Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prayers and Blessings

I have a neighboor, who is one of my best friends, get called to Halifax a couple of days ago. Her niece, that is still young, attempted to commit suicide. She is progressing, in case you are wondering, and thankfully, expect a full recovery (in due time). I guess this whole thing really hit me hard, for the fourth time this year...actually the fourth time in less than three months.
Rich works on Cornell Campus and recently, their shop assisted with the installation of fences on ALL of the bridges and walkways throughout campus. They had to due this as a suicide prevention method. In a three week time frame, three engineering students on campus jumped to their deaths at various locations on campus. All of these students were juniors and had good grades. To outsiders, they must have "seemed" like they were on the fast track to success. This got me to far are we actually pushing students? Is failure really difficult enough for them to deal with to make them end their own lives? And then, of course, I start wondering how no one can notice a group of young people who are screaming for attention and for help. How can we, as a society, not notice that someone is on the brink? Are we, as a society, not to have compassion anymore about the people who walk by us on the street? Have we lost our hearts? Doesn't anyone really care anymore????
Then the "issues" with my friend.....I will continue to say this until I get the point across...
You know, when you see people with their kids in Wal-mart and the kids aren't behaving...please don't judge, you don't know what kind of problems the child has. How would you feel if after making a remark to the person you are with or heaven forbid to the parent, you find out that they are autistic? Instead, why don't you just try giving them, all parents, a little bit of sympothy. All kids act out now and then, parent's don't get to choose when that time is. Maybe the child is ill, imagine that the parent is absolutely exhausted (as any parent knows can happen in a moments time) and how bad that makes the parent feel. Could you imagine if they are on the edge already and trying to cope with depression? Can you imagine how hurtful a dirty look or a harsh word could be?
You never know anyone circumstances until you walk a mile in their shoes...Stop judging a book by the cover and have a heart!
I can tell you just from experience in my own life, how much a small smile can mean. Just one small movement of someone's mouth can change a bad day into one that lifts my spirits. A kind word of encouragement or one of caring has an amazing effect on a person.......ESPECIALLY IF IT COMES FROM A STRANGER! I will say that some people just don't deserve it. Maybe one in ten don't. But, what about the other nine....why punish them for someone else's stupidity, immorality or just plain laziness? I remember one older gentleman that was miserable with everyone. No one liked him. He never smiled. He was always, always grumpy. I meet him in the hallway of a hospital while he was shouting at a laundry lady. I literally felt sorry for him. I remember walking up to him and saying, "Hush, you grumpy old man and tell me a joke. You have to know some good jokes." At first he looked at me stunned, like I was out of my mind. I probably was. I stood there waiting for him to bite my head off and tell me to go away. To my surprise, he tipped his head back like he was thinking and says, "Young filly, I haven't told a joke in so long, you have to give me a minute. I am old and dammit my mind works slow sometimes." I couldn't help but smile. A few minutes later, he was rambling off jokes (most of them crude but hilarious) with a smile on his face. I made friends with him over the next several weeks. I learned that he was actually depressed and didn't know any other way than anger to express the resentment and lonliness that he constantly felt. His wife had died about a year earlier, his kids lived with their families in Colorado and California. He was alone in the world. I gave him hope through jokes, laughter and friendship.
He died about two months ago, still living not far from here. I can tell you that when he passed, many nurses and doctors came to his calling hours. A few people within the community that his children had never known while living here came too. And, of course, I went. We all discussed how he changed after that day in the hallway. He became much more personable. I think he realized that by being loud and angry, all he managed to do was push everyone away. He was one of the nicest and kindest men I have ever had the opportunity to spend time with. He told me many stories about funny things that he had done in his life and things that he remembered his kids doing. He will be missed dearly.
We all have the power to do this kind of thing in someone's life. All you have to do is say or do something that will make a person smile. Take one day, as an experiment, and trying smiling at every person you walk by. Watch their face closely to catch their response. Ask them right after they make contact how they are. You will be down right amazed at some of the answers you get back.
May God Bless all of the unfortunate souls who feel alone and unworthy, help them find your grace and give them strength to live life to the fullest.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cold Weather and Warm Home

I am sitting on the couch right now, just inside from taking care of the cows. Between yesterday and today, things have been difficult trying to keep calves warm. The two new calves are managing with the cooler weather better than Norman is. Norman is having some difficulty with his back leg again and spent most of his time today inside a stall. I hate keeping him locked up like that but, I really don't know what else to do. I have to keep him so that he stays warm and doesn't injury his leg more than he already has. I feel so bad sometimes that I feel like crying.
Momma is doing well with the new addition and all of the attention that she is getting. She is doing much better and is starting to look better already.
Buck loves his new family, he actually knocked the fence down today so that he could spend time with them. The whole group wandered around the field together munching on the grass throughout the pasture. I didn't think that he would be as good with them as he is. I am impressed with how good his is with the calves.
The calves have names now. The redder colored one made a noise yesterday that sounded just like a person saying "Davy", so I started calling him Davey and he would pick up his head, stare straight at me, and even make a couple of steps toward me. So, as I was cleaning up the manure out of the barn, I started thinking of names that would go with Davy. The only reference to Davy that I could think of was Davy Crockett. To go along with that, all I could think of was Daniel Boone. The name of the strong-willed fuzzier calf is now Daniel or Danny or when he makes me mad...Danny-boy. After Rich assisted with moving them into the barn last night, he thinks that Danny is fast approaching 100 lbs. but the other two he puts at around 85-90 lbs. They will start gaining weight faster now that they are starting to eat grass and grain. Before I know it, I will have to start milking the cow.
Once I start milking though, I will be making butter and buttermilk as a side product along with working with Rich's Dad, Jim, to make cheese. He wants to make some and so do I, so we will work together on the first batch.

On another note, I am currently in the process of making copies of a 1971 version of Rich's family geneology that dates all the way back to 1800. It is amazing to see how many of the families here in the little town that we live in are actually related. No wonder why they treat all new people in town like's because we are! Atleast they aren't marrying within the town anymore. Hahahaha. Now most of the "spouses" are all from outlying townships. I think that this little town is actually a rarity anymore. It is almost a throw back to another time and place. The people here treat their neighboors with respect, but respectfully mind their own business unless their neighboor is in a time of need. I am proud to now be accepted as a part of this community. The community reminds me so much of my childhood, including the dependency upon Agriculture and the attitudes that people have toward their friends and family. I don't think that most people around here lock their doors and it isn't uncommon to wake up in the middle of night to hear someone knocking on the door because they need help due to a car in the ditch, a smashed car from a deer "run-in" or even to have someone come to the door after dark asking if we could come help catch a cow.
I wish that more places in the world were still like it is here! Remember, be kind to people, no matter what, because you never know what kind of problem they have or what is going through their minds. Sometimes all it takes if one simple question like "How are you today?" to save someone from committing suicide.
Wishing everyone the best and may God bless you in all that you do!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Rainy Day

Well, today turned out to be a real Monday kind of day. It rained all day long. The animals are all doing well but the weather sure did make it miserable doing chores (which there is still one more step to do). Everything is soaked! You go outside for ten minutes and you get wet, not soaked through but wet enough to make you cold.
I spent most of the day on the phone for some things with the business. We are getting so close now! I just can't wait for the day when I get to see the doors open and production start! I am sick of the stress that has been going on in my life since August of last year. We are right at the last door/hurdle and now all we have to do is make it through. Nothing like waiting on pins and needles........
Rich came home early again today....It sucks when they just don't have any work! It will all be over soon though as we get the business up and running. It's just sad to see guys who have worked for the same place for 15/16 years go through all of this job cutting nonsense.
Well....Rich wants to go through some papers and then I need to go lock the barn door. God Bless and Have a good night. Sweet Dreams.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rainy Sundays

