Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just waiting

Rob is umping a game, Liam has baseball practice and Kara had a game, but has finished and is watching the game Rob is umping.  The sun has come out, finally, and it's a pleasant, still cool, 50 degrees.  The chickens are roaming the yard along with the turkeys.  The goats are in their respective compounds and the pigs are also.

Rob finished rototilling the area I am going to plant with corn, mangels and squash, perhaps pumpkins also.  We will just need to make sure it is not dug up by the chickens or turkeys until it gets going.

I have put up the goats for sale, the kids, on Craigslist, so hopefully they will go easily, after they are weaned of course.  hahaha.  All are doing fabulous, climbing on everything and running around.  They are all so very cute.

Pig is now eating twice a day and getting extra goat milk to help "buff" him up.  hahaha  He is definitely growing!

Mom and I got out and planted some lettuce starts I had started in the house.  The starts I rescued from before when Pig was left in the garden and tried to help "rearrange" them in the planter, are doing great. There are lettuces, spinach, and some onions and leeks growing.  We went to Skagit Valley Nursery and got peppermint plants!  They smell so good, just like peppermint.  Can't wait to get them planted.

Also, the tomato plants and peppers are doing wonderfully in the front window.  Still waiting to plant outside, as it is just too cold.

We are just waiting for the rice cooker to be done, as we tried a new recipe for cooking rice that sounds very yummy.  I made the pot roast from Girls Guide to Butter blog, which has some very yummy recipes.

Okay, rice cooker is done.  Gotta go!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Redneck or Genius? I think the latter.

Okay, so first of all I am very upset with Martha, yes the Martha Stewart.  I followed her recipe to make a cranberry cordial, only after 25 days the sugar still hadn't dissolved in the vodka, crushed cranberries, and sugar mixture.  After reading in a couple of other cookbooks (not Martha's, as I am so through with her!), I noticed with other cordials that the berries were cooked and smashed then added to the vodka and sugar. So, again, redneck or genius, below is my (and my mom's) version of a double boiler, as I did not have one.  As a side note, when we added the cranberries the first time, we overflowed the water in the pan below, making the flame very large under it.  On to another burner to let that one rest and recover.  lol  I am heating it to dissolve the sugar and then will strain to put into containers to drink when I feel like it, which can be pretty much any time of the day, as hey, it is five o'clock somewhere, right?!!!
On to another redneck or genius idea.  Rob and I have been wanting to incubate some turkey eggs and really don't want to wait until the turkey hens "feel" like being broody, kinda like when Spongebob says "I don't feel like it Mr. Crab."  lol  Anyway, we looked at incubators at Skagit Farmers today to the tune of $129 and the same on one Amazon was $85.  So, you know Rob, always up to the challenge.  Below is the result of his brainstorm.
Yes, it is a cooler, you are not blind.  And no, there is not beer in there for the turkey eggs to hatch.  Now on to the inside.
So let's see, he used the fish tank heater left over from his fish tank, he is not using anymore.  The black bowl on the bottom is filled with water to make it more humid, topped with a wire rack to cover the heater and water, and the turkey eggs are in half egg cartons.  We will need to monitor the temperature, as it is supposed to stay 99 to 99.5 degrees with about 85% humidity I believe.  The humidity needs to be raised a little as the eggs get closer to hatching, which should be 28 to 30 days.

Anyway, will keep you posted.  The cranberries have heated up and I am now going to smash them some more, strain the liquid into jars and perhaps drink the whole lot.  Will blog again when I have come to.  :)  Later!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Been a while, my bad

Okay, so it's been a while as we have gotten busy with new kids being born, Kara's softball, Liam's baseball and Mom and Ray returning from Arizona.  Also, if you can believe it, the sun has actually been out for a couple of days in a row, so have been trying to get the lawn mowed and the garden weeded (yet again, I know, I know, a never ending project).

All the girls, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe, had their kids.  Rachel's are now one month old and bouncing around everywhere.  Monica's kids were born on April 13th, so they are a little over 1 week old and heading off on Saturday to get dehorned.  Phoebe had her kids on Monday, April 18th, and will be getting dehorned on Saturday also.

So these above and below are Phoebe's kids.  The kid above is all "red" and are rarer than the white and red mix of colors.  He was born first so is known as P1.  He is always hungry and Phoebe definitely likes her little girl, P2, below, better.  We haven't figured out why, but if we hold on to Phoebe while she is eating (kind of like wrestling a very large animal that does not want to stand still, my hamstrings are still screaming from last night) then he gets his little tummy full.
This is P2, the only girl in the bunch of boy kids.  She has mottled ears and head just like Phoebe and has a little curl to her hair.
The two in the back that are larger, are Rachel's kids, now one month old and the two in the front are Monica's kids, now just over a week old and all are boys.

