2.07.2018

Ignatius C. Potbelly RIP




I'm not sad. Really. Iggy the piggy was by far the most spoiled and loved pet on this farm. (outside of Brandy and her tenure here) ... He didn't have any purpose, but to make me laugh. And that he did. For 14 years. 

One Sunday afternoon (long ago), sitting here with my mother and brother, I read an ad in the paper- pot bellied piglets for sale. Address was close - after we had looked it up online, I had only been in the house about 2 months, and did not know my way around Palm Beach yet....  My brother and I snuck off to go see.... Knowing just enough to be dangerous, knowing I wanted a female, luckily, only males were left.  $250 was his purchase price. Should I or shouldn't I....  I would have walked away if alone. If anything learned about myself, I don't make swift decisions. Iggy was all on my brother, and his at the time girlfriend. :) And that is how sweet 5 lb, iggy the piggy came to be. 




Bringing him home and hearing him squeal for that first time, buyers remorse soon set in. Lasted about an hour or so. Because they are just that cute and charming. And we were off on a piggy adventure of 14 years. 

The fact that he lived to old age represents all sorts of good things. And bad at times.  He unlike many of his brethren are mis - understood. They're farm animals first. Pets second. They're destroyers and rooters.. Iggy wouldn't hesitate to chew on the dry wall - why? because he could. 

I repeatedly tell the story of the day he went to live outside - for good. 

At about 200lbs living in the house started to become a problem. At 200lbs and able to re-arrange furniture at will, was an even bigger problem. But the final nail ... one morning I woke up and the bottom freeze door was wide open and Iggy had been feasting on about $400 worth of frozen steaks. By the looks of it he'd been at it all night long. And i slept not 30 ft away and never heard one sound. He was that cunning. To be able to open the door, root thru packages, eat silently, knowing one wrong move on his part would wake me up? 

It was time he lived outside.



He was an awesome house pet (in the beginning)... but then it became clear he needed to be outdoors. Even then he was a bit of a challenge.  Pigs are hard wired for eating, endlessly eating, and whatever they could find. I can't tell you how many times I've picked up garbage three, four, five times in an afternoon. - would finally clean it up, move it, put iggy up, and no sooner had I turned around, it was on the ground again. And he was out.  


There were a few times I took him on our goat walks, only to discover, he's not like other herd animals. And it would take me about an hour to get him back on the property. 


Iggy's favorite spot to sleep. In my closet. And even this became a bit of a problem if there wasn't some bedding in there already for him, learning that he could pull down clothes, and make an awesome little bed for himself. Back then I still had fashion worthy, and priced, accordingly clothes. 


What strikes me the most about him, his life, this farm, was that Iggy represented a certain kind of freedom that living out here entailed. A freedom we are slowly, and sadly losing to urbanism. He was a farm animal first and foremost. Now, the county allows them as suburban pets - (which is a good and bad thing to be discussed another day). Back then he wasn't. Iggy got to be around 250lb or more at his heaviest weight. He was a force. But when I brought him home to live on my paltry acreage, it represented so much, so much so, that the goats came soon after. 

RIP iggy the piggy!


10.09.2017

Hope for Humanity




In the past few months, it seems that nothing is quite right in the world. You know what I'm talking about. Its pervasive -everywhere you turn there is a disaster, murders, etc... The news is full of it...  It really can get depressing. And I don't even have a regular TV, I only see snippets of it on Facebook, or if I make a concerted effort to watch the news on the computer....

It doesn't help when i'm working in place that generally attracts miscreants -- convenience stores just aren't always the place to find 'model' citizens. Granted, it's quick, easy and many normal folks do come, get gas, buy a pack, but its always peppered with the opposite, as well,  I tend to see the opposite alot lately. It makes me wonder about the future of the community. Or people in general...

....So when I see something extra-ordinary, I feel the need to post it.  Two such wonderfully heartfelt scenarios took place this last week and thought I'd share:

#1 - Young girl comes to the window to purchase gas. $1 worth. That's all she had... I felt bad. Likely showed in my face to the people in line behind her... One guy in line saw this. Asked me 'she only bought a $1 ?  yes' ... He bought his items and left. I watched him. He walked over to the girl who's vehicle was on the opposite side of where his was, and handed her a $10. At first she didn't want to take it... Finally... did so.... I found it sweet and heartwarming that a perfect stranger would want to help out this girl. :) It was just a kind thing for this man to do...


#2 - Chivalry is not dead. Last night as I was closing up there was a vehicle behind another one waiting on the same gas pump. Me, in my on-going attempt to get out of there on time, wondered what the heck... every other pump was open, so i found it odd this woman was just sitting there. I asked the man in front was she with you? he said yes - we pump gas this way. Ok. I get it - use the same card - once. But what I didn't foresee or expect was that when he finished pumping his gas - he  moved the vehicle to a parking spot, shuts it off, gets out, and comes running back to pump his wife's gas, too....so she didn't have to get out of the car.  How cute!!! He said they have always done it this way. ... and he too seemed happy to do it. I never saw the woman, she was in vehicle with tinted glass.

