Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Did You Know?

The pashmina shawls of Kashmir are made from the wispy chin and belly hair of Himalayan goats. Since the goats themselves are inaccessible, the hair is gathered in strands and tufts from bushes in which it has become caught.

Wow! We always take the little things that matter for granted. And yet there are many in this huge world who need the little things for survival. I am very blessed to not have my existence depend on finding stray fibers!

I LOVE fiber crafts. I really enjoyed a few "adventures" to a llama/alpaca show near me when I use to show my horse. The yards and the products produced from them are just so lovely and they are indescribably luxurious.

I belong to a Corgi group which has collected shedding hair from our Corgis that someone voluntered to create the spun fiber from. The resulting fiber was then auctioned off with the proceeds going to Corgi rescue. I've wished that we could have gotten pictures of the resulting items that were made. Corgis have a very soft undercoat that lends itself well to becoming fiber.

I've always been intrigued by carding the freshly shorn fibers and whole process of turning it into yarn. I've always wanted to learn to do this and then to create items from it. I should probably put this on my bucket list!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WeatherBug's New Hurricane Tracker

I have weatherbug on my desk top and got a notification email regarding their hurricane tracker. With the damage a hurricane creates, I thought I'd share the link with you. If the whole link doesn't work, try of course.

I do like the program. The weather seems to be closer to what our thermometer reads and gets me the info before the tv alerts do so it's more timely. Plus when I check the radar it shows what I'm seeing whereas the tv sometimes doesn't. It also has a photo section with a LOT of categories that I enjoy an occasional perusal of.

I don't know if you need a hurricane tracker, but if not, maybe you have family or friends who are in the path and you'd like to follow.

If you're in the path of Irene, our thoughts and prayers for safety are with you and yours!

(2 posts in a day! Does that make up for a day missed?)

Predators Again!

I'm so frustrated and saddened this summer with the loss of so many of my chickens. I've lost more than half of my hens even with a chain link pen with chicken netting over the top.

Something is getting into the pen AGAIN and I've lost another 6 hens in 2 days.

I guess I'm going to have to get another live trap. One would think 1 should be enough. I'm having trouble knowing where to put it to do the best job. When I bring it up near the house to trap from around the cat food and over to the compost pile, I have losses at the barn. When it sits at the barn I'm seeing varmits or signs of them up near the house. They do seem to be in good health with all the cat food, table scraps thrown on the compost pile, unhatched eggs from the incubators, etc. We seem to have an abundance of chicken and cat food eaters.

I HATE dispatching them and it's illegal to relocate. Rabies is an issue but not as bad as some areas. Plus, a coon can supposedly find it's way back to it's home territory from 25 miles away! That is one mightly long trip for an animal that size. But then cougars/mountain lions usually have a territory of about 50+ square miles around here and up to about 250 SM out west.

I just HATE having to go into my chicken/buck pen and find my pretty hens dead. I hate dispatching predators, but in the country, there's going to be loss of a life. So I have a choice to make that I don't like having to make at all. But I choose to keep my hens alive. It's one of the negative homestead tasks. So the choice is mine and it's part of farm life and livestock in general.

And so is the loss of my best light Brahma hen who was so calm and friendly, not to mention all the others. And why don't predators seem to get the egg eaters instead of the hens who come to see me and let me pick them up to check them over?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Interesting Fact

There are between 3 and 6 million active farmers in the United States. There are over 80 million active users on Farmville. Need we say more?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Poem of Mystery

I got a chuckle out of this mind challenge and thought you might also.
I may run rings around you
Or escape your clutching grip
Or leave a treacherous trail
That gives a sudden slip.
(If you're not careful!)

You always end up winning,
While I shrink with each new meet:
Our bouts will be my ruin,
But you'll come out smelling sweet.

What am I?

You'll need to scroll down a bit to get the answer!

You didn't expect me to make it too easy did you? After all, I do think you all know the answer! After all, you're most likely country folk, grew up country or dream of being so.





Some of the reason I think I got a chuckle out of this is that making soap has been on my list of projects to get going on and it's still on that list! It seems there are always higher priorities that take precedence. I also know I'm not a whirlwind, but I sure could use a bit of that energy! I don't even have excuses! I've got to get it done! I did buy a new stick blender and now it's time. Right?

