Bonnie Johnson

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since Nov 23, 2012
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Recent posts by Bonnie Johnson

I read some articles and I want Kudzu. I have goats.  Apparently cows eat it and love it. Just read an article about it making great silage.  I didn't think it grew in Ohio, but apparently they have it in Michigan and Nebraska and southern Ohio. I am in north Central Ohio.  I didn't know the roots were edible.  I bet pigs would really love the roots.  So pasture pigs in or around the kudzu after the goats have had their way with it and it would probably kill the kudzu completely or knock it back so far it would take it a log time to recover.  I am going to see if I can find some growing near me in Ohio.  I may try planting it in containers or planting it in the middle of the pasture then letting my goats cows and horses go after it. I may make a pig tractor this year and then I could let the pigs take it out if the kudzu seemed to be getting out of control.  Farmer makes silage out of kudzu and has highest producing dairy herd in N.Carolina in the 60's or 70's he also baled it and gives limited instructions.  great info on hay yields, on use as feed for cattle, hogs, goats, and chickens.  but I loved their last little paragraph in the pdf below.

Some farmers have opinions that kudzu may become a pest,
may not be eradicated, and may spread into fields where it is
not wanted. Such ideas are unfounded. It may be easily eradi-
cated by grazing or by plowing. Kudzu has been confined to
the edges of fields at Auburn for a period of 35 years and has
never become a pest or spread to areas where it was not want-
ed. It may be confined indefinitely to terrace ridges in a field
simply by cultivating the field in row crops"
1 week ago
On the "Great British Baking Show", it was called 'Hot Water Crust Pastry' and it is used mostly to make meat pies.   The show aired on PBS which is how I watched it. It is easy to make and I had never tried a hot water crust pastry until I watched the show with Paul Hollywood and Mary Barry.  I had typically made pie crusts that were made with all the ingredients super cold so the crust would be very flakey.  No kneading. Kneading makes a pie pastry dough tough.  You don't knead or rest a hot water crust pastry.  It makes a very delicious crust that will stand up to meat and juicy fillings.   It is a very British thing, when my husband travels to Great Britain for work, he loves to get the meat pies like a Guiness steak and kidney pie.  

The Great British Baking Show was very comforting to watch. It was a contest, but the winner just got a bouquet and a crystal trophy. No huge monetary awards although many of the winners would go on to make some extra money with a cookbook deal.  The contestants often helped each other if they were having trouble and they all had regular jobs and baking was something they loved to do.  At the end of each season Paul and Mary would have a masterclass show that would go into how to make many of the baked goods that were in the contest.  Everything from Hot water crust pastry to pretzels and bagels to cakes of all types and cookies.  
2 months ago
Hi Sean,

I live in North Central Ohio....Knox County the most southeast corner.  I don't know about predators in your area,, but at my farm, the raccoons would be under you bottom frame of the coop in no time.  I have had raccoons going after my chickens in broad daylight.  But at night, they will go under the chicken tractor in no time.  

I have an amusing story from when I lived in Arkansas over 10 years ago. I had a very nice chicken tractor/mobile coo with nesting boxes. We had just moved there. I heard a ruckus at at night, went out in my nightgown saw that the raccoons had managed to find a spot under the 2 x 4 frame where they could dig a little and get in the mobile coop. The had killed a couple of chickens and had stuffed one of them in the hole they had come in through so they (the raccoons ) could not get back out easily.  There were two raccoons in there. All I could do because we didn't even have everything unpacked was open the lid of the chicken tractor and hope the freaking raccoons left. While the raccoons and chickens just glared at me standing there in my night gown and barefooted helplessness.  Didn't even have a BB gun.....

My chicken tractors here in Ohio are much better in there next generation or so. I have fold-able wings made from wire shelving.  You know the stuff that is white that you make shelves out of that you can buy at home depot or lowes.  For some reason, the predators have not figured out how to go under the shelving to go under the frame of my chicken tractors.  I have a very uneven yard with lots of low spots and what not that could let a enterprising predator get in the tractor, but since i put my wire shelving foldable wings on my chicken tractor, I have had no problems.  I fold up the front wire shelving and hold it in place with a bungee cord when I move my chicken tractor.    That is for my 5 foot by 10 foot tractor.  

