Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Frustrations

There is a point in the summer where you feel like that big freight train called "Everything That Needs To Be Done" that you've been running along side of and desparately trying to climb aboard.... pulls away from you and .... just.... keeps on chugging. All you can do is standing there and realize that you've missed that train. Yesterday was that day.

 That's right, eat up little pig.

There is so much I didn't get done.

If you believe the cicadas then we are now within the "90 days until the first frost." We are now limited to what we can plant. 

The harvests need to be done. Canning needs to start. And we passed that day where I can keep up with the ripe tomatoes. We still need to paint the deck, fix the roof on the Turkey House, get new fence posts for the goat yard, fence in the pond... and heaven forbid, we need to start working on fire wood.

Look a this! It's like a little stump house.

Add on to all of that... we've completely forsaken everything inside that needs to be done. I could not produce for you a clean, matching pair of socks if you paid me $1000. Dishes? It's every man for himself. And now Zander and Kai are blowing their coats. There is dog hair everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. The only reason the floor is not "bear killer" colored is because my dear husband shampooed the carpet in the living room last weekend. But it needs it again to tell you the truth.

Anybody got any clean laundry in there?

And then I went out on Wednesday to find my best rooster dead. Real Dead. I'm still very mad - of the bunch that we have he was the best roo and now his shattered remains are in a sack in the garbage. Later that day we found what was left of that missing duck - he was dead too. Two in one day isn't fair - that's what one of my best pals said.

Varmints? Predators? Nope - I think it was just bad luck. Rooster vs turkey....and TurkZilla won... and we aren't sure what happened to the duck but Zander and Kai looked really really guilty one day.

You want lunch? Well, there are 20 lbs of just-dug-potatoes on the counter - so get busy. And our freezer is about empty so we really need to butcher the pig if you want anything other than potato salad.

Don't even get me started on the weeds in the garden. I'm glad we had a few good rains but now it's like a jungle out there. My shabby attempt at growing eggplants have now been swallowed up by gargantuan weeds of who knows what variety.

Then yesterday we had a hasty visit to the vet. Our cat Pepper needs dental work - she has some bad teeth. So I had a short work day yesterday and Monday will also be a driving day.

And sadly, even as I'm typing this I know that someone, somewhere out there is critiquing my bad spelling and rearing back to send me a snotty comment about it. Or how I'm doing it wrong. Or they want to tell me how my life is so easy and their's isn't.... I tell you the truth the internet weirdos have been on spin cycle lately and don't I know it.  Sheeh.

And someone needs to mow.

So what do you do when you get to that frustrating point in the summer where it's too late for most things but that mountain of 'to do's' just keeps getting longer?

The best you can.

Obviously Pepper is a our priority and we will get her fixed up. Next, I'm taking on one project at a time and that is determined by the weather and what absolutely needs to get done. Everything is day by day. What is most valuable? What is most vulnerable? What can I do at the same time? Pick peppers and weed as I'm going along is a good strategy. Dig potatoes, run the tiller over that spot, and plant fall crops works really well... And then make more potatoes for dinner.

We'll find a day for that pig and it's going to be soon. My Amish neighbor grows fine eggplants - and zucchini's too since I can't grow those either. I can make some sauce with the tomatoes tonite and we'll use that as a start for dinner this weekend.

The goats will just have to tough it out down in the new area without me standing there and if I get them out there early enough the flies won't be bad.

I'm spending a lot of time brushing out the dogs out by the fence line to keep that evil bunny at bay - so that solves a couple of problems.  And if I can get a big bunch of dog hair out behind the hen house then any lurking varmints should think twice about coming around. I'm not sure what to do about my roo-killing-turkey but his number might be up.

Just keep growing...

So I'll just keep working, just keep getting along, and tomorrow I'll get up and do it again. Amen.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Unusual July Day

The weather guy just said that this will be an unusual July day... but if this is global warming I'll take it. The last couple days we were in the fire swamp - hot hot hot and high humidity. But this morning I have all the windows open. It's like heaven out there.

So much has been going on.

The pigz had a large day.  When it was hot I set up the hose so they could sit in the spray if they wanted. They thought it was amazing.

Daisy didn't have a great day .... flies!

I've been digging potatoes. It's the best "egg hunt" ever. We've gotten some real beauties too. Remember these spuds were completely free

 My bucket has been filled with peppers...and onions... and celery.. and tomatoes.

We are going to review our new goat yard. For whatever reason the flies are just horrid down in the new goat grazing area. The girls come back covered in black flies and are very unhappy about it. So I've been having to sit with them as they free range a little higher up on the hill. I'm glad we didn't do permanent fencing - it will only take a few minutes if I have to take out the electric we put up if we have to take it all down.

We should have the cool weather for the next couple days. It's absolutely glorious. And now... I'm going to go and dig more potatoes.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Macro Monday: Thai Basil

We are having Macro Monday because I never know that day it is and apparently I forgot to do something important. Rather.... I remembered but I just don't know what day it is. I blame the new math...and living life without any sense of time. Anyway, I'll see everyone later.

Thai basil - I can't get enough of it.... It's beautiful and smells heavenly.

And an extra shot of Zander being very dapper. 

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Yard Full of Angry Goats

We set up the new goat yard. Then I ran around, snagged, and dragged the goats into their new yard. All I got for my trouble was a yard full of angry goats. They were very mad.

Angry goats. 

