Sunday, June 30, 2013

Burst blood vessel

In my left eye. It's scary to see. I scare myself! It looks like an evil demon in scary movies with the horrible red glaring eyes. Hideous. Just hideous! I have to wear my sunglasses all the time so no one will see it.

It happened yesterday afternoon sometime. I have no idea why or where or how it happened. I mowed the sheep pasture and it was bumpy and I was under lots of tree branches. I thought at first I might have gotten a branch in my eye. But I think I would have remembered that. My left eye has been bothering me the past several days. I thought it was just allergies again. But then this.

So today, we went to my mom's for lunch. And she said I needed to go to the urgent care clinic up the road and have it looked at.  She went with me. I couldn't even let her look, it's so hideous. But the doctor said it was a burst blood vessel. And she gave me a prescription for eye drops. I was glad to get them. She also said it would be like this, hideous, for at least a week, maybe more. She said to not be lifting anything heavy for at least a week. Really? That's about all I do around here is lift heavy stuff. I am still hauling 5 gallon buckets of water to places where the hose won't reach. 50 pound sacks of feed too. And now I am going to be starting the butchering of many many meat chickens. Although they aren't really heavy, there's a lot of bending.

My blood pressure was 150/90 too. NOT good. I have got to lose weight. So starting tomorrow, July 1st, I am not eating any more sweets. And I LOVE all kinds of sweets. But I have done this before. So I can again. Me and my mom are going to Colorado the middle of August, so I have 6 weeks to see how much I can lose. I would love to wear a pretty long summer dress. And not look like a big fat old woman in a mumu. And some nice capris and shirts.

I just hate it when things like this happen. I am always getting hurt around here. Getting cut or scraped on something. Stepping on nails. Cutting fingers with knives. I don't like getting hurt at all. It messes me up and slows me down. And I don't like slow. But sometimes things happen for a reason. And I just have to go with it. But this is the most hideous thing ever.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Counting sheep

I am constantly counting my sheep. When I leave, when I come home, in the mornings, in the evenings.I just need to know they are all here. And together. Sometimes there might be 1 or 2 off by themselves, under a tree or in the barn. I go check on them to make sure they are ok. And I am listening to the sound of their bleats too. I can tell a distress call or a lamb wanting it's mother. Or a sheep's head stuck in a fence. Or even if a lamb has gotten out somehow. That's a frantic call for help! But a shepherd needs to know all these different calls and cries. So I am constantly checking on them during the day.

So far, they are all healthy and doing well. I am rotating pastures about every 3 weeks now. And mowing the pasture they just left a few days after. Plus I have 2 chicken tractors full of meat birds that are in their pasture, moving them all over, eating the sheep poop. That will help a lot. I have not had to worm them since they all had their lambs.

Speaking of lambs, they are all so big now. Even little Buttercup that was born a month ago, is growing so fast. And she's so sweet. But my little Bonnie Belle is still the sweetest of them all. She still comes to me and lets me pet her and love on her. She's just the sweetest little lamb.

I have 17 sheep now.  8 grown ewes, 8 lambs and a ram. I'll be taking the 3 wethered ram lambs to the butcher in the fall. They are growing really fast. I am curious to see if these will be bigger than the rams I had butchered last fall that weren't castrated. Those 2 were mostly hair sheep. 2 of this year's lambs are wool and one is hair. I'll see which are more meatier too. I castrated these guys so they could stay with the flock because I really don't have all that much room to keep rams separated. And they are all happy this way. Together, as sheep should be.

They are not getting any grain or hay right now, since there is so much grass for them to eat. Almost too much actually. But I am giving them kelp and minerals from the sea. I love how it all smells. Just like the ocean. And they love this stuff. I feel like it is making them much more healthy and is keeping their red blood cell count higher. And I was so pleased to see, after the last 2 ewes were sheared last week, the overall condition of their bodies. I was a little bit worried they might be a bit skinny under all that wool.  But they weren't! So, I am happy to see healthy, happy sheep at this time of year. Hopefully, this will carry into the fall and winter. I hope to be getting 2nd cut hay soon too. I'll be getting a better quality hay for them for winter.

And that's all for now. Just a little update on my sheep here at Outback Farm.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A flock of females

This is most of my family. My sister and her 3 girls and 2 grand daughters. My oldest daughter and her 3 daughters. Plus me. There were 11 females in my house for 7 days. My husband was home for 3 of those days. He didn't stand a chance for anything. I think he was glad to get back in his big truck and leave.

My sister and all her kids and my brother were all here for my step dad's memorial this past Sunday. My brother's son and daughter and their 2 kids couldn't be here. We missed them.

