Weekend Project

This is how it started…
5 (almost 6) yards of 3/4″ limestone gravel.
And Daphne.
πŸ˜‰

Midway through…
We were hauling it by 3 gallon pail loads (because 5 gallon loads were too heavy) but it was clear we were gonna run out of energy *fast* if we didn’t get it closer to the end spot.
Thank heavens for the tractor!

It’s just about 8 inches deep at the foundation.
Hubby fixed the rotten boards on the deck, hauled out the gross flax straw bales that were against the house (they’ve been there since we moved in and they were vomit worthy, lemme tell you!), spray foam insulated aaaaaaalllllllll the nooks and crannies, and then we began hauling gravel.
So, 8 inches at the foundation, and it eases out to roughly 2 inches at the end, and then there’s these loads to spread yet.
This will be roughly 1-1 1/2 ” deep.
Just enough to discourage the feathered assholes from dust bathing and cats from pooping under there.

We are very tired from this.
This weekend brings the next task…
Basement lighting and cleaning.
*sigh*
Because it. never. ends.

It’s the Weekend…

Not that that means much here.
Work doesn’t stop just because it’s Friday, know what I mean?

This weekend is gonna be a back breaking one.
Tomorrow, we have 5 cubic yards of 3/4″ limestone being delivered.
Let me tell you why…

It all started with those feathered assholes.
Y’see, when your chickens free range (whether you want them to or not) and do whatever the hell they please, sometimes they create problems.
Like around the foundation of the house.
Because under our deck is dirt with a bit of gravel.
If you know chickens, you know this is exactly where these assholes want to dust bath.
*sigh*
Which means they’ve dug holes beside the house and we have water getting in from the low spots when it rains.
It also makes it easier for rodents to find their way into the house.
And THAT make me very un-fucking-happy.
So, instead of sending every single feathered asshole to Freezer Camp, we’re clearing out the mess under the deck, re-insulating the spots that need it, putting up more metal to protect the insulation and covering everything in gravel that is not attractive at all to chickens to dust bath in.

That means a whole lot of buckets of gravel filled, hauled to the guy under the deck, where he dumps them and rakes it out to the depth we want.
It’s gonna be a lot of work.
And it better keep those jerk birds from doing this again.
Or they become soup.
Not even kidding.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

It’s also gonna be really effing hot while we do this, and I wish we had bought a pool.
I do think we’ll set up the sprinkler a time or two.
Which oughta please Sable to no end…that horse and water…
Of course, there will be copious amounts of alcohol for when the work day is done.
And maybe a bonfire if the wind allows for it.

Ruby says the excessive heat is bullshit…
I says she’s right.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And on the subject of feathered assholes…
Next week will see chirping in the incubators.
Aside from potentially hatching turkey eggs, this will be our last round for the year.
Otherwise we have to over winter too many birds, while they get to edible size.
We’ll be well over 200 birds hatched out this season, so I’m sure we’ll have plenty of roosters for Freezer Camp.
My first round alone has more than 20, so I think we’ll be okay for chicken for winter.

Anyways, butchering chickens is a task for a much cooler time, a few months from now.
Right now, we have to focus on fixing the damage them stupid birds have done.
Yeehaw.

Stay cool friends, and enjoy your weekend!
πŸ™‚

July 1st

Happy Canada Day!

It’s another warm one here, though no where near as bad as it’s been the past few days.
Last night we got an amazing down pour of rain.
It’s made everything growing perk up a lot.
5 days ago I planted just about 800 bean seeds in the garden.
Whole rows popped up overnight.
I’m so happy to see that!!
Tomatoes and peppers are outside (not planted yet) and came though a-ok.

Only downside is the pressure is killing my head.
I’m sitting in the air conditioning, drinking beer and trying to ignore the migraine trying to rip my head off.
:/

I’m also editing a few pictures I took today.
We popped over to the local horse Rescue to take some shots.
So I’ve got those working, as well as a few of the mares here.
Because how can I take pictures of other horses and not my own?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I’m actually marveling over how well our CinderBella (Sable) is doing this year.
2 years ago at this time she was so sick…we had no idea what was wrong and honest to Dog, I wasn’t sure she was gonna pull through.
I spent many a night praying to Epona for clear guidance on whether to let her go or not.


