Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paul's Take of the 'Possum Kill'n

Don't let Carolyn fool you.  She's a cold blooded, crazed killer.

First of all, when we got home I went right inside with Rhiannon and tucked her in bed and she went to the barn to close up the chickens.  Then I hear her wailing like a banshee for me to come out with the gun.

As is normal for her, there is no semblance of order with her livestock.  Some goats are over here, some goats are over there, some goats are underneath the barn.  Chickens in the coop, chickens in the milk parlor, chickens in the kidding pen, chickens crammed up against the corner of the barn because of all the ruckus.  If I ran this place, everyone would be in their proper place, locked up and secured by dusk.

Anyways.  I get there and analyze the situation.  We cannot shoot the opossum so I ask for a pitchfork.  Which is nowhere to be found.  Because she never puts the darned thing back where it belongs.  It's probably underneath some pile of hay waiting to be uncovered the next time I walk over it and get smacked in the forehead Three-Stooges-Style.

So she finally comes up with a rather large scoop shovel (i.e. coal shovel for those of you who remember shoveling coal into the furnace).  Which is just a little bit bigger than the nest box where the opossum is crouched in.  She jams the shovel into the nest box and pins it's body against the back of the box.  So now what?  It's stuck there and she's repeatedly slamming the shovel against it's midsection.  Swearing like a truck driver the entire time.  My wife is so very classy.

The shovel isn't doing it so I take my somewhat long, sort of illegal pocket knife (which I only occasionally wear and only when in the confines of our own property, otherwise it would be against the law and I am a law abiding citizen) and visualized where the internal organs would be and make a forceful jab at it.  Effective, but apparently opossums are tough little suckers.  We wait for a few seconds and it is not dying fast enough for Carolyn so she takes the shovel and starts bashing it's head in, all the while spewing only half coherent gibberish like "stupid f'n furry chicken killing peckerwood" and other obscenities.  Since things are still not progressing quickly enough, she tells me to take the shovel, grabs my knife and saws his head half off.  The serrated edge on my knife is now visibly damaged.
By the way, did you know that with a "permission slip" I can carry a firearm
on my person (not saying that I do), but I cannot legally, even with their permission,
carry a stinking pocket knife with a blade longer than 3 1/2" long.
That, my dear readers, is how it really happened.  And don't let her make you believe it's the first time something like this has happened.  She has killed one possum with a pointed stick, and one by bashing it's head in with a rather large rock.  And her murderous rage crosses species as well.  One day I came home from work and saw her standing by the side of the barn, with a thirty-pound rock held above her head, waiting for a nasty rooster to come walking around the corner.

Normally I would not make such a long winded comment, but since I may or may not have possibly or probably been consuming or not consuming a non-regulated, non-taxed grain fermented clear libation, I couldn't help but clear the air about her most recent post.

And for all the Obama Cyber Warriors out there who have nothing better to do than waste my tax money snooping on peaceful US citizens, I would like to let you know that we have a box of crayons that has the capacity to hold up to 96 different colors of mass drywall destruction!  Screaming Green, Vivid Tangerine, Shocking Pink and the deadly Razzmatazz.  Although it has the capacity for holding 96, it is not currently fully loaded.  It's an unbridled carnival of crayon carnage!

My head hurts.  I think I need to take a nap now.

Tune in tomorrow for another nuisance wildlife battle story.

Bad Mojo

Yesterday afternoon while doing barn chores, I tossed a bunch of scratch out for the chickens.  Everybody runs like maniacs from wherever it was they were to where the scratch magically appears.  And then some of the roosters start going at it.  Not that I really care, it's actually kind'a fun to watch their little "I'm a bigger cock than you are" dances and feather fluffing. Then it hit me.  I haven't seen our older black chicken.  In like, well, I have no idea.  And then when I started thinking about it, I didn't recall seeing him roosting in his normal spot on top of the nesting boxes.  For like, a week.  Maybe even longer.  He was probably my favorite rooster.  Sure, he was gimpy, but by no fault of his own, and I kind'a felt sad when I realized that he was gone.  Now that I've sat down and thought about it, I may actually know why he's gone.

