Monday, August 29, 2011

Different Things and Random Thoughts

So, Hurricane Irene wasn't the mega-storm they were predicting, although it hit--and hit hard---in some locales. People died, some of them pure accident, some of them pure stupidity ("C'mon! Let's go surfing in a hurricane! It'll be rad!").
Flooding and lots of property damage from wind and rain and flying debris.
I think we should all breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't at Katrina strength, though.
I hope everyone in it's path that escaped unscathed have taken this as a warning to have a 72 hour bag and supplies at home to help them survive the next storm or disaster that comes their way.
The fella and I went to a class on Saturday about rainwater catchment. Good class!
Since we live in the desert, it is important to utilize rain water to the utmost here.
We learned about rain barrels, and more importantly, about swales, french drains and other natural ways to store and direct rain water.
I also found out that this something I really need to study up on much more.
Last night TLC had on a program called Living for the Apocalypse. It focused on four families of preppers/survivalists.
The first family was Peggy Layton and her family in Utah. Peggy is the author of several books on food storage. They showed her food storage...I was seriously envious!
Check her out at
The second person gives the name of "Survival Doc". He is a chiropractor living in Missouri.
Find his videos here
The third person was Dennis McClung and his family in Mesa, Az.
They have been seen on several survival type programs and are noted for turning a back yard built in pool into a garden. LOTS of great ideas! Check them out at
The fourth couple was a couple of singles...a older woman and her transgendered (male to female) best friend and roommate.Their location was not disclosed.

All in all, an interesting show. Some great ideas, but some terrible OPSEC (operation security). I would be a bit nervous about giving out my full name, street address, family members names, etc. Not to mention showing off all my preps! But I guess they are doing these shows to help others prepare.
A lot of bloggers are trying to help others get on board with prepping.
It isn't just out of the goodness of our hearts, I have to admit.
If we can get just one person to take our message seriously and really start prepping, that is one less person that will end up looting, one less person that will have to ask for handouts, one less person that may have to resort to violence to feed themselves or their family.
That's a Good Thing.
If you don't do food storage...start today.
If you don't keep emergency supplies...start today.
If you don't have a 72 Hour Bag (Bug Out Bag)...start today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Emergency Supplies

In the past couple of hours I have fielded phone calls from friends/family in the path of Hurricane Irene. They wanted to do what they could get right damn now to be prepared for the storm.
Here's what I told them:
Get to a full grocery store, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Wal-Mart or Target or similar store.

Buy 5 gallons of water (at Family Dollar it is 1 buck a gallon). That's for drinking and cooking only. Many places will end up sending out *boil water* orders because their water treatment plants will be flooded, etc. Having ready water to drink will be a relief. Buy 10 gallons if you have a large family.
Buy ready to eat foods. Nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, a box or two of crackers, some peanut butter and bread, anything you don't have to refrigerate or cook. Canned tuna and canned ham or chicken, too.
Buy 1 or 2 tarps. High winds and rain may cause roof leaks or break a window. Tarps can help you reduce or mitigate damage.
If you have a grill, get a bottle or two of propane or if not a gas grill, get charcoal briquets and lighter fluid. If the power goes out for a few days, you'll need this to cook on. The food in your refrigerator should be the first things you cook, then the foods in your freezer.
Buy a cooler and buy a couple of bags of ice to save refrigerated foods if the power goes out. Keep the ice in your freezer until it starts to melt a bit.Then transfer it and your thawing foods to the cooler.
In fact, make as much ice as you can right now! Fill empty 2 liter bottles 3/4 way full and put in freezer where-ever you can fit them in. They will keep your frozen foods frozen longer.
Buy flashlights and batteries NOW. Also some candles. The dark is scary to most people, even more so to small children. Never leave small kids alone in a room with a lit candle. Remember matches and/or lighters.
Buy a manual can opener. Most folks forget this!
Buy paper plates, plastic utensils and aluminum foil. Easy to clean up. Make sure you have trash bags. You can cook in aluminum foil. Get the heavy duty type, so you can cook on the grill or over a campfire.
Move valuables out of basements or any other place where water may flood. If you think it necessary, park your vehicles on higher ground.
Buy a roll of duct tape Tape windows or use to tape up tarps, etc if windows break.

