Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Such a warm, sunny, busy day!

Today's weather was just beautiful. 81 degrees and sunny, with a light cool breeze, every so often. After my morning chores of feeding, watering, milking, and throwing hay...I settled in for a second cup of coffee. After the husband got up, we discussed today's plan over bacon and egg sandwiches. We started out with the new hog pen. The electric fence we put in didn't seem to be working....so we took it all down, and re-strung it. It is working just fine now! This i know because my neighbor came over..and she couldn't see the orange light on the box, and she leaned in to cover the light, ZAP!!!! LOL I really shouldn't laugh, but she danced like a fairy out there. After the electric fence, I headed to the spring garden. I had to fence it off...the wild rabbits decided they loved Brussels sprouts plants, and ate every one of them. Now the garden is safe from nibbling bunnies. The husband climbed up on the roof and had to unclog the down spouts. The starling's have been trying to nest in there. After cleaning them out he covered them with fencing....no more starlings. Then he had to patch a place in the floor of the chicken coop. It was weak from getting wet last year when the roof leaked. All better now. We came in for some iced tea...and to rest for a bit, then headed out to drag water hoses. Cleaned and filled 5 troughs out at the barn...then drug the 200 ft of water hose back tot he other side of the property where the poultry is...and cleaned and filled the duck pools. We are both worn out after getting the hoses wrapped up..so we took another Tea break...then supper. Meatloaf with bacon on top, mashed potato's and corn.Yummy! I finished the evening chores....got my shower and am now relaxing with coffee....tomorrow is going to be another busy day...moving dirt....literally TONS of it...by hand.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A VERY Adventurous day!

What a day! So, as most of you know, we went to get the pigs today. Remember the New Guinea hogs I was going to get? A friend actually bought them, we brought them here. The Sow is pregnant. Once she delivers, and the piglets are weaned...she will take the litter, I get to keep the breeding pair...OK..so a great deal!! She comes over today, hubby had already hooked the horse trailer to his truck...had it waiting for us ready to go. Jennifer and I jumped in the truck, super excited to go on this adventure. Headed to Kentucky!!! We stopped and met up with her daughter Katie. She is without a doubt, the most fun young person to be around. She is in college...and such a sweet young lady....We stopped for lunch and had a great time, laughing and telling stories. The mood was great.....3 women on an adventure. After lunch we headed out...into the hills of Kentucky...no telling what we will get into. Laughing, talking, having a great time...we finally find the farm. Now, Jennifer drove our truck, because of my lack of experience in pulling a trailer. :/ She handled it like an old pro. Well...OK, NOT OLD! ( 39 LOL)The man was very nice, and agreed to back the truck up into the spot for us, where it promptly got stuck in the mud! He ended up having to unhook the trailer and hook his tractor to the trailer to get it into position. With a little bit of coaxing..OK, more than a little...we finally got Charlotte and Wilbur loaded. They are BEAUTIFUL!!!! Once we get the trailer hooked back to the truck we headed out for home. Stopped in the Louisville area to drop Katie off...and we headed home. We are having a grand time...telling stories...chatting...when WHAM!!! We hit a Hugh hole in the road, just at the top of a hill.....this caused the trailer to come loose from the hitch....the safety chains are all that is holding it....it started swerving back and forth, Jennifer is trying to slow the truck, when all of a sudden the chains snap!! It was like slow motion....the trailer shot off to the right, into the grass...up a small embankment....turned and was coming back down the hill towards the highway....it came to a rest in a deep ditch, filled with water. By this time Jennifer had the truck in reverse and was backing up...I was jumping from the truck to go check on the pigs...Both are fine. We both got on our phones and called our hubby's to let them know what happened, and a state patrol car pulled up, he came running up to the truck and asked if we were OK. We were just shaken up a bit....and then he asked if HE had caused us to wreck! ?? He was in the other lane, stopped to pick u a large piece of tire from the highway. I assured him he was NOT the cause...I could tell he was so scared. I told him about how we hit this big hole, and he said the SAME thing had happened not too long ago in the SAME SPOT! The hole is so big, and there are NO WARNING SIGNS...another person had lost their trailer because of it. He told us that when we get the report, that we need to file a "Tort" report, and that the state would have to pay for ALL damages to the trailer and truck. One of the axles is slightly bent, there is a Hugh dent in the left side of the trailer, the jack is busted, the lights are shot and both of the safety chains are shot. Jennifer and I are fine, and the pigs are fine. THAT is what matters. AND, thankfully the trailer went into the grassy area, and NOT out into the traffic!!! The tow truck was able to get it out pretty easy...and Jennifer's husband showed up and they were able to get the trailer hooked back to the truck. He drove it to our house. I didn't get any pictures of the pigs..I will get some tomorrow....but this is a picture of the trailer sitting in the ditch, waiting on the tow truck to get us out. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough...once we got home...as Jennifer's husband was backing it up to the hog pen, the truck got stuck in our yard. It took us about 45 minutes to FINALLY get it backed up enough to unload those pigs. What a day!! What an adventure.!!!!! The pigs are happy...and last I check, sleeping. :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Time for a little change here......

