Farm Update #1: January 15, 2021

Every couple of weeks I plan to give an update about what is going on around the farm. What projects Nick and I are working on and what our plans are. This will not only keep me accountable but will give you a glimpse into what is going on behind the scenes as well!

The beautiful snow we had has melted as the days get a little warmer but I hear that we are in for some rain that will turn to snow again this week as the temperatures drop again. Now that I have seen the farm coated in snow, that is all I want to see all Winter!

Every week I will also give an update on our animals, what I am up to inside the farmhouse and what we are doing to set up our homestead.

Animals

Currently H&H is home to 9 animals + 3 stray cats that I am feeding (and probably about 50,000 bees).

4 Dogs – Rusty, Comet, Liam and Bristol. The big boys were mine before I started dating my husband and Bristol the wiener dog was his.

Left to Right: Rusty, Comet and Liam being all crazy!
This precious girl has my heart. Bristol sure does love to snuggle.

2 Cats – Mordecai the ginger cat has been mine since shortly after I moved into my first apartment. Mila came to our home after I disappeared to the shelter and got her while we were moving into our house. I just knew our barn needed a mouser…

3 Rabbits – Larry the Lionhead is mine. You might have been following me long enough to know that Larry had a brother Moe, but he very unexpectedly passed away on December 14th. We are all still working on getting over that, especially Larry. But I currently also have 2 foster rabbits that I am taking care of for a local shelter – Dumpling and Sam.

I also have been feeding 3 stray cats – Binx, Rory and Earl. Yesterday Rory let me pick him up so we are making real progress with him! If Mila likes him (which I doubt) then he can come into the barn. Otherwise we have built a couple of makeshift cat winter shelters around our property to give the cats a place to go.

This is Rory – isn’t he so handsome??

Pro-tip for cat shelters: make sure there are TWO exits. The last thing you want is to make your cat a sitting duck for a predator to trap inside the shelter. As long as you put something warm in there and there is a roof the cat will be just fine.

This shelter is on the front porch for Binx. This is a box from one of my Christmas presents and it already happened to have a hole towards the back. Perfect getaway for a kitty! I will be holding on to this box for future winters. I insulated it with cheap fleece blankets. If temperatures dip really low I will add straw to it as well.

Larry

Beyond teaching how to create a safe shelter for the stray cats, I want to give an update on Larry. While I was in quarantine with Covid I discovered ear mites in Larry’s ear. I did an at home treatment (using a few drops of olive oil to smother and kill the mites) but that didn’t fully take care of it and I had to take him to the vet. Before our appointment I also discovered that Larry has no longer been cleaning himself and he developed a skin infection on his bottom as well. Moe was the clean rabbit who would obsessively clean himself AND Larry. I have actually never seen Larry clean himself. I have a pretty intense treatment regimen to follow for Larry and then we will go back to the vet at the end of next week. So far he is very tolerant of all of his treatments and seems to be responding well.

Ear mites are incredibly contagious so Larry is in a little quarantine of his own. After he is fully healed I am going to test him with my foster rabbits to see if either one of them might be a good match for him and help to fill the void that Moe left. Rabbits are very social animals so it is hard for them to live alone.

I created this video, also posted to my Instagram today, to show how to administer oral medication to a rabbit. After Moe’s surgery last spring I became something of an expert on this subject so I thought I would share my knowledge!

Farmhouse

I shared on the blog earlier this week my Laundry Room renovation. After I finished the laundry room I turned my attention to what we call our “Dog Room” – where we feed the dogs and where their crates live. I’m so excited with how the room has turned out and will be sharing pictures on the blog and Instagram next week including a super special How-To on a piece of furniture that we built for the room!

My next project that I want to dive into is the Pantry. We do not have adequate storage in it right now. I emptied the pantry the other day (sharing a “before” picture here – yikes!) and now I need to repair the walls and repaint the inside.

One wire shelf in a pantry just won’t do. Everything is just all over. We forget what we have half the time!

I have drawn out roughly what I want in there on a piece of paper but I need to get out my graph paper and really get the scale figured out. Then I am just waiting on all of the Menard’s rebates that I sent off last year to come in so we can use those to pay for this renovation. Money is tighter than ever so I don’t want to purchase any of the materials until we have those rebates to offset the cost.

Pretty rough sketch but you get the idea of what I’m going for!

For now all of the pantry items are in boxes in one of the guest rooms with the door closed to keep Mr. Rusty from eating us out of house and home.

While I am waiting for the rebates I will repair and paint the walls and then there are always other small projects that I am working on around the house that can occupy my time.

Homestead

I shared on my Instagram on Wednesday my Coop-A-Cabana sign and the site for my future chicken coop. Then that same day something happened that caused Nick and I to reconsider some of our farm plans. As of right now I’m not sure if this will be the right time to add chickens to our homestead or not.

It is looking like I will need to be re-entering the 9 to 5 workforce this year to help Nick and I to build up a little bit more of a cushion for some of our dreams. This makes some of the things that I was planning to do on the farm a little more difficult to manage as I will have less time at home and Nick and I will be working opposite shifts (me on first and him on second). It is uncertain if we will share any full days off so our ability to tackle projects together may be a little compromised this year.

All this means is that I will prioritize the items that I don’t need assistance on – my garden and learning how to preserve my harvest to feed us year round and of course my beloved bees.

If this situation has done anything it has made my resolve for simpler living and building my homestead stronger as I not only need this sanctuary but the more I can provide for myself, the less I will have to so desperately rely on outside forces. I want my homestead to be sustainable in every sense of the word.

2 thoughts on “Farm Update #1: January 15, 2021

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