I’m sure I am not the only one who has “just one of those days”. You know what I’m talking about where your motivation level is scrambling to get above zero yet you know there’s much to be done. Today was my day for that. I haven’t been sleeping, in part to critters needing checked on but mainly because I am an insomniac.
The weather isn’t helping either-more rain. Now don’t get me wrong rain can be a good thing but when there’s been over 200 days of it in 10 months I have to admit it is getting old.
Okay pity party over-time to pull up my big girl panties and get on with living!
Have another batch of chicks coming the end of the week so praying they arrive in good shape. I get so excited about new life. I do hope one of my new girls will have the personality of my girl Betty who I had to leave behind in the move here. I miss Betty. Betty would sit on my knee and drink coffee with me as we discussed the important things in life and dreamt of green gardens. Yes I did talk to a chicken and yes she answered me back-Betty understood days like today.
No new goat babies but getting closer. I will keep everyone posted but for now I must go as my family seems to think they need to be fed. Have a blessed night all.
Wow there are ALOT of social media sites out there! I joined facebook several years ago but that was about the extent of my social media reach until recently.
In the last couple of months I have discovered Twitter@offgridmom, Google plus@Off Grid Alaska, and now instagram@ off_grid_mom.
I ave made many new friends and that is very exciting! I hope that you will all add me so we can make our friendship circles grow!
Sadly I have to tell you all of our chicks died. It was a good fight though and I believe that had they been from another producer they may not have made it as far as they did. Ideal poultry already answered my message and let me know they would be replaced. I did inform hem that I didn’t believe it was their fault but still they tell me they will replace them. What a great company!
Today was one of those days for sure. As most know I had issues with the delivery of baby chicks and lost most but there’s more to the story of how my day went.
Little Racer had the unfortunate luck to be born a little boy goat. Boy goats (Billys) are foul smelling creatures as when they mature they pee on their heads to attract the ladies-I am so glad that is not a human thing! Eeeeewww!!!! Not wanting or needing another billy goat I have decided little racer will be sold for either a companion wether or for meat depending on the buyer. In order to have him no longer a hormonal male as he gets older (and to avoid the stink) he must be castrated and that is exactly what happened today. Dear hubby held the squirming little guy and I did the ugly deed. Moments later he was back out running and being his obnoxious little self and still wanting to follow me around so musn’t have been as difficult for him as it was for me.
Many are probably curious as to how to raise baby chicks without electricity to run a brooder. In the old days they would simply leave in a box behind the woodstove but I have devised a system that allows them to stay at a more constant temp and is easier to regulate. I use a pot of hot water covered with a large stainless bowl turned upside down then placed in the middle of a rubber water trough and the chicks can move closer or further away depending on what is comfortable. I then cover half the trough to keep heat in and leave the other end exposed so if they get too warm they can move. The water temp to start off with is about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This will last about 3 hours as it warms the bottom of the tub also. Every three hours reheat the water. Decreasing by 5 degrees a week until they are fully feathered out. A lot of work but no one said off grid was going to be easy.
Very sad day today. I had ordered 25 barred rock chicks and they were supposed to arrive yesterday but got mixed up in Anchorage and weren’t delivered until today. They were all froze except for 2 that made quiet little peeping sounds. Ice was in the box if that will give you an idea of how cold these little things were.
Many people have a preconceived notion that farmers feel nothing for their animals and that could not be more untrue. Every life is precious. Just because we eat animals does not mean we devalue their lives, it simply means we value them for their purpose and yet believe their lives should be spent in relative comfort until the moment of their demise.
Not being one to ever give up I refused to believe that the end is always the end-There has to be one more chance. So I said a prayer and decided to thaw them out before I gave up. After many hours of thawing I now had 7 chicks that were breathing and chirping yet very weak. Still not ready to throw in the towel I mixed corn syrup and water and began feeding them one at a time. I have lost 2 more but knowing I gave it my best shot made their passing much easier on my heart. I don’t know what will happen but I do know that live or die these precious little babies if they pass will have been warm, dry and nestled in the palms of someone who loved them if only for a short time.
Yes life and death on the farm is a daily event but even though losing animals hurts I pray I never lose the compassionate side of me for that would be a tragedy. There are already too many in the world who are uncaring and unfeeling.
We have just upgraded our blog and it is now located in our private domain. With this upgrade we can now post videos! Share our new address please http://www.offgridalaska.org Thank You All!
