Way back in the fall, I joined a seed swap on Instagram. It was a fun way to share seeds from our areas and seeds from plants we love. The host, Ash from Grower’s Blend, gifted participants with seeds from her own shop. She sent me both Gun Metal Grey tomatoes and Inkspot microdwarf tomatoes. I am a huge tomato nerd and was over joyed with these seed packets.
So a few weeks ago, after a discussion with Hubby about growing food indoors, I decided to start some of the Inkspots. They’re little, can be kept as a houseplant easily, and they make food. Gotta like that. So into some potting soil went 5 seeds. All 5 sprouted. And look how damn cute these wee tomatoes are!
For scale, I started them in those individual yogurt serving cups. (please remember, I don’t buy those yogurt cups, we get them in our Loop food waste for farm animals pickups) Doesn’t help? Okay, here’s one with my coffee cup for scale…
It’s a big cup, about 5 inches tall, holds several traditional cups of coffee at a time. Because coffee is life, ya know?
Anyways, the tomatoes… Almost ready for their next pots. I’ve a handful of 3/4 gallon pots that will be their permanent homes and we’ll see how they do. If nothing else, the happiness factor of having houseplants (with cats who don’t really care about them) is worth something.
Winter decided to give us one last kick this weekend. Cold af. Last night was -24*C. Brrrrrr!! So yesterday was a day of adding more straw for the ducks, chickens, and turkeys. Fat arsed mares got another bale too…they probably could have made Monday, but eating keeps horses warm so we just fed ’em. Mostly because if I blanket the one who needs it most:
Then the other 2 beat the crap out of her because she “doesn’t look right”. 🙄🤦♀️ So we feed them. It’s easier than trying to separate Sable from the other 2. The joys of a 3 horse herd. *sigh*
So my next round of peppers are up. Well, some of them. I planted some orange and yellow pepper seeds and some alma paprika seeds. Paprika seeds aren’t showing yet, but the o/y are up. Those were freebie seeds out of peppers we got in a Loop pickup. Birds enjoyed demolishing the peppers and I took a few seeds to try. You never really know what you’ll get with grocery store saved seeds, but I have the space in the garden so it’s worth the try to grow them.
Friday is tomato seeds starting day. And some medicinals/flowers. Since I’m not 100% sold on the whole winter sowing thing (I keep getting told to “trust the process” but my brain says it can’t work…) I want to start some of the more important things inside…like mullein, yarrow, calendula, and bee balm…they’re all for drying, tinctures, and teas for the home apothecary. And of course, we can never grow too many tomatoes. 😉
This past Friday Hubby brought home onion sets for me…
I had complained to him at lunch that I had used my last garden grown red onion for yet another jar of pickled onions 🤤 so clearly I was going to have to grow *more* onions this year. Next thing I knew, he brought me 2 1/2 lbs of onion sets. As soon as the garden soil is workable, they’ll get planted. As well as the other cool season crops.
Next week tho… I’m going to head out front of the house and dig out the raised boxes that have our asparagus and rhubarb in them. In a semi-normal year of snow, they would be poking their heads out right about now. Well, I have 2ish feet of snow sitting on top of them, so I’ll dig them out a bit and let the sun finish the job. If all grows well, I should have enough rhubarb this year to make a round of wine/shine. And to share with someone who really likes rhubarb for baking…myself, I’m not a huge fan, but I do like home made alcohol, so…. 😉
Slowly but surely, we’re getting there. Spring is slow af this year, but with the amount of snow, that’s probably for the best. Either way, spring is coming and we’re so ready for it! 🙂
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. ❤
Today is a milestone for the meat chickens and turkeys. It’s their first day outside!
You can use the arrows on the sides of the pictures ^^^ to scroll through… It’s scary and exciting and whooooo….they’ve been waiting so long (to them) and they really, really, really wanted out…until they could get out and then it was too terrifying…that’s where the food comes in. 😂😂😂
Once they knew the food was outside, they were much braver. So for now they get the small yards, but as time goes on, they’ll get more and more space, until the turkeys end up in the turkey yard and the meat chickens just run with everyone else. Until they go to Freezer Camp.
