Monday, January 30, 2012

I AM rich.

So, now that I have your, I am not independently wealthy..Heck, we struggle from week to week just to keep our heads above most Americans now day.s But, I AM rich.....I was out at the barn this morning...doing my chores...and as I settled in to milk...I started thinking. ( I know, dangerous for me )  I AM rich.....We have a home, to shelter us from storms, and to welcome friends and family to share and make memories.....we have land...when worked properly will produce food for us to eat...we have animals...that with proper care and management will provide us with eggs, milk and meat for years to come. But...most of all...I am rich with friends. Friends who help me when I need them, even if it is just listening to my woes. Friends who will help me bring in a harvest...or tend to the garden..or carry loads of firewood to help heat my home. I am rich in knowledge, to do these things that help us to survive. I can manage animals...grow food....put food by for winter months...and...I have a man that stands with me during these times. See, I AM rich...with knowledge...friends..and family. As I sit here, eating a slice of home made bread, toasted and covered in the jelly I made from last years berries...I thank God....for all we have, even tho some may look at us with pity in their eyes...we work hard, worry about things like weather, composting, and animal health...while some friends and family worry about bank accounts, social events, and which restaurant to eat at. I ask for NO pity.....I ask for understanding. Understand...that I LOVE my way of life...the healthy foods I can prepare for us, and them when they come...understand that even tho at any given time you might find me with an injured hen in my lap, tears running down my face knowing I must end her life to save her from suffering......understand that when I am delivering a new goat kid into this world, or a tears are of joy and wonder. And, understand, that at the days end, when you are sleeping soundly in your bed, I may be the one out there on watch, foregoing sleep, with a rifle in my hands to protect our farm from predators, be it two legged or four. Because I get my milk fresh from a teet, and you get yours from a florescent lit store, it is I who pity you. You do not know they joy of holding a bawling wet lamb in your arms...or a fuzzy peeping chick.....or know the taste of TRUE vine ripe vegetables. I hold my head high even tho I may be covered in dirt from time to back aching from hard hands sore and blistered from working a garden. I AM rich.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Slip Sliding away!

This morning there was a nice layer of ice on everything. About 1/4 inch. Just enough to make it treacherous walking to the barn. I hesitated, not really wanting to go out there...however, Freedom was sure to voice HIS opinion. HEE HAW he screams to me, translation....GET YOUR BUTT OUT HERE! SO, I walk through the grass, knowing I will not be able to navigate the icy sidewalk. Once to the gate, I have to beat the ice off of the chain holding the gate closed. This little pause in my forward motion further irritated the barn animals. And, they let me know it. Everyone seemed to be very opinionated this morning....and they were fixin to get a bit of my own!  "Hold on" I hollered, as if they can understand me. Finally in the pasture I make my way across to the barn, slipping and sliding the whole way. Finally in the barn, my fingers are burning from the cold...I dish out everyone's feed and hay. Little Suzie had a bit of an attitude, head butting the sheep before getting into the stanchion.....throwing her head at, payback time. After washing her teet's, I grab on with icy fingers. Take THAT! HA! Well, she didn't take to it very well, and she stomped her feet at me, and threw her head into my side.  She settled down, and I was able to finish milking in short order. Everyone settled in for the morning, I head back to the house. I watch the kittens running across the icy sidewalk, and think to myself...." sure footed as a cat" just about that time...down he goes...sliding across the sidewalk! I laughed out loud as he comes to a stop, looking perplexed. I made my way to the porch and stood there looking at the icy covered poultry pens, hoping the fence on the top holds up to the weight of the ice. I watched as one of the ducks navigates the icy yard..and giggled to myself at the way it waddled across the ice....knowing I must have looked just as funny as I walked from the barn. Back inside, milk is put up, and the fire is going. Looks like a good day to do some inside cleaning...organizing...and maybe some baking. After I make some bread, I think I will make some chocolate chip cookies...yup, sounds like a plan.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Come on Spring!

Here it is, January 20th, and I am drooling over seed catalogs. Mentally planning the gardens...and dreaming of filling the pantry with canned foods from our own gardens and pastures. Really hoping this year the gardens do better than last. We were able to squeak out barely enough to get us through winter...but did have to buy some canned things. YUK! I would almost rather do without then have to buy commercially canned foods, but the hubby really loves his peas...and well, ours didn't make last year.

