Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting My Lazy On

I tell you what, these last four days just flew by and I did not get much of anything done. I am starting to worry about being lazy or not.

Here is the weekend recap.

Thursday: It was to cold to do any work Thanksgiving morning and then I was too miserable to do anything that after noon.

Friday: Spent the day on a rabbit run for the youngest daughter.

Saturday: Rebuilt the rabbit barn (again) and finished framing up the new breeder house and area. Spent the rest of the day cooking.

Today: Ended up babysitting the very sick wife so I was only able to get about and hour of work done outside. The rest of the day was spent cleaning, laundry and cooking.

Adding it all up, I only spent 3 1/2 hours actually working on the Mini Farm. That is sad.

The last hatch of the year ended up just the same as the first, if not worse. 32% hatch rate was all we got plus we did not get the Araucanas chicks we needed to have enough breeders. So now we have to order some in the spring.
We did try some new eggs that we did not know if they would even be fertile or not. They were a cross between a Serama rooster and a Banty Cochin hen. We set six of them and when we candled the eggs a few days before the hatch, none were fertile. So if you take them out of the equation then it was a 36% hatch rate.
We are really burning it up with these numbers.

It is back to the grind tomorrow so I wish everyone a safe and blessed week.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Better Than Nothing

It was only a half day of work today due to it being our turn to cook and host card night. As you can tell in the pic I was really tearing it up out there.
There is something about nice weather and cooking outside that will put me right out. Now that is what I call relaxing.

But, the first half of the day was productive. For the fourth time, I rebuilt the rabbit barn. Everyone has a new home now and seems happy at the moment.
After that I built on the little chicken breeder pen until I ran out of materials. I need the plywood to finish the little roosting area and I ran out of staples so I can not finish the fencing. So another project sits undone.
My buddy Dave told me the other day he has held off his building until he studies me for a little while longer. He said watching me build then expand and then expand again has shown him to plan and build big. I understand that thought but when I started building I had it all planned out too. It's just my plan is an always evolving plan and what works and is planned for today is not necessarily how it ends up a month from now.
Yes, I do agree that if I had to start over I would have planned bigger. But you know as well as I do even the bigger barns just mean you can hold more animals and then before long it becomes too small as well.

I am going to play tomorrow by ear and just see what happens.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

Things did not exactly go as planned for the past couple of days but then again, they very seldom do.
Yesterday morning I was all ready to get some work done on the little breeder pen before we headed off to my brothers house for the Thanksgiving feast. The weather man said the cold front would not get here till after noon so I was ready to go at daylight.
Well the weather man was a little off because at 6:30 in the morning it was 35 degrees and falling. Needless to say, nothing more than the normal feeding and watering was done.
The afternoon was not any better plus I was in no shape to do any work after eating enough for two people.

We ended up having to leave the family early due to the ever demanding two hour feedings from Lucy.

Today was a little different though. A spare of the moment road trip almost two hours away for rabbits took up the whole day. The youngest girl found some Mini Rex rabbits on the South side of FT. Worth and just had to have them. I thought we would get back in time to get some stuff done but I was wrong.
These are the rabbits we ended up with.

Lucky is a one year old, Castor Mini Rex Buck. He has won Best in Show, Best of Variety and Grand Champion. He will be our show and breeder buck for the next couple of years.

Onyx is a seven month old, Black Mini Rex Doe. She has won best in show so far and was just bred to a Grand Champion Broken Black Buck today. She will be having babies the day after Christmas.

Black Jack is a little over a year old, Broken Black buck. He will be our primary breeder buck. He comes from a long line of Grand Champions and has won best in show.

These two eight week old babies are the future of the rabbit business for the Mini Farm. Through these, we hope to start our own line of Grand Champions.

All and all I think the girl made a good choice in going with the Mini Rex instead of the Flemish Giants. These will be a lot better to handle and to train. We have found out the hard way, people do not want those large rabbits except to eat.
Maybe with these kinds of pedigrees the Mini Rex's will pay for themselves in the long run.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Next Four Days

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I hope yall all made it to where ever it was your were going without going through a body scanner or being groped by a someone who calls themselves security.
Oh, I guess you could have wore a ''Hijab" and been exempt from it all.

I do not plan to post tomorrow so I will get today's and tomorrow's done tonight.

It was a long week at work again so nothing was done but I now have a four day weekend to look forward to and hopefully make some progress.
We do not have to be at the family's house until 11:30 tomorrow so that will give me a half day to get more done on the new little chicken breeder area I started last weekend. I will post some pics of the progress on Friday.

The baby pygmy "Lucy" is doing good and has upgraded to her own play pen. Now she can look out see us and not feel so alone.

