Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Haul

The kids got invited to a friend's house to play this afternoon and I got to have a little time to myself. It's wonderful and I was so excited that they got invited out to play. I hope they're on their best behavior and having a great time.

I decided to take the time to go see if Lowes had their cold weather veggies in yet. The broccoli and cauliflower did so well in the fall that I want to put in another round of them for the spring. They were in!

In addition, I got more collards and kale, since mine are being sluggish, swiss chard, since the ants and slugs ate all my seedlings, and brussel sprouts, just for fun. I bought the seed potatoes to plant in about a month and onion sets which are bigger than the ones I started from seed.

I also got 2 more blackberry bushes. Over the years, I have probably tried blackberries 10 times with no luck, but I'm determined to make it work!

Scilla, our new little Alpine, is a sassy little vixen. She came to me with a good bite out of her ear, which was reopened by a run-in with Kat. It's finally almost healed up, though she'll never have hair on the top of that ear again.

A couple of days ago, she ended up with this scrape to the inside of her leg. I'm guessing the older girls ran her through the Christmas tree or she did it in the stall waiting for her grain. I know that's how she re-opened it this morning. The stalls are made of rough-hewn lumber and she and Phoebe are always standing as tall as they can on their back legs until I get there with the grain bucket. I want to start feeding them on the stand, but haven't managed to get them through the gate without being pummeled by Kat or Onyx.

But Scilla just can't leave well enough alone. She goes out of her way to taunt Kat and Onyx and push her limits with them in every possible way.

Asher is doing well. He's learning what "leave it" means with treats. I'm going to have to parlay that into what "leave it" means for chickens.

I felt bad for him this afternoon. I was trying to bring a bin of chicken food to the hen house and Scilla, Phoebe and Onyx decided it was time to romp around me (presumably to see if they could get me to spill the content of the bin). One of them, I didn't see who, stomped on Asher. He cried out and growled. I don't like the idea of him growling at the goats, but this time it was well deserved.

NIMB and Privacy....hello?

I will get back to farm things, I promise, but I am just so frustrated with the world this week that I can't hold it in.

Air in a Can. Have you seen that? The smog in China is over 20 times safe levels. So here we are, screaming "Not in my backyard", shipping factories to China, shutting down coal plants, and burning up food so we can have "cleaner fuel" to gum up and ruin our engines.

Meanwhile, they're ruining the environment to their hearts' content (or their lungs detriment) over there and shipping us back poorly made crap to take the place of things that used to be made by Americans. I'm sorry, I just don't see how any of this makes sense to anyone.

And on to privacy. I believe they are conditioning school-age kids to have no expectation of privacy. Some districts are requiring students to wear ID cards with chips in them to track their location. If the student isn't comfortable with that, she gets expelled.

Then last week, I saw that a school removed the toilet paper from the boys restroom. I'm sure the stall doors had already been removed, as they were way back when I was in high school. Now seriously, what is wrong with these kids (and their parents) that they would think that vandalizing the restroom is in any way, shape, or form acceptable?

Then today, I read that a school is planning to snip 60 strands of  hair to drug test students! Drugs are bad, I get it, but doesn't my hair belong to me? Doesn't my kid's hair belong to him?

Enough ranting for the morning. I have goats waiting to be fed and milked.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Enough Phony Outrage

I am so incredibly sick of all these little kids being suspended and interrogated for toy guns, for inappropriate use of toys, for paper "guns", or even for going bang bang with their fingers!

Have these people gone completely mad? Little Jimmy and Susie Kindergartners are now terror threats? My heart goes out for these children who must be very confused and upset that they're in so much trouble for doing something so normal.

I notice that most of these reports come out of the Northeast. Is that simply a function of their proximity to Sandy Hook or a matter of the overwhelming big-government, nanny state mindset up there? I contend it's the latter.

Sandy Hook was a tragedy perpetrated by a sick man. Instead of recognizing it for what it was, the deaths of those children are being used to push this administration's unconstitutional agenda. And if a few little kindergartners get harassed in the process, it's for the greater good, right?

Stories like these make me thank the Lord that I am able to homeschool.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Puppy Pics

I haven't posted any pictures of Asher recently. He's a great puppy. But puppies like to play. When I've been out there for a while, he gets wound up and starts trying to play with the Alpines. It's driving me crazy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I finally caught it.

It's been working its way around my extended family since the first of December and has at last decided to take up residence in my sinuses.

