Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It just doesn't seem like it should be December 31st already!

I hope you all have a good 2011 and hope it's a better year for our economy and country! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Question From the Barn!

Macey here, just hanging out.
I need to ask you a question!


Does this chicken nest make my butt look fat?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some Random Things

Tomorrow (Wednesday) thru Saturday we will have a bit warmer weather. Thursday we are to have rain. Rain on our frozen dirt road equals ICE ICE ICE! Not good. I hope it melts quickly so I don't have to drive on it or that the sand they put down will stay on top of the mess and still be helpful!

I'm definitely ready for a few warmer days though as I have 3 goats who I really need to do some hoof trimming on again. It'll be nice to be able to not be bundled up so I'm the size of Frosty the Snowman to do the job.

I also need to wrangle some more wire and it will be nice to be able to do so without the bulk of a winter coat.

It's been a rough couple of days here. I had bought the dogs some treats at the dollar store. I got a package of pig ear strips along with others. I was saving them for special occasions. I forgot that I gave them some at Thanksgiving and it upset their guts. Well, I gave them one Christmas day and the more than upset their guts. This has been a NASTY, gross issue. Why do I tell you this? Only because I thought you might want to be very careful of what you get your dogs for treats! I quit using the rawhide chews when we heard all the problems with them coming from China and being recalled. So now I'm not going to be buying any like these again either. When I buy them bones, they sneak them outside and bury them. I guess the buried bones are a much better deal though! We're just going to boycott the rawhide chews and now the sliced up pig ears. Nothing like giving my dogs a tainted treat for a Christmas present! Poor pupsters!

We aren't doing anything special for New Years Eve. We need to get to town this week to pick up some prescriptions so will pick up a couple things for a special treat. I think I'll pull a turkey out of the freezer for New Years Day. With the way the pullets are laying, I may do a few deviled eggs too. Being the oven will be going, maybe I should try out one of the sugar free cookie recipes I've acquired! Cookies are something I've missed the last 6 months. I found some sugar free chocolate chips so am ready for cookies. Doing nothing exciting is fine by me! I'm just glad that we finally have a New Years that hubby is not laid up, nor deathly ill. A quiet NY evening will be just fine!

Good news! I've spent a significant amount of time online incubator shopping. I've made up my mind. I'm getting a Genesis 1588 without the turners. I kind of like doing that turning by hand as I've gotten into this thing of talking to the eggs while doing the magic, good-luck chant of "Grow babies, grow!" over them! It gives me a chance to watch for any problems (rotting egg = NASTY) before they are a BIG, stinky problem. I also candle them as I go. Anyway, I do want to look on eBay before I order from the other company I chose (Cutlers), just in case.... I also found a catching net for poultry on there for $13. I've seen one used and it sure was a handy thing and I'm debating if I want one. It could be VERY handy and could be one of those things that one wondered how they did without it in the past. I can usually pick up most of the hens in the pen and barn if I want too. The roos tend to try to stay out of my way and they are the hard ones to catch. With my disability and balance problems it might be worth the money. I've wanted to make one, but the problem was the weight of a homemade one and my shoulder issues. This is a a pretty light weight one so maybe I should.....

I'm soooo ready for hatching to start!

Funny as it is, I was trying to take pictures of the chickens so I could count them! I sure can't get an accurate count in person! I need to know how many roos I have to get rid of so I can put an ad on Craigslist. That will help a lot! I also have to decide which I'm keeping!

I'm also trying to figure out which are the roos and am trying to put them outside in the buck pen with the others as I figure who who is who. I'm then going to start moving the hens so I have them all inside and separated from the roos. I need them to be without a roo for 30 days so that when I start to collect eggs for hatching that they will have been fertilized by the rooster who is the same breed and for a few, the right color and breed.It actually takes at a minimum of 3 weeks and in a few instances longer for the hen to be clear of unwanted "swimmers". It would seem like this would be an easy project, but it's not as it requires figuring out the young boys, catching them and transfering them from pen to pen. I'm also trying to decide which of the Cochin roos I want to have a harem and which I need to part with. There are more roos there than I had thought! If the horse trailer wasn't full of hay, it would sure be helpful for this shuffling around!

I also need to put some plans down on paper so I can arrange a hatching schedule around eggs I want to obtain for hatching and my own I'd like to hatch! I have to decide if I want to set a full hatch (48 eggs) all at once or if I want to stager them some. Do I want to set the full 48 or maybe 16 per week or even 24 every 9 days. I am saying 9 days due to the 3 day lock down for hatching. I'm thinking of moving them into the hovabator for the lockdown and hatch. I have to plan for brooder space for the hatchlings too. I can't just hatch eggs and have no where to put the chicks! Decisions decisions.... What do you think?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fair Trade?

I think so! They think so!

I took a pan with some scones and biscuits that flopped out to the chickens and turkeys at chore time today. They were thrilled with the broken bits and grabbed one and then mass running ensued while they had a beak full but not willing to let someone else with a beak full snag their chunk! The turkeys didn't run around with their prize bit but rather stood watching the chickens and wondering what the frenzied running was about and where the problem was. Tom had to swallow his so he could strut about and gobble his alarm that there was a problem. The 2 turkey hens watched but made sure to be where the food was in case it was safe to resume eating. Keet, the guinea, had to sound the alarm until she decided she should join the rest of the gang and see what their problem was.

The goats stood alertly, but kept right on munching in the hay I'd just dispensed. They couldn't figure out the frenzied behavior either.

Me? I filled the foil pan and happily came back to the house as chores were done. I think it was a fair trade!
Being we agreed, so it's got to be fair, right?

I do wish who ever has those dirty feet could wipe them outside the nests or else lay those really dark eggs so the dirt doesn't show so easily!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!














I wish for you all a very special time spent with family and/or those who are most important in your life. May it be a blessed time full of joy.

















May you have humor in your life with your loved ones this weekend.















I hope you have some special meals or what ever is included in your time with loved ones.

Merry Christmas all!

(You're welcome to snag a copy of the graphics above. They all came from graphic sharing groups.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

TIP: 2011 Calendars

I'm finding the 2011 calendars have THIN, FLIMSY paper. Unfortunately, the weight of the lower hanging part is way too much for even a piece of tape to help hold it up.

So, I simply took the last few months which are the back of the calendar before hanging and bent them up to be part of the hanging portion. This way the last few months help January support the whole weight of the calendar. Come March or April it will probably be able to hang normally.

My free Pillsbury 2011 calendar came and what beautiful pics it has! YUM! It even has the tear out recipe cards for the same recipes as the individual months are.

HTH!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Alarm Was Sounded

And fear struck the hearts of the younger, smaller chickens in the barn! The guinea hen was caroling her DANGER DANGER alarm. The 3 turkeys were on high alert and having a hot discussion while a few of the chickens were a cackling along with the ruckus. The goats were on high alert and not sure what the heck was going on, but something wasn't right!

And then, SWOOP, up in the top of the barn was a HAWK! He wasn't very big and I only hope now that he knows of the chickens in there, that he is small enough to leave them be and just be after the sparrows. Of course there wasn't a sparrow to be seen at the moment!

I did a whole lot of banging around to try to make the hawk know that he didn't REALLY want to be there. I got my camera and yippeeee! The flash had him in a panic and he wanted to escape! So I proceeded to run the batteries down flashing him in the face as fast as the camera could reset it's self for the next pic. Too bad I couldn't get a good pic and try as I did, I couldn't get a pic of him flying from end to end trying to find a way out.


