Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Wednesday and Spring Garden Progress.

Just a quick note to remind myself that I planted onions and heirloom tomatoes yesterday after work. The rest of it is coming along and I need to get some pictures up of the new growth. I noticed a couple of holes in the leaves of the potatoes and bell peppers and was reminded I need to find a good recipe for organic bug spray, I was hoping to stay away from things like 7 dust. I know there is one with a mix of veggie oil, dish soap and water but don't know the exact measurements, anyone got one??

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Warning post not for the squeamish or vegetarian

I am sharing this post because I want to chronicle the good the bad and the ugly as I travel on my little journey towards a more self sufficient lifestyle. Life and death are a part of life on a farm and I want to record things the way they happened.
Yesterday my grandson's chow/shepard mix puppy decided to play ( I don't think he really knew what he was doing) with one of Rhode Island Red Hens. He played with her so hard that the only humane thing to do was to kill her to end her suffering. When I picked her up and saw the damage I could not help but feel that she probably weighed 12 lbs. I knew that it would be an absolute waste to just kill her and bury her so I decided the time was now to get my hands dirty and get her from the yard to the pot. I wanted to raise my own food right? Time to put my money where my mouth is.

In the back of my head I kept thinking our grandmother's generation or at least our great-grandmother's did this probably once a week if they were lucky enough to have some land and a yard full of chickens. Since the damage to her skin was so bad I decided the easiest thing to do at 7 in the evening would be to skin her. With a decent skinning knife from my son the whole thing went pretty fast. I will spare you all the gory details but will say the directions for the whole process are easily found on the Internet and really not that bad.

Once she was cleaned up she was washed seasoned, put in the crock pot overnight with a hand full of fresh herbs from my garden Rosemary, Oregano, Basil and Thyme stuffed inside the carcass for flavor. The only mistake I made was to cook it on high all night I should have set it on low for a more tender finish. Never the less it looks and tastes just like any other chicken. I think with a slightly more gamey flavor since she was free range, but that may be my imagination. I will be taking a chicken wrap for lunch today and a sense of satisfaction knowing I did what I said I was going to do. She lived a happy life and she died quickly at my hand. ( after the unfortunate dog event), I don't enjoy anything about taking a life, I did a stint as a vegetarian because I am appalled at what goes on in the meat processing plants, but I do eat meat ,and I feel good about moving in this direction when it comes to where my meat for the table comes from.
Off I go to make the money to buy the chicken feed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life's Little Bumps in the Road

Sometimes you just have to dust yourself off and get back on the horse. I spent from Tuesday to Thursday night in the hospital. I have over the years had some Kidney problems on and off and the little pain in my side that I was trying to ignore decided to bring me to a screeching halt and demand some attention. Long story short I had a raging infection along with some other issues that will have to be followed up with yet more testing, yuck! But I am feeling better now and so very happy to be able to rest up at home this weekend. The weather the past couple of days has been picture perfect and I have to get out and get some pictures today. My humble little garden is beginning to show promise, the baby goats, bunnies and chicks are thriving and the wheels in my head are spinning with projects to come. I am excited that I am back in plenty of goat milk again, thank you Juniper ! Going to make some cheese today. Happy Sunday Everyone!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Visitors from around the world

I had to make a quick comment about how surprised I was to see the visitors to my blog from around the world. I recently added one of those visitor tracking maps to my blog just for fun and decided to look at the visitor stats last night. Wow, is all I can say. I have had visitors from of course the USA and Canada. I knew I had visitors from Australia thank you all !! You have become like friends who I am anxious to hear from. But what shocked me were the ones from India, Russia, Africa, Spain and I am sure I am leaving some out. So, I want to say, if you stop by to check out my humble little blog thank you so much for visiting.
Again and again I am impressed with what a small world it has become. With the Internet and satellites to convey images to our televisions in seconds we can be on the other side of the world if only by technology but never again will we as isolated as we once were. However you see it good or bad it is here and it is amazing.

Learning to Ride and Welcome Spring

Yesterday I volunteered to work a concession stand at a horse show to raise money for the local chapter of FCCD an organization aimed at keeping at risk kids from committing crime and being delinquent from school. I am no longer a member since I don't work in the prison system any more but many of my friends are so I was recruited. I learned a big lesson, never wear cowboy boots to stand on your feet all day cooking food.
After a day of being around all those horses my friends 13 year old who does not ride wanted to learn, so we came home and saddled up old RED and spent the rest of the evening teaching her to ride, she loved it. Of course Logan my four year old grandson wanted to ride too so I told him to get his boots on, those are the boots he chose. RED is the best horse that you can put anyone on. After Logan then his little brother Cadyn 2 wanted to ride. As you can see by the diaper only wardrobe, it was finally a nice warm spring day
We spent the remaining hours doing barn chores, which included raking what seemed like 50 lbs of rabbit poop to add to the compost pile. How do such little creatures make so much poop? I just think of it as garden gold. We finally felt we could let Juniper and her baby who is so much stronger now out of the barn for some fresh air. While making my feed run, I picked up two silkie chicks at the feed store, I felt sorry for them they were being picked bloody by the the other chicks, so they have replaced the living room chicks who were moved outside to a bigger cage. I worried that the night temps might still be too cold but with a light and a cover over the cage they did fine with temps into the low 50s.
I fell into bed last night and slept that sleep of the dead, that kind of sleep that comes from the really good tired, you can only get from a long day of working hard but doing things you absolutely love. It was a life is good day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day!!

I have just enough Irish in me to feel proud that there is another holiday to celebrate, even if just with a greeting out to all of you.

