Holy Moly

What’s with all the spambots lately??
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I’m gone for a bit and my spam filter catches 239 spam comments.
WOW!!
Kinda crazy…

It’s been chilly and rainy here.
And rainy too.
Did I mention the rain?
lol

Well, it seems we’ve gotten a couple seasons worth of rain in the past week or two.
I mean, we could use the moisture in the ground going into Fall, and my haying spots look amazing…I may even, if it stops raining for longer than an hour, get another cut before a hard frost sets in.
Fingers crossed!!

While the rains have been coming down, we’ve still been busy.
Ducks are laying eggs like crazy in the garden, and every day we have to search for them.
And every so slowly, they’re getting the weeds taken down there too…they’re not as good at it as I thought they would be, but still…they’re doing some of the work for me. πŸ™‚

With the sloppy muddiness of the pig yard, we’ve managed to use up almost all of the moldy hay that’s been sitting around.
Y’see, when we have hay that we can’t feed to The Merry Mares, we set it aside for the spring pigs.
We’ve had a couple years worth accumulate (sound like a lot, but it’s not really…our Hay Guy is awesome about having a high quality product…sometimes though, we get lazy about tarping in the wet seasons, and the bales suffer) and these pigs are loving it!
We toss it into the shelter and they roll around in it, bury themselves, happily eat any moldy parts…pigs love eating gross things. lol And if there’s mushrooms growing, even better!! No joke, pigs super ❀ mushrooms.

And then there was that sale on carrots…

I’ve been looking for carrots to put up ever since my crop died.
Finally, a local mega mart had a smokin’ deal on local grown carrots.
50 lbs later, I’m filling jars with carrot coins, and diced carrots.
Pressure canned and ready for winter eating.
Plus 10 lbs sitting in the basement fridge for soup…canning soup will be coming in the next couple of weeks and carrots store nicely in the fridge.

My shelves are getting full, I’m running seriously low on jars and it’s a good thing.
This makes me a happy FarmHer for sure.
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Those Darn Chickens

If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you’ve inevitably heard about the asshole chickens.
If you’re new here…hello!! Thanks for joining us, and here’s the story with the chickens…

My chickens have a huge yard that they are supposed to stay in. It’s fenced in around their coop, and if they stay in the yard, they are pretty much safe.
But, my chickens, being the assholes that they are, well, they do whatever they want.
They have decided that their huge poultry yard just isn’t big enough and they *must* be out in the whole wide world aaaaalllll day long. It’s not too bad, because they all go back to the coop when it starts to get dark.
Well, most of them do.
Sometimes I get 1 or 2 who think they know better and are going to hide so they can be out all night doing whatever chickens do when out all night.
I suspect someone is hosting a chicken rave somewhere and they, like unruly teens, are sneaking out to go dancing…or flapping…maybe the bird dance??

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One problem with chickens who do whatever they want and go where ever they please is that, sometimes, someone goes missing.
We’ve discovered that this year’s pigs like chicken.
Unfortunately, we’ve lost a few who went into the pig yard and been eaten. πŸ˜₯

But we’ve also had a couple hens go missing for a day or two until we’ve found their nests of eggs they’ve been hiding.
I tell ya, these hens we’ve raised from day olds have been very happy to hide eggs and go broody!

So Monday, I had said to Hubby that the hens were hiding eggs again.
I have 3 green egg layers, and in yesterday’s bi-weekly egg wash, I had 3 green eggs, where I should have had 9-12 of them.
Hmmmmm….
Yesterday I decided to try to count the hens as they came out of the coop.
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Okay, so I really just wanted to see, once things settled down a bit, if I could spot my 3 green layers.
With just about 50 chickens in the coop, sometimes (all the time?!?) it’s chaotic for the first half hour or so, and then by the time things settle, a bunch have wandered off out of the yard to run their chicken errands.
I’m usually more interested in my next coffee than standing about waiting for the chickens to quit running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Y’see, when they come out of the coop, they’re all happy and ready for the day, flapping, bok bok bok’ing, running around like sugar crazed toddlers…and it takes them a bit to get it all out of their bird systems for the morning.

Anyways, yesterday I discovered one of my easter egger hens, a green layer, wasn’t in the coop.

So now, I don’t know if the pigs got her, a different predator got her, or if she’s hiding out somewhere sitting on a nest of eggs.
We did a full scale search…such as 3 people can with chickens who go where ever they please over 10 acres…and didn’t find her or a nest of green eggs.
We found a brown egg nest (28 frickin’ eggs!!) that we collected the eggs from and gave to the pigs, but no green egg nest.
But, looking at her, you can see, she’s perfectly coloured for camouflaging herself in the fall colours.

So, we’ll search again in a day or so.
I’m hoping we find her…or that she comes back with a bunch of chicks in tow…

Sharing with the Simple Homestead bloghop hosted by Oak Hill Homestead.

