Monday, January 4, 2016

Hoof trimming adventure

Wow, I'm terrible at this.  Really really terrible. Update on the cats, they're still here!  And, after much effort, they are little snugglers.  Its hard to pet 3 cats at the same time sometimes...But super duper fun!  I've been wondering if they were doing their job and catching mice and last week I saw the white cat with one mouse, then two days later I saw her with ANOTHER!!  I was way too excited when I saw her with the first one!

The kids are fantastic!!  The other day (Saturday) we used our new goat chute and trimmed their hooves, which I was totally freaked out about but I learned all I could and after that the best learning is just to jump in and do it. So we did!  While they were in the chute we wormed them too, that was exciting...I couldn't believe how bad some of their hooves were, it was ridiculous!!  Their hoof walls were growing together and some were twisted around, I can't believe it!  Craziness!!

First of all, here is the setup...and a pretty good view of the barn...its so big, its wonderful!  I kinda wish their were walls and stuff, but I guess that will come over time. We have a LOT of plans!

So...The kids were all held in the little panel rounded up on the right, then their only way out was through the goat chute and then into their regular area.  We put the chute up on some boards to bring it up off the ground and make it mobile, now hubby can move it with the tractor and it doesn't have to stay there all the time, as its kind of in the middle of everything.

Here is a picture of me trimming...thanks to hubby. At first I wasn't sure, but its a good memory of my first trimming. I'm sure we have many years of it coming.

Hubby kept seeing my red fingernails and think that I was was kinda funny!  P.s. I poked my finger with the shears, they're VERY sharp, and bled a little bit, and then I scratched my hand with the shears too, but other than that, there was very little crying from all involved!  The goats cooperated really well, and those that I thought would freak out...didn't, which made me super happy! I don't like crying (me and especially the goats). You'll see in the above picture that we added some blue cushioning to the top so that it was more comfortable for the goats when they rested against the top part.

Here are Rosie's hooves before...sooooooo awful!!!

Dirty, true, but they're way too long and the hoof walls grew together, which is really bad. I don't know how she lived with it. I imagine it was only a matter of time before things went bad, so I think we caught it at the right time. Yay!

And this is after!!!  Definitely not perfect, but MUCH MUCH better!!

Here's a good example of what I mean and how it should kinda really look...

I think the white middle part and the white outside are supposed to be the same, but this is about as good as I could do right now, and their feet were dry and dirty. I'm pretty darn proud of it though!! The outside of the hoof (you can kind of see the white-ish line), that's the hoof wall and then there's the middle inside white-ish part and that's kind of like the quick. Really they're like fingernails so its not that big of a deal, but it really felt like it!!!  It feels really good to get their hooves done. And to worm them, we got some Safeguard oral dewormer and a cute little syringe thing but no needles. Put about 3ccs in there and put it down their mouths, that was hard, but it had to be done.  And they still seem to love me after all that so I'm VERY happy!! : )

I love my goats so much!  They're seriously the funnest animals ever!  Sometimes we let them run free in the barn and they do the cutest little runs and jumps and its awesome!  Sometimes they get really excited and run into each other...gosh its adorable!!!  I can't wait to have little goats too. We talked to our goat friends and our girls should be ready to have a sleepover in February, so we'll have Mr. Buck come visit for a month or so and hopefully have some babies 5 months later!  Woo hoo!!!

Well, I need to start getting ready for work, I guess...sigh.
For your viewing pleasure, and for those that I meant to send a Christmas card to but didn't...(you know who you are) here is the front of my Christmas card this year!  This is Hyacinth!

Have a great day!!
(I miss you so much deeee)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Barn cats freed

Hi Everyone!!!  I'm excited to start blogging again and putting on "paper" what we've been doing around our new house. So...some back story, we moved here to Iowa from ...wait, you already know that, I did the garden thing and hatch day updates for my chickens our first year here. Well, we lived in that rental house for about 2 years and we had been thinking of buying a house pretty seriously. So, I found a house on Craigslist that had 3.69 acres and a bunch of outbuildings and stuff. So I looked at it the day after it was listed (end of October 2014). We then decided that maybe it wouldn't be very good for us for a few reasons. Then, a few months later, we changed our mind. Signed a contract to put in an offer for the house on December 6 (I remembered because it was the same day that we bought our first house in Utah back in 2004).  After some negotiation, we closed on the house at the end of January 2015!  YAY!!!  And then we were homeowners again! Woo Hoo!!!

