Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Polar Vortex continues to vex.... but so far so good.

Yesterday I got all my livestock shuffling done. Everyone got bedded down and snuggled in. The cold is upon us now. While it's nothing like the -30* nights we've had before... it's still pretty bad. But we only need everyone to make it to Monday when the cold will ease up.

Baby Bubby! Remember when he was just a tiny little snow face?

The meat chickens took the longest because I had to scoop them up and then haul them into their new pen in the garage - one at a time. Ti helped me keep them contained.

The worst part about livestock in winter? Trying to convince them to live. It's like they are all born to die. It's like they try every single way to shuffle off their mortal feathers.... usually ingloriously and due to stupidity. It was a long day but I finally got them all resettled. Good thing meat chickens are delicious. They are almost too stupid to live.

Despite all our reservations and concerns... the heat lamps worked. The temperature in the garage actually went up a bit. Add to that all the bodies and soon they were right as rain.

Peep feets. The cats have been glued to the heated bed.

The goats were already packed and ready to leave for the Turkey House by the time I got over there. They made a beeline to the newly strawed in spot and belly flopped right on down. Then commenced to bitchin'. For a long time. Because I put them exactly where they wanted to be. Goats. They are like that. Ingrates.

This morning we were very glad that we did not burn down the garage or the Turkey House. Everyone seemed to be doing OK so we are tentatively calling it a success.

Do you need strategies for cold weather livestock care?  Here are a few of ours...

In the end you can only give the barnyard the tools for success and do your best. Winter is tough. But with the right strategies you might get thru it..... but I'm still vexed.

Happy Saturday everyone! How are you doing with this cold? Everyone ok?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Re-configuring the troops for the Polar Vortex

If you are in this part of the country then you know the Polar Vortex is back. Most of this winter has been pretty mild but the snow and cold have come roaring back. It isn't going well here. The barnyard troops are really taking a beating. Having to deal with warm-then-cold weather is tough on everyone.

I'm fighting my Polar Vortex vexation with tiny pies

The other day during chores we left the goat gate open thinking that Debbie and Nibbles would just shove their heads in the food trough. Nope. They made a break for it - much to the delight of the dogs. Where on earth were they headed?

The Turkey House. Can you believe it?

See? They are little. Yay!

Remember last year all of the goats were cooped up in the Turkey House which is better protected from the wind and safer to hand a heat light? Deb and Nibs remembered those luxurious digs and ran straight over there. They were sorely disappointed to find out that it is stuffed full of meat chickens.

We dragged them back to the Goat House but we got the message.

Despite all of our reservations we hung a heat lamp in the Goat House... but that still didn't do the trick. So it looks like yours truly will be out there shuffling the troops around.

I also made some fresh bread.  It's been a carb free for all.

Re-configuring for this kind of cold ends up being like one of those puzzles. We can't put the goats in the garage and they cant double up with the clucks. So I have to move the meats into the garage, but first I have to build a pen. Then I need to shuttle the creepy meats one by one into the garage, double straw the Turkey House, rehang all kinds of heat lamps, THEN move the goats over... and hope everyone doesn't die and we don't burn the garage and the Turkey House to the ground.

Of course we are kicking ourselves because we SHOULD have butchered a bunch of the meats on Saturday when it was nice and warm. Ugh.

Everyone just needs to live until Monday when our temperatures will moderate. Next weekend it will be 45*.  Until then I'm suiting up for arctic exploration and meat hauling. No one is happy.

But I'm fueled by an 'all meat, all carbs' binge that has included fresh bread, lasagna made from scratch, and tiny pies. It's part of my strategy for staying warm in a cold house.... lots and lots of baking. Is the house really cold? Nope. But I still don't like the furnace and all these Nordi-style dogs don't like it either. Kai and Zander love the cold weather and they would rather be outside in the snow. So we compromise and I bake all day and they hang out in the cooler parts of the house and wish I would just let them go outside and sit in the snow. Dogs. *sigh*

Happy Friday everyone - are you surviving the cold? Are you ready? Is the Vortex vexing you? I'm vexed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Six... no... Seven... Things I'm tired of explaining to (non-farm) people.

The other day I found one of those "What are you sick of explaining to people" posts over on "the reddit." Most of them are funny, some are snotty, but it's interesting so see other people's point of view. I also think it's a good reminder of how folks know about what they know about - and it's good to expand your knowledge and not limit yourself to your own world. People are very interesting.

 Sometimes this is what my day looks like.

Many people don't know about my world. I don't really "get sick" or "get tired" of explaining these things because I think it's important to share knowledge and educate folks. But these are the conversations I tend to have over and over.

1. This isn't the "simple" life. I do not know who got this falsehood started. There is nothing simple about it. Sure I tend to do the same thing over and over but it's all different all the time. There are always complicated problems and the stakes are high when the circle of life spins so close to where you are standing. I'll always tell you The Truth About Farming... and it is not simple.

2. Meat chickens and pigz are not my friends. They are dinner and I don't feel bad about it. Farm raised meat tastes like victory.... or as someone said, "Revenge Bacon."

3.  I used to be someone. With a job. And a nice house. Now I'm someone with a farm, and dogs, and a full time occupation.  It's a long way from there to here. But I remember what regular life is like.

