Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day!

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

Let's keep those currently serving and those who have gone before in our thoughts. They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy.

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day tomorrow!

(You're welcome to take a copy of the graphics as they came from a free graphic share group.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's Been a Long Week

You probably didn't even miss me! It's been a long and busy week. Our electricity went out for a day from all the storms. Considering the tornadoes, storm damages, injuries and deaths, I'll not complain. It does however cause added work and can make things difficult. We've had rain EVERY DAY for over a week too. What a yucky, muddy mess all over the place! I've also been quite sick which was sure the wrong time for it!

As usual, even without electricity, the critters still "live on" and could care less. In spite of storms and incessant rain, they still need fed, managed, milked, etc.

I also ended up with a doeling that I just love who was "down" and either ill or injured. I had no place to keep her safe from the rest of the traffic so back in the house she came. She's not been out to the barn all that long so quickly settled right back in to inside life. She mostly laid around the first couple days anyways. She only got up and moved to potty or follow me around. She went right back to using her papers at the door as long as she was near. Once she started perking back up she was better at getting to them. I'm still not real sure what the problem was. She was in pain as she was grinding her teeth a lot. She also acted like it hurt to walk and be moving around so she just laid until she absolutely had to get up. I had found her in the pen with the big does the day before and a few days before that. So one possibility was she was head butted pretty hard and hurt. She was peeing and pooping normally. She was drinking and nibbling hay, wanting to eat paper, and taking her bottle. She didn't act like it was a digestive issue and no clumpy poop to indicate over eating. Clostridiums can kill a goat quickly though so I wasn't ruling it out. I ended up giving her shots of banamine for the pain, thiamine because goats have issues with it in times of stress, clostridium antitoxin and had to repeat them a few times. Hubby started calling her pin cushion. She was also getting probiotics to help her gut if it was a digestive issue. Fortunately she has pulled through without specifically "telling" me what the problem was. I do think it was an injury though. She did act stiff in the front legs and moved away from gentle strokes along her shoulder and sides. I sure wish they could talk human or I could hear goat!

I also am now wondering if my incubator hatches will produce any chicks after a significantly long power failure and temp drops. I'm still keeping them going though as I've heard some folks have the same situation and have chicks hatch. That being, I'm not expecting much but still hope that some will hatch! Last year I had fun with incubating and this year it's been a bummer. I think I have a fertility issue going on too.

My turkey hens were setting in the large dog shipping crate and in all the storms and rain, even with a tarp over the crate and the opening away from the driving rain, they got very wet. They looked like a couple drowned rats and were soaked totally through all their feathers. They stoically stayed on the nest though. One hen did come out and was cold and shivering. I put her in the barn as she'd not have made it if she stayed on a wet nest. I did use a LOT of shavings in the box and kept taking out wet but the hens were also wet so it was a lost cause. There were also 2 chicken hens setting with them. I got the crate moved inside the barn and one T hen stayed on it with the 2 C hens. I don't know how they could have maintained a good temp to hatch during this. I'm not expecting much success there either. Another bummer of a hatching season. I don't know if the turkeys will start laying again this season or not. Right now they just need to get their weight back up and lots more feather grooming.

Things are returning to normal but it's STILL raining and suppose to rain tomorrow too. We're suppose to go to a bbq tomorrow but I really don't want to go if it's nasty out. It's a friend of hubby's, so he wants to go of course. I'm not sure how so much time has passed, but tomorrow is also our anniversary. It's the 40th! I can't believe it. If a birthday doesn't make one feel old, that realization can!

I thought this was going to be a real short post to appologize for being AWOL and to let you know what's going on. I think I've written a book instead!

I hope you all have a good weekend and some fun too being it's a holiday on Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Insurgence

Darn! It had to happen and it did with a vengenace! First a few little ones.
They attacked last night and again this morning! And now the big ones!

I sure wish all the rain hadn't had to encourage such menaces! Maybe if I put some signs up like this.....

You can't blame a girl for wishing!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Decadent Treat

I found a decadent, yummy treat! This and a spoon will do it!

I discovered this peanut butter and chocolate combo last Fall. I LOVE it - too much! I can eat it from the jar or as a pb w/banana sandwich. It's also good with apple slices. My only problem is the sugars. It does have some "evaporated cane juice". It does say "No high fructose corn syrup".

