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Monday, July 18, 2011

The solution might make me cry

Husband and I had to sit down and take a serious look at some things. This heat and drought is doing a number on our livestock. No one is gaining weight. Chickens that should be butchered this month are still too light, cows are stagnant on weight, Murrial has actually lost some.

Then the deaths. All the bunnies have been dieing. The butchering chickens as well. We have managed to stop the chicken death by spraying the enclosure off with water several times a day and flooding part of the ground. The rabbits we are still trying to figure out. But without moving air (wind some days in no existent) and the air temps reaching over 115F on some days, it's a struggle to say the least.

Then we have to look at the price of hay. We have a few more months worth, but that's it. We won't get much from our hay guy, and the prices from others is getting a bit ridiculous.  And with no one here buying live cattle, save the meat lockers, we are facing butchering all the bulls, except the very young one, and possibly a couple of the heifers. It is a hard decision, and one we have talked seriously about. But if things don't change quickly it is the only choice we will be faced with. No worries, Yart and Yippee are too young still. But XuXi and X and Yogi are not. Winston, our breeder, will have to go as well. We have drawn the line on how long we will wait for things to improve. If not we start losing money, and that could jeopardize the entire herd.

We are working hard to save the garden. Even with all the mulch and watering every day, the sun is relentless and is burning the leaves up on everything. Tomatoes do not like to set fruit over 95F. We haven't seen it that cool in a month. And I have just used the last of our canned tomato products.  I see all these people coming here (blog) looking for preserving their green beans, but my own have yet to produce a single thing. Our squash is doing surprisingly well however, which means I can at least make some fancy ketchups.


Rivenfae said...

I wish I had a clear spot right now and a trailer to move it, so I could offer to buy one of your guys from you. I hope you don't suffer to much more loss due to this awful drought. I do have a question though. My peppers here have not done anything. I've had a few other people mention that their peppers aren't doing well. Do you have the same problem?

HermitJim said...

I don't have any suggestion for you, I'm afraid!

The only thing doing OK in my garden is the okra and the peppers! They seem to love the heat.

A lot of the wildlife here is not doing well either! Some of the birds are dying and even the squirrels are looking puny!

Mother Nature is certainly pushing us around this year!

Good luck on your live stock!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry... We are currently having rain and damp weather and my garden is not liking it, but luckily nothing else. I can't imagine how hard it is for you right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers. After such a wet, cold winter over our country, this summer is the total extreme opposite. It makes me nervous.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine trying to live through what you are - it is sureal to me.
For your rabbits, take old milk jugs, fill (not completely) with water, freeze and then during the day, stick them in the cages; bunnies will get close to these to help cool down.


Phelan said...

Rivenfae, thanks. As for peppers, my hot green peppers are doing fine, my prick-e-gnu doesn't want to ripen however. My orange and yellow bells are just now starting to fruit. I've placed about 6 inches of mulch around them and water every evening.

HJim, my okra has just now started to produce. The stalks are still very short though. But at least we are getting some though.

Ruth, winter wasn't so bad here. We got what we usually get. But it ended too early and spring lasted only a week. With out the full month of cool temps and rain it has made things almost impossible. Ugh. Thanks

Annette, you rock! We were just talking abut trying something like that. I pulled all the bunnies that were old enough to be without there moms and put them in the house, but the younger ones didn't make it.

Maria Zannini said...

When we used to raise rabbits in southeast Texas, we would freeze 2 liter bottles of water and place one bottle in each cage. They would lay next to the bottles all day.

The heat is brutal this year. Good luck.

sel said...

Wow, when people talk about living the simple life they better make sure they know what it means. Maybe your posts will help and educate others. Praying for rain.

Anonymous said...

Maria has it right - my family used to raise meat rabbits and this is how we kept ours from dying. Freeze several bottles, swap them out when they start to warm up too much.

The bunnies will snuggle right up to them, and lick the condensation off. It helps them keep cool, and hydrated.

If they are in really dire straits, get a bucket filled with "cool-ish" water and dunk their haunches.

Unknown said...

The heat is truly horrible this year. Our tomato's are done for the summer. I didn't get enough to even fire up the canner. I'm just hoping I can keep them alive so we have another shot this fall. Finger's are crossed on that one.
As for the rabbits, I've been going out several times a day and freshening their water. I've also been "watering" them a few times a day. Pouring cool water on them and rubbing it into their coats. I don't know if its good for them but they seem to appreciate it, and I know that any little breeze will help keep them cooler. I also have been using Ice Bottles for them and I have to say they absolutely LOVE them. They will lay all over the bottles and even play with them. Any way to cool them off has got to help. I can't stand to see them "drooling" and panting from the heat. It just breaks my heart.
Good Luck and God Bless you guys. I've got you all in my prayers and hope that things "break" soon and we get some sort of relief from this horrid heat.

Phelan said...

Thanks guys, the bottles are in the freezer. We had been keeping a sprinkler close to them trying to cool off the air without soaking them.

Sel, there is nothing simple about the simple life.

Anonymous said...

I've heard, anecdotally, from other gardeners that they're not producing any fruit. This is the first time I've heard a good explanation of why. I've been watering and feeding my tomato plants but out of 12 plants I've only produced 2 tomatoes. Thanks for the info, and I am so sorry to hear about your overall situation. I'm beginning to be a bit depressed about the fall harvest since it's so hot and it's only the beginning of August. But I suppose I will stay the course and keep planting this year. I sure hope next year isn't like this.

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