Saturday Morning Plans

Today we have a whole lot of work on the schedule.
I mean, it’s a Farm, so when don’t we?
But this weekend is the weekend where we get a lot more done in the garden.

We live on flat, bald arsed prairie.
I fell in love with the place because it was what we were needing when we were looking for a famr…but if I were to do this again?
I mighta kept looking.
We have very few trees (most we planted ourselves), we’re surrounded by grain fields (our big field is leased out to a local guy…same guy we get the bulk of our feed from), and we have the shittiest neighbour across the road (but those happen everywhere, so there’s no saying we wouldn’t have had one somewhere else).

But, we wanted out of the city, we needed somewhere close enough MCFHubby could get to work everyday, and we needed something set up for horses…so really, this was perfect.
And I do love this place.
Challenges and all.
😉

So, our work for today…

The biggest challenge with the garden has always been wind.
Bald. Arsed. Prairie.
😂😂😂

Last year, we tried something that seemed to work pretty darn good though!
We’ve had to fence the garden to keep those asshole birbs
out…because chickens, y’know what I mean?
So what we did was hang plastic aaaaaallllll around the fence, to make a makeshift hoop/greenhouse.
In essence, we created a less windy, teeny bit warmer micro climate with the plastic.
Then, what tomatoes that I didn’t forget about were planted around the edges, next to the plastic.
Well…
Said tomatoes went in super late, were almost half dead, but they rebounded and gave us enough for a few really tasty sandwiches.
And so, we decided that we needed to renew the plastic this year…since we had only jim-bob slapped it up last year and it came undone on 3 sides.

So that’s the main task today.
Get that plastic back up.
Then, lay down the landscape fabric/weed barrier that we plant the tomatoes through.
That way, when Mother Nature quits setting us those frost traps…I mean seriously, I’m looking at the weather, including overnights and thinking about putting tomatoes and peppers out…and then I remember that it’s only May 15th.
Nope, not falling for it!
😂😂😂
But I can get 90% of the seeds in.
Pretty much everything but the beans and the corn. Though I can probably get the feed corn planted…it typically goes in earlier, but I’m not 100% sure where I’m putting that yet, so no big deal if it waits. That’s my whiskey makin’ corn. 😉

But first, feed store run and a trip to the dump.
Hoping there might be some good stuff we can recycle from the dump.
I love “shopping” at the dump!
It really is a case of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.
Last few times have been pretty slim pickings.
I think that has to do with our smaller, closer dump was closed by the RM (so yay, more bloody garbage dumped
on back roads by pigs 🤦‍♀️🙄) and more people have to go to the bigger dump by the nearest town.
Plus, building material prices are through the roof, so people are scrounging more and more.
But, if you don’t look when you’re there, you’ll never find anything.

Then we have to move chickens around.
This becomes a bi-weekly task in the summer.
The meaties are ready to come out of the smaller brooder in the Little Red Shed, and move to one of the brooders MCFHubby and The Kid built.
Man, them little birbs grow like mad and are little savages!
😂😂😂
They get so excited over food…even if you just fed them an hour previously.
But that’s how cornishX are.
Once we get them so that they have outside space/time, they settle down on eating every dang thing in sight.
And, once outside, they can eat bugs and slugs and weeds and be happy little hooting and eating machines.

And finally, if we have any energy left, there’s 3 mares who need some attention paid to their hooves.
They’re overdue for a trim, and today looks like a lovely day to work on some feet.
But, we do have to get the food production stuff done first.

And Ruby can have a nap while waiting for her turn…

Enjoy the weekend and the weather folks!

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful we have our Farm.

I am thankful for all the animals.
Food ones, pets, working animals.
All of them.

I am thankful that our animals have no idea of what’s going on out in the world.
I am thankful that it will stay that way.

I am thankful that we can grow our own food.
I am thankful that we can grow *a lot* of our own.
And that we can preserve it for winter.
And the the bulk of our veggies come from heirloom plants that I can save seeds from.

