November

Here we are, first week into November.
Hard to believe we’re there already.
I feel like getting ready to hibernate for Winter, and yet, there’s still so much to do.
Like, right now, I’m writing, but I should be out cleaning and re-bedding the chicken coop. That’s my plan for this afternoon.

But, for now, a chance to catch y’all up on things here…

We’ve finally finished putting the meat chickens in the freezer.
In running the numbers, it was definitely worth doing more chickens, than last years small amount. It was, however, too late in the season to start 50 chicks. Next year, we’ll start them earlier.
I plan on getting eggie chicks, so doing meaties early won’t be a big deal…we’ll do them together.

Since there’s only 3 of us to do the butchering, we can’t do all 50 in one day.
I wish!!
But no, we’re not fast enough for that. So we broke it up into 3 different days. Which, truth be told, worked out well, because we took out all the biggest ones in the first round, which gave the others a chance to grow. Second round, same thing.

Of the 50 chicks we ordered, we lost 3.
1 to a piling incident.
1 to the mean nasty bitch hennys.
1 to a heart attack…which is an unfortunate possibility with Cornish Cross birds.

Turns out we had gotten 51 from the hatchery, because my finished numbers show we processed 48 birds.
9 stayed whole as roasters.
39 were parted into breast, legs/thighs and wings, with backs and necks saved for soup fixings.
Feet were fed to the dog…who ate soooooo many feet. And feathers. I swear, that dog is going to sprout wings, she ate so many feathers. Weirdo.
Livers were saved for friends who enjoy them.
Hearts, gizzards and trim bits were bagged and frozen for winter cat food.

In total, we got 141.1 pounds of meat for our freezer.
Factoring in initial cost of chicks and feed, not including time, infrastructure or butchering supplies, our winter chickens cost us $1.24/pound.
So, really, not too bad.

Next up, comes the pigs.
That starts this weekend.

I think the ducks will be happy to no long have the pigs as neighbours.
And, to be brutally honest, I’ll be happy to no longer have to care for pigs.
Pigs are cute and fun when they’re little.
Once they get this big (they’re around the 200-250lbs mark) they’re butts.
Oh, they have their moments, like with the straw…but man, I’m just tired.
I had thought of wintering some, some year, but I don’t think so.
By November, I’m just done.
LOL!

And then there’s this duck:

Indignant Duck is indignant…and wants me to know it!!

Y’see, we’ve run out of time to get the duck house installed before hard-core winter hits. There’s other things that have to be done before and there is only 3 of us…
So, the ducks have been bunking with the hennys in the insulated coop.
Now that the meaties are gone, we moved the other poultry in there.
Which is why I’m supposed to be cleaning it… 😉

Ducks are not happy about change.
Rain especially.
He’s been rather insistent that he shouldn’t have to sleep with “those stupid girls”. We won’t discuss that the hens have been bunking in the temp. duck house anyways. Still…he doesn’t want to be in the coop with them.
So nightly “put the birds to bed” has been even more fun, with the ducks running away and refusing to go in the coop.

And then…

Last night, Hubby picked Rain up and put him in the coop.
Oh. My. Duck.
The world was ending, Scary Guy Walking touched him, Rain was Going. To. Die. He was so traumatized.
The next morning when I let everyone out, he chased me around the poultry yard, trying to bite and peck me, quacking his fool head off…he went from playing “trauma duck” to being full on rage-y “Indignant Duck”.
Ducks are incredibly expressive.
It did not help at all that I was laughing at him.
😀

Check out my “hard keeper”…

Remember I said I was happy with Sable’s condition this year?
Just look at the picture…

Holy fat Palomino!

Yay!
Fat, sassy, and happy as can be!
Yeah, she looks pregnant in this shot. lol
But seriously, she’s doing really well, and I am so happy for it.

Basking in the Fall sunshine…

Astrid’s back to 98% health.
I’m still liniment-ing and stretching her daily, just to be sure. She’s been trotting and playing, so that’s one less worry for me.

