Monday, April 28, 2008


Wildlife seen here:

hawks (not so many recently, but they used to LOVE watching the chicken coop)
western shovel-nosed snake (in the FRONT ROOM! Yikes!)
100s of cottontails
geese (wild)
ducks (wild)
gophers (does that count as 'wildlife'?)
mice (ick)
burrowing owl(s?)
great horned owl (landed on the back porch and watched us through the window!)
many small birds of which I don't know all the names

Plenty of black widows, brown spiders (scientific, I know), FLIES, and the occasional camel spider (which do bite, I learned. Owie.)

Milk Total

I didn't milk Penny this morning; she had her kids with her through the night, helping them recover from the traumatic disbudding.

Belle has gotten extremely impatient the last couple days. This morning she was SO full, she had to waddle very slowly to the milking stand, but after about 10 minutes, she decided she was DONE. I could tell she wasn't empty; she was about 1/4 from being done. There ensued a mighty battle of wills and wits. 10 minutes later (and several close calls with the milk pail) I have succeeded in getting about 6 more squirts. She got a strong scolding as I put her back in her pen. I went to fetch the kids and walking back with them, watching her with her head through the fence, I all of a sudden wondered if she figured out the pattern of: grain, milk, kids. I think she knew that when the milking was 'done' she could have her kids back. I might have to figure out something else, because wrestling with a 120# goat at 5AM isn't exactly what I had imagined...Still, she gave just under 1/2 gallon.

2 batches of ice cream, 2 batches of yogurt, 2 batches of rice pudding, and there's still a gallon or so in the fridge, with more to come tomorrow. Love this!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

All Disbudded

Got the last two kids disbudded this evening. Thier horns were more pronounced, and it went very easy. Still left to do: shots (which we already have) and the banding. 4 boys. Should be interesting.

Lawn Water

Oh, how I wish for irrigation.... Changed watering times from 2x/week, 20 minutes to 3x/week, 20 minutes. Hopefully it will start to green up again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baby Food

I got the second cheapest food processor avaliable at Target, with a goal of homemade baby food in mind.

I did a large batch of each: green beans, bananas, and carrots. Serving sizes are frozen in baggies, ready to thaw (just a few minutes, since the size is small) and use! Easy and appetizing-looking!

The 'Herd' Gets a New Look

I checked out a couple 4H LaMancha yearling does this afternoon. There were two, sisters, avaliable. I chose the more petite of the two ( I know, I know, less room for udder space, but she was very satisfactory in every other way and with the two other does, I wasn't too worried about 1/2 a quart here or there). The gal told me that their mama was milking just over a gallon/ day, and I got a chance to check her out, too. She was beautiful and had a very nice udder.

It was fun asking questions about the does, and specifically the breed, because I would ask the lady and she would glance down at her daughter, who would pipe up with a wealth of answers. She was shy, but VERY knowledgeable about the breed, and the two sisters in particular. Also a huge plus: they have a circuit of bucks that they take turns with during breeding season, and there are 'plenty to choose from', of registered LaMancha bucks. Since ours is registered, that means the kids are actually more valuable, and I am thinking I will try to get in line for the LaMancha bucks this fall.

'Rosemary' came home to join Penny and Belle, where she was re-named Reese in honor of my favorite candy. Penny and Belle were VERY wary of Reese, and huddled in the corner while Reese went to town on the feed. Reese is significantly smaller then the other two, though the same age, and I was concerned that she might not get her fair share of the feed. No such trouble tonight, but I will be watching to make sure they don't start ganging up on her. She looks so different then they do, that I think they are just really worried about where her ears are!

I like what I hear about the 4H program. I hope to get the kiddos involved when they are old enough.

Friday, April 25, 2008


In honor of my 'spare time' and the creative side of my brain, I am going to try to use/ buy things that are handmade, where possible. I like the idea of buying something that supports other SAHMs. I like the idea of giving gifts that I put some time into and felt good about giving. I know there are those that DH will protest, and that's understandable, but as much as possible, I am going give it a try.
I Took The Handmade Pledge!


