Saturday, June 30, 2012

Awful Heat

I been awake since 6am and it was already hot.  Today is the emergency preparedness/preppers meet up at the Thunder 5 Ranch.  I am the designated chef for the day so my friend Mike can present the skills he has to share.  I'm running late as usual, LOL, the bread is almost ready.

See yas all afterwards!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bad Hot Day

Well, today was supposedly 3 degrees F cooler than  yesterday but I lost 5 rabbits from the heat.  This upsets me greatly because last summer was hotter with much higher humidity and I didn't lose any rabbits.  3 of my good breeding does, a 7 month old buck and a 2 month old doe.  Her 3 siblings are fine, they were all in the same hutch.  I hate losing critters.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Big Fat Skeeter Bite

That little thing will keep a diesel motor from running.  That is the fuel/air bleeder screw next to the pumper button on top of the fuel filter.  It's PLASTIC.  My son had the big truck today and as I was coming home from the Thunder 5 Ranch, I met my son in town. We pulled up, shut the trucks off and talked a bit.  He went to head home and the dually wouldn't start.  Okay, it's vapor locked, it's done that before when it's this hot.  Popped the hood and started pumping.  Fuel bubbled out at that screw.  So, hit it with a wrench and it comes off in the socket.  Of course, the parts place doesn't have anything even close that will work and the dealership is already closed.  So, what do I do?  having a somewhat mechanical mind, I head for the farm store.  of course I won't find a plastic bolt but I can think outside the box.  I got a bolt that matched the coarse thread.  It was of course, way too long.  So, I got a nut and screwed it on the bolt, a couple rubber o rings and a roll of thread tape.  Son of a gun if it didn't work perfect!  Truck is not leaking fuel, pumped right up and drove home perfect.  About time something went my way!  Also, LOL, I'll bet the $1.89 I spent at the farm store is waaaaaaay cheaper than the replacement plastic bolt from the dealership!  So, this little bump in the road was just like a big fat skeeter bite.  itches like mad and is totally annoying but it's an easy fix!

Helping Hands and it HOT!

Did I mention it's hot?  The next few days are going to be miserable around here, all 100F+!  My deepest thanks to 3 people, Charles, Caryn and Irene for giving me a helping hand.   A little more time to get my ducks in a row and make a serious go of this, beyond anything I've done here before.  Feeding us was the easy part compared to what I need to be doing now that I'm all on my own.  I'm a little worried about the winter months but we'll tackle that bear when he gets here.  I'm out of default danger for the next 30 days and that's a huge relief.  One less this to stress over and more time to focus on hanging on.  Now pray for rain!  Not only do we need it desperately but I have a big fencing job lined up that can't be done with concrete ground!

Okay, as some of you know, I have spent millions of hours over the last 4 years helping to build what is now a huge preppers network.  Something happened to make me seriously disappointed and disgusted with it and I am no longer participating in that whole mess.  The attitude there goes against everything I am and everything I believe in.  I'm not a prepper anyway.  I'm a homesteader.  Self sustainability thru growing and producing my own food is my entire goal.

So, anyway, someone close to me has shown me some things I hadn't noticed before.  I guess it's the old frog in a pot syndrome.  I'd been there so long, worked on it too much and didn't see the forest for the trees.  That's all over now.

So, here I am with a small farm the produces enough food for me.  It's a little late this year to grow a huge excess, but I can do a few things to improve what I've got here for later on.  I still have a few crops I seriously over planted back in the spring that will bring me some mortgage money if I can keep it all watered enough.  Just need to make it to harvest.  As the goat auction prices have bottomed out for the year, it won't take long for them to start going back up and that will be a big help too.  I can avoid the stress of being insulted by people who are trying to take advantage of me for their own profit.  I did get to throw a couple people off the farm, that made me feel a little better.  I've got 10 babies that are growing.  Their sale price will pay a few bills and feed their Mommas thru the winter.

So, let me tell you about my friends and the Thunder 5 Ranch.   met via  A local page set up via the monster preppers organization I worked so long on.  We've now got a pretty good group of people who get together to work on being more self sufficient and better emergency prepared.  As a matter of fact, I really need to be over there right now to help finish up the last minute projects for this weekends meet up. Thunder 5 is hosting this one.   But, after that, we will be working on a LOCAL homesteaders group, an alliance of sorts.  Ideas between the 2 of us will build something pretty unique and something we've never had in this area before.  Our goal is to network homesteaders and provide a one stop healthy food outlet along with a set up trade/barter between local homesteaders/farmers.

