Thursday, June 6, 2013

Busy Doesn't Begin to Describe It.

I know this site has been a bit silent but we have been at a dead run ever since it stopped raining and my hubby got home. We could use a little rain again but while we pray for more, we have to steam ahead on projects.

We made a tentative list for June and the first week into it we have built a small retainer wall, hauled in a truck load of dirt and begun building up the soil around the house in the front, finished the window wells,  ran underground drain pipe connecting the two down spouts on each end of the length of the garage, and managed to disasterize the house because of neglect.  

The livestock pens aren't the same either. Touch, our buck goat, was sold.

Cory went to the butchers. That was a traumatic event. Not that I was sorry to see him go. It was quite the opposite. I thought I was going to dance all the way home. We haven't been able to work the yaks through the chute since he came. He riles them up too much and isn't above charging us if pressed. That made getting him in a smaller, confined area, which was the requirement of the meat processor, quite a trick.

My dear ranching friends were headed back to South Dakota but volunteered to help pen him in the shed. It was a day early but that was okay because there was no way I was going to manage penning him by myself. Kirk was gone and I'm doubtful if the two of us could have done it as it was tricky with just three. Cory is extremely excitable and Corriente cattle like to jump. That makes the fence a suggestion, (Please stay in here.)  Not a firm barrier. To makes matters worse, Cory doesn't mind using his horns to make his point when he doesn't want to do something. He has BIG horns. This is one of the hazards of buying an animal and not raising one so you  can instilling manners. 

Not sure just how aggressive Cory would get, I brought my horns too, a pitch fork. Luckily with a great deal of patience and a huge blessing from above, we managed to get him in the shed where we'd put a couple heavy panels across the opening.  When he realized he was enclosed, he became very agitated and kept challenging the fence, threatening to jump over. That meant I kept racing back and forth to get in front of him to block his way.

He finally calmed down when my friends hid around the corner and laughingly offered to bring me a pillow, blanket, and sandwich for the long night. Luckily, Cory likes me and after some threats mixed with a great deal of sweet talking he calmed down enough to begin eating. In this volatile state between calm and berserk, it made the two days left very tense as I ran to the corrals three times a day to make sure he never ran out of food or clear water. Keeping him happy was a huge priority.

 Though he was staying in, it didn't mean Cory was happy about it. When  the meat processor showed up he took one look at the stranger and went ballistic. "Let's get him some grain and see if he won't eat it." the processor suggested. I knew better. There was only one way to calm him down, a bullet so I hollered for him to hurry. While the processor went to his truck, Cory was worse than when the ranchers were there and kept me racing back and forth as he charged the fence.  Once not quite fast enough to stop him, he managed one hesitant leap with me screaming, "No, Cory!". He managed to get his two front feet over the top and part of his chest. Only because I startled him as he was leaping. It was enough though that he could of wiggled across the top of the fence but I rushed in and beat him back. There was no way I was going to chase him around the pen. I wanted this steer dead. 

Believe me, when it is time to butchering a steer or a hog, you'll know. As the meat processor says, It isn't when the steer is to perfection meat wise that people call him. It's when they get tired of wrestling with a problem. Yes, animals that get close to butcher size start getting full of themselves and often begin destroying fence, getting out, or being ornery with their owner. Cory occasionally challenge me when I came in the pen and I'd have to act tough without invoking a fight. He wanted to be top dog now that he was getting big but I was determined it wasn't going to happen or my safety was really at risk.

So when I started screaming, "You'd better hurry and bring the gun, FAST! I don't know how much longer I can keep him contained.", some of you will understand having been there yourselves.

Then yesterday we banded the bucks, all but two. We use bands this time of year instead of cutting because the flies are few making maggots getting in around the band pretty slim. I've dug maggots out with tweezers before and don't wish to do it again. Tonight we dehorned the last two kids, Madelynn's, and since chores are never done it is feet trimming time and shed cleaning once more.

But first, I really should get my garden in. My plants in the living room are HUGE. I've decided to put only the plants in the garden and skip any seed planting. I want out of here so bad I can hardly stand it. I like the house but the soil is horrible and my animals are too far away. We are going to concentrate on the house and getting it ready to sell. That means all else has to take a back seat.

June is a lovely weather month to get the outside worked done and July and August the inside for it is much hotter. So that is the schedule.

That doesn't mean I don't ache to try new things. My daughter sent me off on a search looking up how to make pectin from citrus. You grate the zest off and use the white pith for pectin while the inside is for juice or whatever else you want. Sounds very resourceful and I've got to try it sometime, just not now.

Plus, I'm aching to make cultured butter. Had some from the, via my step-dad, and YUM! I'm sure it was cow and though the package didn't say cultured, it had to be because of the flavor. The instructions I found recommended using Mesophilic culture but I've not the time right now to get my frozen culture going and keep it going. I did try using some home-made cultured sour cream thrown in a chilled blender container but even with ice cubes I couldn't get it to form. Oh well, I guess I need to experiment more and research a bit further. For now I've got more than enough on my plate.

What is keeping you busy?

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