Live Through Us at The Burrow


June 2011

I’m beginning to wonder about my guns now.

I grew up shooting.  I do believe the first gun I actually shot was a tank, but I may be wrong on that.  I grew up with tank shells in the bedroom-I should probably find that and use it as a lamp stool or something, helicopter parts in the basement, and nobody looking twice at me when my dad took us to the range.  When I dated a “good ol boy” for a good long while, and he brought me “home” to meet his family, I beat him at skeet shot.  He wasn’t happy and broke up with me shortly thereafter-although I believe for other reasons.  So I found it quite odd when I quit wanting to shoot after moving here.  I dunno, maybe b/c I don’t feel safe at night, especially in the winter without a gun strapped to me, or maybe b/c I’ve started slaughtering my own food, or maybe the lack of ear protection that one night we had to hunt down that rackin frackin raccoon that was trying to eat our chickens.

All I know is Arlis REALLY wanted to go practice today.  So, we set up a target, aimed for the woods, and succeeded in freaking me out.  Boy came for a visit and had to be held at all times.  Arlis lost some blood in the process.  He then passed the cat on to Marcus who held it down because the stupid thing kept rubbing up against the target.  Cat secured and Marcus well in view, Arlis shot his rifle that has a scope attached to it.  Nobody can shoot that thing but him, but that’s fine as he’s the blind man.  So then I wanted to practice with my 9mm.  Hmm…that’s funny, I think I’m off.  The second shot was conducted AFTER I returned with ear plugs and the ringing subsided.  Ahhh-that was much better!  Wait, I don’t think it actually shot.  So, I cocked it again.  Lo and behold, the chamber had two bullets, one of which was caddywumpus to the other.  “Whoa!”

“Put the safety on!”

If one of us is going to lose their hands, it’s best it’s the one who can’t drive to begin with.  I do as commanded and lay it down and BACK AWAY.  He fixes it all up and fires it…I think.  I’m still off.  So, he has me fire his little pistol, which I think is a 22.  It doesn’t fire either.  He can’t get the bullet in right, takes it out and wonders loudly as to why it’s all gummed up.  He places another one only to have it do the same.  Meanwhile, Marcus is practically sitting on Boy to keep him safe.  I announce that I’m going in.  Arlis gets all mad and asks why.

“Well, it could be because of the mosquitoes.”
“It could be because I really didn’t want to come out here anyway and now all the guns are booby trapped.”
“Or it could be because I think I have gas!”

I told him I would stay a little while longer but that I wanted to shoot my pistol, not his.  He said OK.  I started and shot 2-3 feet higher than I should at 20-30 feet away.  That’s insane.  Must be weak wrists and the kickback is causing trouble.  Arlis comes up and watches from the side, nope I’m aiming WAY too high.  So, we start to fool around to see how much we should adjust the sights.  It doesn’t fire again.  The bullet wasn’t messed up, just didn’t shoot.

“That’s it!  I’m going in!”

I took Boy in, who didn’t want to go.  Not once did he jump from the gun shots, and in fact he wanted to go back out to join them.  Stupid cat.  Great mouser, gets moles, eats rabbits, kills birds in the garden, and even knows the difference between a small bantam and a large bird that’s uninvited, but STUPID cat.

I’ll still carry one with me when I need to.  I’ll still use it if I need to.  But this experience has NOT improved my gun relationship at ALL.

Maybe I should start throwing knives…

Praise be to God

To the tune of Joy to the World

Praise be to God

The foot rot is gone

Let sheep…run forth…in joy

There’s no more foot baths

And no more injections

And shepherd and shepherdess sing.
And shepherd and shepherdess sing
It’s such a, it’s such a great relief!

Thanks especially to my facebook friend Nicole for her priceless help in all of this!!

We do still have to trim every two weeks, but we are working on putting them in the lower field where it is more rocky and weedy.  The upper field is used for hay production and seeded.  The lower field is used, but is more suited for sheep than cattle.  See cattle eat tall grass, sheep eat short grass.  Cattle like lush pasture, lush pasture causes foot trouble in sheep.  We’ll have to put them with the cattle in the upper field during the winter due to coyotes and mountain lions.  The cattle should protect them.

