Day 18 in the Incubator

We’re in lock down now…
Day 18.
Fingers crossed for a good hatching!

(phone pic)

24 went in.
At day 7 candling, 3 that were not fertilized came out (and went to the pigs).
I forgot to candle at day 14, and it wasn’t dark enough this morning when I removed the turner to candle, so…just hoping most, if not all hatch.
Truthfully, I’m hoping for *any* to hatch.
I’m ready for peepers!
(as ready as I can be)
πŸ™‚

Oughta have pics this weekend of what hatches…and what doesn’t.

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Now We’re Getting Busy!

Remember how I was complaining that we were in the “hurry up and wait” holding pattern?
Yeah, we’re out of that and working our butts off to get things going for growing.

We picked up the last of the garden seeds I needed to get for planting.
Now we’re at the “pull wire ’round the garden” stage…Hubby already put in the posts around the garden, and we were right on track to pull the wire fencing…until we discovered that we were out off cable ties.
I know, it’s crazy to think that anyone on a farm would run out of cable ties, but it happened, and we stalled.
Hubby stopped and picked up a hundred of them, and we’re ready to pull fencing…that’s going to happen this weekend, so that I can start planting things like carrots and peas and beets…because until the fence is up, I can’t plant anything because of asshole-not-supposed-to-be-free-ranging chickens. πŸ˜‰

Lemon chicken…she does what she wants.

Once the fencing is up, we’re good to go.
Plus, I have to build a gate, but we can use temporary measures for a day or two until that’s done.

The meat chickens are 2 weeks old now…and eating like crazy.
Between them and the replacement eggies, they’re going through pounds of feed a day.
We’ve had very little losses too this year. 5 meaties and 1 eggie.
After last year’s fiasco, we made sure to change things so that everyone did better this year, and so far, so good!
We have a huge brooder that came with the garage when we bought the place. It has it’s failings (it’s 5 feet tall and the door is too small for any normal sized human to climb through), but those can be fixed later on. Right now Hubby climbs in, morning and night, to refill feeders and waterers. Once this batch of chicks moves off to the poultry yard, we’ll change the design of the brooder and install a bigger door for ease of getting into.

We’re also hoping to build another brooder in our Little Red Shed.
Oh!
Have I not shared about the Little Red Shed??

Our new feed shed…

Hubby made a deal for the shed, but the catch was we had to move it roughly 5 miles.
To do that, a friend of Hubby’s from work came out with a crew, loaded it up and brought it home to us.
Sounds easy, but it took some work, and it was pretty amazing seeing this building being hauled down our road!

So now, Hubby and I are discussing turning 1/2 of that shed into a chick brooder with different sections for different ages and breeds.
Why?
Because for Mother’s Day…
I GOT AN INCUBATOR!!!

Now I’m just waiting for it to arrive, so I can take a bunch of our Easter Egger eggs and try to hatch them out.
Of the 18 EE chicks I bought last year, 5 were hens.
LOL!!
Not that having a whole bunch of roosters to grow out is a huge deal, because they simply go to Freezer Camp.
We kept one, and he’s been diligently fertilizing eggs every chance he gets. So, since none of my hens are showing interest in hatching eggs (and I was so hopeful after the one in the Fall decided she was going to!) I began looking for a cost effective incubator.
When I found what I wanted Hubby said “Ok. Go ahead and buy it. Happy Mother’s Day.”
πŸ˜€

Also on the list of things to get done for growing season…

~ Clean up around the fruit trees/bushes.
My currants and honeyberries are poppin’!!
Huge growth so far on both, but I need to clean up the grasses underneath and around them, and put down a mulch to keep the weeds down. And add some rotted manure for fertilizer.
Apples and pears are a little slower, but still doing well…maybe this might be the year to get some fruit? I’m hopeful!

~ Give the horse shelter a deep cleaning.
Hasn’t been done since February and we’re now at that stage where it needs to be cleaned out to the dirt and have fresh straw tossed in for the summer.
Besides, I’ll need the rotted manure compost for the Fall to add to the garden.

~ Time to prep the straw bales for the straw bale gardens.
I’ve got the 5 big bales to grow in, so I’m going to do that. But they have to be “seasoned” first and that takes about 2 weeks of watering and fertilizing.

~ Get the piggies!
This weekend, hopefully, we’ll go on a drive to pick up 3 little piggies who will grow into our winter bacon/hams/chops/stew.

And soon it’ll be haying season, because I will continue to cut hay every chance I get. Those small bales I put up have come in handy soooooo many times!
And, there is still talk about getting a calf to grow out for meat.
I had a chance to do so this year, but just ran out of finances…
Sometimes, no matter how much you want something, you have to weigh what would, in the end, be the better investment for the farm.
This year I had the choice of adding an incubator, chicken plucker, and a high quality pair of hoof nippers for Hubby, or a calf.
Yeah, I had to go with the 3 investments in self sustainability this year. :/

And, of course, once the garden produces, canning season ramps back up.
*sigh*
This is the stuff I love.
This is what I dream about all winter.
Getting things growing and getting things stored and put up on the shelves and in the freezer for the next winter.

