Friday, November 29, 2013


Hope y'all had a good Thanksgiving, yesterday! We celebrated ours a day late this year, so today was my day of eating waaaaay too much food (oh glorious food!). Now I'm feeling sleepy, and wondering why on earth eating so much food is so tiring. Hehe. Eh, I'll ponder the answer to that in my sleep.

 I've got nothing hugely new to share since Monday (gadzooks! Was it really Monday that I last blogged???); save for the fact that I got my very own laptop as an early Christmas present from my family (eek!), and I've been busy all week doing that last-minute stuff before flying out next week. Yeah, I leave next week! Wow. My days have been full of saying goodbye to friends here in Oregon, enjoying having a driver's license (freeeeedooooom!), getting Gyp ready (he aced his health inspection at the vet!), and now I'm realizing that I do eventually have to pack. Grumble, grumble, grumble... If there's one thing I don't enjoy doing, it's packing. Too tedious.

 So in some random attempt to post SOMETHING new on here, I'm caving and posting a Youtube of a band that I've got a new crush on (okay, not the usual crush... But, you know, I'm like downloading aaaaaall their songs now. It's crazy.). They're called the 'Eli Young Band' and I'm loving the country/pop twist that they're putting in their music. This particular song, 'Guinevere' is probably my favorite so far (I call it my theme song), but hey if you're ever bored and you're looking for music, you could always try their other tracks like 'Crazy Girl' (second favorite!), 'Even If It Breaks Your Heart' (third favorite!), or perhaps 'Always The Love Songs'.

Or -- you could be a normal/sensible person and not listen to them at all and just smile at my eccentricities when it comes to taste in music. I really can't decide if my taste in music is awesome or horrible... Hm.

Anyway, talk at ya' later, guys. I'm off to go find something useful to do, while avoiding the kitchen and the tantalizing smells coming from there.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Q&A Monday

Hey guys, here's this week's Q&A post/video. I'm a little hesitant to share this one because of the topic, but I'm gonna' try it anyway. (P.S. Sorry for the background noise. Gyp was pretty active and had no desire to lay down and be quiet. Goofy dog...)

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Saturday, November 23, 2013


No Pinterest Link Up this week as I have to leave for town in about 30 minutes and will be gone almost all day. Sorry!! Maybe I'll whip that post up tonight... We'll see.

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Ask It!!


All day long yesterday, there was a thought niggling at the back of my mind. "There's something I was supposed to do today... What is it??" At about midnight I woke up and realized that it was the 'Ask It' post that I had been forgetting! *smacks forehead*

*cough, cough*, sooooo it's a little late, guys. But, better late than never! All questions will be answered in another crazy video, not this upcoming Monday, but the next one. I can only film these things on Thursdays right now (hopefully that'll chance once I'm in MO), so that wonks things up a bit and your questions will take a little over a week to get an answer to.

 This Monday's video is ready and raring to go though. ;) Prepare yourself, folks. Hehehe.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

I'll Never Be The Same

I found this quote on Pinterest (ahem), and thought it fitting for this moment in life. I leave Oregon in 12 days. Something tells me I will not be the same person when I come back... And I wonder if that's a good thing or not. Only time will tell how a year in the Midwest shapes me. This quote also made me think of a movie line from The Hobbit. Bilbo asks Gandalf, "Can you promise me that I'll come back?"

And Gandalf replies, "No. And if you do, you will not be the same as when you left..."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

English Shepherds. They've Got It All.

I haven't been idle tonight. I had one random thought about wanting to adjust one of the images I have of Gyp, and it totally slid into something altogether different when I sat down to do that one thing.

Ta da. :) 

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Crunch Time

  Fourteen days until Gyp and I uproot to Missourah (I'm using a Southern accent here).

  Folks, we're officially hitting crunch time.

Let's Pretend It's Monday

 I didn't forget the Q&A Monday. Honest, I didn't! But we ran into some glitches along the way. To put it bluntly, Youtube ate my video. Yes, dear reader, this is my latest awful plan. The Caitlyn (meaning me) has gone live. I look like a dork... But here it is, nevertheless!! It's really low quality this week, and I apologize. Since Youtube obliterated my original clip, I had to cave and run this through My Movie Maker. Blah. So bear with me folks. Its got mistakes, its got hiccups, and its got me. This is a recipe for disaster. Or a really good laugh... Not sure which is worse. ;)

  Now, the book I mentioned in the video is called Microgreens: A guide to growing nutrient packed greens. Clicking those highlighted words will take you to the Amazon link of said book. If you're thinking about trying micros out, I DEFINITELY recommend buying a copy of this!

 I did also want to give a quick link to Johnny's Selected Seeds. So here's that. You're welcome. ;)

  And that's that! I'm already regretting this video of myself, but that's just the introvert in me... I need to get over this. Oh, and hopefully each subsequent video will be a little better in quality. This one's pretty pathetic.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


  Life just got interesting. And busy. Oh boy did it get busy... Yesterday was pretty normal, all things considered, but I had the pleasure of getting to do a quick phone interview with GMO Inside, Concerning the challenges that small farmers face with GMO's in the system. That was -- interesting. I felt like a talking tornado, but I'm not sure if I actually speed talked or not. It was a blur though.

  Today was a big day; I took my driver's test! Yes, I'm 21 years old and up 'til this point I've never had a driver's license. The roads were wet, it was raining lightly, and I was driving a manual car. End result? A score of 90% and a license of my very own!! Not bad for a girl driving a stick shift!! I'm pretty excited to finally be an independent driver. And it's definitely a huge relief that I got this taken care of before I head out to Missouri. Otherwise I would have been looking at trying to get a license down in Mississippi (I have family down there).

