Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Milkshake's Morning Routine

Milkshake (the small calico cat in the bottom right of the photo) LOVES milk! She loves it so much that when she was just a tiny kitten, she would climb up the leg of my overalls when I would milk, and sit on my knee, hoping for a taste of the yummy milk.  It was quite cute. 
As she's gotten older, though, she's gotten much more pushy about getting her morning milk.  She jumps up on the milk stand, trying to get a taste as the milk streams from teat to pail.  The goats are not exactly thrilled about having a kitty hanging around their feet during this whole process. 

So, Milkshake now spends milking time in the pet carrier that is right at the foot of the milking stand for this very purpose.

As soon as milking is complete, she's let out to run over to her bowl where she finally gets a taste of that much-sought-after milk!

You know, I've read lots of "homesteading" memoirs over the past couple of years.  It's become one of my favorite little subgenres -- the true tales of folks who've traded in their city lives for the older ways of living on the land.  In several of the books I've read, the authors have lamented, saying that many who visit their farms imagine that living there is idyllic in some way, full of days filled with sunshine and sweet tea and frolicking in the fields with baby lambs.  I'll be the first to admit that there are dark days on the farm.  Drought, disease, and death all come to mind.  But, there's something I love about seeing Milkshake happily lapping up that fresh milk in the milking shed.  I never tire of it, or grow immune to it.  It makes me smile every time I see her head plunge into the bowl.   Idyllic?  Absolutely.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chicks Move Outside!

Our baby chicks are no longer babies.  They've transitioned fully into that awkward "tween" phase that in humans translates into knobby knees and new front teeth. While this may mean they're not currently at their cutest, it does mean that they're old enough to enjoy some sunshine! 
They've just about outgrown their little tub in the garage.

So, as it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today, they're ready for the big move out to the fresh air and green grass of the backyard.

All moved in!

Here they are, just chirpin' awa,y as they explore their new grassy digs!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Growing Chicks

This is what our spring chicks looked like last week.

And, this is what they look like this week.  They're getting their big-boy feathers (no, that's not the technical term)!  Starting with their wing-tips and tails, they're trading in their yellow fuzz for actual feathers.

It's hard to see in the pics, but they've gotten quite a bit bigger in just a week.  For some scale, here I am holding one.

As it has been cold the past couple of days, they seem pretty thankful for their heat lamp and spend a lot of time huddled directly beneath it. 

Once temps outside regulate a bit and they have a few more feathers, they'll be ready for some outside time.  I look forward to watching them explore the grass for the first time.  Hopefully we're only a week or two away from their big move to the great outdoors.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Choosing Your Location. Choosing Your Life.

Yesterday, as I tested a mango at the grocery store for ripeness by giving it a firm squeeze, the woman standing next to me remarked, "those don't even look like mangoes to me.  You should've seen the ones I had growing on the tree in my backyard in Hawaii."  We then had a brief conversation about our shared loved of mango before I went on my way.  As my day went on, I kept thinking about the woman I'd met in the produce section.  Mango in your backyard?  I was envious, for sure.  But, I wondered, more than anything, what brought her to live in Smallville, Arkansas?  Is she happy here in her mango-less backyard?

I read an article the other day that said that more and more people are actively choosing where they live.  It makes sense.  Modern transportation makes it easy to get pretty much anywhere and technology makes it possible to communicate across vast distances easily and even work from home from virtually any location.  Gone are the days when "home" was necessarily within a buggy's ride of one's birthplace.  The world is now open to us.

I would wager, though, that most of the folks I encounter in a day were born here or around here or are married to someone who was born here or around here.  That may be how you got here.  But, why do you stay

Let's use faith as an analogy.  Sure, you may have originally chosen your faith because it's the church your parents dragged you to as a child, but at some point that faith had to become yours and not just your parents'.  At some point you chose it for yourself, right?

I suspect that lots of us never really get there with where we live.  We consider it something that was chosen for us -- that we just have to live with.  But, let's assume for a minute that life is what we make of it rather than what happens to us. 

I love taking quizzes, so I looked up a quiz online that was supposed to identify my ideal location based on how I answered a TON of questions.  The questions were so good (how much social interaction do you need?, do you want to be able to go to the opera/zoo/campground/mall/airport?, what is your ideal climate?), that I was really looking forward to discovering that magical place somewhere on the globe where I can milk my backyard goats year-round without having to wear gloves, where the sun shines more often than it doesn't, and I really only need one wardrobe and can donate my coat to Goodwill.  Alas, do you know what it said was my number one matching location?  Get ready for it. . .

