Monday, September 30, 2013

Picking muskadines. And cows.

This morning, my friend Stephanie called, wanting to know if I wanted more muskadines. Well, yeah huh! So she stopped by and got me and my big bucked and we went a few miles up the road to the Clark's. I just love this valley. Everywhere I go is a more beautiful view. They have some Black Angus cattle so have lots of acreage. They cut hay off the front part. And in the back too. You can see Lookout Mt. there over the tree line.

Mr. Clark had gotten this old hay thing from someone who was going to scrap it because a part didn't work and he said it couldn't be fixed. Well, Mr. Clark fixed it. I love this thing.

And he had so many deer antlers on this side of his barn, I had to get some pictures of them. He had 3 sets somewhere in the middle that were upside down. Those were from a pet deer he used to have that shed them. Each set is unique and so cool.

                                                The cows had to come say hello.

                                                 This one is huge and her head is really long.

 Isn't she cute? And they are all so friendly too. There are about 6 calves here I think. I asked if they ever sold them to individuals instead of taking them to the sale barn. They said yes they did. SO I have my name in for one when they are weaned. I've been wanting another calf to raise on grass. We are about out. The little one with the spots in it's head is a lighter blackish-brown color. If it's a steer, I'd like that one.

Here is the muskadine vine. It's is only one vine. It's full of fruit too. They've been picking on them for a month now. And I got those 2 gallons the other day from Stephanie to make jelly. Then I picked about 2 1/2 gallons this morning. And scupernongs are the same as muskadines. And they do grow all over the US.

Here's Mr. Clark up on the roof of his tractor picking apples for Stephanie. I have some so didn't need any. Next week, we will all go to a friend's place who has an old apple cider press and make cider. I need to pick all my Yates and granny Smith apples this week.

Right now, I am cooking down a bucket of Yates apples to make apple butter. I'll post pictures next time. These will go to market to sell. I am waiting on a frost so I can pick persimmons next to jelly. Yum! And I will save all the peels to make apple jelly too. And maybe try to make some apple cider vinegar.

What are ya'll making into jellies and preserves and butters? It's that time of year, right?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lovin' my chickens...

 I am just loving my chickens right now. For the moment anyway. Things can change really fast for me around here! Ya just never know when the s*** will fly. But right now, I am really enjoying these girls. And Black Bart. He still hasn't figured out he's "the man" yet. Hopefully he'll be crowing soon and the ladies will respect him. They pick on the poor guy now.

So this is most of my flock. All together and pretty much getting along. They have plenty of room to spread out or run if they need to. So far so good.

This is one of the "Peaches". A Red Star hen. I have 8 of these. And 6 White Leghorn, 7 Barred Rock, 9 Black Sex Link, 2 Black Austrolourpe and 2 Black Giants. And Black Bart is a Black Giant rooster. That should be 34 hens and a roo.

This is one of the 2 Austrolourpe pullets. These 4 are a lot younger than all the others. And smaller. They hang out with Black Bart. But I thought she looked so pretty here in the straw.

And would ya just look at this! I had seen some of the white hens over here in the corner where the bee hive was. Singing their egg laying song and just hanging out. I didn't think anything about it. But haven't been getting but 1 or 2 white eggs a day now. Thought they had stopped laying. Til I found this, behind the bee boards I hadn't put up yet. I know, I am lazy. They can't be but a few days old, so I'll keep these for us. I put the boards back the way they were and see if they keep laying there. Crazy birds! But good to know they are still laying. I was getting worried already.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alpaca update

I am getting those 2 alpacas. They'll be gelded at the end of next week (which I will be paying for and that's fine with me, considering how much she sells hers for) and she will deliver them after that. I went yesterday to see them. I said if any of them spit on me I was not going to get them. But they didn't. And they are so cute. Every single one of them is  so different. There are 2 kinds of alpaca: Suri and Huacuna . I know that's not how you spell the last one, but it's pronounced "why"acuna. That's the kind I'll be getting. But the Suri fiber is amazing. It's more silky and hangs in like threads down to the ground. So pretty.

