Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

November 5, 2015

It’s been entirey too long…Part 1- HOGS

It’s been one heck of a year (or more) since I’ve posted. Baby Zane graced us with his presence in early February but even before that things were busy!

We spent the summer and fall of 2014 fixing up a home we purchased right down the road and winter preparing for the birth of Zane and all that a new baby brings. It had been, after all, nine and a half years since we had had a new baby!

Since this update post could get very long (and I do intend to bring it current), I’ll update in sections.

Hogs: Since last August we’ve taken off quite a few load of hogs for processing, put up fencing for a new few acre pasture for the pastured pigs with 3 strand high tensile electric, 3 new piglet litters, and now the latest litter is in the garden rooting up what’s left of the plants and helping us put the garden to sleep. We learned a valuable lesson about hog moving and loading. We were told once that the fastest way to move a hog is slowly. Quite true! We do occasionally move our hogs from pasture to pasture, the easiest way to do that is with treats.They follow just like dogs, at least ours do.

A short story: A month or so ago things seemed normal until I got a call from my neighbor saying he thought we had some pigs out on the road.  I thought surely he was mistaken but sure enough, Grandma Sow had not only let herself out of her pasture to visit the boar on the feeder’s pasture, but she opened up their gate (which is an 8 foot hog panel welded on 4 sides to metal tubing (NOT LIGHT WEIGHT!). Two feeders and Grandma Sow decided then to take a walkabout out of the barnyard (Grandma Sow has now opened 3 gates), to the front yard and down the road to the neighbor’s! I ran outside shaking a feed buckets yelling “PIGS” at the top of my lungs and here all three of them and two neighbors came sauntering back like it was a stroll through the park! Sheesh! It’s never dull with pigs!

The easiest way, we learned, to load a hog is by habit and it doesn’t take too long for pigs to learn habits! I didn’t necessarily have a hard time loading the first time, it was more of an issue of them being wary of the trailer, naturally, and then not being able to easily separate out who I needed in the trailer and who I did not.

panel weldingThis past spring Jeremiah and one of his welding students welded up some panels for me with a clear idea in mind for it to help me/us not only load but sort too straight off the pasture. The new pen has a gate that can keep lots separate depending on who needs to be loaded. We can load from the pasture or the pen and with a swinging gate between them, I can sort without having to get in either. Loading is nothing more than backing the trailer up to the panel & moving one panel over enough to open the trailer. I can do this alone in a matter of a few minutes and that was the key, being able to do it alone if necessary. Sorting was really the hardest part before, trying to get a hog off the trailer and another on wasn’t impossible but time consuming. This way, everyone I need to go on to the trailer is sorted just before they are taken off but are given access to the trailer for feed for a few days prior to loading is super easy.

Which brings me to loading. A wary pig is not one who will move all that easily…or, at all! Getting them used to the trailer ahead of time relieves so much stress! The Sunday before they are to go, we/I back the trailer up, move the gate over and feed them or give them treats in the trailer. There’s no pushing on our part to load, we’re not waiting hours or chasing on loading day, it’s stress-free the way I like it. They b-line for the trailer instead of running every other way but in. Look, self loading pigs!

Some of the pastures will be put to rest for the winter. We have sows farrowing in January and February 2016 and will have hogs ready again in March/April time frame for processing. We do have a bit of work to do to one of the hog shelters. We had a microburst come through here on Labor Day that took one of them and flipped it upside down. The roof took a pretty hard beating and I am sure the Sow’s might appreciate it being leak-free!

Several years ago we had a huge diesel tank on a stand that was given to us. Jeremiah took the tank to the shop and made a smoker out of it but the stand sat here for years. I always thought it would make a great animal shelter. Jeremiah took a few odds and ends (the expanded metal from a ramp that used to be on one of our livestock trailers), metal siding from someone’s hail damaged shop, and the frame and made a really nice hunting stand/animal shelter. That may sound like an odd combination but it works and is stout! We try to make most of our hog shelters transportable as they are moved from place to place, one of them eventually quite possibly being in the back woods along the neighbor’s fence line where deer like to frequent.

