Monday, June 30, 2008


Busy night in the barn last night. Trudy was having one of her all night bark-fests and, having seen the cat food bin moved a good eight feet across the barn the night before, Christian thought it might have been varmints. He put on his boots and went out into the darkness. (I slept through all of this. I am a really good sleeper.)

Anyhoo--within an hour he had relocated two possums and set a trap for this guy.

This morning the plan was to, well, shoot him. I mean - he could really do some damage around here to the poultry or even to the Trude, so we though it best to dispatch of him entirely.

Yeah, right.

Christian went to do the deed and had to come up with a Plan B when he stuck the muzzle of the gun into the cage and the little guy went right up to it and sniffed it. ...come on, man! Not fair!

After chores this morning Christian took the lucky varmint a few miles down the road and let him out into a big open field. It would seem that we still aren't fully up to the varmint killing task.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Turkey Update

The turkeys are almost three months old and both are VERY interested in performing their part of the mating dance. I have been told they will not be sexually mature until around seven months of age, so I guess this is kind of like having a first grade boyfriend/girlfriend right now.

Here a a couple pictures I got this morning. (Click to enlarge if you want) The first is the two of them together. Thanksgiving is just starting to puff up and be macho. The second one is his full-on turkey look. I hope to get a couple better ones of him doing his thing soon.

Also - take a look at their coloring. Christian said he thought they were supposed to be Bourbon Reds, but I think they may be American Bronzes. Not too sure. Whatever they are, they are getting pretty.

And just as a point of interest, the ducks really do not like watching this. We have no idea why, but it really seems to upset them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A surprise in the dog food bin

Went out scoop out Trudy's breakfast this morning and found this.

I will admit that I screamed just a little. An involuntary little yelp. I'm not afraid of 'possum, but geez...I was not really expecting him.

Either my yelp or my coming at him with a plastic scoop made him do the fainting thing. He woke up for C to relocate him, though. Just a little guy. We let him go in the front pasture. Guess I better start making sure the lids are on the feed cans.


Houston, we have a bed goat.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We have a name

This just in...biggest baby ever will now be known as Cardinal Wilt Chamberlain.

Maybe it's just us, but we think it's funny on many levels.

Biggest. Baby. Ever.

At about 1:00 today Maybelline gave us the single largest kid we have ever seen.
It's a boy and we are going to keep him for breeding since Maybelline is such a good, strong milker. But since he was an only child he may have to live in the house for a while.


Here are some piccies of the little dude fresh from the oven.

Before the first bottle:
After the first bottle:We'll try to name him soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

No good deed goes unpunished

Yesterday was our monthly market at Home Sweet Farm. It is always a fun one for us. It's a nicer, more scenic drive, a shorter market day and - most importantly - it's on a farm and not in a 1000 degree parking lot. It was great.

On the way back we saw a few roadside stands with melons. It's that time of year and I had been thinking how great a watermelon juice would go down. (I throw chunks in the blender with a little water and fresh lime juice...yum!). After passing one truck, we stopped at the next. I got my giant watermelon and the guy said he had one cantaloupe left - did we want one of those, too? Christian loves cantaloupe, so I said sure.

On the way home I had the warm fuzzy of having been able to support micro-scale agriculture by buying things from people who have a garden, but maybe not the resources we have to go to organized markets.

So a couple hours later I get ready to cut up the canteloupe. I turn it over and there is a sticker on it. The kind of sticker that goes on a supermarket melon. With a PLU code and everything. I peel it off and bring it to Christian.

"I think the guy just sold us a supermarket melon," I said, with astonishment and disappointment. So much for "micro-scale agriculture". The sticker even had a brand name...King Fisher. It got even more disappointing. Christian googled it and found a recall notice. Now granted, the possibly infected melons were only recalled in Canada and no illnesses were reported yet, but still. Bummer. We're still deciding whether or not to take our chances, feed it to the pigs or just toss it.