Okay, enough procrastinating, it's only going to get hotter the longer I sit here!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thieving Dogs

 Don't they look so innocent?  Yah, right.  Sonya has a cucumber in front of her, half chewed up and Grizz is being her lookout.  When I came around the corner, she looked up and decided she needed to chew a flea and he completely ignored me!
This was a full bucket of cucumbers just 20 minutes ago.  Sneaky little pups!

Looking Rough

The goat herd is starting to show the effects of the drought now.  The only green out there is the weeds.  Wish I could buy them some mineral, a little corn every day just isn't enough with the lack of good forage.

Well, I'm just $90 short for the farm, talked to the bank, when I miss the payment I'll go into default and have 90 days to make up the missed payment.  I'll still have to make the other payments tho.  With the coal mine coming, they won't have trouble selling the farm if I don't find a way to do this.  The local government and the churches won't help me so I don't have too many choices.  Seems like the farther down you are, the less options  you have.  Can't sell jams, jellies or bread via the farmers markets here, no large critters either.  Fresh herbs but nothing dried or dehydrated.  Need a cottage exemption to sell prepared foods and label everything.  While it's easy enough to get the exemption, just a 2 day sanitation class and a test to prove you understand it, you have to have money to do it all.  Again, hard to get much done with nothing.

My tomato plants are covered in green fruits, wish they'd hurry up and ripe up already.  It's looking like a good crop, even with it being so hot and dry.  I'm doing what I can to keep them going tho, of all the crops to lose, the tomatoes will put a huge hurt on the dinner table.  Plus, tomatoes always sell well.  If I manage to hang on here, next years garden will have produce that market sells.  Never really thought much about that before, always just grew for me to feed us all.

Did I mention it's really hot?  I wasn't looking forward to it being this hot so quick this year.  usually it's just July and part of August for the oven house.  Missing that extra month of cool weather puts a damper on rabbit production and egg production.  This is just a lousy year all around, especially for those of us without a/c.

I'll be out in the blackberries again this evening.  Without rain, the harvest is looking pretty lousy and the berries are small.  Wish the chiggers would be less.  Those nasty little ticks don't seem bothered by the lack of rain either!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Drought and Struggle

Grizz wouldnt stand still and as you can see, there is no grass, even in the shade. A few weeds still hanging on but they don't do the critters any good.  Kind of a fitting situation for the end of this chapter in life.  I've got 5 days and I won't be making the mortgage payment deadline.  Just can't make the money I need.  Even having scrapped farm equipment that could have been repaired didn't give me enough.  No real inquiries on the animals and I will not be selling them for pennies on the dollar.  I have no problem selling them below their worth but I will not be cheated by selling a goat worth $200 for $25.

The garden is burning up on me.  I'm not alone tho, with temperatures in the 90s and no rain, it's last years southwest drought just moved a little north and east.  The big field crops are shriveled and it won't be long before they start dying.  Who would or could have expected after all the rain last year, this year would be so dry?  Mother Nature is pretty unforgiving.  It's terrible hot here now.  Kind of makes you think about how tough the pioneers, farmers and cattlemen of the west 150 years ago had to be.  Living without the things most everyone around you takes for granted is pretty tough.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Want in one hand

yep, you know the rest.  It's not going so good here.  Seems to be the norm anymore tho.  My brilliant plan isn't working out so good.  Eh, oh well.

The farmers market this past weekend was a bomb.  I'm thinking of not going this weekend.  An amish guy trucked in from 30 miles north with bins full of the same stuff I had and I didn't sell anything.  Guess people think if there's tons of it, it must be better than the small growers stuff.  If he comes back again, I'll waste $5 I dont have and 2 gallons of fuel I can't replace.  Not to mention the 4 hours I could be doing something else, anything else.

Haven't had any luck private selling the goats.  Everybody that has contacted me tries to get them for nothing.  Not sure what to do now, I refuse to give them away for nothing and I'm down far enough I can't afford the fuel for the auction.

On the brighter side, the garden is producing nicely and I'm eating well.  I finally have eggplant growing.  It's one of my favorite veges.

Eh, it's hot and sticky and I hate walking home but it's almost chore time and the librarian is giving me the stink eye, LOL.  More soon......

