It’s been a little over two years since I’ve made a blog entry here, but I hope to be back at it again. There have been a lot of changes over the time I’ve been away. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and my immune system completely turned on me. I have been put on a new regimen starting last month and it is like night and day. I am functioning on a level I have not functioned on for such a long time, I almost forgot I could.
So what has changed around here? Well, we had to downsize. It started with finding a new home for George, our Royal Palm turkey tom, after his mate Gina died from injuries related to a hawk attack. He was lonely, too, and we weren’t going to get anymore turkeys, so we sent him off to a nice lady who had 3 young Royal Palm females and had been in search of a mate for them. It was sad to see him go, but she’s sent photos and he is very happy.
About six months after that we sold our Barnevelder chickens. It was one less chore for us to deal with. Then my mother gave hers away because she was going to have joint replacement surgery and wasn’t going to be able to care for them. While we could have cared for hers, she saw how my body was breaking down and didn’t want to put that pressure on me for the six weeks it would take before she would heal enough to resume chicken duty.
We kept the ducks up until the end of last summer, when I got so sick I had to go to bed for six weeks. Meanwhile my daughter was going in and out of the hospital with an undiagnosed malady, that turned out to be several things. First her gall bladder had to be taken out because it was dying. Then she was diagnosed with hypothyroid, secondary adrenal insufficiency, gastro paraesis, and absence seizures. We also think she has POTS and Shogren’s, but we are in the process of having those confirmed.
So all of the duck care fell onto my son, because when my husband wasn’t working 60 hours a week he was at the hospital with my daughter. Without me able to help him, we decided to find a new home for the ducks.
We also quit breeding rabbits. We still have rabbits, but their only purpose in life is to provide manure for the garden. We had a lot of rabbits die from old age and we sold some of the younger ones. We are left with seven. We have Ruby (red NZ), Persephone (white NZ), and Zara (broken black NZ) for the females, and we have Zander (broken black NZ), Zane (broken black NZ), Cyrus (broken black NZ), and Vincent (broken red NZ).
Ruby is getting quite old and Persephone is a little older than she is. Zander is two, Cyrus is 1 and a 1/2, and Zara, Zane and Vincent are a year old. We may yet sell Zara and Zane as a breeding pair. Ruby is the grandmother of Vincent and Zara (Ella was their mother and Zander their father). Persephone is the mother of Zane and Cyrus with Zander as the father. So there is a lot of shared genetics with the younger ones, but they are strong genetics. Persephone is descended from Starbuck and Phoebe. And Ruby is the daughter of Wildfire and Sienna, both long gone.
I don’t think Ruby is going to be around much longer, though. She has been somewhat lethargic, although sometimes she goes through that. My son will be devastated when she goes as she has always been his favorite and she is super affectionate with him and you can tell he’s her favorite, too, even though she is pretty loving with me, too.
We decided to quit breeding due to my health. It would have all fallen on my son again, so we just didn’t. I was very sick all fall and all winter, caught the flu twice, both times it went into bronchitis and then sinus infections. I have serious inflammation as well. But the new medicine seems to have changed all of that for me, although I am still on antiobiotics for the last sinus infection.
I’ve been working in the garden the last week and a half and on Sunday got 250 onion plants into the ground. I have three of the large garden beds left to weed and then I plan to pull out the strawberries in the the 3 smaller beds. I haven’t been happy with the flavor of them so they are wasting my garden space. Mom has planted two different varieties, so hopefully one of them will be sweet and good and then I may plant more next year. We are in strawberry growing country so I can easily buy strawberries for not a ton of money at the farms, including the organic one. So I will do that this year for my jam.
After those are taken care of the last large bed has to be completely emptied and the dirt sifted because morning glory got into it and the runners are riddled throughout it. Even one piece of morning glory runner can sprout a new vine. Also the side of the bed broke off. So we will sift the dirt and use it to fill back up the other three bins that have gotten low over the past two years and then we are going to build a new raised bed. This one will be built out of 2″ x 6″ boards with proper support posts in the corners and midway down the beds. They might be a little narrower as well.
Eventually I would like to replace all the beds with 2″ x 6″ boards instead of plywood, but we are going to do that gradually. I would like to do one at the end of the growing season and then two more in the spring of next year. It’s going to cost about $50 a bed. I wish I could afford cedar, but it is 4 times the amount of fir. I think I am going to paint the beds as we replace them also. Each bed a different color. Then I can send people out to the garden and say, “Can you get spinach from the turquoise bed or broccoli from the purple bed?” Then they can find where they need to look quite easily. And it will be fun to have such a colorful garden.
So anyway, the primary focus of the blog going forward will be the garden, cooking, and preserving. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do more again, but I don’t want to load too much onto my plate when I can’t be sure yet that the effects of this medication are going to last. I have to be conscious of my limits and do only what I have the stamina and strength to do.