Saturday, January 31, 2009

Moving Forward

Good news for the SA farm! We are getting a really good tax return so I am going to be able to accomplish some things around here.. For one, I'll be able to join the American Dairy Goat Association and transfer ownership of the girls over to my name.. Yes, I've had these goats for almost three months and I still haven't transferred them.. Costs money.. Enough said.. I'll also be able to register my herd/farm name.. Yay me!

And I'll also be able to get my red new zealand rabbits! Yay me again!

I also plan to get supplies to start my hydroponic seed starting setup.. We went by the farmers and flea market place today and there isn't anybody selling veggie or flower seedlings.. Or that I saw anyway.. It might be a bad time of year and somebody might be doing that later in the year.. We also got there kind of early and most people were just setting up.. But I still want to try it.. I also plan on trying the handmade items thing with the crocheting.. Knitting will come later if I ever really get the hang of it..

I can also finish the rabbit cages.. I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to do the doors.. I'm putting the doors in the top, that way it will be at least harder for them to escape.. It also leaves the sides free for feeder or water bottle space, or whatever else I might need the sides for.. But I want to make the door itself out of something more solid.. But don't know if I should use wood (chewable) or something else.. I've almost got one cage finished.. I just need to cut another opening for the other door, put in a divider (need more wire), and get some feeders to install on the sides.. Oh, and the door issue thing.. I still haven't figured out if I'm going to put the nest boxes inside the cage or cut a separate hole to hang them on the outside or underneath.. I'd love to put them underneath since rabbits naturally make burrows for their nests.. But no idea yet how I'd attach them or how I'd be able to check on the kits.. Still some brain storming to do..

The last thing I'd like to do (for now) is start my raised beds.. But we'll see how much money we have left after we catch up on the bills and I accomplish these other things.. I also agreed that hubby can get a Wii.. It was that or an Xbox 360.. I like the Wii better because it gets you off the couch and actually participating in the game.. Not just get cramps in your thumbs..

Anyway, enough talk about money.. We won't be getting it for 8-15 days anyway.. Past bedtime.. Nite nite..

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I've Been Up To

Other than the usual stressing over bills, that is..

Cleaned off the goat's pen and put all the wasted hay and poo in an area that I had tried to make as a cement raised bed.. Found out cement is much more expensive than I thought and doesn't go quite as far as I thought it would.. Would end up taking A LOT of cement to complete that project.. So I never bothered finishing it..
Cleaned pen

Instead I'm using it as a compost pile..
Future compost

Also working on making the cages for the new rabbits.. Still haven't completed those yet so don't have any pics to show..

Spent most of yesterday moving around the living room and giving it a really good cleaning.. Every once in a while I just have an urge to rearrange stuff for no reason.. Today I feel very apathetic and don't know if I'll accomplish anything.. Need to finish up a little left of the living room and probably do some laundry.. We'll see if it gets done or not..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Harvest

Well, here is what I was able to salvage from the ruined garden.. Some spinach leaves and three tiny pea pods..

First Harvest

Some of the spinach leaves were a bit frost bitten so I gave those to the rabbits along with the three pea pods.. They seemed to really enjoy them.. The rest I washed off and gave to hubby as a spinach salad.. He said it was good..

Now the rest of this winter I am going to either till up that spot again and add lots of the hay the goats waste, along with their poo and the rabbit poo, or I'm going to make a compost pile of it and see what I end up with in a couple months.. Hopefully by then our finances will be a little better and I'll be able to make the raised beds like I've been wanting forever.. But we shall see..

It's Cold!!!

Last nite we had a really hard frost come through here.. We've lived in central Florida for 4 1/2 years now and I've never seen it this bad.. Well, maybe bad is the wrong term.. We have the heat on in the house, all the animals outside are fine.. Its already warming up.. But the water buckets do have a layer of ice on the top..

Frosty day

Frost on the ground

Frozen bucket

But my garden is really done for now..

Frosted garden

Frosted spinach

I think the pictures say it all.. Its actually really neat to see.. For me anyway.. I come from south Florida where it never does stuff like this so this is a bit of a novelty to me..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kittikity 0, Dog Sweater 1

Ok, so this crochet project didn't go quite as well as the beanies had.. Of course, I couldn't find a dog sweater pattern exactly to my liking so I kind of made it up as I went along.. I wanted a pattern that I didn't have to make in sections and then have to piece together later.. I thought it was going well at first, then for some reason it started getting skinnier and skinner towards the back.. I can only assume I was doing something wrong that was maybe reducing the stitches.. Like accidentally skipping a stitch or something.. I also did some increases around the neck that ended up just making it look at bit poofy.. Might not be able to tell from the pics though because Bonnie wanted to roll over to have her belly scratched every time I reached for her..

