Ruby

I took this just after sunrise this morning.
I stepped out to feed the cats, and saw her lying in the straw pile.
I grabbed my camera and headed out…

I was able to get a few good shots of her lying, before she decided she had to see if I had cookies.
Because cookies trump naps every day of the week.
😂😂😂

She made her usual faces after getting up, while I laughed.
And then she ambled over and I captured this…

Ruby

She really is a beauty.
🖤🖤🖤

Sharing with Comedy Plus and Image-in-ing for Wordless Wednesday.

Ponies

Last week…or was it the week before…I don’t know.
Days run together when there’s no schedule other than the chores.
Either way…

Hubby was asked for an estimate on a welding job.
The job just happened to be over at the local horse Rescue for one of the directors.
So when he went to see the job, I went with my camera.

Before anyone says anything…
We’re not under lockdown orders.
We are “allowed” to leave our homes and do things.
We’re all adults and fully capable of physical distancing.
And I’m very good at hiding behind my camera in regular times, never mind when we’re supposed to be extra careful about being to close to other people.

That said, as Hubby discussed the job, I got the go ahead to wander with my camera…truth be told I didn’t even ask.
I just kinda waved and wandered…but we know these folks well, they’re friends, and they trust me to do what I do and not be an asshole. 😉

I stopped at one pen to scratch and talk to a few of the horses there…including this lovely mare:

Maggie May

Guys, I’m telling you…this girl is so gorgeous, and has so much potential to be an amazing partner when her person finds her…when she let’s herself find her person…if we were not in the middle of a financial shitstorm, coming off 2 years of drought, poor hay crops and rising hay prices, I’d be putting her in my pasture. ❤

Oh my heart…that face!
❤

Anyways, I was talk to a couple geldings, watching the lovely Maggie May consider coming to see if I had treats (she did, with some quiet coaxing, come over to check my palm for a nummy…I felt awful at the look on her face when I didn’t have one for her! 😭😭😭) and I happen to look over to the pony pen and see this…

Uh, whatcha doing there, little missy?

That little white pony is Crumpet.
And lemme tell ya about attitude!
😂😂😂
HoooBoy!
Wait, let me show you…

I asked her what she was doing…the look she’s giving me says it all…

“Go ahead.
Just try to stop me…”

“I do what I want when I want”

Big, big attitude, small body…
And ready and willing to follow up on that attitude too!
She just might be my favorite pony mare yet.
😂😂😂

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday.

Ahhh, Monday

Feels like it’s been a while since I last posted…
Ah, because it has. 😉

Hubby is still off work.
We still have no idea how long that’s going to go on.

Spring is finally, slowly working it’s way here.
We have another forecast day of chilly and then off into double digits with some spring rain and a whole lot of sunshine coming.
Hooray!
We need both for the pasture to grow.

The 2nd round of chicks are 14 days into incubation.
Fingers crossed (because I’m too lazy to candle the eggs) for a good hatching.
My first 43 are growing amazingly well.
This week, once the temps go up, they’ll move to the duck house in the poultry yard.
They’re fully feathered now, so ready to be off the heat lamps.
That’s a good thing, because with the impending hatch, and the fact that my meat chickens…and turkeys!! I took the plunge and ordered 10 white turkey poults…come next week, the brooder needs to be ready for those chicks.

I ran a smaller batch of eggs in the big incubator this time.
It says it can do 56 eggs, but I found that too many of the eggs ended up on their ends instead of turning properly, so the plan was to drop to 48 eggs, making them fit a bit better.
Well, I only had 40 eggs that were incubator worthy when I was ready to start, so that’s what I did.
Which gives me the potential for 64 chicks this round…
Still a lot of birds!
😂😂😂

Then I’ll clean the incubators and start all over again.
I know it sounds like a lot of hatching, and it will be, but it’s really looking like our animal protein for this coming winter is going to be poultry.

