Until next time….
Tag: Spring 2020
I Am Terrible At This.
It’s been a while since I have posted. I would like to say, “I blame the Pandemic.”, but the reality is that life is just hectic and I rarely have a free moment to sit still and write. I last posted in May and so much has happened since then. So, I will start from the beginning.
Miss Chicken, who was my accidental Cornish Cross that lived in my mudroom/laundry room, passed away in June. Then I lost another Rhode Island Red to a snake. This year was insane for snakes, I don’t even remember how many were found inside of the coop, but thankfully all of the snakes I saw in the coop were non-venomous, but I did run over a copperhead and four rattlesnakes while mowing. The Rhode Island Red was killed by a rattlesnake. Hubby dealt with the hen and the snake before I even knew what had happened. He also had a hole dug and ready for Miss Chicken before I even woke up. He was so worried that I was going to lose it when I found out, but I didn’t. I had been expecting to wake up to her being gone for a while because she was a Cornish Cross and they grow so fast and are meant to be dispatched at around 8-10 weeks of age. I didn’t want meat chickens so she got to live out her life as a very spoiled house chicken. She had a good life and I am happy that she didn’t have to live the life of a normal Cornish Cross. She was a happy chicken.
Now that the bad news is out of the way, time for some happy things.
My calves are no longer little. They are a bit ridiculous and feisty. I can’t bring out cubes without a fence between myself and the girls anymore because they have decided that they can headbutt me and food drops. Not a fun time.
They love to shove their heads through the fence to try and lick me. If you have never been locked by a cow, it’s like a cat, but much bigger and slimy and it smells like grass. (Huge slimy sandpaper tongues) Calf kisses are just gross.
As you can see, their feed buckets have moved. Now, I can safely dump cubes in the bucket with zero fear of being headbutted or trampled.
No, they aren’t actually siblings, but we call them sisters. The feed movw also meant more water sources because of the heat. We put the feed buckets in the shade and added four halves of 55 gallon plastic barrels. They also have two mineral buckets full of water and an actual water trough that holds something like 200 gallons. We haven’t used that one much because I haven’t figured out how to keep algae from growing in it in a matter of hours. So, the smaller ones are easier to scrub and much less water is dumped. I have a few experiments going on avoiding algae. If any of them actually work, I will share the info.
So, onward we go….
I have a granddaughter who is expected any day now. She has decided to be fashionably late and her due date has already passed. I FINALLY learned how to use my sewing machine that I have been toting around the country as I have moved from place to place the past 17 years. Yes, I know how insane that sounds, but I was detergent to learn to use it. One of the kiddos brought his fiancée he is an adult now) and she taught me how to thread it, troubleshoot tension issues, etc. and sat down with me daily for a full week and taught me everything I needed to know. Well, my first project was a baby quilt for my granddaughter. It is my first quilt sewn on a sewing machine. (I have been sewing by hand for years)
I used 1930s reproduce prints for the top and pink flannel with a polkadot print for backing, sashing, and binding. I hope she loves it.
I am currently working on a quilt for my grandson, who is almost three.
Hmmm…. what else has happened…
Ah, yes, I killed yet another washer. This time, I managed to find one with the center agitator, it fills all the way up, and I can wash a king size duvet without any issues. This made me very happy because getting motor oil, grease, brake fluid, and brake dust out of hubby’s clothes was almost impossible with a high efficiency washer. They always looked dingy no matter what I did. I strongly dislike HE machines.
My darling father in law absolutely hated my 1970s ,cast iron burner, dinosaur of a stove and he surprisingly me with a glass flat top stove (he specifically looked for one I could use cast iron on and I could also use for canning/pressure canning) it had to be reinforced because it’s a drop in, but he made absolute certain I wouldn’t have any problems doing anything I had been doing prior to the surprise of a new stovetop. He loves making breakfast when they visit and he couldn’t take it anymore. I woke up to him installing it. I guess it’s a good thing he consulted my mother in law because she knew exactly what I had been searching for in a new stovetop. I swear that woman takes notes during our conversations.
