Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rosie's New Job

Rosie is Vet2Be's S'nubian yearling. She has a new job feeding a calf on Sheepy's farm.

Clyde's new mama, Rosie. He was so excited he got up on the stand with her.
Rosie still has a congested udder. The vet did a cytology (checking for bacterial infection) and there was no bacteria, so we know her milk is safe to drink.

With the economy so bad right now, we knew we would have to give Rosie away instead of selling her. She gives a little less than 1/2 gallon per milking, which is plenty for a family, but because of her lumpy udder we didn't want to sell her and have the new family She isn't as endearing and sweet and 'pet-like' as some of the others, so Vet2Be decided she would be the one that would have to go this fall.

Sheepy got 5 calves last week. Two wouldn't take a bottle at all. She already has one goat that will feed a calf, but a single goat can't produce enough milk to feed two calves. Our solution was to put Rosie and Clyde together!

Rosie is doing a great job with Clyde. The photo above shows her first feeding. We're happy because she has a great home with a very important job, saving a little calf's life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


My 11 year old niece has been here for a little more than a week. She goes home Saturday. She got to show a few goats at the open show in U. County at the fair.

She's been having a great time learning about the animals and all the stuff we do on a hobby farm (which doesn't often include TV).

Yesterday I took her to Wal*Mart to buy some fabric so she could sew a pillow case. Wal*Mart has inexpensive fabric and a limited selection, both good things when someone is just starting to sew.

She picked her out her own fabric. She chose purple and black because those are her room colors.

No, I didn't help her pick the colors at all! I just made sure she picked fabric that would be good to sleep on.

Here is the video my friend showed me:
Missouri Quilt Company Pillowcase Tutorial

Here are two photos of her finished project. She did a great job!

The pillowcase turned out just a bit big for the pillow, but since it is cotton it will probably shrink a bit.

Here is a photo of the end,
She really did do most of the cutting and sewing. I serged the inside so the fabric wouldn't fray (she saw the serger cut and sew the fabric and that was a bit worrisome for her). And I made two other cuts because the cut was so long.

She was very happy with the way it turned out. I think she did a great job on her first real project.

Here is a link for the free pillowcase patterns that are offered by All People Quilt for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Vet2Be with Annie, his yearling milker

Annie and Vet2Be--Grand Champion AOB Yearling Milker D. County Fair
4-H Dairy Goat Show

Vet2Be and Annie in the Costume Class at U. County Fair (Open Show)

Vet2Be and Annie in the Costume Class at U. County Fair (Open Show) You can't see the syringe taped on Annie's right side. When the judge saw that he laughed!

Yay! First Place Costume Class!
Vet2Be has some other photos of both shows this week. As soon as he sends them to me, I'll update the post!

Annie was Grand Champion AOB Yearling Milkers. Misty (no photos yet) won Best in Show Jr. Doelings at the D. County Fair 4-H Dairy Goat Show. Vet2Be and Annie also came in 3rd Place in Senior Showmanship!

He didn't do quite as well in the U. County Fair Dairy Goat Open Show. One of his other doelings, Poppy (Saanen/Nubian) won First Place in her class, Misty placed second (she was getting sick). I can't remember what the others did, but as soon as I get the envelope with the winnings in it, I'll post the placings.

Here is the link to last year's show photos. Annie is in one of the photos as a doeling.
2010 Show

Vet2Be won $61 at the D. County Fair and $36 at the U. County Fair. After showing for 4 years, it was really fun to come in higher than middle to end of the class!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Elementary School Chair Pockets

Blondie told a few of the teachers at school that I was going to post the pattern for chair pockets. Welcome teachers! I'm glad you stopped by! I hope the photos and pattern directions are helpful and written clearly enough for you to follow. (Secretly I hope they are easy to follow because I already made 26 and I'm ready to move on to other projects.)

