Sunday, December 30, 2012

That was too close

This afternoon, my youngest daughter and her MIL and I went to see Les Miserables. I LOVED it. But not at first. I love the music. It was really good. And I hope everyone gets to go see it. And I cried.

When we got out of the theater, it was already dark. So had to hurry home and feed and milk goats. And dogs and cats too. So got all that done. I am pleased with Penelope Jane's progress and can't wait to start milking her. She is going to have a pretty big udder for a first freshener. Can't wait to see her kids soon.

Also the new doe Trudy is developing an udder too. I am happy with her progress as well. I am really not sure what she was bred with. It could have been either a Lamancha or a Boer. We shall see soon.

I need to get busy making some kidding stalls soon. I need more pallets first. It will be time to kid and I won't be ready for them. I hope to sell all the kids as soon as possible. I am not keeping any of the doelings. I'll castrate all the Boer cross bucks for meat.

After I came inside, I thought I better go check to see if there were any eggs. I got 3 yesterday! So 2 more started laying. I have 4 hens total. So grabbed the flashlight and went to see. And I saw 4 eggs!!!!!! 4! I was so happy to see all those eggs. I now have 1 whole dozen eggs hiden!

Then I started looking for my sheep. I heard the dogs coming up  the driveway. They had opened the gate. Got them in then looked over at the garden gate. It was wide open. My heart fell. I had put the sheep in the garden this morning. I ran in there and looked in the shelter. Nothing. I looked over in the barn yard and saw one of the ewes. Just one. She ran to the pasture. Then I pointed the flashlight toward the apple trees and saw eyes. I was SO relieved. I was about ready to jump in the car and look all over this valley for them. My poor sheep out there lost in the world. But then I started counting and they were all there. Adele and Fiona were over on the other side of the fence in the pasture. But the rest were down in the little orchard at the end of the garden. I was so happy to see them all. They looked a little spooked but all ok. I gave them some hay and shut the gate to the garden. I can't believe they were all still in the garden. I thought they had all left me. I am so thankful they didn't go out. Now if it had been goats... But they wouldn't have gone too far. Anyway, it all turned out good. I will be more careful and make sure gates are latched and tight before I leave again. I would be so sad to lose any of my sheep.

And Adabelle will be going home tomorrow! Her buck kids have been sold so it's safe for her to go back. And John Henry will be coming back tomorrow from his "job" in Hillsboro, Tn. So I can put Zeeboo in with him. Hope fully it won't be too late for that.

The 2 rams will be going to the butcher next Monday. So I can put the ewes back over there and get ready for lambs soon. I know I'll have 3 ewes due sometime in early Feb. Not sure about Darla. Maybe a few months later. Then all the littles will be due in May if Abraham has done his job.

As I was outside tonight, I saw the big huge full moon comeing up over Pigeon Mt. It sure is big and beautiful tonight. Go outside and see it for yourselves!

 Happy new year's eve!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blue jean quilt

I have had a stack of old jeans in a closet, waiting for the right time to make a quilt out of them. Also had bought some demin fabric at a thrift store last year.

Today seemed like the day to get it started. I just cut out squares and rectangles and then put them together like a puzzle. I even used the pockets, front and back. I love the way this looks. I'll use the demin for the back.

I'll have to hand sew it all together because my sewing machine has had the tension all messed up for a few years now and I don't know how to fix it. I've tried every which way to change the tension, but nothing has worked. It's just a cheap little Singer I bought on sale one year at K-Mart the day after Christmas. I would love to get a good machine but will have to wait. And I don't mind hand quilting. Makes me feel like Caroline Ingels.

This is a side view showing the pockets. It looks so cute already.

I'll take pictures as I go along. I hope it won't take too long. I'm making this for my truck driving husband. It's cold out there in that truck all alone.

I just feel like I have to making something or I'm not being productive. And I can't get out in the garden right now. And it's too cold anyway.

Is anyone else making anything?

Bubba too

This afternoon, Bubba and Stella were sitting side by side. Looking at their kingdom together. I went to grab my camera and Stella heard me and came to the door. But Bubba stayed put. That is so funny. I have no idea what they are seeing or thinking. Just maybe meditating on a dog life. Or maybe this is just the best place to sit ever.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I wonder

what Stella is thinking? Sometimes she just sits right there and looks all around. Deep in thought. She'll turn her head and look in the other direction, then back that way. Just sits there and looks. She's such a good dog.

 Until I see her big pile of stuff just over to the left. Big pile of stuff, too. All hers. Bones and chewed up bowls. Sticks and branches from the wood pile. More bones. She's a mess, that Stella Bella Luna.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy new year!

I was inspired by Jon Katz from Bedlam Farm up in NY to give all my animals treats this Christmas. I don't usually give a lot of treats to them. Just when I have stale crackers or cookies or bread I'll give them to the goats. Or apples to the sheep. But a few months ago I had won a big box of cat and dog treats. There was a squeeky toy and a small frisbee that I gave to my grand dog Daisy. Stella is afraid of the sqeeky toys. There was also a few bags of dog treats that the dogs loved. And a can of cat food that I mixed in the dry cat food. They all loved that.

The goats got lots of animal cookies and vanilla wafers and crackers. It's really hard to feed the goats. Some will eat and some won't. Those who like the cookies are selfish and push the others out of the way. I have figured out how to do it though. I say their names and they get a cookie. Then the next one. And on and on. The sheep got apples, which they love. The rams got extra grain with apples in it. And even the chickens got some goodies. And of course extra hay because it just about rained all day here.

