postheadericon The Goats Have Landed – Our Lives Will Never Be Boring Again

For many years the hubby told me that he didn’t care what type of animals we had, as long as there weren’t any goats. He had apparently been traumatized in the past by a little pygmy billy goat that had it in for him.

 

The hubby claims that the guilty-until-proven-innocent little goat ate parts of his Jeep. He supposedly broke the windshield on his other car by using it as a goat parkour springboard. I advised him that if there aren’t photos or a chewed up Jeep as proof, it didn’t happen.

 

Goat with tilted head at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So I went along with this edict without complaining, much. After all, we have horses, cattle, turkeys, chickens, dogs and cats. HE even had a Red-tailed Boa Constrictor as a pet snake for a while. It’s not like we are missing out on too many things.

 

But, anyone who is online these days knows the internet is overflowing with videos of baby goats. These kids are shown bouncing around and bringing joy to the lives of those who own them. You know I wanted to be one of those happy people. When hubby told me NO for the 500th time, I sounded just like my nephew at age 3. We had to tell him the pink Hello Kitty purse was his sister’s and not for him, “But I neeeeeeeeeeed it!”

 

(And before anyone protests that he should have been able to have a pink Hello Kitty purse if he wanted one, his sister was wanting to use her purse at that particular moment. We offered to get him his own, but he was immediately off and running to his next interest and adventure.)

 

Lawn mowing at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I used the fact that our spring has been one of the wettest in decades. We are overrun with tall grass and lots of weeds. My husband didn’t fall for my logic that if we had goats, he wouldn’t have to mow every few days. He couldn’t be swayed by the cute and bouncy videos I kept sending to his phone.

 

I reminded him that I would have access to fresh goat milk instead of canned for making cheese and soaps, he still said no.

 

 

 

Goat in Tree at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I know these things are true, but….. Then one magical day, he just gave up. My persistence/pestering/pleading paid off. A good friend of ours needed to sell her two pet does. She had to find someone she trusted to care for them like she would. The hubby graciously caved and told me I could get the two girls. I made the deal.

 

Of course, I sorta forgot to mention that one of them was pregnant, very very pregnant, but he’s a good sport. “In for a penny, in for a pound” or in this case, “What’s one more little goat?” OK, so I may have also forgotten to let him know that she had twin bucklings her first time…

 

Goats Cookie and Nibbles at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So without further ado and fanfare, meet The Goats aka The Goots.

 

The Goats

Cookie is a Toggenburg doe who is just over a year old.

redbarnblueskies.com Cookie the Toggenburg Goat

 

Nibbles is a LaMancha doe around two years old.

redbarnblueskies.com NIbbles the LaMancha Goat

 

And then, we have the kids: Groot (mostly black) and Greta (mostly white) are the bouncing baby goats (called kids) born to Nibbles on March 27th. Their father is a wandering Kinder buck so they are half Kinder/half LaMancha. They obviously didn’t inherit the itty-bitty ears of their mama.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Groot and Greta goats

 

The hubby won’t admit it, but he is smitten by all of our newest additions. The very first night they were here he ended up sitting in the pen with them until after dark. He has also admitted to looking forward to some of my goat milk cheese with herbs in the near future..

 

I am so blessed to have married a man who is just as big of an animal lover as I am – even when he pretends otherwise. Our life is full of love.

 

Please join us again soon as we continue to share the adventures of Groot and Greta along with the rest of our menagerie.

 

By the way, have you ever seen those darling little miniature donkeys?

 

postheadericon Celebrate Earth Day with Thoughtful Acts of Green

Learn what you can do to celebrate Earth Day 2017 on April 22nd by creating your own Thoughtful Acts of Green.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Earth Day 2017

 

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 by about 20 million Americans. Those numbers have reached into the billions now with several hundred countries participating in the annual celebration of our planet.

