Still January

January goes by so slow.
It’s cold.
Today isn’t supposed to be *as cold* as it has been.
In fact, the rest of the week is supposed to be much less cold than it’s been.
I’m happy about that.
We have a new-to-us washing machine coming tomorrow.
I’m so excited about that!
Since the beginning of August, I’ve been doing laundry with the wringer washer outside…now until it started getting cold, it was kinda nice.
Set up a load to wash, putter in the garden ’til it was ready for rinse.
Then Fall came, and weather turned, and then we moved the washer back to the garage.
And then I’d wash clothes in the garage.
Oh, but then came the c-c-c-cold days where the washer couldn’t even run because it was just too cold.
That was at Winter Solstice-ish.
So for the last 3 weeks or so, I’ve been doing laundry by hand in the tub.
lol
Yeah, well…we need clean clothes and someone’s gotta wash ’em.
But the new-to-us machine arrives tomorrow.
And once it’s set up, Ima wash aaaaaaalllllll da things that have been waiting because it’s been too cold to wash ’em in the wringer washer.
I’m looking forward to it.
🙂

That bit of excitement aside…
I ordered seeds from Vesey’s.
Just got the confirmation email that all but my carrots and rattlesnake pole beans have shipped. Those are on backorder and they’ll ship them out once they get them.
So, now it’s one more seed order for this spring, and I’ll be ready to go.
The last seeds will be ordered from Ravensong Seeds and Herbals
I’ve been waiting for a few things to come into stock before I place that order.
Hopefully soon!
And then everything I’m wanting to start (this year) in the medicinal garden will be here…
I tried to limit what I ordered because I don’t want to do too much all at once and get overwhelmed.
That is easy af to do!
lol

Not much else new.
Just hunkered down, waiting for the snow to melt.
Shoveling, moving snow, tending the animals, trying to stay sane in a stupid and insane world.
There might be alcohol involved.
😂😂😂
But just think, in only 49 days we’ll start up the incubators to bring new life to the Farm.
49 days.
And I’m eying a 3rd incubator.
So we can run bigger numbers of eggs, less times.
This way, I hope to be done hatching by the end of May.
Not July like last year.
End of July left me with far too many birds to be butchered into the beginning of December.
I don’t like that.
Not at all.
So, bigger chicken hatches, less times, hopefully chicken butchering done sooner.
And the ducks will do what the ducks will do.
As always.
😂😂😂

Just for fun…
🙂

Ready For Spring

I’m ready and rarin’ to go!
First of the seed orders went in on Sunday.

I went through my seed stores as well.
I saved *a lot* of seeds this year too.
Some things will be grown just for the animals…like the tons of pumpkin and squash seeds I saved.
Those ducklings sure do love them a pumpkin…and they work great as feed bowls!

And I’m trying something new (to me) this year.
Winter sowing.
I have a tiny house.
And really not enough space to start aaaaalllll the plants I want in the garden.
Which is why the push for a greenhouse (plus I can grow extra plants through the summer in there).
Then I found the Winter Sowers group on Facebook and decided to check it out.
I have an abundance of seeds.
I have an abundance of containers (hooray for Loop!! I can re-use the containers we get stuff in!).
I have nothing to lose but a bit of dirt (that will go into the garden later anyways) to try it out.
So that’s my plan.
On the Winter Solstice, I’ll prep my containers and sow my seeds.
I’ll let y’all know how it works out for me.

So now, I figure the only things I *need* to order are peas, yellow beans, and carrots.
Probably beets too, just because my store of pickled beets has dwindled.
Must have pickled beets on the shelf!!
I still have this years beets in storage and can pickle them, I just haven’t gotten to that yet.
🙂
I’ll probably order some extra of the Blue Lake pole beans too…I’ve read that they are incredibly prolific, tasty, and excellent for canning.
Those will go in the greenhouse.
Just because it’s so damn windy here.

I’m also ready and rarin’ to go on making more growing space.
With all the boxes from Loop and the compost/fertilizer from the animals, I have big, big plans.
lol
I have the space to do it.
And a source for more straw for mulch…

Plus, in just a few short months, the incubators will be fired up again.
And in spring a new turkey coop/yard will be built, while the ducks get the shared yard they’re in now.
I’m ready for it.
I’m rarin’ for it.
C’mon Spring!!

