Drudgery …

I was off work yesterday and didn’t accomplish much of what I wanted to get done.  Things went downhill after I filled the wheelbarrow with composted manure with the intention of wheeling it down to the garden.  I started wheeling and the wheelbarrow stopped.  I looked to see if there was something in the way and discovered the wheel had come off the axle.  Great.  The ATV wagon had spoiled hay and straw that we took out of the ShelterLogic hay house so I had to empty that before I could use it.  While emptying it in the fields, I almost lost the ATV and wagon in the dense brush.  Got that done and came back to the garden to get the totes.

The totes: we got those last year sometime on the curb near a horse farm.  They had thrown them out I assume because they were no longer useful to them.  Well, we’ve got the use out of them, again and again.  They are getting pretty cracked and most have holes in the bottoms, but we still use them.

The composted manure was still quite wet once I got through the top layer and it was steaming hot.  It’s beautiful compost!  Because it was still wet, it was heavy and I really didn’t want to haul the totes into the garden: I wanted to use the wheelbarrow!  I almost drove to Lowes to buy a new one, but I know Wally can fix the one we have so I stayed home.  I filled four totes and drove down to the garden, hauled them in and dumped them in the furthest beds.  I worked the rabbit manure into the composted manure and broke up the clumps.  While I was doing that, I pulled up any of that damned wire (Bermuda) grass that I dug up.  I hate that stuff.  We need to get a weed torch and burn the crap out of that next year.  While Bermuda grass makes good hay, it’s a nuisance in the garden.

It wasn’t long before I was covered in sweat and feeling dizzy from the heat.  A new farm customer was on her way so I decided to go back in the house and clean up a bit.  I still looked like something the cat dragged in when she got there, but they (she brought her two sons with her) enjoyed the tour.  By the time she left, I decided I had spent enough time outside and came back in the house.

I was hungry all day and I didn’t eat healthy food so that didn’t help with how I was feeling.  If I had drank my usual half gallon of milk I’d probably have done a lot better.  I started cleaning and managed to get most of the house cleaned.  It really needed it.  The main living area was so bad I was afraid I was going to have to wash it twice.  I wanted to make some blueberry cornbread, but that didn’t get done.  I cooked the pasta to make tuna pasta salad, but I forgot to put the pasta in the refrigerator last night so I had to throw it out this morning.  Damn.  I guess I’m really out of sorts and I attribute a lot of it to the damned heat.  Here at 6:20 it’s 78 degrees and 80% humidity.  You can about drink the air.

This morning when we first got up, I asked Wally if he dreaded going to work.  I expected him to say no, but he said that he did.  I told him what I dreaded more than going to work is to not have the job.  I also told him I’d probably dread going to a menial office job just as much if not more.  At least at MM I’m getting exercise and the vegetable scraps I bring home are a little bit of a perk.  I’m probably never going to have another job like I had up until 2008.

Writing this makes me feel better; it really does.  If I had not lost my job, Spellcast Farm wouldn’t be what it is today.  Heck, Wally and I may not be together.  We may both dread going to work, but at least we don’t dread coming home.  We both look forward to it and can’t wait to get home.  MM isn’t so bad if I go in with the attitude that no matter what goes on there, I’m not going to let it ruin my day.

I weighed the American Chinchilla rabbits yesterday.  I was concerned that they were smaller than they should be for their age.  By eight months old, the bucks should weigh 9 to 11 pounds; the does 10 to 12 pounds (interesting that the does are bigger than the bucks).  The buck will be six months old on the 12th and he weighed six and a half pounds; the does will be four months old on the 24th and they each weighed five pounds.  Given how hot is has been, they are not eating as well as they should be so once it cools down, they should gain weight rapidly.  I was worried about their weights because the breed is so rare, maybe inbreeding had caused them to be smaller than they should be or even worst, that I bought Standard Chinchilla rabbits rather than American.  The Standard Chinchilla rabbit is a smaller rabbit: at six months old, the bucks should be five to seven pounds, the does five and a half to seven and a half.  The age difference between the Standard and American is because the larger rabbits grow slower.  I’ll need to do most of my breeding and raising of young rabbits in the cooler weather so they’ll gain weight quicker and let them rest in the warmer months.  What was pretty cool was that I was able to handle the rabbits and get them weighed without getting torn up.  I’ve been a little bit worried about handling the rabbits for fear of getting torn up by their claws or, even worst, letting them loose.  We have a hanging scale so I hung a bucket from it and put the rabbit in the bucket to weigh it.  I might weigh the Cremes just to see where they are with the standard.  Not that it means much given they are eating less than the Chins.

Yesterday, I called the ShelterLogic company to see if we could buy a replacement cover in a color other than dark green and was pleased to find out I could get it in dark green, brown, tan, white or silver.  Cool.  I think we’ll put some of the insurance money towards getting a light-colored replacement cover (probably tan) and put it on when the weather cools off some.  There’s no way that tarp is going to stay tight any length of time.  The rope that is holding it on is going to stretch or the grommets will tear.  When we replace the cover, we’ll still put the tarp over it to help protect it from the elements.  A $60 tarp (and it would probably be less than $60 because we wouldn’t need such a large one) is a lot less expensive to replace than the cover.  The only thing I worry about is if the space at the bottom on the sides is what’s making the shelter so much cooler or if it’s just because of where it is and how it’s facing.  We can always take the full cover off when it gets hot and re-install the tarp for the summer.  The only problem with doing that is that we’d need to install some sort of fence along the bottom to keep the chickens out.  Eventually I want to put worms under the rabbit cages to help with composting the manure.

Update on the rabbits that were in the dog run.  I let them out a while back (we needed to store hay in that dog run) and we found a home for the Mini Rex buck.  The three does have become yard rabbits and Gel TV.

Off to milk.

Until later …

One Reply to “Drudgery …”

  1. Michelle, I am interested in the weed torch. We have a very problematic hill in back of our house. It was landscaped with juniper in 2007, but since no homes were built there yet, it was sorely neglected for over two years. In 2009, when we moved in the hill was very weedy. The yard maintainance crew hired by the community, who have no knowledge and no common sense, put the wrong herbicide on the hill and killed many of the junipers. The weeds took over to a greater extent and in 2010 the bermuda grass invaded.

    I have tried to make many suggestions to improve the situation but they all cost money and no one wants to spend any now. I have never heard of a weed torch and wonder if it would be appropriate to kill the weeds on the hill. Currently they are only weed-wacking it and they have not mulched it all year. The hill is HOA property and is too steep for Ken or I to stand on. What is your opinion?

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