  Now I'm off to go clean the house before company comes, and then the rest of my week looks like it'll be packed with all those random things required before one goes gallivanting off to another state. Gotta' get Gyp's health certificate so he's ready for the flight, need to get in touch with some blog sponsors, finish cleaning the barn, and then still do those every day things like dealing with the microgreens and blogging. The necessities of life, right? ;)

 My days are packed. But it's good. It's good...
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pinterest Link Up! Week #8!

Ta da! Here's this week's Pinterest Link Up! Lots of chicken stuff this week too! :)

1. The Chicken Manual. {Courtesy of Tilly's Nest}

2. How much you need to plant to feed your family. {Courtesy of New Life On A Homestead}

3. Physical signs of health in cattle. {Courtesy of Matron of Husbandry}

4. Flock Block Substitute Recipe. {Courtesy of The Chicken Chick}

5. Fermenting your chicken feed. {Courtesy of Blue Yurt Farms}

6. Breeds of goats. {Courtesey of Fias Co Farm}
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Ask It!

Whew, I'm zonked! I've been in town pretty much all day and I'm more tired than I am after a day spent bucking hay. I foresee an early bedtime in my near future. ;)

  In the meantime though, before I fall into oblivious sleep, here's this week's 'Ask It' post! Come one, come all, ask your questions here. :) Oh and remember that idea I was hinting about a few days ago? Concerning the Q&A Monday posts? My evil idea worked! Or rather, it's working. So hopefully those posts will be much more interesting for y'all now. With luck, I'll get to reveal what awful thing I've done on - uh - Monday. Makes sense anyway, right? A Monday post published on Monday? Oh whatever... I need to leave now before I start saying weird (er) stuff in my current loopy state.
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Veal: The "Bad" Word In Agriculture

Poppy. My Jersey calf from 2008!
 One thing I've learned over these few years of being in the farming world is that if you want to ruffle the average consumer's feathers, mention veal. More often than not this word brings on some expression of horror. "Veal!? You mean that practice where people eat those innocent baby cows!? That's cruel!"

 Veal is a bad word. People don't like to think about this (although many love to eat it as a guilty pleasure). And you can find yourself as the recipient of some very strong language if you find yourself talking about this to the wrong person (hello vegetarians, vegans, and animal rightists!).

  But you know something? Veal doesn't have to be what most people think of, which is that of doe-eyed calves chained to tiny stalls and aren't allowed freedom. Few farmers do this anymore, anyway. There's an alternative for us small farmers though; it's known as "rose veal". These are calves raised on pasture and allowed to romp until they reach the proper size which is about 300-500 lbs. They lead a happy, healthy, carefree life, and are a far cry from what the average consumer imagines in their mind's eye. Some people will still say they don't want to eat a baby animal, but guess what? Just about all animals are butchered at a very young age; people only seem to balk at the idea of eating a young cow. Last I checked, those slaughter age lambs and goats were pretty darn cute...

  Anyway, this post isn't supposed to be a rant (well it sort of is... I'm getting of the soap box now though). I wanted to share a link with y'all about raising veal as a startup enterprise. I've looked into veal over the last year and a half, and I personally like the idea. Running a beef herd sounds good in theory to me, but then I start thinking about having to deal with those adult cows... And a bull... And the infrastructure I'd need... And my lack of physical strength... On second thought, maybe a beef herd isn't such a good idea for a single girl to tackle. Even if she does have a good dog. Of course, there's always the idea of raising stocker calves over the summer and then slaughtering them. That's where you buy 500 lb. calves, fatten 'em up, and ship 'em off when the cold weather comes. Easy to do, Joel Salatin recommends it, not much infrastructure is needed. Boom. We're cookin'. Right? Eh... Until you look at stocker prices. Granted, those vary from state to state, but in my area you're looking at $1 to $1.50 per lb. for a stocker. That's $500 to $750 for EACH calf!!!! I'm not made of money!!! Sure, it probably pays in the end and once you get going you can use your profit to invest in more calves. But - um - what about those of us (meaning me, primarily) who usually only has about $500 to their name? I could buy one calf and then poof! I'd be broke. I wouldn't even have enough money to haul the calf home. Or buy fencing. Or a charger. Back to square one, we go.

  I live in an area where you can't hardly throw a stick without hitting a dairy (or a vineyard, or an alpaca farm... Yeah. It's eclectic here.). And those dairies sell their bull calves for anywhere from $0 to $50 per calf. The dairyman who I've bought calves and cows from over the years sells his Jersey bull calves for $25 each. I could buy TWENTY dairy calves for the same price as ONE stocker calf. Hmm. Granted, bottle feeding those twenty calves for the first 6-8 weeks can be expensive, so that would take careful planning so that you're not burning money. Profit wise though, I see potential. Looking at who's selling what here in Oregon (all my math is very, very specific to my location. I'm not saying you can't have the same prices; I just can't confirm it), and beef is selling for an average of $3.00 per lb. dressed and cut. Veal is selling for $9.00 per lb. So if you butcher out your 1,100 - 1,200 lb. stocker calf and get 600 lbs. of meat, you're looking at a gross of $1,800 (your profit depends on all those details that vary from farm to farm). If you butcher out your 500 lb. veal calf and get 250 lbs. of meat, you're looking at a gross of $2,250 (if you think that $9 per lb. is ridiculously high, then I sure ain't about to tell you that I sell my greens for $96 a lb.). Who's your customer for veal? I'd say high-end restaurants primarily. If you've got a good farmer's market near you that brings in folks willing to pay top dollar for food, then that'd be a good outlet too.

  Personally, I like the idea of veal. Those calves aren't hanging around for near as long, they're easier to handle (especially since they're used to human contact), small enough that a girl + a good dog could handle them, they're cheap to get into, and there's a growing market for this.

