Almost April

Winter decided to give us one last kick this weekend.
Cold af.
Last night was -24*C.
So yesterday was a day of adding more straw for the ducks, chickens, and turkeys.
Fat arsed mares got another bale too…they probably could have made Monday, but eating keeps horses warm so we just fed ’em. Mostly because if I blanket the one who needs it most:

Then the other 2 beat the crap out of her because she “doesn’t look right”.
So we feed them.
It’s easier than trying to separate Sable from the other 2.
The joys of a 3 horse herd.

So my next round of peppers are up.
Well, some of them.
I planted some orange and yellow pepper seeds and some alma paprika seeds.
Paprika seeds aren’t showing yet, but the o/y are up.
Those were freebie seeds out of peppers we got in a Loop pickup.
Birds enjoyed demolishing the peppers and I took a few seeds to try.
You never really know what you’ll get with grocery store saved seeds, but I have the space in the garden so it’s worth the try to grow them.

Friday is tomato seeds starting day.
And some medicinals/flowers.
Since I’m not 100% sold on the whole winter sowing thing (I keep getting told to “trust the process” but my brain says it can’t work…) I want to start some of the more important things inside…like mullein, yarrow, calendula, and bee balm…they’re all for drying, tinctures, and teas for the home apothecary.
And of course, we can never grow too many tomatoes. 😉

This past Friday Hubby brought home onion sets for me…

I had complained to him at lunch that I had used my last garden grown red onion for yet another jar of pickled onions 🤤 so clearly I was going to have to grow *more* onions this year. Next thing I knew, he brought me 2 1/2 lbs of onion sets.
As soon as the garden soil is workable, they’ll get planted.
As well as the other cool season crops.

Next week tho…
I’m going to head out front of the house and dig out the raised boxes that have our asparagus and rhubarb in them. In a semi-normal year of snow, they would be poking their heads out right about now. Well, I have 2ish feet of snow sitting on top of them, so I’ll dig them out a bit and let the sun finish the job.
If all grows well, I should have enough rhubarb this year to make a round of wine/shine.
And to share with someone who really likes rhubarb for baking…myself, I’m not a huge fan, but I do like home made alcohol, so…. 😉

Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.
Spring is slow af this year, but with the amount of snow, that’s probably for the best.
Either way, spring is coming and we’re so ready for it!

3 Weeks

In 3 weeks I’m going to traumatize the turkeys.
In 3 weeks they’ll get a deep cleaning of their hut (with weekly spot cleanings in between now and then) and deep, fresh straw added.
Then, in 3 weeks, I’ll start collecting eggs for the incubators.
Right now the eggs are being washed and eaten (because yummmmmmmmy!!).

Right now, my brooders that Hubby built me last year are all under snow.
So we’re not ready for itty bitty birbs.
But in 3 weeks…
We’ll be closer to getting them ready.
So I’ll set eggs, and in the 4 week time it takes for turkey eggs to hatch, we’ll have those brooders ready for bebes.
Which is good, because at the end of May I have:
10 pekin ducklings
10 lavender orpingtons
10 black giants (regional variant of Jersey Giants)
5 white geese
25 white turkeys
to pick up from the feed store.
So yeah…Ima need those brooders.

And by the end of May the muscovies will be laying and hopefully some of the hens will be already sitting nests. If not, then soon.
I can’t wait for aaaaalllll the leetle bebe birbies to be here!

Happy Spring

And here we are…we made it to Spring.

Yesterday we fixed the garage door.
Well, I say “we” but Hubby did the hard work on the ladder, while The Kid and I held said ladder and passed tools as needed.
So the driveway is now clear, those fat, fat mares got another bale of hay (they had to eat every single scrap of the last one…poor fat, fat mares 😂😂😂) and while the tractor was out of the garage, I cleaned the turkey hut.
The turkeys were not amused.
But I’m tired of shit covered eggs, and their straw pack was getting ridiculously high, so I pushed them into the corner with a board, dug out the gross stuff, then let them back into the rest of the hut while we gathered fresh straw.
Kid threw the fresh straw in, and the turkeys were convinced she was trying to murder them.
Turkeys is dumb.
But next thing y’know, the hens were spreading bedding and doing the come hither squat at Oscar, so clearly clean sheets works to help a guy get lucky. As if we human women didn’t already know that. 😉

Last week The Kid and I got the duck coop dug out…again.
Hopefully this is the last time this year we have to do this dig.
Then we flipped open the lid (hooray for lids on coops that open!!), kicked aaaaaaallllll da leetle birdies out, and I cleaned the coop down to the floor.
Stinky, stinky, stinky.
We love our ducks, but damn, they are gross little birbs.
But now they’re clean, and they’ve been spending days hanging out on top the drifts.
My only sad face was that there’s too much snow to move the stinky, duck poo laden, wet, juicy straw to a garden bed. There are some super awesome nutrients in that grossness that plants just love!
Ah well…there will be more later.

