Monday, June 29, 2015

Cows and Rain

I'm sitting here at my table listening to the rain hit the tin roof.  Since we don't have any insulation on the ceiling, you can hear it really well!  Nothing better. It's about 65 degrees outside and dark because of the rain.  I LOVE IT!!!!  This kind of weather say, "Sit down and read a book!" lol

Yes, I know the garden needs weeded and I can't get out there without sinking half way up to my knees. ( I know this because I just HAD to get that zucchini from the garden yesterday.) I also know that the tomatoes need staked.  They are laying down on the ground and the mud is not good for them.  Yes, I know that the hay needs to be cut.  We haven't been able to cut any this year because of not having any recent dry days.  But, I REALLY love these cool rainy day!  The animals do too!

We had a cow have a little heifer 4 days ago.  I'm hoping they will be okay.  Our cow has been losing weight and she has gotten really skinny, then she pops out the cutest little copper colored heifer that we have seen around here in a while.  I am watching them closely because I'm not sure if mommy has enough milk.  She doesn't look like she has much of a sack and the calf is always trying to get something to eat.  I'm hoping that the cow's milk will come in better soon.  This cow has had and raised other calves before.  Nice calves.  She is just so skinny now.

She is one of the 3 wild ones we have.  Well, I guess out of all the 3 she is the least wild one.  Her last heifer isn't as wild and has gotten to where she will come up to the fence to see if I have anything for her.  We don't feed our cattle grain on a daily bases, but we do give them a mouthful every once in a while to get them use to us.  It didn't work on the other 2 cows, but the momma of the new baby has been coming up when I do put some feed out for them.  In fact, I have been able to touch her one time.  That's a big accomplishment considering how wild she was before.

Anyways,  It was 2 days since I had seen Momma and baby so I went looking for them this morning.  For some reason, I just knew that they were dead.  But as luck would have it, they're not.  They were both laying down in the back of the field.  Momma still looks all skinny and horrible, but baby is looking better.  Hopefully Momma will be able to raise this little girl.  I left them a bit of grain hoping that it will help Momma with some of her milk production. If we had a place to actually hold her, I would run Momma up in there and check her over.  Or if we had a small corral that we could contain them in, that would help too.  I guess we are just going to have to make it a priority to get those things done here on the farm.

I was going to get a picture of those two but I wanted to see if they were going to make it first before I told you all about them.  Then I got to thinking, this is farming!  Sometimes animals make it and sometimes they don't.  I just want to tell the truth here.  I'm not going to name the heifer just yet though.  I'm not going to go that far. lol

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, weather lover.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Published! And Farm Goings On

There is soooo much stuff going on right now here around the farm.   But first, I wanted to show you THIS!!!



That's ME!  I'm published in Molly Green Magazine!!!!!  I'm sooooo excited!!!!  As soon as I figure things out, I'll put a link on here to where you can get a subscription.  I got my first copy in the mail just last week.  I can honestly say that this magazine is REALLY GOOD!  I'm not just saying that because I'm writing in it.  It is REALLY GOOD!.  Oh, I already said that. lol

Well, we finally got some rain around here.  It's funny.  The weathermen just can't predict the weather in these parts.  They say it's because of the mountains and how the weather reacts to them.  I don't know.  All I know is that I'm just about done listening to them.  When they say we have a slim chance of rain, we ended up with 3 inches.  When they said we were going to get around 5 inches because of tropical storm Bill, we only got 1/2 inch.  Very unpredictable.  I've come to the conclusion to just step outside and see what the weather looks like.  If it's wet, it's probably raining. 
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I started physical therapy last week.  I've gone 3 times so far.  I think it's a waste of money.  With insurance, my co-pay is $35 for each visit.  I don't feel any different.  In fact, one of the therapist said I was one of the most limber patience that they've ever had.  She didn't really see why I need to come.  So I'm going to talk to them and tell them I'm going to stop going.  It's just too expensive for what it's NOT doing for me. Maybe once I actually go to my back doctor, we will find out if I really need it.  I'm going to wait and see.  But in the mean time, I'm gonna save me some money and cancel the rest of the appointments
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On to farm news. Coyotes have been coming around close to the house and hay barn.  I'm not sure what they're trying to get.  Chickens, cats, dogs, rabbits?  Hard to tell.  I just hope they keep their killin's to the wild rabbits and leave our livestock alone.  The coyotes are really getting thick around here.  It's not unusual to see them in broad daylight now.  I'm kind of leery about letting the pups out to play.  Although, I know Jack will be around them.  He's their protector.  I'm still apprehensive about letting them out for long periods of time.  But, you try and keep two growing Aussies cooped up inside the house.  Um, ya,

