Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making bread and dog food

I thought my bread mixing machine was broken. It's been sitting in the dining room for about 5 weeks now. No bread making going on here. So yesterday, I called to order the timer switch for it. It was going to be $49 plus shipping and would have been here in a few days. I thought that was pretty good. My friend's machine was doing the same thing, so ordered her one also.

Well, a little later, a parts technician called. He wanted to know what it was doing. I have only had this DLX for like 15 years now.Have made hundreds of loaves of bread and thousands of rolls. I love this thing. Also have the Whisper Mill grinder too. Altogether it was around $800 back then. Along with a flaker for oats. I was looking at the DLX machines on line yesterday and they are around that price alone. With nothing else. I need this one to work.

So he told me to take off the plastic knob and get a pair of pliers and turn the knob with them. I did. It worked. So he wanted to know if I wanted to put that order on hold. I said yes, please.

And today I made rolls and some almond, cranberry, cinnamon bread. Because I didn't have walnuts. Or raisins. It smells good. And the rolls are so good right out of the oven with butter. Yum.

So this is all my equipment and ingredients to make bread. Milk and eggs from my goats and hens. Honey (which we buy by the 5 gallon buckets) olive oil, sea salt, lecithin, yeast and gluten.

                                            You can see the pliers and the timer switch on the left of the DLX here.

                                    This is what it looks like after the first rise in the warm oven.

                          This recipe makes 3 loaves or 3 dozen small rolls. I made big rolls this time.
                                          And here are the rolls and bread ready for the 2nd rise.

Here it is all done. Nice and browned and smelling SO good! This is made with fresh ground hard white, hard red, Kamut and soft white wheat.

These are the buckets I store all the wheat berries in. There is a group of us bread bakers that get a lot of  our wheat and supplies  from The Bread Beckers in Woodstock, Ga. We also get truck loads of 50 pound bags of grain every few years from Montana Wheat Co. Some people make a lot of bread and rolls. I sell it sometimes at the market too.

And this is my dog's food. I was getting a little nervous because I only had 2 baggies of beef hearts in the freezer. And the slaughterhouse where I get the hearts and bones from had not butchered any cows in a few weeks. I went today and still none. So I got a box of pork bones and they threw in some sausage. I cooked some brown rice. I had some green beans and mac and cheese in the fridge and some chopped tomatoes. Added all that plus the 2 baggies of cut up hearts. Added some garlic powder. And had flaked some oats so added some raw oats too. Bagged up 14 bags.

All ready for the freezer now. 14 days worth of free dog food. I also add some dog chow so they'll have some crunch. They love this stuff. They also get raw bones for their afternoon snack. About 5 every afternoon, there are 3 dogs looking at me through the kitchen door, wanting their bones. I am so thankful for a place I can go to get raw food for my dogs. They all love it and are thriving on it. They've been eating raw for a few years now.I think that's why Sophie, the 15 year old Rat Terrier, is still around. She's healthy. One bag is divided between all 3 dogs with a little dog chow too. They are all fat. Not too fat though.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If you have lots of peppers, just stuff 'em.

I have SO many bell peppers. So the other day I made stuffed bell peppers. I haven't done that in years. I cut up onions and the tops of the peppers. Cooked them with hamburger. Cut up some tomatoes. Added that and some corn and cooked rice, salt and pepper. I boiled a pot of water and put the peppers in for about 5 minutes, til soft. Then stuffed them full and added some cheddar cheese and baked. They were so good! I had a red one because I do not like cooked peppers but can handle the red ones.

I went to market today and all I had was bell peppers, sweet banana and hot peppers. And soap. Didn't sell a single pepper. But did sell some soap. So I think I might just stuff a bunch and freeze them. I have several bags of chopped bell peppers already in the freezer so don't need more. Stuffed peppers sound good.

I am in that gardening period where I am waiting on things to grow and it hasn't rained in awhile. My turnip greens are doing great though. And the radishes are too. So I hope to be taking some of those to market in the next week or so. Then I should be getting more green beans and peas soon too. And hopefully cucumbers. I'll wait to plant lettuce as it's still too hot for that yet. And I am waiting on Brussel sprouts to come. I need some bad!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stick a fork in it and call it done!

I am done with hay!!!!! I did 16 more bales this morning before I left for town because it was starting to sprinkle and the tarp wasn't covering them all. Then when I got home I did the last 12 bales. I am officially DONE with hay til next year!!!

Did I mention that I do not like hay? At all. There is nothing fun about hay to me. I read other people's blogs and they say they have such a wonderful time getting in hay. It makes me sick! They obviously have lots of help and it makes it much easier and funner with lots of help.

