Friday, December 30, 2011

Meet our newest resident...... FREEDOM

This has already been put to work pulling trees from the woods, a hay ride for our Fall Festival, and moving an electric pole that was given to us from the power company.
We were also given a little trailer. We have to get the title, and tag it, but it was free, and it is very sturdy!
Sure, it needs a little work, but, free is free! The frame, and tires are in great shape.
All of our animals were productive, plenty eggs, milk and meat for us for the winter. The Garden was not overly productive, but we were able to get enough to mostly get us through.
We were also blessed with the newest little member of our farm.... Meet   FREEDOM!
He is a miniature, stands about 36 inches at the shoulder. He was brought here today, from the rescue. He was found roaming in a park, in a large city. No one claimed him, so now he is here...and altho he is a little timid, he is sweet. I was able to get a brush to him today, and as I was brushing him he leaned into me. Yup, I am already in love with this little guy.  He has a case of the tomorrow I will be offering him some pumpkin to try to firm up his stools. I am hoping it is just from the stress of being in IACC and being moved here. It was a long ride for him, 1 1/2 hrs.
So, Freedom is home..and depending on his health over the winter, I will be working with him to pull a cart next spring.
Bring on the new year...I am looking forward already to getting into the gardens, planting fruit trees, and of course, our breeding pigs come spring!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The monster is GONE!

So, today started out as any other day...sorta...well, not really. I knew when I got up, this was going to be one of "those" days. I didn't get up until 07:30! Who sleeps that late!?? Surely not me! I guess the Holiday rush and bustle finally caught up with me. We spent most of yesterday in Ohio with my in-laws for a post Christmas dinner.There were 20 or so of us there, and we had a grand time....but, didn't get home until after 9pm. This meant late chores, late cleaning up, and late to bed. So, back to today....I was up at 07:30, and already behind on my day. Out the door at 8 am to feed animals. It had been raining all morning, and in the mid to upper 30's and was just cold! As I walked to the barn i had decided to pull a few handfuls of grass for Swanzilla. Well, as I started to walk through the edge of the garden, my foot sank deep into the mud, causing me to lose my balance, the the other boot went deep in the mud and as I stumbled trying to not fall, my boots both came off, and left me standing bare foot, yup, the socks stayed in the boots, in the mud and water. Just great, NOW I am fully awake...and cussing that swan. After all he is the reason I was in that predicament. So I stumbled around, trying to dry my feet on the little patched of dry pants I have, and get my socks and boots back on...and then head to the barn...the whole wile the sheep are standing in the rain, bawling at me to "hurry"  See, since the swan has been in the barn, the sheep won't go in for fear of the "monster hissing at them in the stall" Once in the barn, I gather my senses and get to the chores. Feed the buck and pig.....throw hay to them,,,feed the sheep, and throw hay to them...threw the grass and some grains to the swan..then grab Suzie and beg her to just get in the stanchion so I can get this over with. Milking done, and I head to the coops..feed and water them...and back to the house. Oh, and I didn't have to worry about putting up the milk, Suzie decided to step in the bucket, so, the milk went to the cats! UGH! Drink another cup of coffee, and head to town for feed. With the rain, I can only get 3 of the 9 bags I need, as they have to go in the front seat of my truck because of the rain. *sigh* As I am pulling in the drive, I get a call from the rescue. She has a name of a woman that rehabs water fowl. GREAT! So I get most of the feed put up, and come inside to call this woman. She told me if I can get the swan in the crate "soon" she will meet with me today, and take it. AGAIN, SWEET!  I head to the barn, to put up the last bag of feed, and to try to get Swanzilla in a crate. Luckily my neighbors son was outside, so I called to him for help. Ace is a funny kid, all of 16, going on 30. He is fearless, strong, and wise...just ask him! So he grabs the feed from my truck and we head into the barn, and I am explaining I have one more "job" for him, just about that time, swanzilla stands up, stretched out its massive wings, and hisses at us. Ace jumps and says, WHAT IS THAT!????? I said, THAT is your next job! HAha! I explain we need to get the blanket over the swans head, it will lay down, and we slide it into the crate. All the while, Ace is looking at me like I have lost my mind. He exclaims..." YOU want ME to get in there with THAT?" I giggled and assured him, he would be ok...if he moved swiftly...and explained to him, " I would, but you are more limber than I am, and faster, and stronger" ( haha) After a few minutes of him trying to get his nerve up, he says..." ok Swan, I am coming in, lets make this easy" He rushes in, throws the blanket AT the swan, and runs out. The Swan jumps, and stands on the blanket...daring us to come get it . So I had Ace the rake, he gets the blanket, and makes a second attempt. This time the blanket lands on the Swans head, and it lays down. I rushed in, holding the swans wings, and slide it into the crate. Woohoo! We did it and no one lost an eye! So, back on the road, its snowing, cold, I am wet...and the swan is on his/her way to a new home. I drove 40 minutes..but it was WAY worth it. Oh, and Friday, I will be getting a mini donkey. So excited! I just hope it will be easy to handle...and train to pull a day.

Friday, December 23, 2011

There's a MONSTER in my barn!