I tell ya, the real panic is going to be this afternoon, when I clean their coops out for them. 😂😂😂 **THAT’S** going to be terrifying. 😂😂😂
I knew it! I just…knew it. That nice weather last week was lulling us into a false sense of security. Mother Nature said “oh, yeah! Go right ahead and plant out your tenders…your tomatoes and peppers and pumpkin starts…I promise, I’ll take care of them!” And here we are. Shivering because I’m too damn stubborn to turn the heat back on. It’s currently +3c with the wind it feels like 0* So had I planted like I really, really wanted to, my tender plants would be toast. 😂😂😂 Nice try Mother Nature. But not this year. I fought myself for a few days and then said “Wolfie, honey…it’s only the 3rd week of May. You are gonna get frost. Be. Patient.” Well, glad I listened to myself, because, here we are. Frost last night, frost tonight. But my carrots, peas, and beets are planted and I’m ready to go on onions, radishes, greens and a few other cool weather crops. Then I can look towards the warmer days/nights ahead for the plants and the beans and corn.
I am still waiting to hear from the local greenhouse to let me know when I can pick up my plant order from them. Though, with the cooler temps. I’m happy to let *them* baby my plants a little while longer!
So my food production for today included putting 40 turkey eggs into the incubator. To go with the 19 I set last week in the small incubator. The eggs in the small one though, are being split with another farm. I think mentioned this already, a friend had Sweetgrass turkey hatching eggs, and I set them to hatch. Well, I also had 7 of my Narragansett eggs ready to go in, so all in they went. Our deal was to split whatever hatched from the Sweetgrass, but I figure the whole set is fair to split. Since I have extras in the big ‘bator, I have no issues whatsoever counting my 7 Narragansett into the split deal.
My hope is, as always, for an abundant hatch. Of the eggs in the big incubator, all the hens will stay on for eggs/hatching. Any boys will have the most excellent of life before going on to Freezer Camp. I hope that of the ones going to Freezer Camp there will be enough of them to offer a few for sale (after we take care of family and friends). We still have people interested in well raised, home slaughtered birds, and I would love to have more to offer for sale. And that’s why hens are staying on…our two toms Oscar and Dingus need more girls (5 hens to 2 toms is not ideal!) and welp, food is not going to get cheaper or easier to get. Especially well cared for, well raised, happy food. I want to be you #HappyFoodTastesBetter dealer. 😂😂😂
And my other food production thing today was the finding and very much enjoying Les Stroud’s website for his latest project: Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest
Les had a show years ago called “SurvivorMan”. He was dropped off in remote locations, just him and his cameras, for 7 days. And he had very, very limited tools to work with. I really enjoyed the shows. Now he’s exploring foraging, hunting and using all that he finds. I’m telling you, it’s one more piece in the puzzle, foraging is. So I’ll be binging that for a while. Testing recipes where I can. Soaking in the knowledge. Trying to stay warm for the next couple of days.
Almost all of Saturday’s plans happened. We didn’t get the landscape fabric down (that’s okay because it’s for the pepper/tomato area and we can’t plant those for a few weeks yet…and The Kid and I can get it done during the week if we have to…), and we didn’t get to the Merry Mares’ hooves. The mares were fine with that though, because they were busy eating pasture. Why? We got a little rain. In 3 rounds, just about 15 minutes of solid down pour each time. We literally watched the grass greening up in front of our eyes. It was beautiful. And we need so much more…
But! Check out this forecast:
*IF* that comes to pass, well have a lot of sky water coming down and that makes grass for equines grow. I only hope it will fall far enough north that our Hay Guy’s hay fields get a good drenching too. Fingers crossed for a bountiful hay season for us all! And can I just say, I’m so looking forward to our grass growing long enough to cut for hay? I have been having dreams of pulling the scythe out to cut the grasses again. Like, vivid, can smell the fresh morning dew on the newly cut grass capital “D” Dreams.
Today I’m starting getting the seeds I can get in, into the garden. Yeah, I know, I said that before. But here’s the thing…
Getting this plastic up took the 3 of us to get done. And, much of the things I wanted to plant would have been at risk of being stepped/trompled on. I love my Hubby, but dang! That Man does “bull moose” not looking where he’s going way to easy and my plants/seeds sometimes suffer for it. So far this year, he’s stepped on 2 currant bushes. 🤦♀️🙄 Years before, he destroyed half a row of pepper plants… He just doesn’t look, sometimes. So. I wanted that plastic up first. Now, I can start planting. And it’s okay, because yeah, we have heat for the next day or 3, but then we have rain, so that’ll be just fine for the seeds/onion sets. And I’m not as behind as I feel, because really, it’s only mid-May. This ain’t the city where by May long weekend I was yelling “All in!!”. We just can’t do that out here. And I’m of the opinion that what I get in, I get in. As much as I possibly can. I’m just not going to stress about it too much, because that triggers anxiety, anxiety leads to depression, depression leads to me not doing a fucking thing. So if I hold the “que sera sera” attitude, I get a fuckuvalot more done.
