Saturday, January 30, 2010
Here's another look!
OK,if you haven't guessed,here's a better view!
Friday, January 29, 2010
When you have a clay type soil like we do it only holds so much water then the rest just sits on top! I love when it rains and thunders at night,good sleeping weather! I also like it when it stops before me and The Boy have to go out to do morning chores! 2 inches was a little much but that always seems to be the way here in Texas,the land of extremes!
In the summer this area has lush tall grass,now it looks like a creepy swamp!
This clay soil also likes to form new soles on your shoes, thick gummy layers.The longer you walk in it the thicker the bottom of your shoes become! Before long it feels like you are wearing lead weights! The rubber boots do OK , you are doomed if you wear regular shoes!
The rain brought back more seasonal weather,it will freeze the next couple of nights.I am sad to see the 60's and 70's leave but summer is a loooong season here so I will try to be thankful for the cold! The draw back to our week of spring like weather is it gets me all worked up to do spring things here on the farm,then the cold comes back and I feel a little antsy.I got a lot of stuff planned...garden,painting...endless painting,brush clearing....well you all know what I mean!
The chickens are really starting to pick up on their egg laying,I got 8 yesterday! I hope the cold weather doesn't slow them down! We have mostly Buff Orpingtons and Easter Eggers and mixes of the two.The Orpingtons are rumored to lay right through the winter.They did last year but we have a gap of sorts in our hens,old girls and young girls.The old girls have slowed down and the new girls are just now starting up.
Here is Murry getting his supper! Look at that fat tummy!
Just because I like the Heavenly Bamboo here is another picture of it! That bright red makes me smile every time I look at it!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I have tried some of the things that other folks goats like, so far they have all gotten a no thank you from our goaties! Actually,it was more of a snort which means... well...something not nice in goat talk! Then they turn around and give me that talk to the tail thing!
Our goaties want nothing but butter crackers! Yep ,butter crackers. They love the tasty little things,and really, who wouldn't ! Mr.Tumnus and all the other goaties have also developed a love for the butter cracker!
It all started with Butter Bean of course, being our first goat and all. He was a bottle baby and lived in the house until he and Nibbles were weaned. I have a wire rack on my pantry door and on the bottom I keep,you guessed it ,the butter crackers! Butter Bean was drawn to the smell of their buttery goodness,that and the fact they were the only thing he could reach in the pantry!
Once we gave him one he was addicted! He knew when ever the pantry door was open.It was as if a heavenly choir sang,..Ahhhhhh..and a voice from above said"The dwelling place of thine delicious buttery cracker has opened,go forth and feast young goatie!"
He would run to the pantry door and begin a pitiful attempt to gnaw open the box! How could we resist such cuteness!
That is Butter Bean in the back round waiting for his!
Nibbles joined us a short time latter and was immediately in love with the butter crackers! That is not saying much really.Nibbles is the sort of goatie who eats everything! If the other goats don't want it she will eat it! She is the only one who will suck anything out of a syringe! Take worm medicine for example. We have to wrestle all the other goats and force them to take theirs. Not Nibbles,nope! She'll take hers and everyone elses if she can get away with it!
There is one other thing they like as a treat when we have it,gum-gum! No,not real gum! Although, I am sure Nibbles would eat that too! We just call it that because they look like they are chewing a big wad of gum! It is a piece off an alfalfa cube. They love that when we have it! It is so funny to watch them! I don't have a picture of that ,sorry! We don't have those all the time,we do have butter crackers though and that keeps them happy!
So what do your goaties like?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This was her first time to have babies and with our string of misfortune lately I was a little anxious!
The Boy and I were out in the yard taking advantage of the nice weather,getting some outside chores done, when I hear an unusual baaa.I look out at the sheep pasture to see Weed Whacker assuming the" position" ! So we go out just in time to see the first ones feet sticking out!
Soon came the second one!
The first,chocolaty colored, is a little male.The second,the tan one is a female.
The sheep are a close family,they were all near by waiting! Once the little ones were born and up the herd all came over to get acquainted! They all let the little babies nuzzle them and said hello!
