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.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More on bottle feeding baby goats.

While I'm not entirely sure this winter will ever end, the one thing I am sure about is that baby goat season is going to be in full swing. Soon.

What is the best way to feed a baby goat? Let someone else do it. Thanks, Deb!

We are glad, again, that we waited until later to breed our goats. I'm really glad not to have to milk in this bad weather and I'm really glad not to have to worry about cold little baby goats. Or bottle feeding. Sure some people love it. I don't. I usually don't hate it but it takes up a lot of time.

There are a some reasons why you would bottle feed baby goats:


1. The momma won't take care of them. Nibbles is a prime example. I do not know why she is such a bad mother but she gets an F-.

2. Some people feel that bottle raised goats are more snugly. Bein' as how we are not goat snuggler this argument does not hold water. Eventually we train the goats to do as ordered. It can be a hard road but strength and honor always work.

3. Some diseases are passed from the momma to the baby goats in their milk.

4. You are the purchaser of a baby goat and intend to raise it yourself instead of waiting for the baby to be weaned by the momma.

If you are stuck in this baby-goat-bottle-raising dilemma there is a good way around having to do it yourself. Mostly it involves a willing - or unwilling- participant and a hard working farm dog. We are also lucky that Debbie will nurse anything. Dahli will not nurse anything... she just doesn't have a choice.

What kind of cold hearted people are we that we don't delight in bottle feeding baby goats? Cold. We are ice cold. But mostly we don't have time for shenanigas and we have a whole barnyard full of people who need our attention. So having one of the other goats let the babies nurse is just easier for us.
They are pretty stinkin' cute....

When we sell the babies we switch them over from momma-fed to bottle-fed for the buyers. We have never had a problem with this. Ever. There has never been any crying. It is not hard. No one starves to death. Honestly I do not know what the big deal is about it - but wow I hear a lot of sad stories. Not us. We just march out there and get 'er done.

If you are moved to tears by trying to bottle feed a baby goat I would suggest that you set your jaw, steal your heart, and fix your eye on the task at hand.

Here are some links to teach you what works for us:

Don't let this little cutie get your goat - just get that bottle feeding done!

It looks like we have one more winter storm to get thru. Yesterday just about everything melted and now it's a big slushy, icy mess. We are expecting more snow later today and tonite and then maybe... just maybe we will start getting out from under this stupid winter.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Now, is everyone ready to march out there and give that baby goat a bottle?

ps. If you didn't see this be sure to tune into the new and improved 'the facebook' page. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it... this change. But I'm working on making the best of it.


Monday, March 2, 2015

On dogs and chickens....

Somehow my post on How to Keep Your Dog From Killing Your Chickens is getting a lot of page views. I think it turned into a pinterest sensation. Since we are hot on the heels of the chick season I thought I'd highlight it again just in case you missed it.

 One of my favorite big ol fatty hens. I just love these gals.

You may read the whole post here titled, How to Keep Your Dog From Killing Your Chickens.

I get a lot of requests for advice on how to handle dogs and chickens. The biggest keys to success are to supervise your dog and to get your chickens and your dogs behind fences.  You also need to understand your dog.

Many people don't want to accept their dog is a dog - which means he's a predator. So even if you haven't seen your dog with the limp body of his foe hanging out of his mouth - don't put it past him.

My hennies know they can roam around without being run down by dogs. 

The best (worst?) example of this is some folks I knew. They had a little mini doxi who was completely a lap dog. I don't think that little dog wanted for anything his whole long life. And then they got parakeets. If I remember right they even named one of them Tweety.

So, one day the oldest daughter called the mom at work, excitedly, that Mr. Woofy just love love loved Tweety! They were best friends! Mr. Woofy was so interested in Tweety! How fun was that? And they were playing together!

Predictably an hour later the oldest daughter called and said that Mr. Woofy killed and ate Tweety.

Friend, I'm here to tell you that you need to supervise your dog around chickens or parakeets. If you just let your dog out in the yard full of chickens it will eventually end up in a blood bath. The only thing that surprises me is how surprised folks are that this happens. It's probably the worst beginners mistake.

What a great hen swarm!

To be sure, there are certain dogs - Livestock Guardian Dogs - who are hardwired to protect their flocks. But that is the key - THEIR flocks. They need to know that those chickens are theirs to protect. There is always the sad story where someone runs right out and gets a LGD, puts the dog in with the flock... and then....feathers... feathers... everywhere. The dog was just being a dog.

