Thursday, November 28, 2013


Yesterday I made my first cow's milk butter.  It has taken me about a week and a half to turn Raisa into a real milk cow.  Actually, she and I worked at it together.  We're a team now.  The last 3 mornings she's been an angel and I've been able to milk her in her stanchion while she stood very still and enjoyed her breakfast.  Not one stomping foot.  This is a big change from about 5 days ago when I ended up lying on my back looking at the underside of a red, furry 600lbs that could flatten me.

Her milk is so much yellower than goats' milk and it took me a while to get used to that.  I got about 2/3 of a quart of cream from 1 1/2 gallons of milk by skimming off what had risen to the top.  It will be fun to see how much cream we get when we use a cream separator.   I also made some string cheese with the milk I had removed the cream from. 


Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm thrilled with my fat

Two days ago a friend gave me 30lbs of fat.  Everyone should have such a generous friend.  I didn't even know I needed it, but clearly, he thought I could use a few pounds. 
This is the tallow after I rendered it.  From 30 lbs of beef fat I got more than 2 1/2 gallons of tallow.  I'll use it for cooking and soap making.  His beef are raised on grass so the tallow has many healthy benefits.  See

He also gave me some homemade scrapple which was delicious.  Growing up in PA, I was familiar with scrapple but thought I didn't like it.  Mostly it was my mom who ate it.
Last night's dinner was scrapple and potatoes, both fried in tallow with a healthy dose of ketchup, as fried potatoes and scrapple should be served with.

Today I'm wearing sweatpants and no one has told me I needed a few more lbs of fat.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Unlikely companions

Moving the girl goats to the field made Cooper very happy.  Unfortunately, he was driving the girls crazy with his unwanted attentions.  Today I decided the girls needed a break and so did I.  I put him on the other side of the fence with the mammoth donkeys.  He and Willo have aways been buddies and I figured they'd both be happy with the arrangement.  I was right.  It was a happy reunion.  I stood and watched them for a long time because it fascinates me when different species bond.  You may find these videos boring but I thought maybe someone would enjoy watching as much as I do.

After a while they stopped and went out to graze side by side. 

Willo isn't this fond of all goats.  As a matter-of-fact I'm pretty sure she injured Jimmy a month ago.  He now walks crooked and limps.  I think Willo hurt his back and I'm guessing it's because Jimmy and Cooper were probably doing what boy goats do and Willo didn't approve.  I moved Jimmy and the younger boys to a new pasture once Cooper had moved to be with the girls and I became suspicious of Willo being abusive toward Jimmy. 

I like that Willo loves Cooper but I wish she wasn't so possessive of him.  If Jaz goes near while they're playing Willo kicks her away, as you'll see in on of the videos. 

Jimmy seems happy to have the girls' company but, unlike Cooper, leaves them alone.  It's a much more relaxed herd.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Big day. HUGE!

I couldn't have asked for a better day.  It was a warm, pretty day and it ended just as well as it started.  I'll try to keep this short even though there's so much I want to say about it.  Maybe pictures will tell the story.

I got a halter on Raisa, which was something to celebrate, but then she also let me hook her up to my milking machine which sent me over the top.  I couldn't wait to show James that I did it.  I felt like a child at show-n-tell.  It wasn't all that simple but we made huge strides today and I hope tomorrow will be even better.  I didn't actually milk her on the stand but I was encouraged that she actually ate her grain up there.  I think the difference was that I cut a window in her wall so she could look out.

Yesterday I laid in her yard with her for about hour.  She let me rest my head on her neck and put my face next to hers so I could take pictures of us.  Every time I took a picture I'd show it to her.  She actually looked at the it but she may have just been looking at my phone and not seeing a picture. 
I see a resemblance in our big nostrils.  It was very relaxing lying next to her.  My donkeys won't let me do that.  They jump up whenever I sit down next to them.

Now if you don't think that's exciting then how 'bout this?  Today we artificially inseminated Roxie and it went without a hitch.  I'm not sure she even knew we were doing it. 

Here's all we needed.