Our latest duck additions are fitting in nicely as well.
The boy has discovered his hormones and is loving having 6 ladies to chase.
The girls are showing signs of wanting to nest (as well as signs that the boy has been working, based on the lack of feathers on the backs of their heads!) so we’re hoping for that warmth to hurry up so we can get them into their own yard/coop.
They’ll be taking up residence in what was the pig yard for the summer.
And dang it, I want duck babies!

The Merry Mares are well.
Anxious for spring and fresh green grass.
Tired of hay.
Tired of snow and chilly rains.
Ready for sunshine and warm naps.

Ruby’s ears say it all…

I’ve transplanted the peppers.
And the tomatoes.
They’re waiting under lights to go in the garden.
I’ve found a few closer to home, not in the city garden centers to shop at this year.
Including one that has a new-to-me bush that will be added to our expanding next spring food forest…
Nannyberries!
Native to the area, like moist/wet soil.
Perfect for one end of the strip of land I want to expand into…
The fruits are edible right off the bush, good for jams/jellies/baking and wine.
They had me at wine and moist soil. 😉

And I revived my sourdough starter out of the fridge.
My yeast store had been getting low before *waves hand* all this started…
And then suddenly the world went stupid and everyone and their dog now bakes.
Plus since I typically buy the 2lb brick at Costco, and it’s damn near impossible to get into the place right now for all the lines, I just can’t be bothered with searching yeast out anywhere else.
Sourdough does just fine.
Feed it, make other stuff with the discards, make bread once a week.
*shrug*
Been doing it for years, just got lazy and tucked the starter away a few months ago.
At least I have it now.

So long as  there doesn’t become a run on sugar, so that I can keep my carboys filled with wines, we’ll be doing just fine.
😉

Chicks!!

Just a couple pics of the new chicks…

It ain’t easy getting a decent shot with the red heat lamp in there, but I tried.

There’s so much attitude in this picture…what is with chicks and giving me attitude??!?
😂😂😂

They’ll stay in the brooder for a few more weeks yet, while their feathers come in some more.
Then we’ll move them to their own house in the poultry yard ’til they’re ready to fully integrate into the rest of the flock.
We’ll watch for roosters, band them, then start sending them off to Freezer Camp before the boy fighting starts.
And that will continue with each hatch through out the summer, until the freezers are filled for winter.

Farm Stuff

Loooooook…

Just look at my pretty, pretty hatching eggs!
😍😍😍

Hatching eggs

There are blue ones, pale green ones, a couple pinky shaded ones, a super dark olive green one and some lovely speckled browns.
Fingers crossed they hatch well and give me some more coloured egg layers.
Incubators go today…I’ve just got to finish collecting today’s eggs and then they get fired up for round 2.

My chicks from the last hatch are growing like crazy.
I will admit, I have been worried about them in the brooder in some of the more oddball weather moments…but after we lost the initial two, everyone else has been doing very well indeed.
So 43 going forward from that hatch.

Garden wise, the peppers are up and looking good…
We have sweet red bells and jalapenos.
Not a lot of either one this year, because for just our use, I’m the only one who likes peppers.
Next year that may (or may not) expand, depending on interest.

peppers

And this morning I was greeted by these little beauties:

tomatoes!!

Just a small assortment of variety this year.
Ropreco pastes, brandywines and bush beefsteaks.
Smaller plants, but heavy fruiters and short seasons.
We don’t have a long growing season here, so I’m adapting our plant selections to that.
All of them are heirloom, so I can save seeds for future use.

We’re still planning a makeshift greenhouse build for this year.
Fingers crossed.
It ain’t gonna be pretty, but hopefully it’ll get the job done…while we plan for a better one down the road.
Wind is our biggest issue, after funds.
Building something that can stand the crazy prairie winds is going to be a challenge.
We’ll do what we can though, because that’s just what we do.
😉

Life Goes On…

Today I pick up 2 dozen hatching eggs from the farm this hen came from…

Lemon chicken…she does what she wants.

