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 28, 2016

We got a Big Barker!!!

I'm so excited! We got a Big Barker!!! And I'm not talking about Bubby's big boy bark..... We finally got off our wallets and got the super fancy, super luxurious, very expensive orthopedic dog bed from Big Barker. 

It's here!

My Most Excellent Good Dog has been showing his age lately and we decided he needed a really, really good dog bed. Normally we just buy whatever is big enough at Costco and call it good. But we wanted something better for Titan. I asked around and my big dog friends recommended the Big Barker. So I went and checked out.

When I first saw the price I sucked in a sharp breath and thought... nope. There is no way. But then I did a little digging and I was sold. The Big Barker beds are made for big dogs...not just any dog. Big ones. Big, heavy, hard working dogs like my crew. They even make one especially for Great Danes. Sorry, little dog people, these bed are not for you.

If you have big dogs then you know they are really just cats in wolf suits. My Dog Horde can easily sleep 18 hours a day... or more. So when they aren't out on patrols, warding off the terrors that stalk the nite, or helping me with the farm.... the dogs are sleeping. And they are getting older so we need to have good beds for them. The Big Barker beds were just the ticket for lots of reasons.

First, I love that this is made by a real company and real people and not just some big box store. They actually seem to care about their customers. I was wow'd by how much information they provided in the box. They also have a rare five star rating on Amazon! I honestly don't know another product that gets this good of reviews from its customers.

But what I really liked is that there is a 10 year warranty on their beds.... and it's American made. Crappy third world foam? Nope. These beds are made right here in the USA. It might not seem like a lot but I know folks who could use a good job. So even tho I don't know these people personally... I like how they run their business and that they care about more things than just their bottom line.

And finally... you just know that I loved that I could order this from Amazon! Free two day shipping with my Prime, baby, YEAH! So I ordered this one. I didn't entirely think that my crew needed, or would use, the roundy pillow end of the fancy model. So I got the sleek edition in khaki as it would show the least amount to dog hair.

There was a lot of excitement. The other box is a different order... my new shoes!

Two days later, right on time, the UPS guy showed up. Me and the dogs were out there to greet him with the Bacon Wagon of Doom because I wasn't sure how big the box would be. Turns out they already solved that problem. The beds come vacuum sealed and shrunk down for easy handling! But I was still glad to have my trolley because it was still a little hard to wrangle. I yelled to the delivery guy to just drop the boxes where he was and back away from the fence slowly. He did. When he was safely out of the drive I went and got the boxes.

There was a lot of excitement. And smiles.

We all rushed inside and opened the box. As I mentioned, there was a lot of information included in the box. I also had received an email from the company so I knew what to expect. Much to the barking delights my of Dog Horde...and a lot of over interested cats.... we ripped open the plastic and the bed sprung to life!  Well, it slowly opened but Kai gave it suspicious looks and some woofs.

Once the box...I mean.. the cat trap...  was deployed we immediately caught Pepper.  

Our Pepper is a normal sized cat. You can see that the box wasn't too big and it held the entire bed! The cover, also in the box, is super easy to put on the bed.

That smile says it all!

They recommend that you wait 24 hours to let the bed fully fluff up. So I did but not before Ti jumped right on his new bed. He was thrilled.

The past week or so has been about everyone getting used to The New Thing. Mostly they have been excited that I have been laying on the bed so that automatically makes it The Best Spot. Everyone wants the best spot but in our dog pack Ti usually claims the best spot. We have been laying on it together.

I have to tell you... that bed is super comfortable. I'm not a person who lays on the floor...but I really like snuggling with my big dogs on the Big Barker. It's like a real person bed. Only better because it's easy to move around and you can take the cover off and throw it in the washer.....say if one of your cats immediately pukes all over the most expensive purchase you've made in months.

This is over 240lbs of dog. They fit just fine and this isn't even the biggest bed the company makes!

We got the Extra Large bed which comfortably fits two 100+ pound German Shepherds, or just Zander,....or me and Zander snuggling together without a lot of wiggle room.  Technically if I curled up a little I'd fit on it just fine to sleep on it all nite. Don't ask me how I know this....