  Now, why am I spouting all this? I'm not trying to create some bandwagon that everyone jumps onto, I promise. But I do want to put this idea out for those of you who are on small acreages, or you have limited start up finances, or you like the idea of cows, but are rather intimidated at the idea of caring for something that weighs 1,200+ lbs. I think there's something to this.

Edit: I had a different link earlier, but then reader and friend, Lindsey, informed me of a better one! So, here's for your reading pleasure, folks. This is a five-part blog series coming from a lady who's been raising veal calves for something like eight years now. The information that she shares is detailed and very handy. I loved reading through it!! Just click HERE and you'll be directed to it!
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

He Notices Everything

How To Make Homemade Dairy Goat Feed

  Well looky here! We've got a new tutorial! Three cheers for Caity, who never seems to do these when she intends to!! Wait, wha? Oh never mind...

 Goat food. Recipe. More specifically, dairy goat food recipe. Yep, I live an exciting life. Instead of doing what the average 21 year old does, this one writes down and tries out recipes to feed goats. What can I say? I like to live life on the edge; with lots of danger and excitement. 'Cause, um, goat food is so -- so -- risky and thrilling? Okay, I give. I plead guilty to being a farm girl. And one who likes to cut costs when possible, increase profit, and be able to customize my own feed for my stock. That's excitement enough for me. :)

 Almost seven years ago I started looking around for a way to make my own custom feed for my milking does. The feed at the store was something like $17 for a 50 lb. bag and not only did that NOT last long, but it had corn, soy, and a bunch of empty fillers in it; none of which I wanted my does to eat since I was trying to keeping things corn free/soy free for the sake of my customers. I was pretty clueless at first. What in the world did people feed their goats back in the old days? Can you really mix your own feed? *skeptical tone and look*

  Then I found a recipe that seemed easy enough to make, proved to be cost effective, and the goats did AMAZINGLY on it. I've used this recipe ever since. I've even fed it to my dairy cows (with a slight modification that is explained below). So I thought I would share my recipe with y'all; if you're looking to try making your own feed for your caprine friends, then give this one a whirl!

Homemade Dairy Goat Ration

50 lbs. Rolled barley
50 lbs. oats; whole, crushed, or rolled... Doesn't matter unless you're feeding cows. Then you want it crushed/rolled to increase digestibility.
3 lbs. Linseed meal
1 lb. kelp meal
Molasses to coat everything

The barley is essential for this mix. Barley = milk. The oats can be replaced with a different grain, but take care that you look into how that changes the protein content. This mix is supposed to come out averaging 16% to 18% protein, but you may want to check that on your own since grain can vary in protein content from area to area. 

To Mix:

1. Find a big clean tarp (those blue, 10'x12' ones work great) and a clean leaf rake. These are your grain mixing tools!

2. Dump the oats and barley onto the tarp and use that rake to start mixing it all together. This can take a few minutes.

3. Once the grain is thoroughly mixed, scatter the linseed meal and kelp meal over it all and gently spread it out. Over mixing at this point will make it all sift to the bottom, which makes the next step a bit harder...

4. Pour molasses over and mix that in too until you get a slightly tacky, but still well coated mix. How much molasses does it take? I can't say for sure. I've gotten nice thick batches of molasses where it only took 12 cups to coat 100+ lbs. of feed, and I've gotten thin batches that took loads of that sticky, sweet stuff to coat everything. I would probably suggest starting with 10-12 cups worth and then working your way up from there. It takes a LOT of mixing to really coat everything. It's almost like you have to "rub" it into the grain with that rake. When you think you've gotten everything coated, pull on a tarp corner to get the bottom flipped onto the top and then get that coated. Yep, right when you think you're done, you'll find that you're not. ;)

5. Store! I kept my grain in metal trash cans meant specifically for grain. I find that this stuff stores pretty well (I think 40-50 days is the longest I've ever had this stuff hang around before it all got eaten), although since we don't get REALLY hot days here in Oregon, or humidity, I can't say what the shelf life of it would be for those of you who get real summers.

  You may have noticed that I didn't include any salt in the mix; that's because I offer salt free choice at all times to my goats/cows. The kelp meal is a nutritional powerhouse that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other such goodies, but not all of my goats would eat it free choice. Hiding it in the molasses coated feed got it in them no problem.

  So there you have it! It's easy to make, relatively cheap, and you are able to choose what is - or isn't - in your feed. :)
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What I Put Up With

 Doing any sort of photography work around here gets interesting when one has a nosy dog who wants to be in on the fun. And when you're photographing anything remotely edible, you can bet on Gyp pulling all his very best tricks to get a bite of whatever you're snapping pictures of. Observe:

The first phase is his "adoring dog" look. It's the look intended to melt your heart and make you feel bad that you're not sharing the food that appears to be not getting eaten. He will sit and stare in total silence for as long as it takes before you look up and notice him. Staring. At you. "I love you Master. Please share."

If the first phase has no effect (which, it did not today.) then he moves to phase #2. He will "very subtly" stand over the object you are trying to photograph and stare at it. He likes to make sure that you know what it is that he wants. This move very effectively blots out your natural lighting and casts a shadow on your object. It's subtle, folks.

Then comes Phase #3. To which he will pace a few circles, complete with soft whimpers, before flopping down dramatically and resting his head on some part of your body. If you're standing, then your foot will be the target; if you're sitting, then be prepared for a head in your lap. This phase is accompanied by the look of total dejection and betrayal. He thought I loved him... That I cared for him. All he asks for in return for his loyalty is permission to scarf down my entire project. Is that so much to ask for? I told him he needs to work on drooping his ears a bit more for this look.

Phase #4. The look of total boredom. Usually accompanied by a big sigh, as though he can't believe anyone would even WANT to take pictures of food when you could just -- eat it. This unwavering look completely unnerves you and you can't focus on your work at all because you've got THIS staring at you!

