Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections: 1st half of 2013

2013 started off wet. We had rain every day here. Floods all over. It was messy. And cold too. Not a good way to start a new year. And it flooded the gardens every time I'd plant them. Never did get a good garden to grow. The fall garden did the best.

I had bought 2 new does in December. One was pregnant. Very pregnant. Trudy had twin kids in Jan. A boy and a girl. She was the first of many to kid and lamb here at Outback Farm this year.

Next was Abby and Penelope. They were in the same stall and had theirs the same morning. I could tell right away who's was who's. So I took Penelope and her twin doe kids to the other stall. Got them all situated and fed. Penelope was a first freshener. I sold her kids at just a few weeks old and milked her every day til last month.

 Abby had twin buck kids. Looked just like her. She was 12 years old when she had them. She had trouble before they were born. And she went down hill after. She never did get better. I put an ad on CL, trying to sell the kids and take some stress off her. They sold that day. But she kept getting worse and worse. I had her put down late on a Sunday night. The saddest day ever. First goat I ever lost. I had her 9 years. I miss her still. She was  the best milker I have ever had.

Then the sheep started lambing. It was wet and so cold. The ewes got sick, one after the other, right after lambing. Had the vet out and got them all straightened out. We had 8 new lambs.

  Fiona didn't want her little red lamb. I found her outside that morning, trying to find her mommy. I had to go get matching sweaters and put them on the girls. She finally would let little Bonnie Belle nurse without trying to kill her. But she could only nurse from the back. She's the prettiest sweetest lamb ever.

I also got pigs. I had them about 3 months. Then sold them to a friend up the road. Didn't miss them at all.

  Got 2 doe rabbits too. I kept them several months. Then after they kept digging out from under the pen too many times, I sold them too. I guess certain things are just not meant to be  for me.

 And I got a hive of bees. I loved those bees. Had them a few months. Then wax moths got in and took over. Lost all the bees. They just left. I will have more in the spring.

That's the first half of 2013. I'll try ti get the last half up tomorrow. It sure was a busy full year here. Lots of good times. And lots of sad times too.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I don't feel too good.

I don't normally get sick. But when I do, it's good. My throat hurts SO bad right now. And I have a fever. Stuffy. Feel like crap. All over.

So I found a recipe for a hot rum toddy. I have everything I need to make it. But I'll wait til I'm all done with the animals. I've been taking care of my friend's goats and chickens while they're off in sunny Florida for a week. I think some of them will be back tonight. So I'll have a nice hot shower and get warm jammies on and my big thick comfy robe and socks. Then boil the water and have a hot toddy. Might watch a movie if I can find a good one.

I also made some chicken pot pie with one of my Freedom Rangers. I have already had a cup of broth. It's so good. So I'll have that some more too.

And the sheep. I got some Nutri-Drench at the co-op a few days ago. And while at Walgreens. waiting on Tiny's prescription to be filled, I found some Vit. E oil. On sale. BYGO. So I have been mixing them together and giving this to Buttercup and Abraham. And I am seeing a difference in their walking. Not stiff legged so much now. I am also adding more sunflower seeds to their feed. And lots of kelp and loose minerals.

I've been making these ear warmers for Christmas gifts. And now am trying to sell some. My daughter Abby has already sold these 2 to a friend at work. I hope to make a bunch more and try to sell them on line. They are just $10 each. And I can make kids sizes too for $7. I also have some hand spun Alpaca in a light brown and also a dark brown with cream.I'll sell these for $15. So if anyone needs some nice warm ears in this crazy cold weather, I can mail them to you for a small postage fee. They don't weight hardly anything, so it shouldn't be much. I can stick them in a long envelope probably.

I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was nice.A little sad because my step dad was not here. It will take some getting used to. We all miss him a lot. Mom is now volunteering at the hospital and she loves it. She brings goodies in for everyone and they gobble them up! She is the baker in this family. I just didn't feel like it at all. And my kids don't bake either. Mom makes the best pound cake too.

So if I don't get back on here for a few days, I wish you all a very happy, healthy new year, with lots of sweet healthy pretty lambs and goat kids and calves and chickies!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sick sheep. And Merry Christmas to all!

 We had so much rain night before last and most of the day yesterday. Everything is such a mess. And the temperature is so up and down. Hot one day, cold the next. Wet, muddy messes all over.

Not the ideal circumstances for sheep.

So yesterday morning, while feeding sheep in the pouring rain, I noticed Adele laying down. And Darla was outside by herself. And Abraham is really slow too. I was hoping they weren't getting pneumonia. Because with the weather all wonky like it's been lately, that's what can happen to sheep.

