Friday, August 28, 2009

Bullies

Don't let her sweet face fool you. She is a troublemaker. Abusive.This one too. Both of them. A trouble-making pair of meanies.
They won't let the other goats eat or drink.



They both hate Ambi. They ram him into the side of the barn, the fence, and anything else they can.

The last straw was when May picked Ambi up between her horns and reared up, strangling him.
Something tells me they don't think this buck is right for them.


So, for this sweet guy's safety and well-being, he left the farm this weekend.


He went to a family with two young children who love him.
Don't look back Ambi, it only makes it harder.

Sassy went with him. Goats need at least one other goat so they don't get lonely. They will stay together and be best friends forever. They finally escaped the abuse. May the healing start.










Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At the other end of the spectrum.....

My injured chicken http://www.herdingducks.blogspot.com/2009/08/poor-chicken.html is doing so well. 11 days later and it is running around and chasing bugs. I'm glad there was not any permanent damage and that she healed quickly. This is my special baby that will lay colored eggs for me.

Thank you so much to April at Coal Creek Farm (www.coalcreekfarm.com) for helping me. She was a huge help and made me and that certain person who injured the chicken feel so much better, not to mention the chick. Please , do yourself a favor and go read her blog. She is hilarious. Her blog is the first one I check every morning.


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Don't panic, I did not spring forth any more children from my loins, the adorable little girl is one of my friends children. She is in love with my daughter and is just the cutest thing.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Butchering Chickens.....


This is another one of those posts that you absolutely should NOT read if you can't handle blood, guts or are squeamish.


Jamie, this means you. Do not read this post. If you do, you will probably cease being my friend and never talk to me again. Don't even be tempted. I love you too much to traumatize you, so go read PW's site. Gawk at the cowboys in chaps, look up a new recipe or enter a contest. Just don't read any further.




We were going to butcher the chickens several weeks ago but they were really too skinny. The chickens were Rhode Island Reds, which was supposed to be a good dual purpose bird. I don't think we will raise this breed again for meat. They just did not get very big.



Think about the roasted chickens that you can buy in some supermarkets already cooked. They were just a little bigger than that. Next time, we will get the super-meat producing Cornish Cross breed.

Chickens need to be butchered at 14 weeks for frying and around 16 weeks for roasting. Anything beyond that would need to be put in soup. The meat just gets too tough. Our chickens were right at 16 weeks, so they really needed to be butchered.

I need to tell you, dear friends, that I have never killed an animal in my life. Maybe a spider or two, a zillion bugs but never an animal. This was very difficult for me to do. I felt a little nauseous and was shaking a lot before the first one. Which, is not a good thing when wielding an ax.


First, I set everything up. Got the table ready, tools ready, and hung up some string nooses on the clothesline to hang the chickens up by their feet so they could bleed out.


The first chicken got away. I was too nervous and did not hold it securely. It ran off, gave me a dirty look and hid behind the barn.

This one was the lucky first. I said a prayer. I did. I don't know if there is a chicken heaven but I prayed for God to bless this chicken, to calm it, and to prevent me from cutting my fingers off.
The chicken just laid there and did not struggle. Let me tell you, looking it in the eye right before I killed it was not a good idea. If I could have closed my eyes, I would have but then, you know, I may have lost a finger or five.

The chickens got into my garden and ate all 11 watermelons. Picked them clean. I had to use that for motivation. It took me all summer to grow those watermelon. I was very angry. I had to channel the anger.

I chanted; Watermelons, watermelons, they ate your watermelons.

Okay, I really didn't.



Don't worry, this was just an aiming maneuver. I did not actually chop it's head off this time. I won't show you that part. It is too graphic and I don't want to prevent you from eating chicken ever ever again.

After its head is chopped off the chicken really does flop around a lot. I had a difficult time holding on to them. Two got out of my hands after their head was off. One flopped around on the ground, the other actually ran around for about 20 seconds, then flopped in the bushes. Chickens really do run around with their heads cut off. I don't think I want to use that phrase anymore though.

I think I'm a little traumatized.



After the chickens stop moving, they are ready to be processed. My husband had to help me with the first one and I was thankful. He showed me some easy ways to clean the chicken. After the first one, the rest were pretty easy. The hardest part was killing the chickens.
I really did not like doing it but I will do it again. Cleaning them was not as gross as I thought it would be. That was the easiest part, by far.

Brandon would catch the chickens for me and hold each one until I breathed deeply, calmed down and got the courage to lop off the head. Then he would run inside because he really did not want to see the chickens get butchered.

Lexy fetched a lot of things for me and stared with gross fascination.

Cody took a feather that was on the ground and put it over the AC time and time again just to watch it propel 10 feet up in the air. He was the biggest help of all.

My wonderful husband encouraged me and gave me tips. He did not help too much because I really wanted to do this on my own. Don't ask me why. It is just one of those things.
He was very proud of me.

Warning, the most graphic pictures so far are below. I do show cut up parts but they are not extremely bloody. Proceed with caution.












Here is the bucket O' scraps. Wings, heads and guts. These were taken to the woods for the wild animals to take care of.



Feet, of course. Yes, I did make them dance around a little and do the Can Can.



Taking the skin off is akin to taking one-piece Pajamas off. You just slip out the wings and legs one at a time and the rest comes off pretty easy. Don't worry, there are not any pictures of guts.



Here are my birds all cleaned and ready to put in the freezer.

Oh, and yes, I did get the rooster that got away.

