June 30, 2008

My Heart Hurts

In Memory of Amanda Willapeaks Bon Bon
Black and White AKC Shih Tzu
May 1994 – June 2008

My precious girl was laid to rest Saturday June 28, 2008.

Amanda, a part of me went with you, a part that time can't and won’t heal. I love you little girl. I miss you so much. I was so blessed to have you in my life.

“Therefore the death of man and of beasts is one:
and the conditions of them both is equal.
As man dieth, so they also die.
All things breath alike,
and man hath nothing more than beasts..."

Ecclesiastes 3:19

June 25, 2008


The better half is on vacation. We shall call it a working vacation. It is not a relaxing, get away from it all vacation. It is a work on the farm vacation. It includes things like delivering goats that have been sold, fixing fence, cleaning out goat poo from shelters, cleaning up things around the farm and small odd jobs that have been put off forever. He also has to have his yearly Dr. and Dentist appointment. Each and everyday there is an appointment, obligation or something on the calendar that has to be done. Looks like there is only one day he will have to relax and to hang the sign out…

June 12, 2008

Raising Pigs

Each year we bring in a pig or two (this year 5) to fatten for fall processing. Seems to be the norm for most folks who raise their own, buy in spring, butcher in fall. We did consider the idea of breeding our own pigs, but the goats seemed to take over and push that thought to the back of our minds.

The pigs have proven to be more than the obvious, ham, bacon and prime pork cuts for the freezer. They are just as handy as a garden tiller. Actually better than my Troy-Bilt tiller right now, it is in need of a few repairs. They also give back to the land (their manure) while rooting, chomping and wallowing away. It makes prepping the gardens much less labor intensive for us. They have done a wonderful job and we will continue to use this method to till our gardens from now on.

We also consider them our garbage disposals in a way. We did not opt to have a garbage disposal as a kitchen appliance in our new home due to composting and raising the pigs. The pigs love the extra whey from my cheese making. We feed them scraps (no meat or bones) from the table, leftovers not eaten and all of my OOPS. (Oops are any foods that I might find not suitable to serve– for what ever reason...may be burnt, undercooked, not seasoned properly, first time new recipes tried that were awful, pretty much all mistakes from the kitchen.)

Our very first pigs were Lucky and Matilda. They were purchased when we toyed with the idea of raising our own pigs, they were to be our breeding sows. Two Yorkshire, good ole girls, not tame as pets, but I raised them from weaning age so they were mostly tame. (I don’t have photos of those girls, the computer from those days crashed and burned leaving no photos.)

Next were Beans and Bacon (no photos, same computer). Then came Pork Chop. Pork Chop was the year we only raised 1, she was let to run loose on the farm. Thankfully her time for processing came shortly after she rooted up the water lines and the garden fencing.

Still thinking we could raise/breed pigs; we experimented with Pot Belly’s. Found the cutest little fella named Earl. Earl was to be the breeding boar. He began his life as a pampered pet pig in the city, then when they couldn’t handle him we brought him to the farm. Why someone would want to have an intact male pig in the city is beyond me. We then added 3 Yorkshire cross gilts, Petunia, Pansy and Penelope for Earl to breed.

Never having a male pig on the farmstead before, Earl was a learning lesson. OH my goodness, male pigs stink! They stink worse than any buck(male intact goat) we have raised. The odor was repulsive. Earl only had one thing on his mind, well 2 if you count eating. He would attempt to breed anything that would stand still, our lawn furniture, picnic table, laundry basket…it was not safe to be around the little guy, pet or not. He just loved you way too much. We found Earl a new home, in turn raised Petunia, Pansy and Penelope for the freezer.

Oh and by the way, Pot Belly's can be raised for butcher. The meat is just as good, though not as plentiful and more expensive to process per lb. , portion control may be a way to look at it.

Last year the two girls we raised for the freezer (Ham Hock & Baby Back) came from a similar cross breeding Yorkshire/Pot Belly. We purchased them from another farm. The girls grew well and fast. The only draw back was their legs. They had full size Yorkshire bodies on itsy, bitsy, tiny Pot Belly legs.

This year the five are from a local farm that raises breeding show stock. Yorkshire and Hampshire, 4 barrows (cut males) and 1 gilt (young never bred female). I am considering keeping the gilt for maybe breeding in the future. But not sure we can tolerate a full size breed of boar on the farm. Really have to think it through.

This little piggy went to market ...

