Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

Wow! I really let a lot of time pass this time-I'm gonna blame FaceBook! :) I've found that it's easier to just jump on it and post things right quick!
Well, guess I'll try to do a little catching up with what I can remember!

These donkeys were my Anniversary gift from Jeff! I've been wanting one for awhile-wanted a "HeeHaw" and he got me 2! Just LOVE that man! And we had a visitor from across the pasture fence-so now we should have another one this next year. Jenny's name is Violet and I named the little one Annie-anniversary-get it!!

One of my most favorite pictures of the year! Hubby, baby donkey, pig ready for the freezer and our youngest daughter-Rascal! hehe

We decided to try our hand at meat birds this fall-they have NOT grown off as quickly as we were told. Thought we would have them butchered and in the freezer by Christmas, but they are still a little small. Jeff always buys whole chickens from the grocery store and the last one we bought was totally blood shot all the way through-GROSS! So we made the decision to try to raise some ourselves.

Not very good pictures of them-they move too fast!

And this is Rusty-our new bull. Long story short-we've had an awful year with the cows. We were depending on the bull across the fence to service all the cows, and apparently-he's no good. We took two of the cows to the vet in September to have them checked-they weren't bred. :(  We were waiting on the milk cow to calve in October-no calf again-took her to the vet and she wasn't bred either! We were really bummed out! Cost us over $4000 in possible income from the sale of calves this fall! We borrowed a friends Jersey bull and got 4 of the cows bred-took 1 over to another bull. So now we are looking for calves starting in August/September.

We are still living in our camper and trying to take care of mom and Shorty. Both are doing we at the moment-Mom had back surgery in October. Jeff's just getting over the flu-really laid him low for a few days.
I started making soap and it's really going good. I have a few customers and the reviews are good. Really do wish I had some fresh milk to use again, though.
The sow wasn't bred, either. But the young sow is due to have her first litter in a few days, so we are keeping our fingers crossed for a good healthy litter. Jeff's bees have done just awesome this year and we harvested 100 pints of honey at the last total! Can't wait for warm weather again to start working them! And to get started on the garden. I plan to start some seeds in the greenhouse tomorrow-oh that's another accomplishment-Jeff built us a greenhouse, so we can get our own seedlings started this year!

And I resigned from my job in November. We had worked pretty hard for the last 2 years to get our bills paid down and get about as debt-free as possible, so it was time for me to get to stay home. It also will help take some of the strain off of Jeff-since he's been handling everything.
We had a very wonderful Christmas-all the kids and grandkids got to come by at some point during the day! And we are going to be grandparents again! Randy and Casey are expecting a little girl in March!
As 2014 comes to a close, and 2015 will soon arrive-I want to thank God for all the many blessings He has given to me and my family this year. He sure is good all the time!
Happy New Year!

Friday, June 27, 2014

5 Month Update

Wow! I sure let a lot of  time go by this time! We've been very busy since Panda was born 5 months ago-lots of good things, too! So, here are a few pictures of just a few of the things we've been up to:

My favorite Milk Man!! lol  After weaning Little Bit, Jeff started getting 4 gallons a day of milk. We have a really good customer that comes out every other week and buys milk and eggs from us. But about a month ago, we began drying Lady up so she could have a rest before her next calf is born in mid September. It also gave us a chance to get away for a couple of vacations this summer-more details later!

OK-on to our next major project this year-bees! Jeff has been very busy with our hives. We've lost a few-the stump hive at the house is gone. He has gotten the chance to capture several wild hives with some success! The second one is actually doing quite well at the moment-have had it a few weeks. Numbers 3 and 4 didn't stay in the hives-but we also left the next day on vacation, so we weren't home to tend to them. Number 5 seems to be doing good-we have had it a week today, and Jeff is in the woods now trying to capture yet another! FREE BEES! The best kind! The hive in the picture above is the one we bought in Huntsville last year and it is doing great. We've robbed honey from it once already this year!

Two frames full of honey from the above pictured hive. And I finally got stung helping out, and on the side of my nose at that! Wasn't too bad-but I don't know which was running worse-my nose or my eyes! lol

And the honey we jarred up from the frames-Yummy!

Jeff doing one of his favorite things!

Some of the produce from the garden. It hasn't done very well this year, but we are putting up as much as we can scrounge up out of it.

And our beautiful granddaughter Hailey graduated from 8th grade-now we have a High School student! We are so proud of her!

This is one of the most awesome things we have seen this summer. The honey bees will come to the magnolia blooms and knock off the "matches" and they land in the blossoms. Then they walk around in them, collecting all the pollen, then fly back to the hive!

Ok-back to the vacation stuff! We took a trip to Fredericksburg week before last with our friends, Sheila and Alfred. We had such a wonderful time. We went to Luckenbach one morning and spent quite a lot of time seeing the area and watching the deer. We stayed on a 360 acre ranch in a cute little house called Among the Crepe Myrtles.

