Once upon a time I saw a picture of a duck in a cupcake paper liner dress. Ever since then, I have had this urge to do a photoshoot with a chick or duck or turkey in a dress. Finally, we had a chance to make it happen with Oreo.
And then we tried the Yule cupcake paper on her…
And finally, Daisy Mae had to get into the shot…because cats are a bit jealous that The Kid has these 2 ducks she’s raising, and Daisy Mae feels like she’s being replaced. 😂😂😂 The joys of “first child” syndrome.
She’s quite the little ducky fashion model, that Oreo is! 😂😂😂
So it’s been a while. Mostly because we’ve been busy. Chasing after a few hundred birds and keeping them alive and well in sweltering heat and smokey conditions has left us…
Up at 4am, passed out in the chair by 9pm and up again at 10pm to get all the birds into their safe beds for the night…there is no such thing as getting them to go to the coops before it’s dark. Birds are assholes that way.
Yesterday we picked up 10 freebie roosters. They’re in a quarantine bachelor pen until they’re big enough to go to Freezer Camp.
Today we (well, mostly MCFHubby) moved Ripple the Duck and her 5 abducted children out of the meat chicken house (she was sitting her own nest in there with 2 other ducks…1 duck’s clutch hatched before Ripple’s, so Ripple stole her ducklings and abandoned her own nest) and then closed up the front side of the meat chicken house to become the next bachelor pen. From here on out, as we put chickens to bed at night, we’ll scoop up roosters from the first hatcher group and put them in there. They are just a few weeks away from going Camping, and are starting to crow and enjoy their testosterone…which means their jumping on every hen they can catch, no matter the size. And that means off to the “boys only” area.
Yesterday I had to cull a couple of cornish that had been too badly “used” by those teenaged roosters. *sigh* This really is the worst part of raising roosters for the freezer…that line where they are nice young boys to when they turn into horny teens who’ll hump anything is a fine one…and sadly, these 2 birbs paid for me missing it. But, I was able to save their carcass to put into the crockpot to feed the elderly house cat who shrieks endlessly day and night for her roasted chicken. At least there is that.
Garden is growing well…
I pulled out the garlic, because the tops had died right back. Not the greatest of crops, but better than last year, so I’m happy. A few more pics here:
And more garden pics here:
And the goose babies are growing like crazy. Eating garden weeds and grocery store salads from the Loop pickups like crazy. They come running, singing everytime they see the recycling bin of greens coming. They did not care for the strawberries, but that’s okay. The turkeys tried to kill me for them 😂😂😂 Literally, tried to knock me down to get the strawberries from me. Who knew turkeys would be so…excitable for berries??? Next task is to make a safe yard area for the turkey babies to get some outside time. They’re growing leaps and bounds and really need to start getting outside. But, their brooder was moved into the turkey yard (where it’s supposed to be) and I have to create a smaller yard within that yard for them to come out and the big birbs can’t be dirty rotten assholes to them. 😉
We have 7 ducklings that were hatched this year that are growing nicely. 2 are still house ducks (Oreo and Poop Machine) but once MCFHubby builds them a smaller brooder for on the deck, that will change. We also have a smaller coop that was given to us when a friend left her Farm, that we’re fixing up a bit that can become a duckling space. It’s all the time thing, right? Hubby is working long hours and it’s hot and it’s hard to get things done…but we’re doing what we can.
And I’m cutting grass every damn place I can for hay. Last weekend we heard from our Hay Guy, asking if we need for the winter… Um, yes please! But the drought here is so prevalent, I am worried af that he won’t have for us. That means I’m searching for other options and praying that there’s enough money to afford them.
It’s been a scary year for owners of hay eating animals. Worse than the last few drought-ish years. Like it’s still July and for us to hear from our Hay Guy now??? Terrifying. Not even kidding about that. 😥 But we’ll figure something out…It’s not like the nags are going anywhere. Even if it *were* a possibility, every horse owner in the province is in the same boat, so the only place they could go if we had to get rid of them is to auction…that means a trip to the meat truck. And that is **NOT** an option. So we’ll figure something out.
We’re still plugging away on the greenhouse. Still trying to find someone to come fix our leaking well line. Still working on the newest garden space. Working, working, working.
We’re back into a heat wave, with no rain in sight. I think this is the driest I’ve ever seen it. We need rain. Bad.
The heat makes getting things done a little more difficult. I feel like I’m melting. lol So the birds get let out at the hint of dawn, while it’s still (relatively) cool. I’ve been working on weeding the garden early too…which doesn’t happen some days because the sprinkler needs to run to keep the food plants alive and that has to happen early too. Truthfully, I’ve been feeling a bit defeated by our garden this year. At least…until this morning. When I saw that some tomato plants have rebounded from what I thought was certain death in our June 21st frost. The irony, right? First day of real summer and we get hit with a killing frost?
