It Has Begun…

Seed starting space is still at a premium.
So I work with what I have…for now.
Peppers are started.

Only 6 varieties…

I wanted to plant so many more.
But these 6 will do for this year.
Spicys with the poblanos, Anaheims, big Jims, and jalapenos.
Sweets with the shepherds and red bells.
The shepherds are a first for me…last summer our local mega-mart (Superstore) had cases of them on sale.
They do every year.
Last year was the first year Hubby managed to get them before they sold out.
They’re a long, sweet red pepper that tastes like candy when roasted.
Oh. My. Dog.
I did jars and jars of pressure canned roasted red peppers.
So damn good!!
And then I thought “huh, wonder if these are open pollinated?”
Off I went to ask the google…because the peppers themselves come from a farm in Ontario (one province east of me) I figured they grow fairly decently in our climate.
I worried briefly about them being greenhouse grown, ’til the farm itself posted images of rows upon rows upon rows of pepper plants….so I took a chance and emailed them to find out where they sourced their seeds.
Stokes!!
And they’re o/p.
So guess who saved a whole lot of shepherd pepper seeds?
That’s right.
This woman did.
🙂

peppers!

So 2 trays of those, 2 poblanos, and one each of the rest. b
That’s my peppers started.
And my new grow light will arrive when Hubby gets home today.
Squeeeee!
Ima little happy about extra lights. 😉

And then, because I have so much time on my hands
🤦‍♀️🙄
😂😂😂
I decided to do one more thing with seeds this weekend…

With a recycled bag to act like a wee greenhouse, recycled peat pots, and a recycled mushroom tray, I figured I’d stick a few chokecherry seeds in to see if they sprout.
I saved them from the mash that made the chokecherry wine, and popped them into the freezer to mimic our crazy cold winter.
Now, we’ll see what happens.
I have nothing to lose if it doesn’t work, and everything to gain if it does.
In my opinion, that makes it worth trying.
🙂

Foraging

Y’all know I make wine…
Which is funny because before we moved to the Farm, Hubby and I had quit drinking alcohol the second I found out I was pregnant with The Kid.
Didn’t touch another drop ’til the move here.
Something about the highs and lows of Farm life make ya want a drink every now and then.
😂😂😂

Over the summer I had a chance to slip out to my brother’s 80 acres of bush and forage some chokecherries.
Being the first year I looked for them, and because he has so much poison ivy, I only found 1/2 an ice cream pail of them.
Enough for a gallon of wine, at least.

Yesterday, Hubby and I were over picking up chicken feed from the farmer who leases our big field and I noticed some black berries…I says, “y’know that tree we drive past to get back here, the one with the black berries on it?”
“Chokecherries” he says “Pick as many as you want…there’s a spot in the back where there’s tons of ’em…pick whatever you want”

So on the way out, we stopped and I grabbed a handful to see how they tasted (because they’re a bit past their prime, and we’ve had a frost) and they were de-effing-licious!
So I’m heading out to fill some pails, and my freezer where there’s space, so I can make more chokecherry wine.
And now I have a bountiful place to pick next year too!
🙂

Turkey Babies

Yesterday we gave the turkeys new bedding…plus Hubby gave them a sturdy branch to perch on.
The turkeys felt this was traumatizing.
They had to tell me in song how scary it all was.
After someone flew at my face and pooped on my phone.
😂😂😂

Ah, the life of a FarmHer.
Don’t get much more glamorous than that!!

Monday Morning Roundup ~ August 31st

Since my last post, the beans have exploded.
I’ve been (hahaha) picking and canning and picking and canning.
Today I’m picking again, since we’ve had 2 days of rain, and I can SEE the damn beans from the gate, mocking me, telling me that they’re growing bigger and bigger by the second and I’d better get in there and get them picked before it’s too late!
😂😂😂

I might be tired and a bit weird this morning.

