"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005
Showing posts with label FARM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FARM. Show all posts

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Unusual Day

Saturdays usually have a fairly basic routine and instead of a day off, it is a day to complete the previous weeks projects. Today will be a bit unusual, as I am headed to the big city(well for New Mexico) and Bill and the kids have an activity here local.

All pens and needed weekend chores were completed Thursday and Friday so I am planning my getaway. I am off to make a purchase that I will reveal in an upcoming post.

Funny story to share before I depart, we all have been writing back and forth to our son in Basic Training. He has made only two phone calls so this rather fading method of interaction has become huge in our home. Each evening Bill brings home the letters that we receive and we all gather around and listen as he reads of our oldest experiences. Last night one of the letters was addressed to our second son, and so Bill handed it to Second (as he is known here). Second quickly opened the letter and instead of pulling out the note from his brother he instead pulled out a folded up piece of paper and began to laugh.

His laugh was infectious so we asked him why he was laughing. Instead of answering he showed us the front of the paper...it was a tic-tac-toe game, and two moves had been played!! How neat is that? To actively include his older brother in a game from home made me smile! Paper games on drives have always been big in our family, and it seems that no matter where in the world we travel-even in separate vehicles that tradition carries on!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What this is not about

This post is not about the way this Dominique can twist her head to peak for a bug.

Nor is it about what I refer to as the evil eye...

Nope it is not about the quirky behavior of the chickens that reside on the Double Nickel, although I have learned that the way I say Kitty Kitty in bird language(Rosetta Stone will back me up) is almost the exact way one pronounces Here Chicky Chicky...as the flock causes a self perpetuating breeze as they run to me, whenever I call for the Kitty...

Again it is not about these crazy birds- that when they molt it looks like we have begun to pluck their feathers while they are alive...
This is one of the Hershey birds(no not the specific type...just brown and thus named after Hershey's syrup) that is coming back after the shocking molt.

Nope this post in not about any of these things.

It is about a little group of birds that here on the Double Nickel we refer to as the Mafia...

Headquarters of the Double Nickel Mafia...
A group shot of this bunch of criminals(Mafia) ...yep criminals ! They shake down the barn animals and cause the goose to flee with his tail between his legs(well he would if he had a tail).

They cause the crusty old codger of the Colonel Sanders...AKA Head Rooster to run squawking.

They chase basically an elevated worthless good for nothing fourlegged hound around the yard until she climbs to the porch for a reprieve...

And they just woke up Fourth, who just woke us up, because they were quacking like crazy in the yard. We all decided to go to bed early as we went to the park in town for an activity and were tired from being in the sun...and these little monsters ducky duddles cute and cuddly...are playing in their pool.

Yep..a bunch of goof off farm thugs, keeping the Farmer, his wife, and his children up...just for a late night swim...

With that I am going to head off to bed, thinking of when I will get out my Down comforter for the winter...and chuckle hysterically.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Learning Curve

I have been thinking of my many friends being hit time after time with hurricane after hurricane. I see the flooding and the devastation and think about how Hurricane Dolly's caused torrential rains and flooding here, in New Mexico, so far from the Gulf of Mexico. This is how most of the back of my property looked.

We literally waded in rising water moving the three day old chicks(in a ice chest) and built new pens for all the birds in raining and rising water. We had no choice but to work in the heavy rain and flooding because the goats pen was under 8 inches of water and the chickens houses were flooded. The ducks-well friends they were in heaven!

Anyhow, due to the rains our little farm in the desert has become an oasis of sorts. We have lots of grasses that we are harvesting for feed, and to be honest the blooming flowers has lightened my heart. Well about 2 weeks ago we noticed a neat little thing going on. We discovered this:

A pumpkin plant growing behind some of the pens. We have the goose and ducks still in back...and this is growing through the fence and hanging over the shelter for the goose. A pumpkin!!!!

