I have some hard choices to make and I really don’t like it.

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I’ve said it before this live is hard.  Almost a month ago I breed the two girls.  But only one showed any signs of being pregnant.  So I put a box in for her and put hay in everyone’s cage, even the boys.  Yesterday was a busy day and nothing went as planned.  Much like any other day.  Lots work work, then getting the Girl to the doctor where we waited an hour just to get seen, then groceries, getting to church on time and getting home late from church.  There was little time for the animals yesterday.  I had done a lot of work the days before, but yesterday was feed and water only kind of day.

So last night as I’m checking food and water I see that the one girl had very little hay.  I was going to put some in, but one of the kids needed something and I left.  Everything that happen this morning is really my own fault and I’m kicking myself and mad at myself for what I found this morning in the barn.

First of all I was running behind even getting out there.  The Max wanted food, The Girl wanted food, the fur babies wanted food,  I had a huge headache, still do.  I get to the barn and hear the sweet chirping’s of the fluffies.  They were all accounted for and healthy happy babies.  I come around the big brooder and see something on the floor by the rabbit cage.  I realized it was a baby.  OH CRAP.  Then I look in and the floor of the cage is covered in babies and she showed no signs of caring for them.  One or two had been chewed on.  I am now in tears.  WHY didn’t I just put hay in?  WHY din’t she make a nest?  WHAT the hell am I doing?  These are the kind of mistakes that break my heart, make me question everything I’m doing.  Some would say, “What’s the big deal?  Your going to eat them anyway.”  Yes, that’s the plan, but I’m doing this so I limit the amount of suffering they do before they become my food.  But here all I saw was suffering, suffering that I was a part of.

I had to pick up the babies and bury them.  I’m sorry for making them suffer, I’m sorry that their mother did not take to being a mom, but now comes the difficult decision about what to do with her.  Everything I’m ever read or heard that once they eat their babies, they will do it again.  This was not in the plan, this was what I pushed from my thoughts of raising rabbits.  This I do not want to do.  But I will and it will break me, but this is the live I chose, this is how it really is.

I’m on a couple of facebook groups about raising life stock and see many people who raise for food, but want to pay someone to do the killing and processing.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.  I mean Katie doesn’t do the killing, but she knew she had someone who would do it and she is fine with the processing.  But now looking at my rabbit and knowing her fate I’m struggling and understand a little bit.  I know I will do it, because it is mine to do.  I won’t like it.  I have to remember this is what I chose and I have to stand by my decisions.  Good or bad.

Tomorrow will be better and I will learn from this.  I truly love animals weather their for food or my friend.  This afternoon I will be doing dome hard thinking about what I want to do and where to go from here.  Homesteading isn’t always rainbows and sunshine.  Sometimes and many times it’s death and slip in shit kind of live, but I love it and will keep doing it.  So here’s to a better tomorrow.

Or my wallet.

This morning was a busy morning.  I had to go to the dump, feed and seed, bank and grocery store.  But some teenager left the jeep empty and I had to change plans.  I’m not a fan of change.  At all.

Two days in a row I have gone to the jeep to take the kids to school and the little yellow light was on.  I only put in $10 yesterday, because that’s about all the driving I do.  To school and home, occasional trip to the feed and seed which is 3 miles from the house.

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I remember the good ole days of getting in the car and there being gas in it.  Now that boy and his driving adventures are leaving me crazy.  But really how can you be mad at that face.  Due the stop for gas, because the gas station is not in the path of ALL the places I needed to go I had to skip the feed and seed (oh the horror) and I went to WalMart Market (say it isn’t so).  WM Market is right next to the bank and it would allow me the time I needed to get home in time.  All I needed was milk and cereal.  The cereal was good price, but the milk….OH DEAR LORD.  I could have gotten Happy Cow for that price.  Never again.  Time is not worth bad over priced milk.

And I didn’t get to the feed and seed.  But that’s ok, the Eldest will be filling up the gas tank drive me over there like I’m Ms. Daisy.  Sounds fair to me.  I have coffee now, so all will be forgiven…..maybe?

 

Kids do say the darnedest things.

Do you not just love this face.

Do you not just love this face.

Saturday Katie and I got together at her place to plan out and get some materials for the up coming barn addition.  Her two youngest were there and full of energy.  We spent a couple hours really planning the next two months out, deciding on the barn, and planning goat due dates.  Lots of mental work.  Much coffee was drunk at this point.  Yay coffee.  Yay Katie for having coffee.

