Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Farmers Market Bounty

With the horrible weather I had here at the farm I now have to rely on the farmers market to get organic, local produce. I went last weekend and scored some great heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, yellow squash, onions, garlic and celery so today I finally had enough strength (had a bad stomach bug that kept me in bed for several days) to start cooking. Mind you my stomach is not feeling the best so I am still only eating a poached egg a day but I needed to get to these vegies before they passed their prime. I just realized the pictures are out of order but I am sure you guessed that - the first picture should be the last and so on.

So with the snow blowing outside I turned on the oven and made my base to a fresh lazagna. Combining all the veggies along with olive oil, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and some carrot juice I let the veggies roast slowly in the oven for about 2 hours. The house was filled with the wonderful smell of the bounty. I let it cool and placed in the frig for in the next day or two. I will make my homemade noodles, make the rest of the filling and bake. I sure hope my tummy is better by then otherwise the bounty will be cut, packaged and frozen for another snowy day.

I had to pass on the Italian Plum Cake until I can get the plums seeded - I just ran out of steam today. So it is Mint tea and Honey for me tonight and a hot pad...


Now where was I???

Animals - Well, that brings me to the Dating Game on the farm. Remember that show? Oh my I am getting old... It is that time again to select the top guy and send him on his dating world wind with the girls. Just like the show each guy has to prove why he is the best date. The winner for this year was "Monty" He is a perfect male - tall, straight of line, great fiber, super personality, great condition - just the perfect selection.

I went outside ready to move all the two year olds and grab me "Monty" but as I reached the gate I notice he was limbing on his back right leg. Oh No!! So I tried to get him to let me take a look at it but he was having none of that - this big guy was not in the mood for me picking up a leg and all the boys where willing to take me on to protect their buddy. Now I am not stupid, (o.k. let's put it this way - not when it comes to billies) there was no need in both of us being hurt. I gave him a couple of days but he still was stepping lite on the leg. Now for those who do not know you need two good back legs to do the deed. So I looked over my bunch of great guys and decided to go with Sherlock - yeap, my sweet bottle boy is now all grown up and is the top guy. He keeps everyone in check and still loves to come and give me kisses. So I asked him to come thru the gate and off we went to the girls pasture. At least that is what happened for the first 20 yards. Then he froze. I spent three hours scratching his head, giving him words of encouragement and he would take two steps and freeze. Not sure what the issue was but this shy guy was not moving. So this smart gal decided to get the girls to get him moving. Great Plan but the girls have been trained not to go past the back yard so we had about 100 yards of No Goat Land!!

Then I went and got Mishka - my other sweet bottle kid. She follows me like a dog. I asked her to assist me in my shy guy problem and off we went. She walked up to him and we both scratched his neck, talked softly and he then followed right behind me all the way into the new barn and pastures. After I closed the gates he walked the full length of the fence with me on my way back to the house crying "Mommy Please don't leave me - these girls are scarey"... It took two days for that sweet boy to gather up his desires and start the breeding program. He reminds me so much of his father Thor.. He was a champion billy and the sweetest guy. Even while in breeding rut he would sit nicely with me or the boys and lick your neck. I would leave him while the babies where being born because Thorn always would assist with the birthing, cleaning and even babysitting. He was a one of a kind guy and I sure hope his last male offspring will follow in his hook steps.

So while Sherlock is doing his thing I have 19 other boys who are peeing and crying all day and night - SUCKS not to be picked. Be as you well know there is nothing ever dull around here...

I've been a bad blogger

I just don't get it where does the time fly??

In my case I worry that I am having early senior moments. I swear that I just posted a day ago but my son pointed out today that it has been two weeks. Honest, I have been busy!

Just to get you all up to speed - I finally got the weather God to give me two days in a row to get my decks restained and boy was that alot of fun!

Then I have been working like a dog moving rocks from all over the farm to fill in the huge holes in my driveway and then pushing wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of dirt that I have been digging up all over the farm to cover the rocks. I am about half way thru but it still will be a big project to finish before the big snow comes.

