Wednesday, September 29, 2010

farm kids

Farm kids and their barn.

Fall is here and they are enjoying the weather. Out-of-doors is the place to be. Much later after these photos they moved a bunch of soft hay to the drop-zone and started jumping.

It seemed like a good way to help increase bone density but I stopped them anyway since rome needed to be involved and I was terrified of broken limbs.

The kids are really excited that my parents are coming to visit soon. I am finally plumbing the outdoor shower this evening. Our set-up isn't really visitor conducive but when you really want visitors you make-due.

I worked all yesterday on the alternative energy company's website. Morning to night, I need to take more breaks today. I had many braincells that thought they were in retirement. I recalled them to action. Tabitha said there were probably many new recruits. I'm not sure that was a nice thing to say;)

Happy Fall everyone. We are really enjoying the weather I hope you are too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

captain jack and ianto say good bye to ginger and pepper

The boys as I call them are growing like weeds. They have been on a raw diet for quite a while. It suits them. Chicken has been their staple. They ate all of our "flatties"* during broiler raising season. We lost quite a few of this time around. They began their journey heat stressed and were overly susceptible to it from then on.

This gate is one of their boundaries they are not supposed to cross. They are pretty good about following that rule.
This is Ianto about half grown. He reminds me of Henry. I still miss Henry.

Ianto is my favorite, I admit it. I can't help it. Here they are waiting for dinner.

Once Ianto is full grown he'll stand like that but only on the top bar.

Ginger and Pepper are going to the slaughter house tomorrow.

I know I professed last time that I would never do that again. Luckily I'm allowed to change my mind. The job that they did on smoking the meat and making sausage was so great that they have won me over for at least another time.

We will save every little scrap of bone and usual waste from both pigs to freeze for the dogs. They eat less on this diet and are much healthier. Tabitha really appreciates the fact that their waste is small and turns ashen white and benign within a day or so. Our large dung beetle population makes short work of three large dogs feces this way too.

So, goodbye to Ginger and Pepper but hello to them all winter long.

They are such friendly creatures we love them on so many levels.

I don't think that I will ever put pigs in the garden again.

Their smell is a little too close to the house. But, the main reason is they only tore up certain areas of the garden a little too deeply while left other areas completely untouched. Huge craters in the garden are not what I was hoping for.

I still have a little more tear down of the butcher area. The big-top worked perfectly this time.

I am trying to complete some compost for when my parents arrive with Kassi's Daylily starts. Two of these bins were full of nitrogen rich waste bedding and cow manure.

This is how far it has composted.

It is about a third of it's original volume. I have turned it twice in the past few weeks in attempt to get high compost temperatures. The feed stock was full of weed seeds and I wanted to be sure to kill of them. My moisture content was a little high and I lost some nutrients.

Composting is easy and difficult at the same time. Predictable results are the elusive factor. Last season my compost, although complete, contained far too many weed seeds. I hope for much better this time around.

*flatties are what we call chickens that have died and are laying there extremely flat when we come to check on them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We survived... (warning graphic photos)

Tabitha, myself and the kids butchered eighty seven chickens in two days.

I'll admit they were long days. It was difficult, tedious and left us raw. The whizbang chicken plucker purred most of the day. Feather clogs caused a little slippage a couple of times.

The kids were unbelievably helpful. Tristan and Kassi caught every bird for the killing station.

Anyone that has tried to catch chickens know what a feat catching eighty seven birds is. They both got scratches from chickens and chicken tractors climbing around arms full. Plus, that is not all,

Tristan cut, cleaned and peeled every gizzard while Kassi cleaned the hearts and livers. They also met the demands of their younger siblings. They made sandwiches, poured juice and milk and even cleaned urgent messes in the house. It was truly unbelievable they are just eight and six respectively. When it came time to do the final clean-up on the birds they both were right there picking pin feathers and doing a secondary inspection of the internals.

Tabitha loosened crops, cut feet and heads, killed, plucked and scalded. I eviscerated and cleaned the body cavity. I also leaped to where I was needed but mostly I was the bottle neck. We chilled the birds and did the final processing at the other station.
The kids really made a huge difference, at least thirty percent increase from their input.

On top of all that Tabitha is milking twice per day. Our refrigerator is full of milk products.

Milk, yogurt, fresh cheese, sour cream, and cream. Jocelyn in making over four gallons per day.

We are trying to find another fridge on freecycle--milk fridge.

I also finished work on the Houlahan's Photovoltaic system.

We have been busy and this weekend we have another thirty five birds to kill.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

my intention

My intention has always been to put up all the blog suggestions on my blog roll then categorize them as I found time. Please be patient as my time for this endeavor has been limited.

