Sunday, June 30, 2013

Meetings and Partings

Life is full of meetings and partings--that is the way of it
--Kermit the Frog; Muppets' Christmas Carol

I know, it's the weekend, and here I am laying some Kermit-style philosophy on you.  Funny thing is, that little green Muppet got it totally right--life never stays the same.  We meet people, we lose touch with people.  Things come into our lives, and things go out of our lives.  It is how it is.

It's not easy being green

We're at a crossroads here at Chicken Scratch, and I have had to think very hard about a lot of things for quite some time.  The most pressing things of all are what to do with some of the animals here.  For example, I can't keep all of the kids that were born.  In fact, Oscar has already left.  Yesterday a man came with two little boys whose eyes just lit up when they saw him.  They wanted him as a companion for a male goat they had at home, who needed a friend.  I was sad to see Oscar go, but I am very, very glad for him because of where he went.  I know he's going to have a good life.

But it's damn pretty.
Cleo left a week or so ago.  She was not working out.  She is a sweet, sweet girl, but she just never fit in.  I know that I was hoping to have bred her to Stewart and have her make ultra-milker Boer/Nubians, but she may have miscarried, and that kind of killed that plan.  After Minerva kidded, I knew I was going to keep one of her girls, as Minerva's udder is completely fabulous, her teats are like handles, but the CAE is the thing that is her downfall.  Her girls have never nursed a drop and hang out with me and not mama.  They should be clear of what Minerva has, hopefully, and will hopefully inherit her amazing udder.  Since she had the two girls, I was going to keep them both, or one of Minerva's and one of Lilly's.  Well, Lilly's udder is beautiful, her teats are small, but growing, and the girl milks like a never ending fountain.  So yeah, I wanted some of that too, and luckily she had a girl.  But in order to keep the two new ones, someone had to go.  That someone was Cleo, so she did. 

That leaves me with Tallulah, Amelia, and Olive.  It's going to be Olive who leaves.  I love that girl, but Amelia is the one who is more attached to me, and that's the deciding factor.  I am a pushover for a goat who needs to be in my lap all the time, I really am.  Of course, that does backfire on me down the line when that goat is say, fat as a sausage (DULCI), and still insists on sitting on me.  But will it break my heart?   Absolutely.  I can't keep them all, though, so what I will do is make sure that she goes to a good home and be happy for her.
Tallulah and Bad Man.  They just don't get along at all. 
So sad.
The kittens also are moving out.  This is not as sad, because I always knew they were leaving.  One little girl left today.  Two are staying, so two are left to find new homes.  This is just one of those things that had to be done.  We have a lot of cats.  Though my children are upset with me, too many is too many, and they need to move to other homes.  I know that's what's best.

Super Kitty!
This is Charlotte.  She is one of the two who are staying.  She is not dead, she is asleep.
Just in case you were worried.
In addition, I'm downsizing my chicken flock by a huge amount.  There are many reasons for this, which I'll talk about some other day.  I think I'll just leave it by saying that it hasn't worked out the way I had hoped it would.  At this point, I am reducing the flock to produce enough eggs for us and a little extra.  And that's where it will stay.  When layers need to be replaced, I will set eggs.  I am done with purchasing fancy chickens from hatcheries--it has not been worth all the expense.  
I'm still thinking about the ducks and geese.  I don't care too much about the ducks, as there are so few left, but I do like the Muscovies better.  Those guys eat bugs like nobody's business!  It's a joy to see and a gigantic help because all our streams attract lots and lots of bugs.  The problem I have is that the pond I dug out years ago for them has dried up.  Something happened to the underground stream that fed it--I don't know what--and it's dry, dry dry. It's just a big hole now that collects rainwater.  Not cool, so I have to do something about it, I just haven't decided what.  It has been a big problem.
I guess you could say there's been a lot of re-evaluation going on.  Yep, you'll probably hear more about it.  Today, though, it's pouring rain and I have to go out and do the chores in it.  Joy!  Ah, it's all part of the job.  Have a wonderful evening everyone! 
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  1. Jocelyn... I'm where you are. Downsizing... though we did add ducks this year, I am no longer replacing layers. We did have 3 chicks... and of course, one is a cockerel... but no more. No more hatchery chicks, either, I am so over that. We are maintaining and not replacing. We are new goat owners, but got wethers so we would not be faced with finding homes for babies... and so far, so good.

  2. Mary Ann-- I hear you. I looked it over, and realized that everything I have animal-wise can make more of itself, so buying anything is stupid. I will still have to order meat birds, but that's about it. It's gotten too expensive, hasn't it?

  3. Watching animals go is never fun, even if it was part of the original plan! Good luck with all the transition! We have been reevaluating our flock of chickens as well. We only have 19, but at the same time, we have 19 and feed is so expensive! Oh, the joys of balancing it all!

  4. Bee Girl--I completely understand that. It is expensive. For a while, it was no big deal, then it got to be a big deal. Balancing is an interesting challenge, for sure.

  5. This life just ain't easy. There are lots of tough decisions to be made, with many factors to weigh. You're doing great, Jocelyn, and I am glad that you post about the tough stuff too, including unexpected losses, sick critters, and re-evaluating. We just got our first batch of meat birds, and we are already debating keeping a few to regenerate small numbers of said birds (Buff Orpingtons) in the future. Of course, there will be many factors that we will consider as we approach slaughter day, and knowing that someone else (yourself, and many others too) has had to make these choices too makes it easier.

    Thanks for 'keeping it real'!

  6. I've had times of this too. It's hard. It's hard not to be able to keep them all ,to do it all, and to have to sometimes cut back, or just keep things moving forward... hard to accept the physical, and financial limitations that are always bound to come up too. I'm glad you are able to keep the little goats that you are closest with, that's the important thing. And also that you are finding some great homes :) It's tough I know, but sometimes we just have to do what's right or best, and not just what our heart wants... for now... until we win the lottery! :)


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