Five Things Friday

Wow, Friday is here again.  Here are my five things this week that really get under my skin:

#5- 500 people standing in line at Wal-mart and only 2 checkers are open.  Really?  Does Wal-Mart really have to worry about making ends meet to the point that they can’t open a few more lines?  This item would have once been #1 on my things that irritate me but now that I have decided to read while I wait, I don’t mind so much.  Do I carry a book with me?  NO!  I simply read any and all magazines I want to while waiting in line.  I figure that if they don’t want me reading magazines and not buying them then they will open more checkers.  So, now I pick the line that has the best selection of magazines, forget which line is longer- the longer the better means more time to read.

#4- Ants– I HATE ants.  We have been battling them all summer.  They build under every rock edge I have around my gardens.  They bite me every time I weed the gardens.  Trying to control them organically meant putting out dried molasses- which usually works great.  However, the ants seemed to thrive.  I had a chat with my Extension Agent and come to find out I have Pharaoh Ants, also known as sugar ants.  I was feeding the bloody devils!

#3- Smart Farm Animals– Smart farm animals are the most irritating things you can encounter on this earth.  The reason being is they can figure out any gate latch, constantly check all fences for any holes, wait for the moment when a barn door has been left open and never give you a moments peace.   And when they do get out, they will ALWAYS remember where the feed is stored and where your favorite rose bush is planted.  However, the dumb animals- they stay in their pens, eat the feed that you bring them and generally have no plans to take over the world.

#2  The Burn Pile-  Now its not really the burn pile that irritates me, when you live in the country this is just a fact of life.  Trees fall, storms blow limbs down so you usually have a pile.  What bothers me ( I would say “what aggravates the piss out of me” but my mother doesn’t like it when I say that and my city friends get the weirdest looks on their faces when I do, so I will refrain) is when a young person is told to put something in the burn pile and what I get is what is pictured to the left.  What Part of “IN the burn pile did you not understand?”  These boxes are clearly not in the pile.  I would blame his teachers, but he is home schooled.burn pile

#1- When I hear someone say, “Young people don’t…” you can fill in the blank but usually I hear it in regards to young people understanding what it means to work hard, how the country should run or about being appreciative.  Well, if the young people don’t it is because the old people didn’t.  The younger generation only possess what the previous generation gave them.  If the children have not been taught then it is our fault.  I love my young people, they are responsible, kind, courteous and brave.  I put in a lot of work to see that fruit. So, if you don’t like what you see then get involved and build some relationships with young people.  Our future is in their hands, we should invest in them.

la mancha dairy goatNow if you will excuse me, I am sure there is some smart farm animal misbehaving.  Don’t let Salsa’s innocent expression fool you, anarchy lurks behind those eyes!

The Weather Is Teasing Us & So Are The Goats

Feeding Geese at the park
Feeding Geese at the park

Both today and yesterday were spring like, making us long for the cold to be gone for good!  But alas, rain moves in tomorrow and cool temps follow bringing another couple of mornings below freezing.  But the weathermen have missed it before, so maybe it won’t get so cold.  One can hope…

We certainly took advantage of the balmy days.  Yesterday found us at the park feeding geese and walking in the sun around the park’s lake.  It was so nice.  Sierra still loves to swing and Jonathan loves the merry-go-round.  He had a bit of a mishap on it and landed in the mud puddle.  Then it was time to go home.

Sierra Anne
Sierra Anne

The last of the chickens for sale were picked up this morning.  I sold about six more than I planned but that was Sierra’s fault.  She heard me telling Tony that I had recieved another call from a buyer- but he wanted a dozen hens and I didn’t want to sell that many.  Sierra then asked me how much hen’s are costing at First Monday (a huge flea market here in Canton) I replied, “$10.00”  then she asked how much we were selling our for, “$12.00” I replied.   I was feeling quite proud that I was getting such a good price for my very lovely birds.  She then said, “So, sell him yours and go buy more and you will still make money on the ones you sell.”  Shrewd little business woman she is, I took her advice and sold some chickens.  Then I went and bought chicken feed.  I love it when the animals pay their own way!