Cherokee Village, Arkansas.

Seriously.  That's what it said.  I decided not to add a link to the quiz for you, since obviously it doesn't work appropriately. (No offense, Cherokee Village, but I wouldn't exactly call you "tropical.")

Since I'm probably not going to be packing up the house and moving the family to Honduras anytime soon, I decided that it was time to make a list (lists and quizzes, can you tell I'm Type A?).  This list will catalog all the reasons I love where I live -- all the reasons I choose to live where I live.  My hope is that the list will reinforce my love of this place and the life we're making in it.  Hopefully, it'll be a strong enough list to get me through even the darkest, coldest winter months.

So, residents of Smallville, have you got anything for me to be sure to add to my list?  Why do you love where you live?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cat Problem!

Around here, nearly everyone and everything contributes.  We've got several loop systems in place.  For example, let's begin with the goats.  The goats produce milk.  The milk feeds the cats.  The cats hunt mice.  The mice eat the grain in the shed.  The grain in the shed feeds the goats.  So, both the cats and the goats are contributors (I'm not convinced the mice are good for much). 

The darn cats, however, are stepping out of line and causing a real problem in my garden.  They seem to think that the nice, loose soil is there just for them to roll around in, and, worse, poop in.

Here you can see how the poor little bean sprouts are struggling to survive despite recent digging.


My research has turned up several potential solutions.  Lots of them are a lot of work for questionable payoff.  Some of them are not organic.  Some of them are downright toxic.  One organic solution (which I confess I've used in the past when the kitties in question did not belong to us) is to put out black pepper and/or ground mustard.  This burns kitty's paws and will really do a number on her bowels when she licks it off those burning paws.  So, this is out of the question.

Another potential solution is to plant flowers that deter cats.  Marigolds and geraniums, for example, are repulsive to cats.  I've allotted lots of squares in my square-foot-garden for flowers, so I'll plan to use some marigolds and geraniums in those spots.  These flowers also attract beneficial insects to the garden -- an added plus.

Finally, I plan to deploy the big guns and purchase one of these motion-activated sprinklers.  This one from Amazon has great reviews, qualifies for free shipping with Amazon Prime, and is priced at under $50.  That may sound like a lot of money, but if it takes care of the problem, it'll be well worth it.  Those of you who have problems with deer, birds, or other pests, may want to look into the sprinkler as a potential solution, too.  I'll let you know how it works with Scarf and Milkshake.  :)

Does anyone have any other suggestions for solving our little kitty problem?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Ghandi once said, "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

Today seemed like one of those days for me when it all just lined up nicely.  And, it was a very happy day.  :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

From Common Prayer:  a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals --

"In the spring of 1970, Gaylord Nelson announced that a demonstration about the environment would happen on April 22.  Approximately twenty million people showed up to celebrate the first Earth Day.  Since then, environmental concerns such as oil spills, global warming, extinction of wildlife, and pollution have been pushed to the forefront of political agendas and popular concern. . . . A sixth-century rabbi wrote, 'God, from the very beginning of creation, was occupied before all else with planting, as it is written, "And first of all, the Eternal God planted a Garden in Eden." Therefore, occupy yourselves first and foremost with planting.'"

According to the Earth Day Network:
"In Pakistan, Earth Day Pakistan is in the process of planting 50,000 trees today.
In the Cayman Islands, 1,500 people are participating in a beach and reef clean-up.
In Columbus, Ohio, volunteers are pulling invasive plants, cleaning up neighborhoods, and preparing gardens at over 1000 sites in the region."

And three adorable kids picked up trash at their local park.  :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Earth Day is Monday!

Just wanted to drop you a friendly reminder that Monday, April 22, is Earth Day.  Now, the Lord has called us to care for His creation everyday, but Earth Day is a good day for us to join with millions of like-minded Creation-lovers and refocus our efforts. 

There are tons of ways to take action and celebrate Earth Day.  If you need some ideas, check out www.earthday.org

Our local forecast is calling for sunny and 70-degrees, a perfect day for getting outside and working.  My kids are planning to pick up some trash at and around our local park after school (and, no doubt, get in some playtime as well).   If anyone would like to join us, we'd love to see you there!

