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What in the world is GG?

Posted by Angie on February 19, 2014 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (1)

A few days ago, Billy was trolling around on Craigslist (if you haven't trolled on Craigslist, give it a try...you can find anything and everything on Craigslist) and found this:

"What exactly is that thing?" you are probably wondering right now...

  1. Is it a golf cart?
  2. A four-wheeler?
  3. An ATV?
  4. ...and you are also probably thinking, "Is that thing painted camo?"


Well, to answer these (and probably many other) questions...

  1. Yes,
  2. Yes,
  3. Sorta yes, and
  4. Yes.


It is a golf cart with huge ATV tires that we can go 4-wheeling with on the state lands behind us. We can also tool around in it to move and carry "stuff" around the homestead. And to make it even more complete (and totally redneck-y) it is painted--all over--including the tire wells, in camo. Yes, that's right, camouflage--with little G's stamped ALL over it (we can only assume that the G's are for the Georgia Bulldogs [or is it dawgs?]); however, we choose to have the G's stand for Ginger Goat. That is our story and we are sticking to it.


So, GG (that's what we call him. The tractor--Big Blue--is BB [see November 29, 2012 post or go to the Photos Section]) is totally decked out with:

  • CB Radio (because who needs a cellphone when you have a CB, right? [breaker, breaker, good buddy])
  • CD player (can you tell this is an older model of a golf cart/ATV/4-wheeler?)
  • interior lights
  • headlights
  • FOUR cup holders (for your current and future drinks)
  • a water tight battery system (yeah, that's right, we can plug this puppy in every night; it needs NO gas.)
  • top speed of 30 MPH (for an hour and a half...we tested it)
  • and a latchable windshield (for those chilly [50 degrees] February Florida evenings)


Yeah, it's fun...and totally utilitarian :).

Just another rainy day

Posted by Angie on January 30, 2014 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The winter weather has been a little crazy around here lately--hot and sunny one day, cold and drizzly the next. It seems like there is no rhyme or reason to it; I just have to roll with it day by day. The recent wacky changes in the weather sure affect my life a lot more now than when I lived in the city (or 'burbs). Before, a cooler, rainy day would just piss me off because the traffic to and from work (or the store or wherever I was going) was a lot slower (and the the drivers were a lot dumber). Icky weather was more of an inconvenience rather than a potential game changer on my plans for the day. 


Take today for example--the forecast for today was *supposed* to be sunny, dry, and in the low 70s--a perfect day to weed the yard, fertilize the trees, and work in the garden. When I woke up this morning, it was raining (I am pretty sure it rained all night) and it hasn't stopped all morning, all afternoon--and the way it is looking now--it will be raining into the evening. I am not complaining--we need the rain--it's just I won't be doing what I had planned today (and probably not for a few days, it's pretty mushy out there).


I am learning that homesteading (or farming or country-life or whatever you want to call it) requires persistance, patience, and flexibility--like most things in life. It's natural. And, if you really think about it, city-life is a bit unnatural with its bright lights all night and food available at all times (that is shipped in, many times, from the other side of the world, typically eaten while sitting on a couch in front of a TV [and/or a computer]). City-life affords you the ability to not really have to worry about flexibility and persistance (to a certain extent); however, I will say your patience is tried a lot more than country-life.


It seems to me when I lived in the city-life "mode," I really wasn't living my life in the "present." I was talking or texting people anytime, anywhere, for any reason--while driving, eating, talking--whenever, wherever. Maybe it was just more of a mindset. I don't think it's natural to be so connected to everything and everyone all of the time. I know, some people will, and do, disagree with me--and that's okay. I am not saying I'm right and you're wrong, but there is some "naturalness" and peacefulness to not be concerned with what everyone else is doing (or thinking) and them not knowing what I am doing every second of the day. Because, let's be honest, the day-to-day tasks of homesteading is NOT glamorous or all that exciting. But, really, when you think about it, is anyone's life really all that glamorous and exciting (however, it probably is a bit more sanitary than mine [cleaning up after animals and digging in the dirt all day])?


There is something oddly beautiful about working really hard, getting really dirty and just living--just being--in that moment. And, at the end of the day of hard work, to just look up into the sky and admire the sunset or the cloud formations or even the stars.


In theory, it seems like it would be so easy to do just that...but it is something I am struggling to learn to do. Even now, a year later, I am still unlearning the "noise" from city-life (and the "noise" from inside my head)

Ginger Goat Farm Guidelines

Posted by Angie on January 23, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, it's wintertime here at Ginger Goat Farm--which means (to us)--we have had 50 degree weather for THREE DAYS IN A ROW. I know, I know, most people think I am insane when I bitch and moan about 50 degree weather (especially when it has been in the single digits up North where I am from), but I have lived in Florida for 15 years (which I think makes me a native Floridian at this point) and my blood is thin.


