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˜‰

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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?

Tired…But Hopeful for Spring

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of talking about the weather. Not that there’s much else to talk about these days, with how the weather dominates everything we do at this time of year.

Honestly, how can we *not* talk about -40*c temperatures?
With windchills in the mid to high -50*c range?
How we survived it for near on to a week, with very few little glitches?
How the Merry Mares came through with kicking, bucking, galloping, playing colours?
And now how we’re under a snowfall warning and could see as much as 8 inches of snow by tomorrow morning?
But we’re lucky where we are, because south of us, they could see upwards of 15 inches…so there’s that.

It’s tiring though, when we’re longing for spring and sunshine and warmth that doesn’t come from the furnace…

In 25 days I will start my pepper seeds.
2 weeks after that, I will start my tomato seeds.
I’m clinging to that, because that’s my sign of spring is coming.
I’ve been ready to start seeds for months.
I’ve studied what worked last year, what I can do better with this year, and made my list of what I need to buy for seeds to get going.
I’ve been diligently cleaning the horse shelter to grow the compost pile to add to the garden next fall.
I’ve also been on top of the household compost and look forward to it cooking down some once the melt hits.
Then I can clean out the poultry coop and put the bedding/waste in the bottom of the bin when we move it.

We never did get a fence built around the garden, so I’m hoping to get that done this year. We found a couple of dog run style chain link set ups this past summer, and I’m hoping to use one of those.
I really want to be able to pen the poultry into the garden at the end of the year to act as the clean up crew.
Makes my life so much easier in the spring!

In the meantime, since it’s been way too cold to take the camera out to capture the Merry Mare’s in their playing glory, The Kid and dressed up the cats.
Nancy was not happy and none of his shots turned out…unless you like flaily blurs of tabby running away from the camera.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Daisy Mae, however….


And this one…


Next up, I’m going to crochet her a little hat and scarf set.
A chicken hat.

There’s a reason for it to be a chicken hat…

See that chicken in the back?
The light coloured one?
That’s Lemon Chicken.
That’s her name. She’s one of my green egg layers.
She’s also a brat who loves to come up on the deck and eat the cat food I put out for the outdoor cats.
Well, we’ve had some rather lovely days, where she’s been wandering about the yard like she likes to do.
One of those days, I came back from collecting eggs in the coop to find her at the back door, having a conversation with little miss Daisy Mae through the door.
There was cooing and chirping from Lemon Chicken and mewing and other odd noises from Daisy Mae…
Un-fricken-believable.
The cat and the chicken have decided they’re pals.

So, once things warm up enough that Lemon Chicken starts free ranging again (even though she’s *supposed* to stay in the chicken yard), the plan is for the unlikely friends to have a face to face meeting.
And Daisy Mae will be wearing a crocheted chicken hat.
Hilarity oughta ensue.

 

C-c-c-cold Redux

Ugh.
Right back into the deep freeze.
And it’s looking like we’re stuck there for the next week.

But the horses are doing well…
In fact, they’re happy as equine shaped clams with their latest oat straw bale.
There was a bit of silliness as Hubby brought it into the pasture.
Scary noisy thing (yeah, the tractor is terrifying…dorks) bringing a big thing towards them.
Led to some running and bucking and general silliness.

Once it was down, the net wrap cut and we left the pasture though…
They were in there like 3 dirty shirts.
πŸ˜‰

nomnomnom

Astrid!
Behave!

I’m so ready for spring…

Hardy Prairie Womanβ„’

This life…

Lemme tell ya, this life ain’t for the faint of heart, the princesses, the women scared of getting their hands dirty.
Aww hell no.

Yes, I chose it.
Yes, I’d choose it again.
And again.
And again.
And again.

But holy sonuvafuck…
This life can be *hard*.

I ain’t whining. Did that already. πŸ˜‰
I ain’t looking for sympathy. Got that already. πŸ˜‰
I’m just sharing a day in the life of a Hardy Prairie Womanβ„’.

