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.

November

Here we are, one of my least favorite months.
I don’t like the turn towards cold.
As I get older, I’m feeling the cold more and more.
And I don’t like it.
It’s also the month that my Cookie died.
So I tend to be a wee bit…emotional.
lol

BUT

As of last night, our winter hay is on the yard.
So, I am over the frickin’ moon grateful for that.
Our Hay Guy is a genuine Good Human.
And in this day and age, those sorts of folks are becoming fewer and harder to find.
But he’s a gooder, just like the people who introduced us to him. πŸ™‚

And we have hay.
So The Merry Mares get to eat.

Next up to get home, straw bales.
We have 6 big rounds waiting for us with the same Farm family we bought Sir Oinks A Lot from.
This weekend we’ll pick those up.
Then we’ll get a couple bags of hay replacer (for those super cold days where the horses need a little extra but oats are too hard for our CinderBella to eat) and our yearly allotment of oats.

Then we’re good for feed for all the animals for a while.
We still have the Loop pickups to supplement and we’re so grateful for those.
A friend has a bunch of pumpkins for us too…which is gonna make the bippies (our bunch of ducklings we bought in late summer) the happiest of happy bippies.
Bippies can strip a raw pumpkin down to nothing in 10.2 seconds.
I *love* that I don’t have to cook the pumpkins for them!!
Though, I will cook off a couple to freeze for winter for equines.
Pumpkin is just as good for horse tummies as it is for dogs.

And, we have some nice weather for the next week, so I’m working on the next garden space…
While working on putting the current garden to bed.
It’s all happening, just slowly.
This nice weather has been awesome for our heat bill…since I haven’t turned the heat on yet.
Tonight is gonna be out coldest night of the week, so extra blankets and sweaters and slippers and we’ll be just fine. Even if I complain about it. πŸ˜‰
Not that complaining will do any good.
Winter is coming.
I’ll just have to deal with it.

Last Day of February

Ever have one of those months where all you can think is “holy shit, I made it!”??
Yep, that was February for me.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

But today is the last day, I’m almost ready to fire up the grow lights…
Oh.
Wait.
So I’m sending Hubby out on a mission tomorrow. Because my stand for growing seedlings isn’t big enough.
And I always end up with some in the library window, with a hanging lamp that doesn’t have enough light to keep the plants from getting long and leggy before planting.
Thanks to the google, I discovered the Home Depot here in Canada has a led light fixture that is a grow light.
Probably designed for the folks who want to grow pot (because that’s legal here now) but hey…it works for us gardening folks.
So I’m sending Hubby out to buy me one tomorrow after work.
And then, if that works, I’ll send him back for another 2 of them.
And we’ll build one of the shelving units we have in boxes in the basement and hook up lights for 3 shelves and then I’ll have 2 plant stands and 4 shelves to grow seedlings!
Not that I’m excited about growing seedling for the garden or anything…
Oh no.
Not me.
Not even a little bit.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Okay…maybe a little bit.

We’re a week into the first round of incubation.
I haven’t candled the eggs yet.
Maybe tonight, if I remember.
Not sure how many are going to be good…I had to collect for 6 days before I had enough, which is longer than I like to collect eggs for.
After that polar vortex ripped through here, the hens were withholding eggs like crazy.
Down from 60ish a day to 8…if I was lucky.
They’re on the upswing now, which is good because in 2 weeks Ima need aaaaallllll the greens and blues they’ll give me.
I always collect as many of those as I can for hatching, then fill in with the browns.
Those genetic egg pictures tell me my big roos from brown eggs crossed on blue and green egg layers should give me more green eggs…
I love me some colour in my egg basket.
πŸ˜‰