Anyway, take a look.. If you have any suggestions about what I did wrong or how to fix it I'd love to hear them.. I'm starting another one and I'm going to do it slightly different.. I'll let yall know how that one goes too..

Bonnie's new sweater

Bonnie's new sweater

Introducing Daisy and Trixie!

We went and got our new rabbits yesterday! This is Daisy and Trixie.. Don't really know which is which, but I'm calling the one that's slightly more nervous Daisy and the calmer one Trixie.. Hubby helped me take pictures..



This is my 5 yr old daughter holding Trixie to give you an idea of their size.. They are 10 months old and might get a little bigger, but I think their max is 5 or 6 pounds..

Have them in small temporary cages right now.. Will make new cages when hubby gets paid again and then I'll take new pics of them in their new homes.. Then hopefully in a month we'll have baby bunnies, and 3 or 4 months after that we'll have rabbit stew.. Sorry if that offends anybody, but the point of my farm is to provide food for my family..

Speaking of food.. My garden is kaput.. We had a hard freeze last nite and the squash and corn plants (the ones that were doing the best) are now dead.. So I guess I'll be tilling up the whole thing and trying again.. But this time I'll add all the wasted hay from the goats, any goat poo pellets that is in it, and hopefully rabbit poo pellets soon also..

Oh, and the guy pointed out a name on the pedigrees that he got his breeding stock from.. He said that breeder was one of the top breeders of Florida whites in the state..

Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm Gonna Have Bunnies!!!

I put a post on craigs list about needing some cheap meat rabbits.. But somebody contacted me with something better.. There's a man not far from here (same city that the lady lives that gave me the yarn) that has two Florida white rabbits that he's going to sell me for $10 each, with pedigree papers.. And he's even going to breed them for me.. Normally he sells them for twice that but he needs the cage space..

Florida whites were developed in Florida (of course) and are a medium sized meat rabbit.. Same body type as a new zealand, just a little smaller.. Supposed to be a very good percentage of meat while eating less then the bigger meat rabbits..

I guess I better make some cages tomorrow.. He's already got one bred today.. I'll post pics, of course, when I get them home..

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good News and Bad News

Good news is that the lady called me back about the new zealand red rabbits.. Bad news is that I, of course, don't have the money for them.. But she did say that she or the rabbits aren't going anywhere anytime soon and that I can make payments.. Now the question is, can I talk hubby into letting me doing the payments? And will hubby's job hold out long enough for me to make those payments? Yes, there is doubt to that last part.. In this economy, there's always a doubt to that last part.. But I want those rabbits so bad.. They're absolutely beautiful..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Am The Beanie Master!!!

Beanie #3 is done.. Took me a little longer because I didn't dedicate as much time all at once to it like I did the other two.. But here it is.. That's my eldest child in the pic.. His hat..



Definitely time to try something new though.. Next crochet project, dog sweater!

The Girls, 2 1/2 Months Along

So, the goat girls are about two and a half months along now.. They were bred in late October.. They're really starting to show.. (Either that or I'm feeding them too much..) Especially if you look at pics from when they first got here.. Check out this post for previous pics..

This is Velvet now.. She's the most noticeable since she has the more delicate frame of the three..
Velvet, 2 1/2 months preg

Velvet, 2 1/2 months preg

Prima is a second freshener.. Last year she had a single buckling, all black like her..
Prima, 2 1/2 months preg

Prima, 2 1/2 months preg

Now, the pics of Blue Bell on that previous post don't really look that different from what she looks like now.. She's a mixed breed of 1/2 nubian, 1/4 alpine, and 1/4 nigerian dwarf so she doesn't have as light of a frame as the other two.. But i do have one pic here that might show a better difference..

Blue Bell

Now, top
Blue Bell 2 1/2 months preg

Now, side
Blue Bell, 2 1/2 months preg

Only 2 1/2 more months to go before babies!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Potato Cages

On the right side of the veggie pic below, you can sort of see the extra chicken wire I have just laying there.. It's been laying there for a month or so now because I just didn't know what to do with it.. Then a video on growing potatoes reminded me of some people using trash cans to grow potatoes.. They would put soil in the bottom and then add straw or hay as the plants grew.. The potatoes grew in the straw areas of the trash can.. But I started thinking, "Does it have to be an enclosed thing like a garbage can?" So I just did a search for 'potato' and 'chicken wire'.. And sure enough, you can use chicken wire in just the same way..