So, what exactly happened?  I’m not sure they had foot rot to begin with, but it they did God certainly helped us out I am sure.  Foot rot starts in between the toes with rotted meat smell and hair loss and such.  Ours started from the outside with hoof wall separation from the actual padding  That is backwards from foot rot.  We had Shelley toe, shelly hoof, or white line disease.  It has many names.  White line disease is more often than not diagnosed by shepherds as foot rot.  But it is not.  It is where the white line that is between the wall and the hoof is replaced with dirt and manure.  This can lead to infections, of course, but is not one to begin with.  Simply dig out the dirt and clip off the wall to open up the pocket.  Continue this until the pocket grows out.  If you want, you can foot bath or treat with Koppertox as a preventative measure.

Wet days and the movies they don’t make

We’re on our way to a well deserved movie last night.  For those of you living nearby, you know the torrential downpours we have had.  For those of you not from around here, just imagine rain, buckets and all, falling from the sky.  This is after Knoxville has already received enough damage to cause over 100k people to lose power, and several places to flood, drowning a few people.  Thankfully we live high enough not to flood (1880 feet above sea level), but runoff is a problem.

So, I go out to put the chickens up a little early.  Marcus meets me and we run to the back porch.  It’s just raining a bit, and we have quite a few trees in the back yard and chicken run, so I’m barely wet at all at this point.  I reach for the door-my husband has already locked the house up.  He was going to put the calf up for the night so we could milk his momma in the morning, but I saw both calves running around in the field.  I knocked-loudly (we have a metal roof)-for several minutes.  I give up and sacrifice myself by running to the front porch to see if the door is locked.  Well, of course it is.  This 30 yard sprint halfway under trees has already drenched me.  The car is up at the barn.  Arlis must have driven it to get the calf.  I run to the van.  The 10 feet sprint left me so wet that I am dripping and my underwear is soaked-through thick jeans.  I crack the door and scream for Marcus to come to the van.  He runs to the front porch.  I beep and beep.  He finally catches on and gets in the van.

Now, why didn’t we just stay under the porch?  Well, the front porch doesn’t offer a great deal of protection.  And the back porch was starting to get wet as well.  The back porch goes about 15 feet square, so you can imagine the rain at this point.  The wind is also blowing, and the nuts are falling off the trees.  We were getting chilly.  Marcus gets in and we dry off with a used grease towel I find in the van floor.  It wasn’t in bad condition.  He then asks, “Why are we in the van?”

“BECAUSE YOUR STUPID FATHER LOCKED US OUT OF THE HOUSE AND STOLE THE CAR!!”  (for those of you concerned-I did not actually say this, no matter how much I wanted to)

Arlis pulls up.  He lets us in and we strip down, underwear and all, and dry off with towels.  We had to hang our clothes on the back porch to keep from ruining the floor.

There was no movie.

We did watch How to Train a Dragon which was far better than I expected.  I now want a stuffed Toothless.  He was too cute!


When bad things happen to good angel food.

 What to do with that left over leg of lamb

 Homemade mozzarella cheese balls (battered and deep fried)

 Learning to make pasta-yet another way to use up eggs.

 My chickens are archeologists (seriously, it’s amazing the things they and we have dug up around here.  We even found a saw blade this spring in the garden-A SAW BLADE!!!  What was wrong with these people that lived here before us!)

 So I pulled it out.  (and threw it away)

 It’s raspberry season!!!  These taste AMAZING with Boog’s whipped cream!)

 What you find when mowing the neighbor’s hay.

Ducklings and Chicks-All Grown Up

Here are pictures, (supposed to be) one for every week of the little ducklings life (but I somehow didn’t get it that way).  They are Peking.  They are flightless and able to be “harvested” at just 8 weeks of age.  They are our pets.  Although, if there is one of each gender, their children will get sold or…harvested…  when full grown.  Otherwise, we’ll just eat the eggs or enjoy their presence.  They really are fun!

2 Ducklings, 6 bantams, and 4 Wyandottes….

At three weeks of age, we took them out to the coop.  They were too big for the brooder, and were being used as heaters/pillows by the chicks.  It was time, and warm outside enough. (note-this was a very hard day for us in terms of work, as you can see from Arlis’s shirt)

We were really quite concerned as how the hens and cat would react.  The hens left them alone.  The ducks eventually dominated them.

