"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Friday, July 31, 2009

Farmer's Market Success?

So last nights Farmer's Market in Orrville was not, I assume, as busy as a Farmer's Market could be, but it was a good experience.
On my way there, I stopped to grab an iced coffee and some fast food. At the first drive-thru window where I needed to pay, the young kid at the window proceeded to comment on how man apples I had in my car...as if I hadn't noticed! Then, at the second window, the younger dark haired kid exclaimed, "Whoaaa [imagine this is young, male teen "far out dude" voice!] That is a lot of apples you have in there....ya get a good deal or something at a market or orchard or something?" I thanked him for my order and explained that I WAS the orchard and I was trying to sell them as I pulled away from the window!

I was a little hesitant when I pulled up to see that the only other people with booths set up were Amish. How can I compete with the Amish at a Farmer's Market!! No worries, more local farmers showed up shortly, none of which had apples to sell!

My mom brought beautiful flower bouquets she picked from her gardens as well as fresh basil, thyme, dill and chives. It was a nice touch to help draw attention to our booth.

I found that most of the "older people" who stopped by the booth knew of the apple, a Transparent, and most others had never heard of it and were actually surprised to see someone already selling apples! It was exciting to have some walk up and be excited at the apples at proceed to purchase 2 dozen for sauce making!

Mom had to stroll the lane of vendors to check out everyone's goodies...as well as see who was undercutting her on the price of the herbs ;)

And of course, anytime one of us does something new, it is never not a family party! The only one missing was my brother. My relatives visiting from California were anxious, I am sure, to go home and tell people they vacationed in Orrville, OH!

On a positive note, the apples that sold brought in approx. $20; certainly not a paycheck, but the experience was what mattered! I was lucky enough to have the hubs stay home to look after the dogs and make sure the horses got brought in and fed...and thankfully, he cleaned their stalls too! Now if I can only teach him to do the laundry......

Thursday, July 30, 2009

1st Tree Harvested

So Allen and I harvested our first apple tree Tuesday evening. It was an early variety; we are told the apple is called a "Transparent". This means the apples are softer and don't store as long. They are best to be used in pies and sauces.

Although we do not have our fancy "sale" baskets yet...much like the basket you see in the front right of the picture, we decided to polish them up and take a stab at selling this batch at a local farmers market. There is no way we'd be able to make use of all these - there must be at least 250 apples. So rather than let them waste, I am going to be set up this evening at the local Orrville Farmers Market. Wish us luck! I hope it goes well!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All in a Day's Work

A friend posted on her Facebook page last night something to the effect of how work is never done when you live on a farm and have horses!

I would like to take this opportunity to second her statement....and give you an idea of what she could possibly be referring to! At least in my eyes, at Apolloson Acres.

Weekdays are the worst because my husband & I have to attend this over-rated thing called "day jobs"! We are usually home by 5pm and the first task is to turn the horses out if they've been in the barn while we were gone. Generally, this takes minimal time; just throw on fly masks and douse them with some fly spray, make the mile trek to the pasture and you are good to go ;)

Next on the agenda is the dogs -- da da dum! My mother recently told me she thinks my dogs problem is that they do not get enough attention from my husband and I! HA! She certainly has not spent an evening in my shoes.....

As I approach Whinny's cage, she is so overflowing with excitement at the fact that we're home, she is literally moving her cage across the floor and she jumps and wails with excitement inside it...literally! Opening her cage door is much like a starting gate breaking open at a Thoroughbred race. If my husband is in the room, the first thing she does is launches herself with one jump up into his arms, at 6' 1" high, and wraps her front paws over his shoulders. *SIGH* Yes, he allows this...which is probably why we struggle with this issue - when Allen is not in the room, she lunges at me in excitement and jumps ALL OVER ME. I honestly am trying to break her of this habit, constantly telling her down, turning my back to her and as my last resort, kneeing her when she lurches forward!
Leash on, door open, sniff the kitty if she's on the patio and it is out into the grass for a quick piddle.

On to monster, a-hem, dog #2, Mossy. My lil' Moss-dog! 75# pounds of hunky hound loving! As his cage door opens, he barrels towards whatever gets his attention, ultimately making his way to the back door, inevitably sliding across the wood floor in the kitchen because his mind works faster than his legs can carry him!
Leash on, door open, myself dragged off the patio and after the cat [If I am lucky I hold on and walk away without scrapes and bruises], onto the grass for the longest daily piddle ever and then rushed back to the house for dinner!

