Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Pics...


Trivia: Who Sang...

"Don't Speak Chinese in Argentina
The truth is they won't understand you..."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Goats Gone, Changes...

So, we actually sold the goats. We didn't get quite what I wanted, but it has been worth the drop in stress levels for me-- and the drop in noise levels. I think I had been figuring that they were just two more animals so 2/14 of the work. Little did I realize, until they were gone, that they were about 90% of the work and stress.

Keith immediately set to work making the chicken pen (which is large) secure. We moved a kiddie-pool in there and threw in some hay that we have left over from the goats. All of the birds are in there now, which means that we have reclaimed our backyard! We've already had a BBQ out there, even eating out there, which was not possible with the goats here.

We've also started putting in some major improvements in the yard-- we found someone who had 400 sq ft of leftover turf from their backyard and were able to purchase it for $50. We also took advantage of some Memorial Day sales and got two rose bushes and a jasmine plant ($29 total!). Then, the other night, we went back and got some flowers for a flower plot. All that, on top of how green the garden is getting, means that the backyard looks amazing! It also means that Keith is exhausted!

I had an appointment yesterday to check on Kasen. I've been having regular contractions and have been really exhausted lately. My blood pressure was at 108/60, hence the exhausted feelings, and apparently my uterus is REALLY toned right now. My midwife was saying that this should be a much quicker labor and the real trick will be keeping him in there. He's very strong. He's also really big and his head is really low. My mantra is 'stay till August'. This has been a really strange pregnancy all around, so we'll see what happens. We have another ultrasound scheduled for the 4th of June, so I should have some pics to share (hopefully!).

I also had to do my glucose test yesterday. Ick! I sent Keith and the boys to the library so they wouldn't have to be bored during the LONG wait. It worked out fine, and I had reserves, so I now actually have stuff to read.

Meanwhile, our fridge is too full of eggs-- like 50! We need to use them up-- I keep thinking custard, ice cream, bread pudding... all that good stuff :) I just need to find my trusty ice cream maker and get into gear!

We were driving home the other night, after the goats were gone, and I mentioned that it was really nice not to be stressed over expecting to see little goats racing down the road in front of us. Keith was shocked! He had no idea how many horror situations I imagined with the goats. Considering all the tragedies and travesties of the horse business, I find it hard not to expect the worst at all times.

And... the boys can run in the grass. I can stop and literally smell the roses, and the loudest thing in my backyard is angry chicken scolding the goose.

Ahhhhhh.... peace!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baby Blues?

Last night my SIL called and told Hubby that we needed to go out for dinner-- and we did. It was nice to get out of stale atmosphere and to have some down-time. What was frustrating is that I still couldn't snap out of it. I'm NOT by nature a negative person. I just feel... tired? I don't know if that's even the word for it!

I HAVE been wondering if the fact that I've had a bad day every day for almost two weeks might have something to do with my pregnancy. I have trouble catching my breath a lot and I've had dizzy spells where I've almost fainted. When it's hot I get swollen and puffed-up and I get a lot of contractions, every time Kasen moves. (Norm for me-- extremely 'irritable uterus') If I get stressed out I'll also have contractions, and when I get a contraction I can't breathe...

All of this, of course, is just typical of me being pregnant.

I haven't been eating well, because nothing ever sounds good to me, and then, when I do eat, I have no appetite and take a couple bites before I'm done.

I'm guessing it's 50% pregnancy and 50% summer. My body hates summer and heat.

And I DO need some resolution as far as the goats are concerned-- either they need to go or we need to find a way to fence them without Star ending up on a 10 foot tall cinder block wall (yes, happened!)

If they stay we also need a solution for the fact that they seem to think they need to 'tell' me everything all day. MAA MAA MAA MAA MAAAAAAAAddening!

The only reason why I'm hyper-analyzing this is that I really need to FIX it. I cannot face three more months of feeling like this and I cannot bear telling my kids one more day that mom just doesn't feel up to anything.

Of course, this is precisely why this is our last baby.

I guess I never should have gotten the goats, but even that thought makes me really sad. I do enjoy them, when they're behaving, and their behavioral issues are all my making. They just need to learn to be goats... not people. I have really been looking forward to having milk from them and I hate closing that door... ARGH!

It all comes down to that stupid JOB! We need a job! We need some CLUE whether we're going on to get a PH.D or if we're going the job way!!!!

Maybe THAT is the base of all of this. I'm pregnant and standing on the edge of the unknown and it's knocked me for a loop!