  I did finally break down and give him a crumb of the food I was photographing. To which he wagged his tail in happiness and then started the entire process over with Phase #1. *smacks forehead*

See what I put up with!?!?

Lost Dog

  Gyp is really good about coming to a quick, two-tone whistle. Most evenings I'll leave him to his own amusements throughout the house (Yes! He's an inside dog now!), but whistle every now and again just to bring him over and make sure he's not getting into mischief.

  Tonight I was watching a movie with the family and absent-mindedly whistled for Gyp, just to see what he was up to. He didn't come. Enthralled with my high-action, suspense movie (starring Matt Damon! Eeek!), I didn't give this fact too much thought. Figured the pup must be asleep somewhere... Fifteen minutes later, I whistled for him again. Louder this time, wanting to hear his clicking paws on the hardwood floor. Only Copper, our Golden Retriever, came. So up I got, right in the middle of the movie's climax, and went searching for my dog. I checked the laundry room, the kitchen, the dining room... No Gyp. I quietly poked my head into my bedroom that I share with my four other sisters but didn't see him anywhere on the floor and I knew he couldn't be in his kennel seeing as the door was open and Gyp's not normally the type to randomly go into his kennel when not told.

   Okaaaay. Maybe someone let him outside? That's logical. Mom just got home a little while ago, Gyp could have easily slipped outside. He usually sits on the doormat until someone lets him in, but he wasn't there.

  I whistled into the dark night, but heard no answer. Saw no dog. I whistled louder; the shrill tone echoed through our hills. Still nothing. Gyp's tracking instincts have been seemingly in overdrive lately; lots of critters are coming down from the mountains and that little dog follows his nose willy nilly. For the past three days I've caught him wandering on the road, on the neighbor's property, and once headed who knows where. If Gyp got bored while waiting to be let in, what if he wandered off across the road? The cougars have come down from the quarry and he would be an easy snack for one.

  I ditched all ideas of the movie. (Sorry Matt Damon, I'll have to catch you next time. You look really cool in army camo though.) It was time to hunt for a dog.

  I think a lot of you know this already, but I'll say it again for those who might be knew: I'm afraid of the dark. Well, to be more specific, I'm afraid of what's in the dark. From ghoulies and ghosties, and long legged beasties, and Things That Go Bump In The Night, Good Lord deliver us! (that's some old Swedish prayer or something... No idea where I heard it. But it stuck, and goes through my head whenever I'm alone in the dark) Being out in the dark, alone, without my dog was -- unnerving. Ever since Gyp came, he's been my buddy outside and as he's grown older he's turned into my body guard. Out in the silent, cold dark, I felt exposed and conspicuous. Like something could see me, but not I them. My back was unguarded and I felt like I was prey instead of predator. Think I'm overreacting? Ask the folks in my area about the local cougar problem. These cats are bold this year since the deer population is abnormally diminished.

  I grabbed my dad's strong flashlight (Sorry Dad. I put it back though!) and swept the strobe of light across the landscape; looking for reflective eyes belonging to a small, fox-like dog. I saw nothing. By this time, I was trying not to panic. My dog was gone. This is my buddy, folks. My shadow, my guard, my DOG. And he was gone. I searched the pasture, the barn, the shop, the backyard. I walked across roads, whistling and calling; trying to keep a level of calm in my voice.

  He wasn't answering my whistles. All I could hear were leaves scuffling across the sidewalk, sounding uncannily like dog claws clicking across. The only living creature making noise outside was a pack of coyotes on a nearby hill.

  Now was the time to panic. He wasn't anywhere!! Great. It's dark, I'm exhausted, not feeling good, and I can't find Gyp. All I could think about was that he left me and wouldn't come back. My shadow LEFT ME. It was time for Plan B; whatever that was. I stomped inside, breaking the household rule of "no boots in the house" and searched for mom. Had she seen Gyp anywhere? Did she let him out? When was the last time she saw him? She and my sister Emily both looked at my quizzically and then one of them said, "Um, Caity, he's in his kennel. I just saw him. The door's open and he's just laying there."

  I think my reaction at that is best described as "dumbstruck". He's in his kennel? And the door's open? My dog doesn't just "go to his kennel"!! I flung my boots off and jogged to the bedroom, thinking mixed thoughts of, "I'm gonna' kill him. No, I'm gonna' swear at him for freaking me out like that. No, I'm gonna' make him sleep with me tonight. No, I'm gonna' hug him 'til he pops!"  I plead guilty to late night emotional-ness. Give me a break folks; it had been a long day and I thought I had lost my dog.

  I peeked inside the large sized kennel and there he was: curled up like a fox, with his beautiful, bushy tail curled over his nose. I lost it. I ordered him out of the kennel and scooped that confused dog up into a bear hug. Bless his heart, he was good enough to simply sit still and gently thump his tail on the floor while I cried, scolded, and rocked him. "Gyp! You just about gave me a heart attack!! Shame on you for freaking me out like that, you gorgeous, perfect boy!!" I eventually let him go and he hung out with me for awhile longer, shadowing me through the house before he went back to his kennel on his own accord. I guess he's decided that it's a good place to be now.

  I closed his kennel door and said goodnight. And now I'm here, writing this all down when I should probably be sleeping too. Gyp's my shadow; he's rarely far from me and we're getting to the point where a mere look or head nod is communication enough for the two of us. A girl's gotta' have a good dog. And this girl done found herself one...

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Idea Brewing. Please Hold.

  Yes, I was supposed to do Q&A today. No, I did not do it. On purpose. I had questions to answer too... Oh bad me. First I fail to post the Link Up on Saturday (thought about posting it on Sunday, but it didn't happen, and now I'm all discombobulated!), and now I'm not doing my usual Monday post!? Sorry! Things will hopefully be going back to normal from now on.

