Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Devil Spawn.

Posted on | April 29, 2013 | 8 Comments

We’ve all been very worried about Tina.

She is due to kid the first week of May.  And as that date approaches, she spends more time down on her knees.

I assume it’s the extra weight of her kids and her udder.  Also, the production of relaxin loosening her intrauterine ligaments, stimulating mammary development, and causing her wobbly front legs to be even more wobbly.

We’re also worried because it’s her first pregnancy.  We don’t know how she’ll handle kidding.  And we’re wondering if her kids may have leg deformities or defects, too, that make it difficult to deliver on her own. Read more

Spring Garden Primer.

Posted on | April 25, 2013 | 6 Comments

1. Soil is everything.

Well, soil is everything until the squash bugs arrive.  Then killing squash bugs is everything.

Regardless, your plants need some decent soil in order to get established during the dry spells, flooding, heat waves, and cold snaps of spring.  For us that means a trip to the chicken pasture where the chickens have been making compost out of the scraps, bedding straw, manure, and egg shells tossed in there all year long.  Don’t worry about leaving holes in the pasture where you scooped out soil.  As soon as you leave, the chickens will rush in to excavate for bugs and scratch everything back to normal.  Or as soon as you take 2 steps back and put the shovel down.

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Just Rewards.

Posted on | April 23, 2013 | No Comments

Got the barn chores done and the milk strained,

the eggs into cartons,

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Look Quick!

Posted on | April 15, 2013 | 3 Comments

As of right now.  This very minute.  All the hoses and automatic waterers are fixed.

No leaks at the hydrant.

Or in the hose.

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Completely Compatible.

Posted on | April 14, 2013 | 5 Comments

I’m used to wearing a lot of hats around here.  On any given day I’m the mom, the cook, the landscaper, the farmer, the construction worker, the plumber, the veterinarian, the housekeeper, the seamstress, and the accounts payable office.  I have barn clothes, business suits, work uniforms, and church dresses in my closet.  But this weekend, for the first time, I got to be something entirely new.

A groomsmen.

That’s right, I stood up in my work partner’s wedding.  On his side.  With all the other guys.  Which The Other Half enjoyed greatly.  Because even though I spend as much time with my work partner as I do with The Other Half, now The Other Half knows he really doesn’t have to worry.

“Hah!” said The Other Half when I told him.  “All that time you spend together and he doesn’t even know you’re a woman!!  Awesome!”


I like to think my femininity shines through the 5.11 tactical pants and combat boots.  Probably.  Maybe.  Eh. Read more

Too Late.

Posted on | April 9, 2013 | 4 Comments

With spring cleaning in full swing, I decided it was time to gather up loose ends.  Literally, loose ends.

We have leashes and lead lines….

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It’s Coming.

Posted on | April 8, 2013 | 1 Comment

Since we live in the woods, spring takes a little longer to arrive.  Our daffodils and tulips are a bit behind everyone else’s.  Our azaleas are just starting to bloom long after other people’s bushes are overcome with blossoms.  And although the grass flourishes in the full sun of the garden,

by the house we have to rely on the leyland cypresses to provide green until the deciduous trees finally fill in.  Everything else is still the brown leaf mulch of winter.

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That’s What Friends Are For.

Posted on | April 5, 2013 | 13 Comments

Well, it was an insufferable beginning to the week.

There were broken gates to fix.  The hose in the barn had progressed from having a leak to having a waterspout that sprayed you as you went about the chores.

Julia developed a massive blocked salivary gland.  Which scared the crap out of me, thinking it was CL (even though she had always tested negative) , until the vet assured me otherwise.  Salivary glands.  Who knew?

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A 40th Birthday.

Posted on | March 21, 2013 | 16 Comments

I was looking forward to my birthday.  Was.

Oh, the 40 years old didn’t bother me.  I’ve seen other people turn 40.  Despite all the hoopla, it didn’t seem all that earth-shattering.  As a matter of fact, they looked and seemed the same way they did when they were 39.



But when I woke up on the day of my annual birthday beach trip, 2 of my friends had dropped out due to illness.  It was hard to decide if I was sad that they weren’t going.  Or glad that they didn’t show up ailing and spread norovirus to the rest of us.  By the time I was walking on the beach, I wasn’t worried about it anymore.   Ah, the birthday beach trip.

But then one of my friends started talking about her bucket list.  Bucket list?  Was I supposed to have one of those?  At 40????  And no matter how many walks I took on the beach or the hours spent soaking in the hot tub or even the Wild Turkey American Honey, I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do before I died.


It would be nice to travel more in the U.S. but if I never did, I’d be OK with that.  I always wanted to write a book, but if I never write more than this blog, that’s OK, too.  I’d like to retire at the beach, but if I am still just taking birthday beach trips with a pack of friends, a cooler of booze, and 2 bags of pretzel M&Ms when I’m older, I’m still OK.

Bucket list.

Eh. Read more


Posted on | March 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

Perhaps one of the most rewarding things about the farm is that it doesn’t just talk about reduce, reuse, and recycle.  It lives reduce, reuse, and recycle.  It breathes it.  It sleeps it.  It reduces, reuses, and recycles everything.  Everything.

For example, take a simple dinner recipe.  Because we wanted some pork kabobs last week, I took out a pack of Papa Noel pork from the freezer.  I didn’t want to cut up one of the roasts or tenderloins so I grabbed a package labeled “Sausage??”  The question marks didn’t mean I wasn’t sure what was in the package.  I knew it was chunks of pork that also had large bits of fat attached to or marbled in the meat.  Originally, we planned for those cuts to be ground up and used for sausage.  The question marks referred to the fact that I had some doubts.  I wondered if once we had frozen the meat, were we really going to thaw it, then break out the meat grinder (which is not electric, but is manpowered by The Other Half), then grind it into sausage, then use some of the sausage, clean and put away the grinder, then get out the vacuum sealer, reseal the rest of the sausage into 1 or 2 lb packages, then clean and put away the sealer?

Since the package was still in the freezer 8 months after we butchered Papa Noel, I think we now know the answer to that question.

In any case, those big slabs of fatty pork had plenty of meat for pork kabobs.   With a bit of time and a nice knife I created 3 piles of meat—-an overflowing plate of chunks for kabobs, some tiny fatty pieces for our version of scrapple, and some fat chunks for the dogs.

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