The school desks where Blondie teaches are too small for holding all the school supplies and books that the children need in the classroom. Tina McCulloch designed the following easily modifiable pattern to help solve the problem. Leave it to a school teacher (or home school mom) to come up with great solutions on a limited budget!

An ingenious solution for limited desk space designed by 
a 3rd grade teacher!
Each chair pocket takes about 10-15 minutes to make depending on your machines and your sewing set up. We were able to get two chair pockets from a yard of fabric, if your chairs are a different size, you might need more or less fabric. The finished width of these is 15.5"

We found upholstery fabric at the local thrift store and were able to make 26 chair pockets for $7, not including thread. The material is not the most beautiful, but it is very kid friendly. Sturdy, lots of pattern, and dark colored to hide dirty finger marks.

Tina suggests that you pre-wash the fabric before you cut and sew it. We didn't. Blondie and I both have front loaders with gentle cycles. If the chair pockets need washed, we will air dry them after washing in a cold/gentle cycle instead of putting them in the dryer. This fabric shouldn't shrink unless we wash it in hot water and then send it through the dryer.

The Pattern and Directions
Cut a 16" strip of fabric from selvedge to selvedge. This photo shows the fabric folded in half then cut. Cut off the selvedge edge. I use a cutting mat and a circular cutter to make the cutting go faster. It took about 30 minutes to cut out the fabric for 26 chair pockets.

From the strip of fabric, cut a 35" piece (on the left) and a 9" piece (on the right).  You might have some fabric from the strip left over. I had a 10" section left--not shown in the photo.

Serge the short ends of the 35" piece and one long edge of the 9" piece. I serged both edges of my 9" piece in this photo, but it isn't necessary since one edge will be inside a seam later on. 

On the 35" section fold 1/2" seam towards the right side on one edge and the wrong side on the other edge. On the 9" section fold 1/2" seam towards the wrong side. If you only serged one edge, hem the serged edge. Sew along the hem. See photo!  

Pin the 9" section right side down (wrong side up) on the wrong side of 35" section 10" from the edge. The edge on the right of the 35" section is the one that has the hem towards the right side of the fabric. The hemmed edge of the 9" piece will be on the left, the raw edge (mine shows a serged edge) will be stitched to the 35" section. See the photo. Pin (yeah... right!) and sew along the edge.

Fold the 9" section towards the hemmed edge so the right side is up. Stitch along the folded edge about 1/8" away from the fold.

Lay the 35" piece (with the 9" pocket attached) right side up (pocket will be on the bottom). Fold the pocket towards the right side. Fold so the bottom edge of the pocket with the topstitching is on top. See photo, the right side of the photo shows the top-stitching of the 9" pocket.

Fold the hemmed edge (the edge that is hemmed towards the wrong side) over the pocket and match  the bottom of the top-stitched 9" pocket with the hemmed edge. 

Stitch along outer edges. In the photo, the left and right edges were stitched and then serged. Double stitch the side seams at the bottom of the pocket to give it more strength. Remember kids will be wiggling against the pocket and the bottom seams of the chair pocket will need to be strongly stitched!

Fold the top corner flat and stitch about 1" away from the point. Stitch the other corner, too.

Here is the chair pocket completed, but inside out. Use a large blunt tipped needle (chenille needle) to bury the serged threads that are hanging out the bottom into the side seams. No need to trim the 'ears' on the top, they will give a little more stability to the top corners of the chair pocket.
Turn the chair pocket right-side out.
One pocket shows the wrong side of the fabric. If you don't like that, make sure your fabric is the same on both sides. Blondie and I didn't worry about it--not when the fabric cost was only $7.

If you are very careful about placing the 9" pocket you can get the stripes (or pattern) on the 9" pocket to line up with the stripes on the part that hangs on the chair. I didn't worry about it much, and Blondie was just glad to have them done before Back-to-School night next week.

