now anyway.....

Friday, September 25, 2015

Amazon Prime is on Sale! FRIDAY ONLY!

I saw it on the news, I heard about it from a friend, but I did not believe it until I saw the Amazon page myself!  Amazon Prime is on sale TODAY ONLY FOR ONLY$67!Prime is ON SALE FOR TODAY ONLY!

Here is a big ol' banner ad all about it.  See all the fine print. New members only.

How do I love the Amazon Prime.... let me count the ways...... So so soooo many ways. The free two day shipping, all the shows and movies I can watch, and I finally broke down and started using the Prime Music service.

At first I waffled about the Prime membership. I mean, it's normally $99 and that is a big whack of cash all at one time. But they don't offer a monthly payment - so you really do have to sign up for a full year. Then it renews or you can cancel it.  Of course, their customer service is top notch so if you have any problems just ask.

How do I use Prime?

First, we don't have cable...and right now we only get one network channel for part of the day.... so I really take advantage of Amazon's Instant Video service. I watch so many shows you can't believe it. I think I got my $99 worth within two months just by binging on shows I hadn't seen before.

And you know how much I love my Amazon Fire TV. We use it all the time, in fact, it's almost always on. This is how we watch TV "online." Not from cable but on the internet... thru my TV. Isn't that amazing? No more sitting around huddled by to my laptop! Our newer TV was a great day but it was not a "smart TV" that already had online access. So we got the Amazon Fire TV- in fact we got two. The Fri box is upstairs and the Fire TV Stickis downstairs.

One of the things I really love about the Amazon Fire TV arethe apps. Think of them like "channels" that you can watch. My two favorite ones are the "live" CBCN news app and also Pluto.tv. I prefer the CBS news but we aren't getting that over the air. No problem - I just watch it on their app. And I love Pluto.tv for "background noise." They have a SlowTV channel that is usually a beach scene and you can hear the water and everything.

And don't forget you can watch the NetFlix on your Amazon Fire TV- which is fantastic. Between Prime and Netflix we really couldn't care less about network TV.

So, instead of having a $100 or more cable bill each month we think the $99 for one full year Prime membership is a great way to watch TV.

Next, the two day shipping is fabulous. I can't wait until they have drone delivery. But until then the superfast shipping is just like magic. What do I need right now? I need Thai Kaffir lime leaves leaves and a pack of pack of tshirts.

Today is a beautiful day but I need both of these things soon. So either I can waste 45 minutes driving one way into town only  to find out once again that our local stores do not have lime leaves and stomp out mad.... and forget the tshirts. Or I can sit here, make two clicks *click! click!* and then stay home, run the sprinklers, play with the dogs, and keep an eye on our new surprise duckling. Magically, in a couple days everything I need will be delivered to my gate by the UPS guy. Why wouldn't I do that? Easy. Peasy.

And I'm not even using talking about the other benefits like the free Kindle books, photo storage, and special deals on products!

So do I love my Prime membership? Yes, I do!

Here is the thing tho, you have to use it. Someone we know got a membership but never used it. They never watched any movies or shows online, they never had anything delivered, and shockingly they never downloaded any of the free Kindle books. So...... they thought it was stupid. If you don't use it then it doesn't make sense.

But if you want to ditch your cable, save time by not driving into town, and get tons of free books and music.. then you really want to check this out. You can get Amazon Prime right now ON SALE. What a great deal!

Sign up is super easy. If you aren't sure, then try the 30 days for free and see what happens. No one is going to be mad if you opt-out. And hey what a fun freebie - just watch all the TV your brain can handle and then cancel the membership before it hits your credit card.

Do you know someone who needs a present? You can give them Amazon Prime as a gift - how great is that?

But click quick because this is only for today, Friday and is only for new members. I absolutely can't say enough about how great  Amazon Prime is and how much I use it.

Happy Friday everyone! Do you love Amazon Prime? How many ways?

Editors note: Why am I talking about this? Because I LOVE Amazon Prime...and  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 - this 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!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

You never know what you are going to find in the barnyard.....

So, this happened.......

One of these things is not like the other. 

I went out to the hen house this morning and of my hens was acting funny..... I thought she might have a chick under her.

Nope. I found this little guy instead. What a surprise!

The odd of him surviving out with the rest of the velociraptors was very low... so I scooped him up and put him with the fresh meats.

