Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015, Realities of Living in The Great North Woods and Farm Diaries

So, the new year is upon us again.
No resolutions here. I have too much damn stuff on my MUST DO list to indulge myself in the mental masturbation of "should dos" and "want to dos" in the coming year.
I MUST put up more fencing. I MUST have a decent garden. I MUST get my milking section of the barn completed before the new kids arrive. I MUST build a chicken house/yard. I MUST get more chickens. I MUST get in a better heating system before next winter. I MUST, I MUST I MUST!
The entire list is way too long to set down here, but, trust me, there is no room for the pipe dreams of resolutions.
Our water heater bit the big one.
This is bad.
One of my few joys here is taking a long HOT soak in the tub. It is cold here. VERY cold. We weren't able to get a pellet stove yet (expense), so, our heating is just a baseboard electric heater in the upstairs living room. Even with that, it is currently only about 45 or 50 in the living room. Some mornings, even lower to the point I can see my breath. Right now, I am running the clothes dryer to boost the temperature a teeny bit.
I am wearing 2 pairs of socks, thermal underwear, jeans, a t-shirt, sweater and a sweat shirt. This is inside. And I have a blanket over my lap and legs.
This is the reality of living in The Great North Woods here in the NorthEast US. It gets cold here. Damn cold.
You learn to adapt. To live with it.
Or you get the hell out.
We are staying.
So, we will have to get a new water heater, which we can ill afford right now.
Until we get one, I am heating water on the stove to wash dishes and myself. If need be, we can go over to a neighbors for quick showers.
Should be getting the water heater on Friday.
I plan on starting a farm diary on the 1st. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and many Colonial farmers kept farm diaries. That way I can flip through the pages and see what worked, what didn't.
I'll be doing it on actual paper, not online.
I suggest everyone keep a farm diary. Even if it's only a line or two a day, it can help you keep track of your efforts.
Hope everyone has a terrific new year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Farming Is Not For Sissies

The loss of Alice's little cria hit me hard, and, yes, I shed some tears over it.
But, farming is like that.
You have gains...and you have losses.
It ain't for sissies.
I try so hard to look at gains and losses objectively, but it is hard to do. I get attached to my animals.
The alpacas (barring a complete collapse of the country) are not meant for the table. Neither are my goats.
The chickens and ducks....well, maybe.
I plan on ordering chicks and maybe ducklings the first week in January. I will be ordering some meant just for the table, but I will order them in February.
The ones I order first will be for the *core* of my laying hens.
I am looking at several different breeds to find the best *mix*.
I know everyone seems to adore Buff Orphingtons, but I have had nothing but bad experiences with them.
So, don't suggest them!
As far as meat chickens, I am still "up in the air" about breeds.
I am maybe considering dual purpose.
Anyone want to make suggestions for chicken breeds, please chime in! Realize it gets cold up here!
As for ducklings to raise for the table, I am considering I LOVE roast duck.
I am going through the different breeds but have yet to decide on that, either.
I have at least a month to decide, so, looking through web sites, catalogs, etc.
I also have to set up a proper brood area for them. I think I have that figured out, just have to put the work in. Once I have it done, but before I order the chicks/ducklings, I'll post some pictures and get suggestions on how to improve it. (There is ALWAYS room for improvement!)
Hope everyone's holiday plans are going well!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bad Morning

This morning I went out with Older Son to feed the livestock.
To our dismay, Alice the alpaca had delivered a cria during the night and the wee thing was dead.
It was a female, chocolate brown, just like Alice. Her eyes were open, she was probably born alive, but between Alberto stomping around trying to mate with Alice (we presume) and the cold, the little one died.
Alice wasn't due for another 3 to 4 weeks.
Maybe the move or the change in climate caused premature labor/delivery. I don't know.
I was so upset and disappointed.
The only consolation is Alice still has her yearling, Angus, by her side, so that should comfort her a bit.
I have also resolved not to allow Alberto access to the females unless it is time to mate.
So, a paddock just for Alberto will be on the agenda in the spring.
Another thing on the never-ending list.
I have been going through my Bakers Creek seed catalog and encountered a problem.
So, now...onto paring down to what we actually NEED.
Then I will have to pare down to what we can actually AFFORD.
I am sure most of you have the same problem.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Catalogs Arriving!

My catalogs have started arriving!
Chicken and seed catalogs!

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have some catalogs to peruse, obsess and drool over!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Few Things Happening Here...

I have had one monster of a head cold.
Hot tea, hot baths, elderberry, Vicks vapo-rub...all the usual remedies are being employed.
I will beat this darn cold into submission!
All the animals are doing fine, even in the cold.
Okay, Baby, our terrier mix has been a grumpy little thing, but she'll get over it.
Have gotten 2 chicken catalogs, but still no seed catalogs!
Getting annoyed about that.
Thinking about writing a book. Have the whole thing in my head, just have to write it down.
I'll let you know when/if I get started on that.
Other than that, no new news to report.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Don't Mind Me....

I am just rearranging and redoing my blog some. It will probably be a day or two until I am happy with it.

I think I am happy with this as my Yuletide theme.
What 'cha think?