Sunday, March 21, 2021

Please Bear With Me


Sorry for the long silence. I decided to breed three ewes this year just to keep my flock viable and to make better use of my pasturage. The old flock had become far too large for me to manage and much larger than we would ever need for sustainable living as well, so we downsized. Most of the ewe's we kept were what I called the invalid/retired flock but also included a useless whether and one nice ewe who had no Ram available for romance along with four ewes who could be bred to my remaining Ram. Well one of the breedable ewe's died before breeding season and I lost one older ewe recently as well and the remaining flock is just not enough to even keep one pasture under control.

So I put three ewes in last November with the ram. Now of course two go into labor at the same time and one decides to have the most difficult delivery of her entire career as well. We lost one lamb and had to bottle feed her first lamb as she cannot take care of it yet. She had a lamb that was not entering the birth canal and I could not reach it to help her. I say this now but as of last evening I was not 100% sure she had another lamb still to be born. I could not feel anything and there was no sign of one in the birth canal nor one I could feel when I tried but I was pretty sure there was one. I checked her every hour on the hour, She wouldn't/couldn't stand up, was not able to nurse her one live lamb even when I rolled her over a bit and held the tit for him and I had another ewe who had already had twins I was taking care of too.

Needless to say I have done nothing but mess with pregnant ewes for more than a few days now, on top of trying to get everything ready for a week or more before this and attempting to keep the ewes out of the mud plus putting out spot fires for the last few weeks, Mostly in the form of making sure no more tin panels pop up from the roof in the 30+ MPH winds we been dealing with.

I really dislike early Spring. I also noticed the grass is growing again too so soon I am going to be mowing constantly.... grrrrrrrrr.

Anyway I finally had to call the vet this morning. Right before his arrival I checked the ewe again and could finally see the first signs of the remaining lamb in the form of hooves. Almost 14 hours after she first went into labor. We got the lamb pulled and this time the Vet did the checking which included a much deeper check then I was afraid to do myself if you get my meaning.

OK I admit it I am NOT the best midwife in the world but I really thought checking that far up would cause some serious damage.

Now we have a bottle baby and a ewe I am hopeful will survive after the vet visit and medication. She appears more alert now and is sitting up but still has not stood up. I hope she will take the lamb back but the verdict is not in yet if she will survive.

One more ewe to go now and she is a first timer so no telling how she is goign to react.

Wish me luck and Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

That Time Again


Thank the Lord my barn is in better shape than the one in the picture. I didn't use a picture of my own barn cause it is pretty distinctive around these parts but this gives the general idea. March brings with it the wind around here on the edge of the plains and wind doesn't mix well with old metal barn roofs. Dealing with roof panels is pretty much a routine yearly thing at the Small-Hold. I try to limit it as much as possible but the end result is I find several places I missed and therefore need to go back up there a few times before Spring is over. If you ignore even the smallest problem it can become a large one very quickly when dealing with old metal roof panels. 

I can't really complain this year so far. All my repairs from last Summer have held well and even in 30+ MPH winds I don't hear any tell tale bangs or squeaks, Except for one panel. I had some nails loosening up on the Southeast corner that try as I might I could not get a good angle on to sink a roofing screw into last Summer so I tried just replacing the nails and it did not work which has resulted in about half the panel pulling up and flapping in the wind.

I can't let that go very long trust me.

Let me explain the roof a bit more. The Barn was supposedly built in the early 1920's out of oak that is now so hard you cannot drive a nail into it. The roof supports are a different wood of course but I can only assume it was one that had the old cross grain pattern for holding nails better. I am slowly attempting to replace the nails as they pull out with larger self tapping screws complete with rubberized washers but occasionally I still have to make an emergency repair with nails here and there. This time the nails failed again so I had to attack the problem with a shorter ladder from the ground to get the angle right. I got it screwed down so all is well but the seasonal roof watch is now on.

It is a 100% guarantee a new section will begin pulling up before the Spring storm season is over.

Our roof pitch is just low enough that I can walk the thing but I am finding it harder and harder to do for any length of time the older I get. I had to replace two panels a few years back but all that remain look to be in very good shape yet except for the nail pulling problem. Either I will eventually replace all the nails with screws or maybe just buy a new professional roof install someday. Who knows?