I'm getting a white male that's between 2-4 years old. She has to look up on his papers. His name is Loki. He's so cute. And a bit smaller than the other one. He's red. And big. His name is Baryshnikov. And he is a kicker, she said. But not bad. I do not like the names. So will be giving them new names. I think the red one is about the same age.

As I was driving up her driveway, there were about 25 alpacas in the pasture. Some standing, some laying in the sun. I rolled my window down and said hello to them. Only a few even looked at me. Some were close and I could see their funny teeth. It's just so neat how each one looks so totally different. Some have fluffy heads. Some have straight hair on their heads. Some are spikey. Just so cool.

Anyway, I am SO excited to be getting these 2 guys! I'll keep them in the front pasture and will be slowly introducing them to the sheep. They are in the other pasture on the other side of the property and come back over at night and to eat. So they will see each other. I hope they all get along.

I'll post pictures when they get here. They're so pretty.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

New hens and nesters.

 Chickens are hilarious! I just spent a few hours this morning cleaning out the sheep shelters and putting up a new chickens nester. I put this one up in the next stall. The coop is to the right. I had this old wire nester out back in the goat barn, so got it cleaned out and brought it up here. I have 34 hens now, so thought I might need a few more nest boxes. But do I really?

The white hen jumped right up and started getting her nest all nice and fluffed up.

Then this other white hen jumped up and decided this was a great nest box so she got in too. They love each other so much they have to lay eggs together. Silly chickens!

Even over here in the coop. Togetherness is the key. Why mess up a whole other nest box, right?

These are the new girls. I picked them up after the market last night. One of the other vendors went to a 4H auction last weekend and got these for me. They are Black Sex Link and 3 of them look like Black Austrolourpe. 3 of them have had their beaks clipped. I hate that! Why? But they all look good. One has a crooked foot but seems fine.

They will stay in this tractor a few days til they all get to know one another. Then I'll let them out after I put the others back in. Then eventually they all need to go in the big coop. Right now, the 4 black hens and Black Bart the rooster, still go in their little chicken tractor at night and the others go in the coop. I'll just have to take that one away and get the black ones to go in the coop.

Some of the others coming to say hello. Black Bart was doing his thing earlier. Introducing himself to them. It was kind of cute.

So now I have 34 hens and a rooster. And he has not crowed yet. He's about 5 months old I think. When will he start crowing? I really miss that. He's a handsome boy too. So hopefully I'll start getting more eggs. There were a lot of hens in several nesters awhile ago.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The past 2 days I have had my booth set up down at the community center for this re-enactment. It was totally not what I was expecting at all. It was a little disappointing for me. Not near the traffic or throngs of people I was thinking would be here. But most of the traffic was routed down Hog Jowl Rd to the East of us, over the ridge. And we had signs up too. Anyway, it was fun and I did sell a lot of soap.

So I was next to an alpaca person. Her name is Susan Darling and she had My Little Darling's Alpaca farm. She sells alpaca wool and also knitted  and felted items. She also has her spinning wheel with her. Anyway, we talked the whole time we were there. I have met her before so had talked to her before this a few times. She has about 60 alpacas right now. She had taken in 10 from a couple who had to give them up due to health reasons. She can't seem to find people to sell them to so is going to give them up to a rescue group in a few weeks. She has a vet coming to castrate all the males.

As we were talking about this, I asked her if she was just giving them away. She said she would give me 2 of them if I wanted them. I have NEVER wanted an alpaca. Ever. Nor a llama. Nor a donkey. Always said I would never have any of these animals. They scare me. And llamas and alpacas are ugly. And they spit! BUT their wool is amazing! I love alpaca wool.

SO, I have about 1 1/2 weeks to think about it and make up my mind. I told my husband and asked him what he thought about it. He really could care less, as long as it's not pigs. So I will go to her farm this week and look at them. If they spit at me I will not get them. If not, I will consider it. I would love a brown one. I think the 2 she said I could have are white and a tan color.

