OMGoodness, it was a long weekend.  I’m completely, thoroughly EXHAUSTED.  Did we get it all done?  Nope.  But, wow, we got quite a lot done.  The barn was gutted and we started over….  We now have three separate chicken pens, so far, with more to come.  The bunnies have an approx. 15′ x 12′ foot area for their little colony.  DH promises me toys for the rabbits.  I’m thinking a tiered platform, a place to crawl under, and a few little wire bottom nest boxes.  This with a few cardboard boxes to chew on should make them very happy.   The hens have their coop back and they seem appropriately grateful.  We’ll see how many eggs we get today. 🙂

Ana made Sarah’s birthday cake and did a lovely job.

Let me tell you, the Amish Division of Duties has a purpose!  On Saturday I worked inside all day long.  DH worked outside all day long.  At the end of the day we’d had three square meals, a clean house, crisp laundry, and an altogether pleasant day.  We had supervised children, good naps, and at the end of the day we rested, feeling accomplished.  Did I mention the rhubarb pie?  Hands down, THE best pie I’ve ever made.  And it had the flakiest crust… I used lard instead, as a good cook should. 🙂  I didn’t know you could make pie with ONLY rhubarb and still have it as sweet and delicious as a rhubarb mutt pie.  But I had nothing to mix it with, and was forced to use only rhubarb.  I think I’m making it again today.  So wonderful!

Fast forward to yesterday, day four of our long weekend.  We got moving fairly early on and headed out to the barn for the reconstruction.  I came in at lunch time and made lunch, but other than that we were flying by the seat of our pants.  Oh, and I admit it, we took a one hour nap.  😛  We deserved it.  We didn’t come in for supper last night until almost 9:30 in a last frantic effort to get it all done.  It didn’t happen.

We were expecting a homeschool group today and so that was our motivation to get it all done.  It didn’t happen.  But, as it rained all day yesterday and it’s expected to rain all day today, the visit by the group has been cancelled.  And that’s for the best.  Because everything is MUD.  And on a farm, mud isn’t wet dirt, it’s wet… Well, you get the picture and the picture isn’t pretty.  I’m a little sad as I really wanted to meet everyone!  However, we had planned on a great little picnic lunch, and as DH is only in the planning stages of our big table, we currently only have four chairs, the computer chair, and one very small dining room table.  At meals, two children sit at the island and two more sit at the Step 2 plastic table.  It works well enough, and I’m really excited about the Amish style trestle table we’ve been planning.  We are using reclaimed barn wood and we’ll have big, long benches.  Imagine it – ALL of us sitting around the same table.  Very exciting.  Even better, DH will have made it.  Honestly, I don’t even care if it turns out ugly…  I just think it will be neat to sit around a table my DH made with his own hands. 

What else was on my list?  Oh yes!  Stake the goats.   LOL!  Well, you can’t say we didn’t try.  And try.  And try.  And the only thing it resulted in was putting Heidi up for sale.  This is Heidi:

buddies

She’s a pretty little Saanen, but what we’re going to spend in aspirin really isn’t going to make her worth it.
She uses the window sill of the barn to vault her over a five foot fence.  No, really, she does.  She can crawl through cattle gate and under a gate that the mini doesn’t get through.  She’s exhausting.  So we staked her.  She managed to somehow get the collar to unclip.  How does a goat pull that off?  Sigh.

Stormy & Sunny

Stormy & Sunny

This is Stormy & Sunny.  They’re CJ’s pigs.  Aren’t they, um, well, lovely?  We cleaned their pen yesterday and MY they are naughty…   And yes, daring.  Yes, they escaped too.  Tim was supposed to keep them away while I did poop removal.  Never trust your four year old to hold back the vicious pigs. 🙂  Who KNEW pigs could run that fast?  I sure didn’t.  I tell you I am going to stay in such good shape, lean and trim, this pregnancy.  Stormy and Sunny have learned to tip their trough and roll it through the poop.  Now, that’s FUN.  And they can also jump in their water tub and splash all the water out until it’s light enough to roll around through poop too.  Smart pigs, hm?  Ha Ha.  I outsmarted them.  And, pathetically, I was pretty proud that I *could* outsmart them.  I think the more I work with livestock, the more easily I take pride in being able to outsmart them.  I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or just really sad.   I took my handy dandy drill and attached BOTH to the wall with really long screws.  And they were still there this morning.  Always a good sign.

A Boy & His Boat

A Boy & His Boat

And because rain has ruined my day, here’s the gratuitious rainy day photo.  Nope, not our farm.  It was our house in town last year.  But isn’t it fun? The cardboard box is his boat.  Our neighbor, Jim, (I miss him!) said he was going to put bluegills in there the next time it rained because Tim was so excited about having his very own pond.  Blessedly, shortly after this, DH and another neighbor dug up backyard and fixed the tile.  Poor Tim, no more pond.  But, let be said, the only thing I miss about moving here is that we couldn’t take all of our neighbors with us.  They were so awesome.

