Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spicy Sunday!

I have a couple of my homemade spice mixes to share to spice up your Sunday! There's nothing better than a yummy Sunday dinner made from scratch and eaten at home! I'm making chili. Not typical Sunday fare but I got a good deal on ground beef at the store yesterday that was obviously three 1 pound pkg. of burger put in a meat tray, marked to 98 cents a pound with a reduced and manager's special tags. My thinking is that the several hours of slow boil will kill off most bacteria trying to take hold. Some times I hope that is reality with our purchased food!

Shar's Pizza Seasoning Mix

4 T oregano
3 T basil
2 T marjoram
1 T garlic powder - *Optional
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary - crushed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
pinch of well crushed savory - optional if you don't like savory

Mix well in a pint jar.
Fill a plastic spice container with a shake and/or spoon spout type top.
Use for pizzas, Italian calzones, soups, etc.


Shar's Italian Seasoning Mix

4 T oregano
3 T basil
2 T rosemary
1 T garlic powder - *Optional
1 T thyme

Mix well in a pint jar.
Fill a plastic spice container with a shake and/or spoon spout type top.

*The garlic is optional only because at some times I have or prefer to use my fresh garlic or the jars of crushed garlic I buy from the store. Right now some of my fresh garlics are starting to get little sprouts trying to burst out so I need to use them first!

(I get a quart jar of crushed garlic at Save-Alots that has some oil in it and then I have the oil for other dishes.)


Saturday, January 30, 2010


No, I don't have a "beef" to write about. ;) I just have something to ponder!

On tv this morning a reporter was discussing saving money on beef. The solution was "cowpooling" in buying a beef from a farmer/rancher and sharing the meat and expense with another person! That's a new term for me and of course I got a good laugh out of it! Do you suppose it will become a new dictionary word?

Anyway, I wanted to share that new term and thought I'd also share what I've got "brewing". I have a calf coming from a goat trade. I can get holstein, jersey or a crossbred, heifer or bull, and he's promised to hand-pick me the nicest one he can get and will make sure it's healthy. :) I decided a crossbred heifer. Heifers are quieter and more easy going from my experience. Then I can keep it (not really considering doing so) for a family milker or butcher it come winter after a long feeding on goat milk which raises up the NICEST beef! Interestingly I have experienced that if I keep them on milk the whole time I can butcher them earlier, buy far far less grain and they are a whole lot less fat than the typical corn raised meat. Another option is to sell the heifer in the fall or winter for a family milk cow. Such a dilemma!

Now, on top of THAT dilemma I am pondering, I read on a goat list that supposedly 80% of the cattle/dairy herds in this state are positive for Johnes Disease! Goats CAN get Johnes from contaminated land cattle have been on. BUMMER!!! So now I ponder and have decided that I will finish off fencing the area behind the barn for the calf. I will also have to get a blood test done asap for cattle diseases such as Johnes, Brucellosis, TB and anything else that I should "worry" about. So I also ponder, should I ask the guy who traded my goats for the gates, etc and the calf if he can ask to have a calf from a cow that tested negative. I could ask if he can ask if they have a negative herd, etc. I KNOW the answer and yes I will have to ask him if he'd please check on this. I also know that I can ask and yet without seeing the cow and her current test record I can't rely on the answer to be the honest truth and still will need to test! So then the dilemma is do I REALLY want to get back into raising a beef on my ample supply of goat milk?

You know, I use to (yah yah) be able to have goats and cattle and not the concerns! I use to be able to have cattle follow the horses on the pasture and eat the lush grass the horses wouldn't touch. That was part of my plan for a growing calf to do for me. Yes, if the calf comes back clean (as in none of those disease issues) I won't have to worry.

Why does having livestock mean we have to have all these darned issues? Geez, isn't there enough in life to keep the safe and healthy without all these issues heaped on top? Of course it all boils down to if we have them we sure should be accepting the responsibility and doing what needs done.... or we shouldn't have them.

I need to learn to draw blood... and after hubby's issues it out to be a piece of cake!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fun

On another blog (Mountain Morning Farm) I had a chance to find out what my fairy name is. Do you want to try yours? How about your kids' fairy names too while you're at it! They could then draw a self-portrait of themself!

Your fairy is called Feather Hailfly
She is a protector of the lonely.
She lives in high places where the clouds meet the earth.
She is only seen at midday under a quiet, cloudless sky.
She wears pale blue like the sky. She has cheery turquoise wings like a butterfly.

Friday Funny

Yes, you guessed it from the pic! The topic is the well-dressed bunny! I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it too. Your kids will as well! I guess it gives a whole new view of dressing the pooch!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Barn Fires

Yes, another barn fire is hitting the news. This time 24 horses were lost, breed unknown. The barn is a total loss. A barn fire is a horrible thing as there is always so much equipment, feed, etc along with the animals contained in it and the structure it's self. The only thing worse is a house fire!

