Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 27

At last, Hell Week is over.    When I last posted, I mentioned some of the east fence line that was completely down—overgrown with cat’s claw vines and attacked in several places by falling tree limbs.  Worked at clearing the fence line for 4 days.  Fortunately, my friend the pet gifter came out and was a great help with that chore.  It enabled us to work both sides at once, which was really the only practical way of doing it.  We put in 16 new t-posts, and eventually found ourselves all the way down to where we had stopped patching the east side after the great escape back in March.  We got the field netting tied back up, but I still need to splice all the broken barbed wire, or if it proves to be too brittle, replace it completely.  I suspect that all together we now have about 1/3 of that east line cleared—good progress towards an entirely new fence in the not too distant future.

We took the weekend to do a little flea marketing—nice one near Stevensville that is only opened the 2nd and 4th weekends each month, and really draws the vendors, plus a lot of little shops in Comanche,  Brownwood, and Santa Anna.  We really made the rounds, and it helped DL get over all that work during the previous few days.  (I hope)  Yesterday, DL hit the road again, and with the help of another friend, I finally got the rear wheels off of my F-450.  The truck is 13 years old now, but only has 60k miles on it, and I don’t remember ever pulling the inner wheels in all that time, and the outer where not much fun either.  Success was had by dragging the oxyacetylene rig out, and using a hydraulic jack between the frame and inside edge of the rims while heating the wheels up pretty good.  Gonna put 4 new tires on the ground since I need to be doing some hauling from LH to the Hunker Down, and the little Nissan PU just won’t cut it.

Woke up this morning (Tuesday) to a steady mist/drizzle, and since I had bought some fall vegetable sets yesterday while in town, I decided it would be a good day to work in the garden.  Managed to get 4 planting beds cultivated and composted, and then the drizzle turned into a nice light rain.  After getting as wet as I cared to get, I came on into the house and dried off with a hot shower.  Now the clouds are lifting, so once I finish this, I’ll slip into the wet and muddy jeans and see what I can get into the ground.  —– WOW–lucky timing.  I just finished putting in the last broccoli set when another nice shower passed by

Speaking of gifted pets,  little Missy had 5 pups last weekend.

Missy when she first showed up here:photo(1)

covered in beggars lice. photo (800x453)Missy today:missy&babies+ 029 (800x505)and her pups missy&babies+ 026 (800x522)and just for fun–the young goat I call “tricky”missy&babies+ 001 (800x536) out on a limb

missy&babies+ 003 (800x527)

JVC

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August 19

So what’s new here on the Hunker Down—well Friday afternoon I got a call from my neighbor; did I know that my goats were on her side of the fence.  Didn’t know before she called, but I did then.  So I stopped what I was doing, and went over and got my goats back where they were supposed to be.  Then’ since that articular fence line (west side) was new and as good a goat fence one can build (no—it won’t hold water),  I walked it from end to end looking for where the little Houdini’s had escaped.  First time in a good while since they had, and we did some pretty good patch work then.  Well, nothing on the west side, and nothing that looked like it had been crossed on the north, but, I did find a dead fall on the east side fence, and it was obvious that there had been some traffic over the fence there.

Saturday morning, I got out there, working on clearing the line on both sides of the dead fall, and was busily prepping things for some patch work when the goats started browsing towards where I was working.  Needless to say, they wanted to make an exit—even though nothing on the other side was any different from mine.  So, I’m trying to drift them in another direction when about 8 of my goats came running up the ATV road on the other side of the fence and proceeded to run up and across on the dead fall.  Indicated to me that there was another crossing somewhere on that east side—oh boy, just what I needed. 

Anyway, I got the herd drifted back towards the center of the property, and then called them into the pen where I knew they would stay put,  got the chainsaw after the dead fall and finished clearing what needed fixing,  We have a heavy growth of “Cats Claw” vine, and it is a devil to cut out.

Sunday morning, I take a half dozen 1” pipe posts up there and while I was proceeding to drive them in I hear a god awful bellowing, and look across the ATV road at a pretty good sized Black Angus bull who apparently didn’t appreciate all the noise I was making.  He was snorting and stomping and scraping—all the things an angry bull does in preparation for a charge, but I just talked to him –told him I was sorry but needed to get those posts into the ground, and he decided that he would just as soon stay on his side of the line.  He wandered out of sight, but kept at the bellowing for quite a while.  I spent pretty much the entire day patching about 40 foot of real weak fence line.  Actually the entire east side fence is rather weak and at least 50 years old.  New fence is on my list of things to do when time and money are available at the same time.