We ventured out to the goat pen to really finish up the planning.  OMG River and Rory have become giants.  Like really….polar bears as my Eldest would say.  Oh I got so much lovin.  Best dogs ever.  It’s kinda cool that I can walk and still pet the dogs.  Katie walked off where we needed to fence for the meat birds and I played with puppies.  I had the better end of the deal.

By the time we got done with that it was time for lunch.  We decided on Pappa and Beers.  This place rocks.  Katie did remind me to not get water.  Anderson is having some algae issues and the water taste really weird.  Due to Katie’s bonfire red hair, she had it all put up in a bandanna.  She looked really nice.  I on the hand was rather rough looking.  Ok, I looked tomboyish.  Which is when we kinda chuckled at the fact that we looked like a family unit.  That’s when Katie said, “I’m the lipstick.”  I on the other hand am not.  Interesting dynamic we have going on.

Gabriel decides he need to entertain us with jokes.  Six year old boy jokes.  Yay.  He told me if worked here and served a Pappa he would give him a Beer.  This in his eyes was the funniest thing on earth.  Which made me laugh.

Our next stop was Lowes.  I’m really impressed with Katie and I’s skills of managing Lowes with two kids and getting out of there in budget.   Though I do want to fuss at Lowes for being so understaffed on nice sunny Saturday.  They had one person on register and one guy cutting wood.  He looked like he was going to pass out.  So Katie and I had to load the van ourselves.  That was a lot of wood.

The last bit of wood we put in was the treated lumber.  It was super fresh.  So fresh it was wet.  I told the kids not to touch it.  Caitin asks, “Why.”  I reply, “You might grow a third eye.”  Giggle.  And Katie throws in, “Or become infertile.”  Gabriel questions, “I might become a turtle.”  This is where we all lost it.  Yes Gabriel you will become a turtle.  It’s never dull with kids…EVER.

We got back and got the van unloaded.  Went over the plans with Andy.  Feed the animals and talked a bit, then I headed back home.  On the way home I thought of all the things we need to get done.  And I also thought about how tired I’m going to be.  But man how nice is going to be to just be done building.  That is going to be great.

I’ve have a lot of thing at the Hollow to get done as well, but I’m calling on my church men to come out and help.  I have a fence to build, two coops, fix a roof, and some rabbit/quail pens to build.  The next two months are busy, but then I’m done.  For now.  Until I decide to do something else.  Ok I will never be done.  But the big stuff will be done.  I’ll be sure to document all the changes and hope you enjoy it.  For now have a great week everyone.

And it’s a good thing, a really good thing.

Yesterday my landlord and his wife stopped by to see me.  They were upset about the dog.  It’s been an ongoing issue.  He told his wife to cut me a check.  I refused.  I felt bad at even the thought.  By the end of the conversation he insisted on a reduction in the rent.  He just wasn’t taking no for an answer.  I accepted and told me he would have a talk to the neighbor about the dog.  I felt bad.  I don’t wish for anyone to lose their dog, but I feel even worse losing my birds.

So today I get a message from my mom.  She is sending me money to go towards the fence.  I’m in shock.  It’s a lot of money and again I felt guilty for her doing that.  But she assured me it was ok.  She had it to give.  I was left awe struck by it all.  Not really sure what to say or do.  I am a truly blessed woman.  I’m sad at losing baby bird, but it all has a purpose.

Last year Katie said I had to name my little homestead and called it the hole.  She said that didn’t give a good impression.  But the property is kinda in a hole and I like to think of the house as a Hobbit hole.  I still call the house the Hole, but I decided on a new name.  The property is really a hollow and life on a homestead can be very humbling.  Nothing ever goes to plan and you just go with it.  So I thought a fitting name was The Humble Hollow Homestead and it worked.  After this whole experience I think it is very accurate.

With these two acts of kindness I will be able do the fence properly and not have any worry.  I’m excited about the new fence and all the things on list to get done.  I’m still in shock by this all, still sad about the bird and sorry for the dog, but it is all good.  So off I go to shovel bird poo with a smile on face.  It good here at the Hollow, it’s real good.

And this is why there are leash laws.