That is the quick basics.
Realize that you should ALWAYS have the above items on hand.

Gourmet Foods, *Foodies* and Food Snobbery

I watch cooking shows. Not a lot, just a few favorites.
My Favorites (in no particular order) are:
No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
And once in a while I watch Top Chefs
Recently, there was a bit of a fuss when Anthony Bourdain called Paula Deen "the worst cook on Food Network" He also lumped Rachel Ray in that group. (I personally find Ray irritating, so I don't watch her show. People that perky annoy the hell out of me!)
Now, we all love Paula. She is the epitome of the sweet southern lady. But if you ate her cooking every day, you'd have a build up of butter and mayo in your arteries! I watched her show one time and she made a salad...nice healthy salad...then she dressed it with vinegar mixed with some sugar and bacon grease!
Paula makes what is considered *down home Southern cookin'*. I think I could eat one of her meals maybe once every two weeks, but I'd have to fast until the next one!
So, I could understand Bourdain's objections to Paula's cooking.
No Reservations shows Bourdain and a friend or two wandering around some exotic locale (okay, exotic for me) eating, drinking, wandering some more, chowing down on street food, checking out 4 and 5 star restaurants and getting a bit drunk. All accompanied by Anthonys' sardonic and insightful voice over monologues. I enjoy the show because it shows the inner workings of restaurants, exotic locales, foods I never heard of (some of which I eventually hunt down and try to prepare myself) and because Bourdain is so freakin' funny. His acerbic wit is entertaining Also entertaining is the alarming regularity of his adventure making a sudden left turn into territory he never considered possible. (Such as when he was dragged in to a karaoke bar in Korea) Here's an example of his show...when he wrecked an ATV:

Similarly, Bizarre Foods shows the host eating some truly strange foods in exotic locales. I confess that I mainly watch this for the EWWWWWWWWWWWWW factor. Some of the foods I would probably try--- kangaroo tail, alligator sausage, stuff like that. But roasted tarantula? Nope! Andrew also gets into some strange situations...I remember him having some *healing ritual* performed on him in South America somewhere, the *shaman* ended up taking a mouthful of rum and spraying it onto Andrew after lighting it on fire! Here's an ewwwwwwwww moment from his show:

I like Chopped, because that is what most of us face every night.
We look in the fridge and the cabinets and try to figure out what to fix for dinner. The week before payday can be especially challenging!
"Let's see...I have two apples, some leftover mashed potatoes, some celery and two chicken breasts to feed four people...hmmmmm"
It's fun watching them race around with a time constraint as well. Most people that are fixing dinner for their families do not have the luxury of taking 2 or 3 hours to spend in the kitchen with a hungry batch of kids waiting!

It seems that people are paying much more attention to what they are eating.
That is a Good Thing.
People are finding out that they enjoy eating less processed foods, more *honest* foods and that they like cooking for themselves.
Another Good Thing.
A lot of folks call themselves *Foodies* and proclaim they "know" what is good food and what most people eat is Not Good.
So, Food Snobbery raises it's perfectly coiffed head.
"Oh, you ate at Wolfgang Pucks restaurant when you went to Disneyland?" *sniff* "You really should have gone to *insert trendy pop up restaurant name here*. It's on the bad side of L.A, I know, but the food is so organic/honest/peasant it is fabulous. Puck is so passe!"
Look, you fix/grow/butcher/buy what you like. Maybe you adore mac and cheese from the box because it reminds you of what your mom made when you were little. That's okay! (Personally, I have a soft spot for orange Creamsicles)
I try to fix healthy, good tasting food for my family. Because I am responsible for cooking their meals, I watch out for fat, salt and other things we all need to be careful of. I avoid overly processed foods not because I am a food snob, but because they are so expensive, and to me, taste kinda *chemical*.
I bake bread not because I am enthralled by *artisan bread*, but because I know what the additives are in commercially produced breads. (That's a whole 'nother post...with lots of ewwwww factor!)

