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Monday, January 25, 2016

Bottle Calf, Promise of Spring and a Lovely C.S. Lewis Quote

 This is the newest addition to the hilltop.....Yes, it's a bull calf.  Yes, he's adorable.  Yes, we're going to raise him and eat him.

More and more, people don't seem to understand the purpose of animals.  Farm animals are not meant to be pets, like this bull calf for instance, but to serve their purpose in putting food on the table.  I often wonder if those who think killing animals for food is cruel ever stop to wonder what on earth we'd do with them all otherwise??  You just can't have millions of cows taking over the planet!

This little fellow is a bottle baby now, just 2-3 weeks old.  I'm going to try to get two calves raised on the extra goat milk.  Right now we're still milking the three goats, feeding the three kids and the rest of the milk had been going to the house.  There's been enough left over that we can raise one calf at a time and this is the first one.

In another week or so we'll castrate and disbud (dehorn) him and he'll be good to grow for a couple of years. 

We disbudded the three goat kids a few days ago.  We keep a completely hornless herd for their safety and ours.  
 It's hard to imagine all the snow they're getting on the east coast when my daffodils are about 3-4" tall already.

The frogs have been croaking and today I saw a few honeybees flying around.  Of course today was one of our rare sunny days....No doubt the rains will return tomorrow.
 My litter of orange dwarf rabbits is now weaned and I'm enjoying these little sweeties a whole bunch!  I'm anxious to see how they turn out.  They are a litter of three boys and three girls and I named them Dietz, Torch, Beacon, Lumen, Glow and.....and.....oh crumb, I can't remember the other one right now.  Hmmm.  Anyhow, this is one of the little boys     --------------------->
No, we're not going to eat him ;-)

It's a long time until actual Spring, but we even have a few dandelions blooming already.  Wildflowers, doncha know, lol!

Not much else happening on the ole hilltop at the moment.  I FINALLY got the Christmas tree down today and gathered up the decor, but I confess that it's all sitting at the foot of the stairs waiting to get up to the storage room and then put away.  I've pretty much done nothing more that keep up with laundry and basic chores as I have once again succumbed to a nasty bout of diverticulitis, much to my disgust.  Can you say......chicken broth??   My best friend is currently a heating pad and  I've been on antibiotics and basically a liquid diet for over a week and was getting a bit impatient and disgruntled......

Then I read this by C. S. Lewis.....

 29 April 1938
I have been in considerable trouble over the present danger of war. Twice in one life—and then to find how little I have grown in fortitude despite my conversion. It has done me a lot of good by making me realise how much of my happiness secretly depended on the tacit assumption of at least tolerable conditions for the body: and I see more clearly, I think, the necessity (if one may so put it) which God is under of allowing us to be afflicted—so few of us will really rest all on Him if He leaves us any other support.

I am consistently in awe and amazed by the depth of  C.S. Lewis's thinking.  A very brilliant man was he and definitely more insightful than myself.

I always find it hard to be sidelined, so to speak, but no doubt it's good for a person to have time to rest and think.

Ah, well, I shall pull myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and chant to myself over and over that "this too shall pass" and endeavor to make a more interesting blog post next time!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Morning on the Farm and the Dance of Joy

 I woke up at my usual 5:45ish this morning and, since my husband is working away from home and staying for 3-4 days, decided he could use extra prayer.  I prayed for his safety while working and traveling.  I wish I could say that when I got up at 7:24 that it was because I'd prayed diligently all that time.  I didn't. 
Actually, I fell asleep and dreamed I was trying to catch three goats.  One had two collars on.  By the time we caught them all, we were so pleased that we did the 'Dance of Joy' that Balki & Larry used to do (google it).  Where did that come from, I wonder?

 I'll take you around the farm with me this morning.  First, stop in the boot room and get your chore coat and a hat on.  We're going to end up milking and feeding goats and they're stinky.  Be sure to put boots on.  After all, this is's's wet.

The wood shed is looking good - all that Douglas Fir, full of pitch, burns hot and warms the house up in a hurry.
 Rebecca is up ahead with the wagon.  She's moving some rabbit cages to the barn.  She'll help milk since my hands can't handle our three good milkers all by myself.  Can you say....arthritis?
 Merrieanne, Shiloh and E-Goat are eating their scoop of grain and ready to be washed and milked.  Shiloh is the hardest to milk, but we'll get-er-done.