How many of you are already planning your gardens?  Are you planning to plant fruit or nut trees? Berries? I am hoping to be able to get at LEAST 5 more apple trees...and 3 or 4 peach trees. I would love to put in a large lot of thorn-less blackberries, but that is pretty low on the list of things to do.
We will hopefully be getting our pair of breeding pigs in April, and ordering 25 Cornish cross chickens for butcher. Stinky little boogers, but some darn good eating. So if all goes well this year, we will have home grown meats, to include chicken, turkey, pork, and maybe duck. ( not sure I can off the ducks, they are so cute)
Now if we can get the pond up and needs to be dug out deeper and bigger...then we will have fresh fish to add to our diet. *sigh* Almost there...almost self sufficient in the food area.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mother nature is messing with us now.

So, yesterday the weather was freakishly warm. At least for these parts it was. 55 Degrees, severe thunderstorms, lightening, rain, winds..and hail.

I hear there were a few tornado's touched down. In January??? This is NOT the normal. I was able to get to the barn for morning feedings while there was a brief break in the storm.
This is definitely NOT January weather for Indiana. By the time the sun started to set, we had dropped to 30 degrees. I sure am thankful for our wood stove!
This morning I woke to 23 degrees...and SNOWING!  Awww, come on now Mother Nature....take your meds!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Crazy weather about yours?

So, for the last few days, it has been bitter cold....temps in the teens, and single digits overnights, winds howling...just bitter cold. This sort of weather of course makes doing chores a bit more challenging....breaking ice in the troughs...checking waterers several times a day, and throwing extra hay to everyone....fluffing bedding.Of course I am not complaining...well..maybe a little...but I DO love this farm. Today however, the temps will be in the mid to upper 40's. Time to drag out the water hoses, and clean out the duck pools. Joy of all favorite chore... NOT! Stinky ducks!!! Oh how I long for warmer weather, and dry duck yards..ha, that made me giggle..if you are owned by ducks, you know, they never have dry yards. Even in a drought, the can make MUD! Stinky little critters!
Last night I was up most of the night with a tooth ache. Seems one of my wisdom teeth, has broken off, exposing the nerve. And, of COURSE not one dentist is open today, MLK day. So I will suffer through another day and night, until I can get in to a dentist. Orajel is my friend, and lifeline LOL The morning chores are finished, so I need to get my shower, and feed myself...something scrambled eggs...fresh from the chickens here at home. LOVE these fresh eggs!

Friday, January 13, 2012

18 degrees, and wet feet!

So, this morning I woke to 18 degrees. BRrrr, Even with the wood stove blazing, the furnace kept kicking in. The winds are about 30 MPH, gusting to 40. I sat here this morning with my coffee, dreading the morning chores....knowing I just HAD to get out there. So, I put on 2 pairs of pants, sweatshirt, thick socks, snow boots, heavy coat, headband, hat and scarf..oh, and gloves....I was ready to face the cold. Stepped outside and whimpered....wanted to go back to my fire so bad! Those darned winds were blowing right at the front of the house. I start across the field to the barn, at least there is no mud......I thought. Im just trudging along, when all of a sudden, crack...uh oh... there was ice under me...where the water was just a few days before. Thankfully it was only about 3 inches deep, because it gave way, and mud splashed up the side of my leg.  I wasn't worried, I have on 2 pair of pants...and thick socks...and good! So, I get everyone in the barn fed, and hayed...and proceeded to get water. Now, I KNOW its freezing cold out there, so why didn't I take the shovel with me to break the ice? *shrugs shoulders* Being lazy, and not wanting to walk the whole 20 feet back to the barn, I decided....I will break the ice with my boot! Yeah, that will, pretty thick. So I say to myself.....self, you will have to really give it your all. So, one last try, and WHOOSH!!!!!! The ice gives way, and my boot sinks through to the bottom of the trough. My boots are MAYBE 12 inches tall....the trough?? At least 2 ft deep. Oh yeah, ICE cold water fills my boot. Now that is a wake up call. I finished filling water buckets...and grab my milk pail, and head to the house. By the time I get to the pants are frozen to my boots....the wash cloth I have draped over the milk frozen solid...and I am in one sour mood. I stood in front of the wood stove for a few seconds, to thaw my pant leg, so I could get that boot off.
This evening, when I went out for evening feedings.....I grabbed the shovel! Didn't really matter.....using the ships were pummeling me in the face...and when I finally broke through the the face. Whoooweeee! I grumbled something about....from here on out you stupid animals can just lick the snow.....but in reality, tomorrow, I will be putting the heater in the trough. :) At least the chicken water's are already I just threw them some scratch, and grabbed the eggs. Done, quick and easy.  I brought all of the cats into the of the wee ones was shivering so hard...they now have a warm fleece blanket, fresh water and food, and a litter least until it warms up a little.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Is winter coming...yes, because I am getting 2 new pups!

