Thursday, January 30, 2014


By now most of you have heard the word selfie.  I read 2013 was "The Year Of The Selfie".    It's not just in the US either.  Folks in other countries are just as vain as we Americans.  And it appears the farmer is not immune to this latest trend.  Hence the word Felfie, or farmer selfie.

Modern Farmer reports that the phenomenon seems to have started with William Wilson, a farmer’s son from the UK, who noticed a contest for farmer selfies in the Irish Farmer Journal. He started, which helped create the hashtag “felfie.” And so it goes.  Check these felfies out

Not too long ago I posted a felfie of me and Raisa.   Today I took a felfie of me and Roxie to compare to a photo James took of me when Roxie was just a baby.  Roxie and I have both put on a few lbs.  I've maybe put on 5 lbs while Roxie has put on 700 to 800.

This photo is way more flattering of Roxie than me but I was doing my best just to get a shot of both of us.  She even smiled for the camera.  She's still cute, don't you think?

I measured the pigs to get an estimated weight on them a few days ago.  Roxie came in at 823 lbs.  I don't know if that's right or not but I'm pretty sure she's more than 700 lbs.  The first picture was taken 2 1/2 years ago.  Isn't that amazing?  

I need to get a haircut, lose a few pounds or get a facelift (just kidding) before I take anymore felfies.  Or at least look up at the camera and not down :)  Roxie is very photogenic and her jowls add character to her face.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Playing games

James and I returned from PA yesterday after a visit to celebrate a belated Christmas with my family.  Saturday night we gathered at my sister's.  Thirteen of us were sitting around the dinner table and I said, "let's play a game", or something to that effect.  I know some people hate games and surely some groaned when I suggested this, but for some reason they all humored me and everyone played.  I assured them it was simple and you didn't need to know anything to play this game.  There are no winners or losers.  Here's how you play.  I have no idea if this game has a name or not.  It's kind of like Whisper Down The Lane.

Everyone gets a blank piece of paper and writes a sentence across the top.  It can be anything.  Let's say I wrote I love to play games.  Next we pass our paper to the person beside us.  They read the sentence to themselves and draw a picture they think illustrates our sentence.  Maybe something like this.

After drawing the picture you fold the paper over, hiding the sentence but leaving the picture exposed, then the paper is handed to the next person.  That person is to write a sentence that they think the picture describes.

Again the paper is folded over, this time to hide the picture and leave the most recent sentence.  This continues until everyone at the table has added to each paper or until someone says, "ok, that's enough".  In the end the paper may look something like this.
You get the picture.  The fun part is reading the sentences aloud and seeing where they started and where they ended up.  Sometimes they stay pretty close to the original sentence but most times they stray far from the subject matter.  I loved playing with my family and I appreciate them being such good sports and humoring me.

Speaking of which, James is my prince when it comes to humoring me.  I'm not kidding.  I drove the 7 hours home from PA while James worked on his laptop in the passenger seat.   I had my headphones on listening to Pandora radio.  I said to him, "it's really hard listening to all these songs I love without singing out loud".  He responded, "go ahead, you can sing".  Oh right.  Who would want to hear someone sing out loud to music they can't hear?  It makes me laugh just thinking about how I'd sound singing with earphones in.  I'm tempted to video myself doing just that but I DO have some pride, believe it or not.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dogs, donkeys and waterfalls

We've been having cold temperatures for VA but not much snow, thank goodness.  Two days ago we got an inch of snow, at the most.  This made Keri very happy.  She loves this kind of weather.  When Temperatures dropped into the single digits I worried that people might report me for keeping Keri outdoors.  Anyone who knows Great Pyrenees knows that hot weather makes them very uncomfortable and cold weather is a reason for them to bounce and roll.  Keri throws herself onto her back for a tummy rub and I doubt she knows there's snow beneath her.  I wish snow made me this happy.

James, Adam, Melissa and I hiked to "our waterfall" a few days ago.  We like to think of it as ours because it's not much of a hike to get there from behind our cabin and we've never seen anyone else there.  It's fun to explore it in warm weather when you can climb the falls and keep discovering new pools and slides around the next corner.  It's a beautiful creek and definitely photo-worthy.  We only went to the bottom of it this week though because there was lots of ice and slippery leaves.  It was still beautiful with ice formations everywhere.  This video won't do it justice but I'll share it with you anyway.

This next video shows how our guardian donkeys are not such good guardians at all.  Donkeys are supposed to keep away coyotes and strange dogs.  They have a natural dislike for canines.  For some reason they were fascinated with our grandpuppy, Maia.  She would spend hours watching them and them watching her.  I saw Maia lick Chy's udder, chew her hoof, lick her butt, bite Wilson's nose and clean their mouths after eating licorice, with very little reaction from them.  It was a mutual infatuation and I loved watching them together.

James and I got a GoPro (video camera) for Christmas.  One day I should wear it while I do my morning chores so you can come along with me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Slow time

There's not a lot going on at the farm this time of year.  I'm already looking forward to warm weather when things get busier.  As much as I dislike winter, it sure makes for pretty pictures.