I think everyone should love to cook, but I know that is not the case. When you do cook, whether you like to or not, cook with love and that will be felt.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Gray Hairs Ahoy!

The kids made it home safely.
There was some question about that happening when The Boy called Friday morning and let us know the plane he had been on had to make an emergency landing in Charlotte, N.C. when their hydraulic systems gave out.
The Boy thought the experience was "way cool", especially when some of the adults freaked out.
He didn't like how bumpy the landing was. He was also disappointed that they did not get to slide off the plane via the emergency chute, but had to disembark the normal way after being towed to the gate.
He got to stay in Charlotte overnight, with an escort provided by the airline. The Darlin' Man has the habit of buying trip insurance, so the overnight stay, his meals and the escort were provided.

Of course, The Boy regaling us with the story of his adventures freaked ME out, as I am a nervous flyer at best.
Flying freaks me out in general, something wrong with the plane would cause me to ramp it up into hysterics. I mean, if I am on a boat and something goes wrong, I know how to swim! If something goes wrong with the plane I am on...well, it's not like you have the option of jumping out with a parachute. BTW, I found out a long time ago that airlines frown on bringing your own parachute on board.
Don't ask how I know that.
The Girls' arrival was much less dramatic. (Thankfully!) There was some drama, as she had made plans to stay up north. Her dad squashed that idea, as he felt staying up there would not be the best choice for her safety or education at this time.
So, there was some drama over that, but agreements and concessions were made on both sides and all ended peacefully.

Today was the first day of the new school year for them both. The bus, of course, didn't show up. So, the Darlin' Man --- who, thankfully, was going in late today --- drove the kids to school.
I have been doing laundry, as both of them came home with the souvenir of dirty laundry from their trips!
I'll be making a big batch of chimmichurri in a bit, and prepping for dinner.
We have embarked on a health kick here, so tonight will be a vegetarian meal.
Black bean and cheese enchiladas will be the entree. Yummmm!
Hope the school year started well for all of you out there!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Day of Quiet!

Tomorrow noon The Girl returns home from her summer vacation and tomorrow midnight, The Boy returns.
While I have enjoyed the peace and quiet here, I have missed them!
The Girl likes to help me fix meals and bake, she is turning into a terrific cook! The Boy is a help around the house, too, and also is great at helping with the yard work.
I hope they both enjoyed their vacations, but the start of school is looming ahead, so the vacations must end and preparations started for the new school year.
The Darlin' Man already registered them for the new school year and brought home their new school books.
Activity fees have been paid and class schedules will be mailed out within a couple of days.
Today I am trying to organize their school clothes and do necessary repairs, etc.
Tomorrow I do my grocery shopping, at the same time I will try to get a few items I know they will need for the new school year.
We haven't received the infamous *lists* that teachers send home, that will come the first week of school.
The lists seem to get longer each year and it also seems the teachers each want different things.
One teacher only wants blue ink pens, another black. College ruled paper for one class, regular rule for another. Last year one teacher wanted a specific type of composition book that we couldn't find anywhere! The Darlin' Man finally found it by pure chance wandering in the PX looking for something else completely.
I would like to go ahead and get some of the school supplies tomorrow, but it is useless until we get the lists.
So, tomorrow will be bulk buys of hygiene and personal  supplies---shampoo, deodorant,  hairbrushes, combs, hair gel, pony tail holders, etc.I like to buy such items on sale. One store has shampoo and conditioner on sale for a dollar a bottle, so I'll get 10 bottles of each.
I think I'll add a personal/hygiene shelf to our food storage stores. The Darlin' Man hasn't concentrated as much on food storage, leaving that up to me, so I guess I'll have to take charge on this, too!
So, soap, shampoo, deodorant, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, combs, hair accessories, hair gel, lip balm, sanitary pads, tissues, and anything else I can think of by tomorrow...

Hope everyone out there has an easy time with the teacher lists!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Day at the Goat Spa

Patches had been in her breeding cycle and Wang had free access to her, so she was, well...a little bit smelly.
So, today she was moved into more private quarters and had her day at the Frippery Farm Goat Spa:
"Ooooohhhhh...tropical coconut shampoo? Love it!"

