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Thursday, September 5, 2013

State of the Homestead

August was a busy month. I don't know why. Usually it's the hottest month of the year and everyone around here keeps a low profile, waiting for the heat to dissipate. This year the goats have kept us busy with improvements to their quarters and maintenance.

Garden: I was able to save about twenty assorted plants from the original garden. I put them in pots and babied them for a few weeks waiting for the temps to return to more reasonable levels. We're still getting triple digits, but not as consecutively.

I put the potted plants back into the garden with an extra shot of rabbit poop. Most of them made the transfer fine. I only lost a couple of them, probably due to the heat. 

I've got my cool weather transplants waiting in the wings, but I'm hesitant to put them out just yet. That sun is still brutal.

Rabbits: My love-bunnies are getting big. They're still very sweet and docile. Even though they're living indoors during the summer months, I take them out in the early morning to enjoy some fresh air and grass.

Chickens: We'll be having a major slaughter in a few weeks. I've got about 25+ birds to dispatch in the next two months. We'll do about ten at a time. That's about all Greg and I can handle in a day.

I plan on fewer birds next year. Until we get one of those automatic chicken pluckers, I don't want to get into full scale meat production. Plucking them is too hard on my arthritic hands.

Goats: They've been a real learning experience. We've trimmed hooves twice. Thank goodness Greg built that goat stand. We can lure them up there and trim hooves while they're busy chowing down. It still takes us a long time, but we're getting the hang of it.

The buck hasn't come into rut yet, but he's becoming interested in the does. So far, the girls want nothing to do with him, but with any luck, we might get a pregnancy before the end of the year. 

Billy has been manageable, but he's hurt me twice without trying. I'd hate to think what he'd do to me if he was angry. I keep a spray bottle of water with me to keep him from getting up in my face. If he becomes a problem he may have to go into barbecue. That's entirely up to him. Wish I could convey that to him.

Nana has been a good herding dog, keeping them at bay, but the buck often turns to challenge her. She bit him on the ear and he backed down. I won't take her into the pen unless Greg is with me. She's still a baby and it's just a game to her. I don't want her to face the buck until she has a little more experience.

Scorpions: We are claiming a tentative success against the scorpions. After examining the house from top to bottom, we think we've removed all but the most difficult access points. I haven't seen a scorpion in the house for three weeks. And this is when they're most active.

But we did find this outside. 

She was in one of the sprinkler control boxes buried in the ground. Those little things on her back are babies. Lots and lots of babies. We wiped out the entire generation without remorse.

Wildlife: There were deer tracks in the front yard. This is where I have lots of American beauty berry bushes. The deer like to eat the berries. Oddly enough, the goats have a few bushes in their pen, but they're not crazy about the taste.

Coyotes have been sparse this year, which is good. But I still see a few feral pigs dead on the side of the road. 

A few more weeks of hot weather and maybe we can cool down to the 80s in October. Both man and beast alike are looking forward to that.

So how about you? What's new?

And who's ever seen a scorpion carrying her babies? I'm telling you, it gave me the chills. All those stingers. Eek!

Find anything unusual by you?


LD Masterson said...

I'd love to leave a comment on the goats or the bunnies or even the weather but I'm too freaked out by that momma scorpion picture. That's the kind of thing nightmares are made of. *shiver*

Angela Brown said...

I was all giggly about Billy the goat getting is flirt on :-)

*Hey Billy*

Glad to hear things have been active.

But that picture of the scorpion turned my stomach upside down. I had to walk away from the computer then come back and scroll down really fast.

I do believe that after reading this state of the homestead, I've done enough work for one day lol!!!

I don't know how you do it. You are my hero!!!

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I know! It made me squirm just watching her. I'm only glad that Greg saw what was down there before he stuck his hand in.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: If only reading was enough to get my exercise, I'd be pencil-thin. LOL.

Re: scorpions
Mean as they are, scorpions serve a purpose. I'd just wish they'd do their business away from my home.

Jackie Burris said...

Congratulations on success of plant transfers, here is to yummy garden goodness late in the year!

Maria have never seen a scorpion with her brood on her back but have seen a possum carrying babies and revolting looking humongous wolf spider with 100's of babies since we moved into this home, killed her and her offspring also as did not wish the things to end up in the house with us which is where her body was headed when I found her on the back porch.

Heat here has gone in early hours at least and am hoping for early fall but probably not that lucky.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Gosh, reading all this makes me feel like a slacker! Probably because I am!!!

Sweated down in Atlanta over the weekend. Drove back home. Man, what a difference 500 miles makes. It's so dry and pleasant up here.

Will be down in San Antonio (site-seeing) and Austin (Australian football tournaments) in October. Hoping it'll be nice weather and that I don't see any of those icky scorpions - yikes!

Marlene Dotterer said...

I am officially freaked out. Glad you saw the scorpion before she saw you!

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I think the possum carrying her babies is cute. Spiders and scorpions, not so much.

I'm hoping we're near the end of the triple digits. But I'd settle for some much needed rain.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: It's very pleasant in Texas in October. Hope you get a chance to visit the Alamo in San Antonio.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: I am VERY glad we saw her before she saw us. I'd probably hurt myself getting away.

Darke Conteur said...

Those scorpion babies gave me the creeps. Well, our summer is over. First day of school and the morning barely made it into double digits. Other than that, just getting into my school schedule. Our garden quit about a week ago. I don't know if it was the intense heat this summer or what, but as soon as the cooler weather hits at night, they start to shut down. :(

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: You could use a greenhouse. I'll bet you could extend your season by two months or more.

At least you don't have scorpions up there. :)

Jenny Schwartz said...

That scorpion with all her babies *shudder*

Hope the hot weather breaks soon. I'm always so pleased when summer arrives ... then give me a few months and I'm trying to kick it out the door!

Nana is such a cutie :)

Anonymous said...

EWW!!!! There aren't enough exclamation points to cover the ick factor of that scorpion and her babies. :shudder:

Ref: the garden

Triple digits and monsoon rain has stayed my hand putting in our "winter" (yes, I use that word very, very loosely).

As for the rest, I feel like a slacker, LOL. Of course, that's a normal occurrence after reading one of your homestead posts!

Shelley Munro said...

Ugh! I'm so glad we don't have scorpions and all the nasties you have in NZ.

You have been busy. I always enjoy your updates. I used to hate plucking chickens when we did them as kids. Not my favorite thing! When we were in India and Pakistan they skinned their chickens and sort of peeled the skin off in seconds flat. It was very impressive.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: I'm the same way. I love the warmer weather, but once it gets past 99F, it stops being fun.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: I've been seeing the news about the weather in your part of the country. Not a good one for you this year.

Re: slacker
You know, people say that all the time, but it's not true. It's like having kids, or jobs, or even writing. When it's something important in our lives we give it all we've got.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: We skin chickens a lot, but I like the skin, especially for stock.

I can't say we were ever able to peel the skin off. I wonder what the technique is.

Misha Gericke said...

Brrrrr that scorpion with the babies are creepy! I wouldn't think twice about extermination either...

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I've seen a spider carrying babies. When R squished her, they went EVERYWHERE. We had to vacuum them up.

Maria Zannini said...

Misha: It was fascinating and repulsive at the same time. All I kept thinking about was all those stingers.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I don't blame you! You don't want to leave any survivors with a vendetta.

Cate Masters said...

Your goats are adorable. Trimming hooves must be hard work, I imagine.
Glad you found that mother scorpion and her family in one tidy package. Yikes!

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: The trimming isn't so much difficult, but it's keeping the goat still so neither of us gets hurt. :)

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

great picture of the scorpion and babies. I had never seen one with babies before.