Thursday, June 30, 2011

ARG! Bad Day

Today was horrible in so many ways. First, Hubster was diagnosed with Diverticulitis from the scope yesterday and can't get an appointment to be released until July 7th. Yay rah. Next, I found my last banty hen dead in the barn isle. I guess she zigged when she should have zagged and a goat stepped on her. The next thing was a flat tire on the tractor. While working on that, we discovered that our tool box was missing out of the back of the truck. Apparently, someone stole it from the truck bed at the hospital. Real nice. Guess sick people make good targets. our fault for not removing it I guess. Now I have no tools at all. Borrowed a couple tools from the neighbor, got the tire fixed up, headed to the hay field, hooked up to the cutter and broke a pick up rake bar on the 3rd pass. I have no idea what happened. I have no clue how I am going to finish the first cut now. It's what I would feed my animals thru the winter. I had to just come home because I do not have any money to buy the parts and can't cut with it like it is. So, home I went and then I got out to the garden to do some weeding. There, I found the calf, standing in the middle of the garden. Goober cow must have rubbed on the fence hard enough to knock the end post loose in the soggy ground and Daisy calf squeezed out around it, right into the garden. She stomped several tobacco plants and half a row of beans. So, I headed in the house for a cup of coffee and something to munch on. That was a lousy idea. Second bite of bread and I lost that front tooth the rooster knocked loose.

This has NOT been a good day. I need a good cry.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Soggy Tuesday Garden

Some serious slop out in the garden today and it has me worried. The 5" of rain and then the 2.7" that fell 18 hours later has done some major damage. The potato tires are done for. 2 days of slop and the tops are dying from rotted stalks. The kidney beans are looking drown as well with yellowing leaves and flowers falling off. The tobacco out in the sun looks wilted but the plants already shaded are perking back up today. I was surprised to see them wilted again after they looked so good last night. Of course the tomatoes and cucumber are loving all the water. It's much too sloppy out there to check on the garlic which may die from the slop as well.

What lives out there lives and what doesn't will get replanted for a short crop. Sometimes gardening just doesn't go the way you want it to ;) All part of it tho.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Soggy Monday

It stormed yesterday with another round coming in at 4am and then again at noon. We're standing in water, again. 5" Sunday and another 1.3" today in the rain gauge. I won't be getting much done today around the farm. It's sunny now and I slopped out to take a couple pictures of the exploding growth in the garden but it all looks drown and kind of wilty so I passed on it. On my way back, a male Cardinal was chirping away in what's left of my red potatoes (thanks so much Lucky goat). I've loved Cardinals for as long as I can remember and they were my Grandmothers favorite bird as well. Wish I could share this beauty with her.

Tomorrow is the pre-op for the hubsters medical procedure and then Wednesday is hopefully the day we find out exactly what is wrong with his insides. The mortgage and the tax bill don't care that he's ill so we're getting a bit anxious to heal him up. Plus, he's driving me crazy here, laying on the couch 24/7 ;) So, the next couple of days won't be good for anything getting done around the farm. Between the medical stuff and all the water, I'm a wreck.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not Going our way, Again

You ever wonder why it's called "practicing medicine"? Spending 7 hours in a ER did have one small benefit, we got a scope appt for the hubster, much quicker than we originally anticipated. Still, 5 weeks into this, he's still in the exact same shape. Short term disability finally kicked in. One third of his regular pay. That's life I guess. Could be worse, we could be like last time and go without any kind of money coming in at all. It's just very frustrating and I know you all can relate. Sharing the disappointment helps me be less upset about it.

We dodged the vicious storms, both of them! For once, Mother nature treated us good. We did get a little bit of rain and the garden is just obnoxious. I'll have plenty of weeding work as soon as it firms up enough for me to walk out there. A bit mushy right now ;) I know there's cucumbers out there waiting for me to pick them and I LOVE cucumbers!

All the little chicks are doing good, I still have every one that hatched. I guess Gremlin was the chick killer and now that she's gone, I've still got chicks. Hate that I had to find out because of her getting run over. Life is hard on cats living next to a main rural route.

