The Haps

I’ve been absent. Again. You should expect this by now. I’ve really missed writing and taking photos of Redemption Farms. Hopefully I’ll have some more time in the next year. As I write, I have my first (and hopefully last cold of the year. The good news is, I rarely get sick. The bad news is, when I do, I do it right. If things get rambling, we’ll chalk it up to meds and not blame the editor (since I edit my own work, the editor is also on meds.) Since I haven’t posted anything at all in the last…I don’t know…long time, I think we should catch up to speed. Here’s what you have missed in the last year:

We are living in the house full-time. Do not take this to mean that the house is anywhere near complete but we won’t be getting a call from CPS regarding the way we are keeping the children. We were camped out in one bedroom until recently. Now Dave and I have the smaller room and all three kids share the big bedroom. This is the first time that they have had actual beds with actual mattresses since Dave and I moved in together six years ago. My old house didn’t have room for beds, so on the weekends they were with us they camped on couches and air mattresses. They have been troopers through this whole process. Lesser children would have complained but not our kids. They have been actively involved in making decisions about the rooms, house, animals, pretty much anything they can weigh in on. The overall feeling is things are getting better and we may survive this remodel, after all.

This being our first holiday in this house and our first holiday in any house larger than 900 square feet, we hosted a holiday party in the house, with about 15 people. Everyone fit comfortably and no one fell through any holes in the floor. We had a beer tasting featuring the winter selections from the Eureka Ditch Brewing Company. (Full disclosure: that just means Dad sent me some of his homebrew for Christmas and I shared with everyone, tasting style but it was damn fine beer.)

There’s a lot of drywall going in. The dust has invaded our life and dried out my hands. It’s making me crazy. (Stop right there if you were going to say something about me already being crazy. When crazy is the status quo, more crazy become the new crazy. Kind of like navy is the new black.) Anyway, I can’t handle dry cuticles. I’m also a lip balm addict. There I said it. I’m also not interested in an intervention or seeking treatment. Speaking of, where’s my carmex…

Our meat bunny operation is in full swing. One of these days I will get around to posting pictures of the rabbit tractor which almost caused a divorce. We will call it: the episode in which the irresistible force (Marsha) and the immovable object (Dave) have creative differences. I will say this. I there is ever a tornado, I am heading to the rabbit tractor. We just had a litter of bunnies. They are so cute I could die. It almost makes me want to keep them all. Almost. Chaos wants to eat them all. She found one which had died and ate the whole thing before we could catch her. There was not one scrap left. I thought for sure she wouldn’t eat all the bones and fur but she did. It makes me wonder if wolves eat the whole thing, too. I’ll have to check that out.

The chickens have sustained devastating losses due to predation. We are down to six hens. The culprit is a bobcat. I know this because I saw him. He also tried to get to the bunnies but there were safely locked away in their Ft. Knox box.

We learned how to slaughter our roosters. I have a graphic post written about it, I just have to edit some photos. Yes. Photos. You should know where your food comes from. I found it easier than I thought I would, you know, being vegetarian and all. I plucked and gutted and was convinced it’s much less time consuming to be a herbivore. It certainly needs less clean-up.

The goats are pregnant. How does this happen, you wonder? You see…when a mommy goat and a daddy goat love each other very much…oh you mean how did I let this happen? We have new neighbors with a billy goat. Our hussy girls broke out of their area, then taunted the male until he broke out of his own fence. I was out of town and when I got home, I found all three in the pen together. They were wearing bell bottoms, smoking pot and lecturing us about free love. As all adults know, love is never free. Now they are paying the price with their growing itchy bellies and ravenous appetites. This weekend, we will be building them a predator safe enclosure in which they will rear their young. I’m so nervous. I wasn’t ready for kids. (Get it? Kids? No? Never mind.)