So today will no doubt, be etched in my mind forever. See...I got a call from the rescue a few days ago, about a swan. Apparently someone found a swan by the road, just laying they took it in to an Avian vet. The vet thinks this young swan, born last spring, must have hit a power line, and was knocked to the ground. It has a bit of an issue neurologically....but will recover. So, of COURSE, they want me to over winter this "poor bird" and, being the softie that I am, I agree. Now, I have NEVER had a swan before...nor do I know how to take care of one. So, I get on the internet, look up the care of swans, feeding, bedding, etc. And the swan was delivered to me today. Well, since it is having a few issues, I decided to put it up in the barn, in a stall, covered with fencing, to keep it in. I gave it a large water pail...and a pan of feed...set the crate in the stall..and took the door off. I half expected this monster to come diving out of the crate....flapping and hissing...ready to tear us all a new one. Nope, it just sat there...looking at we backed out of the stall, and left it to get used to its surroundings. A few hours later I looked out, and the sheep are standing at the barn door, looking in, and bawling. When I called to them, the sheep ran to the gate, bawling...telling me...there is a monster in the barn!!! So, I get my boots on, and head out there to check on our new resident. Once I go in the barn, the sheep followed...because you wont let anything happen to them. As I get to the stall, I realize the swan is still in the crate. Now I am worried maybe it cant get out! So, I enter the stall...cautiously....and grab the crate tipping it up and slide the swan out of the crate. It came out like a water balloon, just laying there in the straw. Knowing how mean they can be...I again backed out of the just watch it, thinking it will get up once I am out. Nope. It laid there just watching me take pictures of it. So, my bright idea...I got a broom handle, and gently poked at it through the stall first, just a few hisses...but it wouldn't get up. So, I "encouraged" it again...with a few gently pokes..when all of a sudden, this MONSTER jumps up and starts beating its 6 ft wing span at me and the broom stick, then grabs the stick in its enormous beak, and tries to wrestle it from my hands! OH NO WAY am I going to let go, and give this monster a weapon to use on me!  I used two hands and was able to get the broom stick away from the swan. Whew! I think I might have peed a little on that one. This is one BIG scary swan!!!! What is my "plan" for the swan?? Well, heck, I have NO idea. I know they can be I don't want it loose on MY pond. I also found out that being a Mute Swan, they are considered "invasive" and most states will allow farmers to shoot them. So, if I turn it loose next could be shot. So, for now, the plan is...feed it, and care for it through winter...hoping it gets stronger, ( just not stronger than me) and come spring we find it a new home.
Her are a few pictures of the "Monster in the barn"

Monday, December 12, 2011

One party down, 2 to go!

So last night we had our family Christmas party, with my family. Unfortunately my son and his wife and kids didn't make it. We sure missed them here. Had a good time tho with my sisters and their kids, and grand kids! Good food, good fun, and great memories. This morning the house is a wreck, so I will be cleaning later. My daughter stayed the night with her Husband, and will be leaving later today to go back home. So I will save the cleaning until they leave.
The men stayed in the family room for most of the afternoon watching the football game, unfortunately their team lost in the last 2 minutes. Booo hiss...LOTS of screaming coming from the family room. Us women and children sat up here laughing at the guys.
The mini Apple pies were a great hit! Only 3 left from the 15 I made.
Time to get to the kitchen...every one will be getting up soon, and hungry I am sure.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In a flurry of Ribbons and bows.

So, the last few days we have been in cleaning/decorating mode here. Today is the day all of my siblings will gather here in my home, with their children, grand children spouses...oh my! We have had about 4 days to get this finished. Yesterday I started on the baking, and hubby and I wrapped presents. This is the little tree we have in the family room. I decorate it in Themes...this year, blue,silver and white.
This next tree is in the Living room, where we all gather. This one has all of the ornaments that my children made over the years. They are of course all grown now.

Our Dining room hutch....ready for the Holidays.

The banana bread is finished, as are the apple pie I will make the chocolate chip cookies, get the veggie tray put together, and the fruit bowl. Run the sweeper, clean the kitchen after baking, and sweep and mop the kitchen..guests will be arriving around noon! It is almost 8 am, and I need to feed the animals...and it is only 16 degrees!! Brrr. I better get myself in gear..a fun filled busy day ahead!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


As I step out this morning, to do the animal chores..I am greeted with a crisp, frosty morning...everything is laced in white.....Oh, Who am I kidding?? IT IS COLD OUT THERE!!!! 22 degrees! Nothing even remotely romantic about that! Its the kind of cold where, you want to breath through your mouth, because you don't want frozen boogers....but, you don't want to breathe through your mouth, because the cold air makes you colder faster! JEESH! Water troughs are frozen, rain barrels are frozen..and now, my fingers and face is frozen.The ONLY good thing about this morning chores...was Suzie was warm. Well, until I started milking. She gave a little jump, and turned and smacked me with her head. OK, OK, I get it! I put my hands in my coat to warm them a bit before continuing. Once they were warmed up, she stood nicely for her milking. Luckily for me...and well, for the chickens too I guess...I had taken the water warmers out yesterday and had them plugged in. The chickens have fresh water. The pigeons....well...not so lucky. Had to break the ice from their dishes, and refill them. I opened the big doors on the coops, to let the sun warm it up a little in there. Today, I will be working IN the house, to get it finished decorated. Pics to follow....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter is coming....almost ready!

So, yesterday was an interesting day, to say the least. I had it all planned out. Yeah, we know how THAT goes. The "plan" Finish winterizing the coops, clean pine shavings, clean the barn in the morning, fix dinner, get hubby off to to work by 3. Go to town and pick up baking supplies...bake, then clean the kitchen, sweep and mop, shower and bed. Sounds like a good plan, right? Well, THAT didn't happen. Went to the barn, fed and watered animals....came back to put up the milk. Got it in the jar, labeled and picked it up to put it in the fridge...and the bottom fell out of the jar! Milk everywhere! On the counter, down the cabinet doors, IN the cabinets, covered the floor, stove, fridge, me... UGH! Took me almost an hour to get it all cleaned mopped, and disinfected. Sure don't want that smell of rotten milk in the kitchen. So, changed clothes, and decided to check mail...when the neighbors mom called. She needed a town to ride, soon! OK, so I will just go to town way earlier than planned. Got ready and went and picked her up, we ran to town. I was able to get her running done, and mine, and home by about noon, time to get dinner started. Hubby was up, and while I cooked dinner, he informed me he had gotten up early so we could get the Christmas deco down from the barn, but, because I was not home, it was NOW too late. DANG! Finished dinner, packed him up and got him off to work. By this time, I had to do laundry, milky towels and clothes....and I had just lost my momentum. Evening chores, everyone fed and the water heaters are installed in the coops. It was pretty cold last night, low 30's. SO I lost my momentum, didn't get baking done....but was able to get the pine boughs made for the front porch. I will finish them off with red bow's tonight. Today...we WILL get the Christmas out of the barn, and tonight I will get the tree up, and hopefully get this house decorated. Sunday, we are having our family Christmas get together here, and I have to get this place all festive, and baking done. Wish em luck! I have 4 days to get it all finished. Going to be a long few days....but I am excited. I LOVE decorating, and baking for the holidays. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Long day, met some great new friends.

