Monday, January 28, 2013
So, we have a few more rescues coming in tomorrow....just a few. One Peking duck, a rooster and 2 hens, and a rabbit. Not too bad. Problem is....this is it! We are a FULL house! I need to work hard at finding a few of these animals good homes...and SOON! In other news....we also have an almost FULL freezer. Yes, today we went to pick up our processed pig. I am one happy old woman..having fresh pork, raised by me....in the freezer. I get people asking me all the time..."How can you do that" meaning raise a pig from it's cute as a bugs ear stage, and send it to slaughter. Well....let me tell you how... Cost of pig. FREE Cost of feed. $70 Cost of Processing $180 So, $250 total cost. Now...the rewards..... 10 Shoulder roast's @ 3 pounds each. 30# 16 packages sausage @ 1 pound each. 16 # 17 packages pork chops @ (about) 2 pounds each. 34# 2 packages spare ribs @ (about) 4# each. 8# 2 packages neck bones @ (about) 2 pounds each 4 # so far, grand total is(roughly)................. 92 # We also had them save us the liver and heart....yummy! We will get the bacon and hams next week...and we are anticipating about 15 pounds of bacon, and 24 pounds of hams. ( we had them cut the hams in half, so we will get 4 hams @ about 6# each) So....approximately 131 pounds of fresh home grown pork... at roughly $1.90 / pound. Not bad I think.This number will of course depend on the size of the Hams, and the amount of bacon we get next week. AND, we know what our pig was fed...goats milk, cracked corn, pasture,hay,pumpkins and some hog pellets.(not much on the commercial feed) Oh, and fruits and vegetable scraps from the kitchen..when there was any. :) I get the "bleeding hearts" telling me I am "mean" and "cold hearted" Well, to them I say....OUR pig was able to run in a pasture...play in the sunshine...roll in the mud..and enjoy good food and belly rubs. The processed meats in the stores...never see sunshine or feel the wind in their face, until the day they are sent off to processing crammed in a truck. We raised a "happy pig" Chemical and antibiotic free...living a life that a pig should live. So....even tho I would NEVER recommend raising a winter hog....I can say...I am so glad we did.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
So today was another day spent working out in the cold. Yeah, I know...I am just getting over the Pneumonia..maybe I should not be working outside....but I was dressed in layers...and I had help. My wonderful husband was out there with me side by side we turned over all of the water troughs, busted out the many layers of ice, and refilled them all. So, this doesn't sound like such a tough job...right? Well....the water hoses we have are..well...to put it sorta nice, they are pieces of CRAPOLA! They didn't reach the pastures...so hubby filled, carried them to me, I dumped, brought the empty to him and so on...at some point I was still beating ice from a few buckets, and he took over the filling. Mainly because as he was beating the ice from the largest of the rubber troughs, he sorta went at it a little overly aggressive...and put a big crack in the trough. My heart sank. These tanks are not cheap! So, that is when I took over the ice breaking, and he took over the filling. After we finished with that, and got all the water hoses put up,about 2 hours of working in the cold, we decided to take a break.Walking back to the house I smiled to myself thinking about how happy I am to NOT have to do "pig chores" Came inside to warm up by the fire, and sucked down a few cups of coffee..then back out we went. By this time it was evening chore time, feeding....watering, bedding. Back to the barn..as I dished out the grains, hubby climbed to the top of the barn and started dropping hay bales. I stacked 3 of them and told him that would do for a week or so...but he wanted to drop more. So, I let him! :) I think he dropped and stacked a total of 6 bales. By this time I was finishing up feeding...we pulled the pregnant goats inside for the evening, and headed to the chicken coops. I broke the top layer of ice in the rain barrel and dropped the heater in...hubby got it all plugged in for me. Went inside and started breaking ice in a few of the frozen waterers...and refilled them all. Threw some hay for the bunny's , put the light on the bunny's waterers to try to keep them from freezing overnight. Off to the duck hut, same scenario, break ice, fill, throw hay for nests, then gathered all the eggs and came inside for the night. Whew....it was SO COLD!! I think we reached 22 degrees today, but the wind was biting through every layer I had on. I sent hubby to the pantry for dinner....he brought up a quart jar of pork. Heated it for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, made oven fries...and another pot of coffee. We settled in by the fire to spend some time with * the one eyed monster* TV time! My grandpa used to call it that, I sure miss him. The house is now warm and quiet...all the pups are sleeping, Nikki is covered and sleeping...or at least quiet, LOL and the husband is in bed. He started hacking and coughing this evening....I pray he is NOT coming down with the chest cold I started out with. ( Mine went to Pneumonia) Tomorrow we have vowed we WILL tackle this house! With me being laid up for several days, a lot has been let go. Tomorrow will be a flurry of dusting, packing the last of the Christmas boxes to the shop, tackling carpets and bathroom. Hubby goes back to work Friday...so THEN I will get to rest again.