This is Miracle the Rooster…and nice side eye from that black hen there…πŸ™„

See? Big rooster.
This guy’s name is Miracle.
He came to us a year ago on NYE with 2 other boys and a group of hens.
A friend needed to rehome her birds and asked if I was interested.
Yup!
Now, this guy and his 2 brothers were originally called Larry, Darryl and Darryl (google it if you don’t get the reference πŸ˜‰ ), but this summer and fall we had no end of trouble with that damn coyote.
Bastard got the other Darryl and we thought got this Darryl too…
Until the evening (because that stinking coyote was brazen enough to be picking my birds off in the middle of the damn day!) and we were bbq’ing and my Kid goes dashing off the deck yelling “rooster!!”
And I’m like “wtf?!?” as she runs to the pasture fence, climbs over, then climbs back with this rooster in her arms…well, he was short some tail feathers and he was definitely in shock, but we couldn’t find any other injuries on him.
So we banded his leg and re-named him Miracle because it’s a damn miracle he got away from the coyote!
Lemme tell ya, he’s a lot more careful how far he lets his hens go and he sure does make sure they listen and scuttle their feathered butts back to safety the *second* he says so…
He’s a lucky boy to still be alive and he knows it!
Hopefully he teaches the other roosters to be just as diligent with their ladies.
(though thankfully we haven’t seen Wile E since the last time we fired shots at his rear end…)

So we’re ready for March.
Looks like it’s coming in like a Lamb, and I’ll be expecting it to go out like one too.
Either way, we’re ready for spring, for building, for gardening, for the growing season overall.

And maybe a nap or two too. πŸ˜‰

Finally!

We have emerged from the polar vortex!
And I am happy about that.
Boy am I happy about that!
Weather sure has been challenging humans across North America this month.
I feel for those caught up in patterns that they don’t normally deal with.
It’s easy for those of us with cold experience to sit back and say shitty things (please don’t do that, ‘kay?) but the fact is, even we get slammed with hard-to-deal-with weather.
So before you make some joke about Texas or any of the southern States dealing with cold and snow and no power and frozen pipes, remember, “there but for the grace of God go I…”
We just came out of -50*c weather…imagine if we’d lost power!
I can’t even.
So just try to remember to be kind.
That’s it.
Don’t be shitty and be kind.

Today, as I type this, we’re at -13*c.
After the past 2 weeks that positively t-shirt weather.
And I’m thankful for it.
So are the horses, the hens, the turkeys and the ducks…oh and the cats.
It was so bad there for awhile we were feeding jar after jar after jar of wet food to them, just so they had enough.
Normally a 1/2 pint is a good supplement to their kibble.
They went through a case of 12 in 2 days!
But, food keeps furnaces stoked, and wet food helps keep kitties hydrated.
So I feed ’em.
πŸ™‚
But it also means we’re running low on homemade cat food, so Hubby went and bought a few big cans to have on hand, just in case.
And come fall, I’ll just do a few extra jars, bigger jars, to make sure everyone has enough.

Meat birds are ordered.
I added an extra 25 meat chickens, so we’ll be getting 75 chickens and 10 turkey poults.
So. Many. Birds.
Though chicken math means it’s really not more than 12.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
And I’m thinking I might fire up the incubators this weekend.
If I start this weekend, I can get 2 full hatches in before the one hatch that needs to coincide with the arrival of the meat birds.
I ain’t downsizing the amount of birbs I hatch, let me tell ya!!
Hatching out as many as I possibly can.

Hubby brought home the first bag of potting soil yesterday.
And a pouch of fava bean seeds.
I’ve never grown fava beans before, so I had to read up on them.
Turns out the entire plant is edible, so yay for that!
And with today’s trip to the post office, I’ll have the seeds I need to get the garden going as soon as I can.
Whew!
It’s gonna be a lot of beans, tomatoes, carrots, peas and beets this year.
Stuff we eat a lot of, stuff I can a lot of for winter.
As excited as I am to get growing, I’m tired just thinking about the work too.
lol

Ooooh, I told y’all I was pondering extra apple and saskatoons?
Yup, those are ordered too.
The Food Forest is expanding!
And for the last few nights, I’ve having vivid Dreams about cutting hay.
Oh, I can’t *wait* to get scythe in hand and cut hay again!

But for now, I’m just thankful for the warmer weather, that we made it through the coldest snap we’ve had in a very long time, and that Spring is coming.

Our 3 chubby monkeys, who are doing so well this year…even with record breaking cold!

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.

Thankful Thursday

Yeah, today is thankful Thursday.
I’m not feeling extremely thankful today though…

It’s cold.
It’s day I-don’t-even-know-any-more of extreme cold warnings. Which means it’s much colder than typical for this time of year.
I guess Mother Nature is catching us up for the nice weather we had back in December and January.
There’s always a cost, right?

