Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I had to move their water bucket and food dish before I moved them, so I first picked up their food dish and flung it over the fence to be cleaned. It landed upside down and I noticed that the rim on the bottom was stuffed with hay, as usual. I thought I had flung it hard enough so that the hay would fall out, but it stuck there like glue. I pulled out a tuft of hay and what lurked under there? What is it that was holding that hay in there? Ack! A big fat BLACK WIDOW SPIDER had made a web and stuck hay to it. And I had put my ungloved fingers in there!
I am so lucky that black widows are not aggressive. Otherwise, I surely would have been bit. That is so scary. I must remember to where gloves when I'm sticking my hands in dark scary places.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I got my barn cats...kittens...last week. They're so cute; black and white. One looks kind of like a skunk. Meagan named them Alice and Jasper (with a nod to the Twilight series that she's reading). I took lots of pics, but alas...
Anyway, the kittens are supposed to be living in the barn, but I'm afraid that snakes will eat them since they're so little. I've been keeping them in the breezeway of the house. It's fairly animal proof and I can close it off to the rest of the house. I think Pearlie would die of frustration if the kittens had free access to the house. She seems to think they are toys. They look like her toys, feel like her toys, squeak like her toys, and play the same games that her toys play, but they move on their own and I don't allow her to bite them. She is a very confused dog. She'll probably be relieved when I move them into the barn in a week or so.
Henry has grown into the halter, so it's on him full time. He still resists being led, so that's something I'll have to work on. I tried encouraging him to walk along beside me by offering him a sugar cube, but he wouldn't have it. I even put it in his mouth and he spit it out. Maybe sugar is an acquired taste for baby equines. The grown-ups sure liked them. I also bought some apple flavored equine treats to bribe the donkeys with. I'm not sure that was a good idea. When they got a taste of those, I thought they were going to run me over trying to get more. I had to keep pushing them away so that I could lead (drag) Henry around.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Since the halter is made for a horse, it is too big for a baby donkey, so I didn't want to leave it on him for very long when I'm not around. Today I left it on for about four hours, but had to take it off before we left the farm.
My fall garden is starting to produce. I thought at first that hardly anything was going to grow because it took several veggies a long time to sprout. But things are looking good now. I've got several baby winter squashes and lots of Southern Pea pods. The bush beans, cucumbers and zucchini plants are getting pretty big. I had about decided that the carrots weren't going to come up at all, but I noticed today that there are a few tiny sprouts that look like carrot leaves. The corn still looks very pitiful. I doubt I'll be getting any fall corn.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I happened to be carrying a long metal fence stake that I thought I might poke and run with, but Kerry was very cautious (and chivalrous...and dramatic). He directed me to stand outside while he picked up a long piece of lumber and threw it like a javelin. It hit the tire with a big thud and still the skunk didn't move, so we pronounced it dead. Kerry scooped it up with a shovel and buried it a few yards from the barn.
I felt a little sorry for it because it surely must have died a miserable death. I don't know how long it had been locked up in the steaming hot barn with no water and probably nothing to eat. Well, I don't know what skunks eat. I supposed if they eat mice or hay, it might have had plenty, but I don't think so. Having been sprayed by a skunk as a child, or so he said, Kerry had no pity.
Friday, September 05, 2008
"One of the mama donkeys had her baby yesterday morning so that was a delight to see it walking around and her protecting it very well. Normally the mother is very friendly with the other donkey she is also female and purported to be "with donkey " (for some reason "with child " doesn't seem correct and as we were taught in our very young days at home , you never said the word " pregnant " in our house ?? My how things have changed!! ) Anyway , now she will not let the little colt? (donkeyling? )get close to the other donkey and will even appear to fight her off if the little one goes near. ( "This is my donkey , and I'm the boss of it !")"
Thursday, September 04, 2008
He's so much fun - so soft and fuzzy. Surprisingly, his mom lets me pet him to my heart's content. She still won't let Hilde near him and she gets pretty nasty about it, kicking and biting her, and making mean faces. I think she'll get over that in a few days. Tom feels sorry for Hilde. He thinks she wants a baby of her own.
AND, yay! The tape/bedding/texturing is FINISHED inside the house. Finally.
Peas are growing well, squash is coming along, corn...not so much. Some of it didn't come up at all and the corn that is up is not growing as fast as the spring corn did. I got broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots, and bush beans (can't remember) planted on Tuesday morning before the Gustav rains started. It rained the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. Oh, and I went out to mow paths around and through the garden (pitiful, I know) and discovered that we have some new watermelons growing. I had completely forgotten about the watermelon vines. Luckily, Tom didn't take the tractor out there to mow because he would have squashed them since they are completely hidden in the grass.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I plan to take up all the paper off the floor and clean up the dust. My house will look like a home rather than a construction site.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here are the peas planted a couple of weeks ago, surrounded by some of the pine needles I raked up out of the yard to use as mulch. The second row of peas did not germinate for some reason, so I planted more a week later. The smaller plants to the left are the newer peas. Beyond those are the squash plants. I also have two kinds of corn coming up, although about half of the sweet corn has not germinated. They're the open pollinated seeds that I ordered on-line. I'll have to check their website to see what their guarantee is. I'll be very disappointed if the seeds are duds.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
A whole bunch of paint stirrers! At first I was baffled. Why did I get paint stirrers in the mail? Did I order paint stirrers? Do I have a lot of paint to stir?