Ghost and Gabrielle

This ^^^ is my poultry helper crew.
They’re sitting in a sandbox that was the ducks’ pool for a while, but is actually The Kid’s flowerbed that never got set up when we got out here.
Now, it’s the feline viewing gallery.
Feline cheering section?
That Ghost is so adorable…and so flippin’ fat now!
I’ve been calling him FatGhost.
I love him dearly, though. ❤

Finally, a lovely shot of our Ruby, dozing in the sunshine…

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Friday’s Hunt July 2nd

I made it.
Wheeee!!
I absolutely freaking made it…
Okay, I may have had to do a double post or two, but I did all the letters of the alphabet this round of Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.
There’s a prize for that, right?
No?
Okay, I’ll be happy with bragging about it. 😉

This week’s prompts are Starts with Z, Week’s Favorite and Dessert.
I’m also going to sneak in an image for The Daily Post’s prompt of passenger. 🙂

Starts with Z

Astrid ❤

Doesn’t she look completely adorable catching some zzzz’s?
Some day, I’m going to catch a video of her snoring. 🙂

Week’s Favorite

2 of them…
My 2 images for Canada Day.
Which was yesterday, and yes, I’m late posting them due to computer issues, including the need for an entire new tower. Now we’re fixed, and back to work.

Ruby

Cookie

Happy 150th to our wonderful country! ❤

Dessert

A little while back, we were given a watermelon to share with the animals. Piggies? Not impressed. But they were younger and unsure of this new food we were offering them.

Hennys was a much different story…

Can you see the watermelon in the fray?

Less than 3 minutes and the hennys polished off their watermelon dessert.

Oh, and yesterday, Astrid had a passenger:

Hubby and Little Red

While I was introducing The Cookie to my brother (she’s really not a people horse 😉 ), Hubby decided to hop up on Little Red and go for a walk.

Friday’s Hunt Jan. 28th

It’s been an interesting week.
I thought I had lost my feral tomcat Ghost to coyotes, but he reappeared yesterday. A little thinner, a little worse-for-wear, and in need of some of Mama Wolfie’s TLC…but, he came home, and that’s what matters. ❤

The horses have been braving climbing the snow drifts.
Not because they’re trying to walk out of the pasture (which, scarily enough, in a few places they probably could) but because the weather has them restless and bored.
One upside of this weather is they’re not eating as much hay, so a bale is lasting longer.
Downside is with them getting smaller portions, we’re out more often (even at night) to check and be sure there is enough in the feeders. Meh, who needs sleep, right? 😉

Chickens have been enjoying the weather too. Bok bok boking around their yard, chasing Xena who still thinks she’s a chicken even though she’s a cat, and just enjoying some much needed sunshine.
Sadly, we had to cull one henny. 😦
She had prolapsed again…after the first one died from a prolapse, I am no longer a softie about it. 1 treatment. If it happens again, then, we cull. I did have a discussion with the Other Two about calcium amounts…they didn’t realize when feeding that I put as much of the calcium supplement in the food as I did. When the hennys are outside more, it’s easier to offer calcium in a separate feeder, but it’s not as easy in the coop. So, now we’re all on the same page, and everyone seems to be doing well.

Cookie decided that stealing Daphne’s stick was a grand plan…there was even a moment of equine-canine tug of war going on.
Hilarious!!

On to pictures for this week’s prompts for Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills

Starts with D

How about Daphne?

Wild and crazy hound catching snow balls...

Wild and crazy hound catching snow balls…

"I got my stick!!!"

“I got my stick!!!”

Week’s Favorite

Astrid ❤

Climbing the snow drift, completely ignoring me telling her to get off there...

Climbing the snow drift, completely ignoring me telling her to get off there…

I have pictures that I’ll share later on of Ruby climbing that same drift and falling through the top crust…Astrid had to climb it because Ruby did. Toddlers.

Close Up

Helper Palomino just wants to help take pictures.

Helper Palomino just wants to help take pictures.

I was trying to get a sunset shot of her eye. Once again going for calm, ethereal beauty…
That’s so not my world.
LOL!!
Nope, **this** is my world…wide eyed Palomino trying to lick the lens while I’m pushing her muzzle away and laughing.
This image says so much about my world.