How neat is this? Whenever we have scraps I have the kids throw them to the chickens. I had leftover pumpkins from our garden in town all the way until early May. After I baked some cookies, I threw the remainder of the waste in the scraps(seeds to-although usually I bake the seeds). Surprise, surprise...the rains have brought over 20 pumpkin plants growing in, under and around the Mesquite.

So I reflect on this first summer as a farm family and can honestly look back and say that we have learned that even in the worst of experiences that there are good things. The seeds that the hens did not eat swirled around the flood waters and are going to supply us with pumpkins through 2009!

Farm life is harder than I could ever have imagined. Growing up in Ohio on a farm is nothing like New Mexico farm life. BIG DIFFERENCE...water...ARID...dry...HOT...

as we were new to the place after years of neglect the mice and rats had the run of everything...so we lost everything in the greenhouse...and we learned...CATS( 3)
Garden seeds sprouting in the freshly toiled soil is a NEON SIGN TO RABBITS...so we learned...DOG

FLOODING...not often, but with the mountain to increase the speeds...build up(our house is up) so we did...new pens built up HIGH..

What will we learn next year? Who knows, but I must constantly remind myself that bad can be turned for good. And God gives us little blessings every day to remind us of this.

I am off to plot pumpkin recipes!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

At our Fingertips

The Mesquite Tree

Harvest time...at the Double Nickel. This is the Honey Mesquite tree. I have stopped counting how many of these trees we have on the farm. As you can see in the foreground of this picture we are thinning out the other bushes and shrubs to make paths to the Mesquite.

See the Mesquite bean pods? We have been picking these and drying them and storing these for the winter. The goats and sheep love them. They are not the easiest to harvest due to fact that the Mesquite has thorns all over them.

The goats have been a blessing because we have been trimming these trees into the traditional tree shape...and the goats eat the leaves off the cut branches, then we stack the branches to season for next years kindling for the woodstove.

Here are some of the beans up close on the drying board. We have just been drying them outside in the sunshine. After a few days they make a rattle noise and are crispy and make a snap when we break them. This means that they are dry enough.

This is the Crown of thorns that I made from the branches. God is incredible and surrounds us. Even in something that seems like a trash bush or weed has provisions, and we at the Double Nickel are grateful.Take the time to look around and really see what He provides for you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I am a person that is inspired by a zillion things. I love hand crafts, antiques, and simple things...over the years I realized that I needed a place to store my ideas that have been inspired by magazines and what nots, so I compiled this a few years ago, and have title it my Possibility Notebook.

The Possibility Notebook

Here is the page that shows the couch that I am going to have the boys build. In fact I am going to have them make a matching sitting chair also. Then Fourth and I will make the cushion covers. I foresee completing this in the next year or so.

AT some point when we are more established on the farm, I am going to have a tomato trail...neat isn't it?

Over the years I collect ideas, and images and stash them in the back of the book. When I have some free time I then cut out the images, and I suppose scrapbook them into this book. I make additional notes to remind me why the image captivates me.

Looking forward and having projects gives one ambition to go on. Perhaps your possibility notebook could be filled with sewing projects, books that you wish to read, places that you wish to visit and learn about.

I love to take something and refurbish it and give it new life. The possibility notebook is photographed on top of an old trunk that I bought years ago from an antique shop and then decoupaged with old world maps. It is our coffee table in the family room. I store inside it tv trays for when we snack and watch tv. The trunk idea was a possibility idea from nearly 15 years ago that I completed perhaps 6 years ago. Some ideas just sit until everything lines up!

Other ideas that I have stored then used:
~painting the subfloor in my dining room. In the image that I have saved it was painted on planks...so I adjusted the idea!

~I cut chicken wire and put in place of glass in the cabinets over the stove.

~ I guess I could go on and on...because the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Boaz the Ram

Here is Boaz the Ram...I am giving the side view so that you can see the horns. He loves his horns and if you come into the pen without a "goody" for him he thinks that he should ram you!