You can read the whole post here, but in short here are my best tips for dogs and chickens:

1. Supervise your dog.

2. Put your dog and your chickens behind fences.

3. Be the boss of your dog.

4. Train your dog right.

If you are one of the folks who is running right out to get started with chickens this year - and you have dogs - make sure that you have a plan to keep our chickens safe.

Happy Monday everyone! Are you getting chicks this year? What does your dog think about that?



Saturday, February 28, 2015

The unintended consequences of Nicholas.

You'll remember that our big fatty fat cat, Nicholas has a lot of hard days. His life is of constant struggle and hardship. He suffers much as he struggles thru life. One day at a time, little buddy.

 Nicholas. About to do crimes - or help me make something in the kitchen.

His biggest problem right now is that he is still on a reduction plan. Our goal is to get him down to 19 pounds. You heard me. DOWN to 19 pounds. How big is he? Big. Real big. But slowly he's been inching down the ounces and I think we age getting close to his goal weight. The Good Vet told me that getting cats to lose weight is almost impossible. That's right, Doc, tell me something I can't do... it guarantees that I will do it.

Nicholas can stand on his back legs and pull everything off the counters. Thanks, Nicholas.

So we've been working hard. The next time we take Nicholas to the vet I'm positive those scales will say 19 pounds. I know this because Nicholas has spent the last several days up on the kitchen counters. He hasn't been up there in years. These were the days he could easily heft his big carcass up on the counters. But not since then. However this new found agility has become a problem.

Partners in crime. Little Mo is surprisingly gangsta.

This morning I heard odd noises. Then Kai started with her tattle tail bark... so I hurried out to see what was going on.

"What's going on!" I demanded.

Nothing but innocent looks.

Then I noticed one too many dogs in the dog area.

"NICHOLAS!" I shrieked in surprise.

Nicholas is not supposed to be in the dog area. He teases Kai and Zander and that could go bad. Up until now it hasn't been a worry because there was no way Fatty-Fat A-Lot could get up and over the gate.

What happens when dogs get canned food. This is too much pushing and shoving for cats.

Today was a changing day. I'm pretty sure Nicholas was in the big garbage can full of dog food. Due to starvation.

So while I'm pleased that our formerly fat cat, Nicholas, is slimming down fast..... this has resulted in a lot of unintended consequences.

This is not officially a Hard Day for Nicholas.... but if he keeps it up then it could be. Looks like I'm going to have to do some figuring to keep our Nicholas out of trouble.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pigs, pigs, pigs, pigs....and what to feed them.

You'll excuse me for doing a fast 'here's a buncha links' post for today but I'm having breakfast with Frank Underwood this morning. If I really apply myself I think I can watch all 13 hours today.


One of my most searched for phrases is "what to feed pigs." Or feeding pigs. This is my most popular pig post - it's our basic guidelines for how we feed out our pigs to butcher weight. We get the pigz in the spring, feed them all summer on a combination of bagged feed/corn, our farm products (goatmilk, eggs, and veg), and pasture. In the fall/early winter we butcher them ourselves. (You can find a lot of good how-to links here.)


We're all stuck in the house dreaming of our summer projects, right? OK so who is going to start with pig this year?  Is it hard? Nope. Can you do it? Yep! What do you need?

1. Really, really, really good fencing. This is the one thing that folks try and skimp on thinking they are smarter than pigz. Nope. The problem is that pigz are very very strong. Way stronger than you - so what you might think is secure is no big deal for them. Get extremely good fencing and then put hotwire on the inside - the strongest charger you can buy.

2. Somewhere to put them. Preferably far, far, far from your house and your neighbors. Run as much hose as you can away from the house. Then buy another hose and put the pigz are the end of it. You'll thank me for it when you don't have to smell those smelly pigz on a hot day.

3. Water. Make sure your hose runs all the way out there. Hauling water for pigz is the pits. It might sound like a good idea but in the summer you'll need a wallow for them to keep cool. They need a lot more water than you think. Then there is this foolishness. Yeah, I had to dump that out and refill it.

4. A feed plan. Sure, you can feed out pigz on bagged hog chow. Many real hog farmers wonder why we bother with our farm products 'n pasture approach. Bagged food will work just fine. You'll get a pig that you can butcher...... but it's just not our bag, baby. We could just buy pork if all we wanted was a commercially raised pig. But we like to stay away from the medicated foods and mostly soy grain diet. Plus, bagged hog chow can be expensive. We are cheap. So doing it our way works out.

