Yep, we got a tiny bit of freezing rain over night. The big chill with the snow never did turn into what the weatherman said it would, not that I'm complaining or anything. Yesterday started out kind of nice, not even really cold but during the day, the wind whipped up and the temperature dropped. It's all good tho, I spent most of the day lolling around the house, thinking about how I wished I had internet at the farm. This not having internet has long since gotten old. There just is no good net package available in this area. How sad is that? A simple land line phone package is $75 a month with taxes included and the line has static every time it rains so dial up is not an option, too much money, too slow and with the poor phone lines, it's hardly dependable. Hughes net wants way too much money for install, alltel eliminated their service to anyone not paying for a phone plan and verizons plan has a 5GB a month limit and a 2 year contract at $59 plus taxes a month. All out of this poor farmers price range. So many little things each day I'd love to share. The journey of living self sustained always has some cool little twists. Not all of those twists are pleasant but each one inter twines with the next experience.
So what's been going on since I last posted? Let's see...... Oh, all the chickens are in moult. A few look like naked birds and the rest look like they have wax on their feathers as the new feathers are coming on quickly. So, it's been 10 days since I found any eggs and we've finally eaten thru every one in the fridge. I broke down and picked up a couple dozen eggs from the lady down the road. Geez, that killed me! It's like lunch at the post office here, every chicken gotta moult at exactly the same time and take a month to do it too. No work ethic, LOL! Here it is, the time when I do all my pastry and cookie baking for the holidays and my chickens all gotta take lunch together, at the same time. I see how they are, LOL. Well, it's all part of living self sustained, you just gotta deal with what you've got and work with what you can produce for yourself. I almost felt like a hypocrite, buying those 2 cartons eggs. At least I had an option, I didn't have to buy factory produced eggs from a store, but still, not eggs produced on my own farm. ARG, depressing. But, if I can keep the hubster from eating them all in 2 days, I might have a dozen to make some goodies with. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the chickens will get back to laying by the end of this week so I don't have to shame myself by buying more to bake with.
The farm up the road I am tending ( besides my own) has finally given me a bit of a break. All the cows but 5 have been sold and moved. The lady's rent trailer is now occupied and the young man renting it is supposed to be feeding those cows every day. The lame donkey got turned back out, still lame, he decided to bite on the freezer cow. The darn thing is ready to be butchered right now but the lady wants to wait until February to take him off. Whatever, not mine to decide, I fed him to finished, as long as they keep the weight on him, not my worry. Guess it's just my personality and desire for perfection that makes me feel like it's a failure because he won't be butchered at perfection. Oh well, I have enough right here on my own farm to worry about anyway.
My 3 nanny goats all look good and fat and I'm hoping those big bellies have kids in them too. Hard to tell tho, just have to wait and see. I was hoping to have them in their own shed by now, instead of a make shift pen inside the hay barn. Not everything works out the way you want tho and you just do what you have to until it does. The billy is still tied to a post, next to the pen and a few pallets are set up so he can butt all he wants to. The butting behavior I'm sure is my fault from letting him run loose all summer and play with the dog. The 2 of them get along so well and they played constantly, now he's bored tied up all by himself with no one to play with. At least he's quiet now, tied up next to the girls.
The cow is settling down, finally. It's taken 4 days to get a gallon of milk to try a batch of cheese with. I've got my first one in the press right now. A stirred curd cheddar, a half batch wheel. This jersey milk is so much different than the brown swiss milk I learned to make cheese with. This milk is more than half cream and when I set my curd, there was very little whey to stir it in! As I started the cooking process, it was difficult to stir the curd without damaging it since it had no whey to float in. As it came to temperature tho, the whey cooked out of the curd some. By that time tho, the curd was broken up quite a bit. It did cook down decent and the first set in the press seemed to be correct and the wheel held together well. The wheel presses until 8pm tonight so we'll just have to wait until then to see how it comes out. A couple days of dry time before we can sample it is going to be the rough one.
I am pleased with a trade I did this weekend. I traded 4 deer roasts and some jerkey I made for a small turkey from the bird farm in the next town over. The farm is primarily a wild game farm, they raise chukar, quail and pheasant for sporting sales. I got a young tom, around 10lbs for the deer meat. A good trade I think, I'm pleased with it. The bird was live but they let me kill it right there. Whew, I'd rather leave the mess in their pile than bring it home anyway. Besides, they have this really cool plucker thingy that strips the feathers right off. Neatest thing I ever saw! Of course, watching that thing spit feathers out the bottom, I was thinking about how to use them to make a pillow or something. Might be an investment for later on, hmmmm.....
the mice this year are horrible! They are getting into my corn terribly and the process of hand shelling is becoming an every day chore for me. With no corn crib, I'm still storing it in the bags I harvested it with so I spend a couple hours a day now shelling it, trying to protect it. At least it's dry enough to store in barrels now. I've got probably 20 bushel still waiting to be shelled and I've lost maybe 2 bushel of it to the mice already. That's a weeks worth of feed I've lost so the need to get it protected is pretty great. The almanac must be right, again. It says the winter for my area is going to be cold and wet so the mice are feeding on everything. I even have at least one I know of in the house, it ran across my stove last night! At least there's 3 cats hot on it's trail so hopefully it won't make it too much longer. My poor counter tops, it's bad enough I bleach them twice a day now, with a mouse running around, it will be 10 times a day until that thing is dead! Hmmm, my poor hands too, LOL.