This will be our last update for awhile. Mr. Smiles is having another surgery and hospital stay, so farm life will be heading to the back burner for awhile while we spend our time caring for our family through this hard time.
We have been scrambling to get things in order around here so that everything will be as low-maintenance as possible during this. Our friends and family are stepping in to help us with everything, which is such a blessing.
Barn Flood Aftermath
It has continued to rain quite a bit, but thankfully no more flood damage. We have dug several new ditches around the property to try to force the water away from buildings and down the mountainside.
We also decided to re-do the barn floor with cement pavers. We bought the first load and have started setting them. We have been putting a few in here and there as we find time in all the busy-ness right now.
Our friends took the goats and are boarding them for us until this hospital stuff is all over. They will milk them for us, which will take a huge load off of the chores around the farm.
We had two sheep we were planning to butcher later this fall, but we decided to go ahead and get one butchered now so that there were less animals to care for, and we didn’t have to try to squeeze it in later if things get rougher. We got 26 lbs of meat, 12 lbs of dog food, and stock bones. We started making the stock yesterday and will can it soon.
Making stock is really easy and it is so delicious and nutritious. We put the bones on a broiling pan and brown them in the oven for about half and hour.
Then we add some veggies: carrots, onions, and celery – these were fresh from the garden!
We put it back in the oven until the veggies are brown. Then we put all the bones and veggies, plus the drippings, and some herbs (some of those were fresh from the garden too!)
into a big pot with some water and simmer it for several hours. Strain it and cool it, then skim the fat and pressure-can the stock. It will be nice to have some more lamb stock in the pantry for this winter. And it is exciting that the only things in it not from our homestead are the peppercorns and the bay leaf.
The chickens are in two separate pens, but there isn’t anything we can do about it at this point. We have the upper coop and pen, which has all the hens and pullets, plus the two roosters in it. Those chickens also have access to free range in the barnyard.
Eve and her three chicks are still in the grow-out pen in the barn. It will be a few more weeks before she is done raising them and we can figure out the plan for what to do then. For now, to make it easier to care for everyone, we are training them (or having Eve, their mama hen train them) on a drip waterer. It is much cleaner and doesn’t have to be filled as often. The other pen of chickens is already on a drip waterer, the chicks just hadn’t learned to use one yet.
That will make chicken care as low-maintenance as possible.
We have been harvesting and putting-up all that is ready to harvest in the garden.
We also got green beans and canned them.
Our first frost is likely to happen during all this craziness, but there isn’t much we can do except take it as it comes. Hopefully we, or our friends who are helping us around the farm, will be around to quickly harvest all the green tomatoes and the last of the beans right before the frost hits so we don’t lose that part of the harvest.
I have been, surprisingly, getting a lot of knitting done during this busy time. When I am anxious it makes me feel better to put my hands to some knitting. So whenever I sit down to rest for a few minutes, or am waiting in the waiting room at yet-another doctor’s appointment, or am on the long drive to the specialists’ offices, I have been knitting. I have a pair of socks, a shawl, and a hooded scarf all on the needles right now.
Please keep our family in your prayers. This is Mr. Smiles’ 6th surgery in his very short 2 years of life. Every time we have to do a surgery and hospital stay it is very difficult on him, as well as our whole family. Our experience thus far does make it a little easier to prepare ourselves, and the homestead, to try to make it as easy as possible to get through. But it is still quite a trial for all of us.
I hope to be back to posting later this fall with all things autumn-in-the-Rockies…my favorite time of year!