Charger was the typical proud daddy!
He stood still as the little babies checked him out.He also stayed close and watched over mom and babies,seeming to take care of which ever one was straying off!
I have not talked a lot about our sheep.They are not fiber sheep.They have a moderate winter coat they shed in the spring.They are strictly raised for meat on our farm although many people raise the males for game ranches as their majestic heads look good an walls.I personally do not believe in trophy hunting unless you eat the meat, then it is just hunting I guess! They do not taste like the lamb from fiber sheep. I know, it is not fair to show you pictures of cute newborn baby critters then tell you we eat them! That is the way of homesteading! If we didn't eat them this would be an expensive petting zoo ! Their meat doesn't have that smell of lamb from fiber sheep nor is it greasy or fatty. In fact they taste remarkably like venison! You cook it just the same way as you would deer,only you don't get that gamey taste that you sometimes do with deer! They eat very little grain if you have good pasture.We put ours up at night to protect them from predators. They can also jump fences pretty good although ours never have,I see people raising them around here in just a plain old barbed wire fence.I would recommend a guardian dog if they are not behind a tall fence because, believe me, everything thinks they are tasty! You can easily dress these out at home,we have.If you can process your own deer you can do these sheep. Basically they raise the same as goats only they are not smart and mischievous like goats! They are not escape artist and are content wherever they are.If you have good pasture rotation,worming is minimal and they may need and occasional hoof trimming.Oh,and yearly vaccinations that you can do your self if you want to,we do it and we are rookies at farm life !
So, I am so thankful for the blessings of new babies! They take us one step closer to being successful homesteaders!
Monday, January 25, 2010
(To put in prospective how gia-normouse The Boy is,he and City Mouse are the same age!)
Every year The Boy's Nana and Papaw come and visit around his birthday.They were here this week end and brought one of The Boy's cousins,we will call her City Mouse.City Mouse has spent her entire life in a big city in Southern California,she recently moved to Texas but still is in a big city.She is one of the sweetest,well mannered, pleasant young ladies I have been around ever.So I say to our sweet City Mouse,please come and visit again!
City Mouse was excited about visiting her country cousin and seeing all the animals.I could tell she was a little unsure at first but, she has a little bit of country girl in her heart I think, she didn't let that stop her!
She helped with all the farm chores! She took turns helping me, then The Boy with our different animals.
She was undaunted when all these big, hungry farm animals surrounded her!
She even risked getting "donkey lipped" to give Clyde his fix...er..I mean treat!
Of course, Anna Belle had to have a treat too,who could resist such a cute and tame little Irish Dexter calf!
The thing City Mouse wanted to do the most was gather eggs! That is a sign of a farm girl heart for sure! The first day the lazy girls only laid one! The second day she got three! Then, the day she left I got 3 and two were green,I am sorry she missed the green ones!
One was a bullet egg! That is what we call the skinny pullet eggs because when The Boy,being a typical military obsessed man child,first saw a pullet egg he said those chickens are laying bullets! I told City Mouse if she visited this spring or summer,we often get a dozen or more a day!
You all know Murry got a lot of extra attention this weekend! He almost ran his little legs off keeping up with City Mouse and The Boy!
Here is a picture of Murry all worn out and sleeping in my lap while I watched TV last night!
So there you have it,a fun filled farm weekend! I love being able to show how we live to people who have never seen it before. When Nana ask City Mouse what she thought about country life she said it is a lot of work! She was here in the slow time, just wait until spring!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Dr. Shiv Chopra Interview Part 1
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I am very excited to share this second interview with all of you. Dr. Chopra is an insider; he was hired by the drug companies and worked with vaccine development in Europe. He has also worked for the Canadian government, in the equivalent of the FDA. He was a senior scientific advisor for what is now Health Canada for 20 years, working primarily in vaccines and antibiotics.
However, Dr. Chopra is also very knowledgeable and passionate about the issues threatening the food supply, and his sentiments echo my own very closely.
