Wednesday, July 30, 2008

i am the pater familias

things have been overwhelming to say the least. luckily i'll have three weeks off from work.

i took the kids to the creek today--not that i had the energy. tabitha needed a break "can i hold the baby?" is spoken by kassi about a thousand times per day. the kids love the creek toly was ready to go home when it was time. he said home, home, home over and over the entire drive home. i imagine he was hoping that rome wouldn't be there when we arrived. toly has kissed rome's little hand and will surely love him. these are tough times for the next little while.

last night after rome was born, kassi sang an ode to him. it was magical i wish i would have recorded it. she sand his name over and over while interjecting little baby activities and how much we love him. on the way home from the creek kassi said "i miss rome." she turly dotes on him and begs to do anything for him.

thanks everyone for your well wishes we feel incredibly blessed.

romneya martin grey o'melay
re-weighed using accurate scale and duplicate methodologies
seven pounds eleven ounces

he is happy healthy and on the boob all the time. several pees (big ones) and a huge poo. for you parents out there know these are all good things.

toly is not taking things very well yet. neither kassi or tristan are even slightly threatened like toly is. he loves his daddy and i am taking up the slack since mommy cannot give him the attention that he is demanding right now. i love it this has happened with all the kids and always strengthens my bond with each child respectively. too bad rome will miss that. i'll have to make up for it in other ways.

i'll link to tabitha's birth story from here since she doesn't blog anymore but will likely write a birth story sometime soon. the kids deserve it and will be able to see what we were like when they were being born.

finally some photos

the obligatory gooey baby

tired mama

the kids true love rome

proud daddy

big sister dotes on rome

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


8:45 pm july 29th
3.5 hrs of labor

rural missouri law

i had a comment regarding killing the other dog that pushed my buttons.
    "Yes, you are protecting your farm and family. You are also demonstrating that it is ok to destroy others "property." Too bad something couldn't have been worked out in a peaceful manner. Where these dogs strays? or someone elses pets?
    I am sorry for the loss of your chickens.
    Peace to you.

i spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the example i set for my children. of course i am demonstrating that it is alright to kill other peoples property. it is well within missouri law for me to kill any animal that is merely threatening my livestock let alone killing over half of them--for sport i might add. are they pets or strays? does it matter? they were threatening the wellbeing of my family. as assuredly as they would if they were attacking them directly.

to take the concept to an extreme; do you think it is ok to shoot someone who has broken into your home and is trying to kill your children? i am one of those people that could arrive on that scene with a gun--i wouldn't hesitate to use it. most statistics suggest that a gun in that situation usually gets turned on the home owner.
since getting the gun i have killed one groundhog and four dogs. they were all threatening my family's livelihood.

while living in santa barbara, san diego, san francisco, cologne and kingston upon thames i'd never thought that i'd own a gun. i have concluded that living here owning a gun is a necessity. intimately knowing the perspective of purchasing-all-my-food i never thought i would be in a position to need to defend it with deadly force. in-fact the debate as to whether we should even get a gun was long and grueling--especially with myself.

why did that comment touch my nerve? probably because the long process by which i came to own a gun and the inner struggles that were overcame to be able to wield it. i would never kill for sport and appall the idea of it. i do think that displaying to my children that i am a man of will, discernment and character is of paramount importance.

we are teaching our children how to provide for themselves on as many levels as we are able. obviously during a confrontation diplomacy is always the first course of action and violence is always the last. there is no reasoning with a confirmed chicken killing dog. the dog owners, if there are any, obviously don't have the ability to contain them. therefore that point is mute.

mostly that statement makes me feel judged. i won't abide being judged. i choose to not judge others--on any level. therefore i demand to not be judged myself. everyone is allowed their perspective and i welcome you voice it here. although, if you choose to judge me then please take it to your own blog.

maybe that wasn't passing judgment. maybe i'm just hypersensitive. maybe i want all my reader to be a bunch of yes-men--not true btw. in-fact my best friend is assuredly upset by my killing any dog. he is a consummate dog lover and would probably never see a reason to kill a dog. his comment on the subject was;
    "Whereas I hate the idea of putting any dog down, whether it's because of the irresponsibility of the owner, or a mis fortunate accident, I do believe it's your right and responsibility to protect your family and livelihood (livestock). In Montana, it's perfectly legal to shoot a dog even for just harassing livestock. I'm pretty confident most rural areas have the same allowances.
    It's unfortunate because even the best dogs get excited around any animal. But, do what you gotta do"--btw, i fixed all your spelling mistakes matt;p

in fact i like my ideas to be challenged. i especially like being given correct information. that is the beauty of exchanging information. i'm not scared to stick my neck out there and display my soft underbelly on this blog. but, if i feel judged i will call-it-out and request clarification.

