Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Can you hear me screaming rain, rain, go away? Arghhhh.... another inch today. I don't remember the last time it was this wet.
The greenhouse is saving my sanity though and I spent quit a while with my sister transplanting the tomatoes and peppers we started a couple of weeks ago.

San Marzano paste tomatoes and Better Boys-one of the few seeds we bought that are not open pollinated. Better Boys are among our favorite for canning and freezing. Orange bell peppers, sweet banana and jalapenos .We transplanted 4 flats- a total of 144 plants!
The lettuce is looking good. Ready to go in the ground. If only mother nature would cooperate!
Next week it will be time to put the celery transplants in larger pots. We will also be starting the heirloom  tomatoes and celeriac.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today was pruning day. I spent the morning pruning the grape vines, butterfly bushes and ornamental grasses. A large pile in the backyard now sits waiting for me burn.
I planted elephant ear bulbs beside the steps leading to the pool and around my Savannah bird girl statue, going for a more tropical looking garden there this year.
Then I was off to the barn. I realized over the weekend when I looked at my notes that I did not have 5 weeks until we kidded, some are actually due in the next few days! (that aging thing again) So that meant the goats needed to be pulled out of the sheep pasture to ensure they get adequate nutrition for the upcoming arrivals and themselves. The sheep tend to be more aggressive over food than the goats. Fresh minerals, hay and grain for all. Doug sent a couple of his guys over to scrape the barn and stalls out for me. (Payment for my help yesterday?) The stalls are now full of shavings. The heat lamps have new bulbs and we are ready for babies.
Then it was back to the pool to dip leaves. A chore I was very behind on. A couple of hours of that and I had all the fun I could stand outside today. It had been a cloudy, damp day and I was cold and wet. A stop by the woodshed to gather a load of wood and I headed for the warmth of the house and a fire!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Grilling Station

We are still not quite finished with the remodeling projects. The last of it is finishing the repairs to the screen porch where water blew in under the door and rotted the floor. Doug decided to brick up the lower part of it. While working on that he decided instead of a landing by the door, ( a whole other project started a while back and never finished!) he would build a grilling station. It would make more room on the patio and let us get rid of the wooden table that is there now.
So today I was the brick hauler and he the layer. This was the slowest section to work on since he had to tie the new brick into the old. This is taking longer than we hoped because he can't lay brick when it is going to freeze at night. Well, he could but I refuse to let him put antifreeze in the mortar! I went really well though and we got a lot accomplished. We need another good weekend and this should be finished. That will leave painting and re screening and THEN he can start on my cold frames!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Saturday Project~ Felted Dryer Balls

Another rainy day. According to the weather man we have fallen into a pattern of rain almost every other day and it is going to be this way for a couple more weeks!
So to occupy my time today, I decided to make these felted dryer balls. I had read about them recently. You toss them in your dryer and they help eliminate static electricity. They also help cut your drying time and soften your clothes. You can put a couple of drops of essential oils on them and they will lightly scent your clothes. Pretty cool! No need to ever buy dryer sheets again! I never use dryer sheets because of the toxic smell ( they would tend to give me headaches) and I was excited to try them out. They jeans and towels I dried them with did feel softer. Tomorrow I am going to wash a blanket that is always full of static electricity and I will let you know!
UPDATE! I washed the blanket and NO static. I see Christmas gifts....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Pegasus Update

Pegasus got his stitches out today. He almost looks normal. Since I was working, Doug and mom met the vet. Pegasus was a real champ and did not even have to be sedated. The vet said his eye looks good and he probably sees shadows. The top lid looks as if there is some nerve damage and how much he regains sight wise, only time will tell. I still have to keep a powdered antibiotic on it for a couple more weeks. Considering how bad he looked a couple of weeks ago I am thankful for his recovery. I had planned to sell him this Fall and bring in some new bloodlines, but in light of his bravery and gentle disposition through all of this, I think he will probably stay right here!
Good side~

Injured side~ much improved!

