Sunday, March 31, 2013

These pigs

So I have had these pigs 2 weeks now. It's been pretty good so far. I haven't fallen down in their pen. They haven't bitten me. Or chased me. Or gotten out yet. And I do believe Joe, the white one, is almost as big as Bob now. But I am wondering if he can see. He's got really small eyes. That I can barely see. Smaller that Bob's eyes, and his are small too. They just look weird. I don't think I've noticed pig eyes before, but I think they should be bigger. It doesn't seem to be affecting his ability to get around. Or eat. Because he's all over and eats like a pig. I don't know. Maybe they are supposed to be small like that.

I'm giving them lots of the fermented grains. Plus lots of scraps, goat milk and the bread from the bakery in Chatt. And their yard is a mud pit now. I need to add the other panel soon. I can't imagine feeding these guys for 5 more months. Ugh. But if it keeps going like this, I might be ok. But, they are still small at the moment.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2 classes today

This was a busy day for me. But I have learned SO much.

This morning was a class on native pollinators. Since I'll be getting a hive of honey bees in a few weeks, I need to learn about them. And what they need to keep them here. And healthy and full! We have a farm in Rossville, Ga. called Crabtree Farm. It's been there for 15 years this year. They are basically a teaching farm. Lots of apprentices and volunteers. It's a great place. They are breaking ground in a few weeks on an education building to be opened in September.

I'll have to absorb all the things David Reed spoke about. He has several hives here on this farm. I went out after the class and just stared at the hives. Bees were buzzing all around them. These are in a little field of henbit, which I need to plant at my place. I have some, but not like this.

If you look close, you can see the bees on the hives. They were all over today. I just love bees.

Then this afternoon, a class on fermentation. We all got to get our hands in the veggies and make some for ourselves. I have already made plenty of different fermented foods for us. But learned a few techniques to make things faster. And I got some water kefir grains and some Piima culture!! I am so excited about this. I have been wanting some water kefir grains. I got to taste some that Ann Keener brought. It was SO good and refreshing and light and summery. I have already got mine started.  Also got the Piima started too. Not too sure about how to do this though. Need to read up more about it. It's like yogurt, from what I understand. A little like kefir too.

This is one of the teachers, with his hands in the cabbage and beet kraut. I love this stuff. I made mine with just cabbage and beets. I am excited about getting some more fermented veggies back on the counters! It just makes me feel good, seeing all those jars of fermented goodness on my kitchen counters. And it's SO good.

Not to get my leg of lamb marinating in some good olive oil, garlic and fresh rosemary for tomorrow's Easter dinner.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

I was out early this morning and noticed the beautiful sunrise. Started taking pictures. When I came in to download them, I saw this one. I saw the thorny branch hanging down and thought of the thorns that were made into a crown and put on Jesus' head when he was crucified. Just kind of fitting for a Good Friday sunrise. Because we all know what happened the next few days!

I hope and pray that you all have a wonderful weekend but especially, a wonderful Easter with family. Take time to remember why we celebrate Easter. And just marvel in God's grace and goodness.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I think my dogs like bread...


Chickens. In a tractor.

I went out last night and put the chickens in their new home. They like it. I put a nest box way in the back. It had a chain to hand the waterer on. I love that. So it looks like it will take a few days to eat the grass down. Then I'll move them forward every few days. I hope I get some eggs again. I may even get a few more hens. I really don't need the rooster, so will probably sell him. He's just taking up room. And I don't want to hatch any for chicks. I am really liking this set up a lot.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A little green

I was looking out in the garden for some signs of anything popping up out there. And I found these. Some radishes. If anything would be coming up, it would be the radish. I have 5 different kinds planted. I did see some lettuce too. But as cold as it's been, it might be a few more weeks before I see anything else.

There are a lot of turnip greens and collards coming back from last year though.

It's a beautiful day today. And for the next few days. Then rain on Easter Sunday.

Chicken tractors

I am really excited about these chicken tractors. A friend who bought some of my Freedom Ranger meat birds has several tractors he made and is not going to have chickens anymore. So he is bartering the tractors for chickens. And will even come butcher them too! 

This is the biggest one. The whole top opens with a small door at the end. It has 4 wheels. There are roosts in the back too. And tarp over the back end. Also a chain to hang a waterer. I'll use this one for my 4 laying hens and the rooster til I get meat birds. Right now, I will pull it around in the front yard where all the tall winter grass is. The hens have been in the coop since I started the garden. And I have probably gotten 5 eggs since. They do not like being cooped at all. And protest by not laying eggs. They will  be happy when they get in this. I'll have to wait til tonight to put them in it.