The last hatch of the year in under way. In this batch we hope to get the Araucana breeders we need to complete the verity of chickens we want to sell. I will let you know if the hatch rate is any better than the last time.

That's it till Friday. I hope everyone has a fun and safe time tomorrow. Remember, your eyes are always bigger than your stomach no matter how hungry you are.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Evening Off

I made it home way to late to do anything today but the good news is, they are saying I might have a four day weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Busy, Busy

Running in circles will never get you anywhere but it sure gets you tired. That is what today was all about.
After a long night of dealing with kids running through the corn fields from the cops and boys sneaking around the house, we did not get to bed till around four this morning so needless to say we had a late start on the day.
The winter storms are heading this way this week so I felt the need to redo all the animals bedding and make sure they are set for the cold weather.

I managed to get the half front on the little goat barn to keep the rain and wind out. Now they can stay warm and I don't have to worry about them this week.
The little baby buck we brought in the house yesterday did not make it, that is four so far. We still have the two little girls outside and Lucy inside. Even Lucy is so stiff legged she has a hard time walking, but the two in this pic are perfectly normal and doing great.

I managed to start on the Mille Fleur d'Uccle Bantam breeder pen. That is just a fancy name for a little chicken that is to small to eat. The idea is to have all the little mini chickens up here close to the house in the mini barn and have the large bleeds down at the big barn.
I will tell you this. It is hard to work in the same pen as geese. Every time you bend down they want to untie your shoes or bite you on the butt. I wonder if I could put a tool belt on one and a drink holder on the other to make them more useful.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Unplanned Day Turns Out Alright

Just like I said in yesterdays post, today was a unplanned day and anything could have happened.

This is what did. The wife picked up two more Serama hens to go with the last single rooster she had left. Seven hens and three roosters should complete the breeding stock for these little mini chickens and in the spring she will start incubating the eggs.

I ended up having a daddy daughter day with the oldest and the youngest and went to the little farm auction we visited a couple of months ago. The kids had a blast and the oldest being 18 and all was able to get her own card and bid on her own stuff.
I ended up getting a grain and meat grinder. I have been wanting a grain grinder for a long time but they are always way over my budget when I find them. I picked them both up for $30.00
We had some more babies last night but the outcome is not good. One was still born and the other is just barley hanging in there. We ended up bringing it into the house this afternoon but I doubt if it will make it through the night.
I tell you what the problem is. All these nannies were already pregnant when we brought them here. If you will remember, the bucks that came with them were all kin some way or another and some were even badly stiff legged from all the inbreeding. That is why we got rid of the bucks right off the bat and brought in a new bloodline. These babies that are being born now are the kids from those inbred bucks.
It is sad to see them suffer and it just goes to show that some people have no business raising animals and that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Can I do, What can I do?

This weekends plans are completely up in the air.
The youngest instructed me we are going to do some work in the big barn tomorrow but I do not know what she has in mind.
I do know with all the wet weather we have had, I really need to clean the yard and start getting everything winterized. Next week they are calling for some more bad weather so I really need to get some stuff buttoned down and put up.
One thing I know is a have too, putting a half front on the goat shelter so the rain cannot blow in as bad as it did this week. That shouldn't take to long.
Another have too is watching the last race of NASCAR. If you are not keeping up with it, my boy Jimmy is going for five in a row this year.

So I guess what I am saying is, I will be hopping and running all over the place this weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


!!!!!Warning, Religious Content!!!!!!!

It's not always about the farm and I felt I needed to share this with you.

I got off work today and decided to take another way home besides the normal way I usually take. When I came to my usual exit, I felt I needed to go ahead and take it so at the last moment I made the decision and veered off the highway. I stopped at the stop sign and took a left onto a little two lane country road and sighed because it was the same scenery I see every day. I thought to myself that I should have stayed on the highway.
On the right hand side about three miles up the little Farm to Market road there is a little yellow sign that I have seen a hundred times that simply says "Goats For Sell" and gives the phone number. I flew past the sign and suddenly for the first time I felt the need to call it. So I turned around and pulled into the driveway and wrote the number down thinking I would call it later tonight to see what kind of goats he had.
I pulled out and headed back down the road when I don't know why but, I reached for my phone and started dialing the number. I was thinking he probably does not have the kind of goats I want even if he answers the phone. Well, he did answer and believe it or not, he was selling Pygmy's. Better yet, he was home and told me to come on over. At this point I was another three miles down the road and even though I was in a hurry to get to a softball game the oldest was playing in tonight, I went ahead and turned around and headed back.
When I finally got back to his house and parked, we shook hands and he introduced himself to me and we walked to the goat pen and talked about goats for a little while. A few minutes into the conversation he made a comment about being a preacher and using the goats for entertainment for some of the youth at his church. I asked him, "Did you say you are a Preacher?"