For his part, Ti is spending more and more time on it. There is a full time musical bed game of who lays on it.  Kai is the only one who doesn't want anything to do with it. She doesn't like new things.

Lucky can't get all the way up on it because it's so tall.. but he makes this face when he lays on it....

Peaceful cats sleeping with sad dog nearby....

... I should say 'when he gets the chance.' Because you just know who lays on it the most, right?

That shadow is the ears of a dog not laying on the bed due to cats.

It took a while for us to noodle around to convince ourselves to actually pay all that money... but we are really glad we did.  We'll be saving up our change so we can get more of these beds.  I want to give a special 'thank you' to Logan's mom and also Frank's mom for their recommendation. We are THRILLED with our Big Barker and can't wait to order more!

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you have a big barker? Do you need one of these beds!?!

Editors note: Your attention please! This is a sales post with affiliate links!  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. I'm supposed to tell you that if you order anything using these links than I get a tiny percentage of the sale and doesn't cost you once cent more. 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. You can order anything you want and need to purchase anyway. I never know who orders what. THANK YOU for your purchases! 

 Editors note2: I know I never do this...but if you were the person that bought something very very expensive not too long ago from my page... I want to thank you so much. Really. Have no idea who you are as I do not see any order detail.... but a thousand thanks for thinking of buying it thru my affiliate link. *gives hugs* 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Killing Cousin It... with fire.

When we first moved here we quickly learned that the previous owners had intentionally planted every single noxious, invasive plant known to man. I'm sure they thought they were just installing easy to grow plants. Nope. They were growing my own personal hell. And I'm allergic to all of it. Wormwood, wild ginger.. it's all horrible and everywhere.

My arch nemesis.

Sure they didn't intentionally grow the poison ivy and sumac that is everywhere... but they sure didn't do anything to stop it. Don't even get me started on the honeysuckle. Or the Virginia Creeper.

But the wisteria.... they did that on purpose.

We call it Cousin It because it's shaggy, misshapen and completely out of control. We were pretty sure it was about to pull the trellis over at one point. So something had to change. Cousin It had to go.

But to answer your question, the the goats wouldn't eat the damn thing...and I'm not particularly sure it would be good for them anyway. So that was not an option.

At first I just started trying to keep it trimmed. Later I started hacking away at it to cut it back to a reasonable size. Then it started fighting back. It got everywhere.

It's like the Terminator. It just keeps coming....

The vines sprouted up 30 feet away. Then they came up on the other side of the garage. That was the point where I was just about done. This winter I went out there and used the sawsall to cut the major branches and the base trunk hoping the freezing temperatures would help kill it. Then I started cutting back all the new sprouts. Mowing it down? You betcha. I had some success but it just kept coming. Then I decided to fight it mano y mano.... with fire. Me and Drogon went out there to do battle.

I'm not saying that it was wildly successful. But I am saying that I've finally put a dent in it.

The hard part is that the birds build nests in the upper branches. So I had to be careful not to have any roast chickens or whatnot. I concentrated all my fire power on the base of it. I think we may have success if I keep up with this this summer.

Operation Carthage is next.

It has to die at some point, right?  Because my next step is Operation Carthage and I will salt the ground around it until there is nothing but a barren wasteland......

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you fighting the good fight?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Our beloved Bobbi BarnCat...

This is her smiling. Our beloved Bobbi BarnCat... the grumpiest of them all....

Doesn't her smile warm your heart?

We have loved her for her entire life and this is how she looks at me. Resting Bob face we call it. Bobbi and Shine are our barncats and while Shine, King of Barncats, is the most loving, interactive, hard working, rat killing, bunny destroying barncat of them all.... we honestly don't know what Bobbi does all day. No clue.

I'd love to put a cat-cam on her to find out but we can't even handle her. If she needs vet care we have to trap her - which results in a lot of crying and not only by Bobbi.

 Our Shine, the light our of farm.

The other day she and Shine walked very deliberately up into the Upper Garden and convened a very important meeting. When I went up there to find out what they were doing.....they both sauntered away, dubious of my reasons to be there. Bobbi gave me the above loving look. And I was grateful that I even got that much from her.

