C’mon Spring!!

Astrid’s coat tells me that Spring is here:

She all but frickin’ exploded with glee yesterday as I used my glove to scrub some of the loose winter coat out…it’s muddy AF out there in the pasture, so I’m trying to remember the shedding blade when we go to feed their pails of beet pulp, but I only have 2 hands and there’s 3 mares and everyone is itchy, itchy, itchy and wanting to be groomed soooooo bad!

Well, next week that oughta get easier.
We’ve got another round of moisture falling from the sky this weekend.
Like, wth??
For some reason Mother Nature thinks she should make up for 4 years of drought in a few months time…
But next week, we’re looking like this:

And if those temps actually happen?
(That’s celcius, btw)
Then the water is going to soak in nicely.
And what doesn’t soak in should run off as the ditches finally open up properly.
Then?
Then the grass starts to grow.
The mares are already out in the non-flooded spots nibbling the tender shoots…and yeah, I know I should keep them off of it, but frankly, I can’t.
It’s the only high ground they’ve got other than a space that would (if fenced) be a teeny corral that barely fits the 3 of ’em.

So while the rain falls this weekend, I’ll be transplanting tomatoes.
My seeds have come up fantastically, and I have a whole bunch to up pot.
Got a few peppers to do the same with…and I have to restart my poblanos.
*insert grouchy face here*
I ended up with an aphid infestation.
I had originally used a vodka/peroxide mixture to spray the soil and plants down.
Every couple of days and finally got rid of them.
Or so I thought…
Little green bastards came back with a vengeance and in one of the gardening groups, neem oil was suggested to me…welp…I suspect I did something wrong when spraying the plants because all but 2 (of 35) have died on me…and I’m not sure the last 2 will survive.
😭😭😭
I’m a fair bit gutted about it.
But, as always, I’ll just give ‘er a do-over and try again.
Thankfully, I have more poblano seeds, and I winter sowed a container of them…those I should be seeing some sprouts in very soon!Especially with next weeks nice weather.

Every year I find there is some sort of challenge and every year I find myself reaching the point of Que Sera Sera…this year I hit that point much sooner than normal.
Between craptastic weather, the killing of my peppers and the septic pump replacement, I’m just…

At least there’s another 4-5 weeks before our last frost date, so the poblanos might have a chance to start up again in time…if not?
Que sera sera.

A Little Musical Interlude

Found this awhile back…
If, like me, you enjoyed the show Vikings, you’ll recognize Ludwig.
(He was Bjorn Ironside)
Turns out, the man can sing as well as act.

I found Jacob Bryant while looking for musical inspiration for a November 11th photo shoot and have loved the man’s voice ever since.
This song is one of my favorites…

Heh, as I’m posting these I realize, I might have a type when it comes to male singers…
*shrug*
But y’all…how can you *not* love Trace Adkins?
Seriously.

This girl, I never heard of her before today, but I love, love, love, me some Jamey Johnson.
Someone in the comments under the video said “Her voice is like an angel and Jamey’s is like a fine aged Bourbon. This was beautiful.”
Yup.
I highly recommend searching out more by Johnson because he is a major effing talent.

And finally, rounding out day’s musical inspiration…

I was torn between this and Stapleton’s cover of George Jones’ Tennessee Whiskey.
But, this version is always gonna be the best version of Drink a Beer.
Yeah, Luke Bryan made the song famous but IMO he fucked it up.
Heh. Not a Bryan fan.
Maybe he just too damn pretty for my tastes.
😉

The Aftermath…

This is where we’re at…
That’s my house in the background and yup, the water from the field across is coming up over the road.
And we still have a ton of snow to melt on our yard.
But, my sump pump is working, my effluent pump is working and the animals are doing alright.
So, I’m trying to be optimistic.
The weather is…welp, depends who you listen to.
Some forecasts say another Colorado low coming this weekend (that’d be 3 weekends in a row!) but others say a light drizzle over the weekend.
I’m voting for no more rain/snow ’til this all soaks in.
Here’s hoping Mother Nature listens to me, for once.
😂😂😂

