Monday, August 22, 2011

Goodbyes and Preparing for the Future

Yesterday, the last two goats said goodbye. Well, theoretically anyway. For in actuality, though I can't translate verbatim, I'm pretty sure the panicked look in their eyes and the loud bleating wasn't a happy goodbye but a frantic, "Please let me stay. Please let me stay.", which made it hard to let them go. None of them went to strangers though and each will have a good home, something you don't often get to say with assurance.

Three of the goats I will be able to see often and don't tell her but I'm secretly hoping Florence will soon loose her voice. She didn't go far and is just across the road in Michelle's pen bellering to beat the band. I haven't gone over to speak to her because I suspect it wouldn't do any good to tell her that she should be playing with her pen mate, which just happens to be her cousin and only a few day older than she is, rather than hollering to come home.

Six goats went bye bye in total which leaves what? Just Chicory and her grand daughter, Megan. Yup, I was going to keep four goats and then I went and listened to a ADGA goat appraiser. I decided to get rid of almost everyone and form a serious breeding plan. It is a goal I'm wanting to spread across to chickens and a far more serious garden plan too.

Next, spring a buckling and a doeling from Mega-Milkers will join our two goats. I've another doeling I'm wanting from another herd but I'm waiting for next year before making that move or the year after as I seem so often to take that long to act upon my plans. That is what I get for having so many.

As for the chicken in the blogging title above. She's there to motivate me to hurry and cull roosters and hens. The new ones are in a coop meant for chicks, not nearly full grown chickens, and so they are way over crowded. My conscience is biting at me something fierce over the thing and so I've sped up the work project on the new small chicken coop we are going to have in our back yard. We've wanted one ever since we had the six hens in our garden a couple years ago when the hoards of grasshoppers descended upon it and threatened to annihilate it. But, then along came our cute grand kids to live with us for a year and that plan sat on the back burner until now.

It is high time I decided what chickens need to go into the stew pot, what chickens will stay until November, and what ones will be with us through the winter. And lastly, what one or two of the four roosters is staying.  

It isn't just the over crowding that has me motivated though for two different weather men have stated that winters for the next few years are going to be doozies, similar to the ones we experienced during the latter 1970's. The ones where fellow high school friends snowmobiled to the bus stop because the roads were closed day after day. Winters where in the open countryside you couldn't tell the road from the barrow ditch and elsewhere you traveled in a kind of snow tunnel for walls of snow were on both sides of you completely obscuring your view. Fifty below zero wind chills were common.

Read it for yourself, I've included one of the sites. Your area could see things very differently than ours but after reading two different national weather blogs saying the same thing, I'm thinking batten down the hatches.  Some of our goals for this fall are going to change. We need to work a bit on some livestock sheds to shore them up for winter, see what it would cost to put some more insulation into our homes attic, and put a fan in the stove pipe of our coal /wood stove to capture more of its heat to warm our home. 

The 1980's weren't too warm either and our kids remember those winters too when I use to put heated bricks in the bottom of their beds at night. Brr... I'm not looking forward to those cold days again even though our home has undergone quite a bit of remodeling and should be warmer.

This winter I'm going to be glad I have fewer animals to feed. The money we've earned from those who left will go toward new hay feeders and it looks like they just might get stuffed full on more than one occasion when a particularly bad storm is expected.

As I think about preparing for winter, a observation comes to mind. I believe that there are two kinds of people 1. those who are like the Pronghorn antelope who like to stay out in the open so they can see what's coming and 2. those who like to hide from trouble in the woods. I'd rather prepare to meet trouble head on with a, "If ye are prepare, ye shall not fear.", attitude

 Others disagree. They'd rather not think about unpleasant things and live for today hoping the bad won't find them or that it doesn't exist.   

So don't laugh when I show you pictures of my new hen house. It is a part of my antelope personality, being prepared. I've not done too bad at handling the miter saw, the circular saw, But the drill, well, you could definitely say that the screws are drilled, just some of them at odd angles. The saws all on the other hand has done just that, sawed all, meaning more than it should have. Whoops, my door doesn't look too hot.

Kirk just keeps telling me that the chickens won't care how straight the door frame is. They will care that I've made the ceiling low to keep the warmth down where they are and that I've insulated the walls and ceiling against the comb freezing winter winds. That I've also taken care to locate the coop where fences will protect it from the worst of our high winds.

Yup, call me an antelope for I see a myriad of circumstances in which some skill with wood working tools would come in handy. So while I have a talented coach nearby, I'm going to take this opportunity to learn and call it a blessing that he doesn't have time to do it himself. I'll just take all the help he can give me in the form of advice while he is busy trying to fill knife orders that have piling up.  And if in the future something unforeseen creeps over the horizon where I need some woodworking skill, I've a head start on being prepared

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