Monday, February 27, 2012

What's Been Happening on the Farm

Good Morning!  Well, here we are at the last week of February and you might be wondering what's been happening here on the farm.  A lot.  A lot of wildly different stuff.  So I figured today I would catch you up and maybe I can get back on track.

Septic woes - When we moved in in September 1998, the septic tank was in a sad state, with "water" standing on the ground and flowing under the house.  Since at the time we planned on adding on to the house, we installed a new, large septic system (with 10 people in the house we went big) with an enlarged drain field.  It worked and we forgot about it.  Then, in late January, we began to notice "water" standing over the holding tank area.  After a little researching I began calling to get estimates.  $200 would get my septic system pumped, another $100 would get the grease trap taken care of.  Finally, one company offered to do both for $250....sold.  In the midst of all this I discovered that you are supposed to get your system pumped out every 2-3 years.  Who knew?  From there Ray handled it, and passed on the word to me that the guy said that it was FULL!  We are very fortunate that it didn't move over and begin to clog up our drain field.
PS - We never did add on the the house.

Hot Water Heater - We knew it was coming.  We knew we were living (or showering) on borrowed time.  Our water heater had been put into the house in the 1970's.  We had repeatedly replaced the element in it, each time pumping out huge amounts of calcium deposits.  The last time we replaced it the threads on the water heater got stripped, so we knew that when it went again, that would be it.  Well, it happened and so we purchased a new one.  While I would have loved to have a tankless or very large heater, we decided to stick with the same size.  We very seldom run out of hot water, even with 8 people and all of the cooking and showering that goes on here.  A tankless was way out of our price range.  So we stuck with a 40 gallon.  Now, replacing a water heater in a 100-year-old house is not an easy thing.  When the bathroom was originally created out of a back porch in the 1970's, the water heater was installed and the closet built around it.  So we had to replace it with one that would fit in the hole.  The old one also had not been installed with cut-off valves, so when we needed to turn off water to the heater, we had to turn off water to the entire house.  My husband, Ray, is a marvelous man.  The knowledge that man has packed in his brain is a treasure trove.  His only mistake was in asking me to unhook the wiring. 
At some point in the distant past, a load management system had been wired in.  Since I am extremely quite a bit somewhat a tiny bit rebellious, I didn't want the electric company to tell me when I could/couldn't have hot water, so I had it turned off but the wiring remained.  This gave three different wires to disconnect from each other.  I didn't know that I was supposed to remember what wire was hooked where.  I didn't discover this little item until it came time to hook the new one up to the electrical system.  And we came up with extra wires.  This was not good.  We tried everything we could think of......calling a relative who is equally endowed with this amazing knowledge, EVEN looking at the wiring layout in the instructions, but we could not get the water heater on.  Finally, out of desperation, Ray checked the wiring going from the house to the heater.  With me flipping breakers back and forth we discovered that the wiring we thought went to the house breaker, actually went to the old load management system.  Once we figured out that little gem and changed over the water.  Thank the Lord for my husband.  Left to myself I'd never have thought to check out that little detail.

Radiator/Water pump:  Ray's truck is 12 years old and has 270,000+ miles on it.  He uses it to commute to work and run farm errands.  We knew there was a leak and have been trying to keep water in it, but this has gotten rather difficult.  We have spent most of February looking for a used or rebuilt water pump.  Now we have decided that they don't exist and are working on getting a new one.

Kidding season:  This is upon us.  Heidi, one of our cashmeres gave birth to twin doelings, Callie and Allie, (pictures to come).  Next up looks to be Lynn, matron of our Boer herd.  I was hoping to have all of the cashmeres kid in February and the Boers in March, but such is life when dealing with animals.  At first all was well with Heidi and the kids, then she began to push one of the kids, Callie, away and not allowing it to nurse.  So we are bottle feeding her with Maggie's milk.  Or, rather, Samantha is bottle feeding her and doing an awesome job.

Rabbits:  All of my rabbits have been bred and I will be expecting litters in early March.

Maggie's last calf, Faline, has been sold.  L'il Bit is on ice, aging, and will be put in the freezer in a couple of weeks.  That made a major difference in my weekly feed purchases.

Rain:  It has rained about every 3-4 days all winter.  The ground is completely saturated and it is impossible to get the wheelbarrows into the pens on a daily basis for cleaning.  Consequently, on the days where it has gotten dry enough, it has taken all day to do the cleaning.  The rain has also prevented us from getting Penny, our sow, pen ready and getting her rebred.  In addition, February was the month that we were supposed to lime and sand all of our pens and that is definitely not happening.

Also, due to the rain, several of my Boers have come down with foot scald.  More on that in a later post.  Suffice it to say that that particular treatment is rather easy but time consuming.

Taxes:  enough said.

I'm sure there is more, but it is time to be getting on with the day.  It's suppose to rain.

May Yahweh bless you in this new day!


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