Rainy Sundays mean that we have time to work inside. After all of the other chores were done this morning, we got up this morning and cleaned up an area in the back of the barn. We ran new electric into that area and put in a couple of outlets, hung heat lamps, installed new bedding material and moved our four adopted chicks from the house to the barn. We are now ready for the turkey poults to come!
After we were done, since it was raining, we decided to go back to TSC to return the extra roll of wire and the two extra boxes of staples. While we were there we bought 20 Cornish Rock chicks that will be ready for the freezer in about 8-10 weeks. That means they will be ready in time for Rich's parents anniversary party. They will be married 50 years in July.
The new cow and calves are all doing well. They were all eating good this morning. Momma is very happy to have the grain, green grass and room to move around. I am glad that she came here! I can't wait for the day when she is filled out and has gained her weight back.
Norman is moving better every day now! It is great to watch him out with the other two (which still need names). I wish you could understand how proud of him I am. He is such a good boy and so glad that he is still with us.
Been doing some research tonight and decided that next weekend we are going to head to the NY Jersey Auction, that just happens to be going on about 8 miles from home. I want to go meet some people that I haven't seen in a long time, as well as maybe meet some new connections for people that I might want to connect with when (hopefully this fall) it is time to breed our cow back again. She is so gentle and such a great mom that it would be a shame not to get her back into shape and then rebreed her.
Anyways, I am going to start working on my first batch of soap tomorrow. It takes some time to cure but I will make sure that I update as things progress, gooey flop of a mess or not.
We went today and went shopping for a new truck, since Rich's needs to go back into the shop yet again! We found a Dodge 3500 just like what he was looking for! I am going to make some phone calls on it tomorrow to find out what kind of deal I can get. It is a beauty of a truck. Silver, diesel and a 6-speed standard transmission. Will let you know how we make out!
Alright...the dog is banging on the door, my tv show on the history channel is starting in just a bit and I still need to shower. Have a great night and God Bless.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Absolutely Exhausted

Well, the fence is finally all done. The cow and new calves are here. Norman is adjusting to his adopted family well. Buck is loving his extended family and new play area. The step daughter and grand daughter are doing extremely well and Lilli is getting so big already. The future son-in-law is doing good if his future wife hasn't killed him after the auction today. The sun was shining all day and life is great!

Our new cow is in rough shape due to lack of nutrition but she will come around in no time. She is far from the perfect cow right now but with a little bit of TLC she will be doing great in no time. I can't help but think about all of the animals that have come here to a good home that way. The oldest one and the one that was in the worst shape was our bloodhound Rosie. She was so thin and so scared of everything. It is amazing to think back on her transformation from then until now. The next to come was Buck. He wasn't in bad shape, but his life sure has taken a different twist than it was destined for. He was actually headed to the auction barn, which 90% of young calves end up at either the rendering plant or into veal, and probably would not still be alive. Next came the chickens, which have a better life here than they would have almost anywhere else. Then came the turkeys. Some of them had a short life, as they were actually raised for meat birds and landed on a few thanksgiving dinner tables or in our freezer. Next came Raven, the bluetick coonhound, that was owned by a guy who had other extremely aggressive dogs and didn't properly care for her. She was thin, covered in fleas, had an ear infection and unfortunaly timid. To see her today, you would never know what she was like when she came here to live with us. Next came the adopted chicks, that are still living under a heat lamp in the "dining room" of our house. The get clean bedding everyday and spoiled by the kids. Next comes the newest additions. Give it a couple of months of good food and room to have fresh green grash and you will never know that she looked as bad as she does today. She reminds me of an overgrown version of how Rosie was when we got her! It makes me sad for her and angry at her previous owner.
Please, anyone out there that might be reading this....If you have an animal, remember that they are committed to you. If for some reason you can not take care of them anymore...Please find them a new home! There are plenty of people around who would love and care for them the way they deserve. It isn't fair to them and if you choose them, you should do the right thing by them and make someone else happy.....BTW...I LOVE that I now own a cow. This was one of the things on my life's list of things that I always wanted but never thought I would get to have.
For anyone who wants to know why I care for my animals the way I do....A lesson from the Bible, Book of Genesis 1:26-20. I respect the world around me and everything in it because God blessed me with life here on Earth to care for all he has created. "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so."
May God Bless You.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Fence...Awaiting Delivery

Well, part of the new fence is up. We are taking a break for the moment, waiting for the delivery of two new calves and a registered jersey heifer! We ended up getting her for $300, well below her market value! The lady who had her can not afford the grain bill anymore and was going to shoot her. I just couldn't see wasting a perfectly good heifer. So, Rich and I are buying her and soon we will be able to milk her (we are waiting until her calf is weane) and then have fresh milk. I will be able to make cheese and butter from scratch again just like my Gram used to! I am so please and so exhausted.
We bought all of the kids a new pair of gloves today so they could have them to wear when they come help work on the farm. Caleb drove the tractor for a few minutes today (in a fairly straight line) and laughed the whole entire time. He had such fun driving slow and chasing after his brother and sister. Leah absolutely loves spending time with the calf, who is situated in his new pen area. Norman, as he is called now, isn't very thrilled with the move but he will do much better when the other calves arrive. Hopefully everyone will get along well and we don't have any issues.
Seth is the chicken man. He loves spending time with the chickens and the turkeys. He is the one who definately spends the most time with them. We don't have to worry about the barn getting dirty too bad because he makes sure that the chickens always have clean hay to lay eggs on, food in the dish and water in the jug. I think the only thing we have to worry about is them getting so fat they don't want to move.
Well...I am going to take my boots off, my hat off and just relax for a few. I am nursing an extremely sore hand and wrist and think that it is time for me to just sit here without using it for a few minutes.
Hope every one is having a productive day like we are here. God Bless and Have a great Friday night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Addition Day Tomorrow

Well, all of the fence posts are up and we are stringing the wire tomorrow. We had three great helpers come up to help us finish up today. Leah helped me move the posts to the holes. Seth assisted with the digging of the holes as best as he could and helped us find the holes to set the poles into. Caleb helped carry some of the poles and he helped collect the chicken eggs. It is amazing how much these three kids love the farm and all that goes along with it. They are now coming up every morning to help with morning feedings and care for the all the animals. Like I have said before...this fills a gap in my life that I never thought would be touched again. These wonderful kids have touched my heart and they feel just like family!

The calf is doing well and his leg is healing very quickly. It is still going to take a bit of time but he is doing great considering the rough shape he was in before. It is great to see him out walking, jumping with his front legs and even attempting to run. I am so honored to have him still be here with us and I give thanks to God for allowing him to remain with us.
Buck is doing well. He is going to love having the extra room to run once all of the fencing is up.
The two new babies will be here tomorrow afternoon...and now, we think that one of the heifers is coming too! This fits right in with my plans for what I want for the farm. If she comes, I will have a cow here to help feed the calves and once they are weaned then I will be able to milk her so I can make cheese and butter! This would be perfect. I am sitting here right now waiting for the return phone call to let us know whether she is coming or not. I would love to have her here with us! She will have lots of room too with all of this new fence we are building too!
The baby chicks that were adopted last weekend are doing great even if they are a little spoiled by Leah. She comes in everyday to hold them. She even has one of them trained now so it sleeps in her arms. Caleb does a great job making sure that they have fresh food and water every time he comes.
Rich's parents even think that it is funny how all the neighboor's animals and kids have started adopting me into their lives. They think that it is grand that Leah, Seth and Caleb come up to visit all the time. I wish you could hear them picking on me about my new kids! I will take all the haressment because these kids are great!
We still aren't ready for the new turkeys that are coming. Guess it is a good thing that we have another week left before they are suppose to be here. you know, the kids are all picking on me today. They had to come up this afternoon to make sure that I was okay after FALLING off the back of the pickup today. This is the first time ever in my life. I was hiding on the tailgate since the front seat had buckets and new food dishes on it. Rich was driving around the end of the new fence posts and we were dropping the braces for the corner posts off. Well, needless to say, Rich went over a couple of bumps, bumped the tail gate up in the air and I popped right off. Thankfully, I didn't get hurt too bad (my wrist is a little sore). All it really did was hurt my pride when the kids were all laughing at me.
Well.......there is a mental picture for ya today to laugh at. God Bless You all and Have a great night! going to bed very, very soon!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Project Time