Then it dawned on me. I expressed a wish in my blog for paint stirrers to use as garden markers (my little popsicle sticks do look so pitiful out there poked in the dirt). So I looked at the invoice to see who sent them and saw that the genie who granted my wish was a dear sweet lady whom I've known for many years and whom I consider to be family. Carline, you must be reading my blog, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart. What a lovely surprise.
And the arrival of the garden markers has reminded me that I need to make out a calender of when to plant and harvest each veggie.
Oh, and the peas that I planted on Monday had already sprouted as of Thursday! Wow, God's creation is efficient. The seeds were given to me by a farmer friend at church, so I'm not sure what kind they are.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Tom has been chipping and shredding all of the wood we've gathered the past few months. We're going to use it as mulch since Garrett's book says that native hardwood and cedar make the very best mulch. We have quite a large pile. We also have loads of pine needles (also high on the mulch rating) that I want to rake up and use. That's something I haven't been able to do, but I've still got time before I'll need it in my fall garden. On Thursday, I mowed for the first time in weeks. Since it has been so hot and dry, the grass is just not growing. Tom did get the sprinkler system all fixed and in working order, though, so we have been able to water the lawn a bit; not enough, though because most of it is still brown and dead.
Tom is finishing up the garden prep today. We're doubling the size of our previous garden. Tom has scraped away the grass and tilled in the compost, cornmeal, organic fertilizer, and molassas. I plan to start planting on Monday.
In the meantime, I blended up and froze most of the watermelon, and stewed and froze more tomatoes. I also decided to dig up and onion to see if it was ready to be harvested and do I feel dumb or what? All of this time, I thought the onions were the bulb kind, but it turns out they were green onions with no bulb and I could have been using them all this time. So I dug them all up and put them in the fridge. That's what happens when you use inferior labels that fade out after one day in the sun. I'm going to try permanent marker on popsicle sticks when I plant the fall garden. What I really wish I had is a bunch of paint stirrers to use as markers, but I'm going to have to make do.
I've decided to keep a journal of sorts with all kinds of tips on gardening and preserving foods. I can't remember all the things I've been reading and I need a quick reference guide. So each time I read something that I think will be helpful in this endeavor, I'm adding it to my TIPS list.
We've got our house listed with Coldwell Banker. The realtor was supposed to put a sign in the yard yesterday, but it didn't happen. I don't know why. Anyway, I'm home for a couple of days to get the house spruced up. Had the windows washed today and a water damage spot repaired in the ceiling. Paden mowed the yard while I started going through his room to help get him packed for his move into an apartment next weekend.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
This month was what to do about the extra tomatoes. Actually, it would have been helpful to receive this month's edition a little early because I had quite a lot of food that went to waste because I didn't know how to preserve it - mostly corn. Anyway, there was an article about preserving tomatoes. It said if there isn't enough time to do anything else, they can be frozen whole. There was also a recipe for stewed tomatoes that could be frozen. I did both this week. So I have several frozen whole tomatoes, which was a snap to do, of course. And I made up a batch of stewed tomatoes, poured them in zip lock bags, labeled them and froze them. To freeze them whole, all you do is wash them, pop them in the freezer separately (to keep them from sticking together) until they are frozen, then put them in a zip lock bag. This week, I'll do more of the same because the tomatoes are still going strong.
I'm definitely going to have to get a big food dehydrator because one article told me that I can dry just about any fruit or veggie. The benefit of drying is that the dried food takes up less space and most of it doesn't need to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator. The food can be rehydrated when it's time to eat it, or it can be eaten dried like a raisin. Supposedly, the rehydrated dried food retains it's fresh flavor.
Howard Garrett's book was wrong about when to harvest a watermelon. His book says to wait until the vine is brown and dry, which is what I was waiting for as my watermelons got bigger and bigger. Then I discovered that one of the biggest ones had burst open. It didn't look like it was done by an animal and none of it was eaten. It looked like it just had burst open from over-ripening. So I picked one of the other biggest ones and cut it open. It was so ripe that the center of it had turned mushy. I scraped out the mushy part and threw it away, but the rest of it was delicious, so I cut it up and put it in the frig. I picked two more and brought them home. I intend to cut them open and if they are still good, I'll blend up the meat into juice and freeze it.
