Evangeline didn't want to go back to sleep after her 3 a.m. feeding, so here I am at 4-something in the morning, swinging her around in a sling with nothing much else to do. I guess I'll give an update on our farm, since stuff around here consumes most of our non-Evangeline-related time.

First of all, I always thought it was cool how the Brits name their homes. After we bought this place I wanted to do the same, but couldn't think of anything that sounded right. For the most part we, or at least I, have taken to calling this place "The Farm." That's not very original, but it does personalize the place a bit for me.

With regard to the animals, we still only have 10 chickens (nine hens and a rooster), and three ducks. The ducks spend all of their time in a small duck tractor (a portable cage, really). I'm keeping them confined to their tractor until they get big enough to not fit through the pickets of our little yard (the fenced area adjacent to our house). I'm a little concerned that once the ducks get a taste of freedom they'll want to fly away, but, supposedly, ducks get used to being fed and don't wander off unless they see a body of water nearby, and even then, again, "supposedly," they'll eventually return. I'm sure they'll be fine, but we may clip their wings to be safe. They're still a few weeks away from being able to fly anyway. Speaking of water, I put a little pan of water in their tractor tonight and, despite a little initial fear of change, they hopped right in and started floating around like, well, ducks. They look like three rubber ducks floating in there -- pretty cool.

I'm more excited about eating the ducks than I am about eating the chickens, and I'm pretty excited about eating the chickens! Of course, we won't do any butchering with any of the birds until they start to lay eggs and reproduce. The chickens ought to start laying in September, so I'm sure I'll be building the deluxe coop here sometime in August. Lately I've considered buying a bunch of meat birds just for the purpose of slaughtering, but I'll probably hold off on that for now to see what our current flock does.

Brandi and I are both liking the idea of having a meat cow (a cow raised to be eaten) and some of our bumpkin friends around here have suggested the idea of getting an electric fence because a) they'll apparently keep in a cow and b) they're cheap as dirt compared to other fencing. I'd need to fence off about 1.25 acres, but much of that is already fenced by my neighbor, so I'm really only looking at about 750 linear feet of fencing. I contacted a farm supply dealer and I can get a bare bones set up for a little less than $300. I'm still not sure how much the cow would cost but we'd probably buy a calf, have it slaughtered in a few months, and then repeat the process. Some country friends I went to lunch with the other day told me they slaughtered a cow a few months ago and still have all sorts of meat in their freezer: ribs, tenderloins, etc. (The company that does the slaughtering gives you all your cuts of meat in nice shrink-wrapped packages.)

Brandi and I had a good chat with our neighbor who owns the rent property next to our house. As far as rent houses go -- heck, as far as any house goes! -- he keeps the place looking flawless. Anyway, his residence is about three-quarters of a mile down our road. We had a chat about his garden (he's been keeping it for 15 years), the neighborhood dogs (he said they're friendly and haven't been known to bite anyone), and he spent a little time cooing over Evangeline. I can't believe how warm and friendly the guy is. He told me he's got all sorts of farm tools and that if I ever need anything to let him know. (Most people out here are very friendly.)

That's all I've got for now. I'm off to bed.


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