Wednesday, July 13, 2016

sweltering July

Wow, been trying to figure out how to post updates here with a smart phone.  Not as easy as I was hoping it would be.  Quite a bit slower than the laptop is.






So here it is, middle of July and I've run thru the meager savings and managed to pick up a part time job with dollar general.  A third of the pay I used to have but something is better than nothing.

As you all can see, I'm back to making cheese!  It's goat milk this time, beautiful milkers from Akre Acres farm.  Possible give always in the near future.  Also making some lovely goat milk soap.

Lost a whole hatching of chicks, I somehow ended up with a rotten one in there and it fouled the hatch right before the hatch date.  Hate that, oh well.  Nothing else to do but clean it out and start over.

Guess I will leave it at that and go out in the sauna of a day and try to figure out why the brakes are dragging on the truck....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June Excitement and disappointment

So, here it is, half way thru this yea and I'm in big trouble. 2 weeks ago, I was summarily dismissed from my job. I was in the way of the new store manager promoting someone he obviously liked more than me. Of course I had no idea they were plotting against me. Their conspiracy was at least a month in the making as it takes 3 weeks to get shirts ordered and the day after I was dismissed, the guy promoted had his new shirts already. What a low down, weasel thing to do to someone. Especially one you acted like you were friends with to their face. Quick back stab, a bold fabrication for the termination papers and poof, there ya are.

Angry? Yah, maybe a little but the big picture is, I wasn't going anywhere in that job, I have the wrong body parts. Am I better off? LOL Not right now I'm not! I'm worrying about how to pay the mortgage at the moment.

Eh, I had 30 chicks I could have taken to market this coming Sunday. Big market, I did gret there last month. Dang puppy played with the chicks and killed them all. That's what I get for not closing the door all the way. So, now all I have to take is 4 baby rabbits. So, I whip out my forms for some novelty bird houses. Maybe I can sell a few of those. Alas, my jogsaw has grown legs and ran away. Geez! Can I just not win, ever? Why does it always seem the harder I try, the more I get knocked down?

Here's a good story tho.... A week ago Wednesday I get fired. Thursday, my son asks for help and I give it to him. Didn't work out quite how we planned and it snowballed into us spending 4 hours at the sheriffs dept waiting for assistance from a deputy. The deputy did all he could to help us and it rolled over to the next day. The end result after another 14 hours was what my son needed. If I hadn't been fired on Wednesday, I would not have been able to help him!

So, since I have no income coming in, I instantly rationed the critters way back to minimum, just enough to keep them coming to me when I call them. Hopefully, I can find a job quickly, before I am desolate.

Oh, I've been dabbling with goats milk from Akre Acres farm. I'm a little out of practice but I did make an edible wheel of cheddar this past week and good mozzarella the week before. I visited them Sunday and the compressor they just had replaced in their big cooler went bad after just 3 weeks. They had several gallons of milk that had warmed up to around 50F. I took it to try and make butter with since it needs to be around 70F to separate the cream. On the way home, I blew a brake line. Absolutely no brakes! No even a hint of brakes! Wow, was that a freaky ride home! I made it all the way to the farm having to use the park brake just once. Plenty of down shifting tho. I misjudged the driveway and the front gate stopped me. “sigh” had to pull it all apart and repair it. The truck is about half done now, son came by and took me to get parts for it yesterday after work and stayed to help me get it mostly done. The boy has to get up at 3am so I let him go home. I've been trying to bleed the line out by myself. Not sure if I'm making any headway at all. I iced the milk in the cooler but alas, it curdled on me so no butter try from this batch. Took me too long to get to it. Would have been better to have the cream separator already set up and ready to go. It's new, I need to bolt it down and read the book on how it operates. “sigh” another thing I haven't gotten to this week.

I've got several resumes and applications spread around the area. Hope I hear something soon.....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mid May, drowning and freezing

Well, yep, here it comes, what is with this bi-polar weather?  The rods in my back sing to me every single day!  The farm is a swamp and the critters are all looking at me like this is my fault.  Hang in there girls, the sun is coming, I swear it is! 

My teeny baby quails have hatched!  I hope I can keep them alive.
The old incubator has gone bi-polar to match the weather.  I'm guessing the heating element is on it's way out.  Dang thing can't stay consistent for 2 hours at a time.  Hard to hatch healthy chicks out like that!  Seems like the new one I picked up with the proceeds from the rooster sales a couple weeks ago is doing a superb job as I got a nice hatch from it yesterday.
I'm working on it, I really am.  All these small opportunities to make the farm more viable in the little time my off farm job allows me.  My schedule got changed again.  Yay rah.  Not very happy with it at all.  The urge to be profitable with the farm is getting stronger every day.  I'm currently working on a barn add-on to house the chickens, turkeys and quail.  Probably have enough room for the new rabbit hutches as well.  Lost a whole kindle overnight to a first time doe I did not think had actually bred.  Guessed wrong I did, big time.  13 kits lost.  SMH with a side order of duh.  That's a loss of $130.  Not very good. 

