Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust..

Well, JJ the rooster didn't even last a week before he keeled over and died.
I found him this morning when I let the hens out.
I am so discouraged. Part of me just wants to pull down the chicken coop, get rid of all my hens and rebuild in the front yard and repopulate with all new hens!
I have scrubbed down and disinfected that darn coop within an inch of it's life. I have dusted and redusted. I have supplemented their feed with the recommended vitamins and minerals.
Yet, they still die.
It didn't start until Roy the animal guy started bringing his birds over. Not just chickens. He also brought over doves and pigeons and guineas and peafowl. I have no clue which birds he brought were the ones that brought in whatever is killing my chickens, but I suspect it is the doves and a few of his game hens.
After I post this, I am out to clean the chicken coop again. And scrub down and disinfect it again.
Don't know if it will help, but it is all I can do.

Baby, our stray dog who is now pregnant, is not dealing well with her pregnancy, poor thing.
She has the pregnancy sleepies...falls asleep at the drop of a hat, anywhere, anytime. Fell asleep in the middle of dinner last night, her little head laying in her food bowl. She also has the pregnancy munchies. She doesn't care who is eating what, all she knows is "I need to taste that RIGHT NOW!" So, after last nights impromptu nap in her kibble, she desperately begged for and received small tidbits of : watermelon, popcorn, pizza crust, celery and a sweet pickle. All of which she consumed with gusto, a look of doggie bliss on her face.
This probably contributed to a  bit of a gas problem she now has.
Amazing that such a small creature could produce gas that smells that bad! When she has a gas episode, she looks at her rear with a confused expression and then attempts to escape the stench she has produced by relocating to another room. She seems to not understand how that awful smell is following her! This morning, after a particularly bad and loud gas explosion, she barked fiercely at her butt. Since that didn't seem to help, she tucked her tail and hid under the table, I guess she was hoping the smell wouldn't find her there!
Well, off to clean out the chicken coop again.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Losses...

A week ago, Roy the animal guy brought over some more chickens to put in his pen...which is located beside our chicken coop. The chickens didn't look too healthy and were definitely on the scraggly side, but I had him *dust* them and put them in his pen. The next day, one of them was dead and a couple of others sounded like they had bronchitis.
Then a day later, Pender, our rooster, sounded like he was getting bronchitis.
The day before yesterday, gorgeous Pender was dead.
Pender in happier days, riding on Gabby.

Pender, when he was courting Ugly Betty
The loss of Pender hit me hard and I was VERY angry at Roy. I let Roy know I was angry, in no uncertain terms. He offered me one of his roosters, and I refused, as I didn't want one of those ugly, scraggly, nasty looking birds! He asked me what kind of rooster I needed to make up the loss. I told him I wanted the same breed as Pender, a calm bird and one that would be as watchful and attentive to his hens as Pender was.
This morning he arrived with a rooster, exactly as I had ordered. He again apologized for his part in Penders demise and said he hoped the new rooster would work....but if the rooster didn't work out, he would keep looking until he found one I would like.
So far, the new rooster has been doing okay. He explored the yard and introduced himself to the hens in the traditional rooster manner (he mounted as many as he could in rapid succession). He let me pick him up and pet him without a fuss.
I have named him JJ.
We'll see how he works out.

Article to read today:
Bankers pulling out of money markets and buying gold.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Surprise, Surprise, SURPRISE!

...and I know some of you from my generation read the header in Gomer Pyle's voice!

Roy the animal guy surprised us by bringing by some albino peahens. These girls are gorgeous!
Pericles, our peacock, has entered his molting stage, but even he was impressed and enamored by this exotic peahens enough to flare up his slightly bedraggled tail and do his *booty dance*.  It must have worked, as two of the three albinos have now laid eggs. We are trying to incubate them, although my last effort at incubating was a complete failure. Wish me luck this time!

Another surprise...Baby, the stray pup we rescued last October....remember her?
Well, we checked her out when we got her, got the vet to do a quick scan for a microchip and there wasn't one. Baby had what looked like a scar from being spayed.
Turned out it was just a wrinkle in her skin.
That has REALLY filled out.
Yup, Baby is preggers. Due around the end of September.
I just hope the daddy is NOT the ugly Pekinese with the horrible under-bite that lives down the street. He is such an ugly little dog. I also hope the pitbull that lives on the next street did not somehow find a way to mate with little Baby! That could be disastrous!
Other neighborhood dogs that could be responsible include a toy poodle, a chihuahua, a yorkie and a few mixed terrier types.
I guess we'll see around the end of September!

Last surprise...the rain has continued. That old adage about El Paso "Yeah, it's hot, but it's a DRY heat" does not apply currently. Hot MUGGY days and nights. UGH!

