Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Big 40 and Chasing Pigs

                                    I was born on Halloween, 40 years ago.
When I turned 30 I thought that it was old...haha. I also thought 23 was the *best* year and that we should all stay that age for at least a decade. Now I am 40, and you know what? Big deal.
I am lucky to have the privilege, and so I am going to eat lunch out and enjoy the day. No regretting the loss of my *youth* or sadness to see the 30's long gone. I do, after all, have a full life that shows what a productive and blessed 40 years can obtain.

Quick fact: I was named Samantha after the well known TV show "Bewitched."


The weekend was a wild one. We had our Halloween Bash and Haunted Trail. I had many friends travel from quite a distance to join in the festivities.

Devin dressed liked a Zombie Doctor and enjoyed scaring guests in the Haunted Trail.

It went off without a hitch, well except the fact that our power was off most of the day and was just turned back on as the party began. There was an issue with a neutral wire tat broke off and the electricity could not exit the house. Those are my very layman terms, of course. As a result of this power issue, the dishwasher, dryer and computer were fried. Of course I am glad the house didn't burn down or catch fire or anything but I admit that these last several days of hand washing dishes, hanging clothes out to freeze dry (it's been cold here) and no computer is a bit nuts!
I am glad we had a fun party and lots of friends to make the blow less of a, well, blow!

Thank you to everyone who came out! We will plan another next year!

Now, let's move on to these little oinkers. Devin spent all afternoon yesterday preparing for them a nice, large area to roam about. It's actually a garden area and we are using them to till it up for us.
Once the fence was up (electric wire) we proceeded to move them.

They were being housed in a large dog kennel. We took a dog crate out and chased one into the crate. We loaded the crate to a wagon that's attached to the lawn mower. Devin drove off through the backyard with the pig and I was patting myself on the back for how easy it was to move the critters.
Of course that was about the time the pig pushed off the back panel of the crate, leaped off the wagon and darted into the woods quicker than lightening!
The pig that was still in the kennel waiting then ran and pushed her way through the side of the dog kennel wall! Now I had BOTH pigs in the woods snorting and shuffling. OOPS!

I ran to the house to get a bucket of milk and was able to lure one pig out of the woods with this bucket. Pigs LOVE milk!
Devin grabbed her back legs and proceeded to carry her to her new fenced area. All the while she was squealing...a sound like no other.

Let me now stop and explain something about our dogs. They are American Bulldogs and they are nice to all of the animals on the farm, however, American Bulldogs are bred to catch wild hogs.

Well, the sound of the pig struck a chord within Zelda and she immediately went into hog catching mode! She chased the boy pig through the woods and then came back through the yard and attempted to catch the pig Devin and Journee were carrying! Journee put Zelda inside the house, Devin got the pig in the fenced area and I lured the boy pig out of the woods with another bucket of milk.

This time I trapped him back in the kennel. We repaired the crate and transported the boy pig on the wagon with the mower, but this time Journee and I followed while holding the crate with our hands.

Today they are happily living in their area with a new shelter Devin built them, and the dogs have been shown not to even come near the pig area.

Just another adventure, right?


Happy Halloween to everyone and here's to many more birthdays for us all!

I will be back Friday. Until then....have a piece of chocolate for me!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


The pigs are here. We have 2 of them and they are about 3 months old.

I considered getting little babies but, honestly, they were too cute.

These fellas are pretty cute as it is and I have discovered them to be very entertaining to watch. They are smart and have loads of personalities....2 traits that will make it quite difficult to send them to slaughter.

We have plans to put them into the woods with electric fencing but for these few days they are in the outdoor dog kennel. We are having a huge Halloween party tonight and felt it would be best to keep the critters here for a few days.
We are having to move the kennel on a daily basis because these pigs can till and turn up the ground within a matter of hours. Amazing.

Of course we plan to use this tilling ability to turn up a large area of ground for garden planting in the spring. We have bermuda in our field and believe these pigs might till it enough to give us a growing season.

We want to plant a large pumpkin patch. In fact we passed a pumpkin garden on the way home from getting the pigs. We stopped and bought pumpkins for the kids and yesterday was a perfect day to sit on the grass and carve.

Sustainable farming. Diverse farming as well. These pigs wouldn't be as entertaining if we had 100 to care for, but we have 2. We have laying hens, roaster chickens in the summer, a dairy cow, a steer for meat, honey bees, fruit trees, and now pigs. Every creature fertilizes the land and contributes to the farm.
Moving the animals around the land ensures that we are accomplishing what we set out to do and that's grow grass. Joel Salatin is right when he says we are farming grass. Everything else is a product of this sustainable farming method.

He is also correct when he says that farming in a diverse manner makes farming much more enjoyable and family friendly.


Now to the party. Tonight will be about friends, food and a fabulous haunted trail in the woods.

