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Saturday, March 30, 2019

It’s been a whole year since I frequented SparkPeople, I just kind of gradually dropped away with lots of things pressing me to get done and the need to spend less time on the computer. I spent most of the time eating pretty healthy until about November, it was so weird all of a sudden the vegetables I have loved all my life just didn’t taste good, and my eating kind of went down hill from there. So now I have about 30 lbs to get rid of and I finally dug out of the apathy to start eating healthy meals.

I completed a lot of projects, mostly barn things. I really need to get my house back in order to make me feel better, it seems to just get more and more cluttered and time is at a premium to try to get things done. I have decided to cut my garden back by more then half, one person does not need all that stuff, plus I also have raised beds.

I went down to what we call “the hill” and sold eggs all year, this summer I also sold raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples and plums. At one point I had baskets with 6 different kinds of plums.

I started a new flock of laying hens that went pretty badly. I ordered 50 chicks and they were packed for Ohio not Maine, 5 were dead in the box, I was also dismayed to see that they included a rooster. I ordered the black sex linked pullets, and the one with a big white spot on his head was very obvious to anyone that is not blind. After thinking about starting a flock down 6 birds I ordered 25 more and called them about the dead ones, they included 5 more but unfortunately there was another rooster in the group. I have ordered sex linked pullets for more then 30 years and never gotten a rooster. As the two groups grew I realized there was something different about the second batch, the were smaller, much more black with little or no red bleeding and worst of all there were 5 black roosters along with the barred one. It is impossible to get a black rooster in the sex link cross unless you have used second generation stock or had a rouge rooster. The final hit was those smaller hens are very poor layers and many lay white eggs, something that is also impossible unless they are doing poor breeding. Did I say that was the final hit? Wrong! I had some suspicions that some hens seemed to be missing in both pens, the older hens were now upstairs while I prepared the pen for the new ones down in the stable. It is impossible to count 75 chickens running around in a pen, but I realized while staring at the older hens for a while that I was missing at least 5 from a secure pen. While putting the new ones down stairs and counting them I was dismayed and very angry to find 10 of my new pullets missing. There had been a buggy in my yard a few days before I noticed the missing chickens, plus two empty feed bags I had set aside to go get some oats from my 1/2 ton bag had disappeared. After nosing around I discovered a Amish guy sold 5 red and 10 black pullets to a guy in the station. The remaining 58 hens I have from the original 75 are poor layers at best, never had layers that can’t even get to 100% when they are new. The best I do from them is 39-42 eggs a day, a truly poor showing and in part due to those smaller different ones I think. I am raising a new flock of 100 this year, definitely not ordering from Mount Healty, but going back to Ridgeway, and also going back to Isa Browns. I also bought paddlelocks for the pen doors so the pullets don’t walk away.

Picture of all my roosters lol

Haying was completed late this year, got the last bales done October 21st and it snowed on the 22nd. Snow has been the word of the day since then, I never finished cleaning up the garden because it was covered with snow, the deer spen quite a while digging around out there getting the last of the Brussels sprouts that I didn’t get in and cleaning up the corn stalks and tomato plants. We have had a long very cold winter this year, with early and lots of snow. I usually use 2-3 tons of pellets but this year is a record 5 tons.

I did a lot of late canning making a huge batch of spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato soup. I also made 3 quarts of paste to thicken them up since the tomatoes were so plentiful. At the end I had several boxes of ripe tomatoes and put them all through the squeezo resulting in a 5 gallon pail of purée that made 24 small jars of rich tomato paste. I also made a 5 gallon pail of applesauce from those really red apples and froze 20 quarts.

Tomato paste cooling

This spring I sadly lost one of my big brood angus, Willow, she got the meningeal worm that the white tail deer spread. She had been wormed with Ivomec, so I can only conclude that they are getting resistance like on the coast of Maine. She was such a gentle giant, I still miss her.

For those of you that remember Jasper Mouse, he disappeared last fall, followed closely by losing Clio. I have no idea what happened to Clio, he was laying in the front yard with out a mark on him one Sunday morning. I got two new kittens and named the Squeek and squawk. Squeek was a little on the dim side but very sweet. She is the first cat I have had hit by a car in the 30 years I have been here. Since they were a pair Squawk really didn’t know her name, and it got changed shortly to Mischief, which she is very much, but also very loving. Cricket is pregnant right now, I let her have a batch befor I think about maybe fixing her since it is so difficult to find kittens anymore around here. KoKo is the newest half grown kitten, mother abandoned her, she is colored like a Siamese cat, yowls like one, slinks like one and has beautiful blue eyes. She is also a scaredy cat and wouldn’t leave her protective cage for months and months. She is finally sneaking around in the stable, but not very adventurous.