A quick 2 minute video of Daisy calf on the loose, investigating a dirt pile from the horse paddock.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Ponderings

This morning, I had an email asking me to put a link on my blog to an editorial about frugal living. The title of it was 10 famous penny pinches that teach frugality. Frankly, the article was pitiful and offended me from a self sufficient and frugal viewpoint. Going to Bloomingdales on double reward days, buying food from the Cheesecake Factory and stockpiling hotel soap is frugal? WHAT???

I learned several years ago that I would never enjoy the easy life. The luxuries so many people take for granted like running hot water, cable tv, telephones, air conditioning, new clothes or vacations weren't something I was going to get no matter how hard I worked. Yes, it upset me, but I learned to deal with it and go on with life. My family decided I needed hot water so they helped out with that. The rest of it, the only thing I really miss is the air conditioning. It really gets miserable in the summer here. I choose to go without because having it would create a debt (electric bill) that I could not pay for.

Once again our farm is suffering from the low side of life. There isn't anyone to blame, we didn't get lazy and quit working. We didn't develop an alcohol or drug problem. One can not predict or prevent a physical illness. Through all the bad times, we've come perilously close to losing our home. More than once in the past few years due to physical illness. As anyone who has been down and out knows, once you're down, it takes a long time to get back to breaking even and even longer to get up over it. We never got that chance this time. So, I reached out for help and some great people stepped up to help us. For that I am very grateful. For me, it's not even close to over, the bad news on the health front just keeps rolling in.

The other day I wrote about the words “self sufficient”. Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, esp. with regard to the production of food. Emotionally and intellectually independent. Let's look at this definition a little bit. Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, especially with regard to food. That's right, this farm is self sufficient in regards to food. I do that for us. I also do that for my farm animals. The animals that help to feed me. Emotionally and intellectually independent. It is my opinion that I qualify with this as well. I do not choose to follow along blindly. If I did, I would be eating store bought food and collecting a welfare check for my disability. Emotionally independent, for the most part I am. I don't think asking for prayers qualifies as emotionally needy.

All the work I do around this farm in my efforts to feed us is all being done with, old, used equipment. Nothing came to me new. I make it work. That's part of my job. For the things I can't do around here, I barter with neighbors and other farmers close by to get what I need done. Most of the time, it doesn't come cheap and I end up giving more than I get. Sometimes, it's just how it works. I just deal with it.

The hours I spend tending the gardens and the animals is a labor of love. You can not do this-feed yourself- and hate what you're doing. It just doesn't work. The people out in the world that think they can just throw some seeds in some dirt and feed themselves are in for a huge surprise if and when they ever really have to grow something to eat for themselves. The hours of labor and the gallons of sweat during harvest time are something your average office worker can't even begin to imagine or relate to. Not to mention the feeling you get when you get covered with anything from the business end of an angry cow, or the bruises on the back of your legs from that baby goat who was just dying for his bottle and you took too long.

If you really want to be frugal, try your hand at baking some bread or making your own soap instead of buying it from a store. Nurture a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket and make your own salsa once in a while. Better yet, go to your fuse box and turn off the main breaker for a weekend and learn to live in a more simple fashion.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Around the Farm 6-18-11

It was my intention tonight to take a couple pictures of the muddy garden but I got distracted and all I finished up evening chores with is a few pictures of the critters, a couple skeeter bites and some mud that got slung on me when Rowdy stole feed from the cow while I was milking.

The humidity is thick enough to cut tonight. Soaking wet while milking isn't the highlight of my day ;) But, the quart of fresh milk is worth the effort. I need to figure out how to pen the calf off the cow during the day so I can get a little more milk. The current outdoor pen doesn't give me much in the options department for it.

It's now 5 days of intermittent rain and brief storms. I am ready for it to go away so I can get the rest of that hay cut. The sooner the better or I won't have a good second cut later this year.

My hubster had 5 nasty spasms today. Keep the prayers coming...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sweet Rain

Early afternoon brought a dandy of a little squall. Lightning too close for comfort and enough rain to fill the bottom of the wheel barrow. The garden is loving it! When it was all over, the goats were happy to come back out of the barn. They high tailed it inside as the storm was coming in, they didn't want any of it. The horses and goats were getting along nicely today, that's what I like to see!

