Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shabby Chic Goat House

Okay, so it's not beautiful, but it's functional, the boys love it and it will do the job that I intended.  Both Jake and Witty have inspected it and given their stamp of approval.  That's good enough for me.  Also, it was fun to build.  Now I can house 4 boys.  Hopefully Strawberry will have girls and I won't need to put them in here.  It looks like Strawberry is going to have her babies in the next day or so.  I'll set my alarm so I can get up during the night tonight to check on her.  Her ligaments are gone which means the clock is ticking.  I'm not near as nervous this time as I was for my last goat kid delivery.  I hope I'm not being too cool about it and all will go well.   

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A tiny goat shed

Today I started building a very small goat shed out of pallets.  If I don't sell my 2 little bucklings by the time they're 3 months old I'm going to want to separate them from their mom so they'll have to go in the fence with the big boys, that's why I decided to build this little house for them.  We have several pallets lying around and some old oak fencing some friends gave us so I used that.  The only thing I'll have to buy is some roofing and maybe some more screws or nails since I'm running out of the ones I need.  Jake and Witty have been really big helpers.  I'm building it to the right of Witty and Jake's house and will extend the roof over to that one so it will create a covered breezeway between the two. I'l take more pictures when it's done. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Playing Dress Up

Everyone loves playing dress up don't they?  I was going through my pictures today and came across quite a few of us dressed in unusual attire.  Here are just a few.  I  think the dogs enjoy it as much as we do.
When my sisters and I were little we used to dress our dog, Ginger, in our clothes.  I don't know if they remember that or not.  I'm sure Mom and Dad have those pictures somewhere.   What is it about pretending to be someone else that is so much fun?    Last October we went to a hobo and gypsy party around Halloween.  I won a prize for my costume.  James couldn't stand to look at me with my tooth blacked out like it was but it didn't bother me even when I looked in the mirror and saw how ugly I looked.  Of course, as you can see, I haven't posted that picture on here so maybe I feel a little more self conscious about it that I'm admitting to.    Really, the reason I don't like that picture is because I have a double chin in it.  Only 34 more days till Halloween.  Seems like once Halloween is past Christmas is not far behind.  I've already been thinking about what to give as Christmas gifts this year.  I may even send out Christmas cards which we haven't done in a long time.  I have an idea for a card and it involves costumes but I won't be the one dressing up.   

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WTF Polly?

Sorry Mom and Dad for the foul acronym but Polly has pissed me off 2 days in a row. This sweet little goat has turned into Satan after about 5 minutes of milking. She's getting better about going into the stall to be milked (kind of) and puts up with me washing her down and getting her ready. She looks at me with loving eyes even. I'm gentle with her and sing sweet songs (okay, maybe not all that sweet). Yesterday's song I made up and had lots of "Pollys" in it. Today I sang Sunshine on My Shoulder with more "Pollys" in it. Once she has given me a warning that kicking is to commence I get behind her and milk from above, kind of like I'm hugging her. I feel like I'm keeping her legs blocked with my elbows so she can't kick that way. All the while I know she's scheming. She waits till the stream has gone thin and I'm just about done. Just a few more squirts to be sure she's really empty when, WHAM!!!! She kicks, she scores!!!!! The crowd goes wild. No, I go wild and not in a good way. Milk all over the place, even down my leg. Grrr and double grrrr.

I ordered some cheese making supplies which arrived today but at this rate I'm never going to have enough milk to make cheese.

So today I made a hobble. It's made from 2 old dog collars. They're attached to the sides of the milking stand and I will slip her legs through them so she can't kick. Sounds like a plan doesn't it? Well, we'll see how it works. I think Polly saw them already so I know she's got it figured out how to play Houdini. Who will win tomorrow?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pickin' up paw paws and put 'em in a basket

Way down yonder in the paw paw patch. Remember that song? I never really thought about paw paws being a real fruit until we moved to VA and had a paw paw tree in our yard. We never did anything with them though. I'm sure I didn't consider eating them. They're an interesting fruit, though not a beautiful one. Most of the ripe ones looked bruised or spotted as if a worm left its mark. Yesterday some friends of ours came over and the 4 of us went paw paw pickin'. We filled several grocery store bags. I'm not quite sure what all we'll do with them but, hey, they're free and you can eat them so why not pick them. I think all of us ate at least one while we were picking. After one bite I thought, wow, this is really good. After I had finished the whole fruit I'd had enough. They're very filling and have a pretty strong flavor, kind of like a cross between a mango and a banana with the texture of an avacado. After we drug James away from the free fruit we came home and made a pawpaw custard pie using our own eggs and goat milk. The pie baked up nicely and was very pretty but maybe we should have used less fruit and more of the other ingredients. It wasn't bad but no one went back for seconds. The flavor was just a little too strong. Maybe if we hadn't just eaten one and smelled them for so long.