One more hour and half before Keith gets home. Sigh.


Please, SOMEONE tell me what the significance of LeLand, Idaho is!

I had a dream this morning involving it and woke not being able to stop chanting it over and over again. I looked it up and it's close to Spokane, WA. And I can't figure out why I would have a dream and such a STRONG feeling to look up a place I didn't even know existed!

It's just bizarre-- my brain is still in a hubbub, trying to figure out why it's so important.


Thursday, May 21, 2009



I'm restless by nature, always trying to move on to better things and improving myself. Every night I lie in bed and try to think how I can improve. Many things don't come to fruition (like laundry and that dreaded kitchen sink), and many of them-- so many! are not practical for now, so I let them slide... in a way.

I never stop researching and learning. I spend a ridiculous amount of time online trying to learn everything I can, so that, when the time comes, I'll actually know how to do what I want to do.

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading about preserving the food that we grow. Not that my garden is very successful, but so that I CAN preserve food for the future. I've also learned how to build and design a smokehouse and how to make homemade sausages. I've learned the complications and diseases that affect goats, calves, fowl, sheep, and pigs. I've learned about what kind of nutrition different animals need, and even, to an extent, how to butcher and use them to the maximum.

It doesn't really help with the restlessness, but I feel a drive to know how to do all of this stuff.

Other research turns to rammed earth and straw-bale housing, solar panels, wells, and self-sufficiency.

I read about making cheese and the complications of making butter from goats' milk. About fencing, and predators, and neighbors and how to stock a stream...

I want my boys to be comfortable with animals and understand where our food comes from, so they'll appreciate it and the world and nature more. I worry about public education for them and learning futility from teachers who just don't care anymore.

I don't want a big farm. I want it to be small enough that I can do the chores myself. I want to never lose the thrill of watching Kev catch chickens and show me his triumphs. I want to know every animal, every plant, every part of my life, intimately.

I wish there were more rainy days, like today, when I think more clearly and don't feel so overwhelmed...

It's hard to address my dreams without running into a brick wall-- I HAVE to take into consideration my husband and what he wants and needs to do for him. Though I would love to go someplace cooler and green, he thrives in the heat and the desert. I can't be selfish.

And there little to do with romanticism with my dream. I feel this overwhelming NEED to know I can provide for my family without outside help, or with as little as possible. I need to know that we'll be OK in times of hardship in the world.

I also personally know the health needs of myself and my family, and they are not being met by the mass-marketing world.

If I ever went back to school I would go to learn how to better fulfill this dream. There's so much I don't know about how to raise animals and how to grow things.

Sometimes I think about how it would be easier to not have goats in the backyard. To not have to worry about my duck asking for breakfast at five in the morning...

But what would I do with myself? This stifled, burning, energy that's inside of me?

Where would I get that satisfied feeling I get when I sit outside and watch the animals run around and graze... the chickens scratching, the goose floating in the kiddie pool, the goats begging for a scratch on the head... the garden slowly leafing up and the first bite of something WE grew.

I'm not drawn to other things like I am to this. This to me, is CORE, is REAL.

It's so complicated, and there are so many reasons it keeps getting put on the back of the shelf. I live in possibly THE worst place to attempt any of this. It feels like, though I don't want to, we need to wait until Hubby has a job and is settled in to try any of this...

... and then I get scared, because everything I try ALWAYS ends up in disaster. I've been dashed up against rocks so many times that I'm almost scared to swim.

And every day that ISN'T purpose-driven drags so slowly, and part of me dies and I stand in a messy house and feel like it's a weight on top of me because I hate it so much.

I just need a little "piece of earth" to find my "Peace on Earth".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last grade in for Hubby...

He got another 4.0 this semester! He graduated with a 3.923 cumulative GPA!


Ode to Angry Chicken

Oh, angry chicken!
I empathize
with wild maternity
raging in your eyes
hormones are such a dreadful thing!

Oh, angry chicken!
You shriek and shout
and boss everyone about
And site your eggs as the cause
I can so relate!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And Now...


In the garden...

I just planted, with the boys, some zucchini, replacement sweet corn for what got destroyed, some butternut squash, pumpkins, watermelon, and cantaloupe...

Hopefully the squirrel and/or the goats will not destroy everything as soon as it gets up. I still have spots waiting for cucumbers (pickles!) and lettuce.

Honestly, I'd love to double the garden in size in hopes I could can homemade homegrown spaghetti sauce, pickles, and jam. I would also love to put in onions and potatoes of various kinds. I put up hanging bags of strawberries when we planted the carrots last week, so hopefully we'll get some berries out of it.