This is the best I could do, unfortunately. It was actually quite a bit darker up there as it was nearing dark.
He looks bigger here than he actually seemed in person.
I hope he's decided to hunt sparrows outside my barn or somewhere else! I'm sure glad I have chicken wire over the outdoor pen now!
I also hope that the goats being in with chickens really does help keep the chickens safer.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Time!

It's time for the lunar eclipse on the soltice which we haven't had for 456 years! That is a LONG time and some! I never missed it. I never gave it a thought. Is this history? Or "just" science?

It's time for the shortest day of the year! YIPPEEE! I'm so ready to get it over with!

It's time for the longest couple of nights of the year! I still intend to just sleep or toss a lot through them! I don't feel a need to stay awake all night JUST to watch them pass and time to crawl by.

Tomorrow I can officially start counting the days til Spring! I can replace the Winter banner and add a Spring banner below the other 2!
It's time to say "Good Bye Fall"! I can't wait til I can say "Good Bye Winter" even though I'm really pushing it.
Oh well, time to just grin and bear it, bite the bullet and deal with it, cowgirl up, stop watching the clock, and go to bed! Nite all!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Results of the Former Chaos

Yes, I really do love them!

I'm SURE of it! Positively! I LOVE goats.

Remember my FRUSTRATIONS with an escapee from the buck pen and does in heat? Well, I had my agenda with assigned breeding plans all planned. I had GOOD reasons for my assignments! I have the SENIORITY and expected MY way to reign. But, I sure did underestimate Bandit, my YOUNG Alpine buckling and his RAGING hormones.

How can those crazy does be so in love with a youngster who doesn't flap his tongue at them while blubbering slutty talk and doesn't reek of pee? They are suppose to LOVE it, ask any doe and her owner!
Bandit hadn't even mastered the full buck-in-rut technique of saturating himself in pee. He only peed a little bit on himself when he managed to have 4 feet on the ground within containment of a barn wall and 6' chain link panels with no doe in heat. You'd think the does would have required him to have perfected his buck-in-rut act; NOT his "I CAN and WILL escape one way or another and you can't stop me" actions!
This has been a very difficult breeding season. I tell you, young Mr. Bandit is a houdini with a PHD in gymnastics! He managed to get up to and break out the window panel on the side of the barn (6' up). Then later managed to find a way to scale the chain link panels (again, 6') and keep escaping into the barn with the does every time someone was in heat - one way or another. I covered the pen with chicken wire and he managed to rip a hole and get on top of it and walk it to the edge and jump out. I caught him in the act, standing on his hind legs and using his horns. That boy only needs 2 legs, not 4! (Is there a Dancing With the Goats tv show?) I put up more wire in the barn too, and even wired above the pens' gates, making it near impossible for me to enter a pen!

I couldn't keep the hot wire around the top of the pen to keep him off it either. This coming Spring I'll have to try to run some hot wire inside the pen to keep them away from it. Hopefully with some mature size he'll not be so agile and able.
I've been trying to figure out how to make him some little cee-ment booties or shoes! I hate to do it, but next Fall I may have to chain him in the buck pen (not a good place to chain him) or out in the paddock with my horse (he'd be lonely) and I do NOT want to do that!
Susan, at Queen Acres, suggested cattle panels over the top of the buck pen; but I needed something to keep owls and hawks from getting my chickens. Some of them are in the buck pen - supposedly with the bucks. Now I think I just need a fortress on top of the pen to keep boys in and predators out!

I REALLY didn't want to breed Spirit to her son. Yet she seems to like him better than Nipper. I weaned Bandit "early" (3+ months) so Becca wouldn't get bred by her twin. And, speaking of Becca, this naughty naughty girl likes her brother MUCH more than she likes the blubbering, tongue flapping Nipper, her intended!
We're not even going to go to the topic of the Nigerian Dwarf does! Bandit has snuck into the pen with them several times too, MUCH MUCH to my dismay and frustrations! I don't think he managed to breed them. Fortunately Nipper was in with them when it happened. They, thank heavens, prefer Nipper!
We "won't" discuss the 2 Boer does who I didn't want to breed but was wondering how I was going to keep that from happening. We "won't" discuss the SCREAMING Macey does and the BELLERING MoNique does when in heat and obnoxious neighbors. Yes, Bandit has been there too. I'm pretty sure they are bred as they haven't had any recent scream-fests. I even put them in the buck pen with Bandit and thought that would help. He was happy and content as long as NO ONE in the barn came in heat and then all bets were off and he reverted to his agenda. I have NO idea who they are bred to!
We "won't" discuss the 5' panels with wire above to about 8'+ in the barn, between pens. Of course Bandit figured out to run at the wall and scale it as far as his momentum took him, and to rebound and flip himself up over that wire I kept re-supporting! We "won't" discuss my vocabulary misdeeds which will probably have me with my chin to chest in embarrassment when I leave this earth! The height never gave him any qualms and I get dizzy climbing into the loft in the barn at 10'!
Bandit has me pulling my hair out. Yet the 5, YES 5 FIVE, bucks who left a few months ago were less frustrating combined than Bandit has been!
With all that happened, I'm not sure Bandit got the does bred HE chose to do, so Nipper ended up going in the doe pen with the Alpine does to make sure Kendra and Claire are bred and to hopefully have Spirit and Becca bred to Nipper. I caught Kendra and Claire back into heat after some of Bandit's escapes so I was then hoping he wasn't mature enough to have all his deeds done completely. My fingers ache from all the crossing and clenching I tell you! I also don't think Spirit's cooperation with her son, Bandit, took and I hope she's now bred to Nipper! But I'm NOT holding my breath! And, young Becca? This naughty naughty girl likes her brother much more than she likes her intended, in spite of me telling her Nipper's kids are tiny at birth and it would be soooo much easier on her to cooperate with MY agenda! Maybe it's all the blubbering and the tongue hanging out Nipper has perfected she doesn't like! Or the slutty talk he does on her virgin ears. I haven't caught her back in heat and yet I suspect Bandit will be the sire of any little BBabies. Who knows!
So, frustrations reign. Chaos pervailed in spite of my efforts and coaching does as to who they would love to chose IMHO! Being the "superior" being and, I feel like I should be in control and all that stuff. I am the smarter one but obviously, outwitted. Come kidding season, I guess I'll have a whole lot more surprises than I expected. Now I'll also get to determine who is the goatie version of baby-daddy (kid-daddy doesn't have the same "flow") and it will help that I kept notes of every single escape in writing along with who I found to be in heat. It will also help that Bandit is a chamoise Alpine and Nipper is a black, moon-spotted ND. So along with dates and color, there are also pattern and SIZE that will help me know who is the sire. All of Nippers 2010 kids ALL had frosted muzzles, ears and some amount of tail frosting. Bandit has no facial spot and no white. He's just the chamoise (brown) color with all the black trim.
I will not admit to defeat or quit trying! After all, one thing I can be certain of is I LOVE goats.... And the 2nd is that the Alpines and Nigerians all have upright ears so their kids will too!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tip of the Day

I use my onion peels, stems, veggie stems, celery ends, etc to make veggie broth. I have a dedicated pan with lid that I use and boil them up good and waalaa! Veggie broth for cooking instead of buying the boxed stuff. I strain it and can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple days if I don't have an immediate use for it. I can also stick the pot in the frig with the fresh peels and then make the broth in a day or two as I have time and more bits and pieces to "discard". I use a brush to clean off questionable pieces and if they don't brush off I either wash them or toss them. Anything too deteriorated is tossed and not used.

It's a basically free benefit as I throw this stuff in the compost anyway. So now it gives me an extra bonus before it goes there. The cartons of broth are a couple dollars so I'm always happy to get it free. Mine is darker and has more onion to it, but I could make it with less onion if desired. It's a rich flavored broth too.