please don't let this post scare you from commenting i really like comments.

are there any readers who provide a significant portion of their food from their land disagree that defending their livelihood by killing a chicken-killing-dog is wrong?

one final point;
my father-in-law lost three almost finished hogs (a large financial investment) to one of the packs of dogs that terrorize this road. it is a confirmed problem in this area and must be dealt with gravely.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

twentyeight to the fourth power

614656 to 1

tristan, kassi and toly were all born on the dark of the moon. if rome decides to hold out until july 31/aug 1 his odds will be 614,656 to 1 that he was also born on the dark of the moon.

although, tabitha is ready today.

i finally slopped boca's pen out last night. she mostly did her business in the one end of her pen. i'd never heard of a cow being discriminating about where it goes.

pre-baby tension hangs thick in this house. one might think that the aroma of dehydrating onions would penetrate the tension. alas no, their pungent smell is only a subtle under current amidst the treacle of waiting for rome.

i butchered 16 chickens yesterday. only five more to go of the last batch of broilers. i have officially decided that we need a chicken plucker.

i could almost butcher chickens by myself if we had one. especially since i plan to solicit tristans help next year.

yesterday tristan helped peel onions again. his nimble little fingers are amazing. he started to race me and easily peeled onions faster than i could cut off the ends in his queue and slice them after he peeled them. i have been gradually showing him how to use a knife. so i let him cut his own onion ends off for peeling. imagine a five-year-old using a knife that i had earlier sharpened to butchering standards. i monitored him closely for good form and safety. he did wonderfully.

all the while he kept telling me how we are saving these for winter. so many lessons were learned and he was likely more helpful than many adults would be. he inspected each onion and removed any bad rings that were damaged during our storms. such a good boy.

just over half the onions are officially put up.
- 8 heavy braids over 8lbs each.
- 5 loads of 7 lbs each in the dehydrator
- 13 chickens queued for the freezer*

* i gave the thompsons three birds for shanes help in butchering.

Friday, July 25, 2008

the other dog

that other dog came back. i assume that the malamute is off somewhere dying or dead. my neighbor called and said "that little dog is out hunting your chickens this morning." i did not delay. grabbed my gun and headed out the the door. sure enough there he was. he was startled by me and headed for the road. he's obviously learned that the road is a safe zone. not today my little friend.

i listened for cars and looked both ways. as i raised my gun i thought "you have killed your last chicken." i blasted him as he trotted in defiance thinking he was safe. not today my little friend. we were getting twelve to fifteen eggs per day. now we only get three to five. our pullets should be laying in forty five days--albeit they did kill one of them too. i feel a little safer and more secure this morning.

the sad part is, i feel a little guilty since at the beginning of summer we clipped all the chickens wings to keep them out of the garden. this dramatically encumbered the ability to escape predators. sad. our dogs should be of a defensible age in about six weeks. for now i have to be vigilant and protect my family's food source.

on a happy note, we plan to go to the creek again this afternoon. i went to the dollar store and got each of the kids an inflatable water toy. they were such good kids yesterday they deserved them. toly was sad because i didn't arrive with one for him. he usually stays home with mom, so i didn't think that i wasn't being fair. we promptly hid the offending toys and things settled down.

tristan and i have been playing chess almost daily. i can see his gradual progression. he has started looking for consequences and threats in his moves. he gets mad when i don't make the retort move he would like. i keep explaining to him "i have free will and can do whatever i want. you should try to anticipate all of my possibilities." i am very proud. he is only five. he'll probably be beating me regularly in a couple of years. my strategy will be to really try when he beats me over and over. then i'll point out that i'm gonna read a chess strategy book. i hope that it will teach him if a person wants to better themselves all they have to do is read and research toward a goal. am i planning ahead too far? i have never read any chess book and have always wanted to. this will be a perfect excuse.

i picked a big bowl of tomatoes from the garden last night. we ate most of them in stuffed cabbage in fresh tomato sauce. it was delicious.

kassi predicited that rome will be born this morning. tabitha better get with it--only five and an half hours left.

toly has almost gone completely out of his mind with baby hormones from tabitha's breast milk. he has become a little addict. the pre-baby tension is pretty thick around here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

why is it?

