Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying Goodbye to 2009

Today is the day we say our last goodbyes to 2009!

2009 has been a very rough year for us here. We've had a lot of blessings along the way that have helped me keep my chin up. A couple have choked me up in appreciation. There's been a couple times I've been choked up in fear of the situation, such as hubby's 2nd hospitalization with septicemia, osteomylitis, and diabetic ulcer. He was critically/gravely ill and it was actually worse than when he had the stroke 3 years ago and was in a coma! We're still working on healing and he's still on home IV's. He had surgery a week ago and today was a doctor visit. The ortho is pleased with the progress and said he can use just a cane now IF he can keep the weight off the inside/toe area. This isn't easy for him due to the stroke's change in his balance and gait. He can't use crutches because of the pic-line (for long-term IV's) on the inside of his upper arm. But he doesn't need to use the walker now unless it's for a long walk (like in the dr's office). He's still to be off his feet though and have them elevated as much as possible. The stitches won't come out for another 2 weeks though because the diabetes is involved and he needs stents. No insurance so the stents are on hold for a while longer which the specialist said was ok. (I'm sharing this because I hope it helps someone to be more careful with their diabetes or a family member/close friend who needs the support and more of a diabetic reality check!)

So, adios 2009! May 2010 be a better year for all!

It's the Little Things!

It's the little things that count the most at times! I am so happy that I have finally gotten my hands on the name, location and a phone number for an Amish family that butcher's chickens! They're about an hour or slightly less of a drive from me. I've been trying to track down who it is "up there" (North of me) for a few years! That being, I can now take a few more steps in my goals/plans for my chickens. Getting that is a little thing in life but it sure makes my day BIG time! Now I don't have to worry about having excess roosters (roos is what you'll typically read ;) and with the way life is going, not being able to get them butchered here at home due to hubby's health and my own disability. Now I'm hoping to find that either they are the same folks who will dispatch and dress a meat goat or they'll know who it is that is up in the same area. This little bit of info is going to help immensely!


Being I'm talkin' "cheekins" today I thought I'd post this broody hen pic. It's been around a little bit but some of you may not have seen it. You should be able to click and get a larger copy. It's not my pic but was circulated all over the net via email for quite some time. I kept a copy to use on my computer for wall paper. So I think if you'd like a copy of it for your wallpaper, that would probably be fine. I don't know who the lucky owners of this hen are, but I know there are a lot of people who'd love a dozen just like her! What a great hen and what a lucky pup!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Frugal Food Tip


I have a frugal tip for you! It use to be an annoying waste to have a piece of bread, bun or such left over in the bag and no one uses it. Then I find them molded. :( NO MORE! One, I hate giving my chickens molded bread even though I know they will pick the good stuff out and leave the mold but I do have a buck (goat) in the pen with them and he thinks it's ok to grab it from the hens and gobble it down, mold and all. Not good.

I've smartened up! There are a few ways to deal with these pieces and you can choose what works for you. The thing is to bag them up in the freezer til the bag is full or you need them. Then stick them in the oven on a sheet type pan and let them dry. When they are dry, stick them in your food processor and chop them up into bread crumbs. IF you want, you dribble a bit of olive oil in as you are doing the final chopping and then toss in some dry garlic and seasonings to taste and you'll have bread crumbs for your meat or fish. They're also good for frying slices of zucchini, green tomatoes, etc. For the veggies you'll want them grated finer. Also the finer chopping means less chance of blackened edges when frying chicken/turkey cutlets or fish.

Another method to solve the dilemma of waste is to toss those bread heels or buns in your food dehydrator or oven and then crumble them into a container for bread crumbs. When you use them you can put them in a baggie for shaking your meat/fish/veggies in and dribble some olive oil and your seasonings in and giving them a shake before adding the meat. I store my baggie with the unused bit in the freezer for the next meal I want them for. You can also add a bit of flour to this mixture if you prefer that type of coating. Do what suits your tastes!

The oil and seasonings added to your crumbs before they go on your meat/fish/veggies is they are more evenly dispersed and you have less chance of a glob of seasoning in spots and not enough in others.

Either way you want to store the excess bread pieces is fine. Do what works for you. FYI, I find in the summer that I can get some mold in the container if I'm not careful so you'll not want to use to large of a container for shelf storage.

I like the mix of different breads and buns in my crumbs like this as we have wheat and white bread leavings, and multiple types of seasoned and plain buns/rolls and loaves. I buy discounted fancy type rolls and breads at times and this mixture makes a nice breading mix. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Annually Recognized Days

Special Days
December 29 - Good Riddance Day (A new one!)
December 30 - National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
December 31 - National Champagne Day
January 1 - New Year's Day, National Hang-Over Day and Apple Gifting Day
January 2 - National Cream Puff Day and National Science Fiction Day
January 3 - National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day and Drinking Straw Day
January 4 - National Spaghetti Day
January 5 - National Whipped Cream Day
January 6 - National Shortbread Day, Bean Day
January 7 - National Tempura Day
January 8 - English Toffee Day
January 9 - National Apricot Day
January 10 - Bittersweet Chocolate Day
January 13 - National Peach Melba Day
January 14 - National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day
January 15 - National Strawberry Ice Cream Day
January 16 - National Fig Newton Day
January 24 - National Soup Swap Day

December Observances
National Fruit Cake Month
National Egg Nog Month

Look, you can still take part in the 2 for December!

January Weekly Celebrations
2nd Week - National Pizza Week
4th Week - National Meat Week and National Irish Coffee Week

January Observances
National Egg Month
Bread Machine Baking Month
Oatmeal Month
Wheat Bread Month
National Hot Tea Month
Fat Free Living Month
National Soup Month

This isn't all that goes on in January, but a few. I'll try to add more to this in the next few days so please come back and look again!

If you return before I get it done it's probably because I'm looking for some cream puffs and chocolate covered cherries! I also need to make some fruit cake and gobble it down with some egg nog! YUM! Or I may be trying to rid myself of the 2009 bad luck we've had as part of Good Riddance Day! Then we can look to 2010 as being a better year because we rid ourselves of the "ball and chain" weighing us down!

Tuesday Thoughts!

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.
There are too many people who think that the only thing that's
right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get
caught." -- J.C. Watts

(This is just tooooo true of today's society, isn't it?)

Old age is your mind makes promises your body can't keep! - Unknown

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Homesteader Book Project

"Homesteading- Old Timers to Modern Day" is a book project under way. The link is: http://www.homesteadernews.com/homesteaderbook.htm
This looks like a very interesting and worthwhile project. If you'd like to add to it, please visit the site! I've seen Lamar on my homesteading groups for some time and I would think this is legit and should happen. It is to be published as an ebook and hard copy. Participants will receive a free ebook for their submission.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I hope you have a wonderful time!
Please keep safe and warm but share a lot of hugs
with your loved ones and those special to you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Tomorrow the days will FINALLY start getting longer.

Hallelujah!

Spring is coming!
Spring countdown banner

The 2010 kidding season is finally coming (even though I'm not sure everyone is bred yet)!

What, you aren't ready for this as you're waiting til after Christmas? Ok! We'll still have 0ver 80 days to discuss the coming of SPRING starting next week!

Season's Bleatings!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Playdough Recipe

Do you have any unexpected kids that you need a small gift for over Christmas? Here's a playdough recipe that is a good one. It could also be good to give the kids some quiet time when they start to get tired if you have a place they can play with it and not mess up the carpet! (A vinyl table cloth or even a plastic table cover can be great on a tiled floor and they can sit on the floor and play with it also!)

HOMEMADE PLAY DOUGH

1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of cartar
1 tablespoon cooking or olive oil
1 cup flour
1 cup water
Koolaid or food coloring can be used to color it as desired

Mix salt, flour and cream of tartar together.
Add water, oil and food coloring.
Cook on medium heat about 3 to 5 minutes, until dough is right consistency to mold with.
Store in plastic bags or airtight containers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter on the Homestead

We got another 4 inches of snow over night and it's loose and fluffy sitting on ICE. Bah humbug! It's snowing now too. I was hoping for a couple days without all the snow as I have things that need done outside.


Priorities for tomorrow are to get the hoses out and fill the big stock tank. My mare uses it and I also have some jugs that I can fill out of it for water for the goats. I try to take hot water from the house out first for the goats but if they need extra I grab it from the stock tank. Some day I should measure the temp in the water being it has a heating element in it. It's not warm water, but it's not cold either.

I also need to clip the wings on 2 of the hens. The orpington and orpicauna (orpington x americauna) both managed to get out over night or early this am. The orp got through the netting and was up on the top on the back side and the orpicauana was on the ground outside. They messed up the netting of course and it's suppose to be keeping the owls and hawks out. So I need to do some more stretching and attaching on it but my gloves were wet by the time I got the other chores done and as going to do it.