Monday, February 18, 2013

First thing on this morning's agenda was to bake some special order breads. Once baked, I set on racks to cool and headed to pick up lambs we had processed last week. This is a  2 1/2 hour trip. I can't seem to find anyone closer that I feel can trust with our meats. Sigh.
While waiting for my boxes I stumbled upon some beef tallow. I asked if they also had pig fat and sure enough they did.
I ordered 5 lbs. Yeah! I will be rendering lard in the very near future. Not today though, since I had all the lamb bones saved and the crockpot will be tied up making stock for the next few days.
Once home, bread was picked up and I put the bones on to roast. While they were in the oven I got my feeding chores finished up.

After the bones were roasted I added lots of organic veggies and even tossed in the mushroom stems from a couple of nights ago. (I knew I would find a use for them.) This looks like it will be a delicious rich stock!
 Last on my list was to cut the soap that was made over the weekend. A whopping 147 bars!
I think the cucumber melon turned out quite nice!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I got in soap making mode this weekend and had I not run out of supplies, I might still be stirring away! Ten logs were poured. Patchouli, herb garden, tangerine, lavender rosemary and cucumber melon were the scents made this go round. Smells pretty darn good around here!

I unmolded the ones from yesterday and will most likely cut them tomorrow. They will be ready for use in a few weeks! Now, I need to talk to the "girls" about milk...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thunder Snow

What a very strange day we had!
It spit snow all morning but nothing was sticking since it was 60* yesterday. I had several special orders to bake and spent most of the morning doing that. After delivery, I tended the critters. I wanted to feed extra hay since it was so cold outside. Once that was done, I decided it was a good day to make a pot of soup and catch up on some soap making. Doug was working outside. He was trying to finish up the last of the remodeling. Around 4 or so I noticed it was getting very dark. At 4:15, the Heavens opened up and within minutes the ground was covered. Doug was covered too! He came in and said he had heard thunder just shortly before the small blizzard blew in....
We just stood at the window and watched in amazement. The snow flakes looked like giant feathers floating to the ground. Just beautiful!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Another rainy day. I am trying really hard not to be whiny because I know come summer the pendulum will swing the other way BUT is seems like we have settled into a pattern of rain several times a week. That meant that I would have to make the hour long drive in the rain to take a couple of lambs slated for butcher today. And feed in the rain and haul hay in the rain...
Thankfully, at the last minute, Doug decided to hook up the trailer and haul them. I was saved the loading of the crate and tarping it... in the rain. It was nice to have the company too.
Pegasus continues to heal. The swelling has all but gone away. I am to call  the vet tomorrow and give him an update. Fingers crossed he will get his stitches out this week. That should prove to be very interesting! I will keep you posted.

Friday, February 8, 2013

All Hands On Deck

Well, Pegasus is definitely feeling better even though he looks like hell. The first day I could handle him by myself. The second, my mom and I. Yesterday, it was all Doug and Luke could do to hold him while I doctored his eye and gave him his shots. As of now, he does not see out of that eye and I really don't look for him to regain his sight.
The rains came again last night. water is standing everywhere. I had hoped it would dry a bit so we could get the new garden turned. Looks like that will be on hold a bit longer.
Earlier this week we worked in the greenhouse transplanting broccoli and cauliflower. We also started tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and celery. Today we transplanted cabbage and oregano. We also started several varieties of zinnias, hollyhocks, chives and marigolds. The lettuce is big enough to transplant. Next week we will put in larger pots.
Cabbage transplants...
Looking good!
 Though chilly outside, the greenhouse was warm and cozy. A little piece of summer on a February day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Bloody Battle

Warning! This post is not for the faint of heart....I know, because I had a hard time dealing with the events of the day and I consider my self pretty tough. The pictures are a bit graphic.

