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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Gotcha Day, Kai!

Actually Kai's bring home day was a few days ago... she was such a little wiggler! We can't believe she is now five years old.

My beautiful Kai. 

We got Kai because we knew our old lady Shady was at the end of her good and long life. We really needed a hunter - and boy, did we ever get a good hunter with Kai.

Where you goin', Kai? To kill stuff? Good girl!

Kai's favorite thing? Killing stuff. She could kill stuff all day and half the nite. If we need a varmint rooted up and killed - we get our Kai. She is officially off the "farm chores" duty and is entirely on killing stuff.

Recently Kai earned the name, "The Chickens Eat What She Kills" after she dug up and slayed a nest of rodents. It was glorious. Actually it was gross and I ended up with a shovel full of ick to toss to the chickens. My good girl Kai dropped them on command and we went and got a handful of dry cat food which is infinitely better than half dead rodents. "Kill them, Kai, kill them all." VengeanceBringer takes these words very very seriously.

That is not her stick. She doesn't even want it. She's just teasing Titan who doesn't think she is funny.

Kai's personality is a tough mix of stubbornness, independence, and absolute joy. She is always happy. Kai lives her life with a wolfish grin and a glint in her eye. She loves to tease her brothers. Mostly she likes to tease Titan who takes our games of fetch very seriously. Kai does not and likes to try and trip him. Every once in a while she'll fetch a ball but mostly she just loves the running when we play.

That grin. She's fixin' to kill something.

She is very very smiley - but kind of in a polar bear way. The kind of smile where you aren't sure if she is glad to see the UPS guy ... or if she is just waiting for him to get a little bit closer.

Kai is very funny and likes to joke around. We have a game called, "What if my foot was on your foot?" where I put a foot on top of her paw. Then she puts her paw on my foot. And we do this for a while and she thinks it's hilarious. 

We've had a lot of adventures with Kai but the funniest was when I found a lost helium balloon in the driveway. It was listlessly floating about 2 feet off the ground... it's smiley face just a little sad. So I did the only rational thing. I got the dogs.

They immediately charged the intruder.  All four of Dog Horde surrounded the sad little balloon and give it the what for - all dogs equidistant from each other like four points of a compass barking like mad. The poor balloon just floated there at a standstill. Until Bubby booped it with his nose. The movement made Kai pounce and she grabbed it in her jaws, popping it. Then she gave it a good shaking and spit out it's ruin upon the driveway. Zander was the one who snatched it up and ran away with it.  And yes, Kai got a handful of dry cat food for her valor.

My Fighting Uruk-Hai Princess BearKiller. The Shining Light of the Realm. VengeanceBringer. She Hunts What We Cannot See..... we are so glad we gotcha!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Heating Creepy Meats: Can you overwinter meats? Yes you can!

Several people contacted me recently to learn more about how to overwinter meat chickens. Can you grow your own meat? Yes you can!

My favorite bucket of chicken.

I received several questions about the heat lamp situation and how much did I leave it on?  Unless you have a momma hen who will take and raise your hatchery chicks - you need to keep them warm. The easiest way is to use a heat lamp and keep the chicks somewhere that retains heat.

When ours are really little we just keep them in a plastic tub.... or a huge produce box that we scored at a local store. They need to be kept at about 90*- 95*. The guidelines in Storey's say to start at 95* and then reduce the heat a little at time. The more they feather in the less heat they need. You can regulate the heat by raising or lowering in the heat lamp.

How do you know if they need less heat? The chicks will try to "get away" from the heat and be in the corners of the brooder box instead of a nice even dispersal pattern

Winter meats need more heat - even when they get bigger. You can tell if they need more heat because they will pile up together. You do not want this - they could suffocate in the meat pile. (Ew!) You also don't want them to be cold because they will expend energy keeping warm... and not piling on the pounds.

We get our heat lamps - the bulbs and the fixtures from Tractor Supply. But you can order the bulbsor here is another option..... here for the fixtures. We prefer the infrared bulbs because we think it's less stressful for the meats and it seems to discourage them from picking at each other. One of my friends said that they haven't had much luck with the red ones lasting very long... but we find that ours do just fine. Most of them are broken by me inappropriately using a rake long before they burn out.