All my birds are in runs and I even have predators netting.  But somehow, some way, something is going to try and get my birds.  I know this, but I don’t like it.  I have been having issues with the neighbor and his dog.  He finally chained the one, but the other runs free with her pup.  Honestly the momma dog protects my farm.  I have no issues with her, but looks like pup is going to be a problem.  Joy.  This is what happened to baby bird.

At first I thought it was pecking, but it's buddy was missing.

At first I thought it was pecking, but it’s buddy was missing.

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I found the other one and a hole dug around the gate.

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The other got away unhurt, but not this poor baby.

I have this little one in the hospital.  I cleaned it up and gave it a dose of vinegar.  Tonight once it’s rested I will clean it again and treat her better.  I hate this.  In couple of months I will have saved enough up and I’m hot wiring all around the birds.  Maybe a few good zaps and that pup will stay away.  Is it evil that I hope I see it get zapped.

 

I spend a great deal of time to solving that question.

Today I spent some time in the new run with the youngest of my birds.  It’s filled mostly with EE’s and OE’s that are around 3 to 4 months.  I know I’ve heard a crow, just didn’t spot the offending party.  It’s kinda a mystery and I have to solve it.  This is the part that drives me insane.  Really wacka doodles crazy.  I’m not a patient person at all.  So I shall share the birds in question and you talk among yourselves.  Maybe we can come to some conclusions.

GIRL

Girl

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GIRL

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GIRL

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Girl???????

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I’m thinking both of these are boys. Might be wrong. These are OE’s.

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I’m thinking the standing one is a boy and the other is a girl. They just joined the run today. And they are OE’s.

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Fingers crossed this is a girl. It is also an OE.

There were a couple of others in question, but they didn’t want to pose for me.  Silly birds.  On top of these mystery, Miss Kitty my fierce barn kitty, well she may be Mr. Kitty.  While watching birds I saw her spray the corner of the fence.  I know she is very territorial, but I’ve never seen a female cat spray.  Any clues on that one would be much appreciated.

 

 

“I believe that’s blood sweetheart”

It’s rough for The Girl living in a house full of carnivores and when much of the processing happens right here on The Hollow it’s harder to shield her from it.  I try very hard to spare her from the horror of it all, but sometimes I miss the little things.  Saturday my friend came over with her sons to help process birds.  The Girl was going to be at Grand’s all day.  Perfect.  The Max and the boys tried to hunt squirrels but the neighbor had been shooting their boom sticks all day and there were no squirrels to be found.  They found many others thing to keep themselves busy.

Friend and I set to killing quail.  We processed 23 and then set into the six chickens.  These were some big girls.  At this point I went into start our dinner.  I had to wash up first.  I went to great efforts to not leave a trace of the killing.  It took a little longer than either of us thought it would take and we ran out of light which slowed us down more.  But we managed.  After all the birds were divided out we sat around the fire for a bit and chatted.  It was nice.  The boy were still hanging out being boys and we were resting our feet.

It was a little after 8 when they left and I  set into cleaning up everything.  I got all the birds in the cooler.  Got the fat on the stove to render and put the quail in the freezer.  I get a call from The Girl letting me know she’s on her way home.  It’s 12 minutes from Grand’s to my house.  I gave the area a good sweep.  I even wiped down the door knobs.  Everything is good.  No horror scene for her to walk into.  I pat myself on the back for being awesome.

In enters The Girl.  “Hey why is the door knob greasy.”   Me, “I just cleaned it.”  No further explanation.  We will let that slid. Due to the fact it was most likely the chicken fat covering it.  An hour goes by and no other discoveries were made.  Yay.  Then I hear, “MOM….What IS THAT on the light switch.”  I come to see.  “I believe that’s blood sweetheart.” was all I could reply.  I had failed.  Then I notice it on the kitchen switch.  I stand in front of it so she doesn’t see it.  Then it got worse.  “There’s something in your hair,” she says.  I run my hand over the area she is looking at and pull away a large chunk of chicken skin with feathers to boot.  I’m the worst mother ever.  She leaves the room rather ill feeling, demanding I bleach everything and take a bath.  I complied.

All is well now.  She’s still a little gun shy turning on any lights now.  But she still loves me and hasn’t threatened to move out. And I have a freezer full of tasty meat.  It’s hard for her and don’t discourage her choice, but it’s her choice not mine.  I have always taught my kids if you chose to take a different path from the norm don’t get upset when your the only one on that path and don’t expect everyone to cater to your every demand.  The Girl is pretty good about that.  She understands that she lives in a world of meat eaters.  So I do try to make where she lives not so horrific, but sometimes I mess up.  But man that chicken is going to fabulous.