Hubby races IMCA 305 Racesaver sprint cars and this year he finished 7th in points. All we wanted was a top 10 finish. He even missed a few races. I don’t go to the track. I’m bad luck and I’m also immunocompromised so I would have had to wear a mask for several hours in the Oklahoma heat. Methanol fumes also give me a migraine and these cars run on methanol. I am always miserable at the track so, I stay home and do my own thing on Saturday nights. I have been sewing since I learned how to use my machine.
The only other occurrence was a nightmare. We had a pipe break in the basement. I woke up at around 4 am to use the bathroom and heard this weird sound. I realized it was coming from the bathroom sink faucet, turned the faucet on and no water came out. I ran downstairs, flipped the breaker for the pump, opened the basement door, looked down the stairs and saw water so I flipped the breaker for the air handler for the downstairs unit as well. Left hubby a note since he had to be up in an hour anyway. Woke up at 7 and he had already pumped most of the water out. Air handler was undamaged. We tossed anything soggy that couldn’t be washed and filled the dumpster. Fun stuff. Basement needed cleaned out anyway. Fixed the pipe. Basement is dry now. Thanks to the Oklahoma heat. We left the basement window and the doors on the inside of the basement that lead to the outside stairs open. The large and super heavy outer door was closed, but just enough air could enter for nice air circulation. It was completely dry the following day.
So, I think that is everything major that has happened. I am going to make one more post that will be photos only. I have been on the ball about snapping pictures.
Until next time….
Very Bad Day on the Homestead (warning dead snake pictures)
So, Saturday was just a typical blazing HOT day in Oklahoma. I went out to give the calves their sweet feed (basically treats that supplement the grass they graze on) and I was walking towards the small gate I normally walk through because I don’t like using the large gates because I am small and they are a few hundred pounds and well, I don’t want to be plowed over by excited baby cows.
Anyway, I was about 4 feet away from the gate when I realized that something had wrapped around my foot and I jumped to get it off of me and realized very quickly what was on my foot was now under my foot. NOT GOOD, Not good at all. Yep, my dumb ass walked to the corral wearing flip flops and ended up stepping on a snake. I ALWAYS look down when I walk specifically for this reason. I saw the snake and made a mental note of coloring and such. Tan-ish green back with a yellow belly and round eyes. I looked at my foot where I felt it bump into me, wiped off some dirt and the snake I had stepped on zoomed off to the area behind the garage. I assumed I hadn’t been bitten.
I fed the calves and was informed that I was bleeding by the kiddo helping me. She was freaking out so, I checked both sides of my Achilles tendon and sure enough I saw blood.
Before you assume I’m absolutely insane, I didn’t feel it bite me. Zero pain. It was a yellow bellied racer, a non-venomous, harmless snake. They eat mice, lizards, and small reptiles like toads and frogs. One of the first things I did when we moved to Oklahoma was to learn to identify the snakes. I am not a fan of snakes at all. Hubby did freak out. He immediately went looking for the snake and of course a King snake was spotted near the garage side door and zipped out of there quickly and avoided death by shovel.
Hubby also immediately started mowing a pathway away from the little gate because the grass near the little gate is dead and snakes blend well in dead grass. So he mowed some of the green grass low enough for me to comfortably walk through to get to the gate that is the size of a driveway because he’s terrified I’m going to get bitten by something venomous. We have cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnake and copperheads along with a plethora of other snakes.
I went to put the chickens away and heard the telltale sound of a rattle. My coop is dark and unlit now that the temperatures aren’t dropping below freezing. I had hubby come help me because I can’t kill anything and I didn’t want a snake killing my chickens or myself. I was not thrilled to see the type of snake once it was out in the light where it could be seen because it was a rat snake (nonvenomous and harmless, but they can rattle like a rattle snake.) Stop here if you don’t want to see a dead snake.
