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:
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.


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!)


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

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 , 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
carrot chips, chunks and peels
dried apricots
dry or wilting cranberries
favorite weeds
fig newtons
frosted animal cookies
goat cookies
horse treats
leaves from their favorite trees
molasses cookies
pumpkin cookies
pumpkin seeds
rabbit pellets
ritz crackers
sunflower seeds
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
Spices and Herb Blends (I wish there was more to this one!)
Breads and Cereals
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 :

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: 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.

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!