Friday, December 2, 2016


Welcome back!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. We had all our family together for Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful time.

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Do you remember the types of dishes and bowls and cups you used during Thanksgiving dinner? Some dishes were probably flat, some were more like bowls. Each bowl or dish is used on purpose to hold each type of food.

The animals on the farm have certain types of feeders, too. We use the word "feeder" for something that holds animal food.

This is the feeder on the milk stand.
It's called a 'hang over bucket' because it hangs on a bar or a piece of wood.
This is what it looks like with feed in it.
We don't wash the feeders very often. People need clean dishes, bowls, and cups to eat out of. Animals don't need to have their feeders cleaned that often.

This is Echo's 'hang over bucket'.
It's much bigger than the goats' bucket because Echo's head is much bigger!
This is the same size bucket that horses eat out of, too.

The chickens eat from a hanging feeder.
I pour the feed into the top and it fills a dish at the bottom.
The chickens are so messy that I put a rubber feeder underneath to catch all the food that falls out.
The chickens can still eat the food in the rubber feeder and it doesn't get wasted by falling all over the ground.

This is how we feed hay inside the stall.
The fence holds the hay and the goats can pull out what they want to eat.
We take the hay that's on the floor and bring it out to the chicken pen.
We put it inside their nesting boxes, and sometimes spread it on the ground.
The chickens love to eat the leftover hay.
This is the feeder we use for Echo and the little goats.
It's really a horse feeder, but Echo doesn't mind it.
We like to feed her outside because she always poops while she's eating!
We don't have to clean the stall as often if she poops outside.
The feeders are all under some sort of roof in the winter so the food doesn't
get spoiled by snow and rain.

What about water?

You drink from a cup or a bottle, but that doesn't work well for most animals.

The white part of the container is filled with water.
There is a float at the bottom so all the water doesn't spill out on the ground.
Look closely and you will see a black cord coming out of the top of the waterer.
That cord is attached to a heater that sits at the bottom of the bucket.

I'm sure you've noticed that there is a lot of ice on the playground, and maybe around your house. The animals can eat snow, but they like liquid water better. If they have enough water and food, and if they have a place to get out of the rain and snow, they stay warm without a furnace like we have in our homes.

The blue barrel, and the green barrel, both have electric heaters at the bottom.
You can see the chords plugged into the grey box on the post.
Echo, River, and Serenity use the green water barrel.
Misty, Clover, and Annie use the blue water barrel.
The hose also plugs in! It's hard to get water into the barrels if the hose is frozen. Someone was really smart and figured out a way to put a heating wire inside a hose so that farmers can use a hose in the winter instead of having to fill buckets of water, then dumping them into the barrel where the animals drink.

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Every morning Scout, JJ, and Midnight like to have a treat in the barn.

JJ gets her sip of milk from an old plastic feeder on the floor.

Scout gets his sip of milk in an old metal pan near the milk stand.

Midnight gets her sip of milk in an old metal lid.

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I am sad to report that there are no baby chicks. When the hen started sitting it was so close to winter we weren't sure if she would stay and keep her eggs warm. We also weren't sure if she would be able to keep her chicks warm enough with winter so close.

One morning when I went out to do the chores the hen was gone from the nest, and the eggs were almost frozen. The eggs were so cold that there is no way the chicks inside the eggs could have survived. The eggs need to be kept at about 100 degrees so the chicks inside can grow. Once they are hatched the mama hen needs to keep them at about 95 degrees until they can grow enough feathers to keep themselves warm.

This is not the time of year that we get warm temperatures like that!

Things on the farm don't always turn out the way we want them to. Sometimes that's for the best.

Earlier this year we had some chicks hatch out. That was the first time we ever got to see some chicks hatch!

I thought you might like to see some videos of that, too.

Here's Xander holding the little chick from the video.
Those chicks are all grown up now. They were some of the roosters that we gave away to another farm. Our farm only needs one rooster. Roosters are noisy. The more roosters we have the noisier they are because each one tries to be louder than the other!

