Mobile Chicken House

This Spring, we bought a new Wilson stock trailer which was proudly made in South Dakota! The next question was “What to do with our old trailer?”

The trailer has now become a dual functioning piece of ranch equipment. George made moveable chicken nest boxes with hooks when remodeling our chicken house in 2011. Now he has created a portable roost with hooks and made a swinging bar for holding the feeder. All of the equipment inside the trailer is removable so the trailer can still be used as a stock trailer as needed. He used tin from the 2007 barn remodel to keep the elements off of the chickens so they can stay warm and dry in their mobile unit. He cut and placed plexiglass on the back gate and front sides so we could see what is happening inside the trailer when hauling livestock.

The chickens will have fresh pasture daily and will be fertilizing various areas of the pasture with their manure.  While they enjoy their summer home,  we will be cleaning out their winter chicken house and the vegetation in their winter chicken yard can grow back lush to wait for the chickens return in late Fall.

Promoting Your Agricultural Endeavors

It is important to promote one’s ranch or farm. It can be done easily
without having to take out an operating loan from the bank. We have found
the following ideas to be inexpensive and effective marketing tools.

It is quite easy to make quality business cards using a home computer and
printer.  Use pictures of your homestead and or your agricultural livestock
or products to individualize your business cards.  Quality cardstock or
printable magnets can be bought for under $20.00 for about 100 cards.
(Picture above is magnet and below is card).

Vista Prints is a company that is quite useful for small marketing projects
with fast quality results.  We ordered magnetized vehicle door banners, hats
and my soap labels.  We received our order within 7 days. Also this company
has no minimum or maximum amounts of items to purchase  and they keep a file
so a person is able to repeatedly order the same items as needed- a good
example is our soap labels.  The company has pre-designed items or blank
templates for you to use your creativity.

Now more than ever, it is time to put rancher/farmer ingenuity to good use
and be proud to promote our livelihood in agriculture.

Easter Gift

On April 7, 2012, around 11:30, our Nubian doe, Polka Dot delivered by
herself a set of quad bucks!  All four bucks are uniform in size and are active. Polka Dot is claiming all her babies.

We had been wondering about her because her udder looked like she was already being milked twice a day.  She was just building up a food supply to
feed 4 hungry babies.

The kids weighed 6lb 8oz, 6lb, and the last two weighed 5lb 6 oz.
We are off to a good start kidding!

Making Goat Milk Soap

The best way to make goat milk soap is to freeze the milk. We keep a supply
of frozen goat milk and during the winter months when life tends to be a bit
slower on the ranch. We can make many batches of goat milk soap.

The ingredients are goat milk, coconut oil, tallow, olive oil and lye.
Essential oils, honey and ground up oatmeal is added to the soap to make
different variations.

We have been making goat milk soap for about 4 years and that is the only soap we use in the house. The soap is a great moisturizer.

Senior Girl Honoring

For over 50 years, the women’s literary club at White River has hosted a high school senior girl’s honoring for the girl’s and their mothers. Each year, the club has a theme which is carried out in the decorations and the meal.

2012 had a Hawaiian theme. A delightful meal and fun activities were enjoyed by everyone. Suzanne had fun being on the organizing committee.

Below are a couple of tasty recipes.

Luau Beef

1 2lb Chuck Tender Roast   1/2 c. butter
1 can sliced pineapple          Steak seasoning
1 sliced apple                        1/2 green pepper
2 T. onion flakes

Melt butter in a skillet. Season the roast with steak seasoning and sear all sides of roast in butter.

Put the roast in a crockpot and add pineapple slices with juice and apple slices. Then add green pepper slices and onion flakes. Cook on high for four hours. When done, slice and return roast to crockpot.

Luau Chicken
1 1/3 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1 T. and 1 tsp. soy sauce
2 T. and 2 tsp. brown sugar
8 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T. and 2 tsp. ketchup
1 1/4 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 1/4 (8 oz.) cans  sliced water chestnuts
1 T. and 1 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet combine the pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup,
ginger, garlic salt, cornstarch, and soy sauce. Simmer all together for 5
minutes over low heat.

Place cooked chicken, bell pepper, onion and water chestnuts in a 9 x 13
inch baking dish. Pour skillet mixture/sauce over the top. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.

“New” Recycled Feeder Wagon

Being frugal, often involves creativity and the help of good friends.

We have been in need of a feeder wagon to store feed for our laying hens and pastured poultry. It is exciting to have our new recycled feeder wagon.

The tank is originally a water tank that has not been used at the ranch for
many years. The tank was then welded onto set of running gears. Inside the tank is an auger attached to the outside wheel for augering the feed into the awaiting buckets. The top of the tank has welded tire rims for a watertight seal and worn rubber tubs to cover the top and hinged with rubber hooks. The feed wagon can be easily moved using a four wheeler.

Many thanks to neighbors and friends, R and B for helping locate recycled
materials and welding expertise!

Perspective

PERSPECTIVE

One day the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On the return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?”, the father asked.

“Oh yeah,”, said the son.

“So tell me, what did you learn from the trip”, asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.”

“We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.”

“Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.”

“We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.”

“We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.”

“We buy our food, but they grow theirs.”

“We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

I snipped this story out of our local agricultural paper a few years ago. The paper is now yellowed but I continue to keep it hanging on the bulletin board in our kitchen. It serves as a reminder to George and I that when times are hard and stressful that we are very rich indeed in the things that are important in life. It is important to always count the blessings and not worry about the things we don’t have.

Feathered Finery

Here are the 3 pictures of our laying hens- I think the girls are quite
beautiful in their feathered finery.

Ranch Blessings

It is looking like 2012 is off to a good start for us.

Due to good friends, the barn is now completely wired on the inside- no dark shadows, can turn on lights at any door entrances and have plug in’s too! The guys came this weekend with supplies and set off to work- wouldn’t take pay so gave them canned goods and eggs.

The barn time and time again has shown us what good friends we have through help in keeping it in tip-top shape.  Another friend, is bringing us 2 free goats- her Mom had them and now needs a new home- plan for one is possibly goat summer sausage- which is like eating deer summer sausage and delicious and the other to give away to a youth raising goats in the community- I have 2 girls in mind.

Speaking of goats, our buyer from the south wants all of our crossbred doelings- so now we have started selling goats at 1-month gestation- we are happy.  We are planning to go to a new goat show in Newell, South Dakota and start making more selling connections closer to home.  We are slowly building are egg customer clientele and it will be even better this summer at the Farmer’s Market. We have all the calves due to be born in May already sold. George and my goal of selling directly off the ranch are starting to happen and we are very excited about it.

Speaking of livestock, does anyone want chickens? I prepared our order form and chicken recipes for mailing today- our plan is to have 2 batches of 210- so a total of 420- with 30 for us and 30 for our chicken mortgage- so 360 for sale. Plan to butcher 2nd week of July and second week of August- Just let us know.

Our friend is having her 90th birthday the 31st of Jan. George and I are hosting the Birthday Bash with a traditional Sunday dinner of fried chicken and all the trimmings.

Well, enough of the ranch report- Have a good week everyone!

Festive Around the Homestead

It has been a great goat year. We are going to potentially buy 4 breeding age Nubian doelings- which would bring the herd up to 35 does- meaning lots of baby goats coming in early May.

We just got a skiff of snow and it looks very festive around the homestead. Our chickens are in overdrive and lay between 18-19 a day so I hope everyone wants to eat some eggs.