Potpourri Days

Next year's eggs.

Next year’s eggs.

If variety is the spice of life, my life is more than a little spicy. Take today as an example:

 In the summer, I typically wake up when the sky first starts to get light. Right now, that’s about a quarter after 5 in the morning. Today I did some writing for an hour or so, then showered and started morning chores.

  •  Let the chickens out, give them feed and water. Feed and water the young replacement pullets, which are in a different pen. Stand and watch for a few minutes, just checking for any signs of health problems, injury or changes in behavior such as a hen trying to go broody. Although I don’t mind a few broody hens, we have a problem with the young cat my granddaughters recently adopted. Unlike most domestic cats ( at least in my experience), he considers baby chicks fair game, and I don’t have separate pens for mamas with babies to keep the chicks out of his reach. Since a broody hen quits laying, I’d rather catch them early and give them a good dunking in a bucket of cold water. Apparently, cooling them off interrupts the natural pattern, and they quit being broody and go back to laying.
  • Go down to the first pasture and let the sheep out of their nighttime pen, which keeps them safe from predators such as mountain lions. Spend a few minutes enjoying the sight of the first fawn I’ve seen this year, bouncing around in the green grass where the wild turkeys are grazing. Feed and water the hens in the chicken tractor and check on the hen that’s setting. She’s out of range of the cat, so I’m letting her raise her babies.

Early morning sheep.

Early morning sheep.

  • Irrigate. This entails putting a temporary dam made from 2X4s and a chunk of old tarp in the ditch and tucking the tarp in so that it diverts the water into the new “set,” a smaller ditch running out of the main ditch and into the pasture. This section of pasture is getting eaten down — it’s got a lot of clover and the critters love it — so we probably need to put up a temporary electric fence to give it a rest. Give the milk cow a good head scratching while I check cows and horses for injury and illness.

Strawberry's latest calf, Bubba.

Strawberry’s latest calf, Bubba.

  • Haul a bale of hay to the stallion and spread it. He’s in a pasture that doesn’t have a lot of feed at this time of year, so he still needs hay. I can’t put him in the pasture next to or with the mares, because (in typical boy fashion) he will annoy them to no end.

  • Load some alfalfa hay on the four-wheeler for the pigs and chickens. Pigs are omnivorous rather than ruminants like cattle, but they like a little salad once in a while and the roughage is good for them — just like it’s good for people. Chickens that are confined benefit from greens — hay, food scraps, weeds, etc.

  • Stop at the pasture creek and gather a bucket full of wild mint for drying. Smells wonderful!

  • Feed alfalfa to the pigs and chickens on my way back to the house. Move the hose from the boar’s pen to the sow’s pen. Check pigs for illness and injury, and enjoy watching the piglets play tag, I-can-run-faster-than-you-can and look-at-me-fall-down for a few minutes.

Pork chops on the hoof!

Pork chops on the hoof!

  • Harvest whatever’s ripe in the garden, pull weeds and water. Feed weeds to the pullets, who also like a little salad.

  • Put the mint to soak in salt water to get rid of bugs.

  • Fix breakfast; the garden yielded chard, green onions and summer squash. I already had some tomatoes, and of course, fresh eggs, so breakfast was a mixed vegetable scramble.

  • Rinse the mint and hang to dry.

  • Back to computer to get some more writing done. After all, it’s only 9 AM, so I still have a full day’s work ahead of me…


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One Response to Potpourri Days

  1. 6:00 – 7:30am – Mom and Dad wake up. While hubby gets ready for work I exercise, shower if needed or have time, get dressed and ready for the day and fix breakfast and hubby’s lunch. Then Matt and I pray together and he is off to work. I wake up the kiddos around 7:30am however it is not unlikely for them to amble down the stairs closer to 8:00ish, in which case I just adjust the day accordingly. 7:30 – 9:45ish am – Eat breakfast, get ready for the morning, and we all do our morning chores. If time allows the kids may play until school begins. By splitting our chores up by “morning”, “afternoon” and “evening” chores it helps the kids not become bogged down by the tasks that need to be accomplished during the day and the chores can be completed in a timely fashion because they are broken up in to chunks.

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