I think it’s kinda funny that on American Thanksgiving I’m butchering a couple turkeys. I’m Canadian, so our Thanksgiving was last month. None of my turkeys were ready then…but now?
So, we have 7 toms. That means, as they’re maturing, there’s a lot of dancing and gobbling and trying to figure out the whole mating thing. Having 6 hens, well, that’s waaaaay too many boys to be strutting around and hopping on the girls. Sadly, earlier this week, we lost a hen to over enthusiastic toms. Now we’re down to 5 hens. So it’s time to get real about who gets to stay on as a breeder and who gets to go to Freezer Camp.
Hens stay, there’s no doubt about that. But only 2 toms get to stay…and of those 2, if they start being too much for the hens, I’ll take one of them out later. The good thing is, my feed bill will thank me. 5 toms eat a lot of food! And the family will thank me because 5 toms is a lot of food for us. 😉
The rest of the toms will feed us. That’s just life on the Farm.
As we slide into the end of November, I realize I’ve missed a few milestones this year. It’s been the kind of year where it’s all fucked up and the things that were important before, while not any less important, slip past because of all the crazy and fuckery *waves hands* out there.
So, what’d we miss? Well, back in August I turned 48. The Farm turned 7 2 days later. October made 7 years that we’d met and put a deposit on The Painted Ladies. October was also 7 years that we met the women who run the Rescue that all our horses came through…and in the past 7 years, they’ve become very much valued friends. Hallowe’en was the first time the whole Farm family (the 3 of us) were a part of renewing the spiritual protections on the Farm. Normally it’s just me, this year, though it was all of us…I was quite happy with that. 🙂 November 13th made 3 years since I lost my bestest girl. 3 days later made 7 years of being Home for The Original 3.
And now we’re moving on into December shortly.
I’ve ordered the first of my seeds for next year’s garden(s). 3 types of tomatoes, hardy tough tomatoes, good for a brutal growing micro climate like ours. 2 types of peas…both shelling, but one has an edible pod…I found a recipe for pea pod wine, figure I’d order these peas and give it a shot. And a yellow bean for canning…because we can never have enough beans here. 😉
Next up, I’m working on saving for the next seeds I need…beets, zucchini, carrots, more beans (royal burgundy beans…purple pods, super prolific, grows amazingly well here), some ancho peppers and edible flower seeds (nasturtiums and johnny jump ups) and anything else that I can add food or medicine wise.
Last week we had the chance to go out and do a little shooting…Hubby had to sight in his deer rifle (and we all had a chance to shoot her) so we did a little plinking too…gave me a chance to shoot this:
That’s the rifle I inherited when my parents died. 43 years old, that thing is. Bought by my Dad for my Mom’s birthday in 1978. Pretty sweet to be able to (finally) take her out. 🙂
And then we also pulled this out:
Bought for The Kid just before we bought the Farm, and she was teeny. It’s teeny, and cute and a lot of fun to shoot…even if it’s teeny. 😂😂😂
All in all, it was a nice chance to a. do something that needed doing, and b. get out and have some fun as a family. Now we’re back to work…this weekend promises at least 1 nice day, which is good because I’ve got at least 10 roosters to send to Rehab. Hubby’s still chasing whitetails, so hopefully we’ll have deer in the freezer too. And the garden…I’m Dreaming about the garden, mostly because I want winter over with, but also because I haven’t finished cutting down last year’s plants (like the beans) mulching, and pulling the tarp over. This week. Hopefully.
This morning while I did the chores, I marveled at how fast things were being done lately. Then I realized it’s because were down to 3 coops for the birds, in just 2 yards.
The turkeys and adult ducks in one coop together, the young ducks who aren’t ready to be in the big duck coop in another, and the main chicken coop. I must admit, it’s nice to have everyone together, making things go faster. Especially since we’re haying the nags now.
At one point in the summer, we had 8 coops (temporary and permanent) going at once. That, my friends, is a lot of birds. 😂😂😂
For next year, though, I need a couple more bachelor coops. This year we had too many roosters boys in one place a few times, and that can lead to fighting. That was usually in the days leading up to butcher day, because the last thing you want to be doing on butcher day is chasing roos…so we separate them a few days (up to a week) before. I’d rather have a couple smaller coops/yards that they can have more space and freedom with a yard so that they’re happier. Being raised for food doesn’t make them any less deserving of excellent care.
