Holy Moly

What’s with all the spambots lately??
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I’m gone for a bit and my spam filter catches 239 spam comments.
WOW!!
Kinda crazy…

It’s been chilly and rainy here.
And rainy too.
Did I mention the rain?
lol

Well, it seems we’ve gotten a couple seasons worth of rain in the past week or two.
I mean, we could use the moisture in the ground going into Fall, and my haying spots look amazing…I may even, if it stops raining for longer than an hour, get another cut before a hard frost sets in.
Fingers crossed!!

While the rains have been coming down, we’ve still been busy.
Ducks are laying eggs like crazy in the garden, and every day we have to search for them.
And every so slowly, they’re getting the weeds taken down there too…they’re not as good at it as I thought they would be, but still…they’re doing some of the work for me. πŸ™‚

With the sloppy muddiness of the pig yard, we’ve managed to use up almost all of the moldy hay that’s been sitting around.
Y’see, when we have hay that we can’t feed to The Merry Mares, we set it aside for the spring pigs.
We’ve had a couple years worth accumulate (sound like a lot, but it’s not really…our Hay Guy is awesome about having a high quality product…sometimes though, we get lazy about tarping in the wet seasons, and the bales suffer) and these pigs are loving it!
We toss it into the shelter and they roll around in it, bury themselves, happily eat any moldy parts…pigs love eating gross things. lol And if there’s mushrooms growing, even better!! No joke, pigs super ❀ mushrooms.

And then there was that sale on carrots…

I’ve been looking for carrots to put up ever since my crop died.
Finally, a local mega mart had a smokin’ deal on local grown carrots.
50 lbs later, I’m filling jars with carrot coins, and diced carrots.
Pressure canned and ready for winter eating.
Plus 10 lbs sitting in the basement fridge for soup…canning soup will be coming in the next couple of weeks and carrots store nicely in the fridge.

My shelves are getting full, I’m running seriously low on jars and it’s a good thing.
This makes me a happy FarmHer for sure.
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Your generosity has been greatly appreciated.

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Ducks in the Garden

I know, I know…

I kept saying I was going to stick the ducks in the garden when it was all done.
I said it last year.
I said it in the spring, thinking they’d help with early, pre-planting weeding.

But, it never got done.
Until now!!

Behold…ducks in my garden!

There were a little put out by this move…

Brown duck is accusatory duck. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

But then, they discovered the seeds on the long grass and started eating…

‘Kay, maybe not so bad…

They have 3 places for shelter…the 2 compost bins, which are empty, with the doors off. And a crate that they’ll all fit into if they choose to cuddle together.

Donald…yeah, well, my Hubby named him.
He’s a handsome duck.
And he likes having 5 wives. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And then, the girls found the pool…because ducks have to have a pool!

Oh the excitement!!

Splashy splashy…

So they’ll stay in the garden for a month or so, eating weeds, bugs, and fertilizing.
Then we’ll move them back to the coop when the weather turns towards colder.

Sharing with the Simple Homestead bloghop hosted by Oak Hill Homestead.

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Feel free to buy me a coffee.
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Blessed Lammas

Mid summer already.
Holy smokes, this year…after the slowest passing winter, this summer seems to be flying by us.

Things are kicking into high gear here.
Meat chickens are graduating to freezer camp…the first 10 went last weekend.
The rest go this weekend.
The freezers are being cleaned out of last year’s meats and turned into sausages.
Yeah, I’m really on this kick of making sausages.
The roosters from last year were so flavorful, but not good eating on the bbq. They were just too tough.
We bbq a lot.
But cooked low and slow, they were amazing!
So I figure I’ll take what’s left, grind with some bacon and seasonings and make sausage.
I also have some of last year’s pork left that I’ll do the same with.

We found some bags of chopped green tomatoes in there too.
So the next round of green tomato wine starts this weekend.
As well as a grapefruit one…we got a fantastic deal on MinuteMaid frozen concentrates. I wanna say it was 3 for $1.
Since my lime wine turned out pretty decent (still have to bottle that one) I figured I’d try grapefruit.
And then, I have my dandelion petals ready to start a small batch of Odhinn’s Mead.

I’m still fighting weeds in the garden.
I think I will forever and ever.
That’s just the nature of gardening.
But, my beans are in full flower, the tomatoes are too, and I don’t have any clue what’s in there for carrots.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weeds sheltered the teeny seeds enough to let them get a good hold on growing, but I’m not really expecting anything.

Ducks have resumed laying eggs.


Which is good because the last nest the one hen sat on was all rotten eggs.
We’ve seen the drake doing his job, so I’m collecting a dozen eggs and firing up the incubator.
I didn’t want to run it again ’til spring, but this is an opportunity I can’t pass up.
I’ll be watching out for a sale on 2nd one too…that way in spring, once the ducks pick up laying after their winter break, I can run batches of chickens and ducks at the same time.

