Friday, March 22, 2013

Fresh Spring Colors!

Purl & June has a whole new line of fresh spring colors of coffee cozies!  Check them out in the Etsy shop, and collect a whole flock!  Hand knit and felted, made 100% of wool. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bacon Potato Hash and Baked Zucchini Spears

If you're looking for a quick dinner, try this bacon, potato, and corn hash.  It's delicious and easy to make.

The recipe is easy.  Here's what you need:

corn (frozen or fresh, canned corn is the devil)

1. Cut the bacon into big pieces, and start cooking it in a skillet (we like cast iron).  When the bacon starts rendering fat out, add the potato (cut into pieces).  Let the potatoes get nice and golden brown on all sides.

2. Season to taste.  We like salt, pepper, and rosemary. 

3. When the potatoes are just about done, add the corn and cook for a few more minutes until the corn is heated through. 

The bacon should give off enough fat to cook the potatoes, but if you use a lot of potatoes you can add more fat to the pan. We like lard the best, and potatoes roasted in lard are so delicious.  You can also use butter, or oil if you must.  There aren't any quantities in my recipe, because you can use as much or as little of each thing as you want. We usually cook a pound of bacon, about 6-8 large potatoes, and a good bit of corn. 

As a side dish tonight, I made these zucchini spears I found on Pinterest. 

They're incredibly easy too.  You'll need:

zucchini (imagine that)
parmesan cheese
an egg

In a small bowl, make an egg wash by scrambling one egg with a little water (maybe a Tbsp or two). In a separate small bowl, mix parmesan cheese with salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you want (I added a bit of garlic powder).  Cut zucchini into spear shapes.  Dip zucchini in egg wash, roll in cheese mix, and put on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 until cheese is golden brown.  Again, quantities depend on how much you want to make.  You can't get easier than that!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sunny Day Pics

Lookie who lost her tail!

Barley (L) and Bean

The ram...who needs a name.

Barley, who I really don't want to sell and am considering keeping. 

The ram pestering Cogburn

I managed to catch the lamb and snap a few pics.  She's getting heavy!

I set up the electric net fence today to keep them off the pasture now that it's growing.  I'm going to lime and fertilize it this coming week (hopefully). 

The sky was so pretty tonight.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pretty or Functional?

Or both?  Our mudroom is going to get a makeover, and I'm not sure where to start.  I would like it to be pretty, but I'd also like it to be functional.  I'm not sure which is more important, or if they're equally important.  We just moved our spare fridge upstairs to the mudroom from the basement.  We didn't really use it since it was in the basement, but we needed it and we decided to move it upstairs so we could at least use it since we were paying for the electricity to run it.  It's handy for storing all the goat milk in, plus extra eggs and produce.

Here's the mudroom in all it's realness.  I see so many bloggers post pictures of gorgeous homes, and I wonder if it's always that way or if they just take pics when it happens to be spotless.  Maybe that's why I don't post more photos of the inside of the house...

Here's where the fridge is. Not crazy about the location (blocking the sliding glass door view from the kitchen), but it's really the only spot it will fit.    Excuse the big cast iron skillet on the floor.  Buford ripped a hole in the vinyl, and we haven't patched it yet. I put the skillet over it because I'm afraid he'll use the hole as a starting off point for ripping up the entire floor.  

The tall black cabinet used to be where the fridge is now.  I'd like to do something on that wall, something like this.  I'm just worried we don't have enough space on the right hand side of the door, and the shelves would be too shallow.  I do want a bench on that wall though, and hooks would be great for coats.  I know we have a closet right there, but it's so much more convenient to hang coats on a handy hook.  Plus, then maybe the tall black cabinet could hide in the closet.

I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but there are several "bump out" places in the wall, so that sort of limits what we can do too. I'm sure there's a clever way to handle it, but I just can't figure it out at the moment.  Any suggestions would be welcome!  I think if that wall looked pretty, it would balance out the spare fridge's ugliness. 

