Ready for the Garden

2 days of shoveling more snow that blew in Monday night has me dreaming of the warmth and sun of summer. This morning, when I was feeding the horses and collecting eggs (while bundled in layers and layers and layers) I reckoned out that in 6 weeks I’ll be starting pepper seeds…4 weeks after that, I’ll be starting tomato seeds.
Do you know what that means?!?

Light!!

There is light at the end of the winter tunnel!

This year, the garden will produce more than weeds for piggies. If I have to dig holes in the weed filled plot and plant my tomatoes and peppers and such, I will. lol
But, I’m also thinking about better ways to mulch in between plants.
My garden is huge (and, truth be told, not as big as I’d like it to be…one day) and weeding can become overwhelming.
So, mulch is the way to go.
And that has my brain working…
Good, I’ve 10 weeks to get it figured out. 😉

In the meantime, I went through my seeds today. Trying to figure out what, if anything, I might need to buy before the planting time comes…

My shoe box full of seeds...

My shoe box full of seeds…

I’m a bit of a seed hoarder. Used to buy so many of them, now I save a lot of them. I only buy things that are biennial now…carrots, beets, parsnips…I don’t have the patience to wait for a 2nd year to get seeds. 😛 Plus onions, because buying onion sets is soooo much easier!

The over flow pail of seeds...those that don't fit in the shoe box...

The over flow pail of seeds…those that don’t fit in the shoe box…

I haven’t made my full list yet, of what this years planting will be. Once I do that, I’ll have a better idea of what I’ll need to buy…so far it’s just looking like onions. And, maybe I’ll buy some garlic for spring planting, so that I can re-plant it in the fall. Sucks so bad not having fresh garlic in the house. 😦 I refuse to by that crap in the stores. Just not happening.

And in other news…

These gloves…

My nasty, gross, disgusting, so beautifully broken in, I love 'em, gloves...

My nasty, gross, disgusting, so beautifully broken in, I love ’em, gloves…

Finally transformed from their gross glory to their next role in life…

Fingerless photography gloves!!

Fingerless photography gloves!!

YAY!!!
All you Farm Girls out there, with your favorite gloves know what I’m talking about when I say…Oh, I couldn’t throw them away yet! Too emotionally attached…I have schlepped hay with them, shoveled shit, pulled hay and other grassy goodies out of the waterer, rubbed down cold ponies on frosty mornings, and picked shit covered eggs with ’em…I was not ready to give ’em up.

I got a couple new pairs just before Christmas (which I still haven’t paid my Bro for…oops! I better do that!) and so, I converted my old ones to fingerless photography gloves.
Now I’ll use ’em until I can’t.
😛

People Keep Giving Me Squash

I am not complaining.
Free squash?
Yum!

It seems like so many people had a bumper crop of squashes and pumpkins this year. Not I, for y’all saw what happened to my garden. lol
But, with all these extra pumpkins and squashes, comes the “OMGosh, what am I going to do with all these things?!?!”
That’s how they come to me. 🙂

When we still had the piggies, I fed them a whole bunch…pigs love squash and pumpkin. Truth be told, I didn’t find anything that pigs didn’t like, so yeah…

Now, it’s me, the horses and the chickens.
The horses have had a few pumpkins to smash and eat, but they don’t show the same level of joy with pumpkins that chickens do.

First, I gut the squash…because as much as I like my chickens, I love roasted squash/pumpkin seeds. They’re not getting that part…

Nom nom nom!!

Nom nom nom!!

Then I roast a bunch…because I like it roasted in just about everything. Turns out, my chickens like squash/pumpkin roasted better too!

Ready to feed me and the mini velocaraptors.

Ready to feed me and the mini velociraptors.

Once I get past the cats on the deck (who eat everything…and I do mean every. thing. Xena really likes the henny’s chicken chow. Weird kitty) I can take the roasted chunks (and shell from my part)down to the hennys for them to enjoy…

It's a roasted pumpkin massacre!

It’s a roasted pumpkin massacre!

This girl just had to sing about how much she loved the pumpkin…

chicken-pumpkin4
10.2 seconds later, that pumpkin was gone, and I swear I heard chickens burping with glee (can chickens even burp? I don’t know…)
Happy chickens make tasty eggs. 🙂
Happy Food Tastes Better!

The Days Are Getting Shorter

I feel like I’m losing hours, falling so far behind, not even remotely ready for winter. Winter is coming.
*sigh*
If only moving to a warmer climate wasn’t so expensive…of course it’s not nearly the $200K that some of Canada’s MP billed the Canadian taxpayers for, for a move from Toronto to Ottawa, that our smarmy PM excused by saying “They only followed the rules set out by the previous gov’t” like somehow ripping off taxpayers is excusable just because he personally didn’t make the rule…what an ass.