5. A safety plan. Pigz can be big, mean, and dangerous. There is a point at which I do not get into the pen with them alone. My hardworking Dog Horde are trained to come with me into the pig yard if I have to go in there. This works for me really well. I also never go into the pig yard without something in my hand to defend myself. I never let them get between me and an exit. And like the ocean, I never turn my back on them. Farming is the most dangerous occupation - and some of that is because you are working with big, sometimes unpredictable animals. So have a plan and work that plan.

I should note that at this point there is always someone who gets all in a fit over my emphasis on having a safety plan. They will start going on and on about "all's you gotta do is snuggle them pigz and then..." Yeah. Well. That's great. If that works or you fine.  But that does not work for me. My husband can walk into the pig yard just fine - but even he has been tumbled over a time or two. Every real hog farmer I know has a story about "that one time." The worst thing that can happen here is if I get hurt. So we are cautious on purpose and if you are not then fine - but why would you try and advise me to be less cautious?

For the record, no I am not afraid of the pigz. Yes, I am "tough" enough. I wield my Dog Horde of big tough hard working occasionally hard to train dogs like a war hammer, I can reduce a grown man to tears, you do not want to get into a name calling contest with me... but to them pigz all I am in bait. So you can go on and snuggle them pigz all you like. I will not. And honestly - I just think I smell delicious and that's why them pigz want a piece of me. So do what works for you.

Remember that you can find a lot more links here - including our step by step butcher guide. Can you raise pigz and then butcher them yourself? Yes you can!

Happy Friday everyone! And now if you will excuse me.. Mr. Underwood will see me now.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Getting back to normal. A farm update.

After all the hubbub yesterday we are getting back to normal here. Well, normal for us. What a day!

Our entire egg harvest from yesterday. Thanks, ladies.

So our cold is continuing and even tho we are getting a little bit of a break this weekend... it looks like the arctic air will be back. The weather guys say this will be the pattern for the next couple of weeks. At least I'm getting stuff done in the house?

Unfortunately the sustained cold is starting to take it's toll. The goats don't know whether to shed their undercoats - or not. Debbie and Nibbles look like old sweaters gone bad. I don't really want to comb them out.... but they are just looking ratty and tired.

The good news is that all of the goats seem to be hearty and healthy. And pregnant. Except for Nibbles who was not bred on purpose. The jury is still out on Debbie - she may or may not be pregnant. If she isn't that is almost OK... she has had a couple tough pregnancies so if her time as a goat-producer is over then that is alright with us. Dahli and Daisy, tho, look terrific and are starting to get pudgy. Once again we are so glad we waited to breed them until late in the season. Milking is sub-zero weather is not fun for anyone. 

The ducks are doing OK. However, our Miss Duck seemed to have a wound on her foot yesterday. I could not catch her to see but I'll try again today. Everyone is is just bored and tired of being locked inside. They were all out yesterday ducking around and enjoying the sunshine. It was fun to see them in a group. They all had a lot to say.

The hens have stopped laying and we gave up on the layer mash. With these cold conditions and everyone mad and stuck inside - no one is going to lay anything... except that adorable little egg shown above.

The worst is that Tractor Supply will be getting/has already gotten their chicks! And it's just too cold to get any so my creepy meat empire will have to wait. We don't have a good winter set up right now so it looks like I'll have to buy another package of chicken from the store.

The geese - the geese continue their reign of terror. OD has gotten even more aggressive which makes me wonder if Cindi has a nest somewhere - or if she is about to start laying.

That's the update here. Thanks again, everyone, for your support in my ridiculous 'the facebook' situation. We'll see what happens next.

Very truly yours,
Brunhilda Goosenstein.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And now for something completely different...

*OFG walks out onto a darkened stage illuminated by a single spotlight. You can tell it's her because she's wearing work boots, a dirty shirt, and has a bad ponytail. Instead of a Life is Good hat, she has a duck on her head... and she is carrying a bowl of pudding. Little Mo hurries out to the stage and adjusts the microphone stand. OFG takes center stage.*

Yeah so, there I was yesterday... happy. I was about to tell everyone what a great time I had driving into town after being stuck under a Snow Emergency Level 1 and 2 all weekend. Just as I was trying to log into 'the facebook' I found out that my account was blocked.

*The crowd gasps*

I know. Can you believe it? 