So, today was a long day. Up at 06:30 out the door by 07:30 to do animal chores and quick! Today was the day to take the 5 pot belly pigs to their new home. After milking and feeding, and opening coops, I came inside to get my shower while Hubby was waking up. 08:45, we head out the door to load up the pigs. Juliette and the 2 little girls would ride together in one large crate. I was surprised how easily they went in. Then to get the boys in their crate....this of course didn't go as easily. Those 2 boys screamed like we were skinning them alive! The sheep ran from the barn fearing they were next. Silly sheeples. ( sheep people, they have great personalities) Finally get the 2 boys loaded, and in the truck, load up a few boxes of gourds and a feed sack of pumpkins. We're off and running, 09:10 am. On the road to Ohio. This was going to be a long day, 5 1/2 hrs one way. We took the piggies to a dear friend, Alycia, and her family. This was our first time meeting in person. What a lovely family she has! 6 kids!! Beautiful, sweet, well mannered children. Also was able to meet with another online friend for the first time. Everyone welcomed us was great!!  We had a good day...well....until we unloaded the piggies, and one of the little males escaped. Off he went into the wilderness....I am hoping he will go back once he realizes the others are still there. I wish we would have been able to stay and visit more, but we had a long drive home. Leaving Juliette there was the hardest, I had gotten pretty attached to her. I know she is in a great new home, but I still cried once we left.  Alycia made some apple pie cookies...Ohhhh, drool, yummy! I will definitely make some and post the recipe here later.
So, we are now home....trying to relax and shake off that long drive. Tomorrow is supposed to I will work in the barn cleaning up after the pigs, and getting the stalls freshened up. ( If you CAN freshen up after a pig) 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pigs and water heaters.

So, tomorrow is the big day for the pot belly pigs. They will be moving on to their new home. I have mixed feelings...oh, not because where they are going. I know they are going to a wonderful home. But they have been here for several months, heck, I saw the 4 little ones born...right here. Juliette ( the momma pig) is so sweet, and will follow me like a pup. However, they ARE rescues, and need to go to forever homes, so we can make room to help another that might come along.
So as I went out to feed, and move the crates in the pens...I scratched them and rubbed their ears...and fed them a few extra pumpkins. I explained how tomorrow might be scary, but that they are going to a great new home! Tomorrow morning we will load the 2 carries full of pigs, and a BUNCH of the pumpkins and gourds, and 2 little Bantam roosters, and hopefully head out by 9 am. It is a 5 1/2 hr drive, one way, so tomorrow will be a long day. The weather is supposed to be great tomorrow,  in the low 50's. Perfect weather for a drive.
 So after getting everyone in the barn settled..I went to close the coops. One of the 2 roosters I had in a pen together had somehow gotten over with the pen of white leghorns. Seriously, I have no idea how that happened. So, I went ahead and put the other rooster with them all, and I am now down to 2 pens of chickens. This makes my job a little easier. I grabbed up the 3 water dish warmers, and headed to the house. The last few morning I have had to break ice, and I detest breaking ice! Time to get the heaters up and ready. These little heaters are so easy to make, and work great! They are made from a cookie know, the ones you get at the Good Will store for like 50 cents. While you are there, pick up a few of those electric candle sticks, that goes on the window sill.  Make a hole, insert candle, wrap the hole with electrical tape, and pop the lid back on. I set the warmer on a cinder block, then set the metal chicken waterers on top of the warmer. The 3 will be plugged into one extension I can just plug in one every evening, and unplug them in the morning once it starts warming up. I have used these for a few years now, and even when the temps are below zero for a few chickens have fresh water.
I need to make a few more for the turkeys water dishes....the pigeons will get a heat lamp over their dish as will the ducks. Now all I will need to do to be ready is get the trough heaters in place...and put plastic over the windows. THEN I will be ready...physically...not mentally.

Busy day planned.

So, its cold...I mean...booger freezing COLD! I didn't want to go out to do chores this morning....Too early in the season to feel this way. We have a long winter ahead. I headed out, and was  taken aback by the beautiful sunrise. The sky glowed purple....everything was laced in frost. I didn't get pictures this morning, I was just too cold! LOL
Breaking the ice on the troughs was rough. That ice was a half inch thick....time to get the trough heaters out. I detest breaking ice! Broke a few pumpkins for the animals...and headed back inside to the warmth of a fire. After my coffee...I am headed back out to get all of the chickens water warmers....bring them INSIDE, and get them cleaned up and ready. I will get a few I go, I made these heaters with cookie tins, and candlestick lights. They really work well...keeping the big 2 gallon chicken waterers from freezing. I need to get more pine shavings for those messy ducks as well....someone please tell me...WHY did I want ducks!?? STINKY!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frosty mornings and warm coffee.

This morning as I get up and around, I peek out the window to see a heave frost. The thermometer reads 21 degrees. Brrrrr. I make a mental note of the extra chores involved with this cold. Breaking ice on 3 troughs, throwing extra hay, replacing wet straw bedding with dry. I settled in with my coffee as my mind wakes up. Clean out the wood stove, leaving just enough hot coals to restart the fire. The house is still warm, 72 degrees. The furnace is still the wood stove is doing its job. :) Fire blazing, time to head out. As I step out into the crisp morning air, my breath is taken away with the beauty. Everything is covered in a heavy frost. Shimmering in the morning little white diamonds.
As I head to the barn, I take slow steps just taking in the beauty. Once I get to the gate, my fingers ache knowing the chain is frozen, and icy cold.
The animals are all waiting for breakfast, softly calling to me as I enter the barn. Dishing out breakfast for them, I realize just how lucky I am to have them.
Suzie in her stanchion, I begin milking. Steam rises from the warm milk as it hits the bucket, and tickles my nose. The cat waits patiently for his helping of warm milk and I oblige.
Back to the house, I put away the milk and grab a cup of coffee...and head to the porch. There I am greeted by warm kittens with soft meows and purrs. As I sit with my warm coffee, and a kitten in my lap I look out across this farm and marvel at all we have been able to accomplish over the few years we have been here. We started with a nearly empty slate, and a lot of dreams. We are now up and running with those dreams providing ourselves with milk, eggs, meat, vegetables and fruits. Blood sweat and tears has built this little farm, laughter and love of this way of life has kept it going.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby its COLD outside!

