Very negligent these days …

I don’t know why I haven’t been writing.  I guess my mind is on other things … like paying the bills and where the money that I need to buy a few groceries today is going to come from.  Needless to say, I didn’t get the job that I interviewed for last week (or was it the week before last?).  Once the interviewer told me that he knew the owner of MM, I should have left and stop wasting my time.

Yesterday, I applied to Bi-Lo, a local grocery store; these crazy on-line applications take at least 30 minutes to complete.  They are very tedious.  Bi-Lo is not my ideal place to work, but it would be a job … Trying to decide where I am going to apply today.  I have an application started at Tractor Supply and I need to finish that.  I have to go to Hickory this morning to deliver eggs, do my little bit of grocery shopping and then come back and process a deer that a neighbor dropped off last night.  It’s a good-sized deer so it will amount to a good bit of meat and bone for the critters.  Yesterday afternoon, Wally and I mounted a gambrel that we bought quite a while ago.  It’s been buried in the junk room for all this time.  The junk room is almost completely cleaned out.  I worked on that some more yesterday.  The goal is to get it cleaned up enough to move the two smaller freezers in there.  Right now, our living area looks like refrigerator/freezer alley.

At least it is going to warm up.  I’m so glad we are having a warmer than average winter, but we’ll pay for it this coming year.  I’m still finding live squash bugs both in the house and outside.  That means I will never be unable to grow any squash on this property.  Maybe now that it’s warmer, I’ll be able to get down in the garden and harvest some of the greens for the rabbits.  I’m sure they’ll enjoy that.

Do we ever have the rabbits!!!!  Over the weekend, I counted the baby rabbits and unfortunately, I found three dead ones in the nest box with one Creme doe (the one that had 11 kits).  That brings the tally of baby rabbits to 32 with more due any day now.  The oldest will be ready to slaughter around January 6.  Last night, I checked the New Zealand doe and the older Creme, both of which are in with the Creme buck in the pen and I believe they are both bred.  If so, they are due Wednesday or Thursday of this week.  They both feel very full so hopefully they will have large litters.  It will be interesting to see what color the babies that the New Zealand produces.  I’m afraid once they kindle, the Creme buck is going to have to live alone for a while, but maybe not.  Maybe as an extension of this experiment, I’ll leave them in there and see what happens.  What will likely happen, is that they’ll re-breed right after they kindle, which really wouldn’t be ideal.  I’d like to be able to buy a couple more meat does to put in with him; or, alternatively, put him up and put a Chin rabbit in with a couple of NZ does.  Rabbit meat rocks!!!!  We are getting interesting in buying rabbit meat.  If I advertise them as pasture-fed, that ought to help interest.

Wally is finally on the boat to get more pigs this coming spring.  I don’t know what changed his mind.  We are going to put them in the thicket below the house.  I scoped it out yesterday and it’s going to be a great place to put pigs.  Now is the time to clean it out.  Because there is an old foundation there, some of the sides will be naturally fenced in.  Because of the vegetation, it will be well shaded in the summer.  As soon as the goats freshen, we’ll start shopping for pigs.  We’ll also bring in two or three bottle calves.  I sure wish we had the funds to get a companion cow for Gwen.  I know she’s lonely.  She went down into the lower pasture with the horses yesterday.

Oh damn!!  One of the cats just brought in a field rat.  Luckily it’s dead.  I put the cat door back in yesterday … maybe that was a mistake.  I don’t think I need to worry about these cats starving.  They seem to be more than adequate hunters.

Narley, the Australian Cattle Dog is doing really well.  I feel sure she must think she got transplanted to a different planet for all the newness she’s experiencing.  Last night when we drove down to the end of the driveway to meet my neighbor to get the deer, she got very defensive when she saw the neighbor come around the back of the truck dragging a deer.  She’s getting quite used to the cats, in fact last night, she was tentatively licking Buckwheat.

I did finally find a good Western saddle; quite by chance.  On Saturday, I called a local saddle maker to check to see if he had come across anything.  He told me no, but that he was just at a local tack store looking at a saddle for someone else and he said that there were quite a few there so Wally and I went to look.  As soon as I got out of the truck, I saw a round-skirted saddle in the window.  When I looked closer at it, I realized that the fleece would need to be replaced, but other than that, it was in decent condition.  The price on it was $150, which I wasn’t willing to pay so I asked the store owner if she’d call the person that had it for sale to see if she’d take $100 for it.  On our way home, I called the saddle maker to see how much it would cost to replace the fleece.  As it turned out, that was the saddle he had gone to take a look at.  He agreed to hold off on calling the person he looked at it for until I heard back on the price reduction.  Luckily, the woman who had the saddle agreed to take $100 for it so we drove back and picked it up.  This saddle might very well end up being a really good saddle for both me and the horses.  It’s the right seat size and the bars are very short, just 22″ which is pretty unusual.  The saddle maker went through it and it’s in really good shape.  It’s amazingly light given that it has a wooden tree.  It has a bit more tooling than I like, but other than that, it’s very pleasing to look at.  I can’t find a manufacturer name, which was the reason why I wasn’t willing to pay $150 for it plus have the extra money into it for fleecing.

As I write this, Buckwheat is chomping on the field rat which means that I’ll have to wash the kitchen floor.  Too much to do, too little time.  Wonder how I’ll ever go back to work.  This unemployment business sucks.

We’ve started putting the ducks up into the rabbit barn at night.  This is in an attempt to get them laying in one place.  The chickens are still laying horribly.  I’m only getting six eggs a day and I’m not sure some of those aren’t duck eggs.  I culled another rooster yesterday: they are getting harder to catch.  I’ve got my eye on several more hens to cull.  I’m half thinking about replacing the chickens, or at least most of the chickens, with ducks.  Ducks usually lay by 8:00 AM so if I shut them up in the rabbit barn, I’ll be able to harvest their eggs all in one place.  I have been opening the rabbit barn up during the day so that the chickens can work over the manure and eat what food the rabbits drop.

On Sunday, we took the old tarp off the front of the goat shelter and are going to leave it off for a few days so it will dry out in there.  The sharp edges on the panels that form the roof are all covered so all we need to do is pull the tarp over it.  There really isn’t much rain forecast for the week so there isn’t any rush on getting the tarp back up over it.

I guess I had better get going and get the chores done.

Until later …