This is another one. He has about 3 more like this we need to go get. I'll have to put roosts in this one.

It opens at both ends. Not near as big as the other one, but will be fine for my hens when I get the meat birds. I'll have to put a nest box in it too.

I think this is a pretty good deal. And to get help butchering is icing on the cake! These are all really built to last a long time. Made with treated lumber. I hate to cage chickens, but if I want a garden, it has to be this way. And I think the meat birds will grow faster too. I'll get 25 at a time. Probably every month.

Now we need to go get the rest of the tractors.We could only get one at a time in out big truck.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter's hanging on here.

It's cold out there! This is from this morning. There's no snow on the ground here, but on the car and the house, you can see it. We had snow flurries all day yesterday too.

Husband is home this week on vacation. He made a fire in the fireplace last night. So it's nice and toasty in the house now. And we actually kept it going all night. It sure uses a LOT of wood though.  When we were using the wood heater, one of those yellow wagons full would last 3 days. With an open fireplace, we've already used almost 3 wagon loads since last night. Not very economical, or as warm, but still nice. And I love to see smoke coming out of the chimney. It's so messy though.

So no spring here. Not for another few weeks. All that work and hurry I did to get the garden started, I think was for nothing. Because it's been in the 20's and 30's at night and only in the 40's during the day since. If anything does come up, it'll be a miracle. I have really never planted anything this early anyway. I guess I was just worried about getting things ready for the markets in April. And got a fever blister too. My 2nd ever in my whole life. Not fun.

I know it'll be hot and dry one day soon. But right now, it's still winter. And March. It was 20 years ago this month that we had a huge blizzard here. We lived in Flintstone then and only had dogs and cats. And only one freezer. The power was out for a few weeks. It was really nice though. Because neighbors were so nice and we got to know a lot of them. Everyone's been talking about another blizzard. Who knows?

Monday, March 25, 2013


And not the kind my husband loves to eat.

I noticed on my last post that there were 3 really strange comments from an anonymous commentor. Then when I checked a little later, those were gone but 3 more were there, different comments but still anonymous. So I deleted them. Then deleted the whole post. I haven't seen them anywhere else here.

Then I was over on another blog and noticed she had some of the same strange anonymous comments too. She deleted those as well.

So has anyone else been getting crazy strange comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the post? I hope it's not some sort of virus that's going to affect bloggers who comment on my blog. I'm so sorry if it does.

I am working on a post about the fermented grains and my milking does. It's coming, just taking pictures and getting some comparisons. But so far the 2 milk does are loving this grain! And milk production is up!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bees. And keeping them.

Last night, I went to my first ever bee keeping class. The guy I'll be getting my hive from was the speaker. I could have listened to him all night. But I had to leave at 8:30 because I still had a goat to milk.

So now, after hearing him, I think I am more nervous and anxious than ever. I don't really think I was nervous before. Just more excited. But now I am just plain ole scared! Not OF the bees themselves. I love bees. Always have. I can sit right in the middle of a corn field and pick beans and listen to them buzz around me all day. I love them! They are awesome amazing little creatures. And I learned a lot about them last night. But even Eddie, after years and years of keeping bees, doesn't know all there is to know about them. They are just plain awesome!

I am more afraid of KEEPING bees. The responsibility of having those beautiful bees here, on my property. And keeping them healthy and happy. I so hope they will be happy here. There is so much all around here for them to keep busy. 2 whole mountain ranges, woods, forests, fields, ponds... SO much for them in this valley. So not really worried about that too much.

I'm not even afraid of being stung. Because Eddie says we WILL be stung. But it is good for arthritis. Which a few of my fingers are starting to feel. So maybe I won't wear gloves.

So this is where I will keep the hives. Up at the top of the hill, in that corner. It's a North-West corner, so they will be protected from winds and have the afternoon shade from the west. There is a lot of wild mint over in the pasture to the left. I heard mint keeps mites away? I will probably put some pots of mint in the bee yard. Since my goats are in this pasture, I'll fence in this corner.