The garden is doing very well with all of the rain.  I've been going out in the mornings and weeding for a little while.  That way I don't have to go out for a long period of time and stay out in that heat.  It's like a sauna around here.  Everyone says, "Oh ya, we have humidity here too."  They just don't understand the concept of our humidity.  It really is like a rain forest with all of our trees and water ways.  The hills block a lot of the breezes too.  I promise, the humidity is different in the hills.  I'm not saying it's worse, just different.
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Hay season should have already started here on the farm.  The rain has held it off for some time.  That's one thing you don't want though, and that's to rain on your hay after it's cut.  It gets all moldy and it loses some of it's nutrition.  When Hubby goes out and does the cutting, I'll do a small post on how it's all done.  I'm sure there are a few of you out there that has never seen it done.  It's kind of interesting.  At least it was to me when I first saw it being baled.

Well, I've jabbered on enough for now.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, published.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Budgets

I hate to post this because I know a lot of you out there are flooded but, WE NEED RAIN!!!  We got a whole 1/2 of rain for the month of May and June has produced nothing for us so far.  We can watch the radar of the storms coming our way.  As they get right up to us, they disappear giving us nothing, nada, zipo.  We actually can SEE the rain coming from the clouds on the horizon.  But nope, us nothing.  Our garden is just about to give our on us.  The plants are so small and puny.  I'm hoping they will come out of it IF we get some rain.But finally, we have a good chance of getting rain today.  In fact they are calling for sever thunderstorms to come through here tonight.  Here's to hoping they actually rain on the farm.

Now on to financial news.  I feel like I can tell things on here not because I'm a wiz at doing things, but I think that maybe, some how, my mess ups can help other people too. Hubby and I were talking about some of our wish lists.  You know, the, "If I win the lottery" talk.  Well, we got to wondering how many of the people, that my husband works with, can afford to buy new trucks and motorcycles and still get new houses and things like that. They made the same amount of money as he does so why were we living paycheck to paycheck?  Did their wives work and make thousands of dollars a week?  What was the deal?

Well, we got to looking at our budget, or should I say lack of one, and we were noticing that over half of our money was going to fuel and eating out.  WHAT???? You mean to tell me that it was adding up to that?  WOW!!!!  That really put things into perspective.  Even though we live about 30 minutes from any large(er) town, it was really taking it's toll on our money when we, on a whim, decide to go and, let's say, get an ice cream.  Those things really add up!  (They add up on your waist line too, but that's a whole other issue. lol)

So what are we going to do about it?  Well, for one, we are not going to eat out.  We realize that we like my cooking better than most restaurants anyway. Plus, it's a lot more healthy for us too. And since we are stopping our "let's go for a drive" mentality, we don't have to worry about needing something to eat while we are out.    I realize that I will have to make sure that I plan out our meals so that I know when to get something out of the freezer to thaw.  That way it won't take very long to make meals.  I really think this will work. We need to stop using "eating out" as our "lets do something" idea.  I would rather go fishing anyway. lol

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, homebody.

P.s.  It started raining while I was writing this post.  YAY!!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bye,Bye Bunnies......Hopefully.

