Tuesday, December 14, 2010

winter warmth

It looks like the Mac and I have worked through our differences and it's so nice to be back! If you've been fallowing us on Facebook most of this news will sound old hat, but so much has happened since my last real post.. Most obvious is our new puppy, Archer. New is the wrong word, seeing as neither Tim or I have raised a puppy before, we don't have any old puppy experience. While communication isn't always our strong suit, I'm still surprised this tidbit didn't come to light until Archy's third day home. Luckily the library had the entire forth season of The Dog Whisperererer on DVD, so we're pretty much experts now.

House training is going w... is happening, his fleas are gone and he's gaining weight like a newlywed. The cats have reacted better than I ever could have hoped, Great Pyrenees are notorious cat lovers and they must sense it. They stop short of actual interaction, content just to ignore him, while Archy wants to play SO bad! He'll follow them around until he gets swatted or hissed at and then he'll flop on the ground in utter despair. Mongo seems to be relenting.

After the duck went missing and a few fox sightings, a puppy was the only logical answer, really. I'm sure all the predators for miles around are living in a state of panic over this puppy sleeping in front of the heater.

In not as cute news: we have ordered twenty-one haritage turkey chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery to arrive the week of May tenth. Ok, they should be pretty cute. A full remodel of our kitchen is to start soon and will include a wood burning stove/oven. This will be the only means of cooking, heating and providing hot water for the house. It will also fuel the "crazy hippie" theory held by many. And finally, I'm starting school in February to learn nutritional and therapeutic cooking, culinary arts, sustainable kitchen practices and farm to table production. Hopefully there will be lots of turkey recipes..

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

for the love of...

Sorry for the lack of posts, we're having a little computer trouble which will hopefully be resolved soon. I do have three words to keep you coming back for more urban turtle love: Great Pyrenees Puppy. Photos to follow! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


It's a nice quiet day here on the farm. A little too quiet. We have been goatless for over a week now, and it's getting old. Sure, it's been relaxing to let the ducks out in the morning and then make it back to bed before one side of my brain can find anything worth discussing with the other. And being able to shush the nagging feeling that something, somewhere must be grazed is liberating. I never knew how much work goats could be until I had them and am now without them. I had lumped them in with the ducks and housework and had little realized that two whirling dervishes on tiny hooves were claiming a lion's share of my attention. Still, they are the kind of work that makes other work flow... "I'll be out there anyway, might as well hang laundry." or "I should write now, because there'll be no chance to between the afternoon graze and dinner." But once one moment is squandered, it can feel so luxuriant to add another, so...

In celebration of our first anniversary in the new place, we tried to take advantage of the extra time and do a fall cleaning. We know how to party, huh? Our one thousand square foot house and five thousand square feet worth of sh..tuff has taken time to reconcile. Having moved many, many times in my life, I still smile as a space declared perfect and set aside for one purpose, slowly succombs to the tides of daily life. The room I sit in now is the quintessential example. It started as Tim's music room and place to store the television that was NOT to be plugged in! With one corner set aside for an exercise bike, MUCH USED of coarse, it was perfect. So, after three months of watching library dvds on a laptop, we plugged in the tv. It took another four months of sitting on the floor in front of said tv for a free Craigslist couch to usurp a wall of still boxed music gear. Just yesterday the computer, too, moved off the floor and onto a table where the dusty bike once stood. With a few more touch ups, this has become one of the most enjoyable rooms I've known. The best part is that with Tim's bass and amp so close at hand (yes, they made the cut), he actually plays once in a while.

When we got our goats (HA!) our relationship with them was clearly defined, we're starting a small herd to provide milk and some meat. Who knew they would become such good companions and friends, keeping us honest with our days? And here we go with the next chapter. Someone answered my Craigslist inquiry, an hours drive to east Raleigh and in roughly one-hundred and twenty honest days... new life. Sweet evolution at it's most modern.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Urban Turtle Farm is now on facebook.
I put it under food and beverage because "disorganization" was not an option.

There will be daily updates on farm love, and a pop up produce stand next spring.
Com'on and give us a little "like"... ;)

Thanks for your support!

blessing of bacchus

When I started this site, of coarse I looked around for ideas. I was impressed by how many truly good writers have found a niche out there in the blogosphere... I was also surprised by how many orphans there are. These poor blogs, so lovingly conceived and tended, slowly slip into neglect until they are abandoned outright. Well, it's understandable, people move on to other interests, maybe other blogs. I, however, have no such excuse for the disregard of Urban Turtle.