Today is butcher day. I have been working overtime this week to get a photovoltaic system installed before deadline.

I really appreciate all the blog suggestions. Of what I have time to enjoy they have been great.


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Why I am here

Going into winter I start thinking about what I will read on those cold dark days next to the warm fire. Spring, summer and fall are a time of action. I am too busy to dedicate much time to reading. My reading exploits lean toward research and education (the immediate gratification kind). Ahh but winter is the time to be able to pore over books purely for enjoyment. I have a list of books all set for the winter and will likely stumble across a few extras that will squeeze in front.

What I really need is more blogs for my blog-roll. This is where you come in, yes even if you have never commented before. First, I want YOUR blog address--nothing else. If your blog is already in my blog-roll *where I hang out* then (and only then) please suggest your favorite blog that you think I will like. I Want You!!! You should be getting a visual image of me pointing my finger right at you.

Why am I here? Many reasons really, but mostly I want to capture these moments so I might better learn from them. I also romanticize that my great grand children might want to know who I was.

I would love to have read either of my grandfathers journals they didn't keep during their lifetime. My grandfather Horace was an amazing artist, inventor and landscape architect. During the depression he held a patent for Formica. Dupont had a similar patent of inferior quality. Horace sold the patent to Dupont for $1000 and provided for his family through those troubled years. He also pioneered many methods for coloring cement still in use today.

My grandfather Gustav immigrated from Germany at twenty five. With only the clothes on his back he eventually became a pillar in his community. He engineered and invented many things to make his life easier on his milk farm. I wish I had the plans for the smokehouse that he built. As a teenager I went to stay a summer with friends of his. Their patriarch employed Gustav as a machinist in one of his first jobs in America. I saw the respect and esteem he commanded even a generation later.

I don't feel like I live in their shadow but they set the bar pretty high. I know how curious I am about them and my namesake Karl, Gustav's father. My descendants will have one of those weird records of a little family, their family, struggling to make a go of it off a little slice of the Ozarks.

Of course that is not the only reason I am here but it is surely one that kept me blogging after my original reason proved for naught. Pablo and Danielle kept encouraging me to keep going which really made all the difference.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

It is finally raining...

Tabitha and I cleared the garden for the pigs to go in there and clean it up. This morning we decided to attempt the move. We opened the appropriate fences and gates. Tabitha got a bucket of grain while I opened the pigpen. They wanted nothing to do with her and her measly pulverized pig feed. Tabitha had just cleaned out the freezer and gave the pigs the waste. Note to self, make sure pigs are hungry before trying to coax them anywhere.

The rodeo ensued in earnest. I must admit it was really fun. I love pigs. Our farm is mostly dog proof so we were not in any danger of loosing anyone. First we tried chasing them. Pigs don't react like other animals in this respect. They immediately think it is a game wherein they are the puck and you are the goalie. They rush past just out of reach woofing just to taunt. Did I mention I love our pigs?

After trying several methods we simply relied on their natural curiosity and closing gates behind them. Surely the garden is the place with the most interesting things to eat and root. Finally they realized that it was. We closed them in and they were happy.

Then the heavens opened and praised our good work by offering us with a much needed rain. It has been over a month since it rained here. The grass crunched with each step like walking on fall leaves. Tabitha also put some clothes out on the line just to taunt the mischievous clouds into cutting loose.

We are hopefully going to get more this evening. All that beautiful chicken fertilizer from moving the tractors across our paddocks needs to be rained in. Oh if we get a couple of inches over the next few days the pastures will perk up into a lush cow heaven.

My rain water storage for the chicken coop was down to twenty five percent. I had a broken water fountain and it dripped for over twelve hours. Here is a picture of it filling up. I installed a chain for the water to adhere to on it's descent. I watched it for a while it was hypnotic like a campfire.

I took a video but when I watched it I decided it wasn't worth sharing because the moment was lost. A little video of it seemed stupid while in person it was almost spiritual. It is funny how some things can be captured and others can't.

Rome almost got bit by a copperhead snake yesterday. He actually stepped on it. It was between the house and garden. It struck at him twice but didn't pierce the skin. We were so lucky. I grabbed him up by one arm with a jerk. Luckily he is used to me picking him up by one arm since a baby. Otherwise, he surely would have a dislocated shoulder.

I guess they mostly travel in pairs so we are on *high-alert* until further notice. I raked all the leaves and debris from that area of the yard to be sure the other snake wasn't lying in wait. I showed Rome the dead snake, yes I killed it. I warned him that this snake could kill him and to stay away.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...