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.
πŸ™‚

gratuitous horse picture, because every post should have a picture of one of the Merry Mares. πŸ˜‰

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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™‚

 

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.
πŸ™‚

Cheering on the Winnipeg Jets

Hubby is the hockey fan.
Ruby is a beer fan.
For every playoff game the Jets win, Ruby gets a beer.
Her first was on the 15th…

“Jets won their game, here’s a beer for you.”
~ Hubby to Ruby

“Nom nom nom…I like beer!!”
~ Ruby

“Don’t give any to Astrid!!
Pour it all in here!!”
~ Ruby

“Geez DadGuy…she’s spillin’ the precious all over the place.” 😑
~ Ruby

The Jets also won their game last night, so Ruby will get another beer tonight.
She’s rather happy with this arrangement!

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.