As the leaves fall, other than the daily maintenance of keeping everyone fed, watered and adored it's been pretty quite. Tim mentioned, and I agree, that my last few posts have slipped into the personal and lost farm focus. I might make a place for all things *me* later on, but here it's to be straight farm news. All the ins, outs, triumphs and despairs of good old country livin' in the city. And to keep us coming back for more, this post is all about liquor and sex! Well, wine making and goat breeding, still..

WINE! In the interest of self sufficiency, we ordered a bunch of wine grapes from California. Okay, that might not sound quite right, but in addition to some beautiful fruit we get the mind of Fabian Radulescu. He has been making fine wine for a decade, even going so far as to rent a space for it in Oregon when he left. It just wasn't a good time of year to move his wine. He opened one of his first bottles for us the other day, I swear something was playing a pan flute as we drank.

The shipment came in on Friday afternoon. Everyone else was working, so Tim helped unload the eight tons of merlot, cabernet, and zin among others, prestigious and obscure. The next day we got up at sixish, sorted bewildered beasts and headed to Chapel Hill to crush grapes. Twenty minutes and a world away. Off of a golf coarse road, up a long drive stood an impressive, though a bit mc, mansion. The green lawn was long, the ponds were (dyed) blue and Will (organizer of the shipment and father bacchas of the annual event) was welcoming. Eventually a few dozen upper middle class, middle aged men would gather to pour their bounty into the crusher/destemmer. In a possible socialist act, we were moved up the line because of Tim's hard work the day before.

Four-plus hours later we left with our primary fermenter (big white trash can w/lid) full of juice. We also loaded a couple large garbage bags full of stems (rescued from the dump) thinking the ducks would like the stray fruit, who knew that grape stems are goat crack? As we turned out of Will's place, I couldn't help looking back and thinking his miraclegrow yard looked lonely. Perhaps a vegetable garden, some fruit trees and ducks for the pond would liven things up. It's bound to happen someday.

We have pitched the yeast, knocked it down (stirred), and watching the acidity. In a few days it will be ready to press then age in carboys through the winter before bottling. To something to look forward to in eight years, cheers! The book Vines to Wines by Jeff Cox has been a wonderful reference and a good read.

On to the sex... We are having trouble finding a stud for Gypsy and Juno. We had hoped to have them bred by the end of the month so they would kid in early spring. Baby goats, AAAHHH! But being on the small side for Nigerian Dwarfs, though a desirable feature, is proving difficult when looking for a billy to compliment them. So the search continues, I'll keep you updated on all the particulars. Softcore, I know.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

duck egg pasta

With the ducks providing between five and eight large eggs every morning, homemade pasta has become something of a life preserver, keeping us from drowning. So when I found out that my friend Kat (who's baby girl is named Eliza) had never seen My Fair Lady, I couldn't imagine a better time. Audry Hepburn, fresh pasta and baby holding.

Kat hadn't really made pasta before, and I wasn't much of a teacher. Luckily, with good common sense, she didn't have too much trouble beyond momentary dough mitts. I had planned on plain old jar marinara, but spying the pot of basil, Kat suggested pesto. AMAZING! Tim said it was the best yet. I said it was all Kat... he wisely shut up.

My Fair Lady is not a short movie. Little Eliza had a bottle and two naps in the time it took the other Eliza to learn proper English. After Higgins asked "Where the devil are my slippers?", I asked Kat what she thought of it. "She should have married Freddy, he wasn't trying to change her." Silly kitty Kat, NO, because Henry does love her, they're friends. Just because he treats her like crap... wait. I've been here before. The first time I saw it, I didn't think she should have gone back either until my mother explained.

Thanks Audry and Mom, for ruining my twenties.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ohio, emma & tv love

I'm back from Ohio and have NO PHOTOS. Bad. But I did have a great time visiting Emma and her man, Ryan. When I left, things were finally cooling off here, and the temp was even better up North. Not that we left the house much, we just hung out, drank wine and watched A LOT of television.

I was a tv kid. It has been my babysitter, teacher and window to the world. If I could add up all the hours of my life spent in front of that flickering screen... I wouldn't. I don't want to know. Tim and I don't have cable. We had an antenna, but Appal the bunny cleverly dispached it. We will watch a movie or two in the evening, netflix or library, but the screen remains dark during daylight hours. There is just too much to do around here. If it were up to me we wouldn't have a tv at all. I am an addict. I accept this.