Monday, January 21, 2013
So, a few days ago, I thought I was coming down with the flu. I could only have wished. Ended up being Pneumonia. I have been so sick over the weekend...but the farm chores still need done. These are the times when being a farmer really will put you to the test. I was sick Friday through Sunday...well, those were the worst days...and of course, the husband had to work 12 hour shifts. This left the chores on me. Feeding, watering...throwing hay...breaking ice in the troughs all the while with a fever over 100 degrees. Every morning at 9 am, I would trudge out to the barn...by the time I finished out there, I would have to come inside, take a short nap before I could get to the chicken coops. Same routine at 5 pm, feed the barn animals, nap, then the chickens. All is well....I made it through. " What doesn't kill us will make us stronger" right!? Oh, and remember I told you all how my husband worked for 4 hours on the horse trailer, getting the wiring done? We have put a LOT of time into this little horse trailer...tires, lights and still need some work, but that can wait. Well, we decided that since the pig had a date for "freezer camp" on Monday, that Saturday he pulled the trailer over to the hog pen, and removed part of the fence, so the pig could get used to going in the trailer. He threw in some hay, made a nice cozy "bed" for that pig...making it inviting. This will make it easy for loading early in the AM...right!? The pig LOVED it. He went right in. Out of the wind, fresh warm bedding... I went out to feed said pig...Sunday evening only to find that that mean old hateful nasty pig had torn the floor up from the trailer!!!! I WAS LIVID! I was burning with fever...throwing up...and really wanted to just get my gun and end it all for that pig then and there. However, I got myself together and did what most "broken" women do....I came inside and just cried. Then, I got angry...thinking how the lack of help....from friends and family...had put me IN this situation after all.Not ONE person offered to help while I was sick, and the few that I actually broke down and asked for help, were "too busy" So, this morning, the husband and I went out to do an assessment on the damage. Luckily the floor is tongue and groove...and went back together fairly easy. We put it all together this morning, loaded that "rotten" pig...and took him to "camp" 260 pounds! With all the "issues" this pig has caused me over the last few months...I believe I will enjoy every bite...more so than any other pig we have raised. I can tell you one lesson I have learned tho...NEVER AGAIN will we raise a winter pig. Nope...I don't care if it is a free pig. If someone gave me a small pig in dead of winter....I would do a whole hog roast. Lesson learned. Next Monday I will pick up the fresh meat, and a big bucket of lard....and in 2 weeks the hams and bacon. Then we will finish off this winter with full tummy's and a LOT less work. I am feeling better already!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Today I woke up coughing and hacking....fevered...body aches...ears hurting...and a sore throat. YUK. The flu bug has finally found me. Darned you flu bug! Hubby was so nice to let me sleep most of the day, by the wood stove. He was outside for a good part of today, rewiring the horse trailer. All new lights and wiring harness! Whoot! When he finished, I had just woke up, and was feeling much better...so we decided to go to China Buffet for supper. Oh, I know, all the MSG is not healthy food, but it was good, and I didn't have to cook or clean up! Came home, changed back into my comfy pajamas and settled in by the fire coffee by my side. Slowly my fever started creeping back up. 100 degrees. YUK! Now I am sleeping on the love seat in the family room, so as to not spread this to my hubby. Besides....I get to sleep by the fire! :) So..I am going to settle in with my water by my side tonight. Hoping to feel better in the morning.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Today started out beautiful. The sun was shining...a slight breeze...and fairly warm. I think it was in the low 60's. I dressed quickly, wanting to get outside quickly, as we all know how fast the weather can change. No jacket needed this morning...T shirt and jeans..wow, I loved it! I walked slowly to the barn, enjoying the sunshine. Bo did not greet me at the gate, like I had hoped he would. He was in the barn...just sleeping. He is an older guy...so maybe he didn't hear me coming. As I walked in the barn, he got up and followed me to the other side door, where I keep the feed and hay. He stood there patiently waiting for me to finish on that side, the "goat side". After tossing feed for them all, I went back to the "goat side" and got the grooming brush out. Abby and Suzie are used to being brushed after milking. I have not milked in a few weeks now, letting them dry off so their bodies can concentrate on the little ones growing inside. I started with Suzie...she seemed to really enjoy her brushing time. She calmly ate her grains..as I brushed and talked to her about her babies to come. How I am so proud of her and how excited I am to meet her little ones. After she finished eating I moved to Abby. Now Abby is a 6 yr old Doe. She knows "what she wants, when she wants it" Yes, she is the "boss of the barn" She definitely rules over Suzie. This is why the two girls had to be separated. Abby would head but Suzie in the sides...and I was afraid she would cause Suzie to lose her babies. So, I settled in to brush Abby. Boy does she enjoy a good brushing.