 Today was a crazy day that was rather catawumpus (am I the only one in love with this word???), and then I had an idea for the Q&A Mondays to make them a bit better. Yeah, yeah, another hair brained scheme of mine that may or may not work. So hold your heifers, folks. I'll get to Q&A eventually, but we may not see the next round until next week. If it works, then you'll understand why the wait. If it doesn't... Well, then y'all can roll your eyes at me and say something along the lines of "I told you so". Or you could yell at me... Or shake your head and sigh... Or just be glad that we're back to doing it the old way. Personally, that last option doesn't sound half bad.

  Toodle pip and cheerio for now! Oh, and happy Veteran's Day! Thank you to all who have served and are still serving!!
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

We Have A Winner!!

Ladies! Today's the day that we pick a winner for the Cowgirl Dirt makeup!! 

I have to be honest here and admit that I was originally thinking about drawing a winner this morning, and then keeping y'all in suspense until this afternoon... *cough, cough* Yeah, I was feeling ornery. So nice of me, huh? But you were in luck, seeing as I ran out of time to do such an evil thing before I had to zoom off to church. So I only just now found out who the lucky lady is!

Aaaaaand the winner iiiiiiiiiiiissssss....


Rebekah, you posted as "Anonymous" (but signed your name) and said you were thinking you would probably want some lip gloss! Congratulations on the win! Eeek! If you don't mind emailing me HERE and telling me what exactly you would like your prize to be, and then sharing your mailing address, I'll have Cowgirl Dirt send you your lovely prize directly! And if you want to take one more look at your choices, lip gloss can be found HERE, and eye shadow can be found HERE!

And to all you other ladies who didn't win, I'm sorry. :( Shucks, I wish I could shout "Surprise! Everyone gets something!" buuuuuut my bank account might not appreciate that. There's still hope though; you could always splurge a bit and buy something fun from Cowgirl Dirt. :) 
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Thank You

 Thank you guys for the comments on my last post. :) They all mean a lot and I've read every single one as they've come in. It's awesome getting to "know" who y'all are a little bit, and it makes my day that you each took the time to write. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

  Y'all have also succeeded quite well in cheering this farm girl up; these comments are a good reminder that I'm never truly "alone".

  And there's still time and room for more comments down there, so if you haven't said "Hi" yet, feel free to do so! ;) 

 Now, onward and forward? Together? :)
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who Cares?

  I've been told by so many "wise" people, who are much older than me, that nobody in this world really cares about you. About me. About anyone but themselves. That things like Blogging and Facebook are superfluous and a waste of time because nobody really cares about what's going on in your life. They don't care about what you're doing, what good things have happened, what painful things you've experienced. "Why write?" People ask... Why write when no one in this world cares. No one wants to hear it.

  This breaks my heart.

  Speaking as an individual who is forever hesitant to say what I'm thinking or feeling (oh the joys of being an INFJ... *note sarcasm*), I learned early that writing was a good outlet for me to express myself. It's slower, it allows me to think about my words before sharing them publicly, as well as creating a barrier from a lot of inevitable pressure that comes with talking directly with a person. Mind you, I still enjoy talking face-to-face with folks, but there's a difference between "talking" to someone, and actually "opening up". Guys, it can take me twenty minutes or longer just to work up the nerve to say something to my own mom. That is how introverted I am.

  So when people tell me that no one cares about my musings, my personal FB updates, or my random thoughts that I write, this comes across as a heavy handed slap in the face. It's like being told that in every possible sense, I am unwanted.

  But you know something? I don't wholly believe the words of these "wise" people. I think there are still people in this world who care. Perhaps it's just the wild hope of a naive introvert, but I still cling to the thought that people care. Maybe not all, but some do. I get emails occasionally from people who say they enjoy this blog, or I meet people who say they read all this, or readers tell me about their 3 year old who draws pictures of my darling cow Mattie, or someone tells me how they read these stories aloud to their family during breakfast... Maybe it's just me, but all this sounds like there is still a percentage of this world's population who cares about more than just themselves.

  For the last few months I've been revamping this blog; making it more professional looking, tweaking this and that, bringing in more traffic, more readers. I was reading book after book, blog after blog on all these tips and tricks to bring in more readers. It's the coveted "readership status" that every blogger secretly harbors. I'll even bluntly state my secret desiring: My goal was/is a minimum of 30,000 readers each month. That's what I've been building for. It slowly became my everything and all for this blog. MORE READERS!! MUST HAVE MORE READERS!! I unwittingly unearthed a dragon in me.

  Then I found a completely different book that basically hit me over the head, sent me to my room, and told me to think about what I've done. It was just a small e-book. I paid $2.99 for it. It was called something like "The Small Army Strategy". The author wrote simply, but powerfully; asking which is better: a large readership (hmm, like 30k each month?) that doesn't care a lick if you suddenly disappear one day, or a small readership of people who sincerely care. This was a knock over the head because up until this point I had more or less believed the lie that "no one cares". Shucks, if no one in this world cares that I exist then I might as well shoot for the goal of a large audience, right? But reading through that small e-book reopened a small, hidden desire. I do want to know that people care... I don't say that in a selfish way, like "oh pay attention to meeeeeee, everyone!". But rather, it's more like wanting a community of like minded folks. It's knowing that here in this small corner of cyber space there are people who won't tear me down for my beliefs, mistakes, and desires, but instead can share their own beliefs, mistakes, and desires. It's a quiet longing for a tribe of my own that usually isn't heard over the static noise of others saying that it's a pipe dream. No one cares.

