Shades of Ireland

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Tired Mama.....

I am still alive but getting pretty tired. The job is really great and I enjoy it even though it is physically hard work. I had no idea what it took to make all those beautiful packets of flowers and vegetables at the store. Alot of it is automated but somebody has to feed the machines. I'll get some pictures tomorrow.

Zipping home and getting a few things done before choress just wears me to a frazzle. I figure by the end of the week, Iwill have earned enough to pay for my traffic ticket....... 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stormy Morning

We are trying to ease into our new earlier schedule so that next week won't be quite so traumatic for us. I start on a temporary job Monday.  I will be working in a greenhouse/nursery operation for the spring busy season. Quite honestly, I need to make a little money to cover my expensive brush with the law last week and to pay on some of the medical bills we have run up recently. I don't need a full time permanent position and this should fit the bill nicely. Luckily, Adam can bounce between the older kids schedule. I can drop him off with Neil  at his work in the mornings. He can sit in his office and do his school work until Salena or I can pick him up mid afternoon. Seth is an independent learner and can hold down the fort at the farm.

Anyway, we started earlier this morning because Salena and I plan to milk before we leave for work and school. Seth will feed lambs, kids, calves and supervise Adam's chores. This morning we woke up to a terrific thunderstorm with hail. The forecast is for rain all day with even a chance of snow flurries!!! Bummer!!

Neil has gotten the laundry under control. There are a few finishing touches on the milking station at the barn that need to be done, I plan to cook ahead today and tomorrow so we don't starve next week. This is a good weekend for that kind of thing since I certainly don't want to be out any more than I have to.

We have decided to take the pony back to his home tomorrow.  His owner was hoping that I would fall in love and trade one of my geldings for him. His major fault is that he is still a stallion....... squealing, fighting, and attitude. I don't want to shell out the money to have him castrated and he is just in the way since we have to keep him seperate from the other horses....... he doesn't have sense enough to know when to quit and the older, bigger boys just try to kill him.

More kids in the barn! Another set of buck twins and a huge single doe kid. There are only 2 more left to kid in early April. I have lost count of exactly how many goat babies are out there but there seems to a big mob when they are all jumping and playing in the lot.  I plan to tattoo the 5 youngest that are still in the barn this afternoon. I don't dare put them out before I tattoo them because it is very hard to figure out who they belong to since they are all Saanens --- all those white babies look just alike!

The best part about this rainy day is :

Cheese in the making!! Since Wilma is milking now, I have a little extra milk so that I can make cheese and maybe even butter. This is a feta type cheese from goat milk that is waiting to be drained and hung in cheese cloth.  I am not sure how much of this batch we re going to get to eat. The guys that Charlie work with have
put in a request for some ASAP...... So have the neighbors.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break????

I got married over spring break in 1985. Yesterday was our 26th wedding anniversary. We spent it finishing up the new Chicken Castle/pen.
I think that it is funny how most people associate spring break as a kind of vacation. At our house, it is the opportunity to get some extra work done. Since we have always homeschooled, spring break didn't mean much of anything until the older two started college. It was just a few days when we could venture into town  during the day with out getting the usual question of " Why aren't you in school?".

On top of finishing the chicken pen, we had several births. A Saanen doe had a buck and doe kid. My best Alpine doe, Blaire, had a set of doe twins!! This was an AI mating and these little girls are just stunning. I stayed up waaaaay too late last night pouring over pedigrees and planning their future........

And finally...... Wilma calved with a healthy bull calf. We are still working on getting the cow milking stantions set up in the barn. Hoping to get them anchored to the concrete today ---- not a moment too soon!

Dreary cool morning after a gloriously warm but windy day yesterday. Neil has taken the rest of the week off. Forecast is for rain so we are heading into town to get a little feed, look for some grass seed for  bare spot in one pasture and then we have to come home and buckle down and do the TAXES!!  UGH!!

Tonight we are going to celebrate our anniversary a day late and go out to dinner at--- where else--- the Stockyard Resturant. We didn't go last night because theyare only open on Thur, Fri, & Sat nights..... small town life!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Be careful what you wish for! Some one brought me a miniature horse to train to a buggy.
I think his registered name is something about Little Man. We think that he is pretty pompous and just call him "Sparky".

