Finally!

Something we’ve been dealing with here at the Farm for the past 7 months, through one of our areas worst ever droughts, was a leaking water line from our well to our house.
It has produced anxiety like very little else.
For months.

We tried contacting every well drilling place in the area.
We either were told “nope, too busy”, were ignored with calls never returned, or (my personal favorite) after being ghosted for months by a company, being told that we “were better off drilling a new well”.

So as you can imagine, as we’re watching precious water go all over our lawn, destroy our yard, potentially burn out our well pump or run our well dry, we were feeling less and less hope everyday.
In fact, we were at the point of looking for an excavator to rent and doing it ourselves.

In a last ditch effort, in a local FB group, I found a woman advertising her hubby’s plumbing business.
Being country folks themselves, I checked out his business page and found that he had indeed worked on wells, septic systems, and done excavations.
So I took a chance and asked on her post if our problem was something he could do…she gave me his number and said “shoot him a text!”
So I did.

And damn if Joe from Hooper and Sons Plumbing and Heating didn’t come through for us!
In a week he was out to put in a bypass pump to keep us and the animals in water while the wet area dried enough for excavation, and then Tuesday he texts me and asks if it’s ok that the guy who runs the excavator comes out to see the site…Um, YES!!

Next thing we know?
This:

It took them an afternoon to dig, find the problem, and fix it.
And we have water again.
Before freeze up.

Seriously, I sat down last night and had a good soul cleansing cry about it.

I’ve been fighting to find someone to help us for months, being turned away every single time.
And here’s Joe…gets it that water is important for a hobby farmer (he and his family have livestock too), that hauling water in winter from off site would be horrible, that we needed help.
And he came through.
This guy, I’m telling ya, is a genuine Good Human.

Now I just have to pay his bill, and he has to come get his breeding pair of Narragansett turkeys I promised him.
😂😂😂
The first time he came out, I told him, if he got this fixed for us, I’d give him a young breeding pair, and I’m a Woman of my word.
The hilarious part of it is, when I texted our thanks, I reminded him of the offer, and he said “I’ll see what the wife thinks” and my Hubby said “Oh Joe is gettin’ turkeys”
😂😂😂
My Hubby knows.
Because that’s how we got ducks…
Free poultry for the win.

But anyways, anyone in the Interlake are of Manitoba, if you need plumbing work done, Hooper and Sons Plumbing and Heating are the folks to get the job done.

And!!
Just to make it all more fun, the fix happened on a Loop day too.
😂😂😂
So here we are with aaaaallllll this grocery store food for feed piled up every damn place, and my house looks like some sort of crazed food hoarder lives in it and fuck…oh man.
I don’t live like that!
😂😂😂
Yeah it looked bad.
But free feed for the animals and cutting down on food waste is a very necessary thing.
It just happened to coincide with having other people in my house.
Oh well.

Water is fixed.
I’ll recommend Joe every chance I get (and we’ll probably get him out in the spring to look at our water softener).
And we can breathe again.
These are good things.

My Day with the Turkeys

Listen, I love raising turkeys.
They’re funny, they’re kinda cute in an ugly way, they like to sing which is quite endearing, and they call me all. the. time…it’s adorable, really.
Plus, they taste pretty good too, once they end up at Freezer Camp.

But, oh my gawd…
They’re so stupid. And they have absolutely no sense of self preservation.
Like yesterday for example…

So we’re set back about 200ish feet from a fairly busy gravel road.
The horse pasture goes to within 25 feet of the ditch, and right on the other side of the ditch is…the gravel road.
The turkeys have been ranging the yard and pasture mostly without incident.
Until yesterday, when they followed their stupid beaks, eating grasshoppers (YAY!!!) until they ended up in the ditch outside the pasture.
And then 2 whites ended up on the road.
Oh for fuck sake.