So it was a good day. Everyone came here for breakfast and to open gifts from us. Then we went to my parents to have dinner and open more gifts. Then back home. I was so tired by then I could hardly keep my eyes open on the way home. It was fun though.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas day where ever you are. And wishing you all a very happy fun filled new year.
I love St. Francis. And he should have a place here on this post about animals.

I will see you all next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas to me!

Meet the new girls. I just got them today.

This is Z. That's what they call her. So I am trying to think of a Z name. I like ZeeBoo, Zeborah, Zariyah, and Zia. Can't make up my mind. But will probably just call her ZeeBoo for now. She is a 3 year old Lamancha doe. She looks a lot like my Abby but a bit smaller and she has tan lines on her face, where Abby's are white. And she has the white on her belly. She is not bred, but in heat. So the guy put their buck with her but he was so small I don't know if it worked. Or rather, if they made contact. I like this doe. As soon as I get John Henry back, he will go in with her.

And this is Truck. Her name will be Trudy from now on. She is 2 years old and is bred to kid in February. The guy said she was bred to the Boer buck. So I hope she has a buckling. This will be her first kid. The black one has had a kid before but it looks to have been awhile as she is very dried up right now.

This is a back view of ZeeBoo's udder, which I like already. I like the long teats. They said she was an easy milker.
I have them both up front in the garden right now til I can get the electric fence fixed out back. The goats are still getting through it. So when it is fixed, the new does will go in the back yard and the other does will go out back. That way they can see each other and hopefully get used to each other so I can put them all together.

Now I will be anxious for February to see how Trudy does on the milk stand. I'll have to wait til May or June for ZeeBoo, but that's ok. I am so happy I got these two. The people I got them from had got some turkey eggs from me a few years back. When I emailed her, she said she didn't answer any more emails because she wanted me to have first pick. So thank you, Sherri and Bill! Bill even followed me home with Trudy in his SUV. That was nice.

I now have 8 does and 1 borrowed doe. Looks like she may be staying. So 9 does.I will need a few pigs later to help with all the milk.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Just a few more days

I don't know why I wait til the last minute to do anything. I have been making jewelry the past few days for Christmas gifts. And bracelets and earrings. It's not that easy. Some of those beads are SO small. My step dad got me a jewelry tool set that has really come in quite handy. But now I need one of those lights that shine down with maybe a magnifying glass on it so I can actually see what I'm doing. I have reading glasses that help a lot. But still, it's really tedious work. But I do love the results. I love putting beads and little shiny stones and colors together to make a pretty necklace or earrings. I just hope they don't fall apart when someone is wearing them.

I am also making candles with some pretty little jars. I have had several bags of soy wax for awhile and a big 5 pound wheel of bees wax. That is the hardest stuff to try to grate or even cut. But I love bees wax candles.

Also am finishing up an afgan I was supposed to give my daughter and son-in-law LAST Christmas. I know, that's bad. But at least they will get it this Christmas.

So lots of little last minute gift ideas coming together. I really love making things for people I love.

I hope no one else is like me and trying to get a lot done at the last minute. But if you are, try not to get too stressed out! And have a very merry Christmas and a great new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Musical sheep. Again.

Last night, I noticed the 4 younger ewes jumping on each other and acting friskier than usual. So I went over and got Mr. Abraham. This is his first time in with the ewes. Ever. He's had to patiently wait his turn. The other 2 have been with the 4 older ewes and hopefully they are all bred now. But I did have to move big Darla over to stay with the other 2 rams because Abraham is her son.  She did not like that at all. And is still telling me so. She is VERY loud.

So last night, Abraham sniffed around a little. That's about all I saw so far. This morning, they are all just eating and grazing. Nothing much happening yet. I hope I wasn't too late. But that would be ok because 2 of the younger ewes are still so small. That's why I was waiting til later to breed them. And it would be ok if they don't get bred right now. I'll be keeping Abraham, so they could wait til spring.

Anyway, more goings on at Outback Farm. What's happening on your farms this time of year? It's too wet to do anything in the gardens right now.

Sharing the couch

Bubba, sharing his couch with Kansas this morning. She has to get up around 6 am to catch the bus for school at 6:40. This morning she couldn't quite get woke up so she came in and laid down on Bubba's couch with him. And he didn't mind one bit. He's keeping her feet warm for her. Good boy!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Just love. That's all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Finally, a tree

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't like Christmas anymore. It used to be such a wonderful time for me and my family. I would have a tree in every room and decorations all over the house. We would have friends over for parties. Once I even had a neighborhood Christmas potluck dinner.  And when I worked at Ace hardware up the street, I had everyone over for deserts and I fixed everything. It was so fun. I used to bake things and take to neighbors and friends. I would make things with the kids. All our ornaments were hand made by me and my kids through the years. I still have them all. And now the grands are making them. It used to be fun. And magical. And exciting.

But now, I just feel like, what's the big deal? Why take down all the stuff that I have around the house and put up Christmas stuff for a month, then have to put it all away and do it over again? So much work. Ugh.

And since we moved way out here, no one wants to come out this far. So why bother? It's just us anyway. And I don't want to decorate for people passing by.

So today, I made myself go out back and look for a small pine tree. I wanted to at least have a tree. And a cute little scrubby Charlie Brown tree. And it would have to fit on top of the big huge dog crate in the dining room, because there is no room in this small house for it anywhere else. So I found this cute little scrub pine.

