Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ow, ow, ow.
I was on my way into the office to write, just now, and stubbed my toe. It's one of my more insignificant of the middle ones......but it hurts like it's the only toe on my left foot.
Ow, ow, ow.

Serves me right. I'm supposed to be out cleaning the chicken coop instead of lallygagging in the house. (Not that writing is lallygagging. But I can waste so much time reading a million different things.....I mean researching a particular topic....that the next thing I know, the morning will be gone and the chicken coop will still need mucking out.)
I think I'll just write a bit until my wounded toe stops throbbing. Then I'm getting out there to do chores!

I am!

I need to do chores.

Just as soon as my toe feels better.

I bred all the meat rabbits over the course of the last two days (Well, if you want to get technical, I let the rabbits breed. I didn't actually breed the rabbits myself.) So in about 31 days, we should have several litters of rabbit babies (the official word for rabbit babies is "kits" but around here everything is a tomatoes, baby turkeys, baby rabbits.) Unfortunately, I found our big spotted buck dead in his cage yesterday. Hmmmm. He was only four years old. Most meat rabbits last a little longer than four years. But this guy was definitely gone. I thought when I broke the news to the kids there would be sadness and a few tears. The rabbit was a part of our lives for a while. But I was met with indifferent shrugs instead. I guess when you are a country kid, death is a part of life. I was just surprised by the unmoved attitude. (Of course the jokes were flying between my boys: "I guess the strain was just too much for him." "At least he was happy in his last days"....)

I was surprised at his shear mass when I removed the body out of the cage. I'll bet this guy weighed 12 pounds! When rabbits are alive, they tend to bunch up, hiding their feet, and it's sometimes hard to tell how big they really are, especially when it's still a little chilly. In the summer heat rabbits will stretch out to cool down and it's easy to see their body size. In any case, he was able to carry on his lineage by covering his harem in his last days. Hopefully, we will be able to pick a herd sire from this next group of new rabbits coming. Or I might just barter a new buck from another rabbit breeder. We'll see.

The plant babies (see, everything is a baby) in the basement are growing like crazy and are begging to be put out in the garden. But they have to stay protected in the house until the end of May/ beginning of June.

The little turkeys seem to be thriving in their big, rubber tub. It will be fun to see how that project develops.

The chickens are doing their part toward our food independence by supplying us with 8-12 eggs a day. Yea! I've been selling enough surplus eggs to cover the cost of the little bit of food I have to buy for them (between foraging in the fields and table scraps from the house, they don't eat a lot of store bought feed. I'm sure it will be even less by the time summer is here.) and I still have enough $ left over to cover our weekly share of the milk cow where we get our 2 gallons of raw milk on Mondays. My plan right now is to begin storing (freezing) the eggs for winter use beginning in July. All the chickens we were given were hen raised instead of being purchased from a hatchery or the feed store. So hopefully in the next couple of months, one of the hens will decide she wants to start a family and will go broody. If that happens, we will have a self sustaining flock of chickens that could bless us with new babies every year. That would be a great thing!

Oops. Speaking of toe is beginning to feel less painful so I'd better get out there and work. I'm burning daylight (guess which famous John Wayne movie that line is from?).

Update: It's 5:05 and two of my boys and I scooped off the bulk of the chicken coop floor. We piled the leavings into the eastern half of the coop because the wind has really started to blow. I think I would cry if we shoveled all that great composted chicken/ rabbit manure (that I've been saving all winter) onto the garden only to watch it blow like so much dust in the wind. (All we are is dust in the that artist.) So the "golden garden soil booster" is piled up on one side of the coop, in all it's manure glory, waiting for a calm day to be spread onto the garden spot (that grew nothing but very large grasshoppers last year). I can't wait to see how much better the garden will become this summer!

I can see the neighbor to the north and his daughter cleaning out the area where their piggies lived last season, in preparation for new piggies. It makes me jealous. I want to grow bacon, too (whine).

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