Peppers

Back before I started my tomato plants, I had an aphid infestation in my peppers.
There was some treatments done, and then there was the last treatment that fried them all.
There were many tears, because the poblanos were the strongest, nicest, pepper seedlings I had ever grown. But, shit happens (as they say) and they were all lost.

Today we wandered into the nearest small town to look for some parts for our bbq, and discovered the local greenhouse was clearing out their plants.
So I did a thing…

A 6 pack of red peppers, a single cayenne pepper (I’m the only one here who likes spicy), and a mystery tomato…they had half a table of them…bit of an accident led to a whole bunch of tags going missing, so they were selling ’em off as “mysteries”. 😂😂😂
Worth a buck, if you ask me.
And then, the pots.
The lovely woman running the greenhouse tells me I can take whatever I want because they’ll likely get tossed anyways…so I grabbed all the pink pots/trays.
I like pink.
I like growing plants.
I like pink plant pots.
I like *free* pink plant pots.
🤷‍♀️

So today I’m planting peppers.
And working on weeding the garden.
And waiting for the next round of the rains.
It’s a good day.
🙂

All Effing In

Last of the tomatoes went in the garden today.
Hear that??
That was a huge sigh of relief coming from me…and the joyous meowing of a tabby who can now lie across his favorite bookcases watching the birds out the window without getting yelled at by Mom…
I’ve got a few little things to tuck into corner spaces, but the bulk of the big planting is done.
Done enough for the “All In” dance.
Or a few cold beers on the deck listening to the bug zapper destroy mosquitoes.
Or a good long nap.
Or…all 3.

It’s now all in Mother Nature’s hands.
Well, and mine for the weeding and mulching, and maybe a bit of watering…but we’ve had decent rainfall so I’m not so worried about that.
Frankly, at this point, I need a few weeks *without* rain because it’s haying time and I got hay to get cut and put up for the winter.
And, if my hay spots are any indication, as long as folks can get in, get it cut, then baled, it could be a damn fine year for hay. Damn fine, indeed.
All we need is for Mother Nature to get a little d and be nice to us.
😂😂😂
Fingers crossed.

Oh and just for funsies?
I’m going to start a few poblano peppers to grow in the house over winter…peppers are a perennial, so they make an awesome house plant…that also makes food. 😉
And I have seeds for a micro dwarf tomato that I want to try too…
The house just seems dark and boring without the grow lights on.
So I need to start some indoor food plants.
🙂

So Frickin’ Close

I only have tomato plants left to get into the garden.
Well, aside from a few random winter sown plants that just need to establish before the Fall so they can come back next year…

But, for the big, need to harvest this year stuff…
Tomatoes.

Yesterday I got the Ruth Stout potato patch planted.
That’s the garden expansion in front of the house that will continue to expand as we go…
I also mixed up a wheelbarrow load of well rotted equine poo with some topsoil and a bit of potting soil I had left over from starting seeds in the house, then laid it down in a line at the edge of the straw mulch garden, and planted rattlesnake pole beans there.
After the rains stop today, I’ll get out there with the scythe and cut the grass down around it, so that this weekend we can put up the fencing to a. protect growing plants from chickens, and b. for the pole beans to climb up on.

Then I got a line of raspberry canes planted.
A friend had mentioned she needed to thin her patch and asked if I wanted the canes she dug out…
Um, yes please!
So those are in, and getting rained on today.
So now, just the tomatoes.
And cutting hay…then the raking and the baling.
To go with the weeding, mulching and random watering.
So there you have it…
Summer is underway, and we’re busy, as usual.
Soon enough, harvests will start to come in, and then I’ll be working on putting those foods up…

As ever the wheel continues to turn and we must go along with it.
Happy Summer Solstice all!
Hope you enjoy the day…and the days of summer ahead!
🙂

Catching Up

Garden, garden, garden.
Birds, birds, birds.
Work, work, work.
Yard clean up again.
Forage, forage, forage.
More garden, garden, garden…

And started the incubator with the last 6 eggs I’m having hatch out this year…

That’s from our lone surviving Sweetgrass turkey hen, crossed with our big Narragansett boy Dingus.

I’m hoping for super hardy poults…there were many times through the winter from hell that we thought T.D wouldn’t be alive the next day…and yet, that tough little turkey-who-thinks-she’s-a-duck pulled through every. single. time.

So we’re hoping that tenacity breeds true…while Dingus is an amazingly sweet boy, for a tom turkey, and is easy to handle…we hope his temperament breeds true as well.

