Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rex's new piglets

Today I went to pick up two 3 1/2 month old Ossabaw Island/Large Black cross piglets.  I'm used to
friendly, cute little floppy eared Gloucestershire Old Spot piglets but these are not friendly (yet), nor
cute.  I sold Mickey and Wendell, my breeding pair of GOS hogs, 4 months ago to a sweet young couple who are now on piglet watch.  I'm jealous, to be honest.  I had decided I didn't want to raise
pigs through the winter anymore and would just buy 2 piglets each spring and then butcher them in the fall.  Newborn piglets are so cute but for now I'll just have to look at pictures of other peoples' babies.  It helps that I have goat kids due any day now.  I need a baby fix.

When I put the 2 new piglets in the pasture Rex was there to welcome them.  Nothing like a 100 lb
Great Pyrenees chasing you to put you at ease.  Poor little guys didn't know what to do.  They ran and Rex chased.  I was afraid they'd have heart attacks.  He never hurt them but he's very bouncy and fast and much bigger than they are so it seems they'd be scared to death.  There wasn't much I could do  so I left them alone for about 30 minutes then went back to check on them.  I was happy to see they're no longer afraid of Rex and are doing their own fair share of chasing, which Rex loves.
 I never did get a close up picture of them.

I did, however, get many pictures of their adorable 8 month old miniature hereford.  Oh my goodness was he cute.

This picture shows you how small he really is.
I wish I could have brought him home in the truck cab with me.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

For my friend Ruth

What do others know of our time together?  It's ours only, and something I've always cherished, but more so now than ever.  We share something only women-friends can share.  Our husbands wouldn't get it, nor would they care to.  

"I need new fireplace doors", you say.  I do a Google search and we get excited because we find a resource.  

"I'm trying to come up with a good idea for a headboard for our new bedroom", I say.  You have ideas galore.  

Food?  Recipes?  Wine?  We've spent many hours talking about, tasting, drinking.  It's intoxicating in a very good way.  

How did we first meet?  Did you call me?  You had a stress fracture in your foot - we walked - you didn't sweat.  I did.  I probably made you uncomfortable but somehow we quickly became friends.  Not long after we also became neighbors.  You told me my dish towels were dirty and bought me new ones.  I learned early on not to be offended.  You loved me and wanted to give me things.  That's who you are.  You're a giver, you want to make people happy.  My bedspread and drapes you made us make me very happy.  I know there are probably more than 20 other people who have curtains, bedspreads and shower curtains you made them and are equally as grateful as I am.

When I re-do my countertops, or change the wax gasket beneath my toilet, or sew pillow cases, etc,
I think of you, Ruth.  So many things we share. 

I can't grasp this idea of you being sick.  It makes my heart sick.  I need and pray for you to get well.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Incredible Eggs

I think I have 23 chickens - 20 hens and 3 roosters.  I'm not positive.  I'll count them tonight when I tuck them in.  This has been the laying-est winter we've ever had.  Today we got 16 eggs! We could eat eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still not keep up.  We have some neighbors and friends who occasionally take some off our hands.  One of these generous friends made me this amazing egg basket with her own two hands.  Impressive, isn't it?
I don't think I used it for a month because it was too clean and I thought of it as a piece of art (which it is) instead of a useful farm tool.  I decided it was silly to let it sit there collecting dust and I was pretty sure Sally wanted me to use it so I am and I love it.

My friend, Lindy, gave me this egg basket a few years ago.  I didn't think I had a use for it at that time either.
I keep this basket on a shelf on the back porch and use it when I'm outside and decide to gather eggs. I use the woven basket when I think of gathering eggs when I'm inside.

When I gather eggs I always say, "thanks for the eggs, girls".  I wonder if they understand me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Countertop Facelift

Instead of pouring new concrete countertops to match my new sink/counter I decided to give my old slabs a facelift.  They were perfectly good, albeit ugly, countertops that were begging for a makeover.
The longer I worked with them the more I learned.  Here's a before picture.  The stain and sealer had worn off and it had little pock marks here and there.  It felt rough and sticky.
Here's the after.  It's shiny and smooth and feels lovely to touch.
I've also tried engraving some wheat in one of the countertops but after many attempts, have yet to get it looking the way I want.  This is the engraving.  The grooves hadn't been filled yet and the countertop finish wasn't near what I wanted.  I may give up on the wheat and just make this one match the one above.
What I used as a skim coat was portland cement mixed with concrete bonder and fortifier to help it adhere to the roughed up surface.  I added different amounts of the charcoal cement color to each layer to bring out different colors/textures when I sanded it.  I didn't want it to look like plain grey concrete.
I sanded it with an orbital sander, finishing it with at least 320 grit paper and then hand sanding it with 600 or 800 grit.  Lastly I waxed it with Johnson's Paste Wax like you'd put on a wood floor.  It gives it a semi-gloss look.
I built this table years ago and even though I like its appearance, I think I'm going to give it a facelift too so it matches the countertops.  I made the table from and old plant stand and some leftover trim from the kitchen cabinets.