I have not actually measured him yet but as you can see, he is pretty short. I am not even certain that he is staying.  He is still a stallion. I am afraid to put him in with the other horses because they just might stomp his brains out....... I introduced them thru the fence.

I was a pretty noisy event. The big horses just couldn't seem to believe their eyes and couldn't take his threats very serious.

It didn't help matters that the mares seem to be coming into season...... It has been a noisy weekend with this little guy squealing and trying to sweet talk those big girls into coming over to his place.......

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My First Traffic Ticket

Life would be much easier for me if I would just stay on the farm! I had to make a quick trip into town to pay a bill. On the way home, I passed a KHP that had someone pulled over. They were parked just round a curve and surprised me. I moved over ----- slightly. I should have moved over more--- much more.

Next thing I know, another State Trooper is crossing the median and pulled me over as I was getting off at my exit. He very politely informed me that I was being cited for "Failure to Yield". I am now going to be $288 poorer!

I thought that I might be in much deeper trouble because I was driving Charlie's little red car. When I turned off the car, I automatically placed the keys on the dashboard. This young officer very quickly wanted to know what I was doing with a universal handcuff key on my keychain....... I had to stutter around and explain that this was my son's car and he was a corrections officer.

He took my license and went back to his car. About that time, I realized that I had not given him that little yellow piece of paper indicating that I had changed address...... too late---- no way was I getting out of the car. Charlie has drilled it in to me to STAY IN THE CAR when dealing with law enforcement unless they tell me otherwise.

Meanwhile the trooper, that I passed who called for back up to pull me over, arrived on the scene. I could see much discussion going on thru their windows and gathered that the guy who actually stopped me, wanted to give me a warning. The other trooper wasn't having any of that.

My next heart stopper came when I realized that the insurance card in this car was expired........ Have Mercy..... just kill me now........ I could just imagine how mortified Charlie was going to be when he had to book his own mother in at the jail........

By the time he came back to the car, I had gotten a grip, stopped trembling and prepared to meet my fate. He was visibly relieved when I waved the change of address thing toward him. I couldn't speak, I just waited for the ax to fall. He handed me the ticket and said that he was sorry but the other officer had requested that I get a ticket. Have a nice day......... and make sure to get that new insurance card in the the vehicle--- today!

This is the first ticket that I have ever recieved....... I had once been pulled over for an expired tag that turned out to be an office mess up.  Another time because my trailer lights were not working properly and he helped me get them plugged in right....... I am now a criminal.........

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Letting Old Dreams Go......

I have decided that there are definitely seasons in your life. They are not distinctly divided from each other but just seem to blend and smoothly change.
I have lived a full rich life and intend to keep right on for many more years. I have been blessed to have actually accomplished alot of what I set out to do...... sometimes I just get a wild idea and often have followed it and had amazing outcomes.

One of my dreams, years ago, was to use work horses. I even went so far as to own a few. Haflingers were my choice. I had harness and even a forecart type buggy. Unfortunately, I never really ever got around to really using and working them. I spent a great deal of that time period having children and tending to them. Also, my goats and garden were a major passion and we were fencing and setting up a new farm--- our first one. One by one, I parted with the horses and, frankly, I just lost heart when my beautiful Cashmere stepped off into a hole and broke her leg. She was by far the most beautiful Ohio bred, Amish trained Haflinger that I have ever seen. Strong and sweet....... it nearly killed me to have to have her put down.

I kept the forecart and harness. The buggy was stored in a shed but it has not weathered well. The harness has hung in the tack room and when we moved here, I thought that I really ought to find someone else who would use it...... it probably would just rot in the barn before I ever got around to even think about using it again. I tried giving it away but no one would come and get it.

Funny how things work out.........

The milk that we fed to the lambs came from the Amish. The lamb guy went over almost daily and picked it up. During that time, he became friends with a young man named Henry. Henry even works with him for a few days a week now. One day, Henry came with him to bring me a batch of milk for our lambs. I was immediately drawn to this cheerful young Amish man with his incredibly curly beard and ready smile. Turns out, Henry was getting married.