Next, there is dinner for the dogs, which occasionally requires supervision so that 50# Whinny doesn't steal 75#'er Mossy's food after she successfully scarf's down her own. Then, it is on to their evening walk, which also constitutes their "poo-walk". Yes, that is right - you read correctly.
This walk usually takes us around the perimeter of the property (5.5 acres) and sometimes into the neighboring woods. If we're lucky, Whinny gets her business done within that time frame. On days when I am feeling exceptionally risky, I take both dogs together, on days when I am lucky, Allen is available to come with us, on most days, I have to take them separately otherwise it is a whole other blog entry to tell you how that goes ;)

Up next on the agenda after getting the dogs situated - barn chores. Now that we are lucky enough to be the proud owners of a tractor, I don't have to tote around my wheelbarrow everywhere and I just pull the tractor into the barn aisle. On days when I am lucky, this is non-eventful. On days when that's not the case, I take out part of the barn door while my husband swears obscenities in the background acting as though I have just plowed the whole barn to the ground ;)

Next - work with the horses. This is usually my stress reliever of the evening. Some times it is just grooming, other times it is ground and saddle work with Apollo. When I am lucky, I can get through a session with Apollo without heightened anxiety! After 4 years, you'd like I would have conquered this by now ;) My goal is to ride through the orchard by winter time!

Next - Walk #2 for the dogs or something else dog related like trying to teach them to stay in the yard without being tied, playing ball or frisbee....whatever suits their fancy.....

Somewhere in here, we decided to do dinner. Sometimes we go all out, steaks on the grill style, other times, it's my mother-in-laws worst nightmare --- Ramen Noodles! More often than not, Ramen rules out!

Don't be fooled - there are so many other things I can list that may not always happen on a daily basis, but do occur; cleaning kitty litter and kitty puke, buying/stocking hay, weeding flower beds & mowing the lawn, plus don't forget about all the stuff that needs my attention INSIDE the house (What? there is life beyond the backyard??!!) and of course, all the things the hubby tends too; caring for/spraying the 110 orchard trees, tending to the garden, fixing our cars, figuring out the tractor, fixing something I have broke, making a new shelter for more hooved companions to come home, etc etc etc...

So before I knok out from the tediousness of writing this evenings to-do list, let me just reiterate, yes, work on a farm is never done ;)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Potty Patch - Does it Work!?

Well, now that the consumer product test I did for Channel 19 news has aired, I can delve a little deeper into it from my prospective!

When news crew arrived, I met them outside with Mossy tautly on his leash; I think they were a little taken back by my "puppy"! But I did tell them up front is was in the 70# range!

Of course they came into my house, something I knew would mortify my mother; My house being filmed to be aired on public television!

As soon as my husband realized they were indeed filming, I heard the tractor rumble and glanced back to see him high-tail it through the orchard! "Geee, thanks!"

So my dogs being the spazzing canines they are, had to be on their leashes initially in the house so not to scare away the news crew! [I swear they are calm when we don't have visitors!] After we did the filming inside the home, they asked for some footage of me outside walking the dogs....

Walking is a concept we're still trying to grasp when both dogs go on a "walk" together! So, I had Whinny on one leash, hacking, gagging and foaming at the mouth, unaware that the harder she pulled, the worse her choker collar would tighten. And then there was Mossy, just running in circles, tangling everything that came within 5 feet of his leash. *sigh* I told the news reporter she may get some calls from upset viewers thinking I was mishandling my dogs, what with one choking herself because the only way her owner can manage semi-control is with a choke collar...not to mention her houdini-istic routine of slipping a regular collar.

After our 'walk', we set up the hidden camera to try and catch one of them in action using the potty patch....or in my eyes, chewing the potty patch! I know my dogs!!

After a few days and no accidents whatsoever, the Potty Patch was starting to fall apart and litter my mudroom floor! Not to mention Mossy had no desire to even step on it whatsoever the first day or so.

Then, finally, an accident! But...not.....on...the...Potty Patch!

So I filmed crap on my carpet for the entire viewing audience to see!! Yes, I could feel my mother cringing at the thought!

To find out how the rest of the test went, follow this link for the full news story!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Consumer Product Testing

Last night I had a local news station out at my house to do a story on a new product out on the market. I am doing a "consumer test" on this product for them; I am the chosen one! YIKES!
Maybe that is a good thing.....maybe not.

I can't tell details yet, but, I will say it involves the dogs! Whinny will make her movie star debut [Mossy too] and me...well, when they air the story, let's just say I will make my "novice debut" live to the viewing audience.

My mother is already cringing; I had a news crew FILMING in MY HOUSE!