The world…
It’s getting uglier out there.
I read a FB post today where a local business, a computer repair guy, is literally demanding people show him proof of their c-19 shot in order for him to render services.
Anyone who isn’t willing to prove they’re had the shot, or show proof from their doctor that they can’t have it, will not be able to use his services.

My head is reeling from this.
People are congratulating him, saying it’s the “right and responsible” thing to do.
Did I not say medical discrimination was coming?
And who the eff does some computer tech guy think he is that he’s demanding access to personal medical records??

But this is what we’ve become.
The govt fosters this attitude with their pushing of shot passports to travel and attend events.
It won’t be long before it’s to work, to get health care, to buy groceries.
And anyone who might be hesitant or flat out can’t get it is discriminated against.
Think I’m wrong?
Again, people are *praising* this guy for medical discrimination.

At no time in history when humans have set a random group of people apart as “other” and “undesirable” has it ever turned out well.
Not.
Once.

We are on the brink of it happening again.
Whether people want to admit it, choose to see it, or not.

And I am grateful that, in the very least, I can take care of my family.
For how long?
I don’t know.

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday
(and I really am thankful, even if the post has a bit of a doomed tone to it)

Skeksies

Turkey poults look like skeksies.

I’m sure I’ve said that before.
But it’s true.
I call their hatching eggs “grow your own skeksies” kits.
Oh, and I juuuuuust happened to have made a deal for 3 dozen more Narragansett hatching eggs.
Nope.
Not addicted to turkeys.
Not at all.

I may, however, have to create my own support group.
I’ll call it Poultry Anonymous.
And we’ll meet on a weekly basis, enjoy wine and pictures of our poultry, and throw middle fingers at the govt, because self-help groups are “allowed” to meet.
Yup, sure sounds like something I would do.
😉

Look at that little face? How can one not be smitten with poults??

We had an impromptu shoot with this little dude yesterday.
The Kid grabbed them out of the brooder and onto the big mirror they went.
Of course it was scary (because everything is scary when you’re a wee little birb in a great big world!) and they called and called and called for their brooder mates…which made the big turkeys wonder what was going on.
It was really cute watching a couple of the hens, everytime this little called.
You could just see their brains go “Baby!! I want Baby!!”
So I said “Hurry up and get to laying eggs, you sillies! Then you can has Babies!”
I don’t think they understood me.
😂😂😂

I love those moments when they look down and see “another bird” so close to them. ❤

And then they poop on the mirror…
😂😂😂

And then, poor little pumpkin just got tired and sat down:

“Oof. Dis hard work. Birbs no want hard work. Just want eggfood”

Hopefully this weekend will be nice enough to grab a couple of the whites out of the brooder and we can get a few shots of them with a Narragansett for size comparison.
All in all though, every one of ’em is cute little birbs.

Monday

Busy weekend as usual.
We now have 3 brooders!
Hubby and The Kid have been on a building spree.
Thank goodness, because the meat chickens are going to need out of the coop in the Little Red Shed very, very soon!
Those nuggets grow fast. 😉

And then this happened too:

This time it was easier to link to the Instagram post…
That’s our 1st Hatchers, in their new little yard. 🙂

Just a couple of garden stakes pushed into the ground through some stucco wire and bam! Birbs can be outside.
Scary, scary, scary at first.
But we put their food out in the yard and that was enough to convince them to hop out and check out the great outdoors.
So their well on their way to becoming free rangin’ assholes.
Just the way we like our chickens…even if I do bitch about ’em.
😂😂😂