As I wake up this morning, I remember...yesterday we had snow. Now, this was just a "warning snow" from Mother Nature. My son had told me that several of the "old timers" that come into his work, said... " whatever date we get the first snow on, we will have as many snowfalls this year" OK, so, it snowed on the 29TH! One woman had told my son, she has been following up with this theory for several years now, and has only missed twice by ONE day. So, between 28 and 30 days of snow!??? Oh, I do not like this at all! However, the first snow, was beautiful.
This was my view from the front porch. It was snowing pretty hard, so with my boots, hat, scarf, and head down, I headed to the barn for evening chores. All was quiet...peace had fallen with the snow, on the farm. Once I get to the barn, I look back towards the house...just beautiful!
It didn't amount to much, maybe an inch, but it makes everything so peaceful. I rushed through my chores, fingers frozen from dipping water for the inside buckets. Poor Suzie sure doesn't like the snow, not one bit! She bawled and complained the whole way to her stall. Once inside, with fresh straw, and a bowl of grains...she settled in for the night. Back to the house, the dogs were wanting to get out to see the snow as well. My little Muncher, LOVES SNOW!!! Here he is trying to bury his face in the dusting of snow. He is so funny to watch, he will put his nose to the ground, and make like a snow plow, running along piling snow on his nose, then jump up and flip it in the air and try to catch it. What a silly little dog.
Everyone settled in for the evening...I get the fire going, and settled in to get some spinning caught up on. I have 5 or 6 big bags of raw wool I need to get spun, and winter time is the best time to do it, by the fire.
This morning....the snow is melting...and the mud is resurfacing. YUK

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cold fingers and wet feet!

When I woke this morning, I could hear the rain...still. With a stretch and a yawn, I climb out of bed and make my way tot he kitchen. Coffee...MUST have coffee! After getting the dogs and fire taken care of...and downing my first cup of is time. You know, THE head out in the cold rain and take care of the outside animals. So, I put on my trusty boots. The big black rubber boots, the ones who will lead you with reckless abandon into deep puddles of water and...well, whatever else lays ahead. I grab my hoodie and milk pail, and off I go into the cold wet morning. I am not afraid...I will be warm and "dry" First stop, feed the barn kitties. I'm not sure why we call them barn cats, when every time I look out, there they are, on the front porch, in the rocking chair, on the swing...barn cats, MY FOOT!
Cats fed and the porch I go, headed to the barn. Now we have had so much rain here lately, I think Noah would be scared! Thinking I might should build that big boat I have thought about. Splashing through the puddles in the driveway...small puddles...maybe an inch high, I am thankful for my "trusty" boots. As I head across the small field to the barn, the water is deeper. That's OK, my boots are mid calf boots..and the water isn't that deep. Splashing through, I realize, my feet are getting cold. That water must be near freezing.  I tread on...nearing the gate...I can not get over how cold my feet are...then I boots MUST have a leak! I have sprung a leak, the water is coming in!!! The socks are going down. Poor socks, they were fairly new, and have been good, they lay in a wet crumpled mess around my wet cold feet. Good grief! I rush through the morning chores in the barn, crack a few pumpkins for everyone...and stuff a few of the smaller ones in my pockets for the chickens. Back through the pasture with a now milk laden pail....pockets full of pumpkins...and wet feet. The rain is picking up, so my coat is soaking through. The winds picked up and blew my hat off, and I now have wet hair...cold, wet hair! My pace quickens as I head to the coops. Once inside the coop I stop and rest a minute, huffing and puffing from the cold air, and practically at a jog to get in out of the wind and rain. The ducks are standing there looking at me like I am some sort of monster. The goose gives the warning call..and everyone runs outside. I guess I was a sight to see....wet and huffing and puffing. Fill the feeders....and head to the chicken coop. There I am greeted with a little more love. The chickens see the pumpkins and run to their doors waiting on me to crack them open for them. I crack them against a cinder block by the door. My fingers are cold, and of COURSE I miss the first blow with the pumpkin and scrape my knuckles across the cinder block. SON OF A GUN that hurts!!! I toss the pumpkins to the chickens who could really care less if I now have bleeding knuckles. Time to head back to the house to my warm fire....and coffee. Put up the milk...drink my Kefir...and go looking for dry clothes and socks and wash my wounds.  It is nice to be inside....warm and dry....but they are calling for snow tonight. Need to get some kindling into the garage so it can dry out. I am thinking potato soup...yes, warms the body inside and out.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rain rain, GO AWAY!!!

So, it has been raining so many days now I can not remember. All I know is.....poop soup. Everywhere! Duck yards, chicken and turkey yards, pig yards especially... ( YUK) and the 3 pastures are flooding. I think even the ducks are over it. They spent most of today in the coop. I knew it was going to rain all day, so I took more pumpkins to the chickens. They really enjoyed it. I put the pumpkin in the coops this time, since they would be spending all day in there with the rain.
This afternoon I went to the town over with my son, daughter in-law, and 2 grand babies, and we went Christmas tree shopping for them. They picked out a beautiful tree, and we got it set in the stand before I left. By the time I got home, it was dark..and raining of course, so the evening chores were done by flashlight. I couldn't wait to get inside and get a warm fire going...get my shower, and in warm jammies. Tomorrow they are predicting snow in the evening. I am sure it wont stay, too wet! Still need to get the decorations up...if it ever stops raining long enough for us to get them from the barn. Hoping to get them all out Thursday, and get the trees up, the house decorated, and the front yard set up. I just love decorating for Christmas!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a job, but them pigs are happy!!!

So it took me a little while to get it all laid in for winter...But I was able to finish. Whew! Back breaking work, and I am sore...but it is a great feeling.
The pigs sure seemed to enjoy all my work. They were slurping up the mushy pumpkins like soup.
I took a few to the chickens as well...they acted like they were starving. Guess a good mushy pumpkin goes down well on a cool crisp fall day.

