February 28, 2009

The Chicken List. Argh! I can't decide!

If you have been following my blog you know that I would like to bring some chickens home to our farm this year. We have never owned chickens but I have been thinking about them for a couple years. I have always put off buying any, the old "maybe next year" syndrome. This year is going to be different, the chickens are coming home to Shiloh Prairie Farm to roost... if I could ever decide which ones that is.

I should have already ordered them but Jamey and I are having a difficult time deciding which chickens would be best for us. He wants productivity, but I am a sucker for a beautiful egg and a nice personality. Last night I researched and read about different breeds in hopes of narrowing our list down. That did not work at all because instead of paring the choices down my research only gave me the names of a few more chickens to add to my chicken wish list.

I never had any trouble deciding which breeds of goats to raise. I knew what I liked and I liked what I liked, but these chickens.... Argh! I just can't decide! I planned on ordering from Cackle hatchery since they are so close to us, but they require a minimum order of 5 chicks per breed. There will only be room for twenty chickens so I would like to narrow it down to four or five breeds only. I am indecisive, I am running out of time, I am in chicken hell here...would ya help a fellow blogger out? If you have experience with any of these breeds I would love to hear the good, the bad and the ugly about them so I can narrow my list down. Thanks so much!

The Chicken List

Ameraucana - It sounds like theAmeraucanas from most hatcheries are actually "Easter eggers", whatever you want to call them, they are on my list for productivity and egg color. Blue eggs, come on...that is cool!

Australorp - On the list for size, productivity and personality. They seem to have it all.

Barnevelder - My first choice of dark chocolate egg laying hens for rating as more docile, but they are not available in most hatcheries. My second choices are the Welsummer or Maran.

Delaware - On the list for productivity and personality, sounds like an all around good farm hen.

Faverolles - They just sound like sweethearts. Adorable and odd with muffs, a beard, and feathered feet...who doesn't want a chicken that will make them smile every time you look at them. Apparently they are too nice and submissive, often being the target of bullying. That is a concern; those poor, sweet, feather faced girls. (Have you guessed this is the breed I want yet?)

Buff Orpington - They were not rated quite as productive as some of the others on the list, but still not bad and their personality was described as "calm and patient". Since these will be our first chickens, I can't help but think calm and patient would be very good virtues for these chickens to have.

Barred Plymouth Rock - Smart, docile and beautiful producers of large brown eggs. Sounds great!

Rhode Island Red - Jamey's family had some when he was very young and he originally just wanted to get 20 of these for our farm, but how could I tell them apart then! Jamey loves their productivity and hardiness. I have heard they are dominate to other chickens and I don't want them picking on my poor, sweet Favorolles. Other than this they sound like great, red, egg laying machines and that is important too.

Red Star - Sounds like a very productive, good all around chicken.

Speckled Sussex - Supposedly these lovely birds lay well in cold weather and they are docile, mellow and easily fenced in. This was one of the chickens that got ADDED to my already too long chicken list.

Two of the places I read about these breeds at were My Pet Chicken and this handy dandy chicken chart of comparative breed information.

Clip Art by
If you are looking for some nice poultry web art, you should check out Judy's Jems.

February 26, 2009

Coyotes in the Woods

I have long known the area in which we live has a large and healthy coyote population. There has been many summer nights I have sat on the back porch and listened to the coyotes yip and howl on our farm. In the past their eerie, yet beautiful serenade would come from different directions on different nights. Sometimes their calls were distant and lonely; sometimes they were so close the manic yipping and howling was almost deafening. The sound of the train rumbling past in the distance would set them off to howling on many nights.

This year things have been a little different. I still hear lone coyotes calling from different directions, but their daily group yip, howl has echoed from the same direction and general location all winter. It sounds like the highest level of activity comes from the woods at the back of our property, behind our goat pasture. I was pretty sure by their calls they had set up an area of our woods where lots of ceder trees grow as cover for their home. About half of our farm is in hay meadows and our homestead, the rest is a wildlife heaven of woods and brushy pastures and I like it that way. We do use livestock guardian dogs to protect our goats from coyotes.