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Under the Wire

I did good tonight.  I sold Yogi to some nice folks from a couple towns over who came to see him and liked him.  One critter down, a dozen goats to go.  Now all I need is $150 to cover the mortgage.  Not bad for being dead broke on Sunday.

The rain did some good for the gardens and pulling the pigweed was a breeze today.  I got all 12 rows of the cornmeal corn weeded. I'll have some zucchini, cucumbers and a couple kinds of hot peppers for the farmers market on Saturday.  I'm also a bit excited, all the sunchokes look like they've sprouted thru now.

My head still isn't quite where I want it to be but it's coming around.  One step at a time I guess.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finally Raining

 I'm thrilled it's raining.  Watering the garden just keeps it alive but rain water makes it grow and produce.  Here's the 10lbs of zucchini I sold at the farmers market Saturday morning.  I didn't get a picture of the cucumbers, they were a last minute pick and bag deal right before I left.  Tons more coming on for this weekend tho.  Cucumbers are hot sellers.  I picked my first horn worm off the tomatoes last night.  I've been dreading those things and this year I have a large tomato crop that will need a look-see a couple times a day.  Time consuming.  Since I don't use any chemicals here, the worms will all have to be hand picked and squished.  Wish I could train a chicken to follow me around and eat them, LOL
My soaking wet house goat that thinks she's a dog was so very happy to see me come home from the post office.  Did you know wet goats smell like burnt hair?  Ew.  No wonder they hate being wet, they stink bad.  Poor Lil Sister just doesn't have the brains to get out of the rain.

Well, the source of my stress is going to stay away for a couple of weeks.  Gee, thanks.  Not to help me of course, just doesnt want to be around when there's no electric.  I'm $326 short so it's unavoidable now.  Oh well, at least it will be quiet around here.  But, no electric will keep me from posting here on the blog.  No sense in wasting 2 gallons of fuel just to play on the computer so once the lights go out, the blogging is gonna slow way down.  I'll just take pictures and load them all at once to the computer when I can afford to go where I can plug in.  Got a lead on a decent full time job but it's still going to be a month or so before I would start.  At least it won't interfere with the job I'm supposed to have if the construction guys would get back on schedule.  Eh, I can't wait til November for a full time job anyway, I'll lose the farm to the bank if I do.  Still gotta pay the insurance and the mortgage to hang on.

So, until the next update, I'm doing what I can.......

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Personal Update

Okay  guys, thank you for the comments and support and all the varied opinions.  It's helpful to see what others think and feel, it really does help to see the way thru.   I'm not jumping to any surprise or quick draw conclusions, this has been coming on for a few years now.  So, I'm working on doing what I need to do for myself, my sanity and my happiness.  Life is too short to be stuck with something/someone that makes ya miserable every second of every day.  That said, I don't want to give up everything I've built here but, if I can't cover the bills, I won't have much choice on the matter.   The fight I'm giving up is trying to hold together something that never existed in the first place, just an illusion of it.  The selling of all the animals is due to broken farm equipment I need to feed those animals and without it, will have to buy hay I don't have money for.  So it makes sense to sell them instead of letting them stand here and starve, doesn't it?

Now, what's going on here with my little self sustained farm...  an old friend emailed me letting me know that the town closest to me wants to set up a farmers market.  How perfect is that, eh?  This morning I set up downtown for the new farmers market.  All I had was some cucumbers pickling size (little bitty ones)and a dozen zucchini.  I sold out.    Too bad I don't have enough produce coming on to pay that 2 months behind electric bill before the 16th.  Eh, no electricity, been there done that.  At least I'll get peace and quiet since nobody wants to live here in the dark without even a fan for air circulation but me, LOL.  Works out good, eh?

Also working out a deal on a few of the goats I have here.  Not as much as I'd like to get from them but at least I won't have to pack them to the auction and sit there all night to get paid.

Everything else is just gonna work out one way or another and life will go on for me, all by myself where nothing and nobody besides me can affect it.  I will do my best to keep going like I want to but whatever happens, I'll just deal with it as it comes.  I built this out of nothing, I guess I can just do it again someplace else if I have to.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Personal Note

Well ya'll, looks like the journey is over.  I've been to the doctors office every other day for the last 2 weeks, had a couple dozen tests and I'm healthy as a horse.  Apparently, my problem is all stress/anxiety/depression related.  Hard to believe, I know.  The doctor says if I eliminate the source of my stress, I will feel much better.  So, if I stay here on this wonderful farm I've worked my ass off on, making it produce for me, I will keep feeling like I do and eventually it will adversely affect my health.  Since I don't make near enough money to keep the bills paid here on my own, I will be selling off all my animals(which absolutely kills me and makes me more depressed), filing for divorce( that will fix all my health problems) and leaving here to find a new path for my future. 