I doubt we'll be eating too many of them like an apple but I'll probably make some pawpaw bread or cookies and since we have so many I plan to make some wine from them too. Yesterday James spotted a persimmon tree in a neighbor's yard. I better start looking for persimmon recipes next.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hanging your laundry out for everyone to see

Do you think it's funny how I wouldn't want anyone to go through my underwear drawer but I'm perfectly willing to hang our underwear on the line for all my neighbors and the UPS man to see?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I never aspired to being a plumber and never will

I spent many hours today removing tiny grapes, my neighbor calls them Fall grapes, from their vines. We picked almost 2 bushels of them but to make wine they had to be removed from their stems. They grow wild at the edge of our woods. I kept asking myself if 5 bottles of wine could be worth the time it took to get the 15 lbs I needed, not to mention the poison ivy I have all over the place from picking them. It better be tasty. There are still a lot more we didn't remove from the stems yet. Another day.

While mashing the grapes I heard a hissing coming from the next room. It's a sound no homeowner wants to hear, water spraying indoors, and I don't mean the shower. One of the copper pipes going to the hot water heater had a hole in it. I left the grapes and walked through an inch of water to shut it off. Groan. If you click on the picture it will get bigger and you can see the water on the floor. I hate plumbing problems. I fixed the leak then scooped up all the water I could (about 17 gallons) and put the dehumidifier in the doorway. James hung towels and sheets on the line that were in a bag on the floor of the sopping wet room. It all took much less time than I thought it would. Very nice. I'm glad it was such a simple fix.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

James' New Greenhouse

Today James and I put together a greenhouse kit. There was no way we could have put it together without using the directions. There were lots of pieces. It was fun. I love a good puzzle and this one took us about 6 hours to assemble. Now I can't wait to see what he does with it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trying to find the right words

One of my friends lost his son to suicide 2 days ago. I know I need to call him but I'm having the hardest time finding the nerve and the right words to say. It makes no sense that I'm nervous about calling a friend who I always talk to so easily. What should I say? Does he really want me to call? Is he tired of talking about it? I can't even begin to understand what he's feeling. So sad to think about. His son was the same age as Adam.

41 eggs in one day from 10 hens?

I'd been gathering an average of 6 to 8 eggs a day and kind of wondering why I hadn't been getting just a few more. Every now and then I'd see a hen playing up in the hayloft but I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. They didn't seem to stay up there long so I didn't suspect they were doing anything but checking things out until 2 days ago I heard one of them up there singing the egg laying song. Uh oh. I decided to get a ladder and take a look. What I saw made me laugh so hard and I had to drag James out to see it for himself. There were 35 eggs up there in 2 nests, side by side. I think the one got full so they had to move forward and make another one. We had no idea how old most of them were so I cooked them up and put them in the fridge to add to the dog's food every day which makes them very happy. Later I collected 6 more eggs from the nests they're supposed to be laying in. Yesterday I gathered 9 eggs which is more like what I expected from 10 laying hens.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

would you, could you, with a goat in a boat

I always loved Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. I don't think it mentioned goats in boats though. The goats got a new toy today, a broken paddle boat, and it was a hit. I wish I could have gotten them on video when I first gave it to them. Witty and Jake hopped in it and started wrestling right away. Jake laid down in it for a while but I disturbed him when I got the camera out. Adam brought home these paddle boats for us to play around on the river in but this one was missing one paddle so I decided it would be perfect for the goats.

I decided to redecorate the barn today. Every morning the milking stand is covered in poop so today I moved it into one of the stalls along with a little printer cart where I can store milking supplies. Now I can close up the stall so no one gets on it until they're meant to. Since I took away their favorite bench I moved an old computer desk there and put a non-slip mat on it so now they have another thing to jump up on. I took the top off the computer desk (the part with the cabinet) and put it in the feeding stall to store some food supplies and provide a shelf for me to work at. It's all quite functional now.

Polly was much better on the milk stand today. James had to lift her up there but once we had her locked in she stood there so nicely. I think I'm going to really enjoy this once we've both settled in. Her milk is delicious and I love the sound of the milk squirting into the pan. When I get good at it I may record that too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Today I made a quiche from our own eggs, milk, tomato and onion. I can't wait to taste it. Now I need to learn to make my own swiss cheese. I had to make it in a square pan since all our pie plates ended up and the cabin somehow. I made a lemon merangue pie last week from our eggs and James took it to the cabin to share with some friends. I guess a square quiche will taste the same as a round one, huh?

I posted both the babies on Craigslist this week and someone has shown interest in Chaps and is planning to bring the whole family to meet him. They're going to love him. He climbs all over us and begs for attention. I hope all goes well and they both find good homes. It will be sad to see them go but I still have at least 5 more weeks with them. They're just starting to nibble solid foods and they're so full of energy.

Only 3 more weeks and I think Strawberry will have her babies and we get to start all over again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We're not that un-cool are we?

One of Adam's friends, James H., is living with us for a little while until he gets back on his feet and saves some money. I thought it might be a little strange having him here after Adam left for school but I think it will be ok. Last night after he and 2 other friends went hiking up the Devil's Marbleyard they had dinner with us. I told them that was going to cost them a game of Scrabble with us. The girls said they'd love to. Maybe they were just being kind but I think they really wanted to. After Scrabble we moved into the living room and sang show tunes. Even James H. was a good sport about it. They stayed till 11:00. James P. and I love to sing and it's always fun when others will do it with us. Adam wrote on his Facebook that he couldn't believe his friends were hanging out with his parents and he was at school. I videoed them singing and I should post it on facebook but I don't know if they'd want their friends to know they were singing My Favorite Things at 10:30 at night with a 46 and 56 year old. Maybe they wouldn't care.