Free for the asking

So, there is a little country store a little ways from me, that had all of these pumpkins and gourds for sale, sitting outside. I knew a lot of them would be frozen, rotten, mushy...and would be perfect feed for the animals. I stopped in and asked and they said I could hall all I wanted. :) I loaded up my little S10 and headed home with a big cheesy smile. This will help on the feed bill through winter. Like I posted this morning....I am blessed!!!!

The day after

So, as I hear my alarm clock ringing...I realize my snuggle time with my blanket is over. THIS makes me sad. I sit up and stretch away the sleepiness....then head to the coffee pot. Oh yes, First things, dogs, then me. While taking the dogs out I get the wood stove going again...there are still hot embers in there from last night, and it is still 72 degrees in the house. Nice. Toss in a handful of kindling and WHOOSH! It takes off. Just added a few smaller pieces, then a nice log...that will keep it going for a while. I settle in with my coffee, and E Mail....still wiping the sleep from my eyes. Before I know it, my coffee is gone. Dang, must be time to head out.  I gaze at the thermometer, 32 degrees...brrrr.  I grab my milk bucket, and a scoop of kitty food and head out the door. I am greeted with meow's and purrs. My steps are quick in the morning crispness...then I stop, and take in a deep breath. Nice...the sun is coming up, the air is crisp...and I am feeling great! So, I take my time getting to the barn, and enjoy the walk this morning. Of course I can almost read the sheep's minds...."why is she walking so slow?? Doesn't she know we are hungry?? " As they stare at me from the gate. Once in the barn, I am greeted by the warm smells of the animals, and little grunts and baah's. A smile crosses my face....I am truly blessed. Bowls are filled, buckets are filled, hay is thrown, and Suzie is milked and let out to the pasture. She too likes the crispness of the morning air and shows it with a hop and a skip in her step, kicking up her heels. She always makes me giggle when she carry's on like that.
Back inside, poke the fire a bit, and grab my second cup of coffee....listening to the ducks and chickens telling each other their morning plans. The house is quiet...and warm...and I have to say...yes, I am blessed!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Big Sigh,,,,,ahhhhhhh.

So, the turkey has been stripped....everything that is left is resting in their own little bowls in the fridge. The desserts are on the counter....begging me to take just one more bite..I can't..I'm stuffed like that turkey was!! The kitchen is clean...there is a fire in the wood stove...everyone has gone home hubby has settled in with football..and I have my coffee. As I went out to do the evening chores, I had to step over the bodies of 5 little kittens with big round bellies....laying on the front porch. They too are stuffed from the scrapings of the turkey. They all lay there big bellies, sleepy eyes, and there is still turkey in their pan! I think they are all content. :)
As I sit here at the end of the table....I see in a basket at the other end...the clover leaf rolls I made for supper. I can hear them scream to me through the plastic bag....COLD TURKEY SANDWICH....YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE!!!! I can not!! I must not....I probably will. Later!  So, our Thanksgiving went well...we have a LOT to be thankful for. A roof over our heads, food in our pantry, and the comfort and love of friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

So, the day is finally here. We rush around for days before, making preparations, cleaning, baking....then, the day comes. THE day. Turkey day! Or, maybe some of you like ham, or both? We usually just have Turkey with our small crowd. 8 to 10 people. My daughter came in last night with her hubby, and was up with me this morning helping with all the prep. She diced onions and celery, while I did animal chores. By the time I came in she was breaking bread, and ready to mix the stuffing.The turkey is in the oven... the corn and green beans are simmering, the rolls are rising, sweet potato's are bubbling away in the other oven. ( Yes, I have 2 ovens, one is built into the wall) The vegetables are cleaned and cut and on their trays. The table is set...and now we can take a break while everything cooks. Whew! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and friends, and good food. Parade time!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Like most of you out there, I am sure, you have been in a frenzy this last day to get ready for Thanksgiving. We always have a big dinner here with as many family members as we can assemble. This year it will be quite small. 7 adults and 2 children. However, this did not stop me from getting into the baking mood. I have been baking for 2 days...and just drizzled the last dessert with chocolate.
We have Pumpkin bread.....Banana Nut Bread...Banana Nut bread with chocolate chips and chocolate drizzled on top...Russian tea cakes....Buckeyes....Chocolate Chip cookies...pumpkin pie and Apple/Cherry pie. I can't believe I was able to get it all finished in 2 days! Tomorrow, we will all eat WAY too much...then go for a long walk...come in and take on the desserts and coffee, and hopefully get the Christmas tree up. Then, comes my Favorite Holiday!! I just LOVE decorating for Christmas. We have so many outside lights to put up, it takes us a few days to get them planted and wired. :) Well, I have cleaning to
I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recipes and rain!

So, the sugar free Banana Bread went over well with hubby. Being it was wheat flour, I thought it a little dry, just warmed it up and added lots of butter...ahhh, MUCH better!

I will definitely make this for my Father in-law. Might add another egg to fluff it up some, and a little more applesauce, for moistness.  Eh, who knows. So then this morning I made the Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie. This recipe called for Splenda. I DETEST the stuff, but FIL uses it in everything. Hubby likes it..but I didn't care for it. I can taste the splenda, yuk!

I made another pumpkin pie, with real sugar, for Thanksgiving, but had to throw it in the freezer so it stays fresh. Then I started on the chocolate chip cookies. Done! Whew! Tomorrow, buckeyes,Cherry Pie, Russian Tea Cakes.
So today was another day of rain...and lots of it!  Getting poor Suzie from the barn to the pasture was a chore in itself. She does not like to walk in water, and well, there is water everywhere. Once in the pasture, she ran to the shelter and bawled most of the day. I broke down and took her back to the barn, to her nice clean dry stall.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, so maybe she will want to be outside...she is going to have to be, I need to clean her stall, and run to town, and bake, bake, bake! My daughter and her husband will be coming in tomorrow evening and spending the night. They have a 4 hr drive one way, I am just glad they will be here. I miss her so much!!
Little Juliette was a pill today, she was able to escape her pen 2 times! Juliette is the pot belly pig momma. She just wanted to get out in the pasture and graze...but I need her to stay in her pen. She chases the sheep when she gets out there with them. It is funny to watch, for a few minutes, but I do feel sorry for the sheep. Luckily little Juliette is sweet tempered and tame...she will just follow me back to the barn and into her yard. Hopefully weekend after this all the pot belly pigs will be going to their new home. I am excited!! Their new momma is excited to get them there as well.
Well, that's another day here on this little farm...not too much excitement...thankfully. Time to get some shut eye and get ready for another busy day tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trying out new recipes.