And now some outside world stuff…

Our province has gone batshit crazy.
Again.
Locked down again, and they just closed schools.
I guess they’re not done destroying the small businesses who’ve had to close, yet again.
And their not done destroying the mental health of kids yet.
And screw the folks who can’t afford to stop working to be home with their kids that are too young to be left alone, because we’re “not allowed” to have people in our homes or on our property.
Listen, I get that the virus is real, but saying that one life lost is too many while destroying thousands more is flat out ridiculous.
But, I have my suspicion that the school closure is an attempt to force the shot on those who might not want their kids to get it.
I really, truly hope that I am wrong on that…really, really, really hope so…however, the timing and the fact that the school closure was announced on Mother’s Day, 2 days *after* the businesses being shut down was announced…it’s too coincidental in my books.
Especially since the time frame where the kids should be heading back after this shut down just happens to coincide with the time frame where our province is opening up eligibility to everyone 12 and over.
So, I suspect the medical discrimination is just over that hill there…and I suspect like good little citizens, the bulk of my province will happily medically discriminate against anyone who doesn’t force it into their child, lack of studies be damned.
It’s funny as fuck to me that suddenly alllllll the people who’ve chanted the mantra “my body my choice” for years are now saying the shot should be mandatory.
Huh.
Pretty sure if I had no say in your medical decisions previous to the year the world lost it’s mind, you have no say in my medical decision now. Or ever.

And isn’t it interesting how that’s the big topic now, when you run into someone?
“Oh hey, get your shot yet”
The looks I get when I say “Nope.”
😂😂😂

And before anyone starts with the screeching about me being an “anti-vaxer”, just don’t…
2 things I live by:
1. my body my choice
2. informed consent
That’s how it’s supposed to be.
We own our medical decisions for our meat suits, plain and simple.
If that bothers anyone, well…🤷‍♀️

And…
Oh and this is a big one…
Do not even dare to try the whole “if you don’t get the shot, you shouldn’t have access to health care” bullshit.
Canadian health care is not supposed to discriminate against people for their life choices and who gets cared for.
So really, take that shit and fuck off. Way the fuck off.
Besides, Hubby and I have paid into that health care system for our entire working lives, and that health care has paid for other people’s choices that we may not have agreed with, and at no fucking time have we tried to have them stripped of access to care, just because we didn’t like their life choices.

So fucking remember that, when you say people who “don’t act right” should lose access to health care, ‘kay?
Everyone pays in here, everyone has access to care.
Whether you like “how they act” or not.
Simple as fuck.

And that’s enough of that.
Because I’m trying to keep that shit out of this blog, but sometimes, the frustrations ooze out…and damn if this ain’t my place, so I’ll write what I want.

But to finish it out, I’ll share a picture of Ruby from the weekend…

Being all pretty and crabby af because I woke her from her nap.
😂😂😂
I was *trying* to take pictures of her half buried in the straw pile, snoring her fool head off…but when she heard me open the gate she got up, hoping for treats.
Because that’s what a Fat Girl needs.
Treats.
😂😂😂
Have a great week folks, and don’t let the bastards grind ya down.

Meat Chickens Have Arrived

Back when Hubby, The Kid and I were thinking about how many meat chickens to order, we thought we’d settled on 50, like last year.
And then, something picked at me and told me that wasn’t enough.
I’ve been alive long enough to have learned to listen when my gut says something to me.
So I ordered 75 of the little nuggets.
And 10 white turkeys.

I figured with the success of our Narragansetts from last year, I oughta be able to get 10 whites to Freezer Camp size.
I sure the eff hope so, because things have not been going well with my Narragansetts I hatched this year.
My excitement over 16?
Dashed, because we’re down to 5…and may very well lose them as well.
Fuck.

Y’see, turkeys are very delicate.
Yep, even heritage breeds. Even though the heritage breeds are tougher than the whites, they’re still delicate little things.
As we were awaiting hatching, we evicted the ducks from the brooder, gave it a deep cleaning, sprayed it down with cleaner, thinking we were good to go with our poults.
Welp, as it turns out, there was mold starting in the floor.
I say again…fuck.

Turkeys are susceptible to mold.
Even when us humans don’t know it’s there, have no fucking clue it’s there…turkeys will be doing great, bopping around like crazy birbs, eating, drinking, pooping beautiful turkey poops…and then just drop dead.
Because their little lungs are that effing delicate.