While outside in the sunshine, I took time to tend the chicken house.  It was time for some lime.  I hate to use it in the chicken house because I am concerned that too much won’t be good for then hens when they scratch it up.  So, I only apply it under the roosts where the poop really builds up and then I bury it under 6-8 inches of shavings.  This seems to keep everything in balance.  If you have chickens and the coop smells, it is not the chickens, but the management that is to blame.  With adequate space for the chickens, deep litter, a thorough cleaning once or twice a year everyone will be healthy, happy, and odorless.  The biggest challenge will be under the night-time roosts.  Chickens poop A LOT when they sleep.

Six week old Barred Rock chicks, by fall these girls will be laying eggs.
Six week old Barred Rock chicks, by fall these girls will be laying eggs.

Once the coop was tended, we turned our attention to the herbs.  We filled close to 100 gallon size pots that are now awaiting lemon grass starts and calendula seedlings.  Eight trays are now filled and ready to receive the next batch of seedlings- which will probably be Tashkent Marigolds.  I then got about 40 trays ready to be filled, each tray holds 20 cups.  Those aren’t big numbers, but I was glad to get them done.  Come Monday, all the trays will be filled with compost and all the other trays will be prepped for filling.  What is hard to believe is that in just six weeks all these cups will be filled and home to plants and ready to be someone’s garden.  It’s about to get CRAZY around here.  Since the silly goats have not had babies yet, they are probably going to wait until I am smack in the busy season and then kid.  Stinkers.

One thing I know, farm kids know how to work.Sierra, Savannah and Jonathan helping me fill trays.
One thing I know, farm kids know how to work.
Sierra, Savannah and Jonathan helping me fill trays.

Saturday is an early day, I am going to a cheese making class!  This class is a Christmas present from Tony.  I have been wanting to make cheese from our goat milk for quite awhile.  While in Winnsboro, I will stop by Jersey Girl Dairy and get some fresh, raw milk.  The milk from this dairy is really good.  Now, if the goats will only kid out I will be in business.  So, off to bed for me.

Kandi our fist goat and her baby, Kit Kat.  Kandi is bread and will have babies one day...
Kandi our fist goat and her baby, Kit Kat. Kandi is bred and will have babies one day…
Geraniums in the greenhouse.
Geraniums in the greenhouse.

Whoo Hoo! First Goat Baby of the Year!

Kandi’s new baby girl

Ever since George came for an extended visit back in the fall, we have been excited about the coming kids.  5 months have passed since George’s visit and the first baby arrived today.

As usual, it was not the goat we picked to go first.  Kandi brought us the first kid and she did not look like she was that close.  Several of us thought she might, but didn’t want to say so because she would have held on to the kid just to prove us wrong!

Regardless of who went first, we are so glad to have kidding season begun.  In year’s past, once a Doe kidded, the others followed suit within 2 weeks.  Finally, after several months of store bought milk we are within weeks of fresh milk right from our own farm.  Never a dull moment.                     Speaking of activity, Tony went down to check on things tonight only to find bunnies on the lose.  A support chain has come loose and the cage had dropped down allowing the little guys to get out and run around.  All are accounted for and back in their pen.

George, the baby dady

Milk does the body good!

With the birth of the first goat 3 weeks ago, the milking season began. I waited a few weeks before I started to milk Rosa, my milk goat. The first milk the mother goats produce is colostrum and is not so tasty to drink, so I waited until all of that had passed. The kids are so happy to have the fresh milk again. Once you start to drink the “real” stuff, that store bought milk just doesn’t cut the mustard. Rosa is a good milker, I am getting a half gallon each morning. Iceberg, her baby, is put up at night and I milk Rosa in the morning. Once I am done, both are turned out together. This way, Iceberg gets the benefit of being raised by his mother and I don’t have to bottle feed. Should I need to be away from home, Iceberg takes care of all the milking. If I did not leave the babies with the mothers, I would have to milk every morning and evening- no missing. If any of you have ever nursed a baby, you know how it feels when the baby has slept too long! Anyway, this year I have a wonderful concrete floor in my milking parlor. Tony laid it for me a few weeks ago. I am so excited- this will make it so much easier to keep the milking parlor clean. We used concret blocks instead of the wet concrete. With the weather being so unpredictable, it was so simple to lay the blocks. It worked great. Not only does milk do the body good, milking does the soul good. I so enjoy the quiet time in the barn milking in the morning.