Little Blackie seems to be doing better; moving around more smoothly, and I have seen him nursing more and more.

The grass is sending up spinwheels enough that I have to mow once a week, but the blades of grass itself isn't actually really growing much. We only have it set to water twice a week, so I think it may need a couple more days of water.

The pole beans have far surpassed the slow sunflowers, now. The seeds that have come up so far are: Cantalope, cucumbers, beans (pole and bush), chives, sunflowers, sweet peas. Still to come up are the pumpkins we planted on Saturday.

I dug up a wheelbarrow full of compost from deep underneath the pile and dumped it into one of the tree boxes in the garden area. After breaking it all up, I dumped some worms in and I hope they make some good dirt.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Special Delivery

This evening, Penny had her babies. I was able to call my SIL in time and she came just in time to assist me in delivering the first one, since Penny was having a hard time. The poor kid was trying to come out all hooves first! It just wasn't budging, so with SIL holding Penny as still as she could, I gently pushed the kid back in and rearranged the legs and face so that it would come out front feet first, then head, then body, back legs, etc. I have no idea if I did it 'right', but I was pretty proud of myself for getting it so Penny could get the baby out. I guess I did it right in the fact that the baby came, and was alive and not too traumatized.

The second was easier, and after a good toweling-off, Penny showed mild interest and let them figure out how to nurse. Not quite as good of a mama off the bat as Belle was, but she'll get it. I'm so proud of our little 'herd'. I hope there's a big market of whethers, though!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Belle's Ice Cream

The 'Recipe' DH found for ice cream....Very easy. He tried cherries this time, which I love, and tomorrow I plan on trying vanilla.....

"I make sort of a shortcut ice cream that no one whines about. It is usually served as a thick milk shake. If you’d like to try this, just whip a teaspoonful of vanilla and as much sweetener as you like into a quart of fresh milk. Put the bowl into the freezer with a cover on it. I use a saucer if I don’t have a cover. When it is starting to freeze, take it out and beat it very well with a hand mixer or a blender. Put back into the freezer until almost frozen. Take out and mix well again. Back into the freezer until as hard as you’d like. Most of the time we can’t wait any longer and eat it like soft serve ice cream or add a bit of milk and beat it well, making milk shakes. Of course, you can add as much or as little as you want in the way of flavorings. Fruit, jam, chocolate, chocolate chips, or even marshmallows and nuts all can be incorporated into the nearly frozen ice cream. You can also add almond, black walnut, or whatever extract you desire. Then there are banana splits, sundaes with fresh fruit (we used our wild blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and syrup made from them)."

Wash Day Towel

I finshed the dishtowel I started on Friday. I am pretty happy with it, and I like that I chose to use only one color for the whole thing. I likely will try different colors with the next one, but I like the simplicity of the solid color, also.

I picked up all the stitches fairly quickly, except for the french knot, which is incredibly frustrating for me. Each one has to be attempted about 3 times before it looks good enough to leave and move on.


62 confirmed kills by me this morning. 100 by DH this afternoon. I am getting an air curtain for the door, I don't care if it costs $1K. Well spent.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hey, there, Lonely Girl

Pancake's pen was completed today (minus the water nozzle, but she can just drink from the water trough until the nozzle's installed), and she seems pretty happy with it. Only thing missing is a companion! She looks very small and all alone in that pen. It's been decided that we will most likely get another one this week.

DH built the shade structure for it and did a fantastic job. Pancake seems to be satisfied, and I think it will work well to keep her out of the sun and in the cool shade as much as possible.

Morning Weigh-in

An entire half-gallon (to the brim!!) of milk from Belle this morning. If she wasn't nursing the kids during the day, I am sure we would be getting a gallon a day, which seems on the higher end of average for her breed. I am thrilled!