Why didn't I put him in a crate with his "momma?" Well... I'm not sure about a chicken raising a duckling... plus little ducks, more so than chicks, tend to be a lot more mobile. This way I can keep an eye on him and also he can hang out with the same-ish aged chicks. They will outpace him soon enough but at least he has a fighting chance.

He was a little confused by everything that happened but I think he's going to be OK.

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you have a surprise duckling?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Meat management - back to full swing!

After a summer of worrying that we would be meatless at some point I think I can finally relax. Look what happened!

Our most recent meats look huge next to the fresh ones. 

As you recall we didn't get our pigz until very late this year. Some of it was because of bad planning but a lot of it was due to extremely bad weather. The early, non-stop rains in June would have caused all kinds of pig problems so we waited on purpose to get the pigz. Then these pigz came to us in an unexpected way -so it all worked out in the end.

But I've been very worried about our meat situation. So that's why we ordered another round of meat chickens a couple of weeks ago. That got us closer to our meat management goals. But I was still concerned.

Then when the pigz made their big escape I noted that they were bigger than I thought. So that made me feel even better about our meat stores. But then something amazing happened.

Thru luck and poor navigation I ended up at Meyer Hatchery! What a great day! I was driving all over the state anyway but then figured out I was close enough to make a run for chickens. So I did. However, I got lost. Real lost. As in... my GPS just gave up on me entirely. So I resorted to old school navigation.

I pulled up, hopped out, and ran into a business that looked like they might know what they were talking about. "Say, friend, how do I get to Polk?"

You know you are in Amish country when two horse drawn wagons loaded with the harvest pass each other. 

They looked at me like I was out of my mind. Everyone consulted their phones. Now... not that I'm ungrateful but I wasn't more than 12 miles away so it's not like I was asking for driving directions to somewhere in Indiana... I was just going down the road. The younger set looked confused and said they didn't even live around there. An older guy finally came over. He drew me a map on the back of an envelope.

I am not kidding when I tell you that part of his directions were to, "Turn where the school used to be. It's not there anymore but you can see where it was."

I thanked him and headed in the direction of adventure. At some point I almost started crying because I was on a dirt path that -  in an academic sense - had at one time been a road. But then I saw a sign for the town of Polk and so I drove faster. My GPS had curled up in a ball and refused to talk to me. I figured I would wing it.

After driving around a lot in all directions from the center of town, I finally pulled into another business hoping they could tell me where the hatchery was?  She looked bored and just said, "Up the road, same side."

 I finally made it to the Big Show.

Now, 'up the road' could me 20 miles or 5 minutes. I figured I'd give it 10 minutes. But then... there it was.. a shining beacon in the corn fields.... the Meyer Hatchery sign. I zoomed in.

The shop there is terrific! They have every kind of chicken thing you could possible need. And chickens!

I didn't see any meats in the bargain bin so I asked if they had any extras? Sure! She went in the back and got me a box of creepy meats. I paid less than $2 a piece and was glad for it.

I came. I ate. I won.

Of course, it was a long long long long long drive back. It was about dinner time so what else could I do but stop at Mrs. Yoders? I laughed about my double chicken day. The waitress hugged me because I was so excited to be there. I was worried about the peeps in the car so I ate fast and tipped high. I left the chicken buffet in shambles.

It was a long drive home especially since I was drunk on chicken. The peeps sang a happy song the whole way home.

Since it was so late when I got home I just set the box of peeps in the brooder box with the existing chicks. When I went out to check on them in the morning I saw that some of the bigger ones got in with the small fries. I had to get everyone sorted out and in their right place.

Now everyone is where they are supposed to be. I re-set up the meat pen made of hog panels and then set the new guys up in the brooder box.

So now I think we are good to go.

Pork - check!
Meats soon - check!
Meats later - check!

Looks like our meat management is back to full swing!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Have you ever visited a hatchery? What a terrific day!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On dogs and chickens

Lately I've heard about a rash of chicken killin' dogs out there roaming around the countryside. Friends, I'm here to tell you that if you have chickens then sooner or later you are going to have to deal with dogs.

Me and my Bubby! A rare self portrait.

Maybe it's your dog. If that's the case then keeping your chickens from being killed by your own dog is 100% your responsibility. It's ridiculous to think you can take a dog, put it outside with all that prey, and just expect everything to go according to plan. You can read about how to keep your dog from killing your chickens here.

