Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rabbit update

We've made quite a few changes with our rabbits.  We sold just about all of the rabbits, with the exception of our pedigreed New Zealand Black doe & buck.  We bought a breeding trio of pedigreed Silver Fox rabbits, to get started.  We raise our rabbits as part of our food, so we started researching feed to meat conversion as well as dressed out weight vs live weight and then also temperament.  Everything kept pointing to the Silver Fox.  Aside from being a beautiful and docile rabbit, they also have a higher dress out weight, around 65-70%.

In the midst of starting over, we also redid all but 2 of our cages.  There are a lot of things that we learned as we went, things I wish we'd thought to ask about ahead of time (I'll do a separate post on that soon).  The cages we'd been given and had purchased along with rabbits were all wood.  The rabbits got much enjoyment chewing on it.  And they were HEAVY, took up a ton of space and were really hard to clean because of the designs.  We decided to suspend the cages that we built, opening up much more space.

(don't mind Oreo next to the hay, he's visiting)

We added foam insulation sheets, 4'x8', behind the cages (there is a 2" gap between the back of the cage and the insulation, so no rabbits are able to get to it to eat it).  During the summer the bottom row is removed and stored.  We're able to open the doors that line the entire outer wall of the room (if you're new here our barn is an old tobacco barn with 1 ft door every 2 ft the entire length of this side of the barn) and with the fans, it keeps the room cool and ventilated.  The heat lamps are removed and stored in the summer.

Our plan to redo the floor is still happening.  We're picking up the wood tomorrow!  You can see some of the gaps in the floor, and some of the wood is really weak, it bends when we walk on it, some of it has broken as we've moved cages in and out and while supporting the weight of the old cages.

We have 4 buck cages, (you can see 2 of them on the far left, with the solid wood doors) that measure 4'x3'x2.5'.  The Silver Fox is a big rabbit and we noticed that when it was breeding time, there wasn't enough room in the buck cages, so we took out the middle wall, opening them up.  Now there is plenty of space to play chase and uh, bunny hop ;-)

Our doe cages are all suspended with an attached oak nesting box.  The reason we picked untreated, from the mill rough cut oak is because it is a REALLY hard wood.  It also doesn't seem to absorb/radiate the air temperatures like the other wood did.  The nest boxes stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  The cages are 2'x2'x2' and the nest box is a couple inches smaller internally due to the thickness of the wood.  The nest box has a wire floor, we put in 1/4" plexiglas when its time for them to kindle.  In the winter we add about an inch of hay underneath the plexiglas.  They all get a bunch of hay to make a nest with along with their hair, year round.

The rabbits have their own website

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homemade Almond Milk

Step 1:  Measure out 1 cup of almonds
Step 2:  Cover almonds with filtered water and soak for 48 hours in the fridge
Step 3:  After soaking for 48, drain & discard the water, rinse the almonds
After rinsing
Step 4:  Add almonds & 4 cups of filtered water to the blender
Step 5:  Blend on high for 2 minutes
Step 6:  Strain - I put a towel inside the mesh sieve for a fine strain
Step 7:  Squishing all the milk out of the meal
After its drained, I put all of the almond meal into the towel, bring the edges up to create a pouch,
twist the towel to create a tight pouch and squeeze, twisting the towel.  This will get the rest of
the almond milk out of the almond meal.
Step 8:  Pour into a glass jar (I used a 1 qt mason jar), store in the fridge for 4-7 days.  If it starts to smell
funny, discard.
Almond meal - I have plans for this ... stay tuned!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Here's your garden sign

Plant peas, beets and lettuce when the first leaves appear on the lilac bush. 

Plant corn, beans and squash when the lilac blooms. 

Plant cabbage when the dogwood is in full bloom or when the apple blossoms bud.

Plant corn when oak leaves are the size mouse's ear or elm leaves are the size of a squirrel's ear. 

Set out tomato transplants when the first ladybugs appear. 

Beans, carrots, cauliflower and beets do well in close quarters. 