We had a crazy cold snap.
And the septic stopped working.
So Hubby called the septic fellow, who couldn’t get to us until the next day…it’s always in the cold snaps that things decide not to work, amirite?
Next day, he comes out and, in seconds, gets it working…seems there was some ice in the hose that goes to the line to pump out the grey water…or something.
It’s worked ever since.
Fingers crossed it keeps working, since we’re back into another f**king cold snap.
The great thing about our system is when grey water is pumped out, it comes out above ground, so we can *see* when it’s working properly. Thank goodness!!

And now it’s sooooo cold, and with only 3 horses, the waterer has been freezing over on those crazy windy nights.
Ugh.
I wasn’t smart enough to bring out a hammer or screwdriver to punch through the ice, so my hand is black and blue from…punching through the ice.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
But you do what you have to do to get things going, right?
I mean, 3 thirsty over sized toddlers wanted water **NOW** not when I could get back with something to bash out ice.
And I couldn’t chance Sable trying to break the ice with her hoof.
So, I just have to get through this cold snap, and then I can open it up and see what’s going on…

We’ll just keep on keepin’ on.
It’s what we have to do in this weather…
Though I will admit to having a bit of a breakdown (I seriously considered turning in my “Hardy Prairie Womanβ„’ card) with the septic issue…I mean, this is our 6th winter here, can we not have at least 1 where all works without trouble???
But, it’s getting better, the fixes easier, and nothing backed up into the house this time.
There is that.
At least I had the chance to bottle 2 batches of wine.
Pretty sure I’m going to need them over the next week or so.
πŸ˜‰

Yesterday, our Jazzy, Sir JazzyHands McDuck died.
Our weather has been bouncing all over the place, and he came down with a respiratory illness.
Quarantine and treatment, unfortunately, did not help.
Our Good Duck has gone on to the other side.

Flashback Friday

Today it’s cool and dreary.
Not really cold.
We’ve been having above normal temperatures for a little while. It’s been nice, for sure.
But I’m missing the sunshine…and photos in the sun.
So this image is food for the Spirit.

The Palomino Princess at sunrise…

Sable at sunrise is the perfect balm for a sun deprived soul.
❀

Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2018

Every New Year’s Eve I try to do a recap post.
This year, I’m revisiting Ashley Sisk’s Memories Dreams and Reflections prompts.
Yeah, the post is from 2015, but the prompts are the same.
And they’re a fun way to see what 2018 was like here on the Farm…

So, let’s get to it, because this is gonna get long.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Me

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know, I’m behind the camera 99.9% of the time, so there’s not too many shots with me in them…but this one I took for an Instagram challenge, where I had to show myself in the midst of a farm chore…

Ruby’s dainty hoof…

What better than a foot/hoof selfie with Ruby?

I Love You

How could I not love these 3?

Kid and her Sable ❀

And this…I ❀ this image…and these 2.

Still Laughing

MCFHubby and Astrid

It started out as a normal ride…and ain’t little Miss Astrid just the prettiest damn thing ever?

But then, things went a wee bit wrong…
See, that lead rope got tangled in the bail, Hubby pulled and the end snapped poor little Miss on the bum…

And then, as she tried to go forward, Hubby squeezed with his legs trying to hold on, while pulling her head around…and Astrid said “Listen, I had enough. Get. Off. Me.”

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Okay, so it wasn’t funny ’til we knew they were both okay, but we’re still laughing about it, because mixed messages with equines all too often means eating dirt.
Oh and Hubby ate dirt…

Winter Wonderland

January 28th, 2018
First day I picked up my camera in months, and finally started to become myself again.

Beautiful Girl ❀

Astrid having a nap in the snow of our winter wonderland.

Birthday

So May 21st was supposed to be a Certain Girl’s 13th birthday.
I had planned out a shoot a year prior for it, and well, even though she wasn’t with us anymore, we went ahead with it anyways…

We let her herdmates enjoy the carrot cake in her honor…

He mighta smooshed it into her muzzle a wee bit…being it’s a cake smash and all… πŸ˜‰

Ruby’s turn…

And then Hubby set the cake down, so all 3 could enjoy it at once…

“CAAAAAAKKKKEEE!”

Friends

2018 was a year of getting to do some great photography work with friends…

Shaila of Pugtail Photography

The Cream 1/2 of Cookie’n’Cream Photography

We shot train robberies together…

Gentle giant Clyde, meeting one of his adoring fans…

And we shot images for a calendar…

Oooooh, scary ghost!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, collaboration wise!