Do you make sure that electric use in your barn is kept up? Do you make a Fall and Mid-Winter check for cob webs, bits of hay or bedding in those bad spots, grain bags, cords where livestock or vermin can reach them? What about your stock tank heaters and the like? Do you use any portable heaters in your barn?

Last Spring when it was starting to turn nice the darn woodchucks chewed my line to the barn so I'm without electricity out there now until I can afford to replace the line. I would love to have tried to repair it but with exposed wires it wasn't worth the risk. It sure is inconvenient though!

As we all know, prevention is the best thing and sometimes we are so involved in the day-to-day that we don't listen to our gut feelings and we put off needed maintenance or repairs.

Let's all take just a moment today to make sure our electrical use is checked out. If we need to make a change, let's not put it off until better weather when we have this reminder and moment to make sure we're not the next news report.

My prayers are with those who have lost a barn or home to fire this winter and may it not be in vain.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Kid on the Block...

not 1 but 2!

Meet Free Spirit. Spirit is a registered American Alpine doe. She's 2 years old and due to kid a 2nd time in mid March. Her color and pattern are chamoisee cou noir. (I can speak a couple words of French!) This doe is such a sweet heart and so so cooperative! She was an excellent milker as a first freshener (FF) so will be a good gallon + milker this freshening. She's been ultrasounded as carrying twins. She's already huge but doesn't show it in this picture, but she's due for a wide load bumper sticker! Please cross your fingers I get a couple of beautiful Alpine doelings (triplets would be fine too)!!! That would MAKE MY DAY!! She was already velcroed to me today and followed me all around the yard while I was doing chores and getting some work done. She had an opinion to tell me which was hard to discern as I'm not good at Alpinese or maybe it's just goatese. She did enjoy the goatie granola here! Here it has molasses on it. The white spots against her chamoisee is snow.

We had a couple NICE days and a LOT of melting and now it's snowing again. The ground is all white again. It's nice to have the knee deep stuff gone and the ice too! Now we start over. Bah humbug!
While there to see Spirit, they had this BEAUTIFUL hen that I was totally smitten with. She is part Silkie but without the top notch a purebred Silkie has and part Columbian "something or other" She has the black trim of the Columbian pattern of the black neck feathers, wings and tail. Then the saddle is a goldish-brownish marking on the feathers that is GORGEOUS. She has a unique shine to the white feathers. I'm not sure where that comes from. I've seen a green and purple shine on some of the black chickens, but never this on a white with a gray under coat. It's almost pearl-like. She has the 5 Silkie toes and black skin too. She has short feathers down the sides of her legs. Her face is really dark but doesn't show the degree of it in this pic. She's also small of which Silkies are so I'd have to consider her bantam-sized. I had a terrible time trying to get a pic of her as she was wanting to hide. She's in the "romper room" with the 2009 does, another hen and a rooster. It's a pretty safe place and where she and the other hen aren't going to be picked on by a couple of hens out in the big pen (who aren't too nice). I asked if they'd consider selling her and they gave her to me. Boy was I surprised and DELIGHTED! I hope she lives a long long time as she's so unique and beautiful I would really miss her. Welcome, Chickie Dee!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

News Teaser....

.... just like the tv news! There's a new kid on the block.... actually 2. Stay tuned for tomorrow's story and I'm going to TRY to get some pics to have with the news story!

The even bigger news may be that I did NOT bring the Rhea (mini ostrich) home and he didn't peck me in the head. PHEW! I'm sure the look on my face was priceless to turn around and have a beak nose to nose with me! I guess he was intrigued and needed a close up inspection of the black clips in my gray hair. And he WAS up close and personal. PHEW what a surprise to hear a slight noise behind one and turn expecting hubby to be there! We all got a good laugh and "big bird" took off looking for better entertainment!

"Big bird" was rather interesting. I was wondering if he was the size to fit in a turkey roaster or what. I know a few people who use to raise ostriches for a while and they butchered them. One family owned a restaurant and ostrich was one of the options on the menu. It was good meat but I never met up with one eye to eye!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Doings

Saturdays can sure fly by fast!

I finally got myself in gear and went to do the laundry today. My washer is down again and I'm in bad need of getting the utility room a good cleaning. I need a new drain hose for the water softener also. I guess I need to get that all tended too. In the meantime I went and played "slot machine" at the local laundromat. It turned out being a good deal in a way. I hated putting 16, 14 and 7 quarters in all those machines. I opened 3 $10 rolls of quarters and had a handful left that didn't get accepted by the touch machines. I find it frustrating to have AMERICAN quarters rejected by machinery that is geared to consume them. That was all I got back for my coin feeding.... just a few rejected quarters. No lights, no bells and whistles, no winning the jackpot. What a bummer!

I used my home made laundry soap and I LOVE IT! After the washing was over, they all felt CLEAN. No residue effect. The rinse water on the front loading machines ran clean. My clothes smell clean. SUCCESS with home made laundry soap. I used a dry soap recipe being I knew I'd have to tote it to town.