On the up side.... the goats are all healthy and looking pretty good.  Billy has grown a bunch this spring and is starting to look like a respectable billy goat.  The 2 nanny kids I kept back look good as well.  Baby goat is finally putting some weight on.  Seems like this years kids were rough on her.  I'll have to watch her closer this fall and be sure to keep her weight up thru her gestation.  Can't have her looking so poor come kidding again.  That ignorant neighbors dog didn't help her much, glad she bounced right back or I'd have to hold some animosity toward that neighbor.  Even way out in the country, you still can't get away from stupid.

Got most of the new solar set up sitting here on go.  Need 3 more batteries and the dc to ac converter that I've ordered.  The batteries might take a month or 2 since they're a bit pricey but I'm close to where I want to be with it.  Progress is slow but it's still progress.  No more 1 step forward and 2 back anymore.

So, I'm doing what I can with my limited farm time to get the ball rolling in the right direction.  I've got a few irons in the fire for the future, will share when they're more solid.....  Until next time.....

Monday, May 2, 2016

Blur of Days

Here it is, May already and I can't fathom where the days have gone.  Still a bit cool in the mornings and the past week has brought plenty of rain.  The lawn mowing fight has already begun as I spent the majority of my only day off this week mowing soggy grass.  Saturday night, we had a dandy storm with a pretty heavy gully washer.  Zucchini and tomatoes in the garden, they didn't seem to mind it that much.  They look a little scruffy from the splashed mud but they're okay.

Got woke up this morning before 7am, apparently, I didn't get the lid on the brooder tank on very good last night.  7 turkey chicks were wandering around the kitchen, peeping and generally making a ruckus.  Speaking of turkeys, friend of mine had this beautiful royal palm tom.  Named him Mr T.  He's probably a 3 year old tom, nice bird, good disposition.  The guys son-in-law thought it was funny to whack that bird with his ball cap every time he saw him.  Guess what happened.  Yep.  Now Mr T has a thing for anyone wearing a ball cap.  Well, Pops calls me up and says, "Hey, come get this bird.  Eat him, whatever.  He can't stay here, he floggs me every time I turn my back."  Me, not knowing what in the world I'm gonna do with a lone turkey, says, "Sure Pops, I'll pick him up tomorrow morning."  So I do.  Of course, I gotta work, so T spends the day in an XL dog crate out the back door of Oreillys Auto Parts.  LOL, he was a huge hit! A couple dozen people took his picture, several little kids got to pet a turkey and I had a bunch of offers to give him a home.  I already had an idea tho.  I know a man who has a large flock of turkeys, free range birds.  He didn't have any royal palms but he was still interested.  So, I traded T for a flock of quail.  The quail are still "baking", another couple of weeks before they hatch so I have some time to get a quail run built.  Mr T now has some girlfriends (he never had that before) because after I dropped him off, that man traded for some royal palm hens.  Mr T has a good life now, one where he doesn't get smacked in the head with a ball cap and he can strut his stuff all day long.

April was a good month for the farm, despite the lousy weather.  First week, I sold all my goat kids.  35-45lbs, I sold them at auction and they averaged $110 each.  Then, I took all those darn roosters to another sale and sold them for $7 each!  Had them sold within the first 20 minutes!  Boy, are the hens glad they're gone!  Hahahaha Poor things are just now getting feathers back.  I also sold all my cull rabbits.  So, despite working 6 days a week, I am still managing to get a little done around the farm.

The critter sales helped get the winter bills paid off, bought some feed and some lumber for me to build the quail run and a couple of 3 hole, stacked rabbit hutches.  Now all I need is a lean-to added on to the barn so I can put those all outside.  Can't just put them in the barn because the nannys will tear them up trying to get to the rabbit feed.

I have most of the rabbit does bred and a couple dozen eggs in the incubator for the next round to sell.  Meanwhile, I still need to build that quail run and another pen for the new bantys and the turkeys.  A couple more rabbit stacks are on the list as well.  Seems like the rabbits like the stacks better than wire cages so I need to get going and get them moved.  With all that needing done, I'm wondering when I'm going to find time to start working on the cabin!  I want out of this crappy double wide so bad I can taste it.  "Brick by brick my citizens, brick by brick.  We will build a better Rome."

The grandson front is a bit of a mess.  Unfortunately, I can't get into it at the moment but the whole story will be told soon.  He's fine tho, growing like a weed.  Healthy and happy.

Oh!  I almost forgot about his part!  I've got my solar back!  The goats did so well for me that I had a little bit I could use for new solar panels!  I hated to sell my old ones but heck, at that time, I needed the cash.  I survived, made it thru and now I can get back to the main goal of the farm, little by little.  Just 2 panels, enough to run all my lighting.  Small step but in the right direction.  The add to the paycheck was a very welcome relief this past month.  So nice to look at what I need to move forward and not have to say, well, maybe next month.  Of course, the boone is about gone and it's back to the paycheck to paycheck struggle but my bills are caught up, I've got a little feed and my farm critters are living a little better.  Now, if I can just keep ahead of the jungle-aka- grass, I'll be in good shape!  Hard to get people to take your farm seriously when it looks like a wilderness of messy.