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The Talk

The Beginning of the End

I just had “The Talk” with the boys. Gavin didn’t take it well.

Are you picky when it comes to milk? In my house we smell it, examine it, taste it and are still often leary about it. This week I’m forcing the kids use Almond Milk for their cereal. I have it on hand and I’m trying to save the rest of the Whole Milk for cooking. That didn’t go over well. It almost came down to tears. “Noooo, I hate that stuff,” whined Gavin this morning. Then, I explained that in two weeks, I am never going to buy cow’s milk again. Well, I’m not going to say “never”, but I don’t intend to.

Why?

Well, milk is so stink in’ expensive now. Have you noticed? And I buy the GMO-free milk which makes it so much more expensive than the big plastic gallon jug. I’ve had to limit the milk drinking by the boys to help it last longer. Boys can really drink a lot of milk!

But . . . the real reason, the reason that matters right this second, is that we are finally going to have goats! We have decided on two dairy goats. One is currently in milk, while the other is just living, breathing lawn mower. They are relatively young Alpines and they are sisters. Since goats are social creatures, we opted on getting two. Happy goats, more milk.

Not Just Milk

I’m excited to have the goat milk. Honestly, I’ve never even tried it. Duh, I know! But, we’re going to make it work and we are going to like it! Although having our own milk factory is totally cool, I’m most excited about what you can do with all that milk. Cheese!

I love goat cheese! Love it. Love, love, love.

The Ladies

Of course, my biggest problem right now is their names. Don’t worry. I’m a skilled problem solver.

There have been other considerations, but I think they are in the bag, baby.

The ladies are two years old and they have some interesting names. I’d prefer to rename them, mostly because they’ll be mine and there is something special about a name. At least for me. I don’t think Mateo really cares. Problem is . . . are the goats going to have a problem if I start calling them something different.

The names Cappuccino and Kit Kat just don’t fit for the Barker’s Faux Farm. Maybe Basil and Sage? Or Annabell and Bonnie? Agnes and Edith? The name Kit Kat is definitely going to have to change. Gavin suggested we name her Frappe  (Frapp or Frapper for all those that cannot pronounce it correctly).

I’m so excited! He he he.

Goat Mama,

Ginger

 

 


Devastation in the Desert

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We sure do love rain around here. Rain. Glorious rain. Not hail! I woke up to a devastated garden. It literally looks like someone took a baseball bat to the garden. Zucchini leaves were just decimated. My sweet cucumber plants were annihilated. The melon plants were smashed. Tomatoes were a close call. There were countless broken stems and little maters scattered about the ground. I’ve been waiting patiently waiting for a tomato. It looks like I’ll be waiting a little longer. Pepper plants . . . well some will recover and […]



The Fiasco of Indoor Seeds

I started seeds indoors a long time ago. I mean, they are old enough to be planted outside. The problem is that they all sprang up nicely and then started dying. The soil was so dry and I watered them regularly. After just about everything died and I tried to nurse them back, I took some time to do a little research. I found the problem.

Actually, there were two main problems. First, I needed to hydrate the soil before I planted. I have never had to do this before. Germany is humid and dry soil, indoors was never an issue. The second problem was how I was watering. I had always watered from the top. That’s just sort of how you usually water plants, right? Well, not when you’re starting seeds in cells and indoors. I learned to pour water into the tray and let the plants drink for about 30 minutes. If you pre-moisten the soil before you plant, the water in the tray will be soaked up quite easily. BRILLIANT!

Let me just say that these two quick fixes have already proven to be very helpful. My sick seedlings came back and I replanted some with hydrated soil and guess what? They are so healthy and lush. I replanted some herbs a few days ago and they are already coming up. The best part is that the soil never looks dusty.

Another trick I learned was to disregard that plastic dome. I thought that was the best part of the tray thingy; having a mini greenhouse. But no. I don’t even use that thing anymore. The bottom watering trick is essential for growing seeds in a dry climate.

Lessons learned.


Memoirs of an Arizona Gardener

I lived in Germany for many years. Each year, I made it my goal to get acquainted with the earth. The first year I dabbled with bulbs. The second year was the year of the strawberry. The last two years in Germany, we had quite the garden going. We had tomatoes, green beans, peas, tons of strawberries, a sunflower, carrots, tons of herbs, tomatillos, and more. We succeeded in just about everything we grew. We did have a little trouble with cucumbers because the slugs kept eating the blossoms. My point is that it was so easy to grow food. Throw out some seeds and then you’d have a plant.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2013 . . .

We moved to Arizona and bought a house with a garden bursting with yummy goodness. I thought, “Great. My garden is going to be even better next year.” Then, I decided to plant a winter garden.

I planted a winter garden. And then, I replanted it. And then . . .  I  . . . replanted it . . . again. Actually, I kept replanting all fall and winter long. I even broke down and bought some little plants to put into the garden. My winter garden is best described as an epic failure.

Why? Well, I was convinced rabbits were eating all my seedlings. I would see all my seedlings popping up and the next morning when I went to water my budding garden, all the seedlings would be mowed down. The first leaves would all be missing and little itty bitty stems would remain. And then, the next day the stems would be gone entirely.  Rabbits, mice, rats, birds, or lizards. You pick.

