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How long has it been? | Speedkin

How long has it been?

I’m not at all happy with the way this summer has just blasted right past me while I’m distracted with market baking.  The baking has taken over my life.  Don’t get me wrong — I have a blast at market and love hanging out there with all of the folks.  But, dang.  I haven’t had time to tend to the garden.  I haven’t been able to just hang out with the kids and enjoy the summer off from school.  I can barely keep the house from getting to “condemned” status.  And I’ve certainly not had time to keep up with regular blog posting.  Not that I’m fretting over lack of blog posts for blogging’s sake, it’s that I haven’t had time to add to our little “family journal” here.  This is where I keep tidbits of our life so, when the kids are all grown & gone, we can all look back and say, “Oh, that’s when we did so & so” and “See how little I was then?”  Those sorts of family album “unimportant” things.  I do not like this whole missing a chunk of our life thing.

So what’s happened in the past month?

Duke had a birthday!!  He turned 10 on the 8th of July.  I can’t believe he’s 10 already.  Almost a teenager.  Geez.  A week or two later, he and Isaac got to fly out to Phoenix with Grandma Kaye and spend a few days with David & Miranda and Uncle Richard.  Duke & Charlie spent a week at 4-H camp earlier in the summer and had a good time.  Isaac spent a few days at the Missouri 4-H Congress.  Then Charlie & Isaac spent a week at Boy Scout camp and had fun.  The boys have all sorts of fun things to fill their summer and that is a good thing!  The girls are still a bit young for those sorts of trips but they’ve been able to hang at home and swim in our little redneck pool.  (Ooh, I have to get a pic of that for you guys!  Ha!)  Cody’s been working a few hours each week for some neighbors down the road.  That’s a good thing for gaining some independence & work experience and a little spending cash in the process.

The garden.  Oy.  The garden.  What a year, huh?  If there was ever a year to miss tending to a garden, this has been the one.  Even if I’d been here to take care of it properly, it wouldn’t have mattered a lick.  It’s just been too dry and too hot for too long.  In Oklahoma, we had heat & drought like this but we were prepared for it.  Here, we weren’t expecting it and our garden is still in its infancy.  We don’t yet have it all set up the way we want it with heavy mulch, etc.  In five years, maybe it’d be better able to withstand this summer’s weather but certainly not this year.  We’re getting a few tomatoes and will probably get cucumbers soon and melons in a few weeks.  Other than that, it’s a bust.  What’s the gardener’s motto?  Next year will be better!

Our birds took heavy losses this summer.  We had birds dying left & right from heat and raccoons/rats/possums/whatevers.  We hatched out a lot this year and lost most of them.  Remember the Ft. Knox of chicken houses we built in Oklahoma?  We expected heavy predator pressure there and built appropriately.  We never guessed that the “little” predators here in civilization would be so rough on the population so we built lighter.  We built open-air style to combat the colder climate but didn’t put in a concrete floor.  We meant to get around to it one day but figured it wasn’t at the top of the priority list and put it off.  But this year…  After losing several chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese to digging predators, we finally got the hint.  A week or two ago, we finally poured concrete.  We poured a floor in the existing chicken house, plus one floor adjacent to that for a new waterfowl house, and a floor in our new back room addition.  (I don’t think I’ve ever posted here about the new back room we started adding last winter?  I’ll have to take pics of that, too, once I have more time.)  Steve is now working on an elevated chick cage for our new hatchlings.  We keep them in an aquarium in the house for a couple of weeks and will then move them outdoors where they have more room.  In the past, we’ve set them on the floor of the coop in a cage but mice & rats can still occasionally squeeze through the wire mesh and wipe them out in a single night.  This new elevated cage will solve that problem.  Ha!  Take that, you nasty little things!  With the concrete floor, we’ve not had any further losses to predators and the birds are laying better.  But, still, we’re not taking any chances with the hatchlings as mice & rats can squeeze in through any little opening and, even if there are no openings, they can hitch rides in with feed bags.  We’ve had a lot of trouble with our usual feed store (Farm & Home) having critters in the feed bags so we’ve just switched to a different one (Orscheln) that seems to be a lot better in that department.  Chicken house bonus:  To combat the recent heat, Steve has added a strip of wire mesh to the back wall of the chicken house, in place of one piece of sheet metal.  It provides a very nice cross breeze in there and can be added back on quickly once cooler weather arrives.

After completing the elevated hatchling cage (hopefully tonight or tomorrow), next on Steve’s to-do list is building the waterfowl house, expanding our fence, and building a bigger, better Critter House.  Know why?  Want a hint?