*OFG takes the duck off her head and sets it down in a little box on the stage. The duck hen shuffles around happily to find a good spot in the nest. *

So I've been trying to figure out what to do and how to resurrect that account. It's touchy business. Apparently someone got a bee in their bonnet because I was using a "pen name" and not a real enough name. What's the big whoop? Honestly I do not know. But someone reported it and now I'm stuck.

I guess I posted just one too many pictures and videos of Lil Bub and that was just too much for someone with too much time on their hands. I might know who did it. If it was you then.... whatever. I've had way more important people be way more petty to me. This is my reaction to your feeble attempt to ruin my day. 

Maybe it was just some well meaning soul who had too much righteous indignation. Who knows.

Anyway.

I don't want to be "that guy"... but I think I need build a facebook business page. One of the categories that I can use is "blogger" and hopefully that will be good enough for everyone who's jot and tittles were in a twist.  You can find the new page here. It would be great if you "liked" it so I can get the conversation going again. I know you all want to know what kind of pudding I made.  *OFG holds up the bowl of pudding-y delight.*

The only thing is that it makes it kind of wonky for me to comment on friend's pages - so I'm trying to work that out.

That's the long and short of it. Let's go ahead and take some questions...

*Someone in the audience stands up* "OFG! Why... I mean.. what's this all about? Why does anyone care if you are using a pen name?"

Well, it's a sticky wicket. Mostly, tho, I think it's about money. You can read this lively and er... um... colorful... account of what happened when some performers used their stage names for their facebook ID's. 

But what that article doesn't really highlight is why some people may want to use a different name. Not because they are trying to pull something over on the rest of the users...but you can imagine that teachers or police officers - and their families -  could be at risk of certain people wanted to target them.  Or just regular people who may find themselves in harms way if ...for instance.... their stalker wanted to track them down. Who would begrudge these folks if they didn't want to use their full name?

I'm not sure why this is such a big concern for the few people that it might fall into these categories. I have an idea that 'the facebook' bigwigs would take an entirely different view of it if it was their daughter, son, brother, or sister was trying to be anonymous for a reason.

One option, of course, is just not to use it... and who knows, maybe I'll have to learn to tweet or something. I might end up with a smart phone and then I'd be all Instagraming and regramming and would be so over the facebook that they could take their rigid and stupid rules and screw right on off. Who knows? 

Next question - you there?

* A feisty redhead holding a chiweenie service dog stands up and take the mic....*
"Uh... so what is your story, OFG? Why are you using a pen name for 'the facebook'?"

Why wouldn't I? Remember that I set up this ID years ago - when I left that unnamed forum. Everyone knew me - and knows me - as OFG. Facebook went public after that - and so you can draw your own conclusions. Before they were trying to get users... now they are trying to make money from them.

Aside from my obsession with police K9's and Military Working Dogs - I only use the facebook as a way to chittychat with my friends from my blog. So... that's what it was. Would any of my friends know who I was if I showed up as Brunhilda Goosenstein? *shrugs*

And since you asked, I don't have contact with most of the people from my former life on purpose. Not all of my stories are hilarious - and the reason I'm not visible to everyone in my past is one of them.

But my big concern with all of this is that I might not be able to find all my pals. So I'll be trying to find a way to track everyone down. But mostly my friends are your friends... so if you could put the word out to check out this new page and "like" it then at least I could start finding everyone.

OK - last question? Please - there you go.

* A man who looks remarkably like Clark Kent stands up, he's wearing a press badge from Entertainment Landfill.* OFG, I think the big question we are all wondering is... why the duck?

Oh, her? It's just funnier to walk out on stage with a duck on your head.

So that's the story. I want to thank everyone who came looking for me. Really, from the bottom of my heart I appreciate it so much. And a special thank you to the folks who helped me get this worked out. I missed everyone very much. I'm hoping we can get this all worked out in the next day or two and just laugh about it later.

Onward and upwards, right?




Monday, February 23, 2015

Lather...rinse...repeat...

Another day, another record low "high" for the day (9* it already happened), windchills well below zero, everyone is stuck inside. We are supposed to be around 40* at this time of year not gripped in a Siberian cold snap. No one is happy.

*insert more complaining about cold here*

*complain about winter chores here*

*be glad only the turkey died and that it was NOT my fault here*

*include adorable picture of dogs playing in snow here*

*lamely suggest that we can make it just a little while longer here*

*resort to binging on 'the netflix' and pudding here*

The  Lather...rinse repeat.....

  Let's just think about summer.

*sigh*



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