Canadian Thanksgiving

Well, that’s in the books for another year.
We don’t actually celebrate it, so for us it was just another weekend of trying to get things done before winter. More roosters need doing, but we were getting hammered by rain so that got put off.
We did get some yard clean up done between rains.
Plus we got the roosters separated so that we can just get up and go on the next not-rainy day.

That was supposed to be Saturday, because the next 3 days after today is rain, and today is a Loop pickup day so we need the 2nd fridge for some of that stuff…
Oh, but then this morning?
I get the text that our pig is ready to pick up.
Awesome, right?
Absolutely!
But now Saturday is pick up the pig and process it day…because we pick up the pig live, bring it home and do all the work here.
Saves us a couple hundred dollars doing it that way, and we are very happy with the family that raises the pig for us.
They have the same #HappyFoodTastesBetter values that we do.
And they have a better porcine set up.
So I am happy af to buy a finished pig to put down in the Fall while focusing on poultry on my Farm.

But the work…
O.M.G.
Like I said, I’ll sleep come winter.

Garden is still producing.
With the rains over the next few days, we shouldn’t frost, though we’re hovering awful close to it.
I am hoping that it holds off a wee bit longer, since my peppers are not ripe yet.
I really, really don’t want to buy poblano or paprika seeds next year, so I need those dang peppers to ripen!
The beans are being left now to grow seed for next year.
What ever is out there will get harvested after the frost and further dried to seed for the yellow, Painted pony and Royal Burgandy varieties. The pintos will just be left and tarped over. I have a *lot* of pinto seeds. lol

And carrots and beets can be left for a couple weeks yet, since they’re underground.
Thank goodness, since I am not ready to pull them yet.
So as soon as I see a frost warning, I’ll pick the peppers, tomatoes and ground cherrys, then let the plants die off. Once the bean seeds are harvested and the beets/carrots too, we can tarp the entire space and let her go to sleep for winter.
It’s coming fast.

In the meantime, we’re just going along, trying to get as much done as possible.
Butchering, building, and trying to stay sane.
😂😂😂
That last one in the toughest one.

Here’s Homer J…who, it has been determined, is a hen.
YAY!!
So next year we’ll have Homer J bebes.
I’m very happy she’s a hen. She’s growing into a beauty of a duck (not that you can tell with all the mud on her), and she’s my pal. 😉
Today we’re working on the winter duck coop so Homer J and everyone else can have a nice warm space to snuggle on those
c-c-c-old winter nights.
🙂

It Has Begun…

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. ❤

❤ Cookie ❤

Almost There

I’ve fallen a bit behind in getting everything into the garden.
What’s in is growing well though!
We’ve had a couple days of really good rains, which we’ve needed sooooo bad!

Now I have weeds galore…but a lot of the weeds are Lamb’s Quarters, which is awesome, because they’re edible.
Last year I put a whole bunch of them into the freezer (after we ate a lot too) for winter use.
This year, I’m hoping to save some seed from them, and instead of buying spinach seeds, I’ll plant rows of Lamb’s Quarters. Free food is the bestest foods. 😉

Speaking of…
We had another round of pinto beans given to us.
Last year we grew many, many pintos.
They were wonderufl eaten as a green bean and canned beautifully.
Well, we still have a lot fo the growing ones to plant for a few years (I’ve been sharing them with anyone who wants some to grow too), so this round?
I decided to expriment cooking with them.
Y’see, the fellow they come from gets them from a farmer, for his birds.
But they’re not cleaned, and I was hesitant to cook them for us.
I don’t know why.
I buy bags of wheat from our local farmer to process for beer and bread, so, I don’t know what made me hesitate on the beans.

But last week I soaked a bunch of pintos with some kidney beans and made a crock pot full of pork and beans (after having made a huge pork roast with many left overs).
And we’re still alive. 😂😂😂
Of course, Hubby tells me afterwards that the guy he’s getting the beans from has been feeding them to his family since the beginning…and I’m over here not…

So now we have an abundance of beans for eating as well as planting.
Once the garden is done, and the yearly butchering is done, I’ll put up a few dozen jars of pork and beans.
Just because it’s nice to be able to pull something off the shelf for a quick and easy meal.

As for the garden, today we’ll get the rest of the beans planted and tomorrow the tomatoes transplanted.
I’ll stick a few other things in here and there…but that should do it.
I was hoping to get a few rows of feed corn in (whiskey makin’s) but we’ll see what’s left for room after the beans go in today.
Might not be room this year.

