Monday, December 31, 2007

More about Christmas

Christmas day started out like any other. We got up and did farm chores. Once that was done, we headed back for the house and the boys looked through their stockings. Andy put cinnamon and orange rolls in the the oven. After a nice little breakfast, we opened presents. As you can see, Sonya is always in the middle of things.

John was suprised to get a toolbox for his tractor. It's a red metal box that bolts to the redbelly fender. It is exactly what used to be on these tractors -- found a site where you can order parts.


Andy got a laptop to use for school. It's an IBM Thinkpad. Can you see the look of suprise on his face? He never expected to get this!
Tim got a set of end tables that match his coffee table. No wonder his present was soooo heavy! I got a new porcelain house. This one is a fire station. John made me a shelf for all my houses this week. Now that can all be displayed. It looks fantastic.

We had a terrific Honeybaked Ham, (thanks Tim) macaroni and cheese casserole, green bean casserole, and crescent rolls. Chocolate Mint Mousse pie for dessert.

All in all it was a wonderful Christmas. We were so happy to have both boys with us.

Monday, December 24, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas 2007! This is a view of our tree from the loft. It's so tall, it's hard to get the whole tree in the frame from downstairs. No tinsel this year. I resisted because this way the goats get the tree when we are done with it. They are already snacking on the branches we trimmed from the bottom. It's so nice to have the cedar smell of our house, the pine from the Christmas tree, and the sugary vanilla smell of cookies in the oven. Andy got home from work about an hour ago, Tim just walked in from the trip over from North Wilkesboro.

So it's a full house. Barney is still in cat hospital. I'm happy to report there is progress. He is a good patient -- we do the hot packing for 10+ minutes, three times a day. This afternoon when I was doing it he just lay there and purred. The wounds are definitely healing. Also here is our buddy Scout (Jill's dog) and some silkie chicks we are keeping while she's out of town. Christmas morning we'll get up and milk and do farm chores before breakfast.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Cat Hospital is OPEN!

Our first barn cat, Barney, was injured. Maybe a fight, but it looks more to me like he had a disagreement with a jagged object. Like maybe got caught in a fence. There are no defensive wounds, and rest of him is intact, but his right rear leg has numerous cuts and contusions. We dipped him in Hydrogen Peroxide, then flooded the wounds with penicillin. We tried to bandage the leg, but he had that taken off in short order. We called our large animal vet's office for some advice, and they told us how to do "hot packing". Get a basin and fill it with the hottest water you can stand. Take two washcloths, and alternate holding the wet hot cloths over the wound. This is supposed to increase circulation (to promote healing) and keep the wound clean (to prevent infection). Have to do this three times a day and make sure he is eating. We have an appointment Thursday to get two kids disbudded, so if he is not improving, we will take him in to see the vet. Barney has taken up residence in the kitchen in the largest kennel we have. (Daisy fits into it) The Cat Hospital kennel has a cat chow hopper, heating pad, fresh water, warm milk, and a potty. Barney was also treated to a couple of feline greenies on check-in. He's the most easy going cat, through all his treatments, he struggled, but the claws never came out.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Great to be HOME!

John and I just got back from a great adventure. We took an Amtrak train from Petersburg, Virginia to Seattle, Washington to visit Kendra, Jeff & kids Daniel and Paul. We got on the train in Petersburg, Virginia. The Silver Star train picked us up and took us on to Washington DC. Once there, we joined the Capitol Limited and headed for Chicago, Illinois. The next train we got on was the Empire Builder. We arrived at King Street Station in Seattle, and Enterprise Rental Car "picked us up".

During the trip we had a cute LITTLE cabin on the superliner. Huge picture window! It had a sofa that converted to a bed, and bunk, sink/vanity and a shower-potty. Very cozy. Thought we would have trouble sleeping, but we slept so good, I guess from all the rocking.

We met many very friendly fellow travelers. No one is a stranger on the train.










The day we arrived Seattle had a big snowstorm which then turned into rain. We spent the time in Seattle playing with Daniel and Paul. Daniel and Nana baked a delicious chocolate cake.









We also went with Daniel to The Little Gym and later in the week to
Music Class. One rainy day, we took a long puddle jumping walk in the rain.

When we went back to King Street Station we found out that some of the tracks between Seattle and Wenatchee were undermined, and so they put us on a charter bus to meet the train in Wenatchee. One the bus we were treated to a box supper. When we got to Wenatchee, we got on the Empire Builder for the return trip and headed east by rail once again. The scenery was spectacular.
While we were traveling across the country, Andy was in charge of PapaJohn'sFarm.









While we were heading east on the Empire Builder, we got a call from Andy, who reported that Rosebud had given birth. The Monday after we got back, Buttercup had her baby, so now there are two new farm babies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Evening On The Farm

I wish this picture was focused a little better, but I guess a phone cam is limited as to quality. I just really liked this little vignette, with dog, straw hat on a post, tractor, and the light on in the barn. Daisy is waiting by the gate, now she knows which way the people come in to the yard.

