Little Things - Home on the Range Blog at - 276110

Home on the Range

Little Things 
May 26, 2012 2:40 pm 
Updated: Jun. 5, 2012 9:51 am

It’s gonna be a challenging week. Everyone is pitching in trying to get the ranch ready for the big party. Hundreds of people are expected to show up. I need to get my house squeaky clean as well, because the ranch patriarch will be here and likes to take a little tour through all of the houses. The Maremmas, being nosey as they are, are gonna want to be out front to supervise the action so I will have to figure out a solution to keep them in the back with the critters.
I am working on getting a soap storage hut painted so I can more easily see what I have in inventory. I am down to just a few different soaps so I have a busy couple of months ahead of me getting soap cured and restocked. I have had a wonderful response online and have actually sold out of NINE different kinds of soap. I really need to get to work, but I am waiting on a delivery of base oils, as I ran out. Please be patient with me! The storage hut will make a huge difference as there has been no place to put the soap once it has cured, except in a small book case. This way, I can easily keep 50 bars of each type in its own little spot and will know immediately what I have on hand.
The real good news is, the goats look like they are bagging up so we will have goatmilk soap again soon. It’s nice stuff, but don’t tell EmmaLouMoo, she is very sensitive about these things.
Three of the 4 psycho chickens have been dispatched. We had to finally institute the ‘three strikes’ rule. They continually broke into the garden to eat my seedlings and hide eggs. I clipped their wings, chased them, hosed them down, threw rocks at them, but nothing deterred them, so today was their last day running around shrieking and wreaking havoc. 

R.I.P. psycho-chicks...Your lives may have been short and unproductive, but your ending will be ‘souper’.
Two of the sensible chickens are broody. Both Buffy and Oprah have been sitting on eggs, in a mindless, motherly trance. I hope they don’t hatch anything with spots, as the mere thought of a half-psycho chicken makes me shudder.
Mr T is the expectant father. He is looking beautiful, with his red comb and wattles. Clearly, free ranging agrees with him.

The ‘meaties’ should be here soon. The hatchery called and said they are shipping, so I have to let our mail guy know. We fixed up a spot in the milk room which isn’t being used right now. Randyman just has to move the camera back to the goat pen and put up heat lamps for the chickens...and make a lid so the wild birds don’t eat all their food. I will be fermenting their food this year, something I read on the livestock boards. One gal did a great job of documenting the 8 weeks of raising her Cornish X and the difference it made in their health, their sanitation and their energy levels. It was pretty dramatic. I already have their feed in a bucket of water, and will put some raw Apple Cider Vinegar in there today. It looks like mush, but I guess if I was a chicken it would look tasty to me.  It’s still a toss up which dog is going to raise them. Both of them like chickens and both are attached to the goats and sheep. Bruno likes chicken duty, mostly because he can lounge around and sleep closer to the house. Cletus loves them because...well, he’s Cletus and he just rolls that way.
I know some people think it’s just terrible to raise your own food. But I say this, these animals are well cared for, have a healthy and enjoyable life and a humane death (which is more than many humans experience), with the purpose of providing healthy food for my family, as opposed to factory farming where animals often live in cramped quarters, poor sanitation, unappreciated and wind up full of all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients, on your grocery aisle. There ya go, contemplate that over your next pink slime burger.
The ten leppie calves are doing well and have fallen into the normal "butt, bump and leave hickies all over the bottle holding victim" routine. We’ve been trying to train them to drink from the bottle box, but they like to steal and stand sideways to block the others and whatever other mischief they can cause. I have resigned myself to living with slobbery knees and slimey hands for the rest of the summer.

The sheep are lookin kinda raggedy as they shed their wool. The pups have been doing a fantastic job guarding. Bruno became very angry the other day at a hawk that was flying over the pasture...the dogs ran after it and it decided to stay higher up on the air currents after that. I have finally figured out a mystery. I could never understand, since everytime Cletus gives one of the cows a nose kiss, and they clobber him, why he would continue to do this, everytime I go to the pasture. Now I know it's because since they hurt him, he is afraid they will hurt me and he is diving in there to protect me by becoming their target. I have been trying to detain him somewhere else until he understands that I am perfectly fine with Emma and the girls. He does look relieved from the other side of the fence.
One of the triplets brought Wimpy in from the big pasture below the Steens where he spent the winter, so I can start riding again.

It doesn't look like he lost much weight out on the winter pasture. In fact, he's fat as a tick.