How long do we keep the heat lamp on?  For as long as they need it. Right now the meats are in the garage and have only gone outside once because of the weather. It's just too cold to have the meats roaming around out there. We've turned off the heat lamp several days/nights when it was warm enough but it's been on more than it's been off.

We use the same guidelines now as when they were babies. Are they heaped up? Are they trying to get away from the heat? Are they peeping miserably or are the happily meatin' around?

Of course, there are a million ways to raise meat chickens. Fist fights have happened over the "right" way to grow out meats.... but the only "right" way is what works for you. Pasture? Coop? Hoop house? High-protein, low and slow, "get out there and free range because it's free"? All of these ways work. The key is what works for YOU. Everyone's farm is different - different resources, spaces, pastures. So don't hesitate to try different things to find out what works best for you. 

Can you raise meat chickens? YES! Really - it's "doable" and fun and easy.  Once you get your set up working for you then you can have a continuous parade of creepy meats that are dying to end up on your table.

You can follow along with our progress this spring.

Part one - meats arrive
Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five
Winner winner!
Something everyone has to see...actually my stupidest butchering day joke yet.
The last of the meats - proving they don't all die after 8 weeks.

Hopefully this will help you get the confidence to raise winter meats. We think they are easier to raise and butcher in winter. We feel they are easier to warm up then to cool down. To date we've never had any of the winter meats die from lack of heat... but we've had losses when it just gets too hot for the meats to endure.

Happy Thursday everyone!!! Are you thinking about raising winter meats? You can do it!

Editors note: Blah blah blah.... "affiliate links... blah blah blah. Why on earth am I shilling heat lamps!?! Because someone always asks exactly which ones so I'm putting the exact same brands that we are using right now. Easy peasy. Don't want to order them from Amazon? That's just fine. Just ge them at TSC the next time you are there. But not everyone has TSC. But hey - if you need to buy something from Amazon anyway... then give a click! I get a tiny portion of the sale. It can be anything - this book, movies, or last minute Halloween whatevers.  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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This is why you thin your turnips.

I always hate thinning the garden. It feels so wasteful to go thru and hoe out or pick the "extra" sprouts so that each plant has the proper spacing.  It doesn't matter if it's tomatoes, onions, or turnips I just don't like to thin them.

Then this happens.

This is why you thin your turnips. 
Note: sorry for the potato quality pix... it was dark when I brought them in.

Rats. Last nite I went up to the garden get some turnips to add to my roasted veggies. I was dying for roasted veg the way One Viking Girl makes..and eats with mayo. You heard me - with mayo. How weird, right? Nope. It's heavenly. And I have several big patches of turnips so I figured they'd be nice and plump..

But why have all those turnips? Because they are terrific fodder for the pigs, because they are an amazing cover crop, and because they grow in cold weather. So I planted a lot of them in the spent gardens from the summer. There are tons of them.

I thinned some of them but then I made up all kinds of excuses not to finish... too busy, I wanted more greens, got distracted.... I should have finished. 

You can see that the big turnip - which was in the thinned row - got much bigger even tho they were planted at the same time. Much much much bigger. So I need to get out there and do more thinning so I'll have bigger turnips.

We are getting the rain from Hurricane Patricia later on today so if I hurry I can get the rest of the tunips thinned and ready to grow grow grow! 

And it's finally light out enough to see. This whole "getting light at 8am" thing is really wearing me down. Good thing my Chief of Staff, Little Mo, makes sure I get up at our normal time. Nothing like sitting in the dark for 2 hours.... *sighs dramatically*

Happy Tuesday everyone! Did you thin your turnips?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Creepy Meat Rampage

The other day I let the creepy meats out into the whole wide world. They were over come and freaked out. Then they went on a creepy meat rampage. They didn't go far but I think they felt like they were conquering a new world.

The guinea terrified the meats. And the one duckling.

I really needed to shovel out there pen. They were getting very very stinky. And creepy meat barn litter makes the best fertilizer. I'm positive my tomatoes next year will be ten feet tall.