 

We try to do something positive for Earth Day around here every year. My first time posting about it was for my 2009 Earth Day Pledge. One of our projects this year involves turning all of our feed bags into shopping totes. It’s a true recycle/reuse/repurpose task that benefits us and our family and friends. (I’m hoping to do a tutorial with pictures soon.)

 

What are Thoughtful Acts of Green?

Thoughtful Acts of Green are those actions you can take to help improve our planet. Recycling, replacing plastic bags with reusable shopping totes, conserving water and resources, and many other conservation methods are all considered green actions.

 

From the smallest thing such as planting a few bee-friendly flowers to larger actions like cleaning up your local streams and rivers – everything you do can have a positive impact.

 

Some of the things you might consider to help your world be a better place:

  • Educate yourself and others about the environment
  • Plant a tree or twelve..
  • Plant wildflowers for yourself and future generations – check out these Earth Day seed bomb bags
  • Join local conservation efforts
  • Learn about bees and beekeeping
  • Recycle/Reuse/Repurpose – whatever you can
  • Teach children the importance of recycling
  • Volunteer to help turn your city green
  • Learn what you can do to help endangered species
  • Take THIS QUIZ to learn how to reduce your carbon footprint

 

Get outside this Earth Day and create your own Thoughtful Acts of Green to make this a better world for us all.

postheadericon America’s National Park Week Starts Tomorrow

Once again it’s time to join thousands of other Americans as we celebrate our nation’s heritage for National Park Week. Make a plan to visit one of our country’s most valuable assets – our national parks between April 15-23, 2017.

 

Hiker in Yosemite at Red Barn Blue Skies for National Park Week

 

Every year, the National Park Service partners with the non-profit National Park Foundation to highlight our national parks. This is designed to encourage people to take advantage of special programs and events. With over 400 parks to visit, there is a park close by for everyone to enjoy. Hiking and walking along the thousands of miles of maintained trails are a favorite activity for all ages and abilities.

 

Marmots in Yosemite at Red Barn Blue Skies for National Park Week

National Park Week Schedule

  • April 15-16 – Free Admission Weekend for the 117 parks that normally charge a fee – the other parks are fee-free all year.
  • April 15 – Junior Ranger Day – Kids big and small can have a blast learning about the park and its residents while earning a Junior Ranger badge.
  • April 22-23 – Free Admission Weekend for the 117 parks that normally charge a fee – the other parks are fee-free all year.
  • April 22 – Earth Day just happens to coincide with this weeklong celebration. Be a part of it and join in conservation programs and celebrate our natural world.
  • April 23 – Park Rx Day is celebrating its 2nd anniversary as the idea of parks being a gateway to good health is explored and encouraged.

 

Mirror Lake at Yosemite Red Barn Blue Skies for National Park Week

 

Our National Park System offers a lot of programs and fun activities for the entire family.  The annual National Park Week is just one of the many great offerings to be had. Be sure to check out their calendar or that of your favorite park to find more events coming up. Whether it is watching wildlife or just relaxing in the fresh air, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Bighorn Sheep at Yellowstone for Red Barn Blue Skies National Park Week

 

National Park Week isn’t the only time the parks offer free admission days. Many events such as National Public Lands Day are included.

postheadericon Protecting Your Farm with Good Bio-Security Practices

Bio-security is something every farmer or rancher should be aware of. It doesn’t matter if you have 6 pet chickens or 60 breeding birds, 5 head of cattle and 3 pigs. Protecting all of these animals is a priority. The key to keeping them safe is to use common sense and follow good bio-security practices.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Goat Kids Playing Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Ways in Which Disease is Spread

By knowing how diseases are transmitted, you can lessen the chances that your animals will contract any of them.

  • Just like people, healthy animals can become ill from sick ones. The usual methods are contaminated feed or water and actual physical contact. Dead or dying animals need to be removed immediately from common areas.
  • People can be carriers and bring disease home with them. They then spread the germs around unknowingly. It is easy to become contaminated on your person, clothing and shoes, feedbags and even your vehicle.