why is it every time that i truly enjoy something it either gets discontinued, disappears like it never existed or jumps the shark? i guess all good things must come to an end. when we lived next to a trader joes they'd start stocking some really cool stuff and we'd get addicted. then it would happen. they'd promptly discontinue it. we took to buying the stuff we like in mass quantities. now we buy almost everything in bulk.

but i digress..

the blogoshpere is a lessor place this evening and i'm sad about it.

enough said.

back to our regularly scheduled program.

tristan and i prepared onions for the dehydrator.

notice the fan blowing the onions sulfuric gas away?

kassi, toly and tabitha

yes toly is wearing one of kassi's dresses.

what do you expect his dad wears a kilt.

this is tabitha's latest creation. 'The Summer Dress"

kassi's private journal.

no peeking...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

a little break

tabitha needs a break from the kids by the time i get home from work.

the kids love going to the creek. i piled rocks on either side of the water slide to divert extra water so i could go down it too. the creek is cool and refreshing. it zaps energy from the kids by just maintaining body temperature in the water.

we go to a place called Hulls Ford. it crosses swan creek at a slab crossing then promptly turns into a gravel road. we only spend around an hour there because that is enough. tabitha got a nap along with toly. i got cooled off and the kids had a blast. there are closer and better swimming holes to our house but they are all inaccessible because roads leading to them are under water.

we usually run into some other kids and play a bit but mostly hang together. tristan was jumping off a little rock into the water over at the deeper end. he usually gulps a bit of water but never panics. kassi panics when she gets her face splashed. she'll get over that.

rome is still mommy. i think he wants to wait until tristans birthday so he can ruin his birthday for the next ten or so years. it'll be his first act of aggression.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a little harvest and a little drama

i braided about forty pounds of onions. they are hanging in the same room with the garlic. tristan helped--mostly running interference between kassi and toly.
kassi and toly have been fighting like cats and dogs. toly is in her weight class and is probably stronger. kassi has agility and guile on her side. they both cry and wine when they get the lessor of the current bout. when i get after them they start hugging and laughing. tristan mostly stays out of the actual fights. he is several weight classes above them both.

i then cut up about five pounds of onions to go into the dehydrator--not the solar one. this is where tristans help really shined. his nimble little fingers peeling onions left and right. when they are done they'll only weigh a few ounces. they end up sweet like candy--toly loves them.

we had a couple of dogs hunt and kill several of our hens today. we are down to nine layers from eighteen. i am still so angry about it. when it all started i ran and grabbed my 12 gage pump shot gun and a few shells.

i put three shells in my pocket and held one in my hand. i walked around the farm and saw nothing. i threw the gun in the bed of my truck and drove to our neighbors. i asked if he saw anything. we chatted and i went home. i grabbed my gun and walked through the backyard. tabitha asked "where are you going?" i told her i was looking for those dogs. then i saw them. they froze i shoved my shell in the shotgun and it wouldn't load. i had to click the trigger first for some reason. by the time i had a loaded gun they were bolting toward the road. i raised the gun and trailed them. they were getting dangerously close to the road so i aimed low and shot for the larger dog.

he rolled into a ball and started yelping. the other dog (bull terrier) turned and ran back to his malamute buddy. it got up and hobbled away holding one leg off the ground. as they ran down the road it took every ounce of self control to keep me from shooting them both then and there. even if it weren't against the law shooting into the road is a really bad idea. most of the dead chickens were going to culled this fall but our pullets won't be laying until then and we'll be low on eggs all the rest of the summer.

the dogs were obviously stalking our farmstead all night because tabitha said that our dogs were barking the entire time. boca who is waiting to go to the sale barn has two injuries on her front legs probably from being scared by those two dogs. arrgh i wish i'd have gotten them both. although they'll likely never be back. i just would like to exact my losses from their hides. i'm not very forgiving of malicious transgressions and this was just sport for them.

those eggs fed my family and i'm a bit overly defensive of them--especially with a really pregnant wife.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

listy list

morning chores
move, feed and water broiler chickens
feed and water cows
let the girls down (hens)
deal with the onions
braid some
sort the ones to be ready for the dehydrator
reclaim my wheelbarrow which is full of onions
weed-eat the perimeter of yard and horsemint from fields and garden. i'll have to return bob's weed-eater by the end of the weekend.
take the couch to the dump. it was in my truck last weekend and i missed an open dump by just a few minutes. in true hillbilly fashion it has set in our front yard all week.
on the way to the dump take two chickens to the thompsons for their butchering help. see if shane's interested in helping again this next saturday?
slop out boca's pen before animal control deems my offenses worse than the neighbors.
make little latch by boca's pen.
build another compost bin and slop out area next to cows feeder.
burn brush pile.
work on solar dehydrator. (probably a pipe dream)
walk by my neglected root cellar several times and pine to work on it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

tabitha is fine

yes we are still waiting for rome.