We situated the haunted trail in back near the creek. The trees are beautiful this time of year, and we woke up this morning to very cool weather. We will have a couple of fire pits going tonight as well as hot apple cider.

Fletcher helped us put the large canopy together yesterday...or at least he mimicked every move we made during the process.

Here's to a happy weekend for everyone! We will be eating hotdogs, cotton candy, and sweet treats all afternoon and evening, so if you are in the area...drop by!

I will be back next week with pictures and a new Handmade Holiday!

Have a SPOOKTACTULAR weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Handmade Holidays: The Sharpie Plate

Sometimes you want to personalize your gift. You want something easy, simple, and yet personal.

I'm sure you have seen these on Pinterest.

Well, it is a great gift idea so I am going to tell you how you REALLY make these.

Get a plate or platter or coffee mug that you want to personalize. Once you have that, you will need a Sharpie.

But you will need the Sharpie Paint Pen. It is oil based. If you use a plain Sharpie that is water based the writing will wipe off...even after you bake it.

I found a multi pack of these paint pens at the craft store and used a 40% off coupon to get them for a deal.

Wash your dish well, plan what you want to write and then go for it. If you mess up, use a cotton ball with some rubbing alcohol on it to wipe it off well.

Bake your plate or mug in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Place the item directly on the rack in  the cold oven. Turn the oven on and bake. I allowed my dishes to cool in the oven as well overnight. Take them out and you now have a personalized dish for a gift. Add some yummy cookies to that plate or hot chocolate to that mug and you have one great gift!
I bet you have some teens at home who would love to make some mugs for friends and at just a little over a dollar a've got a great gift idea and craft project!

This would also be a great gift for a wedding or anniversary or birthday. Guests can write something on a platter.

Let me know what you are making with this handmade idea!

Next week we will throw some handmade jewelry into this gift giving mix!

Need a recipe for Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix? This one is fabulous!

Have a fabulous week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Keepin' It Real

It was an eventful morning.

Fletcher, the 2 year old, usually makes his way into our bed at some point during the night. It's no big deal and all of the kids have slept with us as babies and toddlers.
This morning was the usual morning of laying around in bed only we had BOTH boys in there. They were sandwiched between me and Devin and having a great time playing.

Well Fletcher, in all of his playfulness, sat up and then slammed his head down only to crash down onto my nose.
My nose is broken.

Here I am in all my glory this morning after it happened. This evening it's a bit more swollen and colorful.
Don't I look lovely? I stayed in my pj's, skipped the make-up, and cleaned house today with my honkin' big nose. How's that for keepin' it real today?


In other news, I have been letting Lucy out into the yard to graze on greener grass. I allowed the calf to then graze in her usual paddock that is surrounded with an electric fence wire.

Apparently the calf was able to walk under said electric wire and he found his mamma cow.

Thankfully he did not attempt to nurse, because he is now weaned, but they did do a little head rubbing.

He was then escorted back into secure fencing and they both went back to their grazing.

Awww, but they sure do look cute together!

I hope everyone had a great week and enjoys the weekend. I will be sewing and crafting and knitting this weekend, and I can't wait to show you all what I am making!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Handmade Holidays: Drawsting Bag in Minutes!

My intentions were to post this yesterday but....

The fall weather is here and we just had to start a backyard pit fire and make s'mores. It was fantastic.

But let's focus on the holidays now because those days are right around the corner, and if you are like me you will be making several gifts.
This means you must get started now, right? At least you should be making a list and deciding what you might want to craft.

Well, this idea is simply to take an inexpensive gift and make it more special and personal.
Example:  This lip gloss will be great gift, but it looks rather plain. A nice handmade bag would make this gift more special PLUS the recipient will not have to bother with ripping open the cardboard packaging. It's a win-win situation! (excuse the terrible lens is on the fritz and needs to be calibrated.)

So, this gift will go from the plain packaging above to this:

Here's what you need:

2 pieces of fabric cut into squares. Mine are cut 7"x 7"
2 pieces of ribbon or string that is twice the length of the fabric
 a sewing machine and basic sewing skills:-)

 Place the two fabrics together WRONG SIDES TOGETHER and mark down from the top 2 inches. Put a pin there so you do not sew from the 2 inch mark up. This will be an area you will later make a casing for the ribbon.

Sew the pieces together (on all 4 sides) WRONG SIDES TOGETHER using a very small seam allowance, such as 1/8 inch. We are making a French seam so that there will be no raw edges on this bag.

Now, turn the bag wrong side out and press.
 Now you will fold those top 2 inches in at the side just a tad and press.
Then sew  a straight stitch to keep that tiny fold down. See? Looks a little messy but trust me.
  Now to make the casing you need to fold the top down about an inch and press.
  Next press the top of that under just a enough so that it can be sewn down.
 Sew the 1 inch fold down on the edge there. You will not have a raw edge on the casing now.