One of my pails of beans from last week

I bought yellow bean seeds during the lockdown.
In a fit of irrational rage…because some friends in the US had posted in their local stores, seeds and gardening supplies were roped off and not allowed to be purchased because they weren’t “essential”.
So when I saw seeds in our small town grocery store, I bought them.
Even though there was no sign saying I couldn’t.
No one telling me they were off limits.
I was simply irrationally angry for those who *couldn’t* make that purchase.
I ended up buying a lot of seeds…and mailing a whole bunch of them out to people because fuck anyone who says a garden and growing food isn’t essential.
👿👿👿

Anyways, I still had a good amount of yellows to plant, so I did.
And the green beans are pinto beans we got as feed for our chickens last Fall.
I planted a few in pots in the house to see if they could be used for fresh eating, and yup, tasty as steamed beans when young.
So I planted a whole lot of the them too.
Plus I have a 50ish lb sack of them for the next few years.
😂😂😂
It’s a good thing we really like beans.
But, free food is free food, right?
I mean, the beans were given to feed the chickens.
Well, I fed chickens cooked beans all winter and *still* had enough to grow for us.
And still have more to grow for us.
No complaints from me, I tell ya!

This past weekend we started putting meat chickens in the freezer.
We had, earlier in the summer, an incident…
A coyote decided we were growing some mighty fine looking meaties and decided to help themslves to our birds.
*sigh*
It happens, sometimes.
This was our first huge loss.
As in, all the birds ear marked for sale were now gone, and most of our personal eating birds too.
Fucker didn’t even eat much of ’em.
Just killed them for fun.
😥
But that’s nature, and now we have to re-do the meat chicken house so it doesn’t happen again.

I was lucky enough to find someone getting rid of some meat birds she raised though.
The abattoirs are busy, and she couldn’t get a slot booked and didn’t want to butcher them herself…so she sold them.
I snapped up 20 of them.
I would have loved to have taken the entire flock of 80, but the money just wasn’t there.
Ah well.
20 to go with the 15 I had left made it so that I could get some in my freezer and fulfill my promised birds.
Left me nothing for sale, but at least the people I promised birds to got theirs.

Next up, another round of roosters.
Plus I have several older hens who are ready to go into the soup pot.
And then there’s those ducklings I bought, who are growing like freaking mad!
So we’re gonna be okay this winter, just not as flush as we had thought.

Last week we had this young lady traipse through the Farm…

😍 So pretty! 😍

Lucky girl that hunting season hasn’t opened yet…otherwise she’d have been going to Freezer Camp.
😂😂😂

And then, while we were doing chicken butchering on Saturday, Hubby got a call asking if we wanted some wheat for the chickens.
Um, yeah!!
So we got the back of our truck filled to over flowing with freshly combined red wheat.
And now I’m searching for a grain mill, because I feel like making wheat beer, whiskey and wine are gonna be necessary…and after malting, I have to crack the grains to do it.
So that’s my next purchase…because homemade booze is a good thing.
🙂

Monday Morning Round Up

What a week last week was!
Hatching, weeding, canning…

I’m still weeding the garden.
I’ll forever be weeding the garden.
But, the weeds come out easily because of the straw mulch between the rows.
I need to get more straw down to smother them, but I’ve run out of bales for that…I’m working on using some of the older, more composted bales, but that’s slow going and I am but one human. 😉

Canning…
We did a round of roosters last weekend, so once the carcasses were cleaned and I made soup stock, I picked off whatever meat I missed, put it in jars and covered it with stock. 90 minutes in the pressure canner (quart size jars) and voila!! 5 meals of ready to use chicken on the shelf.
Good for soup, stir fry, sandwiches, fajitas…or whatever tickles our fancy at the time.

Hatching…
No pics yet.
I have to do that yet.
But
13
We had 13 turkeys hatch.
So now those little dudes are bopping around the brooder, eating, drinking, pooping, being cute…
All in all, it’s slightly more than a 50% hatch rate (I had 2 dozen eggs) but when each poult is going for $15 each, my $70 investment in eggs paid off with 5 hatching.
13 puts me way out ahead of the game.
Now I can clean up the incubator and put it away ’til next year.

And then yesterday, we did a thing…
😂😂😂

I keep talking about food security, especially in these uncertain times.
It’s a huge reason why we’ve hatched out as much poultry as we have.
Because somewhere in the future things are gonna go sideways again.
And I aim to make sure me and mine are well fed.

