Farm Life

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LostNFound
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Re: Farm Life

Post by LostNFound »

It is the 26th and the temp outside is bouncing off of 66(F) degrees. Partly cloudy it is and there are still patches of snow from last week. That is the warmer climate you were hashing about. In the mid range of mountains of Arizona and yet still cold to the acclimatized. I have a good brother who lives over in Machias Just east of Lake Stevens and another good sister who lives in the Republic just west of you. The both are under the big brrrrrrrrrrrrr zone. I am glad you have family coming and living with you this winter. I have two daughters living up in Fort Collins land Wellington Colo. Too cold for me now both Washington and Colo. I know you will have a great Christmas with the grandchildren and you children. The goats and dogs will manage to keep themselves warm also.

Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year
Stay warm, dry, healthy and happy
Steven
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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

It’s a new year, less than two weeks in and it’s already been weird. I’ve been sitting here this morning looking up information on a couple new projects we want to start this year. As much as I lamented not being able to try bees again yet, glad we didn’t this last year. Pretty sure that prolonged early cold snap and excessive amount of snow would have been problematic. And the shelter we built for them has totally collapsed under the weight of the snow. Gotta come up with something better there, and plan to research what a hot box is all about, that’s been used with good success in Alaska.

Anyway, the plan is, well, I have a lot of plans, LOL. And now it’s past the middle of the month, so I will try to write a bit more again. Too early to go out yet as it’s still dark, and with the heavy overcast it’s unlikely the internet would work well enough to watch any videos. This winter has been different in a way that’s hard to put to words. A feeling of anticipation is kind of hanging there, with the mix of outer factors at play. It’s like someone took a big spoon and stirred up all of humanity, and it’s all mixed up into something chaotic and unidentifiable. We’re not in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure.

Many of us can see where the agenda is being driven as far as the current epidemics of war fever and the cult of covid, and we even have some larger than life villains in the mix. It makes me think of Thanos from the Avengers movies who tries to make wiping out most of the population sound like something noble and necessary. Plus we have them trying to make us sexless automatons who have to be in therapy the rest of our lives for, in my case being white, and then all the rest of us for being the cause of global climate change. Guilt and shame, what a combo. And then fear, gotta have fear. Oh yeah, and according to one WEF spokesperson I briefly listened to, besides subtly putting us down for balking at the “you will eat bugs” propaganda being shoved down our throats, he also denigrated everyone who believes in such a concept as god. You know, we have no “proof”.

Funny thing is, one of the items on my list of projects for this year is learning how to raise mealworms. I wasn’t going to have chickens anymore, but life had other plans, and with Corey’s two we are now back to four. Mealworms are an excellent source of protein for them, and supposedly aren’t that hard to raise. Most of our problem with any of these projects we want to do is because of being off grid. We don’t have a lot of indoor space, and things like regulating temperature around the clock can be problematic. The mealworms need a dry environment, so that’s not too hard, plus they don’t take up much space. But we also want to try growing mushrooms. Besides a fairly steady temperature, they need humidity. I can do a small crate in the RV probably okay, just to try it out, but any larger operation will have to probably be somewhere else. Of course, there is outside growing in the summer.

I’m quite excited about these projects, especially the mushrooms. It would be nice to come up with a couple of at home projects to generate a little income stream, and good bartering items. Much of my energy will be directed this year at continuing community building and developing our trade networks. I won’t be doing the Farmer’s Market at the nearby Grange this year, even though I was asked. In fact, they wanted to bump it up to twice a month. I’d rather spend my time with those who haven’t drank the koolaid, and already realized that doing exactly what the government wants, the way they want, is simply becoming more and more untenable. They still haven’t figured it out yet, and I don’t have time for that.

As of this Saturday we’ll finally be down to just two pups left. It’s been the highlight of my winter to go from watching them be born, to being three months old. Most awesome thing ever. I’m so happy with the homes they have all went to, even if it did take a long time to find them, and I did have to come down a bit on price with the last two. I have made the appointment for Nahla to be spayed, because no matter how adorable they all are, I don’t want to do it again. There are already too many unwanted animals out there. I have to say that these dogs having been born and raised here has taken the work out of having to do much to train them. I do work with them to sit and not jump all over me, but the rest they have picked up from mom and dad. They already know what to do.

One really awesome thing I keep forgetting to mention is that little Miss Iona is not pregnant and totally faked me out. I mean, she got an udder and was starting to blimp out, and totally looked like she was, but nope, I was fooled, again. That’s good news, as for one, getting pregnant that young is not a good thing, and I didn’t want to be doing any birthings in the middle of winter. I had visions of having her in a crate in our oh so small kitchen area in the RV. Whew! Dodged that bullet!