Within another month the feeder pigs that are in the garden will have done their duty cleaning up which will take me to my next post, that garden. Stay tuned…

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August 23, 2014

August

Moisture has been few and far between the last month. Yesterday the thunder started to roll but the storm past us to the west. I took the kids up to the pool about 2 and peak heat was 103. UGH!!! Yesterday evening the thunder was close again and I brought the clothes in off the line just in time for the sky to open up! The turkeys, being turkeys, couldn’t figure out where to go so I ran out to the barn and opened the small roving coop for them for shelter. I don’t know if they ever did end up going in the silly things!

We lost power at 6 and headed to town for a bite to eat, came home to a tree down in the front yard and debris that had plastered the front of the house even under the 6 foot roof overhang which I have never seen happen! Our favorite local weather people said there were 50-70 MPH straight line winds, that’ll do it! I have not checked the rain gauge but I’d say at least a good 1/4 inch if not 1/2 and bow howdy did we need it, every little bit!

Back to the turkeys, of the 4 we ordered, 3 survived past their 24 hours mark and have grown up! We have 2 toms and a hen and they have got to be one of the most entertaining animals here! They are also the best bug catchers which is great because the grasshoppers, like last year, are horrendous again. It was a very wet August last year and the mosquitoes were so so bad last year, not the same this year. Last year at this time Jeremiah was spending evenings and early mornings sitting still camouflaged behind a tree trying to call in the fox that had been eating our chickens. One morning it came in close enough to get a shot off but was just dark enough that he couldn’t for sure tell what it was and the chance was gone forever. They are hard ones to call in and catch, so they say. We have not seen that fox, knock on wood, nor have we lost any chickens this year!

Say hello to Tom and Tom! I just love these guys, so very talkative and they follow under foot like puppies. Just the past few weeks they’ve become very intent on trying to impress the hen who doesn’t seem to notice one way or the other. I find something interestingly beautiful about them. Normally their snoods (the piece of skin hanging off of their nose) is shrunk up above their beak and their necks and heads are a pale pink but when it’s time to impress, their snood grows and hang over their beak and their heads and necks turn bright red and blue.

 

A while back I was assured by a hunter we had over that we’d have a hard time keeping our turkeys from mingling, if not taking off with, the wild ones which are in great abundance here. In fact, we have 2 resident hens who hatched out 15+ poults between them and we often see them all in the back yard. They like to hang out in the pig’s pasture too in the tall grass. Two years in a row our turkeys haven’t seemed to pay any mind to the wild ones and visa versa so who knows. These guys have done well growth-wise and have been 100% free range since leaving the safety of the roving coop back when we butchered the broiler birds t 8 weeks old. They cost us next to nothing and really are so fun to have around! They spend most of the day hanging out with the pigs in the shade trees, most evenings they bed down in the middle of the barn yard in the grass. I am thinking maybe we ought to keep a tom and the hen over winter and see if she won’t set a nest in the spring. The poults aren’t too expensive to buy at all but it would be fun to have brand new baby turkey poults hatched out here.

Like I said, the fox hasn’t been around this year, thank goodness. There’s still time of course but so far so good. Two more hens, at lest, have hatched out more chicks since the last time I wrote. At about 4-5 weeks they leave the hen to live life on their own and we’ve lost some to hawks. I consider putting them in the large roving coop we use for the broilers but in the end, the survival of the luckiest plays out. The one Australorp whose nest I never did find has managed to keep all of her babies alive by sticking to the treed areas in the pigs’ pasture. Most of her babies are Australorps and hopefully got her good safety sense!

We’re down to 2 dry yearling left for sale who will be bred fairly soon here. All of the spring does have sold or are pending. I considered keeping one junior buck a a new herd sire but I can’t justify it keeping his sister, sire, dam, grand-dam etc. He’s leaving for his new home today in Northern Ks. We’ll have a few more older bred does for sale closer to the end of the year once they are dried off. Milk customers are keeping them here for now and with the up coming 2 year olds who will freshen next year and our new baby on the way, we have to keep our #’s down.

Our older sow is close to farrowing within the next week. I need to get her moved over to the farrowing pen to get settled in. She and our gilt will won’t be bred again until December giving the gilt a few more months to grow out to a good breeding age and our sow 3.5-4 months to recoup from this last litter. Normally I give her  a 2-2.5 month break between breedings which seems to be plenty for her but winter piglets proved to a lot more work than warmer weather piglets! It’s just a whole lot easier to raise piglets without the threat of cold weather.