So when I came upon an ad for muscovy ducklings at a ridiculously cheap price, I said to Hubby “Wanna go on a road trip tomorrow?”
Next thing you know, we’re picking up these guys…

4 of ’em are 6 weeks old, the other 10 are 3 weeks old

The boys will grow out, enjoying life, eating bugs and grass and grains, and then go to Freezer Camp.
The girls (if there are any) will join our flock of muscovy ducks to produce eggs/chicks next year.

Ain’t they cute?

This year we had 2 hens go broody.
Nothing hatched though because they were continually stressed by chickens trying to steal their nests.
Grrrr!!
So we’re working on another yard for ducks, where the girls can nest without worry of the chickens annoying them.
Actually, we’ve popped the duck over into the once-was pig yard.
And they seem to be doing well there.
For winter though, they’ll be back into the main coop and then go back as soon as we can move ’em to the pig yard come spring.
I aim to be over run by muscovy duckling next year.
I keep hearing how they’ll do that if you don’t collect eggs.
I’m looking forward to it!!
🙂

Oh, then I stopped in at our favorite Pumpkin Farm.
The owner had made a post about having pickling cukes for sale, so I asked her for 10 lbs.
My cucumbers never make it to jars.
We always eat them as fast as they grow.
So with the chance to support a local small farmer, and all around good person, I jumped at buying 10 lbs.
That’s my job for tomorrow.
Today I realized I used the last of my pickling spices when I made pickled beets last year, so I have to get Hubby to stop and pick some up for me.
Tomorrow I make dill pickles.
Yum!!

And now I’m off to continue weeding…which includes clearing the weeds out of the spot where we’re building the greenhouse.
Because weeding never ends.
🙂

Turkeys!!

The chirping started, oh so quietly on Wednesday.
So quietly that I, in fact, thought I was hearing things, that it wasn’t happening.
I heard a quick burst at 8:30am and then nothing…’til later on in the evening.
Next morning??

Holy. Moly.
Several voices had broken through and were chirping.

Today?
Almost a constant song from many voices!

There’s a good amount of ’em in the incubator.
Not sure how many yet, because I don’t want to compromise anyone who might still be working on breaking out.
Today is only day 29…turkeys take 28 days.
By tomorrow morning, we’ll be ready to get them out into the brooder.

I’m good with keeping them inside another night yet…even if the chirping will drive us nuts.
Turkey poults are so much louder than chicken chicks!!
But, I am happy that we have many voices.
Fingers crossed I can raise them well and that we have a few to keep as a breeding pair(s).
🙂
I hope to take some pictures of them this weekend when we do move them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally got my gate up on the garden.
YAY!!
Not the gate I wanted…

But it’s the gate that I got…
We had it here from another project that it didn’t get used for, so we figured putting it up on the garden was the best plan.
And it does the job.
Easy to open one handed (like when I’m trying to empty the compost pail from the kitchen) and keeps out the feathered assholes who think that garden produce is for chickens.
🙄🙄🙄

I will be painting a sign that reads “Witch’s Garden” to hang on it. 🙂
Plus, I finally have a home for this super cool owl carving…

The owl will be the garden guardian.
If only the owl would weed…
😂😂😂

First round of roosters is done.
If it wasn’t supposed to be blazing hot this weekend, we’d be doing more.
But, hot Saturday, rainy Sunday.
I will not complain about the rain though!
We’re dry and crispy and definitely in need of moisture.
Thank goodness for that hose and sprinkler for the garden.
I’ve sure been making use of it.

Anyways, we did 12 roosters.
So we have 6 meals of breasts, 4 pkges of ground chicken and 5 jars of chicken with stock.
And I’ve got at least another 4 dozen roos to be done before winter hits.
Just wait…soon the bean will be producing (because holy moly, flowers!!) and I’ll be canning every darn day.
Or, it’ll feel like it.
But, winter is coming and I’ve got some baaaaad feelings about this one.
So I’m just gonna keep working on my food stores, saving as much money as I can, and making the garden expansion/greenhouse build top priority.
I feel like we’re gonna need as much set up to be self sufficient as possible.
And I certainly don’t think we’ll be able to rely on anyone but ourselves.
:/

At the end of the day though, I hope those niggling feelings are wrong.
Don’t think so.
Planning like they aren’t.
But hopeful they are.

