Around the Farm

It’s that busy time of year where just about everything has to be done all at the same time…
Garden needs weeding and mulching.
Hay needs cutting, raking, baling.
Animals need yards, moving, shifting, getting outdoors.
And the regular day-to-day stuff still has to happen too…laundry, dishes, cleaning the house…
Give it a couple of months and we’ll be adding canning, and butchering to the list of things that need doing.
I, uh, mighta started this Farming thing a bit late in life…I’m tired.
But it’s a good tired, so not much complaining is happening.
πŸ˜‰

So how’s things going?

Duck and goose babies now have regular outdoor time.
That makes keeping their coop cleaner much easier.
All the food and water is out in their yard, and most of the pooping happens out there too.
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They’re growing like mad, eating weeds from the garden, produce from Loop, and fermented grains.
The ducks are starting to quack like normal ducks, which confuses the hell out of the muscovies.
Genetically, muscovies are similar to geese, so they don’t speak the same “duck” as mallard derived ducks.
Instead of quacking (noisily, I might add!!) muscovies trill (girls) and hiss (boys). They are much, much, much quieter than pekins!

Garden is all planted.
Except for the few stragglers I keep seeming to bring home from the local greenhouse.
Yesterday another 14 tomato plants arrived.
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1 is specifically for in the house, and at least 1 other will come in too…but most will be fit into spare small spots in the garden.
As has been explained to me, there is no such thing as “no more room to plant”, much like there is no such thing as “no more room for books”.
It is true.

Hubby and The Kid got the fencing up around my Ruth Stout garden yesterday.
While I pulled thistles out of the haying area.
I don’t mind feeding the mares weeds…in fact, many weeds are good for them (some aren’t of course, but those are removed), like thistles are (they’re excellent for liver health), but too many in a bale of hay won’t get eaten…and a certain Palomino Princess has been known to eat dried thistles and get stickers stuck inside her mouth/lips.
That’s not a good time to deal with, especially since her 1 fault is having humans doing anything near/in her mouth.
I no longer give her worming pastes…not after having been lifted 3 feet in the air by her halter as she reared to get away from the tube of funky goo.
It’s just not a good time and it ain’t worth fighting with her.
When she gets her teeth floated, she’s drugged before the vet sticks his hand in…
Trust me, it’s the best for everyone.
No one wins when fighting 1500lbs.
Anyways…
I pulled a massive load of thistles out and fed them to all the birds.
Ducks and geese just plain love any food we give them, so they got the bulk of them.

The Kid fashioned a yard for the first brooder of turkey babies and they got a chance to get outside for the first time ever yesterday.

It was a bit scary at first, but then they came out and discovered their pile of thistles.
Then the singing and cooing started.
And then the dust bathing…
They were doing great until Daphne ran by and well, apparently, dogs are terrifying to little turkeys who’ve never seen such a thing before!
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There’s also the foraging harvests to do…
Stinging nettles, pineapple weed, lamb’s quarters, yarrow (which I discovered we’ve had for a while, but didn’t realize, so I’ve planted it for next year…this year I can harvest the wild…), thistles for teas (because liver health πŸ˜‰ ), some prairie sage, and soon, chokecherries and hawthorn berries, and saskatoons…
Some will be dried for teas, much will be made into tinctures, some will become salves/balms.

Then, I planted some poblano seeds for indoor peppers.
Some Inkspot micro dwarf tomatoes for indoor tomatoes.
And I took a small tendril off the grape vine so I can try propagating it.
And so on, and so forth…

Have a great week folks.
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πŸ–€rainπŸ–€