I've had to go ahead and let my 2 milking does dry up. They've been trying to wean me lately and I suspect they are bred. I didn't milk them yesterday or today and the day before I only got a pint between the 2 of them. Bummer, because I LIKE my BIG mug of milk or 2 for breakfast and now I'll run out soon and have none for a couple months. I guess the periods without will keep me enjoying it so much when I have it and will give me a break from milking when it's so darned cold out.

The last milking was interesting to say the least. This whole endeavor only took a few minutes as I can milk pretty fast by hand now unless my hands are cold and the does don't take to it! (Can't say as I blame them but I do try to warm my hands up before I milk them... I REALLY DO!) The one doe was a bit "ticklish" and stomped her feet a few times. I just leaned into her and grumbled at her to stand still. She eventually gave up and decided I was going to "steal" her milk regardless so she gave up. This didn't take much as she sure didn't give me much milk at all. It was definitely not worth it. She also wasn't eating on the stand. So I unsnapped her short tether and had the end to put her back in her pen and off we start. BUT, as we started to pass the grain barrels she took her frustration out on my 14-15 year old Siamese who was sitting on one. That rascally doe grabbed the cat's tail hanging off the barrel and whipped her off and flung her! What a twit. She never slowed down with my leading her back to her pen and she never looked back at the cat either! She just flung her off in one quick and slick move and acted like it never happend! Maybe you had to be there, or maybe to know goats, but it was FUNNY except to poor Miranda who probably never knew what hit her! I do think the doe is trying to tell me I'm weaned.

I am really looking forward to the Spring kids! I can't wait to see what my "new" ND buck produces but also what a couple of the does produce. It will be exciting and it's something to look forward too!

I jot down so many notes about the critters in my calendar that I decided I can't do with those little pocket calendars any more. I found a spiral book type calendar that has lines and space to do those multiple notes every day. I was hoping to find one at a dollar store but didn't so gave up and got one at Walmart. The price was pretty decent ($3.97) so I "splurged"!

So much to do and so little time.... That seems to be a common denominator amongst all of us, but especially so when there are livestock to be taken care of, regardless of the weather or holiday or what. They are a commitment but one I cherish and enjoy most of the time!

I hope you all have a good weekend! I can't believe tomorrow is the 20th of December and so close to 2010!

Update on Hubby


A diabetic update that comes with the hopes that you can help encourage any relatives or close friends with diabetes to take care of their feet and their diet! It STILL blows me away that one can break their foot and not feel a thing... and a BAD break that is completely separated! That is diabetic neuropathy at work. :(

Yesterday hubby had to see the orthopedic surgeon. This was the followup to the hospitalization for the septicemia (blood infection), osteomylitis (that hubby called osteoMileyCyrus ;) and the broken foot and ulcer on his foot. The bone growth from the healing break has pushed the bone at the amputation site further out and down to the point his ulcer can't heal. The infection is clearing up (probably due to the 2 x a day IV's that are $440 each) he's feeling better. I wish they had taken that whole bone out as part of the amputation of his MRSA infected big toe and the joint below it. Had they taken that whole bone this wouldn't be the current situation. Because the joint of the bone was removed the bone isn't attached to the bones beside it so it was able to be pushed at an angle resulting in this mess. You're probably saying "wow" about now or maybe "yikes"! I can tell you it's a night mare for me!

The good news is that on Wednesday he will have surgery to remove the bone so the tissue can heal and it won't keep causing ulcers and damage. I never knew there was evening surgery but we have to be at the hospital at 5:00 pm and surgery is 6:30 pm! That's going to be a LONG day and I'll have a long drive home. I hope the roads aren't bad! Fortunately they feel they can still save his foot and just remove this bone. THANK HEAVENS for small miracles!

Also, this all started 3 years ago with his stroke. He's now 58 so it's not like he's a "real old" guy! So, if you are diabetic, have family or friends who are, please encourage them to take care of themselves as diabetes isn't just the diabetic's disease.... it's the family's disease and a nasty one at that.

Sorry for such a solemn post. But, as the saying goes, it is what it is and it's what I'm dealing with here on the homestead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

It's been a cold and busy week! I keep trying to get a few uninterrupted minutes to blog and it's not been easy! Then what to blog in a hurry is the next debate that rattles and rolls around in my head. I have so many things to blog about that choosing the best for the moment at hand isn't always easy. Some days the solution is easy and I blog more than one post and others I can't even get one done. Plus, life is good news, bad news and just the news of the moment.

As to the good news, it comes with a flip side that I can't "see"! One of those is I did hubby's last IV last night. We thought that was going to be the end of them. However, the home nurse and the pharmacist at the home med supply both have said they think it's just time for a reevaluation and he may well have another 2-4 weeks because getting the bone infection cleared up is not easy and especially in the bones he has it in (foot). Tomorrow is D day.... D for doctor! Today we only had to flush the pic-line and treat and bandage his foot. We'll do that in the am again and be to the doctor (ortho) in the afternoon, armed with a notebook from the home visit nurse which includes her notes and with the med supply companies info and phone # so I can call them asap to let them know if we need more drugs and supplies or not.

The bad news of the week is not such a horrible thing and is definitely "livable". The first is the home drug company has been taken over by another and they changed their rules/policies. The hospital, home nurse and doctors gave me instructions and all said the same..... nothing is shipped to me unless I call and ask for it! I must keep a close inventory of the supplies so I have what I need and don't run out. The company shipped supplies and drugs (2 huge boxes) and I didn't know they were coming. I had (nurse said it was ok) left hubby home for his nap and went to town (34 miles) to get prescription refills, few groceries and such. I got home after dark and drove (as usual) to the back of the house. UPS had delivered the supplies after I was gone and left them out front..... in the snow and rain. I didn't see them until the next day! Both boxes were wet and snow covered. I HATE wasting time dealing with issues like this! The initial supplies were delivered to his hospital room before he could some home. Then I called for some supplies and said go ahead and send the IV's for the next week. They (hs company) said they'd call in a week to see if we needed anything. They didn't say they would ship without a call. Lesson learned.... one can NEVER assume and especially when it's EXPENSIVE medical supplies and the IV's are $440 each!!!!! That's some antibiotic I tell you! His foot does look better though but the bone grosses me out some.

The other bad news is my 2 milking does don't want to share their lovely, delicious milk with me any more. They have been trying to wean me for a few weeks but I've just calmly resisted their efforts to tell me I'm "too old" and need to get a life. I am sure hoping this means they are both bred because I was highly disappointed in only a pint of milk last night. Those gorgeous udders are soooo shrunk up and "flabby" looking I guess I should "get a clue". So, tonight I didn't milk. Tomorrow I'll just check on them to make sure they are doing fine in the drying up and maybe milk them every other day for a few days. No matter what they need me to do for them in the drying up process, I'm still gonna miss that milk. That's my breakfast.... a nice huge glass of milk and sometimes chocolate milk. I really do like that milk!

The good news is Nipper, my ND (Nigerian Dwarf) buck seems to be getting the job done. He never pays much attention to the 2 milkers now. He gives them a cursory sniff as they go back in the pen but he quickly runs off to the other young does who have moved into his honeymoon quarters. He's sure happy having those jr does within his reach so he can sniff and blubber and do his buckly activities. He has 2 things that are important in his life.... DOES and feeding time. Oh to be so happy.... lol He has the last of the does who will be bred this year with him. The other 5 who haven't be exposed are either too small or too young to breed until at LEAST February or later. Those would be the 2 ND does and a Boer doe who will be a year in mid February and 2 Boer does who won't be a year until early August. I'm really looking forward to my mini Alpine kids come early spring. I just put the last 2 of the jr does to be bred this year in with Nipper so hopefully all are bred after this and these will too. One of these last ones is Cinnamon who is one I'm really really looking forward to kidding. I've also had someone tell me they want a doeling out of the breeding so this is my first prebirth request. I hope I get the number of doelings next spring that I had this year! I'll be estatic if I do! I'm sure as kidding time gets closer you'll be hearing more and more of how much I'm looking forward to the 2010 kids!

The news of the moment is just the usual homestead chores and doings that take much more time in the winter and aren't as "fun" to do. It's so much easier to just pop out the door and do something during nice weather but this time of the year it's a bundling up time and then trying to move "gracefully" on the slick spots and waddle like a penguin at the same time. My current pair of outdoor boots have a boot that sprung a couple holes so I've been trying to patch them. So far so good.... I found my sled to haul the jugs of water around. I have some jugs from kitty litter that are good sized I'm using. I got them and some buckets off a freecycle ad. That poor gal probably thought I was nuts to be so excited over a bunch of kitty litter containers! I felt like I'd been handed a gold mine! The buckets were all very handy all summer and now the jugs are the handy items. Buckets will freeze and split in this weather so they aren't so useable and I need to save them for summer when everyone drinks more water and I need more containers to water from.