So today, peas. I already have them soaking, so that they can go in after my 173rd coffee. And perhaps the onions too… I have 3 kinds to plant this year, but I’ll have to cover them with something to keep the dang barn swallows from ripping them out. Barn swallows can be assholes. No surprise there. It’s a bird thing. Yeehaw. Tomorrow I’ll do beets, and carrots.
And now, I must go chase turkeys off my front step. Because apparently my hens think they should peck at the door. Maybe they should just go lay some damn eggs for me to put in the incubator. Stupid asses. 😂😂😂
Today we have a whole lot of work on the schedule. I mean, it’s a Farm, so when don’t we? But this weekend is the weekend where we get a lot more done in the garden.
We live on flat, bald arsed prairie. I fell in love with the place because it was what we were needing when we were looking for a famr…but if I were to do this again? I mighta kept looking. We have very few trees (most we planted ourselves), we’re surrounded by grain fields (our big field is leased out to a local guy…same guy we get the bulk of our feed from), and we have the shittiest neighbour across the road (but those happen everywhere, so there’s no saying we wouldn’t have had one somewhere else).
But, we wanted out of the city, we needed somewhere close enough MCFHubby could get to work everyday, and we needed something set up for horses…so really, this was perfect. And I do love this place. Challenges and all. 😉
So, our work for today…
The biggest challenge with the garden has always been wind. Bald. Arsed. Prairie. 😂😂😂
Last year, we tried something that seemed to work pretty darn good though! We’ve had to fence the garden to keep those asshole birbs out…because chickens, y’know what I mean? So what we did was hang plastic aaaaaallllll around the fence, to make a makeshift hoop/greenhouse. In essence, we created a less windy, teeny bit warmer micro climate with the plastic. Then, what tomatoes that I didn’t forget about were planted around the edges, next to the plastic. Well… Said tomatoes went in super late, were almost half dead, but they rebounded and gave us enough for a few really tasty sandwiches. And so, we decided that we needed to renew the plastic this year…since we had only jim-bob slapped it up last year and it came undone on 3 sides.
So that’s the main task today. Get that plastic back up. Then, lay down the landscape fabric/weed barrier that we plant the tomatoes through. That way, when Mother Nature quits setting us those frost traps…I mean seriously, I’m looking at the weather, including overnights and thinking about putting tomatoes and peppers out…and then I remember that it’s only May 15th. Nope, not falling for it! 😂😂😂 But I can get 90% of the seeds in. Pretty much everything but the beans and the corn. Though I can probably get the feed corn planted…it typically goes in earlier, but I’m not 100% sure where I’m putting that yet, so no big deal if it waits. That’s my whiskey makin’ corn. 😉
But first, feed store run and a trip to the dump. Hoping there might be some good stuff we can recycle from the dump. I love “shopping” at the dump! It really is a case of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. Last few times have been pretty slim pickings. I think that has to do with our smaller, closer dump was closed by the RM (so yay, more bloody garbage dumped on back roads by pigs 🤦♀️🙄) and more people have to go to the bigger dump by the nearest town. Plus, building material prices are through the roof, so people are scrounging more and more. But, if you don’t look when you’re there, you’ll never find anything.
Then we have to move chickens around. This becomes a bi-weekly task in the summer. The meaties are ready to come out of the smaller brooder in the Little Red Shed, and move to one of the brooders MCFHubby and The Kid built. Man, them little birbs grow like mad and are little savages! 😂😂😂 They get so excited over food…even if you just fed them an hour previously. But that’s how cornishX are. Once we get them so that they have outside space/time, they settle down on eating every dang thing in sight. And, once outside, they can eat bugs and slugs and weeds and be happy little hooting and eating machines.
And finally, if we have any energy left, there’s 3 mares who need some attention paid to their hooves. They’re overdue for a trim, and today looks like a lovely day to work on some feet. But, we do have to get the food production stuff done first.
And Ruby can have a nap while waiting for her turn…
I am thankful for all the animals. Food ones, pets, working animals. All of them.