In between it all, I sneak out at sunrise to take pictures of the Merry Mares…because sunrise is always going to be my favorite time of day to take their pictures.
❀

Ruby

Sable…with Astrid behind her.

Here’s to busy summer days…and rain as needed.
❀

Spa Day

Nothing better than equine spa day!
Okay, there are better things, but equine spa day makes me (and the Merry Mares) really happy…

First up, as always, Sable.
Because if Sable ain’t first, ain’t no one getting done.
Trust me. 1500lbs of Palomino tantrums makes sure of that!!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Checking out Hubby’s toolbox…

First you have to check the toolbox.
You never know there might be treats in there…
(there never are, because nosy brats would gobble them up before having to stand like well-trained horses who know how to get their feet trimmed without being gigantic arsewads)

Having hay snax while Michele does the hard work…

Bit of a crack there, but it rasped out pretty well.
Sadly, Sable went far too long between trims. 😦
After she was sick last year, it took a long time before she was able to balance enough to do more than a quick pick out of her hooves.
As soon as we were able to get her back on track lifting her feet, we called in Michele.
I knew she would have the patience to help our Palomino Princess get through her first full trim since being sick with confidence.
❀

Sable sure does love to watch her feet being done.

Somehow, I missed getting shots of Astrid having her feet done.
Not sure how that happened, but it did…

Oh and then there was Ruby.
Geez Lou-eez.
That horse, she’s something.
And this is why I never balk when Michele tells me what I owe her afterwards…

“Oh, I’ll stand here…
I might even doze off…
But I ain’t lifting my damn feet for no one…”
~ Ruby

She ain’t sick, she’s not injured in any way, she’s just…
Ruby.
Her way, or not at all.
*sigh*
But, Michele did get one front hoof up and picked out before the painted asshole decided she was leaving, by going straight backwards…as fast as she possibly could.
Which, lucky me, gave my already fucked up shoulder something to think about. Nothing good, but it was something to think about.
But, when you see the horse is going, and may catch up the person holding her foot in the lead as she goes, you don’t hesitate, you do what needs to be done to make sure the human is safe.
Human safety first.
Always.

So, I snapped the rope up, which made the donkey go backwards a little quicker…but, when she hit the end of the lead she stopped.
Normally, she pulls the rope out of my hand and makes a break for it. This time, she stopped and waited.
And came back at my request.
So…
Humans were safe, and horse, while being a shit, wasn’t as much of a shit as she normally is. πŸ˜‰

After giving Michele a good sniffing, Ruby took a moment to process her thoughts…

And then decided that she’d relax and let the work get done…

But she still made Michele pull out her yoga moves to get her done.

Sharing with Thankful Thursday at Brian’s Home…because words can’t express how thankful I am for Michele.
Her patience, her caring, her skills with my donkeys is appreciated so much. Having someone work with your equines who understands that everyone has their own personality and own needs is absolutely invaluable.

❀

Itchy, Itchy, Itchy

This is a tough time of year for me.
There’s so much that I want to get going on the Farm, but the weather…oh lawdy the weather!

98% of our snow has melted.
A lot of the resulting water from that has soaked in.
But…
There’s still too much water to take the tractor into the pasture.
The ground is still too wet to rake the yard(s)…which also means it’s too wet to use the tractor to move big bales of straw to the garden.
The garden is drying out nicely, and I could probably think about pulling out the rototiller…except I really want to move to a no-till garden.
Which means getting the big straw bales I have for the garden over there, using the tractor, where it’s too wet to use the tractor without ripping up the lawn/pasture something fierce.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And that’s my conundrum.
So much to do, but hurry up and wait before I can do it.

At least my tomatoes have started.
I already ordered more, because with what I can start in the various places in the house, it’s still not enough for our garden.
And we need to figure out how to keep the rotten not-supposed-to-be free ranging asshole chickens out of the garden so they don’t destroy tender shoots when they start coming up.
Like they did my garlic.
Assholes.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Lemon Chicken…she does what she wants…like standing onΒ  one leg to make people think she’s a one-legged chicken when she’s not. She’s just a feathered asshole.

Soon enough I know it’ll be time, and I’ll have more work to do getting the garden and food animals going that I won’t even have time to think.
But for right now, there’s too much time to think while I plot and plan and long for things to dry up enough that we can get going.
πŸ™‚

 

Monday Morning

Mother Nature seems to be having a little joke on us this morning.
This past weekend was lovely out, with sunshine and warmth and a whole lot of melting snow…

Cheering for the Winnipeg Jets

The Merry Mares had a good round of grooming, then they posed for pictures with Winnipeg Jets attire, and even got a couple of cookies…
And now, this morning?

