I woke up this morning with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes...Just one of those mornings when I wish I could just lay in bed and sleep all day but I have too many sad thoughts racing through my head. There are so many things that should make me go insane in my life....work too many hours, family issues, health issues and on and on....I just don't let too much of it bring me down. I have too many things in life to be thankful for but sometimes, especially at night, these sad thoughts fill my mind and leave me depressed for a bit.
The reason why I have a heavy heart this morning is because I have been thinking a ton about my Dad lately. Maybe it is because I keep diving into the past, thinking about all of the things I have learned and how the people are that taught me the most. My Daddy is loved by so many people. He is just one of those people that everyone likes. He is soft spoken (for the most part) and is kind to everyone. He has never had much in life but always did his best to teach us kids how to survive and how to treat other people. To those who don't know, I haven't seen my Dad in nearly four, no wait five years. He isn't "allowed" to talk to me. My mother is angry with me, so we are all punished for it. I miss him so very much though.
Enough sentimentality for today...I need to focus on something else! Alright, I did a bit of research yesterday on how to make soap and the key ingredient is lye. Well, I did some research on that too. You can make your own, which is going to be one to the projects for today. I am going to set up my "barrel" and with the use of stones, hay, hardwood ashes (which we have a ton of) and water....you can make your own lye. I guess you could say I am going to attempt this the "old school" way. I want the experience of doing this soap making the way our grandparents and great grandparents did it. Once I get the lye, which takes about three days, I will proceed to the next steps. I have a call into a butcher that I know to get the beef tallow and the lard. I am also going to try a recipe that I found using vegetable based materials. I read a little bit yesterday too on how to get your own essential oils, so I am going to be gathering up some stuff to do that as well. My first batch of soap though is going to be a honey oatmeal bar. I have itchy skin, not dry but it just itches and this is suppose to help with that. We will see if it does or not.
Once I get the soap made and it turns out okay, I am going to be giving some away or just charging a small fee for trial testing. If people like them, then I am going to start selling them at the local market level. There is a place not far from me that sells things like that on consignment and they have been bugging me lately for some stuff. I am just trying to think of some stuff that I can do.
The animals are all doing very well. Buck Junior was finally up and walking around yesterday. His back legs are still week but he is getting better with every passing day. His is eating well and now standing up with no assistance. I am so proud of my little buddy. I have chickens who are getting mad at me when I take their eggs now. I guess they are going to turn into great broody hens. I have two of my Rhode Islands leaving to move away today. Rich had a friend at work who lost a couple of his chickens and needs to replace them. I want to cut back our flock to just the Barred Rocks and Don isn't picky about the birds he gets, so it is a win-win situation for us. I have decided that the six remaining birds (Rhode Islands) are going to go to the new neighboors. I am going to give them to the kids. They want chickens to take care of and fresh eggs for breakfast and they will be close. I will help these kids out. They are very nice, very respectful kids who want to start their own little farm, so I will do what I can to help.
Our son-in-law to be called us last night to inform us....yes, I said inform us, that he is bring us too more Jersey's calves on Friday. They are about a week old, so they are about the same age as the other one we have right now. The holsteins that Rich told someone else to bring have still not come, not really sure if they are or not. Nolan (son-in-law) said that they were going to slaughter them (now) and he told them that if they didn't want them that I would take them. So, I guess I will. No harm to me, just two more feedings twice a day. I started looking around yesterday for a Jersey Heifer anyway. I would actually like to start making our own butter, like I used to when I was a kid on my grandparents farm..only now it won't be punishment for eating the veggies out of the cupboard and I sure won't be hand churning like I did back then.
Somehow, I think I am going to end up having a small Jersey herd here before too long. I will be the only farm in 25 miles that has Jersey's so that might not be a bad thing.
I worked yesterday on getting things ready for the lawn to be mowed...The deck on the mower needed new pins and belts. I waited for Rich for about two weeks now, decided enough was enough and did it myself. It was a good thing I checked the filter though...there was a field mouse inside that had chewed up about 1/4 of the filter and stuff the whole filter area and top of the motor full of hay and feathers! It took me nearly two hours to get all the feathers cleaned out. Once I got it all cleaned up, I started up the mower, did about 5 minutes of mowing behind the barn and the mower died. I needed a new fuel filter....UGGGGG! So needless to say, I called Rich to have him stop at the John Deere dealership for parts on his way home from work. It is all fixed now, with only one banged up finger, and ready to go.
I have to start working on the area for the 30 turkey poults that are during here sometime next week or into the first part of May this week. I want to give it a good cleaning and get the sawdust down on the floor and the lights installed. We are going to be putting up some additional fencing this weekend too....the calves are going to need a seperate lot to move around in. Buck is weighing in around 600 lbs or more and I just don't trust him with the little ones.
Well....that's it for right now...I am off to get my stuff together to start making lye today, I want to get the calf outside in the sun, I want to clean up the pasture and get the lawn mowed today. Tomorrow is moving compost to the new garden area, cleaning the new turkey area, preparing some stuff for work and heaven only knows what else.....