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When life bites you…

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… bite back.

Sorry for not updating in a while, things have been crazy around here. Silver spent a week in the hospital due to his toe getting infected (after 2 years of a wound not healing isn’t being diabetic fun?). Then we have spent every Tuesday heading back up there to see the foot doc there. Silver’s a vet so he has to go to the VA hospital and it’s a 3 hour drive one way. so any trip up there is a waste of a day.

Our pig caused us some major problems since that day and a person who attends church with my girls came by to put up a hot wire to keep her in her pen. So it makes her learn how to climb out of the pen. After this occurred we could not keep her in her pen at all and all kinds of fun started happening.

She:

invaded the neighbors yard

ate most of my garden

ate 6 chickens (broke into their pen)

started swimming through the septic pond

So, unfortunately when we discovered her eating chickens we had to put her down and with her swimming choices we could not use the meat. We’re hoping the pot bellies don’t have as many issues, the “church guy” has been pig sitting in exchange for 2 of the castrated males.

My peach tree has given up sometime after we got flooded last month. The apple trees seem happy however though. I am digging up whatever the potatoes have produced, I am not expecting much as they all died off during the rain too.

After all the rain we lost a goat, one of our females once all the deluge stopped looked like she was ill (I think she had a cold from all the water). It was a pity as we had hoped for babies from her as it was our milker. On a good note however Momma gave birth on Saturday to a healthy young buck. This morning I spotted him starting to play, so we’re glad he’s doing good. I need to retarp the goat house today however as we’re due rain tonight and tomorrow.

We picked up a injured kitten from an abandoned house a couple days ago, he has a bad leg. We also discovered he had a screw worm in his cheek, we pulled that out Saturday once we found our tweezers. I have to spend the next few weeks trying to take my garden back, as once strawberry started going after it I let it go wild hoping to salvage it. My cucumbers are ok and my sunchokes though she pushed the stalks all down they are still alive.

Hope things have gone well for you.

Be Well, Be safe, and Blessed Be…

Happy Sunday Morning!

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Thought I’d write up a little update though I’m still temporarily camera-less (my girls are away for the weekend). We finished filling 2 more of the tractor tires as well as one of the tubs yesterday, and Friday combined, I had gotten a Rhubarb plant from the MFA for $.75 and it went in the tub for now. We figure if it grows exponentially it’ll wind up in a tire.

This morning I planted some red onions, bushel gourds, and cantaloupes. Tomorrow I should have my pole beans in and my cucumbers as well. I also need to do more of my green bush beans. Not to mention getting in my herb seeds. One of the Zucchini seeds has sprouted so if nothing else comes up by this Friday I’ll replant the rest. I have about seven acorn squash coming up as well.

I noticed something yesterday in my sun choke bed. We have a volunteer tomato plant. Since I have no clue what kind it is I am leaving it where it is, as it’s on the edge of the bed anyway so it should be safe. I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to stake it up. My peas are starting to flower, the spinach is doing well and I’ve been getting a little of it daily. (waiting for it to really take off) The eggplant looks to have a flower forming, and the bucket tomato is flowering.

My two Does are looking fatter daily (I wish I knew exactly when they got pregnant), I am hoping to have two sets of twins but as long as they are healthy and grow well I don’t really care. Still need a boyfriend for Strawberry, also a better cage for her too, but we’ll get there. We should have ducks any day now, as they have hatched and it’s a matter of when they get here.

I spent half of last evening making banana bread on our new (to us) gas stove. Our neighbors gave us a small propane stove. Makes me happy I can stop using the electric one. I have over a case of bananas in my freezer that I’m going to be making into more quick bread. One of those fun freebies we received.

We’ve been eating lambs’ quarters now that it’s growing everywhere. Silver gets a small amount in the morning with his breakfast wilted and dressed with a vinaigrette. Then we have some with our evening salad. The girls have about twenty days left of school, then when they are out we will move our big meal to midday-ish. Then have a snack like meal in the evenings. I like summer times as we eat better especially once the garden is doing well. I have hopes for over abundance. The acorn squashes no matter how many we get will be saved for winter eating..

