Friday, May 30, 2014

Random Reflections

Got a lot on my mind right now.
I just need to say a whole lot that's going on right now without creating separate posts for everything. I suppose that's reflection #1 - I have lots to say and no time to say it in detail. So, I'll just rattle a bunch of stuff off, in no particular order, and with few accompanying images, save a shot of chicken insides (sorry, it's not for the squeamish - you were warned).

First, the latest news:
  • Bridget the cow is PREGNANT!! We're having a calf around the first of November. I used the Dairy Doctor blood test to check. They are fantastic, and I will use them indefinitely.
  • Skittles the bunny was NOT pregnant. I re-bred her Tuesday. I will be feeling this weekend to see if Starburst is pregnant or not. We'll see. i hope Coconut isn't a dud.....
  • A raccoon (or a weasel) has now killed and eaten the heads/necks off SEVEN chickens. 5 were the "old" chicks, and 2 were inside of the chick-u-bator. One this morning was Wife's favorite ("Tufty" the all-white Araucana). I have since reinforced the chick-u-bator, and will be adding hasp locks to fortify the chicken coop door. Yeah - it broke in through the walk-up gate with the lock latched. It pulled the door back and crept in. If the hasps don't work, then it's trappin' and shootin' time.
  • Wife and I are in the middle of planning out 2104-15 homeschool curriculum. There is some carry-over from this current year's homeschool curriculum, and some changes.
  • I spent most of Memorial Day cuting hay. I will spend most of this weekend with the kids getting it into the shed's DIY pallet hay racks (which need to be cleaned out first).
Now, some reflections:
  • Why are we ALWAYS behind the curve in gardening? We were last year with very little going on, and we're actually slightly ahead of last year with tons going on this year. I am officially, now, dedicating 2015 to making leaps and bounds in our gardening skill and propagation.
  • We have a great many moving parts right now, and making lists helps that. i am currently drawing up a list of the lists I need to make. Our life is going to be a big list.
  • I LOVE being Catholic. I saw recent articles about the Westboro folk, the Episcopal marriage debacle and impending schism, and other things on the fractured nature of Protestantism. It makes me appreciate the consistency and the unity of the Catholic church.
  • I've started playing the recorded Rosary Army rosaries during milking. It calms Bridget down A LOT, and lets me pray the rosary. I finish early, but then I replay the end part at second milking, so I still get a rosary a day. It's great.
  • We got a free chicken, and I butchered it this past weekend. It was fun having "science class" with the kids, and discussing organs and their functions. It should be ready to eat soon. Here's the science lab:
Chicken Innards
I cut open the gizzard so the kiddos could see inside. From the feet, clockwise, we have:
Feet, neck, liver, pancreas and gall bladder (not sure which is which), intestinal tract,
esophagus, lungs, gizzard, heart, and kidneys in the middle.
  • "If you can't walk your farm before breakfast, you're farming too big." Amen. For the record, I can. :)
  • I started taking pictures of some of the really neat plants growing wild on the property. I want to post about them, but it will likely have to become a series with its own tag. Hmm...that's an idea.
  • I LOVE having pigs. Nothing goes to waste, and they are hilarious to watch sometimes.
  • The movable pen system needs to be tweaked slightly, which I expected. I will begin running the chickens in the middle, and the pigs last. The chicken yolks have been getting paler, and Wife believes (and I agree) that it is the lack of green forage. So, this weekend (after haying), I hope to implement that. I still have lots of work to do, though.
  • Speaking of the pens, they have been a mixed bag thus far. I think one key was starting with small, baby pigs. Larger pigs would be able to root deeper and more effectively. I was hoping the gardens would be ready to plant (the first has already become overgrown with Bermuda grass - GRR!!), but I am seeing some flashes of brilliance and effectiveness already. It just needs time to fully come together (some methodology tweaks, panel updates, security enhancements, finishing touches, and pig growth are all needed).
  • I have used the lawnmower twice this year. Yay! i will need to again to get the areas in the front yard Bridget hasn't eaten. She gets persnickety about patches of grass and clover sometimes. The only downside to this is that there are some very long, stemmy grass shoots with seed heads that no animal I own will eat. The base has thick, hearty blades that get eaten immediately. The stems? Not so much. It is almost enough to make me consider a gas mower. Almost....
  • Other than the occasional tip-over, the cow cart is a monstrous success. It makes chores so easy.
  • I am down three belt loops since October. Go paleo and Farm Fit!
  • I think that, as the budget allows, I will start slowly adding a barbed-wire perimeter and paddock fence setup. There are some areas where staking in the electronet is impractical (too rocky for the little plastic feet) and there are too many trees to tether. The grass goes uneaten. A perimeter fence solves that, and at a dollar a foot for 10 strands of 4-point wire, it can hold sheep and cows in and coyotes out. I'd need a cool 3 G's to do it all at once, and that ain't happening.
  • Bees arrive in less than two weeks. Woo!

That's all for now. Lots swirling. Can't wait to post more tomato and cucumber pictures.  :)


  1. Dude, that is the healthiest lookin chicken liver I've ever seen. Don't let it go to waste!

  2. hi Matt,
    My ah-ha moment of recently..... rabbits love thistle! One animal's weeds is another animal's delight. And I have plenty of it :) Just in case you need some free food for Starburst and Skittles. But Coconut must prove his worth first....

    toodles, Sara

  3. Whelp. The chicken liver went to the pigs, and will (eventually) become the best bacon you've ever seen. I have yet to test the rabbit-thistle connection, but I will. I need to go weed hunting anyway here soon.