And Then It Stopped

We knew it would happen. It happens almost every year. Day after day of spring rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and occasionally, flooding. Then the rain stops, and it gets hot, very quickly. It had been too dry previously for much flooding, but everything else went as it always does. Now, it’s hot and dry. The mud is cracking, the garden now needs to be watered and the pigs fight over the mud holes I fill for them every morning. The high temperature so far this year is 100 degrees with a heat index of 112 degrees. I am changing out frozen ceramic tiles for the rabbits twice a day to help them endure the heat.

On a personal note, my mother was hospitalized briefly with an illness but is now back at home with my brother and his family. My youngest son, who is in his thirties, broke a tooth so badly, it had to be taken out in pieces and is in the process of getting a permanent bridge put in. He has terrible sinuses and an infection may have traveled to that tooth, weakening it as his other teeth seem to be sound. I mention my son because there is also a slightly humorous story involved. His wife, Kayla, called me to ask me to babysit baby Ivy so she could take Tony to the dentist as he had cracked a tooth. She’s normally a very calm, quiet person. In the middle of the conversation, she suddenly starts yelling, “Stop that! What are you doing? Get that fork out of there!” I could hear Tony in the background trying to explain to her that he was sticking a fork in the tooth, just to make sure that it really was cracked. Tony is a highly intelligent person that does really interesting things sometimes that makes you wonder how smart he really is.

I only had three ducklings hatch this last time and it didn’t take long for them to be too messy to be in the brooder. I put them out into a chicken tractor that was bogged so far down in the mud with grass growing up around it that I couldn’t move it. The next morning, I went out to feed and water the ducklings and discovered there was only one highly frightened little duckling left. That was the same morning that I got a shipment of thirty Cornish cross meat chickens. The lone duckling was taken back to the brooder to accompany the chicks. That worked out well as far as getting along together. Of course, the one duckling notoriously made a huge mess in the brooder and the chicks stayed wet constantly. This meant that I had to move them back out to the chicken tractor after a few days. Tom got it unstuck from the now-dried mud and pulled it up away from the tall grass of the field and closer to the barn. So far, so good.

I also got a new rabbit buck to replace the one that had escaped. I was able to trade two Pekin drakes for the buck. I was really happy with that arrangement. I posted the video, “New Additions to the Farm.” It can be seen here.

I also posted a video showing the process of all the shuffling of the animals as I made room for the new animals. It can be seen here.

Kinzie had a softball scrimmage at the school and, as usual, I videoed it. When we were in Western Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago, I saw contraptions used to hold a go-pro style camera or cell phone up on the back-stop fences. I looked up the contraptions and ordered one for my small camera. It was a cheap experiment, mainly bungee cords to hold the camera in place. I used my cheapest, least-liked camera in case things didn’t go well. Apparently, I didn’t use the correct setup for the camera. A ball hit the backstop and my camera came flying out of its gear, smashing into the concrete, shattering the lens. Like I said, I didn’t like that camera anyway and rethought how to secure the camera in the fence contraption. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it again, but I’m pretty sure that I got it figured out correctly this time. I will say that the footage was excellent compared to the camera I always set up in from of me. I believe between the two, I will have great footage in the future.

As the heat set in, the pigs in Wattles pen have been hassling each other for space in the pig hut. It turns out that Yoda is the one who always gets kicked out. Since I haven’t made the appointment with the processor for him yet, he ends up in the mud hole next to the waterer. It isn’t shaded though. I set a couple of T posts in the ground and eye screws into the pig hut then zip tied a tarp from the T posts to the pig hut. It seems to be helping as there is now room for everyone under the shade.

As Amy Dingmann of A Farmish Kind of Life has indicated recently, as you get older, projects take a much longer time to complete than they had in the past. Projects have always take much longer for us to get down here and age has certainly contributed to the issue this year, especially after my foot surgery. In fact, the project is still not complete, but it was enough to at least get a video published about it. My friend, Sherry, had given me several large tubs that once contained cattle supplement. We used one of them to make a smaller pig waterer until I could get a barrel. The others I am using as planters to line my front porch. Like I said, the project is not complete yet but you can see the video here.

I have the two livestock guardian dogs, Beethoven and Candy. Beethoven is four years old and Candy is three or four years older than him. Candy is more slender and can jump and run quickly toward any predator. She’s been an excellent guard dog. Beethoven is willing, but is slow and cumbersome. It was time to get a new dog to keep the farm safe from predators. I found a very cute puppy at a good price and drove to go pick her up. It has taken a few days for my older dogs to get used to her but everyone seems to be adjusting well. Except for the time puppy discovered the electric fence around the pigs. She wasn’t happy about that at all. I hated it, but she needed to learn, just like everyone else around here. Candy, my oldest dog is really struggling with jealousy and is requiring much more attention from me. Kinzie wanted to name the new puppy so I waited until the very busy teen could be home long enough to spend some time with her. After research, visiting the dog, and some consideration, Kinzie came up with the name Elsie. Fine with me. The video debuting Elsie, along with a farm update can be seen here.

Kinzie loves to play softball and has indicated that she wants to go to college on a softball scholarship. Apparently, we are a little late in the game as she is going to be a senior this year but we are working diligently to get her found by coaches. Maybe all the videoing I’ve been doing these past few years will be helpful. We’ll see.

So far, we’ve harvested peaches from one of our peach trees and Tom has harvested the garlic and onions. Tomatoes are ripening now and he brings in a few every evening. We’ve already put up thirteen pints of diced tomatoes and it looks like I need to start working on some tomato sauce soon.

The other evening, Tom and I were in the living room watching a college baseball game when some movement caught my eye. A six-foot black snake was slithering across the living room and down the hall. I hurried out to the barn to get the snake wrangler. I love that thing. Best $35 I’ve ever spent. Unfortunately, Tom is very frightened of snakes. By the time I had returned from the barn, the snake had gone into my pantry room and Tom didn’t follow it to see where it went. We looked everywhere and never found it. For a few days, we were nervous about going into that room, but we have not smelled the snake (and believe me, you can smell them!) and Beethoven started acting normally again after a couple days of nervousness in that room also.

About the only thing left to tell you is that I have been having some problems with the music portion of my videos and I’ve found that very distressing. Often, the music I had chosen plays in the slot it is supposed to but another piece of music will play on top of it. At this point, I have no idea how to remedy the problem, but will work on it. Until then, God bless and see you next time!

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