clhw at infoave.net
Sun Dec 2 06:51:33 EST 2007
There are points, as I'm sure each of us knows, where being self-sufficient
doesn't work. As we've aged, we find more and more of these points. I have
to keep telling myself that relying on the goodies of modern society is a
means of being able to remain on the farm. I still feel slightly guilty and
like I've "sold-out" when I participate in modern society.
There is no public water system on our road, and we are at the end of the
pavement about 4 miles out of the nearest hookup. The public system in our
part of the county takes its water from a river which I have personally
seen blue, red, and green from chemicals and dyes dumped into it by
industries. Although that is mostly eliminated under today's awareness of
environment, I still don't trust it nor do I like drinking or bathing in
the chemicals added to make the water potable.
College-aged daughter, while not possessing a driver's license, has begun
helping the water system. Besides doing the work of pumping up the well,
she drives the truck to the other site and fills the barrel. This works
great when she is home. Next semester, she will be in class 4 days of the
week. It's partly because of this water issue that I've decided to drop
tutoring at the college, except for Spanish students, and those only
certain hours which suit me.
Since the tutoring is a state job, the pay has only been $10 per hour,
(instead of my normal $25 - $50 per hour) which one session pays for the
gas to and from and I've insisted on a minimum of 2 sessions per trip. This
Monday, I have 3, and on Wednesday, 1 (a day I take daughter to class
anyway), and then I will be finished. The Monday ones are developmental
English and I feel like I'm wading through molasses to get coherent
sentences, let alone an essay. The Wednesday is basic biology. All 3 of
these students are either failing the course or barely passing. My Spanish
students, about 8 of them, all were pulling As and have gradually dropped
the tutoring. The last one of them, who I had a session with Thursday, is a
50-year old, taking a foreign language for the first time, who is in the
honor society, had about a 98 average in the Spanish, and just wanted me to
review new grammatical concepts and help with pronunciation. It was a
pleasure working with him.
Anyway, back to the homestead front...
Please do tell your Bigfoot story! Sorry about the chicken.
For the last few years, our major poultry losses have been from stupidity
on the part of the bird or hawks and owls. The yard dog(s) have kept the
cats and coyotes away. However, their frantic barking does nothing to deter
the skunks and snakes and we've lost eggs to these invaders. We have
strangely colored skunks around here. Yesterday, a dead one appeared on the
road near our mailbox: it is parti-colored, looked like a calico cat from a
distance. We've seen ones which are nearly totally white. If a skunk
wanders into the length of the barn dog's chain (he wanders if left loose),
he will kill it. About 3 years ago, he killed, one at a time, the mother
and 3 or 4 kits who had made their home between his house and the barn.
No rain yet this morning. We have 2 55-gallon barrels, a part of a third,
and about 5 5-gallon buckets under the eaves here at the house. At the
barn, which has a tin roof, we have about 4 more buckets. We empty those
into a bathtub water trough and water horses and dog from that water, when
there is enough. Lately, there hasn't been and we've walked the horses to
the creek once or twice a day and watered the dog from the well water. We
currently have the horses tethered because of fence line issues with
weakened trees and a neighbor's gelding who doesn't know he is. Our mares
have proven that they are just co-operating with the tethering but can go
free when really wanting to.
Sigh...the list of chores for which we could use help grows exponentially.
There don't seem to be any capable, healthy, available young males (or
females, for that matter) in the state! In past, more fool-hearty times,
I've advertised both locally and in The Mother Earth News. The only success
has been with offspring of friends.
I know this list has discussed old-age homesteading before. How would you
get someone to help with fence building? Or hauling firewood?
>Lynn, we've been living much as you describe for a while now. I don't
>make the nightly trip, but I really related to the thinking about water
>all the time, and the nuisance of hauling water for everything. I
>haven't had to go to a laundromat yet(14 miles one way)-fortunately or
>unfortunately, I've relied on family and the generosity of friends with
>deep wells. I know, that's not self sufficient. (more below)
>I feel ya there, too...Brrr...I have to remind myself that my ancestors
>rolled in snow banks...lol...I psych myself up for the cold!
>Since I've been back to work full time, I have paid off my credit card,
>and that is going to be the only way we can afford the new well. My son
>is also going to help with the expense, after all, it will be his farm
>one day. I am fortunate that he is willing to do so, and yet
>embarrassed that his help is needed.
>There a bit too much wildlife out here, too. I should tell my 'Bigfoot'
> story in another post. It's so dry here, and obviously there, that
>animals are becoming more and more brave. We lost a chicken to a wild
>dog last night...Ron and his friend were observing in the front pasture
>and no where near the chickens, but the dog snuck up on them, got about
>15 feet away, and started growling like they were the trespassers. We
>found the feathers this morning.
>We have a 40% chance for a bit tomorrow, too, but it will probably be
>another drizzle event. At least the last time it drizzled I collected
>about 75 gallons of water in the tanks. A good toad strangler would be
>welcome to refill the tanks, but it won't help the drought.
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