Friday, December 30, 2011

Farm Chores

I must tell you - I am very muddy right now.  Although the sun is shining (and it feels like a miracle) it is still mucky in the extreme.  I scraped out the worst of it from the sheep pen, just inside the gate.  I let Minnie and her two lambs out on the front lawn to experience grass for the first time since the lambing.  I castrated the ram lamb, gave him a tetanus shot, and filed his teeth just in case that is why she is less inclined to let him nurse than his sister. 

He is peppy and his mouth is warm, but he isn't thriving as well as his sister, but Minnie isn't completely rejecting him, so I just thought I would try.  I have been holding her in a head lock and holding up her front leg to let him nurse frequently throughout the day, and he's worked out a system of nursing from behind her, stealth style.  She does get upset if I take him, so it's not a totally lost cause. 

My paint horse is suffering a massive abcess, which seems to have broken out the bottom at the point of the frog.  His sole is soft and peeling, so I wrapped that with layers of gauze pad soaked in betadine, vet wrap, and duct tape.  Two months of steady rain in the 2+ inches a day level hasn't done him any good.  He's out in the yard, too - where it is softer. 

I have a feeling we're in for a drought.  We usually have a drier period in January, but the 1998 drought which lasted four months is still in our memories.  Whenever you have an especially wet late Fall, it seems there is an especially high possibility of drought.  We're in a lot better shape compared to 1998.  At that time, we still lived in the cabin.  Our third child was a baby and the cabin was pretty open to the elements, no insulation.  When it was 42 degrees outside, it was 42 degrees inside, too.  I would get up to nurse him and I could see my breath.  We only had a 2300 gallon water tank.  We were conserving a lot and having to haul water in clean rubber rubbish cans bought for that purpose several times a week, just to have water for the horses and to bathe.  We have 10,000 gallons of capacity, but we have bigger kids, more animals, more toilets.  I am looking forward to being able to feed without having to be splashed in mud and for Ohia's feet to have a chance to heal, but extreme conservation doesn't sound like fun - at least we're all at school 11 hours a day. 

I talked to a local mechanic and his wife about trading me raising and processing a number of meat chickens for them in return for a brake job on our son's car.  She said she would help me with the processing since we're both newbies at it and she wants to learn, but she's never raised chicks, and I have, so that would be a good trade.  I figure I will give 50 a go and give her half.  The estimate for the parts and labor was about $250, I think, so that would mean $10 a chicken...that would cover the price of chicks, electricity, starter crumble, and the time to care for and process them.  I will definitely need our husbands to work together to make a whizbang plucker! 

We had a houseful last night.  The usual kids, old friends of my two older kids - all of them except my son have graduated.  Most of them are in local universities, but one was on the mainland, so that was cool to talk to him about that.  It warmed my heart to hear one of them say, "This feels like home.  It feels good to be here, again."  I had kind of a rough day, yesterday, so that just made my morning.  And the wonderful byproduct of one of these movie nights is the fact that the kids burn all the boxes and burnables to make a "bonfire".  It isn't a chore if your friends are around to help, it seems. 

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