Have you ever lost someone close to you....unexpectedly? I have, just recently. A dear friend, a fellow rescue, passed away last week from a brain Aneurism. There were no warning signs...fine one day, gone the next. She was so young, 41 years young. When this happens, it tend to make us take a second look at our own lives. I know I have been thinking about it a lot. I am almost 51 years young....and I work as hard if not harder, than a LOT of people I know. I am up at 7 am, out the door by 8 am....only this late now because of the cooler weather and daylight. Once summer gets here I will be up at 5 and out by 6, to beat the heat. Most nights I do not get to bed until after midnight, and sometimes not until 2 am. I was thinking I need to change things up a bit...make it easier on myself yet still be productive enough to sustain ourselves. So here is the plan...... We have a large chicken coop... 12 x 32. It has 4 pens with outside runs. This is our current set up. Pen #1 10 mixed breed hens and 4 roosters. The change will be...re home 2 roosters. Pen #2 6 mixed pullets and 1 rooster. The change...find a home for the entire flock. and set my "project birds" up in there. Pen#3 8 white Japanese Bantams, 2 large fowl hens,( one is a special needs, she only has one eye) there is also a pair of Bantams in there, I would like to increase this breed, so I will have to set them up in a separate pen. I also have a rabbit pen set up in there. The change will be...Rabbits moved outside, eventually re-homed. White Japanese bantams, re-homed. The other 2 hens, moved into the first pen. Pen#4 6 Bantam Cochin. The change will be, they will be moved into pen #3. This will empty the 4th pen. I will then move the call ducks into this pen. Now, I also have a "duck hut" It is 10 x 14. There are 3 pens and 2 brooders in this duck hut. Pen #1 currently holds my call ducks. The ones I am moving to the big coop. Pen #2 has my 2 Silky hens and a rooster in there, with a nest. As soon as they hatch out, they will go back to the big coop, into pen #3. Pen #3 has 3 Indian runner ducks, a female Peking and a male white Goose. They will all be re-homed. This will completely empty out the Duck hut, except for the 2 brooders. I will move both raised brooders into pen #3. It is the largest pen being 8 x 8. I will then have 2 empty pens....perfect for my new adventure. Flemish Giant rabbits. :) The walkway area in this coop is about 6 x 14. I am planning to build a table the length of the coop, and about 2 to 3 feet deep, for a planting table..and I will use this area for a green house since the roof of this coop is white/clear..and lets in a lot of light. There are 3 windows along where the table will be, perfect for starting seeds. :) Another new adventure we are starting on..... New Guinea hogs. I am getting a breeding pair on Sunday...through a friend. She is buying them, the sow is bred. I will keep them here..and once she has the babies weaned, my friend will take the litter, and I get to keep the breeders. I have been researching this breed for a few years, and decided they are perfect for our little farm here. They are generally a smallish pig. Between 200 and 220 pounds.They are great foragers,an older breed of heritage hogs.... and on the endangered list. They usually have small litters, between 6 and 9 to a litter. They are docile and easy keepers. Just what I need! :) So, now we will have our chickens for meat and eggs....ducks for eggs, turkeys, sheep for wool, dairy goats for milk, and pigs for meat. We also have 2 little apple trees, should be getting apples in a few years, we have grapes, thorn less blackberries, Elderberries, strawberries, and the vegetable/herb garden. We have a small pond however it will need to be re-dug in order to sustain fish. Once that is done...we will be finished adding for a while....unless we happen to get a good deal on mini cattle! :) So.. a few changes are in the works here....trying to make life a little more simple...and more productive.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

