Ok, so more like NO rats!

When you have livestock, you will eventually have rodents, especially if you live in the woods. We keep our grain & other feeds in rodent resistant cans and keep trash picked up, but we still get visitors. They like to head into the barn and the wood pile in fall. We have a few “welcome gifts” waiting for them.


We are very careful with rat bait, as one of our dogs thinks it’s a snack. I also worry that the rodents will drag it into the hay stack and the goats will accidentally eat it. We use Just One Bite bait bars. First, because it is closest to what the rodents would find to eat in the barn. Second, and most important, it is safer for the rest of the animals. The big bar can be broken into smaller chunks, and it has a hole through the bar. We use pieces of old electric fence wire to secure the bait to the underside of the hay pallets. The rats have to eat the bait where it is and can’t drag it off to a nest someplace. I have also flagged the wire placements with the ends of the Tyvek kid neckbands. This helps at the start of the hay season to re-bait the pallets.


The Anatolian will also hunt the rats and mice. She is a little messier at it. She has been known to topple hay stacks in pursuit of the blasted things. We are also adding a cat back into the vermin control program. He will have to wait until mid-August to get started though. I want him neutered before he’s out roaming the farm. We are getting him trained on the fuzzy catnip mice in the meantime.

We also have snap traps for outside where the dogs won’t get caught trying to lick the peanut butter. The big plastic TomCat traps have been really reliable and easy to set. We did learn we need to tie them to a post or something. In some cases, the rat tries to run after being caught. The trap gets wedged in the woodpile or under a pallet. It’s a lot easier to just pull it back out on the end of the tether than go in after it!

I seriously doubt that we will ever entirely get rid of the rats, since they like to emigrate from the swap across the street, but we are at least keeping the numbers in check.

Dang! I almost forgot about my blog. It seems that Facebook may have eaten the time I used to spend posting on my blog. That, and work.

I had a lovely note arrive in my email box from a lady who used my adventures with Raggedy Ann to help her figure out how get the wig on her own doll. That was pretty awesome. I always hope that by making my trials and errors public, someone else can benefit from them. I certainly hope her Annie doll will be as well loved at the ones I created.

It also appears that I have become a lazy typist. I have become accustomed to the iPad, Kindle, and even the phone, correcting my words as I enter the keystrokes. No need to capitalize, sometimes I need to check spellings because Autocorrect likes to change the words I use to ones it knows. Most of the time, it is helpful. It has allow me to become reckless, as I only have to get close or get the first few letters and click my choice.

I’m not sure I like that.

I tell the students I work with, they need to do their best and not to rely on technology to fix their work. I suppose I should take my own advice and spend some more time on my blog, thereby practicing my typing skills.

Here is to more words on WordPress in 2019!



I have been a member of the Missouri Star Quilt Company forum since August of 2009. I have met many wonderful people on there, some I consider best friends I have just never met in person.

There are numerous groups available for many interests. The Circle of Comfort group was put together by a particularly sweet woman who wanted a way to express our support for others through a quilt. These quilts could be made by one person or from blocks donated by many people. They are usually made from 4 patches trimmed into circles.


This one is a bit more involved than a trimmed four patch, but not much. One of the ladies decided to not waste the frame that was left after the circle was trimmed and incorporated that into her quilt. I liked that idea, but I didn’t have a snazzy embroidery machine to fill in the large open space, so I trimmed a smaller circle and made this. I think it looks a lot like a jumbled pile of LifeSavers candies!

This one is made from 4 charm packs of Connecting Threads flannel samplers, plus two fabrics from my own stash to round out the count. At 9″ finished, this makes a decent sized lap quilt, even if I don’t add any borders. These quilts are designed to be used at the hospital, during chemo treatments, in the car on long drives, or just about anywhere. The idea is they will be there when the recipient needs comfort of friends who can’t always be right there.

The idea of a circle has several meanings. A circle of friends helps to hold you up during the tough times. A hug is a circling of arms to give comfort and support, and a circle doesn’t have a beginning or an end. You can step into it when the need arises, and help support it to make it stronger when you can.

These ladies manage to make many more of these every year than I do. This fall there has been a local and personal need for a couple of them. The one I whipped out had more errors than I ever wanted seen, but I had less than a week to get it done. She loved it anyway, and I have had reports that she drug it with her to her treatments and people remarked on how cheerful it was. That is the reason we do it. To remind the recipients that we care about them and they are in out thoughts and prayers.

