Friday, October 13, 2017

Apple Day Photos

It was fun to visit you a few weeks ago. I was so glad that someone took some photos. I hope you can see yourself or you friend in the photos below! It was a beautiful day. It wasn't hot at all which kept the flies and the yellow jackets from coming around very much. They like apple cider, too!

I think almost everyone liked the fresh apple cider. That makes me happy because we spend a lot of time picking all the apples, loading the truck to drive to school, setting up the press, and pressing the apples for you to taste the apple cider.

I thought you would like a video of the grinder at work so we took one the next day when we were helping our friends and neighbors make cider.

This is what the inside of the grinder looks like.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Do you see all the feathers?
The chickens are loosing some of their feathers. You can't really tell by looking at them. They are molting. Chickens usually molt in the late summer or early fall as they get ready for winter. Their new feathers grow in within 2-3 months. Molting is normal, all chickens and birds molt. They loose their old, broken, or worn out feathers and grow new ones. Feathers help a bird to keep itself warm in cold weather so it's really important for them to molt.

Chickens don't lay very many eggs when they are molting. We used to get between 12-18 eggs a day. Now we are only collecting 6-8 eggs a day.

Here is a fun slow motion video of a mother hen and her chick drinking some old goat milk. Old milk is a favorite treat for our chickens. It also provides some extra protein for chickens to grow new feathers.

The black chick is almost as big as the mama hen!

You can click this link to find out more about chickens molting.

I thought you would like to see the Tom turkeys strutting around the yard. They puff out their feathers so they look bigger. The black turkeys are the ones that were born this spring. One of them likes to roost up in the tree at night. The tan turkey is their father.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Do you have a cold? A lot of people get a cold in the fall when the weather changes. Loki caught a cold, too. He doesn't have a runny nose, he has runny eyes instead.

Ewwww, yuck! Eye boogers!
*     *     *     *     *     *

Some of you liked the video of Xander last time. My neighbor made a video of Quin the next day.

I liked the part where Quin was climbing on top of the log pile!

I hope you have a great Fall Break next week!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Good-bye Clover

It was fun to come to your school and visit last week! We'll have some photos of Johnny Appleseed Day for you next week.

*     *     *     *     *     *

This week was sad for us. Our oldest goat died. She was one of the first goats in Matt's herd when he started with goats in 5th grade. Clover was about 4 or 5 when we got her, and we've had her for 12 years.

How old is Clover?
 She loved people! She loved letting children and visitors pet her. She was so friendly with everyone. She was very kind to the baby goats, too. We called her our Grandma Goat. When she was younger we would take her to visit the school because she loved being around people so much.

Last weekend she was so old that she couldn't stand up anymore.
Do you see the red light in the picture? That is a heat lamp to keep her warm. Even though she has her special coat on she couldn't stay warm because she was so old and sore. We made sure she had food and water close by so she could eat and drink without having to get up.

We are so sad to say good-bye to our sweet Clover! We loved her so much! We will miss her.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Chickens and goats can be funny.
The chickens seem to like Misty a lot!
This week I saw the little mama hen and
her  black chick sitting on top of Misty.
Their chicken feet hold on well enough that they don't slip off her back.
Misty doesn't seem to mind too much!
If she minded she would jump up and flip the chickens off her back!

Another day I left the back door open so I could load the heavy milking equipment into the wagon.
Look who came the back door!
She was a good chicken and did not poo in the house!
Sometimes chickens can get a bit crazy and we have to clip their wings. That means we have to make their wing feathers shorter so they can't fly over fences. We think chickens are funny, but the neighbors don't think it's funny that they get into yards and scratch in the flower beds.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Last week someone asked me how the turkey with the missing tail feathers was doing. She is doing well! Can you see her tail feathers growing back? She learned her lesson and has stayed on our side of the fence ever since she lost her tail. I am sure does not want a dog to pull her tail feathers out again!

*     *     *     *     *     *
Quin and Xander are here for a few days.
The geese are getting big! They still cheep instead of sounding like adult geese.
They are still pretty friendly, too.
I don't know how long it will be before they are full grown. We've never had geese before.

If you listen closely you can hear them cheeping as they drink some water.

Who else can you hear?

Quin and Xander are having a lot of fun while they are here. One of the neighbor girls came over and made a movie with Xander yesterday.