things we have done.

butchered 12 more chickens
lamented over our failing garden
i hooked up the vacuum pump permanantly

got ready for guests
waited for the baby
made some fresh pico de gallo
went to a birthday party
kassi, toly and i got some sort of stomach illness

lamented over the garden and dying tomatoes

moved all TBK chickens into the newer tractors

had tansy and co. visit (that was fantastic)
learned to make her secret recipe soap (also fantastic)
went to the creek tansy took photos

between being sick and having guests i haven't even slopped out boca's pen. good thing animal control has more egregious offenders to worry about. almost a week later and my stomach still doesn't allow serious work for sustained periods. my day job has pretty much taken most of my failing energy.

tabitha is in those unreal final stages of pregnancy where when you look at her you can't believe that her body can do that. she is uncomfortable and ready for this baby. i sadly haven't been the help i should. today is a new day and my backlog of things to be done will consume me if i don't get with it today.

in other news.
i have decided to build a chicken plucker for then next season.
we are going to plant our tomatoes in fresh ground next year.
solar dehydrator still in queue (that one was for you matt)

honorable mention
i had a great time having tansy visit even though i was ill for most of it. the curing soap is making our whole house smell nice. we hope you can come visit again soon. i'll have an outhouse built by next summer (i promise)

big plans
we need a new chicken coop desperately
the milking barn has to get done.

high note
the beans are doing great

Monday, July 07, 2008

eight down fourty seven to go

we just butchered eight chickens--screaming kids the whole way. tristan complained, toly cried and kassi was surprisingly calm and content. tristan and kassi helped catch chickens. they asked a million questions regarding body parts and uses. what was edible? what we saved for the dogs? mostly, why did we do every little thing. my usual strategy is to overwhelm their question with long and detailed information until their eyes glaze over. somehow kassi is immune and stays alert and queued for the next why.

we killed eight in about two and a half hours. that works out to roughly twenty minutes a bird. not bad for a couple of amateur homesteaders. we wanted to kill twelve but heat, biting insects and crazy kids shortened our time available. through the years i have been entertaining the idea of a whizbang chicken plucker. i just can't imagine that it saves so much time as to justify $250. that is the minimum possible amount the thing could cost even with my resourcefulness on collecting necessary stuff for little or no money.

has anyone seen one of these tub style pluckers work? i need an unbiased opinion.

tabitha is going to process some of the peaches today. i'll hopefully get to work on the solar dehydrator.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches

our little garden is suffering. the tomato black leaf spot is rampant. the hail really did a number. it opened a zillion little sores on our plants and they are succumbing to diseases that they normally out race until the fall.

i have ordered serenade per danielle's suggestion--i'll try anything. i researched the active ingredient Bacillus subtilis.
the story behind it's discovery is quite interesting--albeit involving nazi's eating poo. this row faired the best and hopefully with the help of serenade will flourish.

we harvested the onions. tabitha says that some of them might keep for a little while.

any onions that are questionable will be dehydrated. i plan to build a solar dehydrator. i might get to start working on that today.

we drove to arkansas and bought two and an half bushel of peaches. they have seconds for half price. we'll make peach preserves from them.

we have our work cut out for us. i finished the second (portable chicken coop(PCC))

--tabitha hates the term chicken tractor. the original one is so inferior that i was compelled to get this one ready immediately.

see the cow-stomp bent pipe? bad cow. these twelve boys are queued for butcher tomorrow.

here is the new gate that i built last week for boca.

here it the feeder that i also slapped together.

it is covered from the weather and holds about 2/3 of a bale of hay. now if could just keep the hens from laying in there. once she is gone i'll just keep a cozy nest there and check it daily too.

we butchered four chickens last weekend. they were kinda small but we needed to knock a chunk out of the huge task ahead.

the kids are ready to eat them right now.

the puppies are doing really well. the kids love them. they are amazingly behaved and easily trained. they bark at us after dark when we go down to the pasture.

rocky soil?

kassi teaching henry to be patriotic.

luna, cute as a polar bear cub.

extended breast feeding runs rampant here.

ending on an up note our pole bean arches are glorious this year.
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