As Small Farms Disappear, the Food System is Crumbling
Most “farming” today is nothing like the small farming of our ancestors. Food production on a massive, corporate level has taken over the natural farming practices that thrived for hundreds of years. As Dr. Chopra said:
“Look at our food supply in Canada and the United States since they were established 200-300 years ago until they started to turn into this intensive industrial farming.
Until then, they were the happiest lands anywhere on earth because food was pristine, pure and it was doing well -- and there was a lot of land and water. Everything was good.
And then came the mechanization -- the chemicalization -- and now it’s come to the elimination of the family farm. How has it happened? This last thing that I’m talking about: we now no longer have family farms left, very few and very far in between.”
Those of you who are new to the natural health scene may find it surprising that the modern food system is in danger of collapsing. The food system began its dramatic decline the second the world turned away from the farming practices of our ancestors, and began to attempt to outdo nature with technology.
Now, producing food on a massive scale at the lowest price possible has taken precedence over obeying the laws of nature. The system is pushing natural systems and organisms to their limit, forcing living creatures to function as machines.
Of course, “whatever we may gain in industrial efficiency, we sacrifice in biological resilience,” Michael Pollan pointed out in Our Decrepit Food Factories.
Animals Pumped Full of Hormones and Fed Unnatural Diets
As you might suspect, food that is raised using unnatural processes often leads to unnatural responses in those who eat it. Now we are facing the reality of meat and dairy products laced with cancer-causing hormones, super-bug-creating antibiotics and new manifestations like mad cow disease.
Dr. Chopra expands:
“It first started with chemical fertilizers, and then pesticides, and then they moved on. From the pesticides, they said, “We can feed animals back to animals because only half the animal is meat and then the rest of the animal has to be wasted.”
So they picked up slaughterhouse waste and they ground it up. They picked up dogs and cats -- road kill as well -- and ground it all up. They start to feed animals back to animals that we people eat. All the animals that people ate were herbivores. We didn’t eat carnivore animals. We didn’t eat birds that prey on other birds.
So they’ve been grinding all these up and they were feeding it back to the animals until it turned into a big business. It started in Germany and spread to the UK, and then there’s mad cow disease.
Next came hormones. Hormones are also used for industrial farming for all animals to be impregnated on the same day. Then came along the bovine growth hormone (BGH) to increase milk production. That, unfortunately or fortunately, landed on my desk in 1988, and I started to ask questions. I said, “What’s this? Why are you doing that? Have you done any studies?” Monsanto, of course, had not done any studies.
Meanwhile, they passed other hormones for beef production. These hormones are sex hormones -- like a large birth control pill -- that are implanted behind the ears of cattle and left there for life. People eat that beef. Some of those hormones are synthetic and have been proven to be complete carcinogens.”
Further, raising animals in this way -- away from their natural environments and diets -- actually increases their risk of passing on a dangerous bug to you. For instance, most cows are fed grains, when their natural diet is grass. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal’s stomach, which E. coli bacteria need to survive.
Making Food Safer With the “Five Pillars of Food Safety”
Dr. Chopra has a very interesting point, and that is if you remove the dangerous aspects of food production, it automatically makes for a much safer food supply. In essence, if you return to natural farming practices, there is no need for “organic” regulations because all food would be safe and natural.
This is how it was in the past … all food was essentially organic as a matter of course.
As Dr. Chopra explains, five of the most offending substances in the food supply are antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, pesticides and slaughterhouse waste. He says:
“If we demand to take these five substances out of the food system automatically, all food becomes natural. We don’t have to fight for it as organic; we don’t have to label. We don’t have to do anything. I call them in my book, which is called Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower, the five pillars of food safety.
Three of those five are already banned in the European Union. The fourth, GMOs, have not yet been approved. With the fifth, Sweden has already banned some 80 pesticides. And so they’re on their way to do that.
Why would Canada and the United States not do the same thing?
Because otherwise, by loading all safety standards for food or even vaccines, we are going to import these things from China, India, Mexico, Brazil and we will be responsible.
Now we’re lowering the standards because the companies know that we don’t have the labor to produce food, drugs or anything here. It’s all going to come from those developing countries.