Today I am trying out a new recipe, for sugar free Banana bread. This recipe is perfect for diabetics, as it uses wheat flour! I have it sitting on a wire rack now, cooling. Looks good. I wont get to the sugar free pumpkin pie tonight...will have to get to that tomorrow. Let me tell you why........
When I went out to do the evening feedings...of course it was raining. Now, little Fred and Suzie have been together all day, chasing each other, running through mud, head butting...just having a grand time. So, I want to put Suzie in the barn at night...She didn't want to leave Fred's side. She would take a few steps towards me, then Fred would call her and she would stop, and look back at him. Poor Suzie, torn between what to do. I was finally able to lure her through the gate....she decided she would thank me by rubbing all along my back side and legs. YUK!! Stinky wet buck smell. Get everyone fed and bedded down for the night in the barn so I headed to the poultry. Oh the SMELL!!!! Wet warm chickens.....ugh! I am definitely going to have to go buy more pine shavings..another day. So, I gather the eggs, check feeders, get them all bedded in and head for the ducks. When it rains, I really...really don't like going in there. Even in mud boots, its...well.....poop soup and it is DEEP! As I get to the yards, I realized 2 of my Turkeys are in the duck pen. Just great! I go in, trying to stay on my feet in the slop..and start waving my arms slowly to herd the turkey's back into the coop,, and into their pen. Not even thinking...I have on a black sweatshirt...I must have looked like a big scary monster to them. This sent them into a flurry. Ducks screaming and running, turkeys flapping their wings and running....poop soup....flying everywhere! In my hair...on my face...Ohhh, I detest rain!!!! Finally get everyone where they belong, and locked in. Grab up the duck eggs, and head to the house, tripping over 5 kittens wanting the eggs. Of course, they knew exactly what they were doing...plop goes one duck egg on the ground. I stop and watch as they are lapping it up and asked if they were happy now and again head towards the house, only to be met by 3 of the larger cats..I think with the same plan...I am one step ahead of them..I took the dirtiest egg, and threw it on the ground for them. Now I have a clear path to the house. No need to hurry, even tho it is raining, I am already nicely coated in buck perfume with a splash of duck poo,just lovely! Inside I get the eggs put away and head straight to the shower..must remove the smell!!!
Nice and clean...warm...I get a small fire going in the wood stove and head to the kitchen to try one of the recipes for sugar free banana bread. This recipe uses wheat flour, so I get out the wheat berries and get to grinding. My banana bread is now cooling on a wire rack...looks and smells great! Tomorrow I will try the sugar free pumpkin pie. These recipes are for my Father In-Law for Thanksgiving. relaxing with a cup of coffee and ready to call it a night after I finish cleaning the kitchen, and wrap the bread once it cools and of course after I take a sample.  I will report back in the morning on my results.. :)

pies, breads and chocolate!

So, the weekend after Thanksgiving, we will head to Ohio to my father in laws. I will be fixing a Thanksgiving dinner for all the family there. This is the first Thanksgiving since mother in law passed. Since FIL is diabetic, I am going to try a few new recipes this week for him. Sugar free Banana bread, and sugar free Pumpkin pie. Oh, and Fudge babies...I want to have a few "sweet" treats for FIL as well.
So, I better get to baking.....hubby gets to be the official tester. :) Fred..

So I get to the barn this morning...and get the pigs and sheep all fed, then move my sites to Suzie, who is patiently waiting her turn, food and to be milked. She normally jumps right into the stanchion and starts munching her breakfast. This morning, she jumps in....then out....then back in, smells her food, then tries to get out before I secure her. Once secured, she settled in for milking. She is antsy, tail wagging, whimpering. Oh, I know what this means...Suzie wants a date! After I finish milking, and get her brushed down...I decided it is time for their date.
Suzie, meet Fred.
Suzie is an Alpine. Sweet little Suzie, clean, fresh smelling like clean straw....until now. Fred, well, he is a little Pygmy...and he is NOT so fresh smelling. Oh, I love my little Fred....I just don't like to be too close to him! So, once in the yard together, Fred is of course, happy. Suzie? Well...she is "OK" with him. She won't stand completely still, she is a tease. They will have a 30 day date. I hope little Fred can do his "job" with his long legged girlfriend. He sure doesn't lack in trying, poor guy. So, if all goes well....the end of April we will have little Fred or Suzie's...hoping for Suzie's. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What a few days it has been!

So, I haven't been on in a few days....I was hit by Strep! Let me tell you something...strep is by far, the worst thing I have ever had..and I have had several things. This little bug had me flat on my back for 2 straight days, praying for an end...just to feel better. I don't know how kids do it! I mean, I was crying, moaning, begging for it to all end....maybe I am a woosie. LOL My son and daughter in law brought me chicken noodle soup, and orange sherbet the second day, and by Saturday, I was on my feet and able to get to the doctor. Yeah, I was too sick to even go to the doctor....LOL So, I am now on the mend, and hit the ground running...well...ok, not running, but I am up and mobile.
Saturday afternoon we drove to Kentucky to my sisters for Thanksgiving. We had a great time there. Great food, family, laughing...great memories.My sister inlaw and niece's made an assembly line, and put together these cute little Oreo cookie turkeys.

