Clothesline Weather

It is a very warm day here in Ohio. I am hoping my peppers will start growing. They do not like the cooler days that we’ve had. They don’t seem to be growing. We have watered twice, and now we are supposed to have some really warm days, so I am hoping they will shoot up.

There is a pleasant breeze as well. We don’t have air conditioning, and the breeze is helping our house to stay cool. The cement floors help as well, although I will be glad when we can cover them.

It was too perfect of a day to not hang out clothes. I washed sheets and towels. They dried in short order. Then I hung up all the hand towels, dish towels, napkins, etc. They are all snapping in the breeze, getting tangled in each other. They will smell so fresh and sunshiney when we bring them in.

When it cools down here in a bit, we will be back out in our garden trying to stay on top of the weeds.

My Morning Goat Dance

Another day has passed. Woke up, got dressed, did my chores. I love walking out to the goat/sheep barn on a cool morning. It turned out to be hot today, but this morning was still deliciously cool. I walk out swinging the goat milk bucket in one hand and the empty calf bottle in the other. I always have two dogs beside me and many times a cat or two. Today the cats were elsewhere, which is what I really prefer. The sheep are on the far side of the barn and the goats on the closer side. As soon as either goats or sheep see me, they all start telling me good morning in their loud voices. The sheep are much louder and lower toned than the goats. I go in the shed, turn on the light and tell everyone good morning. I sprinkle about ½ pound of grain in the sheep’s feed tray. I only give them this little bit of grain right before they lamb and for a short time afterwards. They really don’t need it, but I figure it helps their bodies adjust to making milk. My one sheep had triplets and I make sure she gets her share. In the mornings, I also sprinkle some raspberry leaves to the mommas. I get out the three goat feed dishes. Honeysuckle gets 1 1/3 lbs. of grain, Magnolia gets 1/3 lb. grain (she is not in milk or pregnant and she is not skinny), and our new goat, Sun Rae gets 1 ¼ lb. of grain. I sprinkle a bit of raspberry leaves on each of their dishes as well. I also give them each about 3-5 raisins. I started giving raisins when Honeysuckle was giving so much milk, but not eating too much. Now, it is just a little treat in the morning. Honeysuckle consistently gives us 1 ½ gallons of milk a day. Her momma was the same way. Magnolia, her daughter, has never kidded, but I hope she is just as milky. Now, Sun Rae or Sunny for short is the new kid on the block, but she is a BULLY. My other 2 goats are scared to death of her. I only have one stanchion, and Magnolia doesn’t have to get on the stanchion since she is not milked. The trick is to allow her to eat her grain without the third goat who is in the pen with her eating it. I put Honeysuckle’s dish on the stanchion and put Sunny’s aside. I then open the gate and take Maggie’s dish with me. Suckle runs in and jumps on the stanchion. I close the gate, and lay Maggie’s dish down right outside the gate. Then I have to grab Sunny and pull her back outside another gate we put up and lock it. Then I go in and milk Suckles. When I am done, I fill the calf’s bottle and hang the bucket with the rest of the milk on a nail on the wall. I open the gate and get Maggie’s dish and let Suckle into that area. I open the other gate and it is a race for either Sunny to squeeze through first or the other 2 doing their panic run to go by her. I quickly go in and put Sunny’s dish on the stanchion and then close the gate behind her. I go ahead and put out everyone’s hay. This gives the 2 goats a chance to eat their hay before the bully comes back out and shoos them away from it. =) It is like a timed dance that I do every morning. After she is milked, I put her away, grab the milk bucket and the calf bottle. I head for the calf barn. On the way, I put milk into a bowl for the cats. I feed Sir Loin of Beef his bottle and then head for the house. The dogs are close on my heels, as they know their turn for a bit of milk in their bowl is next. Then I am free to do what needs to be done… taking care of the rest of the milk, etc.

Today, I also made 2 mixed berry pies. The berries are from our property last year. They are a mixture of blackberries, red raspberries and blueberries. I make a sort of cheater pie, and it is not as healthy as I would like, but my men love it. You take 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar (I used organic cane crystals) and bring it to a boil. Then you add one small box of jello (I am going to get some Eames Kosher Gels) and 4 Tbls. of instant clear gel. Then add the berries and pour into your already baked pie shell. Put it in the fridge to set up. I whip up some cream and add a touch of vanilla and put that on top of the finished pie. Now, we will have to invite some company over to eat them up.

I have missed my Dad

Today, my Dad flies back into the country from his trip. My Aunt and Uncle took him on a trip to Rome that included a cruise in the Greek Isles. I am sure he had a good time, but I know it has to be bitter sweet as well. He still misses my Mom so much and would have loved to share the trip with her. We all do. The above picture is my Dad with my Sister In Law. I have talked to him on the phone every day since my Mom died in October. Since he has been out of the country for 2 weeks, I have not talked to him and I really miss him. Actually, he should be on the ground in New York now. Again, I can’t encourage you enough to tell your parents that you love them. Take time to talk to them and spend time with them. You will never regret it.

