Monthly Archives: September 2012

Frost and in case you wanted more, another Frost!

There are certain parts of the year that make me look back on my life and wonder, “How the hell did I get HERE?” Jack and mine’s anniversary is one of those moments. We have been married fourteen years as of yesterday. If you were to take me back to the first day of high school when I sat down next to Jack for the first time in science class and told me that I was sitting next to my future husband I would have laughed in your face. Even if you had told me a year later when he saved me from having to go to a dance with someone I didn’t want to go with, I am not sure I would have believed you. A year after that, in junior year, when I realized that he actually listened to me instead of well focusing on what most teenage boys focus on, well I might have listened to you, still thought you were crazy but still. At the same time if you would have told me that I would be living on a farm killing and processing my own meat, I really didn’t like meat like ever. Or that I would have three kids who I spent a good portion of my day teaching. Let’s put it this way, this is not the life I thought I would have. I wouldn’t change it for anything though. I think if I were in the life I had imagined for myself I would just be another very unhappy person. My life is so full in so many ways. I am thankful for the adventure that we have gone on. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and find myself, to grow. It means a lot to me. It also means a lot to me that Jack has stuck by my side through all my freak outs, gently pushing me and telling me I can do it. He is a good part of my growing these past fourteen years. I love him with all my heart.

So what has happened the past week. Well, guess what, Luna has STILL not given birth. Seriously. She has another two weeks or so before we say that somehow Billy got her pregnant in the first month she was here. It is possible, I am hoping not though since geez, I want that baby OUT and getting bigger so we don’t have to worry about keeping it warm. The cows are doing great. We have come up with names, Ruby and Jewel. We figured out what was up with the dead chickens. They were going egg bound. I can only guess that this was because they started laying way early. Their food rations were very sufficient and should not have been suffering any deficiency. We lost all but one Iowa blue. Very sad about that. Astrid has very oddly started giving more milk than usual. I shouldn’t say that it is odd. We have been milking her for a little over a month now and her body has probably said, “Oh hey, I guess I need to be producing more now.” She is so sweet and a joy to milk really. She nuzzles me and Luna comes up behind me and nuzzles me. I have said many times that goats are the cats of livestock. They are full of curiosity and well standoffishness, and well if a goat doesn’t want to be around you, they just aren’t. So when a goat actually wants to be around you, it is like a cat jumping into your lap. Thankfully the goats for the most part don’t try to get in your lap. Except for Fiona who will try and climb into your lap if you let her. So be careful about that. Jack didn’t believe me that she was trying to do that until I told him to just sit down and stop pushing her away and sure enough she just lay calmly down on his lap. Goats are funny. The girls have reported that the crazy wild sheep have tamed a little, though we have ran out of apples to tame them with. They will now come up to you and follow you around. However, they still run away if you try and touch them.

In other farm news, though it had nothing to do with OUR farm. I got a hundred pounds of tomatoes to process last Wednesday. It was kind of a crazy day. They were canners and well, there were a lot of split ones. I didn’t have much choice but to can them all, quickly. We also had two frosts this past week, one Saturday night and one Sunday night. It wasn’t fun. It was so freaking cold. It has warmed up a lot but the damage was done to our garden. The tomatoes on the lowest row all died. So we have been collecting lots and lots of green tomatoes. I am guessing I will be making green tomato salsa. Because not only do I have an excess of green tomatoes, I also have a whole bowl full of hot peppers. I have a lot of work to do. And my sanity is slightly impaired right now.

We got the whole first floor down and coated twice! It still very possibly needs more coats, but this might do. We also caved and got fiberglass for insulation. It is the cheapest option and quick. Most of the downstairs is insulated now. It is a good thing. The weather seems like it is going to hold off for awhile. This coming week will see me not only making salsa but making straw ticks for the girls and us. Goodbye crappy mattresses! I will try to take pictures while I am doing so. I suck at sewing, but really, it is straight lines, right? Oh sewing goddess help me 🙂 At this point in the cabin building I would rather get as much done in there before moving in as long as the weather holds. Unfortunately, the problem we are running into is that the person we get the old pallet boards from is running slightly behind. He has a lot going on and well, we have been really late in getting boards. We ran out this weekend and it might not be until tomorrow or Friday until we get more. That is what is currently holding us up.