If you're leary of what to use it for in the beginning, try adding it to a roast instead of water, soup, or such where it will mingle well and you know you'll be pleased with the results!

Try it, you may also discover a new money saving trick too!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Seed Catalogs

I got my first seed catalog for the 2011 gardening year! It's the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog which came first again this year.

I LOVE getting the seed catalogs and spend hours exploring them from cover to cover, over and over. I see so many seeds I MUST have and so many I would LOVE to have but can't afford "this year". Then there are all those which I wouldn't buy but find interesting to read about and see the pic.

Why is it we are so enthralled with these catalogs? Is it because it's a "breath of Spring to come", or a chance to get out of some housework, chore we should get done and haven't, or just because it's fun to dream and to plan our garden and food for the next year?
I think it's all of those for me. Now, if the rest of the catalogs would please hurry up and get here..... I'm so ready for them!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas Goats

I read the neatest thing on a goat group yesterday and immediately went to the website listed. There is more there written by Pam and daughter, Katy. She's GOOD, and so is Pam! I wouldn't be at all surprised to see more good writing by this young lady and I'm sure I will enjoy it! With permission, here is:

The Twelve Days of Christmas Goats

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
A Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
7 San Clementes,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
8 Saanen's milking,
7 San Clementes,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
9 Nubian's prancing,
8 Saanen's milking,
7 San Clementes,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
10 Sable's leaping,
9 Nubian's prancing,
8 Saanen's milking,
7 San Clementes,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
11 Oberhaslis,
10 Sable's leaping,
9 Nubian's prancing,
8 Saanen's milking,
7 San Clementes,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

On the 12 day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
12 Nigerian Dwarfs,
11 Oberhaslis,
10 Sable's leaping,
9 Nubian's prancing,
8 Saanen's milking,
7 San Clementes,
6 Angora's grazing,
5 Golden Guernseys!
4 Lamancha's calling,
3 French Alpines,
2 Toggenburgs,
and a Pygmy with a goatee.

written by Katy Ann Staples©

I only got permission to share this here on my blog, so hope you'll not snag a copy and pass it on (unless you get your own permission, of course!). You're welcome to share their web link and I'd LOVE it if you share my blog link too! The website for you to read more is: http://punziwu.webs.com/12dayschristmasgoats.htm

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thought I'd Seen It All!

But I know I haven't and I'm usually not surprised at the unusual things I discover! Today's unique item has to be one of the all-time surprises by my standards!

There was a flier for a gun shop in our little weekly newspaper that brings the local grocery add and school news types of articles. In looking through the gun ad with it's food processing section, etc, I ran across something NEW to me!

Have you seen the pink camo lingerie? I've seen the ad and now I'd like to see the "real thing" just because I want to! No, I'll not buy any. After all, at 60 and a bit over weight, it just isn't "me"! That being, it doesn't mean I can't be interested in seeing the real thing.

The store didn't have it on their website so I had to go google surfing and used "pink+camo+lingerie" (without the "") and instantly came up with links with pics. You can even buy it on eBay! It's titled "Wilderness Dreams". Are you going to go look? I don't blame you if you do. And don't forget to check out the bikinis too!

Snapping out of my "dreams", I'm back to looking at the sale ad's dehydrators, other clothing, toys, etc. I'm surprised at the extent of their fare they are hoping to sell.

I can only dream of what will be my next thought-I'd-seen-it-all item!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Can't Believe It!

I am LUCKY!

I got 6 eggs today! The young pullets aren't giving up even though we're at the darkest time of the year and with it being only 4*F this am! I can only guess that they are enjoying laying and my telling them what wonderful girls they are! Only 2 of them were froze so those will go on the cat and dog food.

This pic is of some eggs from the other day. It was icy out and I dropped one and cracked a couple of these. Barney, the barn cat, was happy to help me with the dropped egg of course. I have 2 pullets giving me the darker eggs.

Now these girls have me wondering if they'll quit laying for the summer or if they are going to be laying "gangbusters" then!

What nice pullets and eggs they are!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Must See Silent Auction

Nancy, over at Shepherd's Voice has the most awesome silent auction going on with a limited edition felted soap of one of her famous and memorable sheep, Dream. Please take a minute to go see the replica of the real Dream at:
http://shepherdsvoice.blogspot.com/2010/12/silent-auction-let-bidding-begin.html

If you can help her out, please do. She's a great person and I'm sure the winner will be thrilled with the felted Dream. I've known Nancy on line for a few years and know of many people who have purchased hatching eggs and others numerous times and are thrilled with the outcome of doing business with her. I'm positive this is a legit proposition!

I wish I wasn't also one of the out-of-work as I'd LOVE to try for this myself if I could.

The auction ends Wednesday, so please hustle over and don't miss this chance!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Analyzing My Writing Style

Interesting! I was reading a digest from a Yahoo Group and a link was provided to analyze one's writing style. Fun!

Of course I had to go visit and check out my style. I used my 2 most recent posts (excluding the Sunday Silence with Bobbi falling asleep in my tote by here by the computer) and got 2 different results. Would I get a different result for each post with a new author? I've not heard of Corey Doctorow but have heard of and read John ? Jack London.

Do you want to give it a try? Go here:

http://iwl.me/s/f92755a9

This link will probably be connected with me as it was a link for me to provide to friends below the text box. If you do have some writing analyzed, please post a comment and let us know whose writing style you have!

You'll also see an ad from Amazon that lists some of the books written by the author, whose style you write in. That was really interesting!

I've also added the provided html text to add the 2 results to the column on the right here on my blog.

Enjoy!

Sunday Silence - Nap Time


Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Camera

I wish I had money to buy a $400 camera, but I don't. I did find the great buy on a nice camera though so bought it. It was to be delivered between December 6th - 9th and came the 3rd! Wal*Mart did well.

The camera is better than I expected from the write-up too. I'm very pleased! I'm also quite surprised how thin and small it is though! It's actually a bit too small for my aging hands but I'm getting use to it. It's easy to operate too.


I'm quite impressed with the pics it takes. When I open them in psp they show 16% of the actual size. The pics are NICE! It also is able to take pics in the barn and not come out so darned grainy and dim! I'm pleased!

I've given hubby the other camera which he asked, for inspite of it's issues due to his kitty knocking it off the desk and my dropping it. He's enjoying it.

The pics are of the new Fuji (14 mega pixels/5x wide) cam. Isn't that thin? It's not quite as thin as a deck of cards, but it's the same size. Thank heavens for the nicely cushioned case. I'm keeping it in it!

And, no more sitting the camera down on the desk! This kitty definitely thinks those wrist straps are toys so she can swipe, dangle and watch it drop!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gettin' A Snow Storm

Today is a BUSY day. We have a significant snow storm coming in tonight and running through Sunday night. We've had snow on the ground for a few weeks and have been getting a bit but nothing like what is coming tonight. What's coming is the snow that one has to prepare for. It's also going to be the snow that stays and continuously builds up til we hopefully get a January thaw right at the point I'm really into cabin fever!

Yesterday I made a trip into town to stock up on feed and get a few grocery items that were on sale. So I need to finish unloading the van and have it back up to the house so it doesn't get snowed in and stuck out back.

Today I drag the hoses out and top off the stock tank, give water buckets and tubs a good washout, make sure there is adequate bedding, shelter and wind block for the poultry and 3 goats in the buck pen, outside. There's a bit to do inside but that's mostly done and protected by the barn itself. I had 2 round bales delivered Tuesday so the convicts in the buck pen and my cherished mare have adequate hay to keep their systems running well and providing body heat. (The chickens and turkeys are REALLY into hay. I've always given them chaff to pick in, but this bunch likes to pick long green stems out of the hay I give the goats, which is fine with me.)