Plant radish with your lettuce..flea beetle will stay away. 

Plant carrots and onions close, keeping the carrot fly away. 

Cabbage away from tomatoes and celery. 

Cucumbers are improved when beans are grown between them. 

Turnips like to have some peas nearby. 

Beans and sweet corn do well in alternate rows. 

Plant beans on top of your potatoes to keep the potato bug away. 

Marigolds throughout the garden...all over the place!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Incubator's running full speed ahead! February's hatching percentages

We started putting eggs in 2/23.

IN - 8 duck eggs
HATCHED - 6 (as of 3/22/12, with a couple more days of possible hatch since duck eggs take 30-35 days depending on breed)
HATCH SUCCESS = (6/8) 75% (this number could change)

IN - 5 chicken eggs
HATCH SUCCESS = (4/5) 80%


IN - 10
HATCH SUCCESS = (9/10) 90%

IN - 19
HATCH SUCCESS = (17/19) 84%

IN - 7
HATCH SUCCESS = (6/7) 86%

2/29 Caught the dogs eating eggs, the coop gate was open =o(
IN - 2

So for the 6 days in February that we incubated and hatched eggs, our success percentage is 78%. We did lose 4 of the chicks after putting them in the brooder.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring is in the air!

Turkey hens like snappy male accessories such as wattles and combs. These toms are sure showing their beauty!

A few fun facts:
*Only toms (male turkeys) gobble, the hens make a cluck sound. Our toms tend to follow the leader tom, if he gobbles, they all do!
*When the toms strut, they are showing off, or posturing, for the hens. They puff up their feathers and fan their tails out while shaking their body feathers.
*The toms have a large skin flap down its neck called a wattle, below that are small, wart-like structures called the caruncle. These will turn a bright red to attract females and a pale blue to cream when he's not in the mood. The flap of skin attached to the top of the beak is called a snood. This is used to attract females during strutting (mating ritual). It will become elongated and distend when the tom is aroused and will contract at other times.

Blue Slate hen, Bourbon Red toms

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A lesson in death and a mama cows love

I mentioned the other day that we'd bought 2 bottle babies, Pearl & Dash. Sunday evening our friend called and said that he'd lost a newborn calf, that half of a hay ring had fallen on it, crushing its head. The mama cow stood next to it, licking it. Our friend raises black Angus cattle. We drove over so that Mr. Wild could help move the ring and the calf.

The next day Mr. Wild was over there and they checked on the mama cow, she was standing in the same spot in the field only now, her udder was huge. They started talking about bringing her into a stall in the barn to see if they could milk her. Our friends son mentioned putting a calf on her, if she would accept it and did anyone know of any new calves for sale. Our friend said he knew someone that had a new bottle baby.

Our cow Popeye had been with the bottle babies 2 and a half days and Pearl (the baby Angus) still wouldn't nurse, she only wanted the bottle. We were milking Popeye before Sasha and Dash nursed. Pearl was also timid and would stand in the corner, alone.

Mr. Wild, our friend and his son started talking about how they could get the mama cow to accept Pearl. Our friend said he'd heard about putting a dead calfs hide onto another calf to trick the mama. The son asked if he'd ever tried it, none of them had. They called our other friend, an old farmer who is full of so much knowledge! He said they'd done it a few times when he was younger and it had been successful. So they decided to give it a try.

They loaded up cattle panels so they could isolate the mama cow from the herd, so they could load her into the trailer. They set the panels up and drug the calf into the middle. The mama cow put her nose almost to the ground and followed the scent, into the ring of panels. They pulled the trailer up, backing up to the circle. Mr. Wild drug the calf into the trailer and again the mama followed. They drove her up to the barn to put her in the stall. They had to pull the calf through the stall to unload her. She stood in the stall snorting and pawing at the ground. They hung the calf to skin it. Mr. Wild came home to get Pearl.