I do know one thing though. The Barn roof I had to work on as a kid was an 8 section Gambrel style and that was much more of a pain then the flat 30 degree pitch I have to deal with now. Of course now that I think on it though the Gambrel style didn't pull up as much either.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

And the Water Flows


Everything is all back together and working properly once again. I had to chip out a 4x3x2 inch notch in the concrete foundation wall to get far enough below the cracks of the incoming water line to cut and splice in the new section of pipe. Otherwise the isolate, shut off and drain tactic I used a few years back worked to save all the other pipes in the house except the small section under the kitchen that I did not shut off soon enough. The end result was all the replacement parts came in under 20 bucks total. It could very well have been much worse. 

Honestly this was a much needed wake up call for us. I should have listened to my prior experience and shut the North lines down as soon as negative temps were predicted. I did shut off the barn line but I should have also shut off the kitchen line too. Had I done that everything would have been fine I think. The last few years of milder cold fronts made me lazy and gave me a false sense of security. Going back over fixes I made almost a decade ago also confirmed that I should not have stretched things as far as I have. We should have been out of this old farm house five years ago but family issues and switching my main focus on fences, pastures and hay storage/production took my attention away from the house. 

The foundation has obviously continued to shift as many of the cracks I fixed years ago have widened. By the looks of things it isn't going to last too many more years. I think the time has come to knock this old Frankenstein farm house down but that means dealing with government red tape and I am not fond of that at all. Around here there is only one form of county building regulation but it is so oppressive that it has stopped a number of potential home construction in it's tracks. That is septic regulations.

I have heard rumors that the over restrictive regulations I looked into almost 8 years ago have been reduced somewhat but I don't know that for a fact. I guess the first step is to get all that figured out once again. The second, and possibly most time consuming step, will be getting the Mrs. to agree and get moving. She is notoriously more stubborn and ill tempered about moving on things sometimes than an old donkey and the older I get the less I want to deal with that. Probably why I focus so much on the barn, pastures and out buildings as the only opinion that matters out there are mine LMAO. If she disagrees I simply hand her whatever tools I am using and tell her she can do it as she likes. That almost always works :)

Having said all that we are still not 100% finished with unloading all the stuff left behind from my Mother. I ahve an entire out building full of her old furniture and other assorted junk to deal with. 

It never ends.

Still we more than managed to survive without piped in water for almost a week. The largest problem was of course keeping the livestock watered which we did by hauling snow as long as that lasted and then using the cistern water storage I got working almost a decade ago for just such an emergency. It wasn't ideal of course but it worked. Of course the snow hauling was cheating a bit since it relied on the water heaters to melt it once I put it in the troughs and we did take showers at my Dad's place. 

Lots a decisions and directions yet to make. It never ends.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Winter Weather Fatality and Failure


Alright let me start with an apology. Yes we did in fact have a death here at The Small-Hold but I seriously doubt it had anything to do with the Winter Freeze we been having. My adding that to the post title was really kinda misleading and click-baitish of me but I couldn't resist.

Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning we did in fact lose a ewe. One that has been around as long as I can remember and doesn't even have a birth entry in the records I have which go back 14 years at this point. What that means is she was one of the original purchase sheep my Mother bought around 15 or 16 years ago. That all makes sense as she was a cross breed of what looked like a Romney and Mini-Chauvet (sp?). Which was a cross that only happened once on this farm. She had a long history of producing many excellent lambs herself but was one of the few of her small breed that was kept. She also hasn't been bred in five years. She was one of the retired girls who had earned her pension. At any rate I noticed her not eating much back before this cold snap hit us and I been trying to feed her off by herself and babying her a bit for almost a month but she was just slowly getting weaker and weaker. The vet basically said there was no single illness that should be effecting her at this time of year like she was acting and he and I both knew at her age it was pointless to try much anyway. I put her in the barn nestled in hay Tuesday evening and that is where we found her Wednesday morning. Since she was at least 15 years old I am calling it simple old age at this point.

Finding a dead ewe turned out to be the least of my worries about Wednesday though. I left The Small-Hold before dawn just as the snow was starting to fall once again with the outside temp according to my car being -9. About half way to work I chose to keep going even though the snow was getting kinda heavy and I even said out loud I was probably going to regret it. 

Regret it is an under statement.

Sure enough I hadn't been at work even two hours when Mrs. PP calls and tells me there is water spraying all over the basement. My son managed to find the main shut-off I had installed for the water but the other one I had shut off that went to the kitchen had failed somehow. I still don't know what happened if the shut-off was already froze when I shut it off or what but whatever it was it hadn't worked but had just been frozen not actually off. As the basement thawed out the break revealed itself.....

At the worst possible time it could pick.