I haven’t spent much time on the goats this winter, other than feeding and watering. This spring is not going to be fun in that regard. Only just bred the two, with one due in March and the other in April. They should still provide plenty of milk, and I’m committed to keeping the numbers down and manageable. Even just coming up with things for our twice a month Market is work. I won’t have cheese for a couple more months probably, so I’ve been making some really yummy scones to take for trading and selling. Only problem there is I want to eat them all. I plan to make kimchi for the Market too, by next month. And some herbal products are on the list, too, time permitting. But the big thing on the horizon is taking care of my dental issues and being able to build up my health again. Which is why I don’t want to take on any more projects or responsibilities. If I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to do all these things I have planned.

I did manage to respond in time to keep them from taking the Medicare part B portion out of my social security check every month. There is a story that goes with that too, but suffice it to say it’s ridiculous to pay for something I know I will never use. My husband and I have even talked about getting an oxygen tank and a defibrillator, because neither one of us wants to go to a hospital for any reason. Trust is completely gone there. I mean, if we go fast that’s fine, it’s a done deal, but if either of us was to have a mild heart attack we can’t just sit there and do nothing, so as unpopular as the subject is, we’ve had to talk about it. It’s really sad that we’ve come to this place where we feel completely on our own when it comes to healthcare. But everything they do now is suspect. And I’m not giving the right to make medical decisions for me away to anyone working within the system. Just not happening. Interestingly, one of the pups went to a woman who is a nurse, who managed to keep her job at a local hospital without getting the jab(s), and she is so taken with her she wants the other one we still have available, so is picking her up at the market on Saturday. Anyone who managed to stay working under the pressure to comply over the last two years is to be respected, for sure. Many weren’t so lucky and did lose their jobs. What a deal.

And now it is light enough to suit up and go outside. The new sprinkling of snow we got last night at least covers up how muddy everything had become. It wasn’t looking pretty, at all. At least we are slowly gaining on the days becoming longer, which strangely makes me feel I have more time to get things done. Being light at 8am and dark by 4pm made for a short workday. I’m not fond of doing things in the dark. I didn’t mention the transportation issues we have still been encountering. It’s been endless and I’d rather skip over it. Besides, it’s almost unbelievable (we had two flat tires in one day!). Anyway, we just keep on trucking along. What else can you do? Farm life goes on....

By the way, hi Steven/LostNFound. Love it when you drop by! Happy New Year to you!
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

I haven’t written a farm life post in quite awhile. As I sit here thinking about the past month I find it hard to gather my thoughts (so I’ll start by talking about the weather, LOL). We still have a lot of snow on the ground, and a great deal of icecrete (our new word up in these parts). We did start to have mud season, almost, until another bout of frigid temperatures came along. That, and the wind, have given us another opportunity to experience what it’s like to go several days without running water indoors. When it’s like this, with temperatures in the teens during the day, and near zero at night, with strong winds to boot, it’s near impossible to keep the water running in our RV. Literally, if you don’t run the water about every half hour, it freezes up (and unlike a house hooked up to the power company, you can’t just leave the water running at a trickle). We are waiting for the new water pump we ordered to arrive, so we haven’t been able to keep the one we have on all the time, to keep the water pumped up. It has a problem wanting to shut off and runs the batteries dead. On and on it goes.

At least we kept the well house pressure tank from freezing up this time, so have water outside. And I’ve learned to just keep lots of water in containers and buckets to get through these times, so I don’t have to melt snow for the animals again. It turns out that the charging system for the RV itself has developed a problem too, and hasn’t been charging up the two batteries we have in here. We found that out when several consecutive nights left us shivering in the early morning hours because there wasn’t enough juice left. But, overall, not too bad at the moment, in that we are getting a lot more light, and the solar system has now been keeping us going at night, even with the fan forced propane heater going all the time.

A few other things have happened since I last wrote here. One, is my son who had been staying here in another RV since his release from a correctional facility in July has moved out. Long awful story there. He has been working 10-12 hour days, and wasn’t exactly enjoying the winter months out here, roughing it with our off grid lifestyle, plus the hour drive to and from work left him very little time for anything. But, besides that, my husband being 77 and a Vietnam combat Veteran who still suffers a bit from PTSD (which he gets angry if you even try to talk about), plus his extensive training, in combination with my 43 year old son who also now suffers from PTSD due to his 6 years of incarceration and experiences he had there did not gel well. I am, and always have been, the peace maker, but there was no fixing this. Let’s just say, the two developed some deep resentments towards each other and it was like a tinder box waiting to be ignited. It all ended over parking (but so much more in reality). So now my son is staying in the city with his dad, who he didn’t want to live with because he didn’t think he could get along. But, strangely, he is getting to bond with his dad who has some fairly serious health problems (and may not be around long) and he is beginning to see that maybe it isn’t as horrible as he thought it would be. He has become somewhat more self reflective, and even a little spiritual in his thinking. He saves quite a bit of time on the drive, and he doesn’t have to deal with all the challenges that come from living out here. He really needs to stick it out, and get his own place to live, so he can truly become independent, sort of. The system won’t ever let him be truly independent again, but at 43 he’s not exactly thrilled with additionally being under the thumb of parental figures.