Does anyone have alpacas? What do you think about them? I would love to hear more about them. And there are 2 different kinds. She did say the Suri's she has are a bit high-strung, so I know I don't need them. Big decision for me. I also need to buy a hair ram and a Boer buck in the next few weeks too.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Help for a fellow blogger

I have been reading this blog for some time now. She had her 11th baby a few weeks ago very premature. They are at Vanderbilt in Nashville. I just feel like I need to share this with you all. She needs all the help she can get right now. Please help if you can or just pray for them. I'm sure it's all appreciated.

Beautiful morning here in the cove.

 What a beautiful morning! The sky was just amazing.

This leaf has been hanging from this web for days now. Finally got the camera and took lots of pictures. This one looks like a sea horse floating on a boat. So pretty with the clouds behind it.

The sunrise was awesome. Again. I just love the view across the road. Can you see the horses over to the right in front of that little tree?

                                                                  Just beautiful!

I saw Stella looking in while the sheep were munching on some old bread. I thought she just wanted to come say hello to the sheep...

But her and Bubba had something else they wanted. They love bread too! Leelah came to check them out. She was stomping her feet too.

And here's Sandy, the pig goat. This is so funny. Here she is, munching away at this hard roll I gave here, with Zarah and Zeeboo head butting. And she doesn't even notice. I do believe I have a few goats in heat. But I am waiting til next month. No more early kids for me.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

150th Civil War re-enactment Sept. 21st and 22nd.

It's already starting. The trucks and trailers full of horses and wagons and cannons and who knows what else. Going to the end of my road to Mountain Cove Farm for the 150th Civil War re-enactment this weekend. It's a little exciting now. I was really dreading this whole thing.  I don't like traffic and lots of people. I'm usually the last one driving on my road on the way home, way out here in the middle of no where. But already, I am seeing a lot of traffic. Especially in the mornings, with work trucks and ice trucks and dump trucks.

It's quiet right now.

But soon, this little lane will be bumper to bumper with cars and buses and campers.

Just over this little hill is where it will all happen...

Can you just imagine these hundreds of acres filled with thousands of people and horses? Tents and campfires? Soldiers all over the fields? I  don't know. It's just amazing that all this will be happening way out here in just a few days. Just amazing!

Our little community center , just about 1/4 mile from me, will be a country store. We will have lots of people selling a variety of goodies there. I'll be selling soap and jelly and preserves. And a few other things too. I am excited about that. 2 long days and lots of people.

Y'all think about us way out here. And if anyone is coming, stop by the community center and say hello. I'd love to see you there! Or stop by the farm on the way.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

This is how we do it 'round here...

These 2 guys are amazing! This past Sunday, my mother and I were at Baskin Robbins, eating some ice cream. The store is to the left of this picture. This parking lot faces 2 ways. One toward the shops and the other toward the road. This white truck is facing the road.

So we're sitting in the store. I look out the window and see a green truck backing up. Then I see this white truck moving. The green truck just hit the white truck. Well, the driver pulled up and was going to leave, but looked right at me looking right at him. So he pulls up and the passenger gets out and runs across the lot to look at the white truck. He goes back to  the green truck and they start leaving.  It all happened so fast. So when the trucks hit, I asked the girls working if it was their truck. One of the girls looks and about that time, her boyfriend and his friend were coming in the door. She hollers at them to go look at the truck, that it just got hit and the people were leaving.

So the guys ran out the door, across the lot to look at the truck, ran across the other way to their truck. And I saw them flying after the green truck, that was at the road, leaving! These boys followed the guys to their house! They lost them a few times but found them again. They called the cops on the way and told them what happened. They waited at the end of the guys driveway til the police got there.

So the men live in Walker Co. The hit and run is in Catoosa Co. So we waited for a police officer to get there. By the way, the truck is owned by the owners of the Chinese rest. next door to BR. They had called the police too. So he gets there. And since it's on private property, they would normally just do a report and give each person a paper to fill out with each other's info. But since this was a hit and run, IF the driver has any record, like suspended licence or anything, they will arrest them. But they would have to come back to this county. So, a little while later, we see the green truck coming into the parking lot with some police cars. You can see the green truck in the back. And see all the police cars here? Not much happens in Ft. Oglethorpe.

