Hobbling Into Spring

Well, I finally got the taxes done and I look forward to using that time for other things…like posting blogs! I did come up with a schedule that will allow me to actually keep up with the tax paperwork throughout the year so that it is not such a big chore. Each year, I vow to do better in this area but did not have a good plan in place to make it happen. We’ll see how I do in the future. I admit to being more confident of the prospect that in the past..

I spent a lot of money last year on getting the mowers up and running. The riding mower did work well, until the tires continued to go flat. I was unable to find the correct tires and asked my husband to find them. The tires are now flat and dry rotted. The tractor is now working well too, but the PTO shaft is rusted and inoperable at this time. I plan to look for a new one soon so that we can run the brush hog. I got the push mower running…for a while. I looked for a new mower and did not want a battery operated mower nor spend that kind of money on one. Gas mowers were every bit as expensive. So, at this time, I am trying to take care of our acreage with a scythe. This is stressful to me each time the wind picks up and we are under fire warnings. Our property has not been brush hogged in several years. I’ll keep working at it.

I do love my scythe and use it frequently. Keeping tall stuff down near the house and barn provides plenty of fodder for pigs, chickens and rabbits. It is work that I can do easily and even gives my abs a bit of of a workout.

At the beginning of March, I finally got my boarling, Wilbur, separated into a pen with Daisy. She is the only sow that he could mate with that I could have register-able Idaho pasture pigs. I’m afraid that I did not get him moved in time and it appears that I will be expecting piglets from one of his sisters soon. I’m disappointed but I have been crippled up with my foot for much longer than I had anticipated. I am finally able to do all the chores now, but I’m very careful how I step, even wearing fake combat boots to stabilize my foot while traversing our hilly, uneven ground. My foot is swollen every evening and very sore, but I love the work I do and I’m glad to be back at it.

On March 4, I discovered the first of our asparagus starting to come up. Productions is slowly increasing and we get to enjoy home grown asparagus about once a week. I plan to grill some one Saturday and definitely look forward to it.

On March 9, Tom and I moved Wattles, Yoda and the girls. It is getting smoother all the time with the moves, but I forgot that Wattles remembers there is feed and a water bowl for the dogs in the barn and didn’t close it down before the move. The other pigs went to the new paddock easily and it wasn’t long before Wattles was coaxed back in with the rest of her crew. Soon, all of them were happily wandering around their new paddock, munching on new, spring growth along with tall old growth from last year. A couple of the pigs even scampered around in glee with their new paddock. Fresh Grass for Wattles and Family can be seen here.

On March 11, I bought two female New Zealand rabbits from a new friend so that I could start breeding them. I put one of the girls in with Roger for a few minutes. It has been nearly a month and there are no babies yet. I believe the gestation period is 28-35 days and we are in that window now. My new friend was amazed at how big Roger was and we ended up trading bucks. I was okay with that because Roger truly was growing so big that he seemed to be outgrowing his cage. The video, Roger Gets a New Home can be seen here.

I’ve been working on fencing around the garden area. I was in the garden one day and realized that the dogs had somehow gotten in despite the fact that I had closed the gate behind me. It seems that the very north fence had a gap in it. I knew that because I had taken it down myself. I did not realize that the interior fence between the gardens had been sagging to the point that the dogs could easily jump over it and come to lie down in my freshly dug soil. My repairs are not permanent or even solid for that matter, but it has inhibited the dogs from getting into my garden.

One day, while cleaning out the filing cabinet and getting rid of old paperwork, I ran across a document that was dated back in the 90s, well before Tom and I met. I was surprised to see a signature on the document that I recognized. My friend at church works at the courthouse and it was her signature. I sent her a picture of the document, which pleased her, too. She said that she had been working for the courthouse for about two months when she had signed that document for Tom. That was really cool.

On March 16, after working at the clothing ministry, Kinzie and I drove to Claremore to look for her a prom dress. There is a wonderful church ministry there where the woman who runs it “rents out” dresses, costume jewelry, dress shoes and clutch purses for the prom season each year. They have personal shoppers that help the girls pick out a dress and even help them with zippers and other closures. It is so fun to watch these girls of all shapes and sizes truly find “the dress.” Everyone knows it immediately as they come out of the dressing room. After the girl has everything she needs, they take her information and she literally checks out the dress and accessories, all at no cost! Kinzie and one of her very good friends both picked out lovely dresses that truly brought tears to our eyes as we gazed at the beautiful girls in their chosen dresses. The lady who runs this ministry told me that they counted this year and she is up to 2300 dress! Wow! Another cool thing is that I am able to donate dresses and other accessories from our clothing ministry because we cater to a different clientele.