Brought it in and stuck it in my pretty antique metal apple bucket with rocks to hold it up. Put some water in it and a flat white sheet around. Went and bought a strand of 100 white lights because every strand I found didn't work. Then Heather and Kansas put up some of the ornaments. They couldn't be too heavy because the branches are not very big.

I think it looks pretty good. I do love white lights at night. And I will get some greenery and red berries for the front window and the buffet and mantle. And some candles. And that's it, folks. I'm done.

So Merry Christmas, y'all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New website?

I just tried to make a website. Still have some things to add.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The big clean-up

Today I decided to let the sheep clean up the garden for me. Their pasture is quite brown. Or actually, it's the same color as they are and I can hardly see them out there. So to the garden they went.

Then I felt sorry for all the does out back. So started taking them up front to the garden too. In 2's. It's pretty far to just let them go by themselves. Too many things to get into on the way there. There were so many things to eat, they were all over the place for awhile.

                                              The goats went over to clean up the fence row.

                                                And the sheep had to follow, of course. It was a very nice day. I worked up a sweat in no time out there.

While all the goats were up front, I decided to take the push mower to the goat yard and mow down all the dead stuff. It wore me out! This is where the goats live. This used to be a pine tree forest years ago. The people who owned this place had someone come in and cut them all down. And they just left all the trees to rot out there. And when we bought this place, it had all grown up with wild roses and blackberry bushes. And lots of little trees. It took the goats a few years, but this is all that's left now. Not much.

 I have asked the guy who owns the land all around us and owns lots of big equipment like bull dozers, if he would give me a price on grading it all and moving all the very old tree stumps. I would like to plant good grasses and hays for the goats. But today, I just mowed down all the dead stuff and got down to the green grass that's still out there.  This picture above is looking toward the SW.

And this picture below is looking toward the NW. So they have lots of room back there. Just no bushes or trees, which they would so much rather have.

 So last week, I turned off the electric fence and let them go out next door. It's gotten way overgrown over there and snakey looking. They have done a great job. But like any goat, they can't stay in this spot for long. They started going out in the fields, where they are not supposed to be. So had to put that to a stop.

And here is the pasture, almost all mowed and looking better. I want to go get some winter rye and  sow back here now, if it's not too late. I'll go to the co-op and see. Over to the left, by their barn, is alot of green grass still growing. And in the back yard too. And they have lots of hay mountains too.

And the goats are all back in their home again. They don't like too much change, these goats. And they like their barn. It's cold out there!

I am thinking about getting some pigs soon after the sheep finish what they can eat in the garden. Then I'll put pigs in there to till it all up for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The wood stove and shed

 This is the wood shed. Out on the driveway. Me, hubby, a few daughters and grand daughters and one son-in-law, helped build this thing. It has a tarp at the back of it. It's double stacked too. The wood is nice and dry now. Not much wood in it right now. But there will be more soon. There is a lady in her late 60's who cuts, splits and stacks wood for sale. I will be buying the rest of our wood from her. She's amazing.

So this is the new stove. It heats this whole house. There are 1200 SF downstairs and 400 upstairs. It gets mighty hot up there, I am told. We did have some trouble because of creosote buildup. Then chipping out bricks to make room for new longer stove pipe. Then the elbow broke. Then hubby had to leave right after the elbow broke. Then we thankfully had a really nice warm few weeks.

Hubby was here for a few days so he and daughter got it all hooked back up again and now we are nice and toasty warm again! Just in time too, because now it's going to be down in the high 20's to low 30's at night. And this stove keeps us warm now. I am so glad I went ahead and got this one. But now it's a little bit to the right of the fireplace, due to people who are not master stove pipe installers. But I'm fine with that, as long as the house doesn't burn down.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just look at the size of that belly already!

This goat is huge! I put the does in with the bucks Sept. 1st this year. I've never done that this early before. I had noticed that Penelope was pretty big. But tonight, good grief! Look at that! For being just 3 months along, I do believe there might be more than 2 kids in there. And she has an udder already. For a first freshener, that's pretty impressive, I think. She's not a big goat at all either. She's about 1 1/2 right now and looks like a little Pygmy, but she's not. And she is polled too. She's bred to the little Boer buck, so hopefully all those kids won't be too awful big.

                                                              This is from the top.

                                               And here's that udder. I like the teats already.

This is her from last week. I was worried the little guy didn't do anything, but apparently he was busy while I wasn't looking/. I don't think Sandy is pregnant. If she acts like she did a few weeks ago, I'll get her and the buck back together. But I am still milking her and getting about a quart a day now.

I just hope we don't get a snow storm or ice around the 1st of February now.

Holiday market pictures

Yay, I think I have figured out how to upload pictures now from my new camera!!

So this is my booth. I need the canopy to hang the window frame for the candle holders. I think. But it's dark inside. So one of the ladies in my "square" came over and said I should take the top off to bring light in and that I need to have the tables on the outside of the booth. That she has found people don't like to go inside a booth, they'd rather be on the outside. Going inside means they have committed to the whole thing.

So I  am going to get there early this Saturday and make some changes. I would love to hear what anyone thinks about this. It's got plenty of color. But it is dark. I need to come up with something to hang the window from then take the whole canopy down.

These are the hanging candle holders or night lights. They're so pretty at night with the flickering candle inside. Or hanging outside on a tree branch at night. I'm making more because I did sell several.

And these are some of the wine bottles, jars and vases. I think I am going to get my 2 card tables back and use them instead of this shelf because it's hard for people to get down far enough to see these. So this will be gone.