The other good news which may not be such a big thing to many is it has been sunny almost all day! We needed that badly! Here's what I'd been looking at for about a week and it makes a sunny day good news! These dreary days just don't aid in keeping ones spirit "up". So, yes, a sunny day is GOOD news!

May you have a sunny day real soon!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Shoutout


WOW! Thank you all!



I logged in and wrote 2 posts. Then I went to view my blog and guess what I saw:

Counter: 12607

Followers:
9 - 9 Wonderful people!

You all have put a smile on my face! Thank you for a wonderful "Sunday Smile"

Goat Treats

Ann, a member of http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/packgoat/ , reported that she had some pumpkin cookies that were a little more done than she'd like. So what to do with them? She hid the evidence! Her goats LOVED them! Smart goats! I love home made cookies too and pumpkin are just yummy!

Here are some ideas of what people have reported or I've discovered that many goats like for treats! I keep a plastic coffee canister with them and when the goats are out loose, or I enter a pen, I get MOBBED! Some forget their manners and think they should stand on 2 legs with a foreleg against me for support as they reach and try to be closest to the treat jar! It makes for catching a shy goat pretty easy if the others will let you get to the shy one! Give some a try and see what is the magic fruit that will bring your goats from the back 40 or at least a running!

Mostly I use my container of treats as part of training new milkers and the pregnant juniors to the milk stand. I also give a bit of scritching on the withers and gentle pats with "goooood girl" in a soothing tone while feeding treats to the juniors. I want them to think the confinement on the milk stand is a very good thing. Then they'll be easier to teach to be handled under the belly easier. Mine especially like the fig newtons and frosted animal crackers in the treat canister.

alfalfa pellets
animal crackers
apple slices
bananas - dry chips, pieces of fresh and peels
bread
carrot chips, chunks and peels
cookies
crackers
dried apricots
dry or wilting cranberries
favorite weeds
fig newtons
frosted animal cookies
goat cookies
grain
grapes
horse treats
leaves from their favorite trees
marshmallows
molasses cookies
peanuts
pears
pumpkin
pumpkin cookies
pumpkin seeds
rabbit pellets
raisins
ritz crackers
saltines
sunflower seeds
triscuts
wheat thin crackers

Just a warning: Do NOT leave your treat container sitting where a horse can reach it! My mare managed to reach mine last summer while I was trying to catch a loose, shy goat and she (mare) quickly used a hoof to hold it while biting the lid off! I ended up with a bent container. It did soften and regain most of it's original shape full of hot hot water and a little manipulation in the sink.

Enjoy your time with your goats and taste testing the various ideas to see which are favorites at your barn too! Just remember, it's not my fault if you are mobbed and possible knocked to the ground by a herd of taste testers!

****

Edited to add the following:
ginger snaps
vanilla wafers
pumpkin seeds

I'll come back and add more if I run across more so be sure to check back. You can read the labels in the margin and click on goat treats to find your way back quickly! ;)

45 Homemade Foods You Can Make Yourself

Usually I won't post a link to send you elsewhere to do something, but this one is exceptional! It's a DIY mecca of info and instructions on making a lot of things we consider staples that our ancestors made themselves or did without!

This will be a great link to add to your favorites so you'll have the info if you happen to run out of staples in the middle of cooking too. There are several categories as it's all nicely organized for us. The categories are:

Condiments and Ingredients
Meat and Proteins
Dairy
Spices and Herb Blends (I wish there was more to this one!)
Breads and Cereals
Snacks
Beverages (Another link I'd like to see more of!)

This is the "Planet Green" website so you may enjoy exploring it beyond the DIY info of so many items we usually buy as convenience items.

45 Homemade Foods You Can Make Yourself :
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/surprising-diy-homemade-foods.html

Enjoy your exploration!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Keeping Bedding Dry - Livestock

This is an age old problem in livestock care and management! When I read the comment, I thought I'd blog about it as it's actually a problem with many species! My solution won't work for all situations but does for me in the stalls/pens in the barn. The problem is the bedding would be drier if the goats would go outside to pee or mares didn't pee so much, etc.

I discovered my solution when I was breeding horses and kept having mares foal and "flood" the stall. I would peel back the dry bedding every morning and clean out the big wet spots but there was a lot of waste of bedding. With the prices and availability for straw and shavings was escalating, I had to find a better way. I did! I was working at our horse expo when Woody Pet first came out and stopped at their booth.... INTRIGUED and thought processes zeroing in! Woody Pet is a pelleted bedding material! It is normally put in the stripped out stall and then WATER added to do it's thing and make it a fluffy bedding. I needed something to soak up "recycled water" and my mares had their certain spots they pee'd in and foaled in so it wasn't the whole huge stall needing a solution.

Woody Pet soon had off brand competition and it sure helped me out! I found I could peel back the bedding over the wet (SATURATED) spots and clean out the wet bedding. I then replaced it with pelleted bedding and waalaa I had a workable and VERY helpful solution to what had been a long-standing problem. It ended up that I could peel back the top layer of bedding and spread the wet pellets out a bit and they'd dry out pretty good during the summer. Other times I had to take a shovel full of wet bedding out but I was wasting far less than in the "old days".

Pelleted bedding made a huge difference in the post foaling cleaning of the fluids too. And now I use it with my goats and it's helped tremendously with them too!

If you are in a quandry over keeping your stalls/pens dry, you might try the pelleted bedding! Just do NOT use the pellets made for woodstoves as they have additives for burning that you don't want your animals getting in contact with. Stick to the actual bedding pellets. You can top them with shavings or straw so you are wasting less bedding from those infamous wet spots.

It will make your job cheaper and easier in the long run too!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Wimps

What do my chickens, goats, cats, and dogs all have in common?

They are winter wimps! Here we are having a snow storm (which is about blown over) and NO ONE wants to go out side their snug quarters! Heaven forbid they'd get a foot, hoof or paw in the snow that's up past their fanny! Heaven forbid the heavy winds would ruffle their feathers or fur or worse!

An my horse goes out and stands in it to paw in the snow looking for some tidbit and paying her round bale apart. If needed she tucks her tail and turns her rump to the wind and takes a break. She could go stand in the back of the barn but she's the only one here not a wimp!

I am glad I started bird feeding early this year. The birds seem to be enjoying the food and I'm enjoying watching them. The numbers have increased today now that the wind is reduced significantly. I had a blue jay in today too. I've not seen the 2 little squirrels. I thought they'd be back for the corn but they may be hunkered down too.

Then, there is the human wimp who wishes winter was only as long as the winter holidays .... ME! Yes, I've turned into a WINTER WIMP too!

Sunday is suppose to get up to 30 degrees! I think I'll crawl back into my snug bed and wait it out! If only I could.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter is Really Here!

I just wasn't ready to bundle into winter boots and the winter garb to go do chores today! It takes twice as long to do anything when one has to waller through fresh, deep snow! No, it wasn't even a pretty day either! Instead we have high winds so the snow is blowing in one's face, eyes, and through jeans/pants, etc.

I'm not into the habit of wearing work gloves yet so was taking them off or getting them wet in everything I did. This is a BIG problem when it's a whopping 6 degrees out and a wind chill well below 0!

I forgot to replace my good plastic horse buckets with the black rubber tubs for the goat pens. I forgot to carry the hammer around with me so kept back tracking to get it to bust ice. I got a lot of the water/grain toting plastic buckets gathered together though so I can bring them in to store for the winter. Up here in the "frozen north" buckets turn brittle and horse buckets expand and split in the winter. Years ago those misc plastic buckets were cheap and easily replaceable. Now they are a "gold mine" to have and NOT cheap!

I forgot to dig out my plastic toboggan sled that I use to haul things around during the winter. The wheel barrow and cart don't move well and jam up in the snow.

Tomorrow I'll finish that project but I ran out of dry gloves and my hands were freezing! The 2 milk does made it clear that they are milkers and not hand warmers! I guess they didn't get it that I really did try to warm my hands up first!

Usually getting wood in is the hardest part of doing chores. Today it was the easiest and fastest! Alas, the wood was frozen though so it did take a bit of kicking and banging around to get a piece loose enough to grab and give a bit of a whomp on the other wood I wanted. Our usual winter supply gets covered but with hubby not able to cut and split wood, things aren't normal. I have the wonderful pile the neighbors brought me that I GREATLY appreciate and it's not covered as I didn't have a tarp to use on it. It won't last forever so it's just a temporary thing to have to whomp on wood. That knocked most of the snow off too so it did double duty.

