Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Fever

The sun has been shining down on us for two solid days and I have been enjoying every second of it. Chris is still working on the base for my greenhouse. In the mean time, I decided to work on the area that I had dedicated to an orchard last year. I am going to use it for my berries and grapes and any herbs that won't be grown in the greenhouse.

For three years, I have worked pretty hard on that area. It began as a patch of brush, blackberry brambles and poison oak. The first year, I used a weed eater to clear it down. I dug, sprayed, and weed eated some more. I cleared away rock, half-rotten logs, and dug up more small stumps than I care to remember. I had no visions of what I was going to do with the area. I just knew that it could be nice some day. I asked my husband not to do anything over there. This was my patch. My challenge to see how far I could go with it.

Last year, it started out better than the year before. Hooray! Progress! I dug more, cut more, scraped with a shovel, pulled weeds and finally had it to where I could push a mower over most of it. There were fewer rocks and most of the sunken and rotted wood was gone. By early summer, I was ready to plant my trees. The soil isn't great, but I could dig out the holes, amend the soil I removed with compost, and figured the trees would be ok. Between the 2 rows of trees, I added a couple of blueberry bushes and some raspberry canes.

Since deciding that the trees needed to be moved, the plan is to turn the area into a very large berry patch. I went out today and raked and pulled out more rocks. I think I have gotten all the ones at the surface. I'm betting money that the rototiller will find plenty more. I dug up the last of the large roots that I knew of, and am only left with one log. It was very large, mostly buried, and very rotten. I am hoping that by burying it the rest of the way a couple years ago that it is rotten enough now to break up and remove or till into the soil.

There is a ranch just north of here that always gives away free composted horse manure. They even load it for you. I am going to get a load or two of that and add it when I till. Hopefully, this year will be the year that this area can really boom.

I also thought I would post progress pictures on the goats. They still look pretty skinny, but I think they are looking much better. Their coats look healthier, they're become less skittish and more friendly, and they have put on a little weight I think.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Puttering in the Sun

Today was so beautiful here that I decided I would take full advantage. I had about 15 things on my list of to-do's for the day. All stuff that I could have gotten done. Things that would have made a nice impact around here. I got side tracked somewhere along the way.

Instead, I moved my 'orchard'. I had a nice size area with six trees (though one has since passed on), but when Chris decided it needed to be fenced, the area became much smaller. This still gets me! He put up a fence to protect the trees that now have to be moved somewhere else that has no fencing, because of the fencing put in place to protect them. Huh.

Before moving any of the trees, I plotted out a nice 8x10 area to level for the new greenhouse. I had my shovel in hand, breaking up some of the sod. Chris tells me it would be much easier with the tractor. I'm all for easier. I hate digging. It is the one chore that makes me cringe. So, after I moved the trees and he finished up with his project, he started up the tank.

Keep in mind, my greenhouse is 6x8. I wanted some wiggle room on the edges, so figured that 8x10 was the perfect size. 35' and several deep trenches later...

He is so happy with that tractor.

I should have stuck with my shovel.

He was smiling when I took this. Not sure if it was because of my panic.

Here is one of the trees. The fenced area in the background is where it came from.

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rabbit Role Call

So, this morning when I was out feeding the rabbits I decided to take a count. I lost an entire litter of New Zealands a little over a week ago from my best doe. I also picked up some newly weaned does last weekend and planning on getting a few more when I can build something to hold more cages. I need to catch my tracking program up to date and when I realized the rediculousness (is that a word?) of my numbers, I thought I would post. I have 41 rabbits, if you count the kits.

2 NZW does for breeding
3 Cal. does for breeding
1 NZW buck - I need to find a replacement (since I can't do brother/sister inbreeding)
1 Cal. buck
3 Jr. NZW does being raised for breeding stock
8 jr. bucks (holding one for a friend, need to butcher the others)
23 kits still in the nestboxes

My goal is to breed my Californians until all of my NZW's are old enough to breed. Then I will phase them out. Everybody wants the NZW's. In fact, I have a waiting list for my does.

Chris has been so wonderful about it all. I don't know if I mentioned it, but my original plan was 2 does and a buck for personal consumption. Anyone that knows me though, knows that I have an all-or-nothing/go big or go home philosophy. That could be why he didn't want goats??? Could be why I want to move to a farm with at least a quarter section of land!!!