This meat quickly became the king of the world. Kind of.

They all stuck pretty close to home. But at one point I heard a stampede and a lot of peeping so I went outside and found a passel of them had toddled around the garage and were in the front of the house looking for me. I scooted them back.

Unfortunately their foray into the whole wide world was short lived and they only got outside that one day. Either we weren't home, or it was too cold, or it actually rained so they have been basking in the glow of their secure home under the heat lamp.

The others just sat there amazed by the whole wide world.

This meat project is going really well. The first group is coming up on 7 weeks old. That's when some folks will butcher them all in one fell swoop. We think we need to wait another couple of weeks. Will they fall over from heart attacks? Nope. Not yet. The food value of getting much bigger meats is worth the wait - even tho it means buying some meat from the store. Or eating nothing but chicken and noodles - which I'm OK with also.

The only thing that grates on us is that this is the most expensive meat project we've had. Having two big groups of meats at one time means that we are burning thru the chick feed. Normally we'd only have one group - and we'd use our "low and slow" approach to not hurrying them along. But due to ineffective meat management we've been in a pickle.

My goal for the end of this week is to get the Turkey House shoveled out and cleaned up and move the first group of meats over there. Then they can have their own yard and come and go as they please. They will probably just hang out inside but at least they will not be stinking up the garage.

Happy Monday everyone! Have your creepy meats gone on a rampage?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chicken n noodles

We finally had our first real fall-ish day. It rained, was windy, and the leaves fell off the trees. There is going to be a lot of leaf raking today. It finally felt like summer just isn't coming back anytime soon. There was only one thing to do - make chicken and noodles.

It was perfect. 

One of the best things I think I did this summer was to not spend a ton of time cooking down carcasses from the summer creepy meats or canning stock. It was too hot, not enough time, and I had better things to do. For sure I put at least one carcass in the pokey pot to cook down every time we had a butcher day.... but I figured out to generously cut the "good" parts of the chicken (the breasts and thighs) and then put the rest in a big one gallon freezer bag and toss it in the freezer.

Now I can just take one of these bags of chickeny goodness out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before to thaw, put it in the crock pot the next day, and let it cook down. The house always smells good when there is a chicken stewing.

Making chicken and noodles is super easy.

In a dutch oven I use the chicken fat skimmed from cooking down the carcass to saute some chopped onions. Add some potatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, carrots or whatever you've got ..... then add the strained stock from the crock pot.

Seasonings? Salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, thyme, a bay leaf.... put that in and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft-ish.

Next, your secret weapon.... Mrs. Millers Extra Wide Noodles. Oh yeah...that is the stuff. Even tho I was falsely accused of not "really" making chicken and noodles because I used "store bought" noodles... Mrs. Miller knows how to get 'er done.

The noodles take about 10 or 12 minutes to cook in the broth. Heat up the oven to 425* while you are waiting.

Then add the meat from the cooked down carcass. Take off the best bits and put in the pot...and give the rest to the cats.

We like it thick so I make a little cornstarch + cream and add that at the end.

Last... the best part, according to my husband, a cracker topping. Yep. Crunch up those crackers and sprinkle them on top. Then into the oven until browned and bubbling.

The older ladies at church suppers will tell you that the secrets to perfect chicken and noodles are:

1. Butcher an old laying hen for the best stock. We find creepy meats do just fine but the (relatively) older ones are the ticket.
2. Add a lot of pepper. It's weird but if your broth needs a little oomph then adding a lot of ground pepper really gives it that something special.

Of course, it's always better the next day. It is a well known fact that chicken and noodles is a breakfast food.

Is it carb heavy? Yep. Don't even care. With these grey skies and summer dying out there in front of me I need a little extra lovin' today.

Chicken n noodles is the perfect meal for these dreary days.

Happy Sunday everyone! Are you having chicken and noodles for breakfast?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Festival!

One of the truly great fall festivals around here is the Circleville Pumpkin Show. It's a really fun tradition dating back to 1903. It's a huge community event - they even close the local schools so everyone can go, participate, and do some fundraising.