So, that’s 3 snakes in one day and one bit me, twice. I’m up to date on all of my shots, I just got a tetanus shot last year when I cut my leg on some rusty barbed wire so, no medical care needed. I just need to treat it like a puncture wound and keep it nice and clean. If that were the end of my nightmare of a weekend, it would still be a nightmare. Nope, not the end. Today, I went to get feed for the calves and some nifty buckets that hook onto the stall fencing and I went to feed the girls and enclose them in the smaller, well lit area with the stalls. Stepped off the back patio and found the ONLY hole in that section of the backyard. The sound my ankle made caused hubby to whip around and with a blank stare, he immediately asked, “How bad did you break it? Do you need help to the truck?” I am still shocked it isn’t broken. It made this awful crunching popping sound that was so loud. It hurt really badly for about a minute and then it stopped. I have broken enough bones in my lifetime to know that it’s not broken just because I can put weight on it and it isn’t bruised, several hours later. It’s a little swollen and the soft tissue is a little tender, but nothing is broken. I hope my new boots get here soon because I can’t be walking around in tennis shoes or flip flops anymore.
I normally wear Dr Martens for everything, but with the no shoes inside rule, it’s a major pain in the butt to unlock and then lace these things up every time I go outside and they don’t look right at all with shorts. I ordered a cute pair of Ariat Fat Baby boots. These are the exact pair . They have actual grip on the soles and they won’t come up to my knees. So, they won’t look absolutely ridiculous with shorts. Also, they are super easy to slip on and off and they are comfortable. I ordered a pair with steel toe and a pair without steel toe. (The steel toe pair has purple instead of blue and actually come up mid calf instead of being short boots.)
I’m not a big fan of “cowboy boots” because they never have any grip on the soles and I need that grip. Also I have wide flat feet and with most brands, I have to go up 2 full sizes before I can even get the boot on my foot. This style is amazing and super comfy right out of the box. That’s pretty amazing in itself because leather boots are the absolute worst shoes to break in. (I usually get them sopping wet and wear them until they are dry (two pairs of thick socks) but these are actually comfortable right out of the box. So, if you are looking for a comfy pair of boots (this is my second and 3rd pair of Ariat FatBaby boots) I highly recommend them. No insoles needed because they come with good insoles in place. I am looking for a place to get my old pair re-soled because they are really that comfortable. I love my Docs, but these are far more comfortable and provide great support for my arches and my pathetic ankles.
The girls are doing great. They have been released and absolutely love grazing on the 8 or 9 acres of green grass every morning. They come running when they see me walking towards the corral because they know I have treats. We lock them in the corral area every evening and I am hunting high and low for a dokey to help keep them safe from coyotes. They tend to stick close to the stalls during the hottest part of the day because they have plenty of cold water and the stalls provide some much needed shade. There are a handful of shady spots around the property, but they haven’t fully explored the whole 8-9 acres available to them. The whole property is 10 acres, but I don’t know the exact amount they have fenced off for their use. I am honestly not even sure how to measure it. During my search for a donkey, I keep coming across pygmy goats and I keep trying to convince hubby that I need them. He hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he agrees with me, but he has talked about how he would keep them contained for me once he does decide that he’s ready to build them a home.
The flock of chickens are the very first chickens for him and the calves are a first for both of us. He’s starting to warm up to the idea of having a “mini farm” as he puts it. He is still dead set against pigs unless it’s a potbelly pig and a pet. He’s had one of those before and I don’t think he has it in him to help raise a pig just to eat it. They have way too much personality and they are too much like dogs in his mind. I swear I married a big old softy who refuses to admit it. He always talks about the turkeys and deer that cross our property and talks about getting tags for the deer and hunting both the deer and the turkeys, but we’ve been here for years and I don’t see him ever even getting a hunting license because I don’t see him being able to take their lives. I think he’s content just knowing they are there. He will take down a coyote with no hesitation though. They are a threat to our animals to include Miss Mia. I think that’s the difference between the coyotes and animals like deer and turkeys.
