Thursday, July 9, 2015

Worst Year Ever





See that nasty brown grass above? That was the hay field at about this time of year back in 2012 during the drought. The drought sucked. I ended up losing almost all my bee hives over the Winter because they refused to build up enough due to the lack of forage. They went into Fall light and even though I fed sugar syrup they just didn't have enough bees to make it through Winter.

But let me tell you all something. During that drought I got more done around this place than I had ever managed to do in the eight years I been working on resurrecting this old place. The grass barely grew, the weeds withered and died, everything was dry and easy to deal with.

Compared to this constant rain a drought looks like paradise to me right now.  In all the years I been doing this I have never once sat my ass down in a chair and seriously contemplated quitting until today.

Yesterday we got another 3 inches or so of rain. My gauge gets a bit iffy after about 2 inches so it could have been more. It rained all day and into the night. It rained when the radar map showed us as being dry, it rained this morning some. We were blessed with about 6 whole hours of sunlight during the late morning and early afternoon but then it clouded up around 2 or 3 and started sprinkling again by 5. They are forecasting more rain tonight again.

I AM SICK OF IT.

I have treated all the sheep three times now with every level of worming formula the veterinarians recommend.  We only lost the one ewe but I got another one who's bottom jowls under her jaw have blown up like a balloon. On the plus side with her though I think she is actually getting better today but that's about the only bright spot I got except for the six hours of sun. The sick ewe was up and at least interested in food, that's a big improvement over yesterday.

The ground is a fucking swamp. Sorry about language but well I slipped. Seriously I haven't worn anything but mud boots in months. The inside of the barn has been flooded so many times I had to shut the poor ewes and lambs out of it. It was seriously unhealthy for them and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it because every time I muck it out it just rains so hard the water comes in again the next day and turns whatever was left into more mud and swamp. The grass in the yard is now once again at calf level and too wet to mow not that I have time to mow it anyway since I am trying to keep the sheep clean and in the right paddock all day long.

This morning I went down to the barn to at least start my diesel Ford tractor. I at least start it every other week even though it is still stuck because of the lake that has formed at the entrance to get it out. I went to get on it and there is a %^$$#@@ snake coiled up around the gear shift. I am pretty sure it was a juvenile rat snake but we all know how I feel about snakes in general. Right now they are going anywhere they can to get dry. People's houses, the barn, my shop, my damned tractor apparently. I went to start the thing after the snake fled and nothing. The light came on when I turned the key but the old girl wouldn't hit a lick. I think something has pulled out one or more of the wires that go to the starter but it's so dark in there I can't tell and I really didn't feel like standing in ankle deep mud for a few hours to figure it out.

I will deal with the tractor when I can pull her out into the sun I guess. There is actually mold growing on the dirty parts of her by the way. Mold.... On my damned tractor!!!!!

The weeds are so far out of control I have just given up. I simply don't care anymore. We have been eating a lot of Zucchini out of the garden though so that's a plus. The grapes are now molding on the vine and everything else but my beans are either weed choked or stunted.

I just can't get anything done. or at least not enough to make a difference. It's just constant rain and it has made it impossible to do anything. As I said earlier at least in a drought I was able to work on things. I could put up fences, reclaim brush, selectively water the garden. The sheep were nice and dry and happy and healthy.

I also have two 15 gallon rubbermaid totes filled with burr comb and wax cappings that I cannot even render it down to pure beeswax because the $##$#@!! &*%%$# Sun never shines long enough to use my solar wax melter.

I seriously sat down today and thought about loading the entire flock up into the stock trailer and taking them to market. Actually it would probably take me two loads but at least it would be one problem off my plate until these damned rains stop. Then I went out to the paddock to trim some low branches off the Cedar trees the girls use as a shade awning sometimes. Seven came up and tried to nibble on my battery powered chainsaw, Boris playfully headbutted me and Sandwich pawed at me while all the rest came up looking for food.

I just couldn't make myself load em all up. 

I went and trimmed some low branches off a couple of the Boxelder trees I needed to get out of the way in case it ever stops raining long enough for me to mow ever again. The sheep LOVE Boxelder leaves so I threw em the big branches and they attacked them like a bunch of wool covered piranha. I made my son take a video of it I hope to up load sometime.