So, man oh man, did I binge! Em and Ryan keep modern hours, aka: no goats crying for love at the crack of seven thirty, and I was immediatly on board. No one thought to rise until noon, and that only if you had something to do. There was grazing in the kitchen and we would all eat a meal together... around eleven p.m. (I took about three dozen duck eggs up with me, and Ryan made great use of them). In between it was pretty much games (they have an x box, wii and ds) and satellite tv. Emma did make a beautiful necklace ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/therabbithole ) and Ryan disappeared now and again, coming back with tip money and the scent of mongolian bbq. I, on the other hand, was far too busy catching up on The Daily Show and Flipping Out to do anything one could call PRODUCTIVE.

After a week with my darling cousin and an amazingly beautful eight hour drive, I found mysef back in a place where entertainment is a little more three dimensional. Tim, my lovin' man, did a grand job keeping things not dead, though I like to think I was missed. They might not have the production value, but for me this little farm is the best show running.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

appalachia rip

Many a morning, I'm afraid, I've summoned the spirit of George Bailey when he said, "You call this a happy family, why do we have to have all these kids?"! The goats and ducks will start yelling for freedom or food at seven instead of eight and I drag my hungover self out of bed saying, "You call this the good life, why do we have to have all these beasts?!" Sadly, the one that awoke me this morning has never done so before.. and never will again. At the edge of consciousness I heard barking. I even thought that I should check it out, but there have been so many false alarms since the raccoon sighting and everyone was locked up, so back to my dream I drifted.

Then she screamed.

I can't tell you how sad I am. We bought Appal with the intent to start a meat rabbitry, but it was JUST OUR LUCK to end up with the funniest, sweetest, smartest rabbit that has ever been. The cursed hutch! I've known for a while that if she runs around in circles too many times the latch would come loose. Well, the neighbor's wolf hybrid escaped their yard and barked at her until she did just that. There is nothing like a rabbit scream, so we were out the door (luckily remembering my robe because it's still too hot for PJs) in time to see the dog take off around the pond. Appal was on the ground. Twisting. I held her as she faded, which may be more of a comfort to me than it was to her, who knows?

Yesterday. Yesterday was gorgeous and a good day for her, I hope. Tim had the goats so she came into their pen with me while I mucked. She was so funny! First she would hide behind the old tub, then run out like she was chasing something, do a little sideways flip and run back again. After a few rounds of this she streched out in the sunshine and dozed. She was an utter delight. We buried her under the willow oak by the pond, I think we'll plant some irises.

I love this picture, Sunday morning, Tim playing solitaire on his phone while Mongo and Appal try to get his attention. I'll miss that, I'll miss her.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I know Nic and Hannah left forever ago, but I just had to post these pictures! Hannah wanted to have a spa day and all it took was a cucumber, two duck egg yolks, some nail polish and Mandolin Orange. We couldn't figure out a way for everyone to get pampered so after they put a mask on me (pic NOT posted), I went around painting finger nails. The whole game only lasted about half an hour, but what a time it was! And, yes, that is Ohso kitty licking her chops at an egg marinated Nicali, mmmm. They were so much fun to have around and I loved the way my skin felt when we rinsed. Try it sometime.

It's been drizzly and cooler here the last little while, a reminder that fall is, indeed, coming. It's the kind of wheather that makes me want to drink milky tea and think about where the time goes... one o'clock already? Really?

I started P90X EXTREME home fitness today. Every time it comes up with Tim, one or both of us must say EXTREME!! mocking the punks from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Why? No idea, maybe it's fast food that has left me in need of extreme exercise? Pop references define us all. Having SEEN a very funny movie must mean that WE are very funny, obviously. I just know that I HAVE TO get stronger to stay on top of this place, the goats don't lift themselves, lazy jerks. I've never made it through a finess program before, but this is only twelve weeks (read: finishline). November seventeenth. Yes I can.

Farm news:
Gypsy cut her leg nicely last Friday, so I got to play with needles. Tetanus shots all around! No one died.
We're finally ready to put our garden beds together and still have a shot at some fall veggies.
Oh, and ducks LOVE watermelon.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

animal shuffle

We are two bolts away from a new goat pen. Tim built a beautiful gate, but in our numerous trips to Home DESPOT we forgot to get the megabolts to hang it. The fence didn't pull very tight and it's not much to look at, but it should keep them IN (read:
OUT of Frank's hedge).