What do you plan to do Monday to celebrate Earth Day?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chirp, Chirp! Spring Chicks Are Here!

Our spring meat chickens have arrived!  (Please excuse the bedhead, but Girl 2, our biggest chick-lover, was out in the garage cuddling her new chicks by 6:30a.m.)

To save some cash on shipping, we went in on our chick order from Murray McMurray Hatchery with some friends who were excited about welcoming home their first chicks.  Pictured above, WH is excited about his new, tiny pets! 

Is he not adorable, looking on as his daddy moves the chicks in to their new home?

As you may recall from this post, I was a little disgusted by the Cornish Crosses that we raised last year.  It seemed a little contrary to our homesteading goals for us to be raising animals like that, so we were pleased to discover this new offering this year from the hatchery. 
Our new chicks are called Red Rangers, and according to McMurray's description, "The Red Ranger has an outstanding growth rate reaching approximately 6.7 lbs. in just over 80 days.  These birds have great livability and a 70% live to dress weight yield.  The breast meat is in natural proportion to the leg meat.   . . . An excellent forager; the Red Ranger is able to withstand the free range or natural living environment very well."

In other words, it'll grow big enough fast enough to make a good meat chicken without having any of the freakish qualities the Cornish Cross exhibits like breasts so large it cannot walk or a heart that cannot keep up with the demands of its over-sized body. 

Right now, they're an adorable fuzzy yellow, but they'll eventually be a pretty red color (much preferfable to the white of the Cornish Crosses that just always looked dirty to me -- especially once they got too fat for their legs to support them well and spent most of their time squatting on the ground).

Right now, our little chicks are taking up residence in the garage, but once they begin to get their big-boy feathers and the weather is consistently warm enough, they'll be ready to move to the meat chicken tractor where they will get fresh forage daily in the backyard.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kale Cravings

Are you eating your Super Foods? 

Like other Brassicas, kale is packed with calcium, lutein, iron, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, C, and K.  But, according to WebMD, what distinguishes it from its brothers is, "its abundance in phytochemicals, substances associated with the prevention of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension – four of the leading cause of death in Western countries. Phytochemicals are believed to help prevent cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication, and decrease cholesterol levels."

Some people are less than fond of kale, but I'd encourage you to give it a chance. This well-prepared salad may just win you over. 
In fact, lately, I've been having major kale cravings!  Now, before you go thinking I'm a health-crazed nut job, you should know I've also been craving strawberry Fruit Roll-ups.  Anyway, my favorite way lately to satisfy my longing for kale is with this super easy salad.
First, I remove the ribs (and add them to the compost pile -- not even the chickens will eat the kale ribs -- they're just too tough).  Then, I use my herb chopper to chop the kale into pretty small pieces.  If you're a fellow kale lover, you know that it can be pretty tough, so chopping it pretty small is the first step in getting it to a good, salad-ready consistency.

What is step 2, you ask?  Massaging the kale.
Yes, you read that right. 
Listen, Kale is pretty uptight and rigid (especially if it's store-bought -- commercial farmers grow a "sturdier" variety so that it better withstands the rigors of harvest and shipping).  At the end of a long day (or whenever you're ready for salad), it just needs a good massage to help it unwind a bit.  So, I put my chopped kale into a bowl and drizzle it with some olive oil.  Then, I commence the massage.  This is not a job for a spoon -- get your fingers in there and work out all that tension.  You'll be able to see the greens begin to soften. 

Once your salad has been well-massaged, it's ready to get dressed and find it's way to your plate.  To the oil that's already worked in, I add a dribble of lemon juice, pinch of salad, and sprinkling of grated Parmesan (what?  Measurements too vague for you?  Sorry, my friend, but dressing a kale salad is an art not a science, so you'll just have to play with the proportions to find ones that work for you :).

Now, the wonderful thing about kale is that, unlike its cousin Lettuce,  Kale will hold up in this dressed state for days in the refrigerator.  Whenever that craving hits, all I have to do is dump some in a bowl and add a few toppings. 

My current toppings of choice are Craisins and roasted almond pieces.

Now does this pic capture a nice moment, or what?  There I am, stretched out on a picnic blanket after just having finished a muddy, 5-mile trail run (notice the mud smears on the calves), watching the ducks on the water and enjoying my kale salad and the beautiful day -- little slice of heaven right there!