They all get out. Next thing we see is a cop handcuffing the driver. He gets put into the 1st officers car. They also handcuffed the passenger. We don't know why. But we did hear the driver had a suspended licence. Plus he hit the truck and left. He could have other things they found too.

But the whole point to this is, I am just so impressed with these 2 teenagers here! They just went above and beyond what anyone else would have done in a situation like this, I think. Jacob, on the left, is the driver. He wants to be a police officer some day. I think we really need a guy like this. He did so good. And did it all right too. His friend, Aaron, was the caller. They both were awesome! Really makes me think differently about teens now.

It never pays to do anything wrong. Someone is watching and will found out! I don't know how this would have turned out if the green truck driver had gone in to find out who's truck he just hit and tried to do something then. But he probably didn't have insurance either. If my insurance ran out or my licence expired, I'd be the first person to get pulled over.

Just wanted to let people know, there are good kids around! pat some on the back for me!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin spice

One more soap last night. I LOVE this one. Smells just like pumpkin pie. And it's pretty too.

So just need to get all this soap cut up and set it on racks to dry.

I get most of my recipes from library books. I think Country Living has one. Can't remember the others. And this recipe I got off the internet. If anyone wants a certain recipe, let me know and I'll print them. They are really easy to make.

I would love an easy goat milk recipe. I have not gotten that perfected yet. It's always too soft. And it does not hold up well outside at markets. I would love to have an easy no-fail recipe that will be hard.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Scares me every time...

This scares me to death! Every time I see one of my goats like this, I run outside screaming! Then they lift their heads up and look at me like I'm crazy! Silly goats. I guess they like to just lay out like anyone else, right?

Especially since this is what he looked like a few minutes before.


So I finally got my head into making soap yesterday afternoon. I have been trying for weeks now. I'd just keep putting it off. Or something else would come up. I just really couldn't get into it at all.

But yesterday, I just started putting all my soap making things in the kitchen. Pots, measuring things, oils, EO's, herbs. So then I HAD to make soap. I got 5 soaps made!

Here they all are. All bundled up and warm in their blankets for the night.

This is the sage. I had bought some EO's when I went to Colorado. We went to manitou Springs and there was a little shop that sold them. She would pour fresh oils into little tiny bottles. It was cool. I got 4 there. This one I added some pineapple sage leaves cut up in the soap. It's a veggie base soap. Smells so good!

This is a lavender-rosewood.  And I added fresh lavender to it from the herb garden. It's also a veggie base soap.

The one on the left is the apple cider-cinnamon. Yum! Smells like hot apple cider with spices. I used my apple cider instead of water. The lye turned it red at first. The brown. And it stunk! But now it smells like apple cider. I added cinnamon EO and sprinkled cinnamon on top.

On the right is the orange-clove. I used Valencia orange and clove EO's. then ground up fresh whole cloves and added to the soap then on top. It turned the soap a little brown, but will hopefully lighten up as it cures?

These both smell like fall.

Then this is the lard based soap. I used the thyme and rosemary EO's I got from Col. in these as well as fresh rosemary and thyme from the herb garden. This is a pretty soap. And of course smells amazing too. Can't wait to cut them all now.

As you can tell, I use anything I have on hand for molds. The 2 spiced soaps are in canning jar boxes. And the rosemary-thyme is in a restaurant utensil tray. The lavender rose is in a tin baking pan. I have also used Pringles cans, long metal chicken feeders, shaped molds and also cupcake papers. So anything can be used for making soap. But it is hard for me to get a good 4 oz. bar every time. There is a guy up the road  who made my farm sign that will make soap molds but I can't afford any right now. Maybe some day. They are really nice though.

I hope this will inspire someone else to make some good smelling soap!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A long day

Do you see all these sweet sheep? Do you see a fence to the right? That's how it all started. Just another one of those days...

To the left of this picture is a huge pasture, full of beautiful green grass. And shade trees. To the right, right beside this area, is the garden. And across the driveway is the ram. Does that give you any idea of where this little story is going?

Not see that sweet white ewe in the front there? She started the whole thing. Yes, Fiona did it.