So I was excited to see a handful of tomatoes in the mulch, with several having blooms on them! *swoons* I might get a tomato sandwich yet this year! And this morning, while I was weeding the thistles, I discovered a fair bit of our corn was up…and quite tall already. Just hidden in the thistles. So there’s hope for that too. I planted mostly feed corn (for homemade libations, if y’know what I mean 😉 ) and for the silk. Corn silk is dried for tea for a handful of things, including inflammation and urinary health. I’m happy to find a few stalks coming up amidst my thistles…which I have also been harvesting and drying for teas. Thistle is excellent for your liver (I’m hard on mine 😂😂😂 I admit it). Plus the goose bebes love it! I had hoped to harvest flowers for a mead, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
Stinging nettles will be collected this weekend for stinging nettle beer. I was supposed to do it earlier in the week, but by the time I got the basic chores done, I just wanted to melt…so tomorrow morning I’ll don my gloves and pick a whole bunch of them.
Oh, and we have another house duck…temporarily, of course…
I hadn’t planned on this one coming in, but the hen was in a poor spot when she hatched them, and chickens killed the rest of the clutch off…so we snagged this little and brought her in. She’s been named Oreo. I am hoping this is a hen, because she’s just so darn pretty! And we don’t need anymore drakes…extra boys are Freezer Campers.
And, our final round of incubation is finishing up. Pipping and peeping started in the incubators yesterday. By the end of the weekend, everyone who was going to hatch, will have hatched. And we’ll be done ’til next February. All that’ll be left is the butchering. Which should start in a couple of weeks, as some of our first hatcher roosters are close to size now. Then my weeks will be filled with butcher, process, can, sleep, repeat. Until the end of November or so. 😂😂😂
This weekend will be a fiery hot one, but we still have the final wall of the greenhouse to build, then we put it up… And I have hay to cut. And more weeds in the garden. And a fence line to move. And boxes to flatten and lay out over the next garden area (to kill the grass). And somewhere in there, some sleep… 😂😂😂
We’ll get done what we can, and keep picking at the rest. That’s just how it is. 🙂
A week or so ago, we had a clutch of ducklings hatch. Right in the midst of the last ridiculous heatwave. Most of the ducklings did awesome. One however, was having troubles right out of the shell, and MamaDuck was busy with the other 6 ducklings. Since I’m a firm believer in giving life a chance before culling, I scooped bebe duck up and handed him/her off to The Kid. She’s a talent when it comes to nursing duck bebes to health…
It was touch and go for a day or two. We weren’t sure the duckling was gonna make it. And then, that dang baby decided their main goal in life was to shit on the couch. Every. Damn. Time. It got onto the couch.
And so the duckling has earned itself the name: Poop Machine.
Yes, we’ve named the fuzzy ball of duck fluff…Poop Machine. And they answer to it.
Today Poop Machine got to play in some water and learn a bit about swimming…
And that was the capper to a Sunday morning of hot, sweaty farm work…watching the duck learn about playing in water. Life is good. 🙂
Listen, I love raising turkeys. They’re funny, they’re kinda cute in an ugly way, they like to sing which is quite endearing, and they call me all. the. time…it’s adorable, really. Plus, they taste pretty good too, once they end up at Freezer Camp.
But, oh my gawd… They’re so stupid. And they have absolutely no sense of self preservation. Like yesterday for example…
So we’re set back about 200ish feet from a fairly busy gravel road. The horse pasture goes to within 25 feet of the ditch, and right on the other side of the ditch is…the gravel road. The turkeys have been ranging the yard and pasture mostly without incident. Until yesterday, when they followed their stupid beaks, eating grasshoppers (YAY!!!) until they ended up in the ditch outside the pasture. And then 2 whites ended up on the road. Oh for fuck sake.
So out I go, yelling at these stupid birds to get their “feathered assholes back in that pasture or fucking else!” And that worked. For just about an hour. 🙄
It’s also super smokey here right now because of the winds blowing smoke from forest fires up north down onto us, so I had to do the bulk of the chasing by myself, since my Kid couldn’t breathe outside (oh the joys of asthma!) But she did help catch a couple of the whites, who got their flight feathers clipped and tossed into the proper turkey yard with Dingus, Oscar and the gals. No more nice Food Lady. Time to get acquainted with the big boss turkeys on the Farm. Like, right fucking now!
After another hour or so, I had caught all but two of the Narragansett youngsters and had them clipped and into the turkey yard. Happily, Dingus and Oscar were behaving themselves and not beating anyone up. It helps that even though the whites are younger, they’re big birbs, and they look out for the younger Narragansetts, so even without a lot of experience, they weren’t taking any shit from the big guys.
It’s good for them all to be together though. The whites showed the big Narragansetts the joys of the extra foods the Food Lady throws them, and they’ll be safer away from the fucking road!
Yesterday was out first Loop pick up, so there was lots of goodies for birds to eat. And then this morning, before I let anyone out, I added extras to their feed trough. We got a lot of bakery items yesterday, which the whites love…bread and sugar are their favorite things. I mix it into their fermented feed so they couldn’t just pick out the stuff they like, but had to eat the good-for-them stuff too. Just like little kids. I *do* call them my stupid children for a reason!