Well, Rich decided after two hours of work this morning that he was taking the rest of the day AND the rest of the week off from work. The weather is suppose to be good most of the days so we will be able to get a ton of projects done.
We worked this afternoon and got the majority of the fence posts set. We still need to brace the corners, build gates and then string the wire but the worst part is done. It is tough work breaking the hole in the ground with a pry bar and then beating them into the ground. We also had to cut the ends of the posts with the chain saw to get them points because we saved a considerable amount by purchasing them unpointed. I don't use the chainsaw...ever! Rich ran the saw while I moved the posts around from the back of the truck, held them so they could be cut, and then loaded them onto the forks of the tractor. Then Rich dug the holes and I placed the poles. I am exhausted now to say the least.
Tomorrow, we are building the area for the little chicks and working more on the fencing. I will update, hopefully with some photos soon.
Good Night and God Bless

Monday, April 19, 2010

Busy Bees

Well, I spent most of the day today with the neighboor kids. They came up early this morning to help with morning feedings and came back this afternoon to walk with me to the pond. I really enjoy watching them with the animals. They are all so patient and tender with all of the animals, even the baby chicks.
Leah, is eight years old and loves the calf.
Seth, is seven years old and loves the chicken but goes crazy for the turkey eggs.
Caleb, is two and just loves all the animals.
I wish everyone could know how much I truely enjoy spending time with these kids. The fill a whole in my heart that has been a gapping, empty, torn hole in me for four years now. The don't close the hole but they fill it. It makes me happy to know that I can do something for them that makes them happy. I am so pleased to spend time with them.

Well, the calf followed Leah all over the yard this morning. He is getting progressively better every day! The chicken's are getting used to Seth now and will stand still until he pets them. The chicks are happy to just lounge in thier hands and sleep away the time as they get tons of attention.
We walked down to the pond today and the kids learned all about wintergreen berries and they spent a bunch of time picking a whole bunch of them to take home to Mom for her tea. The had fun watching the geese and moving sticks around. We found an awesome rock that was loaded with fossils that they took home with them too.
It is amazing how fast time goes when you are enjoying yourself. It is hard to believe that it is nearly 7pm here already. Almost time to sit down for dinner...which is a pork roast cooked in the crock pot cover with sun dried tomato vinegrette and just simmered all day. Rich has been into already and says it is delicious. This is my first time trying it this way but I can tell by his frequent trips into the house that I probably won't have much left for dinner. Potatoes are boiling now for mashed taters and we will eat as soon as they are done.
Well, shower time for me...then time to mash taters and eat...then I am off to bed. Write more tomorrow.
God Bless.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lazy Days

Well, Rich and I spent a weekend at home for the most part. We went and ordered fence posts and cared for animals but that was about it. With the cold weather and rain here, there wasn't much else to do really. We rested up this weekend. I slept more in the past two days than I have in weeks of normal sleep. It has been nice to just lounge around!

We had two of our Rhode Island Red Chickens leave Friday evening and four more chicks come today. It was kind of a rescue deal and they were free, so I took them.
The calf is doing really well. He is progressing nicely but he still tries to overdue it when it comes to walking around. His back leg is still very wobbly but he is getting better. The tom turkeys have decided that it is great to fight, so tomorrow I will have to seperate them into different areas or find a new home for one of them.

Tommorrow is going to be a busy day. I need to get ready for the new turkey poults that should be here toward the end of the week. I need to get one of the rooms cleaned out in the back of the barn that has been used for storage. I want to get the floor layered with sawdust and hay, get the water and feed buckets all disinfected, and get the heat lights installed and put up. I need to get the floor of the barn cleaned up again too. There is some poop piles that have to be moved to the compost pile. The poultry barn needs another quick cleaning too. I want to take the dogs for a run tomorrow too since they have been couped up in the house with us all weekend. To top it all off...the lawn is going to need to be mowed either tomorrow or Tuesday.
I need to go gather a few slate field stones for one of the neighboors in the morning and delivery them along with a couple dozen eggs too. The new kids that moved in next door are suppose to be coming up tomorrow too to help out around the farm. They are going to work with me to earn themselves some chickens. They want to raise chickens and this will be a good way for them to learn how to take care of them. I am willing to work with them until they understand. I will work with them just like my grandparents did with me.
I can't wait til we get the fencing put up. It will be nice to have a larger area for the steers to move around in...I also can't wait until I can get out into the garden to get our seeds planted. The lye mixture is finishing nicely, I had to add more ashes today but it is getting there. Another thing I can't wait to do is to get it done so I can make homemade soap.
I have so many things to do, so many things that I want to many things that I have chosen to do and learn....
Have I told you all how much I love my farm life!
Will write more tomorrow.
God Bless!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shivery Saturday

We had a lot of rain blow through yesterday afternoon into last night that brought behind it some cooler weather. The temperature is suppose to continue to drop and we actually have the possibility of snow showers! Snow in April...yuck!

No new calves yesterday. The people who are giving them to us are in the process of selling the heifers/momma's and they don't want to have to milk them for a week until the new owners will pick them up next Friday. It messed my plans up, but it will be good for the calves to have mother's milk for another week. That just means I won't have to give them so much milk replacer.
Junior is doing better, much better. He is now getting up and down on his own. He still limps on his one back leg and after checking it yesterday, there is definately some muscle damage there. Time will take care of that, if we can keep him from trying to run. He is eating is food really well now. He has started eating a little of his gain and drink water on his own from a bucket. I am glad to see him up and around but the boy has a bad attitude. He is extremely stubborn and does everything exactly the opposite of what you want him to do.
Buck decided yesterday that he doesn't like the lawn mower but he does like Pepsi. As I was cleaning out the calf area, I used the wagon on the lawn mower with the wagon behind it to transport the used hay from the pen to the outdoor boiler to burn it. Buck decided that he wanted to try to eat the seat, which got him into trouble. Then he decided the start head butting it...which is not good...he actually pushed the thing about 6 inches around the ground sideways! That managed to get him into big trouble. After he got swatted in the horn with a thin board, he decided it was time to check out my drink. I had a plastic cup with Pepsi and ice in it. You should have seen him licking the soda! He drank about 1/3 of the cup! Dumb animal would eat anything, I think. He has torn apart a snow mobile seat. He has torn apart plastic bags and attempted to eat them. He has chewed on the metal portion of our shovel. He chewed up the leads on a brand new battery charger. He seems to have a real taste for anything plastic! Needless to say, he doesn't have a plastic bucket for food or water...they didn't last long. He doesn't have anything plastic anywhere near him anymore! Another reason why the new style fencing wasn't an option.
We managed to get the whole hill, other than the one good hay field, all plowed up yesterday afternoon. I think the planting will take place either Monday or Tuesday. It depends on when the gentleman with the air driller makes it here. All of the farmers around here are using him this year. The big farm up the hill from us has had excellent results for two years now, so we all signed a community contract to get the planting done. It was actually less money per acre than what we could do it ourselves for. It will be good to see some corn growing up here!
Heading to the Farm Supply Store and an Equipment dealer today, since it is suppose to rain all day. It will be a good day to go look at a new tractor and a few pieces of haying equipment. Tractor and new baler is what we are specifically after. We have been doing some research on the new Massey Ferguson tractors. They have some new technology that will come in handy and are the most fuel efficient for thier size. We are going to look at a Krone Big Pack Baler today too. They are awesome balers and we have wanted one for a couple of years now. A couple of the area farmers have told us if we get it, they will hire us to do all of their baling for them. Atleast that would assist with the payments.
Time for me to get in the shower and get ready to leave by 8 am. It takes an hour to get to the Ag Dealer and I want to be there when they open at nine.
Have a great day and God Bless!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Finally Friday

Yesterday was an extremely hectic day. I had three kids come spend most of the day with me. I had a blast working with them outside. They had fun picking up feathers outside and collecting them to build a feather bouquet to give to their mommma.

