Monthly Archives: October 2012

Minks stink!

Really, I don’t know if minks actually stink. I do know, however, that they are the devil. That is the big news on the farm this week. Minks are the devil. Last week, while we were all sick, though Jack never really got it like the rest of us, we kept have midnight attacks. Okay, it was more like an attack every half hour. You know, a raccoon will see you out there with a gun and hear that first shot and most likely not come back for a week at least. They are pretty smart, they know you are listening for them. They know the chickens are now on guard and will announce they quite readily. They don’t come back for awhile. Minks are something else though. At first we didn’t know it was minks. When I say at first, I mean it was two nights of waking up to chickens screaming and finding dead chickens before we put all the clues together. It was not fun. The first night, the stinker only got a few chickens. It was a few night later that we lost seven in one night. I am not sure what happened, if it was the wind, if we were sleeping deeper, I don’t know. By the time Jack got out there we were missing most of the chickens from one of our coops. We lost in all a dozen birds. That is just a little bit hurtful. One of the last nights we saw the mink Jack thinks he may have gotten a shot at it. Maybe. Esme, aka jungle kitty, also was out that night. Something happened because we haven’t seen sign of the mink for six nights now. We think Oreo had a tussle with it. He came in one morning with his eye swollen shut. He is pretty much healed now, but I was slightly worried for a little bit. And probably me being an overprotective mother, I did not want the cats going out at all those nights. However, try to keep a cat inside when they want out. My conclusion still stands though. Minks are the devil. The waste was significant. They didn’t eat the birds at all. It was very frustrating and just wrong. Evil.

All other animals are doing well. I am very saddened by the loss of our chickens though. Really sad. We need to think of something to help deter minks. In big news we are helping out a fellow community member. She won a cow in a raffle, yes, really 🙂 Only in the midwest I think. However the cow is not ready to be butchered. In fact she needs about another eight to ten months on pasture. So we got her last night. She is in our upper pasture right now but will be moved in with our other stock in a few days or in about a week. We will see. The poor girl is scared witless. It shows what a difference it makes in animal care. You can actually give an animal everything it needs, grass, water as much protection as a fence gives and it will be a mostly happy animal. It will. I guess we just do things a little different. Is it any more right? I don’t know. We do however give that animal love and compassion. We give it just a little bit more. Does that make the animal happier? Well, when I hear my animals calling for me, wanting to be scratched and loved, well, is it for me, or is it for my animals? It does make my job easier when I need to check them out. It makes it easier on them, they aren’t as scared. I can tell you that this new girl, we couldn’t get anywhere near her. Same with our wild sheep, though maybe they are getting closer. Anyway, I have to ask that question sometimes. Am I caring for animals the way I do to benefit me, or the animals. In my heart though, I have to say that I could not care for them any other way. I am responsible for them. I take their care very seriously.

The day passed where Luna could have gotten pregnant at her previous farm and given birth. So now, we know that she should give birth somewhere between 10/29 and 12/15. Yep, because 6 more weeks shouldn’t stretch my nerves anymore. Really. I am good. I won’t go crazy. I do know that I have about a week where she shouldn’t give birth, so I am just going to rest. We seem to have other goats going into heat. Billy has been having fun. I am excited to see babies, in like many months.

Jack’s parents came out again. They are looking at a house AGAIN! We can be hopeful that they finally found a place they like. We also got a lot of work done. I can’t remember and I still am horrible about writing things down lately. So please forgive if I have already said these things. I have another counter and some shelves. Very exciting for me. I also have a shoe rack! Oh this is nice after so long of having shoes laying all about. Five people have a lot of shoes! We also got the floor down in the girl’s room. Oh and in other news, last Thursday was cold and windy. We were all sick and didn’t want to sleep in the tent. We moved our sleeping bags into the cabin. I thought that I had made quite a funny when I said “It will be like we are camping” No one really thought it was funny. Oh well. Anyway, we have been sleeping on the floor of the cabin now. We are hoping to more upstairs sometime soon. We also should get the rest of the parts for the wood stove today, so we will have heat. That is happening just in time because it looks like we are in store for some seasonal weather. We have been lucky with the heat we have been having, but it looks like it will stop soon. Jack has been really busy with his two jobs and we just haven’t moved as far as we hoped. It is kind of disheartening, but oh well. I really can’t believe that this is the last full week of October! I also feel very bad because for the first year ever I have not made the girl’s costumes. It is a week away and I have been sewing. I am thinking that they need a bed before costumes. I am not sure what we are going to do, but we might figure out something. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so it is kind of bugging me that it isn’t happening like it should this year. So, I think that is about it.