And three very love struck does.

I really need some lovin'

I really need some lovin’

So, last Tuesday I get a message from Katie that the girls are in heat.  All of them (except Muffin, fingers crossed she knocked up).  Katie starts giving me a list of numbers to call to get Babs a man.  I’m calling all over South Carolina and North Carolina to get this hussy a date.  Do you know how awkward it is to call and ask, “Do you have a stud for my doe, she’s in heat”.  I’m sure some of you do.  I felt kinda dirty.

By Wednesday we had a buck lined up, but it wasn’t the one we really wanted.  Katie headed my way with the three girls in the love van.  Thirty minutes till she is suppose to get me, I get a call from the guy with the buck I wanted.  Thank you God.  Babs’ buck was named Chaos Caprines Romulus.  How perfect is that.  By going to this guy we shaved two hours off the round trip.  Yay.  So away go.

He's lovely.

He’s lovely.

 

First I have to tell you what I was met with when I opened the door to the van.  A stench that can not be explained.  I just now am able to smell properly.  O. M. G. the mess those girls made.  Katie’s van will never be the same….EVER.  (I’m really sorry).  So away we go.  First we stop to get money and food.  Needed food.  Babs glared at me.  I did not get fries and she loves them.

First stop was Babs’ date.  The man let us look at the bucks to pick which one we wanted.  I was approached by many bucks showing me how awesome they were.  They all wanted some lovin.  But by the looks of their beards I was trying to stay clear, so I did a lot of head scratching to keep them at bay.   The man told us all the good and the bads of each boy, but Chaos won out, as he should.  To say he was pleased to meet Babs is not accurate.  He loooovvvveeddd her and so do all the other boys.  There was a crowd gathered at the fence.  Not the romantic first date a lady would want, but this is life of a goat.  We were there from meeting to saying bye for total of 20 minutes and we were on our way again.

Back on the road, next stop was to breed Pom and Ali.  By this point Katie and I have become immune to the stench these girls are making or all our smelling senses have been destroyed. After almost two hours we get to the next breeder.  She lives on the side of the mountain, very close to Caesar Head.  We have to walk Pom and Ali down the hill to meet their date.  Neither really like the leash, but we manage to get there.  Both girls are mini Oberhaslis and they were breeding with a Nigerian.  Tiny babies in our future.  Their buck is a tad shorter than them, but he’s ready for the date.  Well, sorta.

This guy took two hours to get four tries.  I pray it takes, because I don’t think I could go through that again.  At one point we had him on a bucket to see if that would help.  NOPE.  We circled.  NOPE.  We moved pens.  NOPE.  Apparently this guy needs to recharge the battery after each use.  So we waited and waited.  But at least I had good company.

Finally it’s time to get up the hill to love van.  You know when I said we had gotten use to the smell.  Well I was wrong.  Dear lord, that smell about knocked me down.  And getting the girls back in was fun.  Katie was in the van holding Babs while I hoisted the little ones in.  Got Pom in no problem.  Ali, she’s fiesty, decided she wasn’t having any of this and tried to wiggle out.  In the process I had to grab what ever I could to keep from losing her.  I grabbed a big hand full of love butt.  I am scarred for life.  And she might be too, but she got in that van at that point.  Once we got in the van and we got hit by the smell again, Katie suggested we stop at a gas station to wash up.  Bless her.

Off again to get me home.  All in all it went well.  It just took forever and the van is a wreck.  Katie and I have decided that in the Spring I was getting breeding bucks.  We don’t want to do this again.  EVER.  As I stepped in the door at home I was greeted by the fur babies and they looovvveeedd my smells.  ALL my smells.   I felt so violated at this point, but too tired to care.  Everything I was wearing got washed and I soaked a very long time in the bath.  Yeah, we’re getting bucks, that was rough.

Food to calm the monkeys in your house.

This pay period is tight.  I mean super tight.  I’m scrapping to have gas to get the kids to school.  I ran out of yummy treats for their lunch bags.  Oh the horror.  So yesterday I got cooking and made some baked goodness for them.  I made banana bread muffins for breakfast, chocolate chip cookies for the desert and Chunky Monkey Granola Bars for their snack.  I’m in love with the Chunky Monkey.  I had it for lunch.  My sister shared the recipe a few years back.  She found it on the internet somewhere, so this is not my recipe.  I just thought on this dreary rainy day I would share it with you.  Enjoy.