Oh, did I forget to tell you the answer? A bar of soap.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Ramblings

We had storms today with heavy winds and it knocked over my new zucchini and summer plants with the tiny little squashes forming. The ground was just saturated and they didn't want helped back up. I hope they can "rise and shine" on their own. I lost my early plants from storms this year so sure hate to lose these now too. They are at the same level of growth. I'm suppose to have tons of zucchini I want to be rid of, aren't I? Not this year!

I picked our first little red, ripe tomato the other day and the rain has mashed the tomato plants too. That tomato was small, but hubby sure enjoyed it! It will be a bit before we have more but that was a fun discovery. It was well hidden until it got ripe enough for the red to show through!

It sure seems like we went from roasting to cooler weather awfully fast, doesn't it? I love these cooler nights for sleeping though!

I was really good at Goodwill this week and only bought 5 cookbooks. They had a LOT of really nice ones but I was spending too much, have so many and the prices had gone up on them. Having restraint isn't as much fun as scouping up a bunch of them! Having restraint does mean that I'm appreciating and enjoying the 5 I got more!

I've been wanting an electric ice cream maker for some time and sure wish I could find one at Goodwill. I finally made up my mind as to what I want so looked at Walmart but they don't have any. I forgot to look at Meijers. I probably should check out the websites and see if they have they there. There's always ebay too.... There's still hope in finding a good deal though! It's just harder to find what I want being I'm looking for one that has to have the "bowl" frozen and not use ice and salt. I also need electric as I can't crank the old one we have any more. That also uses ice and salt. I'm definitely "paying a price" for being so specific in what I want, aren't I?

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh What A Relief It Is!

I have a new way to spell's C O M P U T E R! I will admit it. I'm ADDICTED to my computer! I LIKE my computer. I ENJOY my computer time, which is a tad excessive due to my disability and not working.
Last night my computer was running sluggishly. I have virus ware, spy/malware and mechanic programs. They all are set for running on a weekly schedule and they do the defrag, etc too. My computer is beyond it's "life expectancy" but it's already had a few new modems and a new hard drive so it SHOULD, IMHO, run a while longer. But, I decided it better get a new back up on my files done! Today's "project".

Then this morning, as my usual start up, I and I was playing the solitare game. It was SLOW going. I was also doing a bit of filing from some pics and such saved the last few days. I'm looking for just the right pics to make a logo/banner for the new food blog so I was perusing that file too.

Then it happened.... I slowed to a stand-still. DEEERRRats! I hate to make that drive to take the computer to the repair shop (30+ mile round trip) and such a waste of time on the road.

I have 3 other computer towers and one is internet ready but the disc drive is out so I can't upgrade to get on line. One is lost and can't find it's op sys but has a fairly new modem. And the 3rd is missing a working modem. Of course I couldn't remember what the situation was with them so had to hook them all up to see what was up. I am hoping that there are good parts that can be used in them to patch together a working computer. Nothing worked on any of them. Weird as the 2 should have cooperated to at least play solitaire!

So, I pondered on it, in spite of the migraine-coming buzz in my head, and decided to start this computer in safe mode and see if there was anything I could do like telling the virus program to see if it's "sick". No luck. I couldn't even shut the window that opened to tell me about safe mode! Again weird.
Then it came to me. Nothing (no computer)was working! so I started from scratch. I got out a new mouse, as I had recently picked up 2 of them on a clearance table CHEAP. I'm like that! Buy those super deals and have them available when needed. I also have a couple other keyboards I'd picked up cheap at the Goodwill Last Chance store for merely 29 cents each. (There good deals to be found at Goodwill at times and I like to "scout them out" now and then.)
Waaaaa Laaaaa! It paid off. I'm not sure if it was the keyboard or the mouse, but one of them was the problem.

The good news is that I didn't run to the computer shop and spend a chunk of $$$ I can't afford. I solved my own problem on my own. I was spared the embarrassment of taking my computer in and paying the fees to run a scan and the labor to be told my mouse died or some such trival thing.

So, yes, I do spell RELIEF as C O M P U T E R!!

And how is your day going?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Bovine Quote to Ponder

"In America, the cow is on trial. The charges include dietary wrongdoing, pollution and misuse of natural resources."
Molly O'Neill, N.Y. Times food columnist.