While at the laundromat I got talking with a gal and she asked if I knew anyone who was in need of baby things. She had a handful of receiving blankets that her daughter no longer used and said I could have them. She laughed and said yes, they'd be fine for my "kids"! So my baby goats will have some new used blankies to cuddle up here in the house. They are also GREAT for drying kids, foals, etc during birth.

Usually I hate going to the laundromat but today turned out to be as "fun" as it could get. I think it's the expense I hate so much.

It got up to 34 degrees today and felt like a heat wave here in the land of snow and ice. It's always odd how 34 in the Fall about freezes one to death and wracks my achy bones terribly. Then come January, if we get 34 degrees I've finally acclimented to it and go out to do chores with a flannel shirt and my work gloves and boots. (Sweatpants and a tee shirt are a given.)

In doing chores, I experienced something I've never had happen in 35+ years! I found a drowned possum in the horse stock tank. GROSS! I couldn't tip it to clean the tank as it's too full. I'm siphoning it out. It bothers me because I don't know if the nasty thing can transmit EPM to my horse via the water! The gross thing was sunk to the bottom of the tank and I don't know how long he'd been in there Being winter, I have some plastic jugs in the tank (ok, quite a few along with my four 2 1/2 gallon jugs for taking water to the goats) and then if it freezes some she can nose butt them enough to break through the ice to drink. There is a tank heater but sometimes it gets so cold it can still freeze the top of the water a bit. So GROSS and now I'm very concerned about my horse getting the dreaded EPM! Where do I find out if she can contract it from the water?

Wish me luck for tomorrow. I'm going to look at a herd of goats and might be bringing one home. She's a bred 2 year old. I have a couple concerns but will go anyway. They have more than just her for sale and being a WELL-KNOWN herd of quality goats (show too along with strong milking abilities/genetics) I'm going and going to try to be open-minded regarding my concerns and soak up what ever knowledge is available for "the taking". There's always more to learn and this will be a good learning experience too! I think these folks are reputable so I'm hoping this will work out for both sides. I hate being taken or dealings to not come out as expected. I much prefer a deal end up being one that both sides feel they came out ahead. That's the best way. Unfortunately life isn't always that way. Part of the reason I'm concerned is it isn't the best of times to be buying another goat but..... maybe I'm just crazy to have another doe to milk! I hope it can work out so we both get to be very happy with the deal.

If nothing else, it's suppose to rain tomorrow and be above freezing. So it should be a good trip being the roads aren't all ice-covered now! Mine is but it's a dirt road and that's live in the frozen "north country"!

I really need to come up with a new "farm name" for the goat herd. I'm no longer breeding and showing Quarter Horses so don't need my QH farm name I used. Now I need one appropriate for the horse, goats and chickens and homesteading. Such a predicament.... coming up with a name I like to say, hear and see in writing, not to mention to make a "logo" with it for use online. I need to get it because I need to get my horse website transitioned over to the goats and chickens more than the horses. I have taken some time off from the website because of a storm tragedy. At the time hubby had the stroke and was back and forth in the hospital, we had a horrendous storm and I lost a pregnant mare and a young stud I'd just sold but the transporter hadn't arrived to ship him out west. Another mare aborted as the lightening hit the flooded pasture and arc'd, hitting all the horses to some extent. It was pretty horrible and with dealing with hubby's stroke it was a bad time for that to happen too. I was up looking out the window during it because the lightening had just hit the transformer outside the house and I was standing in the kitchen looking out towards the horses when it happened. It's time to take some pics down from the website and move on with it but I've been stuck coming up with a name for some time. Such a dilemma.... such decisions to be made!

I hope you all have a good weekend. Thanks for reading my meanderings! Thank you for the prayers or crossed fingers for tomorrow to turn out good for the other folks and us with a possible new doe!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Peach Dump Cake

I saw this recipe and can't make it right now due to hubby's diabetes and the need for blood sugar levels to be totally under control. So I thought I'd share it with all of you and maybe you can eat a couple bites for me!

Peach Dump Cake

2 - 16 oz cans sliced peaches, with liquid
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
cinnamon-sugar mixture-
Optional - 1 cup of chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC)
Empty peaches into the bottom of a pre greased 9 x 13-inch pan
Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the peaches
Sprinkle the optional nuts over the top if you want them
Melt the butter and pour over top of cake mix evenly
Sprinkle the top with cinnamon-sugar
Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly

If it was me making it I'd also sprinkle a little cinnamon over the peaches as I like cinnamon and it's good for us!

Bird Feeding Update

I'm still (and will continue) feeding the birds a meager meal of mostly cracked corn with soy as I want to feed them but can't afford the bird seed. We do however live in the country so there are weeds and seeds around that the city birds wouldn't have access to. I also give them a few treats as I come up with them such as bread, an apple getting soft, a glob of peanut butter, or such. At least they are gettiing additional feed to make their winter survival easier. Of course once we feed them we much be committed to doing it for the whole winter. So I've kept it to the modest corn and soy meal in the suet blocks I make them and add a bit more as I can. They do seem to enjoy it. I also see many of them coming to the back door to sneak cat food I put out for a stray cat who adopted us a few years ago.

