Thursday, September 17, 2009

We have moved!

The Cool Shade Farm blog has been moved over to the Thrifty Mom Dot Com blog here.

Come join us!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jeez, some days ...

Permit me a teensy vent?

So, we had a tremendous thunderstorm yesterday and it's moving toward 102 degrees out there this morning. It's South Carolina. It's hot and bloody humid. Working outside is like slogging through hot water.

So, of course, when I checked the barnyard just as the bubs and I were about to be scurrying into town this a.m. to try to beat the heat, what do I find?

BIG farkin tree down in the feedlot, a smashed flat fence, 6 goats in the chicken pen, and chickens gone to parts unknown.

Crap.

Bad part is this: I've NO idea how I'm getting that sucker off my fence. My chainsaw locked up a few weeks ago so I can't cut it. My tractor's in the shop so I can't lift it. And my truck won't crank so I can't drag it.

PLUS, due to some *ahem* changes by my (v. bad word here) fulfillment company for my products, my comissions for my graphic designs on those products has been effectively more than halved.  Halved. Less than half of my former income.

I've no idea how I'm going to pay my bills much less get tractors and trucks fixed or replace chainsaws.

*SIGH*


Am I gonna have to get out there and try to lever that bastard off my fence myself? Have I been reduced to a mideaval peasant?  Am I my own draft animal?  See the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!*
 
Ok, ok, it's not that bad. Could be worse. I'll try to take some pics of the Great Tree Removal ... just as soon as I, erm, figure out how I'm going to manage it.
 
In the meantime, if you see any of my chickens, email me.


* In case you are an uncool person or have lived like a naked, hairy, hermit who's taken a vow of silence, that's from Monty Python and the Holy Grail :





Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Springing!

I know, I know, a post is long overdue! Sorry. I've been really busy building a new website and it's kinda consumed me.

Here's a quick update for ya.  It's getting to be SPRING! Squee!



Those are my collards flowering, in case you were wondering what the heck that was.  Here's my new walk and gate.  I finally got around to fixing ONE of the arbours that got crunched by the storm / tree limb.

And my Wellsummers have started to lay!  Yay!  See how lovely and dark brown the eggs are? Nice thick shells, too. They grind up well to feed back to the birds for calcium. That's a black sexlink's egg lower left and a mixed hen's egg lower right.
Here's a shot of a Wellsummer egg and one of my gamehen's eggs. The game egg is actually off-white. The Wellsummers makes it look bright white, doesn't it?!
And I tried my hand at making my own mayonnaise. Trying to do away with nasty soy products and corn syrup in my family's diet. It was easy and turned out perfectly:
It even got Bodog's seal of approval!  Yes, it has a yellowish tinge - it's made of egg yolks!  I don't know what chemical they put in commercial mayo to bleach it out. Yuck!
Our first Tulip of the season:

I promise much more!  As it gets warm, I'll be working on several projects that don't involve my arse in this computer chair, LOL!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Today's funny

funny-dog-pictures-dog-stands-in-rye-field
see more puppies

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A small success!

When we first moved here to The Burrow it was spring of 2003.  My oldest, Boy, was 1 and I was hugely pregnant with my oldest girl, The Human Crash Test Dummy.

After THCTD was born (in April), I spent the summer and fall improving the house, building a door to the upstairs, taking down all the weird hooks one of the previous owners had put up everywhere and the hideous, cheap shelves another had.

Then winter arrived.

We discovered v. quickly one of the problems with owning an old house.  There is NO insulation underneath the floor, and the hall, which used to be the porch connecting the house and the detatched kitchen, had gaps between the boards that you could see down into. All of the windows and doors leaked; you could stand in the parlour and feel the wind when it blew outside - which is often.

So I spent the first winter tacking up plastic on the windows, and caulking, and weatherstripping.

My average monthly gas bill for heating was $450.