Buck Junior is doing very well. He spent a lot of time out in the field yesterday. He is starting to nibble at the grass now. He is eating extremely well and seems to be progressing nicely.

Today is the day that we have two more calves coming. So there is a whole mess of stuff that needed to be done this morning. I am still working on getting the calf area cleaned up really good. I have taken almost three small wagon loads of hay out of the barn already. I am burning it because the sick calf was in there and I don't want to spread the germs anywhere else. It sucks because I like adding the hay in with my compost pile, but there will be lots more of that to come in the future.

We had two of the Rhode Island Chickens leave yesterday...I will miss them but I know they will be taken care of.

I have started the lye mixture, it should be ready by Sunday but I think that I need to add more ashes to the mixture either later today or tomorrow. After it is ready, I will get all of the stuff together from the butcher shop and begin my very first batch of soap. I am actually kind of excited!

The last bit of plowing will be done on the fields later today. We have some excavation work that we are going to do. Actually, we are just going to take out some scrub pine trees and move them out of the way so that we can enlarge on of the fields by another 10 acres. It hasn't been used in a long time, so it is rather overgrown but with the help of another local farm, we will get it back into working order in no time. I can't wait to see the corn growing on the hill. From what I have been told by long time residents of the hill, it hasn't been planted into corn in nearly 75 years!!! We are still leaving a 50 acre chunk to do clover hay, but that is in really good shape and the clover has a good foothold, so why ruin a good crop.

Fencing Day tomorrow. We are going this afternoon to purchase the barb wire. After doing some serious research on the new style fencing, some price figuring and a future replacement timeline. The barb wire was the option. No electric, so all we will need to do is tighten up the fence every year and it should last just like the old pasture fence we already have here. The older fence has locust post (which is what we are going to use this time as well) and barbed wire. It was installed sometime around 1980 with posts that were already over 75 years old. By looking at the shape of the barbed wire on that fence, made me decide that the wire was the only way to go.

Monday is going to be the day to clean the house and hopefully starting getting the pool ready for this year. We usually have the pool opened by Easter...and yes for those who know how the Northeast weather is...the pool is heated. We are running behind schedule this year. The lawn is a horrible color green due to the fact that I didn't get the early mowing done to get the old stuff from last year off. Remember...I waited a long time for Rich to fix the mower.. I don't think it will take much until it works back into shape but it just looks bad in the mean time.

The clothes are out on the line today....was out of bed really early making sure that all the extra beds were stripped and the sheets were washed to go out on the line. While I was tearing the beds apart, I decided to wash all of the linen, blankets included. Might as well on a beautiful day like today.

I still need to get a ton of stuff done I really need to get off my behind and get back to work....It just kind of seems nice to sit down to relax and watch the birds out the window, cup of coffee in hand... now to finish up the calf barn, then it is on to clean out the back of the truck and wash the windows of the truck I think. By then it will be time for me to go meet Rich after work to pick up the new calves...
Rich is going to go visit with his daughter, son-in-law and grand daughter and I have to come home to unload and settle animals. By the time I get them settled it, it will be time for nightly feedings and then time to fix dinner, take clothes off the line and then finally to lock the chickens in the barn for the night...My days keep getting longer and longer....frustration sets in sometimes, but it is all worth it in the long run!!!
With everything that needs to get accomplished this weekend...I am not sure if I will get time to post or not...if not....
God Bless and Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What a day!

Today isn't even over yet and I feel like I have accomplished so many things already. I had the calf out this morning and decided that since he was outside lounging in the sun and sniffing would be a good time as any to mow our three acre lawn.
So...I mowed the lawn and part of the log yard and extended the animal "play zone". I even mowed a path for the where the new fencing is going to be. It is going to be about double the area available right now. I can't wait to get it in.
The calf spent about six hours outside absorbing up the sun today...he spent most of that time on his feet...something he hasn't done since we brought him home. He is eating well...very well actually. His 1/2 gallon of milk in the morning wasn't enough today, so he actually started nibbling on some of his sweet feed! This is also another first. He drank about the same amount of water this afternoon but with the additional movement today, I am going to say that he will probably be drinking another batch this afternoon.
I went out with the camera for a bit this afternoon, as those of you who are friends on facebook know. Buck was a camera hog today...he has decided that he really likes the flavor of my camera strap! Junior even cooperated enough so that I could get some photos of the two of them together. Buck got a little rough with his attention getting toward the end, but it was adorable to watch.
I had a blast out sitting on the ground with the chickens to take pictures. They decided it was a good time to mess with my toenails (which are painted hot pink by the way). Apparently they reminded them of worms or bugs because they didn't want to leave them alone. You nice thing, atleast they don't care that I need to file my toe nails or that the polish is all cracked and worn off. I don't know, maybe they of them was cackling in my ear like a mad woman! Haha! Atleast they weren't trying to peck my earrings out today. Those girls like my little diamonds...gotta watch them everytime I get near them.
Our guy that was going to come pick up the Rhode Islands isn't coming until the end of the week now. I don't mind but I had rearranging my schedule to fit time in for him...and then he doesn't show...but...atleast he called to let me know.
Well, back outside soon to do my nightly feedings and maybe work on pulling weeds again...I left a flower bed this spring and now it is extremely overgrown with grass and weeds. I think once I get most of the grass pulled out, I will go get a couple loads of wood mulch (from a local logging company that gives me all I want). Maybe I will get some time to do that tomorrow. I have a ton of other weeds that I would like to get out of the area around the barn tomorrow too, but I don't want to layer that with wood chips. I just want to get that area back into shape so I can mow there once a week.
Any way...things to do...never enough time to really relax...but I am loving everything that is going on!
God Bless and See you again tomorrow.

A heavy heart......

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes...Just one of those mornings when I wish I could just lay in bed and sleep all day but I have too many sad thoughts racing through my head. There are so many things that should make me go insane in my too many hours, family issues, health issues and on and on....I just don't let too much of it bring me down. I have too many things in life to be thankful for but sometimes, especially at night, these sad thoughts fill my mind and leave me depressed for a bit.

The reason why I have a heavy heart this morning is because I have been thinking a ton about my Dad lately. Maybe it is because I keep diving into the past, thinking about all of the things I have learned and how the people are that taught me the most. My Daddy is loved by so many people. He is just one of those people that everyone likes. He is soft spoken (for the most part) and is kind to everyone. He has never had much in life but always did his best to teach us kids how to survive and how to treat other people. To those who don't know, I haven't seen my Dad in nearly four, no wait five years. He isn't "allowed" to talk to me. My mother is angry with me, so we are all punished for it. I miss him so very much though.

