Monday, August 25, 2014

Blazin Hot Weekend

We're happy to be sitting in air conditioning today.  This weekend was a scorcher.  We reached 98 degrees, and well over 100 with the index.  Needless to say, we are counting down the days to October.

It's nearly impossible to get anything done after 11am or before 4pm.  You get to the point where you can't possibly drink another bottle of water, tea, etc.  There's just no room for it, but your body is still thirsty.  We come home with a hamper full of stinky, sweaty clothes.  Can I say it again?  Bring on October!

Now, don't go thinking all we did was sit around, how else would we have ended up with a hamper full of clothes?  The guys built a third farrowing pen, just in time too we had another sow deliver her brood of 7 (the 8th looked to be stillborn) on Sunday.

We still have one more girl to deliver, likely in the next couple of weeks.  Then that's it for sometime.  We already have some interest it buying some of these new ones, and that'll go a long way in helping pay for feed.  It'll be hard to let any of them go.  They are cute little devils!  To date we have 29 pigs at The Compound.

We hauled out our 25 new blueberry plants, and started the planning stage of how to get them planted next to the container.  We are building what will end up looking like a giant raised bed.

It'll hold the dirt back and help eliminate erosion.  I started by painting some 8' and 10' 2x4's.  The guys used some of the free pallet materials to build the upper structure.  I don't have any photos of those yet, as they still need to be painted.
But the best part of our weekend was this:

Peeecan smoked chicken and ribs!  The Moose bought the new smoker, and the boys put it together and cooked dinner.  What a treat! Perfectly juicy, smokey chicken and ribs!  Can I hear you say YUM?!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blueberries Galore!

Well, another Craigslist find!  25  7 gallon organic blueberry plants.  I paid $10 each for them, which I think is a great find.  We paid $8 for 3 gallon ones a few years back.  They are the northern high bush varieties of Windsor and Emerald.  Estimated at about 3 years old, so should start producing fruit in greater quantity starting this year, and definitely in years 4 and 5. 

As you may recall, we are finished burying the container.  We discussed using the hillside as a place to plant fruiting trees or bushes.  We want to keep the dirt from running off during the torrential rains (which we seem to be getting nearly everyday since June), and we want the plants to be purposeful.

I'm not sure if I'll try and create more of a raised bed feature, by shoring up each row with wood, which would help erosion issues, or not.  Jury is still out.  In this heat (we reached 97 degrees this week), it will be a work in progress since it's out in direct sunlight. 

The soil used to bury in the container has a higher sand content which will be good for drainage.  I'll amend it with peat moss and pine chips/needles.  A light application of fertilizer to get things going.  Starting in October, they will be left alone to go dormant, until January when they will begin to blossom with fruit around April.

We're hoping this was a worth while investment.  We love blueberries and looking at long term this number of plants will give us more than we need.  I'm sure the hens and hogs will be happy too!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Holland Lop Ears

I'm an avid Craigslist "hunter".  I peruse the farm and garden listing to see what's available.  We've found many a good find for The Compound.  That included last week.  We were racing to get out the door, and I thought just one quick snoop to see what they have.  This was at 7am.  First listing was 4 free Holland Lop Ear rabbits.  They were moving (turned out it was the truth) and couldn't take them with them.  Since we were wanting to raise rabbits anyway, it was a good way to start.
Turns out they have pedigrees.  Now, whether or not we'll do anything with them to follow suite is another question still unanswered.  They only get to about 3lbs, so for meat production it's not the best rabbit, but rabbit tastes like rabbit whether big or little.  So here they are;

Pickles and Cupcake

We also have a "blue" called Marshmallow, but her picture turned out really bad.   Also, the water bottles were frozen and placed in with them to help them stay cool.  They lay right on them.  Poor Pickles actually put her forehead on her bottle and just sat there! 

They had temporary housing up until this past weekend when The Moose and the guys built them a set of hutches in a shady area next to the chickens.  Not sure they appreciate all the noise the choir boys provide, but they'll be easy to maintain.

We only had to buy the hard wire and galvanized roofing material.  The wood you see all came from free pallets.  The pallets were over 12' long and had to be cut onsite, loaded up and hauled away.  But they were awesome pallets, very well built.  Free is always good.

So now, we're pushing to learn all we can about rabbits.  Pedigreed rabbits are going for $50 - $75 in our area.  Any helpful hints?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our Best Friend

We really live in the swamp this time of year.  More rain than we can use that's for sure.  It only breeds those miserable mosquitoes!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Another Snake Episode - Enough Already!

We had another snake episode at The Compound recently.  Hunter, the resident guard dog (he really only guards his owner, the rest of us he doesn't like) had a cotton mouth actually come into his area and after they decided they were not going to get along, the snake bit him on the nose.  Only one fang, but it hit a vein and traveled really quick.

He was to the emergency room within about 30 minutes for his anti-venom treatment.  The vet did state, should this have happened when no one was there, he would have been dead in less than 2 hours.

Over a thousand dollars spent and two days later, he was back to his surly self.

Snake sightings have really increased at The Compound this summer.  I think it may be due to the excessive rain, and we're heading into mating season so everyone's wearing their snake boots!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lucky Number 7

Not the best photo, but it's from a camera phone at night, with a flashlight shining on the 7 new piglets!  She gave birth to all 7 in less about 30 minutes!  7 brown 2 with spots like their mom.

We stopped by late yesterday afternoon for regular chores and I was sure she was going into labor.  She had built a nest and was getting ready.  Hopefully she'll be a good momma.  Hope to have more photos later this weekend.