I wanted to tell you about a bird who's finally showing up and might not be such a well known species.... the pileated woodpecker. I've heard and seen him several times and I'm still trying to get a pic of him. I was even outside with the camera in hand but by the time I got the cover open and it on he was long gone. He's quite skittish and he is NOISY so easy to know if he's near. He's also a pretty loud pecker on the trees in the fence row.

I looked him up (googled) and found a few facts about him. It's interesting but not something to take time to "write home about" so to speak. He is, however, a very interesting bird to look at. Here's a link so you can see a pic and read a bit about him. It's not time consuming. ;) It's a Cornell site so should be pretty accurate.

I hope he or maybe she shows up during the February Annual Back Yard Bird Count. I'll be doing this again this year. It's nice that it can be done on line so doesn't take much to report. The time consuming part is the daily 15 minutes dedicated to the count which needs to be about the same basic time every day during the count. If you have kids, home school, etc you might really enjoy it more as it is a hands on science project and good for the kids' education but also following through on a project, commitment, etc. It's also an environmental project in a way and maybe they'll learn how important the wild birds are in the life cycle here on earth. After all, what great mosquito and obnoxious bug eaters they are!

And, in bird watching, how much more exciting can it be than when we see our first robin of the season here in the northern states! That's a spirit lifter for me!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I can't wait any longer....

so I started a couple pots of tomato and banana pepper seeds today. I'm NEEDING to see something growing.

I'm still excited about getting an egg today too. No lights so this was a totally NATURAL egg and a good little hen! Nothing like a fluffly old woman standing on snow and ice giving some hens a bit of a cheerleading speech about what a good hen the egg layer is. That and the fact that I'm doing my part in feeding them well, warm water, a stinky goat they sit on to warm their tootsies. (Yes, when the buck lays down he usually ends up with a couple hens sneaking in for a cuddle and he lets them! I guess he figures he has a down cover!) I told them they need to reciprocate and I shouldn't be buying chicken feed AND store bought eggs. After all, store bought eggs make me complain!

It got up to 30 today and has been TOTALLY over cast and very dreary looking. I'll take 30 and dreary any day over 0 - 10 (F) and doing chores! I was warm enough to go in the romper room with the jr does and have a seat to visit with them. It's a good way to check them over. I found NO lice (makes me happy) but did see some feet that need a trim. I also was able to do some "feels good" scritching on the 3 does who will be FF and milkers. They will be better able to be relaxed if they enjoy my scritching. The one I've thought would have the most problem with the idea is the one who is first to ask (yes she does!) for that scritching up and down the sides of her throat and under the back of the jaw where the neck, poll, ear and throat intersect. Down the throat where the front of the shoulder attaches is another prize winning spot they enjoy. All 3 are now to the point they will stand and be scritched and let me rub my hands on their backs, sides and thigh without restraint. This is all "work" I like to do while getting them ready for milking. They already eat on the milkstand too. I like to take it slow and easy on them so they keep their trust in humans and hopefully shift into milking with little to no fuss.

I'm down to 2 day's wood left from the pile the neighbors so kindly brought us in the Fall. It's been a huge blessing and been nice to have it kinda close. By the end of the week I'll be hauling from the wood piles and work area. It's twice as far and harder to get through to the snow. But, we're close to the end of January so Spring will soon be along. I'm READY!

I think I may have found the new Alpine doe I was hoping for. Cross your fingers she's the one. She's a bred 2 year old 2nd freshener. I'm really starting to get more excited about my kids coming. Last year was a disappointment I couldn't catch the does in heat so ended up buying a Nubian buck to breed my Alpine does. I have 3 extremely nice NuPine does (the 3 who will be FF milkers this year but I'd rather have them all be registerable purebreds. So I'm more inline with my goals for this year which makes it more exciting and gets me wishing it would come faster!

I'm also chicken "shopping" and working on my plans for them and incorporating another new breed or 2. I've inquired about an incubator that I'll buy if they'll ship it to me. The ad is from the 18th so I'm hoping it's not been sold already! The price is great!

It's so nice to have it staying light longer! It also means pushing chore time back some too.

It's supper time so I need to get a move on! We're having oven fried chicken, baked potatoes and green bean casserole. I got a 10# bag of chicken at the store for $4.90. It's a great price but I cringe wondering if it's from China. I so hope not but didn't see the origin on the package. I thought it was required now! I'd rather pay a bit more for American raised chicken as I know the water supply and feed is cleaner here than China.

Have a good evening!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Did you know...

...that the gardeners at the White House are employees of the National Parks system?

...that more and more of our store bought food has more and more forms of sugar and salt added? I can't believe how many times I pick up a can of vegetables, tomatoes, etc that now list sugar as an ingredient!