I have always wanted bees here. And especially now, since every year I have seen fewer and fewer bees here on my property. Since I am organic and don't use any chemicals, I think they'll do a great job pollinating all my apple and pear trees. And my gardens. I think I'll go up to an organic farm in Tn. and get some of their organic open-pollinated corn and plant that in the other garden area, just for them. I will also plant lots and lots of flowers for them to enjoy.

I was told that the first year, I won't get honey. But that's fine with me. I will let the bees have all they need. I am not really concerned with getting honey. I just want the bees here.

I would LOVE to hear from all you bee keepers out there. Anything about bees. Your first experience with bees.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Leibster Award!

Well, I feel honored to have been chosen for a Leibster Award by Sandra over at Clearwater Farm Journal. Thank you Sandra! I'll try to do this right but probably won't. Yours looked very professional.

So I have to nominate 5 other blogs with a following of less than 300. So these are the bloggers I am nominating:

Aubrey at:  She has helped me a lot with great advice on goats.

Here are 5 random things about me:

I love the color green.
I was born in California.
I hate winter.
I can be really lazy.
I am getting bees!

And here are 5 questions I have to answer for Sandra:

I am reading a Book of Bees.

My favorite thing to do on a weekend is going to market on Saturday and sitting out under my shade tree with a good book on Sunday, listening to the birds and my sheep munching.

If I could travel anywhere, I would go to Ireland. But I am waiting on a bridge! Because I ain't flying clear across the ocean to get there.

My favorite season is Spring because I can get back out in the dirt and get the gardens going again. And there are baby lambs and goats!

I think my hobby would have to be fermenting. Anything!

So for those who I have nominated, you'll have to do the same thing. And here are your questions to answer for me:

How long have you been farming? Or homesteading?
What got you started farming or homesteading?
What's your favorite part about farming or homesteading?
What's your most dreaded part of it?
What do you most LOVE about it?

I think that's all. Now I have to go tell all these wonderful bloggers that I have nominated them too.

Happy Spring, y'all!!! Go enjoy the day. I am going to a bee keeping class tonight!

Pigs. And fermenting grains.

 Last night, I got my daughter heather and grand daughter Kansas, to help me take 3 16' fence panels out back to make an outside yard for Bob and Joe, the new piggerators. It sure is good to have help. Because I have drug those panels all over this place and they are very awkward. So it made doing this so much easier on me. So got that little job done in half the time it would have taken to do it alone. Thanks girls!!!

So let the boys out this morning. They immediately went to doing what pigs do best. They rooted all over the place. This will be all mud in just a few days. I have 1 more panel that I can use to expand the yard some more later.

Of course, all the critters wanted to meet the new guys and welcome them to Outback Farm. I have an album on my Outbackfarm Face Book page if you'd like to see the sheep and goats meeting them too. It's so funny to see the sheep's reactions! The goats have seen them since Sat. since they've been in the barn with them. In this picture, you can see that first stall is where they've been. The goats have the rest.

Bubba ad Stella wanted to come say hello too. They are so funny, those dogs. In everybody's business all the time.

A few days ago I started some grains to fermenting after seeing a blog post over at www.tosingwithgoats.
I hope these are doing what they're supposed to be doing right about this time. It's been cold at night so maybe they're a bit slower going?  The bucket on the right I had just stirred. On the left I had not yet. I had started with the left bucket full. Then had to take out half of it because it had expanded that much. I hope it works because I really want to feed them this way since they are used to eating brewery grains. So if anyone else does this, does it look right to you so far? It was Monday when I started this. It's got cracked corn, wheat, whole oats and some rolled barley.

Monday, March 18, 2013

After the storm

 Today, we were supposed to get some pretty severe storms heading our way. Out here in this cove, we don't see a whole lot of really bad weather like they might get 20 miles North of us. We're in a valley with lots of little ridges and hills. We had been getting some rain during the day, but I kept wondering where all that bad weather was.

Then, about 4:00, it started getting really dark. I could see toward the east, over Pigeon Mt. the sky was so dark. Crazy clouds. It got so windy all of a sudden and lots of rapid lightening, so close together and really fast. The wind was crazy. Trees nearly sideways. Then really hard rain, then hail. For about 10-15 minutes it went on like this. So scary. I said I bet there was a tornado somewhere close, with all that. Then, just as soon as it started, it was over. Still. No rain. No wind. Nothing.

Then this. It was bright, the sun came back out. Beautiful. It got a bit foggy to the North East. Surreal.

