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Monday, July 29, 2013

State of the Homestead

Billy's first appearance
I've got the feeding, watering and pen cleaning down to a regular timetable and I've come to one conclusion. This takes a lot of time! I don't even have the big garden to contend with right now. The animals get all my attention.

Garden: This year was a bust. The only things that made it were snow peas (only because they came early), onions, and a few tomatoes. The grasshoppers pretty much devoured everything. 

I'm still crossing my fingers my pecan trees will survive. Rotten hoppers ate all the leaves off my pecan and lemon trees. :shakes fist at grasshoppers:  

The only thing they didn't eat was my watermelon and pumpkin. They ate my sweet potatoes, but the plants resurrected themselves so that's a bonus.

One garden has been tilled and covered in plastic to kill any weed seeds. I've already started new seedlings. With any luck, I can put them in the ground next month.

Rabbits: These little guys are such sweethearts. But they're not doing well in this heat, especially the doe. Greg and I put our heads together and decided to build a cage with a poop tray underneath so I can keep them in the house during the heat of the summer. They'll be getting a vacation every summer. When it cools off they can go back to their shady spot by my potting shed. I think they need the fresh air and sun, so I only want to do this for a few months a year. 

Whenever I have a few minutes to spare I let them run around in a secure room so they can stretch their legs and explore. Soon though, they'll have to explore separately because I don't want her getting pregnant too soon. She's too young yet. 

I wish I had taken new pictures of them, but I ran out of time. Maybe on the next homestead update.

Chickens: Many of them will be going to chicken heaven in the fall. They've served their three years and it's time to replace most of them. I am keeping one older hen only because I've become attached to her. All her life, the other hens picked on her and I always had to protect her from them. Now she can be the big cheese for a while.

The Maran chicks were moved to a bigger pen. Some are destined for the pot, others will be layers and one lucky boy is going to replace Mean Rooster. I have one chick who broke his wing--probably roughhousing with his siblings. He's convalescing in a private cage until he can fend for himself again.  

Goats: Oh, those girls. They have personality the size of Texas. I'm glad they're doing so well. I was a little concerned because Heidi is getting a bit pudgy. That little thing is always eating. I'm limiting her grain and keeping her on hay for a while so she doesn't get too big too fast.

Billy, the goat
The big news on the homestead is that we have a new Mister in the arena. After a long search, I finally found a worthwhile buck for them. Greg wants to call him Billy. 

I've hesitated getting a buck for a long time because of all the horror stories I'd heard. I hope this fella doesn't prove them right.

He's skittish with me right now, (he only arrived two days ago) but I hope he'll settle down soon. He's about 9 months old, still a little young to mate--not that he let that stop him. He tried to mount Lucy within seconds of arriving, but she said she had a headache.

The Dogs: If you read last week's blog, you know that Tank had to go through some serious pain when he tore part of his toenail. He's still limping, but he is getting scads of attention from me and Greg. We've even taken him out for more hamburgers.

Iko is limping too. He has an old injury on his hock. If he'd just let it rest, he'd heal in a few weeks, but he's always playing tag with Nana, making it worse.

Maggie is still my shadow, but now she's teamed up with Nana to keep me well-protected. The boys might be snoozing in the bedroom, but the girls are always on alert. Apparently, the boys only get up if muscle is required. 

I'll try to snap more pictures for next month, but I'll leave you with one more of Billy. I call this "The Money Shot". I think if you look closely, you'll see why.

So what have you been doing this summer? Seen any good movies?

I'd like to see Elysium when it comes out. This afternoon we'll either see RED 2 or Pacific Rim. But R.I.P.D. looks hilarious and I'd like to see that too.

Have you seen any of these? Is there anything you recommend?



raelynbarclay said...

That was exhausting...


It sounds like your homestead is coming together just how you've envisioned. Congrats. Sorry about the hoppers, though, I know how much you love your garden. I'm hoping to plant next month as well since I complete dropped the ball on a spring garden.

Glad Tank is healing up nicely.

We've been catching up on a lot of movies, mostly as a way to beat the heat. Thank heaven for Netflix or I'd be broke...oh, wait, I am broke. Anyway, R.I.P.D. is on our list, that looks like a hoot. That Man and the boys went to Pacific Rim, basically another Transformer type movie but they enjoyed it. It seems there's one or two others but I'm drawing a blank at this hour :)

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hi, Maria. Wow! I got tired just reading about all that work! :)
Now that my book blog tour is about over, you will find me back to regular blogging. No, I haven't seen any of those films. But let me know if any of them are good and perhaps I'll add them to my list of things to watch. My 19 year old just took his first job at our local theater, so I can get in free! *grins*
Have a good week.


Stacy McKitrick said...

You've already seen my comments regarding Red 2, so that's the one I'd recommend. I'm not sure about R.I.P.D., but it does look funny. I think that's why I'm not sure. Sometimes they show all the funny scenes in the trailer!