The problem is that sometimes it's not your dog out there terrorizing your flocks...  it's usually the neighbor's dog.

Everyone loves their dog. The hard truth is that not everyone loves YOUR dog.

Unfortunately most folks can't or won't believe that their beloved dog is out there killing your chickens. Or they don't think your chickens are "worth" more than their dog. Or they just don't care. Or they think the law is on their side.

I love my Most Excellent Good Dog. I keep him on our property.

Dealing with bad neighbors is tough. Dealing with the neighbor's bad dog is even worse. And as these things go there is rarely an good solution. Depending on who you are it might work to go over and ask your bad neighbor to keep his dog on his property.  But that most likely is not going to work...for reasons stated above. And you will never convince anyone that they need to be more responsible.

In a lot of places you can shoot a dog if it is out there on your property killing your livestock. But, be very very very careful. If you just wound the dog - or shoot it with a paint gun - you might be on the receiving end of cruelty to animals charge. Don't that just beat all?  Or you might be on the receiving end of a red neck style beat down when the dog's owner shows up wondering why you took a shot at his best friend. It won't end well at all.

Or you could tell that guy that the last time you saw his dog it was chasing your chickens thru the woods and you sure hope he is OK..... but your bad neighbor will figure out that you chose the SSS option. That is... Shoot, shovel, and shut up.

Either way, at best you'll be entrenched in neighbor wars. Even if you are right you still have to live with that guy. And he might retaliate.

So what do you do?

Fencing. Lots and lots of fencing.

Is it fair that you have to spend your hard earned money fencing out someone else's dog? Nope. But life is not fair and it's part of the cost of having livestock.

As you know I felt the same kind of righteous indignation toward people who let their stupid dogs run loose. I do know exactly how much I've spent on the neighbor's dogs. One of the best projects we've done was the dog moat. This glorious 'fence within a fence' is a testament to our patience in the face of stupidity.

Kai, very happy in the dog moat.

The dog moat does a couple things. First, when no one else's dogs are around it's a terrific place to put my Dog Horde while I'm working in the garden. I take them up there and let them create their own poop perimeter warning other dogs that this side of the fence is taken. They can also goof around in the dog moat and not dig up my tomatoes or step all over my sprouts.

The other thing it does is ensure that the stupid old man's yappy little nincompoop doesn't get killed in a "thru the fence dog fight." That's right... if the stupid old man's dog comes over to my fence and gets into it with my crew I'm the one who has to protect that his dog. So when that dog is out in the yard the dog moat serves as a DMZ or a buffer between dogs. Ask me how glad I am that I have to think ahead for irresponsible people.

Additionally, the fence itself may be low enough for deer to jump.... but they can't clear both fences at once. Take that you dumb pear tree eating deer! So the Dog Moat is a great addition to our farm. In truth, I'd love to have the entire perimeter as a fence within a fence.

But for now we mostly have a perimeter fence with a series of internal fenced-in yards and gardens. While you are at it you might want to get a gate for the driveway. We love ours and it has solved a lot of problems for us.

So what do you do if you are standing there with the sad remains of your best laying hen, a half eaten goat, or just feathers everywhere?

Zander is so glad he is not accused of killing anyone's livestock.

Go on down to the Lowes. Around here they have the best price on field fence. Get a bunch of the heavy duty posts - NOT the lightweight  ones - make sure you get real t-posts....and then get to work. Here are a bunch of fence posts to help get your started. 

Perimeter fencing is the best place to start. But if the local dogs or varmints figured out you have the best chicken buffet then you might want to step it up. Run a hotwire low to the ground or at nose level...and you might have to run another strand across the top to keep dogs or varmints from climbing over.

Yes. This is very very frustrating. 

If you have truly bad neighbors start building a hedgerow between your properties. For most of the summer I've had a patch of really tall sunflowers to block out that old man's house. But now that summer is trying to end we will be working on an evergreen solution as well.

If the situation if very very bad you might want to find a local ag experienced attorney to help sort out your neighborly issues. Everyone has looked around for an attorney with agricultural experience, right? You never know when you might need help. Before you go off half cocked, you want to make sure you know all the facts.

Do I recommend that you confront your bad neighbor about their dog? Nope. The wisest course of action is to solve the problem on your side. Yes, this works. No, it is not fair. Yes, it's expensive.