You know the saying....some hubby's say it.." you can get a pup when Heck freezes over" Well, here comes winter, because I am getting 2 new pups! A local rescue was called to pick up a litter of pups, that were dumped on the road. There were 6 of them. All mutts, Shepherd mix..coon..Aussies..real Heinze 57's. So, the got a hold of me and asked if I would "foster" one or more. I went into town to "look" at them, and let them know I would be interested in only males. Easier to train, and maintain. The rescue will get all shots, and neuters. So, I get there, and they bring out a beautiful Shepherd looking mix, with long floppy ears. He was so sad, and shy. I tried to get him to warm up to me, and he would just turn his head sideways...and watch me. Then they brought out another male...he looks like a red bone coon hound. He too was shy, at first, then I asked you want to come home with me, and live on a farm? He looked me in the eyes, and gave me big puppy kisses! I melted! So, after they get a clean bill of health....I am bringing them BOTH home. :) The red one, I named Gunner....the other one...Magnum. Now, I don't "think" I will be keeping them both...but we will have to see. Every good farm needs a few big dogs....right?? This picture is Gunner. He is more red than the picture soon as I get them home, I will get better pictures.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Have I told you lately...??

Just how much I LOVE my little farm, and my Suzie? Suzie is my dairy goat, she is Alpine, and full of attitude. Oh, she is gentle on the milking stanchion, and sweet and loving....but she sure likes to "try" to be mischievous.
Here she is "sneaking" in to the pumpkin stash. When she was brought "home" to me last summer, she was a first time freshner, meaning she had just had her first kids. I was milking her morning and evening, and was getting 3 quarts of the most yummy milk every day. Over the winter months, with breeding her and all, I have taken her down to milking just in the morning. I am still getting a quart of milk, and enough milk for my Keefer grains. ( about 6 ounces) I am sure if I wanted to start milking her in the evenings again, her milk production would come back up, however I am letting her body rest and hopefully she is bred, and making great babies in her tummy! We should know in another week or so, of our little Fred was able to "do his deed" If so, we will have alpine/pygmy babies in May! Fred is a little on the short side, so I had to assist, Ewwww! I backed Suzie up to the shelter, which is about 6 inches off the ground, while Fred...well, you know. How embarrassing!
I was wanting this to go quick, but Fred wanted to court her, and I think he even brought her flowers, it seemed to take so long! I sure hope my efforts in this were successful. I really do NOT want to have to do THAT again!
The weatherman was "cussing" last night on the news. He repeatedly said 4 letter words....COLD.....SNOW...WINDS. I tell ya, what has this world come to when a weather man can "cuss" on tv like that?? Looks like winter might be trying to settle in...later next week. I better get busy outside and finish putting plastic on the coops windows. Yesterday I was able to get the duck coop windows covered. See, I saved the plastic bags from the pine shavings. It is clear, and about 10 mm thick. PERFECT for window coverings. Lets the sun in, and keeps the winds out. 30 minutes after I finished that small coop, the temp inside had already climbed by 5 degrees. Nice! Today I will be finishing the larger coop. This will require a ladder...and I am not fond of being on ladders. At least the sun is shining today, and I will be able to get outside work finished before "winter" sets in.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Freezing temps and Sunsets.

