Around the Farm

We’ve had sunshine.
We’ve had heat.
We’ve had rain.

Weeds in the garden are fighting me…hard.
But in some places I’m winning.
🙂

I have a whole bunch of grass down for hay.
Actually, should be baling it today.
Then I have more to cut along our property.
This year…whew, every little bit is going to count this year.
So even though I’m tired af, I’m still going out and cutting, raking, turning, drying, baling…
Oy, and the horsefly bites!!
Yikes!
Bruises upon bruises from the rotten little s.o.b’s.

But, there’s some good stuff too…

There’s beets in them thar weeds!!
😂😂😂

beans are turning into flowering bushy masses…

look at all the apples!
*swoons*
So. Happy.

It’s supposed to be one of those Russian Giant sunflowers.
Not very tall, but I’m hopeful for a large head of seeds.

Flowers on the strawberries…

And there’s the pigs…

naptime

Oh George…

George has happily chewed the side out of the shelter so that, on super hot days, he can stay inside in the shade and still munch away on the thistles and other garden weeds I toss to the pigs.
Whatever works for him, so long as he’s growing.
😉

alfalfa blossoms

dragonfly

There are so many dragonflies here this year!
I love seeing them flitting around.
And they make the poor chickens lose their minds, as the birds try to chase them to catch and eat.
Every now and then you’ll see a bird run by with one in her beak, but the dragonflies tend to be too fast for them.

the thistles are blooming…

Thinking I’m going to dry some for tea this year (thistle is good for liver health and is supposed to ease asthma attacks/symptoms)…but right now I’m mostly cutting them for the pigs and the poultry.
They all love thistles to eat.

And finally, because I haven’t shared a picture of her in quite some time…

Daphne

The Garden So Far…

It’s been a busy weekend.
We have finally gotten the fencing up around the garden!
YAY!!
Now I’m working on planting without the help of asshole chickens-who-are-not-supposed-to-be-free-range-but-do-whatever-the-hell-they-want.

Yesterday I pulled out the biggest weeds from the first quarter of the garden, then planted a 20 ft row of beets, 5 20 ft rows of carrots (yes, we like carrots! between soups/stews, canned carrots for winter and fresh eating, there is never enough of them)

Then, I did a couple short rows of onions.
Today I plan to, if it doesn’t rain, get my leafy greens in…spinach, lettuce and radishes (I love the peppery flavour of radish greens 🙂 ).

After that, it’s beans…hundreds of bean seeds, because like carrots, we love beans.
In soups/stews, in jars and fresh eating.
I could honestly plant my entire garden with beans and carrots and not have enough for the 3 of us.
One day, we’ll expand the garden even more and dedicate a larger area to both.

I’ve also been conditioning my straw bales for planting.
That should be this weekend.
I have 6 full medium square bales (average 400ish lbs) plus a 1/3rd of a bale that I just retied the string on.
That’s where my cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins and squashes will get planted.
I may also take one to plant sunflowers.
Ever since our first year here, I’ve been wanting to do a photo shoot with Sable eating sunflowers…because The Kid’s first garden was next to the pasture and that CinderBella ate every damn sunflower that bloomed…and did so with a huge equine grin on her face.
LOL!!
So I want to plant a bunch of them to give her a bouquet to nibble while I take pictures. 😉

And then there’s the tomatoes to get in, and my grape plant.
Strawberries were planted, but attacked by chickens before the fence went up, so I’m watering and hoping they bounce back from those feathered assholes.

Once the tomatoes are in, and the seeds start coming up, I’ll be heavily mulching with straw.
I’m working towards the garden becoming no till.
I dislike running the rototiller just to mix up the soil and expose the good microbes to the sun…and it really does encourage weed seeds to grow.
So, I’m going no-till.
Lots of mulch, pulling weeds as needed and in the fall, with the fence in, the ducks will go there to finish any weeding before the winter hits.
My garden has great soil already, I just want to keep it that way. 🙂
In the fall, we’ll add more rotted manure (because I have 3 poop factories working 24/7) and whatever straw bales from my bale gardening that are too decomposed to be grown in next year.