 

Photo of Julie's green muck boots at redbarnblueskies.com

 

Prevention is Key

Apply basic bio-security measures to every type of animal – whether domestic pet or livestock. It is less expensive and much easier to stop the spread of disease to begin with, than it is to fight it once it’s taken hold. After your animals have been exposed, it is already much harder to play catch up and you may still lose some of your livestock.

  • Good bio-security practices should become a part of your everyday routine. Any employees or visitors to your farm should be made aware of and asked to follow your rules. If at all possible, refrain from outsiders interacting with your livestock. For those deemed necessary visits, disposable clothing and footwear is a simple and useful precaution.
  • Overcrowding is something many people overlook. When you have too many animals in too small of an area, your risk for disease and illness skyrockets. Stressed animals are weakened and more susceptible to anything floating around.
  • Stay aware of local issues. Be sure you know what is happening in areas your animals may travel. This will include your dogs as well as the bull you’re loaning out for breeding. If you are told of any illness or issues, keep them home until it is resolved.

 

Red Barn Blue Skies Pig behind Fence

 

  • A simple precaution that is invaluable is to quarantine new animals. This is also good practice for any of your current animals who may be acting a little off or showing some signs of sickness. Any animals returning home from elsewhere such as a show or that prized bull who went visiting the neighbors should also do a little time in isolation. By keeping them from immediately contacting your healthy livestock, you can stop any disease from spreading if they have become carriers. A thirty-day quarantine is the widely accepted standard for this preventative measure for most animals.
  • Feed contamination can be easily prevented by keeping your feed covered, dry and free of mold. Rodents can’t ruin what they can’t reach.
  • Many other domestic animals and wildlife can be carriers of disease without showing visible symptoms. Keep contact to a minimum. This includes wild birds interacting with your poultry.

 

redbarnblueskies.com hand sanitizer bio-security

 

The Power of Clean

The number one weapon in the bio-security battle is cleanliness. Regular disinfection and having everything neat and orderly is a huge step towards fighting disease and illness on your farm.

  • All equipment needs to be cleaned regularly and disinfected when possible.
  • Regular cleaning is a necessity with ongoing manure and waste removal.
  • Always wash well before and after any contact with all animals. You must avoid the cross-contamination between healthy and sick livestock. Work with any ill or quarantined animals last in order to not carry germs or disease to the healthy ones.
  • Have your own special clothing and shoes to use when working with your animals at home. Don’t wear these clothes away from home and don’t wear your “town clothes” to the barn.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Pair of Oxen for bio-security article

 

Good Bio-Security Practices Should Become a Way of Life

The better educated you become regarding good bio-security habits, the better armed you will be in fighting the onset of disease. Stay on top of learning what illnesses are common or currently making the rounds for your particular livestock and the area where you live.

By taking precautions to keep your animals healthy, you are ultimately protecting the health and safety of you, your family and possibly your livelihood.

postheadericon Scottish or Scotch Eggs Recipe – A Family Favorite

One of our ultimate favorite recipes around here is for Scottish or Scotch Eggs. Although I’ve always loved hard boiled eggs, I never knew about this lovely treat until I met the hubby. He was a big fan and taught me how to make them. I’ve tweaked the original recipe he used, mostly in order to make it a bit healthier, but the taste is still amazing.  We like to make them ahead and take them on picnics or trips as they keep and travel well. Plus they are quite filling. I’m sure they will become a favorite in your household as well.

 

Scottish or Scotch Eggs at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Scotch Eggs

12 hardboiled eggs

2# ground sausage

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup flour

4 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the hard boiled eggs and set aside.

Mix the sausage and onions together well. Divide into twelve equal portions.

Roll each egg in the flour and then wrap with sausage mixture.

Dip the wrapped eggs into the beaten eggs and then roll in bread crumbs.