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.
I am extremely thankful that we made the move to the Farm when we did, that I have the skills to grow this much food, and that we have the ability/wish to share with those we can.

Sooooooon….this will be happening again!
🙂

Still Here

Still working.
Still…sumthin’ or other…
Meh.

We’ve had 2 major storms in the past 2 weeks.
We now have more snow on the ground from those 2 storms than we did all last winter.

Little arrows on the sides of the images give you a chance to click through all images…don’t hit that arrow on this one if blood bothers you, ‘kay?


We picked up a load of pumpkins at the beginning of the month, so I’m smashing bunches open at a time for seeds for me, and feeding the pumpkin itself to the animals.
We got our hay.
We got our straw.
We finished butchering drakes just this past weekend.
Now, butchering is done for the year.
Unless Hubby gets a deer.
He’s going out Thursday/Friday for that.
Fingers crossed.

We have spring plans underway.
We need to build an entire yard just for turkeys, plus another coop for them.
The low coops that work for ducks don’t work for turkeys.
Turkeys like to be up high as much as possible. Even if that means standing on each other and squishing each other. Because turkeys is stoopid. 🤦‍♀️🙄
So we have to re-jig that yard for ducks and move turkeys to their own space with a bigger/taller coop.
But first!
The greenhouse.
Snow hit before we got more than the 4 walls done.
Yes, yes, the fall was a long and lovely one, but there was soooooo much else to do.
But, the second things are melted, up it goes!

I’ve saved seeds from a bazillion and 2 things.
I’ve jumped into a couple of seeds swaps and gotten seeds from plants I really, really wanted to grow!
I think the only thing I might have to buy seeds for in spring is carrots.
I’m not 100% certain until I go through my seeds.

I started the garden expansion to go with the greenhouse.
In cleaning out the coops when we brought straw home, I had some really nice, composted, chicken poo rich dirt…and a metric eff ton of boxes…hey, that Loop program provides more than feed for the animals!!
Boxes to layer to start new gardens too!

Oh look!
You can see my greenhouse walls in the background!
And the straw bales…and chickens picking at the straw bales.
😂😂😂

So in the spring, I’ll build some simple board sides to keep the dirt where I want it, and then using t-posts and stucco wire, protect the space from the asshole birds, and plant my plants.
Every year I can/will expand it.

Tarp did not get pulled over the garden.
As I said, too much to do, and not enough time or us to do it.
In the spring, I’ll take a bunch of that straw from the horses (because they’ll explode their bales effing every damn where and shit in it) and layer it over top the last plants that didn’t get pulled out.
Then, I’ll plant into that.
Voila!
Mulch and weed suppression, whilst feeding the soil with the urine/shit soaked straw.
Worked effing beautifully this year, and I suspect it will work effing beautifully next year too.
And there’s no tilling, just soil building.
I call that a win/win/win!
‘Bout time them horses did something other than eat money.
😉

So now we just have to get everyone through the winter, so we can start building and expanding again in the spring.
Because spring means??

SHEEPIES!!!

I am so damn excited!!
😀

Canadian Thanksgiving

Well, that’s in the books for another year.
We don’t actually celebrate it, so for us it was just another weekend of trying to get things done before winter. More roosters need doing, but we were getting hammered by rain so that got put off.
We did get some yard clean up done between rains.
Plus we got the roosters separated so that we can just get up and go on the next not-rainy day.

That was supposed to be Saturday, because the next 3 days after today is rain, and today is a Loop pickup day so we need the 2nd fridge for some of that stuff…
Oh, but then this morning?
I get the text that our pig is ready to pick up.
Awesome, right?
Absolutely!
But now Saturday is pick up the pig and process it day…because we pick up the pig live, bring it home and do all the work here.
Saves us a couple hundred dollars doing it that way, and we are very happy with the family that raises the pig for us.
They have the same #HappyFoodTastesBetter values that we do.
And they have a better porcine set up.
So I am happy af to buy a finished pig to put down in the Fall while focusing on poultry on my Farm.

But the work…
O.M.G.
Like I said, I’ll sleep come winter.

