December 9, 2009
The winds are whipping across the farm sideways. We had wind gusts up to 35 miles an hour. The snow (yep our first official accumulating snow of the season came this morning) is blowing in from a Nor-eastern direction and baby it's cold outside.
If I didn't have to get out in it I would be one happy camper. Alas, there are those out in the barn yard who depend on me to weather the elements and feed them.Though have to say they didn't stir til later in the morning I did have a slight break with a later start.
Update on Dad - no blockage, no leakage, though his current pace maker will need replaced. Appointment scheduled for Thursday to move forward with his treatment.
The better half is shut down in the blizzard conditions of the winter storm up in Illinois. Thankfully he found a truck stop and parked where he will have access to the basic neccesities when needed.
A perfect day for holiday baking...I am heading to kitchen, have a great day!
December 8, 2009
Really amazing if you ask me. : -)
December 7, 2009
This is Selena our new Shetland ewe. She is a sweetie.
Another of Jackie & Selena
And yet another of Jackie and Selena...a bit closer.
Bonnie Lass begging for Sundance to come visit (the girls are all in heat). And believe me they can smell him which makes things worse.
Till next time...have a very good one!
October 16, 2009
October 15, 2009
Gom and Gommin may have also originated with the Germans in the 1700's. Gomb and Gombed is old Hungarian for button and buttoned up. Gombed also meant getting the button in the wrong buttonhole, thus it was all gombed up. The ex’s family is of German descent so I am thinking that is a more accurate definition.
Any hoo the point of all this is that a messin an a gommin seems a fitting description of my little break from blogging. Things were definitely gombed up around the ole farmstead. Still are a tad bit, though beginning to see a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.
Figure most of you know that the better half is a trucker. If he doesn’t drive there is no income. For the last month there has been little to no freight, which means little to no driving, which means little to no income. Which everyone knows what that means. Times have been a bit stressful and a bit of a struggle, though we are blessed in many ways. If we did not have the farm and were not semi self -sufficient things would and could have been so much, much worse.
With the better half home we were able to accomplish much more work about the farm. He repaired the tractor and got a bit of bush hogging done, did a bit of storm clean up, brought out the chain saw to cut downed trees, repaired some fence and helped his mother and sister put up electric fencing at their cabin in the woods. We started winterizing (seemingly right on time) the shelters and buttoning things up for the upcoming cold months. Still much to do, but content with the much that was done.
He even found down time to go fishing. Fishing was a 2-fer (2 in one) for him. He spent quality time doing something he loves and normally doesn’t have the time to do. Was with his brother and brought home a wonderful dinner and fish for the freezer. I have to say that the trout and catfish were delish!
Over the course of the last month we have had some oddities occur concerning the goats, not only with our goats but also other farm’s goats. Three (3) different goat owners called to discuss medical and health related goat issues. With each one of the farms reporting a loss of 3 or more goats to a sudden onset of an unknown illness. Breaks my heart to say we also lost 2 of our dairy goats, Isabella and Sunday Sunshine to what seems to be the same. Thankfully the better half was home to help during the crisis.
Another oddity that occurred was finding one of the Angora’s shed his fleece. I do not mean like a dog with little bits of hair falling but the whole fleece at one time. Actually I ended up rooing his fleece. I noticed he had a stray bit of fleece hanging off his back leg. I took a pair of scissors out to remove the stray bit. When I grasp the bit to cut, it came out by the handful. I had Dear Son hold him while I roo’d. The ends of the fleece (next to the body) looked much like the Shetland’s after the greasy rise occurred (grease and all) as if there was a break in the fleece like the sheep have. There were no visible reasons for the shed, no lice, skin ailments or health concerns. The underlying fleece is healthy, thick and in excellent condition. I am leaning towards it not being a health related issue.
So do Angora’s shed their fleece or is it normal?
In doing research on this there seems to be much discussion between Angora owners about this. Some maintain that the goats shed regularly others say no. Then there is the opinion that "Angoras will sometimes lose their hair from disease, a change of climate, a change of weather even, or a sudden change from a continued dry food to green food, etc. This may appear at any time of the year, regardless of the season."