Homestead Kitchen - A New Blog

I had been thinking of adding food and recipes here, but what I do here just doesn't really blend well with food. Also, I'm not sure how well some folks would appreciate the barn and kitchen all on one blog. I was afraid it would be like finding a cat hair in your food or cooking with dirty hands! So, I started another blog for food and recipes. I like my food clean and healthy too, after all!

If you'd like to visit, it's Homestead Kitchen at: It wasn't easy coming up with a name that wasn't in use!

Feel free to leave comments, of course!

Now to find the right banner shaped photo for the logo. I wish the one I posted here would fit! I think I might need to take a couple food pics and shrink them and "tape" them together to make one! I'm also thinking when I get home from the farmer's market this week I should have enough of a variety to spread it out and take a pic for fresh foods that I could use. I'll find something..... ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

100 Gifts in My Life! 1-10

I saw on another blog where a gal is doing 1,000 Gifts. I find hers an interesting read! She's fluent and easy to read/follow. She sounds upbeat and down-to-earth. She finds appreciation in things such as I do. So I thought I might try following suit. Only 1,000 seems such a high number to me at this time. I think I'll set a goal for 100 so it's easier to attain. If it goes well for me, then I can extend the goal when I reach 100! Sometimes in life it's a good idea to take shorter steps and keep-it-real, keeping it attainable.

Some of my gifts in life are tangible and often the best are the intangible! You'll read of both!

I hope you'll enjoy reading a periodic post of numbered things I am thankful for. I know I comment (often I hope and think) of being appreciative for everyday and special things in my life.

I'm entering another "trial" in my life in which I KNOW I'll need to keep positive. (More on it later!)

1. My belief and love of God! I'm not one to say a lot, but my religion and beliefs are very important to me. I'm so grateful to be able to enjoy them freely in my life and country. I have many blessings and prayer is a source of comfort and peace in my heart.

2. My family, which is hubby, 3 adult daughters and 1 teen grandson.

3. Integrity, ethics, honesty and morals! These are traits that are important to me and I try to grow with as I am traveling thru my life. Life is so much nicer and more simple when we have such traits. It also makes it a joy to find them in others.

4. My buckskin mare, Summer, who I bred, raised, showed and just plain adore. She's the one of all the horses who have been a part of my life who is "THE ONE".

5. My goats. The enjoyment my goats provide along with the laughs. What comical characters they can be.

6. My chickens and trio of turkeys. Another motley and funny crew! They also give me enjoyment. I love hearing the songs of egg-laying success and the roosters' crows. I love watching the roos who are so busy providing for and tending to their hens. I love watching the mass pandemonium they create when one hens finds a juicy tidbit, a bug or even a blade of grass and thinks she has to run for her life to protect it with all the others hot in pursuit to see what she has and try to snatch it for themselves. Many don't have a clue what the tidbit is or if there really is one! They just run because it's the thing to do at that moment in time. They remind me of how people can sometimes be so caught up in life and be running without knowing what they are truly going to get to.

7. I love my tomato plants, my rhubarb, my zucchini plants, etc in my garden. What wonderful, fresh food with wonderful flavors I'm gifted with. I love the beauty of a well tended garden. I love watching my cherry tomatoes growing and look forward to the first ripe one! I have 3 pots of Sweet 100's in a big pot so I can bring it in during the early frosts. I am hoping I can delay it's production some.

8. I am blessed to have the gift of fresh milk and fresh eggs. We're going thru a period in time where many are against fresh milk and are trying to make it out to be poison. I don't agree. I'm NOT thankful for some things I see happening that are against our rights to have our own fresh foods. This is for my appreciation of the gifts in my life though and that can be another post! I LOVE my fresh quart of milk for breakfast with some SF chocolate syrup. It's just delicious and I savor it immensely.

9. I am blessed with owning several cats. We have Miranda, a Siamese, who is the mother to Fuzzy, Rascal and Itty Bitty Kitty. We have Bobbi, the little Manx girl who has become a grown kitty but we still are caught thinking of her as a kitten. Then there is Barney, who was a stray/drop-off and adopted us. She rarely comes in the house and prefers the barn. She's not a lap cat, but she loves to visit and get her daily attention. She's quite a successful and active hunter even though she gets cat food and milk (when the milk is available). The others are great hunters too. They also come in during the Winter but enjoy their Summers out roughing it.

