04 September 2010

I'm pretty impressed with the progress I've made with the animals in the last three weeks.

I find the goats WAY more eager to come to me now that they know I have grain, but I also find them way more annoying than the sheep.  The annoyance comes from them standing on the fence and baaaaing at me EVERY SINGLE time I walk by, interfering with everything I do, trying to eat everything, and generally acting like herbivoric dogs.  Now, dear reader, don't get me wrong, I do love them.  I just find my patience with them is something that I need to develop (read: they have already made me want to tear my hair out.)

The sheep have their own issues.  They are frighten so much more easily than the goats, well, at least more so than my mature goat.  My doe kid runs away from everything all the time - but I can't blame her, she is little and easy to catch and would probably taste really good!  The sheep are much more like horses; they are wary and unsure of newcomers and not willing to be easily caught.  I find myself, to be a better shepherdess rounding my shoulders, looking at the ground, thinking about the task at hand and not about them.  I am proud to say that they now follow me to their feeding area.  Unfortunately, I have to tie everyone up except Jazz and squirt the water bottle at Sam's horns to keep him from pushing Anna out of the way - horning her rather.  It's thrilling!  She has let me pet her rough wool coat and touch her woolen ears.  It's a bit like loving on your favorite wool blanket.  I often spend that time that she is chowing on grain to pick bits of leaves or what nots from her spotted coat.

Jazz has turned out to be very much worth every penny.  She submits to the livestock and walks with her head down and her eyes averted.  She definately knows exactly what she is doing and I am extremely thankful she is doing such a great job.

Surge on the other hand is another story entirely...  *eye roll*  He pushes the llivestock out of the way, sleeps where he wants, and bullies them every chance he gets.  It absolutely infurates me.  But I have to remember he IS a teenager flexing his newly found muscles.  I just hope he is watching Jazz and learning what she is doing rather than just thinking testosterone induced thoughts! humf!  I can not wait to get him away from the goats and in with sheep and cows ONLY.  See how he enjoys being bullied for once!

Ah yes, the cow.  It is definate.  We are getting calves - probably two of them.  I am hoping for a bull and a hiefer from the auction (boy, research here I come) this time around.  Wolf and I have been doing some research and we've read that calves tend to do better in pairs - they grow faster, eat quicker, and learn.  After getting Jazz, I'm a BIG fan of pairs.  I do, in a way, hate to seperate them, but Surge actually hurt Jazz the other I'm kind of not sure what to do with him.  Of course I will still let them play together at dusk, but each will have his or her own field to guard.

Sometimes, occassionally after wrestling something to the ground I wonder if I'm in over my head.  Well, if I am, it sure feels good!

03 September 2010

Homemade Fly Spray

I wanted to find a fly spray that was okay for the animals to ingest and easy on the wallet:

Recipe 1:
Straight Listerine in a spray bottle.
Watch the eyes!

Recipe 2:
Listerine diluted with water.  2 Parts Listerine to 1 part water.

Recipe 3:
(From Dressage Today Staff)

2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups cold (prepared) tea - Such as Sage or Chamomile Tea
20 drops Eucalyptus oil
20 drips Citronella oil
10 drops Lavender oil
10 drops Tea Tree oil
10 drops Cedar oil
20 drops Emulsifier, such as polysorbate 20

Recipe 4:
Commercial fly spray
1 cup Vinegar
1/2 cup Skin so Soft.

Recipe 5:
Petroleum Jelly - lasts about 3 days, but grease works better.

Recipe 6:
6 caps full of Skin so Soft
1 cup White Vinegar
Squirt of Ivory Liquid Soap

Recipe 7:
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Baby Oil
1/4 cup Original Pinesol
1 tbs Dish Soap
1 tbs Skin so Soft
1 cup water

Recipe 8:
4 oz Skin so Soft
1 oz Cintronella oil
12 oz Vinegar
12 oz water

Recipe 9:
US Forest Service Bug Spray
1 cup water
1 cup Avon Skin so Soft Bath Oil
2 cups Vinegar
1 tbs Eucalyptus
Optional: Few tablespoons of citronella oil

Shake spray bottle well before spraying on human, horse, or dog!

Recipe 10:
Quick Fly Spray
18 oz White Vinegar
2 tbsp Dish Washing soap

Note: Always use 100% citronella oil when a recipe calls for it.  It is a plant based product.  So not use citronella oil that is sold for outdoor torches; that is a petroleum base with a citronella smell.  You can purchase oil at many health food stores or at Cedar Vale online.

Thanks Neke Teague, Luan Klemann, Ashley House Reninger, and Melissa Gray for some of these brilliant recipies!!!