I think that is most of our week though, frosts, milk, dead chickens, eggs, frost, floor, you know, the usual stuff. Hopefully this next week sees milk, no frosts, no dead chickens, eggs, more floor, walls, insulation and maybe oh my, starting to move into the first floor of the cabin. Next week there will be pictures. Promise.

oh oh all I want to know, where does the time go?

We have cows. Two sweet youngins. They are jersey/shorthorn heifers. They came from an organic dairy, but were bought as bottle babies. The people had them for about 6 months and decided, I guess, they were just too much. So they are ours now. It was quite an adventure getting them. And probably not in the way you would imagine. Getting them was fine. Even if it was raining. On our way home though most of the girls had to go pee, so we stopped at the gas station and Layla heard some hissing from our tire. Yep. She told Jack but either he didn’t hear her or didn’t think about it. So she told me and I told Jack. We had a pretty huge hole in our tire. It was flattening at a decent rate. So we went to the store to get something to fix it. Two products failed. The third one got us home. It was a nail hole, and there is another nail, at least one, in our tire. Yep. We have to replace our tires now. I’m trying to not feel like the universe is out to get us. Really, I am not. We got cows! They are sweet. But damnit, it was not fun dealing with that last night. We were very late in getting home, it sucked. But we have cows! What is the yogi tea bag saying? With each loss there is an equal gain and with each gain there is an equal loss. But geez!

Jack’s parents came to visit again. We got a lot done. We spent two days de-nailing boards. I am not sure if they are so enthused to come back 🙂 We got the upstairs windows in thanks also in part to Shagbark. Jack and Phil got some more siding up while Judy and I de-nailed and de-nailed and de-nailed… We did hit our knuckles often and I did hit myself in the head with a hammer, don’t ask. But we de-nailed a half pallet of pine boards. Jack and Phil then planed them all. They are all ready to be put down as flooring now. Really we couldn’t move in too soon for me right now. It was COLD last Thursday. Really really cold. And windy. Not fun and Saturday’s low is like 36. What the hell? I am not ready for fall. I really thought, way back in spring, that we would be moved in by fall. It is sad because there are still parts of the day that are nice, just the parts that aren’t nice are really not nice. But the cabin is coming along. We will move in eventually. I think our floor is going to look really nice too.

We had two mysterious chicken deaths this past week. It happens. I know this, but still it bugs me when it happens. The goats are still getting out the fence. It is frustrating but almost becoming just something we are all dealing with. We recognize this as a managemnt problem and one that we know the solution to. We just need to get to the point where we can build fence. This is solvable. Sometime soon. It is so interesting to occaisonally hear a “MOOO!” So sweet. Oh, the girls are also “civilizing” our wild sheep. They have been going up there and throwing apples and getting them closer and closer. Soon, soon. They have been able to scratch them once. For the most part if you move, they run. Maybe I should say bolt. We are working on it though. Everyone is getting so big though. It will be nice when we are a farm of something other than babies. Our cows are only about six months old, so it will be about a year and a half until we are getting milk. That is alright though, we are patient people.

So cabin is coming along, slowly but coming along. Animals are doing alright. It feels good having a full farm. Though it will feel better when we have worked out some kinks. It is cold and getting colder. Huck is doing not so well. He has started to shake. He also gets worried whenever we leave. He has tried to follow us a few times. Yesterday the girls and I went for a short walk and Huck howled pretty much the entire time we were gone. It was sad. I am not sure what to do though. Oreo and Esme have worked something out. Maybe it is just because it is getting colder? But they are almost cuddling. It is sweet. Things go on, things change and life happens. At the end of the day we are tired. Sometimes we are not in a great mood, sometimes we are very happy with what we have gotten done. And some days, no most days, we wonder how the hell the day passed, in fact, how did the week pass? Did August every really happen? Didn’t summer used to be longer? Where does the time go?

