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Thursday, August 02, 2012

State of the Homestead

Before I get into what has been happening here, I want to thank you for your replies to the question yesterday. Hopefully we all educated some about our different life styles. Also, I am glad that I have such a diverse readership and that you all can get along so well. Thank you for that.


So, the State of the Homestead.

No one is buying cattle. I had a few interested, but bulked when they saw how small this breed is. With none of my Kerrys standing over four feet tall, and most people use to seeing huge beef cows. . . Well... Unfortunately this means we will have to butcher. I was really hoping to find my milkers a new home. I can understand people not buying though, hay prices aren't as high as last year, but still up there. And it hasn't been under 105F since June.

Speaking of heat. We lost BobDole. Between the extreme temps and the ladies coming into heat, the combo was too much for him. RIP BobDole, we had some good times.

BobDole and ladies

My garden may be done, but good neighbor's hybrid tomatoes seem to have made it. He has brought me a little over 80 lbs of tomatoes. They are small, or blemished, or what have you. Restaurants don't want to buy them becuase of their imperfections, so he gives them to me. In which I am super grateful for. 40 lbs has cost me a pint of ketchup. He says his heritage tomatoes did nothing, just like mine.

Speaking of tomatoes, Bob from Athens informed me that people are telling you all to go out in this 100F + heat and hand pollinate your tomatoes. Don't waste your time. I like to assume you have read a least part of my blog. Once the temps get over 95F, tomatoes will not set fruit.  Actually it is something like 89F, but there are hybrids that will fruit at higher temps. You will get flowers all day long, but don't waste your time trying to get them to fruit with anything but a white sheet thrown over the top.  See I take a bit of time off and people start telling you silly things. Sheesh. Wry grin.

Pneumonia took out most of my rabbits. I had separated the lone sneezer and went ahead and gave preventative medication to the remainder, knowing that once it starts it spreads quickly. Super upset about that. 

It seems bad luck has been haunting the Neophyte Homestead. However I have several huge announcements coming soon. It will be a new chapter in our lives, a new beginning if you will. 

Hope your homesteads are fairing well.

13 comments:

Maxine said...

I'm really sorry. Many of my blog-land friends are truly suffering this year and it's heart breaking to know that nothing I can do or say can change it. One year of high temps and drought is tough but two years is nearly impossible for the small farmer/homesteader to survive. Hope the upcoming changes you'll be announcing will give you new opportunities to continue on the Neophyte Homestead.

WorthlessSackO'Shit said...

Aww :( Phelan, I'm so sorry. It sounds like Mother Nature keeps handing you the short end of the stick. That sucks about Bob Dole and the rabbits. Our bunnies are making it, but with lots of help from us. We've been having a heatwave in Eastern WA lately, and the rabbits really don't like it, but it's nothing like you are experiencing in Kansas.

My hybrid tomatoes are producing, but our heritage plants didn't produce a single fruit this year either. I haven't been able to get out and garden much, as I'm 6 weeks away from popping out my first offspring, so the garden this year has been severely neglected. It takes all my strength just to work a full time job. :(

If I was closer, and had the money, resources and land, I would definitely come buy the Kerries from you. Anyone who balks at buying them doesn't know what they're turning down. Kerries are magnificent beasts, and I would love to have one (or 12).

I hope you have better news for us in your upcoming posts. Keep your chin up, Phelan. You have some hardcore fans who look forward to your posts.

Laura

Edgar Sugercane said...

I would love those Kerrys, but I live too far away. How much do you try to sell them for? is it a pound weight on the hoof or a set price per head?

Phelan said...

Set price. Calves $500
3 yr old dam, bull exposed $1200
2 yr old heifer, bull exposed, $1000

I could take them to auction, but cattle is fairing poorly there as no one is buying.

Pamela said...

I've been waxing romantic about homesteading lately and forgetting that like anything else, it has its share of frustrations and setbacks. (You'd think I'd remember this because of my yearly gardening fiascoes, but alas, I didn't.)

I hope things turn around for you soon. I love your blog!

Phelan said...

Maxine, thanks. Yes two years in a row of this is way too harsh. We thought with the spring rains things would be back to normal, hahahaha! I am really excited about my announcements, and hopefully I can share one with you all on Monday.

Laura, would you be interested in moving to Kansas?

Pamela, I understand. Come mid winter I too romanize about it. And thank you.

Carolyn Renee said...

I'm sorry to hear about BobDole, the rabbits and the garden. Although we haven't lost much more than our "hobby" garden (as it really isn't big enough to supply much more than a few meals), we've been hit hard with the temps/drought and there is NOTHING but hay - EXPENSIVE hay - to feed. And hope that it lasts until NEXT spring's cutting. Although that's what we hoped for during last year's drought.

Two bad years in a row is really tough. And although I'm also one to continue whining about the drought, it is important to point out the bad parts of homesteading because as we know it's not always bouncy lambs and fluffy chicks. Nature can kill ya. Literally.

Looking forward to the new announcement :)

WorthlessSackO'Shit said...

Phelan - Unfortunately, no. :( My heart lies in the Inland NW. I love Eastern WA. and the panhandle of Idaho....Plus, I don't ever think I could get my Significant Other to leave his family behind...

Maybe you could relocate this-a way! ;)

Phelan said...

Staying in Kansas. But you will find out why I ask come Monday. Hopefully.

Warlock Sundance said...

You and Dan need anything...I will do what I can from afar to help.

HermitJim said...

I sure wouldn't mind relocating to Kansas, even with the bad weather! I figure that it can't be much worse that here on the Texas coast!

Way too hot here as well, but lucky for me I don't have the critters to care for that you do.

I've even looked at some property in Oklahoma and it is really hot there, but once in a while they are getting some rain!

I'm sure sorry to hear about the rabbits and ol' Bob Dole! Hope things get a little better weather wise for you soon!

small farm girl said...

I hate to hear about all the sucky luck. But, you are killing me with this announcement!!!!!! hehehehe

Sidonie said...

sorry to hear about your woes... as a fellow homesteader, I have walked in your shoes many times... we have had to sell out of our livestock, down to almost nothing in the past, and rebuild from the shreds left over...Let me encourage you though, as what is, will change... and so will you and those around you... You will find new ways to make things work, and new directions to pursue, without giving up on your mantra to live in harmony with the natural world... I would make one suggestion, that has been a slow evolution for myself... the more you can replicate how an animal lives in nature, the more success you will have in raising/keeping them, and the better the overall energy on your land... align yourself and your farming practices with the Mother, as much as possible, and you will see her reward your efforts... I will give you one small example... When we moved here 8 years ago, I bemoaned not having the pristine, lush, fescue pasture that many of my cattle baron friends around here have... We have been somewhat of a curiosity, (even a laughing stock to some old timers, set in their ways of conventional farming), but in the times of drought, our native meadow, strewn with all manner of bushes, trees, herbs, legumes, fruit vines and trees, has become our salvation... admittedly, it looks messy and unkempt, but it is the way the Mother has designed it, a veritable food forest for my pasture animals... As we have watched the grass in the one bush-hogged pasture turn crispy, the remainder of the valley is still green, full of fruit and forage, and our animals are eating well... We have put out hay, but they only nominally nibble at it...Ok, so the point of this ramble was to encourage you to look at your practices from a new view point... not that you have done anything "wrong", just that a different tack will most likely produce a different result...You will survive this, and when you rethink, adjust, and choose to succeed, you will... perhaps not with everything, and maybe not in the ways you might expect... but there are many amazing lessons for us all from the adversity... and the blessings are there...just waiting to be embraced... "thoughts become things, so think good ones!"

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