Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pigs.....rain...mud...and one very sick little dog.

There is not enough chocolate OR pie, in this house, to wash away today. *sigh* First of all, I was up at 4 am with our little Muncher. He is not doing well. He had several seizures last night and a few today. I am thinking Monday I will have to take him for his " last ride" It breaks my heart. He is 14 years old...and has been a great little dog....I will not let him suffer. :(
Then.....when I went out to do my morning chores, I heard the pigs squabbling...loudly. I made my way over there to find the 2 boys had gotten in with the young gilt. They were both trying to breed her.... ( her daddy and her brother ) She was screaming so loud, trying to get away from them, then I noticed she was limping. Dang. It is SO muddy in there from all of the rain. I grabbed some field corn, turned off the electric fence and went in. I was able to get them back in their own pens and secured the perimeter between them with 2 ft high wood fence panels. These panels are about 8 ft long, and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. It took almost all I had to drag them a few hundred feet to the hog pen, get them lifted over the outside fence, and drag them through the deep mud to get them set into place. Once I finished getting the 2 panels in place, I realized there was about a 6 ft area that the panels didn't reach. So, I put 3 lines of electric fence in there. It was cold and raining and I just wanted to get out of the mud and inside to a warm finished it was 3:30. Evening chores are done at 4:30. I had an hour to rest. I didn't get back out until 5 pm and when I did I was greeted with screams from the gilt, again. Those 2 boars went through the electric fence! UGH!! So I had to go get the last panel and drag it into position....then get the boys out of her area. Well, after about an hour of chasing them around the mud, I was finally able to get them separated, unfortunately not into the pens I wanted them in. This is going to have to work until I can get some help. I got the panel secured, ran electric along the top and climbed out of the mud. The little gilt was resting in the hut....muddy, cold and exhausted. Tomorrow morning I will stuff her hut with fresh straw. HOPEFULLY the boys will stay put! Came in, got my shower, a hot cup of coffee and grabbed my new color books and pencils. Ahhhh. just what I needed! It is now almost 10:30 pm and I am worn out! Only slept about 3 or 4 hours last night, and that was in 30 to 45 minute stretches. I think I will head to bed here after I finish my coffee, and pray when I wake that the fences held tight. Tomorrow I want to lay on the couch with my little Muncher, cuddle with him all day....most likely his last day here at home. I am Thankful that he wasn't bad like this on Christmas day. He was able to open his gifts...and play with them. THAT is the memory I want to keep with me.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas is coming.....and the goose is getting fat!

Yes, Christmas is coming....ready or not...we can't stop time. For the most part, we are right on track. I have purchased all of the gifts for the grand babies....the Christmas cards are sent...decorations and lights are up and now I need to settle in for a full day of wrapping gifts. Every year we try to change up the decorations in the front yard. This year, I personally think they turned out great! Even this little guy was getting " into" the spirit of decorating.
This Cedar tree was planted by our son and grandson about 5 years ago. It was less than a foot tall with hardly any root when they plopped it into the ground. It now stands over 20 feet tall! About 3 years ago I put Christmas lights on the tree, then never took them down. The tree has grown, the lights are now inside the tree. It is so pretty, hard to catch in a picture. I really dread if the lights ever burn out.
This big old moose has sat in our yard every Christmas for many years now. His head used to sway side to side, however over the years he got...tired. LOL Thats ok, He sure is grand...and I love seeing him stand guard beneath the cedar tree. This last week I have been working crazy hours so the inside of our home has been neglected a bit. Now that I have some time off...It is time for me to get busy tidying up a bit. " The goose is getting fat" and sassy! We have 3 geese here on the homestead. Mostly I like having them because they alert me of anything new going on outside. Of the 3, we have one Chinese goose. He is grand! He is also "full of himself" Every day, while I am outside, when I walk past them, he will come up behind me head down, wings spread out...acting as if he is going to nip at me. I spin around to face him and he changes his mind....He stands tall and walks away bellowing out what I think is "goose profanity" He is getting pretty fat and "juicy" looking, and I have told him on more than one occasion..... " If you ever make contact with me... We will have a Christmas goose for dinner." Thankfully this hasn't happened yet. I really do love to watch their antics. There is just a week before Christmas day is here...and I am hoping to finish the house cleaning so I can sit back and enjoy sitting by the wood stove, sipping my coffee, staring at the Christmas tree and relaxing.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The frogs are singing Christmas Carols?

