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, July 27, 2016

Killing Cousin It... with fire.

When we first moved here we quickly learned that the previous owners had intentionally planted every single noxious, invasive plant known to man. I'm sure they thought they were just installing easy to grow plants. Nope. They were growing my own personal hell. And I'm allergic to all of it. Wormwood, wild ginger.. it's all horrible and everywhere.

My arch nemesis.

Sure they didn't intentionally grow the poison ivy and sumac that is everywhere... but they sure didn't do anything to stop it. Don't even get me started on the honeysuckle. Or the Virginia Creeper.

But the wisteria.... they did that on purpose.

We call it Cousin It because it's shaggy, misshapen and completely out of control. We were pretty sure it was about to pull the trellis over at one point. So something had to change. Cousin It had to go.

But to answer your question, the the goats wouldn't eat the damn thing...and I'm not particularly sure it would be good for them anyway. So that was not an option.

At first I just started trying to keep it trimmed. Later I started hacking away at it to cut it back to a reasonable size. Then it started fighting back. It got everywhere.

It's like the Terminator. It just keeps coming....

The vines sprouted up 30 feet away. Then they came up on the other side of the garage. That was the point where I was just about done. This winter I went out there and used the sawsall to cut the major branches and the base trunk hoping the freezing temperatures would help kill it. Then I started cutting back all the new sprouts. Mowing it down? You betcha. I had some success but it just kept coming. Then I decided to fight it mano y mano.... with fire. Me and Drogon went out there to do battle.

I'm not saying that it was wildly successful. But I am saying that I've finally put a dent in it.

The hard part is that the birds build nests in the upper branches. So I had to be careful not to have any roast chickens or whatnot. I concentrated all my fire power on the base of it. I think we may have success if I keep up with this this summer.

Operation Carthage is next.

It has to die at some point, right?  Because my next step is Operation Carthage and I will salt the ground around it until there is nothing but a barren wasteland......

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you fighting the good fight?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Our beloved Bobbi BarnCat...

This is her smiling. Our beloved Bobbi BarnCat... the grumpiest of them all....

Doesn't her smile warm your heart?

We have loved her for her entire life and this is how she looks at me. Resting Bob face we call it. Bobbi and Shine are our barncats and while Shine, King of Barncats, is the most loving, interactive, hard working, rat killing, bunny destroying barncat of them all.... we honestly don't know what Bobbi does all day. No clue.

I'd love to put a cat-cam on her to find out but we can't even handle her. If she needs vet care we have to trap her - which results in a lot of crying and not only by Bobbi.

 Our Shine, the light our of farm.

The other day she and Shine walked very deliberately up into the Upper Garden and convened a very important meeting. When I went up there to find out what they were doing.....they both sauntered away, dubious of my reasons to be there. Bobbi gave me the above loving look. And I was grateful that I even got that much from her.

Peep, giving serious attitude for ten years.

I should point out that Bobbi and Shine are from the same litter as our Peeper.  Peep knows how to throw massive shade... and who's tortitude is legendary. Mrs. FluffyPants, their mother, came back for Bobbi and Shine... but Peep was abandoned for sure. That is how we got our Peep. We saved her from certain death. Weeks later Shine and Bob came back as healthy, spunky kittens and became barncats.

Shine loves agribon.

The first time I saw Shine he hissed at me but then he warmed up to us and became our best buddy. Bobbi, tho, has no hoots for us at all. Of course she will come when my husband calls her but mostly she gives me mean looks.

Happy Sunday everyone! Do you have barncats? Are they worth their weight in gold? Do they give you mean looks?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The entirety of my peach harvest.

Here it is. The entirety of my peach harvest this year......


Yep. Just one lone peach. One. And the bugs got it. I had one more peach on that tree...but it fell off. So I lost half of my peach haul this year.

Remember back in the day when that poor little tree was breaking under the weight of a peach bonanza?

