Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sad Day

This morning I went out to feed the goats as usual...and discovered that our youngest goat, Cloris, had died during the night.
Cloris was born in March, daughter of Champagne and Wang.
In case you don't remember Cloris:
Cloris is the little one to the right...she had just lost the *King of the Mountain* championship to Geordi in this picture taken a couple of months ago.

I know why Cloris died. She had gone into season far too young (it can happen...sigh) and before we discovered this, she had been bred.
She was simply too tiny to be pregnant.
I called a friend this morning after my discovery and sadly loaded Cloris into the trunk of the car and drove over to their place.
A brief necropsy and we discovered that her uterus had split and she had died of internal bleeding. She was carrying twins. Too large a burden for such a tiny young doe!
Cloris was left far out in the desert. The coyotes and birds and other scavengers will have her now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gender Bender on Frippery Farm?

Remember Penelope?
Our chicken that preferred the company of goats?
Penelope was purchased at our local feed store, along with Phoebe. Phoebe settled in well and proceeded to make friends with the other chickens, etc. Penelope got in constant fights and was attacked not only by the other chickens but by the rooster, Red the Psycho, as well.
I let Penelope stay with the goats and she soon learned how to get out of the goat pen and wander the yard contentedly. No eggs, but we bought her and Phoebe young and didn't expect eggs for a few weeks.
Penelope would sit on my lap as I milked the goats and followed me around the yard as I fed the goats and did other chores. She had become a fixture in the yard and was benignly ignored for the most part.

Yesterday I let all the chickens out in the yard...and Penelope made a bee-line for them.
Uh-Oh. There's going to be a fight!
Uhmmm...what's Penelope doing...she's not fighting...she's...HOLY CRAP!
(I had to edit in a new surprised face as the old link went bad) not a girl chicken, she's a BOY chicken.
That's right...Penelope is a rooster!
Observe what I finally took notice of:
See the spurs growing?

Except for the tail feathers, he is a handsome bird! No crowing yet, but he gave it a bit of a try this morning. change is in order.
We are calling him Pender.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Morning....

Of course, some of us did not want to get up and greet the new day...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Property Rights?

These videos are a "must-see" for anyone that owns property or is contemplating buying property and living off-grid.
Do you have the right to live off-grid?

The answer...depends on where you live!

Shorter video:

Some of these folks have lived in their homes for 20+ years...and just now the government decides to use code enforcement to force them off...for code violations that never existed before!

Find out the codes where you live or where you plan to buy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cooling Off...ahhhhhh...and Other Things

The temperatures here have cooled off nicely the last couple of weeks. A HUGE relief to a heat-hater like me!
Everyone else has pulled out blankets and comforters, but I manage with just a sheet still...and sometimes kick that off.
The Darlin' Man has a bit of time off from work and is splitting it between here and a visit to his eldest daughter. Her college is having it's annual Parents Weekend and wanted him to come to that.
In his absence, I have a few *surprise* projects I want to get completed.

First and foremost, I want to *wnterize* the does goat shed.
It is so hot here in the summer (which, honestly, is most of the year!) that the goats shed we have is really just a covered area for them to seek shade under. Originally, that pen was the *bachelor quarters* for Wang.
As the does kidded, it became more logical to separate the does and new kids from the flock to give the new moms some privacy and to prevent accidental injury to the new kids, so Wang was moved  out and the new moms with kids were moved in.
Then we realized it was just way more convenient to keep the milking does in that pen.
We extended the fence area so the does have more room (last weekends project).
So, I plan on adding sides to the covered area. I think the sides should be permanent, to provide protection from wind (both cold and hot wind!) and so the kidding does have a comfy spot.
It should be fairly easy to do (famous last words, lol!) and I will get to play with power tools again (duck and cover everyone!). We still have plenty of lumber to do the project left over from the scrap lumber the fella brought home.

