Winter is Coming

And I’m already tired.

The nights have been cooler.
The days, when not raining, well, not so much.
But the nights are cooler, and there is a definite scent of Fall in the air.

I’m not ready.
There is so much work to do before we can settle in and say we’re ready for Winter.
The good news?
I have the hay money all set aside for a full delivery of hay, not a month to month purchase like last year.
Thank Epona for that!! Just have to get that arranged…

But before winter comes we have so much other stuff to do…
I have to start 2nd cut on my hay.
Now it’s going to be just the front, around the fruit trees.
Hubby used the mower on the tractor to cut the back yard because we had people come out for our Anniversary party.
The grass wasn’t quite long enough for hay yet, and we needed to not sit in mosquio-ized grass.

There’s this guy…

Meat chicken…

And 48 of his friends (we lost one last weekend to a “piling” incident) to get ready for their Freezer Camp session…

As well as this guy…

Andy Piggie

And 5 of his pals to do the same with.
Plus, once the pig processing starts, I’m hoping to run the smoker for a few days and get some hams and bacon done as well.
Last year I didn’t get bacon done before winter, and um, I was sad.
LOL!
Having home smoked bacon for the winter months will be wonderful…but pigs don’t start the Freezer Camp journey until into October, and the weather can be unpredictable then.
Of course, now that Hubby’s garage is cleaned up, I can run it in there in cases of inclement weather.
So, that’s a huge bonus!

I’m also working on getting this one…

Used to wearing a blanket.
It’s been a slow and steady process, and neither one of us have died yet.
That’s good. 😉
I figure with the way the weather has effected her the past couple rough seasons, being able to toss a blanket on her (and Sable as well) will go a long way towards my sanity through the long cold months.
Normally, I don’t worry about blankets for the Girls, but the 2 Old Ladies sometimes just need a little extra help.
And it’s my responsibility to make sure they get it.

And then there’s these 2…

Quack quack quack

Ducks are new to me.
I’ve never wintered ducks before.
This is a learning experience, and again, it’s my responsibility to make sure they get what they need.

Oh, and there’s the garden to put to bed, once things are done there.
That should be done before pigs go to Camp, so that the pigs can eat some of the left overs…pea plants, bean plants, carrot tops…that sorta thing.
Sadly, can’t give ’em potato plants or tomato plants, because nightshade family, so those will be burned.
Then we can cover in manure, pull the tarp and stake it down.
All so we can be ready for next spring, when the plan/hope is to get the whole of the garden planted.

We’re also hoping to set the fence posts for the next pasture.
I know, said that last summer/fall, but yeah, I really want either a milk cow or a couple steers next year to round out the meat freezers. Another pasture is a need, to be able to do either one.

At the end of the day, I know all will be well.
The Kid will miss a few weekends of riding lessons while the work gets done, we’ll work until we’re so tired we can’t think…then go do some more, and all will get done.
Why?
Because, it has to be done.
That’s the simple answer.

So, if you start seeing one picture posts, or no posts for a little while, it’s all good.
We’re just getting ready for the inevitable.
Winter is coming.

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Garden 2017

Y’all remember how last year my garden, due to circumstances beyond our control, became a giant plot of weeds?
Not that we wasted anything, those weeds fed pigs for the summer, but still, it was hard on the ol’ FarmHer spirit to not have a garden going.
In the fall, with the last cutting of pig feed, we started covering the area with old plywood. Stuff we had lying around, but wasn’t good enough for building with…well we discovered that the soil underneath the wood was lovely. Still a bit of grass and weeds, but nowhere near as bad as last year.
Problem was, we didn’t have enough to cover the whole garden…takes a lot of wood to cover a 24×40 foot garden!

Ahhh…but we are nothing if not adaptable to the situation. 😉

The yellow/brown grass is where the wood was…

You can see though, that there is some really good grass growth on the side…*sigh*

So, the space that was covered by wood is about 12 feet wide, and the full 40 foot length of the garden. Even our powerful little tiller was having a rough time with the full grassy area…and so, what we’re going to do is this…

I’m going to plant everything I can in the 12×40 foot space, mulch it heavily with straw, and be happy with a space that is 3 time the size of any garden I had in the city…

Then, while the one side grows, we’re going to use our ever renewing composting manure pile to cover the other side, and then, we have a huge hay tarp we bought…back when I had visions of actually tarping our hay…but that never happened because, seriously, more trouble than it’s worth. You want hard on a marriage?!? Try tarping hay together…I wish I was kidding about that. :/

We’ve had this tarp sitting, and we figured now we’ll put it to good use. It can cover the side that’s too weedy right now, and then, once the growing season is done in the fall, it’s big enough to cover the entire garden.
We’ll start fresh for the entire space next spring. 🙂

See?
Adapt, overcome, move forward.

Tilling my soon to be garden space…

Sable looks on with interest…

As he was tilling, Hubby had to stop periodically to untangle roots from the tines of the tiller…he’d toss them off to the side, and our (definitely not) starving Sable had to try to reach them so she could eat them…

“I am wasting away here, Dad….
I am but a shell of my former gloriousness as a beautiful horse…
Soooooo hungry…
Can I has those roots please??”
~ Sable

While Hubby used the tiller, I put the scythe back to work, and cut the entirety of the rest of the garden, in prep for adding compost and covering.
Like last year, those greens did not go to waste…

The Kid forking green food to piglets…

As usual, when yard work is happening, Daphne ran around like a maniac…nothing this dog does is at low speed. She just runs until she flops down, dog tired.