I asked him if he might be interested in my harness. Seems Amish men have to have a buggy set up before they can get married----complete with a baby seat. It is pretty much an arranged marriage and my children have been totally horrified at how this whole business is carried out. Anyway, Henry's eyes lit up but he played it very cool and tried not to act too interested. A few days later, the lamb guy told me some more of the details and my sympathy was sufficiently stirred up that I just gave him the harness to give to Henry as a wedding present.

I kept Cashmere's work collar. It was almost brand new and it was a precious memory for me. I still had a set of nylon work harness, and a set of nylon light driving harness. If we ever get a wild hair and decide to train any of our pampered horses to drive, we can. Henry can only use leather because of Amish standards. I tried to justify keeping that new leather collar hanging unused on the barn wall....... dust and dirt dobber nests covering it......

I am not sure why, but life for a young Amish couple in this particular order is very hard and strict...... I am sure that they have their reasons for this----- but I don't have to like it. I have always admired my Amish and Mennonite freinds. This is a very different kettle of fish...... I am sure that there is more to the story than I am getting sympathy is still with Henry and his new bride.

I sent the collar to Henry. I am too old, tired and busy to be messing around with driving/working horses. That season in my life is over. I might like a pony and cart--- someday....... 

Meanwhile, I like to think that I have struck a blow for independence for this young couple....... I have always really been a rebel at heart!

I am supposed to be on the look out for a horse............ LOL!!!

Drowning in Milk!

This morning, we milked Holly and 5 does. I have at least 8 or 9 does fresh but since I have left their kids on them, they do not always need to be milked. I pull all the "baby mama's" up in to the catch pen and feed them..... Actually, we put out the feed and try to avoid being trampled by the incoming horde!!
 While they all have their heads down in the feed trough, Seth and I walk down behind them and decide who needs to be milked and move them inside to the holding pen. I have 2 milking stands set up in the barn and the girls get to eat in the holding pen while waiting their turn on the stand. 

As soon as the goats are done, it is Holly's turn. Because of all the new goat babies, she now lives across the driveway from the barn. Gentle as she is, the kids are always underfoot and we have already had one accident that nearly gave me a heart attack. We open the big barn door and the gate to the holding pen. Seth walks across and opens her gate and gets out of the way----- she is a cow on a mission and comes in at a trot. She just stands in the holding pen--- chowing down--- while we milk her.

So far, we have not wasted much milk. We have 3 kids on the lambar, a bottle calf, two neighbors that want mik , a goat milk customer, dogs, cats, and our own household milk. Yesterday, I made a the first batch of goat cheese for the year. 

This morning, we hit critical mass. I have milk sitting out on the counter with no place and no container to go in...... still in the milk bucket. It is decision time..... freeze it, buy another calf, serious cheese production????

The interesting thing is...... Wilma, the BIG shorthorn is due to calve on the 24th........ also have at least 5 more does due around then, too.....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Snow flurries!

It seems much colder than it really is.... Just above freezing but after the warmer weather, it just feels bitterly cold with the dampness from the misty showers/ snow flurries.
Seth has gotten a pretty good fire going in the fireplace to take out the chill.

I ended up not getting any cookies last night because I live in a house full of cookie hogs...... both bags were empty and in the trash can. I did end up getting a couple hours of much needed sleep. When I woke up and stood on the scales this morning, I didn't mind so much about the cookies.

This time change is just killing me..... It is so hard to adjust. We got all of the chores done this morning but we are really dragging at getting the rest of our day organised and things accomplished. I guess that this is just going to have to be a lazy slow day with just the basics handled. As much as I hate to do it, I have office work, bills and the ever present household chaos to do. Tax day IS coming no matter how much I pretend that it is not. The clean laundry is piled high on the couch waiting for a folding fairy to wander by......

Any Griffith Show is coming on right now....... I am trying to think of a way to count that as school........ LOL!!!