I was thrilled to set up a brambly area for the goats to graze - and I wouldn't have to stand there with them. They were not happy about it. At all. I got a lot of mean looks.

Fence line thru the bramble. Step 1: mow.

I put this yard together really quickly after my husband's expert mowing the other day. All I really needed was some push-in posts and to string up more hotwire.

Once it was all laid out I could use this expert technique to hook it up to the existing pig yard. You can't pay for this kind of professionalism....

Any actual electricians out there getting a twitch in their eye? Ha!
Seriously,  just twist the wires together and you'll be fine.

After a certain amount of running and chasing I got all the big goats - and one small one - into the new yard. The complaining and mean looks began immediately.

Behold -  the chair in which I sit and give zero hoots for a bunch of complaining goats.

When the mean looks didn't work the goats started bellyaching. That didn't work either as the sad lamentations of angry goats has never successfully moved me to action. I continued to sit in my chair and enjoy the cool day.

After I got up and walked away the goats called pitifully after me.  I wasn't sure they'd stay behind the hotwire but they did and I'm calling this project a huge success. Since we moved the pigz into the yard where the goats used to free range I've had to stand there and shepherd those goats. Now I can just take them down to their new yard and go on about my business.

All this fencing and refencing is pretty boring - but that's what has been happening around here. Sometimes there are long stretches of doing the same-same everyday. Fencing, refencing, weeding, and garden maintenance ... all while I wait around for the tomato onslaught to begin.

Happy Friday everyone! Are you moved by the sad lamentations of angry goats?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Uplifted

What a great day! Yesterday was even better than this superduper day last week. While all my friends on the West Side are baking in extreme heat.... we have good and lusciously cool temperature. It's just like heaven. It was so cool in the morning that I needed a sweatshirt for the first hour I was outside.

Uplifted.

We got so much done yesterday. But the very best was that my husband spent most of the day mowing so I didn't have to do it. When he was done we were wow'd by how well it came out. Between the goats, the pigz, and the mowing we have a lovely green swath going down to the woods. Just in time to do more fencing!

Dahli took one for the team yesterday. She was screwing around - like normal....

Oh Dahli....

... when all of a sudden she started screaming, hopping around, and bucking. I saw the tell tale swarm around her which looked to be mean ground beez.

RUN!!!

The goats have learned to listen to me - albeit begrudgingly. They know the command "Run" and we all did. It took me a while to get ahold of Dahli - and yep she had a big ol' welt right on her big ol' udder. She hid inside the goat house for a while and was fine by the time we did evening chores. Dahli has never been my favorite but she is a good sport.

Today will be just as lovely as yesterday so I'm headed out. Happy Thurday everyone!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Celery

I can't believe that one of our biggest garden successes this year has been..... celery. Seriously. I never thought of growing it before.... but the store celery is just so bad and so expensive I figured why not try a couple six packs?

Who would have guessed?

It has been the best thing ever. I love being able to go and get a stalk from one of the plants for potato salad, my lettuce bucket, or a stir fry. Unfortunately I've been stealing stalks and some of the plants need time to come back from a hard pruning. If I remember right I think I can over winter some of the plants inside. I'll have to go back and find my resource on that....

Soon.

My tomatoes are really coming on also. These last few big rains and going to yield some big 'maters. Some of the plants are bigger than me!

Good thing I have Shine in the garden to keep it bunny-free. 

Kai did an excellent job with the pigz this morning. She and my Dog#1 came and helped me again. Kai is really doing a great job at holding her ground and also controlling her prey drive....there is no nippin' at the heels with bear killers. She could have one of these pigz down within seconds. One of the reasons I have her working with my Dog#1 is not only to learn the ropes... but also to make sure that she follows his lead. She did great.

The pigz tried to nose up on her but Kai gave them the mean face and her growl. Then I had Dog#1 move the pigz back towards the woods - Kai was right there bullying them back from me.

Of course the pigz only wanted their milk and corn and couldn't figure out why I brought in the Brute Squad.

Not only is this great training for Kai but it's also teaching them pigz they can't just run up on me. This weekend I watched while the pigz swarmed my husband when he went in to feed them. One of the overjoyed porkers darted between my husband's legs. There was almost a hog wild rodeo. It was funny when it happened to him... but the fact is if those pigz did that to me they would have just tumbled me over. If they would have gotten me on the ground it would have been no laughing matter.

So the dogs always come with me and have a strong message for the pigz to stay back and give me plenty of room.  I'm glad every day I have such hard workin' farm dogs.


The Brute Squad. 
 
Kai was so proud of herself when we walked up the hill. You should have seen her prancy, princess wiggle walk!  Good job, Kai!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Did you plant celery? Does your princess have a wiggle walk?



Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Happy Snaps

Wow what a rain! Inside day today.... here are a few happy snaps of what has been going on.

Basil box. Nothing is better than having fresh herbs... I love walking out to get a handful of basil. 

Shine has been keeping everyone in line. And racking up the bunny kills. Our best assassin.

Zander's reaction to the pigz. He gets his ridge up, curls his tail tighter, and huffs at them. 

The pigz are so happy in their new spot. Our main focus has been "growing meat" this summer...

...and this is why. We had these Dinner plate sized chops the other nite. Heaven. Pure heaven. 

And then there are these characters... Geese vs Goats. No matter who wins we all lose. 

Happy Monday everyone! Are you staying dry on a soggy day?


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