It Keeps Raining

We have had so much rain lately. Since April 26, we have received nearly 13 inches here on our farm. Our pastor says they have had even more than that. I’m grateful that we are on a hill, but the mud is deep and hard to walk through in some places. We have had no tornadoes here but we have heard of several friends in some of the other towns in Oklahoma and Kansas who have and we are very saddened by the damage and loss of life for these precious people.

I feel a little bad because I had written in a previous blog post about how dry it is here and speculated that the dry line had moved to our east. It seems like this year, the dry line has returned to where it used to be. Probably a good thing that I’m not a meteorologist. I have always wanted to be a storm chaser though, simply because my family was chased by tornado when I was about eleven years old.

I was really pleased to get to babysit my youngest granddaughter, Ivy. She is two (and a half) years old and very well-behaved. She’s learning to talk and I basically spent the time there trying to interpret what she was saying. I had a good time.

On the farm, I have a batch of baby chicks that I was going to take to an auction to sell, but a stormy morning kept me at home. One of my piglets was limping badly the other day and I was concerned that she had a broken leg, probably from being stepped on. I’m grateful to report that none of the piglets are limping now and all seem to be healthy. I was about to say vibrant and healthy but, I’ll admit, this amount of rain has had them shivering and very muddy every morning as they wait for the sun to come out so they can warm up and dry out.

My barn cat, Mopar, has been coming and going this spring. I suspect he has a girlfriend somewhere. This most recent disappearance has been over a week though, so I’m a little concerned that he isn’t returning. He adopted us, I believe, three years ago during a particularly cold snap in the winter. He single-handedly knocked down ninety-nine percent of the rodents on our farm and I am grateful. I certainly hope he returns soon. He’s a good cat.

My parents are in their eighties and both have had strokes a few years ago. Dad has developed dementia to the point that he is in an assisted living facility while Mom still lives with my brother. Mom has been in the hospital a few days though as she has developed a severe urinary tract infection. I have not heard in a few days how she is doing and I must admit that she is on my mind frequently. I missed her call the other day while I was in a meeting and have been unable to connect with her as she has difficulty figuring out how to answer her phone.

As I was writing this, my brother called to tell me that Mom is going into a rehab facility for awhile to help her recover from her mild stroke and regain strength from the UTI. I got to talk to her on the phone and soon realized that the stroke has affected her cognitively. She had already been diminishing in that area, but now the evidence is clear. It was good to talk to her though. I used to call her every week, but now that she can’t figure out how to use the phone sometimes, I may hear from her every month or two. I do send her pictures of the grand kids that are here and my brother shows them to her.

I am struck frequently that I am only twenty years behind my parents in age. Mom had her first stroke when she was 65 and playing tennis three days a week. I’m going to be 62 in August. Certainly sobering thoughts.

Snake season is here again. My husband absolutely hates snakes. When he discovers a snake in the mobile egg unit, he comes looking for me. The best $35 I have ever spent (probably more expensive than that now) is for the snake wrangler I bought a couple of years ago. I was not exactly excited about attempting to grab a snake with my hands but I go into the mobile egg unit and tackle a snake full of eggs with no trepidation at all now with the snake wrangler.

A couple of weeks ago, I inherited a little red hen. She’s very friendly and likes to follow me around the farm. Because it truly isn’t safe on our property for her to free range, I put her in with a white hen I had quarantined for a while before I introduced her to the rest of my adult bird flock. Of course, this meant putting her in the mobile egg unit after dark. The premise is that the birds will wake up in the morning and not realize that a newcomer is in the mix. I am coming to disagree with this. I have two roosters. The roosters have their own “harem.” The two flocks live with Pekin ducks, all in the pen with the mobile egg unit. Little Red Hen (my name for her now) knew that she didn’t belong penned up or to anyone’s “harem” and kept escaping. I put her back in the chicken tractor, but there is now a new batch of chicks in the chicken tractor and Little Red Hen was not apt to share the food with the tiny chicks. I then clipped her right wing to throw off her ability to fly. That didn’t work.

One morning, as she was following me around the farm while I was doing chores, she followed me into the turkey pen. I have one turkey hen that survived the coldest part of our winter and have felt bad for her as she no longer has a companion. It seems that the turkey hen and Little Red Hen are getting along and I am grateful. The pen is build like Fort Knox, so no one escapes. I do allow Little Red Hen to come out and forage for awhile, making sure that she is back in “Fort Knox” by dark. So far, this arrangement is working well and I am grateful.

My friend, JoNell dug up some Jerusalem artichokes and gave me a bunch to take home and plant. They are very pervasive so I knew I was going to have to transplant them in an area where they could do their thing without interfering with any other garden plantings I had going. I believe I found a good place for them and got them into the ground today. I’m looking forward to harvesting some this fall and eating some for the first time.

I have started the incubator up again, this time with 30 duck eggs. Again, they will either go into my flock or I will be able to get them sold. Either works for me.

The most recent rain we had, two days ago, dumped three inches. The mud is deep around here. My foot had been doing quite well on Sunday and I actually walked around without a limp. Slogging in the mud has stressed it and I am limping again with some bruising. Still, it was wonderful to have a full day of walking nearly pain-free.

Regardless, the work must be done. My poor piglets were truly covered in mud every morning and were miserable. I got to looking and noticed that the rain was running downhill and actually puddling inside the pig hut. No wonder the piglets were so miserable! I scythed some grass and threw it into the pig hut. Scything the grass wasn’t bad; dragging the grass-filled tarp through the mud and over two electric net fences was a lot of work. Even with my pants rolled up, they got quite muddy. I had hope that Crystal would spread the grass out a little and make a sort of bed for the piglets to lie on, but she proceeded to munch away at the grass, leaving little for bedding.

I got no videos posted this past week for Grandma’s Homestead but one is in edit now. I have posted some videos for Kinzie Lackey Sports, but I don’t necessarily tell you about those. I am glad it has stopped raining for a few days. Maybe we’ll dry out a little!

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