Garden is still producing.
With the rains over the next few days, we shouldn’t frost, though we’re hovering awful close to it.
I am hoping that it holds off a wee bit longer, since my peppers are not ripe yet.
I really, really don’t want to buy poblano or paprika seeds next year, so I need those dang peppers to ripen!
The beans are being left now to grow seed for next year.
What ever is out there will get harvested after the frost and further dried to seed for the yellow, Painted pony and Royal Burgandy varieties. The pintos will just be left and tarped over. I have a *lot* of pinto seeds. lol

And carrots and beets can be left for a couple weeks yet, since they’re underground.
Thank goodness, since I am not ready to pull them yet.
So as soon as I see a frost warning, I’ll pick the peppers, tomatoes and ground cherrys, then let the plants die off. Once the bean seeds are harvested and the beets/carrots too, we can tarp the entire space and let her go to sleep for winter.
It’s coming fast.

In the meantime, we’re just going along, trying to get as much done as possible.
Butchering, building, and trying to stay sane.
😂😂😂
That last one in the toughest one.

Here’s Homer J…who, it has been determined, is a hen.
YAY!!
So next year we’ll have Homer J bebes.
I’m very happy she’s a hen. She’s growing into a beauty of a duck (not that you can tell with all the mud on her), and she’s my pal. 😉
Today we’re working on the winter duck coop so Homer J and everyone else can have a nice warm space to snuggle on those
c-c-c-old winter nights.
🙂

Here’s The Plan…

My front yard, beside the pasture.

There is a strip of land between the pasture fence (white) and the trees that’s kinda dead space.
There’s not really enough space there to do much of anything.
Waaaaaay back when we bought this place, we used to have our bon fire barrel (affectionately know as the Hobo Barrel) in that space.
Now it’s at the back of the house, where usually less snow accumulates in the winter, so we can still have raging bonfires in the depths of cold months.
Sometimes, ya just hafta!

Anyways, so at the corner post (which is actually a tree) is there the front corner of the greenhouse is going to go…since things get beyond crazy effing windy out here, we’re going to tie the greenhouse into that tree/post for stability.
The fence is going to be moved over to the other side of the lilacs (they’re currently inside the fence, as you can see) and that will give us(me) plenty of space for garden between the trees and the lilacs, as well as give some windbreak for the plants that grow there.

On the tree side, the first one is dead…so it’s coming out.
Here’s the thing…when you buy a tree, rarely do the sellers tell you *how to plant* said tree.
*sigh*
So we have 2 trees in that line that, if I had known the proper way to plant them, would be bearing fruit for us now.
An apple and a pear tree.
But, since I did *not* know that you don’t plant ’em as deep as possible (like, how did I not know that??) and to *not* cover the graft knot, those 2 trees died.
Now I know though, so they’ll be replaced with properly planted trees.

I’m hoping the Prairie Shelterbelt folks will be selling again this year.
Their website is down right now, but I’m hoping that’s because they’re getting ready to open orders in the next month or so.
Last year they had Siberian Crab apple trees that I really wanted.
By the time I got an order in (with a friend and some others) I missed out on them.
I hope they have them again this year.
Plus, I want to add some saskatoons as well.
Both will help replace the dead trees.

That aside, the greenhouse (which is a small 8’x8′ to start) will sit at the front, close to the drive way.
Behind, where the grass is cut, will be covered with cardboard, straw and then topsoil for garden growing.
Then, as we can, we’ll add on to the greenhouse, lengthening it down that strip.
Only the first 8’x8′ space will have tables/seed starting space (at first).
The rest will stay a dirt floor that we’ll plant straight into.

The first year we’ll use t-posts and stucco wire as a fence to keep the asshole chickens out.
Because chickens is assholes and they love to rip out delicate seedling before they get settled in for growing.
🤦‍♀️🙄

All that to tell you that our focus tomorrow is on moving the fence line.
Once that’s done, we can work on getting the 4 walls (now built!!) up and then the roof.
We’re so close.
So. Very. Close.

Tomatogeddon

Way back in June, on the Summer Solstice, we had frost.
I had planted my tomatoes about a week or so earlier.
Peppers too.
And then BOOM!!
Killing frost on the first day of summer.
*sigh*

Well, as it turns out, not every tomato plant died, some have bounced back, but no where near in time to get a decent crop off them.
I will have some nice green ones though, so that’s okay too.
But in the meantime, the shelves are looking very bare of tomato products and we cannot have that.

