Monday, December 28, 2015

Monsoon Season

As many of you know, it's been raining/storming around here.  In some places, the rain is now snow (Texas).  Well, this afternoon, the monsoon let up and the clouds broke.  What appeared in the sky?  God's promise to never flood the world again.,  Came close but no cigar!  LOL

Yep, that was a complete rainbow, side to side with a second partial bow above it.  Thanks Ethan for getting the panoramic photo for me.

The farm critters are all happy to see the rain quit, the poor chickens kept giving me the death stare this morning while wading thru the slop in the coop.  going to have to do something about that.  Can't have chickens swimming.....

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The critter that rules the roost

Welcome to the farm, Little Critter!  Born Monday morning and has turned the farm upside down!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

days melt all together

Always, this time of year, combined with the big, commercialized holidays, I always get kind of melancholy and reflect on things that have happened to me so far this year. It's hard not having a net connection out here. Paying for a wifi hotspot by the gig is just too expensive. Not enough paycheck for it.

So, what's been happening to the little self sustained farm this year? I've been stuck in a rut of perpetual catch 22. The farm isn't making enough to pay the taxes and the monthly bills so I work off farm more which reduces the amount of time I can work to improve the farm which in turn, slows progress on it down. I am grateful for the pitiful paycheck, it is keeping the bills paid. Just doesn't give me enough to make the improvements I need to make in a timely fashion. Took me all summer to scrounge up enough to get 6 pieces of treated 2x10 along with 18 pieces of treated 2x6, 4 rolls of cage wire for the base of the chicken coop. 19 weeks to save up $218. There's chickens in it now but it's not finished and winter is coming fast here. My big stumbler is that darn truckers tarp I need for the shelter side. That bugger is over $100. I need 4 more sticks of lumber, 3 more sheets of plywood to finish the shelter side. Meanwhile, I've got a plastic tarp zip tied and pinned to the base, covering the whole thing to keep the weather off the 45 days old chicks I hatched in the house to fill it. Oh, ha, I don't have a door for it yet, I keep them inside with an old quilt hung over the hole and an old, rotten table top! Yep, use what ya got, even if it's crazy and kind of retarded looking.

Garden was a wash this year. Barely made enough out of it in between the head high weeds to feed me up to Christmas time. Totally my fault for relying on an old fart who was full of crap and good stories of all the stuff he could do for me to help. Too bad it was all bullshit. So glad I wasted 5 years feeding 2 worthless nags for him while he was away. Eh, I did get a square baler out of it. Which, I need to buy a tarp for that and get it moved into one of the side stalls on the old barn. I've been procrastinating moving it because that old barn needs some work and I'm worried it's gonna fall down this winter. The main section of that old barn is full of square bales of hay. Too bad it's not MY hay. Another catch 22 thing. Work too much to cut and bale the hay so I had to reach out for help which in turn, I need to give help in return.

I'm disappointed with the rabbits this year. I've old had 3 batches of kits all summer, sold 18 to Rural King, lost 4 in the yard and ended up with 2 young does and another 2 bucks. Since I lost one good breeding doe this summer, the 2 young ones are needed to replace her. They haven't produced yet. The 2 bucks need to be in the freezer and will be pretty quick. No sense in feeding them for nothing.

Another year has gone by without me adding quail to the farm. The run is something else I need to save for. Right now, it's behind a new pair of glasses. I only have one pair, prescription, and they're expensive to replace. The ones I am currently wearing are so scratched up, they give me headaches. Tried to polish them since no vision place around here would do it for me. They claim you can't polish the transitions lenses. Wow, what a big mistake choosing those were! Pain in the ass, they take forever to dark up then take forever to undarken and the coating is flaking which is what's causing the distortion. I tried some stuff around the shop and made a slight improvement, it did peel some off but they're a little cloudy now. Don;'t have a fine enough grit to actually polish them. So, new pair has to be purchased. Need $300 for that, have $43 dollars saved up for them so far. LOL, it's gonna be a while still. There's no earning potential from a new pair of glasses. Personal comfort and decent vision but no farm income. Hard to make that kind of decision but it's base survival here and it's do what ya gotta do and get on with it as usual. So, it goes on the list with socks, underwear and a new pair of boots that don't have duct tape on them holding them together! Yep, I'm going into winter with 1 pair of sneakers that are pretty much worn out and a pair of work boots that are split down the side. Oh well, just part of life.