...that the number of people who are learning to can at home are growing in leaps and bounds? More and more stores are also carrying canning supplies now! Also they are carrying more food preservation items for dehydrating, etc.

...that more and more people are gardening even on a small scale such as container growing of even a few of their food items?

...that more and more people are interested in or now have even a couple chickens for pets with benefits? I can't believe the number of people I'm seeing who have pet chickens, etc. There sure are a lot of websites now with chicken coops that are cute enough for a city back yard, etc.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Harness Tip

This will help regardless of the type of harness you have - horse, goat, dog, etc.

I have 2 horse harnesses of different sizes that are no longer such a job to clean! One thing I learned long long ago was to take a pic of the harness either on the animal and on a contrasting-colored floor. I use a sheet on the floor and am usually assisted by at least 1 extremely helpful cat. Then when I'm taking it apart, I disconnect it, but keep in the intact shape so it's like a puzzle put together. Then I move each set of pieces a few inches apart and another pic taken.

Now a days we have digital pics that are much much larger so this is now a much easier project ;) I'm sorry I don't have a pic to share. Mine will need to be retaken as the last pics are in a "dead" computer. Next time I will put them on a disc instead of just in my hard drive.

Additional Tip:
Be observant and if any parts such as a brow band on a head stall are curved be sure that in the photo they are laid in the proper direction. Also bits are curved and it's easy for a novice to get it it on backwards!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finally Friday

Friday! It's finally here and it's about over! PHEW!

GOOD news today..... Hubby is done with the IV's and the visiting nurse came to check him out and remove the picline! He is down to the steri strips following the stitches being removed Wednesday. He can now walk in the house without the cane but being careful to not put weight on the inside of his foot. It's till oozy so we've used a bit of bandaging at night and tried to air dry it during the day some. I so so hope that this is the last "go-round" with diabetic foot issues, but reality is that it probably isn't. The ortho and dr have both said it most likely won't be. It's going to be a BIG challenge to try to subtly supervise his feet (sounds weird right?) but it's basically what I'll have to do. Since the stroke he doesn't "get it" with so many things and his common sense is diminished, as are the logic, reasoning and impulse control. Everyone tells me I have my hands full and job cut out for me, but no one has suggestions on how to succeed or tips to help me take care of the feet on his legs that he can't feel and neither can I. Yes, I gave him my GOOD makeup mirror that is magnified on one side and even with that he doesn't think to use it unless I remind him and he doesn't want reminded and told what to do. So it's quite a quandry to say the least!

Today I actually had time to go do chores and to take some time to sit down in the romper room (2009 does) and visit with them, check them out, handle them, marvel in their growth, watch behavior, and be chewed on, my hair pulled and noses in my face checking me out. Violet, a full Boer doe has a bit longer and very fluffy winter hair is soooo soft and cuddly. She feels like the little kids SOFT and fluffy stuffed toys. She let me hug on her and "play" in her cuddly hair - what a sweet doe she is too! My twin Boer x does (Latte and Coffee Bean) born here the beginning of August are almost as big as Violet and Mo'nique who were both born in March/April. The 3 NuPine does are growing like weeds and still very elegant looking. I can't tell about my 2 ND does. They will be a year in February and being with all the other does who are big, they just keep looking smaller and smaller.

Does this mean I don't have enough ND's to compare them with? That could be a problem! Of course I just KNOW I'll need another ND buck in another year, if that.

I've already decided I really think I need another reg Alpine doe and I really need one BADLY of course. I NEED one with color to her and a pattern so she can be bred to Nipper for mini Alpine kids and not get all black kids! Oh, I want wattles too. I LOVE wattles on a goat. (Some folks don't like them and some actually cut them off the kids at birth.)

I enjoyed my sit-down with the girls. They seemed to enjoy it too. They did seem to think it was odd that I gave them their goatie granola and hay and then came in to visit. A few thought that was rather suspicious at first and especially when I was wanting to lift feet (need to do some trimming, I do!) and heavens forbid, check the udders they don't have! After that strange human behavior and a few picture taking moments things were "tolerable" and rather enjoyable to most! A couple just plain wanted to eat, the little pigs! I guess that granola is mighty tasty!

I also had time to have a talk with the hens and remind them that the days are lengthening and I expect to find a few eggs. I had to remind them how much we farm girls like our farm fresh eggs that they are suppose to be doling out to appease me for the trade of all the feed I responsibly drag home and give them. That being, I gave them some not fresh enough sour cream and milk with some cracked corn. They really liked it so hopefully they'll decide to spare me buying store eggs again!

All in all, it's been a pretty good day and was warmer out too!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cream Separator

Sometimes one can feel like a kid at Christmas! This is one of those moments for me! I have found a table top cream separator that I want. The deal is at the point of waiting to hear the shipping amount so I can paypal the money for it and then waiting for it to get here. It's not a rush for it to get here as I can't use it until the goats freshen and get enough milk in that the kids can share with me. Feeding the kids comes first of course as I'm responsible for their being and care.