About three weeks ago we got home late after dark and I went to round up the goats and chickens. Then I saw the old black rooster cowered against a fence and he had blood on his comb and wattles and looked more than a bit disheveled.  I figured that the younger roosters ganged up on him and gave him a good what-for.  So I picked him up and was going to hand-deliver him to the coop.  When I opened the door there was an opossum in one of the nest boxes, with a mouth full of egg.  He looked up at me as if to say, "Whaaa?", then went back to eating his ill-gotten midnight snack.  I quickly glanced at where the chickens were, half-expecting a horrible murder scene, but the only other chicken that was hurt was a younger rooster and he only had a bloody comb and wattle.  Obviously the opossum tried attacking the roosters and then decided that the eggs would put up less of a fight and make just as good of a supper.

Ok, here's where it's going to get pretty graphic.  So if you're not into blood & guts and such, come back tomorrow when I'll post funny cat pictures.  You've been warned.

I yelled for Paul to get the .22 and he came outside.  But the opossum was in such a position that we couldn't safely use the gun to end it's marauding marsupial life.  We ended up pinning it's body against the back of the nest box with a shovel, unsuccessfully tried to decapitate it with said shovel, attempted to knock it unconscious by a whack or three to the skull, then tried to kill it by stabbing it in a vital organ or two.  It's not as easy as one would think to push a knife through the chest cavity of an animal.  I'm telling you, this bugger wouldn't die even with a punctured lung and blood dripping out of his chest.  When I though he had finally expired, I released the pressure on the shovel and he made a lunge right for me!  I almost wet myself.  I was finally able to position the shovel on his body so I could get to his neck, let Paul hold the shovel on him, and then got a good couple slices across the bottom of his jaw, deep enough that I felt bone.  Even then it took what seemed like forever for him to finally die.

Now before you all go PETA on me or say what a horrible person I am for torturing this poor creature, let me tell you it was not a pleasant experience, nor was it my preferred method of dispatching chicken-killing nocturnal critters.  I sincerely wish that we could have quickly and humanely ended it's life with a bullet.  But there was no way that we could have safely discharged the firearm without the real possibility of having the bullet go through the back of the coop and into a goat or chicken.  (Why didn't I just round up the goats & chickens and put them at at safe distance, you ask?  Obviously you've never had to quickly round up goats before.)   And I would like to remind anybody that thinks killing something is an easy thing to do, that it is not.  No matter how much of a farmgal or guy you may be, killing something is not remotely fun.  It's brutal and can be messy, nasty and altogether unpleasant (a very mild understatement, at that).  There is blood and snarling, muscle fits and life-ending gurgling sounds. I know it sounds bad, but sometimes the best thing IS a bullet to the head.

Wow.  I had just wanted to say that I was missing the black rooster and went all murder on you all.  But now I'm pretty sure that the rooster had sustained life threatening injuries in conjunction with the opossum attack and either found a place to die or was found to be easy pickings for a hawk or bobcat.

Bummer.  For him, and the opossum.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Have you written and sent your monthly letter?

Me neither.

Only four more days until the end of March and we wouldn't want to mess up our first month of our Monthly Letter Writing Challenge, would we?

Get those pens a scribbling!

Friday, March 22, 2013


That would be one of our peach trees.  Just started blooming yesterday.  You know, when we started getting sleet and snow.  Six inches of snow.

But snow doesn't mean the barn chores don't have to be done.  Pulled my big girl panties on and trudged through the mess, hauling buckets of warm water, tossing new hay on top of piles of perfectly good hay underneath the snow, and shoveling a path from the chicken coop to their feeding station.

Don't roll your eyes at me.  You know you shovel the snow for your critters.  I'm too lazy to shovel off my porch, but the stupid poultry get a nice 4' wide path from their house to their little feeding hut.

Go figure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Sprung...

.....although not with much "oomph".  It's a cold 32 degrees outside right now and the rest of the week doesn't look like it's going to be much "springier" either.  But that's ok.  There's a bird chirping away on the back deck.  I got to pet Outside Kitty (albeit very briefly).  The sun is coming up over the hills.  And there will be cookies today!

Rhiannon & I will be baking some Spring Cookies this morning to take to one of the Cancer Support Houses this afternoon (and no doubt sampling them just to make sure that they are good enough for them!!) and maybe even putting up some Easter decorations.  Cold weather or not.

Enjoy the Vernal Equinox and enjoy your family!

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day kids

Introducing Egan and Murphy:

Cleverly named by a friend of mine after two pubs near their cottage in County Claire.

