Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Feel Like I Have Failed

That's right, I have failed. Failed at being a farmer. This year has been the hardest on me and our farm and I feel like it's my fault. This year we have lost 3 calves. One got stuck in the mud before I could find it and it froze to death. Something killed one, and I have know idea how the other one died. It just did.

I haven't had one successful litter of rabbits. It's always been something that I did. I kept checking on them to see how they were doing, therefore the mother killed them. They do that when they are bothered. One time, I calculated the wrong date and didn't put the birthing boxes in the cages in time. This time, I put the boxes in too soon and the rabbits pooped in them therefore they had their babies outside of the boxes.They all died. It's stupid mistakes like that.

Two days ago we had a chicken massacre and not in the good way. 14 of our chickens got slaughtered by something. We think it may have been Jack(our new St. Bernard), but he was down by the house almost all day. More likely though, he's the one who done it. We are down to 6 fryer roosters and 7 hens. Hens who are not laying their eggs in their nest so I'm not getting ANY eggs. I have looked all over and can't find them.

Nothing has happened to the goats, so far. But, I'm still holding my breath with them. The way things have been going, I'm just waiting.

We had to put down one of our horses a few months ago because she broke her leg. I have no idea how she broke it, but it was beyond repair. I didn't put it on here because, once again, I felt like a failure.

Our garden produced all of one batch of green beans and 3 cucumbers. The rest was either ate by deer or dried up. We were lucky enough that Hubby's parents had an abundant supply of green beans this year because they were hauling water to their garden with a giant tank in the back of their truck. 

These, and I'm sure other things that I have forgotten about, have happened to our farm. And because of all of them, I feel like I have failed this year as a homesteader.  It also makes me look at how I done things this year and wonder where I could have changed things. As I look back, there are many places that I could have done things differently. The cattle, well, there's not really much we could have done with them. These things happens sometimes. It doesn't make it easier, they just happen. The rabbits are going to get a better hutch. One in which they will have plenty of room and a permanent  brooding box built on the back that can be blocked off for when they're not ready to have babies.That way, they won't poop in it. The chickens are getting a new coop as I type this. Hubby is still making it. Pictures to come.  The goats, well, we will just see. As for the garden, we will start all over again next year with a smaller garden that we can actually take care of. 

We have our plans. I just hope things work out.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, failed, but learning.


TxFarmhouse said...

I haven't blogged in such a long time but still try to keep up reading and I came across yours today. I'm so sorry you feel like such failure. Whoever said homesteading is easy? Nothing worthwile is easy! Keep on, Keep on!! When mistakes are made, learn from them and go on. It gets better! Sounds like you're miles ahead of where you think you are. My gracious, sit back and look at all your accomplishments!!I'll bet if you were on the outside lookin' in, you'd see a bunch!

Anonymous said...

My late father always told me that the worst failure is not trying. And if you DO fail, it just means there is something you haven't tried yet. Boy, was he right.

NancyDe said...

You sound like you've had a year like mine - I had to put my horse down in July because of I finally lost a long battle with laminitis. We've lost a two ewes (one dog kill - our dog) and one got ill. We lost two lambs. My tomatoes were skimpy and NOTHING but dill seed grew in my garden because it basically rained straight for 12 months. It's hard not to feel like a failure - for me it's the sheep; I feel like I don't know enough, like I am not here enough (I have a teaching job). I know exactly how you feel! It's no fun.

Carolyn said...

I have so many "learning experiences" underneath my belt it does sometimes feel like I'm just holding on to the homestead.

Hold on there, some years basically suck, but others rock, I guess it's just part of the farming/livestock life.

DFW said...

You are NOT a failure!!! You tried & lost this year. You are DOING! Next year will be so much better because you have learned sooo much.

I know it's disheartening but at least you are trying (& DOING!)

Stick w/me as I try & fail in the next couple of years. I'm sure I'll be crying as much as you (if not more).

Tonia said...

You have years like that.. Always was told not to handle baby rabbits but we always have handled from day one. Moms never minded..
Coyotes will kill like that and Raccoons.. I had 51 meat chickens down in the low 40s now thanks to raccoons.. Last winter I lost 5 baby goats in less than 5 hours to uric acid poisoning. Not a common thing at all..
The main thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep going!!

Candy C. said...

I know it's hard sometimes but we must keep on trying; otherwise, we might as well just move back to the city!
{{HUGS}} to you and here's to a better year next year!

Phelan said...

Failed? Bah humbug!!! Last two years here as been incredibly rough. And I too have felt that way. But you know, it's a learning experience, we move on from it a bit better than we were before.

And just wait until I visit. ;) oh, I'll give you a call tomorrow.

Teri said...

Awwww, don't feel bad, it just happens sometime. I had a bad year as well, not a good lamb spring, fractured my leg in June, so I lost all my blackberries for jam ... hubby didn't water during drought ... cause, well, "it's not his thing" so I lost most of my garden that I worked so hard on. I still have 3 rams to take to market, hay to stack in the barn ...
Don't worry or blame yourself ... S$^T happens!
Hope you have a great week ...

Ron said...

Oh yeah? My mother-in-law moved in with me. Now who's having the worst year?