So after the loss of 6 we thought “huh, this is more than just weak poults not making it”.
Hubby and The Kid whipped off another brooder like the last one I showed y’all…metal floor for ease of cleaning, fresh new walls, lid that’s easy to lift for air movement and a door for easy access that doesn’t let heat out…
Then, The Kid and I put fresh straw in, and I crawled into the old brooder to catch our remaining poults.
That’s when I found the mold…under the straw, the wood was wet. And there were small fuzzy spots.
Fuck.

Now we have the last 5 in the newly built brooder, nothing is in the old brooder until it gets torn apart and maybe refurbished…but it might just be scrap now.
Fuck.
I mean, we can’t really complain about it, if we have to scrap it.
The brooder was here when we bought the place, it’s successfully raised near onto 500 hundred birds…but I hate that I found out this way that there was a problem with it.
I hate that it’s costing little lives.
😥
That’s what kills me.

If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see the size of the white turkeys, compared to my Narragansetts.
The whites are a day old in the picture, the heritage birds over a week!
They’re all getting along beautifully.
I’m actually hoping that the whites will give the heritages enough impetus to keep fighting to stay alive.
There’s really no treatment for mold exposure.
Fuck.
But I’ve got them on high protein feed, clean water with vitamins, a bit of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar twice a day, clean fresh bedding every other day, and today they got some mashed up hard boiled eggs with the vitamins mixed in.
I’m trying my best to make the best of a shitty situation.
While hoping that my turkey hens start laying soon…because goodness knows, the boys are doing their jobs.
The very second I see eggs from the hens, I’m whisking them off to be incubated!

I’m going to bet dollars to donuts, that the second my incubators are full and working on chickens again, that’s when those turkeys will start popping out eggs…and then I’ll end up having to buy a 3rd incubator just for turkey eggs.
😂😂😂
Because that’s my life…chaotic, crazy, and always learning.

16!!!

It’s just a quick shot with my phone, but so far 16 poults have emerged!
I’m pretty darn happy with that.
Considering we keep having help from Daisy Mae with the cord being knocked out, and the humidity was a bit wonky near the end…still…16 poults.
Yeah, that’s good!
Fingers crossed for a good amount of hens this round, so that we can add them to Oscar and Dingus’ harem…any boys, unless they’re perfect/awesome will be Freezer Campers.


Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays.

Voices

Turkeys are hatching…

Hit play and turn up your sound!
There’s many little voices in there.
I’m so looking forward to meeting them all!
Humidity is still high, so they’re not quite done hatching.
When the humidity drops and stays low, then that’s an indication that they’re pretty much done.
That’s when I open the incubator and see if there’s any who need help out of the shell.
Until then, the ones that are out get to sing and dance around while they absorb the last bits of the yolk from their eggs.
They’re good for up to (and sometimes longer than) 72 hours in there without food or water.

The brooder is ready and warmed up for them, when they’re all done and ready.
🙂

New Brooder

Okay, so I kinda have the image issue figured out. 
I can embed Instagram posts right into blog posts, so that you don't have to click away from the blog to see images.
And, you can click the arrows on the sides of the images to scroll through multi-image posts. 
Whew. 
Took a bit to figure it out, and it's a fair bit annoying 🤦‍♀️🙄 but at least I can share pictures again. 
Until the next grand WordPress upgrade. 
GAH!!
Why won't they listen that the block editor is a clunky clump of excrement that is a pain in the arse to use?