In subsequent winters I put up more plastic, hung heavy blankets or drapes over little-used windows, and this last summer, I finished installing curtains in front of ALL exterior doors (in the British fashion - you draw them aside when you want to use the door.)  Here's a v. fancy version:

Curtain over door, no drafts, save money, winterizing old house

My gas bill (and my electric bill in the summer) has dropped by over half but I didn't really realise the huge difference until this morning.  It's supposed to be 21 degrees tonight and it was right at 30 this morning, but when I walked into the kitchen it didn't feel any colder.  The heater no longer runs constantly (I have it set at 68) and the house is pretty comfortable all over if you have long sleeves on.

Winterizing, success!  (Finally!)

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Heroic mule!

This was just so weird I had to blog it: Lou the mule saves Tennessee woman from fire.

"Jolene Solomon [snip] had just finished eating supper on New Year's Day when Lou's braying and acting up got her attention.


Solomon, 63, who lived alone, stepped outside, she saw her house was on fire. She called 911 and as she waited for firefighters, her home and everything in it burned to the ground.


She said her father bought Lou years ago to help her and her late sister, Blue, around the farm. It took Lou months to get over the loss of her sister.


Solomon said she has 'lost it all', but credits Lou with saving her life.


Jolene is staying with family members and plans to rebuild her home. The home was built by her grandfather and she had lived there all her life."

The mule is clearly quite elderly.  I'm so sorry this woman lost her home but I'm glad she and the old mule are alright.  Did you catch the name of her sister, the original owner of the mule?

"Blue"

Monday, December 29, 2008

No such thing as a sentimental farmer?

Whew, it's musty in here!

*dusts off blog*

Yep, it's been a bit since I blogged over here.  The farm has sort of taken a back seat to my other business: funny t-shirts over at Evil Genius Tees.  I make more money for the effort with my business than with my farm, which saddens me.

So, it's 1:30 a.m., I can't sleep, and this is sort of a venting post.

With the drought causing hay shortages, biofuel production driving the grain prices up, and then the economy sagging, well, let me tell you, being a small farmer has started to get really hard.

Feed is $7= per bag, hay is a staggering $5-$6+ per bale.  My truck is broken as well as my tractor and I can't afford to get either fixed. Without the tractor, I can't sow grass seed, and with out the truck I can only get hay in my small trailer - 12 bales at a time.

And so on and so forth. Whine, whine, whine.

Well, we cut all the fowl (including my beloved geese) plus the sheep flock / goat herd  down to minimum (though I think I might be able to cull a few more sheep) and my latest hard decision is to get rid of the pigs.

And I'm having a surprisingly hard time with it.

Number one, I just like the pigs. Aside from being hard to keep in, they are easy to care for, breed, and sell.  They're super efficient waste disposal units, making use of all the household food waste as well as any barnyard refuse (including the occasional dead chicken) and they're personable.

Is it because my baby daughter, who is autistic, who is fixated with pigs, considers them 'her' pigs? Is it because our boar, who is as gentle as a lamb, was picked out and named by her?

You can't be sentimental and be a farmer.  They call those folks "hobbyists".  They name all of their animals, then get all weepy and expect the calves and pigs and chickens they produce to not ever, ever be butchered.  Farm animals are not pets.  If they're pets, then you're not farming.

The pigs consume a huge amount of feed that we can't afford right now.  The return is just not worth it.  We'll just keep a feeder pig from now on to process the food waste and put him in the freezer each year.  THAT will be a more efficient use of feed. 

I must look at the money aspect of it.  If I'm throwing money away keeping pigs, and that money would benefit my children, then the pigs need to go.  Surely Bitty Girl will understand one day.

Hey, perhaps when the money situation eases, we can get our notoriously dicey pig fencing fixed, build a proper stye and get breeding stock back.

We'll see.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Suburban Sucktards

Did y'all enjoy bodog's first ever post on the farm blog? I just read it and it made me lol. srsly.

But now back to business. Over on The Thriftymom Blog, I just blasted the National Letter Carrier's ASSociation for disallowing a mail man to wear a kilt.