See how happy everyone is safely within our perimeter fence? Lucky loves it.

What do you do if your dog is the offending party? What if someone comes running up on your property telling that your dog killed their chickens? Friend, you had better run out there to meet them half way with your checkbook in hand and start writing. Then get off your lazy carcass and fence your dogs in so they stay on your property. Believe me, this is a solution that will work well for everyone.

Happy Tuesday everyone. My dogs are at my feet and later on today we'll be working on more fencing. How's the dog situation around you?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The morning where sinners had to stay home and fix the fence.

Today was the morning wherein I was late for church because the pigz got out of the fence. Sinners had to stay home and get the hot wire fixed. Also, Zander brought us a headless snake. I was fairly certain I had read about this day in Revelation.

There they are repeat offenders. Recidivism

Of course, I had to report to the pastor why my husband was not there this morning. The pastor more or less agreed to hold a special alter call for Husbands Who Should Have Listened next week. We'll see how that goes.

While I was gone The Big Man got the fence all fixed up. Shortly afterwards the pigz lost interest in getting out of the fence entirely.

The Dread Commander Zander. Does not think pigz are funny. Snakes are kind of funny.

The first thing that happened on this Day of Days was that Zander brought us a well-dead snake. Headless, such as it was. There was hopping around and squealing. We took the snake from Bubby and tried to distract him.

It didn't work. But Bubby's attention was turned toward the hog lot once we started doing chores. The pigz were out.

"HONEY!"  I yelled, helpfully. "THE PIGZ ARE OUT!"

I got My Most Excellent Good Dog and we escorted the pigz back into their pen. I asked my husband if he was sure he shouldn't just stay home and work on the electric fence? Nope. I shrugged and went about my business.

My Most Excellent Good Dog. With his ball. That's all he ever wants.

Just before we were supposed to get in the car I looked down the drive and the pigz were headed out of Dodge.
"HONEY!"  I yelled, helpfully. "THE PIGZ ARE OUT! Again."
I got the dog again. There was running. And chasing. And soon My Most Excellent Good Dog got the pigz out of the woods by the driveway and got them headed toward my husband. The pigz followed The Big Man while me and the dog kept nipping a their heels. My mean looks and the dog's wolfish grin kept them pigz hustling right along.

"I imagine I'll just stay here and work on the fence." The Big Man said. I just nodded.

So all's well that ends in electric fence. When I reported the events of the day on 'the facebook' I was glad to see I was not the only one who was late for church because the pigz got out... or that the sheep were playing hilarious pranks on others.

Slow walking malcontents. Do not think the dogs are funny.

The dogs and I just went down and made sure the pigz were still in the fence. They are.  So we are once again at Pig Containment level 100%. The pigz, however, were wary to come out from the bramble. They knew the dogs were with me. They have had plenty of Dog#1 today.  Frankly, I've had plenty of the pigz today.

My beautiful Kai. She smells something. Could be pigz.

Happy Sunday everyone! Were you late for church because of escaped livestock?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Strange bedfellows

I caught these goings on the other morning. Nicholas and Lucky on one bed.... and just behind Lucky's ear is his food bowl. Things could have gone very badly.

 Nicholas and Lucky. Very strange bedfellows.

It all ended well. I moved the food and then Nicholas got annoyed and left. Lucky got his food back later.

My beautiful Nicholas strikes a pose. He can see into your soul.

There has been a lot of food consternation around here lately. We have still been on a mission to get Nicholas down to a more normal sized cat. His initial goal weight of 19 pounds was reached a bit ago and now we are headed toward 17 hefty pounds. The next time he goes to the vet they are going to be wow'd by his accomplishments.

Our Sweet Peep is also on a reduction plan. That isn't going so well. "Just feed her less." They said. "It will be easy." They said. Yeah. Sure. All it's done has turned her tortitude up to 11. It's been hell here and I am not kidding.

One thing the vet told us was to feed the cats only canned food - not dry. This has worked really well. I'm not sure if our success is due more to a low carb type diet or because we are rationing their food. But our Paleo Peep has shown some losses as well.

In the meantime the cats, like a gang of sharks, start circling me early in the morning to make sure they get their carefully measured out ration of cat food love. If I'm not on time then the cats start heading toward the dogs and their food. Starvation creates very strange bedfellows indeed. Just ask Nicholas.


