Cleaning Out the Garden

Hey, hi there!

Can you believe we’re mid-September already?
This summer…just wasn’t long enough, I tell ya!
I’ve started the garden clean out and it just feels wrong. 😦
Saturday we have a chance of frost, so things have to start coming out.
The last 2 days, I spent picking tomatoes and pulling the plants out. And the clean up crew has been having a grand time with tomato plants!

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Excuse the picture quality…everything is from my phone, because Voldemort doesn’t come outside when I’m working in the garden. πŸ™‚

chicken in the tomato jungle…

She was not impressed that the jungle kept getting smaller and smaller!

Every year I try to pay attention to what grows well for us and what doesn’t.
This year we planted some Roma tomatoes that we bought through a friend’s sons school fundraiser.
Well, let me tell you, these plants were fucking awesome!!!
Check this out:

look at all the tomatoes on there!

I had to cut branches off to get to the tomatoes inside the growth of plant. Like they were so bushy and dripping with fruit.
Awe. Some.
So, they are a definite for next year’s garden.
Especially when you factor in that I didn’t do any watering, because our hose doesn’t reach. And, we had a drought this summer…
Imagine if they had regular watering!!
Oh, and if the stupid chickens hadn’t eaten so many…
Yeah, Romas are a must.

All told, once my plants were stripped, I have 5 5 gallon pails of tomatoes.
Some I’ll let ripen, some are ripe so we’ll eat those and many of the greenies will become wine.

I thought my green beans were done and was leaving them to go to seeds for next year.
They’ve had other ideas.
Oh, some have big fat pods that are no good for anything but seed, but there’s a ton of pods that are good for eating right away.
I picked just about 2 pounds last time, and it looks like I’ll get that again.
Fine by me.

And then, that Daphne had a digging frenzy last week.
Because she’s a dog, and she can.
But she found this:

how cool is this??

It’s broken and dirty, but with a little elbow grease, I think I can fix it up. I think it’ll be perfect hung over the back door.

And finally, a picture of our Sable…

Whatcha doin’ CinderBella?

This is from way back in July, when she wasn’t feeling so good.
She’s always been a waterbaby, so we didn’t think too much of it…until we talked to her vet about and we all put 2 and 2 together.
Ms Merry Mare was trying to make herself feel better by cooling her hooves.
If it ever happens again, I’ll be sure to pay better attention to her overall demeanor, instead of just shaking my head at her antics.
It’s all we can do right?
When we know better, we work to do better.


Feline Friday and Being MIA

First, for Feline Friday, a picture of my MaxCat.
Following me around the farm yard, singing me the Song of His People…for no other reason than because he can. πŸ™‚

Every Farm should have a handsome orange tabby, IMO.

And, I’ve been down with the back-to-school plague.
I ain’t blaming The Kid for this one.
Hubby brought it home before she even started back…and then he shared the plague gift with all of us.
Kiddo even missed 4 days of school because of it.
Her and I were both so sick, between the 2 of us, there’s been a total of 3 cups of coffee drank this week.
That’s just plain crazy.

But, we’re all slowly getting back to health, and now we have to catch up on the things that we let slide while being sick…
So, enjoy this sunrise shot of Ruby from this morning.
Ima go have another cup of tea and do some work.


Always Moving Forward

It’s 5am here.
I’ve been up since 3:30am.
Drinking tea, sitting with cats, listening to the Other 2 snore…
I can’t sleep.
It’s nothing new. I have always had a hard time sleeping.
Insomnia is my oldest friend.

Today is a little different though.
Today, The Kid starts grade 12.
And I’m feeling my age…
Soon enough, she’ll be 18.
She’ll be deciding what she wants to do with her life…
She’ll want to move out.

And as much as time is always moving forward, and we all have to grow and go on, I’m not ready.
I’m not ready to be the parent of an adult.
She’s an amazing person.
I love her to the moon and back.
I’m very proud of the person she’s grown into.
And, I think she’ll do great things with her life.

But, I’m not ready to be the Mama of an adult child…
as if I have any choice!

Riding a Friend’s horse in a local parade. ❀

Bobbing For Apples

Hubby was given a whole lot of apples.
More than 50lbs worth.
Nice apples too.
So, I sorted into “wine,” “eating” and “livestock” piles.
And then, we sent the Merry Mares bobbing for apples…

Astrid thought this was pretty awesome…until she snuffled in a nose full of water.
Then, not so fun!

Pretty Sable…I love her natural black eyeliner…looks so good on her. πŸ™‚


Sable looks disgusted at how deep Ruby was willing to go for an apple. lol

Got it!!
Nom nom nom

She’s rather dedicated when it comes to food.

We still have half a 5 gallon pail for the horses, a crisper full for humans, and I just pulled the bag of apple mush out of the fermenting wine. That made little piggies very, very happy!

