Those are the last 20 boards we needed to get the greenhouse fully built. I’M SO EXCITED!!
It’s not going to be huge, but it will be expandable, and it will definitely be a game changer in our gardening world. Not just for starting plants, but for growing some too…the greenhouse is where things like pole beans and some tomatoes will grow, just because they need a little extra oomph…but once seedlings are up in the house and we have a heat source in the greenhouse, outside they’ll go! So this winter will be me studying how, exactly, to use the greenhouse to our very best benefits.
This is the first chance at the internet since it went out with the rains, so it’s not a huge deal. As always, there’s work to be done here. This past weekend it was soggy wet work, but we needed the rain so bad…and now we’re getting more in a short time than we need. If only it could have been spaced out over the summer, things would have been much, much better. *sigh* But that’s the way of it, isn’t it? At least, it has been the past few years. If I was a tin foil hat wearin’ conspiracy theorist, I’d be wonderin’ about them “scientists” manipulating the weather…I mean, how else do you keep a hold on people who are getting restless about leadership and plagues other than by controlling the food supply? Drought for months during planting/growing, then monsoon type rains during harvest? Hmmmm….
More roosters went to Freezer Camp. My Kiddo, dang I’m proud of her! She’s always been hands on helping with the dispatch and the plucking. Roosters we skin, because it’s just easier. This time ’round she wanted to learn to gut them. Awesome! That means as long as she has a couple hens, a rooster and a sharp knife, she can put meat into her soup pot. That is a fantastic skill to have. And not too many young women are interested in learning those skills…so I figure Hubby and I have done something right, in that she’s wanting to know how, from beginning to end.
Then out came the canner. Beans, chicken and stock, chicken stock. Now I’m working on horse applesauce…not as nefarious as it sounds…we got about 20lbs of apples in our last Loop pickup, and The Merry Mares do not need apples all the time…but a few jars of applesauce on the shelf for winter additions to their beet pulp? Oh yeah, that’s a great idea! Then tomorrow is another round of rooster roasting and canning, with a few jars of cat food in there as well. Wee roosters (these were culls from friends) have teensy livers and hearts and gizzards (and I’m not there, to be able to eat those) so they go into jars with some stock for winter eats for the outdoor cats. Gotta keep my mousers fat and happy through the cold months too! When we do our pig, the liver, heart, tongue and other offal bits get the same treatment. And same with deer.
Ahhh!! Deer season (for bow) starts in 1 week. Hubby is excited to get out with his bow and hopefully put some venison in the freezer. He’s got a few places lined up to hunt, and before rifle season hits (deers know to hide real good during boom boom season) they’re thick like stink on a monkey…so finger crossed!!
And damn if the price of wood hasn’t dropped! Whoa! 2×6 stud length are down $2 a board over last week! I’ve been putting off the last few boards needed to finish the greenhouse, hoping for a price drop and here it is…so tomorrow Hubby stops for the last few boards and in between butchering and hunting, that fucker is going up. I need my greenhouse in place for next year. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. So, there’s that. And there’ll be pictures. 🙂
Then in the spring (because I don’t feel like there’s time now before Fall) I get to lay out some cardboard, a layer of wheat straw and then top with topsoil…and that will be the next garden space in front of the house, between my haskaps and the lilacs. *sigh* Then a quick fence of t-posts and stucco wire to keep out the asshole chickens and we’ll be good to go for planting. The more food I can grow, the better off we’ll be.
Winter is coming. And without bringing politics into it (because I try not to here), I feel like there’s a long winter coming. A very long winter. Best to be prepared as much as we possibly can be.
First of all, like the title says, it’s raining. We had some rain last week that really helped, and now we’re in for just about the entire weekend full of rain. So while I’m frustrated that it makes butchering difficult (got 18 more cornish to go…turns out I can’t count, I kept missing 2 of them 😂😂😂), I am happy af for rain. And I’m praying it’s in time to save our pasture. And our Hay Guy’s yield. And doesn’t eff up our straw supplier’s harvest. *sigh* But rain, right now, is a good thing. 😉
First jars of chicken are ready for the shelf. Only 85ish more to go. 😂😂😂
This year I’m trying to do them with a bit more stock in them. Last year they were jammed full of chicken with as little stock as I could safely get away with. Which was great when I opened a jar for Hubby, but not so great when I opened a jar for the old Calico cat. Yep, I fed the damn cat home canned chicken. A. Lot. But when you’re the feline equivalent of 128 years old, you eat whatever the eff you want…and she wanted home canned chicken. It always had to have stock with it though and she drove me nuts screaming when the liquid ran out…so this year, a little more juice and a few extra smaller jars of just stock to supplement when the bigger jar runs out.