I want to give a special shout out to OneVikingGirl for her tremendous post on roasted veg with mayo. If you read the comments in my blog you'll know she is a visitor and we've been have a discussion about this very thing. I was a naysayer until I realized I was using mayo as a salad dressing on roasted veg - it was delicious. So thanks! OVG, I'm going to be trying this out very soon. Yay!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pigz in a new pasture.

Moving the pigz was easy enough... that is... after they got over their terror of the electric fence. It took them a while to realize that not only was the gate open but that the hotwire fence was gone.

 This is the before shot of the new pig pasture. Also, dog butts. I see this view all the time.

Then it was just a matter of them being curious enough to make their way down the path and into the new pasture. The Big Man just started setting up the pigz waterer and food bowls in the new place and the pigz headed in the direction of fun and adventure.

Moving pigz can be difficult. We've found it's easier to make pigz think it is their idea to go to the new place and that it is super fun.... as opposed to chasing them around and making everyone unhappy. My husband had mowed a path across the field connecting the old and new pig pastures. They walked right down it.

The evil pig menace.

The only bad thing about the new pasture is that we have zero electric set up. This could be a problem and we really need to work on it. However, these pigz are not very aggressive and are kind of laid back...unlike the mean pigz we had that climbed the field fence like monkeys.

The morning after the big pig move the dogs and I ran right down to make sure the pigz were still there. Zander and Kai didn't know that we moved them so they were very interested in what was rustling around in the field.

"Pig pig PIG!" I yelled. A couple of times.

One of the things I love so much about Zander is that he is very bold. He charges right at whatever is coming at him...and then he pees in it's general direction. It doesn't matter what it is... he'll pee at it. And not break eye contact. He is very dominant. He's our big Bubby.

One of the funny things about Zander and Kai is that their tails curl tighter in the face of adventure. Or danger. Here you can see that Bubby's normally "saber" like tail is in a tighter curl.

What about my Dog#1? Titan knew that the pigz were in the new pen. When I asked him, "Where are the pigz?" He cut his eyes at the new pen and trotted right down there. Kai was sniffing the ground everywhere and wondering what goings on had gone on the night before. But then she realized something was in the bramble and headed straight towards them.

The pigz finally crashed out of the brush and the dogs were very excited to see them. The pigz were not exactly excited to see the dogs and were more disappointed than anything that I hadn't show up with a bucket of food. So I went and got one.

Pigz are moved - mission accomplished. Now we need to work on the fence.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are your pigz moved onto the new pasture? Did you have any trouble getting them there?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pigz - an update

The pigz are growing right along. In fact they are doing great.

 The other day I heaved that huge banana squash over the fence to them. They loved it. 

I also gave them some apples and I thinned the turnips so I have them the greens. It was like a nice pork salad.

 Apples and pork.

They have pretty much hogged down the first lot that we put them in so the next step is for us to move the pigz to their new pasture. More on that later. But for now the dogs and I are headed out.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Latest auction bargains

I went to the produce auction the other day - there were some terrific bargains. However the produce is starting to get a little scarce.

I got these terrific peppers - for just $5 for the whole bag! Shoe for scale.

It was such a great deal that I got 4 bags of them. I might have gotten too excited but it's still a better price than anything you'd find at the store. I always laugh when they have "2 peppers for $1" and they make you think it's a good sale. The produce auction is where the real action is happening!

Most of the peps were roasted, skinned, and frozen.

I also got 2 banana squash.... one is normal sized and one was HUGE!

This squash costs me $0.50. That's fifty cents, baby, yeah! Standard sized gas grill for scale.

Of course, I threw it to the pigz and they went wild. But I have big plans for the regular sized one. I will admit that the one thing I really like about fall is the roasted veggies. Especially squash and root veg. Otherwise I'm still holding a fall-grudge and still want it to be summer.

For my notes this is how I did at the auction:

Four bags/pecks peppers = $5/bag. I think the bags were about 8 lbs each, so $0.62/pound.
Two bags of onions at $3.50 each, $0.35/pound
Two pecks of potatoes at $1.80 each... yes... $1.80 for a big basket of taters.. so $0.10/pound.
Two banana squash for a total of $1
A loaf of bread for $1.

We finally got our cool down and this morning it was 42*. We also got some much needed rain over the weekend.

More meat management is on the menu for this week.