So that hay we’ve been doing so well on?
Blowing through a bale every 3ish days.
But mares gotta eat, or they don’t stay warm.
A cold horse in this weather dies.
Not on my fucking watch, if I can help it.
So eating my Merry Mares have been.
And then there’s the waterer…*sigh*
I feel like it’s always something, know what I mean?
The winds were savage for a while, and the damn thing kept freezing over.
And then it froze at the spigot.
That means standing there in the freezing cold, with a hair dryer to thaw it…with 3 toddlers dying of thirst, even though I just brought them buckets of warm water from the house to drink, but they be dyin’ and I be cryin’ because my hands are cold and I’m hopin’ I can get the water running before the hair dryer conks out…
*sigh*
Get horses, she thought…
It’ll be fun, she thought…
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Egg production is waaaaaaay down too.
Where I was getting 50-60 eggs a day, now I’m getting 8. If I’m lucky.
People want eggs.
I don’t have much eggs.
I’m just barely making regulars and that’s because I had some stocked up from last week…but now we’re low because 8 effing eggs a day.
60ish hens.
But they’re eating and drinking and trying to stay warm.
Ain’t so easy even with a heat lamp and deep straw.

Today we found we’d lost a duck baby.
Again it’s the cold.
We can feed ’em, we can make sure there’s fresh water, and draft free coops and heat lamps and damn if some aren’t gonna just die on us anyways.
But ya sure feel like shit when it happens.

And then, just to cap off the craptastic shitstorm that is February, I have to go to the dentist.
While to some that’s not a big deal, for some of us it is.
I have a tooth that has to come out, but need a dentist that won’t make me wear a mask (got that) and will let my Hubby in the room too (can’t do that yet…fuck the govt, because it’s their shit restrictions) because y’all….this woman does not do well without her support person…
So I get to stay living with this fucking thing until the shitty restrictions open up enough that I can have my person in the room while having the dental work done.
Looking at the way the hand wringing from the “experts” is going, that oughta be sometime in 2037.
Think I’ll just tie a string to the tooth, tie the other end to Ruby’s halter and give my girl a big ol’ smack on the bum…that oughta yob that fucker right out of my mouth.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
And if I die, they can list me as a covid death.

I guess I should still be thankful…
My Hubby is still working and is able to get his teeth fixed (thank goodness! he’s had problems with his mouth since I’ve known him).
We have plenty of food in the house.
The house is warm.
We’re still able to share our bounty with those who need it.
All in all, as frustrated and cold and tired as we are, we’re still grateful for all that we have.

But for this weekend, I’m just done.

Here’s a picture of cats…Hobbes in front, Trouble in back.

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus and Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.

πŸ₯ΆπŸ₯ΆπŸ₯Ά

Holy.
Frickin’.
Moly.

I wasn’t kidding when I said this weekend was gonna be cold, but I think Mother Nature done outdid herself!
We are currently sitting at -31*c, feeling like -45*c at 11:30am.
Yikes!
And it’s looking like it’s going to last for a few more days yet.
Gross.

But that’s winter on the prairies in Canada.
Cold. A.F.

The horses have blazed through a bale in 3 days.
Yeah, that’s normally a 8-10 day thing…but they stay warm by eating.
And eating they have been!
Plus they get their daily pail of yummyness…and we’re adding oats too…but of course, our poor CinderBella has problems with her jaw, right?

It ain’t easy being the horse with arthritis in her jaw…poor dear. ❀

So oats don’t really soften in the pail of beet pulp and it’s been getting hard for her to finish her pail before it freezes.
Yeah, it’s that damn cold!
So I’m on the hunt for a complete feed that I can add to her pail for that extra ooomph they need come cold snaps, that’s 1. easy for her to chew/breaks down in the soaking water (beet pulp has to be soaked for horses to eat) b. has no soy or alfalfa in it so I can give it to Astrid too and 3. is economical.
*sigh*
Dietary issues with equines.
That’s my life. lol
I thank Epona for my easy peasy lemon squeezy gimme beer ’cause Ima slightly alcoholic fat girl Ruby.
That painted bitch is so easy to feed and I’m so grateful for that! Whatever feed I find, she’ll eat noooooo problems. πŸ˜‰ ❀