Many times I ask myself how did I survive in Ohio in the winter? Ohio has some crazy weather going on. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Ohio. I love everything about it...in the SUMMER! Seriously, there were days that I woke up with the heat on, turned the A/C on at noon, the heat back on at 3, and then the A/C back on at 7 pm, anytime of the year. Ohio is a place where you can get away with wearing a turtleneck under a sweatshirt (typically an OSU Buckeyes one), short shorts, and Ugg boots because the weather changes that much and that quickly. I have taken a 3 hour road trip in Ohio and fluctuated fiddling back and forth with the heat and the A/C, pending on what direction the sun was coming in the car; didn't matter if it was summer or winter.


Anyway, we have had a few days of *relatively* cooler weather (and I should enjoy it because come August, I will be really be missing these temperatures) and I have done a bit of reflecting on crafting some guidelines for Ginger Goat Farm. You know, something for when the "cityfolk" come on out and visit. Some of these guidelines include:

 

  1. Wear closed-toe shoes. (It's a farm. We have animals. They poop. Also, it's Florida. We have bugs. Big ones that bite hard.)
  2. If you wear your shoes in any of the animal pens, don't wear them in my house. (I think that one is pretty self-explanatory.)
  3. If you eat meat, you eat animals. (Don't look at us like we are cruel people because, eventually, these animals will be slaughtered [humanely]. Where do you think that Big Mac came from? Or chicken wings? At least our animals live a full life that is free of stress and enjoy being outside in the sun.)
  4. Don't lecture me about being organic. (I do the best I can to do anything and everything to use natural and pesticide-free products, but if I have a fire ant hill encroaching on "my" (or my animals') space, I will do *whatever* it takes to eliminate those little SOBs.)
  5. Yes, our water tastes a little "funny." (Our water comes from a well on our property. It has not been treated with the chemicals you are probably used to tasting.)
  6. Only #1, #2, and toilet paper gets flushed down the toilet. (We are on our own septic. Not to be too graphic, but other things (i.e. feminine hygenic products) are a big no no as, eventually, all of it will need to be pumped out [ewwwwww].)

I'm still working on some more, but I think it's a fairly good start. 

 

Bittersweet Day

Posted by Angie on January 2, 2014 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (4)

It is a beautiful day out here at Ginger Goat Farm...a sunny day with white, puffy, cottonball clouds high in the sky and a gentle breeze. It's in the low 80's so, it has been a perfect day to "deep clean" the duck pen (as much as you can deep clean the duck pen) and to take care of some other odds and ends around the farm.

 

 

Anyway, while I was out pulling some weeds in the garden I realized that Sheila, one year ago today, died. Sheila was our dog that moved with us out here. She was almost 15 years old and she only lived at Ginger Goat Farm for 7 weeks. I am still pretty emotional about it and that's all I want to write about her and what happened on this day last year.

We have Daisy and Duke and I love them (as they are both napping at my feet while I type), but they're not Sheila and I have to move on (as any dog lover knows and understands).

Wow...it's been awhile since I last posted...

Posted by Angie on December 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

October 30? Sheesh, time flies. It's been a blur these past weeks (err...months). Seriously. Nothing really earth shattering has been going on, just enough that everytime I get ready to sit down and post (and/or feel inspired by something that happened around here), something else diverts my attention (who knows?...it might be an unexpected, later-in-life onslought of ADHD). Whatever, I apologize for not sharing some of our stories lately. I WON'T let it happen again.

 

Well, about a month ago we celebrated our one year anniversary here at Ginger Goat Farm, and like every other event that occurs in life, the anticipation of the date was more exciting than the actual day. I don't mean to sound all  "Negative Nancy," but I think you know what I mean. For example, think about your graduation day (from high school, college, 8th grade, whatever...). Remember how much you couldn't wait for that day to come? And then, when it did happen...after it all happened...you were sort of like, "Meh!"

 

Our one year anniversary for Ginger Goat Farm was a day like any other day out here...taking care of the animals and trying to (still) get a handle on everything. Daisy and Duke (the Dynamic Duo) are HUGE. Duke is over 60 lbs. (62ish) and Daisy is over 50 lbs. (54ish). I just snapped a pic of them earlier today:

Daisy (or Crazy) is in the foreground giving you her sexiest pose with her come-hither eyes and Duke (or Stinky, see the last post) is in the background with his size 15 ears (on a size 8 body), probably farting up a storm (that dog has a natural born "gift"). They're good dogs (hard to believe in a month in a half they will a be YEAR OLD!). They no longer sleep in crates. They sleep on the floor, next to our bed every night (and Duke "dutifully" licks my face every morning at 6AM to let me know it's time to wake up).