Lucky goat is still splitting his time between the herd and me, I had to put a piece of scrap fencing in the window to keep him from jumping in the house to find me. If he wouldn't chew on everything and anything, I wouldn't mind him visiting but alas, he's a goat ;)

Hubster had a minor setback with a bout of vomiting up blood. I was kind of hoping he was getting better. Back to the doctor, again, and another appointment for Wednesday :( Looks like we're still needing prayers and lots of them.

No hay sales yet but people don't want to buy and haul it in the rain. Maybe this coming week when the rain quits...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Commercial Dough Enhancers and Raw Milk

Oh yes, once again I'm up to no good, LOL. I've been reading again over at Alex Jones' infowars and these 2 articles caught my attention.

The first one is about a common ingredient in commercial breads. Alex linked to the original article from natural news. It turned my stomach even knowing I don't eat commercial breads. Just the thought that I used to eat it made me want to upchuck. L-cysteine, a common commercial dough enhancer, is made from human hair? Wait a minute, now it's even worse... human hair from China???? Say it isn't so! The article goes on to say that this additive is also obtained from other sources which include chicken feathers, duck feathers, cow horns and petroleum byproducts.
Learn more:

Now, I am seriously against commercial foods for plenty of reasons. Now I have one more!

Lew has a great article concerning the raw milk battle and echos my thoughts on why our government is so insistent on "controlling" raw milk and keeping it almost impossible for the average person to enjoy milk in it's true and healthy form. The original link also came from Alex Jones' infowars. I drink raw milk. I like raw milk. Goat or cow, it's all good to me. I would not drink milk at all if all I had to choose from was commercially packaged milk. Frankly, I find store bought milk to be disgusting and the mere thought of drinking milk that if full of bovine growth hormone and puss from the mastitis is promotes is enough to make me hurl. I know instantly, before I even draw the first squirt of milk from my cow or goat if the milk isn't right. My animals get hand milked, I know what the udder looks like, feels like, I know all the dirt is washed off of it, there's no nasties on the udder and no floaties in the milk when I am finished. So, just the thought of some government worker telling me my raw milk is less safe than the crap sold in stores rub me the wrong way. How dare he or she assume they know more about my animals than I do? How dare he or she assume they can tell me what I can produce and consume for myself on my own farm? I've got 2 words for them and they aren't "thank you".

Anyway, I liked both the articles and wanted to share even tho the one made me want to hurl ;)

Goat Day on the Farm

It's kind of overcast today, looks like it might rain again on us. Not that I'm complaining about some rain. The last few days have been seasonably nice, in the mid 80s with moderate humidity. As soon as this front goes by tho, high 90s will be back. Just in time for me to finish cutting the hay in the one field and get started on the next one.

The goats have been free roaming the farm since I do not have a goat pen built yet. I can't keep them cooped up in the barn with no sun light or grazing time. So far, they've been behaving rather well.

I need to work on the garden today while it's not so hot. It's starting to produce for me, tomatoes, peppers both coming on and several cucumbers almost ready to pick and eat. Right now, there is a young doe laying next to it. She's not sleeping, the coyotes got after her while she was trying to fawn. I don't have any piece of equipment running that will fit in between the fencing and the garden to haul her out of there, she's too big for me to drag out. Not sure what I'm going to do about her. She is starting to stink so I will have to do something about it. Yuk.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Potatoes in Tires

With the 50% chance of rain today and tomorrow, I can't be cutting any hay. So, I used the time to work in the garden and do some clean up around the place. it's amazing how quickly it gets out of hand around here. I scooped some dirt in the tractor bucket and dumped it in the front yard to make it handy for me to hill the potatoes up. I let them get way too tall so it took me a while to get them hilled up to where they needed to be. A 5 gallon bucket of water to finish it up and there they are, ready to grow me more tubers. With the promise of at least the 70 lbs I harvested last year, I'm excited about this crop. I will be sure to water it more than I did last year! It still amazes me that in the space of a car tire, I can harvest that much food. Such a simple method, just cut the sidewalls off, lay the seed potatoes right on the ground, cover with a little dirt, water and wait. Hill them up as needed and add tires as they grow. Harvest is the opposite, I removed one tire at a time and pulled my potatoes out of the dirt as I knocked it off the tire stack. If you have a hard time growing potatoes in the ground like I do, this is the perfect method for you!

