Tag Archives: nature

+My Tangled Garden

16 Jan
  • Lately my life feels like the current state of my garden; tangled, overgrown and neglected. Some areas still show outlines of herbal ideas faintly recognizable through the grass and weeds.  As I open the gate and walk in I see colors of fall still displayed on some of the Blueberry bushes, a Rosebush is full of immature blooms never to be set upon  by a bee.  The once towering Catnip plant has been pulled down by the arch nemesis of morning glory vines. Tiny pink petals shimmer between curled vine, leaves and stems. At the end of the garden the raised bed is already covered in preparation for the coming of  winter bears a fragrant rebel. Last year at the end of summer a very sad, tiny rosebush was rescued from a local store. Holding my breath, I trimmed it back and lovingly planted it in the raised bed which was covered to protect the plants inside.
  • When danger of frost was past, I rolled back the heavy plastic cover revealing a beautiful sight. Seemingly showing gratitude, the previously “Charlie Brown” rosebush had taken over the whole end of the bed and had bloomed profusely! Starts of Salvia almost 4 feet tall beckon to hummingbirds. Nasturtiums that cheerily spread and reseeded now host a variety of life from butterflies, bees, bumbles, humming birds and an occasional wild  bunny.
  • Our tendacy is to focus on the weeds instead of the flowers.
  • My garden reminds me counting blessings and appreciating them encouragages us to care for the precious beauty within our lives. It is so easy to take for granted especially while tripping over blackberry vines, weeds or caught up by thorns.
  • Weeds can be beneficial as well, when plucked chickens eat them like salad greens or make sunshine yellow Dandelion jelly.
  • The first bouquet of flowers from my oldest son as a toddler consisted of as many bright yellow dandelions as he could grasp in his little fist.. Seeing his face light up as he handed them to me was priceless! Do you think I told him those pretty flowers were really considered weeds?
  • As this year draws towards winter, I will cringe as I trim back plants still showing green.

How is your garden in life?

Choosing an attitude of gratitude is challenging when overwhelmed, however we do have a  choice flowers or weeds?


The Quest for Organic

3 Jan
  • Our little feirme (farm) has a small herd of Mini-Mancha dairy goats. Currently we have two senior does in milk.  One of our milk customers wanted to know if we would consider feeding Organic feeds to our milk does as they wanted to keep using our milk, but new health concerns had them looking to organic only in their diet.

What is the definition of Organic? As I researched, It came to my attention that there are endless interpretations of this one word. What I am looking for are grains developed for goats that are not grown or processed using artificial chemicals for  growth, fertization,insects resistance or weed deterrents.

We have not used any weed killers, sprays, powders, chemicals on our property since we moved here in 1999. Our livestock is fed as much local hay, alfalfa, grains, herbal supplements, minerals and formulas as possible. Another thing I discovered the way we have been raising our livestock and growing our garden, fruit trees is called “sustainable”.


Going to some of our local feed stores revealed few choices for Organic grains, feeds or hays. The first Organic grain blend we tried is put out by:  Payback called Organic Country Buffet which is an all breed blend that has a lot  of powder in the mix. Our Goaty Girlz do not really care for it and my oldest doe “Tutu” lost body condition, both does lost weight on this. Availability is challenging, most feed stores want you to order and pay for a minimum month supply of bags as it is not kept in stock. Price is steep, expect an average of $12.00 per bag increase in price. Now we are looking for possibly mixing/milling a grain  blend with higher protein and palatability.

Here is a link for the organics offered by Payback, we will be contacting them and will keep you posted on our quest for organics. http://www.paybacknutrition.com/products/organic

Just an average Day…

20 Feb

Stayed up late, you guessed it..blogging! I thought that I should stray back towards the origins of this blog and write about an average day on Life on Z Farm.
Up at 3 am, stoked fire and checked to make sure children and husband are covered up. Husband has flu, so I am sleeping on our antique couch in front of the wood stove.
Waking at 7 to my hubby asking where my phone is, as he needs to call into work again, poor guy. Sure hope he feels better soon, he is worried even when he is sick about making our ends meet. We do not have health insurance, nor sick days.
Started a pot of coffee, love the new coffeemaker we got!
No fresh milk, so drinking it black and sweet.
Now breakfast plans, muffins in oven. Onto waking children for school.
We attend virtual school, but they still have a schedule to follow.
Stoke fire again, let kitty into get warmed up, then kick her back out.
After drinking 2 cups of coffee, I am out to do chores.
First stop is the chicken coop. We currently have a dozen laying hens and two roosters to let out, feed, water and throw scratch to.
Next it the Chicky tractor which houses the pullets until they are big enough to go in with the big girls around 5 months of age.
The sheep stall is on the backside of the Chicky Girlz coop, so I carry out alfalfa and divvy it up into two feeders, fresh water and let them out. We have one coming yearling Cheviot ram a Cheviot/Icelandic ewe close to lambing and a Southdown ewe just 2 months bred. After putting the carry lid back in the barn and letting sheep out, we walk over to the Big barn.
This is where the pony, old grey mare & her daughter and our dairy Goaty Girlz reside.
Up into the hay loft to drop hay, we used to cram the loft full. Since selling my horse and thinning out the goat-herd the loft is still used and much appreciated, but the price of hay has more than doubled in the last few years.
Walking down to the end of the aisleway, I get a can of Senior grain for our 26-year-old Arabian Mare Silk AN Silver. I feed her first she likes to savor her grain and it takes her the longest. Grain for Beauty her daughter and a I’m sorry you’re fat handful for the pony!
Goat doelings get grained next, then I put fresh hay out in hanging feeders in the pasture. Orchard grass, locally grown is topped off with Christmas Valley alfalfa priced at $270 a ton!
We have two senior does who are due to kid in 2-4 weeks and they are turned out into the pasture to eat while the little Goaty Girlz finish their grain. Don’t forget the clean, fresh water!
I have to leave one little doeling and her sister in the stall, as she broke her leg 3 weeks ago and she is a wild jumper. Probably how she broke her leg to begin with ,she is one of the smallest and bossiest kids we have…Well of the Goaty kids anyway!
Ah, I forgot to mention that upon entering big barn that we have our resident mascot~ Miss Peep~ to let out and feed and water.
She was in a batch of pullets that was brutally attacked through the wire on their pen.
When I went to move the pen one morning I walked around the side and found a pile of wings, feathers and legs. I checked the remaining pullets and one did not move. I picked her up and realized she only had one leg left! She is pretty amazing creature, we cleaned and salved her open wound where her leg used to be and she has been keeping us company at the barn ever since!
After the horses eat their grain, we put the old girl out with her daughter and after hay is eaten we throw the pony out. She is such a bossy little meany that she will eat and eat until she can no longer move! Don’t forget the clean, fresh water!