These 2 bottom shelves are the Christmas jars and vases. The top shelf has jars with lids. And the next shelf has vases.

Then here is my soap and wash cloth table. I did add more soap that I had forgotten about so need some more baskets too.
So any advice or comments would be great. I need all the help I can get. I am at the very end of a long row. There are 4 booths in each square.

Thanks for looking! And if you are close, come on by and visit.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

One down, one to go

Well, this weekend has been a big learning experience, to say the least. I had fun, but I am pooped. I do not see how people can do this weekend after weekend. Loading everything up, unloading everything, setting up everything. It's a lot of work. I did have fun though. Next week I will have to change some things around in my booth. I have a canopy that we had hung a pretty shower curtain as a background for my soap table. And I have a wooden window with no glass in it to hang my candle holders on that needs to bu hanging up on the canopy. So I need to take the top of the canopy off so it's not so dark inside. And according to more seasoned market vendors, people don't like going INTO a booth. They would rather be on the outside going around the tables. Who knew? SO I have some work to do next week to make it more inviting to people.

I did sell a lot of soap and wash clothes yesterday and one candle holder. Also took an order for a special vase. Today sold a lot of jars and candle holders. I was very happy about that. One lady bought $50 worth. And a lot of soaps. So a good day today. I hope next week is a lot better.

Does anyone else do these type of crafty fairs? And do you actually make money at it?

This market costs $100 per weekend. And I thought that was all the costs. But yesterday, several of the venders around me had white envelopes they were getting ready to take up front. I asked about it and they said it was the envelopes we are supposed to put our 10% of our sales inside. I didn't have one nor had I heard anything about this. So went up front to ask and they said it was in the application online. Well, didn't see that.

Then this morning, a lady stopped at the desk before going in. So I thought I had to as well. I asked what I was supposed to do and they said something about sales tax and then a business license. So I had to pay $4 for this weekend and then $5 more next weekend for the business license, which they were out of. It just seems like they are not all together here. And then I had to ask for a receipt for the $4 I had just given them and he said he thought he had given me one. Nope. Anyway, seems like a lot of money for this and that that I was not aware of when I got into this. It just makes me wonder if people actually make any money doing this.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Down to the wire

Whatever that means. But I think it fits here.Because I am all done and ready to start packing up to go get set up at the Holiday Market Too this afternoon. I have been working every day trying to get all my vases and candle holders and Christmas jars and soaps and wash clothes all made and ready. I don't really know what to expect. I have only ever sold my soaps and jars at farmer's markets so far. But never at an actual craft fair. I just hope people like what I have for sale and actually buy things. Ya just never I guess.

My daughter and I went yesterday to get our truck, so I'll have both vehicles to take everything in. I need to wash out the bed of the truck first. It's still got hay and wood pieces in it. It's a farm truck. And it looks like it. But I don't have enough room in my Trooper for all I will have. I guess everyone who does craft shows has a lot of things to carry in. I am so glad it's inside too.

So if anyone lives near Chattanooga, come on by and get your Christmas shopping all done! It's free parking and admission!! It's on Carter St. downtown Chatt. This weekend and next I will be there, but it goes through the 22-23. And I think I saw somewhere that it's also the 21st. So come shop and visit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign...

Does anyone remember that song from the '70's? It was one of my favorite songs.

So I was sitting outside today, crocheting. It was an amazing day, in the 70's, sunny sky and whispy clouds. It just hit me that it's Dec. 2nd and I'm sitting out in the yard crocheting. I felt like I should be tilling the garden and planting for spring.

Anyway, the road dept. started working on the road out front of my house , right before my house then down about a 1/2 mile. They have dug out all the bad places and scraped down about 4". They have several signs before the road work that say "road work" and  "BUMP". And it is a pretty steep bump. I know, because I didn't believe the signs. I do now.

So, while sitting outside today, I can hear traffic going by. I got to thinking how there are some people who read signs and obey them and some people who don't read signs. Or just ignore them. Or just plain don't know how to read at all. I can hear some cars or trucks slowing down before hitting the bumps. And some people don't. I guess they think it's best to just fly over the bumps and it doesn't make  a difference. I just think it's funny how people are so different.

But such a beautiful day today. And I got several more vases and jars done. And more wash clothes crocheted. I have taken everything out to my garden shed to make room in the house again. I need a dedicated work area if I'm going to be doing this a lot. I do have the "barn" next door. It's really a small house with a kitchen  and bathroom and a big open living room with a nice porch. But when we refinanced they weren't going to because we have 2 houses on the same property. So I loaded it down with hay. And now it's a barn.

BUT when the hay is gone, I am going to make it a studio for ME. I will make soap in the kitchen. And cheese. And have a work space for everything else. I can take my spinning wheel over there. I can have a whole house all to myself! It'll be great to have all my stuff over there and not all over the house. I have been working on the dining room table and it's covered up all the time. So all my crafting things will go over there too. I love the idea of a "studio" to work in. It needs some work, but we can do that as we go.

I hope everyone has had a good day too, wherever you are.

And I did get a new camera. A Nikon Coolpix S3300. I love that little thing. BUT, I haven't figured out how to get the pictures from it into here yet. I will have to break down and read the huge book that came with it. Or get my daughter or grand daughter to do it for me. It takes beautiful pictures. And videos too.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Saving Sophie

Yesterday, I saw a post on FB asking if anyone would give their life for their dog. Apparently there was a father, mother and son who all drowned trying to save their dog that was struggling in the ocean in California. They all drowned while the daughter watched. And the dog got out fine. So sad.

