Saturday, November 29

Saturday Daily Dose of Cute: Thirsty Girls

It Takes A Lot of Water to Look This Cute (
Treats Help, Too)

Want to see more donkey cuteness?
(some categories overlap)
Evie Photos
Esmeralda Photos
Dolores Photos
Daphne Photos
Donkey Doodle Dandy Photos
Dinky Photos
More Donkey Photos
And even more Donkey Photos

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where this afternoon as we were driving past the five donkeys in the front field (we still have Dinky, too, but he has to be kept separate from Dan) Joe said, "I hadn't noticed that Evie has Neopolitan ears—they're dark brown at the base, vanilla in the middle, and light chocolate on top." "You mean like the ice cream?" "Yeah, only she doesn't have strawberry."

Thursday, November 27

Thursday Farm Photo: Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble

Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble

Want to see past Thanksgiving photos?
11/24/05: Happy Thanksgiving To You
11/24/05: Year Round Thankfulness
11/23/06: Thankful To Call This Place Home
11/22/07: Enjoying A Feast

And out of the November kitchen came:
Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins (a bestseller)
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (one of my most popular recipes)
Carrot Herb Rolls & A Bargain Bread Book for Beginners

©, the gobbling foodie farm blog where these 600+ free range turkeys—who came rushing up to the fence when I stopped to photograph them while on the way to pick up our own pastured poultry order of 10 roasting chickens last month—are now gracing holiday tables all over southern Missouri, but we're actually having wild venison for dinner. Hey, it was handy—and free. And for that we're very thankful.

Sunday, November 23

Sunday Farm Photo: Heat Cheat

Firewood Blocks: A Busy Farmgirl's New Best Friend

Both The Shack and the new building (which we're actually getting sort of close to moving into—finally!) are heated with wood. There's an inefficient potbellied stove in the living room of The Shack that looks cute and feels wonderful if you're cozied up to it, but it barely heats the other rooms in our poorly built and uninsulated old home.

The new building, on the other hand, has the opposite problem—we bought a massive wood furnace and probably went a little overboard. It's made in Minnesota, and it turns out their idea of 'mild fall weather' is at least 30 degrees colder than ours. But so far it works beautifully, and I'm sure we'll quickly get spoiled by the joys of having central heat. I do love to pile on the quilts and blankets and snuggle up in polarfleece come winter, but I'm pretty sure I won't miss waking up to find a thin layer of ice on the water glass next to my bed.

Since we're used to drafts and both get claustrophobic quickly, we figure that once we're moved into our new double-insulated, draft-free living quarters we'll simply keep a couple of windows cracked open all winter long. This sounds like a perfect plan to me—stay warm and yet still have plenty of fresh air. Kind of like when I used to drive around in a convertible in California with the top down and the heater on.

Because the new plumbing has been hooked up in the new building (yes!), we now have both the little woodstove and the big wood furnace going, which means we're burning a lot of firewood. (The little woodstove is so inefficient it actually uses almost as much wood as the furnace.) We usually cut our own firewood, but lately we've been supplementing with these wood blocks that are scraps from a local mill. We have a dumptruck load delivered at a time, and we're discovering that they're really convenient.

When we gather our own firewood, we either cut down dead trees in the woods on our property, or we cut up trees that have fallen over on their own. Once in a while we'll cut down a live tree if it will make more space for the others around it. It's hard but rewarding work. With these blocks, it's nice knowing that we're making good use of something that's essentially waste. And it's even nicer knowing that we can be a little lazy when it comes to keeping our woodpile stocked—especially when it's 28 degrees outside and snowing.

Want to see more firewood photos?
9/6/05: The Hay Is In, So Now It's Firewood Season
10/25/05: Nothing Feels Quite Like Wood Heat
10/26/05: Where We Cut Firewood
10/26/05: Why We Cut Firewood
12/11/05: Firewood Getting Low. Ever Cut in the Snow?
2/21/06: Note to Self Re Snowstorm Preparation
12/4/07: Just Another Day At the Office

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where there's no 'we' in the 'we cut firewood'—it's just my hunky farmguy. I'm a crackerjack wood loader and unloader, and I can clomp around in the woods with the best of them, but I leave the chainsawing and splitting to him. A girl's gotta draw the line somewhere—and besides, it's a lot more fun to watch.

