Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sleepy Babies

Here are two sleepy babies~ My youngest son, and baby grand-daughter.

Horseshoes - Dilemma Resolved

We received Sadie's new shoes and have been working to make applying them part of the routine. When we started working with her, we noticed she was touchy when we were working with her back hooves, but with patience and practice, it's getting easier every time. I am so glad to let her be barefoot when she is in the pasture. Her hooves are easier to keep clean, and thankfully I do not have to mess with steel shoes in the really cold, wet, icy weather. She also seems to have really great traction in them. Here are some pictures of me driving her with her shoes on.

Greetings from the Farm!

We wish you and yours a Happy Holiday and Joyous New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Last week we headed south to attend Papa Paul's 90th birthday celebration. While we were there, we also celebrated Holly's baptism. Papa Paul officiated and the ceremony was held in the little chapel at Westminster Shores. Many of the residents attended and there was a full house. While we were away, Winston-Salem got smacked with a major storm. They actually had to get snow plows out, and this is what is currently seen in many parking lots. There is still about 4 inches on the ground, and it looks so pretty. I was hoping to make a big snowman in the front yard, but the snow had seen a little melting and refreezing, and so was a solid crust. Glad I did not plop down to try and make a snow angel. I would have injured myself!

Here is Papa Paul holding his Great-granddaughter. She was such a good girl for the entire trip. She slept in her car seat for most of the drive, and at night she slept cozy in her little moses basket.

When we got home, we noticed that she was a little bit grumpy, and now has all the signs of having a little cold. What a cute little stuffy nose! We are hoping she feels a little better tomorrow for Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Horseshoes - The Dilemma

We don't really like the fact that our horse needs steel shoes on all four hooves. And she must have some protection and traction because she is on pavement 99% of the time.

There have been a few issues with the shoes coming loose, and I am told that steel shoes in the winter are very difficult to care for. So -- not looking forward to that.

Our farrier suggested we consider hoof boots, and in fact recommended we carry at least one for when she might throw a shoe while on the road. When we started doing the research, we found they could be used as a replacement for steel shoes. We are very excited and have found a farrier/PBHT expert that came out to help us get her fitted. Our shoes are on order for our "petite" hoofed pony, and we can hardly wait until they arrive.

Check out the web site for Nature's Path - any of you farmer friends who read my blog - I have Rebecca's card to pass along if you are interested.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Post -- Happy Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Real mashed potatoes and gravy. Homemade stuffing, candied yams, scalloped oysters, rolls, jellied cranberry. Pumpkin pie, peach pie, cookie pie with ice cream and/or whipped cream.

When we finished dinner, we decided pie had to wait. I hitched Sadie up to the fancy cart, and Tim and I went for a long ride. We saw very few folks on the road, so it was a very pleasant ride.

When we got back from our ride, the pie was cut and enjoyed. All the food was put away and the first load of dirty dishes washing in the dishwasher.

After that we cleared the fancy tablecloth and napkins off the table and got out the college pig and started rolling coins. Great Grandma and Grandpa brought a silver piggy bank for Holly in April and we have been putting all the loose change from the laundry area, emptying of pockets, spare change in it for the last eight months. After we finished rolling it, we put it with other money Holly received and we now have $200.00 to put in her college fund. Now we will start feeding the college pig again until next Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Post

Since I am off the rest of the week for Thanksgiving, seems like a good time to do a little catching up. Mid November we went to Arigato - Andy's pick for birthday dinner. It was so good. Holly enjoyed the meal from her butterfly sling, which was made for her by her Auntie Kendra. She slept through most of the meal in cozy comfort.

We've had a bit of indian summer, but with cooler weather has come prodigious rainfall. We do need the rain, but it makes the goats miserable. Since they do not like to be wet, they have spent much of the last couple of weeks cowering inside barn. Many of our pastures where goats and pony reside are incredibly muddy. This year, instead of struggling with unlined dairy boots (not meant for any kind of terrain but cement floor) and crocs, I bit the bullet and purchased myself a pair of work boots. Of course since I am now a horse owner, I had to get something will a little cowgirl style. My Ariat FatBaby boots are probably one of my best footwear purchases ever. I did buy a half size larger than I need, so that I could wear thick socks in the winter. Since I started wearing them on the farm, and went back to my Danskos for the work day, all my foot issues have resolved themselves. They are wonderful boots and I recommend them to everyone. I am thinking down the road that I will get myself a "dress pair" for wearing off the farm.

