Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Barn today, Gone tomorrow

 Over at the other property my sister is renting from us was this old barn. Honestly, I have no idea how it was still standing. It's been there as long as I've been here, and Andrea said it was there when she had bought the house years ago. It looked like a stiff whisper blown in it's general direction would cause it to come crashing down. Nope.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dream came true

When I was thirteen we got our first horse. She was an old appy mare and us kids rode her all over the desert and back. I always wanted to be able to camp out with my horse. I made plan after plan with my friends in high school to ride towards New River, have them meet me half way and camp out in the desert overnight.

We'd sit under the Ramada at lunch and make plans and lists. Who had horses, who could bring what, who needed extra gear, and who could bring extra gear. We had great plans, but we never did go.

Friday, July 18, 2014

We're setting again

This year was supposed to be the year I raised chicks for the freezer from eggs we hatched instead of buying chicks. The last batch I got a decent hatch. 32 eggs set, 19 hatched. I think I lost two right at the start. One had it's insides on it's outsides when it hatched. One just up and died. I had one chick with spraddle leg that didn't thrive and died. 16 chicks made it over to Heather's once they were feathered enough to leave the brooder.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Very Cherry

A friend of ours showed up at the house the other day. "Hey, do you want some cherries?" Oh hell yes. I've been scoping out some trees as I drive through town, and here comes Chris telling me he has a sour cherry tree in his yard, and do I want some. He brought me over a grocery sack half full the next day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blog-a-Day Fail

I failed the June Blog-a-Day challenge. I had a good reason for it though. Right in the danged middle of it we moved my sister from Arizona, to up here in Idaho. Between the move, the unpacking, and summer shave down season kicking into high gear at work, I just didn't blog. The trip to move Heather couldn't ever be called anything other that memorable. Scotty and I drove down to Nevada and met our friend Honey and her friend Lisa, in Ely. We drove both trucks down to Phoenix. Her with her horse trailer, and us with the flat bed trailer, stopping in Vegas to pick up Jesse. 

Leaving Gooding Idaho

In the front yard at Moms in Phoenix,Az

Loading the arena to bring it back with us

Jesse escaping the heat
Loading horses
Getting ready to leave Phoenix

Heather, Scott, Mark and Me
Hot damn, we made it
The old barn that needs to come down

Me looking all hillbilly and crap, standing in the rain in my Star Wars jammie pants, and dairy muck boots
Tired ponies in the round pen after a long drive
Heather's horses out on her pasture
We took Mom, Karl, Heather, Jess, and Mark down to Shoshone Falls.

Mark, Me, Mom, Heather

Me and Heather
Jess and Mark
Me and Mark

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Look out Arizona, here we come

Scott and I are leaving tonight to head south to Arizona. We're bringing  my sister, her son, dogs, and horses, out here to live in the little house next door. We'll be driving the Dodge, pulling a flat bed trailer. We're meeting our friend Honey in Ely. She bringing a friend down with her. She'll be driving her truck, pulling her three horse trailer. We're supposed to meet her around 4 in the morning so we can drive down before it gets too too hot. We're also making a stop in Vegas to grab Jesse. She'll be coming back with us to Idaho as well. It's almost 6pm here, and I think I'm gonna catch a couch nap before getting all our crap together and ready to go. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gratuitous pony pictures

I spent the afternoon and evening tonight after work digging ditches in the pasture next door so the irrigation water will go where it needs to, and switching gates opened and closed. I didn't take any pics of that, so enjoy this one pic of Scott, Pat, and Larry fixing the Tee in the pipe when it blew out last time we had water.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Holy crap, they can CRAP

I need a fence.