Then out back, looking West, was the prettiest blue sky with pink wispy clouds. Hard to believe it had just been crazy storming  a few minutes earlier.

I did hear that there were really strong tornado like winds that did some pretty bad damage to the East of us about 20 miles away. About 4000 homes and businesses lost power from wind damage. So this was a pretty fierce storm. I didn't hear of anyone injured on the news tonight. Just trees down all over.

And all is well with our little piece of the world again. Thank you, Lord, for being with us and keeping us all safe. Again.

Gardens, pigs, kids and more kids

The past several days have been like a whirlwind for me. Rushing around, trying to get the early garden planted. And grass and clover seed planted. Grand kids here. Worked all day Friday. Just running, running running. Trying to beat a rain storm headed our way. It's been sprinkling on and off part of the day so far. Which is fine because I really don't want a flooding downpour like we have been getting all winter. Just enough to get all the things I've gotten planted a good start.

If you can see to the left, which is how I am planting this year, there is collards, kale, mustard, radishes, lettuce, beets, onions, broccoli, cabbage and onions so far to the left of the horribly neglected grape vines. To the right of the vines, my grand daughters and daughter helped plant 5 different varieties of potatoes. 40 pounds worth. An All Blue and a Corona organic and then Kennebec, Yukon Gold and red. So that is my early crops so far. Planted and ready to grow for farmer's markets. And I am pooped! And SO out of shape it's not even funny y'all. I am hurting right now. But not really too awfully bad, like I thought I would be. Gardening gets a person in some really amazing stretches and reaches. It's the best exercise ever.

Also this weekend, I got 2 pigs. They are out working in the goat barn for me right now, mulching up the 6' deep hay mess the goats have wasted all winter. The pigs love this. Keeps them busy and helps me out. Kansas named them Bob and Joe.

Also took the 2 goat kids, Ira Joe and Ella Belle, to get their horns burned off. So that chore is done.

This will be a busy week too. A farmer's market meeting Tuesday evening, a bee keeping class Wednesday evening, and a backyard wine tasting event Saturday evening with some fellow farmers. Sounds like some fun to me!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Garden season 2013. Officially started today.

I got out in the garden today. Finally. Tried to crank the tiller. Nothing. So I had to park her in the sun to warm up. After awhile  she started right on up. And away we went! I got a good deal done. And now I have my seeds ready. But as you can see, I have some unwanted visitors at the moment. If I plant seeds now, they would be all snatched up in no time. So I'll have to wait til they go to bed later. I am swapping a stanchion for a chicken tractor, so they should be in that soon. But right now, they can be out there.

This is my Cub Cadet tiller Cadie. I got her last year, so we are going into our 2nd garden season together. I really like this tiller. Usually just one pull and she starts. I have to go over the ground a lot right now though. It was a little wet so I let it dry out in the sun a few hours, then went back over it again just now.

So I am going to plant some kale, collards, mustard, lettuce, 6 different radishes, onions seeds, Swiss Chard.  Probably a few more things. I'll wait a few more weeks to plant potatoes. I need to get more onions. But I am excited to get going! I knew once I got out there, I would be on the way.

I am also going to get 2 pigs Saturday from a friend in Alabama. I think I am ready for a few more. They'll go into the first big stall in the goat barn and mulch up the 6' of hay in there. It's so deep I hit my head every time I go out there any more. Very irritating for sure. There are 3 more stalls for the goats.

 I sent my application in for the main St. Farmer's market. I so hope I get in. It's on Wed. from 4-6 Spring summer and fall. It's a really good market in downtown Chattanooga. I already know some of the farmers.

So here I go!

Nothing like a little sting in the morning...

to get a gal going. I don't mean a bee sting either. I put a Sting CD in and cranked it up. I love Sting.

I have so much to do and just can't seem to get going lately. So I am making bread, dog food and going to make my first batch of mozzarella later today. I have a guy coming to mow the sheep pasture. All the dead ugly stuff on top so the new grasses can grow. And I have to take little Ira Joe and Ella Belle to get their horns burned off. A friend does this for me because I just cannot seem to do it myself. I can cut off a chicken head and do all that gory stuff, but can't seem to hurt my little kids. She's also going to castrate my 3 ram lambs in a few months too. She will do the cut and pull method, which I prefer over the banding. On the way, I'll drop my soil samples off to get tested. Should know by the end of next week.

