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Life on the Farm 2019

9-24-19. I don’t know where the previous posts have gone, or if I have been so over the top busy I never actually wrote anything this year?

It has been busy! Art went south to visit family for 1 to 2 weeks on 3 different occasions. I do his chores while he is gone and then have to spend weeks catching up on mine. I know I never answered emails and feel so bad about it!

One of my aunts passed away this summer after several months of being ill. I went north a couple times to help my cousin with going through things and taking things to donate, brought home lots of clothing for the various family members to see if they wanted anything. They were remodeling the kitchen so Art went up once with the trailer to bring home the old kitchen cabinets. We hope to use them in the new dog kennel. May use them in the apartment we will build off the new dog kennel office.

One of Arts older sisters moved in with us in January. (He has 12 siblings!) Its was a difficult time for her, she had lost almost everything. She has an old dog and an old cat. The dog was ill a lot and we had to make quite a few trips to the vets. She was in and out of the Dr’s herself and has been hospitalized several times. We take care of the dog and cat for her when she’s in the hospital. She doesn’t drive anymore so usually Art takes her to the appointments. When he was gone I took her a few times.

The cat is a problem as we almost all are allergic to cats. We had her in a huge pen in the kennel, for months but Kim and Libbie could no longer go into the kennel without sneezing and gets sick. But it was cold so she couldn’t be outside. She is declawed in the front and old so I dont know if the farm cats would be nice to her if we just let her loose. Then she was in a covered dog kennel outside with the nice weather. Now we have made a big horse stall cat proof so she is living in there. We will have a heated house in there for her when it starts to get cold. She’s super sweet but with all the people being allergic we just can’t have her in the house. Once the apartment is done Renee can have her in her place. We will have a window air-conditioner and radiant heat floor in her apartment so we dont have the air circulating between the kennel part of the building and her part of the building. Good for her too as the dogs always make lots of dust, besides some of them shed.

The dogs annual health clinic in April was terrific. Libbie and Kim came with Art, Uncle Al, and I so things went very smoothly. We had Libbie’s dogs, Kims dogs, my sons dogs, Uncel Al’s dogs and our dogs all with us. In addition any dogs we have in the foster to adopt program we do. It was quite a large pack! Amazingly almost all the dogs passed everything they were tested for. One of the older Cavaliers had a heart murmur but doesn’t need any medication. Almost all Cavaliers will develop a murmur at some point in their life. Now with responsible breeders doing yearly heart exams they are living longer with no actual problems even with a murmur. I have checked in on several retired parents we had and so far none of them need medication.

We had lots of hogs, they are as prolific as rabbits! We have taken most in to Korte meat market, and they are now are in the freezer. We still have 6 sows. They simply kept growing up falser then we could take them in and then another would have more babies. We are trying to cut back to only have 2 sows and we will borrow, or buy a boar each year for babies only once a year. Currently 1 sow has 3 piglets and the other had 6 but somehow managed to lose 2 of them. Its so sad. They are good moms but the piglets are just little. Normally they raise 6 to 11 each. A commercial sow is expected to have and raise 11 babies everytime. We have heritage breed Large Black Hogs. Sometimes they have and raise big litters and sometimes they dont.

The guys tore down the ugly old mobil home I had lived in when we first bought the property 16 years ago. It was ugly and old then, but being a mobil home and not a house made the property affordable. We built the house after living here 5 years and have been building and fixing things ever since.

Someday I want to fix up the historic 1700’s log cabin to be a primitive camping cabin. It is said to be haunted and is one of the original log homes in this area. Currently the roof is a mess, with holes big enough the raccoons pop their little heads out and survey the farm. The foundation is all caving in and the whole thing is listing to the side. Justin can jack it up and put a foundation under it. It’s a big project. Sounds simple so I wanted them to just go do it. But apparently it is much more complicated and expensive then it sounds and they dont have all the equipment needed to do that kind of project. Funds are very scarce so it is on the really want to do list, but not the need to do today list….

We have been doing lots of repairs and remodeling on the farm getting ready to build a new state of the art dog kennel building with an apartment for Renee, bathroom, office, and kennels with radiant heat floors and of course air-conditioning. It will have a yard with privacy fence all around it to help block cold winds, add shade from the setting sun when its so hot in the summer, and to help block noise. We will have an agility area for the dogs to play, and not sure what else. I want to have a swimming pool that is shallow, so its safe for dogs who don’t swim well but may want to splash around in for something different to do on hot days. I want a separate wing to be licensed for doing rescue work, since rescued dogs have to be kept separate from our dogs per some weird rules someone came up with. Lots of ideas! Although putting them all into practice and the ever annoying budget limitations is another story.