I am not inclined to buy things from truck stands again. And that is the biggest bummer of the whole experience.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wake up!!!!

We had another great market yesterday. The local news came out to film the un-tainted tomatoes at the stand next to us. If you ask me, it's pretty sad that it takes a nation-wide salmonella outbreak to get the local news folk interested in a farmer's market, but hey -- they were there.

The Saturday market runs from 8am to noon. But as many of you have come to learn, the Blue Heron Farm booth really only runs from 8 to about 9:30, at which point the last container of cheese gets tucked into one lucky customer's bag.

People...we are a farm, not a factory. And our cheese -- and this is not just me saying this, it's all the people who woke up before you did -- is really, really good. We sell out every week and no matter how much we bring, it pretty much sells out at some point in the nine o'clock hour. You have to start getting to the market early to get our cheese.

This has been a public service announcement from

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I don't think Peep Peep is going to make it. :(

Peep Peep - who my nieces named Woody this morning - is not looking good. I don't think he is going to make it through the night. :(

We are not sure he's eating and drinking. Though I did see him peck at feed this morning, I don't know if he's actually eaten any. Or enough, anyway. Poor Woody.

Christian gave him water from a syringe tonight, but again, it really doesn't look good. We're not terribly surprised, but it is disappointing. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Good night, Peep Peep.

Edited at 10:30 ... Wood Peep is gone. :( We think the stress of being alone in a box might have just been too much. I can't believe how bummed I am over a little bird. I think it's probably because I got so excited when he just appeared. I was completely exhilarated that morning. It just seemed like magic.

Sometimes farming is hard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Peep Peep is an only child :(

Well, Dawn never went back to her nest, so her keet is destined to be an only child. :(

But I saw the male guineas molesting her yesterday, so I guess she might have a second nest to set sometime in the near future. Poor Dawn.

Our nieces are coming in from New York this week and we will be sending little "peep peep" home with them to grandma's house. They will get to choose a name for him (her?) and raise him for the couple weeks they are here and then we'll bring him back and put him in the coop until he is big enough to free range with his mom and two dads.

Right now he's making a whole lot of noise that I am interpreting as being lonely. So we may just buy a little chick to keep him company. I am such a sucker.

We still don't know what color little peep peep will be when he feathers out, but Christian thinks he'll be lavender like our two males.

Here is one of the males that I caught a nice piccie of the night peep peep was born. I think this one is Tony. He looks like a proud papa to me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Those of you who read the old Farm Report know that this is the noise I make when something is "stupid-cute". Look what we found today. Eeeeeeee! Way to go, Dawn!

Christian saw that Trudy had something in her mouth this morning and went to investigate. rather than the latest varmint, she had this little guy and was intensely mothering him. She gave him a bath and was just kind of keeping him. We took him into the house and put him under a lamp. We are afraid to leave him out in case the Trude accidentally squashes him with her 100 pound love. We are also a little nervous about a cat getting him. I'm off to get some starter feed. I hope we can keep the little guy alive. We'll keep him in the house for the first week and then move him into the coop when he's big enough.

Dawn is still out and about, which leads me to believe she thinks she is done. I am sure there are other eggs on the verge of hatching, but if she doesn't go back, this may be our only one. :( But one is better than none. :) Our first un-solicited baby on the farm..SO exciting.

Here's another photo of the little dude (or dude-ette - we won't know until it's older) in it's new digs. Toasty!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My favorite time of day

I cannot express in words the way I feel about milking time. Not the actual milking - which Christian does, and is not all that fun - but the times when my work is done and I can sit in front of the girls and watch them eat.

When they get a nice big piece of beet pulp, they will pull their heads out of the bowl, look up at me and chew. It never fails to make me smile. Never.

I sneaked away from my flavoring and packaging duties tonight to get a little happy bomb. It's not quite the same in stills, but hopefully you'll get the gist of the experience. I love the little nutballs.

It's like living at Girl Scout camp...