Smaller projects I have planned are creating a tool rack for our ever increasing tool collection, cleaning the screened-in porch (how DID so much stuff accumulate there?) and maybe re-stringing the clothes line. If I had the right kind of paint somewhere, I'd repaint the clothes line poles as well.

The kids have a day and a half off from school this week, so I will have their help, thankfully.
Is it just me, or do they seem to be giving kids more and more "days off" from school? They have so many teachers work days, etc that it seems that the kids are going less and less. School started a month ago and there have already been 4 days off...Labor Day and the rest teachers work days...although they now call it "Staff Enrichment". (I'll refrain to comment on that!)
Anyway, a full week before the Darlin' Man gets back and I have work to do!
Hope you all have a productive week, too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Panic Attack in Aisle Four!

I am either too old for this day and age...or, perhaps I was just born in the wrong era.
The day we got my new goat, we did go grocery shopping.
The Darlin' Man has a Costco card and --- for the first time--- I went to Costco.
My Darlin' Man usually goes there by himself and picks up bulk items for the house once or twice a month.
I had never been, so I sorta looked at the trip as a *treat*.
I hated the place, let me count the ways...
Too BIG. Massive place. When you get in the rear of the store, it seems worse to me. I like smaller, more intimate stores...with windows, thankyouverymuch! I felt *trapped*. Seems weird that I would feel trapped in a building that large, but I did.

Too much *stuff*. Seriously. Too, TOO MUCH! Shelves towering over me. Aisle after aisle of *stuff*. Mainly stuff I had no use for (ginormous flat screen t.v.s, jewelry, massive bottles of expensive liquor, etc). All I wanted was to get my grocery shopping done.

Too many people. The place was packed--- to me, anyway. My fella seemed to think it was pretty light traffic in there. ACK! And the sample people did NOT help! I don't need someone on practically every aisle offering me a teensy cup of juice or a bite of sausage. Leave me alone and let me get my shopping done!

Too much noise. That place was LOUD! It didn't help that some of the sample people had brought radios or cd players and were blasting music at their various stations.Especially the jerk in the meat department blasting George Jones and Tammy Wynette or whoever it was ( In case you didn't know, I HATE COUNTRY MUSIC!!! It actually gives me headaches and nausea).

Too much of EVERYTHING! Too much size, too much stuff, too much noise, too many people, too many smells, too much activity. It was all...just TOO MUCH for me.

We bought a 50 pound bag of rice, a big box of crackers and a few other items. Some lettuce. No meat (I literally could not get out of the meat dept. fast enough!), a case of black beans and a case of tomato sauce.(We get the organic stuff)

I hauled butt for the checkout as soon as I could and told the fella I would wait for him outside. I could not stay in that store another second. I stood outside shaking.

Minor panic attack. I lasted in the store about 20 minutes. Took almost that darn long to walk (okay, I was walking fast, the fella could barely keep up, lol!) from the front to the back and then again to the front for checkout.
I think I will stick with my locally owned grocer. The store is bright and cheery, the front windows are large. I know where everything is and I know the cashiers and baggers. If I need or want something they don't have, all I have to do is talk to the manager and he'll make sure they order it in AND give me a call when it gets there! A much more pleasant shopping experience than *shudder* Costco!

For all the Costco lovers out there, go for it! Some of us (well, at least me) can't handle it. A few of the prices are good (the rice is 3 dollars less a 50 pound bag there), but I really don't think that is worth the experience.
I guess the fella will just have to go there by his-self, while I happily push my cart through the local grocers!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Because it is September 11th

At The Movies!