The other evening I kept hearing a strange sound, at first I thought it was a bird. The second time I heard the sound, it was clearly not a bird. No, that sounded like puppies. The mewling, whining cry of very young puppies and it sounded like it was coming from the woods behind our goat pastures. Could it be? Coyote puppies? Since coyotes breed in late winter or about the end of January through March, it seems a bit early for coyote puppies. It was still worth a walk through the woods. No pups or coyotes was spotted, but other interesting things was found in the woods on our farm.

It is hard to see in this picture, but this is a deer trail through the woods on our farm.

A well worn animal trail in the woods.It is very hard to see in this picture, but there is an old den at the base & under this old tree.

Probably a coyote den, it doesn't appear active.

A coyote den, there was three holes like this found in close proximity to each other. Dens can have more than one entrance, so it is possible a couple may be entrances to the same den. Looks like from the roughed up dirt it has been used recently. Coyotes will also sometimes take over old groundhog or fox dens and enlarge them for their own use.

Another den entrance, it is larger than it appears in the picture.

Could be a coyote print. I am not sure, it isn't very well defined in this loose soil but it was near one of the dens. Maybe we should look for prints after a rain.

This is a bit of grey hair that was found caught on a low strand of an old barbed wire fence in the woods near the dens. I believe it is likely coyote hair. I wish I had a night vision camera to set up in the woods to try and get some pictures of the wildlife. That would be interesting!

February 23, 2009

Busy Weekend

It has been a few days since I have had a chance to post much to this blog, but it was a very busy weekend on the farm. For starters on Friday the fence was not charging as well as it should so it had to be checked. The only way to do this is to start walking the fence line to find the problem. In the far corner of one of the pastures the goats are not in right now some post tops were missing, apparently some deer had been through and damaged the fence. The dogs keep the deer out of any pasture the goats are in, but the deer are not dumb and they know which pastures are empty to cross. It was an easy fix once the problem was finally found.

Then Saturday was spent cleaning out the old hay shed, and it was quite a mess. The old hay that was unfit for animal feed was loaded in the truck and moved to a far corner of the yard to be used in the future for compost. Loose hay bale wires in the shed had to be gathered up and will be recycled the next time a load of metal is taken to town. We only had a few bales of our prairie hay left, so some had to be bought to get us through the rest of the winter until the spring grass comes in good. It was a quick 40 mile round trip to go get more hay. We bought more prairie hay and some alfalfa for the milkers and new moms as well. The goats love their alfalfa hay and treat me like a rock star when they see me carrying it to their feeders.

Since I want to be able to use the hay shed in the Spring for other uses, the new hay was unloaded and stacked in the backyard on pallets and covered with a tarp. Our fenced backyard is in the center of the different goat pastures and behind the feed pen as well as the kidding pens so it is a handy place for the hay to be this time of year.

The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent doing some much needed farm spring cleaning on the pastures. There seemed to be a never ending amount of limbs that needed to be picked up. I was very grateful to have DH's help with this chore. We had planned on quitting at sunset, but with so much to do it is hard to keep to a timetable on a farm. There was lots of limbs to burn by the end of the day and so we started a fire, working until well after dark.

Sunset on the farm
As long as it is not too dry, burning is a good way to get rid of excess limbs and branches that are too small for firewood, so that is what we did. The creepy, glowing eyes in the background is just one of our livestock guardian dogs that came up to the goat pasture fence that is there, to see what was going on in the backyard.

The camera did some strange things with the lighting from the fire in this picture I took. I just thought it was a really cool picture and wanted to share.

My husband and I had worked right through suppertime, but watching the limbs burn we got an idea for a quick easy meal. Reason 47 why I love living in the country, you can cook hot dogs over a fire in your backyard late at night and no neighbors complain.

Not the most healthy meal to be eating at 9pm at night for sure, but it was quick, easy and we never had to turn the stove on.

