Other stuff about the farm and your's truly!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The winds of time are blowing...

And with them come change...

Two weeks ago I sold our meat rabbits (1 buck, 2 does).  Sometime this week 20 some-odd hens and a couple roosters will be moving to a new home.  We'll keep about 12 hens and rooster for our eggs. 
We made the decision that this is our last year raising hogs (we currently have 4, 1 for us, 1 a friend is raising and we are selling 2).  We will keep raising bottle babies (while looking for a miniature beef heifer or two that we will partner with a local vet on).  Two, the ewe who had the C-section and her goat buddy, Iam, will stay with us forever.  We are adding bees (we bought two hives

What's happening?  I'm tired... It's not fun anymore to worry about if I have enough eggs to meet the pre-paid orders.  Even feeding the rabbits was too much work.  My job with 4-H is wonderful, but at the end of the day I'm ready to relax, maybe cook a good dinner and do some sewing.  My dream of a simpler, self-sufficient lifestyle was drifting away.  We couldn't go anywhere for more than a day or so, because we had so many animals to care for that we had a hard time finding someone trustworthy.  I wasn't sure if I was reacting from just having to travel a bunch for work, stress from not getting much done at home or what. I tend to wear myself out and hit bottom.  When I do, I often make split-second decisions that I later regret.  This time, it feels right.  I am looking forward to being able to help others live simpler, instead of having to spend my time making sure that there are enough eggs to sell, that the chicks who got out of the coop get back in, making sure the solar panel for the pig's hotwire is on, etc.

Maybe I'll even get the chance to do some of the writing I've been wanting to do.  A few months back I sold an article to Backwoods Home that was published on-line.  I have a few more brewing in my head and my fingers are itching to get started.  I'm also going to work more regularly on the farm/business website, www.hopejoyandfaithfarm.com.  The blog will be moving over to that in a few months.

Thanks for letting me ramble on and for listening...

Wishing you a week filled with hope, joy and faith.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My blog has moved! Please join me

I finally got an official website for the farm and home business.  It's still in progress, but since it came with a blog page, I've decided to focus on posting there.

The address is http://www.hopejoyandfaithfarm.com/#!blog/c2e6

Please join me. The farm is also on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hopejoyandfaithfarm?ref=hl

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Change, like death, is inevitable!

I used to fear change.  Back when I was still drinking to squash my feelings, change was a big one.  If something changed, I couldn't control it.  After I quit drinking, I needed my routine and change wasn't allowed.

Nowadays, I embrace change.  Life is meant to be lived and changes are a part of life.

One of the upcoming changes is that I have decided that this is the last year lambs will be born on the farm.  After Lyndsey graduated, we thinned the flock of 4 ewes down to 2 and sent the ram to live with our shearer.  I was already fearful of this years lambing.  Last year, I had to assist each birth, pulling lambs that were stuck. Then Stacie, my favorite old girl, died, probably of milk fever, when her lamb was 5 days old.  The feeling of responsibility weighed heavy on me.  This year started out badly, since Two had to have a c-section. The babies and Two are both doing good, but it was very emotional for me.

A few days later, I was called to go help with the ewe that Lyndsey had donated to one of our 4-H members.  She had delivered two lambs, but seemed unable to stand, though she was calling for her babies.  An hour after I got there, I noticed, to my horror, another lamb being born.  I quickly pulled it and worked to get it breathing. Luckily, my experience with the lambs born during the c-section had prepared me for it, so I swung the baby by it's back legs and rubbed it roughly.  It started breathing. The ewe still wasn't doing well, so I called my friend, the shearer for advice.  I checked for another lamb (thank goodness there wasn't).  We gave her some banamine for pain and penicillin to cut the risk of infection.  She was eating and drinking but still wouldn't (or couldn't) stand.  The babies were given powdered colostrum.  I really didn't know what else to do.  The next day the family built a "sling" and got momma up. The babies were able to nurse and today the vet made a visit. She diagnosed either toxemia or milk fever and after a couple of shots of Dextrose, B-12 and electrolytes, she's at least standing on her own.  She's not out of the woods yet, but I'm saying a prayer that she survives.

That leaves me with one ewe, Sydney, left to lamb.  She got bloat really bad at the start of breeding last year, so it will be a month or more before she delivers.  I am keeping fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.  When Lyndsey first started her Suffolk breeding flock 5 years ago, the excitement of the nighttime checks, the deliveries and getting weak lambs healthy was amazing.  Now, I'm finding I have lost my enthusiasm.  Maybe it's because Lyndsey isn't home to share the miracle with, maybe it's because the realization that I am responsible for these lives is weighing on me or maybe it's because a full time job with often longer hours means I have less time to devote to our flock has taken the fun out of it. I don't know for sure, but I am pretty sure that I am done with babies being born on the farm.  That doesn't mean I won't raise bottle lambs or calves, or have baby chicks hatching out.  It just means that I will allow myself to let time make the changes that need made.  Two (the ewe that had the c-section) will spend the rest of her days here on the farm with a companion of some kind.  Sydney, after she's had her babies and weaned them, will go to a 4-H home with youngsters and parents who will be excited and energetic about lambing.