As I read all the responses to that question, I really didn't know what my answer was. At first, I thought, no way would I risk my own life for any of my animals. I have a husband and kids and grand kids whom I love very much. I don't think I'd want to put them through that. But I just have no idea what I would do if I were ever put in a position to have to save one of my dogs.

So this morning, while giving hay to my goats, I saw Stella, my youngest dog, over in the side yard. There is a small dug out place that holds water all the time. I call it my little pond. I looked closer at what Stella was after and saw Sophie in the water trying to get out. Sophie is 15 years old and her back legs don't work so good.I have no idea how she got in the water or why she was in the water. I think Stella was trying to help her out. And it was about 30 degrees last night so that water was cold. I have no idea even how long she had been in the water either.

I had to run back to the house to get to the yard and to the pond. All I had to do was reach down and grab her. I got her out and went to get a towel to dry her off. Poor little thing was sopping wet and cold. But I thought how awful it was watching Sophie struggling to get out and falling back in. I could not have watched and done nothing. Although I didn't have to risk my life for Sophie then, I think I would have if she had been in the middle of a lake or bigger pond. It was hard to see.

I have to say that Stella really saved Sophie.

So what would you do?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This and that

 Looks like it's been awhile since I posted anything here. I have been getting ready for the Holiday Market in Chattanooga. I was thinking I had the 1st 2 weekends of Dec. I'm glad I checked the emails again because I found out, after calling to confirm, that I have the 2nd and 3rd weekends. I am relieved because I was really stressing about not having enough to take. I have been working like crazy on the jars and vases and candle holders. Even went to a few thrift stores again yesterday to get more vases to do.

I had already made a whole lot of soap. And I have been crocheting wash clothes and dish clothes like a mad woman. I thought I could just whip up a few hundred jars in a few weeks. I am such a "wait til the last minute" type person but this is something I have learned a lesson from. I should have been doing this all summer. I have 4 big totes already full and have another 2 to fill up. And I can make more after the first market. I hope to have special orders to fill during the week after.

So this is one of the hanging candle holders I have made. I have all colors and different beads. They are so pretty at night with the light shining through. I have an old window frame I'm going to use to hang them all at the market.

I am also making lots of Christmas jars. I loved that book and have been thinking about making a jar for us to put spare change in throughout the year to give to a needy family. But the jar we do use for that  seems to be helping this needy family. One year I am going to do this. Really. So I have several of these jars in different sizes and colors.

Anyway, been really busy trying to get these things done so I can breath and relax a little. That will not happen. But the sound of that sounds good. And I still don' have a camera yet. When I do, I will take lots of pictures of all the jars.

And we had a problem with the wood stove last week. Way too much smoke when we'd open the door to put wood in. Plus smoke puffing out of the pipe and the doors every few seconds. It was awful. So had to let the fire go out and check it out. The pipes were full of creosote build up. Really bad. So then had to get more pipe and chisel out a lot of the bricks in the  back of the chimney to get the pipe to go farther up. Then broke the elbow. Then we gave up. By then we were all tired of fooling with it. Then hubby had to leave. He'll be back this weekend and we will get it fixed then. Thank goodness the days are warm right now.

I am down to milking just Sandy right now. Abby decided she didn't want to be milked any more so dried herself up last month. Sandy had gone down to between 2-3 cups a day fora awhile. Then the last 2 nights has given a full half gallon! Good girl. I have one more Friday for a half gallon milk customer, then all the milk will be for us again, til Spring. I sure do love my goat milk and miss it so much when they are dry. I am just hoping all 4 does are pregnant now. This is my Sandy. I love this goat to pieces, but she sure is a Nubian. Man, she is the most neurotic goat ever!

Monday, November 19, 2012

They got one!

This year I have noticed a lot of squishy places in the soil, along the driveway and in some other places. It's really hard to walk on it, like quick sand. Lots and lots of tunnels being dug around here. It had to be a vole or mole or something small. I have not noticed them out in the garden yet, but getting close.

So this morning, I saw a little dead thing on the grass. Looks like a mole. And looks like it's been dead a few days. I think it could be Stella that got it. She's been digging lots of holes where the tunnels are. Good dog! Or it could have been Sophie, who is a Rat Terrier, and they like to catch things like that. But she's 15 years old and doesn't do much anymore. So I think it must have been Stella.

One down, a few hundred to go. Get busy, Stella!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cooking on a wood stove

Earlier this evening, I put a big pot of pinto beans on the wood stove to cook. They are already about halfway done. I am loving this wood stove so much already. I am wondering if I can bake potatoes in the ash pan? Or maybe even a roast on top. I guess I could use the wood stove just like a regular stove. This could be a real electricity saver for us.

How about some ideas and advice on cooking on a wood stove from all you out there who have done this. What all have you cooked or even baked on yours?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Moving mountains

Tonight, my grand daughter was talking about mountains and mentioned the Bible verse where Jesus said if we had the faith of a mustard seed we could move a mountain. I told her that I think He didn't mean that literally, but used it to symbolize our mountains that we have to climb every day. Like people have huge debt, or a horrible job they hate going to, or medical problems. These are mountains we have to either go around or through or over. But if we have the faith of a little tiny mustard seed, we can move these mountains and get them out of our way.