We had an action packed weekend here at Dorema Farm. Neil called me a slave driver! We made great progress on the chicken pen, the lambs are gone and their pens cleaned out. I couldn't restrain myself and bought 5 more fruit trees and got them planted. Also managed to get the asparagus crowns planted.

It was a cold dreary day today and I took an afternoon nap. Now, at 3:30 am, I can't sleep. I made the mistake of turning on the light here in the office and now the bantam roosters on the front porch are crowing like it is sunrise......

I woke up thinking about a tragic time for me....... Before we moved here, my family was very active in the volunteer fire department for our little town. Neil and Charlie were firefighters and I was an EMT. Something about waking up tonight was very much like responding to the pager going off in the night......... it was never a good thing. It was a startling, jarring wake up, knowing that it was usually VERY bad news and I dreaded hearing what the dispatcher had to relay.......  because even though I was a volunteer, I HAD to go and felt a great responsibility.

One night we responded to a house with a young man who was unconscious. Being a small town, of course, we knew him. I suspected drugs or alcohol and he was a war vet with post traumatic stress....... Since we lived in the country another EMT  was there before me and the young man had regained consciousness before I arrived ....  The EMT was trying to get his blood pressure and I was talking to him when he suddenly just stopped breathing. I remember calling for the O2 and scrambling in my bag for the re-breathing mask........ we got him started again and he lived. Working on him that night really shook me because I could feel him dying in my hands. The ER doctor released him almost immediately. Next day, he refused to believe that it had really been that serious. Less than a week later, he was involved in a car wreck and I was the first on scene. He insisted that he was fine and was standing by the totalled car. I insisted that he let me check him out and while I ws looking in his eyes for signs of head trauma, he collapsed in my arms on the side of the road. I cannot tell you my dispair when he refused to go with the ambulance to the hospital. Almost 2 weeks later, while he was alone in another city, he passed out and stopped breathing again. He died......
He was only a few years older than my oldest son. I can't tell you how deeply this affected me.

Shortly afterwards, we began our move and I did not renew my EMT licence...... I guess this is my own vesion of post traumatic stress.

I am wondering if seeing all the disaster in Japan has stirred me up to this point. The utter helplessness of sitting here and watching it on TV or the computer.

I know it won't help and I have been faithfully dieting for 2 weeks and lost more than 10 lbs but..... I think I may need some milk and cookies tonight.

And to turn off the light so those darn roosters will go back to sleep!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Motherly Instincts

I think that it is rather intersting how history repeats itself..... sometimes.

Several years ago, I had a doe that was my absolute favorite of the herd. She was a huge Saanen type doe that I had raised. Her mother was 1/2 Lamancha and that was always in trouble. She had a lovely set of twin does kids and promptly got hung up in a fence one day when I was not at home. By the time I found her --- she was not in her pasture--- she had broken two legs trying to escape and worked herself in to nervous exhaustion and eventually died. I hand raised both doelings and they turned out beautifully. I sold one and kept my beloved Sonya. Sonya was big, bold, bossy and a general pain in the neck. I loved her anyway. She won many ribbons and went on to be a Top 10 milker on DHI for the grade Saanen division. Unfortunately, Sonya just flatly refused to raise her kids. When she gave birth, she would look at me as if to say,"This was YOUR idea, YOU handle it!" I kept three of her daughters from two different sires.

One is really a total flop as a quality dairy goat. She is small and her udder is really pretty terrible. But she has a great deal of her mother's arrogance and attitude-- so of course, I keep her. She is an excellent mother. Her registered name is Frieda but because she is rather comical to look at, we call her "Frito". I have kept her yearling doe, Abby. She will kid sometime in April.

Frito's half sisters were named Paloma and Olga. Both looked very much like their mother and also had the same disposition. This dynamic duo also absolutely refused to allow their kids to nurse. To add insult to injury, they also refused to allow any one but me to milk them. During the times when the kids had to milk for me, it always turned in to a major battle. After a while, it was just too much chaos and battle in the barnyard for both of them to remain. They had to fight for dominance nearly everyday-- with other does and with each other! Paloma had a doe kid so I decided that she was the one to go and I sold her. Olga is due to kid in about 10 days.