We have no standards -- like we know happened with melamine from China -- and we’re trying to set a standard on how much melamine can be safe. That’s ridiculous. Why should melamine be there in the first place or anything which is abnormal in the food system?
So we should be saying, “These are our standards: our food can be exported, bad food cannot be imported.”
And the whole world will begin to clean itself. Water, climate: it’s all food-dependent. If we clean up the food system, automatically everything cleans up.
Imagine, if the food and water are cleaned up, health improves!”
Tips for Safer Food, Now
The real solution to creating healthier, safer foods lies most certainly in returning farming to a small-scale basis.
This is going to take some time on the grand scale, but you can start right now by making it a point to only buy food from a source you know and trust. This will do your health a major favor and support the small family farms in your area.
You’ll receive nutritious food from a source that you can trust, and you’ll be supporting the honest work of a real family farm instead of an agri-business corporation.
While I realize that not everyone has access to small farmers, food from local sources is increasing in popularity and is becoming much easier to come by. For an excellent list of sustainable agricultural groups in your area, please see Promoting Sustainable Agriculture -- this page is filled with resources for high-quality produce, meats and other foods in your area.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
They look at the world differently,I think it is because there is no pressure on them to fit into a certain small box of conformity that comes with public school. The Boy is free to go where his interest take him and we will adjust our learning to whatever his latest interests are. The Boy is a little obsessive about learning. Never is he content to just skim the surface of a subject! He digs deep,finds the obscure facts,devours every crumb of information! He can hold his own with anyone with his knowledge of military and military history! Actually it is this way for any of his passions! Please don't expect him to read some lighthearted,half fictional book about a subject.He wants it dry,factual and dense! A book you could use as a murder weapon if you wanted knock someones brains out! Gives me a headache just thinking about it! The books,not the murder!
Where I am going with this?Oh,yeah...we are sci-fi geeks. Well,mostly just me, The Boy and Nana! The Boy's latest passion is astrophysics and astronomy...thank the Good Lord for the Internet and Half-Priced Books 'cause Mama can't help him with this one! The Boy is a talker,he loves to share his discoveries and latest obsessions with me.Now when it is something like the goats I can have a conversation with him.I can even umm-hmm my way through hours of detailed facts about failed military weapons of WWII. Sigh...when he starts talking about time and space are like rubber bands or ribbons or something and when they touch we could possible one day use that for time travel, or of time change in black holes or of the light years it takes to get to Alpha-someplace and a million other things that my mind has basically not absorbed,he sees my eyes start to glaze over.He is not content for me not to understand,noooooo! Momma has to understand! So to help my feeble mind to grasp these facts he makes references to Star Trek!
He'll start off with,"Remember The Next Generation episode 178...."
I will reply with something like,"Boy,you know I don't have episode numbers memorized!"
He will sigh and throw in an eye roll,because I apparently need to have my sci-fi geek member ship revoked for my laziness in not committing the episode numbers to memory! Like I have that many spare brain cells left! I am certainly not going to waste them on episode numbers,792 types of heirloom seeds maybe,but not episode numbers!
He will continue, undaunted by my failure,"Remember the one where Captain Picard......... well,it's kind of like that."
Apparently Star Trek is not that far fetched after all!
Then there are his shopping list!They all ways start with a holler from somewhere,because we never go find each other we just holler from where ever we are! Yep,we don't hide the facts, we are big ole' rednecks! Well,I claim Hillbilly,I think that is a few steps up from redneck!
"Mom,when we go to Home Depot can I get........?"
Well some times these list are pretty benign,just wood and the like to make something like a catapult or trebuchet or some other ancient replica.Some times they are a little more suspicious like when he wanted to make a still or the ingredients to make his own gun powder! He gave me a list yesterday that didn't sound too suspicious,but my mom radar went off. I asked what he wanted it for.He said he wanted to build a silencer for his gun! Boys!!!!
I am a firm believer that you should let boys act like boys.Be rough and adventurous,balanced with good sense and good manners.I try not to ever stifle his creative genius,but I draw the line at illegal stuff!
