Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jumped Up Into Fall And Surprise....

Wow, the pitiful summer just flew by without much bravado around here. Working the off farm job kept me pretty well in catch up mode the whole time. The unusually wet spring ruined the garden with weeds that grew faster than I could control them. The farm spent most of the summer looking like gypsies lived here with the waist high grass and critters tethered out all over the place. August and September were a whirlwind here with me falling into a 20 year old, 3 cylinder gas john deere rider mower, getting the square baler timed ( thanks Gene!) and getting all the hay baled. Without Justins Grandpa Gene, I would have never figured out what the last owner had jacked up on that baler. It's always the simple stuff that gets overlooked and I just never knew that piece was there. Old farmers are always worth their weight in gold. Would have been a waste selling the cows to get tractor tires if I couldn't get the baler going to make winter hay.

So, the 3 billys born this spring got sold, $2 a lb, not bad. Kept the orphan billy to breed with since he's from new bloodlines. If he wouldn't have come here, I would have had to buy one so I'm good with it. He's got a good personality, easy going and is turning out nice and beefy. Should make nice babies. Now I will at least have the winter feed bill covered and a good billy to make new babies for spring kdding. Throw in the hay bales and I'm sitting pretty good coming into the winter. Now all I need to do is come up with a small cushion in case disaster hits like last winter.

I'm still a bit in withdrawal not having a milk cow around here. Had a scare with the old horse, she seemed to just walk into a fit of colic. It was a bit tense here for 2 days while she worked it out with the help of 2 bottles of karo syrup. I figure it was weather related since here diet has not changed. She's also over age 20, officially old for a horse. She's still looking good and can still buck when she wants. She'll be around for a few more years. I don't mind, she earned her stay here.

Got a wild thing picking the chickens off every few days. I've gone from 35 laying hens down to 10. I have 19 chicks in the grow tank waiting for me to finish a coop to put them into. I have 36 eggs in the incubator but they're due tomorrow and I haven't heard any peeps from in there. I think the temperature wasn't good for this batch. The weather change and I found a cat sleeping on it the other day. Eh, I really didn't need any more right now anyway. Hate it that they're all dead in there tho. Seems like such a waste.

One of the team at work has a puss-ass immune system and brought a nasty bug to work for us all. Hacking and coughing, spitting in every trash can and yup, we all got it. I, of course, went on the old timey health ranger offensive and all I ended up with is a mild case of the sniffles out of it. The rest of the crew ignored my suggestions and they're all smacked with it hard. It still amazes me that people can be so narrow minded and hard headed. Where do they think modern medicine came from? Eh, it's like hitting my thumb with a hammer trying to teach people anything. They're sick, I'm not. I'm good with that, LOL

Oh, so, back in July, the company that has been picking up my trash for the last 6 years just quit picking it up. I thought the first week that maybe I missed trash day but the next week went by and the trash was still there. Then, another week went by and the trash was starting to stink a bit. Yep, they aren't picking it up. So, I commenced to drag it over to the burn pile and get rid of it. Then, 2nd week of August, I get bill in the mail for August pick up. I ignore it since they hadn't finished out the month of July which was already paid for. Then, 2nd week of September, I get another bill! This one is for August and September pickup! Oh no, this ain't gonna fly. Me being me, I wrote a somewhat nasty note on the bill and sent it back to them. Simple and to the point, if you stopped picking my trash up in mid July, I can not pay for August and September services I did not receive so stop sending me trash pickup bills, LOL Reminds me of the John Deere dealer sending me a repair bill stamped past due for work they did on the mower they took as a trade in 3 months prior. Sometimes I wonder about people. How they can be so stupid and or why they think everyone else is so stupid.

As for me, I'm just plodding along, day to day, going with the flow of whatever happens. It's really all I can manage to do. Make plans, watch them work or fall apart, adapt, overcome, move on to the next plan. Samey same and more of it, LOL.

