There Was a Plan…

For this weekend.
It’s the May long weekend here in Canada.
Typically this means it’s time to get the garden planted.
Meh, where I am, waiting another week or two is a good idea because of those sneaky frosty nights that love to kill tomatoes and peppers just for a good time.
But, there’s other things that need to be done to get ready for the mass exodus of plants out of my house and into my garden…
That’s what we were planning to work on this weekend, so that during the week I could get seeds in and then plants go in next weekend.
*sigh*
If’n you wanna hear God laugh, tell Her your plans.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Friday The Kid’s phone crapped out.
Dead as a doornail.
Nothing more than a smart phone shaped paperweight.

So I go looking to see what we can replace it with and what local cell stores are open.
Because the virus, y’know.
Gotta make sure the small town stores close and funnel folks into the big city to do their business.
Bcause that absolutley makes sense, right?
Those of us who’ve stayed *out* of the city now have to go *into* the city to take care of things.
Effing brilliant.
Said no smart person ever.
πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

That was Saturday shot to Hell.
Didn’t even come away with new phones…we figured ours are on their last legs, so we’d upgrade everyone at the same time…but…there’s some network blather that made it so that the technician helping us couldn’t port the number from Kid’s old phone to the new phone and someone at a different location had to do it and we couldn’t have the phone ’til it was done…
Essentially, it’s a stupid system and when they get to ours it might take an hour to do or it might take 5 days.
They don’t know.
πŸ™„

Today we were going to work on the garden.
Until…
I woke up with seasonal allergies kicking my ass.
Yes, I know it’s allergies.
No it’s not SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus.

So I took a Reactine.
Fuck.
What a mistake.
Non-drowsy my shiny metal ass.
Normally I take the Costco brand of Reactine.
Same medicine in it, different carrier, clearly, because I *never* get drowsy on the Costco version.
But the name brand stuff?
Yeah, can’t say the same.
In fact, I’m feeling side effects so bad that I called off working on the garden.
I just can’t.
The allergy symptoms are gone, but the side effects…drowsy, foggy, drowsy…are kicking my ass.

And so, tomorrow for garden work.
And if the allergies are acting up again, I’ll stick with my Costco brand allergy pills.
Plus, they’re a whole lot cheaper than the name brand.
200 Costco allergy pills for $18.99.
Or 48 Reactine pills on sale for $38.99.
Mind boggling.
Seriously.

In other news…

The meaties, 2nd hatchers and turkey poults are doing very well.
Getting big.
Next weekend they’ll move to the meat chicken house.
In fact, they’re don’t even have heat on during the day now.
It’s too warm in the brooder with it on…so we’ve added a wire section to let cool, fresh air in for them to enjoy.
Soon they’ll have the fun of running around outside. πŸ™‚

Now, one of the joys of the easter egger/barnyard mix chicks is the interesting colour combos we get.
Like this eagle looking one:

Kinda cute little fella…

“I am the albatross!! I will destroy you all!!”

Sure ya will, little buddy…

Gonna have to grow a wee bit more before you do…
πŸ˜‰

Out 43 first hatchers are now mixing slowly with the adult chickens.
And next weekend the eggs in the incubators should start hatching.
I did realize though, that my next round will only be with the big incubator.
I have 3 muscovy duck eggs in the small one, and they take up to 35 days to hatch, compared to 21 for chickens.
So, they have to stay in for another 2 weeks, leaving me with one working incubator for another round of chicken eggs.
*shrug*
I didn’t think of that, just wanted ducklings, and now I gotta deal with it.
And we’re letting the muscovy hens hide eggs so hopefully they’ll hatch them out and not let them rot.
Fingers crossed.

Monday Morning Round Up ~ May 11th, 2020

Things have been fairly busy on the Farm.

We moved the 43 first hatchers from the brooder to their transitional home in the poultry yard.
They are almost ready to move into the bigger meat chicken house.
That will happen this coming weekend.

We hatched out another 40 some odd chicks…lost a few due to my forgetting to plug the 2nd heat lamp back in.
100% fail on my part.
πŸ˜₯
I haven’t made that mistake again.

We brought home 10 turkey poults on the 28th…

Hello turkey!

Almost a week old here, and nearly a full pound in weight already!

With the turkeys we brought home 50 cornish x meat chickens.
We timed the hatching perfectly, so that the meaties and the turkeys are in the brooder with the hatchers.
We find that meaties learn how to “chicken” from the egg layers so that we don’t have eating/pooping machines. πŸ˜‰
It gives everyone a better life that way.
And the turkeys…
Yeesh.
So much attitude, so ugly they’re cute, and doing very well.
Fingers crossed they continue to grow well.
They’re broad breasted whites, so they’re like the meat chickens of the turkey world.
Bred to grow big, fast.
I’m hoping the do just that.
πŸ™‚

And on May 1st, we refilled the incubators with 64 chicken eggs and 3 duck eggs.
After this hatch, we have 3 more we can squeeze in before our hatching season ends for the year.