So today's weather report is BBBRRRRRR! I guess it's time to get into the right mode. I also think I need to find a countdown banner for spring! I'm ready to watch those days count down to better weather and more sunshine!

Be safe all and if you're in the areas that have freezing weather, please drive safe! Also, make sure you have some kitty litter along and your emergency blanket, kid shovel, etc! I've got mine so I'm not behind on everything!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mystery Photo

Do you know what I have here?

Do you have some?

You might know, but maybe you will need to ponder on it for a bit!


What would you do with them or use them for?

Do you know where I would have found them?

Do you know what they use to be used for (or the plant they came from)?

It's ok to leave a comment! ;) I'll give a few days so folks can read this post and then I'll share some info with you!

Bird Feeding

I'm not one of the "birders" who is into feeding birds "big time", but I do enjoy seeing the birds who are around during the winter out my kitchen window while I'm washing dishes and cooking. I can't afford to buy them the thistle and LOTS of sun flower seeds and such but wish I could do more than I do manage to do.

The big thing for me is that I KNOW that once we start feeding them we are committed until spring and they can fend for themselves. Otherwise if they loose their food source they can and do die if they don't find another close to their "home" area.

So I've taken the step and started feeding them yesterday and will do so on a frugal basis. They will get cracked corn, some bread bits and my homemade blocks of corn and fat drippings from cooking. I will need to pick up a pound or 2 of lard to have on hand to make sure I can keep up with them for the full winter feeding season. We don't eat as much fat any more and much less animal fat. I try to use olive oil as it's better for us health wise. So the lard will be a good back up and it keeps in the freezer so would be good for the next winter if I don't use it. This will also encourage me to be more frugal with trimming meat fat so I can add it to the feeders.

I've already enjoyed seeing so many birds come to dinner the last 24 hours! I've got cardinals, nut hatches, chickadees, downies, a flicker and the usual sparrows. I just had a good sized flock of the obnoxious "black birds" blown into the front yard for seeds from some weeds. I don't care for this bunch of birds as they are always trying to get into the underside of the eves of the house to nest and they are just obnoxious. They are also usually gone to their winter grounds by now. I would think the couple inches of snow we got since yesterday and the horrid winds would encourage them to move on! They've been out in my feeding spot too.

I did get my window box's stand and a board over it out by the feeder so I can put some corn on it daily as I'm doing chores. The birds are feeding there also. They may consume less of my feed blocks with the plain cracked corn available.

While watching them, I had a couple small squirrels run up the tree the feeder is on and they appeared to be fighting as they were in a "hot hurry" with the running around and around the tree and up through the branches lickety split. The chase was definitely on! I know some folks don't like squirrels at their feeders, but we have so few squirrels that I don't mind feeding them. We use to have an abundance of them and then for some reason I didn't see squirrels for years. The last couple we've seen a couple kinds that have moved back into the area. Hubby and I enjoy seeing them again. They are welcome to some cracked corn. I know they have a purpose in nature as part of the food chain for other creatures so they must do something beneficial! (We don't have the city squirrels that are black. We have a couple reds and a couple fox squirrels.) They also are entertaining in the winter to see them in the front yard looking for their stored commodities. They sure do leave some interesting tracks in the snow too!

By the time February's Back Yard Bird Count is here, I should have a nice bunch to count for them!

Yes, I'm a country girl and I do enjoy nature's critters!

Horse and Buggy - DUI

Chalk this one up to the PA police department who found an Amish horse and buggy toolin' along down the road on the yellow line..... A 22 year old was cited for DUI with the horse and buggy! I read this from the AOL news which linked me to Asylum's blog at: http://www.asylum.com/2009/12/09/amish-dui-man-elmer-fisher-arrested-for-driving-horse-and-buggy-drunk/?icid=mainhtmlws-maindl4link7http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asylum.com%2F2009%2F12%2F09%2Famish-dui-man-elmer-fisher-arrested-for-driving-horse-and-buggy-drunk%2F They also have photos of the legal documents to prove it!

I also read a news report a few years ago of someone near me who was arrested for a DUI on his lawn mower. He was riding home on the shoulder of the road. The police had seen the mower parked in front of a local bar earlier.

A DUI isn't really funny and yet I had to chuckle over the lawn mower incident. It also makes me wonder if there's any record of a bicyclist being cited for a DUI.....

Maybe the lesson that should have been learned if you want to drink til you're snockered, STAY HOME and off the roads!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Completely Random

It's turning out to be a busy day so I'm going to add a few random things for today's post.

*What luck this am that while I was all gloved up and sterile so I could get hub's IV running and then his foot treated and rebandaged NOTHING interfered! As I was pulling off the gloves in drives UPS with the new supplies of more IV's, etc. PHEW! It's such a waste to glove up and have to keep washing my hands and regloving and restarting what I was doing! Nurses must be saints to do this day in and day out! Hub's foot is looking better, but it's just really gross to see the bone. Bloodwork was drawn yesterday so hopefully they can tell us next Monday that the antibiotic levels are suitable for killing off the osteomylitis (bone infection which hub called osteoMileyCyrus) and blood infections are working! I know surgery will need done, but I hope it's a more "minor" one when it takes place!


*I had an escapee and one of my Corgi's found a way out of the dog pen to herd the UPS truck. She was herding it's "heels" and didn't get hit. PHEW! She wasn't chasing it, but rather running along waiting for it to stop. We use to have a UPS driver and a meter reader who use to bring dog treats. I have a doggy who is sure she might get a treat if she's right there when they stop. I called and fortunately she came. Some days she would rather attend her own agenda than mine. I told her she's going to have an underground condo with her lights out if she thinks she can get around moving vehicles!

*Then Jerry (BIL) brought out a trailer for me to use to pile wood in and to go out back to get his hunting items from the woods. He's been sick and decided to skip black powder hunting and just try to kick the germs. We finished up outside just in time for me to come in and finish off hub's IV so he could be unleashed. The electric company had a company come through and cut around the power lines. We had a HUGE HUGE tree that was interfering with the lines by the transformer and it was dying that they cut. The wood is sitting in the fence row out front where the snow drifts so it's often quite deep and near impossible to walk through. So I want to get as much as possible up near the house. The neighbor said he was coming to help cut it but can't do it til January. I'll appreciate the help but I also know I can't "waller" through snow that deep carrying wood where it drifts. IF we have a January thaw, that area is on the opposite side of where it floods and I don't want to have to slosh through that and be wet and cold. My ole bones can't take all that any more!

*The weather has turned damp, cold and it's snowing. :( I'm NOT ready! I still have several pre-winter projects to finish off on my list. It seems everytime I start I end up with things not on the list that also need done. Typical of farm work, there's an order for these projects so that work is done more efficiently and the loose ends are accounted for and complete. Farm/homestead life sure does have an ebb and flow and we build up a momentum in doing the work!

*Fuzzy has returned to "stalker cat" mode for the winter. Everytime I sit down she's THERE and expecting to occupy my lap and take a long nap. Poor kitty, she gets short naps! She really does stalk me! She was ready for me to crawl into bed last night. She beat me to the bed and then was trying to climb on me to settle in faster than I could settle down. Winter has arrived and she's in winter mode!



*The cardinals and chickadees beat me to winter feeding. I was trying to wash my milk jars and they were at the feeder spot looking for food! Being I enjoy seeing them out the kitchen window, I got one of the bird feeders I make up out for them. I did take some pics as I want to post my directions with pics for you all and then took it out to hang. It wasn't 10 minutes and I had birds in after the bits of moldy bread I tossed on the ground and the feeder! I don't usually start feeding this early in the year but I'm going to this year. I just decided I'll bring my window flowerbox stand over and I can sit it near the hanger and put some corn out on a board on it for them too as they don't all fit on the feeder and it gets quite crowded below. Then they can spread out a bit to eat. It makes winter dishwashing more enjoyable and I can do the February backyard bird count again.

*Frozen water bucket season is here. I'm now having to bust ice out of the goats' buckets and take some hot water out for them. The winter heater is in the stock tank for Summer, my horse, but the water there wasn't warm enough to keep open water in the 3 goat pens long enough. Kendra and Clair are still milking so they need their water and they like it tepid to warm, not with huge ice "cubes".

*I have soooo many things I want to get done and the time just flies! I need to "fly" too as I've taken a long enough break! I'll try to have something more interesting tomorrow. This is how homesteading goes at times.... always work to do and things I'd like to do.

Have a great day and thank you for being here!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Goats Milk + Spider Silk = Bio Steel Fibers

A goat that produces spider's web protein is about to revolutionize the materials industry.