I am itching to go. I haven’t the strength today, but tomorrow is another day, and with grace and any kind of luck I can ride at least for a short while. Meantime, since Wimpy has always been a little ‘people sour’ having been a hardworking cowhorse for the first several years of his life, I am taking the opportunity of having him alone to sweeten him up. It doesn’t take much, really, a few scratchings and maybe a treat or two, just to help him associate me with something besides carrying my carcass around the ranch. He’s already following me for the first time ever and beginning to take the initiative to come up to me. Baby steps, baby steps.

He was a good boy, so I turned him loose to go down with the rest of the cavvy, a mile or so down the road. They are brought up everymorning by someone on a 4 wheeler to the big corral for saddling. I can snag him then and we'll be good to go. It felt good just to put my hands on him again.

Well, I better get back to the old grind...the pups are begging for a hug.

May 26, 2012 5:05 pm
Boy, I sure could use your wisdom in dealing with Twister. He has issues beyond my abilities. I applaud people that raise all their own food because I do think those animals live better. In a perfect world we would all be vegetarians and if the butchering was left to me, I would be. You should see me clean fish :) You'd laugh at me. Have you made ricotta cheese? I just met someone from Italy that is trying to make his own. His wife said it wasn't like home and they didn't know what where they went wrong but they are trying again.
May 26, 2012 5:28 pm
Another good ranch blog and pics. I want to see pics of your garden next - and all the stories to go with it. And as I have testified before - Petey's soap is "to die for" - so silky smooth - a luxurious experience - if you haven't tried it yet - - you need to!!!
May 26, 2012 5:49 pm
CatHill, there are several different ways to make ricotta. I make it with the whey leftover from my mozzarella, but you can also make whole milk ricotta. I believe traditionally, it used to be made with sheeps milk...
May 26, 2012 5:50 pm
Thanks, garden at the moment, is hiding under buckets and blankets because the weather turned vicious!
May 26, 2012 6:52 pm
The pics are soo cute!:)
May 26, 2012 9:03 pm
If I could, I would raise everything we eat. But, alas, I cannot so we settle for a small garden, berry bushes and chickens for eggs. I so admire you and have such respect for the all your HARD work. I love Goat's Milk soaps and lotions. Will you please send me an e-mail to tell me how I can contact you for some of your soap? As usual, great blog Petey.
May 26, 2012 11:03 pm
I have come to the belief that those who are quickest to be critical of farm raised food have the least understanding of what the difference is. Living in an apartment I am limited to a small container garden on my terrace, but I buy all my produce, dairy and this year even my meats from the farmers market. Yes, I spend more than at the chain market, but the quality is so superior there really is no comparison. Pay no mind to the critics.
May 27, 2012 2:38 pm
What a wonderful blog and pictures! I live a state away in WA and always try to eat local whenever possible. I, too, would love to learn more about your soaps. Can you send me the same info as Candice? My email is Looking forward to reading more!!
May 27, 2012 5:29 pm
Thanks petey, I will let them know what you said.
May 28, 2012 10:03 am
Looking forward to my soap!:)
May 28, 2012 10:28 am
Petey, thank you for sending me the information to obtain your soaps. I have sent a check and my choice of soaps and am eagerly waiting for them to arrive. I enjoy, very much, reading your stories. A book by you of your life on the farm would be great, just like the veterinarian, Mr. Herriot's experiences.
May 28, 2012 11:27 am
Thanks all! Have a blessed end of the weekend!
May 28, 2012 6:50 pm
Hi Petey - send me the soap info too if you would. Love your pics and your narratives. Any chance of writing a book?
May 29, 2012 6:49 am
Hey Petey. One of our employees has been bringing us soap (his wife makes it) what a wonderful change for us. My mom used to soak the chicken feed when she raised chickens, I have tried several years as well. They seemed to love it, and it kept the crushed chop from flying all over the yard on windy days. My guy, at the elevator-where I purchase/barter my feed uses molasses in the mix. Just a bit is mixed in. I can store 1 1/2 tonne of feed mixed with molasses and it does not heat or spoil. My summer is different than yours but it also keeps the feed from blowing over the yard. The hogs and chickens seem to love it.
May 29, 2012 7:28 am
I love how psycho chicks ended up! We have to do the same thing here in my backyard when the ducks come in to our pool. We don't want them laying eggs here because they are so messy, and our backyard is so small! So far the hose works. Sometimes I have to run at them and yell at the same time as hosing them! They aren't very smart!
May 29, 2012 12:35 pm
Another great blog.
May 29, 2012 3:21 pm
thanks :) I think I have contacted all of you who wanted info...if not, email me at
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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