 

The chicken posse are happy girls. Just about everyday we get 10 eggs--which is pretty good considering we are heading into winter (shorter days usually mean less egg production). They still squat and want to be picked up whenever we go near them.

 

Frik and Fran are fat and sassy. Fran has laid an egg pretty much everyday for the past month (unfertilized, which is weird because we see them "gettin' it on" just about every morning on the pond, see last post). Duck eggs sorta taste like chicken eggs, but not really. Last week, I made a pumpkin pie with some (epic fail). Every once in awhile, I fry/scramble some ducks eggs--we can barely tell the difference (they're more "yolky"). We heard that we could sell those suckers for a BUCK a piece, that might be our new business... Duck eggs are huge:

 

FYI: The chicken egg (the brown one) is an extra-extra large egg (we can barely fit it in a standard egg carton). Yeah--that's how big a duck egg is (and the yolk is more orange than yellow).

 

Well, I have to go clean a duck house (because, unfortunately, they just don't clean themselves). Next post, I'll share with you some of our adventures in cooking (because if we are going to grab a hold of this whole homesteading thing, we [well, really mostly me, Billy is a really good cook] have to start cooking and eating the stuff around here).

 

CORRECTION: DUKE IS 59 LBS. AND DAISY IS 51 LBS.

A Delicate Situation

Posted by Angie on October 30, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I haven't posted anything for awhile; it's not because nothing has been going on--quite the contrary--we have been super busy pulling it together around the homestead. Among some of the things we have done include (finally) containing the chickens in a *luxurious* run of their own (i.e. we can now start a garden without them scratching/digging the hell out of it), hooking up the water solar panels, installing a PV system (it's not quite done yet, but we are on our way!), and just all around cleaning up around here. 


All of the animals are doing well. We think that Frik and Fran might have "gotten it on" (finally! [see September 24th post]). A few mornings ago, I was out doing my morning chores and--I am pretty sure--I saw Frik ON Fran in the pond. Which is excellent news on so many levels because:

  1.  Maybe he will stop raping my hens (or whatever he is trying to do...they don't like it, and neither does Fran).
  2. Fran will stop (or at least curtail) her incessant quacking.
  3. They will now hang out on the pond (their "love shack") and quit hanging around the front porch, pecking on the front door and shitting everywhere.
  4. We might have baby ducklings soon (and NOTHING is cuter than baby ducklings).

The hens are doing great. Still squatting whenever we come near them (see August 29th post) and laying 9/10 eggs everyday. We are eating A LOT of eggs and egg-type foods around here (I am actually cooking EDIBLE foods!). In fact, here's a picture of a spinach quiche I made awhile back: 


It was actually quite delicious...and it wasn't a fluke! I made it twice and both times it was good. I am quite proud of myself because I am not that great of a cook. Honestly, I am quite terrible at it (there are lots of reasons why; they just culminate all together and create this hailstorm [me] in the kitchen.


Anyway, I'll quit beating around the bush. I have to admit we have one *small* problem around here. It's a delicate situation.


It's Duke.


He smells.


REALLY bad (I wish I could hyperlink a "scratch-n-sniff" to this post to give you an idea of how bad it is). I can't even begin to describe the odor he emits (maybe rotten eggs, mixed with mildew, mixed with dirty hippie hair...and a dash of dead fish. It's dreadful).


We have no idea what to do. Now that the weather has (finally) started to cool off around here, we have transitioned most of our work to outside chores (as you read at the beginning of this post), which means we let Daisy and Duke run around and be puppies. It's awesome. They run, play, swim in the pond, roll around in the wetlands. It's so cute and we love to watch them. However, after just a day (maybe just even an hour of it), Duke is RANK beyond explanation. Daisy isn't, but Duke...a totally different story.

If you remember, quite a while back, Billy took "charge" of Daisy (well, as best as you can "take charge" of Crazy Daisy) and I took Duke (see May 28th post). And I'll be honest with you, I totally thought I got the better end of the deal...as Daisy is absoutely nuts. I do love him (and Daisy) with all of my heart, but it is extremely difficult to snuggle with your puppy when he smells like:
  1. rotten eggs
  2. mildew
  3. dirty hippie hair
  4. dead fish
All rolled into one.