It's such a beautiful day and supposed to warm up. I might go get some good garden soil too and start working on the garden. It's still too wet to plow but I can do some raised bed areas for root crops. I need to plant carrots, beets, lettuce, mustard, collards, kale, spinach. It's getting late!

What's going on in your gardens so far? Are you having nice weather where you are yet? These March winds will dry it up here. But we have some rain showers heading our way again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring's a comin' y'all!

It was beautiful yesterday. But still too wet to get in the garden, since it rained all day Monday. I walked around the yard to see what all was popping up. The day lillies are. We've had daffodils for over a month already. I picked some to put inside. Then I noticed my Red Maple tree that I got last year. It didn't look too good toward the end of the year. But now looks like it'll be ok. We've had tons of rain.

The azaleas all looks good too. I have 3 Crepe Myrtles that are later to get leaves. I had 4 blueberry bushes, but the dogs, when they get to playing real rough, have broken one of them. So the 3 are getting little buds now. I'll have to get more because they like where I put them this time. I have tried for years all over this place, to get blueberry bushes to grow and they've all died. They are back by the fence in this picture. I need about about 5 more.

I also have 4 fig trees, 9 apple trees and 3 pear trees. I have yet to get pears from those trees. There have been a few though. Also have 6 grape vines.

But the plant I am most excited about is the elderberry. I have about 4 on this farm. And they do get big beautiful berry clusters. Then, before I know it, they're all gone. because the birds love them more than I do. But this year, I am ahead of them. I'm going to put netting over them when they start to show the flowers. I found a recipe for elderberry lemonade that is SO good that I want to make more of too.

I love this time of year, when all the new life starts popping up all over. The thing I don't like is all the things I am allergic to. For over a month now, my eyes have been so itchy and watery and horrible. And it will only get worse. I don't like this part at all.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Home made toothpaste

I know there are a lot of posts out there about this toothpaste. But I love it and want to share the recipe for those who haven't tried it yet. Even my grand kids like it.

I have this really good coconut oil from Whole Foods, some good baking soda, and some peppermint and spearmint EO. I use 3 tablespoons each of the oil and soda. Mix it up real good and then add about 20 drops of either EO or both and mix well. You can taste and see if it needs more EO. I like a lot. It works so good at keeping the teeth nice and bright and my mouth feels fresh for hours after using it. I love it. My grand daughter Kansas used some of my husbands toothpaste the other day and said it was way too sweet for her. I guess she's just used to this now. And it's SO much better than that other stuff. Which says on the label to not swallow. Well, this you could eat. I will never go back to store bought toothpaste ever again.

I hope y'all will try it. And this in the picture will go a long way.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My weekend

I got my Book of Bees today! I saw this on Taryn's blog woolymossroots, last week and went ahead and ordered it and got it today! (Look at that dirty dog foot.) I can't wait to read it. I like it already though. the very first thing I read was a little sentence that says, Beekeeping is a business that requires the greatest amount of attention to small details...The good beekeeper is generally more or less cranky. I LOVE that! I think I just might be a good beekeeper then. Because I am a bit cranky, more or less. I cannot wait to get my bees. And a friend wants a hive too but wants me to keep them and we'll go in half on all the equipment. I can do that. I just hope I can get another hive now. He's selling out pretty fast.

So I have had a busy weekend. Saturday, I cleaned out the milk room. And what a mess it was! It's been a year or so since I last cleaned it out really good. So it sure needed a good cleaning. And since I am milking again, I needed to get organized. So got that all done. Even put up a strand of colored Christmas lights for some ambiance. The girls love that!

Sunday did some outdoor work. I joined a farming group called CRAFT which stands for collaborative regional alliance for farmer training. It's based in Ashville, N.C. I went to the first meeting in Chatt. last Sunday. There were several other farmers and wanna be farmers. Some have a few rabbits, some have huge farms. So we set up farm tours for the season. And mine will be the first farm tour, along with my friends up the road. Oh my goodenss, I am so nervous already. My farm is a mess! I mean really. There is SO much to do. And I haven't even started my gardens yet. So, we went around the room and introduced ourselves and had to tell a little about ourselves and farms. I said I have dairy goats and sheep. So when it was time to decide the order of the tours, they said we should start at my farm. Ugh! And I should talk about goats and sheep. I almost said no. Because I don't know a whole lot about what I'm doing here and there are so many people who do. BUT, the more I think about it, the more I want to. Because, everyone does things different, right? I am NOT an expert by any means. I learn something every day. And I can talk about what NOT to do. And things that have gone wrong. And why. And what my plans for this farm are. So, we shall see. I did get an email from a photographer in Chattanooga who saw my FB page and wants to come out and take pictures of my animals! How cool is that? So maybe I can get her to come after the tour when the farm will look good.