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Vacation

I am starting early on this post because well, I’m sick, I pulled a muscle in my neck, and really not much is getting done these past two days. I am hoping that tomorrow will be a little more productive. This past week has been kind of lost. I haven’t been keeping notes on what has been happening. Oh wait, you didn’t know I had notes? I do. I make a calendar every month. On each day I have the sun and moon rise/set time, how many eggs we have gotten from which coop, how much milk Astrid gives morning and night, and other exciting news, who had sex, who is in heat, who has jumped the fence, if we planted things, harvested lots of things, canned things, weather, pretty much anything I find exciting. I find a lot of things exciting, in case you didn’t figure that out. Oh I also write about our progress on the cabin and such like that. This past week I have totally sucked. No excuse really. Feeling maybe slightly overwhelmed and wanting a break. Can’t take a break on many things so I guess I decided to make it look like I took a break on the calendar. Really, if you can’t take a break, just pretend you did. Pretend you didn’t milk for a week, or collected eggs or anything. Nothing was done this past week.

That isn’t true though so even without my notes I will try and let you all know what has happened this past week. One thing, oh you already know this considering I didn’t name this blog post LUNA GAVE BIRTH!!! Luna is still pregnant. I actually tried to contact the lady we got her from and get more information. The email I got back has led me to believe this lady is completely nuts. In other words, she is nuts. I am almost to the point of believing this is Billy’s child, so maybe she will give birth in two weeks. Sigh. Exciting news for Natalie and Layla though, they have been starting to milk. It is hard for them. I think I make it look too easy. Since the only thing I have written for this past week is that Astrid and Billy had SEX, and SEX is written very big in red pen, well it stands out a bit. And since Astrid has the slight stench of Billy hanging over her I decided that the girls should take this opportunity to milk. We have been giving the milk to the pigs who do not mind the slight flavor stench imparts. They have spilled milk, part of this is because Astrid does not stand well while she is in heat and knows Billy isn’t that far away. They are getting there though. I am proud of them. Last night I only got a few squirts after them, so they are getting much better at finishing the milking. I did mark down a few days how many eggs we have gotten, it hasn’t been much. Pretty depressing actually. The chickens have for the most part done well this year considering the weather. However if they don’t start laying better they will end up serving us in another way. We did move the stock again, they are doing some amazing things. Okay, I guess only if you count eating amazing, which again, a lot impresses me. It was kind of funny though. It was a few days ago, we were going to move them that night. It was still a few hours away. It had rained and we knew since we put the fence in dry ground and it had rained the fence would likely fall soon. Well, as we looked out and saw that everybody was out and the fence had failed in many places we took it as a sign to start moving them now. It went well though. Well, it went well until I was leading everyone back in and ended up going through a patch of brambles. I had almost everyone right behind me, you have to move kind of fast when you have a bucket of food and have twenty plus animals following you. I started going through the patch and realized that it was hurting quite a bit. I couldn’t stop though, I had to keep pushing through. I had blood flowing down my legs. It really wasn’t fun. Now if it had been colder, I would have been wearing pants, but I wasn’t. So now I have quite a few scratches along my legs. I am healing though. Maybe next time I will plan my route a little better.

Cabin news, well, it has hit me a few times these past few weeks. It is hard to explain this so bear with me. It is very interesting to be building something like this. Something that we get to plan and make it fit our life right from the beginning. Now, not that everything is perfect. It isn’t like a dream come true or anything. But we are planning where the walls will go, where the closets go, the shelves, everything. We got up more insulation this week and more of the wall paneling. Still have a ways to go, but maybe by the end of this month we will be moved in upstairs and will have the tent taken down!!! Jack has built another counter and a few shelves and I am doing my best to organize our spices and teas. You never realize how much you have of these things until you put them on a shelf. It is going though. It is also nice being in here when the weather isn’t as nice. On our rainy days, it wasn’t wet in here! Oh my! It was wet in the tent. Also, having windows made it not really dark and gloomy in here either. It was just amazing. Oh, and the phone company came and made it so we have phone and internet in here. Really nice. But now, I can look out and see all around us. It is pretty amazing. Oddly, the cabin seems smaller than the tent, even though it is the same footprint. I think it is partly because the cabin is more accessible. It is more open, though of course we don’t have everything in here yet. Hopefully we get everything organized shortly.