Goat milk soap, here I come!

Caught off Guard; Poor Mathmatical Skills

I went to Joanne's with my SIL, looking for embroidery items (a skill I wanted to work on developing!). We got very excited near the entrance at some darling smocked fabrics that would whip out the cutest dresses, lickety-split. Strangely, they were sold by the inch, which fact I didn't really think about, since above that sign was the sign yelling '40% off!!!!'. We got enough to make about 8 dresses, and as I checked the ticket printed out at the cutting table, I about fell over. $113?? Oops.

We half-heartedly looked for the embroidery supplies, and I quickly picked up the basics for starting a couple projects. The store announced it was now closed, so we paid and left.

I was sweetly gifted new scissors, which will be put to good use. The fabrics are darling, and I am excited to make up the dresses (3 different fabrics for the girls, 1 for me!), but I was a little let down as I considered the expense. I guess I am used to looking at prices/ yard. These had better be the most dang cute dresses ever to be worn by women. If not, I have something to answer to; DH took one disgusted look and said, 'What's that?'. 'Material for making a dress!'. 'A what?'.......

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Milk going in, Milk coming out

The best feedings today: Alec, 10 ounces. Dapper Dan, 4 ounces. Lady, 3-4 ounces.

Belle's (aprox.) total output: 3 1/2 quarts.

I would love to have a scale to weigh the milk on so I can keep an accurate record.


I am looking for a nice pieced quilt to put on our bed. I would love to make one, but my strengths don't lay in that category of craftiness, and the time involved would be enormous. I think it would be ideal to find one that was a King, but otherwise just something piecey and pretty that I could doctor to fit our bed.

Slowly I am trying to brighten/ lighten up our bedroom from a darker more formal feel to a brighter more cheerful feel. The curtains I made the other day help enormously.

A little of Everything

I like that we gotten experiences with many different animals. I have learned so much about life and have gained much more appreciation for the beauty and functionality of their existance.

Tonight, we went to the Cole Family Ranch and picked out a couple of piglets. I was kind of expecting something sweet and Wilbur-ish, but what he had ( 9 weeks old, eating solids) were about the size of Buddy-boy. Somehow, though, there was about 25 more pounds packed on their frame then Buddy has on his. Raising pigs seems very cost effective from what I can tell and I am eager to see how it goes. We picked out a little girl and so did the Lawlors. I wanted to get one other one but I had a budget in cash and was short the cost of two. Still, though, he had plenty to chose from and I might go back. He informed us (not in a con-artist way, he was totally LDS) that they grow faster if there are two or more, since they run and fight to get to the food, whereas with one they lazily browse throughout the day.

Eventually, I hope that we have had a bit of experience with everything feasible so we can tell what we like raising the best, or what is the most cost effective, etc. Then, we can have a few animals and barter for what we need/ want that we don't have.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Furniture Polish....

....a la MJ's.

1 c olive oil

1/2 c lemon juice (fresh, just toss the lemon remains down the disposal for freshening!)
1"x1" piece of beeswax, melted

Mix it all up quickly so the wax particles are as small as possible. Use a soft cloth to rub into wood (cabinets!), let sit a few minutes, then buff with a clean dry rag.

Morning happenings

Chives are up, and the cucumbers, cantelope, and beans in the Myrtle basin are up.

The kids aren't thriving, but getting enough milk (from the dribbles they happen to swollow) to survive. I tried the flutter valve nipples which Lady and Dapper seemed to like better, but Alec does wonderfully with the regular one.

Got a quart and a half AM milking from Belle. Yippee!