Anyway it’s late and I need to ice my swollen ankle and attempt to sleep like a normal human. Until next time…
So I have had my girls for 3 days now and I have been socializing them as much as possible because I want them tame and friendly when they are at 1,000 pounds and able to trample me in an instant.
They don’t have names yet because I just haven’t decided on names. They are going to eventually be in my freezer, but they will be the most spoiled heifers ever to exist. I will make certain of that.
They are confined to the stall area until they learn to come when I call them. Then they will have free reign of the property and will be called back to the stalls each evening.
On the second day, I got to pet them both. They are still super skittish, but getting used to the crazy lady who brings yummy cubes.
They are tagged, have the insect repellent tags on their other ear, and they have been branded (the brand is for the guy we bought them from and if they somehow get loose, the entire town knows his brand and he will return them to us.) They have been vaccinated and vetted and I didn’t have to do any of those things thankfully. I am not physically able to hurt an animal. I just can’t do it. When the time comes for slaughter, they will be loaded onto a trailer and then I will get back boxes filled with white paper packages.
I honestly wouldn’t be able to handle seeing them slaughtered or anything of that nature. I don’t eat meat so, I am basically making sure that hubby eats the most well loved and well cared for beef. I am okay with this because I would much rather cook beef from an animal that was able to play, run free, wasn’t confined to never see the sun, and was treated with love.
They are approximately 3-4 months old and one is 250 pounds (the slightly fluffy one) and the other is 300 lbs. They are black Angus heifer calves and they are so scared of me. They are coming around slowly though. I was head butted while being thoroughly sniffed for more cubes today so, I will consider that progress. I look forward to them running to me when I call them and getting ridiculously excited for cubes. They will be grass fed, but cubes are treats. I am still deciding between grass finished and grain finished, but I have plenty of time for that. We are already lining up hay, alfalfa, and Timothy hay bales to be delivered in the late fall when the grass is no longer available. They will be completely spoiled rotten by me and I will love them until it’s time for the next calves to arrive. I am hoping for bottle calves next time. They are even smaller and it will be much easier to have them tame and friendly because I will be bottle feeding them.
I brought some chickweed to them as well since they are confined and it’s quite hot today. They inhaled it and of course wanted more. They have plenty of grass to munch on until tonight when I bring them their other serving of cubes and some more chickweed. I give them half of their daily serving of cubes fairly early in the day and the other half just before the sun fully sets. Full tummies before bed seems ideal to me. Until next time….
Prepping For Calves
In our corral area, was basically half of a tree that we had cut down last year because the tree had cracked in half. Well, it needed to go because hubby decided to give me my birthday present early, two heffer calves. I didn’t know the difference between a heffer and a cow before this happened. Therefore, I will take a moment to explain the difference. A heffer is a female cow that had never calved, a cow is a female that has calved. I am learning things 😂
I love finding nests in strange places. I will be taking pictures of the calves when they are delivered. They are being vaccinated and vetted before they are delivered by a friend of hubbys. Until next time…..
Chicken Update During Quarantine 2020
During my hiatus, I lost another chicken. I lost one of the Rhode Island Reds to a broken neck. She fell from the roost and I assume she smacked into the waterer inside the coop before hitting the ground. I honestly don’t know what exactly happened, but her neck was definitely broken. That dropped my flock down to 13. Chicken Little has become quite feisty and it is still hilarious when he fluffs up his feathers and goes to attack me by launching himself at me feet first.
If you are a first time reader, he is a Buff Sebright Bantam rooster and he is half the size of a normal sized hen. He is very sweet most of the time, but some days he gets his feathers all ruffled and tries to fight me. I usually scoop him up and love on him and he calms down. He gets really mad when I wear anything with the color red so, I try to remember that when I put the flock to bed, but sometimes I forget and I am wearing red pajama pants and he decides I must die and launches himself at me feet first repeatedly. I can’t help but laugh at him because he’s so small it looks ridiculous when he puffs up like he’s the biggest baddest rooster out there when he is actually teenie tiny and adorable.