Like all good spas, we offer our clients snacks at the Frippery Farm Goat Spa!

Rinse cycle started!

ALWAYS remember to rinse the *undercarriage*!

All sweet smelling and clean, another satisfied customer!

Champagne and Penelope approve!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Relaxing Day

The new picture in my header is what the sky looked like this morning as I finished up milking.
Why, yes, those are actual clouds! We had RAIN!
It showered yesterday evening right before sundown, and then again after dark. Overnight we had rainstorms move through 3 or 4 times.
Nothing like the sound of rain to give you a good nights sleep!
I am hoping we get some more rain today....we have had thunder in the last couple of hours, and there are clouds again, so chances look pretty good!
Today, I am just relaxing...I did the usual feeding and milking this morning, and gathered eggs. Made sure all the animals had full water troughs.
To relax today, I am researching recipes, especially curry recipes. The Darlin' Man loves curry, so I am trying to find some good recipes out there so I can make curry this week.
I've never done a lot of Indian cooking, so this is an enjoyable adventure for me!
What style of cooking have you never tried that you want to try?
Find a few recipes and go for it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Few New Pictures

Well, I haven't been able to get a decent picture of Patches...but I have a few of Champagne and Gabby that might work...

Anyway, here's some pics!
Champagne looking for her feed bucket!

Another attempt at Patches...ruined by Paulis deciding to get in the act!
Yes, I will pose pretty for a close up!
Geordi, our first goat born here, yearning to get in with the does and have access to that feed bucket!
Wang, just chillin' in the shade...
Patches, strolling through the pen.
Go ahead, use my picture I get a models fee? I'll take it in sweet feed, please!

Help Me Choose!

Barreling on towards getting my cajeta to market...
We are ordering labels for the jars tonight!
I needed three pictures for the three different labels (reg., extra thick and spicy cajeta)
I picked two pictures:
Gabrielle aka Gabby for the label for the regular cajeta
Champagne aka Champ for the extra thick cajeta (happy goat!)

Having a problem picking the picture for the spicy cajeta
This picture of Patches?
I think it is too much of a close-up and you can't really tell it's a goat!

This picture, which I would have to crop out excess background and you can still see Paulis standing behind her.
or this one..Patches standing in the feed box with her goofy happy-goat expression on her face (and she is endearingly goofy!)

Or should I try for some new shots and hope I can get a better one? Patches is notoriously hard to get a good pic of, as she will come over for her close-up, but then try to nibble on the camera or the person holding the camera! Patches is just a *nibbly* type of goat, lol!

I think I will try to get a couple of pics of her...may post the results later IF I get a good one. If I don't, I am tempted to go with the bottom pic. My son likes the close-up and the fella likes the middle picture (if I crop it).
Which one do you think would look cuter on a label?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Economy

I normally try to stay pretty upbeat on here...even when Red the Psychotic Rooster has been trying to kill me, or the goats get out and I chase them around the neighborhood or when I am confronted by an invasion of mice.
But right now, nothing is upbeat about the US (or even the world's) economy.
The stock market is tanking. Not just the US stock market but the financial markets around the world.
The drought and heat wave experienced by "American's Bread Basket" (and Meat Department) this year (and that is still continuing) will cause ripple effects that will end up on your grocery store receipt.

*Prepping* and Food Storage are no longer things that the *nutball* down the street does.
Food Storage is no longer a case of buying one 50 pound bag of rice and one 25 pound bag of pinto beans and calling it done.
*Prepping* for First Aid is not buying a cute little box of Hello Kitty band aids and tossing it into the trunk of your car or under the bathroom sink to be forgotten.
Being Prepared has taken on a whole new meaning these days.

If you  are prepared, congratulations. Now, stock up some more.
If you aren't prepared, bust your butt to get prepared.
No money, you say?
Look around your house.How many useless electronic gizmos do you have that you rarely use? Sell them. Craigslist, the classifieds, pawn shops, ebay.
Everyone in the family has an IPOD? Sell all but one or two and share, dammit!
Switch to cheaper cell phone plans and, if you have older cells that you no longer use, sell them.
Those diamond ear studs that you got for your fifth anniversary 4 years ago that you have worn only a dozen times ? Sell them. Buy CZ, no one can really tell the difference anyway.