Next when the arms where too tired from the driveway work I set about caulking all the windows and doors in my log home. One thing I always laugh about (I guess it is not funny) is I never have to worry about carbon monoxide getting me - there are way too many drafts - Good Thing / Bad Thing.

Then there was the four days that every animal on this farm went a bit NUTS. No Kidding! I spent about three hours chasing one of my hens around the farm - she had grab up a mouse in the coup (Yeppy) but the silly girl did not want the rest to get any so she tried to swallow it whole. Yes you read that right and this mouse was not small itty bitty. Well, she was in trouble but instead of letting me deal with it she figured we needed to run for hours like "A Chicken with a Mouse Stuck in her Throat" around the whole blessed farm. Now sometimes you just want to throw up your hands and say I give up but not this stubborn gal - so around and around the farm we went. Finally, I caught up with her and grabbed her by the tail feathers. Once I had her still I grabbed the tail and back leg of the mouse and pulled (hope you not eating while reading this) out came the mouse and there I went running to the house for a baggie. Now that was a first for even me, but I guess in life some folks just bit off too much...

On the story line of nutty animals then there is my sweet, hard working, Great Pry named Kasha. This gal has hit my last never this week. In the space of two weeks she has broken five cables (which are said to be unbreakable according to their packaging) and keep me running for those same two weeks. Now I am not sure what has gotten her in such a mood but I sure hope it is not the bear. We still are having sightings and a horse was attacked last weekend so that might just be the issue but I sure do not want her tangling with a bear... Well, I got part of my answer on Friday morning. I awoke to a bone chilling sound. I sprang from my bed at 4 in the am and ran onto the front deck. I thought by the sound of it - it must be one of my billies being attacked. Instead, once outside I could get a clear listen - it was a Bull Elk in my forest. He was going to town making his love call. Normally this does not get the attention of Kasha but I think she is on such an alert status that any creature in the forest is reason to break a cable and run. Last night I just covered everything in the shop with plastic and brought her in for the night. We have been having snow, YES SNOW and she was soaked to the bone. Normally she fusses all night, barks and knocks things over but last night she slept thru the night without a peep.

So I will give you a breather and be back to catch you up on all the news - got to visit the little girls room. Be back in a flash and a flush...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bag full Of Funny Farm Nuts

It is that time of year again - all the creatures in the forest are getting ready for winter. Gathering Nuts and putting on that winter fat. Now I am not going to be adding a fat roll to this body but I am creating some of the best NUTS around. Mother Nature does not have these in her stash but you can get them only at the Funny Farm.

I have a great new lady at
who provided this years Acorn Caps. If you have a chance visit her shop you are sure to find some wonders.

Then I take my hand dyed silk cocoons and start the process of going thru hundreds of cocoons and caps to find a match. Since no two cocoons or caps are the same I have to do this sorting process with each nut. Then I put them together and Puff - magical Acorns!!!

Now don't wait to long to gather your nuts - there are many hungry critters out there. I will be posting many more of these mouth watering nuggets but don't be left with nothing but a fat layer this winter....

You ever feel like someone is watching you??

You all know by now how much I LOVEhorror movies and the one that really scared me when I was little was - "THE BIRDS". Now vampires, monsters or aliens could never hold a candle to those evil killers on the wing. While I was outside Sunday deciding what project I should tackle next a strange feeling came over me. No dogs where barking, the sun was shining - I was just tired. Then the as the air seem to stand still and the hair on the back of my neck started to rise I turned and saw nothing. Silly Grace!! I went back to thinking which also takes great effort sometimes for me when all of a sudden I saw all the goat boys staring up past me.. I thought to myself, that's strange! So as
I slowly turned and placed my eyes up to the clouds I saw them - over a hundred birds staring down at me from the electrical wires. Just like the movie. Now, I said to myself - "Don't Run, that is what they want." So I slowly walked to the back deck, gently I stepped one step at a time to reach the landing, calmly I opened the back door and shut it. "I am safe" Wait didn't they come thru the windows and heck my back door is covered with plastic over the stain glass that was broken in the last couple of hail storms. "They can still get in"...