From 80's to 50's...and lows in the 30's again?

Today was another EPIC day in the garden, and working outside. After morning coffee, chores, and more coffee....I ran out to the garden. I had VOWED to get my beets in the ground TODAY! So....beet seeds in hand...I got busy building rows, marking them with branches and twine, like the peas....and started getting my beets in the soil. GROW BABIES GROW! We are BEET FANATICS here. No, seriously....I hoard them once I get them pickled. I hide them in the pantry...so if anyone was to look in, they wouldn't see them. This way, we don't have to share! Oh, I know...that sounds mean, but you must understand...we LOVE pickled beets...and I rarely have a "bumper crop" After I get my beets in the ground...We came in for a short break. The noon news was on, and they are saying by Friday, we will have a high in the upper 50's and lows in the 30's! SERIOUSLY!??? I had come up with a plan...hubby always rolls his eyes when I say that. We have these large wooden crates, hubby gets from work. They are pine...some as big as 5 ft x 4 ft...and some as small as 2ft x 3 ft. He gets them when he can...one never knows when you will need a "quick shelter" or a table..... After I set up the table....we got busy taking apart one of the BIG crates..leaving them in panels. See, I have these Irises that my father had given me a few years ago. I planted them out by the shop...at the time we had a hog pen out there. Well...the hog pen is no longer there, and now these Irises are just there....out in the open..all alone. They are a beautiful shade of blue...and I don't want them getting trampled down, before they get a chance to bloom. So, MY idea was...to build a little wooden free standing fence..put it behind them...to protect them. Now that the fence is up..I will white wash it...and decorate it a little at a time. I am also thinking I will plant morning glories along the fence...maybe hang a few small pots of flowers on there...I'm not sure..I will have to see what strike me. After we cleaned up that mess..we hauled out the water hoses to clean and fill the 5 troughs out at the barn. We are supposed to get rain later today...I am hoping so. The garden is going to need it after these winds and the 80 degree temp. It is pretty dry out there in the garden. Made a few steaks for supper...with twice baked potato's and yes...pickled beets! Yummmmy! Now I need to go finish chores..check on a momma cat in the barn, she was having her kittens when I last left the barn. Then a hot shower and a bit of TV time with my man.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Working in the garden....Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Yes, that's right, today I have been out in the garden most of the day! The sun is shining....it is 80 degrees!!! The winds are a little rough out there...but I don't mind. It is NICE to be able to feel the dirt under my nails again. A few months ago, my brother came to visit, and brought me a BIG roll of this blue translucent plastic. It is like rubber almost, very thick. PERFECT for row covers! So I set out to get started..first I planted the potato's. Kennebeck. I love these because they store well. I was able to get 2 rows in...about 20 ft long each. Whew! As I was planting, one of the outside cats, Thomas,(My favorite, but don't tell the others) was lazing in the sun...watching me work. He saw a butterfly and decided to go on the hunt. I had to stop and watch him as he went into "hunting mode" Crouching in the grass, tail twitching back and forth, and once the butterfly landed, he pounced. LOL, I was laughing....even tho he missed the butterfly, he didn't give up, he chased it for a few minutes, then came back to me for praise. I just love this cat! Then I set out the 4 little Brussels sprout plants I bought. I know, 4 doesn't seem like a lot, however, it is just the 2 of us, and they freeze well. Once they were finished I started on the Peas. I went to the woods and picked out a few downed branches for row markers...dug them in deep and strung up baling twine to set the rows. Planted the peas, and then covered them with the blue plastic to keep the seed thieving chickens out. By the time I finished with all of that, it was time for a break! I sat back and re-hydrated, and just marveled at my work. Yes, I am excited to have at least this much planted. I was hoping to get the beets planted, however, I ran out of energy. Thunderstorms moving in tonight...so it might be a few days until I can get back in the garden. After a bit of a break, hubby and I worked on the front yard a bit more. Moved some more dirt...cleared out big rocks...and now we are done for the day. We got quite a bit done today...I feel pretty good.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finally...Spring is here!