She’s a hilarious hen.
Acts like she’s a dog, goes where she wants, does what ever she wants.
And I let her get away with it.
😉

She was in a batch of easter egger chicks I bought 2 years ago.
That batch of 18 gave me 5 hens.
We ate rooster that winter.
And kept one of them for fertile eggs the next spring…that was The Highlander.
The Highlander turned out to be an asshole.
Oh he was crazy handsome, but at some point in his life, he decided that going for my face with his spurs while I was picking up eggs was a good idea.
So I made soup.

This year, I had wanted some more colourful hens, and was watching for the same lady to post chicks for sale.
But then, she posted hatching eggs…well…I has incubators.
So I asked for 2 dozen eggs.
And today I get to pick them up and fire up the incubators for round 2…once I have enough collected from my hens to fill the big incubator.
Tomorrow should be fire up day.
🙂

In other news, the tomato seeds are breaking the surface.
Yay!
I’ll be babying those a long for the next 4-6 weeks, until they can go out in the garden to grow like crazy.
And yesterday I told y’all we finally got things figured out to get our mail done.
I have my seeds now.
I have plans to go forward with a huge new garden next spring…gotta wait ’til next spring because we already made the lease agreement for the big field for this year.
Next year though…look out.
Even if it’s only zucchinis and squash.
I’m working on growing food on a much, much larger scale.

Feeling a Tiny Bit Better

It took some doing…
It took some phone calls…(I really, really hate phoning people…)
It took some patience…

But

I got my seeds from the post office.
And
I got our packages (and tax forms) mailed out.

So, at least there’s that.
It’s a step in the right direction.
❤

Max

Last week, before the latest round of snow blanketed our world, once more, with a thick layer of white, Max and I were out taking pictures of the Merry Mares napping in the muddy morning sunshine.
As always, Max love to have a grand roll in the driveway gravel, and show me just how good it can be to be a happy cats with very few cars in the world…
Especially when he has his Food Lady nearby to rub his belly.
🙂

Canada Geese

The geese have returned.

We’re right in the flight path of thousands of Canada Geese.
Which means they often land on our field in the spring and in the fall.
If it’s snow geese in the spring, we’re happy, because our fall hunting tag is valid for spring hunting of snow geese.
In the fall, we don’t care what lands, Canadas, snows…they’re both good eating.

One side effect of the geese arriving though, is sleep deprived horses.
Unless you’ve lived next to a hoard of honkers, you have no idea how loud they are.
And, at all hours.

This ^^^ is the face of a pissed off at the geese honking 24/7 horse.
She’s actually lying in the straw pile (from February’s bale explosion) trying to nap.
But those geese…they never stop honking.
😂😂😂

Today we’re dealing with a snow storm.
I was a wee bit worried about my chicks, outside in the brooder.
But they have 2 heat lamps, a whole lot of feed and clean water.
They’re bopping around in there just fine.
We did lose 2 of them earlier this week.
It happens sometimes.
1 was really small, the other was normal sized, but it died under the heat lamp.
Either it was crushed in a pileup or it just wasn’t a healthy chick.
So far though, the other 43 are doing amazing!

Next run of the incubators is coming up…hopefully this weekend I’ll hear from the woman with the hatching eggs I wanted.
And then, it’s collect eggs from my birds and go.

I’m looking forward to that.
🙂

Wednesday Thoughts

Yesterday’s debacle at the Post Office left me thinking…and raging.

I have long been a very vocal supporter of growing your own food, knowing where your food comes from, knowing your farmer, and farm to table eating.
Long before we ever considered moving here, long before I started this blog, I wrote about, and practiced, growing as much food as possible in the space available to you. Hell, I’ve preached about growing your own and protecting your food supply for years.
I am a firm believer in owning as much of your food supply as you can, and supporting those who grow food with the same ethics as you.
Walk softly on this Earth, while growing as much as we can without damaging Her.