We were able to piece together the extra fabric to make 4 more chair pockets so Blondie would have 26 made of only two different fabrics. I'm fairly certain that the pieced ones will hold up just as well as the ones made from only two pieces of fabric since I seamed them and then zig-zagged the seam open. Unless you look really closely at them, you can't tell they were pieced because the fabrics we used are dark and have alot of colors in them.

You can adjust the pattern by measuring around the seat back of the chair, dividing that number in 2 and adding 1" (for seam allowances). Cut your fabric that width instead of 16". (example: if measuring around the front and back of your chair gives 36", divide 36" by 2 = 18" + 1" seam allowance = 19" strip width. No need to change the pocket sizes unless you want deeper pockets.

If you have any trouble.... call Tina. Or you can leave me a message in the comments and I'll help, too!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Feeders

We really wanted to feed inside the stalls because the hay is easier to clean up inside (there are mats on the stall floors) and the goats tend to eat more of the hay that falls down if it doesn't fall into the dirt.

The walls between the stalls are removable, and one was falling down because the wooden rails that hold the boards in place had come loose.

So while the boards were down, we decided to tie a piece of wire fencing, we call it cattle panel, to the boards.

A farmer's best friend--bailing twine!
Okay, maybe a farmer's best friend is still his dog.

You can see how we tied the fencing to the wall. We tied it in  four places along each side and twice along the bottom. The twine at the top is tied longer than the twine at the bottom. 
We only put in a flake of hay in each feeder in the summer as a treat. But I'm pretty sure we can fit 4-6 flakes in each feeder depending on the height of the feeder.

Since we used scrap fencing, some of the feeders turned out taller than others.

This feeder is taller than the first one. It's the second one we put up.
We didn't want to take down the wall to put this feeder up so I bought some eye-bolts and some wire strapping. There are 3 eye-bolts along each side and two pieces of wire strapping along the bottom to hold the fencing on the wall along the bottom.

A closer look at they eye-bolts in the wooden wall. We drilled pilot holes so we wouldn't split the 2x6 boards.

Here's a photo of one of the metal straps along the bottom.
Some of the fencing had sharp edges so Vet2Be filed them off smooth.

The only thing we would do differently is to put the smaller holes on the bottom instead of on the top. I think less hay would have fallen through. (The fencing has a row of shorter holes along one edge, you can see it in photo 3 along the top edge.)

We've had the feeders up for about two months now without anyone getting caught in them. I would worry if they hung out from the wall a little farther, one of the kids might be able to climb or jump in the side.

They seem to eat more of the hay even when it falls on the straw bedding or shavings, which means we waste less. We can easily feed 4 goats at each feeder. We usually have 5 goats on one feeder and the 2 llamas and 3 sheep on the other. I'm sure if the feeder was longer we could fit a few more around the table!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dog Bath for the Kid Goats

I found this on Freecycle, so Vet2Be and I went to pick it up.
Booster Bath for dogs
It seemed to be perfect for washing kid goats and getting them ready for the shows. It might also be good for our dogs.

The straps were there, but they were falling apart, good thing I keep 'stuff' around. I have some straps from old back-packs, old carry bags... all sorts of old horse stuff.

This is what I started with:

And after going through the sewing basket, this is what we have now!
30 minutes worth of work and scrounged parts = new cross tie straps for the Booster Bath!
We tried it out on Misty, the goat Vet2Be will be showing this year..... and it works great!

Thank you Freecycle! And a thrifty nature!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time for Apple Cider Vinegar

It's that time of year again, the time we start thinking about breeding.

We won't breed until October, but it is time to add apple cider vinegar to the goats' water (both bucks and does).


Because every year we are diligent about putting apple cider vinegar in their water we end up with more doelings than bucklings.

Before we started using vinegar we would get 6-7 bucklings a year, and we would be lucky to get one doeling! If we use apple cider vinegar we end up with a 50-50 split or more doelings than bucklings--all three years we've tried it, it's worked.

Vet2Be's 4-H leader uses the trick, too. And she said it works the same for her--ACV in the water = more doelings than bucklings.