Thankfully, as we were reaching our financial limit, Epona said “It’s not her time yet, she has more to do for Me” and our sweet mare made an abrupt turn around.
I cannot express how grateful I am for that turn around…to this day, we still don’t know what caused the infection that made her sick, or even where exactly it was…we know she has arthritis in her TMJ, but that shouldn’t/wouldn’t have caused the infection.
Either way, she’s been running at anywhere from 95-100% heathly since.
She is such a special horse and we are so lucky to have her in our lives.
πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

I’m Meeeelllltting….

Yup.
Melting.
It’s really hot.
We’re under a heat warning.
Hubby put in the window a/c yesterday.
Someday, I will splurge and have central air conditioning installed in this house.
Shoulda done it when we bought the place, but put it off and it never got done.

Should also buy a pool once day.
An above ground one that we can use to cool off on these blistering hot days.
Of course we’ll have to keep Sable from breaking out of the pasture and using it…that horse does love her a place to wash her feet, I tell ya!

All we can do it keep the animals watered, us watered and try not to melt.

Almost the whole garden is planted…except for the peppers and tomatoes and a few seeds.
I put a massive amount of beans into the main garden, to go with the ones in the straw bales…which are growing amazingly in this heat.
Most things are mulched to protect from weeds.
And I just gotta stay on top of the watering.
Tonight we have the potential for a thunderstorm with a lot of rain.
Wednesday is supposed to rain.
Pasture looks good still, even after these few days of blazing heat.
Mares are tired of bugs.
I’m tired of being hot and tired.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

But it is what it is and we’ll just keep on keepin’ on…
How many more cliches can she use???
lol

Tuesday June 23rd

Like my oh so creative title?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
So I’m a little tired and brain fogged.
It’s all good.
Still working on getting the garden all in.
Thankfully what I’m planting now is root crops so they can go long in the fall without problems.
If carrots and beets catch a hint of frost, it’s no biggie.

So, since my last post…

~ Peas and bean shave popped up in the straw bales.
~ We lost the last 2 turkeys.
~ I got myself on a waiting list for 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs. They’re a heritage breed and I figure if’n I can get ’em to hatch,Β  we’ll see about keeping a couple hens and a tom to create a self sustaining flock.
It might work, it might not.
At this point, I’ve only got time, effort and a wee bit of money to lose.
If it works, I’ll have invested less money into the 2 dozen hatching eggs than I lost on the 10 turkey poults who died on me.
~ Tax returns *finally* made it.
~ Hubby got new tires for his truck.
~ I caught up on all the bills.
~ And it looks like this weekend we’re gonna be toting pails of gravel under the deck to stop the asshole chickens from dust bathing right beside the foundation of the house.

😑 😑 😑

Stupid chickens.

~ We also redid the plastic around the garden, with more wood supports to protect it from being shredded by the wind.
~ Finally got hinges to get my gate built and put up too. It’s gonna be a wood gate, painted bright yellow with some silhouettes on it.
~ It’s almost hay time. As in, I just need Hubby to fix the point on the 2nd scythe (it’s longer than the ditch blade I had, but not quite a hay blade…but still, floats through the grass like a dream compared to the ditch blade!) so I can get ‘er done. It’s literally a 2 minute job for him…I just have to remind him. πŸ˜‰
~ I was given an old, well established grape vine to transplant into our food forest.
A friend and her partner wanted to get rid of it, and after some scheduling difficulties, the vine made it here.
So far, so good, it’s putting out shoots *everywhere*…I am hopeful and excited, because it’s apparently been very prolific in it’s previous home.
I’ll give it time to adjust here, then next year I’ll look at doing cutting to make more vines. Grape vines are a grand thing for a wine maker. πŸ™‚
~ Sunday Hubby and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. Together for 27…
~ Yesterday he turned 50.
I think we might be getting a little old. πŸ˜‰
But not so old we can’t do this Farm thing.

So it seems the theme for this summer is going to be the same as the last few dozen…
Winter is coming.
Gotta get the work done.
πŸ˜‰

Here’s a pic of the 3 stooges having a nap in the early morning light:

❀

Have a great day folks, I’m off to get back to work.

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Theme
and
Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday.

Here We Go Again

Yesterday was “moving chickens around again” day.
Y’see with chirping in the incubator, we needed to get the now 3 week old, fully feathered chicks out of the brooder so the chirp chirps have somewhere to go.

A while back, Hubby had bought a steel tool rack at a surplus sale.
It’s been sitting in the yard until we had a chance to figure out exactly where it was gonna go.
Yesterday, he layed it on it’s back and it became a temp. chicken house.

