Heart, Seeds, Chicks and Projects

Heart ~

Sir Barksalot’s heart recheck went well.  The canine cardiologist said he sounds “fantastic”.  He wanted me to cut the seizure meds in half and see what happens.   After a few days, the Boxer began having odd facial movements.  His mouth would start opening and shutting repeatedly along with slight twitching.   This means it is most likely a tumor. He is back on the full dose.  His monthly medication costs $150+.  We are stretched quite thin now.  The other downside is he now has separation anxiety when I leave the house.  He was making so much noise when I last went to the store, he woke up my son who sleeps during the day (works overnight).

We are slightly concerned about his mental status.  He seems to zone out and sometimes doesn’t seem to remember things.   When we adopted him, he had food issues and would choke himself from eating fast.  He also knocked children over to get to his food bowl.  He was terrified of it being taken away.  He was trained to sit and wait until he is fed and we give him the command to eat.  He also stops eating if we say, “Slow down.” and waits until he’s given permission to eat again.  Over time, once he realized we weren’t going to starve him or take his food away, we didn’t have to say anything.  He sat without being told and quietly waited until we said, “Go eat.”

Now, he acts like he doesn’t know what to do.  We tell him to sit and he just looks at us like he hasn’t got a clue.  If we say “go eat”, he just stands there looking back and forth between us and his food.  I have repeated it over 5 times and he just stands there. I jokingly said, “I’m going to have to teach him sign language.” because I wasn’t sure he was hearing me.   Half the time he doesn’t seem to remember normal commands.    Until last night DH thought I was overreacting.

The one thing we have not been able to train out of the Boxer is going ballistic when DH comes into the house.   He goes nuts barking.  Sometimes he’ll growl, but it’s not often.  We have tried so many different things over the years to get him to stop, but DH refuses to do his part, so the dog barks.  I mean he barks like an intruder has come into the house.  It is a non-stop barking that no one can get him to stop for more than a few seconds.  Once DH has shoes off and is moving around the kitchen the dog will finally stop barking.

Last night, as usual, the barking began the minute Sir Barksalot heard DH’s car.   DH came in like always.  The barking was non-stop like always.  Boxer left the kitchen when finished like always.  But then he came running full tilt back into the kitchen.  The minute he saw DH he started barking all over again.   The dog acted like DH had just come in.  He wouldn’t stop barking until I finally yelled “Enough!” at him.  He still gave little barks and growls (normal), but he left the room.  DH looked at me and said, “That wasn’t normal.  It’s like he forgot I’d already come in.  I guess you were right.”

Ya think?!

We’re not sure if it’s a side effect of the medications, so we’re keeping watch to see if it gets worse.  I also need to take him in for a weight check.  I’m kind of dreading that, but it does look like he’s put on a pound or two which is good news if it’s true.  Hopefully, it’s not wishful thinking.

Seeds ~

I was able to take a breath and catch up with “farm” stuff.   This week I was finally able to get the rest of the seeds started that should’ve been started in the last four weeks. Since I started late,  I’m praying I get a decent growing season.  The cold is so wacky this year.

So far I have one experimental pepper, “green” peppers, celery, four types of tomatoes, beans, lettuce, cauliflower, and cabbage.   Hopefully, I can start the radishes, spinach and carrots outside next week, but it doesn’t look like the temperatures are going to stay above freezing at night.   I haven’t used a night blanket on them before, but I may have to this year.  The next batch of  seeds will be cucumbers, squash, peas and watermelon.

Some of the seeds started:

 

Most of the seeds started 3292014

Chicks ~

We have new chicks.  They are twice the size the Bourbon Red Turkeys were at this age despite restricting their feed to slow their growth.  My children have stated, “They are not like the last set of chicks.”     These are chickens specifically bred for meat, and they definitely act differently than the chicks raised last year.   The way they attack the feeder when fed is something else.   We have to wear gloves, because they climb it and nip at our hands to see if we’re food.  Once they know we’re not, they get a bit frantic until they remember where the food comes out.    We watch their behavior at feeding time out of pure fascination.   We have nicknamed them The Little Piranhas.