I once read somewhere a homeschooling mom say that the biggest mistake we make is teaching them to read! Once they can read there is no stopping them and no telling what it will lead to!
He is still trying to talk me into buying him some book off Amazon about deadly poisons! When I asked him why he needed this book he just said something like, it is just good stuff to know or you can never know too much!
Does it sound weird when people ask what your kid wants for his birthday and you say,"Oh ,the usual kid stuff,some ipod apps and a book on 101 deadly poisons,a really big murder weapon..er..I mean book on astrophysics, materials for a silencer,a goat and a new rabbit cage!"
Well,you all know my motto,life is an adventure! Not only because I have a wonderfully crazy globe trotting husband,live in a dilapidated old farm house,and have a menagerie of critters but also because of my smart,funny and unpredictable BOY!!!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The one you can't see is Sun Gold Select,which I have raised with success in the past but I have not tried it here.It would come up ever year from the tomatoes that fell on the ground the season before!
I don't expect all these will do well but since this is a new area for me I am trying a large variety and hope to save the seeds from the best ones.
I grew Yellow Pear last year and it did really well,lovely little salad tomato.One or two plants of these are enough to give us plenty and plenty to share! Most of my tomato seeds have sprouted! We are having the 70's here all week! Now,don't get jealous, this is just as freaky as the teens we were having earlier.Winter is not over for us yet!
Here are the peppers.I want to try and dry my own paprika! In fact ,I am going to try and grow as many herbs for my spice cabinet as I can this year. The price of one jar of organic spice is way more than a pack of seeds! The Pimentos are great in pickled veggies.Plus, they go in the yellow squash pickles I make every summer! I would show you a picture of their tasty,sunshine in a jar selves,but I ate them all!
These are some garden berries I am going to try also.If I only get one or two varieties to grow it is well worth the price of the seed.Well,the papaya is probably not considered a berry! If it grows it will have to be brought in in the winter as we do get mild freezes here every winter.
Now for some grown plants.I am a bargain hunting kind of gal !I love the discount plant rack at Lowe's and Home Depot! I got these Heavenly Bamboo for $ 2 in the fall.
Look at this color! I love anything that gives me color in the blah of winter!
These are the miniature variety so they won't reach the roof top! I have seen a lot of these around town, so they do well here.I have only seen a couple that have gotten as red as mine though! I hope they will turn this well every year.
Goatie update.As you can see in yesterdays post Murry is doing well.Sweet Pea is doing well although he has a small spot that did not close good from her stitches so she is still not with the rest of the goaties until I think she is healed all the way.She is still unhappy about this even though she is right next to all the other goaties!Farm life,it's always an adventure!
Friday, January 15, 2010
He has gotten that baby goat bounce. He never walks, just bounces along behind us! Well, when he leaves his heater.
We have a little electric portable heater turned all the way down on low so it just blows warm air for Murry.Murry really loves his heater! It makes a good baby..I mean goatie sitter!
The chickens are laying again! Just in the nick of time,I was an the verge of having to actually buy eggs! I am not getting a huge amount, just a couple a day.At least it is a start!
I think a bowl of farm fresh eggs just brings a smile to farm girls every where. How could you not love those lovely brown, full of goodness,fresh from the hen eggs!?!? Just to know you will be using these health filled beauties to feed and nurture your family! The though of using those pale pasty grocery store eggs....I'll just do without thank you!
I am ready to get some seeds started.Tomatoes, peppers,egg plants......I know it sounds early but last year it got so hot so soon my tomatoes wouldn't set fruit.
This year I am going to make sure I get them going a little earlier.I heard at the feed store that we are supposed to have a long cool spring.You know you can bet money on those old timers at the feed store predictions!
I am also trying a large variety of tomatoes this year.I want to find several varieties that do well here and save seed. I started my seed saving efforts last year with a few things.Moon and Stars watermelon did really good and was delish! I definitely recommend this watermelon,it is a beauty inside,with bright orange flesh, and outside with it's moon and stars! I also saved some red okra seeds,okra pretty much does good in heat no matter what,but I liked the red and I save some seeds from that.Of course,some flower and herbs too.Purple basil is one of my favorites!