I don't have a real plan worked out yet.  It's kind of hard to work something out when you have nothing to work with.  Hopefully, I can get a decent price for the animals and at least give myself something to move on with.  I just can't keep fighting a losing battle when I'm constantly dragged down by the disrespect, lies and stupidity of someone who is supposed to be my life partner.

So, it's the end of this journey.  All I can do is work on starting another one down the road...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Todays Project

 Todays project was baking bread outside with wood.  Ideally, it would be in a brick oven.  Since I'm never going to be able to buy the brick and mortar I need to build one, I decided to think outside the box.  This probably wont bake me a good pizza, but it did the tasty buns bread just fine.  The bread didn't rise quite like it does in the house oven but it also didnt get the benefit of the oven pre-heating with them inside.  The grill is one of those smoker charcoal grills and I just built my fire on the smoker end with wood.  When the rolls were done, the taters in the foil were close to ready so I threw some meat on the grill, cooked it and had a nice supper with it outside, in the shade.
 Grizzly waiting for a piece of bread.
 Jake making sure there was no juice left in the bag that might make the garbage can nasty.
Sonya waiting for left overs.

Warming back up

 It was a very nice, cool weekend.  Too bad the nice weather didn't last.  It's back up to the high 80sF again.  I'm really pleased with the wood chip permculture.  It's holding moisture longer than the areas without woodchips and it's working exactly like any cover would in weed reduction.  Instead of having to water constantly, I'm just having to water once a week since we have had no rain.
 I still need to put the tomato cage panels up.  Too many other little things got in the way this weekend but since our minor tragedies wiped out our fuel money, hubs won't be making it to work this week so we will have plenty of time to get it set up.  It's hard to see but the Hopi tobacco plants are all in full flower.  Since I don't know much about them and never grown them before, it's a mystery why they are flowering after only a month of growing.  The Hopi are from the southwest, hot and dry conditions which we certainly had this spring, so this is perplexing to me.  Maybe this plant doesn't grow to be 5' tall like the virginia sweet?  I'm just hoping I didn't do something to them that retarded their growth.
 Yep, the japanese beetles have arrived.  Dang things.  I'll be knocking them off all the plants and into a bucket of water for chicken snacks for the next month.
LOL, some folks thought I was kidding when I said I have 15 goats under the front porch!  I was going to take some to the auction on Tuesday but the weekend stuff wiped out all our money so maybe next month.  Goat auction is the first Tuesday of every month and having to wait another 4 weeks while these little buggers are eating every plant they can reach thru the fences is going to be tough.  The brown and white billy laying in my carrot box got in a tangle with the big billy and got his leg hung up in Johns horns so little billy is now limping.  Not exactly what you want for the auction barn.  He's hard to catch, even with a limp so doctoring him with anti inflammatory has been hit and miss.

Still no word on the test results for figuring out my health troubles.  Nothing like throwing a little extra stress onto an illness.  Patience is NOT one of my virtues.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First of June

Well, I've been just kind of half humping along with some health problems to deal with.  Some of the tests have come back and the really bad health problems have been eliminated.  Still not positive on why I'm feeling so poorly but the doc will figure it out for me soon.  I've not done any side work in a few weeks and it's starting to show in a hard way around here.  Haven't done too awful much around the farm either that isn't daily maintenance but I am getting some produce now. 

The first zucchini cut.  there's 9 more I will be cutting in the next day or so.  I'd show ya'll a picture of the strawberries I picked today but I ate them, LOL  I love me some straweberries!  One of the quads pushed the bottom of the fence in and ate one raised bed of plants on me.  A few of the plants are coming back tho.  I'm none too pleased over it but nothing i can do, I was at a doc appointment at the time.  So, I will be guarding the remaining strawberry plants and putting the bunny poo fertilizer to them so I get a good crop of runners later this season to cover what was damaged.

This year is going to be darn rough for the farm with the hay equipment damaged.  I will have to buy hay.  Not too sure how I will manage that, I sure can't afford it.  If I can't figure it out, I guess I will have to sell all the critters before winter.  Oh well, just something else to worry about.

Now, how shall I eat my first zucchini of the season?