The truck is back in action and ready to take the hubster to the doctor in the morning. He's only had 3 really nasty spasms today and just a few more small ones. I hope he's on the healing up side of this. We'll have to see what the doctor says about when he can be scoped. Keep us in your prayers...

Becoming Self Sufficient

Learning to live self sustained and becoming self sufficient isn't as easy as it sounds. It's not really that difficult either, once you change your mindset for it. The biggest hurdle is in the way that we think. Some of the common responses I hear to the self sustaining ideal is; 1- I don't have any land. 2- I can't live without (insert your particular item here). It can prove to be very difficult to get over our notions of what we absolutely have to have to live. We are most certainly not used to going without or not getting what we want "right now".

Now, let's discuss what "self sufficient" really means. Self Sufficient-adj.-Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, esp. with regard to the production of food. Emotionally and intellectually independent.

One's basic needs, what are one's basic needs? I think of this as the fundamentals of life. 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food and you die. We all have to drink and eat, we have no choice on that. Our choice comes in when we get to choose what we drink and what we eat. We can choose to not consume food and drink filled with chemicals, artificial flavors, steroids, antibiotics or lab created sweeteners. We can choose to not consume the genetically modified monstrosities being pushed on us by companies such as Monsanto and Dow. Choosing to not consume these fake foods is the easy part. Getting your hands on real food can prove to be a daunting task.

For me, the outlets for real food are almost non existent. The seasonal farmers markets are full of fruits and vegetables trucked in from other areas and priced much too high. The high prices are a particular annoyance for me because I grow my own food here and I know that it does not cost more money to grow non GMO fruits and vegetables than commercially produced foods. So, why the huge price increase? Plus, all you have is some strangers word that they didn't douse those fruits and vegetables in some chemical pesticide or chemical fertilizer. So, what can we do then? Grow it for ourselves.

There are only a couple real living situations I consider to actually be difficult if not impossible without some serious help when it comes to growing any amount of food for yourself. Those would be living in an apartment and living with an HOA. Neither of these 2 situations give you much option or flexibility for growing yourself some food without creating an indoor growing area. Every other situation can be successfully navigated with container growing, raised beds or conventional, in ground gardens. While gardening in any form has a steep learning curve for people that have never tried to grow anything before, it won't take very long to learn and with a little effort, you will be growing food successfully in no time.

Making the conscious choice to become more self sufficient is just the beginning. Once you get going, you'll be amazed at the things you will choose to eliminate and learn to live without!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday update middle of June

It's sunny and cool right now but I know it will get humid quickly. Yesterday was filled with garden work and light rain showers. Not even enough to do more than wet the surface dirt, it's still dry underneath. Looks like I'll be using more rain water cache. Lucky goat found a hole under the corral gates and wiped out the sweet corn. Looks like I will be replanting corn today (for the 3rd time now). At least he showed me the hole and I can find something to cut him off with. At least he didn't get in on any of my cornmeal corn. It is looking pretty good. I should get better ears than what I got last year, crammed in the car tires, LOL. Ah, I shouldn't complain, if I would have been better at watering those corns in the tires, they would have produced better. The top picture is peanut sprouts. I'm trying them beyond just an experiment this year, out in the big garden. I look forward to how they are going to do.

Woohoo! Well, it is a good thing kind of, I got impatient (big surprise, I know) and dug up a coffee bean to check it out. It had a root sprout on it! I should have a new round of coffee plants in the next week or so! I will be sure to post pictures as they sprout above the dirt.

Hubster had 4 big spasms yesterday and just one so far this morning. If this stays the same, we'll be headed back to the docs office tomorrow. A little progress I guess, he's not vomiting up blood anymore, at least not yesterday anyway.

