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January 2015 Yeehaw Farm newsletter

IMG_0592January 2015? It’s just not possible. What happened to 2014? Well, I guess I’ll go with it because the calendar says it’s so.

Here at Yeehaw, we have been plugging along trying to make it through yet another cold winter. We are faring okay and the animals are too, I suppose. We have had some ups and downs this winter but this is to be expected with life, much less everything associated with a farm. Due to the cold weather, some of our sheep, goats and two calves came down with pneumonia and we lost a few to that sickness. We have also had just a string of bad luck with incidents that we like to mentally file under “just stupid shit that happens”. One of my favorite dairy goats lost her life when a large round hay bale toppled on top of her because of the heavy winds that we have been getting in central Pennsylvania this year. Stuff that I have never had to deal with has happened this year. But that’s farming. And that’s life. We are dealing with it.

In the good news department, as of today, we have six brand spankin’ new lambs on the farm. It seems that our ram conveniently hopped fences to breed some of our ewes in August, instead of November like I had hoped would happen. For once, I was planning ahead so not to have lambs born on these cold, snowy January days. I bet it happened when we were at the Perry County Fair in August as we are not around the farm to keep up on the daily happenings. I have to give it to our ram…he’s a sly dog, that one. When we returned home, he managed to jump back into his original pasture without us so much as knowing he had paid a visit to our ewes. About half the flock is due to lamb this month and early February and the other half looks like they will lamb in April. I guess we interrupted his plans to complete the job by returning home from the fair a bit early. Ha.

We also had a calf born the day after Christmas who we named “Cody”. His mother refused to care for him so we have this cute little fellow that we are bottle feeding. Cody has been enjoying the company of the lambs as they have become his new roommates. His mother Doll Lee, who was an orphan calf herself, doesn’t know much about mothering instincts. As it turns out, that’s okay as I am milking Doll Lee and we need her milk. Half of our dairy herd is in “dry cow” mode. Dry cow mode is the 60 day period that we allow our cows to rest up before they calve and we start the milking process all over again. That also means that we are a bit low on milk this winter so every bit of extra milk goes a long way. Milk production naturally goes down with the waning sunlight and add to that my unsuccessful attempt to have all the cows producing over the winter, we have been on a bit of a milk embargo. But the days are getting longer which will aid us in milk production. And soon, the cows will be eating fresh green grass and then? And then, we will have so much milk that we won’t know what to do with it all. It’s the cycle of farming. Whatch ya gonna do?

Our new farm store building remains much the same as it did in November. It’s still just a slab of concrete. But that all should change in the February as we ordered the lumber and are just waiting for it to be delivered. We have the doors, windows and inside fixtures ready and waiting to be installed. Well, almost everything is ready. Tommy and I still need to hash out a few arguments over some of our lights and siding. The saying goes if your marriage can survive a major building project, it will survive anything. The verdict is still out for us! Ha. Just kidding. No, really. I’m not. Ha.

In personal home news, I inadvertently left our bathroom faucet on after brushing my teeth one morning two weeks ago. I, then, left the house and didn’t return for three hours later. When I did return, I came home to three inches of water over our entire basement floor, not to mention the two inches in our bathroom, bedroom and upstairs closet. A mess doesn’t accurately describe this catastrophe. I have been working on our basement for almost two weeks now, trying to clean up the wet boxes and trash, diligently throwing out at least one or two bags of garbage a day. It’s been a very time consuming process but in the midst of all this, I am finding comfort in knowing that our basement will be clean and organized.  That’s truly a new concept for me. I have never been much of a house cleaner!

I think that’s all for now with the monthly Yeehaw Farm news. Here’s hoping for spring to be just right around the corner. In a couple more days, the groundhog will be sure to let us know his prediction. I know that I am eager to hear the birds chirping and the first glimpses of new birth on our farm. Wait. The lambs are already here. That means that spring is right around the corner. It’s coming! Yay!