So, we can't deny it....this weather is seriously out of whack! I mean, it is the middle of December, in Indiana....and the highs are in the mid to upper 60's. The other day I did chores in shorts and a T shirt! I was standing outside....looking at the Christmas lights...and I heard it..." It started in low, then it started to grow" ( yeah I know, I borrowed that from How The Grinch Stole Christmas) But it DID! First it was one little peep...then another joined in....and before I knew it there were several little frogs peeping out at the pond. I almost couldn't believe my ears. But, then I looked around, I noticed there were little buds on several of the plants and trees here on the homestead. *sigh* I hope it gets cold soon, before the fruit trees decide to start blooming. Then, as if to confuse my weary brain even more...on December 9th, our sow gave birth to 4 little ones. Sadly, only 2 made it because I wasn't prepared for her. 2 weeks ago I had someone come out and looked at her and agreed with me that she did NOT look pregnant. So, the boar was still in with her and there was no deep clean bedding in the hut. She gave birth early in the morning, in the cold, wet mud. By the time I went out to do morning chores....she was finished giving birth....they were so cold that even the 2 live ones were stiffening up. I quickly scooped them up and brought them inside to warm them up. I ran them under super warm water and rubbed them vigorously. Then I made a small "tent" with a towel and ran the blow dryer on them. I set up the heating pad in the bath tub, with towels over it and laid the babies in the towels. A dear friend of mine had called and knew I had my hands she drove down from Indianapolis, an hour and a half drive one way, to help me get things in order for the new momma. Her and I worked in the hog pen for 4 hours....moving the boar to the other pen, laying in wooden planks in the thick mud so we and the pig could get up out of the mud. We also put a new wood floor in the hut to keep the babies up off of the cold mud. I went to the barn and brought over 3 bales of hay since I didn't have straw, to fill the hog hut to keep them warm. After we were sure the babies would be safe and warm, I brought them back out to momma. She and they were happy to be reunited. I don't think I could have done all that we did, without the help of my dear friend. I will never be able to thank her enough. I took these pictures of them...they are now 5 days old and doing great! Day one....just a few hours old. This is them at 4 days old.... They will have a few more days to get stronger, before the weather starts getting colder. Momma is a great pig. She made a deep nest in the back of the hut for her and them then pushed the bedding up high in the door way to stop the winds from getting in. I think they have a great chance of survival as long as the temps don't plummet too soon. So...with the chirping frogs....flies buzzing inside and outside...buds on the trees and bushes, and baby pigs....I have to keep reminding is almost Christmas...Winter is just beginning.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Frosty mornings on the Homestead.

I woke up this morning, I can feel the chill in the air because the wood stove had burned down. I stretched, still under the covers, not wanting to come out of my warm place...knowing it will only get colder in this house the longer I lay here. So, I get up and start getting the wood stove going again. It isn't long until there is a crackling fire, I can feel the soothes my old bones. After my morning "rituals" of letting the dogs out, starting coffee, washing my face and dressing warm for the day, I finally settle in by the fire with my coffee to wake up. The Christmas tree lights twinkle, the warm coffee tickles my nose I smile to myself knowing that in a few weeks family will all be here celebrating the holiday sharing good food laughing, singing and dancing..making memories that will last a lifetime. I hear the roosters waking up their hens, and I snap out of the little walk down memory lane...time to get this day started, my empty coffee cup is a reminder too. We had weather warnings of " Frozen fog" If you have never experienced this type of weather, it can make everything it touches so beautiful. The moisture from the fog settles on branches and fence lines, electric wires and every blade of grass and weed. I bundle up and head out to do the morning chores.
First stop will be the barn...several of the kitties meet me half way and escort me to the barn. You know, in case I forget the way.
I reach for the gate and cringe a little remembering that I had left my gloves on the table.
I make my way inside to the "swarm" of cats winding around my ankles, crying or complaining that I am taking too long filling their bowls. The smells in the barn make me smile. I can feel the warmth from the animals...listening to them waking up as well...calling to me, everyone wanting to be first to be fed.
The cats are fed, now on to the others....our resident old grouchy, but beautiful pot belly pig, Tulip. She peeks from under her nest of bedding...sniffing the air looking for her breakfast.
Once I finish there, it is time to feed the rest of the residents here. Chickens, geese, and pigs, all waiting on their breakfast and wanting to be let out to get their busy day started. I have to admit, I was in no hurry getting to the other side of the homestead. I walk slowly, taking in the beautiful scene of how everything is covered in frost. Once I finish..I stop and look around...and smile. Yes, homesteading is a wonderful life. Oh, there are days when I ask myself why do I work so hard? Is this how I want to finish out my life? And I always answer with yes....this is the perfect place for me. No matter which road I take.... the road leading home is beautiful, because I am coming home.