02 September 2010

Our little doe CJ is certainly living up to her name CALAMITY Jane, which dear faithful reader, if you are not familar with this term and are unaware if it's implications and you don't mind me schooling you for just a moment, I will provide the definition.  A Calamity is a state of deep distress of misery caused by major misfortune or loss. Sounds pretty serious to me.....

After wrestling with my bucking bronc for milk and having to catch CJ last night....

Oh, right...I left that bit out didn't I.

I had tied CJ out to let her work on some of the weeds that have overtaken the melon garden -eye roll- and to let her get a few extra nutrients and fodder because I want her to continue to grow up big and strong and healthy.  Well, this little doe believes she is smarter than any human on the face of the planet (typical teenager right?).  So, she goes into her bolting escape mode in which she charges from one end of her lead at full sprint to another.  This scares me.  I mean I am really afraid she is going to snap her skinny little neck.

There she is, freaking slap out and trying to get away from the big bad human.  Snapping her lead from left to right and left again.  Now,  I had gotten an extra plastic covered tie out that was lighter and would not hurt her to keep her from injuring herself.  The only problem was that one end would not open.  So, I attached the splitter we bought at the flea market, thinking that would hold her.  After her third mighty swing around the splitter popped and broke in half and she was free.

I ground my teeth.  Nothing irritates me more than an animal who thinks it is smarter and therefore better than humans.

I could not run inside and get grain, dusk was already settling and I am still freaked out by the wandering bear that mauled my neighbor's wether to death.  So, I simply opened the gate and she walked in on her own.  That was lucky.

So, after all of this dealing with a grain hog who wont let me milk her if there is no grain in front of her face and a crazy escape artists - I was tired.  And I did not pay attention to where and how the gate was shut.  I simply closed it up and came inside to relax and drink some milk, start pasteurizing some milk, and work on dinner (which has been bear bones at best this week because I have not been able to plan and shop for meals).

I didn't think two thoughts about the gate until this morning when I hear Wolf, "Babe, get up we have a goat loose and she wont come to me!"  So, this is how my morning started, getting out of bed to catch the escapee.

I slipped into my clothes fast.  Whipped a bit of grain into a scoop and hit the door.  And there was CJ standing in the old flowerbed munching away...thank GOD it wasn't my herbs!!!  She darted away from me three times so I finally just sat down and shook the grain cup.  She edge up to me, sniffing and wary as a deer.  She took a few bites and I shot my hand out grabbed her collar and hauled her back to her pasture mates.  Making sure the gate was TIGHTLY shut behind me.

Hopefully that will be the last of her adventures, but I believe they are the beginning of mine.

30 August 2010

See Saw

I have really been going back and forth lately about going back to work.  Until we get some more animals on the farm or more land to rear animals, farming alone is not making enough income for two people to live on, let alone the entire family we are planning.

I looked at the local fast food places and applied, a few of them even called me back.  It would be easy for me to go back to work in one of those places, but with me still in school and now the farm needs more attention with the livestock...I just can't see myself happily working forty hours.

I am one of those weird people that has to like the place before I even consider working there.  A few of the places I applied (the fast food joints) I realized I did not like them.  I feel like they are a distration.

It is difficult for me to put this into words, because as of late there has been much external contracersey to the life I am living and how I am living it.  I know that my family members may mean well, but they do not realize their words often cut me to the quick and their words leave me bleeding for days.  It has taken me the better part of two years to get the cruel words of my ex out of my head - it's funny how something totally unreleated can open up an old wound.

So, obviously by chosing not to work there are some bills that have been put off, such as my ever growing student loans.  Who without them I would be stuck working at KFC for...well forever.  And no, perhaps college WAS NOT necessary for me, but I certainly felt called to it.  Now, I think it was to learn to despise religion and grow closer to the Lover of my Soul.

I do not understand how farming fits into the lifeplan that God has for me.  All I know is that the desire is there!  I do not feel it is selfish or just my desires because my husband also carries the same feelings and desires.  All I know is that we are becoming ever more self-sufficent.

I do know this.  My husband and I are going to be missionaries in Brazil.  I cannot say when exactly, but I feel  some of all of our kids are meant to be born here.  I often wonder how Elizabeth Elliot felt knowing God had called her.  Is farming a distraction or a direction?  Am I afraid to venture out into the field because of my first marriage?  Or do I still need more time to heal?

Show me your way O Lord, show me your direction.  I do not want to wander from you and waste my time here on earth chasing after something that will mean nothing....I cannot do that again.  Please show us where you want us to go and what you want us to do with absolutely clear insight and understanding.....