I am getting ready to build a 10 foot by 10 foot tractor that will function in one of my rotational grazing pastures for my goats.  It will have wings. I think the predators go up to the edge of the tractor and try to dig in but find that they are standing on the wire and give up.  I have no proof but live chickens. Also I use rabbit wire or hardware cloth, not chicken wire.

Since I have a lot of problems with raccoons and now foxes, I have had to come up with a way to make a chicken tractor work.  I am a little worried about the black bears that are moving into Ohio.  I am not sure my chicken tractor can handle a black bear.  People are seeing Black bears near my area.  

The fold-able wings will stop most pedators and for some reason, it helps stop me from running over chicks....

good luck,

hope this helps.
2 months ago
I have to rinse out 55 gallon plastic barrels that I use to transport spent brewers grains. I have to to do this even in the middle of winter in Ohio zone 5b.  It can get really cold. Heck tonight November 13, 2022 it is getting down to 23 degrees F.  I have to have those barrels pretty clean, I use a pressure washer thingy on the end of the hose.    I use a Zero G 35 foot long hose.  It is easy to drain and when it isn't holding water, it weighs under 10 lbs.  I take it into the house when it is freezing at night. I took it in tonight after washing out empty barrels.  I also have  100 foot Zero G hose.  When you drain it out, it doesn't weight very much and is easy to haul around.  So my suggestion would be get some of those light weight hoses, like a Zero G or some of the collapsible hoses that shrink up. Use them to water the chickens and whatever you need to water in your high tunnel and then drain the hose and bring it in to keep ti from freezing.  If you use regular hose, it will be really heavy and make you want to give up.  By the way, I have been using my Zero G hoses for several years now and they are holding up really well. i don't leave them pressurized for long periods of time. I use them then drain them, even in the summer.  

Other than that, I must haul water in buckets or jerry cans or something.  I carry a lot of buckets of water in the winter. I have chickens, horses, pigs, goats, and rabbits. We did trench water lines and put in hydrants. So I put the goat waterers for winter and the horse/steer waterers near a hydrant. I use an short hose (10 feet or less) for those waterers so I don't have to take that hose in at night. I disconnect the hose after use, drain it and all is good. The chickens are not all near the hydrants, so I carry water to them or I can use my electric cart to haul water.

If it gets cold enough that my hydrants aren't working, I either haul water out of the house with  my electric cart or I hook up using my zero g hoses. I can reach 135 feet from the house with the Zero G hoses. It hasn't been cold enough to keep my hydrants from working for about 8 years now and it usually happened when someone forgot to disconnect a hose even if it was a short 10 foot long hose.

I use regular garden hose in a lot of places in the spring summer and fall.  But I certainly appreciate my Zero G light weight hoses especially in the winter.  

I am going to be 59 this year.  So I have to work smarter  

Hope this helps!

2 months ago
I have been reading about hypoxyapatite toothpaste. It is supposed to remineralize your teeth.  I have not tried it yet, but I am going to.  I believe it was initially developed by NASA or for NASA to help astronauts keep their teeth healthy.  I have a small spot on a molar that I am worried about. I haven't had any trouble with my teeth in over 20 years since I stopped dirnking pop, stopped putting sugar in my tea, stopped eating cookies and candy and only eat a dessert, (cheese cake or pumpkin pie) about twice a year.  I grow a lot of our food and raise about 80 percent of our meat milk and eggs.  

I gave up flouride and sodium laurel sulfate toothpaste a couple years ago. I have used a home made tooth powder and liked it and I may go back to that. It had indian clay in it and baking soda and some essential oils.  But my Husband wouldn't use it.  

One of the hypoxyapatite toothpastes I have been looking at is here

hope this helps.
2 months ago
I and my husband still miss the 1990 chevy 1500 we had.  We put over 250,000 miles on that truck. I bought it new for $16,000 so I know for sure how many miles were on it. The tranny finally failed. My hubby decided he was going to turn it into an electric truck and was hauling it to our shop building ( we lived in a big hill in Arkansas at the time with 200 feet of rise in our half mile driveway) when the chain snapped and the truck probably hit about 35 miles per hour when it hit the tree center of the front grill.  

