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.