Saturday, June 29, 2013

Update on Jello

Hi, it's Celia again!

I'm sorry I haven't posted this week. Last week our church had its Youth Camp, and Mom, Farm Hand Dad, and I worked there for three days straight. Well, Dad and I worked there for three whole days, but Mom came home after dinner. She wakes up at 5:30, but to do that she has to be in bed by 9 or she is cranky. Or she oversleeps and can't get all of her work done, which makes her DOUBLE cranky. But Farm Hand Dad and I were there from early in the morning until late at night.

Anyway, that put us far, far, behind on our chores. So this week Mom and I have been catching up on chores (we're not caught up yet). And I started working at a second stable, which takes up about one day a week.  PLUS I've been working on a very big and exciting surprise. I can't wait to tell you what it is, but not yet. Soon!

So today I thought I'd give you an update on Jello the goat chicken. If you didn't read about Jello, you can do it here.


Jello is doing a very good job at keeping the bugs down in the goats' pen. See the tire in the picture? We put the food pan inside the tire so the goats don't kick it over. The only problem with that is food and water gets trapped in the tire, so every once in a while we have to clean it out. And since we didn't clean it out last week because of Youth Camp it got very stinky. So we cleaned it out today, and although there was a whole lot of stinky fermenting grain in the tire, there wasn't a whole lot of bugs. Good job, Jello! You can see her picking through the grain and gunk that we knocked out of the tire.



And guess what? Jello started laying. She lays one egg a day inside Babybel's cage. If you forgot why we put Babybel in a cage, you can read about it here.   We just have to remember to take the egg out before we put Babybel in her cage at night, or Mom isn't happy.



Well thanks so much for understanding about me not posting. I will try to post more often from now on!



Monday, June 24, 2013

Boys Will Be Boys

Hi, it's Celia again!

Here's a video of our roosters, doing what roosters do.

video

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Micro Farm in Pictures 7

Hi Celia again!


Youth Camp


Box Turtle


Writing the blog with my feet


The dad cupcake

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Baby Bugs

Hi, it's Celia again!

Do you remember how I was helping Mom in the garden, and found that praying mantis egg sac? You can read about it here.

Well, the eggs must have hatched! Because there are hundreds of baby praying mantises all over the garden. (Okay. Mom wants me to tell you that they don't hatch like bird eggs, but they turn into larva called nymphs, then baby praying mantis, then adults. She said I should have known that.)

Here's one Mom took a picture of. Excuse the blurriness. Mom is good at LOTS of things, but digital photography isn't one of them. She's still trying to figure out how to load film into her iphone.




Friday, June 21, 2013

Life in Conestoga, Part 2

Hi, it's Celia again!

The Village of Conestoga was named after the Conestoga Indians that lived near here. And the name Conestoga was given to the wagons that were built here. We are just overflowing with history!

I want to tell you some more about the village. We share our police department with Pequea Township, which is the next township over. There just wasn't enough crime in both townships to have individual departments. I guess that's a good thing. But we have our own police station.



And behind the police station is the fire house. Everyone in Conestoga loves our firemen! Mostly because the do things like this:




And finally, we have one of the best greenhouses in the county. The people there are really nice, and they know a lot about flowers and vegetables. And if you are willing to wait, you can get a really good deal. Mom just got 2 eggplant plants, 2 zucchini plants, 2 pepper plants, and lots of flowers for FREE! Now that's a good deal.




Thursday, June 20, 2013

Life in Conestoga

Hi, it's Celia again!

We live on the top of Stone Hill in the Village of Conestoga, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I had to look up exactly what a village was, and it turns out a village is a group of houses and buildings that are larger than a hamlet (whatever that is) and smaller than a town. So there you go.

Our village may be small, but it has a lot of exciting things going on. Let me tell you about some of things you can do in Conestoga.

You can get your car filled with gas. Or you can get a really good meal. Both at the same place--the Conestoga Wagon Restaurant. Everyone in the village knows where it is, and the people are really friendly.




Another interesting thing about Conestoga is our funeral home. On trick or treat night it used to have an open house, and everyone in the village would go in and eat food and candy, and learn all about funeral customs. It was interesting in a weird kind of way. Mom loved it. I say it "used to" have an open house, because recently the funeral director got caught dumping bodies in the back of the home instead of cremating them. Again, interesting in a weird kind of way. Now it's shut down, so no more open houses and no more dead bodies in the woods.




And the last interesting thing I'll tell you is that the Bookmobile comes here! Ed, the bookmobile guy, is very nice. He usually has horse books on the shelves for me to take out.