We are still driving the 1999 F-350 one ton with a flat bed. That 7.3 liter diesel keeps on going as long as you keep making sure to check the oil.  I keep promising that truck that if I win some money I will totatlly rebuild it.  It has at least 340,000 miles on it. The odometer doesn't work quite right so the miles are higher than the odometer.  Can't turn tight, leave the biggest doughnut but it keeps running.  We bought it when it had about 110,000 miles on it.  

We have bought a box truck to hopefully take the place of the 99 F-350. Isuzu 2007. My hubby had to replace the head gasket, but he keeps telling me how much easier it is to work on commercial trucks.  It does turn tighter than the F-350 and has been running great since we got the head gasket replaced. Picked it up for $8500.  Way cheaper than buying a pick up truck. It can haul 2.5 ton.  No CDL required. I don't mind driving it. I use it to pick up the spent brewers grains we feed our animals. I usually pick up at least a ton at a time.

Oh and if you don't have US rider vehicle roadside  service, consider it.  I was worried I would need to upgrade or something because we got a truck that could haul more, but US rider said don't worry we will tow your truck and provide our services as long as you are in the vehicle!   They have towed my F-350 with a four horse trailer with living quarters ( 8 foot short wall) without a problem and then helped us find a place to stay with our horses until we could get our truck fixed and called to check on us to make sure we were okay.  They take car of your car too.

I may still take the box off the Isuzu and remove the lift gate. Then i will have a kick but flat bed and I will put a trailer hitch on it.  

My husband's Honda CRV died so he is now driving the F-350.   The CRV had about 240,000 on it. We are probably going to put a new engine in it.
5 months ago
Nubians can be really cool goats. Some are really good milkers and you can get some good meat wethers from Nubians.  However, my experience with Nubians has been they are very needy goats. As in they need you to be around, they need you to protect them from the smallest bit of rain falling from the sky etc.   I have Nubians, I love their ears. Speaking of ears, long drooping ears can freeze and get frostbitten very easily and then you end up with short goat ears anyhow......I have learned this from experience.   Many Nubians are raised more for their color than for their other qualities like milk production.  There are a lot of good milking Nubians out there but if you dairy type Nubians, they require high inputs.  Again, go see what those Nubians are eating before you buy.  Maybe they are out there chowing down of brush and doing well in a climate similar to yours. Then heck get some of those Nubians.

So here is what you need to think about. What type of climate do you have?  Then you need to think about where the breed you are thinking of getting originated. Does your climate  match up with that breed. If not, then if you still want that breed, you will have to do more work to on your part to have that breed be successful.  

For example, Spanish goats ( I dont have any and haven't owned any Spanish goats) evolved in drier areas but were raised a brush eating goats.  If you have a drier climate than Spanish goats would probably do well for you.  You can find some Spanish herds that are more acclimatized to wetter conditions.

Another example, Boer goats were originally from Africa in a drier regions. They have been over bred for the show ring and put into a forage situation with low inputs, they probably won't do well. They aren't as parasite resistant/resilient compared to Spanish and Kiko breeds unless you are buying them from someone who has been keeping their boer goats on forage and has been culling for animals that can do well on forage.  

If you live in a wetter area like I do in Ohio, Boer goats don't do well. Their ears are also long and droopy and easily frostbite in winter. I learned that from experience too. LOL    

I eventually decided to try Kiko goats because they were developed in New Zealand which has a pretty wet cold climate kinda similar to Ohio but we don't have the mountains in Ohio like they have in New Zealand.  I have been pretty happy with the Kiko goats and the Kiko crosses. I often breed a Kiko buck to my dairy does and get very nice kids. I am milking one of them now. She gives a half gallon a day right now since I am only milking once a day.  When she is in top production she gives a gallon of milk on two times a day milking.  She forages very well. Her mother was a registered Alpine.  Some dairy goats will forage quite well, I have had Saanens and Alpines who forage quite well.  I have noticed that the Saanens and Alpines need their hooves trimmed frequently. Another input. Do you want to trim hooves all the time?  

