Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2018

Every New Year’s Eve I try to do a recap post.
This year, I’m revisiting Ashley Sisk’s Memories Dreams and Reflections prompts.
Yeah, the post is from 2015, but the prompts are the same.
And they’re a fun way to see what 2018 was like here on the Farm…

So, let’s get to it, because this is gonna get long.
😂😂😂

Me

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know, I’m behind the camera 99.9% of the time, so there’s not too many shots with me in them…but this one I took for an Instagram challenge, where I had to show myself in the midst of a farm chore…

Ruby’s dainty hoof…

What better than a foot/hoof selfie with Ruby?

I Love You

How could I not love these 3?

Kid and her Sable ❤

And this…I ❤ this image…and these 2.

Still Laughing

MCFHubby and Astrid

It started out as a normal ride…and ain’t little Miss Astrid just the prettiest damn thing ever?

But then, things went a wee bit wrong…
See, that lead rope got tangled in the bail, Hubby pulled and the end snapped poor little Miss on the bum…

And then, as she tried to go forward, Hubby squeezed with his legs trying to hold on, while pulling her head around…and Astrid said “Listen, I had enough. Get. Off. Me.”

😂😂😂
Okay, so it wasn’t funny ’til we knew they were both okay, but we’re still laughing about it, because mixed messages with equines all too often means eating dirt.
Oh and Hubby ate dirt…

Winter Wonderland

January 28th, 2018
First day I picked up my camera in months, and finally started to become myself again.

Beautiful Girl ❤

Astrid having a nap in the snow of our winter wonderland.

Birthday

So May 21st was supposed to be a Certain Girl’s 13th birthday.
I had planned out a shoot a year prior for it, and well, even though she wasn’t with us anymore, we went ahead with it anyways…

We let her herdmates enjoy the carrot cake in her honor…

He mighta smooshed it into her muzzle a wee bit…being it’s a cake smash and all… 😉

Ruby’s turn…

And then Hubby set the cake down, so all 3 could enjoy it at once…

“CAAAAAAKKKKEEE!”

Friends

2018 was a year of getting to do some great photography work with friends…

Shaila of Pugtail Photography

The Cream 1/2 of Cookie’n’Cream Photography

We shot train robberies together…

Gentle giant Clyde, meeting one of his adoring fans…

And we shot images for a calendar…

Oooooh, scary ghost!
😂😂😂


Looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, collaboration wise!

I Was Inspired

Inspiration was hard-fought in 2018.
But I managed a few inspirational (to me) images…

This was my “Until We Meet Again” image…

It took a bottle of whiskey and a whole lot of tears to create.
Afterwards, my heart was so much lighter.
I just really needed a way to express my grief and say goodbye.
This was it.


And then for Hallowe’en (and ultimately the anniversary of her death) Hubby helped me create this image.
Cookie’s skull, in sunlight, under our tree.

Spring Fever

Chicks!

The perfect photographic depiction of spring fever…18 little balls of feathers that lived in my bathroom for a few weeks, ’til they could go out to the coop.

Travel or Vacation

Having started an Instagram account for Ruby, The Painted Unicorn, we found a toy to represent her as we traveled here and there…because The Painted Unicorn Ruby has to stay home and guard the beer and food, while DecoyRuby goes out and is social. 😉

Summer Days

Gone fishin’

Friend Will’s giant fish. 😉

The Palomino Princess at sunrise…

Getting her teeth done…

Bird watching

A Day in My Life

Sunrise photoshoots…


Staff meetings…


Dogs with sticks…


Finding stray nests…

16 eggs!!

Feeding baconators…

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Bobbing for apples…


Getting sick babies well again…

Drugged for x-rays…

And photos taken as the sun sinks down…

All Smiles

I just can’t help but smile at this one…
She’s sleeping, snoring, licking and running all while flat out.

Autumn Harvest

look at all the tomatoes on there!

Helper chicken

Garden tomatoes…

Our garden did it’s best since moving here.
So many tomatoes, beans, beets, carrots…
As well as other yummy things.
It was a prosperous growing season for sure!

