Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend Snow Storm of January 2016

I don't know about where you are, but here in Upper East Tennessee, when the white stuff starts to come down, everyone goes into panic mode. This weekend's storm has been no different. Except that my Hubby and I had already decided it would be a "lazy weekend" for us. Not really doing a whole lot of anything.

We did manage to get out with the dogs and get some pictures. We wanted to take the 4-wheelers out and go up the hill, but we could not get either one to start.

Oh, to have a sled to ride down the hill!

Group Photo!

So, we opted to take a walk out to the back 40. While the dogs really enjoyed playing around in the snow, I really loved the beauty of it all. Funny thing is though, I don't remember snow being so hard to walk in. Of course, I was but 13 last time I really got to play in snow.

Cisco and Thunder

Jake "Chillin in the snow"

Jake and the Snowman

Whatever you weekend weather may look like, be sure to find the time to find some beauty and simple joys in life. And may you always find a smile in your heart and a song on your lips.

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Year, New Challenges

So, this year marks the 4th year I have been raising chickens. And I have been doing pretty well keeping them all happy and healthy. The Girls have been giving me a decent supply of eggs throughout the years, and even a couple batches of chicks.

I bought a bunch of little ones last year, to up the egg production, and to be able to meet the growing demands for farm fresh eggs. By a bunch, I mean fifty, ten of which ended up being roosters and were sold at auction, and I was able to recoup my cost of the flock with that. Since then, I have lost several (I finally lost count) to natural causes and at least 4 to predators.

I am facing some new challenges this year, and am on the hunt for some better alternatives. My two biggest problems right now, worms and wet ground. And I'm not talking about Red or Brown worms, the kind you fish with or use in your compost piles and gardens. I'm talking intestinal parasites. Yes, chickens do get worms, and when you find one in your eggs, you know that at least one hen has an abundance and something needs to be done. Let me say right now, that in about 4 dozen eggs I have used since finding the one, I have NOT found any more. 

This was the Nursery Coop last year, before we did a clean-up. We aren't as bad this year, but still pretty wet.

This was taken after we did our clean-up of the Nursery. Can't wait for those warmer, dryer days to return!

Two contributing factors to the parasite problem: wet ground and being "cooped up".

Oh sure, I could pour cement in the chicken run, but that does not supply the chickens with an opportunity to scratch around. Sand does work to absorb water, but the amount of rain we get during the winter months would just wash it all away. The girls do get to roam free when I am home (so I can be here to keep an out for any predators). But, since our ground is soooo wet this time of year, there is no way I can keep them out of it ALL THE TIME. So, the whole idea of keeping them in dryer areas is going to take some time to figure out.

In the meantime, the first step I take in making sure my girls are getting back on the right track is to make sure all the horses are treated for worms. Since the girls love to go out back and scratch through the horse manure to find corn and feed that did not get digested, this is a very good starting point. Since parasite larva tend to go into hibernation once they leave a host body until they find another. If the horses are clean, then there is one part of the battle down. Besides, the horses are the easiest place to start, since they love the attention they get when being treated.

At the same time, I will treat the girls with Wazine.  It's a liquid I can add to their water and make sure it is the only water source till it is gone.  With 30 hens or better, I NEED an easy and sure way to know they are getting their medicine.

Once I start treatment, all eggs will be destroyed for 45 days, we won't use them ourselves, nor will we sell any. I figured I might as well start the process now while production is down anyways.

Once I get the situation under control, I will begin a more natural way of keeping worms to a minimum. As I research these ways, and try them out, I will let you know the results I have with each. One thing I know I need to add to their, at least for a couple of weeks, is some Probiotics. This will ensure that their guts are getting the good bacteria they need to stay healthy in the future.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

After being back to work full time for almost 2 months, my body is still adjusting to all the new muscle movements and standing on concrete 8 to 12 hours a day again. It's been a challenge, both physically and mentally, to say the least. But, it's good to know that after 7 years out of the work force, I can still manage.

I had a couple of extra days off, thanks to the Dr this week (muscle tension causing numb arms and hands), so I got a few things that needed to be done around here accomplished. I made a couple of batches of Buttermilk Biscuits. The Better Half loves it when I bake, even said he misses my breads! While this took me most of yesterday, since the temps are getting cooler, the dough takes longer to rise in the kitchen window. I ended up with 3 doz rolls! Since it was dark when I got done, I didn't get any pictures, sorry guys.