By the time I got home the water was off but I had about 3 foot of water in the basement again that needed pumped out before I could see what was going on. It was then that I realized I had screwed up and NOT saved a hose. They were all frozen. Took me hours to get one ready and by that time I had other frozen areas from no water flow in the pipes. At that point I inspected the main pipe that comes in from the outside line and noticed a line of ice around it as well so we called the county water guys and had em turn us off at the outside main until it thaws enough for me to inspect the damage. 

Luckily I still have the emergency cistern and hand pump available for getting water to the sheep and goats. Well when it isn't frozen solid anyway. I also plan on transporting 20 gallons or so from work each day too as they don't mind so as soon as it thaws enough I will need to once again start redoing my plumbing. 

I can't complain much though this has been the first failure in my design in over a decade and it was bound to happen. The modular design with cut offs has served me well the real failure was my own laziness in not making sure the shut off worked this time.  Of course I still don't know the fullness of the damage I maybe singing a different tune next week.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Animal Update


Not a new picture I admit. I really need to get a glare filter as the snow cover pretty much ruins any pics I tried taking in this weather.

As of my morning rounds this AM and again my early afternoon rounds I just got finished with all animals around the Small-Hold are accounted for and appear to be in good shape. The ram is a bit grumpy though as he wants more fresh hay from this seasons round bales and not the old stuff I been feeding him since his other bale froze.

All the chickens were out this morning although they did not venture far they were all there. Nugget was released back into the goat pasture but we will need to see if the dominant female kicks her out of the house again tonight. Nugget seemed pleased with her much warmer over night accommodations and barely made a sound all night although she did wait until we got her out and were heading for the door before she decided to leave some solid traces behind. When we brought her in last night she was standing in the blowing snow shivering and could barely move so I had to carry her inside. I have no doubt she would have succumbed to the cold if we had not brought her in.

The sheep of course don't see what all the fuss is about and only seem a bit pissy about the snow covering up all the left over grass. The 2 to 3 foot drifts are not much of a problem as they just plow through them without really noticing. They also have a new bales I manged to get out for them so they just focus on that.

About 3 AM this morning I stood out in the snow by the wood furnace and figured out why the Ram's water is always low. I watched about half a dozen rabbits come by and climb the snow drift next to his water bucket and dip their heads over the edge. They were scattered by a cat I have never seen before who took a quick drink and this morning I noticed a set of coyote tracks leading up to it as well. I guess he stuck his head in through the fence. I always figured we were running a Winter water hole for most of the wild and feral animal population but I have never been able to actually witness it in action before.

We got up to 12 degrees this afternoon and it feels like heaven. My one mistake through all this was I should have hooked up the blade on the 8N so it would be ready to use to cut through the snow drifts. Other than that looks like we are slowly starting to climb out of this frozen hell bit by bit. Still have a few more negative nights left they say but hopefully they will not stay around long although another snow dump is possible tonight and tomorrow morning.


Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!



Monday, February 15, 2021

We're Still Here!!!


We have had basically four days straight with temps under 8 degrees and the last three have not climbed above 2 or 3 degrees total. Wind chills have varied but have been as low as -20's. We still have running water in the bathroom though!!!! All other lines have been shut down as conditions left us with no choice but to shut em down before they froze up. Honestly I am amazed I have not had to shut the entire water off once and for all. 

Any of you remember when we were kids the old folks saying "It's too cold to snow"? Well they were liars. There is no low end range I guess. We got drifts 2 to 3 foot deep in places and it is still snowing. The only bright side to all this is it's a very dry snow.

The water tank heaters stopped keeping up this morning. Well two of the three did. I been breaking the ice on them about every four hours but the ewes don't even seem to care. The ram's water is still staying open but he won't even get out of his hay bed and the chickens have retreated into their coop and formed a ball similar to the one bee's form when they swarm. I also added a bunch of hay into the coop so they have insulation around them. I go out three times a day with water and food for them.

The goats are another problem. The house the three of them have been sharing for years is stuffed full of hay and unless I go out with grain all I see of them is their little horny faces. However now the lead goat Houdini has decided the small goat Nugget has no need to be in there and keeps kicking her out. She has been looking miserable standing in the cold wind all afternoon so looks like we are putting her in the huge dag crate and bringing her in the house for the night. That will be a first.

One more night supposedly of this frozen hell and the temps are predicted to climb into the teens again. I can handle teens for extended periods easily. All the work I have done on this old house I have managed to Winterize it fairly well even down into the negative temps as long as they don't stay around for days with high wind chills. Unfortunately this has been one of those rare Alberta Clippers that chose to move in for weeks. Wasn't until Sunday things started getting dicey though.