The fella finally got to take me to the movies...
We went to see Contagion.
Stellar cast giving fine performances. Great premise, tracking a virus back to Day One and seeing how it spreads. The efforts to contain it, the efforts to find a vaccination or treatment, government response, etc.
If you have not seen the movie and wish to go see it, read no further as there will be some *spoilers*.
. we go...
They showed the trash piling up in the streets as people didn't report to work, etc. because so many people were sick. I mean, they quarantined cities and whole states! Two million people dead in the US within the first 14 days. big  issue is that within all the chaos they were showing...the electricity was still on, the water still flowed from the taps, cable t.v. still up and running, the internet was still going fine and the phone lines and wireless phones were still operating without a problem.
Really? REALLY!?
Almost no violence.
The violence shown was: a sorta raid on a pharmacy (glass breaking, shoving and shouting), a small melee at a food station run by the National Guard (again, shoving, a few people knocked down), shotgun blasts in a darkened home (no bodies or blood shown), a home invasion at a CDC doctors home when his wife was home alone...the miscreants were searching for the vaccination. The wife was never really physically threatened. Apparently just scaring her was supposed to be trauma enough.
That was it.
The story was good...but the details were lacking in realism.

I'll give it two stars and recommend that you wait for Netflix or the dvd.

As for getting to go out on a date with the Darlin' THAT was WONDERFUL! The only fly in the ointment was I made the Very Bad Mistake of getting some nachos at the movie theater. Was fine for a couple hours and then massive heartburn hit. Yeee-Ouch! Next time I'll stick to popcorn!
We had a spirited discussion of the movie afterwards.
The  Darlin' Man was quick to point out logistical mistakes, mistakes in details about the Armed Forces, National Guard, etc. Also, since he has been to Asia, he saw some of the mistakes made in showing how the governments there would handle the problem. I was amazed that in this particular *scenario*, there was still ample gasoline available for people to high-tail it out of the cities, plenty of trucks on the road, etc. They showed an empty grocery store...but a fully stocked and military guarded MALL ! "Yeah, let's not worry about the food supply...dear heavens, get to the mall! The Gap and Hot Topic NEED us!" (No one actually said that---but that's how it came across to me!) And no interruption of electricity, water, cable t.v., phone systems and internet? That gobsmacked me.
I guess because we are so wired in to the whole preparedness mindset, we have a different world view.
We KNOW that if the garbage men don't come into work, neither will the guys down at the water treatment plant or the workers at the cable company or the linemen for the electric company or the folks that drive the trucks to deliver goods to the malls, etc.
The infra-structure of people that provide the things that those of us on-grid depend on is vast and complex. One fumble and the electric grid goes down. One screw-up at the water treatment plant and raw sewage will back up in your house or flow into the streets.
We live in an intricate web in the on-grid world. We are dependent upon the efficiency and competency of a massive amount of anonymous people that we never meet.
I, personally, am grateful for all those folks. We pay our bills on time...if we don't they can't and things could break down in a hurry! We are aware of all those anonymous folks and hope for their well-being, especially on stormy nights when the power goes out and somewhere out in the darkness, somebody is being roused out of bed to make repairs so the rest of us will have lights, heat, refrigeration, etc.
Conversely, we also prepare for occasions when the grid doesn't work and we will be on our own. We have flashlights and candles, alternate cooking supplies, stored water, etc.
It boils down to the old adage "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Over the Weekend...

Since I had been here a year, the fella took me shopping...we originally intended to go out to eat, go to a clothing store to get me some much needed additions to my wardrobe and then do the grocery shopping.
Well, on the way to town we have to pass the feedstore.
They also sell animals....chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits and occasionally, goats.
We stopped to get some chicken scratch and some sweet feed.
We looked in the corral behind the store.
Three lovely Boer does, one doe of unknown breed and a doe that was a Boer/Nubian cross.
The amount the store wanted per goat was not within our budget. I checked all the goats very friendly and ancient Boer doe had only one good teat, but she was hugely pregnant. The two younger Boers looked good, but a closer examination of one showed she had had mastitis before and one teat was messed up. The other Boer doe had a better udder, but something about her didn't look quite *right* to me.
The unknown breed doe was lovely, but wild to the point where she was almost feral. All three of those does were pregnant.
The Boer/Nubian cross was not pregnant. Around three years old, with a nice udder, she was docile and curious about these strange people wandering around the paddock. Her udder looked perfect, with no defects or signs of previous infection.
I wandered up front to talk to the owner of the store. Told him I was interested in one goat, but she was not pregnant and her price was too high. Offered him half of what he was asking.
He agreed!
Dinner out was rapidly cancelled and we put our new goat in the back of the truck and tied her down and I stayed in the back with her to keep her calm.
The ride home freaked her out and she struggled a bit and bleated everytime we hit a bump. An interesting ride home!
I named her Molly!
She is so pretty!
Adorable floppy ears and the cutest white *socks*.