These are the 3rd hatchers.
There’s 40 of ’em there.

Into the brooder went 33 chicks, with one still working his way out of the shell.
Today, I helped that one finish hatching and into the brooder it went.
So, out of 50 eggs in the incubator, 34 hatched.
Of the last 16, 13 weren’t fertile and 3 died early on in development.

That brings us to a total of:

1st hatch ~ 45
2nd hatch ~ 53
3rd hatch ~ 40
4th hatch ~ 34

Total ~ 173 chicks so far this year.

We’ve had a few losses…like in the 1st hatch we had 2 die in one night.
2nd hatch, I forgot the 2nd light and we lost 7 of the 17 that hatched from LemonChicken’s parent flock.
But considering how may birds we’ve hatched out losses have been small.
It’s never a good thing, IMO, to lose livestock (especially if it’s due to human error) but it does, unfortunately, happen.

Today I loaded the incubators for the last time this year.
24 in the small one and 56 in the large one.

The other thing we did yesterday was move our broody hen, Owl to a spot she can sit on eggs.
That rack Hubby bought?
2 levels, so 2 separate areas for chickens.
Owl got her own spot with eggs, straw and food/water.
She wants to hatch babies, so we’ll see what she can do.

Owl

And then there’s Turkey and Lurkey…

nomnomnom

Doing much better, actually growing and enjoying time in the grass.
Singing.
Holy do turkeys like to sing!
Clearly raising slower moving birds with the walking stomachs that are cornish is just a bad idea.
These guys are so much happier in their own space.
πŸ™‚

That makes me much happier.

Turkey Observations

I’ve said it a few times, this is our first year with turkeys.
So far, there are a few things that I feel like I wish I had known about them.
I don’t know about other people experience with them, but our experience with them has been a steep (losing 8 out of 10) learning curve…

My observations on how to do this better next year include:

1. Definitely start them with chickens.
Turkeys (especially the white broad breasted we have) seem to be dumb. They need to have other poultry with them to teach them what the food and water are.

2. Definitely feed them 28% protein food…or higher.
We’re using Masterfeeds (one of the Big 3 feed companies in our area) game bird feed. Turkeys need that protein to grow, and they grow fast! They’ll be bigger than the chickens they’re with in no time.

3. Once they’re off the heat, put them in a pen separate from the chickens.
We didn’t do this. We should have done this. Next time, we will do this.
Once they don’t need the heat, the work of the chickens is done.
Let them grow out with their chicken pals and let the turkeys live together without the chickens.

4. Turkeys are to meat chickens what draft horses are to ponies.
This was my Kid’s observation.
Yesterday, we gave Turkey and Lurkey some hard boiled eggs.
Hard boiled eggs are like magick food for poultry.
Got a sick bird? Got a bird failing to thrive? Got a chilled bird?
Give ’em a mashed up hard boiled egg.
You can even mix in electrolytes if you like.
So yesterday, we give the turkeys hard boiled eggs to eat…that was the fastest we’d seen them move.
Ever!
So our theory yesterday that the cornish were eating all the food and leaving the turkeys hungry seemed to bear fruit.
Turkeys are slower moving, not quite as voracious eaters as cornish.
Cornish will strip the feeders bare in seconds and still tell you they’re starving.
Turkeys seem to think and ponder about their movements.
Cornish go like stink, safety be damned as long as they get the food.
Turkeys = Draft horse
Cornish = ponies

Which tells me that even though they seem dumb when they first arrive, they aren’t.
They just think slower. Move a little slower.
And don’t fight as hard for the food as the cornish do.
So it’s best for them to be in an area where the chickens aren’t gobbling down all the food, leaving the turkeys to starve.
I will *not* let that happen again. 😑

At the end of the day, I’m glad we’ve taken the time to learn about the differences, though I wholeheartedly wish we could have done the learning without the losses.
And we’ll definitely be growing turkey poults again next year.
We’ll take what we learned this year and utilize it to make for a much happier bunch of birds.
(My kinda luck, next year’s poults will be the exact opposite of this year’s…but a separate pen is no bad idea even if they are!)
And then I might consider adding a breeding pair…
We’ll see.
πŸ˜‰

Hello turkey!