But it's mostly just me and the hay. And it ain't fun at all. It's hard work, folks. It hurts too. It's like the little tiny hay particles stick in my arms and legs like needles. I bleed. A lot of blood. My arms look like that time I went to the allergy clinic and they stuck me with all those itty bitty needles to see what I was allergic to. One of which was hay. A few others were animals, like goats and dogs and cats and cows. Stuff that I live with.

There have been some fun memories getting hay when the whole family came to help. These are my grand daughters, Coryn, Chloe and Kansas. They were dressed to play in the creek, not get hay, as you can see.

Even my mom came once. She was the supervisor. She worked us hard that day! We had a beautiful field to get hay from up the road. Had a creek we had to cross over. Look at that view of Lookout Mt. Just amazing!

                              The kids and hubby and our daughter Heather playing in the creek.

                              This is our daughter Heather, my mom and youngest daughter Abby.

                                 And the grands chasing the truck full of hay. We almost forgot them.
So it is fun when there is help and lots of family around. But it's hard to get them all together anymore. But I am really thankful that I am able to do this work. And that I live on a farm. And that I have great sheep and wonderful goats and lots of happy chickens. And some pretty happy dogs and cats too. SO I guess hay really isn't that bad after all.

Monday, August 27, 2012

84 bales of hay, firewood and an old truck.

Last night my friend Garry B. called. Said the hay was laying in the field and to come get it. This is a few minutes after my husband left. He's a truck driver. He seems to have to leave at important times like this. I had just told him Garry would probably be calling this week. So hubby put more gas in the truck for me. He's a good hubby. He parks the truck where he parks his big truck, which is just about a mile from where the hay field is. 

Last time I got hay from Garry, he had hay helper guys. I didn't even have to get out of the truck. They had me loaded in about 10 minutes. This morning, there were no hay helper guys. Just me and Garry. He was already loading his trailer but hopped up in my truck to  stack. So I drove and threw hay. 42 bales. 

I took that home and unloaded that truckload. Went back for another load and Garry was not there. He had gotten his trailer full and was unloading at his barn. So I started loading hay. By myself. I got 26 bales loaded when they hay helper guys came to my rescue. Well, they loaded 17 bales. Really nice hay helper guys.

This is most of the hay all over the ground. Some on one side of the fence, some on the other side.

This is how I get the hay to the barn, in the garden wagon. ABout the handiest thing to have around. I can get 3 bales standing straight up. But then I realized I could get 4 bales another way. That made it quicker to haul.

On the right is hay from the spring. About 90 bales I think. I have them stacked in piles of 10. I think I might have between 175-185 bales right now.

This is what's still left outside. I'll have to get it tomorrow. I am tired and sore and my legs and arms hurt! I had a long day.

About half way home with the 2nd load, my friend Nancy called. She was having a tree cut down and wanted to know if I wanted the wood. Well, yeah, I do. So hurried up and got that load unloaded and got more water and headed to her house about a mile away. The tree cutter guys loaded my truck up with some really nice and really BIG White Ash wood. They wouldn't come with me to unload the wood, so had to do all that myself as well.. I did wait til evening to do that. But it was fairly easy as the big huge round ones just rolled off the truck.

But right after the truck got loaded and everyone left, I got in the truck to go home. The truck wouldn't start. It did nothing at all. So I called the husband. He said that's what he was trying to tell me about the other day, that he had to jiggle the gear thingy and turn the key and do that for awhile and it would start. So I did that for awhile and still nothing. He told me to get out and open the hood and jiggle the battery cables. I tried to get that darn hood open but couldn't. I told him good bye, that I was going to call someone to come start this darn truck. I wanted to go home.

SO called my friend Allan from up the road.  He came and got the hood up. I jiggled the battery cables. He got in the truck and started it right up. Yes he did. Do you know how many times this has happened to me? I do all the work, a guy gets in and it starts right up. Or I will pull and pull and pull on a lawn mower or tiller and a guy comes over and looks at it and it starts right up. Makes me mad! Everything mechanical just likes a guy.

So I have had a long day. I took the truck back and on the way home I stopped at Dollar General to get some ice cream. Because I think I deserved some. And it was on sale, 2 for $7.00! Edy's ice cream. My favorite! Mint Chocolate Chip, just the thing after a hard days work. And a good shower to get all that hay off of me and out of places hay shouldn't be.
                               Must be nice to be a cat, right? She looks so comfortable and cool.

But it feels good to have all the hay I'll need for the winter and a good start for firewood out there. Really good day, I must say.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Garden shed "lean to".

Yesterday afternoon, our daughter and our very favorite best son-in-law came over to help finish up the garden shed. SIL brought his handy dandy air nail gun. He did most all the work, and we let him. He's good like that. And we are too. So we got it done in half the time that me and Kenneth did the other side.

 We hung shelves inside and I had one of those kitchen shelves that I had upstairs then outside. Now it's inside the shed to hold all kinds of things. Also, mom gave me a bathroom cabinet to use inside too. We put a shelf outside to hold gas cans. Also hung my handy dandy seeder up out there.

