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Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 Hands-On Farmstead Cheesemaking Short Course

This Wednesday, December 2, thru Friday, December 4, Johnny will be attending the 2009 Annual Hands-On Farmstead Cheesemaking Short Course at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. He will be one of twenty participants in the class. Wednesday will cover Basic Microbiology, Milk and Milk Components, Fermented Foods and Fermentation Microbiology, Basic Sanitation, Overview of Cheesemaking and Specialty Cheeses. Thursday will be at the NCSU's Schaub Dairy Plant with hands-on cheesemaking and quality tests. He will be making cheddar, farmer's cheese and feta. Friday will cover Milk Processing and Regulations, Cheesemaking from a Regulator's Perspective, Economics of Cheesemaking, NCDA&CS Pasteurizer Loan Program, Feed and Management of Dairy Animals, Packaging and Labeling Regulations and a roundtable discussion with experienced cheese makers. As you can see, this will be a full three days of learning and cheesemaking.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Composting With A Worm Bin

This is a fascinating workshop, suitable for all ages, for anyone interested in composting. It is limited to the first 30 paid registrations (two or more people can register together and will create one worm bin). Vermiculture Workshop - COMPOSTING WITH A WORM BIN Worms eat your kitchen scraps, converting your organic waste into compost. Participants receive a plastic worm bin, half pound of red wriggler worms - a complete environment to create a nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. When? Sunday, December 6, 2009 1PM - 4PM Where? Temple Emanuel 201 Oakwood Drive, Winston-Salem, NC Pre-Registration & Payment Required! $32 due by November 30. For worm bedding, please bring either a paper bag full of newspaper (no glossy ads) or a 30 gallon bag of shredded newspaper/office paper to the workshop. Brian Rosa, NC Dept of Environment & Natural Resource’s Environmental Specialist/Organics Recycling Coordinator will dig in to the basics of backyard composting. Experience the process first hand and go home with hard working worms ready to produce for you. Sponsored by TEEM – Temple Emanuel’s Environmental Movement. For information and registration, call Gayle at 336-766-2767.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Build A Greenhouse

A backyard greenhouse is a handy solution, but it can be an expensive one. Some gardeners tend to bite off more greenhouse than they can chew. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension publication "A Small Backyard Greenhouse for the Home Gardener" provides plans for building an inexpensive 12 X 14 foot "hoophouse" out of PVC pipe, electrical metallic tubing, plastic sheeting and pine lumber. The four page publication provides information on how to choose the best site along with step-by-step building instructions. Plans may be downloaded at: Other helpful resources can be found at: Start thinking about building your greenhouse this year to usher tender plants through the winter outdoors or to get a jump on spring propagation.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Miss Dainty's Shop-and-Stop

This Saturday, November 28th, popular Winston-Salem Living magazine columnist, Miss Dainty-- Jennifer Stevenson-- will visit with Cricket’s Nest shoppers in Winston-Salem from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. “Stevenson will share food samples, recipes and strategies for a successful and (stress-free!) southern Christmas during her Miss Dainty’s Shop-and-Stop. Recipes will include Drunk-as-a-Skunk Cocoa Cookies, Red Velvet Spice Cake, Nighty-Night Meringues, Mulled Aunt Claret and Andouille Sausage Dressing. ‘Miss Dainty thinks the secret to a happy southern Christmas is taking the time to slow down and sit a spell,’ Stevenson says. Miss Dainty, a southern belle of a certain age, shares stories and recipes in each month’s issue of Winston-Salem Living. Stevenson, who writes the column, is also the author of a cookbook detailing the culinary history of the south.” Visit the Crickets Nest Craft Shop this Saturday for a day of relaxed shopping, tasty food, and southern fun. Come and, as Miss Dainty says, “sit a spell” with us. For more information: (336) 774-2085 or