So that’s another task added on for winter/spring. With hopes of building a bigger/second layer coop as well.
One thing we learned with this year is that people are more interested in local foods. I’m telling you, I cannot keep up on egg orders. I used to post 15-20 dozen for sale on a Monday and be sold out by Thursday, or sometimes have left overs… Now? Backlogged. I don’t even have a chance to post eggs for sale. People are messaging me to get on a wait list. So…my plan? More laying hens. 😂😂😂
I can have up to 300 laying hens to be able to still sell farmgate. Once I have 301, I have to be a part of the local egg monopoly. Thanks, but I’m not interested in that…so I’ll be hovering around the 280 mark for hens…eventually. Once we have coops built for them.
So for now, we’ve downsized. But soon enough, we’ll be upsizing. 🙂
Obviously this year there are no ceremonies. Finding a veteran to purchase a poppy from has not been easy. Consider donating to some of the following charities…they do good work and they are woefully underfunded in good years. In a year like 2020, they are struggling…our service people and veterans are struggling. A few of these are near and dear to my heart…please consider donating. ❤ ❤ ❤
“Can Praxis is the leading Equine-Assisted Therapy provider for the Veteran and First Responder communities. We help Veterans, First Responders (serving and retired) and their families living with Operational Stress Injuries (OSI).”
(I’m a huge supporter of equine therapy programs. ❤ )
“Wounded Warriors Canada is a national mental health service provider utilizing clinical best practices and evidence-based care to create an environment of compassion, resiliency and hope for Canada’s Veterans, First Responders and their families.”
“Your Royal Canadian Legion is committed to making a difference in the lives of Veterans and their families, providing essential services in our communities, and remembering the men and women who sacrificed for our country.”
Lest we forget. We shall remember them. 2 feet and 4. All of them.
It all started at 4ish am… Hubby helped me run the next set of pork bellies out to the smoker, so I could pull out the done ones and re-load. This was after I stayed up ’til midnight and The Kid and I checked to see if the first ones were done…obviously, they weren’t.
Once Hubby was off to work, I napped in the recliner chair for a bit. As the sun was coming up I wandered off to the bathroom…and that’s when I heard it… The very distinct sound of one of my stupid feathered children calling his stupid feathered siblings. 🤦♀️
I’m just gonna say it… Turkeys. Is. Stupid. They’re flighty and dumb and just plain stupid. However… They’re also sweet and rather endearing. So even when I call them my “stupid children” it’s said with love. 😂😂😂
So what’s the big deal with hearing a turkey calling at just past dawn? Uh, I hadn’t let them out of their coop yet…so this stupid feathered child had managed to hide out somewhere outside of the turkey yard for the night. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Clearly *someone* missed the memo about coyotes having chicken snak paks at night…trust me, Ol’ Wile E Coyote would love him some turkey bird snax! Stupid turkey.
So off I went, leaving the dog inside, to capture the feathered idiot and put him back into the turkey yard…it wasn’t much of a chase. He *really* wanted back into the yard…he kept calling his siblings, who of course, were calling back. Finally he just hunkered down by the fence and I picked him up. And then he started to cuddle. Oh yeah… Turkeys, once caught, seem to love to cuddle. Dinguses. By the time I had him back in the yard and cuddling, The Kid had made it out to give me a hand clipping the idiot’s flight feathers. Only 1 wing…that way they (supposedly) can’t fly.
Hopefully tonight everyone will go to bed properly…fingers crossed…but they’re stupid, so I’m more hopeful than sure. 😂😂😂
The gate is now hung on the turkey/duck yard. Instead of being leaned on the posts and braced with a stick. 😂😂😂 Hey, we’re innovative here! Sometimes things need a little ingenuity before being finished. Especially when we didn’t have hinges for a week and quite honestly, I didn’t want to leave the turkeys cooped up in their coop for that long…see what I did there? Cooped up in their coop? 😂😂😂
And now that the turkeys and ducks have decided that co-habitating in the new duck house is okay, we have the brooder coop free…well, it was free. Now it’s housing 19 duck babies who aren’t quite ready to integrate with the rest of the flock. And Mama Ripple didn’t give 2 duck shits about seeing her ducklings again. 😂😂😂 She’s already flirting and dancing for Drake so they can get to workin’ on the next clutch.