 

Sunday Morning Musings

Sundays are egg washing day.
It happens other days of the week too, but Sunday always seems to be egg washing day.
It’s a constant in my weekly routine that gives me a chance to reflect on the prior week and think about the week ahead.
I have a lot of eggs to wash on Sunday mornings.
lol

This past week was a tough one, mentally.
We’re half way into June and my garden is still not planted.
It’s been so windy (right now, at this exact moment, the wind is gusting to 57km/hr) that to plant my tomatoes and peppers would be certain death for them. And it’s been too windy to move the tarp by myself to plant the rest of the seeds…
So I’ve been frustrated.
But…
Good friends come along and remind me that all things are possible with some determination, hard work and some humility.
So instead of doing more whining, I used a gift to buy the bones of our hoop house.
I may not have it for this year’s garden, but Hubby and I will build it this Fall so that come spring, it’s ready to go.
Enough whining.
More working.

I needed that mindset for the poultry too.
In just a couple of days, our turkey flock dropped to 2.
Now, I’m not sure why.
They weren’t showing signs of blackhead (a poultry disease that kills turkeys, and gamebirds), but were still dropping dead on me.
Frustrating, because I hate losing animals.
Raising them for meat is one thing, random deaths are nothing I want happening.
They were in with the meat chickens and the meaties are thriving.
Eating, drinking, pecking at bugs…

A ton of reading later, I was still at a loss of why my turkeys were dying.
I figured I might as well move them to their own pen and see what happens.
I grabbed one of our compost bins that we got when a friend moved (these make **excellent** poultry houses when needed!!) and put up a chicken wire yard for them. I gave them fresh water with electrolytes and cayenne pepper in it (cayenne is supposed to help with blackhead *if* that’s what was going on) and I gave them the high protein game bird feed they were started on.
Well damn if the little buggers didn’t start gobbling food and water like crazy!!
Could the meaties have been forcing them out of the food?
Could I have had these poor birds starving right in front of my face???
O.M.G.
Needless to say, I am horrified (and ashamed) at the thought… 😦
The one thing I hate more than random animal deaths is knowing *I* failed them.
Fuck. Me.
So as of this morning, they’re doing pretty darn good…lots of eating and drinking, lots of proper looking poops.
And singing!!
Oh, they’re singing again!

Now I know…once they’re ready to be off the heat and have access to outside, turkeys need their own pen.
Otherwise the cornish will eat them out of house and home and the turkeys will fail to thrive and die.
And that is not fucking okay.
But another pen?
This I can do.

Turkey

Lurkey

So fingers crossed these 2 little dudes (dudettes??) do well in their new-to-them-and-only-them home.
Turkeys were supposed to be our “taking a break from pigs, but need more food in the freezer” animals this year.
Clearly that’s not going according to plan.
But y’all know the saying…

Want to hear God laugh? Tell him your plans.

Today though, there is chirping from the incubator.
I have 24 of our mixed flock coloured eggs in there and 24 Ameraucana/Jersey Giant cross eggs in there.
And chirping has begun.
😍

I’ve begun collecting eggs for my next (and last for this year) round of hatching.
24 in the small incubator, 48 in the big one.
Then all we have to do is feed ’em, and let ’em grow until October/November.

Today I have 3 muscovy duck nests in the coop, with 2 being sat on by very broody want-to-be-Mama ducks while the 3rd grows for the next broody hen.

Today I will water the straw bales that I used last year for gardening and hope the beans I planted in them grow.
The bales were still there, they were well conditioned last year and are breaking down and warm inside this year.
I took a leap of Faith and planted hundreds of beans in them.
Beans we were given to feed to the birds, but I did a test grow out over winter and found they made excellent eating green beans for humans.
So I planted a whole bunch of them.
If nothing happens, I lose nothing.
If they grow and produce, I gain a bunch of food.

Today I will get Hubby to help me move the tarp, and I will prep areas for the rest of my seeds.
I may not be able to get the delicate plants in yet, but I can get seeds in.
It’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself and do the work.
I’ve had my whiney baby moment(s) and now it’s time to dry the tears and get it done.
Because come the Fall, we’re still going ahead with the garden/food forest expansion.
It has to be done.
This world is too unstable to not have a massive amount of food growing.

Oh, and haying starts next week.
So food for the horses is being put up too…

And this is them mooching grain screenings, thinking they need more food, more grain, more fat.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
There was barely a lick’s worth in the bucket when Hubby let them stick their big heads in there…
But it made them feel good to hoover up the feed.