I am looking for my camera. It's maddening not to be able to get pics of all of this. The animals have changed so much in the last few weeks!

Knock Knock...

Hey, look, it's Kev on the back porch, holding a chicken!

Wait a sec... is that?

"Look, Mommy! It's Grace! She likes me now!"

It IS Grace! Our super-timid little white and cream pullet!

And she looks HAPPY!

Kev has the magic touch, seriously!

Angry Chicken

I have a hen who has been broody for a while-- Mrs. Angry Chicken-- she's sitting on muscovy eggs. 

She came out this morning to eat, drink, etc, leaving my barred rock as a baby-sitter and my 8-ish week old goose, Toot, FREAKED OUT! 

Toot chased my poor broodie around the backyard, pulling on her tail feathers and yelling at her. I guess she doesn't remember who the broodie is and strangers must be terminated!

And, honestly, I didn't feel too bad. My broody hen has been SO MEAN since she decided to set, she so deserved this. She's fine, under the watchful gaze of my one goose, and a little subdued...

And Toot was so proud of herself that she walked around the yard with her pathetic little not grown in yet wings open!

Monday, May 18, 2009






What is your worst fear?

I'm not talking about the 'I really hate getting up to speak in front of people' or the 'I hate snakes' or even the 'I can't even THINK about if my husband/wife died'...

I'm talking about the thing that even the thought of makes you hysterical and shaking and physically ill.

For me it's driving. I'm not being dramatic. When faced with going one block to the library or one straight line to the post office I go through hours of obsessively picturing everything that can and could go wrong, all the routes that I may have to take, and lane changes, turns, thoughts about where cars would be, everything. Even planned, driving is a terrifying experience for me.

So, for my MIL to call me causually and request in a way that I can't say 'no' to that I follow her in her van across town to a place I don't know how to get to so I can pick her up is more than I can take right now. I am literally on my knees begging to not have to do this. I called my husband and he just doesn't understand he told me 'you'll get over it' and 'you'll be fine.' But I'm NOT.

Why is this so hard for people to understand? This isn't 'I don't like driving'. This is mortal terror. You might as well ask me to shoot myself, because it feels like the same thing. And the fact that I have to take my kids with me!!!!

This isn't something I can just "shake off" like everyone has ALWAYS told me. I'm sorry, but to me a car is a death trap, and asking me to drive one is asking me to take my life in my hands and trust strangers to care enough to keep me alive-- it's not going to happen. I live in severe isolation because of this, don't you think if it was just 'not liking to drive' that I would somehow work through it to get past the loneliness and boredom?

It's so easy for people to quip 'just do it, you'll be fine'.

But it's not true. It's not a guarantee they can make and I'm NOT OK.

It Happened!

My dearest darlingest husband graduated!

He only has two grades in so far for this semester, but so far he has a 4.0 for the semester. One more A and it will mean he has had ONE B in grad school, and has graduated with a 3.9 something. I'm very amazed by him and all his hard work. He managed all of this while working, doing scouts, dealing with moves and drama and health issues... and it's just incredible to me! (People really get 4.0's!!!!!!)

It was so great to finally be able to applaud and shout for him and his accomplishments, and he looked SO HANDSOME in his cap and gown and hood.

I just wish everyone could have been there. It was the greatest to see him finally acknowledged!

He graduated Pi Alpha Alpha (honors), so that's quite an achievement, too!

Now he's on the job search. It's crazy to realize that he's out of school and suddenly has time to do things other than homework. The boys are excited and *I* am just eager to see what the next few years have in store for us!

The chickens even decided to give Keith a graduation present-- my little pullets started laying adorable little pink eggs! (Three weeks earlier than we ever expected!)

Messing About in Boats

My S-FIL bought a boat for about $20 at a yard sale. It's one of those rubber inflatable kinds, but pretty nice all around. The boys have been waiting for ages to be able to go out in it. They got some life jackets and we all went to the 'lake'.

The nearest 'lake' is really just a pond, and the water is pretty gross. I remember, when I was younger, you would find dead catfish all around the shoreline. Usually there are a ton of ducks etc, but there were about three that we saw the whole time we were there.

S-FIL went out first with the boys. They waved at us and went around the whole lake and threw chicken feed to the few ducks that were there and had a blast.

Then Keith suggested that we take a spin ourselves. I hesitated, but he seemed to really want to, so I decided to go for it.

