Early May 2012

So we’re barely out of April, but still loads going on.

(I hope really soon to start back up with the menu-building posts– because it could mean *I’m* back on a menu.)

We decided to sell Cream. It was really hard for Natasha and me.

The one consolation we could offer her is that she now has her very own rabbit. It is the last silver fox (cross) we have, and Natasha named her Black Beauty. We’ve given Natasha full ownership (along with care) and Natasha will be able to keep BB as long as she lives, if that’s her desire. She just has to maintain the present level of care.

We sold all of the non-Orpington chickens (and the extra rooster) last week, and I’ve sold a total of 14 meat rabbits so far, for breeding stock.  I expect to sell one more trio this week, along with the angora buck (and I’d let the mama-A go to, if I could find an interested buyer).

I have a few small baskets of angora from what I’ve collected over the last year, so I think one will do fine to keep me as busy as I want to be with wool.

It was a relief to find critters leaving (nearly) as fast as we wanted, and then this week I went out to feed the chickens and found a slaughterhouse.

A marten had gotten in and torn out the throats of every bird in the place.

Thankfully for me, three of the hens broke out; they were the only ones to survive (but they mean I still have home grown eggs so I can still eat eggs). I stayed up till after 3a.m. Thursday morning, trying to work through salvaging all the meat.

Jay skinned them and passed them on to me, as he does with the rabbits, except these carcasses he didn’t gut when he skinned them.

Took me about 30 minutes each, on average, but that’s somewhat deceptive, since the first one took me an hour (!) with set-up and everything. I definitely got faster as I went along, but still prefer rabbits for cutting up.

It would be fair to ask me what I like best for eating, but I haven’t been up to experimenting for about a month, so I’ve been sticking to the tried-and-true set: mostly moose and turkey.

All these birds we canned, since we don’t have freezer space; and since I had 9 birds that meant I had a lot of bones to boil.  Thursday I had three pots of stock going at once. Friday, two. Today there’s still one going, but that’s just because I’ve been busy with other things today, so I never turned the crockpot off.

And all that canning means I’ve used up all my jars. Floored me. I’d stopped buying the cheep ones when I found them because I felt greedy or something. But seeing how much we used with just. meat, I can’t imagine how much we’d use if we actually got into gardening and preserving that harvest. It’s pretty intimidating.

The kids are mostly recovered. They got to participate in their dress rehearsal and performance Saturday evening, which was a huge answer to prayer.

Jay was out pretty much all of today (Sunday), and I’ve been going through the house/cabin/shed/garage looking for outgrown books games and toys for the annual homeschool curriculum fair tomorrow.

I told the organizer I’d take three tables. The Subaru is absolutely *crammed* with boxes and stuff.  I’ve got a few craft and projects I’m letting go (if anyone will buy them): beading, polymer clay/sculpting and my B&W (film) printing stuff.

This I expect to let go very cheap, and there’s a part of me that’s very sad about that, but it’s been sitting around for almost 10 years, and (if there’s any value left at all) it’s for a very narrow audience anyway.

In addition, Elisha’s birthday is tomorrow, but his party isn’t until the 19th (*that* was hard to harangue/explain), since there were so many things already going on in May.

He’s picked a “costume party” theme (though he keeps changing what kind of cake he says he wants), and I’m making him a Robin Hood costume for his birthday present.

Since we don’t really “do” Halloween (for more-or-less these reasons still), I’m always looking for other opportunities to let them dress up and/or enjoy costumes.

I got his whole costume pinned up during the dress rehearsal Friday night, so cutting is the next step. And (according to the pattern) with the sewing only taking a couple hours, two weeks should be plenty of time to have things ready…

Mostly I’m looking forward to things leveling out.

I want to teach the kids how to manage the laundry (sorting, folding), and coach them better about keeping their spaces picked up. Turns out the animals didn’t really take that much time, so even downsizing this dramatically (or involuntarily) doesn’t lighten my load much.

Lord-willing once we’re all back on our feet we can work out a balance that’ll let my growing kids learn to carry a bit more.

4 thoughts on “Early May 2012

  1. Mom Teena says:

    I am continuingly thankful to be able to read your posts to get filled in on the family. I remember that Aaron was about Natasha’s age when he had his own rabbit, plus responsibility for care of others too. Helping with chores is such an important part of learning responsibility. I understand your comment about having less animals to care for didn’t lighten your load as much as you expected. Similarly, having no schooling duties, once the kids were gone, never opened up as much time for me as I thought it would. There was still more things I wanted to get done in a day then there was time. I find it hard to imagine Elisha is 6 years old today!

  2. Brooke says:

    Wow! I just looked up a picture of a marten. It’s amazing how something so cute looking can be so destructive. How did it get in???

  3. Mom Teena says:

    Did you see the martin, or it’s tracks? A small weasel could also do that damage, even to big chickens, plus they can get through amazingly small holes.

  4. Amy Jane says:

    Brooke: he found a place in the overlap of plastic sheeting behind the structure. I don’t know if s/he broke it open or just found it opportunistically, but it wasn’t anywhere I saw regularly or ever thought to check.

    Teena: I saw its sharp little face looking at me from under the coop. I swear if I’d had a gun on me…

    Well, maybe I wouldn’t have risked it. He was looking from between a wreath of rocks, and I guess I don’t trust my marksmanship enough for a 4-inch hole. But is sure made me mad.

    No, I don’t know if it was a marten or a weasel from just the face, but Mom offered to invite a trapper friend of hers to come around and see if he can do anything.

    We still want to figure out how to keep on keeping chickens. (The last three are safe in the rabbit room, but with the limited light (no windows) they’ve stopped laying.

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