Every once in a while, if looking I can find it...

There is hope for humanity!

7.01.2017

Goats and Yoga

So the newest rage in urban to farm connections is "yoga with goats". I know you've seen all the YouTube videos.. It's cute. They're cuddly. Who wouldn't want to spend time with these lovely little creatures.  I, surely get a lot of emails asking me to bring my goats to a studio, or, I should have sessions here. um... yoga. me? lol... Yoga, me and the goats? even funnier....

But here is my latest response to a very nice and potentially money making offer. I had to say no. WHY?

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My girls are 150lb- 175lbs. My yearlings 90-100lbs. My bottle babies? are already 30-45lbs... That right there is a deal breaker. Have you ever been hit in the nose or face or 'boobs' with one of these little scamps? i have. I just don't feel like taking that kind of chance. The fun part about these experiences are letting them jump on and play on you. My girls who by the time they are 40lbs are reprimanded to NOT jump on people. To not get too friendly putting feet up on chest and so on. WHY? because i don't want them learning this habit that when they are 150 lbs would knock a grown man off his feet.

The little Nigerian breeds or Pygmy's they're the ones that stay small and cute and less damage to a person is likely to happen.

Call me a bah-humbug... But, I don't think we will be doing any Yoga with goats here. At least not with my full size girls.

Sable says: " no goat yoga" She'd knock you on your butt in a heartbeat.

3.07.2017

Chalazea




"What the heck is that?"

"Whats' that white stringy stuff." 

"There's a string in my yolk. is that normal?"

and my favorite response:

"No, your egg isn't starting to form a chick."

I get these types of questions all the time. Even from people that are long-time fresh market egg buyers. I'm talking about the Chalazea. It's a tiny string that you will see when an egg truly is farm fresh -  no more then 2 days old fresh.

The Chalazea holds the yolk to the shell when it is first formed in the chicken. As the days progress the chalazea disappears.  It does not indicate its any better or worse then a 5 day old egg. But, it does indicate that egg was just laid within the last couple of days.

These two photos were taken by me right before I had breakfast. The eggs were collected last night. Laid yesterday.  It's a phenomenon that many don't get to see, or even know about. Store bought eggs you'll never see this... Some farms that hold eggs till the greenmarket day might lose it by then.
Because it disappears so soon after they lay the egg. But, if you order eggs and its timed right, this is what you will see in some of my eggs.

It's perfectly normal.





Pretty cool, huh?


Here is a good link on Eggs 101 and what else you might see.

http://www.eggs.ca/eggs101/view/4/introduction-to-the-egg

11.01.2016

That time of year....


New soap packaging. It's about time. 

This time last year, 4 goats were still in milk.... This year 1. Last year at this time, all the honey I could gather and sell. This year none. Last year late October, eggs were plenty. As weather changes.... nothing for over a month.

Could be me... Most likely it's just what it is. Life. Weather. Animals. Ages. Farming. Nothing is ever the same every year. The only constant in farming is change.

It is helpful to learn other farms are facing the same challenges. No one it seems in my area pulled honey this last flow. Good to know. Many chickens in the area aren't laying. And so on..

To help get me thru this downtime, luckily, I have other options for income..

I have 'soap. note cards and art for sale.'

I also have a 'Zazzle' page where t-shirts, pillows, mugs, banners, posters, stickers - can be great stocking stuffers. There is some fun stuff up on that site. If you want something but don't see it, email me and I'll create it.

And, if in the future you hear of someone needing 'designwork, pass my name on.

I love what has been created here. Proud of it. And the passion I have for the goats is immeasurable.  But, sometimes the art and design need to step up and get us thru.

Remember to support your farmers this holiday season. Buy local. Buy hand crafted, artisan and made with love products.


Note cards. New design for Bee lovers.


Artwork for sale 8x10 aprox. size.


Always busy here even if I'm not milking. Making signs for next year.




9.03.2016

Where rural ends and urban begins.

I love where I live. Really. I. Do. 

I just see it coming and there is nothing one can do about it once the ball starts rolling down that hill. What? The urban - ness of an area. I can't explain it, but will try.
The little minor things individually mean little, added up, change everything.  You just start to feel different...

The first thing you notice is the traffic. Where you once drove down the street alone not another car in sight, slowly becomes filled with cars at every stop sign. Behind you. In front.  There are more urgent drivers. Faster. Ruder. Honk their horn at you when you're at the stop sign. Try to pass you on the road when you are going the speed limit. You see more and more younger drivers with their rash and un-thinking moves they make.

The one thing that made this area so enticing 'to me' was how you felt upon hitting the first of many wide open spaces as you drove home, the stress of your day just started to melt away... while  you were driving out of the urban and into the rural landscape.