Four different video game systems with a slew of games for each? Sell the games that no one plays or rarely plays. Keep only one or two of the systems and sell the others. SHARE the ones you have left. You might consider waiting until near Christmas or a birthday and take all your rarely played games to a game store and exchange them for store credit to get the new game your kid so desperately desires.

Expensive sports equipment or musical instruments that no one ever uses and just gathers dust and takes up space in the attic or garage? Sell it NOW.

Two car family with the latest cars and the high payments/insurance to go with them?
Check the Bluebook value and see if you can sell one (or both) for a profit. Pay them off and buy a less expensive used car (have a mechanic check it out first). You say you NEED two cars because both of you work (for couples). Sit down and break down the costs of having a job. Travel/commuting expenses, meals, wardrobe, daycare, etc. A lot of folks that do a full breakdown find out it actually costs them to work. They are paying to go to a job!  If that's the case, quit the job and find something else to do, preferably working out of the home.
If you ABSOLUTELY have to have two vehicles, then get situated with two used vehicles OR use the profit from selling one vehicle to pay off the other and go find a decent *beater* for one of you to drive.
Pack your lunches for work and no more eating out. Cook at home.
Use coupons for special *nights out* with your spouse or kids.

Have a lot of name brand high end clothes and shoes that the kids (or you) have outgrown? (If you are reading this and have 4 dozen pairs of shoes bought within the last year...there's no damn hope for you, but I advise you to sell most of them.)
Sell on ebay or find a consignment shop that will pay cash so you don't have to wait for your used item to catch someones eye. Launder the clothes first or have them dry cleaned (if needed) or just clean them up the best you can if you can't afford the dry cleaning. Clean and polish the shoes or handbags.Sell them.

Find anything and everything around your house that is outgrown, useless, redundant, etc and SELL THEM!
(and cannot include spouse or children in those categories, lol!)

First Aid
Junk Silver and/or Gold (depends on your budget.)
Seeds (for Gardening)

You can find hundreds of sites that give you a food  and/or caloric breakdown of what you need Google "Food Storage for one person" to start..Read some of those sites. Always remember to get foods that you and your family will actually eat. Five #10 cans of hominy will do you no damn good if no one in the family will eat them! Try to get at least 3 months of basic food for each family member. (Don't forget your pets!)

First Aid
Get a GOOD first aid kit. Always have 30 to 90 days worth of prescribed medications on hand, especially if it is a chronic, on going health problem. Take a CPR course and a Red Cross first aid course or two.

First, a basic shotgun for home defense. Second, a hunting rifle for...duh, hunting. It can also be used for self defense if need be. Third, a handgun for personal defense, if you need one. I am not going to suggest calibers.What I will suggest is that you invest an afternoon or evening at a shooting range that has rental guns to try out. Find out what you can handle.Ask other gun owners for advice.Do NOT go out and buy the shiniest gun with all the bells and whistles. Find out what suits you FIRST! Shop around. Look at pawn shops.In Craigslist. At When you find *your* gun at the price that is agreeable to you and buy it, PRACTICE! Cheaper to blow through a hundred rounds to get adept and accurate with a weapon than to have no clue how to accurately hit a target when your life depends on it.

Precious Metals
Try to have at least some junk silver (old coins with high silver content) stashed away. If the dollar collapses, it may be the only currency worth anything. If you have the cash, a few gold coins. Right now the precious metals market is going through the roof, I know. Still, better to have some precious metals and have them lose value if the economy stabilizes, than to not have any at all if the dollar does crash or is devalued.

Seeds and Tools
Non-GMO seeds and Heirloom seeds and the tools to garden with. Tools to get firewood with. Tools to do home repairs with. Learn to garden and learn to use tools properly.

This is the best I can advise right now. I feel that so many of us out here have been screaming the same message for years, but were ignored or dismissed as *kooks*. If you never listened before...please do so now.
Check out the blogs I read...Bacon and Eggs, Rural Revolution, Krazo Acres...all of them have been trying to get the same message across for so long.
I hope you guys out there are finally listening now.