So with this cold, the urge to order the seeds I need for the garden were strong.
Driving me bat crap crazy strong. lol
So I had a discussion with Hubby about using his credit card to place the order…he said “it’s in my wallet…do what you need to do.”
So I did.
But when I logged into West Coast Seeds, I found that half my shopping cart was now sold out.
Which made me panic again.
*sigh*
My brain is so very broken some days.
I grabbed my stack of seed catalogs, and used the πŸ¦†πŸ¦†goooooo! to find someone who had the seeds I wanted.
I finally hit on McKenzie Seeds.
They had everything except for the johnny-jump-ups and the ancho pepper seeds.
Score!
So I ordered what I needed.
Then hit up a local nursery to find my rhubarb…and then made a list of plants from there I want to add to the medicinal garden areas. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Oh and a friend wanted to order from the Prairie Shelterbelt Program, which give us access to a lot of trees for a lot less than local nursery costs…and she asked if I wanted in on the order so that we (along with a few others) could keep admin and shipping costs down.

Done!!

So in May I’ll have 10 Siberian Crabapple trees and 10 saskatoon bushes coming.
I haven’t figured out 100% where I’m putting them yet, but since they’re in the 12″-24″ size range, I can pot them up for a year or two if I have to…
Food forest, here we grow!!

Today Hubby is clearing the driveway.
Hopefully with the crazy stupid winds it won’t blow back in.
Ugh.
The wind really is the worst.
The cold you can work in, but combine the cold with 70km/hr winds?
You just can’t dress warm enough for that.
So he’s just doing a quick pass so that hopefully he can get out in the morning for work.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
We’ll just have to see what happens.

Fuck I hate winter.
I understand and recognize Mother Earth’s need for all of Her seasons, but I don’t have to like this.
This dog however…

This dog and her log love the cold weather…

She’s a special one, this nutcase.
She likes the cold, she likes the snow, she loves her log.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

January

Huh.
Seems I’ve not posted yet this year.
Guess it’s time change that, right?
πŸ˜‰

Alright, so our Christmas was quiet.
Pretty much like our Christmas has been ever since we moved out here.
We don’t put up a tree (2 kittens who would climb/kill it and a dog who…well, let’s just say a tree won’t work with Daphne and leave it at that πŸ˜‰ ) and we don’t really do much different.
Chores still have to be done, animals have to be fed, equine excrement still has to be scraped…so yeah, we cleaned up horse crap, and did all the usual daily stuff.
Then simply enjoyed family time.
And we had a good time using our ever growing shooting berm.
πŸ˜€

New Year’s found us fighting to stay awake.
New year’s day we dealt with the upset tummy of a Palomino Princess.
Colic is no fun at anytime, but it was one of the colder days and that made it even worse.
Of course, the weather bouncing all over the place is what led to her colicking, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.
Thankfully, it wasn’t a case where she needed veterinarian intervention.
Whew!

Then the last day before Hubby had to go back to work came, and we had a massive wing BBQ.
Just because we could.
And then we ate wings for 3 days, because we cleaned out 2 years worth of wings from the freezers to cook up.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Now we’re just going along, happily enjoying the beautifully unseasonably warm January weather.
I’m loving that the chickens can be outside all day long.
I’m loving that the horses aren’t stuck at the troughs eating, eating, eating to stay warm.
I’m loving that a bale of hay that normally goes 7 days in winter is going 10-12 days.
I’m loving that we have a nice covering of snow without being under 8 feet of it. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

The Princess, feeling much better after her upset tummy… ❀
Ruby and KingTrouble having a moment…
Poor Astrid, getting the cat’s ass in her face yet again! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Building a Berm

One of our biggest complaints about our Farm is the lack of trees.
Yeah, we knew it when we bought the place, but I don’t think we realized how much we’d miss those trees.
Bald assed prairie land is freakin’ c-c-cold!!
Colder than bush land because of the wind.
It also makes it damn near impossible to do much shooting with anything other than the shotgun or pellet guns.
That’s frustrating.
And so, this past month, Hubby and I discussed what would go into building a berm for practice shooting.