Once I recentered myself I grabbed the camera.. With all the nerve I could get I slowly stepped onto the back deck and tried to capture their mass on the wire. Now with my slow, loud camera the first picture was blurry but the sound scared them away. I waited and in just a few mintues some where back and these where the kind that where standing their ground. So I clicked away.

So when you get those little hairs moving on your neck - SLOWLY turn and see what demon is waiting for you - mine are BIRDS!! What are yours???

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday - Square Dance for all the Critters

What a DAY!!! This was the first year that I had to move all the animals without the aid of my sons or anyone else. All weekend I worked it out in my head and worked it out on paper to make sure this plan was going to work and I was not going to get hurt. The biggest issue was moving the two and three year old male goats to the farthest pasture away from the goat girls. Yes, it is breeding season here and every goat is in full hormonal rage. That makes these big guys very unpredictable and on the dangerous side if you do not know what you are doing. This is also why billied get a bad rap because those who do not know what they are doing try to just bully them into do what the two legged owner wants. Now over the years my sons would try to bully them - you know raging teenager male hormones and raging billy hormons - not a great combination. There would be cuts, black and blue marks and a ton of four letter words being shouted out in the pastures. No matter how many times I would tell them not to do that - they would and the battle would begin. This year I had to do it without all the drama and no injuries to me or my animals. So pen and paper and using my little gray cells - heck I am smarter then a Goat.

There are six pastures and eight gates to get them thru. Not only that, all the feed and water gear has to go with them because they do not like to share. You know we all have our favorite coffee cup.. Everything was going perfectly until the goat girls saw their Prince Charmings where leaving. The girls ran from their hilltop pastures to the fenceline where the Billies had been living. Then they started sticking their butts thru the fence and screaming - calling the boys back. Well, how am I to compete with that? I mean my goat boys love me but not in that way. So I had to trick the girls into their big barn and shut all the doors. They are not stupid just horney, they understood what I was up too. Back to the boys, with those butts in the barn I had their full attention and like wonderful gentlemen they walked right thru all the gates, pasted up their great pastures and made it to their new digs. My bottle boys who are now well over 200 pounds and sport a three foot horn span are the top guys in that herd group - they came to the gate, gave me a kiss on the face and wanted their necks scratched. Now, trust me that is not how most billies act and I sure would not tell folks to expect that out of their guys. So much for that part of the operation, now comes the boys who where born this year. That is like taking a bunch of ADHD preschool kids to the park and keeping track of everyone as they run wild. But never fear my plan was on paper and I was going to get this done TODAY! The only hiccup I had was trying to get the three youngest boys who where not weaned yet to do what was being asked of them. They did not want to leave their mothers and after going round and around for close to an hour in that three acre pasture with them I finally got them to listen and walk. Once we left that pasture they walked in single file into their new barn and pasture - that was six gates and five pastures over - not bad for a bunch of preschoolers.

Once all the gates where closed, tied so no one would try to wiggle thru and everyone had their water and a treat I went in the house for a well deserved shower and nap. I am going to put this written plan in my notebook for next year - I was so amazed it really worked. As the sun was going down then the boys had to decide on the sleeping order. The quite of the evening breeze was interrupted by the sounds of horns banging, grunts and calls from every corner of the farm. After about 30 minutes of this pillow fighting the farm was quite again and visions of Square Dancing danced in their heads.

The Dance is over for this breeding season but until all the girls are bred their calls of desire, head butting and horn fighting will continue but at least at a distance. That saves wear and tear on the fence lines, gates and each other. I guess this is why so many folks never wish to have a billy on their property. I have 19 intact breeding males - that sure is a bunch of hormones but each and every guy here has a bit of my heart so I forgive their seasonal misbehaving because without them I would not be blessed with such wonderful babies and such fantastic fiber.

If your dance card is needing a partner let me know I just might have the right Prince Charming for your farm.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bewitched Acorns

These bewitching bejeweled acorns where found deep in my forest by the glow of the rising moon. There are many incredible things that one can find in my forest but these are gifts from my forest Trolls. Those playful Trolls have given their tender care to the plants and animals who live on this farm but never have they given me such a treasure. Now I am sharing a few of these incredible acorns with you. Do not wait too long because once these are gone there will be no more this season.