That long, catheter-like thing with the spiral on the end went all the way in her with maybe 2 inches to spare.  The tube of stuff is lubricating jelly and the container with the red lid is the semen. The Label reads Speed Dial.   Poor Roxie, never even got to meet Speed Dial.  Here's a picture of him.  I think he's pretty awesome looking.
He resides in Indiana at Purple Power Boar Stud, LLC.  For anyone considering artificial insemination (for pigs, I mean) I'll tell you what I can.  I ordered the semen 3 days before I knew she'd come into heat.  It was delivered by FedEx the next day.  It sat in my basement in a styrofoam cooler with ice packs until I was ready to use them.  I was told by Purple Power people to wait 24 hours after she showed signs of estrus and then give her the first dose.  Now we're to wait 24 more hours and dose her again.  After that we wait 12 more hours till the next dose.  If she were a gilt (never had piggies before) we would have given her the first dose after the first 12 hours instead of 24.  I'll let you know if it was successful in 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, give or take.

How much did it cost?  $3.00 for 5 spirettes, $5.00 for the lubricating jelly, $35.00 per dose of semen and $50.00 for shipping.  So, $163.00 total, which is much cheaper than keeping a boar.  Yes, we have a boar but he's only 5 months old and probably 100 lbs to Roxie's 600 lbs so he'd need a step stool to get on board.  In 6 more months he can have his way with her. 

I also spread wheat seed in the pigs' old pasture they had dug up and got lots more things done that were on my to-do list.  Adam called and we talked for 45 minutes to end my day.  Did I say today was a great day? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Lots of changes have been made on the farm in the last few days.  Yesterday we relocated animals.  The pigs moved to James' field garden to clean things up.  They should be very happy there for awhile.  When I last visited them Roxie was eating mangel beats we'd left and some fingerling sweet potatoes.  There's also lots of old corn James didn't pick and corn stalks.  We put the stock trailer in the garden for their shelter like we did last year.  I'm sure Roxie will make a nest in it very soon.
It's funny how animals don't like to leave what's familiar, even though they move to someplace I think is better.  We couldn't get Wendell to cross over the electric ribbon we had laid on the ground.  Roxie and Mickey walked over it and we walked them one by one to their new home.  Wendell would accidently cross over it (or James lifted him over it) and he'd jump right back in.  It made no sense and was funny for a while but then got frustrating.  Eventually food won him over and he followed the bucket to find Roxie and Mickey already setting up house. 

I felt kind of bad about moving them because Roxie had continued to work so hard to fill their other house with grass.  It was so full there was just a small space behind the grass and I can't imagine how 3 pigs could get in there.  Maybe that was the point; she didn't want the little pigs in there with her.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

I emptied a good deal of the grass to make room for goats to use it.  That was another change.  I moved the girl goats and Keri across the road to the field.  They were pretty happy about that during the day but I don't know how they feel about it at night.  When I went over there to put the chickens to bed all the goats were waiting at the gate.  They have 3 houses to choose from but I bet they choose the one closest to the gate which has no comfy hay in it.    I love that they follow Keri everywhere.  I'm sure they're all close by her tonight.
They'll get used to being over there eventually.  They've eaten most of the grass in the yard close to the house so now they have way more to eat in the field and their old pasture will have time to recover.  I may do some re-seeding too.

Keri seems to be very happy in the field.  She loves to run and dig for groundshogs and moles so she'll be very busy.  She's a great guardian dog and I don't worry at all about the goats over there.  I'm very proud of how she's taken to her job.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Got milk? Nope.

Raisa still isn't ready to share her milk with me, though we're making progress, I think.  I had been worried about her not liking her new shelter but that ended up not being an issue.  This seems to be her favorite spot.
I spent most of yesterday in her house and she stayed by my side all day.  I let her in the milking stall and fed her.  While she was eating I washed her udder.  She was fine with that;  BUT she was not fine with me squeezing her teats (can you blame her?) and my thigh has a bruise to show how offended she was.  I didn't even think about cows kicking like a horse.  She did a lot of calling out for her baby she left behind.  I hated that.  Once she did it right in my face as if blaming or begging me to find her.  I decided maybe she wouldn't let me milk her because she was saving it for the baby.  Of course I'm only guessing at all of this.  I should mention she hasn't been milked in several years, just nursed babies. 