Next wine prospect…
Either concord grape or banana.
Or, maybe I’ll mix the 2.
Because that might just be interesting.

Monday Morning Roundup~Aug. 27th

So, I fell off the face of the earth for a bit there.
Mostly because I’ve been busy.
Y’see, the garden is producing, and someone has to put it up for the winter…because, yes, winter is coming.

I pulled out the pressure canner.
If you heard an excited, high pitched “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!” last week, well, that was me.

It’s been 5 far too long years since I put food in jars for the shelves.
This year, I was determined to get back at it.
And I have!
So far, just green beans, but today I’ve got potatoes going into the canner, and once we butcher the meaties, I’ll be using backs and scraps for home-grown chicken soup.
And, I need to send Hubby to the mushroom farm, because one can never have enough home canned mushrooms!
Then, there’s kidney beans, and chick peas and pork and beans to make…

I’ve missed this.
Back when we were in the city, it was a normal year for me to put up 400 or so jars of food a year.
I want to surpass that out here!
I feel like, I have all this space to grow stuff, I need to be better prepared for life’s little bumps and bruises that slow us down on the way.
That mindset got lost for a little while, but now, I’m back to it…and it feels soooooo good!

The past week, I’ve also been tending to the wines.
I finally got my blueberry/pomegranate kit bottled.
The 2nd round of green tomato (which is likely going to end up a blush wine instead of a white this time) has been stabilized and is now clearing. It is so tasty. Still young, so a bit fiery, but the first one was the same way. With a little age, it turned into a stunningly good wine.

And then, Hubby brought home 50lbs of apples someone gave him at work. Not deadfall, lovely hand-picked eating apples.
So I started a batch of apple wine…because hey, free fruit? Yeah, I’ll ferment that!

And then there’s the planning for next year’s garden. Already.
In the next month or two, it’ll be time to get the fall garlic in.
I’m thinking about what worked this year, what didn’t work, and what we need to grow more of next year.
Plus, there’s that darn fence to get done!
So much to do, so little time to do it.

Now, for those who have been wondering…

Our Sable.

She’s been off the previcox for 2 weeks now.
I keep saying this…we are cautiously and quietly optimistic.
She’s eating very well, she’s gained back the weight she lost during her sickness, and she’s still getting a flax cookie daily…because she loves them and we love her.

That’s all the news for today…
It doesn’t sound like I’ve been all that busy when I write it here, but I’m going from before sunrise until well after sunset, so I’m either spinning my wheels or maybe I might be getting somewhere.
I’ll let you know.

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays.

5 years

As of 9 am today, Midnight Calico Farm is 5 years old!

It’s been an incredible ride…

From the very first picture I ever posted here…

Our MaxCat, the day he came home.
He’s been with us since October, 2013.
And he still loves to enjoy coffee with me on the deck in the mornings. ❀

November 16th, 2013…

The day my Dreams came true.
Everything I worked for, for 41 years.
My Original 3…including the bestest mare ever.
My ❀
My Cookie.

Tired puppy after a long walk.

Daphne came home on Hallowe’en.
She was so itty bitty then…we were sure, based on those paws, she was gonna be a monster sized dog.
50ish lbs?
But personality and Farm Dog heart enough for a 200lb dog!

Sable the Reindeer

First ever Christmas pictures with the horses…
Little did they know this was the beginning of a looooooong line of seasonal photo shoots for them.

Later, I had this image of Cookie tattooed on my forearm.

Exchanging breath greetings.

The day Astrid joined the herd…Sable welcomed her with her whole heart, while the Paints were their normal bitchy selves.
It all settled down, in the end, and Astrid was eventually welcomed by every one.

Harmony at the feeder.

That’s Blizzard. She’s a 2014 Ram 1500…yes, that’s our driveway. She is stuck on about 3 feet of snow…give you an idea of how much snow we had pre-spring melt!

Whoooo…our first experience with country winters was a doozy!

❀ ❀ ❀

In 2015, The Kid took many of the Yule pictures…including this wonderful one.
I’m not a fan of pictures of myself, but I ❀ this one.
My and my Girl.

2015 also saw these 2 little jerks join the family…
Nancy (sitting) was abandoned with 3 other siblings by one of our barn cats. In the wee hours of the night, we lost one of the babies, but Nancy and his brother Robin and sister Sophie grew into healthy trouble making cats.
Robin and Sophie went on to a friend’s home, where they are still catered to like the cat gods they believe they are. πŸ˜‰

And Miss Daisy Mae…
Daisy Mae was only supposed to be in the house long enough for socialization and then back out to be a barn cat.
I never wanted 4 indoor cats.
Somehow though, that damn little weasel managed to convince the whole family she belonged in the house.
She became The Kid’s Yule present that year…

My handsome Felix. ❀

This guy was my favorite barn cat.
We all know how much I ❀ the black and white ones…well this guy loved my Cookie.
I’ve said it often, I’m positive they were lovers in another lifetime.
My heart broke when we lost him to a coyote.