This weekend I made the observation that living on our farm is like living at Girl Scout camp all year 'round.

When I was a scout, they told us to shake out our shoes and our bedroll before getting in them to make sure there were no scorpions or other nasties in there.

Lately I have had to shake out my towel every morning to make sure there are no spiders hiding. It seems spiders love our bathroom and a hanging towel makes an attractive bed, I guess. I am either killing, or on generous days relocating, a couple spiders a week. [[shudder]]

But unlike GS camp, at least I am not having to gather firewood before making dinner. So, you know, there's that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Our newest FOF

This week we made our newest FOF - Friend of the Farm. I am thinking I might get some t-shirts made up. It would be cool to be like a little gang of cheese loving, farm supporting, all around neat people. Can a gang be made up entirely of swell folks? If so, the FOF will definitely be that kind of gang.

Anyway, back to topic. Our newest FOF, Krista, found us on the web and came to visit the farm and try/buy a little cheese. And she brought gifts! Krista is an incredibly talented artist and brought a lovely pottery bowl which is now holding my first tomatoes of the season, as well as a gorgeous hand-dyed scarf. So cool. She sometimes sells her pottery on etsy, but you can also link to it through her blog. You should check it out.

To give props to some previous FOFs who brought gifts, Steve and Bob brought produce from their garden, including amazing zucchini the size of that crazy cucumber I grew.

Oh yeah, that reminds me, the terms of service to be an FOF include taking some cucumbers home with you when your visit is over. At least for now. Maybe not in the fall.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Behold the new cheesemobile!

Well...the window smashing episode expedited the eventuality of our buying a more suitable farmer's market car. We'd talked about it for a while, but I was managing OK in the Benz, so we put it fairly low on the "to do" list. Had I known I could get things by breaking other things, I would have long ago broken our kitchen sink (would like a dishwasher), our ugly old ceiling fans (would like some from the last decade or two) and our back porch (I'd really, really like a big, screened in sleeping porch.)

Today we bought cheesemobile v.2 - a 2001 Volvo V40 station wagon.

We've been looking at station wagons for a while now and were thinking a Mazda Protoge or maybe even a Ford Focus until we saw this one online. It has incredibly low mileage for its age - only 45K on the clock and it's in great shape. And it should hold the full Farmer's Market car pack no matter how hastily performed.

I think we're going to like this car. Yay.

You can see Grumpy already likes it, he was running to lie under it when I snapped this quick shot.
Oh! And as a big ol' bonus to the big ol' day, I managed to drop a bag of cucumbers on the porch of Christian's parents while we were in town car shopping. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We are officially country

I think we have achieved a new level of "country". We are giving away food.

When we first moved to the farm, we had an episode with some potatoes that really shocked us. (Please note that the link goes to my personal website, which sometimes is a little more "adult.") In short: lovely, homegrown perishable food just appeared at our house.

That summer we learned that it is a country ritual to drop your surplus food at a neighbor's place - preferably when they are not home to refuse it. (In fact, it is said that the only reason one would lock their doors out in the country is to keep people from leaving bushels of zucchini in their house.)

Well, this year I have joined the ranks of the food pushers.I am frantically giving away cucumbers to anything with a pulse. Including the chickens. Doralee LOVES cukes.

Here is a photo of today's harvest. TODAY'S HARVEST!!! Lock your doors, people - the cukes are on the way.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

They ougtta be in pictures

While I was busy smashing my car window yesterday, Christian had a bit of a nutty day at the farm.

Christian's brother, Hunter, and some of his friends are participating in the 48 Hour Film Project. With time being a huge factor, they thought it might be best to do a film without actors. So they came to film at our farm. The goats would be the actors.

Apparently that didn't go as well as they had hoped. Heh.

Those of you who have dairy goats or have been out here know how docile they are, that we can lead them easily and that it's not too hard for us to get them to do what we need them to do. Usually.

