Archive for December, 2011

Our Florida Christmas Tree

Posted in Trees with tags , , , , , on December 24, 2011 by PickMeYard

We broke our usual tradition this year with our Christmas tree.  My 5-year-old daughter is very into decorating and we were taking way too long to get a Christmas tree for her.  She was growing impatient.  Finding a tree was getting complicated… and expensive.  Our little town sold out of Christmas trees quickly so we needed to go on a tree hunt somewhere else.  We also needed to purchase a new tree base because our old one disappeared.

Then, our tree found us.  It was a big, beautiful citrus tree with six different kinds of citrus fruit grafted onto one tree.  It’s called a cocktail tree.  Grayson and I were in love with this lovely tree.  We both wanted it so badly, but it was pricey… about the same price as a cut Christmas tree and a new base for it.  We asked permission from the 5-year-old to substitute the cocktail tree for the Northern fir-tree.  She thought it was a great idea!

We brought the tree home, set it up in our usual Christmas tree spot, and spent the evening decorating.  A new tradition has been born.  We absolutely love our citrus Christmas tree.  I’m sure this idea is a contemptuous act to most die-hard Christmas traditionalists, but we live in Southwest Florida.  It still smells like Christmas around here, just more citrusy.  My kids are excited to plant the tree after Christmas and we’re already picking out the spot.  We’re definitely doing this again next year.

The six types of citrus grafted onto our cocktail tree. We made a Christmas tree ornament with them.

The kids are proud of our Christmas tree. Good... 'cause that's what it's all about.

Our new custom... a Florida Christmas tree.

The temperature was in the 80’s today, so we aren’t expecting snow.  It turned out to be a white Christmas though… Florida style.  We had a dump truck full of sand delivered for the kids.  They couldn’t be happier with their mountain of sand and cardboard sled.

Florida snow and sled.

We hope everyone has a joyful 2011 holiday season.

Come grow with us!

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Fort Myers Beach Baskets

Posted in Inspiration with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by PickMeYard

We have a gazillion palm fronds in Florida.  My son and I have been thinking about a way to use our old palm fronds to make a Seminole Indian thatch cover as a shady area for our goats.  So, on a recent outing to Fort Myers Beach, a man weaving baskets out of palm fronds immediately caught our eye.  We watched him quickly weave an awesome basket out of one frond.  We thought this was so cool and had to buy some.

Dave weaving a small basket at Fort Myers Beach.

He starts the basket with the middle of the frond.

Dave makes it look easy.  I seriously doubt it’s easy.  The finished baskets are beautiful.  Dave has a website and sells his baskets from it, but he’s half the price if you buy them from him at Fort Myers Beach.  We definitely had to have one… actually two.  The baskets start out green since they’re still freshly cut and then they dry out and turn brown.  It’s not a bad thing.  The dried baskets are lovely.  I’d been searching for the perfect basket and I found it.  Writing this post makes me want to go buy more from him.  Maybe I’ll get one of his hats too… any excuse to go to the beach. 

Boys watching Dave weave the baskets.

The basket is taking shape.

These are the two baskets I bought.

Dave says that cats go bonkers over the baskets.  He said he makes some just to donate to the cats at the Humane Society.  Check out his website at Coconut Baskets.com.

Koby bought his own basket with his own money.

Come grow with us!

Umbuzi Goat Dairy

Posted in Goats with tags , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by PickMeYard

Umbuzi is the name of the only licensed goat dairy in Florida.  It seems hard to believe, but it’s true.  Florida has lots of dairy goats.  Why is there only one commercial dairy? The huge investment in money, time and expertise may have something to do with it.  However, the folks at Umbuzi have put their hearts and souls into this operation.  It’s probably easier to move a mountain than to open a dairy from what I’ve heard.  Umbuzi has done it though and they’re hoping to start selling their products to the public by February 2012.

Umbuzi Dairy has a herd of over 70 Nubian goats.

Umbuzi Dairy will offer hard and soft cheeses, plus pasteurized milk.  They’ve just added yogurt to the list too because it’s the best yogurt ever.

They don’t have a finished website yet, but they’re working on it.  They can be found at  UmbuziFarm.com.

The goats at Umbuzi live in paradise. Isn't this pasture beautiful? The pink thing is for back scratching.

They created an incredibly clever way to milk lots of goats at the same time, then send them down the line and back out to pasture. It moves.

This is some of their equipment.

A commercial dairy requires perfection with temperatures, ph, and bacteria detection.

Umbuzi's friendly Nubian goats.

Pasture land at Umbuzi Goat Dairy in Southwest Florida.

Umbuzi is located in a rural area outside Ft.Myers, Florida.  They’re a family operated business with healthy animals and a beautiful dream.  Isn’t this the kind of food we all want?  Support for local business is a very good thing, no matter where you live.

Delicious goat cheese at Umbuzi Dairy. I just had to sneak a peek.

Come grow with us!

Chloe’s Baby

Posted in Goats with tags , , , , , , on December 5, 2011 by PickMeYard

This definitely isn’t Rosemary’s Baby. The devil didn’t have anything to do with this one.  Well, maybe a little, because we haven’t been able to get a single thing done since she was born.  Our Nigerian dwarf goat, named Chloe, had a baby girl last night (a female goat is called a doe).  Nigerian dwarfs make the cutest babies.  If you don’t believe me, judge for yourself.

She isn't even 24 hours old yet.

Chloe's such an awesome mom!

Most dairy goat owners take the babies away from the mothers immediately.  It is especially important to do this if the mother has a common disease called CAE because it is easily passed to the baby once it’s born.  We’ve chosen to allow our Nigerian dwarfs to keep their babies for a short time (probably a month).  Our goats are CAE free which is one of the reasons we’re letting them stay together.  If you want to learn more about birthing goats, check out Fias Co Farms website.  I believe it’s one of the best for goat information online.  Nothing beats having friends with goats though.  We’re very thankful for ours.

No social issues for this baby goat.

Chloe can't stop licking and cuddling her baby.

Neither can we.

Lots of hugging...

... and more hugging.

The maternity ward.

The cream colored Nigerian dwarf is next to kid (give birth). Her due date is today!

Loring and her two LaManchas. They are a breed of goat with small ears and a BIG personality. They're my favorite breed. Everybody has their favorite breed.

 The 5-year-old in the tutu has named the new baby goat “Glitters”.  We laugh every time we say it.  I was hoping we could persuade her to find a different name, but I don’t think we’re going to win this one.  However,  the baby will be going to a new and wonderful home at Alva Island Farm  soon.  She’s planning to name the next babies… Puddins’ and Sprinkles.   Great.

Glitters.

Come grow with us!