Place each egg on the baking sheet and place in oven.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the breadcrumbs are browned and the sausage is cooked thoroughly.

 

The traditional method of cooking these is to fry them. I decided to bake them in order to cut down on the grease as the sausage provides enough on its own. You can also further spice them up with sage, garlic or other add-ins to make it your own. Enjoy!

 

Scottish or Scotch eggs at Red Barn Blue Skies

postheadericon Meet Fanta & Igor – The Beginning of Our Love Affair with Dexter Cattle

If you’ve never been introduced to the Dexter cattle breed, you’re in for a treat. They are considered a miniature breed and are about half the size of most large breed cattle. Along with being a multi-purpose breed, they pack a very big punch of personality into their small frames! We’ve begun a love affair with these little bovines that I’m sure is going to be a lifelong relationship.

 

Dexter Cattle in the field at Red Barn Blue Skies

Fanta & Igor eating grass in the lane

 

Between their friendly personalities and their darling appearance, these little Dexter cattle have quickly charmed everyone who’s met them. My hubby and father (the dyed-in-the wool, old-time crotchety lifelong cowboy/cattleman) are both completely wrapped around the little bovine hooves. The little mooches beg for backscratches and treats on a daily basis. And yes, they do seem to always get them. They seem to know how to play us all against each other as one afternoon they managed to trick all three of us into giving them treats within a two hour period. We really are a bunch of suckers when it comes to our animals.

 

Fanta - Dexter Cattle Heifer at Red Barn Blue Skies

Miss Fanta

 

Fanta is a lovely, polled red heifer of the Dexter cattle breed. She was raised with much love and affection by Andrew and his family at Long Dream Farm before she came to live here with us last fall. She is one of the sweetest cows I’ve ever been around and you can’t help yourself from stopping to talk to her and give her some attention. I just adore her as she will come running when she hears one of our voices.  She is quite pregnant at this time and will be having a calf in the next few months. We’re really excited to meet her little mini-moo when the time comes.

 

Being raised on a working ranch, I grew up around thousands of cattle over the years and became fond of many of them. The bulls were usually my favorites and I actually dreamed at one time of being a stock contractor for the rodeos with my own string of bucking bulls.  Of course, at that time, it wasn’t all that common for a woman to be a herd boss! Plus I didn’t like the idea of someone actually taking a spur to one of my pets – no one would take as good of care of my animals as I would. So I moved to other pursuits.

 

Igor, Dexter Cattle Bull at Red Barn Blue Skies

Igor (Son of Thor)

 

Jump to now. I’ve become enamoured all over again with another bull. A pint-size bull – with a big 10-gallon personality and sometimes a little attitude. Igor is our little big man now at the ranch. He is becoming almost as big of a pet as his pal Fanta, but not quite.  As is usual with a bull, especially a youngster, the testosterone kicks in and he thinks he has to be the boss – and it IS almost Spring! I think his feelings get hurt when I remind him who really does rule the roost – and who feeds and brushes him. He is a charmer though as he belts out a bellow when he sees me walking to the pasture. He just doesn’t come waddling up to the gate as fast as Fanta. He has to show his independence before he kicks up in the air and comes bucking up the lane with his tail up. He’s being trained to lead well at halter and I’m hoping to add a few other skills to his repertoire. He’s a smart little cookie and we’re working towards a gentlemanly demeanor to go with his rugged good looks. I’m in love.

 

I will be writing A LOT more about the Dexter cattle breed and my two little ambassadors as well as adding many more photos.  They are a real joy to be around and have really added another layer of fun to our days. I’m looking forward to sharing their antics and escapades with all of you.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Dexter cattle breed and finding out what is available, please visit the website of  Long Dream Farm. It is an absolutely beautiful place where the animals are all treated with much care and respect by a truly lovely family. We are grateful to them for allowing Fanta and Igor to become a part of our own family and our daily lives.

