About Old West's Farms & the Animals

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spring is here ??

AHHH... The fresh brisk morning is GLORIOUS ~ Thank you Lord for giving us such a beautiful morning.

Spring ... did not happen this year ~ but today, June 30th it feels like spring and I'm grateful !!

I took the morning off from unpacking and working in general.
I made the perfect cup of coffee, grabbed a book, and sat outside under a tree.

I am pet-sitting a friend of ours 12 year old Beagle mix Abbey. SHE is an escape artist.
3 times I have had to jump up because I didn't hear the sound of her little tags clanking and
knew immediately she had slipped under the fence.  For 12, she is quiet nimble.
7:15am I am calling my neighbor saying "I've lost my charge, and I think she is heading down
the hill, get out of bed and head her off at the pass." Of course, Nancy is more than willing to
help.  Thankfully, my SCREAMING alerted Miss Abbey to my distress and she decided to
trot back up the hill to the sound of my bellows.

Bad Dog, Bad Dog, Bad Dog ... You are so going to time out ~
Abbey was quiet offended at my tone. I could tell by the little snarky look on her face.

Sadly, she escaped twice more even with the barriers I had put in place. 
She got banished to the house for the morning much to her HOWLING dismay.

My morning of leisure continued.

By 10am I am feeling a bit guilty for lounging.

By 11 I'm feeling OK about it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WoW it's HOT ~ Like ... Africa HOT !!

Maintaining a farm is HARD work and as much as I would like it to ... it doesn't come to a screeching halt with the feels like temp is over 100 ... ugh

Did you know a seat belt can make a darn good branding iron - OUCH - man that thing was hot !!

Anyway, back to the maintenance of the farm.
The to do list is lengthy:
- Build Buck Pen and run 
- Muck stalls - Flies are bad this year, but I have a great fly spray recipe (see below)
- Strip wicked cool 100 year old french doors my contractor scored for me for   FREE ~ Yes Free ~ (this activity may wait until my sister Dede gets up here)
- Finish unpacking Mom's boxes
  (yippee, indoor activity ... this will probably be the one I do today )
- Mow yard ...  ugh ... I will stop the list here - I'm tired !!

So as I mentioned before, the flies seem to be especially bad this year. Maybe it's because I have 6 goats as opposed to 4. Who knows, but I know this "natural" recipe helps.  I spray it around the barn, and try to spray those quick little Caprines, but they are fast and when they spot the fly spray bottle and act as if it is a 357 magnum.

I try to reason with them telling them "stay still, this will help" do they listen ... No ... Just a kid !!

Fly Repellent Recipe:
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup Avon Skin So Soft (Bath oil)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil

* I have also been adding some of the juice from my chopped garlic jar ... just for good measure.

To be honest with the two of you that are probably reading this "MOM, you better be reading this"

I just don't feel like being witty today.

I know ~ it's hard to believe... but so many of my friends are going through some horrible times !! I know God will use all these illnesses and deaths to make more disciples for His Kingdom !! It's just sad ...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Goats and Udders and Teats OH MY !!

What a beautiful start to the Lord's day ~
I can feel it's going to be a good day.

I noticed yesterday Miss Kiddies udder looked odd. One side was much more full than the other side. I searched for hours last night as to the potential cause for this and came up with people saying take her immediately to the vet, and others saying, milk her and she should be good.

So this morning when I get to church I ask a friend who lives on a farm if she or her hubby knows anything about goats. She begins to tell me a horror story about getting 2 two-month old babies that got stomped to death by her donkey.  Sigh ... Sniff ... NOT HELPING ~ but then she remembered a lady who's husband does have goats so she walked me down to her Sunday School class.

Most people would feel strange about walking up to a perfect stranger and asking them about udders and teats.  Not me ... It needed to be ask, inquiring minds needed to know.

She says, I don't know a thing about them, let me call my husband. So she calls her husband and puts him on the phone with me. I began to give him my most knowledgeable voice, saying I think she may be having some suspensory ligament issues ( I read that last night ) and he busts in on my biology dissertation with "just milk that tit a couple times and it should be fine. If you milk her and it looks like cottage cheese, you need to give her a shot for mastitis. OK..." I said " ummm...OK ~ well, to be honest with you, I've never actually milked my goat." There was a brief moment of silence and then he said " Well it ain't hard just grab the tit, squeeze, don't strip and you'll be fine. Call me if you need anything else, I'd be might happy to help ya." "OK, thank you"

After the phone call I wish I had that conversation outside of church.  I get that most of the country folk call a TEAT the other word, but my delicate senses were assaulted.