I am doing a series called “Are You Ready for the Next Great Depression?” I am breaking down various ways to prepare for a long economic downturn similar to the last great depression. I also have some exciting projects in the works pertaining to this series and I hope to be able to share them with you soon. Episode 56 can be seen here.

On March 22, I cleared a lot of dead grass and pruned the trees growing along the fence line behind the blackberry bed. I didn’t get the pruned branches picked up but the fence line looks a lot better. I also scythed the perimeter for the new pig paddock in hopes of moving them soon. On Sunday the 24, fourteen ducklings hatched. They were all healthy and I had no losses. On Monday, I posted the farm update, Pig Drama. It can be seen here.

I have been trying to stay on top of the weeding and pruning of various grow beds, grapevines and trees. I’ll never be able to stay on top of it all, but I have to make the effort. I got a good start on weeding the woody beds in the the vineyard. The garlic bed was complete, but I only got half of several of the asparagus beds done. Regardless, it is easier to see the asparagus coming up in the parts that are weeded.

On Saturday, March 30, Tom and I got Wilbur and Daisy moved to their new paddock. Because Daisy also knew where the feed in the barn was kept, I remembered to close the barn down. She did not remember though and went to her new paddock easily. Wilbur, on the other hand, tried to reunite with his family instead. He eventually rejoined Daisy and they happily munched on the grass in their new paddock. Poor Wilbur Wanted to Join His Family can be seen here.

Everyone who deals with ducks know that they are very messy with water. I had some cold nights after the ducklings hatched and I kept them in the brooder for a few days. After that, i rigged up a pen inside of a chicken tractor and moved them outside, including a heat lamp to keep them warm as needed. The ducklings are very frightened of me and I should spend more time actually interacting with them to help that, but I didn’t. I feed, water and watch all my animals for signs of sickness or injury, but I do little more than that. I also noted that the tarp on the chicken tractor needed attention and I zip tied it back into place. Other than their fear of me, the ducklings have adapted well. Moving Ducklings to a Chicken Tractor can be seen here.

The time was nearing for the doe I had put in with Roger to show signs of preparing for birthing babies. Plus, she was just obnoxious about showing dominance over the other doe. I put her in a cage by herself and cut down an old desk drawer to make a birthing box for the dominant doe. I also put a roof over the cage that I had moved her into. Because she was on the ground, I decided to put the other two on the ground and now they are all in a row, moved every day or two to eat the fresh grass. This does take away from the option of having a collection of rabbit poop under an elevated cage for fertilizer in the garden, but I feel I can elevate any of the cages when I am in need of the fertilizer. Also, since they are all together in a row, it is easier to cover them with a tarp on stormy, rainy nights. So far, so good. I say that we are coming up on 35 days this week and I am not seeing any sign of birthing behavior.

On April 8, we celebrated my youngest son’s wedding anniversary and the solar eclipse. We had 95 percent coverage here in NE Oklahoma and I decided to do a farm update video during the eclipse to see how my animals would do. It did not get completely dark like those who had a total eclipse but it did get noticeably darker outside. It was pretty cool to be outside for this event. Farm Update During the Eclipse can be seen here.

That same day, a neighbor that Tom had met the week before, came up our driveway bringing a wallet for him to look at. It seems that the neighbor’s grandmother used to care for Tom’s grandfather in his later days in a battle with dementia. The neighbor was going through boxes and found Hubert’s wallet. It contained his drivers license from 1985, a picture of his youngest son, Tom’s uncle, some receipts, and a very old picture of a man on tin. Tom was thrilled to receive the wallet and we contacted several family members, showing them snap shots of the contents of the wallet. So far, no one recognizes the man in the tin photo. Of course, there is speculation from some family members how the wallet ended up in the neighbor’s possession, but Tom feels that was a long time ago and nothing could be done about it anyway, so he’s just going to enjoy the wallet and its contents. I’m glad he took that view.

My new friend that I bought the rabbits from ended up buying all my ducklings. I’m just fine with that. I’ve got all summer to hatch eggs for my personal flock and to sell at nearby animal auctions. I just started a batch of 36 chicken eggs in hopes of having chicks to sell at the next auction for poultry and small animals.

Last night was prom night. Yesterday, Kinzie and her friend did the last-minute things to get ready for the big night. Of course, she and her friend were exceptionally beautiful. Kinzie’s beauty brought tears to my eyes. She just showed me a mess of photos that they took and many of them were very silly and fun, showing that they had a really good time. I’m very glad. Here are a couple of pictures of Kinzie and her date.

I’m very glad that she had so much fun. I’m so very blessed to have her in my life. Excuse me while I sign off and wipe a tear from my eye. Next time!

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