Before the rains came, I headed into the garden to pick beans (canning those tomorrow) and pull some weeds. ‘Round here not even the weeds go to waste. First bin of them went to the geese. They get crazy excited over weeds and cut grass. They’re gonna be my garden clean up crew this year. I figure they should do a great job of eating down everything left once we’re done. I will have to protect a few things, like the black currants, the chives and the grape vine, but they’ll have tons of stuff then can eat and enjoy.
2nd bin went to the turkeys. It was mostly thistles and those white turkeys sure love thistles! Thistles are good for liver health, so they can have as many thistles as I can give them. This year I’m going to try turkey liver. I hate liver. Really, really hate it. But it’s because growing up all we ever had was over cooked, grainy af, vomit inducing beef liver and onions. And when it was put in front of us, we got nothing else until our plate was clean. Even if it took days. I uh, learned to fast for long periods of time…real young.
But now as an adult, who is trying to work a little harder on nose to tail eating (not that livers or other offal were ever wasted…we’ve always found someone who wanted those bits) I’ve committed myself to trying to eat poultry livers. I have a few duck ones in the freezer from our last duck days. I just couldn’t convince myself to try them. Yet. I’ll get there.
There’s 5 boys, and 1 hen here. The smallest one just above the Farm logo is the hen. I have researched and learned that white hens are often kept for breeding purposes in big barn settings. So I figure I’m going to keep her and see what happens. Either she’ll mate and lay or she won’t. If she does, it should add some size and maybe some speed to the growth of poults…or maybe she’ll only add a different colour shade to the next gen poults from her. If she doesn’t, we’ll send her to Freezer Camp in the spring. But she’s already doing the sit down and flirt thing with Oscar, so I’m hopeful. 🙂
The boys will all be going off to Freezer Camp soon. They’re at 16 weeks now and just about the size of Oscar and Dingus. For reference, Oscar and Dingus are a year old now and are just about 35lbs each. Yeah so, you can see the whites grow a lot faster. If we could keep them going, the white turkeys (Nicholas turkeys) have been known to make 70lbs live weight…which is why the toms aren’t kept for breeding. It’s all A.I. Yup, someone in the world has the job of extracting turkey semen and artificially inseminating hens. 😂😂😂 Can’t say it’s a job I’d want, but I guess someone has to do it. How else do ya get those cheap turkeys at the holidays?? But seriously, I much prefer my Narragansetts who do the joyful deed themselves and quite proudly.
Last week we ran a Freezer Camp for the cornish meat chickens. The ones we did could have used a bit more time to bulk up, but we’re going ahead with getting them done by the end of this week. And it’s the last time I’m raising cornish chickens. I’m so done with these guys. The last few years, the quality of chick seems to be declining. I don’t know why, and I’m not accusing the hatchery of anything. We just haven’t had them grow as well as they should and this year we’ve had far, far too many broken bones. Not just legs either. And then with last week’s thunder storm, we lost more than 15 of them because they piled up on each other in the coop (even though the coop was wide open and they were free to come and go as they please) and smothered each other. So, out of 75 chicks, once I finish butchering them this week, we’ll have 35 birds. That is ridiculous.
Meanwhile, my home hatched roosters? Not a single loss. 28 in the bachelor pen and when the thunder was rumbling, they were screaming right back at it. 😂😂😂 So next year we’re focusing on home hatched/raised birds. No more cornish meats to die on a whim or because a fly farted too close to them. Hardy dual purpose backyard crosses, bred for size, flavor and hardiness. And maybe we can encourage people to come back to eating slow food through our breeding program. The roosters are best cooked low and slow…they’re crockpot food, not fast frying. But that long slow cook extracts all the nutritional goodness out of them, so it really is the best way. For when we want bbq, I remove the breasts, brine or marinate them, and then roast the rest of the carcass.