As would be Miss Kiddies teat later I feared.

Poor Miss Kiddy had no idea by days end I would go where no one had gone before.

So Dan and I arm ourselves with the needed supplies and went after the unsuspecting little caprineDan caught her and put her on the table and I began to do what I had watched on YouTube at least 4 times.

NOTHIN ~ Not a drop ...

I kept telling Dan I just had to find my rhythm. He would say "let me try" ~ NO~ I'm goat girl ... I will do it... Have you watched the YouTube video's on the proper milking procedure of a Nigerian Dwarf Goat?
No, I didn't think so ... but after 5 minutes I was ready to let him try.

We switched positions and I began to oversee his work "Don't strip it, you will mess up the teat" Don't...

"Is that Milk" ??  " Yes honey " WHAT ??

"Oh...ummm, it must have been clogged and I got it unclogged for you. 
Humph...  Great Job Honey"


So after he got her warmed up, I jumped in and we milked away ~ just gotta find that rhythm.
Milk looked great, "udder" went down, all is well !!

So for you my caprine lovin sista ~ I found the BEST pictures that show proper confirmation for Nigerians.  I know you don't have any now, but if you know anyone this is a great link.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dichotomy ??

The morning started with people coming to install carpet in my Mom's suite. I put all my vicious beasts up and run out to open the gate for him. As he is pulling his van through the gate I notice an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on the bumper. Sigh... It is NOT OK for a van, car, or little child to be on my property with such a stupid display. On the other hand, I can't really afford to offend him and us still have everything done by Monday. So...I take the high road... I DO...

So 5 minutes later I say to him ... oh be quiet, I didn't say I would stay on the high road !!  Like I was saying before YOUR thoughts derailed me, I say to him " I hope no one sees your van in my drive-way, it may ruin my reputation". He replies "huh"? I say "you know, your bumper sticker", he says "oh yeah, well they both sucked so I went with the lesser evil". It was my turn to say "huh" but only mentally, because I actually agree with that statement, sort of.  Neither one was presidential material, however one of them was just slightly above compost material, but whatever.  So I just said, "yeah I didn't like McCain that much either, but what can we do." and I stopped there ~ I DID ...


I saw his hat ... It reads " I LOVE JESUS" ~ I was like ... this dude is TWISTED, as in sister ~ I will admit at times I can be hypocritical, however I TRY not to ANNOUNCE it to the whole world. Granted, Cumberland Furnace people will probably not get it, nor care but this man came to the wrong house this mornin !! So... I tried, the LORD knows I tried to walk away and not say anything.  BUT, the Lord created me with this innate ability to stir the pot, sometimes eloquently, more often...not so much.  Things just come out of my mouth before the filter in my brain and the filter on my mouth have a chance to stop them. As was the case in this situation.

"I like your hat...it sort of makes up for that horrible bumper sticker. But I'm just curious..." and so it went. 

No he wasn't done with the carpet, yes I should have let him finish before I said anything, no he couldn't understand when I tried to explain the dichotomy between the two items...and I most certainly should have NEVER used the word dichotomy - I think he thought I cussed at him. He just looked at me and announced "ummm I'm gonna go to lunch now". Whatever coward...run away like a little girl ~ God forbid you actually try to defend the idiocy of a Jesus loving "liberal" voting for a - Muslim, Pro-choice, advocate of late term abortion candidate.  Whateverrrr ....

He came back ??  I was SHOCKED ... Happy, but shocked none-the-less.

I wonder what the rest of the day will bring.

Fair Warning ...

If someone shows up with a Nancy Pelosi, or Global Warming sticker on their car ~ ALL BETS ARE OFF.

Blessings to you and yours today !!

btw, the other day when I went shopping at Publix ~ I spent 42.00 and saved 28.00 in coupons and store savings ... tahehe

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The New Dog ~ Gurrrr

What a beautiful morning ~
I wake up, strrrretch, say good-morning to the Lord, do a little jig and start my day.