I've looked and looked and looked for my purple plastic "tobogan" sled that I use to move stuff around, and no luck. How it has disappeared I don't know and the searching has been a time waster! So, yesterday I grabbed a new one at the dollar store. This one is a pretty blue and will slide along better. The purple was starting to break up so it was about to need replacing anyway. The wagon has gotten hard to drag in the snow we have so it's time to switch "wheels". I also got my 2 wheel hand cart up to the house to use for fetching wood.

I also want to pick up a couple more buckets of twigs, bits of useless wood, etc that I collect and use for fire starting. Buckley was really into bashing the pallets that are the compost bin so there's still more I can collect.

I've also drug my boots out and now have to give up my garden muck shoes that I prefer wearing because they are so easy to slip on and off. They also have great traction which I dearly need with my balance problems.

I'm almost ready for this and today is my last chance to get it done before it's much more difficult to accomplish. Everything has been freezing down so it's a daily billboard type of sign for the impending difficult period. Plus it's COLD out so it's hard to stay out too long without coming in to warm up some and catch my breath.

One thing about this outside work on a farm, one keeps finding other jobs that could be done so the work NEVER ends! I'm at that point. I'll also throw a roast or something in the oven so I don't have to "fuss" with getting dinner ready.

Yes, it's a busy day, but one with a huge purpose that will affect everything for the next 3-4 months! Off I go! So much to do and so little time!
(By the way, go ahead and copy this graphic if you wish. It was a snag from a graphic sharing group.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Carol of the Goat Bells

This is a neat thing that is only available to enjoy the month of December. It's really cute and I enjoy it every year. I thought you might also!

http://www.goatbiology.com/animations/carol.html

Enjoy!

Christmas Cookie Rules


1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.

3. If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calories free, (rule #1) yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.

4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!

7. Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking. Causes calorie leakage.

9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories Rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule!

THE FINE Print!
(I have no idea where the bottom cookie recipe ORIGINALLY came from as it got to me through an email. I'll gladly remove it or give credit if it's yours!)

Also, you may snag a copy of the cookie rules and the "good morning" graphic at the top of this post as those came through a file sharing email. I wish I had a pic of cookies on a Christmasy plate! I'll have to work on that!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Links to Blogs and Web Sites

I would like to do something nice for my followers!

Do any of you have links to your own blogs and/or websites you'd like me to post here on my blog in the "Blogs I Enjoy" section? I have a couple of you there already and hope the links are still good.
Please post me a comment with your link and I'll get it done.
If you have a blog, please feel free to share the link to mine if you share them.
Thank you to all of you who follow my blog. It makes my day! ;)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pitchers

I have taken a liking to glass pitchers with all the fresh milk and cream I have.

It use to all be plastic and Tupperware pitchers that were non-breakable when the girls were growing up. I've out grown those! I LIKE glass pitchers and especially those that appear to be an old, useful style.

I think I posted about a blue, "RealMilk" labeled pitcher I have some time ago. I should look back and see! I got it and a couple other smaller ones to use with the cream separator. They sure are handy! I use a plastic bowl cover on them when I have milk in them. That usually happens when I have a gallon jar that is no longer full and is taking up too much space.

Now I found a pair of really neat pitchers!

These are, IMHO, really neat. They are a rounded square with a good pour spout. The bottom of the handle isn't attached to the pitcher making it easy to have hold of them and be able to shift my fingers for stability and control during moving or pouring.

Have you ever tried to get good pics of a clear glass pitcher? It's not easy! I tried the backs of a couple recipe books and without and neither shows them off well. I'm not sure what is the best way to take photos of clear glass. I guess I need to study someone else's photos that look nice! Maybe I just need them full of milk and cream!
I have a couple that are different shapes that I also found recently and will need to take some pics of those too. I've also learned from them that they don't all pour cleanly and neatly! I have a couple that I'm putting in my boxes for selling at a garage sale. I like them, but I want useable ones that make life more simple and not add to a job-at-hand.
I wonder what neat thing I'll find next?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dollar Store Find


I MUCH prefer to use stainless or glass for cheese making, but this just looks so handy for scouping curds out of the pot and into the cheese cloth for draining that I had to buy it. It wll hold about 4 or so cups and is a perfect size for dipping into my 2 pots I use for cheese making. I'm betting it will be handy for scouping out the ricotta curds too!
Too bad the does are now dried up! As soon as those girls are bred they don't think I need to be "bothering" them. They have their own agendas! My agenda.....I'd so love to make some cheese with this and the new kit that came from New England Cheesemaking Supply and Chickens In The Road!
I'll be sharing lots of photos of that as soon as I get a few minutes to make sure I get them loaded in the right order.



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How to Feel Old

Today is my "baby's" birthday. She's 34. I'd like to ask how that happened, but I think I know the answer.... I blinked!

My oldest daughter is now 38 and the middle daughter will be 36 in a couple weeks. Yes, I blinked a few times there too.

I suspect that I'm going to have to shake my head a whole lot to clear the thought processes in reckoning with THEM turning 40. I was too busy at 40 to have much time to ponder on it and now it's catching up with me - FAST!

My advice, you ask, DON'T take your eyes off your baby! Before you know it they will be turning 30 and looking at YOU while shaking their own head and asking if that makes YOU feel old TOO!! Then in a blink you'll be staring at 40 year old children!

Just don't go there!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm In Trouble!

I learned something new! I'm one of those who is very careful about giving out personal details on line. I don't like using a card to buy on the net but realize sometimes we might have too. I'm concerned about my info being stolen, identity theft, etc. I'm not paranoid, but concerned. I don't agree that everything is safe with the httpS. After all, how many times has the fed gov been compromised and hacked into?

A couple weeks ago I got the email WalMart flier and there was a camera I'd really like. Bobbi kitty has knocked my camera off the desk again and it's not working really well. Maybe that time I dropped it and cringed might have been the precurssor..... Well, WalMart has a new version of the Fuji Finepix camera on sale for less than half what I paid for mine new several years ago.

I pondered on it awhile and then got another email flier with more camera info. I had to look! Lo and behold! I couldn't believe what I read for a moment! Not only was the camera I liked still available at the sale price, but it can be bought with free shipping to my home, not just the store!!!

Then I saw the magical info... I could pay thru PAYPAL!!! I don't know when they started that, but I do use my paypal account and so far have had good luck with it. That clinched it. It helped that hubby said if I got a new camera was he going to have one? He'd be happy with the current one until it completely croaks! So I did it! I have a new blue camera coming and will be here between December 6th - 9th. I HAVE to have a camera of course! After all, I have a blog, critters, and a life!

But I'm in trouble now that I know I can buy thru paypal and the WalMart flier and never leave the house! And, that my readers, was my black Friday purchase. Now maybe I will be able to do a better job posting pics!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today ...

feels like Winter is here! We have a skiff of snow that has stayed and been added to from yesterday. The stock tank and buckets of water are freezing so I'm hauling some gallon jugs of hot water to the chickens and goats. Today I MUST get the tank heater in the stock tank. It's stayed below 0 for over 48 hours so the ground is also freezing. I still have to move a few things outside and during the night thought of something I'd forgotten that needs emptied if possible (outdoor laundry tubs).

I'm done hanging laundry out, that's for sure!

The fire went out over night so tonight I'll have to start putting some wood on it during the night. I usually get up a couple times during the night anyway so will just have to do that.