Oh! A good thing, it was kind of a surprise! Delta, my Kinder goat nanny, just gave me a new kid to play with! A single this time, a little nanny goat. Tri-colored. Never had kids in November before. Had to be one of the January billys I hauled to the auction in September. She would have bred back in May, during the monsoon rains we had this spring. So, there's a new baby bouncing around in the barn.

Oh, ha, a friend bought me an adult coloring book. Complex, geometric patterns. Kind of cool. Supposed to be good stress relief. Too bad I've only got 4 colored pencils! I colored 2 pages so far but the lack of color option has me a bit miffed. Stress relief, yah, okay. hahahaha Maybe in a couple of weeks, I'll splurge on a new set of pencils and get to coloring.

Eh, the 2 stupid dogs are pestering the life out of me this morning! You're late Mom, you're supposed to be outside feeding so we can run all over the place, chase the loose rabbits and act stupid! Hurry up Mom! Get some socks so we can lick your face and bother you while you're trying not to kill your back putting socks on! Come on Mom! Why are you ignoring us whining and barking? You don't need that cup of coffee! Mom! Quit ignoring us! Eh, okay, time to go out and feed..........

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.........

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Warm Weather

It's pretty decent outside.  It's been much warmer, a ton of rain, a little flooding and everything is a muddy mess.  I finally got some seed started.  Just a dozen cherry tomatoes.  The big toms will get started tomorrow while I'm off work.  I'll probably make 3 or 4 batches of soap with all the goats milk I have in the fridge.

Baby goat is currently working on gifting me with a kid and Goober cow is still in her holding pattern.  Got a call last night while I was at work, Daisy cow had her calf.  I sold her a couple weeks ago to pay the past due on the LP bill.  I just owed way too much money and it's been hanging over me for more than a year.  I was never going to get it paid off with $30 a paycheck.  The late fee was more than that!  So, I did what I had to do and sold one of my herd.  Actually, sold 3 of my herd!  Daisy, her unborn calf and the bull.  Yep, I owed the LP company that much money!  Anyway, Daisy had a heifer calf.  No problems, both Momma and the calf are good last time I heard.  Hope to see some pictures soon.

I've finished 5 throw blankets so far this year, all 3x5 (mostly 40x65) and I've got a few bird houses in the works.  Extra things to offer on the market table along with the soap and the fruits and veges.  I also got a promotion at work and a small raise. 

On the downside- my new farm tenant is turning out to be a fruit loop.  Lots of big promises, no follow thru.  Story of my life tho, I always seem to find the winners.

Eh, time to head for the off farm job!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

And, Life Goes On

 Whats left of the herd after my(mine and theirs) heart breaking loss of Lucky the herd leader and my best milker, Lil Sister.
 Tinkers twins are a sassy little pair, constantly running and playing.  I got to watch the head butting championship this morning.  Not sure who won, not too sure they know either, LOL
Deltas twins are the same personality type she always gives me, aloof and dignified, LOL

Baby has filled a bag.  This will be her first kidding.  She is Lil Sisters only live offspring.  I'm hoping all goes easy and right for her.  She is officially on kid watch as of this morning.

Pretty darn cold in the house since I ran out of LP.  I owe the gas company still from last year so no more LP for me.  Eh, it'll be warming up soon.  I've got an electric heater on the water lines, what's left of them anyway, so those don't freeze.  Another week or so and it'll all be fine.  Can't wait to see what the electric bill looks like, "sigh", if it's not one thing, it's something else around here.

Not one single seed started here!  Oh boy, if we'd have bet this year, Scifi woulda lost big time!  LOL  Not that I haven't been dying to start seed, it's obviously too darn cold in here.  Looks like 2 more seriously cold nights (9F and 10F) and then a week of mid 20sF.  I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel!  LOL  Another week or so and seeds will be sprouting all over my kitchen!  That, to me, is pure heaven!

Well, I'm late for the off farm job, better get my butt out the door.......

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

So Long Lucky Boy

My little pig nosed baby, he was a fighter.

Totally a ball of fun and adventure, all through his too short life.

Lucky turned into a wonderful herd leader and pet.  Gone much too soon.

Goodbye Lucky Boy, you were a great goat and I will forever miss you!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lucky Goat Update

Thank you everyone for the well wishes and caring.  Losing Sis has been devastating for me.

It's dark in the barn.  I've got straw stuffed in every nook and cranny, trying to keep the biting cold wind from getting in.  Borrowed a salamander heater (k1) and had it going last night.  It wasn't running this morning so I don't know when it ran out of fuel.  I've got about a gallon of fuel left and it's relit and going again.  Just need to make it thru today then there's a 2 day warm up I can figure out how to get more k1 for the brutal cold coming next week.