On the waterline front, we’ve had a couple businesses out for quotes to fix our leak.
1 was someone I really, really don’t want to work with.
Um, vibes were horrible, and yeah…I’m not a fan of misogynistic old farts treating me like garbage…and wanting to way over charge me because he’s “doing me a favor”. Uh, no. You’d be doing your job.

The 2nd company, we’re just waiting for his quote and when he can get to us.
Drought has made things very, very busy for well companies.
But this guy…yeah, I’m happy to work with him.
Thoughtful, knew his stuff, respectful and friendly…and his helper was the same.
So yeah. Just waiting for this to go forward.
And then we hope it will be a straightforward fix.
But who the hell knows what he’s going to find once he starts digging.
So, wish us luck that this is an easy peasy dig up and fix then fill in job.

Finally, I’ve sharpened up the scythe, because it’s time!
It’s haying time.
My first task is to cut in the front pasture where we haven’t allowed the nags to go yet.
It’s long and tall and they much prefer to eat it after it’s had a first cut off…if the grass is too tall, they’re not so interested in it.
So I grab a first cut for hay and then we turn them out to enjoy.

Lazy girls, lounging around while their Food Lady is working her rump off to put food up for them for winter.
😂😂😂

A Little Jaunt

Yesterday was the first day we all left the Farm for errands in just about a year.
It’s been mostly Hubby, sometimes I go with him, but The Kid has 99.99% of the time stayed home.
Yesterday we all went for the drive.

First up we met up with a friend so she could get some delicious farm fresh eggs from my asshole birds.
That was a lovely visit…we hadn’t seen her for more than a year, between life schedules and then this *waves hands* stuff going on…but it was so good to see her. ❤

Then off to see the Lady with the turkey eggs.
Holy smokes, this woman is living the Dream!
Moved from a crowded once country turned citified area to a 1/4 section farm where she can see elk off her deck most mornings. So exciting! She’s a really cool lady, and I’m super happy for her and her family.
And when I found out I could still get turkey eggs from her this year, I jumped at the chance.

DaisyMae Flerkin helps incubate the eggs. Notice the candling light is on…DaisyMae *always* turns that damn light on.

And then from see the Turkey Egg Lady, we went into the big city to get a new well pressure tank.
Our well pump has been coming on every 20 minutes or so…which is not normal and not good.
After posting on Facebook for ideas, we checked/fixed the leaky toilet and the leaky water softener and that didn’t change things. So a friend’s son, who is a plumber and former farm boy, said the next thing is the tank, because it sounds like the bladder has a leak.
To be fair, another friend, who just recently had her pressure tank replaced, said the same thing.
So now we have a new pressure tank, and Hubby (with the assistance of The Kid and I) will set about to replace the leaky one with the new one.
Wish us all luck.

And finally, we were given some more feed seeds.
Beans, and some feed corn.
Pintos, and navy beans.
Those got put into the “we’ll plant these for food for us” pile.
And then there was the bag of feed corn.
Um, yes please!
I don’t actually have to tell y’all why I might want to grow feed corn, do I?
Knowing that I love to do home brewing?
Yeah, so I now have enough feed corn seed to do a very nice plot of corn.
That may or may not become a lovely alcohol in the fall/winter.
😉

Seeds!

And the duck girls have started to lay…we’re taking the eggs away for a bit, just because it’s still chilly at night, but in a few weeks, we’ll leave them for the hens to start to sit, so we can have many, many bebe ducks.
Fingers crossed!
🙂

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.
🙂
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.
😂😂😂
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.

Garden Seeds

Now that it’s January, it’s time to get serious about what seeds I need for the spring garden.
Time to pull out the catalogues and figure out exactly what I want to grow, where it’s going to go and how much seed I need to order.

For tomatoes I’m looking for a short season roma seed.
The past few years I’ve been lucky enough to hit on great sales of cases of Romas from the next province east of us, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll catch that every year.
And we go through *a lot* of tomato products when we have ’em. 😉
So a Roma that grows on a bush, fruits heavily and fast is what I’m after.
That’s my main thing I want with tomatoes.
I have saved seeds from sandwich ones that grow well for us here (when conditions are right…and we’re working on that too!)
I just have to remember that my season is short…so looking longingly at those different colours that take up to 100 days to ripen?
Waste. Of. Time.
Until we get a green house built.
(Friday’s LottoMax is $70 million…a win there would be nice! 😉 )

I’ll need carrot seeds.
Onion sets.
Beans…
Back in November, we were given a whole pile of pinto beans.
I figured I’d toss a few in a pot and grow them out before spring to see what we get…they’re likely hybrid beans, which means they’re not going to grow true to what the parent plant was…but, I won’t know if I don’t grow some out.
I’ll order purple bush beans for canning…because we *love* canned beans, and I really cannot grow enough of them.
And I may order some yellow beans too, just for prettiness in the jars.
Everyone loves to eat pretty food!