It is the first time I have had an Angora shed. He is a younger goat, 2 years old, has been sheared twice yearly up to this point. The only change in his routine was in the boys being separated and penned away from the girls.
All the bottle babies have now gone to their new homes. With the sale of the babies we are back up on milk for the kitchen and it’s time to get back into the swing of making cheese, yogurt, etc. I made a big batch of vanilla goat milk pudding and a Crème Brulee Pie with the first gallon of extra milk. Sooo good!
I did say in my last blog that I would blog about the Celtic Festival this time. The festival was September 12th. My goodness it’s been over a month ago. We had a great and very enjoyable day out. The better half took a day off the road and Dear Son took the day off work to attend the festival with me. We met Tammy at the festival. Arriving about an hour later than we had planned. Yep, the professional driver took a wrong turn that put us about an hour late. It embarrassed me to no end. We were suppose to help Tammy set up her booth.
We set up a small table of our wares across from her booth. We were able to visit a bit on and off through out the day when there was a lull in the crowd. I took a bit of Llama and Angora fleece, an Angora pelt, peacock feathers and the remainder of my goat milk soap. The peacock feathers were a big hit with all ages and the soaps went quickly. The guys watched some games, walked the vending rows and ventured over to the Clan village. They also sampled all the food from the neeps and tatties to the Scottish Eggs and fish and chips. I splurged and had oatmeal shortbread cookies, a coowich (a highland beef sandwich kinda like a sloppy joe without the tomato sauce) and bought a very large bag of Kettle Corn to take home. Talked with many about fiber arts and crafts. Met some nice folks, visited with some we had met at previous festivals and petted all the animals attending the festival (my very favorite part ;-).
I know I seem very long-winded today don’t I. Guess I go too long between posts and have so much I want to share.
Yes there is more.
Saving the best for last. I am so happy to say that we will soon be adding 2 more Shetlands to our flock.
Selena is a Fawn Krunet ewe. I chose Selena for the reason many may not, she has not settled. I personally do not care if she ever breeds. At this point I am more interested in having an older ewe to lead our little flock and in her fleece than having babies. Isn’t she just lovely!
We met Jackdaw at the Celtic Festival. He is absolutely gorgeous! Totally adorable! Jim didn’t hesitate or even bat an eye saying yes to when Tammy mentioned selling him. I do believe the better half was so very impressed by the spotted ram! I can't begin to tell you how excited we are about the new additions.
September 17, 2009
It’s been a little bit of everything going on around the ole farmstead. Had a few ups and downs, a few ins and outs, even a high and a low.
We switched our hay provider about 2 weeks ago. Found a really good, pretty green, sweet smelling, orchard grass mix. Wrong thing to do with our bunch. Guess it was so good, they liked it so well, they over ate causing a few to come down with the scours or the pasture poos as the better half calls it. Not a pretty sight let me tell you. One would come down with it, I would get them cleaned up and straightened out, then another would have a bout with it. Yeah, I kinda felt knee deep in it.
More new baby chicks and peachicks hatched out. The new layers we picked up at the Cackle Hatchery in February have begun to lay. Happy, happy with that. Back in the swing of things with egg production now.
I managed to work through the entire stock of raw fleece we had stored away. This year was a lesson learned. Fleece Lesson - Do not store the fleece in the better half’s workshop where barn cats can go. Yep, the barn cats have access to the shop and found the stored fleece very, very inviting. So inviting they set up house. Seems a few bags of fleece were torn open and used as a warm cozy spot to have kittens, a warm cozy place for all of them to bed down in, plus used as a litter box. To say the least I was not a happy camper. I did try to save some of the fleece, after the 3rd wash and the awful smell was still there…I gave it up.
The last of summer’s harvest, a few zucchini are awaiting being worked up. Will be grating and freezing for winter baking. Zucchini bread…yummm.
We have had unexpected company in and out. The better half’s sister from Kansas came for a short visit. I love this sister. She is not afraid of the animals, getting dirty or being on the farm. Her husband is a cowboy. Really a real cowboy. They live on and he works cattle at a huge ranch some where on the Oklahoma Kansas border.