I've wanted to be able to make butter again as it's so expensive in the stores. It's also hard to find a decent margarine with no extra sugars (for diabetic hubby) and no trans fats. Plus hubby really likes butter and I have a problem with buying dairy items when I have milking goats!

So, I'll be another step closer to self-sufficiency. Now, I have GOT to find the electric motor and paddle for making butter. I know I kept it but when the kitchen was worked on things got moved. I remember where they use to be.... Now I need to find where they are! My butter maker was a gallon glass jar with the paddle and electric motor that sits on top. I have quite a few gallon jars of various types so that's not the problem.... it's finding that paddle and motor.

I hope I don't jinx this by posting, but, like a kid, I'm excited and "have to share"! So, now I've made 3 posts in one day - wow!

Handy Tip for the Garbage!

Just what you wanted to read about.... kitchen/household garbage!

I have a tip for you to make life easier. If you have something yucky to throw out that could leak out the bottom of your trash, take one of those plastic grocery bags (that we always have too many of even when we use cloth bags) and put half of an egg carton in the bottom. The pressed paper ones work best. Then place the mess trash item on top and tie it shut. Set it in the trash receptacle and the egg carton will help contain the mess. A pressed paper carton will also be able to absorb which can also be helpful.

IF it's something really messy, a newspaper under the egg carton will offer more absorbancy and mess containment.

Something to Share

I'm sharing the following with you because it's something that has been "dear to my heart" all my adult life! I boycotted some things over the years where I felt injustices were being done. I was told what I was doing was "dumb", "won't make a difference", "waste of my time" (being their time and mine), etc. FINALLY, people are realizing we need to support American products and American workers if we want to have quality products to buy and an economy that isn't like we've been experiencing the last few years. So do as you choose with it, but I'll continue to try to choose American products and keep jobs. I can't do it alone so thank you to those who choose to join in. Also, please remember that even if we pay a couple cents more for American made, it will be a better quality, last longer or get repaid to us by an improved economy which will improve things for all of us.

"A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American. Good idea . . . one light bulb at a time.

Check this out. I can verify this because I was in Lowe's the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments. They were all made in China. The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA. Start looking. In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job. So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track. Let's get behind her!

My grandson likes Hershey's candy. I noticed, though,that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it anymore. My favorite toothpaste, Colgate, is made in Mexico now. I have switched to Crest.

You have to read the labels on everything. This past weekend I was at Kroger. (Can be true for any store.) I needed 60W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off brand labeled, "Everyday Value." I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio. So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use everyday that are made right here.

So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets . . . yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada.The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!

If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others ... so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies! (We should have awakened a decade ago .) Let's get with the program . . . . help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the U.S.A.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."--Abraham Lincoln "

So folks, this wasn't me but could have been. Thank you for reading it. You're welcome to share it as I've done. We can't wait and expect the gov to do everything to improve the economy and country. We have to step up where we can and do something ourselves. Fortunately, we can all choose what we will step up to do. Maybe we won't all do the same thing, but if we do something that aids in progress then we're doing something!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


ALREADY! Wow, it's been a busy week.

How busy is it you ask?

It's sooooo busy that I went to the "drive thru" to get the goats goatie granola for dinner!

Actually, I get my feed custom mixed now with a mix for the milkers and growing youngsters. I call and let them know when I'll be in and they just drive up to the loading ramp door and they deliver and load it for me. In all my years of of buying grain (35+) these are the NICEST and most helpful folks I've ever dealt with. They are SUPER! My feed is fresh and clean and my critters are doing awesome on it. (I'm still unloading it all - about 1200# of feed for the goats, chickens, horse and a BIG bag of doggy kibbles!)

I read someone's post on a goat group and they referred to their custom mix as goatie granola and it really gave me a chuckle and I've adopted the name since. The carry out part I came up with myself. ;)

Other than that, we've had a snow storm, hubby has had a couple dr appts, chores take longer when it's this cold out and such deep snow, got a hay delivery the day before the snow storm, got another order of hubby's home IV's and related items (that was WRONG again), visiting nurse has taken longer as there is a training-learning wound care and dressing iv piclines, I've done a bit of baking to use up some squash and bananas, we've used more fire wood with the big drop in temps so I've had to haul more in, etc. Busy busy busy! I also spend too much time on the phone with hubby's medical needs/issues. Running his IV's and dressing his foot take about 5 hours a day now (faster than before). 10 more to go and we are hoping to be done! Hopefully he's healed enough to take the stitches out Wednesday. He'll stay on the oral antibiotics for a while though.

