We are still alive out here on the Tiny Texas Farm. I figure we should let you know in case you wondered if we survived the holidays and the big Texas Snowpocalypse.
It snowed more than 8 inches here twice this winter. There were drifts of snow over a foot in some places on the farm. It nearly caved in the greenhouse roof. We managed not to have any pipes bust, but we were down to ONE toilet, one sink (hot water only – when the electricity was on), and about 35 degrees inside the house. We gave up after running the generator to keep barely warm enough to sleep. Power was on and off, off and on. We ended up staying with friends for a week and driving home to water cows every day with five gallon buckets and a hose to fill them from the kitchen sink. Thank the Lord for baby cows or we would have had a dried up milk cow on our hands. There was no way we could run our milking machine without outside water to clean it, so she stepped in and did the milking for us.
I’ve thought about blogging and even started a few drafts between Thanksgiving and now, but I’ve been moving more away from digital life with every day that passes, it seems. I even called AT&T today to ask if I could get my 1990’s pager re-activated. They laughed at me, but hey, it was a nice try. I feel like there are six-zillion notifications from every news channel on the planet because the world is just MOVING TOO FAST. I thought living in the country would buffer me from some insanity, but with smart phones, the crazy seems to find you anywhere these days.
To avoid thinking about reality, I’ve been butchering roosters and wondering where my truck load of garden compost will come from.
I’m not beyond building my own pen for the chickens if Farmer Kev hasn’t figured out how to get the gates welded and the 6-foot-tall, chicken-wire pasture enclosure done in a week or so.
I’m at the END OF MY CHICKEN ROPE, people.
The chickens have turned my beautiful farm landscaping into a poopy moon crater-scape. The plants that survived the blizzard of 2021 and didn’t turn black and melt have all been either eaten or otherwise pulled up and mutilated by my feathered destroyers.
If they didn’t lay eggs, I would have butchered all of them.
All those instagram feeds full of sunshiny pictures with flowers and happy hens in the sunshine… long pretty garden rows and green grass in the background… perfectly clean, white chicken coops? THEY AREN’T REAL. Those are FIRST-DAY chicken owners. They only own one chicken. Maybe they just borrowed a chicken. Heck, the chicken may even be stuffed. It’s all a deep fake.
I know the truth. I have the truth stuck to the bottom of every single pair of shoes I own. I live on a REAL chicken farm; a farm full of chicken poop and dirt bath craters. It’s not cute or “pinteresty”.
Other ways to help keep from going crazy as you await March 10th and Abbott’s mask mandate lifting or the incarceration of forty-five chickens who are systematically razing the farm like starving goats? Doing your taxes. Fun, right?!!
I’ve been pouring over a stack of IRS “how-to do farm taxes” paperwork that might even give HR1 a run for its 1.9 trillion dollars. I think I’ve finally given up and decided to find a CPA. The only other alternative was to give up farming. Starting a farm is impossible unless you are independently wealthy, have independently wealthy investors, or are crazy.
I’ve got one out of three of those things going for me.
In December of last year, we had our first live birth in our herd of cattle. Our Jersey, Big Mama had a heifer (girl) calf right before Christmas. We named her Noelle. Her daddy is our bull, “Puppy” who has now grown into a large, annoying Guernsey bull who eats more than we ever imagined paying for. We are pretty sure our longhorn and one other Jersey are also pregnant. We may be milking THREE cows by the end of 2021. I’m thinking Mr. Romeo is going to have to find a larger dairy herd.
We had our bull tested for protein genetics and he came back A2/A2. That’s fancy for “hypo-allergenic” milk. If you’re in to health-nut crazes like A2 milk (Lord bless you and your wallet), you’ll know that A2 is all the rage. I’m betting Big Mama is also A2, which would explain why I have had very little problem drinking her raw milk where as before, I was unable to drink milk without significant issues. Some of that may have just been the difference between processing and raw milk… but who knows?
We’ve been drinking farm fresh milk now for about a year’s worth of the time we have been on the farm and I just can’t imagine being without it.
There’s nothing like Jersey cream. There’s nothing like fresh Jersey butter, either. Butter is a pain in the hiney to make, but it is delicious.
As for the rest of life out here, we are still enjoying our homeschool co-op we discovered last fall, still trying to work on small projects as we can afford them to fix the farmhouse, and still figuring out farm life, one YouTube How-To video at a time.
We have some great farmy friends who have tips as well. Thank God for friends when you are cold, stinky, and in need of help culling the mean-‘ol-roosters. We also had friends bring us groceries, share their propane with us in the storm when no stores were open, and teach us invaluable skills like pressure canning. One day at a time, we are becoming more country; pretty soon we might just FIT IN!
With social media imploding lately, it is likely I will retire from that world back into good old-fashioned blogging. Now, there’s a novel idea. Then I can still keep up with you, or rather, you with me, and I can feel like I’m talking to someone other than myself… which I do sometimes out here on the prairie, to be sure.
I may not be able to get AT&T to activate my beeper so I can ditch my cell phone ball-and-chain, but I can limit my social media and MSM exposure to keep this year as sane as it can be.
Here’s to less:
- and SNOW
…. and more:
- raw milk
- multi-colored chicken eggs
- and Victory Gardening
I am looking forward to a green spring and a return of all the beautiful blooming things!