This is the month we do our quarterly shopping. Replenishing should not be as expensive as it usually is, however. We won’t be buying ANY dairy, now that I make all of our butter, sour cream, cream cheese and the like.
Most of our money will be going to livestock feed. We will be needing salt and grain for EmmaLouMoo’s last 3 months of lactation and the calves plus I need enough Chicken food for the eggers and to enough to raise the 30 meatie
chickens who arrive in April. I am hoping to spend a minimum on dogfood as I hope to switch the dogs to a raw diet. I am wary of all the recalls on commercial foods, in which so many ingredients come from China. It is a country which seems to care little about
the safety of its own people, they certainly care nothing for my animals. I am not willing that my dogs be the next victims. I’m just not sure how I will buy and store enough meat to feed over 300 lb of dogs for 3 months at a time. The change will have to
come slowly, until I figure it all out.
We will be buying onions and potatoes, as well as carrots. I have plenty of celery and mushrooms dehydrated so we won’t need any of those, this trip. Brown rice, soda crackers and of course, corn tortillas, because I am too
lazy to make them all the time, Kosher salt, sugar, nuts, lettuce and Randyman’s treats and we are pretty much good to go. Tortillas are one of the things on my bucket list to master and freeze.
My 'new' antique treadle is in town at my cousin’s, so we will get to see her when we pick it up and I am very excited about both as I have not seen her in 30 years. I also scored a great deal on some reusable canning lids and
am picking those up. In addition, we pick up a young goat buckling, because Peebody isn’t up to the job. We are buying it from a members on the KeepingAFamilyCow forum, so it will be nice to meet them!
My grain mill should be here soon, as well as the wheatberries I ordered. I am hoping to find some soft white wheat in town to grind for pastry flour. This month will be a learning curve for baking with whole grain flours. I
am really looking forward to it and once again, it cuts way down on the grocery bills. According to my research, the wheatberries, properly stored, keep almost indefinitely, whereby flour, does not. Plus all the healthy stuff has been taken out of commercial
flour, so we should benefit that much more from grinding our own because it will still contain the bran and the kernal and all.
I had gotten a great deal on a butterchurn on ebay. I was really looking forward to it getting here as I can churn 7 quarts of heavy cream at a time, instead of only 2 quarts. It was a beautiful antique electric churn with an
old embossed glass jar. The seller didn’t package it quite well enough and neglected to mark the large heavy box as ‘Fragile’ or 'Breakable' and it arrived with the jar in pieces. I was devastated. I have found a different kind of jar I am hoping Randyman
can adapt to work with the motor. I won’t have the beautiful antique I had paid for, but at least I might have a working churn. I am still waiting on ewe #3 to lamb. She is being quite obstinate about it. I spend night after night watching sheep TV, but she
has been so uninterested in doing her part I haven’t even bothered to stay up. I just watch her until its time to go to bed. I hope she gets it done before we leave for town, because she is a high risk ewe, and I hate to leave her with my friend "D" to have
to take care of. She has already offered to milk EmmaLouMoo and feed all the other critters. No small feat.
The windstorms have EmmaLou upset enough that if there is any wind or snow, she will not use her tent shelter now, so she has taken over the lambing shed. She’s a bit of a princess, as she now has a ‘guest’ quarters. This meant
we needed another place to jug up the ewes for lambing. Randyman to the rescue. In driving snow, he climbed up on the rock wall to put sheeting in the open gable of the milkroom to keep snow from falling inside. After spending several hours of remodeling,
and moving feed, tack and straw bales we had a spot.
The pups have done an excellent job lately of guarding the sheep. I had previously always let them choose where they wanted to go and they have been effective as we have had no losses, but last January, with the arrival of all
the bird hunters, they become so worried about what was going on in front of the house, they weren’t paying enough attention to what was going on out back. I decided I want them to follow the sheep by day, and then they can patrol where they choose to, by
night. It took a few days of my hanging out with them in the pasture, but they are so amazingly intelligent, they figured it out. Now, each morning, Randyman lets them in the house to visit with me while I have my cup of coffee, then they follow me out when
I go to milk. They go to the pasture with the sheep and I take care of the cow, calves, goats and chickens. Bruno tends to stay up closer to the corral where the chickens are while Cletus follows the sheep around. That has been a surprise, as Cletus has always
been the chicken lover. I have a feeling that when the meatie chicks come, they will switch roles again. Cletus is the 'mother-hen' of the pair, while Bruno is more businesslike. For Cletus it’s a passion while for Bruno it's a job. Both are excellent at what
they do though, they just have very different personalities.
Cletus, is a big doofus and weighs about 120 lb. (Randyman thinks he weighs more than that) Bruno, is a bit smaller and much quicker. He is also the instigator. Cider, our red-headed stepchild, loves to terrorize Cletus, just
because he can. He runs around him, growling and making all kinds of macho noises. Cletus won’t hurt him intentionally, but tries to engage him in play. He will lift his giant feet up to swat at Cider, but before he has a chance, Bruno sweeps in and jerks
Cletus’ back legs out from under him. Cider has no idea that Bruno is actually protecting him. I don’t think Cletus knows it either. We have observed this pattern night after night. It blows my mind how intelligent Bruno really is.
We made it back home from our shopping trip. We left at 6 a.m. and got home at 1 a.m. the following morning. Glad we only do this 4x a year! Our next scheduled trip will be in June. It was GREAT to see my cousin, whom I haven't
seen for 25 years. She's newly married to a really nice guy, who has carried a picture of them in his wallet of a Junior Prom (we will just say a LONG time, as its not nice to give away ages!) all this time. How awesome is that??? Definitely the stuff movies
are made of.
We blabbered on happily through lunch, while our guys looked on with raised eyebrows and often blank looks while eating their hamburgers. We loaded the treadle in the horse trailer, agreed that maybe next trip we will come the
afternoon before and stay overnight and headed to our next destination. WE had already picked up a ton of livestock feeds, some spring wheat to plant in the chicken corral, fencing for EmmaLou's small pasture and a few odds and ends. We drove another hour
to the NW and picked up the goat buckling. He's a cutie. We had a great time meeting my internet friend from the cow boards, meeting all her cows, pigs and goats. We put the little guy in a dog crate in the big stock trailer and spent the next several hours
finishing up by buying our 3 months worth of people groceries, doing errands at the Lowe's home store (as we refuse to patronize HomeDepot) and stopped at a fast food joint to get a large cup of boiling water to heat little feller's bottle in. As we were standing
the dark parking lot, a big SUV pulled up and a lady asked if her little girl could see the 'sheep' that were in the trailer. She was surprised to find out that not only was it NOT a sheep, but there was only ONE of him. He had been pretty vocal about his
discontent. I let the little girl feed him his bottle and we went down the road for dinner. After our last stops we headed out of town and stopped at the last gas station for another cup of hot water as it had been 3 hours since little feller's last bottle.
I brought him in the cab of the truck where it was warm, as the trailer gets too cold and windy on the road, and he was already pretty stressed out from being de-horned, pulled from his mama and siblings, and switched from goat to cow's milk, all in his first
few days of life. He gratefully cuddled up on my lap and slept the 4 hours to the ranch, only waking once or twice to bleat a little "are we home yet?" at us. The pups met us in front of the house, Cider introduced them to the little feller, who Randyman thought
should spend the night in the house, inside in the dog crate and we headed for bed. Not bad for a day's work!