Anyway, I would post pictures of the house, but I'm not ready to do that yet and all we will be concerned about is the barn for a while.  That's where the most fun is going on.  :) Here is a picture of the barn, it is 40'x100' and almost completely open (no stalls already there) but there is a little milking room in there at the entrance.

We have all sorts of animals and fun stuff in there now!  We have 4 rabbits, I think they're about 2 1/2 years old - I adopted them back in February from the Humane Society where I worked for a month.  We still have the same 13 chickens as we did before (except I REALLY wouldn't mind if the roosters disappeared).  We got 16 meat chicks about 6 days ago (I really don't like meat chickens, they gross me out for a bunch of reasons but I'm very excited to eat them).  We also have 7 little nanny goats that were born in March, so they are just over 5 months old.  And 3 barn cats.  I will definitely post pictures of everything as time goes on, but today we're going to talk about the cats.

We were chatting with the people who we got our goats from and they knew some people that had a bunch of barn cats, so we got a very inexpensive pet porter and caught them.  They arrived covered in milk and very unhappy.  There were 5 in the porter when they got here. One gray cat ran away when I was first opening the porter to put some water and food in there (so, later that same day).  In another day or two, we put them in this larger dog crate so they could be more comfortable for the couple of weeks they would be confined.  (I guess you are supposed to keep them confined for 2-3 weeks so they know where home is and will hopefully stay there, so that's what I did.)  When we were "emptying" them into the crate the little orange striped kitten ran away.  So now there are 3.  Here they are shortly after I put them in the dog crate.  We had a TON of flies in the barn, and they hadn't cleaned themselves up yet, so they're covered in flies in the picture.  (Not right now though!  They're clean and relatively happy.)

So there's the two black kittens and a white and black cat.  I've seen the kittens kind of doing stuff, but I've only seen the white cat lay there (in different places, but it doesn't do much).  The littler black cat I'm calling Hiss always hisses at me.  The other black cat is slightly larger and the TINIEST bit more friendly (ever so tiny!!!).  I haven't petted any of them really yet.  So, they've been living in this dog crate for about 2 weeks and 2 days now.  I've been figuring its about time to let them out and explore the area and start going to work (being mousers and bird-ers...).  Mice are common around here and in barns, so its not as gross and appalling, but they're still gross.  Anyway, a little bit ago I opened a big black garbage can that I had had our sweet goat feed in and some straw and found a little family of mice in there.  Awesome...not!  Well, I finally confronted it the day before yesterday, took the feed out and we put the garbage can down and next to the cat cage so they could smell the mice and maybe get some.

This morning, I was doing chores and fed the cats.  I looked over in the bottom of the can and saw a baby mouse come out of the hole and walk around a little bit, I figured this would be a great opportunity for the kittens to get some practice at their job.  So I opened the cage door facing the can and open on the other side.  They can officially get out now.  I'm super scared they'll run away, but I really hope they'll stay.

So, here is how it is set up now.  So, half the door is the garbage can, the other half is open to everything.  Its not pretty, I know and I need to clean their litter, but there we are.  They like to hang out in the box, which is funny, also its what I expected to happen.

And here's the open side...

After I opened the door, I looked around and made sure everyone else was okay and everything was done.  Then I looked back into the garbage can to see if I could see any mice and found this...

I like her style.  I'm not sure if its a boy or girl, but I like it!  It wasn't Hiss either.  What a cute little kitty...  And you can kind of see the little hole at the bottom right (where it kind of V's).  I wish they were more friendly, because that's freakin' adorable!!!

If I didn't have to go to work I would've watched them for a while.  But I was already really running late.  Dangit...  I hope they stay here.  They've just been laying around and been really boring the last little while, so I've gotten to the point where I didn't really care, but now they're playing a little and being curious.  I really want them to stay...Please stay kitties! Don't run away and don't get hit by a car! Just stay in the barn and the lower field.... okay?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Coming back!