It was crowded in the house. And very loud at times. And there were a few scuffles and stuff. But when you get that many females together, there is always some drama. And lots of eating out. And lots of shopping. And talking late into the night. And teenagers  going in and out all night. And little kids going in and out all day. It was fun. But I am glad to get my house back again. And me and my mom will go to Col. to see everyone again in August.

My oldest niece brought her little dog Alicia with her. Bubba didn't like it one bit. It took about 5 days before they could actually tolerate each other. She was a little dog, but she wasn't afraid of anything.

                                                                       Silly people!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Makin' butter

This is my little niece Aubree. She was here with her momma Emilee and her sister, Taylor. Aubree just loved this little butter churn. So she was pretending to make butter.

She really had a good time while she was here.

She just loved Bubba and Stella. (And her Gigi loves Bubba. She wants to take him home with her.) They let her roll all over them. I hope they get to come back soon.

Sour pickles

I have done this before and I love them. The recipe is in Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

You just take fresh cucumbers, garlic, dill seeds, grape leaves, and salted water. Put the grape leaves, garlic and dill seeds in the bottom of a crock or bucket, or like I do, a glass jar. Then add the washed cucumbers with the ends cut off.

Add the brine, cover with a cloth and let sit in a cool place several days, tasting and checking for mold on top. Keep cucumbers covered with the brine. These are amazingly good. My whole family loves them. I hope you all try this.

 I will be making sour kraut soon too. And some beet kvass when my beets are ready.

Is anyone else doing any fermenting?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taylor, the goat cleaner

This is Taylor, my great niece. She's a little city slicker. She's here visiting with her mother, sister, GiGi and aunts. She loves to help with the animals in the mornings. This morning, she helped feed the goats. Then she wanted to wash their udders for me before I milked them. She was trying to decide who to wash first.

                                                            She chose Penelope first.

                                                          Then Zarah. She did not like this at all.

Then Sandy. Look, they have the same hair color! And apparently, Taylor thought Sandy was filthy, because she kept washing her "who-haws" over and over.

She finally said Sandy was clean enough to go back outside with the others.But just one more little spot right there.

Then she wanted to wash the little kids. They wanted nothing to do with that.

Taylor was a great little helper this morning. She also helped feed the chickens. I like little helpers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hens and chicks and baby goats

I got these hens and chicks a few years ago. And I found the hen planter to put them in at a little nursery in Tn. I didn't know if these were going to make it. Then they started to get green. Then I noticed these really pretty flowers. I love them.

I don't know if you can see it, but there is a volunteer tomato plant growing in this planter in my front window. It has flowers on it.

And this is Mariah's jaw. For those with goats, does this look like bottle jaw to you? I think it is. I have given  her Cydectin the first day, then Ivermectin, then Dectomax. And it's still there, just like this. So maybe she just has a double chin? She's half Nubian and half Boer. The other 2 don't have this.

The 3 girls together.They are so sweet. But very wild. Sandy's kids always are. Until they get older. I will probably keep these girls.

And I had a call this morning from a newspaper reporter. She wants to come out Thursday to do a little story on my farm. My friend up the road gave her my #. So she will come and do a story about the animals and soap and other things.

Also put an ad on CL for the LaMancha goats and had a call on them. She's going to come this evening to look at them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Who needs a mop...

when you have 2 dogs who love goat milk?

Happy dogs!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Shearing the last 2 sheep

Finally got Amarillo and Adelaide sheared this afternoon. Poor girls have been miserable in this heat with those thick wool coats on. Now they are nice and cool and much lighter.

This is Amarillo. She was first up. She did great for her first time. But when he tried to get around her neck, she took off running!

So now she looks kind of wonky, but she doesn't care one bit. She's a happy ewe.

And Adelaide. She's such a sweet ewe. I love her. She was great. Never whined or complained at all. But I will not be able to use her wool. It was so matted and felted. I am going to look into getting coats for her and Amarillo. Their wool is just too nice to waste it.

We got the halter on her to get her neck. But the poor little guy that came with them got a little ride. She jumped up in the air and did a few turns, but for a city kid, he hung on for dear life! I hope he didn't sprain his wrist. These sheep. I just never know what they'll do. I was trying to trim Fionna and Leelah's hooves and they about went crazy trying to get away. But I hung on. It wore me plum out though!

Doesn't she look pretty? He coat is really wavy. And I don't think either of them are pregnant. Which is fine. We will wait til fall then. It's too hot right now to have lambs. And I don't think Abraham is too interested anyway.

Here's Adelaide, hiding behind the post. She looks a bit embarrassed, don't you think?

