Oh Sable…

Remember back in the Fall I said I was harvesting as much of the broadleaf plantain weed/herb on the Farm as I sustainably could?
No?
Okay, here:

Plantain is edible, and the young leaves are delicious in salads.
But the main reason I harvest it is for it’s other, well known, use.
To help cuts/scrapes heal.

I dry it, then when I need it, I powder a leaf or 2 in my mortar and pestle, then mix a small amount of raw honey in until it’s a paste.
Then I clean the booboo and coat it with the (not so tasty) honey concoction.

Today I did my first (and hopefully last) ice cut of the season:

Oh Sable…

Not as bad as some she’s done.
Of course it always looks the worst on the Palomino Princess.
And it’s superficial.
It’s from running through drifts of snow…as I said in the Instagram post above, the skin on horse legs is thin and delicate. And cold is not kind to thin, delicate skin.
It can be cut by the sharp crust of an icy snow drift rather easily.
But with the plantain goo, it heals beautifully.
Which is good because our BellaHazaBooBoo needs that goo far too often.
😉

And, just because this past summer I had 2 plantain plants that I could harvest from, I bought seeds in order to plant some in the medicinal garden.
It’s handy to have on hand for humans as well and equines.

😂😂😂

Winter just might be making us a little punch drunk.
We’re on the tail end of another storm.
The digging out hasn’t been going that well.
😂😂😂

Here’s the mares’ waterer:

And this was yesterday, with Hubby trying to clear so we could get out to get our Loop pickup…
Needless to say, we didn’t get out!

And today so far, we’ve shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled…
And the tractor won’t start.
😂😂😂

Wheeeeee!!!
We’re ready for Spring.

Good Morning Folks!

I’m working on some changes here on the ol’ blog.
Over the holidays, we had some very generous folks buy us coffees.
Thank you all again!
Every single gift of coffee is money put into Farm infrastructure to grow more food.
So we very much appreciate gifts that help that happen!

However, Buy Me A Coffee has separated from PayPal.
Not by choice.
PayPal did an “effective immediately” severing of services.
Which left some of us scrambling for a back up financial service to withdraw our coffee money.
What I ended up with was Payoneer…and damn the fees!
Between what Buy Me A Coffee takes, then what Payoneer takes…we lose almost 15% to fees!
That’s nuts.
Y’all aren’t buying us coffees to pay fees for getting coffee money.

So, we’ve switched to Ko-Fi.
They say there are no fees.
We’ll see.
Here’s that link:
https://ko-fi.com/midnightcalicofarm

And there’s always the paypal on the sidebar.
Way, way, way down the sidebar.
😂😂😂
Note that D5Karl will stay locked up in Sendai, Japan ’til I win the lottery.
In other words, coffees, ko-fis, paypal tips are *not* going towards a new camera…D5Karl is my pet name for the Nikon D5 that one day, when I’m older and much much greyer, I will own.
After we win the lottery. 😂😂😂

Anyways…back to my point of things changing here…
The background theme of the blog is retired.
Which mean that editing things like the widgets to update the links and stuff isn’t possible.
WordPress just isn’t letting that happen.
So, I have to go find a new theme.
One I don’t hate.
One that lets me have widgets on the sidebar.
Because let’s make this as easy as possible for anyone who decides they want to support us.
I want it to be easy for you all.
I appreciate you all.

So if you pop in and things look different, that’s why.
I’m working on things.
And trying not to tear my hair out at the same time.
😂😂😂