If you have followed the blog for awhile, you might remember each year (well the last 5) the weekend after Labor Day we have our big fat Irish family gathering. Everyone gathers together to attend the Southwest MO Celtic Festival. Unfortunately this year we did not have our big fat Irish family gathering. Dad’s health would not allow for the work involved in the family gathering or Festival. However we (better half, dear son and myself) did attend the Festival. Saving that for the next blog post.
Still have bottle babies and a few does nursing kids. We lost one doeling, to what reason I am totally clueless. So sad and frustrating, though won’t and can’t dwell on it, is part of the circle of life on the farm.
Good news is that we have sold all of this year kids (6). They will be leaving the end of this month once weaned. Plus have sold 2 of the milk does. Actually I made the decision to sell the milk goats due to my wanting to buy a new addition to the Shetland sheep flock. I am so excited. Will tell more on this too in the next blog post.
I wish you could see the pigs (camera not working at the moment). They are fattening out quite nicely. Will be ready for process mid October. They are quite the handful. I highly doubt we will raise 10 at a time again. As they age they become more aggressive, destructive and of course we all know why they are called pigs…they try to eat everything! That too is another story in itself.
Hope everyone is doing well and preparing for the change of seasons. I am so looking forward to fall. Til next time…have a good one.
August 25, 2009
All Things Goat is a new online magazine with news, photos, recipes,and feature stories about meat, fiber, and dairy goats.
"The target audience for the web site is people who are knowledgeable about goats and those just becoming interested in goats. While also showing those who have never thought of goats how our caprine friends improve the quality of life for many worldwide.
All Things Goat was created by Naimhe Jeanne and Martha Ann, both who believe in the humane treatment of goats from birth through death, regardless of whether they are a pet or raised for milk, meat or fiber."
August 18, 2009
August 17, 2009
So we adopted another one, no, not a goat, a dog.
He is a Papillon or Butterfly dog. 3 yrs. old, weighs in at a whopping 4 lbs. They said his name is Maximillion, but I call him Dinky Dog.
The little guy was not in too good of shape when he arrived. His coat was in mats, his teeth were dirty, hair had twisted down around his gums causing an infection and extremely bad breath. To say the least the little guy was suffering.
We shaved him down, cleaned him up and did a bit of doggie dental work. The vet looked him over(I love our vet, for a rescue they do the initial exam free for us), gave him an antibiotic for the infection and diagnosed him with HTS. That is Hanging Tongue Syndrome (I am with you on this one, I’d never heard of it either) which seems to be common in some small breeds. His tongue hangs out all of the time due to his having a malformation of the lower jaw. The lower jaw is half the size it should be. He can’t completely pull his tongue in his mouth. Looks as if he is perpetually panting and he drools, a lot. He will go in for neutering when all health issues are cleared.
To my surprise Dinky gets along well with all others in the household. Not sure if it is due to his size (so small) that they feel he is of no threat or they honestly like him. Now that he is feeling better he has a healthy appetite and is a playful, happy dog. He zips around, in, out and under the furniture. He loves to be held (almost fits in one hand) and cuddled.
Oh I know and totally agree that you can have too much of a good thing, at times I do believe I am totally out of my ever lovin’ mind. We now have 4 housedogs. Dinky makes the 3rd small dog we have rescued/adopted. Buster Brown (Lhasa Apso) & Claire (Shih Tzu) are the other two rescues. The 4th housedog is Benjamin my 14 yr. old Shih Tzu.
August 15, 2009
To Do List:
Paint milk stand
Paint shearing stand
Card washed fleeces
Wash and card more fleece
Work on a few craft projects
I might even watch an old movie (I just love them) and veg on the couch one evening if things go smoothly.
The better half is working over the weekend and on his way to Wyoming, another big Woo Hoo! A long trip with many paid miles. Things are looking up.
Dear Son is leaving on a 3 day road trip to meet up with his friends from TN. He is still experiencing a bit of culture shock in moving from the big city to the boonies. A weekend away will do him good and brighten his spirits.