Haying is moving right along.
I’m putting up as much as I can, while I can.
I had the opportunity to purchase a 2nd scythe. One with a longer blade. Oh how nice it glides through the grasses!!
It’s given me the chance to cut an extra area that I couldn’t do with the shorter ditch blade…so I’m a happy girl!

Plus, the longer blade makes 2nd cut here go so much more smooth!
The short blade isn’t meant for those later in the season softer grasses, so it tends to rip instead of cut. No matter how sharp it is.
I do have to fix the tip of the new-to-me one, but aside from that, I’m even making the snath (which is just a hair too short for me) work with a change of posture.

So that’s where we’re at here.
Working, working working.
Prepping for winter.
Thinking about plans for next year already.
I feel like this is all stuff I’ve shared before, but really, day to day right now is a lot of “more of the same” with only small changes.
Feel free to ask anything though, if there’s something y’all are curious about.

Ruby enjoying a nap in the sunshine…

The Garden So Far…

It’s been a busy weekend.
We have finally gotten the fencing up around the garden!
YAY!!
Now I’m working on planting without the help of asshole chickens-who-are-not-supposed-to-be-free-range-but-do-whatever-the-hell-they-want.

Yesterday I pulled out the biggest weeds from the first quarter of the garden, then planted a 20 ft row of beets, 5 20 ft rows of carrots (yes, we like carrots! between soups/stews, canned carrots for winter and fresh eating, there is never enough of them)

Then, I did a couple short rows of onions.
Today I plan to, if it doesn’t rain, get my leafy greens in…spinach, lettuce and radishes (I love the peppery flavour of radish greens πŸ™‚ ).

After that, it’s beans…hundreds of bean seeds, because like carrots, we love beans.
In soups/stews, in jars and fresh eating.
I could honestly plant my entire garden with beans and carrots and not have enough for the 3 of us.
One day, we’ll expand the garden even more and dedicate a larger area to both.

I’ve also been conditioning my straw bales for planting.
That should be this weekend.
I have 6 full medium square bales (average 400ish lbs) plus a 1/3rd of a bale that I just retied the string on.
That’s where my cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins and squashes will get planted.
I may also take one to plant sunflowers.
Ever since our first year here, I’ve been wanting to do a photo shoot with Sable eating sunflowers…because The Kid’s first garden was next to the pasture and that CinderBella ate every damn sunflower that bloomed…and did so with a huge equine grin on her face.
LOL!!
So I want to plant a bunch of them to give her a bouquet to nibble while I take pictures. πŸ˜‰

And then there’s the tomatoes to get in, and my grape plant.
Strawberries were planted, but attacked by chickens before the fence went up, so I’m watering and hoping they bounce back from those feathered assholes.

Once the tomatoes are in, and the seeds start coming up, I’ll be heavily mulching with straw.
I’m working towards the garden becoming no till.
I dislike running the rototiller just to mix up the soil and expose the good microbes to the sun…and it really does encourage weed seeds to grow.
So, I’m going no-till.
Lots of mulch, pulling weeds as needed and in the fall, with the fence in, the ducks will go there to finish any weeding before the winter hits.
My garden has great soil already, I just want to keep it that way. πŸ™‚
In the fall, we’ll add more rotted manure (because I have 3 poop factories working 24/7) and whatever straw bales from my bale gardening that are too decomposed to be grown in next year.

The chicks have been growing like crazy.
We cleaned up the old duck house, and the meat chicken house and both are ready for the meaties to make the transition to outdoor living.
Pretty sure that’s going to happen this coming weekend.
Then, if my incubator ever arrives…oy, the problems I’ve been having with Purolator!! That’s a whole different, expletive laden post, let me tell you…one the incubator arrives, I’ll fill it with eggs, and then we’ll have 3ish weeks to get the brooder cleaned out for the next round of chicks.
Home hatched chicks.
Eeeeee!! The excitement. πŸ˜€

Piglets will be arriving in about a week.
They’re ready to be off mama on the 27th. They’ll be 8 weeks by then, so should have a really good start.
We changed up the breed this year…thus far we’ve raised pinkies. But, they’re not bred for outdoor living like we like our pigs to live. It takes them time to adjust, time that should be spent growing. And while we’ve, for the most part, been happy with our end products, I feel we could do better with a heritage breed that’s bred for outdoor life.
So, with the help of a neighbour, we found 3 berkshire piglets.
I’m looking forward to seeing how our feed management and raising techniques work on these guys in comparison.