Did you like it? I thought it was fun to watch!
It's hard work being on a farm!
We work and play so much that we don't get time to sit and rest.
At the end of the day all we want to do is snuggle under the covers and go to sleep.
*     *     *     *     *     *

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

Link to Wonders 1st Grade, Unit 1 Week 3
Also look here

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Cute Chick and a New Goat

This little chick is growing up!

This little chick still snuggles with it's mother hen every night.
It still follows it around all day.
It's just starting to get it's feathers, but it isn't ready to be left on its own.
When the weather is chilly the little chick can sit under the mother hen.
Sometimes it takes a nap under her wing.

I love watching the hens and chicks around the barn yard. It's sweet to hear them cheeping, I like hearing the mother hens call to the chicks when they find food for them to eat, or get a drink of water. Those are some of my favorite sounds when I'm out in the barn.

*     *     *     *     *

I also like to watch the goats playing. My niece was here with her daughter and this is the video she took of the goats playing in the barn yard.

Goats have very hard heads! They love to jump up and as they come down, they like to hit their heads together. 
They have good aim, they don't miss very often.
They aren't fighting, they are deciding who is going to be herd queen for the fall. This is how they play every spring and every fall.
We will have to wait a week or so to see which goat will win.

The goat with the pink collar is new. Her name is Violet. She belongs to our friends. They have had goats for a little more than a year and the realized it was a lot of work, more work than they want to do right now. Violet will stay with us until they get ready to sell her in October. Violet is a very sweet goat.

This is River. Do you see what is attached to her udder?
This is a picture of the first time she is on the milker a few weeks ago.
She wasn't sure what was going on.
She doesn't mind it at all, now!

This is the new goat, Violet. This is her first time on the milker, too.
She doesn't care at all about the milker!

River loves getting a hug when she is done being milked.
Sometimes I even give her a kiss on her cheek!

*     *     *     *     *

Do you accidentally make a mess sometimes?
This is what happened yesterday morning while I was putting the milk into the containers.
I didn't have a very good hold on the milk pail and it slipped.

JJ loves milk so she came up and licked the milk off the floor.  I still had to clean all the milk off the cabinets and the counters. There was milk inside the cabinets, too! 

I got some wash cloths and cleaned up the mess. It is always faster to get to work than it is to complain about it or blame it on someone else.

When you live on a farm, there are going to be messes. Sometimes the messes are in the barn, sometimes they are in the house.

*     *     *     *     *

Some of you wanted to see how the embroidery machine stitches out designs. 

The needles move very fast! Each needle has a different color thread. I program the machine so each part of the design can be stitched in a different color. The machine knows when to change thread colors so I can push "Go" and let the machine stitch out the design.

Do you know the difference between a needle and a pin? A needle has an eye, (a hole) for the thread to go through. A pin has a head (a ball or flat spot) which keeps it from going all the way through the fabric. Sewing machine needles have an eye near the sharp point. Hand sewing needles have an eye on the end farthest away from the sharp point.

This is what the embroidery looks like when it's finished, but still in the hoop.
You are so loved!

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

Link to Wonders 1st Grade, Unit 1 Week 2

Friday, September 15, 2017

Nikki's Blanket Project

My good friend has a tender heart. She saw some photos and videos of the elderly nursing home victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

ABC News Report

Nikki knows they were rescued, and she knows their physical needs will be taken care of. What about their spiritual needs, their emotional needs? Everyone is busy. The clean up efforts are massive, and families and children need to be cared for. Nikki is concerned that the physical needs of the elderly will be met, but their emotional needs will be neglected. They still need love, just like everyone else.

Her vision is to make 100 fleece blankets and 100 pillowcases to send to her contact in Houston who will deliver the blankets and pillowcases to the residents of the nursing homes so those elderly men and women will know that someone loves them, someone cares about them, and someone wants to brighten their day.

I've put the tutorial/pattern in a PDF, and I'm posting it here for anyone in our area who would like to help but won't be able to attend our sewing day.

The goal is 100 blankets and 100 pillowcases by the end of September!

We don't have enough fleece for 100 blankets yet.
We do have quite a pile and are ready to get started!

*     *     *     *     *

Materials and Supplies

  • 2 yards of fleece
  • 75/11 or 80/12 Stretch or Universal needle.
  • Pins or clips
  • Walking foot if you have one
  • Hem is 1/2" (or 3/4" if you're more comfortable with a bigger hem)

Trim fleece to approximately 60” x 90”
(Most fleece is 58”-60” wide. 
You’ll need 2 yards per blanket
for a 60” x 72” blanket.) 