I know that does not sound like anything different but listen to this. A family member and I have sort of a different opinion on a biblical subject. He tries to get me to see it his way and I have a hard time with it, but I listen. So this past couple of weeks I have studied many texts and writings on the certain subject to try and see it his way or at least build an argument on the way I see it.
Here is the strange part. Everything I was reading was throwing me in different directions so earlier today I just stopped and prayed for clarity and understanding on this subject. I thanked God for his word and asked him to send his message in such a simple form so I can understand it

I did not plan to go home this way today. I have never wanted to call the number on the "Goats For Sell" sign. I was going to call the number later tonight. I was running late to a softball game and did not have time to stop. I turned the truck around twice.
Now here I was, standing in a goat pen with a preacher and God was giving me the message in the most simple form, so I could understand it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wouldn't You Know It

Look what hit the ground right when a huge storm blew in last night, two little does. We were able to herd them in the goat shelter just when the bottom fell out of the sky. The momma so far is a good one. They are up nursing and running beside her just like nature intended.

Lucy is the last one left of the three we brought in the house the other night. The two that died were just to weak and there was nothing we could do. They named her Lucy because her ears are a little deformed and look like horns. Lucy, Lucifer Get it? The good news is that she is going strong and eating real good.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The One Year Post

Sunday was our one year anniversary on the mini farm.
One year ago we moved to this little place in hopes to make it something. This was kinda our last hope before renting so it had and has to work.
Believe me when I say this was not the ideal choice but it was the only one. I wanted mountains, a creek, woods and good soil. Instead I got flat flood plain, three mesquite trees and black mud that will not grow anything.
Being the very stubborn people we are, the wife and I sucked it up and looked at it as our blank canvas to do what ever we wanted to do. With no clearing required we started building, we were here to stay.

Not everything has gone to plan this year but when does it ever? Looking back now, it was a real rough year. The snakes and owls just flat killed us this summer and the heat ran a close second. It takes a crises to know how to prevent one so we have taken steps to help out this coming year.

The one major change in the overall plan this year was going from a five to a seven year plan. I saw real quick that money and time was going to delay the overall completion of the Mini Farm by at least that much.
This years main goals for the animals are to get the big barn up and operational for the breeder chickens, turkeys, quail, geese and the fish.
The goals for self sustainability this year are to complete all the water harvesting systems, have the mini barn on all self made power, get a real good start on the outdoor kitchen and of course more gardens.

Like I said, It has been a rough and tough first year, but to many positives came out of it to say it was a bad one. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and thoughts and please keep them handy for this year too.
One other thing, let people know they need to start reading the Modern Day Redneck blog because I do have some good stuff coming up "you ain't gunna wanna miss it"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Members to The Mini Farm

Yesterday wore us out so much that we called "Card Night" a early night and made it home from D&R's around nine.
When the youngest stuck her head out the back door to make sure the chickens were all up she heard the awful sound of a dieing rabbit coming from the mini barn. Flashlight in hand we headed out in hopes it was not what we were thinking. As we approached the barn, the ear piercing bleat was not coming from the rabbit area at all, instead it was coming from the goat pen and I knew right then what it was, baby goats.
The first one was laying 15 feet from the goat shelter stiff and cold. I picked it up and lightly tossed it closer to the shelter so I could find it again in the dark, then it's eye blinked. I hollered "It's still alive" so the youngest girl rushed into the house and the middle girl went right to work on it with the hair dryer to warm the baby up.
The second baby was right with the momma so I was not to worried about it and the third had one hind leg sticking out and was still stuck inside. I grabbed a hold of it's little leg and it was stiff and cold. This was not good. I did not know how I was going to get it out being turned like that and I did not know how long it has been dead inside her.
I gently pulled and I heard the little things hip pop out and then it came right out. I tossed the still born baby still in the sac off to the side and shined the light on it for several seconds, nothing. Turning my attention back to the one that was alive I visually made sure it was ok and then shined the light back over to the still born, I saw movement. I quickly tore the sac open and cleared it's air way and that's when it took it's first breath. Being careful not to get my sent on it, I cleaned it off and put it in front of the momma and she started to lick it, alright!
We let nature take it's course for a while and went back out after a couple of hours to check on them. She rejected the one I pulled and pushed it out of the shelter to die so we bundled it up and took it in the house to get warm. We thought maybe she would at least take one to raise but
this morning the third baby was laying out from the goat barn cold, wet and half dead so again we bundled it up and took it in the house.

