Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Aside

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Sometimes I wish I knew what the animals think.

Tonight we had one of those “what were you thinking?!” moments.

Occasionally we open the courtyard gate and let the chickens free range the barnyard. These last few days we’ve let them have fun pecking around the barnyard and the cow stalls. They also often hop the gate and scratch around the pig pen. They’re handy to control weeds in the courtyard, clean up some spilled feed and help with bug control.

Tonight as most of the chickens were headed in to roost in the chicken coop, a few decided to test their luck in the pig’s wallow hole.

By the time the sun set and the Old Man got home late from his day job we had a half dozen chickens stuck in the mud.

So with flashlight and muck boots and the oversight of the Old Man, the boy waded up to his knees in muck and set each bird free one by one. A few were in good shape and flapped their wings and headed for the coop. A few were so weighed down with mud they couldn’t much move. We hosed them down as best we could and left them for the night in the courtyard to dry out.

I’m a bit worried about them so I’m sure I’ll be out early to check on how they cleaned up and faired the night.

Stupid chickens. Their free-range privileges have been revoked.

Monday, September 19, 2016 

Aside

Monday, September 19, 2016 

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Sunday we added two extra lines to the electric and sent all the calves back out to the pasture. They were able to get used to each other while in the barnyard and are doing just fine together on the pasture now. No bolting, no chasing down a scared calf, no 4-wheeler rides through the woods and across two properties, no jumping off the four wheeler or tackling. I’ll call that a good day.

The Old Man and his Dad moved the pig feeder into the pig pasture. After the flooding of the pig pen a few weeks back it was nearly stuck  in the mud. It took the truck and some chain to get it to dryer ground but we moved it just far enough and it was blocking the gate between the pig pen and the pasture. We need to be able to close that gate to separate which pigs are going to the processor first and which are staying for a few more weeks. Thankfully the mud wasn’t an issue and the two of them were able to move it without the truck. It does pay to have another man around who can help with the heavy lifting. I make a terrible helper in those instances.

Today we didn’t get much actual work done (due to a commitment in the morning that kept us busy until mid afternon), but we were able to run some errands and prepare for our next task which is to build the ramp for the pigs to walk into the trailer. Not a big project but I’ve learned the first rule of farming is this: everything takes three times as long as you think it should. 

At least for this citykid that how it seems to shake out. 

So we’re getting close to finishing out the season and our projects are coming to a close. What we have left:

  • Build the chute for the trailer
  • Load and transport the pigs (2 trips)
  • Take the turkeys to the processor
  • Run the electric to the cow’s water tank for the deicer
  • Set up the winter water system for the chickens (purchase new pump)
  • Basic clean up of tools and supplies in the barn

We’re gonna sleep good (and eat good) this winter. No doubt it won’t take long before the planning and preparations for the spring to begin.

Saturday, September 17, 2016 

Aside

Saturday, September 17, 2016 

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

The calves are still confined to the barnyard so today I thought I’d give them a treat. 

Let’s be honest, every time I’m out with the cows I’m looking for some choice piece of grass or clover to bring them. They seem to have grown to like eating out of my hand and getting a good scratching in the process.

The big guy was already mooing and waiting for me when I got to the barn. I’m not totally sure what he was thinking but stuck his head through the gate and proceed to tip his head back and up and got himself good and stuck in the gate with his nose pointed in the air.

Now the Old Man’s at work and I can see the cow’s getting a bit agitated. I put my treat away cause I figure that’s his primary motive for getting as close to me as possible. Then I take a deep breath and step back once. Twice. Three times. And wait.

At this point he relaxes and I wonder just how to explain to a cow that if he’d just bring his nose back down to a normal position his head would slide right back out of the gate. 

So I take one more step back and consider high tailing it to the neighbors who have some experience with these sorts of things and might be a vaulable help to a citykid in need.

At which point he lowers his nose and steps back out of the gate.

Crisis averted.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Aside

Thursday, September 15, 2016 

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Life never gets boring when a couple of city kids set out to farm. Tonight the last two calves were delivered, banded, tagged  and then sent out to the pasture to meet the other two calves.

Things didn’t go as expected and the biggest cow ran off the littles ones, one of which broke right through the electric fence and bolted towards the road.

Long story short, running was involved, ATVs retrieved, neighbors assisted, fences turned off, and there may have been a lunge tackle combo move off the ATV to subdue the offending calf.

They are all confined to the barnyard now to get used to each other for a couple of days.

I guess we’ll be running two more lines of electric (cause those little guys are tricky) and then they’ll get their pasture privileges back. If they behave themselves between now and then.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Aside

Thursday, September 8, 2016 

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Good news. I stocked up on mouse traps and the Old Man set 16 traps upstairs (he’s the bomb at choosing the most strategic places to set them) and we caught that mouse the first night! I never know when we’re setting traps to hope for a mouse or  not.