Anyway these rains have to stop sometime. I just hope it happens before November or so.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!




33 comments:

  1. I don't know about sheep but box elder is toxic to horses.

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    1. fjord - I have never seen the horses chomp down on a Boxelder tree. Then again just about everything is toxic to horses. I have seen the sheep chow down on Boxelder trees inside their paddocks for a couple years now with no ill effects but in all honesty I doubt even one good sized tree would have enough leaves on it to make all the sheep ill even if I dropped it down live for them. They literally do attack it like a swarm of piranha. With 45 sheep hitting the limbs I gave em I doubt they got more than 3 leaves each :)

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    2. Ha. That's good.
      But some of your readers might know. Cherry is also toxic.

      I lost a nice red and white holstein calf that ate yew. Someone threw it over the fence into our pasture.

      Sorry your troubles with the weather.
      That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Esp. In farming. We had our share of dead cows; hardware, stray voltage, DA's, bloat. Silo fires. tracter accidents. Never a dull time farming

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    3. fjord - Oh I know this is also a widespread thing but it had pretty much sucked all the will out of me the other day.

      I think the snake thing put me in a bad mood :)

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  2. PP - you must be sick to death of all of that rain! i am sorry that it just won't stop and that you can't get anything done - that's a horrible feeling! starting tomorrow morning i will go out and do reverse rain-dances for you...usually when you do a rain dance, it's to ask for rain. a reverse rain-dance asks for no more rain. i'll do it in your honour and don't worry buddy - i'll make you proud.

    seriously though - i think i would be stark raving mad right about now if we had all of that rain - yer a stalwart, tho, and never let it get you too down. and you keep trying to keep all of your animals healthy. my hat would be off to you if i ever wore one.

    sending much love and completely understand your frustration! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. kymber - it has been nerve wracking to say the least. Hopefully it will start to dry up now though.

      Thanks for your words of sympathy you always make me smile :)

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  3. But you have to look out west, those folks would love to have all that rain. besides, won't the sheep eat all that grass and stuff?? Maybe you need to build an ARK??? big shit eating grin....

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    1. Rob - The sheep are eating that's for sure. The problem is allt he wet creates very unhealthy conditions for them as well. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that sheep are much easier prey so they also need to be put up at night. I can't leave em out in cleaner conditions like I could cattle.

      Perhaps a large floating island like the Chinese?

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  4. When mother nature throws big poo poo's it makes you feel like throwing in the towel, you start thinking is it all worth it, but deep down you know it is, when it all goes tits up you will be thankful you stuck it out.
    The sun will shine again I am sure :-)

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    1. Dawn - You are right of course. I was starting to think the sheep were just too much work but it is of course special circumstances.

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  5. I number of years ago we had a long damp spring-early summer. Stayed relatively cool. Then in late July it turned into a normal hot-dry period for North Carolina overnight. The shock killed at least as many plants as the deep drought a few years before that had.

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    1. Russ - Well at this point all the useful plants are pretty much already dead. I would be happy to see things turn back to normal right now and dry this crap up. I have officially condemned the barn now until it does.

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  6. When I was into archaeology many years ago, we were talking about how there was once an Indian city near St. Louis with I think a million or so people in the area. It just vanished and we can't blame it on nasty white men this time as it was way before contact. The thought was that it was a drought over 2 or 3 years that destroyed the crops but hearing your story, it could have been drought and wet or some combination. It just goes to show how civilization can be thriving one day and gone the next, not even an executive order from a great tyrant can fix nature.

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    1. Sf - I haven't thought about that old mound dweller area they got over there in years. That's an interesting theory. I honestly think this over rain has hurt more crops than the drought did. At least some stuff did survive the drought and you could keep some stuff watered. Hmmmm makes me think.

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  7. Your weather is a lot like ours, only I am trying to help my farmer clients make a living with their crops. I'm already suspecting some of them are going to have such a bad year financially they won't be able to survive, although I haven't told them yet. The rivers are flooding us out because of all the rain you are getting and sending downstream to us. I'll post a few pictures on my blog showing what I am dealing with. Cheer up, the August drought will be here before you know it!

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    1. SD - LOL I know. I really thought July would bring back the normal stuff and when it didn't it really got me frustrated.

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  8. Feeling your pain on a smaller scale. This sucks!