A milking stanchion seemed in order, with a board in place to protect me from flying hooves.  I was in the barn for at least 5 hours while she watched me work.
I finally got her to walk on the platform but it took lots of coaxing and she still wasn't open to sharing.  I milked her a little here and there the rest of that afternoon and again today (not in the stanchion) and she no longer kicks but she keeps moving her udder away from me.  She'd let me massage it or wash it as long as I like but after I stole about 1/4 cup she'd walk away .   It's hard to believe this animal who is so cute can be so stingy.  I can be patient though.  I know she's still nervous and everything is new to her.  I need to get a halter on her but so far she's not having that either.
She follows me like a puppy and is very curious.

She lets me hug her, scratch her ears and face, rub her whole body and even drape myself across her back so I think I'm gaining her trust and that's what we need to get over this milking hurdle. 

She was much quieter  and relaxed today and went out to graze instead of sticking close to her barn.  She and the donkeys were very interested in each other. 

She seems to like me sitting in the grass next to her while she grazes.  I probably like it even more.

Maybe tomorrow she'll be desperate for relief and will let me milk her.  We'll get there.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Raisa's here

When Raisa saw the river she stared at it for a little while.  I wonder what she was thinking.

This is Stout.  He's the father of her baby-to-be.  Isn't he awesome?  He's on his way to Canada soon to make some other girls happy.

When we unloaded Raisa she took off to check things out and we hardly got to spend any time with her at all.  I guess tomorrow we'll start the bonding process.  So far I'm thinking cows and goats are very different.  I have so much to learn.

Speaking of things to learn.... I ordered the boar semen today and hope to be making piglets by the end of the week.  Hopefully all the goats are bred, Raisa's pregnant and soon Roxie will join the club.  Come spring Elk Cliff Farm will be a babypalooza. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The barn is ready for a cow

All it needs is some paint, maybe a little more bracing and a few finishing touches.  Today I put the final screws in the roofing and hung some gates inside for the milking space.  While I enjoyed the view, I'm glad to be off the roof.

iI hope Raisa likes it.  The mammoth donkeys sure have been enjoying checking it out.  I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.  It took us 3 weeks and 2 days to build and less than $3,000.00, which I thought was pretty darn good.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh what a beautiful moooorrning, oh what a beautiful daayy

When I'm dressed right I don't mind doing chores on cold  mornings.  Today it was sunny, there was very little wind and I was feeling good and singing.   When I turned the radio on and said, "let's get this party rolling", I swear some of the goats began dancing.  They dance about as well as James and I but I appreciated their enthusiasm.  It was 22 degrees and the water buckets were frozen, as were other things.  Needless to say, Cooper was not dancing this morning.
Shortly after singing, "I've got a beautiful feeeeling, everything's going my way", my phone fell into the only bucket of water that wasn't frozen.  Because of my super fast reflexes I can still receive phone calls so maybe things really are going my way.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I don't like - this may not be pretty

I try to stay positive in my blog, for the most part.  I don't think tonight is going to be one of those nights.  As I type this, dinner is on the stove, I'm having a glass of turnip wine with a blanket on my lap and a fire in the woodstove, nice............... but I DON'T feel like getting up and locking the chickens in their coop because it's 35 degrees out and breezy.  I want to stay in my cozy little nest.   I don't like being cold or uncomfortable.  Note:  James just read this and went outside alone to close the chickens up.  Sweet!

I don't like when people tell me how to do things when I think I know how to do it best.  Ok, maybe I'm a bit insecure.  

I don't like when people think it's horrible when I eat animals I raise humanely, yet they buy meat from the grocery store that is raised under horrible conditions and they think it's ok because they never met this poor, unfortunate animal.  Hands over eyes and ears.  La la la la la.   And they aren't vegetarians.

