Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Be Prepared " a Girl Scout motto

Here at Walnetto Farm we  are still thick in the process of hauling in winter hay. After tomorrows trip we should be in a fairly good place as far as having hay for most of the winter.

Other happenings afoot. Barter, I love to barter. I truly believe if this world ran on a barter system we would have a more symbiotic existence. If we had no monetary system and relied on barter we would truly need each other in a way we don't now. With that said my bartering days are evolving into my vision.

Today I bartered my soft herbed goat cheese for a healing salve. Next week a local organic farmer will pick up my excess milk to feed her piglets on. In exchange we will get her organic veggies.Also yesterday I set up a tentative agreement with someone to barter for her massage/Reiki  sessions. And a local farmers market participant came over to glean apples off my trees in exchange for her jams/relishes.

How does this play out in being prepared? My goats have feed for over wintering. I get those veggies that we can't or don't plant in our garden. And the most delightful fresh jams and relishes in return for the apples that grow on my land.

Next installment? Our bees. On Tuesday with the help of a friend we will open the hive after one year and see if there is enough honey so that we can "borrow" some. And what of this honey? Dependent on amount some for us and some to sell to the local soap maker who already takes my milk for her goat milk / honey soap. If there is enough to share she will get some local honey too. And yes I do make soap, but this lady makes a delicious bar of soap and it is one more thing I can put by the way side to spend more time knitting, weaving or spinning.

Think local, think barter. A win/win for everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Barn Hop

This was a pretty laid back day here. We don't get many of them especially at this time of the year. It was a cool morning , a hint that Fall is on the way here in Nor. Cal. After chores of milking and feeding I took our livestock guardian , Spinner for a walk. Spin has been our LGD for almost eleven years , her birthdate is 10-13-2000, and we have had her since she was four months old.

Her partner Kingston passed about three years ago. Spinner and I began our tradition of walking not long after that when I stopped working at a local animal clinic as one of the nurses. She missed the interaction of her life partner and the activity of occasional play time with him. So we began to walk daily at the time anywhere from 2 to 5 miles. We both dropped some weight and she certainly seemed happier for the extra attention.

Now that Spin is getting older, ok, me too! We don't walk as far a mile round trip being about it. She has some issues with her spine and some old dog things also. I have old goat lady issues so it seems to work well for us. She still lives with the goats 24/7 and probably wouldn't know what to do if she were not in the barn. She still guards but her ears don't hear like they used to and she is getting cataracts in both eyes. So her guarding isn't as aggressive as in her younger days. And we are fortunate that the area we are in now doesn't require her being fence line from 0-60 at this point.

Spinner came from a wonderful breeder who has had the breed for 50 years. Their dogs go from field to ring and excel in both areas. They have also earned their good citizen awards. Her dog (sire) lived to be 11 when he was euthanized do to advanced liver cancer. Her bitch (dam) was still alive last year at 13. An amazing age for a giant breed. So we are hoping that God grants us another year or two with this amazing girl who has spent her life caring for our critters and keeping them from harms way.

So until then we will continue to walk, not daily at this point but several times a week. And if you are ever in Mendocino county and see an old goat lady with a big white dog give a howdy honk!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #22 but only #2 for me!

What did I do to prepare today? Began getting in hay for winter. I always try to buy enough hay to last from Sept/Oct until April. We don't have enough land to grow our own but do supplement with goat garden stuff as much as we can. But good milk demands alfalfa and my friends it ain't plentiful nor cheap anymore!

130 # bale went for $5 in 1987 it now goes for , ouch,ouch, $15.50 to $19.99 and more often than not they aren't even close to 130# a piece .  So today as luck would have it the fellow I often get hay from brought in 178 bales of pretty darn nice goat alfalfa. Fine stemmed and leafy. Not super green but then green doesn't always mean good. Price was right, so I came home with 10 bales. If they test out well by the "alfalfa test goat team'' I will get another 64 and hope that the weather cooperates and it is a wet winter, early dry spring and baling begins on time. Which would be early to mid April.

 I have a nagging feeling that with lousy economics in play, weird weather for two years running. Very late season for beginning to bale here this year. That hay will be very hard to find and very expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if it hit $25 a bale in my area. Since there are very few if any who farm it over here and most all of what is available here is trucked in from either S. Oregon/extreme N. Cal or the Sacramento valley. So that increases the cost.

The thing I miss most about moving out of the San Joaquin Valley? Besides my grandbebes and kids. My hay man. Brett who grew high octane alfalfa, cut and baled to perfection, delivered it and stacked it with a retriever. Bless him he would also scale the retriever arms and knock the first two courses down as we didn't have a ladder that would work.

Other than that today not much in the way of being prepared. But I just got a heads up the tomato's are beginning to ripen. Good thing I ordered extra jars from Azure this month! Have a wonderful rest of weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Barn Day . at Walnetto Farm that is everyday!

A walking tour of Walnetto Farm. We are small only 4.3 acres but that is enough to allow us to raise livestock, have a garden and honey bees. We have been working on being self reliant as I spoke of in the last post for many years. It will never be perfect thank God as we would then be done and on a farm there is always something to do!
 This is P.T. one of our many cats, we have 8 including the house and barn. One of the "professional hazards" of being in veterinary medicine. P.T. is a 50/50  cat. In and out but most certainly in at night. The crew in the window are (L to R) Chloe, Monkey and far right Mollie.
Both Monkey and Mollie are three legged which at least in Mollie's case illustrates why we prefer not to leave our cats out at night. We do live at 1000 ft. in the eastern edge of the coastal range in Mendocino Co. There often are things that go bump in the night around looking for an easy meal.

