The last year started out alright. Pigs were bred and had easy litters in January. Unfortunately all the piglets decided they wanted to live off Peppercorn and with 30+ piglets under her feet she’s couldn’t Lay down without crushing some. My worst year yet loosing 9 piglets to crushing! How depressing. 

I successfully AId Violet and she had a small but lovely litter of 5 show quality pigs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any 4h kids wanting show pigs this year so they went to meat. How depressing.

Lambing started off fine but two late lambing ewes had complications and I lost their lambs. How depressing.

Milking quality and quantity went up. Much cleaner set up, sheep were very willing participants. My new customers developed a lactose allergy and couldn’t find new milk customers. How depressing. 

Then a few sheep got out and are out of some dirty/moldy buckets in a corner waiting to be washed. A few got very sick. I called in the vet and had a big bill. Blaze nearly died but I nursed her though. She lost her ability to stand, possibly having a stroke, and eventually had to put her down. How depressing.

Then some lambs started acting off. Beautiful 4 month old lambs with runny noses and fevers. I treated them for two weeks only for them to get worse eventually one died screaming in pain in my arms. The other died half an hour after visiting the vet and a large vet bill. How depressing.

Roy developed a terrible limp that one vet said was arthritis from the bb that was shot in his foot a year before. Treated him as they said without any improvement, took him to his regular doc who has been on vacation previously. She looked at the same x-rays and says, “he’s got a bone infection. You see this right here? The bone is inflamed.” Weeks of antibiotics and Roy was finally able to walk on four legs again. But seriously, how depressing!

One lamb was sent to a university for a necropsy any that contacted me that it appears a freak virus went through my flock and there was nothing I could do because antibiotics don’t kill viruses. How depressing! In the mean time I lost another lamb. The case turned out to be so rare I had a researcher come out and collect samples of the lambs who survived. Unfortunately i had to kill a minimum of 4 for a scientific sample and that meant I killed the last of Blazes lambs and her legacy. How depressing!

At this point in the great I lost my phone and all my pictures with it. How depressing.

Violet have birth for a second time only this time she has a breech. Her contractions weren’t happening. Most piglets had to be pulled, she had almost no milk, became fevered, she had to receive antibiotic shots after which she no longer trusted me and kept charging me eventually developing  a very bad attitude and even going far kill and start eating one of piglets when I startled her (I was attacked by yellow jackets and ran around failing and screaming to which he snapped and killed a beautiful boaring) How depressing! 

I think there is more but i don’t even remember at this point suffice to say this year SUCKED.

Vet bills vet bills vet bills. Death death death death death. I almost gave up this year. I stopped blogging because i was having ask much bag stuff Hakeem and I was depressed… But then I’ve got very supportive community of friends and customers. Thanks to them I keep on going. Thanks to them I know what i do is valued. 

I have issues facing me this year. I cut down my pig herd and had to buy a few more because my hundreds of dollars I spent in artificially inseminating my sows seems to have failed so I bought a boar and a pregnant sow. I’m not set up for this many sows. Fences need to get worked on again. I think I have more sheep than my property can handle at the moment. I’ve got alot to do. But I’ll keep trying. That’s what I have to do.

Happy New Year from me and my farm family. 


First Snow of the Year

A big scary storm was expected so I was released from with early. Roads were empty and icy in the way home. I made over the pass safely to a warm fire waiting for me at home. In the morning despite precautions the water in the barn froze so I hauled from the house and creek.. The pigs all received hot mash for breakfast. Everyone it quite happy with the weather. I just need to fix my water up a little better and we will be set for winter.

Strips the chicken

Strips, if you remember, was born then her mom died the next day of a freak accident. She was raised alone in my bathroom. I finally put her and her buddy outside. I thought that were going to be fine but Mac disappeared two days ago. Since then Strips is back to following me around and trying to get into the warm house.

 It seems I have one of those house chickens who rides on your shoulder.   

A Stormy, Windy Mess

I didn’t realize this storm was coming. I knew “rain” but not 5 inches in a day rain. I wasn’t prepared.

Luckily I got lambs butchered the day before the storm so I was able to consolidate the flock into the barn. That’s a story for later …

But back to the storm. I pulled apart the winter lean to for the pigs for repair and cleaning. The outside run was pulled apart so I could take the tractor in, clean it out, put in wood chips and put up gutters. But I ran out of time.

The rain came. It was only the night before that I heard it was a storm that would last 5 days. I left the pigs in the pen for a day but walking up to the sound of a deluge I knew I needed them moved. 

A hot wire on the inside, repair here and there…in 45 minutes I got it livable, though not how I want it… I opened up their pen and in a matter of minutes the girls had jumped ship from their muddy pen into the barn yard. 

High and dry for the main girls. 

I’m glad I moved them because the next day their hoop house had its own private swimming pool…

Yup. It’s pretty bad out there. It was supposed to be a storm if the century but luckily it was just nasty, but nothing terribly destructive. The creek rose at least a foot in a matter of days.
I had hoped to disc and reseed that pig pen but my friends never had time to come out with a disc so…. The whole section needs to rest and recover for possibly another year now. Yikes! 

Time flies by when you are farming …

Pain in the Back

One thing about farming alone/single is you gotta buck up. Of course all farmers have to do this anyway, but I don’t have a hubby or a farm hand who can do chores when I’m not feeling good. 