I've tried everything...baths everyday (I know that isn't good for him), Fabreeze (I know that isn't good for him, either), dryer sheets...anything and everything. He still stinks, but look at him:


(Duke is on the left, Daisy is on the right [he is now around 58 lbs., she's around 50]).


I mean, c'mon, look at those puppy faces. It melts your heart, but unfortunately Duke also melts your nose (and sometimes almost makes your eyes water). I am hoping that he is like most teenage boys I know...they stink (usually like Doritos, dirty feet/shoes, Old Spice, and mold)...and they grow out of it (usually after they graduate from college). Are teenage puppies the same? He is almost 10 months old. Wouldn't that make him kind of a "tweener*?


He should grow out of it, right? I hope so because these nightly baths are killing me (and he isn't all that fond of them, either).

The 3-3-4 Corollary

Posted by Angie on October 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

You know, I learn something new (or disprove something I thought I knew) everyday out here on the homestead. Yesterday afternoon  turned into one of those days that I disproved something that I thought I already knew. Did you know that chickens (or really A chicken) will wander off from the flock? And when I say wander, I don't mean a few hundred feet, I mean like a mile away.

 

Yesterday started out like any other day...Billy was out-and-about taking care of some business and I was at home, working on the computer, interspersed with some tasks that needed to be done outside...

 

Before I go any further with my story, I have to admit a little crazy habit I always do around here. I am not sure if it is OCD or anything, but it is something I find myself doing EVERY time I go outside...I count chickens. And when I say I count chickens, I don't go around and count them like you normally would, you know "1-2-3...to 10". Oh no, I go "1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3-4". What the heck is that about? Seriously, is that weird or what?

Every flipping time I go outside, I count them.

 

"1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3-4".

 

"1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3-4".

 

I just can't help myself. I just do it.  

 

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was transitioning from "inside" work to "outside" work, saw the chickens, and started my freaky little "1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3-4" craziness; however THIS time it wasn't "1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3-4", it was "1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3".

 

You recognize the difference here, don't you? It was 1-2-3", "1-2-3", "1-2-3...and NO 4...no matter how many times I counted them there was NO 4 on my last count. I started to freak out a little bit. Where's the fourth chicken around here (I know it's really the 10th chicken, but I was working on my count)? Where could she be? After our duck drama a few weeks ago (see September 24th post) and with all of the eagles, hawks, and owls we have hanging around here (see March 5th post), I started to wonder if something swooped down and grabbed one of our girls for a late afternoon snack. It made me sad. It didn't matter how many times I did my crazy count, I couldn't make a "4" happen.

 

Then, that's when it started to get really crazy. I started going around the homestead calling for the chicken...you know calling out, "C'mon sweetie", "Here chickie, chickie" in a high-pitched voice for like an hour (OMG, I am turning into one of those crazy chicken ladies!).

 

Nothing.

 

I started to make peace with the fact that she probably was in the belly of one of those bald eagles we saw perched up on a cypress tree last weekend. I was very sad. So, in my melancholy state, I started to walk towards the mailbox to retrieve our mail (our mailbox is a quarter-of-a-mile from our house; it's a bit of a hike) and passed one of my neighbors (all of our neighbors are totally cool) who has a couple of chickens (roosters) himself. So I casually asked him how his roosters were doing and if for any reason he had happened to see any of our girls....and you know what? He did. About an hour or so earlier.

 

Can you believe that happy crap? One of our girls (now named "The Wanderer"...or "Ho-bag" [she was hanging around his roosters]) scrambled--alone--all the way to our neighbor's house (about a quarter-of-a-mile down the dirt road), hung out with his roosters, and then wandered off again. He hadn't seen her for awhile, but he told me that he would give me a call if he did.

 

About an hour later, he called me back and told me he saw "Ho-bag" scratching around for bugs behind his horse barn. I was so excited. I ran over to his house, gave him a great big hug, and started calling for her (of course she didn't pay any attention to me). So, I dodged huge piles of horse poo to get over to her. Of course as soon as she saw me she squatted for me to pick her up and I carried little "Ho-bag" home.

 

Happy ending to a crazy little chicken story. Even crazier...we got 11 eggs today!

Step-by-Step

Posted by Angie on October 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

In our (slow) march to become self-sufficient, we have (finally) installed the water solar panels (that's why we were digging and filling in ditches around here awhile back [see July 19th post]! We will now have water heated by the sun rather than using grid power. One significant step closer to our dream of hippie-dom (well, our version of hippies...we still plan to enjoy our daily bathing and shaving, a good ol' hamburger once in awhile, Netflix, etc., etc.). How exciting! Here are the solar panels:

We decided to put them at the back of the property, behind the chicken coop, rather than on the roof for several reasons:

  1. We have plenty of space.
  2. We really didn't want to drill holes into our roof to secure them down (with the rain and hurricanes occuring around here).
  3. When we build our chicken run (because even though we love that the girls free-range, they are TEARING UP my garden and yard and they shit everywhere [and it's all I can do to keep Daisy and Duke from eating it--which, by the way, Duke is now weighing in at a stout 52 pounds and Daisy is a svelte 47]), the panels will provide the girls/hens some shade.