So yeah, this has been my vacation week. You are lucky you are even getting this much. In fact, we aren’t even doing school this week. The girls went out this morning and have been planting garlic. Yesterday we were all too sick to do much at all. I plan on making more salsa this week along with moving things in and organizing. Oh and maybe I will make the straw ticks this week. You haven’t heard about them yet because they are still sitting full cloth on a bench in here… 🙂 Anyway, I fully recommend having a pretend vacation. Go for it. At the end of the day, when you are exhausted over all that you have done, look back and pretend you sat on your butt and did nothing all day. It will be a test of your imagination. If you feel fully relaxed and refreshed after your day of “rest” you have an amazing imagination and deserve your vacation:)

freeze and in case you were stuck in the sleeping bag, a few more just so you get the idea…

Oh, it is fall, with winter closing in. We have woken up three times the past week with temperatures around 28 degrees. That is cold when you get out of the sleeping bag in case you didn’t know. We also don’t have the option for staying IN the sleeping bag. We have to milk, take care of animals and then we start school. Okay, there is usually a warm mug of hot chocolate in our hands, but that is not a luxury, it is necessity since we need to be able to feel our hands to write. A long time ago Jack had picked up a propane heater and we are currently using that since we still don’t have our stove pipe in. It should be here sometime next week. Which will be nice. It takes a pretty long time for the little propane heater to heat up the cabin. Plus, well, it is expensive to use. Thankfully though we have the cabin to go to. This past week has seen a lot of windy days. Days that would be miserable in the tent. Nights aren’t that much fun but we are dealing.

This past week has been interesting. A lot has happened. Luna for a few days and nights was yelling at something. Who knows what, she has since stopped. I was hopeful that it meant there was a baby coming out of her, her baby was moving a lot. Maybe it was moving into a better position and she was screaming about that. I remember that point in pregnancy, like kid, stop moving, I like my organs where they are. She has been goopy but still no baby. I do feel like it is close now though. We trimmed the ducks wings and put them in with Astrid and Luna. They are enjoying it, though I think they are kind of freaked out over the big things that are in with them. Our plans are hoping for them to be with the stock since muscovies love flies so much. However, we are thinking we will have to get the pigs out before that happens.

Conner and Bridget have been defending their food a lot from the pigs. It is also insane to see how often we have to move these guys. I am so proud of them all though. By the way it doesn’t take much to make me proud, you know, eat, poop, laze about, come up and let me pet you. These things make me happy. Just so you know.

In the cabin we did get one quarter of the walls up there paneled. Most of the interior walls are up also. I have been yelling at the girls to use the doors and not walk through walls. After being so long without walls well it is just weird. Also, even though it was not a barn they lived in, it was a tent, they are still having issues remembering to shut the door into the cabin. Seriously. They seem to remember when they are freezing, sometimes, but I still have to remind them often that we don’t live in a tent and they have to shut the door. Ahhh, if only it were still summer and we still lived in a tent. I admit to liking not having a door. Which seems odd to me since well, I thought I liked doors before. Oh well. The cabin is coming a long, slowly since well, Jack has been working a lot. Things get in the way. It is happening slowly.

Thankfully last Friday we were able to get to the storage unit and pick up our winter clothes. We had some in the tent with us, but not enough. We went through all the girls clothes, passed them on down and saw what we have for them all still. Natalie is still doing well on clothes, I am slightly surprised. She has grown a lot but we have been able to pick things up when we saw them and she is pretty well supplied for the coming winter. The other two I had no worries for. Gwendy has an insane amount of clothing. Okay, maybe not insane, but it is about twice as much as the other two. I will be glad when they have a closet. I, however, was glad to get into my insulated overalls again. I am wearing them now, with two sweaters. Of course it would help if I had socks on, but then, oh well. We are at about 54 degrees in here now. It is getting warmer. I have to admit to being glad that it will be getting warmer the next few days. Once we are ready for the cold it can happen. By the way, that isn’t going to happen until well, never 🙂 But it will happen. I will be alright with it happening after everything is done.

Other goings on this past week. Dancing Rabbit celebrated their 15th anniversary this past week. They has a huge reunion. While we have only been here for a bit over a year, it was neat to see some of the people who were here last year come back. There were potlucks, an auction, a no talent show, a ground breaking ceremony for the new common house a lot more things that we didn’t get to go to because we were working. I was very happy to hear the Fermentation Song again at the talent show. We are hoping that a version gets online eventually so I can share it with you all. It is amazing. For those of you who hold fermentation near and dear to your hearts, you will also find it amazing. It amazes me sometimes how lucky we are to be living where we do. With these wonderful, talented people. It really is amazing and we really are so lucky.

Right now, Natalie is doing farmers market math with Gwendy. Not only is she getting a lesson in simple math, she is also learning business. Natalie just told her that the farmer made a special harvest bread of buckwheat pecan. Since, it was so special, they charged $2.50 more per loaf, and they sold five more than usual, so how much more did they make? Oh, I love her.

