Sunday, October 30, 2016

Home Made Goat & Chicken Food

We were blessed to score a few bushels of organic produce seconds (Farm rejects) to feed to our chickens and goats. I discovered that if I stewed the veggies and fed them to the livestock in the broth there was a lot less waste then feeding them just raw chopped veggies. I also added apple cider vinegar and garlic. So today I stewed up another pot full of assorted vegetables for them. 

Is that stewed vegetables I smell??? Bring it on !

Got any more of those stewed veggies???

 One dish for the goats and the other for the chickens.

 The chickens love them too and they even drink the broth. 

Bye for now!

Leave a comment, let us know what you think!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

First Monarch Tea Bag Painting is Done

 A friend requested a custom order of 5 tea bag paintings with Monarch butterflies on them. I got stuck over at the barn for longer than I meant to be again this morning. The chickens water bucket was frozen and I needed to figure out a solution. Cleaning stalls and feeding a homemade mash of organic veggies took longer than I planned, mostly because there was lots of goat cuddling and conversations with chickens going on in-between chores.  Anyway by the time I got into the studio it was getting late and I was tired so I only got one of the drawings I had done over last week painted today. It was also the first real snow of the season and that was exciting.

Finished tea bag painting held up against the snowy view from my studio window. 

The drawings on the tea bags. The tags and strings have been dyed with some of my homemade walnut ink.

Tiny brush for a tiny painting

Butterfly number one is done. Now to paint the background. 

After I finished the background I sewed the tag and string back onto the tea bag.

 Painting number one out of five is done. I just have to decide how to mount it. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tea Bag Art, Organic Veggies, and Waging War

After being so crazy busy and fighting a virus for the last few weeks I hadn't had any time to get in the studio. I had a request to do a custom order for 5 tea bag paintings with monarch butterflies on them a week or so ago. I wasn't sure if I had the energy to take on the order with the farm chores  keeping me so busy. Plus as most artists know small paintings tend to be more difficult to paint then large paintings and tea bag paintings are tiny! But then I though it would be nice to spend some quality time in the studio and with all these extra farm expenses I sure could use the money lol. I have been working on the drawings over the last week and today I finally finished the last couple. Hopefully I will find the time and energy to start painting them tomorrow. 

A friend that works on an organic farm gifted us with a ton of organic veggie seconds that she gleaned from the farms compost pile. These veggies will be perfect to feed to the chickens and goats as the bounty of summer and fall gives way to the more barren winter landscape. 

 The goats were thrilled with their breakfast of fresh chopped veggies. I nearly froze my hands off chopping the veggies up in the barn after clearing the sheets of ice off the water buckets. We plunged in the heated water buckets tonight so hopefully there won't be ice in them in the morning.

When your daughter's big fat head is taking up the whole food bowl why not just use her head as your breakfast table?

 The chickens seemed to be enjoying some of the chopped up veggies this morning too, although some were more interested in free ranging outside the run.  Later in the day I made a huge pot of the steamed veggies we were given from the organic farm and I added apple cider vinegar, and a lot of minced garlic. I brought the mash out and shared it between the goats and chickens. I gave them the mash and the broth the veggies were steamed in and I think the warm food was a bit hit on this really cold day. 

We are officially waging war on the rodents in the barn that are stealing copious amounts of grain from the chicken feeders. We have put in a request at the local Animal Welfare for their "Barn cat program". They place cats that are too feral to live in homes with farmers that need rodent control in their barns. Until we hear back from them we needed to do something quick as the amount of grain the rodents are stealing daily is alarming. Grandpa's rodent and bird proof feeders have been around for generations and they seem to be very well built. We had put off buying one for a long time because our farm expenses have been way above what we expected them to be this year. Alas, if this feeder proves to be as rodent proof as the reviews claim then it will pay for itself in short order. I will post more about it once we get it put together and start the recommended 2 week training period with the chickens.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Goat Hut For Upcoming Breeding

We are bringing in a buck to breed our doe so we had to install a new line fence to divide the pasture. We also built a 2nd goat shelter so the doe, Honey Bee, and the buck have one side of the paddock with shelter and Scarlet can have the other side with access to the barn. This system will also come in handy when we wean the babies in the spring. Don built it from the cut off edged of the logs we had milled here on the property. 