They all get along very well and usually are in a pile in the goat house in the morning, all together.

Rob has been working on improving/tweaking the chicken and turkey tractors.  We are getting 6 eggs a day now regularly, and sometimes one of them is a double yolker (though we haven't figured out which hen is laying that one yet, but it is being monitored haha).

So Rob moved the laying boxes to outside the tractor for easier access to get the eggs without having to open the entire top of the tractor and he added some other roosting posts, so now the chickens only lay in the boxes and roost at night on the posts, which in turn keeps the boxes clean of poop and the eggs clean also.  We also changed to using pine shavings instead of straw as they smell good to begin with and the chickens don't seem to move them around as much.  If you look at the middle picture above, can you tell what the yellow strip is?  If you know Rob, you should.  This is truly a "fireman's chicken tractor."  The yellow strip is old fire hose that Rob had.  He put it there to keep the water from running into the boxes here the lid hinges.  Great idea huh!!!!  I believe we should paint the boxes red now, just to keep in the theme of the fireman thing, right?!  lol.  The turkey tractor also got a new set of boxes the same as above.  We have been getting two turkey eggs every other day.  Rob and I had some scrambled the other day.  Literally tasted just like chicken, they are just bigger eggs.  

I believe we are going to invest in a small incubator for both the chicken and turkey eggs so we can raise our own for now and not have to depend on the hens to get broody and want to sit on the eggs.  I think four turkeys at one time to raise is good, because I don't think we could fit any more than four turkeys in the freezer at one time.  haha.

I just realized it is 22 days today since I started the Cranberry Cordial from Martha Stewart Recipes.  It is ready to be tasted, so perhaps this evening, I will have to have a sample while I contemplate the meaning of life, while sitting on the front deck (unless of course the dreaded rain has returned, then I would have to contemplate the meaning of life on the couch, which could work also, I believe.)  I crack myself up sometimes.  hahahahahahaha :)

Just finished making a loaf of bread yesterday, 2 batches of cultured butter, which I used the remaining buttermilk to make the loaf of bread, and 2 batches of bagels.  Am going to try this recipe from Girls Guide to Butter blog to make no knead bread in my dutch oven today.  I did just purchase some Lodge cast iron pans, got 8, 10-1/2 and 12 inch fry pans and a dutch oven (the lid makes the 10-1/2 inch fry pan.  See, I'm trying to get the most for my money, haha).  I have made chili in the dutch oven, which turned out very yummy, (could have soaked the beans just a little longer, they weren't crunchy, but definitely had to be chewed and not just smooshed with your tongue) and used ground venison for the meat.  It turned out fabulous!!

Liam's team has won all games so far, three, and he has been pitching very well and hitting well, had a nice double the other day.  Kara's team is doing well, I think they have both won and lost some.  She had a great hit the other day and then twisted her ankle at second, so we are not sure if it is sprained or what. I will be taking her into the doctor today to see if they can tell.  She has been using her crutches and her walking boot left over from her toe surgery, along with icing and elevating it.

Anyway, time to head out to feed the animals and start another day.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monica's Kids

Here are Monica's two boys, born this morning between 8 and 10:30 a.m.  I fed everyone this morning because the kids and I had dentist appointments, and all was fine and dandy then.  Nothing was happening except the norm.  We had our teeth cleaned, I dropped the kids off at school and then returned home.  I checked for eggs (there were 5 total today) and came in the house.  I did a few things and then was going to go let the girls out to eat the grass today as Gus, Marty and Pig were out yesterday.  I opened the back door and looked out at the goat house.  In their doorway I saw Monica and then a little baby.  I was like OMG!  New little ones!!!!  And they were noisy now.  I ran out to the goat house and yep, two new boys.  The one in the top left of the picture is larger than the one on the right and the one on the right has brown (and it is dark, dark brown) only on his head and ears, the rest of him is white.  Monica had cleaned them off, but all the goats were milling around in the house so I scooted out all but Monica and the new babies.  I cleaned out the house and put new bedding down and then rounded up dental floss and the iodine spray so I could tie off their umbilical cords.  They are all doing fine.  And too funny, but both have flipped ears, just like Monica.

The last I checked on them, they were all sleeping in the house.  That's my excitement for the day!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homemade Mayo

So, we ran out of mayo today and I decided I would make some, as I had everything I needed.
One egg, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 cup oil (I used light olive oil), then you can add salt to taste and garlic if you want.