My husband hightailed it outta there as soon as he saw they had the cameras and were actually filming! He decided to take off on the tractor and dump my days accumulation of manure! Geee, how sweet of him! ;)

Once I can share the details, I will post a blog on the whole run down of events; it's sure to be a good laugh for you! I already tested it on my friend Lauren; she seemed amused....and glad it wasn't her!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An attempt to Ebay...and other farm happenings

Well, today I move outside of the farm to embark on my first experience with Ebay sales! I have bought from Ebay in the past....many Dept. 56 Halloween items and even my dressage saddle. However, I decided it was time to attempt my "novice" skills at Ebay selling to try and rid our home of some of the junk my husband & I seem to accumulate.

After making my first round of sales, I was excited and felt accomplished....until it came time to ship off the items to their new owners.

Failure #1: The print shipping labels online [for convenience] feature did not work! After speakking with several different help desk representatives, none of which I could understand[!], I was still printing shipping labels with the word SAMPLE stamped across them. So much for convenince.

Failure #2: In taking the advice of what Ebay suggested to list my shipping cost as for each item, I successful PAID someone else to take my junk! Yes, that is correct...I under charged in shipping costs and ended up paying out of my pocket just to get rid of all this crap :/

Failure #3: Maybe this one is more like icing on my cake for the day... After packing all these boxes up in my car in the parking lot of the post office, trying to juggle them all into the place and waiting in line to ship them {and digging into my pockets to SHIP them all], I get back into the car, look on the passenger seat, and sitting there like a shinning pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is another stinkin' package I FORGOT to take in with the rest. *SIGH*, time to get BACK IN LINE. grrrr

While I am sure it could have been worse, it's certainly a lesson learned for me...CHARGE SHIPPING AFTER you find out where you are shipping the item too.

In a side note from the farm, I am sad; I think Simon, one of our feral turned social kitties, is coming down with something. He has guk coming out of his eyes ;/ And being the true novice I am, especially in the cat department, I am clueless on how to help him until he sees a vet. Tomorrow him & his brother, Bradley, will be moving to the wonderful rescue Love-A-Stray, where I know those ladies with take wonderful care of them until they find their forever homes!

Pilot Story - Life of a Novice

So I've been told more than once that my life never seems to have a dull moment! I read a few blogs and got to thinking, why don't I blog my "stories", just for fun, on all my experiences as a NOVICE in everything I/we do; even if no one wants to read my blog, it will always be here for me to look back on...just when I thought it couldn't get worse, I can go back into my blog and see that it can!

There's been many "Life on the Farm" examples as of recent that I could blog about; running out of water, tractor breaking down, catching and socializing a litter of feral kittens, letting my horses eat too much grass [I knew better, dang it!], but last nights incident made me decide this was a sign to proceed forward with that thought - write a blog!

Enjoy! If you are a novice too, and you're reading this blog, I hope you find comfort in my stories and know you aren't the only one! So without further or do....

My neighbors are idiots! I brought the horses in shortly before 9pm last night and right as Allen and I got to the pasture, the brilliant neighbors started setting off firecrackers like it was freaking 4th of July - NEWSFLASH - that was Saturday!!!

So Gypsy walked fine for Allen, but Apollo about dragged me the whole way up ;( It was the longest walk of my life; I can honestly say I was not nervous at all and we circled a lot...I was just extremely aggravated with the neighbors [IDIOTS!]

So we get into Apollos stall and he is a little shaky, but fine. I take off his halter & fly mask and give him a good scratch like usual - next thing I know, he bolts past me and flys through his stall door and OUT THE BARN. Again, I am proud to say I don't really think I panicked, but maybe that is because my husband was doing it for me! LOL

Apollo (mind you, halter-less) swiftly trotted over to the gravel drive, near the bend that leads to the front of the house, so my instinct is that he is going to follow the driveway out front - ekks! All I am thinking is to scream loose horse so the imbeciles next door lay off the firecrackers!! I slowly approached Apollo, talking CALMLY (I swear, really, I was calm!) and then he swings around and runs back towards the barn. I am thinking, too easy, you won't go back in the barn....and he doesn't.....he squeezes himself through the brush between his barn and Daisy's and ends up in what will be her pasture area (aka, no fence yet!). Allen follows his path and I tell him STAY there so if he runs back, you can grab him. (What was I thinking, he didn't even have a freaking lead). I come around the back side and start to slowly approach while Apollo is loving life in the grass he's found *sigh*. Then Allen starts to approach.....didn't I say STAY WHERE YOU ARE!?

Long story wrap up....Apollo ended up swinging around and putting himself away ;) Good Boy!
Moral of this Story? Get a second job so you can fence in YOUR WHOLE property!