Soooooo Pretty!
Look at that smile!
Molly has settled in well. Wang (our buck) was VERY enthusiastic to meet the new girl!
She is getting along well with the rest of the little herd, although she has not met Gabrielle and Champagne yet as they are in a different pen.
So, I didn't go out to dinner and I only got one pair of new jeans and the rest of our shopping was curtailed until next month.
But, sometimes, you have go for an opportunity when it appears.
Besides, who wouldn't want a new goat for a present!?

In other news...I tried to put Penelope back in the chicken coop yesterday.
This morning, I found her wedged behind the roost missing her newly grown tail feathers.
It took a lot of effort to get her out, but with my sons help we were finally able to effect her release.
Back in with the milking does she went!
Penelope Fluffbottom is, sadly again, Penelope Chickenbutt.

She and the does had a happy reunion. When I left them, Penelope had eaten, drank plenty of water and had snuggled down with Champagne.
So, I guess Penelope is to be a permanent companion to our does. She and they seem content and happy with the situation. The fella is not happy that Penelope is not *producing*, but I think she will eventually lay eggs, just have to construct a nesting box for her in the goat pen.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Present From My Fella

To celebrate my being here a full year, the fella got me a wonderful present yesterday!
More about our new goat tomorrow!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Food Storage and Allergies

We have allergies in this family, oh yes!
Because of various allergies, we have to take alternative routes to a full long term food storage pantry.
First and foremost, two people have severe allergies to shellfish. One person is severely allergic to all seafood. Two people are allergic to Lima beans and butter beans. One is allergic to MSG. One is allergic to tomatoes. One is allergic to aspartame (NutraSweet). Another person simply can't digest TVP (texturized vegetable protein) to the point they get excruciating stomach cramps from as little as a couple of teaspoons of the stuff.

Since there are only five people here, you can figure out that some of us have multiple allergies.*raises hand* Yup, multiple allergies here. The Boy also has multiple allergies.
So, I have to read a lot of labels when I go shopping! Whether it is for my cabinet shelf or the long term storage, if someone in the household is allergic, we simply don't buy it!
The one exception is tomatoes and tomato products. Only one person is allergic, so I make an alternate dish for that person. Tonight we had pizza, but I fixed a small chicken breast for that person and they shredded it and made some tacos with it.
I was so frustrated when I first started my food storage here. The fella was willing to buy some of the fancy freeze dried foods and meals from some of the internet dealers, but when I sat down and read the ingredients (and bless them for posting their full list of ingredients!), I realized that many of their meal items (entrees especially) were chock full of TVP or had tomato powder as a seasoning or MSG or something else that wasn't a friendly item for this family.

Almost all lists tell you to buy tuna fish or sardines for the good protein and caloric boost those items give to emergency rations. Alas, too many of us are allergic. I buy canned Vienna sausages, canned chicken and other such items to round out our protein needs.Even then, I end up reading labels as many of the canned meats include MSG.

There are always ways to round out your food storage even if a family member has special dietary restrictions. It takes a bit more homework and research, but it can be done. Gluten free grains such as millet can be used for those people that cannot tolerate gluten, for example.

Never waver in your efforts to set up a long term food pantry for your family when allergies raise their ugly head! You CAN has long term food storage and manage to handle those allergies at the same time.
Do your homework, research, read labels and persevere!