He is SO GOOD at so many things, but he is NOT GOOD IN BOATS!

We ended up drifting across the lake and hitting the shore about fifty times. Finally, I took over, and told him exactly what to do. Once he started listening and not just trying to muscle his way through it, we actually made progress. Eventually we made it back to the dock.

It was fun and hilarious, and it's actually nice that for once he was incompetent and I was the one that saved the day.

Thanks to my parents for all the time in canoes when I was younger! It paid off!

But don't go in a boat with my husband unless YOU know how to steer :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Leftover Cake Pudding

The boys made me a cake for my birthday and it got stale on the counter... so this morning we made cake-pudding-- just a basic sweet bread pudding with the stale cake in it instead of bread. Boy is it yummy! It's a happy cross of really moist cake or a really cake-y custard. LOL!

We just broke up the stale cake, threw in a bunch of our home-made eggs, sugar, cinnamon, a tiny bit of vanilla, some milk (all by sight) and cooked it in the oven until it looked pretty firm. The boys are devouring it, along with the carrots we harvested this afternoon.

Home-raised/made food is the greatest!

One Harvest: Carrots

Kev and I just went out and harvested our carrots. I'm guessing there's about 50-100-- not HUGE, but at the stage when they're tender and delicious. The animals got those beautiful greens, and then Kev and I went back out and replanted the carrot patch completely, so we'll hopefully have more carrots later in the season.

Thankfully the squirrel doesn't seem interested in carrots at all. Right now it's eating through our mature green bean plants. GRRRR! Getting a live trap is definitely on the agenda!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Lest you believe that I've been struck by an unhealthy dose of reality... :)

1) If the goats don't go for the amount we're asking, we're not selling

2) The water birds are probably destined for the freezer, but that would be in mid-July at the earliest (they're only 6 weeks old!)

3) Hubby is currently looking for a new job. Right now that's the priority. Then we'll know where we will be living and our income, etc. Right now we're in limbo. Until that step, we can't move on to the next step, which would be...

4) ... Finding a homestead to live on. There are two parcels out near where Hubby used to go to Elementary school that look really promising. One of them even has an incredible 10 stall barn etc. They each have their own wells and their conjoining, so possibly Hubby's family could live next door, or we could split the larger parcel (20 acres!)

So, as for right NOW-- Hubby is looking for a job (he calls it his new 'homework'), and I have an ad up for the goats, which has not had so much as a bite thus far. 

And, more immediately, Jade is getting spayed on Saturday so she can STOP DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

no explanation needed...

My practical side has been warring with my "dream" for a long time...

I want to homestead more than anything. In the beginning my hubby was only supportive of ME, not the idea. Now he's full on board and is as excited to do it as I am-- talking about getting a steer to raise etc. etc.

My husband is graduating with his Masters on Saturday and is already in the process of trying to find a better job. Currently we live on .2 acres-- seriously 0.20 acres... counting what the house is on. We have two goats, eight hens, three ducks, and a goose...

But it means that every single sound any animal makes is in the neighbors' business. That, when the goats start crying at five in the morning for no reason that we have to jump up, afraid that they're going to rouse the whole neighborhood.

So hubby and I have been discussing getting back down to just chickens until he gets a new job (he's in public administration, so not quite as hard as finding other jobs these days) and the right house on land for us to do this right. This means selling my bottle babies and probably eating me waterfowl... which is all tough decisions, but I feel like, until we have all the pieces together, it's really necessary.

I don't know if we'll ever luck out to get the quality of goats we got with our little girls-- they're lovely, but I'm putting them up for sale today and we'll see what happens... hubby did insist that we not go lower than a certain point...

And we WILL do the homestead... when we're in a better place...


Miniature milking goats are a great asset to any backyard homestead. Here is the complete package you need, or you can split it up! 1 miniature Saanen DOE, 12 weeks, disbudded, bottle-raised, friendly. Precocious udder. From great dairy lines. Ready to breed in October. Will go into heat cycles all year around for great stagger-milking. UTD on everything. From CAE etc. clean herd. 1 miniature LaMAncha DOE, 9 weeks, disbudded, bottle-raised, friendly. Precocious udder. From amazing dairy goat lines. Ready to breed in November. Should go into heat all year round. UTD on everything. From CAE etc. clean dairy herd. 1 NEW solid wood milking stand. May need new paint (my sons painted it... brightly!) Goats are already trained to go to the stand for grooming and treats. 1 complete starter milking kit with filters and seamless stainless steel pan, etc. 1/2 bag loose goat minerals, 2 types goat electrolytes, 2 large vials CD&T back up vaccine for emergencies. 1 grooming kit (standard horse-type) Complete holistic worming kit for both goats (preventative and effective!) As a package-- $650 OBO Does must go together $400 OBO for the pair. Serious inquiries only, please! Pictures on request.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My bad day turned around...