10. I'm also lucky to be able to have my 4 dogs. I have a pair of Pembrooke Corgis (Murphy & Molly) and a pair of mini Australian Shepherds (Cooper & Candi). I adore them all. They all have different personalities and their own individual traits I love about them.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Word of the Day

Sometimes I am puzzled over words. My vocabuarly is fairly good and I love learning something new every day. So with the word "lagniappe", and seeing it so often lately, I had to go to and find out if I really knew the real meaning of it. I also wondered if I was pronouncing it correctly! It looks to be of French descent and I'm sure not fluent in French. I tend to give anything not English a Spanish type pronounciation.

That being, I thought I'd give you all the info too just in case you're seeing it on line as I am. Who knows, you also may be wondering about it the same as I have been! So, you're in luck! I have a lagniappe for you!

"LAGNIAPPE (lan‘yəp, lăn-yăp‘) Chiefly Southern Louisiana & Mississippi"

Lagniappe "is a creole word meaning ‘the gift’ or ‘to give more’."

Another place I visited described it as "GLUE". That stands for Giving Little Unexpected Extras. They even have what they call the "Purple Goldfish Strategy". It's described as, "Differential by added value." For the commercial use, it's "Finding signature extras that help you stand out, improve customer experience, reduce attrition and drive positive word of mouth/mouse." Source: Marketing Lagniappe website

So, we all thought as we traveled through life we were just giving some help or something. Now we know were have been giving lagniappes and giving something much bigger. Good for us to be giving and know we have a deeper understanding and a "special" word for it!

I hope you've benefited from this lagniappe and appreciate a little vocabulary "lesson". Nothing like a little word-of-mouse to enlighten your day! (I love that: Word-of-mouse!)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mystery Photo

Curiosity killed the cat.... BUT, I don't think I'm in danger of dying from wondering about this photo. So how about we go with....

Inquiring minds want to know... the who, what, where... and anything else pertinent? Makes sense to me, of course!

So, I'm GUESSING South Africa or such. Maybe the desert type areas of Australia? I'm not familiar with what the Southern part of South America would be like. Where would this be?

What are these piles?

Are they livestock feed? If so, how do they keep the stock out of them or do they have good fencing in remote areas such as this? I really don't know but don't recall seeing fenced animals.

Are they fuel for cooking meals? A couple are pretty small and one in the front has a chunk out of it suggesting that parts are used at a time.

What else would or could they be? It's a mystery to me and I've had this pic a few years and wonder and wonder.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bovine Humor 'N A Bit of Sharing

Two cows standing next to each other in a field, Daisy says to Dolly,"I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," said Dolly. "It's true, no bull!" exclaimed Daisy.

Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did! You're welcome to the graphics and the jokes too!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zucchini Squash

Today, August 8th, is a very important day in the lives of gardeners! It's National Zucchini Day! Does this important day include the lowly summer squash? I sure hope so!

So, in honor of a such as this, fess up! What do you do with your zucchini besides grow it prolificly? Do you share with anyone who will grudgingly take one, give it to family/friends/neighbors, or manage to sell some? Or, do you manage to use it all and wish you had more?

It seems the last several years I've not had an OVER abundance. I've actually bought some when I didn't have fresh available! I've gotten a few at the grocery store and HATED paying the price for something we think of as a veggie that should be coming out our ears. I've gotten some at the farmer's market or road side stands too. But, as we all know, fresh is best right from our own garden.

I grate and cube some for the freezer for baked goods and soup. I use it in all types of dishes. I fry it a bit but prefer it roasted along with some carrots and onions. There's a wealth of ways to use it! I've also canned some for pickles. I've dehydrated it too.
I do like zucchini. In fact, I've even started a folder on my computer for zucchini recipes. I guess I'm lucky I like it enough to do that being it usually grows well. I'm hoping my newer plants do better than the first I planted this year. Those didn't make it after the heavy rains and then turned drought and exceptionally hot. I guess it shows one can kill it, but we just need nature to take part!