Up until this summer the fencer we have for our high tensile electric has worked fine but the goats have taken a liking to going between the wires over into our neighbors front yard. Come to find out we’ve been running the wrong fencer and up until I put the rotational grazing poly wire fencing up for the goats in the woods it worked fine. However, now the drain of that poly wire has limited the distance of the “solid state” fencer we were running (thinking it was a low-impedance fencer this whole time) and was making the shock much less effective the farther away from the fencer the charge was so the goats were taking advantage of that. It was the “grassis always greener” way of thinking.  We chased that issue around for quite a while until we figured it out. Last Sunday we ran 3 more lines,  switched out the invisible fence for the dogs to the top line instead of the 2nd, made 2 of the lines “ground” wires and the rest are HOT HOT HOT! Hooked up the new fencer and boy does she pop!

What’s so nice about this fence is the lines are so quick to run. The three lines, after a trip to town for more insulators, took us as about an hour and a half. I run the wires down the line while Jeremiah insulates the wires with sleeves around the corner posts, crimps the wires and tightens the in-line strainer. Easy peasy and when we don’t overload the fencer with crappy poly-wire, it works great but when we load the new fencer with the poly wire, it’s not an issue!

Heading up for the last 6 round bales of hay today. It’s supposed to be another very hot one so I am very thankful we’re not bucking bales into the barn. It’s a little bit scary to see an empty barn this time of year! I am used to seeing it and 2 of the lean to’s bursting with small bales but they are all in rounds and we’re sticking with the pellets and with the pellets and hog feed in barrels, it takes up about as much room as 6 bales sitting in the ground and is such a space saver! I am not sure what I’ll do with the empty part of the barn but it sure is nice space to have available! =)

Man alive we had an issue with one of the does and tape worms this year! The end of June, she dropped weight like a ton of bricks, had constant diarrhea, eyelids went white and I really thought we’d loose her. None of the regular tape wormers I use (Valbazen usually) were working, I made up a special herbal wormer that helped a little, she rallied for a while but went right back after we got back from Ca. and literally, the diarrhea went on for over a month! I don’t know how on earth this doe is still alive! After finally doing a little more research I figured it had to be sort of a super tape, for lack of a better term, and tried Equimax horse wormer and WOW, WHAT AN IMMEDIATE DIFFERENCE IT MADE! That, along with Red Cell for the iron, B12 for her appetite and the other good nutrients and yogurt for the probios, she was perking right up, eating 100% better, diarrhea subsided within a couple of days and now she’s nearly back up to weight again and it didn’t take a 2 doses 10 days apart! I wormed the entire herd with that to be safe which I hate doing but as a precaution, I’d prefer it that way! Equimax also has Ivermectin and while it is a little pricier than some wormers, with it having both it’s my new go-to after freshening and for our kids as preventative!

At any rate, time to get going, lotsa work to get done today, first of which is coffee and getting that tree that fell cleaned up and cut up for fire wood. That will soon be upon us very soon and with as long as winter was last year, I’d like to have quite a bit more cut up than we’ve had in previous years. Better to be safe than out cutting wood when it’s freezing. =)

 

 

 

 

 

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June 4, 2014

For the…bees

We picked up our “nuc” colonies on Saturday. VERY exciting! Not knowing quite what to expect, the transfer of the first hive was a little precarious but the second was pretty easy!

 

These bees are so docile. I made Rachel dawn a veil made from a piece of lace I cut in two -because I needed one too- a hat to hold it on, long sleeves, jeans, and gloves. Since then, I’ve been walking out (and taking off the lid for a peak a few times) in whatever I happen to have on and with this weather, it’s been short sleeves and a shirt or shorts! They are just so calm! That may be a different story once collection time comes but for now, they seem to be well handled and “socialized” and there was no fuss about it.

 

The frames all look great, already a lot of wax combs started, capped honey and larvae growing inside the cells. Our queens are not marked and we had a hard time identifying them, it made me dizzy to try to sit and watch them with so much movement but I am sure everything is just fine.

