We’ve had a good year in the garden. It could’ve been better if I’d been more vigilant with garden pests, but all in all, not bad.
The spring garden is pretty much finished. Only the okra and the loofahs are still going strong. We plant the loofahs more for the bees and the hummingbirds than anything else. They are remarkably attractive to pollinators, and one of the few plants that will bloom in sweltering heat. It’s a pleasure to go out there and see all the different pollinators.
I started a fall garden. Just a small one: Six 4 x 8 beds. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time for the yellow squash to produce. The rest are cool season vegetables. We generally don’t have our first frost until December so I should be safe.
Goats: It finally happened. We sold all the Boer (except for little Red) who is destined for the freezer. What a production it was to sell these guys. We had two extra Nubians we had to sell too and they went fast, but selling the Boer was like pulling teeth.
The worst part about selling them is that we had to deal with so many idiots who were either trying to scam us or else they sent us crank texts. Honestly, I have never seen this many weirdos online before. One guy emailed me and started harassing me that I was illegally selling livestock.
I scratched my head on that one because he was almost hysterical with his diatribe. Normally I would delete emails like this but I was curious as to why he felt I was doing something illegal, so I asked him, with a warning that he needed to respond to me without profanity.
He was a little more sober the next time and rattled off some apocryphal rule on Craigslist. Since there’s a specific heading for farm products, I copied it and sent it back to him, assuring him that everything was on the up and up. He returned with another diatribe that I was obviously a commercial operation and not a real farm. At that point, I hit delete.
Craigslist used to be a good place for selling my animals, but not anymore. Never in my whole life have I seen so many unstable people. That’s the trouble with being online. People get stupid because they think they’re anonymous.
At least that’s over.
Quail and Chickens: Our quail experiment has done well this year. I put a couple dozen in the freezer early on, but I have another thirty+ newly born. They also will go in the freezer in a couple of months.
Quail are easy to harvest and dress. Chickens, many of which I will need to cull soon, take longer to get to size. I don’t mind plucking quail, but my fingers fatigue too quickly trying to pluck chickens, so I skin them. I miss the crispy skin though.
The Ameracauna chickens have been very nice birds. They’ve got good manners, pretty eggs, and they hatched without any problems. I’m glad I spent the extra money on my breeding stock.
Around the homestead: BOTH our HVAC units died within weeks of each other. I couldn’t believe it! They were twenty-one years old and I’m told that’s a good run for these machines. But when you have to replace them one after another it feels like a punch in the gut. It cost 21 thousand dollars to replace, my friends. I was sick.
Much as it hurt to write those checks, the new ACs have been wonderful. We bought upgraded systems that cool the house much more efficiently. We don’t have to run them all day long like we used to with the old system. With luck, they’ll be good until we’re too old to live here.
One new thing is that we’ve switched to 4 inch filters. I never knew such things existed, but apparently they’re much more efficient.
You might remember we were having trouble with our old work truck, the one we use to pull our trailers. Greg was feeling his age and decided to take it into an auto shop rather than climbing into the truck to diagnose it. After many days, the shop called us and said it’s a head gasket job, which surprisingly, they don’t do.
We think they were trying to dismiss us because they didn’t want to be responsible for a truck this old. They changed one small part but the truck still wouldn’t start when it was hot.
By this time we had learned we were now 21K in the hole because of the AC, so Greg felt he had no choice but to go in himself and find the problem. He didn’t believe them when they said it was the head gasket.
And guess what? It wasn’t. If this is the quality of auto service people now, I weep for the future. Greg meticulously sussed it out and decided it was the distributor and coil. He was right.
We need a new truck. This one has over 300,000 miles on it. But we’ll have to baby it until we can recover.
The cistern is finally up! Greg has been promising this cistern for two years, and he finally made good on his promise. It took some doing. We cleared the area of small trees and brush, relocated our existing septic sprinkler 30 feet away (a much bigger job than we anticipated), then we added gutters to my garden shed and attached connecting pipe to four 300 gallon totes. We don’t get a lot of rain in the summer, but come spring we’ll easily fill those totes. Our water bill is extreme so any help is welcome.
A new compost bin in our future: Greg built our old compost bins when we first bought this house, but now it’s in a cramped and inconvenient place. (My, how we grow into our spaces!) We agreed on a new location, but the price tag for the new compost bins was prohibitive.
Because it’s going to be in open view, it needed to be 1) not an eyesore, and 2) easily last 15 years without maintenance. That’s when I recommended making it out of cinder blocks. It turned out to be nearly half the price of what it would’ve cost if we’d built it with wood and wire and it’d be sturdier too. Greg’s going to build it so he can get in with the tractor to turn the compost. No more shoveling and turning by hand. Way-hey!
It’s the next project on the list, so I hope we can get that realized by November.
We burned another brush pile. Not our biggest one, but in the top five in size. I much prefer the more manageable sized fire Mike Keyton did at his place.
There are a few more projects for the fall, big and small. Greg still wants to build me a greenhouse. It’s a lovely idea, but there are so many other things more pressing, not to mention we’ve busted our budget with necessary, but expensive replacements and repairs. It’ll have to be a dream for another year.
Nana and Jammy: Nana really needs to go on a diet. I had her slimmed down to her ideal weight, but since losing our poor Iko, Nana gets “snacks” all to herself now. I won’t say who, but a certain husband has been instrumental in giving her too many treats.
Jams is in fine shape, but we discovered early on that he had a weeping eye. At first I didn’t think much of it because it didn’t seem to bother him, but I mentioned it to the vet when I brought him in last, and she said it was cat herpes. Being feral, he probably got it from his mother.
I was so distraught, but she tells me that it’s incredibly common. According to one article on Google, 80-90% of cats have it but don’t always show symptoms. If they don’t show symptoms, how would you know? Other than one runny eye from time to time, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.
There’s a new young cat who makes regular rounds to our place. He’s a black cat and very pretty. One day I was in the next room and I heard this horrible hissing and spitting. I thought, oh, no! Jammy must’ve cornered Godzilla. I’d never seen him act so fierce.
Nope. It was this interloper cat who was taunting him from the other side of the window. Jammy told him in no uncertain terms to beat it. He had dibs on this house.
So how has life been treating you? Have the seasons changed by you yet? We’re still pretty hot, but I hope we can cool off in a few weeks. Are you allowed to burn brush and leaves or do you bag them for the landfill?
And have you ever sold something on Craigslist? What’s been your experience?