They like to rearrange the brooder.  They move one of the water containers all the time.  I set it to the side; they move it to the middle.  I wouldn’t care if they didn’t dump water and flood their bedding in the process.  I finally just left it where they wanted it until I switched it for the larger one.   Now they move their food feeder.   They also like to bunch up at one end of the brooder whether or not the heat lamp is on.  I’m not sure what the attraction is.  They are gathered around one of the food containers.

 

2 or 3 weeks of age 3292014

Chicks at 2 weeks of age. They’re double the size now and are 3 weeks.

We’re dividing them into two brooders today, so I can switch over to larger containers they can’t move – hopefully.   I was going to move them outside into a goat barn stall, but the temperatures dropped along with icy sleet/snow.   I’ve decided I want a bigger brooder that will stay in the goat barn and insulate chicks better.  I like this one:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/amferro103s-homemade-chicken-brooder

I just discovered I’m losing my farm helper for a week.  My eldest is driving from Texas to Florida in order to take her kids to Disney World.  She has requested DS3 go with her as a “child helper”.   This is not a good time for him given that we have a lot of projects to do and not a lot of time to do them.  He really wants to go, and she is paying, so he is leaving at the end of the week.

Upcoming Spring and Summer projects:

Get the chickens out of the house and into a temporary coop until they’re big enough to free range with the others without the hawk getting them.  Depending on weather, they may never get to do this.  They will be processed in about 4 weeks or so.

Build 8 raised beds and a potato grower.

Move and fix the turkey hut.  The roof collapsed under the weight of all the snow, and the goats discovered the snow will pile up behind it.  They got over the fencing using the “snow hill” that formed.

Redo and clean out the goat barn to fit a milking area for the Nigerian Dwarf that will be here any day.

Finish the milking stand for said ND.

Clean out an area in the basement for a livestock cabinet.  Right now, stuff is all over: in the kitchen, the goat barn, the shed, the other shed, and the basement.   There isn’t enough room in the barn for it.  The basement is a disaster.

Find and organize feed bins.  We started making our own goat feed.  We need to get each bag of ingredients into  mouse/chipmunk/anyotherinterestedcritter proof bins.

Clean the entire basement.  The plumber can’t access the iron filter and water softener and they both need servicing.

When warm enough, redo the roof and outside of the camper and fix all leaks, so we can work on the inside.

Gut the inside of the camper and redo it.  (I’m excited about this.  Hopefully, it comes out well)

Finish the front porch (been waiting for years for it to be done)

Rewire the circuit breaker box so things quit tripping breakers.   It’s overloaded from the previous owners.   Who the heck puts all outside outlets and lights on the same breaker as both bathrooms and the living room?!  That is all on one breaker.

Thoroughly clean and declutter every room of the house.  This will be a HUGE undertaking.  It will also cause a lot of stress.  DH will argue about anything that needs to go.

We have a steep-pitched roof, so to keep the dogs and I from being skewered by 5 foot icicles (not exaggerating), build a door cover or entry way for the walk-out basement.  It was a bit close this year.  One grazed my arm. I’m also sick of walking through waterfalls when it rains.

Clean out the rented storage room DS1 and I share to make room for some things from the house.

Remove all children’s play equipment that is not needed now and put it into storage.

Clean out our big van and sell it to a junk yard.  It failed inspection due to the frame rusting out.  It can never pass and is illegal to drive.  It was massively snowed in and holding indoor children’s play equipment.

Finish the upstairs bathroom.  It still needs a shower rod installed, molding and trim put on, and the closet finished.  The table saw is in the basement and people’s sleep/work schedules don’t give me any time to use it.  Once it’s warm enough I can move it outside.

Have three trees removed.  DH is forbidden to touch them.  The last tree he cut down fell on my car.  Two of the trees are aimed at power lines, and he wants to cut them down himself.  No.  Just no.

Maybe build a new area for a buck.  Maybe.  Not sure yet.

There is about 20 other things, but those are the most important ones.

You really can’t tell Spring is here, but it’s supposed to get above 30 today.  Possibly 40.  Yay, Spring!   Though around here we call it Mud Season.

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