Peep, giving serious attitude for ten years.

I should point out that Bobbi and Shine are from the same litter as our Peeper.  Peep knows how to throw massive shade... and who's tortitude is legendary. Mrs. FluffyPants, their mother, came back for Bobbi and Shine... but Peep was abandoned for sure. That is how we got our Peep. We saved her from certain death. Weeks later Shine and Bob came back as healthy, spunky kittens and became barncats.

Shine loves agribon.

The first time I saw Shine he hissed at me but then he warmed up to us and became our best buddy. Bobbi, tho, has no hoots for us at all. Of course she will come when my husband calls her but mostly she gives me mean looks.

Happy Sunday everyone! Do you have barncats? Are they worth their weight in gold? Do they give you mean looks?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The entirety of my peach harvest.

Here it is. The entirety of my peach harvest this year......


Yep. Just one lone peach. One. And the bugs got it. I had one more peach on that tree...but it fell off. So I lost half of my peach haul this year.

Remember back in the day when that poor little tree was breaking under the weight of a peach bonanza?

So what happened? Bad weather. We had that very very late frost which pretty much killed off the blossoms. Around here the only folks with peaches are the ones who lucked out... or who irrigated their orchards to hold off the frost.

It's pretty frustrating when things don't work out. But onward and upward!

The heat will start coming on today so I'm running out early to get some work done.

Happy Thursday everyone! Did you get one lone peach? A whole basket? Did you make peach pie?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I swear I'm not doing it on purpose....

I dunno, man, it just kind of happened..... it just....broke.

It's like some kind of curse.

In the meantime, we are prepping for some very hot weather - the warmest of the season. Thankfully we got a really good rain the other day - a real soaker. So I don't have to worry about the garden bursting into flames. I'll probably run the sprinklers for a while tho - just in case. And I'll be keeping an eye on the barnyard to make sure everyone lives thru this hot spell.

How do you keep your barnyard from flopping over dead in the heat? Here are a few tips to help you out. Basically give them shade, water, and every opportunity to make it thru these hottest days. Make sure everyone stays calm and try to keep everyone from running around.

All of our heat related losses have been from overheated meats. This is why we prefer to grow out meat chickens in the late fall/winter. For us it's just easier to keep them warm then to try and cool them off. We also prefer cool or cold weather butchering than trying to do it in summer.

I love summer so much.

Guess I won't be doing any tilling until my husband can fix they pull-starter-cord-thingy. But I have tons of other work to do...and I need to get out there early. I'll also be eagerly awaiting the delivery guy...more on that later.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you keeping cool? Are you waiting for the delivery guy? Don't you just love summer?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Now THIS is a ham slab!

This isn't even a ham steak... it's a ham SLAB!

Yes. It's that big. Bigger than a plate. Isn't it beautiful. It tastes like victory.

Why aren't I talking about pigz this summer? Not getting them. None. Nope. Nada. Totally pig free. How do I feel about not having pigz? Fantastic. 

Don't I even feel a little bad? Nope.

After this misadventure I don't need to see those porkers for a good long time. As long as the freezers hold out we are living high on the hog and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

So far it has been a terrific pig-free summer. If you want to try your hand at pigz, tho, please check out these fine posts and I'll tell you all about it.

Happy Thursday, everyone, who wants a slab of ham?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I love summer.... peppers!

I love summer. I love summer food. This week we got our first peppers The best way to fix them.... grill them!

Spice them up!

I spiced them up. For lots of reasons our favorite spice mixe right now is Penzey's Arizona Dreaming. It is just terrific. I love Penzey's so much. They have the freshest and most flavorful spices. Friends, stop what you are doing right now and clean out your spice cabinet.You should only have fresh spices. There is no prize for having spices older than the dog. Fresh spices. Get them every season and you will not regret it.

Then grilled them up. The little bit of char makes them good.

And made tacos....

I absolutely love summer food. Now if the tomatoes can just start coming on I can make the salsa to go with this. 

Today will be another summer scorcher so I'm heading back out. The dogs have been getting me up about 5am so I'm focusing most of my work in the early part of the day. I'm actually hoping for some storms this afternoon - we could use the rain.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you grilling your peppers?

