Archive for April, 2010


Dad’s Building…Bad Weather…

With high winds for two days in a row and then possibly a tornado touching down at mom and dad’s there is a lot of cleanup and rebuilding to be done.

Dad lost one of his new sheep buildings.  It blew all the way over onto it’s roof landing on some of his sheep.  Him and mom went outside at 5:30 am and with the tractor lifted the building up.  They were able to pull four lambs out alive, but 2 ewes and 2 babies weren’t so lucky.

This is the front entrance to the building.

Where the forks of the tractor buckled the roof trying to get the babies out.

More holes in the roof.

Here is the foundation where the building used to set.  It just broke off at the ground and blew over.  It could have been a lot worse with so many sheep laying behind the building out of the wind that night.  It was a huge loss, but still grateful it wasn’t any worse.

With forecasts for extremely high winds on the way again, Dad went out early and pulled all the pro-panel off by himself to try to salvage as much of it as he could to rebuild.  The roof is still underneath all the wood frame.  He will have to pull it off also to see if he can’t salvage some of it as well.

Until then the mamas and babies are out in the element with no shelter from the cold spring rain, hail, and storms that come with spring in Kansas.


Spring Weeding…

I am not proud of this, but this is what happens when you use straw mulch that hasn’t aged for a year:

All the straw had sprouted and was starting to choke out my new plants.

This is what it looks like after nearly three weekends of weeding and tending to everything.

There are gallon cans around nearly every small plant on our property.  The chickens get to roam and do as they please so we have to protect small plants from their rooting around.


Orphan Lamb…Growing up so Fast…

Remember this little lamb?

Well here she is now:

We named her Annie and she is now like a puppy to us.  She comes when she’s called, cries when we pull in the driveway, follows us around in the lots and when we walk the pasture.

It’s hard to take pictures of a bottle lamb.  Generally they are at your feet and when you back away to snap a picture they are step-for-step with you.

Here is what most bottle lamb pictures look like.  We just love her and so glad she grew up big and strong!


Grandma’s Cats…

Sunday was cat trapping day at Grandma’s.  She has 13 cats and wanted her females spayed so the cycle would not continue toward an uncontrollable number of cats.  You think 13 already sounds uncontrollable.  Try thinking about 5-7 females having litters of 5 or so kittens.  Boo….population explosion!  We just could not let that happen.

Grandma actually caught the first two in this dog crate.  They went crazy spilling their food and trying to find a way out.

With all the comotion from the first two there was no way the other cats were falling for that trick.  So we had to break out the live traps.  Randy got the traps all set, and I put some sof t food at the back of each one.  Then we headed inside and Grandma, Randy, and I watched as the cats slowly crept back around the feeding area and one by one got locked in the traps. 

We marked the males with purple marking paint and let them go and moved the females one by one into the dog crates and loaded them into the back of Grandma’s pickup.  They spent the night in the garage, and Mom took them to the vet first thing this morning.

One apparently got loose at the vet’s office, but all have been recovered and all is well.  We will pick them up tomorrow for a new life on the farm.

We still have 4 more to catch and either take to the vet to be spayed or if they are male mark them and let them go.  Our vet is also marking all the females once they are spayed so we won’t accidently haul them back in to her.

Have a great Monday!


Guacamole, Fresh-squeeze lemonade, and strawberries…

There are a few things I may never be able to grow and may never be able to live without entirely and avocados are one of those things.  I LOVE guacamole!

These were used to make a big batch of guacamole.  I don’t use a recipe, but the ingredients include:

lemon juice

lemon pepper

garlic powder

sea salt

diced tomatoes

and I think some onion powder

I would use cilantro if I had it on hand, but I rarely have it on hand.  I also put one of the avocado pits into the guacamole.  It’s supposed to keep the guacamole from turning brown.  I haven’t really seen the benefits, but continue to do it anyway.

I also whipped up some fresh-squeezed lemonade.  Country Time cannot compare.


This makes 2 quarts.

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (I use raw, organic) I am trying to decrease the sugar content as our taste buds adjust

2 quarts water

Stir and then chill.

Last but not least are the strawberries. 

I am not always able to buy organic.  Sometimes it’s not available and sometimes our budget just does not allow for it.  So I soak my non-organic fruits and vegetables for 30 mintes in water with a gulg or two of white vinegar and then mist with hydrogen peroxide.  This is proven more effectiven than bleach at killing Salmonella, Shigell, and E. Coli bacteria.

Or just use vinegar and water:

Fruit and vegetable wash:
Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly.  Research has shown that vinegar helps kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables.

I also use the peroxide/vinegar spray to clean the kitchen counters and bathroom.  I bought a big bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and just attached a spray nozzle directly to the top of the bottle.  In a separate bottle I diluted it 50/50 with white vinegar and distilled water.  I added a little orange essential oil from a nice clean smell, but this is totally optional.  The trick is they have to be sprayed separately.  It doesn’t matter which order.  They just have to be in separate bottles and sprayed separately to be effective.

I TRY to buy organic according to the Dirty Dozen List.  If it is at the top of the list I try to only buy organic and at the bottom I generally go for the lesser priced commercial version.  That being said you will notice strawberries are at the top of the list.  They were dirt cheap at Sam’s, and I couldn’t walk away.  So they soaked in vinegar water and were rinsed a couple times before they became part of our strawberry shortcake.

We aren’t perfect in our little kitchen, but we do try to eliminate as much exposure to chemicals and nasty bacteria as we can in a way that fits our budget.


Randy’s Birthday….

Today is Randy’s birthday.  For his birthday he wanted to go fishing.  We had dentist appointments on Monday and took the rest of the day to fish with a friend of his.

Randy with his catfish.

Dan with his catfish.

And me with my catfish.

We were all successful and ended the day with 5 to take home and clean.  We caught lots of sunfish, bullhead, and catfish.  It was a fun day with lots of fish being reeled in. 


Grandma’s Birthday….

We spent the weekend with family for my Grandma’s 82nd birthday.

Grandma and I

Grandma with her grandkids

Grandma with her kids

Grandma with my cousin, Tannis

Sweet cousins

Randy and Uncle Stan sharing a loveseat….most likely getting into trouble as is usually the case when they get together.

A future “hippie” to follow in my footsteps.  She was adorable in this dress.

Everyone had a great time.  Lots of noise, laughter, and smiles filled our weekend.  It was sad to see it end.

Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change.

I am the wife to my wonderful husband and joint care giver to the many animals we have acquired on our small farm here on the prairie. This is a bit about our life on our farm. We are striving for simplicity and self-sufficiency, determined to become debt-free, trying to live in tune with the natural cycles of this earth, and challenging ourselves to transition to a diet based on traditional foods. It isn't always easy, and we don't always succeed, but it is a fun learning process. Join us as we stumble through learning how to provide for ourselves, get off the treadmill, and work toward a simpler way of life.

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April 2010
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