So when the local mega mart put their cases of roma tomatoes on sale, guess who asked her Hubby to bring some out to the Farm?
Yeah, that’d be me, because I’m stupid and didn’t have enough food going into jars.
😂😂😂

But tomatoes are something we love here, and we go through a lot of tomato sauce and pizza sauce…because we live where pizza delivery isn’t an option and we like pizza. 😉

100lbs came home.
So my days have been filled with roasting the tomatoes, running them through the food mill, making the sauce, canning the sauce…

In case anyone cares, 100lbs of tomatoes makes roughly 10 gallons of tomato sauce.
With about 3 gallons of the juice left over after roasting.
That doesn’t get wasted.
After all, it’s tomato juice.
So I drink it.
Some years I freeze it for later on when I make the green tomato wine, but this year the freezers are already short of space, so that’s not an option.
So I’ve been enjoying beer and tomato juice at the end of the long canning days.

I have a 5 gallon pail of sauce left to put in jars.
That’s tomorrow.
Today we’re working on the greenhouse.
Being September long weekend already, we’ve got to get our butts in gear and get it up.

I’ll finish tomatogeddon tomorrow…
And then we’ll be back at Rooster Rehab until all the roosters (and turkeys) are done.

Got It!!

And now, we just need the time to get it put up…

Those are the last 20 boards we needed to get the greenhouse fully built.
I’M SO EXCITED!!

It’s not going to be huge, but it will be expandable, and it will definitely be a game changer in our gardening world.
Not just for starting plants, but for growing some too…the greenhouse is where things like pole beans and some tomatoes will grow, just because they need a little extra oomph…but once seedlings are up in the house and we have a heat source in the greenhouse, outside they’ll go!
So this winter will be me studying how, exactly, to use the greenhouse to our very best benefits.

EXCITING!

Down Came the Rains

Out went the internet.
😂😂😂

This is the first chance at the internet since it went out with the rains, so it’s not a huge deal.
As always, there’s work to be done here.
This past weekend it was soggy wet work, but we needed the rain so bad…and now we’re getting more in a short time than we need. If only it could have been spaced out over the summer, things would have been much, much better.
*sigh*
But that’s the way of it, isn’t it?
At least, it has been the past few years.
If I was a tin foil hat wearin’ conspiracy theorist, I’d be wonderin’ about them “scientists” manipulating the weather…I mean, how else do you keep a hold on people who are getting restless about leadership and plagues other than by controlling the food supply?
Drought for months during planting/growing, then monsoon type rains during harvest?
Hmmmm….

Anyways…

More roosters went to Freezer Camp.
My Kiddo, dang I’m proud of her!
She’s always been hands on helping with the dispatch and the plucking.
Roosters we skin, because it’s just easier.
This time ’round she wanted to learn to gut them.
Awesome!
That means as long as she has a couple hens, a rooster and a sharp knife, she can put meat into her soup pot.
That is a fantastic skill to have.
And not too many young women are interested in learning those skills…so I figure Hubby and I have done something right, in that she’s wanting to know how, from beginning to end.

Then out came the canner.
Beans, chicken and stock, chicken stock.
Now I’m working on horse applesauce…not as nefarious as it sounds…we got about 20lbs of apples in our last Loop pickup, and The Merry Mares do not need apples all the time…but a few jars of applesauce on the shelf for winter additions to their beet pulp?
Oh yeah, that’s a great idea!
Then tomorrow is another round of rooster roasting and canning, with a few jars of cat food in there as well.
Wee roosters (these were culls from friends) have teensy livers and hearts and gizzards (and I’m not there, to be able to eat those) so they go into jars with some stock for winter eats for the outdoor cats.
Gotta keep my mousers fat and happy through the cold months too!
When we do our pig, the liver, heart, tongue and other offal bits get the same treatment.
And same with deer.

Ahhh!! Deer season (for bow) starts in 1 week.
Hubby is excited to get out with his bow and hopefully put some venison in the freezer.
He’s got a few places lined up to hunt, and before rifle season hits (deers know to hide real good during boom boom season) they’re thick like stink on a monkey…so finger crossed!!