I have been so busy I have no new pictures, but wanted to post a quick update, I have baby rabbits! The first successful litter born here on my property. I have had some real nightmare stories with previous attempts at raising them but I think we may have turned a corner

Junipers little Doe kid is doing great and Juniper is now back in milk wooo hooo, that means goat cheese again soon. The other little buck sadly did not make it, I did end up tubing him several times and got nutrition in him and he stayed alive for 5 days but never would get up and walk or do anything but lay there and whimper, I finally decided to let him go since he seemed neurologically impaired. In the future I will tube any failing kids immediately as I think the delay in getting the colostrum in him may have been too long. I learned a lot from him. On the upside his mama Juni looks so much better since she had her kids, they really took thier toll on her.

The potatoes are coming up and black eyed peas, green beans and peppers are planted. Baby chicks are getting big, I can't wait till they are big enough to move out of the living room

I feel like I am missing so much of all of your blogs since I have not been able to spend time online at all, the new job has me bringing a lot of paperwork home at night. Hope to this weekend, feel like I am missing catching up with old friends.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day

I need to whine, this was a long tiresome week, my first week on my own doing home health and while I believe I am going to really like the job, it was a challenging week of learning new paperwork, and then duplicating everything on the computer which is such a waste of time, getting lost ( a lot), and since I have been driving my pick up truck for so long but decided to drive the car to save gas I got to find out a little too late that my car has faulty window seals and fills up with water in the rain. I got wet, really really wet. Add to that, the mud and muck that has to be trekked through to do anything around the farm, company arriving for a visit from up north, and a really really messy house and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Oh and did I mention the rain, the wind, the tornado warnings with me out driving around in it, showing up to peoples houses looking like a wet poodle? yeah I did I know, well let me say enough rain already!

On top of that craziness, my beloved goat Juniper had her babies last night and she had a very difficult time, I tried my hardest to stay with her till she delivered but at about 2 a.m. I had to give up and try to get some sleep since I had to work in the morning. Back up at 5:30 to check on her and she had delivered triplets but one was dead already and the other two are very weak and may not make it. After several hours I had to bring one of the two in the house to try to feed because he could not even latch on, he won't eat for me either, he has no ability to stand, he is like wet noodle. I milked mama and made him a bottle with a goat nipple and tried and tried to teach him to suck on it with no luck. He is still alive but I don't expect for long. The last kid, a little Doe is weak but able to stand and nurse but she does not have the spunk she should. I left her with Juniper and hope she gains some strength overnight.
This has not been the greatest week but I know when the sun comes out and I finally get a decent nights sleep (which is not tonight since its 2 a.m. and I can't sleep) things will look a whole lot brighter. As always, I have to stop and be grateful for all of the blessing in my life and know that I have it pretty good by comparison to so many but sometimes you just have to vent and move on.
On the up side, I am done whining now, it's not freezing cold here anymore, I can really get serious about my little garden plots. Bring on spring, daylight savings time change to longer days and lots of outside fun.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March comes in like a Lion

I miss reading all of my favorite blogs, I have been so busy around here that by the time I fall into bed at night and would usually read I am too pooped and just pass out. I am looking forward to catching up with all the news from around the world soon. Hoping everyone is healthy, happy and living life to the fullest.
It has been cold here in Florida with more freezing temperatures than have been seen in decades but I believe it is soon to begin to be warmer. I can't believe we have too many more terribly cold days left before spring finally arrives, thank goodness because I am ready to get out in the dirt and plant something. I went and bought seeds today, Roma Beans and Black Eyed Peas. along with 4 Bell Pepper plants from the feed store. I already have 5 25 foot rows of potatoes in the ground so that is a start. I hope to get the rest in this week.

The new baby goats are doing well and the chicks I ordered from Murray Mc Murray arrived. I ordered Aracaunas, Buff Orphingtons and Barred Rocks all pullets, along with 5 straight run White Rocks Giants that I plan to raise to be butchered. This is my experimental batch. I decided to try my hand at just five for the freezer to see if I can successfully see them from chicks to freezer before ordering a larger batch. They definitely are genetically different than the laying chicks, they are growing so much faster then the others at only a week old you can see the difference in size. I will post their progress as they grow. Sadly, I have lost a few of the babies for reasons unknown. I go to bed at night and they all are fine, I get up in the morning and there will be one who looks to have been trampled to death. I have no clue as to what could be wrong. Hopefully the remaining chicks are going to thrive.

I started my new job this past week, I think I am going to love this job. I have never worked anywhere like this before, there is no stress, you drive from one home to another seeing patients and they are actually happy to see you when you get there. As you drive from place to place you listen to the radio, have time to think, I keep finding myself saying,wow they are actually paying me for this

Sadly, the pregnant rabbit had her babies on the wire and decided to nibble on some of them, (rabbits are not the smartest creatures) and unfortunately none of them lived. I am feeling a bit discouraged by my inability to breed rabbits, aren't they supposed to be the most prolific creatures. She had a nesting box, she pulled fur to make a nest along with the hay that was in the box and then she had them outside of the box in freezing temps. What's up with that?

Still waiting on Juniper my favorite Doe to kid, this seems like an incredibly long pregnancy and she is so big, I know we will both be glad to see delivery day come. Oh and one of my trio of ducks who I thought were all males is female (surprise, surprise!) she is laying eggs.

That's all the update I have for this morning, off to begin another busy week. Hope to get some new pictures up soon. Have a great week everyone and hopefully spring is beginning to creep in where you live.

To Blog or Not To Blog,,,

In January of last year I sat down and wrote a post from the RV I was living in at the time. I thought then that I really wanted to get bac...