Still January

January goes by so slow.
It’s cold.
Today isn’t supposed to be *as cold* as it has been.
In fact, the rest of the week is supposed to be much less cold than it’s been.
I’m happy about that.
We have a new-to-us washing machine coming tomorrow.
I’m so excited about that!
Since the beginning of August, I’ve been doing laundry with the wringer washer outside…now until it started getting cold, it was kinda nice.
Set up a load to wash, putter in the garden ’til it was ready for rinse.
Then Fall came, and weather turned, and then we moved the washer back to the garage.
And then I’d wash clothes in the garage.
Oh, but then came the c-c-c-cold days where the washer couldn’t even run because it was just too cold.
That was at Winter Solstice-ish.
So for the last 3 weeks or so, I’ve been doing laundry by hand in the tub.
lol
Yeah, well…we need clean clothes and someone’s gotta wash ’em.
But the new-to-us machine arrives tomorrow.
And once it’s set up, Ima wash aaaaaaalllllll da things that have been waiting because it’s been too cold to wash ’em in the wringer washer.
I’m looking forward to it.
🙂

That bit of excitement aside…
I ordered seeds from Vesey’s.
Just got the confirmation email that all but my carrots and rattlesnake pole beans have shipped. Those are on backorder and they’ll ship them out once they get them.
So, now it’s one more seed order for this spring, and I’ll be ready to go.
The last seeds will be ordered from Ravensong Seeds and Herbals
I’ve been waiting for a few things to come into stock before I place that order.
Hopefully soon!
And then everything I’m wanting to start (this year) in the medicinal garden will be here…
I tried to limit what I ordered because I don’t want to do too much all at once and get overwhelmed.
That is easy af to do!
lol

Not much else new.
Just hunkered down, waiting for the snow to melt.
Shoveling, moving snow, tending the animals, trying to stay sane in a stupid and insane world.
There might be alcohol involved.
😂😂😂
But just think, in only 49 days we’ll start up the incubators to bring new life to the Farm.
49 days.
And I’m eying a 3rd incubator.
So we can run bigger numbers of eggs, less times.
This way, I hope to be done hatching by the end of May.
Not July like last year.
End of July left me with far too many birds to be butchered into the beginning of December.
I don’t like that.
Not at all.
So, bigger chicken hatches, less times, hopefully chicken butchering done sooner.
And the ducks will do what the ducks will do.
As always.
😂😂😂

Just for fun…
🙂

January 1st

Well, so we’ve finally made it out of the ridiculous year that was 2021.
Here’s hoping that 2022 is better in all the ways.

Today, in an act of incredible hope…because I really do hope that 2022 is better than the last couple of years…I started some seeds.
Remember I told y’all I had discovered winter sowing?
Well, I figured the very best way to start this year off right was with seeds going into dirt.

The loose seeds are red hollyhock seeds that were given to me a few years ago by a friend in the city…former neighbours of ours from back in the big city. 😉
I finally got around to doing something with them.
I love hollyhocks…they are so very pretty and as it turns out, the entire plant is edible.
Pretty and food?
I like that!
So I harvested a pod and started some of them.
Hopefully I didn’t wait too long!

All the containers are from things we got in our Loop pickups.
Trying to reuse as much as I can, without turning into a hoarder with tons of garbage around.
I think that is my biggest complaint about the program.
I absolutely LOVE the extra feed…and so do the animals.
But the recycling and the garbage…
It can get overwhelming at times.
Especially when our dump is only open a few days a week, and the closest one is not just down the road anymore…they closed *that one* last year.
*sigh*

But we’re doing the best we can to recycle what we can here on the Farm and then what we can’t, we take to the dump to add to the recycling there.

Fingers crossed the winter sowing works and we have an abundance of plants grow for the garden and Farm yard come spring!

Happy New Year folks…
Hope 2022 treats us kindly and gently.
🖤🖤🖤

Still Here

Still working.
Still…sumthin’ or other…
Meh.

We’ve had 2 major storms in the past 2 weeks.
We now have more snow on the ground from those 2 storms than we did all last winter.

Little arrows on the sides of the images give you a chance to click through all images…don’t hit that arrow on this one if blood bothers you, ‘kay?


We picked up a load of pumpkins at the beginning of the month, so I’m smashing bunches open at a time for seeds for me, and feeding the pumpkin itself to the animals.
We got our hay.
We got our straw.
We finished butchering drakes just this past weekend.
Now, butchering is done for the year.
Unless Hubby gets a deer.
He’s going out Thursday/Friday for that.
Fingers crossed.