I can see the need for having a few of them finished and on hand just incase. Thank you ladies of the Missouri Star Circle of Comfort group for your inspiration!

We have been threatened with snow by Monday morning. We figured if we jumped on the winterizing, it will stay away!

We spent the whole day outside since the weather decided to be sunny and clear. We rerouted electrical cords and hoses for their winter purposes. Eric drained the little hot water heater in the barn. I now have a dry sink until spring.

The stock tanks all have floating heater units in them this season. We finally have a bucket big and tough enough for the bucks water. I have one smart aleck buck that thinks he ought to try chewing on the power supply cord. You have no idea how tempted I was to let him find out why we don’t chew on power cords! My more rational side took in to consideration the effort to replace the gnawed cord, and/or the expense to replace the tank heater if it couldn’t be repaired. This solution seemed more logical.


A 90 degree PVC elbow with a length of pipe kept teeth from nibbling, and yet will be able to move with the water level.

Here is to hoping the snow is merely a pretty thought instead of a nasty traffic maker!


We love being home on the farm, but every now and again, we like to get away and change up the view.

When we were first married we bought into a timeshare program that allows us to choose the time and place for our get-aways. Our favorite spot seems to be Point Brown in Ocean Shores. The condo units are nicely appointed and self-contained with a full kitchen, sitting and dining areas. The views are pretty fabulous too.


In the last 15 years we have seen a lot of changes at the beach. We used to find lots of rocks and shells. Now we are seeing mostly sand as the land erodes. They are trying to protect the beachfront by dumping large boulders along the leading edge. Sadly not all of the property owners bought in to the plan and the waves are eating around the backside of the boulder blockade.  We noticed a lot of changes even from a month ago with all of the wild storms we had. I think they are going to have to invest in some serious rocks to preserve these buildings. They may have to construct something similar to the structure of the Jetty itself to stand up to the power of the water and waves.


This is almost high tide, and there is about 10 to 15 feet of water down there where we used to be able to walk.


We always bring the assortment of kites. Depending on the wind speed, different kites will fly, or not. Every trip Eric tries to find a new piece of ‘laundry’ to fly from the kite line. (I’m not making that up, it’s the term kite flyers use for the spinners and other things they fly with their kites.)


This time we were able to get the Macaw aloft, and once the breeze picked up a bit, Eric’s big power sled with the new 75′ tail. The breeze didn’t last long, but we at least managed to snap a picture of it unfurled. When we added the lightest spinner he had it was too much and pulled the kite down.


This morning, over the course of an hour, we sighted several whales heading north! We saw a momma and her calf heading south last November, so this was pretty cool.

Add a seal or a sea lion to the list of things spotted in the surf!




It is nice when people gift you things. In this case, it is fabric. I am always glad to have more fabric, especially if I don’t have to spend a bunch of money to get it!

In this case, a friend of a coworker needed to have some help clearing out their parent’s place. He came across the fabric and yarn stash that was slated for either the Goodwill or the dump. He asked if he could take it home for a friend. Ten totes worth!


This is what it looked like when we unloaded them into my dining room. Unfortunately, Eric forgot to mention that he thought he smelled cigarette smoke. Now my house has the smell of stale cigarettes in several rooms, as the fabric is steeped in it. My free fabric now has the added cost of laundering before I can use it. That cost is still much less expensive than if I went out and bought all of this.


After some searching on the internet and several practice runs, I figured that the first wash with the powdered detergent followed by a wash of Dairy Du with 3/4 cup of white vinegar will remove the smoke smell from the cottons. The poly/cotton blends seem to hold the smell no matter what combo I try.

I lost count on the number of loads I have washed, but I’ve been working on it for about three days. I pre-sorted the fabrics into stuff I want. Stuff that will make good pillow cases for our Cyber Elves project and blocks for the Circle of Comfort quilts. And finally materials that will be usable for the After ‘Ours sewing class. There is at least one tote of fabric that will go to the Angel Guild (the community thrift store) as I have no use for it, and certainly no space!

This is where I am so far with several more loads to do.


My sister will be heading out to choose what yarns she is going to take. With her new loom habit, she is cooking through the yarn in a big way. Thankfully for her, the yarn doesn’t seem to be as smelly.

This is the second quilter’s stash I have inherited. It has really made me think about what I have and what I am doing with it. I have specific projects in mind for fabrics, but may not have stuck instructions with them. I know getting through all of the fabric I have will take a while, but I am being much more diligent about shopping my own supply first. I’m even being very selective with the “free” stuff I’m accepting.