Well, it appears that Stupid People In Charge hasn't reached it's zenith. Check it:


"HICKMAN, Neb. – Talk about your one-horse town. This burg of 1,084 residents is just that.
But some folks don't want that distinction. They want an aging horse named Peter Rabbit, who lives in a pasture in town, gone for good.
Other folks say the horse should stay, despite an ordinance that bans livestock inside city limits.
"I feel bad for the poor horse. He's probably going to die soon anyway," said Jamie Cox, who manages the town bar, Sadie's Place. "As long as he's being taken care of, they should leave him alone."
Hickman, once a sleepy farm town, has become a bedroom community for the capital city of Lincoln and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Nebraska.
With houses having sprung up around Peter Rabbit's pasture, Mayor Jim Hrouda and five of the six City Council members are determined to enforce the livestock ban. Shortly after a council meeting Tuesday, the horse's owner, 76-year-old Harley Scott, was served an eviction notice that orders the animal off the land.
Scott said he has no intention of complying with the Sept. 15 deadline. He faces the prospect of being fined up to $100 a day if he's convicted of violating the ordinance."


Narrow minded idiots and upscale gits!

Please tell me why one elderly animal can't be grandfathered in at this point?

Oh, wait ... it's because it's a yucky horse, right? Horses should only be white, flying through the air, and on telly.

Never mind that your bloody thousand dollar pedigreed dogs cover your house in dander and dog hair and poop quart-sized loads all over the yards, that horse must go! He doesn't match the suburban mailboxes that the housing committee requires being a certain colour, a certain height, a certain style, and landscaped around accordingly.

Besides, all that pasture could be covered with MORE hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars McMansions so you could have neighbours on the other side who can look right in your upstairs windows!

Gosh, wanna bet that horrible old Harley Scott has a clothesline up in his backyard?! *GASP*

Get the pitchforks and torches!

Yeah, yeah, I know that much of what I just wrote might not be true, but I'd bet you a $13 bag of feed that most of it is.

But no matter what, it's a stupid, senseless waste of time and an example of folks caring too much about appearences at the expense of personal liberty and that old horse's well being.

Jim Hrouda and the City Council members (and like-minded residents) of Hickman, Nebraska?

FAIL!

Get lives and quit meddling in the business of folks who aren't harming anything or anyone.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farming is NOT for the Weak of Heart

An old, proud house stands lookout over a gravelly road it has watched for 140 Years. A tranquility surrounds the quaint house.


The Burrow. An Idyllic Scene of Simple Living.
A dog barks intermitently in the distance at a random squirrel, or perhaps a fox scurrying by. Birds chirp happily, diving and looping playfully over your head. Surely a simple scene of serenity.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!


The Burrow After a Bloodcurdling Scream Pierces the Calm.

The scene changes instantly with a bloodcurdling scream coming from the back. You run toward the sounds conflicted with feelings of fear and concern. As you round the back, you see fencing holding in a flock of goats and sheep. In the fence around a swarm of ungulates is a man being battered to his knees by a rampaging ram.

The Prodigious Horns of This Ram Took Down an Able Farmer. It's OK Though...The Farmer Got Back Up.Ok, there's some exaggeration in that tale. It wasn't a bloodcurdling scream, but I did let out a mid-level, alarmed, "Ahh!" And the ram in question wasn't rampaging. He was ravenous, I had just dumped feed, and his prodigious horns happened to snag my calf.

But if you run an animal farm, you know, and if you are thinking about it, you need to know...It can be treacherous business.



This person with the Llama Troopers knows...




and the guys behind this New Zealand movie, Black Sheep know...





And this shirt knows...

Funny take on an old idea just for goat lovers! (Upside down) If you can read this, please get me up and help me catch my goats! Complete with cute, messy, goat hoof prints on the back.











It's dangerous business...BEWARE!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nice ride(s)!

We have a new Dodge Ram Van! And a pony!

Happy dance!


Here are the pony pics (the van is still at the mechanic's getting checked out):


Izzy (our pony-in-residence) on the right, and Bucky, the new addition, on the left. Check out the punky hair-do.



They seem to be gettin on well ... after a few days of adjustment.