Wish I could send my rain out to all of you in drought areas!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day Before Yesterday

The day before yesterday qualified as "one of those days".
The day before yesterday started out okay. I got up just as the sun was peeking on the horizon. The Darlin' Man had already left for work and everyone else in the house were still asleep, so it was quiet and peaceful.
I decided to do all the chores myself and let The Girl and my son sleep late.
All was going well until I walked into a tree branch while hauling the hay in our little wagon from the front yard to the back. OUCH! Nevermind, it'll be okay...and I continued on. Goats were fed and milked, chickens and other fowl fed and watered and our chickens turned out in the yard.
When I got in the house, The Girl was starting to stir, so I asked her to remember to feed her rabbits and water them. My reminder was greeted by the girl growling at me and stomping through the house as if I had requested she attempt some impossible task! My son was soon up and he also awoke in a furious mood. I asked him to help wire some chicken wire over our front gate to forestall any more escape attempts by the browsing goats and sheep. I went out and showed him how it needed to be done and then came back inside.
A few minutes later he came in bellowing about the ants biting him. (Yes, we have these vicious *bull* ants here, and their bite packs a wallop!) In the meantime, the girls temper was flaring like crazy and she was complaining about absolutely everything. So much for my peaceful morning!
I couldn't take anymore, everyone here has had such a negative attitude lately! So, I snapped. Yes, calm, peaceful, Zen me had a meltdown!
I told off both of them in no uncertain terms. I even threatened to pack up my old backpack and just walk away from the whole darn shootin' match!
Then the Darlin' Man came home in not the best of moods after taking The Boy in for school registration. The Boy had decided to go to a friends house and spend the night, so at least he was clear of the fallout zone!
I needed a few things from the store. I made a detailed list (I learned it had to be detailed for the Darlin' Man very early on!). The Girl went with him to the store.
A-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-d...they brought home the wrong items. EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD A DETAILED LIST! Instead of the crispy light tortilla chips I needed to make my taco salad for dinner, they got tough, dry tostadas that tasted stale. Instead of chili powder, they got a "chili and garlic" seasoning. I fixed their darn dinner. I ate a bowl of popcorn. And went to take a shower. Ran out of conditioner. Came out and asked the Darlin' Man to order me some henna to cover the gray roots I currently have. (I don't use chemical dyes/hair coloring because of the massive health risks). He asked if I could buy it locally. I went online and checked Sally's to see if they carried it. Nope. Told the Darlin' Man. His comment was "Well, not much can be done, then." I snapped again. I calmly asked the girl if she could help me cut my hair the next day...back to my roots! Then I told the Darlin' Man he wouldn't have to worry about getting me henna as I was going to go ALL gray in one day! By cutting off ALL my hair! At that point, he panicked as he realized I had reached *that* point and would most likely actually cut my hair off.
He ordered the henna. Less than 30 bucks and will last me  a year.
For the record, I rarely ask for anything solely for myself. I usually only ask for things for the house or farm. Last item I asked for for myself was thread so I could finish some sewing projects...several of said projects were not even for me.

Yesterday was a lot calmer. I don't *snap* like that often...maybe once or twice a year. I have a tendency to let everything build up until one little thing causes everything to reach a tipping point.
I just wish EVERYONE would have less of a negative attitude here. Most days, I have a very positive outlook, but all these gloomy people keep dragging me down.
I try to tell everyone to look for the positive wonderful things around them. Even on a crappy day, I can usually find something positive or beautiful or wonderful. Sunrise or sunset, the way the chickens chase each other around the yard (so funny!), the little goats cuddling up to you when you go out to their pen. Find something funny or beautiful, etc.
And then be thankful for it.
Be thankful to have another day to enjoy, be thankful for the evening breeze, be thankful you are above the dirt, not below it!
Maybe it is because I have been very close to death on several occasions. I dunno.
I just love every single day and consider each one a gift.
Just wish others could feel this way.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Best Thing........

There is a show out there called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate".
I have watched it a few times. On the show, famous chefs, food critics and other such types tell about the "best" foods they have eaten, as in, the best sandwich, the best soup, the best dessert, etc. They show the restaurant and the method of preparation the restaurant uses, etc.
The show got me to thinking...
What are the "Best" foods I have ever eaten?
Not a single restaurant dish came to mind.
However, foods cooked by family and friends did immediately spring to mind!

Best potato dish? My Great-Aunt Effies fried potatoes. Holy cow, those were some good potatoes! She cut them just the right thickness, sliced in onions and fried them in a big cast iron skillet in a liberal amount of half bacon grease and half butter. When they were done, she mixed in some crumbled bacon if she had any left over from breakfast. She put those potatoes on the table in a big light brown bowl every day for every meal.

Best dessert? My maternal grandmothers coconut cake. It was perfection. Layers of perfect cake, iced with the most perfect frosting and all covered with sweet moist shredded coconut. Also, my Aunt Ginny's angel food cake with marshmallow frosting. Amazing cake!

Best breakfast? My dad's pancake breakfasts. He could make the lightest, most delicious pancakes EVER.
My dad also gets my vote for best sandwich ever...Peanut butter, banana and bacon. Had to slice the bananas just so and the right amount of peanut butter and the bacon could not be too crispy or too chewy. Fortunately, that is one item on my *best* list I can duplicate!