 

The panels are passive which means that water (literally) flows through little channels within the panel that is heated by the sun (because they're black and black absorbs heat. Yes, Jeff Foxworthy, I AM smarter than a 5th grader). We are still researching ways we can use the sun to power the house (i.e. the A/C, the microwave, lights, you know, the important stuff...). Like I stated before, this is "our" version of hippie-dom...it may not be yours, but whatever.

 

Speaking of the hens...OMG, they are still SO CUTE. We can't go anywhere without them following us around. Yesterday, one of them followed me into the house (yes, it was Pinky Tuscadero [see August 17th post]). I wasn't really paying any attention and she just snuck right on in. And while I do love them (and I love collecting fresh eggs...amazingly, we usually get 10 every day. We have some happy girls), I don't want them in my house; I do draw the line somewhere.

 

What I especially love about the hens is that they don't judge me on the "fabulous" footwear I wear around the homestead. I think I mentioned before that we have special shoes (that we keep in a bin right outside by the backdoor) that we wear in the chicken coop and duck den that are not to be worn--ever--in the house. My super seductive rubber boots (see December 29th, 2012 post) that I bought from Walmart (don't judge me) a while back are in this bin as well as these sexy babies:

And, yes, you are correct...those are Crocs...and they are not even real Crocs...even better, they are the imitation kind. I found them on a clearance rack in the boys' department (yep, at Walmart) for 3 bucks (even my $14 boots can't beat that). And if you look at the picture of my titillating slip-on sandals, the girls even love my shoes.

 

I mean those hens are the best...they feed me, they love me, and they don't judge me.

March of the Ants

Posted by Angie on August 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you know what this is:

IT is a fire ant and they are the bain of our existence at Ginger Goat Farm. Go ahead and Google "Fire Ant Bite Images." I DARE you...no I double-dog dare you. And, if you're feeling a little daring, go ahead and Google "Fire Ant Bite Puppy Images." I'll be right here when you get back...

 

Now that you looked...they are both disgusting and disturbing, aren't they? Fire ants are the most contemptable creatures on the planet. Plus, those little mo-fo's aren't even native to this area. The little SOBs hopped on a ship from Argentina about 80 years ago and have no intention of ever going back. If you have 4 1/2 minutes to spare, check out this trailer of a documentary starring these little $%%#s (CLICK HERE).

 

I hate them...I really, REALLY hate them.

 

Do you want to know WHY I hate them so much?:

If it it looks like it hurts, it's because it does. Dang-it. I thought I was being REALLY careful when I was herding the chickens this morning! You almost can't be careful enough out here. Like I have expressed before...we are so happy living here and wouldn't change one thing (except, of course, these stupid bugs). I guess we have to consider them one of the hazards of living out here. It's crazy that these little buggers are so destructive (and PAINFUL).

 

Anyway, it's just not the actual bite that hurts, it also torments you (and itches) FOR DAYS. One bite is bad enough, but when you get 4 or more....they will just about drive you crazy. If you never have had the experience (good fortune) of being bitten by one (or many) of these little scuzzballs...let me help you out. Imagine innocently walking around your yard (or walking on the sidewalk, sitting on a chair, etc.), minding your own business...then, all of a sudden--out of nowhere--it feels like someone is injecting a hypodermic needle (if you're "lucky," it's just one hypodermic needle) filled with hot pepper sauce directly into your foot/leg/arm...wherever...it doesn't matter.

 

It burns like crazy for awhile and you put baking soda (or whatever other "remedy" is out there) on it to try to alleviate the pain. But let's face it, nothing really works. So, you sort of just "suck it up," take a Benadryl (or drink a cocktail, or two), and sleep it off for a few hours.

 

When you finally wake up, you TRY not to scratch it....and you're really good about not touching it...for about a day. Then at about 3 o'clock in the morning that next night, you feel like you are going to lose your everloving mind if you don't scratch the shit out of that bite (or most usually, bites). So, you scratch and scratch and scratch because you realize, it really doesn't matter.

 

You are left with a welt (or welts) for about a week (regardless if you pop the blister or not). Then, when it FINALLY goes away....you get bit again!