Beets is another one I’ll need to order.
Plus the various greens…lettuces and spinach, maybe some swiss chard for “cabbage” rolls.
And cucumbers, zucchini and some sort of winter squash.
I still have pumpkins and pepper seeds.
And really, there’s only 8ish weeks until we start pepper seeds, sooooo…it’s not like spring is really that far away.
(thank goodness, because I’m ready now! lol)

The key, as always, is to try to get enough to grow enough for the families we grow for, but not order things we won’t/don’t eat.
not always as easy as it sounds, when the winter seed catalogue “I gotta have” hits!
😂😂😂

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee…or some seeds. 😉
🙂

Day After Thanksgiving

For us Canadian folks, that is.
Today we go back to work…when you work from home, do you ever not work?
It feels like I’m always on duty.
Well, until I pour a glass of wine.
😉

Busy weekend:
A run to the city for beet pulp for the Nags. And groceries. And a trip to the bank. And the Dollarama…it was a whole day of errands.
Wine maintenance…bottled my green tomato, stabilized my apple, and it’ll get sweetened and bottled next weekend. Then I’ll start a concord grape batch, as well as another green tomato.
Washing the 10 million carrots from the garden…yes, it does take forever to scrub all the dirt off the ones going into jars!
Washing, blanching and freezing beet tops.
Kicking at the sewing repair pile…oh, goodness!
So.
Many.
Repairs!
But, the pile is a little smaller today than it was yesterday, so that’s a good thing.

And today?
Today I’m roasting chicken backs and necks to make a few batches of soup to can tomorrow.
While canning carrots today.
And prepping pork bones for soup on Thursday.
And then I get to take it all down to the shelves in the basement and put the jars in some semblance of order.
It’s a lot of work.
But, it’s so worth doing!

We have no nearby restaurant to order “convenience” foods when I don’t want to cook after a long day.
If I don’t have quick and easy foods on hand, then I have to do something more involved.
That’s fine when work is done before dark and we’re just the normal level of tired…but, winter is coming.
That means long hours moving snow, and taking care of animals.
That means a fast and easy heat up of a jar or two of soup, thickened into stew, with a chunk of bannock or cornbread makes everyone feel better.
So, as much as it’s a pain right now to get all the jars done, it will be worth it later on, when I’m dog tired and just gotta reheat something.

I have to admit, I love having the canner going again.
I hate water bath canning with a passion.
Ugh.
I did 14 quarts of pickled beets this year, and vowed to plant the beets sooner next year, pull them out sooner and pickle sooner, so that I can do the processing in the yard with the turkey fryer.
Water bath canning in the house is just gross.
But, the pressure canner?

😍😍😍
I refuse to do tomatoes any other way.
Yes, they can be waterbathed, but why??
So much faster with the p/c, so much less boiling water, so much easier!
Plus, the p/c gives the option of being able to do low acid foods.
IMO, it’s a Farmer/Homesteader must have tool.
Plus, there’s the joy of being able to can up your own chickpeas and kidney beans (if you like them). Personally, I love opening a jar of chickpeas and just eating them…or adding them to a hot bowl of rice, or an omelet…and you can never go wrong with tossing kidney beans into any tomato based sauce or soup!
Yum!
Canning your own is so much cheaper too.
I buy a 4 lb bag of dried beans/chickpeas for under $5 and get a guaranteed 16 pint jars (equal to 1 store-bought can), often more.
Yes, there’s the time and energy put into doing them, but still comes out to far less per jar than if I was buying cans.
And, I know exactly what’s in my jars.
🙂
So, even if I did pay more to can the beans, that itself would be worth it to me.
With that, I’m heading back to work, coffee in hand, because the canner is ready for the next load.
Full steam ahead!
edited to add: there’ll be more photos soon…for those who only come to see pictures of the animals 😉
check out the instagram feeds in the sidebar too, both the Farm and Photography page are there!

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. 🙂

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.
Yum!

I thought my green beans were done and was leaving them to go to seeds for next year.
Hahahaha!
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.
Why?
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.