All that and the usual stuff and the roads have been horrendous so traveling into the big city and back has taken considerably longer. I hate driving on ice as I never know what other drivers are going to do and there are tooo many IDIOTS who want to pass on ice in no passing areas of curves and hills! Of course they are usually on a cell phone too or something. I feel more than right referring to them as idiots. The freeway near us was closed both directions a couple different times with the snow storm. The weather forcasters were saying to stay home, stay off the roads and if it was an emergency and one HAD to go out, to BE CAREFUL and drive SLOWLY. Why does that always mean everyone else to so many people? Why are so many kids out and about on the roads when they are so bad school is closed? School closed should mean ( IMHO ) it's not safe for the teen drivers to be out toolin' around to visit friends and create a big dramatic story to regale til the next storm. Yes, they may need to go to work or such, but why did the others have to be out unnecessarily? (You know, the ones they interviewed on the news and said they were off to visit friends, etc.)

Supper is about ready so I need to sign off here. We're having sausage pizza melts on french bread. YUM!

I hope you all have a great weekend and stay warm & safe!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goat Health Stats

Rectal temperature: 101.5* - 103.5* F
Heart rate: 60 – 90 beats per minute
Respiration: 15 – 30 breaths per minute
Rumen movements: 1 – 2 per minute
Estrous cycle: - 21 days
Heat cycle: 12 – 36 hours
Gestation: 148 - 153 days (average 150 days)
Sexual maturity: 3 - 5 months/4-7 months
(This is an AVERAGE and not something that EVERY goat will do. Being an average, some precocious and lucky little bucks have been known to bred their dam even at 6 weeks (RARE thank heavens) or 2 months! Some places you'll see this as 4-7 months. The crucial thing is to know SOME are lucky enough to pull this off mighty early and some won't be ready to "get the job done" until even 7-9 months. They get more skillful and coordinated as they age so attempts to perform improve as their body and confidence develop.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday Ramblings

Being a day for self analysis and review, there are some thoughts that come to my busy mind such as:

* 78 days til Spring!
* We'll acquire aproximately 2 more minutes of daylight daily and some days 3!
* Ground Hog's Day is now NEXT month! Maybe I need a count down banner for this too! After all, the price is right - FREE!
* In spite of January having 31 days, NEXT month is the shortest month and a "quick step" to Spring. (Still 78 days)
* My kidding season is getting closer! We looked at the does today and we pondered over the looks of the belly on a few hoping we are looking at pregnancy being the cause. We are mid way into the 5 months of gestation on a couple IF they bred when we thought they did. It also makes me ponder on the possibility of a doe's pregnancy being similar to a mare's in some ways. It's been proven in mare's that some are more reactive to the testoserone of the male fetus in the last half of the pregnancy. Also some mares can be more aggressive and will act in heat late term. I wonder if goats do the same! IF so, that MIGHT be why a couple of the does were so obnoxious today! I even YELLED at them and banged my pitchfork against the wall and then pointed it at them. It had the desired response and they did stop, but geez!
* It's time to switch to the new calendar for appts and notes.
* Getting the seed catalogs is EXCITING and make it worth getting the mail (compared to a zillion medical bills)!
* I think the romper room does are dancing to the song that goes: "ding ding the witch is dead..." refering to the herd crab, er queen being moved to the other pen. Isn't that song from the Wizard of Oz? I'm not good at songs and the movies they are in, their titles and such. You also don't want to hear me sing but I do subject the milkers to some singing when milking them.
* 2 weeks more of IV's and MAYBE he'll be done. (This and the dressing changes takes about 6 hours a day! Plus he's to be off his feet so I'm doing extra foot work. He was granted a short visit to the barn if driven there.
* 2 weeks and they will take the stitches out. Diabetics have to have them in longer and don't do as well with tiny, neat and precise stitches in their feet so they get wide spaced and big ones so IF the foot abcesses there is an easier escape route so it's caught faster and easier to treat than another hole in the foot. Neuropathy means NO feeling in the feet or a horrible stinging and painful sensation in the feet all the time. Both take away the early warning signs that something is amiss.
* 2 more weeks and then I can get the chicken trade done with a nice gal I met online. Her mom wants BROWN eggs and the hens she has don't lay the medium or dark brown eggs. So we're making a trade and her mom will have some darker brown eggs and be happier. I'll be happier too as my single hen of the breed doesn't have a mate. I'm hoping to hatch a few of her eggs as she's a really nice little hen and soooo pretty.
*2 more weeks and I can go get the other chickens I'm buying from a friend. I already got some Cochins and a couple Orpingtons from her and am getting the rest of her Orpingtons and a few others she wants to sell to reduce her flock.
* It's time to start a few more new things here on my blog that I was waiting for the first of the year to do. It's finally time!
* It's time to start the garden planning in more depth and make some decisions as to what else to try growing and where.

Wow, with just a few moments spent pondering this new year and life, and I can already see I'll be BUSY! It might be a new year, but being busy isn't new!

New Year's Wishes - 2010

We made it!

It's such a mental milestone and yet once "here", if one isn't part of a big celebration, recovering from a late late night or such, then what?

