The weather has been quite a tease these last couple of days. Cold overnight but in the mid 40's F during the day. Of course, that makes everything squishy.
I'm going thru the corn harvest quicker than I had planned to. Must be the minor increase in feed I dished out during the really nasty weather. I'm pretty sure I grew enough this past season to cover my needs until the grass starts growing again.
I'm sitting on go, just waiting, impatiently, to get some seeds started. I am really trying hard to resist the urge. I know if I start any now, they will either die from a cold, drafty snap or be way too spindly when it's time to plan outside. This is a very tough time of the year for me. Maybe this year i can grow some patience......
Like this is a normal house for regular days! There he is, the happy goat, he finally figured out how to jump up on the couch! Didn't take long for him to figure out how to get on top of the couch either. Now he's making laps with the dog, using the couch like a corner burm at a nascar track! Hmmm, isn't he special?
Lucky got his first outdoor adventure today and joined us for morning chores. Lucky met the cow, she didn't like him much and sent him rolling across the stall. Just scared him and covered him in straw. Lucky doesn't like the cow much anymore. He did chase some chickens and ran back and forth thru the barn lot a few times, visited with the other goats too. Soon, he will be living with them so might as well get acquainted now.
Just 19 days until I can start some seeds, I'm ready now!
Oh yes, this is going to be a long week. With snow in the forecast every day until Friday, spring seems a lifetime away. With windchills below 0 every morning, it sure isn't any incentive to go out and get the farm chores done! But, the animals need attention or they won't make it thru such unpleasant weather so out into the deep freeze I go.
This is by far, the weirdest winter I have seen since I've been here. I'm dreaming of spring almost constantly now...
ARG, yep, the darn white stuff is coming down. This is the craziest winter in the 17 years I've lived here. All this cold and snow just makes me dream of spring all that much more. This morning I have been looking at trees to replace the orchard that was wiped out by the inland hurricane. This is one of the types of apple I would like to be growing. It is head and shoulders above the species that were planted here when I bought this land. I'd like to put a Granny Smith and a red Delicious in there along with a couple new peach trees, a Bartlett pear and a cherry or 2. Then, after I get those planted, I've got a whole new section of that catalog I'd like to work out of! hehehehe Some new blackberries, the mini citrus trees, a new banana to replace the ones the kittens killed and I'd love to try growing the olives.
I did make a little progress toward growing fruits here already, I picked up some seed stock thru a trade to grow pomegranate and kiwi. Supposedly, they both do well in containers and can be pruned to any size. We'll see about that! LOL
Alex Jones has an interesting article up over at Prison Planet called 12 Economic Collapse Scenarios That We could Potentially See in 2011. Sometimes it's just nice to see the things you've been thinking about written someplace. It makes me feel a little less crazy on subjects such as this one. Well, maybe crazy is the wrong word. how about "vindicated" or "secure in my lifestyle". Maybe, maybe not but either way, it makes me feel pretty good about the choices I've made for myself and my family (even if they don't appreciate it). Even if the whole world falls apart and it's the Great Depression times 2, I'm still going to have a meal. Yes, I'm going to miss some of the things this modern world has to offer like internet and DVD rentals but life will go on.
I don't normally talk about "prepping" or emergency preparedness on this blog but if you can't grow all your own food and have a bunch of critters running around, now is definitely the time to stock up your pantry, kitchen cabinets and maybe even store some canned goods under the bed and in the closet. Food insurance for a rough spot in life or a little insurance against price inflation. Just makes sense!
Yah, I know it's half way thru January and my Christmas tree is still up. there's just something soothing about the lights and ornaments. Of course, the cats think it's a new play toy so I guess I better get to putting it up for the year. Polar Bear made it a whole 20 days before she ripped the stuffing out of the coon.
My family sent me a hot water tank. I am eternally grateful as the last $110 was not finding it's way into the kitty for one. We spent the day yesterday getting it installed and then chasing broken water lines down. $120 dollars in water line, new flex tube to replace the dry rotted ones, joint glue, a cutter tool and misc connectors and caps plus the 95 miles worth of fuel running back and forth a couple times. We ended up having to cap off the hot water line for the kitchen sink, more than a 4' piece completely split. We tried to chase it but it just kept splitting on us. So, we have 3 more holes in the floor from chasing the leaks and hot water to both the bathrooms! My first hot shower since last April was so enjoyable, I emptied the tank in celebration, LOL. It was well worth the guilt from wasting all that water.
Today, I am working on a deer roast stew with veges I grew this past season. While that is going on the stove, I'm going to try out dehydrating shredded taters. I like hash browns and trying to shred the dehydrated slices isn't working out so well. I'm also going to dry some carrot shreds instead of the slices and chunks I normally dry. I'm still a couple weeks from being able to order the fruit roll trays I need to dehydrate liquids. I am really excited about working with them. So many new possibilities!
Come on warmer weather, I'm ready to start seeds!!!!
