Winter Solstice

Shortest day.
Longest night.
Tonight we hold Vigil for the beginning of this year’s Journey back into the light…
.
Blessed Solstice.
πŸ–€
.
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When I think about the return to Summer, this image always comes to mind.
The epitome of the warmth and beauty of Summertime, with the bestest horse.
πŸ–€

December Update

Yeehaw, it’s December.

We’re alive and kicking…the cold is here, and everyone is staying warm.

Still no computer fix, but, it’s fine. I haven’t been interested in picking up my camera anyway. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Last week our truck was dropped off to get new-to-us tires installed…
Today we got it back to the tune 🎢 of $2500(ish).
Our mechanic noticed play in the ball joints, and the cv axle we had replaced in February was broken.
He pulled it all apart to discover the intermediate axle needed to be replaced…that’s what caused the cv axle to break again.
We now have all new ball joints, new cv axle and intermediate, new rear sway bars, spark plugs, front end alignment, and he tossed an oil change in too…
And the tires, of course.
Merry Yule to us.
πŸ˜‚ πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
if any one wants to give us Yule presents 🎁 send cashπŸ’°and whiskey πŸ₯ƒ
please
🀣🀭

Hope everyone is doing well and ready for the upcoming holidays. πŸ–€

November 6th

It’s November and I’m writing this post on my phone…and hating every second of it.

The power supply crapped out on my desktop, which fiercely fucks with all the photography work. 😑🀬

It’s going to be a bit before I can replace it, so posting may be light…suffice it to say, I’m still here, just not quite here, if that makes any sense. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I’ll be back to regular posting a.s.a.p.

😘

Ending October

It’s been a busy one.
Canning, butchering, more canning…
The tomato shelf looks amazing, with jars and jars of sauce.
All the white turkeys have gone to Freezer Camp.
And I put a bunch of them into jars too for quick meals.
Today I’m finishing up ducks and duck stock.
We’re now at our winter numbers for birds.
Have to say, I’m glad bird butchering is done, and we didn’t do anywhere near what we’ve done the past few years.
But tomorrow is the big butchering day.
Tomorrow we get our pig.
This year all we’re doing for “fancy” or retail cuts is loin chops, the tenderloin, bacon (because why have pig if no bacon??), and ground.
No roasts, no stew, just grind the rest.
And bone broth.
Because I love me some bone broth, so I’ll be making can canning much pork bone broth.
Might make sausages, but truthfully, we tend to eat a lot of crockpot meals with ground meats throughout the winter, so ground is going to be better for us. Especially with all the tomato sauce I have jarred. πŸ˜‰

And the duck coop/greenhouse will be finished today.
Hubby and The Kid are putting the roof sheathing and metal on today, and then, the birds can move in…
Then it’s just a deep clean of the chicken coop, move Lenny and Karl’s coop to the garage (after we get our hay delivery, because 6 bales go straight in for spring/next year) and get next year’s garlic planted.
We heard from our Hay Guy yesterday and have delivery set up in a couple weeks…mares are still nommin on long pasture, and I have a line on a few round bales, so if we get short before our Guy can get to us, I’ll grab a couple rounds and put one out.
Got straw home for the birds, with a chance for another dozen small bales for winter.
Tomorrow I’ll make arrangements for rounds of straw for the mares, since we get rounds from the same farm as we get our piggie.
And that’s where we’re at…
Busy, getting ready as we can for stupid winter.
But, here’s a cute picture of Lenny and Karl (our incubator ducklings) for ya:

Karl has the dark beak, Lenny the pink one…think “Lenny and Karl” from The Simpsons…

Planning Next Year’s Garden

As I’m finishing up this year’s garden, I’m taking stock of what we have as left overs from last year’s season.
Like, I discovered we still have 19 pints of carrots on the shelf from 2019…in 2019 there was a killer sale on 10lb bags of carrots, we bought 4 of them, I canned 42 pints and 5 quarts.
Now in 2022, I still have 19 pints.
So clearly, I don’t have to plant (or can) as much carrots, because we’re not going through them very fast.
And, if I get them on sale big time at the mega mart, it’s not a big deal to not have as many growing in the garden.

Same with beets.
Now, pickled beets fly outta here like mad.
Between us and my Uncle, beets are a hot commodity.
So a couple rows of them is still a good idea.
Problem with them this year, is the voles had a damn good time eating the beets.
And the cats and chickens ate a lot of voles.
πŸ˜‰
Nature happens, right?
But dang if I want to be planting tons of beets for the damn voles.
I have found tho, that in the local gardening groups *tons* of people have had vole problems this year.
It really does seem to be a bad year for them.
We’ll see what happens next year.

