Sunday, November 29, 2009

Using Up Leftovers

It's a frugal day on the farm. The leftover turkey carcass is boiling in a pot to make stock. Turkey soup for dinner tonight. It smells wonderful combined with the bread baking in the oven.

And leftover wood from the barn renovation project is getting installed as shelving for the cellar in the basement. The concrete knee walls were still there and plenty of canning jars were left behind, too. Only the shelves were missing. Now all I need is something to harvest.

Yes, I realize by building that many shelves I've probably cursed myself to blight and drought for years to come. But I'm hopeful, always hopeful.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tried & Convicted

INDIANA -- Blanche Devereaux was injured when she was mauled by a guard dog near her shack in a gated community early Friday, authorities said.

Devereaux's condition is not clear, but several people close to her are saying the lamb is OK after initial reports that she had suffered serious injuries.

Devereaux's agent, The Engineer, told CNBC in an e-mail that the sheep is "fine." Devereaux's' spokesman, Christine, said the lamb was treated for pulled wool and released in good condition.

The Indiana Farmstead Patrol initially reported her injuries as serious and said that she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit. Interviews with staff at the facility confirm she was not a patient there.

The patrol said Devereaux, 1, was minding her own business eating grass when out of nowhere a giant puppy appeared and tried to play roughly with the sheep.

The Indianapolis Sentinel reported that the dog in question had previously been spotted chasing chickens.

The patrol report said alcohol was not involved, though the accident remains under investigation. No one else was injured in the brawl, a patrol spokeswoman said.

The suspect was apprehended and placed into custody. A sentence of supervised visitation for the term of "until she grows up a little" is expected to be handed down later today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Now Serving

Today's Menu

Summer Sausage
Monterrey Jack Cheese
Assorted Crackers

Oven Roasted Turkey
Cornbread Stuffing
Sour Cream and Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Candied Yams
Home Grown Sweet Corn
Homemade Amish Yeast Rolls
Cabernet Sauvignon

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Topping
Cherries Jubilee

Happy Thanksgiving my internet friends. May you have grateful hearts and full tummies today and every day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Please Help!

Suzanne over at Chickens in the Road, a kindred spirit of mine, needs your help. She has entered a contest which could result in a nice paying job for her if she wins. If you don't already know Suzanne, she is a single mom raising three teenagers while living a simple life in the countryside of West Virginia. You can read about her quest here. Please help out a fellow farm girl at heart by voting for her today and every day until December 7th when the contest ends. Click here to vote!

Thank you for helping out a friend. We all need a helping hand every now and then.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hair-Brained Scheme No. 487

What yer lookin' at here folks is the contents of a combine's stomach. Yep, combine vomit. Harvested corn that never made it all the way through the cleaning process. Seems combines can get clogged up and farmers have to do the equivalent of sticking their finger down it's throat. This leaves a big ol' pile of combine vomit just laying around. This does not make the farmer happy. If you happen to mention that it would be a shame to leave it there because your sheep could eat it, the farmer will gladly tell you where he thinks you should put it. (To say that my parents are having issues bringing in this year's harvest would be an understatement. Something about it being the worst farming year ever.)

The Golden Girls don't eat a lot of corn, but they do get about a handful every day as a treat. I'm not entirely sure it would be good for them to eat it whole. I don't know if their digestive system can break it down easily or not? And if I could crack it I could feed it to the chickens, too. So hair-brained scheme No. 487 was developed to crack my own corn. It seemed simple enough.

First we needed to finish the job the combine started and figure out a way to separate the corn from the chaff. We've tried everything we can think of including a sieve and even the kitchen colander. There simply is no easy way to do this by hand. It's like that static cling mini packing peanut stuff. It will Not. Go. Away. Our only option left is to wait for a really windy day and hope it floats off in the breeze as we pour it from bucket to bucket.

That didn't stop us though. Nope we forged ahead, searched high and low and finally picked up an old universal grinder for a couple of bucks at a flea market. After sorting some of the corn by hand we cranked up the grinder. It works, but it's turning out to be more of a cracked corn/cornmeal mix.

"Mmm, cornbread!"

No, Dorothy. I'm not baking for you, too. No. I gotta draw the line somewhere. I'm sorry.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Willa: "Why ya layin' on the ground, Mum? Huh? Why ya layin' on the ground?"

Me: " Because giant puppies apparently have faulty breaks, Willa."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Worlds Sexiest Chicken Alive 2009

Blackbeard is a shoo-in for Sexiest Chicken Alive in 2009 don't you think?

"I shall pose for you like dis" (said in his best Antonio Banderas accent.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Lost Lamb

"Yes, I know we're the same color but that doesn't mean I'm your Mommy."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Extreme Makeover

There comes a point in every chicks life where she has to reinvent herself. Where she needs to shed her old self and start all over again. It's not a pretty process. Things have to get a lot worse before they'll get better.

But with a little determination and a lot of hard work she may come out in the end even better than before.

I start taking classes in January as a full time college student. What? You thought I was talking about the chicken didn't you? Nope. I was talking about me. My son, the youngest, will graduate in couple of years and I'll need to go out and get a real job again. You know, one that pays actual money instead of eggs. I gave up my career as a telecommunications manager at one of the top three auto makers six years ago. Needless to say, I won't be going back to work there.