Hope you’re all having a fun weekend.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

I got Pictures!

My older daughter brought a camera from the school’s photo club home for the weekend so I borrowed it to get some pics of the animals for everyone to see first up is the goats.

Now The white goat is as far as we can tell younger than our black one, who is also the head goat in our tiny herd.  She’s always chasing the white one (Milkshake) off the feed while she (Momma) is eating.  The little one is our buckling Oreo, he’s still too small to do his job, but I doubt the girls care right now.

I don’t know how many people saw back when we got our first flock here how we called the chicks “food tv” for our cats.  But.. we got new programming on the “food tv”.

It’s the Cornish Cross show, I was in the farm store with Silver picking up a couple things when they brought them into the store.  Silver thought it was funny, my head when up as soon as I heard the peeping from them and I started scanning the store to see where they were.  These guys are going to be an experiment to see if it is worth the cost to raise a bunch next year for the freezer.  That’s why there is only 6 now, we had considered getting 12.

Speaking of chickens…

This  Is a picture of about 1/3 of our current laying flock.  I unfortunately have about 5-6 roosters in there and they are getting reduced to 2 roosters next week.  That white bucket in the foreground is a feeder Silver made for them out of a 5 gallon pail and a feed bowl.  He bolted the two together and cut some holes in the bottom of the sides of the bucket and it is now a 5 gallon chicken feeder.  The two leghorns in the picture are roosters as is the bird in the doorway, we’re keeping the one in the doorway he’s a mix) because he is just so huge.

Here is the other one we are keeping:

It’s a turken, we got two of these roosters and two hens of this breed and after watching all of the boys I noticed the turkens are built massively.  Also this turken and that mixed rooster (I call him pretty boy and once I can get a pic you’ll know why) are the most vigorous breeders in the batch of roosters.  So it was size of the bird and behavior that determined which roosters are going to be put in the freezer verses left with the ladies.

I have the chicken coop in the same location it was though the yard got an upgrade,

The tarp is  up over the coop and part of the yard partly to keep the tarp from getting torn and to help the roof which needs repair.  We bent rebar for the “hoops”, we also used pieces of wood at the bottom to hold the chicken wire down with rebar stakes hammered into the ground which will also prevent anybody from digging into the yard.  We also now have a full sized door on the yard instead of having to bend in half to go into the yard.  All of the chicken wire is the same fencing we had on the old yard reused on this one.

That next building is the new rabbitry with those 2 barrels there to store food for birds and rabbits.

Except for the 2 cages on the upper right everything was gotten from one person.  The cage ‘condo’ on the left side is a  multi lab cage that can be broken down into 6 cages  when you put dividers in.    We temporarily have just tarps on this structure, we’re going to put some wood up on the sides to keep the wind down, we’re trying to figure out if we’ll need a heater int here or not for the winter as they are all New Zeland and New Zeland crosses.

This is Harriet,

I love her coloring, I am hoping when I breed her, that her color will be in her babies as I personally love that silver grey fur.  I am hoping at least down the line to keep the furs off of the ones we butcher for projects.  She’s under a year old so I have a few years of breeding her to try for more with her color.

We do have one top notch animal in this bunch.

This is Ziggy, he came with a pedigree and an ear tattoo that is on his opposite ear.  I am going to be putting does in front of him this week as we have cooler weather this week so we should have fully functioning boys this week.  Seems the bucks’ equipment doesn’t work well when it hits over 90 degrees.  The only colored rabbit I have is Harriet everyone else is a white New Zeland, and we’re trying to figure out what she might be.

I am working on trying to switch the rabbits to forage feeding over pellet food, as I’d rather cut them some food myself than have to buy it.  We had gotten some geese from the person we got the rabbits from too but they wandered off.  Which I did expect, and was figuring I’d have to get some goose eggs to hatch next spring so we have friendly ones to guard our yard.