Anyways, this is the new brooder Hubby built for me.
Since we have so many chicks hatching, plus 75 meat chickens and 10 meat turkeys coming in a couple of weeks….and…turkey eggs in the big incubator…
Welp, I need somewhere to put aaaaaaaallllllll the bebes until they’re big enough to integrate into the main flock…and we’ve been gathering (okay, *Hubby* has been gathering) free building materials from places that get rid of their wood pallets.
This brooder?
All recycled wood.
I’ve got some left over paint from when we were getting the house in the city ready to sell, so I’ll slap a coat of that on it…once the 2 broody hens in there hatch out their eggs.
😂😂😂

So y’know, local-to-me folks…if you’ve got any paint sitting around that you’re never going to use and don’t want it, we’d be happy to take it off your hands and recycle it!

I couldn’t help myself…

This is one of the hens who has been fighting me for the past week over collecting eggs.
She sooooo wants to sit a nest.
So when Hubby finished the brooder, I thought “why not?”
I collected 10 eggs, put them in the basket and put her in there.
Yesterday we added another 8 eggs and another broody hen.
I don’t need this brooder for another 3 weeks yet, so why not let a couple hens do the job?
😉

My 2nd hatch was 24 eggs set.
22 eggs were actually fertile.
4 eggs were quitters…somewhere in the incubating process they just stopped developing.
18 live hatches.
1 lost in the overnight the first night.
So 17 total, with 2 having to be helped after they pipped and couldn’t get out of the egg.
So far, I have 60 chicks.
With 18 under 2 hens and another 24 set into the small incubator.

If we have nothing else to eat this winter, we will have chicken.
😂😂😂
But my tomatoes are coming up now so I think we’ll have a good year, food wise.
I sure hope so!!

I Am Angry Today

Y’all know me…I believe in eating whole foods.
We raise our own meat animals.
We buy as ethically as we possibly can, as much as we can afford.
And we cook.
I believe in slow food.
Nose to tail cooking and eating.
Bone broth for daaaaays.
Long cooked soups and stews, homemade as much as possible.
Pressure canned jars of homegrown, or well grown, foods are our convenience foods.

My province, Manitoba, has the highest child poverty rates of all the provinces in Canada.
The Territories beat us out, and that has a lot to do with getting food into remote places, and people moving away from traditional foods and living off the land.
It is a huge point of shame in this country, in my province, that there are children starving.
Not just missing a meal here and there, but outright starving.
And our province is “reforming” the education system…
Listen, kids **CAN’T** concentrate on learning when they haven’t eaten.
Got that??
Hungry kids don’t learn.

Anyways, food security is a drum I have been banging for years…

Today, one of the local rescues made a post about chickens from a commercial chicken barn.
Here’s the link…

https://www.facebook.com/thegoodplacemb/posts/938191546917607

Go read it.
Then come back and read my thoughts.
If you dare.

Listen, I get farmers are running a business.
But folks, let’s be 100% honest here…
If we’re going to use animals, it is our responsibility to use them humanely, and to not waste them.
Animal proteins are nutrient dense, they’re good for us, and they are a part of a healthy diet for many.
But cruelty?
Waste?
Throwing perfectly edible birds in the fucking dump?
Not so fucking much.

This practice, this cull, is 100% about money.
The hens are culled as rate of lay drops, and new hens are brought in.
All out, then all in.
So if a barn has a thousand birds, a thousand birds go out before the next thousand come in.
But what happens to the old thousand is the problem.
Some barns sell to small farmers like me.
But this? What’s outlined in the link?
Happens more often than not.
That. Is. Bullshit.

So here we have thousands of birds killed and thrown in the garbage.
Why aren’t they being processed?
Why aren’t they being distributed to those who need food?
Remember, highest child poverty rate in the provinces.
As of Janurary 2020, 27.9% of Manitoba children are living in poverty.
Guess what?
Those kids aren’t getting enough food.
Y’know what could solve that problem??
FOOD.

*sigh*

But it’s the money, right?
It costs money to process those birds into an edible product for humans.
It’s more “cost efficient” to throw the birds in the fucking garbage than to feed people with them.
And if that doesn’t make people angry, then there’s a big goddamn fucking problem.