I still have about 20 chickens. 15 that are only 8 weeks old and 5 of the Rhode Island Red hens that I saved to lay eggs.

My garden is safe.

The farm is a bit quieter this morning.






Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My ears have been violated


I took Lex to a Jonas Brothers concert over the weekend. A very nice lady from our home school group had a family emergency and could not use them so she gave them to us. This was Lexie's first concert. We had a lot of fun together but I don't think my ears will ever be the same.


The arena we went to has a seating capacity of 13,000. Every seat was filled with screaming girls. I have never experienced such horror in all my life. I am now deaf and will forever communicate via e-mail and blogging.



It was a pretty neat concert. The Jonas Brothers had a lot of interesting effects like a trampoline, a bridge that rose up and flew over the audience while they sprayed water or confetti or something, and it rained on one of the stages. They even played "Sweet Caroline" for us old fogies. I felt bad that Lex did not have another pre-teen girl to scream and dance with, so I did my best to act like one. I don't think she'll ever go out in public with me again.

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I enjoyed acting like I was 12 again and embarrassing my daughter. Eventually, maybe my hearing will come back but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Baby.....


This is going to be a post about my husband. If you are related to him or me, you may not want to read further. I would hate to ruin your morning coffee.................................................................


I have been married to my husband for just about 14 years. He is like a fine wine. He gets better and better every year. In so many ways. We are a perfect match. A perfect fit. I Love this man more than anything else in my life. The sun rises and sets with him. He is smart, funny, strong, and the most competent man I have ever met. He completes me.

His birthday is a reminder of what I have been blessed with. What my family has been blessed with. What a wonderful man he is. I am lucky to have him.

His birthday was today. We were able to celebrate in our usual way. Which for us means, grilling steak, relaxing at home and laughing....a lot.

This year, I bought him a cookie cake, Double fudge ice cream and a card that sang.......

Burning rings of fire. If you have been following our adventure for the past year, you know how funny this card is to us.

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He is my life...I don't know what I would do without him.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm sorry but.....


There is nothing sweeter than Superman underwear hanging from the clothesline.



That is all...Back to your normally scheduled programming.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poor Chicken

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Chicken Doctor, please help.

This poor chick had it's leg slammed in a barn door. Twice. I won't say who did it but she feels absolutely horrible.

No, It was not me. This time. But I am passing my genes on. Lucky kids.

I put iodine on the bleeding leg, and am isolating the chick on the front porch in a box with food/water. What else can I do? I'm not sure she will make it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

He melts my heart.

This is my strong-willed child. The one who will not back down and won't give in. Stubborn as the day is long. Ornery as they can get. He has no problem telling you how he feels. Even if it really, really hurts.

I love him for it. I would not have him any other way. One day, he will be a strong leader and change the world.

Or take it over. I'm not sure which yet.

He is just as sweet, loving, and kind as he is stubborn. He is a blessing and gift from God. He has made me a better person. I am more patient, kind, loving, and carefree. Because of him.


Especially carefree.
Sometimes blessings come in disguise.
Look for them.





Sunday, August 9, 2009

One day.......


We will have cattle. Dairy and meat. But first we have to buy more land, clear the land, fence the land and purchase the cattle. We still have so much to finish around here before that is even possible. Until then, I am going to stalk my neighbors cattle and imagine they are mine.


Especially this one. She is just the sweetest thing.






Friday, August 7, 2009

A special Treat

My husband's Mother and Grandmother drove down to visit us for a few days this week. It was so nice to visit with them. The children felt very special having them both here at once. We have lived too far away for visits for a while, so it has been really nice living closer to family and getting to see them more.

They spoiled the kids. They played countless games of UNO and read them stories. The children were able to learn more about how their Grandmothers grew up and what life was like for them. These memories are special. Priceless. Ones they will treasure and remember for the rest of their lives.

We can't wait for the next visit.


It was hard to say goodbye.

Cody followed them down the road, waving.

And waving.



Until they were out of sight.

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Then he cried that he would never ever get to see Grandma, kicked a chicken (which was not caught on this video) then went inside to play Operation, the game Grandma bought for him.

Poor guy.

Poor Chicken.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Useless as teats on a boar....

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Ummmmm.

Excuse me Mr. Pig? Ummm. Why do you have teats? I am very confused. Please enlighten me. No? Just be quiet and feed you? Oh, well....okay.

I had to search out the answer for myself. I found a blog that may explain why boars have teats. At least I found a hypotheses. I was really pondering if it was just a big joke and God was laughing at the confusion. No, I'm sure he has a reason. Maybe it is this?


There's an old phrase that describes something unnecessary - "Useless as tits on a boar." But these things can be deceiving.

One of our breeding goals is to increase the number of strong tits per sow. All of our breeding sows have at least 14 teats and a few have 16 teats. Realize that in judging competitions for pigs at least 10 teats is the rule so our ladies have already a head start on that score.

We started with sows with 14 teats. To move towards our goal of infinite teats what I did was keep gilts who had buds, under formed sixteenth teats, at the very back, that is to say hindmost. Some of them had daughters with rudimentary teats. Some of those daughters have now had fully producing teats in that hindmost quarter. The newly evolving teats are appearing at the back end of the line.

Why select for more teats? With the idea that more teats means more ability to produce milk. There are other factors in condition scoring but that's one thing to keep in the mix.

This explains what use are teats on a boar - he might throw more buxom daughters who produce more milk and bigger litters of bigger piglets.


Hmmmm. Interesting.

What do you think?