This morning we also milked the momma to get that very important first milk but I am sad to say the first little baby we brought in did not make it. She was just too weak. The one we brought in this morning is also really week and does not want to eat so we have to force it, but the one I pulled is going strong.
I thought even if it lived it would never walk right because of the dislocated hip when I pulled her out but she is doing great.

Needless to say, the momma goat is going to the sell just as soon as she puts a little weight back on.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Figh Fry Day

The much worried about First Annual Neighborhood Fish Fry has come and gone.

Yup that's right, this morning at 8:00 AM is was in the low fortes with a strong North wind and it felt like it was thirty. Water was still standing in the area where we planned for the event to be so we made the call and just said to heck with it.
Most of the people we called were glad we canceled so I do not feel to bad.
I call this, dodging a bullet.

Instead, we loaded up and went to heritage days in a little ole town about 40 miles south of here. I found it to be a joke with all the city people walking around in brand new Wranglers, a new Stetson beaver and paying $5.00 a person to pet a chicken. I'm in the wrong business. They can come pet my chickens and I will only charge them $3.00

All and all it turned out to be a nice day. About 1:00 PM the sun came out and the temp rose to 60. It would have been a beautiful day for a fish fry.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tell All

Tomorrow is the tell all if this fish fry was a good idea or not. It has been raining here for the last two days and everything is wet and holding water but the show, or should I say fry, must go on. It is going to be 65 and sunny.

My Mom and Dad and our friends Rhonda and David will be here at around nine to help set everything up and will also help with the cooking and serving at noon. If I was to go it alone I don't think it would happen. We will be cooking for about 70 or so people so the grease will be flying.

I will have some pics of the event in tomorrows post so check back to see how it went.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dark Thirthy

With the time change it is real hard for me to get much done. I know I said it once already but I forget each year just how hard it is when it is dark when I get home and I still have a couple of three hours before bedtime every night and just knowing I need to be doing something.

I still need to get everything ready for the neighborhood fish fry this weekend. I am trying to get three fish cookers together but I can only find two at the moment.
One good thing about this gathering is that many people are bringing stuff like paper plates, cups and other odds and ends so we don't have to fit the bill for the whole thing.
We ended up deciding to have it in the front yard instead of the back because I don't want everyone walking around and leaving the gates open and knowing what I got. Call me paranoid but I say I'm just being cautious.
I still don't know what to expect with all these people and now they are calling for rain, so maybe we will luck out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The New Additions

It was dark last night so I was unable to take any pictures of the new arrivals. So if you were curious here you go.

These are the three little nannies. Two are about eight months old and the one with the longer horns is a little over a year. They are not really the color I was wanting and they are not pure. They are a Pygmy, Spanish mix. I think with the pure black and white Pygmy buck we have, these should throw a nice small light colored goat. We will see....

It was funny this past summer, we were looking all over for geese to help take care of our snake problem but everyone wanted $50.00 a pair. I said I would never buy a goose for that kind of money. See there, patience and stubbornness paid off in this case. I now have a pair and did not pay a dime for them.
The same guy we got the goats from was fed up with the dogs killing his geese and this one was the sole survivor. He told us to just take it. So far it acts friendly.

This little rabbit is going to be the youngest girls show bunny for FFA. She still intends on breeding and raising the Mini Rex and possibly showing them in the breeder class but being this one was given to her by one of the wife's friends this weekend and it is already trained, then why not? They told me the breed of it several times but I just cannot remember it. I thank it's a, aw never mind I don't have a clue.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Honey Dooooo

There was not much going on with the mini farm this weekend. I guess you could say, It was kinda slow.
I spent most of the weekend doing the "honey do" list. Things like fixing the washer, doing laundry and some more little odds and ends things.
The one thing that did change this weekend was the management. We changed up how and who did what. Instead of me and the wife deciding on everything and the kids helping, the kids are now in charge of certain things and we help. Take for instance, the youngest is in charge of the rabbits, the oldest is in charge of the goats and the middle girl is still debating on weather to do the geese or the egg production side of the chickens. The wife is still in charge of the breeder chickens, the marketing and the meat production. I guess I'm the labor for all four.

Here is the reasoning, the kids have always helped and have had some say in what they wanted. With them being in charge of all decisions will now give them a since of ownership. They are in charge of the development, breeding and marketing of their area. If they are able to make a profit on their side of the business then they will get a percentage of the profits. They have to learn how to work within a budget, design and schedule building projects and many other aspects of animal husbandry.