Now, to make a French seam you need to sew along the edge using a larger seam allowance than what you used on the front side. (DO NOT sew past the casing!!) Doing this will enclose that raw edge within the seam allowance. Use your finger and feel where the seam is and sew past that edge. If you used a 1/8 inch allowance the first time then a 1/4 inch allowance this go around should do the trick.

Remember you will be sewing on the wrong side and using a larger seam allowance than before. This will enclose that raw edge.

Turn the bag right side out and press. Voila! You should have a bag with no raw seams! Now you will need to feed that ribbon or string through. I use a large yarn needle but you can also use a safety pin. Feed the ribbon through one side and all the way around. Repeat with second ribbon on other side.

Tie a knot in your ribbons and pull them to cinch the bag closed!

I bet these cars will look better in a handmade gift bag!

This is a simple and quick way to dress up those little gifts that could use a little dressing up! In fact, these bags can be personalized with applique or a favorite character fabric. You can also make larger bags by just cutting out larger pieces of fabric.
For kids you could make bags for marbles, army men figures, little farm animals, playing cards, and anything else you can imagine!

I think some adult friends would love a bag of chocolate truffles or homemade goodies!

What small gifts will you give in a handmade bag this year?

If you like to gift a bottle of wine, then check out my past post on a quick and wonderful wine bag!

Have a great week and enjoy this fall weather! I will have another gift idea next week!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Here Horsey, Horsey

Ok, so we now have a mare. A beautiful mare.

A skinny mare.....

The previous owners had many horses and thankfully decided to part with some because feeding them all was too much to handle. Theses animals do eat non-stop!

Add to that she was competeing for a food trough with several more aggressive mares and get a skinny and starved horse.

Everyone came to greet and welcome Athena. She is a very friendly horse about 6 years old and doesn't seem to spook easily at all. We think she will make a great family horse once she gets up to her proper weight, of course. We rode her briefly before we got her and she was solid.

Once she arrived we wormed her, scraped bot fly eggs off her, groomed her, started treating a small patch of rain rot on her belly, and started her on some fattening up supplements and probiotics.

Zeb really was impressed with the sweet horse, but sometimes hunting for a cool rock is more fun! Our property is covered with fossilized crinoids. The kids love to collect them.

She has lots to eat now and we are showering her with lots of brushing and petting. Journee is working with her to establish and perfect some ground work.

Here's to the newest member of the farm. In two weeks we gets.......PIGS!!!!


Wednesday I will be here with a Handmade Holiday installment.....yes, the holidays are right around the corner. It's time to get started!

Hope your day was great!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Adventures with Lucy the Family Cow: Slippery Step

Yesterday was one of those days when things were just hectic. It happens every now and again when you have a house full of children and a yard full of animals.

Fall has officially hit North Georgia and although the weather is still pleasant, the grass is starting to turn brown.
My backyard has managed to grow a new sprout of clover so I decided to let Lucy out into the yard to graze. She loved it.

There was one problem though. I sent the young girls out to clean out my garage (sweep, pick up, etc) and Jersey cows are known for their curiosity.

Lucy decided to walk into the garage to see what might be in there, and while standing inside she pooped. She pooped a lot.

When we motioned for her to turn and walk out she then stepped in her mountain of poo and slipped and fell.

A fallen cow is not a good thing. She tried to stand up again but it was just too slick so instead she peed and pooed again(from nervousness) and made the area twice as slick and stinky.

Journee and I tried sprinkling cat litter to give her traction. It did not work.

We gathered hay to shove under her the best we could to give her traction. It did not work.

She tried and tried but could not get herself up. She would end up slipping again and scooting herself until she ended up on the other side of the garage.
Poor Lucy!

Next I grabbed ALL of the small rugs from the house (kitchen rugs, etc) and we tried to place those under her feet and legs HOPING that would give her traction.
It did not work.

She was getting very tired.

I called my two favorite farmers in town and they arrived with a large piece of felt but it did not giver her traction either. We decided to put a rope around her and pull her out with a truck.
It did not work.

We decided to roll Lucy onto the felt and then pull the felt piece out with the truck. Rolling an 850 lb cow onto something is no easy feat but we did it successfully.

 Needless to say, we were able to drag her out and onto the gravel drive. We left her there and checked on her every five minutes or so. Finally after another 20 minutes she was able to get up!!!!

 We gave her some grain and led her back to her paddock. She did suffer a small tear in the skin on her udder so we washed it with soapy water and lathered it up with a lanolin cream.

This morning she seemed fine, just a little stiff and slow moving. She wanted to go back out to the back yard after her milking but I had to explain to her that I wanted a slow, easy day today:-) Next time she's out we will be sure we close the garage doors too.

So that was the 3 hour drama that occurred here yesterday.

 Always an adventure when you have a family cow.

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