Lucky was shivering bad, he's back off his feed.  He managed to get the sweatshirt mostly off so I got it the rest of the way off and he laid down in some straw.  I covered him with a blanket and by the end of chores, he was still laying with it.  He's bad congested and not a happy goat.  He did not drink any water for me.  I'm worried about it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sad Day on the Farm

Say goodbye to Lil Sister.  She died in my arms.  Complications from last months illness hit her weakened system and the bad weather that came in did her in.  Upper respiratory infection she just couldn't beat.  Now Lucky is sick.  He never left her side, now he's got it.  2 hours at the vet has now left me with $12 to make it 10 days to the next pitiful paycheck.  I just can't lose Lucky goat.  My heart won't take it.

This whole day is a pretty devastating hit for me.  Sis was a huge part of every day life here and it's going to be hard to take with her gone.  Now I gotta go cry again........

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another One Finished and WOOOOHOOOO!

Yep, another one finished.  Just got it done.  This pattern is called BonBon and it reminds me of gumballs in one of those old fashioned candy machines I remember from my youth.  It was actually kind of hard to finish considering all the excitement around here the last 2 days.  Of course, just in time for the weather to get nasty,  Little Miss Tinkerbell kidded for the first time.  She had twins!  It was a little touch and go there for a bit since she wasn't too sure what to do with them.  Nut, instinct did take over and she tended them like an old nanny would.  Now, the suckling thing was a whole story on it's own!  Of course, being a new Mom, she couldn't figure out what they were doing and every time they'd almost get a nipple, she'd turn in a circle around them.  So, Gramma to the rescue, a little kid colostrum to give them some strength and by the end of the day, they were sucking and she was okay with it.  Today, they're still alive, sucking and doing what all baby goats do, sleeping!  Pictures soon!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

One Week Down

It's a week to seed starting.  I've hardly had the time to even think about seed starting.  Wow, what a week this has been.  The off farm job has tested the limits of my patience.  The last couple of days most especially.  Not been pleasant.  Too tired to even think much about farming this week.  Too bad the paycheck doesn't reflect all the work I've done.  This just can't last for long or I'll never get anything done around here!

So, now to the blanket raffle.  Today was the last day and it ended up with 7 people entering the raffle.  My new farm hand, RG, pulled the name out of the box for me and Sara B is the lucky winner of the last Camo blanket of the season.  Congrats Sara!  The blanket will be in the mail tomorrow morning.

The baby Lionhead bunnies are big enough to go to new homes now.  I've got a couple people with appointments to view the choices tomorrow evening.  I'll be rebreeding tomorrow with another doe in the house acclimating, to be bred in the next week or so.

The house chickens went outside, finally.  They were starting to wander.  I took advantage of the gloriously warm days we've been having (65F!) and put them out in the old barn.  Can't be having chicken poop on the frontroom floor!  Nasty, LOL!

So, a few days of warm weather with the wind blowing and the farm is just starting to dry out.  Just in time for a couple days of rain, LOL  This time of year is always a hit and miss thing.  I was hoping to get the front garden cleaned out on my only day off this week.  Alas, torrential downpour is the forecast.  That figures "sigh"  Oh well, there's still plenty of time for that.  I'll just have to start seed then, a week early, LOL 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February Already

Whew, January flew by pretty quick.  There's just 3 days left on the blanket auction and the odds are most certainly still good with just 2 ladies entered in the raffle.  As always, $10 an entry with 3 entries for $20 via the paypal button.  This will be the last one of the season so get your entry in quick!

I'm chomping the bit pretty hard, excited to get seed started.  My patience is holding tho and I have resisted the urge to just start hundreds of plants immediately.  LOL, Scifi would be laughing at me now, teasing me about my lack of self control.  Of course, I would retaliate quick with pictures of all my baby bunnies!  Hehehehehe  She'd give me that rolled eyes, sarcastic reply thing and tell me to shaddup, LOL

The house chickens need to go outside!  Oh, they're sneaky and messy.  Thankfully, they stay right there near the food and water without travelling too far out onto the wood floor.  Never thought chickens were very smart but these seem to have trained easily.  I'm excited about getting them out and into the new coop as soon as the weather breaks.  Shouldn't be too much longer.  My new farm partner is pretty happy that they're barred rock chickens, he seems to favor those over other common farm chicken breeds.  I hate to tell him about all the Austrlorps I plan on getting in March, LOL  I'll just wait until he says "what are these?" and I just laugh about it.  Silly man, Austis are better layers, are better Mammas and make a better meal!  Hehehehehe

The farm is a muddy mess.  It's always like this right before spring tho.  The freeze/thaw and freeze again thing always turns the walkways and barnlot into a sloppy mess.  Soon it will warm up, dry up and I can get the gardens turned.  Always feels like a renewal when spring comes.  I guess, in a way, it really is a renewal.