Well, I put the rabbits up for sale on a Facebook livestock page.  Hopefully I'll be able to sell them soon.  I like these little buggers, but I know they aren't fitting into our farm plans.  Why feed something that's not going to contribute to the farm.  If that means by working, making money, or by being food.  So far, they haven't done much of any of those. No one but me likes to eat the rabbits.  I don't know why, they taste like chicken. lol  So it's gonna be bye,bye, bunnies.



Although I'm going to miss seeing them come to the front of the cage to be fed, I won't miss breaking the ice out of their bowls in the winter. lol



So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, moving forward.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Favorite Place In The World

Almost every morning, weather permitting, I sit just outside my back door and drink tea.  I sit and enjoy the frog sounds from the pond and listen to the roosters crowing up around the old house.  The birds are the loudest in the morning  and I can hear them from quite a bit away since we live on top of a hill.  To me, this is heaven on Earth.

This is the time that I can recharge my "batteries".  I sit and plan on the things I will be doing that day.  Or, I'll just sit and think of the things that I SHOULD be doing that day. lol.  Sometimes the Call of the Lazies is just too powerful for me to resist.

Then around 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the sun peaks over the top of the house and I have to leave my piece of heaven.  That is, if I haven't already.  By then it's too hot to sit there anymore.  But of course, I've usually abandoned my post and moved on to the things that need to be done around the house.

Here is the flowers Hubby got for me on Mother's Day even though I didn't have any children.  But, I guess being a step-mom counts.


I just love these flowers!  Look how pretty!!!  I'm not real sure what they are called.  All I know is they are beautiful!


Our church gave out the  normal petunias to all the women in the church that weekend.  I love them too.  The flowers just add to the experience of the outdoors.


I just thought you might like to have a small peak into my morning ritual.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, back door sitter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Reason For The Small Absence and Puppy Pictures

It's been a little hectic around here.  We've been trying to get the garden done.  We have it planted.  Well, most of it.  There are a few little things I want to plant still.  Some, of course, can be planted in the fall garden. But, the way time has been flying, that will be like, well, tomorrow.

Another reason for my absence is because of stupid Dr appointments.  I had gotten to where I could barely walk from my house to my car, let alone do chores around the house.  My knees and back were hurting sooooo bad.  I finally broke down and went to the Dr.  Have I mentioned I HATE going to the Dr.? I still haven't had the Dr check out my foot where I sprained it.  Anyway,  the Dr told me that I have deformed knees. Who knew? I've had them all my life and as I have gotten older, they are starting to give me problems.  He said I'll probably have to have knee replacements on down the line.  He did give me some anti-inflammatory meds that seem to be working very well.  I can straighten my leg now.  I haven't been able to do that for 4 years.  It's amazing how it feels to do something so simple.  I've even been able to walk around a flee market.  Wooo  Hoooo.  The Dr. told me that the knee replacement can be put off for a while depending on the pain that my knees cause me.  I have a long list of procedures to do before I actually have to get to that point.

As for the back pain? Well, the Dr. told me that I have arthritic in my back and I have also fractured it somehow.  Yay...... can ya hear the sarcasm?  I honestly don't know how I done this.  I just know that it has been hurting for a while.  I just figured it was because I was overweight.  

Doc told me that the weight didn't help any, but it wasn't the reason for the knees, but it could have been the reason for the back.  So some how, some way, I'm gonna have to lose this dad-blame weight. The Dr. has me going to physical therapy so maybe that will help some.
   
Because of news like this, I was kind of slapped me in the face with my own mortality. I'm not going to last forever. lol.  I've been kicking things around in my head.  One of the biggest things that has been teasing me has been this farm.  Do I really want to be self sufficient?  Is it really important for me to eat food that we grow ourselves?  Do I want to keep living this lifestyle?  Sometimes it would be so much easier to just stick my head in the sand and live life like everyone else, not listen to the news, not care about GMO's, and not care about if anything is going to happen to our freedoms.  The people who don't care about these thing seem so carefree and relaxed. Maybe that's the way to go. 