But the whites will only be with us another 8-12 weeks. Then off to Freezer Camp they’ll go. I must admit, I am looking forward to Freezer Camp…
And then I’ll have to integrate the last 34 turkey poults with the big guys before winter. lol No, I do not have a lot of turkeys. Not at all. 😉
First thing, though not really big news, other than it’s slowing me down a bit… I’ve somehow managed to pull a muscle in my forearm. Hurts like fuck to lift a coffee cup. And of course it is the arm that swings the scythe… But as always, things must get done here, so I’m slathering it in Absorbine horse liniment and continuing on about my day. At night I put more liniment on, take a few tylenol and only cry when the cat lays on it. 🙄
Second thing… Hubby had a 4 day holiday and has worked his butt off. Not only did he help me get my first cut of hay baled, but, he also has 3 walls of the greenhouse built!! Um, yup. 3 of 4 walls done. Now we have to go buy more lumber. And then the 4th wall and roof will be done, and everything will be ready for assembly. Whew!! It’s not huge, only 8ft x 8 ft right now, but it’s going to make a huge difference next gardening season. And, it’s mostly the windows we collected going in it, with plastic covering where we have no windows, so, if I can get a few cattle panels, we can build a hoop house or two as well without putting a huge dent in the roll of greenhouse poly…while I continue to watch kijiji and the giveaway sights for a greenhouse frame for cheap (or free would be awesome too!)
Loop is a program that matches grocery stores with charities and farmers to reduce food waste. Charities get first pick of foods that the stores can no longer sell, but are still good for human consumption. Farmers sign up to get whatever can’t feed humans to use as animal feed. We cannot use the foods we pickup for human consumption at all. But, we *can* feed our food animals, who in turn feed us. So it’s a fabulous way to reduce food waste, and to feed ourselves and the people around us.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have ranted and raved about food waste. One of the biggest things driving climate change is food waste. From the initial growing, to processing, to packaging to being left rotting in the dump when thrown away…all huge contributors to climate change. This program takes the food that would be waste and lets us farmers feed our animals. It really is a win-win situation, and we’re excited to be a part of the program! Our first pick up is this week, while we get acquainted with the store we’ll be working with, and then the scheduler at Loop will assign us a day where every week we go for a pickup. One of the great things about the program is the data tracking. With each pick up, we report back to Loop what we’ve picked up from what section of the store. That helps them compile data for the store to look at and see where they might need to adjust ordering and sales. So really, it helps the stores be more efficient as well, which can also reduce food waste. Again, it’s a winning situation all the way around. So, like I said, we’re pretty excited to be a part of the program. 🙂
Oof, we made it to July. Holy moly it’s hot! We’re in the midst of a heatwave as I write this…though, by the time I hit publish, it should have broken. I hope. It’s been waaaay too hot! Like beyond what we normally get in July, hot.
And we’re dry. Drought conditions again. I got my 1st cut of hay 1/2 done. Baled and put up in the garage. Got the rest of 1st cut to do this week, and then we start rain dancing for reals…again. So that hopefully I can pull a 2nd cut. I’m hoping out Hay Guy has been having an excellent harvest. I haven’t heard from him, and with him, no news is good news. It’s when he texts a month early and says “you guys need hay this year?” that I lose my mind. He knows we need hay, he knows how much hay we need, and I never consider adding a new hay eater without checking to see if I can get more from him. I’m still Dreaming of sheep. But I’m also hoping that the price doesn’t go up again this year. I will understand if it does, and I won’t bitch, but I’m hoping it doesn’t…
In other news…
Pinto beans got a replanting today. They were very sparse coming up and I’m pretty sure it was due to lack of watering. So new round planted, and new sprinkler hooked up to cover more of the garden in one watering…I hate moving the sprinkler. 😂😂😂 It’s such a pain in the butt. But, if we want a whole lotta beans for the shelves, I have to suck it up and move the sprinkler when watering. Greens are in need of thinning. Radishes are growing gangbusters. Onions too… Lookin’ like I might have to make a huge batch of potato salad to nom nom nom on next week. That aside, garden is getting weeded, watered and mulched on the daily. Goose babies are gobbling down every weed I give them. Turkeys are wandering the yard, sadly calling anyone to bring them a pail of weeds…because The Food Lady is mean and won’t let them into the garden. *insert sad turkey face here*
Our first muscovy ducklings have hatched. Somehow we ended up with a house duckling… Well, it was because it was +38*c and baby came out into the heat and wilted. All the others with MamaDuck were beetling around doing great, but this one wasn’t. So, I brought baby inside…I like to give life a chance before culling. And as I write this, I hear that duckling chirping up a storm, trying to convince my Kid that it has to sit in her lap and no where else. 😂😂😂 Babies tend to get spoiled here.
And just for knowledge’s sake…in case you ever wanted to know, broody turkeys stink. O.M.G. S.T.I.N.K. Stinky, stinky, stinky. I thought maybe it was because she hadn’t been off the nest in a while, but nope. Emma tried to go broody in the duck yard, where she was outside all the time and oof…same stench. I don’t know why. I don’t know if anyone else’s turkey hens are like this. But my broody turkey stink. *insert vomiting emoji here*
There is other news, but it’s going to have to wait for another post…the chores and the need to water everyone is calling… 🙂