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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

meet Carmel..

my newest little LaMancha doeling.
We picked her up last weekend, along with a gorgeous little Fainter buck, I'll call Louie...

and my 2 new Cross and NOT-Cross baby Holstein/Jersey heifers.  We had a truck load.  I took my Father, who doesn't like to miss out on road trips, and my best buddy, Sharon.  I also had Erin home this last month, so of course she had a blast.  For those who don't know of Erin, she's my 36 yr old daughter.  She was handicapped at birth and has the remarkable ability to process some adult humor but operates at a 4-6 yr old level.  I never get it how she can "Guffaw" at stuff I think is over her head, but doesn't know how to hold a door when your following her into the house with your arms loaded.  Its just Erin..

I'll post photos of the new calves next....they are absolutely the most adorable baby calves I think I've ever seen..
Oh wait, I say that about all newborn calves.   The really special thing about these two though?   I am keeping them forever and ever...
I like that best.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I had my enthusiastic Granddaughter for a sleepover...
and she doesn't mind getting a little dirty...and because
my best buddy and go along with anything...stopped over with her hubby
( was taken the day before as we were house shopping for her...I only wish that was my fridge)

But because the day was meant to be enjoyed outside with a little walkabout in my own back yard....
I took everyone to this very spot in my own back yard.  Its about a 4 minute hike to this flat and rolling spread of native grass and pristine ground...

I had walked across the pasture just a week or so earlier and found a small little glass bottle completely intact with the lid still secure...
I told my hiking buddy about it and she was anxious to come have a lookabout and see what might else be lying around.
My Granddaughter is just the best little outdoor buddy you could ask for also, and she was ready for any sparkly treasure we might find.
I took a potato fork and dug a little fork full of dirt and we all were down on hands and knees checking out the cobalt blue glass that was peeking up at us.
I went to take another dig with the fork and my 10yr old Granddaughter was grabbing me to STOP!!!  She was going at it with fingernails before I could damage what she was thinking was an intact blue bottle.
Thats when it became a bit of a frenzy and I was sent to the house to fetch buckets, gloves, screwdrivers and the mule to carry anything we found home.
We didn't disturb a patch of soil no bigger than 5x5ft and we only dug below the surface some 6-10 inches at most.
While alot of it was old broken depression glass, we did find some fun and romantic things.
My Granddaughter found an old skeleton key and she just thought it was about the best thing of the day!
My good friend found a lid to some fancy glass powder puff decanter or small display jar that was striking.
And she also found a syrup pour bottle.  Her husband found a pop/beer bottle opener and several very cool metal items.  I found several tiny little bottles that intrigued me most.
While I think this most likely dates to a dump in the 40's-50's, we still had a blast finding intact bottles and the oddities of someones previous kitchen.
and I know its Milk of Magnesia and Vicks vapor rub glass...and I (sadly) remember using these very items, but to think just inches under the soil where it shows no signs of any rubble, there were so many different things.
Just a couple weeks before we did the little dig on Sunday, I had found some iron pieces lying semi exposed on a side hill.
a broken shoe for a mule, some side arm brackets for a buckboard seat on a wagon, an old meat or wheat grinder, and the top item is a hitch to a wagon these items date much earlier. Perhaps the early 1900's
(the grinder has an patent date of 1889, and I know this isn't likely that old, but still very cool)
I only found out about what the other items were after I took them down to a neighbor of mine to identify.  This older fellow told me about dugouts...
I knew about the sod houses that people tried to homestead in but I didn't know they were "dugout" into large holes and around my area there are still the remnants of several. Imagine living in this rugged cold and hard South Dakota winter and trying to survive in a sod house dug into the ground some 8-10ft.
Now, I've walked my pastures and to the river many times and after this weekend, I have a completely different thought on life on the prairie.
Someday I'm going to take him a couple dozen eggs and a few bars of goats milk soap down to my neighbor and ask a few more questions.  I am thinking me and my buddies are going for another hike!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

Forecast for the week!

Same time last year...
This year has been a record setter.
I've ordered an extra load of hay to be delivered this week.  I am going to play it safe and have enough on hand just in case.  We could be having a scorcher this year and burn out all the grass, or we could be having a deluge of rain or a explosion of grasshoppers.... who knows, but at least I'll have hay!
I love this forecast though, but I think planting tomatos already might be a little premature...
There I said it, jinxed,  Let it SNOW!!

Beautiful day to be born!