Then Sunday was spent trimming the hooves on half of the goat herd, cleaning out the large goat shed and taking down the old kidding pens so they could be moved to make room for a larger garden this year. All the vegetable seeds and supplies we will need for this years garden was also bought and I got our spring goat supplies ordered online as well. Tomorrow I hope to get some of the early vegetable seeds started indoors and the kidding pens set up again in their new location. The countdown clock at the bottom of this blog reminds me that I better hurry up and not waste time getting that done!

February 22, 2009

The Premios Dardo Award

Both Alix and Mary presented me with the Premios Dardo Award. Thank you both so much for thinking of me! It is certainly nice to be presented with this award from not one but two fellow bloggers, but I have no idea what Premios Dardo is or means.

According to Alix here's the scoop: The Premios Dardo Award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.
Wow! I do that? I had no idea, but I guess I will take your word on that one. :)

Here are the instructions that came with this award:

STEP 1: Respond and rework. Answer the following questions on my blog, replacing one question that I dislike with a question of my own invention.

STEP 2: Add one more question of my own.

STEP 3: Tag eight other bloggers.

That's easy enough. Here goes...

1) What is your favorite day of the week? I would have to say Saturday, because I can make plans without the rush of weekday things.

2) What is your biggest fear? That is a tough one, not much I am afraid of. I guess I would have to say Alzheimer's disease. I worked in an assisted living home for a few years and seen a lot of it, then I took care of my own grandmother and watched what it did to her. That was tough. I worked in that type of job long enough to know that no matter a person's life or background, rich or poor when we get to that part of our lives the most important thing is our family and our memories. Alzheimer's disease robs a person of their memories and so much more. I can't imagine anything worse.

3) What was your worst subject in school? Math! I am still terrible at it.

4) Who did you hug last? Icy the goat, you can laugh if you want but I couldn't help it. Besides the fact she is such a sweetheart of a pet, she has this unbelievable super soft, fluffy winter hair. She is the only goat on the farm like that, I don't know if her mom had something on the side with the Snuggle fabric softener bear or what, but Icy has some huggable hair.

5) What websites do you visit when you go online? Some homestead type blogs and a few yahoo groups.

6) What was the last item that you bought? The last thing I spent money on was some square bales of alfalfa and prairie hay.

7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? I am quite happy at home, but if I could go anywhere, I have always wanted to visit Australia. I would like to visit Vermont again someday.

8) If you woke up tomorrow and were the opposite sex what is the first thing you would do and why? I do not know! I like being a woman. I guess I would hang around other guys and see what you all really talk about when no women are around.

9) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle? As a teenager, I wished my hair to look like Doro Pesche, the lead singer of the band Warlock. I grew it and my bangs out that long. Eventually I got tired of taking care of it and cut it shorter, but I still think she has the most awesome hair ever.

10) What was the last movie you watched? Fried Green Tomatoes. It is one of my favorites.

12) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments, or interruptions, what would you do? I would spend time with my animals and read a good book, uninterrupted.

13) If you were to win the Powerball, what would you do with the money (besides invest it)? The first thing I would do is pay off all our debts. It would also be great to have the money to help my family out and donate to some favorite charities. I would also buy a tractor and all the machinery needed to bale our own hay pastures.

14) In your opinion, who is the most significant person in history and why? Tough question! MLK is the first person that came to my mind, but really how does a person just narrow it down to one individual.

15) If you had a choice of places to live, where would it be? I can't think of a place I would rather live than Kansas.

Now, in keeping with the rules of this award...I need to pass this award on to a few deserving people with great blogs.

1. Claire
2. Nikki
3. Jama
4. Diana
5. Juri
6. Cat
7. Christy
8. Mama

February 19, 2009

Musical Chairs - Farm Photo of the Week

It doesn't take much to entertain a pasture full of goat kids. Like other "kids" they get bored easy but a fun game of musical chairs will cure that! Too bad they only had one chair.