 

postheadericon The Winds of Change – From MoonCat Farms to Red Barn Blue Skies

Hello fellow meanderers who have blown in on the winds of change… welcome to our old friends from MoonCat Farms and to those of you new to us!

 

horses & mules on bridge for winds of change post

 

I’ve really missed all of you at our MoonCat Farms Meanderings blog. It hasn’t been the same talking about our daily lives as well as sharing the things I find in my own wanderings, it’s been a bit lonely. Because of this I’ve decided to rekindle the fire and start up yet again, but in a new place. I’m looking forward to adding many new friends as well as we move forward with this new venture.

Our new home is here at Red Barn Blue Skies. It will be more of an overall lifestyle and family site instead of just about the farm, although all of the previous posts and conversations are now here as well. The farm has its own actual website now for the heritage animals we’re raising at Forty Five Farm. It got to be a bit confusing for our livestock customers with the two farm names so we went with the legal one and are dropping the Mooncat Farms name.

There will still be quite a bit of crossover with the animals here as they do comprise a major part of our lives, but for the most part this site will be – a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about the little things that make our life wonderful.  I’m continuing to contribute in several other places as well:  book reviews at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf and tidbits about saving money at Centsable Couponing as well as my newest Halloweenistic. You can see I like to dabble and divulge in several areas and enjoy sharing them with others.

 

So, with a little change to the name and format, MoonCat Farms Meanderings will now be Red Barn Blue Skies. Bear with us as we make the change and we’ll be up and running right away.

 

cropped-Red-BarnBlue-Skies.png

 

 

Welcome to the next chapter as the winds of change blow through. I hope you’ll enjoy your time with us and join in the conversations.

postheadericon Celebrate Nature and Nation with FREE National Park Admission

This Saturday, September 26th is National Public Lands Day and is the day to visit your local National Park – for FREE! Go HERE to see which parks are participating with free National Park admission and then go out on Saturday and celebrate our great Nation and Nature.

*The next date (and final one for 2015) is November 11th, Veterans Day.

 

 

Yosemite photos
courtesy of http://www.pachd.com/


**article on free National Park admission was first posted  at Centsable Couponing

postheadericon Extra Eggs Recipes – Chile Rellano Casserole

Today’s offering for my Extra Eggs Recipes feature is a new favorite – Chile Rellano Casserole.
As many of you know, I have chickens. LOTS of chickens. One of the bonuses and sometimes headaches, that goes along with this is LOTS and LOTS of eggs! I have been developing quite the collection of egg-heavy recipes to help use up these lovely little presents I’m gifted with daily. This is one of my (and Mr MoonCat’s) favorites. We pretty much eat this once a week when the girls are laying in abundance. Enjoy.
Chile Rellano Casserole at Red Barn Blue Skies
Chile
Rellano Casserole
1/2
pound hamburger
1/2
pound ground sausage
1
cup chopped onion
3
cloves garlic, minced
2
cans (40z) whole green chiles, drained, seeded and divided
3
cups shredded cheddar cheese
6-8 large eggs
1/4
cup all-purpose flour
1
cup milk
½
tsp Salt
½
tsp Pepper
½
tsp Cumin
Preheat
oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet cook the sausage &
hamburger together. Once browned, add the onion and garlic in with
the meat. Once onion is soft, drain the fat from the skillet and mix
in salt, pepper and cumin.
Line a deep 13″x9″ baking dish with
chilies split in half, save the remaining chiles for later; top with
2 cups cheese. Layer in the meat and top with remaining chiles,
chopped up; set aside.
Beat eggs with flour until smooth. Blend in
milk. Pour mixture over meat in the casserole dish.
Bake uncovered
for about 45 minutes until center is done. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup
cheese on top.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes
6-8 servings.
A side note about the Chile Rellano Casserole – it freezes very well. I now make two at a time so I have some to use for freezer dinners.

postheadericon Sunday Selection

Image courtesy of Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Nothing Gold Can Stay 
by Robert Frost 

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.


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