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Great Shed is upon us....

Zander and Kai are both blowing their coats at the same time......

....it's a LOT of dog hair. 

Sooooo.... sooo much dog hair.  I could probably make a new dog with this.

It comes out in big Bub chunks. 

Kai does a funny wiggle when I'm brushing her out. The rake makes a lot of noise but it doesn't hurt her. Ti is the one panting and he's just mad that Kai is getting all of the attention.

Pretty much the entire world is covered in dog hair right now. I use one of these to get their coats brushed out. I think they look funny with out their under coats. I've been giving Kai funny brush outs... it's kind of like having a topiary.

Of course I'm gathering up all the fur to take out along the property line. We need to defeat the evil Bunny Empire. 

Happy Monday everyone! Are your dogs feeling the heat? Are they losing their fur in big hunks?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I love summer...... sweet corn!

This is it... summer is officially in full swing. Yesterday I got some of the first summer sweet corn.

The best way to make corn on the cob? Grill it. 

Earlier in the week someone gave me some fresh, ripe, sweet peaches. Peaches and sweet corn? It is definitely summer now. I love summer so much. The last couple days I've gotten up early in the 5am hour, worked outside, and have had a big grill up for dinner. There is nothing better.

It's been a hard week for our country. So I think it's important to remember there are a lot of good people in the world. During the recent tough days I had no fewer than three different people (strangers) call me "honey" or "dear" during normal conversations, a random person shared their blackberries with me, and while I was in the grocery parking lot a man cut me off as he was leaving. We happened to be at the same traffic light and he got out of his van, walked back to my car... and apologized.

There are a lot of good people out there. We should not be overwhelmed by the evil that some do. If you are feeling helpless in the face of these hard days then be the change you want to see. Reach out to someone who needs it. Go out of your way to help someone else - even if it is something small, like taking their grocery cart back for them. Don't wait for others to make things better - you make things better in your own world.

We are all in this together. Now get out there and enjoy summer!

What's on your grill?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Got some bargains at the local farmstand.... much better than that whole zucchini episode..

You can't beat beets!

I've been eating roasted beets in everything. And I get to make pickles today..... anyone else so happy to see folks selling extra produce at the farmstand at the end of their driveway?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Me and the mower.......

This happened..... apparently the mower and I have a failure to communicate.  Don't worry, I got the big hammer and fixed it. Again.

So, you wanna, dance, mower? Fine. Let's do this thing...

Yesterday hubs and I spent two straight hours mowing. Both of us, at the same time, with dueling push mowers. While the yard looks better....and the big hill down to the pond low looks like a charming, park-like setting... I hate the mower. I hate mowing. Having grass is stupid.

One of my goals in life is to never spend another valuable moment of my life mowing again... or maybe have only enough grass that it only takes about 15 minutes with a push mower to mow.

I went on a significant rant about the folks around here and their unnatural devotion to mowing here.

It's just stunning to me. There are hungry people in our community but the nearest biggish town doesn't even have a community pea patch or garden. On the way into town you can see yards that are several acres.... all in perfectly mowed grass. I would think that people would have something more important do do with their time.

Are there fruit trees? Regular trees? Interesting shrubbery? Nope. Can't mow under a tree so all the houses around here look like they were randomly dropped on a putting green. I just think it's weird. With every single step all I can think about is how I'll never get that time back..... so me and the mower continue our fight.

And before anyone says it, I will save you the trouble. NO! The goats do not get out there and evenly trim the grass down to an acceptable level. At this point Debbie and Nibs are on a Performance Improvement Plan as neither of them are even grazing the bramble. So everyone who is a ruminant is in trouble.

Me on the other hand..... me and the mower will continue to fight about it.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Are you wasting your time and money mowing? Do you hate it also?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Updating salad bowls.... and projects around here.

Remember these salad bowls?

They are going full steam ahead.... but are just about over picked. 

I know someone who grows a lot of lettuce and she said you can typically get about 3 clippings before the plants just get over leggy and need to be replaced.