We’re getting that rain we wanted.
We actually have puddles.
And ducks in the puddles.
They are very happy ducks.
I am happy that I got a bunch of seeds planted in the garden before the rains came.
I am also happy I didn’t fall for Mother Nature’s trap and plant my tomatoes and peppers…since it’s a chilly 2*c right now.
But, we have the moisture we so desperately needed.
The trees are popping.
My lilacs might actually bloom…if we can keep a certain large blonde from nibbling on them. πŸ˜‰
Apple trees are starting to blossom.
And the grass!
*swoons*
With a round of heat and a few more quick showers, I’ll be cutting hay in just a few weeks time.
Thank goodness!
And the mares are officially off hay.
They got their last portion last night, and it’s all still sitting in the feeder this morning.
Unless some weird weather event happens, we’re done feeding hay for the year. (please, no weird weather events occur!)
So with today’s rain, I’ll be doing some wine maintenance (got a few batches ready to bottle and another one to transfer out of the pail, plus a beer kit to start and a sugar shine to get going) and enjoying coffee while trying to beat off a migraine.
In short, I’m staying inside today.
Have a great weekend friends!
❀

A Wee Bit of Rain

It’s sooooo dry this year.
Lake Midnight never even appeared.

Ducks in Lake Midnight

^^^^
That’s what our pasture normally looks like in the spring.
The arrows at the top are pointing at the fence posts that define the pasture’s border…
Yeah, we’re usually wet, wet, wet this time of year!

I don’t think we’ve ever been under a burn ban from the municipality this early…at least, not as long as we’ve been here.
So last night’s drizzle that 1/2 filled a 55 gallon rain barrel and left us puddles on the drive way was very welcome!
The mud?
Not so much.
But it’s not so bad that I have to be worrying about the horses’ hooves.
When you get water like that ^^^ thrush treatments happen a lot!
The last few years have been on the drier side so much that I haven’t treated anyone for thrush in almost 2 years.
Good for their feet, not so good for growing their food.

So fingers crossed for more rain at just the right times.
Both for garden health and for the hay fields.
I’ve been Dreaming about cutting hay for months now.
Oh how I miss the movement, the quiet swish of the scythe, the turning and raking and the baling…
Soon.
Soon.
❀
After the snow forecast for Monday melts.
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Finally!

We have emerged from the polar vortex!
And I am happy about that.
Boy am I happy about that!
Weather sure has been challenging humans across North America this month.
I feel for those caught up in patterns that they don’t normally deal with.
It’s easy for those of us with cold experience to sit back and say shitty things (please don’t do that, ‘kay?) but the fact is, even we get slammed with hard-to-deal-with weather.
So before you make some joke about Texas or any of the southern States dealing with cold and snow and no power and frozen pipes, remember, “there but for the grace of God go I…”
We just came out of -50*c weather…imagine if we’d lost power!
I can’t even.
So just try to remember to be kind.
That’s it.
Don’t be shitty and be kind.

Today, as I type this, we’re at -13*c.
After the past 2 weeks that positively t-shirt weather.
And I’m thankful for it.
So are the horses, the hens, the turkeys and the ducks…oh and the cats.
It was so bad there for awhile we were feeding jar after jar after jar of wet food to them, just so they had enough.
Normally a 1/2 pint is a good supplement to their kibble.
They went through a case of 12 in 2 days!
But, food keeps furnaces stoked, and wet food helps keep kitties hydrated.
So I feed ’em.
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But it also means we’re running low on homemade cat food, so Hubby went and bought a few big cans to have on hand, just in case.
And come fall, I’ll just do a few extra jars, bigger jars, to make sure everyone has enough.

Meat birds are ordered.
I added an extra 25 meat chickens, so we’ll be getting 75 chickens and 10 turkey poults.
So. Many. Birds.
Though chicken math means it’s really not more than 12.
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And I’m thinking I might fire up the incubators this weekend.
If I start this weekend, I can get 2 full hatches in before the one hatch that needs to coincide with the arrival of the meat birds.
I ain’t downsizing the amount of birbs I hatch, let me tell ya!!
Hatching out as many as I possibly can.

