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.


Friday, December 19, 2014

I think it worked...and you still have a little bit of time!

I think our goat breeding worked! At least... I think it did. We won't know for sure until about the 28th. But there is a lot of this going on.....

 ...they never lay like this. 

All of the goats are starting to look different - their belly shapes are different and they are all licking their sides. A lot. And laying around which is kind of weird for them.

I think Debbie already looks different.

The goats are also acting like crazy people. I think there might be a coup d'etat going on with Daisy making a play to be the Queen B. As in Queen B*tch. She is really something these days and may be trying to overthrow Debbie who has been our herd queen. Unfortunately, Nibbles is getting the worst of it. She is the only mini in a herd of full sized goats...and they are really beating her up.

It looks like she took a pretty hard hit to the face the other day - and when I opened the goat house Dahlia's scur was bashed off. So nothing but goat wars.

The tricky part is that Nibbles is extremely destructive when she is alone. Since she isn't getting along with anyone right now it's going to be hard to figure out who should bunk with each other. There is going to be a lot of goat shuffling this winter. 


And now a commercial word from our sponsor..................

Just in case you haven't done all of your shopping there is still time to get your last minute orders in! What do you need and who do you need to shop for? Need some help with suggestions? Please allow me...

How about the top 10 things that make my life easier? The milk frother is a huge hit - thanks to the folks who ordered it!

Or my favorite tools?

My wish list.... thanks to Farmer Liz's suggestion (congrats on your blog-anniversary!!)  I am now using the magnetic knife holder to also hold my huge spatulas...and all kinds of other things.

There is always my favorite book list - still my top picks for farming/homesteading.

Or canning tools?

Thanks to everyone who made their purchases from Amazon link or,  from my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. I never know who purchases what or I'd thank you personally. It doesn't cost one more cent extra to use my Amazon affiliate links but I get a small percentage of the sale that helps support this blog. You can buy just about anything from Amazon - tools, books, movies - especially their online service, kitchen stuff, or hard to find specialty grocery items.

Happy Friday everyone - thank you so much for your support!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We need some summer

These long dark days are wearing me down... we need some summer! Remember when it was summer and everyone was happy?

And there was so much sunshine!

And everything was growing.....

Everything was delicious....

Shine could just while away the days in the good earth and shade of all that green.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you miss summer?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter Hens

I kept trying to take pix of my winter hens yesterday.. but they kept getting photobombed by...

this turkey....

and Daisy.

Get out of my pictures, people!

Imagine if you will big, fluffy, fat hens happily pecking around. The chickens are doing great right now. We are getting a steady supply of eggs and most everyone is over their bad molt. Fortunately we've had really mild weather so far so everyone is out chickening around.

They all want to stay out as long as possible but these short days are just really frustrating for everyone. There is almost always a chase at night to get the last ones in. I don't blame them. These short days are making my cranky also. We need to start heading toward more daylight.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are your chickens out and about?



Thursday, December 11, 2014

10 things that make my life easier.

I was talking with a soon-to-be farmer and it got me thinking about all the lessons that I had to learn and all the things I had to figure out myself. I kinda wish someone would have given me a quick list of things that can make your life easier. Not the big stuff like canning supplies or favorite tools... but little fixes. Like this:

1. These stainless S-hooks from Ikea.  I have about 20 of these and I use them for hanging up most of my pots and all kinds of kitchen tools like strainers and big spatulas. Another great use? I use them to hang cheese to drain, or even wet jackets from the shower curtain rod. And outside for butchering. Be sure to get the big ones - 4.25" - they are incredibly sturdy.

2. This farm is fueled entirely by coffee - I love my stovetop espresso maker. What about a fancy Keurig coffee maker? I'm not a hater but I really don't have any real estate on my counter for something that big. Altho my full confession is that I have been extremely jelly of one of my pals for his ability to instantly have a coffee at any moment... you know who you are.

3. Don't forget a milk frother.  I can also make whipped cream with this one. You know... in case of an emergency. This happens more than you think. I love this little gadget so much. I use it everyday.

4. I have a stack of these colanders - they are the right size for my sink. They are easy to carry out to the garden and also to hang on a fence post until I'm ready to bring in some produce.