They are made with miniature peanut butter cups, malted milk balls, some white icing for "glue" and candy corn  and of course, Oreo's The kid's all loved them.
We all visited into the evening and headed home. I had all of my animals bedded down before we left, so I was able to come in, get cleaned up and straight into my jammies. Ahhhhhh....nice!
Weatherman says 4 days of rain, booo hiss! They are predicting almost 5 inches! REALLY!??? Do they even KNOW what 5 inches of rain will do to this place!?? We are talking deep POOP SOUP!!! Ohhh, how I dread it. 
I was able to get the big double cage moved inside the coop this morning and get the pigeons moved over into their new winter homes. This will allow me to use only ONE heat lamp if the temps get too cold.
Oh, and hopefully, I will have a new addition to the farm next week. I can't tell you all what, but IF I can get them here, I will have plenty pics and it will be super exciting!! So, on that note...I will have to go and try to make the plans...wish me luck in my new adventure...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trial run on the snacks

So, I finished Fred's shelter, he should stay warm and dry now.As I was walking away, he was thanking me by trying to tear the front off. Ya just gotta love a little buck.
Back inside, cleaned up, I put a meatloaf in the oven, and decided to do a trial run on the snacks I am taking to my sisters and her family's Thanksgiving dinner this Saturday. Super easy, and delish!

I took a soft Tortilla shell, spread cream cheese then shrimp. The tiny salad shrimp. On the top ones..I added Kale flakes and pepper, the bottom ones are garlic and pepper. Tasty! I will make some with Ham and  cheese for Saturday as well. Easy, tasty, and quick. Just how I like it! :)

What is that screaming? And why at 5 am?

The weather has been pretty warm, in the 50's at night, so last night I left the bedroom window open. LOVE sleeping with fresh air blowing in. However, what I do NOT love, are the sounds that come in the night. So, about 5 am, I wake to this horrible screaming. Not just screaming, but, to a beat. What the?? So I drag myself out of bed, and go to the front door, where I find one of the kittens munching on the hind end of a rabbit that I am sure the mother caught, but the rabbit is not dead! It is injured bad enough that it can not get away, so as the kitten is chewing, the rabbit is screaming! Oh jeesh!! So, I grab up the rabbit, and end its suffering and toss it back to the cats. No use in wasting it now, right? What a way to wake up, and a hour and a half before my alarm! Grrrr. I get wash up, get the coffee going, and get to my E Mail...daily horrible scope says something to the effect...not a good day to be out and about..stay home, work on house chores. Well poop!
I sat here listening to the rain..heavy rain...dreading going out to the barn chores. Get a hot cup of Folgers in me, and head out. Poor Fred, my little black Pygmy Buck, is drenched to the skin.

With all the rain we have gotten, his shelter was drenched inside, and surrounded by water. Poor guy! So, I feed everyone, get Fred into the other pasture, and get the milking finished. You know the old can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink? Well.....ever try to lead a goat to water, that is surrounded by water? Suzie's trough is sitting in the middle of a BIG puddle, she sooo wanted the water...but did NOT want to get her feet wet. I grabbed her by the collar, and led her soon as her front foot hit the puddle, on came the brakes! 2 things goats hate, getting wet..and having their collars pulled on. She was not having a good morning either. So, I get a bucket and fill it for the "princess" and take it in the shelter. She stood there sucking water for a good 3 minutes! Poor gal. I will refill it later, when I head back out to finish Fred's shelter. Oh yes, Fred's shelter.....It is a big wooden crate....4 ft tall x 3 ft deep x 5 ft wide. ALL WOOD, wet...and heavy as... well, you know. SO I had to move this crate this morning. I flipped it over, turned it, scooted it..and finally was able to get it out of the moat. Cleaned it out, hung a hay feeder inside so his hay is up off the ground and dry...added straw, then, added Fred. Stinky, wet Fred! I wreak!!! Go back to the barn, bust open another pumpkin, save the seeds for later, and divide it amongst the animals....saving some for the coops. I will head out in a few to finish Fred's shelter, need to add some wood to the outside to keep the rain from blowing in the cracks, I had left purposely for ventilation. ( yeah, not one of my better ideas) The chickens were thrilled getting pumpkin for breakfast. The ducks are all out splashing in the puddles....the cats..well, I don't want to talk to the cats after this morning's 5 am wake up. Weatherman says rain today, so looks like I will be working in the rain getting Fred a dry place to stay. Oh, and I had a gal contact me about taking in a rabbit...a pet...she needs to re-home. So, I have to get that shelter set up for a bunny. Need to add straw, and a box. Not a big deal, just another little job needs to be done today! Well, my coffee is gone, so I better head back out. I hope you all stay clean and dry today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This evening is finally drawing to a close. Whew. Tomorrow I am hoping for better weather so I can open the barn and air it out for the day.I am going to take the wet hay, and open the bales and fluff it into the manger...hoping it will dry and NOT mold. With all the rain, I think the only thing happy on this farm are the ducks. All the other animals seem to be in a rotten mood today. Goats do not like wet feet....and Suzie...Princess of the barn...definitely doesn't like it. When I turned her out this morning, she put on the brakes at the door and looked back at me as if I was sending her to the hounds of hell. I had to drag her out to the pasture. Poor girl, I know, I am so mean.A big piece of pumpkin made it a little better however, she stood in her shelter most of the day, complaining loudly to me when she saw me outside. She was super excited to get back to the barn this evening. So as this day draws to a close...I hear my pillow calling me...and in a few hours, I will hear the animals calling to me again! :)

what a storm!

Wow! Last night we had some storm! November....tornado watches, high winds, lightening, LOTS and LOTS of rain!! So this morning as I head out to assess the damages...I get on my water boots to wade through what was once a yard, but is now a bog. Poor little Fred is soaked. Looks like I need to do some work on his shelter...if only he would quit tearing it up! A frustrated buck can do a lot of damage to a shelter. In the barn, I noticed that the winds had blown the rain in...and I how have wet hay. UGH!!!!! Not all of it, but at least the top 3 bales. I will have to get that moved today as well. Suzie was more than ready to be milked her udders were tight this morning. After milking Suzie decided she wanted to sample the pumpkins before heading outside. Such a little turd. So after turning her outside, I split a big old pumpkin between her and the PB pigs. The sheep are not interested, at least not this morning.
 So, today is outside work, getting things dry again, and hopefully keeping them dry. Nothing like a good strong storm to show you where you lack at being a builder.

Monday, November 14, 2011

EEEEkkkk, the Hair monster!!