I have to say, this cold is really getting to me. I have been outside 3 times today to break ice in the troughs. Even the water buckets in the barn froze....this rarely happens. UGH, my hands feel like they are burning now.Even Freedom didn't want to come out of his little shelter today,

But, on the bright side....winter does bring some beautiful sunsets. I snapped this one the other day while I was in town...

Too bad all the telephone poles were in the shot. But the pinks are just so pretty! 
The temps are steadily dropping outside. It is 21 degrees, and getting colder. Brrrrrrr. Tomorrow morning will be more ice breaking...I have GOT to get those heaters put in..this is getting old already!

Monday, January 2, 2012


So, this morning I was thinking I would try to romanticize about my morning chores here on the know.... " I step out into the fresh air, as the sun breaks through the trees, marveling at the calm over the farm, as the animals softly call to me while walking towards the barn"...yada yada...well....THAT didn't happen! I woke up grumpy this morning as I pulled myself out of bed, luckily he went back to sleep. :) Went down to the wood stove, still warm, and a hand full of hot coals. Perfect, I was able to get a roaring fire going in no time with just a hand full of kindling.  I glanced over to the outdoor thermometer, Brrrr, 27 degrees, and howling winds. Gusty to 40 mph still!  I shivered, knowing I will have to venture out there in a few, to do the morning chores. I make coffee, and settle in to try to wake up. The winds are howling, reminding me that I will be out there in a little while....freezing. After my coffee, I's time. Grab my milk pail and washing cloth, and prepare to venture out. Grab my muck boots, warm coat, scarf....and I am out the door. I was greeted with a blustery wind...the cold wind that when you take that first breath, it feels like knives going into your lungs, THAT will wake a person right up! I trudge to the barn...Freedom calls to me...sorry pal, no scratches yet, I need to get in out of the wind! Once safe in the barn, I take to the chores....scooping feed, throwing hay...breaking ice on water pails. I grab Suzie, and get to milking her. I tried to warm my hands before milking, but it is so cold....there was no use. I grab a teet, she jumps and throws her head into my side. Sorry little girl....but it has to be done. Once she gets used to my icy hands, I was able to get her milked in no time. The winds were blowing in around the west doors, so I grabbed a few empty feed bags to stuff into the cracks. Snow was starting to fall, and blow in the barn. Once I had all the open cracks stuffed, I could feel the barn get a little warmer. This will have to do. I put Suzie back into her pen, and grab the milk....and head to the house after grabbing the morning paper. I was met by 3 little squirmy kittens, begging for warm milk. I had forgotten to get kitty food, so I obliged them with this mornings milk. I now have a few very happy kittens! I have plenty in the fridge still, so I won't miss one morning's milking. Once inside, I return to the fire, Ahhhhhhhh, nice and warm, throw a few more pieces of wood on, and head to the pantry. This is a good day for stew! Yum! I now have a pot of stew simmering on the stove top, and another cup of coffee...The snow is really trying to come down out there, I am thankful to be inside, warm, and the wonderful smell of stew. I think I will start a loaf of bread, to go with that stew...sounds delish! Hope you all are staying warm today!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1st, wow

So, today we start a new year....2012. I went out this morning to feed the animals, and the winds almost knocked me off my feet! They are saying 40 mph winds. So, after feeding and milking...I decided to work with Freedom a little. He is not used to being told what to do, with a lead. And, he does not like being told when to walk. He plants those front feet...and does NOT move. Now, he is a mini, and only about 250 pounds..but once he makes up his mind to stop....we stop. I scratch him under the chin..he melts in my hands...then we take a few steps, stop, scratch, and so on. Took me almost 30 minutes to get him to move about 200 ft! I was able to finally get him moved to the other small pasture....and he is now out there enjoying green grass. Whew! I hope I don't have to move him any time soon. So I came in and had the "bright" idea to hang laundry on the line today..its windy, in the 40's, should dry pretty good. I was able to get 2 loads on the line, and then the rain came. Well just fine! A free rinse!  So today is an inside day, mostly...the winds are keeping me inside other than to care for animals. I hope you all have a GREAT New year....lets make it happen!