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in Blog, Farmstay

What we need most…an identity

A recent visitor to the farm asked me an excellent question today on the phone.  “What do you need most?”  I was stumped.  So many things flooded into my brain that I couldn’t think of any one thing to say.  We need some wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes and other tools.  We need feed.  We need apple trees because we want to start an orchard.  We definitely need to find someone to refinance our hay farm.  We need fencing and irrigation supplies.  We need seeds.  We need paint.  We need, need, need, need, need.  On a farm, you need so many many…

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in Blog, Farming, Natural Health

Farm women and depression

Too many responsibilities, environmental and social influences, and stressors placefarm women at high risk for depressive symptoms (link to research article).  When guests come to our farm, they often are jealous of the slower paced, stress free lifestyle that we live.  You’re so lucky!  They tell us.  We wish we could live a life like this.  Of course as soon as you ask them if they want to join in chopping wood or butchering, they often decline in order to take a nap while you go do the chore. And good for them, that’s what a relaxing visit is supposed to be, but…

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in Blog, Farming

Why are some farmers busy and others are lazy?

Depending on when you visit a farm, a farmer may look lazy or she may look like a chicken with her head cut off because she’s so busy.  How busy a farmer is depends on a lot of factors.  First off, what is the farmer farming?  A farmer with a market garden is going to be as busy as a cross-eyed boy at a three-ring circus-at least between spring and fall.  Winter usually slows down and even market gardeners may take a break during the winter, although some crazy market gardeners continue to produce during this time in greenhouses and such….

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in Blog, Natural Health

How to make your neighborhood a better place

Here’s a list of ideas that I stole from sunset magazine.  Maybe we should all take an early new year’s resolution to make our neighborhoods better and prevent these crazy tragedies like the connecticut shooting: Organize community events 1. Host an annual Southwest-style luminaria display (one neighborhood has more than 50,000 candles in bags lining its streets). 2. Combine cause and community by presenting an annual home tour to raise money for charities. 3. Organize regular wine-tasting parties. You’ll be surprised at all the local sommeliers. 4. Hold small music concerts on a common green. Encourage karaoke (responsibly). 5. Sponsor…

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in Blog, Horse riding

Problems Under Saddle

If your horse is misbehaving with the saddle on-GET OFF.  Why put your life at risk for something that can be taken care of safely?  A bucking, rearing, shying, bolting psycho is a horse that hasn’t learned all of the lessons it should have learned on the ground.  My horse Tarik is bucking slightly under saddle.  Instead of riding-it-out-of-him, I am going back to the basics.  Obviously I missed something.  Now of course there’s times when it’s just a minor issue and you can continue riding.  But if the behavior doesn’t stop, then go back to the ground.    …

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

The Deep Litter Method

I’ve found some good material from the first people to research and promote deep litter, Kennard and Chamberlin at the Ohio Experiment Station. The following is an article of theirs from the Golden Age of deep litter, published in 1949. For the impatient, here’s a deep-litter quickstart: Deep litter is not about compost. It’s about healthier chickens. Do your serious composting on a compost pile. More is better. It’s not deep litter unless it’s at least six inches deep. If the top of the litter gets caked over with manure, skim off the caked part and toss it into a…

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in Blog, Farming, Livestock

Rain, rain don’t go away

I woke up this morning, put the dogs out and thought a water pipe was broken.  That is until I noticed that everything was wet.  Wow, it’s raining!  We don’t get that very often here.  The high desert gets about 6 inches of rain a year, although there’s a huge range of amounts to reach that average.  Most years it seems that we only get 3 inches.  It would be nice if things were greener, but at the same time it’s wonderful to not have to worry about slogging through the mud all winter long.  We don’t have to be…

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in Blog, Farming, Livestock

Rain, rain don't go away

I woke up this morning, put the dogs out and thought a water pipe was broken.  That is until I noticed that everything was wet.  Wow, it’s raining!  We don’t get that very often here.  The high desert gets about 6 inches of rain a year, although there’s a huge range of amounts to reach that average.  Most years it seems that we only get 3 inches.  It would be nice if things were greener, but at the same time it’s wonderful to not have to worry about slogging through the mud all winter long.  We don’t have to be…

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in Blog, Natural Health

Connecticut, Columbine, Victor Valley College: Should we take guns away?

Ironically, right after I posted a blog about guns being good and necessary for farmers, we have one of the worst school shootings in our history. And a student shooter at the college I teach at, Victor Valley College, just recently killed himself after looking for and not finding a particular victim.  So how do I feel now about guns? You know, I really feel like this isn’t a gun issue.  Follow my logic and you’ll see what I mean.  It’s sort of like a horse training problem.  Take a horse that bucks for instance.  Bucking horses have probably killed…

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in Blog, Horse riding

Starting a horse rescue

Our family has really been thinking hard about starting a horse rescue at the ranch.  The current economic climate has been very harsh for horses.  When the real estate bubble busted back in 2008, people were so desperate they would take their horses out into the desert, tie them to a Joshua Tree and leave them to die. Things don’t seem quite that desperate now, but there are still many many horses being abandoned.  A friend of mine with a horse stable regularly wakes up with horses tied to her fence in the morning.  And the price of horse feed…

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