Monday, December 26, 2011

Molly's Surgery

Mom's dog Molly had a couple of lumps and since she was licking the one until it was sore looking she ended up going to the vet. The vet cut out both lumps and sent them for evaluation. One came back benign and the other cancerous, but they think they got it all.

So here she is in all her annoyed presence. If you can click on the picture to see it bigger, there are two big ugly stitch lines. One on her belly and the other on top of her hip.

She really doesn't like the cone. Neither did we. She ran into us and the furniture all the time. She managed to escape from it a couple of times, which is how she ended up wearing the harness. Mom tied the cone to the harness so that it wouldn't slide over her head.
That worked for a while, but really made life difficult for her.

Funny, but difficult.
We looked online to see if there were other options and found body socks for dogs.
They seemed effective, but expensive so we got creative.
You know we are good at that.

One pair of knit pants later and Molly had a new coat.
The small end of the leg is by her head.
We cut leg holes for all four legs and a hole for her tail.
The leg/tail holes keep it up around her shoulders and the back end from sliding up her back.
It might not be pretty, but this homemade body sock has been effective.
She can't lick or bite and if she scratches at the stitches her toes catch on the cloth.

Molly will be coming home with us for a couple weeks and since it will be a bit chillier outside there, I will probably make her another sock out of some old sweats.
She just might turn into a fashionista after this adventure.

While we have been here we stopped by a craft store and found these creatures outside.

I need to learn how to weld.
Because my yard really needs a pink flamingo made out of old farm stuff.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Collecting the Wood

I have shown you pictures of our firewood getting stored, probably enough to cause boredom, but wood collection and storage is a very large part of our life on the farm. We use it to heat the house almost entirely - that might seem strange to people outside this area, and even some who live around here - but, we like it because it is a green renewable resource and free for the labor. 

Ok, mostly because it is free.

You might remember, we installed a heat pump a couple of years ago too. That is partly for emergencies. Which when you consider it, is kind of backwards. In most home the wood stove is installed so they can have some heat just in case the electricity goes out. An emergency at our house is - we left for work and the fire in the stove went out too early in the day. So the heat pump is there to come on at about 3pm if the temperature has dropped to 65. The electric heat (and air conditioning in the summer, I like that too) increases the electric bill a bit, but it is way better than the alternative. I really like coming home to a warm house and it doesn't take much to heat up the house again with the stove since it isn't too cold. In the old days - you know a couple years ago - it could be well into the evening before we warmed up. Been there, done with that.

We also use our own wood to build just about everything around here. It started with the original owner of the property, then the FabHub and the brothers joined in, and now with the nephews they have built the houses, garages, barns, and sheds. Most of it out of trees that the guys cut, run through the sawmill, and nail together themselves.

That leads us to the current story of the big...
very dry Maple tree.
It is very dry, notice how most of the small branches are broken off. FabHub was concerned that if the tree were to fall it would land on his pretty new fence, which as you might be able to tell, is made from pressure treated wood. The first fence we had there was sawmill lumber, it lasted about 12 years or so before the weather finally wore it out. This time FabHub went with a longer lasting product since it is unprotected. 
Anyway, the guys hooked a rope in the big Maple so they could control where it fell by pulling it with the tractor.

Then the chain saw man did his work and the tractor man gave a pull...
 and down it went with a really big crash.
There really wasn't a lot of trimming to be done since a lot of the canopy branches were so dry they shattered on impact. FabHub got a whole truck load of small stuff that hardly needed cutting at all.
As for the big pieces...
They get cut into movable sections... 
 and drug through the woods... 
to the collection site... 
in front of the wood shed where the foreman manages the pile.
Or is that a woodland monster...
Attacking from his hiding spot behind a tree?
That is the story of bringing in wood on the farm.
Now if you will excuse me, it's getting chilly in here, I need to load some wood in the stove.

Baking Fun

November was full of baking. Here are some of the best products of the month.

When you take this...
and this...

and do this to it (yes cheating I know)...

you can get some of this!

Then you do this...
and this...

      and put them in pans like this...
You can get these!
This is bread that makes wonderful sandwiches and toast.
Just enough chew and no sticky softness.
The butter or mayo or mustard or jelly doesn't soak through the double sided crust.
Usually I use one of those bread shaped lunch boxes as a "cookie" cutter to get the perfect size.

Or you get these!
These buns are good for BBQ and soaking up sauce.

