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I know. Way too long.

I know. It has been way too long since I last posted. I would say I am going to make a commitment to regular posts, but I know where that leads.

Summer is coming to an end and the homestead needs continuous work. Yesterday I started a project that I’ve been putting off for four years. Replacing the rotting back porch.

And like many project I found if I just start it it goes much more quickly than anticipate. I’ve only done the demolition so far and will have to go get the wood in a few days.

The cats are doing their best to do nothing.

And Noodles went to his first groomers appointment Friday. This is him on the at ride there.

He has up to 30 pounds and the vet thinks he has another 30-40 to go. When not being a pest (really just being a puppy) he is taking the cats lead most of the time.

He made one trip to work at the pharmacy and found his “spot,” not that he will be small enough to fit there for very little long.

Well time to go do some yard work. Exciting new to come though. Stay tuned.

D.

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Sweater weather

The days go by so fast sometimes.  With spring here and temperatures going up and down to almost freezing, we are trying to get as much done as we can.  We completed the chicken tractor.  We bought a coop from Tractor Supply and then attached it to a base frame with some wheels and added a door.  Thus the baby chicks moved from the dining room table to the great outdoors.

The ducks remembered where their house was and started laying again.


We got our potatoes in the ground.  We watched a video where a guy just cleared an area, put down some blood meal and then covered them all with a bunch of used straw. It seemed so easy that we thought we would give it a go.


The cat helped in her usual way of course. 


The temperature dipped to near freezing the other night so baby goat got to wear his sweater.


Have a great week my friends. 

D.

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Fall day off

I woke up on this Friday off to a drizzly morning which meant I wasn’t going to be mowing the lawn as was planned.  So what’s a boy to do on a cloudy day with intermittent rain? Go fishing in his pond, of course.


And sometimes you get a little lucky.

When I returned to shore, the ducks had made their way out into the open.  Only problem is I only count nine ducks.  The last time I counted there were ten.  We knew when we decided to let our ducks roam free around the pond and property that we may lose a few, but it is surprising when one just disappears.

River spent the day doing what River does best, sleeping on the porch swing.


Have a great day world.

D

Knit life

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a new rhythm

Once again I must ask for your forgiveness, my friends, with regards to the tardiness of my blog posts.  The new rhythm of a spring daily life on the homestead has left me with little time, and at times little energy, to write.  Today though is a day off from work, and it is raining very heavily here in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I have just reawaken after having gone back to bed after completing the morning chores.  For the moment I sit listening to the rain on the metal roof and watching a summer Tanager trying to attack himself in the reflection of the cabin window.

Now that spring has arrived, it seems that there is not a moment that should not be filled with something to be done.  The goats, which have been here for over a month now, have learned the daily routine, which as I understand by their nature, is most favored.  They get milked twice daily, once in the morning by myself at about 5:30 am and then at the same time in the evening by my wife.  The mornings start for me with an alarm at 5am, then I throw on some clothes and it’s off to feed and water the chickens and rabbits in back of the house.  Then it is a hike down the hill to the pond to put out food for the ducks,  which we no longer confine to their house at night, but let them stay on the pond.  Then back up to the house to get a bucket of warm, soapy water before heading to the goat house to milk the girls.  After I have milked, washed all the equipment, and put it back in its place, the clock usually reads about 6:30am.  Now it is time to start the pre-work routine of washing up, breakfast, and watching the weather channel.  I rarely watch the news any more; the weather always seems more relevant. Then off to work, a 40 minute drive.  To be honest my wife (which I say here because she prefers I not put her name down) does most of the work while I am away earning a paycheck.  I return close to sundown to help wrap up the day.  Days off work, such as today are filled with trips to the hardware store or feed store, and a plethora of other chores, which are never-ending.  This though, is not  a bad thing as it has helped me cut my television-viewing down drastically.


The goats seem to be doing well. Caro, the Alpine/Toggenberg mix, definitely has a like for human contact. We have a scrub brush in their house that she loves to be brushed with, and was the first of the goats that would let us take her for a walk on a leash, as you can see my mother-in-law doing below.

The other two nubians, Sidda and Vivi, are coming around though, especially since we discovered their love of raisins.

Our milk over-floweth from the three ladies.  We have been drinking it raw, and when it is fully chilled it is so delicious.  But being the child I am,  I have to keep the chocolate syrup handy, for the milk is even more heavenly when it is laced with chocolate.

Among the other things happening here on the homestead was the addition of 100 channel catfish to the pond this week.  We hope to have them as a occasional food source in the coming years, a well as just another fish to catch for the family and guests that like to come out to our place for family dinner.

River the cat has spent most of the past few rainy days in her favorite spot, the front porch swing.  Surveying her kingdom and standing guard against all intruders is what I’m sure she would claim, but daytime naps is what actually seem to fill her time.


We have planted most of our gardens, but the constant rain of the past weeks has made it difficult.  On the other hand those plants that are in the ground are loving it, as long as they can survive being trampled by the duck squad that in the rains seems to feel free to travel all over the place.


For now I will leave you to your own devices, world and I think return for a little more sleep until the rain lets up. Say good-bye, Caro.

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River’s Anniversary 

When we moved to our new place, we were surprised by how few squirrels we saw.  Instead of squirrels what we had was a plethora of moles and voles.  Parts of the yard were so torn up by their holes and tunnels that you might want to carry a ankle brace everywhere just in case. The solution: adopt a barn cat.

  
We had heard that you could adopt outdoor cats known as barn cats for free at many SPCA locations, so that’s just what we did one year ago.  We went into the SPCA and told them what we were looking for, they in turn wanted us to go meet and handle every cat in the place.  We told them, and even put on the adoption form, that  we were looking for a cat that was a rodent catching machine.  Eventually we decided to take a cat that they were having trouble getting adopted and had been there almost a year. Her name was River and we took her home in a cat carrier we had found in the shed, which had been left by the previous owner.  

In the days leading up to the adoption, I had built a very nice insulated cathouse, using pallet wood and some small trees from the yard. 

  
We put some chicken wire around the house to keep River in for a week, to supposedly make her realize it was her new home. 

 
It did not work. We even tried moving it onto the front porch so she would be close to us, but this too failed.  Eventually I scraped most of the house and just kept the legs and roof as a cover for the duck food.

  
When we adopted River they said part of the reason she had not been taken yet was that she was antisocial.  This could not be farther from the truth.  Anytime you move around outside she will be by your side asking to be petted. You bend down to pull a weed or tie your show and she is there belly up asking for some petting.  

A year later, even though she spends most of her day sleeping on the porch swing,  our yard is “mostly” free of small rodents.  

 
We never thought we would be cat owners and never thought we would consider an outdoor cat a pet but a year on we wouldn’t have it any other way.