Thursday, October 15, 2015

Around the farm...

Sometimes life just gets busy. This week has been one of those busy weeks for me. And it seems like it will be busy for awhile.

I did squeeze in some time to put up some pickled radishes. After going all the way to Hixson to get honey yesterday. I picked the radishes Monday and washed them. I didn't want to use my honey in case they weren't all that good. And I just have a little over a quart left anyway. So I got 7 pints done this morning. Took 2 to my daughter and her husband and 1 to my mom. They have to be kept in the fridge and eaten within a month. If anyone wants the recipe, I'll be glad to post it here. They look good.

I've also gotten some kale in the freezer, along with some Asian greens a friend gave me. Also about 20 qts of bell and banana peppers in the freezer. And about 12 jars of hot peppers canned.  And these pepper plants are still making more!

I went ahead and got a round bale of hay for the sheep and alpacas Monday. I'm having to put them in the South pasture during the day because the silly hens had started laying eggs in the corner of the middle stall. So when all the sheep are packed in there eating hay, the hens didn't lay for a few days. So I thought I'd just put them next door during the day to eat the grass over there, then put them back over here at night, after I put the chickens up for the night. But no eggs for 2 days now. They might have found another spot to lay, I just haven' found it yet.

That little black bird to the right is the youngest chick. It's a hen! Jet black. She stays by herself most of the time now. Poor baby.

These are the 2 older chicks. The one on the left is the hen. She's jet black too and so pretty. The other one is a rooster. They hang out together. I need to find the roo a home soon. He hasn't crowed yet. They're about 6 months old now.

I got the garden area all mowed this afternoon. So had to show off the garden. And the view is so pretty. There's still Mexican sunflowers. The butterflies are all over them still.

Everything is doing great so far. Been eating lettuce, kale, radishes and turnip greens. I pulled up a few turnips for the husband today.

There are flowers on the bean plants! I hope we don't get a frost this weekend. Supposed to get down to 40 or so Sat. night. There's kale coming up to the right of the beans here.

Walking around the yard I saw some clematis flowers blooming. They are so pretty.

                                                                   Mexican sunflowers.

These are some wildflowers blooming in the grape vines next to the bee hive. The bees love them. They are still bringing in pollen. So I haven't started feeding them yet. They are still also all over the buckwheat too.

Here are the sheep in the south pasture. There is still some green down under all this brown. They love it over here. That first tree is a persimmon tree. Every time I let them out here, they all run to the tree and eat the fruit on the ground. I read somewhere that persimmon is poison the sheep. I don't know about that.

And the goats. Good grief that Freja is the noisiest goat ever. I was going to leave her and Olga in with the buck for awhile, but no, I can't. I have to put them both back in with Alva and Inga for the night. It's pitiful. The littles just hang out at the fence watching the others, all day. And when it starts getting dark, they all go crazy. So I put the big girls back in with the littles every night now. When I put them back in with Oden, it's like he's never seen them before. Absence truly does make the heart grow stronger. (I have started milking Freja again. Getting almost a qt. each time. I guess I'll keep milking her til Dec. Good milk is expensive.)

Friday, I am at Mrs. T's all day. Then have to go back Sat. evening for a few hours til the night caretaker comes in. Then back again Sunday morning til 7 that night. This is crazy. I have got to find another person to help fill in here. I am pooped!

I've also decided I'm not going to do the Valley Fest fair Saturday. I just can't get into the idea of going. All the packing up, then unpacking and setting up. Ugh, I just don't want to right now. I hope I can get motivated to go back to the farmer's market soon.

I am going to a fiber fair in Asheville N.C. the end of the month though. SO looking forward to getting away for a few days.

Monday, October 12, 2015

And so it begins...

 Yep, I just put Olga and Freja in with the buck this morning. I thought that would be better for everyone this way. They seem to be doing better with both girls together. And Oden is happy. So here we go. Hopefully the middle of March, there will be kids at Outback Farm again!

The only ones not happy right now are Inga and Alva. I wish I could find somewhere to take them for a few months. They are SO noisy. I really wish I had not gotten them at all. I can't breed them til next year.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Stinky Stella. And other stuff.