Why is it that you always feel worse in the morning? By yesterday evening, I was feeling okay. After a little cup of bourbon (I'm convinced it's the cure for the common cold), I was even out in the pasture playing with Asher and the goats.

Now I just feel crummy. And did I mention I've been up since 6:00 when hubby's Sports Center app sent out a "da-duh-da, da-duh-da" alert? What could have possibly happened in the world of sports at 6am on a Saturday that would justify a push notification?

It's going to be a two-cups-of-joe morning to get the energy I need to get going today.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Billy Goat Stink

I smell like a billy goat. Every sweater and coat I own smells like a billy goat. I put on a clean pair of jeans in the morning and by breakfast they smell like dirty dog and billy goat.

And I'm sure my nose is semi-used to the odor so I wonder what I must smell like when I go out in clothes that I think are clean.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Around the Farm

Onyx is still so funny- always standing with her feet in a bucket. She is having the hardest time adjusting to Phoebe and Scilla and torments them mercilessly. Evil doe.

Kat went into heat again last weekend. I'm starting to wonder if I'm ever going to get her bred again! She really needs to freshen. I need kids to sell and would like to be getting more than a quart of milk a day from her for the next year.

It makes me glad I bought the Alpines since I don't know if Kat will get bred and still don't know whether Onyx's left half will come back when she freshens. The vet gave her a 50/50 chance. It's a good thing I like her, because she has sure been trouble. If I ever buy a doe in milk again, I will require a CMT (California Mastitis Test). Live and learn- and lose a lot of money before you've learned. I want two doelings, hear that Onyx?!

Some of my dear friends lost their pygmy doe on Monday. So very sad. She was pregnant and they think she lost her mucus plug on Saturday. Then the breeder came out and said she had severe diarrhea. So severe, that it was just water and it was impossible to tell whether her wet tail was kidding related or sickness.

They are first time goat owners like me and my heart just breaks for them.

I better get my act together and go milk. It's cold out and I have been dreading going out in the mornings. And it's been taking so long to get chores done because I have to separate the new does to give them their grain and usually end up having to do some puppy training too. I can't wait for everyone to acclimate.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spring is Just Around the Bend

One nice thing about living in the south is that winter doesn't last long.  This is the first daffodil of the year. The buds are getting fat on many of the others too. Last year, the first daffodil was on December 31. I never could decide if it was the first daffodil of the year or the last.

I have a tradition of sending a picture of the year's first daffodil to a friend in Michigan. Today I got a "phftt" in reply. Perhaps that's cruel of me, but I just can't resist.

One of my peach trees has popped it's buds and the apple tree is starting to bloom. Last year the apples were ripe in June! The blueberry buds are swelling though the two oldest bushes don't seem to have many flowers this year.  I'm hoping for no late freezes.

Phoebe and Scilla are settling in well. I just love them to pieces. I need to get my disbudding iron and other kidding supplies ordered. That may have to be the plan for the evening.

I am also drying Trixie up starting today. I have a couple more weeks before it's absolutely necessary, but she's practically dried herself up anyway.

I had some issues with Asher yesterday, but a few dominance exercises seem to have turned him around today. Perhaps he was just tired of the cold, wet, and gray too. It's still cold today, but doesn't seem nearly so bad with the sun shining.

Oh, and the sun sets at 6:00 today!

Monday, January 14, 2013

They're Here!

I know I've been saying that I'm getting two Alpine goats. I think people were starting to doubt me, but they're finally here! Their breeder texted Sunday that they were both pregnant and I am tickled pink!

Here is Phoebe (I changed their names a tiny little bit):

And this is Scilla:

My sweet boys dragged the Christmas tree down so they could browse through the fence while they get to know the other goats.

Buddy, our rent-a-buck, thought I brought the girls for him to play with. He hasn't quite gotten the message that they're already knocked up.

We put Onyx in with them for a little while and that went quite well. So the boys decided to try Kat too. Bad idea. Buddy sneaked in while they were bringing Kat in and Kat will do whatever is necessary to maintain her position as herd queen. Much chaos ensued until we were able to first chase Buddy out, then lead both senior does out.

I know there will be a little fighting as they establish rank, but I do not want roughness to lead to miscarriages. And, well, they just don't need what Buddy has in mind for them.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Play Dates

This is not really a farm related topic, but it's something that's been bothering me and I've been thinking a lot about it since the kids asked if "So-and-So" can come play today after church.

Why do people never invite my kids over to play?

I have kids come and play at least every other week. For a while there, I had a child come play every week! And not just come here, we went bike riding, we went out for icecream, we went to visit other farms.