Time to go pick up a baby Holly Anne. More later.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sleeping and crying........

That's what babies do.

Isn't she pretty in either mode?

This post is short because I am holding her, but I bet that's no suprise to any of my readers!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Look Everybody - My Diaper Bag is Ready!

Nana finally got busy and finished my new diaper bag. She's been working on it a long time and I thought she'd never get it done.

Sunday night she picked up the crochet needle and got to work. She had two rows left, handles and the trim. Now her wrists are tired and sore. She says she's going to put some dividers in it so Mommy can organize my stuff, but it will have to wait a while.

Mommy picked out all the colors for it after she found out I was going to be a girl.

Here I am modeling it. Nana wrapped me up in the pink flowered blanket she got me and tucked me into it for these pictures. I thought it was pretty boring, but I posed for the pictures anyway.

In two days I will be two weeks old. I am pretty much in charge around the house. I sleep whenever I want. Mommy feeds me whenever I am hungry. Nana and Papa John change my diapers whenever I make special presents in there for them. I am waiting for my Daddy to give me a real bath. Mommy and Nana have given me sponge baths, but I know he's going to give me a real bath in my tub when my belly button is all fixed up. It's going to be fun.

My room is all fixed up with lots of pink, but I am spending most of my time hanging out with Mommy on the couch. I have a cozy place to nap, and a place where everyone takes me to change my diapers. I have a bouncy seat that I sit in to watch Nana working in the kitchen.

Everybody is always kissing and hugging me--but I guess I'm just too cute to resist!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Holly Anne Leap

I'd like to introduce Miss Holly Anne Leap. We've been waiting so long for you Holly! Holly, Mama Karol, and Daddy Andy are home from the hospital and everyone is recovering.(Including Papa John and Nana.)

She has reddish gold hair and it looks as though she may have blue eyes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

View From the Back of a Pony

Friday afternoon when I got home from work I hitched Sadie up and went for a ride. We went all around the little neighborhoods near our house. It's a very pleasant ride. Afterwards, she really enjoys the grooming session--it must feel really good, because she practically falls asleep.

Saturday, we hitched her up again and checked out a couple of yard sales. I scored big! I got a bathtub for Holly, stacks of baby washcloths, towels, bibs, and recieving blankets. A box of baby toys, and assorted teethers. We also found a bunny step-stool, and some pegboards for John to put together to hang hats on.

After we got home, we hopped in the truck and headed for Greensboro. We had a glider rocker to pick up, and we also stopped in at the farmers market and got some fresh fruits and veggies. Tonight we had fresh mashed potatoes -- man were they good.

I also collected 24 eggs today. The Auracanas have started laying, so we have pretty blue-green eggs to go with the brown ones the Rhode Island Reds have been giving us. Egg production is up again. We have 9 dozen in the barn fridge.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

T-Minus 19 days

until Karol's due date!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Driving Miss Sadie

Big excitement at Papa Johns Farm. We have a new addition to the menagerie. Meet Sadie the Amish cart pony.

We met Sadie in early September on a trip up to Ohio. She lived on a farm with goats, sheep, and just about every size equine, from the tiniest miniature horses to Percherons. Now those are some gigantic horses. Last weekend, we traveled back to Ohio to her farm to pick her and her rig up. Here she is hitched to her cart. She is very good on the roads, even 18 wheelers do not phase her.

Ponies are measured in inches. Horses are measured in "hands". Sadie stands 48 inches tall at the withers. In horse measurements, that makes her technically 12 hands. There are 4 inches for every "hand", for anyone who is wondering. Any equine under 14 hands is considered a pony. I've always wanted a horse. I also know I can't handle a horse. So a well trained pony is exactly what I needed.