One more night...


Keep Prepping Everyone!!!! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021


We've managed to survive the first half a week of arctic intrusion here at the Small-Hold. It's been at least two years if not three since I have had to breakout and then continuously man the old Winter Emergency Defense system. The batteries were dead and one of the remote sensors doesn't work but all the major plumbing modifications and the emergency space heater were still operational. It's a damned good thing too. My submersible pump also broke. I still have a drain issue from the county ditch backing up into the basement during really bad rain storms so I have been using the pump fairly regularly. Right before all these horror temperatures showed up we got a good downpour of rain (of course) and so I turned the pump on.

I really need to do a post about my unique back up problem. See if anyone has suggestions on how I should fix it.

Anyway. The top few millimeters of threads broke off the pump and sprayed water everywhere. By the time I got everything under control and managed to get the drain hose attached to the last bit of threads and start pumping again the temp was dropping fast. Took almost 20 hours of pumping in teen and single digit temps before the water finally froze in the ditch enough to stop coming in the basement. I seriously need to look at a permanent fix to this problem soon. I have been attempting to find the outside end of that drain but cannot locate it. If I could I would close it up there but my theory is it is NOT a metal or PVC pipe but an old clay one that has collapsed but still lets the water come up in our basement.

With single digits every night and low teens as highs during the day over the last five days even the sheep are starting to show the stress. The rain soaked into one round bale to the point I cannot unroll it now and the cold has made it impossible to get my old tractors going. We filled the goat house full of insulating hay and the three goats have not come out of there since. I also used a couple of the square bales to lay a bed down for the ewes in the center of the barn and even they only make brief trips out for food and water, same with the Ram but he has a special stall with outside fenced in access.

I had to turn the water off to the barn and open the freeze taps so the pipes wouldn't burst and we have been carrying water out from the house as we feed. Luckily with only 9 ewes, 1 ram, 3 little goats and 6 chickens watering by hand in -10 wind chills has not been too daunting a task yet but the worst is supposedly yet to come.

Honestly as much as I despise the cold arctic temps it isn't because they make me uncomfortable it is just all the unique problems and extra work plus constant observations that annoy me. It is probably a good thing I was forced to visit the old extreme cold defenses before I got even more rusty with the drill. 

My tune may change come this weekend when the really cold temperatures are suppose to hit.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

If You Are Reading This You Are The Resistance


It's been one week since the siege began and I must say I do not think this time around is going to pan out like the Obummer years did. Resistance seems to be rising hard and fast and whats more important a palatable mood of remorse also seems to be spreading with almost wildfire like growth. I am not sure why so many people are honestly surprised by any of the racist, hateful moves Bite-me and his Femocrats are doing. It isn't like thousands of us didn't warn them ahead of time what their true motivations were. Still the damage they are going to do before things change is going to be so great I cringe to think about it.

I started this blog to chronicle our road from being an average paycheck to paycheck sheeple flock to a place of sustainable living. I quickly figured out what I was aiming for was not really possible at least not in the end result I was aiming for. That story is for another post but suffice it to say what I realized was true sustainable living now that can be transferred to sustainable living during a collapse are basically two entirely different worlds and the real test is being able to live in one while preparing for the other. That is the trick and surviving the return of the Femocrat Multi-Cult Regime is one aspect of that.

We are All the Resistance.

The first thing that stands out to me now after almost four years of silence is that the range of information sites I used to rely on has dwindled considerably. Many of them caved into the commercial success, some like Drudge sold out, others just disappeared entirely. As I attempt to build a new pool of information sites I will link ones I find here. Today I stumbled across this uploader on YouTube from Australia..

Of course we are going to have to go out of country to get actual news but these guys sure laid it all out. I hope they continue as I will definitely put them on my watch list. I trust it works I am still trying to remember how to do video inserts and all that.

My guess at the moment is The Small-Hold is pretty protected for a bit. I never let my stock piles dwindle and have been rotating a lot of stored food. Biteme's new taxes on gun and related purchases don't effect me much since I lost most every firearm I owned in a boating accident and had a large stockpile before that anyway. I downsized most stock and other endeavors so they can be provided for even if we cannot buy feed again. Fuel would be an issue of course as I have let that stockpile lessen so that is the one vulnerable area we are facing now.

Staying informed is the number one activity right now. We need as much of an early warning as we can get right now.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!