I was in the barn with Pearl, Dash & Sasha when he got home and told me what they were doing. I told him they were going to traumatize Pearl for life, he just laughed. I told him I was staying home, that I didn't want to see it. I also asked him to please get Pearl out of the stall if the mama cow acted like she was going to hurt or kill her.

He took Pearl over and they put the hide on her. It covered her from her shoulders back. They put her in with the mama cow. She started sniffing it, at her head and then the tail. They said she did this for awhile then she started licking her! At first Pearl was skittish and would run to the corner, but the mama kept licking her, nuzzling her. Pearl had only had her morning bottle, so she was really hungry. She started sniffing and licking the mamas udder and teats, they were so swollen that she would flinch and Pearl would run back to the corner. They decided to leave them alone for awhile.

A few hours later they went back up to the barn to check on them and Pearl was nursing on the front quarter! When she would nudge the rest of the udder, the mama would flinch. The mama was still licking Pearl and was very protective, she'd moo and stomp/paw and rush the wall of the stall when they would look over. They had put in a huge bucket of water and grain before putting the mama in, so she was set for the night.

The next morning I went with Mr. Wild to check on them. Pearl had nursed all 4 teats and was nuzzling against the mama when we looked over the stall wall (we had to stand on ladders to see in). The mama was still protective, pawing at the ground when she saw us. We put a hose over the wall into the buck to give her water and put hay in.

This morning we went to check on them again and also to take the hide off of Pearl. The mama cow has settled down, Pearl is nursing and munching a little on the grain and hay. Mr. Wild went into the stall and took the hide off. The mama cow started licking her again (I was worried about that because the hide had started to smell and I didn't know if the mama would reject her because of it). We gave them hay, fresh water and some grain.

Pearl has a mama that loves her as her own and the mama cow has her baby back.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The beauty of a kiss

Sasha (Jersey heifer) & Dash (Holstein/Angus bull)

Yesterday we brought home 2 bottle babies since Popeye is making so much milk. We've been getting about 6 gallons a day and that is WITH Sasha nursing. We've been giving some to the hogs, the cats, the dogs and some for us, we've frozen tons and we still have so much! So we decided to get a couple of babies. We brought home a 2 week old Holstein/Angus bull calf and a week old Angus heifer calf.

Sash (Jersey heifer) & Pearl (Angus heifer)

After we introduced them to Popeye and Sasha we hung out in the barn watching to make sure things went smoothly. We also needed to teach them how to nurse, because they both had been on bottles from birth. I was in the stalls with them and Popeye working on helping them find the right end (lol) and then the teats. After a few minutes I stood back and let them sniff around on their own.

Sasha came over to me and started nuzzling and rubbing against my leg, so I reached down to pet her. Pearl (the Angus calf) came over on my other side and quietly stood there. I knelt down to talk to her and continued to rub Sashas side. I slowly brought my hand up to scratch Pearls back but she put her head under my hand and then started licking my fingers. Sasha leaned forward and stuck her face in my face, licking my cheek. I looked up at Mr. Wild and smiled. I was filled with such gratitude and love. I told him never in my life did I think I would experience a moment like this, being loved and kissed by 2 baby cows. I can't picture my life any other way.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Watching Popeye - setting up the camera in her stall

She is due Feb. 6th and has been showing signs of beginning labor. We got the camera moved over to her stall and will start posting videos. I will not be editing the videos because I want to share the reality of calving. So be prepared for all the beauty and the messiness of the miracle!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Smoothie - recipe

6 ounces yogurt (your choice of flavor)
6 fl ounces pineapple juice (NOT from concentrate)
3 ounces Sunsational Sunflower Seed vanilla milk
1 banana
1 T. flax seeds
1 T. pumpkin seeds
3 T. Virgin coconut oil
1 T. raw local honey
1 t. cinnamon
1 cup frozen blueberries

Combine in blender, blend for 30-45 seconds

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A day on the farm

Get woken up by rooster under bedroom window at 4am. Rooster crows trigger guineas in barn to squawk, their cries are amplified on the barn security cameras and blare into the bedroom from the monitor on the nightstand. Guinea squawkin' triggers whiny goat to start bleatin, which wakes up the hogs. All sounds are blared through the camera into the bedroom. Moan. Moan again, check to see if Mr. Wild is awake too. Turn off volume on monitor, go back to sleep. Give up sleeping, get up. Rooster goes back up to the barn.

