It’s been quite a year in Oklahoma. From below zero temperatures in February to an unusually long (and cool) rainy season to 100 degree summer highs, it’s definitely hasn’t been boring.
Our goal when we got the pigs was to get them to 250 pounds by their butcher date in mid-October. We gave them treats a few weeks ago so could get accurate measurements and calculate their weight. They are both over 200 pounds now! Chester (left) was around 213 pounds and Jack (right) was around 218. They eat a LOT and are still growing. We’re so excited that we’re on track to meet our goal.
I have to admit, I’ll miss these guys a little bit when we send them off to butcher them. But it’s going to be so nice to have a break through the winter – and having a freezer full of fresh pork is going to be pretty amazing, too.
Cats hate my husband. Calm, docile cats will randomly try to attack him…even the lion at the Houston zoo came after him once! So we had never considered getting a cat. But having a farm means having mice, no matter how much you do to prevent them. Despite setting live traps, we were still having issues with mice around the chicken coop and run.
That’s why we brought in our new pest control specialist: Milo. He’s a rescue from a local vet’s office. He’s a beautiful cat…but he’s a bit wilder than we realized when we got him. After two days, he started wandering. After days of not seeing him, my husband set up his game cameras that he uses for hunting to see if Milo was still hanging out. He is…but only at night. During daylight hours, he’s a wanderer.
I’m not sure how this is going to work out. We need him to hunt our mice, not our neighbors’ mice. Only time will tell, I guess.
Honestly, I am just about done with chickens. Earlier in the year, I culled my flock down to my four best layers. Things have been better, but we’re still struggling. Ever since we got the chickens, we’ve battled leg mites, feather mites, feather picking, injuries (from each other), and more. It’s been a frustrating experience. The extreme weather hasn’t made it easier – it’s very challenging to keep chickens comfortable during this crazy weather.
I’m going back and forth about whether I want to get rid of them, take a break, and try again (with a different breed) in the spring; or keep these until spring and then start with a new flock; or just get rid of this flock and be done. I think some of mine are already molting. I want to at least get through the molt, get to some cooler weather, see if things get better, and reassess the chicken situation then.
Next to the pigs, this is our greatest accomplishment so far. Our landscaping is doing so well! We thought we’d lost the back bushes after that bitterly cold February, but this summer they have really pulled out of it. We had a butterfly bush that we planted in the front that didn’t survive the spring monsoons, but everything else is thriving.
While it’s been a good summer, this is definitely not my favorite season. I’m ready for fall and already dreaming of pumpkins on the porch, crisp mornings, and lighting the fireplace again.
What has been your favorite part of this summer? Is this your favorite time of year, or are you ready for a new season?