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.
πŸ˜₯
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
πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

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. πŸ™‚

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

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.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
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.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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? πŸ˜‰ ) 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.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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 ❀

Muse

Used to be Cookie was my muse
Just about every photoshoot, while it may have started with Sable, became about whether or not I could get Cookie to do as I asked.
She didn’t have a whole lot of equine interest in humans (she didn’t care for humans much…as long as the food kept coming), so winning her over was a tough task.

❀

But, with time, patience and a few (okay, a LOT) of treats, I won her over and I did thinks like ^^^ this to her…and she let me. ❀

Well then, she up and died on me.
And I was left without a muse.

Ahhhh, but that Ruby…
Ruby has neatly stepped into the role as my muse.
Because what’s more fun than a paint horse who doubles as a unicorn in disguise?

Whatcha want?

So now Ruby gets to be the focus of her own photoshoots…she does have her own Instagram account, after all. πŸ˜‰
But yeah, I’m grateful that she’s decided that The Food Lady ain’t so bad.
Before she was pretty ambivalent to me.
Now she’s decidedly a Mama Suck.
I think it’s good for both of us.
πŸ™‚

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday
and
Word of the Day Challenge for Muse.

Throwback Thursday

It’s cold.
It’s windy.
Which makes it more cold.
I’m a cranky ball of cold today.
So I was thumbing threw some old photos and found these from 2015…

My Cookie…look by her bum…

Yup, that’s my Felix under her tail.

Oh how he *loved* playing in her tail!

My 2 black and white ones.
They were so damn special.
He played in her tail like that for a good 1/2 hour…
She didn’t even consider getting up.
She just kept napping.
He wasn’t even gentle…he has full claws out on her rump!

All done playing…thanks Lady for the good times!

And away he went to climb the tree…

I lost him to a stinking coyote, her to a ruptured aorta, but I guarantee they found each other again in the Summerlands.
And one day, we’ll all be together again and I’ll get to laugh at their antics once more.
πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.
Even though they’re both gone, I am so thankful to have been blessed with these two amazing creatures in my life.

Stars of the Show

Ever feel like you’re living in the middle of a cheesy tv sitcom?
Some days I sure do!
And I don’t even feel like one of the stars of the show.
Nope.
Supporting cast, or maybe a bit part player.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

We all know who the *real* stars of the show are here…

Our Winter Solstice photo shoot this year…

The 3 Moochers reaching, and drooling, for candy cane cookies.

“GIMME THAT COOKIE!!”
~ Ruby

And then there’s this one…

“Oh hey Mom…you got any extra cookies down there with you?”
~ Sable

LOL!
Some people’s horses!
πŸ˜‰

Feature word “star” from Word of the Day Challenge

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee.
πŸ™‚

 

Deleting Old Posts

That’s what I did yesterday.
After much searching, I found a website that takes posts and turns them into a .pdf.
I did that a while back with a couple years worth of old posts.
Now, I’m working on deleting the posts and images (which means there might be a broken image here and there, if I reused one in a newer post).
This way, I have space for new images to go in new posts.
Because I refuse to go to a pay-to-blog platform.
It’s just not gonna happen…and I didn’t want to move to a whole new blog while trying to encourage followers to come along.
Naw.
Easier to save and delete.
Well, as easy as something so darn tedious can be.
πŸ˜‰

The positive part though, is new images…and they are *much* faster to upload with space!
Which is good, because I managed to get out with the camera Saturday morning, and a bit yesterday too.

Sable

Funny thing is…I’ve been waiting for a Saturday morning sunrise like this for a few weeks now.
I’ve an idea in my head I want to shoot, but need this light and Hubby.
Where was he Saturday when the light looked like this??!?
In a tree stand, hunting deer.
πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„
Fingers crossed we can get another chance before the snow flies and stays.


Then yesterday, knowing that below zero overnight temps. were coming, Hubby cleaned out the maceration tubs.
What is a maceration tub, you ask?
Well, it’s a bin that holds whatever skulls and bones we want cleaned and a whole lot of water.
That’s it.
Nothing high tech or fancy.
Just bins/barrels/tubs of bones and water.

We had Cookie’s skull and bones finishing cleaning…because our warm weather doesn’t last long, it can take a little longer here to clean a skull.
I *should* invest in a fish tank heater to speed thing up a bit, but we don’t keep the tubs anywhere near an electricity source.
If you’ve ever smelt a working maceration tub, you’d understand why they aren’t real close to the house.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Anyway, Hubby pulled Cookie’s parts out and we had a bit of a surprise…

😍😍😍

We were a bit surprised, to say the least. lol
So after I grabbed the camera, I hit the skull cleaning forums on FB.
And it turns out this is nothing to panic about.
It likely happened because I didn’t change the water enough…though a deer leg in with her *didn’t* go black like this.
πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

She may stay darkened like that.
She may not.
She’s ready to go onto degreasing – which is exactly what it sounds like.
Bones hold fats in them, and after maceration, they go into a water/dish soap combo to soak, which draws out the grease.
If this isn’t done, your bones could get stinky (prolly will) and might start to break down as the fats get gross.

If the colour holds through degreasing, then she’ll be left like that.
I could put her into peroxide for whitening, but I love the way she looks dark, so if it stays, it stays.

Hubby also pulled out the giant tarp and tossed it into the garden.
It was too windy to spread, so there’s still that to do.
Hopefully we’ll have a day this week to get that done.
Honestly, I’m ready for spring, seed catalogs and planting the new garden.
lol
I know, I know.
The land needs to sleep first.
I do know that.
I just don’t want to deal with winter.
I will…but I don’t want to.

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee.
πŸ™‚

When I am an Old Horse Woman Redux

WHEN I AM AN OLD HORSE WOMAN

When I am an old horsewoman
I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.

❀

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

❀

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to all
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.

❀

-By Patty Barnhart
Originally published in The Arabian Horse World magazine in 1992

❀

Today felt like a great day for a repost of this much loved poem.

If you like this post, feel free to buy me a coffee. πŸ™‚

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˜‰