We add about 1/2 cup to a 20 gallon bucket and about a tablespoon in a 5 gallon bucket. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Vet2Be estimates the amount, he doesn't use a measuring cup.

If this is a new thing for the goats, try adding just a little bit to the water until they get used to it, then a little more every few days until you get up to the amount you want to add.

Here's an article that might be helpful to read:
Apple Cider Vinegar for Goats

The unproven theory is that female sperm swim faster in a slightly acidic environment so they 'out run' the male sperm. As far as I know it is all anecdotal evidence!

But I know it works for us, so we'll be doing it again this year, and now is the time to start!

No, it doesn't affect the flavor of the milk... just in case you were wondering!

Here's a link for Linda's Lunacy Sunny Saturday! I hope you go visit her blog/site, lots of fun stuff over there :)

Sunny Saturday at LInda's Lunacy

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Black-eyed Susan

Weird! I came in the back gate and noticed this little Black-eyed Susan growing in the corner of the yard. About 5 years ago I put one in the front yard and enjoyed them all summer. But this variety is annual, not perennial. It was a pleasant surprise to see one growing in a completely different part of the yard!

Bloom where you're planted.... or where the wind blows you!
I decided to take a photo before Vet2Be mows the lawn. It won't last through the weekend mowing and trimming.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Meadow, the Llama

A photo that Vet2Be took of Meadow, the llama.
I thought it was a photo that could use a caption, but I have no idea what the caption should be.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Fruit Trees... and yard sculpture

The fruit trees near the garden aren't doing well. Possibly because the soil isn't very good, or maybe because they don't get watered frequently enough.

We decided to take down some old 'junk' trees by the road and plant new fruit trees between the stumps (Hubby and every other person on the planet who has ever removed one stump realizes what a wonderful idea this is!)

The trees are more easily watered here, and they get more sun. 
Since we don't have young kids playing all day in the yard, we didn't mind loosing some of the shade in the yard for a few years. The fruit trees will never be as tall as the cottonwoods were, but they will never get in the power lines, either. The power company used to have to trim the cottonwoods every few years, and they looked kinda weird with their center cut out.

And with the cottonwoods gone, I imagine that the lilacs off to the right (not in the photo) will do much better over the next few years.

Hubby is great about alot of things, but putting his tools away is not one of them.
So, here's the new yard sculpture--an old pick-ax stuck in the stump. It looks kinda artistic in a rustic 'hobby farm' sort of way!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fencing Idea

Hubby hates to use the tiller near fencing.

But we want to keep the chickens out of the garden.

And we want them to be able to get around the barnyard and up the access drive to eat the grasshoppers.

So here is the new fence idea, which seems to be working so far.

Wire panels hung on hooks that are welded to the drill pipe fence.
(now if the idiots who installed the fencing had listened, the wire fence would be pig wire, not cattle wire!)
You could do this with wood fencing, too. 4" x 4" wooden posts would be strong enough to hold up the wire fencing, especially if you put cement in the hole (which the idiots 'forgot' to do on 1/3 of the posts, sheesh!)
We're going to have to cap the drill pipe to keep wasps from building nests. Since we had a few old solar pathway lights around, I decided they might be handy to have in the drill pipe to light the access drive in the dark. We like the idea so well we'll find some more solar lights on sale at the end of the season and figure out a way to glue them into the pipe.
The crazy way we have to have the hoses set up so we can water in the desert!
So far the wire panels have worked to keep all but the smartest chickens out (who jump through the bottom holes). And the panels are easy to lift off so that Hubby or Son1 can till the garden. There are no gates (that would have been another $400 for 2 gates) so we just pick a panel up and move it to the side so we can get in and out. Moving the panel to get in and out of the garden is easier than it sounds.

All in all the idea has worked very well so far. Vet2Be has been adding some wire fencing to the bottom of the panels to keep the chickens out. We don't want to go out and buy all new panels with 4" x4" holes (pig panel) right now.