This morning, I went ahead and made up a bunch of syringes of Combi-Pen 48 and    B Complex for these 3 woolies. I keep records of all my animals and each one has their own pages. Well, Adele only has when she was born and who her parents are. Darla and Abraham each have about 2 1/2 pages. So this is the first time I've had to do anything to Adele, thank goodness. She's not the friendliest lady. But I caught her and gave her the shots. And somewhere, in all that wool, is a needle that came off. I hope it falls off. And I hope they all feel better soon. I'll give them all more for several days. I WON'T give them LA 200 though, ever again. I don't want to lose any more wool. And Darla and Adele's wool is looking really good right now.

The wet muddy mess that's the chicken-sheep area. I went ahead and moved the sheep back over to the other pasture. It's lots drier over there right now. I sure hope it quits all this raining. I just want to get a couple dump truck loads of concrete and put it out here, so they'll have something dry to stand on. Next, they'll all have foot rot.

We fired up the wood stove again. Gonna be COLD this week. And I am going to the Main St. Farmers Market one more time before Christmas. They're having it this afternoon.

I hope every one of my cyber friends out there have a most wonderful joy filled Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pinto beans on the wood stove.

Last night, I put on a pot of pinto beans. On the wood stove. They were boiling within minutes. Had to put the top down and just set them on top of the stove for the night. Then this morning, opened the lid back up and set the pot on the hot top. They are almost done. The house sure smells good.

But it's supposed to get warm the next several days. So we'll let the wood burn down. It's going to be in the 70's by Sunday, but stormy with lots of rain heading our way. It's been nice the last few days too.

Yesterday afternoon at the market, I got a sunny spot. Didn't even put my canopy up. It's just an hour now, from 4-5. I had on short sleeves with a vest. When that sun went behind the building across the street, it got cold! And then I couldn't get warmed back up. This morning it was only about 28. But in the 60's by this afternoon. I'll take it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just that kinda day.

 It's beautiful outside today! Bright blue sky, Sun shining. Just the perfect breeze blowing. So I washed a load of towels and sheets and some rugs. Hung them out back. The poor alpacas still aren't too sure about these things flapping in the wind. But I sure do love it.

I'm taking a needle felting break. It really is tedious work. So I get up and do other things in between making a sheep or something.

I sure hope it's a beautiful day all over the country, so everyone can enjoy this too. Maybe I might get more than 5 eggs today too.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas markets and more needle felting.

It was a very busy full weekend for me. I went to the Bizarre Christmas Bazaar  Saturday from 10-6. Long day there. But it was so fun. We had live music, good food and really nice people. I had fun.

Then Sunday, from 1-7 was the Christmas in the Cove market. In an old barn. The county bought this farm and now there is a restaurant and the barn is used for weddings and events. It's a beautiful barn. I had a good time again there.  

And I actually sold some of my felted sheep! People like the white ones. And a little girl bought Annabelle and Buttercup. She loved them. There were a few other kids that wanted white sheep too. SO I am making more for the Wed. Main St. market.

 Here are the ones I've made so far. To the far right is the pig. And a snowman. Then a white sheep and the darker sheep. And I made a rainbow unicorn. I love this one. I'll have to make more. But it took about 2 hours to make. And I'll have to get more of the colored roving from All Books. I do believe I am hooked on needle felting

                    And here are the Suffolk ewe and lamb. I'll make more of these for Wednesday.

                                               The rainbow unicorn. What do you think?

                                               The old barn at Mt. Cove Farm. It's so pretty.

 The inside was decorated so pretty and Christmasy. But it was freezing! And there was some snow on the mountain. Cold all day. But we had a fantastic turnout, both days here. I will definitely go again next year.

                                          I hope you all had a great weekend. And a good week.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Needle felting

My mom and I went to Hobby Lobby today. I wanted to do some needle felting. Never had done this before. I just got a 5 pack of needles and this sponge. I broke the first needle after a few punches and sticking my index finger. But it's really fun. I made my first little sheep.

Tonight, Stella found a big French bread I had thrown out. It was so funny. When she came in the house, she went to get in her crate. She'd hit the sides every time. Me and Tiny were laughing so hard. I'd tell her to get in her crate and she'd try every time. Too funny! She finally got in.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Less than 2 weeks now til Christmas. Ugh!

Dogs, alpacas and bread.

This silly dog. She always has something in her mouth. Always. Yesterday morning she had this piece of firewood. I let her out and she took it with her.

This dog is so funny. She just cracks me up! She sees me coming and she just flops over on her back for a belly rub. I love this dog.

And it's so cool to look out my back windows into the back yard and see 2 alpacas. Not too many people can say that, right?

I have been getting day old bread from a store down town. I have gotten quite lazy about making my fresh ground whole wheat rolls and bread since. So I have decided this is the last week for getting the bread. I do feed most of it to the goats, sheep and chickens. But there is always a few good loaves of yummy bread for us to eat.

