Now that was a wild trip!
We went to Alabama for 8 days. Maybe it was 9 days... I'm losing track now. We did a lot of work. Got the tables set up that we made out of the old metal pallets. (I forgot to take pictures, AGAIN- but I had good reasons, I promise!) Took down a third of the old barn. Reinforced a third of it and the largest and most dangerous part we will work on during the next trip. Over Christmas. We will travel back for the largest trip of the year. We always try to spend another 10 days during that time but this year we will spend a full 2 weeks. There is much to be done.
This trip was wonderful The weather was very cooperative. It sprinkled all day off and on once and it was cool but comfortable every. single. day. That is just weird. Usually we roast in the afternoon, freeze at night roast again, etc. But this trip was perfect.
Until we got home. But that is a story I'll save for in a few minutes. The first night there we saw some of our herd of deer and knew that all was well. All of our hard work during the summer is paying off and it IS worth the trouble to both keep the deer on the land and keep them OUT of the crops. Some times it seems like an epic battle of mending fences and rethinking ourselves and our plans. Wanting to give up and either go for the crops or the deer. Both are easy enough but together it's hard to do both. Not to mention the pigs (wild) on the land that need to be controlled.
This year something is different than most years and I think it's due to the weather, but I'm no expert. The rut (mating season) has started much earlier than in previous years. Most years the dear don't begin until late December and into January. Not this year! The deer are already showing signs of rutting. Thanksgiving night I harvested a doe to find out she was in full estrus! The mating season really did change this year. How strange. The next night I had a buck stalking the area where the doe was at. He was a prime buck, and he was left to carry on his genes. A younger buck that was developing split tines was taken for our freezer.
(Time for a whine. Tune out now if you don't want to hear it or see pictures of dead deer.)
I'll save the pictures for last. Because now I'll tell you what was not so perfect about this trip. We came home after a week of working and harvesting to find our house looking in roughly the same shape it appeared in when we left. We unpacked the few things we bring back and forth. When it came time to take showers that night we flipped on the heater.... Uh... well - we TRIED to flip on the heater. It didn't work. We have two so we went downstairs to flip on that heater instead... it wasn't working either. :-( Oh no! Bad timing! I have a space heater I use occasionally so I pulled that out and put it in the bathroom, warmed it up a bit, got the kids ready started drawing a bath and the water ran and ran and ran. But, it never turned warm. That's odd. I washed my hands and the water was warm, so I went to the sink. Sure enough the water is warm there. I turned the water in the tub all the way to hot and.... dribble dribble dribble.... DOH! NOTHING! So I went to the next bathroom, same thing! OMG I feel like we've been sabotaged! At least we have one shower that is working. But - Grrr....
Our DRYER is out, too. So now we have clothes that desperately need washed, no way to dry them we are all taking turns in 1 shower using the hot water heater that already wasn't working right....
WAHHHH!!!!! Oh, and to top it off something had a try at my poor Dusty. When I got home and checked on her she had a bald spot and small cut on her throat with LOTS of feathers missing there. It looks like an animal tried to grab her by the throat. I hope she sliced it open with her claws!
OKOK, It isn't THAT bad. I have space heater for the bedroom so we are not freezing at night. I do have at least one operating bath tub. But, it feels pretty awful. LOL. It felt worse that night as we were finding everything of course. Now that I've had a day to realize the world is not ending and I can actually operate this way (Once I get my clothes clean) I'm feeling a lot better. But what a rough way to come back to the house, huh?
Promised dead deer pictures - here is what we are so thankful will be filling our freezer and our bellies this year:
So tally this trip 150 pounds of meat $3 a pound = $450 ++(Venison in stores and on menus runs much more but I would never pay for it!) ( minus - A/C bill & plummer yet to be determined. LOL)
We give 30-50+ pounds a meat per trip to my brother who is on social security and has no other income. It helps with his income then at the end of the year depending on what meat is left in the freezer we will divy it all up and give him more. This year looks plentiful so we will have more to give and we are thankful for that.
See you soon!