Current Topic: We were forbidden from staying on our own property, as pitiful as it was, until we settled up. Wow! that's bitter.
This Turned Out To Be A Very Encouraging Lesson...
My primary livestock responsibility were the chickens. There are ten hens and one rooster living here. Everyday, they need water and feed, and the eggs have to be collected.
On one wall there are nests for the chickens. This is where they lay the eggs. Hopefully. The goal is to get to the nests, remove any hen that may be in the way, avoid the rooster, and collect the eggs. It's good to be wearing gloves during this operation. I had to do this in the winter so the rest of me was well covered with winter layered clothing. This avoids the pecking wounds if conflict occurs.
There was also a hallway between the outside and the inner chicken coup. A good place to cache water and feed and a good barrier so if there are any escapees they can be contained easily. Remember... I'm a total freshman here. I need every edge I can get.
The chicken house is at the back of the property here. The nearest water source is an old, broken, water pipe behind the shed. It doesn't look to bad because the running water staves off the cold. But believe me. It's cold. I trudged through two feet of snow to get here. And I still have to bring the water back to the chickens.
So... Here's about five days worth of eggs. They are dirty, poop stained, and have a bit of bedding stuck to them. They're going to need a good cleaning now.
First thing is to rinse them in cool water. I'll define cool water. Cool water is slightly heated. If it weren't for the heating the spring water in the winter would give one frostbite before they could finish washing their hands. So... Cool water. My rinse also makes sure that the outside shell is waste free. The eggs are then soaked in a luke-warm (room temperature) bath with detergent. This ensures that the eggs are dead and helps final-clean the outside shell.
After soaking for a short while the eggs are rinsed off, to remove any remaining detergent and then left to air dry. It always bothered Cheryl however I could not help but to sort the eggs. Large... Small... Brown... White... I like order (not chaos).
I also made sure that the collection buckets were properly cleaned. After all... Clean eggs are happy eggs. Again... Just my nature.
There are also casualties in the egg business. If you look to the top of the picture. At the sink corner. There are two eggs that had cracked shells. Sorted out in final inspection these became treats for the dogs.
Friends and family are the recipients of these eggs,not to mention us, and every one needs to be perfect.
Wood Heating Is Essential For Winter Survival (Mostly Economic)...
Here we are fetching firewood. After bucking and splitting the horse drives a sleigh to pull the firewood to the house. Normally the wood has been bucked and split and stacked around a tree near the house. For some reason the cache came up a wee short this winter. Until there is more time to do a major haul the few loads delivered by the horses will have to do.
From the wood store under the tree the wood goes down a chute into the basement where the stove is. Then collected down a short path it is fed to the stove. If you feed it late enough evening and don't burn it too fast with damper settings then it might still be smoldering enough in the early morning to restart it with a fresh load of wood.
There Are Horses, Chickens, Pigs, Dogs, Cats, Small Fish, Reptiles...
Isn't that a sweet looking cat. His name is Foggy. And he's anything but sweet. In fact. He's a real terror. A Hollywood nightmare horror of sorts Actually.
Now Foggy turns out to be the most difficult keeper on this farm. He has a 'midnight' game he likes to play. He sneaks down to the basement and he pulls the float for the sump pump out of the hole. This starts the sump pump, but, it never goes off. So you run down to the basement, knowing full well what's going on, to return the float (level-switch) to the sump. Now here's the conniving malicious behavior. While you are preoccupied, in the basement, fixing the pump. Foggy is in the bathroom trashing the place. Destroying the toilet-paper roll. Emptying the trash bin. Knocking everything down. When you get upstairs and discover the bathroom he waits. When you are in the bathroom cleaning up Foggy runs down to the basement and pulls the pump float out again. He did this to us several times over the course of a few days. Foggy gets to sleep outside now.
There is also a big old German Sheppard. He's known to be a cat killer. But who do you think the boss is here.
Nothing Beats A Good Bonfire Cookout...
This is the furthest back of the property you can go easily. Behind this is wooded forest with some trails for firewood collection, water-line maintenance and horse riding of course. The forest behind here seems to go forever. Perspective: If you walked in the wrong direction from here. And you covered 5 miles a day. You might not see civilization for two months. Maybe never if you walked in the really wrong direction. Ooohh... Spooky...
Anyways... We had to venture into the spooky, not, forest to get kindling for the bon-fire. While we're there I noticed some rails laying around (dead fallen saplings). Hmmm I thought... Can I use those. Next thing you know I had collected enough forest slag to construct a 'Trebuchet'. Ok... A small trebuchet. An experimental version.
Thanks to my most hated resource on the farm. Binder twine. What they hold hay bails together with. We managed to build a small, primitive, trebuchet using a rock for the counter-balance. The real beauty of this is that I own a property large enough to build a full scale version and play with it without the fear of hurting anyone but myself. Well... Time to test the prototype.
Wow... Not bad for a few hours of leisure time. But then again do you really expect an ancient siege weapon to have been that difficult to engineer. Sorry 'History-Channel'. Even with our minimum counter-balance we were able to propel an object 30 percent the weight of our ballast ten times as far as our swing. Our biggest failure was the sling. The sling is what differentiates the trebuchet from the catapult. The sling, which utilizes a gear like effect, multiplies the delivery force making the trebuchet a first class med-evil weapon. Capable of launching (by today's standards) cars, pianos, big boulders. All flaming (on fire) of course.
What more could anybody want... Except for lunch that is. This isn't the first time We've been privy to this. It is a real tradition here. You drag your food and drink someplace. Light a fire. Drink a bunch. Then cook your food on the fire. Lovely.