My biggest challenge is just getting a successful garden so I can save some seeds! Hopefully I will catch a break this year since last year was so horrible! That's how it is supposed to work...right?
So we are off this afternoon to take Sweet Pea to get her stitches out.I hope it will be OK for her to go back to the rest of the goaties.I don't think she has stopped her endless complaining this whole time! No such thing a peace and quiet of country living! That's OK,I wouldn't have it any other way!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In Texas the folks here have a love of displaying our state flag! We put it on everything....purses,furniture,wall paper sides of buildings...well,just let your imagination run wild! Now, technically, I was born in Texas,but spent a good part of my life in Arkansas. I used to not tell people that! I thought I was hiding it until I realized as soon as I opened my mouth folks knew that wasn't a Texas drawl ! In fact the second question people usually ask me after we meet is where am I from originally! We went to dinner one night with a friend of Hubby's from work .The next day he told everyone at work that Hubby must have traveled deep in the woods to find me !
That's OK with me,I am proud to talk country! Anyway...that is not really where I was going with this post. I was talking about Texas flags on everything.We have a favorite BBQ place that has an old bath tub painted with the flag on it used for a planter.We thought that was great and we had an old tub in the woods so Hubby drug it up for me. I painted half and got side tracked, like I so often do. I sat it out any way with the unpainted side to the back.Hubby tells me it is backwards and I smartly reply it depends on which way the wind is blowing!
I had planted some carrots in there but I think the freak cold killed them.
Me and The Boy are alone here a lot and we have always said we need a locking gate to keep out the unwanted and Jehovah Witnesses.I have nothing against the J W's,but how many times do I have to tell the same people I am a Baptist! Plus, it allows me to further transform into my hermit ways by keeping out the outside world, wahhh-ha-ha-ha! Just kidding...I think!
You know we are big on reusing so Hubby took and old pasture gate and gave it a paint job and he and The Boy fixed us up a locking gate at the end of our long, muddy drive! Actually we have fixed both ends of the drive,it's the middle you need4-wheel drive for!
I mentioned to him his flag was backwards and he smartly replied it just depends on which way the wind is blowing!
Monday, January 11, 2010
When I had commented that I needed and apron because the ones I had made were...sub standard she entered in the contest and ask if she won could I have the apron ! She sews wonderfully and makes her own! Now,I ask you,how sweet is that!?!
We didn't win.So my friend,Texan,sent me a comment that she is going to make me an apron! It came in the mail Saturday but with all the drama and sadness around here I haven't been able to give it a proper post. She even put the name of my farm on it.
She said she gave it big pockets for Clyde's treats,he has a problem you know! Also,cute rooster material which I love! I have chickens all over my kitchen that if I ever get painted I will show picts of!
So a great big ole' THANK YOU to my friend Texan ! I absolutely love it! Oh, and so will Clyde!
The Murry von Furry Pants update.
I had flash backs all night to when The Boy was a baby! Hungry cries every couple of hours! The Boy and Murry slept in my room last night,it is the warmest room and we had 20* last night. I have a futon couch in my room so he slept on that.I also discovered The Boy has that man gene which enables him with the ability to sleep through a baby crying no matter how loud it is! I had to wake him but he faithfully got up ever 2 hours to feed little Murry! I will do it tonight so he can have a rest.
Murry is already one spoiled goatie! This is him, little head on a pillow,covered in his blankey, hovered over by The Boy!The picture is blurry because The Boy wouldn't stop making faces and I couldn't stop laughing!
I have to keep reminding The boy that if he never puts Murry down his legs can't grow strong! The Boys was also worried Murry was cold so I made him a coat out of an old sock,no sewing involved,just cutting! I can do cutting!
This satisfied The Boy who,by the way, is trying to convince me to carry Murry in my purse when we have to leave the farm! Well...nothing is beyond reason around this funny farm!