Mostly stems and not leaves.

I was trying to keep them going for longer than that but it seems like these are at their ends. Also this green and red leaf lettuce is starting to look a little heat stroked. So it's time to change them out.


Good thing I have another tray of seeds started...of romaine which is probably a little more robust. I'm hoping it will hold up to the heat.

Why didn't I just start the lettuce seeds in the planters?

Because the existing leaves would block out their progress. So starting a tray is just easier and more effective. So that is what I was working on... but then it rained and we all had to run into the house.

What else is going on? Lots. I moved the fenceline for the small yard by the Turkey House. Pretty much just the geese are on this side now and I have a "secret" project going on with the Turkey House. It's almost done.

I see dog butts..... all day. Hey you guys, grab those buckets for me!

But in the meantime we didn't need that fence so the "new" area is much larger. Kai and Zander spent about an hour going around and sniffing and peeing on everything. This is not a new area for them - just the fence was moved. It was big fun.

One of the things that we did not do well with this property is have a yard where we could just let the dogs out to do their business. Right now they just walk directly out into the main area of the yard and can go off in all directions. This was not a problem when we just had Good Dogs #1 and #2... but Kai and Zander are a little more adventurous so they need to be escorted... or in a secured yard.

We never created that secured yard. Mostly it's because of the weird layout of this place. There was no easy way to pull our vehicles into the drive,  get out, and walk directly into the house if there was a dog yard enclosing the house. There is not another door to let the dogs out into a place where they are secured.... so it was always just annoying.

I'm working on fixing this. I also learned what a joy it is to have all the dogs underfoot... no, really, I like it. All of us out there together. But I couldn't do this before because the chickens would wander into may work area.. or Kai and Zander would wander off. And since they live up to their reputation as Silent Hunters... I would turn around and they would be gone...and I would hear chickens screaming.

So fencing a new dog yard that does not make it annoying to walk into the house has been a priority.

We are also working on a project in our downstairs. Unfortunately we do not have a cool, old farmhouse.... we have a 1980's split level. It's very annoying and as heaven as our witness we will never, ever have another house where you need to walk up a flight of stairs to get inside. There is no "ground level" main floor.

I think technically the downstairs is a "daylight" basement with a door that goes directly outside. But it is so ineffectively placed that we do not use this door. So it's up the stairs to get out ... or down the stairs to get downstairs.

Our Shine, King of Barncats, did not ruin the carpet...but he would given the chance.

The best thing about this house when we got it was the downstairs. It had a nice, dark green rug in a big open room with the wood stove. However, because we live largely like unsupervised teenagers with a pack of cats *points to The Insane Cat Posse* we have entirely ruined the carpet. What we did not ruin was extra-ruined by the last be rain that we had.

We lost power for a couple hours and so the sump pump stopped working and we got some water in the basement. If you are reading this, and I know that you are, I should have listened to you when you said you got the battery back up sump pump for your house and that we should get one too. We did not. And now the carpet needs to go.

We have, however, decided once and for all that we are not carpet people. We both hate it. Mostly it is just a big trap for all the dirt and mud I drag in, all the dog hair, and probably a lot of cat barf. I would like to just burn it all. And I might.

My Most Excellent Good Dog just wants me to throw the ball. But we are limiting his running.

We would move to all hardwoods (the bamboo hardwood from Lowes.. it's magnificent) except that Dog#1 and Dog#2 are both getting a little older and are having trouble on the slippery floors. So that is not an option for us.

But ripping out the downstairs carpet is.... and so that is what we are working on.

Not much of a farming update but that is what I'm working on. Not too long ago we looked around and said, 'you know, we need to get our act together.'  We've both been working so hard and focused so much on our farm stuff that we let our home stuff go right out the window. We need to get back on track.

Sometimes I'm not sure what to talk about here. I consider my non-farm life pretty much nobody's beezwax... but I also was reminded that I started this blog as a way to record our life events. So right now it's not very farm-y but it's what is going on. Hope that is OK.

And now... I'm going to run outside and change out some old lettuce for some new starts..and then think about what to do with a huge pile of bad carpet.

Happy Friday everyone!

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