Well…That Was Fun…

NOT

It seems weekends lately, instead of being the break from Hubby’s daily grind and being times of building/farming jobs, have been the times that Mother Nature is taking to beat the crap out of us.
Blizzard last weekend.
This weekend?
Torrential rains.
Roughly 75mm in 36ish hours…that’s about 3 inches…on land that hasn’t let go of the frost yet, so *nothing* is soaking in…
Then freezing rain.
And last night?
Blowing snow.
😂😂😂

And d’y’know what makes it allllll the more fun?
The ejector pump in the septic tank went.
That was Thursday.
Right before a huge rain storm moves in, because when else would your grey water pump crap out???
😂😂😂

We have a new pump sitting in the livingroom.
Had it since Friday…after calling all over the damn place to find one in stock (because pumps are in short supply right now) and then having to beg the place to hold it ’til we got there in the Big City after not finding anything at a closer hardware store.
But yeah, we got it.
And then it sat.
Can’t replace the pump while standing in a foot of water.
*sigh*
Now, it seems that the switch is what’s gone (according to my Bro who is our mechanical/engine smart guy) so a straight replace now (because we already spent the $$$ on a new pump) then a repair on the switch (if possible) to have a back up.

Oh, and yesterday??
No power.
So no sump pump running either.

Today we have power.
Today the sump pump is pumping every 20 minutes or so.
Today we swap out effluent pumps.
And try not to curse Mother Nature too loud…lest she fight back.

Muscovy Duck Meetings

Muscovies have meetings.
I don’t know about other ducks, having only ever had 1 non-muscovy duck, and a whole bunch of muscovies…
Muscovy meetings are awesome.
There’s a lot of chatter and head bobbing and tail wagging and some clicking and hissing…
Here’s a short video of this morning’s meeting:

Turn your sound up and hit play.
This went on for a good 2 minutes before I decided to make the video…and of course once thye noticed me watching, the meeting ended.
But this is a sign of a flock that’s doing well.
We’ve had some big challenges keeping these guys healthy over the winter from hell, so that they’re feeling good enough to have meetings again is wonderful.
And as the caption on Instagram says, this discussion was seemingly over which girl was choosing which drake she wanted for the bebe making.
No one is laying yet, and that’s okay.
I’m in no hurry, with all the damn snow yet, for the hens to be going broody.
Plus, in the last blizzard, I lost my pitchfork in a drift, so until I find that *no one* is allowed to go broody…I am not cleaning up broody duck shit with a shovel.
Just.
Not.
🤢🤮
If you’ve had ducks, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
🤢🤮

Not Much Goin’ On

Got through another blizzard.
Rain/snow comin’ this weekend.
Feelin’ like the winter that never wants to end.
Donkey horse did this to herself:

I’m sure she had one helluva headache after that.
She sure was grumpy with me when I poked and prodded it.
lol
Someone had to poke at it and see how bad it was.
😉
Good thing it’s not fly season or sunburn season, otherwise she’d be even unhappier with me.

This week I’m firing up the incubators.
No chickens this year.
Got no roos left.
Sadly, in the hellacious winter of 21/22, I lost all my roos to shitty weather and a respiratory infection that blew through my coops like crazy.
So only turkeys.
And a few cross bred ducks…and guinea fowl…both of those I’m picking up from a FB friend who asked if anyone was interested in some to hatch out.
Um, yeah!
Haven’t managed to have ducks hatch in the incubator (came close with a couple muscovies but they quit a week or so before they were due) and never had guinea fowl, so, for free eggs?
I’m willing to give it a try.
Now we let our duck hens do the work, because muscovies love, love, love to hatch bebes.
And aside from late season nests, I’m happy to let them.