We have spring plans underway.
We need to build an entire yard just for turkeys, plus another coop for them.
The low coops that work for ducks don’t work for turkeys.
Turkeys like to be up high as much as possible. Even if that means standing on each other and squishing each other. Because turkeys is stoopid. 🤦‍♀️🙄
So we have to re-jig that yard for ducks and move turkeys to their own space with a bigger/taller coop.
But first!
The greenhouse.
Snow hit before we got more than the 4 walls done.
Yes, yes, the fall was a long and lovely one, but there was soooooo much else to do.
But, the second things are melted, up it goes!

I’ve saved seeds from a bazillion and 2 things.
I’ve jumped into a couple of seeds swaps and gotten seeds from plants I really, really wanted to grow!
I think the only thing I might have to buy seeds for in spring is carrots.
I’m not 100% certain until I go through my seeds.

I started the garden expansion to go with the greenhouse.
In cleaning out the coops when we brought straw home, I had some really nice, composted, chicken poo rich dirt…and a metric eff ton of boxes…hey, that Loop program provides more than feed for the animals!!
Boxes to layer to start new gardens too!

Oh look!
You can see my greenhouse walls in the background!
And the straw bales…and chickens picking at the straw bales.
😂😂😂

So in the spring, I’ll build some simple board sides to keep the dirt where I want it, and then using t-posts and stucco wire, protect the space from the asshole birds, and plant my plants.
Every year I can/will expand it.

Tarp did not get pulled over the garden.
As I said, too much to do, and not enough time or us to do it.
In the spring, I’ll take a bunch of that straw from the horses (because they’ll explode their bales effing every damn where and shit in it) and layer it over top the last plants that didn’t get pulled out.
Then, I’ll plant into that.
Voila!
Mulch and weed suppression, whilst feeding the soil with the urine/shit soaked straw.
Worked effing beautifully this year, and I suspect it will work effing beautifully next year too.
And there’s no tilling, just soil building.
I call that a win/win/win!
‘Bout time them horses did something other than eat money.
😉

So now we just have to get everyone through the winter, so we can start building and expanding again in the spring.
Because spring means??

SHEEPIES!!!

I am so damn excited!!
😀

Damage Report

Well.
So that happened.
It was blowy, snowy, icy, and down right gross out for just about 48 hours.

We lost power for at least 18 of those hours.
We got a massive amount of snow dumped on us.
Then we got another massive amount blown in.
lol
This is Farm Life.

But…

Last weekend, we brought home 6 big round straw bales.
That was fun.
2 loads, but only a few miles away from us.
From some damn fine folks that we appreciate doing business with.
We knew the storm was coming, so we cleaned brooders, and gave everyone a thick bedding of straw to snuggle down into.
That was Monday we did that.
Then Wednesday, we renewed the straw so that when the storm blew in that night, they’d have even more bedding.
Mares got their own straw bale to rip apart, nibble, and sleep in.
They did just fine.

But, we didn’t know we were going to lose power.

Most of the birds were fine.
Bippies (youngest ducks) did great.
Chickens were all good.
Big ducks got a little stir crazy and started picking feathers on tails.
That gets remedied with meat.
Poultry are omnivorous raptors.
They eat meat.
I know people don’t like to hear/know that, but it’s true.
And once they have the craving, only a good feed of it will settle them down.
This is why we keep things like rib cages from deer and have a freezer specifically for freezer burnt meats. Because this happens when birds can’t get out to forage for bugs, snakes and small rodents, and they’ll turn on each other. Even with a complete feed.

So, as I said, most of the birds were fine.
I did however, lose turkeys.
😥
None of my year olds.
But a couple 9 month olds and about 8 of the youngest ones.
It’s crushing.
When the power went out, the littles just couldn’t stay warm enough, even with mounds of straw to snuggle into. Especially in the over night.
This morning I pulled out body after body and started a fire to put them in.
My heart aches.
Worst part is, there was nothing we could have done to change things.
It is one of the shittiest things about farming…losing lives, and knowing you couldn’t change it.