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  9. I'd like to be a voice of encouragement, but Mother Nature is gonna be the worst enemy of the sustainer.

    Dig deep, my friend, and find that tenacity that I've gotten to equate you with.

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    1. HG and K - Thanks for the words of encouragement. I feel much better today actually :)

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  10. Yes this rain this year a blessing on one end here as our lakes and such were seriously scary low. But it pretty much did in my garden. I have canned less than 100 jars this year, last 400 and I dried a ton of stuff on top of that. I know its just wearing you out. Hang in there.

    I know exactly what its like to battle what we called "bottle jaw" in goats anyway. Parasites here in our super humid hot weather were always a battle with the goats. Its surely wearing! It is partly why we do not raise goats anymore here. The amount of wormer it takes to keep them under control here is just stupid. Rotating 3 different kinds of meds and worming more often than the suggested time (per the vet). I didn't feel good about all that. I bawled like a baby when we made the final decision to sell out. whew it was a sad day. But I know in the long run it was right for us. Cubey my little goat I just had in my post, now if they could figure out what she is made of people in these parts could raise goats so much easier. In all the years we had goats never once even when the other goats were getting bottle jar did she come down with it. She has never been sick ever with anything! I don't know why. But if they were all like her I would have 100.

    I guess massive rain surely gets the snakes moving, they are here too! We have a lot of snakes anyway here always. You just haven't lived till you have gotten up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and stepped on a snake in your living room floor! Yes really.

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    1. Texan - We had a snake come in and say hi about the end of April. The wife still says it was Mr. Snake that made her head explode :) I never saw all of him as only his tail was hanging out between the wood stove flu and the ceiling. Somehow he had managed to get in the rafter space. Black snakes in the house and buildings is a constant Spring and Summer issue around here. The Mrs. hates em even more than I do. At least I can stay my hand when it comes to Blacksnakes.

      Ya the wormers are costing us a bunch. It's insane.

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  11. What they've all said. Hang in there, buddy.

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    1. RP - Thanks!!!! I feel better about it today.

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  12. PP,

    We feel your pain my friend, were in the same boat. Our garden is and has been flooded. Only certain things have survived, everything else is fighting to stay alive. There's mold and fungus among us growing every where. This year has been totally disappointing, I'm praying the rain will just stop long enough to dry things out. That's not going to happen, expecting more rain. This time of year, we would have been harvesting and canning all kinds of vegetables so far I've pulled onions, a hand full of tomatoes, strawberries, and jalapenos..............everything else is just sitting there soaking wet. It's disappointing, and I contemplate throwing in the towel.

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    1. Sandy - Ya the garden and raised beds are a disaster. We did get a fair amount of Strawberries, early Peaches, Asparagus and now some Zucchini though. It's going to take me months to get them back into order for next year's use though.

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  13. It's crazy down here in my part, too. I have the same problem with my grapes. We are getting some sun. We'll have 100% humidity for the next few days.

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    1. Mushroom - Ain't nothin like the 95 degree plus days with 100% humidity is there?

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  14. Damn, when are you going to stop kidding around and tell us what you really think?

    Carl in the UP

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    1. LOL subtlety has never been my strong point :)

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  15. We are out of the rain and into (what I assume) are typical summers here. I could do with a little more just to help my water conservation.

    Funny thing is, this is invisible to most folks. Imagine when it actually impacts their lives.

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    1. TB - I think rain like this would surprise most when it really matters to them. Weather in general actually.

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  16. I feel ya! I've thought about selling all my animals several times this year. The barn is disgusting and my goats won't step foot out of it when it rains. I'm pretty sure all my crappy roofs to almost every chicken pen and rabbit hutch need to be replaced, they all leak like crazy now. On the plus side I'm sure the bees love it. My inlaws land is bursting with flowers. We found tons of wild plum thickets this year and have been foraging like crazy. Blackberries too. It's a bee paradise there right now. Looks dry for awhile here. I'm hoping to clean everything up AGAIN and pray there won't be a monsoon for awhile

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    1. Kelly - I finally had to just close the barn off. It is just too yucky to let them go in. They can shelter under the Cedars and my trailer for a few days until things dry out.

      The rain has been good for bee forage but it also keeps many of them locked inside the hive too.

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