Up to now it has been impossible to produce "spider fibre" on a commercialscale. Unlike silk worms, spiders are too anti-social to farm successfully. Now a Canadian company claims to be on the verge of producing unlimitedquantities of spider silk - in goat's milk. Using techniques similar to those used to produce Dolly the sheep, scientists at Nexia Biotechnologies in Quebec have bred goats with spidergenes.

BBC article with more details click here.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/889951.stm

And who would have thought that Dolly's being would end up with crossing a goat with a spider?

TIC.... Does this mean we'll find there are goats the size of a spider who can be house pets or house pests? (We have to have a daily chuckle and here's mine... visualizing pet goats living in spider webs in the house!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Carol of the Goat Bells

I got up to snow today! We had some briefly in the afternoon yesterday and again in the evening. We had snow when the nurse came last night and she said the roads were bad for about half an hour and then the ground heat was able to remedy the situation. Being it's December and snowy, here's something I can share with you! I hope you enjoy it and hopefully you get another reason to smile! I've seen this a few times last year and still had to go visit the site to enjoy it again.


Enjoy and have a blessed day!
(photo: I don't know the owner. The photo came through an email that was passed on and on and she looks like such a cutie I had to share her with the goat carol. IF you own this pic, I'd love to give you credit if you'll let me leave it here. I'd love to provide the name of this cute goatie too! If you want it removed I will do so IMMEDIATELY upon request. )

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Need a Backhoe!

We're finally back from the hospital but with IV's and bandaging 2 x a day with visiting nurses - 8 am and 8 pm. This morning took over 4 hours as it was the first visit so a lot was done. The IV takes a good 2 1/2 hours! I'm learning to "plug" him in to his pic-line and do the flushings too. I can already do the bandaging as I did it after the amputation with the wound center teaching me. They taught me well!

That being and not having done a good job at chores for over a week, I've had a FULL and tiring day! The goaties were sooooo happy to have me longer today and to get their expected attention and pettings. My mare was very glad to have some attention too until I started taking burrs out of her mane and tail. She's a mess but we got a good start without her getting irritated over the job. I think the apples helped!

So I wanted to share a little humor with you all and to also say thank you to my followers who have joined on and to all who take time out of their busy days to read my ramblings! I should be back to regular writing in a day or two.

Today's Inspirational Message:

Never piss off a woman who can drive a backhoe...

Oh could I use a backhoe some days! Yes, I could drive it too! What fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

AWOL

I was definitely AWOL and not able to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Hubby ended up with the doctor sending him from his office directly to the hospital. He is finally feeling better today but he's still very ill with an infection in his blood and whole system, the diabetic ulcer which has worsened and the broken foot which has worsened. The new bone from the break has pushed the toe and foot bones up and the bone at the previous amputation over and down, so it resulted in the ulcer. He'll need surgery but he's too sick to do it so will come home soon with a pic-line. It's an IV port threaded from his upper, inside arm into the aorta in the chest for IV's that are being delivered into the chest and throughout. He's also on blood thinners.... and "one sick puppy". He did decide today that he's either a basset hound or blood hound as they are slow moving and look sad. I suggested he go with the bloodhound as his legs aren't short enough for a basset (nor as short as the Corgi's here ;). He saw the humor and wasn't crabby so he's definitely feeling a little better.

Looking for the good in all of this (to remain sane of course;), I decided I'm very glad I'm not a diatician as I'd hate to have been that gal who came in to tell him NO he couldn't have a salt shaker and no he can't have pizza and no he can't have anything else he wants to eat ..... I sure wish his menu didn't have all the diets on it and only his own so he didn't see what was available for the patients on a general, eat as you want diet! He's on a diabetic and heart diet so 1800 calories and no salt. Yuppers, glad I'm not responsible for being his diatician!

I'm also thankful his nursing care has consistently been above expectations! What wonderful nurses they have ALL been! Of course he's still wanting cute, young gals! So even at just-turned-58 he's got the good foot out of the grave! ;) (Go ahead and laugh. One needs to see the humor in things or break down from the stress of it!)

I've sure been perusing a LOT of magazines! WOW, some of them are quite interesting as to current trends for those who are well off or those who are well into debt to live a well-off lifestyle. I do love some of the wall colors that are now popular. I also enjoy the recipes a lot and the crafts and such! There's the song with the phrase "little bit country" and I am POSITIVE I'm a little bit more than all country! I love the old farm houses and country decorations. I also saw a wall hanging today that I LOVE! It's a huge barn with trees and such around it and some metal horses..... and it's a whole lot country.... just my style! The price has been lowered to $125 which I about choked on and they came down and offered it to me for $60. I just can't decide. I know I shouldn't spend that, but I soooooo want to. Boy do I want too! I LOVE it! It's ME! They'll be open on Wednesday again...... should I? Do I? I wonder if I offered a bit lower....??????? The metal horses are the expensive "Home Interiors" and I have 1 of them. They are expensive new and out of stock now I'm sure. I wonder if I sold one or both if I'd get anything off them on eBay? I sure do love that barn...... and don't need the horses so I'd end up with a great deal, wouldn't I? What do you think, readers? (No, I didn't go shopping over the weekend. I only stopped and picked up bandaging material for hubby's foot as I need 2 rolls of the wide (4") sterile gauze per day.) Help me decide.... this is a one of a kind ceramic type wall hanging and quite good sized. Should I?

It's hard to believe December is trying to get in the door. I don't have my list of pre-winter chores done as I've been at the hospital other than doing chores. That stock tank is now ready to be moved and I need some time to move it and fill it asap. ;) I have hay coming in the morning so I'll work on that while I wait for the hay guy. Even if I don't fill it full it will be a good start. The electric cord is there and ready for the heater to be put in the tank and plugged in. I need to put the 2 stakes in marking where the cord is at for the winter so it doesn't get caught in a snow plow, etc. That won't take long but I want to get the heater plugged in first so if I have to move the cord some I can do it. It just fits to the heater cord and tank. Then after the tank if full, I need to pull the hoses and drain them. I use them all winter and drain them when done being used. I rarely have a problem other than it's a pain to drain them as I generally can soak 2 pairs of gloves easily. So much to do and so little time.....

I'll be back soon and hopefully have something more interesting. I do hope that my posts about hubby's diabetic issues will educate people so they take diabetes more seriously and don't have to go through the stress and pain. It's a huge emotional pain for the family and a physical pain and all to go through for the diabetic. If you're not diabetic and have family or close friends who are, I hope you can help them understand how bad it can be and give them some support in their efforts to live with it and make the necessary diet changes. I'm taking much better care of myself now in the last year and a half as I have it in my family also and I don't want it! I need to loose more weight too! It's a devastating and horrible disease at best.

I do hope you all have a great week coming up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catch Up Day

Today is a catch up day! I've had 3 days of working hard to get pre-winter work done as we are predicted to have snow on Friday and rain Wednesday thru Saturday. Soon things will be frozen down and I won't be able to make things easier to tend to over the long winter. Our homestead may only be 11+ acres, but I still have to have things ready to care for the livestock appropriately.

Being I was able to trade the 6 does for the 5 heavy duty farm gates I have them set for corral panels and was able to use the whole chain link dog kennel for the bucks in their new location. That made it so their area is about 4 times as large as I had hoped for for the winter. So they are now in their new quarters just outside of the barn right next to the does which is where they want to be. They really want to be with those cute junior does who are coming in heat and a bit too young to be bred. They feel they need to keep tabs on them and socialize full time! I guess even if you're a goat you still crave attention from the girls and especially the "really hot and cute" girls!

I also was able to release the 8 new chickens into the new goat pen also. I'm hoping the goats will afford them some protection from predators. They do get along well so it's definitely worth trying. The hens will help clean up spilled grain the goats waste too. I had 3 of the young new hens who were doing quite a happy dance over the release from the big cage they were in. They were hopping in the air while spinning around and fluffing their feathers and flapping their wings.

One thing about farm work is there is a LOT of cause and effect. Everything something is achieved, it causes the need for more work! Now I need to cover the pen to keep the owls and hawks from getting to my hens. With the price of hens these days ($10-15 each for young hens around here) any loss is expensive. I have more to do where the pen was as there are some pallets that need taken care of that the goats jumped around on and the wasted hay to be put in the new raised garden beds I've started. There is still a gate to be mounted as a gate and some other tidying up and shoring up where I put the gates in for corral panels. Cause and effect!

So tomorrow while I take hubby for his medical appointments (which takes 2 days a week and daily bandaging and care) I will spend a few minutes reviewing my list of pre-winter preparations and get to scratch some things off while adding on more! The medical trips take all day as it's 1 1/2 hours' drive each way to the big city. We live in a small rural area so everything we do is a drive.