The first day Izzy, who is an intact stud, was hopeful that Bucky was a mare (he's not, he's a gelding), so he leaped about, singing shrill lovesongs at him, and generally being obnoxious. Bucky pretty much ignored him.


Day two, he decided that Bucky must be a stallion as well, so he leaped about, screaming challenges periodically, and generally being obnoxious.


Bucky ignored this as well.


Izzy has decided that if he wants Bucky as a friend, he'd better relax.



New van pics coming v. soon! I promise!


Abe got a pony, too:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sink, or swim

Just wanted to share our latest 'project' (read scramble-to-repair job) here at The Burrow.

So. The faucet at the kitchen sink has been leaking for a while. It leaked into the sink and only when I ran the water, so i kept putting off replacing it.

Then one day, about mid afternoon, after washing the morning dishes (after breakfast) and doing various things at the kitchen sink that involve water (all day) I step up to the sink and realise that the rug is wet.

No ... it's soaking.

I open the cupboard under the sink (which I rarely open as I have little-used things stored there) and ... EEEeeeeeEEeeeewwwww!

It's a wet, moldy quagmire under my kitchen sink. I have a leak - a BIG one - in an outgoing pipe and the plumbing under there is my age.

Great.

Well, there was nothing for it. All that old crap had to go (a lot of it was metal pipe) and the water damage had to be assessed. Here's the sink after I ripped all the plumbing out:



YUCK!

May as well replace that leaky faucet if I'm dropping a bloody great wodge of cash at the Lowe's.

Old faucet:


OoooOOOoooohh, new faucet. Shiney!


Note mixing bowls-as-temporary-dishpans and the nasty sink. Bleh! It was horrible.

We hit a snag when we realised that the actual leaking pipe was the old metal one that went down under the house. How do we get to it?

Through this:


Yes, it's as small as it looks and about an 18 foot crawl up under the house. Evil Genius Husband manfully volunteered to do the crawling. Here is the vid of him under the house:





Here he is afterwards

Teh sexxorz!!111!11!


And here is the finished plumbing and my wee assistant:











Wednesday, January 02, 2008

So that's why they call 'em MINIvans

Well the era of the HMS Behemoth is over.



My full sized Dodge Ram Van up and died on me over the holidays - the transmission went out on xmas day.



I figure the cost of getting a new one (plus the labour involved, since I'd be getting it out of a junked van) and having it installed outweighs the actual value of the van. *sad face*



So the holidays, which are stressful enough, involved also The Dance Of Switching Cars.



I hauled my old Mercury Villager minivan out of the woods, tinkered with it, checked the fluids, refilled the flat tyres, switched the tags and insurance to it from the Dodge, and am driving it with my fingers crossed.



Blimey, but now I know why they call them minians ...



See, I'd never driven a fullsized van prior to owning the Merc. It was like driving a car.



Then I got the Dodge. It was like driving a house.



Seriously.



The entire family fit in it easily; you actually had to climb up in it and walk back to the back to get the kids in their carseats. If you wanted to turn on the heat or play a CD, you had to hold the wheel with one hand and lean way over just to reach.



Windscreen fogged up? Too bad. I actually had to pull over, unbuckle my seatbelt and stand up to clean the glass.



It would hold all of us, two weeks worth of groceries, AND 7 bags (350lbs) of feed. And everyone could still get in and out.



Needless to say, my next family vehicle will either be another full-sized van or a Suburban.



I want one of these:





Kelly blue books lists the price of a 1991 Suburban in good condition with 100k miles at about $2500.



*sigh*

Below: EGH's nigh indestructible Toyota Camry, the outgoing Dodge, the incoming Merc.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Speaking of El Chupacabra

I just had to show off two more of my chupacabra t-shirts:


That second one makes me laugh every time!


I wonder if anyone has done a Squidoo lens on the Mexican goatsucker urban legend? Hmmmm.


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Saturday, September 01, 2007

And I thought *I* had predators

Ewww! Check it.

So, d'ya believe in El Chupacabra?

I vow never to complain about the stray opossum or raccoon again, LOL!