(A post script since I wrote this newsletter on Thursday.) On Thursday evening, another freak accident happened on the farm. Another one of our large hay bales rolled onto one of our heifer cows, crushing her underneath it. We were able to get her out from underneath it and put in a long night tending to her. Since that time, she is still unable to get up so we are unsure of her future. That’s a bummer. But because I always try to see the silver lining in everything that happens on our farm, we were surprised with a litter of eight piglets born in the crisp, cold of last evening. All eight and momma sow are doing fine. It sure is cold out for the little darlings but they are snuggled into mounds of straw and seem to be just fine. See? Always a silver lining?

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October 2014 Newsletter

Yeehaw_farm_crop Continue reading

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A guess? Anyone?

Does anyone have any idea what my two youngin’s are doing?

My ten year old is wielding an ax and appears to be chopping ice? All the while, his little sister sits there (in the rain, no less) offering moral support.

So, any idea what they are doing?

Well, shoot. In that photo, it looks the said 10 year old almost chopped his foot off. 

Still can’t figure it out? Does this help?                                                                                                 

Well, I guess this photo doesn’t really help you either.  Other than, those two work well together when they want to get something done.  I bet it’s something really important.            

Oh, yeah, baby! Homemade ice cream is something really important!

Every Sunday, we have a big whompin’ Sunday dinner, in which it takes all day for my momma and myself to prepare and 15 minutes to eat.  We sit down to supper every night as a family (all nine of us) but Sundays…well, that’s the day when there is a huge platter of meat and extra fixin’s on the table. We bless the hands that prepared the food…in reality…that’s everyone in the family because no one is exempt from food production in this family. My blind brother? He can find those tators in the dirt with his hands when we harvest.  My elderly parents? My daddy still plows the ground and my momma churns the butter like nobody’s business. You can bet my youngin’s are not strangers to planting, hoeing weeds and picking beans.  If they want to eat, they better learn to produce the food too. Crankster? Well, let’s just say that he is really good at supervising all food production on this farm!

So, every Sunday in the summer, we have homemade goat’s milk ice cream.  In my opinion, and as much as I love cow’s milk, there is NOTHING like homemade goat’s milk ice cream. It is creamy and so, so rich. It’s just a ritual that we have in the summer.  Every Sunday = goat’s milk ice cream. The flavor of the ice cream changes weekly and is usually seasonal. If the cherries are ripe, then it’s cherry ice cream. Strawberries? You betcha, strawberry ice cream. This past summer, Cranky and I took the canoe to reach some of the blackberries that grew right out over the pond. Some of them fell into the pond (which we retrieved) but heck, no one noticed the taste of pond water that evening when we had blackberry ice cream. 

Homemade ice cream on Sundays is a rare occurence over the winter so when I hollered to the youngin’s to go cut some ice from the pond on Sunday afternoon, I was humored to find these two youngin’s bustin’ their butts to fill the tub with ice.  They had enough ice in there to make about 10 freezers full. There wasn’t any whining or complaining about me treating them like slaves like their normally is.

Them (whining) “But…Momma, why do we have to do it?”

Me (calmly, of course) “Because I collectively housed you in my belly for 36 months and never charged you rent! You do the math, you little twits.  That’s 36 months of rent free accommodations. Three freakin’ years…you terds owe me!” 

Them (complaining) “But…Momma, why do you make us work all the time? 

Me (soothing, of course) “Because I birthed you without so much as an Advil for pain medication for a combined 36 hours of labor for all of you twits. That’s a full work week for some employed folks. YOU OWE ME BIG TIME!”

Them (really trying my patience) “But…Momma, why are you so mean?”

Me (okay, at this point, screaming) “Because I’m married to your father, that’s why! Now, go do your work before I really lose my patience!”

Them (smuggly, of course) “But…Momma, you don’t even own one ounce of patience to lose it in the first place.”

Me (fully engulfed with rage)…just silence. I think the look on my face was sufficient. 

Them(scared silly)…silence from their mouths as well and scurrying away like rats. 

So, the answer to the million dollar question is…

Those little twits are cutting ice for homemade ice cream because the ice is free! And we all know how much I like FREE! And ice cream…I really like ice cream.

