Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Big Changes for the New Year

The end of a year and a beginning of another year. This is when we look back on the things that worked and things that didn't work for the farm. We decided to sell the goats. In fact at this time, I have people coming to take a few home. We just decided that they weren't for us anymore. We had goats for a few years and we can say that we tried them.  Now we are ready to go in a new direction with the farm.  But for once in my life, I'm going to take it slow.  I'm not going to jump right into the next "best" thing.  I'm going to fix fences, I'm going to clean out our "barn"(little building) and study all of the possibilities out there.  In fact just this past weekend, Hubby and I went to visit an alpaca farm.    

Now we aren't going to jump right in and get alpacas.  Although these little things are CUTE!!!!  We are just looking at different ways that we can go.  We did find out that you just shear them once a year.  Their fleece is extremely soft!!!!  They don't have hooves, they have feet with toe nails.  Once a year , in early spring, someone comes and shears them, cuts their toenails, and if they need it, work on their teeth.  Hubby really likes the idea that he doesn't have to trim hooves every other month. 

Look at those ears!!!

And that face!!!!

And the colors!

I thought this little girl was just soooo cute!  The body of these alpacas are not as big as you think.  If I was to shear them, they wouldn't be half as wide as they look.  They are almost all fluff. 

I just love the color of this big boy.  He thinks he's pretty too.

This one fell in love with Hubby.  See, they aren't very tall are they? 

I did learn that there is a spinning guild an hour away from the farm.  I'm planning on visiting them when they have their next meeting at the end of Jan.  I can't wait! I want to learn as much as I can about spinning and fiber in general. 

With this "field trip" under our belt, we will move on to the next thing to learn about.  I'll keep you up to date on what we decide to look at next.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting Ready For Christmas

We are getting ready for Christmas around the farm.  The tree is up and the presents are bought or made. (almost)  They are all wra......oh who am I kidding!!!! I HATE wrapping presents.  I think it's a waste of time and a waste of pretty paper.  Plus, I'm not really good at it.  Maybe it's because I know that in just a few days the paper will be ripped to shreds. I always leave it to the last minute.  Then I go and give them to people who in return give me a beautifully wrapped present with bows and ribbon and pretty little name tags.  Mines lucky to have a name written on the paper with a Sharpie.

One thing I AM good at is making cookies.  For the last few days we have also been on cookie over load.  I've been baking at least on type of cookie a day.  I can remember my mom baking cookies and making candies before Christmas.  I loved it.  I'm not a big sweets eater, but I just love the action of making Christmas candies and cookies.  The last time I went to the grocery store I saw plain sugar cookies.  They were in a plastic container with a bunch of different colors of icing so that you can decorate them.  I thought that was sad.  Making the cookies were the fun part not just icing them.  Sugar cookies are one of the most basic cookies out there. Why not get a recipe, make them, and make memories along with the cookies.

Oh well, I guess to each their own.  I just wished more people would slow down and enjoy the Christmas season.  If you have to start earlier that's fine, just enjoy it.  I'm sure the presents will be forgotten before too long, but the memories will be forever.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, feeling the Christmas Spirit and cookie baker

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Need To Pick Your Brain

 I hope a don't get a lot of zombies reading my blog with a title like that. hehehe...... Anyway, I have been reevaluating the farm and it's contents, mostly the critters.  And,I am thinking about selling the goats.  I know, the goats have been a big part of the farm but there comes a time when you realize what's working and what's not.  The goats are not.  Don't get me wrong, I love my goats but I'm not doing them justice.  They need to be moved to different pastures.  And to do that, I would have to put at least $1500 into fencing so that they can't get out.  Oh, and believe me, they will get out.  I don't have the $1500 to put into fencing right now(or anytime soon), so I'm going to have to sell them.

Plus, is you have ever had goats, you know that they have a way of (how can I say this nicely) being a pain in the butt!  Every time I go out to feed I wonder what I'm going to see next.  Who is limping for no known reason, who is stuck in the fence, who got OUT of the fence, and so on.  I swear they went two whole weeks acting like they were starving to death whenever I went out to feed.  They were even losing weight.  I was wondering if they were having a worm issue so I wormed them and kept a good eye on them. Then I noticed that they weren't eating their hay.  We have a feeder that holds a round bale of hay for them to eat.  I went down to look at it thinking maybe it was a bad bale.  Those sweet (stupid) goats came running like I was the best thing ever.  They plunged into that bale of hay (that they had eaten out of before) like it was candy.  Those sweet (stupid) goats had FORGOT that there was hay there.  This is what I contend with EVERY DAY.  So, instead of worrying about what's going to happen next, I'm just going to sell them.  They haven't really been earning their keep on the farm anyway.  Well, other than comedy relief.