I have free ranging chickens. The wander around the property, they eat bugs, tasty bits of grass and alfalfa. The hunt and scratch in the the dirt. And they crap. Everywhere. The crap on the porch, on the deck, they crap in Scott's garage. They leave chicken sized land mines in the grass in the front yard. We don't leave the garage door open without feeding them otherwise they come in the garage looking for something to eat and leave dropping in return.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mountain Trail Challange

I took a day to play hooky yesterday. I wasn't at work and I didn't do anything on the farm. I was invited to go to a trail riding obstacle course to watch some friends compete. What a blast it was. I got sunburned, dehydrated, forgot my stuff in Carrie's truck, but I'd do it all over again. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Goose Goose and Giblet go for a walk

   While Connie was in Utah, Giblet and the Goose got to take a walk with me down to the pond for a swim.  These two are the best of friends. The follow each other around, sleep next to each other, and the turkey even goes wading a few inches into the water while the goose swims.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It had to happen eventually

Five years I've been in Idaho. Four of them here on the homestead. Four years we've managed to avoid losing any livestock to anything other than a dog or two that were brought out by friends that snagged a chicken before we knew they were loose.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Adding to the homestead

I've made two mortgage payments on it, I have homeowner's insurance on it. I turned on the electricity, and the kids next door are gone. It's all ours. Five acres to add to our five acres, fenced, cross-fenced, a pond. There is a ton of work to be done over there. Heather will be here in two weeks with her kid, horses, dog, and all her crap.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Working Echo

Echo is finally lice free, she's gaining a little weight and starting to come around. I would have loved to turn her out in the pasture with the other two knotheads, but we ran into a snag. We couldn't catch the bitch. Each day she got a little harder and it took a little longer trying to get her to let us slowly inch our way up to her without her turning into a blowing, snorting, spooking idiot. Scott and I tried all the tricks we knew, but she was getting away from us. If we didn't get help, we were going to turn her into a monster.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chicks get new digs

14 chicks, two goslings, two ducklings, and a turkey can make one heck of a stink in a 4x4x4 brooder in a week. Not to mention running out of space pretty fast. When we got back from Minnesota the little chickies went down to the new property. I kicked out the five teenage chickies to free range, and moved the little chickies into the coop down there.


I did it. I signed up for Carolyn's Blog-a-Day over at krazoacres. She's noticed, I've noticed, we've all been guilty, of slacking in the blog department. We sat around all winter long dreaming of what we wanted to get done come spring and now I'm still stuck in procrastination mode. I have a ton of pics I've taken, a bunch of blog posts I wanted to write, and didn't get to any of it. So starting today I'm going to try and do a blog post as often as I can. I don't think I can hit one every day, but I'm gonna try.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm a math idiot, not a hatching idiot

So we almost gave up on trying to hatch out our own chickens. This was round three. I excitedly candled my eggs the day I took the egg turner out of the incubator. I had four eggs I was pretty sure had nothing but yolk in them. All the rest had a baby chicken in them. Monday last week I got hoping to see a baby chicken in my incubator. I saw nothing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Echo gets an upgrade

This poor little mare came to EverStuff Ranch today. I'd been seeing her advertised here and there on the internet for a while. She was listed the first time for something like $1200. She's six years old, only halter broke. Cute little head, nice bloodlines. She's actually related to Spooker Dude, the paint gelding we used to have. I saw her listed again a few other times, each time at a lower price. I wanted to go take a peek at her each time I saw her. None of the pics I saw were ever really good pics.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Making babies, We're in lockdown

We're on try number three incubating eggs. Three days before they're due to hatch you're supposed to take the eggs out of the turner, if you have one, lay them flat, add water to the incubator to increase the humidity, close the lid, and leave them the crap alone. No opening it for anything. Not for the first few chicks hatched. Quit turning the eggs, just keep your damned fingers out of the incubator. Yeah, that's gonna be hell for me.

I want to see what's going on inside those shells. I want to shine a light through the shell and see what's going on. So I compromised. I candled them all after I removed the turner. Out of 32 eggs

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dirty, Dirty Birds

The temps are starting to get back into nice, but the nights are still cold. We had a spell of clouds and rain that lulled me into not draining the hoses at night. I just wasn't getting below freezing. It wasn't getting much above freezing either though. Now the clouds have moved out and it's been in the 20's in the morning. Like low 20's. Scott went to go fill the horse's water the other morning and nada. Frozen hose. So it's back to slinging them over the fork in the tree behind the chicken condo and draining the water out. The chickens like it and run behind the hose and peck at the mud left behind the hose as it snakes across the ground.