After we've filtered the milk, washed up the strainer & milk buckets and then fed the kids, we'll be done.  Don't forget to feed the cats.
Don't worry, I can feed all three kids at once!  You'll understand why I change my jeans once I get back in the house after we're done with the morning chores!
 I see Laura has already been outside and let the chickens out.  They love to free-range and if we leave an opening they'll be everywhere - including under the porch and in my flower beds.

We've got 13 hens and a rooster.  A light in the chicken house keeps them laying eggs all winter, so we're in good supply.  Actually, I think there are about 8 or 9 dozen in the fridge, so be sure to take some home with you.
 I suppose your porch rocker isn't full of interesting lichens or moss?  We gathered this in the woods one day and here it stays.  Oh, well, it's too wet & cold to sit outside anyhow.
 On my way to the rabbit house I see this little mossy thing.  Western Washington definitely has moss.  And lichens.  And other things that like it damp.

I guess that must include us, right? 
Rabbit chores took a little longer this morning since the rabbit cage pans needed cleaning, water bottles filled and feeders topped off with alfalfa pellets...Then for the fun stuff....TREATS!!!

<------Scarlotti didn't want to wait until I could scoop some COB (corn, oats, barley with molasses) into her dish.
 Neither did Yetta ----------------------------->
 My litter of six new orange Netherland Dwarfs are growing nicely and I just weaned them a few days ago.   Soon I'll separate the boys & girls, then a little later each one will have their own cage.

I'm going to grow these little guys out before I decide if I'm keeping them all.  They take a while to develop fully.
 I thought a selfie was in order, so here I am ------------>

You're jealous of my barn boots, I can tell.  These are wonderful.  I am reminded of Rhymes With Plague's wife, Ellie, as she's been coloring interesting designs not unlike the ones on my boots.  Maybe I should tell her and she could start a line of fabulously colored boots:  Ellie's Wellie's.....Yes?
I love this little gate.  It opens into the garden, alongside the greenhouse/rabbit house.  Isn't it cute?

Well, you did morning chores.  Back into the house we go and I've decided not to cook anything for breakfast.  A bowl of homemade granola with a few raisins and (of course) goat milk and I'm ready for the next thing, which happens to be sewing today. 

Did a lot more things than that today,  but this was just a morning tour, remember?  

Maybe next time I'll tell you how to make Three Cheese Bacon Mac 'n Cheese because you missed out.  That's what we had for lunch!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Burritos, Baby it's Cold Outside & Baby Goats

 We had several days in a row that were below freezing....and when it started to thaw, we got a day of ice!  Very slick, but very pretty.
 Even inside the rabbit house the water bottles froze and I had to hook up a small heater.
 The kids were warm & comfy in the barn under their heat lamp.  You can see that Shultz is full of attitude in both these pictures.  All three kids are growing like weeds!  They each drink a 20 ounce pop bottle of lovely, warm goat milk twice a day at milking time.
 We've got an abundance of milk since two of the mama goats are giving a gallon a day and the other is close behind.  It's about time to scout around for a bottle-calf to use up the excess.
 E-Goat wonders if it's milking time yet.
 Paxton has decided that it's too cold and she can't be bothered.  She's going to wait until Spring.
 All we got was a pathetic dusting of snow.  I was very disappointed.  On my list of favorite things, LOTS OF SNOW ranks right up there with squirrels, acorns, coffee and sewing machines.

 Our little quilting group had a Christmas gift exchange and I received these fun items:  a Scrap Quilting book, a quilting UFO (un-finished object) and some quilt labels & patterns.  Fun!

 Can you say....BURRITOs?   Oh...YUM!  Get your deep-fryer out, make sure there's sufficient oil in it and turn it up to about 400*.

Brown some hamburger.  Make sure it's nice, lean stuff - who needs all that fat?

I use the smaller soft flour tortillas.
 Drain & rinse a can of black beans; or any old kind you like - kidney or pintos are good, too.
 Add taco seasoning to taste.  I buy it in bulk, but you can use those individual little packets instead, if you prefer.
 Mix it all up in your frying pan.
 Grate some cheddar and as you spoon your taco mix on the tortillas, throw a bit of cheese on there, too.
 Coming along nicely.
 You could, of course, add lettuce, tomato & black olives and then a little sour cream & salsa and eat these as soft tacos now.  But, if you want a really good treat, you'll keep going and finish up these burritos!
 Roll 'em, secure with wooden toothpicks....
 When you've got them all ready to go (I used a pound of burger and 10 small tortillas, by the way), you can begin to deep fry!
 It only takes a couple of minutes - until they're a nice golden brown color.  Be very very careful.  Hot grease is, well, dangerous.