His women are looking a little rough because he has decided that fertilizing eggs is an Olympic sport lately, I have no idea why he had this sudden desire to fertilize everything because none of the hens are broody. He is just crazy. The flock will be moving to the new coop very soon. I am hopeful that Miss Chicken (my accidental Cornish cross meat chicken) will be able to handle living with the flock again.
So, Miss Chicken is a Cornish Cross or Cornish X, which is a breed specifically for meat production. When I bought chicks last spring, I ended up with two of these meat chickens. One died from the heat and I brought the other one, Miss Chicken, into the laundry room to treat her for heat exhaustion and some injuries from being bullied by the rest of the flock. I honestly expected her to die shortly after bringing her inside. This breed grows rapidly and they are meant to be slaughtered around 6-10 weeks of age. Well, I couldn’t do it, hubby didn’t want any part of it, so she’s been inside ever since, living her best life in an extra large dog crate. As long as the temperature isn’t too high or too low, she goes outside and socializes with the flock from the safety of the other side of the fencing. They still peck at her and bully her. I can safely bring the girls out one or two at a time and they are not mean to her that way. Sadly I can’t let them roam free because there are too many predators and I want them safe.
This doesn’t mean that they never get to eat bugs or grass, weeds, etc. I collect huge amounts of the things I know they like (I watch closely to see what they go after first when I do let one or two out while supervised.) They love dandelions, chickweed, henbit, certain types of grasses and other specific weeds that I have not yet identified because they are new to the property this year. I have a section that doesn’t get mowed down and I collect their daily green stuff from this section. They also get mealworms, I collect grasshoppers for them when they start hatching and hopping all over the place, I also bring worms from the compost pile and other caterpillars and bugs I come across when I am pulling weeds or cleaning out a flowerbed.
They also get fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, scrambled eggs, leftover plain pasta (they go crazy for angel hair and spaghetti noodles)
Until next time….
Covid-19 Quarantine Day # 46 (2020)
Remember my posts for Emergency Preparedness kits? If you followed the instructions and created one, I hope it has helped you out during this time. Since most of us are home, now is the time to prepare even further. Did you know that the drought affected the bean crops last year or that Oklahoma almost lost the wheat crops from a hard freeze and unseasonable snow? I already expect food prices to go up. So, if you want to spend less at the grocery store, plant a garden. It’s not hard. Really. If you suck at growing plants and are anything like me, you kill plants. I have a solution for that too.
I have multiple seed trays in my kitchen sprouting up right now. I have lettuces and spinach planted in planter boxes on the front porch. They will get the morning sun, but they will be protected from the mid/late afternoon scorching sun because of how my house is situated.The two above planter boxes are filled with lettuce and spinach. I have since swept the seed pods for the trees up and have already laid a lot of them at the back of the property in an area we don’t mow because I have milkweed planted there for the Monarch Butterflies that pass through each year.
Oklahoma is fairly green right now. We did have snow on Monday night over to Tuesday morning, but everything is still nice and green.
Now, here’s how I started the seeds.
These very inexpensive little seed trays hold 72 seedlings each. I planted 2 and sometimes 3 seeds per each little pot. I watered them well and covered them up. They didn’t fit in my greenhouse window, but I have a grow light and once I switch them over to plastic cups they will have full accesstothat grow light. Right now they justhave my sunny kitchen greenhouse window giving them light on the counter. (I will reuse the same cups when I start seeds in the fall and next spring. This is why I chose plastic instead of paper.)
I sprayed them with water every single day, twice a day. I used a glass spray bottle. Not because I am against plastic, but all of my plastic ones have held cleaner at some point and I don’t trust them to not be contaminated.