Christmas in Historic Danbury

Christmas in Historic Danbury will be Sunday, November 29, 2009, 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is sponsored by the Town of Danbury, Stokes County Arts Council, Stokes County Historical Society and Artist's Way Creations. The beautiful artwork of Patti Hricinak Sheets will be featured in the "Apple Gallery" of the Stokes County Arts Council, 500 N. Main Street, Danbury, North Carolina. A free reception will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Apple Gallery. Santa will be visiting the Arts Council for photographs with children and adults. Dine at Artist's Way Creations, where the desserts are as delicious to look at as they are to eat and visit the Artist's Way gallery, shop at Holly Ridge Country Primitives, and enjoy Once Upon A Blue Ridge's production of "A Christmas Carol Revisited." The Wilson Fulton House will be open for touring from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This restored 1859 Wilson Fulton "Brick House" located at 403 Main Street in Danbury serves as the Historical Society's Museum of Stokes County history. And last, but not least, a tree lighting ceremony and caroling at 6:00 p.m. on the lawn of the Historic Danbury Courthouse. The public is invited to attend. For more information, please contact the Stokes County Arts Council at 336-593-8159.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boer Goat 2009 East Coast Thanksgiving Extravaganza



Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in Winston-Salem, NC

November 27 & 28, 2009

(Click to see larger version of this flier.)

The Boer Goat Seminar that will be held on Friday, November 27, at 7:30PM will be presented by John Edwards (EGGS - Erath General Genetic Services). The free seminar will include topics on:

  • An overview of the meat goat industry today
  • Where the meat goat industry is heading into the future
  • Breeding strategies
  • Question and answer session

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rabbit Hutches

Late Tuesday morning and into the afternoon was spent repairing our "condo" rabbit hutches. They are 8 foot long, two story and contain 7 individual cages. Over the years, the urine has rotted the metal that was between the top and bottom layers. We had to remove all the rabbits and feeders, disassemble the condo and remove the cages. The cages were repaired using some new J clips and a sheet of plastic wall board sheeting was inserted between the layers. This should prevent the rotting problem in the future. The rabbits were then rearranged in their cages and the water system hooked back up. There was lots of snarling and stomping going on since they had new neighbors. That usually lasts just a few hours before everyone settles down. While we were at it, we put their tarp down on the back so that they are partially winterized. Now they have protection from the wind on 3 sides. They are ready for winter. We've got two more "condos" to do. This will be one of our projects to get done "while the sun is shining".

Monday, November 23, 2009

Work Days

With Thanksgiving coming upon us quick, we spent the weekend working outdoors. The weather was great with temperatures in the 50's and sunshine. Much of the day Saturday was spent cleaning up branches, dead trees and rotten stumps out of the area that we had the pines removed from. I was hoping that the snakes have gone into hibernation. We have seen many 5 and 6 footers come out of these woods in the summer months. Many trailer loads of sticks were hauled to the back of our farm to be burned in the next few days. We've had a good rain that began late yesterday afternoon and is continuing through today. No problem with getting some burning done this week. The Boer goats got quite a few cedar trees tossed into their pasture to eat. They will clean the needles off of them and we'll gather up "the skeletons" and burn them also. Sunday afternoon was spent getting leaves up. We managed to get half of the job done before the rain began at 3:30 PM. Hopefully, in the next few days we'll be able to finish it up. This will be the majority of the leaves gone with more to fall later. Today is a computer day and a telephone day. Lots of calls to make and receive and plenty of emails to respond to. When everyone is in because of bad weather, it seems they do their calling and emailing. Quite a few people have started to purchase guinea pigs for their children for Christmas. Have a pot of vegetable soup on the stove for dinner tonight.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Thank A Farmer Day"

In recognition of farmer's contributions to the state and nation, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue has proclaimed Friday, November 20, as "Thank A Farmer Day". The holiday season is the perfect time to support North Carolina farmers by going to farmer's markets and looking for North Carolina foods in your grocery store. ***One out of every seven turkeys cooked for Thanksgiving will come from North Carolina, pork products feed one out of every four families in America and one out of every 13 eggs comes from North Carolina. ***

West Central Community Center Craft Fair

On Saturday, November 21, there will be a craft show at the West Central Community Center in Pfafftown , NC from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Come out and support your local crafters!

