I hope that both of you will forgive me for what follows. In general the last 2.5 months have been a wonderful experience full of learning and enjoyment. This last week, however, has been trying…
I’m posting this not to gripe but in service of the reason I am keeping this blog in the first place – a map of where we’ve been so that we can remember our successes and failures and so that others can replicate (or not, in the case of this week) what we’ve done.
Where to begin…
1. The dogs keep murdering guinea fowl. Every time I think I’ve got the dogs trained to stay away from the birds, they kill a guinea. At this point the mutts have one last chance or else they are relegated to the small backyard instead of having freedom to romp around.
2. Did you read about the small chickens? Man, you follow every pastured poultry guideline to the T and the birds just don’t grow. Extremely frustrating. At least we can eat them, because we sure couldn’t sell them.
3. Our little broiler experiment is not going the way I had hoped. The Cornish X chicks are already literally twice the size of the Buff Orpingtons. We will just have to see the experiment through to the end, however. Right now the 25 Cornish X chicks average 9.3 ounces each while the 50 Buff Orpingtons average 5.1. However, the 25 Cornish X chicks have eaten over 8 pounds of food while the 50 Buff Orpingtons have eaten only 5.5 pounds. We’ll have to see if the Cornish X are more expensive even if they are ready sooner. The Cornish X sure are boring though. They just sit there unless they are eating. The White Rocks and Buffs run all over the place playing and investigating.
4. I can’t keep weight on. I eat all the time and I keep getting smaller and smaller. I know that any women reading these does not feel bad for me, but not being able to maintain my weight makes my mood go up and down, makes me get dizzy in the heat, as well as makes me take breaks more often because I get tired more quickly. My weight’s been the same as always up until 2 weeks ago, now it just plummets. Even with taking the day off yesterday to rest and eat all day I’m still 12 pounds below my ideal weight.
5. The Machinery Blues:
A. Weedeaters. We’ve gone through 2 of them so far and the third one is now on the fritz. We’re NOT scrimping either – these are possibly the only thing other than the poultry that we’ve actually bought new.
B. The mower is out again, and the online manual only says that an authorized dealer should make the repairs I need done. Grr. I can see the large bill now. I know what needs to be done and have the ability to do it, but the company doesn’t make the parts available except at authorized dealers’ shops.
C. I bought a bushhog mower for a steal, then found out why. This is actually a cause to celebrate a little at the end, but hours of frustration led to the ability to smile at the end. The mower seemed to be in good shape. Then when I got it home I found all of the temporary solutions the previous owner had implemented. The wheels literally came off the wagon, along with 2 belts, a chain, and half the sprocket. In the end, though, I got it fixed myself for under $14 and began mowing our shoulder-high front field.
6. I worked for 2 whole days bushhogging that front field. It’s a little less than 15 acres of 5-foot tall grass, brush, and weeds. I was hot, I was sweating, I’d gone through 15 liters of water. I was making progress and was about halfway done. Then my neighbor David drove up on his $30K tractor and disk mower and did most of the rest of the field in an hour. David’s a great guy and it was a super nice gesture that saved me two more days of work. It’s still frustrating, though, when someone when more “stuff” than you shows you how silly your way of doing it was. And, yes, I was out-technologied by an Amish man. In the future, I’d rather mow with goats. They don’t need gas, you don’t have to push them, their disk mowers don’t break and get left in the field, and you can eat them when the job is done. Anybody wanna get me a goat?
7. I have a dozen free-range, heritage breed turkeys running around and not one order from a customer that wants one.
8. The rabbits are getting bigger by the day, and so far the only people who have shown interest in them only want to come by and “look at them.” Rabbit window shoppers. Who knew?
9. My lovely wife is sad and I don’t know how to help.
10. The roof starting leaking.
11. I’ve been working 10-12 hour days for a long time, and always seem to have more work to do than time to do it. I’m trying to put systems in place that will make the workload diminish with time, but it sure is frustrating to fill in the gaps myself that the animals will take over in the future. It’s also expensive and I’m worried about whether we can afford to fix the roof, build the greenhouse, buy fence posts and wire, and start building Lifestyles Lane.
I will survive.
It will get done.
One day at a time.
Sorry for that,