Having a rest in the long grass…

When we were finally done, and I walked into the house, this is what I found:

Daisy Mae and Odhinn

He’s always complaining about Daisy bothering him…she’s not even 2, he’s an old man at 15. But that doesn’t stop the snuggles when cats need naps. 😉

Friday’s Hunt June 4th

So, we’re well on our way to having the garden in…
Yesterday, The Kid and I got our last few small beds planted. She put in 300 kidney beans. Sounds like a lot, but you pretty much plant them, and then ignore them until the pods are finished and dried. The joy of a dry bean. However, that also means they don’t produce continuously, like most other beans. Bush bean, pole beans, they’ll produce more flowers and pods the more you pick them. Which is why we’ll also plant 2 types of pole beans, and a purple bush bean…for fresh eating and putting up for the winter.

Today, the plan is to work on the main garden bed…I did say, I will have a garden this year. It’s just going to take a whole lotta heavy lifting. 😉
Good thing we’re not afraid to get out hands dirty.

This week’s prompts for Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills are Starts with V, Week’s Favorite and Inch.

Starts with V

Now that we’re in June, summer vacation is coming up for The Kid. Already. The school year has flown past, I tell ya…
We won’t however, be taking any sort of family vacation. That’s just not something we can do…not with these guys:

My toddlers.

Truth be told, I’m not much of a vacation person anyways…I like to stay close to home, and I do love my Farm. 🙂
(And yes, Sable is doing exactly what you think she is…)

Week’s Favorite

3 horse down…flat babies in the sunshine.

Life rarely presents fully finished photographs.
An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest – a distant horizon, a moment of light, a held expression.

~ Sam Abell

Inch

My helper cat, Sir Maximillion…helping me do what I do best…take pictures of the horses at sunrise:

Thankfully, he helped without his usual stance of having his butt an inch from my face. It’s really hard to take pictures like that.
LOL!

Friday’s Hunt May28th

Yet another day of rain.
Last weekend it rained for 2 days straight, and we didn’t get the garden tilled.
Yesterday, we were at the Stable, and by the time we got home, it was too late for yard work…well, once chores were done…and I was ready for wine.
So, tilling got shoved off to today. And now? Rain.
*sigh*

Next week, after work, we’ll have to get it done. I have tomatoes, and peppers that need a big dirt place to grow. 😉
They’re out-growing their little pots, and ready to branch out.
Oh, and The Kid’s sunflowers are already 2 feet tall…in the house.
lol
We need to get things planted…
We’ll get there.

This week’s prompts for Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills are Starts with U, Week’s Favorite, and Kids.
I’ll also be sharing this with The Daily Post, who’s prompt today is Radiate.

Starts with U

It can be difficult to come up with an idea for U…
Luckily, I was out taking pictures behind the barn at the Stable yesterday, and the sky was a gorgeous blue…shades of ultramarine perhaps?
Maybe I’m grasping at straws with the colour.
Henry sure looks upset with Remus…they were just playing though.
Horses don’t always play nice. Oft times teeth and hooves are involved…and sometimes the photographer (me!) is lucky enough to capture the shot.

Remus (left) and Henry

As an aside, Henry was the very first horse The Kid rode at the Stable…she fell head over heels in love with him and we started down our path of horses. All this *waves arms around her* can be blamed on the delightfully silly black gelding.
Not that I’m complaining. 😉

Week’s Favorite

Tough one this week.
I had a very good week with my camera.
Yay!!
So, I’ll give y’all these 2:

Waking up from a nap…

We’re having tea together in the mornings.
Every spring, with the planting going on around us, she has allergy issues with her eyes. So, we share a cup of sweet tea while I use the cooled tea bag to clean the crusties out of her eyes.
In the fall, with the harvest, we’ll do it all over again.

I love this one… ❤

All the dust is from our neighbours, who have a race track in the back of their property. They race beater cars for fun on Friday and Saturday nights.
It’s all in good fun, and the dust makes for a grand back drop for black horses. If you look close, she has 1 long piece of hay hanging out of her mouth…she carried that with her from the west side of the pasture, trotting around in a tizzy because of the cars on the track…a 1/2 mile away.
Silly horse. 😉

Kids

I always call my horses 1200lb toddlers.
Horses are just like kids.
Yesterday at the barn, Marty, that adorable little paint gelding, showed just how much like kids horses really can be…
Every day, the horses are brought back into the barn for their grain, and to be tucked in for the night.
It’s been beautiful out this past week, so they’ve been staying out later and later, and wanting to come in less and less.
Poor Marty, the last thing he wanted to do was to come in…

“I’m just eating this bit of grass here first, ‘kay?”
~Marty

And then, when the stablehand went to get him, he turned around and trotted back out to his corral…where he discovered everyone else had already come in for their grain.
LOL!
So he turned and reluctantly came in and went to his stall.
He was just like a little kid crying “I don’t wanna go to bed!”

And finally, another favorite from the week:

Cookie practices her unicorn poses as the sun rises.

“People are influenced by what we are, what we radiate.
This has greater appeal than what we say.”
~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

She has most definitely been radiating peace and calm energies lately.
That is a wonderful thing. ❤

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!