Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Corn Crib

We've been building a corn crib. (And when I say "we", actually this time it's hubby).

This is where we'll store the corn until we can grind it for the steers and chickens.
What's with the 76 sign in the background? Well if you've followed my blog for any time, you know that I'm a scrounger. While looking for a top for my baby chicken pen which is 6x6 we came across this at an auction. It was on a "just take it" trailer, so we did! It fits perfectly. Let's light in. Keeps rain out. And keeps critters out.

It's been beautiful up here this last week, all the reds, oranges, yellows and the stark greens of the pines and cedars. Beautiful. Can't walk in the woods cause it's bow season, but I can walk on my property, which is 9 acres of just about every color you can imagine!

This weekend I will likely take one day (saturday) and scour the countryside for old apple trees to make my applesauce and apple butters. Sunday we are riding! My Colorado brother will be here and hubby and I and my brother along with an undecided number of friends will take a bike trip over to the west side of the state to see the colors over there. Not that they're any different from here, but when he comes in October we like to ride around and look. This weather won't last long and from here it's all down hill.
The garden is pretty much put away for the summer, although I still have to dig the potatoes.
My two knitting projects are progressing, have 2 baby sweaters due in a month or so. Yikes!
Sometimes my arms hurt so much I can't knit, but they're going to hurt anyway, so on days when it's not too bad.....
Lots and lots of fall projects. There's a hole in the chix coop floor, have to get that fixed, finish the enlargement of the chicken pen, get another pen ready for 2 new steer calves coming to live with us in a week or so, finish up a few projects that I started and never finished due to my weird summer. Among these projects is one I like to call "steps on the back deck". It's fun to jump from the deck to the ground, and it tests my athletic ability to try to hit the big stones, but it's not good when the ground is covered in slippery stuff. Have to get the screens out of the windows, washed and put away for the winter... I don't know how people who don't farm keep busy! If I didn't have this place to tend to, I'd be so bored, I'd probably have to go buy a farm or something!
Tonight there might not be a lot of "stuff getting done" as it being Wednesday and all, I might find myself partaking of the ale down at the local watering hole!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Under 2.00 a Pound!

The steers, Salt (shown right) and Pepper(left) are both nestled snugly in my freezer, and hubby's taxidermy freezer, and my mom's freezer, and the neighbors freezer. Holy S%^&*(!!
2 Steers is a lot of little packages to try to fit even in a big chest freezer that's mostly cleaned out.
Next time hubby decides he wants to go play with his friends and it's "pick up the steers from the butcher" day, JUST SAY NO!!
Here's how I got to my "under 2 bucks a pound" figure.
500 bucks for processing, roughly 600 for grain, 200 for the calves themselves, 100 for the milk replacer, and 300 for miscellaneous expenses (fencing, salt blocks, baling twine for the hay, feeders, castration, gas for the tractors, beer, electricity for the fencers...) that figure is probably low.
I have in my possession 1280 lbs of meat. So I did a bit of simple division (yeah, ok, I used the calculator) and came up with somewhere around 1.32 a pound. Since the 300 for miscellaneous is likely quite low I rounded up.
Before you get all "but I pay 6 and 7.00 a pound in the store" on me, let me tell you, we grow our own grain and hay. All of our feed and hay is organic, and we do all the work ourselves. These little boys take 2 years to grow to butchering weight. If you had to pay for grain, hay and veterinary care as well as routine maintenance (they do like to have food and water on a daily basis) it adds up.

So that's done for the year.

Seems we got only about 5 roosters in this latest batch of chicks, cool! So we'll cook them up one at a time as we need them, through the winter. I'll keep one to hopefully have babies in the spring. That was my rationale when buying one breed, to keep the flock going so I wouldn't have to buy them every year. Hopefully that little investment will pay off. I got Buff Orphingtons, a nice size bird, definitely large enough to provide a nice dinner, good layers and hardy through the winter.

More tomatoes to do. A neighbor says he's got all he wants from his garden and the rest are mine. YAY!! Soup, sauce, salsa, or just stewed tomatoes, don't know what they will end up as yet. I was going to freeze these ones to save myself a bit of time, but the freezers appear to be a bit... um... full of steers.
Plan B - can tomatoes instead of freezing them.
My baby sweaters are coming along - got a new granddaughter due mid November and another nephew about the same time. A few months ago I started to notice that my arms were hurting quite a lot. I'm a farmer. This isn't acceptable. Went to the doctor. Went to the specialist. Did all the tests. Tendinitis, likely brought on by too much knitting. Wait! What???? Too much knitting? A knitting injury? Really???
So now I either have to live with the pain, not knit or try to remember to knit "the new way" that doesn't move my arms a lot and cause too many problems. Seems to be the only solution. The only problem with that is that it's a bit cumbersome. Kind of like trying to type with my toes (I'm guessing, really, I haven't tried it). I begged the doctor to give me some mysterious diagnosis just for the respect thing. I mean if I told people I couldn't knit because I had a knitting injury, well, lets just say I've been the recipient of the "sideways look" before. But the best she could come up with was tendinitis due to too much knitting.
Also trying to get myself back into my groove. My Dad was sick for a long time. My mom, daughter and I took care of him until he died at home, just 2 short weeks ago. While that didn't throw me quite as much as I expected, it did throw me that it didn't throw me. Go figure, that's me, give me something to over analyze and I'll go to town!
Well, now I find myself with more time on my hands. Trying to get moved back into my house (the last couple of weeks of his life, I pretty much lived over at his and my mom's house), trying to clean between the edges... stuff like that. Hubby was awesome in keeping up with laundry and dishes.. even swept the floor, it kind of scared me.
And now I have time to decorate for holidays again!
Along that line I had youngest son bring up 2 or 3 bales of hay from the barn to put on the front porch for my "autumn display". They're still in the yard. Seems like when you're blessed with a batch of extra time, there's a whole lotta stuff just waiting in the wings to fill that void. Oh well, I will get them on the porch, get my scarecrows and pumpkins (to be displayed for awhile, then canned for pies in the winter) out, and Halloween and thanksgiving decorations put up. Likely just in time to take them down for Christmas.

Life is Good, and on the farm, it's never boring!!