At her farm, Sadie was in a dry lot with six other ponies. They had all the hay they wanted, water, and grain twice a day, but they were on dirt. One of the ways horses cope with flies is to roll in the dust. If your coat is thick with dust the flies can't bite you. While we were loading her, it rained, so she had a coat of mud. On the way home we had more rain. So by the time she got home, she was good and dirty. Of course as she began to feel at home, she had herself another good roll in the dirt. I've spent a lot of time in the past couple of days brushing dirt out of her hide, but today I decided it was time for a good bath. Sadie really enjoys grooming, but I was not sure how she was going to do. Turns out, once you get past the fact that it is cold water, it's all good. We used "Mane, Tail, and Body" Shampoo. Worked up a good lather, rinsed and scraped her, and she looked great. I took her out to the front yard for a little grazing, and then I spent some time combing out her mane and tail.

Here is a short video of me driving her in the front yard. We have actually had her out on back roads during the day, and we are having such a good time with her. She is so well trained it is a pleasure to have her out on the road.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Winston-Salem Airshow - Our Helicopter Ride

Last weekend we went to the Winston-Salem Airshow at the Smith-Reynolds Airport. Andy, Karol, and I got to do something we'd never done before! Ride in a HELICOPTER! We had a top notch camera crew, so movies are available for your viewing pleasure, THANKS to PAPA JOHN! While we were waiting for our flight to be called, we watched a Harrier Jet take off. Now that's an amazing aircraft. We also watched a ton of stunt pilots in little planes doing absolutely crazy stuff. At one point we watched an F-18 scream by. Karol reported that it seemed to startle Holly, because she started kicking around after that big noise. The F-18 actually went by, and then the sound caught up with it -- man they are loud!

Here we are at the briefing station. Recieving instructions for pre-flight, flight, and post-flight behavior. Pre-flight instructions -- which side of the aircraft each of us were going to sit, how to duck and hold your hat. Flight instructions --DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! Post-flight instructions -- Wait for the flight crew to open the doors. Per the FAA, passengers are not allowed to open any door. Our briefing guy told us his son is 14 and has been flying helicopters for 2 years. So I guess they let 12 yr olds fly these things?

Takeoff -- This is the first time I have ever been in a helicopter. It's amazingly smooth, sort of like floating as you take off. We gained altitude quickly, and I could see my office and where it is in the surrounding neighborhood. The city of Winson-Salem was spread out right there in front of us. We headed for Winston Tower, the RJR Building, and the Wachovia Building, which we call the Chapstick Building, because it's rounded top makes it looks like a giant lip balm.

After skirting downtown, we circled and headed back for the airfield. I watched cars moving along Liberty Street. In a helicopter you have the opportunity to really watch what is going on down on the ground. Off in the distance we could see the runways on the airfield. We could see still more planes doing stunts. We landed around 4:00, and the airshow was over shortly after that.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We need more hay to make sure we get through the winter with the additional goats we have acquired. The barn, we think, can hold 150 bales in the loft we built. This does not take into account the area Papa John built with the hay slide. So maybe now 130-140 bales. We just purchased an additional 50bales a couple of nights ago, so today we load them into the barn. We could not do this without the help of our son Andy, who mans the hay loft, stacking the bales as they are pulled up into the loft. Or with the help of Karol, our daughter-in-law, who mans the tractor, pulling the bales up into the loft. Here she is on the John Deere.
We are all in this together --Goat FARMERS ALL!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The New Feeding Trough

We've been trying to find a good way to make sure all goats have equal access to their grain ration. I think in the past some goats have been slighted. The new feeding trough solves the problem.