Anyways…

Last week, the Peepers went to Freezer Camp.
Yes, there are pictures.
Yes, there will be a blog post.
I’m working on it. lol

The hennys have moved into the insulated coop, that also has supplemental light. I’ve been giving them some fermented grains as well (which they are all over like flies on a manure pile!) so as they adjust to the new house, new light and extra interesting food, eggs have dropped slightly. Down from 16 a day to 12. Still plenty for us, and some for sale.
It’s so nice to have a little $$$ coming in that the Farm is making. Even if it’s just a little bit! 🙂
It’ll grow, as we do.

Only a few more weeks for the piggies too.
They’ve had a major growth spurt…it really seemed like they got huge overnight! Here’s a picture of them, from Monday…

3 (not so) little piggies!

3 (not so) little piggies!

Took the picture with my phone. In fact, it’s the very last picture I’ll ever take with that phone, because a few moments later, I dropped it into the pig yard. Right into a puddle of slop/shit.
Suffice it to say, the phone stinks like you cannot even imagine, and I need a new one. Won’t have that until Friday. I coulda had one sooner, but I was picky about the one I wanted and the store didn’t have it in stock…so they had to order it from another location and I’m stuck with Stinky Pig Phone a little bit longer.

By the end of October, the piggies will be in Freezer Camp. So, I have 3-4 weeks (we’re going to do 1 pig the 3rd weekend of October, and the other 2 the next) to feed them, keep them happy and healthy, and help them grow as big and meaty as they can. 🙂
Which means a 4th and final cut on the garden weeds to feed to piggies, then we’ll cover that with some scrap wood for the winter.
Hopefully, come spring, the wood will have kept the emerging weeds down, so we can till, rake and burn in preparation for planting.
I love that the over grown weeds were basically turned into bacon, but next summer, I want to grow bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. LOL!

The other big thing we have to do before winter sets in is get our hay and straw home. Once that’s on the yard, I can relax. I know it’s there, being held for us, but until it’s here, where it’s easy to feed to the horses, I won’t be ready.
*sigh*
I don’t think I’m ever going to be ready for winter…hay on the yard or not!

A Slice of My Life

Yesterday was a break in the constant rain. Yeah, I know, shouldn’t complain about rain when others aren’t getting. Really though, we’re soggy. Parts of my pasture are still under water. Oh, we have darn good growth out there. Some of it too much-which sounds crazy, with 4 giant grass eaters, but they, like most horses, are picky. Once the grass gets too long, it’s not as palatable to them, so they don’t eat it. That’s when we mow it…but if it’s to wet to get out there with the mower…well, you can see where that might be a problem.

Anyways, with yesterday’s break we worked on weeding some of the garden spaces. Sadly, nothing has been planted, because weeds got away on us in the non stop rain. I mean, seriously got away on us…

That's my garden...

That’s my garden…

It’s overgrown with grass, thistles, stinging nettle, wild canola and clover.
*sigh*
Same with my 9 smaller raised beds. Yesterday, though, we cleaned out 6 of the 9 and I planted some of the starts I had in the basement…I have no expectations from them. After forgetting my first rounds of tomatoes and peppers (they died without water) being busy with Sable’s hoof issues over spring, I replanted things. Well, surprise! I forgot about them again. *facepalm*
And so, if you know me at all, you have an idea of how hard on me this has been, no garden.
The past 3 summers have been like this, while I’m adjusting to planting out here, compared to the city. I’ll get it yet, but it’s been a hard learning curve…one that’s left me a little bruised and battered feeling.

My half dead cukes...they did perk up with watering, so I'm cautiously hopeful.

My half dead cukes…they did perk up with watering, so I’m cautiously hopeful.

Sad peppers...:( Including 3 Thai Chili Peppers.  Fingers crossed?

Sad peppers… 😦
Including 3 Thai Chili Peppers.
Fingers crossed?

Chocolate mint...in a bag wrapped tomato cage, to protect it from the hoard of cats...at least until it gets firmly established.

Chocolate mint…in a bag wrapped tomato cage, to protect it from the hoard of cats…at least until it gets firmly established.

The other boxes I put in some bush bean seeds. Bush beans are fast growers, and hopefully, we can get some from them. And, well, as I clear more of the big bed, I’m putting more bean seeds in there. Beans is definitely something we love to eat here. 🙂

And, underneath all the frustrations from not having the garden planted, there is the knowledge that all those weeds, as I pull them out, are still contributing to the winter food supply. How’s that, you ask?
Well, all the weeds get tossed to the piggies.