 

We missed the black locust blooms but it looked to be an “off” year anyway and I am hopeful next year they explode in full bloom giving the bees lots and lots of pollen to gather. The wildflowers are plentiful this year though and the Catalpa trees are showing their beautiful splendor.

 

We are all enjoying them very much and look forward to this journey with our newest additions.

 

 

March 1, 2014

Nigerian/Mini Goat kid coats

Custom order for Linda as she readies for new babies mid-March!

 

goat coats

Nigerian coat compared to average size kid coat.

goat coat goat coat

February 18, 2014

It may be a cock and bull story…

Here’s something to crow about. Mother Hen was feeling a little empty nest syndrome having neither chick nor child and hatched an idea. She now maintains a strict pecking order. Hey, you gotta find some way to scratch out a living and we wouldn’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket, right? She may be walking on eggs shells however, the sow really rules the roost around here. Mother Hen probably thinks she signed up for a pig in a poke with this job. She doesn’t have time to brood over it though and may want to make herself as scarce as hens teeth before she ruffles the sow’s tail feathers and her chickens come home to roost! The sow doesn’t play chicken, she’d be all over her like a banty on a Junebug! Well if that don’t beat a pig a pecking! This story is all a little bird brained but I hope it left you sunny side up.

 

January 4, 2014

Home

Home sweet home. It’s fun to travel but sure is nice to come home too!

The trip to California was amazing, as always. The drive is so different every time, particularly in winter which can make for last minute changes in travel plans. We try to vary our route so we see something different each time and leaving later than we had originally planned due to weather here in Kansas on Saturday left few options than a more direct path to be there in time for Christmas.

The pup traveled really well and had more training walking on a leash along the way. He was delivered to a delighted friend on our way down the hill to Lincoln. He was sure great to travel with even in the hotel rooms which are so much different than a barn. It takes a lot of reassurance along the way to keep them mentally healthy and keeping the cab cooler to keep them psychically healthy does not always make for a warm and comfortable ride for the humans.

We visited with company and neighbors and friends and took drives to some of our old “stomping grounds”. I miss it in some ways but there’s much about Kansas I like too. The grass is greening up back in Ca. and the spring bulbs are starting to poke their heads out of the ground! We came home to snow and semi-bitter temps.

My Mom and I exchanged some veggie seeds and I am just about all set for spring planting here which with the green house can start in about a month! I have a few large windows too that I will be making into cold frames. I dug up a bunch of first year blackberry vines to transplant here in Ks. Super excited to get them in the ground. We mulched their roots down well with damp sawdust and wrapped them in a bag, just like they would come from the nursery. These would have cost me a fortune to buy them in the spring so I am thankful these were free and they came from “home”.

We will need to replace a couple of the fruit trees in a month or so when the new stock is in. That late ice storm in April 2013 really deadened some wood on some of the young trees enough that a few couldn’t recover. They came with a warranty thankfully which I originally thought was kind of silly to offer but not so much so when they need to be replaced =)!

The weather fluctuated in Kansas a lot while we were gone and I think most of the snow melted on the days it was warm and sunny but I don’t think there were many of those days. It snowed again the night before we pulled in and there are places that are a bit icy. All of the animals look fantastic and we’re so thankful to have great neighbors who feed and care while we are gone.

The pigs apparently made an escape and helped themselves to a few barrels of food in the barn. I moved their electric fence before we left and either the somewhat deep snow shorted it or they were rooting around one of the posts a lot and a post fell over (taking the wire to the ground and shorting it). Either way, my fault. They don’t normally get so close to the fence but one of the new areas that was opened up was a rooting heaven from the looks of it.  I should have known better. Jeremiah and I spent a couple of hours yesterday re-installing a lag bolt for the gate they lifted off its hinges. We use the cheapy poly-wire electric wire within a pasture to rotate them within it and keep their access smaller than the 1/2 an acre pasture. They didn’t have access to the walk through and drive through gate into the barnyard being behind the poly-wire and we don’t install the gates correctly technically, we install them for ease of removal (by just lifting them off if we need to). The upper lag bolt on the post is supposed to point down and the portion on the gate that receives the pin from the bolt slides up, this keeps animals from lifting the gate off. The goats don’t lift the gates off their hinges. Once the pigs went over/through the poly-wire electric, the gate was fair game. The other 3 sides of their pasture is 5 strand high-tensile electric. Lifting gates off their hinges is apparently easier to deal with.  It’s never dull around here!