Here on the farm, "Now what?" means another day that farm priorities reign. Hubby wanted to celebrate by going to visit the goats. He also HAS to have black eye'd peas and ham because he heard that eating them on New Year's Day mean good luck for the new year we all are now into. So with a pot of black eyed peas and ham simmering on the stove with lots of onions and garlic, I brought the mini van to the front door and then drove him out to the barn. On a farm there is always "something"!

Having mischievous goats means there is always "SOMEthing". I had 2 somethings that needed dealt with today.

Buckley has a new game. He dances and "boings" like Tigger on his hind legs in the successful effort of grabbing the netting over the pen that is there to protect the hens. WHY in the world does he want to grab that nylon netting? It seems as sharp as it is he'd have done it once and quit. But, no, he thinks it's a game and he's pulling it down! Then he's using it to rub his horns on. What a TWERP! So I had to reattach netting and of course he was sure he could help. I had decided that running hay rope under it and tying the rope as high as I could in the tree in the center and to the corners and sides of the 6' chain link panels would work. Only, I had a frisky buck who wanted to grab the ropes from me and run with them. He's NO help of course. And there was Nipper, another buck, dancing on the outside of the pen stirring it up and wanting to join in the game!

Then the does had to have their own issue for me to tend to. I have a doe who is herd queen and regales in letting all the other goats know she has this self appointed throne and enjoying her position. In other words, she can be a brat! I have other does who could care less about herd heirarchy and would rather just all be loved on and left alone. I have another doe (2nd in line to the throne, er herd) who I had moved because I caught her picking on the roo and hen in the pen. She was grabbing feathers and plucking them! Mr Roo was missing his longer tail feathers..... those long black feathers that shine emerald green or a metallic purple in the sun. The pen she's in now all of a sudden has a younger and small doe (ND) who has plucked fur from her sides and a few random spots. I THINK she's biting the doe and picking on her!

What to do? Repen all the does! This sounds easy, but being the bucks have been with does and 2 are still in the barn, it's not so easy! Rather it means that Nipper is just sure that he belongs in BOTH pens as HIS does are now separated! AND, he can TRY to check the heat status of the does too young to breed right now! Hubby is standing in the middle of the fray as he was going to hold on to Nipper but couldn't. This didn't take all that long for the actual moving of the does, but the whole project means reorganizing feed tubs and water for the # of animals in each (2) pen so there is adquate eating space and water. I got 'er done of course and poor Nipper and Winchester22 were both highly disappointed in not getting the opportunity to have some "quality time" with the 4 young does who are not to be bred right now. Poor boys.... I lied and told them how sorry I was to ruin their fun.

One would think that peace would resume in the barn, but NOOOO! The excitement in the "romper room" (pen of younsters) meant GAME ON GIRLS! So there was quite a game of frolicing and contorting young does "feeling their wheaties"! They have a huge pen and lots to jump on and off of in the mad and beserk romping around. What fun leaping on and off the big black spool and seeing who could do the biggest airborne gymnastic moves with ears a flying. And, again, where is my camera? IN THE HOUSE of course!

The big does had to get involved in their pen too and they were tromping around their pen on and off their 3 "mountains". Nipper was fast on their heels thinking with moving to a different pen he MUST to his heat checks of the 2 "new" does there and the poor ole fella got worn out trying to keep up with the 3 big does tearing around, rearing and fake head butting. So he did what a fiesty young buck would do..... jumped the gate and left them too it!

Watching all the antics is good for some laughs. Yes, it's work, but it's worth it to me. One thing that helps is that I realize I make the choices for my critters as to where they are housed and how. So when I have moments crop up such as today, it's because of MY choices. They are just being the animals they are and acting the way animals act. Yes, it's more work for me to do, but it's because when I made my choices, I made them from the human view and they live in the view of being the critter they are. There's no sense in me getting mad at them for the problem at hand. Sure, I'd wish that the young doe didn't get hair plucked out of her and I DO feel bad about it. But I was responsible and immediately dealt with the situation which was from my choice of who was penned together there. And I wish Buckley would invent another game, but he's doing what comes natural for a silly young buck who wishes he had does with him instead of hens and is dancing and all because that's what it takes this time of year to be warm in the environment I provided him. I just have to be smarter in my choices. That being, I can enjoy the humor of the situation at hand and their hilarious antics! Plus it gives me the input I need to improve their housing, care, etc. I'm hoping the older does are bred and I don't want stress causing loss of pregnancy. It's my responsibility to help them be less stressed and happier. Yes, it's work, but it's a type of work that I greatly enjoy and take responsibility for.

I quit making New Year's resolutions several years ago. I got tired of making them and then "beating myself up" for not keeping them or succeeding. Since, I use the time to review goals and revise them as needed. Take a mental check of the path I'm on and try to "encourage" myself to continue improving some habits and attitudes that I want to continue to develop.

I like this quote and hope you might too. It's perfect for the season of course: "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day." Edith Lovejoy Pierce

May your opportunities abound for 2010!