Make breakfast, get everybody up, eat, get dressed, brush teeth. Put on jackets, gloves, hats and boots, grab feed room keys & truck keys (just in case). Head out onto the porch to see that its rained all night and the yard and hill to barn are muddy slippery messes. Try not to fall (again) walkin up to the barn. Wish the chickens would get out of the way, think about grabbin the dog for support when the slippin and slidin starts.

Feed the goats, close their door so they can't get out to eat the chicken feed. Feed the dogs and the chickens, turkeys, guineas and ducks at the same time so the dogs don't eat the chicken feed and the turkeys don't eat the dog food. Try to hold onto the barn wall for support while slidin through the mud. Hold onto the fence while slidin through the mud to the chicken coop to check for eggs. Repeat on the way back to the barn. Hope the eggs didn't break duriing the sliding and falling (again).

Feed the very very very pregnant cow, fill up her water tank. Scoop out her wet poopy straw and put clean dry straw down. Try not to accidentally touch the chicken poop on the cows gate. Feed the peacocks and hens. Try not to get hit with flapping wings. Try not to touch the chicken poop on the peacocks door handle.

Feed the hogs. Talk sweetly to the male hog hoping he'll not make a break for it again. Try not to get pushed over by the girl when she wants to drink from the bucket instead of the trough. Try not to slip in the pig poop. Try not to touch the chicken poop on the pigs stall handle.

Secretly give favorite rooster his own scoop of chicken noms with raisins. Play keep away with the other roosters so favorite rooster can gooble his secret treat.

Feed barn cats. Try to keep younger chickens out of cat food. Try not to step on cats tail when chickens rush at cat food while closing the stall door.

Check on goats. Watch baby goat walk on top of stall wall. Watch baby goats mommy pace and try to get her down. Watch other baby goat try to sneak in a nursing. Watch 1st baby goat fly off stall wall to get in on the nursing action. Smile.

Feed and water rabbits. Be happy they are calm. Be happy there isn't any chicken poop in rabbit room. Watch chickens under rabbit room floor happily pecking at rabbit poop. Sigh, be thankful you're not a chicken.

Get feed bags out of feed room. Fill all barrels for evening feeding. Sweep rabbit room, scoop all rabbit poop through gaps in the floor. Watch chickens fight over rabbit poop. Wonder if chickens will poop green.

Start tractor. Let goats out while tractor warms up. Throw corn to ducks in the creek. Load hay rolls on front and back of tractor. Start truck. Load 200 lbs of feed into bed of truck. Follow tractor down driveway in truck. Look in side mirror of truck to see one of the dogs go under the fence to follow truck down driveway. Put dog back in fence. Three times.

Follow tractor to top of ridge, unload first roll of hay. Call cows and horses ("cow, cow, come on cow"). Watch cows come runnin from bottom, through creek. Watch horses come runnin, spook the baby calves then gallop up hill. Smile. Follow tractor around field to unload 2nd roll of hay. Call cows and horses ("cow, cow, come on cow" repeat, add horses names, repeat).

Drive truck in behind tractor to unload feed into cattle trough. Have mini panic attack when truck slides sideways in mud created by nights rain. Sigh when 4-wheel drive pulls through mud. Unload feed. Get nuzzled by lovey horse. Get pushed by rowdy jealous horse. Slip in mud. Dump feed into trough. Get bumped by pregnant cows while lovey horse wants hugs. Step in cow poop. Slip, almost fall in mud (again). Try not to get stepped on by jealous horse. Try not to get pushed by huge steer calf avoiding jealous horse.