Trim off selvedge edges, and square up the other two sides.

Use corner template (or a small plate or bowl) to trim all four corners. 

You can print the template above. Make sure the measurements are accurate, each side should be 4"

If you have a Creative Grids Multi-Size Curved Corner Cutter you can use either the 2" radius corner or the 3" radius corner cutter.

Fold edges under 1/2” (or 3/4" if you're more comfortable with a bigger hem).

Pin or clip in place.

Best needle choices are a size 75/11 OR 80/12 Stretch or Universal needle.

Use a walking foot (if you have one) and sew the hem with a wide zig-zag stitch or a 2-step zig-zag stitch. Be careful to not stretch the corners as you sew around them.

Sew around all four sides.

Note: We are sewing around all the sides, and using curved corners. We don't want knots or lumps to accidentally get caught under someone and cause bed sores. Please do not make the knotted fringe blankets for this project.
Walking foot, and a regular zig zag stitch, or a two-step zig sag stitch.

Zig-zag as close to the cut edge as you can, cover the cut edge if possible.
This will look nicer, and it will hold the hem flat so it doesn't
roll to the right side of the blanket.

We'll add the embroidery when you're done.

Amber at Embroitique has graciously given us permission to use their design on a few machines for this project. If you have an embroidery machine and can embroider 10 or more blankets, please let Nikki or Tara know. We'll get you the file. 

If you do the embroidery, you get to choose the colors.

Thank you so much for visiting! If you are able to help please contact Nikki, Sue Ann, or me and we'll be happy to answer questions or pass along some fabric for pillowcases or fleece for blankets. If you have fabric or fleece, please contact Nikki so she can have a good count of our progress.

You can also find us on Facebook at Blankets for Houston's Elderly. We'll be posting updates and answering questions there as well.

This year our goal is to
Do Something Kind
for Someone Else
Every Day!

Little Bits from This Week

Sometimes I have a hard time finding ideas to write about. The best thing for me to do is to take pictures and short videos during the week. Pictures help me to come up with a story for you to read each week. I look through all the pictures and try to think about what would be interesting for you to read about.

How do you come up with ideas about what to write?

I hope that you use some of my pictures to come up with questions, and with some stories of your own. I really like it when you send me questions to answer. I hope that you are practicing your handwriting so I can read your questions!

*     *    *     *     *     *

Animals always like breakfast. Some people don't eat much breakfast, some people eat a lot of breakfast!

The chickens always come when I call them for breakfast.
So do the turkeys.
The chickens get to eat until the turkeys arrive,
then the chickens have to wait until the turkeys eat what they want and go away.
Can you hear the chicks peep?
What other sounds can you hear?

Echo likes breakfast, too.

She is always waiting at the door to come in the barn when I go out in the morning.
As soon as I open the gate she comes in and goes right to her bucket of grain.
She gets breakfast while I milk her.

Sometimes she makes a mess on the floor when I get done milking her.
Ewwww YUCK!

Look at how much Loki is growing!
He gets to wear a halter now.
Loki is growing up so we put him in a different pasture at night so that Echo will have milk for us in the morning. If we leave Loki with Echo all the time there wouldn't be any milk for us. Loki is old enough to learn how to graze (eat the grass on the pasture) and to be away from Echo for a while. You're learning to be away from your family, too. You go to school during the day!

*     *    *     *     *     *

Do you remember the ducklings from earlier this year?
They are growing up.
They aren't making regular duck quacks yet so I can't tell if one is a boy and one is a girl.
I think the white and tan one is a boy.
That one always stands taller and acts like it is protecting the grey one.
Almost all male animals protect the females.
That's their job and they do their best!

*     *    *     *     *     *

I found a bunch of eggs this week. Sometimes the chickens hide them in places I don't find for a while. I don't know if the eggs are good or bad until I bring them in the house. Sometimes the eggs are fresh, sometimes they are too old to use.

One way to tell if the eggs are fresh or old is to put them in a bucket of water.
If the eggs float, they are too old to use.
There are a lot of eggs at the bottom of the bucket,
and three eggs that are floating.
What do I do with the floating eggs?

I put them in the garden. They are good fertilizer and help the plants grow.

This chicken likes to lay her eggs in the feeders inside the stall.
Those eggs are always easy to find.
This is one of the chickens that Mrs. Jorgensen brought to us early in the summer.
She's so pretty!

*     *    *     *     *     *

We are working on another project on the farm. We are helping to make a lot of blankets for some elderly people who were in the floods after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.