That whole experience has also given me much room to reflect on my own savior tendencies, desire to “fix things”. I don’t like conflict, but it is so unavoidable in this reality, and in fact, I must develop some different strategies. I’ve been reading the book A Different Drum by M. Scott Peck and it’s all about how to truly be in community. One thing I’ve learned, is conflict is going to happen, and trying to keep your feelings under wraps all the time leads to a form of dishonesty in our relations. But then, people fear conflict because it can get out of hand. Maybe some rules before one dives in are in order, like, how to fight nice, keep from name calling and blaming (and going full combat), and learn to really listen to one another. Although, even at that, all parties have to be willing. Men, in particular, have a great deal of difficulty with this, as most have a lifetime of unexpressed emotions and trauma. Watching your loved ones get triggered and regress to such out of control behavior is not my favorite thing. I guess it’s time to move on....

The one other thing of interest that is happening for me is I am finally addressing my dental issues. I just got 4 of my 10 remaining teeth pulled yesterday, and hopefully they will be able to pull the remaining 6 at the next appointment. I put this off way longer than I should have. I really do have some issues with medical procedures of any kind, as all of my trust in the system is gone. But, I can’t pull those teeth myself, and there are some good people still working within the system. So far, my experience, though unpleasant, has not been horrible, in that they respected my medical exemption from wearing a mask (can’t believe they are still making everyone wear them in certain fields), and the dentist was very good at his job and did his best to put me at ease, even letting my husband be in there with me. Long story on the whole Medicare business (I just turned 65) that I won’t tell, but it’s obvious to me a whole lot of people are left hanging out, unable to get the help they need. I could rant for a long time on this one, but won’t. I’m just happy I’ve found a way to get this done, and hopefully can go at least another 7 years (except for the stitches in my head last year) without needing medical or dental help from the system. I have no doubt that the folks at the dental clinic would experience some dismay if I told them how I dealt with the ongoing infection I’ve had in my mouth, as well as the pain. Let’s just say, I’m not mainstream in my approach. Can’t do antibiotics anymore, as they make me very sick. And there are some great alternatives for dealing with pain, to get away from doctor prescribed pain killers, which I’m also kind of allergic to.

The goats are all doing fine, even though the pens are all in their usual gnarly state after the long ongoing winter. I did trim everyone except for the one buck’s hooves, and gave them copper and selenium. The buck stinks too bad at the moment so I’ll be donning a garbage bag for him. And the four chickens (my 2 and Corey’s 2) are all doing ok. We’ll be getting a couple more this spring, and moving the coop and run to a better location to give them more room. Went to Costco a few days ago, and they were out of eggs, plus the price is getting ridiculous. I’ve seen so called news stories trying to make everyone afraid of damn near everything, including chickens and eggs. I’m not buying it. The pups are doing great, and so happy to be down to two. So much more manageable, even if it’s going to break the bank trying to feed them all. Four big dogs (and they are getting big fast!) is a fairly formidable deterrent for all kinds of potential threats, which with where things seem to be heading in the larger scheme of things, we may be very glad we have. They are so loving, yet fierce, smart, and funny. I didn’t think I’d ever have this many dogs, but here we are.

Obviously, it’s a little early to be thinking of gardens, but still, I’m thinking about it anyway. Can’t wait to get a greenhouse put together, and start some seeds. Our little market is still going and we’re getting new people showing up every time. It’s been very rewarding and helps my general attitude to know that at least some of the population is aware of where our earth ship is being steered and doesn’t plan to comply. Great conversations, and exciting plans and future events in the works. Even though I do pay attention to what’s going on “out there”, I don’t try to figure what’s really going on in the same way I used to. The lies, deceit, and outright fabrications of reality have left me not wanting to give the outer show any of my energy and attention. They can fake almost anything and everything, so there’s no real way to know for sure about most of it. It’s all designed to keep us angry, in fear, and focus on all that is terribly wrong in our world. And, whatever you focus on, you tend to get more of. So I’m going to focus on LIFE! And LOVE! And, LIBERTY! The three L’s, LOL. The sun is shining, and my mouth doesn’t currently hurt, I am surrounded by loving animals and people, so it’s a good day to be alive, in spite of how weird it has all become. Until next time....
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

Watching these pups grow, and all of them, mom, dad, pups, playing in the snow has been the highlight of my winter (that wants to go on and on). They are so smart, so beautiful, and so fun. Nahla’s tail looks sad in these pictures, and I’m happy to report that after giving birth, though it took a while, her fur all grew back even thicker than before. I might have mentioned the two (used to be one) neighbor’s dog. Anyway, they have a blue heeler that is bored. Owners are hardly ever home. Then they have another dog that’s been on the property for quite a while now, and I can’t tell what breed it is, except that it’s big and black (looks like it maybe has some standard poodle in it). Slowly over time it barks less and just stands there wagging its tail between the two properties (and also right up close to our barn). I’ve caught Nahla playing with it quite a few times now, and I swear it wants to be our dog. The other one is just a hysterical barker and both adult dogs still chase it back off our property. It doesn’t want to be friends (I think it really just wants a job to do).