What we do need more of is tomatoes.
And green/purple/yellow beans.
Neither one of those produced enough for our yearly needs.
Oh, they produced very, very well.
I just didn’t have *enough* plants of them.

Onions are off the list too…it’s easier for us to hit the local potato farm and buy a 50lb bag.
Same with potatoes.

Ah, but peppers, that’s a different story.
I have a poblano plant growing inside that will provide seeds so that we can have a lot of poblanos growing in the garden next year.
And also shepherd peppers (which are a sweet red pepper) to grow as well.

I’m also looking at more perennial plants, because I’m old and tired.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Okay, I’m not that old, but I am getting tired.
Especially with the butchering too.
So raspberries, more apples, a big patch of asparagus, more grapes, and black currants too.
And, of course, the perennial medicinal plants too…

I think that’s why I felt like I had to take a good hard look at what we use frequently, and what we don’t.
And decide what we really need to grow and what we can skate by on buying local.
I have all that season I don’t want to name to think about it.

End of September

Here’s where we’re at…

2 turkeys went to Freezer Camp…Dingus and an auburn Narragansett.
Still have the rest of the whites to do, and another tom.
2 muscovy drakes joined them.
They were dicks and needed to be culled from the flock…leaving us 3 drakes to over winter with the hens and younglings.
1 pekin drake has been done.
We ordered 10 pekin ducklings and in a very odd twist, it seems like we got 2 drakes and 8 hens. That’s wild, because normally you get more boys than girls.
So we have to narrow down the last of the pekin hens we’re keeping and butcher the rest.
3 geese are in the freezer too.
Leaving us our breeding pair.

Garden is starting to clear out.
All but 4 tomato plants are stripped and pulled.
Beans are done (except for my blue lake pole beans and my rattlesnake beans, which I’m leaving as long as possible for seeds).
I’m working on pulling carrots, beets and onions.
Then I’ll mow the entire thing and cover with straw.
I moved a few rhubarb plants to new spaces, and I’m working on an asparagus bed.

I have the chance to get some horseradish plants later on this fall, so I have to get my 1/2 whiskey barrel planters situated where I want that.
I love horseradish and love the idea of growing it, but it can take over fast, so it must be contained.
The barrels moved out here with us from the city house and have sat empty of plants since.
It’s time for them to be filled.

Our load of duck eggs in the incubator produced 4 ducklings.
2 strong ones (so far, knock on wood), 2 that needed help to emerge and ended up passing.
The incubator has a difficult time keeping humidity levels high enough for ducks (I really hate styrofoam incubators…like really, really hate them), so sadly, it ends up shrink wrapping the poor little dudes into the membrane within the shell and suffocating them.
So eff that crap.
I’m on the hunt for a better incubator for doing ducks.
Something that can hold humidity better.
I fear I may have to make a bigger investment than I want too…
But
As far as sustainability goes, it would be a good investment, because of course, there are other birds here to incubate as well as ducks, so it’s not like it won’t get used. Often.

We moved the little chickens (10 each lavender orpingtons and jersey giants) into the main chicken coop.
It’s only been 1 night, and they’re confused af about not being able to get back into their former house (that’s where the 2 ducklings are), but after a night or two of being carried back to the right coop, they’ll get it.
We have at least 7 roosters between the 2 breeds, so I have good pick for who gets to stay and who gets to be fajitas.
Then next spring we’ll be able to hatch chickens out again.
EmmaBird the turkey and her 8 kids got a yard added to their brooder…with a lid so she can’t screw off on them and the chickens can’t get in to steal the kids’ foods.
Littles get a high protein feed that the regular chickens just don’t need…but everyone loves like it’s candy. And I ain’t payin’ $30/55lbs to feed it to laying hens when they have their own feed to eat!

And of course, we’re still cleaning up the yard and getting ready for the next season.
I’ll tell ya, that spring flooding kicked the crap out of our back yard.
It’s so overgrown with horrible weeds that I can’t use the regular lawn mower on, Hubby has to use the tractor mower, but with all the stupid little chickens hiding in there, it hasn’t happened yet (and because we have other things that have taken precedence over mowing…). Hopefully soon.
I really would love to see *grass* growing next year, but I fear I’ll have to sow some seed for that to happen.
*sigh*
I guess I’ll worry about it next spring, after we see what this winter has planned for us.
:/

Babies

Yes, it’s a terrible time of year, going into Fall.
If you follow the Farm on FB, you would already have heard this, but we have ducklings hatching in the incubator.