And finally, we have 1 duck and 1 chicken hen gone broody on a nest of chicken and duck eggs.
That started around the beginning of the month, so hopefully we’ll be seeing chicks from them soon.
They have this odd co-parenting thing going on, and I’m just letting them do their thing.
It’s either going to work or it’s not.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
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gratuitous horse picture, because every post should have a picture of one of the Merry Mares. πŸ˜‰

Our Muscovy Flock

I’ve wanted ducks for a looooong time.
I never quite convinced Hubby that we needed ducks until a friend mentioned her work had a pair that needed a winter home…
And then we got ducks. πŸ™‚
That’s how Jazzy and Rain got here.

This was taken on their first day here…

And then over the winter, our Jazzy ended up with a respiratory infection that he couldn’t beat, no matter how much treatment I gave him, and we lost him.
It was only a few months without his partner-in-crime before Rain followed Jazzy into the great duck unknown.

We would have been duckless, but last fall, a local woman was selling off some of her extra stock…turns out muscovy hens really like to lay eggs. And hatch them.
So when the woman posted a blowout sale where hens were selling for $2 each (normally upwards of $20-35!) I jumped at the chance to buy 5 ladies.
And then we worked out a deal for drakes for both our freezers…but out of the drakes we got for our freezer, Hubby and I decided that 1 might have to stay.
Duck eggs are grand, but bbq’d duck is better!
One thing we learned this winter, after putting a bunch of ducks into the freezers of 2 homes, is that we really enjoy muscovy duck meat.
So having our own little flock of laying/hatching/duckling raising birds is no bad thing.
1 step closer to self-sufficiency, I says!

This handsome fellow is the drake we kept…and the brown face of one of the ladies. πŸ˜‰

And here he is with 4 of the ladies…the 5th is just out of frame.

Now that we have ducks eggs being layed, hopefully one (or more) of the ladies will go broody and sit to hatch some.
And then y’all will get to see duckling pictures.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Damage Report

Well, so if Thursday’s thunderstorms were delightful, last night’s storm was frightful.

The day was beautiful for the most part.
Hot and melty, which always means there’s a chance of a thunderstorm.
I went ahead and cleared out a few of the small garden beds and planted my hot peppers.

After chores were done, I had a few minutes to have a coffee, before Hubby got in with groceries.
Well, The Kid and I watched the wind whip up and just as it started to rain, we figured we should go put the birds to bed.

Aaaaannnnd just as the last bird house was closed the wall of water hit us…

After the storm…

Before the storm the ground wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t showing any puddles. Everything from Thursday’s storms had already soaked in…last night it came down so hard and fast, the ground didn’t have a chance.

My crappy cell phone picture was taken about 10 minutes after the storm passed. The ground was already absorbing the moisture, so as much as you can see, there was more.

Preliminary reports are that we got just about 35mm of rain in about 45 minutes.
That’s a lot of water in just a little bit of time.

Today, I’m seeing what kinda damage we’ve got…

Good news first!

All the animals are fine.
No injuries on mares.
Everyone’s legs are good, might have a sore back or two from running about in the mud and muck, but that’s easy peasy to handle with liniment. πŸ™‚

Chickens and ducks are just happy to be out of coops.
Ducks were mad we made them go to bed early last night, but today they’re enjoying the puddles and earth worms all over the poultry yard.

All outdoor cats are accounted for.
Wet, a little grumpy, but everyone came to the deck for breakfast and pets.

Daphne just wanted to play in the puddle this morning…lol
And indoor cats, well, they just slept through most of it.

Sump pump has been working without issue.
Thank the Gods of Electricity!!

Now the not so good news…

Water in the basement from 2 spots.
The ground has been so dry for so long, once the water came, it couldn’t hold it back. No damage to anything, just wet spots.

Had a leak in the master bedroom…there’s a spot on the side of the house at the roofline that needs repair to the siding/metal roof.
Guess what we’re doing tomorrow?

And then, there’s my poor garden…

I had put in 13 of my tomato plants on Thursday.
I thought I lost them after that storm, but it looked like they held on, and with a bit of tlc, would be fine.
Not today.
Done. Gotta replace ’em.

Hot peppers?
What hot peppers?
There is no sign whatsoever that I had planted hot peppers.
Gotta replace them too…

Pasture is still under some water, so I’ll have to keep an eye on hooves. We made it this far without thrush, hopefully we don’t get hit with a round of it now.
But, even if we do, I have treatments that can put a stop to it fast.
And, tomorrow, I just may do a pre-emptive treatment, just in case.

All in all, we got hammered, but as always, we’ll pick up the pieces and keep going.
At least now I don’t have to worry about the pasture drying out and dying off too soon. The land really needed the water.
Rain barrels are full for when we do need to water the garden, and to give the chickens.
I’m not frantically worrying about the state of my well in drought like conditions.
The burn ban in the area should be lifted.
Once the water soaks in, the wheat on the big field ought to be just fine.
And everyone came through the storms healthy…

Can’t ask for much more than that.
Well, I *would* like to hit it big in the lottery, but that’s a whole different discussion.
LOL!
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