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Soppy animal post with insect murder!

OK, this is totally not farm stuff, but it's animal stuff, so I'm posting it, by golly!

Did you read this?

(Yes, by the way, I AM having a super news posting thingy here of late. I think it's due to my new blog which I *whispers* haven't 'unveiled' yet, so don't tell anybody. Shhhh.)

ANYway, they got the dog back! I was terrified that those effing drug bastards who nicked him would do something horrible to him, but he must have been too valuable. I'm seriously glad that this dog I don't even know is OK. How lame is that?

Oh, and I just gotta say this somewhere (gee, Blue you have, like, TEN FREAKIN BLOGS NOW! nowhere to say it? Are you joking?!) so I'll say it here, since it's animal related (kinda) and reading Dawn's blog entry today made me think of it again ...

My oldest baby is now in kindergarten and when I go to pick him up the wee ones are all sitting quietly under the covered walkway, waiting to be picked up. So, I jump out to load up my Boy and as I take his hand, an ant cow* scuttles by between us on the sidewalk. Now, these things are big and they do sting, but my nature and my faith suggest that we not destroy a living thing just because we can, especially if it's off minding it's own business, and not out to harm us in any way.

Well, I intended to herd the ant cow safely off the walk after I helped Boy up into the van but one of the teachers, with a dramatic exclamation, rushed over and stomped on the thing. Right there in front of the line of kindergartners. Way to go, teach. Good lesson. It's non aggressive, non-poisonous, and a good 3 feet away, heading in the opposite direction, and you run it down and stamp it into goo in front of the kids.

I hope she wasn't one of the science teachers.

( This is what *I* was taught to call them and is probably a typical result of my mother's 'evolving' speech. She will hear a word or phrase, mis-repeat it, and forever pronounce/say it that way even if corrected. In fact, correcting her only makes her angry and more stubborn. Her brain manufactures Mondegreens from everyday speech and i aquired quite a few that caused me embarrasment as an adult. Her 'ant cows' are actually Velvet Ants or Cow Killer Ants [dasymutilla occidentalis] and aren't ants at all but wasps.)

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Dry as a chip

Just a quick update from Cool Shade!


We got back from the beach safely, it still hasen't rained here. No one has hay. The large round bales are non-existant so I'm reduced to scavenging square bales:



Unfortunately, this is 1) more expensive, 2) more labour intensive, and 3) I'm allergic to hay. If I handle it much, I break out in hives wherever it's touched me, and I get horribly congested, my eyes swell, and it triggers my asthma.


Ugh!


Worst news is that Evil Genius Husband stepped on an enormous nail and has just now been able to resume helping with the chores. Poor lamb hobbled about in pain for days and I had to open the wound up every day and drain the yuck out of it. (Ewww!)

So that means that I was solely responsible for all chores (and getting hay!)


Did I say, UGH?


Our new pup is doing great though:


He's getting huge and is quite naughty. He fits in perfectly around here.
Yes, that's my ugly foot he's licking.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

The NEW post

So, you say, gosh it's been a while since Blue posted ... has the farm been in stasis?

Nope. I've just been wicked busy with the family and the stores and all.

So, since you've been so patient, I'll recap in pictures:

The Ford (truck) broke. I sussed out an electrical problem after removing a large portion of said electrical system and discovering that Fords (of this type) have no solenoid on the starter! Bizarre! If a Ford-driving mate of mine hadn't told me where to find the solenoid I've been flummoxed. Here's a pic of both:



It was NOT fun removing that heavy-arsed starter in the boiling heat and bugs and humidity. *angry face*

My OTHER Ford runs like a striped ape (when it's not broken); my new tractor the 8N:



I adore this little beast. Yeah it's old. Yeah it doesn't have a whole lot of heft, but it does what i want and it cranks up every time and it has ... personality. Incidentally the dig about it not running is sincere. It ALSO had an electrical problem and the pic is of it going back to the tractor place to be looked at. (Turned out to be the coil) That's my new trailer, BTW.