We have lucked out with a cooler day so I'm going to "splurge" and use the oven. I'm going to roast some zucchini and also oven fry some. I have a new recipe I want to try this is also an oven fried zucchini that has a coating and cheese on it. What perfect timing!

So, are you celebrating the day with zucchini? If so, what are you making?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Something New Again

Or should that be titled "Something Returned"? I'm going with new again, because things had changed that we lost it! That, being HD TV was the change and we lost the PBS station, 23. Well, it's BACK and it's AMAZING how excited a couple "old folks" can get over a tv station!

We're out in "the sticks" and just in between the different stations so we get very few stations on "free tv". We don't have the high tech options available. Some folks around here have the satellites but they still have problems with getting stations on paid tv. Cell phones are NOT reliable here. Most of us still have landlines. Some have cells also.

We really do need an antenna but haven't had the money to have one installed. Hubby can no longer do it as he can't be climbing. I'm not sure he'd know what to do once he got there either as there's a glitch from his stroke that causes that.

But, we are now EXCITED to get PBS back on. We get some cooking shows and travel shows. YIPEE! Something new again and a chance to NOT watch the same cooking show from the "muscle men" for the 20th time! Globe Trekker is back in our lives so we get to travel again!

Pathetically exciting, huh?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Mystery

I had to do some fence work yesterday and ambled over by the black berries to check them out. They've been coming on slow and not growing well this year due to the heat and long dry spell. They are gone! No developing berry clusters, NOTHING. They had clusters forming. The only thing I can think of is the deer, turkeys or horses managed to eat the whole cluster with the berries.

Maybe a bear? I've not heard of a bear sighted right here, but know they have been fairly closely North, East and West of us within a few miles or so. Who knows but this happened last year too. I find it odd that the whole clusters are GONE.

I wouldn't think that birds would take the whole cluster. In the past they've only eaten the actual berry and left the cluster.

The goats aren't allowed out that far due to the coyotes and the cougar's biweekly tour through the area.

Ooohhhh a mystery, but a frustrating one, as I was watching those berries again this year and had plans for some jam and nibbling!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Injury

Well, there was a short lull but it's over.

Grace, palomino mare tangled with the fence. I have to suspect that she kicked out from the huge, NASTY "bomber flys" as she wrapped both hind legs in the fence and ripped out the fence and pulled a fence post (tposts) out! With her hind legs "hobbled" she must have had to hop to get up here from the back fence line. She was also a bloody mess from the flies being able to get her. I thought she had abraded skin off in patches at first look but went to work on cutting the wire up and peeling each wrap off her hind legs. I was very leary doing so as I could tell she hurt and her legs were starting to swell. You never know if they will try to kick free as they feel restraints being removed or if they'll think a leg is free enough to kick a biting fly. I was trying to kill the flies on her underside and hind legs as I was cutting and periodically stopped to kill one if she was trying to bite at one she couldn't reach. My hands ended up a very bloody mess as the flys were engorged on her blood. Soooo nasty!

The good news is Grace stood like a trooper. She remembered her old training to not move a foot if I'm working under her! She never moved a foot the whole time and even when I was needing to switch sides due to the direction of the wire. She was just a peach to stand so well while hurting.

Once the wires were all removed, I could only get her to move a hind foot. She was afraid to move and probably from the pain. I finally got Summer and moved her alongside Grace to try to walk them both. Grace took a couple small, halting steps and then froze up again. So I ended up moving Summer and calling Grace to come. She did, hesitantly and very cautiously like she was trying to step free of the wire.

After moving from that spot and about 20' away, we stood a couple minutes while I continued killing flies on them. After she thought about it a few minutes, we made our way to the stock tank so she could get a drink. While there, we cleaned her up, hosed her down, and cooled her off. She wasn't thrilled with the hosing on her legs, but we got it done. She doesn't need stitches, but she is cut up some and quite sore.

While out working on the fence this morning and early afternoon, I saw her running for the barn a few times to get away from the flies. So once the cuts heal I expect her to be fine.

She still has all the bare scrapes from the neighbors' fireworks last month. She's a mess!

The fence is fixed but still needs more work. These sunny, very humid, 90+ degree days with 105 HI aren't conducive to fence work! The pop bottle of ice thawed fairly quickly but sure felt good in my pocket and getting me wet!

I hope for another lull, but a LONGER one, please!