I have SO much to do to get ready for the holiday market in just a few weeks that I am overwhelmed right now. Just thinking about all that I still have to do is making me freak out. And the more I freak out, the less I am doing. I have been doing some every day now, but when I see how much I have left to do, oh my goodness! But it will get done. I know it will.  I have to have faith. Then I can move this huge mountain out of my way and get on with it!

Down to just 4

I have finished butchering all the Freedom Ranger meat birds. And I sold all my "un-laying" laying pullets except the 4 Red Stars and the Americana rooster, who will be going to a new home soon. So just 4 hens now. The least amount of chickens I have ever had. There are 2 of the RS that have been laying a beautiful dark brown egg every day now for the past 2 1/2 months. And they are ALL the same age. So they are all gone except these 4.

I was talking to a guy the other day who has a lot of Nubian goats, that if the animals on my farm aren't producing something, like meat, eggs, wool, milk, they have to go. I don't have the room or money to keep a farm animal that's not giving back. I have had Abby, my Lamancha doe, for about 8 years now. She'll be 12 in Feb. She just dried herself up last week. I went from a pint to nothing in a day. She should be bred again, but after this, I won't be breeding her again. The last 2 years, it's taken a few months to get to where we could drink her milk. I guess that happens with age? SO I was telling this guy that I'll need to find a goat retirement farm for her to live out the rest of her days. He said he keeps all his animals til they die. He said he wouldn't want to live on my farm.

But really. What do y'all do with older, non-producing animals on your farms? I don't think I could butcher Abby. I have had her too long for that. Or my ewes. And I will not take any of them to a sale barn at this age. That would be animal cruelty for sure. I might be able to butcher for dog food maybe. If I had to. If there were no other options. But he said he would let her live there the rest of her life. So I said I would bring her next year about this time if she's still living. And I'll come visit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It hurts bad

So this morning, I stepped on a nail. I came in when I was done with chores and soaked it in Epsom salts for at least a half hour. Then I was on my feet the rest of the day. And now it's huge. And throbbing. I am soaking it again. I have to go out and do it all over again  in a few minutes before dark. But the ball of my foot feels like an actual ball now. I hate getting hurt. Why do things like this hurt so much? Why am I such a whiney baby? OUCH! I don't think I can get shoes on anyway. Wah wah wah.

Yeah, farming is dangerous.

I am always getting cut on wire or scraped on fencing. Or hit with a hammer. Or stepped on by sheep or goats. Or even rammed by rams. Clawed by chickens. Scratched by cats. I can just walk by a wild rose or blackberry bush and I am dripping blood. Or in the very short goat barn, I am constantly hitting my head. I am surprised I haven't knocked myself out yet. Or broken a leg or arm. Or sprained an ankle. Just little things like this is dangerous to me. Like just this morning I stepped on a nail putting the ewes back out in the pasture. I am soaking my foot right now in Epsom salt water. I almost cut my thumb off almost 2 years ago cutting up meat for dog food and had to get stitches. They made me get a tetanus shot, thank goodness. I didn't really want it, but am glad I got it now. Farming is dangerous!

There was a guy last spring not too far from me, that was baling hay and his baler messed up. He didn't turn the tractor off and had his arm up in the baler and it sucked his arm up and he almost went in too. He was very fortunate and he lived. But his arm is all mangled and he won't be able to use it much. God sure protects us when we do unwise things. This guy has 2 young children and a wife to take care of.

So every day, I am glad I haven't broken or sprained anything. I can't afford to hire someone to do what I have to do here every day. I need to be more careful.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Yep. 85 degrees in this house right now. I am sweating. I have windows open. This wood stove will be great when it's down below 20. But right now? It's too hot. But I am so glad we got it though.  It even heats upstairs really good too. So it will pay for itself this winter for sure.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It so hot in here...

the dogs won't even come in! We got the wood stove all hooked up and started a fire this evening. It was so smoky in here and upstairs, we had to open all the windows. It's nice and toasty in here now. I sure hope we have a nice cold winter. Well, not too cold. But I'll be ready!

And we got the wood shed semi finished. I need to get some tarp for the back and put up some tin on the sides. It's 4x12 and about 6' tall. We have 3 pallets for the floor. It's wide enough to get 2 rows stacked at least 6' high. Me and my grand daughter got about half of it loaded with wood already. When I get a camera, I'll take a picture of it. I am right proud of us for all we got done today here.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I better go get some wood in. It's going to be in the 50's the rest of the week.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This morning I butchered the last 12 Freedom Ranger chickens!!!! I am so glad that's done. And they are ALL sold too. I also put an ad on Craig's list last night for my laying hens that aren't laying. I had a guy call this morning about them. He came out this afternoon with his oldest daughter and they bought 4 Barred Rock hens and Russell Crowe the rooster. So it's a little quieter here now. The Americana roo has not crowed yet. Maybe he will now that Russell is gone.

So I took all the fence and fence posts down and cleaned up the lot where the FR were. Buried all the guts and burned the feathers in a big brush pile. I am going to use the fence to divide the front pasture for the sheep. I think I'll have enough fence to do that. I have plenty of fence posts.

And I need another milk goat! Abby, my older LaMancha doe, is drying herself up. She has nothing. So I am just milking Sandy, my Nubian. I have 2 other young does that are pregnant, but will not freshen til about the middle of February. I have never bred goats this early before. I hope we don't have a blizzard about then. So if anyone close by has a milk goat in milk right now, please let me know.