I will say, if you have a unfinished project, you should probably leave a set of instructions, diagram, or at least the name of the thing with it. It will help whomever inherits your stash after you are gone.

Back to folding my “free” laundry!



Well, another year slipped by somehow. I am pretty sure the adoption of this girl put a halt to “extra time” around here.


Eve is an Anatolian Shepherd which is a breed of Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). We have pretty much decided that the word shepherd is more a of a description of their body type that their purpose. They rarely herd anything, but are excellent guardians.

This is her mug shot from the shelter after her arrest for poaching the neighbor’s poultry. She was about a year old, and didn’t have a job, so she went looking for things to do. As kids are wont to do, they usually pick the wrong things without parental direction.

Thankfully a very wise Deputy Sheriff Animal Control Officer had an understanding of the breed, and negotiated with the poultry owner to find her a new home where she wouldn’t bother him any longer. We brought one of our sassiest goats with us on the day we interviewed her, and they got along just fine.

We started her out on a long line and only allowed her out with the stock while we were in the pasture. She fell in love with Emily and Jaiden and was their protector and fellow puddle jumper.


A week after her arrival, she let herself out of the pen, installed herself on a wire spool to watch the goat herd and hasn’t looked back. She found herself a job!

She has weathered her first kidding season, show season, and breeding season with minimal issues. She has enjoyed the addition of two new barn kittens, as Mookie refused to play with her, or even inhabit the same barn.


This year she is a little sad, as the first baby is being dam raised, and Momma isn’t a big fan. She still gets some play time in though.

I can recommend this breed as a great livestock guardian dog. I would, however, strongly encourage you to go through a reputable breeder of working stock to get started with this breed. Not all of the dogs are suitable for every situation. A good breeder will help you find a good match for your situation.

Anatolians are vey independent thinkers, and will take obedience commands under advisement and get back to you. This trait is very valuable when covering a large range and protecting their herd. Not so handy if you want an obedient house pet. They also have a nifty habit of digging holes large enough to completely conceal themselves and most of the Seahawks Offensive line. Again, not good for nicely landscaped and manicured yards.

We have had five of these dogs so far. All but one of them have been wonderful. Our one failure was put into a bad situation by her original owners not being honest with us regarding her personality. She didn’t like men or children; we have both. Cars were mostly unknown to her, and we front a busy road. Goats were much smaller than the horses she had been with and she was wary of them. Sadly, we could not find her a perfect home where she could be left to mind a herd of larger livestock with minimal human contact. She had bitten me in fear, refused to stay inside the fences, and crossed the final line when she started pacing cars and people walking along the road. For the safety of all parties involved, we had to put her down.

You can see why I was very leery of another rescue dog. Thankfully, we gave Eve a chance and went to see her for a job interview! This girl is almost the polar opposite of the last rescue. Given the chance, I think Eve would like to become a lap dog in the house!

Otis, King of the Spool

She has even made through-the-fence friends with Otis our old man. (I would let her in the buck pen to play with him, but her long hair would hold that buck-funk smell way too long!) The other issue with that is she will never be trustworthy around the poultry. The chicken coop is inside of the buck pasture. That would be way too much temptation for her to resist and we don’t want to invite disaster.

I know we are looking forward to many more years with this girl keeping our goats safe.IMG_0613

While cleaning out a couple of cabinets this winter, I found several items that we no longer needed, or may have never needed, but ended up with anyway.

I found a baby bottle/food warmer tucked in there. Huh. I’m not sure if it was ever used for Emily. Since she’s nine now, I probably won’t be warming any bottles for her again.  What am I going to do with it now?

Well I wonder how warm the water actually gets. Could I use it to defrost and warm a bottle of colostrum for the baby goats? I hate to leave the bottle warming on the stove top in the house since I’m not there to keep eyes on process. Sometimes things get hung up and I can’t get back up to make sure I haven’t made colostrum pudding, or run the pan out of water. Worst case scenario, I try it, it doesn’t work well for my purposes and it just makes a later trip to the thrift store.

Bottle Warmer

It looks like I have a new barn buddy. I dropped a bottle with 500ml of frozen colostrum in there, added warm water, and set it to 2. By the time the doe kid was born, dried off and ready to eat, so was the colostrum. (Maybe an hour?)  I actually cranked it to 3 to ‘finish’ heating it, and I got the milk too hot and had to cool it down. The lowest setting would be good if it was already warm when you brought it down to the barn. Level three is ‘coffee pot’ hot. (Oooh! I wonder if my ceramic travel coffee cup will fit in there? If it does, NO more cold coffee by the end of morning chores!)