Farmers have to buy into quota for eggs.
So, make one of the conditions that in order to buy egg quota, they have to have a processing plan or facility in place for the all out time of year.
Farmers have to have a plan in place for manure management.
They’re supposed to have a plan in place for deadstock.
Why the fuck isn’t there a plan in place for whole barn turnover???
And why the fuck are we the people not holding them responsible for having one?

There is no excuse for this.
There is no excuse for hungry children.
See?
These 2 can be beneficial to each other.
Do not tell me that the best way to dispose of these birds is to leave them rotting in a landfill…
While people go to bed hungry.
While people in Canada starve.
While children starve.

That’s bullshit.
That’s lazy.
That’s crap.

Manitoba Egg Producers need to simply fucking do better.

And people, stop buying cheaply produced food products.
I know it’s hard.
Because there’s all too often not enough money left at the end of the month to eat well.
But seriously people, that’s where slow cooking, nose to tail eating comes in.
With crock pots, instapots in darn near every home these days, fast foods, processed foods, easy from the freezer foods should be a thing of the past.
It’s not hard to cook food.
Really.
I promise…it’s not!
And, if you have older hens like these one in the link, they make such a rich flavorful, healthy soup!
We have to get away from the idea that food is so easy to waste.
Honest to Dog, you want to do something to help climate change?
Stop. Wasting. Food.

But…that’s a whole different issue that demands it’s own blog post on another day.

So. Much. Chirping.

On Thursday I took the turners out of the incubator.
I thought it was day 19.
It was actually day 18, so I was on time instead of a day late.
Which was why I was worried when I didn’t hear chirping right away on Thursday evening.
It’s all good though, the birbs are making up for it!
Last night was almost impossible to sleep because of the chirp, chirp, chirping.
Tomorrow we’ll pull the ones that have hatched out and put them in the brooder, and start all over again.

Speaking of brooders, Hubby got one built for me.
Yay!
Check the Farm Instagram on the sidebar…
(I still haven’t figured out WP’s problem with me uploading images, so I’ll be recycling some until I do…and there’s always Instagram for current images.)
Meat birds come in 3 weeks, and when that happens, the current chicks will go into that brooder (and hopefully he’ll have the chance to build a couple more!) and we’ll go from there.

Yesterday I took care of two asshole roosters.
I had kept them back from last years hatches because of their size (big, big boys!) and because they were not showing the mean rooster traits.
I don’t mind so much if roosters are shitty with us humans *IF* they’re good to the hens.
Well, as the winter wound down, these boys started getting shittier and shittier with the girls, to the point where they were holding girls down just to hold them down, while pulling out head feathers.
I ain’t having that.
There’s way too many nice boys out there to put up with that garbage.
And so, they went to the soup pot.
No room in my poultry yard for asshole roos…
**LOTS** of room in my freezer for ’em. 😉
It wasn’t even that there were too many boys (we had before yesterday 7 roos) because I have (even though I claim only 10 😉 ) at least 60 hens out there. So there’s no excuse for shitty rooster behaviour.
Welp, now the girls can be happy because the mean boys are gone…and the girls happily consumed their innards.
😂😂😂
Yeah, anyone who says chickens are vegetarians ain’t never seen the glee in a hen’s eye when she gets the testicle from a shitty rooster.
😂😂😂

I had also planned on send Oscar to Freezer Camp.

But lately he’s taken a shine to Daphne…

Booooop the snooooot!

Daphne is not impressed that this big bird has decided he’s in love with her.
She’s not impressed by his dancing, prancing and turkey songs.
Nope. Not at all.
😂😂😂
Us humans, however, find it funny as hell…and when Oscar is busy trying to woo Daphne he’s not fighting with Dingus.
And Dingus then spends *his* time trying to woo the turkey hens.
So it all works out just fine.
Besides, I have Narragansett turkey eggs in the big incubator…Oscar can stick around until we see exactly what hatches for us there. He might get him a flock of his own hens. Or he might go Camping.
But there’s time to wait and not be hasty about sending him to Camp.