You might remember I mentioned we had a few new peachicks hatch earlier in the spring. I have been hesitant to talk much about them. Many do not survive, never sure any will. Our peafowl are free range, never caged or penned and they roam our 15 acres. At nesting time the hens hide their eggs and the chicks from us. When the hens do bring up the chicks for me to feed, they are a bit older, larger and normally those are the only ones who have survived. Sad we lose some, we just have to look at it as survival of the fittest.
This year 3 chicks were brought up to the barnyard. To my surprise we have a new color in the birds. Well, different color I should say. A Cameo also known as Silver Dun is not a new color in peafowl, though new to us. It is a gene mutation of Indigo Blues. Not sure if the Cameo is male or female. It is just lovely, a cream color with brown markings. I think I actually prefer the Cameo to the whites we had.
Ever had a naturally polled goat? We haven’t, but we do now. Another recent discovery and surprise to us is that Violet’s (who is a horned goat) triplets are all polled. Not a horn tip or nubbin in sight. There are little smooth bumps under the skin where the horns should be but they are not coming through. The better half was so impressed he is now keeping Wisteria as well as Brownie. The polled factor had to come from the buck that my friend bred Violet to. All the goats in Violets pedigree from our farm were horned. I don’t have much information on the buck that she used so I am just assuming it from his side.
Wanted to take a moment to say welcome to and thank my new followers and readers for visiting. Also to say thank you to Tina from A Blip on the Radar and Nancy A Shepherd's Voice... for trying my Blueberry Orange bread recipe and mentioning us/it on their blogs.
If you have time and want to see a blog full of complete cuteness, stop by and visit Rose at Rose's Life on the Farm scroll down to the baby bunnies and the most adorable baby goats I have seen in a very long time. And I can tell you I have seen some adorable baby goats in my time :-)
August 14, 2009
The wool after it was spun had to be put into skeins. This involved wrapping it on a large spinning type wheel called a weasel. The weasel was used for measuring yards of yarn. It would pop every time it passed one yard. Children would help their mothers wind wool around and around the tool, counting the pops.
All around the cobbler's bench
I've no time to wait, and sigh,
A penny for a spool of thread,
You may try to sew and sew,
All around the cobbler's bench
August 12, 2009
Dear Son had an employee’s meeting to attend, then was spending some quality one on one time and dinner out with my parents so I took advantage of the quiet time!
Back when we sheared the last two of the sheep (Aberdeen and Kelly) I had quickly skirted their fleeces and tucked them away in bags. While pulling out the bags I ran across another fleece a friend had given me a while back. I thought I would compare my skirting ability to the skirted fleece of my friend. I guess "quick" is the key word in the first sentence above…Aberdeen’s fleece still had long bits and pieces of hay, a couple of heavily soiled tags and I even found cockleburs. My friends skirted fleece barely had any bits and pieces of any VM. This tells me I need to do 2 things - pay more attention to details and will need to re-skirt all fleeces I have stashed away.
I washed Aberdeen’s (moorit brown) and Duckie’s (black) fleeces after skirting them.
The first wash and rinse water was dirty on both fleeces, but oh my goodness, Aberdeen’s was absolutely filthy compared to Duckie’s fleece. Besides being super VM collectors I guess our sheep get much dirtier here at our farm too.
I found that the skirting table also makes an excellent drying rack.
This is Aberdeens fleece after being washed. The colors are a bit off since I am using no flash and in the house. Looks more red here in the photo but it is lovely shades of brown.
I also tried a new technique in washing the fleece. Previously I had washed smaller sections of the fleece, placing the sections in sweater/lingerie bags. This time I placed the entire fleece in the washer, no bags. It worked well for me. Seemingly getting them cleaner quicker with less soaks and rinses. I am not sure this technique will work on the Angora fleece, but it works well on the Shetland.
August 9, 2009
My back can't take using pruning shears to cut every blade of grass around here so I decided to let the pigs out. Yep, 4 legged mowers should do the trick. I moved the Angora bucks from their pen, opened a gateway from the pig pen and let them have it.
With the rains we have had, grass and weeds still growing, what I hadn't managed to get mown in the last couple of weeks is now about knee high. I do believe the pigs will do a fine job. Should have all mown in about a week :-)
If you didn't know, pigs love the green stuff. Fresh green is best, but they will also eat hay, grass cuttings, etc. In the olden days some used pigs to till their fields.