All of this fleece is getting turned into blankets to send to Houston.

Our part of the project is to put this embroidery on every blanket.
Our goal is 100 blankets and 100 pillowcases by the end of September.
That's a big project!
Mrs. Hahn is helping us with this project, too!
My friend wanted to make sure that each grandma and grandpa that were living in flooded nursing homes in Houston got a blanket to keep them warm, and a message to know that someone loves them.

Are you still doing something kind for someone else every day?

Do Something Kind for Someone Else Every Day!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cutting Down Some Trees

We needed a few trees cut down. They are old and had a lot of dead branches in them. One tree hung over our neighbors fence and we were concerned that it might fall down and ruin the fence.

Another tree was so thin and scraggly that we decided it was better to take it down since it didn't give much shade.

The men who cut down the trees were very careful to save our new walnut tree.
Can you see it in the photo?

Here it is! All safe and sound. With the other tree gone, the walnut tree will get a lot of sun and should grow to be a big, shady tree.

Can you see the man in the tree?
He has safety equipment on so if anything happens he won't be injured.
What happens with the piles of branches?

It will take us hours to clean up all the branches and chip them. We use the chipper on the end of the tractor to make piles of wood chips. We'll use all the chips in the flower beds to help keep weeds from growing, and help us use less water.

The wood from the tree trunks will be stacked and we'll use it in the wood stove in the winter. It will keep our big family room warm. We have to build a wood shed this year, too. I'll show you pictures of that when we get started.

The tree with the skateboard swing is still strong! Everyone loves the skateboard swing!

Do you have any questions about the trees coming down or the chipper? Please write your questions neatly and put them in the box. I'll find the best questions and answer some next week.

If you're reading this at home with your parents you can have them ask a question in the comments. I'll read it and answer the question in the next post!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Keep Your Feathers, Stay Inside the Fence

We have a wonderful neighbor with some very good dogs. One of the dogs is a 'bird dog' called a German Shorthair Pointer. Lady is beautiful! I'll try to get a picture of her for you next week so you can see how pretty she is.

Like all bird dogs, she loves water and BIRDS!

We have a fence between our farm yard and our neighbor's pasture because it's safer for animals to stay in their own fences.

Last week our turkey decided to jump the fence. Lady did what bird dogs do and grabbed our turkey by her tail. The mama turkey has no tail feathers anymore!

I hope you are smarter than this turkey and obey the rules your parents and teachers have for you!

Do you see the other turkey tails? Poor mama turkey!
She didn't stay where she belonged and lost her tail.

She lost a lot of feathers!
We have fences to keep our animals safe from danger. Sometimes there are predators or dangerous animals outside the fences. Predators are other animals that will eat other animals. Sometimes there are dangerous things like old fences or nails in other people unused fields. Farm animals aren't smart enough to stay away from things that will hurt them so we have fences, stalls, and cages for them.

Your parents and teachers have rules for you. Rules are like fences because they keep you safe. I'm sure there are times you think you know better and don't want to obey the rules. Our turkey thought she knew better and jumped the fence. It's always a good idea for animals to stay safe inside fences and children to stay safe by obeying the rules, even when you don't understand why and even when you don't want to.

*     *     *     *     *     *

We had more chicks born on the farm this week!

How many chicks can you see?

Here is one of the new chicks on the day it was born.
I love new chicks, I think they are adorable.
I love listening to them cheep!

*     *     *     *     *     *

We don't want our farm animals to be afraid of our dogs.
Our dogs don't want the animals to be afraid of them, either.
Scout is teaching Loki that he is safe to be around.
*     *     *     *     *     *

We had so many animals on the farm this year that we sold a lot during the last few weeks.

All the little white goats were born on the farm this spring.
You can also see one of the bucks (daddy goats) and the sheep in the picture.
All these animals have gone to new homes during the last two weeks.

Here are two of the bucks.
We still have Curly, the goat on the left.
Zeek is the buck on the right. We sold him to a nice farm near Manti, UT.

We also sold this little buck to a wonderful girl.

She is so happy with her new buckling!

Are you wondering why the buck has green ears? Goats aren't very good at wearing a name tag so we have to put their name and number in their ears with green tattoo ink. I hope you are good at wearing your name tag! It's one of the things that will keep you safe at school and help teachers and other helpers know where you belong.

Thank you for stopping by. We love sharing our farm with you. I hope you learn a lot this week, and I hope you obey the rules that your parents and teachers have for you.