This is the old sink that was in the kitchen when we bought this house. It's been in the back yard all these years, getting rusty. We brought it up front and I cleaned up the sink part. It looks good. I will have to get a wire brush and get as much rust as I can off then spray paint it. I have to decide what color now. Hubby says I should paint it back white. But I like color. I'll have to think on this awhile. But I am SO happy it's done. Well, I have to screw the roof down, then it's done.

I am loving my garden shed. I am SO glad I finally have one. It will sure make gardening a whole lot easier with everything IN the garden now and now way up at the house in the garage or milk room. And I am so thankful for family and friends to help and save me tons of money!! Thank you Abby, Jason, my husband, Tiny, and our good friend Kenneth. If not for these people, I would be broke and it would not be finished! So thank you all again!

Forgot to say that the sink will be used to wash all the garden veggies for market. I'll hang nails on the posts for bags and I'll have everything I'll need right there in the garden now!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Chickens

I have some very happy chickens tonight  I finally got all the big holes in the fences around the chicken yard all plugged up yesterday and clipped all wing feathers last night. So about 5 this afternoon, I opened the coop door and let them out. It took some a little longer to figure out how to get out. But they did. And they were a bunch of happy birds.

They ran around chasing bugs and eating grass like they haven't had any in years. 5 of the newer chickens had never been outside before. And the rest it had been a long time. It was like they didn't know where to go first.

 Here is Mr. Rooney and some of his girls. He'd go find some tasty little morsel and call them all over. He's such a good rooster.

 This is Russell Crowe to the left with some of his girls. He's still young and not into sharing just yet. But he will.

And these little guys are just a few of the Freedom Ranger chicks. At 4 weeks old, they are quite big. They have been outside a week now in a fenced in area. Today I put up netting along the wooden fence where they can't go through into the back goat lot. I let them out this morning and they didn't know how to act. A few went out, then they'd run back in. They finally figured it out and had a good day eating bugs and grass too. When it got close to dark, they were ready for their dinner and all followed me back to their pen and ate. They are growing fast.

So today was a good day for the chickens here at Outback Farm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Milking Adabelle

I milked Adabelle tonight. I had milked her a little right after she had her kids. She had never been milked before. She just stood still then. Tonight she did not! She's a kicker! But I held onto the milk pail and she never got her foot in it! I had to milk with one hand but got it done. I think she'll make a great milk goat. She has a great compact udder with nice teats. I got about 2 1/2 cups. I can't wait to try again in the morning. If she works out, I may see if I can just buy her back. They are never going to milk her. They really need brush goats anyway. Or sheep.

Now I am off to cut wing feathers off all my chickens so I can let them out of their coop for awhile in the evenings. I worked on putting netting and chicken wire on all the fence with hole big enough for them to get through. There have been 4 hens getting out the past few days. They go back in the coop at night though. And I saw one already over in the other garden. So off with their wings! Well, feathers anyway.


This is Adabelle. She was born here about 4 years ago to my doe Ocho. I sold her to some friends up the road. She just had twin bucks the beginning of June. Her first ever kids. I think they might be John Henry's or could possibly have been Tom Dooley's. She has elf ears and so do the kids. So who knows. Both the bucks were up there with her and another doe.

So the kids are old enough to be weaned and they were not going to milk her. And I need more milk. SO I asked if I could keep her here and milk her and the boys could be weaned away from their momma. He said yes. So I went this morning to get her. Abby and Sandy apparently don't remember her so I am keeping her in a separate lot next to the does til they get used to each other.

And while she's here she might as well be bred back again. So I'll put her back in with John Henry and put Zarah in there too. Sounds like a plan to me. I just hope now that she will keep producing milk. She should be quite full by this evening milking time. She looks good for having had twin bucks still nursing her.

SO I have added 2 more goats to the farm.Lots going on right now. And breeding will start next month.

There's a new buck in town

This is my new Boer buck, Lil Red. I went last night to look at some bucks at a farm over in Lafayette. This guy has a lot of goats. Nubians and Boers and some crosses. I settled on this little cutie. He's just 5 months old but already doing the bucky thing. He's really stocky and has the little Boer head but the thick nose and neck and really meaty. I decided to get a Boer buck to use with Sandy my Nubian who always has bucks. SO I thought I'd just breed for a meatier kid and either sell them or use them for us. I'll put Sandy and Penelope in with him next month. He's a cutie.

I had to move him and John Henry up front because the girls were all teasing them. Poor guys. And they are starting to really stink. Like bucks. This way the back yard can rest a few weeks and grow some more.

Is anyone else thinking about breeding these days? What is going on at your farms?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sheep Shelters

               Working for sheep sure is hard! But they need some shelters so it has to be done.

