Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday night in the Big City

Here I am at work again. Fairly busy tonight for both of us. It was a good morning for sleeping but a million phone calls this afternoon. Most of them crap. But we both did get some sleep. Kelly has a headache that we think may be sinus/allergy/humidity. Who knows, She's feeling miserable. May be lack of sleep. Brought a bunch of Kelly's soap in to other nurses and it's very popular. It's all natural and made with lots of goat's milk, which we've been buying. But Kelly has been looking at all the wonderful farms with goats and now it seems she wants goats too. I WANT IT ALL and I want it NOW. So in addition to chickens and sheep , cats and a dog it seems we are going to look for goats . What I really need is a tractor. No what I really need is money. Or maybe I need sleep too.
Ted spent the day fixing my car. Teddy, 18, was using my car to go to games and practice for basketball last winter when someone hit it in the school parking lot. His attitude was, I wasn't in it so it's not my fault and definitely not my responsibility. NEVER lend things to a teenager. So because his father is a nice guy, my door now opens all the way and the major dents and crumples are out. A quick coat of paint to slow the rust and I'm back in the saddle again. Or back in the Hyundai.
So we're looking forward to Sunday off (to sleep) and Monday off. I am heading to NH again but this time to visit my mom(she's 85) and take her shopping and out to lunch. Then 3.5hrs back. God I wish I had stock in gasoline. posted by Alex

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Week, New Exhaustion

Well, here we are at the beginning of another three nights on. But boy have we gotten a lot done in our time off. On Friday Kelly's daughters family left the farm for their own apartment. And their baby now has her own room. Saturday was a shopping day. Groceries, Wal-Mart, Feed store etc. With some laundry thrown in for good measure. Oh, and we got the new freezer. Sunday was sunny and warm. Actually Saturday was too for the first time in weeks. So we mowed and trimmed and tended gardens. Jasmine had a ball feeding new mown grass to the chickens. They had great fun eating it. Kelly got all the tools out of the kitchen now that construction has narrowed its scope to walls and ceiling. She spent most of the day cleaning house. Ugggh.We unpacked some more boxes that have been stored since last July. Like getting Christmas presents. Sunday late at night we stole into the coop and put the sleeping roosters into the carry boxes. No muss , no fuss and only the occasional squawk. Nothing like the dead of night by flashlight for unpleasant tasks. Early Monday morning we were off to the butcher.Jason's Butcher in Albion ME. Now I have never done this or seen this done but where we went was very clean and very humane. Also very quick. We handed them the chickens (actually Ted and I- Kelly stayed in the truck to avoid crying) and they put them in cones to kill and bleed them. Then to a big hot vat and off came their feathers. Now they no longer looked like our chickens , just food. Then they were thoroughly cleaned and packed in ice. But the chickens before and after ours were HUGH. Seems Layer/meat breeds mean layer and not much meat but meat breeds are big. So we have 40 smallish chickens in the freezer and we are going to order 25 big breed chicks right away to have ready by fall. Sunday night Kelly and Tiffany made two batches of soap. Tuesday Kelly and I drove Jasmine and her Mom back to their apt in NH after a nice summer vacation with us. We will all miss them and hope they can get up for awhile before school starts. Wednesday Kelly and Ted did business in town and I did piddly things around the farm like hoeing weeds and peel a couple of cedar logs for fence posts. The garden is still pitiful. Out of 6 long rows of corn I think we have 5 plants. No beans came up. We lost all the tomatoes,and most of the peppers but I'm replanting some of those. We have cabbage, Brussels, Spinach,onions and squash. We have one lone pumpkin plant. We have 2 baby grape vives, 2 blueberry bushes , 2 rasberry and 1 blackberry plants. About half the asparagus came up and it is so thin I almost missed it and weeded it out. Herb garden is doing well. And we unfortunately have a whole section of garden thick in thistle. We will dig all that out and burn it this weekend. We are all kind of tired. Kelly cut the new soap to harden in the evening. Today was very lazy. Hate to get too tired when we have to work all night. Ted however made a beautiful 9 unit condo for the hens when they get ready to lay. So now the farm is quiet with just 4 adults and only one rooster- Sampson. We'll have to see what we can do about that. I miss the noise. posted by Alex