If you ever get the chance and love chocolate and peanut butter, try some "Dark Chocolate Dreams" from Peanut Butter & Co. Doesn't this look good?

Have you tried it before? There is also a white chocolate but I like the dark best. Too bad I have to limit myself to the occassional serving of 2 Tbsp!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Breakfast in Bed!

If you've followed my blog for a while you'll possibly have read that for a while hubby's young cat had started mousing and thought taking her catch to hubby's bed for fun and games was the thing to do! This cartoon brings back memories and has me getting way too much enjoyment out of it! It gives a whole new meaning to breakfast in bed! I hope the animation works so you can see this bad kitty dangling her mouse over the snoring mouth of the woman! I'm sure this is one that will stick with me for a long long time! So of course I had to share it with you all!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lilacs & Crabapple Tree

They are IN BLOOM, looking GORGEOUS, and they are giving frost warnings for tonight and tomorrow. BAH HUMBUG! I hate getting frosts when these are in bloom as they are such a "sight for sore eyes" and a good mood elevator! I thought I had a photo of them but don't find it. I'll have to try to get one today without the rain.

I have a vase of lilacs here in the living room and they smell sooooo good! I still remember what all it took, including breaking 2 shovels across the blade getting them planted here years ago. I guess I better go get soaked and pick more so I can put some in the dining room too. I have to make sure I get my enjoyment from them as some years they are pretty sparse. This year they are quite loaded.

The honeysuckle will bloom shortly too. It's setting it booms nicely. We usually get about a week where the scent is heavy in the evening and oh-so intoxicating. I always wish I could bottle it to last the rest of the year.

It's only 41* out and after 2 pm. Not good with the frost warning. It will also decimate the fruit crop if it happens. I guess I'll need to travel around with my fingers hexed to try to ward it off, huh?

My wish for the day is NO frost or freeze. I want to enjoy the beauty and aroma of these blooming bushes!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Short Update

I thought I was going to have time to post but the weather is turning ugly. We have a LOT of wind gusts and a storm is coming in. I'll need to get off the computer shortly.

Yesterday was 80 and hot in shorts and tee shirt. Today is cold and wet with the temp in the low 50's. Today is sweat pants with a tee and flannel shirt. It was also bundling up a bit to do chores in the rain and wind.

Yes, you guessed it! The milkstand moved in the barn today! Between yesterday's biting flies and today's rain, inside it went. Fortunately it wasn't too hard to move. The hardest part was my "help" who thought jumping on and off was helping. Everyone needs 3 little ND goaties to help them of course! And not to mention the 3 does who also wanted in on this game. I am thinking if I wanted to move a milkstand around much I'd better put it on wheels. That might not be a bad idea either, if the wheels have locks.

The news on tv tonight was a very sobering "event". The last few days while they talk of opening the flood gates on the Mississippi river has had me feeling sad for the folks who ended up with the river being routed to their farms and neighborhoods in order to spare others' homes due to the damage that is going to happen and which was the lesser of "2 evils". How horrible to be "the ones" who end up with the massive floods coming their way. How could one ever pack up their belongings fast enough to escape this torrential devastation. I've heard from others who are out west and in the evacuation line for the forest fires. How does one plan or act upon an evacuation when they have livestock? My heart goes out to them, as I'm sure yours does. It can't be too great to be the Army, who has had to make the decisions as to what is the best thing to do with such a monumental effect regardless of which way they decided. My heart goes out to them too. My prayers are with all who are "a part" of the whole discouraging disaster. I hope all lives are spared.

The storm is close and I need to get a move on. I'm sorry to end on such a sad note. I guess it shows that sometimes things aren't all exciting and cheerful in life or for homesteaders, farmers and ranchers.

Bless you all, stay safe and have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warm Weather! Farm Projects!

Wow, we all of a sudden went from the 40's and low 50's to yesterday and today the low 80's! We've had some Tstorms and the rain and warm temp has the trees leafing out with a noticible change daily!

I still have my milk stand sitting outside of the barn so I'm milking outdoors. I can enjoy the scenery changes while milking the 5 does. It also gives me time to observe the does as I've been letting them loose while I'm milking. It won't be much longer before I'll have to move the stand in the barn to the spot I have ready where I won't have the direct evening sun roasting me, the mosquitoes and flies being so bothersome. I'll still be able to gaze outside, but only through the door way and not a wide area.