Here on the homestead, the animals eat first. Because Miss Kiddies babies are too small to go out into the big pasture, I must bring MK branches and other types of forage because, well because GOATS DON'T Eat Everything.  It's a Myth.  Like sitting too close to the TV will give you cross eyes. Total myth - By the way, what a crock - sitting too close to the TV will make your eyes cross; How many of you parents are still feeding that line to YOUR unsuspecting children >-/ Stop it ... Any hoo, MY goats are picky eaters. They are not happy with the hay I purchased for them, so they will sulk, YES sulk until I go cut them some tree limbs. And heaven forbid I bring them the same variety of tree limbs. Think of it as a little goat buffet, they want to be able to go down the fence line eating a myriad of items. SO, they get their morning grain, hay and buffet. Then the pups are fed - then and only then am I able to eat. Let me back up so you can appreciate the full value of this event.

Once upon a time not so long ago I let some people in need of unloading a dog bring by their 1.5 yo German Shepherd/St.Bernard mix over for a play date with Aramis. I told them if the dog is aggressive towards the goats, or Aramis didn't like him I would not be able to keep him. So the dog springs from the car and comes running over to me. THEN, he jumps on me. Standing on his hind legs he is taller than I am.  I immediately push him off me and they say, 'yeah, he really hasn't been trained much'. So I ask, 'by not much, what exactly do you mean. I mean he knows how to sit, right?'  They both kind of shook their heads no- not really.
So after him visiting for a while I told the people, I will keep him for the weekend and see how he does. Be prepared to come get him on Monday if its not working out. He seemed kind of too interested in the goats so I was a bit concerned at that point. They agreed and left the beast in my care.  Within an hour the dog was trying to jump the 5' goat fence to get at my goats.  I emailed the couple the VERY NEXT DAY and told them, this is not going to work he is charging at my goats, trying to scale the fence, etc... No response. I called them on Monday, the phone number had been changed. I emailed again telling them to come get their dog... NO RESPONSE ... SUCKA !!  That is the grizzley tale of how JoJo aka Cujo came to live with us.  Now onto my breakfast drama, again ... here is some background information for you.  STOP rolling your eyes at me, I am trying to give you all the details ~ I told you to only read this blog if you had NOTHING better to do, now sit back, be quiet and read ... JOYFULLY... I'm not feeling the joy right now!!   so anyway ...

I am so excited because yesterday I got to shop at ... PUBLIX !!  For those of you that take for granted Publix, don't; It was so awesome to have such a variety of great stuff to choose from. Dan and I are strolling through the expensive cheese section, when all of a sudden I let out a little yelp of excitement. Dan thought I spotted another buy one get one free deal - but it was even BETTER than that. CUBAN BREAD ~ I snatched up the loaf and cradled it lovingly in my arms. I haven't seen Cuban bread ANYWHERE in Tennessee. For some reason Dan kept walking past me as if he didn't know me; like that was going to deter my excitement.  I just yelled across a couple produce sections "Dan, look !!! Cuban bread !!"
He kept walking ... whatever !!  I know he was just as excited about it as I was, he just hides it better.  He's Cuban for gosh sakes, he should be more excited to see a part of his heritage...right ?? 

So, back to ...it's time for me to eat.

I cut a portion of the coveted Cuban bread and decide I want to make a breakfast Cuban just like I got back in Florida.  So I cracked a couple eggs into the skillet, warmed the bread, and melted a small piece of provolone cheese on it. I then removed my perfectly cooked eggs from pan and slid them onto my now pressed, hot, cheesy bread. I added a piece of turkey, and VOILA ~ a masterpiece !!  I grabbed some orange juice and headed into the family room to watch the morning news whilst enjoying my bounty. I set my samey on the arm of the chair, turned around and set my OJ on the coffee table, remove my lap-top from my chair and turn back just in time to catch JoJo snatch my creation off the plate. GASP-SHRIEK-REACT