Green

Because if nothing else it is greening up out there. The small amounts of rain have been soaked into the ground and the plants are taking it for all it can. It is pretty amazing. To see places where we have had the animals, either the chickens or the stock, green up like this. I am looking forward to seeing our land green up and become a wonderful place for our animals.

It has been a pretty rough week, but I am going to just put all of it, or at least parts of it behind me right now. I am going to keep telling myself that things will be getting better. They will. Jack got a new job. He will be working as the project manager for the new community building at DR. We are kind of excited about this. One he will be close, he won’t have to commute to Memphis everyday. He will be cutting his hours at the hospital, so he won’t be working two full time jobs. I feel better about how this is all going to go now. The only down side is that we will again have less time. Oh time, can’t we just have a little more? Please? I feel like I am going a little crazy with the lack of time lately. Insomnia has been plaguing me again. I think this is horrible irony. I mean, I can’t actually DO anything at three am, you know? Being awake then and then dragging my butt the rest of the day is pretty counterproductive.

So to sum up this week… I already mentioned that Jack got a new job, that was a pretty big thing here. We also got to go to the no-talent show. That is always a big hit. The girls recited poems. I was super proud of Gwendy for being able to recite all of Betty Botter. It was a fun time and it is always cool to see what people have prepared for it. Saturday was a super busy day. We got fishies. I am not sure if you remember that we got fish a few months ago and had a few deaths. Well this time we may have gone overboard. Jack brought three 50 gallon barrels to bring the fish home in. It took awhile to unload them and it took all five of us. It was fun though. We got some grass carp to take care of the chara in our pond. While we like what the chara does for the pond, we don’t like the chara as much as it likes our pond. It has been getting out of control and all attempts to remove it gently has made it triple in size. I also had a fiber meeting. Gwendy actually started using the drop spindle. I am constantly amazed at my children. Really I am. Sunday was mostly a day of work. Jack worked on the roof and it is almost up now. Yesterday was pretty amazing as Mardoc came over and helped Jack. All of our windows on the bottom floor are in! Most of the siding is up also. Yea!! It really can’t happen too soon for me right now. Really it has been cold, really cold and windy. As we were doing school today and our papers were flying all over the place Natalie mentioned that it will be nice when we don’t have to worry about the wind inside of the house. The cabin will be nice in many ways.

The animals are all doing fine. Or mostly. We have had some break outs lately. It is really frustrating. Super frustrating. In fact, a good part of the reason why I am not chipper this morning, besides the fact that I woke up at 3:30 this morning is because of a mass animal break out this morning. It is frustrating, it happened a few nights ago also. Jack actually mentioned that he wished he could stop on the cabin and build fence. Fence really needs to be done, but we need a place to live a little bit more. So this is short, but know that we are still here trucking along. It isn’t always fun but we will get it done 🙂

September

In case you didn’t know it was September. I am not sure how it got here either. We do a morning verse to start off school. The first full week of each month we read a poem for that month. It kind of takes me by surprise every time I have to read a month poem, didn’t we just do June? Really, didn’t we? Time goes by too fast. I was awoken this morning by some super crazy winds maybe some of the hardest winds we have had yet this spring/summer. As I lay awake thinking I realized that we will very possibly be spending six months in the tent this year also. We moved into the tent about the third week of March, and we haven’t moved into the cabin yet…

This past week was interesting. Last Wednesday Jack only did a half day but everything was screwy. We ran out of propane first thing in the morning. It is bad when that happens, we usually have an extra tank laying around but alas they were all empty. So cold breakfast it was. By the way we eat a hot breakfast every morning. Cereal is way too damn expensive. So it is almost always eggs with assorted veggies and cheese. So into town we went because we needed propane and Jack ran out of thingies to do the roof with. We got to the hardware store to find out that someone, less than an hour before, came in and bought the entire case of strips that Jack needed for the roof. The problem with “town” being well very very small is that there is really only one place that has what you are looking for. We ended up having to go to “TOWN” which is still very small. I really hate running around like that. Sigh. We got what we needed though. Though not as much happened on the roof that was supposed to since we had to make those trips.