Picture of KoKo not great because she never holds still long enough!

Calliope delighted with a new toy, hard to tell her from the toy.

I just have to share with you this eerie picture of Mischief playing with a watermelon, Demon cat!

I carved several pumpkins this year, a witch and three others

So besides plow snow this winter I have gone back to raising calves for the farmer I do AI breeding for, right now I have 13 to feed, luckily I can lower all those 1/2 gallon bottles down through the trap door. My stairway took a big hit with snow coming from the barn and the steps have been treacherous with water coming through where the roof got separated from the barn. I managed to take a tumble down them earlier which has done my knee no favors at all. I spen many days just doing chores and then relaxing my knee the rest of the day.

It is now officially Lambing time, here is a very new born set of twin rams born Wednesday

My latest audio book is the complete Sherlock Holmes, it is 72 hours long, that aught to keep my mind out of trouble. Hard to believe I have reached this age without reading this, there are so many references to Sherlock it seems very familiar. I was somewhat surprised though to find that the famous detective using cocaine.

I am sure I have missed some news but this blog is long enough!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    nice update! thanks for sharing so much of farm life~
    173 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! I've wondered what happened to you.

    I'm sorry for your animal losses. You have always been so busy with all your farming! KoKo definitely looks part Siamese!

    205 days ago
    I love your blogs! You are such a great writer!! You are very talented on pumpkin carving. You are always so busy on your farm and I really enjoy hearing about it all. Some nerve taking your chickens. I hope you don't get roosters with this years batch.
    205 days ago
    Thanks for posting an update. Glad to hear from you again. Love the pictures, especially the cats. emoticon
    205 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon Happy Sunday! So very glad to see you back on Spark People. I loved all the pictures too! That is a lot to get caught up on! :-) I love the pumpkins you carved! So cute! And you have sure been busy!!!
    206 days ago
    Good to see you back, and I love the pictures. emoticon
    206 days ago
    Hey There ! So Glad to see your Blog again ! I surely missed them ! A lot has happened in your neck of the woods since your last blog ! I'm sure you are missing your Buddies, but the new ones will Sweeten your day ! Take Care !
    206 days ago
    Farming is such hard without the added problems of theft. Thanks for the pics.
    206 days ago
    Was thinking of you and how you were doing and thinking you probably were getting hit with lots of snow. it was such a surprise to see your blog today. you sure have been busy down on the Farm", as you usually are. how aggravating on the baby chicks especially when a neighbor may have helped themselves. i can't understand how people can do things like that and not feel guilty one bit doing it.

    hopefully your snow will turn into spring and your twin baby lambs will grow big.

    nice to see your blog. ((HUGS)) to you.

    oh, almost forgot...i have made the bread many times from the recipe you shared with me and each time i made bread i would think of you and wonder how you were doing.

    206 days ago
    Nice to be back reading about your day
    207 days ago
    It is really good to 'see' you and hear about the farm again. I get tired when I read about all you do. I am cutting back on my garden too and mine was not nearly as large as yours.

    We are house sitting for Daughter this weekend. They have two black labs and a lively kitten. We have to be careful when we go outside because Smokey will escape every he gets. He got out last night and it took about an hour before we were able to catch him and bring him back inside.


    207 days ago
    Sooo glad to see and 'hear' from you once more. I love all of your news... such a hard winter all around for you. Damn shame about being duped by that chicken breeder; hopefully, you'll get a much better flock now. I get it about the 'diet fatigue' it does get tiresome and our taste buds and cravings need replenishing. I'm sure the return of fresh veggies eyc. will once again taste awesome. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    207 days ago
    OMG, I couldn't hardly believe my eyes when I saw you had a blog. Wow, you made my day. I so missed your wonderful tale down at your farm, and all the antic of the animals. It was a very bad and long winter for us also, and ended up losing one of our sheep and our beloved Willy, Mini Horse, and just the other day we lost one of the young nannys and her baby. She was never suppose to get bred but buck went over a snowbank and the rest is history she wasn;t even a year old, and the vet worked 2 hours trying to save her, but no such luck. But we did end up with 2 kids, and the one was born when it was -20 and partially froze his one hind foot, but he is getting along okay, just a little slow, and the other loves picking on him cause he is so much quicker. You have to be strong to have stock, cause there is always loses. Good to hear from you,Linda
    207 days ago
    glad you're doing all right. Have missed your blogs! Love the pictures.
    207 days ago
    I miss living on a farm and having animals and gardens. I know it's hard work but loved it.
    207 days ago
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