The only thing I'm considering doing differently with the table is perhaps adding some crushed glass to the skim coat and see if I can bring out some color and sparkle when I grind it down.  I'm going to think about that for a while.  It will be at least a week till I get to it because I work on these outdoors and it's going to be too cold to work with cement for that long.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cooper and Lily

 This is Cooper.  Cooper is cold.  See Cooper shiver.

I made Cooper a sweater out of 2 dog sweaters.  He seemed happy to be the best dressed goat in the barn.  Unlike Fat Pessa, Cooper is skin and bones and I can't put meat on him no matter what I do.  He's 8 years old and probably the sweetest (not sweetest smelling) buck you could ask for.  He had his moments when he was young that I could have wrung his neck but now that he's an old man he couldn't be gentler or more in need of cuddles and loving.

This is Lily.  Lily is pretty.  Lily wears lipstick.

Not really.  Lily just had a dose of Pepto Bismol because she has diarrhea.  She doesn't appear to be wormy and she acts normal. Her eyelids are nice and pink.  Hopefully she just has an upset stomach and tomorrow she'll be back to normal.  I also put some baking soda in their shelter in case she wants it.  Baking soda calms their tummies.  Lily has always been a gentle goat and never been a bully to others.  She's also my top milker now that her mom, Luti, is getting up in years.

I just returned from checking on the animals (1 hour after putting Cooper's sweater on) and found the sweater in the middle of the pasture.  I think his buck buddy, Cato, removed it.  I can't imagine how he got it off him.  Poor Cooper.  Hopefully the girls will snuggle with him in the barn tonight.  It's going to be a cold week.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mrs. Butterworth and Macy

 This is Pessa's family - her daughter Mrs. Butterworth and her granddaughter Macy.  They're not nearly as chubby as Pessa.  Mrs. Butterworth was a big baby, hence the name.  These two are both sweeties.  You can probably tell that from their faces.  Come to think of it, all my goats are sweeties.  They're a little more affectionate than their mom/grandmom.  Hopefully they're both pregnant.  This will be Macy's first kidding and Mrs. Butterworth's second.  Macy was an only child.  Unlike my queen doe, Luti, who discards her kids once she has new ones a year later, Pessa doted on Macy and seems to recognize who is her family.  I imagine when Macy's kid jumps on Pessa's back she will be a wonderful great grandmother and allow them to abuse her too.

Back in 2011 I posted a blog with videos of babies using Pessa as a trampoline.  It shows you what a patient girl Pessa is.  Last year I think she only let Macy jump on her though.  No other kids were allowed.

Even though I'm glad kidding doesn't begin here until March, I'm loving seeing pictures of my friends' goat babies being born and getting excited.

Friday, February 5, 2016


We call her Pessa.  She came to live with us in 2009 and we were told she was 1 1/2 years old.  Looking back I wonder if that was really true because her udder and hooves looked like a much older goat.  It doesn't really matter because we love her and she's been a wonderful goat in so many ways.  This is her in 2009.
Even back then she was a big girl.  Now she's become a VERY big girl, and that's being kind.  Sometimes I call her fat pessa.  I know that's not nice.  It's true though.  She eats all the same things all the other goats eat but like some humans, she has a low metabolism, I guess.  Poor girl.  Or as they say in the south, "bless her heart".  

Today the goats followed me to see if there was better hay than what I'd given them near the milk barn.  Pessa was the caboose by a long run.  Usually Cooper is in the back with her.  He's a bag of bones - just the opposite of Pessa.  The cold goes right through him but the sun was shining today so he was in better form.  It almost hurts to watch Pessa walk.  I hope she's pregnant because if she isn't it's a very sad situation, as you can see in this video.

I'm thinking that next year I need to retire her so she doesn't have to carry any extra weight of babies. Where most of my other goats are needy, Pessa is a stoic, reserved girl who has never caused problems, who drops babies without blinking an eye, dumps a gallon of milk in the pail and never moves a foot to spill milk. I couldn't ask for an easier milker.  I hope she hangs around a lot longer.

I should blog about each of my goats because they all have such different personalities.