So I guess that will be my next project.. I've already got the wire.. I'll look around here for something to use to support it.. If not then I'll have to get some cheap t-posts or something.. The white step in posts like I have around the veggie garden might work.. But I'd rather get some of the light duty metal ones.. I'll need those later on for my rabbit hutch anyway so this will give me a reason to go ahead and buy some.. Then all I'll need are some potatoes to start it off.. I'll probably just get some potatoes from the supermarket.. Not the best option but it seems like the easiest one right now.. Or maybe this will also give me a reason to go by the local farmers market.. I wonder if I can drag hubby there this weekend.. Doubt it, but I'll go by myself if I have to..

I Think I've Found a Solution to My Raised Bed Woes

I was looking up trellis' on Lowes website and stumbled across a new product they're going to be getting in February.. They're composite boards made of wood fiber and recycled plastic! Now, the posts are a little over $30 so if you're going for a fence it might get pretty pricey.. But the rail boards themselves are 1 1/2" x 3 3/4" x 71 3/4" and cost about $12.. Yes, they cost a little more than regular wood would cost, but just imagine how long they'll last.. And they're made from recycled plastic.. I absolutely love products made from recycled plastics.. Anyway, come February I'll be making a weekly trip to Lowes to buy a board or two at a time.. Unfortunately that's all our budget might allow for now, buying the supplies a bit at a time..

If you want to look them up on the Lowes website, they're in the fencing section under wood fencing..

Since they're only about 6 foot long, I might have to do 4'x4' beds.. That's ok though because I can use the extra 2 foot leftovers on the inside of the bed to attach the top and bottom sections..

My Meager Veggie Garden

veg garden
Click the pic for a bigger view

This is my pitiful little garden.. I couldn't do a raised bed yet like I had wanted to, so I went ahead and planted in the ground.. My soil is rather thick.. Not quite thick like clay soil, but definitely some clay in it.. Also not much organic matter to give it optimal drainage.. We do get a little flooding right after a heavy rain, but it drains ok.. But I'm afraid with the summer rain it won't drain fast enough and the veggies will drown.. Also with this thick soil, I don't think the roots are getting enough air and the plants aren't growing well.. Not enough organic matter to enrich the soil and make things grow better..

I really need to get some rabbits.. I really think rabbit manure will help my garden a lot.. But getting hubby to agree to getting some rabbits now probably isn't going to happen.. "Do you really need them NOW?" is what I usually get.. Money is tight here and there's not much outlook on it getting better.. So rabbits seem like an extra expense to him.. I also don't have any cages built yet and that's more expense..

I feel so useless sitting here doing nothing.. Not able to accomplish any of my millions of projects rolling around in my head because of money.. Not being able to get a job because I'm at home with Kaitlyn.. Can't put her in daycare because I wouldn't be able to trust them to manage her diabetes.. I'm not saying daycares are incompetent.. But they wouldn't be able to keep a really close eye on her like I think she needs.. What if her blood sugar drops out of nowhere(its happened before) and they don't notice?

I love being home for the kids.. I think its important for the kids.. But I wish there was some way I could make some money from home to help pay bills and pay for my projects..

Ok, this was supposed to be a positive post about what 'is' growing and to show off my gardengirl t-shirt that I got for writing an article about the goats for the's ezine.. Very proud of my t-shirt.. I put it on right away, even over the clothes I already had on.. Of course, I took off my other shirt later.. But I've been wearing the gardengirl t-shirt all day.. I'll probably sleep in it..

Ok, so as to what 'is' growing.. I've got some summer squash and another kind of squash (can't remember the name at the moment), some corn, some beans, some peas, some cauliflower that aren't doing very well, one broccoli plant that isn't doing well either, and one cucumber plant that is only doing ok.. Oh, and some spinach in the front that isn't doing nearly as well as I'd hoped.. I was looking forward to a baby spinach leaf salad.. Also planted some tomato seeds but don't think those came up at all.. Oh, and some bell peppers that I don't think came up.. Yes, I need to weed the whole thing badly.. But at this point I'm a little discouraged at how poorly most of it is going.. The squash and corn is doing the best..

