Ugh. We were knocked flat on our backs this week. Not by the insane amount of work that happened on the farm, although I’m sure that contributed, but by the common cold. It was actually bronchitis in Jasper’s and the girls’s case, but for me I think it’s just a cold. A cold that resists all attempts to quell it, and just refuses to go away.
In spite of feeling badly most of the week, we actually did get a lot done. We filled up that 30 ton dumpster with old farmhouse junk, we moved a lot of the salvaged wood into the garage (although it seems like there is still more), and we burned the large pile of burnable stuff that had accumulated in the front yard.
Every farm should have a place to burn odds and ends, and this farm is no exception. The fire pit is, literally, pretty much a pit in the ground down in the lower field. I was raised on a standard city lot in the middle of town, and my first inclination is that a fire pit should be out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing, preferably on a giant concrete slab. My father-in-law and Jasper both assured me that the farm’s existing grassy fire area, surrounded by brush and alder trees and adjacent to a creek, was fine. And lo and behold, it was. Nothing caught on fire except the things we wanted to catch on fire. I have a lot to learn, I know. The number one thing being trust the old-timers who came before. This fire pit was here when Jasper’s family bought it, and if all goes well it will still be there long after we’re gone.
Also, burning things is very therapeutic. I’m actually really looking forward to this being a yearly farm task.
In other news, we suffered some losses this week. Dottie, the Silver Laced Wyandotte chick I told you about, was doing so poorly that I decided to go ahead and end her suffering. Real farm people would call that “culling” her, but that phrase seems very clinical and cold to me. I looked up all the various ways to do it, and decided I just didn’t have it in me yet to cut off heads or snap necks, so I put her in a paper bag in the deep freezer. She was barely conscious at that point, and I’m pretty sure she just went to sleep. Nonetheless, it was hard. Iris and I gave her a proper sendoff after she was gone, and buried her under a large rosemary bush.
We also lost our last rabbit, Butternut. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but he somehow lost the use of his back legs. He didn’t have any marks on him, so I’m not sure if something tried to grab or bite him, or if he just twisted the wrong way and snapped something. Not knowing what else we could do for him, we brought him inside and kept him warm and dosed up with pain meds until he passed.
I’m not sure if we’ll get more rabbits. Maybe someday, but not now. For one thing, the rabbits stopped serving any purpose. They weren’t pets, they weren’t food, and because I couldn’t bear to cage them, they weren’t giving us manure any longer. I like the idea of having a breeding pair on hand for meat purposes, but we’re not there yet. So.
Lest you think we’re all doom and gloom and sickness around here though, we did end the week on a good note. We brought home two healthy chicks from the feed store: Sunny, an Ideal 236; and Ruby 2, a Production Red. We’ve got a meeting with the fire chief tomorrow to discuss and schedule burning down the farmhouse, and a meeting with another home builder on Friday. We’re going to start fencing a section of the lower field so that we can move the chickens out there later this spring, and even though it’s only the beginning of February, I’ve got seeds to start sowing and fields to start preparing.
I guess for some people this would be a negative, but for me it’s a plus – there’s always something that needs to be done on the farm.