Menagerie Update: The kitten moved next door to live with Chase's Granny and is named Lily. Cash the rat and Appalachia the rabbit lovingly cohabitate in the hutch. The turtles are heading for the Blueridge Mountains and freedom this weekend. And since Nicali and Hannah left to go back to their silly old family in VA, no one comes over to play. Guess I'm just not as much fun.

I received the Seed Savers Exchange newsletter today and there was an alert to help save Pavlovsk Station, a century old seed bank in Russia. Apparently a court ruled that a luxury housing development is more valuable than some crumby old biodiversity in the form of seeds, fruit trees, berry bushes and other plants, ninety percent of which are found NOWHERE else. Am I getting my Russian seedbank stories confused or is this the same one that a bunch of scientist locked themselves inside and STARVED TO DEATH in order to protect it during WWII? This truly is the age of stupid.

(so i just wiki'd it and only one person starved TO DEATH surrounded by edible seeds, but the rest came close. there are over 5000 impossibly rare seeds and the plants in the ground are ones that don't "breed true" from seed. it's like torching the ark.)

Please sign:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

hold tight and let go

I know nothing about goats. I am a beehaver not a beekeeper. There is nothing in the garden. I eat GMO potato chips. The walls of my house may owe their structural integrity to the piles of clutter stacked against them. The pond... oh, the pond. Why do I feel so overwhelmed today? If I could just spend a couple weeks really organizing all our CRAP, do a couple yard sales and freecycle the rest, it would make everything else easier. It just seems like after working all morning to make things not dead, then doing enough housework to make things not stink... I don't know.

Alright, enough whining. This little farm (as corny as it sounds) in my mind is a great big art project. The art of living simply, living well, by hand. It's going to be absolutely beautiful! Flowers & herbs in the front, vegetables at the side, fruit trees, nut trees, berry bushes EVERYWHERE! The pond will be full of fish and lilies and very happy ducks. Healthy goats will frolic in their huge pen all while filling my life with fresh, sweet milk. The house! Organized and decorated.

Someday. I will know it because I will be serving lasagna made with duck egg noodles, goatmilk ricotta, garden vegetable and rabbit sausage on our new deck with a glass of mullberry wine (oh, and of course i'll be wearing a very smart 40's vintage dress of some kind, did i really have to say?). And on that day I will also eat all my leafy greens and have exercised. Soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010


What a week! Somehow having Nic and Hannah Ban here has opened the house as a haven for neglected neighborhood pets (and children). At role call this morning, present were: Nicali, Hannah, Chase, Ramon, 4 cats + new kitten (from Ramon), rat we named Cash (from Ramon), 2 box turtles (from Ramon), a beagle (with Chase) along with the usual 4 goats, 12 ducks, 2 geese, bunny and beehive.

Chase and Ramon stayed late last night and we all watched The Last Mimzy (love that show!). Both the girls and Tim crashed out before the end so I was left to walk the boys home. It's a good thing, because upon returning I heard weird sounds coming from the duck pen. I already had the flashlight so went immediately to check it out. Raccoon!! A scrawny, wicked, mean looking thing that was making these nashing and hissing sounds, freaky! Raccoons are known to behead fowl for fun so I chased it up a tree and shut the birds in the barn. The poor goats were on their own, but everyone survived the night. Frank lent us a trap and we'll hopefully be taking another trip to Falls Lake soon.

The girls looked up "pet rat toys" online and decided to make Cash a hammock out of old socks. For a rat who's been kept as boa food his whole life, I think he's doing pretty well. He is really very sweet, doesn't nip and loves jiffypop. Nic wants to take him home with her, but knowing my brother... I think he's staying here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

summer visitors

My Brother and Family finally came down to see the new homestead. It was a great day playing games, chasing goats, holding bunny, making dinner... then ordering pizza. Really fun, so fun that when Philip and Ashli forgot to take the girls home with them we didn't mind too much.

They might come back for them on toward the end of the week. We try to remember to feed and hose them down once in a while. Hannah has been very handy as the morning egg finder (six this morning) while Nicali runs wild with the neighborhood kids.

We all loaded up the turtle and took it out to Falls Lake. He didn't hang around long. We sent him off with well wishes like "live long, but lay off the geese!" and " Watch out for alligators!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

under pressure

My mother called a few weeks ago to announce that I would be receiving a package. She had seen an ad for the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Cooker and decided it was the perfect cure to my ovenless condition. I love to cook. I love to cook almost more than I love to eat... almost. So when we moved in and the stovetop but not the oven worked it was kind of a dilemma. Do we just go get something that will fit? Or do we deal with it, wait for the remodel and get our DREAM range? The decision just kind of made itself because between the crockpot, a wonderful bread maker and twenty other appliances that had been dustcatchers in my last kitchen, I was keeping us more than fed. Okay, so a pressure cooker? My only experience with the pressure cooker was as thriftstore shwag and scary flan explosion stories from the olden days.