As I'm pacing around a cold home today, thinking about food (as usual, LOL) lots of different things are popping into my head all at once. In front of me on the butcher block is the new Seed Savers catalog. You know what happens next, I start thinking about where I can fit this new plant in or maybe a couple new plants. Laying under it is the new Murray McMurray chickens and fowl catalog. I so love that one, about as much as I do the seed catalogs. All those beautiful birds I could be raising. I've really got to fix a spot for some turkeys and quail.
My thoughts keep wandering back to the garden. Thinking on it has been consuming my day. The urge to get seeds started has been mostly caused by some of the news articles I have been reading. The food and unemployment riots in Tunisia and now the US State Dept has issued a warning for US citizens to not travel there. Well duh! Hey guys, let's all go vacation in a country that is in the middle of a catastrophic social and economic collapse! The official unemployment report is a joke and the story about $8 a bushel corn and $15 a bushel soybeans isn't very comforting either. You know, just about everything you buy from a grocery store, all commercial foods, are made with some form of corn in them. Not to mention the animal feeds that contain both corn and soybeans. The price of meat is going to go up from the cost of feed going up. it's a vicious circle folks, no end in sight.
So, now here I am, sitting by the fireplace with my fuzzy socks on, feeding the goat and dreaming of what I'm going to put in the garden this spring. I wonder if I will be able to grow enough? How is this new "global warming" trend going to affect the coming growing season? Will the shift in our magnetic poles cause some growing zone changes? Will the increasing fuel costs keep me from being able to afford to provide the feed and hay I need for my critters?
Meanwhile, the oh so wise Democratic governor of the great state of Illinois (loaded with sarcasm) is about to sign a new income tax increase on us. Gee thanks Quinn, really appreciate it. You are OFF the Christmas card list. A big thanks to Cook County as well, for voting that idiot into office along with the rest of the Cronies.
I'm going to go back to garden dreaming now, maybe I can figure out how to triple the size of it this coming season..........
I should have gone out in the cold and done my chores but instead, I had to read some news. I found a great video interview in an article on the completely ignorant move for complete governmental control of our food supply, aka-food safety and modernization act. The man in the interview has some pretty impressive credentials found here at Home Sweet Farm. The video is worth a watch.
This is one of the first things I do every morning now. If you aren't awake when Lucky realizes somebody is moving around in the house, you will be shortly! He's a pre-schooler with tap shoes combined with an old world town crier. I have gained a whole new respect for goats and how incredibly smart they are. Lucky is for the most part, "paper trained". He forgets once in a while but he knows here the "spot" is. Which, of course, makes my life easier with him in the house until the weather breaks. I had just resigned myself to following him around and cleaning the floors on a constant basis while he was in here but he has really impressed me.
I didn't get much done around the farm yesterday. The small amount of snow we had fall made the roads terrible and my neighbor up the road needed assistance, again. So, after all my own farm chores, a quick floor wash, the huge pile of dishes I find in my kitchen every day and a couple cups of coffee, off the boy and I went to spend 4 hours on the neighbors farm. Then a trip to the college to take the other kid something she forgot when she was home this past weekend. Like I was saying, the roads were terrible. Good thing there's 10 dozen eggs in the fridge!
Now, I'm taking a short break, reflecting on how badly my back hurts today (the darn weather) drinking a little coffee and dreaming about seed starting while reading a form I got in the mail from the county assessing officer. The county now wants all the manufactured homes "registered", including copies of their titles. I seriously doubt it's so they can lower taxes. Call me paranoid if you like, but I never find any type of "governmental control" a good thing and I know good and well that anyone that says "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" is a bold faced liar. Now I'm all mad, LOL, thinking about how the county is going to screw me this time while I'm sitting in this piece of crap, falling apart, poorly insulated, air leaky dump that I can't start any seeds in yet! LOL I know, I need a hobby...
This is why I am so very vocal on the subject of growing your own food. When your life depends on buying all your food and imports from other countries, how can you survive for long? What happens when a loaf of bread goes from .35 a loaf to $5? It's not too far from that now, I see commercial sandwich bread on sale at the grocery for $1.99 right now. On sale!
What you see in the picture is enough to make a stew pot of chili for my family with a side of fried zucchini. The harvest from 2 tomato plants, one pepper plant, one zucchini and 2 bean plants. The cost? 50 days of plant tending, a few minutes a day. For me, the very best part of it is, no chemicals! No wax on the fruits, no pesticide residues, no growth hormones and no PCBs from a can or MSG or any other preservative. I remain unaffected by the price of commercially produced food.
Spring is coming, the new planting season is right around the corner. Will you keep buying high priced poisons or will you work toward providing healthy foods for yourself? It's all up to you and it's just a little dirt away.
This mornings chores were unpleasant due to the very cold temperatures. 15F this morning at daybreak. As the sun came up, it warmed the barn roof and I got rained on by freezing drops of moisture. I so love it when I'm setting there, milking the cow and one lands on the back of my neck.