Well I need to get moving, as it’s taken me an hour to set this post up due to pictures and I am still cutting firewood for this winter as our chain saw was out of commission this spring so we’re half our wood behind.  Though pretty soon we’ll have it all and will be chopping/cutting wood for next year.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

 

Random Thoughts

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Well we have 2 weeks about before we get our extra rabbits, we have some work to do to prepare for them. Mainly as where we have the 2 we do have won’t work for this large amount. We figured putting them next to our chicken coop will mean that we can keep the chicken feed stored in there with the rabbits and their food.

My biggest hope in this endeavor is to have the extra meat for us. To me having our grocery bill going down is going to be a major help to us. I am planning on making an attempt to can a bunch of the rabbit meat in different formats. One of which being breakfast sausage, I hope it does well.

I am hoping that due to the amount of rabbits we are getting that I’ll be able to just cover the garden beds all winter with rabbit manure and in the spring maybe mix it into the soil there or I might just continue with the no till/layer method.

While looking about on Craig’s list I have noticed some trends. A lot of people are getting rid of animals due to just their coloring. To me I find this silly because personally I am not showing animals, and though I do prefer certain breeds. I know that right now I will take what I am offered animal wise. Someone is selling their Holstein cows because they now only want to do reds. I saw one person selling off sheep because quote “their sheep project is done”. Personally if they we no longer wanted and they are an animal traditionally used as meat I’d butcher it. That’s part of the reason our food type animals are all getting food names, so it’s a reminder that we are eating it at some point. I guess not everyone can do that.

I have seen people out here with huge goat herds that have more than they can handle because while they are not using them for any kind of food they just can’t get rid of them and they are not willing to butcher them either. Got too many buck goats? I hear Chevron is a wonderful meat similar to sheep. I guess it’s a good thing blogs are opinions because some people would say I am being cruel, but hey. To me having a “meat type” animal means that I have more meat in the house.

Well I have to get out to my garden and capture some tomatoes before they take over.

Be Well, Be safe, and Blessed Be…

Long Over Due Update!

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I know I have not written anything in some time on here, partly due to money issues and partly due to just being busy. At this time we have 2 interns staying with us, both are here either because they want to learn about how we live or because they want to live like this and wanted an easy way to get a start. One of them is our current mode of transportation as our van is officially dead. We are planning on turning it into storage and using the oh so comfy seats in the house (honestly they are -very- comfortable). The same one who has the vehicle is also working at a town job 4 days a week to help out a bit and to assist in getting them out of the debt issues they have.

As for what is directly going on here, well first our money situation is starting to turn itself around (btw my dear friend whom we got the water tanks from payback is coming to you in a couple weeks fingers crossed). We acquired some more goats, an adult and 4 babies.. 3 of them however did not make it. It’s a learning experience as one died due tot he fact that it seemed to have been sick when we picked it up. The other 2 shrugs I am not sure what got them though I suspect bloat got one of them. However we have our started herd of milk/meat goats.

We also got a new -small- flock of just hens, they aren’t producing the amount of eggs I wish they were but again, it’s building and the point is to make it till spring when we buy a new flock. I have 2 rabbits at the moment for our meat production. (Oh for those of you who whine about “don’t hurt the cute bunny!” Let me tell you that -cute- bunny has teeth and claws and can hurt you and have you ever seen a cow that is raised on a farm and has good feed, plenty of land to graze one? They are adorable, so if you think the cute bunny shouldn’t be hurt .. don’t eat the cute cow). I have contact with someone local who is going to sell me a good breeding stock on bunnies so that for us is a big plus.

Our garden this year has been doing 100X’s better than we have had before due to my new garden beds. I even pickled some cucumbers the other day. I am still trying to get enough tomatoes to can so I can do sauces and have chili fixings for all winter. I managed to pull 1 melon so far out of my garden, I think I still need to tinker a bit to get good big melons from my beds.