To the less-exposed, I suppose that translates into "trained". It would seem they found out the hard way that that is not really the case. The reason they do the things we want them to do has more to do with the fact that we pretty much ask them to perform same set of tasks each day. "Look scared" is not one of them.

By the time I got home from market, the guys were at lunch trying to figure out how to make their hard, hot, sweaty, under-productive day turn into a film resembling the script they wrote the night before. I hope they were able to make it work. The film is due tonight and we hope to get a copy to post on the blog. Good luck, guys. And sorry our goats didn't quite get it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

How not to pack your car for market

A little advice for those of you thinking about farming some day.

1. If your livelihood will depend on Farmer's Markets, consider the purchase of an appropriate vehicle. A 1990s Mercedes C-class, compact sedan is not that car.

2. If you try to get by with shoving all of your goods and infrastructure into a compact car, do not cut corners in the loading and unloading of your car. Chances are your stuff--especially your tent - will only fit one way. Disruptions to the puzzle are foolish at best... futile as the norm.

3. If you do mess up in your load, resist the temptation to just push hard on the door to get it all in.

For those of you who are more visual learners, I present Exhibits A and B.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Try again, Trudy

Tonight when we left the cheese kitchen, Trudy had this.

I'm beginning to think I may have to more clearly explain the concept of varmints to the Trude.

...but I like her "can do" attitude.

The problem with declaring a war on varmints...

It would seem that one man's varmint is another man's cute, cuddly object of affection.

Our Goatrude - ever wanting to please, has signed up as a lieutenant in the war on varmints. Even though I have never seen evidence of rabbit damage in my little garden plot, she has decided rabbit eradication is a worthy goal. And a delicious goal, as well.

Remember when I said I take photos of everything? It's true. And as gross as this is, I have to say - I really like the photo. The chicken kind of rounds it out.

BTW - chickens are omnivores. Doralee here just wanted her fair share.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Varmint Cong

"License to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote."
- Carl Spackler, Caddyshack

I don't know exactly what this is, but I'm leaning towards Vole. We have a lot of them these days. Trudy has rolled in and masticated a few. I have seen their holes in my garden. I am guessing this may be what happened to some of my onions.

Commence warfare.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A New Little Dude!

Since the third week in April, we have had a buyer waiting for a buckling. Predictably, every kid born since then has been a doe. Today the little dude finally arrived. We are calling him Cranky, as the family who will be buying him is the Crank family.

Diva and Max LOOOOVE goat babies and have been in withdrawal since Grammy left. Here is Diva enjoying little Cranky. Tell me this insane level of cuteness does not make you just a little bit queasy.

Family Farm Day

Yesterday we had some friends out to the farm. Two of them, Katherine and Shelly, grew up with Christian in Houston, their families taking vacations together every year. Now they are all three grown up with kids of their own. (Never mind that Christian's kids all have hooves.)

Katherine has two human children and Shelly has one - and the three kids, Shelly's husband Matt (who took the photos...thanks, Matt!) and Matt's folks all came out to meet the goats and see what shenanigans we were up to this week. Unfortunately they missed a goat birth by exactly 24 hours. I'll post about that later.

My favorite part of the day was the fishing. Anna caught a little bluegill in about .04 seconds, and Yasmin caught one in maybe double the time. Born fisherwomen, those two.

Thomas gave hugs and kisses to the majority of our goats and pronounced Bishop Don Magic Juan to be the "softest thing he has ever pet."

I have to say. Having families out to the farm is one of the best things about having a farm. It was a really sweet day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Back from freezer camp

Well, Christian ate some pig.

He said it was good. And Trudy clearly enjoyed hers.

Still. I don't really feel like I'm missing anything.

A few friends have picked up their shares of the pigs, too. We'll see what they think.

In the meantime, the two new buggers seem to have given in to the third strand of hot wire. For a moment in time, there is order on Blue Heron Farm.

Here are a couple photos. One of the pigs at "camp". One of them on the plate. I can't help it...I take photos of everything.