The electric fence wire was partially salvageable but I am not going to reinstall it until spring. How on earth it got so tangled is beyond me! The ground is frozen anyway and I cannot get the posts in so they’ll get the run of that whole pasture and I’ll install insulators along the paneled portion between the pasture and barnyard so they don’t root along the fence line. They sure looked pleased to have such a big area!

Speaking of the pigs though, it’s amazing how different things look when you don’t see your animals for 12 days! Ann pig is looking quite rotund, she’s scheduled to farrow Feb. 14 and our first does due are looking ginormous. Emmy will be 4 in February 2014, this will be her 4th kidding. After 3 years of nothin’ but bucks, we’re really hoping for a doe this year!Most of the does are bred to kid later when it’s warmer.

I’ve taken a break from milking for about 4 weeks. I hemmed and hawed about milking the yearlings who kidded in June through Christmas but decided to dry them off too. I like the little break before the routine starts all over.

We have plans to expand the garden a bit and put corn and melons in another location and I think we’re going to just go ahead and buy several lengths of electric poultry netting to contain and rotate the layers. Fencing the corn and melon plants at that point may not be necessary though there may be issues with rabbits and racoons once the melons start to ripen, so we’ll have to see about that.

The melons were hit and miss last summer taste-wise. I am hoping a little different location and a change of water routine  will change that. I don’t think we have plans to travel this summer so I am really looking forward to a big garden. After going across country 3 times in the past year (Ca. twice each Christmas and WV) over the summer, I am kind of traveled out. We have a lot of projects we’re working on/planning and after all is said and done with Jeremiah’s school schedule, he doesn’t get but 5- 6 (staggered) weeks off.

Brome fertilization is fast approaching. Every year that we keep up with it, the fewer weeds the grass has t to contend with and the better the pastures look. Not that I think weeds are bad, some are more nutritious than the hay available but we’re trying to get more of what they’ll eat and less of what they won’t.  I don’t know that we’ll be able to bale this year just yet. We’re still looking for a decent sickle bar mower but the pastures looked better last year than we’ve ever seen. Course, the rain helped that but over-seeding in brome was a good choice.

Our milk barn has been started by the building construction class at the high school. The floor and the outer walls are up. We’ll take care of putting on the metal siding and probably the roofing although the corrugated rubber composite stuff like we put on the chicken coop is really nice and has held up well. We may stick with that, I am not sure yet.

The Sept. chicks look more and more like young pullets now than chicks!It’s amazing not seeing them for 12 days. With any luck, they’ll be laying in the next month or two. I still think we’ll incubate a hatch or two and I am eager to see how the crosses that came about from the Sept. home- hatch turn out. Two greys have lacing and are just so so pretty! No idea what cross they were but my best guess is blue laced red wyandotte with one of the other wyandottes, for young pullets they have such a nice plump hen shape! The 6 broiler pullets we kept and didn’t butcher are laying now too, going on 6 months old, still getting around and foraging well. We’ll probably butcher them come spring time when the pullets are laying well but for now it’s nice to have “meat” chickens who are layers! They lay a really pretty dark brown speckled egg.

We’re in for some cold temps Sunday, Sunday night and Monday so we made a quick trip out yesterday for more straw for the pigs.  I was down to half a bale. Because they don’t have a lot of hair to keep them warm, they snuggle underneath their bedding and it acts like a blanket and they also munch on it as well.  Looking forward to new baby goats and new piglets and seed starting. Spring is a ways off but it’s nice to plan for it!

Time to end for now. Have a great weekend.

December 14, 2013

Sewing for Christmas Part 3: Custom Order

Tracey ordered 4 bunnies and 4 crayons rolls and some soap and I had so much fun mixing and matching fabrics for her!

bunnies 101_1188

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September 11, 2013

Chile Verde

Our pepper plants have been great producers this year. I completely forgot to start tomatillo seeds and for that I kick myself because I wanted them for verde sauce but this sauce, oh my goodness!!! It’s delicious!

chile verde1

6-8 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup white flour

1 large white onion

3 cloves garlic

kosher salt to taste

4 jalapenos (or other small hot pepper, optional)

2 lbs. Anaheim chiles

Olive oil

Roast peppers over open flame or in an iron skillet until well blistered, their color will lighten some, they’ll become charred. Put into paper bag and seal or into a stainless steel bowl that you have a lid or cover for. Allow to steam until cool enough to handle. Once cool, they’ll slough their skin fairly easily, remove seeds and as much skin as you choose (some do this under water, some do not, the choice is yours).