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I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

Good morning world! I’m going to make my first effort to catch up on farm life in some long time. I’m wearing wrist braces on both hands, and though my hands tingle a bit, it’s manageable. I haven’t written anything here in part, because farm life, after over 6 years of being on this property, has become fairly routine and redundant in many ways. Like, same same same, every day, every year, in many respects. It’s not a bad thing, but who wants to hear about me shoveling more snow in the winter, cleaning pens in the spring, and even planting the garden every year. And, yes, I’ll be planting more potatoes and squash. Just ate the last squash and cooked the last potatoes from the previous fall that hadn’t sprouted yet. Not bad to be able to keep eating from the garden for 7 months! I’ll have more to say about that in a bit.

My hands took a turn for the worst this winter, especially after working that job last year. It really irritated them, and now I’d have to sit around and watch soap operas all day, and basically do nothing if I don’t want them to bother me. Which we all know isn’t happening. They tingle, itch, ache, and go numb, especially at night, and now even during the day. I add borax to my coffee everyday (and yes, coffee probably isn’t the best thing to drink, but can’t quite give it up yet). It seemed to help until I really started gearing up for this years work load. Once I started trying to hand milk, even a little, and pitch fork out the barns to get ready for my two does to kid, it really went south. I’ve had fairly sleepless nights, way more often than I can count. Which doesn’t leave me predisposed to do much typing of any kind.

Which is unfortunate, because I thought after I took care of my dental problems everything would be better. In some ways they are, as some of my other health issues cleared up fairly dramatically. I won’t write much about getting my teeth pulled other than to say I wish I hadn’t waited so long, and yes, it was not an experience I ever want to have again. Fortunately, I won’t, as they are all gone now. Even that was something I had to work on, to finally accept that it was better to let them go, than continue to live in misery.

The first kidding went very well, with Isabella having two does and one buck. They are all quite friendly, and are already almost 6 weeks old. I’m probably going to wean at least the little boy, who is the biggest pig I’ve ever seen, right at 2 months. Like, he wants to just keep eating, even when he looks like he is going to explode. My friend, who is keeping some goats here, went from 3 to 6, literally over night! So she is having to make that hard decision about who to keep, and who to let go, to keep her numbers down. Then two and a half weeks ago, my girl, Phoenix, had the birthing from hell. She went into labor, seemed to be moving along, then stopped entirely. Since she had fluids leaking, I knew that wasn’t good, and ended up having to call a friend who came about 10:30 at night. Turns out the first kid was breech and totally stuck. She had a heck of a time figuring out what was going on, and had to push one kid back (they were kind of in a tangle), to finally be able to get the other one out, who unfortunately was already dead. Then she reached in several more times, up to her elbow, and got the other two kids out who were both still alive. No doubt some day I may have to do this on my own, but this one in particular I don’t think I could have handled. Even for her, with her many years of experience, she had a hard time of it. Since this was Phoenix’s second kidding, and the previous owner had a similar experience the first time, I’m not sure I will breed her again. Too bad, because she is my star milker. And she is still sort of recovering. I’ve had to keep a close eye on her. My friend was able to give her a shot of an anti-inflammatory to help with the pain and swelling, and left us with a few more doses. That’s something I do not have.

Her two kids, a girl and a boy, are also both as cute as buttons. And I’m very happy kidding season is done for us here this year. I’m probably going to sell little Iona, one of my favorite yearlings, because she is quite a bit smaller than I was hoping she would be. I wouldn’t be able to use the milk machine on her, plus I won’t have a buck to breed her to. That way, I can keep the little female Phoenix has. I am determined to keep my number at 8 so I can keep it more manageable. Next year, I may breed up to five, so I can sell enough kids to pay for their hay, and have plenty of milk. This year, since I knew I was going to have that dental work done, I wanted to keep it simple. But, I haven’t had milk to drink or make cheese with since December. My other friend I was getting milk from didn’t breed any goats due to major health problems, so I couldn’t get any from her. Which means I’ve also had to disappoint all the folks who were getting the milk and cheese from me at our Freedom Exchange Market. Oh well, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

The Freedom Exchange Market went good all winter, with many new people who hadn’t been able to make it coming for the first time, to at least make an in person connection. Most of them were already out on their own homestead, so like me they are quite busy in spring and don’t have much time. Since then, though, the last few markets have just been a handful of us who bring stuff trading amongst ourselves. Kind of disappointing that all the city folks who were coming kind of dropped off. I guess they think everything’s gone back to normal? On the other hand, a few that were coming from over in Idaho have started one of their own exchanges and have had an amazing turnout. Seems rural folks are a little more motivated to make these connections and understand that the networking aspect is even more important than what products we have to bring. And I find I am buying less and less at the grocery store. It is in direct response to what is happening to commercial food at every level. It does seem as though the depopulation camp is pulling out the stops to cull the herd in every way possible. I’m sad that many who I thought understood this are in reality not catching on.

