Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spring Time Rush

Anyone else going crazy? My plants have outgrown my grow lights and today I've got to get the manure piles spread in the garden and start to rototil. A project interrupted by a trip to see my Mom. Sad story there as she has reached the stage where she is refusing to eat.

Quick question, does anyone else have to start their broccoli in the house so those flea beetles don't eat them to a nubbin? Seeds in the garden grow plants to the most edible size for them and I end up with nothing. Put a large broccoli plant in the garden and they will damage them but not kill them. As for killing the flea beetles, well, good luck. I have heard of using a shop vac to vacuum them off and then how do you kill them? The exhaust on a car, bug killer, I don't know.
Usually I don't have my plants this large at this time of the year but I found a huge difference between growing broccoli under lights in the basement and growing them in the living room window under lights. Yes, the living room window wins by a long shot. Which is nice because I can drop the time under grow lights and save electricity. I think the temperatures are more stable there and of course more light. I keep my house pretty cool in the 60's cuss I'm cheap. That is unless the grand kids are here and then I turn up the thermostat.
My chicks, Whoo Hoo!, are out of the cages in the basement and have been living happily in their little outdoor coop meant for just this stage of their lives. Believe me, two weeks in little cages in the basement is enough.  A handful of chicks no problem but 32 of them, no thanks. When we eventually get moved that is one thing that will change. No chicks in the house. The mess is controlled by plastic but the smell is still there.

Someone once told me that, "You can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl." Well, this girl is extremely tired of trying to live a country life in a small town. Nothing is convenient. I had to load the manure on to the trailer at the corrals with the tractor. Drive 3/4 of a mile the back way to the backyard with the tractor and then walk down the hill to get the truck and trailer, unload and drive the tractor back down the hill, then walk back up to get the tractor for a total of five times so far.

I could really use another load but not sure if I'll get that done as we are beginning our landscaping chores of window wells, drain pipes, and retaining wall. I will get a pick load of my neighbors super fine manure for my fruit trees though. I think I'll do that today while hubby is off and I don't have to do the walking thing. No, I'm not lazy but I do have a kidney infection that isn't responding and my back is insisting on pain killers at least once during the day. I'm on my seventh day of medication but don't know when I can slow down enough to go to the doctor again. Maybe tomorrow for I do need some fabric to make a lap quilt for my mom who is now in the nursing home giving the nurses a run for their money. They have to station her right in front of the desk to keep a close eye on her. Dementia is a nasty thief. It robs your mind and body. 

As for the sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk, they had to be recultured on Monday right after my flying trip to Mom's (Why did they think nine hours was a smart distance to live from family?) as a week is the limit before renewing them. Three cultures going at once meant I needed another heat source and remember, the chicks were out of the basement so no heat lamps. Instead I put a heating pad standing on end around them in a circle set on high. Radiant heat source. We have an old one that doesn't turn off. If I hadn't of been in a total rush, I would have turned it on low and wrapped the whole thing and the jars in a towel. It worked though and so I can check off one more way of heating my cultures in a cool house. The rest of you could probably get away with many of these cultures just set on the kitchen counter but not when the temp in the house is 62 in the mornings and often never reaches 70.

As for critters, we are awaiting the birth of Madelyn's little one this weekend. Sunday makes 150 days of pregnancy and pretty much the limit. Then it is Gracies turn, our yak. She is getting really cranky with no spare room to grow out. Got to be twins in there? At the earliest she has a few more weeks to go. About mid June I figure though the breeder thinks July. It will depend on whether there is a bull calf or a heifer calf.  Bull calves can take longer to grow inside. I'm guessing since they are a bovine that if there is twins with a bull and a heifer that the heifer will be a Freemartin.

Don't know what that is? You'd better if you have cattle. The bull calf releases testosterone to the heifer in the womb all but guaranteeing she will be sterile.  She will have a malish figure also. I've talked to dudes who decided they wanted to leave the city and be ranchers and they put Freemartins back in their herd to find out that low and behold they didn't have calves in the spring. Of course they had no idea the concept even exists. It is a financial blow since it takes two years before you discover the fact. You breed at one years old and they calve 9 months later. Just so you know a yak has a 8 1/2 month gestation.

Why that doesn't happen in sheep and goats I'd like to know but haven't taken the time to research the details.

As for Gracie, I thought she looked pregnant when we picked her up, not just having bred as the breeder thought.  Call it that glow or the way she carried her weight that had changed but she definitely looked different to me. Then again she might of bred twice just as my goats bred twice but gave birth off the first cycle so who knows. That makes close to September tenth as her breeding day for Jasmine whom we lost to AHD was coming into heat or out of it when we dropped her off on the ninth. Most of the time animals cycle close together if penned together for a long time.

Then with all the babies on the ground comes the tough, tough decisions of whom to keep and who has to go of babies and adults. That is what I need to do this week with the goats is do some banding of bucks that don't make the grade. The problem is they look like five peas in a pod, very, very, much alike. There is a little buck I really like of Daisy's and since birth he has caught my eye. I can't hardly tell him from his brother in conformation but I figured out the other day in part why I like him better. He is more athletic and has smoother movement in his hips. Can I keep him? Well, if Madelynn has a really nice doeling then I definitely have to sell Touch because I'll keep her and she is out of Touch as is two other does I have. And I of course can't breed this new little buckling to his momma but I could everyone else. Oh the turmoil kidding brings into our lives.

One more tidbit. My sister says if you put spinach in your fruit smoothies you can't taste it. We've been eating a lot of those with the yogurt I've been making. Don't add sprouts though. I did because I didn't have spinach. Yuck, berries and sprouts don't go together. It may of been good for us but it certainly wasn't good tasting.

I promise I haven't forgotten the kitten story and I need to talk a little about mastitis as Daisy came down with it being weak from a difficult birth and feeding three kids. Right now it is back to mowing and then I've got a cake to make for Cub Scouts and manure to unload and and and and.......

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