Oh. And a helpful farmhouse tip I learned last year: buy your traps early in the season or you’ll make that desperate trip to the store and end up coming home with sticky traps cause they’re all out of the snap traps. And the thing about those sticky traps is this: they work great but you now have a live (LIVE I tell ya) mouse stuck to a piece of super sticky piece of plastic in your house. Not my favorite.
These last few days we’ve been trying to finish up some odds and ends with the wiring on the barn. We had some work done on the truck (needed new breaks–we definitely want those breaks in top notch shape when we go to haul those pigs!). We took advantage of some sales and bought a new bed frame that honors the style of our farmhouse–plus a new mattress which keeps us from waking up crippled in the morning. It’s win, win!

We have a couple of days off to finish up the barn wiring and then the next project is to build a chute to load the pigs onto the trailer. We are less than three weeks out from taking the first set to the processor!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Aside

Friday, September 9, 2016 

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

So tonight we found a cow outside the fence.

We got him back in and he went right back. 

The Boy did a good job herding him back into the pasture two more times while we worked on adding a third line to the electric fence. We also added another paddock to the other side of the barnyard. And we’re hooking up a stronger energizer to hopefully that will do the trick.

Cause you know, the grass is always greener.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Aside

Saturday, September 3, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

My daughter kicked off what I affectionately refer to as “mouse-capades” with her muffled shriek at 6:00am this morning in the upstairs bathroom.

Our first mouse spotting for the season. 

Welcome to century house, farm living and grab a mouse trap.

–citykidfarmgirl 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Aside

Friday, September 2, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Tonight I had a lengthy internal debate over what day of the week it is (I decided on Friday). 

As we put in place the infrastructure of our little farm, my daily chores become lighter and less frequent. Large barrels of water need only be checked daily and filled weekly (except now that the piggies are getting bigger I fill their water every other day). And with the water spigots strategically placed it takes but a few minutes. Feed for the pigs gets filled by the Old Man every 3-4 days and the chickens small feeder gets a few scoops every other day or so. The cows? Well, I just let the pasture do the work of feeding them. 

Which means I can spend that extra time and energy elsewhere. Homeschool  accounts for the bulk of our day. But there is time to get some extra cleaning and organizing done. And my favorite–furniture rearranging combined with a nice deep cleaning!

After our school work today I got lost in swapping out some furniture and cleaning behind the cabinets, dusting and shifting items and started planning (internal dialogue again) where to put the Christmas tree this year (shhh! don’t tell). Which is why I forgot about dinner and I can’t get it straight what day it is.

Friday. Today’s Friday.

P.S. Quite a bit of “chirping” from the turkeys still today so I kept a close eye on them to be sure they figured out the feed and water. About mid-day I noticed they are eating and drinking and have quieted down. I seriously think it took them a few days to figure it out even though we moved the feeder and waterer from the coop into the tractor with them.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Aside

Thursday, September 1, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

September 1st and finally a change in the air. I adore this time of year. Today we talked about all that we’ve been able to accomplish here with the help and support of our family and friends. We’ve demolished one barn and built another in its place, run water and electric to it, added drainage tile and built the barnyard, built a chicken coop and brooder and tractor for the pasture. Fenced in pasture for the pigs and a separate paddock for the calves. Added two cows (soon to be four), nearly raised out 12 pigs, 23 meat birds and waiting for the 6 turkeys to grow. And purchased a livestock trailer. None of which we would have been able to do on our own and without the support of our family and friends!! (I can’t stress that last point to much.)

And we wonder if it might be enough to get us through for quite some time without any major, large scale projects for several years. Not that we don’t have plans for a few more things (like fully fencing the pasture and a hay barn up in the hill) but they can wait till much later down the road. We hope what we have in place will serve us well for quite some time.

There are some little odds and ends projects we’d loke to complete (like removing some dead trees and stumps, putting in a retaining wall along the north side of the driveway, and building a trellis over the chicken run to keep them from hoping the fence). But those are small projects we can do when time and money and inspiration permit.

And then there are a million little things (and a few large) to do on the house. But that’s an entirely different story altogether.

P.S. The turkeys are still quite noisey.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Aside

Friday, August 26, 2016-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

The six-week old turkeys have been moved to the chicken tractor (turkey tractor?). They’re a bit insecure about the new digs and make a funny barking sound that really travels. If they don’t settle in over the next few days we’ll have to move them to the back pasture so we don’t alienate the neighbors. 

On a side note, the other day I came into the barn and the turkeys were running in circles around the feeder and waterer chasing each other. I wonder what they were up to. Something tells me I’ll be wondering about them a lot before it’s all said and done.