February 17, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin

The does bellies and udders are starting to get bigger now, which is a sign I can start the countdown until the new Spring goat babies arrive! I even added a countdown clock at the bottom of this blog to count down the days until the first of the kids are due to be born. The clock on this blog is just for the first does due dates though, the rest of the does due dates are scattered from the end of March, through April and clear up to the first part of May. I usually get them in with the bucks in a timely manner so that they are all due in about a 3 week period, but that didn't happen this year. So it looks like we will have a long, drawn out kidding season and lots of waiting ahead of us. Waiting is the name of the game and there is still a little over a month to go yet before those first kids start hitting the ground, but the countdown has definitely begun.

Speaking of new gadgets on the blog, I would love to get opinions on the three new links to other stories on this blog that are now at the bottom of each post. They are supposed to be links to other relevant posts. I don't know how relevant they will be to the post they are linked too but I am wondering if people like them.....don't like them? Opinions?

*In the picture above, Rose (dark red goat) Trouble (middle goat) and Rock seem to be in waiting mode too. They are starting to udder up now. Icy, the white goat in front is one of the last ones due and hasn't started to show much yet. Bayla watches over the goats in the background.

February 16, 2009


Mother goat with newborn kids
Abby as a puppy, a young Emma in the background.
Newborn buckling
Emma and Jamey
Buck and Doe
Great Pyrenees Puppy.
Nifty and newborn buckling.
Maybe my animals are trying to tell me something? Maybe how they feel about all the pictures?

February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone has a very happy Valentine's Day tomorrow, filled with lots of love and hugs!

February 12, 2009

Where to Buy Goat Supplies

Back when I got my first two goats there was no goat supplies carried in local farm stores. No goat mineral, feed or medical supplies could be found at all and even the selection of cattle and sheep products locally was often sparse. Some of these alternate products I can use for my goats and some, such as sheep mineral which is too low in copper for goats, can't be used. I quickly learned that many of the things I needed to care for my goats would have to be ordered online or through livestock catalogs.

Luckily with the rising popularity of goats this has changed some. I can now buy goat feed, mineral and quite a few of the things our goats need locally these days. I try to support local businesses when I can but I still order many of the goat supplies we need online. These are the livestock supply companies I have ordered from most often. Please note, these are my own personal opinions and experiences with these companies, it is no guarantee yours will be the same with them.

Jeffers Livestock - I have ordered things a few times through Jeffers. They almost always have the best prices. They have a really fantastic selection, it is rare I can't find what I need there and they also carry pet products. Though they did over charge my credit card the last time I ordered.

Livestock Concepts, Inc. - I have ordered from livestock concepts quite a few times in the past, and they have been great. My favorite thing about livestock concepts is the way they ship their vaccines. When I have ordered vaccines from them they have always arrived cold, even in the summertime, thanks to the fact they were carefully packed with Styrofoam inserts for insulation and plenty of ice-packs.

Valley Vet Supply - I have ordered from Valley Vet a few times and have always been happy with their service. When I had to call with a question about shipping, the person I spoke too was very nice and pleasant. They will sometimes still have certain products when other suppliers are out.

Here are some more goat supply links, I have not ordered from these places enough to share my experience with them, but they are definitely worth checking out.

Hoegger Goat Supply - Lots of goat supplies, they carry items other general livestock supply companies may not, such as cheese making supplies, etc.

Caprine Supply - Goat supplies and products, some goat books, magazines and DVDs also.

Register's Sheep & Goat Supply - Goat and sheep supplies.

Premier1 Supplies - Fencing and livestock equipment.

Sydell - Goat and Sheep equipment. Feeders, pens, corral systems and more.

American Livestock and Pet Supply - Livestock and pet supplies, some goat products too.

Hamby Dairy Supply - Goat milking machines and dairy supplies.

* The picture is of a Boer doe and her two young bucklings. Emma & her boys are enjoying a little break on a sunny, spring day last year.

February 11, 2009

I Love The Letter G

The other day I visited Claire's blog "Is This Heaven? No, This Is Iowa!" and she had posted about a fun little game! To play, you must name 10 things that you love, beginning with a letter assigned to you by the blog owner who's blog you saw the game on. Claire assigned me the letter "G". Which made it easy for me, so in no particular order here are my ten things!