Haven't named the group of 5 yet. Any suggestions?

We are raising 3 for our family, 2 for neighbors. Having 5 is a new experience also. There seems to be more competition between them. They are growing more rapidly than when there is 1 or 2. Of course they will eat more, root more, play more and also are heck on watering. We finally invested in a childs wading pool so they would have water to wallow in.

June 10, 2008


If you like to cook, like collecting recipes, enjoy reading a blog, try visiting


Now for the tamales.

She has a recipe for using goat meat in tamales. Try it, you might like it.


Wild Flowers

Just thought I would share a few of the wild flowers we have around and about the place. I am not the best photographer, so I apologize for the poor quality of photos.


Wild Carrot or Queen Anne's Lace

A fence line of pitted morning glories

We call these Blacked Eye Susans

Hope everyone has a beautiful day!

June 9, 2008

A Delightful Busy Weekend

It is always a pleasant surprise when the phone rings and it’s the better half saying," Guess What I am on my way home!

The weekend weather wise was NICE! No rain until Sunday evening. That allowed us to do some much-needed work with the goats and around the farm.

Beau our silver Angora wether (the only wild child in the Angora herd) was in dire need of being sheared. He is a yearling, from another Angora farm/breeder who does not handle her goats as often as we do. Hoping he will settle soon. It took both of us to get him on the grooming stand, plus one to hold while the other sheared. Well, not so much hold as to make sure he didn’t step off the side of the stanchion and hang or hurt himself. Bless his little woolie booger heart, he did the best he could to stand still. He is now sheared, up to date on his vaccinations, hooves are trimmed, had his de-worming meds and de-licing preventative. He went through the check for pizzle and hoof rot. Checked his eyes, ears and teeth. When they are the wild type like Beau, once they are on the stand they get a thorough going over. We prefer to only stress them when necessary. I imagine Beau thinks once every 6 months is too much.

His fleece was not too matted nor did he have much VM as I had expected. He did have more grease in his fleece than I expected. I was so impressed by the shiny grey silver color and the tight curl to his locks. I skirted about 25% off due to his belly, britch and lower legs being extremely stained. His bib and brisket weren’t as bad as I thought either. We feed molasses based mineral licks and the bib has a tendency to collect the sticky supplement.

Put Them to Work

While in town running the weekly errands Saturday afternoon, actually getting a plastic child’s wading pool from Wal-Mart for the pigs. Yep, it comes in really handy as a swimming hole for the pigs. We ran into Jim’s nephew with his new fiancĂ©e. Nephew passed on word of Jim being home to other family members. So Sunday the guys arrive to visit with Jim.
Jim’s theory - put them to work, they can visit while they work. They helped band and vaccinate the last of the dairy kids. Now the 3 remaining kids can move on to their new home. Matt also examined, cleaned and treated Isabella’s teat wound, plus gave her a shot of antibiotic. He seems to love to do these things. Hey it helps me, I don’t have to do it and being a para medic by profession he is good at it.
The guys worked on the tractor, did a bit of routine maintenance to the Dually and added 500 lbs. of feed into the pig feeder. The only task on the To-Do list that was not accomplished over the weekend was getting the lawn mower started.
Next Sunday is Father’s Day. Jim most likely won’t be home. We had invited Dad and Mom out for dinner, an early Father’s Day dinner. Since the guys were here working we had a nice family dinner. Jim grilled pork steak and chicken, so I didn’t have to worry about cooking much. Did make potato salad, deviled eggs, a salad and created a new dessert.

Took sponge cake cups (like you can use for strawberry shortcake) filled the center with a dessert cheese (a goat milk ricotta, powdered sugar, coconut concoction) then topped it with Cool Whip. It was pretty good if I say so myself. Light and not too sweet, excellent for a hot summer day dessert.
We also had watermelon. Watermelon is considered an outside food for Jim and his male family members. It is only allowed during Bar B Que’s and picnics. The guys still seem to find much enjoyment in having a watermelon seed-spitting contest, much to my dislike.

For Father’s Day we gave Dad a 30 qt. Outdoor fryer from Bass Pro. Most call them Turkey Fryers or Fish Fryers. I do believe he was happy with the gift. It is hard buying the parents presents. They are at the point in life they buy what they want, have collected all they need over their 57 years of marriage and normally don’t mention things they would like to have.

Jim is wanting an automatic pig watering system for his Father's Day present. Do believe I will oblige and began price comparison shopping this week.