Monday Morning Roundup

It’s a wet and snowy Monday morning here…I’d show you pictures, but it’s a wet and snowy morning. LOL
I really dislike taking my camera out in wet, drippy weather, and well, to be honest, right now I don’t want to take myself out in wet drippy weather. 😛

The day started early, right around 3:30am, when Hubby woke me to tell me it was raining. Oh joy.
Thankfully, yesterday Hubby got the bale extension made on the horse shelter, and I got a good amount of straw tossed in, so the horses should be fine…and then I remembered that we fork feed hay. And so, out I went to check on the feeders…there I found out dear sweet Sable shivering.
*sigh*
+1*c, rain and wind means my Big Girl gets cold…and so, back to the house to toss her towels into the dryer, and then load the hay wagon with some extra hay. Got her food down, ran up for her towels, rubbed her down and refluffed her coat, and she was good. I so ❤ that sigh of relief she heaves when she feels the heat of the first towel. It’s like she knows, Mama’s going to make it better. 🙂

Everyone else was fine. In fact, they didn’t even come out of the shelter. I filled the trough with hay too though, just in case they emerged as I left. I didn’t want anyone pushing Bella out of her food. As much as she loves her warm towel treatment, the best way to stoke the furnace and keep a horse warm is to feed them…

This wet November has made us very happy to be bringing our hay home a month’s worth at a time. Normally, we’d get our delivery of the entire winter’s hay at once, and we’d have it all on the yard. Well, we don’t have a shed to store it, and tarps work to a certain extent, but still wet, windy and miserable means wet hay…and that leads to moldy hay. 😦 Moldy hay is garbage hay.
Thankfully, our Hay Guy has been okay with us leaving the bulk of our hay in his shed. Also, thankfully, our Hay Guy is very trustworthy, and as long as he knows what we need (I try to let him know through the summer, to be sure he has for us) it’ll stay there until we either come get it, have it delivered or tell him we don’t need it…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

A reliable hay source is invaluable. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your winter hay to feed your animals, and it gets sold out from under you…or you discover its moldy or full of foxtail when you get it.
I don’t have to worry about that with our Hay Guy, and I am so very grateful for that!

Yesterday was a frosty day from the get go. Frost I’m willing to take the camera out in, so I did manage a couple of pictures to share:

My personal rainbow.

My personal rainbow. ❤

It’s a lovely rainbow indeed!
With Cookie being the closest to me, it looks like Astrid is taller than her, but she’s not. Close though! Cookie still has at least an inch on her…Astrid is our smallest Girl. I haven’t checked their heights/weights lately. I really should. It takes the 3 of us to do Cookie, because the measuring tape around her girth is terrifying to her. Mostly because she doesn’t understand it. But, with slow and steady movements, and a lot of my breathing in her nostrils, we can get it done. 😉

As you can see, Sable is our biggest Girl. I still find it fascinating that our biggest horse is also our most timid and gentlest horse.

Cookie's fancy frosted tips...

Cookie’s fancy frosted tips…

Frost on a black coat is pretty darn amazing looking. Same with snowflakes. This winter, I’m going to practice my macro snowflake shots.I managed a few decent ones last spring, but I want to try again. It’s not easy taking shots of teeny tiny things on the fluffy coat of a living, breathing animal.
We’ll see what I can do.

Surprisingly, the wet and snowy morning hasn’t deterred the hennys from coming out into their yard. I figure that’s a pretty good barometer for what the day’s going to be like…a little miserable, but all in all, not too bad. When we’re facing a really awful weather day, the hennys don’t bother coming out of the coop. I open up the little door, they peek out and run to the other side of the coop. When that happens, you know, the weather is going to suck. lol

Speaking of sucking…I have my henny food bin sitting in the bathtub, dripping off snow/ice right now. I forgot to mix up the next batch of their food yesterday, and so I have to do it today. I’m NOT doing that outside, so I had to bring the bin (which is one of those huge plastic garbage cans) into the house.
*sigh*
That’ll teach me to get it done right away.
(Alas, no, it won’t. Not when the feeders were full and I knew they’d be okay until this evening. 😉 )

And so, I am now off to outrun the T-rex that is Monday…wish me luck. I just may need it.