Oh, I did manage to make 2 small upgrades toward the cottage kitchen being approved as a full on commercial kitchen. I had 2 specialty jobs this summer that paid for the supplies. A couple more things and I'll be good. Now all I need to do is find the time to work it up to a viable business. Hard to cut back hours from the job that pays the bills to build up something that isn't making enough at this time to cover much of anything. I most certainly haven't given up and the market is out there, just taking longer than I planned for it to pay me like I want it to. Hard to dedicate the time needed when I have nothing to fall back on. The not sleeping for 2 or 3 days at a time to get those specialty jobs done is one thing, doing it all the time or once or twice a week just won't cut it. I'm way too old for that!

Well, I grabbed the camera for some fall farm pictures and what do ya know, the battery icon comes on instantly. Wow, guess it's been a while since I picked the camera up. I flip it over and pull the batteries out. Yep, the camera has been a victim of my son helping himself again. In place of the lithium batteries I always put in her, there's 4 cheapie standard ever-readys. Guess my son needed AAs and thought he could just get them from me. He does that quite frequently. Very annoying. At least this time, he actually put something in their place. Normally he just takes what he wants from me and leaves me nothing in return. Most of the time, it's food. Every now and then he sticks me for the lawn mower gas, take dish soap from me and fill the bottle with water to cover it up, help himself to the toilet paper, usually my last 2 rolls. He learned this crap from the ex. He better hope and pray I never get ahead enough to burn this crap trailer down and build something he can't break into so easily. Wish the dang dogs would bite him.

Eh, it's life and now it's time to feed and go to work........

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Bookmarks of Life

It always seems like life is measured by some sort of event.  Happy, sad, etc. Well, add a bookmark to the timeline of life then....  there are no more cows on this farm.

Yep, Goober the cow is gone.  Sold so I could pay some past due bills around here.  A necessary sacrifice since the job I must go to so I can keep the mortgage paid keeps me too darn busy to make any cheese.  It seemed silly to me to feed and milk a cow twice a day when the milk ends up dumped.  The constant fighting with work because some people simply can not understand COW MILKED TWICE A DAY AT 12 HOUR INTERVALS.  That doesn't mean one day milk at 10am and 10pm then tomorrow milk at 6am and 8pm.  I'm exhausted.  Both mentally and physically.  Chasing a dream I know I will never achieve. 

I feel guilty and relieved all in one.  Guilty for feeling like I've given up.  I have in a way, I guess.  Relieved that I got those bills paid that have been hanging over me for more than a year.  Relieved that I don't have to spend 4 hours a day tending the cow, milking, then cleaning the milker just to dump the milk.  All one has to do to see how wore down I am is simply look around the farm.  Actually, you don't have to look past the weedy gardens to see.

The next to go will be the rabbits.  I will most likely spend one of my days off, rare as they are, butchering rabbits.  The amount of time I spend feeding them naturally plus the cost of commercial feeds to supplement their diet just isn't justifying their keep here anymore.  They do sell but not consistent enough to cover the cost of feed.  Even the feed I grow for myself which is cost free but not time free.  It takes every free minute I have to tend this farm.  On days when I can hardly haul myself out of bed, I still have to find the energy to get out there and do all the work that is needed every single day.

I'm keeping the goats and chickens.  Just the entertainment value of both is worth keeping.  Besides, the goats are smarter than the 2 stupid dogs I have and I actually like the goats better than those dogs, LOL  Plus, the sale of the kids every year covers their upkeep, mostly.  The chickens, well, I just like chickens around the farm.  I'm just stuck with the over age 20 horse too.  I've had her since she was a 4 month old weanling and the years of joy and entertainment she's given myself and the family qualifies her for a spot here until she dies.  No slaughter pen at an auction for her.