I think it's kind of hard for folks to look at me now and even guess that I was a normal person once. I used to shop at Nordstroms, pay over $100 for a hair cut, and think my biggest problem was that stupid person at work who made my life hard. Ridiculous things happen to me now.

4. No. I don't have nice clothes. This is as good as it gets. Some of us say, we have farm clothes and church clothes and nothing in between. The last clean shirt I ever owned was before I learned to put little creatures in my bra. Nothing I own now has not been pooped on, peed on, or worse.

5. Just because I "don't work" doesn't mean that I have a lot of free time. No, I cannot drop everything. During the growing season I figure that I need at least two weeks notice before I can make any changes to my schedule. This is both frustrating and bewildering to people around me. It's even more confounding because I never actually know what day it is. My closest friends have learned to send me reminders before we are supposed to meet up. I am eternally grateful for that.

6. No, I'm not going back to the rat race. The only rat race I'm interested in is seeing if our barncat, Shine, can run down that huge rat that has been living in the turkey house. Other than that I think I'm stuck with this life - funny tho it is. People are really interested in the money thing tho. Maybe that is what they are really asking and maybe I'll talk about it. But to answer your question, yes I miss the money. But not enough to go back to it.

This next one is a freebie because it was actually my pal, D, was the one who said it....

7. No, I am not wasting my education.

I don't think education is ever wasted and I whole heartedly believe that you should get the best education that you can afford.... but I'll follow quickly with a reminder that unless you are in a specialty field then most likely your education is just a ticket to your first real job. My experience is that from that first job it's more about your work history and your ability to network with other people than your degree.

But am I wasting it? Nope - are you kidding? You always have to be learning, solving problems, managing, crafting, creating, scheduling, figuring, promoting, communicating, and crunching the numbers in this life. You must run your farm effectively - like a business - or it will fail. You have to investigate, research, strategize, and science the shit of of this life.

Regular people think that farm folks are not educated. That is not true. Friend, I have amassed a huge body of knowledge from this life. I couldn't get this education anywhere else. So nope, all those hours sitting in university courses were not wasted a bit. In fact, it helped.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you get asked the same questions over and over? What are you tired of explaining?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ruined day improved by stuff in skillets.....

I probably should have made more of an effort to watch the news last nite. No one was more surprised than me to find out about all that snow this morning......

The dogs were overjoyed. Kai's snow smile says it all.

Yesterday's snow could have been described as The White Malaise.... today it was The White Death for sure.

The Black Death loves The White Death and immediately shoved his big face in it. Oh Bubby!

Chores were tough. All of my boots now leak... but we are more than halfway past the point where buying a new pair of winter boots make sense. The winter mocks me.

Even My Most Excellent Good Dog got all derpy over the snow.

I had no choice but to make my attitude improve with stuff in skillets.

Yesterday I made this skillet cake. It improved things tremendously. Today I had to bring out the big guns....

...bacon. This is the before. There is no after pic ... other than an empty plate.

This is our home cured and smoked bacon. I love it because it's more like a tiny, little bacon steak instead of what store bacon is like. Even the stuff from our butcher is not really bacon-steak-y. You need to eat it this with a knife and fork... and maybe a drizzle of home made maple syrup.

The winter storm continues to rage against my good nature.... but I resist Snow Rage with stuff in skillets.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you making bacon? I mean like... marching out there and butchering a pig? I know someone who is today! Good luck! Yay you!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Aggressive Rooster Rehabilitation Center.

A bunch of us have been laughing about this....

Aggressive Rooster Rehabilitation Center. 100% effective.
note: no idea who came up with this but thanks!

If you've had bad roosters then you know that this is entirely true. Yes. Yes this is the only way to handle a mean rooster.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2016

All's well that ends happily for Ajax!

Good news for working K9 lovers everywhere - former Officer Hickey was able to purchase his partner, Ajax for just one dollar from the City of Marietta. This news report was really terrific - you can tell how glad the handler was for all the support. I'm pretty sure Ajax just wants to know what all the fuss is about and to play ball.

My Nicholas. Definitely not a shovel and will never be auctioned. 

You can read more about the goings on here. There actually was some presendence for this discison so I'm not entirely sure that Mr. "He's just a shovel" LawDirector should get all the credit for this resolution. If you listened closely to the very end of that cringe inducing press conference someone in the crowd said that Jim Smith was on his way down from northern Ohio to meet with the city officials.

You can hear the Marietta officials ask "Who's that?"

Officer Smith and his K9 partner, Valor, were in the same situation in 1998. The law was changed then to accommodate that situation. While it might be a "little known" statute... the news and of course Officer Smith knew about it.

However it worked out I'm just glad it did. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us if a bad situation worked out for Hickey and Ajax. It's just too bad that it took so much public outcry to do the right thing. But sometimes.. just sometimes... social media works.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Turnips... still turnipin'!

Turnips really are one of my favorite things... especially in the winter. They just keep on keepin' on.

Still beautiful.

These are the turnips I planted late in July. And then didn't thin them very well. They are still going strong even this late (early?).  You would have thought that the cold weather would have killed them by now but nope. We had them for dinner last nite.

Turnips are a terrific cover crop. I'm making these notes so I remember to plant them again - even very late in the season - and to remind myself how long they lasted.

Happy Thursday everyone - do you still have root veg in the ground? How are they doing? Or are you planting for spring?

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