Enough sentimentality for today...I need to focus on something else! Alright, I did a bit of research yesterday on how to make soap and the key ingredient is lye. Well, I did some research on that too. You can make your own, which is going to be one to the projects for today. I am going to set up my "barrel" and with the use of stones, hay, hardwood ashes (which we have a ton of) and can make your own lye. I guess you could say I am going to attempt this the "old school" way. I want the experience of doing this soap making the way our grandparents and great grandparents did it. Once I get the lye, which takes about three days, I will proceed to the next steps. I have a call into a butcher that I know to get the beef tallow and the lard. I am also going to try a recipe that I found using vegetable based materials. I read a little bit yesterday too on how to get your own essential oils, so I am going to be gathering up some stuff to do that as well. My first batch of soap though is going to be a honey oatmeal bar. I have itchy skin, not dry but it just itches and this is suppose to help with that. We will see if it does or not.
Once I get the soap made and it turns out okay, I am going to be giving some away or just charging a small fee for trial testing. If people like them, then I am going to start selling them at the local market level. There is a place not far from me that sells things like that on consignment and they have been bugging me lately for some stuff. I am just trying to think of some stuff that I can do.
The animals are all doing very well. Buck Junior was finally up and walking around yesterday. His back legs are still week but he is getting better with every passing day. His is eating well and now standing up with no assistance. I am so proud of my little buddy. I have chickens who are getting mad at me when I take their eggs now. I guess they are going to turn into great broody hens. I have two of my Rhode Islands leaving to move away today. Rich had a friend at work who lost a couple of his chickens and needs to replace them. I want to cut back our flock to just the Barred Rocks and Don isn't picky about the birds he gets, so it is a win-win situation for us. I have decided that the six remaining birds (Rhode Islands) are going to go to the new neighboors. I am going to give them to the kids. They want chickens to take care of and fresh eggs for breakfast and they will be close. I will help these kids out. They are very nice, very respectful kids who want to start their own little farm, so I will do what I can to help.
Our son-in-law to be called us last night to inform us....yes, I said inform us, that he is bring us too more Jersey's calves on Friday. They are about a week old, so they are about the same age as the other one we have right now. The holsteins that Rich told someone else to bring have still not come, not really sure if they are or not. Nolan (son-in-law) said that they were going to slaughter them (now) and he told them that if they didn't want them that I would take them. So, I guess I will. No harm to me, just two more feedings twice a day. I started looking around yesterday for a Jersey Heifer anyway. I would actually like to start making our own butter, like I used to when I was a kid on my grandparents farm..only now it won't be punishment for eating the veggies out of the cupboard and I sure won't be hand churning like I did back then.
Somehow, I think I am going to end up having a small Jersey herd here before too long. I will be the only farm in 25 miles that has Jersey's so that might not be a bad thing.
I worked yesterday on getting things ready for the lawn to be mowed...The deck on the mower needed new pins and belts. I waited for Rich for about two weeks now, decided enough was enough and did it myself. It was a good thing I checked the filter though...there was a field mouse inside that had chewed up about 1/4 of the filter and stuff the whole filter area and top of the motor full of hay and feathers! It took me nearly two hours to get all the feathers cleaned out. Once I got it all cleaned up, I started up the mower, did about 5 minutes of mowing behind the barn and the mower died. I needed a new fuel filter....UGGGGG! So needless to say, I called Rich to have him stop at the John Deere dealership for parts on his way home from work. It is all fixed now, with only one banged up finger, and ready to go.
I have to start working on the area for the 30 turkey poults that are during here sometime next week or into the first part of May this week. I want to give it a good cleaning and get the sawdust down on the floor and the lights installed. We are going to be putting up some additional fencing this weekend too....the calves are going to need a seperate lot to move around in. Buck is weighing in around 600 lbs or more and I just don't trust him with the little ones.
Well....that's it for right now...I am off to get my stuff together to start making lye today, I want to get the calf outside in the sun, I want to clean up the pasture and get the lawn mowed today. Tomorrow is moving compost to the new garden area, cleaning the new turkey area, preparing some stuff for work and heaven only knows what else.....
God Bless

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's adventures....

Finally...the calf is doing much, much better. He was up and walking around this morning for the first time in three days. You have no idea how awesome it feels to know that even though you are exhausted from the nearly constant care and stress from worrying, he is pulling through and going to make it.

I sat here this morning, making a plan. I am trying to figure out how we can all learn to survive. My definition of survival may be a little bit different that yours. My method of survival means knowing how to survive through situations of having no power and no gasoline. I keep looking at what is going on around the world and I am beginning to think that our family needs to have a "disaster" plan in place. I am just starting to roll these ideas around in my head but I think it is something that we are going to need to do.
I keep thinking about things like...
Without electricity, how will food keep in the fridge or freezer?
How will we keep veggies as long as possible?
Where will we get water (since the water pump uses electricity)?
How will I feed the animals (just in case we have no gasoline either)?
How will we wash cloths, cook meals, and so on.....

I keep thinking back to those folks during 9/11 and during Katrina. I don't want to have to depend on the government to supply me with food, water or shelter. I want to make sure I have a plan in place, just in case....I think I know how to survive for the most part. I just wonder how we would come up with things like Ice to keep food cold. I am starting to think that I want to go back to canning stuff from the garden instead of freezing them. They would last longer and not depend on the freezer to keep. Water is always available through buckets in the pond or by digging out one of the natural springs here on the property. I could wash and rinse clothes but once store bought soap was gone...What would I use? I will have to check out how to make soap..homemade that is something I have never done.
I have been after Rich for a couple of years now to put in a veggie cellar. Maybe this is something I can work on myself. I will have to do some research on how those are built. I know that you can build them into the ground but I don't know much more than that. Hmmmm....remind me to dig into that further.
Feeding the animals can be done through grain, hay and planting corn. Guess I need to learn again how to get seeds from everything you would normally plant in the garden. Peppers are easy of course but some of the other stuff I don't remember. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to start a binder full of helpful information just in case....
I want to learn how to do some other things making jelly. Again, something I haven't done for a really long time. I think the last time was when my grandparent's were still alive. Maybe it is time for me to start doing that again too.
Maybe what I will do is to build a whole survival guideline, with recipes and tips and hints, put it in a binder for safe keeping and share what I learn......How does that sound? That might be a good thing for me to work on while I am down with my neck and I can't do too much right now. If anyone wants me to find something specific, just comment and I will add it! Well, of to go collect up some more eggs and clean up the cow barn...
God Bless!

Monday, April 12, 2010


What a wonderful night! Hahaha. Not really. I have been awake all night long!!! I am so tired but the pain in my neck is driving me insane. Painkillers aren't working and everytime I move, something goes hay wire and either my lower jaw goes numb, I get dizzy or my right arm goes numb. It seems like laying down would help but it only seemed to make it worse!

So, here I sit at 4:30 in the morning, tired as hell, yet again! This has got to stop, I need to sleep! LOL

Oh well, that's what coffee is made for and since I have a hectic week this week, I might as well just deal with it.