I am so glad we got them done. I am going to have to invest in some good shears now. I have the stand, which they used. I am so glad they used it and not sat them on their rears. I don't like that. And after reading someone's blog this week about her shearing horror story, I would never put my sheep through that again. Anything could go wrong. And I have sheared sheep before. I just need to get the shears next time some money comes in. I don't really like having to depend on other people to do things for me, when I can do it myself. And I think they will all be ready for another shearing in the fall.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What am I going to do now?

Guess what woke me up this morning?

Let me say, that in all the years I have had dogs, I have never had this happen. And I am 55. And I have lived in the country most of those 55 years. But I have never had this happen. It's probably come close a few more times than I'd like. But never like this. And it's really something you just cannot describe unless you're just right there.

So this morning, I wake up to the most awful, horrid smell. My daughter gets up around 5 am to get ready for work and usually makes something for breakfast. So I thought it must have been her in the kitchen and something had gone terribly wrong. I mean, it smelled like someone was roasting the most rotten onions and garlic. But even worse than that.

So I got up and Stella walked past me soaking wet. It brushed my legs. Then heather said it wasn't her fault, that she didn't know the gate was open when she let them out. And they came in smelling like that. But when I went outside, it didn't smell like that. My kitchen does. And after not even a whole day of Stella being so nice and clean and shiny.

Apparently, they got in a fight with a skunk. And of course the skunk won this one. It's not so much Stella. But Bubba must have been the instigator because he will never be coming back in this house again! I have no idea what to do with him now. He is disgusting. And I think the skunk is under my house near the kitchen. And it could be either hurt really bad or dead. Or not.

So what's a girl supposed to do? Why, cook up some good bacon and make a bacon and fresh ripe tomato sandwich on sourdough bread, of course! I seem to not have any good smelling candles on hand. I will be making some though, when I am done. So now the house smells pretty much like bacon. And who wouldn't want their house to smell like bacon? I bought a few tomatoes at the market yesterday and looked all over for bacon, but they were all sold out. So went to Whole Foods and got some. This is my all time favorite sandwich. And I wait a long time for "real" tomatoes just for this sandwich. I feel a little better. But still, have no idea what to do with Bubba. Stella is pretty much ok I think. But after her nice spa day, it kind of makes me sick.

Any advice for a dog with really thick fur to get the stench out? I asked the shearer guy if he could shave Bubba when he comes tomorrow. I'll check and see if he can. But maybe not now.

And I have a house full of company coming up from Colorado tomorrow for a week. 6 extra people. Staying here. UGH!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Before and after

 This is dirty Stella when I was taking her to my friend Jennie's for a shampoo and set. She was SO dirty and stinky and full of fleas. She didn't look too happy to be leaving home.

And here she is on the way home. She looks a lot happier now. She is SO clean. And all the white is shiny white. Even her feet are white and shiny. Her nails were trimmed. And her tail and rear and ever her ears. She's so clean I don't ever want her to go outside again. She looks like a city dog now. I got some Front line flea oil to put on her tomorrow.

And the bunnies are back out in their bunny tractor. I put some hard plastic pieces at the bottom of the door and screwed the door shut tight. I put them out before we left and when we got home, they were still in! And I cleaned the crate real good and put a clean blanket inside for Stella.

When we got home, Bubba nearly jumped her. I was afraid he wouldn't recognize her all pretty and cleaned up and smelling good. But he did eventually. I am going to see if the sheep shearer guy will trim Bubba because his fur is so thick and he's shedding like crazy all over the house. If he will, I'll give him a good washing and put the flea oil on him too.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bad wabbits!

Oh, these rabbits! I don't know how many times I have had to chase these 2 girls. All over the yard. Kansas has even had to go up under the porch to get one. And she didn't want to. But she let them out that time.

This morning, that was the farthest thing from my mind, to catch rabbits. Again. But this time, when I went outside to feed everyone, I saw white out in the garden. 2 white things. So I knew it was those 2 bad wabbits right away. It took about 30 minutes, but I got 'em. Had to get a piece of fence and corral them. Of course, one got back out through the field fence. I put that one inside in Stella's crate.

The other one took a little bit more persuading. I finally got her into a corner where the chicken tractor was, with the black fence around her. So got her and brought her in with her sister.

And I am wringing wet with sweat. I have no idea what I will do with them now. Somehow, they are getting out of the tractor. I'll have to fix it before they go back in. Or else just get a regular rabbit cage. I hate to do that, because that means more money for feed. So I'll just try to figure out how they keep getting out and plug it up. These rabbits are very smart.

And they were eating my bean plants. Bad wabbits!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The girls

These are 3 of the 4 milk does I have now. One is dry at the time, so she doesn't come in the milk room.

