Pete's random thoughts

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First gooey pocket of 2009

So this evening I go out to do my farm-chores. Momma goose is sitting on her nest with 11 eggs underneath. The Pekin ducks aren't that into nesting, so they just leave eggs randomly placed lying around their pen. The red hen lays eggs in an old musket crate, the white hen does too sometimes, but usually she stashes them under the chicken house. The Arucana hen leaves eggs in mysterious places, trying to decide which is best.

The little bantam hen, however, has a plan. She is a little smaller than a pigeon, but pushes out a long, skinny egg for her size. The odd part is that she lays it in the goat's feed dish inside their lean-to.

Tonight when I gathered the eggs from here and there, I stuck the bantam egg in my coat pocket to carry it out to the bucket where I had already put the duck eggs. Bad idea, and I never seem to learn that lesson. Why? Because whenever you put an egg in your pocket, it is almost guaranteed that a goat will push up against you and break it there. So tonight I got my first gooey pocket of the 2009 egg laying season. It probably won't be the last because I never learn.

Tax time means time to clean my desk

April 15th looms ahead. This means I had better buckle down and finish my taxes. To do that, I need to locate all of the 2008 bank statements. To locate the ones from the fall of 2008, I had to do a quick archaelogical dig on my desk.

Yeah, my desk is that bad.

How bad? You can tell how old a document is by how many inches down the pile it is, like the strata in any other "dig".

Cleaning my desk means finding neat stuff.

I found:

-two partial rolls of paper towels

-an unopened bag of yogurt covered blueberries (a trail mix goodie)

-a partial bag of trail mix

-a pocket knife that had been missing for some time

-a BATF approved Form 1, which gives us the go-ahead to build an NFA item, in this case a suppressed carbine

-a few books that I had been wondering where I left them

-my 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade class photos (don't remember why they were on my desk)

-a feather from a guinea hen and a feather from a wild turkey

-two basically new inch-thick notebooks

Most of the excavated treasures were put into my chair so they will need to be dealt with before I sat down to a "normal" desk occupancy, the papers needed for tax preparation I brought up to Wendy's office to work on. Up there I can't get as distracted and will stick with the job until it is done.

Next week at this time it will all be done, and hopefully I'll have my chair at least half emptied.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A goal reached

This summer will be the five year mark since we moved up here to the country from urban Massachusetts.

Somewhere along the line, I came up with a goal of growing all of our own food. While the uncleared land and unimproved clay and rock soil of this property have not yet yielded a decent vegetable garden, the thick underbrush that we have been slowly clearing for the past five years has gone a long way towards feeding livestock.

Today our chest freezer is full to the top with meat. That by itself is a good thing, but the really exciting part about it being full is that every single piece of meat in it was either grown here or hunted here. Beef, pork, goat, raccoon, smoked hams and bacon. Sure there are a few "storebought" packages of meat like a package of Italian sausages and some corned beefs that were on sale, but those got moved to the little freezer that is part of the shop fridge and I'll use them up ASAP to get them gone.

When we built the animal pens, they were temporary in nature so that the panels the pens were made up of could be unclamped and moved elsewhere. The plan is that the ruminant animals clear the brush and strip the bark off of the saplings, then we move in pigs who dig up the roots and dig up the rocks. They all manure the dense clay soil. After a couple of seasons, the pen is ready to be dismantled and moved to a new location on the property leaving behind a cleared, tilled, leveled, de-rocked, fertilized patch of land ready to be a productive garden next year.

This afternoon I took everything out of the chest freezer to take out the dividers in order to fit more into it since I probably have another 100 pounds of beef to cut up and package over the weekend. In returning everything to it, I made an inventory of it's contents to keep better track of what we have on hand. At the bottom I found a goat hide that I forgot we still had, a bag of coonskins, a bag of rabbitskins, and a sheep head. I let Caleigh use a scalpel and skin out the sheep head so we can hang it out for the bugs to strip the flesh off of and add it to our skull collection. It's hanging next to Rocky the steer's skull. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for the bugs to strip them.

To some people our full-to-capacity freezer just represents a lot of meals waiting to be enjoyed, but to me it represents a major milestone along our road to self-sufficiency.