I LOVE pressure cooker! How did it ever get usurped by the microwave?!? Let's see... did you wan't that six minute chicken fall off the bone, melt in your face fantastic or rubber? I've made perfect beans, tender goose (pic) and a rabbit fricassee that... well, no words. I'm still learning to adjust my spices, less is more, but it seems one could put a dirty gym sock in there and end up with something at least not bad. Thanks Mom, sorry I ever refudiated [sic] you!

We called in reinforcements from the neighborhood to our spapper battle. This is Chase and Ramon and after seeing the size of the turtle that got our goose they did what every boy should. They went to the dollar store, got nets and have been stalking around the pond for two straight days. Nothing yet, but if was a snapper I'd make myself scarce.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

savage nature

Yesterday was not the best day here at Urban Turtle. Our little farm lived up to it's name when our goose caught a snapping turlte... with her foot. It was a sight. We ran outside the moment we heard her unmistakably panicked cry. The goose was struggling, half flying from the other side of pond and came right to us. It was as if to say "Excuse me, but there is an EXTREMELY LARGE turtle biting my foot, little help?". This was no dinner plate turtle either, we're talking full on turkey platter. Tim did the only logical thing given the situation and after a couple kicks the turtle let go then HISSED!!

I wanted to stop and count goose toes, but apparently wanted that thing out of my pond more. Tim had gone to get an oar from the boat, not sure why, so I was left to either grab the tail or not grab the tail. Just as it righted itself and was about to disappear into the murk... I grabbed the tail. If you've never seen a large snapping turtle (and until this moment I had not) let me tell you, they are not exactly cute. And this one is a monster. I dragged it out and yelled at Tim to DO SOMETHING! so he went inside and got the camera. Longest two minutes of my life. After which we finally got it (why does "it" seem like too small a word to describe this THING?) in the recycle bin. Done right? Oh no. I hadn't taken two steps toward the goose before thing tipped the bin and made a beeline for the water. For something so ancient looking, thing can move! Just as thing hit the pond I grabbed the tail AGAIN. We found a bin with a lid, transferred thing and could finally tend to poor goose.

MIRACULOUSLY! no broken bones, but she has a pretty nasty flesh wound. We cleaned her off as best we could and doused the foot in witch hazel, she should be fine in a few days. Bunny is now back in the pet taxi, enjoying the AC while goose is convalescing in the hutch. The other goose has been staying close by, even napping up on the carport which is eye level with the hutch. So sweet.

So now, what to do with THING? Soup anyone?

Saturday, July 31, 2010


EGGS! eggseggseggseggseggs!!! Our ducks have made EGGS. Our ducks. eggs. They are about the size of a key lime (which are also coming in nicely) and the smaller of the two has a soft shell, but we are going to enjoy them. FREE EGGS! ducks + eight bags feed + 10,000 hours mucking poo = two FREE EGGS at $113 a piece.

This puts a fire under me to get the ducks and goats separated. Usually I let the ducks out of the pen while feeding everyone. The problem according to "Raising the Home Duck Flock" by Dave Holderread is that ducks lay most eggs in the late morning, so we've likely lost our first egg to the pond. This weekend: 1) goat pen 2) duck house window (light is very important). Done deal. EGGS!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

geese heart boat

Craigslist strikes again! We have some new birds on the farm, two brown buff geese and two female rouen ducks. They still have their baby fluff, but are holding their own with the rest of the flock (the geese even get in on the goat feed, tough stuff!).

Thank you Hollis! We promise to take good care of your girls!!

It's been hot, unless it's raining, which makes it hard to shorten the MUST GET DONE YESTERDAY list. Includes: goat fence, duck house window, raised garden beds, worm box, well pump (trying! the jerks won't call back!!!), sell house in Boise so all mankind can celebrate a benevolent universe, build milk stand and catch up on netflix. uhg.

Tim came home with Randy's Pizza and beer the other night. We spent a lovely evening watching "The One Percent" (a documentary made by the heir of Johnson & Johnson about the gap between america's rich and everyone else... TWO THUMBS UP!!) and then went to bed. Imagine my surprise when I found a BOAT on top of the car the next morning!?! Bewilderment. Did someone come put a boat up there in the middle of the night? Why? After a second it dawned on me that Tim had gotten a boat and managed to keep it a secret for ten million hours.