These pictures were taken 3 days after I planted the seet trays. The two early sprouting sections are okra and cucumbers. Okra was first and it shocked me how fast it has grown. I have 3 different kinds of tomatoes in these trays. I planted cherry tomatoes (for salads), Roma tomatoes (for tomato sauce and tomato paste) and an heirloom variety of slicing tomato for sandwiches and hubby’s burgers. I also planted yellow squash, some herbs (different pots) chives (in a pot) Martin house gourds, zucchini, bell peppers, 3 kinds of cucumbers (I LOVE Cucumbers) some green beans that grow on a bush. I will plant snap peas and snow peas directly into the ground because they don’t transplanted well from my experience. I have pie pumpkins to plant around mid July, garlic & onion sets already planted. I will know if my asparagus survived soon enough. I have more seeds coming from Baker Creek. The one I am most excited about is baby bok choy. They are so tiny and cute. I also ordered peanuts for this year because I have tried multiple times to purchase green peanuts in the shell (goobers) from local farmers and every single one wants to see me green peanuts that have already been shelled. I can’t make boiled peanuts without green peanuts in the shell.
The tomatoes are at the bottom of the picture and cucumber is at the top. The cucumber is just about ready for transplanting to a plastic cup they are quite leggy. And I want to make sure they have plenty of strong roots. I will also begin placing a gentle fan near the plants to help harden them off. Oklahoma is rather windy and planting season is also tornado season so the seedlings need to be tough enough to survive come May when they go outside. The okra is very leggy too. Notice I planted way more than two people could possibly eat, I expect to have some plants die because I am a terrible gardener. 😂 If they somehow all survive, I can easily trade them for veggies or fruits that I am not growing this year. I can also freeze, pickle, or can excess. The green beans are starting to sprout as well.
Now, these pots are herbs and chives. I have what I use the most in these pots. One is oregano, one is chives, one is cat nip because my kitties love their nip, and one is chocolate mint, which is for my tea. Once I get the multiple aloe plants out of my kitchen, I will plant basil, marjoram, and maybe another kind of mint or something else for my teas. In the cup is a cutting I got from one of hubby’s friends. We did a no contact egg drop off / trade for something having to do with welding and he has this amazing succulent in his flowerbed so, I texted him and asked if I could have a cutting. It’s starting to root so, I will plant it soon. In the pot just out of frame is an aloe baby from last year. I have tons of babies that need to be separated and repotted from my giant aloe plant that I received from a friend in a ziploc bag and it was 3 inches tall when I received it. Now it’s HUGE. I will take pictures of it once I bring it back out to the back porch where it belongs. It’s not too happy about wintering in the mudroom.
This was hubby’s quarantine project. He welded a tire rack for the race trailer. It has a tray that sets in the empty spot on the top section, but I didn’t get pictures of that because I was busy planting seeds in seed trays.
I still have to decide where exactly I am going to put my garden this year because I filled the concrete block bed that is permanently attached to the house with flowers. The hose doesn’t reach that spot very well anyway and it is a lot of energy wasted with me dragging multiple 150 ft heavy duty hoses to reach it. The flowers I planted there are native to Oklahoma and include a type of daylily that is orange and multiplies every single year so I thin them out every fall and transplant them elsewhere to ensure they have plenty of room to spread out.
My roses from last year do not look like they will come back. I also want to get rid of the hideous bushes in front of the house because I hate them with a passion. They have these obnoxious things that grow straight up into the air and look like they haven’t been trimmed in years when this happens. If they flowered, I wouldn’t be so bothered by them, but they are just blah and ugly. Thet will be replaced with something that flowers. I wish Magnolia trees would stay small and make good bushes. I may put some kind of rose that grows like a vine or a big giant bush there. I have no idea. I will have to wait until it is safe to go to a nursery to find something lovely to put there.
I will do my best to remember to keep updating and writing. I always forget. Maybe I need to put WordPress on my homescreen of my phone to remember to keep updating.
Until next time…