Nettie was yelling all day yesterday and her tail was sticking straight up since the morning so I figured she'd be kidding that day.  Her due date wasn't until Tuesday but I'm glad she kidded early because Paul was home so he and Rhiannon were able to help.  Nettie's labor went smoothly and pretty quick.  It helps knowing your goat and her mood swings and habits because it makes predicting labor and judging how far along she is much easier.  Nettie started labor around 6 pm and I put her into the kidding pen where she immediately laid down.  I went back into the house for about a half hour then came back to the barn and stayed with her for the remaining time.  By now I've got a pretty good routine going; grungy barn clothes on, mug of hot tea, book and two-way radio (to call Paul for a tea warm-up, raisins for Nettie and to let them know when to come out to the barn).  Two hours later the kids were dry, nursing and I was back in the house.

I was really, really hoping for at least one doeling from this kidding as it was Pan's last stint at fatherhood here at Krazo Acres since I traded the bastard for two sacks of corn last fall.  Figures she pops out two bucklings.  I could even tell that they were males before the sac broke because I saw the horn buds.  I usually can't even feel the horn buds from doelings until several days after kidding, but the buds on the males are clearly defined.

So the 2013 kidding season is over with a total of three bucklings.  I've sold the buckling from the new horned goat (who still doesn't have a name, poor gal) but he won't be leaving her for three more weeks.  Annette's buckling is up for sale as are these little St. Patty's day boys.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Who says I'm an old-fashioned wife?

I went into town this afternoon and picked up a case of beer and a few hot chicks for my husband:

Our local feed store had "Chicks are Here!" up on their marquee for over two weeks now.  Goodness knows we don't need any more layers (I think we've got thirty hens right now) and it seems as we just finished butchering the last batch of creepy meats.  But this afternoon I went to the feed store to get some chicken and goat food (imagine that, thirty-plus chickens and nine goats) and I asked to see what chicks they had left.  You know, because Rhiannon loves seeing the baby chicks.  

There were about a dozen layer pullets, almost two hundred RIR & Buff cockerels and seven plump lonely little two & a half week old Cornish Crosses.  So the nice man put the bunch of cornish birds in a box for me Rhiannon.  He also wanted to know if we wanted a "great deal" on the remaining cockerels, but I had to say no.  Believe me, I though about it, but the fact that we don't have any room in the barn made it pretty hard for me to come up with an excuse to Paul as to why I had two hundred male egg-layer breed birds in the car.

The weather has been really warm the past few days and today was in the mid to upper 70's so the chicks were actually panting when I opened the box once we got home.  They aren't quite big enough to have to forgo the heat lamp when it gets into the 40's at night, so I'll have to hook that up.

I've been actually thinking about doing our future meat bird purchases like this.  Meaning waiting until the birds were older and then buying them.  I figured I just saved myself two & a half weeks of feeding and watering the chicks!  I know that we may not always get as many as we want, or even any at all if the feed store sells out quickly, but we could still order from a hatchery if there were none available.

Paul had mentioned wanting some "game hen" sized birds this time, so we actually won't be having to care for these guys for more than a month before it's time to butcher them.  I go back & forth about just growing the creepy meats to game hen size because in my mind, it's just less chicken dinner for us.  But I really do love the sight of an entire roasted mini-chicken on everyone's plate.  Pictures to follow in about four weeks!

Paul's Take
No.  No I will not pose for a picture of me drinking beer with poultry.  And did you have to advertise that you buy me cheap beer?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hillbilly Bonfire....

...or trash burn'n day.

It's been three & a half months since our local trash company went out of business.  There was another trash service that hauls the trash out of the county to another dump site, but their price was twice what we were paying and we were limited to how many bags we could dispose of.

So I decided to finally implement a mandatory recycling plan here at Krazo Acres.  And things have  been going pretty well.  I've been to the recycling center twice now, both times with my 55-gallon bag of plastics.  I can't believe how much plastic is thrown away!  And there were still other plastic items that had to be separated that didn't go to the recycling center, namely plastic bags.  But the local Wal-Mart has a bin at the front of the store for plastic bags so I've been saving bags and will take them there next time I go by (hope they don't notice the non-Walmart bags in there!!).  Then there's still the plastic wrapping from items.  Like every stinking item you purchase.  It's amazing.  So those little scraps of plastic get thrown into our household trash, to be burned at a later date.