2016 was our first year raising piggies for the freezer…

Pigs are so cute when little…even honorary Farm dog Sabrina the Pug thought so…and she liked their chow too! πŸ˜‰

She turned 11 in 2016.
Which meant a photo shoot with the birthday hat.

Paints in the morning sunlight.

Fall of 2016 saw me really honing my style of photography…it all started with the image above, the search for the light and creating dreamy images.

“Hey Mom, you put apples on the tree??”

Good Gods…the 2016 Yule photo shoot…
So, I had this idea of pretty horses standing next to a pretty decorated Christmas tree. Based on an image done by another equine photographer, I was looking for clean and pretty.
Instead, I got pure and utter mayhem.
Because this ridiculous horse wouldn’t wear a Santa hat.
She insisted she oughta eat a decoration, and Hubby had to chase her to pull the fucking thing out of her mouth…


This shot is epic.
This shot is wholly and completely our lives…trying for pretty and clean and easy going, but nope.
Chaos and mayhem.
Which led to my new personal motto:
“Embrace the Chaos”
And that has led my photography style ever since.

Oh, poor Bella WaterHorse…

Lake Midnight and Sable swimming with the geese…
That’s our pasture under water.
Happens every spring for a few weeks, then it grows so fast in some spots, the mares can’t keep up with the grass.
As long as we have some high and dry spots, everyone does real well until the Lake recedes.


August 2017…
4 years of Farm life, I turned 45 and once more, my Kid captured an amazing shot of my Cookie and I together.
This one was from my birthday photo shoot.

Oh how happy I was with this Remembrance Day shoot. That yellow ribbon in her tail was so perfect, and after making sure it wasn’t going to eat her, she ignored my when I clipped it into her tail. And then, when she cocked a hip and looked at me over her shoulder, I swear I fell in love her all over again (that happened a lot though. πŸ˜‰ ).
Oh, how I wish I had known what was coming 2 days later.
I never would have left her side.

By the end of January 2018,Β  I was finally considering picking up my camera again.
But February saw these 2 celebrate a birthday…

Kid and her Sable ❀

17 for our Kid and after some discussion, we assigned Sable the same age and birthday.
Now they can celebrate their day together.

April 2018…for the first time ever, I allowed chicks to live their first couple of weeks in the house.
Eeew. Gross.
Won’t be doing that again.
However, these 18 have gone on to grow into lovely birds, who do whatever the hell they want. They free range the yard, even though I clipped wings. They eat many, many grasshoppers (fine by me!) and they even come back to the coops at night.
Sadly, many are roosters, so, they’re destined for Freezer Camp, but that’s okay. We’ll keep 1 nice boy to go with our eggies and the few hens we got in this bunch should lay green or blue or olive coloured eggs. A nice mix with our brown egg layers.


“Sing ‘Soft Pony’ to me Mama…drugged and in pain is a kinda sick…”

Our biggest Baby got real sick.
And, we didn’t know why…after over $1200 in bills, she’s seemingly healthy again.
She still has the lump on her TMJ, and because it’s extra bone growth, likely always will.
So, she’s an officially retired pasture puff.
While she can wear a halter, she can’t wear a bridle because it puts pressure on the lump, and we are taking no chances in it getting worse.

Finally, the last picture I uploaded on this blog…

Friend Will and his freshly caught fish.
From a day of fishing, fun and friendship.
It was a good day.

Now we look ahead to the next year of Farm life and where we want to go…

There’s always plans and ideas and hopes and dreams.
I hope all y’all will stick around with us to see how things go.
We’re considering adding back a 4th horse. One day, when the right one comes along.
We’re looking at changing up meat chicken growing so we can do bigger rounds of chicks earlier, and more often.
We’re learning ways to improve the garden production.
And, there is the hope for a milking animal.
It was supposed to be the next animal after the horses, but here we are, 5 years in, and we’re still buying milk.
One day though…

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday

Gone Fishin’

We were up long before the butt crack of dawn yesterday…
Okay, we got up like it was a normal day.

Let the animals out, checked on the Girls, hopped in the truck and went for a drive…

It was a lovely morning to be out with fishing poles and cameras.
Of course, we didn’t catch much…
A friend caught a wee, itty bitty pickerel (like minnow sized)…

The Kid caught a pickerel rig (complete with bait still on it!) and then there was the rock…

Remember how I got the Cookie Stone?
Well, thanks to a friend who was willing to go into the water and get wet squidgey shoes (and considering I’d just made fun of his catch πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚, it was an awesome thing for him to do…), I now have a 2nd stone to go with it…

Now we have the BellaRock (the rectangular-ish one from yesterday) and Cookie’s heart stone.
All I gotta do is paint the mares on them.
And get 2 more big rocks for Astrid and Ruby.
But that will be on other fishing trips.