Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Raising The Roof.

Posted on | December 3, 2013 | 6 Comments

The coldest days of the season aren’t here yet.  But now that we’ve had the first few freezes and some winter rains, we discovered where the faults were in our farming set up.  The floating row covers were doing a great job protecting the fall ground crops.  Too bad row covers wouldn’t work for the peas.  The peas were just tall enough to need a trellis and not hardy enough to withstand a heavy frost, so they had to be covered up, too.  Good thing I had this clothing rack hanging around at the top of the driveway for…um…well, I was saving it because….huh.  Apparently, I was saving it to make a pea trellis.  For which it worked perfectly.

Especially with that handy center bar to attach the row cover to.  Brilliant.

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Posted on | November 24, 2013 | 5 Comments

Well, the boys went to the football game.

But I’m the one who scored.  After an afternoon spent working on the fence and raking leaves, I wanted to get off the farm for a bit.   Since the places I could go in my ripped and stained barn clothes were limited, I settled on a quick trip to the dump (cheaper than a trip to Lowe’s Home Improvement or the feed mill, which are the only other appropriate places for ripped and stained barn clothes).  Excuse me, the solid waste convenience center.  Which is conveniently open only 3 days each week.  Usually I choose the weekday option in order to avoid the weekend rush and, by default, my neighbors seeing me in my ripped and stained barn clothes.  But I was feeling bold and looking for excitement so off I went.  Yeah, I know, you wish your life was as interesting as mine. Read more

Thanksgiving. Kind Of.

Posted on | November 19, 2013 | 2 Comments

Around here we refuse to celebrate Christmas early.  Because we think Thanksgiving counts, too.  And because my kids in year round school get 3 weeks off in December so if we start doing all the fun stuff in November then I am screwed the kids are bored during break.

So we take time for Thanksgiving.  We hang the Thanksgiving wreaths.

We put out a cornucopia filled with leaves and pine cones and gourds from the garden.

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Tina To The Rescue.

Posted on | October 31, 2013 | 4 Comments

We follow old school rules around here.  With winter approaching and forage decreasing, anyone who can be eaten or sold will be eaten or sold.  OJ went to the flea market.

He was a friendly rooster but he enjoyed taking the hens all the way down to the end of the driveway.  We have sacrificed enough ducks and guineas to the road.  Laying hens are too valuable to waste.  Besides, he was a bit overzealous in the mating department.  When the hens started getting bare shoulders, his days were numbered and the second-in-command was promoted.  Welcome Michael, our Cuckoo Maran/Delaware cross, to the top of the pecking order.

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Fall Back.

Posted on | October 30, 2013 | No Comments

Can we fall back yet?  ‘Cause I’ve been leanin’ in until it hurts.

First, the summer garden was putting a lot of pressure on the nightly dinner plan.  After all, I was running out of menu ideas to use up the eggplant,


and cherry tomatoes that were still coming in.

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Makin Bacon.

Posted on | October 22, 2013 | 3 Comments

I have a freezer full of bacon.  That I never make.

Because who’s going to get burned from grease splatters while cooking the bacon?


And who’s going to scrub the grease and bacon bits from the pan used on the stove or the plate used in the microwave?


And who’s going to have to clean the grease splatters off the stove top or wipe down the entire interior of the microwave?


Do not tell me to cook bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet or broiler tray.  Do NOT.  That little adventure is how my children learned that you really can put out a fire in the oven by pouring an entire box of baking soda on it.

Guess who got to clean up the burned bacon bits, the grease, AND the baking soda out of the oven?

Oh, that’s right.


So I had little faith when I stumbled upon this product at the Hospice Flea Market store.

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Piece of Sunday Peace.

