And now for something a little different….the story of the Buddy Poppies

Berry Flags

Blueberry and I saw our first Ladies Aux. member of the VFW this Friday of Memorial Day weekend selling Buddy Poppies.  Our little darling was born with a heart for service, so of course the second she found out they were accepting donations, she was laser focused on making a donation.  We don’t often see people collecting for charity in our little piece of the world, but I was happy to see them as I think this charity is so worth supporting.  A couple of things about Buddy Poppies that you may not know….

Did you know that Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled Vets, typically in VA hospitals?

Did you know that often times, these Vets are compensated for their work helping them earn at least a little cash?

Did you know that these programs also support widow and orphan programs across the US?

While some VFW units also sell these for Veterans Day, the inspiration to wear and sell Poppies for Memorial Day is often credited to Moina Michael in the early 1900’s who was inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Field”:

In Flander’s Field

by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago,

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved and now we lie,

In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe

To you, from failing hands, we throw,

The torch, be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us, who die,

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,

In Flanders Fields.

So, if you see the men and women in vests selling Poppies, please take a moment to at least stop and thank them for their service.  Most of these folks are Veterans or the families of Veterans, but if you have an extra couple of dollars, please consider sharing it with them.  Regardless of your view on war, I think it’s our duty to show respect and kindness to those who are willing to die to protect our right to be free, because for these folks…Freedom is never free.  And if you have a Veteran in your life (and you probably do, even if you don’t know it), please give that person a handshake, a hug or a kiss.  Sheldon is our resident veteran and while he is the last person to want anything for what he just considered his duty, we are still very proud of his service as a family.  Thank you again to all of our Veterans and their families.  We owe you everything!

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Choosing a heritage breed cow for your homestead

It’s been a few days of having our beginning herd home here on Blueberry Acres and we’re learning that much like every other animal, cows have their own unique identity and personality.  Maureen (the little one) is highly curious about our barn cats.  She is quite nosey and it’s obvious that she wants to explore the cats with smell and probably taste since she licked the wooden fence post that one of our barn cats, Peter had sat on just seconds prior.  Pia (the pregnant one) is a little more cautious.  Apparently we are her third farm and she is a little more apprehensive about us and the situation in general.  She doesn’t seem to display the same amount of “ooooh a cat!” as Maureen, and I suppose that is ok.

 

But, beyond these specific personality traits, our decision to build a herd of Belted Galloways was a strategic one.  We knew we wanted to concentrate on a heritage or less common breed.  Here are some of the things that we discovered specific to this particular heritage breed:

Temperment:   Generally speaking, these cattle are more docile.  They are not overly aggressive and as a result, we believe that they will be very well suited to our small hobby farm.

Size:  Galloways are typically smaller than your average Angus cow.  Maureen was born in 2011 and the top of her head doesn’t even come to my shoulder (and let’s not lie-my shoulder isn’t that far off the ground) which makes her a little easier to handle.  In addition to just having less body mass, this also makes them easier and cheaper to transport.

Feed:  Galloways are excellent at processing food/grass where some breeds will desire more specific grasslands, Galloways are genetically predisposed to make the most of the grassland that they have due to their heritage.  In addition, Galloways have been known to consume about 75% of what a typical Angus would take in but still produce the same amount of meat.  However, that is not to mean that they produce lower quality beef.  Quite the opposite, as Galloways are known for…

Beef:  High quality, lower fat meat is the by-product of both their genetic makeup as much as the fact that most Galloway producers (like us) are either grass-fed and/or grass-fed AND finished.  We’ll be in that later category-grass all the way.

Adaptable to varied conditions:  Given that this breed started in Scotland, I don’t think I would recommend them for a farm in Hawaii, but in the diverse Missouri climate, they are well-suited as they will produce a double coat in the winter to protect them from harsh winds and weather.

So, for us, this breed just became the best of the best in terms of value, disposition, and meat quality.  As our herd grows, we will eventually begin breeding ourselves as well as selling meat products.  As our herd grows, we may add an Angus or two just to see what a Beltie/Angus cross is like, but we will also make sure that we do our part to preserve the lineage of this amazing breed.  The breeder that we purchased our girls from also sold us some ground beef and it was FANTASTIC!  We know that building a herd is going to be slow going for this uncommon breed, but we think the investment will be well worth it.  After all, isn’t homesteading all about the journey and not the destination?  Happy Homesteading!