So I hope we can encourage people to embrace slow food (which with the prevalence of instapots these days, doesn’t even need to be slow) and move away from the supermarket chicken. Who knows…we’ll see. We simply can’t bear the financial losses that go with cornish anymore.
But what goes with running a Freezer Camp is the inevitable roasting of backs/necks/carcasses, making bone broth and then the canning of the meat bits and broth. That’s where I am today. On the roasting part. So the house, even though it’s hot af again, smells like delicious roasted chicken. Needless to say, we’re having some sort of chicken dish for supper tonight. 😂😂😂
The garden is ramping up well. Beans are producing. I have the rows of royal burgundys to pick and can. Same with the yellows. I have to get more mulch in around the pintos…they’re starting to blossom, and the weeds are fighting hard to take over. So I’ll pull weeds, feed the geeses and mulch, mulch, mulch. We had a small meal from the Painted Pony beans. They were tasty, but I was disappointed with the strings. I hadn’t realized how tough the strings on them were. So I’m on the fence about growing them again. Love, love, love them for the name and provenance (named for the American Paint Horse…and we know how Wolfie feels about them APHA gals, right? 😉 ) but if they’re tough and stringy, I’ll find a better heirloom bean for us (royal burgundys).
I’m eating radish seed pods like crazy. Nom. Nom. Nom. I did not know before this year how damn tasty they are! I’ve marked out a few plants that I’m going to let seed pods dry on so that we have radish seeds for next year, but aside from those few, I’m eating, eating, eating. The black radishes are huge. Size of my fist and bigger. So I plan to ferment some. Fermented radishes are yummy. Really, really, yummy. And easy to do. But we’ve never had huge ones like this that I could ferment…and we’ve always just eaten them from the garden with salt, or in potato salad. Now I have enough to ferment. That’s on the list to do this week. Might even sneak a beet into a jar with some radishes. *drools* I love the idea of fermented radishes and beets together. Hopefully it tastes as good in real life as it does in my head. 😂😂😂
And now off to work for me, because I have 19 chicken carcasses in my oven waiting for me…but to finish the post with a picture of my APHA gal…because no matter what, I will always love her and will never have a day where I don’t think of her. ❤
Turkey babies (who are not so much babies anymore, but teens) needed their brooder cleaned. So I set up a yard within the big turkey yard, put out food and water and opened them up…and they proceeded to panic and fly here, there, and everywhere whilst screaming angst filled teenaged turkey anthems of woe and abuse because the whole wide world is scary and The Food Lady was murdering them. *sigh*
So they ran the big turkey yard (the big turkeys were still in their coop because they are too big to run with the teen turkeys who are still mid-sized and no match for a full sized hen, let alone Dingus or Oscar) while I scooped their mass of straw/feed/shit out… With this being the stenchiest part of the job, my Kiddo went off to feed the ducks and chicks in the Little Red Shed, only to come back to tell me 10 (58) chicks had popped their door and were now wandering around the building here, there and everywhere. *sigh*
With that, we rounded up the teenaged angst filled turkeys and put them back into the brooder…and let the big adults out because they were convinced that they were gonna starve to death.
If Oscar doesn’t eat 65.3 times a day, he will die. He is happy to regale you with tales of how I starve him and how he has died so many times for lack of food. *sigh*
As I cleaned out the next brooder (which is a half full combo of cornish and first hatchers), Kiddo let out and fed the ducks, geeses and big chickens. Geeses are mad that I haven’t dropped every single goddamed thing to get them some weeds right fucking now…and they are happy to tell me that in no uncertain terms.
I have not listened to them, other than to laugh and say “You’re on the list, I’ll get to you soon”. The next brooder got lined with shavings (because I’m out of straw and I don’t have the energy to chase anyone for any quite yet) and we set out to capture 10 (58) chicks and move them to it. 1 Wheelbarrow, a dog crate, 2 women, a dog and 3 horses… This is what it takes to move 10 (58) chicks out of the Little Red Shed to the brooder. Well, the dog and the horses are more a hindrance than help, but that is no surprise. And then there were 10 (58) chicks in the brooder. *sigh*
Finally, we got to the point of making sure all the feeders and waterer were topped up, collecting eggs (my turkey hens are trying to nest again and are rather put out that I keep stealing their smooth egg babies), the pools for the smaller ducks filled to warm in the sunshine for afternoon swimming and now? Now it is finally coffee time. While I play with money to pay the bills, buy some groceries and if all gets paid just right, maybe even a case of beer for Hubby. *sigh*
My helper at editing earlier this week… This is Homer J, our latest house duckling. He was abandoned by the hen who hatched him, left for dead at night in the duck yard. We found him and brought him inside. Honestly, didn’t think he was going to make it. But it’s been a week now, and he’s doing just fine. Singing up a storm and pooping everywhere but on my desk. 😉
This weekend we’re running our first Rooster Rehab of the year. 😂😂😂
Exhausting is the correct word for it. But my first and second hatches have resulted in 28 roos currently in the bachelor pen, with a few extra wandering with the cornish meat birds…oh, it’s time for the 28 to go Camping.