 The pool from our last ducks which were Mallards.

 Oh my!  Boy sure is interested!

 He takes the position…

Not to worry.  Boy leaves them alone and the ducks are bigger than he is now.  In fact, the grey bantam (you’ll see later) gets out all the time and Boy leaves him completely alone even though I’ve seen him eat birds that size!
Another week goes by, and you can tell when it’s time to put the chicks in the coop:

 They missed their ducks.

 Molting continues.

 Up-another week, and tail feathers start to come in
Down-another week-they really are too big for the pool now.  See that tiny grey speck to the right of the pool?  That’s a bantam cockerel.  He’s already roosting and getting out and everything.  Feisty little bugger.

 The Wyandottes are brought in and start roosting rather quickly.

(We lost one silver laced one the first week they were out.  It somehow got in the duck pool and got chilled or something.  It didn’t drown.  We still haven’t figured that one out.)

 The bantams join in.

 They all remember each other-ahhhh, sibling rivalry.

 Full grown-as far as we can tell.

 Off topic-we had a branch fall during a bad storm.  The chickens have tore it to shreds!!  They actually jump up wings flapping trying to get a beakful of leaves-quite amusing!

The ducks have a much larger pool now that they enjoy.

Last night’s rodeo

I always thought rodeos were pretty stupid.  And I STILL ABSOLUTELY ABHOR country music.  But, since working with cattle and such, I have discovered that rodeo’s evolved from meaningful competitions and games and such.  I also have a better understanding of the techniques used.  I still hate country music more than a Republican hates Obama. 

All that aside, the below shots were the best I could do.  The flash bounced off the railing causing dark photos, and when the flash was off, the shutter stayed open too long and made it all blurry.  But I did my best.  I even uploaded a nice little vid to you tube.  Ahh, aren’t I sweet.  All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.  So, allow me to explain the following:

The Queen-I think there was a contest including a written test, I really don’t know.

 Saddle bronco.  I suppose this originated from Native Americans trying to tame Mustangs or something.

 Barrel racing.  This is just for competition.  I’ve heard it’s bad for horses, so doing it a lot with one horse would be mean and bad.

 The rodeo “Zamboni”

 Lassoing a calf and tying 3 of its legs together.  If you’ve ever had to catch one of the little $#%, you would understand where this came from.  Speaking of which, we need to buy a new lasso rope.  Doing as necessary won’t hurt them-no, seriously, it won’t.

 This is obviously just a competition.

 Team lasso.  They attach pretend horns to the calf with a harness type thing and one guy lassos the head, while the other gets the hind feet.  You don’t want to know how this originated (castration).

 I like this one.  You can see the look on her face where she missed with the rope.

 (what happens without the flash)

 Even the pros wear helmets now in bull riding.

 One kid walked “drunk” for a while after his fall.  Another got taken away on a stretcher.  He appeared OK, so I don’t know what happened to him.

 This one’s funny-everybody up!!  Whenever it would come their way, up they went and fast-hilarious!

 Marcus really enjoyed it, you can hear him some in the vid.  There was one really funny one, although I’m sure the guy did NOT find it amusing.  When you catch the calf, the horse it to pull back on it to hold it so you can tie it’s feet together.  His horse kept walking real slow like letting the calf run off.  He finally got up and cussed him horse out-funny!

Time for talking

It’s one of those blog entries with few pics and lots of words… know you love it 🙂

Seriously, poison ivy is impossible to kill.  I have cut and pulled by hand in Knoxville vines over an inch thick that ran for several yards, but here I have used a multi-insane strength Round up.  All plant known to man around the ivy falls over dead while the ivy might lose it’s luster.  So I spray, and spray

and spray

sigh and spray

every day for a week until….tuh duh.. we have lost the ivy’s luster.  Another week passes and it finally curls up and turns brown although I am not too sure it’s completely gone.  It most certainly isn’t gone like it’s neighbors were a week ago.