Off the topic of spending money, I found this cool item in the dump (cat not included):

Not an antique or anything but a nice sturdy chair that matches my decor (and my cat).

More free new stuff ... Baby pigs!


That's Bunty with her lot. Ginger had hers a few days later. They're about 6 weeks old now. I'll update with new photos soon. They're all fat and active now.

Here's Daddy Green in his new bachelor pad (turned out to be totally unnecessary. The babies squeeze into his pen and eat right out of his dish and he doesn't mind a bit.):


More newness. Our new Farm Dog, Roy, with his adoring human sisters. He's an Aussie although I have my doubts as to his purebloodedness (is that a word?) His dad is a friend of mine's working dog and is clearly a pureblood and is a good working animal. His mum came from a 'breeder' and she has these really short legs and upright ears making me think that she has some Welsh Corgi lurking in her background.


I guess we'll see. I'm totally unconcerned with looks or breeding. I need a working dog and he's keen as mustard so far (hard to really gauge as he's only 6 weeks old). I 'll keep you informed.

Here's another new addition, our new farm sign:

How cool is that?! I got a bloke named John over at Plasma Designs in Newberry SC to do it up for me. It's laser-cut, powder-coated steel. Barring it being stolen, this sign will outlast me.

(Yeah, I know it's crooked. I was lining it up with the ground, but the whole mailbox leans and so it looks crooked as hell. I'm going to go back out and adjust it. EGH says it adds 'rustic charm'.)

PS: In case you don't read my Mommy Blog, take a look at my new site for my snarky t-shirts for women, and my new page for my Pirate stuff! Teacher tees coming soon as well as all my goat-related and rural items.


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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

So, yeah ... snakes.

I've been out working on the turkey pen all day and clearing the area where I'm putting the horse* barn**.

I went in to check my email and popped back out to put up the gate on the cage before Evil Genius Husband had to go get the comics. As I'm passing by the pigeon pen guess what i saw?


Snake #2! A bit bigger, a bit longer, and definitely not happy about being caught.

He also had a big wide head. Handsome fellow!


No problem. Two days. Two snakes. It happens.

So I dropped him in a pillowcase (after showing him to the babies - who loved it) and toted him back up to the shed to await relocation. I stepped into my shop, part of which is the interior of the pigeon pen (where they roost and nest), and I damned near stepped on another snake!

I kid you not.

This bloke was at least a foot or so longer than #2 and v. v. unhappy about being nabbed. I had the bagged snake in one hand (hadn't tied the pillowcase yet!) and the big honker by the tail with the other. I tried dropping #3 into an empty 33 gallon trashcan. He just reached right up and slithered out.

Finally I tried holding #2's bag closed with my knee and grabbing #3 behind the head. He was bloody quick to disagree with my proposal:


Finally I just walked back down to the house and in the back door holding #3 by the tail (with my arm all the way over my head - he was that long) and yelling for another pillowcase.

Here's EGH, professional snake bagger:

So how was your day?

-----

* It's a maddening wee pony.
** It's a wee shed for a maddening wee pony.


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Speaking of snakes ...

I found this wee lady (?) coiled up in a nest box in my hen house:




Isn't she lovely? Alas, we were forced to relocate her (we take them to a huge, uninhabited tract of land down the road) since she was clearly small enough to get in through chicken wire.

I had noticed my eggs going missing for a few days but wasn't thinking about it when I reached in to check the nest. I touched her right on the top of her head and she flinched and startled the crap outta me, LOL.

-----

In other news, I spoke with my fence bloke about coming up and getting the side fence done. This one will go below the pasture and will complete the 'total surround' that I'm looking for. When it's done, all the animal pens will be within a perimetre fence. (Ohh, that sounds like a real isolationist compound, eh? I'm not a Libertarian fer nuthin', ROTFL! Now to go stock up on bottled water and ammo ...)

Anyway, I'll need 2 rolls of field fencing, and I think 3 gates, which will run me about $400. (Not counting what I have to pay the bloke to actually put up the fence!)

Argh.

Ahh, well, I can take it off my taxes.