Tomorrow I'll have a shorter/easier chore to do as my mare has finally got her stock tank down low enough in water I'll be able to tip it and clean it out. I'll then move it back to it's winter spot where my electric cord can reach for the stock tank heater to keep her some open water. That spot is great for winter but not the rest of the year as it's by a walnut tree and few others and gets too many leaves in it. The walnut leaves cause the water to turn black and nasty and I worry about the tannins being toxic being walnut shavings are highly toxic to horses. I'll have to fill it of course and that can be in progress while I tend the goats and chickens and milk. If there's time I have 3 fence posts to drive. I got them pulled up today. Of course it's not as simple as just driving the posts! They have to be securely attached to what they are supporting and it always seems that there are other things that crop up making something so simple sounding a longer process than expected. Dinner will have to be something that I do the majority of the work on early in the day or in a crockpot so it's quick and easy. Maybe pizza melts!

We've had another blessing this week that is beyond thoughtful! A neighbor showed up with a trailer load of fire wood all cut and split for us. It's mostly odd shaped or sized pieces that don't stack well so end up in a pile. They had been throwing them on the trailer not sure what they were going to do with them. Then another neighbor had stopped by their place and commented he was going to be coming over to help us with wood in January. We have some left over from last year but I've been a bit concerned over having enough. I never use to worry about the fire wood as hubby took care of it. Now he can't and I'm responsible for something I'd not had to be overly involved in. I only toted some in the house and burned a lot of it in the past being it was one of hubby's responsibilities. At least we now have ample so I don't have to worry about enough to get through to mid-winter for help cutting and hauling it from the woods. We have a couple of wonderful neighbors! It's so hard to tell someone how much their kindness means to us!

I'm not sure if I'll have time to post tomorrow. I wish you all a very special Thanksgiving Day with your family, friends and special folks! We'll go to my BIL's/SIL's for the day and I'm looking forward to a day to relax! We'll still need to be home by 4:30 or 5 as I will still need to milk the does. Livestock chores are done here even on a holiday. The animals have needs that I chose to be responsible for and will tend too. I'll have everything done that I can prior to leaving so it will be easier and faster when I get home. We'll still have a special time with special people!

Enjoy your dinner and time! I'll be back in a few days!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Adios Girls!

Today I said goodbye to 6 of my goatie girls. I had advertised 5 of them on Craigslist along with a young buck. I wasn't even off the CL site and had a response. We made a trade that I'm VERY happy with and 6 does went along to a new home instead of just the 5. My head said sell another as I had a buyer ready to make a deal and my heart said I like Lily soooo much.... but I also knew she'd be on the list to go come spring if she didn't go now. I like her so much and yet her teats are something I don't want to breed (multiple spurs) so that was a LARGE issue for me.

Feed prices have jumped and winter is nipping at my heels so it was time to do the inevitable. I'm also in a spot with needing my numbers down for care as hubby's foot has worsened significantly and the specialist said he's "a heart beat away from another amputation". So I need to be able to care for him with less work to do.

Even with the 6 now gone to a new home for breeding purposes, I still have 16 goats! I have a young buck (Buckley) to sell yet and then will have 2 bucks (Nipper & Winchester22) and 14 does. My goal was to get down to 12-15 goats by winter. I may reach the 15 yet! I'll have a very hard time getting down to the 12 if I even could as I traded 2 young Boer bucks for 2 full sisters (Macey & Mo'Nique) to one of the goats (Daisy) who is one of our 3 top favorites. I'm also keeping the 2 2009 does out of Daisy (Latte & Coffee Bean).

(Sandy, who just left, is on the left with Winchester22 trotting towards her. Daisy on the right with Latte and Coffee Bean playing on the wood.)


I now am down to 2 does (Claire & Kendra) to milk! Come spring I'll be up to 5! So getting a calf will be a good deal as I'll have ample milk to feed it and pasture for it to graze. We've raised a lot of calves over the years like that and they are the nicest meat - very lean and tender. It's also an economical way to have our own meat that is raised in a humane and natural manner without all the chemicals and hormones used in commercial meat. My animals have a very good life while they are with us.


So, adios to my 6 girls who have gone to another goat farm to be breeding stock and still live a good life with lots of turn out and good care! I love placing animals in a good home that they will be happy in.


Come spring kidding season will bring more kids ..... and I'm glad I have a "quality product" that others appreciate and want. It makes it worth it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nanny Berries

Do you know about Nanny Berries? If not, let me introduce you with this one:

Celebrations - http://www.boergoats.com/clean/articleads.php?art=1016

These articles are a GOOD read and very enjoyable. The writer has the ability to write so one feels they are right there while reading them.

If you don't enjoy them, you probably are not an animal lover or just despise goats!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Easy Oatmeal Soap

Do you ever wonder what you could do with your bits of soap (soap scraps) from used bars and hate throwing them out? Here's just the ticket!

For each half cup of soap scraps add one cup of water into a pan on the stove and set the heat to medium. While this is melting, line an old dish with wax paper and grease the paper so help prevent the soap from adhering to it during the drying process. Stir the soap occassionally while keeping an eye on it and when it's fully melted, stir in enough fine oatmeal to form a stiff "batter". When the soap becomes quite stiff pour the mixture into your dish/mold. Before it gets completely hard and dry, cut it into bars the size you prefer. Then you have an excellent soap for keeping your hands soft and is good for your skin.

A few drops of essential oil or even vanilla may be added with the oatmeal if desired. Be aware that essential oils are strong smelling in a soap mixture and the aroma can become over powering in your house so star with only a SMALL amount!

A Few Winter Tips

Do you get salt on your winter footwear? If so, dampen a rag with white vinegar and blot clean. The heavier the salt buildup and the more absorbent the material it's on will mean more botting and rinsing the rag a few times but it does work.

Also, it's time to get some kitty litter in some gallon jugs and in your vehicle with a small shovel. Be sure to have a snuggy warm blanket or 2 in the vehicle too! If you have individual seats or passengers in the back seat and front, you need enough blankets to make sure every one has enough to be well covered. If you wear a dress, it really doesn't hurt to have a pair of sweat pants in the vehicle over the winter too so you don't get stranded in a dress on the side of the road!

If you don't live in an area where these tips are as important, don't forget them if you travel to an area where they are for your holidays!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday on a Country Road

It's been a busy day. Today has been opening day for firearm deer season so it sounds like a war zone out there ALL DAY!!! Last night was the end of bow season and we have a nice neighbor we allow to hunt on our property. He got a really nice buck and brought the liver and heart last night along with his news. Today he brought his trophy and the neck for us to cut and package. We'll have 10 meals out of this and more if we have left overs. We'll also have a nice soup broth from the neck bones too. Tonight was liver and onions which we both love and greatly enjoyed. This same neighbor also comes and helps us with our firewood which is a great blessing considering our health issues. So it's a win-win situation. An added benefit is he keeps others off our property which we hope keeps the livestock safer! Then today my BIL came for gun season and saw a big buck but it got scared off before he got in a good range for BIL to take him.

We did have an interesting few moments with opening day. I happened to look out and our front yard had several deer nervously milling around before deciding which way to run. There were 7 does. When they took off one missed the jump over the fence and got all tangled up in the woven and hot wire and took a spill. Being a fence row with rocks she had a hard time righting herself as she was trying to run and catch up with her herd.

I did end up with the electric fence on the other side of the house demolished so the deer were threw there too. I got that fixed but boy they can sure twist that wire up and all 3 strands also "braided" together. I sometimes wonder if my horse is bummed while standing and watching me fix it so she doesn't have an escape route.

When my BIL got done hunting he had a surprise for me! He found a tire kicking around his place that fit my wheelbarrow! HALLELUJAH!!! I was cringing at the price of a new one and had been looking for a used unsuccessfully. He also had an extra air compressor that can be attached to a car or garden tractor battery! I felt like a kid with 2 birthday or Christmas presents and both are used items! Sometimes the little things mean the most! He also "made my day"! He helped hubby pull a pulley and gear off a motorized "contraption" hubby has made from some used garden tractors for his walnut cleaning.

I've added 3 pics of various places on the country road I live on. The leaves are now gone and yet I just took these pics! Winds and rain do that.

I thought you might enjoy them. They remind me of when hubby and I were late teens and young adults. Back then it was a "thing to do" to go for a Sunday drive and enjoy the views.

We use to do that and take a picnic lunch to eat while we were out and about on our Sunday drive.

Later we continued those drives and looked for property after we were married.

We often see deer in several places and yet the road is probably only 3 miles long.



Our place is on the dirt end of the road. Being there is a county line/change in the middle it's paved South of us in the next county.

