Here's another, "have you hands full", meaning to be busy. Four months ago I took on a part-time job as our church secretary. I also opened a booth at our local farmer's market once a week. With Heeby-Jeeby Dad often away at his day job for 12 hours or more, my time is spent alone, or more specifically in the company of dozens of non-English speaking critters. This gives me time to explore new ways of making a living on our farm. After the disastrous shearing of our new sheep (Next time will be better, I promise), I knew the wool was "worthless" at market, so I had to get creative. Voila! Pinterest to the rescue. (Don't judge me).
Now I have these wool combs I fashioned all by myself, also known as husband bonkers, that I spend a few minutes each day creating roving for various projects. Wet felting, dry felting, spinning, stuffing, batting...the possibilities are wonderful! When my "hands are full", the creative juices start flowing and there are things to look forward to. When idle, I get fidgety and eat cookies.
We also purchased a new milk goat knowing that our other girl could not keep up with the demand of milk and cheese we are experiencing. Since I am a "hands on" kind of girl, I settled into my seat at the nearby animal auction and with bidding card "in hand" I waited. Without further ado, may I introduce Lily.
It was love at first sight! She was destined for the slaughter house and I was determined she would go home with me instead. Poor thing had not been milked for a couple of days and her udder was nearly touching the ground. Her hooves were overgrown and curling under her feet, and she was skin and bones, but she had the sweetest face and a calm disposition so she HAD to be saved. We are still having a hard time getting her to fatten up, even with free choice grain and supplements, but her hair is shiny, her feet are trimmed, and her milk production is udderly fantastic. Sorry, couldn't help myself.
The ewes did their jobs well and produced five gorgeous lambs this year, three ram lambs and two ewe lambs. We were hoping for more ewes since we would hold those back for our own flock, but this is a good beginning. As usual, the names we come up with make no sense to anyone but us. There was Hamlet, Cornelius, and Philip; all three went to auction after they were weaned. The girls are Marigold and Gizmo. We tried to stick with flowery names but obviously failed. All five sheep will need sheared soon, so we will " try our hand" at it again. Maybe this time I can beat my record of 5 hours and 15 minutes?! No, not for all of them, for one of them. You read that correctly. They hated me for days afterwards.
The Heeby-Jeeby Hatchery did great this year with a record number of specific breed chicks sold, and a few laying hens and ducks too. The new incubator Alexa brought me was invaluable and not having to turn eggs by hand three times a day was a nice time-saver. It also allowed us to transfer the eggs to our homemade incubator during the hatch so they could be warm and cozy away from the other eggs. We will be expanding even more during the fall months and creating an area in the new garage for a brooding pen and two more brooding tubs to keep our weekly hatches rotated. I am really proud of our accomplishments this year in keeping the death toll to a minimum by having a secure pen, egg house, and foliage cover. While never a fun topic to discuss, it is the sad truth of chicken farming; some chickens will die every year, unexpectedly, by either illness, injury, or attack. So far we have had only two! Out of 40 adult birds and 60 new chicks, having only two expire is a blessing. We did have two others try to commit suicide under our tires on the tractor, but both luckily came out with only broken legs and a much wiser focus, which I guess goes "hand in hand!". Silly birds.
That's a wrap, folks. Is anyone else sick of the "handy" way I threw in all those hand words? C'mon, seriously, let me see a "show of hands". Sorry, sometimes my left hand does not know what my right hand is doing. Ok, I'm done now. I really need to get busy.
Happy farming everyone!