I dislike that many vegetarians think that all livestock are treated inhumanely and suffer a terrible death.  I often wonder what they think should happen to cows and pigs if we didn't eat them.  Would they become like deer, over populated?   Would they end up in animal shelters?  Do we neuter all the cows and pigs and let them become extinct?

I don't like when animals get injured or sick and I don't know what to do for them or whether to call the vet and spend lots of $$$$ on them and then they're better the next day.

I hate when some of my favorite animals pick on others of my favorite animals.  I wish they'd all be nice to each other all the time.

I don't like that cold weather makes my milking machine stutter and take a while to do its job.

I don't like worrying about whether my animals will have enough hay or bedding to get through the winter and where I should get hay when I need it.  

While I'm being whiney, I hate the mess of firewood in our house.  I hate letting the fire die down so we can empty the ashes from the stove, only to fill it again.  On this note, I hate when we can't get a fire to "get going".

I get annoyed when Lex, our old boxer, stands staring at me whining for a treat or for no reason that I know of, and I get mad at him even though he's the sweetest dog in the world. 

I know there's a lot more I could complain about but all these things I typed made me think of things that I'm grateful for.  Seriously, I have way more things that I like than dislike.  It all depends on my mood. 

Tomorrow's blog may be about what I like.  That would be a long one.

Soup from our home-grown vegetables is almost ready.  James is baking chocolate chip cookies.  All the animals are in their shelters with full tummies on our beautiful farm.  I should feel bad about what I just wrote, shouldn't I?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The 15 minute "homemade" cracker

I've taken this cracker to two recent gatherings and my friends thought they were my homemade ones.  Sometimes I don't feel like making real homemade crackers, or I don't have the time, so I've discovered something almost as good.  All it takes is some flour tortillas, fresh rosemary, an egg white and some coarse sea salt.
Make an egg wash of one egg white and about a Tbl. of cool water.  Lightly brush the tortilla with the egg wash then top with some rosemary and sea salt.  You could use toasted sesame seeds or whatever your favorite topping is, but everyone seems to like the rosemary best.  Cut the tortillas with a pizza cutter into cracker sizes.  This is important to do before you bake.  Place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and bake for 8 to 9 mintutes till lightly golden.  That's it, you're done.  Serve with your favorite cheese and they'll be a hit.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Spider identification

First off I want to say, thanks for nothing.  I'm still singing There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza.  No one helped me out removing that irritating song from my head.  We went to see a great concert the other night where some awesome soloists sang selections from Les Miserables.  I thought for sure that would do the job.  Nope.  As I type this I have earphones in and listening to some of my favorites on Spotify. 
Yesterday I grabbed a piece of wood and found a pale pink egg/cocoon-like thing stuck to it.  I pulled it off the board and then saw that it had been attached to a beautful orange spider.

The spider didn't run away and it was very slow moving.  I thought I had killed it by removing the egg but it didn't shrivel up so I think it was in hibernation, cold, scared or pretending to be dead.  I know nothing about spiders.   I Googled Orange Spiders in VA.  There was only one spider that slightly resembled the one I'd found; the pumpkin spider.  When I looked up pumpkin spiders most of the pictures that came up were jackolanterns carved with spiders in them.  This is the only thing I found that looked anything like my spider but it still wasn't exactly like it.  It's also known as a marbled orbweaver.

Any spider experts out there reading my blog?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So we think we can dance

I love that show, So You Think You Can Dance.  I'm so amazed at how these young dancers can learn any style of dance in a few days.  I watch them and wonder if I would have been any good if I took dance as a kid.  I also wonder if one of those choreographers spent a week with me could I even learn a simple dance routine.  I'm pretty sure I'd be awesome :)

That's the beauty of being 50 or older.  You can pretend you may have been good at something but, oh shucks, it's too late to get started now.  I might as well stick with raising animals.  I wouldn't have time to be traveling all over performing anyway. 