Whimsical Women

The Whimsical Women Fall Sale for 2009 will be held on November 21 in Pfafftown, NC at 2233 Vienna Dozier Road from 10AM until 2:30PM. Check out their blog to see their Spring Show in Chapel Hill and some of their artwork.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rain Today

Wednesday was a rather misty, messy day. The temperature was in the 50's but it felt a lot cooler. I delivered a Lionhead doe and a Flemish Giant buck rabbit to the Farmer's Cooperative Livestock Market in Lexington, NC Wednesday morning to two buyers. The Livestock Market is a good place to meet to schedule deliveries of animals. After we got all our animals fed, I began working on my soap. I'm going to be selling my soap at My Sweetheart Candle Boutique in Hillsborough, NC beginning next week. Because of the distance to the shop, I'm shipping my soap to them using a Flat Rate box from the USPS. It is hard to believe how many bars of soap you can fit into one of those boxes. After I get the soap tagged, it will be ready to ship. NOTE: As of May 21, 2010 our soup is no longer available at My Sweetheart Candle Boutique. Please visit our website for other locations near you or to order online. Had a new addition Wednesday morning to the farm, a Hawaiian Black ewe lamb. By the time I found her, she had gotten separated from her dam and had taken up with the Nubians. Needless to say, she doesn't want anything to do with her mom and now she's now in a playpen in my office next to the wood stove. She is quite active and already drinking 3 ounces of milk at a time. She "baas" wanting to be held and sit on my lap while I do my computer work. In a day or two, she'll go in the back of the barn and be Cain and Abel's buddy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Farm-City Week is Nov. 20-26

Farm-City Week is Nov. 20-26. Last night we attended Forsyth County's Farm-City Celebration at the Dixie Classic Fairground in Winston-Salem. National Farm-City Week begins this Friday and continues through Thanksgiving Day. The week is a celebration of the relationships between rural and urban residents. Across North Carolina, this relationship is becoming more dynamic as development moves closer to farmland, and in many cases onto former farmland. Farm-City Week is critical in promoting a greater understanding of agriculture and its connection to the foods we all enjoy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hoof Trimming

Yesterday was a bright and sun shiny day. It was still too wet to do any work in the pastures. We are needing to put out some round bales of hay for some of the animals and protein blocks in all the pastures for the winter months. We'll wait another day so the ground will have a chance to dry up more before we drive in the pastures with the tractor. I did trim my Nubian goat's hooves yesterday morning. They were nice and soft from all the rain we have been having so it was an easy job for once. The buck was even cooperative. He has already bred all the does so he wasn't his usual stinky self. He stands well to have his hooves trimmed. I just don't like to have to hold onto his legs and feet during breeding season and rub up against him. We did some fence repairs this afternoon. Had a few trees fall on our fence as a result of the wet weather and wind in our back cow pasture. Between a couple of trees and some deer trying to run through the fence, we had to replace some wire. Naturally, it was in the farthest corner and on the steepest hillside.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Round Mountain Creamery

On Saturday while picking up a new Nigerian Dwarf buck, Chestnut, we were told by a volunteer at the Carl Sandburg Home of a goat dairy, Round Mountain Creamery which was in the area. They were the first Grade "A" goat dairy in North Carolina. This creamery is located in Black Mountain on Old Fort Road just below Round Mountain approximately 25 miles south of Asheville, NC. They are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on 28 acres surrounded by streams on all sides. They can be reached at 828.669.0718 to schedule farm tours and cheese tasting. Round Mountain manufactures soft goat cheese or chevre and bottled goat milk. In 2010, they hope to have some semi-soft and hard aged cheeses available. Soft cheese and goat's milk are available on their farm, Seligman E.G.G. Farm, Inc. If anyone would like more specific directions to this creamery or more information about it, let me know. "You can't get there from here - - it is one of those places."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Carl Sandburg Home

On Saturday afternoon of last week, we visited the Carl Sandburg Home, a National Historic Site, in Flat Rock, NC.

