I was over at Homesteading neophyte and I realised that I haven't really given you all an update on my babies. The cows are enjoying the winter for the most part, yesterday they found it to be cold and spent most of their time in the barn. The biggest challenge has been water, dh goes out at least 3 times daily to make sure that they have water, often he has to run about 50 feet of hose from the well-house since the pipe by the barn is frozen. :( They have really enjoyed the weekly hay delivery schedule we set up with the old owner. He is such a great guy, we feel really blessed to get the bales at such a great price delivered. I had noticed that hay prices were rising but I have not experienced any increase since the first bale we ordered in the summer.
The cows haven't escaped in a long time, and they have had opportunity. There have been several occasions that the electric fence has been out, happens from time to time when the winds pick up. Lot has taken to raiding the pig food to check for his favorite fruits, lol. Marian is waddling more and more, we'll have a baby soon. Christmas still has a little ways to go before we have another baby, but she is looking good. Treva is such a sweetie, the kids have been helping dh more with the milking and she is very patient with them. The calves are still as playful as ever, they both look so fuzzy with their winter coats on, lol.
The pigs are so big now, it is amazing to see them. I am glad that they have the smaller section of the barn to roam. Unlike the cows they get restless and often need to go roaming the property. It hasn't been too bad, they usually just wonder around eating any green grass they find, then follow us around back to their pen. I imagine that they must really love all the warm milk they get.
I am looking at different options for keeping chickens this year, we would also like to keep bees. The only home improvement project will be to have a fireplace put in that can heat the house. The plan is to put it on the backside of the other fireplace as that is the heart of our house. I am planning to do a really good purge of all the clothes we own, now that we know that our dryer is gas we will need to make sure that the clothing being washed and dried are actually part of our current wardrobe. (I don't expect to like this project). I have been feeling better, my energy seems to finally be returning.
I made butter 2 days ago as EE's bus driver wanted some and I wanted to get back to doing stuff :) The mixer worked very well but it takes so much cream to make a pound of butter, I see why it is so very expensive at little farms. I hope to get to making some cheddar cheese soon, my friend Jennifer made some and it looked so very delicious. Being a cheddar lover, I am very excited to make the white cheddar I grew up eating. The little antique store in the town before us is going out of business and the owner is always willing to make a deal :) He has been getting me all the canning jars he can find in his warehouse, I am preparing my storeroom to be able to accept all the canned food we can do this year. He also had several (16) pie pans that I opted to take off his hands, bring on your pie recipes :) I have a tree order that will need to be placed soon, the Kansas department of forestry has a great deal on trees and shrubs (200 trees for $158 delivery included). I plan to order trees that are fruit bearing along with several wind break trees. I still haven't figured out the tractor dilemma, for this year's food planting but a tractor isn't a necessity for this task, it is more of a luxury. We have to pay off the debts we have incurred (medical etc), so that is where the bulk of our tax refund will go, and the rest we will leave in God's hands and pray for His guidance. Well, that's where we are right now.
Quick side note: make sure you don't have a toilet that is continually running, the water bill will be astronomical. We just got a bill from the mobile home for this months and it is 10 times what it normally is, they claim we must have a toilet that is running constantly even though we haven't lived there in all this time. Pray I can find the right words to deal with them. :)