Grasshoppers! Yikes. That's one thing I do NOT miss about Arizona. I remember them being EVERYWHERE just before the rains came and washed them away. Still, they were pesky little things. Gives me the willies just thinking about them!

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: I love the trailer to RIPD. I haven't read any reviews on it yet though.

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I suspect I'll be reading a lot more movie reviews from you. :)

Congrats to your son on his first job. Good for him!

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: There are hundreds of species of grasshoppers in my area alone. There's a reason they manifest into plagues so quickly.

Anne Gallagher said...

Lucy had a headache, lol...After the money shot, I think I would have had one too.

Hate bugs. Of any kind. We don't have grasshoppers, but I do have something that mowed down my rose bush in two days flat. Which killed me because it was almost dead when I moved it from the other house, and brought it back to give me 3 beautiful coral flowers, and boom, then they were gone. Leaves and all. I believe, like your rabbits, my rose bush is coming into the house for the rest of the summer.

And yes, no rest for those of us who have grass trees and animals.

Angela Brown said...

Now that I've wiped beads of sweat from my forehead - sprouting just from reading this post - I can comment.

You got one heck of a money shot. Sure as shooting that Billy is NO Billy Jean lol!!

Sorry to hear about the garden. SMH. Grasshoppers are apparently sent here by the garden devil, the sworn enemy of all garden gnomes.

Glad the dogs are doing well, though I'm still sending hugs to Tank. Poor Iko and his injury. He's too busy playing to settle down...such an energetic boy.

How the heck do you have time to write with all this madness going on???

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Haven't been to the movies much but I want to see Wolverine.
Hope the heat lets up for you soon. We're having great weather right now and everything is thriving.

Jackie Burris said...

All work and no play make Maria a very "tired and dirty girl"! LOL

Hey Lucy had the right idea, that boy is a cutie though so bet when he gets a little more "seasoning" she will be ready to "party" with him Maria.

Glad Tank is feeling better and never too many burgers for the boy, poor Iko one day he will learn that staying still comes with benefits too.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: Wow! I wonder what ate your rose bush. If you ever find out, let me know. I have several roses all around the property and I'd hate to lose them to an unknown predator.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: The writing falls by the wayside in spring and summer. Winter is my big writing season.

But I never lack for ideas with so much going on. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Wolverine is climbing the charts. The trailer looks good too.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I don't mind the work. There's something about coming in at night dirty, scraped and worn out that is more gratifying than all the days I came home from the office.

Re: Iko
Wish I could explain it to him.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Awww! Billy is so handsome!!
And no on the movies. I'm behind in everything. Sigh

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: He is a nice looking boy. I was going to look at a much younger but pedigreed buck, but I liked the look of this guy's dad and mom.

LD Masterson said...

Well, Billy looks properly equipped for the job. Hope the girls take to him. I'm glad Tank is doing better. Get him a hamburger on me.

Marguerite Butler said...

Maria, I keep my rabbits inside in the summer too. I tried outside and the heat was just too much. So mine get a summer vacation. I have one who hates being inside and but she suffers in the heat, so she just has to suck it up and live inside. She expresses her displeasure.

Love your buck! He's a handsome boy. Mine is a big sweetie. The only problem is that he is 200 pounds of sweetie and stinks like you wouldn't believe. He can't understand why I don't want his big smelly self to rub all over me.

Misha Gericke said...

Goats have such cute faces. Glad to see things are going well, grasshoppers aside. ;-)

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Old Tank is living the life of Riley. The bandage is off and he's much happier. I was pleased the vet did such a good job bandaging him. The foot looks good.

Maria Zannini said...

Marguerite: Oh, good! I thought maybe I was being too soft-hearted but these triple digits are murder.

We had them in the shadiest part of the property with a fan running and ice bottles, but I still thought they looked uncomfortable.

Greg built them a nice double cage. It's tall enough that I can put in a shelf so they can hop up and catch the view.

Re: I'm not looking forward to the smell. LOL. When I went to go look at this guy I had to go into his pen with all the other SMELLY bucks. I could not wait to get home and shower.

Maria Zannini said...

Misha! Good to see you.

It's been busy here even with or maybe because of the triple digits. October cannot come soon enough.

marlenedotterer said...

Lovely animals! Life can't ever be boring where you are.

We just got back from vacation, which included two movies: World War Z and Despicable Me 2. Both are movies I swore I'd never see and I ended liking both of them. Never say never.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: I really liked World War Z. I never expected to like it either. But it was good.

Now in my next post, I mentioned, R.I.P.D.---No good.

Mike Keyton said...

Those goats freak me out! If they ever mated with Renee Miller's Devil Cat then we'd be in trouble. So would the cat.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: They're really very sweet.

Re: goats and cats mating
I'll be content if Lucy and Heidi like the big boy. What he does in his off hours doesn't concern me. ;)