I’ll have to come back to this later, because I want to mention the many ways we are moving into even more food self sufficiency. I also have chicken adventures to mention, as well as our guest for the winter finally purchasing land out here and starting an exciting new adventure. Now that I finally managed to type something out, it might not be so hard to take up where I left off, in a more timely fashion this time. Gotta go take care of critters now, plus a baby sitting job later today. This month is particularly a busy one, so will be happy when it slows down a bit. Will try to post a few pictures here soon too. For me, I can feel in my bones that time is running out to get situated, as everything in me says next year is going to be a whopper. But I’m done trying to convince anyone that a storm is coming and it’s time to batten down the hatches. This last few years has allowed me to make some of the most amazing connections with people I am so grateful to know, who understand it is only through building a real, as opposed to pseudo, community of like minds that we will not just survive, but actually prosper as the dominoes continue to fall. At least I can wake up every day still feeling excited and inspired most of the time. Life is good.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Fred Steeves
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Fred Steeves »

So sorry to hear your hands have gotten that bad Laurie, didn't the (homemade?) CBD oil used to help?

Are you going to be able to get dentures by any chance?
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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

Hi Fred! I did get dentures and I’m happy to say they fit well. So many people I’ve talked to have not had a good experience getting and wearing dentures, so I consider myself quite fortunate. As far as the CBD oil helping my hands, that was a while back before they got like this. During the winter they didn’t bother me much, so I quit doing anything for them except including some borax in my morning coffee (most of us are deficient in boron). It’s just when I started to dramatically increase my workload, like I do every spring, they started to act up again. A good chiropractor would probably help, and I’m actually going to trade some goats milk cheese for an acupuncture session to see if that helps. The pain goes all the way up my right arm, so it’s more than just poor circulation and arthritis in my hands. Anyway, I’ll keep trying to find something that actually gives relief. Christine recommended a homeopathic remedy called NerveFix I’m going to try.

I was going to mention our chicken adventures this time, because it was just so dang funny. The guy who is staying on our property went and bought 6 chickens from this woman a couple months ago, and when he brought them home he tried to put them in what was originally a smaller goat pen. The chickens we already have never even thought about trying to fly out, but these chickens were basically feral. The woman had a hen go broody last fall and hatched up a bunch of chics. I guess they just ran free for the most part ever since, and so when he put them in there they all just promptly flew out! Our Great Pyrenees, Ranger, was never around chickens when younger, so they just look like food to him. I had rescued a chicken he bagged from our neighbor’s last year, and severely scolded him, so he knew he wasn’t supposed to kill them. But when they run right by his nose he just almost can’t help himself. Three of them completely lost what looked like all but one of their tail feathers, which have since grown back. I have to say, though, that Ranger looked more like he was just trying to help us catch them, as he could have easily killed them. Corey even cut their wings like a video he watched recommended, but it didn’t even slow them down!

Then, almost a couple weeks ago he forgot to latch the gate and then left. I came out in the afternoon to find all 6 of them in one of my garden areas. Trying to catch running chickens with a fishing net is quite the sport! The funniest thing ever, though, is that we thought all 6 of them were hens, until recently when I noticed the comb on one had gotten considerably bigger than the rest and my husband mentioned this funny noise he was hearing. It was learning to crow. It took a good week for that rooster to crow properly, and now Corey has 5 hens and a rooster. I joke that it had a sexual confusion issue, which goes right along with the times we live in. Farm life does have its humorous moments.

I also got a brief lesson in raising mealworms for the chickens, which I’m going to try my hand at. Because of all the networking we’ve done the last couple years out here, we’ve met people that know how to do most everything one needs to know to become independent from the system. And there’s a lot of skill sharing going on, besides just trading goods. Starting to collect up a good bit of silver, too, as when those fiat based paper dollars become worthless, it will be helpful to have something that retains its value to trade with when needed. Might be making my first loaf of sourdough bread today too. Corey gave me some of his starter and I invested in a Dutch oven to bake the bread in. It’s interesting learning the different stages, and I’m sure it’s going to take me awhile to fully get the hang of it. But that’s one more thing I won’t have to buy at the store ever again. I even have a hand crank grinder and 100 pounds of wheat, but would have to enlist a younger person for that job, if it comes down to it.