It is a predictable place for me to start I know, but I love Goats! We raise Boer and Boer cross goats on our farm along with a few Nubians. I remember just when I became fascinated with goats though. Many years ago I was just sitting in my living room, enjoying a peaceful afternoon when I suddenly got the feeling I was being watched. When I looked out the living room window I discovered my peeping tom was actually a cute, little pygmy goat looking back in at me with a funny little beard and a curious face. I managed to catch her with a little bit of horse grain. As it would turn out she belonged to our neighbor, her name was "Nanny" and she was an accomplished escape artist. It only took a few days or less to track down her owner, but by then it was too late. I was already bitten by the goat bug and it was not long after that I convinced my husband we needed a few goats "to help clean up the weeds" and that is when we brought our first two goats home. The rest is history or so they say.

Also, I love Great Pyrenees dogs. We use them to protect our goats from coyotes, bobcats, stray dogs and other predators. This very old breed of dog has been doing this same job of protecting sheep and other livestock from predators for a very long time. They are very good at what they do, we have not lost a goat to predators since we have had these beautiful dogs watching over them. They are also big, gentle, lovable lugs that while they might not win an obedience trial, since they really do prefer to make their own decisions; they have definitely won my heart.

I love "my Guy", my husband Jamey. I realize this may be a bit of a technical stretch for the letter "G" since I don't just love any "Guy", but "my guy" which actually starts with the letter M, but it is my list and I am going to make that stretch. We have been together a very long time and while our relationship has certainly had its ups and downs I wouldn't trade that time for anything.

I love Garfield! He is just the most adorable, funny cartoon character ever!

I love Guinea fowl! They are a bird that is related to the pheasant. It is native to Africa, but has been domesticated in the United States and other countries. I do not have any on the farm though, I am still trying to talk my husband into them. Never mind the fact I just think they are interesting and really neat birds, they could do a lot of good on our farm eating ticks. I have been told by many people who do own them that they really cut down on the tick and bug population around their farms.

I love Goat's Milk Soap! I started making goat's milk soap several years ago after hearing how much better it was than commercial soap, which makes both Jamey and my skin itch like crazy. The difference was amazing after we started using the homemade goat's milk soap instead. No more itchy skin! It also gives me a good use for some of the extra goat milk that we have each year. This is a picture of Lavender scented and Fragrance free goat's milk soap set up to cure.

Wonderful soap is not the only thing that can be made from goat milk. I also love Goat Cheese! It tastes great and is wonderful in so many recipes. I have been pretty busy with soap making but I hope to find more time to make cheese again this year. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of any goat cheese, but I thought this picture was appropriate because without this special lady, there would be no goat cheese or goat's milk soap! This is a picture of my Nubian dairy goat, Dymphna. Don't worry if you can not pronounce that name, that is her registered name but I did not name her. All of her friends and me just call her "Dym" for short. She is a wonderful dairy goat and produces lots of milk which has many uses on our farm. Dym can produce 1 1/2 gallons and more per day after her own kids are weaned. If we do need more milk than that we also have her two daughters, Penny and Rose who also produce good goat milk for our farm.

Now we have talked about the goats but not the gardening! I love Gardening! There is just something so rewarding about growing our own vegetables from seeds to food for our table. It makes me feel more self-sufficent, independent and happy. Vegetable gardens are not the only kind I love though. I love flower gardens and the color and beauty in them.

One of the many things I want to grow in our garden this year are some Gourds! I would love to try my hand at some Gourd crafts, such as bird houses this year. For some more neat craft ideas using gourds, check out this article.

Last, but not least I love the color Green! Green is spring grass after a long, dreary winter. My eyes are green, OK hazel green. I love the smell of some fresh cut green hay. Money is green and someday I hope to not have to worry about it. Doing what I can to help the environment is green. The color green reminds me of nature and the outdoors, which is the biggest reason I love green.