A Super Easy Recipe and Penelope Pics!

I just posted the recipe for my easy hummus over at Krazo Acres for Carolyn-Renee and I thought I'd share the recipe here. We eat hummus 2 or 3 times a week, as it is our *go to* snack item here!
Super Easy Hummus Recipe--
1 can Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
2 tablespoons Tahini (sesame seed paste) OR 1 tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 to 2 cloves garlic (optional)
pinch of salt

Drain can of beans (save the liquid!), dump the beans in a blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Start on a medium speed and add a couple tablespoons of the bean liquid as it is blending. Taste every once in a while to see if the texture is smooth enough for you. I usually hit the puree button on my blender. Refrigerate for a bit to chill it and always refrigerate leftover hummus! If serving for a party, *fancy it up* by serving in a pretty bowl and sprinkling some toasted sesame seeds on top or some minced parsley on top or shaking a little paprika on top.
Tahini is pricey, but I have found that using the sesame seed oil gives the same flavor profile PLUS you don't get that *mealy* texture that some folks don't like. Get the Toasted Sesame Seed Oil if you can...richer flavor.
Now, I always add in a clove of garlic while it is blending as my family likes that. Other *add-ins* I use:
Roasted red bell peppers
Marinated artichoke hearts--well drained
Sun Dried Tomatoes or one fresh tomato-seeded and chopped

We eat it with pita bread, pita chips, on tortillas, with corn chips, on bread. Like I said, it is a mainstay here!

I usually make my hummus from dried beans that I crock-pot cook overnight, but I started off making it from canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and still keep a stock of canned beans just in case we run out and need to make it in a hurry!

Penelope news...
Penelope aka *Chicken Butt* was out wandering the yard yesterday with the goats.
 She gets along just fine with all of our little herd.
Her downy butt feathers are growing in more:

Yesterday evening, I FINALLY got the chance to get a pic of her riding Champagne (her favorite riding goat, apparently). Unfortunately, the pictures turned out a bit dark, but I hope you can see her. She is on the back of the white goat:
I know...hard to see. :(
I'll try to catch her having a daytime ride so I can get a better pic!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Desert Gardening----Trying Again!

We had ferocious heat and a devastating drought this year across most of the country.
The garden I had hoped would feed my family got baked. That's the only way to put it! Blossoms shriveled up and fell off, seedlings I watered and kept watch on withered and died or were so stunted by the heat and sandstorms (a delightful  side benefit of desert living --yeah, sarcasm there) that they never produced. it is time to get my Fall garden in the ground and going!
I WAS going to try using the raised bed boxes I tried growing my Spring/Summer garden in. However, long term weather predictions say that we will have continued severe heat until the end of August and drought until the end of October.
I went to a couple of lectures/talks given by local Master Gardeners and went to check out a local community garden run by Master Gardeners to see how they do it. Their gardens had suffered in the heat, too, but not as badly as mine. They actually had veggies!
The big differences iin what they did as opposed to what I did:
Drip Irrigation and Shade Fabric.

LOTS of shade fabric. One MG I spoke to said he had spent several hundred dollars on shade fabric alone this year to protect his garden! I certainly don't have the money for that! So, I looked through what I DO have. I have tarps. And some camo netting stuff the Darlin' Man brought home that looks like it could approximate shade fabric pretty good.
So, tarps and camo netting (actually, that's a misnomer and it's more of a fine screen that net!) to start with.

Moving on...Drip Irrigation.
Some of the gardens I saw had 10 or more drip irrigation hoses snaking through the rows. The gardeners themselves told me that in order to keep up with evaporation and the heat and the sun, they had to run them at 3 to 5 times the pressure they normally do.
I am HUGE on water conservation AND, here in the desert, we have to be as careful with our water as we can. The water bills can get pretty high, too! strategies will include the following:
Burying 2 liter bottles in the garden at two foot intervals.The bottles will have holes poked into them so water can trickle out. I figure I can fill them once a day and they will seep water into the ground all day and night.
Using *gray water* as much as possible. I can't exactly route it directly to the garden, but I can, for example, use a bucket to empty the tub instead of letting that precious water go down the drain! I have figured out a way to route my washing machine *gray water* to the garden, so that's a plus.