Our second intern is a young man, who has spent most of his life living in the city playing video games and living the life of the average city kid these days. He’s been chopping and hauling wood for about 3 weeks now interspersed with some dirt hauling. He is -just- starting to gain some muscle on his arms. Yes, we are still working on our winter wood. We got a chain saw this spring that after 2 days of work died, and when we took it back we needed the refund for bills so the new chainsaw got put on the back burner till we could afford it. We just got a new one and we are trying to get enough wood put up for this winter. We have 2 buildings to heat this year, so we have 2 wood burners to feed all winter.

The kids head back to school tomorrow morning, so they are excited; as are we as we get quiet then. We’ll even get more work done as we won’t be chasing them around to get the jobs they need done completed. Oh for those of you who know me on FB, I really don’t go in there anymore unless there is something I feel is important enough to get out to -everybody-, I am not even sending links to this blog there anymore. For me FB has become a bit of a joke and I just don’t see the point in it anymore.

I cannot guarantee I will keep things major-ly up to date as we have tons of things going on around here and I had a free moment and someone locally asked I update the blog as they feel what we are doing would interest a good deal of people out there. I am honestly not sure how true that is as from the bit of lurking I do have time for online I don’t see much activity of this kind out there anymore. It is like homesteading in the woods -was- a fad that is now over with. I might be wrong, but I don’t see much in the way of people being interested in it at this point.

Example, we had another person here for about 3 months. Boy, was it a failure; this young man thought that life here would be a breeze. As whenever he was online we tended to be as well to chat with him. What you don’t wind up seeing is this young man stays up till 3 am and doesn’t wake up till about noon. By noon we have our morning chores done and in the spring we don’t work 100% of the day any more than the rest of the year. However there are times we come very close to it. He moved down here supposedly to assist us and as he needed a place to live. He after a couple of times flatly refused to do any work as quote”my back hurts too much for that”. Now anyone who reads this blog knows that my partner Silver is disabled, he has a bad knee and suffers from RA horribly. Some days he can’t even get out of bed it can be so bad. So we have a 19 yr old young man who can barely lift a shovel to move some dirt because his back hurts. However when we suggested he see a doctor he refused to do that. So after a while of that and him wasting our food we sent him away.

I had at one time a person who looked at my blog and told me that what we do there had to be a lie because no one could live like that or do that much “stuff” in one day. It bothers me that (this person was under 30 btw) people younger than me think life is just about sitting in their chairs infront of a screen all day and walking to the car to go to work is hard exercise. Where has the work ethic of people gone?

Well that is about ti from here right now, hope everyone is well and healthy.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Free is Always Good

Well yesterday was an interesting day for us here. A year ago, I believe we cleared (not completely left some nice oak trees) for a pig enclosure. Then me and Silver were discussing it and decided we didn’t want the hassle of a full sized pig, as they can be dangerous and require really good fencing here. As if they get “away” from you you WILL be fined. Wild hog (read a feral) is a problem in this state.

 

Well yesterday our neighbors from down the road came over and asked us if we might be interested in some Pot bellied pigs. 5 of them for free. Well, pot bellied pigs don’t get very big and while they still need sturdy fencing.. and “rooting under” fencing their requirements are about what a goat needs aside from height. While the goat may jump a 3 foot fence the little piggy won’t. So we are going to go out and buy some fencing and set up a pig enclosure in about 2 weeks then we will be the proud owner of a small herd of pot bellied pigs. 2 adult sows.. 2 young-uns.. and one boar.

 

Also these same neighbors were looking at Momma and said, “you know, We have a horny goat at home how about you bring her by and we’ll see if we can’t get her pregnant.” Yeah on 2 counts! So Momma is over visiting a right handsome fella right now and hopefully we’ll get something out of that.

 

I’ve been up before the sun this morning making bread and feeding everybody else. I even have some laundry going.. and we’ll see what today might bring us.