And tho T.D is a smaller turkey, we’re okay with a smaller than a regular Narragansett bird, because we often get requests for smaller turkeys for people’s freezers.

*I* like a monster bird, but not everyone does.

So I’m hopeful this heritage crossing becomes the foundation for the Midnight Calico turkey.

We shall see…

Connection With Our Food

One of the things that I love about our life is the intimate connection we have with our food.
We grow not only vegetables in very alive soil, but we grow our meat animals as well.
Or, most of them.
I remind myself that I “ordered” our winter pig this past weekend…a pig who will live outdoors, rooting in dirt, playing in bales of straw, eating every little thing that tickles their little porcine fancy
(except humans 😉 ) until the day we arrive with our trailer to bring them home and send them off to see The Great Piggie in the Sky.
But, we *have* raised our own pigs, so I do feel that connection with these ones we “order” as well, simply because I *know* exactly how they were raised.
Hell, I can go visit our piggie anytime we want to, if we want to.
They’re happy pigs…and anyone who knows me, knows that I strive at all times for happy food.
Why?
Because Happy Food Tastes Better.
That is, after all, our Farm’s motto!
Happy Food Tastes Better.
Happy food is also *better* for you. 😉

So what brought this post on was a Instagram post by SlowDownFarmstead.
I love a lot of her posts because she talks *a lot* about our primal connection to food and feeding ourselves.
It resonates, big time.
To me at least…
So I give you this link to the post that inspired this one, and hope you have the time (make the time) to read it…and I hope you take the time (make the time) to connect with your food in that primal way that feeds and nourishes not only our bodies but our souls, spirit and very essence.

May Long Weekend

It’s the holiday Monday of the May Long Weekend here.
If we were still in the city, I’d be planting my tomato plants today.
Of course, this spring has been odd, and we’re not in the city and I ain’t risking my tomatoes yet. Over the next 2 weeks I’ll work on hardening them off, so they go out first weekend (or so) of June.

Still tons of garden work being done this weekend tho…
We’ve, surprisingly, had sunny days and very little rain this weekend.
So, brooders got cleaned out from last year’s last birds.
I had 10 turkeys hatch (with 3 more pipped, but I think I have to help them out of their shells after coffee) and moved to a freshly cleaned out and bedded brooder.
We worked on cleaning up the yard…winter was a tough bitch this round and I’m not proud that there was waaaaay more garbage ’round the Farm yard than normal.
😥
So we made a dump trip with the truck well loaded down.
Rotting pumpkin bits (that the dog spread all over the damn place in her winter fun) got forked up and put into the compost piles.
I broke down more of those food waster recovery program boxes for garden expansion, and laid a ton of them out to be covered by the straw/manure bedding from the brooders.
And we had a bonfire.
A very big bonfire.
😀

While Hubby built the fire, I worked on this:

I’m working on covering the weeds in the tomato patch with deep straw mulch, to smother them out.
I should have cut them down first, but meh…it’ll be fine.
We do still have 1 full round straw bale, but, I don’t want to open it if I don’t have to.
It will hold over to the Fall when we start giving the Merry Mares straw bales to pick though and lay in, so if I don’t need it in the garden, that saves me money later.
So I use a garbage can and haul bin after bin after bin of straw from the current bale that the Mares have been using for bedding (and crapping in). Little more work, but saves me $$$, and free fertilizer. Because peed in straw is *excellent* mulch for tomatoes, dontcha know! 😂😂😂
And, not gonna lie, I get a bit of a giggle out of the folks who pay outlandish prices for “clean” bags of straw to mulch their gardens, as if that’s going to stop weeds.
😂😂😂
Weeds are gonna happen, we just have to get them before they get out of hand, and I’m not paying $18 for bags equivalent to a 45lb small square when my big rounds cost me $40 last year (and that was spendy due to drought, I normally pay $25 for a round of straw) and will go much, much farther.

So that’s gonna be my summer…hauling straw to mulch as the plants come up.
Eh, it worked amazingly last year and hauling 2-3 bins and spreading it a day takes very little time.
It just becomes part of the daily routine.

And that garden expansion strip out front of the house?
Potatoes this year.
With the unexpected expenses that hit us (between the septic pump and the truck going over the $1500 expected cost), I’m not 100% sure I’ll have the $$$ for top soil to add to the lasagna pile to plant tomatoes in.
So, Ruth Stout style potato patch it is.
And then, by next year, tomatoes and peppers will be able to go in there, easy peasy.
🙂

So there ya go…we busy.
In 8 days I have turkeys, ducks, chicks, and goose babies coming.
So we’re gonna get more busy.
But that’s okay.
We’ll plant the garden, grow the foods, preserve the foods and get ready because…
Winter is coming.