Best green beans and best cole slaw both go to my ex mother in law, mother of husband No. 2. Just giving the Devil her due! The woman couldn't cook everything well, but dear heavens!, she could make AMAZING green beans! Never did get the recipe off of her. And her cole slaw put every other cole slaw I have ever had to shame. Never got her recipe for that, either, darnit!

My mother is not a great cook. Maybe not even a good one. But she did master one meal down to the last detail better than any other I have ever had. Chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and corn. Her chicken fried steak was so melt in your mouth tender it was fabulous! After she fried the steaks in their breading, she would finish them off by cooking them in the rich gravy she made. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Best lasagna? My very own. I make a Sicilian recipe I learned from the chef at an Italian restaurant I worked at as a waitress back in my early 20s. I altered the recipe, making it my own and have never shared that recipe with anyone. I might write it down one day and give it to one of my kids...maybe. Everyone that tries it has said it is the best lasagna they have ever had  and I have won a couple of bake offs with it in the distant past. My ex mother in law adored it and would go to her allergist to get some shots when she knew I was making it so she could eat it as she was allergic to cheese! Offered to trade recipes with her as long as she traded me her cole slaw and green bean recipes for my lasagna recipe, but she wouldn't do it.

I also make the best potato soup. I think I have posted that recipe on here before, as I don't have a problem sharing it.
I do pretty well at baking bread, making curry, making Korean and other Asian food as well. The Darling Man likes the German food I cook, too.
(For the record, last night we had a Thai coconut beef curry over rice, with a grated cucumber relish on top. Was yummers!)

I find it a tiny bit sad that the *best* foods all those people talk about came out of restaurants. Just once, I would like one of them to announce that their grandmother or mother or uncle made the best "whatever" they had ever tasted. Then maybe share the recipe, if they know it.
Food traditions run strong in families. What the *best* is to one person may not be so to another.
Some families have weird food me, a ham and cheese sandwich just tastes wrong unless it has slices of sweet baby gherkin pickles on it. And what would Christmas be without a bucket of KFC on the buffet along with the turkey and ham? (Weird family tradition! The Darlin' Man doesn't like KFC, but I think I will insist on it this year! At least a small box of it, anyway.)

Thinking back to my lasagna recipe...I think I WILL write it down, along with most of my other recipes and give little recipe books as Christmas presents along with other gifts to my kids this year. It's nice to think that I can pass along a food tradition that a future generation might value.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Still Here...Computer Still Belly Up

My computer is still belly up, I haven't gotten the restore disc yet. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
I can't stand this wee laptop.
No excuse for not posting, though.
Updates on Frippery Farm:
Betty the chicken and her chicks were relocated to the back yard some weeks ago. They had gotten too big to stay on the front porch and anytime the door was opened they ran into the kitchen! After being in the backyard for a couple of weeks, Betty decided the kids were grown enough to be on their own and rejoined the other chickens in the coop. The kids were doing fine, until Roy brought over a new batch of chickens. They had MITES! We lost 3 chickens, one of them Peep, the wee rooster Betty hatched.  We are battling the mites the best we can, but unless Roy treats HIS chickens, I am afraid we will continue to have issues. So, I am calling him in a little bit to tell him to bring over the stuff so we can *dust* them.
Roy mainly deals in birds. Chickens, pigeons, guineas, doves, peafowl, ducks, etc. That's fine. He builds his own pens and coops for them, but he needs to dust every bird THOROUGHLY before he brings it over here. We had a bit of a problem with mites over a year ago and I dusted and redusted the coops, the birds and even set up a *dust bath* for our birds in the yard. No problem since then.
We bought one of the little rams (sheep) from Roy. The Darlin' Man named him Remus. Said it was a dignified name the little guy will grow into. Roy is down to 6 goats, only two of which are bottle-fed (thank goodness!) I am well on the way to weaning those two, Desi and Angus. Cute little buggers, but it will be a relief not to have to bottle feed them anymore.

We have had rain and more rain the past month. Our front yard looks like a jungle! We put the goats out there to trim it back and then they and the sheep managed to get out of the yard and I had to herd them back in. That was an experience! I was fortunate, because all of a sudden, the dogs, who have rarely shown an interest in herding, decided to become SUPER herding dogs! They dashed out the door after me and as I was tugging on Nola's collar to lead her back, they came up behind the sheep and trotted them back into the yard with the goats. Then they chased them into their respective pens.
I was totally stunned! Happy, but stunned.
Although we have had rain, we have also had the unrelenting heat that is usual in this little corner of the world. Ugh.
Heat plus rain equals nasty humidity.
The drought continues elsewhere in the country and I do wish I could send some of this rain to others that need it more. Our hay prices have dropped and so have prices at the farmers market, etc. I just dread the price increases this fall and winter when we have to buy grain for the goats and fowl.

Well, time to feed the chickens and get them into their coop.
Hope everything is going well for everyone out there!