I almost forgot some animal news. Esme loves the cabin. She comes in here often, asks to go out still, but she comes in. She has figured out how to climb the walls to get upstairs, she is pretty comfy in here. I have tried to get Huck in here, he doesn’t care for it. He would rather stay outside or in the tent. It is all good. Well, eventually we will be taking the tent down. Oreo still spends most of his time in the girl’s sleeping bag. I told them girls to bring him in one day so he can get used to it before we take the tent down. Oh, he freaked. He was shaking, running all over the place, trying to find windows to get out of. It was warmer, Esme was in here. She kept going up to him, it seemed like she was saying, Hey it is okay, it is warmer and nicer in here!! Oreo didn’t really care though. We have been trying to get him in here every so often, he doesn’t really care though. I think that pretty much sums up this past week. Cold. Freezing. Lots of hot drinks. A slight overwhelming feeling of not getting enough done. Yep, that sums it up. I am kind of looking forward to the slowing down, even though I know it doesn’t really happen. I am going to allow myself to think that slow times are coming for now though. Who knows, maybe our cabin will be finished soon, the fence put in and we will have a small break before spring comes.

ohhh, that smell

Seriously that smell is sickening me. It is the smell of BillyBob Bugerweed in rut. Uggg, I really cannot stand it. And it seems like it is everywhere. I hope he gets out of it soon and maybe we will be able to touch him, or go within a mile of him again… We make fun of billys a lot here. I would feel sorry for them if it they didn’t seem to enjoy themselves so much. And if the ladies didn’t enjoy it all also. Really, why were they made to piss all over themselves? If a male of the human species pissed in his beard and came up to me and rubbed it on me, I don’t think I would be horribly turned on. But it really gets the goat ladies. There just ain’t nothing sexier.

The big news this week is how fricken quick we have had to move stock. They are getting bigger, we have two cows now and they are going through the green stuff pretty quick. Usually we have to move them once a week. This past week we moved them Thursday, Sunday and we need to move them today. Yeah. Not to mention that they keep getting out. Jack has a spot he is planning on fencing in with the new fence. This means taking a break on the cabin, just as it is starting to get colder, to build fence. But when you look at us having to round up everyone, say that it about two hours a day, and moving them, a little over an hour every few days, that it taking a lot out of cabin building also. He is hoping that this bit of fence will hold them for a couple of weeks so we can build cabin and then more fence. Astrid has increased her milk. I am not sure what is up here. It hasn’t quite doubled, but close and I think I need to get some cheese making supplies. The girls are totally loving being able to drink all the milk they want. Admittedly I am loving always having milk and eggs to bake with. I have gotten so used to using water in my baking so being able to use all the milk I want, well it is enough to make you feel rich 🙂 Luna has not given birth yet still. However, a few days ago I went out there and she was a little goopy. Maybe? I am going to take it as a good sign and just be hoping that it is soon. I would really like that baby out and getting bigger before it gets cold. I hope if I keep saying that it will either happen or it won’t get cold this year.

Cabin is progressing. We did get all the walls up downstairs. So what we are waiting for is for the kitchen to be somewhat put together, the sink is in, the pump is half set up and we have a counter, and we will start moving in downstairs. I am kind of hoping that that will be done today, maybe tomorrow. Friday and Saturday are looking a bit on the chilly side. It will be so nice to be not in a tent. But I am figuring that we are still a couple weeks, at least, away from taking the tent down.

We did decide to move the puppies in with the big stock again. We figured that they were big enough to no longer be eaten by the pigs. This was a proud mommy moment. We put them in and as soon as they saw that they were surrounded by goats, sheep, pigs and cows they went submissive. They didn’t move, they just let everything sniff them. Not looking at them, not being scared. However, when the pigs did try to start to eat them, they growled and snapped, just enough to let the pigs know they were not food. They has also been protecting their food from the pigs. I was so proud of them I almost cried. Not one animal had to butt them. It didn’t take any time at all for them all to be one happy family. Now, last night we had yet another break out. Bridget and Conner got out. By the time everyone was in again we figured we would just leave them out. Then we decided to put them in with Astrid and Luna. Oh my goodness! I thought I was going to go crazy. Seriously crazy. They kept barking and barking. We kept going out them and telling them to stop and stop, there was nothing out there. This actually went on for almost two hours before Jack took them both down to the big stock. You know what, they didn’t bark anymore. I am thinking that they couldn’t handle being away from their pack. Not knowing if anything was getting them. Once they were down there it was all quiet again. So far I am really impressed with these puppies. Of course it would be nice if they didn’t get such a kick out of chasing chickens… I guess you can’t have it all.

So that is about it. It has been a little crazy with Jack working two jobs and all the stuff that is going on here. I am trying to have faith though that it will all be alright. The ten day forecast is looking for the most part, so this is me trying not to worry. And now I am signing off because procrastinating me has to finish one more fingerless mitt for the silent auction this weekend at DR. I will get it done, but yeah, I should be knitting right now 🙂