My friend Kenneth came today to help me put up the sheep shelter for the ewes in the South pasture. It's added to my new garden shed. It's 8x12 so they should have enough room to get under in a down pour. Later I will add sides to it. But right now I just wanted to get the metal roof on it.

 Kenneth is very easy to work with. He's a lot like me and works til it's done. No need to take breaks. Just get 'er done! I like that. We work well together. All we need to do now is screw the roof on. We were right in the sun the last part of the day. This took 5 1/2 hours! He'll be back tomorrow to finish the roof. But it looks good so far. I am so thankful for good friends. And he's saving me $15.00 an hour!

I did this one all by myself last week. I had some pallets that I got for free from the pallet shop in town. And I had a sheet of the outdoor siding we had used for a pig shelter a few years back. And I grabbed several boards that I nailed across the top. And my friend at the hardware store gave me some tarps he was going to throw away for the roof. And when it starts getting cold, I can put plastic around the outside and another pallet in the front. So all free and used material for a pretty good and sturdy shelter for the 3 ram boys. I put them up front in that pasture for now til I can figure out the breeding arrangements in a few weeks. I'll be playing musical sheep and goats. Sounds like fun, right?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And They're Out!

These chicks have grown so fast. They went through 1 50lb bag of chick starter in 2 weeks. I bought another bag last week. I had to get another today. So they had to go outside and eat for free! They have more than doubled in size and it was so hot in their brooder boxes.

They are 3 weeks old now.

So I added more fence to the little area I had for the other meat birds. They will have plenty of room in here til they get a little bit bigger, then they can go out into the whole yard.  But so far I am well pleased with their progress

This is one of the wooden boxes we used for their brooder. It's big and very heavy. As I was pulling it down the staird I fell right smack on my rear. That hurt. But I got it in there and they can get in it if it rains. I'll try to get the other box out there too.

                                            They are such good chicks. I really am liking them.

Getting Away

These are pictures from my mini vacation. I don't get to go away very often so when I find someone to take care of all my animals, I'm outta here! And fast!

So I headed up towards the Smokey Mts. This is the beginning of the Ocoee River where a lot of white water rafting and canooing goes on. And there was some Olympics here back in the '90's. Beautiful river.

Here are some rafters trying to get into this little place. They were all lined up waiting their turn. it must of been fun.


 I was supposed to get to Murphy, NC and get to Cherokee from there, but made a wrong turn right about here.

And ended up going down all these little country 2 lane roads. It went for miles and miles. I saw names like this, Hanging Dog Community. Kinda didn't want to stop there. So kept going. This is what happens when ya don't have a map or GPS. I didn't have either. Quite fun actually.

I saw some beautiful scenery the whole way.

Then there was a fork in the road. This old country store and an outhouse were on one side. That's when I called my husband, the truck driver with a map. He said I was lost. Ya reckon?

So I went ahead and turned left and saw some tree worker guys. I stopped and asked where the heck was I anyway? He said everyone who had stopped was lost that day. He asked where I was going and I said Cherokee. He said I had gone about 2 hours out of my way and wasted all that time. But if I keep going I'll end up in Murphy. Where I had just been.

But as I was leaving I thought, no, I did not just waste a few hours. I had 2 whole days and i didn't really have any plans. I would not have seen all this beautiful country if I hadn't gotten lost.
I got to this beautiful lake and then the Hiwassee Dam. That was amazing! And then I realized how many miles I had come around this huge lake. It's over 6ooo acres. That's a lot of water.

And then when I got back headed in the right direction, I came across this river, the Nantahala. I had to stop and put my feet in the water. It was freezing! But oh so nice and peaceful.

So here I go again, headed to Cherokee, NC. On the way I thought it would be so nice to find a cabin on a creek or river with a porch over the creek with a rocking chair. So I stopped at the visitor senter and told the lady there and she gave me the numbers of a few places. Panther Creek Lodge and Cabins sounded so neat and it was heading toward Maggie Valley, where I would be going the next day. SO I went to see them.
 And this is what I found. THE most perfect little cabin a few feet from the most beautiful little creek ever! AND with a porch right over the creek! AND with 2 rocking chairs! It was amazing. And I called and the lady gave me the code for the key to the front door and I went in and I was so happy I found this place.

 Here is the creek. It was so loud and full of water.

                                   Isn't that perfect?

 And this is a place where years ago when we would take the kids up to Cherokee to camp, we would eat here. It's still here! So the next morning I ate pancakes there. So cool.

And I went to the Biltmore Estate On Tuesday. I so wish I had had more time. That place is so beautiful and so big. I had lunch there and it was so good. I had a great time there. Went to the winery too. They also have a farm I wish I could have went to. But had to get home.

This is the sunset on the way home. It was awesome! I have never seen a more beautiful sunset ever. It just kept on getting more beautiful too.

It was so nice to get away and I needed it so much. But there's no place like home.