Farm Report: Fall 2015
Time for a quarterly farm report! Let’s see what’s new, what we’ve learned and if any plans have changed.
Remember in my summer farm post that we irresponsibly let our dog get pregnant? Well, 4 of the largest puppies went after our chickens, and there were 8 fatalities. Our lesson was:
Spay And Neuter Your Pets!
It was a sad day. We invested time and money into the chickens, and I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get eggs for a while due to the stress. It messed up our chicken to rooster ratio; and roosters had to be culled.
My calm, docile roosters also became aggressive towards us for several days following the massacre. We donated all but one to a tamale maker. We have built an enormous kennel for the dogs. Now our dogs and chickens have to take turns roaming around.
A New Family Member
We homed all our accidental puppies, and kept one for Bella. Lil’ Missus looks just like her mama. (Ugly!) Homing dogs was way harder than I thought. We got Brownie and her puppy fixed, so we won’t have to worry about more accidents.
An Investment Pays Off!
We’ve been getting eggs since September. Right on time, despite our rookie mistake with the dogs. The first ones were smallish; but with practice, our cuckoo marans are laying almost a dozen big, beautiful eggs daily. We’re coming out ahead of what we’re spending on feed since eggs are so high right now, but egg production should slow down soon.
Hubby and his brother bought a used four wheeler. My nephews have two kid-sized ones, so it’s a lot of fun ripping around the property.
I’m working 3 clearings to make a really fun path for riding. It’s a lot easier trimming trees and hauling brush, because we can hook a trailer up to the quad. There is a nice natural path that just needs to be tidied up a bit. There will be lots of forks, twists, and turns so traffic laws will be in place when multiple quads are in use. I’ve actually been looking for traffic signs. Why not give the kids a head start for driving real trucks?
We remodeled the living room (which is actually a sun room addition) when we first moved in. Since then, Edson has painted our daughter’s room and is remodeling her bathroom. Her weird, shallow bathtub has been replaced with a modern shower. It’s a teeny wittle bathroom, but it’s a going to be a lot prettier now.
That leaves the
dining sewing room, kitchen, laundry, pantry, and master bedroom firmly stuck in the 70’s. I’m not antsy to remodel at all.
We intend to build a house at the rear of the property. That’s a part of the reason why I don’t want to invest a lot in remodeling. But…renting this house a viable option that will pay half the mortgage, at least. Although I don’t want to share my space, I have to admit that it makes financial sense and we could really use some more manpower to keep up with the land. So since we’ll be in this house for a couple years, and probably rent it after that…I do think we need a few cosmetic updates. Sigh.
I also changed my mind about getting meat chickens this spring. Butchering chickens is a lot of work, and I can buy a whole chicken at the grocery store for less than an hour at minimum wage. I still want pigs, but just a couple for personal bacon. Ive learned it’s difficult to make money off livestock without a big operation and expensive equipment. Raising animals for meat doesn’t save money either. But you eat better, and give the animals a good life that they would not experience in most commercial operations.
I’m researching leasing the back half of my land for farming or livestock. I could make a little money and get some agricultural education if that works out. I’m not really sure where to start.
Nature Is Kicking My Butt
I’m losing the battle against the trees. We’ve already killed 2 chainsaws. Any reccomendations for a super heavy-duty chainsaw? Oh, all my pretty flower gardens got overgrown with weeds over the summer. I’m slowly working those in preparation for winter.
Lions And Tigers And…
Coyotes, oh my. A new housing edition to the East, overgrown jungle property adjoining a part of mine, and the sounds of prey animals have lured them to my farm. We’ve had 2 sightings just this week, dangerously close. They are very smart and hard to catch.
The plus side is I haven’t seen too many deer getting close. Remember, I’m still pissed at the entire deer population for eating up my pear harvest.
My winter farm report might be more interesting. Maybe I’ll have some building plans to show you. I’m debating a small ranch style home or a classic farmhouse with a wrap around porch. It’s hard to find the smaller floor plan I need. More house = more cleaning, no thanks!