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. 😂😂😂
It’s Saturday morning. The roosters are screaming. Some mornings, I feel like I should be allowed to wake up screaming like they do… Eh, with my closest neighbour 1/2 mile away, I guess I could. But let me tell you about our week…
After all that work getting the pressure tank done, we’re still having problems with the well pump coming on too often. And it turns out it’s because…we have a broken water line from the well to the house. Joy. So we’re chasing the local well company to come out for a. and estimate on cost to repair and b. time frame to do it. But it’s planting season and fuck if anyone is calling us back. 😡 *sigh*
Tuesday I got a message on Instagram from my turkey hatching egg dealer…she was in the biggest city the next day, my big incubator just emptied of hatched chicks, and did I want her to bring me turkey eggs? Um, let me think… YES!!! So after some discussion, we figured out MCFHubby would meet up with her for the exchange. I was disappointed I didn’t get to visit with her (she really is a cool lady!) but at least we managed to get the egg exchange done, and I now had another 36 Narragansett turkey eggs to put into my incubator. Yay me!! 🙂
Wednesday morning, I pop the eggs into the incubator, with 5 that my turkey hens laid, for a total of 60 turkey eggs set between the 2 incubators. I still haven’t cracked one of ours open to make sure the tell tale bulls eye is there, but I *have* watched the boys do their jobs, so I’m going with “horny teenage turkeys” for the win. 😂😂😂
Oh and then Thursday… Fucking Thursday. So, I’m dozing at 4am, waiting for my turn in the bathroom, when I hear repeated beeps from the small incubator. I’m not terribly worried because Miss Daisy Mae loves to sit there and sometimes she knocks the cord and it beeps as she does it. But then, I realize, I have 3/3 cats in bed with me. Hmmmm… So I get up and I see the lights flashing on the incubator. And the fucking cord is hot, hot, hot…oh and it’s smoking! And there’s a bulge in the cord where there shouldn’t be one… Shit! Clearly, this cord is fucked. So we scramble (at 4am) to find a replacement in the house…because doesn’t *everybody* have a million and 2 extra ac power cords lying about? No deal. Nothing that will work. But we find that if the power pack (big rectangle in the middle of the cord) has a fan on it, it cools off enough to keep it running…okay, but this can’t be the answer for another 3 weeks, so Hubby heads off to work and I make a list of places to call to find a new incubator. Fuck.
After some run around, a lot of coffee, and a break down or two…seriously, want to see a grown woman sob uncontrollably? Let her see smoke coming off her incubator at 4am when she can’t do shit all about it…but, I found an incubator and a set of turners at the local Peavey Mart (for y’all in the US, think Canadian version of Tractor Supply). I texted Hubby, who then left work to go and get it. I’m telling you, incubators are in short supply this year! More and more people are turning to hatching out chicks than ever. A lot of them are not so sure about what to do with the roosters they hatch but that’s a whole different discussion. Y’all know we eat any extras here. Some folks can’t wrap their heads around that tho…
So the great thing about this new incubator is, with the turner, it holds 41 eggs. And it has windows!! No more fighting the urge to peek in and see what’s going on. Just look in the windows! 😍 I had 19 turkey eggs in the small incubator, that were at 1 week development. Turkey eggs take 28 days. Chicken eggs take 21 days. See where I’m going here? 😂😂😂
Once we got the new one set up, and the turkey eggs were in, I just had to fill it with chicken eggs. Because they will hatch around the same time. So I get an extra 22 chicks (potentially). And now I have the capacity to hatch 97 chicks at a time. So. Many. Birds! But, we’re gonna eat goooooood this winter. 😉 And I figure I can run 2 more hatches this year, before it gets too late for chicks.
Oh, and that small incubator? Totally fucked. The entire digital panel is malfunctioning. But the thing is, I only paid $115 for it, and this was our 3rd season using it. It has, over it’s life time, ran continually for just about 13 months…and I’ve hatched many, many chicks out of it. It has *more* than paid for itself! But this also tells me that I need to make sure I have money set aside for when the big one goes…it’s from the same place, and we’re on our 2nd season with it. It may last longer, it may not. But I need to be prepared for whatever happens.
