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.

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.

Monday Morning Round Up ~ May 11th, 2020

Things have been fairly busy on the Farm.

We moved the 43 first hatchers from the brooder to their transitional home in the poultry yard.
They are almost ready to move into the bigger meat chicken house.
That will happen this coming weekend.

We hatched out another 40 some odd chicks…lost a few due to my forgetting to plug the 2nd heat lamp back in.
100% fail on my part.
πŸ˜₯
I haven’t made that mistake again.

We brought home 10 turkey poults on the 28th…

Hello turkey!

Almost a week old here, and nearly a full pound in weight already!

With the turkeys we brought home 50 cornish x meat chickens.
We timed the hatching perfectly, so that the meaties and the turkeys are in the brooder with the hatchers.
We find that meaties learn how to “chicken” from the egg layers so that we don’t have eating/pooping machines. πŸ˜‰
It gives everyone a better life that way.
And the turkeys…
Yeesh.
So much attitude, so ugly they’re cute, and doing very well.
Fingers crossed they continue to grow well.
They’re broad breasted whites, so they’re like the meat chickens of the turkey world.
Bred to grow big, fast.
I’m hoping the do just that.
πŸ™‚

And on May 1st, we refilled the incubators with 64 chicken eggs and 3 duck eggs.
After this hatch, we have 3 more we can squeeze in before our hatching season ends for the year.

Hubby went a did a welding job for a friend.
I tagged along to take pictures.
As usual.

Not so easy to take daytime welding pictures.
I’ve asked him to do some night time ones with scraps so that I can capture the full lightshow.
Looking forward to that.

In other Hubby news, he went back to work today.
His work is set to reopen fully on June 1st.
His dept. is part of the crew getting ready for the regular line workers to be able to do their jobs.
So, they started 3 weeks ahead of everyone else.

I am torn on it.
I wanted him to go back to work, because money. lol
We have a lot of mouths to feed here, several very large ones…running on short income gets hard to do.
But I also enjoyed having him home, working here.
And of course, he gets the call just as things are drying up enough here to be able to work on building projects that need doing.
*sigh*
No surprise.
At the same time, I do also have a bit of anxiety about all this.
It’s hard not to.
6 weeks of doom and gloom and terror tactics used by govt and media to instill fear over SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus will do that to the most sound of mind people…let alone those of us who live with anxiety in the first place.
Hubby has been the one doing the bulk of the supply runs and being in contact with the world at large anyways, so how much I actually need to worry?
I don’t know.
But I am tired.
Tired of being told to stay home to protect others, being told that if I go out I could kill people because no one really knows if they have it or not (hence SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus) and I am tired of the hearty helping of fear created by those who have our “best interests” in mind.
When people are afraid to leave their homes because of what the govt and media are saying, that is straight up using terror tactics to control the public.
No matter how you feel about this virus, that is bullshit.
And I am tired of it.

In garden news, my tomatoes are huge.
Ready to plant.
So are my peppers.
I’ve collected all the seeds I want for this year…
Still need a few more plants though.
The greenhouse in town was open last week, so I made a trip through there.
Bought some extra tomatoes and peppers (because I can never grow enough of either πŸ˜‰ ) and some pansies.
I’ll go back as we get things into the garden and get more of each, plus look for some johnny jump ups (violas) just because they’re edible and they draw pollinators.

I’m still planning the expansion for next spring.
Found a source for the berry shrubs/trees I want to add out there.
Now I’m looking for a large piece of black plastic to create the large permabed area come the fall.
We have a few dairies around us that use silage plastic, so we’ll see if we can take away some from them once they’ve used the bales.

And then before the end of April, I took a few early morning pictures of the horses…because I can.

Ruby shaking off the after effects of a nap.

Sable having a lovely nap in the straw pile.
❀

Chicks!!

Just a couple pics of the new chicks…

It ain’t easy getting a decent shot with the red heat lamp in there, but I tried.

There’s so much attitude in this picture…what is with chicks and giving me attitude??!?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

They’ll stay in the brooder for a few more weeks yet, while their feathers come in some more.
Then we’ll move them to their own house in the poultry yard ’til they’re ready to fully integrate into the rest of the flock.
We’ll watch for roosters, band them, then start sending them off to Freezer Camp before the boy fighting starts.
And that will continue with each hatch through out the summer, until the freezers are filled for winter.

Life Goes On…

Today I pick up 2 dozen hatching eggs from the farm this hen came from…

Lemon chicken…she does what she wants.

She’s a hilarious hen.
Acts like she’s a dog, goes where she wants, does what ever she wants.
And I let her get away with it.
πŸ˜‰

She was in a batch of easter egger chicks I bought 2 years ago.
That batch of 18 gave me 5 hens.
We ate rooster that winter.
And kept one of them for fertile eggs the next spring…that was The Highlander.
The Highlander turned out to be an asshole.
Oh he was crazy handsome, but at some point in his life, he decided that going for my face with his spurs while I was picking up eggs was a good idea.
So I made soup.