June 6, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

Here are the newborns. Look at those little faces.

Rain Rain Go Away

OK, here’s my little rant for the day…heavy rains, flooding, storm warnings, mud, muck, YUCK!

On the brighter side, it’s Friday. Going to be a well deserved pizza and a movie night.

Poor Isabella
I went to milk yesterday morning and Isabella’s teat started leaking like a sieve. I looked down and the poor girl had ripped it almost in half. I about threw up and passed out right there on the milk stanchion. Made a flying trip to town to get super glue, antibiotic ointment, butterfly bandages and an antiseptic spray.
A few years back one of the other dairy girls had poked a hole in a teat, so through that ordeal I knew of the super glue trick. I feared Isabella had cut it too deep and using the glue would completely glue the milking orifice shut. I picked up what is called New Skin, hoping that would help also.
I tried my darnest to get out there and fix her up. Just couldn’t stomach it, so I called my friend who doesn’t mind it. She came over and we did the best we could to repair the damage. So far so good, I am hoping that she heals quickly.

If the forecast of no rain holds out to be true for tomorrow I need to get to work in the garden, clean out the milk room and give the goats their de-worming meds.

Just listened to the news, holy cow on the news of the increase in price of oil. Glad I am a true homebody.

June 5, 2008

Thinking Out Loud

A Short History of Medicine

I have an earache...

2000 B.C - Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D - That potion is snake oil. Here swallow this pill.
1985 A.D - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D -That antibiotic is artificial. Here eat this root.


June 4, 2008

Feet Hit the Floor Running

These storms we have had of late are totally wearing me down slick. Not sure if it is stress, the interrupted or lack of sleep. And I really don’t know why I have such an aversion and fear of storms (one day would like to find out). I do wish I could just relax while Mother Nature does her work. But nooooooo, have to be the worrywart, pace the floor, jump out of my skin at every lightning strike, scaredy-cat. Being a light sleeper doesn’t help either. I hear others say they slept right through it. Wouldn’t that be so nice.
It wasn’t until we moved out here to the boonies, did thunderstorms bring on a new meaning to us. Anymore if thunderstorms are in the forecast during the late night hours, we unplug every electrical device we have before retiring for the evening. The lightning travels through our phone lines and has fried 3 telephones, 2 motherboards, 1 modem and 2 TV’s with 2 satellite receivers. Expensive, yes.
I try to make a point of watching the local evening weather to prepare and unplug. Generally they do a decent job on the forecasts. Last night, not so well. Supposedly the storms were moving out of our area and we were in the clear. Relief from the rain and storms. Yee Haw!!! No need to unplug.
About 1:00 a.m. the rumbling and thunder boomers began. Baby, one of the outside dogs who shares in my fear of storms started her door clawing to be let in to safety. I jumped out of bed, scrambled to the front door, then started my unplugging marathon. About 4:00 a.m. the all clear was given, storms had passed.
One of my aggravations during the storms is the fact we have no television reception. Having to unplug the phones, computer, satellite receivers and TVs leaves no communication with the outside world. (Even if storms are not that severe and we don’t have to unplug, we lose the satellite during heavy cloud or overcast conditions.) We have a small TV in the guestroom that has a set of rabbit ears I try to tune in any off air local station I can. Usually no such luck. Occasionally can pick up audio but definitely no video reception. Being down in a valley leaves a lot to be desired on reception. Plus now with the new changes in Feb. 09, off air channels will no longer broadcast in analog. Grrrrrrr! Radio reception is another lacking or non-existent luxury down here. I do have a small portable AM/FM/weather band radio that if I stand in one particular spot in the house has been my saving grace for keeping informed. I find the spot, turn the volume up and lay the radio on the floor and try to go about my business (usually pacing) while listening for weather updates. If you had not guessed, cell phone reception is null and void here also. To make a call from any cell phone, you have to drive a mile up our access road turn left out onto the country gravel road, drive down 7/10’s of a mile and there is a spot…one spot by a tree you can find a signal, on a good day.
After the all clear, I decide to take 2 Tylenol (the migraine was mostly gone, but I still had a slight nagging dull throb) and go back to bed. Just maybe, be able to relax and sleep quick until the alarm goes off for morning milking. 6:00 a.m. comes rather early doesn’t it?
The ringing of the phone wakes me. I jump up and run to answer it. It was the better half asking if I was awake. He asks this reluctantly knowing I am an early riser, though I am not a sociable morning person. I answer NO. He apologizes for waking me, also in the same breath asks if we were OK after the storms. Yes. After the short but not so sweet conversation my head began to clear. Gathering my wits about me, I heard the dairy girls hollering. I look at the clock it was 7. I had forgotten to plug the alarm back in. I had over slept an hour.