P.S. I'm rereading my blog (and, boy, in hindsight, do I sound ignorant). Just wanted to say, those whole frozen tomatoes are still in my freezer.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The wood floors are 70% installed - everything except the master bedroom and the living room. The texture is done on the walls/ceiling in the hall, entry, and office and the master bedroom. The living room was almost done enough to tape and bed then...
somehow, the workers convinced Tom that the ceiling needed to be torn out and replaced in that room. Yes, the ceiling was sagging. Yes, it had termite damage around the edges. Yes, it had the ugly popcorn texture. I was prepared to live with all of that even though it would have been more beautiful if it were fixed. But I wasn't willing to open another can of worms and postpone the finishing of that room just to have a pretty ceiling.
Well, it's done. The ceiling is torn out. I wasn't there, but Tom said that the rafters are undamaged. That's one good thing. So I guess tomorrow starts the re-sheet rocking of the ceiling. Who knows how long that will take. Then comes the tape/bedding, then painting.
Then maybe we can get the rest of the floors installed.
I've ordered my baseboards on-line since it was cheaper that way than to buy them locally.
I ate a cantaloupe out of our garden this week. I think the vine only made three. It was good, but could have been a bit sweeter. The watermelons are growing quite large. The corn is done producing, but I haven't picked it all. The tomatoes are still going strong. If fed the rest of the lettuce to the goats because I didn't like the bitter taste. Onions are still growing and not ready to harvest and there are about three cute little pumpkins growing.
It's almost time for fall planting and I'm NOT READY!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Floor installers are scheduled to start on Wednesday.
Thank goodness it did not get on my skin. It splatted on my jeans and I could not get those pants off fast enough.
So, as soon as the abscess bursts, it's contagious. Now Hyacinth and Billy have been exposed to CL abscess. Great.
Lesson reinforced...do not buy a goat of undetermined origin. Especially do not buy a goat that has a visible funky lump.
Friday, July 11, 2008
While driving home from the farm close to tears but still hanging on to my composure, I passed a man and woman riding their bikes up the hill. The man had his hand on the woman's back, obviously giving her a boost to make it up the hill. Despite the fact that he was also pedaling up hill and the effort it must have taken to pedal, steer with one hand, keep his hand on her back and help push her up the hill, he cared enough to do it.
That struck me as so sweet and poignant that it put me over the edge and caused me to sob a couple of times. That is something that Tom would do for me if we were cyclists. He does it for me in a million different ways.
Monday, July 07, 2008
I did a search on the internet and decided that it was probably pink eye. I also discovered that pink eye can be very serious for goats. While I was looking up goat diseases I looked up that funky lump on Pansy's neck and though it might be a "CL Absess". Don't ask me to explain what that is, because I can't. Suffice it to say that both pink eye and CL are contagious and can spread to the whole herd.
So today I called every vet in the local phone book looking for one that would make a house call, or ranch call, as it is called out here. Oddly enough, there are very few.
Anyway, one of the vets that called me back was very nice and asked me to come to the office and he'd talk to me about my goats and give me some meds. So that's what I did.
The clinic was extremely busy, so Pearlie and I sat patiently waiting while everyone else got taken into waiting rooms, or picked up their pet, or bought their meds, and the receptionists answered numerous phone calls. Finally, one of the receptionists called me up and I explained to her my reason for being there. I asked were they always that busy. She said yes and proceeded to tell me about some woman calling about her cattle's hairy wart problem. Looking over at the other receptionist, she said, "I've never heard of hairy warts, is that a real ailment?" The other gal said, "Yes, you don't want your cattle to have hairy heel warts. It's very serious." All this cracked me up, so I said, "Well, my goat has a funky lump. If y'all can treat hairy warts, you can surely treat funky lumps." We both laughed until we cried.
Anyway, I finally got in to see the vet. He was very nice and helpful. I described the eye problem. "Yep, pink eye. Did you get your goats from a barn sale?" "No, I bought both of our Nubians from individual breeders, but my husband got a little goat from the flea market, although she isn't having an eye problem." Vet told me that she probably came from a barn sale and they usually carry pink eye and other diseases. She's a carrier and gave it to Hyacinth. Treat all the goats at once and they should all clear up. Don't buy any more goats from the flea market.
Since he didn't seem to be in a hurry, I asked him about the funky lump on Pansy's neck. "Is it crusty or oozing?" "No, just a hairless lump." "Yep, CL abcess." "Is she contagious?" I asked. "No, the abcess has already burst and healed over. Those lumps are what remains and it should eventually go away. BTW, those barn sale goats also frequently get crusty-something-or-other on their mouths. If her mouth gets crusty on the corners, don't handle her, it can spread to humans." Great. "Is there a treatment?" "No, it just has to run it's course."
So, when I got home, I enjoyed the experience of locking each goat's neck between my knees and spraying them in the eyes with the medication. They didn't resist too much, but each of them spit in disgust several times. You'd think I was squirting it in their mouths the way they carried on.