Guess what everyone? I'm coming back and going to start posting more...
We recently bought a home with some land and are in the process of filling the barn with animals and getting everything situated for them!  YAY!  I've got to get ready for work right now, otherwise I'd post something more substantial!  
Take care of yourselves and you will hear from me soon!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Too much jam! Is that possible?

I've made just too much jam in the last week or two!  Is that possible though?  Is it possible to have toooooo much?  Well...we don't eat a whole lot of jam usually, but lately we've been eating much more than usual because its homemade and delicious.  I MIGHT not go back to store bought, but I'm not sure.  It all started a few weeks ago when we were at the farmer's market selling stuff and I wanted to go buy some strawberries.  Then, hubby said that he has a guy that he works with who has too many and that maybe we could go pick some!  So, after some arrangements we went over and we picked a whole lot of them!!!  YUM!!  And really, while I have good intentions, I'm not likely to eat them, which is disappointing.  So...I made some yummy freezer jam!  I did some searching online for a good freezer jam recipe, but some of the ones I found just used the recipes that were in the box of pectin, so that's the route I took!  (I found a neat blog about it, but I can't seem to find it now...disappointing!)

So, I got myself some pectin and some mason jars...(Oh. no.  not more mason jars!  .... nooo .... because I don't absolutely LOVE them and always want to buy more anyways .... shoot .... hehe) Note: because of all the jam I made I had to buy 2 cases of half pint jars. Oh no.... :)
Here is the kind of pectin I used, its just regular all natural blah blah blah...
Here are the oh so beautiful jars after I washed them... (p.s. I totally love these counters in this rental house-see the orange in the makes me so happy!)

Then, what you do is crush enough strawberries to get 2 cups (I don't have a blender or food processor, so I used a magic bullet type machine to crush them, it makes it more uniform and spready, only 5 pulses I think worked on each cup of berries).  We had enough berries to where I had to make 3 batches!!!  This is a double batch in this picture, but I can't remember which part in the process this was.  
Funny enough, the 3 boxes of pectin I got for the strawberries all had the same instructions in them, but the box I bought for the raspberries had a totally different insert.  I don't know why, it seems very weird!!  Anyway, for the strawberry jam, I crushed the strawberries then added the sugar (2 cups strawberries, 4 cups sugar, and one box pectin for each batch but it varies per fruit and stuff like that).  After adding the sugar, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then put water with your pectin in a saucepan and cook until it boils, let it boil for a minute then add to your crushed fruit/sugar mixture.  Stir that for 3 minutes then put into the jars and let it set on the counter-top for 24 hours.  My first double batch made about 13 half-pints, then another batch made about 7 more. So I've got about 20 jars of Strawberry freezer jam.  Is that right?  Wow!  
Here's the strawberry jam...yum!!!  
 After that turned out so good, hubby thought I should try some raspberry jam too.  So, I got some raspberries at the store.  (Someday, when we have our own house and property I hope to have my own berry patches and fruit orchard!!)  I got 2 18-ounce packages of these beautiful red raspberries at Sam's club and this is all that was left after I made one batch of raspberry jam.  Rest assured, they aren't lasting long.  I might finish up the rest with my breakfast today.  
So, I got the same box of pectin and this one had completely different directions!  Weird.  And with raspberries you have to have 3 cups of crushed fruit and 5 1/4 cups of sugar.  I thought it needed lemon juice, so I got some lemon juice too, but it didn't need it apparently.  So, you crush the berries and because raspberries have all those annoying seeds run the fruit through a sieve to get rid of the seeds otherwise it'll be annoying eating it.  (Note: I didn't do this until the pectin was cooking and it was too late, so I don't think it set up right because it sat too long.  But I don't know yet, the 24 hours isn't up yet.)  Set aside the berries then put the sugar, water and pectin in a saucepan and heat until boiling then boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, add the fruit and stir for one minute then put in the jars, then let them set up on the counter for 24 hours.  Because I was still removing seeds, after I boiled it for a minute it sat there for probably 3 or 5 minutes waiting for me then I added the fruit and did the rest.  But it was still hot, so I might be okay, right?  Hmm...we shall see.  But with this batch of raspberry jam I made 9 half-pints of jam!!  YUM hopefully!!  
 After all that, you put the ones you wanna eat in the fridge then the rest in the freezer.  Both can last in the fridge for 3 weeks and a year in the freezer.  I'm wondering now if I should have used the directions in the other boxes for raspberry, but I wasn't sure if this particular box was formulated differently.  Oh well, its too late now.  I read on a different recipe that if it doesn't set up after 2 weeks you can put it back on the stove and cook it some more and that will fix it, but we shall see.  I'm excited to have too much jam!  Its really good on English scones.  YUM!!  What else should I use it on?  Toast...I've heard ice cream...and because I'm kinda weird, bread and milk....(wow, I haven't had that in a loooong time...)