Here's the whole gang lined up for breakfast. We sure do have some pretty goats!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


One of my fall projects this year is to rework the gardens around our log cabin. The evergreens that were there were hard for me to figure out how to trim, and basically they have just gone wild. We've been selectively yanking them out and will be replacing some of them. Other areas we will be seeding with grass. I wanted to put some new borders in, instead of just cutting in with a weedeater, but wanted something very natural. What better material than rocks from our own property!
Don't they look great? The farmer and I went out on the tractor with a carry-all attached and picked up some great rocks. After I got them all placed I was really happy with the effect.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cool Weather

It's been nice and cool this week, we've even turned off the air!

Friday, August 28, 2009


Here is some of the action we see daily on the farm

Our Alpine goat Hollyhock is very friendly and curious. It would take 2 people to take a proper picture of here, one to take the picture and one to distract and amuse her. She seems to know that you are trying to get her to pose for the camera!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

You know what they say, it's always best to let sleeping dogs lie.
Daisy is so tuned in to farm life. We can walk right up to her and she never stirs. Let a strange person or animal come onto the property and that's different story. You may be sitting right beside her in the hammock and suddenly she will erupt out of a sound sleep and gallop across the yard to investigate something that is cause for her concern. She still spends a portion of her time chasing chickens, and occasionally carrying one around in her mouth, but all critters on our farm are safe from predation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baby Stuff

Last weekend Karol and I finished the staining and sealing the crib. It's the same crib that Tim and then Andy used.

The little pink bassinette is the perfect size for newborn Holly. The top bassinette part can be removed so that later it can be a travel crib when she's older.
There is also a stroller/car seat travel system, and bag after bag of baby clothes.!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Sweet Ride

So every week I rent a different car. Monday morning, I drop my CRV at the Smith-Reynolds Airport, and I never know what I will drive to Charlotte. Most of the time I am able to plug in my XM reciever, and have music. If not I have two NPR stations that I listen to on the way. My rental agent knows what I like and tries to get me something good every week. I pretty much have my pick of whatever fine piece of machinery is in the lot. Last week I pulled up and spotted a Ford Edge, which would have been my choice, however she offered me something even better!

Check out my 2010 Ford Mustang Sport Edition. It came loaded with Sirius radio. It also had Bluetooth and Microsoft Sync. So my car essentially became my phone when I was in it. "Dial John" dialed up John for me, and no headset or handset needed. The microphone was up by the mirror, and John's voice floated out of the speakers. Later on, as I was tooling down the road, the phone rang again. The radio automatically mutes and switches to phone mode. The display reads "Answer?" and you just hit the OK button. For the duration of the rental, my address book was resident in the car, and everytime I got in, it would sync to my blackberry phone. Totally AWESOME.

As fun as it was to drive, it's not a practical car. Miniscule backseat, trunk difficult to load and unload. Wonder what I'll be driving tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Who's that farmhand?

Hey, that's not the regular farmer? Where did this guy come from?
Hollyhock doesn't seem to mind - she's got her nose buried in the feed bucket

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer is flying by!

We've been trying to keep up with farm chores, gardening, and the house with limited success. Seems like laundry and dirty dishes multiply and I am always behind and this weekend I decided I must blog and tell you all what we have been up to on the farm. The first item of newsworthyness is a couple of new additions to the farm. We've got a couple of new barn cats. Spike on the left and Ike on the right. Spike was adopted from a friend of mine, and he's an awesome cat. He is pure white and had one blue eye and one green eye. He spends the day playing in the milk parlor and lying on the warm stones in front of the barn. The other little guy, another white cat with grey patches is Ike. Ike came from our favorite dairy farm, and also spends his day playing in the milk parlor. He loves to hang around during milking time, looking forward to that little bowl of warm goats milk.
These pictures are not very good, but you can see here John is enjoying a ride with one of his favorite farm hands. She on a Pasofino (sp?) and he on a Tennessee Walker.

He got the hang of it pretty quickly and seemed comfortable in the saddle.

