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, May 22, 2015

Gotcha! Fooled You!...and 37*.

Yesterday we drove up to the very fancy and exciting Wilson's Garden Center for some hard-to-find peppers. We have only been able to find "Fooled You" jalapenos at Wilson's. I haven't even really been able to find the seeds anywhere.

Fooled you!

Fooled You is a mild jalapeno - they are terrific for jalapeno poppers or anything else. All the taste of the spicy peppers but without the heat. We just love them.

We were excited that, not only could we use our discounts dollars from our last trip, but Wilsons was also giving away a free sweet/bell pepper with any purchase! It's a new variety and they want to see how folks like it. I do not know how long that free give away is going on but we were thrilled for the freebies. 

We also took a tip from some friends and stopped at a mom-n-pop ice cream place. It was a terrific day.

I also need to note that it was 37* this morning. Seriously. I love the cool weather but nothing is going to grow if we don't get some heat. In the meantime, our meat chicks are completely out of control and we need to contain them.

Happy Friday everyone! Do you have a favorite pepper? How far would you drive to get it? We were in the car for a while yesterday.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kai MoleKiller. Or... the importance of "Show me."

We had an epic dig day yesterday. Zander and Kai dug an impressive hole. Then Kai found and killed two moles - two! Those big nasty ones with the weird feet. We sang songs of her battle glory last nite.

The dig team.

One of the best things we started doing with our best hunter was to teach Kai the command, "Show Me." This means... "I know that you've been up to something so take me to what you've done." Muddy faces, a little blood on her fur or mouth, death screams of victims, or a particularly funny look warrant the command "Show Me" ..... and running. 

In our case we especially need this command because Kai and Zander hunt silently. Not one bark. It's the way of the BearSlayers - they are the silent hunters. Which is a problem because I'll turn around and they have disappeared like shadows into the woods. Not entirely a problem tho because I'll ask Ti, "Where is your sister?" Or "Where is the puppy?" He always rats them out.

It was an impressive hole. Maybe a ground hog?

Kai knows to come and get me... or bring me her kills. We've reinforced this by excitedly hopping around, clapping our hands, and then immediately running to the house for a treat followed by all kinds of praises.

She also knows she will not get this response if her kill is a chicken. Or a duck. Just varmints.

The other dogs know this too (mostly) but with Ti I am usually more conversational and say, "where is it?" Lucky is not a natural born killah and Zander and Kai always hunt as a team. So we've really worked on teaching this to Kai.

Of course, after I filled in the hole they started digging it out again. Could be bears down there.

Why do we need this command? Mostly to make sure there are not dead varmints out there in the yard... and also because we need to know what is coming out of the woods. And we really don't want the dogs to eat stuff like that due to possible disease and probably worms and parasites. Luckily Zander and Kai are "soft mouthed" so they mostly just kill it by shaking then spit it out. After they've mouthed on it a while. Ew.

My Fighting Urk-Hai, Princess BearKiller.  aka "Wiggles MoleKiller"

Kai found her moles in different parts of the yard so I'm not sure if she was just particularly on point or if the Mole Nation are on the march. But either way she got 'em.. she got 'em real good.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you have a big hole in your garden? Does your dog bring you their kills or take you to the slain bodies of the enemy?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My broccoli is already going to flower!

Drat. The super hot days we had last week are really ruining my broccoli bed.


Last year I had terrific broccoli and really enjoyed the full harvest. Now I'm kind of stuck with small heads that are already separating and going to flower. I cut the first of the broccoli last nite - no one was happier than I was to have real food from our garden on the menu. But the broccoli disappointment is looming.

Planting continues.  I'm glad I held off for longer than I'd hoped because of the few very cold nights we had recently. This week will be cool and much more spring-like.. instead of the super hot and humid weather we've been having. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad for summer... I just have a lot of hard work do to before it gets here.

Happy Tuesday everyone - is your broccoli hanging in there? Or has it gone to flower?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Taters are up!

Need to quickly get this in my notes.... the potatoes are up!

They are up! Strawed in deeply and covered with a hoop to keep the chickens out.

These are from my mid-April planting. They have a while to go but no one is more excited than I am about seeing these tater sprouts.

We had a little rain last nite but we need a lot more if these taters are going to grow. Hopefully later today...

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Almost Frost - crisis averted.

Last nite we had frost warnings. Seriously. Isn't this whole winter thing over? It was 90* just a few days ago!

No frost in this field... thank heaven!