The Gardening Begins…

It’s a little chilly out there today, but we’re in full on working in the garden mode now.
The ducks and TD (TallDuck the sweetgrass turkey who thinks she’s a duck) are going back to their yard today, now that flood waters have receded enough.
Then, I start hauling loads of straw to mulch the areas of the garden where grasses tried to take over.
We garden no-till, so straw is my best friend at this time of year.
🙂
Next week I can start planting out my onion sets, my spring garlic and any cool weather seeds…beets, carrots, fava beans, lettuce, spinach, and the like…
We are absolutely going to get a few more nights of frost, so I’m not even thinking about my tomatoes going outside yet.
Soon I’ll start hardening them off tho…

The medicinal plants are doing much better, now that they have their chance under the grow light:

There’s been a growth explosion since this picture above too, so for that I’m glad.
And the reseeded mullein is starting to grow too…mullein is going to be a big one for harvesting (I hope!) this year, since it’s main usage is for respiratory issues. So between what I seeded this week, and hopefully what grows in the the winter sowing jugs, I hope to have an ample supply!

The stinging nettles are up.
Nettles are a nutritional powerhouse, and an excellent medicinal.
Last year I was sad because I thought we didn’t have any growing…then I realized, we have them literally all over the Farm, but the birds (turkeys mainly) were getting them before I found them…and then when I did find them, they were big and older.
Now I know *exactly* where the best stands grow and the turkeys are still in the garage, so *I* get to them first!

And the rhubarb plants are coming back, as well as my asparagus and the honeyberries survived being buried under 5 feet of snow, and the apples trees…well they took some damage, being buried under drifts of snow, but they’re budding and I think they’ll be okay.
So, all in all, we’re getting onto growing season, albeit a wee bit late, but now the spring/summer work begins.
Days of hauling straw, planting, mulching, weeding and maybe even some watering…
I’m looking forward to longer days outside in the sunshine.

I’m still working on the garden expansion out front too…cardboard down, bedding from the duck house next, some rotted horse manure than another layer of straw and finally topsoil.
I haven’t ordered the topsoil yet, but that area is going to be for the peppers (that survived 🙄🤦‍♀️😭) and some tomatoes, so I’m not in too big of a hurry for the dirt.

And just now, after moving ducks, I checked more of the winter sowing jugs and lo…there is growth in quite a few of them!!
For that I am excited.
Later on, I’ll go out with my list and see whats germinated and perhaps (like the plant nerd I am) share some pictures.

Oh, I am so grateful for spring!!
Winter this time ’round was way too hard and we *need* the growth of Spring to rebalance ourselves.
🖤🖤🖤

C’mon Spring!!

Astrid’s coat tells me that Spring is here:

She all but frickin’ exploded with glee yesterday as I used my glove to scrub some of the loose winter coat out…it’s muddy AF out there in the pasture, so I’m trying to remember the shedding blade when we go to feed their pails of beet pulp, but I only have 2 hands and there’s 3 mares and everyone is itchy, itchy, itchy and wanting to be groomed soooooo bad!

Well, next week that oughta get easier.
We’ve got another round of moisture falling from the sky this weekend.
Like, wth??
For some reason Mother Nature thinks she should make up for 4 years of drought in a few months time…
But next week, we’re looking like this:

And if those temps actually happen?
(That’s celcius, btw)
Then the water is going to soak in nicely.
And what doesn’t soak in should run off as the ditches finally open up properly.
Then?
Then the grass starts to grow.
The mares are already out in the non-flooded spots nibbling the tender shoots…and yeah, I know I should keep them off of it, but frankly, I can’t.
It’s the only high ground they’ve got other than a space that would (if fenced) be a teeny corral that barely fits the 3 of ’em.

So while the rain falls this weekend, I’ll be transplanting tomatoes.
My seeds have come up fantastically, and I have a whole bunch to up pot.
Got a few peppers to do the same with…and I have to restart my poblanos.
*insert grouchy face here*
I ended up with an aphid infestation.
I had originally used a vodka/peroxide mixture to spray the soil and plants down.
Every couple of days and finally got rid of them.
Or so I thought…
Little green bastards came back with a vengeance and in one of the gardening groups, neem oil was suggested to me…welp…I suspect I did something wrong when spraying the plants because all but 2 (of 35) have died on me…and I’m not sure the last 2 will survive.
😭😭😭
I’m a fair bit gutted about it.
But, as always, I’ll just give ‘er a do-over and try again.
Thankfully, I have more poblano seeds, and I winter sowed a container of them…those I should be seeing some sprouts in very soon!Especially with next weeks nice weather.