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Do you remember Dale? She's the chicken that likes to ride the goats as if she's a cowgirl.

We don't know what happened but two weeks ago Dale hurt her leg. Usually a chicken will die if they hurt their leg. There aren't any chicken veterinarians to take care of them.

Sometimes they get better!

Can you see Dale limping a little bit? She's getting better! She couldn't walk on her left leg two weeks ago. All she could do was hop around the farm on her right leg.

I hope she gets all the way better!

Stay warm and have a great week!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Animal Feed

Welcome back!

Winter arrived yesterday. It was cold when I went out to milk Echo and the goats.

Look closely and you can see Echo's head
peeking out of the doorway.

You can see her better in this picture.
She's waiting in the barn out of the snow and wind.

Are you excited for Thanksgiving vacation next week?

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Since you are thinking about all the yummy food you will be eating next week I thought it would be interesting for you to see what types of food the animals on our farm eat.

Your teacher has small baggies with the different kinds of food we feed the animals. You can see and smell the food as you look at the photos.

Nutrition is a big word. It means the way animals, plants, and humans take nutrients from food and use them for energy and growth.

If animals, plants, and humans (that's you!) have food that is good for them they grow strong and are healthy. They are able to perform well. That means they are able to do what they were meant to do. 

A milk goat that is given the right nutrition (food, vitamins, and minerals) is healthy and strong. She can give 1/2 - 1 gallon of milk each time I milk her.

A calf that is given the right nutrition is healthy and can grow into a big, strong steer. We don't have a calf right now, but we are hoping to get one sometime this year.

Chicks that are given the right nutrition are healthy and can grow into hens that will produce eggs. 

Chickens that are given the right nutrition are healthy and can produce eggs for our family.

Dogs that are healthy can run and play and learn new tricks. They have energy and can help us with the animals on the farm. 

Animals that have the right amount of food and water can stay warm in the winter.

Children that eat the right foods are usually healthy and grow properly. They can learn and do well in school. They can run and play at recess. Now you know why your mother tells you that you need to eat fruits and vegetables every day. That's why she tells you not to eat too many sweets.

People eat different foods to get proper nutrition and stay healthy. Animals need to eat the same things every day to get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. They don't need to eat different foods every day. Most animals will get sick if you change their food every day.

You will have many different types of food for Thanksgiving Dinner. The animals on our farm will have the same food they eat every day.

That may sound mean to you, but it is what is best for the animals. We like to do what will keep our animals healthy and strong!

This is cat food. 
You might know what cat food looks like if you have a cat. 
Cats need to have the same food every day or they may get sick.

This is dog food.
Some dogs eat too much food and get too fat! They are not healthy if they are fat.
Our dogs get fed about 1 cup of food for breakfast and 1 cup of food for dinner.
That is all they need to stay strong and healthy, so that is all they get.

This is called a 'grain blend.' 
If you look closely you can see different types of grain and some pellets in the food.
This is what we feed to the milk goats and Echo.
We never feed this type of feed to the bucks (boy goats). It isn't good for them.
We can feed a little bit of this to the chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

This is wild bird food. 
We have bird feeders on our farm. 

These are alfalfa pellets. 
They are made from alfalfa hay. We feed a little bit of this to the milk goats, Remi, and Echo. We don't feed them very much of this because we also feed them hay. 
We don't feed this to the bucks (boy goats).

These are Timothy hay pellets. This is what we feed to the bucks!
They don't get very much of this because we also give them hay.
This is called "Calf Manna."
If you guessed that we give this to calves, you are right!
We give it to any animal that needs more protein.
You probably eat meat and beans for protein. Protein helps you grow properly. 

Our animals don't eat meat but they need protein just like you do.
We feed Calf Manna to the milk goats and Echo.
Milk goats need protein and fat to make milk.