And Corey and his buddy finally purchased some raw land not too far from us to start building their own homestead. Fortunately he had the winter out here to get tuned up a little for what is to come, as their property is even more primitive than ours was when we moved here. The property was kept for game hunting and the guy had up a feeder for the wildlife along with cameras. It has a little creek running through it too. In the videos they took there are cougars, black bear, and even a real good size brown bear. Both these guys are going to find out first hand just how fast time flies, and no doubt will have to readjust their expectations. It’s a completely different ball game when you have to build a road in, cut trees and brush, and then try to build something before the weather turns. Plus they have a construction job to do for the month of June. He might be kind of straddled between our property and the new one longer than he thinks. I’ve already told him he’s going to have to get at least 2-3 big dogs before taking his chickens and three cats there, because they would be all gone in a hurry. I’m excited for them on their new adventure, though, as it’s all one step closer to us having the community of like minds out here that many of us have envisioned. They’ve already bought a tractor (correction, it’s a dozer), and even that will be an adventure as it’s a 1949 oldie but goodie. There’s more I could blab on about, but think I’ll get this posted with a few pictures and then get on with my daily chores and whatever else I can get done. At least it’s never boring.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Re: Farm Life

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Me right after leaving the denture clinic.
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The new green house we’ll be able to use next year. It’s already so warm I don’t need it this year, and don’t want to waste the plastic. That’s a whole bunch of calendula growing that reseeded from last year I’m just going to leave for now because the bees love it. I planted the asparagus crowns at the other end (outside the greenhouse but still in the fenced area).
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And here’s one of the beady eyed chickens that got loose in my garden.
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The trio of trouble (Isabella’s three kids - from left to right it’s Pauly, Yvette, and Fern)
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And this little cutie, Monet, looks like she’s smiling - one of Phoenix’s two kids.
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I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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Re: Farm Life

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I have a little wether down in the barn crying pitifully. He is 3 months old and a hefty little guy that hogged his mommas milk more than his two sisters. He’s old enough to go to greener pastures and it’s time to wean him. Never my favorite thing. Obviously not his either. I’m hoping he can go as a pet, because he’s very friendly, but as big as he is someone could buy him and eat him anyway. Problem is, goats are not moving very well this year, and people are fickle. One year mini Lamancha’s are in, the next its Oberhasli, and the next maybe Nigerian Dwarfs or Nubians. This year mini Lamancha, which is most of what we have, are not in. Plus people are getting skittish, money wise. Understandable.

It’s the next day already, and low and behold, Mr. Piggy survived the first day of weaning. He is not a happy camper, that’s for sure. Going to try and get some pictures of him and one of his sisters today, to get them and the other two up for sale. It’s been a weird year, so far, in the goat world. We’ve had three kids hurt one of their legs. Two of the yearlings hurt theirs on the feeder by jumping on the top and punching holes through the fiberglass top. We took the top off until we can repair it so it doesn’t happen again. Then one of this years kids hurt her leg trying to get to the weeds on the other side of the fence. She must have got it caught and ripped a two and a half inch long and almost an inch wide gash on her front leg. It probably should have been stitched up, but on our non-existent budget for that sort of thing we learned that comfrey leaves and raw unprocessed honey (we got from our hive two years ago) are amazing healers! We changed it every day and held it on with a self adhesive ace bandage. No infection and it’s healing up very nicely.

Then three of our females that were in milk last year didn’t want to dry up. I chose to not milk through the winter due to my dental issues that had to be taken care of, so slowly quit milking them last fall. I did the usual and backed them off slowly over a few weeks, milking less every day and skipping days, until I was only milking about once a week. Usually they get the hint and dry up naturally from there. Two of the five did dry up just fine. It wasn’t until after the first of the year that I observed that the other three still looked like they had milk and maybe even filling up more. Never having had that happen before, I still wasn’t too concerned. Sometimes they even nurse off of themselves. I drug my feet a bit on checking it out as my hands were swelling up and giving me trouble, but finally decided I better see what was going on. Dotty I just milked out and she seemed fine. Rhiannon had one teat that was all stretched out and discolored, and the milk was definitely bad. I’ve been milking her out and gave her garlic on her grain as well as applying it to her affected teat. She seems to be okay now. Aurora I am still milking every day, using garlic on her grain and rubbing it in to the affected teat. One side was very hard and not right at all. The stuff that came out was thick and looked like curdled spoiled milk. The hardness is almost gone, as I keep massaging it with garlic and working it out. The other side is still producing about a cup a day and the milk is fine. I know these goats are all high producers, but still shocked that this happened at all. Not sure what to make of it, yet.

I do plan on milking the two that had kids this spring through this coming winter, and hoping these other three do dry up completely before breeding them this fall. Having never dealt with any kind of mastitis before, this is totally new territory. And stressful. Plus, even though I fixed the fences from last year, these girls have all zeroed in on the gardens, and they are big enough to just push it in and trash any areas that I was unaware of needing to be reinforced. And that has produced some downright depressing results. Moving on, it helps not to dwell on it too much....

My plan is to get the other RV set up well enough by next year to possibly participate in the Wwoofing (worldwide opportunities on organic farms) program (https://wwoof.net). I’ve met a couple who do this every year and it seems to be a great idea. We definitely could use some help. We could rent the RV out, but so far no one wants to rough it out here in the winter. Can’t say that I blame them, as it is considerably more challenging in our off grid situation. Our current guest on the farm is transitioning to the new property him and his buddy purchased recently. He is much more ready to tough it out there than he was a year ago. They do have a nice creek that runs through part of the property, but where they are is even considerably more primitive than what we started with. He does have wild huckleberries growing there, so excited to go pick some when they are ready. And it’s nice to have a couple more freedom minded people homesteading in our neck of the woods.