Yes, that one duck is a bit weird looking. 😉
That’s “T.D”…also known as “Tall Duck”.
She’s a sweetgrass turkey who Cricket (the main drake) decided was his pet turkey.
She’s a bit stunted, and not terribly smart, but she’s kinda sweet and the ducks like her.
She’s way too small to be in with the turkeys, so she lives with the ducks.
Come randy, horny duck spring, she’ll go with the younger hens who are not ready for breeding, so that the drakes don’t decide she’s attractive. Turkey and duck parts are not compatible for breeding, so we can’t let that happen.

Tonight we’re staying above 0*c weather wise, and the melt is on.
So the next few weeks will see us shoveling more paths, as our drifts melt, and trenches for water to run off.
But it’s finally melting, and we’re happy.
Tired, but happy.


We don’t know who her parents were.
We found her one night, abandoned in the duck yard.
We didn’t think she would survive.
She had a wonky, twisted leg, and she was cold as ice.

But dead ain’t dead with poultry until you can’t warm them up.
If you can get them warm, there’s a (fairly decent) chance of survival.

And so when we found her (not knowing if she was boy or girl at the time) in the mud, we scooped her up and brought her in to get warm.

With the deck stacked against her, this little duck went on to thrive.
Stealing macaroni every damn chance she got.
And stealing my heart.

She grew into a beauty, who we all thought was going to make beautiful bebes with The Kid’s sweet drake Oreo…

July 2021 – March 14th, 2022

But as always, the Gods laugh as us mortals make our plans…and yesterday my HomerJ crossed over Bifrost to join her love, Oreo (whom we lost in the same storm that we moved my stupid turkeys into the garage), and my Cookie.
She died in my arms, and I am heartbroken.
To some she was just a duck.
To me, she was the bestest, goodest duck.
And I loved her.
And so now there is a black and white Painted mare with her two muscovy ducks of Doom wreaking havoc on The Other Side.

Our morning duck meetings just won’t be the same without her.

Monday Monday

Not much going on here…just shoveling snow, watching the peppers grow, remembered that I have paprika pepper seeds to start…I got so focused on my poblanos I forgot about the paprika ones…for shepherds, I’m relying on winter sowing.
They either will grow or won’t.
But poblanos and paprika peppers are for winter spice mixes, so I’m pretty intent on having great crops of those.

We’re looking at a week of above 0*c daytime temps, so there’s a lot of drifts that need paths cut through them…we’re going to have melting start and falling through a 5 foot drift is not ever a good time.
I’m really just too old for that shit.
So over the next week I’ll work on digging paths through them.

Hubby gets to fix the overhead door on the garage this week.
Fuck sakes.
If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.
As he was trying to pull a bale out for the nags, the back tire of the tractor sank in snow, he shifted unexpectedly and knocked the control arm for the loader, which sent it up to smack the door, popping it off the cable/reel…in short, it took 3 of us to get it closed and now it won’t open because both cables are off and the springs popped.
But…it’s a fix we know how to do, just need a new roller and time.
So that’s this week, then he can get the tractor out and finish clearing the driveway.

Just a little bit of snow.
It’s all good tho…
Just 6 more days ’til spring, and like I said, above zero temps this week.
The melt will start, and we’ll be fine.
Last night we had the chance to bbq, with wobbly pops and music.
So morale is better today.
We haven’t done that since the beginning of December due to weather.
So yeah, it was a very welcome evening.

Quiet Days

These are the quiet days before the spring work begins.
I have that whole list of things to get going as soon as the snow starts to melt…and with a call for -2*c next week, it looks like the melt may start soon.
Of course, it’s only March and well, there’s always chances of snow storms right into May around here.
(aaaand, as I’m writing this we’ve come under a blowing snow advisory and are in a white out…because of course we are)
Remember last year…I had a hard frost on June 21st.
Thankfully some of the peppers and tomatoes survived, though I sure didn’t think they were going to.
It was good that I felt too defeated to pull them and replant, because some bounced back and gave us a decent crop.