Now at 5' tall short, I do not wish for any confusion in the ram world...so I have a new found tip. Perhaps many before have learned this, but as a new farm family, I am still learning. I just grab his right horn. Yep, I grab on while walking around and he and I become joined at the hip while I do what is needed in the pen. I taught my daughter this as she is vertically challenged too!

Bill uses the cane...I would never have believed it had I not seen it. Bill puts his cane in front of Boaz's head and it stops the "ramming". Boaz just ceases the ramming! It is so incredible to learn so many things, almost at once!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Location~ Location ~Location

That's the rage in real estate...location! The sheep of Double Nickel enjoy a view that provides lovely mountain views, incredible sunsets and sunrises, and breathtaking clouds! Notice the trough to the left of the photo...that is a bucket cut lengthwise and then attached to a 2x4 base...handcrafted by the Double Nickel team. In the back of Miss unnamed sheep...is another bucket cut in thirds, and the bottom is for grain. The top 2/3 is also used, but in the chicken coops as nests!

Location again...inside one of the many cactus on the farm...can you see? Well past the pokes, the stinging, and deep in the center???

In the middle of all this...

Three lovely blue eggs...they are the size of a quarter. How neat! And the nest is made of mesquite, cactus, and anything else to keep predators away. So location is key!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

From the Kitchen


I have been learning to make everything from scratch. Part of this learning curve is to use what is on hand, and not to rush out and buy the needed ingredients. Well I made homemade rootbeer the other day(5 gallons) and so I had an abundance of rootbeer. So I sat at my favorite computer and looked up recipes using rootbeer. The above photo is my first attempt at rootbeer bread. I made four loaves and only have three bread pans, so I had a lovely round bread. We loved this bread. It tastes like a honey wheat bread. I froze two loaves and we are enjoying the rest.

These two are pinto bean bread. I made this first as an entry for the county fair. As I said making things from scratch is my new life, and using what is on hand. We have lots of beans...so again what to make? Well yummy bread. This bread tastes like a wonderful nutty wheat bread.

This was my first attempt at raisin bread. I did not let it rise enough, but thought I would share the skills are learned through practice. This toasted well though and was a great side to oatmeal!

If interested in the recipes, I will email them if you leave your email in the comments in this format...penofjen(at) yahoo(dot) com.

And as a side thought I froze 3 quarts of rootbeer, so I can make 12 more loaves as it was so yummy!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Golden Goose and Fearless Feline

Here is Buffy the goose and he is very afraid of the ducks! What we have learned in our small time that we have been farming...is that you need two of what ever. He paces back and forth and acts bizarre. So this one is the test dummy. If we get more geese, we will get at least two.

This is Bandit and he has decided that we are his people. He eats scraps like the chickens and is an avid hunter around the pens and property. He has earned his table scraps time and time again by liquidating the rodents, lizards and snakes that scurry and slither around the farm.


Here are the Turkens(brown) with the turkey in May.(Turken) We have a male and a female, and I must confess that they are the weirdest looking creatures that I have seen.

We have decided to raise these to sell as they are so curious to look at that many feel drawn to them. The kids named them Otto and Gretchen. When they finish the separate yard for them they are going to call the Turken home the Grotto.

I tried to take pictures of both Otto and Gretchen yesterday, but Otto would not stay still. So here is Gretchen.

Here's Christmas...(Thanksgiving died as a result of the flooding in July). He is a midget white turkey, and perhaps can get as big as 15-20 pounds.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Remember these guys? May 14...cute and we could not tell if they were male or females...as we bought straight runs(meaning not sexed could be either). They have grown lots since May.

Here they are today. They are free range I suppose, as we let them wander the back yard at will. It turns out we have three males and one female, as their adult feathers are coming in nicely. We are going to keep a male and the female, to give us more, and we will put the other two in the freezer around November. They eat the bugs, and many weeds. I have been amazed at how much I have learned watching them wander. I confess that Pepsi the Basset Hound avoids them.