James and I got a note yesterday from Kate and Brittany thanking us for coming to their wedding and "showing off our dance moves!"  HA!  You see?  We were teaching the young folks something.  Really,  I'm pretty sure they were making fun of us.  It reminds me of a night many, many years ago when we lived in Salisbury, NC.   Our nextdoor neighbor shared a birthday with James.  One night he and his familly were celebrating Jimmy's birthday and invited us over.  There was music and dancing and I recall doing the Electric Slide and other line dances with Jimmy's family.  This is where I should mention we were the only white people at the party.  When we went to say our goodbyes everyone was so nice to say how much they enjoyed "watching us".  Not having us, but watching us!

Sure, we can dance.  We just can't dance well. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The kindness of others

I think I blog about this at least once a year but I can't help it.  Yesterday I saw a Facebook status that said, "trust no one".  I keep thinking about that.  I can't imagine ever feeling that way and  hope I never have to.  How sad would that be?

I'm sure this happens all over the world but I see it here so often.  Many of our friends and neighbors invite total strangers - cyclists, hikers, etc.  -  into their homes for a meal or even offer them a bed for the night.  I don't mean just a few people we know, I mean a lot. 

Last night I emailed a woman I'd met just one time several years ago.  We're friends on Facebook but other than that we've never seen each other since meeting at a workshop that one day.  I don't think we've even corresponded in over a year.  I asked her a favor and she got back to me right away saying she'd do what she could to help me out.  She hardly knows me but responded so favorably I was really touched by her generosity. 

Yesterday my metal roofing was delivered, unfortunately there was a mistake in the order.   The deliveryman happened to be he owner of the company and didn't seem the least bit upset at either me or the receptionist who took my order.  He said he'd sell the roofing at a sale and he'd get me what I need next week.  I wasn't upset because we have to get the siding on before putting the roof up anyway. 

Once a friend of mine lost her car keys while we were hiking.  A week later she got a call saying someone had found them.  She had her YMCA pass card on the keychain and the person who had found them (who didn't even live around us) called his YMCA and they were able to track my friend down by the code on her card.  He didn't find the keys on the trail.  He found them hanging on a tree near the parking lot at the trail head, so someone else had found them and put them there.  

Some of these things surprise me but as time goes by I'm less and less surprised by the kindness of others.  People are basically good, I think, and want to help others.  I hope the person who wrote trust no one will have many really good experiences and change her mind.

p.s.  This is my 16th day in a row of blogging.  I was ready to quit yesterday because I felt like my life isn't iteresting enough to write about every day.  James told me to hang in there so I am.  My life may not always be interesting but the people and animals in my life are.

Friday, November 8, 2013

There's a hole in my bucket

Mark Twain wrote a story, A Literary Nightmare.  It's about a jingle one can get rid of only by transferring it to another person.  So that is my goal with this blog post; to get rid of this earworm of mine.  I've been singing it for 2 days.  Like a dream, I'm wondering if there's a hidden meaning behind the theme of this song. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recurring dreams

I have this recurring dream.  I re-discover this whole larger part of my house that I'd forgotten was there.  It's not new to me, just forgotten.  I always have a really good feeling about this large space, though it's outdated and could use some redecorating.  The funny thing is it's all very familiar and every time I have the dream I can picture this one very open, very large room.  I love this dream.

I have another house dream.  This other house is, again, very large but in severe disrepair.  In some rooms the ceiling is about to cave in and needs my immediate attention.  The room could be lovely if only I'd get around to fixing it up.  I can't though because it's just too overwhelming.   I feel solely responsible for getting this work done.  I haven't had this dream in a while but I think I've had it since rehabbing this house however many years ago that was.

Recently I had a dream I'd never had before.  James and I were on a ship getting ready to leave on a cruise.  At some point I remember some friends are coming to see me so I get off the ship to say hello to them.  It's more like I leave a building to say hi to them on a city street (these are neighbors of mine.  Jeanette, you are one of them).  I go back to the ship and it has left without me.  I jump in the water and begin paddling on a raft (?) or something and now I'm in a river in a jungle and getting close to catching the ship and I feel hopeful.  My only interpretation of this dream was that "I missed the boat".  I don't know what that boat was though.