And damn if the price of wood hasn’t dropped!
Whoa!
2×6 stud length are down $2 a board over last week!
I’ve been putting off the last few boards needed to finish the greenhouse, hoping for a price drop and here it is…so tomorrow Hubby stops for the last few boards and in between butchering and hunting, that fucker is going up.
I need my greenhouse in place for next year.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
So, there’s that.
And there’ll be pictures.
🙂

Then in the spring (because I don’t feel like there’s time now before Fall) I get to lay out some cardboard, a layer of wheat straw and then top with topsoil…and that will be the next garden space in front of the house, between my haskaps and the lilacs.
*sigh*
Then a quick fence of t-posts and stucco wire to keep out the asshole chickens and we’ll be good to go for planting.
The more food I can grow, the better off we’ll be.

Winter is coming.
And without bringing politics into it (because I try not to here), I feel like there’s a long winter coming.
A very long winter.
Best to be prepared as much as we possibly can be.

It Has Begun…

Last week we ran a Freezer Camp for the cornish meat chickens.
The ones we did could have used a bit more time to bulk up, but we’re going ahead with getting them done by the end of this week.
And it’s the last time I’m raising cornish chickens.
I’m so done with these guys.
The last few years, the quality of chick seems to be declining.
I don’t know why, and I’m not accusing the hatchery of anything.
We just haven’t had them grow as well as they should and this year we’ve had far, far too many broken bones.
Not just legs either.
And then with last week’s thunder storm, we lost more than 15 of them because they piled up on each other in the coop (even though the coop was wide open and they were free to come and go as they please) and smothered each other.
So, out of 75 chicks, once I finish butchering them this week, we’ll have 35 birds.
That is ridiculous.

Meanwhile, my home hatched roosters?
Not a single loss.
28 in the bachelor pen and when the thunder was rumbling, they were screaming right back at it.
😂😂😂
So next year we’re focusing on home hatched/raised birds.
No more cornish meats to die on a whim or because a fly farted too close to them.
Hardy dual purpose backyard crosses, bred for size, flavor and hardiness.
And maybe we can encourage people to come back to eating slow food through our breeding program.
The roosters are best cooked low and slow…they’re crockpot food, not fast frying.
But that long slow cook extracts all the nutritional goodness out of them, so it really is the best way.
For when we want bbq, I remove the breasts, brine or marinate them, and then roast the rest of the carcass.

So I hope we can encourage people to embrace slow food (which with the prevalence of instapots these days, doesn’t even need to be slow) and move away from the supermarket chicken.
Who knows…we’ll see.
We simply can’t bear the financial losses that go with cornish anymore.

But what goes with running a Freezer Camp is the inevitable roasting of backs/necks/carcasses, making bone broth and then the canning of the meat bits and broth.
That’s where I am today.
On the roasting part.
So the house, even though it’s hot af again, smells like delicious roasted chicken.
Needless to say, we’re having some sort of chicken dish for supper tonight.
😂😂😂

The garden is ramping up well.
Beans are producing.
I have the rows of royal burgundys to pick and can. Same with the yellows.
I have to get more mulch in around the pintos…they’re starting to blossom, and the weeds are fighting hard to take over.
So I’ll pull weeds, feed the geeses and mulch, mulch, mulch.
We had a small meal from the Painted Pony beans.
They were tasty, but I was disappointed with the strings. I hadn’t realized how tough the strings on them were.
So I’m on the fence about growing them again.
Love, love, love them for the name and provenance (named for the American Paint Horse…and we know how Wolfie feels about them APHA gals, right? 😉 ) but if they’re tough and stringy, I’ll find a better heirloom bean for us (royal burgundys).