In animal news our le fleche birds started laying. I am kind of surprised that the others are taking so long but I imagine that they will all start soon and then we will have a ton of eggs again. We also came to an amazing revelation, Astrid has been going into heat for over a month now. We had originally thought that her jumping the fence and acting funny was a pregnancy thing. We are now realizing that this is only happening about every three weeks, which is a heat cycle. Duh! So now we know for sure that she isn’t pregnant, which is nice since I have been milking her twice a day. We also had a crazy sheep break out. Those damn cheviots! They got out a few times on Friday, but the last time they got out was bad. They ended up going down the road. As it was raining and this was the second time they had gotten out on me that day I was so very tempted to just say good bye and leave them. Really, I was annoyed. We got them back in though after a lot of not funness. Jack had started to try and make them a new fence but found that even with the rain we were getting he couldn’t get t-posts into the ground. We also got rain on Saturday. In all about 1.8 inches, our ground is still too hard. It sucks, but we are getting it done, kind of :)Jack was able to fix parts of the fence that we think they were getting out of. Lastly, but so not leastly, we actually saw the boar successfully mount the sow. Like for real. Since we have had them for four months and we haven’t seen anything going on, this is big. We are still planning on eating him though. Just because he finally got it, I don’t think it is going to save him. However his line may just live on. We will see. That is our big animal news.

So we have been getting rain. It is weird to see so much rain in the forecast when we have been dry for so long. It doesn’t seem real almost. It has made getting stuff done on the cabin hard though. Jack was actually out there in the rain working, but there is only so much you can do. Seeing how much rain we have in the forecast actually worries me. It seems like this year has either been way too hot or now rainy to get much done. Though part of this is, no a lot of this is because it seems to have this crappy weather happens a lot when Jack is actually home and can work. Right now it is perfect weather, okay maybe a little windy for working on the roof, but still. Even with the crappy weather the roof metal is up on 3/4 of the cabin. yea!!! I am hopeful that we, and by we I mean Jack with me handing him stuff, can get the rest done shortly.

Oh we did go to the fiber festival. It was decently bad. I am not sure if it was the rain or what. The silent auction was about a quarter of what it was last year. It was kind of depressing, even if I did get to eat lamb. I miss lamb, really miss lamb. Anyway, we did put it out there that we were looking for a large amount of fleeces to use as insulation. There wasn’t anyone who had any though 😦 Still trying to stay hopeful. We will find something sometime I am sure.

I also need to thank everyone who donated this past week. It was and still is a really hard thing for me to ask for help. All the money that we have gotten is going towards paying for the roof. We thought we were doing well going to auctions and getting all these things at a very low cost, but it just wasn’t enough. In some ways, yes, if you are building a house you should realize this is going to be a major cost, but really we have gotten so much of the materials for cheap and some even free that we thought we were doing really well. All of our siding, and floor and walls to be are reused pallet wood. Parts of our floor are osb that was to be thrown away. Parts of the walls are lumber that we got from an auction. The roofing metal Jack said needs to be new though, you do not want a leaky roof. All of our windows we got for a dollar each at the same auction. No, they aren’t great windows, but they are windows. The cement for the piers was also gotten at the auction. It is crazy when you think about what a cabin costs though. So you all have our insane gratitude. I think we need to make some kind of dedication in the cabin that says “This cabin was made possible by…” So thank you thank you thank you ❤