Boat is amazing! We were hoping to make it to Falls Lake, but contented ourselves with paddling around the pond instead. Maybe next weekend. The geese like to follow us... maybe they have a bit of a crush? Makes sense, we're the only thing out there bigger than they are.

i have poison ivy again. look like a leper. no offence to lepers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

hutch resurrected

Tim played all the kings horses and all the kings men and did a fine job putting hutchdy dumbty together again. Kind of. There were a few inexplicable extra pieces, but hey! The motto of the day soon became "it just has to keep her IN". Of course, it was a very hot day and we couldn't get to it before the afternoon blaze, Tim isn't normally quite so sweaty (carol's right! he does look like a ninja turtle! an urban ninja turtle?) We tried it out on Mongo George who thought it was a fine game for all of five seconds. Bunny moved in and we spent the evening counting chewed electrical cords (tv antenna, phone charger, computer mouse, etc..).

The hutch is not the end of our rabbit revolution. It will eventually become the home to two bucks, while our does and their various litters will live in a rabbit yard. This is a very old way of raising rabbits, still popular in much of the world and I find it surprising that more american backyard rabbiters aren't open to the idea. Especially if their goal is to undercut the meat industry. From what I've seen it takes a uniquely big heart (yet to be seen if mine is up to it) to raise and process meat for your family in an age when "nobody" has to. If willing to disregard the animal, the environment and the human toll of the INDUSTRY(!?!?!) all the meat you want is killed, cut, wrapped and heavily subsidized for the taking. But I still see rabbits in hutches as very unnatural. Rabbits are prolific poopers so it makes sense to lift them off the ground onto a wire platform allowing waste to freely fall away, but at a price. This leaves them with far less ability to excercise: less play = less muscle = less meat, up to thirty percent! You also have bored bunnies that surcome to heat and are more prone to cannibalism while you get to go around cleaning individual cages. With a yard you just rake everything up, hose down the toys, deposit new straw and you're done. Happy rabbits, happy you. Ours will be about 100 sq ft made from a hoop greenhouse frame and chicken wire. It's only number 264 on the project list. Mother Earth News has a great article online, "A Better Way to Raise Rabbits" by Luilla P. Thompson that I found inspiring.

Tim's mom has broken her arm. :(
Love you Jeri, get better and come play!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

homeless rabbit

We live in a neighborhood. We know this because when we had to pick up our new rabbit hutch, Frank (from across the street) lent us his truck. Have I mentioned that we only moved in a few months ago? Way cool. The truck, unfortunately, has been the only good thing about this **** *** ******* *** hutch.

I first saw it at Southern States while buying feed. They had gotten a great deal, the clerk told me, and were passing it on to the customer. I'd been looking for a hutch and $90 for a double is a pretty great deal. Even the homemade (nothing against it, LOVE homemade), well used ones on craigslist are rarely under $150. So taking this as a sign that my future rabbitry was already being showered with cosmic gifts, I said, SOLD. Then my debit card was denied. Bank error of course. But, being the kind, down home store that they are, SS took my name and number promising to hold it for me. Perfect. I even had enough cash for the other stuff, no problem, I'd just straighten everything out and come back the next day.

Three days later, now actually rabbit owners, Tim and I make it back and ask for the hutch that's been held for us. And they say, SOLD. As in sold out. Though they did have a different, smaller model for $120. Funny, because the one that I wanted was just sitting there, already assembled, but had been sold to an employee. I must have looked a little desperate, because they all went into a huddle and then said they worked it out and I could have it. Feeling like a jerk, I said, SOLD and bought it. Now, a ford focus hatchback is a wonderful thing. We have put 200 feet of fence, four goats and a greenhouse in our hatchback, not simultaneously, but still. Alas, it finally met it's match with this ****** **** rabbit hutch. To disassemble it would take forever. uhg. They promise to hold it again.

Okay, no big thing. Frank, I know, goes to Southern States all the time for feed. He's nice enough, surely he wouldn't mind hauling it home for us. He was even nicer still. Two days later we're back and fifteen minutes after that we have four bails of hay ('cause, yeah.. TRUCK!) and the beautiful wonderful hutch and we're finally heading home.

We were six blocks from the store when Tim gasped... I knew, I didn't turn around, but I knew.