Now, what am I gonna do about that weedy garden?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June Farm update

So, it's been raining non stop for the past 6 days. Torrential downpour is more like it. The remnants of some tropical storm, Bill, I think. Yay rah. It's kept me in a pitiful loop for existence. Wake up, make some coffee, feed the orphans, drink some coffee, feed the rest of the critters, back to the house to drink another cup of coffee, get ready for work then go to work. Drive home, check on and feed where necessary, clean up, try to sleep. Wake up, repeat. Glad I spent 9 hours weeding the front garden before the rain set in! I can just imagine what it would look like right now if I hadn't taken the time to get it done. My only day off from the job and I spent it weeding a garden, LOL. Yep, I'm still wrapped hard in the dream. I'm stubborn that way I guess. In town every day, six days a week and it would be kind of easy to just chuck this whole self reliant farm thing out the window and be just like the rest of the blind and oblivious buzzing around like worker ants, getting absolutely nothing accomplished with any real meaning. Naw, that just isn't going to happen. I like being the square peg, doing my own thing, not conforming. Conformity is BORING!

I did manage to get 2 books read this past week. One was actually a re-read from years ago. An offhanded comment caused that one to get checked out of the library. Catcher in the Rye. Now I remember why I don't own a copy of that book. Yep, I'm still pondering how the PTB linked it to being the trigger for mass murder. The book did the same thing for me that it did the first time I read it back in high school. Made my dang brain hurt. Whatever. The second book was Chris Kyles book, American Sniper. I chose to read the book before I see the hollywood depiction. I'm sure I will feel the same way about the movie as I do about the big screen version of Marcus Luttrells book, Lone Survivor. I'm not going to go into a whole big discussion about why I appreciate both books, for me, it's not about weather or not I “liked” them, thought they were “great” etc. Both Marcus and Chris didn't write to entertain people and it is my opinion that neither book is meant to be that way. Both are deep and revealing peeks into the souls of American Warriors. Both Marcus and Chris have my deepest respect and gratitude for their service to this country and for having the desire to share their experiences with the rest of us. And, that's all I'll say on that subject.

Oh, I did finally get the sweet corn planted tho it was in a hurry and kind of a blur since the rain was coming hard and fast. Another spot where the weeds are taller than the intentional plants. Will probably spend a few hours on that spot getting pigweed thorns in my fingers. No glamorous rows of corn here yet, just tiny little plants searching for sunlight and a truck load of weeds! Heck, I've still got seed I need to plant and plants in the kitchen that need put out somewhere to grow and produce. Yah, I'm slacking big time this year. The juggling of the job and the farm has me stretched pretty thin most days. I'm right on the verge of a couple nice niche things produced on the farm to make me a nice, small living but the time to make it flower isn't there. Cant get it by reducing hours at the job, the paycheck is too thin already. Eh, it's the old “catch-22” so I'll just keep plugging away at it. It will come in it's own good time.

Well! Here I am rattling away about less important things, I haven't mentioned anything about me headed for Grand Parent-dom. My youngest and his girlfriend are expecting. I actually have some pretty deep, mixed emotions about it. Happy, angry, excited, disappointed etc. I am holding my opinions inside for the moment because when I was their age, just a little older, I made my fair share of stupid mistakes. So, until this all happens, I will do my best to filter the brain to mouth thing (hard to do for me, trust me!) and be ready to do whatever is necessary at the time. I've seen the sonogram, of course both of them keep saying it's a boy but so far, the development says to me it's a girl. We'll see come Christmas time. Due Dec 24th to Jan 1st. My vote is January 4th, at 2:34am, LOL. I actually hope it's snowing like mad, hehehehe. 

So, speaking of babies, the laying hens are annoying me just a little. I end up having to go to work before they get their rude butts of the nests and one by one, they're going broody on me. I've got 4 hens with chicks now and a 5th has now decided not to get off the barn loft nest. There's 14 eggs in it every day and she's been there 3 days now with the other hens laying eggs in that spot with her. I'm looking at 3 weeks with being cut down to 4 or 5 eggs a day instead of my normal 18. The good news on that is, by the time this summer is winding down and those 2 year old hens are slowing down egg laying, a whole new batch of pullets will be starting to lay. There's the 31 I hatched out in the house plus another 17 the hens have hatched out. Geez, I really need that darn chicken coop built. Eh, I'll not go there or I'll end up on a huge rant about how I'm surrounded by people who are all “talk” with no “do”. I squished that bug already so no sense beating a dead horse. If I ever get caught up on my dang past due bills, I'll get what I need to build it one piece at a time.