I’m currently up to 15 turkey eggs to hatch.
Today we discovered, much to my chagrin, that one hen we thought was a hen turned out to be a tom.
So Oscar (my main tom) has only 6 girls instead of 7.
I’m just hoping that the newly discovered tom stays subservient long enough that we can get him to a better size for the freezer.
2 breeding toms is plenty and I don’t have enough hens to give Dingus any right now, so keeping a 3rd tom is just not gonna work.
Plus, toss in the whole avian influenza thing going on, selling a live bird right now is more of a pain in the ass than normal…plus, we like turkey, and we let these jerks breed so we can eat the extras, so…

Tomato seeds are popping up through the dirt.
I’m getting ready to sow a few more.
Only have 36 little cups (though each cup has more than 1 seed in it and I’ll pot up any extras that come up from those multiples…except for the San Marzano…I only had 10 of those seeds, so 1 per cup) and that ain’t going to be nearly enough tomatoes for us.
Tomatoes is like beans…I could plant an acre of ’em and that *might* be enough for us.
😂😂😂
All my other seeds that I ordered, have come in.
Hubby is just picking up bits and bobs here and there when he’s at the feed store or the hardware store.
Mostly adding to the carrots/beets supply of seeds.
We go through a lot of both.

And that’s us.
We’re just waiting on spring to really and for truly get here.
And for hands in the dirt/building season to begin.
YeeHaw.

Turkeys Is Stupid

I know I’ve said it before.
I know I’ll say it again.
Turkeys is stupid.
Now, I tend to love my stupid children…that’s what I call my breeding group…my stupid children.
But every now and then you get one who is either a complete idiot (more so than their flock mates) or a complete asshole.
Idiots can be kept, if they’re not too much trouble.
Assholes?
Welp, those are the ones we eat.

Way back in winter we moved the turkeys to the garage after a particularly bad storm.
Except for Dingus (a tom) and StupidShit (a hen)…those 2 stayed in with the chickens because they were happy there.
Since it’s been much, much nicer, and all the coops are open during daylight hours, StupidShit has decided she must go into the duck yard and pick on T.D.
T.D. is a sweetgrass turkey who never really grew, and who the ducks decided was their turkey…and she seems to be able to speak “duck” so she lives with them, acting like a duck. Hence the name T.D., which is short for…TallDuck.
What can I say.
I’m not terribly inventive when it comes to naming animals.
🤷‍♀️

Anyways, StupidShit (because really, that’s exactly what she is…and she’s not even a nice hen, she’s a nasty shit…where Dingus is a big stupid tom, but sweet as hell and easy to handle, she’s a c**t) decided that she must visit with T.D., which was all well and good until she started picking T.D.’s tail feathers out, causing bleeding.
Yeah, that shit don’t fly with me.

So, StupidShit got corralled and sent to Oscar for…attitude adjustment.
😉
Because Oscar is my dominant tom, and the hens behave for him…or else.
Oh, but the corralling…
I should have grabbed the net, but she’s tried to rip her way out of it before…
So I went into the chicken coop, where she was trying to hide from me, and grabbed her.
Low and behold, that bitch tried going for my face with her talons as I reached for her.
Thankfully, I got my arms up in time to block her, and knocked her on her feathered ass, from which I grabbed her leg and hung her upside down ’til she tired her stupid self out.
Then she got carried, upside down, across the yard to the garage, where Oscar and the ladies had free run of the garage while their hut was getting scraped out.
StupidShit got a fancy green band (just a zip tie) on her leg, and then released.
Well damn if she didn’t try to take her bitchiness out on 13 right away, and Oscar dropped her with a well placed shoulder…😂😂😂
That’s *exactly* what she needed.
And when she tried to get up?
Both Oscar and Emma dropped her again.
Emma is the head hen in Oscar’s group and she, like Oscar, will accept no shit from anyone.
The only ones those 2 defer to are the humans…and even then, I had to *remind* the OscarMayerWeiner who the real boss was.