We got to the rabbits and all the bottles are frozen solid, again. It's a twice a day chore here, those rabbits need water. My old buck rabbit passed on me in the night. Hate to see that but he was 9 years old. I kind of figured he was done when he had no interest in the does this past fall. I had to use an immature buck and he didn't work out so well since I have no kits. Probably a good thing tho, since it's so darn cold this winter.
I managed to get 50lbs of deer meat ground up in between playing with the jealous dog and feeding the baby goat. It's going to make some tasty meals for the next couple of weeks!
As I'm writing this, I got a text from the neighbor... looks like I'll be freezing my hind end off for a bit working with her cows. That changed my plans for the day......
The fortune teller (local meteorologist) is calling for some cold weather and possible snow showers headed for the farm. Yay rah, I'm just thrilled. I despise overcast days. The lack of sunshine really works on my pleasant disposition (or lack thereof, LOL) Lucky the goat is keeping me laughing tho, does this look comfortable to you??? He wiped out in front of the fireplace for about an hour like this. I had to check him to make sure he was still breathing, I thought he had fallen down and killed himself!
I've been kind of half, sort of, cleaning and grinding up deer meat today. I just do not feel like doing much. I'm kind of tired and just plain sick of chasing the bills so the enthusiasm is low today. Sitting here at the computer, I can see the stack of bills sitting on the desk out of the corner of my eye. Which, of course, makes me think about how much more behind they'd all be if I had to buy food too. Then I think about whacking my son for drinking all the fresh milk on me ( I'm out of fresh butter and he drank all the dang milk!) but I have to quit that right away or everybody in the house would get whacked, even the dog.
So, what did I do instead? Yep, I got to reading over at Alex Jones' site and next thing you know, I'm watching youtube videos from Gov. Jesse Venturas television program. Now I'm mad all over again so I guess I better get back to working on that deer meat...
Well, I emailed myself a picture from my phone and of course, Verizon charged me for it but it has not arrived in my email yet. typical. So no morning chores picture today.
Lucky is really getting to be a dandy baby goat. he's full of energy now, learning how to bounce and play on the hard wood floors. The dog is trying so hard to play with him and herd him. She got a surprise this morning when Lucky tried to attach himself to her nipple. He was a bit impatient while his bottle was warming up. I never thought I'd ever have baby bottles in my fridge again, LOL.
I still managed to find the time to feed all the critters this morning, milk the cow, search for eggs, inflate the flat tire on the truck and pick hubster up from work, come home, do the dishes, make lunch, feed the goat, again, sweep and wash the floors (goats are messy) and do 2 loads of laundry! Whew, glad I'm on my third pot of coffee. I wonder what I should whip up for supper? Is it bedtime yet?
Well, maybe he will make it. I think it's a boy, I haven't really looked yet but I think it's a boy, LOL. Big difference between now and this morning! An herbal heat pack and some warm cows milk while I was rounding up a baby bottle and some goat colostrum and look where we're at now! I'm already following him around with a towel and bucket of soapy water, he's peed on my floor twice now. I need to find a big box to keep him in pretty darn quick! Momma goat is okay, I'll be working on her mastitis for the next few days..........
That's really optimistic, LOL Touch of sarcasm seriously. Last night was the coal mine holiday party. I took the hubster and we actually had a nice time. The food on the other hand, HORRIBLE! Casino Aztar in Evansville, Indiana has the worst caterer I have ever encountered. They cooked the prime rib with liquid smoke! The salmon was so dry, it was like cardboard, the starchy brown glop had to be identified for me as it was unrecognizable, it was supposed to be mashed potatoes. There was this brown slop that looked like refried beans with sliced almonds in it, I passed on that. The turkey gravy was made with canned chicken stock and they boiled the asparagus. The pitiful excuse for dinner rolls could be used as pool table balls, they were that hard. The simple act of sampling that food gave me a migraine headache within 40 minutes and I am still working thru it. I have officially been chemical poisoned by commercial food.
The migraine was so bad this morning that I milked my cow with one eye open and came right back in the house and flopped back in bed. My son came in a few minutes later and told me I have a baby goat out there in the pen. I got up, got out there and found a baby goat, lethargic and very cold. The doe is a first time Momma and she hasn't done very well making milk. Her bag looks right but the one nipple will not milk at all and the other is full of puss and blood (mastitis). I've got the baby wrapped in a towel on the bed with my herbal heat pack on it. I did manage to get a couple cc's of fresh cows milk down the little thing, I am not too hopeful at this point.
The afternoon livestock check had my son just missing the birth of twins. Another of my does has kidded. So, she is tending her kids, we helped her dry them off and after they nurse, I will try to milk a little colostrum for my orphan.
Thankfully, nothing else has happened. I'm headed back to the couch to recline and tend my baby goat............
Yes, all of 2013 and part of 2012 are missing from the blog. You can thank Mike H for that. Almost all of those posts were about our great friendship and our partnership in farming. You all know how that turned out!