Today was shoveling day.
Hubby used the tractor to clear the driveway, the path to the hay, and to drop a full round straw bale into the turkey yard.
The Kid and I shoveled.
And dropped straw into places we shoveled out so birds had somewhere to sit out of the snow.
We have more shoveling to do.
But for now, coffee.

Cookie
Ima Midnight Tuxedo
May 21st, 2005 ~ November 13th, 2017
🖤🖤🖤

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. 🙂

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. 😉
Not that complaining will do any good.
Winter is coming.
I’ll just have to deal with it.

Oh Hey There…

Been a while.
We’re just over here getting shit done.

Let’s see…

Duck house got it’s much needed refurbishment for winter housing.
We picked up and processed a 350lb pig.
I’ve been doing laundry outside with the wringer washer.
Loop has been feeding our animals like royalty.
I bought $40 worth of pumpkins just for me to have roasted seeds…animals get the rest. 😉
We have a new connection for bread for animal feed.
We were gifted a working fridge.

I still have carrots and beets to get out of the garden.
After I can up the last of the onions into French onion soup.

Okay, but this pig…
😂😂😂

I get a text 2 weeks ago saying our pig is ready.
We bought one last year from the same folks I got LemonChicken from as a chick…and who I bought straw for the horses from last year.
So this year, she asked if we wanted them to raise another pig for us…if so, she’d get an extra piglet when it was time.
I said “hell yeah!!” so that I didn’t have to do pigs this year.
We’re all still kinda shell shocked from the last year we raised them, so letting someone else do the day to day was just fine with us.

Then it rained 3 days straight and the Farm yard was slop.
So I asked if we could put off picking the pig up ’til this past weekend.
No problem. 🙂
So then I get this bright idea to name the pig, sight unseen, Sir Oinks A Lot.
Oh fuck.
I shouldn’t have done that.
😂😂😂

This pig…he screamed everytime he was asked to do something he didn’t want to do.
Now if you’ve ever heard a pig scream, you have an idea what I’m talking about…
The farm he was on is roughly 8 miles from us…I’m pretty sure we could have heard him screaming from home.
😂😂😂
Again, nothing bad happening to him, just asked him to do something he didn’t want to do.
Simply, he was being a pig.
Now pigs don’t have great eyesight, so convincing them to get into a trailer can be…arduous.
After 30 solid minutes of screaming, Hubby climbed in the front man door of the trailer with some feed, the husband of the family we were buying from lifted the pig’s front feet into the trailer, and Sir Oinks A Lot realized “hey! there’s food!!” and got on.
Fucking pig.
😂😂😂

After chatting with them for a bit (can you say connection to buy bottle lambs and bred ewes come spring time?? Squeeeeee!!!!) we headed off home to get Sir Oinks off the trailer and into the freezer.
Getting off wasn’t quite as arduous, though it was longer in time.
There was bread, and milk and lots of quiet talking…until Sit Oinks walked 1/4 of the way down the ramp and promptly met the Great Piggie in the Sky.
Whew.

I’ll spare you all the sordid details, but from pick up to final freezing, took 3 days, with Hubby doing the dirty work and me doing the fine cut work and the Kid running help all over the place.
To say I’m proud of our Kid would be a massive understatement, let me tell you!!
Today I’m roasting the hocks and making bone broth.
Tomorrow I’ll can the meat and broth from that.
And then we’re back to poultry to finish up the birds that need to go to Freezer Camp before for reals winter hits.

And then hay needs to be delivered.
And straw.
Then we fix my washing machine….suspension rods are shot and need replacing. That’s why I’m washing outside with the wringer washer…but outside is about to end so gotta get the indoor machine fixed.
Aaaaaaand….gotta fix the heater core on the truck.
Hubby cannot do another year of no heat through winter.
Fuck.

Remember I said we’d sleep in winter?
Yup.
It true.