... because I just found out that my sister, who is due around the same time as me, is also having a BOY!!!!



Monday, May 11, 2009

Angry Chicken

 Dasher, the Buff Orpington, has a new name-- "Angry Chicken."

She has gone broody (wants to set eggs) and her personality has changed, as has her appearence-- everything is different!

What was once the most passive, quiet, beautiful, serene hen is now a dinosaur who, on the rare occassions she emerges from the depths of the coop, screams at everyone, attacks everything, and returns to her eggs.

What a shock she'll have when she realizes that I replaced her eggs with muscovy duck eggs :). Can you picture it? She'll introduce them to the outdoors and have a *fit* when they start swimming away from her.

That is, if any hatch.

It has been an interesting example of animal behavior and chickens are certainly more intelligent than they are given credit for, because she has three times rejected bad eggs. And, by rejected, I mean she rolls them across the coop, down the ramp, and away from her. At least one of those was most definitely rotten. Smart mama hen!

Her being broody means we are currently down to three eggs a day (she's not laying) and that we have to move her away from her nest once a day with a stick to retrieve the eggs the other hens are laying, as they are giving their eggs to her to hatch.

At times like that she resembles most a velociraptor...

...sound effects and all!

Friday, May 8, 2009


... is making pancake animals for breakfast...

Ponies, ducks, dinosaurs, bunnies....

... and so fun to eat!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The garden...

Despite the horribly obese (thanks to us) squirrel who has been devestating the garden daily, we have our first harvest! Green beans galore and a few early carrots that we couldn't resist pulling up-- we are a BIG carrot family.

I'm getting in some new seeds sometime this week, so I really need to do something about the squirrel. The only plants we get to keep are the ones it doesn't want to eat-- so, bean plants, leeks, tomatos... and that's pretty much it, which is horrible when you think of all the lovely things I planted earlier this spring.

The goats are down to two feedings a day and are NOT happy about that. On top of that, I dared to give them baths today, so they are in shock-- how DARE I hold them still and wash them, then hose them off! HMMPH! MMMMAAA!

Our lonely goose (we think/hope she's a girl) has probably quadrupled in size  in the past few weeks. One of our ducks is definately a girl, as she has started quacking. They are all so cute and entertaining to watch.

We have a very ANGRY chicken, who is actually just a normal chicken who is sitting on a bunch of muscovy eggs for me. She occasionally comes out of the coop, yells at everyone, and goes back. I understand the feeling... If even two of those eggs hatch it will be worth it...

The backyard looks a million times better than the house these days-- we put our energy and time into everything back there, and spend most of our time there. The house suffers, but sometimes it's nice to go out and play with the animals and pretend there aren't dishes in the sink...

The only downside of having this many animals is that I'm literally washing my hands OFF-- no matter what I do I can't get them moisturized well enough for long enough to make a difference. Oh well!

Kasen is doing great-- he moves constantly, and wears me out already-- bad sign, isn't it?

I have to confess that I've been daydreaming about more property, whether here or elsewhere. We just moved here and we LOVE it-- but we are limited by space-- there's been talk about a Jersey cow, a couple sheep, an annual pig and annual steer... I'd love to be able to someday get the boys an older Quarter Horse to learn to ride on... But it's all dreams for now. Keith needs a job first, then we can worry about what happens next and where to live-- or whether we should stay put in house we love, that just needs about four more acres.... :)

I'm doing a lot of reading about preserving and pickling. I AM going to make pickles this summer, even if my MIL won't help me.

Star is maturing quickly (all that extra milk!) So we may breed her as early as August... which would mean milk as early as January... yummy... I can't wait to have cereal! I'm going to pre-sell her bottle babies-- and Clover's later in the season-- they should make GREAT miniature milkers-- any takers? :)

If our goose is a girl, we'll probably keep her. If not, Toot will end up being dinner sometime. We all love her, but a lone goose can... hurt... ducks.... yeah, not good. Of course, if our duck ratio leans towards too many males, we'll be sending one of them to freezer camp too. I sincerely hope not... (for the record, we're thinking duck eggs...)


Please tell my goat to stop goosing the goose!