Fixed

I finally got spare time to fix a technical issue that was blocking my posts from posting properly.
This is also a test to ensure it has been fixed now.

Thank you for your patience.

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Farmsplaining

Where do I even begin? I guess an apology is in order. It has almost been a year since my last post, despite promises of posting more.

It was entirely my fault. I’m sorry for that. All I can do now is work hard to do better in the future.

I well under estimated the sheer amount of effort that this farm was going to need still to get started and had to invest in a more full-time job to sustain myself as well as fund needed improvements and projects such as pens, land clearing and prepping, plumbing, housing, and automated systems. A lot of these things aren’t very glamorous or easy to document. Basically, at this current time, my farm looks like a tornado went right over it. Not to say we weren’t effected by the hurricanes, we were, and it destroyed fencing to a degree that was well beyond my means at the time to repair. I had to sell all of my goats shortly after as they quickly became a road hazard and huge stressor, all while I was having health issues. It wasn’t good.

I’ve finally, just last month, scraped together the funds and got my perimeter fence completely fixed (But not the stretch of fence that divided the property into a separate pasture area.) and it is really all I needed to get started again. Things were looking pretty grim for the farm’s future, but I’m not the type of person to just give up when something bad happens. I research more (pick myself back up), develop a new approach(dust myself off), and then I try again. Sometimes a wrench gets thrown into your gears for a reason and I feel like the reason here was I was trying to do too much all at once and my approach was bound to fail one way or another, even if the fence issue never came up. I was reminded to back up a little and take a better look at the big picture and as a result, I have a better concept of which steps I must take to get there and it sure wasn’t the way I was heading down before.

I’m feeling much better now, the rabbits seem to be too. They now have an automated watering system and are breeding like… well… rabbits. They seem healthier and cleaner and this shaved a good 40+ minutes off my daily chores – I don’t need to scrub and refill all those dirty bottles anymore! Bottles themselves are exceptionally expensive too and difficult to clean and like to break, so it saved me money in the long run for sure. Next, I’m wanting to work on a 50ft x 50ft duck pen so I can separate my Muscovy ducks out from the other poultry. Muscovy are surprisingly aggressive creatures and only other Muscovy seem capable of handling it. I will also be working on a chicken coop with a 50ft x 50ft run next to that as I’ve got several winter chicks about to reach egg laying age and people wanting to buy their eggs. This would leave my existing pen to the geese, which as of my writing this, just laid their first eggs of the season. Hoping to see goslings this year as my birds are old enough that the eggs should be fertile. We’ll see.

Other plans include installing a small shed I can keep just my tools and push mower in, starting a small herb and flower garden, planting a few blueberry bushes and fruit/nut trees.

Cleaning with Ketchup

Yes, you read that right. I am actually suggesting ketchup as a cleaning substance.

I know, I know. I was skeptical too, but who can argue with these results?

I inherited a bunch of second hand brass Edstrom valves that were old, tarnished, crusted with hard water minerals, and, frankly, pitch black in color. Great for the patina on a statue, not so great when you expect animals to lick it. I couldn’t even dismantle them to check the rubber gaskets due to the build up of crud. These valves are expensive to replace but I could not use them in the condition I received them in. Who knows what illnesses they might have concealed and these were sure to leak in their current shape.

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So, I did the only logical thing to do, I covered them in plain old household ketchup. Yup, you read that right. Apparently the combination of ingredients are perfect for cleaning certain metals (brass, copper, and in this case it worked on my stainless steel too). The alternative methods seemed wrought with chemicals, so there was no way I could use them for potable water. I figured the worst that could happen would be ketchup-scented water valves, which might actually encourage the rabbits to test the new system. So I dumped my valves into a small bowl, poured ketchup over the top and swirled everything around with a fork until nicely coated. I meant to leave it for only an hour, but forgot the experiment overnight.

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The following morning, after rinsing them off under the tap and then soaking in a bowl of water (to get the lil bits of ketchup still inside the crannies), I had my results which were far more impressive than I ever would have expected.

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The reddish areas are not stained with ketchup, that is the copper showing through the old brass finish. I’m really impressed and would absolutely do it again. It even did a fantastic job removing the copper oxide and calcium buildup on the stainless steel parts that I couldn’t budge with soap and water.

Hopefully this helps someone someday, like it helped me.

Photo Shoot

Right after my last post, my phone – which was also my camera – decided to fail catastrophically and could not be repaired. I finally got both replaced, though with separate entities this time so I wouldn’t be left quite so stranded in the future. So today was take a million photos day (shhh, I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day, but let’s pretend since I don’t drink)!

So expect a huge update to my website in the near future as I update all of my animal profiles and add pictures of everyone. Bear with me though, it may take a while as I attempt to get all my ducks in a row.

 

Wait for it… wait forrrr iiiit….

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Budumtish.

Happy Hogmanay and New Years!

Due to the nice weather lately, we have been going all out on clearing up all kinds of brush and trees around the property. There’s still a long way to go, but we had more than enough piled up to ring in the New Years with a bonfire and keep it going all night. Here’s to hoping we opened up enough sky to grow some pasture for the geese in the coming year.

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May the New Year be fruitful and prosperous for all!

Part Five–The Final Backdate

We have finally come full circle and with this post, are finally completely up to date on the going ons at Deer Heart Farm.

 

These last few days have been mostly spent clearing out small trees and brush to improve the fence line as well as exploring the small details of this beautiful new land.

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Before

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After

 

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I found this dead tree standing and carefully pulled it down safely so it does not injure someone or cause damage in the future.

 

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It was lousy with bull ants which came rushing out of the rotted bottom and roots (they are impossible to photograph sometimes).

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I discovered several patches of this ground lichen. I’m not sure what it’s called exactly but it’s the stuff used to make tiny model trees and bushes. Thankfully the dogs leave it completely alone whenever they see it as I’d like for this stuff to still be around years from now. They look like small grey-green rocks at a distance.

 

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I then found this little critter hanging out on a tree. Don’t worry, I wasn’t stupid enough to touch it. I believe this is the caterpillar of the Southern flannel moth, they are also known as puss caterpillars and they are venomous and sting like heck! If you see these in your garden, do not touch! I simply watched this one go about its business in peace for a while before moving on. Click here for more information on the puss caterpillar and its moth counterpart.