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Spending, Animal and Garden Updates

March 31st, 2014 at 12:16 am

Yesterday we went down to the farm we buy the meat we don't raise ourselves from. I spent $297. For that I got:

6 packages of bacon
1 package bacon ends (they threw in for free)
12 pounds pork chops
12 pounds of hamburger
2 pounds of beef stir-fry
4 2.5 pound chuck roasts
2 packages of uncured hot dogs
2 pounds of ground pork

Yes, it is a little pricey, but it is all pasture-raised and organic, humanely slaughtered animals. The quality of the meat and flavor is incredible, and the nutritional value is higher than CAFO-raised meat when scientifically analyzed. You also feel full faster on this so eat less at a time. We can afford to do this and have made this type of food a priority now that we have no credit card debt. Eventually we hope to raise it all ourselves with the exception of beef.

We are going to can all of the hamburger and 3 of the chuck roasts. I love having home canned food on the shelf for those days I don't feel like cooking at all.

We will also be canning some ground rabbit meat with taco seasoning in it and trying to make some rabbit jerky as well with our new jerky kit (part of my birthday present).

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We've had a rough week here. We lost Piper to an illness similar to the one Sweetie Belle had. This was even more devastating since Piper was pregnant and due on the 5th. She was my first rabbit and my best mother rabbit and she was very sweet and affectionate. We loved her like a pet, even though she was a working part of the farm.

Worse than the fact that we lost her while pregnant, though, is the fact that she was the one carrying the possibility of red kits. We will breed Wildfire to Phoebe soon and hopefully we will get some reds out of that. The female reds are too young still to breed.

A couple of days before Piper died we lost one of our young bucks. No sign of illness at all in him or on him, he was fine the night before and just dropped dead overnight. This happened once before quite some time ago. So I don't know what is going on, but we've discontinued using fodder and are sticking with straight pellets, hay, and greens from the yard and garden.

There is no sign of illness in the other rabbits at all. Having new, young life around also helps not to get as depressed when there is unexpected animal death. Although I think you should always be expecting some animal death on a farm. It is the nature of the beast.

At least the little ducklings and chicks are all doing just fine. We moved them to their new brooder boxes in the garage this afternoon. They have more space than in the bathtub. The brooder boxes we built are 4 x 4 by 2, so twice as much space to move around in. We went with sand for the floor as it is much easier to keep clean, just using a cat litter scoop on a pole. Sand is what ducks like to be on in nature and it dries out quickly, especially under a heat lamp. The chicks seem to like it, too.

The older chickens, especially Curious and Georgie, had to come in to the garage and see what all the peeps and cheeps were about. Georgie got up on the hay bale so she could see into the brooder box with the chicks, and Curious perched on the back of a chair to peek in at the ducklings. Then we shooed them out and shut the door so that we didn't have to worry about the older ones trying to get in with the little ones and boss them about.

We spent about $200 on fencing and brooder box supplies. We will spend about another $125 on supplies to build the duck house and we need to buy a miter saw and possibly a reciprocating saw. These are all planned purchases.

We are putting up the fencing this evening. Hopefully we will get it all done. We have to fence off the chickens from the pasture area we are reseeding with red and white clover. They won't like it much, but they'll just have to deal. The next door neighbor is going on vacation for 3 weeks so said we could open up the gate between our fences and let the chickens into her backyard since her dogs will be with her kids. That will distract them at least while the clover has a chance to establish itself.

I am getting anxious to start the garden. It is too soon to be planting outside yet, our average last day of frost is 4/15, but we've had surprise snows and frosts as late as the last week of April, so anything we plant between the 15th and the end of the month can be at risk and will need to be protected.

We will try to rototill some compost in though before DH goes back to Alaska. We are aiming to grow all of the green beans, peppers, and all of the tomatoes we need for the year. A few other things, too, but those are the main two goals since we eat green beans, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, chili, and salsa all the time through the year. We need the tomatoes for a base.

We want to plant a good portion of our potatoes, carrots, kale, chard, and cabbage for the year. And of course there will be just the fresh eating foods like lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, broccoli, cucumbers (for fresh and pickling), zucchini, squash, melons, and peas.

We will have our blueberries, raspberries, and apples taken care of from our perennial plantings and will likely do a massive U-pick for our strawberries. I had meant to plant some but there isn't much space for it with all the other foods we want to grow and since we can get organic strawberries locally it is one less thing to try to find a space for. Unless...hmm, we might be able to do it on the patch between us and the neighbor. We'll have to ask her if she minds. She can certainly have some.

I really wish our house would sell so we could buy our farm and get moving on doing this stuff on five acres instead of squeezing it all on to just under a 1/2 acre. We keep having interested people but they don't have their finances in order. *sighs* Why do people go house hunting without getting their finances in order first? I will never understand that.

5 Responses to “Spending, Animal and Garden Updates”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Sorry to hear of Piper's death. That has to be hard.

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm sorry to hear about your animal losses.

  3. PNW Mom Says:

    So sorry for the loss of your animals....hugs.....

  4. Looking Forward Says:

    Sorry to read about your bunnies. Frown Sounds like everything else is on track. Here's hoping your house sells so I can enjoy reading about your ranch search! Smile

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    From your mouth to God's ear, LF.

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