This dog loves to be dirty. And the stinkier the better she thinks.

She had 2 baths this week. I think I'll just quit doing that. Because she just goes and rolls in the dirt. Or a dead animal. She did that a few days ago. I had found a dead possum out in the chicken yard a few weeks ago. Stella had been out all night and I think she killed it. She's good at that. I threw it over the fence and forgot about it. Til I saw it back in the yard a few days ago. Well, just some fur and bones. But that's all it takes apparently, for a good roll for Stella. She came in the house and I about got sick from the stench. She was all dirty and greasy looking. And STUNK so bad! So, back to the hose for a good scrub down. Again. So her new name now is Stinky Stella.

I went to a therapy dog meeting last night at Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga with my mom. She has a little tiny Chihuahua named Bella. She's been taking her to obedience classes for being a therapy dog. We got there a little early and real soon, the room was full of dog people. We talked to several women sitting near us. They all had pictures of their sweet cute dogs on their cell phones. It was something, being in a room full of at least 80 dog loving people. It's called H.A.B.I.T. and they are just in Tn. right now. They do go to schools and a few mental hospitals and are now at TC Thompson's Children's hospital and in the cancer ward. They really needed volunteer therapy dogs for the cancer patients because the childrens  hospital is full of volunteers right now. They might get to go once a month. But they wanted at least 6 per day 6 days a week for the cancer ward. I was really surprised at all the people that showed up.

We went to an open house for a tiny house community that's starting up in Chatt. too. The house was a little over 500 SF. Really tiny. They were getting ready to build about 8 more behind that house. With a shared parking lot. Really cool. I am hooked on all the tiny house shows on tv right now. If it was just me, I'd live in a tiny house. But my husband would take up most of a tiny house. I'd also need a whole other tiny house for a studio, because there's no way I'd get all my wool and soap stuff in just one. But they are so cute and cozy.

I also downsized my bee hive yesterday. I was told to have just 2 hive boxes during the winter, so they don't have to work harder to keep empty boxes and space warm. When I went out to take off a few, I was hoping to get some honey. But the 2 honey supers I had put on during summer were both empty. And the bees were very nice too. I had suited up good this time, just in case. I could have just worn regular clothes though. No problems at all. The 3rd honey super had plenty for them to eat on for winter. Plus, they are still bringing in pollen right now. I have not had to start feeding them yet.

I will be working all weekend at Mrs. T's. We had to fire the weekend care giver. Plus 2 of the others are going on vacations. And the other one has been out for 2 weeks. It's just me and 1 other this weekend. I hope Betty can come back for her regular days next week. I need to hire a few others, just for back ups. The one back up we have is working Friday and Saturday nights. It's pretty stressful, being a manager and caregiver. But I do get a lot of knitting and crocheting done while I'm there.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A sad day.


Yesterday, i had some friends come help me load up the 2 sheep to take to the butcher. I know that's why I do this. I know that's what these animals are for here. But that doesn't make it easier. I raised these guys from birth. I bottle fed them and their 2 sisters. They were the nicest ram lambs ever. Always came to see me and get lots of love. And give it too. They were sweet guys. So it kind of hurt to say good bye to them.

When I got home later, my husband said he had to bury Sybil, our white cat. He ran over her. He had gone out to the truck, turned it on, then went to open the gate. He had seen her under the truck and figured she'd move when he turned it on. She didn't. She was getting old and had some problems. She was also a bit deaf. But she always moved. Not this time. I will miss her. She was probably 9 years old. We've had 6 cats for years. The first one to die was Alex. He died earlier this year. So we have 4 left. And they are all pretty old too. I never really was much of a cat person. But they kind of grow on me. She is buried next to Sophie and Zoe, out in the garden. RIP Sybil. We loved you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Goat escapes.

Yesterday afternoon, Freja was VERY loud out back of the studio. She went on for a good 10 minutes before I looked to see what was wrong. She's a very noisy goat, that one. She is about 1/4 Nubian. And she got the loud mouth! She's a bit of a tattle tale, actually. She lets me know things that the others are doing.