It was a banner year for tomatoes. I didn’t start seedlings because of the impending move so I bought 10 plants from Love Apple Farms plant sale. I planted late and still managed a very good harvest. In fact, I took the last of the fruit off the vines two weeks ago, only because it was starting to frost over at night. I have a tomato variety review coming soon. Maybe. You know how I’ve been lately. Maybe I won’t get to posting it until next year.

Due to lack of time, I canned nothing this year. I’m so sad and I don’t know how I will survive without my 100 lbs of tomatoes processed as crushed tomatoes. The kids were eternally grateful that they didn’t have to help, again.

Happy New Year! We went to Napa last night, to a party at the Westin. Being responsible adults, we planned to leave the car in valet for the evening, bring our flats and walk the half mile to Sarah’s house. After dancing until 2am in my heels, I discovered I forgot my flats. I tried to limp in heels for a while but couldn’t do it. I took off my shoes to find that the sidewalk was bone achingly cold. Fearing I might sustain a hypothermia related injury, Dave so kindly took off his socks and gave them to me. I’m sure it was quite a sight to see me strolling down the streets of Napa in my almost knee-high, men’s Christmas socks. What does this have to do with the ranch? Not a damn thing but it is a funny story and we do have lives away from the ranch, occasionally.

I almost forgot! Our trusty ranch truck (aka the Camry) died. I have replaced it with a Subaru Outback. Go ahead. Make your jokes but know this, I can fit three sheep in the Outback. I’m looking for a good Aussie name for her. Maybe Uluru, since my last name was (kind of still is) Ayers. If you don’t know what this means, please go to Wiki it. Then come back and tell me how clever I am.

I found a source for raw cow’s milk and have started making cheese. I just made my first batch of Monterey Jack cheese and I can hardly wait the two months to try it. I’m not sure if we’re going to try to milk our goats. Maybe just once. Just to torture ourselves. And then I will make feta. Or goat milk cheddar. Or…OK, maybe we will have to milk them twice.

The laundry room is almost done. We have to put the bead board back on the walls and frame the broom/water heater closet but that’s not much. It should only take us, oh I don’t know, maybe 9 or 10 months to get to that? I’m avoiding picking a color for the laundry room. I have option paralysis. I also know that once it’s painted, we will never move the washer and dryer and bad ass sink again to repaint. If I choose a color, It will have to be right. I’ve never said this before but I’m thinking white. Oh wait, it’s also the mud room. White isn’t going to make a bit of sense. Alright, I’m thinking mud color.

We are ready to start building the second pasture. This means we will be renting a skid steer so there’s potential for more photos for girls on tractors. If you don’t know what this means, you can see it here. It is to this day my most read blog post. Maybe this time I’ll find another girl to drive.

That’s all I can remember. My brain is in antihistamine overload. Hopefully I will have some time to post again in the not too distant future. Until then: Happy planting!

WAIT!! I forgot to mention I want to host a seed swap and sow, cocktail party, February 9 at 2pm. If you are reading this, you are invited. The more seeds to swap, the better. Your invitation is coming. RSVP. I hate to run out of snacks.


5 responses to this post.

  1. The house is coming along nicely! It was very cozy and I now think I could convince John to buy a place that needs that much work/remodeling. So, thank you for that! The seed swap in on my calender and I just ordered another $92 worth of seeds from BCH. John thinks I’m a hoarder. You’re the only one that understands me. Googled Uluhru. I learn something new everyday. It’s genius! But a tongue twister. Happy New Year, my dear!


  2. Posted by aztechalo on January 2, 2013 at 21:27

    I get you Pam. We are two peas in a seed packet. I totally think you should buy a crazy fixer upper. Misery loves company.


  3. I want to be in the next edition of “Girls on Tractors”.


    • Posted by aztechalo on January 3, 2013 at 20:46

      Now that you’re a hair model, you want to branch out into tractors, too!? You are welcome on our tractor anytime. Perhaps Urban Darling can do a special piece on the fashionable farmer? Maybe we can call it, how not to look like a ho while you hoe? That would be my absolute best blog post ever.


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