Then Sunday afternoon, my friend Sarah called. She was supposed to have come out Sat. but stuff happened. Her and I went last year to buy pullets from a guy in Ringgold who I saw on CL. She bought 15 and I bought 5. Well, of my 5, i was a rooster. But of her 15, 10 were roosters. So you can imagine how crazy she's been. She only had 12 hens. These roosters have terrorized those poor hens for so long that 4 of them have just died. It was horrible. So I brought my double cage to her house last week. She caught 10 of the roosters and just kept one. Put them all in cages. And yesterday she brought them all here and we butchered them all. I could see the relief in her face when it was all over. And her remaining hens are so happy now.

This morning, I gave all the older lambs and the 2 kids their CDT shots. And wormed 2 more ewes. I could NOT get Leelah or Gracie to hold still to give them shots of the Dectomax. I did with Darla though. But I had to go get Cydectin and give it to those 2. So 7 shots and 2 wormers. Done!

Then later this morning, the phone rang. It was Betty, who stays with Mrs. T Monday til Friday morning when I go for the day. Her blood pressure was sky high and she was shaking. She was going to the hospital and could I come stay with Mrs. T? Of course. And it's raining. So I called another lady who had stayed with Mrs. T before to see if she could stay this week. While I was talking to her, I looked out the front window and all the sheep were in the front yard. I would love for them to be in the front yard, but I have azaleas, blueberry bushes, little trees and flowers coming up. And really nice lush sweet green grass growing. So had to run outside and get them all back in. Stayed with Mrs. T til Jan got there, ran to the store for a few things, went to look at an apartment for my daughter, got home and could hear baby lambs crying and mammas calling them. Ran to the house and got boots on. Ran out there to see what was going on.

Those silly sheep. They can tear down a fence to get where they want to be, but let a little gate swing across the path, not even attached to anything, and they can't figure out how to get through. So there are all those sheep, minus a few lambs, out in the pouring rain, crying for their lambs. I got them all together again. had to take Bridget and Bonnie's wet shirts off and dry them in the dryer. Poor babies. So it's hard to eb gone all day.

Now to read about bees.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spinning wheels

This is my great grandmother's spinning wheel that I inherited. She made everything on this wheel. My uncle inherited it because he wanted to learn how to spin. And he did. He died and my aunt asked all the other nieces and nephews if it would be ok for me to have it. Since I had sheep. They all agreed. So I go the wheel. Please don't look at the dust on it. I have not learned to spin yet. But in the 2nd pictures, you can see that the bobbin is broken. I need to order a few more. It also came with the lazy something that has 3 bobbins on it. One of them still has some wool that my grandmother spun, still on it. This bobbin has some that my uncle spun. It's a very old wheel and I would love to spin on it.

But I think I'd like to get a portable wheel. Like an Ashford? They aren't too expensive, but if I can find a used one, I'll get it.

I would love to hear what you all are spinning on. And why you like that particular one over another wheel. I need something easy, like for a beginner, which I am. I'm having a friend come to shear my 6 Finn sheep in April. I still have 2 bags of wool from last year that I hope are still good. How long does raw wool last?

This is something I really want to learn to do. I'm going to see if there are any classes near me. I want to learn from the sheep to the sweater. Or scarf. Or blanket.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Happy birthday, mom!

This is my mother, Iris. It's her 81st birthday today. She does not look 81 at all. She's so beautiful. I am so proud of her too. Still working. So healthy. People don't believe her when they ask her how many pills she has to take. Just one really small one. She loves to be outside in the yard, planting flowers and shrubs. She just pruned down some rose bushes that were probably 10' tall. But she loves it. She weed eats and push mows the yard. She is amazing. And she's so nice and sweet and has the best spirit. I want to be like her when I grow up! She is the way I want to be. I hope she has 81 more birthdays. I love ya Mom! Happy birthday!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kelp anyone?

I ordered a 50 pound bag of Nature's Kelp from Thorvin. It says it's a rich source of natural minerals. I got it for the sheep and goats. They can have a 1/2 oz. each feeding. I have never used this before. So am wondering if any of you sheep and goat people use it. And what do you think about it? Have you noticed a difference in your sheep or goat's health?