The chicks have been growing like crazy.
We cleaned up the old duck house, and the meat chicken house and both are ready for the meaties to make the transition to outdoor living.
Pretty sure that’s going to happen this coming weekend.
Then, if my incubator ever arrives…oy, the problems I’ve been having with Purolator!! That’s a whole different, expletive laden post, let me tell you…one the incubator arrives, I’ll fill it with eggs, and then we’ll have 3ish weeks to get the brooder cleaned out for the next round of chicks.
Home hatched chicks.
Eeeeee!! The excitement. 😀

Piglets will be arriving in about a week.
They’re ready to be off mama on the 27th. They’ll be 8 weeks by then, so should have a really good start.
We changed up the breed this year…thus far we’ve raised pinkies. But, they’re not bred for outdoor living like we like our pigs to live. It takes them time to adjust, time that should be spent growing. And while we’ve, for the most part, been happy with our end products, I feel we could do better with a heritage breed that’s bred for outdoor life.
So, with the help of a neighbour, we found 3 berkshire piglets.
I’m looking forward to seeing how our feed management and raising techniques work on these guys in comparison.

And finally, we have 1 duck and 1 chicken hen gone broody on a nest of chicken and duck eggs.
That started around the beginning of the month, so hopefully we’ll be seeing chicks from them soon.
They have this odd co-parenting thing going on, and I’m just letting them do their thing.
It’s either going to work or it’s not.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
🙂

gratuitous horse picture, because every post should have a picture of one of the Merry Mares. 😉

Tired…But Hopeful for Spring

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of talking about the weather. Not that there’s much else to talk about these days, with how the weather dominates everything we do at this time of year.

Honestly, how can we *not* talk about -40*c temperatures?
With windchills in the mid to high -50*c range?
How we survived it for near on to a week, with very few little glitches?
How the Merry Mares came through with kicking, bucking, galloping, playing colours?
And now how we’re under a snowfall warning and could see as much as 8 inches of snow by tomorrow morning?
But we’re lucky where we are, because south of us, they could see upwards of 15 inches…so there’s that.

It’s tiring though, when we’re longing for spring and sunshine and warmth that doesn’t come from the furnace…

In 25 days I will start my pepper seeds.
2 weeks after that, I will start my tomato seeds.
I’m clinging to that, because that’s my sign of spring is coming.
I’ve been ready to start seeds for months.
I’ve studied what worked last year, what I can do better with this year, and made my list of what I need to buy for seeds to get going.
I’ve been diligently cleaning the horse shelter to grow the compost pile to add to the garden next fall.
I’ve also been on top of the household compost and look forward to it cooking down some once the melt hits.
Then I can clean out the poultry coop and put the bedding/waste in the bottom of the bin when we move it.

We never did get a fence built around the garden, so I’m hoping to get that done this year. We found a couple of dog run style chain link set ups this past summer, and I’m hoping to use one of those.
I really want to be able to pen the poultry into the garden at the end of the year to act as the clean up crew.
Makes my life so much easier in the spring!

In the meantime, since it’s been way too cold to take the camera out to capture the Merry Mare’s in their playing glory, The Kid and dressed up the cats.
Nancy was not happy and none of his shots turned out…unless you like flaily blurs of tabby running away from the camera.
😂😂😂

Daisy Mae, however….


And this one…


Next up, I’m going to crochet her a little hat and scarf set.
A chicken hat.

There’s a reason for it to be a chicken hat…

See that chicken in the back?
The light coloured one?
That’s Lemon Chicken.
That’s her name. She’s one of my green egg layers.
She’s also a brat who loves to come up on the deck and eat the cat food I put out for the outdoor cats.
Well, we’ve had some rather lovely days, where she’s been wandering about the yard like she likes to do.
One of those days, I came back from collecting eggs in the coop to find her at the back door, having a conversation with little miss Daisy Mae through the door.
There was cooing and chirping from Lemon Chicken and mewing and other odd noises from Daisy Mae…
Un-fricken-believable.
The cat and the chicken have decided they’re pals.

So, once things warm up enough that Lemon Chicken starts free ranging again (even though she’s *supposed* to stay in the chicken yard), the plan is for the unlikely friends to have a face to face meeting.
And Daisy Mae will be wearing a crocheted chicken hat.
Hilarity oughta ensue.

 

Glamour Shots

What do you get with a 3’x5′ mirror and a whole bunch of chicks, varying in age from 1 week to just about 4 weeks?

Chicken glamour shots.
That’s what you get.
🙂

Berg’s brown laying chick…

Columbia Plymouth Rock X Red chick…

C.Rock X and Berg’s brown in the back…

This is one of the 18 easter egger chicks we got a few weeks ago…I don’t know breed other than that.
Hen or rooster?
I’m sure someone with more bird experience than me can tell, but I don’t know. 😉 It’s just cute…in an ugly bird sorta way. lol

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…

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.