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost & Found

Yesterday, I got to talk to my brother, Floyd. We hadn't talked to in over 10 years. It was such a great feeling! I have another brother, Shawn, that I stay in touch with (but not nearly enough) and it was through his wonderful wife that Floyd and I we reunited. It's funny how you can miss important people in your life, but not realize just how much until they pass away or are back in your life.

My oldest brother, Mike, has my contact information now too, and I hope that he will be in touch. I haven't talked to him in 10 years either. I did get to talk to my neice/cousin (don't ask!) on FB chat yesterday and wow, what a beautiful person she has become!

I am on a deadline to finish a website that I've been working on. As soon as that is finished, I will gather and post more pics. Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner any longer.

Shawn, Floyd, and Mike

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Fight To Homeschool Almost Over!!!

Some of you may know that Chris and I have been fighting to get DHS approval to homeschool the girls since early December. Since they are technically still foster, it is up to them to decide until the adoption is final (just a couple months to go). I have a million reasons that I would like to homeschool, and at the top of that list is Shyann's diabetes. The school has done a deplorable job of taking care of her and I am so close to blowing my top that I can't hold out too much longer. That wouldn't be good, because I still have to have close contact with them and need all of us to be on the same team.

Last Thursday I looked in Shy's backpack for notes from the teacher and her blood-sugar readings for the day. What I found were several crumpled up candy wrappers from a Valentine bag the teacher had given her. I checked her blood-sugar and it was 477!!! That took the cake. Why would they give a 6-year-old diabetic candy and expect her to not cave in to temptation. She's SIX! I called the school this morning and told them that she would no longer be attending on days that parties were planned and that they needed to let me know when they were planned in advance.

Then I called our adoption worker. He told me that he had a meeting with the DHS branch manager on Thursday regarding the homeschooling. He told me to prepare our letter to ESD, that he saw no reason that they would turn us down. He had sent me a letter stating all of the stipulations for homeschooling foster kids and I sent back a pointed response to each issue clear back in December. I also created a letter addressing all of their concerns. He said that those, along with all of my research into it and contacting the homeschool group would go a long way and that he was positive that the answer would be yes.

This will be a major victory in our lives! I am so scared everytime I see 'Public School' show up on my caller ID. I worry that something terrible could happen to my daughter, not to mention all of the crap that is the government school. I really thought after her diagnosis that transferring her to this school was going to be a good thing (her last school didn't call me the day she was diagnosed with diabetes and she was in ketoacidosis, with only hours to go before she would have gone into a coma). I continue to pray that it is truely a go-ahead.

God Bless!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Goats Are Home

We got most of our fencing up on Saturday with the help of some friends. Chris and Allen worked on the fence while Tammy and I kept the kids busy and sunk posts for the small loafing shed. Last night, it got completed in the dark, with the goats already in. I still have to finish the loafing shed, but I have a make-shift shelter with hog panels and tarps in the mean time.

I got to milk Latte yesterday when we were picking her up. It was more of a quick lesson in how to do it than anything. The previous owner has been trying to milk Pudding, since she knows that's why we wanted goats. This poor goat was neglected by the people this lady just bought her ranch from and she kidded just a couple of weeks ago. She seemed so near death that they pulled her kids. I'm not going to try to milk her. I think I will let her go dry and try to bring her condition back up. She needs the energy to get healthy, rather than supply our family with milk. She can spend the summer being a companion to Latte and a weed-eater for the family. We may try to breed her in the fall, as long as she is in good health. I just need to find the happy medium of getting her weight up without her bloating.


Latte and her kids

Yum-Yum #1

Yum-Yum #2

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Regarding My Last Post

My husband read my last post and took a bit of offense to a couple of things. When I explained what I meant, he understood, but told me it was misleading. So, let me clarify. I in no terms meant any disrespect for my husband. He leads my home and I truely do respect him.

When I said that the care of the animals is all on me, that was meant in the sense that I am the one home to take care of them. I'm the one that has started these projects, therefore I feel it is my task to take on and my responsibility. This is what I choose to do. I ask him for his opinions and take them to heart. In the end, we compromise between his visions, my visions, and our convenience.