We have potato beetles and now cabbage worms and I’m sick of it.  Is it not enough that I plant, hoe, weed by hand, harvest and spend hours a day every day out there to torment me with more pests!!??  How did the ancestors survive?  Some say guinea hens, but they’re originally from Africa.  So, I find it hard to believe that my ancestors fought the Colorado potato beetle on a plant originally from South America with a bird from Africa.  Btw, Sevin does not work on them, and has in fact been banned in almost every major country except the US.  It also killed thousands in one of it’s third world country factories when there was an explosion several years ago.  So I spend hours a day picking the blasted things by hand.  Unfortunately, I got sunburned on my back doing so, even though I was being extremely careful, and the burn is getting worse, not better, so I haven’t worked outside in two days.  The weeds have overtaken it all, and I feel horribly behind and lazy. 


But, we have gotten something done.  The root cellar has been put off even longer for various reasons, and we have bought an old fridge that we turn down to use until then.  It is on the back porch with the deep freeze and….OUR NEW ROOF!!!

We finally got our back porch roof put on.  It’s cleaned up quite a bit, but there’s still a bit more to go as you can see.  We still have to put the rest of the metal over the end of the trailer and tie it in to everything.

We’ll store our cheese in it too as it ages.  I’m waiting for the end product to post, but I have made two kinds of cheddar and several mozzarella batches.  The mozz of course doesn’t age, and, in fact, still requires some perfecting.  Once that is done I can edit my original post and it will be very handy for those not wanting to use cultures or any other additives but raw milk and rennet.  Nice huh!

Our diet has become pretty meatless of late.  With the lettuce going to seed I harvest a new plant every few days.  We munch on lettuce, homemade cheese sticks/balls, and cheese pizzas, milk, eggs, etc.  We eat actual meat about twice a week maybe.  We’ll make up for it later I’m sure.

Got my first tomato today!  Yellow.  The potatoes are also humping up quite a bit and will be ready for harvest with the onions soon.  Now, I must ask an old friend for a recipe as I must harvest my beets tomorrow.

Garden update

Thought I would update the garden.  As usual, these are all a bit out of date.  They SAY they were taken on the 30th, but I’m not sure they’re that recent.  If so, it’s been even busier than I thought!

Our crow deterrent.  It worked rather well.  It’s down now as the corn is tall enough they are no longer interested in it.  We have just enough time in the year, in fact, to plant another bit of corn, so the net will be placed in a new location with more corn.

My peas were REALLY good this year, but the trellis needed to be better, and it has gotten too hot for them.  The peas are dying off now, so I have forgone any harvesting in order to utilize the rest for seed by letting them dry on the plant.

 Marcus just isn’t very good at some things, so I have given him the chore of weeding my flower beds since I just can’t do it anymore-not enough time.  I think he’s doing really well so far, don’t you?

 One day’s harvest of potato beetles.  Potato beetles are not only resilient to Sevin now, but I also discovered that Sevin is banned in every major country but the US, AND it caused thousands to die in the factory it has in a third world country overseas.  Hmmm…

 The koles are doing very well.

 Red cabbage

 Regular cabbage


 Romaine-the lettuces really went wild recently.  We have stopped the outer leaf harvesting and are pulling up entire plants as they are going to seed.  I’m leaving one or two to use for seed for next year.

 Red lettuce

 Red romaine

 I have zucchini growing now-won’t be long!

The dying peas

 The onions are going to seed.  The onions I grew from seed this year are doing so well, that I will save some seed from these for next year.

 If you’re really good, you can see my onions here.  These are the ones from seed.  Suffice it to say, I am the only one able to weed the carrots and onions without pulling up actual plants.


 The cabbage we grew from seed.  Don’t appear to have much difference between these and the transplants!

 Left to right-beets, beets(different kind) carrots.  Again, you can see why I’m the only weeder of the carrots

 Pole beans and melons

 Potatoes, lots and lots of potatoes.  It takes me 3-4 hours to bug these.

 Some of the corn that made it

 Our tomatoes are doing well

Gone fishing

 There are some really big fish below, the pic just didn’t capture them.

 That’s a big grub!  It bit Arlis when he reached in the bucket.

 Our compost was just full of goodies for bait!

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