If you have one, know someone with children who might have one, or you see one at a garage sale/thrift store, you might think about adding it to your kidding kit. It will take a 20 ounce, standard-sized diameter soda bottle, but that is about the maximum. It is oval shaped, so you could float the 4 ounce Gladware cups in it too. I haven’t tried it with the food saver bags, but my guess is they would work in there too.

Our first kids of 2015 have arrived.

It’s a pretty remarkable story, and this is the condensed version. I sold two does six years ago as pets. A set of circumstances put the woman who ended up with them in contact with me to re-home them for her. I went to pick them up for delivery, and checked for tattoos. They were our breeding. The two pygmies that she also had went on to their new home. The dairy girls returned to our farm.

This is Whacky as a kid, and you can see she was a pretty good buddy for a little girl.

Whacky & Em 2008

Neither girl had been bred in the six years they were off the farm. Folly, the Toggenburg,  settled via AI on the first try.

She provided us with triplet doe kids Friday night. They were pretty well twisted up in there. Folly & all three doelings survived, which surprised me. It was pretty rough going.

Folly's Girls 3/6/15

In keeping with our naming system, all three of these girls will end up with names that start with the letter F. We have Tyvek neck bands to identify the kids. All of the kids from one dam normally have the same color band. Then comes the trouble of identifying each kid when they all look a lot a like. One of our friends uses a hair clipping pattern system to identify the kids. With this thought in mind, I saw the permanent markers on the sewing table last night. Hmmm. It will eventually either wear off, or I can clip it off.

Quick Color ID

I think this will be very helpful when the Saanen kids start landing as they are all white. This year’s crop will all have the same sire, so they may look more alike than normal.

A check in the barn turned up this limping beauty this afternoon. Nice job Errol!

Wound clipped to see damage

We have found all sorts of stuff that has worked its way up through the soil around here. I’m guessing we have some glass out there somewhere. We’ll keep looking for it.

Cut flushed

For a change I had the camera with me in the barn, so here is the way I treat a wound like this. First, I cleaned off the mud and clipped the hair back to find what the wound actually looked like. Then I cleaned the wound tract by irrigating it with hydrogen peroxide. In this type of case I have found it very helpful to have a squirt or spray bottle with the hydrogen peroxide in it. It has some pressure behind it to flush the dirt out of the cut.

Gauze packing

I wanted to keep the medicine in contact with the wound. I cut a 4×4 of gauze in half, folded that in quarters length-wise. I soaked it in the Schreiner’s herbal solution, and placed the gauze between the toes. I also flooded some of the Schreiner’s into the cut.

treatment plan

I cut a piece of 4″ wide vet wrap (self-adhesive bandage) to fit the bottom of the hoof. I pulled a length off the roll that would wrap around the hoof to secure it from dirt. I split the 4″ wide stuff in half to give me two lengths. When using vet-wrap you need to make sure you don’t wrap it too tightly and cut off circulation. If you are a ‘puller’, wrap a few of your fingers under the bandage and then remove them, that will give some breathing room.

vet-wrapped just tight enough to keep out debris

Wrap the bandage so that you catch the edges of the bottom piece. This wrap isn’t for support, but to keep bedding and other debris out of the wound. It just has to be snug enough to hold together.

trailer first aid kit

This is also a good time to talk about an emergency kit for the barn/trailer. This one is a hardware cinch sack. I store it in a recycled laundry soap bucket with other emergency supplies. These are actually designed to stack in a round, 5 gallon bucket. With the exception of the warm water & hydrogen peroxide, everything I needed to treat this cut was in the bag. I thought I had a tube of hydrogen peroxide gel in there, but it was no where to be found.

I’ll be replacing the gauze pads and rolls of vet wrap, topping off the liquid soap, and adding the H2O2 to refresh the kit. These buckets are kept near the barn doors, so in the event of an emergency, I can load them in the trailer quickly.

She also received a dose of tetanus anti-toxin, since it was about a year ago she had her shots and we haven’t given our boosters yet for the year. I don’t know exactly what cut her, so we are being cautious since I know she had mud and manure in it.

She’ll get this changed twice a day while it heals. I hope orange is her color!