Home


This just says “home” to me…
There’s no words to explain why. It just does.

Celebrate

Yule pictures!
😉

Let’s Do It Again


Let’s nap in the grass…


Doze in the rising sun light…


Enjoy the splendor of an early sunrise…

I Miss You

Always and forever…

Until we meet again…

I will miss you until the end of time.

“Oh! Hey Mama…whatcha doin'”
~Cookie

There is never a day where I’m not thinking of you.

Beautiful

This…

And this…

And this…

Dress Up

Aside from Yule pictures with the lights, I don’t think I did any dress up kinda shoots with my animals this year.
So, for this one you get Dukey…an elder mini gentleman who lives at West Wind Stables.

See?
How adorable is he?

Macro

I got nothin’ macro from this year.
Not sure I even used that lens for anything other than a few portraits.
This one is an older shot, trying to convince Cookie to wear a Canada Day headband.
It didn’t work.
😉
But those whiskers…and that muzzle.

“So scary smelling. Can’t let this any closer to me. Sorry Mama.” ~Cookie

Holidays

The holidays can be rough, y’know?
Especially when you’re a famous unicorn.
That’s why you have your very own masseuse…or in this case, a cat-sseuse…to massage out all those tight, achy muscles while your herdmate tried to push in and get a little sumthin’ sumthin’ for herself.
😂😂😂


And then, once everything’s loose, it’s time to go to work…them pretty holiday photos ain’t gonna make themselves happen.
😉

My Favorite

My Remembrance Day shots…


For the simplicity, the beauty and because I let myself just follow my camera.

Don’t Ever Change

Don’t ever change, my RubyGirl.
You keep your headstrong, boss bitch attitude.
It’s one of the main reasons I love you and why I love working with you…and it makes for grand photos!

Just Because…So There!

Hopes and Dreams

As always, we have big Dreams here at Midnight Calico Farm.
This past year we got a little closer to stocking the pantry shelves to acceptable levels, as I got back into canning.
While our pigs didn’t grow as well as we’d hoped (they arrived way too late for them to get as big as we like them), I did find a fantastic deal on Muscovy ducks, both for the freezer and for eggs and meat next year.


I hope y’all will stick with us, as we grow and learn from our mistakes.
And I promise, I’ll try harder to put up posts more often.
Life has slowly returned to center.
It’s been a long road.
I’m ready for 2019.

Happy New Year!

💖🖤💖
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Day After Thanksgiving

For us Canadian folks, that is.
Today we go back to work…when you work from home, do you ever not work?
It feels like I’m always on duty.
Well, until I pour a glass of wine.
😉

Busy weekend:
A run to the city for beet pulp for the Nags. And groceries. And a trip to the bank. And the Dollarama…it was a whole day of errands.
Wine maintenance…bottled my green tomato, stabilized my apple, and it’ll get sweetened and bottled next weekend. Then I’ll start a concord grape batch, as well as another green tomato.
Washing the 10 million carrots from the garden…yes, it does take forever to scrub all the dirt off the ones going into jars!
Washing, blanching and freezing beet tops.
Kicking at the sewing repair pile…oh, goodness!
So.
Many.
Repairs!
But, the pile is a little smaller today than it was yesterday, so that’s a good thing.

And today?
Today I’m roasting chicken backs and necks to make a few batches of soup to can tomorrow.
While canning carrots today.
And prepping pork bones for soup on Thursday.
And then I get to take it all down to the shelves in the basement and put the jars in some semblance of order.
It’s a lot of work.
But, it’s so worth doing!

We have no nearby restaurant to order “convenience” foods when I don’t want to cook after a long day.
If I don’t have quick and easy foods on hand, then I have to do something more involved.
That’s fine when work is done before dark and we’re just the normal level of tired…but, winter is coming.
That means long hours moving snow, and taking care of animals.
That means a fast and easy heat up of a jar or two of soup, thickened into stew, with a chunk of bannock or cornbread makes everyone feel better.
So, as much as it’s a pain right now to get all the jars done, it will be worth it later on, when I’m dog tired and just gotta reheat something.