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Apple Wine

A few weeks ago, I put out the call looking for locals who had apple trees with apples that they weren’t going to use.
Said we’d happily come out and pick the trees, take away the apples and return with a few bottles of apple wine.
Got a few nibbles, but mostly it was people who wanted me to make them an entire 5 gallon batch, plus pick their tree…one woman told me I could have all the half rotten ones on the ground if I picked the good apples for her.
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And then, I got a message from a friend of friends, a local horse woman, who had an apple tree, and hankerin’ for a few bottle of wine.
Well, with a little back and forth, we set a date, met up and I came away with a bag of roughly 50lbs of apples.
Gorgeous, sweet, crunchy eating apples…perfect for a batch of wine.
After I ate a couple. πŸ˜‰

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Way back when we were in the city, our tree there was producing 250-300lbs of apples a year.
We could only eat so many, so I started making and canning juice.
But I got tired of the old cook it on the stove top, strain it through cheesecloth method of making juice, and went to my parents and stole (with permission) my Dad’s juicer.
Now?
I make juice by running the apples through the juicer.

Big bowl of sliced apples, ready to be run through the juicer.

Once the juicing is done, the mush that comes out the other side is put into a mesh bag.
That goes into the primary fermenting pail, with the juice itself.
I want aaaaaaalllllllll the apple-y goodness going into my wine. πŸ˜‰

Cores get cooked down and strained for juice…nothing gets wasted here!

Once the cores have given up everything they had, those get tossed to the pigs.
Pigs ❀ love ❀ apples!
The juice is then added with the other juice and the mush to the primary fermenter.

From there I add sugar, pectic enzyme (if I have it on hand…with the cooked juice, the wine finishes with a creamy mouth feel with out the pectic enzyme. Some people don’t care for it, but I don’t mind it, so I don’t get frantic if I don’t have the pectic enzyme to add), k-meta and water to 6 gallons.
I let it sit for 24ish hours, then pitch the yeast and add some yeast nutrient.

That’s all there is to it.
Over the next week, I stir the pail a few times a day, and squeeze the bag of mush.
After a week or so, I pull out the bag of mush…that goes to the pigs…and depending on the specific gravity reading, I’ll either give it a few more days in the pail or rack it off to a carboy.
Once it’s on the carboy, sealed with an air lock, I let time do it’s work.
Anywhere from 2-5 months.
Honestly, I put it in a corner and forget about it.

After a while, I’ll come back to it, rack it off the stuff at the bottom (the lees), stabilize it and usually I’ll sweeten it.
Typically with some raspberry syrup…because apple raspberry wine is fan-effing-tastic!
And then, into bottles for a few more months.

All told, it’ll take anywhere from 4-12 months before it’s in the bottle and ready to drink.
Trust me though, it’s worth the wait!

Linking up with September Days at The Hearth and Soul link party hosted by April J Harris.

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Well, Shoot…

I had my incubator going with a dozen muscovy duck eggs in it.
I’d seen Donald doing the deed with his harem of ladies.
I broke open a few to see if they were fertile.
They had the tell tale bulls eye.
So I collected for a few days, ’til I had enough to go into the incubator.
I didn’t candle them at any time (should have) because I find they are really hard to see through the shell…even in the dark with a bright, bright LED light.

Muscovies take 35 days to hatch.
That would have been back on the 7th…ish.
But it was suggested to me to let them go a little longer, because sometimes eggs/chicks need the extra time.
So I did.

And then yesterday, I opened the incubator because nothing was happening.
I took it outside and cracked an egg open.
And then another.
And another.
And another.

*SIGH*

No duckling for us, because *nothing* developed.
All I had was old eggs.
3rd time trying to let duck eggs hatch.
The other 2 were with the hens and all the eggs did was go rotten.

Sorry Donald…I think you just might be the problem.
😦

So now we’re looking at replacing our drake.
Because ducks are for food, and a few eggs in the spring and fall doesn’t justify the expense of feed for them all.
There are better duck breeds to have if all we want is eggs.
But we like muscovies for meat, so I’ll find us a new drake and see if that fixes the issue.
If it does, then yay, we’ll have baby ducks to grow into Freezer Campers.
If it doesn’t, well then we have 6 ducks for the freezer.
Shoot.
😦

 

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Feature

In an effort to make sure I can continue to give y’all posts when my brain is not wanting to work, I’ve looked for a random word generator.
Y’see, WordPress used to do this with The Daily Post.
Give us a word and we could choose to use it as a prompt to create a blog post around.
And then they stopped…

I loved The Daily Post.
Some days you just don’t have the inspiration to create *something* without a little prompting.
So now I can do that for myself.
Because we should be able to do these things for ourselves, yes?
And an online random word generator is so much easier than pulling out the dictionary, flipping to a page and blindly pointing to a word…though I’ve done that too. πŸ˜‰

So today’s word is feature

Her most amazing feature is her kind, generous, beautiful spirit…that it is wrapped in the gorgeous packaging that it is, is simply a bonus.
❀

 

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Random Chicken Picture

Today is Friday the 13th.
Tonight is the full moon.
It’s also the Harvest Moon.

I am hoping that it’s nice enough tonight that I can get out and take some pictures of the moon.
Weather network tells me it’s supposed to be clear, so fingers crossed!

In the meantime, here’s a random chicken picture.

They’re both from my first ever hatching.
White one is a rooster. Handsome devil, but not likely to stay in the breeding program.
The other one, well, not sure if that’s the hen or the roo…we’ve got a few with colours like that.
I still haven’t decided which rooster I plan on keeping out of the 2 hatches.
We easily have enough hens for 2 boys, so we’ll keep a 2nd for extra hatching eggs come spring.
Next Fall, we’ll look for new blood and swap out at least one of the boys.
Or, sometime during hatching season, I’ll buy some eggs from someone and hatch out with hopes of getting a new rooster.

We’ll see when the time comes.

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