While we finished cleaning and re-bedding the turkey hut, StupidShit got educated over and over on using her stupid turkey manners. By the time we had to herd them back to the hut, she was a thoroughly deflated hen.
Good.

Once we got back to the house, I had a chance to clean up the presents she gave me…

I’ve got a matching one on the other arm.
Not gonna lie, I was pretty darn happy to see Oscar and Emma discipline her.
Today she seems to have calmed down.
When I went to collect eggs, she just moved to the other side of the hut and stayed as far away from me as she could. And all the other hens were happy to get their morning treats, so it’s not that she’s taken up bullying anyone else.

Now we’ll see if she settles into being a good hen for Oscar.
If so, she’ll get to stay on.
If not?
Welp, I’ll Red Queen her.
😉

April 10th

It’s mud season.
It’s goose season.
As I write this, we have just about 2000 Canada geese on the big field.
And we can’t shoot a one of ’em, because shooting season for C.G.’s isn’t ’til November.
*sigh*
But we do get to listen (or ignore) the panicked cries about Avian Flu.
Again…*sigh*

Listen, I get that it’s an issue.
But with this many geese around, and with all the song birds, short of never letting my flock see the light of day, there’s really no stopping my birds from coming in contact with anything from wild birds.
*Especially* when Lake Midnight has returned.
😂😂😂
There is so much water on my field, and in my pasture, and so much sno to still melt…and because Ma Nature has it in for us this year, a predicted 30-60cms of snow coming by mid week.
😂😂😂
So….yeah.

But, if any of that water gets a chance to soak in, the pasture will grow gangbusters.
Until then, we get to watch the poor Merry Mares fumble about in the slop.
They have their high and dry spots, but they’re restless.
It’s spring, they want to run and buck and play…they want green grass and long naps in the sunshine…but they got weird weather shifts and mud and hay.

This stupid ass:

Ruby

Slipped while running around with her herdmates today….not a full on drop, but enough to tweak her fat back. *sigh*
And unlike my complete suck of a palomino granddaughter, Ruby is not a fan of back rubs and massages.
At least, not unless you make her think it’s her idea.
Which means sharing a beer with the bitch, while grooming and then sneaking over to a massage.
😂😂😂
I can’t even with this mare sometimes…
But, by the time I was done massaging her back, and drinking what she left me of the beer, she was moving better.
Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep her from getting too stiff and sore, but I suspect we’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow.

Aside from shitty forecasts and a ton of geese, we’re just plugging along.
On the 13th I start collecting turkey eggs for the incubator, the end of May is when the other hatchery birds arrive, and the seedlings are doing well.
So here’s hoping for a super extra awesome growing season, both garden and meat animals, because *whew*, I think things are going to get a lot worse yet, before we start seeing any sort of getting better…if we do…but I’ll keep my little dark thoughts to myself for now. 😉
All I can say is this…
Don’t put off putting up extras where and when you can.
‘Kay?
Just…
Don’t.

Pickled Beets

I plant a lot of beets.
One of our favorite things in winter is pickled beets.
Well, last Fall I pulled everything from the garden right before the first of the winter storms hit us…the carrots and radishes got dealt with, but somehow, I forgot about the beets.
So the bin of beets sat in front of the (drafty af) front door all winter.
Turns out that was a good thing, since it acted like a root cellar and damned if them beets weren’t just fine when I found them today.
😂😂😂

So knowing I was out of beets on the shelf (my last few jars were given to my Uncle who has been an incredible help when we’ve needed it) I filled the pot, cooked them beets up and got them into the brine.

Once again I am reminded why I hate water bath canning.
It’s moist and uncomfortable.
But I got 4 jars of beets done and now we have some more.
Of course they won’t last long, but that’s okay.
Gardening season is right around the corner and I bought a lot of beet seeds, knowing that there was more than one house that was going to be eating them.
🙂

And for the record, I do safe canning only here, so no need to talk about skipping the processing (water bath) part…I ain’t going through all the work of planting, growing, weeding, harvesting and such to risk botulism in the putting up stage.
Not when for a bit more work I can put things in jars safely and know I ain’t making anyone sick.
You want to do different?
Good for you.
Your kitchen, you do what you please.
‘Round here we do it right.