So I went out there to see what she was trying to tell me. She was all by herself. I couldn't see the others anywhere. So we walked over to the fence, where the littles usually go through. Still didn't see them. Then they came running when they heard me. Freja went through the big wide opening. Then they all got busy on all that wonderful stuff out there.

That's Oden, the buck, laying down in his yard.

This is Freja and Oden. They are fine like this when they aren't in the same yard together. Like this morning. I put Freja in with Oden. She sort of acted like she was in heat. For a few minutes. Oden was all over her. But then she just would not shut up. I don't know what I'm going to do with these 2 does.

This is what the 2 little girls have been doing the past few months. They go right through the electric fence. They have really been doing a great job. Olga and Freja never have gone out there.

Til this happened a few days ago. The pallet fell down. And see that huge gaping hole there between the chain link fence and electric fence? It's huge! So the other 3 went out yesterday. But not Freja. I think she was afraid to pass through the electric. She's been bit a few times too many I guess. But I went through, then she did. Then they all took off too far. But that's fine.

So I have started drying Freja up today. I also gave her some Cydectin. She was acting a little droopy and not eating much.Then I really need to get this breeding going soon. I might have to take the 2 littles up the road for awhile so I can put Oden out there with the big girls. It's so much to think about.

I also took my 2 wethers to the butcher this morning. I hate this part of having farm animals. Especially lambs. This was Click and Clack, The Tappit Brothers. O will miss them. Now I am down to just 10 sheep, 2 alpacas and 5 goats. Plus the 11 chickens. And 5 cats and 2 dogs. And a hive  of honey bees.

Life is always changing on a farm.

Monday, October 5, 2015


When I first met my husband, I didn't know how to cook anything but spaghetti. His mother taught me how to cook. And I had never eaten turnip greens or fried okra or pinto beans. Or even biscuits and gravy. I had a lot to learn when I married this man!

I did have the best mother in law ever. She taught me so much. And she was a really good cook. Nothing fancy ever came out of her kitchen. She had a small kitchen too. But she could feed an army. And sometimes did. On very little.

We'd go up to her house in Ozone, Tn. a lot when our kids were little. She'd make a little bed out of a drawer when they were babies. And she'd fix a big breakfast. Always biscuits and gravy, bacon, fried potatoes, eggs. And a few of her other kids would come eat. And their kids. Always a big breakfast. then when we were all finished with breakfast, we'd clear the table, wash the dishes, and get ready for dinner.

Always a big pot of pinto beans would go in a pressure cooker first. Then we'd peel lots of potatoes. Then fry chicken in a big electric cooker. Boil the potatoes. Make cornbread. And we almost always had turnip greens. She made THE BEST turnip greens ever.

She'd wash them real good. Then put them in a big pressure cooker for a little while. Then with the bacon grease in a cast iron skillet, she'd rinse off the greens and put them in the skillet. She's cut them up, add more grease and salt, then cook them to death. I always asked for greens when we came up to visit. I always try to make them like her, but they are missing something. They're good, just not as good as hers. And we'd also have green beans too. And most everything she cooked, she grew or raised herself. Oh, and always, big ripe red juicy tomatoes too! The best dinners ever.

So tonight, we are having turnip greens with some dandelion greens thrown in, field peas with rice of course, and fried okra, all but the rice I grew here. And corn bread too. Gotta have cornbread with greens, right? I am so hungry right now, just thinking about this dinner.

What's for dinner at your house tonight?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why do I need a buck?

Oh my goodness, the buck is back. He's been back 2 days already. I asked my husband when I got home yesterday if he'd checked on the goats or saw them at all. He said you mean that goat in the back yard that sounds like he's going to die any minute now? Yes, that goat.

He's been here since Tuesday morning and it's been awful. I mean, really. How loud and obnoxious can a buck be? He has not shut up the whole time.

The girls have not paid a bit of attention to him at all either. Which makes him get louder and more obnoxious. It's crazy. And it's been raining and he just stays in the corner, yelling at the girls. It's really pitiful.

I put Olga in with him this morning. She was not having that at all. And she let him know she was not staying in there with him. That lasted about 5 minutes. I felt sorry for the poor boy. She was not nice to him.

So yeah, it's breeding season. I know I have to have a buck in order to have milk. But really? He's disgusting, this guy.