Another time I'll post a few more country road pics.

It's an attractive road if you want to call a road attractive! I guess being a country girl I just enjoy the country look!

My Nigerian Dwarf buck is in 7th heaven again. Several of the junior does are in roaring heat and all clamboring for his attentions. He's all kissy faced and blubbering his goatie talk to them while trying to coax them through the small holes in the partition between pens in the barn. I'm ruining his full enjoyment of the situation for another 6 weeks or so as I want them to have a little more size and maturity before they are bred. It wasn't such a peaceful chore time tonight with all the commotion the girls are causing while trying to be in the best spot to win Nipper's attention and his noise-making trying to lure them to the other pen! Usually milking time is quiet and a great time for contemplation, pondering things, making plans, and hoping I can get all the outdoor work done before the snow and ice hit full time for the winter. That can be any time!

While in the barn I found a surprise today too! I have 2 hens who needed time away from their flock to recover from being picked on and mated too much. They are in with the adult goats. Low and behold they have started laying again! I found 4 green eggs behind the chair in the stall where they have a peaceful spot and can get away from the goats. It's a broken chair that I took out to use to sit in while bottle feeding kids and I'm keeping it out there! One of my new hens I just got has started to lay also so I found a nice large brown egg in her box too! I wasn't expecting any eggs til spring and today I found 5! Maybe Easter is closer than I expected?

Then I headed to the house to take care of my milk and for supper. What a busy day and with some moments that I greatly enjoyed and appreciated!

Friday, November 13, 2009

GDS - Goat Delusional Syndrome


WHAT IS GDS?

ARE YOU AT RISK?

Do you have GDS (Goat Delusional Syndrome)?

There is no known cure. We don't know how this disease is contracted, the level of contageousness, and very few, if any, approach a full recovery. There are many documented cases of people remaining without symptoms for years, only to have the disease return after many years of not keeping goats.


So, "WHAT IS GDS AND ARE YOU AT RISK"?

Goat Delusional Syndrome

Basic Symptoms

1. Frequent and ongoing conversations with one or more goats.
2. Assigning human attributes such as personality to goats (i.e., "That goat is so selfish - such a snob - so possessive - so jealous.")
3. Over-sensitivity and over-protectiveness (i.e., taking offense when someone refers to goats as mere livestock).
4. Periodic insomnia due to worry about goats - walking out to the barn after midnight just to "check on things."
5. Considering Christmas presents and/or treats for "special goats."

Advanced Symptoms

1. Hugging and kissing goats - even BUCKS.
2. Addressing goats with terms of endearment (i.e., sugar, sweetie, honey, baby).
3. Eating only half an apple and pretending you're full - just so you can share the remainder with a goat.
4. Remembering every goats birthday without referring to a calendar or registration papers - AND expecting everyone else in the family to share in your excitement at the goats birthday party.
5. Spending an inordinate amount of time at Internet goat sites and e-mailing perfect strangers about your goats.
6. Canceling vacations because of goats.
7. Missing church because a goat is due to deliver.
8. Buying a bigger farm or ranch so you can buy more goats.
9. Buying goats on credit - putting goats on lay-away - saving for months to buy a single goat.
10. Taking a second job or second mortgage to support your goat habit.
11. Joining a 12 Step Program or support group because of your goat addiction.
12. Insisting that family holiday gatherings are at your farm/ranch because you can't bear the thought of the goats being alone for the holidays.
13. And finally, trying to find decorative uses for goat berries - such as painting and stringing them like cranberries for your Christmas tree.

Written by Debbie Whittle and posted on several e-group lists.
*****
The article is by a Debbie Whittle. I don't know who she is or where to find her but will be watching for her on my goat lists. I would like to get permission to leave this here and add any other credit she'd like with it if she'll graciously agree. If you know of a contact method, please post in the comments or email me! TIA!
I greatly enjoyed reading it and hope my readers do too. Good job, Debbie!
The photos are of a couple of my goats. At the top is Winchester 22 at 5 weeks old. Winchester is goatie #22 and a Boer buckling. The 2nd photo is of Lady Bug and June Bug who are full sisters of triplets. In the background is Nipper, their future herd sire. The girls were about a month old. They are Nigerian Dwarfs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Things

Today isn't a good day to be posting much if anything as I have so much to get done. I'm in the middle of canning applesauce, it's hubby's birthday and winter is coming so the outdoors work is heavy on my mind. I still have a couple big projects to finish and need to GET THEM DONE! ButI have this driving urge to write something.....

So here's a tip for cooking corn that I found on a recipe group (thanks to Russie).... I have some frozen corn so I'm going to pull some out for supper and give this a try! What we had last week was a tad dry so maybe it can help!

SWEET TENDER CORN EVERY TIME

Just add a pinch of sugar and a splash of milk to the corn's cooking water.
The lactose in milk helps tenderize the kernels,
while sugar enhances the corn's natural sugars.
Save the salt for the table, as it will toughen the kernels.

I'm also going to be making fried chicken. I don't do a lot of frying due to cholesterol levels for both of us but it's a special day and it's one of his all-time favorite meals. I also have a tahini butternut squash with a bad spot forming so will roast part of it (the rest can go in the fridge for the weekend) so I don't lose it. The hens will enjoy the spot I have to cut out so it's not going to waste. ;) Smashed potatoes would be good..... and gravy.....I guess the nuts need to be jarred so I can use the cast iron fry pan today!
We're having a sunny day and it's up to 52 degrees and I'm not going to get much done outside due to canning and a big dinner. I'll do chores and milk of course as that's a must. I'm still trying to get a couple decent pics of the new goaties to share. They sure are cute and SWEET SWEET girls who LOVE attention. That's life, isn't it!?!
Have a good day and thanks for stopping in to read my meanderings!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cheese Making - Cheddar Curds




Have you ever made homemade cheese? I do and I LOVE it! It's helpful to have my dairy goats so I have fresh milk but you can make it with store bought milk too. You'd have to buy additional cream to make it a rich cheese though.
I need to get a cheese press made and get the items needed to make aged cheese as that's my next step. I need the wax used for aging and to have a suitable "cave" that will hold at 55 degrees. My fridge is set much lower because of milk storage so I's not going to work. My ideal would be to find a small dorm-sized refrigerator that can be dedicated to just cheese.

In the meantime, I LOVE making cheddar curds. These fresh curds are "addictive" and sooooo yummy. Then there's all the nutrition too!

Instead of just giving you the directions, I'm going to give you the link that I started with as it's full of great photos and so easy to understand that you really can do this with your kids for a home science experience. Then they can have a nutritious snack instead of the candy and chips and such they wish they had. This is a great way to help your kids have healthy snacks and improve their habits.

http://www.cheesemaking.com/Recipe_CheeseCurds.html This is a reliable company too that has a great reputation in the cheesemaking world.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Blogging

I have learned a "new trick" in my blogging. I wanted to do more with photos and a few graphics in my posts and am giving it a go. I have learned though that there's a "trick" to making it easier on myself and also much faster!

I need to upload the photos in reverse order FIRST! Then I can add my writing and it will end up faster and the right spots! The way they upload always puts the photo at the top and then I had to cut and paste my text which was already written.

I'm glad I have this all figured out now as I have taken photos of my home made bird feed and am about to post what and how I do them. I have several photos and need to reduce them in size a bit and finish the 2nd one. So I'll be able to post that easily now because I learned a new trick.

Well, I'm not sure I want to eat dog biscuits so I will have an apple for my treat instead!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Makeup Names

GOOD GRIEF! I'm NOT a Wall!
I'm here on the computer and listening to "Better TV". There was just a segment about makeup on; and I find the product names and labels offensive. There is a facial makeup the presenter was promoting called SPACKLE! It's, as she said, a "primer". I sure won't be buying it as I'm NOT a wall to be primed and spackled.

I also feel that if a man had tried to use these names/labels for makeup (foundation) 10 or 20 years ago there would have been a MAJOR upheaval (like I'm doing??) over it and it would have been considered degrading and extremely chauvenistic.

Do you find these labels offensive?
Would you buy products with labels like these?

I'm sure glad we have other choices as my choice to buy makeup that lets me be in touch with my "girly" side and has a more feminine flair to the name. I'm far from a girly girl too! I'm a farm girl and I know how to get dirty, wear a little stink, and most likely turn a few noses. But, makeup is my feeling feminine time!

Use Those Onion Skins!

Recently I learned a frugal and vintage method to make broth using the onion skins along with vegetable peelings and such. I knew about the vegetable peelings and bits but didn't the onion peels!