I have to admit, I love having the canner going again.
I hate water bath canning with a passion.
Ugh.
I did 14 quarts of pickled beets this year, and vowed to plant the beets sooner next year, pull them out sooner and pickle sooner, so that I can do the processing in the yard with the turkey fryer.
Water bath canning in the house is just gross.
But, the pressure canner?

😍😍😍
I refuse to do tomatoes any other way.
Yes, they can be waterbathed, but why??
So much faster with the p/c, so much less boiling water, so much easier!
Plus, the p/c gives the option of being able to do low acid foods.
IMO, it’s a Farmer/Homesteader must have tool.
Plus, there’s the joy of being able to can up your own chickpeas and kidney beans (if you like them). Personally, I love opening a jar of chickpeas and just eating them…or adding them to a hot bowl of rice, or an omelet…and you can never go wrong with tossing kidney beans into any tomato based sauce or soup!
Yum!
Canning your own is so much cheaper too.
I buy a 4 lb bag of dried beans/chickpeas for under $5 and get a guaranteed 16 pint jars (equal to 1 store-bought can), often more.
Yes, there’s the time and energy put into doing them, but still comes out to far less per jar than if I was buying cans.
And, I know exactly what’s in my jars.
🙂
So, even if I did pay more to can the beans, that itself would be worth it to me.
With that, I’m heading back to work, coffee in hand, because the canner is ready for the next load.
Full steam ahead!
edited to add: there’ll be more photos soon…for those who only come to see pictures of the animals 😉
check out the instagram feeds in the sidebar too, both the Farm and Photography page are there!

Another Monday Morning Roundup

Back on my old old old blog, I used to do this a lot.
The MMR to catch everyone up on the goings on in my world.
Because sometimes, Farm/homesteading life means you fall off the edge of the world for a bit while working your butt off to be ready for winter.

Winter.
Is.
Coming.

But I’ve had a chance to get out with the camera in between all the work, and that’s a darn good thing.
Did a thing for a group that I can’t say anything about yet, but it’s a damn good cause and I was prouder than a peacock to be a part of it…even if my part of the thing isn’t included in the final product, just getting to do the thing was ah-effing-mazing. ❤

Saturday my own Merry Mares gave me some lovely shots.
I have a few to share with y’all today. 🙂

She’s so odd.
That front leg out is something she does a lot when she’s laying down. I don’t know how it’s comfy, but she’s always done it.


And this one…
She was so sick this summer, for so damn long with no real answers…we were all starting to worry about the worst possible outcome.
But, she seems to have rebounded beautifully, with even the large lump on her tmj shrinking to a small hard spot.
So, she’s still retired, but she’s doing very very well!

I love this shot of Astrid dozing with Sable in the background.
We haven’t had enough sun lately, so everyone was just soaking it up like crazy. It was good to see!
🙂

And now, being Monday, I’m back to work on canning…
I took a break this weekend to help Hubby with some winterizing projects (okay, him and The Kid pulled out the a/c while I picked carrots to go with supper 😉 )and clean up the beets to get ready for today.
Pickled beets are the theme for today, with a side of carrot pulling before the next round of rains start.

Have a great day folks!

Sharing with Awww Mondays at Comedy Plus.

Cleaning Out the Garden

Hey, hi there!

Can you believe we’re mid-September already?
This summer…just wasn’t long enough, I tell ya!
I’ve started the garden clean out and it just feels wrong. 😦
Saturday we have a chance of frost, so things have to start coming out.
The last 2 days, I spent picking tomatoes and pulling the plants out. And the clean up crew has been having a grand time with tomato plants!

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Excuse the picture quality…everything is from my phone, because Voldemort doesn’t come outside when I’m working in the garden. 🙂

chicken in the tomato jungle…

She was not impressed that the jungle kept getting smaller and smaller!
😂
😂😂

Every year I try to pay attention to what grows well for us and what doesn’t.
This year we planted some Roma tomatoes that we bought through a friend’s sons school fundraiser.
Well, let me tell you, these plants were fucking awesome!!!
Check this out:

look at all the tomatoes on there!