Camping

Camping

I REALLY wanted to take the kids to my Uncle John’s timber this weekend camping.  It truly is “roughing” it as there is NO escape from the outdoors – you couldn’t get a camper, or a PortaJohn for that matter, down there if you tried.  But you could never, ever duplicate the experience.  Yes, it’s never fun getting poison ivy on your more delicate parts from visiting Mrs. Murphy (you’d have to read Cheaper by the Dozen to understand), but at the same time, we hunt, gather, and find more herbs and edibles there than you can imagine. 

Rebecca & Jewelweed

Rebecca & Jewelweed

Thankfully, in that very poison ivy filled timber, there is also jewelweed – a.k.a. Touch-Me-Not.  Rebecca is with pale Touch-Me-Nots, but we were also able to find the more potent orange  spotted Touch-Me-Nots.  This was last year.  I have the frozen syrup in my freezer as the dried herb doesn’t work effectively.  Only fresh or frozen… I’ve been storing it all year long, just hoping to get poison ivy to try it out. 

 

Elderberries

Elderberries

A rather nice haul of elderberries wouldn’t you say?  Now, the only thing I’ve wanted to make this year is Clover jam and Dandelion blossom jam.  I was hoping for a trip to the timber yesterday and a batch, but alas, it did not happen.  Now, if only we can stay motivated to finish the barn today and tomorrow, then MAYBE this weekend will be for fun and playing.  Ya think?

The “kids” (both human and goat) decided to work together on the goat shed today.  We have all ten goats, loose, outside.  Gypsy won’t leave the barn, therefore neither will her triplets.  Cinderella can’t stand to be more than 3 feet away from a human at any time, so we’re not worried about wanderers.  The kids are working on the barn, the babies are working on the brush! 

Sweet Little Heidi - our most beloved

Sweet Little Heidi - our most beloved

Goats HAVE personality.

Gimmee a kiss Baby!

Gimmee a kiss Baby!

 

Whatcha taking a picture of Mom?

Whatcha taking a picture of Mom?

 

Ana & Legend

Ana & Legend

 

I'll jes' nibble on 'yer ear a 'lil.

I'll jes' nibble on 'yer ear a 'lil.

Yes, Legend looks a little pathetic here.  No, he did not get in trouble. 😛
He was asked to look at Grandma instead of snufflin’ whatever was in front of him and he was a good boy when told, “Leave it,” but it sure didn’t make him happy!

On the other hand, Legend is proving to be a very worthy farm pooch.  Despite being “talked” into um, “playing” with the chickens this morning by “that other” dog and getting into very serious trouble, he has been trying to herd the little goats by nipping their tails.  Cinderella takes great offense at this and we have to watch her very carefully as she would love to get in a hard head butt.  All things considered, I think they get along famously!

What a great day!

(And on the school pictures, bah!  It’s too nice to clean my house and do a lot of school.  Maybe tomorrow!)

I’ve been making soap for a good while, but this is our first batch from our own goats!  Made from calendula infused olive oil, shea butter, goatmilk, and more!  No synthetic fragrance oils, just lavender essential oil….

Lavender & Goatmilk Soap

Lavender & Goatmilk Soap

My beloved goat, Cinderella, has been a faithful little beast.  She’s given me nearly 1/2 gallon (and sometimes more) at each milking.  That’s approximately 64 ounces of milk.  Please imagine my confusion when she gave me EIGHTEEN ounces last night.  What in the world?

Apparently, there are two very good reasons for this.

The first is that the seven and four year old decided to milk the goat.  Silly me, I thought they were in the barn to play with the babies.  They got her up in the milkstand, fed her, and milked her.  They also taught two of the babies (bottlefed) where milk comes from.  No wonder they weren’t climbing all over me at feeding time.  I’ve been robbed!

So, let this be a lesson to you, more is caught than taught! Even when you don’t want it to be.

So, there has been some discussion as of late to the fate of our little Captain Blackjack.  There are those who think BlackJack would make lovely goat sticks.  The goal of our little hobby farm was to raise our own food, but he’s really cute.  REALLY cute.  Alas, the poor animal must have a purpose and if he’s not useful (and as a whether, he’s not useful if you get my drift) then he’ll serve his purpose as food.  But,wait!  I think I’ve found the perfect job for Captain BlackJack!

A Goat Cart!

A Goat Cart!

Step right up folks!  That’s right, who needs ponies and four wheelers?  Oh no, not us!  We could have our very own goat cart!  Oh, lol, wouldn’t Tim love driving BlackJack all around the farm?  Now, to convince that beloved of mine that he could build a really neat one.  I like him, he’s handy!