As for the current turkeys… Whites are growing wonderfully. They’re only 4 weeks old but fully feathered and almost ready for an outdoor yard. My remaining 5 Narragansett kids are doing wonderfully too. I have at least 2 hens, one is another little auburn girl who is soooo pretty! And she loves to perch on my arm. I kinda hope she continues that habit. ❤
And then there’s my EmmaBird from last year’s hatch…
That box she’s in is my hay baling box. She’s decided that’s her get away from the boys. I think she’s considering going broody. She can’t have that box though, so Hubby is working on building a couple smaller ones that we can put into the turkey yard, because broody turkeys is just fine with me. And ain’t she just a lovely girl? While turkeys may not be the brightest of birds, they are endearing (and tasty), and Miss Emma is one of my favorites.
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. ❤
First thing off the hop…fonts are weird on WP this morning. Maybe it’s just me, but in my posting block page yuckiness (I can’t be the only one who hates the way the new posting system works, can I?) the fonts changed and it’s weird. I don’t like change. Especially when it happens without warning. (Like change often does…😂😂😂)
Also, today is day 18 with the incubators. Today I take out the turners, bump up the humidity and wait for the sweet sound of “chirp, chirp, chirp” to start. By this weekend, we’ll have chicks! 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll start saving eggs for the next round… I can only run one of them for the next round though, because in 2 weeks I have turkey eggs coming and they need 4 weeks to hatch, compared to chicken’s 3 weeks…I need the turkey eggs to hatch at the same time as the arrival of the white turkey poults. I’m sure I’ve blathered on about this before…heritage birds of the same species in with meat birds helps the meat birds learn *how to bird* so that the meats are much healthier…as long as they think they are hatchmates. That is very important, because if they are introduced too far apart, it becomes difficult to integrate them. There is too much $$$ wrapped up in my turkeys to chance the poults not integrating well. This is my experience. Others may have different experiences, but this has worked very well for us. And so I have to leave one incubator free for the arrival of 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs. Squeeeee! 😀
Finally, for Wordless Wednesday, my lovely sleeping beauty, my chubby Painted Unicorn, Ruby…
At day 7 I candled and found 3 not fertilized, which left me with 21 eggs.
And then the pipping started on day 20 (I forgot to candle again at day 14).
It took everything I had to *not* open the incubator until day 22…
On the morning of day 22 we prepped the brooder, got a bin ready to transfer from incubator to brooder, and opened her up…
Of my 21 eggs, 18 hatched.
So we whisked them off to the brooder and I closed up the incubator for another 24 hours…in case those eggs were just slower to hatch.
Turns out they weren’t fertile.
So they went to the piggies.
And now, here some sneak peek pics of the ones who hatched:
Look at them!! 🙂
Interesting mix… Our rooster’s sire is (I’m told) pure Ameraucana, hen an easter egger…so him with our easter eggers and our Browns and Columbian Rock Xs made some interesting mixes.
Whether or not I get more coloured egg layers from any of the hens (if there are any lol) we’ll just have to see.
What a funny little spot on this one’s head! 😂😂😂
So now we feed ’em and watch ’em grow.
Hens will stay on as layers, roosters will go on to become fajitas.
And round 2 of eggs, 24 again, is in the incubator.
After that hatch, I’ll put it away ’til spring.
I’d love to keep hatching, but we have to be sure whatever pullets we get are big enough come the cool/cold season so they can be in the coop with the older hens safely.
So after this round, I won’t set any more eggs until mid-March.
But I’ll be on the look out for other egg varieties…turkeys, ducks, guineas…just because I can.
There’ll be more pics in a bit…we’re busy getting ready for The Kid’s grad this weekend. Once that’s done, and we’ve recovered, The Kid and I have a specific photoshoot in mind for these balls of feathery cuteness.
We’re in lock down now…
Fingers crossed for a good hatching!
24 went in.
At day 7 candling, 3 that were not fertilized came out (and went to the pigs).
I forgot to candle at day 14, and it wasn’t dark enough this morning when I removed the turner to candle, so…just hoping most, if not all hatch.
Truthfully, I’m hoping for *any* to hatch.
I’m ready for peepers!
(as ready as I can be)
Oughta have pics this weekend of what hatches…and what doesn’t.