He says it could have been a scene from Twister, if only it had done a crazy flip or two. Instead it shattered like a soft shelled egg when hit the pavement. LUCKILY!!! there were no cars behind us. SS had loaded the **** ***** **** **** hutch for us and neither of us realized how light it was until we were picking up the pieces (all of which could easily have fit in a hatchback). Still, we know better and should have tied it down...

So, the bunny we can't eat and her umbilicle hernia are still living in a pet taxi and I'm wondering if I believe in signs. Stupid cosmos.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

no worms for you!

I got my first comment! Hi Rachel of Dog Island Farm, your garden is gorgeous and good luck with those rabbits (I wish Tim would spontaneously build a kick ass hutch:). To answer your questions: Our girls are supposed to be nigerian dwarfs (but there is a fair share of pigmy in there) and I want to make the world's ooeyest, gooeyest stinky blue cheese.

We are rigging up some kind of rube goldberg milking stand for Daisy tomorrow. I caught her off gaurd yesterday, reached down and squeezed just like Carla Emery told me to. IT WORKED. Daisy was not amused, but to my surprised surprise, there it was... fresh, hot, beautiful goat milk. I am in love.

So, as for the worms... This morning, we drove past our usual Saturday happy happy joy joy, the Durham Farmer's Market, and on to Chapel Hill. Our reason for this was, of course, worms. I had been promised worms last Christmas and we finally found a guy that will sell worms sans bin. Off we go to the Chapel Hill FM and while MUCH smaller and in the mall parking lot, it wasn't half bad. They made an exeption to their "70 mile" rule and have a stand selling fresh NC seafood (get on that Durham!!!). Anyway, we are so powerful! that just by driving all the way out there, we made the worm guy disappear. According to the other proprietors he had never missed a market day before, but yeah, no worms for us! It wasn't a total bust though, we did get some beautiful shrimp. I'm thinking of doing some kind of Thai soup since I still have galangal root in the fridge... yum.

I'm trying my hand at wine making. I have all these stunning mullberries taking up room in my tiny freezer that need to go to a better place, like in my face! It's actually more of a mead, since mullberries alone aren't sweet enough to ferment the way I want them to (read: alcohol content). Finding those trees in the sideyard was the best surprise of spring. Even the ducks loved them, as evidenced by their bright purple poops! I'm using a recipe out of Ken Schrams book "The Compleat Meadmaker". A really fun read for anyone interested in home brewing or beekeeping!

Friday, July 9, 2010

goat love

Here are our new goats. While I can't say they are all one happy family, they are all still alive. So we've got that goin' for us, which is nice. Work on the new goat pen has been halted until we find more free fence... come on craigslist! don't fail me now!

In other news: We saw bats tonight for the fist time since early spring! Tim spotted them fluttering over the pond looking for a tasty treat. We were really afraid that the white nose plague that swept through had gotten them all. DEATH TO MOSQUITOS!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

dog days

The duckweed on the pond SO thick! Our ducks come out with leis and the turtles look like plates of dinner salad. From a distance it looks like scum, but its actually one of the worlds smallest flowering plants and apparently pretty usefull stuff. People make biodiesel out of it, use it for animal feed and of course appreciate its water purifying abilities. Me? I scoop it out with my spaghetti strainer and throw it in the compost then stomp on it... repeatedly. I can see why its popularity is cyclical, it goes something like this "Oh my god! This stuff is amazing! why isn't it EVERYWHERE!" to "Oh, my hell! We got to get rid of this shit! It's EVERYWHERE!" and back again. we hope to interrupt its growth long enough for something else to have a chance (read: lotus), while not eradicating it. though I do need to rig a skimmer soon, I miss spaghetti.

These are the days when you wonder why you didn't get more projects done in spring. You know? Back when it was fun to be outside? That's right, we were sick of winter and it was TOO nice out to work, time to play!! Oh well. Random useless information: dog days are called such because the Greeks and later the Romans believed it was Sirius, the dog star, that made summer so freaking miserable. They would even sacrifice a brown dog to him in the hope he would just back the hell off. Huh. Here puppy, puppy, puppy.... I kid. Swiped from wiki: Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813. True that.