But.....
I have this wonderful friend who, when I get this way, I can call and she will tell me all kinds of horror stories about how it's very important that we keep going.  How it will be worth it in the end. In fact, my little talk with her has kind of kicked my butt in gear to let me realize that I really DO want to live this lifestyle.  I just need to modify it now because of my limitations.  We need to narrow down and specialize in things instead of just throwing things out there willy nilly.  

 I'm going to have to really buckle down and start working on my herbs.  I think this will be an important thing when it comes to our health care now and in the future.  I don't want to depend on just popping a pill all the time. The last few months I had slowly gone to believing in the "normal" western way of medicine.  It's easy to fall back to that when almost everyone around you believes this way.  I have to get back to looking into my herbsd I do have my herb plot picked out and things are slowly getting planted.  I know this will take years to be exactly the way I want it.  The hardest part for me was to find a spot to put the herb garden.  I have that now.

Another thing we are changing here on the farm is we are selling the rabbits.  I'm the only one who really likes eating our rabbits and as much money and time as I'm putting in them, they aren't worth it for us.  I still think rabbits are a great homesteading animal.  But, you have to make sure that the animals will work for you.  

I'm keeping the chickens but I'm going to cut down on the size of the flock.  We don't need to get 18 eggs a day.  I was selling the eggs there for a while and doing really good, but most of the people who were buying my eggs, went and got their own backyard chickens.  I'm happy for them to be able to do this.  I believe it's a great experience for them.  I'll just have less chickens and use less feed.

One of the things that we are going to start focusing on is our cattle.  We really like our cattle.  Even though some are wild,(mainly two of the cows) we are slowly winning the others over to where they aren't afraid of us.  We plan on getting our fence in better shape so that we can buy some more.  By putting money into our cattle, it's like putting money in the bank. Not everyone can put cows in their back yard. Plus, if for some odd reason we would have to go and stay somewhere over night, the cattle can take care of themselves. 

We'll also be raising Australian Shepherd farm dogs.  I'm pretty good with training dogs, but if I can't get them trained to herd the cattle, I'm going to look into getting them an actual herding dog trainer. This is important to me.  I want these pups to be an asset to the farm.  Not just something that's going to eat us out of house and home. lol.   I love these little girls, but they have to pull their weight too.

So without anymore waiting, here are some recent pictures of the pups.  

  
Here they are taking life easy.


They love playing with Jack.  Remember, Jack is a 200 lb St. Bernard, so you can see how big the girls are getting.



                                      They will play, and play with him for long periods of time.


                                                                And, he will play back.


                                                He'll even let them think they are winning.


                                                     It's a tough life working on the farm.




So until next time, (which hopefully won't be so long.)

Small Farm Girl, homesteader.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Guest Post and a Give Away

We've been very busy here on the farm.  The pups are growing like weeds.  Because of them I was contacted by a company who wanted to advertise on my blog.  Needing the money to feed these bottomless pits, I agreed.  So here is a post by them.  I find that it's a really interesting concept.  In fact, if you comment on here and then share this post, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate.    Sounds like a good deal to me!!!!

SFG



 The Benefits and Cost of an Invisible Dog Fence

Your pet dogs love to run and explore, which is why a farm or homestead is such a great environment for them. Giving your dogs the entire run of the farm, however, isn’t always practical or safe. Designating clear boundaries is important for dogs, and fencing is the easiest way to do it. Traditional fencing is one option, but there is another you might want to consider - an invisible dog fence.

Invisible dog fences are reliable and versatile, and they can be particularly helpful on a farm. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might want an invisible dog fence. We’ll also answer the next most important question: How much does an invisible fence cost?

Uses for an Invisible Fence on the Farm
There are many different ways an invisible fence can be set up on your farm. One of the best things about it is that it does not create a barrier for anyone other than your dogs. With the dog fence wire buried underground, there is no physical fence obstructing the path or view. This makes it easy to create a dog-only zone on one section of your farm. There will be no gates to fiddle with or worry about when you need to access the rest of your property. Here are just a few of the different ways you can take advantage of invisible fencing:

-Separate Dogs and Chickens: An electronic dog fence can keep your dogs at a safe distance from your chicken coop. If your dogs aren’t contained, they could kill or injure your chickens or disrupt egg-laying. An invisible fence will keep dogs out, but it won’t stop chickens from roaming when your dogs are inside, allowing them to graze freely.

