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We’re back! | Speedkin

We’re back!

After much kerfluffle, we have internet once again.  We had to switch providers, from HughesNet to WildBlue.  They both suck but, as of right now, WB sucks less that HN.  The HN we had would be a better deal except that it just would not work anymore.  At least WB’s customer service mostly speaks English so that’s a step up.  I think WB must calculate data used much differently than HN because we’re blowing through the same amount of data in half a day that would have taken us two days with HN.  I just don’t understand that.  Isn’t data data??

I did our taxes a few days ago… only to find out I can’t actually file them until January 30th, when the IRS opens up their e-file system.  I could always sent in hard copies but I bet that’d take even longer than waiting for e-file to open.  Remember how slowly tax returns were processed when everything was hard copy?  And now that they’re used to (and pushing everyone to) electronic filing, I betcha hard copies via snail mail take twice as long.  But who knows?  I’ll just wait for the 30th.  And here I was so proud of myself for getting them done the day after we got Steve’s W2, beating the rush!

We lost a goat this past week.  Maggie, the free pygmy, most likely got into something she shouldn’t have.  She was very, very clever — always managing to find a way to break into the back room (where the feed is stored).  In that same room are various other not-so-good things that she could have eaten.  Long story short, she’s gone and buried now.  She was a jerk of a goat and none of us really liked her much but it was still sad to see her go.

And chickens?  Holy cow, they’re dropping left & right.  It must be some sort of disease, maybe flu, who knows?  We’ve lost about half of the flock so far.  No signs or symptoms, just fall-over dead.  It’s not affecting anything but the chickens.  There’s definitely something not right going on with them.  They haven’t laid a single egg in at least a couple of months.  Birds slow way, way down in the winter, true, but there are always a few eggs laid here and there.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s best they weed themselves out so we can start anew in the spring.  I’ve been reading up on various breeds and am really leaning towards hatching out some of the Icelandic landrace.  They’re a very hardy breed, aren’t phased by heat or cold, and are great foragers.  Honestly, we’re not big fans of chicken meat so we don’t mind a skinnier bird such as the Icelandic, as long as we get a nice supply of eggs and they are willing to work hard to forage their own food for a good portion of the year.  We will gladly use the culls — pulling off the breasts & offal for a freezer stash and using the rest for broth.  It will be a relief from the seemingly endless whole chickens in the freezer, actually.

The Great Garden Fencing Project continues.  Steve’s got about half of it done now and hopes to have the rest completed within a couple of weeks.  It’s slow going when he works so many hours.  It’s definitely a race to get the goats & birds into the garden before it’s time to plant!  With any luck, they’ll double team the horribly overgrown garden weeds into oblivion in no time.  Then we have yet another looming deadline to get another pen built before planting time.  We can turn them back out into the backyard pen but it’s been through the sloppy trauma of winter and would really appreciate a break in the spring to grow back.  Once we have at least three large fence areas done, we can better rotate them through as needed.

We’ll eventually get everything coordinated… I hope.  Chickens, waterfowl, goats, garden, orchard, permaculture, pasture/grain for feed…  It all takes a lot of figuring and refiguring and tweaking along the way to get everything integrated into one, big, seamless operation of yumminess.  Oy.

I’d better get this posted before it’s delayed any further.  I’ve already had this drafted & adding to it for three or four days, never getting a chance to finish.  Just like life around here — never finished!

4 Responses to “We’re back!”

  1. Carol January 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Diane, My chickens are three years old so they said I could expect egg production to be 60-80% of what it was when they were younger. So much for that info. Although their laying slowed in previous winters, it didn’t stop. This year it slowed, then stopped and for about a month or a little more, we got nothing. Then a few weeks ago they started back. I only have eight hens and we got seven eggs today, and have been getting 5-7 everyday. I hope yours don’t have a disease, but if they make it through the cold weather they will probably be just fine. I kind of cater to mine. I have been throwing cracked corn on the ground for them to eat since I heard that heats their bodies and should be fed in winter but not summer. When we went out to close them up last night there was a huge pile of black feathers on the ground and I thought something had tried to nab one although they are in a fenced area. We couldn’t find anything wrong with them so maybe the neighbors cat caught a bird or something, but it sure did look like chicken feathers. Mine seem to be making it through this horrible cold just fine. Glad you have internet again.

    • Diane January 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      That’s been my experience, too. They lay good for a couple of years and then, whammo, down to a slow dribble. Of course, it varies based on the breeds and even individual chickens. This spring, we finally got around to buying colored leg bands so we can more easily figure out who to cull. When we just had a couple dozen chickens, it was easier to figure but, now with oodles of birds, it’s getting horribly confusing! That doesn’t explain this year’s troubles, though. Only a very few of our hens are older while most should be in their laying prime. Silly birds.

  2. Ilene January 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Sounds like you are busy, busy!

    I’ve been off the blogging grid for a few days. My monitor just up and died. I saved $30 bucks by getting a new flat screen on Amazon but had to wait several days for delivery. Been in Internet Withdrawal since Friday. but anyway, I’m back too, at least till the next computer debaucle.

    BTW, I notice you’ve still got RockWhisperer on your sidebar. I haven’t posted there in about a year now so you might as well take it off next time you’re doing something in that area. You can replace it with the new one if you like.

    Sorry about your chickens. Production has picked up for ours and they seem to be healthy except one doesn’t have any feathers around her “egg-laying area”. I have no clue what happened. I’ve watched and the other hens don’t seem to be pecking on her or anything. She’s digging, eating and laying eggs. A mystery.

    • Diane January 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Ah, thanks for pointing out the old link, Ilene. I’ll try to get that fixed this weekend. I need to do several admin things to the blogs and need to quit procrastinating about it.

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