5. Mine fit in a food grade bucket like this. It's a great way to drain cheese.

6. We always have a bunch of these - I like the 20 cc syringes - without the needle. They are used for dosing the goats (or dogs) or whoever. The 3ML are a good size also. We have them by the gross.

7. Hands down, these are still the best hoof trimmers I've ever used. They are a dream within a dream and radically changed my relationship with the goats. Now, instead of a brawl, goat hoof trimming takes minutes and does not require Bloodstop. Or swearing. Easy peasy. I also use them for snipping the twine on straw or hay. It's not an appropriate use but that is OK.

8. When I march out there to get a goat for hoof trimming this is what I have in my hand. Well. Technically ours is a John Deere leash... but this narrow, 4 foot leash with a "clicker" on the end works perfectly. It's short to keep the goat by my side, it's thin so it's easy to use, and I use it as a slip leash. That is... I put the "clicker" end thru the loop to form a slip leash. It goes over the goat's head (or I put and end around their neck and thread it thru the loop) and voila! I have an easily controlled goat. I can also use the "clicker" to latch the goat on a hook or the fence if I need both hands.

We don't collar anyone - not the dogs, not the goats, and certainly not the cats. So having an easy to use "slip leash" is a breeze. But how do I get ahold of goats/dogs/cats? Friend, a loud hand clap and a "Come here!" works for just about everyone. Sometimes the goats need a bit of a chase but we just run them into the goat house and get them while cornered.

9. Everyone needs a fence tool - or five. No matter what you are doing you probably need a fence tool. Get a bunch of them and keep them where you work.

10. And buckets. I always need lots and lots of buckets. Get more buckets. Or better yet, get some good tools and fill a bucket for the perfect gift! 

Happy Thursday everyone! Do you have 10 things that make your life easier?


Editors note: Did you get your holiday shopping done? Were you going to order something  from Amazon today anyway? Give a click on one of the links on this page or my store or use the black Amazon search box on the side of the page. If you do I will get a tiny portion of the sale and it won't cost you one more cent. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. THANKS!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pigs. Not in the frezer.

You know... sometimes life is very frustrating. The other day I went downstairs to get something out of the freezer and everything was thawed out. AGAIN! I panicked. I swore. I hurried up and sorted out what was still mostly frozen and what wasn't. I couldn't believe we had another freezer fail.

Remember this foolishness from over the summer?

I ended up with about six packages of meat that were mostly thawed out. I didn't want to try and refreeze them... that would deteriorate the quality. So I just put them in our coldest fridge and we are working our way thru them. I was very mad. Very, very mad.

Thank heavens we didn't butcher the pigz yet!

When my husband got home we investigated the situation and we determined the cause of the freezer fail was..... cats. It seems our Gate Diablo is trying to work against us. Some how he (or Moose) stepped on the button on the power strip the freezer was plugged into...and turned it off. I must have been off for days and neither of us noticed.

We cursed ourselves that we didn't take one pal's suggestion and get and get a freezer alarm.

But believe me we have learned our lesson. And we moved the power strip so little paws can't turn it off again.We've also been eating our way thru all that meat. Fortunately we had divided up the pork we just butchered so there were only several packages and not most of a pig.

And this?

But my roasted corn and all those peppers are pretty much doomed. We are going to use them - but the quality is kind of poor. So I'll be using the corn in a corn pudding and such.

In the meantime, the pigz are still out there. We haven't gotten our ducks in a row to have a butcher day.  First I was too sick, then we needed to get another freezer to replace the one that really died.....and now it's going to be too warm this weekend. The one time I really need it to be 20* and it may not even be freezing!

So we are just going to keep moving along.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Did one of your cats turn off your freezer? Are you eating meat, meat, meat, and more meat because of it?


Editors note: Hey did you order something  from Amazon thru one of the links or my store? THANK YOU SO MUCH! I never know who orders what but I really appreciate it. Someone bought something big - you know who you are but I don't. I'm sending you hugs and many many thanks. 

Do you need to do some online shopping? You can just give a click or use the black Amazon search box on the side of the page. If you do I will get a tiny portion of the sale. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. THANKS!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Goats: Mission Accomplished!

Mercifully, I believe that we are now done with goat breeding for this season. Yesterday was a goat-a-rific day. And by that I mean it was horrible and I'm glad it's over.