Today, I went and pulled some tomato plants out of the ground, and picked the last remaining 'mators on the bushes. Now, to pull the plant tables out of the open air greenhouse, and put my tires and pallets down and get them ready for tators, onions, carrots and other root crops that I  plan to over-winter.
 As you can see, the mator plants grew pretty darn tall and thick this year (this is just three plants). May be because it was grown in the old chicken coop area. Gotta love a good, fertile ground! 

The chicken coop also got cleaned out yesterday. Those dropping and the sand from the house will go down to the garden and get tilled in to help amend the soil for next years garden. But before we can till in the compost, I have to pull this year's plants and get them to the compost pile.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Member of the Family

We have talked extensively about getting a calf for some time now. Nathan finally got himself on a calling list with a local Jersey Cow Farmer. The very next day (which would have been yesterday), we got a phone call that there was a calf for sale, born on Sept 2nd. WOW, we never expected it to be that quick!

Yesterday, after work, we went and picked this little guy up. Yep, it's a bull. I can understand why he sells his bull calves, since he is a dairy farm. So, this should be an interesting year for us. These first few months, I'm sure you will be hearing a lot about him, as this is where I will be keeping my journal about raising him. He weighs in right  at 40 lbs,

With that said, let me get to my notes before I forget what has occurred over the past two days. I know the above pic is not that good, but the only one I have at the moment. And since it was taken at night, with my cell phone, under a heating light, there isn't much I can do about the red tints. I'll work on getting better pics of him over the next few days.

We still have not chosen a name for him, Right now, it is between Storm and Prince, just not sure which is right for him yet.

So anyways, we brought him home yesterday evening around 5 pm, and he still had to have one more feeding for the day. Since this is our first calf, I was happy to have our neighbor here who has successfully raised several calves. He got his last feeding of the day at about 5:30 PM, I hated feeding him so early, but I wanted to make sure I was doing it right, so I had to feed while Alice was here. After a couple of times of helping him find the bottle nipple, he did very well. He laid in his corner under the light, and slept well.

Day 2 (3 days old) ~ I was up at 6 AM to get Little Guy his bottle, and he was more then happy to see me this morning. His feedings were split into 3 feedings today, and by the last feeding, he had no trouble knowing what the bottle is. He is a bit pushy, which is normal, from my understanding. If you have any secrets to this, please share.  His last feeding was at 8 PM tonight.

After his milk replacer, he drank a good bit of water from his bottle. I was beginning to worry about his water intake today, as it didn't look like he was touching his water, and he was not really sucking on my fingers when they were wet with water. He did have a really good stream this afternoon though, so that eased my mind some.

He was also introduced to hay today. I know he won't eat very much of it at first, maybe a bite here and there. But, at least he now has access to it when he is ready to start chomping on hay.

His umbilical cord is drying up nicely, and looking good. Gave a it a good dip in Iodine tonight, just to be on the safe side.His bowel movements are looking good. The next couple of days are the days to watch him. This is when he will be most susceptible to Scours. If we can get past the next couple of days without Scours, we will be doing great!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Best Friend from High School

How many times I've looked back over the years, and wondered what happened to Sparky. In High School,  we were inseparable. Her mom was my mom, and visa versa. Where one was, the other was sure to be found. We had our difference, and that is what made us so special together.

I remember when my mom pulled me out of public school, and put me in a private school.  Sparky soon followed. For whatever reason, the school ended up kicking me out (as I had predicted to my mother they would). Sparky was kicked out as well. Her offense, being associated with me. The following year, several of the girls that had been going to the private school, were now in our school.

We would walk to the store from my house, cutting through the field where a bull roamed, and would gladly give chase if he saw you (we learned real quick how to jump barb wire and slide under said wire). We would go camping, and not get any sleep. Sneak out of the house, and meet up with friends. Oh yes, we were THOSE Girls, the ones who defied our parents, and thought we were invincible.

Boyfriends came and went, as did other friends to our world, but we were solid. We knew the other would always be there. We were closer then sisters, and we appreciated each other.

After High School, Sparky and I drifted apart. We went on our separate paths through life. Raising our families and learning about ourselves. I thought about her often through the years, wondered how she was, where she was, and how life was treating her.

