Encouraging Word

I got the nicest complement today from a friend who came for lunch.

You’re doing a lot of things, and doing them well.

I usually hear just the first part.  And so I blew it off, maybe too quickly, rather than reveling in it for a moment.

“You say that standing in the explosion of my living room.”

“I see clothes, food, tools; looks like a normal house to me.”

I felt an unspeakable gratitude, but couldn’t help adding, “Jay thinks we’re the only people who live like this.”

He should pick up the milk this week,” she said, referring to the milk share we from one of their goats.  “Then he’ll see our place.”

~ ~ ~

But it’ll be me driving out to their place this week; Jay’s still up to his eyeballs & racing for the finish-line before his next big trip.

~ ~ ~

So, quick update, since I don’t know when I’ll write next.

Since the last time I wrote:

  • We finished the rabbit set-up
  • Had our first litter of meat bunnies a week and a half ago
  • I plucked Serena (the wool rabbit) half bald. The top half.
    • Yes, it freaked me out to see the finished rabbit.
    • No, it’s not cruel; the hair only comes when it’s ready.  This is the first time she’s she’s shed like this since I got her in March.
  • Thursday I bought a “used” flock of Chickens.  Ten 15-month-old birds, already laying.
    • Six different breeds of hen
    • They threw in a rooster
      • Natasha wants to throw him back
      • I think he’s handsome, and better behaved than other roosters I’ve known.
    • A few of them have foot-issues (I believe the seller when she says she didn’t know.  None of my other chicken people knew what I was talking about or have noticed the thing before.)
      • One of the hens was effected enough I started giving her penicillin Friday and performed surgery today: opened three different places in her (MASSIVELY) swollen foot and forced out solidified results of infection.
        • (Sorry, should I have started that one out with a TMI warning? I tried to keep it as vague as possible.)
          • Believe me, I could say more.
      • Tried to repeat the procedure on another affected bird, but his case is less-advanced, and he wasn’t as patient a patient.  Maybe one has to be in a “this can’t be any worse” state before surgery isn’t worth reacting to.

So now we officially have chickens, ducks and rabbits on our little farm.

Before it even has a name.

Before we have a composting system figured out.

This land is all tailings, like I think I’ve said before.  No particularly good soil for growing. 

But here we are with all these animals putting out useful stuff that’s mixing with their bedding and dirt et. al., so I figure if we have a way of processing all this we won’t have to buy dirt whenever we get around to starting gardening.

I’m not really researching that.

Just recognizing that I should eventually, and knowing that my complete apathy toward such a critical element a soil is not laziness, but full-ness.

I’m doing a lot of things.  Doing them well, may it please God, but definitely reaching my limits.


Over the long weekend Jay built the two frames for our two 5-hole rabbit cages.

He also put in the chimney for our wood stove in its new location.  And while in the attic space under the roof he saw the charred evidence of a house fire.  Which answers my perennial question about how/why this old house (a log cabin, though you can’t tell from the inside or out) got a new floor and sheet-rocked walls.

We set the first giant cage in place late Monday night, but it was just yesterday I finished cleaning them out and transferring the “mythic” (Odin, Freya, Athena, etc.) set from their temporary place to the raised frame.  Freya and Ropa (short for Europa) were bred a couple weeks before I bought them and are due to kindle early next week.

Ropa’s been a bit of a snit, and was heavier than Freya, so I’m pretty sure Ropa’s preggers.  Not as sure about the older one, so it will be a wait-and-see again, like it was with Serena.

Yeah.  I’ve named them all.  It’s the best way I’ve found for keeping things straight in my head.  I don’t know how many the pantheon of Greek/Norse gods would work for, but for me it keeps the generations straight without even trying.

We’re officially “real” farmers now, though, because Hera broke her back somehow and while Jay was starting the cage frames I was skinning and butchering my first rabbit.

I also separated the drakes from the hens among the ducks, assured myself we have at least six hens (including the two named ducklings, thank God), and picked a drake to try out duck meat.

I skinned it rather than trying the scald/pluck method, and have to say that seems most practical.  And I’m really not doing much with cooking fat anyway, so saving the skin just seems like more effort than it’s worth right now.

So we’ve had duck and rabbit this week, and Jay was thankful to “reset” some negitive memories of both meats.

Next animal jobs are to clean up the 5-hole that was on the ground and split up the B-set (Buck, Bunnita, Buttercup) we got in May.

Jay and I are ready to see the guinea pigs leave now. We’re looking for the simplicity of only two types of animals; and having animals that can all make it outdoors in wire-bottom cages.

It’s amazing how much more relaxed Jay is without animals in the house.

So we’ve told the kids, but aren’t moving quickly.

Oh, and we accepted four lonely tomato plants along with a collection of seed-starting stuff (for next year, maybe), so I planted them one-to-a-pot in the half-barrel planters on the edges of the yard.  It will be interesting to see if they produce anything.  They’re surviving so far.