This is Sandy. She's mostly Nubian with a little Togg. thrown in. I've had her since she was a few days old. And she's 7 now. She just had triplet doe kids a month ago, so I am not milking her yet. The kids are old enough to be put up at night so I could milk Sandy in the mornings, but I haven't done that yet. She's a great milker, with really nice big udders and great teats. She likes to kick when we first start back with milking, but then she settles down after a week or so. I have to have really quick reflexes to get the bucket out of the way before a foot gets in it or she kicks it. Which has happened a few times.

This is Zarah. She's just turned 3 and is a first freshener. She had twins a buck and a doe. The doe kid will be moving to Atlanta tomorrow, so I hope to take the buck kid up the road to a friends for awhile. Then I will be milking Zarah twice a day. She has really small teats, which makes it hard to hand milk. So I bought a Maggiedan hand milker for her. Much easier!

I do hope to sell all my LaMancha goats. I have Zarah and Zeeboo, who is a black and tan 4 year old doe. And Zarah's buck kid, who is 3 1/2 months old. The John Henry, the older buck, who is the sire to Ella and Ira. He's 3 years old. I want to go with Nubian does and a Boer buck for a more meatier goat.

And this is Penelope Jane. She is part Nubian and Lamancha. And naturally polled. She had twin doe kids her first time back in Feb. and one had horns and the other didn't. I like that, because I do disbud all my kids. For a first freshener, this doe has  a HUGE udder and great big teats! I am very pleased with her. I was getting nearly a gallon a day at her peak and now we're down to a little over a half gallon, 4 months later. Not too bad for a first freshener. And she is so easy to milk too. She's only kicked the bucket one time.

And this is what the dogs do. This is Bubba. Stella is still inside or she'd be right there too. I squirt milk for them. And he's waiting for more. I'll be making some farmer's cheese, which is a soft cheese. I make Sandor Katz's recipe from Wild Fermentation. SO easy to make. And even my daughter likes this cheese. Add lots of raosted garlic and herbs and it's amazing.

So if anyone needs some good LaMancha dairy goats, let me know.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Around the farm this morning.

They are finally mowing and baling hay all around my farm! I was so happy to see this. And it smells SO good. I love the smell of hay, but sure do hate loading it. And unloading it. And stacking it. My least favorite job to have to do. But it sure is pretty and I sure am happy when I have a barn full. I am still waiting for the 2nd cutting of hay. I hope it'll be a good one.

Just one of the elderberry bushes around my farm. Full of flowers. And since the birds always get the berries before I do, I am going to get all the flower clusters and make jelly and a drink that I found a recipe for last year. It's like an fermented elderberry lemonade. It was so good, I just have to make more. But I do want to make jelly for the market. Which, by the way, several people came to my booth today because i do have unusual jellies.

What the heck is this? It is so yellow. I saw it from way down here at the house this morning. And it's way at the top of the goat yard. Far away. It's so bright and yellow. On an old tree stump.

And I think this is lichen maybe? Not sure. But it's beautiful. On an old tree root out back. So pretty too.

Just a few of the Cornish Cross meat birds. I just noticed this morning, that I will probably be butchering some of them soon. They are growing like weeds. I have been giving them the fermented grains since they stopped getting the starter-grower about a month ago. And they do free range. I only feed them in the morning and again in the evening. They are on their own the rest of the time. And doing great. The Freedom Rangers are a bit slower. And they're in the chicken tractor. I may just let them out soon. I'm moving them twice a day.

Hope all is well with you all. And that you have a great Sunday with family and friends.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bob and Joe's new home

I went up to feed Bob and Joe tonight and brought my camera this time. I love it over there. It's at the foot of Lookout Mt. and just acres and acres of the most beautiful land. So much to see there. Every which way you look. And this is a very old homestead. There are 4 old barns and a really old house all built in the 1800's. And all still standing and in pretty good shape.

                 This is the old corn crib. They get the right side for their little house. Really nice too.

Here you can see the other old barn to the right and their shelter to the left. Up past that little camper is the old homestead to the left.

                                                    In a few weeks, this will be all brown dirt.

                                                This is the biggest barn. I just love old barns.

This barn is where the electric is. Allen ran 2 strand of electric fence wire and it goes to the other side of their shelter. They have plenty of room and grass to munch on. I brought them a bag of scraps and they acted like they really didn't need it. But they ate it anyway, just to make me happy.

You can see Lookout Mt in this picture, to the left. And that is the biggest hay field from here to the mountain. I know, because I have gotten hay from here before. Hundreds of acres.

Here is the old corn crib again. Allen plans on later letting the pigs up in those woods behind this barn. There's lots of oak trees in there full of acorns in the fall. Just right for finishing off hogs.

So I do believe the boys will be happy here. I wouldn't mind living here myself.