Pretty much, crack the egg in the container, whisk it, add the lemon juice, keep whisking and then in a steady drizzle, add the oil while still whisking.  Yes, I was tired of whisking by the time I was done, but really probably only took me like 1 minute total, perhaps 1-1/2 minutes total to make.  I added a dash of garlic powder and a dash of sea salt.  Tastes just like the store bought, only a little yellower, perhaps because the egg I used was from our chickens, so the yolk is way more orange (due to them free ranging and it is much fresher than store bought).
It will be good for 5 days in the fridge.  Way easy to make!!  Yay, I am so good.  hahahahaha


Sunday, April 3, 2011

R1 and R2 antics

So here are R1 and R2 literally kicking up their heels!  hahaha

So Friday, they were dehorned and got their CD-T shots.  We took them to a lady in Arlington, who also has Boer goats and was highly recommended by a friend and at the feed store.  She is very knowledgable and we learned quite a bit.  Not sure I could actually do the dehorning.

This first picture is of the actual iron used to dehorn them.

She said her son built her the box the kid is in.  It has a piece of wood underneath their chin to rest their head on.  She applied the iron, after shaving off the hair over their horn nubs.

Then she counted "1 - 1000, 2 - 1000" etc, all the way to 15, while turning the iron back and forth in a circle over the horn nub.

They, of course, did not like it one bit and let us know that.  She then sprayed on some antiseptic and cooling purple spray.  It did stink, for sure!!  I think for $5 a piece, we will probably just have her do this in the future.

We brought them back home and reintroduced them butt end first to mom, so she can tell they are hers, because like I said, their heads stunk.  All is well and they are bouncing around, as you can tell above in the video.

We are up to 4 eggs a day from the chickens (YAY) and only the 1 egg from the turkeys.

Kara gave us a scare the other day, as at practice she collided with another player and ended up going to the hospital in Mount Vernon and ended up with a mild concussion.  She is fine and back to her regular self.  No more softball games to report on, but will have to sit out the next couple of practices until she can see her regular doctor and get released to play again.

Liam's first game is now on the 9th.  He was supposed to have one on Tuesday, the 6th, but that got canceled due to lack of players on the other team due to it being Spring Break this week for us.

Kara, and I, and hopefully Aylia, are going to go to the new knitting/yarn shop in Stanwood this Wednesday.  For $10 we can all learn new stitches and Kara and Aylia can learn basic knitting techniques.  I want to learn how to make these neat crocheted kitchen sponges.  I have the material and the pattern to follow, but have not crocheted in so long that I need some help remembering how to do this.  I figured we can have a girls day and hang and learn some stuff together, then possibly go across the street to Stanwood Cupcakes and treat outselves.  Hmm, not a bad idea!!

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, April 1, 2011


Our first turkey egg!!!  Not sure which hen laid it.  Rob said he found it this morning when he went to go feed them.  It was under the feeder.  He moved it to the nesting box we have for them, so hopefully they will see that is where they can lay them and then perhaps one of them will get broody and nest on them and we will have babies!!!!!  The egg is about three times the size of a chicken egg and is speckled.

So I made cranberry cordial last night from Martha Stewart recipes - 2 cups crushed cranberries, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups vodka.  Let it sit for at least 22 days in a cool place and then strain and drink as an after dinner aperitif.  I'll let you know how it turned out in 22 days or so.  hahahahahaha!

I also made Apple/Cranberry Ketchup last night.  Smells so yummy!!!  The recipe follows.

1-1/2 C                      finely chopped mild onion
4 strips                      orange zest, 1-inch wide, scraped to remove bitter white pith
4 C                            water
4 C                            cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
6                               tart apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 C                            cider vinegar
1 C                            packed brown sugar, more if desired
2 tsp                          pickling salt
1 tsp                          mustard powder
1/4 tsp                       ground cloves
1 tsp                          ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp                   ground cinnamon

Bring the onion, orange zest, and water to a boil in a pot.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the onions are tender and translucent.

Add the cranberries and apples to the onions and bring the mixture to a boil; partially cover and simmer until the fruit is very soft, about 15 minutes.  Empty everything into a bowl to cool slightly.

Working with half the mixture at a time, whirl in a food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix) until very finely pureed; transfer the puree into the rinsed out pot.  Optional - for very smooth texture, press the puree through a fine sieve before returning to the pot.

Add the vinegar, brown sugar, salt, mustard, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon and bring to a boil of medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent the ketchup from scorching.  Cook until thickened to your desired consistency.  Carefully ladle the hot ketchup into hot, sterilized pint jars (I used 1/2-pint jars and got a little over 11, 1/2-pint jars' full), allowing 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes for 1/2-pints and 15 minutes for pints.

The ketchup is ready for serving in a few days, but the flavors will continue to mellow for several weeks.

I thought it tasted pretty good right after I was done canning it, but will be interested to see how the flavor changes, if it does, after a couple weeks.