The rabbits?  Well, lets just say that they are on probation.  For some reason I can't get them to breed.  I've even changed bucks.  I'm wondering if they are just too old.  Maybe I need to start with younger rabbits.  Although 2 yrs isn't too old for breeding rabbits.  I just don't really know what the problem is. Good thing I don't have too much money in them.  I won't feel so bad if I have to sell them too.  The bad thing is, I have clients who want the rabbits!  I just can't get them to breed!!!!! Maybe I should hire a sex therapist for them. hehehe

The chickens?  I'm down to 4 hens and 3 pullets and 1 rooster. (Thanks to Jack.)  I'm getting 1 to 2 eggs a day.  I understand it's winter and they don't lay as many eggs in the winter.  I'm thinking I need to get some more young hens to add to the flock.  Although we didn't get the new coop done this past summer, it's on the TOP of the list of things to do when the weather breaks.  I'm going to keep my chickens.  Those are the only things that were actually making me money by selling their eggs.  If only I had more.

The cattle?  Well, we have one cow, two heifers (young female cows who haven't had a calf), a baby bull, and another small bull that we have on loan from a friend to try and breed the cows. They are as wild as deer right now.  No matter what, they will NOT come close to us, even when we have sweet feed. They take one look at us, throw their head in the air and run.  I have a feeling when it's butchering time for the little bull, we are going to have to be like the Indians and run it down like buffalo.  Could be interesting, I'll keep you posted. :0)

So now you know about our animals.  We only have a barn for hay and a shed off of the barn for the horses and cows to get in. (Oh, by the way, the horses are just pasture ornaments.  We don't do anything with them. I guess we could if we wanted, but we don't ride anymore. They just help eat down the grass and with around 50 acres, we need something to help with keeping the pasture eaten down.)   The fence around these acres is 5 strands of close barb wire.  The goats' have their own pen with woven wire fence.  Not really big enough for them.  They have little goat huts, small three sided buildings. These huts are eight by eight square and just big enough for me to bend over to go in.  Perfect for goats we have quite a few of these.  We actually have more of the huts than we have goats.

My problem is now that I'm going to sell my goats, I'm still going to have to have something to help eat pasture and hay.  If not, we will have to bush hog the whole place so that it won't grow up and turn into a mess.  It can happen really quickly.  If I would have won that huge lottery, I wouldn't have this problem.  I would just hire a couple farm hands and they would fix new fence, build me a couple barns, a garage, and we would be set.  But, that didn't happen, so I'm gonna have to figure out how to do this on a VERY tight budget.  Any ideas?  What would YOU do if you had 50 acres of barb wired fenced land? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, clueless.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Gem

I have found a treasure, a perfect gem.  It's called The Jesse Stuart Foundation Bookstore.  This is in a big, old building just a few minutes from where I live.  Hubby and I visited it this weekend while we were Christmas shopping.  I had found my Heaven.

Basically,the JSFB is a collection of books about Appalachia or books that were written by Appalachia authors.  It was AWESOME!!!!!  Books about coal mining, books about the strong Appalachian people, books about the wonderful Appalachian food, farming in the foothills, and how they did it.  There were books about the rail road, books about indians, about the settlers that first crossed these wild mountains. There were fiction books there also!  Anything and everything you can think about, if it had to do with Appalachia, was in this book store.  Once again,  IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!

As we were checking out,(with tons of books, I might add.) we got to taking to the "manager" of the place. I was telling him how much I love the idea of the Foundation.  He said he appreciated us coming in and buying books because their business was extremely slow, scary slow.  We got to talking about how people just didn't read anymore, especially about things local.  They were into things more like 50 Shades of Grey or being on Facebook.  No one wanted to learn about the history of Appalachia.

That concept made me sad.  Appalachia is the best place in the world! (imho) Why wouldn't people want to learn about it?   This building was teaming with so much knowledge from days gone by and from days yet to come, local knowledge.  There was sooooo much stuff to learn here.  It would be a HUGE shame if this place went out of business.  It runs on grants and on the small amount of people who buy books from there.  And, we all know how well the grants are doing now a days.........

So I'm asking a favor, if you were thinking about getting a book for someone for Christmas, could you please just check out their site to see if there is anything there that would be of interest.  Yes, it may be a little bit more than Amazon, but you are supporting a foundation that is trying to do something good here, not some big corporation.

So once again I thank you,

And until next time,

Small Farm Girl, trying to save a good thing.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Pot of beans and smoked ham hock, what more do you need on a winters day.  Oh wait!  How about some cornbread made in the wood cook stove........ Hmmmmmm....


Saturday, December 7, 2013


After about 3 inches of rain in the last two days, it turned COLD!  I think the wetness made it feel even worse.  My poor milk goats are shivering.  (I noticed the milk goats are more delicate than the fainters when it comes to cold weather.  Wimps.) After getting everyone as comfortable as they can be, I wanted some comfort for myself, so I grabbed some hot tea and looked through some magazines that my mom keeps for me to read after she's done with them.

Most of the magazines that Mom gives me are the house decorating kind.  I love to look at these.  Makes me wonder how other people live. (Although, I know these people don't really live like this.  I mean, where's the dirt, right?)  But, the magazines give me ideas of how I want to do the top part of the house whenever we start working on it again.

