State of the Homestead

 

It’s been an up and down month on the homestead. On the up side, today is my birthday, which is always a good thing. I don’t plan to do any cooking today so I leave it to Greg to fill in the details. I plan to play a diva today. Ha!

spinachGarden: In Texas, spring comes early. We had an exceptionally mild winter with hardly a week of really cold weather. This year, spring actually arrived in February. I’ve been suckered into false springs before so I didn’t put any plants out except for the cooler weather greens like kale, spinach and Swiss chard.chickens and greens

I thought my comfrey had died out but they came back. I love plants that come back every year.

My big winners this year were the asparagus and carrots. This is the first year I successfully grew both. At first the asparagus only came in one a day, but now we’re getting a regular supply (6-10 spears a day), which is enough to freeze. It is without a doubt the BEST tasting asparagus we’ve ever eaten. It’s such a treat, especially considering how expensive (and tasteless) they are from the store.

carrotsGreg bugs me for carrots every year. Late last year I had a bare spot so I threw in a few seeds. If I had watered it more I think they would’ve been bigger, but for throw-away seeds, I thought they did great. I still have more carrots in the ground. I’m only pulling them out as we need them.

I’ve put out tomato, peas, and pepper plants, but I’ll wait a few more weeks before I start the sunflowers, okra, and soybeans. This year I also plan to plant a raised bed of veggies exclusively for the rabbits, goats, and chickens. Last year I fed them the extras from the our garden, but I thought I’d plant more turnips, beets, and greens especially with them in mind.

Goats: This is our one low point on the farm. Daisy, the younger of our two doedobbys was due to deliver soon after Pan. I felt the baby kicking and I knew it was a matter of days. But something went wrong and the baby died in the womb. Daisy didn’t seem herself one day, and the next she seemed worse.

Out of options, we took her to the vet and he gave her a heavy dose of antibiotic, pain reliever, and anti-inflammatory drugs. She didn’t improve. We dosed her again, but she was getting worse. I finally asked Greg to shoot her to put her out of her misery. We buried her in a nice deep grave so nothing could disturb her.

We’ve raised goats for three years now and this is the first time we’ve ever had a serious problem. These things happen. For years, we heard some awful horror stories from other goat herders. We had been lucky until now. RIP, Daisy and baby.

new chickensChickens: I had it in my mind to sell our existing flock of laying hens but I can’t justify selling hens who eat their unborn young. They had stopped for a while but now they’re doing it again. There are ways to stop them from pecking at their eggs, but I’m lazy and don’t want to go through the trouble. So now, the girls are going in the pot in the next few weeks.

I do have a small flock of new layers in another pen. They’ll keep us in eggs until I hatch the new batch for next year.

Rabbits: I kept back one buck from the last litter that Belle had so he could be a future mate. The white doe will go in the freezer, but I hope to sell the original buck because he’s quite friendly. I think he’d make a good pet.

It’s funny. In December of 2015 I had these big plans on how I would make a little side income from the animals. The goats would give me the usual twins to sell later in the year. The chickens would lay enough eggs for me to incubate and sell chicks, and the rabbits would give me enough bunnies to sell and put in the freezer. (I make the most money with the least labor from incubating chicks, so I was really looking forward to this.)

None of it came to pass. Pan gave me a little buckling but that was it. (He’s doing great, by the way.) Daisy and her baby died. My chickens act like idiot zombies and eat their unborn. The rabbits have never been good mates for one another and they refuse to breed without assistance. I need to either get a bigger male or another blue New Zealand.

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m not used to having problems with my animals. Sometimes the puzzle pieces don’t fit and you have to start over. I think this is where I am now.

I’m hoping to find a piglet this year, but they are awfully pricey in my area. We’ll have to wait and see.

Dogs: I’m happy to report Nana and Iko are getting along famously. My only concern lately is sometimes I have to leave them for up to 18 hours when I travel. I generally feed my dogs twice a day. The first meal is always cooked food, but dinner is dry kibble. When we travel they refuse to eat. I feed them before I go, but they refuse to eat anything else until we return.