These are all things to think about.
Ability to handle  Climate Conditions
Parasite resistance/resilience
Ability to forage
Hoof trimming.
Fence jumping

yep I almost forgot fence jumping.  I have shied away from La Mancha goats when I saw then easily jumping over 5 foot tale fences at the goat auction. LOL    I am sure I forgot something, but I am sure some other people will bring up what I missed    Oh and if you buy goats that are already used to being confined by electro net then you won't have get them used to being confined by electro net.  
good luck!
8 months ago
I am glad it is that tall.  But I do understand. It is hard to weed eat along my high tensile fence when the grass is chest high as it is right now.  I am 5 foot 6 inches.  Pretty sure the grass seed heads are near four feet high right now.  I can't see my goats in the pasture unless they stand on their hind legs to reach the top of a rose bush. LOL  I can't imagine the amount of land I would need for my animals if we only got 4 to 6 inches of annual growth.  
8 months ago
Many good suggestions.  I will toss out another sorry if I missed this one when scrolling through the posts.  If you are going to get goats to clear brush, you need to get goats that have been used to eating brush and weeds.  If you go buy a pampered dairy goat or someone's pet nigerian dwarfs or pygmy goats, you probably won't get the results you want.   Also don't buy show wethers.  If you want brush eating goats, buy brush eating goats.  Go look at what the goats you are buying are eating.  Goats learn a lot from other goats and from their Mom's.  If the other goats are eating brush and clearing weeds and pushing down small saplings so they can get at the leaves on the saplings, then those goats will clear brush.   If the goats are in a small lot and get hay and grain and everything handed to them, look else where for goats.  

While I do feed my goats supplemental feed even when they are on pasture because I get free feed from a craft brewery, my goats will eat brush, they love it. If you want to kill the brush, you have to keep them in the area much longer so they are forced to eat more of the tips of the brambles and twigs on shrubs and brush and saplings.  Protect any trees you want to keep. If you keep goats in an area long enough to kill brush they will for sure girdle a tree and kill it. Probably one that you wanted to keep. Some goats love certain trees. My goats love cedar trees. They even strip the bark off of them when they have plenty of other stuff to eat. No cedar trees left  that the goats can reach.  My goats will get together in group and push down small brush and saplings so they can eat the leaves. I have to move my goats often enough so they don't kill everything because for my goats it is important food.  My goats will also get together and push down fence if there is tasty stuff on the other side.  When you have ten or twenty 100 lb goats climbing on a 16 foot cattle panel they will push over the cattle panel and the t- posts supporting it even if you have t-posts every 8 feet.  

Moving electronet through scrubby bramble infested area is a pain it gets stuck on everything and if you yank on it to free it you can ruin your electronet.  Takes a lot of patience to move electronet in those type of conditions.....hence, I permanently fenced in my rotational grazing pastures all 7 of them and the winter pasture and the buck pasture.  And a small prayer of gratitude was sent up that i  don't have to move that electronet all the time. LOL

If you don't go the goat route, I used a Stilh FS-240 with a saw blade on it to clear enough space to thread cattle panels through so i could fence without tearing out all the old trees in the original fence line.  It could take down trees 3 or 4 inches in diameter all the other brush did not stand a chance.   I had grazed goats in those areas with my electronet but they couldn't take down trees of that diameter.  I also used the 4 point harness and the FS-240 with handle bars.  Makes all the difference in the world.   I don't use the FS-240 anymore, I use a 40 volt ryobi with a brush cutter blade to clear under my high tensile fence so it will still conduct electricity. I have a combo of cattle panels, high tensile and goat fence for my pastures.  