Just another view of the ducks to see the feathers. We discovered something big about the ducks...they are brutal! We were given a gosling around the end of June, and I put her with these four. Let's just say that after the co-mingling, the goose has wing issues. So we separated the goose in her own pen. During the flooding we had no choice but to let her wander the entire yard and not her pen as it was unreachable.

Then the attack... My sons barely made it in time to save the goose(Buffy), one duck had the goose's neck in his beak. The others were attacking her with their beaks...

so after this the kids call the Ducks- the Mafia...here's the duck house

Can you guess who's house this is???

Thursday, August 28, 2008

cHeCkErs ANyONe?

well I am going to continue to blog...long story...and too long to bore any once again. Thanks for the kind words you all left in the comments.

Remember how I have described my home as a humble...............humble place. Well the carpeting was residual of the Jimmy Hoff*a murder I am sure. I spent the first three months ripping out these horrific things and then scrubbing down the sub-floor. {We have not budgeted for flooring...we do see real wood planks in the future...slow and steady.} Oops back to the project. When we bought the property I bought 3-five gallons of paint in my favorite three colors...and so I used the color that I have painted the outside on the sub-floor. It solved the problem but I still thought it needed more.

So here is the floor in the dining room before I painted the sub-floor...
Sick, gross, and disgusting...who spills so much stuff without blotting to clean up? I struggled with this as I wanted something to cover this. I first covered it with a RID-X paint. Then I painted it...and it looked like I painted the sub-floor.

Two nights ago I dreamed I painted it...this way:

So I did...on my Anniversary.
I gave us a new dining room floor.
My sweet blind kitty is just checking out the digs. I will have to by something to seal in...so for now - just think it is shiny...(oh and ignore the footprint left by any one of my sons(oldest home too) or Bill!!!!!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Trash to Treasure

Have you ever looked at something and thought -oh I can make that into something neat? Well today I was helping clean up some barns and found some old wood:

and some other things that I think are electrical gizmos:

So I washed the items. I took the wood and then without measuring attached the knob things and have a farm shabby sheik utensil holder!
What do you think?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why the Cryptic post?

My previous post was cryptic...I will confess. I have been quite busy in several things, but most importantly in preps for the County Fair!

In the journey of simplicity many things change. On our humble farm we have used many methods to create products to support animals outside, or to make the inside lovely. Our hands have become practiced in woodwork, sewing, handcrafts, baking, and gardening. I have made curtains for nearly the entire home, placemats, cloth napkins, dish scrubbies, soaps, a rag rug, aprons, pillows, paintings, drawings and much more to make our home have a charm. This charm is not store bought, nor could I explain it, except to say that our home is decorated and filled with our works. We see daily the crafts we made because we had a need and no longer rush to the local Supercenter or mall to buy it.

Last year we were not deep on this path, but had a hearty garden and for the first time ever had one entry in the County Fair. Fourth entered a crookneck squash that looked like a swan. She won Reserve Grand Champion!

{photo from August 15, 2007}

Since this we all realized that we have a venue to show our handiworks. And this year we entered 31 things that a member of the farm grew or made. Only 3 of the 31 items did not receive a ribbon! I will post photos...the ones we took have names and I guard this, but photos will be coming...

And to get in on the Olympic fervor, here's a breakdown of the ribbons:
First place-blue ribbon=11
Second place-red ribbon=10
Third place-white ribbon=7

I will have photos soon. Due to the flooding we missed the deadline to enter the animals. Our county has about a 4 hour entry per division. So next year we will enter the animals!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Sheep day! Here are 3 black Navajo sheep. The plans changed a bit. One of the lambs is male and one female. But the male is a great one! He has four horns, and this is not too common, so we are pleased to have this guy named Quatro(of course). The female has been gracefully named Maryanne! The ewe is awaiting a name.{Maisy the goat on the side}

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Oops not all are black sheep!

This is Boaz the ram. He is by far my favorite and the most docile. The white sheep is Ruth(can I say of course again?!) I named these two after two of my favorite people in the Bible. I love the book of Ruth...:p

I am adding these 2 lower photos- here is Fourth with *her* lamb Maryanne!