Everyone is in a rush. And you can feel it. The vehicle behind you --pushing you to go faster. 

You start to avoid certain stop signs and cross roads, as they are becoming more and more dangerous to cross. You start hearing on the news, yet another accident at this or that intersection. So, you take alternate routes that are safer, just not quicker. And start to realize that no route is safe any longer.

Honking. Everyone is honking at you now. The first thing I noticed when I moved was the silence. I didn't use my horn for over a decade. I didn't wave my hands, because I just got cut off.

Random drive-bye's become more un-nerving. I get it that people want to see where the goat farm is, possibly see the goats, usually they stop, roll down window, wave, say hello... not anymore. It's more of a check you out, a type of snubbing situation. Will they or won't they buy from you. They park at the street and just stare. Or they expect the opposite, you're in the middle of daily chores, and they just walk on the property unannounced. To purchase. Not even asking first if you're closed, open or have product. Totally disregarding the 'no trespass' signs. They don't care what your situation is, only theirs.

You feel like you live in a fishbowl.

Going to the store becomes a chore... When you start having to schedule your time to get to the store after the rush, because there is no place to park during certain hours. Or the aisles are too crowded, waiting in long lines. You've just altered your life to avoid people. And still nothing has changed, infrastructure is still the same. This area was 80% built out when I moved here.

No one is smiling. Everyone seems so self-absorbed

People are just not the same. You look around, and one day notice, YOU are the only one that is in working farm clothes, where in the past you were one, among many. And you, nor they, gave it a second's notice that you were in muckers, dressed this way, or smelled funny. It didn't matter the store, restaurant or service place everyone looked a lot like you did. Or drove a vehicle like yours. I noticed just yesterday i was in a parking lot full of mercedes and town cars.

Bills continue to increase yet the product doesn't change. Shopping, food and anything retail seems to cost more. 

Neighbors start to change. While overall younger isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is when they move in and the first thing they want to discuss is why the road isn't paved. Or they move in and put up lights around the whole property. It's lit up like Shay stadium. Or every imaginable service truck is in front of their house, weekly. Why have 2 acres if you don't plan to be out side on it? ... ever.

I drive by homes now that I've never seen a person out doors. 

The sense of urgency in people's actions. Where they jump in head first, before thinking it thru. I find this an urban thing. Farm thinking and rural thinking are just slower. More methodical. Trust worthy.  More and more purchasing livestock, farm type animals, have them a few short months and then realize forget this -- it's too much work. Or they're too dirty. Or destructive.  I do blame this partly on the person selling, but in fairness what one doesn't ask, how can the other learn. And then it becomes a lack of accountability or worse, its the animals fault.

I never locked my doors, nor the vehicles, or the shed, never worrying about stolen animals, my safety, the animals, or dogs getting picked up for roaming. There is this type of urban 'do-gooder' syndrome that just can't wrap their head around - it is what it is, or live and let live. Now, it seems, I need to lock the doors - just in case. They have to fix it, better it, get involved, change it. There is something to be said about minding your own business. You will know it when a rural neighbor is in need--they ask. Their lack of observation is palpable.  Or skewed to some urban ideal, that it should be that way, or they think something is wrong, or it's abandonment. Stop changing the very thing that was so enticing when moving here.

Assessing a situation is always urgent, dangerous, or worse, they think they know better then the person, property, animal in question. People are quick to call in government services to solve an issue.

Instead of adapting, they want it changed.

Properties are purchased and the next thing you see is massive changes. Lots fully treed, homes hidden in the brush, are now cut down and home is sitting in the middle of all fake grass. Why didn't they purchase a home on land already clear cut, I'm sure there are plenty out here just like what they were looking for. Putting your stamp on the property is one thing. Changing it to look urban is another....

I lived such a beautiful quiet rural lifestyle. I changed to fit into the area, not the other way around. And this is the problem. People want to live a more simple, quiet existence, but they don't really make the necessary changes to accomplish it. They are still in a rush. They are still on the iPhones in the middle of nowhere. They still have on headphones walking on a path. They don't know how to enjoy the natural beauty of where they are. They want to change the very existence of why they thought they moved out here in the first place. They don't leave the urban thinking behind, they take it with them. And then they want to know why you aren't like them.






6.25.2016

All Growed up....

Every year the kids at St. Andrews School (Boca Raton) hatch (or try to hatch) out eggs we give them in their embryology classes. I've written about them before, HERE. This year they hatched out all 12 of them. As promised, I keep a log of them as they grow. Here they are: 



Above is the photo card they sent me as a thank you! 
Can you see which chick became which pullet? 



I have two roosters here: One is a mutt. The other is a Black Copper Maran. You can see the influence each create. The maran gave me some beautiful dark colors. 

The colorings of these pullets are just extraordinary. 
I love it. 







Goodness Gracious More...

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