Saturday, April 6, 2013

It works!

I went out this morning and put the new Premier fence up. I got it all hooked up and was wondering hoe to tell if it was working or not. About that time, I heard a big ole yelp and saw poor Stella running for her life. Yes, it works! So got the gate open and the sheep piled out. They ran around a bit, then one by one, they touched the fence. Because what's on the other side is better, right? I am so sorry, but this is the funniest thing I have ever seen. When sheep get bit, they leap up in the air and jump through the yard. Then all the others go running to see what happened to them. I know, I have a sick sense of humor. It hurts. I have gotten bit a few times. It ain't fun. But when it happens to someone else, it's just too funny.

So I think in a few days, this will be all eaten down. It's the front yard, where the septic tank is. I mowed this in early Feb. Not since. And it's very tall and lush and green. Why doesn't the rest of my farm look like this?

I will be using this fence to do the intense rotational grazing. I so hope that this will help keep the parasite problem down. Plus the Diotemacious Earth, kelp and minerals they are getting. I think they are all looking really good for not having much to graze on yet.

You can see here how tall and pretty the grass is here.  And they have plenty of room to keep them all busy.

 I did have to add some of the field fence here at the end to make it reach to the fence. So far, so good.

This is the energizer bunny. It's amazing! Like a secret agent case, full of goodies. I was a little intimidated at first, but it has great instructions on the lid and was really easy. I did all by myself!

This is the inside. So cool, right? I was wondering how I was going to tell if it was working, before I let the sheep out. About then, I heard the loudest yelp. Stella must have been sitting beside the fence when I flipped the on switch and got bit. Poor girl. I had to thank her for her help.

So I think this just might be the thing I have been needing here to help keep the sheep where I want them. I've had one of these before, but without the energizer. So I sold it. Wish I had it back now. I may need to get another one. I want to keep the chickens in one going after the sheep to eat the poop and spread it around to fertilize the pasture. Isn't it amazing how one thing helps another?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eggs and fences and kindred spirits

I finally got an egg from the 2 hens in the tractor today! I had lifted the top a few days ago and left it open for a few minutes. Kansas told me a few had gotten out. The rooster and 2 hens. Out. All over the yard. I grabbed some feed and got them in the coop. And they've been there ever since. I keep forgetting to get them back in the tractor. But I did get one egg yesterday from one of the cooped hens. So 2 eggs in 2 days! And after paying $5  for a dozen eggs at the farmer's market Wed.

Also got my Premier sheep netting fences and energizer electric fence I ordered on Wed. That was fast. I'm going to put up one of the fences out in the front yard and let the sheep mow it for me tomorrow. See how the fence works. Each one is 164'. I am planning on putting one up and putting the sheep in it. Then putting the other one up next to it to let them into it after a few days. I'll have to see how that works. That energizer is too cool. I hope I can get it working. I'll take pictures and post again when it's up.

And had some people come over tonight to see about getting goat milk and cheese. So some new customers. And some new friends. I feel like I have met some kindred spirits. They are into fermenting too! So they want to come back and learn how I do it. So fun! I love meeting kindred spirits. Right away, I liked them all. Like I've known them forever. I am finding that there are a lot of people like this around. I have been meeting them all over. And even right here on my blog. I feel like all of you who leave comments are kindred spirits too. So many people doing the same things I am. Sharing what they learn. Learning form others. We need this now. More than ever. Kindred spirits.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


 I have always wanted to find some stinging nettles. I have yet to see any. So last week, when I saw that one of the farmers at the market was going to have some, I went. There was a man in front of me and he got the last 2 bags. Just like that, gone. And I was SO close!

So this week, I got there early. I was the 3rd person in line. I grabbed 2 bags! I was so excited to finally have stinging nettles in my hand.

But even more exciting was having them already picked and in a bag! Man, those things DO sting! And I am still stinging. But I really would love to find a wild patch and pick them anyway.

So last night, I sauteed some with some baby collards and garlic. Pretty good.

But I have also heard that dried nettles makes some good tea. So I am drying some. But first I put some fresh in a pot and boiled it for some fresh tea. I love it. It's really good. So next week, I will try to nab some more. She said she should have a lot more then. So this and dandelion tea, I should be good to go.

Let me know what you think of these prickly little buggers.  Have you ever had any? Have you ever picked any? How do you eat them? Tell me, please. I want to know all about them.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


She's getting bigger. If I get this right, she should be due the end of April. I sure wish she'd have been sooner. But that's ok. I can't wait to see her kids now. After Penelope's little cuties, I know Sandy's will be adorable. I think they are already sold too.

Magic sheep?

Or just a stupid shepherd. 

Yesterday, I put the sheep at the far end of the garden. You can see it here at the end, near the road. It's a pretty big area where we used to have hundreds of strawberry plants. Now there are 6 apple and 3 pear trees. And lots of grass. 