Good news now... we have new chicks! They began hatching yesterday early and the Rhodey hen has 5, the Austie hen has 3 and the Wyandotte has 7. I am thrilled to see live chicks after having the fox run thru here and clean out several of my laying flock before I ended his feast. Combine the fox with that sneaky rat snake running hens off their nests and eating the eggs and I feel lucky to have any chicks at all.

Now a public thank you to everyone that so graciously stepped up and helped me these last couple of days. THANK YOU and GOD BLESS you. You have all given my the chance to fight my way thru this when there were no options left for me. I will not disappoint you, I will fight my way clear of this. Please don't give up the prayers, we most certainly still need them!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Night Garden

ARG, this is what happens when life gets in the way. That green mess is some of my kidney beans. Getting a hoe after that will make you sweaty, LOL.

The tobacco is finally coming around and looking like it's supposed to. I wasn't too sure when I transplanted it. I think it will make a nice crop. I lost a few of the smaller seedlings and a couple I thought were goners came on to surprise me. Plants fascinate me.

Here's more Lucky the goat antics. My broken lawn mower makes a great step ladder for eating the sugar maples!

Hubster had 2 huge spasms today. The feeling of total helplessness makes a person want to just cry. I know my attempts to comfort him are about useless but there isn't anything else I can do. Please help me with a prayer or 2.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Relief and Sweltering Heat

I thought I'd share a Lucky goat picture today. Last week, the nubby on the drivers side that holds the tailgate rusted through and I can't put the tailgate up. Not a big deal, just annoying. Now that the tailgate is always down, Lucky goat has a whole new area to play in. He jumps up in the truck bed, then up on the roof and down to the hood so he can try to get inside the truck and chew on anything he can find. He ate 2 fingers out of my hay gloves the other day. Bad goat! He is too smart for his own good!

I walked to the hay field this morning, got the tractor and raked. I had 2 rows left and a cloud rolled over and sprinkled a couple dozen rain drops on me and left. Just enough to fire me up over it. Had me a little freaked out since I checked the weather this morning and no rain. But, all is well, the sun is back out and blazing. I somehow managed to get myself bit by some sort of spider. It's in a rather sensitive spot, I haven't a clue how he managed to get there to bite me. It itches! Oh well, I did something right tho, I got smart for the trip home. I drove the tractor!

I called a race horse trainer friend of mine today trying to sell a little hay to the guys in his barn. He said he would get back to me the middle of next week. I also have a couple round bales spoken for, the 1st of July to be sold.

The taters need hilled up badly and the garden needs hoed. I hope to get it done in the morning before I head back to the hay field for baling.

The hubster had a miserable day while I was gone. I wish I could do something to ease his pain and make it go away. Please keep him on the prayer list, he needs it badly.

I can't begin to express my gratitude for the kindness I have been shown in the past 24 hours. Thank you all so very much. May God shine his love on each of you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Late night problem fixing

Okay, one big problem is handled. A friend has taken care of my battery problem( God Bless your great big heart) so now, if the hubs needs to go to the doc or the ER, I can get him there and he can get to work when he's released. Everything else can just wait. If I can't pay the bills, tough. I'm going to walk to the hay field to finish my obligation there until the batteries come in and the horse will pack them home for me so I can fix the truck. So, now we need prayers to heal the hubster up quick.

I got a bit of a giggle while working on the laundry this evening. Our last kitten just had to be in the middle of it but got tired out and fell asleep! He slid down and was hanging by claws. I woke him up and he crawled up into the laundry for a more comfy nap spot. What a nut!

I had to miss the goat auction so they get to keep running around and munching the weeds for me until a buyer comes around or another auction gets scheduled. In a couple of weeks I can hang the rabbit sign back out too. There's always the free wi-fi at the park in town and I could get lucky and find a buyer for a little hay to help me out of another round of poor luck. I noticed there's a few beer cans on the back road, I will pick them up on the walk to the hay field tomorrow...

Tuesday Farm update

Well, we're about pounded down as far as we can go. We don't have a vehicle now. The dual batteries took a dive on us this morning. We don't have another vehicle and we don't have enough money left to replace them. Hubsters doctor appointment is at 3pm, we haven't found him a ride yet.

