Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oyster Mushrooms and Knitting

Eating wild mushrooms can be scary.  I am familiar with and comfortable eating chanterelles and lions mane, and I am vaguely familiar with a few other varieties.

Last week I saw these beauties growing on a log by my woodpile. I thought to myself "Oyster mushrooms" but didn't take the time right away to research them. Finally I sent a picture to my friend. She agreed- oysters. I did a spore print of them. It came out white as it should have. I still didn't eat them.

Yesterday I hit the mother lode. I went for a walk around the property scouting mushrooms and came across this log.

Some of them were past their prime, but some were perfectly fresh and bigger across than my hand! I snapped into action and had my friend send pictures to her mushroom expert. I sent pictures to the folks at the Mushroom Club of Georgia. Both sources agreed they were oysters.

Then it was time to research poisonous look-alikes online. Good news, as long as you aren't in Japan or Australia, there aren't any. Next I searched for cream of mushroom soup recipes! Dinner was delicious and I'm still here to tell you about it.

Another thing I've picked back up since Thanksgiving is knitting. I so loved the scarf-vest thing that Katniss wore in the latest Hunger Games movie, I decided to make myself one. I know, I know, in my other spare time. A friend of mine liked it so much, she placed an order. So now I'm working on another "Katniss Cowl".

She made the mistake of saying "you should knit socks". Now I have a bug in my bonnet to knit some socks. Do any of you have any tips for me? I've ordered some #2 double pointed needles. Said friend brought me a book of sock patterns along with the yarn for her cowl.

I better get going. I need to get Kat's blood to the post office before I milk this morning. Fingers, toes, eyes, and everything else crossed that she is pregnant. Merry Christmas if I don't "see" y'all again before then.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I visited a friend's farm a month or so back and she made me a cappuccino with her fresh Jersey milk. It was so good I dug the old espresso maker out of the attic and have been making the goat milk version. Yum!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another Case for Small Dairy

This is one of the reasons I choose not to eat dairy from huge producers. I am not fan of PETA and the like, but there is no excuse for animals to be treated this way.

And look at the filth. Of course you need to pasteurize this stuff not to kill people.

This is a 5,000 cow operation. There is simply no way to manage the health of that many animals and really know what's going on with each one.

Warning, it's disturbing.

Here's the rest of the story.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thank God for Ducks

It's still raining. I feel like hibernating. My chickens are on strike. People keep asking me for eggs and I don't even have enough for my holiday baking. Enough chicken eggs that is. The ducks are rocking along. Only problem is, now that I've raided this nest, they'll find another place to lay and I'll be lucky to find it.

We lost two out of three of Mallard Claire's last brood. The last little guy is getting so big. His voice started changing yesterday. "Cheep, cheep, cheep, QUACK". He finally decided to leave the safety of the coop and explore the big bad world with the other ducks. I just hope he found his way back in the coop last night! We were decorating the Christmas tree until after 10:00, so didn't check to be sure he found his way home. I hope he turns up today.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy December

My it's been a while since I've posted. We went out of town for the holiday and that wasn't not exactly something I wanted to advertise online.

Now I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit and I must say, I'm failing miserably. Perhaps it's that Christmas has been "on" since before Thanksgiving. I'm so sick of the Black Friday "spend your money on Made in China garbage" message bombarding me constantly.  Maybe it's this wet cloudy weather. At least it's warm here. I just don't feel in the spirit. I even went so far as to make a wreath with the boys yesterday and put Christmas music on Pandora. I'm still not feeling it.

On the farm, I have Sally here to be bred to Ike. She went into heat a few days after she arrived, so I put Ike in the pen with her. Poor boy, she tried to kill him! You see she has horns. He does not. Seems she only had eyes for Magnum. She kept kissing on Magnum through the fence and pummeled Ike each time he got close.

I decided to tie her to a post so she couldn't hurt Ike. She nearly pulled the post out of the ground! Finally, I stood- in the dark, in the rain- on the buck side of the fence and held her nose to nose with Magnum while Ike worked up the nerve to approach her again. Magnum and Moses were thrilled to have me in the pen with them and took the opportunity to rub all over my legs.

Finally, the deed got done. A few extra times for good measure. And then a few more because I didn't want to do that again. I got Ike back in with the boys and released Sally. Then I got a shower. I may have to burn those jeans.

Sally flirted with Magnum the entire next day and I feel like I should have repeated the process, but she was wise to me and wouldn't let me tie her up again. I hope ten times was enough!

It should be. Even after spending the entire morning watching Fawn and April with my friend's mini-mancha buck, Eli only got each of them twice. He's so slow! But today is 22 days after they were bred and neither is in heat today.

Here's April doing some barnyard acrobatics. She's such a cutie.

I haven't seen Onyx or Buttercup go back into heat but I'm feeling paranoid about them, so we drew some blood yesterday and sent it off for Biotracking. I'll know next Wednesday for sure. I am absolutely certain the Alpines and Trixie are bred. They're even starting to look pregnant now. Kidding around here will start approximately March 10.

I decided to move Magnum in with the girls since the only goats I have any question on need to be bred to him anyway. I'm fairy certain the only doe not bred is Kat.

I called the vet about Kat before Thanksgiving. She said either take her to Auburn University for an ultrasound and a culture or cull her. I called Auburn after Thanksgiving and got the same advice. You may recall that Kat aborted about 40 days along last fall and didn't settle again last year. She goes into heat right on schedule but nothing comes of it. She's now been bred 3 heat cycles and I still think she's open. She's the only doe that Magnum is showing special interest in now that he's in with all of them. She should cycle around the 10th if she's not bred. I'll have to haul her in to Auburn if she does.

I really don't know what to do if they tell me there is actually something wrong with her. Or for that matter, if they don't find anything but she still doesn't settle. I simply will not keep a goat here who is not producing. I was impressed that even though she didn't freshen this spring, she kept giving me a quart a day all summer, but now she is dry. I guess it's the sale for her or else have the vet put her down. Perhaps I'll be able to sell her as a pet, she's a big love. Do any of you have any advice?