Lil Sister seems to be getting a bit better every day now.  She's not quite up to snuff yet but past the danger zone.  Fluffy kidded while I was at work and her baby was dead when I found it.  Not sure what happened since I wasn't there.  So, 0 for 2 this year.  The spotted Nubian billy didn't put any spots on either of the 2 lost kids and he's already gone back to the man I got him from so I'm hoping Delta has a billy for me this time around.  She's not appearing to be close to kidding so I won't know what's what for a bit longer.  Oh, side note on Fluffy, her mastitis came back and I'm working on clearing that up now.  She's much easier to milk this time around than she was last spring.  Soon as she figured out I was relieving the pressure for her, she suddenly became okay with the whole "let's milk ya" thing.  She's even easy to medicate this time around.  Hmmm, maybe she just "grew up".

So, now I've got one milking.  Not quite as good as Sis but decent enough.  Goats milk soap making will be on the agenda very soon!

Now I'm off to go get something constructive done on my only day off this week.......

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Blues

Another month in the books. Just a couple short weeks away from the official seed starting date. LOL, I already blew it, I started potatoes in a tote in the kitchen. Eh, couldn't help it really, several of the small potatoes I harvested from last years crop had pushed sprouts in the bottom of the bucket I had them stored in. So, a shovel, a couple of buckets and the tote got filled with compost from the pile. Taters got covered up and now I have beautiful green in the kitchen. A pleasant reprieve from the dull grey and brown outside those windows. The peat pellets are calling to me and it's hard to resist the urge to get 100 seeds started, LOL. Scifi would be laughing at me right now, teasing me for my lack of self control.

The Lionhead kits are growing. I'm glad I brought them in the house. A little more work for me but worth it. Keeping the 2 in the house has given me new ideas for rabbit hutches and how to keep rabbits better than I have been. 18 years of keeping them the same way has worked to a point. Keeping them inside where I see them constantly, see how they behave and such, has given me new insight on how to better care for them. I hope to be able to start building for those ideas before too much longer.

Now that spring is on me, I'm ever so antsy about no internet connection at the house. It's hard to share things on the fly and write what I'm thinking or doing at any given moment when I don't have that net connection to share it with. “Sigh” Sometimes the simple, self sustainable lifestyle is hard to take. All those things I have to give up just to get by. I so need a better paying job. While I'm glad I have a job, the amount of time I spend working that job compared to the amount on my paycheck is constant source of displeasure for me. Sometimes, subsistence living just plain sucks. Part of it I guess, I just do what I have to do and get on with it.

Update on Lil Sister..... Sis was pretty sick. Pregnancy Toxemia was the final diagnosis. A beautiful little brown and white kid ended up being lost out of it, a vet bill I couldn't afford and Sis is kind of getting a little better. The worst part of it is, no milk. That part of it hurts the worst. No milk. My best milker and no milk. Yep, I'm upset about it, the whole thing, all the way around it.

I've got a camo throw blanket finished. Well, almost finished, LOL The ends need tucked still but for all intents and purposes, it's finished. So, the camo is the next raffle throw for the blog. It's a 3x5 couch throw and it will go the same as always. $10 an entry, 3 entries for $20. The raffle will go until the 7th so it can ship to the winner in time for Valentines Day. I've got 3 more in the works, in various stages of completion.

The chickens have quit laying. I think they have anyway. I can't find any eggs. Not sure what's up with that since I should have 15 a day. Not one single egg to be found out there. It's not that cold here so I'm at a loss as to why. It could be a moult but the birds all look good and I'm not seeing any feathers laying about. I've stopped letting the egg sucking dog out before I do chores so I know he's not getting them on me. Could it be a coon or a possum? I don't know at this point. The investigation continues......

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Macaw Couch Throw Winner IS....

Courtesy of Kevin at my work, so blame or thank him however this turns out!

The winner is.........  Pamela M!  Congrats Pamela!  I'll have it boxed up and ready to post tomorrow early afternoon.