Kick tires on truck to dislodge muddy cow poop from boots. Start to back truck out. Have major panic attack when truck slides sideways towards edge of ridge. Trade places with Mr. Wild. Sit on tractor watching Mr. Wild try to back truck out. Slowly follow truck with tractor. Trade places with Mr. Wild again to move tractor around behind sideways truck. Stay calm. Hook up chains to back of sideways truck. Line up tractor to tow truck. Backwards. Learn to drive tractor in 15 seconds. Slowly start to tow sideways truck out. Freak out when truck starts to slide off edge of ridge sideways. Reline up tractor. Pull sideways truck through ditch, through gate, back onto road. Breathe.

See farmer friend with flatbed trailer see us. Take tractor over to trailer to load. Tell farmer friend about sideways sliding truck and panic attack. Farmer friend gets good laugh. See Mr. Wild driving tractor up onto wet flatbed trailer out of corner of eye. See Mr. Wild and tractor slide off wet trailer and tip down towards slope of field. Have serious attack, cuss, watch Mr. Wild go 4 shades of white. Listen to farmer friend talk Mr. Wild through turning tractor tires to slowly get untangled from trailer ramps and away from hill slope. Recover from attack. Agree with farmer friend to move tractor and trailer away from hill to load.

Kiss Mr. Wild goodbye, tell farmer friend no more driving for Mr. Wild today. Go back down to barn. Fix fence to keep dogs in. Use pole driver to put in 3 more T-posts. Wire to fence. Scold bad dogs. Add more fence near creek to deter escaping dogs. Scold bad dogs. Walk through barn to go to house, see baby goats out. Cuss. See fallen trees near fence, drag over to gap under fence, wire in place. Catch baby goats, put back inside fence with mama. Make sure babies don't get back out. Snoopy dance when fallen tree plan works.

Remember to check broody hen up in hay loft. Climb up hay loft ladder. Get screeched at by broody hen. Smile. Realize broody hen has no food. Go down hay loft ladder, get cup of chicken feed, climb back up ladder. Get screeched at again. Check nest on top of alfalfa hay. Find barn kitty laying in nest. On top of 4 eggs. Smile. Put eggs in jacket pocket, slide down alfalfa hay, go down hay loft ladder. Wish chickens would move out from under feet. Remember to unlock barn shop to get meat out of freezer. Try not to touch chicken poop on shop door handle. Sigh, wish chickens would stay off of barn rafters. See rooster chase barn cat, smile. Remember how much entertainment chickens are. Accidentally touch chicken poop closing shop door. Sigh (again).

Head down to house. Try not to fall down muddy slippery hill. Try not to break eggs while trying not to fall. Realize coffee pot didn't get turned on. See its almost lunch time. Hear rooster on front porch. Open door to find porch chicken laid her egg. Smile. Remind Mini Wild to feed house dog. Feed house cats. Scrub chicken poop off hand. Load dishwasher. Start laundry. Hear pregnant cow moo really loud through security camera monitor. Put on mud boots, walk up to barn. Try not to fall (again). See pregnant cow laying in her hay. Smile. Sigh happy sigh. Check on pregnant, soon to be mama, goat. Give loves and scratches. Smile. Watch chickens run from roosters. Smile.

Turn to head back down to house and see white peacock with tail feathers spread open, strutting. Sigh in awe at his beauty. Smile. Hear hogs snore. Smile. Slide down hill in mud. Realize eggs are still in pocket. Smile when they aren't broken. Wash eggs and put in carton in fridge. Realize that Mini Wild has bucket of eggs. Send text messages to friends to sell eggs. Realize mud boots are still on. Sigh. Wipe up poopy mud tracks. Decide to go check mail. Try not to slip in mud (again) in driveway. Decide to order more rock for driveway. Watch ducks splashing in creek next to driveway. Try to figure out how ducks got through small wire fence. Watch turkey toms play mosh pit style. Smile.

