Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekend Happenings

We've just had another fantastic weekend on the farm. There is a new addition to the cat population, which continues to grow. A couple of Saturdays back I stopped to visit Andy at Big Lots. There was a man outside with a box of kitties and he was down to one boy cat left. He said, "You look like you need a cat." To which I replied, "Like I need a hole in the head!" But I still walked away with an adorable fuzzy gray kitty. Andy fetched me a box. Who knew you could get cats at Big Lots! When Andy got home he named the little guy "Odin" and quickly claimed him. Here he is with the little guy. Odin has learned to lounge on Andy and will snuggle up and snooze for hours. He follows Andy around like a puppy and when Andy goes to work, Odin will run up to Andy's room, find the door closed and then come halfway down the stairs and meow for him. Pretty funny to see this little tiny kitten all curled up on extra large Andy.

Andy is getting ready for a camping trip. He got himself a tent from Big Lots with his employee discount. It seems to be a pretty nice tent complete with a mesh gear storage loft.
Andy is planning on showcasing all of his boy scout campfire cooking skills. He'll make a dump cake for sure. The tent was set up in the side yard for a couple of days and got a rain test!
Ken and Val are in town for a week, and we all went out to dinner Saturday night. Sunday afternoon, we had a cookout at the farm. Karol came over and we all feasted on hamburgers with grilled peppers, onions, and mushrooms, mashed cauliflower, and coleslaw. Ken and Val brought a bottle of wine and a delicious chocolate torte. It was a very relaxing afternoon. The weather was cool and breezy, Ken and Val had to put on sweaters to stay warm. I really like being able to wear long pants comfortably in late May! We had the house all open until about 7:30 and then were actually considering a fire. Check out the grilling brothers. Who is supervising who? And I guess big brothers never stop teasing little brothers! Later on that night, we got out the milk separator and skimmed three and a half gallons of goat milk. We ended up with three gallons of skim and a quart and a half of cream. We've been able to make all our own sour cream, which is absolutely fantastic on a baked potato. I have a small container of cream that I am going to try to make butter out of. Two of the gallons of milk got frozen for future use for when the goats are dried off in the beginning of June. It thaws and tastes just like fresh. Below is a movie of Andy running the separator. Very effective separator, but sounds like a jet plane is getting ready for takeoff in the family room.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers Day Project!

First news to share is that for Mothers Day -- I got a new digital camera! So as a result I carried it around all day Sunday when the boys and John started constructing my new chicken coop. The chicken high rise has evolved into a whole new structure and is functional and works just fine. But in our travels, John and I saw a chicken coop that some folks put together that looks stylish, functional, and more like what we want. So the first ingredient is a satelite dish. No, not like dish TV, think Wineguard, like the 12 foot model that requires a motor to aim. Right, now flip it over so it's the dome. Use your imagination, it's going to be the roof of the new coop -- the goal being that it is more like an aviary you might see in a zoo. We were able to find eight foot T-Posts. John wanted to drill holes in the top of the T-Posts so that we could attach the top of the posts to the dome, but there where already holes at the bottoms. So the boys knocked the flanges off the posts and they put them in the ground upside down. This also means that the white painted tip of the posts is buried. Andy put every pole in the ground, since he is the one with the strength and talent to get them in quickly, and straight. As Andy pounded them all in, Tim and I tried to get them fairly level. The area we were installing this structure was not really level, so we knew we would have to do some trenching to get the wire in place. While we were working, Vivie was pretty interested in the proceedings. I'm sure she was wondering what in the world was going on, but she liked having us all outside. She especially liked Tim feeding her her favorite Poplar tree leaves. They will eat them as long as you keep on feeding them. Tim seemed to be facinated at the way she could pack them away.

Towards the end of the day, the new chicken coop really started to take shape. After Tim packed up and headed for home, Andy and John went out and put up the wire. After that, we'll need a door, some nesting boxes with ramp and the food and water. Then the birds can move right in. Once they've vacated the chicken high rise, the chicken high rise will be lowered back to its original configuration and become the new home of the 10 Rhode Island Reds we've acquired. They are outgrowing their bin in the family room and need to move outside, especially with the weather warming up.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dog Update

Daisy has reached 18 months of age, and still all puppy. Yesterday we watched her play - all by herself. She chased her tail numerous times, and caught it! We left a black plant pot, in the yard and then decided we could not take it away. She picks it up, carries it around, slaps it around with a big paw. I was wondering why her face was covered with the red clay that is North Carolina dirt. She sticks her head in the pot and then flips it up over her back about ten feet in the air. Great fun!

We've been trying to keep the goats out of the dog food. We have one little goat that has decided she will eat just about anything. We've come up with this solution.
Daisy will even share her meal with Toby!