I've also been able to observe the chickens which can be entertaining! A worm or bug are cause for the chicken derby and around and around they go. In observing them, I've decided that I will put something down that I can periodically move or life to all them access to worms or such that they so enjoy. It might be a good use for a busted pallet. They won't get hurt on it like they would metal and the size and weight won't be an issue for lifing or laying it down and not harming hens who want to be right there to help by snatching goodies. I've had to move the smaller stock tank they were drinking from as a hen fell in and was in bad shape when I found her. She was too far gone and I couldn't pull her out of it. Exposure in cold water isn't good for all those feathers! THe tank is there for the bucks but I don't have Nipper (still miss him) or Bandit now so it's not necessary to have it there. I had debated moving it before but it was froze down and full of ice. It took a while to melt as that's a shade spot 24/7. It's done now, but not soon enough. I had been bucketing some water out of it to move it but with the frost melting off the ground was so horribly muddy and wet I was afraid the excess water was going to enter under the side of the barn and cause problems there too. My timing was off though and I lost a black Cochin hen.

While sitting outside the barn to milk I also have time to observe and enjoy the 2 horses, Summer and Grace, who are reunited and enjoying each other's company. Being a buckskin and palomino, they are pretty with the fresh green background. Grace has gotten her long mane full of burrs. I have a bottle of spray to help get them out and now need some time to work on them. She wasn't happy about me taking a few out last week. I do hope the neighbor is able to mow the pasture for me this year as he's said he would. The last 2 years he's gotten ill and not been able to do it. It's getting close to time to mow it. I like it done in June, before the burdocks sprout their flowering burrs. Then I can later in the year give a 2nd go over of those spots to keep them from a late summer re-effort. It use to get done a couple times a year and it sure eliminates a LOT of weeds! I'm also going to get the back fence line enlarged back further, and closer to the woods. That should aide them in having more to graze so I have less hay to buy. I use to have good fencing for them to the woods but the wire has rusted and the deer ripped it out too while I wasn't physically able to keep up fence work. It's time to get that fence line in a new spot so where the woods has come further forward I won't have to wade through 6' high briars and thorn bushes. It's a must do project as the current fence needs some serious work. So I may as well put that energy and time into the fenceline move.

I've written a long post and haven't even touched on the garden work I've been trying to accomplish! I do think I will get to pick a few stalks of rhubarb today though! I need to cut the flower buds from one of the plants too. It also means I need to try to find the few remaining asparagus plants and see if there are any starting to peek through. I've decided where I'm moving them too and need to mark them for now so I can dig them after they have time for "feeding" their roots for winter. I think the goats may have grazed them off last year and I didn't realize what happened soon enough to spare them. They all need to come up closer to the house in the main gardening area.

Sitting on the milkstand and milking sure does give me a lot of time to look at all I want to get done this summer. I so need more energy and a few clones of myself to help me get it done! Maybe I should move the stand inside so I don't see so much that needs done! But then I'd just be looking at what I want to do inside the barn and closer out the door! What ever I do, it's a reminder that living in the North means that one has much less time to get farm work done. It needs done early enough as part of summer ends up being planning for winter!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

War Dogs

Yes, you read that correctly! Did you know that there is a program for being able to support or even adopt US War Dogs?

I think I'd heard of it in the past but it was one of those things that we hear but that's all the further it goes. Today I read an article about the recent events and it had a hot link to learn more about the war dogs and being able to adopt them. German Shepherds have always been one of my most favorite dog breeds and I've owned a few over the years who will always be memorable and hold a place in my heart and memories. So of course I had to go here: to check it out. The site has some memorial recognitions for the war dogs and their handlers, etc. There is a LOT on the site. I've had to add it to my favorites as I know I'd like to explore even more.

If you know of any individuals or groups who would like to support a War Dog, that can be found there also. How neat it could be to support a War Dog on duty! I wish I had the money to do this! Maybe another day when our finances can better affort that postage expense. Supporting the dog wouldn't be that much, but the shippping of items is. :(

So in the meantime, if you'd like to visit the site and review the tributes, awards, memorials, and other info, please do! They and their handlers deserve tribute and blessing they get and more!

Now I Understand!

I finally figured out why I am so "full-figured"! As I was conditioning my hair in the shower this morning, I took time to read my shampoo bottle.