Next thing to get done is to run cords for the heat lamps. I ordered new ones from Princess Auto (one of my favorite stores ever!) so that we can heat the 3 coops (ducks/turkeys, ducklings, and chicken coop) when the temperatures drop. Plus have an extra for the brooder come spring…because y’all just know once March 1st hits, the incubators get fired up and we start this hatching/growing thing all over again. Here’s hoping we don’t have to replace the outdoor plugs. It’s one of those things that’s been on “The List” but has yet to get done…and Hubby is not a fan of electrical work, and trust me, a licensed electrician is *not* in this Farm Girl’s budget right now! So we’re hoping the plugs don’t keep popping their breakers. Fingers crossed.
Oh! And my light colored turkey boy has been figuring out his dance moves. 😂😂😂 He keeps doing his mating dance for the ducks hens, not the turkey hens tho…I think he likes his girls short, fat and weird looking. lol But that he’s figuring out his moves now means he’ll be ready once the hens are receptive, and that’s a good thing. So fingers crossed for many, many fertilized turkey eggs for hatching! 😍😍😍
Today’s next task is cleaning the kitchen so I can rinse the pork bellies that have been brining so that I can fire up the smoker tomorrow and have bacon…and see about hanging a tree stand for Hubby to hunt out of tomorrow and Wednesday. Since all the Remembrance Day ceremonies are cancelled (#fuckcovid) he might as well go out and see about putting some red meat in the freezer.
The ducks are well. They’re now in the same yard as the turkeys and the 2 species seem to be getting along pretty darn good. *knock on wood* The other day when I sat down to take pictues of the turkeys, our drake (whom I’ve simply been calling Drake) took exception to my being there…
He was hissing and wagging his tail and side eying me the whole time. 😂😂😂
The girls, however, weren’t terribly worried. They were more interested in seeing if I had some food for them…
The 2 hens we bought in the spring have blue eyes…it’s kinda cool. And it makes it easier for me to know who they are. The whites look so similar.
Remember back in August I bought those 14 ducks off the local buy and sell page? Well, 6 went to freezer camp. I have 3 more drakes to go, and we have 4 lovely young hens to add to the flock. (and yes, if you math that out, we’re short one…we lost a bebe in the beginning 😥 ) 2 whites…because I guess I needed more white ducks to get confused by…a black and white pied…
And a chocolate pied…
Now don’t yell at me if I have those colour names wrong. I *think* that’s what the colours are called, but I’m very open to my being wrong. We’re not a breed for colour Farm, so I haven’t researched it beyond the simple basics. 🙂
That gives us 10 hens to 1 Drake. Plus the 18 ducklings and Cricket.
Now little Mr Cricket…he gets to stay on as a breeding drake. It’s become obvious that Cricket is male. And, we have 4 unrelated hens, with goodness knows how many hens who are half siblings in the brooder with him. The standard seems to be 5 hens/drake. So, even with just the 10 we have now, having a 2nd boy to work come spring is needed. By the time spring rolls around, Mr Cricket will be quite interested in young hens… And to be fair, he is a favorite of The Kid’s. He’s become her pet, and I try not to chop the heads off of pets. 😂😂😂 But, like every other animal here, he’ll have a job. Only horses get to be pretty and eat money. 😉
Welp, I finally managed to get out to the turkey yard with my camera. Hubby and The Kid got the fence pulled and we now *have* a turkey yard! Those poor birds were so confused the first time we left the door to their coop open. And then again when Hubby shoveled out the mass of poo and straw. 😂😂😂 He was stealing their good stuff!! But they’ve had a few days of freedom outside now and they’re starting to get it. So the other day I went out with Voldemort and just sat down in the yard…in a spot they hadn’t shit yet…lemme tell ya, turkeys can shit a lot. Everywhere. Lots of shit.
But I found a spot and had a seat, giving them a chance to settle down and try to figure out what the hell I was…
They spent a lot of time just staring at me, completely confused. 😂😂😂 Um, turkeys are confused a lot. And a bit sketchy/skittish. Oh but they’re fun! They sing and hoot and call to each other and they’re like gangly teenagers who don’t have complete control of their bodies yet.
And I am 100% convinced that turkeys were the inspiration for the Skeksies.