I also got a goat mineral block, which they LOVE. They almost fought over that thing. It's already half eaten.

I need to have soil tests done here to see what I need to do. Also need to do some spring grasses for all the pastures. I  missed the winter rye planting time. Although I think I can still plant that. I would love to plant a good grass-hay-legume mix. So much that needs to be done. I am so tired of feeding so much hay. I originally bought around 180 square bales in spring and late summer. But started feeding hay in September. Why did I do that? So I ram out about the end of Jan. Got 34 more bales for a barter of half a lamb. Supposed to have gotten 37 but missed a few. Need to go get the 3 bales. Then used all that and got 30 more bales about the middle of Feb. I have 7 left. Good grief, I had no idea I'd use so much. I have a source about 2 miles up the road. I'll get more from them. It's a better quality hay too.

I have 4 less goats now. And am trying to sell the 2 bucks. Won't be keeping any kids. I the 8 ewes, 4 of which had 7 lambs. I'll sell the 4 ewe lambs. I'll be castrating the 3 ram lambs to be butchered in late fall. I also will hopefully have the 4 younger ewes to lamb in late spring-early summer. But right now, I'm thinking all of them are not bred. If not, I'll breed in late June for fall lambs. I'd like to do it this way, so I'll have lamb twice a year.

Right now, I am spending a lot of money on these sheep and goats. I am only making a little selling kids and goats right now. And that money goes right back in this farm. I'll be selling goat milk starting this week. And making cheese. So there will be a little money coming in again. It just seems to have been an expensive winter here. Hopefully, we'll start having that nice early spring weather, so I can get the garden's going. I ordered lots of seeds a few days ago and will get them in a few days. The garden is still too soggy to til yet. I need at least 2 weeks of sun to dry it out.

So please, if you have used kelp or are now, let me know how you like it. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More baby love!

Sorry. I just cannot resist taking baby pictures and posting them everywhere. But they are so stinkin' cute!

This is Gracie and her 2, Tater Tot, on top and Biatrix. They love their mommy. All the lambs this year are being named B names. But for all I've tried, little Tater Tot's name has stuck like glue. He just looks like a tater tot, my grand daughter said. So Tater Tot he is. He's the only odd ball. But sure is a cutie.

And this is one of my favorite pictures. A mother's love. Leelah and Blossom. So sweet.

Then above are Fiona's 2 ewe lambs, Bridget on left and Bonnie Belle on the right, in their cute little cowgirl shirts. Enjoying the sunshine.

These 2 fellas are Darla's boys, Bo in the front and Buck in the back. They are more wool sheep than the other 5, which are hair sheep. Darla is half Suffolk and half Finn. There is such a difference in their wooliness. They are nappy, where the others are just furry.

Then of course had to throw in the 2 little goaties, lounging in the sun too. Ira Joe in red sweater and his sister Elle Belle. Too cute!
I just love all these little cuties. But they all have to go soon. I'll keep the 3 little ram lambs, but all the ewe lambs and goat kids have to be sold when weaned. I just don't have the room for so many at this time. I am trying to sell the 2 bucks as well. I posted them on CL last night.

Downsizing sucks, but has to be done to be more manageable. And I sure am going through a ton of hay.

I hope all your kids and lambs are enjoying their days in the sun too. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sweet dreams

I got my Taproot magazine a few days ago. The 5th issue of this great new magazine. I love it. If you haven't already heard of it or get it, you need this one. No ads at all. Great illustrations, frame worthy. Great homesteading and farming and livestock articles. And this issue has an article about bees! Of which I will be getting soon, from my friend at Sale Creek Honey. He is selling out. I'll get them in about 6 weeks or so. And the middle of April, I'm taking a bee keeping class at a fellow blogger in Ringgold, not too far from me! So, looks like things are coming together for the bees. I have wanted bees for so long. But I don't know anything about them, other than we need them to pollinate plants and trees. Without them, we won't last long.

But all the things that keep a person from doing something like this, I have been through. First, I know not a think about keeping bees. Next, bees can be quite pricey. Not only the purchase of bees, but also all the bee paraphernalia that goes along with bees. Suits, smokers, hives, food, extractors .... the list goes on and on. (I did put an ad on CL for used suits and things, Or if anyone who reads this blog has anything, let me know.) Then, what if I kill the poor things? What if a disease gets in the hive and wipes them all out? What if  make too much noise and get attacked by the whole hive of them and killed in one outing?  Oh yes, I have thought a lot about this. All the horrible things that could go wrong. I would be responsible for them.