We let the pigs run around our gardens in the spring and root it up. Makes tilling easier.
Sister also came to visit for a week. We worked on a few craft projects. Finishing the skirting table was on the top of my to do list. The photos don't really show the details but it is finished.
My great niece and Eeyore our donkey, goat guardian
And a not so lovely photo of me, milking. Sister loved this photo due to being able to see the milk flowing from the udder. This photo is actually about a year old. I remember doing this, just not her taking the photo. This was when I was breaking Isabella to the milk stand. See how high my left arm is...I am blocking her back leg from kicking or stepping in the milk bucket with my wrist. Where her leg would go, my arm followed.
July 30, 2009
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine egg, orange juice, water, butter and orange peel. Add to dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour into a greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack.
July 27, 2009
This week I am hoping to give the milk room it's yearly coat of paint and concentrate on yard work in between all other activities.
Normally about this time of year the weeds have died off, grass and pastures are brown and crunchy under foot and we wouldn't have to worry about mowing or weeds much longer. Surprisingly things are still growing strong this year. Grass and pasture is still lush and green. The wildflowers are still blooming. And the weeds... well, they seem to have a strong hold and are everywhere.
July 21, 2009
It has been crazy, busy, non-stop here lately. With a little bit of everything thrown in…the good, bad and the ugly.
The weather lately has been absolutely beautiful here. Truly amazing weather for July. Not out of the 80's during the day and in the upper 50’s to low 60’s at night. Sunday we actually tied a record low temperature. I have gotten so many outdoor projects done and have enjoyed doing them. Today they say we aren't suppose to get out of the 70's. It's just wonderful, rain and all!
Not sure I mentioned but Dear Son found a job shortly after his moving home. The job is not quite up to his standards (half the pay, no benefits) compared to his last position. But like I told him, even though it was not exactly the job he wanted, it’s a start, it’s a job and it’s money coming in for him. Moving from the 4th largest city in TN out here to po’dunk MO I feel he is blessed to be able to actually find something so quickly in this economy. He can continue looking for something equivalent to his previous position in his off time. Kind’a like wing walking, you don’t let go of one ‘til you have a hold of the other.
He has been driving the farm truck back and forth. The farm truck is a gas-guzzler, a 1 ton, 4-wheel drive, dually. Perfect for all the heavy-duty farm work we put it through like hauling the livestock and hay trailers, the weekly run to the feed store type work. But so not good for driving back and forth 40-50 miles daily. It takes about $80 to fill. Way too expensive for our budget, draining the wallet quickly.
We have been working on helping him get transportation other than the farm truck lined up. Geez, anyone been vehicle shopping lately? You know how expensive vehicles are, well, reliable, decent vehicles? Not to mention all the other necessities that are involved like tax, title and license.
After a bit of time we were able to locate him a reasonably priced, decent used vehicle. All the particulars should be finalized in the next day or so.
Another bottle baby came our way a week after Violet and the triplets. The little guy, we call him Little Buddy, I think was actually close to being Floppy. (When you get a chance and if you are interested google Floppy Kid Syndrome in goat kids.) It was touch and go for awhile. Many late nights bottle-feeding every 2 hours and much worrying on my part. Happy to report he is now up on his feet. Not quite as coordinated or active as he should be, but still doing 100% better. He is going back to the breeder as soon as he is weaned.
A local kennel I have worked with in the past called for assistance a couple of days ago. Had a 5-day-old Shih Tzu male pup with eating problems. I tried to save him, but it was not meant to be.
We lost a feeder pig. The crazy thing somehow got his head stuck in the fence and choked himself to death. Of course has to happen when the guys aren’t around. The neighbor was nice enough to come get him untangled and dispose of him properly.
Things have been slow going out on the road for the Better Half. Low miles, doing a lot of sitting out there. Sitting around in the semi gets on his nerves, let’s say he has not been in the best of moods lately. If the wheels aren't turning he is not making money which makes him cranky.
Have made a bit more progress on the skirting table. Stretched and covered the top with chicken wire. Over the edges of the top and wire I cut and placed some spare trim molding we had. Have still to paint the molding and add a few finishing touches. Dah me, really should have painted the molding before I cut and attached them. Would have made things much easier.