Well, that later date turned out to be last night.  I finally picked up a metal burn barrel about a month ago and Paul "ventilated" it for me this weekend so we hauled our burnable trash out to the back-40 for some good ol' hillbilly barbecuing!  (Don't worry, I'm joking about the actual BBQ)

Since there was quite a bit of plastic bits & pieces in the trash, it wasn't like it was something you'd want to get all close and snuggly by while roasting marshmallows.  At one time I was totally against burning anything plastic, but then decided that it can't be any worse than having it buried for centuries in a local landfill, eventually leaching nasties into our ground and drinking water.  That's exactly why our previous waste company went out of business; land surrounding the actual landfill was being tested positive for contaminants leaching out of the supposedly sealed fill site.  Nice, hugh?

As for the plastics?  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  But I figured at least I'm a little bit ahead as we're now recycling everything we possibly can.  Anything edible goes to the the cats/dogs/chickens/goats, anything organic but not edible goes into the compost heap, paper/cardboard gets burned or composted, plastic/glass/metal goes to the recycling center in town.

Are YOU recycling?  If not, why not?  :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Freezer Festival

Well, we didn't take Rhiannon to the hog butchering this weekend.  And we ended up staying home as well since it was such a beautiful Saturday.  Paul spent several hours on the bulldozer, trying to get the fence line for the new pasture area leveled and free of huge boulders & nearby dead trees.

While Paul was busting his hump, Rhiannon and I spent some time introducing and supervising the interactions of the new and current caprine crew.  In other words, we played with the goats all afternoon.

It started raining Saturday night and all the way through until Sunday afternoon.  Although I longed to be outside, the rain is much needed and greatly appreciated.  Since we were stuck inside for half the day, Paul started organizing the chest freezers.  I love the fact that we can store half a hog, dozens of chickens, ground beef, two deer and lots of veggies in the huge freezer, but it does occasionally pose a logistics problem.  As in: "Didn't we have more chicken?", "I could swear we had a brisket in there!" or "I wonder how old these almonds are" and my new favorite, "So that's where those squirrels went!"

When we got the last deer, I had planned on canning everything immediately, but that didn't so much happen.  The roasts and big hunks of meat were just bagged & chucked into the deep freeze.  The meat has just thawed, been cut up into chunks and is ready to be pressure canned today.  I also found about two gallons worth of frozen blueberries from last year.  Some became a impromptu cobbler kind'a thing and the remaining were made into blueberry jam and jelly.

I also had to do the unthinkable and toss several bags of frozen veggies.  One bag had a "Use By" date of 2009 and while I don't mind using "old" food, they were so freezer burned it looked as if they had been dehydrated.  The chickens were pretty happy about my lack of rotating the frozen goods though.  The dogs weren't left out of the freezer-food-festivities they each got frozen squirrel-sickles for lunch.  What a treat!

If you're a dog.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Input / Opinions Needed

This weekend we've been invited to a hog butchering event.  The "festivities" start tomorrow around 8 am when the six or so hogs are going to be sent to pork-chop heaven via a lead projectile in the cranium.  Then gutting and hanging.

Sunday will be spent doing the butchering & packing.

Anyhow.....I was thinking about bringing Rhiannon with tomorrow because it's supposed to be warm & Sunday we're expecting rain.  Paul thought that it would be too traumatic for her.  She's seen us kill & butcher chickens before (although not very interested in it so not sure how much of it sunk in), but I'm thinking it's a little different with such large animals.

So, what say ye?  Do we take her with or drop her off at Grandma's for the morning?

And, am I just a heartless and pathetic mother for even considering bringing my 4 year old with?

Slothwoman is on the move

I'm like weeks behind schedule, but I finally got my lazy sloth bum in gear and started some of my seeds!
Three types of tomatoes, green pepper, basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, dill.  I also found four lonely old eggplant seeds from 2008 and planted them in a small cup; figured if they didn't sprout, no biggie.  I've also got several grocery store sweet potato slip starts that are looking pretty nice.

I've got room under my single lonely grow light for five more egg carton (i.e. hillbilly) seed start trays.  I'm going to try very, very hard to not start any cucumbers, summer squash or winter squash.  Two years ago I started squashes indoors and when I put them outside I also direct sowed seeds in the same area.  After about a month & a half you really couldn't tell which one was started early and which one was started right in the ground.  Going to direct sow the peas and beans as well.  I saved a bunch of green & yellow wax bean seeds last fall.  The beans were so tough last year because of the drought that I just let most of them go to seed and dry up on the vines / bushes.