Today I can continue going through Aunt Florence's recipes. I was handed a few cookbooks and envelope with recipes Thanksgiving Day. I'm tickled to have them and the hand written ones was like getting handed some treasured gems! Aunt Florence was a wonderful cook! I think I'll start a notebook as there are some punched pages in the collection. There's too much to just add them to my recipe box. What a gift! I LOVE cookbooks and have far too many. I am always picking some up at Good Will too and have found some GREAT ones.

Today I also need to crop some photos to share with you, my treasured readers!

Today I need to decide what I'm going to make for dinner with some of the leftover turkey that came home with us. After the big dinners we do some "trading" of the left overs so we get to help each other use them up without waste. There are a lot of choices of what to make with the left overs!

And, last but not least, it's time to start wearing some socks when I go out to do chores and outside work! My footies sure felt the cold yesterday! :) I better grab some gloves on the way out too! BRRR!

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I have many many things I'm thankful for in spite of being out of work and having a disability. A few things that are first to mind that I'm thankful for are:

*the family we have to share some time and dinner with. We're much smaller in numbers now so it makes what we have even more cherished.
*freedom here in the US and our military folks and their family and close friends. I'm especially thankful for and wish many blessings for those families who have lost a family member in the service for any reason. May their heavy hearts realize that empty chair at their table is blessed by so many of us with tons of thankfulness for their service.

*for my hubby's mobility and that he's made it a another year here on earth. Last year at this time we were in the hospital in fear of his losing his life again. Also for the ortho surgeon hubby now sees who really knows what is going on with a diabetic and stroke victim. (Seems there should be a better word then victim!)

*for heat, food, and the roof over my head.

*for YOU, my blog followers and readers. May you have a blessed holiday season and wonderful Thanksgiving.

The graphics here are some from a group that shares them for use on the computer and I'm sharing them with you. Please take those that you enjoy!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stuffing vs Dressing

We all probably know the difference between the two, but just in case I thought I'd mention it anyway as it might help someone else with a way to be correct in their Turkey Day terminology! Stuffing goes in and comes out of the bird and dressing is cooked in a separate dish without being stuffed in a bird.

Modern day cooking says we shouldn't be making or eating stuffing any more due to cross contamination of our food and the possibility of food poisoning. Our family has changed to dressing but for time and ease of cooking. This change was made several years ago.

Either way, I LOVE plain ole dressing/stuffing. My MIL use to make the best that I've ever had. I wish I knew her magic ingredient that made it so tasty! There was always something "there" that I couldn't "define" and she never was precise in what she used. I've had several fancy types of stuffing over the years and they are good, but I like the "vintage" type of old the best.

Do you have stuffing or dressing? Do you like it?

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner! Are you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunting Success

My BIL has been coming out deer hunting for the 3rd year. The first year he got a nice doe and last year nothing. Yesterday he got a really nice 6 point buck. Unfortunately I don't have a pic as I forgot to grab my camera on my way out the door to go help him bring it up. There are 2 gates to go through to get to the woods so I go along and help by getting the gates.

I couldn't believe how much damage had been done to the fence in the last week. I had to go back out early afternoon and spend an hour doing repairs. I'm glad it wasn't rainy like today!

One less deer to be demolishing my fence! One less deer to be in my yeard eating out of my garden! BIL? He was a happy hunter and now has a couple stories to share!

Eight more days of hunting season and all the shooting will be over! Peace will resume.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I WON!

I won a drawing! And it wasn't just any ole average drawing either. It was a drawing that is "ME"! One couldn't have designed a drawing better suited for me unless it was for money, an appliance I need, a truck, a high class dairy goat or buck, etc. I'm also one of those folks who "never wins" anything - well hardly ever at all.


I think I posted about the cheese making going on over to Suzanne's Chickens In The Road blog/site ( www.chickensintheroad.com ). If not I will rememdy that soon! Anyway, Suzanne is blogging in conjunction with New England Cheesemaking Supply Company (www.cheesemaking.com ). They are the "go-to" site for all things cheese making such as supplies, cultures, etc. They have a wonderful website and newsletter too. They are supporting Suzanne's blogging with a give-away for some of her cheese making posts. This was was for Montery Jack Cheese and I WON the drawing! I am so so tickled! I'll be getting several items in the kit that I haven't been able to afford such as the special wax, their cultures, etc. There's a mold included, rennet, etc.

Like I said, this drawing is "me". I will now be able to make some hard cheeses! I'll also get to use some cultures too. I've always used cultured buttermilk and yogurt for my cheese making which works great, but isn't the same as the "official" cheese cultures. I can't wait to try some Gouda and guyere! Oh, and some Swiss and Monterey Jack and.....
I can't hardly believe I won, but it's been confirmed. It's TRUE! This is a drawing of a "life time"! Thank you so much to Suzanne at Chickens In The Road and New England Cheesemaking!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If It's Not One Thing....

... it's definitely another! Our used refrigerator didn't make it a year! It CROAKED! It also ran up the electric bill for the last couple months. OUCH! I could have bought a NEW refrigerator for what it ran the bill up. It's one of those home-ownership issues that we deal unhappily with! I have a much newer used refrigerator coming Friday. I've spent a few days researching new and found the "affordable" new ones have a very limited life expectancy. What happened to the refrigerators of the past that lasted 25 or more years? The first new I looked at (Frigadaire) has a year's warranty. The reviews were less than 50% happy and all complained of the noise. One stated their's croaked a month after the warranty expired. I expect a refrigerator to last longer than 13 months! Are these made by children in China? I really shouldn't even "go there"!

The good news is that on our way to town, we got caught on the edge of quite a rain storm. Fortunately as I turned South we drove out of it. We got to town and while in Good Will it hit there. I had expected to see a rainbow but didn't. The sky just looked like it should be a beautiful canvas for one. We drove out of the storm and into sunshine with it still pouring. When we left the store and were returning home, we enjoyed a slightly cooler air but it was very clean and fresh smelling. I haven't noticed the air smelling so nice in some time. I wish I could bottle that! Refreshing and a very nice drive. The scenery is so brown and blah though. To see a Winter wheat field, means it stands right out and looks odd with the surrounding pre-winter look. To me, trees look so much nicer in their Summer green, than their bare Winter nakedness.

I've had a short sit-down and now it's time for chores and milking! It will be dark in an hour! Then I need to return to throwing out refrigerator contents. The chickens are sure enjoying their treats.

My work never ends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cordouroy or Corduroy?

It's an easily misspelled word! The material though is known for it's warmth and durability. I grew up with it and suppose most of you must have too! It comes and goes a bit as far as style, but never goes away. I would say that's a good thing! Over the years, I've noticed a lot of changes in the material. It's had wide to narrow wales (the puffed up ridge with the alternating grooves up and down the material), and has become a much more soft and "cooperative" material to work with.

Did you know that it now comes with patterns along with it's wales?

Did you also know that there is a National Corduroy Appreciation Club? They have an annual meeting on 11/11 being the 1111 resemble corduroy. Their mascot is of course, a whale! Sunday Morning had a segment on about them and it was quite interesting. Some parts were a bit commical in ways, but also informative. I had no idea there were corduroy cuff links, etc. I had no idea such a well-known material would gather such a following that it has national recognition. I suspect we will soon find there is a National Corduroy Day! The Club didn't seem to be the type to NOT go to that length or not think of it.

I knew and have seen a lot to do with natural fibers and fiber sheep, goats and llamas, along with fiber (angora) rabbits. I knew there was a segment of the industry that also has to do with silk due to the "farming" methods needed to produce it. But I never expected that I'd see or hear of a group for Corduroy!

If you have time to kill something and find yourself needing to google and surf, look up cordouroy and corduroy. There are a lot of links using both spelling. The only thing I didn't figure out is if the our is from the UK and ur the US spelling which we see in some words such as colour vs color.