We rushed thru chores so we could get everything in the garden and waiting to be planted safely covered up. I had a lot of seedlings out there in trays. But we got them all under cover just in case.

This morning it was only 37* and then rapidly rose to 40* as the sun was coming up.... so the near-frost-crisis was averted.

But it made for an annoyingly sleepless night. Especially since the dogs were really barky and woofy. At one point we all ran outside to see what was going on.... skunk. Skunk as far as the nose could smell.

Someone got it last nite and thank heavens it was not one of our dogs. But now we need to be on high alert for skulky skunks sneaking around. Skunks are one reason when we don't "get the dog." Skunks are predators tho, so don't let them get a foothold in your property.

If you are one of the poor saps who's dog got skunked, don't reach for the tomatoes but rather use the Dawn dishwashing plus peroxide mix. It really really works.

For now the air has cleared and no frost settled on our tender plants.

Happy Thursday everyone! Did you dog get skunked? Did the frost get any of your plants?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's like herding little bugs....

You'll remember that I said that Batch 2 and Batch 3 of the creepy meats were not big enough to be outside yet... but that it has been so warm that we couldn't have them in the brooder. So we let them loose in the garage.

Get back into the garage you cheeky chick!

But alas, since everything put under your hand will rebel against you..... this happened.

It's like herding bugs.

This gang of chicks is pretty far ranging. Apparently they have places to go and things to do. There is no stopping them. They have gotten over or under every barrier that we've put up. There is no stopping them.

Just before our storms the other nite I ran out to shove as much of the barnyard as possible into shelter. Our priority is whoever is most vulnerable and most valuable. And if you run the other way then we just wish you luck.... and we run back into the house.

Dog#1 helped me with the goats and chickens. Pretty much I just need to bring him into the hen and goat yard and the troops start running as fast as they can into the hen house. The goats also run. Fast. So not only is My Most Excellent Good Sir well trained - so are the chicken hordes. I was able to gather everyone up within just a few minutes.

I need to get these little chickens under control but now that they've had a taste of freedom - anything could happen.

Happy Wednesday everyone. Are you herding bugs?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Summer Storm Prep List

We were some of the poor saps who were sitting around in the dark last nite. We had extremely fast moving storms come thru. While we were glad that the storms did not drop any tornadoes.... the sirens were going off for some folks. Now we are in the clear and it's a great time to review your summer storm preps.

Pear blossoms.

What are storm preps? They are the actions you take to prepare your home and barnyard for damaging winds, downed trees, or being without power. A few simple precautions will make a world of difference if the worst should happen.

To be sure there are a LOT of people who pooh-pooh the importance of storm preps. Those are the folks who stand there complaining about how bad it is and say that they "had no warning." Don't be those people. Sure no one wants to be called Chicken Little... but we operate from a "better safe than sorry" perspective. And frankly... out here you may be the last folks to get your power turned back on. It's not like living on the city grid where an hour in the dark makes everyone crabby. You might have to settle in for the long haul.

The derecho of 2012 was a significant event - some of the folks in the town nearest to us were without power for days and some folks were in the dark for more than a week. So don't think that everyone running around yelling "do your storm preps" is faking it or over reacting - some of us have just been thru it before.

Take an afternoon and get your ducks in a row. If you have livestock you just cant leave, drive into town, and shack up at the Holiday Inn. In the worst situation... like with Hurricane Sandy... there was no where to go for hundreds of miles. And you never know when you might actually have to "shelter in place."

More than anything this video shows the importance of having your storm preps done and keeping a weather eye to the sky. Watch the ticker to show how quickly their world changed. That dad and his kids were going to walk out of that house with nothing but the clothes on their back. Could you do it? And please, for the love of Pete, make sure you put good shoes on if weather is coming in. Shoes on your feet, keys in your pocket, and phone in your hand. That should be your mantra.

The longest we've been without power was four days...we were fine because we had our storm preps done. Now we have a good generator so we probably wouldn't even care if that happened again. Our biggest concern would be to keep the freezers frozen and make sure we could get water to the barnyard.

Inexperienced folks might pooh-pooh your storm preps but no one in the know will. So take an afternoon and make a plan, get your preps in place, and keep your weather eye to the sky.

Let's review some basics:

Once we have all our systems squared away our biggest problem is just being annoyed. My husband likes to be power-less sometimes and gets all "isn't this great?" I don't think so. After about an hour I start muttering how I need my NetFlix and start grumping about everything. But we work it out.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Were you in the dark? Did you do your storm preps?

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