August 1st

Welp, this summer is going too fast…and too slow at the same time.
August 1st already.

We have blossoms all over the yellow beans, so there should be a decent bean crop.
Hubby picked up a new hose and spray nozzle for me, so I can now run the hose aaaaaallllll the way from the hydrant to the garden….they’re at opposite ends of the Farm yard.
*sigh*
We have a hose hookup on the house, but for some reason, the outdoor hose hookup is *after* the water softener.
Yes, because I want soft water to use on the plants.
🙄
So I don’t use that water line…can’t anyways, because we had to cap it off after it burst one winter (shut off valves, people!!! Use frickin’ shut off valves!!) when the lines froze…
Either way, no real loss.
And I have a new hose, with a sprinkler.
🙂

My almost-dead-might-as-well-plant-the-survivor tomato plants have blossoms on them.
There’s 2 ropreco paste tomatoes, who are supposed to be prairie hardy.
Clearly, these 2 are, because they went a month with nothing but rain water and in full blazing sun before I decided to plant them proper….and now, after roughly 2 weeks, they’re blooming.
Heh.
Tough as hell, survive through damn near anything…that’s tomatoes I’m gonna save seeds from (yep, they are an heirloom variety) because *that’s* the kinda toughness I need from a tomato plant in my garden. 😉

I have zucchini fruiting, and I’ve gotten a decent amount of Lamb’s Quarters put up for winter too.
Gotta love them edible weeds! 😉

Tomorrow is lock down day for the turkey eggs.
We take out the turners, do a quick candle to see how things are developing (fingers crossed for a good hatch…*please* let it be a good hatch!!), adjust temp./humidity and then close ’em up and wait for chirping.
Later this weekend we’ll play switch around with housing on some of the later hatches that haven’t been fully integrated with the main flock.
But first, today is Rooster Rehab day.
It’s time for some of the boys to full fill their destiny as sausage.
Which will make *a lot* of the hens happy.
There’s all too many roos running around out there right now…but we knew that wold happen with hatching out so many chicks.
But that’s a part of our self sufficiency.
Extra roos feed the humans and felines for winter.

Check out the Farm Instagram for pics.
Still haven’t had Voldemort out for fresh images, just my phone camera.
But you can see pics there.

Have a great (long) weekend folks!
🙂

Rain

Yesterday and last night we got rain.
A lot of it.
Which is good because I hate watering the garden. My hose doesn’t reach so I have to use watering cans,
I do it, but I complain about it.
Mostly because my garden is fairly big and watering can after watering can gets tedious.
It’s kinda hilarious…especially since we’re working on expanding it.
😂😂😂

But the rain has also made the grass grow, and that becomes hay.
That’s what I’m doing today.
Cutting hay.
Hay here in the Farm yard.
Then hay up on the side access road beside our property.
Then hay over at a friend’s place where she can’t get into with machinery.
Here hay, there hay, everywhere hay, hay…
😂😂😂

Not that I’m complaining because every bit of hay I cut and put up gets us closer to being able to keep a ewe or 2 over winter.
😉
Because sheep, and I refuse to keep animals I cannot feed.
So, I work my rump off to make sure we can feed ’em.

Then tomorrow I’ll be back at weeding the garden.
Which is food for not only us humans but them darn meat chickens…because meaties do love when The Food Lady tosses them weeds to eat.

My new statue addition…

Check out my new-to-me statue!
She came from the local dump.
Yup, our dump allows us to “shop” so that things can be recycled.
I ❤ LOVE ❤ that.
We’ve gotten building materials, gardening things, hardenable steel for Hubby’s forge, and now a new garden statue.
She’s concrete and just about 15 inches tall.
Ima clean her up, give her a fresh coat of paint and enjoy her beauty.
🙂

And now, on with the day!
Gotta go cut the hay.
😉

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.
🙂

That makes me much happier.

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.
🙂

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