I had plenty of seeds left over from this spring, so I have already started some seedlings. Butternut squash, cabbage, etc.
Although I still have loads of raised bed boxes, I think I will borrow my neighbors tiller and give a try at putting this garden directly in the ground. Maybe put a few things in the boxes.
Seems a shame not to put them to good use!
Remember all these?
I figure I can use at least one for a small herb garden...
I already turned a few of them into shelving for my food storage and am ripping apart a few more for a chicken house project.

 I have my fingers crossed that my Fall garden will succeed!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big Changes Afoot!

Today my blog changes it name, description and appearance!
The reason for this is sometimes you have to change to grow!
We are, very shortly, incorporating our business (oh...paperwork, gotta love it!) and expanding our livestock herd, along with the products we are and will be producing.
We will be selling locally initially, but within the next few months, we will also have an online store.
All of this came about after the Darlin' Man and I had a conversation about where our efforts were heading and where we wanted them to head.
We even went over various logos for our, was that a funny discussion! (Watch for the new logo within a month...working on the artwork now)
I hope you all like the changes and continue to follow us in this new adventure!
Most of the changes will be apparent later today or tomorrow!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Coop Adventures

This morning it was nice and cool at 6 am. I had finished feeding and milking, so I decided to take on the task of cleaning the chicken coop....AND *dusting* the chickens. I dust the chickens with diatomaceous earth, which prevents lice, mites and other such nasties from getting a toehold on them. I like cleaning the coop actually, and I figured dusting the chickens would be no big deal and I could handle it myself...
Cleaning the coop was not too bad. I shooed all the chickens out and they happily pecked and scratched around the yard as I hosed down the roost, refilled their water, raked out the coop and put in a fresh layer of hay for them. I love how the coop looks when it's all clean and fresh for my hens...and I think they like it, too!
Then the hard part....
I had to catch each chicken, stick them in a pillow case with their little head sticking out and dump in about 1/2 cup of DE. I sorta shook each chicken around and then turned them loose in the coop.
All went passably well until it was time for....Red, the psychotic rooster. (Yes, that IS his official title here!)
This is Red BEFORE I cleaned the coop or dusted him....and he looks pretty annoyed already, doesn't he?
Well, after several tries at catching Red, I realized I only have so much blood and I need it!
So, instead of putting him in the pillow case, I just waited until he had his back turned to me and sprinkled some of the DE on his back, in the hopes that through his preening and such, he'd work it through the rest of his feathers.
Red, not appreciating that I was actually trying to protect his health and well-being, misconstrued the sprinkling of the DE as a sneak attack and retaliated.
He charged, talons out for blood and screeching what I can only assume was a rooster battle cry.
I admit it, I ran. I had no weapon to protect myself at that point, except for the small plastic cup I was using to sprinkle the DE with. I mean, I threw it at him, but I missed and Red didn't pay attention to it anyway!
I made it back into the house with only one injury from his spurs.
I cleaned myself up, saw that Red had returned to the coop and I snuck out and shut the coop door.
I have 4 band-aids on my hands from him pecking me so hard he drew blood when I tried to catch him, and one gauze pad on my left calf where he raked me with his spurs.
If any of my neighbors saw me racing in fear away from an outraged rooster, I think my dignity took a solid hit as well!.
Next time the dusting needs to be done...the Darling Man and my son are gonna do it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Too Quiet Around Here.... and a few reflections