It’s also time to get our two female almost grown pups to the vet to be spayed. Walking out the door first thing in the morning is always kind of exciting as all four of them converge to get their snacks. Watching them all work together when something gets their attention is pretty amazing too. They are so fast, with their big bushy tails bobbing behind them. And they are happy dogs. They go down to the little stream just past our property every day and come back all muddy. They love to play, and having stole every stuffed animal the little girl next door leaves outside, they have plenty of toys to play with. Ranger is so good with them. It’s a very heart warming aspect of farm life out here. I do need to get them in the car a few times so they aren’t so terrified when I take them to the vet though. That was not fun when we took their mom earlier this year. It was very stressful for her.

Still waiting to get the neighbors tractor back over here to finish the pens. It had a hydraulic leak that needed to be fixed, so only got one days use out of it so far. That’s going to be a very big job, but gotta do it. And it’s back to the daily milking grind. And cheese making. Yup, it’s time to get to work! Planning to expand the garden even more, since we’ll have the tractor to start dumping big piles of compost where I want it. Have to build the soil up, as there is basically no topsoil there, but I want to grow a substantial amount of mangel beets for the goats next year. It has to be kind of deep for that. Good to have goals to work towards, even though they sometimes feel unattainable. You never know if you don’t try, eh? And on that note, I’ll bid you adieu.

This picture my husband took last summer of me and my sister when she came to visit with my niece.

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Re: Farm Life

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Another hot summer day on the horizon here on the farm. Haven’t written here in a while. Not that nothing is happening, it’s just that my hands and right shoulder are not happy campers, especially in the mornings when I actually have time to write. It takes a while to get the feeling back in them, and I’m finding very simple tasks are hard to complete. My circulation improves after I’m up a while, then I’m fairly good to go whether I should or not. Too much to do here, and the cavalry is not coming to save me.

I was doing the acupuncture, and it did seem to help. Unfortunately, with transportation issues, it was hard to be as regular as I should have been, and now my therapist is pregnant and finding she can’t do dairy for the time being. So our deal of trading milk and cheese has kind of gone by the wayside. I must say, most everyone I know is in a strange state of flux, and I’m not even sure how it’s all going to look when the dust settles. Several are moving into RV’s, or just moving, and our guest who had been staying here is hopefully moving his RV to his property soon. I’m feeding his 3 cats and 6 chickens (+ 3), which has turned into a somewhat educational experience. One of the young hens went broody, and he’s not here very often so I kind of took it upon myself to help the little chicks that are hatching survive. It’s not the best arrangement, as it was previously a goat pen and shelter they are all in. It takes approximately 21 days for the eggs to hatch, and right now we have no idea how long she’s been sitting on some of them. Plus, she is burying the eggs when scratching around in there, so it’s doubtful any more will survive. After watching one try to hatch out and not making it, then being cannibalized by the hen and three chicks, I think I will take the rest of the eggs out, and clean up the coop. I had screwed a small piece of OSB across the front to keep the chicks in, but will probably remove that today too. They are such little dinosaurs, even from the start. Kind of cute to have them all run up to me when I give them water. I can’t leave it in there, as I don’t have a proper container for them to drink out of, so just using a little metal measuring cup and going out there several times a day. Also not the best arrangement.

I could probably talk him into leaving them with me, but not really looking to add more work to the already long list of things that need to be done. I’m planning to do a deep clean of my own chicken coop here soon, and adding some space to their run, so they’ll have more room. And 4 hens is just fine for now, especially considering I was going to get out of raising chickens entirely. Kind of funny how life works. We are almost back down to 11 goats total, my 8 and my friend’s 3, with the exception of one that hasn’t been picked up yet. The lady who bought her is in the middle of moving, plus has 5 cows due to give birth, so it’s been over 3 weeks since she paid me. I’ve not had that happen before. I did take the little wether to the lady who sells them to local folks, mostly from other countries, that come to buy them from her for meat. I feel bad, but that little guy was not friendly at all. And it helps towards the feed bill. I am probably going to breed Rhiannon and Branwyn and try to sell them together this fall, and maybe even the buck, M&M. I have three others I want to breed, and just don’t have the energy or money to take care of and go through the birthing process with 5 does. That would put me down to 5 goats, and my friend’s 3. With little to no help, and my husband climbing up there in years, as well as my own ups and downs health wise, it just seems like an intelligent thing to do, even if I don’t really want to.

We are definitely entering a time of great instability, and I need to lighten my load. Many things weigh heavier on me than they should. I want to take good care of everything I have taken responsibility for, and sometimes that means taking a hard look at where I’m at. My neighbor with all his cats and chickens is one that I struggle with, as I would like to keep them all, because I know I will pay more attention and give better care. I can’t save the world, though, and I need to quit taking it all on, no matter how much it pulls on the heart strings. We did manage to get both the two female Pyrenees pups, at 9 months old, spayed this last couple weeks, which is a huge relief. Just getting them in the car a few times so they didn’t freak out as bad was quite the chore, but we did it! It just seems like a good time all around to shore up loose ends.