Well, looks like I've spent enough time today drinking coffee and procrastinating. Too much to do on my only darn day off...................

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May Crazy days

May 12-27th

So, here it is, half way thru May and what's going on around the farm? Time doesn't mean much around here since it's all so scheduled and in high demand. There's not much left over for deviation from the set routine. Out of bed every day, same time no matter how tired you are. Feed and milk, tend to small things that need done then head out to the off farm job. Rinse, repeat.

Critters are doing fair to middling, garden is coming along, no thanks to my old, good friend Ronnie, who spends more time sitting on a bucket than anything else. Even tried to get my son to turn some garden over for money to make it look like he did something. So much for all his big promises and such, all lip service and bullshit. Not really surprising since I seem to be constantly surrounded by people who think they want to be just like me but lack the stamina to keep up. Which, is just a polite way to say they're full of crap and too lazy to follow up. And, a no show today as well.

So, spring farm checklist- chicken coop-nope. Run the front fencing-nope. Build the new lean-to for the rabbits-nope. Turn the garden-nope. Well, kind of, that last one isn't a total no check mark, I did arrange for the corn patch to be tilled which it is. 3 days of rain in a row while I was working kept me from getting that patch planted. Rain on my first day off in 2 weeks put a damper on farm stuff but I still managed to hoe the tomato rows in the drizzle and weed both the strawberries and the asparagus. My great farm hand Ronnie doesn't seem to understand the importance of doing those things so I did it in the rain yesterday. I'll be planting corn today by myself.

I've got 15 chicks in the brooder grow tank, they're 3 weeks old. 2 batches of meat rabbit kits, not sure how many are there tho. Just haven't messed with them yet. The calf is growing like crazy. Meatball, the boer goat orphan, is growing well. He's gotten over losing his only friend now. Hard hit for both of us. I sold a young billy to someone local and while delivering it, the herd went looking for the lost goat kid and Baby goats kid apparently got hit on the side road. They've never been out there before but the urge to find the missing kid must have been very strong. So, that was kind of a blow to the farm, sell one and lose one, cutting the sale price for the one in half.

The work schedule really has me run down. No time to make cheese and I'm dumping almost all the milk I get from Goober cow. I'm at the point now of where I feel like I should just go ahead and sell her to someone who will use the milk. Before, the cost of the feed to keep her in good flesh while milking was worth it because of the cheese, cheese making classes, butter, yogurt, etc. Now, with my work schedule consuming all my time, all that milk is being dumped but the feed is still getting to the cow. Tough choice to make since Goober is such a big part of this little farm. With Lucky and Sis gone, there isn't much keeping me in the farming mood anymore.

Ah, I've left the most messed up art of my time away from the blog out! Roger George! Roger is a 50 something yr old man who lives local, works on the barges and likes to build old cars. Been hanging around for about a year, talking cars and such. Nice fellow, so I thought. Turns out, he and his wife split and he needed a room to rent for a few days. I made it clear there is just one rule on my farm, NO DRINKING. He obviously missed that and proceeded to get drunk and follow me around crying about how scared he was of being alone. Nope, this isn't going to work out. Out he went. Yup, end of that, right? Not hardly. It's been 3 months and he's got his friends all convinced there's some great romance going on between us, he's been rerouting his mail to my farm and telling his work he lives here on the farm. Never even a hug between us, no friendly peck on the cheek, nothing! He is so very not my type to start out with, quite round and bald. Nothing wrong with either, just not what interests me in a man. Apparently, in some peoples minds, not a chance in hell means someone loves you. 3 weeks ago, he got off the boat then he waited for me to go to work, broke in to my home and stole all my farm records, the journals, all of the printed blog. He said he thought he could hold it for ransom to work out a deal with me to stay here. Oh Yah, that worked out real well for him. I got my stuff back and he got a black eye. The guy is batshit nuts and borderline stalker material. I'm currently working on restraining orders. He's been on the boat for the past 3 weeks, we'll see what happens when he gets off it this time. He had better stay clear of me and the farm, I'm getting good at delivering black eyes to idiots.