February 10, 2009

Simple Ham & Cheese Quiche

3 eggs separated
3/4 cup chopped ham
1 cup shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
4 oz cream cheese; softened
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 standard pie crust

Beat egg whites, then soften cream cheese and mix with egg yolks, add ham, pepper, onions, and colby-jack cheese. Fold in egg whites and pour into pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, sprinkle parmesan on top and bake and additional 5-10 minutes.

February 09, 2009

Coyote Howls and Guardian Angels

This is a recording of the coyotes yipping and howling at dusk on our farm. This is an every day occurrence at night and especially at dusk on our farm. Their yips and howls are actually quite loud and near by, but for some reason my camera did not record them nearly as loud as they actually were while standing on my back porch. So turn the volume way up. The barking that can be heard over the coyotes on the video is our livestock guardian dogs hard at work doing their job of warning the coyotes away from the goat pastures.

According to Davidson College, "Coyotes have at least three different types of vocalizations used in various situations. The first call is lone howling done by a single coyote. Lone howling lasts a long period of time and has a higher pitch compared to the other types of calls. This call is thought to be a type of communication by lost or separated members of a pack. The second type of vocalization is group howling. This type of call is characterized by several coyotes each giving a lone howl at the same time. The third type of vocalization is the group-yip howl. The group-yip howl is identified by patterned high intensity yips and howls performed by multiple coyotes in a group. Both the group howling and group-yip howling appear to serve the same functions. One function is to advertise the location of the group’s territory and the second is to coordinate group hunting strategies. By announcing the general area of a coyote pack’s territory they can reduce the risk of encountering another pack of coyotes which may result in a violent and costly fight.


Coyotes are always going to be a challenge for people like me that raise goats, sheep or other livestock but I have given myself an advantage over the predators by putting some real life guardian angels on the farm's payroll. These protectors of the herd work for just food, board and the occasional bonus pat on the head. Meet the hardest working and most important animals on the farm, our Great Pyrenees dogs.

This is Dreyfus...aka "The Babysitter", because well, he usually ends up babysitting the baby goats. He is amazingly tolerant of bouncy baby goats jumping on him while he tries to nap, but he is all business when it comes to patrolling the fence and keeping coyotes and other predators away from his charges and his territory.

This is his backup, meet the ever watchful mother and daughter team that is Abby and Bayla. Abby is the mom and the smaller one sitting down in this picture. Even though Abby is the smallest of our livestock guardian dogs at 90 lbs...this "little" girl is all heart, she doesn't back down from anything or anyone but she also has a soft side for any farm baby. She loves the baby goats, watching over them from birth and making sure all baby goat faces and bottoms are clean on this farm.

Bayla is an Abby & Dreyfus daughter and the dog that is standing up in this picture. Bayla was born and raised on our farm. She was born with lots of great natural guardian instinct from her parents and what she wasn't born with she learned from her mother and father in the goat pasture. I have watched her grow from a fat little puppy into a truly great guardian I can trust the very lives of our goats too.

Coyote picture courtesy of Cal Poly land. edu

February 06, 2009

Who Knew Goats Were Such Criminals?

Just look who Seattle police arrested the other day. Read Story Here.

Apparently it is a goat crime wave, Mercedes owners beware. Read Another Story Here.

*Picture is of my Boer goat "Emma". Don't let that face fool you, she is no where near as innocent as she looks. Something tells me she would like nothing more than to jump around on a nice Mercedes...maybe leave a few dents..tag it with some goat graffiti, who knows what she is capable of. Don't worry, we keep her behind a fence for the safety of nice cars everywhere.

February 05, 2009

2 Awards and Some Happy Addictions

Joanna over at BooneDocksWilcox gave me the Tree of Happiness Award. If you haven't visited Joanna's blog you should, it is always fun to read and she has some beautiful animals, not to mention an adorable goat named Sweet Pea. I apologize that it took me a little bit of time to post it but thank you Joanna, it means a lot that you thought of me and my blog. I'm am to list six things that make me happy.