We bought a brand new Wonderlux wood stove a few days ago. Had to have it delivered. Plus had to have a piece of metal special made for the front of the fireplace. My husband was just trying to get the pipe to go into the back of the stove and has decided we will have to have an adapter for the back of the wood stove. So yet another day before we can use the stove.

We also bought lumber and tin roofing to build a wood shed to keep all that wood dry. I guess we will be doing that tomorrow since husband has to leave Monday morning. Sometimes our weekends are nonstop busy.

I hope you all are having a great weekend and enjoying this beautiful fall so far.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just thinkin'.

I try to see the humor in everything. Even when someone I love gets hurt, I laugh. Not mean laughing, and I hate they get hurt, but it is kinda funny sometimes.  I guess it runs in my family, but we have a dry sense of humor too. My brother and my nephew are the same way.

So when I saw that the people of Colorado had spoken and they now have legalized recreational marijuana, I thought about maybe moving out there and starting a marijuana and hemp farm. Some people don't think it's funny or a good thing at all. But some people see how this could be a boost to the economy and to farmers. Hemp is a plant that can be used for several different things. One being great clothes. Another being food. It's great fiber. I could see this being a good business. And I think the picture of a city in Colorado shrouded in what looks like a fog, and the caption says something like the people of Colorado have spoken and are very happy about the law passing for legalized pot, I think that's funny.

But when I saw a picture on FB yesterday of Obama standing at an open door holding an eagle with a caption that said "Knock knock. Who's there. America." I just did not see the humor at all. America? Really?? I just thought that was scary. Maybe half of America saw the humor in it, but the other half? I would love to hear their opinion.

So here we go, another 4 years. Are we all ready? I have no idea what's going to happen. Or if it will change very much in 4 years. I really didn't see too much change in the last 4 years. Not for the better, anyway. So he says he has 4 more years, lets see what he will do with it this time.

In the meantime, lets all try to see the humor in our world. There is a lot if we just look and not take things too seriously. I'm sure St. Francis saw humor in God's creatures.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


My little camera is dead. For a long time now I was not able to look back at the pictures I had just taken. Then a few weeks ago the bottom that held the batteries in broke and fell off. I had black electrical tape holding the batteries in after that and it worked fine. Then last night I dropped it on the pavement and the top part where I turn it on was raised up. It still turned on and I took a few pictures. Well, then I dropped the darn thing again and that was all the poor thing could take. It's dead now for sure.

So I need a new camera. I would love to hear all the good things about the cameras you all use so I can start looking for another one. I love taking pictures and already feel lost without mine. So any help would be great! Thanks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

From 50 to 12

I started out with 50 fluffy cute little Freedom Ranger chicks 14 weeks ago. I am down to just 12 now. I just got done butchering 10 more. today. So far of the 38 I have done, none have weighed over 4 pounds. They are just under 4 pounds and up to a little over 2 1/2 pounds. Not big birds at all. And they are 14 weeks old today.

I think they just had too much room to roam in and run off the fat. I have spent way too much money on these guys too. With starter-grower and grower-finisher at $17.00 a 50 pound bag, and they went through 17 bags since I've had them, these are really expensive birds. I don't think I can do this again. I'll have to see if I will break even. Probably not. But they are all sold!

It'll be quiet around here without them all. I do still have my non egg layers. I say non egg layers because I might get 2 eggs a day from 17 less than a year old hens. I am lucky to be getting 2 a day right now, I guess. I am just not very happy with chickens these days. It's so much cheaper to buy eggs from someone else than feed these guys. And I could sell them for $10 each and make a little money that way. But them what would I do with all the sheep and goat poop? The chickens are good at scratching it up and mulching too. So I will probably keep the layers awhile more.

Happy Halloween, y'all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Change of plans

It's been really windy here the past few days. So windy that I couldn't butcher any chickens yesterday. I had caught 10 and got them in the cage ready for yesterday morning and had to let them out because it was too windy. The grill wouldn't have stayed lit. So they get a few more days of life. I think Thursday will be a warmer day with no wind so I will try again then.

It's so sad to see all the destruction way up in NJ and NY from this massive hurricane. So many lives lost and homes destroyed. But to see the determination and strength in these  people who have lost everything is amazing. I just cannot even imagine what it would be like to lose all I had. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gonna get cold tonight!

Just look at these beautiful veggies! It might freeze tonight, so I went out and picked all the little squash and zucchini. I already had the green beans and radishes and carrots picked. And I went today to the Chattanooga market and found a pretty green cauliflower. Also got a handful of grape leaves and a whole head of garlic and some dill seeds. Opened up my handy Wild Fermentation book and found my recipe for Sour Cucumbers. That is the best way to make pickled cucumbers and it's so easy. The recipe says to add any veggies, so I did.

                                                                                     I can't figure this darn computer out, so there's no telling where all this will be when I'm done. So I started with a layer of garlic cloves then the grape leaves. Then 4 T of dill seeds. It took the whole little container of seeds. Then started layering the veggies.Green beans, radishes, carrots, zucchini, squash, then the cauliflower. That's the only thing I didn't grow here.

I'm supposed to let it sit about a week with the cheesecloth on. I have to check for any strange looking stuff on the top and skim it off. I have never seen that before though. But different times of the year do different things. Forgot to say I then added 6 T sea salt to a half gallon of water and stirred til the salt was dissolved. Then poured that over the veggies til covered.

Hopefully in a week or so, we'll be eating yummy fermented veggies. And I can add new veggies as the jar gets emptied.

 The grape leaves are supposed to keep the veggies crunchy. And they really do.