These are called lay pellets.
We feed them to the chickens and the turkeys. Lay pellets have protein, too!
Chickens need protein to stay warm and to make eggs.
Some people like to feed chickens 'mash.' It is made up of the same things that pellets are made of, but it looks like corn meal. It looks like the chick starter in the next photo, too.

We like pellets because it doesn't get wasted like the mash does. Chickens can make a mess. If their food is small it can get lost in the dirt when they peck it out of their feeder. Then it's wasted!

This is oat hay and alfalfa hay.
We feed this to the milk goats, the bucks, and Echo. 
These animals also eat grass in the pasture.
In the winter there isn't any good grass on the pasture so we make sure they have plenty of hay to eat.
Can you see the seeds in the hay? Those are oat seeds!
This is chick starter. 
It has the right nutrition for chicks to grow into chickens.
It also is small enough for the chicks to eat. They can't eat pellets like adult chickens can because their beaks aren't big enough yet.
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Everyday we move Midnight's food because the chicken and the neighbor's kittens eat it.
Today we put it on the top of the hay stack.

Next week I will show you what the animal feeders look like. We have a hanging feeder for the chickens. The chicks have a special feeder for their food. The goats eat their hay out of a special feeder, so do the cows.

When you eat Thanksgiving Dinner this week look at the different types of dishes and bowls that the food is served in. Each dish is made to hold a different type of food. Bowls hold soup and liquids. Different size plates hold different types of foods.

Animals have feeders that hold their food just like you have bowls and dishes to hold your food!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2016


Welcome back!

One animal from the farm that you haven't met is Stew.

He's a Navajo Churro sheep. We bottle fed him when he was a lamb. He is so friendly that we kept him.
This is Stew!
He's the only sheep we have.
He loves people.
He comes right up to people so he can get pet and scratched on his cheeks.

He gets sheared every spring. His fleece grows long all year, but its too heavy and hot for him to have all summer. Imagine wearing your winter coat all summer long. That's what it's like if a sheep has his fleece all summer long.

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When we have a lot of milk we skim the cream and make butter.
This is what butter made from cow's milk looks like.

This is what butter made from goat's milk looks like.
I made cookies from this butter and they were some of the best cookies ever!

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Do you remember the chicken that was sitting on eggs last week? Did you figure out the date that the chicken eggs would hatch?

They should hatch out around 19 November. When will you get to see pictures of them?

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Quin and Xander had a sleepover last week.
Quin likes to stay in the house when we do chores,
but Xander loves to come help me milk Echo and the goats.
He sits on top of the hay stack until Echo is all hooked up. 

Morning chores are a lot of work!
Sometimes Xander needs a nap when we're done.
Sometimes I need a nap when I'm done!
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A few weeks ago I showed you some pictures of some sewing and embroidery projects I was working on. Here is the girl wearing her beautiful dress! I did the embroidery and her mother did all the sewing. She did all the dancing and won a ribbon!

She loves her dress!
We're all so proud of how well she danced and the ribbon she won!
She has been dancing and practicing and working hard so she could compete.
All her hard work payed off.
It was wonderful to be a small part of her team.

I hope you have a great week! Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, Scout.

Welcome back!

Did you learn new things last week? Did you work hard? I hope so! Sometimes weeks are full of learning new things! That can be hard, but it can be enjoyable, too!

I hope you had a fun Halloween. We still have a lot of candy left over. Our street doesn't have street lights. We don't have sidewalks, and the houses are far apart so we don't get many trick or treaters.

This is my favorite picture of Scout.
We took him camping this year and he is such a good dog in the car, and while we're camping.
Not many dogs will wear sunglasses so we can take a photo!
Do you know that some dogs are so special that people remember their birthdays? We remember Scout's birthday. So does the woman who owned us before we did. She always sends a birthday text for him.

I sent her this video so she could see that he is happy at our house.

Scout loves to herd any of the animals on our farm. Sometimes he helps us get animals from one area of the farm to another area of the farm. Even though he loves herding the goats and the cow, he doesn't mind watching over the chickens one bit! Scout's favorite thing in the world is to be with the livestock!