Now for some farm news.  This morning, Lil Sister knocked on the door like always.  Came in to be fed since she's currently not milking and before she went out, she laid down on the front room floor and refused to budge.  I think Sis is in pre-labor.  Eh, it worries me a little bit because she has not filled a bag.  All other normal indications are there, just no milk.  I had to go to work so I left her in the care of a "goat sitter".......

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another week in the books

BRRRRR, it's cold, still. Winter comes no matter what and I just deal with it when it gets here. So far this go-round, I'd been kind of spoiled since it's been cold but not the skin biting, freeze the stock tanks solid twice a day kind of cold like it is right now. The last 6 days have been miserable with a few more still to come before the warm up to mid 30sF. Of course, I'm on pins and needles, waiting for the house water lines to freeze and burst, again. So far, so good tho since the most vulnerable ones never got replaced for lack of insulation. Just wasn't in the budget last year. Water lines are cheap enough but those rolls of insulation, just never managed to get those covered. Eh, it's all good, I'm still alive. Just one of those adapt and overcome things.

Just one day left on the Macaw blanket raffle!  Just 3 people in the raffle so the odds are still excellent!

Speaking of still alive, baby lionhead bunnies were born on the 8th. Another one that's so far so good. First time Momma and they're still alive. So far anyway.  I can hardly wait to play with them!

Oh, LOL, have a giggle with me...... last Thursday early afternoon, had to run over to a company store in another town that I occasionally work at. I needed to drop a couple things off there. After my visit, I stopped at the local McDonald's for a coffee and an internet connection. While I was sitting there, an older man just sat down at my table and introduced himself. Nice enough fellow until he insisted on “hitting” on me. Yep, I got propositioned! Well, I got instantly creeped out but as is my nature, stayed polite thru it and he hands me this business card with his name and number on it. Under his name it says “hen house proprietor”. WTH does that mean? Way too creepy for me! Yah, I'm gonna call ya, hold your breath! ROFL Not.. The world is full of strangely bizarre people.

Another batch of the pumpkin scrub soap is in the soap mold. I'm really liking it. It's got a pleasant smell to it without any added oils and it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. A good addition to the line up I think. Next I will make a coffee soap. Supposed to be great for removing odors such as onion, garlic and gasoline. I'm going to make some and find out.

No baby goats yet. Probably not a bad thing since the weather is so nasty right now. Besides, I've got other things to worry about at the moment. Yep, the certified letter just came with the overdue tax bill in it. I knew it was coming, I couldn't pay it when it was due and I can't pay it now. Just not enough paycheck.

ARG, I'm currently suffering from another tooth problem. This time it's the other side, last molar on the top. It just fell apart. Now, it almost feels like another tooth is trying to push up into that spot. It's swelled and painful. Obviously some infection is in there too as the lymph node under my jaw is sore. Yah rah. Well, at least I got to sleep a couple nights.

I've got 3 new couch throws going all at once. A camo, a bublegum and a monet. 3 colors of yarn I had sitting here with nothing to do, LOL Left overs from the Christmas order I stitched up. I am really liking the bubblegum one, it reminds me of the colors in the old penny gumball machines. Should have at least one of them done early next week. Oh, I found more of that grape fizz colored yarn! I can't afford to buy it yet but I'm going to get some as soon as I can. I really favor that color scheme and was deeply disappointed on not finding any of it after the first blanket.

I've been working it thru my head, trying to figure out how to get the lean-to built. The design and construction isn't my problem. The supplies are. Same old tune, plenty of time, not enough green stuff. Some things you just can't scrap and salvage. I can't get going with the expansion of the rabbits or quail until I get that done and it depresses me. I have a cool design for quail runs that will make it easy to tend them and grow them. If I change the dimensions a little, it will most likely work for my smaller rabbits as well. Now all I have to do is protect them from the weather.
ARG, LOL, the 2 house hens are really a hen and a roo. Hahahaha, guess I wasn't paying attention very well. As I was feeding this morning, the roo hopped up in my hand. As I petted him, I realized he wasn't a lady chicken! Hahahahahaha duh, glad I'm so observant! Eh, he's still pet quality with his temperament and gentle behavior. I've also concluded that it wasn't the barred rock roo that fertilized his egg. His Daddy was that crazy cross bred roo that half looks like a rhode island red. Beautiful barred rock feathering all over his body and green tail feathers coming in, LOL Poor chicken.