It reached over 70 on Saturday and it wasn't windy and it was glorious...
and with this one broke the streak of girls I've had lately.  Up until Saturday, all the calves so far have been girls!  I was really hoping Maple would give me that girl that she has NEVER had.   But my odds were getting pretty steep...  Besides, Maple is an older girl now, (around 8 yrs) and she has always had bull calves....ALWAYS!
She is my "Perfect" girl who stands anywhere I might find her and allow me to milk matter what.
Her calves are a perfect size at birth and she raises stocky, heavy boned big strong calves....ALWAYS...
One of her line would be excellent to keep.
Maybe, just maybe, I should consider my second bull?...
We'll see...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

this time of year...

I get an itch

it starts with the change of weather
and the feeling in the wind...
I think of all the possibilities

I have baby calves bounding around in the pasture right now and the new little baby lamancha buckling who has adopted me for his Mommy..

I like to keep options open and have been thinking about adding a couple more dairy cattle to my group. At present, I have 5 full Jersey cattle that range in age from 3yrs to 8 yrs old.  I've kept 4 half Jerseys that range 4yrs to 6yrs. I also kept back 4 yrlg heifers from last spring and I now have 5 heifer calves born this spring...
Add to that 7 yearling steers and I can just about call it a herd. Don't forget Rudy, the Jersey/Guernsey Bull I've hand raised either.  Along with 1 odd walking 2yr old stunted calf the Rancher down the road dropped off a couple years ago and the Total count is at 27 head.  With 5 more cattle to calf yet....I could be up to 32...if all goes right!

This last summer one of my oldest Jersey cows died and I need a little character that only a Jersey girl can give, plus bottle raising a nice little heifer might give me that "better than ever" milker that I like.
I have a couple girls who let me milk them proper without a fuss, but any of the other girls are pretty tough for me to handle without a proper stall setup to milk.  I KNOW I can raise a heifer calf that allows me to milk her, pet her, brush her and most of all control her.

I called the dairy that I buy a few bull calves from.  She is willing to sell me 2 heifer calves.  They only have Holstein/Jersey crosses and she's checking the barn today.  They have calves born most every day there and as she knows me pretty well now,  I trust she'll treat me right.
Course I called my Dad to let him know he gets to do a road trip and he was ready to hop in a car right now.
I won't let him put them in the backseat of the car this time, and I'll be picking up dear ole Father to give him a little adventure.  He likes those...and I have to say, this time of year you just never know what I'm going to do.

I've been studying up on Holstein/Jersey crosses and it seems they are becoming pretty trendy and are hardy girls.  I'm hoping I can choose which ones I like.  I want to have some color and character and as always...I like the neighbors to always wonder "WHAT is she doing now?"
I'm thinking a new little bottle baby (or two) is nothing new around here, and since I've been feeding steer calves that I sell or take to butcher, I am needing a keeper calf that I hand raise.  Now to find some names...always the hardest part.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I love how this fellow blogger puts it...

Its so very true...
Going Gently

I LOVE my soap molds!!

Seriously, I love them.  They haven't failed me.  I think I make pretty rustic simple soaps and  while I'm experimenting with minerals and scrubs,  they allow me to make beautifully layered soaps.  They are so much fun to unveil. I get anxious to peak at the color layers too early sometimes and this last batch almost taught me a lesson.  I had only poured the soaps a couple hours prior to my unlatching the side to peak at the color layer...the color changes as it cures. The soap held straight and I was surprised at how fast it set...then...quickly it appeared to bulge and I slammed the side shut!  WHEW!  Debra, now don't be peaking like that again.  That would of been a mess.
 I also like to shave/grate colored soap curls for the top layer and press it into the mixture for a creative appearance..

 I've experimented more with the mineral colors and textures using the box molds.  My recipe has been so consistent that in the few years that I have made soap, only once did it NOT turn out.  Shea butter adds a creamy silky feeling to the soap and makes it highly addictive.  I love using this soap, but I really enjoy the colored layers I get to experiment with.  This soap mold is the best mold I've used.   So glad that son of mine made these!  They're getting some pretty solid use right now.

 I also experiment with the cutting of the soaps for eye appeal, but I am not very consistent with sizing.  I probably have some pretty hefty bars and should likely price my soaps by the ounce now.  I am always thinking of the customer first and want to make sure they get the slightly larger cut, and never think I can use the thicker bars for home.  What's with that!??  Not sure why I think I should only be using the scraps?  Its gotta be the (cheap)  in me...taking the scraps...or maybe its because I've been a Mom for some 36years.  Well today I'm going to use the largest creamiest cut of soap for just me!!  Its time I treated myself for a change, but I know I'll feel a little guilt.  I need to work on that...
If anyone would like to purchase a wonderfully crafted soap mold, I can ask the boy...he likes doing stuff for me....yup he does.  At least I tell myself that.