 A pyramid of pumpkins! Now that is something to see.

They have all kinds of rides, attractions, and parades....but let's face it. We went there to eat. And we did. I'm pretty sure that I will not need another deep fried sauerkraut ball for a good long time.

These were the runners-up. Not even close to the 1,666lbs winner!

We also wanted to see the big pumpkins. Technically I think they are gourds but who cares big hilarious pumpkins are always something to see.

These crazy gourds were off the hook.

They also have a huge pumpkin display with almost every variety you can think of - and all kinds of squash. Their prices are pretty good but I can do better at the auction or one of the roadside stands. It's still fun to see the pumpkins shining in the sun - and the huge pumpkin pyramid.

And one really big watermelon.

There are a lot of pumpkin snacks. Any kind of food becomes pumpkin.... pumpkin chili, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin shakes, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin burgers.... it's endless.

The Pumpkin Show is a terrific family event. Everyone dresses up in funny pumpkin hats, orange shirts, the whole thing. It really is fun.

Happy Friday everyone! Do you have a little free time? Drive on over to the Pumpkin Show - you won't regret it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

So close and yet so far.

Pretty much everything in the garden is dead... except for the kale. The hard freeze really froze everything so now there's nothing to do but break down the garden and eat a lot of kale.  I forgot to bring in a few things from the garden.... and they didn't make it. They were so close to being ready...and not they are too far gone. The chickens will love them.

This tomato didn't make it. I wish I would have picked these before the big freeze.

Of course, it will now be about 70* for the rest of the week so at least I've have great weather for working outside.

We have plenty of kale. All now conveniently bug free.

My primary goals for this week are to take off all the dead vegetation and start planning the beds for next year. Gardening means that you believe in the future - you are always working with the intention of improving the soil for the next season.

I don't over-think rotational planting, but I do appreciate the strategies involved. I try to do all my planning early and use my favorite resources.  The problem with doing all your planning over the winter or in early spring is that, despite all your notes and pictures, you forget what went where. So I'm getting a handle on it now.

This fall I'm also going to try and do more work to add structure to my main grow garden. I'll be working on putting in paths that make sense.... and doing everything that I can to improve the soil.

There will be a lot of lime application this fall. I also want to make sure I take up all the leaves from our maples and use them as mulch. I say this every year but this time I really mean it.

For the first time I really feel like I have a good handle on the grow gardens.  Much of my time has been trying to carve out useful sections of land, get them cleared, and ready for production. I wish I had more time and better conditions for cover crops .... but we still don't have any rain in the forecast and I think I missed my opportunity. Slowly but surely - that's kind of how things go around here.

Happy Tuesday everyone! What is your fall garden strategy? Are you getting your gardens cleaned up?

Monday, October 19, 2015

It's over. First frost and freeze.

I've been sitting here watching the temperature... it's been holding steady at 28* for hours. Summer is dead. It's over. I'm official recording in my notes that we've had our first frost and freeze.

I'd put a picture here but I left my camera outside and it's frozen.

Friday nite we had a frost...but that's OK. It happens.. you know, a bit of a nip in the air.... I can over look that. Sunday morning was cold...but it probably wasn't cold for toooooo long. I was still holding out hope. It was over 32* by 8:30am.... I can still work with that.

But not now. I have to admit that my beloved summer is over.

Stupid fall.

So begins the season of me complaining and crying about the lack of sunshine and good growing weather. It could be a long season... we've got a good five or six months before I'm happy again.

I guess I'll just stay in the house. Nicholas volunteers to snuggle me.

However... for the next 10 days we return to moderate to 70* temps and above freezing mornings. So you can see why I'm suspicious of fall. It's wicked, tricksy, and false.... it starts... it stops. The whole thing just makes me mad.

I'm probably going to just go out and lay in the yard until summer starts again.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Farmstead books

 The other day someone posted this terrific link to free homesteading books from the University of Texas. These old timey "bulletins" are really great. The one thing about farming is that many of the "old" principals still apply.  The numbers may have changed but sometimes the "good old fashioned way" is still the best.

There is nothing new under the sun. You still need a good hat..