I am thankful that our animals have no idea of what’s going on out in the world. I am thankful that it will stay that way.
I am thankful that we can grow our own food. I am thankful that we can grow *a lot* of our own. And that we can preserve it for winter. And the the bulk of our veggies come from heirloom plants that I can save seeds from.
The world… It’s getting uglier out there. I read a FB post today where a local business, a computer repair guy, is literally demanding people show him proof of their c-19 shot in order for him to render services. Anyone who isn’t willing to prove they’re had the shot, or show proof from their doctor that they can’t have it, will not be able to use his services.
My head is reeling from this. People are congratulating him, saying it’s the “right and responsible” thing to do. Did I not say medical discrimination was coming? And who the eff does some computer tech guy think he is that he’s demanding access to personal medical records??
But this is what we’ve become. The govt fosters this attitude with their pushing of shot passports to travel and attend events. It won’t be long before it’s to work, to get health care, to buy groceries. And anyone who might be hesitant or flat out can’t get it is discriminated against. Think I’m wrong? Again, people are *praising* this guy for medical discrimination.
At no time in history when humans have set a random group of people apart as “other” and “undesirable” has it ever turned out well. Not. Once.
We are on the brink of it happening again. Whether people want to admit it, choose to see it, or not.
And I am grateful that, in the very least, I can take care of my family. For how long? I don’t know.
Remember how I said I wanted to add a rhubarb plant to the Farm’s food forest? Not because I like it (I don’t really) but because medicinally, it’s a good thing to have growing here. There must be a reason every farm wife and baba had one or two plants growing…and I don’t think it was just for the baking! 😉
So Hubby had found one for sale at the local hardware store, and snapped it up for me. Then, a friend in the city messaged me to say her neighbour had one to split and if I was interested, we could get some of it. Um, yes please!
So this past Thursday, Hubby went over to her place and split this massive rhubarb plant… What he brought home was an incredible bounty of plantable roots/crowns!
So now, where I wanted 1 or 2 plants, I have… 11!! Plus a gallon sized bag of rhubarb in the freezer, because I pulled all the stems that were on the crowns he brought home…I’ll save that for a small batch of wine. 😉
So I planted 2 big crowns straight into the main garden bed, put 4 smaller ones into one of the raised beds out front of the house, potted 4 for myself to add to the next garden expansion project, and potted 2 to give to another friend who was looking for some. Plus, I still have a few smaller crowns that I plan on potting, so that if anyone else near me is looking for some, I’ll share those with them.
But I’m not complaining about having so many plants. I’ll definitely find a use for them. Even if it’s just making a rhubarb syrup to add to moonshine. 😉
I’m quite excited that my peppers are at the point of needing to be transplanted. This is exciting to me because, even though there is snow on the ground outside, the garden will soon enough be filled and growing. The problem is always those seedling trays. What on Earth is with them blowing holes in the corners all. the. time? I get it, they’re not the sturdiest of plastics, but why doesn’t someone make a sturdy, hard plastic version? I have said I would happily pay more so that I don’t have to re-buy them every season or two.
Yesterday, in our nearest small town, Hubby went into the hardware store to see if they had seedling trays. Well, they did, but for some strange and ridiculous reason, they had drainage holes in the bottom. Um, does the manufacturer (in this case Jiffy) even understand the usage of the trays? *sigh*
But, The Kid and Hubby came up with a fix, so that I can get the peppers transplanted:
Yeah, that’s a drawer. And that’s gonna work out juuuuuuuust fine! But this is what manufacturers need to do. Make us trays that are rugged and sturdy like this drawer. We serious gardeners would *happily* pay more for them. And let’s be honest, not having to ditch those flimsy ones every year or two and replace them would be a helluva lot better for the environment.
In other news, tomorrow is day 25 for the turkey eggs. Tomorrow we take the turners out of the incubator, raise the humidity and wait…anxiously, for the turkey chirp, chirp, chirps to begin! Still haven’t seen any eggs from the girls in the turkey yard, but that’s okay. Last night I had to carry 3 of them back to the yard because they thought they should escape and go to bed with the chickens. 🤦♀️🙄 Um, no my poor silly birbs. What I did notice is that they have the tell tale signs on the backs of their heads that Oscar and/or Dingus are doing their job(s). So hopefully soon, but even if not until next year, that’s okay too. Good breeding stock is worth the time and investment, and these guys are quality birbs. ❤