I found it on FB, laughed my butt off, and then realized, this is my life. LOL!!

I found it on FB, laughed my butt off, and then realized, this is my life. LOL!!

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!

The Days Are Getting Shorter

I feel like I’m losing hours, falling so far behind, not even remotely ready for winter. Winter is coming.
*sigh*
If only moving to a warmer climate wasn’t so expensive…of course it’s not nearly the $200K that some of Canada’s MP billed the Canadian taxpayers for, for a move from Toronto to Ottawa, that our smarmy PM excused by saying “They only followed the rules set out by the previous gov’t” like somehow ripping off taxpayers is excusable just because he personally didn’t make the rule…what an ass.

Anyways…

Last week, the Peepers went to Freezer Camp.
Yes, there are pictures.
Yes, there will be a blog post.
I’m working on it. lol

The hennys have moved into the insulated coop, that also has supplemental light. I’ve been giving them some fermented grains as well (which they are all over like flies on a manure pile!) so as they adjust to the new house, new light and extra interesting food, eggs have dropped slightly. Down from 16 a day to 12. Still plenty for us, and some for sale.
It’s so nice to have a little $$$ coming in that the Farm is making. Even if it’s just a little bit! 🙂
It’ll grow, as we do.

Only a few more weeks for the piggies too.
They’ve had a major growth spurt…it really seemed like they got huge overnight! Here’s a picture of them, from Monday…

3 (not so) little piggies!

3 (not so) little piggies!

Took the picture with my phone. In fact, it’s the very last picture I’ll ever take with that phone, because a few moments later, I dropped it into the pig yard. Right into a puddle of slop/shit.
Suffice it to say, the phone stinks like you cannot even imagine, and I need a new one. Won’t have that until Friday. I coulda had one sooner, but I was picky about the one I wanted and the store didn’t have it in stock…so they had to order it from another location and I’m stuck with Stinky Pig Phone a little bit longer.

By the end of October, the piggies will be in Freezer Camp. So, I have 3-4 weeks (we’re going to do 1 pig the 3rd weekend of October, and the other 2 the next) to feed them, keep them happy and healthy, and help them grow as big and meaty as they can. 🙂
Which means a 4th and final cut on the garden weeds to feed to piggies, then we’ll cover that with some scrap wood for the winter.
Hopefully, come spring, the wood will have kept the emerging weeds down, so we can till, rake and burn in preparation for planting.
I love that the over grown weeds were basically turned into bacon, but next summer, I want to grow bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. LOL!

The other big thing we have to do before winter sets in is get our hay and straw home. Once that’s on the yard, I can relax. I know it’s there, being held for us, but until it’s here, where it’s easy to feed to the horses, I won’t be ready.
*sigh*
I don’t think I’m ever going to be ready for winter…hay on the yard or not!

Right Place at the Right Time

My camera is almost always in hand on the Farm.
If not in hand, close to hand, so that I can capture things that just happen…Spontaneity in photography is a lot of what this blog is about. 😉
Of course, I do miss capturing some things, some times, but still…I catch all the good stuff I can.

Like yesterday…
I went out to take a picture of Anthony Piggie in her blankets:

"What? I like a blanket while I nap in the sunshine..."

“What? I like a blanket while I nap in the sunshine…”

She looks like she needs a good stretch, a scratch and a coffee. LOL!
Kinda how I feel in the mornings…but this was mid-afternoon for her. 😉

To capture that shot, I had to go into the Henny Yard for the right angle. While I was there I checked the waterers and found the hens were needing. I lined them up, turned on the hose, and while I was waiting for things to fill, I did the daily egg hunt. I noticed one henny was still in her nest, but had just stood into the laying stance.
I went for my camera just in time to capture the egg being layed…

Here it comes!

Here it comes!

Egg2

Egg3

And it's out!

And it’s out!

Egg5

And, that’s where eggs come from.
Pretty cool capture, if you ask me. 🙂