Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Crazy Weekend, New Additions!

Friday afternoon, I left for what was supposed to be a quiet, relaxing holiday weekend at my brother's camper parked on a large pond... It was anything but!

Friday night was fairly uneventful. The kids caught frogs and turtles in the pond, drove around the ATV, and we went to bed early to hit up the Hillsdale Auction on Saturday morning. Once in a while a good deal can be found on canning and food processing implements, as well as farm animals and garden plants.

Saturday on our way to the auction, we were following my brother's father-in-law, when he quickly jerked and swerved to the side of the road, and my sis-in-law slammed on the breaks. In the middle of the road was a small beagle knawing on roadkill,  traffic had come to a stand still on 34/99.

So I asked her to pull over and  jumped out and called for the dog. She came right to me, although she crawled the entire way, as though she expected me to beat her when she got there. Picked her up, and put her in the truck. She was wearing an ill-fitting, too tight collar with a single tag dated 2011 with a random serial number and looked as though she'd not had her nails trimmed in months. No owner name, no phone number. She was not able to jump up into the truck on her own, and seemed to be favoring her hip or leg a little.

The business owner we'd pulled into came out and told us the neighbor down the street had 2 beagles, but no one was home. Two dogs ran up to the fence, so we knew she didn't live there. For the next 20 minutes or so, my sister-in-law combed the neighborhood, knocking on doors. Not a single person recognized the dog or knew of anyone other than the first house with 2 dogs that had a beagle...

My mom called her local vet, who told her that most times vaccination tags will also include a vet name and number along with the serial number. Without the vet name and number, it's apparently virtually impossible to track down. Everyone knows that hounds have a tendency to wander off, seems like a beloved pet would have a proper ID, doesn't it?

By this time, we'd been delayed almost an hour, so we decided to take her to the auction with us and do more searching afterward. I also have a high school classmate that has many connections and is involved in rescues, I figured if we couldn't find the owner, we could get her into a rescue...
She was very well behaved in the truck, and really seemed to enjoy the attention from my young neice. On closer inspection, and by observing behavior, she seems to be older middle aged or a senior dog. Very gentle with kids, and has no problem with other dogs. She is potty trained, comes when called, and can sit.

Well, by time we left the camper, I'd been convinced to keep the dog myself... Here she is, DIXIE:

So I got myself a third dog. Everyone really liked her, and she loved all the attention she was getting. Not sure why, but she is actually afraid of sudden movements and unexpected loud noises. She has a tendency to gobble down food as quickly as possible, then move on to the other dog's food, but is not aggressive when I put my hand down there or take the bowl.

An hour or so after we got back and had eaten dinner, I got a call from Brian, who stayed home to mow and till. Giblets, our slightly kinder turkey, had fallen ill and had symptoms of heart failure. Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys are basically bred to fatten up as soon as possible for slaughter, and heart problems are extremely common. Their chests are so big that they waddle side to side trying to walk, and they pant and huff and puff when the weather gets hot. Last summer, they were only a few months old and had no issues.

Brian gave him food and water where he was laying in the barn, but he made no attempts to get up, eat or drink for 24 hours. At that point, he was clearly suffering, and he had to be put down. Rather than attempt bury him and have him dug up by coyotes, Brian cleaned him and our freezer is full. I always said I would never eat a pet bird, but I feel he had a good life here free-ranging, while most turkeys are stuffed in tiny pens and fed bottom of the barrell feed. Besides that, the turkeys honestly had nothing to do with us once they matured, other than to puff up and strut like they owned the joint when we went out to feed everyone.

So we lost a turkey and gained a dog, right? But, that's not all!!!

Sunday evening, we were getting ready to eat dinner when we  get a frantic call from Brian, "THE GOAT JUST HAD A BABY!!!!!!!!!". "Wait, WHAT???", I thought I heard wrong. "THE GOAT JUST HAD A BABY!!! I GOTTA GO!!!", and he hung up. I would expect the same tone of voice from him if the house had been burning down! I get a second phone call a few minutes later. "Now there's another one! There's two babies!". Oy vey!!!