Dice one medium white or yellow onion and skin 3-4 cloves or garlic and smash, put into large pot with some olive oil (1/8 cup), over low/medium heat saute until tender, add roughly chopped peppers & flour. Stir to coat. Add chicken stock and let it all come to a slow simmer, the stock should thicken some due to the flour. – you could omit the flour completely and allow the blended peppers to be your only thickener-.

Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so and place in a blender or use a stick blender to blend it into an oblivion. Funnel into canning jars and preserve or freeze. Should keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

This can be used for pork verde, for enchiladas or as a salsa! It’s delicious with chips and I am not a bit sad at all that there wasn’t any room left for this small pint jar in my pressure canner! Enjoy!

chile verde

September 9, 2013

Farm update: September

What a busy summer it’s been! Each morning as I begin l livestock chores there is almost a smell of fall in the air. It’s not quite here yet but I expect it very soon.

Garden:

The garden has done very well for us this year and continues to. This morning I cut the dying sunflower blooms off of their stalks and will dry them to use the seeds next summer. We had very lovely sunflowers this year!

Some of the heirloom tomatoes are just starting to ripen while the cherries, romas and “standards” have been producing for a while. In fact, I have a pot of water on the stove as I type this getting ready to sterilize some jars as I made tomato sauce on Saturday that I need to can. A friend of mine gave me a gallon of homemade grape juice from her own grapes that I will be making in to grape jelly too.  I intend to start a verde sauce today with the Anaheim chilies. The pepper plants did extremely well this year and we’ve been eating jalapeno poppers quite often which is quite OK by us, we love them!

We’ve been enjoying melons for several weeks and green beans and eggplant. The potatoes are ready to dig. I dug some about 2 weeks ago and we had tasty fried taters with steak that night!

The bugs have been very bad this year though, no doubt due to the all the rain we got in August. I lost most of the broccoli and cabbage but I left the plants and they seem to be coming back so I think grasshopper season has passed. We put “Turkena” the turkey in the garden and she did a good job keeping the bugs down but there’s only so much one turkey can do! The carrots are just about ready to pull up and they look really good. I planted them in May and just put another hand full of seeds into the ground for carrots later on. I should get some cabbage and broccoli and all the cool weather crops started soon too.

Growing the cucumbers and melons vertically this year turned out to be a very great thing! I was super happy with the results and it’s something I plan to do again next year.

The greenhouse will need a little help before next season, I think we’ll go ahead and board up the “front” and “back”. The wind was quite unkind to the plastic in that area but over the hoop it held up beautifully and it did such an amazing job for us getting our seeds started early.

Animals:

2 of the does were bred last month for late January kids but after reading the Farmer’s Almanac Prediction for this winter I have to wonder if holding them to kid in July may not be better =). The first fresheners who kidded in June are producing beautifully. We weathered all the kids and I think I will try to see if I can keep them in milk over Christmas when we go to California so we have milk again when we come back. Though it does mean I won’t get a break except while we’re gone and I really enjoy that break! I guess we’ll play that by ear.

The piglets are growing so well, this weekend the boys who are not going to breeding homes will be castrated and next week they will head off to their new homes. I have really enjoyed them tremendously…so active and lively. Ann has been such a great mother and milk producer and it’s just been such a wonderful experience. I really look forward to another litter some time next year.

We have a fox back that has taken a few chickens. One morning about a month ago I was enjoying coffee at the kitchen table looking out onto the back yard around 6:30 in the morning and saw one jet across the yard with a chicken nearly in its jaws. I screamed bloody murder at it waking the entire house and it was either do that and have it run away or not scream at it and have it run away with my hen in its mouth…either way there was little chance we’d get a shot off. It stood there for a while and looked at me like ‘what did I do?’.

Jeremiah has been calling it in for several mornings now and saw it yesterday but it’s was just dark enough he couldn’t tell for 100% certainty that it was indeed a fox so he left it be and it’s not responded to the call since,  little bugger.