The beauty on the right is one of the many flowering plants that I have in locations all over the farm. This one lives on the front porch below my office window. I am the flower person here and Geoffrey is most certainly the "all business" veggie guy!

Below left are the "teenagers" . These five girls Maggie Mae, Wonderlust, KC, Katy and Onyx are  5 month old doelings . They love to have their ears rubbed, Maggie Mae in particular , and will most likely all be staying in the herd a bit. We will see.

If these two look like impending trouble you are right. Justice followed by Liberty are the last kids born this year on July 2. They are  6 weeks old and full of it. Love to cuddle when they get their bottles and love to nibble on bare legs when one is wearing shorts. OUCH!!

Some of the older does enjoying a mid afternoon snooze.  The  small ones are two wethers belonging to one of them who are almost two months old. Time to start looking for a new home of sorts for them.

We have had Great Pyrenees now for 21 years and it seems like only yesterday when our first joined the herd for predator protection. We have had five of our own but for many year worked with Great Pyrenees Rescue of Nor. Cal and have fostered and transported dozens more. They are wonderful dogs, hard working, intelligent and self motivated. Our current dog Spinner has been with us for almost eleven years. She will be eleven in November and she is slowing down but will live her days out doing what she has known all her life. Spin was whelped on a working horse/sheep ranch . When you are eleven and have worked all your life you more then deserve a good nap on a daily basis.

We are ending our first year with our first hive. These bees came with the land. The original hive was over 60 years old. Over the years feral bees have taken place of the original deliberate occupants. We got rid of the old boxes and frames which were rotting and were lucky to have the bees stay with us instead of swarm after both a change of housing and the location of the hive.  Visit an older post and see what we did to get to this

A lovely plum tree is just one of many fruit trees we got when we moved here. These are a prune type and last year I dehydrated many of them . They are really sweet and great to munch when on the way to or from our barn. We also have multiple apple trees some over one hundred years old and various nut trees plus a persimmon and pears.

Full circle now back to the garden area by the front porch. The sculpture below I purchased about 10 years ago at a stand in the central valley just north of Fresno. I enjoy it all year round and this goat is without question the easiest keeper we have!  Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Preparedness Challenge

Well I figured out how to link to the challenge but am still not really clear about how it works. Perhaps Amy can email me about that.

I was a Girl Scout so I guess that qualifies me as being prepared. At least that is what our trusty leaders always said.

We have been leading a life of being self sufficient for a time now. Getting closer each time we tweak it. We have dairy goats for milk and all that brings. We have our own chickens. When we get moved to the next , and I pray final house, I would like to raise a calf for meat. We have done that in the past and with pigs but haven't recently.

Geoffrey plants a wonderful organic garden. He is the Master gardener on the farm and I am the canner of the bounty he provides.

As I learn more about the PC I can do a bit better on this. Oh, did I mention our bees? Year one almost to a close. Honey is on the way!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food is love and love can be food and sometimes my food has a name!

My husband brought me a bouquet today. Not your usual bouquet and not your FDA vase.

A lovely arrangement of ? You guessed it carrots and delivered in a very stylish kid milk replacer bucket. I love a guy who thinks of details to fit the recipient! 
And this lovely bouquet became quart jars number 21 of homegrown organic carrots. When I think of carrots I think  of so many things. Pot Roast, soup, salad, goat treats. But I also value carrots for their eye appeal, the interesting shapes that veggies grown in such as the couple below.
Locked in sweet embrace as if they were in a movie say Casablanca, Titanic or Sleepless in Seattle. Yup chick flicks gotta love them. 

My food has names. I frequent two local Farmers Market Ukiah about 10 miles to the south and Redwood Valley about 3 miles east of me. I love knowing the folks who produce what we don't or can't but love. For instance tonight we are on round two of these lovely Yukon Gold potatoes who were grown with love and sweat by Jessie and her crew at Inland Organics. 
When cut for cooking they crackled and sputtered moisture as if they were pulled from the earth at Jessies farm this morning. And as so many of the veggies Inland produces they are wonderful! 

The green beans to the left are Geoffrey. Planted from seed, nurtured and loved to the hilt. Geoffrey's vegetable garden is to him what the goats are to me. Beans picked only 30 minutes before cooking and eating. As intended.

And then there are items. Things I have used daily from friends. And every time I use them I smile because it reminds me of my friends. Friendship a scared ground. A place you can go an be accepted, not judged, supported not turned away. And loved and to give love back. A comfortable place each time it is visited be it in real time or in memory. 

The basket above keeps important daily used items in one spot. I love it, the shape, the size , the handle. And I love the family who gave it to me several Christmas's ago. Tim, Pamela, Krista, Mariah and Jessica. They began us buyers of goats when their daughters were but wee and over the years have become treasured friends. 

Take a look around your kitchen you might be surprised by who you find!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am naughty

I find I am able to keep everyone up to date with my Facebook Page quicker and easier then the blog. It is just that busier than busy time of year. So for now if you don't see a current update here you can go to my facebook link on the right. I have a wealth of photos stored for when time and life slow down.