Time began in a garden…

Oh, I am bone weary and tired. My back hurts, my legs hurt and my feet hurt. We spent most of today outside in the garden. We got 3 more rows of corn planted and another row of beans. We planted beets and patty pan squash. I also set up my garden teepees. I have always wanted some, and this year decided it was time to just do it. I have bush beans planted in rows, but I planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans around my teepees. They are my favorite. I also planted some loofah gourds and some birdhouse gourds. Across the front of the garden I planted a row of sunflowers. There are all sizes and all colors. I also planted some other flower seeds that I had. In the corner I planted bush balsams. They are so pretty with their flowers and they really attract bees, which is why I planted them. My friend said that her mom called them Touch-Me-Nots. I had never heard either name until I saw them in my friend’s garden. We need to stake our tomatoes, or put cages around them. We need to do this before they get any bigger. My son and his friends put a new roof on one of our outbuildings. It had shingles missing and we waited so long to fix it that he had to replace the wood underneath as well. This is a really nice building. I wanted to use it for a chicken coop, but my husband said NO WAY, it is too nice. We have a few gardening supplies in there, and that is not even handy as this building is out in front of the house, and the garden is behind the house. I would love to use it for a winter quarters for my layers and to put the new chicks each year after they come out of the brooder. Oh well… Maybe God will give us a plan on how to use it. My husband and I also took turns on the tractor using the bushhog. It gave us a chance to sit down and rest and still be doing something. Tonight I am soaking in the tub.

One more thought about the title of todays blog. My Sister In Law is an avid gardener. Her and a friend were doing all the landscaping at their church. Their pastor has a quick wit and is very friendly. They kept bugging him about putting the landscaping in the budget because they were having to buy everything and they wanted to do more. Finally one day, she said, “Pastor Frank, can we please put this in the budget, afterall time did begin in a garden”. Without blinking an eye, he turned to her and said, “So did sin”. Then he grinned and walked off. =)

God’s Morning Dew

On my way out to milk, I saw this fern that grows by my house. The dew drops were glistening and sparkling in the morning sun. It looked refreshing and cool. It made me think about how God tells us to read His Word in the morning. It is like our morning dew. It refreshes us in the Lord for what our day holds for us. Some people say they are too busy to spend time each morning with the Lord, I am too busy to not spend time with Him. To have Him order my day and refresh me. Also, if you look in our lives, we DO make time for what is important to us. So, what does that say if we don’t take the time to sit at the Lord’s feet?

Just musing,

The "Quiet" of a country morning…

I am sitting here having to giggle a bit this morning.

We had Bible study with our neighbors last night. One of the last things my friend said to me was how glad she was that she got to sleep in this morning. Now my friend is a city girl that is moving (VERY SLOWLY) toward the country. They bought 2 acres of our farm. Her husband and children do most if not all the animal type chores. When they first moved here they had a few chickens and their dog. They have since added more chickens, 2 goats, meat birds in a movable pen and a calf that they keep at our place with our calf. I keep telling her that she is turning into a farm wife. They have seen farm life up close and personal. I cannot tell you how many times her husband and children have helped me to round up an animal that got loose or other wonderful experiences. This year for the first time I had to help one of my Shetland sheep to have her babies. She had three ram lambs and they were all breech. She would not hold still for me. The man next door and his daughter came over to help me. He held the sheep still for me. My friend would walk over occasionally to help.

So back to this morning. Last night they were picturing a very leisurely morning of sleeping in. However, one of my heifer calves is in heat. She is a quite the trumpeter when in heat. A very loud trumpeter I might add. I doubt they are still asleep. She gets this from her mother, the darker one in the picture above. Our matriarch cow, Buttercup (the honey colored one above cleaning her nose), has silent heats that are very hard to detect. My husband will tell me… “Buttercup blinked at me today, write it on the calendar and lets watch again in 21 days.” Then she had Molasses the calf. When Molasses was born I named her honey because she was also honey colored. I envisioned one day someone asking where my husband or son were and I would say, “He is out milkin’ honey!” We call our farm Amazing Graze Farm, the land of milk and honey. Honey turned very dark and I changed her name to Molasses. I called her daughter (who is half beef) Sorghum, but should change it to Blackstrap as she is really black. Back to Molasses… We had a woman and her 6 children living in our apartment on the farm for a time. Men from the church came to put in a large clothes line for her. Molasses was in heat that day. Her movable fence was about 10 feet from where they were working. She serenaded them the entire time they worked, VERY LOUDLY. I don’t know how they stood it. =)