Yesterday our internet was out, so it gave me a chance to catch up on a few things.
Not sure why it was down, but I had left a message at the office to let them know.
I don’t get cranky with our provider because the guys who run the place are decent humans.
(we know how few there are of those in the world!)
I just leave a message and let ’em know.
If it’s something on their end (usually) they have a message on their voice mail letting folks know.
If it’s not them, they get back to me pretty quick.

So I cleaned my kitchen, bottled a little wine, pulled out the water distillation machine, did some distilled water for Hubby’s snore machine, mighta ran some mixed citrus wine though for some mixed citrus shine, might not have either because we wouldn’t want to do anything that ain’t legal, now would we?
Today I have some odd bagged mix of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries to get into a pail to ferment.
I follow one of those cheap groceries/food waste reduction apps, where you can buy boxes of fruit for $5. I buy a box or two a week, just to make bags in the freezer of mixes for wine.
That’s where I got the random citrus and mango (I forgot there was a half dozen mangoes in the pail too) to make up the stuff I bottled yesterday. I find the cheap boxes are a great way to do small batches (with a lot of notes on how and what so I can recreate anything I really liked) before putting a whole bunch of $ into a big batch.
Then I edited a whole bunch of pictures I took last week.
With the cold that has been, it’s been darn near impossible to get out with the camera. By the time chores are done, I just don’t want to go back out, y’know?
But last week I managed to go capture some shots of the nags, and a few of the outdoor felines.

Once the blowing snow shit is done, Hubby is stopping at the local hardware store to grab a dozen t-posts and another couple rolls of stucco wire.
These are the cheapest, and easiest, things to make fences here.
Especially when we’re holding in (or out) poultry.
The current duck yard may get converted to the lamb yard (if the fucking snow ever melts) because of the wood posts…but we may choose another area too. We have an abundance of wood posts on the yard, so building another space for sheepies, while leaving ducks where they are is fine too…we’ll figure it out.
First we just need spring.
12 more days.

I ended up losing internet yet again while writing this.
So now it’s Wednesday morning and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and the truck is stuck in the driveway so we have to get her dug out so Hubby can get into to work tomorrow…
My peppers are popping!
I planted 36 cups of poblano peppers and more than 75% are popping up out of the dirt.
Yes, that’s a lot of peppers.
Yes, I will have many, many poblanos if they are get to producing.
That’s the plan.
Smoke ’em, dehydrate ’em, grind ’em.
My own seasoning as a part of our winter spices.
So yeah.
I’m excited af.
My peppers are popping.

March 4th

Hoo-effin’-ray it’s March!!
It’s about time.
Now we just need the snow to start melting so we can get on with the spring work.
Still waiting on the last of my seed orders to come in.
In the meantime, everytime Hubby walks into a place that has seeds, if he has some spare change in his pocket he picks *something* up…
Yesterday he brought these home:

Carrots are always a good choice.
We go through tons of them fresh, the horses and the birds love the greens, and I pressure can as many as possible for winter eating.
Those radishes are a new-to-us variety.
Supposed to be better for hotter months.
Eh, we’ll see.
If they end up bolting and going to seed, well, then I’ll save seed for the next year and I’ll have seed pods to eat. Radish seed pods are spicy, crunchy, delicious little snacks. It is definitely worth letting some radishes go to seed!

Truth be told, I’m not sure how much Hubby going to bring home like this.
Typically his “pocket change” is what’s left after buying gas…welp, with gas sitting at $1.64/liter (that’s roughly $6.50 a gallon for you US folks), his pocket change is dwindling faster than beer on a Friday night.
And I have to make sure the man doesn’t run out of beer too!
Unlike our (not-so) fearless Canadian leader, I do have to worry about balancing a budget, since I know it won’t do it itself…😂😂😂
Might just have to step up the homemade from whole grain beer making skills.
Or he could get on board with the wine drinking thing.
Or I could finish the dilutions on the…

We’re sitting here in a holding pattern.
Waiting for snow to melt for the spring builds to begin, while moving snow away from places that may flood and so birds can have more spaces, and itching to get going.
Only 16 more days to the official first day of Spring.