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Enough already

If Ronald Reagan was still alive (and hypothetically,  if he ever stood in my living room because you know,  Ronnie and I were like, totally tight.  You know,  like, big time buds?), I know he would stand there, smoke blowing out his ears, reddened face, fist clenched and shaking it into the air, all the while demanding, “CHEESYCHICK, TAKE DOWN YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE!”

Okay…okay, I’m on it.

Geez…I really hate it when an ex dead president gets on my case about my Christmas tree that is STILL up.

Okay, really, it’s not Ronnie who is demanding that I take it down.  Cranky has put his foot down and my kiddos are embarrassed to have friends over because the tree is still up.

I liked it better when I pretended an ex dead president was telling me what to do.

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It’s becoming an obsession and I’m concerned

One fish, two fish, DEAD fish!

So, I’m wondering.  Should I be concerned that all my four little twit children want to do is sit on our frozen pond and ice fish ALL day long?

What is that sitting in the middle of our pond?

That would be my four heathen children, one cousin and their little dog in the middle of our frozen pond…ice fishing.

There they are, four heathen children, one cousin and one little dog in the middle of frozen pond...ice fishing.

What’s wrong with them…seriously?

My oldest twit and little wonder dog sitting on the ice.

Yes, that child is sitting on the ice.  Has he no brain?  Or does choose not to use it?

My third son little twit sitting on the ice.

This boy evidently chooses not to use his brain either.  There must be something wrong with him too?

My second twit son sitting on the ice.

For the love of God, can’t one of them figure out that the ice is freakin’ cold?

Aha! Someone using their brain a little.

Thank you baby girl for using some of your brain cells.  At least there is hope for someone in this family.  But on the other hand, you are sitting on a five gallon bucket on the frozen pond in 20 degree weather trying to catch a fish.  Enough said.  I think you may have inherited the same disease as your brothers have- inability to use their brains for practical reasons.

Success...at last. If you call a fish a success story.

He is the champion, my friend…and he will keep on ice fishing to the end. (please sing this to the tune of  “We are the Champions” by Queen and you will dig it.  JUST DO IT, NOW!)

Okay, now that I have everyone singing, on to our previously scheduled program.

Wait…if I’m slightly deranged, then maybe that’s where my kiddos get their affliction for weirdness from.  Oh, geez…and I always blamed it on Cranky and his family genes.

Aren't these little ice holes cute?

So, I am worried a bit.  My punks love to fish.  They would rather fish than anything else in the world.  They had a chance to get off the farm today to get some culture but they chose to sit on that frozen pond…all day long

I worry when my baby girl fills out her first grade “get to know me” paper and it says she want to be a pro bass fisherwoman on it.  She wants to fish on the pro bass circuit.  When I was in 1st grade, I wanted to be a rodeo clown.  I didn’t even know there was a pro bass circuit when I was in first grade.

More dead fish. Nice.

You know that I am a huge advocate of the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local”  or the zero mile theory with food consumption, right?  Well, if you didn’t know, I am.  And as much as I buy into these well thought out and common sense visions of the ultimate food chain, I would rather buy Mrs. Paul’s frozen fish sticks that came from like, China or some other foreign country, than to sit on my bum on a frozen pond all day trying to catch fish for supper. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the common sense factor here.

"I want to be on the pro bass circuit too."

Great…even the dog’s brain is frozen too.  There has to be an end to this fishing madness.

I guess I could drain the pond.

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It’s still Christmas, right?

I am thinking that it’s time to take down my Christmas tree…

Normally, I keep our Christmas tree up until February (or March or… okay, I have been known to keep it up until July) but considering that the needles are falling off and the ornaments are crashing to the floor, maybe it’s time that I took it down.  Rest assured, I have not turned on the lights for fear of it catching on fire.

Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow. Or the next day.

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My organization skills rock.

Do ya’ll know what this is?

It’s a twisted, mutilated, tangled mess of Christmas lights that has caused my nerves to tingle and twitch.

Sooooo glad that I put the lights away properly after taking down last year’s Christmas tree.  I am soooo happy about this ball of lights, I could just puke.  Bring on the holidays.

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