One of the projects I'd like to get accomplished before I plant again is a hydroponic seed starting system.. But, of course, that's going to take money.. I also want to get some raised beds made so I don't have to deal with this soil.. But that doesn't look like its going to happen anytime soon either.. I need to get rabbits for the manure.. *la sigh* So many projects, so little money.. I need a job.. But I can't.. It's an endless circle..

Anyway, admire my tiny veggies, admire my lovely shirt, ignore my ugly mug, and...... whatever pleases you afterwards.. = )

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Feeding The Goats

Here's a short video of me feeding the goats.. I give them two scoops of alfalfa pellets and one scoop of grain.. I then shake the bucket up or they would eat the grain first and might not bother with the alfalfa pellets.. They love their grain.. Unfortunately when I converted it to a flash movie, the quality went down on the video.. But its still plenty clear enough to see.. Also, sorry for the shakey cam.. Its not easy feeding three hungry goats and hold a digital camera at the same time.. Anyway, enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Future Livestock Guardian

A little over a month ago, one of our dogs had puppies.. A total shock since we thought she was fixed and we never saw a male around at all.. She had one boy and 4 girls.. At first we were going to just give them all away.. When they were ready, of course.. But for some reason I knew the little boy was special.. I had wanted to use our two outside dogs as livestock guardians.. But Dixie (the mother) kills chickens and if I don't shut the goats pen, Chloe will run the goats off and eat their food.. I'm afraid of what Chloe might do to baby goats..

But I wanted a livestock guardian to protect them from some of my more unsavory neighbors, and for predator protection when I get chickens and rabbits.. As the little boy got older and started running around, I saw that he had a very calm and sweet disposition.. His sisters were more hyper than he was.. So I figured he would be perfect to have as a livestock guardian.. He's known the goats ever since he began to open his little eyes and seems very calm when they come near him.. The goats seem to take to him very well.. Yes, even at this early of an age.. Add to that his lovely dark red color and blue eyes, and he's definitely a winner..

I may be putting my own opinion on this, but I already think he's really smart.. He was sniffing at some food my daughter had and I gave him a light swat on the butt.. He didn't give that food a second look.. Instead he just curled up next to me and fell asleep.. With an open pizza box sitting on the other side of me..

My husband has already fallen in love with him.. When my husband went to bed, I had him hold the puppy so I could massage his feet.. (My husband's feet, not the puppy's...) The puppy curled up on my husband's chest and fell asleep..

We don't have a name for him yet.. I'm allowing my husband to pick the name and he's trying to find a really good one.. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated..

And without further ado, here is our new 6 week old border collie mix member of our family..
Our future livestock guardian

Beanie #2!!!

This one is for my younger son.. He loves green so that's what I made.. Came out a lot more like the video described then my daughter's did.. I followed a different video though and I like this way of doing it much better.. This one is all single crochet with an H hook and then a J hook about half way through.. But I think my daughter's fits her well because it looks more decorative.. Works well for a girl's hat.. Already half way through an all black beanie for my older son.. They're super easy.. I can usually do one in about 2 days..

I'd also like to thank everyone for all the compliments.. Feel free to leave a comment any time..



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My First Beanie!

Actually, its for my daughter (that's her in the pics).. But I made it! It's crocheted in double stitch.. It's a little wonky looking because I guess I didn't realize how big her head was so had to widen it more.. I also am really not sure how I got that knob on the top.. Maybe too many single stitches at the beginning? Or I didn't start increasing soon enough? I also ran out of yarn (didn't realize just how much yarn it would take) so I had to add the maroon border around the bottom..

Right side
right side
Left side
left side

It's also darker then it looks in the pic.. The camera flash kind of bled out the colors.. I wasn't even done with this one and my two boys are asking for their own beanie.. I'm definitely picking up on the crocheting more than I am on the knitting.. I think the fact that there's only one needle/hook to contend with.. But I'm still going to stick with the knitting too.. Anyway, let me know what you think of my first completed piece..

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Crochet Attempt

I've started my first attempt at crocheting last nite.. I am definitely zooming along with it better than I was with the knitting.. Of course, I sort of learned how to crochet when I was younger but never actually made anything.. I'm sure my knitting will get just as good the more I do it.. Even though I am getting the crocheting pretty quickly, I still have lots of room for improvement.. Check out my first piece..
First crochet attempt
It was done with a chain to begin and then single stitches.. Not too bad, but still needs work..