Few weeks ago I bucked some logs on a hill and loaded them into the truck. Later that day I moved a bunch of dry wall.

I don’t believe in taking nice selfies.

The next day my back hurt. I mean, it didn’t feel like I pulled a muscle but I assumed that’s what it was. The pain was intense. Like, I was dizzy from pain intense. For the next week I gobbled up pain killers just to get by. It responded to the pills great so I shrugged it off and kept going. It finally went away after a week. 

Then I developed a fever. My coworker who sits 3 feet away from me stayed home with a cold the week before. I must have gotten her virus I guessed. But this fever…it responded to the aspirin, but when the aspirin wore off I felt my body shutting down. 

I kept going to work since we were down two people and behind. My boss encouraged me to try and do overtime…but I wasn’t functional. 

At night I sweated through the sheets. I drank water quarts at a time. No appetite. I woke up laying in bed wishing someone could feed the animals. Maybe the animals will forgive me, understand, sense that I’m sick and that’s why I’m taking so long feed them. Halfway through morning chores I was out if breath. Still, I have to go on. The neighbors are elderly, I don’t want to ask them tocarry the 40# buckets of Feed to the pigs. It is just easier if I do it. 

So I did.

But I was tired.

Finally at work I called it quits. The back pain was back. I was becoming hysterical in my mind. when I asked a co-worker to feel my head and i really had a fever for the first time difference looked me with concern and acknowledged I was very sick. I cried. I don’t have keep proving I’m tough. I told the boss I couldn’t do my closing shift and left.

I immediately crawled in bed sweating my way through the sheets drinking water like a camel at an oasis. I slept.

Midnight I woke up. The diagnosis hit me: kidney infection. The back pain, the fever, the excessive water I was drinking (already at half a gallon that night)…it all was coming from my kidneys. 

Calling someone to me would take 45 minutes to get to me, then 45 minutes to a hospital. To much time. I ate more aspirin and drove myself to the ER. I walked in and told them I had a kidney infection. My asprin had reduced my fever so I was a normal temp. I asked to do the urinalyses, came back with blood and lucyotes so they agreed with my diagnosis and started me on antibiotics.

I drove home, slept for a few hours then got up to feed and water the critters. Can’t not feed them. 

I spent almost three days in bed. I believe I was on the edge of major problems when I figured out was up (kidney failure or sepsis are common results of an untreated infection) It was harder to get up and do chores once i accepted I was sick. The antibiotics left me nauseous and unwilling to eat.

So where did the kidney infection come from? Well. I didn’t take antibiotics soon enough. I had a bad UTI and I treated it naturally with cranberry juice, citric acid and lots of water. Ate things that help with UTIs, but no antibiotics. The pain from the UTI went away around the same time as my back pain started. Yes, the infection simply moved up farther in my body and became far worse. In on much stronger antibiotics since I didn’t nip it in the bud. Lesson learned. This is also important in livestock: better to solve a problem early on than wait until it’s a bigger problem. 

It’s been a few weeks getting over it all. Today was my first big homemade meal in weeks. Everything but the milk in the tomato bisque is home grown. Hopefully I’ve got my appetite back. 

Freak Accidents

Animals have nothing better to do than eat, breed and get into trouble. This year has been a slew of weird unexpected accidents including my getting attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets and my running around screaming for insect mercy triggering my sick sow to freak out and kill a piglet. I did not expect that. Of course. I didn’t expect the wasps either. Did I mention I tripped over a trough, nailed myself in my lady bits (ow!) And rolled over into three dung pile? And this was all after I had a fever bad enough for me to go home early from work and it finally broke overnight? That morning SUCKED.

I’ve got a terrible broody hen who starts a clutch then ditched. Or kicks eggs out of the nest. Or finally hatches chicks and let’s then freeze to death. You think your mom is bad? She’s up there… remember my December chick who lived in my bathroom? Head, that was her who didn’t sit her newly hatched chick and left it to die. 

I decided to not let her brood anymore until she managed set on the same clutch for a week before I noticed. Fine, you win, you can hatch them. And she started put for another week. Then in the home stretch she started hopping nests again. Dagnabit! We had a few arguments while I put her back on the correct nest. The fateful morning of the wasp attack when life seemed dire I heard something from the barn: a shout if a baby bird. I went and discovered a single black chick from her dwindling clutch. Lovely! Amazing how the same morning I lost a life (and almost lost my hope) there was new life there to replace it. The hen saw me and ran over to protect her chick. Maybe she’s finally learned to mother?

The next day at work I got a call from the neighbor who went to check on the pigs in the heatwave. She informed me the hen had hung herself.

Wtf. How does a chicken hang itself? Postpartum depression? Was she murdered by the other chickens for taking up valuable nesting space? Did something  come in my barn and kill her? Why after hatching a single chick did she die the next day?

When I got home I went to see what was up with my corpus chicken. The sure enough the hanged hen was… hanging like she was sentenced to the gallows. And the chick, the lone chick, was moved back into my bathroom.  

Strips is almost ready too move outside. I’ve got all my pens already filled so she’s staying inside with me all alone. It’s okay, she’s gonna be my friend