Posted on | October 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

I have a lot to tell you.  For the past 6 weeks, I haven’t been at a loss for words.  Just at a loss for time.  But don’t worry. I took lots of pictures and jotted down a bunch of scribbly notes that I will not be able to read or probably even find when I have time to sit down and write.  Some of them, though, are written in the margins of my Anatomy & Physiology book.  For the $85 that I paid for a used textbook, I figured I shouldn’t have to find a piece of scrap paper when a blog post inspiration forced itself inbetween my thoughts on respiratory rhythmicity centers and endochondral ossification.  I paid handsomely for the right to doodle all over those pages.  Besides, it is the fault of A&P that I never have time to write anyway.  Back in September I had the bright idea that I should take an online course in an attempt to see if I could continue my education and advance my career while simultaneously juggling night shift, 2 kids back in school with its accompanying activities and assignments, 2 kids at home full time on their 3 week semester break, and, of course, the farm.  All during hunting season for The Other Half.

I know what you’re thinking.  I could have paid you the $85, asked if you thought I could manage it all, you could have laughed in my face, and we both would have been better off.  Live and learn, people.  Live and learn.

Regardless, in the midst of a dreary and rainy weekend, I stumbled into a Sunday bright spot.  The fridge was filled with leftover venison fajitas from earlier in the week and an extra pepperoni pizza from Big’s birthday party on Saturday.  That meant that “microwave” was my only meal plan for the day.  My A&P quiz was extended until Monday at 11pm, which, of course, meant I would worry about it on, well, Monday.  Church was celebrating homecoming so all the usual afternoon activities like youth group and children’s choir were cancelled and, therefore, so were my chauffeuring duties.  We left Sunday morning service with clean souls and a clean slate for the rest of the day.

Amen, brothers and sisters. Read more

Freakonomics at the Farmers Market.

Posted on | August 28, 2013 | 7 Comments

So the older ones finally started school.  I’d share a picture of them, standing on the porch and holding homemade signs out of my expensive scrapbooking paper stating the grade that they are entering this year.  Except I didn’t take any.  I didn’t know that was “in”.  I had no idea that was all the rage until after I got them on the bus, finished the milking, and checked the computer in the hopes of finding all my friends were finally available for lunch dates.  And I was bombarded with a million adorable photos of happy, well-dressed children holding creative handcrafted signs.  Um, pinterest, I didn’t get the memo.  Thanks a lot.

Although it was really too late for that anyway.  Because the younger kids went back to school in July.  And they didn’t get a sign either.  So making one for the big kids would just be one more example of how the first born children got all the best of my parenting energy and the later ones were left with the dregs.  Which I like to remind the younger ones is quite a fair trade off for the excessive amount of television and Wii that they have been allowed compared to their older siblings.  I’m sure their future therapists will approve.

Besides, the convenience of back to school photographs with the year and grade already included in the picture is overrated.  I will probably be in my fifties before I have the spare time to sit down and scrapbook my photos into albums.  Trying to decide what year a photo was taken and the age of the children in the image will be the mental stimulation I’ll use to fend off aging.  Sorting chronologically and properly labeling my kids’ photos is just the kind of demanding detective work that will keep my brain active.  So you can keep your pretty picture ideas to yourself, pinterest.  Convenience now, dementia later, people. Read more

Pond of Pilfer and Plunder.

Posted on | August 23, 2013 | 2 Comments

Remember this?

Well, that Mother’s Day present actually did make it into the ground.

Since the preformed pond liner was off Freecycle and the slave labor was coerced by guilt donated, the real trick was to get all the landscaping for as free and cheap as possible.  Because nothing ruins a gift faster than a gift that costs money to use.  We have lots of free things around here that ended up costing a lot of money.  Not that I’m going to mention any names.

But I might post pictures.

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A Poem From Penny.

Posted on | August 4, 2013 | 1 Comment

Theme and format borrowed from the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus. Pig Liberty copied from Beaufort County Library.

Give me your pitted….

Eggplants taste tested in the field. Should have salted them first.

your cracked and mushy,

Cherry tomatoes that cracked under the pressure of trying to provide for a family of 6.

Your wilted….

Green beans after their green fades away. Because it's not easy being green and being left on the vine until the farmer gets around to picking.

and woebegone, too far gone to eat.

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