Is it really so much to ask to invite my boys once and a while?

Do other people just not ever have kids over to play? I can't believe that's the case. I hear other kids talk about going to people's houses.

Do people just not want to invite both of my boys since they are twins?  I've had many siblings over.

Do they think my boys won't have fun since they don't live on a farm? Kids are happy for a change of scenery and to play with someone else's toys. I guarantee, mine do not care if you live on a farm or in a shack, they just want to hang with their friends.

I can count on one hand the number of times they've been invited to someone's house to play and it would take more fingers and toes than I have to count those I'm invited here.

I don't mind having kids come play. My boys love it and I like introducing children to experiences around a farm that they've never had. I think it's good for kids to have other adults invest in them.

It's not good for me to start feeling resentful because nobody reciprocates or for my kids to start wondering why nobody ever invites them over.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Will the Sun Ever Shine Again?

It's warm but so, so bleak looking out. I've had my fill of winter. It is getting hard to stay motivated and get anything done.

There's not too much new going on around here. Asher is settling in well. He's such a good little pup so far! Trixie is getting very wide. I only have 2 more weeks I can milk her before I need to dry her off. Kids in March, yay!

Kat finally decided to sample the annual rye grass I planted for them. Up til now, only have chickens have enjoyed it. Sure is a pretty color though. Maybe I just need to sit out there and stare at the spring green. 

We cracked a couple of Chase's duck eggs. I was amazed at how clear the whites are. Unlike chicken eggs, they are completely transparent.

I am hoping Cole's silkie roosters get here today. I first inquired about them on December 17. This is taking entirely too long especially considering that all 3 of his hens are broody now. I think I'll give them a few Marans eggs.

How do y'all stay upbeat and motivated in the winter? I need tips.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Update on the Orlando Veggie Garden

A few months back, I posted about this couple's vegetable garden. They planted their entire front yard with yummy veggies, but the city declared that they must dig it up and put in grass.

Looks like the fight is still on. It's sad that we don't really have any say over what we can do with our property. I think the whole dang street should dig up their lawns and plant vegetables!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gratuitous Puppy Pictures

Things are going will with Stone (I think the name is gonna stick though part of me wants to call him Asher).

He whimpers a little bit when we leave him, but otherwise seems content to be in the barn with the goats. Unfortunately, he's still small enough to squeeze through the fence- and has on a few occasions. That won't last much longer I'm sure.

A pallet makes a great chew toy.

"Did you see that, Mom? I got it, I got it. I showed that woody thing who was boss."

We did some practice with the leash this morning and he actually started walking around on it. Baby steps, I know.

I am terrified of screwing things up with him after our nightmare experience rescuing a dog. Basically, she was a bit of a nightmare dog. I am reading all I can online, but I would welcome any tips or suggestions anyone may have.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Our New Addition and Venison Stock

This is our newest little (for now) addition. He's a great pyrenees pup we got to be a livestock guardian dog (LGD). With the investment I have in the goats, I cannot bear the thought of losing one to a coyote.

The little guy is in a stall in the barn tonight. I made the mistake of going to check on him about 8:30 and he cried the whole time I walked back to the house. Note to self- that was a mistake.

I hope he settles in okay. This is the first night away from his mama and he's pretty much on his own. I did a supervised introduction with the goats and Kat still managed to give him a good head butt. I know that will go on until he learns his place in the herd, but he's still so small, I don't want them to hurt him.

I have also been working on all this venison stock. I have 21 quarts of it canned so far and one more batch to go.

My mom's harvest gold pressure canner.

And don't forget the deer jerky!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time for a Trim

The girls' toes were getting a bit long so I decided today was a good day for a hoof trim. I got Kat's back done, Trixie's front and 3/4 of Onyx's. I'll finish them up at this evening's milking. Onyx decided to be a pain about her back foot and wanted to kick and kick. I won the argument, but my arms feel like jello now.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Back in October, we traded one of my husband's customers 6 chickens for venison. I was not sure exactly how much venison we'd get but figured if nothing else, it would help his business.

Yesterday, he brought home 3 huge does! One had been 131 lbs. They were already hung, aged and quartered.

So far we've managed to process 3 of the hindquarters into stew meat and hamburger and get the backstraps and tenders frozen.

These are the little tenders (and my finger). Apparently, you don't get them if you bring the deer to the processors. I've never gotten one!

Here are Dad and Hubby working my grandmother's old Universal Grinder. We separated most the fat out for sausage.

Now you know how I'll be spending my New Year's Day.