As you take them out of the fryer (with tongs), drain them on paper towels placed over a cookie rack.
Then pile them up on a plate in the oven at 170* (low) or so.  I always take the toothpicks out so no one accidentally eats one ;-)

Serve with salsa & sour cream and LOTS of napkins. 

Now, wasn't that easy and tasty?? 

That was today's dinner.  Now I'm catching up on my Ebay and Etsy stores and then I'm going to read just a couple chapters in a novel I started before I call it a night and head off to bed.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Easy granola recipe, the woods are green and the Baby Goats are Here!

Time marches on and we've made it through the holidays and into the New Year.

I think we had record rainfall for December but there was a break long enough for a lovely walk to the valley.  The creek was high and the fields were flowing with water making me glad I walked in rubber boots.

The new trail didn't have a chance to grow any grass before Old Man Winter set up residence.  It's actually quite a hill, though the picture is deceiving.

Our woods are always green, even in the winter.
 Two roads diverged in a.....well, a very green wood.  I took the one MORE traveled by, and it made the difference as the more traveled one leads back to the house!
 The days have been chilly and my Oval cookstove is doing an excellent job heating the house, as usual.  It is not an antique, but a fairly air-tight and pretty efficient stove.

The power has only been out once this Fall/Winter season, but I whipped out the percolator and made a pot of coffee....just because I could!
 This is a lovely gift from my DH.  If you heat with wood, you KNOW that NO ONE wants to be the one to have to step outside, split kindling, gather little tinder, and crunch up paper.  My man left this for me so I wouldn't have to!  Love that guy!
 Fruitcake.  It's what's for Christmas.  We have a favorite family recipe and make it faithfully every year.  This year we had raisins my daughter had picked & dried herself.  Also, she candied orange and lemon peel, some of which she grew on a lemon bush in her room!
 Ready to bake and...............
 .....ta da!  Fruitcake.  It is delicious.
 I also made granola.  SUPER EASY RECIPE:
Mix together:
10 cups of oats
1 cup chopped nuts or sunflower seeds
2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups maple syrup (yes, real)
Bake @ 350* for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until golden brown.  Makes a decent gallon.

Just do it.  When you serve it, you can add whatever strikes you - raisins or what have you.

 You can also cook it like oatmeal, if you can tolerate such stuff.  Many years ago, my mother sat me in front of a bowl of hot oatmeal.  I gagged and sat there.  She made me sit for ages, telling me I HAD to eat it.  I couldn't and gagged some more.  She finally relented and let me escape.  I've never been able to tolerate the smell of cooked oatmeal since.  And I loved her anyhow, lol.
 Primitives continue to fly out of my sewing room (pun intended).  These birdies were no exception and they have flown off to new homes.
 I sew and paint every day and still the ideas continue to pop into my head.  I keep notebooks and sticky pads everywhere so I can jot them down!
 SURPRISE!!!  Look who arrived on December 23rd!  It's MarvelAnne!  Then, about 3 days later she was followed by Schultz and then just yesterday, Ellie.  I'll get pictures of them on the next blog post.

Now, twice daily we trek to the barn for milking chores.  I stop by my daughter's place on the way to the barn and she comes down to help milk & feed.  Younger daughter does the evening milking (less milk in the evening since we don't milk on a 12 hour schedule....)
 Merrieanne, Shiloh and E-Goat are all milking fabulously.  Fresh milk every day - my coffee is greatly improved, once again!

Do you keep YOUR goat milk in canning jars?

Well, my Christmas tree & decorations are still up.  We're enjoying their cheery lights and warm glow.  We all caught a rotten cold that lasted for over 3 weeks in mid-December, so we're sort of stretching our holiday out to make up for it.

Our holidays weren't the same without my Mom, of course, but God is gracious and my heart is healing.  I'd give anything for one more conversation, one more hug, one more day with her but I'm holding on to the knowledge that she's whole and healed, waiting for that glorious family reunion we'll have when the Lord returns.

The sun has set on another day so I'd better sign off and go get my rest.  The weather has been below freezing here for the last several days, making it difficult to keep the rabbits watered since their bottles freeze, even inside their greenhouse building.  Makes for long & chilly chore time!  My fingers get so cold that I can't stay out for very long at a time.

Tomorrow I need to clean rabbit pans, do milking & bottle feeding baby goat chores, and bake bread.  I've got about 5 primitive orders to finish up as well, so it'll be another busy day on the farm!

(Don't forget - you can click on the pics to make them bigger!)