Okay, back on the subject.  As I look through the magazines, I see houses up in New England and I think, "I would love to live up there."   I mean who wouldn't?  Fresh seafood, cooler temps, and beautiful land.  Then I turn the page and I see a beautiful house in the desert.  I would love to live there!  No humidity, warm weather all year, and the beautiful rock.  I go back to looking at the magazines.  Oh look! The Rockies!........and it goes on and on.

Then I get this dreamy look on my face and I zone out for a while.  If money and family wasn't an issue, where would I live?  After about an hour or so of dreaming, I realize that I like where I live.  Four distinct seasons,(although as I get older I'm starting not to like the cold as much.) beautiful rolling hills, and bunches of rivers and streams to fish in.  Ya, I think I've found my perfect place.  If I could change anything around here, it would be the lack of work and work ethic.  But, that is everywhere now.  I think I'm happy right here.

Do you ever dream about moving?  If money and family wasn't an issue, where would you live?

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, wonderer  

Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm Back!!!!! And The Long Awaited Rant

I'm BAAAAAACCCCKKKKKK!!!!!   The internet had been down for a couple days and it was driving me crazy!!!!!  Not that I'm on it all the time, I just want the option to be on it all the time. lol

Anyway, on to the rant that I promised you.........

I've been really soul searching about writing about this.  By writing this, I may make a few people mad and I might even lose a few readers, but this has been on my mind for almost a year now.  So, I figured I should write it.  It's about kids.

Right from the start I want to say that I'm not an expert on kids.  I don't have any of my own. I do have two step kids who I have watched grow up.  But, that's all of my experience when it comes to parenting.  That, and remembering what it was like when I was growing up.

The reason that I felt like I had to write about this now is because of how much it has been very prominent lately.  Since it's the holiday season, I've been around a LOT of people and their children.  Things have changed since I was growing up.  This new generation of children growing up confuses me.  Well, maybe I shouldn't say the children confuse me, I should say the parents do.   Let me tell you what I'm talking about.

These past few weekends, I've had get togethers with family members.  At these gatherings the kids were VERY disruptive.  When I say disruptive I mean they were screaming like crazy people.  I'm not talking "squeals of joys", I'm talking SCREAMING just because the other child was screaming louder than they were.  The adults couldn't even talk to each other.  These kids were jumping down flights of stairs just for the fun of it.  The older child of the house's owner tried telling the parents of these children that they were going to get hurt.  The parent just said," If there is no blood, no broken bones, or no teeth knocked out, I don't want to hear about it."   At this time there were sounds coming from the other parts of the house that sounded like the house was caving in.  This was one of the times that I had to step outside of the house so that I could calm my nerves.

Another thing I noticed at these parties was when it was time for all of us to eat, it was suggested that the children get their food first.  Here is where I was raised different.  To me, the elderly always went first and the children got their food last.  There was always enough food for the children because the elderly always made sure there were.  When the kids got their food first, they ate their food and came back for seconds before the rest of the family had gotten theirs.  I saw absolutely no respect, at these get togethers, for the older generation.  I'm not talking about my generation, I'm talking about my parents' generation.

 Something else that I've noticed is (okay here is another place I'll probably say "good-bye" to readers) the grandparents are taking care of the grand kids.  The actual parents are doing things like taking date nights, going out with friends, going on vacations, etc...without their children.  I thought having kids meant that the children went with you.  You already HAD a date night.  That's why you have kids to begin with. lol.  Now I'm not say NEVER take a date night, but does it have to be EVERY week?  What about once a month?  I just think that it's putting a burden on the grandparents.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that the grandparents want to see the grand kids, but I just feel that they are being used too much.  They already raised their kids, they shouldn't have to raise their grand kids also.   I know that not ALL parents are taking advantage of the grandparents, and I know that not ALL grandparents mind raising their grand children. Now, I'm saying this because I really know of a few examples where the parents are REALLY taking advantage of the grand parents.  Not just a date night once a week, I'm talking going out EVERY NIGHT.    To me, that's just not right.  I also know of a parent who lives in a totally different state clear across the country, by herself, and her daughter(who is 13yrs old) lives with her grandmother.  That way the mother of this child can "have the life that she has always wanted."  I can keep giving examples like this people!!!!!!

Now, on to kids living with their parents.  Right now I can give you quite a few examples of older children living off of there parents.  When I say "living off of" I mean they are living with their parents and not contributing to anything within the house. These are "kids" anywhere from the ages of 23 to 49. Eating their parent's food, using their electric and water, using their space, and not offering to help pay for it, or even help with the household chores.  The reason might be "not having any money", but these examples that I'm talking about, the children bring home as much or even MORE than the parents that they are living off of, or the children just wont go out and GET a job.  I just don't understand.......

I could go on and on about this subject for hours but I probably have already made a few people mad so I'll quit while I'm ahead.(or not ahead.)

So until next time,(if you come back.)

Small Farm Girl, once again, I'm not a parent. Just a bystander.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Internet Down

Our internet is down.  Please bare with me because as soon as I can get it fixed, I have a BIG rant that I have to write about.......The suspense is killing you isn't it? Lol