Any way, so I am reading this book about American History that got me to thinkin'...which is not good sometimes....
Any one who knows anything about how our country was founded knows that we have life extremely easy in this day and age. How is it that so many have forgotten what it is like to fend for themselves? I am not talking about every home having chickens for eggs and a cow for milk. I am talking about people who actual appreciate a good days labor. I remember how hard my Grandpa worked. He, being a small dairy farmer, worked a full time job and the farm to support his family. Of course they had six kids that all needed clothes and food but still....
I remember a time when we didn't buy all of our clothes off the rack, some of them were homemade. Dresses for me every Easter. The only thing "store" bought was a new pair of shoes. Maybe I was just raised different...
My parent's didn't buy too much food that came from a "box" as my Dad used to say. We always had a garden for fresh veggies and we either canned them or froze them. We didn't rush to the grocery store to buy a can of peas.
We never had the "newest" cars or trucks, we had older, steady and sound vehicles. I think the newest car I ever saw my family own was a Ford Fiesta. My dad bought it to drive back and forth to work to save money on gas....WHEN IT WAS LIKE $1.50 A GALLON. Can you imagine???
Hell, my family didn't even have a phone in the house until 1991! Imagine the crap I got from classmates on that! And now, no one lives without a cell phone.
So, anyways, back to my original thought.....How would people survive today without electicity, tv, computer, phones and so on?????? How many people would actually die because they could drive to the store??? I think the thing that made me think of reading a book yesterday, it states that 50% of all people between the ages of 18 and 25, do not know how to locate NY on the map!!! I mean come on...the state with what the second or third highest population. The state that was the "hub" of our government before the creation of Washington, DC. What are these kids actually learning in schools now? How to go to BestBuy and purchase a new video game????
I can't believe how "lazy" our society has become!!!!
On top of that, most people take no interest in what goes on around them. They don't care what happens to their neighboors, the corner store in Podunk, or even what happens to local, historical landmarks. Don't you remember the people who lived next to your parent's when you were a kid? Don't you remember the person who worked at the check out in that little Five and Dime your parent's shopped in??? Don't you remember passing that landmark or taking a field trip to see it and learn why it was there???
Things were different back then. That's what people keep telling me. Well, would someone explain to me how the are??? Because the only thing I see, is that people can not be "bothered" with thier neighboors. They don't care if the corner store closes because Big Business moved in and things are cheaper there. (I am all for saving money but is this really the best way to do it???) Who cares about that local landmark, it's just an eyesore now because NO ONE IS WILLING TO PUT IN A LITTLE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF IT!
We are all lazy, lazy, lazy people!!!
I atleast know who my neighboors are...BY NAME. I visit with them when I can and they are always (always, no matter what) invited to any cookout or function we may have here. If our neighboors call and need a hand, we are the first to go help out and lend a hand. Our door is open to anyone who needs help......WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU OPENED YOUR DOOR TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDED HELP???? Are your neighboors down on their luck??? Low on cash?? Need help with food??? (And don't give me that crap about that is what Welfare is for!) If they had a fire, would you give them a place to stay? Have you offer to include them in a cook out just for some laughter???
Now....let's move on to jobs! People complain about the lack of employment....let's think about this...How come it is cheaper and better for a farmer (large farm) to hire immigrants?????? HMMMMMM...let's see..BECAUSE THEY APPRECIATE THE PAY AND THEY BUST THEIR ASS FOR WHAT THEY DO GET! So, how many jobs do you see taken at your local farm by immigrants?? Quite a few I bet. People are too lazy to work that hard. Hell, you can't get them to work at McDonald's, how are they gonna fair on a farm??? Now here is the real issue....when you purchase groceries from somewhere like Aldi's or Wal-mart...where do you think most of those products are grown, made or packaged? It sure isn't here in the states, and if it is, it is usually California or Florida. Why??? Because they can hire people cheaper...cheaper labor equals cheaper products. The best thing we can all do for the ecomony is to buy local or as local as possible. We need to teach American's how to be American's again. We should value a job, no matter what it is, and do it with pride. I think we are getting closer to this point...
Speaking of not being able to live without TV, cell phones and so is a funny story for ya......
Rich's nephew is in the Army. He is due to ship out to Korea any day now. His girlfriend is worried about keeping communication with him. (We all are.) But here is where I busted up laughing! The conversation went something like this....
Girlfriend..."We are going to have to switch cell phone carriers because then we will be able to Skype to communicate while Kyle is overseas."
Her friend...."Why don't you just use the computer?"
Girlfriend..."He doesn't have one and the service is limited for internet."
Me...."Hmmmm...what about pen and paper?"
Girlfriend...."Oh my, postage would be insane and it takes forever to get there and I wouldn't get to talk to him everyday."
I don't even know if she really knows how to address an envelope! I am sorry...but that was just too funny to me. WOW, can you imagine how different the soldier's would have been in WWII? Vietnam?? Korea??? What the hell! I mean com'mon...he is military! That is part of life and part of being in the service. I guess I am just old fashioned. I have too much faith in humanity, too much respect for my neighboor and too much ingenuity to ever become what others have. I guess I just view things differently than most..........................................

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Peaceful Sunday

Oh, what a relaxing day so far. I was up early this morning, but got to come back inside to take a nap from about 11 this morning to about 1 this afternoon. It seemed strange to be able to sleep during the day. After the past two days of very little sleep, it seems fantastic. I feel so well rested now.
The calf is doing much, much better. He is still very weak and can't stand up for very long, but his spirits are excellent and he is showing his stubborness more every hour. He is eating well and slowly regaining his strength. After seeing him so bad for the past week, it feels like a major accomplishment that he is doing so well now. Had one small episode with the bloodhound yesterday morning. The steer(Buck) decided that he wanted to come into the sick bay area for the calf. WELL....Rosie decided he didn't need to be in there and she actually tried nipping him to chase him out. She is the greatest mother dog. She loves all of "her" animals. One thing is for sure, she is protective.
Rosie, our bloodhound, is actually a rescue dog. She came from a local dog warden who had her for almost six months before they would release her. She was seriously dehydrated, abused and neglected when they got her. Her total body weight was only 43 lbs. She had worms so bad that the vet didn't think she was going to make it. After Lindsay, the care taker at the dog wardens, cared for her almost constantly for the first month, she began getting better. She told me when I went to look at Rosie that she was one of the worst cases she had ever dealt with.
Upon getting Rosie, she weighed in at a whole 58 lbs. She was still extremely thin and scared to death of men. She is still very, very shy around new people and still doesn't want to be around unknown men. It took her almost three months to "love" up to Rich. She now goes to our neighboors house on a regular morning visit for "biscuits" and plays really well with their dog Emma. It took her a year before she would step foot inside their garage. She now weighs in at a whopping 84 lbs. She is the sweetest and kindest dog I have ever had the opportunity to have. She rides with me when I run to town or to the feed store. She goes with me when I go to the pond. She is very rarely away from my side.
We only have one small section of the property to get plowed up now, approximately 25 to 30 acres. We should be able to get that done sometime this week. We found out yesterday afternoon that our turkey poults (30 Heritage Breed) should be here sometime around the 26th of this month. That means we have two weeks to get everything set up for their arrival.
We still need to put in some new fencing, that is this next weeks project I think. We need to work on getting one of the barns fixed too...It is a dome and needs ends put on it this year.
The weather is sunny and beautiful here today. It's not to warm but, not too cold either. The wind has finally died down too. I need to get outside and get some more pictures of the local barns taken today. I have taken many photos of the area farms, as a way of preserving them for future generations. Right now though, I am working with a local painter that has requested photographs to work from. This of course, is not an issue for me. I will be taking reprints of her work to hang in our offices of the new business as payment for the photographs. She is a fantastic painter and I can't wait to see some of her new work.
Well, time to get outside, enjoy the weather and take a road trip around to take some photos. Enjoy your Sunday all. God Bless!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekend update and a Recipe

Well, after a rough night of cat napping, I am awake for the day now. Junior seems to be doing better this morning. He was struggling to get up to stand and with a little help got up and walked around wobbley-legged for about five minutes before he laid back down. That is a huge improvement over last night.
The temperature dropped enough last night to let it blow some snow throughout the night...I thought that winter was over but right now it is only 36 degrees outside. I guess this weather is suppose to last until the end of the week.

I have pancakes that I absolutely love! My gramma used to make these for me when I was little (she tried to get me away from blueberry pancakes, which I still love).

Homestyle Corn Pancakes
For Extra Flavor
Pre-cook a few slices of bacon (or save some from the morning prior), cool and crumble.
Pre-cook a some sausage, drain and crumble (I used the blender for patties and links)
Pre-cut about 1/2 of a medium red pepper into finely chopped pieces(optional)
Pre-cut about 1/2 of an onion, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Jack Cheese (optional, I do not use)
Additional choices for additives to the batter are diced green chilies and/or corn kernals.

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use the non-iodized plain salt)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, well beaten (I substitute with 2 tablespoons olive oil due to an egg allergy)
1/4 cup melted butter (I substitute with a heart health version due to a milk allergy, same amount)
1/2 cup milk (I subsititute with soy or rice milk, same amount)

Place cornmeal into a mixing bowl, pour over hot water stirring briskly until well blended. Add flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, beaten egg, butter and milk. Beat until well mixed. Add in bacon bits, sausage, pepper, onion or other additions, mixing gently.
Heat the griddle over medium heat, use a slightly lower heat than you use for traditional pancakes (the batter is thin and will burn easily). Coat the griddle with grease (I use butter flavored Pam). Using a normal spoon or small ladle, add mixture to griddle, cooking until bubbles break on the top of cakes, then flip them. Cook second side until slightly burn. Serve hot with Maple Syrup.

This is a Sunday tradition in our house now. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! Happy cooking!
I hope that everyone has a great weekend! God Bless!

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's going to be a long night....