We stopped in Stonewall on the way home and bought a box of seconds peaches. I peeled up lots of them and canned them in a sugar syrup-put up 9 pints!

One of the favorite pictures I've ever taken! We were at the Wild Seed Farm in Fredericksburg and I finely captured a hummingbird on my camera! It was also an awesome place to visit-lots of beautiful plants and flowers.
OK this is long enough for now-gonna try harder to keep this more up to date! We are going to Peyton's Birthday party this weekend. We are hoping to process some more honey this weekend and we need to go check on the hives at the creek. We've been getting rain nearly everyday, so have lots of grass in the pastures. The sow is finally bred and due next weekend-so hopefully we will have baby pigs soon!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oreo had her Calf!!!

WARNING-Graphic Pictures!

Jeff had a feeling she would have her calf tonight. He went down to milk and later came back in to tell me she was starting to have the calf-so I got 2 jackets on and went down to the lot to watch!

Feet first-Good sign! This is her first calf-so we wanted to be close if she needed any help. She is half Dexter/half Hereford, so a little on the small side.

She started having a little trouble and not progressing, so Jeff got in the lot with her and helped just a bit.....

And out she came!

Clean up time-YUCK!!!
Mom and calf seem to be doing fine. Sure glad she waited until tonight-it's a good bit warmer than it has been the last few days-it was 23 degrees this morning-but up to low 50's now and low 70s tomorrow. We missed the last 2 days of school because of ice-3 Bad weather days in less than a week-almost unheard of here!

Friday, January 24, 2014

We have snow!

It may not seem like much to most folks up north, but to us in East Texas-this is a BIG deal! No school-I heard one of the banks in town is closed as well! The girls are telling me that we only have ice at the house though :(

Rascal wasn't sure what all this white stuff was...

View from in front of the camper

The Cub is covered in snow

Jeff and Rascal's footprints on the way to the barn-snow is a couple of inches deep!

Build up in a part of the gully

Icicles on Sally's side. We are on calf watch as well-Oreo is due anytime now and is staying away from the rest of the cows-sure hope she holds off until at least tomorrow-Temps are supposed to be close to 60-Texas weather-gotta love it!

Chickens are not too sure about this white stuff either-lol-but can can be lured out of the coop with fresh feed!

It is so beautiful outside! Snow changes the appearance of the landscape so drastically! It's like God washes everything sparkling white! Just like He does us if we only ask! We so seldom get snow-usually ice-but the ice is under the snow and our temps here will most likely not get above freezing all day-so it might stay all day before melting. They closed school today-so looks like I'll get some time to work on the income taxes-yuck-but it needs to get done. I'm normally just waiting on W-2's to come in by this time-but I haven't gotten all the receipts together yet-I'm running behind as usual!
Stay warm and safe out there!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fresh Beef in the Freezer!!

We decided to go ahead and butcher the last of the Dexter's we had. Cocoa had become a little aggressive and seemed to know how to use those sharp, little horns. She also seemed to be having trouble carrying a calf-she'd been bred twice that we knew of and no calf. So with the extremely cold weather we had on Monday-Jeff went ahead and put her down. It was so cold-he just skinned her out and left the carcass hanging high in a tree outside of the camper overnight. 

It was frozen stiff when we got up on Tuesday morning and Jeff spent the day cutting it up into manageable pieces that would fit into the ice chests.

He got it ground up on Wednesday.

And I helped him package it up when I got home from work. This isn't all of it!

Jeff got all the steaks packaged on Thursday. We had burgers for supper on Wednesday-they were delicious! But the steaks he grilled for us and Sheila and Alfred last night were AWESOME!! So tender and full of flavor. And so healthy!
I don't have all the totals yet-so I'll get them posted as soon as I figure them out. We are just thankful to God for giving us a freezer full of healthy meat and the knowledge to process it ourselves. 
Our crazy Texas weather is at it again! It was 15 degrees when I was on my way to work on Tuesday morning and will be in the 70's tomorrow-go figure! Just hope this doesn't make everyone sick....

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Broccoli....and Peyton

Some of the broccoli we planted in the fall

And the heads I cut-Ended up putting 3 pints in the freezer!

We took a trip down to Lake Jackson on the first. Got to spend a little time with Randy and family!

Something tickled Peyton!

Was having trouble downloading my pics-guess this one decided to post twice?

They said he really liked opening his presents-especially the paper!

Well-my vacation is up-I go back to work on Monday. And it's supposed  to get really cold-down in the teens for us! Gonna get busy wrapping pipes in a little bit! Oreo is due to have her first calf any day now-she'll probably have it during the coldest night! Just hope this one makes it-it was a big blow to lose Sugar's little bull calf! Jeff has all but decided to put the last dexter in the freezer-so that maybe his job when the temps drop next week!