Duck Shit

Yup, that’s what I’ve been up to…
Shoveling duck shit/bedding.
Last week we flipped the top of the duck coop open (it’s on hinges), kicked every birb out, and I shoveled it out.
Twice.
I did that twice.
Then, everyone got a dose of ivermectin on their backs, right on the skin (I hate trying to get through those downy feathers to find skin, but the ivermectin has to go right on the skin to be effective) and they also got a 3 day course of penpro (antibiotic).
They had a respiratory infection that just wasn’t clearing up, so after a quick discussion with our vet, I dosed every damn duck (and T.D, a sweetgrass turkey who is convinced she’s a duck…so her name is TallDuck) in the coop.
Today, I am optimistic that everyone who is left will pull through just fine.
Today was their 2nd round of the ivermectin, and they’ll get one more in 7 days.
I’ve also had my second round of the ivermectin, because it is inevitable that I wear some while dosing ducks.
Muscovy hens are bitches when they don’t want to be handled.
Damn, them girls got some *fight* in ’em this week…and that’s a helluva good sign.
Means they’re feeling much, much better.
And everyone’s feathers are looking better, and they’re eating us out of house and home again…
And they’re running The Kid over when she opens their coop.
So, all good stuff.

I just feel like a shitty duck owner because it took this long to get them dewormed again and far too long to get them antibiotics….my Kid lost her foundation drake, Cricket:

Cricket the Duck. He’s a handsome fella!

And let me tell you…there’s nothing worse than listening to your kid’s sobs of heartbreak because an animal she loved died…
Problem was, the weather beat the shit out of us mercilessly and there really was no way (besides ivomec in water pails) to deworm them, and I didn’t put 2+2 together on the resp. infection until the sneezing didn’t clear up with clean bedding.

So now we’re just doing everything we can to keep the last 17 ducks going…
Fingers crossed, and a whole lotta ducks shit shoveling, and so far, everyone is good.
They’re having meetings and trilling and cooing and wagging tails (which are growing back in) and the drakes are starting to get *that look* and the hens are giving them the okay wags…

And for the record, Poop Machine (yep, that’s his name) thinks this hands on health care is complete duckshit. He ain’t liking it one little bit.
😂😂😂

In other news, the snow is finally melting.
About damn time.
The chickens and turkeys are doing well.
Oscar is dancing and prancing and the hens are squatting.
Next week begins the collection of eggs for the incubator(s).
Hopefully we’ll have a bunch of little Narragansetts running about come May!
Then any hens can be put with Dingus when they’re older.
Right now he only has 1 girl and she keeps calling for Oscar.
Fucking turkeys.
😂😂😂
But Oscar is the dominant tom, so all the hens who have been in with him (and Dingus’s girl was before the great garage move) want to stay with him.
Problem is I can’t keep the 2 toms together, or Oscar kills any hen who shows interest in Dingus.
Turkeys are misogynistic bastards.
Tasty bastards tho…

Down to my last 4 bales of hay.
The Merry Mares are going through roughly 1 a week…yup, still doing the put a whole bale out thing…just because the snow hasn’t melted enough that I can portion feed again.
But as the snow recedes and more ground is showing, they’re finding tasty bits to nibble.
Once the frost is out of the ground and all the melt soaks in, it’s take a day or two of warmth and the grass will explode into growth that they won’t be able to keep up with.
I am so hoping for an excellent hay season.
We need one after the last few years.

But, Mother Nature is gonna do whatever it is that She’s gonna do and we humans are just going to have to deal with whatever She throws our way.
Again.
I just hoping for good growing and harvesting weather.
It’s all I can do.