From 8:35am
April 15th, 2019

Really Mother Nature?
Really??!?

Gearing up for Growing Season

Whew!!
We made it to April!
I swear, this felt like the winter-that-wouldn’t-end.
And we’re still not out of the woods, because there’s a chance of snow tomorrow with big wind gusts.

Here though, we’re working on garden plans, meat animal plans and building plans.

3 of my 4 large straw bales are in place and ready for conditioning.
Those will get the vining plants…cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini and maybe a type of winter squash, like butternut or acorn or something…haven’t decided 100% yet.
That’s going to leave the garden for tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beans, peas, lettuce, onions, spinach and beets.
I try to grow a lot of the things we eat the most.
I don’t grow a huge variety of things, but I’m always willing to try new things, if the family will eat them.
Even with as much land as we have, there isn’t space for things that we’re not going to eat (or can’t be fed to animals).

Yesterday I ordered 36 tomato plants, to go with the 40 pots I planted with seeds.
I also ordered a grape vine.
Friends are going to split their strawberries this year and I’m lucky enough to benefit from that…mmmm!! I’d love to have my own huge strawberry patch!
Definitely something to work towards. I definitely have the land for it!

Pepper seeds are starting to pop up.
Slowly, but still coming up.

Hubby cleaned out and fixed up the large brooder in the garage a few weeks ago, so we’re ready for chicks at the end of this month.
We’ll be getting 20 eggies to eventually replace the hens we have now, and 50 meat chicks.
If all goes well, and everyone grows well, that’s a lot of food for the freezer.
We had some issues last year, and we’ve worked to correct them, so to cut our losses.
Even though we’re raising the meaties for food, it is our duty to make sure we’re doing so in the very best way possible, so that they are happy, healthy birds until their last day.
Happy food tastes better!

Canning has begun for the year, with 14 pints of dried chickpeas done yesterday.
Next week I’ll send Hubby to the mushroom plant and do those again. Didn’t take us long to eat the jars I did after Christmas.
No joke, we love mushrooms here!
πŸ™‚

And sunrise is coming so much sooner.
I’m loving the earlier days, and later evenings.
I’m feeling ready (almost) for the growing season.
Excited to get my hands in the dirt.
Longing for harvests to line the shelves with food for next winter.
Because winter is always coming.

As the days grow longer, the night temperatures are slowly rising to above 0*C.
When we have at least a week of above 0* overnight, then I can put my Cookie back into maceration to finish the last little bits that need to be done.
I hope she will be done in time for the fall, so I can work on the travel photo series I have planned for her. ❀

For right now though, we’re waiting for the final melt, for Lake Midnight to soak in, for the pasture to grow, for the frost to come out of the ground so we can get to work in the garden.

And Ruby?
She’s working hard on that food baby belly and napping in the sunshine. πŸ˜‰

Can’t Sleep

The past few months have been odd for me, sleep wise.
I’ve never been a good sleeper. Always lived with some level of insomnia.
These past few months though…
Between Daphne deciding she is going to bark all night long for no good reason, my Kid turning 18 and my anxiety over having an adult child, and the weather…
Sweet merciful crap.
If I’m lucky, I’m getting 2, maybe 3 hours.
And that’s in the recliner, because the stupid dog *doesn’t* bark if I stay in the livingroom.

Y’see, she has to be crated at night.
She destroys everything she can get her face on otherwise.
Like rips things to shreds.
So, she sleeps in her crate. Well, she *supposed* to sleep in her crate.
But the second I lay down in bed (because Hubby goes to bed long before me) she starts.
Whining, then barking, then howling.
All.
Night.
Long.
She’s seen the vet. She’s 100% healthy.
She’s been given a kong toy filled with peanut butter. Doesn’t work.
She’s been left loose. She destroys things, including furniture.
We’ve moved the crate to our bedroom. She still barks, screams and howls.
The crate is the correct size for her.
She’s just a canine asshole.

So I’m sure my (even more than normal for me) lack of sleep is adding to my anxiety levels.
And then of course, there is money.
Isn’t there always? lol
But starting this month we lose $275/month in income.
And I’m having to figure out a way to replace that, while still working on the Farm.
That doesn’t help sleep or anxiety.

Plus, I fell while trying to help push Hubby’s truck out of a snow bank. Fucked up my shoulder. And my knee has been shot for a while now…
And it’s been soooo cold here, I’m always freezing.
Guys, I’m falling apart here!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Still have my sense of humour though, so things ain’t too bad.
I’ll get things figured out, one way or another.
I’ve got some newer Equi~Gems made, so I can update the sale page.
That *should* be done in the next week or so.
I’m chasing sunlight for the best pictures.
πŸ™‚

For now, here’s a couple of shots of our Painted Unicorn…
She’s been working her magic in posing for me.
πŸ˜‰

She looks so pretty!
❀

What’s a Ruby photo shoot without that tongue stuck out in at least 1 shot?