Meanwhile, Paloma's doe kid, Inga, kidded earlier this week. I had to help her out because they were just huge and she was a feeble pusher....... that should have been my first clue...... She did allow them to nurse for the first day and I began to celebrate -- a bit too early. Yesterday, I finally gave up and just took the kids to hand raise.

Three generations of poor mothering instinct. They are big beautiful heavy milkers. The "runt" and oddball of the bunch is the best mother. Another lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

I have a barn full of baby goats and I have had to exile Holly to her own little paddock because they are always under foot. She accidentally stepped on one but the mud cushioned the blow and he has recovered nicely.
I am determined to find the camera-- and the cord to download pictures this weekend. Holly has blossomed and I can not express how beautiful she is now. She was in heat yesterday and I let her out  into the big pasture ( about 100 acres) to have a romantic rendezvous with our Red Poll bull. After the romance was over, she came back to the gate and bellowed for me to let her back out of there. She is a barn cow and does not care to associate with all those "pasture cows". Hopefully, she will have her calf just before Christmas. 

It is still cool in the mornings but warming up nicely in the afternoons. I have salvaged some of the seeds that I started earlier and have cabbage, broccoli and ,of course, tomatos under a grow light int he dining room. Seth and I have been slowly working on moving the blocks to get some of the raised beds set up. Neil will be of work this weekend and I expect to get to work on the chicken house and clean the lamb pens to get ready for another bunch.

There are fruit trees in at Walmart!! I am sooooooo tempted. I just can't seem to help myself. I am fairly certain that I lost one apple and one peach in the new orchard thanks to the horde of rabbits that live in the nearby woods. I have learned the hard way to not even wait a day after planting to put protection around the tender tree trunks......  I have come home at night and seen dozens of bunnies cavorting in the headlights as I pass the the orchard..... Iam already making plans for the fence around the garden before I plant a single seed!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I almost did it again! Somehow I contracted a terrible computer worm and it totally locked down my computer. I can't even play solitaire on the darn thing...... I am using the kids laptop when I can sneak on the few times a day that they are not using it. I have spent a great deal of time trying to log on to post here. Seems I decided to use something different as my password ..... the computer automatically remembered it but..... I didn't.  It took a while and some tense moments... and I just had to quit and try again before I finally got the right combo. No pictures for a while. This laptop requires a cord to download them and, of course, we have no idea where the cord has dissappeared to.

Anyway, life on the farm has gone right along even tho I missed a few days of posting here and facebook.
The grass is slowly greening up and the time between putting out haybales has gotten longer. I have had 4 more sets of goat kids born...... so far I have a grand total of 7 buck kids and 3 doe kids.

There are only 14 lambs left and I am planning on weighing them tomorrow. Hoping that most of them make the 25 lbs. mark but I am betting that most are heavier.

I've gotten my raised beds platted out on graph paper and could not resist buying a few asparagus crowns. Some of the broccoli and cabbage seeds have sprouted. I put both flats out on the benches onthe deck to get a little sun. Not a good idea..... Hugh, Salena's pup destroyed the whole batch of tomatos. I salvaged everything else. I brought my grow light over and I am trying to rig up a safe place to put them all.

This morning, most of the chickens made the move across to the barn. We dragged the portable pens with the truck across the pond dam. It was a pretty wild ride and I managed to tear off the solar panel for the lights by getting it hung on the clothes line in the back yard. I thought for sure that the girls would be too traumatized to lay any eggs but I was wrong. Before we left, one proudly announced to the whole world that she had made a major accomplishment. I didn't believe her until I checked the nest and found a nice, new brown egg. Seth said that we must have scared it out of her!
There are still a few renegade hens and the Bantams roaming loose at the house. We will catch them all up -- again-- when they go to roost tonight. Luckily, we won't have to go too far since they roost on the front porch rail!
When they are all penned up, I can start working on the garden in earnest. Right now, the only thing that has saved most of the strawberries is a long piece of chicken wire that I managed to stretch over the bed to protect them. The rest of the bed looks like someting has been mining in it. I am going to smooth it all back out and plant lettuce.