There'll be kale in heaven, right?  And Fruit Roll-Ups?  Let's hope so.  :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bottle Jaw in Our Anemic Goats

I think I really do learn new things everyday here on our little backyard farm.  This week, John and I have had a crash course in goat anemia.
First, though, isn't Star getting big?  And, so adorable?

Several days ago, I'd noticed that Razz and Honey (our two mommas and milkers) had developed a weirdly large, floppy chin that waggled when they walked.  Naively, I just attributed this to the toll that motherhood was taking on their bodies.  I mean, when I was nursing a newborn, I had a few body parts that waggled when I walked, too.  :)  But, when John noticed it, he was alarmed and researched it enough to discover that it was what is commonly referred to as "bottle jaw."

Bottle jaw can be an indicator of anemia, which is an indicator of parasitic worms. 

To check a goat for worms, you take a peek at their eyelids.  This card shows how a healthy eyelid is bright red/pink.  We'd checked our gals shortly after baby delivery and found them worm-free, as our herd has always been.  Only 5 weeks later, though, upon discovery of the bottle jaw, we checked again and found that their eyelids were the color pictured all the way to the right on the card.  In case you can't make it out, that's a skull and crossbones on the picture.  We were in the danger zone!

We immediately dosed them both with some wormer and consulted with our vet.  We may have caught the situation just in time.  We'll keep a close eye on the girls over the next few days and may have to re-dose on the wormer in about 10 days.  The neck swelling should gradually go down.

Worms tend to be a problem when goats are kept in small areas.  We usually have our herd out in the field, so this isn't a problem.  When we were awaiting the kids' births, though, we moved the mommas in to the smaller backyard field and had them there for awhile.  After giving birth, their immune systems were weaker than normal and made them more susceptible to parasite attack.  This seems as good an explanation as any for why we have a problem now that has never been a problem in our herd before.

Hopefully, this will clear itself up soon, and our girls will regain their full health.  The babies continue to grow and seem unaffected.  Their eyelids indicate they are in good health.  Skull and crossbones icons, though, are pretty scary, and my Google searches have turned up a lot of results that include the word "fatal";  we may have been dangerously close to that, but I'm hoping that our girls are now on the mend.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Got to Write the Column!

Every week (or so) our local running club adds a new "On the Road" column to its website.  I always look forward to reading the musings of fellow runners.  This week, I had the privilege and honor of getting to contribute.  So instead of writing a post here, too, I'll just link you to the White River Roadrunners page and the column I wrote for this week. 


(Disclaimer:  Just so you know, I did not call myself a "conqueror from Cave City," that was totally the club president's contribution,  though it does have a certain  ring to it.  :)

Monday, April 15, 2013


What a beautiful day to haul and put out mulch with the help of a beautiful girl!
Don't you just love exercise that yields immediate results?   (Just one of the many reasons I love working in the yard!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Asparagus Season

Apparently, it's asparagus season!

Asparagus is great because it can grow basically unattended.  The problem with that, though, is that I forget to check on it. 
And, it can go from perfectly-ready-for-a-dinner-sidedish to a soon-to-be-full-fledged-fern-frond in a matter of days.  This stalk looked like the one in the first picture just 2 days ago.  Then, I thought I'd wait another day or so to let it get a bit taller.  And, I forgot about it.  Now, that it's branched out, it's too far gone for dinner.  Oh, well.  There are more coming up all around it.  Hopefully, I'll remember to check in on them more often. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

DIY Trail Mix

I walked in to pick Little Boy up from therapy the other day and heard him telling his teacher, "I got trail mix at home!  It's super yummy!"  The boy loves his trail mix!
At $6.00 for a small bag, though, it gets pretty costly pretty quickly.
One of his favorite mixes is the Great Value Indulgent Trail Mix.  A quick inventory of the ingredients led me to the conclusion that I could mix it up myself for a fraction of the cost and less sodium. 

I purchased the following for my mix:
dark chocolate chips
peanut butter chips
peanuts (reduced salt)
almonds (raw, unsalted)
raisins (regular and golden)
Notice there's no prep involved here at all.  You're just throwing your ingredients into a mixing bowl.  The ratios are entirely up to you.  Just play with it to get the taste combo you love.  The Indulgent mix has white chocolate chips in it, too, but Girl 1 doesn't like them (Weird, I know), so we left those out.

My batch cost me $16 and easily made 4 times the amount of the $6 bag from Wal-Mart.  That comes in at an $8 savings for about 30-seconds-worth of work! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Come and Get It!