His wife, Lilian "Paula" Sandburg, was one of the outstanding pioneers of the American dairy goat industry. While her husband dedicated himself to a long literary career, Mrs. Sandburg pursued an ambition to raise and breed championship dairy goats. She and Carl's youngest daughter, Helga, established the Connemara Farms Goat Dairy in 1945 in Flat Rock. They lived and worked this for for 22 years until Carl's death in 1967. They processed and bottled milk for sale on the farm using quart-size cardboard bottles that had the "Connemara Farms" caps. They sold them to local dairies and individuals. The production and sale of milk were secondary to Mrs. Sandburg, whose primary goal was raising champion milk-producing dairy goat stock. Connemara Farms Dairy consisted of three breeds of dairy goats, Saanan, Toggenburg and Nubian. To this day, they continue breeding using the Connemara herd name and have Nubians, Saanans and Toggenburgs on the farm. In recognition of Sandburg's commitment and the positive experience of dairy goats provided to the public through the National Park Service, the ADGA provides annually the linear appraisal program to the Connemara herd free of charge.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rain Is Finally Over

Well the rain here finally eased up on Friday. We had a few little showers Friday afternoon but the majority of it is gone finally. We ended up getting 4-1/2 inches of rain. Even though it was a messy few days, we needed it. We had a few rays of sunshine now and then and we even got to go to an outdoor chicken stew at Belews Creek for supper. The Tree Service, Frenette & Sons worked all day Friday on the pines. It was windy but they managed to get down quite a few. The ones left are on the edge of the driveway and in front of our rent house. They finished up on Saturday. Now our work has just begun. All of our animals loved the drier weather and were frisky where they had stayed in their barns and shelters for a few days avoiding the wet weather. We traveled to Zironia, NC today to pick up a new 18 month old Nigerian Dwarf buck from Sonny Acres for my girls. Chestnut is a red chamoisee, naturally polled with blue eyes. He is very dainty and will be a good addition to my herd carrying some Piddlin Acres bloodlines.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holly Jolly Show

The Cricket's Nest Holly Jolly Show will be held on November 13 and 14 in the South Fork Community Center's Ballroom in Winston-Salem, NC. The hours will be 9 to 7 on Friday and 9 to 4 on Saturday. Come do some shopping and support the Cricket's Nest. We will not be present at this show because of the limited amount of space available for craftsmen. Come visit us at the farm to pick up soap or gift sets. Or, if you are closer to SilkRoad Spa and Salon, Mostly Local Market or Do You Remember?, you may purchase our soap there also. For more information on the Cricket's Nest Holly Jolly Show, call 336.659.4315.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rain, Rain and More Rain

It is still raining here. The last time I looked at the rain gauge we had 4 inches since last Tuesday. Surprisingly, since we are in a flood plain, there are few puddles. We've been so dry for the past two or so years that most of it is soaking in. Our creek is not even up enough to wash down some logs that are in it. The wind blew all day Wednesday with rain falling and we lost power for about 1-1/2 hours in the afternoon. Pine trees with small root systems are mostly the problem. This morning early our power blinked too. Our tree people haven't been able to work for two days. Too messy! Spent the day yesterday, wrapping soap. Good day to get that done since it was raining and we had no power. I'm caught up for once with that chore. The Blue Seal rep for North Carolina came Wednesday afternoon to go over the feeds that we use and talk to us about their products. She will be getting back to us in a week or so and go over their pricing for various products. In our area, Blue Seal products are available at Walkertown Mill Farm, Lawn & Garden in Walkertown, NC.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Soap Making