Has anyone else done this? I love this book and use it a lot. The author was here in Chattanooga a few months ago and I was going to go but something came up and I missed him. He has a new book out now that I want.

 I hope y'all try this with your fall veggies soon.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Busy week

I am so tired.  Husband came home (finally! He's a truck driver and they only let him come home when they want him to) Sunday night, after being out on the road for about a month. He is diabetic. He runs out of his meds out there when they don't let him come home. So now he's forced to get them from Walmart. Which, and I hate to say this, is a blessing because the meds he got the other day were just $26.00 for 4 prescriptions. And there are Walmarts all over this great country of ours, so he can get his meds when he runs out.

He had 2 doctor appointments on Monday. First with his diabetic doctor at 11:00. Then his eye doctor at 2:15. I stayed home and made soap.

Tuesday had some errands to run in town. Delivering milk and getting feed for all these critters here.

Wednesday started off early butchering chickens. Did 12 that morning. I am not really happy about these Freedom Rangers. They are 13 weeks old now. Well, the 22 that are left. The 28 I have done so far are small. They range from 2.5 pounds to 3.14 pounds. Yep, that's all. They were free ranging all day. In a pretty big area. Running around. Having fun. Eating frogs and bugs and grass. Just being chickens like they are supposed to. But they are SMALL. For as much money as I have in these birds, it's definitely NOT worth it for me.

Wednesday ended with my hubby, daughter and grand daughter and I going up on the mountain to a friend's place to get some fire wood he had ready for us. All chopped up and stacked all nice.

Thursday, 16 chickens. Started at 9:30 and finished at 1:00. My hands hurt. My back hurts. My feet hurt. And, what I thought was a paper towel right under my feet when I first started, was NOT a paper towel. It was a SNAKE SKIN! And I had kicked the darn thing under the table. I stood out there for 3 1/2 hours with a snake skin under my feet. No telling where the darn snake was.

And I work all day on Friday. It's really not "real" work. I help a 95 year old lady go shopping, pay bills, take her to the beauty shop, go eat lunch. Fun stuff. And I love her. She is the sweetest lady. We used to live next door. I am going to post a bunch of beautiful pictures of her house and yard soon if it's ok with her daughters.

When I get home on Friday evenings, I have to do chores and milk goats. Also have to pick produce for Saturday market. I only picked peppers and some beans tonight. It might rain sometime soon. Looked like tonight by the big huge black clouds floating around up there. Then it could be in the morning. Who knows? But I don't have a canopy. Still. My friend said I could share with her. So if I go, I'll have to get up early and pick all the greens. Collards, turnip greens, kale and lettuce. Then carrots, radishes and beets. So a busy morning.

And I'll have my 9 year old very energetic grand daughter Kansas this weekend.

So I am tired. I would love to have nothing to do again, like I used to. But I love all that I do. I won't have meat chickens after next week. I won't have 2 of the rams after Jan. 8th. I won't have the Holiday Market to get ready for after Christmas. I will be drying the 2 milk goats up the end of December. So no more milking for 2 whole months. I can rest in February. Well, til the end. Then it all starts over again!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


This is my pecan tree. To the left of the fence. I didn't know we had one for a long time. I started seeing pecans all over and wondered where they came from. Then I realized we had one pecan tree in the garden.

Sometimes we'll get nuts with pecans in them, but usually they are hollow or dried. But this year, there are SO many pecans on this tree and all over the ground. And they are GOOD!

When we first moved to this house, there were a lot of things that the family of the couple who built this place didn't want. One of them was this handy little tool. Don't know if this is what it's actually for, but it is now my pecan picker upper. It rolls along the ground and picks up the nuts. How cool is that? Who ever came up with this idea was a genius!

Here you can see pecans inside the little wire thing. I love this tool and am so glad no one wanted it. Because it is going to be used this year. I have already gathered several pounds so far and the tree is still full of pecans.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Making soap with tea and wild mint

I had seen somewhere to use tea in place of plain water to make soap. So I brewed some mint tea a few days ago and put it in the fridge so it would be nice and cold. I read that the colder the tea, the lighter the soap will be. And that it's best to use slushy tea for a real light tea. So I stuck it in the freezer and went to gather some wild mint to throw in too.

Darla had to follow me across the pasture on the way to the mint place. The rest were taking their mid-morning siesta under the shed in the shade.

This is a really old house next door across the field where the wild mint is. I love this house. Been abandoned for a LONG time. It's going to just fall in one day. A family dispute, I have heard. So sad. So the mint grows along these flowers in the front and along the fence line.

                           Of course I have to show my most favorite old oak tree behind my house.
 Didn't mean to show it twice, but it's worth a second view. And I can't figure out how to take it off once I've already gotten it on here, without deleting the whole post and starting over. So you'll have to enjoy it twice!

                                      This is the tea in the lye. VERY dark. Like a burnt goat milk.

Here is the mint and some ground up waiting to be added to the soap. It smells amazing! I love mint.

And here is the soap being stick blended. It almost looks like pumpkin puree. I had also read that the more you stir, the lighter it gets. Well, mine did not get lighter. I then added the mint. It looks horrible now!
  I sure hope it lightens up as it dries. It sure did not so far. I will see in a day or so. This is a veggie based soap, with coconut and olive oil and shortening. It is supposed to stay in the mold 48 hours. I can hardly wait that long for most of them. Too suspenseful!

      Ready to be wrapped up now. And still very brown. But I don't mind dark soap. Most people like the white or lighter colored soap though.