This year, I had wanted some more colourful hens, and was watching for the same lady to post chicks for sale.
But then, she posted hatching eggs…well…I has incubators.
So I asked for 2 dozen eggs.
And today I get to pick them up and fire up the incubators for round 2…once I have enough collected from my hens to fill the big incubator.
Tomorrow should be fire up day.
πŸ™‚

In other news, the tomato seeds are breaking the surface.
Yay!
I’ll be babying those a long for the next 4-6 weeks, until they can go out in the garden to grow like crazy.
And yesterday I told y’all we finally got things figured out to get our mail done.
I have my seeds now.
I have plans to go forward with a huge new garden next spring…gotta wait ’til next spring because we already made the lease agreement for the big field for this year.
Next year though…look out.
Even if it’s only zucchinis and squash.
I’m working on growing food on a much, much larger scale.

Canada Geese

The geese have returned.

We’re right in the flight path of thousands of Canada Geese.
Which means they often land on our field in the spring and in the fall.
If it’s snow geese in the spring, we’re happy, because our fall hunting tag is valid for spring hunting of snow geese.
In the fall, we don’t care what lands, Canadas, snows…they’re both good eating.

One side effect of the geese arriving though, is sleep deprived horses.
Unless you’ve lived next to a hoard of honkers, you have no idea how loud they are.
And, at all hours.

This ^^^ is the face of a pissed off at the geese honking 24/7 horse.
She’s actually lying in the straw pile (from February’s bale explosion) trying to nap.
But those geese…they never stop honking.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Today we’re dealing with a snow storm.
I was a wee bit worried about my chicks, outside in the brooder.
But they have 2 heat lamps, a whole lot of feed and clean water.
They’re bopping around in there just fine.
We did lose 2 of them earlier this week.
It happens sometimes.
1 was really small, the other was normal sized, but it died under the heat lamp.
Either it was crushed in a pileup or it just wasn’t a healthy chick.
So far though, the other 43 are doing amazing!

Next run of the incubators is coming up…hopefully this weekend I’ll hear from the woman with the hatching eggs I wanted.
And then, it’s collect eggs from my birds and go.

I’m looking forward to that.
πŸ™‚

Wednesday Thoughts

Yesterday’s debacle at the Post Office left me thinking…and raging.

I have long been a very vocal supporter of growing your own food, knowing where your food comes from, knowing your farmer, and farm to table eating.
Long before we ever considered moving here, long before I started this blog, I wrote about, and practiced, growing as much food as possible in the space available to you. Hell, I’ve preached about growing your own and protecting your food supply for years.
I am a firm believer in owning as much of your food supply as you can, and supporting those who grow food with the same ethics as you.
Walk softly on this Earth, while growing as much as we can without damaging Her.

But I was caught short yesterday.
I was rather proud of myself to have placed my seed order last week.
Seeds = garden = food security, right?
Sure.
*IF* you can get them from the post office.
Which I couldn’t yesterday, due to it being shut down.
Oh, signs said “knock loud” and supposedly someone would answer, but we tried on 2 separate tries.
Nothing.
We know the seeds are there, because we got notice of a package and it’s the only thing I’ve ordered that would need to be carded.

But no one is around, no one is answering the phones, and it’s looking like if it doesn’t fit in your mail box, you’re shit out of luck.
Frankly, that’s bullshit.
We’re so goddamn afraid of each other, because we’re blitzed 24/7 about this damn virus, that basics are being lost.
Can’t use cash.
Can’t get packages…hey, what about all those small home businesses that are just barely staying afloat who *RELY* on the mail?
I know of at least 4 that use our post office.
I guess fuck them, right?
Fear wins again.
And livelihoods are destroyed.
I only hope those families have enough financial reserve to not lose their homes through this.
Because wouldn’t that be the shit?
Safe from the covid, but homeless because you can’t pay the bills…
*sigh*

But we’re not supposed to talk about that.
We’re supposed to be good and do what we’re told.
Stay home.
Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary.
And don’t forget to sanitize your groceries when you bring them home.
Do we not see how this fear is rapidly becoming absurd?
Sanitize.
Your.
Groceries.
I wish I had the face palm emoji…but I don’t because I harvest all the cool emojis from FB and I’m in FB Jail right now for asking a lot of these same questions.
See, not only are there snitch lines for people to phone the “authorities” when others aren’t behaving properly, there’s people snitching on social media and anyone who’s asking questions is getting social media jailed.

But I digress…

My point here is this…
Food security is hella important.
It was before, it is a million times more so now.
And the fact that I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll be able to get my seeds from the post office is infuriating.