Speaking of mud and dirt

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Granny Squares, burning pastures, new land owners

I fell in love with crocheting a few years ago. I think my sister Jeana tried to teach me to either knit or crochet years ago before I left Arizona and I was a dismal failure at. I watched a few videos on you tube. Made some hats and a scarf or two. I made this blanket that I was immensely proud of. It was just a double crochet and the sides are a little uneven.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


It's starting to feel a little spring-ish. The daffodils and tulips are starting to poke their leaves out of the ground. The robins have been hopping around for a few weeks. The killdeer are piping away at night and the red wing black birds are starting to hang out by the canals again. I even heard a couple of early frogs at night.

Spring means chick days at the feed stores.

Monday, February 24, 2014

One week in the Incubator, Traffic Jam in the nest boxes

Week one and we're still doing our thing. I took one Banty egg out already. When I candled it, I could see free floating bubbles in it. Ruptured air cell. I don't see any signs of life yet in any of the Banty eggs. I wonder if she's got such a fluffy feathered butt, and neither of the roosters are small enough to get the deed done.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why does my hamburger cost so much?

As copied from http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/2014/01/small-beef-ranch.html
"............He sells his cattle for $3.50/lb hanging weight, but what I really wanted to know is how much profit margin he's making vs his input costs.  Kill fee and cut-and-wrap fees are included in that amount. 

HHW (hot hanging weight) is the weight of the warm steer immediately after slaughter.  This includes about 5% extra weight that will be lost as the animal cools and drains blood; typically beef is hung for two to three weeks after slaughter, and during this  hanging time the animal looses water weight.  Hanging weight includes the weight of the head and hooves; what is removed is the hide and the organs.  A typical yield for choice-grade cattle is 62% of live weight. 

So to yield a 900lb HHW you'd need a 1500lb or so live weight steer.  So from what was said it costs about $1.50/lb (grain, hay, corn silage) to put a pound of live weight on a steer.  One pound of live weight is .62lb of hanging weight.  So it costs $1.50 to put on beef that you'll sell for $2.17. 

Well, not really.  the quoted price of $3.5 includes kill fee and cut and wrap fees, which around here are about $60 for the kill and  $0.60/lb for the cut-and-wrap - so the gross proceeds to the farm aren't $3.5, they're $2.9.    And 62% of $2.9 is $1.79.  His gross margin is about $0.29 per pound - he makes about $0.60/cow/day.   If I were to pay someone to feed and water the cows, I'd expect that to take about an hour, or an hour and a half.  At $10/hour, that's a daily labor cost of $10 to $15.  at this rate, that's the entire profit from  51lbs of beef -- or 25 head.     Since I'd expect his production to be about 35 cows a year (70 cows * 50% bull calves) this enterprise survives on the profit from 10 cows after labor costs.  I don't know what he leases the barns for, or whether he owns or leases the other property his cow-calves are on, but there are costs there, too. 

My opinion?  Thats a vanishingly small profit margin.  If a cow dies or doesn't gain as expected, or the lease on the barn goes up, or any one of a number of other things go wrong, there won't be any profit from this entire operation for the year.  It's possible that he makes more money on selling breeding stock or show steers and that makes up for this small margin, but I think his prices are a bargain at his expense.  Great deal for the consumer, considering the beef right now in the supermarket is way north of $3.5 a pound for virtually every cut. 

I sell my beef at $3.5/lb hanging weight exclusive of kill and cut-and-wrap fees, and that extra $0.60/lb is the difference for me between making a profit and making a loss, after considering equipment, fuel, rent and other associated costs. 

He showed samples of his beef, and they looked great.    I'd buy some.  And honestly, after looking at these numbers and his operation, I just might.  I don't think I could produce beef myself any cheaper. 

