Friday, November 4, 2016

Abbynormals Family Farm...
Kelly with one of our pet mini goats.

When my kids were younger we lived on a little pocket of "country" in the middle of the city. An oasis in the desert! Along with our home schooling I wanted to give my kids the farm life experience. It ended up more like a petting zoo that benefited a few church plays and harvest festivals. Only a small amount of our “farming” made it to the table. Once it was on the table it was even harder to get it off the plate and into their mouths.
Tamara with one of our hens

Chicken eggs were easy. Duck eggs, no way.  Later somehow, we found a sheep ranch in Utah that gave away newborn lambs for free! This old farmer who was near 90 years old had taken over running the ranch as a young man after his father died. His daughter told us that he had never taken a vacation from the ranch! Every year at lambing time, some of the ewes would have triplets. This old farmer had a soft heart and desired that none should perish. He made sure all the newborn lambs had received some colostrum milk from their mothers for their immunities before he gave any away, usually the smallest of the trio. But, they were free. One trip we came back with 16 baby lambs! We had a lot of bottle feeding to do. We picked out the ones we wanted to keep, A couple didn’t make it, and we sold the rest. Selling some helped pay for the powered lambs milk. The bottle feeding was fun and the kids really liked this part. We didn't crop their tails and when you bottle fed them they would wag their tails the whole time. It was so cute!
Daniel and Tamara

Those little lambs would run and leap and follow my kids around. When they became sheep they became an even bigger part of the kids play time. Years later they confessed to giving their youngest sister, Kelly, rides on the back of the sheep.
Christa and Tamara
Those sheep were a lot of fun….until they got bigger and kept getting out of their pen in the middle of a downpour! I didn’t like that part. When the end was near we hauled them to a small town butcher shop about an hours drive away and then picked them up about 2 weeks later frozen and wrapped in white butcher paper. That first meal was slow at first, but when the kids tasted how good those lamb chops were  their plates were emptied and refilled! There was throughout the course of dinner several baa’s and naa sounds made. But, that didn’t stop the chewing. Hahaha

Later on we tried raising rabbits for meat. The raising part the kids enjoyed. Butchering, well, I could clean, but I could not kill anything. My best friend, Kate and her husband came over to help with the butchering process. Having the three of us there made the work fast. They went home with their payment share of rabbit meat and mine went into the frig or freezer. I will say this, that after a rabbit is skinned it looked just like the cat we had dissected in high school. Hmm…The eating part…..well? I used the meat just like I would use chicken, but the kids just couldn’t eat it. I think in the end I gave most of it away.

Natasha, Porkchop, and me
We raised potbellied pigs also. For pets, not food. Our favorite pig was named "Porkchop", she was such a fun piggy! If you scratched her side she would lay down so you would scratch her belly. She got along pretty good with our dogs, except at feeding time, then she made a pig of herself!

PorkChop and Tamara

She got BIG!

I raised Basset Hounds for awhile. They were like living cartoons, such silly looking and sounding dogs. I first fell in love with the Basset Hound, Lafayette, from the cartoon "The Aristocats".

Peppermint Patty, she loved carrots.
Some of Peppermint Patty's Puppies


No "farm" would be complete if it didn't have a horse on it. We bought Sassy, a 3/4 Registered Arabian mare. She was 24 when we got here. Later we found out that she had been owned by a lady from our church back when Sassy was 3 years old. She competed in Jr. jumping with her for several years. They won many awards. She was a lot of fun for us even in her senior years. She never stood still, one always felt like you were in a parade, she would pace in place whenever anyone was on her back. Once I even got to ride her in one of our church plays. She did great! Later she developed arthritis in her front fetlock's, most likely from years of jumping. When she was no longer safe to ride we gave her to a farm for retirement.   

Curly Sioux and Patches
Later on we tried our hand at raising some young fillies. We chose the breed Bashkir Curlies, because they were known to have a hypoallergenic coat. In the winter their coat looked like lambs wool. You could save it and knit with it. Christa saved all her own money to buy her own. She owned the Black and White colt. She named him Curly Sioux, mine was named Patches.

Patches with her curls.

It was a lot of fun, our little piece of country in the middle of a city. Some of my best memories are from this stage of my life raising kids and animals together!  The story about the turkeys will have to come later...
Farm Boy Daniel-Son