It's more change in a year full of change (new career, Lyndsey going to college, etc.) and I find it almost a relief to accept it.  I will still be a farmer, with chickens and a large production garden, bottle calves and the occasional rescue animal.  Life is good!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lambing out of the normal! I don't know if I can keep doing this.

If you've ever had pregnant livestock, you know that every delivery is different.  This year after 5 years of having lambs born on the property, I took it to a whole new level.




Rectal hernia, followed by beginning prolapse of the uterus.  I had a vet appointment, my shearer came by and said "this isn't gonna wait".  We loaded Thing Two (aka Tuba) into her truck and off we went.


Prep!


The new vet tech was so excited to be a part of it.  She has a beautiful smile.


Dr. John was trying to put a scalpel in the handle and it slipped.

I stopped taking pictures of the surgery at this point.

That's me, in the background in my purple mucks and pink sweatshirt, asking questions re: the ewe and milk production. The lamb in this picture, named Dr. Seuss by the vet techs weighed 13 lbs. 


This is Horton, tipping the scales at 15 lbs.  The vet and my shearer worked really hard to get his breathing started. 


Home safe and sound, 2 bottles of colostrum and 2 of goats milk, momma's milk came in and everyone is happy, except for me, because I'm not sure how I'm going to pay the vet bill.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new!

I don't know what it is about the year's end, but I feel revitalized, like I can run a marathon! Okay, maybe a half-marathon! Gosh darn it, I will walk to the end of the road.

Anyhow, this New Years Eve, 2014, has been spent eating pizza with the daughters, son-in-law, grandbaby and a lil' one we're babysitting.  Then, watching TV, not the comedy movies we got, because hubby groused about it.  He's being a grump because Lyndsey is leaving for college on Saturday and he is pouting.  Oh well, his mood won't bring my desire for a fresh start to a halt.

We are starting 2015 off with a bang, for the very first time, we are butchering roosters on Saturday.  We did one turkey earlier, but we have 9 young roo's who are eating too much and being too "amorous".  We have a couple of friends coming to help and I must admit, I'm pretty excited.  I'll be letting them rest in the refrigerator overnight and then canning them the next day.  Our freezers are full with a steer, a hog and 3 deer, I'm scared to death something is going to happen and we'll lose all that meat.  Lambs are due soon, we did thin the flock, so we only have two ewes on the farm.  Hoping for easy labors with no pulling involved.

Tomorrow we will finally take down the tree (Lyndsey begged for it to be left up, normally I'm a "day after Christmas" girl).  Then we'll be going with friends to pick up trash at one of the pioneer cemeteries.  A lot of my relatives are buried there, so it'll be fun to show them the headstones and tell the history that I know.  John Silveira (from Backwoods Home fame-I hobnob with the best of them) will be coming with his camera, with his permission I'll share some of the headstone photos. Then we'll stop for cocoa with everyone.  Home to a relaxing afternoon of whatever we want to do, followed by dinner of salami, cheeses, etc.  I had today through Sunday off, so it's a mini vacation.

Hope you all have a wonderful evening and day, no matter how or if you celebrate.

Here's what else that's been happening!

I finally got muck boots! Bright purple, not really what I wanted, but my tiny feet (size 6 is a little big, but it's what I got) are hard to "shoe". I got them today and wore them outside.  It's only 38 here, cold for us, but my legs and feet were warm.


I bought a special birthday gift for a good friend.  I had found her a couple healthy, free dairy goats.  Whoops, turns out one is pregnant, so I figured she might be needing a bander for those little testicles.  I'm about practical gifts, you know...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Holidays and memories!

It's been an interesting holiday season for me... I was really ahead of the game, had the gift baskets for co-workers and friends done way ahead of time, filled with homemade cocoa, chocolate dipped spoons, jars of local honey from a friends hive, homemade soap, etc.   I also was done with stocking stuffers and gifts for the girls and their respective better halves, as well as the hubby and grandson.  I never am that efficient, so it was a wonderfully relaxing holiday season.  Making a conscious decision to do less for gifts helped also.