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter or sunflower seed butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup puffed rice
3/4 cup chopped dried banana chips
3/4 cup cup dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Instructions

Place an 8-inch by 8-inch square of parchment paper into the bottom of a pan of the same size.

Stir together the oats, puffed rice, walnuts, and banana chunks (break the banana chips up) in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the brown sugar, honey, and peanut butter. Bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling hard, let it boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Be careful, it will bubble up when you add the vanilla!

Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and gently but quickly stir it in thoroughly. Turn it onto the parchment lined pan right away and press into the pan evenly. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks or chocolate chips over the pan and let stand, undisturbed, until the chocolate looks shiny, about 5 minutes. When the chocolate looks very shiny it should all be melted and can be spread evenly with a silicone/rubber spatula. Let stand until the chocolate has firmed back up.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen any chocolate that stuck to it, then turn the large block of granola bar onto a cutting board. Flip it chocolate side up and cut into bars of your desired size. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Seriously, no one told me there would be days like this.

It has be one heck of a morning.  I got up as usual to let the birds out and feed them.  There in the turkey run was a large branch.  It had torn down most of the predator netting and had Tom trapped away from his girls.  I got the branch out and freed Tom.  I made plans to fix the netting when I got back from dropping the kids off at school.  Easy Peasy.

So how did I go from easy peasy to a slobbering, crying mess sitting in the turkey run.  Well let me tell you.  Here’s the deal, turkeys are stupid and at the same time smart.  How is this.  Chicken don’t really remember much.  They know I’m the food bringer.  They know I’m nice and that’s about it.  Turkeys, they know I’m the food bringer, they know I’m nice and they like me.  But they remember, not much, but just enough.  They are smart enough to know if there is a hole, they can fly throuhg.  But dumb enough to not figure out what to do after that.  Here is the problem.

I have seven large turkey all flying through holes.  All going in different directions.  I get one hole fixed and they fly throuw another and create another.  At one point all seven got out.  Most fell into the chicken run, some in the yard and one somehow managed to get back in.

Problem was I had run out of zip ties and couldn’t find the other pack I had.  My hands were numb from the cold.  Birds were every where and I’m a girl with hormones which had just gone into over drive.  I began to cuss the birds.  The sailor in me came out and I let loose on those stupid birds.  Then I sat in middle of the run crying, cursing the day I ever decided to get birds.  The words coming from my mouth were not too Christian.  Finally I apologized to God for my melt down and pleaded for help.  My hormones calmed down and I began to fix the netting.  One bird was roaming, two were now in the run and four were in with the chickens.  No one was fighting, so I let it be and began to fix the netting.  I got it all done and it actually worked better than before.  The birds have a little flapping room now.

I managed to get all the turkey back home and settled.  Fixed the chicken netting and calmed them all down.  Gave more water to the bantams,  all the chaos made them go into a tizzy and knock over their water pail.  All was good.  I go in, take off my good shoes that are now covered in turkey poo, took off my nice pants now also covered in turkey poo, removed my sweater, no poo just hot.  I put on a pot of coffee and was putting in toast when I caught a whiff of something.  Turkey poo?  No, dog poo.  In all the chaos, Super Mutt missed his morning walk and got worked up and left his mark.  He looked at me with eyes that said, “Sorry”.  I got it cleaned up, found some clean clothes and poured my coffee, ate my toast.

Look at my phone and I had missed a call from my boss.  Craptastic.  I call him and five minutes into the call my phone dies.  I live in a very old house and outlets are few a FAR between.  My boss was calling to set up my computer for remote work.  I had to move my desk to the middle of my room to reach the only outlet that my phone charger would reach.  Finally get to the call, getting the computer set up and the cat decides it’s her turn to make me crazy.  She is sitting in the window and pukes, not once, but twice.  And there is nothing I can do about it.  I continue talking to the boss like everything is fine and dandy sitting at my desk in the middle of the room watching cat puke slide down my wall.  Yep I’m living the dream.

My boss had to go, family something.  I’m drinking my second cup of coffee trying to figure out how so much crazy happen in such a short span of time.  I hope this is all the crazy for the week, because I’m all tapped out.  Happy Monday everyone.