See Mr. Wild and farmer friend pulling in with tractor. Listen to how much work they got done on farmer friends barn stalls. Talk about plans for fixing our barn. Make plans with farmer friend for dinner. Realize its time to feed. Again. Feed and water. Lock shop. Cuss when chicken poop gets touched. Again. Slide down muddy hill to house. Slide sideways and laugh at bottom of hill. Slip in puddle by porch and cuss mud. Go inside, take off mud boots. Accidentally touch cow poopy mud. Sigh.

Run to take shower before Mr. Wild. Confirm dinner plans with farmer friend. Get dressed in non-farm clothes and boots. Double check jeans for farm stains. Smile. Leave for dinner, walk very slow through mud. Pick up farmer friends, drive to dinner. Relax. Smile. Laugh. Eat. Eat some more. Laugh some more. Smile. Enjoy friends. Talk. Laugh. Sigh happy sigh. Make plans for gardens, cows, hogs. Smile. Drop off farmer friends, drive home. Smile when realizing mud is frozen. Snoopy dance on frozen mud. Slip on mud. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hide 'n seek in the hay loft

A few days ago I went up into the hay loft to grab a bale for the goats (it'd been raining and they refuse to go outside, they might melt!) and this little gold/black banty hen was sitting on one of the rafters in the middle of the barn just squawking and having a fit, all directed at me! I searched everywhere but couldn't find a nest. Until today! I was up in the loft again, for the goats, and I moved the bale that is in front of her and she made a soft purring/cacking sound. Its dark up there so I couldn't see her at first.

I got my cell phone out to use as a flashlight. I was surprised by how deep her little nesting area is, a little over a foot deep! I pushed the bale that I'd moved back tight where it'd been and went to another area to get one. I fed the goats, went down to the house for my camera and climbed back up to see if I could get a picture or two. I brought her some feed so she wouldn't have to leave her nest tonight. Keeping my fingers crossed that she hatches out a bunch of bantys!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lemon Water - Nutrition & health benefits & a recipes

My friend Vicky is 4 months pregnant with her 3rd child and has been dealing with awful all-the-time-sickness, so much so that she's lost 26 lbs. The only thing that has helped her is drinking water with LOTS of fresh lemon slices. When I say LOTS I mean she goes through about 4 lemons a day. Seeing her do this reminded me of the water we use to offer at the spa I worked at in Las Vegas, it had lemon & cucumber slices in it. As Massage Therapists, we were encouraged to start drinking it because it offered a natural energy boost, without the sugar high & crash of coffee/soda/energy drinks.

Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently thus controlling constipation and diarrhea. In pregnancy, it will help to build bone in the child. We find that the lemon contains certain elements which will go to build up a healthy system and keep that system healthy and well. As a food, we find, owing to its potassium content, it will nourish the brain and nerve cells. Its calcium builds up the bony structure and makes healthy teeth. Lemon Water

Lemon Cucumber Spa Water

1 lemon
1 cucumber

Wash, scrubbing lightly since you aren't peeling them

Cut into slices

Add to cold water, put in fridge for an hour and then enjoy! Replace lemon & cucumber daily.

Lemonade Cucumber Spa Popsicle

Lemon Cucumber Carrot Jelly Salad

Monday, January 9, 2012

Making Laundry Soap

The ingredients: Borax, Soda Ash (Washing Soda), ZOTE soap

Borax is boron, oxygen & salt and is mined in California.

Soda Ash or Washing Soda (Sodium carbonate) balances water pH and total alkalinity as to much acid can cause things like corrosion of pipes and eye, nose, and skin irritation. Its basically a water softener. Called washing soda, soda crystals, or sal soda in the detergent section of stores, it effectively removes oil, grease, and alcohol stains. NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING AS BAKING SODA!

I use ZOTE soap because it isn't a petroleum product. Its made from Coconut oil, tallow, Citronella essential oil (AWESOME for repelling bugs aka ticks & chiggers!)

Equipment: Bucket w/ lid (I used an empty Aloe Butter bucket that I had on hand from making body butters), cheese grater, wooden spoon, 1 cup measuring cup.

Optional equipment: Magic Bullet, medium size mixing bowl.