Don’t Make Me Break Out My Flying Monkeys

Been one of those days I tell you. I have been battling a migraine all day, so I have the disposition of the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s this crazy weather; the barometric pressure is messing with my head.
That's the same color I felt today

One of the ugliest dogs in the world had puppies today. 5 pups, one didn’t make it, so there are 4. Two look like their pops from next door a solid white Great Pyrenees. The other two take after Sadie their mom a ½ GP ½ Anatolian Shepherd.

Backing the boat up here to explain the Ugliest Dogs In the World. We adopted 2 pups, sisters, ½ GP ½ Anatolian Shepherd. After their arrival to the farm they came down with an inherited disease of the immune system. Fast-forward over 2 yrs. the girls after many and various treatments lost all hair and became very ugly and pathetic looking dogs. The worst part was they could not be spade due to the severity of their disorder when they were younger. Too sick, we were instructed to wait. We obviously waited too long and unfortunately did not catch their first heat due to both girls now being bred and having pups. Hannah fell in love with the beagle from over the hill (that was an odd mix, though were 3 cute pups). Sadie fell in love with the next door neighbors G P.

Sometimes taking a nap will help ease the pain of my migraine. So after the morning routine was complete I decided to lie down. I don’t know why it is, BUT any time I decide to attempt to take a nap the phone begins to ring off the wall. I should have known better, well guess I should have thought to turn the ringer off.

When All Else Fails…

Seemed a nap was to be out of the question, so I stretched out on the sofa thinking I could get away with closing my eyes for just a few minutes. An unexpected movement outside of the living room window caught my attention before I even leaned back... a goat, not just any goat, but Axle. 250 lb. South African Boer.

How did he get out of the bottom pasture and up to the front of the house?

Better yet... there was the rest of his little herd following behind him. OK, bribe time. On with my rubber boots, out to the feed room, get a bucket of feed and start calling the goats. They must have sensed I was not in the mood to be bothered. They followed promptly and single file back down to the bottom pasture. Good goats.
How they got out is a story for another day.

With all of the rain we have had, plus the warm temps (in the 90’s today) the grass has now practically become waist high (I exaggerate...it is only knee high). I despise walking through it. Ticks are heavy this year. Plus I have a great fear of snakes laying in wait. It is that time of year they are slithering around. Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl. Really needed to mow, headache or not.

The riding lawn mower went down at the end of last summer. It went down hard. Jim hadn’t made an attempt to get it back up and running, so I assumed it would be a drawn out process or an expensive part to fix it. Guess not, he sold it last weekend. Now all we have is my push mower. Decided to pull it out, start it up to mow a path from the house to the bottom pasture. Yeah right, it wouldn’t even burp for me. I being so not the mechanic know it was pointless to even waste my time trying to start it.

So what is a person do?

Open the gate to the bottom pasture and let the goats out to do what they do best…4 legged weed eaters.

Today was to be the day we were going to band the boys and give their CDT shots. It takes two people, it is rather difficult to band and hold the goat at the same time. Plus to top it off you guys know I can’t give shots.
Matt (better half's brother) volunteered to come over to help. I absolutely love to have his help for CDT’s. He is a Para Medic and can breeze through injections like nobodies business. He doesn’t hurt them, doesn’t leave a lump or mark. They don’t even know they have been stuck most of the time. I also find comfort in the fact he would know how to handle shock in case one of the kids had a reaction.
Adding insult to injury... he had to work an extra shift and couldn’t make it.

June 3, 2008

Buns In the Oven

Rain and storms again yesterday. The storms put a damper on my working outside. To try to take my mind off of the tornado warnings and thunderstorms I worked in the kitchen.

To date, our local rainfall amounts are 12 inches over the norm. They say we could go without rain for a couple of months and still be ahead of the game.

To keep or not to keep, that is the question.

We have been debating on whether or not to change Angora herdsires. Can't make up our minds if we need to band The Sundance Kid (need to make a decision before it gets too late) or if we need to sell Copper Top. I am wanting to concentrate on black and white fleece in the Angora herd, Sundance would be the black herdsire we need. We have Copper Top a faded red, no black in his lines, though I am impressed with the kids he has produced this year.