good luck!
8 months ago
Seems like everytime I get our small farm near to turning a profit on paper which we file taxes on, something strange happens and keeps if from happening. Last spring it was a plague of rats and foxes that darn near wiped out my poultry operation.  This past fall, I did testing on my adult goats and found some diseases that I wanted to remove from my herd.  However, i my animals still manage to bring in enough money to buy all the hay for the horses, goats, pigs, rabbits and chickens.  I buy large round bales and it costs about $2000 to 2500 a year for they hay. Haven't been using as much hay because my animals have been able to graze longer into the fall and sooner in the spring these past years.  We use about 45 round bales each year.  We are in central Ohio.  Some years I bring in enough money to fund projects like building a green house and renting a skid steer to do work on the property. I also use some of the money to buy equipment and fencing and gates and what not. Last year I bought some wire filled gates with goat money to finish my livestock handling system with a tub and sweep that connects to my head gate with chute. i was also able to buy a nice digital scale with easy to see read out so I can gather production information on my goats.  And just so people know, we run about 30 to 35 does, this may go up to 40 does this fall and I keep two or three bucks.  I use the production information to decide which animals to cull and which to keep for breeding. I usually raise 45 to 60 kids each spring and sell goats in the fall and cull does get sold in the spring too. Goat prices are going up. Last year it was $3 a pound live weight, this year it is going higher.  I usually sell about 20 wethers average size 70 lbs. I do okay with the goats, but my eventual hope is that I start selling some goats for breeding stock at $500 to $1000 each.  This is a realistic price for registered Kiko goats which is what I  am raising. We use rotational grazing spring through fall with the goats, steers and horses. Steers are for us, though I sometimes sell one at auction after we butcher ours. This brings in additional money too.  I supplement the pasture with wet spent brewers grains I pick up from a local brewery for free. The brewery keeps brewing a little more each year which has worked well for our farm as we keep feeding more animals each year too. I pick up anywhere from 1 to 3 tons a week.  I feed the spent grains to the goats, pigs, horses, steers and chickens.  

Now, I also sell chickens. I sell replacement pullets and I sell roosters. I live about a 50 minute drive from Columbus Ohio. I often sell my roosters before I can get the pullets sold. I sell the roosters from $10 t0 $15 each depending on the amount each customer wants.  This price may go up as feed prices go up as will prices on pullets. I do not process the roosters for my customers. They like to process their own roosters. Sometimes they kill them and then take them with them.  These roosters are sold to ethnic groups in and around Columbus.   I raise the roosters on pasture or in chicken tractors. These are not cornish rock crosses, they are heavy dual purpose breed chickens that are colorful. Some people want older spent hens. They want real chicken not cornish rock crosses. So, I have kept track of the numbers in the past and when I bought 100 chicks at $1.00 each ( got a deal on them at TSC when they needed to get rid of them) and I kept track of the chick feed I fed them I found that I spent about $400 on the chicks and the feed and sold them at 4 to 5 months of age at an average of $10.00 each and I cleared $600.  I didn't count my equipment because I had all of it already and i use it over and over again.  I didn't count my time,, but it was just filling water and feeders once a day and moving a chicken tractor once a day. Not much time.

I am now also hatching chicks and selling them. If they don't sell as chicks for $5 each (Marans and Bielfelders) I raise them and sell them as adults. I charge more for adult Marans and Bielefelders pullets.  

Now, yes, my husband has a good job, but he travels sometimes. I do almost all the farm stuff myself. My husband does help but he is already working a full time job. Oh, I also sell some rabbits as we have Champagne D Argents.   So I have to handle everything when my husband travels.  I will point out that the farm also provides a nice tax return most years.  If it wasn't for the farm we wouldn't get much back on taxes.

In my voluminous spare time, I plant some fruit trees, bushes and vines and I have a large garden.  

So in addition to selling stuff and bringing in money we get a bigger tax return and we raise nearly all of our own meat (I am not sure how to put that in to actual numbers). People my husband work with are amazed that we eat meat at almost every meal and wonder how we afford it. We butcher our own animals at home, steers, rabbits, pigs, chickens, ducks. I cured my own bacon for the first time this year. I also cured hams for this past Christmas.  
Oh, and we can't sell eggs because every one around here is selling eggs. But we do produce our own eggs and I use excess eggs to make dog food. I also have two milk goats, one is a half Kiko/ half Alpine so we have our own milk and we make cheese and yogurt and I used to make kefir but I dont' have enough time for everything! I don't know how to factor that in either.

My pigs aren't pastured. That didn't work for us. I do however feed them hay in winter. They get brewers grains and mineral. And in the spring summer and fall, I mow the lawn with the bagger on and feed them grass clippings. Since I can't pasture them, I bring the pasture to them.....LOL  

I imagine our small farm is saving us thousands of dollars in food costs each year and I know it is bringing in thousands in cash and brings in a large tax return.  

I keep thinking of things I would like to try and ways to add income to the farm, but truly, I don't have much free time left to spend on other ventures.  I don't know if this all made sense or if it helps someone. gotta go trim weeds of the fence line!
8 months ago