This is JJ.
Can you tell the difference between JJ and Scout?
They look alike, but not exactly the same.
They aren't even brother and sister!
JJ sits here every morning waiting for her treat.
She and Scout share the first few squirts of milk from Echo.

JJ's favorite thing in the world is to eat! She loves to eat so much that she gobbles her food down and then eats Scout's food. This is how we slow her down. She has to work for her food.

When we're done milking Echo in the morning she loves to get a hug. She is a sweet cow!

She loves being scratched under her neck, on the sides of her neck, and on top of her head.

Do you remember the chicken who was riding Clover last week? She loves to ride the goats, and the goats don't seem to mind her sitting on their backs. I think she must be very, very careful with her claws. We decided to call her Dale, after a famous cowgirl named Dale Evans who loved to ride her horse named Buttermilk.

Dale the chicken loves to ride the goats!

This chicken decided it was a good time of year to hatch out eggs.
We'll see if the weather stays warm enough.
She started sitting on 5 eggs on October 30.
Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch.
What date do you think they will hatch?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Jake, the New Muskovy

Welcome back from Fall Break!

I hope you had a great time over Fall Break! I had a lot of work to do. Some of it was in the farm yard, and some of it was in the sewing room. I didn't teach guitar students this week, but I didn't have a vacation because all the time I usually spend teaching guitar, I spent embroidering a beautiful Irish Dance dress, making Halloween costumes, and finishing a birthday present that was very late.

One of the things we need to do today is fix a fence.

See that cute face?
The goat in front is Serenity. The other goat is her mama, Annie.
Serenity is supposed to be on the other side of the fence from Annie because she
keeps drinking Annie's milk.
Serenity is old enough that she doesn't need milk anymore. She is supposed to stay on the other side of the fence.

Serenity and River are so sneaky that they know how to get through the brown gate. We've tried making sure it's tighter so they can't get through. We fixed a hole in the fence, too. They somehow manage to climb through the brown bars in the fence. Today we'll put up more fencing so they can't get through.

It seems as if no matter how much work we do, there is always more to be done on the farm!

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We got a new drake this week. His name is Jake.

Can you tell what kind of an animal a 'drake' is by watching the video? Can you tell if it is a boy or girl by how I'm writing about it?

Did you see and hear all the roosters? Oh, boy! Many of the chicks that have hatched since spring are roosters. We only need one rooster on the farm, so we had to catch the other roosters and give them to someone else. We got rid of 5 roosters yesterday. We still have 3 more roosters to catch and get rid of.

Here's another video of Jake. You'll have to be very quiet if you want to hear him because Jake is very quiet.

What kind of noise does Jake make? Can you hear a quiet 'hiss'? That's the noise that Muscovy drakes make. A drake is a boy duck. A girl duck is called a duck.

Jake came to our farm because he was the only duck on his farm, and he was lonely. He used to sleep with the cows because there were no other ducks for friends. Now he has a duck friend, and some chicken friends. Jake's friends all have feathers now so he is much happier.

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Here's a good picture of our boy turkey. A boy turkey is called a Tom turkey. He has beautiful feathers!

How many turkeys can you see in this picture?
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Have you noticed that some mornings are cold? Have you been wearing a coat to school some mornings? When lunch time comes around you wonder why you brought your coat because it got so warm?

That happens a lot in the fall.

Some mornings I find Midnight  in her cozy spot staying nice and warm in the barn.
She doesn't look very happy in the picture, but she is a nice cat, unless you are a mouse.

If you were going to tell a story about Midnight, what would it be?

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Here's another picture that you could write a story about.
That funny chicken is always riding the goats!
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Here are a few photos of the projects I worked on in the sewing room this week.

This is the front of the dress I worked on.
This is the skirt of the dress I worked on.
This piece goes on the back of the dress.
I'll see if I can get a picture of the girl wearing the dress next week. 
She won 3rd place on Saturday!