Until ths week no one else had milked Raisa but me and I needed to know she'd stand still for someone else when we need a farm sitter.  James volunteered and Raisa was just fine with him.

We're puppy sitting this week and I worried about how Lex would feel about sharing the house and our attention with this lively little girl.  I need not have worried.  I think he will miss her when she goes back home.  He'll probably also sleep a lot.

Today I finally unglued my butt from the couch and did some fence repair so when the goats return to their usual pasture it will be safe and ready for babies.  There's plenty for me to do but I keep saying it's a slow time of the year. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sleeping arrangements

I wish  had a picture to show you of the pigs tonight.  I went out to close up the chickens and feed Keri and thought I'd check on the pigs while I was out there.  Roxie has been gathering more grass for their nest in the trailer the past few days.  I guess she knew bad weather was coming.  Animals are amazing that way.  I approached the trailer and saw Roxie burrowed down in her nest, her face looking out the door.  Behind her was a pile of 4 pigs.  I really mean it when I say "a pile".  The 4 GOS and Large Black pigs were draped across each other right behind Roxie's butt.  I don't know how they could breathe the way they were stacked up.  It was adorable so I grabbed my phone and by the time I figured out how to take a picture with a flash they piled out of the trailer thinking I'd brought them some food.  I felt bad about that. They looked so cozy and I disturbed them.

The goats have also moved their bedroom tonight.  They finally decided to sleep in the trailer we recently got them.  I hope Keri piles in there with them tonight.  She usually sleeps with them but she'd need to be in the doorway so she can keep an eye out for danger. 

Tomorrow night our lows are supposed to drop to -1 with strong winds.  I hate this.  I'm glad to know, though, the animals have figured out on their own how to best keep warm. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Caring for livestock in the winter

Eighteen degrees, the thermometer said.  Yuck, I said.  I had to get outside early because the door to the horse trailer was closed and I knew the goats were in it last night.  The wind must have shut them in and Keri out.  I didn't even have a cup of coffee, which I selfishly have every morning before going outside to feed. 

The water buckets had at least an inch  thick layer of ice on them.  I decided to fill a bunch of 5 gallon buckets, load them in a wagon and pull it with my lawn tractor so the goats would have warm water to drink.  First I had to empty all the buckets and melt the ice off them.  Next I had to put air in all 4 tires of the wagon, which hadn't been used in a very long time.  At least 1/3 of the water sloshed out on my way to the field but I had plenty to fill the goats big tub with.  I thought they'd go nuts over it.  Goats love warm water.  Only Cato drank it and I worried because his long ears were dangling in the water and I feared frostbite. 

I own 2 heated buckets and I was glad to see they both still worked.  I should probably get some more.  I'd also like to have a heated chicken waterer.  The one I had in the coop was a solid mass of ice.  When I went to let the chickens out I discovered another reason we're not getting the eggs I'd expect from the hens.  Three of the "hens" are roosters.  I had been suspicious of a few but today they made it very obvious.

My milking machine doesn't like the cold so this morning I heated up one of those rice bag heating pads and wrapped it around the pulsator.  I don't know if it helped or not but it eventually reached the suction pressure I needed and all was well.  It was windy and I could see evidence of Raisa having spent a good deal of time in the part of the shelter that was out of the wind.  None of the animals like the cold wind. 

The little black pigs no longer sleep in their own little shelter.  Last night I saw them sleeping under the stock trailer the other 3 pigs sleep in.  Late this afternoon I saw the black pigs come out of the trailer so I wonder if tonight all 5 will curl up together inside.  I hope so.  The young pigs don't have much hair or fat to keep them warm like the others.

Morning chores took 3 hours instead of my usual 1.  As much as I dislike the cold, I really didn't mind it today.  It felt good to be moving and it was probably good I went straight outside instead of sitting down, sipping my coffee in front of the computer.  I may not have wanted to get up if I gave it too much thought.
Lex is glad he's an inside dog.  Next week when temperatures drop into the single digits you may see me wrapped in this blanket with him. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Day Drive

It was beautiful today so we harnessed Willo up and took her for a drive.
Like her owner, Willo has put on a few pounds and her harness was a bit tight.  Exercise was just what she needed.  Jaz got some exercise too because she followed us along the fenceline whenever she could.  She was very jealous.  We're now storing the cart in Raisa's barn instead of up by the house.   Maybe we'll use it more often if it's more convenient.

As we crossed the field after our ride we saw Keri scooting on her stomach to get out of the chicken coop.  The doorway can't be more than a foot high so it seems it would be uncomfortable for her to get in and out.  Light bulbs went on in our heads.  We haven't gotten eggs in a very long time.   Could it be the chickens are laying but a big rascal has been stealing them?  We're going to keep them locked up for a few days and see if we start getting eggs again.  We also need to figure out what we're going to do with the chickens.  They keep going in the road.  We've already relocated them once but this morning they discovered a different road.  Why would chickens leave 26 acres to stand in a road?  Next we may move them down near Raisa, far from the roads, but I don't think they'll be safe down there.  I may try closing them in with electro-netting but some of them are really good flyers.  Sometimes I think I should give up on chickens and buy my eggs from friends. 

I wonder what the new year will bring.  Happy 2014.