-Separate Dogs and Livestock: If your dogs are not herding dogs, you may want to keep them separated from any other livestock you have on your farm. The fences that are typically used to contain livestock aren’t usually adequate for containing dogs. An invisible fence can be used to reinforce the boundaries of existing livestock fencing.

-Contain Digging Dogs/Protect Your Gardens: One of the best advantages of an electric dog fence is that it can reliably contain dogs who love to dig. Digging dogs can burrow underneath traditional fences, and they can wreak havoc in the appealing soil of a garden or flower bed. Your dogs’ e-collars will emit an annoying beep as a warning, followed by a mild static shock, if they get too close to the boundary wire of an invisible fence, meaning they can’t dig under it.

-Enclose Multiple Acres: If you do want to give your dogs the entire run of your farm, there are some benefits to doing so with an electronic dog fence at the perimeter of your property. Boundary wire costs significantly less than traditional fence sections, so it’s more economical to enclose large areas with an underground dog fence. Also, an electric dog fence system will tell you if there is a break in the wire. You’ll know immediately if your dog is at risk of escaping, unlike with a traditional fence, which would require you to regularly inspect all sections of it.

Cost of an Invisible Fence
If you’re interested in installing an invisible dog fence on your farm, the next thing you need to know is how much it costs. You’ll be happy to hear that electronic dog fences are very reasonably priced - especially if you handle the installation yourself. A DIY electric fence system can cost as little as $200 total. Traditional fences can cost thousands of dollars to enclose the same area. Let’s take a look at some of the other costs that may be associated with an invisible fence system.

-Extra Boundary Wire: Most electronic dog fence systems come with 500 feet of boundary wire. Additional boundary wire will cost approximately $22-$150 per 500 feet. Your total cost will vary greatly depending on the size of the area you want to enclose. A wireless dog fence is also an option, and these systems may cost up to $800 to enclose up to 25 acres.

-Extra E-Collars: Invisible fence systems usually come with one e-collar. If you have more than one dog, you will need to purchase additional collars at about $60-100 each. You may also need to purchase a specialized e-collar if a dog is less than 10 pounds, or if a dog is particularly large or stubborn. Specialized e-collars have varying correction levels, either less intense or more intense than the average e-collar.

-E-Collar Batteries: Lots of invisible dog fence systems have rechargeable e-collars. These are preferable, because you don’t have to worry about changing the batteries. If your e-collars require replacement batteries, you can expect to spend $14-40 per year, per e-collar.

-Installing the Fence: Professional invisible fence installation can cost up to $2500 for the average yard. You can save that money by going the DIY route and installing your own dog fence. This is a project that anyone can complete. You can expect to spend the better part of one weekend installing the fence, but doing so shouldn’t cost you anything.

-Running the Fence: For the average-sized yard, an electronic dog fence may cost about $1-2 per month in electricity. Of course, larger boundaries with more wire will cost slightly more.

Selecting an Invisible Fence
If you’re interested in purchasing a DIY electric fence for your farm, there are several different brands and types to choose from. Invisible fence reviews and comparison charts can help you evaluate different options. You’ll need to decide which features are most important to you, such as rechargeable or specialized e-collars, or wireless versus wired dog fences. You’ll also need to know the size of the area you want to enclose so you can select a system that has the right capacity. Online customer reviews can also help you choose a good system.

With the right DIY electric dog fence, your dogs will be happy and safe on your farm.

Published in partnership with www.dogfencediy.com. We encourage you to share your experiences with a variety of dog containment systems in the comments section. Commenters and those who share the post in social media qualify for a drawing of a $25 Amazon gift card!