Monday, April 14, 2008

'Little House' schedule

I love 'Little House in the Big Woods'. It's my favorite of the Laura books, and the pictures are just so sweet. I was thinking about my goal of slowing down and getting back to the basic stuff (instead of rushing though or skipping basic stuff in order to have time to do things that are less necessary or just of leisure or entertainment, most likely costing me money). I remembered Ma's saying:

Wash on Monday

Iron on Tuesday

Mend on Wednesday

Churn on Thursday

Clean on Friday

Bake on Saturday

Rest on Sunday

While I can't realistically follow this schedule to the letter, I think it's a good idea. It can be so overwhelming to try to do a bit of everything everyday, and never finish or accomplish anything. I think I'd like to adapt this list to:

Wash and Clean on Monday

Iron and mow on Tuesday

Sew on Wednesday

Wash and Weed on Thursday

Bake on Friday

Projects on Saturday

Rest on Sunday

I also love how these things that Laura listed are what is to be done after the everyday things like dishes, airing the bed, feeding/ milking, etc.

I'll try it and see if I get more things done this way.

Curbing the Impulse (purchase!)

Even though DH has said time and again what a pain those reusable shopping bags are for the baggers to fill, I went ahead and got some. I know it seems counter-productive (saving the environment and all) to buy bags vs. making, but they were $1 and my time and fabric were well worth it.

I had to get some things at the store this morning, and set a '3 bag limit' for myself. I kept thinking about what I could get to fit into those 3 bags I had. I passed up on a LOT of impulse items, knowing that I needed the room in the bags for other VIP items.

Also, I had cash today, and I kept very close track of what everything cost so I would avoid extreme embarassment at the checkout if I were to come up short. Normally, a few ($5, $10, even $15) dollars over I wasn't too worried about, but I didn't even have a back up card with me.

These are interesting findings....I might try again. ;)

The Fruits

Look, really. It's there.....

I laughed out loud when I looked at this and then thought of the 8 half gallon jars that Alee is sending me.

Getting used to each other

Even though we had the 'girls' on the milking stand about once a day for the past couple weeks, it is still a challenge getting Belle to stand still. She has kicked, stomped, bucked, and knocked over, stepped in, and completely mocked the milk pail....I might be getting a hobble until we get better at this.

Her udder is filling out well, but her teats are very small (as compared to my only other experience with milking a goat) which makes getting ahold of her pretty difficult. I am hoping over the next couple days she will fill up even more which will help.

The little doeling seems to be doing ok, yesterday we made sure she had a few sessions with exclusive feeding rights without her brothers pushing her out of the way.

We are down to one turkey. The fatality rate at the Funny Farm is depressing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In the Daylight

My guess of 2 bucks and 1 doeling were right! The bucks are much more lively and curious (coming right up for the camera!) and the doeling is a little shy (but looks to be very healthy, just a different personality).

Belle is doing well, her udder is filled out and her babies are pushing each other out of the way to get to her!

I will be headed to Higley for nipples that I forgot yesterday...hope they can manage until tomorrow.

On a side note, we lost 2 turkeys last night. Must have been too cold?

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Belle had her first kidding this evening. She did a great job, with no help from us. Looks like there are 2 bucks and 1 doeling.

The entire family sat outside and just watched, very excidedly. I love that I could explain the facts of life (in goat terms) to the girls (ages 3-6) and then just sum it up with 'And that's how people are, too!'. They all just looked at each other and said, 'Oh!'. No biggie. How easy was that?

Friday, April 11, 2008


We never have napkins to use at mealtime, I don't know why I don't ever remember to buy them. I got tired of torn papertowels and made a supply of napkins from my scraps and remnants. Still want a few more, but it's a start. The girls love 'em, 'dabbing' their lips so daintily.....


After my mom told me (over and over) that I should try to find a neighborhood freecycle, I finally looked into it. I had to sign in with a Yahoo account, but using my zipcode, I was able to find over 50 listings from the last 2 weeks-- all of free stuff. Either yard sale leftovers, moving remnants, spring cleaning discards, what have you. For a five minute drive, I picked up this lovely serving bowl, brand new in the box packed in styrafoam.
An added bonus, as opposed to Craigslist 'free' section, most of the posts I found were very obviously women. I feel much more comfortable picking up something in my own 'neighborhood' from another mom, instead of downtown Phoenix from Jose.