Any other ideas???
Grand total jam count?  29 jars!!  Holy cow!  So yummy though!!  No regrets!
xoxo, c

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Planet Earth worm project part 1

So, I'm taking an online Planet Earth geography class and its pretty interesting so far!  We have to be part of the Great Lakes Worm Watch project and eventually collect and preserve worms, which I'm pretty excited about funnily enough.  We have to do 3 different plots  (13"x13") for the class which I've chosen around the yard.  I'm thinking (IF I am feeling ambitious) that maybe I'll go to the forest area near my house and see what I can find out there. We will see!

I'm going to learn all sorts of cool things so you might get some weird facts (I might as well, its something interesting to blog about and I'm pretty excited!!).  Like these two: first, did you know that worms are not a native species to the United States and that they actually can hurt the forest floor by being there and doing their thing?  And two, earthworms CAN live in water for many months because they "breathe" through their skin.  WEIRD!  I didn't think they could! Awesome!!

As part of the first part of this assignment we had to take pictures of us by our plots and turn them in.  Here are mine!  hehe...Here is plot 1, I'm calling it "north of house."
 Here is plot 2: garden corner.
 And plot 3: west field corner.
(Hopefully, you can also see that we have corn growing in the field this year!  We are so super excited about it!  Its probably about 6-8 inches tall now, I think, but I might be wrong.)

We had to get the longitude and latitude for the locations of our plots too, so I got to use and do it that way because I don't have a handheld GPS.  Man, this is really cool! (That, or I'm a super dork! But I'm happy either way!)

I remember when I was young that we would collect worms.  I'm not sure why, I'll find out and get back to you.  But we used to pour this liquid stuff on the ground and the worms would come right up and we'd grab them and put them in containers I think.  I think that's why this project is so fun, it reminds me of things in my childhood and I'm not squeamish about picking them up either. Whenever I find some I always grab them and give them to the chickens!
Anyway, I best be getting to bed.  Talk to you soon!
xoxo, C

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Quick-ish update!

Hi Everyone!  Sorry its been really really long since I have posted has been really busy lately!!  

I started going to school again full time back in January, I took 5 classes for the spring semester and had a quick 2 week break in between.  I think I did pretty good, I got As and Bs, which is really nice, especially after being out of school for so long!!  Hopefully I can keep it up for the next 2 years.  I'm not sure if I told you, but I'm going to school for accounting!  Yay!...because its so exciting.  But I think it'll be a good move for me, hopefully, and if I decide to not do anything with accounting then at least I'll have a business degree and be able to do something with it.  :) I just started summer semester a couple of days ago and I am taking 3 classes (because you can only take 3 during the summer apparently-its only 10 weeks instead of 17, so they cram in a whole bunch of work in those weeks, so it kind of makes sense but kind of messes up my plan).  