Now at the ripe old age of 40 something, I have come to believe that I just don't move as fast as I used to...that is, until my Breakfast Cuban hits the floor. The 5 second rule is totally in play - heck I'd do 10 or 20 seconds for this sandwich even with the potential of dog drool.  JoJo hears my scream and drops the sandwich only managing to get a bit out of it. I picked my sandwich up as one would if they found a wounded bird and began "dusting" it off ~ once most of the dog hair was removed I set the sandwich down and turned my attention to the wretched BEAST. I began yelling at him, all the usual stuff "BAD DOG-BAD DOG-NO-NO-NO"and fortunately for him the only thing within my grasp was an old limp slipper. So he got yelled at and spanked with a slipper for that bite. I bet he thinks it was worth it!!  Lets hope he got the message. I don't like spanking my dogs, but he has needed a little more 'encouragement' to behave. Sigh... I sat down, pulled the lever to extract the foot rest and began to enjoy my breakfast. IT WAS SO GOOD ~

Now for those of you smugly sitting there saying 'poor Jojo' ~ BITE ME !!  You too probably have ill behaved dog that needs a good thrashing with a slipper. NONE of my other dogs would have dared removed MY FOOD, from MY PLATE. They are much too schooled for that.

So this begins my day ... I still know it will be a good one !! 

Blessings to you all !!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Square Foot Garden

I am so happy to report that my square foot garden is coming along nicely. The absolute BEST part is NO WEED PULLING. I planted the squares about 3 weeks ago ~ mostly seeds except for the tomato and pepper plants. As you can see in the pictures the lettuce, spinach, cilantro, basil, parsley & leeks are all coming up !! SO happy that I will not have to be forced to sell a kidney on the black market to have fresh herbs & peppers this season.

The secret to square foot gardening is soil-less mixture and screening the bottom of your box.
Typically, most SFG are 4 x 4. We used 2 x 6's to make our boxes - I chose NOT to use pressure treated lumber because I didn't want the chemicals seeping into my vegetables. I realize the boxes won't last as long but I think the trade off is worth it. So to make the boxes cut 4 four foot sections of lumber, screw or nail them together. Line the bottom of box with weed screen, and staple in place.
I only stapled my finger once, see if you can do better. Actually, if you do more than one, as my daddy always said "if you're gonna be stupid, you better be tough".

For the soil-less mixture: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost.  If you don't make/create your own compost, I read to try to use a variety of poop. A little cow, a little chicken, a little horse, a little goat, etc. Think of a 15 bean soup, but not.  OK now mix your 1/3's together and fill boxes to top.  It is best to till the area of grass b4 you set your box. Now run string to section out your bed ( see pics ). You are now ready to plant !!

Try Square foot gardening if you are tired of wining and dining your big over-grown garden, whispering sweet nothings into to their little leaves, and getting NOTHING but weeds and bugs for all your wooing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


You know, sometimes things just happen. You don't mean for them to, but...they just do.

My pastor always says "confession is good for the your soul, but bad for your reputation".

Before I confess, I must set the stage a bit. It was Memorial Day weekend and for some reason I thought Walmart would be sufficiently staffed. That was my FIRST mistake. I just needed a few items. NEEDED being the operative word. Second mistake, taking my hubby. Before long the 'few' things turned into quite a few things. So as we made our way to the check out lanes they are WOW backed up. Dan and I perused the items in our cart and unanimously thought 'we have less than 20 items'. Ummmm...that was my third mistake...

As we began to put the items on the counter, it was like a clown car, items kept coming out of our cart. I began to feel horrible guilty and could feel the eyes of the patrons behind me boring holes into me. I believe they were mentally counting each item as it was scanned, just knowing we were over. As they secretly counted, I could sense they were growing more and more smug. I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks with each item I placed on the counter. I had a fleeting thought of scurrying away and leave Dan to face the wrath alone. But I stood by my man. OK, fine, I would have left him standing there but I had the coupons. I just kept saying, I am NOT one of THOSE people. As 'Lila' the 80 year old cashier finally scanned my last item ... first can I ask you why they put sweet little 80 yo ladies in the express lane ~ there was nothing 'express' about her. Anyway, I digress.
I anxiously awaited my receipt to see if I met the 20 item requirement for the lane. GASP !! I was that person ~ I was humiliated. I gave a sheepish smile to the customers behind me and mumbled "I guess I went over by a few". My confession was met with ram rod straight backs, and evil stares.

28 ...

I had 28 items in the 20 item lane ... I am truly sorry for my transgression.

So as not to leave this post on a negative note, I saved 8.25 in coupons :-) !!