While John was horsing around, I picked blueberries. We are enjoying blueberry cobbler!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Tractor Restoration Continues

John is working hard on the redbelly Ford. When my mom and dad were in town, Dad took off the fenders and put a coat of some kind of magic rust stop potion on the fenders.
Yesterday, John put a coat of paint on them, and will probably be remounting them on the tractor today

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Farm Chores

Today I got home from Charlotte late, delayed due to bad weather. Usually I change and run up to the barn to help with chores, but today the milking was already done and the only thing left was to round up babies and feed Thomasina. Karol was up in the big barn working on refinishing the crib. Papa John was in the barn shoveling stuff.
I came home to a pan of lasagna bubbling in the oven, and the house is in pretty good shape!

Who could ask for anything more?

Friday, May 29, 2009

In the Pink Because...

Andy and Karol are expecting a little girl!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In The Pink

We are in the pink today, can anyone guess why? :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fruit on the Trees!

Pears are growing!

And there are apples on the trees!

Goat Milk Butter!

Yesterday we spun milk again, to have skim for drinking. This time I took all the cream and using my fabulous Kitchenaid stand mixer, MADE BUTTER! IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES. As you can see - the butter is white - goats convert all of the carotene in their diet to Vitamin A so their milk and cream are pure white.

When my grandkids were in town, we used a glass jar and a marble and shook it like mad. So I knew how good fresh goat milk butter was.

Using the mixer makes it easy! Warm the milk to between 61 & 65 degrees. Put it in the bowl with a paddle. Mix at high speed until the buttermilk starts to separate. Remove the bowl and squish the butter against the side of the bowl to get out as much buttermilk as you can. Mine did not have much buttermilk, Think it's because the cream separator is so efficient. Next you want ot clean out more of the buttermilk, that's what makes the butter not keep as long. Pour some icewater into the mixer(NO CUBES) and blend again for a couple of seconds, discard the liquid. Keep doing this until the liquid runs clear. At this point you can blend in flavoring. salt, or next time I might try a little honey.

It's easy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Long Weekend!

We are enjoying a long weekend!~ Memorial Day is Monday, and Tuesday I will be working from home, in an effort to catch up on an on-line class I am taking.

I also am celebrating. Thursday marked the final test in my physical, so I am officially IN GOOD HEALTH!

Pretty good since next month I also mark age 50 - bleh!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saturday on the Farm

As you can see, we are up to the usual shenanigans on the farm. This is the time of year when there are plenty of kids to play with, and we try to take time out to play.

There is also plenty of milk. We have been making chevre, riccotta, and even cottage cheese with all this milk.

This week, we received a gift of a cream separator. **Thanks Dad**. This afternoon we processed 8 gallons of goat milk and ended up with about 3 pints of cream. We have a gallon of skim milk in the fridge for drinking, and have frozen the remaining skim. It freezes very well when it is separated. We can also use the frozen milk for cheesemaking.

Since the cream is not pasteurized, it converts to sour cream very well. 1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar, leave it out overnight, refrigerate for 4 hours, and then it is ready to eat. It is the best sour cream we have ever tasted.

The cream separator is a quality machine. The basic design is superior to our hand crank model. Runs very quiet, takes about a minute to get up to speed. Works like a champ.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kitchen Remodel

When we moved into our log cabin, the natural cherry kitchen had a hunter green tile counter. It was not aging gracefully. The grout was discolored, and practically every edge had a couple of cracked tiles. I was walking around the corner one day and ripped a pair of jeans!

We decided that the time had come to replace the counters, and we decided that granite was the way to go.

We decided to do the demo ourselves, and save a little money. In the meantime, I was still in search of a plumber, but could only find one that would come out the day after the counter install. With a big event looming -- I did not see how I could be without water, much less a sink for a whole day. While at work, I got an IM from Papa John who advised that he had located a plumber. I called to find out what he was talking about and he told me that his buddy Steve and wife Lori were planning on being in town! YAY!

So the demo began. While the tile itself popped off pretty easily, what we did not anticipate was two layers of plywood, adhesive, and copious nails. I swear someone had a nail gun and used the plywood for a little therapy session.
Here is John saying "What were we thinking?"

Once the counters were in, it was time to get the plumbing connected.

Steve and I had to make a couple of trips to Lowe's for bits and pieces

The completed kitchen is absolutely georgeous!