However, I seem to be having flashbacks or "triggers" that are really getting to me.  As most of you know, I'm a recovering alcoholic.  My mom is getting older, but her behavior is really starting to affect me.  I'm seeing things very clearly, and find myself getting angry with her (internally, if I spoke my thoughts aloud, she'd never speak to me again).  On Thanksgiving, she'd had a bit to drink (not unusual for her, though my dad was the main alcoholic).  As she leaned over me to complain about something (again, not unusual) and the alcohol scent and her words sunk in, it was all I could do to not start screaming "Why are you always drunk on holidays? And why do you have to complain about everything?" Then again on Christmas, after a wonderful morning at home, we had problems with the brother-in-law and then my mom was at it again, disciplining my step-brother's son.  I ended up spending the night on the couch crying my eyes out.  Today I feel hungover (and I don't even drink). Steve doesn't quite know what to do when I am trying to explain what's happening in my mind.  Anyhow, my mom and stepdad are leaving in a day or two for Arizona, so maybe I can work out what's happening w/ my memories.  I will come out stronger in the end, it's just frustrating that at 15 years sober I am all of a sudden getting glimpses of what caused some of my issues.

But, here's some pictures from a really great holiday season...

We have dinner every Monday with some wonderful friends, all younger than us (and I'm only 51).  They are better than family in a lot of ways.

My middle daughter, Michelle, sells art.  This is Santa's Magic Key.

Muck boots from Santa (thank you to my hubby).  I did have to order a smaller size and can't wait til they get here.

My son-in-law made this beautiful usable art (it's to hang game animals on to skin and age).

Lyndsey, home from Oregon State University, myself and Steve.


Austin (he has a devilish look on his face) and Grammy (my mom).

Lyndsey got Steve and I VIP tickets to a great country music festival only 30 miles from home.  But we'll be camping there, first vacation in a long time.  

Lyndsey asleep on Grammy's couch.  She's got to take some time to catch up with that busy college life.

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Changes to the livestock status quo!

I got to doing some serious thinking (yep, it's that scary) and came to some conclusions.  I love our Suffolk sheep flock, but the reality is that with Lyndsey off to college and out of 4-H, the money that she made with her sheep at fair won't be there (this year she made $3500 between auction, premiums and side sales).  I spend about $300 a month for feed for the flock.  The write off on taxes is probably only about $1000, so it definitely doesn't add up.  I decided to keep Two and Sydney, our two long-timers. They are bred and due in January, I'll advertise the lambs at weaning.  Mojo the ram will be going to live with our shearer. I will go pick him up in August and bring him home to breed the two ewes and local 4-H member ewes.  She isn't buying him, it's a gift from me to her, and she'll shear our girls for free.  I sold one of the young ewes (who is pregnant) and have the other up for sale.  That'll bring it down to only 2 sheep to feed, making my budget breath a little easier.

I also finally talked to Steve about the turkeys.  He was seeing heritage turkeys posted for $75 for a breeding pair and thought we could make some money.  About 1 1/2 years ago we bought 8 heritage turkey chicks, lost one and ended up with 2 toms and 5 hens.  They started laying (and setting) this spring.  I learned after letting one of them stay on her eggs and hatch them that turkey mom's aren't the best.  We lost 5 chicks in 1 day.  So, we incubated hatched and sold babies, from 2 days old to 12 weeks old.  We practically gave the 12 week ones away for $10.  The amount of feed they ate daily was adding up.  And turkeys aren't like chickens.  They don't lay at all during fall or winter or early spring.  So, the older turkeys were just going to hang around, eat a ton and pick on my laying hens.  We are in the process of selling them (down to 3, which are sold but won't be gone for a week).  I sold a tom and 2 hens for $80.  Ouch! Oh well, lesson learned and soon, less feed bought.

We are going to save the money to put into brand new beehives and bees. I'm going to do a lot of research first though. We'll see how that experiment goes!

Change used to scare me, but now I realize that lightening the load is actually a relief.

And, just for a smile, don't you all agree that I have the cutest little "grand-bear" ever!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just some pictures!

 Did I already show you this picture of Lyndsey, our auctioneer and the young man she awarded her best breeding ewe to at the Auction.  The young guy was speechless and Lyndsey was just so happy to see his reaction.

Lyndsey and one of her friends at her very first college football games.  Lyndsey doesn't really care for football, but she got good seats in the second row at the 20 yard line and had a ball. Go Beavs!


Austin is now almost 8 months old (how'd that happen?). He really liked the opportunity to chew onapples when we were picking this summer.

Bella has decided that this space is now hers.  She pushed the step-stool I had stored there for kids to sit on out of the shelf and climbed in.

I was able to participate in one farmers market this year.  Here's a picture of a few of the pumpkins, apples and squash we harvested.

And since Halloween is getting close, here's my cat Shadow, in another alcove.  You should have heard me scream when I reached in the basket to get a blanket and encountered a warm, breathing thing!