Norman Junior took a turn for the worse this afternoon. He is very, very weak and can not stand on his own anymore. The vet said to keep him warm, give him antibiotics and spread his feed, electrolyte and water times apart. I feel so bad for him. The poor little guy is eating very well, which is a great sign. He is still stubborn, trying to butt more food out of his feeder. Doc J says that this is a very good sign. Doc J says he thinks between the cold, windy day today and still dealing with dehydration issues...Norman Junior is just having a really rough day. I have about 12 inches of hay under him, like always, but now he is covered with a blanket and an old sheet to assist with keeping him warm. Right now he is buried under a pile of hay on top of the old blanket. He was doing a little bit better when I went out at 8 pm. He seemed a little bit more lively, he was moving all over under the blankie...something he wasn't doing at all when I went out at 4 pm.
So on the new feeding, electrolyte and watering schedule...He needs attention every two hours for atleast the next two to three days. Let's start at the 8pm. electrolytes. 10pm warm water, Midnight 1 liter of milk replacer, 2am electrolytes, 4am 1 liter warm water, 6am milk, 8am electrolytes, 10am water, see that is going to be a long couple of days.
With the weather the way it is, this is something that needs to be done though. It turned out to be a whole high of 44 degrees today. With the cold wind blowing and so much moisture in the air from the storm that blew through last night, it felt down right freezing out there tonight. When I went to the grocery store this evening at about 5, it was actually blowing snowflakes around! I came home to find the boys out plowing part of the field. I wish that I had time to get some pictures of that, but of course I didn't have the time. I had dinner to fix and then as soon as dinner was done, it was time to go feed the calf. I fed the calf, came in to eat dinner, did dishes and then it was time to give the calf more electrolytes, make sure the chickens and turkeys were all in to shut them in for the night.
We had an eventful day here today. We have new neighboors that move in that have three children under the age of 11, a young lady and two little boys. They decided to come up for a "field trip" today. Of course, I love having any kids come to visit, so I can teach them about how each animal we have here on the farm is different. I explain to them all about how much I care for each one and I respect what each animal does for me. We talked about planting a garden and what kind of vegetables they like and what kinds I like. We talked about how when you have animals you use their manure for fertilizer for your garden to make your veggies grow better. We even talked about the nitrogen difference between poultry manure and cow manure. We talked about how many times a day you need to milk a cow for fresh milk! These kids are all extremely smart...and their mom should be extremely proud! She home schools all of them...and just let me explain that it has been a very, very long time since I have talked with kids who have so many manners and understand that animals are put here on earth for a purpose. They also understood the whole waste not, want not system! These kids are great and I can't wait until they come up to go fishing with me at our pond!!! They remind me so much of my own!
Today was a relatively quiet day other than the 15 or 20 phone calls that came through. Next week is going to be busy. There are a ton of local racecar driver who want photos taken of their cars before the first race of the year next Friday...I have 11 booked for this coming week already! Practice night was tonight at the track, which I can actually see from the deck on the back of the house. One week from today until the end of September, I will get to listen to the rumble and roar every Friday night and a few Sunday afternoons! The first tractor pull of the year is Memorial Day weekend, which I have been booked to shoot since last September. It is so great to know that picture season is here! I can't wait for it all to start...I have the greatest job! I get to watch some of the races at the local dirt track, I get to watch the motocross races that are about two miles down the road, I get to go to the tractor pulls....AND...I get the best seat in the house!!!! Can not beat that when you get paid to go and do something you love.
I think I am going to sit down now and read some more from a great book about the History of America until it is time for me to go back outside to give the calf his warm water. I just have this driving need lately to learn more more more on everything! It is crazy but I am loving it!

April 9th Finally Friday!

Off to a great start already this morning...and yes, I am being sarcastic!! Rich was in one of his moods this morning. I hate mornings when he doesn't really won't to go to work but kind of needs too. He had plans on taking today off to spend time with his parents, daughter and granddaughter but they had some issues with one of the air handlers in one of the buildings he works in that needs to be completed as soon as possible. Men get too stubborn sometimes about what they want.
I managed to get the poultry barn all cleaned out yesterday. I cleaned out all the sawdust and old hay that was inside. I cleaned out the nest boxes and the roosting shelves. I then scrubbed and cleaned everything thoughly! The poultry barn is 10x18 so it took me some time. Once I managed to get everything out and scrubbed down, I put in new sawdust for litter on the floor, added hay to the nest boxes, refilled the feed, cleaned and scrubbed the 10 gallon water dish, scrubbed and cleaned the two one gallon water dishes. I clean the water dishes really good and disinfect them about once a week until the weather gets warm here and then it has to be done every day on the small ones and every two days on the big one. Feed is given to all the birds on free choice, but the two dishes still need to be filled about twice a week. It took me about three and a half hours from start to finish.
Big Momma, the turkey hen that the toms injured will trying to breed her, is healing extremely well. She had about six kids come visit her and pay attention to her yesterday. She loves being "petted". She lays right down on the ground and closes her eyes and just takes it all in. She is one of the nicest birds I have ever had and is an excellent bird to teach the little kids about how different turkeys are from chickens.
Norman junior is doing a little better last night. He is slowly regaining some muscles strength but now has developed swollen joints in two of his legs. I will have to keep an eye on that too now. Hopefully, he will turn around and be a little more lively today and the swelling has gone down some on his legs otherwise, it is a call to the vet to get him some antibiotics and a big vet bill. I will be praying my little guy to get better soon. I hate to see him struggle so much to even be able to stand. It breaks my heart to have to assist him up. He is stubborn though, so I am positive he will pull through it all.
The weather here is miserable last night. We had a storm blow through with lots of lightning and tons of thunder. The dogs were scared silly. One was hiding behind the bathroom door and the other was so close to me I think I can feel every hair on her back.
We started spreading the fields with liquid manure yesterday afternoon. We managed to get one of the field chisel plowed. The rest of the 50 acres are going to have to wait until tomorrow. We had three tractors spreading and one plowing. The neighbooring farm up the road is assisting us with the liquid manure, extra equipment and man power. We should be able to finish up the bigger section today. By the end of the coming week, we should have corn in the ground. The medium field that runs along the property boundary to the pond will be left for hay. It produced good last year at about one round bale (about 800-900 lbs) per acre. We won't get to harvest that until sometime around May 1st.
Well, now that I am done with my coffee it is time to head out to the barn to do my morning rounds of feedings. It is cold out here today and right now the temp sits at 40 degrees. Big difference from yesterday morning when it was 65. Since the weather is going to be cooler and rainy today, I am working inside for most of the day today. Today is the day to do housework! Yuck...I would rather clean the barn.
I will be loading a recipe on for Corncakes later this morning! A Sunday favorite for me! Rich doesn't like pancakes but loves the corn cakes. I thought maybe that would be something good to share for our first recipe of the week. Of course, to those of you who read, I am sure we could find a way to do a recipe swap! Anyways, "It's time to make the donuts." as the Dunkin Donuts comercials used to say! Have a great day all, may God Bless.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good Morning April 8th