I may have misstated some of these numbers; I'm going to go back to the farmer and confirm what I've written here to make sure I've got it down correctly........ "

After reading this, and contemplating the hardship of the American cattle farmer,drought, blizzards... I was so glad we started raising our own steers. The cattle ranchers have either had to sell off or slaughter what they couldn't feed, or freak blizzards killed thousands of cows. It'll take at least two years to come back from that, for those that can even afford to buy new stock, for the heifer calves to come to age to breed, and start calving. For most of the ranchers this last few years was it. They folded and went under. I count myself so lucky that we've started raising what we eat, and are on the road to being more self sufficient. 

Eggs in the Bator

Connie works for Valley Co-Op and got me a heck of a deal on a still air incubator. $30 for a brand new Farm Innovators model. I'd left 12 marked eggs in the nest boxes hoping to entice a hen to set them, and been holding a weeks worth of eggs on the counter at a time hoping. Every day I went out and no one seems interested.

 Don't these chickens understand that I lovingly go out every day and spread scratch grains and layer pellets for them? I make sure they always have fresh water to drink. I leave them to roam all over the property and never complain about stepping in a wet chicken turd when I go out on the porch at night in my stocking feet. I clean popped on shavings out of their chicken condo that Scotty built just for them so nothing will eat them in the night time while they sleep. Is it too much to ask for just one hen to want to settle her fluffy feathered ass on some eggs for me for 20 days?
So Connie got an incubator .

We set it up in the office and let it run it over night to make sure it held it's temp at 99.5, and put 26 eggs in the next morning. I have 9 green EE's, 3 olive EE's, 9 little Cochin, and 5 cream eggs from either the White Rock or the Austra White. The roo's are either my splash Polish, or the White rock.Today is day one, 20 to go, WOOT!!!

Here's the possibly Daddies

The Captain 


Easter Eggers

Speckles- Austra White
Cochin Orpington 
The White Rocks, and the Austra White carry the Barred gene. The Polish carries the blue gene. The EE's have the blue/green egg gene, so it should be really fun seeing what I get out of these eggs.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Holy giant egg, steers at the butcher, finally had some snow

This winter has been especially dry. Last winter we didn't have to have our driveway plowed once. We managed to get snow on days we didn't have to work. This winter there just wasn't any snow. We had some flurries here and there. Nothing I couldn't drive the little green truck through to get out of the driveway. I had to drive the dodge a few times because of ice or slick roads from fog. Last week we finally got some snow. About 6-7+ inches of the white stuff. Still didn't have to plow the driveway, but we need the moisture so desperately.

Yay, finally snow.
Foxy snow pony

Foxy and Ben

The chickens got fed in the calf pen. They like to hang under there out of the snow and the wind.

I know the first eggs a chicken lays start small and they get bigger
the older a hen gets, but this was a little extreme.  I feel sorry for the hen who spit this out.
Easter Egger , Banty, and Holy Giant Egg

 And some pics of the rainbow of colors the girls are laying.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Andrea took the steers to Nate's house for him to slaughter for us. They've been hanging out in his shop in the cold to age for two weeks. We went over Saturday, late afternoon to help him cut and wrap our steer. Mostly he cut, Scott did all the grinding into burger, and I packaged. We brought home a fourth of the finished product Saturday night and we'll get the rest of it tomorrow. I think he weighed just under 400 pounds hanging weight. That means hide, head and innards removed.

This was a big 1000 pound bull that was hanging to age and waiting it's turn to be cut up.

Our little guy was not so big. 
Jersey T-Bone

We've made burgers from the ground beef, and man were they juicey. We're talking stand over the kitchen sink and scarf em down. So tasty. Last night we grilled ribeye steaks. Oh man oh man. They were so tender, and had so much flavor. Everything you hope you're going to get when you take that first bite of steak after smelling it grill. Scott seasoned them perfectly before grilling. I kept hearing people say that Jersey meat is so much better than beef cow. I don't ever want to raise anything else for the freezer again. Even if someone offered me a free angus steer, already on grass and just needs finishing. Jersey is the way to go. 


Try these other posts