We’ve scheduled to butcher up this second batch of meat chickens for several weekends now but it’s just been so hot that it wouldn’t be at all fun but temps look like they’ll be in the 80’s this coming weekend and it’s now or never. They are small turkeys at this point and need to be processed. They all still look fantastic though and I was happier with this batch over the last and I was really quite happy with the last batch too! But I think with all the rain we had in August, the grass was so green and there were so many bugs these grew so very well. It’s definitely something we’ll do again next year and I even considered doing another batch this summer/fall because I had more customers than I had birds but I worry about volatile weather and the grass is starting to turn and I think it’s just best if we call it a summer on those.

Speaking of this weekend though, it’s the dairy goat show at the Kansas State Fair. We’re not going. I was worried I’d be sad that we weren’t but to be truthful, it’s a huge relief! We’ve just been busy and thinking about clipping everyone up again is just not on my top list of things I want to do. Everyone is milking well and I’d like to keep it that way. Not to mention the cost involved and the running back and forth and hugely early mornings and late nights, I’ll be happy to be the spectator and the helper, if it’s needed…if we even get down there for the show once all the chickens are done and there’s a lot of them…for us anyway, over 60 but we’ll have a butchering trailer this time with chicken plucker. I don’t mind plucking and it doesn’t take me very long but if I can save my hands and joints the work for as inexpensive as it is to rent, I’m all for that.

Rachel wanted specific chickens to raise for 4-H this year and after a few delays our local farm store finally got their chicks in this past Friday. I went down there and picked out 6 for her- 3 buff orpingtons and 3 barred rocks. I also have a batch in the incubator right now that will be ready to go on lock down tomorrow. I put in 16, one didn’t look to be fertile after a week and another just quit growing so of the 16, I have 14 left and they all look very good. Each new batch seems to better and better in the incubator and maybe this time we’ll be close to 75% hatch rate. I like raising chicks this time of year because it’s still warm enough most days not to need a heat lamp and by the time it turns cold they are ready to be outside with the other chickens.

General:

I’ve chosen a design for the new milk barn and we intend to start on that once the weather turns a bit cooler. I don’t know that we’ll get it done before winter but the mere fact the water and electric is in was one big step for us.

All this work around the farm means sometimes the house goes to the wayside and we’re always in a constant state of remodel. Several weekends ago I drug out the paint brush and paint and got to work putting high gloss white on baseboards and trim. We completely gutted and remodeled a 2 bedroom rental house in town and after painting nearly that entire thing alone, I seriously have a bad taste in my mouth for painting and have a hard time bringing myself to even think about putting a drop of pain on anything! But, I figure if I do a little at a time eventually it’ll all get done….maybe! Maybe though the stuff that was painted a long time ago will need to be RE-painted again! UGH!

We’ve been talking for the past couple of years of putting in one of those really large stand alone wood stoves  and piping it into the house via the existing duct work. This may be the fall to really do it instead of just talking about it.  As October approaches we start to think about wood cutting and splitting and that’s a chore that will be upon us soon. We had very little left last season. It seems we went through quite a bit and by all accounts I think it was a pretty mild winter…long, but mild. After taking a weekend in March and gathering rounds and logs from the woods and putting them in our wood cutting area, it’s all ready to go into the wood splitter.

The children went back to school just after Labor Day and I am back to being alone during the day, it’s a little lonely but I get a lot more sewing done. I am back to quilting on Rachel’s quilt and have just the smallest amount left to do. Then I can bind it and it’ll be ready! It should serve her well if it’s real cold this winter. The batting I used was bamboo fleece, it’s a heavy quilt! Several other project have been keeping me busy along with the cloth diapers.

Well, I promised the children I’d take them to the fair today and tonight is the demolition derby we intend to watch with friends. I don’t understand how people can visit the fair every day but it seem there are lots and lots of people who will go nearly everyday. It’s just too hot and crowded for me to do that more than once!

I suppose that’s about all for now. The pressure cooker is whistling at me so I need to start timing my ‘mater sauce and switch over the sprinkler for the garden. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

August 30, 2013

Property of…

Just for fun =)

egg MH

Happy Friday!