End of the year musings.

I can’t believe it’s already December 29.  Where did the year go?  Time goes by so quickly now it isn’t funny!  I’m chomping on the bit to get seeds in the ground.  I want to see acres of rainbow chard, kale, etc. growing, but it’s too early to plant, even under row cover.  I’d love a greenhouse, but between financing it and the thought that an greenhouse uses a good bit of natural resources, namely water (a regular garden, even one under row cover gets natural rain), keeps me from pushing forward on that front.  Ultimately, I think we may convert our rabbit barn to a greenhouse and somehow combine rabbits with winter crops.  I envision rabbit cages built under raised beds, but that’s on down the road.  We’ve got eight new raised beds in preparation with the rabbits using a deep bedding approach.  Little steps Michelle!

I’ve been studying math like a fiend and amazingly, I’m getting it!  All thanks to a math and scientific calculator.  This calculator is more like a little computer than a calculator.  Once I figured out how to plug in the equations, the calculator does the rest.  The problem I’m having is with word problems.  I can’t quite get my head around them.  I’ve got four and a half more days before the test.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the fiscal cliff negotiations.  I surely hope they get their act together and get something passed which will keep the economy from tanking.  It’s frustrating that the people we elected into office have resorted to constant bickering and finger pointing.  I feel sure their financial future is secure.  Ours is not, not by a long shot. We have chosen quality of life over money.

Wally and I elected to not go to the Farmer’s Market this morning.  Originally, there was cold rain forecast for today.  We got it, but it’s already on out.  But, I expect the market is going to be really slow today and there comes a point when you decide what you may make at the market won’t cover your time or expenses.

We’ve had a long list of to-dos while Wally has been on vacation and we’ve been slowly chipping away at them.  On the agenda today is cleaning out the rabbit barn and converting the chicken houses to duck houses so we can start to train the ducks to go up at night.  Ducks normally lay their eggs by 8 AM so in order to get as many of the eggs as we can, they need to be put up.  Not to mention for their protection.  They’ve been hanging out in the goat pasture over night; they have not been ranging much at all and I’m not sure what’s up with that.  It could be because a Blue Heron has been making daily visits, but a Blue Heron should not be a threat to adult ducks.  Maybe their duck brains just see big bird and that’s enough to keep them up.

We have also been taking a good bit of rest and relaxation.  We’ve been sleeping a lot too!  Time to store up because come January 5, I’ll be running behind the eight ball most of the time.  I hope I can manage school and farm.  I think I can! I think I can!  This first semester is going to be trying, but come fall, I’ll be able to take photography courses which will be a lot more fun.

I’ve started to dry off Penny (Jersey cow) in preparation for her calving the end of March.  Normally, I’d dry a cow off two months prior to calving, but I feel like given what Penny’s been through (fractured stifle) she could use an extra month to rest.  Penny is not happy with the arrangement.  I’ve decided to hold off on taking Gwen to the processor.  She’s holding up reasonably well and we do not have the freezer space for her meat.  Plus, I’m still waiting on a replacement cow from the dairy.  They have one for me, but they are having trouble getting her bred.  I can’t take her unless she gets bred because we do not have a bull big enough to breed her.  Hopefully they’ll get her bred because she’s a nice cow.

It’s weird not seeing the chickens running around.  We do still have three chickens, my little Buff Bantams, but they are so old and crippled, they don’t do much.  We are going to spread the rabbit manure and spent hay on the bare areas of the poultry yard in an attempt to get grass to regrow.  Not sure if it will or not.

I have decided to not make resolutions for 2013, but I am setting goals.  They are:

  • Expand my cheese making to other types of cheese, namely hard cheese.
  • Keep accurate and daily records of income (term used loosely because we really don’t have income as it all we make goes back into growing the farm) and expenses.
  • Better my photography (which is going to happen by going back to school).
  • Grow market vegetables … not just grow them, grow, harvest and sell them!!
  • Keep better daily records of what’s going on with the animals. I did a pretty good job of it this year, but it could be better.

I may add more.  I’ve seen other web sites that list how much food their farm has produced on the side bar of their journals and that may be a good thing to do for me.

I discovered that pen breedings were not working for the rabbits.  I had a group of five does with a proven buck.  I brought them up one by one and put them with Teddy Bear.  Two bred right away.  I’m still waiting on the other three, but it seems, for some reason, they don’t breed in a colony like that.  Sort of odd.  It could be because it really is not an ideal time for rabbits to breed and nature is taking it’s course.  When it’s time for them to breed, they will cycle and the buck will breed them.  When put in a 30 x 36 cage, they have little choice in the matter.  The decision here is to decide whether I want to go along with nature or get them bred so we’ll have product.  I think, once we have our numbers up, I’ll go with nature.  We still have a bunch of rabbits running loose.  We caught three yesterday.  We catch them as we see them and put them up.

I guess I’ve about caught up.  It’s still really dark out so we’ll spend a few more times in front of the fire before going out.

Until later …