I Was Inspired

Inspiration was hard-fought in 2018.
But I managed a few inspirational (to me) images…

This was my “Until We Meet Again” image…

It took a bottle of whiskey and a whole lot of tears to create.
Afterwards, my heart was so much lighter.
I just really needed a way to express my grief and say goodbye.
This was it.
❀


And then for Hallowe’en (and ultimately the anniversary of her death) Hubby helped me create this image.
Cookie’s skull, in sunlight, under our tree.
❀

Spring Fever

Chicks!

The perfect photographic depiction of spring fever…18 little balls of feathers that lived in my bathroom for a few weeks, ’til they could go out to the coop.

Travel or Vacation

Having started an Instagram account for Ruby, The Painted Unicorn, we found a toy to represent her as we traveled here and there…because The Painted Unicorn Ruby has to stay home and guard the beer and food, while DecoyRuby goes out and is social. πŸ˜‰

Summer Days

Gone fishin’

Friend Will’s giant fish. πŸ˜‰

The Palomino Princess at sunrise…

Getting her teeth done…

Bird watching

A Day in My Life

Sunrise photoshoots…


Staff meetings…


Dogs with sticks…


Finding stray nests…

16 eggs!!

Feeding baconators…

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Bobbing for apples…


Getting sick babies well again…

Drugged for x-rays…

And photos taken as the sun sinks down…

All Smiles

I just can’t help but smile at this one…
She’s sleeping, snoring, licking and running all while flat out.
❀

Autumn Harvest

look at all the tomatoes on there!

Helper chicken

Garden tomatoes…

Our garden did it’s best since moving here.
So many tomatoes, beans, beets, carrots…
As well as other yummy things.
It was a prosperous growing season for sure!

Home


This just says “home” to me…
There’s no words to explain why. It just does.

Celebrate

Yule pictures!
πŸ˜‰

Let’s Do It Again


Let’s nap in the grass…


Doze in the rising sun light…


Enjoy the splendor of an early sunrise…

I Miss You

Always and forever…

❀

Until we meet again…

❀

I will miss you until the end of time.

“Oh! Hey Mama…whatcha doin'”
~Cookie

There is never a day where I’m not thinking of you.

Beautiful

This…

And this…

And this…

Dress Up

Aside from Yule pictures with the lights, I don’t think I did any dress up kinda shoots with my animals this year.
So, for this one you get Dukey…an elder mini gentleman who lives at West Wind Stables.

See?
How adorable is he?

Macro

I got nothin’ macro from this year.
Not sure I even used that lens for anything other than a few portraits.
This one is an older shot, trying to convince Cookie to wear a Canada Day headband.
It didn’t work.
πŸ˜‰
But those whiskers…and that muzzle.
❀

“So scary smelling. Can’t let this any closer to me. Sorry Mama.” ~Cookie

Holidays

The holidays can be rough, y’know?
Especially when you’re a famous unicorn.
That’s why you have your very own masseuse…or in this case, a cat-sseuse…to massage out all those tight, achy muscles while your herdmate tried to push in and get a little sumthin’ sumthin’ for herself.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


And then, once everything’s loose, it’s time to go to work…them pretty holiday photos ain’t gonna make themselves happen.
πŸ˜‰

My Favorite

My Remembrance Day shots…


For the simplicity, the beauty and because I let myself just follow my camera.

Don’t Ever Change

Don’t ever change, my RubyGirl.
You keep your headstrong, boss bitch attitude.
It’s one of the main reasons I love you and why I love working with you…and it makes for grand photos!

Just Because…So There!

Hopes and Dreams

As always, we have big Dreams here at Midnight Calico Farm.
This past year we got a little closer to stocking the pantry shelves to acceptable levels, as I got back into canning.
While our pigs didn’t grow as well as we’d hoped (they arrived way too late for them to get as big as we like them), I did find a fantastic deal on Muscovy ducks, both for the freezer and for eggs and meat next year.


I hope y’all will stick with us, as we grow and learn from our mistakes.
And I promise, I’ll try harder to put up posts more often.
Life has slowly returned to center.
It’s been a long road.
I’m ready for 2019.

Happy New Year!

πŸ’–πŸ–€πŸ’–