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Well...Bo, the new whether is coming right along. He has always been a bit shy..and it makes me sad to think he was in a petting zoo..being afraid of people. How traumatizing that must have been for him. I have been taking it slow with him...talking softly...offering him grain from my hand...and today, we made a MAJOR breakthrough. I went to feed everyone this morning and Bo was out in the pasture. As always, when I walked to the gate, my 3 ewes met me with "good morning" Baaah's. Bo stood back, looking at the "going's on" and I could always see the longing in his eyes. Today was no different....at first. I fed the pig...and moved to the barn to dish out hay and grains...and kitty food, tripping over the "herd" of cats that met me in the pasture as well. I know most people say...."don't feed the barn cats" well, since people are so generously donating kitties...we have 11 of them in the barn, and they are running out of mice! So, there is a need to feed some kibbles. Anyone need a few cats? :) I dish out everyone's breakfast and as I finished up, I turned around to see Bo was standing right behind me. I moved slow...got my folding seat out of the stanchion...and moved to the center of the floor. I sat there, talking to Bo, telling him he was in good hands now, and he can trust me...he watched me, listened for a bit...then started to cautiously make his way over to me. My heart was racing...he was actually coming to me! I reached out my hand..and he walked right up to it..so I scratched his head...then cheeks...by this time, he is literally inches from my face..I leaned down..and he pushed his nose to mine...and there we were, nose to nose. I gently gave him a kiss on the nose as I scratched under his chin. He didn't flinch. Tears welled up in my eyes...I have done it. I have gained the trust of this wonderful creature. I sat there with him for probably 30 minutes...talking to him, scratching him...loving every minute. Then, I thought...I wonder if he would let me touch his feet? I reached down slowly, rubbing my hands down his legs talking softly. I came to his hoof and picked it up. He didn't pull away. His poor foot is HOT with pain..so I got the trimmers, and started to trim. He let me do this for a few minutes...then he was done. That's OK. I was able to get about half of one hoof trimmed....and did not stress him by doing it. I am excited to see how the next few days go....I will try to trim all of his feet. I am sure he will feel so much better once they are done. From what I can see, there is not hoof rot, thankfully....so far. When I finished trimming, I scratched him for a few more minutes...then decided to let him rest. After I put away my trimmers, and my chair...I grabbed my feed bucket and started across the pasture to the gate....3 ewes and a whether in tow! He followed me to the gate. Yes, I think I have gained his trust....what a big breakthrough!! Today was a good day.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
So much has happened since I last posted. The obvious...the holidays hit...and whoowee did they hit hard! That's OK.....because I hit back! Family gatherings...Christmas parties...the flurry of food, laughter , torn Christmas paper...and memories. Yes, I do love the holidays. Of course, my clothes do NOT, and in retaliation, it seems all of my clothes are shrinking on me. That's OK tho...I will fight back..and since the Holidays are over, the cold has hit, the farm work seems to be a bit more intense...so the clothes are relaxing once again. No more cookies for breakfast..and pie for lunch. With the cold and freezing temp come frozen water troughs,the need for dry bedding to be switched out with the cold damp stuff almost daily. I am confident that every holiday pound that had found me, has once again been packed away with the decorations. Well, most of the decorations are put away. Today is cold and rain, so we plan to work on the inside today, and get the rest of the house put back in order and ready for spring....yes, I said it, spring...it IS just around the corner ya know. We are on the gaining end of daylight. THIS makes me happy the most. So, last I posted...we were expecting a few sheep into rescue.They came...I saw...I cried. These two boys came from a "zoo" I use the term loosely because of the condition of their health. When you think of a zoo, most people think that these "lucky" animals have the best of care because they are in the public eye. Well....unfortunately these two boys were not as lucky. They came to me so over weight they can barely walk...however this is compounded with the fast that it seems their hooves have not been trimmed in over a year. Their poor feet look like elf shoes. Oh, and they came with pinkeye. Sad looking boys, to say the least. This same place brought with them 4 little black rabbits. 3 of which have passed away from an upper respiratory disease. I had medicated them and cleaned their habitats daily..trying to save them, but they were too far gone by the time they got here. So, now my focus will be on helping the 2 sheep. I had to separate the boys since the ram had decided he didn't want the whether to come out of the shelter. So, the whether, who I named Bo..is now happy in the barn with my 3 girls. This way I will be able to work on his hooves without being bossed around by the ram...who we have named RamBo. Rambo need to work on his manners a bit. I have the pinkeye cleared up, and I am happy to say it did NOT spread to any other animal here on the farm. Whew! That was intense. Everyone seems to be settling in just fine here.