The youngest has already made the decision to sell the Flemish Giant Rabbits and get a more manageable size rabbit like the Mini Rex. She says the profit margin is higher on the smaller rabbits due to the food consumption and the space restrictions. That's not a bad start.

The oldest is developing a business plan on the goats so this should be interesting as well.
Tonight we got three more nannies to add to the herd at a price where there should be no problem making a profit if she chooses to turn and not breed them.

We were also given another goose. This one is a gander but the problem is, the one goose we have now has never seen another one and she does not even know she is a goose so when we put this new one with her she ran and hid. Poor thing.

The time change is going to make it really hard to get much done during the week so I'm hoping with the new management change, things can get accomplished before dark.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Imports

The wife found some little Serama chickens on Craig's List Friday and added them to her herd, flock, group or what ever you want to call it. These little chickens are not to easy to find around here so when she sees some, she goes nuts.
The wife hatched out a bunch last summer but the snakes got all but two roosters and a hen. Now she has three roosters and three hens. I think this is a good start so she can hatch some more out this spring.

Of course you know it does not end there. While picking the little chickens up over 70 miles away, she decided to go ahead and make it worth her while and get two little Silkie hens and a rooster. So now I guess we are going to do a breeder pen of them too.

She says she has a plan for it all and tells me to just sit back and watch. The wife has the control on what animals are doing what and how it's all going to come together in the end.
I think she is on the right track.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Growing List

As you have figured out by now, when I get something on my mind I kinda get obsessed with it until I either build it or something else comes along and then I repeat the same pattern. The wife calls it a slight case of OCD. I call it, well, I really don't have a word for it yet but let me research it and get back to you.

The winter project list was a short and simple one a week or so ago. The main project consisted of building a incubator and a hatcher. Woooo big plans right? I worked the material list down to being able to build one for right at $100.00
Apparently that was not good enough or not enough pressure on me so now I added a Top Bar Bee Hive to the list of "Things To Build This Winter"

I think another reason why the garden did not bare fruit is because we do not have any bees out here. Plus I have always wanted bees. I love the honey and bees are one of the things I have never tried to raise. The bonus is, I get to dress up in a funny looking hat.
So this bee thing has been on my mind for the past few weeks and I have now become obsessed with it. I have read every article I can find plus I spent countless hours night after night watching U-tube on everything about them.
Thanks to the internet, I think I am now ready to start this up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Needed Rain

It was 100% my fault, I can not blame nobody else. A couple of days ago was the first time I walked off and forget to turn the water off to the goats. The problem is, it drained all my rain water I had stored up for them.
The good news is, it rained all day and night yesterday so the water tanks are full again. If it was summer I might be in a little trouble. I see a float system in the near future just for that reason. I sure hate getting old.

On a sad note, this morning the wife let her little baby Tinker into the pantry and did not realize the dogie door was not locked and she ran out right into the mouth of one of the dogs we got last month. The dog shook her and broke her little neck. The wife and kids are devastated over this because we have had the little thing since birth five years ago. She even has her own clothes including the Halloween costume the wife put on her last weekend. The lovable little dog will be missed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where Did They Go Wrong?

When someone says the word clown, what comes to mind? For me it is either the typical funny clown at a birthday party in the traditional white painted face with a huge painted on grin. He would be dressed in a baggy clown suit with big bright yellow shoes, a red honking noise, a funny looking wig and the always fake flower that squirts water at the unsuspecting on looker.
The other clown that comes to mind is the circus clown riding around on a mini bicycle or driving a mini car around the arena all for our entertainment and to make us laugh.
Now, put that same clown that just made us laugh and put him in a dark corner where just a hint of light illuminates his costume and makes his painted face have a eerie glow and at the same time play spooky music in the back ground. All the sudden that lovable, animal balloon making, birthday clown is creepy and nobody wants anything to do with it.
What would be the scientific name for a fear of clowns, Coulrophobia or something like that. My question is, where did the clown go wrong?
Last night we went over to some of the family's house and hung around while they handed out candy to trick or treaters. You have to keep in mind, their house is not the normal house where the front porch light is on and a cheap fake spider is hanging in the window with all the kids running up the sidewalk yelling trick or treat. The best way to describe it is, like the normal person that goes way overboard at Christmas.
They go the whole nine yards so to speak. Smoke machines, strobes, animated monsters and oh yea, clowns. Clowns everywhere and he even gets into a clown suit and sits, just waiting for the right moment to jump up and make some poor innocent kid, or parent take off running.
I saw people so scared of clowns they refused to walk into their yard. So I got to thinking, is this what Ronald McDonald had in mind?

It wasn't a bad night of free entertainment but by the end of it, I think I was starting to develop Ephebiphobia.