I have put down my knitting needles briefly and replaced them with the sewing machine. Each year I make the kids flannel PJs and I give them to them on Christmas Eve. Normally, I pick the fabric and do it all in secret (even though they know it is coming). But this year, with my husband working long hours, I wasn’t able to get to the fabric store without them with me. So I decided to let them pick out their own fabric. The older three picked fabric that was very predictable, fabric that I would have picked for each of them. But my youngest son, who is 5 years old, surprised us all with his decision….neon green zebra print. My oldest son looked at him and said “are you suuuuure?” Youngest son confidently said “Yup!” So we all went with it. And really, as I was sewing them, I thought of how much the fabric was like him…very bright, cheery, outgoing, energetic, a little crazy, but in a good way. So neon zebra print jammies it is.
I love sewing PJ pants, they are so quick and easy. I finished all four of these in just a couple of hours. And the family loves having the cozy pants that fit them just right. My children are long and skinny compared to the average kids’ clothes these days, so to get clothes that are long enough they end up being way too big around the waist, and vice versa. But when I sew for them it all fits just right.
We were planning to butcher the biggest cockerels two weekends ago, but that was right after the major cold snap and when we went to get them we realized they were not heavy enough to make it worth it. All the animals lost weight during that time despite giving them a bunch of extra feed. So this weekend we checked again…still too small. But the crowing is getting out of control and the grow-out pen is getting crowded and they are fighting…so we NEED to get them butchered.
In addition, egg laying is way down since the cold as well.
So we decided to try something out. We are going to give all the chickens grower crumbles mixed in warm water (and sometimes some warm milk if we have extra) twice a day for the next week and see if it makes a difference. We fully expect it to help with both because it should not only give them calories but it will warm them up a bit so all their energy doesn’t have to go to keeping warm and it can instead go to laying eggs and putting on weight. I hope we can butcher at least a few of the cockerels this weekend. I’ll let you know if it makes a difference.
We need to know if the cow breeding was successful, because if not we need to re-breed. It would be way too much time, milk, and money lost to just wait until next summer to see if she gives birth. We have to dry her off two months before calving, and if we dry her off and she isn’t pregnant then we would have at least 9 more months of no milk production. We can’t afford that. So I researched our options.
Because of our isolated location and lack of trailer we have three options.
- Ultrasound $250
- Palpation $125
- Blood Test $5
Being the frugal farmers that we are, I am sure you can guess which we chose. So I found a lab in Greeley, Colorado that does cow pregnancy tests. While talking with them I found out that they do sheep pregnancy tests as well. We were not planning to find out if the sheep took or not because it doesn’t affect us the way the cow does. If they are not pregnant we wont be breeding them again until next fall anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. BUT, it would be nice to know so that we don’t sit around for 6 weeks waiting to see if they lamb or not. Especially with it being the middle of winter when they lamb and therefore we really need to be with them and make sure the lambs get dried off and such so they survive the cold. So, since it will only be about $20 for both sheep tests we decided to go for it and have them tested as well.
The lab sent us all the equipment we need for the blood draws. Tomorrow we will be drawing the blood and we should have the answer on the cow Thursday and the sheep we will know about next week.
I am so excited I can’t hardly stand the wait! Which is funny because in the “olden” days think how long they had to wait…until the animal either gave birth or didn’t. And here I am going crazy over a few days and a week. I’ll let you know when we know!