Anthony Piggie sleeping in a pile of weeds.

Anthony Piggie sleeping in a pile of weeds.

The girlies LOVE weeds. Thistles are their faves-both purple and sow-with the canola and stinging nettle easy seconds. And grass? Oh yeah! So, even with not being able to produce plants for us, the garden weeds are still not just being burned or wasted.

A little Piggie side eye...hoping for more nummies. ;)

A little Piggie side eye…hoping for more nummies. 😉

Besides, it’s not like we’re not producing any food for us…
There’s the piggies, who will go to Freezer Camp in October, there’s the hennys, giving us eggs…and how pretty is this sight?

Three hennys sit in the same spot just about every day to give us three eggs.

Three hennys sit in the same spot just about every day to give us three eggs.

And, we just added these guys (and gals):

Peepers!!

Peepers!!

We got 15 Cornish cross day old chicks last Thursday. Oh my gosh, they’re just so cute! lol
And in 8-12 weeks time, they’ll be going to Freezer Camp as well.

That's a peeper with some attitude!

That’s a peeper with some attitude!

One thing the rain *has* been great for is the fruit trees.

Pear

Pear

That pear tree was only about 12″ tall when I uncovered it…the pears have been very slow growing. :/ But now, with the rain, and a ring of rotted horse manure around the base, it’s more than doubled in height and thickened up beautifully!

All the fruit trees have been the same…except one apple that didn’t make it through the winter. But it didn’t stand a chance against Daphne, the stick chewing dog, who doesn’t know the difference between a stick in the snow and a tree. D’Oh!

Apple tree...up 8", and several new branches.

Apple tree…up 8″, and several new branches.

So, really, things may not be going to plan 100%, but, we’re adapting and over coming. We’re getting things done, and we’re learning.
Next year, we’ll try again to make the garden work. I know we can do it, we’ll just have to persevere.

One final photo…

Gabrielle

Gabrielle

Our wilding kitty Gabrielle…Anna and Banana’s mama.
And now, a spayed kitty, who can focus on her real job here…hunting.

Sundays on the Farm

We had some work to do on the Farm this past Sunday. I say that like it’s something new. 😛 There’s always work to do on a farm!
We’ve been working on building our chicken coop/yard. This spring, we’re getting chickens. No more excuses, no more putting it off. We go through too many eggs, and too much meat, to not be growing our own. Plain and simple. We have the space, we have the skills, time to just do it.

Plus, my new rule is no more animals until we have some that are either feeding us, or helping pay the bills. I love The Girls, but they aren’t making us money, yet. At least, not enough to cover their costs.

As we worked, I also had my camera handy. Of course. Why wouldn’t I? Here’s some of Sunday’s fun. 🙂

Stranger DangerThe day started early, because it’s goose season, and while the birds aren’t over us yet, they’re getting closer. Close enough that we could see, in the pre-dawn hours, the lights of hunters setting up a mile or so away. That led to shooting, and birds honking, and Cookie reacting. She pranced and she snorted and she pooped…she had her full on “Stranger Danger!!” attitude on. Me, I just took pictures, because she’s funny as all get out when she acts like that.

We're the Good horses!

We’re the Good horses!

These 2 were more than happy to stand at the fence and work the cute for treats. It didn’t work for them…except for the over grown lettuce they got. Haha! They were hoping for mints. Moochers!

Ruby Burrlock3Ruby was keeping an eye on things…just in case.

Autumn AstridAstrid just wanted to eat.

Go eat the longer grass, Brat! That’s a big reason why we put in the cross fence, so we could rotate and give some grassy areas rest. Piggie horses like to eat the same spots down over and over and over.

Bum parade.

Bum parade.

After they realized there were no treats being handed out, the Girls wandered away. I went and took pictures of cats.

Trouble

Trouble

That’s Daphne’s pool. The grasshoppers have been dying in there, so Trouble goes and eats them.

Oreo, Trouble and Xena

Oreo, Trouble and Xena

When Oreo and Xena figured out Trouble had something, they came to check it out too.

Storm

Storm

Storm caught a mouse in the garden. She had a grand time with it, tossing, chasing, pouncing, and finally eating it. She managed to fend off her 7 siblings too.

Blue Bean Killer

Blue Bean Killer

Blue didn’t get any of Storm’s mouse so she decided to kill beans.
It’s amazing that I got any beans out of that patch, considering Ms BooCat’s love of bean killing. :/

Ms CookieThis is one of those shots that I was lucky to catch…playing with kittens, watching The Kid and Daphne play with corn stalks, and I look over and see my Girl walking along. She’s just so pretty, I couldn’t help but take her picture. 🙂

The Paints then came back down to the fence, for a little more attempted mooching.