Now that it is getting dark about 5:30, we often do chores in the dark. It's very peaceful -- once the goats have their chow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tim's House









As some of you know, Tim has moved to be closer to his job. After commuting for a couple of months, he'd had enough of the drive, and started looking for a place. He searched until he found the neatest little two bedroom bungalow. From the front view, you can see it's a cute little place, red front door and black shutters on the windows. The owners had recently rehabbed it. It has all laminate floors and a whole new bathroom. He even has a two car attached carport! From the back you can see he has a great little back deck for his new grill. There is also a good sized little screened in porch. He's outfitted the living room with a sage green microfiber lova & loveseat. The place looks great and we like to go over to visit. Andy also has been a frequent visitor when he gets time off from work.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

We started out today with a clear sunny sky. John was up and out early, mucking out the barn. Today the girls got a treat, their side of the barn was pressure washed. This past week John and I finished a remodel of the barn, and it's working out nicely. There is a spot to use as a maternity pen, and a milking stall separate from the rest of the barn.

I got cooking early in the morning, making pies from scratch. We have pumpkin, dutch apple, and Tim brought an extra treat, a cookie pie. After the pies came out of the oven, I put the turkey in and started peeling potatoes, sweet and white. The gravy came out fabulous. We also had stuffing with raisins, and oyster dressing, and chunky cranberry sauce. Since I did all the cooking, John and Tim were on cleanup detail. Tim took advantage of this opportunity to pack himself some leftovers to take home.

We had our Turkey dinner around 3:00. and afterward went out to sit in the yard with Daisy. As soon as we got settled, it started to rain. A cold front has been forcasted, and I moved to the front porch, but did not stay long due to a cold breeze.

Other farm doings of note: Daisy is adjusting nicely to life on the farm. Even though she was a goat only dog, it turns out she is a goat AND people dog. She is particularly attached to John, and spends the day following him around. The vet says she is 67 pounds and could stand to gain about 5 more. She got a rabies shot and clean bill of health. The day before yesterday we took her in to be spayed. She came home yesterday moving really slow, and slept a lot of the day. Today she seems to be feeling better, but the vet said limited activity for 7-10 days. We think Daisy is very happy here and we are so happy to have her.

It's now 5:00 and we are contemplating desert, since Tim wants to start for home soon. He has to work tomorrow at 8:00.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Very Sad Day

Thursday, November 15th, we said goodbye to a dear member of the family. Our little puppy-girl Mitzy let us know it was time to go. She had been diabetic for many years, blind and deaf, but still in the last six months spent time occasionally tracking Sasha the cat. I'm sure she was thinking, "a cat really does not belong here!" Still, more and more time she spent curled up in her favorite cushy velour bed, until Mom & Dad decided it was time for her to be set free. On that blustery, dark day we got lost on the way to see our vet. All of a sudden, the sun broke through the clouds, and Mitzy was bathed in a pool of sunshine, her favorite spot! We got to the vet's office and all I could think of was a poem I'd read recently:

The Rainbow Bridge
Author - an unknown pet owner

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing - they each miss someone very special to them, someone who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.

So I told Mitzy to wait for us by the rainbow....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Caution -- Livestock Guardian Dog On Patrol

This is Daisy, our LGD(Livestock Guardian Dog) She is a Great Pyrenees, and bred for guarding and protecting herd animals. She is aproximately 1 year old and already on the job. After being on the farm for one day, she has already been working on herding the goats from the open yard, back into their pen. We had to put the free range chickens into lock-down however, because she tried to herd them as well, and a few feathers were shed in the process. They'll stay in lockdown until the novelty has worn off. Daisy spends time scanning the yard. She lets us know if something is not right with a deep throaty bark.

We will have a challenge refining her training, because her previous owners just put her in the field and let her follow her instincts. We will put the time in to training to make she is a well behaved dog - sit, lie down, stay, etc., which are things she will need to be a properly socialized dog.

Her previous owners called her Candy, but after a couple of days we realized that she did not truly know her name. I have been saving the name Daisy for a big farm dog, and it suits her. She's just a country girl, our Daisy Mae.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chickens


Nine chickens keep us in enough eggs for ourselves and to share. When Tim comes to visit from North Wilkesboro, he usually takes home a dozen. The picture is a little blurry, but you can see the pretty brown eggs and the last of the pick of the garden. We've had a frost, and tonight it is supposed to go down to 28 degrees. Since John is still in Ohio with Tim, that means that Andy and I will be going out with a flashlight to unhook the automatic waterers that are in each pasture.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Got Milk?

Not at the moment, but stick around, because we will soon! You can't see it in this shot, but both of these girls now have udders. You can also tell that they have difficulty standing side by side due to how ROUND they are. The other goats stand side by side with heads in the feeder, these two are blimp by blimp.

Can We All Just Get Along?

If there is a heating pad involved, and the temperature is hovering aroung 50 degrees we can. I caught the two cats, Sasha and Sonya, and the pup Toby all cozy and relaxed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cats!

We have two house cats. Sasha is an all gray cat with green eyes. We adopted her from a local vet. She has decided that she belongs to me. We adopted a second very young kitty from our favorite dairy farmer. Her name is Sonya, and Sasha has decided that this kitty belongs to her. We've had a lot of fun watching them play.

