Mentally, I feel good …

This is the first time I’ve felt mentally good in quite a while.  I think maybe it’s because yesterday I feel like I took some control of the situation.  I applied for three different jobs yesterday.  Heck, I’m likely not to hear anything from any of them, but I’m doing all I can do to get out of this unemployment situation.  Meanwhile, while I have the time, I am going to get as much done around here as I possibly can.

I spoke to the woman I know at the unemployment office about a new furniture manufacturing plant opening in Lincolnton to see if there were any office jobs.  She said that there was four, but that they had received 400 resumes for those four positions.  That’s just nuts.  She sent mine, but hell, she might as well have been sending them a puff of air for all the attention it will get.  How do you weed through 400 resumes for four positions?????  It’s like winning the lottery.

I feel good about the farm too.  After I went to Hickory to deliver farm products, I ran to Wal-Mart and picked up the few items that we needed, ran by Tractor Supply to pick up chicken and rabbit grain, then came home and processed the deer.  I didn’t get a whole lot of meat off it, maybe 30 pounds, but it’s free meat and much cleaner than what we got from the processor so whatever I got is a good thing.  There’s plenty of meaty bones for the dogs and chickens to pick on.  I still need to cut the carcass down and get the rear legs off the frame and clean up the hide.  I sure wish we had pigs because they’d have a good time with what’s left of the deer.  They’d also take care of any cull chickens for us.

Every year now I say we need to grow out the goat buck kids and process them when they are half grown for dog and cat food and every year I give in and sell them to someone else for meat.  I told Wally last night that we really need to take advantage of this meat source and use it for the dogs and cats.  Just like I don’t want to eat supermarket meat, I really don’t want to feed it to the dogs and cats.

Next week, I am trading some milk for another American Chinchilla doe.  As I wrote yesterday, I would like to pick up another couple of meat breed does and this one sort of fell on my lap.  Some rabbit cages were advertised on Craigslist and I went out and looked at them.  One was a two layer, three hole set-up.  The cages were smaller than I like, but I figured for grow-out cages, they were big enough for one or two young rabbits to be in for four or five weeks so I talked the woman down on the price and brought them home.  The need a little bit of work, but not much.  Last night, I put the New Zealand and Creme does up in cages in anticipation of their kindling.  I sure hope they are not just fat.  I track the kindling dates at 30 days, but they tend to go closer to 32 days so we’ll see.   The Creme buck is in the pen by himself; I’ll watch him today and see how he’s doing with that.  All of the cages in the rabbit barn are full so if I want to put him up, I’ll need to move the pen of fryer rabbits to an outside hutch.  In another week or so, I’ll be putting the other older Creme in with him to be bred so he won’t be alone too long.

I re-installed Skype on my computer so I could make free cheap calls.  Unlimited US and Canada calls via Skype are only $2.99/month.  That’s right about free to me.  I’ve been feeling a bit closed off with just having the cell phone with minimal minutes available.  Now I can connect with people via telephone without worrying about using up my cell phone minutes.

On the agenda today is some housecleaning (the kitchen floor got really mucked up), cleaning up the deer carcass, culling more chickens, picking up a couple of replacement hens and checking out the garden for weeds and greens for the rabbits.  I’m getting excited about the garden for this coming year.  I have to make a go of it this year.  No more excuses.  I can harvest weeds and vegetables to feed the rabbits PLUS food for us and possibly resale.  There’s no excuse for not properly maintaining it this year.

While at Tractor Supply, I broke down and bought laying pellets for the chickens and ducks.  I read that feeding them too much corn makes them too fat to lay.  I don’t know if that’s true or enough.  One would think that with all the scraps they are getting, they’d be getting a balanced diet, but maybe not.  We have been feeding them scratch grain which consists of corn and wheat.  They also clean up what grain the rabbits and Gwen drop (Gwen’s “droppings” come both from her mouth and her manure; I see the chickens come running when she lifts her tail, we have no cow patties in the yard).  Because the horses are not fed any corn, their manure is not so attractive.  I HATE feeding the chickens and ducks laying pellets, but I’ve got to get them back to laying.   I’m going to catch all of the hens that were added to the flock this year and band them with a cable tie.  That way I’ll begin to get control of the age of the hens in the flock.  While I’d like to buy chicks of one breed, raising chicks hasn’t been a very good option for us.  The chickens I’m going to look at today are young, they just started laying and the man is asking $7 for them, which is relatively reasonable.  If you buy a chick for about $2/chick and then raise it and feed it for six to eight months before it starts laying, I would think there would be more than $7 in a bird, maybe not, but as I said, we have not been terribly successful in raising chicks.  I still have about five roosters to catch.  They are proving to be very difficult to wrangle.

I think about the eggs quite a bit.  You can buy a dozen factory-farmed eggs in the grocery store for about $2 (maybe less, I don’t know, I haven’t priced them lately).  Supposed “free-range” eggs are closer to $5/dozen.  It makes you wonder what the farms are feeding the chickens whose eggs they sell for $2/dozen.  They surely aren’t feeding them $16/bag laying pellets.  The grain is not the whole picture though.  I got two dozen eggs on Sunday from a friend of mine.  Her chickens are fed high quality laying pellets, but they are kept up in a coop.  She’s getting a dozen eggs a day, more than she can use or sell on her own so I wanted to check them out to see if I could sell them to my clients.  In the carton, the eggs were beautiful!  A rich, dark brown, all uniform in size.  When I cracked them open, however, I immediately saw the difference.  The yolks were pale, pale yellow.  As a comparison, I opened one of my eggs in a bowl right next to it … a huge difference.  I wouldn’t be able to sell these eggs to my clients who are hooked on the eggs they get from our chickens.

Chickens are a pain in the butt to keep, but they truly are useful creatures if you can manage them properly.

Until later …