I will definitely need to make a detour into a fabric shop when I'm next near one to check out the new style of corduroy. I do like to sew and haven't sewn with it for some time. I'm sure I must have some scraps that I've saved for making doll clothes too. That's a project I hope to get back to working on this winter. It's a good excuse to sit in the living room with the wood stove and watch some tv!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Opening Day - 2010 Deer Season

Over the weekend it sounded like a war zone here. For some insane reason people seem to think that they are getting the deer moving by standing around just shooting. Why? They are already moving due to bow season and the time of the year. It coincides with their rut period and the bucks on the move for reproduction. This shooting isn't target practice. There is a rhythm to the shooting when target practicing and I hear that also. The deer are also on the move due to the amount of target practicing which started a couple weeks ago.

The season starts at 7 am and boy did the shooting start up for a bit! My BIL comes out to hunt gun season and we let a neighbor down the road do bow hunting. This helps keep people off our property as we ask these 2 guys to please run them off. There's a hill that goes down to the woods. When people come onto our property from the back they don't know that and have (multiple times) shot and had their shot come up into our yard and it's low. Our house has been shot and thankfully it didn't come inside. I hate standing at the kitchen sink morning or evening due to the risk. We've had some close calls. I had a bullet whiz by my legs when hanging laundry one year and boy did I dance and squeal! I also worry about my goats and horse getting shot.
So I'm doing my annual avoiding the treks to fix fence, etc where I have to go out into the pastures or anywhere near the woods. I avoid being outside close to dark due to the stray shots from over zealous, excited hunters who forget to think. I keep the critters up close.
I also wish the deer (pic above) would stay out of the pasture there as they are right next to the driveway and close to the house! They also come right into the yard.
The herds here in my area are reported to be quite large this year. So I hope being the economy has been really bad and our job loses some of the worst in the nation the last 12 years that the hunters are able to cull a LOT of deer. It's better for the deer over the winter trying to keep fed and means reduced car accidents. High deer numbers are horrible on the farmers' crops as they really do eat a significant amount of them.
Oh, no, I'm not wearing the same orange shirt for 2 weeks! I have several as they sure seem safer to wear out there in the back yard! They were super cheap buys from the GoodWill Last Chance store for $1 each!
I need a countdown banner for the number of days left in deer season! (Only 15 days left after today!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seasoning Cast Iron

I just read an excellent article on another blog about the science of seasoning cast iron. I thought some of you might like to read it also. It recommends flax seed oil which was a first for me, but it makes sense. As I was getting into it, I thought she was going to recommend linseed oil and was starting to cringe. Thankfully I didn't need to!

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

It does make me wonder if our grandmothers used linseed oil or what. I seem to remember my mom using lard. Back then, linseed oil may not have been so chemically processed and all like it is now. It's great for the handles of garden implements, but I really don't want to eat from pans seasoned with it.

Good article! It gives me something to ponder on and wonder what you think of it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This That and the Other Stuff

Bummer. We've already had snow a couple days, but then we've had a bit over a week of really nice weather again. It has been nice and I've really enjoyed it and tried to make good use of it. Now it's raining which wasn't to start until "sometime after 9, after dark". It started about 4 while I was outside getting more pre-winter stuff done and chores.

The goats are pretty well set for winter. I have moved Nipper and Bandit (bucks) into the barn. I have 2 large pens in the barn for the goats which use to be my huge, double foaling stalls. I still have the turkeys and chickens in the one but put Bandit in one with Macey and Mo'Nique for company. Nipper is in the other with the ND does, his 2 doelings and the 4 Alpine does. The 2 doelings need me to take them to their new home real soon.

The rubber buckets and tubs for winter watering are almost all in place. I hate having my good buckets bust from the water freezing and expanding. I'm almost done covering the top of the buck pen so the owls and hawks can't get my chickens and so the chickens and the turkeys won't be able to fly out either. Now I need to move more chickens out there as soon as we have another couple days that will be non-raining so they can get around and adjust a few days. I'll move the turkeys out there at the same time. I need another roll of chicken wire to finish the top of the pen and hope to get that this coming week. I think I can get the larger chickens all moved out before the top is finished though.

I have almost all of the destructive mess cleaned up from Buckley, who's major source of enjoyment was trashing anything he could while rubbing his itchy horns and head on it. Some of that was frustration because he wanted out with the does and couldn't get to them. I do hope he'll be happier in his new home as he was to have some does of his own. He's really a nice boy but was frustrated with does in heat and knowing the other 6 boys were all "with" the does in his thinking. All that is left is some broken up pieces of wood to bag and keep dry for starting the wood stove over the winter.

I still need to get the chain link fence that was given to me moved so it's not mangled in snow plowing over the winter. I have finally decided where I'm going to use it. I have a spot behind the barn that is only needing 2 sides fenced to move the turkeys too for next summer and I'm going to use it to do that. Then I'll only need a cover over it to keep predators out. It's also in line with the electric fence so I can have a couple hot wires for coons, possums, coyotes or such to get the message.

I'd like to get half dozen pallets moved out by the barn so if I need any over the winter I'll have some close instead of trying to get them moved so far from where they currently are. Every winter it seems I come up with a couple uses for a few. Then if I don't use them they'll be there for a new compost bin come Spring.

I still need to move the glider and a couple things outside the back door around the corner and cover them with a tarp for winter.

I need to get the electric cord run out to the stock tank for the horse and her heater in the tank. I need to put a couple stakes in to make sure the plow knows where the cord lays so it's not plowed up. I heard that Lowes has some solar driveway lights that work great in a chicken coop and such and are only $18. I'd like to get a couple for out by the barn and buck pen. I'd like one of their led hats too. That would sure be handy! It also has me wondering if there is any type of a solar pack that has an electric outlet attached that could have my stock tank heater plugged in and not use electricity. It would sure be handy to have the tank where I'd rather have it (not under a walnut tree)! I need to fill the tank again soon too.

An the last of the bigger projects left is to move the gate out the front door to it's new spot, move the older fence out, and pull the 2 fence posts. Then if hubby is laid up again this winter (needs more surgery at some point) I can get him in and out of the house a lot easier as I'll be able to park within a few feet of the front door to load and unload him.

We also have some wood that is split and piled out back that needs to come up from the woods yet. That can be worked on soon as the bow hunter who hunts on our property will be done hunting until musket season and he's the one who so kindly has helped up with wood cutting and splitting the last couple of years.

I think I'm about ready. It's a good thing too because I'm sure worn out! Are you about ready for Winter? Do you get a lot of snow? Ice?

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Layers!

I didn't have time to post about this last week but just have to share it, of course!

You probably know by now that I got a lot of satisfaction and had fun hatching eggs this year. I had a horrible (HORRIBLE) time stopping, yet I knew it would get too cold for tiny birds to survive the winter so had too.

It's been fun to watch these youngsters I hatched out grow and start maturing. There have been quite a few days that I felt the pain of loss when I found a youngster dead or found I was missing birds due to predators. I've sure put a LOT of use to the live trap I bought. The old one wasn't working right any more and I had to stop the losses. I have some black sex link chicks I bought at TSC and bought a few youngsters from a couple people too so I'd have some new blood/genetics added to the flock. The Sex Links are carnivores and terribly cruel to the younger birds or any bird with anything they feel cause to peck it to death. (Those girls sure better be good layers or they are outta here! They got to go live with the Aracuana's who have been rough on new birds added to the flock and they now rule the Aracuanas!)