  Last night was a bad night. I was all alone at home, and I was lonely. Normally I love being alone, but being lonely is a whole 'nother thing. It was just me and the dogs in a large and silent house. Every noise had me jumping, and all I wanted was a voice. Just another voice of a human. I didn't find said voice; didn't know who to turn to. But it was during those few hours of crushing loneliness that this post was born in my mind. Do people really care??? My blogs stats show that this blog is averaging a little over 11,000 visitors each month. All I could think about was, "why are these readers here?" To be entertained? To learn? Is that all I am? Just a teacher and 3-ringed circus rolled into one person?  Does anybody even really care!?!?!? Normally I'm fine with being in the shadows; unnoticed, unheard, left to my own devices. But last night, for some reason I was craving an authentic voice. I just wanted to know that I'm not the unwanted shadow that I think I am.

 It was there and then that I decided I was done with making that 30k my goal for this blog. I don't want a large group of silent readers who will simply up and leave when this blog no longer interests them. I want my goal to be a group of folks who care. This may be a small group, seeing as some folks are under the impression that no one really wants to hear details. But you know what? FINE! Let it be a small group! I care about other people; I've been told I care too much about other people (again, problems of being an INFJ...). And I will write as though people care in return. Maybe we won't always agree (I love a good discussion, so varying opinions are welcomed), but hey, I'm willing to keep putting myself out here and writing authentically.

  Having said all this, I think it's time for introductions. I'd like to meet y'all if you don't mind.

  Hi. My name is Caitlyn. I'm 21 and I farm. :)

  Your turn.

Friday, November 8, 2013

If I Was A Guy, I'd Do It.

  I think I'm coming down with cabin fever. Actually, I think it's been setting in since September, but today I'm really feeling the symptoms. Folks, I haven't done a full, hard day's work since August. And I'm feelin' it. Sure, I stay busy, I find various projects to keep me somewhat engaged... But today I'm downright pining to move livestock to new pasture, milk a cow, and slaughter something (animal, that is). It's a cloudy, grumpy day outside and the walls of the house are beginning to feel like they're closing in. I worked outside during the morning; adding new plastic to the greenhouse, cleaning out the barn some more... But it's not enough. My body wants to ache from physical activity spent working with another living creature, and my brain is going ballistic from weeks and weeks without a really good project to puzzle over. I'm not exactly "bored", but I'll certainly say that I'm not accustomed to this slow pace of life. I miss outwitting pigs, teaching the heifer to lead, cleaning my milking equipment, and slaughtering. I've said that twice now. I admit, I really do have a hankering to get a knife in my hand today and slaughter something. Not exactly sure what's with that, but it is what it is. Earlier I was trying to read a book, but found that I kept having to read that same page over, and over, and over. Nothing was sinking in because my mind kept wandering to my old job that I used to have at the slaughter house. And I got to thinking about how much I missed the work. I don't regret my reasons for leaving that job, but I do miss the work. It was good, solid work that folks really appreciate, and I enjoy. Thinking about my old job led my wandering mind down the rabbit trailing thoughts of how fun it would be to own a mobile slaughtering unit (hey, there's always this gorgeous ride to consider, right? LOL. I'm 75% teasing on this one.), which led to finding and buying this cool looking book about a mobile poultry slaughter house (It's almost creepy how excited I am for this to come. I also have Joel Salatin's newest book coming, Jenna Woginrich's newest one on it's way, and one more book due soon... Yet I want this one more than any of them!!!), which then led that rambling mind to thinking about the Portable Plucker folks near me and what an awesome, lucrative gig that is for them, and then finally to the brand spankin' new slaughter house that opened down south in Brownsville (I still swoon over that pretty building, and how well they've set it up.). Yeah, my mind goes everywhere. You should try living with it for a day. *note much sarcasm*

  I believe the end result of all this mental wandering is that 1. I really miss slaughtering. And 2. this really seems like a good opportunity for anyone with the skill and stomach for it. Seriously! There is such a need for more processors; good ones. Especially mobile ones. Or at least folks who will rent out equipment, like what the Portable Plucker folks do.

 At the risk of ruffling some feathers, I'm going to make a statement that I normally keep to myself: If I was a guy, I would totally put myself in training to do this work. I'd be running after this idea so hard and fast that I'd put the Warner Bros. Roadrunner to shame (meep, meep!). But since I'm a girl, I've decided to stand back and try and keep a lid on this desire. Now, before y'all start huffing at me for sounding legalistic, or saying that there's no shame in a woman having her own career, or encouraging me to go for it anyway, allow me to explain. First off, this is merely MY conviction. I have no qualms with other women who have long term careers and whatnot; it's just not my personal cup of tea. It takes all kinds to make a world, and we need all these different people with their different tastes to make everything work. So this is mine. :) Okay, disclaimer is now over... I'm not actively pursuing a long term career because quite frankly, it gets lonely all by yourself. Farming alone is hard and I don't find it enjoyable (why do you think I bought a dog!?), running a slaughtering unit long term sounds just as lonely. Let's imagine for a moment that this crazy farm girl someday bumps into an equally crazy farm boy (remember? I'm a klutz; therefore, "bumping" into someone is perfectly legit in my case. And he'd have to be crazy too to put up with me and the fact that I like cows, bow hunting and know how to use a knife.). That'd be a dream come true if Mr. Right had a farm of his own, or at least liked the idea of going for it. Wahoo, I get to live on a farm! But my job wouldn't be to run the farm. I'd be backup, primarily doing the role of Farm Wife. And I'm okay with that. THAT is my long term goal. Call me old fashioned, but House Wife or rather, Farm Wife is long term goal. This farming gig which I've come to love so much is to keep me busy during these single years. Everything I've learned during these years will be handy in the future. I can milk cows, fix a vacuum pump, drive a manual truck, slaughter any animal, hunt, can, raise broilers, deal with customers, haggle with grain suppliers, and buy good quality hay (the gardening part is still a work in progress... *cough, cough*). If it came to where a second income was needed, then hey, I'm ready! I know what to do! But aiming for a long term career such as a mobile butcher (or a vet, or anything else) seems pointless to me, in my case (please notice emphasis; go back to disclaimer if necessary) when I would be giving it all up after the honeymoon. In the end, I get to be the brains, and he gets to be the brawn around the place (I kid. I wanna' drive the tractors too. Okaaay, I'm teasing again. He'd probably be both and I'd be the one wreaking havoc, bringing home new cows all the time, and annoying the stew out of him); meaning I'm in the background cooking up evil ideas that probably have some hole in them, but he'd be the one actually bringing home the bacon. There's no shame to keeping a house standing and raising a family, folks. That's my job. I've never been hugely keen on "stay-at-home dads" and "career moms". But again, just my tiny two cents with which you can do whatever you like with (meaning chuck it, or agree with it). But you know what, if Mr. Right needed a working partner for whatever reason, I'd be right there doing it (hey he could drive the semi and I'll use the sharp, pointy knives! Grand idea!). So if that means I'm an "employee" who does evening milking for 300 cows, or drives the tractor/combine all day long until harvest season is over, then fine. I'm good with that (as long as the tractor is green. I might have qualms if it's red or blue). The difference here is who's boss. Somehow I don't think the marriage would be as strong if I was the one running the 300 cow dairy and I told Mr. Right that his job around the place is to do what I tell him... ;)