Just a few nights ago I had a dream that James was mad at me because I hadn't been making cheese with all the milk we had in the refrigerator.  Guilt?  I made cheese the next day.

James and I are big dreamers (in many ways) and we often wake and tell each other our dreams.  I love to dream as long as I feel rested in the morning.

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.
- - - - Marcel Proust



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Glass ceiling

It sure would be nice if we could put a clear roof on the cow barn.  Today was one of those days I had very little energy.  I laid on the ground in the barn and enjoyed the view while I rested.
I don't have energy for much of a blog post either.  I saved just enough to do my 40 seconds of planking.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shopping for semen

Yes, you read that right.  It appears it will be a while before Wendell is ready to breed Roxie so I've decided I'd like to attempt artificial insemination.  I can predict Roxie's heat to the day.  When she's in heat she'll stand very still as I stand behind her and push on her back as if a boar is mounting her.  I'm hoping this means she'll stand very still while I do this

If you watched the video above you may have seen that the woman turned the catheter as she put it in the pig.  This is because (I've recently learned) a boar has a corkscrew penis.  I KNOW, that's what I thought too.   Crazy.  Check this out.

I will have to do this 2 or 3 days in a row so I have to buy 3 doses to be sure it takes.  It's kind of pricey but I guess for most people it saves money because you don't have to feed a boar year round.  For me it's definitely worth it for a blog post, don't you think?  Last year Roxie was bred with a neighbor's boar but he sold him so that's not an option this year.  I went online and searched for boar semen.  I can't find any in VA.  I've contacted someone in Indiana and I imagine they can ship here overnight.  I haven't heard back from them yet. 

Roxie should come back into heat November 21st so stay tuned for that video.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cow barn helpers

The cow barn is really coming along, thanks to James helping me with the rafters this week.  Tomorrow we should get the purlins on and then we'll be ready for siding and roofing, which we're waiting to be delivered.  Siding and roofing go very quickly.  The hard stuff is done now. 
I had some other volunteers who did not make things go any quicker.
When I run the circular saw Willo brays at me.  I don't know if she likes it or doesn't.

I quit at sunset and the mountains are just beautiful this time of night.

Tonight James and I drove up to the cabin and the leaves along the forest road were beautiful.  I wish I had a picture of them to show you.

I think we're about 2 weeks away from when we can pick Raisa up.  It all depends on the guy who runs the sawmill for our siding.  Today one of my nieces sent me this video.  I wonder if Lex and Raisa will do this.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Poker with girlfriends is way more fun than doing crunches

Two nights ago one of my friends invited me and 5 other women to play poker.  I've never played and neither had a few other women so we had to have cheat sheets to remember what hand beat what.  I'm not sure any of us are better players after that night but I can tell you we probably all had more fun than any seasoned poker player.  At one point our fearless leader commented that laughing as hard as we were was better than any abdominal workout we could do.  I don't know how long we played but I'm pretty sure we laughed the whole time.  When I look at this picture I can't remember when we had serious faces on.  These must have been our learning faces. 
This is my winning face.  It only happened one time.