Hubby brought home the first bag of potting soil yesterday.
And a pouch of fava bean seeds.
I’ve never grown fava beans before, so I had to read up on them.
Turns out the entire plant is edible, so yay for that!
And with today’s trip to the post office, I’ll have the seeds I need to get the garden going as soon as I can.
Whew!
It’s gonna be a lot of beans, tomatoes, carrots, peas and beets this year.
Stuff we eat a lot of, stuff I can a lot of for winter.
As excited as I am to get growing, I’m tired just thinking about the work too.
lol

Ooooh, I told y’all I was pondering extra apple and saskatoons?
Yup, those are ordered too.
The Food Forest is expanding!
And for the last few nights, I’ve having vivid Dreams about cutting hay.
Oh, I can’t *wait* to get scythe in hand and cut hay again!

But for now, I’m just thankful for the warmer weather, that we made it through the coldest snap we’ve had in a very long time, and that Spring is coming.

Our 3 chubby monkeys, who are doing so well this year…even with record breaking cold!

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.

Rain

Yesterday and last night we got rain.
A lot of it.
Which is good because I hate watering the garden. My hose doesn’t reach so I have to use watering cans,
I do it, but I complain about it.
Mostly because my garden is fairly big and watering can after watering can gets tedious.
It’s kinda hilarious…especially since we’re working on expanding it.
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But the rain has also made the grass grow, and that becomes hay.
That’s what I’m doing today.
Cutting hay.
Hay here in the Farm yard.
Then hay up on the side access road beside our property.
Then hay over at a friend’s place where she can’t get into with machinery.
Here hay, there hay, everywhere hay, hay…
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Not that I’m complaining because every bit of hay I cut and put up gets us closer to being able to keep a ewe or 2 over winter.
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Because sheep, and I refuse to keep animals I cannot feed.
So, I work my rump off to make sure we can feed ’em.

Then tomorrow I’ll be back at weeding the garden.
Which is food for not only us humans but them darn meat chickens…because meaties do love when The Food Lady tosses them weeds to eat.

My new statue addition…

Check out my new-to-me statue!
She came from the local dump.
Yup, our dump allows us to “shop” so that things can be recycled.
I ❀ LOVE ❀ that.
We’ve gotten building materials, gardening things, hardenable steel for Hubby’s forge, and now a new garden statue.
She’s concrete and just about 15 inches tall.
Ima clean her up, give her a fresh coat of paint and enjoy her beauty.
πŸ™‚

And now, on with the day!
Gotta go cut the hay.
πŸ˜‰

Wordless Wednesday

I went out to take a few pictures of the horses this morning…
Gotta keep up on Ruby’s Instagram, and I needed a shot for another photo challenge I joined for today.

So I’m out there taking pictures of the mares, when I look over and see this:

Really Buddy?

*sigh*
Leave it to Trouble to follow me out to the pasture, just to plop himself down in the hay pile to wash his ass.
Cats.

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Sharing with Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday

Hay Math

I was doing some hay math the other day.
Y’know, figuring out what we have left for hay to last until the pasture grows…
I figure with some extra supplementing with hay cubes and beet pulp (which they get anyways) we’ll be okay.
I *might* have a bale or two left over.
I hope.

Plus, The Merry Mares got their 2nd large oat straw round bale.
This they get whole, so they can tear it apart, dig through it for grain bits to eat, chew the straw itself and then sleep in it.
It’s not just food, it’s entertainment.
And that comes in handy when you’ve got 3 very large bored toddlers.
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Here’s what the bale looked like when Hubby gave it to them…

Before the bale exploded…

Don’t mind Ruby…she was just finishing a pee. And was rather proud of herself for whizzing in the bale first.
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And then today…

Peek a boo!

They’ve destroyed the bale and built it into a nest.
That way they can lay in it and eat too.
Some people’s horses.
lol

53 Days…

53 days until Spring.
Another month before we fire up the incubator. Still just the one…haven’t managed to get the $$$ together to order the 2nd yet.
I keep spending the egg money on things that come up…
Like new blankets for all before Yule.
Groceries when Hubby found a spanky deal on some veggies/fruits.
Feed, now that the layers are gearing up and laying more…they need more than just the barley chop and wheat so we’re mixing in layer feed now too…

But, I can still run batches of 24 eggs at a time.
And I’m waiting for some money to come in at the end of the month, so the next incubator should be ordered and arrive in time for hatching season’s start.