This morning, while I was feeding dogs and cats and milking goats, all I could hear were sheep. So when I finally got over there to check on them and feed them, Fiona is pacing all along the fence line. back and forth and back and forth, like a caged lion in a zoo. So I figured she was in heat. She didn't even bother going over to eat. Nope. Pacing the fence. Back and forth.

This is how I usually go into this area, to feed them and all the other things I need to do. Just easier going over this fence than going through the gate up there at the top of the picture. It has a chain and it's just a hassle to undo. So when I got done, I stepped over the fence. And there went Miss Fiona. Leaped right on over. And so did her daughter, Bonnie. And her sister Leelah. By the time I could get back over there and get to the rest of the sheep, who were going bazerk by then, they were in the garden, having breakfast. I got the other sheep back into the pasture and shut that gate. Ran back and forth, putting up the little fence between the yard and driveway gate. Moved the car to block them from going down the driveway. I had to go get Abraham and John Henry and take them back to the back yard.

By then, the 3 sheep were at the fence, ready to go over there where the ram just was. So in they went. Then had to go get the rest of the by then crazy sheep over to the pasture with the other 3. These sheep hate being apart. That's why the lambs are still with them. So that took about 10 minutes to get them ALL over into that other pasture. Then had to get them up front because I have the chickens out now. And I don't want the sheep eating the laying feed.

THEN I had to go wrestle 10,000 feet of crappy kinky hoses so I could get them some water way up front there. That took another hour. Then got the trough up there and water in it. Got them all situated finally. I think I walked 5 miles this morning.

Yesterday it was goats I was chasing. I forgot to lock them in the stanchions while milking and left to go do other chores while they finished eating. When I got back, I heard noises that I should not be hearing. Got all of them but Sandy. She had other ideas, she did. Got some more exercise chasing her. Such fun having sheep and goats!

And I have been trying to make soap for weeks now. Just haven't gotten my head into it. So today, I started getting things together in the kitchen to get started. The dogs were barking the "someone's here" bark. So had to go outside and cut herbs for a friend. More on that another time. Then it happened again. My friends that got my neighbor's whole property, which is all around me and across the road, for bow hunting, stopped in. It's the first day of bow hunting season. And he got one!! He wanted to use the hose to clean it out. Cool. So the next deer is mine! So it's a good thing I didn't start soap then.

Later this afternoon, I finally go going. I made 5 batches! Rosemary-thyme, orange-clove, rosewood-lavender, and an apple-cinnamon that I used my apple cider instead of water. And the other one is a sage with lard. And I always like to put fresh herbs in each soap. The orange-clove I put fresh ground cloves in the soap and on top. The apple-cinnamon got fresh cinnamon sprinkled on top. And the rosemary-thyme got fresh rosemary and thyme in and on top. Also put lavender in the rose-lavender. I love how my house smells when I make soap. It smells spicey right now.

So, it's been a busy day here. And I just have 1 week til the 150th Civil War re-enactment next weekend. That's why I wanted to make more soap. We're having a country store up at the community center.  I am not really looking forward to all the traffic and people that will be out here then. And the noise.

Maybe October will be quieter and more peaceful?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blacksmith shop and doctor's office

Next stop on the tour is the blacksmith shop. It also was full of every tool a blacksmith could possibly need.

I love the huge hornet's nest hanging from the ceiling. Don't know why it's there though.

                                                                   A huge grinding stone.

This is the fire pit. I don't know the actual name for this.

Then the doctor's office. There were all kinds of medical books and journals in the desk.

And beautiful bottles everywhere. I love them in the window. You can see some of the other buildings in this shot.

Here's my mom, Iris. We had such fun looking in all the little building and the house.

                                                                       Isn't this pretty?

                                                     More medicine bottles in this shelf.

I'll post some of the inside of the house next. It is amazing in there. I hope y'all don't get bored.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Martin Davis fiber room

 This was my favorite room. Or little building. The weaving, spinning, quilting room. It was just full of cool stuff. So light and airy. It would be the perfect place to sit and spin. Or make some really pretty quilts/ Or weave a shawl or bed spread. Just an amazing place.

It makes me want a place like this now. I actually started washing some wool. Then the next step would be to card it? I'll take it one step at a time.