Today was much like every other day feed kids, do schoolwork, animal care and preparing for the arrival of my 25 Barred Rock pullet chicks. I have to admit I have been bitten by the spring bug and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.
I spent some time today going through my seeds and have a confession to make-I’m a seed junky. I bet I have enough seeds gathered that I could plant 10 acres-okay more than 10 easily. I do plan on maximizing my greenhouse space though as I have been doing a lot of research on companion gardening and also vertical gardening. Come on spring!
I have had many sleepless nights with the goat babies. Just as one accepts her role as mother here comes another kid and a momma without a clue which means I must intervene and assist until she finally gets the hang of it. Yes this does have many moments of frustration!
The clear nights and beautiful moon have had me distracted too. I go out for a quick trip to the barn to care for the babies and find myself spending much time just gazing up at the sky and have been rewarded twice this week with the entrancing dance of the aurora borealis. It is quite spectacular to see the waves of green dipping and swirling, the green hues so intense then quickly fading away. The moon has been so bright at night I am surprised that I could see any northern lights at all. Its an amazing thing when you can watch the moon setting in front of the cabin and the sun rising in the back.
Today while I spent time with the other goats who have yet to kid, Henry and Lil Bit the Billies I was giving them their peanut butter treat (yes they like to eat peanut butter from a spoon) and I suddenly found myself on my back, feet straight in the air and surrounded by very concerned goats. Henry had to rush up to me look down and console me as only he can do. It is remarkable how each animal takes on a different personality depending on the circumstance. Henry as you know is ALWAYS in trouble. His inquisitive mind keeps him in tight spots and he has developed this low murmuring bleat that tells me he is in a bind and needs help. When I fell he immediately began that same bleat that told me he was concerned or maybe he was just letting me know it was my turn to be in a pickle! After getting assistance from two of my 2 legged children on getting upright on the ice and assuring my 4 legged children all was right in the world I had to chuckle, who else talks to their goats and has the goats talking back?
Still winter has refused to make an appearance but the sawmill is once again running and soon we will begin building more cages and pens for the ever expanding animals here on Two Moose and the greenhouse will be going up late next month. I will then put a woodstove in to keep all my little seedling warm as they begin a new life and I can once again have the feel of soil between my fingers and breath in the aroma of the earth.
I once again apologize for the poor picture quality but it is the best I can do with what I have and I hope they give you a glimpse of this blessed life I am living.
Still no winter here in Alaska and that brings an entirely new set of problems. Most would see this warm weather as a blessing but when having to go out at 1a.m to prepare to assist in a 2a.m feeding it can be a daunting task. I am getting a bit ahead of myself so let me explain. Princess being penned up with Bella and baby Etta for so long decided she was the surrogate momma to Etta. Along comes Racer this large annoying little fur ball who was demanding her attention and she was having none of that and Bella not liking Racer either I was forced to pen little Racer and Ella separate from the mommas and assist in feedings. Not wanting a new set of chores (bottle feeding babies) I must hold and guide Princess in the fine art of motherhood while little Racer is nursing. Now this may not seem like such a daunting task until you take into account before even getting into the barn you have to remove the icy sludge that has drained down due to the warm weather not completely freezing water from the rain. This is causing quite a mess. Yes folks I will take cold and snow over semi cold and rain any day! Once the slushy semi frozen tundra slurpee has been removed from in front of the doors I open the babies doors and inevitably Etta will dart around or under my legs then a 5 minute game of chase me ensues as she darts back and forth over the icy hills and dales of her imaginary play land until SHE decides the fun time is over and is ready to sidle up to the milk fountain at which time she will then allow me to pick her up and take her to her momma. Next comes reopening the door at which time it’s anyone’s guess whether Racer is going to jump from a stack of feed sacks or dart from beneath something to repeat Ella’s little antics. Once I have him cornered I must then hold onto this wiggling bundle of legs while renegotiating with the mommas door all the while holding a flashlight to navigate with and praying Etta has not finished eating yet and wants to play another round of catch me. Yes 2a.m. feedings are quite the workout and I find myself being quite thankful that she did not have twins and grateful that through all the frustrations my dear hubby responds with “sure honey” when I awake him in the middle of the night to assist me with shoveling/kid chasing and nurse mate duty.
Just another blessed day on Two Moose Farm. Goodnight or is it good morning all!