Fell into bed exhausted after finishing up all the regular evening chores, and the new little pup my friend gifted me a couple of weeks back decided that last night would be as good a time as any to prove she really was pregnant, and started having pups.  She was in the little “pet bed” my friend had bought for her, and I decided that was OK by me.  I was reminded this morning that it would get pretty “yucky” pretty quick, but I had other things on my mind—Like about 100 feet of that east side fence that was no longer fence at all.  Over the years the cat’s claw had so overwhelmed it that the posts and wire was flat on the ground.  Appears to me that I’ll be rather busy for the next few days not doing the jobs I need to finish like planting the fall garden and getting some chickens in the coop.  Oh well, keeping the goats to home is probably an important priority.

Looking forward to a little break tomorrow—need to drive to Temple for a VA appointment.  Only about 130 miles each way.

JVC

August 11

Odd thing happened while I was feeding the bottle babies this morning.  I am now feeding them in the pen with the other goats before I turn them out for the day, but very rarely do any of the other goats show much interest in what’s going on. (Bert & Ernie do though)  Well, this morning their momma came right up to where I was sitting with the babies sucking away on their bottles, and began sniffing around on the bottles and the babies.  Almost like she still knows that they are hers, and she was making sure I was doing right by them.  Probably just my imagination, but it sure was strange.

Brief shower during the afternoon–about a tenth.  Had been working in the garden trying to make some sense out of the tomato bushes–didn’t stake them when I put them out, figuring the grasshoppers were just going to make a meal out of them.  Well they didn’t–seems like that nice 7 inch rain we had last month slowed the hoppers down significantly–and now I’ve got tomato vines crawling all over each other.  Got the major confusion sort of sorted out and staked, still more to do.  Glad that all the work earlier this spring didn’t just dry up and blow away—seemed to be the direction things were headed before those clouds sat on top of us for those few days.  Would be nice if it would happen again sometime soon.Any, feeling a lot better about prepping for the fall planting.

that’s whats happening on the Hunker Down today.

JVC

August 10

Probably a week has passed since I last posted—not much going on around the Hunker Down these days.  Hot and humid, and not very conducive for outdoor work so I haven’t been doing much of that.  A little work on the chicken pen, a little work in the garden, actually hooked the shredder up to the tractor and spent some time out on it—but all in all, you might say I’ve come down with the summer lazy flu.

Getting lots of squash –yellow crook neck for the most part, but a few butter nuts also.  And, the zucchini plants that the grasshoppers completely devastated have shown signs of revival, and picked a couple of nice zucchinis also.  Lot of cantaloupes coming on, and even some water melons are starting to show.  Tomatoes —getting a nice amount of green ones, but the only ripe tomatoes I’ve had were from a couple of potted cherry tomato plants by the front porch, and the bottle babies took a liking to those plants.  We had a nice little quarter inch shower the other night, and the clouds are building up to the south right now, although there is nothing in the forecast for the next few days.  Every drop sure helps out though.

Speaking of the bottle babies—now 9 weeks old and spending most of their time with the herd.  Feeding with full liter bottles now since they started draining the 20 oz. bottles we had been using, and I’ve been feeding them in the goat pen so I won’t have any more garden trouble from them.  I’m still their mom though, and whenever they see me, they let me know that with their bleating.   Bert & Ernie have taken it upon themselves to give these little girls some extra attention—I guess they instinctively know that there is a disconnect between these two and the rest of the herd that will take some time undoing.

JVC

August 2

First post this month—we’re in the midst of the “dog days” of summer, and because it is so hot, I find myself not doing very much in the way of outdoor work—or any work for that matter.  For everything there is a season, and this is my season to relax.  I have been prepping a couple of beds in the garden since the end of August-first of September is fall garden planting time, and I would like to try a few things.  Just watching the long range weather, and getting serious about getting a storage tank—2500 to 3000 gallons—that I can fill from the pond, and then have water for the garden without worrying about the SUD water restrictions.  Hard to become “self-sufficient” without growing some food, and hard to get that food to grow without any water, eh??

The new pup has moved right on in, just like she has always been here.  Got to get a picture of her toothy grin –have never seen anything quite like it.   Gypsy has also adjusted, and is being very tolerant, although the new pup doesn’t bother her very much, anyway.  When I woke up this morning, they were curled up next to each other beside the bed—a good sign of peaceful co-existence.

The bottle babies are doing well—feeding them just twice a day now, about 20 oz. each at each feeding.  Also keeping them in with the rest of the herd at night, and letting them roam with the herd for part of the day.  Snowball has gotten to where she will eat the dry feed some, and consequently she seems to be taking a little less formula than Cinnamon is.  Also, Snowball seems to be a little more at ease with the other goats.  Of course, Cinnamon, being the “runt of the litter” has always been a little behind Snowball at every new stage, so I expect she will adapt better in the next day or so.

The mosquitoes have eased up a little, still out there, but not nearly as bad as a week ago.  The grasshoppers have also eased up a little.  Could be that the rain had something to do with that.

All in all, it’s been a nice quiet, peaceful day here on the Hunker Down—just the way I like it.  Summertime, and the living is easy—can’t ask for anything more than that.

JVC