Some work with the tractor, some too-moldy-for-the-garden straw bales and a whole lot of horse crap.
Well…
Turns out this is something we can do.
And we waited far too damn long to do it!

So, last week, before the snows came, Hubby got started on building the berm.
And The Merry Mares have continued to keep up with their contributions.
After they decided they had to “inspect” his beginnings…

The inspection crew hard at work…or, more likely, hardly working…

Goodness knows, them nosey mares have to inspect every little thing to make sure we humans are doing it right.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

December Already…

You wouldn’t know it, looking out my window.
It’s sunny and cool, there’s not much snow, and today is Rooster Rehab day.
I’m grateful for the nice weather.
Not only because I can take out more roosters from the flock, but because I’m just happy for nice days.
We don’t get a lot of those right now.
So I’m trying to find a bit of peace and happiness wherever I can.
Plus this nicer weather means The Merry Mares aren’t gobbling through the winter hay supply like it’s endless.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Last week we butchered 3 of the turkey boys.
Welp, Narragansetts win for flavor!
Holy. Moly.
This ain’t your grocery store bird, lemme tell ya!
So we’re pretty okay with our breeding flock, now more than ever.
I still plan to raise some whites, but now it’s just to prove I can.
Not that I’m stubborn or anything.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Aside from running the Rehab today, there’s not much new here.
We’re still plugging along, watching the world burn around us, trying not to get caught up in it.
Egg sales have finally caught up, and I’m making some of Alton Brown’s aged eggnog this weekend.
At least I’ll have that to sip while the world continues to lose it’s collective mind.

Here’s a picture of Astrid in the early morning light, just to make you smile. πŸ™‚

Tuesday June 23rd

Like my oh so creative title?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
So I’m a little tired and brain fogged.
It’s all good.
Still working on getting the garden all in.
Thankfully what I’m planting now is root crops so they can go long in the fall without problems.
If carrots and beets catch a hint of frost, it’s no biggie.

So, since my last post…

~ Peas and bean shave popped up in the straw bales.
~ We lost the last 2 turkeys.
~ I got myself on a waiting list for 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs. They’re a heritage breed and I figure if’n I can get ’em to hatch,Β  we’ll see about keeping a couple hens and a tom to create a self sustaining flock.
It might work, it might not.
At this point, I’ve only got time, effort and a wee bit of money to lose.
If it works, I’ll have invested less money into the 2 dozen hatching eggs than I lost on the 10 turkey poults who died on me.
~ Tax returns *finally* made it.
~ Hubby got new tires for his truck.
~ I caught up on all the bills.
~ And it looks like this weekend we’re gonna be toting pails of gravel under the deck to stop the asshole chickens from dust bathing right beside the foundation of the house.

😑 😑 😑

Stupid chickens.

~ We also redid the plastic around the garden, with more wood supports to protect it from being shredded by the wind.
~ Finally got hinges to get my gate built and put up too. It’s gonna be a wood gate, painted bright yellow with some silhouettes on it.
~ It’s almost hay time. As in, I just need Hubby to fix the point on the 2nd scythe (it’s longer than the ditch blade I had, but not quite a hay blade…but still, floats through the grass like a dream compared to the ditch blade!) so I can get ‘er done. It’s literally a 2 minute job for him…I just have to remind him. πŸ˜‰
~ I was given an old, well established grape vine to transplant into our food forest.
A friend and her partner wanted to get rid of it, and after some scheduling difficulties, the vine made it here.
So far, so good, it’s putting out shoots *everywhere*…I am hopeful and excited, because it’s apparently been very prolific in it’s previous home.
I’ll give it time to adjust here, then next year I’ll look at doing cutting to make more vines. Grape vines are a grand thing for a wine maker. πŸ™‚
~ Sunday Hubby and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. Together for 27…
~ Yesterday he turned 50.
I think we might be getting a little old. πŸ˜‰
But not so old we can’t do this Farm thing.

So it seems the theme for this summer is going to be the same as the last few dozen…
Winter is coming.
Gotta get the work done.
πŸ˜‰

Here’s a pic of the 3 stooges having a nap in the early morning light:

❀

Have a great day folks, I’m off to get back to work.

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Theme
and
Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday.