Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you!

New Years Resolution #3

To be a happier person:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas on the Cheap

We scaled back holiday celebrations here. With the Darlin' Man scampering about the country trying to get everything done for his physical, etc. for the new job, we just kept it very simple.
Trees are expensive here, and, we tossed out the old plastic one after last year because it was so bedraggled.
So, our tree:
 Our tree with the presents under it:
 I didn't buy any wrapping paper. So, I used what we already had (Batman Christmas wrapping paper, lol!) Or presents were sorta concealed in shopping bags we already had laying around!
Everyone got needed items...a lot of socks and underwear. A knife for one, a small coffee maker for another, a used video game for another. Soda and special candies for the guys. Each dog got a new chewy bone.
Here's a couple of new pics of Angus. He is so adorable and I am handling him every day....even though his mama gets upset.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

So...We Have These Pregnant Animals.....

My days and nights have been busy watching over 5 pregnant goats and 2 pregnant alpacas.
First, the alpacas.
Ana gave birth about a week ago, but unfortunately her little cria (baby alpaca) died after only a few minutes. We have no idea what wrong.
Yesterday, I checked on Alice and all was well, everything calm.
A scant fifteen minutes later, my son went out to change the ducks water and SURPRISE!, Alice had a wee one! We quickly transferred her to our *nursery* pen with the wee one. My son had to carry the little one and we determined it is a male!
Say hello to ANGUS!

Is he not the cutest thing on four legs? I love his coloring. I know, solid white fleece brings the best price, but I think he looks so adorable!
Mama Alice and baby Angus doing well so far!
Remember our hand raised duck, Daffy?
We assumed Daffy was a boy. Well, a couple of weeks ago she presented us with an egg...then another, then another!
That's MISS Daffy, thankyouverymuch!
She has a private pen and a private wading pool, so obviously, her eggs are not fertile. We have tried to put a drake in there with her, but she chases them out. However, when my son goes out to her pen, she makes lovey-dovey eyes at him and preens herself and then tries to cuddle up to him.
Imprint much?
Don't know how we are going to solve this little problem!
The Darlin' Man's son got his Drivers License....YAY! That means that I no longer have to do the bulk of the driving around here. What a relief!
Speaking of the Darlin' Man...he kept sending out those job applications, day after day, just hoping to get an interview for his *dream job* working for the railroad.
FINALLY, CSX called! But the interview was in Indiana! So, for his Christmas present, we agreed he would go to the interview. He went by bus and had to get a motel room (financial bite we were NOT expecting right now!) The interview went well.....very well! As soon as he passes the medical exam, he is hired! They offered him a job contract that he readily accepted. After the medical exam he will be given a date to report for training at their school in Atlanta. We are soooo happy! Yes, it means he will have to work away from home for a bit, but the pay/insurance/other benefits are so good we couldn't pass it up.
Onto our move and all that. We plan to buy the house through an LLC  that we are currently forming. As soon as the LLC is registered and we have locked in everything, we will be buying the house in New Hampshire and moving. So....YAY!!!!!!! We have all the paperwork started, so it is a matter of waiting now.
The goats are stubbornly refusing to kid. I think Champagne will be first, followed closely by Nola, then Lilac and Gabby and lastly, Nikki.
Going to be a wild and wacky Holiday season here, considering all the does will kid within a 2 week period (I think).
Hope you and yours are having a fun Yuletide season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ack! The Plague Raises It's Ugly Head!

Well, the Darlin' Man apparently brought one last gift home from retirement.
Some sort of vicious soul-sucking virus that has attacked all of us without mercy.
Take all the symptoms of the worst virus you have ever heard of.
Multiply them by ten.
Yep...that's what we have.
The Darlin' Man got hit the day after Thanksgiving. One of my sons got hit that night, The Boy got hit later that night...and the rest of us tumbled like dominos.
It started with the victim throwing up with no warning. No nausea, no fever, nothing.
After that, the symptoms got progressively worse.
Fever, massive headache, joint pains from the ninth level of hell, stomach cramps, diarrhea, dizziness...all the worst of the worst I have ever felt.
I have been treated to the lovely extra bonus of a head cold and chest congestion to go with the above ills.
I made a new batch of elderberry syrup stuff this morning.
I have also started mega-dosing with Vitamin C.
I am dragging myself around the house trying to sanitize/disinfect every inch of this place.
I am tossing out the leftovers of our Thanksgiving dinner (wince) and cleaning down the refrigerator within an inch of it's life.
Even the dogs are going to get baths!
I put clean sheets on everyone's beds this morning and started washing all the sheets and towels in the hottest water I can. Fortunately the day is warmish and the sun is bright, so I am line drying everything.
Yeah...going overkill on this. I hate being sick!
Hopefully, this will help.
I hope so...there are five of us and only two bathrooms!

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Ya'll might have noticed the picture at the top of my blog.
I put it there for a reason.
I am a Revolutionary.
The government and corporations (that control a lot of the government) made me that way.
I never intended to be a Revolutionary...I sorta got pushed into it.
And here's the sad fact...MOST of us are Revolutionaries.
Here's how to tell if you are one, too:

If you plant a garden to use for your own food, you are a Revolutionary.
If you save seeds.
If you use non-hybrid seeds.
If you raise livestock or chickens.
If you butcher your own meat.
If you raise chickens for their eggs.
If you use compost and/or manure on your garden instead of chemical fertilizers.
If you buy or consume raw milk.
If you buy direct from farmers.
If you shop farmers markets.
If you buy Organic.
If you sew/knit/crochet/quilt, not just as a *hobby*, but to clothe yourself or your family.
If you insist on *buying American* as much as possible.
If you *shop local* and avoid the *big box* stores.
If you don't eat *fast food*.
If you homeschool.
If you do not vaccinate.
If YOU control your medical care and seek out alternative treatments.
If you own a firearm.
If you reload.
If you vote Independent or Third Party.
If you hunt/fish/trap for the table, not for trophies.
If you run a home-based business.
If you vote thoughtfully, investigating each candidates voting records, personal philosphy, etc.
If you live in a rural area by choice, expecially if you left the 'burbs or city to do so.
If you can work on and maintain your vehicles yourself.
If you avoid GMO foods.
If you avoid all artificial sweeteners.
If you do not believe the government, hook, line and sinker.
If you do not believe all the ads.
If you do not own a *smart* phone.
If you read actual books and own actual books. (Kindle and Nook do not count)
If you are making sure your children can write in *cursive*.
If you have 3 or more kids.
If your kids have more board games than electronic games. (and play with them!)
If your kids work for their allowance.
If you have read the Constitution and know your rights.

Feeling Revolutionary yet?
What have you done this week that's Revolutionary?
Any more Revolutionary acts you can think of?

Friday, November 22, 2013

And, Finally, RETIRED!

The Darlin' Man is retired after 23 and a half years in the military.
There were some ceremonies and gifts, a couple of combat medals that finally caught up with him, a barbeque, a new i.d. card...and he was done.
He doesn't refer to himself as retired, rather, he refers to himself as unemployed. And he is determined to change that status as soon as possible.
So, in his usual gung-ho manner, he has attacked his unemployed status as a battle. His first week out of the military he sent out 70 job applications. Most of them online.
(That explains my absence from the keyboard here)
So...hoping he finds something he likes soon! He wants to work for the railroad, so if anyone out there has an *in* with Amtrack, CSX, or any other railroad type employment...let me know!
House search:
We talked at length with the realtor in New Hampshire....the Darlin' Man is going to fly up there, either in December or January, to look at about 10 different properties. Although we think we know which one we want, he wants to keep options open and I will trust his judgement. (Good heavens! Did I just say that about the man who can't walk through the feed store without a chaperone?!?)
I'll post if/when he finds something!
Puppy report:
I have found homes for both the pups. They are adorable, cute and roly-poly....but we have ENOUGH dogs! They will be loved and well taken care of in both homes. They are only 3 and a half weeks old, so we will have them a bit longer.
Bingo is the ferocious little growler, but Jingo wins most of their fights. Both love to snuggle and follow me around when they can't find their mama. Their mama usually hides on the couch to get a break from them.
Snow is predicted for this weekend. YAY!!!! I'll get to play in the snow!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guess What I Got For My Birthday? And Other News...

The goats and alpacas are still pregnant.
However, Baby, our little terrier/chihuahua mix is not.
On my birthday (Oct. 28th) Baby gave birth to two tiny puppies, one boy, one girl!
Since it was my birthday, I got to name them. At first, I was going to go with "Happy" and "Bertie", but everyone here groaned at that idea, lol!
So, I went with "Bingo" and "Jingo". Bingo is the boy, Jingo the girl.
They are growing fast and fine. It appears the daddy was the cotton-pickin' Manchester Terrier from up the street (aka the Mini Pin) . The yard is tightly fenced, but that little bugger is so tiny, he was able to squeeze his way in through a wee little gap by the gate.
Bingo is solid black, Jingo is brown and black. At two weeks they now have their eyes open and try to walk, although it is more of a wiggle-crawl.
Baby is doing fine and being the best mama she can be!
Other news:
The Darlin' Man had his retirement ceremony, an award ceremony and then his unit gave him a BBQ.
His actual date of retirement will be the 21st of this month, but all he has left to do are all the classes and paperwork the military has you do when you are retiring.
He has enjoyed sleeping late and though he is still shaving every morning, he has refused to get a haircut.
He says he plans to look like one of the Duck Dynasty guys within a year, lol!
Other News:
We think we have found our house Up North.
It only has a little over 5 acres, but it is GOOD land...fertile, with water access. Also, a house and a barn.
The house needs fixing up...but that's okay with me! IT HAS A BIG BARN!!!
I call tomorrow to make an offer on it.
Cross your fingers (and toes), light a candle...do whatever you do as we hope and pray we get the house and land!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Where's Dr Doolittle When You Need Him?

Well...Alberto Alpaca is good at what he does.
Alice and Ana are both pregnant and closing in on their due dates!
I think Ana will deliver sometime around the middle of November and Alice about a month later.
I am sooooo reading up on alpacas again...specifically labor, delivery, behavior after birth, baby alpacas (called crias), etc.
Alice, looking peeved.
Ana looking for food.

Alberto, looking exhausted.
So...here we go again!
Since Henry, the stud goat, arrived in August and goat gestation takes around 5 months, our goat girls are all well along the way in gestation. Mid-December to Mid-January.
Looks like I am about to have a VERY busy couple of months!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Round and Round We Go....and a Few Honest Opinions

So, switched real estate agents in Vt. The last one kept sending me listings of condos, for pity's sake! I don't think a condo association would be too happy with the goats!
So....looking at the listings the new realtor sends me, listings on auction.com, listings on the GSA site and so forth and so on. Our lease, such as it is, is up the end of March.
So....Vt., or NH.
Have to find a realtor in NH now as the VT one is not licensed to work in NH.
Now, on to some honest opinions.
The opinions are mine, not anyone elses and if they offend you, you need to pull up those big girl (or big boy) panties and suck it up...or just move on.
The whole mess of food stamps.
I am sure everyone read about the panic in some areas when peoples food stamp cards wouldn't work due to a *glitch*.
Then the free for all that occurred when another *glitch* didn't show food stamp cards balances and a few Wal-Marts allowed those shoppers to get whatever they want. (Wal-Mart has to pay the bill for that, by the way)
And then there is the absolute angry frustration that people that are NOT on food stamps feel when they see some use their food stamp card to pay for lobsters and thick steaks, OR conversely, pay for loads of chips and sodas and other *junk* foods.

First of all, I have nothing against feeding the hungry, especially hungry children. I had to get on food stamps in the past and they were gratefully received as a temporary help until I got back on my feet.
Food stamps, however, were never meant to be a PERMANENT *entitlement*. (and, boy, do I hate that word!)
Food stamps, in fact, were not meant to provide ALL the food a person/family needed every month. They were meant to ASSIST a family in having proper nutrition, to SUPPLEMENT their food budgets.
Food stamps can also be used to buy seeds and vegetable bedding plants. A lot of people don't know that.
I used my food stamps to buy flour, yeast, milk, orange juice, a lot of chicken (I am surprised my now-grown kids even like chicken, as much as I fed them when they were young!), plenty of produce, seeds and plants for my gardening efforts, etc. I bought mainly basic foods and I cooked/baked/prepared everything I could from scratch.
People tell me that folks on food stamps don't have the TIME to cook from scratch. Bullshit.
I worked two jobs, plus various side jobs and still managed to cook from scratch. Sometimes I had to do all my cooking for the week on my day off, so I could just pull something out of the freezer after a long day and put it in the microwave or oven.
I also did food storage in case my benefits were denied unexpectedly or my garden didn't produce sufficiently.
All that being said, let me get into the junk food debate...
If a parent using food stamps is taking home chips, sugary cereals, soda, and other *junk* food, they are creating health problems for their child that will become every tax-payers problem later on.
Diabetes and other chronic health problems are directly connected to our diets.
Cooking, shopping and nutrition classes should be a MUST for all food stamp recipients.
I have given such instruction to friends that were on food stamps. They were appreciative and found they could get more out of their food stamp allotment when they cooked from scratch.
I also think that ALL recipients of *entitlement* (ugh, that hated word again) benefits should have to undergo unannounced  and random drug screenings.
That pisses a lot of people off, especially liberal type people. I have no clue why.
As far as the lobster and thick steak food stamp purchases, I can understand that for a special occasion, but not for an every month thing. Also, I learned when I was on food stamps, that some recipients buy expensive items to sell so they can use the cash to buy things not allowed on food stamps. Like drugs and alcohol.
Look, I didn't buy JUST basics, at Halloween, Easter and Christmas I used my food stamps to get candy for the kids. That is reasonable. Kids need those special celebrations and occasional treats in their lives.
But they also need good basic nutrition and far too many are just not getting it!
Look ahead 10 or 20 years...if only 10% of those kids currently on food stamps develop diabetes (and I am being generous on the low side with that estimate), what kind of stress will that put on our health care system? How many tax dollars will it cost? How many people will not be able to work because of medical disability?
Too many people look at the short range and not at the long range.
We have 5 adults (over 18) in this household currently.
Dinner tonight:
Shepherds Pie
Iced Tea

Cost breakdown:
Bag of potatoes...I used 6 of them for the mashed potatoes...entire 10 lb bag was 2.99 (on sale!) still have plenty of potatoes in the bag. Enough for 3 to 4 meals.
Frozen corn, used half a bag. Bag was 1.00 (again on sale!)
Hamburger...I used 1/3rd of a *chub*, 6.59 (on sale) 3 lb chub.
6 cups of flour for the bread (rolls) and I made enough dough for a loaf for tomorrow, too. I buy my flour in 50 lb bags for around 20 bucks and I have no clue what that breaks down to in cups, lol!
Yeast, salt, sugar for bread....lets call it .50 for all as I buy those in bulk, too.
Salad....found salad *kits* on sale 2 for 5.00 Half a bag will be enough salad for 5.
I make my own salad dressing...50 cents of ingredients...more or less and it will be enough for 2 meals.
Iced tea...one pitcher will do it. I buy tea on sale for 1.50 for 100 tea bags and use 8 bags per pitcher.
Sugar for iced tea...again, I buy it in bulk and figure maybe 50 cents worth per pitcher.
Butter for bread....found it on sale for 1.50 per pound (YIPPEE!!!) bought a lot and froze it. Figure half a stick. We like butter. MUCH healthier than margarine.
Figure it out. That's for 5 full grown healthy adults.
I may even make some brownies for dessert. Found some baking chocolate I had forgotten about in the freezer.
We spend around 300 bucks a month for groceries. We eat well, no one is starving. I have snacks (healthy ones) available most of the time.
So there.....there's my opinion, my experiences and my menu for tonight!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Okay...New Direction...

Blogger limits my blog to 500 total posts.
This is post 493.
So, my options are:
1) Start a new blog on blogspot
2) Go *pro* and pay a fee to get greater post numbers and other goodies on blogspot.
3) Go elsewhere and start a free blog
4) Go elsewhere and start an entire website/blog/etc. for a fee.
5) Just end my blogging days with post 500.

I don't want to end my blogging.
I don't (currently) want to go elsewhere.
I don't (currently) want to go *pro*.

 So...I will have to start a new blog on blogspot.
I am working on that today.
My last post here will be the first post on my new blog (how's that for continuity, folks?).
My last post here will be #499.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Animal Family

I have my human family and I have my animal family. Both are important to me....although if a member of my animal family is not working out, I can sell them or give them away!
Here's my current mammalian animal family...we'll leave the birds for another day!
Siona...*Queen* of the house!

Victor, our newest addition in his sweater sleeve coat

Victor, all naked


Tabatha, the fellas dog and my sons constant buddy

Champagne, looking for snacks

Gabrielle, aka Gabby, *Queen* of the goats

Nola and Nikki, Mama and daughter

Lilac, about to have breakfast

Alice, Ana and Alberto Alpaca

Alberto, taking a nap
 I love all the critters here!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Barn Yard Romance

As I had posted a bit ago, we rented a buck goat to uhmmm....*service* our lady goats.
Henry did his job well and I am assuming that all our girls (except Nikki) are in a family way.
Nikki was far too young, so we kept her confined while the adults...uhmmm....*frolicked* across the back yard.
Henry's favorite was Lily. She was the last doe we presented to him and it was a case of mutual infatuation at first sight. They were inseparable. Yes, he dallied with the otthers, but he always returned to Lily and she was okay with that.
Then, the day came for Henry's owner to come pick him up.
Henry protested LOUDLY when we removed him from the goat pen.
Lily started bleating at the top of her lungs and trying to ram the fence down.
Henry, the gentlest of buck goats, broke free and ran to the pen, bleating at Lily through the fence.
The two nuzzled each other through the fence and bleated at each other.
The owner and I looked at each other.
A decision was made and after a few negotiations, Henry AND Lily were loaded into a horse trailer. Or rather, Henry was loaded on and Lily eagerly followed!
I loved my Lily, but Lily loved her Henry and he, her.
Who am I to stand in the way of true love?
Lily will have Henry and more acreage and a snug goat shed and lots of good food and lots of attention from her new owner.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Almost a Month Since My Last Post....!?!

It's been a weird month.
I swear I have written full posts. Witty, engaging, entertaining and informative. Unfortunately, I wrote them all in my head and they never made it to my blog.
So...here's a very abreviated update:
My next to youngest son (age 25) has moved in to help us get ready for the Big Move North. We are also helping him as he lost his job in Virginia.
We lost 3 animals; Perfection the peachick, and two chickens.
We will miss Perfection. We buried him out in the yard. I found a shoebox and lined it with fabric and we tucked in some peacock feathers ...so he could go to rest with the tail he never had a chance to grow himself.
We are not sure what he died of, but we suspect he ate something that caused him to die.

Our turkeys hatched a chick and we removed the chick and put it in a private coop (the old bunny hutch).
Named it Sammy as we figured that name was good for a girl or a boy. So far, so good.

Our rent-a-goat is doing his job well. I think all the does may have caught. We have him until the middle of the month, so we will rotate him among the girls until his owner picks him up.

The Darlin' Mans retirement plans are stumbling forward. He takes leave Nov. 1st. At that point he will head to Vt and NH to find a house, buy the house and get basic arrangements done for the move.
We have found a good real estate agent in the area and are fine tuning our search for property.

It has been unusually wet the past few weeks. Lots of rain and thunder. The ducks and geese love it, the chickens and goats......not so much.

The alpacas are doing fine. Alberto has been doing a lot of humming to his ladies, but hasn't been trying to mount them. We *think* Alice and Ana are pregnant, but need to get a vet out here to check.

Been *paring down* stuff here. You never realize how much stuff you have that is basically unneeded until you have a move coming soon!

I'll be posting again with a day or two. Have a lot of stuff on my mind.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hellllloooooooo Ladies.....!

Say hello to Henry and Zepplin:

 Henry is a rental buck. Charming, gentle and oh-so-handsome! The girls reached the end of their milking cycles and we decided to get a decent buck to breed them to. Gabby and Champagne already adore him!
Zepplin is a half grown rooster given to us by a neighbor that got him from a friend who received him in an order of female chicks she ordered from a hatchery...sometimes it happens!
I think my girls and Henry will make lovely kids!

Zepplin is our *Rooster-in-Waiting* in case Cab can't fulfill all his duties. I also plan to catch Nuggets free range half grown chicks (that are now hens) and tuck them into Zepplins little coop.
So...working on the future here!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Feeling My Age.....Sort Of...and Bed Wars

I don't physically feel that old.
Just some days I mentally feel old.
When I hear *my* music being called "golden oldies" or "classic rock", etc.
When I see reports on what kids are being taught in schools....and NOT being taught. (cursive, anyone?)
When I see furniture styles that I grew up with being called *retro* or *mid-century*. (ACK!)
When I realize that at least half the products I grew up knowing as *household names* no longer exist.
Just been a bad couple of weeks for feeling/realizing this.
I'll get over it....
Baby, our terrier mix, has been more and more insistent on telling us (and the Darlin' Man in particular) that the big bed is HERS, always has been HERS and always will be HERS and she is only (but generously) allowing us to share it.
Typical night here, Baby goes to bed when I do. Usually that is before the Darlin' Man goes to bed. (I get up before he does, so I usually turn in before he does)
Baby settles herself dead center on the bed.
Darlin' Man comes to bed....and then the trouble starts....
Baby, scoot over!
Low growl.
Baby, I mean it, move over!
Grumble, grumble, doggie sigh.
Get your paws outta my butt!
Much muttering in doggie talk and Baby rolls over.
Baby! Get down by my feet! You are drooling on my leg!
Uft...sigh...grumble...Baby rearranges herself and rumples up the sheets to her satisfaction.

Pause in the general grumbling from both parties for perhaps 20 minutes...the Darlin' Man starts to softly snore, then Baby stealthily belly crawls up the length of the bed and snuggles down between us.
The Darlin' Man rolls over in his sleep and goes to put an arm around me...Baby growls louder. Darlin' Man wakes up (a little) and begins to grumble.
Baby, you can't sleep there! Pillows are for PEOPLE! Now get off!
Outright SNARL.
That's it! Off the bed! Shoo! (Darlin' Man firmly grabs Baby and places her on the floor) Here's a pillow, now HUSH!
Quiet reigns and I drift off to sleep. Sometime in the wee hours, I am aware of Baby scrambling back on the bed.
We wake up in the morning with Baby sleeping soundly between us, half curled around the Darlin' Mans head. She looks triumphant.
Only picture of Baby I could find right off. Yes, she is little. But there's a lot of dog in that small package!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sure! Just Drop That Off Here!.....

Well, somebody dropped off a dog here.
Middle of the night. Put the little bugger on the front porch. I know they had to do this because we have a very heavy steel screen door and the dog on the porch was too small to have opened it!
Looks to be a 7 month old or so Chiweenie. (Chihuahua Dachshund mix) Male, is neutered. Totally healed up from the neutering (which is how I guess-timated his age)
Not micro-chipped, no ad of lost dog on Craigslist, nothing in paper and local Humane Society, SPCA and Animal Control have had no report of a lost dog with his description.
He is VERY friendly. Adorable bundle of fur and wagging tail and loves to snuggle.
I figured I could find him a home pretty quick.
And then..........
I showed him to the Darlin' Man.
"It's a CHIWEENIE " I swear, he squealed like a fifth grade girl!
Yes, dear, it is.
"I have always wanted a chiweenie!"


So, we have a new dog. (Keeping count? That makes FOUR!)
The Darlin' Man named the little stranger "Viktor". I don't know why, but it seems to suit him and in a couple days he was answering to it.
I'll post some pictures later.
Later...a pic of my youngest son and our new chiweenie..

 And the little guy, sound asleep....
One of my sons came to visit for about a week. He lives back east and is getting ready to go in the Army.
So...visiting relative means I do a lot of cooking...and...

Around here, that's entertainment!
I sold three of the turkeys, so our feed costs are going down a bit.
Now that laying season is over, I think I will try to sell a few other critters.
The geese.
Four of the ducks.
The rabbits.
We just need to downsize.
The Darlin' Mans retirement is getting closer and closer...November will be here before we know it!
The fewer animals we have to move, the fewer headaches!
The incubators we got...well, they are *still air* incubators.
Hatched a peacock chick, a gosling and a couple of turkey poults . The turkey poults died within a couple of hours, I sold the gosling and the peacock chick is doing great.
But we had to toss a LOT of eggs out. They went bad, just didn't hatch.
Anyone got any hints on how to use these type of incubators more successfully?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Style? What Style? Also...Repurposing on the Homestead...

Since we have ramped up our property search, I have also been browsing through various online furniture and decorating and home improvement sites.
Many have a little quiz thing so you can *identify your style*.
I think I am hopeless.
I seem to have a Modern, Rustic, Victorian style, with a touch of Baroque tossed in for good measure. Plus a "Shabby-Chic" edge. And throw in something Asian while you are at it.
I'd give one of those t.v. show decorators a heart attack!
I guess my style is *Eclectic*, for lack of a better term.
When we move we will be taking very little of the furniture we now have. The majority of it is worn out beyond hope of repair.
More than likely, I will be hitting thrift shops, Craigslist and yard sales to furnish our new home.
And making slipcovers. Lots and lots of slipcovers! I can ALWAYS find fabric I like!
The nice thing about having multiple slipcovers for your furniture is that you can switch around your style easily. Make sure you have different accent pillows to toss in the mix, and it's all good!
While I will be looking for sturdy furniture with *good bones*, as they say, we will NOT be skimping on appliances!
I have already picked out our refrigerator and freezer (two SEPARATE appliances) and the Darlin' Man has agreed to the two stoves we will be getting. One will be gas (probably propane) and the other will be a wood cook stove. Still arguing a bit over brands and styles. We have a few months yet, so we'll get that worked out, I'm sure, by the time we get up North.
While browsing web sites looking for furniture, I also wandered through some farm supply sites.
I realized that I have very little official "farm equipment".
For milking my goats, I have a dishpan and some hand towels (for cleaning udders before milking), some stainless steel mixing bowls (to milk into) and I use various deep pots to put the milk in after straining, depending on whether I am making cheese or cajeta.
For feeding, I have an old enamelware 1 quart bowl that I put the goat's treats in to munch as they are milked.
For the other critters, I have a mix of old Tupperware, a battered old roaster, several plastic ice cream containers and a Folgers coffee container. These are used for feeding and watering.
Rag-tag collection of farm implements, aren't they?
But they do the job and the majority of them were free...discards from neighbors.
The animals don't seem to mind, anyway!

Don't know if I'll put out too much money to buy *official* equipment. Maybe a few things after we move...like a nice hay rack to feed hay to the goats.
But maybe I could build one out of stuff laying around...hmmmmmm...we'll have to see.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Break in the Weather and Dreams for the Future!

We had rain last night...blessed, blissful, cooling RAIN!
I finally got a semi-decent nights sleep, too. Nothing like the sound of rain on the roof and outside the window to lull you to sleep! Better than any sleeping pill out there, I bet.
Because of the rain, the temp dropped almost 20 degrees...now, that's a Good Thing!
With the Darlin' Mans retirement day getting closer and closer, my dreams of our future homestead are getting clearer and clearer.
We have made some decisions, among them, our future livestock purchases
Here are some of them:
Icelandic goats! Sturdy and great for any homestead in Northern climes. Great for milk, meat, wool and pelts! Beautiful, aren't they?

Milking Devon cattle. Milk, meat, oxen and hides. Perfect homestead cow! And so purty!

Now, the Darlin' Man wants a mule or two, but I want a horse or two. So, we are still stale-mated on that one!
Chickens...well, he is leaving that one up to me and I am still a bit indecisive.

We found out that we will have a bit more money than we thought to start up the homestead, but since we haven't gotten the money YET, I am still sorta hedging my bets.

Haven't picked our pig breed yet, though I am definitely leaning towards the Gloucester Old Spots.
How adorable are they!?!? Squeeeeeeeeee! Look like little piggy banks brought to life!
Also very lean, good breeders and good mothers.

Do I give *points* for the cuteness or attractiveness?
Yes...yes, I do.
I think if you like the way a certain breed of livestock looks, you are likely to take better care of it.
Probably why I don't want a mule.
Those suckers are ugly!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

I See a Bathro.....uhm...Bad Moon On the Rise!

Been listening to a lot of CCR the past few days. (If you don't know what CCR is, go away! You are obviously too young to read this blog!)
The heat here has been draining on everyone. After feeding and milking in the mornings (right after the sun peeks over the horizon), we water...heck, we OVER water. Extra buckets in the hens coop, extra bowl in the bunny hutch, etc. I put frozen 2 ltr. bottles in the bunny hutch, too.
We have hit triple digits every day for most of June.
One of our peahens died and two hens. I think it was the heat. Just too much stress on them.
Heck, it's too much stress on me!
I sleep through the hottest part of the day and do my chores in the wee hours of the morning and late in the evening.
The goats were a little startled about getting milked before the sun was completely up, but they have gotten used to it.
Things are changing around here as the Darlin' Man speeds towards his retirement. Our housing search has intensified, I am on Zillow three or four times a day.
(Any blog readers in New Hampshire? We are looking there!)
Found one property that looked promising, but then we found out a lot of herbicides and pesticides had been used by the previous owners for their farm.
Not good.
I have found a handful of properties that look like *maybes*.
Our current parameters for a property:
House built before 1920, Victorian farm house a plus!
20 acres or more
A well and one other water source on property, preferably a year round stream/brook/creek or river frontage. Pond would be nice, too.
Some open meadows/pastures as well as woods. Sugar maples a plus. Fruit or nut trees a plus.
NO HOAs or other restrictions on property.
Outbuildings would be nice for barn, chicken coop, etc...

Not much to ask for, huh? LOL!
Anyway...trying to avoid the heat here, I hope all of you are staying cool!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So, You Want To Be a Farmer/Homesteader......

We have visitors here all the time. Co-workers of the Darlin' Man's, people we meet at Farmers Markets, people we meet online, people we meet at local events like the March Against Monsanto, etc.
Some are serious, some just think they are serious. Oh, they want organic milk and cheese and farm fresh organic eggs, but they aren't so sure about the work it takes to to have those things.

So, here's a few things to wave bye-bye to if you decide to take the plunge and populate your life and property with livestock, poultry, gardens, etc....

Goodbye to:
Manicures and pedicures. Seriously, you can't have those long witch-y nails and milk goats. The goats will NOT be happy! Pedicures? HAHAHAHAHA! Wait until the first time you run outside in your Crocs (and no socks) and step in a nice fresh pile of manure.
Maybe for a special occasion, but don't expect your nails to stay looking salon fresh!

While we are on the subject of salons:
Fancy hair dos. Trust me on this. Either get it cut short or braid it or toss it back in a ponytail. Life will be easier that way.

High heels EXCEPT for very special occasions. 'Nuff said, I shouldn't have to explain.
Same goes for fancy designer clothes. Yes, I know, keep a few around for special occasions, but realize a situation might arise that will have you in that lovely silk blouse in the middle of a pasture helping to pull a calf.
Everything HAS to be washable. Dry cleaning is a horrible thing. Finding the time to get something to the dry cleaners and then to pick it back up is a fantasy.

Your birthday, anyone elses birthday, Christmas, Easter, the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, Nascar, World Series, the Olympics, and...vacations in general.
Think it is hard to get a babysitter? Try getting someone to *sit* your farm and all it's animals.

Your animals don't care what day it is....they WILL go into labor/get sick/injure themselves at any time.
Usually on a day/night when you have made other plans.
Okay...things to get used to...not always a bad thing...
Starry skies at 2am.
Fuzzy chicks snuggling up to you when you take them out of the incubator.
A duckling swimming in your bathtub.
Baby goats or little calves romping around.
The best eggs/milk/cheese/vegetables you'll ever eat.
Falling into bed exhausted.
Dirt under your fingernails...but you don't mind as you got it there digging potatoes, pulling carrots, etc.
Friends/Family members/Neighbors wanting fresh veggies/milk.cheese/etc.

If you can deal with all that, you are good to go!

This heat has been draining the life out of me. It makes me grumpy.
Taking Daffy the duckling for a swim in the bathtub cheers me up. Daffy enjoys it, too. I sit on the edge and watch as he swims and bobs his head under the water and just generally has a great time.
Perfection, our peafowl chick is doing great. He won't be contained in the rubbermaid tote anymore, so he stalks around my sons room and sleeps perched on the headboard of the bed. Best alarm clock EVER! When Perfection the peachick decides it is time for my son to get up, he jumps on his head and pecks him and chirps at him until my son gets up!
Hoping everyone out there is having a good week!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Setting Hens

Look at the three pictures. All three are the females of their breed setting clutches of eggs. Heloise the goose, Rosie the hen and Daphne the duck (Tinkerbell the turkey is also setting a clutch, but turned her back on the camera). All three will defend their nests with their lives. When their little ones hatch, they will teach them to eat and drink and run back to the nest when danger threatens. They will teach their young everything they need to know to survive.
Long ago, *setting hens* were considered extremely valuable. A good setting hen would ensure that your flock of chickens would grow bigger. More chickens meant more eggs and more meat on the table. Precious protein at a time when grains and greens made up a large part of peoples diets.
Then, in the past century or so, when commercial farms took over from family farms and more and more people bought their food at supermarkets, *broody* hens became a liability.
Egg farms didn't want them, they just wanted eggs...the more the better. Meat producers didn't want them either...incubators reduced losses and were more efficient.
Chicken breeds were bred to reduce the natural instinct to set clutches of eggs.
When a hen goes broody here, I let them set a clutch of eggs, protected from the other chickens. Rosie is in the old rabbit hutch where Nugget and her little ones used to be. (They now have their own coop)
But Rosie isn't setting her own eggs...she is setting peafowl, duck and turkey eggs. She went broody a couple of weeks before our new incubator arrived and after our old one was full.
So, I tucked a few eggs from our other fowl under her and removed the two eggs she had laid and was setting. Chicken eggs hatch faster, so, it will be a bit longer of a *set* for her with these eggs. I removed her eggs, because when the first chicks hatch, the setting hen will only wait a couple more days for the rest of the clutch to hatch.
Rosie (and Daphne and Heloise and Tinkerbell) are all doing their jobs well. Whether it is their eggs or eggs that suddenly appeared overnight beneath them (yes, that is how I snuck the other eggs under Rosie!), all are taking their jobs of setting seriously.
As I read the blogs other people post, I realize that we are *setting hens* (doesn't matter if we are men or women!).
Our knowledge and experiences are the eggs we are setting on. Protecting this knowledge for a generation that may not even be here yet. We teach our own children and anyone else that wanders into our *nests*.
There may come a day when this knowledge is valuable again. When knowing how to garden or store food or milk a goat or any of a thousand skills bloggers post about will be the difference between life and death for some future generation. The more skills we pass along the more likelihood that someone out there that needs that knowledge will stumble across it....and then pass that knowledge along to another.