I'll tell you some more tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Apples, apples, apples

Hi, it's Celia again!

This past weekend I went with Farm Hand Dad to the Father-Daughter Campout at my church. It was postponed from the previous weekend because of rain. Farm Hand Dad was in charge of the food for the campout, and he bought apple slices in little bags for us to eat.

The problem is, they didn't keep very well for this week when we actually had the campout. They were kind of mushy, and starting to smell funny, so not all of them were eaten. Mom said they would make good cider, but we don't have a cider press so....the goats ate them!

Mom and I ripped open all the bags...


...and put the apples in this pan.



Here I am carrying them out to the goats. When they see the pan, they know they're getting a treat. See how they're all lined up at the gate? Even Jello the goat chicken wants some. They can't wait!



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rex

Hi, it's Celia again!

One of the ways I make money is by pet sitting. This is a really good way to earn money if you like animals. One of my best clients is Rex, a really nice golden retriever.

When Rex's owner dropped him off last week, she asked me to give him a bath. That's one of the services I offer. She said he had been out in the rain and was kind of stinky. Well, it got a lot worse.

Rex is one of the few dogs that we can let off a leash on our property if we're outside. He just wanders around and visits with the chickens or the goats, and sometimes plays with Sadie, our neighbor's dog. Well, Rex rolled around in something that smelled like poop. It was horrible! Goat? Chicken? Dog? some wild animal? There was no sense in trying to guess whose poop it was. Even Mom, who's interested in pretty much everything, couldn't care less. She was only interested in getting the smell washed off.

So here I am, giving Rex his bath.



And here Rex is, rolling around right after his bath, letting me know that he wouldn't be defeated.


And here I am giving Rex bath number two the next day.



He smelled a lot better after that.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Broody Hen

Hi, it's Celia again!

Our hens lay an egg every day or so. We have roosters, so sometimes the eggs are fertilized (they have a  white "bull's eye" on the yolk). But to get chicks, one of our hens needs to go broody. That means she feels like sitting on the eggs. In all the years Mom has had chickens, only one hen has decided to go broody. But now Mom thinks she has another one. And Mom is thrilled. She gets excited over the strangest things.

Mom thinks the hen is broody because it hasn't gotten off the nest for 3 days. And when Mom takes the eggs out from under her she puffs up real big and gives Mom the stink eye. So Mom took the hen off the nest and put it inside the cat carrier (not to be confused with the dog pen that we use to separate the baby goat from her mom). She put the cat carrier inside the hen house to keep it safe and to stop it from hopping from nest to nest. After the hen is done laying all the eggs she wants to hatch, she'll sit on them for 21 days. Then all of the eggs should hatch within 24 hours of each other and we'll have baby chicks!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Micro Farm in Pictures 6

Hi, it's Celia again.

Here's my week in pictures.

James, happy to be taking a tour of the land fill 

Geranium and Blanketflowers in the front garden

Me jumping

Enjoying a fire on the patio 


The front flower garden


My new goldfish, Sharkey

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Farm Hand Dad

Hi, it's Celia again.

Happy Father's Day to my dear daddy, Farm Hand Dad. He loves me and I love him. He is the best farm hand I could have. He's always happy to help me, even if he doesn't really want to. He built my goats' shed, and put up the fence, just so they would have a safe place to live. He fixed the fence, too, when a tree fell on it. Even though Dad wouldn't have goats, he is very happy to help me with my goats because that's what I want. He stops doing what he wants to do to help me do what I want to do. He really does sacrifice for me. I am glad he is my Dad.

Working Hard to Feed the Goats

Fixing the Fence


Doing What He Likes To Do Most

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Know thy trees

Hi, it's Celia again!

One of the first things we did when we got goats was identify the trees that the goats could not eat. Goats cannot eat trees that have stone fruits, like peaches and cherries, because they have cyanide in them. It's not so bad if the leaves are fresh or dried, but if they are wilted the cyanide is really concentrated and it can hurt or kill a goat. And we have a lot of wild cherries on our property. So the first thing we did (and by we I mean Mom, because she is much more interested in all the different kinds of trees we have than I am. She wanted to learn what each one was. I just want to keep the goats safe.) was to walk around and make sure we knew where the wild cherries were. Here's what a wild cherry looks like:

Shiny-ish pointed leaves:



Rough bark, especially when they're old:




Well, we have a couple of trees that Mom couldn't identify. They had this kind of leaf:




And this kind of bark:




We couldn't find them in the book we have. And the goats love them! So we cut off some branches and put them in the goat yard. Mom says we shouldn't have done that until we knew what they were, because then we saw this on them:



Well you don't have to be an arborist (that's a tree guy) to know that this is a cherry tree, too! Not the wild cherry tree in our book, but some other kind. Maybe a tame one. Back into the goat pen we went and cleaned out every last bit of that tree. The goats were mad, but they'll get over it.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Morgan the Milk Maid

Hi, it's Celia again.