I’m looking out the window at our unseasonably, but oh so appreciated, -8*c.
Normally we’d be at least 10 degrees colder.
Of course, I’m also dreaming wistfully of the garden.
Unseasonably warm weather will do that to a Farm gal. πŸ˜‰
We’ll start seeds soon though…right around the time we fire up the incubator.
So much life to start in just a few months!!

One of the best parts of this weather is how much less The Merry Mares are eating.
Hay consumption has slowed down, and for that I’m grateful.
They did decide to dig out the last bit of the first oat straw bale and have a bit more fun with it…


Astrid buried her head way down in there, looking for left over grain bits.

She was awful peeved that I called her ’til she lifted her head out…Sable dove into the spot she had been and probably found the tasty bits she was digging around for.
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And Ruby wore her straw beard whilst trying to have a nap…apparently I was annoying her again by taking pictures.
lol
Too bad for her.
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Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Wistful
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead blog hop.

A Bit of a Giggle

I had a bit of a giggle at Hubby yesterday…

We went to do chores and throw hay for The Merry Mares, and like always at this time of year, while he tossed hay I went in and scratched and petted everyone.
There’s a reason for this…aside from the general love I have for the equine brats. πŸ˜‰
Scratches and pets also let me make sure everyone is is good weight for the impending cold weather.
As coats thicken, if they’re not getting a bit of a fat layer, or if they’ve lost, that can be hidden under that thickening coat.
So, hands on is the easiest way to tell…

So while I’m scratching and poking and prodding, Hubby says to me he’s glad to have our hay home now, because he’s been worried about how much the mares have been eating.
I did a quizzical doggie head tilt at him…
Really?
Worrying about weight and if they’re getting enough is totally my thing.
Almost all year long, I’m worrying about making sure they’re in healthy weight.

He says to me, “well from here, I can see Astrid’s ribs”
I laugh and I’m like, “uh, fucking where???”
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So I get him to come into the pasture and I show him…if you try to feel ribs, you can’t.
But looking from the angle he was standing it, it looked like she was ribby because of her hair pattern and the dirt in her coat.
Then I took him over to Sable, and showed him the same thing…find the ribs with your hands, through the coat.
Once into the coat, you find she has a nice pad of fat over her ribs…not so much that she’s overweight, but enough that she’ll do just fine with good hay to maintain her.
And Ruby?
Still getting people stopping to find out when she’s gonna have her baby.
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I laugh and say, “no babies here…that’s a food baby!!”

Chubby monkey napping in the sunrise, pre-snow fall.

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee.
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Sept. 1st. Already!

Just plain busy here.
300 lbs of tomatoes going into jars as simple sauce, pizza sauce and whole.
Put 16 dozen cobs of corn into jars. Not the whole cob, but 16 dozen cobs worth…cut off and packed into jars, then pressure canned.
Got the chicken backs/necks done into soup…and into jars.
Helped a friend move yesterday.
Working on sourcing a bulk purchase of carrots to put up for winter.
Got apples coming Tuesday for making wine.

No pictures because there’s been no time with the camera.
But, shelves are filling.
Freezers are too.
Wines and beers are brewing.
Pigs are down to the last 8ish weeks before freezer camp.

Oh!!
And I confirmation of my winter hay from our supplier.
*THAT* took a huge weight off.
It’s been a hard summer for hay growers, and until I had actual confirmation from him, I didn’t want to say anything…he’s a good, honorable guy, so if there was a problem supplying us, he’d let us know asap. I just needed that confirmation to ease the worry though…lol
As a bonus, the price is the same as last year too.
I’m a happy, happy horse owner.
So between our hay, the oat straw bales we’re getting off our own land this year (not the whole harvest of straw, because we lease to someone who sells the straw to someone else, but enough to get us through) and the daily beet pulp/alfalfa cube/flax supplement, my nags oughta do fine and dandy this winter.

It’s coming together folks.
And that’s a good thing.
Winter is coming.