It’s not a big deal but I worry because I’d like to go on vacation at some point. I hope they won’t go on a hunger strike if we leave them at a kennel. I had a dog do this to me once before. Luckily, I have a wonderful friend, (thank you again, Mel) who hand-fed my nervous pup at the kennel until I returned home.

Moi: As it’s my birthday, I get to be queen for the day, but I might have to take a rain check since we have a million errands to run today. I’ll be happy if the next four weeks go smoothly, then I’ll be able to breathe again.

For my birthday, I’d like to visit another bookstore but we’ve already hit the nearby ones. I’m looking for a cookbook for my electric pressure cooker. More about this handy machine later. Best thing I’ve bought in years!

I also want a birthday cake, but it’s unlikely I’ll get one unless I bake it myself.

I think I’ve neglected some friends on Facebook or their blogs. I’ve tried to keep up but there are days when I don’t even have time to look at my computer. I’ll be back to a more normal schedule by the end of April. Bear with me. Great things are happening, but not without a lot of stress and hair-pulling.

 

 

 

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26 Comments

  1. *hugs* So sorry you’ve had a hard time on the animal front lately. I know what it’s like.

    But on a more positive note, Happy Birthday! If you really want some cake, and you’re running any errands in town, you can always try hitting up a restaurant for lunch and seeing if they give you free dessert for your birthday. Sometimes they’ll even give you the free dessert without buying lunch. 😉

  2. Rebekah: Thanks. I knew in my bones something was wrong. When I realized she wasn’t responding to my ministrations, we went to the vet right away, but we couldn’t save her.

    re: birthday
    Do they do that for lunch? I only thought it was for dinner? I might have to check that out. 🙂

  3. I’m really sorry about Daisy and her little one. And the your silly animals didn’t read the gameplan or just aren’t cooperating.

    I had the hunger strike thing with one of our dogs when we kenneled her. Luckily we now have friends and family close by who will tend to our beastie at home when we’re gone.

    Happy birthday. If we were closer, I’d bake you a cake. Of course, I’d also feel compelled to sing to you and the trade off might not be worth the cake. *grin*

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your animal troubles. It sounds like you’ve got a plan, though, so that’s good.

    Wishing you a happy birthday! Enjoy the day, even if you don’t do anything super special. Just make sure you get yourself some cake and some bookstore time at some point soon. 🙂

  5. Angela Brown

    You’re pretty busy so your friends will forgive you if you haven’t been able to be as active on FB and blogs 🙂

    My condolences on Daisy and baby 🙁

    On a brighter note, I hope you have a blessed and Happy Birthday!

  6. Happy birthday! I hope you do get to do at least one something special on your special day! So sad about Daisy and her baby, so sorry for your loss. I always enjoy reading your state of the homestead, it is so much more better than listening to the state of the union addresses by presidents. At least you are accomplishing something!

    betty

    • Betty:
      re: …it is so much more better than listening to the state of the union addresses by presidents. At least you are accomplishing something!

      LOL!
      That is the best comment I’ve ever gotten on my homestead reports. Thanks!

  7. Sandra Almazan

    Happy birthday! Sorry to hear about your animal troubles. I wish I could send you Ysabel from my fantasy series. She has animal magic and would sort everything out.

  8. Hi Maria. I hope the next few weeks go well for you. Sorry to hear about Daisy and her baby. That is sad. I’d be so upset.

    Happy Birthday also. I do hope you get to celebrate in some small way. 🙂

  9. Anne Gallagher

    Happy Birthday! I’m sorry about your goats, but circle of life and all. And your garden looks amazing. I wish I had the wherewithal to do a garden. I was thinking of two or three raised boxes on the front porch. Tomatoes, maybe baby lettuce, and some yellow squash if I can get to it. But I’m sure my best laid plans with run amok. That’s always the way.
    Hope you get a piece of cake!

  10. Anne: Circle of life is right. The moment I knew she was at the point of no return I asked Greg to put her down. I don’t like to see animals suffer for any reason.

    re: garden
    In the beginning Greg did all the gardening and I did the menial stuff like moving dirt or weeding. After a while I got the hang of it and tried my hand at it.
    To me, the hardest thing to do is plan ahead. Once I know what I want to plant and where, it’s just a matter of getting the beds prepped for planting. The rest is just water and sun.

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