And so... another beautiful day on the homestead. Lots of things to do. The first was to bring in all the goats and lambs and separate those that would be headed to the sale barn tomorrow. This is a February tradition as the income pays for most of the fertilizers for the hay fields. I also needed to pull the rams out of the breeding groups, move the dairy goats to a pasture where they had access to more feed since we will be kidding in a few short weeks AND start cleaning out the milking parlor.
First on the list was to haul out all of the feed bags from the milking parlor. Over the course of the winter they can really start to pile up. That done, I got most of the sale barn bound critters locked up. I moved the first of our rams from his group to his "summer" home. I got the second larger ram and his junior buddies moved to that pasture as well. This too, is a February tradition, the reuniting of the rams. I always put of lots of extra hay and bits of food to try and distract the boys from getting too violent. Normally the pecking order is established rather quickly without too much fan fare. Not today.
I watched for a few minutes, lest I needed to grab a hose pipe and cool some tempers and all seemed to be going as usual. I went to grab a drink of water, some crackers and my camera for a few pics. I headed back to check on the boys. This is where my day took a VERY bad turn.
Pegasus, my favorite ram, was standing back at the gate I had just put him through and was alone. I walked to check on him. The crackers in my hand dropped to the ground and for the first time in my homesteading years, I thought I might be sick. His face was torn to pieces and I truly thought his eye was missing. I called the vet. I need someone now. It's bad, very bad. I was told the vet that would be sent my way was on a colic call and they would let me know when she could arrive. I called my sister. I may need help holding him. I know you hate blood....I called my mom, same thing. The vet called back and said they were sending "Parker". He has been my vet for 22 years. Apparently when I told her it "was bad", he said it must be so and he decided to make the call. He was here within 40 minutes. Bless him.
This is what he was met with. Again, it's ugly!
For the next 2 1/2 hours he stitched and sewed. Pegasus was a champ, only flipping me once. That got him a second dose of sleepy meds.
My sis was a great assistant, handing out suture materials and needles. Mom was holder of the rear. Pegasus's prognosis is guarded. He is up and doing well. There is an area at the base of his horn that could not be sutured and could invite infection. We are not sure about his eyesight.
The good news is that he is back on his feet, eating hay and looking like Muhammad Ali. Time will tell.
The other ram? Headed to the sale barn...

Class Descriptions

Beginner Bread Class:
Learn to bake the perfect whole wheat bread. From grinding the wheat berries to pulling a warm loaf from the oven. An overview of other whole grains will be covered. Class cost includes handouts and a loaf of bread to take home. Of course, we will sample and weather permitting a short farm tour while the bread bakes.
Cost: 15.00 per person. Class lasts about 2 hours.  Class times and dates are flexible. If you want to take it or have a small group feel free to contact me and we will set a date! .

Soap Class:
Learn to make homemade goat milk soaps the easy way! Students will participate in making several batches of soaps using essential and fragrance oils. Class cost includes handouts, soap to take home and a visit with the goats that supply the milk! Soap molds can be ordered at class. July 20th 11-2  FULL 

Homesteading 101:
Wonder where to start? Let us guide you with our 20 + years of experience! Learn from our mistakes and successes. We will tour the farm, discussing the different animals on our homestead and what they do for us. We will also tour the fruit and vegetable gardens and enjoy a lunch from foods grown and prepared here on the farm! Bring notepad, pencil and LOTS of questions!
Cost 35.00 per person  Class lasts: ? TBA- August

Beginner Cheese Class:
Learn to make a variety of soft cheeses. Chevre', feta and mozzarella along with homemade yogurt. We will taste our creations and visit with the dairy goats. Class cost covers handouts, recipes, a bottle of rennet, a packet of cheese culture and of course some cheese to take home.
Cost 50.00 per person. Class lasts 2-3 hours. July 29th 11-2  FULL

Preserving the Harvest:
Learn how to preserve all those wonderful vegetables that you have grown or purchased from your local farmer's market to enjoy all year long! Pressure can green beans, use the boiling water bath for your tomatoes, jams and salsa, dehydrate jerky, sun dried tomatoes and more! Class cost covers handouts, lunch and a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Canning.
This will be a series of days. The garden will predict what, how and when.  June-July-August

Monday, February 4, 2013

Call Me Crazy!

Did I agree to do the Know Your Farms spring tour?  Yes. Plan to visit us the weekend of May 10-11th. The tour is one day only from 1-6. They haven't yet set our day. Tour the farm, enjoy Dad's famous BBQ, purchase homemade breads, soap, plants from the greenhouse, seasonal veggies hand spun yarns and MORE!
We are looking for volunteers to help with the tours and keeping kids out of the pool ;o))