Copper Top needing sheared.

Copper Top sheared

Copper Top scratching an itch

Look at the curl in the boys fleece. This is 2 days after shearing.

We could keep Sundance and Copper Top both as herdsires. But I don't really want 2 Angora bucks on the place. One of the issues I have with Sundance being herdsire is that he is a bottle baby. In our experience bottle baby bucks have a tendency to be more aggressive, more destructive, more annoying really. All bucks we have had with the exception of Axle and Copper have been bottle babies and they have been royal pains in the tuckus. Axle and Copper are the sweetest boys.

Gearing up for Cheesemaking classes.
Wanted to make sure I had all supplies, equipment and cultures needed. Have 3 students signed up. (I know not many, but it's a start).
Hoping to have the recipes and syllabus typed up before mid month.

Cheese Recipes

Natural Cottage Cheese

1 Gallon Goat Milk
Juice of 2 lemons
6 Tablespoons cream (optional)

  • Heat milk to 186 degrees.
  • Slowly add the juice of two lemons, or about 1/2 cup.
  • Cool until it can be handled.
  • Drain, rinse and salt if desired and add cream.

Use fresh as any cottage cheese.

Vinegar Cheese

1. While stirring frequently, heat one gallon of milk to 185 degrees F. (I use a homemade double boiler - pan inside of a pot)

2. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar, stir briefly. You should see curds form immediately.

3. Allow to set covered for 30 minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined colander.

4. Tie cheesecloth and hang to drain. (about 6 hrs. or so)


  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup lemon juice

1. In a heavy saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Watch carefully to not let boil over or scorch. Add lemon juice and stir until small curds separate from the whey, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Let sit 10 minutes so curds can develop, then drain into a colander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. When cool enough to handle, tie up opposite ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze out remaining liquid.

3. Place paneer, still in cheesecloth, on a plate. Flatten to 1/2" thick and top with another plate. Rest something heavy on top of the plate and let sit 20 minutes.

4. Pour off any liquid that remains and refrigerate overnight, or use immediately by cutting paneer into 1/2" cubes and frying gently in oil, turning to brown each side.

Note: You might notice in the recipes that cottage cheese, vinegar cheese and paneer are basically made with the same ingredients. Though ingredients are the same the final product and type of cheese you end up with depends on how long you drain, if you press or crumble the curd, etc.

Note: Which is best white vinegar or lemon juice? I have used both, there is a slight difference in the taste, but not a noticeable one.

Note: When using salt in cheese recipes, it is best to use a cheese salt or sea salt.

June 1, 2008

Around The Farm

The peacocks are still strutting their stuff. All of the peahens must not be setting. They are extremely vocal and active today. At feeding time I noticed all were down from their perches early. When the boys are competing for the courtship honors they can rough house more than usual.
One of the boys decided I was deserving of his attention.

Showers and storms began yesterday afternoon, lasting til the wee hours of the morning. We have been so blessed as to only have thunderstorms with the worst of the weather missing us. I don't mind the rains, just stress during the severe weather warnings. Those nights are sleepless and stressful.

The pigs are the only animal on the farm that like the rain. The day after the storms, they are doing what pigs do best, rooting around in the mud and mess.

Miss Piggy, one of our feeder pigs.

Surprisingly Olive had the new babies out and about this morning. I was able to grab the camera before Olive decided it was time to take the babies away. You can barely see the chicks. They blend well into the background. One chick is directly behind her tail, the other three are following thru the grass. Yeppers, the little brown spots, the ones you wouldn't have any clue to as what they were if I didn't point them out.

In the photo below, one chick is at her tail, one is by her right foot (it is a lighter yellow than the others), the other two are at the end of the white vinyl.

That is as close as I can get without her whisking them away to safety. As they grow and start mainstreaming with the flock, we are planning to catch the babies this year. We have had so many people want peachicks, we think we can tame a few to sell. Think is the key word. We will see if we can.

I told Jim we are going to have to prepare a few roosters for the pot. They have decided to roost on and sleep in the nest boxes. Which aggravates me to no end. They leave their calling cards and the eggs are dirtier than normal. It's time for them to go!

The hens are now offering a dozen a day. The one little egg in front is actually a banty egg. The hens are one of the few farm animals that do pay their own way. The eggs sell quickly at $1.50 a dozen. By selling what we don't use, it pays for a portion of the feed bill.

Today's offering of a bakers dozen.