Goats!  We’re getting goats again!  At last!  We’re so excited!  (The exclamation marks might have clued you in as to our excitement.)  The above kid is a doeling called Gidget.  (Fitting name, eh?)

That big ol’ hunk of Black Angus-looking goat up there nursing?  That’s ShowTime, another doeling that will soon be ours.

And this is Patrick, the white-eared, handfed wether to keep the gals company.

Aren’t they gorgeous?!  The goats (and pics) are coming from Harmony Hill Goat Farm an hour or two south of us.  These are Kinder goats, a dual-purpose breed (milk & meat).  While their main purpose for us will be dairy, we will also be “harvesting” the excess down the road for meat.  Trying to find pastured meat & dairy that is affordable for us is next to impossible so we figured we’d be better off getting a dual-purpose breed.  Two birds, one stone, etc.  Plus we just flat-out love goats.  Well, most goats.  ;-)  (I’m talking about you, Bullseye!)  We’ll be picking the goats up a week from today, Sunday morning.  So excited!!

What else?  We’re gearing up for the start of school here.  Isaac is going to be entering the public school system in August so I’m working on transcripts for the local high school to see what he’s been up to.  The others will all be homeschooled still so I’m working on curricula & lesson planning and all of that fun stuff.  And, after going over my schedule a few million times, trying & trying to squeeze more time out of my days (and nights), I’ve come to the conclusion that there is  Just.  No.  Way.  I cannot possibly do a decent job of schooling these guys while working the 40-60 additional hours each week for market baking.  (Told you this baking thing had become full time!)  Homeschooling, with recordkeeping & planning, takes a good 60 hours each week for me.  Add in normal household duties, gardening (not that there’s much left to garden out there), settling in & caring for new critters, etc, and there’s no time left for sleep.  And I have to sleep. I’m so behind on sleep already, I don’t have any functioning brain cells left.  That’s not so good for teaching.  So I’ll be doing one or two more markets and then “retiring” for the year.

So that’s about where we’re at.  I’ll spare you pics of the shriveled-up garden with the shriveled-up cornfield behind it and, instead, treat you to goatie pics in a week or so!  And I hope to be back to more regular blogging again once I’m done with market in a couple of weeks.  See ya then!

4 Responses to “How long has it been?”

  1. Ilene July 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    LOVE the goat picks! Really, really cute little wether, too.

    That was quite a newsy post. I wasn’t expecting it. Needed a cuppa coffee. Heh. You’re sure busy. When things settle down some, I want your sourdough bread recipe.

    Hellish here. 110º today and that’s the forecast for the whole next week. No rain worth measuring in all of June. Established trees are dying. It’s getting scarey. I threw in the towel on the last of the garden (okra, purple hull peas, dancing gourds and Insuk’s Wang Kong). Neighbors tell me to expect a water bill of about $300. We’ve kept most of the trees alive and some of the perennials. It’s brutal.

    Chickens are still alive, though they suffer. We make mud holes for them and let them free range in the back yard and garden to find whatever relief they can. Hubs installed a fan in their house window the end of May. Yesterday the fan’s motor blew. Luckily he had a second fan.

    I canned pie filling yesterday and blew the central air fuse. The rest of these apples are going to be a real challenge to deal with since it’s just truly too hot to can.

    Well that’s the NE Oklahoma report. XOXOXOXO

    • Diane July 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      It’s rough all over this year, I guess. We’ve been up near 110 this year but I don’t think we ever actually hit it. I saw 109 on our thermometers here at the house and that’s close enough for me! You’re way, way ahead of me on the canning. I’ve only managed to do up some pickles so far this year. What little else we’ve gotten has gone either straight into our bellies or the freezer to be dealt with later.

  2. Jessica July 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Sounds like we all are suffering losses due to weather and other unplanned timetakers. I’m ready to take everything to the auction except my children and get rid of it cheap. Is anyone over run with mites (on chickens)? I can’t get them under control. I know what you are saying, Diane, about the summer, market, and baking. It has done me so much good knowing some other crazy woman is out there pulling and pushing dough in and out of the oven in the wee hours of a morning.

    • Diane July 31, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      No sign of mites here. Have you tried dusting in DE? We dust the coop regularly with DE and have never had a problem. *knock on wood* I know a few people who, when mites and/or lice get bad, they dust the birds with Sevin. Me, I won’t touch Sevin but you might feel differently.

      Will you be continuing market when school starts up? If so, I’d sure like to know how you do it all!

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