That is how morning chores are usually done. I used to drag the children out with me every morning, but now I get them up and breakfasted and then they start school. I discovered having them help with the evening chores when I am starting to fade is a good way to go! Evening chores are more involved, we clean stalls, make sure all have fresh bedding, food and water. Coop is tidied, eggs collected.
Here comes the sun, that means time to go out and possibly greet the sought after warming, golden rays of light.
What would you like to me to write about next? Kidding season, farm emergencies, children silliness, beauty in nature, creatures?
Hope your day is utilized to count your blessings, thank you for reading!
Zion Farm Goaty Girlz

Next installment of parenthood…

20 Feb

My youngest daughter went to a friends on Sunday nite. She and her friend had fun and took and posted pictures of their antics.
Oh my, I guess I am not ready for my little girl to get the attention that she doesn’t even know is starting to happen already!
I have to state that raising boys is a lot easier than girls. I think i can make this statement as we have 2 boys in the family and 3 if you include my husband!
Since we live and operate a small family farm,whenever one member is gone, the others have to pick up the slack. Or, sometimes Mom just likes the solitude and does all of the chores.
It is amazing that I can get all of the chores done right now, since we are not milking yet in an hour. If I take my time and play with the critters like I usually do, make that 1 1/2 hrs.
When I have many hands, they do not always make light work!
Our two youngest children ages 10 and 12 help out with chores in the evenings during the week. We quite often have our 11-year-old nephew out on Saturday nights and to add to the crew the grandchildren will come out for the weekend as well.
With so many helping hands, one would expect chores to fly. Well, they do breeze by and right off into the spring swirl of wind!
My daughter being the eldest in the group, likes to take charge and of course the others resist, not realizing that resistance is futile.
I have to brag, my children have gained enough life experience on the farm , from expectant animals to watching for illness or injury.
We have had a crazy schedule and while we were rushing to do the chores, amidst a chatter cloud of resentment I sighted a silver thread.
We sat down and had a Mom-children talk. I asked my daughter if she remembered the animal rescue & anti-horse slaughter research she had just completed for school? She gave me a funny look and answered “yes, why”? I laid my proverbial cards right out on the table. I entered into the arena of conversation by informing them that we had our very own rescue horse, Silver. Did they really think that we could find her a better home than she already has? How many animals had been sent to their horrifying deaths and suffering being neglected by owners who carelessly cast them aside when they encountered difficulty in keeping them or they were no longer interested?
Had this 26-year-old mare not been ridden by them and most of their friends? Did she not deserve to be retired with love, respect and small amount of sacrifice financially from our farm to show her honor she had earned?
This dramatically changed the whole attitude of complaint during chore times. Instead of being resentful, the children now take pride in the fact that we have our own “old girl”! Even though our old girl has sought after bloodline in the Arabian breed, so many animals have glutted the market that papered, young, old, pregnant, trained, healthy are trucked to slaughter destined to be put to death for the sake of the almighty dollar.
I overheard all of the kids and some friends added to the mix talking about our various animals and the work involved. My daughter stated, yeah, we have had Silver for quite a long time and we are giving her a good life now! That made my heart soar!
This last month consisted of 2 full weeks of illness from the children, dealing with having a tooth pulled, a goat doeling with a broken leg, testing for school and the flu added to life on Z Farm.
It makes everything worthwhile to hear the children’s laughter, see them outside enjoying the property and animals we have been blessed with.
Why do the eye rolls, sighs and complaints always seem to occur when I am on my last nerve? I think it is part of the divine plan to keep me humble, for I am constantly reminded to partake of the joy of the little things…as much as I dread this next installment of parenthood…I give thanks for the children and their remembering to stop and notice the raindrops capturing the early morning light and glistening like rare gems, or the spicy fragrance of the fresh rainsApple blossoms.