I am in shock!

The shampoo I use in the shower that runs down my entire body says "for extra volume and body"! Seriously, why have I not noticed this before?

Tomorrow I am going to start using "Dawn" dish soap! It says right on
the bottle, "dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove".

It pays to read the labels my friends!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Day on the Homestead

It might be just another day on the homestead, but this one is only 43* so far! BRRR! How easily I get use to temps in the 50's. We have frost warnings for tonight and I hate that as my apple trees and lilacs are in bloom or budded. A heavy frost does them all in. My daffodils are done for the season. I hate that short daffy season! At least the trees are a greenish tinge in the distance and the grass near to needing mowing.

I've been pulling weeds from my garden plots and tossing them to the chickens. They LOVE that. If I walk anywhere near the pen they are all at the fence begging and looking at me with hopes for a treat. After all, grab some grass and run and the chase is on. Get a bug out of the dirt and roots and the whole gang is on your tail chasing you. It's a regular chicken derby! They seem to realize that it's also milk season and they are at their gate watching me and hoping I'll give them a bit of milk too. Being the 3 bucklings left, I did give them about a cup of milk poured on their grain yesterday and they were estatic about that too. The nice thing is that it helps the adhere to the finer particles of the ground feed to the whole grains and makes it easier for them to swallow. I've always wondered how they can stand to eat all the finely ground feed. It would leave my mouth terribly dry while trying to swallow! So I like when I can give them some milk to wash it down.

Patches has moved out to the barn with the rest of the kids. He seems very happy to have them to run and play with. I was hoping to get the other 2 bucklings to their new home this week. I'm not sure I can get that done as I've not caught up with the gal. She's quite busy helping hospice with volunteer home respite care for some families. It's very quiet without any goat kids in the house. In a way it's nice, but then I kind of miss them too. They are just out to the barn and yard so it's not like I have far to go to visit them!

Being the beginning of May, it's almost time for me to start planting. I need to finish up the weeding and preparing the garden beds to get that done. I'm hoping to get some planting started this week! I want to get my squash, chard and some spinach seeds in to start with. That usually makes getting the rest going easier for some reason!

The last incubator hatch was only 3 chicks. One hasn't been doing well and will be put down. The other 2 are going to the barn tomorrow. I've been leaving the light off now but the house is warmer as I still have to start an evening fire. So I'll take them out tomorrow which is suppose to be warmer out and the night temp better too. I'm sure they are both little roos. I have chicks starting to hatch now in the incubator and they need the brooder. I sure hope I have a much better hatch this time!

My 2 turkey hens have gone broody but they have mostly chicken eggs under them. The chickens keep going in and laying with the turkey hens in the crate! There will only be a couple turkey eggs there and I hope they are fertile being the tom was injured and moved in the barn so the hens would quit pecking on him. I sure hope some of the turkey eggs will hatch in the incubators as there won't be many, if any, out side! If nothing else, it maybe quite cute to see a couple turkey hens with the chicks instead of them having poults!

I also have a couple hens who have gone broody and are sharing a nest and eggs!

Yes, it's a busy Spring time on the ole homestead!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good Sunday Morning!

Good morning! I think we're going to get some rain today. I may get some time indoors to sit here at the computer more!

In the meantime, I'm drinking the last bit of coffee. Then I'm hitting the ice tea. There is the saying, "Pick your poison!". Coffee first thing in the morning for me won't last much longer. During the winter I drink hot beverages or plain water all day. I'm about to the point that I return to my preferred morning drink - fresh goat milk! Sometimes it's with SF (sugar free) chocolate syrup and sometimes plain. Then it's ice tea or water. I use to enjoy lemon and sugar or sugar in my tea but now it's plain. No more sugar for me. There's plenty of milk sugars in that goat milk though! What's your poison? Is it seasonal or year-around?

The 3 bucklings are leaving today. They are on their way to come get them. So I'm off, back to the barn to give them a bottle and try to take a couple pics. I hear I'm about to help put ear tags in them! Scrapie tags are another thing coming at me that I need to learn. I have a tattoo kit and need to learn that too. One never gets too old to learn and one never quits learning!

After that, I need to get the turkey eggs moved to the other incubator and the main one put on lock down for the hatch! The date just "hit me" and I should have done that yesterday!

Have a great day and I hope it makes your weekend to have been a good one!