 The girls have already been checking out the new digs. Scarlet has never been separated from her Mama so when the buck arrives and they are separated by the line fence and in different enclosures at night I think there will be a fair amount of crying going on from Scarlet. Poor baby.

 The chickens are so well camouflaged in the woods that I had to listen for them to find them today. The Welsummer roosters have been really great at keeping watch over them.

 Getting the new cross fence set up to divide the pasture in 2

 Got the recycled tin on the roof. The middle strip is clear so the sun can shine in.

 Working in the rain the past few days to get it done in time.

 The shelter and fence are finished. Just need to put doors on the shed. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Finished Carving the Raven Pumpkin

I finished carving the 3rd pumpkin today, it's a raven and it is lit up tonight with the goat and rooster pumpkins tonight. For more info on carving the first two click Here

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Day of Miracles (& Pumpkin Carving)

I am feeling so grateful tonight that I don't even know where to begin to tell the tale of today's wanderings and blessings. So many of my days are limited and difficult do to the challenges of chronic illness. My mind still wants to be active and involved. As a matter of fact my mind is filled with brilliant creative ideas most days but my body just can't keep up. So when I have a good day, I mean one of those rare, miraculous, energy filled, happy, creative days, it feels a bit like I have woken from a bad dream and that my healthy active life has returned after 17 long years of struggle.  Today was one of those wondrous days.  A miracle day. The EBV/H-6 protocol I am on is working,  I'm continually feeling better and am able to get more accomplished that I have in a long while.

It also happened to be one of those stunningly beautiful fall days that make you feel like you have stepped off the planet and landed directly in heaven. I decided to go for a ride but didn't know where I was headed. I drove over towards Westminster West and the wonderful display of pumpkins at High Meadows Farm caught my eye. I wondered if I would have enough energy to carve pumpkins. I used to carve very elaborate ones but after I got sick I never seemed to have the energy. I really felt like I could do it today, I had the energy and I found that so exhilarating. So I bought 3 of their lovely organic pumpkins. They have a little cash box where you pay by the honor system.

Then I headed north and came upon the Vermont Shepherd Farm. I just had to stop and snap a photo of the sheep grazing in the field.

I noticed that the farm store was open so I pulled in and it turned out that I was happy I did. I bought some carded wool to dye with my black walnut dye and a 1/2 leg of lamb. Like at the High Meadows farm stand they too had a cash box where you pay via the honor system.

The roads home were mostly dirt roads and they all were beautiful. I was escorted part of the way by an old black lab who was unsure just which direction he was heading in, stopping and turning often. 

When I got home I put the pumpkins out on the deck and got ready to carve them. I received a call from my Mom letting me know that a procedure she had undergone had turned out well. I had been praying about it all day so this felt like another miracle. 

Then I began gutting and carving my new pumpkins

I told myself that I would be happy if I had the energy to complete gutting and carving  at least one. I was extremely happy when I completed carving two. I was very rusty after not having carved any for 17 years. I made some structural errors on my first design but I realized it in time to save the design.

When Don came home I was still carving. He took some photos of me in my happy place!

 My goat pumpkin being lit up by the afternoon sun.

Both my rooster and goat pumpkins lit up with tea candles. 

 It would be wrong of me to say that I accomplished this all by myself. The boys were by my side the whole time I was carving those pumpkins. They were eating every pumpkin morsel that I dropped on the deck. The little hoovers!

 Don had quite a scary tale to tell when he got home, (and a cut and blackened eye to go with the tale). The final miracle for today was that my hubby did not lose his eye when he had an accident with a bungie strap that let go under pressure as he was tightening it. The metal hook came back at him and hit him right below the eye. He is in a fair bit of pain but at least it did not hit the eye itself. So very grateful!

Oh, I almost forgot with al these exciting things going on. Our chickens laid their first egg today!