Grate the ZOTE bar into the bucket.

The whole bar grated.

Measure out 1 dry cup of Soda Ash & 1 dry cup of Borax

I run it through the Magic Bullet to break up any chunks.

Added the Soda Ash to the grated ZOTE.

Added the Borax to the grated ZOTE.

Borax is a really fine powder, try not to breathe in the dust as you mix it in.

Mixing the ingredients.

I then run the mix through the Magic Bullet (about 20-30 seconds), 3 cups at a time.

All ingredients thoroughly mixed into a powder.

The finished laundry soap! Dump back into the bucket and snap on the lid.

I keep a 1 Tablespoon scoop in the bucket. I use 2 Tablespoons for each load. On jeans, I use up to 4, depending on the level of dirty.

I use about 3/4 cup of white vinegar as fabric softener. I dump it directly into the fabric softener opening. When I wash our bed sheets, I add a couple of drops of Lavender essential oil into the vinegar.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Johnny Appleseed - Recipe & Unschooling

This morning I made oatmeal from scratch, which was a first for me. While it was cooking, Mini Wild & I were talking about eating healthy foods. I was cutting up an apple to add to the oatmeal & he said "like apples? Like Johnny Appleseed did!" He then started telling me the story of Johnny Appleseed, which then led to him saying we needed to plant the apple seeds to grow our own apples.

Johnny Appleseed (whose real name is John Chapman) Day is September 26, his birthday. He started planting and selling his apple seeds in western New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana & Illinois.

We pulled out our maps and located the above states. I printed off this map and had Mini Wild label the states. I also printed off this coloring page that is a find the hidden pictures page. We worked on this crossword puzzle together. Mini Wild looked on youtube and found Part 1 & Part 2 of the Disney movie.

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

We bought our oats from a Menonite farmer a couple towns over, when we went to the feed mill. Our apples came from the orchard down the road from the mill.

1 cup oats
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (we use the butter made from our cows milk)
1 apple, chopped or diced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons raw honey (we get ours from a local beekeeper)
OR 1/4 cup real maple syrup (NOT log cabin, etc)

Put water into saucepan, bring to boil. Add oats, reduce heat to medium, stir occasionally. Cook 10-15 minutes.

In skillet, melt butter. Add apple pieces, saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add cinnamon & nutmeg. Cook until apples are tender, still stirring.

IF YOU'RE ADDING MAPLE SYRUP, DO SO NOW. Cook for 1-2 more minutes. This will add a touch of sweetness.

Add finished apples to cooked oats. If using honey, pour over the top and stir to mix. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Countdown to Popeyes calving II (01/01/12)- Due Feb. 8th

Her vulva has started to swell, caused by the hormone changes as she gets closer to her due date.

The baby has moved back a bit as Popeyes shoulders are now more prominent.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reusing feed bags - Insulating the rabbit room

(View from the back of the barn. The open area is the shed that is attached to the back side. On the right, with the tin attached to the bottom, is the back wall of the barn, also the back wall of the rabbit room.)
Our barn is an old tobacco barn, its got 1" gaps between every board. Our plan is to cover the gaps with 3" boards this spring. Until then, we've got breezes blowing through.

(The area under one of the bucks cages.)
Before insulation with feed bags.

(The area under one of the bucks cages.)
After first layer of insulation with feed bags.

(The area along the back wall of the rabbit room.)
After first layer of insulation with feed bags.

I left a 2" gap from the floor to the bottom of the bag so that we're able to still get a shovel and a broom along the edge without ripping the bags down. Every other day we scrape out the rabbit poops and sweep. Our plan is to attach tin underneath the cages, at a downward angle, so that the urine & poop flows into bins that we can empty each day. So far, the extra tin that we have has gone to repairing the barn roof. We're hoping to have the cages done by spring, then we can put down a solid floor which will finish the insulating. We have ventilation fans at the far ends of the room, and the bags will come down this spring when the nigh time temps are above 40 degrees.