We figured this was the perfect time of year to attempt hatching ducklings.
Muscovies are notoriously finicky for hatching artificially.
That’s why most people (us included) like to let the Mamas do the job.
The Mamas are excellent at it.
But, in the early spring, when they start laying, is too early to let the hens go broody.
It is *not*, however, too early to toss a bunch of eggs in the incubator.
So we needed to know we could get them to hatch.

And well…
So far, so good.
πŸ™‚

Happy Fall y’all.

Mid-September

And things are rolling right along.
The green/duck house walls are up, the metal floor is in.
Next week we pick up the OSB sheathing for the walls, then insulate, roof, door and move the little feathered arses in…
We’ll paint once they’re moved in.

Garden is still producing.
I’ve been growing out San Marzano tomatoes for the Northern Seed Library.
The tomatoes are finally starting to get a blush on them…so I’ll give them this next week of nice weather/heat and then pick them before the damn stink bugs get them.
Soon I’ll be pulling carrots and beets and canning those.
Beans are done. Ready to have the lawn mower run over them and be covered in a layer of straw.
Rhubarb has been transplanted.
Now I have 8 plants.
Harvested enough off the 2 main plants this year to have enough to share with my Uncle and make a small batch of wine.
Getting ready to start an asparagus patch.
A big one.
Not just a few plants in a raised bed, but more like a 5′ x 10′ space.
We like asparagus and perennial food plants are awesome.
Plus, since I have aaaaaallllllll these boxes and so many coops to clean, might as well put that cardboard and shit laden straw to good use as the foundation of a new gardening space.
Tomorrow (was gonna be today but that asshole named “migraine” has shown his shitty face) I’ll pick the apples off the 3 trees.
Still have the hawthorn berries to harvest (hopefully it’s not too late for them), stinging nettle seeds, and mullein too…then I think I might be done with herbals for this year…I think.

And then, we’re looking towards butchering…
There’s the turkeys, a few chickens, 3 geese, 5 pekins, and 2 muscovy to do this year.
Not too much, thankfully.
Though next month our pig should be ready.
That’ll be a slog.
I appreciate not having to raise it (a nearby farmer does it for us) and I hate paying to send them out to be butchered…so we do it. Which means a week of work for me, between the initial pick up day, put down, skin and breakdown into primals, then retail cuts, bone broth and canning…yup, takes me about a week.
And then I fall over from exhaustion for a day or two.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Just in time for hunting season to start (for us)…

Oh, and there’s 29 muscovy eggs in the incubator.
All of which are showing excellent growth.
This is an experiment based on advice I was given to hatch muscovy in the incubator.
Typically, they’re more difficult to hatch than chickens or turkeys, so I haven’t had any luck previously.
So far, though, so good.
I expect they all oughta hatch because I’m not sure where to put 29 ducklings this close to winter…
That would be my luck.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
But this is also the best time of year to experiment, because we’re not letting hens sit, but they’re laying eggs. Spring eggs are for babies that we leave the hens to hatch.
But it sure wold be nice if I could grab a bunch and set ’em in the incubator *then* let the hens do as they please…
So we’ll see what happens.

And then there’s the other myriad of things that need doing before the dreaded snow falls…
1. get the snowblower looked at (already in talks with my brother on that)
2. put up the snow fencing…and extra of it.
3. move brooders so they aren’t buried under the snow drifts again
4. get hay home for The Merry Mares
5. get straw for coops and horses home
6. find winter boots for The Kid and I
7. find ski pants for The Kid…she wore hers right the fuck out last winter…

I’m sure I’m missing things…I’m always missing *something*.
And through this all, we’re still dealing with Hubby’s random vertigo attacks that fuck things up for days at a time. But we’ll muddle through, as always, because that’s what we do.
πŸ™‚

Have a helluva week folks!

So This is Happening…

Remember I said we’re building a new coop for the ducks?
Lies.
All lies.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

What we’re doing is *better*.
Check this out:

That’s my greenhouse going up…and it’s gonna do double duty.
See, we needed something with a bigger floorplan for the ducks, and I need a greenhouse for 3 seasons of the year…do why let it sit empty in winter when…we can shove ducks in there!!

So that’s the plan.
Duck house in winter, by the time it’s time to put plants in there to prep them for the garden, out go the ducks to their normal spring/summer/fall coop.
And because our fat butted ducks don’t like to fly to perch, I might be able to get away with starting a few seeds in there…we’ll see.
It’ll be worth playing with and testing.
It night work, it might not.
I won’t know ’til I try it.
Either way, greenhouse is up, and finishing work continues…