We were told when we bought Daisy that she'd been in with a billy ONCE, and that she didn't think anything had happened. Well...........................

It's kind of funny, looking back now I should have realized it. For the past two or three weeks, she had been yelling to be fed before the sun was even really up, and seemed to be constantly hungry. I made the comment in passing that I didn't understand why she was always complaining for food considering how fat she was getting.

Anyhow, there is a male and a female. We are calling them Samson and Delilah. Samson looks just like his mom in the face, we have no idea about the father. There is a lady at church that has dairy goats, we are hoping she can help us with their shots, and banding the boy in a few months. I never had any intention of getting more goats or breeding Daisy, but here they are!

Sadly, Daisy was not letting them eat properly, the female was already looking sickly and scrawny, so we are having to bottle feed them. Not ideal, but nothing we can do when she keeps hopping over them and running away from them. Final straw was her laying in the barn while her babies were trying to hide behind a log out in their yard during a period of fairly strong wind yesterday evening. They seem to not have a problem with playing with the dogs and sleeping in our large dog crate. They are laying on the floor sleeping next to the couch as I type.

So there is my eventful weekend in a (very long winded) nutshell. Lost a turkey, gained a dog and 2 goats!  I was happy to see, too, that my irises had bloomed in my absence. Hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Thank you again to all our servicemen willing to sacrifice their lives in defense of others.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring in Full Blossom

What a beautiful day today! High of 80 expected today with lots of sunshine! I walked around the grounds with my camera, and thought I'd share some photos with you.

The Red Delicious Apple tree is covered in blooms, I'm hoping for a good harvest this year. Last year, we got a whole 3 apples. Our 3rd season Bruce and Santa Rosa Plum trees and Yellow Delicious Apple tree all have a few blooms as well! Hopefully we will get a little taste from those, too!

Still haven't gotten tilling completed, The peas, carrots and greens are long past due. Thinking of just fall planting them now...

CLICK HERE to view more photos!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

RECIPE: Savory Venison Meatloaf Muffins

Right up front, I will tell you that I really don't care for ground meat of any type, regardless of preparation. However, I will admit these are pretty darn tasty! These individual sized loaves are a conglomeration of several meatloaf recipes found across the web!


2 lbs Ground Venison
1 pkg Stuffing Mix, unprepared
1 c. Water
2 Eggs
1/4 c. Onion, chopped
1 stalk Celery, chopped
1 Tbsp. Ketchup
1 Tbsp. Frank's Red Hot
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1/2 tsp. Rosemary
1/2 tsp. Garlic.Powder
1/4 tsp. Thyme
1/4 tsp. Parsley

2 Tbsp. Ketchup
1/4 tsp. Red Hot
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first four ingredients thoroughly. Add sauces and spices to meat mixture and mix thoroughly. Fill each muffin tin with meat mixture, to about 1/8 inch above rim. Bake 35 minutes. Halfway through baking time, spread glaze over each loaf if desired. Makes 12 individually sized servings.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Yard Sales for Homesteading: What to Look For

It's that time of year again! Yard Sales, (also known as "Garage Sales" around my hometown, which has a city wide sale twice every summer), are a great place to pick up homestead staples at a fraction of the cost. Here's a list of things to keep an eye out for, and why!


Cast Iron Cookware- Many times you see rusty, beat up cast iron wares for sale for a few dollars each. They can easily be refurbished! After refurbishing, either use them yourself, or turn around and sell them online for a hefty profit! Here is how I renew cast iron: LINK

Enamelware or Stainless Steel Cookware- Especially stock pots! Stainless stock pots can run up into the hundreds of dollars. Large Enamelware pots double as hot bath canners. Toss those old toxic non-stick pans and start your stainless collection for pennies on the dollar.