Tell me that bird doesn’t look like a Skeksie! Of course he does! In case you’re wondering what the hell I’m going on about… Skeksies
In a few months, we should see the hens begin to lay eggs…probably end of Feb., beginning of March…and then we’ll see the boys dance their mating dance…and then! Then I’ll be grabbing eggs to put into the incubator, because more turkeys is a good thing. 😉 Hell, if I can order some broad breasted whites (commercial birds) to raise with a round of these guys, hopefully we’ll be flush with turkeys for next year! Fingers crossed. 🙂
Welcome to the Dark Half of the Year. Yeehaw mutherfuckers, let’s do this.
*sigh* So, the last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy. Ok, so when aren’t things busy here? 😂😂😂
We bought a live pig, brought him home and processed him. We’re still working on the yard for the turkeys…we ran out of stucco wire for fencing, but found a decent deal on rolls from the local home improvement store. So, that’s today and tomorrow’s plan. That way I can clean out the turkey coop and them giant effing birds can get some time outside before real winter hits. Last week they turned 3 months old. I’ve got to take some new picture for y’all, because they are incredible looking!! Whew. I’m super happy with them. And I’m so looking forward to them laying eggs… I’ve been looking up videos of turkey mating so I know exactly what to expect come spring. 😂😂😂
Last night was a crazy windy, chilly night. Being out in the country, we don’t get trick or treaters, sadly. But it was a wild and crazy night for us to drive out on our big field and (inserting some witchcraft here so skip to the next paragraph if that sorta thing bothers you ❤ ) renew the wards on the Farm. Normally I walk the corners, and salt the posts/perimeter with prayers for protection, but this year, I had Hubby home, it was a full moon, time change, windy like crazy and the energy was **electric**! So I got him to drive me out to do the corners after dark. It. Was. Awesome. And I figured 2020 was NOT the year to play fast and loose with spiritual protections. So we got that done and we’re good now, starting the Dark Half of the Year.
(Safe to come back to reading now, the witchery talk is done ❤ )
Hopefully hay makes it here today. I’ve been texting back and forth with our Hay Guy…he hasn’t forgotten us, just been busy, but I’m low and The Merry Mares are on hay full time now. So the plan is for today. Fingers crossed.
And now, I’m trying to decide on our next Farm purchase. Every year, we get a rebate on a portion of our school taxes (which are included in our property taxes) because we are zoned agricultural farm land. That money is always invested back into the Farm. This year I’m torn between a still…because as things get more and more ridiculous out there in the world (our provincial govt is in the process of taking us back to full lockdown…because y’know they “opened up too fast” in the spring and that why in the Fall cases are rising…yeah, okay. whatever. Not like locking down will push the next round of cases out to the next time we reopen or anything…just remember, if you don’t wear a mask, it’s *your* fault we don’t get Christmas…hint…I never wear a mask, and am quite well versed in what the exemptions are under the health orders continually imposed on us…so that bit about masks is pure sarcasm, in case anyone missed it…) Anyways…the still…one thing Hubby needs is distilled water for his cpap machine. So a still would be a valuable tool to have…we will *not* talk about distilling spirits like whiskey, rum, vodka dn gin. Oh no, we won’t discuss that at all. 😉 😉 😉
Buuuut…I’m also looking at another, bigger incubator. Listen, poultry is something I can grow a lot of. I have the space, the skills, the poultry. Now the ducks have been making babies, so they can do what they’re gonna do. But I have turkeys who will be sexually mature come spring, plus a whole lotta chickens, including our Chonky:
Chonky is laying eggs and has a boyfriend in one of the big roos…so we really want to separate her and him for some eggs to hatch. I want to be able to keep those chicks separate from other chicks so that’s gonna take a dedicated incubator. See where I’m going? The 2 I have just aren’t quite enough for all that I want to hatch. Plus, if I have a bigger one that I can hatch more out earlier, I have less smaller chickens at this time of year to process. It makes sense.
But again, the problem is, not enough money to do both a still and an incubator. I have a bit of time to decide, but weighing the pros and cons have been…difficult…to say the least. 😂😂😂
But on that note, I oughta get my butt moving. Still have to finish putting the garden to bed, break up some pumpkins for seeds and feed, and help out getting my turkey birds yard done.
Have a great day folks, and here’s hoping level 11 of Jumanji goes easy on us all. 😘😘😘