All that being, my Brahma chicklets have matured to nice pullets. I only have 3 left. I had gotten 2 from a gal near me and hatched out a few. All 3 are really pretty, and very friendly. I really like this breed so far. I need a Brahma roo for them as I'll be keeping them!

Last week they really "made my day" a few times. They have started to lay! I'm getting a small brown egg every other day. I've had a lot of chickens over the years and went a few years without any. That being, it surprises me a bit but I've been so excited over having eggs from chicklets that I hatched and raised. What a NEAT thing it's been. Each of the eggs has been such a neat gift and made looking for eggs exciting again. The older hens have all quit laying so it's especially nice to have a few eggs again! It's just plain fun too.

I don't expect the young Cochins to lay til Spring as they are slower developing. I'll be looking forward to them starting come February or March. The beginning of this year I think I started getting a few eggs in February and by March was getting a nice increase.

Considering my electric bill and the low percentages of successful hatched eggs, I have decided to go ahead and buy a Genesis 1588 incubator. That's the one that many many people recommend and those with cabinent incubators like to have one to use to help out. I'm hoping that it will reduce my electric consumption and increase the percentage of successful hatching. I had a bit of a hard time with all the eggs that didn't hatch. Some were blanks, but many had chicks that died at some point in their development. I know I'll be much happier with a better incubator and I'll not have to have as many attempted hatches.

Maybe I'll be able to get a small flock of the Jersey Giants going with a better incubator. And a better hatch for the pair of Silver Laced Cochins, and the pair of Favorelles and some turkey eggs, and........ Oh, I also want to get a start on a few mottled Cochins, white Cochins, Columbian Cochins, calico Cochins, buff Cochins, and..... Geez, there is so much I want to do!

Did I tell you how much I've enjoyed this cycle of life?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Farm News & Update

About that news I wanted to share the other day....

I finally have slowed down enough to have time to share it! I've soooo many outside chores, things to do ASAP, and Winter preparation, that I've been very much over whelmed. Add to that the house (inside) is a DISASTER; and hubby now has a couple more sores on the foot that is going through the bone disintergration and amputations, I had to do something and it had to make a difference. So, it was time and I did know and acknowledge it.

First, my problem was the size of the goat herd was paramount. I was milking 6 does a day and was feeding most of that to the kids (old enough to be weaned) and poultry. I was only saving enough for my morning milk and anything else planned that needed some of that lovely milk.

My 2nd problem, and a huge one for me, was who goes! I had a few I knew were going but I was ready to cull the herd much deeper and into my favorites and upcoming doelings I REALLY would like to have kept another year to see how they develop. One of the reasons is a doe normally has aprox. 6 kiddings in her life time. (I sure hope I have the above average who can go 10 or more!) That's not a lot.

So to breed with good goals and ethics, I feel responsible to know what my doe is going to produce and how that udder will develop! There's a lot to be determined in breeding well. I don't want to just breed, I want to breed well and do the very best I can for the goats involved and especially the offspring! I want them to be the type of goats that one insists on keeping when they down-size their herd! I want them to be favorites and have enjoyable personalities too.

That being, I don't have a lot of kiddings to use and to learn what they will produce so I need to keep a few kids for a while to know. I did learn a lot about what Kendra and Claire now produce by having Raquel, Danika, and Cinnamon on my milkstand. The similarities were interesting and distinguishable. They were sired by Arthur, a Nubian, with an outstanding personality. I didn't know what he did for his offspring in the udder department and wasn't pleased with what I got. The 3 DID get the production and also good personalities from their dams. There were similarities to their dam's in udder conformation but enough of a backwards step to know that Arthur wasn't a buck to be considered an "udder buck"! I also learned my 2 does will produce producers but need help in the udder attachments! The capacity came along, but I want better attachment for an udder that is producing 3+ quarts of milk a day the first kidding! That udder needs to stay suspended on their 6th lactation (6 being the average # of kiddings for a doe)! If not, the teats will be dragging on the ground and stepped on! NOT good at all. I did also learn that my does will put good teats and orifices on a kid and all 3 FF's (first fresheners) had GREAT teats that were easy to hold and milked out quickly and easily due to good orifices. I sure learned alot!

The only problem with not keeping any of this year's doelings (and they were NICE) from Nipper (ND buck/first kid crop) is I won't know what he adds to the kids in udder development, production, etc. His kids were NICE. I REALLY wanted to keep at least one, with that being Jolene! But, I HAD to make some decisions and I had to lighten my work load significantly. So I decided I had to "grin and bear it"!

My decisions ended up being I put 15 of them up for sale on Craigslist. Some were my dairy kids and the 3 FF does, and some from my Boers. I cut into the herd DEEPLY! I also decided to part with Daisy. She had a difficult kidding last year as far as engorging, dropping tooo much weight (she had trips so not surprising), foundered (I blame myself), didn't regain good weight upon weaning, and I just plain don't know enough about dealing with foundered goat feet. Hubby had been doing her trimmings and I missed noticing the laminitis flare-up quickly enough. Daisy has always been a lazy gal and she has always taken over her feed tub and laid down to enjoy her dinner! It's hard to see feet in a herd and then when they settle down if one is going to lay down to eat. (Macy & Monique do the same and are her 3/4 sisters.) She developed those "elf feet" and I kept trimming on her weekly but was get down to very near to bloody without getting them short enough. I was told by a few seasoned goat folks not to make them bleed, just trim and "let them be". I'm not happy with the outcome at all. My decision was to find someone who knew more than I, and I would give her away (which I did). (She didn't go on the Craigslist ad as I wanted to do the best I could for her.)

I ended up with a great opportunity for Daisy (who is a sweet gal)! The guy who bought the 15 I had for sale seemed to know more about feet than I do (he's a cattleman) and thought he might be able to turn her around over time. He also has a young guy near him who was wanting to learn to trim goats, etc. as income. So this seemed to be an ideal situation for Daisy. She'll be a pet and have a couple people working on her feet who should be able to do much better for her than I can. I've learned a whole lot about triming feet but I've learned to trim healthy and "good" feet. Daisy never has had "good feet" from the time we got her. I do find it much easier to trim horse feet as they don't have the 2 "claws". You balance THE foot and only have one to work on at a time which is 4 parts and not 8 plus balancing them together! The angles are also quite different for goats! So Daisy is in a better place for her well-being. The 16 went together so had "moral" support and their buddies to keep them less stressed.

I also enjoyed meeting the guy who bought them. He's just getting into goats, still has cattle and horses. He seems VERY nice and I feel they have a great home.

There was a down side in this though and I have been very upset over that! Danika had a teary eye the day he came to see them. I checked her eye and saw nothing but it was tearing. I started her on othalmic antibiotics and thought she probably had gotten a bit of a poke from a weed. Goats love the browsing in weeds and brush and she had come in with several cockle burs/burdocks that afternoon. I kept her on the eye drops to make sure she was doing ok. Her eye did get a blue hazy look but the eye drops seemed to be clearing it up well. I did show it to the guy and had pointed it out when he came to see them. Unfortunately, Danika has lost her eye. I was very upset to learn that upon buying them that the guy had a vet bill. She will be fine, but I was upset that it looked to be improving and there was a piece of burr that had entered her eye and gotten in deeper than my eyes could see. She's now doing great but I'm still embarrassed and upset with the situation evolving during a sale from me.

That being, I'm now down to less than half my herd!

I have a new home for Lady Bug's 2 doelings. These are also Nipper kids. Lady Bug, June Bug and Nipper are staying. They were a gift I GREATLY cherish and all 3 are such nice goaties to have and be around. They are sweet natured and just plain well-put-together. Lady was VERY easy to milk when she kidded and continues to have a very well conformed and attached udder. Her doelings are adorable as kids and NICE.