So I am making bread and rolls again. Tiny said he's been missing it. I love how the house smells when it's rising, then baking. I feel so domestic.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This morning at Outback Farm

 This morning, it was just 26 degrees. It was really beautiful out there. Frosty bushes and grass and frozen ponds. Just beautiful. So I grabbed my camera and snapped away. I hope you all enjoy some sparkly prettiness here at Outback Farm.

The last few leaves on this Silver Maple tree, hanging on for dear life. So pretty against the bright blue sky. The sun is VERY welcome here right now, after all the rain lately.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sauteed collard green

I don't know if I ever posted this recipe before. But it's SO good, I just have to. And it's so easy and fast and so good for you too. If you like any kind of greens, you'll like this.

You just go out in the garden, or to the farmer's market, or the store, and gather a bucket of collard greens. Take them inside to the kitchen and wash them real good. I just stick them in the salad spinner to get all the water off. That's about the handiest kitchen gadget ever.

Then take about half an onion, chopped up. And about 5 cloves of garlic, chopped up.

Then chop up all the greens. I just take a handful and roll them up and cut that way.

Get your skillet hot and add olive oil. Add your onions and cook a few minutes til soft. Then throw the garlic in. I just stir them up good, then start adding the greens.

I'll add a handful, then some salt and pepper. Stir it all up good. Then add more greens. You know how fast these things cook down.

Get them all in the pan, then turn the heat down to about low, put a lid on, and let simmer about 15 minutes. You might want to check to see if it needs a little more oil. The greens really suck the oil up. But don't put too much in, because once they've had oil, if you add too much, it can get too oily. So be careful.

These are so good, you'll want to have some a few times a week.

You can also do kale a similar way. I do the same thing with the onions and garlic. But I add chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. Cook til tender, then add kale. Talk about some good eatin' right there! I took some to the community dinner a few weeks ago and they were all eaten up.

So go out to the garden and try some soon. You'll like, I bet.


This morning, after eating breakfast, I looked out the window and saw a pair of these buggars flying to the big maple tree. So I got the dogs and ran to the milk room and grabbed a bucket of feed and ran out to the chickens to put them in the coop. They all went in except one of the black ones. So I guess she'll be chicken dinner for the hawks. If they catch it. I love to see hawks. Somewhere else. Not in my vicinity. I like my chickens and love all the eggs they have been supplying lately. I really don't want to lose any. 

And I almost fell this morning. Out in the chicken yard. It's like ice out there. Really slippery. I guess I need to take a walking stick with me. But I always have both hands full. I like to do as much as I can in one trip to save time. I think of myself as a farm girl Rachel Ray. Carry as much as possible to save time and steps. 

Tiny is so much better now. His burns are shrinking. He only has 2 appointments this week and both on Thursday. Really nice, compared to last week's 4 days in a row of doctors. But all these meds are making him sleep a lot. He always did take naps during the day before, but not like this. And yesterday, because it rained all day, his blood sugar levels were higher than they have been, due to inactivity. All he did was walk out to the wood pile and get a wheel barrow full of wood. That's it. I hope this rain will stay away for awhile. I am tired of it for sure.

I put the sheep over next door in the other pasture this morning. There is actually some green over there. They all ran out in it and didn't even want hay. Everything is so brown here now, so when I saw that, I had to let them over there. They are all so fat.

And I got Stella's big crate moved back into the dining room. I have been doing this in winter, so we'll have more room in the living room with that wood stove. Then I put the Christmas tree on top of the crate. So I have gotten this far! Maybe later I'll go out to the milk room and get the tree. And I cannot believe there are only 16 more days til Christmas!! Noooooo!

Rough-legged Hawk flying near Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Figuring out the carder.

I am so glad I wasn't standing too close to Misha this morning when I tried petting him again. He kicked twice. Bad boy! Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

I think I have finally figured this carder out. Last night I watched a video of the people that made one of the carding machines, the Straouches. I know that's not how their name is spelled, but y'all have heard of them. Anyway, the guy was just pulling the wool apart real thin and putting it on the platform and letting it go into the wheels by just turning the handle slowly. So I did it. And it works! Before, I was pulling the wool back as it was going through and it was all going onto the smaller wheel and making me mad. So I have already done it this was 4 times and every time I have no wool on the smaller wheel. Now to figure out the tension on the spinning wheel. I am anxious to spin all this that I've been carding.

It's raining again. It's like so slippery out there. I need to take a walking stick with me. I do have my handy dandy wagon I use to haul hay with. I love that wagon. It's what I use most often for everything around here. The best thing I ever bought for this farm. Everyone should have one. We also use it to haul wood to the house.

I hope you all have a great Sunday.