Hubby went a did a welding job for a friend.
I tagged along to take pictures.
As usual.

Not so easy to take daytime welding pictures.
I’ve asked him to do some night time ones with scraps so that I can capture the full lightshow.
Looking forward to that.

In other Hubby news, he went back to work today.
His work is set to reopen fully on June 1st.
His dept. is part of the crew getting ready for the regular line workers to be able to do their jobs.
So, they started 3 weeks ahead of everyone else.

I am torn on it.
I wanted him to go back to work, because money. lol
We have a lot of mouths to feed here, several very large ones…running on short income gets hard to do.
But I also enjoyed having him home, working here.
And of course, he gets the call just as things are drying up enough here to be able to work on building projects that need doing.
*sigh*
No surprise.
At the same time, I do also have a bit of anxiety about all this.
It’s hard not to.
6 weeks of doom and gloom and terror tactics used by govt and media to instill fear over SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus will do that to the most sound of mind people…let alone those of us who live with anxiety in the first place.
Hubby has been the one doing the bulk of the supply runs and being in contact with the world at large anyways, so how much I actually need to worry?
I don’t know.
But I am tired.
Tired of being told to stay home to protect others, being told that if I go out I could kill people because no one really knows if they have it or not (hence SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus) and I am tired of the hearty helping of fear created by those who have our “best interests” in mind.
When people are afraid to leave their homes because of what the govt and media are saying, that is straight up using terror tactics to control the public.
No matter how you feel about this virus, that is bullshit.
And I am tired of it.

In garden news, my tomatoes are huge.
Ready to plant.
So are my peppers.
I’ve collected all the seeds I want for this year…
Still need a few more plants though.
The greenhouse in town was open last week, so I made a trip through there.
Bought some extra tomatoes and peppers (because I can never grow enough of either πŸ˜‰ ) and some pansies.
I’ll go back as we get things into the garden and get more of each, plus look for some johnny jump ups (violas) just because they’re edible and they draw pollinators.

I’m still planning the expansion for next spring.
Found a source for the berry shrubs/trees I want to add out there.
Now I’m looking for a large piece of black plastic to create the large permabed area come the fall.
We have a few dairies around us that use silage plastic, so we’ll see if we can take away some from them once they’ve used the bales.

And then before the end of April, I took a few early morning pictures of the horses…because I can.

Ruby shaking off the after effects of a nap.

Sable having a lovely nap in the straw pile.
❀

Ahhh, Monday

Feels like it’s been a while since I last posted…
Ah, because it has. πŸ˜‰

Hubby is still off work.
We still have no idea how long that’s going to go on.

Spring is finally, slowly working it’s way here.
We have another forecast day of chilly and then off into double digits with some spring rain and a whole lot of sunshine coming.
Hooray!
We need both for the pasture to grow.

The 2nd round of chicks are 14 days into incubation.
Fingers crossed (because I’m too lazy to candle the eggs) for a good hatching.
My first 43 are growing amazingly well.
This week, once the temps go up, they’ll move to the duck house in the poultry yard.
They’re fully feathered now, so ready to be off the heat lamps.
That’s a good thing, because with the impending hatch, and the fact that my meat chickens…and turkeys!! I took the plunge and ordered 10 white turkey poults…come next week, the brooder needs to be ready for those chicks.

I ran a smaller batch of eggs in the big incubator this time.
It says it can do 56 eggs, but I found that too many of the eggs ended up on their ends instead of turning properly, so the plan was to drop to 48 eggs, making them fit a bit better.
Well, I only had 40 eggs that were incubator worthy when I was ready to start, so that’s what I did.
Which gives me the potential for 64 chicks this round…
Still a lot of birds!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Then I’ll clean the incubators and start all over again.
I know it sounds like a lot of hatching, and it will be, but it’s really looking like our animal protein for this coming winter is going to be poultry.

Our latest duck additions are fitting in nicely as well.
The boy has discovered his hormones and is loving having 6 ladies to chase.
The girls are showing signs of wanting to nest (as well as signs that the boy has been working, based on the lack of feathers on the backs of their heads!) so we’re hoping for that warmth to hurry up so we can get them into their own yard/coop.
They’ll be taking up residence in what was the pig yard for the summer.
And dang it, I want duck babies!