I had to cut branches off to get to the tomatoes inside the growth of plant. Like they were so bushy and dripping with fruit.
Awe. Some.
So, they are a definite for next year’s garden.
Especially when you factor in that I didn’t do any watering, because our hose doesn’t reach. And, we had a drought this summer…
Imagine if they had regular watering!!
Oh, and if the stupid chickens hadn’t eaten so many…
Yeah, Romas are a must.

All told, once my plants were stripped, I have 5 5 gallon pails of tomatoes.
Some I’ll let ripen, some are ripe so we’ll eat those and many of the greenies will become wine.
Yum!

I thought my green beans were done and was leaving them to go to seeds for next year.
Hahahaha!
They’ve had other ideas.
Oh, some have big fat pods that are no good for anything but seed, but there’s a ton of pods that are good for eating right away.
I picked just about 2 pounds last time, and it looks like I’ll get that again.
Fine by me.
🙂

And then, that Daphne had a digging frenzy last week.
Why?
Because she’s a dog, and she can.
But she found this:

how cool is this??

It’s broken and dirty, but with a little elbow grease, I think I can fix it up. I think it’ll be perfect hung over the back door.

And finally, a picture of our Sable…

Whatcha doin’ CinderBella?

This is from way back in July, when she wasn’t feeling so good.
She’s always been a waterbaby, so we didn’t think too much of it…until we talked to her vet about and we all put 2 and 2 together.
Ms Merry Mare was trying to make herself feel better by cooling her hooves.
If it ever happens again, I’ll be sure to pay better attention to her overall demeanor, instead of just shaking my head at her antics.
It’s all we can do right?
When we know better, we work to do better.

Monday Morning Roundup~Aug. 27th

So, I fell off the face of the earth for a bit there.
Mostly because I’ve been busy.
Y’see, the garden is producing, and someone has to put it up for the winter…because, yes, winter is coming.

I pulled out the pressure canner.
If you heard an excited, high pitched “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!” last week, well, that was me.
🙂

It’s been 5 far too long years since I put food in jars for the shelves.
This year, I was determined to get back at it.
And I have!
So far, just green beans, but today I’ve got potatoes going into the canner, and once we butcher the meaties, I’ll be using backs and scraps for home-grown chicken soup.
And, I need to send Hubby to the mushroom farm, because one can never have enough home canned mushrooms!
Then, there’s kidney beans, and chick peas and pork and beans to make…

I’ve missed this.
Back when we were in the city, it was a normal year for me to put up 400 or so jars of food a year.
I want to surpass that out here!
I feel like, I have all this space to grow stuff, I need to be better prepared for life’s little bumps and bruises that slow us down on the way.
That mindset got lost for a little while, but now, I’m back to it…and it feels soooooo good!

The past week, I’ve also been tending to the wines.
I finally got my blueberry/pomegranate kit bottled.
The 2nd round of green tomato (which is likely going to end up a blush wine instead of a white this time) has been stabilized and is now clearing. It is so tasty. Still young, so a bit fiery, but the first one was the same way. With a little age, it turned into a stunningly good wine.

And then, Hubby brought home 50lbs of apples someone gave him at work. Not deadfall, lovely hand-picked eating apples.
So I started a batch of apple wine…because hey, free fruit? Yeah, I’ll ferment that!

And then there’s the planning for next year’s garden. Already.
In the next month or two, it’ll be time to get the fall garlic in.
I’m thinking about what worked this year, what didn’t work, and what we need to grow more of next year.
Plus, there’s that darn fence to get done!
So much to do, so little time to do it.
lol

Now, for those who have been wondering…

Our Sable.

She’s been off the previcox for 2 weeks now.
I keep saying this…we are cautiously and quietly optimistic.
She’s eating very well, she’s gained back the weight she lost during her sickness, and she’s still getting a flax cookie daily…because she loves them and we love her.