This post also appeared on Modern Homesteaders.  We love the info there-go check them out!

Voodoo Doughnuts

This is normally off our normal topics, but Voodoo doughnuts is my favorite doughnut joint ever. I was introduced to it years and years ago on a late night when I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a shiv or a donut…but ever since, I have waxed poetic for that voodoo loveliness. Thanks for sharing Carhartt!

Crafted in Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

Voodoo Doughnuts and Carhartt

The magic is in the hole! That’s what they say at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland. Located right across from the “keep Portland weird” sign, Voodoo has been serving up crazy and delicious doughnuts for years. This is Holly. Dream up the wildest breakfast treat in your mind, and she can make it for you. You want bacon on your doughnut? Done! How about m&ms or Cocoa Puffs? Got that too. When you step into the shop, you feel like Alice in Wonderland with the crooked chandeliers and giant doughnuts hanging on the walls. And get this, they’re open 24 hours a day, so stop by anytime.

shop Holly’s look: Cheyenne Shirt, El Paso Pant, High Vis Suspenders, and Carhartt Hat

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Ugh, snakes.

I’m not going to give these little cretins any more time on my blog than necessary, but within the last 2 days, we have had 2 snake visitors.  One confirmed poisonous and one we think was, but weren’t sure.  Before you give me the blah blah blah about how beneficial snakes can be to help cut down on the rodent population, remember that I have a 4-year-old.  WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE WE HAVE SNAKES.  I don’t get it..the kid is smart and has fairly strong logic skills, but I guess because we haven’t ever had a back yard quite like this, she just can’t seem to get it in her head that the dead snakes mommy and daddy keep showing her were live bites waiting to happen.  Sigh.  So, we’re launching the snake offensive to reduce the amount of bites waiting to happen for this hard-headed kid.  Some of it we already know, but some ideas we’ve seen online and we’re going to give them a try:

1) Remove the homes.  This has been a bit of a bone of contention between Sheldon and me.  We have leaves that have accumulated in the flower beds near the house.  Sheldon being the super tree hugger that he is wanted to leave them as is so they could provide nutrients.  I wanted to purchase a leaf blower (because frankly, I have done all of the raking that I think I safely can without being knee-deep in leaves) and blow those suckers to kingdom come.  We had settled on the Sheldon method of leaving sleeping leaves lie until he saw yesterday’s snake on the front porch.  I think Sheldon will be swinging by the store tonight after work to get the leaf blower in operation huff and I’ll puff and blow your house down.

2) Something stinks.  Many of us have heard that mothballs are a great deterrent to snakes because of the smell.  However, they can also be toxic to pets and kids who pop those little white balls in their mouths.  However, I am going to try to embrace the smell without the risk.  I heard about putting moth balls into a sealed container (like an empty milk jug) with small holes so that the smell can escape, but little paws/fingers can’t get the balls.  Plus, this protects them in the rain so they don’t disintegrate.  I hate the smell of moth balls, but I’m counting on snakes hating it more.

3) Let nature help.  Of course there are tons of ways to help naturally dissuade snakes from camping out on your lawn furniture.  For us, we’re going to do a multi-prong approach.  We’ll be getting our guineas soon, and from what I understand, those pea brained little critters are great for controlling ticks and snakes.  Something that we have had plenty of already.  We also have barn cats who don’t seem to be into the snakes, but they are good for controlling the rodent population.  Remove the food and snakes will go elsewhere, right?  We’re also planting beds and planters filled with a mixture of lemongrass, rosemary and marigolds.  It may not be the most gorgeous collection of plants, but who cares.  At least I won’t keep having nightmares about snakes under foot ON MY FRONT PORCH!  Sigh.

4) Let commercial products work.  We’re not crazy about this, but see earlier comment about 4-year-old with stubborn streak.  We’re also laying down some of the commercially available snake away granulated product.  We’re not happy about this at all, but as parents, this is something we just need to do.  We’re also going to lay down more DE to help reduce more of the food supply.

Bottom line is that we want to be as inhospitable as possible for these little slithery boogers.  Would welcome any feedback on what you have done to reduce snakes near your home!

Happy de-snaking.