Sunday, November 16

Sunday Daily Dose of Cute: Yoga for Pets

The Downward Cat Pose

This is Mr. Midnight. I adopted him a year ago from the animal shelter, along with Topaz and Sarah Kit Kat Kate. They had named him Whiskers, and he had been living there for eight months. (Sarah Kate had also been there for eight months and Topaz had been there for 15 months.) They couldn't find his paperwork because it was still in the PetSmart file. "You mean he went to PetSmart and nobody wanted to adopt him?" I asked. PetSmart stores have a special area where they allow shelter animals to be brought in for adoption—it's a wonderful program, especially for rural, overcrowded shelters like ours.

"Oh he's been there two or three times." PetSmart is 125 miles away.

"How is that possible? He's gorgeous!"

Now I believe that he was simply waiting for me to find him, but it's no wonder he didn't want to get in the cat carrier. He was skittish and frightened and yet purred almost all the way home. He then proceeded to live in a closet for the next couple of weeks. When we realized he came out at night and prowled around (and that Sarah Kate actually had more impressive whiskers than he does), I renamed him Mr. Midnight. It suits him perfectly.

He is sleek and beautiful and about three and a half feet long. He has a small voice and a big purr and went from being offish to not being able to get him off you. When he's not trying to make himself comfortable on my lap (where he never quite fits) he likes, as you can see, to sprawl.

Want to see more pussycat pics?
Sarah Kit Kat Kate
Patchy Cat
New Cat
Molly Doodlebug (aka The Doodle Monster)
(Sorry, still no photos up yet of Sylvester)

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where yes, this hideous cushion is actually part of The Shack's decor, though it's usually covered with a sheet (it was here when I moved in and is one of the many things that will not be making the move)—and one of our favorite people in the world is Bernie Berlin, a tireless animal advocate who is the amazing force behind (the always short of funds) A Place to Bark . . .and Meow and singlehandedly saves hundreds of unwanted dogs and puppies from being put to death each year.

Thursday, November 13

Thursday Farm Photos: A Wild Mushroom Feast for Your Eyes Only

These are just some of the (non-edible) wild mushrooms that popped up around the farm after some warm September rains. . .

Some grew on top of each other

One was the size of an extra-large pizza

While others were as small as a thumbnail

This one was top heavy

And this one was blue!

Some sprouted out of trees

And others grew up them

It was an amazing mycological show!

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog it's always neat to find wild mushrooms, but it's definitely more fulfilling when they're chanterelles or morels—and for once I actually announced a contest winner when I said I would.

Tuesday, November 11

Tuesday Farm Photo: Farm Fresh Eggs, They're What's for Breakfast

Yep, these yolks are really orange.

If you've never tasted eggs that were laid by lucky chickens allowed to
flap and scratch and eat real food, I urge you to you go out and find some as fast as you possibly can—even if they cost $6 a dozen (which is only 50 cents an egg). They're worth it, and you won't believe how wonderful they are. The shells go way past white, too—think deep dark browns, pale blue greens, creamy tans. Gorgeous!

Can't justify the extra expense? Compare it to eating out—or what you'd pay for one coffee drink at Starbucks. And think of the happy hens and hardworking farmers you'd be supporting. Want to get to meet our fine feathered flock? You'll find lots of chick pics here.

Look for farm eggs at your farmers' market or locally owned natural foods store, which is where I used to sell my excess eggs when I had 25 laying hens, and where I now buy eggs to supplement the meager output from our current little (and mostly very aged) flock. You can also search on
Local Harvest for everything from eggs to elephant garlic.

Wanna go one foodie step further? Serve your extra special eggs on toasted homemade bread, such as my popular
Farmhouse White. So how do you like your eggs?

What else do we eat for breakfast?
Blueberry Breakfast Bars
Apple Blueberry Crumb Bars
Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins
100% Whole Grain No Sugar Bran Muffins
Ginger Pear Bran Muffins
Cranberry Christmas Scones
Savory Feta Cheese and Scallion Scones
White Whole Wheat Scones with Currants & Oats
Oatmeal Toasting Bread
Italian Rosemary Raisin Bread (with cheddar & apricot jam)
Lettuce Salad
And Sometimes
Chocolate Cake!