So I got my husband to stand by the gate that goes out the driveway and then when the sheep go in, to get behind them and make sure they go straight and not detour into the garden. Where I have cabbage and broccoli. Well, of course they did exactly that. And ate about 6 of the cabbage plants in about 5 seconds flat. We did finally get them all down there and the gate shut. Darn sheep.

Then after taking hubby back to his truck in Atlanta, I got some fence and more posts. I did this this morning. Put fence all along the garden down to the bottom yard. The sheep can mow all this for me. 

BUT, after a few minutes of the sheep being up here, I saw 2 lambs in the garden. I thought they must have gone under the fence. So got them back over and checked the fence. I really didn't see any place where they could get under. So a little while later, I'm standing out there watching them and saw one of the same lambs, Biatrix, go right through the fence into the garden. Like magic, right through the fence. I ran and got her out again and really looked close where I saw her go through.

And this is what I found. A little opening just right for a lamb to walk right through. What about that? I had to use this piece of older fence to get it all the way to the other fence. And forgot there is this little opening in it. SO, I got another little fence piece and fixed that little problem. Darn shepherd!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Milking Zarah. Or not.

So this is what Zarah's udder looked like this morning after putting the kids up for the night. And Ella Belle was out this morning. Apparently she had just gotten out. If you look real close or zoom in, you can see her teats. About maybe 1 1/2" long and the size of a pencil width. I could get 1 finger plus the thumb on them. She was tight as a drum. And SO hard to milk. I have not even attempted to milk her since I had wormed her with the Dectomax 4 weeks ago. And it has a 32 day milk withdrawal time.

So, between her kicking and raising her feet or else just plain sitting down like a dog on top of the bucket, I was plum worn out. She did not like this or want anything at all to do with it. I even tried to get Ella to come in and nurse some. But what happens when you actually WANT a kid to nurse on the stand?? Nothing. She ran around and played hide and seek and "catch me if you can", which of course I couldn't in the milk room. Too much to get behind and under. So, after about 20 minutes of me not wanting her to think she was gonna win this first round, I quit. Went and got Ira Joe out of the stall. They both tried to nurse but she only stood still for a few seconds. They did some more for a little while, while I watched. I sure don't want Zarah to get mastitis.

So, a few days ago, a friend in Tn. called about a milking machine she had just bought from a man near her up around Nashville. He makes these machines. For $175.00. Everything except the battery, which is only a little more. She milks about 9 goats and she is loving this machine. It filters and cools the milk. Really nice. Well, when she called, I thought I didn't need a machine. But after this morning, I called the guy. I told him about Zarah's small teats and he said he didn't think the suction things would stay on such small teats. But he said he'd look for a smaller size. Because I think I really want one now. Just for Zarah. Because I am worn out and it was NO fun at all. For her or me. And I don't want her to hate this.

So my 1st day of April has not turned out so good. Like the guy suggested, get the kids up on the stand and let them nurse some milk out, then try again. Sounds like a plan, if the kids will do it. They should be hungry enough to. I was so hoping that Zarah would take after her mother Abby. Maybe next time? She is a first freshener.


Easter Sunday was a day of sunshine and rain. Off and on again. I saw lots of little green plants coming up in the garden, like collards, kale and mustard. Some lettuce and radishes too. I always like to see that. I was getting a little worried that I planted too early. But with all the rain and sun, things just happen.

I would have liked to have had lots of flowers on the table. But the daffodils started blooming way back in Jan. so none of them. But did find lots of henbit, which I was excited about for the bees. But they don't really stand out in vases. I have lots of dandelion though, but didn't want to take too many. I put those on the runner along with yellow Peeps. I just love yellow and white in early spring. 

This is one of my ram lambs I had butchered a month ago. I marinated it in olive oil, crushed garlic and fresh rosemary overnight. Then put it in the oven at 400 for about 35 minutes, then turned it down to 200 for a few hours, Took it out and let it rest for about 30 minutes. It was SO good. I didn't think anyone would eat any, but it went pretty fast. It's like good roast beef. Red in the middle and tender and so juicy. It was a 6 pound leg. I have another one in the freezer. But was very happy how it turned out.

And here are the grand kids. Coryn is on the left. She's 11. Chloe is in the middle. She'll be 14 the end of May. And Kansas will be 10 the end of April. So we decided to let them all hunt eggs. I wanted to hunt eggs too. I still love doing that. It's so fun.

So we had a great day together. My youngest daughter Abby and her husband rode their motorcycle down to Pensicola, Fla. for the weekend so they missed us. We really missed them too. But Abby will probably come tonight for left overs. Mom made a Watergate cake that was SO good. And I made banana pudding, my husband's favorite.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. And have a great week too.