So what happened? Bad weather. We had that very very late frost which pretty much killed off the blossoms. Around here the only folks with peaches are the ones who lucked out... or who irrigated their orchards to hold off the frost.

It's pretty frustrating when things don't work out. But onward and upward!

The heat will start coming on today so I'm running out early to get some work done.

Happy Thursday everyone! Did you get one lone peach? A whole basket? Did you make peach pie?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I swear I'm not doing it on purpose....

I dunno, man, it just kind of happened..... it just....broke.

It's like some kind of curse.

In the meantime, we are prepping for some very hot weather - the warmest of the season. Thankfully we got a really good rain the other day - a real soaker. So I don't have to worry about the garden bursting into flames. I'll probably run the sprinklers for a while tho - just in case. And I'll be keeping an eye on the barnyard to make sure everyone lives thru this hot spell.

How do you keep your barnyard from flopping over dead in the heat? Here are a few tips to help you out. Basically give them shade, water, and every opportunity to make it thru these hottest days. Make sure everyone stays calm and try to keep everyone from running around.

All of our heat related losses have been from overheated meats. This is why we prefer to grow out meat chickens in the late fall/winter. For us it's just easier to keep them warm then to try and cool them off. We also prefer cool or cold weather butchering than trying to do it in summer.

I love summer so much.

Guess I won't be doing any tilling until my husband can fix they pull-starter-cord-thingy. But I have tons of other work to do...and I need to get out there early. I'll also be eagerly awaiting the delivery guy...more on that later.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you keeping cool? Are you waiting for the delivery guy? Don't you just love summer?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Now THIS is a ham slab!

This isn't even a ham steak... it's a ham SLAB!

Yes. It's that big. Bigger than a plate. Isn't it beautiful. It tastes like victory.

Why aren't I talking about pigz this summer? Not getting them. None. Nope. Nada. Totally pig free. How do I feel about not having pigz? Fantastic. 

Don't I even feel a little bad? Nope.

After this misadventure I don't need to see those porkers for a good long time. As long as the freezers hold out we are living high on the hog and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

So far it has been a terrific pig-free summer. If you want to try your hand at pigz, tho, please check out these fine posts and I'll tell you all about it.

Happy Thursday, everyone, who wants a slab of ham?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I love summer.... peppers!

I love summer. I love summer food. This week we got our first peppers The best way to fix them.... grill them!

Spice them up!

I spiced them up. For lots of reasons our favorite spice mixe right now is Penzey's Arizona Dreaming. It is just terrific. I love Penzey's so much. They have the freshest and most flavorful spices. Friends, stop what you are doing right now and clean out your spice cabinet.You should only have fresh spices. There is no prize for having spices older than the dog. Fresh spices. Get them every season and you will not regret it.

Then grilled them up. The little bit of char makes them good.

And made tacos....

I absolutely love summer food. Now if the tomatoes can just start coming on I can make the salsa to go with this. 

Today will be another summer scorcher so I'm heading back out. The dogs have been getting me up about 5am so I'm focusing most of my work in the early part of the day. I'm actually hoping for some storms this afternoon - we could use the rain.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you grilling your peppers?

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Great Shed is upon us....

Zander and Kai are both blowing their coats at the same time......

....it's a LOT of dog hair. 

Sooooo.... sooo much dog hair.  I could probably make a new dog with this.

It comes out in big Bub chunks. 

Kai does a funny wiggle when I'm brushing her out. The rake makes a lot of noise but it doesn't hurt her. Ti is the one panting and he's just mad that Kai is getting all of the attention.

Pretty much the entire world is covered in dog hair right now. I use one of these to get their coats brushed out. I think they look funny with out their under coats. I've been giving Kai funny brush outs... it's kind of like having a topiary.

Of course I'm gathering up all the fur to take out along the property line. We need to defeat the evil Bunny Empire. 

Happy Monday everyone! Are your dogs feeling the heat? Are they losing their fur in big hunks?

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