Saturday, March 29, 2008

Farm Update

Another trip to the farm yesterday! This is all very exciting! I was able to take lots of pictures inside the house, and look around for potential "ease of living" problems. The biggest being the complete and utter lack of closets. The house has exactly one closet, located under the stairs. No other closets and no pantry. The good news is that there are lots of built-in shelves, space for freestanding storage and places we can build small closets in. Also, anything we need to keep but don't need to use every day can be stored in the barns. Other good news: The bathroom is considerably bigger than the one we have now (hooray!) and there are ceiling fans in every room.

There were also some new discoveries that sweetened the deal even more. Jerry walked the perimeter and discovered movable cattle pens at the back of the property that we weren't aware of before - woohoo! Apparently there's also a wood stove somewhere in the barn that we can have, which is great because we wanted to put one in anyway.

Here are some pictures of the inside:

This is the bedroom (the only one)

A good view of the built-ins in the bathroom

Here's part of the kitchen. The upper cabinets are open. The doors are still there if we want them, but I think I like them open. I also think I like the crazy paint colors. It's very happy.

Most of the dining room, as seen from the kitchen. They're not pictured, but there are two large windows to the left.

I didn't get a good picture of the entire living room, so there's not much to see there. Just a big empty room. Lots of windows there, too, though. Here's a shot of the finished portion of the attic. I'd like to finish out the remainder of the attic and use part of it as a giant closet and the other part as a library/office.

I know this is a long post with lots of pictures, but there are a couple more I'd like to include. First of all, this is the "mystery" slab behind the house where I'd like to install a solar garden shower:

And finally, check out our most magnificent score! A 1949 (I believe) Farmall Cub Tractor!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Importance of Action

I'm learning a valuable lesson about keeping plants and livestock. THEY DO NOT FUNCTION ACCORDING TO YOUR SCHEDULE. They could care less if it's cold, or raining, or if you're late for work. One must be entirely committed to caring for plants and livestock on their terms, even if it means dropping whatever you're doing, trudging out into the mud and cleaning a cage or watering the garden right now.

Our little lame bunny has developed a crusty nose. I first noticed it nearly a week ago and have been watching it closely ever since. She's sharing a cage with her sister so the new doe could be isolated for awhile. I knew that this was a bad idea. I knew better. Now her sister has developed a crusty nose too. Respiratory illness in rabbits (A.K.A. "Snuffles") is highly contagious and often fatal. I knew this as well. Still, they've shared a cage for a week now because I simply couldn't find the time to deal with the problem. I'll be dealing with it today. I only hope it's not too late.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


We had massive thunderstorms all over the area yesterday. Driving rain, strong winds, all day. I spent a helpless day at my office fretting over my little plants that I just put in over the weekend. Upon arriving home, I discovered that plants had more or less held up, but my little greenhouse is toast! It had survived some really strong winds and rain before, so I thought it would be okay, but instead it blew over into the garden. I looked out the back door to see a crumpled mass of plastic and metal frame poles sticking up every which way like broken bones. It really looked as if some giant thing had stomped on it. Hubby went out in the rain and picked it up before I could get a picture (bless his heart).

On the upside, the plastic cover blew over top of my new plants in the garden, and I think it actually helped to protect them. Also, the seedlings in trays that were in the greenhouse took quite a tumble, but amazingly some of them are still intact! I'm going to try to save what I can, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why I Love Craigslist

I bought a 12 quart pressure canner yesterday. I bought it used, and I drove for two and a half hours to get it. It was a smokin' deal. Sure, I could have gone just down the street to my local hardware store, or slightly farther to my local big box retailer and bought a brand new one in the box for about one hundred dollars. It would have been shiny and new, unused, untouched and much closer. What did I get instead for all my driving? I got to meet Connie - a delightful, dyed-in-the-wool Texas woman. I also got a like-new canner, some nice conversation, some free advice and a jar of Connie's homegrown beans. She even told me I could call her if I wanted to, just to let her know how my canning was going. For forty bucks. Folks, you just can't beat that.

I also bought another rabbit to add to our herd. I drove really far for that as well - about three hours round trip. I got to meet a guy and his wife who are also new to rabbit breeding. We agreed to keep in touch so that we can help each other out in the future. Add to this the relationships I'm cultivating with the butcher and the feed store clerks, and I'm starting to gain a respectable repertoire of contacts with an endless supply of knowledge and experience.

The point of this post, I suppose, is this: there is just no substitute for face to face business. Skip the online stores and big box retailers and buy your stuff used and from private individuals or small businesses whenever you can. You'll get to meet lots of interesting people with a lot more to offer you than just the "thing" you're buying.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Testing Our Resolve

Who knew it would come to this so soon? It seems that one of our rabbits has a deformity. She has a condition called splay-leg, where her hind legs stick out to the sides of her body, making it difficult for her to get around. Apparently this condition can lead to paralysis. We had long since identified her as the smallest and weakest, and were questioning her ability to be successfully bred, and well, this is the clincher. I just can't see how it would make sense to try to breed her in her condition, so unfortunately, she's out.

We thought it would be months before we would have to seriously contemplate killing a rabbit for our table, but it looks like that day is upon us. There will be grim discussion at home this evening, I'm sure. Make no mistake, this task will not be easy or even remotely pleasant for us, but we've resolved that it's a necessary step on the path we've chosen to take. For my part, I feel that if I'm not willing to raise, care for and slaughter the animal myself, I probably don't deserve to eat it. I can't say what will happen on this first go round, so stay tuned.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Busy Day In The Yard

We had fairly nice weather today after a couple of days of freezing temperatures, so I took the opportunity to tend to the garden. I thinned the radish and spinach seedlings and I'm sorry to report that the lettuce hasn't recovered well after the snow. I covered them, but they're noticeably less robust today. Everything else still seems to be doing well, though.

Today was also a day for planting some new things. I started more lettuce, swiss chard and green beans from seed, and bought some tomato and pepper seedlings, all of which are residing in the greenhouse. And I found yet another use for an Amazon box! My hope is that it will act like terra cotta - retain some moisture but still be porous enough to breathe.

Meanwhile, in The Rabbitat, the bunnies are getting FATTER.

I'm glad I got to spend some time outside today. I'm still have a lot to do inside the house, and I'm afraid all of that might swallow me up. Off I go to get started...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Marriage As It Should Be

Well, we've gone and done it. After a dozen or so years of unwedded bliss, my dearest and I have made it official. Why now, you ask? For a million small reasons, and for no reason at all. In short, because it was just time. Because we wanted to. Because we're looking toward a life of big changes in uncharted territory. To protect ourselves from risk. To confirm that we are, indeed, a united front.

Oh, and because we love each other!

Many people have asked me if I feel any different now, and well, I don't. I feel every bit as happy and in love as I felt yesterday or last year or in 1997. In case you're wondering, that's very, VERY happy!

My husband is happy too, since he got a "wedding knife".