This video shows Oreo running in from the field for his afternoon bottle.
He looks like a puppy dog to me, ears flopping and tail wagging -- so excited about his bottle.  Such a cutie!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Low Fat Key Lime Pie

Around here, we love pie! You should just see Little Boy's face light up when he hears the word "Pie"!  So, when I found this recipe for Low Fat Key Lime Pie on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a go. 
By my math, it comes in at about 30 fat calories per slice!
Here's what you need:
sugar free lime Jell-o
fat free Cool Whip
2 light Key Lime Pie yogurts
reduced fat graham cracker pie crust
Dissolve the Jell-o in 1/4 c. boiling water.  Then, just whisk in the other filling ingredients and pour into pie crust.  Freeze.

This pie yielded some big grins at dinner last night!  And, just think of the possibilities.  You could pretty much make this in any flavor that you can find a Jell-o and yogurt to match.  Yum!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Multiple Personalities of a "Responsible" Shopper

This is lengthy, but so worth the read.  In this excerpt from 7, Jen Hatmaker discloses the multiple personalities that govern her shopping decisions.  I can so relate to this!

"Sometimes my organic personality, Sage Moonjava, emerges; and my top priority is to buy real food with wholesome ingredients.  Sage Moonjava doesn't blink at spending $11.99/lb. for bulk organic cashews, because they were harvested responsibly and not doused in partially hydrogenated oil.  Grocrery chains are the bane of Sage Moonjava's existence; the produce is covered in vegetable petroleum, beeswax, and lac resin; the aisles contain ten thousand combinations of high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, and chemicals; and the meats are genetically modified and pumped full of antibiotics.  I've abandoned a half-filled cart and walked out in utter defeat.

"But at other times, my 'buy local' personality, Ryvre, materializes.  Attempting to support the local economy and diminish the high ecological impact of importing goods, this seems like a winning approach.  Buying from corporate chains is paying The Man; I like the little guy, the Mom and Pop store, the imaginiative small-business owner.  I'd rather subsidize local vendors who retain cretaive ownership and feed back into our local economy.  Ryvre is into "Live here, give here," and shopping at Wal-Mart solidifies my place in the flock, contributing to a questionable supply chain and putting thousands of locally owned stores out of business every year.

"However, my third alter ego, Freedom Shakra,  . . . is trying to unhook from the consumer machine, and all this buying is not helping.  Freedom Shakra is just trying to spend less, way less.  This is a numbers game, and the winners are off-brands, generic products, knockoffs, and used goods.  F. Shakra understands that name brands and chic labels are the marketing brainchildren of The People Who Sell Us Stuff We Don't Need.  There is no good reason to buy designer water, over-priced spaghetti, or two sprigs of basil for $3.99 when it enjoys a prolific growth in my own backyard from a $.25 cut.   . . . Freedom Shakra is knocking down the budget by purchasing cheaper things, fewer things, smaller things.

"Here's the rub.

"Ryvre spots an adorable chocolate brown wrap sweater at local boutique The Red Door right here in our little town.  Talk about spending local!  It's five minutes away in historic Downtown Buda, and the owner lives up the street.  Adios, mall.  No Gap for Ryvre!  She's supporting the local gal.

"But Freedom Shakra emerges and says, 'Wait just a minute, Ryvre!' . . . because that wrap sweater is $45, and my bank account couldn't care less whether it went to The Red Door or straight into the pockets of Sam Walton.  All Freedom Shakra knows is she's down fifty large for a sweater with a two-year shelf life, and I don't care where it came from, that's lame.  Buying local is often synonymous with overspending

"FS is winning the day, so off she goes to the grocery store where she spies a carton of eggs for $.99.  Hooray! At nine cents per egg, that is purchasing victory for this Thrifty Mama.  Add the $2.99 package of bacon and $1.69 can of biscuits, and we're talking about breakfaat for five for $5.00.  Beat that, Dave Ramsey!

"But out pops Sage Moonjava, who gravely reads the biscuit ingredients.  All twenty-nine of them.  She recalls the dreadful farming practices that produced those hormone-injected, antibiotic-laden eggs.  SMJ scolds Freedom Shakra for skipping after this processed, additive-packed bacon like it was the Pied Piper. . .

"Sage Moonjava would buy the $3.50 eggs from grass-fed, free-roaming chickens, the $5.99 organic bacon from responsibly raised pigs; and the day she feeds canned processed biscuits to her family is the day she puts her kids up for adoption so a mom who genuinely cares about their health can raise them.