Here is a better picture of Quatro!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

After the Flood(again!)

After having record rains for the month of July, we decided to find high ground for the animals. We thought after the first flood that hit in early July that we were ready for almost anything.

Well we weren't, and the Hurricane that hit the Gulf proved this to us. So we quickly built new pens on the highest part of the property. It just so happens that this was the traffic circle that the previous owner put in. It had ornamental cactus, and desert plants...sigh, we have those all over*! So we fenced this off and moved the 2 flocks of birds.

Instead of the neat chicken coops we had(which we couldn't move) we came up with handy dandy quick coops. True to our quest to use salvage materials for our humble farm, we created these coops.

The boys took 3 pallets(we pick up from businesses around town~ as they toss them) and 2 sheets of plywood that Bill's friend in construction gave us(leftover from construction job). They took the judges campaign signs for the ends.

The main perch is a piece of 3/4 inch conduit that we actually found on the property. I made the ladder perches from limbs and branches here and there(I copied the southwestern idea:-)

The nests are 2/3 of strawberry buckets that we get from the local custard shop. The boys cut the bottom third off-to be used for feed trays, and this is the top third. It allows me to scrub the nests and keep them cleaner than the wood nests, as I can use a bleach solution to wipe them out.(we made 3 like this)

Here is the new goat pen(and soon similar one for the sheep). Notice it is the same concept as the chicken coops. I do have more barn red paint and will paint the pens, in the next few weeks.

Here are Daisy, Maisy and want a be goat, Pepsi. We gave the goats this award platform that we had made for the homeschool field day from a few years ago. The goats love this!!(the white sign in the back is a campaign sign from the judge, and it is to patch a small area in the fence.)

Colonel Sanders...Third is taking him to the fair in August

3 from the mixed flock...

one of the Turkens

2 of the Dominiques...Fourth is going to take a Dominique, and an Ameraucana...Miss Scarlet to the fair.

this is McBobber an Ameraucana...Second is going to take her to the Fair in August.

Egg production this month has been slow. I know that the weather has had a huge impact. We still are doing well, and the Dominiques are due to start laying this month. We also have 10 that will begin laying in September and then ten additional ones in October.

Sheep arrive this weekend. 2 Rams, and three ewes(one adult 2 lambs) We have 2 pens set up, and the sheep we worked in trade for are Navajo sheep, and are desert dwellers. They will do quite well here. I have been researching wool and there is a fairly big market for it, although we are getting the sheep for a variety of reasons. 1) walking food 2) flock that can continue to grow(and sell for meat...$9.00 per pound) 3) wool to sell or card and spin into yarn bundles...

I really seek out multi purpose items and the sheep definitely fit. I cannot believe how easy this transition to simplicity has been. No, I better correct myself. This path that we are on has been arduous, starting from Bills life altering accident to his recovery, to the move from Nevada to New Mexico, to buying a run down beat up place that we saw as a farm in progress. It has been 3.5 years since the accident...the hardest part about all of this is the tremendous difference in salary that Bill made in Law Enforcement to what he makes while going to school.

I will be honest, I became comfortable in my spending. Now we ration and even spend change. But all of these things that happened to us have been an amazing witness to God and His mercy, and how we can do all things through Him.

The learning that we have done in these months has been incredible. I mean, chicks in the bathroom...under the heat lamp! Goats?! We will have milk and I am studying how to make cheeses and plan on making goat milk soap. Sheep?! Again who would have thought that we would be raising sheep? Ducks! Boy are they messy indoors...we had them inside when it was cold. Now that they are outside we do enjoy them, and plan on next year eating duck. These 4 will be used for breeding. Oh and the goose!? The turkey!? You better believe that one can provide for their own. It is a good work, like in Genesis and the sweat of ones brow.

So we chalk up this month as a learning curve and know that other things will hit, but we can and will continue on, simple, forward, and focusing on Him.