So today has been a working day off. I've been working on finishing up the front garden, turning everything that's left because Ronnie simply can't do it and I can't wait that long. Turning a 2' by 3' section in a 5 hour day, sitting on a bucket and smoking just doesn't cut it. Times a wasting. I've already found close to a pack worth of cigarette butts out in the garden. Guess Ronnies idea of gardening is very different than mine is. I'm leaning toward working it out so he isn't out here anymore. Just don't have the time to deal with the bullshit. I'm getting another one of our mutual friends to come pick up and board Rons horse. He's used it as an excuse to keep coming out here but since he got out on January, he's not touched that horse. All the promises were dead air and I'll be damned if I'm gonna give him an escape or another excuse to sit around and do nothing.

Yep! Worked it out! Ronnie is gone. No more excuses. No more bullshit.

Now my thorn in the side is my disrespectful 21 yr old son. The things he's done to me this past year are amazing. The way he talks to me, wow. If I would ever has talked to my own parents that way, I'd still be in the hospital! Worse than that, he steals from me. Big blow up this past week, rudeness, disrespect and I've had enough. Yep, that's done. The man child will be taking care of himself from now on, the freeloading is over. Time to grow up and take responsibility for your own choices and your own stupid mistakes.

Now for some fun stuff! 3 orphan boer goats now live here. Bottles twice a day because the young lady who originally took them then sold them back to the herd master, pretty much didn't have a clue and they're pretty well starved. She just dumped them back out in the pasture. Of course, the herd rejected them. They've been here a few days and the belly bloat is about half gone. Kids aren't weaned at 8 weeks and, as they grow, if they aren't eating feed, they're most certainly not candidates for weaning. Nannys here don't kick their kids off a teat until at least 14 weeks around here. These 3 orphans looked like road kill possums when they arrived here. Like the good shepard I am, I will do all I can for them.

2 litters of meat rabbit kits were born last week. Also, 34 chicks hatched. 15 in the first batch, 19 3 days ago. Still no chicken house built! I may try to get to it this coming week. I need to pay the first installment of taxes so if there's anything left of the paycheck, I'll do what I can to get it going. Need it quick tho. Chicks are growing and if I just put them out in the barn, I'll be feeding the local wildlife. As it turns out, I was too late to feed the house wildlife. Zone flew out and the kittens played with it. It's now stuck in the heating vent. I am currently working on baiting it out.

A minor slip this weekend, the newborn kid went missing. Saw the baby Saturday morning before I went to work. Sunday, no kid. Monday, no kid. I walked all over the crp looking for where that first time Momma might have left her kid at. Couldn't find it. Tuesday morning and no kid. I resigned myself to accepting it has been eaten by the coyotes. So, I set myself to task on mowing around the barns and cleaning up more of the sons messes. Some friends stopped by for a visit and lookie there, the newborn kid is back! Bopping around the barnlot like it was never gone. Makes me happy and mad, all at once. I'm thrilled the kid is back and obviously okay but mad I couldn't find it. Oh well, whats done is done.

Now, it's pouring rain. So much for more clean up and mowing before work. I didn't get around to building the fence for the corn and melon patch. Need that done asap too. Not going to get built in the pouring rain tho. “Sigh” the last 3 weeks it's rained on my days off. Part of it I guess. I'm going to have to lose some sleep during the work week if I want to get it done any time soon.........