A Bunch of Randomness

I just got a laptop.  My first one!  Seriously, I can't believe it took us this long to get one.  Our desktop computer is in the basement, so it feels like I was being banished to the dungeon when I wanted to blog or email.  I dealt with it for 4 years and finally this year it was time.  I really love it so far, and I keep trying to think of things to do online so I don't have to part with my new toy!

I figured I'd do a random updates post tonight while I'm still working out the kinks. Windows 8 is tricky so far, and it's a huge difference for me from the "regular" Windows.  I can't figure out how to edit my photos, so sorry if some of them aren't great. 

I went out to the barn today to do chores, and a bird had gotten trapped in the barn.  It must have been either pretty scared, or not the brightest bulb, because the poor little thing landed on the window ledge and let me grab him (although he wasn't happy about it).  Does anyone know what kind he is?  I snapped a quick photo before I let him go (and he didn't even say thanks when he flew away). 

Little Nessa has a favorite spot in the hay feeder.  Every day, this is where she eats.

Elphie came over and tried to steal her spot, but Nessa stayed strong.

The sheep always seem to stick together.

The ewe lamb is very suspicious of me...she watches every move I make, convinced I'm going to eat her.

I think I'm going to have to spend some time with her at weaning so she'll calm down.  I'm still trying to come up with a name for her...

The farmer nextdoor was out spreading manure today.  The man who owns the farm used to raise chickens, and has several commercial chicken houses. Luckily he's not raising chickens anymore, and instead leases his land to a dairy farmer who lives a few miles away.  I'd much rather smell dairy manure than chicken litter!  This farmer was spreading both solid manure and liquid manure.  The solid manure comes from bedding and manure mixed, from areas like barns, runs, alleyways, etc. Some dairies also have liquid manure, which is mainly just manure and pretty runny.  This was solid manure, so it wasn't too fragrant.  Although I have to say, I really don't mind the smell of dairy manure, I guess it reminds me of working on the dairies.

One more lamb pic...she is so cute!!!

Tucker, our outdoor cat, has made himself a little straw nest in the barn.  He loves that spot, and only gets up when I milk June. Then he thinks I'm just sitting there doing nothing, and I may as well pet him.  I try to sneak in a few pets while I'm milking.

After chores, I came inside and made farmer cheese with the milk.  That stuff is delicious.  My favorite is with dill and salt...maybe a little olive oil too.  Do you like how I tie my muslin around the cabinet so the cheese can drain?

Ok, before I go, one last lamb pic. I mean it this time. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Target Practice

You know, I wanted to name this post all kinds of funny things like "Janie's Got a Gun", "Annie Get Your Gun", and Annie Oakley.  I didn't want to be too cheesy though, so I just stuck with Target Practice. 

David and I joined our local gun range so we could do some target shooting.  David grew up around guns.  His uncle is a big gun enthusiast, and the boys went shooting with him quite often. Plus David's grandmom used to shoot, and he's got an aunt (and another uncle) who shoots, too.  Our family had a bb gun, and that's the only knowledge I had about firearms. David's teaching me about the different types of guns and how to shoot them.  Target practice is a fun activity, and it gets us outside and spending time together as a family. 

This past weekend we went to the range and I got to shoot all kinds of guns.  Bear with me, because I'm still learning all the names of things, and I may get something wrong.

Here's the table we were using.  Our hand gun, a Ruger 22/45, is in the center laying on the blue blanket.  It's a great gun for target shooting.  I can't remember exactly what the other guns are (they're not ours).  I'm pretty sure the one in the middle is a .45, but I can't remember. 

Speaking of .45s, David's uncle let me shoot his.  It's way more powerful than our .22, and I'm not sure I really like the .45.  It's just too powerful for me.  Here's a video of me shooting it for the second time. 

Here's my target from my first try on the .45.  Not too bad for a first try.