But

Once I have them in hand…whether it’s the ones I ordered last week, or ones I purchase somewhere else (because I might have to *go* somewhere else to get them, as opposed to ordering online)…you can bet I’ll be working on seed saving from a lot of the things we plant this year.
I’m not going to fall into this trap again.
Thinking “oh, I can just order those. I don’t need to save seeds from that”…
Clearly, that’s just not true anymore.

So I’m learning how save seeds from biennials, like carrots (we go through so. many. carrots!), beets, parsnips…
And I’ll be upping the planting of beans, so that we have some at the end of bean season to save for next year.
Beans will actually be planted in 2 spots…1 will be for canning, fresh eating and dried beans for winter.
The other will be for fresh eating, canning and seed saving.
The dried beans for winter patch is a hybrid (most likely…they’re beans we were given to feed the chickens, but I test grew a few plants and they work very well for fresh eating) so seeds saving from them isn’t going to give me a true variety.
My seed saving patch is a lovely heirloom bean called “Painted Pony”.
Perfect for our Farm, since we do love our painted ponies here.
πŸ˜‰

And, over the next 2 years, I’m working on a plan to give us a massive garden expansion.
I’ve signed up for a few online courses/webinars to learn more about how to grow food on a larger scale, in the most Earth friendly ways possible.
I’m looking at permaculture designs that could give us several workable, growable acres of food forest/edible landscaping.
This I can do on the cheap.
While I continue to hatch and grow out chicks for egg/meat production.
I wanted sheep.
I will eventually have sheep.
But the fact is this…
Sheep means hay.
Right now, not knowing how long Hubby’s work is going to be shut down, I’m worrying about having the $$$ for Fall hay for the Merry Mares, let alone adding more animals that eat dried grasses.
And if I can’t feed ’em, I ain’t taking them on.
It’s just that simple.

For now though, it’s poultry and vegetables.
Focusing on securing those sustainable food sources for my family, and hopefully having enough to support friends too.
There’s not much else I can do.

Throwing in a picture of Astrid…because we all need to see her pretty face. ❀

Chicks are Out of My House

For that I am thankful.
I know people like birds as pets, and I’m happy for those who have them and love them.
Good for you. πŸ™‚

I, however, hate the stink of birds in my house.
So I am glad to have the chicks moved outside to the brooder.
We have 45 in total this round.
We didn’t have as good of a hatch in the big incubator.
Only a 50% hatching rate.
But, I was able to identify a few things that I can work on for the next round, and hopefully that will go up.
A lot.

Next lot starts in a week or so…
I’ve got a couple dozen hatching eggs on order from the same Farm LemonChicken came from (I feel like I may have told y’all this already lol).
I’ll set those with a bunch of ours, to hatch out for our meat chick pick up day.
Assuming that still happens.
Money is funny right now, since Hubby’s work shut down for 2 weeks.
It is what it is though…we have no control over anything right now, except for our ability to grow food.
So that’s what I’m focusing on.

We Have Chirping

*Someone* is a real go getter.
Chirping started last night.
On day 19.
Someone is ready to take on the world!
I say “go you, little chick!! we’re gonna need more like you!”

I ordered my garden seeds today.
Almost everything I didn’t have for the garden already.
Still want to get onion sets and a couple trays of johnny jump ups.
But those come later.
At least for today I have filled the need for the seeds we were missing.

I’ve been out taking pictures too.
Like this lovely shot of Astrid…

While she looks like she’s drunk, she’s just having a darn fine nap.
I, however, will be drunk when I nap on the snow drifts.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So far we’re holding onto our sense of humour.
Not gonna lie though, I’m angry.
I am angry as fuck right now.
I’m angry at how fast and willing society has dropped to it’s knees and accepted restrictions of basic freedoms.
My province is under a state of emergency, which means no gatherings larger than 50 people.
Only so many people allowed into grocery stores.
Only so much of any product is allowed to be purchased.
We’ve fallen far and fast and absolutely bloody willingly.

*Especially* when there are no answers on what comes after the 30 day state of emergency comes to an end.
Chief Health Officer of Canada say this could go on for 18 months…or more.
So yeah.
I’ve joked about burning it all to the ground and starting again, but that was to introduce *LESS* govt, not more.

For now my Hubby’s work is still operating.
But I don’t know for how long.
What I do know is this…somewhere down the line, people are going to get fed up with self isolating and social distancing.
Somewhere along the line, people are going to have to go back to work.
Mortgages will need to be paid.
Utility bills too.
Food will need to be purchased.

And then it’ll start again.

So, all I can say is this…
Take as much control of your food supply as you possibly can.
Now.
Grow your gardens, source your meats, consider (even in the city) raising your own food animals.
Maybe you can’t have goats, or chickens, but you *can* have rabbits and pigeons.
Squab is, after all, considered a delicacy to many.
Grow your own.
And learn to preserve it for winter.

My gut says we’re going to have to have as much control over our food as we possibly can in the coming months.
Hopefully, my gut is proven wrong.