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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February Ramblings

So, here it is, middle of February and I can hear my old pal Scifichick snorking because I didn't make it to seed starting day without cheating and starting seed early. Yes, I have a whole slew of tomatoes already up and past the peat pellet stage. I decided to use those cheap dollar general 18oz red solo cups this year. Cheap and throw away, they've got more root room than the seedling peat pots that sell at rural king. When I say cheap, I mean cheap. A ¼ of the price of those tiny peat pots with twice as much root room. I used my own compost in the cups to give the seedlings an extra boost for growth. The past 3 years, I've got a friend I used to coal mine with who now owns and operates a greenhouse in a nearby town. He loads my truck bed up (at random) with root bound tomatoes that have grown to the point of unsellable. Lane hates to waste as much as I do so he brings them to me because he knows I'll plant them. I usually pick out the heirlooms and give the others away, LOL. Pass it on, the kindness thing. No one I have ever offered them to has passed on them so it makes me feel good to share. I've got a ton of tobacco seedlings started. I haven't split the peat pellets tho, the temporary cold snap/snow event has slowed them just a little. Darn overcast days. As it continues to warm up around here, I'll be getting everything else started. I can hardly wait to get the beans and corn in the ground. Still a long way off but I can still chomp the bit in anticipation, LOL

Slowly, little by little, I'm getting this place in line. Still have a ½ mile worth of fence line to clean up/clear and run new fence, the back field needs mowed and a load or 2 of lime spread out there, the new hay feeder I have in my head needs built and some minor prep work connected to farmers market selling. Plenty to keep me busy on top of a full work schedule off farm. It's a struggle day by day thing. Don't make enough money from the farm to cover the farm bills so I work off farm but that takes up all my time so I find myself struggling to advance the farm. LOL A continual black hole of struggle. The kind of thing that always seems to be right up my alley. Eh, it seems like all I do is think about the farm, even when I'm at work. I spend all my time there thinking about what I can get done the next morning before I have to go to work, LOL. Time for bed or I'll oversleep the alarm........

Eh, this morning is a dandy. A bit of freezing rain in the wee hours. Now it's overcast, the salt truck just rumbled past and wow, is my back stiff! Rub a little DMSO on it and wait 30 minutes. Same thing just about every morning this winter. I remember the days I was 10 foot tall and bullet proof. I also remember the days when I was 6 foot tall and it was a flesh wound. Now, it's 5'9 and a trip to the ER, LOL Time and tide wait for no man. I slept thru the alarm again this morning, it seems to be a trend for me the last month or so. Happens much more often when it's cold and overcast. Ha, that's this whole winter! Hahahahaha

We had a nice little warm up a week or so ago. 4 days of high 50s, low 60s and I commenced to cleaning up the barn. The goats make one heck of a mess with the hay they need to eat. Part of it is the babies running, jumping and playing in it. The rest is just normal goat behavior. Either way, the waste is is about equal to what they actually consume. So, this cold snap has made another big mess in the barn. I don't clean it up during the cold spells, the goats lay in it. Plenty of wheel barrow loads to haul out tho once this weather breaks. I have a hay feeder idea floating around in my head. I made one a few years back when I had just a couple goats. It worked pretty good but then the herd multiplied and soon it was obsolete. Now, since I've slowly been building the herd back up (more hours=more pay=more feed) I see the need to build another feeder. I could have easily made it thru the winter with 200 bales for both the goats and the one lone horse if I had a feeder in there. I've decided to not make round bales for this year. Seems to me a waste of time. I've 25 sitting here and I'll probably end up burning them all. Yes, the goats and horse have eaten on them but they've spent most of this winter in the barn. The horse is old (over 20) and it seemed wrong to let her stay out in the ice and snow, standing knee deep in muck for another winter. She's fired up and sassy from being cooped up but it's better than having her get down from the weather. Kind of like having her around and I know her days are numbered now.

I'm gazing out the window at the freezing rain slowly falling, day dreaming about the coming growing season. I'm ready to get the garden turned over and ready for the soil to warm up. Hard to warm anything when it's overcast and raining little ice pellets! Wait a minute, I thought that stupid groundhog said winter was over! Eh, maybe it's time to put him in the stew pot. Goofy tradition that doesn't mean anything anyway. I trust the local skunks more than that overfed groundhog. Yep, I smelled one yesterday. That one might have jumped the hibernation gun but it's a good sign better weather is just around the corner. Also, the horse and goats are loosing hair just a little bit. When you draw back a glove covered in hair after the morning rub, it's a sign of better weather coming. They know when spring is here.

Casper, the photobombing billy goat is still off on his date. I'll probably check up on him this weekend. It is my opinion that breeding season is over but the nannys owner insisted that she was in heat. If her Togg is in heat, more power to her. Casper will do his job. I miss him around here tho. Kind of nice not to get harassed every feeding time over the bucket before I can get it spread out. Casper is not happy unless he gets a mouthful before anybody else! LOL

The babies are mostly billys this year. They're still too young to really have a good assessment for the young nannys. (2 for sure, one white, one carmel colored) So far, they look good but that can always change as they develop. I've got a good picture in my head of what I want in the herd. Plus, the idea of having all experienced nannys for next season is a pretty good one. And, maybe it's a good idea to just hang steady with the size of the herd for this year. A thought for later on since it's feeding time and I need to get moving..........

Now it's Wednesday, February 17th. Chores are all done and I'm working on finishing my first cup of coffee. Whaaaa?!? Just the first? Yep, dogs wanted out first thing and they herded the goats up and brought them to the front door. There goes my peaceful meditation over a cup of coffee thing. It flew right out the window. I want to stay home from work today, very badly. I feel the inventory flu coming on. Eh, I don't have to do the actual inventory, I spent the last 2 weeks doing precounts etc. All I have to do is try to conduct business around 20 people not familiar with my store and none of them really want to be there either. Makes for a long, long day. Then there's my ex-husband, who acts like we're still happily married and he's just hanging out at his parents house, texting me first thing “how ya doin baby?” Really???? What am I, a pink pig? We're divorced. We're staying divorced. No, you're not moving back in here and the divorce papers really are a legal, binding document. ARG, come on coal mine! Buy me out so I can disappear from here and start over somewhere far away from this nutcase.

20 minutes and I have to leave for work. Yay rah. Even tho it's warmed up to 45F, wish there was a little sunshine to go with it. Yesterdays snow and cold is almost a memory, LOL Stil some hang-on drift piles around the farm. I turned the Spookmeister loose this morning. She took off bucking of course, made 3 laps around the barn and proceeded to roll in a couple choice mudholes. Same old Spooky.

Well crap, time to head for the job. Damn, I want to stay home today. Lunch break will be here soon enough tho and that's when I will post this. More ramblings coming up, LOL.........................