Just kidding. Hope it made you smile. For what it's worth, I keep a Happy List. Things that make me happy: certain songs, movies, pictures of my daughters, a favorite list of youtube videos that make me bust a gut when I watch them. Do you have a Happy List?

Modern Day Redneck said...

I think you topped it Orange Jeep Dad.
No really, all I can say SFG is "So What". Yup, so what if it didn't work out this year. Throw your hands up and get an apartment if you are afraid of failure. I have thought about doing it 100 times over and you know what, I still keep failing. Every year I have animals die, or have a bad harvest, or this and that. Over the summer I had four cows die. It wasn't my fault but they did anyway. I feel your pain and know what you are going through. I think that is why I took most of the year off and went and had fun. I was tired of the fight. Now I am back in it and guess what, I am still failing. I have been doing this homesteading thing for almost forty years now and in each and every year I can tell you something I could do better.
Good luck

Sheepmom said...

You did have a crappy year. The important part is to see what went wrong and fix it if you can. New coop, new hutches, new plan for the garden... you are doing the right thing by working to fix the weak parts of the system. You will always be fighting to keep your critters and place well and healthy. Illness, predators, weather, conflicting things all needing your attention at the same time..... it happens to us all and you just have to say 'I see what happened there," and work to fix it. A lot of livestock lessons are taught by dead animals, unfortunately, but you are SMART because you see what went wrong and are fixing it. Lots of people just shrug and say 'bad luck' and don't try to improve things and bad stuff keeps happening to their animals and plans. Hang tough! (And I wouldn't be too quick to blame Jack unless he's pooping feathers or something. Raccoons will slaughter for fun and they are good at it.)

angela said...

You are not a failure, you have had a bad year this more than anything makes you a real farmer. All farmers have there bad years, between drough, and floods and pests. I too have had a couple of bad years. After establishing my fruit trees in the drough, we had flooding rains and I lost quite a few of them. That was soul destroying. But I know that if I want to make a go of this life I have to pick myself up and get on with it. We have lost lambs and I have had to re do my chicken housing to prevent foxes from getting my new chooks. Know you are not alone.

Amy said...

We had a similar year. I keep telling people that we are lousy farmers. I am sorry to read about your losses and heartbreaks, but I am also encouraged that we aren't alone in our determination to keep at it in spite of feeling like we haven't a clue. Hopefully we are learning and will find more success and encouragement in the future!

Susan said...

As hard as it is, don't give up. Sounds like you've learned from your mistakes, and that's all you can ask. As far as gardens go - these past few years have been really difficult for all of us. I've lost my share of livestock through both ignorance on my part and predators. You just do the best you can. You sure are not alone!

The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...

You said it... learning. There is no structured fail-safe blueprint to make everything work out. We don't have control over anything! No matter how many contingent plans we come up with, there will always be something that comes happens - BUT isn't that what makes us keep trying? Aren't the challenges of wanting to get things to go exactly as you thought out in your head a driving force? You're a tenatious gal! You have a great plot of land, and family, and so many awesome dreams to explore. Nothing will ever be perfect, that is boring! Don't overlook all the things that do go right though. All those successes. All those new things that you took on that have turned out great. Smile, take a deep breath and take it all in.

Miss M said...

I'm sorry you've had such a rough year! Like everyone else has said, though, you have learned. Failure would be not trying at all, or trying and not learning.

I will add my voice to Tonia's. I am a moderator on a rabbit forum. Nearly all of us handle the baby rabbits from the very first day, and we encourage newcomers to rabbits to do the same.

It is important to pull the nest box out and go through it as soon as possible, so you can check the condition of the babies, and so you can remove any dead kits or afterbirth that was not cleaned up by the doe.

It is important to continue to pull the box out every day if possible, for the first few days, to check for dead kits and to see if they are being fed. Some does' milk doesn't come in for a day or two, though.

When taking or returning the nest, you can offer a very small treat to the doe, so she associates her babies disappearing with something good.

The more the babies and adults are handled, the friendlier they will be.

You do have the occasional doe that will kill her kits after being freaked out, but this is rare, and very well may not be repeated by the same doe.

A common mistake is putting the nest in the doe's "potty corner", where she usually does her business. A little poop is normal in the nestbox, however. As the babies grow, they will eat some of their mother's poops, to get their gut flora kick-started.

We are just starting in chickens, and intend to get goats in the spring. We'll also be planting veggie gardens.

God's blessings to you and your family, and may 2013 prove a much more fruitful year!

Anonymous said...

i have been homesteading for the last 25 years and i gotta tell you it has not always been easy going all the time...i have failed in gardening so much that i gave it up for a number of years and then i started studying up and doing things a lot different-this year i had the besst garden ever. next year may be completely different from this year..ya never know. sometimes you can do things following all of the good advice and rules and it turns out bad. and sometimes you just have to go by what your gut tells you to do and maybe get surprised with success. the major lesson i have learned over the years of homesteading is to keep an open mind and not worry too much about the rules and such or what others may think of your operation.

Kelle at The Never Done Farm said...

Not a failure, more of a challenge and time to learn or at least that's how we try to look at it. When dealing with animals and nature there are bound to be challenges, why because we are NOT in control of these things. Everyone who works hard, raises their own foods and animals suffers losses, and it's hard but it's also a time to learn and renew and move on for the next challenge. HUGS I know how hard it is believe me I do!