Mason Jars- As witnessed on Pinterest, there are a million and one uses for mason jars besides just preserving the harvest- decoration, storage, candle holders... Snatch up any you see for sale less than $7/dozen! Be sure there are no cracks or chips in the jars.

Pressure Canners- Another big ticket item. I would avoid old school canners and pick up dial gauge canners with locking lids only. If you have a large garden, having a few canners in different sizes can save quite a bit of time. You can purchase replacement parts for modern Presto and All American canners.

Dehydrators- You can never have too many dehydrators when it comes time to harvest herbs, or when it comes to jerky making! Pick up any you find that have some sort of temperature control. (Ask to plug it in and make sure it works before purchase...)

Small Appliances- Especially Crock Pots, which you can also use for crafting (soapmaking etc). If you are lucky enough to find a Kitchen Aid mixer in good working order for under $100, SNAG IT! (Again, plug them and test them.)


Oil/Kerosene Lamps and Lanterns- For power outages and decoration purposes. Aladdin brand lamps are extremely expensive new, however replacement parts are easy to come by online. If you come across an Aladdin, I recommend you pick it up.

Blankets, Sheets and Towels- Another "can't have enough of" items. I imagine some people are a little grossed out by the idea, but nothing a good washing can't take care of. Old towels come in handy out in the garage and barn. Sheets can be cut up and made into other items, too.

Furniture- Pinterest has a lot of examples as to what can be done to give new life to old furniture. Consider refurbishing and old piece for pennies on the dollar, rather than purchasing new. Older furniture was built to last (as I type this sitting on my 1930's couch).


Books- Especially old "from scratch" cookbooks and DIY/how-to books. If you home school, you may also come across some college textbooks that would be great for home schooled high schoolers.

Board Games- Often seen in unplayed condition. Now days, most kids spend their time on XBox and computers, rather than play old school board games. Hosting a "Game Night" is a lot of fun, and virtually FREE!

Craft and Art Supplies- Especially yarn, fabric and thread, which can be made into clothing and other useful items.

Clothing- Obviously. Plain t-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans can be modified and embellished!


Tools- You can never have enough tools! Always seems the one we need at the time comes up missing LOL Plug  and test power tools.

Ladders- Ladders are very pricey. Multiple ladders in varied heights come in handy when it comes time to paint the barn and hang holiday decor, that's for sure!

5 Gallon Buckets- Another item that can be used for multiple purposes- water for the animals, planters in the garden, tool storage, long term food storage.

Lawn Furniture- You can never have enough tables and chairs, especially if you're hosting bonfires and picnics! Chair cushions run around $25 each new, look for those, too!

Lawn Games- Again, if you host bonfires and picnics, it's always nice to have activities available. Keep the kids and their friends outdoors and busy all summer long!

So there's my short list LOL What would you add, and why? Have you ever made an exceptionally spectacular find at a yard sale?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hello, May!

Lilacs coming soon!
Wow, what a beautiful weekend to start the month! May is a BUSY time for us, with all the planting going on. I look forward to May all winter long! Any day now, we'll have lilacs and irises in bloom. The lilies and peonies are coming up very nicely, too. There's just something about a warm, sunny day that warms the soul.

The Cheepers have been released into the general chicken population, and are doing very well, although those of you who follow our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts know that we discovered we have gotten ourselves a second accidental rooster... Well, at least my perennial herbs and fruit trees came back from that frigid winter with gusto!

I was able to finally locate my camera. It was hiding itself under some laundry that I had neglected to put away! LOL I uploaded some photos from this past weekend, if you'd like to see them, click the link below:

When I'm not busy planting, or participating in #foodiechats or #gardenchat on Twitter, I will be trying to teach myself to knit... Jury's still out on that one...

Hope everyone gets an opportunity to get out and enjoy the sunshine! Remember, you can grow herbs and bush-type veggies in 5 gallon buckets, plastic totes and pots even if you don't have a large garden area!