Friday, October 26, 2007

We're Expecting!

Our two oldest goats, Rosebud and Buttercup are bred for sure. They have developed udders!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Babies

Next came Pansy.
The same day we brought home Rascal.
Next in was Tulip.
The next to come were Scarlett
and Clover.
The last addition to the herd was Cheyenne. She did not have a buddy, so she spent a lot of time with John.

So Rosebud, Buttercup, Buddy, Petunia, Pansy, Rascal, Tulip, Clover, Scarlett, Cheyenne. That makes 10 Goats who live on our little farm.

We also took in 4 boarders. We have three milkers that currently reside on the farm. Calista, Chickadee, and Buddlea. Not too long ago they were joined by a young buck, Tuan, for breeding season. So now we take care of 14 goats.

Too much fun for us? Na-a-a-a-a-a

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Adventures of Farm Girl and Tractor Boy

For months we have been looking for a tractor. There will be many uses for one on our farm. Levelling the pad for our RV Barn. Managing the power line pasture. Clearing land on the other side of the power line so we can put up fence. We've done the research. Mother Earth News had an article on working antique tractors and how they make wonderful homesteading tractors for a small hobby farm. We've been to many many auctions and saw them go for terrific amounts of cash, which was just crazy for something that needed major restorations.

One Saturday afternoon we went to look at a newer International Harvester tractor. It had a belly mower, roll bar, basically a good machine, but not very low to the ground (hence the roll bar). We weren't impressed. We finally wrote it off for safety reasons, we have a lot of sloping land and I did not want to be worrying about the thing tipping over.

John happened to notice this gentleman had numerous outbuildings, and decided to ask, "Do you have any other tractors for sale?" The man replied, "well I've got this old red belly ford that I am thinking of getting rid of." We tried not to jump up and down. We walked out to the shed where the tractor was stored and he started it up and brought it out. A WORKING TRACTOR -- and for much less than we expected to pay. SOLD!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Buddy and Petunia


The next two goats to join the farm are Buddy and Petunia. To clarify, Apache Blue (Buddy) came first.
We were having a blast with Rosebud and Buttercup, and were ready to add onto the herd. We were looking for more does, because at that time we were not really sure we were going to keep any bucks on the farm. Our good friend and goat mentor Gloria had a beautiful doe that was due to kid and we asked for the opportunity to see any does she kidded. Well much to our dismay, she had two bucks, oh darn! But we went to come see them anyway. Well, needless to say, we fell in love with Buddy, who seemed to be sort of ignored by his dam. Gloria sent us home with a couple of quarts of goats milk and some colostrum and we were in business. John set up a playpen in the living room and the first indoor baby took up residence. Buddy spent much of his first week cuddled up on PapaJohn
About a week later, John went to visit the farm where our first two goats came from and saw a little black and white banded doe of about five days of age. He was afraid to bring me to see her, but knew there was a pretty fair chance I would want to bring her home. Especially since we wanted a playpen-mate for Buddy. So of course, Petunia (AKA Oreo girl) came home too. She has turned out to be the most loving and curious goat in the herd. She follows PapaJohn into the milkshed and gets locked in, but manages to find her own way out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Here Come the Critters


Last spring we started doing some research for what kind of animal we could raise on our farm. We ruled out large animals like cows and horses, (though I really kept thinking about horses) because we wanted to be able to handle all the care and upkeep ourselves. We looked at regular goats - specifically dairy breeds, but still the size seemed a bit difficult to deal with. Remember, hooves need to be trimmed, vaccinations given. Not to mention the input and output. We found pygmy goats, but were kind of put off by the scale of this breed. They seemed like little walking barrels. Then we came across Nigerian Dwarf goats, also a dairy breed. Medium in size, something like 50 to 60 pounds. A friend gave us some milk to taste and we were hooked!

Milk from a goat is nothing like what you find in a store. I found most store bought goats milk to be somewhat bitter and grassy tasting. The milk we drink every day now is sweet, and is good on cereal, and works very well for cooking. I have found since I switched to goats milk that I have less problems with indigestion and heartburn.

Research tells us that the fat globules in goats milk are smaller and therefore easier to digest. I was told that some years ago, goat farmers in this area sold milk to the local hospitals who then pasturized it for infants and elderly. True or not, it sounds reasonable.

We started with the two little unregistered goats in the above pictures. Rosebud, who is queen of the herd, and her sister Buttercup. We purchased them from a local breeder. They have been wonderful additions to the farm, entertaining us with their social and inquisitive behavior.

Next Post: Buddy & Petunia~

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Welcome To PapaJohns Farm!

Two years ago this month, we made the momentous decision to look for a way to exit Florida. By the end of December, I had a wonderful job offer, and we began looking for a home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
After a huge search, we had begun to wonder whether we would ever find anything that would work for us, we got lost one day, and found this!

Our log cabin has a large stone fireplace, which we have converted to a cast iron stove. A greatroom with country kitchen and master suite on the first floor. Two bedrooms and a den on the second floor, and a walkout basement with laundry area. We are situated on 10+ acres of land in an area of gently rolling hills.