 Goatherd.

We loaded up Debbie and Daisy and headed over to the farm near us to visit that terrific Alpine buck and his sidekick. We should have been there for exactly 10 minutes. Things did not work out as we expected.

I have to hand it to Daisy. She was done in 2 minutes. The little buck I renamed, "Mr. Wonderful" got the job done and without further ado I handed Daisy's leash to my husband and he walked her out of the goat pen. Check.

Then there was Debbie. Yes, she was in heat. Yes, she knows how this goes. No, she would not cooperate. We all ended up trying to hold her. It was terrible. I can't believe we skipped church for that. I'm very sure that what happened in that buck pen, and my participation, are a smiting offense. Ew.

The buck owners were very sympathetic and resorted to baby talk to try and calm Debbie down. That is not how I do things. I went directly to Yosemite Sam. I informed Debbie to quit goofing around and get over there and get her business taken care of. She didn't. There was running, a chase, more foolishness. I just about gave up.

I told the nice folks that maybe we should just come back tomorrow. I think Debbie heard me and panicked because then she got her business taken care of. I handed over the buck fee, we loaded up the goats, and drove away covered in buck stank and irritation.

I got home, burned my clothes, beached everything else, and applied bourbon to my day. It took the edge off.

If things go according to plan then the due dates should be:

Daisy:  April 30th
Debbie: April 27 - May 1

We bred the goats pretty darn late last year... but the extreme cold at the end of the season made us glad that we did. That is one of the reasons we waited again so long this time. Also, these due dates are closer to the time where there will be a lot of bramble leafing out...and only about a month away from the first hay cutting.

We aren't overly concerned about selling the kids - especially since we found out how easy it is to take them to the auction. If Debbie has a doeling I might consider keeping her as a future milker. The buck came from really good milking lines - and had pretty interesting coloring. So we'll see.

Nibs. Outstanding in her field. She's a pip, isn't she?

What about Nibs? No dice. We think that she has performed admiraly during her tenure here and now she can just relax. But mostly because if we have three gals who can milk a gallon a day (Deb, Dahli, and Daisy) there really isn't any reason to have Nibs and her "maybe a quart or so" production. We thank Nibbles for all her years of service, will give her a lovely pen as a token of our thanks, and then put her out to pasture. And really... we mean pasture. From now on she can just be outstanding in her field. And maybe work on that attitude.

Happy Monday everyone! Did you miss church because of goat breeding?


Sunday, December 7, 2014

My new favorite salad. And goats.

Have you used up all your leftovers? We finally either got thru all of ours or put them in the freezer. You remember that we kind of had a late Tday.
 
 All the lovely flavors of Thanksgiving.

Even tho I had to hang up my lettuce bucket for the season..... I still love salad. Even if I have to buy lettuce. Luckily I still have some parsley and greens going in the green house. But that is about it.

This is my version of a cobb salad crossed with a chopped salad. I don't know what it is, but I just really like chopped salad. Maybe it's that there are no weird, hard to eat, huge pieces of lettuce falling off my fork. Turkey, lettuce, onion, parsley, blue cheese, hard boiled egg (technically this is a mustard egg), a spoon full of cranberries (why not?), and some mayo in a nice big bowl....

Tossed.

.... then mix it up. I like to use kitchen tongs to give it a toss. Don't forget salt and pepper.

I gave up on bottled salad dressing a long time ago. Anymore it just tastes like corn syrup. Sometimes I'll make an easy ranch dressing. Mayo, sour cream, a little buttermilk and then seasoned with an Italian seasoning mix - shaken together in a pint jar. But now I've even gotten further away from that. I think we've all learned that salad is just a vehicle for a lot of dressing. But once you focus on the tastes of the greens and the ingredients you start to wonder what you saw in store bought dressing.

If you like a creamy salad then a little bit of mayo or sour cream will set you up. I think the difference is seasoning the greens so it's not boring. And bacon. Salad should have bacon. I didn't have any bacon in this salad because I used it in something else. But next time there will be bacon... oh yes there will be.

Aside from making a big salad today we are also taking the goats to be bred. I hope this works. More on this after we have achieved or objective... or wasted our time and gas on goats being ridiculous.

Happy Sunday everyone! Do you still have home grown greens or do you have to buy lettuce?


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