1. Living in the country. We moved to our farm a little over 10 years ago, but it had been a dream of mine my whole life. I don't remember a time in my life I did not want to live on a farm, it is probably one of my earliest goals and wants in life. I am not antisocial at all, but I hated living in town, the nosy neighbors, the traffic, concrete and rules. I don't want some city board telling me what color to paint my house or what pets I can have. Maybe I am just a little bit of a rebel at heart but life just feels a little more free to me out here. My farm is more than an address to me, it is home and living here in the country makes me very happy.

2. Animals make me happy. I love animals and I always have. My mom tells me as a young child I wanted a pet giraffe, I do not remember that but I don't doubt it. My own animals are very special to me, they always bring a smile to my face. They understand when the world doesn't and they have got me through some dark days in my life. Animals are comical, honest and true and responsible for a great deal of the joy in my life. My goats especially do something every day that makes me laugh, I just love being around them.

3. Music makes me happy. I love music and love many different kinds of music. I like country, rock, R&B, rap, I don't turn my back on any type of music. That doesn't mean I like every song or band out there because I certainly don't, but I am open minded. A world without music would be a very sad world indeed. A great song on the car radio that you just have to turn up is a happy moment for me.

4. Sunflowers make me happy. All flowers do actually, but sunflowers are my favorite. Those pretty, sunny yellow petals and big round face just makes them look like such happy flowers. Not too fancy but beautiful all the same, sunflowers always bring a smile to my face. They are also the Kansas state flower, how cool!

5. Kind people make me happy. Those that are just truly nice, good down in their heart of hearts type people. I think most people are like this, but when I see someone show it by helping someone out or doing something kind just for the sake of doing something nice for someone else, that makes me happy.

6. My blog and this community. I have got to know some very interesting people through these blogs. I enjoy reading about their lives, interests and hobbies and being able to share mine as well.

So now in keeping with the rules of this award I will pass this Tree of Happiness on too six other blogs that make me happy. Please don't feel obligated, but if you want to share in the fun list 6 things that make you happy.

1. Aventures In The 100 Acre Wood
2. Casa Hice
3. Melissa's Ramblings
4. Petalz and Finz
5. Tale of The 3 B's
6. Hot Belly Mama

Claire at the fun and fabulous "Is this heaven? No, this is Iowa" blog awarded me the "Your Blog is Fabulous" award, which comes with the unusual requirement of listing 5 of your "favorite addictions" I'm not sure that I technically have any true addictions, but there are lots of things I really, really like, so here are 5 of them.

1. Dr. Pepper - this is probably the closest to a "true" addiction that I have. Growing up my sister and I never had any restrictions on how much pop we could drink. Pepsi is just what our family drank and I continued to drink it everyday as an adult. I gave up pop (that is what we call it around here, other people call it soda...but whatever you call it..one thing is for sure, it really is not good for you. ) for months and only drank water and tea but I have fallen off the Dr. Pepper wagon again I am afraid. I have cut back, and now I need to quit drinking it again.

2. Goats - I know, what a strange "addiction" you say. The truth is I started out with just a couple, to eat the weeds around the yard you know, but just like potato chips nobody can have just one or two goats once they get started with them. Now I have 24!

3. Homemade soap - I love to make homemade soap. I use goat's milk instead of water and it is so much nicer than commercial, store bought bars and so much fun to make too! Hopefully a small shop or space where I can make soap is in my near future because right now it is taking over my house. I have soap bars everywhere..or at least that is what my husband would say. LOL.

4. Sunflowers - Yea, I know I already mentioned this for the other award, but I like them so much that I find myself wanting to decorate my house with sunflower wallpaper borders and curtains.

5. Warm weather - I like the sunny warm days of spring and summer so much that I find myself almost counting the days through winter until spring arrives again. I love sunshine, what can I say.

I hope Claire does not mind to much but I am going to bend the rules of this award just a bit. I am so thankful and really appreciate her and others that have given me these awards, they really mean a lot to me. I have been happy to receive several of them the last few weeks. So what I am going to do is wait and list great and deserving blogs one at a time over the next few months, so stay tuned!