My friend Morgan is a born farmer. She gets up early. She works hard. She has a good attitude.

This morning she helped me with the milking. Morgan got up at 6 am. A.M. She had her breakfast and then waited patiently for me to wake up. I don't wake up until 7, and that's with a little (okay, a lot) help from Mom. But Morgan and I had to go to camp by 8, so we needed to get up and get moving.

Here are Morgan and Mom milking Mali. I was tired, so I volunteered to take the pictures.


Here is the little basket of corn we have ready for Jack in case he escapes from the goat yard. If he escapes and we don't have it ready, he jumps on Mali's milking stand to get her grain. Mali doesn't like that.


Here's the sanitizer we use. We use it to wipe down Mali's udder, to wipe our hands before we milk, to dip Mali's teats in after we milk, and to clean the equipment. Cleanliness is next to Godliness!


Here's a close up of Mom milking, and one of the back of Mali's head in the stanchion.


And here we are with Mali and the kids, taking the up to the top of the hill for grazing.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Farm (house) Maintenance

Hi, it's Celia again.

A farm--even a mini one--takes a lot of work. Some work you can let slide for a little while, which is what we did with the front porch. It has needed painting for a while now, but Farm Hand Dad has been very busy. He works a lot, and he volunteers at church a lot. Now it's time to paint. A lot.



So one day Farm Hand Dad said to Mom, "If you get bored, you can peel the paint off the porch. You don't have to scrape. It just peels off."

Mom is never bored. NEVER. She's interested in too much stuff. Like bugs. And cooking. And cooking bugs. Don't ask her about it or she'll try to talk you into taking this class with her at the County Park where they teach you which bugs are safe to eat.

Anyway, she told Dad, "I'll pay Morgan and Celia to do it." Morgan is my very, very good friend. Mom likes Morgan.

When Morgan came over we started to peel the paint off the porch for fun. So Mom came out and said she would pay us if we peeled all the paint off the rails by the steps.

I said, "How about $100?"

Morgan said, "We'll do it for $10." Mom REALLY likes Morgan.

Of course we couldn't just peel it off. We had to have a contest to see who could take off the biggest piece without it breaking.

Here's Morgan. So far she has the winning piece.

For now...


Well, we're not like Mom. We got bored after about 20 minutes and went to play in the backyard.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jello the Goat Chicken

Hi, it's Celia again.

This is Jello. I named her that because when Mom asked me, "What should we name her?" I happened to be thinking about Jello, and how we haven't had it in a while, and how good and cool it would taste. So I named  her Jello.

She lives in the goat pen. Her job is to keep the bugs down this summer. Mom doesn't feed her at all. She says that if she doesn't get fed she'll eat more bugs.



(Mom lived in an apartment in Philadelphia that was crawling with mice. Mice in the trash can. Mice in the stove. Mice doing the limbo in the middle of the living room. It was mice-o-mania. One day (and this is very weird) Mom heard meowing coming from her oven. When she opened the oven door there was a cat inside. Mom thinks the oven must have been vented to the outside and the cat crawled in through the vent. Anyway, she kept the cat but didn't feed it. The mice didn't last very long.When the mice were gone Mom put the cat back outside.)

Bugs (like mice) are full of protein, and chickens need lots of protein to lay eggs. Not that we have high hopes of an egg making it very long with three baby goats jumping around.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vitamins for Goats

Hi, it's Celia again!

Goats need more than good grain and fresh pasture to be healthy. They need vitamins, just like me! But I take mine in a pill (when I take it) and they take there's "loose". That means it's ground up.



 It's put in this little  feeder inside their shed.


 They can eat as much as they want. Jack loves it!

I give them baking soda, too.

Goats have 4 stomachs and baking soda helps weaken the acid in their first stomach (the rumen). I wouldn't want my stomach acid to be strong either if I spent my day spitting up my food, chewing it some more, swallowing it, spitting it back up, chewing it some more...It's like heartburn on demand. It's kinda gross when I think about it. So I don't think about it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Micro Farm in Pictures (5)

Hi, Celia again!




Jack eating Mali's spilled grain

Raindrops on the window

What I do when I'm not farming

Jack's self portrait

Hope you enjoyed!