We drove an hour to Henderson last evening to get Daisy and her baby and only got lost twice. We were met by Joan and swept around back to meet the worlds BIGGEST nigerian dwarf. Or was she? At first I thought she was, but maybe that was just because she was on a platform? She's not as big as say.. a nubian, maybe it's just me. So we load her into the focus hatchback and hit i85 south back home (to all those who pointed, honked and especially the lady in the silver convertable who gave us a thumbs up.. HI!). They were very good goats, only pissed on the shower curtain once. So, the big moment finally arrives and... she IS huge! Or Gyp and Jun are very small. They are the exact same size of three month old Avril (was Carley, but it's an A year). But in truth, I can't tell a nigerian dwarf from your great aunt milly... something about the beard. I only know what craigslist tells me. Oh well, I wanted a mutt herd and it looks like I've got it.

I'll post some pics as soon as a find the camera battery...

Watch out for those phrensies!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

getting started

Greetings from HOT!! sunny North Carolina. This is just to keep those interested up to date on the happenings of our little ghetto farm. We [me (TeAnna), Tim (super hunky boyfriend), four cats, ten ducks, two goats, one beehive, and a rabbit] live on 3.79 acres, five minutes east of downtown Durham. It sounds like a lot of land, but given that one acre is a pond and the rest woods, eh... we're working with it. We moved in last November, back when we were Tim, me, three cats and a philodendron, so to say this project is in the early stages is being kind. Zygotic.

We loved the place through the winter: planning, ordering seeds, reading Gaia's Garden, ordering ducks, planning some more. Then spring came and I think we both got a little soft in the head. Suddenly there were turltes and geese laying eggs by OUR POND! There were wildflowers and mullberries everywhere, honestly though, it was the fawn that did it. Tim's walking around, already lovin' life when WHAM! fricken bambi was stashed on the path in front of him. BAMBI. have you ever seen a fawn up close? If you have, then you KNOW. If not, I'm sorry, there is nothing I can tell you. BAMBI. Suddenly it didn't feel so much like OUR pond or property, it felt like a forest. Here, surrounded by strip malls, tortillarias and used car dealerships is a forest. The place was nearly developed into townhouses and the thought of eveything being razed...uhg.

Summer is now upon us and our love affair with this place has matured with the plants and animals around us. I'm still making new discoveries like: poison ivy is not fun, fluffy little goslings become great pooping, hissing, duck food stealing jerks, and there are ticks on my cats and ants in my kitchen and the hogna carolinensis is the largest spider in North America.
But, then again.. love is love.

We (try very hard) to grow heirloom fruit and vegitables, yes organically, but I'm just saddened by that concept. Why does doing things the way countless generations have give you bragging rights? And why does frankendeath agraculture get the word "conventional"? What is conventional about tomatoes with fish genes!?! Really people, we need to take conventional back and find Monsanto another word. Oohhh, I have a good one and a place for them to put it too! But, how about "stupid"? Then there would be ads like "Kroger has organic onions and stupid apples on sale now!" Ahhh... When we rule the world (and plans are being made) there will be sanity.

Oddly enough, with all these beautiful trees comes A LOT of shade, so we're taking our time with the garden and observing things before we do anything drastic. Tim did get a chainsaw (thanks mom!) for his birthday, we're taking out just a few trees and for a reason. The standard for development here makes me crazy. It goes: rip out mature trees, level, build (wood shipped in), plant tiny anemic trees. So lazy. We're going to use the wood for some of our remodeling projects, it will be interesting to see the shelf and remember the tree.

In animal news:
NEW GOATS! We are picking up Daisy and her baby Carley tonight. I'm telling you, this can't happen a moment too soon. Two goats does not a herd make! Gypsy and Juno need new blood, another personality (not me) to balance daily life.... Daisy is "in milk" but she's never actually been milked, which is funny because I've never actually milked. We already have something in common! Does anyone else hear that? Oh, I think it's just me swearing so loudly I can be heard through space and time... funny how the really nasty expletives do that.

Also, I have a rabbit. She was to be the main momma of our meat rabbitry, then we found an umbilical hernia, a hereditary condition meaning no babbies for this bunny. Now, of course the only logical thing to do is turn her into meat, right? Yeah, uh huh. That night, a few glasses of wine later, Tim, being the genius that he is, brought up the point that this could be seen as an OPPORTUNITY to observe an umbilical hernia in rabbits. If in the .03% chance we come across said condition again we'll know what to expect, this may be our only hope of expertise! How this absolute truth wasn't obvious from the beginning, I'll never know. Thank jebus Tim was there to help me see the light. So, while she thinks she is just feasting on lambsquarters or tormenting Mongo kitty, really.... she's being OBSERVED...

We're still waiting for our first duck egg... anytime now would be fine.

I can't get spell check to work on the mac, so just remember that standardized spelling is a passing trend anyway.

Stay cool!