This morning the Girl left to visit relatives in another state. The Boy is already doing the same.
So it is real quiet around here...TOO quiet.
I am one of those people that not only wakes up at a noise in the dead of night, I also wake up at the total LACK of noise.
No noise is sorta unnatural around here! Normal background noise here includes the goats, the chickens, the dogs, the fans, refrigerator running, maybe the washing machine, etc.
The human noises are already noticeable by their absence. No video games going, no teens laughing over a movie or arguing over what movie to watch. No slamming doors as someone goes outside, no clinking and clanking in the kitchen as one of the kids makes a snack. (Why do their snacks always involve 4 plates. 2 bowls and a dozen utensils? LOL!)
It was a bit spooky feeling to me, so I turned the tv on for background noise.
I will try to enjoy the peace and quiet, but they will be back on the 19th, so everything will get back to normal then!
As some know, my Son has moved in with us. Yes, he is an adult (28). Times are tough, and the place where he worked cut it's staff, so he asked if he could come down here to try to get back on his feet. The Darlin' Man and I talked it over and agreed to let him move in.
There were some caveats ....he had to pitch in with the chores and work here. No drugs. He had to take his drivers license test and get his license.
So far, he has done all that has been asked of him and more.
The most remarkable thing is the change that come over my son.
You see, he always had the idea that he would end up living in an urban area, working with computers or something technical.
With him, it was always "city, city, city". He thought he would enjoy the noise and activity, the easy availability of concerts, etc. In fact, he moved to Portland, Ore. for a bit and tried it.
He hated it there.Left after just a couple months. It was "too much", he said.
Now, here, on our little acre, he is happier than I have seen him in literally years!
He is calmer. He loves the goats and enjoys working with them. I suspect his milking skills will surpass mine within another month or two! The goats have *bonded* with him. They follow him around, begging to be petted or scratched behind the ears. He talks to them and takes them treats.
He is okay with the chickens, although he has found Red to be the most anti-social rooster on the planet! (as have we all!) He gathers eggs, cleans out the coop and refills the water.
His first week here, the Darlin' Man gave him a list of jobs that needed to be done, that we just hadn't had the time to get to. Within three days, all the jobs were done.
He used to smoke marijuana. I was concerned that lack of it would annoy him or he would miss it so much that he would be testy and cranky.
I talked to him about it this morning, as we were milking the goats. He said "You know, I don't seem to need it as much as I did living in town. There, I smoked it to calm down and to sorta block all the stuff that was going on. Here, it is so peaceful, I don't need to."
Country living and goats....
Even more surprising are his future plans.
He wants to farm! He sees far more value in farming, than in being a computer repair guy or code writer, etc. He says if he has to get a job that's not farming, he'd like to look into being a farrier or a large animal vet tech or even an A.I tech.
I was flabbergasted to hear this!
What is kinda funny to me, is the Darlin' Man's son, the Boy, sounds like my son before his change! The Boy is all about city, city, city and wants absolutely nothing to do with the goats or chickens or the garden, etc. He plans on a career in the *tech world*. Can't wait to move to a big city "where there is something fun to do".
I wonder what he'll think in 10 or 15 years.....
Late last night, I sat outside for awhile. The cooler night air relaxes me before I come in to go to bed.
I looked up at those stars, so crystal clear in the desert night sky and though about how lucky I am to be here...with my Darlin' Man, my family, and in this situation. How lucky I am to look up and see those gorgeous stars, my view not blocked by buildings or smog, the cool night air gentle against my face. The goats rustling around in their pens, a soft baaa every once in a while as they bedded down for the night. A soft cluck every once in a while from the chicken coop as the hens vie for the best position on their roost.

Night time in the desert....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Penelope's Saga

Penelope the hen is still living in the milking pen with the does, Gabrielle and Champagne.
Remember Penelope?

Well, she has settled in quite contentedly.
She cuddles up with the goats at night, scratches  through the hay all day looking for bits of feed the goats miss and drinks from their water trough. I have even caught her riding around on the goats backs! (Of course, I never seem to have my camera ready when that occurs!)
She seems to not to miss the company of the other hens at all!
She is sprouting some fuzzy down on her bottom where the other hens pulled out her tail feathers.
Penelope is quite lively and happy in the goat pen. She hasn't laid any eggs, and I fear if she does, they will get crushed by the goats. But right now, she is content and I am content to leave her where she is.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bacon and Eggs...having a contest!

One of my favorite people in the blog universe is having her first contest!
Click here!
Even if you don't enter the contest, she has a very cool blog and it is well worth reading and following!