Kim’s husband, Justin, and brother in law, Kevin, plus my son, Keith, and whoever Justin currently is working with when he is excavating have all helped out. They have completed a new huge peacock pen for the ducks and peacocks that is safe from the raccoons who decided to not only move into the barn, and cabin, but also raise cute families. They made a pig pen more then 10 times the size it was for the rescued potbellied pigs we ended up with back in February. 3 of the pigs were pregnant at the time, unknown to us. They all had babies! We managed to find homes for 6 of the 11 babies. Justin use to work on his uncles hog farm so he helped castrate all the boys so no more baby potbellied pigs! There are now 10 living in the big pen. No one here but me thinks we should just eat some of them. We eat the big hogs and they are more friendly and personable then these wild little guys who run like mad anytime you get near them. they are like feral hogs or something. The only one who is laid back is the one they told us was the original mom to the 3 young pigs we rescued with her. She was a bag of bones, her skin was all weird looking and she was going to die if she didn’t get care. I never do things as 1 only so we took 3 of her babies who were half grown also. 1 was a boy, the other 2 girls.

The same place had starving goats also and we got 3 of them, 2 does and a buck. The 2 does were already pregnant. The neighbor fortunately stepped in and took the rest of the big herd while we were trying to figure out where to put them if we needed to get them all.

The goat kids fortunately survived as we had the moms a few weeks with lots of feed before they were born. Plus we had them in a protected horse stall with heat lamp so the babies would stay warm. There ist was a open to the cld north wind, concrete floored shed. It was SO cold 🙁

We kept one of the doe babies with blue eyes, and have the 3 adults. It was really easy to find homes for the other 4 babies. We had so many calls for them we decided it wouldn’t hurt to allow them to have more kids. They are so entertaining! They would actually slide down the Little Tykes plastic slide and do leaping, kicking, jumps from one platform to another. We figured company who visits will really enjoy seeing them, we love to watch them play! The kids are left with their moms to be raised, unlike dairy kids, so low maintenance for us, no bottles. Then we can sell them when they are ready to be weaned so we keep to the same 4. The one goat they had named Hope and said she was a favorite, yet shes scared of everything. The other 2 were definitely never handled. We still need to name the brown and white doe with blue eyes and the buck who is black and white with blue eyes. I need the baby Sapphire, since she also has blue eyes.

Our dairy does, prior to getting these starved goats and pigs, had 13 kids between the 6 does! Art had the job of milking, 5 are still being milked once, or twice a day. The dairy kids are always taken away from mom so the moms can be milked, and the babies can be sold on a bottle, or they can be sold after weaning. They are super friendly and easy to handle when raised on a bottle, which is very important for future milking does! I start them on bottle and keep them in the house, in the bathtub when first born. It’s easy to clean. By the time they can get out of the tub we move them to a stall with a heat lamp. They were born in January and February! It was SO cold! We did find homes for all of them, even the 4 yearling goats who we still had from last year. Last year was so busy we didn’t have a chance to keep them advertised in order to sell them so they were here over a year. The extra animals take even more time to feed an d care for so our goat as a working farm is to have the offspring and extras sold as fast as possible.

We also sold the young donkeys we hadn’t advertised when babies in 2017 and 2018, so most were all still here. We found homes for all of them but a 2 yr old jack from 2017. We also sold several adults so I have less hoof trimming to do. Our old farrier (person who trims hoofs) is no longer doing that job and the new one is doing the horses only. Their hooves were getting too long since my back isn’t the best and I could only do one every so often. They each need done about every 2 to 4 months.

One of the things we did this year is pour a concrete pad to put the donkey hay feeder on. It helps keep their hooves worn down as they walk on it eating hay, so they don’t need trims as often.

Our big barn was having real issues a couple storms had knocked a wall loose and blown tin off the roof. It was slowly rotting away. Art was unable to fix it and everyone was too busy to help. This year with Justin not excavating near as much as usual we have kept him busy. He and Kevin torn off the whole wall, rebuilt a new one and put it up. they fixed the roof in the many places it was leaking, or had rotted wood and no tin.

A little white storage shed had blown over in a storm last year. It held the fishing stuff down by the pond. Justin and Chris built a new little shed out of mostly scarp stuff we had around to house not only the fishing stuff but a pump for aerating the pond. Art hasn’t hooked up the electric for the pump yet. ITs all in the gourd and ready but he has been going non-stop with his sister and doing basic chores. This year wasn’t as dry as others have been, so we didn’t have the big fish die-off when the water gets too shallow, too warm, and the way too much duck weed robs the water of oxygen and the combination of the 3 kills the fish. So even with the aerator not going yet we didn’t have the die off. Plus last year may have already killed all the bigger fish, so may not have had big fish to die. In the past the various people fishing have caught 7 and 7.5 pound bass, 4 to 6 pound catfish, and huge sunfish from the pond.

I cant stand the idea of breaking the damn and letting it dry up in order to dig it deeper. Every year wood ducks raise a family and Justin said it will take 2 years for it too dry enough to really dig out. I want him to just scoop some dirt from the bottom and make one or 2 areas that have a really deep spot instead. Seems more habitat friendly to me.

On top of the little shed, the peacock pen, pig pen, and fixing the wall and roof on the barn, they also put in a new 3 sided shed for the horses in the pond pasture to have shelter without going into the barn. We needed to be able to shut the gate, and they needed an alternate shelter. The paddock, they use to walk right through to get into the barn, is going to be the building sight for the new kennel!

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