You can click here to see the list of available, online, free books.

One of the things that I was really shocked to learn is that there is nothing new under the sun. The principals I learned from reading Ten Acres Enough are just as true now as they were back in 1864. Not only does this book have practical wisdom but I loved the story of how Mr. Morris changed his city life to a country life. I read this when I was preparing myself to leave my city life.

I had no idea back then, sitting at an expensive and trendy breakfast place, that I'd amass much of the same information, make the same mistakes, or find the same life here in The Good Land as a stranger over 100 years before me.

Everyone makes mistakes - the key is to learn from them. One thing that has stayed with me tho, is that you need to run your farm like a business or it will over take you...and not in a good way. Not every body gets to stay and sometimes hard choices need to be made. Persistence usually pays off but not always. Sometimes your "I would never's" become... "I guess we have to."

One think that helped set me on the right course was Making Your Small Farm Profitable by Ron Macher.This is all pretty much common sense but it's good to have a star to steer by.

I think the biggest misconception about homesteading or small farming is that it's all just "the simple life" and it all just works out. Not always. You can't control chickens, the neighbor's dog kills your livestock, or it just won't rain. So many things could go wrong. Making smart decisions, making hard choices, and just plain working hard can keep you on the right path... but it usually isn't simple at all.

Work hard, do the right thing, keep your focus...those are the things that will help you in your small farming efforts. And learning a lot of the old wisdom... that helps too.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Editors note: Check it out - there are affiliate links on this page. And some freebies too. But if you buy something from Amazon then I get a tiny portion of the sale. 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!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Happy Gotcha Day, Big Bub!

Today is Zander's "Gotcha" Day - it's the anniversary of when we brought him home. His birthday is in Sept but the party really started when we got to bring him home.

The Dread Commander Zander.

How do I love my Zander? Let me count the ways... well. There are too many to mention but we really love our big Bubby.  He is an absolute joy and an indispensable member of our Dog Horde. He puts the heft in the Brute Squad but to us he's nothing but our loving boy.

My favorite picture of me and Bubby.

Zander's favorite thing is... us. He loves to be part of the group and just wants to be around us where ever we are. He also really really loves his sister, Kai. BearKillers naturally like to be paired up and the bond between Zander and Kai is very very strong. They don't like to be apart and get nervous when they are separated. We've actually have to work at getting them to work apart from each other. They are a terrific team, tho.

Zander has no worries.

Now that Zander is finally mature...that is, he finally grew out of his puppy-brain, he's even better than before. He's much more reliable, obedient, and trustworthy. I still wouldn't just let him out to run around in the yard with the chickens unsupervised, but he knows what we expect from him and he exceeds these expectations. Chase the chicken? Nah.... Run up on the barncat? Nope. "Leave it," "Drop it," and "That's mine" are all commands he follows without hesitation.

But there is still plenty of mischief. Zander loves to play 'hide n seek' - especially with my husband. We have always taught the Dog Horde the command "Find Momma/Daddy" which they all take very seriously. But Zander really loves to ham it up - he likes to sneak up on my husband especially when he comes home from work. The two of them chase each other around the truck until one or the other catches up. It's very very funny.

At a scale breaking 130lbs and our tallest dog we always expected Zander to over take Titan as the head honcho of the Dog Horde. But it hasn't happened yet. There are some ways Zander is the alpha of the pack but in the end he still defers to the "Old Man."

Zander is very bold and very brave. He runs right at intruders and new things. His night shaking bark is out shined only by his unfathomably deep growl. He is impressive. His reaction to danger is to run at it, then pee in it's general direction. Without breaking eye contact. Zander gets it done. For sure.

His full name may be The Dread Commander Zander Hannibal BoneCrusher. The FoeHammer. The Black Death. The Night Fears Him.... but to us we normally just call him Bubby. Why? Why not. It just came out one day. We think it fits him. Our Bubby is exceptionally good natured. He just takes everything in stride.

Zander is always happy.

Our Worst Day didn't even phase him. He just sat quietly the entire time.  His neuter did not go as planned. But Bubby didn't care. He shook it off and was back on his feet in no time. Zander's whole life has basically been a breeze and he goes free and easy down the road of life.