So out I go, yelling at these stupid birds to get their “feathered assholes back in that pasture or fucking else!”
And that worked.
For just about an hour.
🙄

It’s also super smokey here right now because of the winds blowing smoke from forest fires up north down onto us, so I had to do the bulk of the chasing by myself, since my Kid couldn’t breathe outside (oh the joys of asthma!)
But she did help catch a couple of the whites, who got their flight feathers clipped and tossed into the proper turkey yard with Dingus, Oscar and the gals.
No more nice Food Lady.
Time to get acquainted with the big boss turkeys on the Farm.
Like, right fucking now!

“I am the Boss turkey!” says Oscar

After another hour or so, I had caught all but two of the Narragansett youngsters and had them clipped and into the turkey yard.
Happily, Dingus and Oscar were behaving themselves and not beating anyone up.
It helps that even though the whites are younger, they’re big birbs, and they look out for the younger Narragansetts, so even without a lot of experience, they weren’t taking any shit from the big guys.

White in the duck yard before he figured out how to get out of there…

It’s good for them all to be together though.
The whites showed the big Narragansetts the joys of the extra foods the Food Lady throws them, and they’ll be safer away from the fucking road!

Yesterday was out first Loop pick up, so there was lots of goodies for birds to eat.
And then this morning, before I let anyone out, I added extras to their feed trough.
We got a lot of bakery items yesterday, which the whites love…bread and sugar are their favorite things.
I mix it into their fermented feed so they couldn’t just pick out the stuff they like, but had to eat the good-for-them stuff too.
Just like little kids.
I *do* call them my stupid children for a reason!

But the whites will only be with us another 8-12 weeks.
Then off to Freezer Camp they’ll go.
I must admit, I am looking forward to Freezer Camp…

And then I’ll have to integrate the last 34 turkey poults with the big guys before winter.
lol
No, I do not have a lot of turkeys.
Not at all.
😉

The Big News

First thing, though not really big news, other than it’s slowing me down a bit…
I’ve somehow managed to pull a muscle in my forearm.
Hurts like fuck to lift a coffee cup.
And of course it is the arm that swings the scythe…
But as always, things must get done here, so I’m slathering it in Absorbine horse liniment and continuing on about my day.
At night I put more liniment on, take a few tylenol and only cry when the cat lays on it.
🙄

Second thing…
Hubby had a 4 day holiday and has worked his butt off.
Not only did he help me get my first cut of hay baled, but, he also has 3 walls of the greenhouse built!!
Um, yup.
3 of 4 walls done.
Now we have to go buy more lumber.
And then the 4th wall and roof will be done, and everything will be ready for assembly.
Whew!!
It’s not huge, only 8ft x 8 ft right now, but it’s going to make a huge difference next gardening season.
And, it’s mostly the windows we collected going in it, with plastic covering where we have no windows, so, if I can get a few cattle panels, we can build a hoop house or two as well without putting a huge dent in the roll of greenhouse poly…while I continue to watch kijiji and the giveaway sights for a greenhouse frame for cheap (or free would be awesome too!)

Third thing…

We are now a part of the Loop program!!

Loop is a program that matches grocery stores with charities and farmers to reduce food waste.
Charities get first pick of foods that the stores can no longer sell, but are still good for human consumption.
Farmers sign up to get whatever can’t feed humans to use as animal feed.
We cannot use the foods we pickup for human consumption at all.
But, we *can* feed our food animals, who in turn feed us.
So it’s a fabulous way to reduce food waste, and to feed ourselves and the people around us.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have ranted and raved about food waste.
One of the biggest things driving climate change is food waste.
From the initial growing, to processing, to packaging to being left rotting in the dump when thrown away…all huge contributors to climate change.
This program takes the food that would be waste and lets us farmers feed our animals.
It really is a win-win situation, and we’re excited to be a part of the program!
Our first pick up is this week, while we get acquainted with the store we’ll be working with, and then the scheduler at Loop will assign us a day where every week we go for a pickup.
One of the great things about the program is the data tracking.
With each pick up, we report back to Loop what we’ve picked up from what section of the store.
That helps them compile data for the store to look at and see where they might need to adjust ordering and sales.
So really, it helps the stores be more efficient as well, which can also reduce food waste.
Again, it’s a winning situation all the way around.
So, like I said, we’re pretty excited to be a part of the program.
🙂

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.