Made one recipe of cornmeal scrub soap last night. I'm running low so I needed to get some in the pipeline to cure (dry). Since I found more drying shelves and have gotten organized, I have plenty of room to store the soap while it is curing for six weeks. Also made a trip to Sadies Herbal Garden on Main Street in Stokesdale, NC on Monday afternoon to get a couple of new oils, peppermint and teatree. I'm making a few dog soaps. I've got one dog soap curing and I'll be making another with the peppermint soon that will be "minty fresh". Since it was raining yesterday afternoon, I made a quick trip to the Cricket's Nest Craft Shop to replace some soaps and gift sets that had sold there the previous month. The Cricket's Nest is decorated for Christmas and I saw lots of good gift ideas from under $1 for stocking stuffers to more than $1 for gifts. Yesterday was craft check-in at the Cricket's Nest for members whose names end with A - K. Lots of new items were coming in. Wednesday is check-in for the remaining members. Thursday is a good day to shop to get a chance to see the new craft items. The tree cutting is on hold for today. At 8AM, we'd already gotten 2-1/2 inches of rain and it is still falling hard.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wood, Wood, Wood

Today is the second day of tree cutting. Frenette & Son took down the largest pine yesterday so now it is smooth sailing until they get to the other end of the woods near the rent house and driveway. They had a minor setback with the first tree when the top portion of it dropped to the ground, bounced and landed on our fence. It landed between two posts, so there wasn't much damage done. We are suppose to get around 2 inches of rain today, so their work will be cut short I'm afraid. Clearing up tomorrow and we're good for the rest of the week. This morning Frenette & Sons unloaded two dump truck loads of wood for us to get started on cutting and splitting. Yesterday we cleared out one wood shed and have everything ready for the split wood. The Boer goats were happy yesterday. They got to eat lots of pine needles off of limbs that dropped into their pasture before they were cleaned up. The men who were working liked to watch them clean up the needles.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tree Cutting Has Begun

Today starts the tree cutting at our farm of approximately 60 pine trees. We have contracted with Frenette & Son from King, North Carolina to cut all the pines out of the woods in front of our rent house and driveway on Germanton Road. We are leaving all the hard woods. Frenette does tree service for residential and commercial properties and they are a member of the BBB. We have used them several times to take down trees over the tops of our barns, etc. and they do an excellent job. The pine trees in this area had gotten so tall they were beginning to lean towards our rent house, driveway and the property next door. They have really grown in the years that we have been here. Plus, this patch of pines is growing between 3 different power lines so some professionals were needed. Frenette & Sons will be chipping the limbs and loading up all the wood and stockpiling it for us on the farm. The wood will be split and stacked for our wood stove for the next few years. It is a good thing that one of our wood sheds is empty and we have room to store it in the dry.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Sweetheart Candle Boutique

NOTE: As of May 21, 2010 our soup is no longer available at My Sweetheart Candle Boutique. Please visit our website for other locations near you or to order online. Coming soon to My Sweetheart Candle Boutique in Hillsborough, NC will be Buffalo Gal's Soap and Dinner Time Chimes. At this location, we will be selling our bar soaps and my webnanny will be selling her wind chimes made from vintage silverplate. My Sweetheart Candle Boutique is located in the Daniel Boone Village in Hillsborough. They carry handmade soy candles, fragrant sachets, relaxing bath products and soaps. They also carry more handmade items including: cards, jewelry, baby gifts and furniture. My Sweetheart Candle Boutique supports local artisans.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Today is a beautiful day. It started off frosty but quickly warmed. A little breezy but nice and sunny. The girls that I'm milking like for me to use warm, almost hot water, to wash their udders off with on these cool mornings. I even warm up their teat dip since it is stored outside. Mowed the grass yesterday - - yes, on November 6. It was quite tall in places. I like to keep it short so the wind will blow the leaves off. We don't have to do too much leaf raking here, thank goodness. We even did the last mowing on the roadside yesterday too. (I thought we were finished in October, but the grass continues to grow.) Someone's truck lost a fiberglass shower stall and a sink in front of the farm and left it for us to clean up and dispose of. It seemed like it went into 1,000 pieces. Got the majority of the larger pieces up and put the rest in old feed sacks in a pile beside of the road. The Department of Transportation was called to pick up the load of trash. We are on a first-name basis since we call them so much for trash pick up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Davidson Farmers Cooperative, Inc.