Up at 6:15 this morning and in the barn by 7 am. The calf is eating well this morning but still seems weak. I will give him another round of electrolyte around 9 am. Buck, the original calf, loves his new companion. He comes in to watch over Norman Junior while he eats. Rosie, our bloodhound, comes in to watch too...but, she is just waiting to see if any milk is left over.
The chickens and turkeys all have fresh water and lots of scratch grain to keep them busy for a little while. I managed to get six eggs by the time I made it into the barn to let them out about 7:30. I bet we end up with around 20 just like yesterday.
I managed to get the top half of my brown eggs for sale done yesterday. I want to put a couple more coats of lacquer on it to make sure it is sealed good but other than that it is done. Now on to the bottom half of the is two pieces of scrap lumber from the sawmill that I am "carving" to make raised letters. Once the letters are carved, I am applying a dark red oak stain to the raised letters and leaving the rest for clear lacquer. I have to get it done. We have around 15 dozen eggs right now. It sure doesn't take long when you get almost two dozen eggs a day.
I have been working for the past hour on doing some studies for my personal benefit. I played on facebook for a few but kind of got bored, so I moved on to other things. I have too much stuff to do today, as usual.
I need to clean the drain on the washer, since the trap is filled with lint thanks to the dog hair that gets all over everything! I need to work on getting the yard cleaned up and I want to get the poultry barn cleaned out this morning before the rain comes.
I woke up this morning to a ton of fog. It is so foggy that you can't see very far at all, maybe around 500 ft. in front of you. Needless to say, I didn't get to see the beautiful sunrise here this morning. My favorite thing of the day!
Rich's parents are due back from their winter trip to Texas today. I will lay money on it that one of the first places they head is here to the farm to visit with the animals. Jim loves to be around all of the animals. Last summer they were here about three days a week to check in on how the animals were doing. I guess once you are a farmer, it just stays in your blood forever. I know that my love of farming comes from growing up around my grandparents farm. I used to beg Rich to get animals and now I am in heaven having the ones that I have. They are all my babies and I love them all just like they are my own children. I take care of them constantly and they sure don't lack for anything.
My mind is spending a lot of time on the past this morning. I keep thinking over and over about some of the things that my grandfather used to say to me when I was really little. He used to say things like "Never smack a gift horse in the mouth." "Always remember to be kind to everyone and everything." "Care for those who care for you." As you can tell, he had a great impact on my life and who I have become today. I think the reason why I keep thinking about all of these statements is because I want to do something, but I just don't know what it is yet. It is going to be something new, I know it is. I just don't know what yet. I am kind of thinking about all of these animals that the auction barn is willing to give away because they won't "walk" through the gates for sales. They give them away. I know that they are going to take some work, but to me I think that it would be so rewarding to rehab animals who normally wouldn't have ever stood a chance. No one cares about animals that go through the auction barns or about what happens to them if they aren't sold. I can tell you exactly what happens...they end up dog food. It just doesn't seem fair for a new born calf who is less than a week old typically to end up in my dogs mouth. How sad is that? I think this is the "sign" for God that I have been waiting for. I just don't know how I am going to add it and still be able to afford the items they will need for their care. I am not worried about the time, I can always find the time or even someone to help out. What I am actually thinking is discussing this with the 4-H offices. Maybe I can "donate" the animals rescued. I would love to see more kids involved in farming, just because it is sentimental to me and I think it teaches a different way of life that can not be taught anywhere else.
I am not sure what I am going to do yet....but I know for a fact it will be something. I will keep you all posted on what the final decision is. everyone knows, all of the photos in the slide show to the right are actually photos that I have taken. Some of them are local animals and some of them are mine. Anyways, hope you enjoy them all and I will add to them now and then. If anyone has a request for me to take a photo of a specific farm animal, please just comment anywhere and let me know.
Well time for me to get to work. I will update when I can.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Afternoon Calf Update

The calf is doing much better this afternoon. The electrolytes seemed to help him...he is full of energy now but still to weak. He tried to run but he ended up falling down because he couldn't steady himself. I think he is going to be just fine, we will find out tomorrow if he is doing better!
I managed to get about 2/3 of the sign done and about 1/4 of the lawn picked up. Almost time to go back out and feed the calf again at about six and then another round of electrolytes at eight.

The dog is hot and sleeping in the bedroom door now where the breeze is blowing through between the bedroom and living room and dining room area. The other one refuses to come inside. It turned out to be about 85 degrees here today. I am going to sit inside for a few more minutes discussing with Rich the stuff for what needs to be done over the next week and a half for the biomass business. Then it is back to work feeding animals, then fixing dinner, doing dishes, another load of laundry and then back out to the barn to lock the chickens and turkeys up for the night, AND THEN it is my time. It will be about 9 pm before all is done.

Hope everyone is outside enjoying the weather! Best wishes! And more to come tomorrow!!!

Another day, Another issue to deal with......

The title says it all....
I am dealing with a very weak little calf at the moment. He is having issues standing up on his own this morning. I am now giving him a bout of electrolytes. I hope that this will help him out.
I have figuring that he managed to get dehydrated at the auction barn the other day. I am sure that his new momma is going to get him doing better before very long.
Buck, our original bull, is so interested in the little tyke but he turns up his nose is disgust everytime he gets near Junior. Animals are so funny sometimes. Like the turkeys who want to fight but have no idea how! Turkeys are so dumb. And...we have 30 more coming at any time!
The calf is scared out of his mind of the chickens. I think they just move toooooo fast for him to keep track of them all. Junior is curious and interested in things, he is just weak. He is eating great. He was extremely thirsty yesterday, that is why I am assuming dehydration.
Rich came home from work last night to inform me that we have two more calves coming sometime this week. I don't mind but they are Holstiens. I don't want holstiens but I will take care of them and hopefully, I will be able to find them suitable homes once they are stable and out of the woods, so to speak.
The animals are all loving this beautiful weather we are having around here....too bad there is rain expected tomorrow. I have barns that I need to clean and tons of yard work to do. Rich still needs to fix the lawn mower (the deck has a broken pin) and we need a new battery for the four wheeler. Everything is broken around here! Rich's truck is still in the shop because it is a piece of junk and the brakes went out on Friday. So...he is driving my truck that I use to make trips to town to pick up groceries and such. I really didn't realize how much I actually use my truck around on the farm. I use it to haul garbage, move lumber around, move stuff from the storage area in the back of the barn to the house and back, to haul feed and even to load up stuff out of the lawn like broken trees. You need to understand, I am not a lazy person. Our lawn and barn area is just over 5 acres. Too far to continue dragging broken branches up and down the hill to get them to the furnace to burn them.
I cleaned out part of the flower bed yesterday through the "showers" we had here. Need to get the rest of it finished today. Need to figure out where I am going to build my raised gardens to plant my veggies this year. Need my truck to haul the stupid lumber, but I guess I will just have to use the tractor and put the forks back on. There is a mess out in front of the furnace that needs to be cleaned up, that I need the wagon behind the four wheeler or lawn mower for. I need to get the wood splitter and LOGS out of the lawn and over in the log yard (yes we have alot going on around here). Rich needs to saw up some 2x4's when he gets home today. I need to get the whole barn cleaned up...the stupid wind managed to blow sawdust all over the place inside the barn. I need to get the deck cleaned off and bleached so the next time we have a few nice days in a row, we can get the deck fixed and sealed. I need to finish a sign that I started working on over the weekend. Oh yeah, the garage needs to be cleaned out, the hot water heater that leaks needs to be fixed (it is outside, thank heavens) and spring cleaning inside the house needs to be done!!!!
I have so many things to do...yet here I sit.
Oh yeah....We finally got notice that we have financing in place for the new business!!!! Will take about two weeks to get everything set to sign the check! HAHAHA...just another thing to add to my busy hectic life!
Time to go back out and get something done...will update more later!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Well, in addition to our single jersey bull, 23 chickens, and 4 turkeys, we added an additional jersey calf! We purchased him through a local auction barn today for a whole $4.02!!! He is only a day old and already has a special place in my heart.

We actually have the option of nursing calves back if we take them for free, as well. I wish that I had more room to put them and more funds to supply the starter milk that I would need (It costs about $70 for milk and grain to get them through until weaning).

So, if anyone would like to come for a visit after next week, you are more than welcome to stop by and visit all of our critters...It is a great place to come and bring a fishing pole!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another adventure begins...

Well, so many things have changed since my last post. I have been busily working throughout the summer months photographing truck and tractor pulls. I absolutely love the view on the track and get to stay involved with many of the local farmers. I have also been commissioned to take photos at several weddings and a 50th anniversary party this year. Things are progressing faster than I have ever imagined.

I have also been putting together a business plan for a new biomass business right here in the Southern Tier of NY State. I have been in constant contact with many people who are looking toward the future and reducing the dependency upon Foriegn Oil and Fossil Fuels. It is great to see such a response from the farmers and landowners within our area and I am looking forward to working with the various companies for electricity production. If you would have told me a year ago that this is what I would have been doing...I would have flatly told you that you were insane. This has all happened so quickly but it has been a great adventure.

My goal for this year is to continue to do things that take me out of my "comfort zone" and continue to explore what new and exciting options are out there for me. I thank God everyday that He has shown me that through tragedy comes triumph and through total despair comes hope and faith. I feel so blessed where I am right now in my life! Thank you all for your continued and enduring support.