 

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

We’re Back!

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Well everyone looks like we have some internet again, though it’s not very good and we have a bit of restrictions to it. A good deal has happened here since I last updated the blog. We bought 2 goats, which unfortunately we only have one now as during the time they had been playing together the younger of the two was injured and died from it. The remaining goat we have is named “Momma” she is black except for a small white spot on her head and she’s over 5 years old. The only info the seller gave me on her is that she is a “Spanish” goat and that her last kidding she had 4 kids. Now all I need is a buck for her and maybe I can increase my population. I am looking to buy her a friend as well, the one plus to the death of her old friend is that now Momma is a much friendlier goat that she was when we bought her.

 

In the last few months due to one of our neighbor’s moving away we acquired some building materials so we have an addition to the building we live in. So now me and Silver have a fully private bedroom (YEAH!).

 

Most of our chickens wound up getting eaten by a stray dog, and now we are down to just our rooster and 2 hens. I am hoping to fix that problem this Spring as well as get out rabbits going as well.

 

I am making some new planting beds based on a few different ideas I have read over the last few years in the clearing behind where the dome house will be built. I have taken the idea of lasagna gardening,Ruth Stout’s(correct spelling?) no till method, and a permiculture idea. I have started with a 4 foot wide bed that has at the bottom of it a bunch of brush and twigs. On top of that I have put a layer of composted chicken manure. Next a batch of mixed top soil and bagged manure. I am also sheet composting on it as well as adding wood ash as winter goes by us. Next throughout winter I will be adding the occasional layer of straw to it. Come spring when I clean out Momma’s “bedroom” I’m going to add that too it as well as any left over hay once there is good forage for her again. I have high expectations for these beds. I am also going to attempt to plant some bee balm at the ends of the beds in hopes of attracting lots of bees.

 

Since not having the internet here I’ve taken up to getting up at 3:30am and starting my day off with the animal feeding chores. I’m usually done in 30 minutes which then I make Silver a pot of coffee me some tea and watch the early edition of the news then I watch AG Day. You want to hear something weird? By watching the program I have noticed that while yes it does fall under the heading of most “national” news broadcasts (AG Day/Farm report), AG Day does contain a lot of good info about what is going on in the food system. Even more interesting is some of the commercials on during the program. Like ones for herbicides…

Did you know…? that now just using glyphosphate is not good enough? Granted I had some idea of this watching local farms who don’t grow canola, having canola“weeds” in their corn and soy fields. “Roundup Ready” now includes something called dicampa(spelling?), my guess would be for the “super weeds” and for the unwanted crops(read as weeds) popping up in their fields. So I wonder how long that one will last. I have also seen a commercial for a “weed control system”, this “system” includes 5 different kinds of herbicide. Now I know there are many large scale farmers who farm the way they do to make a living and love what they do. I just wish that we didn’t need the large scale farms and could supply the populous with smaller farms who does have time to go out and hand kill their own weed problems.

 

On another subject the recent decrease in the food stamp amounts federally. Now I know there are a good deal of people out there who do abuse the system, however for those who do need it; this is really going to hurt them. Our local news this morning highlighted a college student who needed to go to a food pantry due to this decrease. Problem locally here is I know in the county I live in if you need to use the food pantry you can only use -ANY- of them once a month. So if you go to one that gives you only one day of food and you still need to cover a full week because you funds won’t stretch that far you can’t do anything but try to make what ever you have on hand last till you can buy more or go again. With the talk of milk prices possibly going up very high and the talk of all food prices going up if the farm bill doesn’t pass soon… I think there will be big problems in this country involving people having enough to eat if they don’t make enough money.

 

Well I guess if you living in Washington state now you might be able to afford your food bills with the increase in the minimum wage there to $15.. however I get the feeling that due to that the number of jobs will drop considerably.

 

I am hoping to be able to keep the blog up to date, and I hope I give everyone something to think about as well.

 

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

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