I've since started it and it's a NICE brown vegetable broth, even from just the onion and garlic skins and ends. I wish I'd thought of it YEARS ago as we love garlic and onions and here I've been throwing out "gold"! Here I've been buying onion soup mix in quantities and had my own product that is just minus the salt! I won't even bother with adding up my waste of money as I can't! How would I when I can't tally the wasted onion bits/pieces.....!

Now I have a flavorful broth when I need to add some liquid to a soup or casserole at the last minute and I'm not watering it down flavor wise. It's great for soups, stews, etc. I LOVED the stew I made with some last week. The potatoes really are better with the added flavor! This will make great gravy also! Plus you have a broth with NO SALT so you can "fix" a too salty dish too!

Just be aware that the broth is the color of tea so it will darken your pot of yummys if you have a pale item cooking such as a potato soup, chicken broth, etc. It won't hurt it but the appearance will change a bit.

Enjoy and save yourself some money you can better use elsewhere!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Frugal Tips for Cheese and Yogurt Making

Just a couple tips:

* You can buy cultured buttermilk WITH active/live cultures from the grocery store and then use it to make "ice cubes". Store in a freezer container or freezer zip lock baggies. I'd suggest you label the bag and date it. You can use these cubes to make your own buttermilk (and more cubes) and for making cheese! Just store them so they don't freezer burn as you can make more as you go along and you want those original store ones to keep well.

*You can buy yogurt that has active/live cultures (plain, vanilla and lemon are best) and do the same. Yogurt and buttermilk are different cultures so will produce different tasting cheese! You can then make your own yogurt too and it's really easy to grab out a few cubes.

*If you have yogurt that is aging and you want to get it used up, make cheese out of it. Drain it like making cheese and you'll have a bit of a soft, fresh cheese for spreading on toast, crackers, pb & j sandwiches (an extra treat with a bit of cheese in them), stuffed french toast, or for adding to another dish calling for cream cheese. It's great in cheese cake and can also be mixed with cool whip for a fruit salad dressing. It makes a great fruit dip too using a recipe calling for cream cheese.

*If you have bits of cheese that are drying out, do NOT throw them out. Cheese is expensive and you can be frugal and save them for a dish calling for cheese such as augratin veggies or potatoes. It's great grated on a dish of soup or chili, etc.

*Don't forget that the cheese you buy such as the cheddars, colbys, etc are aged cheeses that developed a mold during their aging process. Those mold spots we occassionally get on a cheese don't make the whole cheese bad. You just trim the bits off and use the cheese. It'll continue to mold if you don't use it up but you can cube it up and freeze it until you can use it for a cheese sauce or dish. Those cubes go great in a broccoli or potato soup!

Sunny Sunday

It's been a pretty day out and got up in the mid 60's which is AWESOME for November here in the "North Country" (mid-west US). We'll be lucky to have another this year.

I had been lucky to get 4 turkeys @ 40 cents a pound and today I'm done with partial thawing and cutting up the last. The first went right into the freezer with a bit of wrestling the rascal! I need to rethink putting turkeys and chicken in the baskets and try for my cheese and such instead I guess. It's a new freezer and I've loaded it in the same order as my previous one that had shelves and no baskets. I'm not impressed with the baskets at this point. Maybe if I rearrange (and it's packed now) it and use them differently it would be a better "fit" for my style. Anyway, this last one will be about 10 meals for the 2 of us! The carcass is now in the soup pot and I have chunks of meat in the electric skillet along with the 2 wings.

As usual, I'm collecting the fat off the top of the soup pot and have a couple bird feeders started for winter. I'll post about them later and took a couple pics to share with that project. We'll have baked potatoes with the turkey and corn on the cob I've pulled out of the freezer.

I'm so "tickled" to have run across this sale accidentally and was able to have 4 turkeys! We enjoy turkey year around. I don't roast them though so that the Thanksgiving turkey that is roasted is still a special treat. I do love to have cutlets and dip them in egg wash and bread crumbs and I also love a good turkey melt sandwich. We had turkey hash last night and turkey soup the night before so tomorrow needs to be not a turkey meal.

My next stock up (how I'll do that with a full freezer will be a good one) is the pork butts on sale this coming week for 99 cents a pound. If I keep this up I'll be pulling the frozen milk out sooner than expected!

Anyway, here are a couple pics I thought you might enjoy.


Here's a new load of mangel beets for livestock. These things are HUGE. Once an animal gets the hang of them they LOVE them. Pigs are hilarious when thrown a couple. They need a bit of cutting for goats, cattle and horses.




This is from our annual trip north to get apples and our winter supply of potatoes, onions, squash, etc. I hope you can click on it for a larger view if you'd like.

It's time to milk my goats and then finish supper. I hope you have a good evening and your upcoming week is enjoyable. Stay healthy!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Thank You

It's been a very hectic couple of days! I have a couple paragraphs of differing topics so if one doesn't appeal to you please scroll a bit and hopefully the next will!

FOLLOWERS
I am THANKFUL for having 3 followers of my blog. What a bright spot in my day to find I had my first and in a short time I have 3 wonderful folks who feel my writing is worthy of them checking in on my blog! ROSES and SUNNY DAYS to you 3 wonderful people and any more who come along and want to follow too! THANK YOU!

DIABETES - Yes, there is a time to be thankful!
I guess diabetic foot ulcers and neuropathy will be one of my "causes" to give people a heads up since dealing with hubby and his major health crisis over the last couple years. We're on our third ordeal with ulcers with the 2nd getting a myraid of nasties and MRSA/staphs resulting in a fast gangrene and amputation of the large toe and supporting joins and bone structure with opening for drainiage of the whole under part of the foot to the heel. We are now back to another ulcer and with NO feeling in his feet, he severely broke his foot and we didn't know it. Due to bad circulation the swelling wasn't attributed to a break but rather the blueness of his feet and he can't take water pills and make an hour drive to the docs. (He opened the car door while tooling down the road one day, scaring the beegeebies out of me.) Anyway, the specialist had an emergency and they couldn't see us and couldn't get ahold of us so we showed up. Due to my asking about the previous weeks culture and if he needed back on the antibiotics before going another week, they shipped us to another specialist and it took all day to do the med visits and get prescriptions! The result being, yes he needed back on antibiotics right away BUT the culture was much better than 3 weeks ago!!!! PHEW!!!! I'm thankful I learned that one NEVER EVER takes too many "deep breaths" until the ulcer is so scabbed over there can't be any penetration of nasty microbes!!!! We'll be several months to that point but I'm thankful for an improvment along with the minor set back. Yesterday a podiatrist was listening to me about not using a minor type adhesive bandage the bottom of a foot of a diabetic as the bandage rolls and causes a new friction blister in the middle of an existing ulcer resulting in loss of several weeks of healing! PHEW, thankful for a doctor taking a minute to LISTEN to us!

SUNSHINE!
We're getting a bit of sunshine on and off today. I so love a sunny day and I live in the "land of snow and ice" for a winter so we have VERY FEW sunny days and I'm not wanting to let what we do get go. However, it's not in my control so I REALLY am thankful for what I do get! It's a good motivational aspect in my life!

GOATS!
I'm very thankful that my goats have gotten to the point they can handle the very occassional crash of their beloved schedules! We've also just had DST and they are still LOUD over that when I arrive in the barn. I will hope they are yelling thank you at me as I show up to dole out their vittles and provide their expected (read that demanded) maid service and attention. Yesterday their schedule was a blow to their expectations but they greeted me whole-heartedly today and were thankful to be served their custom mixed feed they so relish. They are a blessing and I'm very thankful for them!

Still on the goat theme, I'm thankful for my 2 new girls! I made a trade of 2 NICE young Boer (traditional) bucks for them. More on them later too!

CHICKENS
Another new addition is I also brought home some new hens and hopefully a roo at rock bottom prices for young birds! More about them later but I'm very thankful for this addition.

FOOD
I'm VERY THANKFUL for an unexpected "windfall"! We stopped at WalMart to get the prescriptions filled on the way home from the med visits and while wondering I crossed paths with another couple who were pointing and talking about the 2 turkeys in their shopping cart. So I asked if they had turkeys on special or something and YES.... They SURE DID! Limit of 2 and only 40 cents a pound!!!! WOW! I have a turkey in the oven for dinner and I'll take it apart and freeze most of it into individual meals for stir fry, turkey melt sandwiches or calzones, turkey and homemade noodles, etc. I love doing this. I love turkey and being able to get 6-8 meals (2 of us) and lunches out of a big turkey. When that turkey was only $8 it's a WINDFALL IMHO! I wish they weren't 34 miles away as I'd go back for a couple more and then do the freezer game of trying to get them all in there with everything else I have frozen!

I'm thankful for many things but that is the highlight for today! I'm thankful you have stopped by to read my blog and would love to have you return!

Have a wonderful day!