Looks like we're just smoked. So much for the goat auction tonite and I can't find another hay buyer for the small amount I have left. This sucks. Even if he was healthy enough to go back to work, now we can't even get him there. Looks like we're done. We gave it a good fight tho.

Afernoon addition- hubsters Mom took him to the doctor, another 2 weeks off work and more medications. No help with the truck batteries so no goats to the auction. Guess I'm walking to the hay field tomorrow.....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Farm update

Pic of a nest of turkey eggs I spotted while working on my hay cutting obligation. The hen kept flying off and coming back. I did what I could to get done near her nest and even cut around it to not disturb the eggs. I had to sell 50 bales out of the field to a race horse man to cover my tractor fuel for the week. Not sure what I'll do to cover my string, I could sell a couple of my milk goats at an auction tomorrow. Might be what I'll have to do. But, I'll have to quit the hay field early to make the auction. Can't fulfill my obligation without buying 2 spools of string. Rock and a hard place again.

Hubster is still cramped up bad and passing blood. It's not looking good. He goes back to the doctor tomorrow. I'm pretty worried, I don't know what to do for him. Looks like he'll be off work for a while. He can't work in this shape.

The garden needs to be hoed, the weeds are growing quickly. I have to be in the hay field again to finish the cut. Maybe tomorrow night I can tend to it. At least in the evening it will be cooler.

It's just life on the farm I guess......

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quick Farm Update

Took hubs to the doctor yesterday, the doc has put him on a couple of meds to reduce the inflammation which should reduce his pain. He will be off work for another week (yay rah) which will put us in a serious bind. My mind is racing with a million different scenarios, as usual.

I managed to get thru the really thick hay yesterday without clogging the haybine up. I changed all my equipment settings and slowed way down. the drawback to that is, it will take longer to cut and therefor use way more fuel which I can't pay for. Great. It always seems like I am between a rock and a hard place. Just for a while, I'd love for things to go right for me. Oh well, crying about it won't fix it so I guess I'll just build a bridge and get over it ;)

The cow is still in the pen, LOL. Every morning I've been holding my breath in anticipation of finding the pen empty. Just the thought of having to track her down thru the country side is enough to make me not sleep well. So far so good tho, she's still there so far!

Somebody (hubs or the boy) left the back door of the storage shed open and all my banty chicks are gone. I can't find them anywhere so I guess the chicken coop I can't finish for lack of funds isn't a top priority anymore. Well, maybe I can have my banty chicks next year.

I still have 3 big hens brooding, the eggs should start hatching sometime later this week. Maybe I can have the coop built in time to protect the growing chicks. I doubt it but there's always hope...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I know it's kind of hard to see, but that is the back side of my New Holland haybine, all wadded up with grass! it took 4 hours of cutting, tugging, cramming and shoving to get it unclogged. When I screw something up, I do it big time! I already had 3 small fields laid down so I skipped cutting in this field and finished the others out. I still have some clean up in one field that I will do here in an hour or so before I head back to the really thick stuff. Lesson learned I hope and i will be really paranoid for the rest of the cut. I am sunburned beyond recognition at this point and my forehead is already peeling with my ears to follow quickly. Same thing that happens every first cut of hay.

We've had a bit of a health disaster here this week, the hubster spent 2 nights in the hospital with what started out as a supposed appendix problem and turned into non specific gastro-intestinal inflammation. Go figure. He's lost a week of pay now and still has to go see another doctor tomorrow. So much for fixing fence and finishing the chicken coop. We'll be hard pressed to pay the mortgage now. Geez I hate this. We just can't catch a break ever.

Well, since I can't finish the fence that would keep the cow from roaming all over the country side, I shortened up the horse paddock and used the panels to make a small cow pen next to the garden. At least she will have some grass for a few days while I try to figure something else out.

I had 2 rabbits kindle on Monday and they killed all their kits. Both these does are good does, neither have ever done this before. Not sure why they were upset, maybe the weather or something to do with that big rat snake.

The garden is looking pretty decent and now that it's warmed up (downright hot now) it should take off quickly.

Off to finish the hay field.....