That’s all the news for today…
It doesn’t sound like I’ve been all that busy when I write it here, but I’m going from before sunrise until well after sunset, so I’m either spinning my wheels or maybe I might be getting somewhere.
I’ll let you know.
😉

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays.

Catching y’all up…

I’ve been working on writing this post now for a few days…
There seems to be so much going on, that I don’t know where to start, or how to put things into words.
And yet, its typical summer time things…

Weed/water the garden
Care for the animals
Cut, rake, bale hay
Clean the house
Make the meals
Clean the kitchen
Start again the next day…

I’m finding myself exhausted before the day even begins.
And I’m trying really hard *not* to whine about it.
Which is a huge part of why writing this post has sat and sat and sat…

I am very happy to share that the garden is on track to produce the best crop this year.
We should have a bumper crop of bush beans, if flowers are any indication.
There are crazy amounts of flowers on the zucchini…I’m so excited for a lot of zucchini. I think I’m probably the only person in the world who *hopes* for a huge zucchini crop.
I love it in everything. And now, I’ve found a pickle recipe that uses zucs instead of cukes! I so want to try that!

Daily watering has made a huge difference.
That’s something I struggle with, because we haven’t yet fixed the hose tap on the house, so we’re running a hose from the yard hydrant over by the garage.
That’s a couple hundred feet…and my hose is holy.
OMG
That sounds like a terrible country song!!

“Waterin’ ma garden
With a holy hose
I’m waterin’ more weeds
Than ma tomatoes”

😂😂😂😂😂😂

Point is…I need a new hose. Or a few to put together, that won’t water the weeds while I’m trying to water the food forest.

Oh and we had a heat wave the last week or so…
It was hotter than…well, it was hot.
We lost almost half of our meat chicks.
Talk about frustration.
These guys are supposed to be our winter food, but if I lose them early, it makes it so much harder to get enough put up to feed everyone through to next year.
I did contact the hatchery and had a good chat with the owner, who gave me some tips for next time.
Fingers crossed that all grow well for us now!

Sable is feeling much better!
Though I’ll tell you, she’s probably so sick of me by now.
I’m all over her ever day to make sure she’s feeling better.
I have been so worried about her…let me tell you, lose one and it breaks your confidence. Or, at least it did mine.
So, I’m trying not to be a pain in the Vet’s ass, while still trying to make sure that our Cinder-Bella is healthy.
Add into that my ridiculous anxiety about making phone calls…sweet merciful crap, now *that’s* a pain in the ass!
Like when we finished Sable’s shots, and we found she was losing skin in spots…I had to call and find out if this was a side effect of the drugs, or was this something else.
Then, we found the same thing going on with Ruby on her chest.
Turns out, it was reactions to horsefly bites.
Something I should have recognized, and been able to handle without a vet call, but I panicked.
Jeez, I’ve always prided myself on not being “that owner” who calls over every little thing…yet, here I am.

But, the good thing about the Girl’s skin…
I did a betadine scrub on them, to clean up the loose skin, coated them in SWAT (to protect from the damn bugs) and now everyone is good again.
All the hair has grown back in.
So I’m lighting daily smudges, as the wind allows.
That’s the only thing that’s effectively combating the stupid horse flies. That layer of smoke on the mare’s coats gives them a couple of hours protection after they leave the safety of the smudge smoke.

I did get a chance to photograph a lovely prairie sunset the other day:

See the mares at the bottom?

So, y’know, I’m trying to focus on the beauty and splendor of country living, instead of whining all the time.
LOL
Sometimes though, it feels like all I’m doing is whining.
😉

Soon enough, harvest will happen.
*Then* I’ll whine, out loud, often and with gusto.
As we put chickens and pigs in the freezer, I pull out the pressure canner for veggies, and tomato products, and with a whole lotta Bambi Dancing luck, we get a deer or two to add to the freezer.
Then I’ll be whiney and tired, more than I am now, and I’ll be longing for the quite days of hay, weeding and watering.

Winter is coming.