But ya know what? Sometimes there is no "right" time to do anything. Ya just have to do it. Jump in and get the feet wet. learn as you go. Just like having children. No right time there. It just happens. And you survive somehow. And so do the kids. Or the animals. Or whatever. Ya just have to do it.

And right now, with Eddie selling out, is the right time for me. And the class, the right time. It's all falling into place for me to get my first bees. I am jumping in, feet first. And I just have to believe that these sweet dreams will come true. And I will have hives of bees here on my farm.

I would love to hear you bee stories if you'd like to share. I will need all the help I can get.

If you're interested in Taproot magazine, here is how to order it . or 802-472-1617. It's just as easy as that! And I promise, you will love it too.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Slow day, like a traffic jam

It's kind of a slow Monday here for me. Kind of like this picture that looks like a traffic jam. Not much going on.

I've had a really hard, sad weekend. I feel like it all ended last night. After a very long 6 week illness, Abby finally gave up. I had to bury her this morning. Not the way I had hoped it would end for her. So, I am just grieving right now. I need to process everything and remember. I had Abby almost 8 years. She taught me a lot. I will miss her.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fiona's little lambs

 Fiona had her lambs this morning. I had just gotten up and let the dogs out, then ran out to check on her to see if she had any lambs yet. There was a little tiny wet red lamb out in the middle of the other sheep and being pushed around by them and attacked by the rooster. So I grabbed the lamb and took her back to her mamma  Well, Fiona had another lamb that she was talking to and licking. She didn't want the red lamb. She kept butting it and trying to kill it. Poor baby. So I grabbed them both and started rubbing them together and then rubbed each lamb with the other's scent. Then stuck my hand to Fiona's nose. She finally did let the lamb nurse some. Then she'd act like she was going to butt her, but didn't. They are both ewe lambs!!!

So I decided to got to Walmart and get 2 identical sweaters for the lambs. I needed a few other things too. Well, I cannot believe that all they had was spring and summer sun dresses. For dogs. Really? People actually put dresses on their poor little dogs? All I wanted was 2 little sweaters for the little lambs. so Fiona would get confused and think they were alike then. I didn't get sundresses for the lambs.

Went over to the pet store and they had a rack of dog clothes right in front. And 25% off! I found these 2 cute shirt type things. Not really sweaters. More like tank tops. Good grief. Anyway, aren't they just the cutest little cowgirls now?  I rubbed each lamb with the opposite shirt and put them on. So far so good. And the little red lamb walks over to me now. She's adorable! And the white lamb is a little snobbish. Like a mamma's girl already.

So here are #11 and #12. So far, of the 4 ewes that lambed, there have been 3 twins and 1 single. 3 ram lambs and 4 ewe lambs. Not too bad.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My truck

This morning I went out to try to crank my truck. I've been driving it because my Trooper is in the transmission shop in Flintstone right now with the transmission dead. So have to use the big huge gas guzzling truck. Which is now really hard to start. Somehow, I have to get the gear shift in just that right spot and it will crank. But it takes about a half hour to find that spot. So, I put it back in park and went inside for awhile. Went back out to try again, and no truck. Gone. It was right there when I went inside.

Here it was, in the fence at the bottom of the parking lot. I have a farm bell there too. It's now on the ground. Fence bashed in. BUT, at least, it is on the side of the gates! I can still open them. BUT, it still willnot start. AND, yesterday, like a big dummy, I filled up the back tank and decided to go ahead and fill up the front tank too. I looked and it was nearly at a hundred $. And still not full. I looked to see if there was gas on the ground. But no. I stopped it at $100 even. And it took 27 gallons and still didn't fill up the front tank. Oh well.

This is what the fence looks like. That's the garden gate. That's the bell post. And that's the bell, on the ground. And it WAS in park.

If I had not been crying over all this other stuff going on with the goats and sheep, I would have cried some more. But it's a little bit funny, really. So I am laughing. Just because it feels better right now. And my mom is coming out to get me and take me to Mrs. T's, where I am back to work on Fridays again. And I will see if I can possibly borrow her car til my Trooper is fixed.

So there is light at the end on my tunnel. And it's spitting snow! Have a great weekend, y'all!