David's uncle was really helpful and gave me all kinds of tips on how to shoot.  There were also a few of his friends there who were very helpful and great teachers.

Then I moved on to shooting our .22, which I'm pretty comfortable with now. 

One of the guys let us shoot at their steel targets, which are really nice because you can hear the "ping" when you hit a target, so you get instant feedback. 

I managed to sneak in a picture of David, too. 

It was a fun day, and it was nice to get outside and enjoy the spring like weather!  Guns used to really intimidate me, because I just didn't have much experience at all with them.  It's great to have good teachers like David and his uncle around, because they really know what they're doing.  It's good to enjoy target shooting, but it's still very important to know gun safety and proper handling.  Now I am pretty sure I would be able to shoot a fox if it was going after my chickens.  Well, maybe if it stood perfectly still.  I'm not sure if I'm any good at shooting moving targets! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

And Then There Was One...

More sad news.  I went out to feed this morning, and found the second little twin ram lamb dead.  I'm not sure what happened, he wasn't acting sick yesterday at all.  *sigh*  What a rough year.  I had another moment of "I'm selling every animal on this place", but after a little while I decided I needed a plan.  Now that I have two purebred Southdown ewes (Darla and her lamb) and a ram, I am going to sell Bean and Barley (the crossbred ewes).  I do need to cut down on my numbers a bit, to make things more manageable now that feed costs are skyrocketing.  It makes sense for the crossbred ewes to go.  Does anyone want a couple ewes?  

And here are more pictures of Darla's ewe lamb.  I'm still trying to come up with a name.  Maybe Uno.  Or Lucky?  Just kidding.  I think.

I just love her. She's a pretty girl. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Times Like These

The little lamb didn't make it through the night last night.  I started hearing some rattling in his lungs yesterday evening, and by 11 pm it was much worse.  I got up at 1 AM to check on him, and he had died.  I think he had a bad case of pneumonia and I just caught it too late for any treatment to work.  Sheep can be tricky to treat, because they wait until they're pretty sick to show signs. 

Times like these make it tough to own livestock.  When you help clean off a newborn lamb, and then 8 days later watch it waste away, it's hard on you.  It feels pretty helpless to be doing all you can do and still lose one.  It's a part of owning animals though...some are going to die and that's a fact of raising livestock.  It sure doesn't make it any easier though. 

I guess it was my turn to have a sick lamb though, because I have hardly ever had any problems with sick kids and lambs.  After having Bean abort her twins and losing this one, I'm ready for a better year! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

One Sick Lamb

Yesterday I noticed the bigger of Barley's two ram lambs was not looking good.  He was lethargic and hunched looking.  I thought he wasn't getting enough to eat, since Barley doesn't seem to be great at standing still to let the lambs nurse.  I milked her out and fed him a few ounces of milk by bottle a few times that day, and hoped he just needed more groceries and he'd perk back up.  He didn't have a fever, and I gave him an enema just in case he was constipated and not wanting to eat.  This morning I went out to feed and he was much worse. I took his temperature and it was very low, only 97.7 (normal sheep temp is 101-103*F).  I first put him under a heat lamp, but then after talking to my almost-vet friend decided he'd be better off in the house since he was hypothermic at that point. 

I brought him in and put him under the heating pad, and tube fed him a sugar water (using Karo syrup) solution.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any dextrose solution or lactated ringers.  David happened to be in town, so he picked up some pedialyte for me, and I've since tub fed him a few more times with a pedialyte/sugar solution.  I gave him some vitamin B complex and a dose of antibiotics, since his temperature spiked to around 103 today.  He's not able to keep a steady temperature, so I'm having to use the heating pad now and then to keep him at a good temp. 

I'm hoping he'll perk back up and survive, but I'm not too sure he will.  I'm doing all I can though, so hopefully it's enough.  If he makes it through the night I'll pick up some dextrose solution and lactated ringers tomorrow.  Cross your fingers for him!
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