I just know I am right...I have to be! Spring is here! I saw a BUTTERFLY!! OK, so it was just a white cabbage butterfly...but still....it was a butterfly. *sigh* finally! I worked outside all day....IN SHORTS!! Cleaned and filled the ducks water pools. They were so happy....splashing around...talking...I just love watching happy ducks. Then I had to re-roof one of the smaller huts. Winter was hard on a few of the smaller shelters. As soon as we get warm weather, I will have to paint a few of them as well. After re-roofing the small hut, My neighbor came over, and helped me put up a new pen for a rescue. A rooster. He is beautiful, and I hope I can find him a home soon. He is an Easter Egger. No name yet....I was thinking maybe Ralph. Tomorrow will be a busy day as well. Once the hubby gets home from work, he is going to till the garden for the last time so I can get my peas in the ground before the rain comes. We are going to get rain for 3 days....should give the peas a great start! I noticed the thornless blackberry plants are starting to get green on them....so is the Lilac! Yep, Spring has sprung!

Treasure hunting....sorta.

I'm not sure if you all remember, but last September I think it was,the county was digging out the ditches along the highway. This meant they needed a place to dump all the "dirt". Now, I put parentheses around the word dirt....because it was not ONLY dirt. There are large rocks, tree branches, and just about every imaginable type of trash in those piles. So, the hubby...thinking "we need dirt" told the workers they could dump it here...on my little pristine farm....oh the HORROR!! We have 20 piles of...ditch dirt...each one is from a 10 TON dump truck. Yep, doing the math, there is roughly 200 TONS of..stuff...in my FRONT YARD! Now, since this "dirt" is so full of debris, we have to move every bit of it by hand...and I mean...literally, by hand. Shovels, wheel barrows...wagons. *sigh* So yesterday...we started the task. Working slow..being careful not to get cut on whatever might lurk in the piles. I joked with hubby and said... well, we haven't found any gold yet" as I shoved my shovel into the dirt. As I was dumping it into the wagon, something caught my eye. Something sparkled. Thinking it was either a pop can part...or a lid of some type, I grabbed it out of the dirt...and was I ever shocked! THERE'S GOLD IN THEM THERE HILLS!!!! At first I didn't think it was much...probably tin..but when I cleaned it up, WOW! 3 beautiful Emerald's and gold! Hubby laughed at me when I squealed....woohoo! GOLD! We took a short break....laughed about our find...well..HE laughed, I was drooling and dreaming of "hitting the mother load" Back to work...we moved several more wagon loads..when I said..." OK, time to find more gold" He laughed at me and said.." I think you just got lucky with that one. I threw another shovel load into the wagon..and yep...something sparkled!!! I quickly grabbed it up and wiped it off....sweet find!! This one has 3 ruby's in it!! Hubby just shook his head...I was finding more energy than I thought I could ever have! LOL We finished the first pile....10 tons moved in one day...and 2 treasures found. Not a bad day! I told hubby..." you know...we COULD make a flyer with pictures of what we found, and tell everyone to come on out, hunt for treasures with us while helping us move this dirt" He just looked at me and said...."Heck no!" I had to laugh...I think he has visions of hitting the mother load now. Hey, one never knows what might lurk in these ditches....Oh, I know we will never find enough to pay off the farm....but it does make the job a little more fun...thinking the next shovel full just might have a treasure in it! :) 19 piles to go....dreaming of what might be in the next one.