The last day of 2014 brought a new life to us here on Two Moose Farm. Our goat known as Bubbles Jr. aka Princess gave birth to a healthy and quite large baby boy. Of course this particular goat has been a challenge for months as she was injured by an overly amorous buck and has been babied all winter. Her birthing today was not an easy one as the kid had a leg back and as I said was quite large but I am happy to report he is healthy, quite active and very vocal. As some of you know my friend Shana gifted some of the goats to me in the beginning so was quite excited to hear about this birth as the momma was one of her own babies and I bestowed the honor of naming him to her. The name she chose was Racer as he has a racing stripe down his back-I do hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Shana’s daughter Melissa has requested the next female born be called Illiamna after the volcano across the bay and I decided that would be a great name and we will call her Illy but to make the rest of the season fun for all after little Illy makes her appearance we will have a contest where the winner will be the one to name the next baby. I haven’t worked out the details but will keep you all informed. Goat babies are so much fun!
The New Year rang in about 40 minutes ago and for once I am awake but yet was so busy checking critters I missed it. Happy New Year’s everyone!!!! I have to say though I did spend it with some of my favorite souls even though they are four legged.
We have had three days of rain and it totaled just over 5 inches, the ice is rapidly melting and my husband reported the creek is out of its banks and the water level is nearing the bridge. Such an odd thing to have in the last days of December but I will not let this get me down as the years to come I am sure will make up for the missed snow this year.
Dear hubby got my freezer in today and I will get it placed and well insulated then run it until I have water bottles frozen solid then an hour or so every couple of days to keep it frozen. I debated for a long time on doing this but with gas prices falling I will indulge myself the use of the generator and freezer for a while until prices once again begin to rise and then I will can whatever meats are left. I am hoping to butcher a pig next month as I am wanting to make sausage and I have several more rabbits and chickens that will need to go to freezer camp as well.
I feel silly telling this story but in retrospect it is funny so I will share it with you. As most of you know we are remote-no roads and a not so great trail coming in but town is literally just a few miles away as the crow flies. Tonight fireworks were being set off and we could see them in the distance which was very pretty but on my nightly rounds I kept seeing bright red lights that appeared to be getting closer. I then realized they were slowly falling out of the sky-My imagination went into overdrive, as it has a tendency to do when I have been awake for countless hours fretting over what still needs to be done and I nervously called hubby out to see the “invasion”. After he had a good chuckle he informed me they were simply fireworks that go up in the air, release a parachute and then float down to the ground. What a relief that was and yes I do believe I have watched both the old and remake of “Red Dawn” one or three times too many now.
With that I bid you all good night and say farewell 2014. It’s been a good year and I am sure 2015 will be just as blessed. Praying bountiful blessings to all both near and far away in the New Year ahead.
December has been filled with lots of fun and adventure here at Two Moose Farm. From a new birth to an outing with our homeschool group its been quite busy.
Little Henrietta made her appearance on the 21st. She ha thrived and is now showing signs she is her fathers daughter by head butting everyone and everything in site. Her frolicking antics were wearing on her momma and another goat so her into the house for a little play time and she spent a few minutes running from one to another of us for head pats and scratching that were promptly rewarded with a little show of kicking up her heels.
Winter has yet to hit here in Alaska but we did get a few inches of snow. The kids quickly built a snowman before the rain resumed and eliminated it.
Christmas this year has been so full of blessings from friends both near and far. Cathy, Tracy, Ken, Steve and Trudy you all made it a very joyous Christmas and I am thankful but I am blessed even more so to be able to call you my friends.
I have to share this with you all. I have a dear friend Cathy who I want all to know is my inspiration. She has lived an exciting life and is facing health problems but is always there when I need a friend to talk to, am having one of those days we all dread and when I am so excited over something one of the kids have done (both 2 and 4 legged) she is always happy to hear about it, She just gets it! If you are just starting a new homestead I strongly suggest having someone like her to encourage you when the rest of the world just thinks you are totally nuts!
Our children work very hard out here between school work and chores. Homeschooling with Mom as your teacher doesn’t mean there is any slack time but it also has its rewards. Here are a few pics of the kids’ first time ice skating
I apologize for the quality but its the best I could do.
As 2014 winds down I am so glad I have been blessed with all he adventures and that my family is by my side daily. Together we are building memories that will last a lifetime.