Kendra and Claire are staying of course! Spirit and Becca are staying. Those are my Alpine milkers.

Nipper and Bandit are staying. They are Nigerian Dwarf and Alpines.

Macey and Mo'Nique are still here. They are 75 or 88% Boer and the other 25/12% are Alpine. I really like these 2 does a lot. A goal hasn't been set for them but if all else fails, I can milk them. I have milked Macey. Hubby isn't sure he wants to part with all the Boers so these 2 will stay while he's debating. The only thing I don't care for about them is that Macey is a screamer and Mo'Nique a "bawler" when they see me step out the door. As soon as they get fed, they are quiet again. They are very personable and cooperative. Macey's twin boys are really nice. Mo'Nique never kidded. She'll get another chance as Bandit broke into the barn and their pen when they were in heat. Those chaos moments were just that - CHAOTIC! He sure got a lot of "on-the-practice" in his several escapades! I guess I named him right! That boy can jump from standing still onto a 5+' ledge to break into the barn without blinking!

That will leave me with only 10 for the Winter. I'm now only milking only 2, Kendra and Claire.

Spirit is drying up. Becca is the only 2010 doeling I have kept back. She's Spirit's daughter and from a buck at Udder Paradice. Becca's a BEAUTIFUL doeling and her twin, Bandit, is a very handsome buckling. I changed my direction slightly for mini Alpines. Spirit and Becca will be Nipper's does and Bandit will have Kendra and Claire. Becca has spent the night in the buck pen with Nipper. I'm afraid Bandit may have "done the deed" with his dam, but I'm hoping with low odds that she didn't settle. I won't hold my breath on this chaotic, bad-boy moment!

So, it's been a very difficult decision to make and difficult re-evaluation of my goals and breeding plans. I said good bye to a few goats who I'm going to miss greatly. That being, in the decision making, I did a head count and realized that if Bandit has bred all the does he broke into pens with, I will probably have 16 kids coming the middle of March! I highly suspect almost all the does will kid within a week of each other in cold, wet weather unless my "wishes" come through and he wasn't able to settle them all! I have NO doubt that he'll have brought a lot of really good genetics to my breeding program (thank heavens) so it may get chaotic again, but at least he's a high quality buck! (I would really like to take Nipper and Bandit to a goat show as I think they both have the potential to do well. I'll have to see how things are going in the spring and IF the shows will have buck classes for them with enough entries to make it worthwhile.

I'm still going to miss Latte, Coffee Bean, Jolene, Justin, Burglar, Mason, Clifford, Chelsea, CarrieAnne, Daisy, Buttons, PattyCake, Raquel, Danika, Cinnamon..... and just maybe that rascally Buckley a bit! I wish them well and hope that their new owner enjoys them half as much as I did. I hope they do well for him with his plans. He said he's keeping them all and they will be pets. He has someone who is milking the 3 does and wanted some goat milk. And, yes, I told him that Bandit managed to break into their pens also and have a romp with them as they came in heat.... He laughed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Voted!








I hope you will too! It's a big election and especially so here for our governor position as well as the national level. The competition for our senator has been a huge one as well and not very nice. Politics seems to have become a very competitive and nasty affair. I find it disheartening that these people who are wanting the political positions side with their party rather than serve from their heart for what is best for all of us instead of half of us. I also find it scary that so many who are new to the country believe all the ads which have so much distorted info. I've noticed they believe what they hear instead of researching where something came from and past history. I'm also disheartened that the media has so much potential to sway voters' opinions and decisions. In spite of that I feel it's important to vote. I also find it appalling to hear what a politician spends to campaign. That money could be better spent creating jobs, funding food banks, etc instead of fancy, slick trash in my mail box. So I make sure to vote.
You're welcome to take a copy of the graphic. Click it to get the full size and copy away.
Tomorrow I hope to have some good farm news!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Newest Cast Iron Finds

Yesterday I found 2 pieces of cast iron at Good Will! This "makes my day" of course! I love checking out Good Will and the store has a "last chance" store next door that has everything marked down to VERY small amounts.

The small round 6" skillet looks to have been used well. It's not too often one sees CI that has been seasoned and cared for so well. It was as smooth as silk to run my fingers over it. I went ahead and paid the $4.99 for it because it's in remarkable condition. The odd spots in the pic aren't there visually. I had to go back and run my fingers over it again!

The griddle was $5.99, which is more than I usually pay at Good Will, but sometimes I get stuff marked so darn low that I don't mind the occassional "off" price for something. Cast iron is one of those occassional somethings as it's RARE to find it there.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a guy on the Today show for the cooking segment who had a brand new cast iron skillet. The theme for the cooking segment was cooking in cast iron. He had commented CI can be bought anywhere these days and cheaply. Then he said it needed seasoning before use and to rub the inside with oil and then heat it. I suspected that the guy learned his seasoning-the-inside-only method from the inter net without questioning what he reads as being the best or proper way. Maybe I'm wrong on my suspicion, but I had immediately got the idea he didn't know much about CI when I watched it. ;) One wouldn't have a well seasoned pan like this (my new find) that was only seasoned inside IMHO. No offense to him as we ALL are on a lifelong learning curve and hopefully we don't close our minds to it before the end! However my new piece clinches my questioning of his method on seasoning the inside only or both inside and outside. This pan I just got is as well seasoned outside as inside and has the same "sheen" outside as inside. So my 2 cents is season both as I have always done. There would have to be some difference in feel and look if only seasoned inside.

I'll need to season the small oval griddle, as it's not done. It looks like it's just sat in a cupboard for some years. I'll do it with another pan I recently found, as soon as I get the wood stove fired up for a good heating.

I also want to look up what the proper name for this oval griddle is from the CI manufacturers.
I think I have recently become a CI collector! I'm tired of teflon pans that loose their teflon so easily so we are eating flecks of it. I guess the big problem is that my cookware is getting tooooo old - just like me (aged with a few flaws)!

Do you like CI? Do you season yours inside and outside the piece or just on the inside?
(PS - The griddle is actually a fajitta pan and would have come with a wooden serving tray. No fear, I'll not tell it and will keep it busy. It now has a real job!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them." --Mother Teresa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Woolly Bears

Yes, you read that right! Are you intrigued? I just read about woolly bears, woolly worms and forecasting Winter from the amount of black and orange. I also read they are called woolly worms in the South, so we all know it's the same "critter". Some might spell them wooly bears or wooly worms but I'm going to side with The Old Farmers' Almanac (The Truth About Woolly Bears), which is where I was reading.

I don't know if the predictions for winter is really true or not. There have been some studies done but it's more for fun to try to predict the weather from the amount of brown/black on them. I've noticed more black on the ones here lately. Rumor has it more black is a more harsh Winter.

If you'd like to read up on them some, there is a group which had formed due to a study of them with a website. You can check it out here: http://www.ecostudies.org/FTFG/FTFG-11-17-03.html I found it by googling them, Woolly Bear Mountain.

For reference, I was reading from the 1998 Almanac as I got one CHEAP at GoodWill (25 cents). The current issues are EXPENSIVE these days so I no longer buy the new editions. I had to get this one as they always have a few good, old-time recipes I like to check out. They also contain the info on the length of daylight which I like to reference in the Winter. For some reason knowing that we'll acquire a minute and so-many seconds per day or so many minutes per week helps me get through the cabin fever months.

Back to trying to find that chart that is simple and easy to track that has the day of each month with sunrise, sunset and the amount of minutes more daylight is accrued by the day..... I can't remember where I had seen that.

Maybe I'd better just to visit the website. After all, there IS a website for EVERYTHING!