"Sprouts is an organic grocery store, but it's not local.

"Central Market is a local gourmet grocery store, but it's not economical.

"HEB is the most economical grocery store, but it's not organic.

"So Ryvre is horrified by Freedom Shakra's priority to buy cheap, and Freedom Shakra outright mocks Sage Moonjava and Ryvre for spending more on 'local' and 'organic' (she uses finger quotes when she says this).  The competing voices confuse me, and I'm not sure which personality should dominate.  This leaves me in a mess half the time, and I manage to feel guilty one way or another, no matter which purchasing priority wins the day.  I've either spent too much, bought cheap processed junk, or I've subsidized the sweatshop industry.  Evidently simplifying can be complicated.  GAH!"

Can you relate to Jen's quandary here?  I definitely can. Perhaps this is why I seem to ALWAYS be suffering from buyer's remorse -- at least one of my personalities is upset with every purchase!  Who do you tend to side with most often?  Ryvre?  Freedom Shakra?  Sage Moonjava?

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Udder Truth About Honey

Warning . . . goat anatomy pics below!

In the registered dairy goat community, the term "good milker" is frequently used.  I guess I'd assumed it meant merely that the goat produced a good amount of milk or even that she behaved well on the milk stand.  I had no idea whatsoever that goats' udders can vary so much!  Last year, we only milked Razz, and she did great.  Apparently, we didn't know how good we had it.

Here's Razz's udder first thing in the morning -- big and full of milk.  Notice her two teats.  They're nice and big -- easy to get ahold of.

Milking her is easy once you know how to milk.  Here you can see how John has just positioned the bucket underneath her and can go at it, two-handed.  Razz just eats while on the milking stand and seems completely comfortable as she's being milked. 

And, then, there's Honey, our first-time momma and milker.  She's got a nice and full udder . . . but where are her teats?  Look hard.  They're small and pushed right up against her hind legs so that they're very difficult to get ahold of. 

See how John is having to go at it?  His hands are about too large to get a grip on the tiny teats.  Now, milking in general takes some muscle in your hands.  To feel what muscles are used to milk Razz (or any other good milker) squeeze your hand into a tight fist.  To feel what muscles are primarily used to milk Honey, however, press your thumb to your other fingertips as hard as you can.  Can you feel the difference?  It gets pretty painful very quickly.

As if the anatomy problem weren't enough, there's also the small issue of her behavior on the milking stand.

Here, you can see how she tries to kick you off when you try to milk her.  She does this very fast,

and you have to be quick about moving the milk pail out of the way or she'll knock it over, causing you to lose all the milk you've managed to muscle out thus far.  Because of this, John has to milk her one hand at a time, so that he can hold the milk cup in the other hand, ready to snatch it out of the way when she starts to kick.  It's not easy work. 

One of the breeders we've talked to tells us that it will get better with time.  Between our tugging and her babies persistent yanking, the teats should eventually elongate.  That'll help out a little.  If we had a bigger herd and were milking lots of goats, we'd probably just give up on her.  If we were more legit dairy goat farmers, we'd "cull" her and invite the neighbors over for a barbecue.  Alas, however, we are not that legit or large an operation, so we continue to pull on those tiny teats day after day (and by "we," I mean mostly John.  Just compare our hand muscles and you'll see he's the one bearing most of the milking burden right now).   Here's hoping our persistence will pay off and things will eventually get better!  :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

You Know You've Had a Good Yard Sale When . . .

Let us consider all the ways yesterday's yard sale was a success:

1.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous!
2.  I got rid of enough stuff that the leftovers fit neatly into my van and were hauled in the afternoon to the donation center (translation:  nothing unwanted made its way back into the house).
3.  The kids each sold a few things and now have some spending money.
4.  I sold enough stuff to purchase (through Heifer International) a goat for a family in need.  (We love to buy goats for others since we know firsthand how great they can be!)
5.  I was able to multi-task and reorganize/clean out the garage in between helping shoppers.
6.  I enjoyed some fun conversation with fellow neighbors.
7.  It was all finished and cleaned up by noon, plenty of time for my little helper to have a nap!

Yep, an excellent yard sale, if you ask me!

A special thank you to Tami, Howard, and Teresa for helping out with the clothing rack!  I so appreciate it!