Eh, must be the cold and dreary that's making me find amusement is such silly things. The rut of winter can easily get a body down if other distractions aren't found. I guess it's just my way of entertaining myself until it's time to dig, till and plant!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blanket Raffle- January

There's 7 days left in the raffle and only 2 people in it.  The odds are still great to win this Macaw 3'x5' couch throw!  As always, one entry is $10, 3 for $20.  Enter via the paypal button.  Good luck!

Sunday, January 4, 2015


It's been a while but my head is back to where it should be and I'm back on track with actually thinking about my lifestyle everyday instead of all the insignificant worries that seemed like they overtook my thoughts.

Today was laundry soap day. I prefer the powder to the liquid since it makes less of a mess and lately, I always seem like I never have enough time to do anything leisurely, LOL So, I grated up some of the heavy duty home made soap, added in some washing powder and some borax. I do a 4:1 ratio type recipe, a cup of grated soap to 2 cups of borax, 2 cups of washing powder. It does the job. My intention this morning was to go ahead and whip out another batch of goats milk soap but time got the better of me and it didn't happen. Not enough left before I head out to the off farm job. “sigh”

It's sleeting at the moment, the roads should be in dandy shape for the drive to work!

Oh, deja vu.... I pulled a tooth out last night! This one has been giving me trouble since Labor Day with plenty of sleepless nights due to horrible, inescapable pain. There is no pain on earth like tooth pain. What depresses me is the tooth wasn't rotten or defective in any way. No holes. Just something that has happened since the spinal fusion. They just start getting loose, then if I'm really “lucky”, they get a nice gum infection around them, cause me horrible pain and then, after the swelling goes down, I can pull them out. A little blood, a little discomfort while the socket heals and it's all over with. Guess I'm just going to end up toothless one day. That's alright I guess, adapt and overcome. I'll just gum everything to death, LOL

Whooopie! More garden porn in the mailbox! The Henry Fields catalog just came in. Now, I have the Gurneys and the Henry Fields to drool over and dream of spring. LOL Just what I need, eh? I couldn't wait for spring, I ruined the betting pool and planted potatoes in a plastic bin in the kitchen. I shock sprouted them in a paper sack and then the windows, they pushed ears and into the compost they went! I watered them this morning and I've got sprouts already pushing up. I should have me some new taters to munch on by middle of next month! Carrots, lettuce and radish are next, LOL

Still waiting to see if the lionhead bunny pulls fur. It will be her first litter of kits so I'm not too excited because she may let them all die but she could raise them all too so... If I did actually get her bred (she looks chunky) maybe I can get lucky and everything will go smooth and I'll have cute little furry bunnies to play with.

With sub zero temps coming in on us, I'm glad I didn't breed any of the outside rabbits. Delta hasn't filled a bag yet so I don't need to worry about goatlings in the middle of a horrible storm like she did to me last year. I'm actually kind of disappointed tho since she's usually right on the money with kids in the first week of January. I know there's kids in there, she's big as a house and pushing her summer kids off. Delta is always the first one to kid on the farm. I'm excited and getting a little impatient, LOL I love me some baby goats!

I started a camo couch throw last night. I also started a bubble gum couch throw. I may do them both at the same time, work a skein onto one and then the other. Haven't decided for sure tho. The crocheting is something I really enjoy for a project thru the winter months. It allows my mind to be occupied with dreams and big plans while my hands are doing something constructive.

Time to head back to the farm from the in-town net connection..... until next time, take care and stay warm!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

Yep, it's that time again.  The end of the year and the start of another.  I spent it working the off farm job and then soap making until 2am, LOL.  No sense in wasting time, eh?  Since I'm not a drinker, I didn't bother even thinking about going out and being silly, all my friends stay home too and didn't plan any type of celebration so quiet time was the order of the night.
I have soap curing on every flat surface available in the house, LOL

Monday, I finished a Macaw couch throw.  This one is 38"x61"  (3'x5') and it turned out pretty nice.  I like the colors.
This one I will raffle off here on the blog as well.  Same as always, $10 an entry or $20 for 3 chances.
We'll keep this one open until the 15th.  This blanket is longer than what I normally crochet, I think I like this size better as it works great for laying on the couch instead of just a lap throw for the lazyboy   ;-)

The next one I'll do will be another camo pattern.  

So, it's 2015 now and I'm already thinking about seed starting!  Oh yah, I know, it's still several weeks away but I can't help but dream of it anyway.  The darn garden porn is already showing up in the mailbox!  Gonna be hard to wait on the seed starting this time around, the weather has been mild and I am itching for spring!

Hmmmm, we'll just have to see how long I make it before planting something, hehehehehehe........