I’m making cheese almost every day, and still doing the Freedom Exchange, though we did let the one where we were meeting in the city kind of go, for the time being. The lady who owns the business location we were using is out of the country for a couple months, and with the low turn out none of us wanted to commit to keeping it going while she is gone. So, we’re supporting the other one in Idaho that is much more happening. With everyone moving around, many of us are actually closer to that one now anyway. I got some awesome homemade vanilla extract, which I traded for cheese, at the last one. And will be getting grape flavored kefir at the next one. I don’t think much of it plain, but this was really good. Garden areas are doing sort of ok. The weeds seem to grow faster than everything else, and with the heat, if I don’t get out there early, it’s not happening. But I am getting tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, and buttercup squash, which is about all I planted this year. The grasshoppers are out of control this year, and so the raspberries are taking quite a hit. Lots of the herbs are doing great, though, and I have been picking and drying them to make tea. Not as much as I should, but, oh well. I left the gate open on one garden area, and Miss Phoenix got in there and ate all the newly planted strawberries, just like that! Fortunately, they are trying to make a comeback and I was give some more to plant. I’m hoping next year I have it more together.

The tractor we were supposed to be able to use is still not happening. It has a hydraulic leak that has been hard to fix, so may not get it at all again this year. My friend who is keeping goats here came out, and with my husband and I we almost knocked out the one pen that we had started on with the tractor earlier this year. It took us three hours, and that would have been 9 by myself. One down, and two more big pens to go! Which is why I’m seriously considering downsizing even more. The pens, and then the hay stacking, are the two hardest jobs to do in regards to keeping goats, and trying to do it by myself most of the time is just getting to be too much, as much as I hate to admit it. Even though I’m not a big person, at 5’2” and 100 pounds, I used to be able to keep up, so the whole getting older thing, in some ways, kind of sucks. Sorry, but it does. I’ve bumped up against limitation my whole life, and having to get used to even more just doesn’t get me excited. But, I also realize that some of that limitation I experienced was not as real as I thought it was when I was younger. It was primarily a learned life response, and I just didn’t know any better. Now, I know that almost any challenge can be surmounted, and still, the biggest hurdle is often myself.

See, I still have this save the world thing going. Not even sure where it came from, but it needs to go. I wanted to grow lots of food, raise goats for milk and cheese, not just for myself, but also to show others how to become more self reliant. Because the need is going to be arriving very soon, for most everyone. But honestly, people are going to have to rise to the occasion on their own, or not. It’s not my responsibility. I only need to grow enough food for us, and a little to trade, and same with the milk and cheese. The cheese has been an excellent trading product, but I still don’t need to milk any more than 2-3 goats to have plenty.

The thing that gets me is that most people aren’t going to do well as the world front continues to deteriorate. They want those lattes, fast food joints, easy city living type conditions, and aren’t going to give it up willingly. Those that do embrace change and are making efforts to move into greater self reliance are going for it already, and are a very independent lot. The trick there is to learn how to work together to achieve more than we can by ourselves, instead of maintaining that rugged individualism mindset. Community building isn’t easy. Trust isn’t easy either. All products of how we have been socialized since birth, but we can change that. I see glimmers of hope in that direction as more seem to be catching on to the idea.

Major life changes are much better adapted to when we consciously choose to make them too, speaking for myself of course. When I finally make up my mind that I will find the strength to make needed changes, things do change, for the better, every time. And surrender seems to be the other theme in my life lately. I am not in charge or in control of so many things, and I am making more of an effort to try and get out of my own way. Help is there, it just doesn’t always look like I think it will or should. My bigger me can’t be accessed as well, when I always think I already have it all figured out. Aging with humility and gratitude is definitely the way to go, even if I still encounter some bumps along the way. Did I mention I’m a very hard headed person? Also an Aquarian. Aquarius does represent change, but being a fixed sign tends to embrace change they chose, not that which gets foisted upon them without their consent. I do have to laugh at myself, truly, because life, as much as it is a tragedy at times, is also a comedy. And humor is probably one of the most valuable assets we have as human beings. Honestly, when I meet people who don’t smile or laugh, or seem to have a sense of humor, I tend to steer away from them. As in, I don’t like them. And they probably don’t like me either, which is just as well.

The whole being embodied experience has been a strange one, no doubt. Who are these crazy beings that believe they own us and can dictate our lives from birth until death? They definitely don’t have a sense of humor. Somehow I don’t think they are going to get the last laugh though (especially since I don’t think they laugh at all). I can’t seem to muster up much sympathy. Not sure where they go when they aren’t in a body, but I don’t think it’s the same place I’m going. What do they do when there’s no one to boss around? I can’t imagine....

Until next time, may you find something to smile and laugh about. They hate that, so we need to do more of it!
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....
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