Since all the "easy" dinner fixing were already spoken for regarding the holiday dinner, I made some appetizers for Thanksgiving Day.
One of them was given the name - Baconaters.

They were made of these ingredients, plus a package of bacon.
I also made a batch with brown sugar instead of the cheese.

They looked like this and were absolutely fabulous!
Not good for the diet, but it is the holidays!

Another thing I made had these ingredients. 

Sort of like pepperoni rolls, but smaller.

There is a reason we stay so "healthy" in this house.
I love to cook!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ready for Winter

Winter is coming so there are some thing that need to be done around the farm.
The goats have added a whole new layer of projects that need work.
One is finishing the goat house.
There is intention to get sawmill lumber siding put up on the walls.
Until that is ready I probably should get out there and put a coat of paint on it.
Another project has been this hay feeder.
Made out of old bed rails and cattle panel it holds a good amount of hay.
Saved us $$ from what they sell in the feed store. 
Sometimes I think FabHub wants the goats just so he can build stuff.
This time he got to weld!
The articles I have read say that goats prefer to reach up and get the hay.
That is Violet and Tulip showing that it works for them.
They are also picky about eating hay that has been laid on,
that is solved here too.

There is a bit of waste on the ground, but not as much as if we actually put the hay down.
They would eat what they wanted and then lay down on it to take a nap.
The roof of the building was built with an over hang to try and help keep things dry.
It should work.

Around the side of the building we installed a mineral feeder that they can reach.
We put in a salt/mineral block they can lick on and some loose minerals.
They seem to like it, most of the loose stuff was gone the next day.
That is Sweet Pea showing how it works 
and Daisy peeking from the ramp to see what there is to eat.
You can see below why we had to install the above type of mineral feeder.
This is Tyson showing how the mineral feeders made for cattle are just to big for them.
The goats have been known to jump in that tub and take a nap.
Why? We have no idea.
But at least now they have no reason to put their feet in the tray.

Here is FabHub playing the Pied Piper Snackmaster with an apple.
The apple tree is to the left, it drops apples that roll down the hill...
and get cleaned up by the crew.

Other winter projects include getting wood split and stacked up in the new shed. 
There should be plenty for this year with what is already cut.
The guys are doing some fence work that is going to bring in some more.
We can never have too much firewood since it is our main heat source.
It is great for the electric bill too.
This old wood pile is what is left from last year, actually older than that.
We are using it first this year to clean up the mess.
The plan is to empty a stall completely, rotating back and forth each year.
That will leave the other stall time to dry completely before the following year.
Hopefully, it won't be so cold we need to use more than that.
Jake is letting us know there is/has been a mouse or rabbit under the building.
We need to put some gravel in front of the pallets to keep him and Poochy from digging.
Poochy says - Who me? Dig? Yes, I love to dig after rodents.
In the meantime...
Slinky says - Dogs are so bad. If they wouldn't chase me there would be no rodents.
Sweet Pea says - Hi ya! Got any Oatie Ohs?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Uncle Tommy Bought a House

When Uncle Tommy and Aunt Joyce decided to move to town 
they bought a house in a nice neighborhood.
The only problem was a group of five cruddy trees 
that were between their new house and the neighbor.
The neighbor said he didn't like them either, so cut them down.
FabHub and his brothers are pretty efficient when it comes to getting rid of trees.
They started cutting at about 1030 in the morning. 
This was on the same day we had our first snow.
At our house we had white butted frogs at 730am.

Luckily at Uncle Tommy's it was just wet.
The first four trees, two crab apples and two maples, 
are already cut out in this pic leaving just the biggest problem maple for last.
Nope, the neighbor didn't move the swing set before we got there - and 
it didn't get hit by falling limbs either.
One reason is because of BIL #2.
He makes a pretty good tree monkey.
The power lines didn't have anything to worry about.
BIL #2 works with them every day in his real job, 
which keeps him healthy and limber enough to do these tree jobs.

The rest of the crew had a full day of cleaning up the mess.
That trailer and a truck load of firewood had already been hauled back to the farm.
There were three more truck loads and a full trailer of brush to finish the day.

By about 3pm lunch had been eaten and they were at this point.
One ugly tree coming down.

By 5pm they were here.
Ready to head home again.
Like I said, they are quick.
Trees down and loaded, brush cleaned up, and ready to go.
And no, they can't be hired.
The work is only done to help family and feed our wood stoves.
Getting paid would make it a job and take all the fun out of it!