This happened every single time I planted my kale, lettuce, spinach, and such. Then, I finally bought some kale and lettuce and planted it. I thought that since they were sizable plants that they might have a fighting chance. They did. For about a week. The kale seemed to slowly disappear. I felt like I was in an episode of Looney Tunes.

We put up a garden fence to keep out the rabbits. This was in addition to the woven wire fence around my yard that is reenforced with chicken wire. This did nothing to keep my garden vermin-free. Then, I decided to walk the perimeter of my yard and find out exactly where the rabbits where coming in. I found all kinds of holes and spaces where they were coming in. I piled rocks and filled in holes and did all kinds of stuff to keep them out. By the end of winter I had three lettuce plants and they were looking really bad. And of course, I found two rabbits in my yard! They could get in, but couldn’t find their way out. Annie took care of them for me, but the trend hasn’t ended.

Now it’s spring, and I’ve planted again. I guess I’m hoping that the rabbits will find tastier treats outside the yard now. I put rat and mouse traps in the garden and have caught nothing. I planted a few weeks ago and have had quite a lot of seedlings coming up. And guess what? I’ve noticed that they are starting to disappear again!

I started some seeds indoors (another fiasco). I’m afraid to plant them out in the garden. I have rosemary, parsley, cilantro, and celery outside. They seem to be just fine. It’s everything else I plant. I even have carrots and nothing has been eating them!

I’ll be honest. I have never had this much difficulty in having a garden. How do farmers do it? There’s no way to keep rabbits, mice, birds, and lizards from destroying your garden.

I’ve replanted my spring garden for the second time this year. This doesn’t include all the time and effort that I dedicate to the indoor seedlings. I’m pretty sure that this will be the last time for a while, with the exception of planting my indoor babies outside. I’m running out of motivation and feel discouraged. Apparently, I’m really great at growing marigolds, mesquite trees, and crab grass in the garden – all reseeded & not planted by me, of course.

Re-seedingly yours,

Ginger

 


Chicky Mommas

duck

You have chickens.

You are crazy (either just plain crazy or crazy because you like chickens. It doesn’t matter which).

You live in Cochise County.

And you are a lady (no boys allowed).

Those are the requirements for The Crazy Chicken Ladies of Cochise County. This is where a bunch of women get together to talk about all things related to fowl, family, and farm.

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Chicken Coop Finale

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I dropped the ball on this whole Chicken Coop Update. The good news is that you already know what the coop looks like. But . . . you haven’t seen the completed coop. It looks fantastic. Great job Matt! And the boys did an egg-cellent job painting. Let me reiterate that there was a lot of painting. Did I mention all the painting we did? Now, we have a nice home for our chickens. I’m a little jealous, but I couldn’t live with a bunch of cackling hens. So, I’m […]



Baby Chicks

The objectives: Get chickens, have eggs, and eat chicken.

The steps: Get chickens, collect eggs, “process” the chicken, and eat chicken.

It seems simple doesn’t it. Well, there is more to both the objectives and the steps.

It is true, we are building the home for the ladies. That part is nearly done, as I’ve mentioned several times. The part I did not mention is this: The Chickens.

It turns out that you actually need to have chickens to lay the eggs and to physically be present to eat. Of course, we did not forget this part of the formula (chicken + coop = eggs & meat). That was the formula, in case you didn’t know.

But where, oh where are we to get such fine, egg laying, meat birds? Why not from our fantastic and generous neighbors? I mentioned them before and I will say it again – they are so nice! They gave us a ton of eggs and lent us an incubator. I still cannot believe their generosity and help. Wow!

Okay, let me back up. I totally freaked when Matt suggested that we hatch our own eggs. I mean, can’t I have a pullet (teenager) first because I have no idea what to do with a baby chick? Heck, I have no idea what to do with a chicken that still has feathers on it! Breathe, breathe, breathe. I’m okay now. So, right now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, we have a dazzling array of chicken eggs that are sitting in an incubator in my garage. I am not joking. I have proof.

I have been told, that if they hatch, we will have some cute, fuzzy baby chicks by the end of the month. I say if they hatch, because there is no way to be 100% sure that they are all fertilized and if so, some may be duds. Anyone remember Charlottle’s Web and Templeton?

I’m nervous, anxious, and super excited.

We have dark brown, light brown, light brown with speckles, light green, darker green, white, and cream colored. Yes, I said green. Green eggs and ham, Sam I am.

Oh, and I will share with you what “processing” a chicken is. Later. Much, much later.

Farmer Girl Out,

Ginger

 


Nearly Finished

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The chicken coop is close to completion. I had considered turning it into a bunk house for the boys, but the desire for chickens won out. Hey, maybe they all can sleep out there. Just kidding. Maybe. Matt has worked really hard at finishing this baby up. He goes straight out to work on it when he comes home. A little here. A little there. Don’t worry. I have more projects in mind to keep Matt busy. See, I told you not to worry. Matt built the nesting boxes for […]