  Now, where in the world was I going with all this? You see, my mind totally rabbit trailed and the above rant was originally not planned. Slaughtering. Yes, I was talking about slaughtering. If I was a guy, I'd consider it as a career. But since I'm not, I get the fun job of puzzling over how I can weave this interest into my life for a short term. I like a good mental puzzle, and this one has been fun to chew on during these rainy, quiet days before I leave. Who knows, maybe in the end I'll just do like the Portable Plucker folks and merely rent out equipment for other folks. I think even that would be enough...

  In the mean time though, I think I'm beginning to suffer from a serious case of cabin fever. And I've still got twenty seven days before I leave. Think I'll survive? ;)

Ask It!

Hey guys, here's this week's 'Ask it' post! I took a break from it last week, but here it is now. :) If you're new here and aren't sure what this is, then here's a quick scoop for ya': I offer consultation services on various homesteading skills for a fee, but once I week I open the floor up and answer questions for no cost at all. It's kind of a fun thing for everyone.

So here y'all go! Leave your question/s in the comments below and I'll answer it on Monday!

P.S. Melanie, you left a couple questions on one of my old Q&A posts concerning microgreens; I'll touch base with those on Monday!
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

This Is Me Right About Now

I mentioned this in an earlier post; saying that I feel like Rapunzel as I prepare for my big trip to MO. On a whim, I pulled the clip up from the abyss of Youtube.

Yeah, it's been a slow day today. ;)

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Is It You Want?

I found this Youtube last night and LOVED the pep talk on it. Yes, the video itself is about horses, but the message is for everything. Do you want something in life? GO AFTER IT. Now. Start small, start with research, and let it blossom. Life is so short, so precious... How will we spend this span that we're each allotted?

 I have a lot of things in life that I want to do, and this 4 minute video really helped me get out of my "oh someday" funk and back into the swing of WORKING towards a goal. Even if it's just reading up on them, that still puts me one step closer today than I was yesterday.

Watch the vid. It's a good one. :)

P.S. I have a growing collection of these awesome, inspirational horse videos on my Pinterest board, so if you want more of this stuff (and I have to say that some of them are even better than this!), you can do so by clicking HERE!
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Thirty Days

 Today it hit me: I leave for Missouri in exactly thirty days.

That's only four more weeks. Thirty days. On December 4th my dog and I will be boarding a horrible plane (I hate flying; especially in the winter time!) and we'll be travelling 2,047 miles (yes I had to Google that) to a state that I've only been to once in my life, to a farm that I've never been to before, to stay long term with people who I've never met, and learn a whole new set of farming techniques and most likely learn a whole new lifestyle. 

 Folks, I'm scared.

 Scared, excited, nervous, eager, anxious, impatient to go, reluctant to leave, regretting my decision, wondering why I haven't done this sooner... You get the idea. As I described it to someone yesterday, I spend about ten minutes feeling like this will be the best adventure *ever*, and then the following ten minutes are spent feeling a horrified dread that I'm about to do this. If you've ever seen Disney's movie 'Tangled' then you might have a good idea on what I look like (and for the record, I adore that movie. Seriously.). The scene when Rapunzel first leaves the tower and is running around everywhere and alternating between shouting, "I did it!! I am never going back!!" and "I can't believe I did this. Mother will be furious!" pretty accurately describes me right now. You'd think that I would eventually find some calm middle ground... Like, be content with my decision, be able to patiently wait for my departure date, and then calmly accept the fact that I'm going to be gone anywhere from half to a WHOLE YEAR before coming back to Oregon. But it seems I don't have the staid sort of personality for that. 

 I'm counting the days until December 4th, but sometimes I wonder if I want to be counting them. I'm starting to feel the crunch... Time is fleeting and I still have a LOT I need to do. I'd say my biggest stress right now is - surprise, surprise - money. Yeah, we've all been there, I'm sure. Who doesn't stress about money? Some nights I lay awake, calculating in my tired brain how much money I think I'll need each month, and then how much money I'll have before I leave. I usually don't come up with satisfactory answers seeing as I'm half asleep and my mental math ends up looking something like, "$1,500 / 4 months = I-forgot-to-feed-the-dog"
My math during the day isn't much better. Anyway, this is one of those moments where I'm pretty darned sure I'll be fine, but I still want to be prepared. This is an unpaid internship, so I'll be on no income whatsoever unless I'm independently bringing in some cash (which I'm working on accomplishing). This isn't a *huge* issue seeing as I don't have to pay for food or board (both are provided) and those are the biggest expenses in life. 