"Look, I'm pretty, and hungry, so gimme a snack, 'kay?"

“Look, I’m pretty, and hungry, so gimme a snack, ‘kay?”

All I could see were those darn burrs. I was sure I had gotten all the plants, but, clearly not!

"Here, does this side inspire you to feed me?"

“Here, does this side inspire you to feed me?”

Ookie the CookieCookie figured she’d just keep munching. Oh, but that ear stayed flicked towards me, just in case there were nummies coming out. She didn’t want to miss out on them!

Big Dumb DorkFinally, she gave up. She’d had enough of waiting, waiting, waiting, decided she had other places to be, and wandered off.
Dork.
🙂

SHS~July 26th

I think I’m finally settling back into the swing of things here. It’s funny how a weekend of photography and visiting changes the dynamics. I went from focus on the farm work I needed to do to thinking about aaaalllll the photo editing I wanted to do. Guess which one won? 😛

This week’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday shots will show you I’ve neglected the garden…lots and lots of growth, both from the things I’ve planted and the weeds.
*sigh*
Next week will see me out pulling weeds, and trying to figure out a ground cover for the bare spots. Yes, I actually have space in my garden! It’s partly because it was finished late, and I planted late. This will not be the case next year, I assure you.

Prompts this week…Selfie, Rows, One Word, I Love This, and White on White.

Selfie

I don’t understand selfies. I don’t do them, I don’t understand the impetus behind them. Every time this prompt comes up, I work to find a way around it. It’s not that I have anything against having my picture taken, it’s just I can’t wrap my head around doing it myself. I’d much rather be taking a picture of what’s in front of my camera, than the me behind it.

That said, instead of a selfie, I’m giving you a shot of my pea patch…because my pea patch is like a thick carpet of pea plants, and it’s awesome. 🙂

Hay! That's peas! There's no Wolfie in there!

Hay! That’s peas! There’s no Wolfie in there!

Wait until the peas are ready, then Wolfie will be in there like a dirty shirt…assuming The Kid doesn’t push me out. Haha!
Thankfully these are way out of reach of Long Neck. Sable would nom these down in mere seconds, and beg for more.

Rows

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

Normally, my garden does not grow in rows. I’m a broadcast seeder, when it comes to carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach…this year though, I planted some rows.

A row of spinach

A row of spinach

I’m doing a test…I have a row of spinach, and a section where I broadcast seed as well. I’m curious to see which produces better.
As you can see, this row is ready for a good, hearty thinning. I’ll cut a bunch of leaves, eat a ton of them, then freeze the rest for winter.

A row of lettuce

A row of lettuce

This is supposed to be romaine lettuce. Any lettuce is good lettuce, imo. I love a salad made from home-grown lettuce.

Rows of tomatoes

Rows of tomatoes

Tomatoes I plant in rows…because I have to be able to move between them at picking time. Rows makes it easier. I still don’t have to like it. 😛

Corn!!

Corn!!

Mmmmmm….4 rows of Painted Mountain corn. I am hoping that this is able to produce for us. I planted it so late, that it may not. If it doesn’t give us cobs, at least The Girls will get to have the stalks.
Stalks they can munch, cobs are not allowed. Far too easy for cobs to cause a blockage in horses who forget to chew them. Remember, we have one accident prone sweetie, and so the chances of her forgetting to chew, getting a blockage, and giving us a humongous vet bill are far too great. As such, corn stalks only, for my Girls. 🙂

One Word

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Only one word I can use for this sight…LOVE.
I have waited, Dreamed, and worked for this sight for 40 years. Ever since I was a baby, all I ever wanted was a horse. Nearly 2 years ago (August 16th is 2 years!) I came so close to the Dream I could smell it…and then, in October, I met my Girl and lost my heart.

Taken the day I met her...

Taken the day I met her…

I looked into that big brown eye and knew I was a goner.
It’s been a difficult road for her and I, but I can’t imagine my life without her. And, I wouldn’t trade her for anything…she’s a MCFarm lifer!
The others are a bonus, because I can’t forget them. I love them too…they’re just as much a part of the Dream. 🙂
(in case anyone is wondering, the others are MCFarm lifers too)

I Love This

Pepper flowers

Pepper flowers

Painted Pony bean flowers

Painted Pony bean flowers

Purple pole bean flowers

Purple pole bean flowers

I love this because it means we’ll have produce from these plants very soon. That means fresh food, and some to put up for winter, hopefully!

White on White

Yeah, I didn’t really know what to do with this one…so, I took a shot of Hubby’s truck lined up with the stock trailer and the house…

White on white on white

White on white on white

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.