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lost Days

Well we worked last night, came home , fed chickens and went to sleep. The day was beautiful they tell us. We wouldn't know, slept through the whole thing. Tonight is our second of three in a row. We should be feeling human again by Sunday evening. For all the grumble working 3 days a week lets us truly have time to work on the farm. Ted spent the day trying to locate the old water line to the barn with a pick and shovel. Its down there somewhere. We have a new draining pump thingy to put in. What do we Floridians know about water lines that have to drain so they don't freeze? What I do know is we have to break up the concrete floor in the barn to dig some kind of pit to fill with rocks for the pump to drain into. This is going to be hot ugly work, I can just tell. But we need to get water for sheep and chickens before winter and a garden hose wont do. The original line comes out just behind the stairs in the barn and the floor is broken and sunken about 18 inches. So we need to run a new line into the house to connect just after the pressure tank and out the wall where the old one was, then into the new spot in the barn and hope the front of the barn doesn't fall in on us or something. Oh, Kevin got home and says he knows what is wrong with the tractor and can fix it easily. Thank God for small favors. Made the appointment to have the chickens "dispatched" in 2 weeks. Now we seriously need to decide if we need a new freezer by then. Since the old one is pretty full we probably do. Drat.. always something to buy that is simply not fun at all. Why cant we get a flat screen TV that will store chickens? We lost a rooster yesterday and another looks poorly. They were exposed to avian encephalitis as newly hatched chicks. We lost 19 then but now this guy is doing the same stuff, walking on the backs of his legs kind of hunched down. Anyone know what this is? Posted by Alex

Small Accomplisments

Well, here we are in June. The kitchen cabinets are finally done and we have just confirmed that,as suspected, the outside kitchen wall has NO insulation. Not a good thing in Maine. So our next project (as if we needed a new one) is to tear down the crappy hardboard over old wallboard (like30's or 40's judging by the wallpaper) and put in insulation bats. Understand these will not fit. Our studs vary from 32 to 46 inches apart and are made of trees. Then we can put up new wall board that will be custom fit because the floors are not square to the walls. Actually, nothing on this farm is square.
This afternoons accomplishments included setting up for the roosters to go to butchering in two weeks. A good thing because they are starting to crow and get all roostery, pushy and pecky. Time to go to the freezer! The heat followed by days of rain has seen all our tomato and pepper plants done in. The corn has not even come up. I may try some more tomatoes but it is getting late in the season to start and the whole garden thing is pretty discouraging. Maybe next year when we get a chance to do something with the soil in the garden it will be better. We are in Maine so we mostly raise rocks. Then we surround them with clay that is either dust or sticky muck and has no organic content . Hired someone to roto-till and find it goes only 3 inches down after 3 days of work. Add seeds and get what? More rocks in neater rows. I need to find manure and not the kind I get at work.
Ted spent the last two days trying to fix our neighbors lawn tractor which we borrow. But it still eats belts at $37 a pop. And the lawn is now 1/2 the height of the hay. Maybe we'll just hay the lawn.
Confirmed the 3 ewes for this winter. They will be AI bred before they arrive and Elaine at Frelsi Farm has promised to help us with the selection of ramAI stuff as we know from nothing. Less than nothing. Still in the "Oh how cute that lamb is "stage. How will we know if our lambs are good when we think all lambs are great.
Kelly's granddaughter Jasmine, 5 has taken to naming the bugs as they get in the back door. We have these huge iridescent beetles. She has called one Jimmy as in "Jimmy is in my bedroom and now I can't go in. Come help me" She told me a couple of nights ago that Jimmy's cousin Timmy Turner was trying to get in the kitchen window, pounding on the screen. Beetles have last names?
OK The new predator wasps are on the compost pile, the flowers are planted in the front yard with the new stone wall under slow construction, the lilacs are all just about done, tulips gone lilies not yet budded. We are still just at the beginning of summer here. But the days are long now this far north. Sun up well before 4 and still light at 830. Not that we always see it. Very few windows in the ICU and we work nights. This Post written by Alex.