July 14, 2009
Grandma's Blackberry Preserves.
Combine 2 quarts berries, juice of one lemon and 5 cups sugar, let stand overnight in refrig.
Heat slowly to boiling. Cook until syrup is thick. Stir frequently.
Skim, then pour into hot sterilized glasses and cover with parrafin.
Makes 6 - 6 oz. glasses.
Grandma’s Bread and Butter Pickles
4 Qt. Cucumbers in chunky slices (or thin if you prefer)
1 medium onion cut fine
5 cups vinegar
5 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. whole Cloves
1 tsp. whole Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
3 tsp. Salt
Mix vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a large non-reactive stock pot. Put spices in a spice bag. (Spice Bag -A cheesecloth bag with a closeable opening or a piece of cheesecloth tied with a string to close) Add spice bag to vinegar mixture. Heat to boiling. When boiling add cucumbers and onions. Return to boil again. Boil 10 minutes. Remove spice bag. Can in sterile jars while hot.
July 10, 2009
July 9, 2009
I was just telling the better half I was concerned about how much milk we were not going to have this year. Sarah Beth being retired and drying off, Isabella developing udder issues due to an udder injury last year after kidding- with only half her udder producing (just enough for her babies) and Barb... well as I expected Barb is not pregnant, just purely fat. This means we have little milk for dairy products.
Just so happens a goat friend from a neighboring town calls me on the morning of the 4th. She was frantic. Said one of her goats had just unexpectedly kidded 10 days early. The doe had triplets and seemingly was not producing any milk for the babies. Would I come get the babies to bottle raise. Happy to lend a helping hand, over we drove to help out and pick the babies up.
When we arrived at her farm I immediately recognized the goat as Violet. She was a doe our registered Nubian buck had sired. Violet’s mom was one of my friend’s Boer doe. That would make Violet a Nubian Boer cross.
At the time Violet was kidding, my friend checked Violet's udder for colostrum. Violet gave her nothing. Due to working away from the farm my friend was overwhelmed with just the thought of having to bottle feed triplets and worried about Violet not producing much if anything at all. She said take them all (Violet and babies) home!
Things were not as bad as they seemed. Violet is a first freshner with what looked like a small udder in the beginning. She just needed a bit of time to bring her milk down and a bit of TLC. Also starting her on a different feed routine and changing her over to Alfalfa hay helped.
Violet and babies are doing great. The smallest triplet is in the house being bottle-fed.
Meet Violet and her triplets, Brownie, Banner and Wisteria. Dear Son named and claimed the bottle baby, Brownie. The Better Half named the little buck Banner, as in Star Spangled. I named Wisteria in keeping with the purple color.
Violet checking Wisteria, 3rd born, doeling. Banner, second born, little buck is in front of Wisteria (he is so little he was able to crawl thru the cattle panel).
Banner carries his grandfathers coloring and some of his markings.
June 28, 2009
June 26, 2009
I’d like to thank Gizmo over at Gizmo Quilts for bestowing me the Honest Scrap Award. The idea behind the award is that you share a bit more honest information about yourself.
Here are the rules:
First, you have to tell your readers 10 honest things about you they may not already know.
Second, you have to tag 10 people with the award.
Third, you have to let the people you've given the award to, know that they've received this award from you.
Finally, make sure you link back to the person who awarded you.
Here are 10 honest things about me:
1. I feel it is so very important to be thankful everyday for what we have been blessed with.
2. I worry obsessively about my family and my animals.
3. I think the better half is the most generous and kindest person I have ever met.
4. I like my animals a lot better than I like a lot of people.
5. I talk to my animals like they are people.
6. I read a book a week.
7. I really don't like to go shopping.
8. I really, really don’t like to travel.
9. I’d rather be at home on the farm than anywhere else.
10. I don't know my own cell phone number but still know my late grandparents phone number from 30 years ago.
In no particular order here are the 10 other bloggers who I'd like to bestow with the Honest Scrap Award. I know some of you dislike the passing on of awards and meme’s …though if you feel so inclined, are up to it, grab the icon and go for it.