Sometimes he's a big goof.

Our big Bub, we love him so much!

Happy Zander Gotcha Day, everyone. Do you have a big Bubby? Is he the apple of your eye?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Late Summer Check List

I'm still not giving up on Summer. But I will admit that "not summer" speeds up before it slows down. I'm still working on my priorities from earlier.

The good news is that we are making a lot of progress. The bad news is that there is always something that needs to be done.

Meat management - check!
Veggies - check and some still in progress!
Farm repairs..... pending. Rats.

The best progress we've made is on our meat management. First, we secured two rounds of meat chickens and they are growing like bad weeds. The two pens of meat chickens are a big stinky mess but those little meatballs are showing tremendous growth.

This is the most amount of meat chickens we've ever had at one time. So it seems expensive. We are going thru one bag of feed a week - and honestly we are going to need a second bag starting this week.

Next, the pigz growth has also really taken off. They are really putting on the weight. Nice and fat.

We also solved our immediate meat problem by joining that warehouse store.

I finally got my arms around the tomato problem...but I didn't can as much as I wanted to have on hand. So we will have to deal with that at some point. But we've had some nice meals with the fresh tomato sauce - and we are square on small portions for pizza sauce.

The green beans continued to vex me but I finally got a bushel of them in the canner.  The auctions are starting to wind down but I still have several more weeks to get some late-summer veggies. I'll be working fast and furious on this one.

I need to work on repairs for both the chicken house and Turkey House.

Now that I've made some good progress to my previous list -  I need to add:

Garden clean up
Greenhouse repairs and winter set up
Firewood management

One item that we are ahead of the curve is heating oil procurement. Prices are significantly lower this year so we are filling the tank as soon as possible.  You'll remember what happened when the guy showed up last year. This time we are making extra sure that we know when he is coming.

However, before I can get to any of these new items this week is a free fall. I signed up to participate in an off-farm community event so I've been unable to work on most of my goals. That's also why I haven't been around. But starting next week we are really going to be focused on these on-farm efforts.

As for fall? Harrumph. I'm still not buying it. I will continue to revel in the golden light and ignore all the leaves falling off the trees. I won't give up until I absolutely have to.

Happy Tuesday everyone - are you working on your priorities?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Moving the Meat Group One

Yesterday I worked on my project to de-stankify the garage. We've never had this many meats at one time and they are making the garage unlivable. Unfortunately, they are too little to put outside. They are not entirely feathered out and while a hawk probably couldn't fly off with one of those little meat balls... they are kind of sitting ducks for anything else.

The new meat pen - easily whacked together. You can make anything with hog panels.

Our solution was to build another meat pen at the end of the garage with the big sliding door. This way we can get some fresh air into the garage and also provide a way for them to go out and toddle around next week.

Because the War on Rats continues to rage - and gets worse in the fall - we don't want to put the meats over in the Turkey House just yet. But we couldn't take the stank much longer so we think this is a good short term so solution.

I tacked a short piece of hog panel into the garage wall beam, used a heavy dirt "tamper" as a support at the other end, and used bailing twine to lash the whole thing together. It actually works remarkably well.

I filled in the new pen with fine pine shavings from TSC and then set up their feeders and waterers...and their heat lamp.

The only tricky part was moving that much meat over into the new pen. My big idea was to flush them out with a broom and funnel them into the new pen. My hubs decided it would be better just to carry them over. We used a box to move a few at a time and got them installed pretty quickly.

The pen opens toward the barnyard. I can easily open the pen and let them out.

At first they were terrified at seeing The Whole Wide World. And then some "wolves" that came over to check them out. Kai and Zander thought they looked delicious.  So I put a blanket over the "open to the barnyard side and that calmed them down. Kai and Zander had to go and sit on the deck now that they know where the meatballs are located.

Today I'm shoveling out the old pen for Meat Group Two who will be moved from the brooder. Earlier I went to get more pine shavings... so now I gotta get at it.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ineffective Meat Management and why we joined the warehouse club.

