Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I've been busy...

And my internet connection at the new place is really, really slow (picture dial up...).

I've been working a lot - this is a busy time of year for paving projects, and the associated traffic control plans. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the work!!

I'm slowly settling in, but moving a farm sucks... There are so many bits and pieces. I still have lots to go, but it's getting there.

I've started putting up containers for the birds. I need to get them home - I miss them!! I had a quonset-hut shaped canopy frame that I moved that I'm going to use as the initial containment unit. it's 12 x 20, and will comfortably house the peafowl (1 peacock, 3 peahens).

I have a chainlink dog kennel that I'll press into service (after removing it from serving as the dog pen) for the chickens. The "official" dog pen, is currently being used by the chickens, so when I get them moved, it will be restored to it's original purpose, and the dogs will be happy.

Meanwhile, I've been baking bread, about one loaf a week. This is a heavily tweaked Oatmeal bread recipe, which now contains buttermilk, an egg, flax seeds, oat bran, wheat germ, and hemp hearts (they had them at CostCo), in addition to the original oats. I make the dough in the bread machine, and then put it into a regular pan (this is a 1.5 lb loaf) to bake. It's really yummy!

I have inherited a cat - meet Art. His full name is Artemis Fowl, so named because his bodily emissions rhymed with his first name... I have seen/smelled none of these, so this is good. He's a lilac lynx point, and didn't get along with Correy's other two male cats. While living there, he was allowed to come into the trailer, which he thought was pretty cool.

Here, Art is draped over some yarn that I spun this weekend. I really enjoyed spinning it, and evidently, he enjoys it too!

Here's a picture of the yarn, sans cat:

It's from Babs, a dorset/suffolk x that Becky owns. We did some trading and I got the fleece!!

I had ordered some chicks a few weeks back, and they came on Monday. I had ordered 15 Blue-Laced Red Wyandottes, and 10 Cornish Roasters. Normally, the hatchery includes extra, and their shipping label said that they had... However, they didn't, and one of the roasters died. Also, there are 11 BLRW's that look alike. There are 4 that look like Americanas. I was not pleased. When called, the hatchery (Murray McMurray), said that these birds sometimes look different as chicks, but will grow up to look like they are supposed to. Did they think I just fell off the turnip truck? This doesn't happen... I have to take pictures of them and send them to their email, and they will have the hatchery manager look at them. They will reimburse me, if, after they are grown to the point where it can be determined that they are not what I ordered, I can show them pictures.  Meanwhile, I've invested about 3 months worth of feed, for which I will not be reimbursed... To say I'm not ever ordering from them again is a understatement.

Since I first wrote this, 3 more chicks have elected for a do-over (didn't want to come back as a chicken, I guess), so I'm now down to 9 roasters and 12 BLRW's, assuming the 4 oddballs really are...
All that said, however, the chicks are cute. I start my chicks in a 100 gal. stock tank. The sides are high enough to keep out drafts, it's big enough for 24 chicks for a few weeks, and this year, I don't have to do it in the house. I have a shed, to which I ran power via an extension cord plugged into an outdoor outlet. Yay! No chick dust in the house making me wheeze and getting all over everything (it's actually microparticles of feed, dander and chick poop - not very good to have in the air).

I've decided to get some turkeys this year after all. I wasn't sure I was going to, but a recent visit to a naturopath indicated that I shouldn't eat chicken. She has offered to buy some of the previously mentioned roasters! It seems, and I can attest to this, that my body chemistry reacts badly with chicken, as it sets off an inflamatory response. However, turkey does not. So, I'll raise enough to have a couple for the freezer, a bunch to can, and a few to sell (I already have orders for 4).

I'm starting to think about gardening. I know the plants that I want to grow, and just have to get a place to do it. I have the materials to make raised beds, and because there are deer and other things here, I'll cover them with row cover supported over pvc hoops. I'll use drip because it's more efficient, especially in this climate. It's interesting - I lived in western Oregon longer than I had gardened in Reno (3 years in town - in Red Rock there was a 6 week growing season, so I didn't), but never got used to the climate. It was too cold and gray most of the time for tomatoes and peppers, and because at the time I had loose chickens, the salad greens didn't last long after their discovery. I had mediocre luck with squash, and the beans gave up. I finally did, too. I'm looking forward to gardening here - it's more like my little house in Reno, where I grew copious quantities of tomatoes, peas, beans and salad in my front yard. I'm also going to put in some herbs, because I love cooking with them.

I'll try to emulate Leigh's journaling about her garden - it'll be a good way for me to keep track of what I did!

One of the big projects is to put up fencing to bring Tang home. I'm going to use electric, since she's used to that, and it's cheaper than "real" fencing. Also, I'm renting, and I don't want to invest a lot in a place that isn't mine. Everything needs to be removable... which is easy, and hard at the same time. It takes a lot more planning because not only do I have to think about putting it in, but also how will it be easily removed.

As soon as the fence is in, I have to get hay - she has to eat (and boy, does she love to eat...). She is a total foodie. I won't go into why hay prices are high, but suffice it to say, some people are just being greedy. I understand that it takes fuel and fertilizer and time to grow a hay crop. What they don't seem to understand is that people can't afford what they're charging. I should count myself lucky that Tang doesn't need top-flight hay - she'd become rotund in no time. I can get perfectly adequate hay from the valley (where I used to live...) but will have to pay to have it hauled. It's still cheaper than the hay on this side of the cascades, but really, people... It explains the increasing numbers of horses that are hauled out to BLM or the Reservations and dumped.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying my space, and getting settled. My blood pressure likes it too!!


Theresa said...

Buying hay end of season is always a big hit. Supply low, demand high. I've run out a few years before the first cutting came in and paid dearly for it. It's going to be a high year here with gas prices. I was astounded at how much baling twine had gone up!
It sounds like you are settling in wonderfully though, mystery chicks and containment work aside. :)
Mr. Fowl is awfully cute.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Trading? That was bribery! lol
If people don't buy the hay at the price the sellers set, they will have to lower it. But if you need it, you don't have much choice; buy it or sell some of your animals to balance it out somehow. Its running $200/ton here, got one for $100 last week though, Derek shoots gophers off their fields for them so they gave me a deal :) I think its going to stay right around $200 this year.