I’m eating radish seed pods like crazy.
Nom. Nom. Nom.
I did not know before this year how damn tasty they are!
I’ve marked out a few plants that I’m going to let seed pods dry on so that we have radish seeds for next year, but aside from those few, I’m eating, eating, eating.
The black radishes are huge.
Size of my fist and bigger.
So I plan to ferment some.
Fermented radishes are yummy.
Really, really, yummy.
And easy to do.
But we’ve never had huge ones like this that I could ferment…and we’ve always just eaten them from the garden with salt, or in potato salad. Now I have enough to ferment.
That’s on the list to do this week.
Might even sneak a beet into a jar with some radishes.
*drools* I love the idea of fermented radishes and beets together.
Hopefully it tastes as good in real life as it does in my head.
😂😂😂

And now off to work for me, because I have 19 chicken carcasses in my oven waiting for me…but to finish the post with a picture of my APHA gal…because no matter what, I will always love her and will never have a day where I don’t think of her. ❤

❤ Cookie ❤

Catch Up

So it’s been a while.
Mostly because we’ve been busy.
Chasing after a few hundred birds and keeping them alive and well in sweltering heat and smokey conditions has left us…

Exhausted.

Up at 4am, passed out in the chair by 9pm and up again at 10pm to get all the birds into their safe beds for the night…there is no such thing as getting them to go to the coops before it’s dark.
Birds are assholes that way.

Yesterday we picked up 10 freebie roosters.
They’re in a quarantine bachelor pen until they’re big enough to go to Freezer Camp.

Today we (well, mostly MCFHubby) moved Ripple the Duck and her 5 abducted children out of the meat chicken house (she was sitting her own nest in there with 2 other ducks…1 duck’s clutch hatched before Ripple’s, so Ripple stole her ducklings and abandoned her own nest) and then closed up the front side of the meat chicken house to become the next bachelor pen.
From here on out, as we put chickens to bed at night, we’ll scoop up roosters from the first hatcher group and put them in there. They are just a few weeks away from going Camping, and are starting to crow and enjoy their testosterone…which means their jumping on every hen they can catch, no matter the size. And that means off to the “boys only” area.

Yesterday I had to cull a couple of cornish that had been too badly “used” by those teenaged roosters.
*sigh*
This really is the worst part of raising roosters for the freezer…that line where they are nice young boys to when they turn into horny teens who’ll hump anything is a fine one…and sadly, these 2 birbs paid for me missing it.
But, I was able to save their carcass to put into the crockpot to feed the elderly house cat who shrieks endlessly day and night for her roasted chicken.
At least there is that.

Garden is growing well…

I pulled out the garlic, because the tops had died right back. Not the greatest of crops, but better than last year, so I’m happy. A few more pics here:

And more garden pics here:

And the goose babies are growing like crazy.
Eating garden weeds and grocery store salads from the Loop pickups like crazy.
They come running, singing everytime they see the recycling bin of greens coming.
They did not care for the strawberries, but that’s okay.
The turkeys tried to kill me for them
😂😂😂
Literally, tried to knock me down to get the strawberries from me.
Who knew turkeys would be so…excitable for berries???
Next task is to make a safe yard area for the turkey babies to get some outside time.
They’re growing leaps and bounds and really need to start getting outside. But, their brooder was moved into the turkey yard (where it’s supposed to be) and I have to create a smaller yard within that yard for them to come out and the big birbs can’t be dirty rotten assholes to them. 😉

We have 7 ducklings that were hatched this year that are growing nicely.
2 are still house ducks (Oreo and Poop Machine) but once MCFHubby builds them a smaller brooder for on the deck, that will change.
We also have a smaller coop that was given to us when a friend left her Farm, that we’re fixing up a bit that can become a duckling space.
It’s all the time thing, right?
Hubby is working long hours and it’s hot and it’s hard to get things done…but we’re doing what we can.

And I’m cutting grass every damn place I can for hay.
Last weekend we heard from our Hay Guy, asking if we need for the winter…
Um, yes please!
But the drought here is so prevalent, I am worried af that he won’t have for us.
That means I’m searching for other options and praying that there’s enough money to afford them.

It’s been a scary year for owners of hay eating animals.
Worse than the last few drought-ish years.
Like it’s still July and for us to hear from our Hay Guy now???
Terrifying.
Not even kidding about that.
😥
But we’ll figure something out…It’s not like the nags are going anywhere.
Even if it *were* a possibility, every horse owner in the province is in the same boat, so the only place they could go if we had to get rid of them is to auction…that means a trip to the meat truck.
And that is **NOT** an option.
So we’ll figure something out.

We’re still plugging away on the greenhouse.
Still trying to find someone to come fix our leaking well line.
Still working on the newest garden space.
Working, working, working.