The Merry Mares are well.
Anxious for spring and fresh green grass.
Tired of hay.
Tired of snow and chilly rains.
Ready for sunshine and warm naps.

Ruby’s ears say it all…

I’ve transplanted the peppers.
And the tomatoes.
They’re waiting under lights to go in the garden.
I’ve found a few closer to home, not in the city garden centers to shop at this year.
Including one that has a new-to-me bush that will be added to our expanding next spring food forest…
Nannyberries!
Native to the area, like moist/wet soil.
Perfect for one end of the strip of land I want to expand into…
The fruits are edible right off the bush, good for jams/jellies/baking and wine.
They had me at wine and moist soil. πŸ˜‰

And I revived my sourdough starter out of the fridge.
My yeast store had been getting low before *waves hand* all this started…
And then suddenly the world went stupid and everyone and their dog now bakes.
Plus since I typically buy the 2lb brick at Costco, and it’s damn near impossible to get into the place right now for all the lines, I just can’t be bothered with searching yeast out anywhere else.
Sourdough does just fine.
Feed it, make other stuff with the discards, make bread once a week.
*shrug*
Been doing it for years, just got lazy and tucked the starter away a few months ago.
At least I have it now.

So long asΒ  there doesn’t become a run on sugar, so that I can keep my carboys filled with wines, we’ll be doing just fine.
πŸ˜‰

Chicks!!

Just a couple pics of the new chicks…

It ain’t easy getting a decent shot with the red heat lamp in there, but I tried.

There’s so much attitude in this picture…what is with chicks and giving me attitude??!?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

They’ll stay in the brooder for a few more weeks yet, while their feathers come in some more.
Then we’ll move them to their own house in the poultry yard ’til they’re ready to fully integrate into the rest of the flock.
We’ll watch for roosters, band them, then start sending them off to Freezer Camp before the boy fighting starts.
And that will continue with each hatch through out the summer, until the freezers are filled for winter.

Farm Stuff

Loooooook…

Just look at my pretty, pretty hatching eggs!
😍😍😍

Hatching eggs

There are blue ones, pale green ones, a couple pinky shaded ones, a super dark olive green one and some lovely speckled browns.
Fingers crossed they hatch well and give me some more coloured egg layers.
Incubators go today…I’ve just got to finish collecting today’s eggs and then they get fired up for round 2.

My chicks from the last hatch are growing like crazy.
I will admit, I have been worried about them in the brooder in some of the more oddball weather moments…but after we lost the initial two, everyone else has been doing very well indeed.
So 43 going forward from that hatch.

Garden wise, the peppers are up and looking good…
We have sweet red bells and jalapenos.
Not a lot of either one this year, because for just our use, I’m the only one who likes peppers.
Next year that may (or may not) expand, depending on interest.

peppers

And this morning I was greeted by these little beauties:

tomatoes!!

Just a small assortment of variety this year.
Ropreco pastes, brandywines and bush beefsteaks.
Smaller plants, but heavy fruiters and short seasons.
We don’t have a long growing season here, so I’m adapting our plant selections to that.
All of them are heirloom, so I can save seeds for future use.

We’re still planning a makeshift greenhouse build for this year.
Fingers crossed.
It ain’t gonna be pretty, but hopefully it’ll get the job done…while we plan for a better one down the road.
Wind is our biggest issue, after funds.
Building something that can stand the crazy prairie winds is going to be a challenge.
We’ll do what we can though, because that’s just what we do.
πŸ˜‰

Canada Geese

The geese have returned.

We’re right in the flight path of thousands of Canada Geese.
Which means they often land on our field in the spring and in the fall.
If it’s snow geese in the spring, we’re happy, because our fall hunting tag is valid for spring hunting of snow geese.
In the fall, we don’t care what lands, Canadas, snows…they’re both good eating.

One side effect of the geese arriving though, is sleep deprived horses.
Unless you’ve lived next to a hoard of honkers, you have no idea how loud they are.
And, at all hours.

This ^^^ is the face of a pissed off at the geese honking 24/7 horse.
She’s actually lying in the straw pile (from February’s bale explosion) trying to nap.
But those geese…they never stop honking.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Today we’re dealing with a snow storm.
I was a wee bit worried about my chicks, outside in the brooder.
But they have 2 heat lamps, a whole lot of feed and clean water.
They’re bopping around in there just fine.
We did lose 2 of them earlier this week.
It happens sometimes.
1 was really small, the other was normal sized, but it died under the heat lamp.
Either it was crushed in a pileup or it just wasn’t a healthy chick.
So far though, the other 43 are doing amazing!