I don't know if any of you know (which I think all of my family and some of my friends know), but we started a metal cut out business!  Yay!  The web site address is and we are Facebook as Cochin Creations.  I put the new stuff we are making on Facebook, so that is more updated than the web site.  The web site also has some issues that I'm still trying to work through, but it'll work for now until I have time to play with it again!  I learned the css and html coding from a tutorial that I found on youtube and I got a free program where you can design web sites and publish them through it.  I started out using Adobe Dreamweaver, but it ended up costing money and my free trial ran out! So I got Microsoft Expression Web 4 and it has been working really well.  There is still a lot of stuff I don’t know how to do, so hopefully that will come with time.  But it shows our pictures and it shows what we can do, so it’ll work for now.  We have been doing the local farmer’s market and also a farmer’s market about 25 miles away.  One is Saturday mornings and the other is every other week on Sunday mornings.  This weekend we get to do both, so it won’t be much of a weekend! Ugh, but we’ve been doing pretty well and its kinda fun to see what you can come up with and be creative and everything!  We will see how things go as time goes on!  :)

Also!!  The sweet little chickens turned a year old the other day!!!  I can’t believe it!  I would have taken pictures, but the gnats out here have been just so bad that they hang out in their coop all day because they are so annoying!  I don’t blame them, I stay inside too and when the gnats are swarming around you when you are out there you kind of want to freak out and run away from them.  Yikes!  Yes…they are that annoying!!  Stupid gnats.  I can’t believe that they are one year old already!  We still have all 13, they are laying up a storm, happy as ever (I think).  Except I haven’t been letting them out out (so they can play in the yard and in my garden) for some reason, but I think with the gnats about they are okay with that. 

I’m afraid that is about it…hubby has been working hard and doing well I think…he’s been sent on a couple of business trips, which I think he enjoyed a little bit.  We had both of our birthdays and our 10 year anniversary last month!  I can’t believe we are as old as we are and have been married for 10 years!  Holy cow!!!  Also, I think I have decided not to grow a garden this year.  But I'm still slightly on the fence about it.  I want to grow some stuff, mostly for the chickens.  I don't know! 

I think that is about it…I’m not sure what else is new or interesting…I better get some homework done before work! 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quick update and rant about recycling

Two things, a quickie update and a little rant.
First, I have lots and lots of great pictures to show you about the chickens and what we've been up to lately.  I'm sooooooo sorry that it has been over two months since I have posted anything.  I've been so busy and haven't taken the chance to do it. :( Please forgive me?

School is going pretty good, there is only 3 weeks left in this semester, then I have 2 weeks off before the summer semester starts!  Also, in 3 weeks, I'll be getting my braces off finally!  So Popcorn and Snickers bars and nuts and gum and everything else I love, here I come!!!  I'm super excited! It has only been 3 1/2 years!  Hubby is doing good, the chickens are doing good, somehow they all survived the harshest winter Iowa has seen in many years!  So glad we all made it!  I've been busy still working at the store, its pretty good.  I really really miss working in an office environment, so I've been looking a little bit here and there for a different job, but nothing as of yet.  I thought I had a job at a publishing company here in town, but they ended up finding someone with more experience.  Oh well! At least I have a job!  And it will work pretty good while going to school too.

That is about all I can think of at the moment, I'll try to update you with more information and pictures of the little babies soon (the chickens of course).

AND NOW...The rant.
I was going to put this on Facebook, but I figured I'd get too many opinions and I really didn't want to argue with people about it so I'll do it here instead!

I finally finished a stupid Global Business paper. Yay!  I think it turned out alright.

I don't usually do this, but I'm going to rant for a minute.  Ok, so you know on the bottles and cans where it says IA 5 cents! You think that you get 5 cents for the bottle right? So its a good deal, right? NO!  You have to pay the 5 cents when you buy the stupid plastic bottle or can on top of the cost of the product.  Then, if you want your stupid 5 cents back you have to take it all into one of the centers in a store and stand it all up nicely in a little box and then you get your money back (you can't crush your cans either so they take up less space and you can't put them in a 12 pack box and hand it in that way...noooo!!!).  I hate being forced into recycling, granted I CAN choose not to take it in, its completely optional and its only 5 cents, but I want my money back!  I think it is the stupidest thing ever to make people recycle like that. it literally makes me mad to have to go through the whole process.  First, I feel like an idiot taking bags of cans and bottles in the store in a cart, then it takes for EVER to put them in the boxes, and then you get $1.25 back for all that work.  Whoop-de-doo.  I love recycling, in fact, we have more recycling than garbage.  I just don't think they should pre-charge me for it and take my money like that.

xoxo C