Every year I find there is some sort of challenge and every year I find myself reaching the point of Que Sera Sera…this year I hit that point much sooner than normal.
Between craptastic weather, the killing of my peppers and the septic pump replacement, I’m just…

At least there’s another 4-5 weeks before our last frost date, so the poblanos might have a chance to start up again in time…if not?
Que sera sera.

Not Much Goin’ On

Got through another blizzard.
Rain/snow comin’ this weekend.
Feelin’ like the winter that never wants to end.
Donkey horse did this to herself:

I’m sure she had one helluva headache after that.
She sure was grumpy with me when I poked and prodded it.
lol
Someone had to poke at it and see how bad it was.
😉
Good thing it’s not fly season or sunburn season, otherwise she’d be even unhappier with me.

This week I’m firing up the incubators.
No chickens this year.
Got no roos left.
Sadly, in the hellacious winter of 21/22, I lost all my roos to shitty weather and a respiratory infection that blew through my coops like crazy.
So only turkeys.
And a few cross bred ducks…and guinea fowl…both of those I’m picking up from a FB friend who asked if anyone was interested in some to hatch out.
Um, yeah!
Haven’t managed to have ducks hatch in the incubator (came close with a couple muscovies but they quit a week or so before they were due) and never had guinea fowl, so, for free eggs?
I’m willing to give it a try.
Now we let our duck hens do the work, because muscovies love, love, love to hatch bebes.
And aside from late season nests, I’m happy to let them.

I’m currently up to 15 turkey eggs to hatch.
Today we discovered, much to my chagrin, that one hen we thought was a hen turned out to be a tom.
So Oscar (my main tom) has only 6 girls instead of 7.
I’m just hoping that the newly discovered tom stays subservient long enough that we can get him to a better size for the freezer.
2 breeding toms is plenty and I don’t have enough hens to give Dingus any right now, so keeping a 3rd tom is just not gonna work.
Plus, toss in the whole avian influenza thing going on, selling a live bird right now is more of a pain in the ass than normal…plus, we like turkey, and we let these jerks breed so we can eat the extras, so…

Tomato seeds are popping up through the dirt.
I’m getting ready to sow a few more.
Only have 36 little cups (though each cup has more than 1 seed in it and I’ll pot up any extras that come up from those multiples…except for the San Marzano…I only had 10 of those seeds, so 1 per cup) and that ain’t going to be nearly enough tomatoes for us.
Tomatoes is like beans…I could plant an acre of ’em and that *might* be enough for us.
😂😂😂
All my other seeds that I ordered, have come in.
Hubby is just picking up bits and bobs here and there when he’s at the feed store or the hardware store.
Mostly adding to the carrots/beets supply of seeds.
We go through a lot of both.

And that’s us.
We’re just waiting on spring to really and for truly get here.
And for hands in the dirt/building season to begin.
YeeHaw.

Pickled Beets

I plant a lot of beets.
One of our favorite things in winter is pickled beets.
Well, last Fall I pulled everything from the garden right before the first of the winter storms hit us…the carrots and radishes got dealt with, but somehow, I forgot about the beets.
So the bin of beets sat in front of the (drafty af) front door all winter.
Turns out that was a good thing, since it acted like a root cellar and damned if them beets weren’t just fine when I found them today.
😂😂😂

So knowing I was out of beets on the shelf (my last few jars were given to my Uncle who has been an incredible help when we’ve needed it) I filled the pot, cooked them beets up and got them into the brine.

Once again I am reminded why I hate water bath canning.
It’s moist and uncomfortable.
But I got 4 jars of beets done and now we have some more.
Of course they won’t last long, but that’s okay.
Gardening season is right around the corner and I bought a lot of beet seeds, knowing that there was more than one house that was going to be eating them.
🙂

And for the record, I do safe canning only here, so no need to talk about skipping the processing (water bath) part…I ain’t going through all the work of planting, growing, weeding, harvesting and such to risk botulism in the putting up stage.
Not when for a bit more work I can put things in jars safely and know I ain’t making anyone sick.
You want to do different?
Good for you.
Your kitchen, you do what you please.
‘Round here we do it right.