Still Here…

Still plugging away.
Working on getting the garden All In.
Ain’t there yet.

It’s been a spring of ridiculous winds.
Like way worse than normal.
So we tried a thing…

With no money to build the green/hoop house we wanted to do, we’re attempting to wrap the entire garden to create a micro climate that, hopefully, will help give our tomatoes and peppers a chance.

So far it has not quite worked out to plan…the very next day we had wind gusts in the 70km range.
*sigh*
We have an idea to use strips of wood to anchor the plastic better to the fencing.
We’ll try that this weekend.
Fingers crossed.

I have gotten some seeds planted though, and with much better rainfall so far this year, there is hope for growth.
I’m pretty meh about it all right now.
It will or it won’t.
Every year I get to the point of que cera cera and let it go, but this year feels different.
I’m tired and pretty over it.
But I’m trying to keep plugging along because I know I’ll regret it if I don’t. :/

Poultry seems to be doing well.
This coming weekend we’ll have the eggs in the big incubator start to hatch.
The duck eggs that were in the small one were fertile, but didn’t hatch.
By day 40 there was nothing going on so I opened them up.
1 had expired without much development.
The other 2 had beaks, feet and fluff.
If you want to see the pictures of the wee ones, go here:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOTdH0ACFU/

At least we know our drake is fertile. lol
Not so sure our last one was.
But we have 2 hens sitting on nests and a 3rd nest being built.
Hopefully this bodes well for ducklings.

Then, after this round hatches, I’ll fire up both incubators for one more time before calling our hatching season done.
That way the last round of chicks will have a chance to grow big enough for us to tell who’s a rooster and who’s a pullet, and the roos will grow big enough to go to freezer camp.
From there we can clean out the brooder for the year and prep it for next year, when I hope to be able to start hatching a wee bit earlier.
We had very good luck with 2 heat lights and some crazy cold weather this year, so I think we could get away with running a few hatches even earlier next spring.
The more food I can grow, the less we have to buy.
πŸ™‚

And here’s a sunrise picture of Astrid…to tide y’all over ’til the next post.
This is all I got for today…

Ugh, Chickens

Brrr, what a chilly morning!
May 30th and we had frost last night.
So glad I hadn’t gotten the tomatoes in the garden yet!
Next week though…that’s gonna be the big push to get them in.

There was a little bit of worry with a couple cold night whether the turkeys and meaties would be okay.
Their house has no heat, no light, no way to add heat/light.
So we gave them fresh straw to bed down in, kept the cross breeze door closed and hoped for the best.
This morning I was met with turkey songs calling for food.
And everyone was juuuuuuust fine!
I kinda figured they would be.
Everyone is feathered out, and they’ve been off heat for a few weeks now.
But I worry.
The very last thing I want is to lose a bird because of my foul ups.
All was good though, so much singing this morning, and so much happy with the filling of the food pans.
πŸ™‚

I finally managed to get out and take some pictures this morning.
30 days into May and I finally had the energy to use my camera.
lol
What can I say…it’s been busy, I’ve been exhausted.
That’s just life.

On my way into the pasture, I found this:

Oh look, someone(s) been hiding eggs.
This is my shocked face…but not really.

I had my hands full of the camera, so I’ll go out later and collect them.
Typically I float test to see how fresh they are.
If they’re iffy I hard boil them for the birds.
If they’re scary old, I just break ’em into a pan of grain and feed the birds.
If they test ok, we eat them.
Waste not, want not.

Today it’s sunny.
Our local dump has reopened after being closed due to SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus. πŸ™„
So this weekend is clean up of the farm yard, prep the garden, and straighten up the basement after our weekend of fun with the hot water tank last week.
Plus I have to set up with my Bro a day where he can come help Hubby replace lights down there.
When we moved in there was florescent lights there…now the ballasts are shot and they have to be replaced.
We have from our city house a set of light fixtures we were going to use there…we’ll use them here, with super bright LED bulbs, instead.

Oooooh, and the ducks!
Holy eggs in nests.
We have one broody girl sitting on a nest of 20.
We have another nest started with 12 in it so far.
And we have a horny teenaged drake who’s *loving* having 6 hens to hump.
So, fingers crossed.
Again.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And somewhere along the way, I need to get out and pick more dandelions for wine.
I’m getting there.
Slowly, but surely.
πŸ™‚

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Sunny.