I hope you have hobbies that help you learn and grow. I hope you have hobbies that let you create new things. I know children who love to build with Legos, they create robots! I know children who draw and paint. I know children who dance. I know children who play musical instruments. I know children who play sports.

All of those hobbies are wonderful ways to learn and grow!

Have a wonderful week learning and growing and working hard!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Cleaning

Welcome back!

Do you remember how River likes to get herself stuck in places?
She got herself stuck in the feeder yesterday.
Silly River!

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Do you remember the new chicks from the beginning of school?

They are growing up. Their mama hen is a banty. A banty is a small chicken. You may have a small dog, and your neighbor may have a large dog. Lots of animals have large and small breeds or types.

Look how big the chicks are! They are as big as their mama hen.
The mama hen is the grey one in the front. She still takes care of the chicks.
She shows them where food is, and she keeps them warm at night by sleeping near them.

When the chicks are grown up they will be much bigger than their mama hen.
That's because she didn't lay the eggs they hatched from,
she only sat on them and hatched them out.

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If you think it's fun to live on a farm, you're right. 

If you think there are times when it isn't fun to live on a farm, you're right, too!

It's fall on the farm. It doesn't matter what season it is, there is always a lot of work to do. In the fall we do a lot of cleaning and repairing. We want to make sure things last through the winter weather. We want to make sure that the animals have clean, dry bedding (that's the stuff we put on the floor of the barn). I'm sure you would rather sleep in a dry bed than a wet bed!
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Last week it was time to clean the chicken pen. Eeeeewwwww!

This is what it looks like under the chicken pen after a summer.
We clean it in the spring, and again in the fall.
If you are saying, "Ewwwww, yuck!" right now.
I don't blame you!
It's pretty yucky!
Chickens poop where they sleep so this is a summer's worth of poop under their roosts.
(A roost is a place where a chicken sleeps. They sleep on their feet, not laying down.)

Here's the first wheelbarrow of poop.

Here's the second wheelbarrow full.
How many wheelbarrows do you think I filled and dumped in all?

Wheelbarrow three.

Wheelbarrow four.

How many piles do you see?
How many full wheelbarrow pictures did I forget to take?
If you said there are five piles and only four pictures of wheelbarrows, you are right.
I was getting tired and forgot to take a picture.

I don't spread out the piles. The chickens help with that. Over the next week they scratched through the piles and they are quite flat now.

Here's what the same spot looks like all clean.
Yes, I even brush the spiderwebs and dirt off the walls.
What tools did I use to clean the pen?

I add a bale of shavings underneath because shavings make it easier to clean.
You couldn't tell in the wheelbarrows, but we put a bale of shavings underneath in the spring.

This is what the shavings look like when they are spread out a bit.
Here's what the coop looks like when it's back in place for the winter.
The tarp keeps the wind away from the chickens.
The wire cage keeps the raccoons and mink away from the chickens.
How long do you think it took me to do all that work?

It took me about 2 1/2 hours.

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I had to replace hinges on the shed door this week, too.
This hinge was broken and wasn't holding the door up.
I had to screw the boards in the door back together,
and replace the hinges.
I put two hinges on that look like this one.
They are much stronger and will last longer than the old ones.
Now the door works much better!

I did a lot of other work this week getting things ready for the winter.
I had a little bit of help with some things, but I did the chicken pen, and the shed door by myself.

Phew! That was a lot of work for one person!
Do you do hard things all by yourself?

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Your teacher told me that some of you missed last week and were so sad about it! I'm sure you had a wonderful time doing what you were doing.

She asked that I post one more picture of Johnny Appleseed Day for you.

It looks like everyone enjoyed their drink of cider!

I hope you are learning how to work hard, and to do things that aren't always fun. It's a great feeling to finish a job whether you liked the job, or not!

We all have things we don't like to do. The best thing is to just get to work and do it!