Somehow, after a huge Loop pickup last week that has stuffed our 2nd fridge to bursting while the birbs, cats and Daphne have been eating like Kings and Queens all week, I have to find space to let the roosters we process rest for a day or two before parting for the freezer. Lady Bless, I think I need a 3rd fridge for birb feed!
But, I’m sure not complaining! The animals are loving this extra feed, and I’m loving keeping the food out of the landfill.
The funniest thing though, has been the turkeys with their watermelon. 😂😂😂 So after they nearly killed me for strawberries and raspberries, I really thought watermelon would be just as exciting. I mean, how could it not be, right? Well…as it turns out, watermelons are terrifying. The turkey are beyond sure that it wants to kill them. They circled it for a few days and decided “Nope, not eating that” 😂😂😂
Scroll through ^^^ so you can see how wary the turkeys were of that killer melon. OMG. I’ve never seen anything like it. I ended up shoveling it up and giving it to the chickens…who demolished it in seconds. 😂😂😂
Anyways, I still have a bunch of produce and breads to dole out to the birds, and because it’s been sooooo hot, I have it stuffed into the spare fridge…where birds need to rest after butchering. It’s a good problem to have, having more food than space. Just means that the birds will be eating more produce this weekend, so I can fit Freezer Campers in for a bit.
One of the other things we were given last pickup is honey. Honey doesn’t go bad, but, in order to sell it in stores, it does get an expiry date, and stores can’t sell it past that date. I, however, can still use the amazing containers of raw unpasteurized manuka honey we were given for our Palomino Princess. Y’see, honey is what I use for any cuts, scrapes, and booboos on our mare. See the link below for why:
It’s perfect for healing those wounds without any scarring. Thank goodness, or our Girl would be one big walking scar! 😂😂😂
The other type of honey we were given is golden paste honey, with tumeric in it. Now this…this is valuable stuff for a horse with arthritis…especially that Girl who has an arthritic tmj which makes eating difficult in some weather conditions. Golden paste is touted as excellent for treating arthritis in horses, dogs and humans. Welp, we shall see how our Blonde Girl does on it. All this honey and it’s perfect for her! Plus, it’s not in the landfill. I call that a win-win situation.
In other news, we had found 2 abandoned, don’t know where they hatched, can’t find any sign of their hatching anywhere, ducklings in the duck yard one night this week. So we brought them inside. One has since succumbed to injuries (because hens are assholes, and will happily kill baby ducks) but the 2nd is strong and loud. And kinda dumb, because he/she keeps getting their head stuck in the sides of the cage they are in. So we’ve named him/her Homer. 😂😂😂
This weekend is also “clear out all the old eggs from all the nests we know of” weekend. It’s late in the season now, and I don’t want any more surprise hatchlings. Did I tell y’all about the hen who hatched out a clutch of ducklings?? Yeah so there’s 9 week old duckling in the brooder int he Little Red Shed. *sigh* So many birbs. So much potential tastiness. And 12 the Turkey is sitting on another nest. I’m taking those away from her too… No more turkeys this year! I’ve got a brooder full that hasn’t gotten outdoor time yet because of the damn smoke from the wildfires. No. More. Poults! (she said with a quiet longing to scoop up the eggs and put them in the incubator) 😂😂😂
So there we have it…busy af, as usual. And taking eggs away from birds who want to have babies. That’s my life right now.
How are the rest of y’all doing?
Oh, plus here’s a picture for Feline Friday:
Catch more Feline Friday posts over at Sandee’s place, Comedy Plus.