©, the cluck happy foodie farm blog where fresh raw eggs for breakfast are the secret to our dogs' healthy bodies and shiny coats (Bear has never had a bath in his life)—and one of us eats our fried eggs on toast with strawberry jam.

Monday, November 10

Monday Farm Photo: Rise & Shine

It's A Beautiful Day!

Want to see more of the same?
7/31/05: Homemade Swing
9/13/05: You Can't Fence Out a Sunrise
9/23/05: Swing Shot
10/26/05: Why We Cut Firewood
11/12/05: Same Scene, New View
12/8/05: Same Scene, New Snowy View
11/23/06: Thankful To Call This Place Home
9/18/07: A Peaceful Slice of Life
7/26/08: Morning Commute
8/17/08: Quiet for Breakfast

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where the crazy heat wave that gave us days in the 70s last week has frozen, and it finally feels like November! The wood heat seeps into our bones while a big pot of homemade chicken stock simmers its way to flavorful goodness on the stove, sending thoughts of steaming bowls of creamy artichoke soup wafting through the house. Oh yes, November.

Saturday, November 8

Saturday Farm Photo: Heading Home

Coming Out of the Creekbed On the Way Back from Doing Chores

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where farm work is a lot more fun when you have a trusty canine companion helping out (or at least keeping you company)—and we can't decide what we love more, autumn color or autumn light. But then again maybe they're one in the same.

Thursday, November 6

Thursday Daily Dose of Cute: Maybe Marta

Some days it's hard to tell.

Not cute enough for you? Try these:
Baby Donkey Photos
The First Daily Doses of Cute
Daily Doses of Cute Part 2
Daily Doses of Cute Part 3
Daily Doses of Cute Part 4
Daily Doses of Cute Part 5
Daily Doses of Cute Part 6

©, the down and dirty foodie farm blog where we currently have 75 critters on the farm and not a single one manages to stay perfectly clean. Okay, maybe one or two of the cats. But that's it.

Monday, November 3

Monday Farm Photos:
A Girl's Gotta Draw the Line Somewhere

Keeping A Close Watch on the Enemy

This is Robin. She hates donkeys. Hates them even more than cows, and she hates cows a lot.

When our wandering herd of five donkeys meanders up by The Shack (which happens at least a couple of times a day), our usually smiling beagle turns all menacing looks and ferocious barks (unless she's curled up indoors in one of her cat beds). This has been going on for years. And when she starts barking, she sets off Bear, who (because he does not hate donkeys) naturally believes there is an actual, non-donkey threat about to jump out of the woods and attack. He gets very excited. Every single time.

Does She Look Pissed or What?

I could never figure Robin out until I read that dogs can smell ten thousand times better than we can. Fifty thousand donkeys in my yard? I suppose I wouldn't be all that happy either.

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and most of us love donkeys (which really don't smell bad at all).

Sunday, November 2

Sunday Daily Dose of Cute: Fashion Statement

Evie Models the Newest Look in Baby Donkey Halters

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where Evie is actually wearing Esmeralda's halter, which I chose because I thought it would look nice against her darker fur. Evie's halter is blue to match her lead, but Esmeralda wasn't a willing halter wearer when I started this project and Evie was. She let me slip it right on her (amazing!) and doesn't seem to mind that it's Esmeralda's—just don't tell her it doesn't fit quite right because it was actually made for a baby horse (I unbuckle the back strap rather than cramming it over her slightly-larger-than-foal ears to get it on). No matter what, it's certainly a lot spiffier than that infamous ratty blue halter Donkey Doodle Dandy arrived on the farm wearing all those years ago.

Saturday, November 1

Saturday Farm Photo: Winged Heart?

Another Heart Rock Found in the Creekbed

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where earlier this week we had a couple of extremely frosty 20-degree mornings, but today it was sunny and in the 70s. We went from pulling out the quilts, piling on the polarfleece (I love that stuff), and stoking the woodstove day and night to contemplating shorts and opening all the windows. Some of the sheep have runny noses from the drastic temperature changes, and half-frozen plants are perking up and wondering if there is indeed life beyond October. The only things not totally discombobulated by the crazy weather are the rocks.