-----


Speaking of money, my latest obsession is aquiring a trailer. I've finally figured out what I'm going to do!


I originally wanted a 12-16 foot flatbed to haul hay and junk on. Every time I come across something like lumber or tin or really big rabbit cages, I'm dead in the water because I can't haul them (usually). Ditto for hay.


When my hay guy ran out this year, I was forced to buy locally and go get one bale at a time (These are the big 4x5 foot round bales. They weigh about 1200lbs.) on the back of the truck. If I had a heavy duty trailer, I could get two. If I had a long heavy duty trailer I could get three.


With petrol as high as it is now, this one-bale-at-a-time crap is for the birds!


So, I got to thinking: I need a tractor. I've been working very hard in my stores to that end. I'm hoping to be able to get one by the holidays.




If I get a tractor, I'll need a trailer to haul it on.


*Lightbulb goes on*


IF I play my cards right and get the right trailer, I'll be able to haul my tractor, a car, junk, OR hay!


So that's my latest obsession. Find. Perfect. Trailer!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Storm clouds, snakes, and eggs

I think we might finally get some rain today!

Tropical storm Barry is sprinkling on Florida as we speak so maybe we'll get some of that up here. I hope so, I need hay!

My garden would sure appreciate it as well:




And here's a little souvenir we found in the rafters of the shed:


Just for comparison purposes, Boy is 42 inches tall. I have actually seen the fine fellow whose discarded attire this is (a Chicken Snake, properly called a Black Rat Snake). A VERY interesting story. I'll tell it to you sometime soon.

Apologies to any of you herpephobes (is that the correct term?), or old-timey country folks, but I don't kill snakes. I freakin' hate rats and mice. Loathe 'em. Anything that eats them is my bestest buddy! Since this bloke is too big to get in my pens and eat my biddies, then he gets to be a permanent fixture.

Speaking of dibs, my eggs in the incubator hatched! I was convinced that they had been damaged by that temp spike, but a few made it through. I got over half hatched and in the brooder. I'll get you pics later.

Chicks are so cute. I seriously need to make some shirts for us poultry lovers. I have a whole section devoted to rural living but most of it is goat stuff (with some pro dumpster diving items as well, natch!) If you're a chicken fancier, what would YOU wear on a T-shirt?


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Excesses and shortages


Not much to report here. Got rid of the last of my culls (except three v. small bucklings who will go to the sale) and made a cool $200 in doing so.
I've run out of hay, found a local bloke with oat hay, and finagled a few round bales from him. He's a really nice chap but no one has any hay. Everybody in the state is desperate for hay and a few shysters are selling the oat hay for upwards of $35 a round bale.
First the frost knocked it (the coastal hay) back, then, since then, we've had no rain. It's dry as a chip and folks are having a hard time getting even the oat hay baled.
Feed is also sky high around here - a 50lb bag of whole corn is over $7 - so I've bitten the bullet and started buying our feed by the ton. I get a 10% discount when I do.
This is a small portion of the junk part of the sale.
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The guineas and turkey poults are doing well; I mysteriously lost two of the sex-links who are in with the turkeys, though.
The eggs I put in the incubator are a bust, I think. I have the incubator set up in the pump house and the temp has being staying pretty constant. Then, one day this week-end I went out and the temp was up at 105 which, I'm pretty sure, scrubbed the hatch. I'm letting them stay in for the whole 21 days, just in case, but I have no hopes of any hatchlings.
I think I am going to just have to set the thing up in the house (which I don't want to do) because it's the only place that stays a reasonably constant temp.
What I don't understand is why it jumped. It wasn't even a hot day. It's been staying even from the chilly night to the middle-of-the-day heat. It's a head scratcher, that.
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On the home front I got the dubious honour and distinct (lack of) pleasure of replacing the wax ring on our upstairs toilet. It was leaking into the subflooring and dripping into the downstairs hall. One word on the swap and the leakage:
*GAG!*
I did manage to blister myself removing and replacing all the screws with a hand screwdriver:
I need a damned cordless power screwdriver/drill BADLY.

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