On to the subject of him helping me...Like I said above, I am the one taking on these projects. He helps me when I ask for it, but I try not to ask too much. He has plenty on his plate without me stopping him all the time. Sometimes this is a bit upsetting to him because he likes to be a part of it and hates seeing me do really heavy stuff. As far as the goats go, he has made it clear that he doesn't want anything to do with owning them. This doesn't mean he wouldn't help me if I asked. It means that I didn't want to ask. Now, I won't turn down help if he offers, but to ask him for help on something he didn't even want in the first place would, in my opinion, be disrespectful.

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My First Award!

I feel so honored! This is from my friend Crys over at From 0 to 3 in 90 days. She is another adoptive mother and I love her quick wit.

So the rules say to post this pic on your website and pass it on to 12 other people. I hope I can do that - I am sort of new at this.

Ok, so I only have seven. Many of the blogs that I followed have up and quit on me.

Stupid Luck and More Projects

My best friend and I have been seeing several posts on Craigslist from people looking for free animals and somehow decided we would post one for goats for meat. I got Chris to agree to this, since they would come here and simply go to slaughter. Many of you know from my last blog that I've been begging for two years for milk goats and have hit a wall with him. He outright said NO! The first and only thing he's ever denied me. It hasn't stopped me from persisting though.

Today, to my surprise, I got a call from a woman that raises Alpines. When I told her what we were planning she offered me two that were still on the bottle. I told her all I had been through wanting goats for milk and she offered me 2 does, 1 with twin weathers and one that had lost her kids at birth. She owns a farm up north and bought another. When she went out to the property, she found that the previous owner had left all of his goats and hadn't been taking care of them. She's nursed them back, but wants to get rid of them because they have horns and that makes her nervous. She told me that if it didn't work out, I was welcome to take them back to her and she didn't mind that the weathers were for slaughter.

So...I called Chris and started sucking up right off the bat. He asked what I wanted and I told him my tale. I let him know that they were returnable and asked if I could try it. His exact words were, "Since you won't take no for an answer, I guess you can get them and find out for yourself." Normally, I would say nevermind, but this is something I'm going to run with. I figure all of the animal care around here is all on me anyways, so what's the difference. Goats just make sense to me. I will have to really work to change his opinion. Not by harping on it, but by showing him that they can be easy to keep if you do it right.

My problem at the moment is that I don't have a pen or shelter built yet. I have all the materials and the rest of the week to get it done. I obviously won't have any help from my husband but my friend is willing to help build the pen, since she will be getting one of the weathers when it is butchered. I hate to ask her to come down though since she has been suffering from a sinus infection. I could do it myself, except the only fence posts I have are 10' tall. Someone's going to have to hold the ladder while I pound the posts! 

I have sooo many projects going, but, in my mind, this is just to good to pass up! I will post pics as I go and as soon as I get them home. Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Big Project Complete...Almost

Yesterday, I took the girls and a friend of mine down to Medford to pick up some rabbit food. It's a long drive, but when you're getting 1,000# of feed it's not too bad. I also got to pick up 20# of hamburger from a wonderful lady that wants some of my rabbits. She works in an antique store down there and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to browse. I also picked up all of my hog panels for the pig pen. Anyway, we didn't get home until 8:00 last night and it was raining. Putting the rabbit feed in trash cans had to wait until this morning.

After Chris helped me get the feed into the shop and scooped into the cans, I went to work on our new composter. I started it last Sunday but didn't get too far. Today, I got it finished. I still have to finish the water-proofing, but the building is done. I'm not one of those proud people that likes to toot her own horn, but I was proud as a peacock with this thing. The only thing I had any help with was cutting the 4x4's. Cutting everything else, nailing, yada yada...all me. I think it came out really well. It's 12' long and 3' deep, built using 2x6 and 2x4 with each outer corner being a 4x4.

Looking at it in the shop all finished reminds me of the man who built a boat in his basement and couldn't get it out. In my defense, Chris said to build it in there so that I could get it stained even if it was raining. He has this blind faith in the old Allis Chalmers out there. According to him it can do or move anything (and so far it has). We shall see. I may be composting in his work-shop come spring. Doesn't leave me much room for the next several projects though!

The very beginning. Excuse the mess!

What a helper! That's about as far as last weekend got me.


Hopefully the deck sealer will be a little added protection.

Not too bad for a

God Bless!