What I’d do to play hookey today …

I woke up this morning thinking about reasons why I could call in sick today and maybe tomorrow … oh how I’d love to do just that, but I won’t; I can’t.  My paycheck for this week probably won’t even reach $150 which is pretty sad.

After paying the vet for Ace’s check-up and Coggins test ($30) and a bale of alfalfa hay ($75) our farm fund went down to $1.  It hasn’t been that low in a long time.  Luckily it’s back up today, but not by much.  Once we get lumber we need to make the stands for the rabbit cages and another tarp to put over the alfalfa hay, we’ll be back down to almost zero.  I guess that’s just the way it is: money in; money out.

I didn’t get out of work until 3:30 yesterday and once I got out I had to go to the meat processor to pick up scraps for the dogs and cats.  I didn’t get home until almost 5:00 and we had a woman and her son coming out to visit the farm.  I asked Wally if he ever thought about all the people that have come to visit over the years.  After they leave, we always make bets as to which ones will come back.  Our visitors last night were very nice.  The woman was very interested in management of the farm, the animals, etc.; her son thought it was all gross.  I guess shopping for food at Wal-Mart is much more up his alley.  The scary thing is that this is probably the case with most children these days.  They’ve lost touch of where food comes from; heck, for the most part, their parents have lost touch of where their food comes from.

I’ve been listening to an interesting book on tape: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.  It’s a story of a woman living in a part of Oakland, California nicknamed “Ghost Town.”  Read more about the book and reviews here.  I’m enjoying it very much and listening to how she turned an abandoned lot in the middle of the city into a garden where she not only raises fruit and vegetables but also bees, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys makes me appreciate how lucky we are to have the property that we do.  Wally often complains about not having our own property and I sympathize with him on that, but even if we could afford to buy property, we’d be hard pressed to find a nicer place.  When he first moved in here, our Landlords would come by quite frequently.  They had a lot of parties down at the cabin.  Over the years, their visits have become less frequent.  This year, they’ve hardly been down here at all.  That suits us just fine.  They use the property to make money (i.e. the pumpkin patch) and I expect our rent is pretty much paying the mortgage on the property, but they are not using it for recreational purposes so much as they used to.  They’ve been traveling a lot and they recently purchased a pontoon boat so I expect we’ll be seeing them even less.  They are good Landlords, pretty much letting us use the property as we like so we can’t complain, but it’s nice to have our privacy.  Except for the farm visits of course.

I cheated on supper last night.  I had to go to Sam’s Club for the restaurant so I picked up a rotisserie chicken.  It made for a quick and easy meal and it wasn’t too bad, but I hate eating factory-farmed chicken.  When we eat chicken, it’s usually Springer Mountain brand, which is still factory-farmed, but they taste better than other brands.  When they go on sale at our local grocery store, I buy all they have in the cooler and then get a bunch of rain checks to buy more.  MM started using Springer Mountain chicken, which is a pain in my butt as far as prep goes, but it’s a much higher quality chicken than what they were originally using.  One day, we’ll raise our own chickens.  I want to get the rabbit raising/butchering down first, then on to chickens.

We’ve decided to let the lawn reclaim the area where we have to raised beds up near the house and just use the fenced-in garden area down near the pond.  We’ll take the lumber from the two beds near the house and raise up two of the beds in the garden area to eight inches tall.  Eventually I want all of the beds that tall.  We’ll haul the goat manure compost down to fill the beds.  If I just raise vegetables in the garden, we won’t need to worry about keeping those two beds protected from the chickens.  My only concern is if we’ll take as good care of the winter beds down in the garden as we did when they were close to the house … I think we will.  Not to mention the two beds near the house have been taken over by Bermuda grass (a/k/a wire grass) and it is going to be a pain in the butt clearing it out.  Not only did we have to protect the beds in the garden from the chickens, but also the cats and dogs.  The cats like to climb on the beds when they are covered and the *dog* likes to pee on it.  The *dog* likes to pee on everything.  Behind the garden fence, none of that can happen.

The squash bugs got to the squash plants I put in planters so I pulled but one of the varieties: Cocozella di Napoli out.  It seems to be holding it’s own, but it is not making fruit.  Damned bugs.  Okay, I hate squash.  I’ll never plant it again. Interestingly, we have some volunteer squash plants in the goat pasture and one of them, I believe it’s a butternut squash, is making fruit.  The fruit may not survive the goats though.  If it continues to do well, I may put a temporary fence around it to protect it from the goats.  We also have a volunteer melon plant growing in the garden and it’s doing fantastic.  I can only imagine how many volunteer tomato plants we’ll have in the garden … I probably won’t have to buy or start a single plant.  The volunteer tomato plants did really well this year.  Some of them were sort of funky looking, but they tasted good.

Until later …