Happy Monday everyone! Are you finding produce bargains? I'm telling you - check out your local auction!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Peeps! They are here already!

Remember yesterday I ordered 25 creepy meats from Mt. Healthy? Guess what?!? The post called me at 7:20 in the AM and told me to come and get them! ONE day delivery? Thank YOU, Mt. Healthy. Wow!

The new recruits are shipped in the mail in these cool boxes.

I got 27 peeps in a loud box - all were live. And screaming incessantly. I rushed them right home and got them set up in the same big brooder box that we used earlier this year. They immediately started peeping around.

I took them out of the box one by one to do a head count and also dip their beaks in the water. You do this, in effect, to point them in the direction of adventure. The just hatched peeps are immediately put in boxes - the hatcheries don't feed or water them.  So you have to show them the ropes. There is usually one peep that gets it right away and the others follow him.

Why did I get 27 if I ordered 25? Remember that attrition is just part of raising meat chicks. Sometimes they don't make it during the shipping process. But mostly they do. If you end up with dead meats don't be overly worked up. Just call the hatchery and tell them what happened. Most places will either reship your order or give you a refund. We've never had a problem worth calling over. Sometimes we'll get one meat that didn't make it but we've had full orders. 

My local TSC had this "Chick Starter Kit" on sale for just $5! It was originally about $20. I got a baby sized feeder and waterer, a little bag of food, and a cardboard "corral" to contain the peeps.

How does this work if they are going to be shipped? The last thing that chicks do before they pip out of their shells is to absorb the yolk into their bellies. This gives them enough energy for a couple of days. If you think about it, it makes sense. A momma hen will hatch eggs in her clutch over the course of a couple days so she needs the live babies to sit tight until all of the chicks have emerged from their pods... I mean... shells.

So it's totally safe for them to be shipped in the mail.

The post guys usually call very early because the peeping is annoying. So I always run right down. Plus I like to get them set up and show them the food and water as soon as possible.

You can tell if the chicks are happy by the "musically peeping" they make. If you hear a slightly shrieky peeps then you should figure out what they need. Food? Water? Too hot? Too cold?  The babies should have a good "dispersal" pattern in the brooder and not be in the very corners or all in a heap .

These little guys are off to a terrific start. Thanks, Mt. Healthy for a terrific group of peeps and super  fast delivery!

Happy Thursday, everyone. Do you have your winter meats?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


I've been focusing on my priorities from the other day. Some wins, some losses but progress is being made.

It's not fall yet! Hey, leaves! Get back on that tree!

First, I was able to get the chick pen cleaned out and set up in eager anticipation of the first round of much needed meat chickens. Today I started early on the hunt to find them. My first attempt was at one of the local Rural King stores. They are supposed to have chicks until October. Whoever answered the phone talked me out of being their customer.

A small rant here. I know it's annoying working with the general public. But on the other hand if that is your job then you should just get that chip off your shoulder and just do it. My questions were not outlandish, rude, or stupid. But since that person just wanted to make me wrong and not help me... then fine. Smell ya later, Ranch Hand, or whoever you are.

So I placed a same day order with Mt. Healthy. I even called to make sure they would really ship TODAY? Yep. A very nice lady confirmed the shipping and my order. Perfect.  I should get them tomorrow at our local post office.

Of course, right after I placed that order a buddy told me to check out Welp hatchery for their superfast service and excellent prices. Rats! They had my same order for $20 less! However.... my order was already being put together for shipping today. Welp would ship them next week. We really need meats so I left my order with Mt. Healthy.

I normally order from Meyer but they had limited numbers of meats. I would have even been willing to drive up there to get them but alas. Nope. 

Do you know... praying mantis?

Next, my quest for green beans remains unfulfilled. Apparently there are no more beans left in this dry and dusty land. I might have to go further afield... and Thursday is fried pie day.

And then, my tomatoes are half in the bag... I mean.... about half of the tomatoes have been picked and put in freezer bags. I think we all had/have the same concern that once out of sight they will be out of mind. We'll see what happens.

So that is the update.

Rain in sun. Weird.

Right now we are standing around waiting for it to rain. The other day it was completely sunny and it rained really hard. How weird was that? We even looked for clouds and couldn't find where the rain was coming from.

I will continue to press on and run the good race toward the prize... which in this case, is  a full freezer and larder for winter.

Farm on, friends!

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