Laundry Soap

1 box of Borax
1 box of washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda….)
1 (small) container of generic oxyclean
1 bar of Zote
1 bar of Fels-Naptha

It took a bit to find it all, the Borax and oxyclean was easy (Wal-mart), but the others were tricky. I finally found Fels-Naptha at Safeway (in the laundry aisle) and Zote at the dollar store ( 3/ $1!!!), washing soda at Food City. The ‘upper class’ locations and chains do not really carry such items, since the people who shop there are not interested in them.

I used an old Christmas popcorn tin to mix it in. I literally just dumped all the powders in. Then I used a grater on the bar of Zote and Fels-Naptha. As I said before, the Zote powdered up well, and then I just kind of shaved little curls of the Fels-Naptha into the tin. I put the lid on and gave it a little shake and TA-DA! A total of about an hour, which included trying to figure out the technique of shaving the soap.

The recommended amount of soap/ load is 1 tablespoon for a small, lightly soiled load. 2 Tablespoons for more stubborn stuff (like just about all I do!).

I think I spent a total of $10 on the project, which included a ‘nice’ cheese grater that would be specifically dedicated to making laundry soap!

It's done great thus far, including diaper loads. I am keeping it in a gallon sized Ball jar that I found at Russ's.

Airing the bed

I read this post thanks to Alee, on MJ's. Since then, our bed has been 'aired' every morning, and will continue to be, or I think I might not sleep well.

"Each day when you arise, air the bed. Open the windows, if possible; throw the bedcovers back over the foot of the bed. (If the bedding will otherwise drag on the floor, stand a chair at the foot of the bed to support it.) Let the bed stand this way, unmade, while you shower and eat breakfast. The bed should air for at least an hour if you are going to work, or even longer if you are staying home. This helps immensely toward keeping the bed feeling and smelling fresh until you next change the sheets."

"While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odors and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup's worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room's oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bedcovers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen."

Stages of Life

Penny and Belle are looking so big and uncomfortable. I keep thinking they will kid any day, but especially this morning when they refused to eat. Penny was walking around with an extra 'sway', Belle was laying completly on her side and 'moaning', and gnashing her teeth. I have been on kid watch all day, but nothing yet. They haven't finished this morning's feed yet.

All 4 turkeys and 3 ducklings are growing well. The white turkey, though, has a serious twitch and I don't know how long it will live. For sure that one will be eaten. The ducks, which were the same size as the poults when we got them, have far surpassed them now, and are drinking about a gallon and a half of water/ day. I'm going to try to make something for them to use in the chicken coop. They aren't big enough or feathered enough to be out and about just yet, but the hutch is looking cramped.

Our laying hen census includes:

2 light brahmas
3 gold sex-linked
2 jersey giants
1 barred rock
1 rir
1 americauna
1 buff orpington

The orpington has gone broody in the last couple days, so I moved her to a more solitary spot out of the other hen's way. She has, I think, 9 eggs. Don't know how many are fertile, though.
There are also 9 or so teenagers running around, including: 2 barred rocks, 3 brown leghorns, and a few australorps. Besides our Silkie rooster, my favorite chicken is the runt barred rock. Her first day out in the yard, she got trapped under some wood and hurt her leg. I resuced her and stopped the bleeding on her leg. Since then, she runs up to me and follows me around in the yard. I have named her 'Rocky' (after her breed, and the blood).

Apricots, peaches, tangelos, oranges, apples and lemons are in varrying stages of growth. Only the plum tree did not flower this year, but it's its first year in the ground, so I don't expect too much of it. It did add about 8 inches of growth, which I am happy with.

The first of the sunflowers are up, first noticed last night. By lunchtime, there were about 10. Also, the sweet peas just poked through the dirt this morning.

My chives did not come up yet, or the basil.