In a sign of the times, the Davidson Farmers Cooperative, Inc. has had to leave their location at 30 East First Street in Lexington, NC and move to the Farmers Cooperative Livestock and Flea Market building. The Cooperative has been serving farmers and gardeners in Davidson County since 1934 and have had to downsize and vacate their building and move to another location. Due to their smaller space, they are carrying limited farm supplies.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frost On The Pumpkin

Heavy frost yesterday and this morning. Everything was white from the grass to the rooftops. Got out my heavy coat. Went to the Farmers Cooperative Livestock Market in Lexington, NC Wednesday morning to sell a couple of buck rabbits and a rooster. Made the mistake of boxing up the rooster late at night and putting him on the deck outside our bedroom window. He started crowing at 4:30 AM which woke everyone including our boxer, Jasmine. I bought a nice wooden card table at the auction after the poultry sale that I can use when I do craft shows. We have lots of vintage card table table cloths that can be used. I also found some more plastic shelving that I use to place my soap on to cure. It matches the shelving that I already have. I'm in business now! No more excuses on not being organized and not being able to find things. I'll have enough shelves to store all my supplies on also. I'm going to take an afternoon to assemble the new shelves, organize all my soap and supplies, and rearrange my soap room. Completed the final arrangements for the purchase of a one and one-half year old Nigerian Dwarf buck - - Chestnut. He'll be a nice addition since he has blue eyes and is naturally polled. We'll be getting him in a few days and my polled buck, CarsonCity, will be up for sale. The rest of the afternoon on Wednesday was spent tracking down the Purina representative to ask questions about their cattle protein blocks, feeding the goats, worming llamas and selling a few guinea pigs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It rained off and on on Sunday of this week and we received over 2-1/4 inches. Buffalo Creek is getting washed out for the first time in ages as we have been in a drought situation this summer and fall. Water is flowing from bank to bank and logs and debris are floating down the creek doing a good cleaning job. Sunday was an "off day" since the time changed early on Sunday morning. Even though we were up earlier than usual, I can't quite get with the new schedule. Still changing clocks and now it is getting dark earlier. It usually takes a good week for me to get back on schedule. All the animals were out of kilter too. Had several people come and pick up pet rabbits Sunday afternoon and I wethered a Nigerian Dwarf goat that I sold as a bottle baby a few months ago. Monday was a beautiful day with the sun out and shining. Everyone enjoyed the sunshine. Cain and Abel, my Nubian buck kids, are growing and enjoy having a bottle of fresh goat's milk twice a day. Jackie, their dam, goes out grazing during the day and gets to reunite with them in the evening.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Eat More Beef"

Our neighbor to the north in Stokes County is M. L. Mitchell & Son. They are a NCDA meat processing facility in Walnut Cove, NC that processes beef, goat, lamb, deer and pork. Mitchell's can be reached at 336.591.7420 or 336.591.4523 to answer questions or to make an appointment for meat processing. We use this facility to process our grass fed beef for our family, and for goat and lamb processing for our customers. Now is the time to be making appointments with Mitchell's for goat and lamb meat processing during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rosemary Mist Soap

Rosemary Mist soap is now available for sale. It has been in the curing process since September and it is now being packaged and sold.
This is the third of a line of my floral and herbal soaps: Romantic Rose, Lavender Lace and Rosemary Mist. These goat's milk soaps are lightly scented and all contain dried flowers or herbs.