One of the things that didn't go exactly as planned this summer was our Meat Management. We were not on target with getting our pigz or keeping up with our poultry purchases. There are a lot of reasons for this but mostly the weather worked against us and the normal summer rush of things to be done.

The first group of meats looking .... creepy. Ew. 

The very last meat chicken from this summer is in the stew pot and we are scraping the bottom of the freezers so it became clear that we are going to have to do something to get our Meat Management back on track.

The second group of meats.... almost creepy. One surprise duckling is in there too.

The first thing is that we are hustling the creepy meats into glorious meaty fatness and deliciousness. This might be a little more expensive than our summer meats but we don't even care. Our zeal for farm meat knows no boundaries. So we are going thru a sack of Chick Starter every week.

Pigz. Looking good!

We are also hot stepping those pigz right along. We are pouring feed on them and just about everything else. They are getting nice and fat. And ha! Unlike someone else we know... I think our pigz can hold their liquor because they haven't gotten drunk yet off all the "bad" apples we have received from our very generous orchard friends.  But anything could happen!

Then we finally had to break down and admit defeat....and we joined one of those warehouse stores. We are hoping for much better results than when The Big Man had his epic Sam's Club Freak Out. So far so good.

Yesterday we drove an inhumanly far distance to pay someone $55 for allowing us to shop at their store. That doesn't sound like my normally cheap ways does it?

This is what we figure.... until the first group of the meats is ready (at least another month from now) then we need to buy some meat. I cringe every time I go into the normal stores around here and check out the meat prices. I keep wondering how normal families can afford it? So we remembered how back in the day we used to get more reasonably priced, big packs of meat from the warehouse club.

Then we thought about how our big truck needs new tires and maybe if the prices were good enough then the cost savings from a set of tires might offset the membership cost.

And then we finally thought about how The Big Man's job has shifted a little and now, some days, he's "working from home." So we need some office supplies too. We noodled around with this idea for a long time and the finally decided to get up off our wallet and get on with it.

So we did. Yesterday. The gal at the membership desk veritably had to pull the money out of my hands but we signed up. I took a horrific picture for my card. As per usual, my husband looks like a convict. We both laughed.

Determined not to go "off list" we got out of there in under 20 minutes and under $100. We had some meat, cat food, and blue cheese. That was it. We ran for the car.

Will the CostMoreCo membership pay off? I dunno. But I'm hopeful. We did also note that gas was $0.10 - $0.20 cheaper than most places... if anything we might get to "even Steven" on gas alone. So we'll see.

In the meantime the meat chickens are producing a noxious gas in the garage and I need to get them outside before the barncats revolt.

That's the word here, friends. What do you think? Do you have a warehouse membership? What do you buy?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This guy.....

The Grand Duke of Luckyness.....

...is all smiles. 

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you are as happy as Lucky today!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Morning Greens

The greens are loving the cooler weather.....

The kale is outrageous...

I waited all summer for this to produce little broccoli rabe... but it might just be collard greens instead. Hummm.....

The pears are glorious this year. 

And an arty pic of my Zander givin' the pigz hell. 

Happy Monday everyone! It is all green all the time where you are?

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I am the last person to let go of summer. Fall-schmall..... love the color October? No. I love summer. Sum-sum-summertime. I will wear shorts until the snow flies. I will never willingly embrace stupid fall or gleefully skip around yelling, "Winter is coming!" like someone I know.

This is not me.

So all y'all have absolutely no proof that this was actually me sitting by the fire yesterday. None. Zero. I don't know who those dogs are but they are not Kai and Zander.

I don't know who's nose that is. But I smooched it. I mean... "someone" smooched it.

Yesterday's super-sucky rain and 40*-ish windchill made everyone unhappy. But this week we are going to have beautiful, warm, sunny, 70* days and mild evenings. I might even need to turn on the air conditioning.

It's still summer. I will never give up! Never surrender!

That is all.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I need some floof today....

Any body else need some floof today?

The Major Fuzz. Nicholas knows how to take it easy.

These are not squishbeans... they are mouse stompers. Nicholas's paws are impressive.

Happy Saturday everyone! Go and hug your floof!

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