But I was caught short yesterday.
I was rather proud of myself to have placed my seed order last week.
Seeds = garden = food security, right?
Sure.
*IF* you can get them from the post office.
Which I couldn’t yesterday, due to it being shut down.
Oh, signs said “knock loud” and supposedly someone would answer, but we tried on 2 separate tries.
Nothing.
We know the seeds are there, because we got notice of a package and it’s the only thing I’ve ordered that would need to be carded.

But no one is around, no one is answering the phones, and it’s looking like if it doesn’t fit in your mail box, you’re shit out of luck.
Frankly, that’s bullshit.
We’re so goddamn afraid of each other, because we’re blitzed 24/7 about this damn virus, that basics are being lost.
Can’t use cash.
Can’t get packages…hey, what about all those small home businesses that are just barely staying afloat who *RELY* on the mail?
I know of at least 4 that use our post office.
I guess fuck them, right?
Fear wins again.
And livelihoods are destroyed.
I only hope those families have enough financial reserve to not lose their homes through this.
Because wouldn’t that be the shit?
Safe from the covid, but homeless because you can’t pay the bills…
*sigh*

But we’re not supposed to talk about that.
We’re supposed to be good and do what we’re told.
Stay home.
Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary.
And don’t forget to sanitize your groceries when you bring them home.
Do we not see how this fear is rapidly becoming absurd?
Sanitize.
Your.
Groceries.
I wish I had the face palm emoji…but I don’t because I harvest all the cool emojis from FB and I’m in FB Jail right now for asking a lot of these same questions.
See, not only are there snitch lines for people to phone the “authorities” when others aren’t behaving properly, there’s people snitching on social media and anyone who’s asking questions is getting social media jailed.

But I digress…

My point here is this…
Food security is hella important.
It was before, it is a million times more so now.
And the fact that I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll be able to get my seeds from the post office is infuriating.

But

Once I have them in hand…whether it’s the ones I ordered last week, or ones I purchase somewhere else (because I might have to *go* somewhere else to get them, as opposed to ordering online)…you can bet I’ll be working on seed saving from a lot of the things we plant this year.
I’m not going to fall into this trap again.
Thinking “oh, I can just order those. I don’t need to save seeds from that”…
Clearly, that’s just not true anymore.

So I’m learning how save seeds from biennials, like carrots (we go through so. many. carrots!), beets, parsnips…
And I’ll be upping the planting of beans, so that we have some at the end of bean season to save for next year.
Beans will actually be planted in 2 spots…1 will be for canning, fresh eating and dried beans for winter.
The other will be for fresh eating, canning and seed saving.
The dried beans for winter patch is a hybrid (most likely…they’re beans we were given to feed the chickens, but I test grew a few plants and they work very well for fresh eating) so seeds saving from them isn’t going to give me a true variety.
My seed saving patch is a lovely heirloom bean called “Painted Pony”.
Perfect for our Farm, since we do love our painted ponies here.
😉

And, over the next 2 years, I’m working on a plan to give us a massive garden expansion.
I’ve signed up for a few online courses/webinars to learn more about how to grow food on a larger scale, in the most Earth friendly ways possible.
I’m looking at permaculture designs that could give us several workable, growable acres of food forest/edible landscaping.
This I can do on the cheap.
While I continue to hatch and grow out chicks for egg/meat production.
I wanted sheep.
I will eventually have sheep.
But the fact is this…
Sheep means hay.
Right now, not knowing how long Hubby’s work is going to be shut down, I’m worrying about having the $$$ for Fall hay for the Merry Mares, let alone adding more animals that eat dried grasses.
And if I can’t feed ’em, I ain’t taking them on.
It’s just that simple.

For now though, it’s poultry and vegetables.
Focusing on securing those sustainable food sources for my family, and hopefully having enough to support friends too.
There’s not much else I can do.

Throwing in a picture of Astrid…because we all need to see her pretty face. ❤