It’s gonna be a challenging week. Everyone is pitching in trying to get the ranch ready for the big party. Hundreds of people are expected to show up. I need to get my house squeaky clean as well, because the ranch patriarch will be here and likes to take a little tour through all of the houses. The Maremmas, being nosey as they are, are gonna want to be out front to supervise the action so I will have to figure out a solution to keep them in the back with the critters.
I am working on getting a soap storage hut painted so I can more easily see what I have in inventory. I am down to just a few different soaps so I have a busy couple of months ahead of me getting soap cured and restocked. I have had a wonderful response online and have actually sold out of NINE different kinds of soap. I really need to get to work, but I am waiting on a delivery of base oils, as I ran out. Please be patient with me! The storage hut will make a huge difference as there has been no place to put the soap once it has cured, except in a small book case. This way, I can easily keep 50 bars of each type in its own little spot and will know immediately what I have on hand.
The real good news is, the goats look like they are bagging up so we will have goatmilk soap again soon. It’s nice stuff, but don’t tell EmmaLouMoo, she is very sensitive about these things.
Three of the 4 psycho chickens have been dispatched. We had to finally institute the ‘three strikes’ rule. They continually broke into the garden to eat my seedlings and hide eggs. I clipped their wings, chased them, hosed them down, threw rocks at them, but nothing deterred them, so today was their last day running around shrieking and wreaking havoc.
R.I.P. psycho-chicks...Your lives may have been short and unproductive, but your ending will be ‘souper’.
Two of the sensible chickens are broody. Both Buffy and Oprah have been sitting on eggs, in a mindless, motherly trance. I hope they don’t hatch anything with spots, as the mere thought of a half-psycho chicken makes me shudder.
Mr T is the expectant father. He is looking beautiful, with his red comb and wattles. Clearly, free ranging agrees with him.
The ‘meaties’ should be here soon. The hatchery called and said they are shipping, so I have to let our mail guy know. We fixed up a spot in the milk room which isn’t being used right now. Randyman just has to move the camera back to the goat pen and put up heat lamps for the chickens...and make a lid so the wild birds don’t eat all their food. I will be fermenting their food this year, something I read on the livestock boards. One gal did a great job of documenting the 8 weeks of raising her Cornish X and the difference it made in their health, their sanitation and their energy levels. It was pretty dramatic. I already have their feed in a bucket of water, and will put some raw Apple Cider Vinegar in there today. It looks like mush, but I guess if I was a chicken it would look tasty to me. It’s still a toss up which dog is going to raise them. Both of them like chickens and both are attached to the goats and sheep. Bruno likes chicken duty, mostly because he can lounge around and sleep closer to the house. Cletus loves them because...well, he’s Cletus and he just rolls that way.
I know some people think it’s just terrible to raise your own food. But I say this, these animals are well cared for, have a healthy and enjoyable life and a humane death (which is more than many humans experience), with the purpose of providing healthy food for my family, as opposed to factory farming where animals often live in cramped quarters, poor sanitation, unappreciated and wind up full of all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients, on your grocery aisle. There ya go, contemplate that over your next pink slime burger.
The ten leppie calves are doing well and have fallen into the normal "butt, bump and leave hickies all over the bottle holding victim" routine. We’ve been trying to train them to drink from the bottle box, but they like to steal and stand sideways to block the others and whatever other mischief they can cause. I have resigned myself to living with slobbery knees and slimey hands for the rest of the summer.
The sheep are lookin kinda raggedy as they shed their wool. The pups have been doing a fantastic job guarding. Bruno became very angry the other day at a hawk that was flying over the pasture...the dogs ran after it and it decided to stay higher up on the air currents after that. I have finally figured out a mystery. I could never understand, since everytime Cletus gives one of the cows a nose kiss, and they clobber him, why he would continue to do this, everytime I go to the pasture. Now I know it's because since they hurt him, he is afraid they will hurt me and he is diving in there to protect me by becoming their target. I have been trying to detain him somewhere else until he understands that I am perfectly fine with Emma and the girls. He does look relieved from the other side of the fence.
One of the triplets brought Wimpy in from the big pasture below the Steens where he spent the winter, so I can start riding again.
It doesn't look like he lost much weight out on the winter pasture. In fact, he's fat as a tick.
I am itching to go. I haven’t the strength today, but tomorrow is another day, and with grace and any kind of luck I can ride at least for a short while. Meantime, since Wimpy has always been a little ‘people sour’ having been a hardworking cowhorse for the first several years of his life, I am taking the opportunity of having him alone to sweeten him up. It doesn’t take much, really, a few scratchings and maybe a treat or two, just to help him associate me with something besides carrying my carcass around the ranch. He’s already following me for the first time ever and beginning to take the initiative to come up to me. Baby steps, baby steps.
He was a good boy, so I turned him loose to go down with the rest of the cavvy, a mile or so down the road. They are brought up everymorning by someone on a 4 wheeler to the big corral for saddling. I can snag him then and we'll be good to go. It felt good just to put my hands on him again.
Well, I better get back to the old grind...the pups are begging for a hug.