About a week ago I placed an order for four mulberry trees, twelve hazelnut bushes, six blackberry and six raspberry bushes.  There's also a nursery in town that is advertising gala, fuji and honey crisp apple trees for like twelve bucks!  They are ones I've been wanting to get anyhow so I'm planning on getting two of each of them.  Speaking of trees, I never finished pruning the pear trees.  Wonder if it's too late to do that.  Paul also mentioned looking up taking a cutting from the pear trees and trying to get it to root.  I bought some rooting compound last year (where it is, however, is anyone's guess) so figured I'll give it a go.  Have any of you rooted fruit trees using cuttings before?  I'd really like to try it.  It's like free trees!!

Paul's Take
So I guess that means that I'll be the one digging holes for all these new bushes and trees.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Can you smell that?

We disbudded Annette's buckling yesterday afternoon.  Since it was so windy / cold, I set up the disbudding box and iron in the garage since I didn't want goat hair blown up my nose (we shave his head before disbudding) and wanted to make sure the iron didn't get cold.

Everything went smoothly and all was right with the universe when mother & son were reunited.  Annette did give her son a good once-over as he did stink like burned goat hair.

I went into the garage this morning to toss some recyclable items into their respective bins and was overwhelmed with the smell of bunt goat hair.  Ahhhh, the wonderful odors of farm life!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gratuitous Pet Pictures

It's windy outside.  And cold.  Well, not Mama Pea & Susan kind'a cold, but cold enough that I don't want to spend much time outside other than to feed / water / check on the critters.

The wind is also freaking out the dogs, so they've been avoiding the outside elements and hanging out around the wood stove.
Slow-cooker Beagle.
I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can keep the dogs outside.  Not only to keep some of the dog hair / mud out of the house, but because Charlie is the messiest drinker / eater.

Charlie makes up for the dry indoor air by drinking lots of water.  And slopping it everywhere.  After every drinking binge, I have to not only wipe his muzzle down (Rhiannon calls them "Sloppies"), but mop up the tile surrounding the water dish and occasionally empty the boot-tray-turned-water-recovery-system from the copious amounts of water that is sloshed and slopped directly around and within four feet of the bowl.  I hate, hate, HATE Charlie's Sloppies.  Makes me want to gag.

Outside Kitty is hunkered down on the back deck and occasionally has staring contests with Susan through the window.  Evil Kitty absolutely hates Outside Kitty and she does the archy-back, Ffftttt-fffttttt-ffffttttthhhh thing when she sees him.
Outside Kitty getting a snack of warm milk.
Would you just look at those pumpkin-orange eyes!  

Evil Kitty supervising my blog photo insertions.

Crackers on her pillow.
Couldn't care less who or what's outside.
Black Susan contemplating her next nap.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Well, since Miss Crabby Pants Sleepy Puss doesn't want to participate in the drawing for the note cards, I did a Random Number Generator thingy on the computer just now and the winning numbers were 3 and 2.

So just who was in those number spots you ask?  Well, I'll tell ya!  (As soon as I go back to the post and figure it out myself....brb!)

Number two (not like #2 in, well, you know, but the actual numeral) is Mama Pea!  Congrats!

It seems that number three is Susan, but she didn't want to participate so it looks like I have to go back to the number generator thingy AGAIN (heavy sighing.....Susan is soooo difficult.  brb....again).

Number 4!  (once again, have to go back to the post to look)

It's Kristina!!!

Congratulations to the both of you!  Just shoot me your email at carolynrenee at centurytel dot net and I'll get the cards out to you asap.

Thanks to everyone who joined in the Monthly Letter Writing Challenge and lets keep those mailboxes full of good mail!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Year of Letters and a Giveaway!

Several days ago I challenged my readers to send a real letter (pen, paper, envelope, stamp) to someone once a month for a year.  And since I'll be nagging reminding those of you that decided to partake in this little act of electronic-mail defiance, I figured I should also provide some encouragement.

In order to help you reach your goal of at least twelve letters a year, I'd like to offer a little package of twelve note cards along with a squishy-nubby pen:

So if you want to officially accept the Monthly Letter Writing Challenge and try your luck at winning the above cards, just post a comment on this page and I'll have my personal assistant draw two names at the stroke of Midnight on Sunday (or in all honesty, sometime Monday morning when Rhiannon wakes up and shuffles her PJ-wearing body out into the living room).

Good luck!