  To come completely clean, the stressing part comes in when I think about the fact that I want to try and get a camera and a laptop before I leave. Ouch. Funds drain astoundingly fast when you start looking at buying those two little things. To make matters worse, I'm something of a quality snob when it comes to gadgets, so I've been eyeing getting my own Canon T2i camera (okay, a T4i would be a dream come true, but I'd be content with a sturdy little T2i). Laptop wise... Well, I'm really hoping I won't have to cave and buy an Acer; my apologies if you like that brand. It's just not my cup of tea. Yep, call me a snob. But I'm slightly easier to please on the laptop score; I mean, it's not like I'm bent on buying a $1,500 Ultrabook (you could buy me one if you wanted to though. I grant thee permission!). Just a decent $300 or $400 laptop will suffice. Right now, I figure I could probably squeak by with buying only a camera (hang on, don't panic just yet!), and then asking to commandeer my host's computer for blogging purposes. I still have to ask them if I could do such a thing, but if I can't buy both of my blogging necessities (you guys are expensive. I'm realizing this now... I have to buy a camera and a laptop to keep my readers happy!?!? I tease... I'm a teaser. I like you guys.) then I'll buy the more important thing first and get the second one later. 

 I really, truly am excited for this internship. Thrilled in fact! But I'm also the type of person who gets knots and butterflies in her stomach just thinking about going to a social event by myself for a couple of hours. Let alone going to a completely different state for months and months. I feel kinda' like Piglet; mentally stuttering "Oh d-d-d dearie dear!" when I think about leaving. But it passes in time, and then I'm back to my more confident self who thinks "Heck yeah! Bring it on!" Sigh. I wish I could find that happy medium of contentedness.

 Only thirty more days folks. Let's see if I survive...
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pinterest Link Up! Week #7!

I have to admit that I'm a little pleased with what I found on Pinterest this week. :) It's a pretty good scope of things, all in all. *tries not to look smug* So here you go, folks. Enjoy!

1. 20 Clever Homesteading Ideas. {Courtesy of Home Talk}

2. Homesteading Skills 101 - Raise Your Own Beef. {Courtesy of The Home Front}

3. Caring For Livestock In Winter. {Courtesy of Mother Earth News}

4. Pictures of Cow Problems - Good references (warning, many images are quite graphic!). {Courtesy of Cattle Today}

5. Natural Lice and Mite prevention for Chickens - Using Herbs in the Nest Box. {Courtesy of Natural Chicken Keeping}

6. Cornish Cross vs. Dual Purpose chicken. Detailed notes on differences/which is better. {Courtesy of The Home Front}
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Friday, November 1, 2013

A Giveaway For The Ladies!

It's the first of November today! Good heavens, where did October go!? I personally prefer October to November, but it seems that I can't really do much about the fact that the months pass no matter what. Sigh. 

But to cheer ourselves up (seeing as I'm sure we're all sad to see October gone until 2014), how's about a giveaway to brighten things up? Gentlemen, this one ain't for you but I promise I'm looking into the next giveaway being something that will be more up your alley!

So ladies, here's for you! Enter for a chance to win either some awesome eye shadow, or some super fun lip gloss! Your choice on the prize!

 Now, am I the only one here who knows about Cowgirl Dirt? If that's the case then I would like to introduce y'all to my favorite place to buy cosmetics. Seriously, their products are down-and-out amazing. Everything they have is all natural, organic, non-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and sun resistant. For the longest time I went without any makeup whatsoever. Partly because I didn't have time (when you're up at 5:30-6am to milk cows/goats, one of the last things you want to do right there and then is attempt to put mascara on), but also because nothing seemed to stay on very long (farm work is not nice to makeup), I didn't like the huge list of unpronounceable ingredients, and because most of the time it irritated my already-irritated, acne-prone skin. I had that awkward problem of "needing makeup, but makeup itself makes the problem worse".

  Then a couple of friends introduced me to Cowgirl Dirt a few weeks ago. *spellbound moment, with angels singing all around* Not only was the name cool (Dirt?? Am I the only one who loves the fact that this stuff is called "Dirt"!?), but the colors are fantastic, the prices are great, and they put a lot of beneficial herbs in their cosmetics, which I find pretty cool... My makeup is healing my skin at the same time that it's making me look great! Woohoo! Even their eye shadow has goodies in it, like raspberry and comfrey extract. And I'm also pleased to report that this stuff stays put. Even after hours of dirty work outside, everything is still in place. Shucks, here's my debit card Cowgirl Dirt; I'm a loyal customer now.

  Last week I got it into my head that it might be fun to host a giveaway on here, so I asked the lovely folks at Cowgirl Dirt if they would like to sponsor such a giveaway and they have most graciously agreed. *happy face!*

 So here's the scoop my dears: The ONE grand and lucky winner will be chosen on November 10th and said grand and lucky winner gets to choose herself either eye shadow or some lip gloss! oh, and clicking those highlighted words will take you directly to the choices available. I admit, I'm bummed that I can't enter this giveaway. I'd totally go for the eye shadow if it was me. Hehehe. As you may have noticed from the picture above, I've got some 'Smokin' Denim' colored stuff (no idea when I'd ever use it, but I love the color), and then for everyday-use I like using 'Stampede' since it matches my skin tone perfectly and adds a bit of sparkle. The lip gloss is fun too though! Decisions, decisions, eh? Have fun. ;)

 To enter 'zis giveaway, just leave a comment saying what you would choose as a prize! And get this folks: If you share this event on Facebook or Twitter then you get another chance (one extra vote for each place shared; leave a comment saying where you shared.).

On your marks, get set, go!
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