One day, as I am on Facebook, I see a new friend request. I go to check it out, to either approve or deny the request. I didn't recognize the name, as she was going by her married name. But,, the picture,, what?? No,, that can't be her?! I immediately accepted the request, even though I still wasn't sure it was her. I head over to her profile.

Let's see, Born in NJ, raised in FL, went to Riverdale High (loving known as Referjail, even to this day). OMG! THIS CAN'T BE MY SPARKY! I just had a dream about her a week before! It was my Sparky! 

We immediately picked up our friendship right were we left off, never missing a beat. This is the kind of friend you find one in a life time (twice if your really lucky).

Sparky (Hmm, sorry, AMY) is back, and I have completed another circle in my life. Amy and her family are planning a trip up here in June or July. She is still living in our wonderful town of Fort Misery (Ft Myers), and from what I understand, not to far from our old stomping grounds. I'm excited to see her again. And know that our lives, once again, will never be the same. I just hope our husbands can stand the two of us together!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

5 Blogging Basics

As I hop around the blogesphere, I look at a couple of different things that will help me decide if I want to follow a blog within the first couple of minutes. A quick list of 10 things that can bring you more followers or make folks rum from your blog never to return again.


1. Design ~ A clean design, with minimal distraction on the sidebars will bring you more followers. A good way to do this is to use pages to display your Awards, have an "about" and contact pages (critical pages for ANY website).  Keep your header at 774 x 198 px, this will allow more of the blog to show, and the readers won't have to scroll below the fold line before reading anything.

2. Videos and Music ~ DO NOT have music playing as soon as someone lands on your page. This is a big turn off, not to mention, some people blog hop while the kids are sleeping, or the rest of the family is watching tv. I will leave a blog almost immediately if a player starts up. If you really want music on your site, then set the player to let the visitor select the song, when they are ready to listen.  Videos are great! But, if your going to have them on your sidebars, make sure they fit the area in which you placing them. If the video is too big to fit in the sidebar, it will throw off the rest of the site, and visitors will have to scroll sideways to see what you offer. Nobody likes to scroll sideways.

3. Fonts and Color ~ Keep your fonts simple. If you are using a fancy font that is hard to read, visitors will leave before reading the first sentence! And while we are talking fonts, lets talk about content area. Keep the background white, and use black fonts, These are what our eyes are trained to seek out when reading. Font style, content area, and font color can make or break a blog.

4. Flashing Graphics ~ A definite NO NO! When I first started blogging back in 2006, I loved using those flashy graphics that blinked and changed. I had a friend tell me that she could not visit my blog because of all the flashing images because they caused her to have seizures. I started hearing more about this reaction to the images, and now only use them in a minimal way.

5. Know Your Goals ~ Are you blogging just for you and your family? Or do you want to grow a following and maybe monetize your blog? Do you want Sponsors, to do reviews for pay, affiliate marketing? Think about your ultimate goal with your blog, and work your way there.

The most beneficial thing I have done with my Ranch Blog was to take Darren Rowe's 31 Day to Build a Better Blog Challenge. Although this challenge can seem daunting, it is well worth the time to take. And when you have completed the challenge, you can go back and work on days that needed more time to expand on. Get the E-Book, and work your way to a better blog in 31 days!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crock Pot Recipes

I love to use my crock pot, specially when I have a lot to do, or just don't feel like standing over a stove at night. From Beef Stew, Venice, and one of my favorite things, chili! And with today being the Bud Shootout in Daytona, it was a perfect day to make it!

Our recipe for chili is pretty simple, as chili goes, and a bit different then what you might think too.

1 lb ground beef (the leaner the better, as far as I'm concerned)
3 cans kidney beans (one dark, 2 light)
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1 8 oz can tomato paste
1 pint jar diced tomatoes (a can of store bought if you don't can your own tomatoes)
Onion and green pepper to taste
1/2 TBL Cumins
1 TBL Cilantro

Brown ground beef, add all ingredients to crock pot, set on low, and let simmer about 4 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning. Serve with shredded cheese & crackers (we use multi-grain crackers)

IF you like a HOT chili, add a bit of jalapeƱo pepper to the mix. I was out of fresh onions and green peppers :(

Yields 6-8 servings

Melt some Velveeta Cheese in the microwave, and add to the chili for your next Nascar Race Day!