Editor’s Note: Liz started this with Michael a while ago, but hasn’t been able to convince him to finish it. Rather than wait for what will probably never happen, I’ve decided to post what he’s done so far for the benefit of people who want a view of our world through the eyes of Michael. Who knows what this would have looked like had Michael finished it, but for now, enjoy the sneak peak. –Peter
Today Michael and I decided to make a book. He asked me to take pictures of “bugs, animals, chickens, Thornton, and cracks in the dirt.”… Read the rest
This day has been approaching for some time now, and finally arrived… A gaggle of goat kids, barely over the trauma of having their horns or other body parts removed (as was the case for the males), have been traumatized again. Having reached adolescence, it was time to wean them from their mothers by forcibly separating them. I’m such an evil man.
Today has been a day of musical goats so to speak. Atticus (Cocoa’s baby), Patricia, and Stephanie (Nippa’s girls) had to go away today so their mothers could rest and I could get more milk. At the same … Read the rest
The weekend after Thanksgiving we took the family up to Waco to a harvest festival put on by a group of anababtists who farm using traditional (non-mechanized) methods, teach traditional crafts, and generally do things a bit slower than the general population. Along with selling their wares, they teach a series of seminars on self sufficiency, skills like blacksmithing and beekeeping, animal husbandry, etc… It’s interesting and fun to spend a few days wandering, watching, and listening. This year, Liz came home with a few “good ideas.” Good ideas generally mean work… lots of it.
We’ve been meaning to put … Read the rest
A while back I wrote that free cats were hard to keep. That hasn’t changed. Since that post, we’ve had another three to four cats go AWOL. All of them quite friendly, dedicated, and effective at keeping the mice under control.
Our most recent mouser (Cocoa’s friend seen above) lasted only a few weeks. At this point, I can’t even remember it’s name because we’ve been through so many. Needless to say, it was named for some Shakespearian character (Guildenstern maybe).
The unfortunate thing about cats around here is that they are just about meal-sized for coyotes, and they … Read the rest
The coyotes seem to have given us a break recently. Between permanently moving Thornton outside and doing a better job making sure the electric fence isn’t shorted out, we haven’t lost any animals to predators in a few months. So what do we do to celebrate… get more animals I guess.
Nippa the milk machine had a pair of very nice kids last March. Rex, the boy, has found a home with Linda’s (the lady we got Nippa from) neighbour, but Linda figured Nippa could use some company and sent Cocoa our way rather than continue to spend money to … Read the rest
Liz has never really liked the idea of an “inside dog,” coyotes were wreaking havoc on our chickens, and we were planning on going on a family vacation for two weeks and leaving the Dog outside to “protect” the other animals and to make it much easier on the family who was going to be feeding and watering the animals. The dog would need somewhere to get out of the weather. Because the barn is behind the back pasture fence and I don’t like the idea of the dog hanging out in the chicken coop I decided the best option … Read the rest
I thought things were getting pretty bad a while ago when our collection of animals grew from ONE dog and three children to a gaggle of chickens, the dog, and a series of feral cats (never more than two at a time). One thing I’m learning though is that if you are willing to accept responsibility for an animal, someone will be willing to give one to you. Thanks to the wiles of the coyotes we were down to one cat and had cut our chicken flock substantially, so of course we needed to fill the void with something… Enter … Read the rest
It never fails… the best fun always happens when I’m not around. I happened to be out of town this last week for work. Were Liz and I to trade places, I’m pretty sure I’d go crazy with her on the road from time to time and me left at home to manage all the affairs. This week though, she gave me even more evidence of her outstanding ability and my unworthiness in comparison.
As I was boarding my plane early Friday AM to come home I noticed a voice-mail that must have come in while my phone was going … Read the rest
One of the blessings of this life is that every day presents some form of opportunity to learn. This week, among other things, I got a somewhat painful lesson about the wisdom of wearing gloves when trying to wrangle sheep, and a reminder that you shouldn’t wear your good sunglasses when painting a barn.
We have a good friend a few miles from here who is single and somewhat elderly. When her husband died of cancer a little over a year ago, she was left to run the 10-acre homestead on her own. She’s quite capable, but when it comes … Read the rest
Ever since we moved in here I’ve been saying we needed to get a barn cat to help keep the mice in check. Even before the house was built, I was certain we would have problems because as I was clearing the land and cutting the brush and undergrowth the path in front of my tractor would almost look like the ground was boiling with all the mice and other vermin scattering in fear of death by power shredder. Since I cleared off most of their cover and food supplies I wasn’t all that surprised when they moved into the … Read the rest