So, for those of you who have will laugh at this one. See, I have sorta long hair, past my shoulders, almost to my elbows. For this reason, I almost ALWAYS put my hair in a pony tail before heading outside. was one of "those" days...seems I was walking backwards all day, not really getting a whole lot done. I had a woman contact me about my last 5 silky chickens I had for sale. She wanted to come get them today. Sweet.. 5 less mouths to feed over winter. While she was here we talked about the farm here, the fostering we do for a rescue, and showed the baby pot belly pigs to her son. ( Who by the way was cute as a bugs ear) ok, so...Sold the chickens, check. Had to come inside and finish dinner...venison steaks with peppers and onions in gravy. YUMMO! Got hubbys lunch all packed and got him out the door. I ran into town to do a few errands, and was able to score some free pumpkins! Whoot! The animals will love them. By the time I get home, it was getting late, so I rushed out to do the chores..and forgot to pull up my hair. UGH Suzie decided brown straw like substance, must eat! I am trying to milk her, she is turning around trying to munch on my hair. So I tucked my hair in my jacket and finished milking.Once everyone in the barn was settled for the evening I went to the is where the "hair monster" comes in. The chickens were all going in their coops getting ready for the evening...talking softly to each other abut the day. I started to close all the pop doors.This always brings the chickens to my side as they are super nosy critters. As I leaned down to grab the pop door, the wind came rushing in and blew my hair almost straight up! I am sure the chickens thought some sort of monster was after them, they all screamed and ran, running into and over each other to get away from the terrible "hair monster" This set me to giggling, as I watched the poor hens cower in the corner. I finished closing all the pop doors....and tried to settle them down, WOW, 20 chickens and roosters in a coop with all the doors closed, screaming and carrying on is almost deafening. I couldn't I turned to leave...I flipped my hair one more time...again, screaming and carrying on. I know, cheap thrills...but, that's how it goes some days! Guess I better remember to tie my hair up from now on.

Getting this day going.

So today will be a busy day of course. All of the water troughs will need to be scrubbed out and filled. YUK, NOT my favorite thing to do. See,I do not have water to the barn and the barn is well over 300 ft from the house. This means dragging water hoses...5 of them. I have 3 troughs to fill at the barn, then, drag 3 of those hoses back to the other side of the property, and clean and fill 4 pools for the ducks.
I am supposed to have a woman come out today and buy my Silky Chickens. 5 blue/blacks. They are pretty, but I can't wait until I have another open pen.  This will be the pen I use for spring chicks. It will be nice to see an empty pen around here for a change. :)
Guess I better get it is already daylight and the animals are up and screaming to me already!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winter and Persimmon seeds...

So, The other day, I cut open a persimmon seed. Yeah, I THOUGHT I saw a knife. ( cutting cold) I had left the open seed on the table, and today I looked at it more closely. Now, that is NOT a is a spoon! Which means...lots and lots of snow. ugh!

Really home made!

OK, so I must admit something to my SS friends who may read this. I have never ground my own flour. There, I said it... ( hiding behind a dishtowel) So, this morning I got out a can of my wheat berries..and took to grinding them...for pancakes. Not sure what I was doing really....and not sure if we would even like it. I made bacon from our own homegrown pig, eggs from our free range chickens....and then...pancakes..from fresh ground wheat berries. Set it all on the table..and hubby dug in. Guess what..He likes it! Woohoo!!!Next...whole wheat bread.

Whooo wee! It is Windy out there.!

Today, I headed out to care for the I step out, I was slapped in the face by a cold strong wind. You know, the kind that takes your breath away for a minute.  Now THAT is a wake up call! Dump the cat food to the kitties, and head to the barn. Looks like rain. Oh, how I hope it DOES rain! If not, I will have to drag 300 ft of water hoses to the barn to fill the troughs. YUK. NOT my favorite thing. So, I step into the now very clean barn, and stop to just take in the sweet smells. Fresh hay, clean straw...and my sheep. I just LOVE the smell of Lanolin in the morning. I set off to get everyone fed, PB pigs first, as they are the loudest protesters. Then the sheep, and the buck, then Suzie, my dairy goat. She hops into the stanchion like an old pro and I set to washing her teets...I feel something on my hand, and look down to see Kiki, the cat, pawing at my hand, trying to get me to give him the first squirts. He loves his milk in the morning, and since he follows me on my chores..I oblige. Nom nom, fresh milk!
 All the poultry are fed, watered and set out for the day. The dogs are lazing on the sofa, and I am getting ready to grind some wheat berries. I am going to make some pancakes and eggs for breakfast...Mmmm, I can almost taste it already!
Tonight's supper will be beef ravioli's , salad, and fresh bread. For dessert...Angel food cake with strawberries.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful day...relax...enjoy the day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cleaning the barn....getting ready for winter.

So, Winter is fast approaching. Time to get the last ditch efforts done to get winterized. So much to do, so little I incorporated the help of the neighbors kids! Funny how a few dollars will bring kids out of the woodwork wanting to "help" Today I am getting the 3 stalls cleaned, straw and hay stacked...water buckets cleaned and filled...and pumpkins stacked for feeding during the winter...all for a few bucks, and I don't have to lift a finger! THAT is the best part. I will be in the kitchen baking bread and getting together the recipes for Thanksgiving.  Some time this afternoon the hubs and I will be going to get a few loads of free firewood and getting it stacked closer to the house. Since we have persimmon trees, I decided to look into the seeds, and try to predict the upcoming winter. See....the "old timers" say...split a persimmon seed and see what image is inside. A Fork will tell of a not so snowy winter, a spoon means you will be shoveling lots of snow, and a knife tells of "cutting cold" So, I split a few seeds....spoons!! UGH! This is why we are moving the wood closer to the house.
Soon we will be decorating for the upcoming Holidays...I just love to decorate for Christmas! We have several gatherings here at the farm friends and family, so I MUST "put on the nines" Busy day ahead, so I better get to it.

Hello, and welcome.

Welcome to our little crazy corner of this earth. We are a small farm, trying to become self reliant. We raise what we eat, and eat what we raise.
We are also a foster farm/rescue farm. We help those in need...and no, we do NOT eat the rescues! LOL
Grab a cup of your favorite...get comfy..and follow us in our daily, laughing and loving what we do.