Thursday, December 11, 2014

The 5th Season..

We all know about winter, spring, summer, and fall.  We also have a 5th season....MUD.  Sometimes the mud season comes twice a year, between fall and winter, and again between winter and spring.  I hate mud season, with a passion, but there is no avoiding it.

We have gotten a lot of rain lately....every few days it seems like it rains.  There's just nowhere for the rain to go, and the ground is saturated.  That means the sacrifice area in the sheep pasture is a mucky mess.  Gross.

I keep the sheep off the main part of the pasture over the winter, because if not, they'll over graze the grass and cause permanent damage.  You can see the mud in the sacrifice lot vs. the pasture, what a difference there is.

I kept hoping the ground would freeze and it wouldn't be so sloppy for the sheep and goats, but finally I'd had enough, and I'm sure they'd had enough.  I pulled out a roll of the electronet fence and put it up in the yard, so they could get onto solid ground for a while.  They were so happy!

They do have dry ground under their shelter, but they don't want to stay under the shelter all day.  Speaking of their shelter, I added a bit on this year, using t-posts, pallets, and a cattle panel.

Now they've got almost double the space they had before, and I can move the addition if I want to, or take it down in the summer (but I probably won't).  Now I can close in the side and front of the shelter, leaving the front of the new part open, and they'll have a really nice area that's out of the weather.

I also just replaced the gate post...for the second time.  When we built the fence, we were on a tight budget and I didn't want to spend the money on nice fence posts.  I bought landscape timbers instead, which weren't pressure treated.  We did coat them with drivcway sealant, hoping that would help, but it really didn't.  The gate post broke off about a year ago, and I replaced it with another landscape timber I had from another section of fence that got moved.  Well, it rotted off too, so this time I was going to do it right.

I had put concrete in the hole, and I needed to dig the whole thing out. I tried using David's floor jack, and it might have worked if the post wasn't so rotten.  I ended up using a digging bar to pry the huge chunk of concrete out of the hole.

You can see the rotted section of the post.

Here's the new post, just set down into the hole to check depth.  I ended up using 100 lbs of concrete, so the post is rock solid now.  It's a pressure treated 6" diameter post, and that sucker should last for a long time!

Oh, and I had an audience while I worked...

Here is the completed post. The post to the right of the gate is also rotted, so it'll be replaced soon too.  I'm going to be going around counting posts that need replacing, and working on that when I can.  The lesson of the day is, spend the money and do it right the first time.

This is what happens when you try to take pictures of goats.

Sheep are much more cooperative.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Our Camper's Maiden Voyage

We bought a camper last year and it sat in our back yard, sad and lonely.  I'd been wanting to go camping for a months, so this fall when things slowed down a bit, we reserved a site at a local state park.  It was going to be November, but it couldn't be that cold, right?

Kylee made some fire starters for us to use on our trip.  They're just toilet paper rolls stuffed with dyer lint.

Friday afternoon we packed up and headed out.  We got there just in time to set up before it got dark. Luckily the park sold firewood, so we only had to find a bit of kindling before we were able to start a fire.  The fire starters were so-so, but I think plain old twisted up newspaper works best.

We had a simple dinner of roasted hot dogs and s'mores for dessert.

Christmas lights were dual purpose...for decoration and to add more light outside!

Our camper is a hybrid, so it's part travel trailer and part pop-up (the beds fold out like a pop up).

Our first night was very cold.  We had heat, but didn't turn it up high enough. I forgot how little insulation campers have!  Between the cold and the dogs barking at every sound, we didn't get much sleep.

The next morning, David and Devin went hunting.  Devin recently passed the hunter safety test, so he and David were ready to try their hand at squirrel hunting.

I cant believe how big Devin is getting.

Unfortunately for them, they didn't see a single squirrel in the woods that morning. Kylee and I spent most of our day napping, trying to catch up on missed sleep!  Then we had a great fire ready by the time the guys got back.

We had pizza mountain pies (hot sandwiches made with a sandwich iron). They were delicious!

I made a make-shift tie out for the dogs so I wouldn't have to hold their leashes all of the time.

Then we played games until bedtime, and cranked the heat way up before bed. We all slept better that night, but we were glad to get home!  Next time we'll save camping for the summer and early fall, before it drops below freezing at night!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our New Girl

It's been a while since I've blogged, so I'm going to try to catch up on a few things that have been going on around here.

Way back in mid-September, a stray kitten showed up at our house.  I noticed her one morning when I was out doing chores, in the morning before work.  It was dark, and I saw a pair of eyes catch in the beam of my head lamp.  I followed it, and thought it either had to be a cat or a skunk.  Luckily for me, when I stooped down by the car and looked under, a little kitten peeked out at me (no skunk, thank goodness).  She was scared though, and ran away when I tried to reach out to her.

The next couple days I worked on trying to tame her.  I could hear her meowing when I was outside, so I'd sit on the front porch with a bowl of catfood, shaking it and meowing back.  She was very talkative, and we'd have "conversations" meowing back and forth at each other.  Finally she'd jump on the porch, but would run away if I'd move.

 Eventually I was able to hover my hand over her head as she ate, and when I thought I had a chance of actually catching her, I lowered my hand down to hold onto her.  She calmed down almost immediately, and started purring.

She was so friendly right from the moment I touched her, so I think she was probably dropped off here.  A feral cat would not have been nearly as friendly.

I took her to our local spay/neuter clinic to have her tested for FeLV/FIV, because if she was positive she couldn't stay here and risk infecting our other cats.   She was negative for both, and they estimated her age at 3 months (that was end of September).  She weighed about 3 lbs.  They also dewormed her for me.

I brought her in the house a few times so she'd get used to the kids and dogs.

The dogs LOVE her, and they try to cover her with kisses whenever they can.

She's not going to be an inside cat, though I guess she can come in from time to time.  We've already got 1 inside cat, and I really don't care to keep cleaning out litter boxes.  We do have a mouse problem in the barn, so she'll be a mostly outdoor cat and mouser.

It has been very cold the past few days, so she and Tucker (our other outside cat) came inside for a bit to visit and warm up.  (They also have a heat lamp in the barn, so they stay plenty warm.

I named her Kiki.  I started to name her Henrietta, but it didn't really fit her.  I was calling "kitty kitty" all the time, so Kiki just sort of evolved.   Miss Kiki has an appointment on December 1 to be spayed.  We don't need any more kitties showing up around here.  :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Revolutionary War Reenactment Festival

Last weekend there was a Revolutionary War reenactment festival not too far from here, so we decided to go see it.  There were British soldiers and Continental soldiers with their camps set up, an area with vendors (selling revolutionary era stuff, mostly), and activities during the day.  It was really neat to see, and we had a good time walking around and looking at everything.  Here are a few (ha) of the pictures I took that day.

The man behind Kylee had a blanket set out with all sorts of things they would have carried back then.  He showed the kids one of the toys they had back then, and the kids got to try it.  

One of David's friends is a reenactor!

 I spotted this little nest when we walked by.

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