Next run of the incubators is coming up…hopefully this weekend I’ll hear from the woman with the hatching eggs I wanted.
And then, it’s collect eggs from my birds and go.

I’m looking forward to that.
πŸ™‚

Wednesday Thoughts

Yesterday’s debacle at the Post Office left me thinking…and raging.

I have long been a very vocal supporter of growing your own food, knowing where your food comes from, knowing your farmer, and farm to table eating.
Long before we ever considered moving here, long before I started this blog, I wrote about, and practiced, growing as much food as possible in the space available to you. Hell, I’ve preached about growing your own and protecting your food supply for years.
I am a firm believer in owning as much of your food supply as you can, and supporting those who grow food with the same ethics as you.
Walk softly on this Earth, while growing as much as we can without damaging Her.

But I was caught short yesterday.
I was rather proud of myself to have placed my seed order last week.
Seeds = garden = food security, right?
Sure.
*IF* you can get them from the post office.
Which I couldn’t yesterday, due to it being shut down.
Oh, signs said “knock loud” and supposedly someone would answer, but we tried on 2 separate tries.
Nothing.
We know the seeds are there, because we got notice of a package and it’s the only thing I’ve ordered that would need to be carded.

But no one is around, no one is answering the phones, and it’s looking like if it doesn’t fit in your mail box, you’re shit out of luck.
Frankly, that’s bullshit.
We’re so goddamn afraid of each other, because we’re blitzed 24/7 about this damn virus, that basics are being lost.
Can’t use cash.
Can’t get packages…hey, what about all those small home businesses that are just barely staying afloat who *RELY* on the mail?
I know of at least 4 that use our post office.
I guess fuck them, right?
Fear wins again.
And livelihoods are destroyed.
I only hope those families have enough financial reserve to not lose their homes through this.
Because wouldn’t that be the shit?
Safe from the covid, but homeless because you can’t pay the bills…
*sigh*

But we’re not supposed to talk about that.
We’re supposed to be good and do what we’re told.
Stay home.
Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary.
And don’t forget to sanitize your groceries when you bring them home.
Do we not see how this fear is rapidly becoming absurd?
Sanitize.
Your.
Groceries.
I wish I had the face palm emoji…but I don’t because I harvest all the cool emojis from FB and I’m in FB Jail right now for asking a lot of these same questions.
See, not only are there snitch lines for people to phone the “authorities” when others aren’t behaving properly, there’s people snitching on social media and anyone who’s asking questions is getting social media jailed.

But I digress…

My point here is this…
Food security is hella important.
It was before, it is a million times more so now.
And the fact that I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll be able to get my seeds from the post office is infuriating.

But

Once I have them in hand…whether it’s the ones I ordered last week, or ones I purchase somewhere else (because I might have to *go* somewhere else to get them, as opposed to ordering online)…you can bet I’ll be working on seed saving from a lot of the things we plant this year.
I’m not going to fall into this trap again.
Thinking “oh, I can just order those. I don’t need to save seeds from that”…
Clearly, that’s just not true anymore.

So I’m learning how save seeds from biennials, like carrots (we go through so. many. carrots!), beets, parsnips…
And I’ll be upping the planting of beans, so that we have some at the end of bean season to save for next year.
Beans will actually be planted in 2 spots…1 will be for canning, fresh eating and dried beans for winter.
The other will be for fresh eating, canning and seed saving.
The dried beans for winter patch is a hybrid (most likely…they’re beans we were given to feed the chickens, but I test grew a few plants and they work very well for fresh eating) so seeds saving from them isn’t going to give me a true variety.
My seed saving patch is a lovely heirloom bean called “Painted Pony”.
Perfect for our Farm, since we do love our painted ponies here.
πŸ˜‰

And, over the next 2 years, I’m working on a plan to give us a massive garden expansion.
I’ve signed up for a few online courses/webinars to learn more about how to grow food on a larger scale, in the most Earth friendly ways possible.
I’m looking at permaculture designs that could give us several workable, growable acres of food forest/edible landscaping.
This I can do on the cheap.
While I continue to hatch and grow out chicks for egg/meat production.
I wanted sheep.
I will eventually have sheep.
But the fact is this…
Sheep means hay.
Right now, not knowing how long Hubby’s work is going to be shut down, I’m worrying about having the $$$ for Fall hay for the Merry Mares, let alone adding more animals that eat dried grasses.
And if I can’t feed ’em, I ain’t taking them on.
It’s just that simple.

For now though, it’s poultry and vegetables.
Focusing on securing those sustainable food sources for my family, and hopefully having enough to support friends too.
There’s not much else I can do.

Throwing in a picture of Astrid…because we all need to see her pretty face. ❀