I've kept an eye on the job market over the past year or so. I've not spotted a single position that I am qualified for. Not one. And even if I had, I'd rather stick a fork in my eye on a daily basis than go back into telecommunications. (Think about all the joyful experiences you've had with the phone company over the years. Dealing with that was my job every day.)

So it's time for this chick to start reinventing herself. I've signed up for classes at the local community college with option to transfer to Purdue or IU after two years. I'm planning to major in Visual Communications with a concentration in either web design, graphic design or photography. I'll decide that as I go along. It's going to be a long journey, but I have faith that I'll come out better than before in the end.

So, if you were going to reinvent yourself, what would you do? Astronaut? Milk Maid? Hula Dancer?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

To Serve and Protect

Hi, my name is Willamina. That means the diligent guardian in German. I'm here to defend all the poor, defenseless sheep. I take my job very seriously. Each morning before the sheep are let out into the pasture I scan it for potential predators and other dangerous objects.

Then, if I spot something, I grab it by the tail and wrestle it like this.

And drag it around like this. Yeah, yeah.

And bite it and wrestle it some more like this.

And, and sometimes I even shake it like this.

And then once I know it's dead I tell the poor, defenseless sheep it's safe to come out.

Dorothy: "Oh yeah right, we're safe now. We won't trip over your chew toy. Puleeease! "

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh Give Me a Home

This little guy needs a new place to live. Old Jack and JB have voted him off the island. Surely, somebody out there wants a bantam rooster, yes?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Old Barn is Coming Along

There has been a major transformation going on in the barn the past two weeks. I now have place to store all the garden stuff. Complete with new (recycled) shelves and new (recycled) windows.

The garden area is inside the central part of the barn inside of two stalls. Flooring was installed above for more storage on both sides of the barn and ladders were built for easy access.

The center isle remains clear. This will be the main staging and shearing area when needed. It will also house the lawn tractor for the winter. The stalls on the left for now hold building materials we want to keep for future projects. Eventually it will serve as more or less a tack room.

Closer to the front entrance in the first stall on the left we still need to do some work. We will be adding insulation and creating an area to use as a chicken brooding area/intensive care unit. (I'm looking forward to getting them off my back porch.)
Directly across the isle is the sheep ICU/maternity ward that will have access to an outdoor pen.

At the very rear of the building are the large doors. I was impressed with the fancy latch the guys built for it.

On the opposite side of the doors some of the old barn siding was in good condition since it's been protected by the metal part of the barn. Where they could, they just added batons to keep the bats from getting back inside and taking up residence again.
Just to the right of that the guys built a half wall. Next Spring when we get the rest of the pastures fenced the sheep will come to live here. (Their current abode will be converted into the love shack for any potential boyfriends.)

So the guys built a hay feeder that I can access easily from the other side. The area behind that will stay as it is and be used for storage as well as the blacksmith shop.

Now all we need is to get the new roof on. But that will wait until Spring. Because it's time to pack everything away, clean everything up and take a long winter's nap.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things Worth Collecting

I come from a long line of pack rats and collectors. My grandmother's home literally had paths through stacks and stacks of boxes. She was an artist and had lived through the Great Depression. I'm sure in her mind all those things might come in handy some day. In my quest for simplicity I try not to succumb to the temptation to collect everything on earth and stash it in my basement. But it's in my blood. I can't help it. I get it honest. Sometimes there are things worth collecting.

I've recently, through the power of Facebook, reunited with a friend from junior high. No need to mention how long ago that's been. But without a doubt, old friends rank right up there at the top of things worth collecting. We spent Saturday afternoon catching up, hitting a few antique malls and, of course, sharing a few laughs.

One of my favorite malls is, sadly, going out of business. That is a bad thing. I'll miss it terribly. But I have to admit I was pleased as punch to see the 20 - 50 percent off signs. That is always a good thing. I might live without things at regular price, but at 50 percent off it's more like "Come to Momma!". Here are a few of my favorite things.

Plaid Flannels and Homespuns

They will never, ever go to waste in my household.

Buffalo China, Ironstone or Resturantware

Doesn't matter what you call it, I love it. Always have and always will. I'll never have enough of it.

Vintage Kitchen Appliances

I have had the worst luck with modern kitchen appliances. I can't tell you how many coffee makers I've been though. Enough is enough! I'm pretty sure my parents had this exact model of percolator when I was a kid.

I love my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but sometimes it would be sooo much easier just to whip something up in a hurry so the hand mixer had to come home with me, too. Don't you love it's ergonomic handle?

Cast Iron

What can I say? Everyone should have a complete set of cast iron cookware. If I can find it at a reasonable price, I buy it. I have all the basics but I'm still looking for a griddle, and other oddball pieces.

and finally,

Things That Make Me Laugh

One of my rules for buying or collecting things is that it must serve a purpose. It needs to perform some kind of function. I try very, very hard not to drag home the frivolous. But there is one exception. If something makes me laugh out loud, it's got a half decent chance of following me home.

I've named him Roscoe. Roscoe the Rooster. The best porch rooster ever. He doesn't crow. He doesn't poop. He's not mean. And most importantly, he makes me laugh. He shall live on my porch and greet my guests forever.