This has been a bad year for us on the farm. Well, we're still blessed with our health, but if we had many years like this in a row and actually had to live off our land, we'd be in big trouble. I can't even remember everything that has gone wrong, but here's a list of things I can think of.
(1) We only had eight baby goats this year. Last year we had about 17. Two of the goats needed assistance at birth and they both lost a kid during labor. One goat that had triplets last year only had one this year. One goat that always had triplets previously only had two this year. One baby was born with what I think was a birth defect. She lived several weeks - got stronger at first, but then quickly got weaker and finally died.
(2) We've had lot of illness in our goat herd. Two of our Nubian does came down with a very bad case of worms and coccidiosis. We treated the whole herd before they all came down with it. One of the adults died despite the week long treatment. That left her twins abandoned too early. At that stage, after having nursed for so long, they won't take a bottle, so I just had to let them survive on solid food. I realized later that the doe that lost her baby had started nursing at least one of those twins, maybe both. But that doe had a relapse of coccidiosis and one of the twins she had adopted got it, too. I isolated them and did another round of meds. When they recovered, I put them back with the herd. The next week the other twin got it. So I isolated the twins together and treated them both. They both recovered, but they both were so pitifully thin and bony. I think there was another round of illness in there somewhere, but I've lost track. They're all healthy right now and the orphaned twins are putting on weight and looking better.
(3) Some of our chickens got something funky - two of them got big growths on their wattles, extending up to their beaks. I isolated them. Their growths got bigger, but otherwise they seemed fine, but they eventually stopped laying eggs. I had Tom kill them because they obviously weren't going to get any better, they weren't laying eggs, and I didn't want it to spread to the other chickens. Then we had another chicken get sick. I had noticed her sitting in a nesting box for days, but she wasn't sitting on any eggs. I finally took her out and discovered that she couldn't walk. I isolated her and she continued to live, but would only just king of lounge. She would eat and drink if I put the food close enough for her to reach. After several days of that, I had Tom put her down.
(4) In the middle of our monsoon spring, our generator broke...kind of. The generator is set up so that it automatically comes on when the city power goes off. When I was home alone (of course) one night during a rainstorm, the power went off, the generator did not come on. When Tom got home, he tried to get it to come on, but couldn't. Long story short, he worked on it for weeks, went to the Cummings place to talk to their engineers, nobody could figure it out, he finally diagnosed it and one of their techs came over to help him fix it. That was over a period of at least six weeks.
(5) This sounds minor, but when you're living on a farm and need a gate opened and closed several times a day, it doesn't feel minor...our front gate opener stopped working properly. It took months to diagnose and fix that problem.
(6) The garden. Oh, the garden. The only thing it has produced this season is asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, a couple of quarts of green beans, arugula, a few watermelon and, so far, one cantaloupe. My plan was to have most of the garden space used up with pumpkins. But, every time the pumpkin plant would just start to vine out, it would die...POW, like, within hours. It would be big and beautiful in the morning...completely dead in the evening. I replanted three times. Each time the same thing happened - same with the zucchini, lemon squash (although, I did get two squash off of one of those before it died overnight), butternut squash, watermelon, and cantaloupe. For some weird reason, one watermelon vine and one cantaloupe vine survived the massacre and are producing.
Since I couldn't get any pumpkin to grow, I went ahead and planted four rows of corn using the seeds I had leftover from last year. Out of four rows, SIX plants came up and none of them have an ear of corn on them worthy anything...just a couple of skinny ears that I'll probably throw to the chickens.
I looked in my Texas organic gardening book to see if there was anything I could plant in August and it said pumpkins. So, I stuck two seeds in the ground to see if they will grow.
I have no expectations.