 Because I won't be playing poker a few times a week and working out my abs with laughter, I've decided to challenge myself with something else.  Remember when my mom and dad were here last year and my mom was a planking fool?
I saw a challenge on Facebook and I think I'm going to start today. 
The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof! 
Day 1 - 20 seconds 
Day 2 - 20 seconds 
Day 3 - 30 seconds 
Day 4 - 30 seconds 
Day 5 - 40 seconds 
Day 6 - REST 
Day 7 - 45 seconds 
Day 8 - 45 seconds 
Day 9 - 60 seconds 
Day 10 - 60 seconds 
Day 11 - 60 seconds 
Day 12 - 90 seconds 
Day 13 - REST 
Day 14 - 90 seconds 
Day 15 - 90 seconds 
Day 16 - 120 seconds 
Day 17 - 120 seconds 
Day 18 - 150 seconds 
Day 19 - REST 
Day 20 - 150 seconds 
Day 21 - 150 seconds 
Day 22 - 180 seconds 
Day 23 - 180 seconds 
Day 24 - 210 seconds 
Day 25 - 210 seconds 
Day 26 - REST 
Day 27 - 240 seconds 
Day 28 - 240 seconds 
Day 29 - 270 seconds 
The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof! Day 1 - 20 seconds Day 2 - 20 seconds Day 3 - 30 seconds Day 4 - 30 seconds ...Day 5 - 40 seconds Day 6 - REST Day 7 - 45 seconds Day 8 - 45 seconds Day 9 - 60 seconds Day 10 - 60 seconds Day 11 - 60 seconds Day 12 - 90 seconds Day 13 - REST Day 14 - 90 seconds Day 15 - 90 seconds Day 16 - 120 seconds Day 17 - 120 seconds Day 18 - 150 seconds Day 19 - REST Day 20 - 150 seconds Day 21 - 150 seconds Day 22 - 180 seconds Day 23 - 180 seconds Day 24 - 210 seconds Day 25 - 210 seconds Day 26 - REST Day 27 - 240 seconds Day 28 - 240 seconds Day 29 - 270 seconds Day 30 - PLANK FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!
One more thing, I'm not going to smoke any cigars or drink Fireball whiskey for these 30 days.  Well, maybe I will on the days it says rest.



Saturday, November 2, 2013

And you may think my goats are spoiled

Someone shared with me this week a website
These guys do good work, along with having fun with their goats.  All the videos are cute so don't skip any.  If you watch Goat Busters hang in there for the out takes.  I think they're better than the music part of the video. 

Maybe this spring when babies are born I'll choose one to teach to go in the river and go on a kayak with me.  I've always thought it would be fun to take a dog on the river but why not a goat?

Friday, November 1, 2013

The difference between farm animals and pets

I posted the pigs in costume on the Homesteading Today pig forum.  Some of the men said things like, "never dressed up my pigs, never will", or "that's the difference between farm animals and pets".  A few women said they were going to make costumes for theirs too.  One woman was looking for some felt.  She never did post pictures.  Another person (I think a man) said something about going to a thrift shop for onesies.  Now that would be funny to see.  I'm getting ideas for next year.  I don't think they make footie pajamas big enough for Roxie so it would have to be a piglet costume.

I've been thinking about the remark about farm animals vs. pets and I don't know why they have to be one or the other.  My animals are both.  Of course, some are more pet-like than others.  Some of the animals that are destined for the freezer crack me up more than ones that will live out their whole life here.  I can't help but take pictures of them and play with them just the same.  Last week Daffy entertained me by dancing on the hood of my car.

This morning I was visiting with the pigs.  Roxie's in heat and she's always extra affectionate with me this time of the month.  What I found interesting was that she was also very affectionate with the little pigs.  She took turns rubbing their tummies.  First Mickey rolled over for her rub and then Wendell took his turn. 

It's hard to think of them as "just a farm animal" because they're so smart and friendly.  Roxie made a very nice winter home for them in the new shelter.  Like last year, she picked lots of grass and made a warm nest for the 3 of them.  Not a small task.

It's interesting to see relationships build between animals too. Keri has been sharing space with my buck, Cooper, lately.  I used to think Keri hated him because when he was aggressive with the girls (and sometimes even when he wasn't) Keri would snarl and jump on him.  Last week I saw Cooper go after Keri to do his bucky thing.  I could understand why she'd want to attack him.  He can be very aggressive during breeding season.  She didn't attack him though.  She told him to back off and he did.  This week it seems every time I see them, they're lying together.  He sometimes whines at her like he wants to hump her but he doesn't touch her and she just watches him like she's enjoying his attention. Most people would say Keri is a pet because she's a dog and Cooper is a farm animal because he's a buck, but how can you distinguish between the two when you see them sleeping side by side?  I'll admit, I'd rather cuddle with Keri than Cooper.

I'm wondering if maybe it's a man/woman kind of thing.  Perhaps more women think of their livestock as pets, but I'm guessing there are plenty of men out there who feel the same way.