August

Not sure how it’s gotten to be August already, but I’m not ready for it to be August already.
Not like anyone asks me if I’m ready, or anything…
😂😂😂

Today was “take away all the duck eggs from the broody duck hens” day.
Which was not really fun, because 9 broody duck hens all trying to lob off broody duck hen shit at you for stealing their babies is really, really disgusting.
And, those bitches can aim.
Which is why you *never* pick up a broody duck hen.
Rubber boots must be worn, and you kinda scoot ’em along out of the coop, while a 2nd person makes sure they don’t dash right back in.

I candled all the eggs.
59 of them.
Gave 11 that look like they might be within a week or so of hatching to the broody chicken hens on the deck.
The rest were either not developing (too fresh) or really, really rotten.
Listen, when a black egg sloshes, you hold that veeeeerrry carefully while you dash to the fire pit where you’re gonna toss ’em.
You never want to have a rotten egg burst in your hand.
Ever.
🤢🤮

So that’s that.
From here on out, we collect duck eggs daily to try to break the hens of their broodiness.
Then the girls can just enjoy the rest of the summer being ducks, instead of sitting nests and chirping.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stupid turkeys were out this morning.
The whites are getting bigger and bigger, and they keep following the grasshoppers all over the place.
Unfortunately, one place they follow them to is the road in front of our property…and I can’t have my dumbass birds out on the municipal road. They’re too stupid to move for vehicles, and I don’t want anyone getting hurt because my birds are stupid.
So we have built them a yard (which does need to be expanded), with a top on it…but we don’t worry about keeping the top on when they’re locked in their coop at night…well, I guess I forget to latch their door properly, and the jerks pushed their way out this morning.
The whites were easy to catch…
They see me, The Food Lady, and come running…
So I scooped them up and dropped them back into their yard, except for the few who dashed off into the tall weeds hooting “fuck you Lady, you’ll never catch us!!”
Except I will come supper time for sure because their turkey bellies will cry for foods and there’s none out anywhere for them to steal from other birds…eat bugs and weeds or go without…and eventually they’ll come back for the easy to eat stuff…and I I just might give everyone who was a good bird and stayed in their pen some hard boiled eggs today…that will show ’em to stay the fuck home.
😂😂😂

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dingus the Narragansett is out of the garage now.
Took a bit longer than I wanted…truth be told, I was just going to butcher him, but I have no freezer space right now.
So he’s in a brooder with his own yard.
It’s not a huge space, but it’s infinitely better than being in the garage long-term, and he gets to get outside now…so he’ll spend the rest of summer strutting and dancing, trying to convince any bird that comes near him how amazingly handsome he is, and then in the Fall, he’ll go to Freezer Camp.

Emma, one of my Narragansett hens, has gone off on walkabout.
I’m 98% certain I know where she is, and even more certain she’s sitting a nest.
In the former pig/duck yard, the weeds have grown to 6 feet in height (I really should find some herbivore to put in there to eat them, but time and money have been short) and I’m pretty sure she’s in there…she’s been seen going in and out of the hutch in there, but she’s not sitting in there.
And, I’m not motivated enough to wander through the weeds to see if I can find her…
She’ll either return in 25ish days (she’s been gone solid for 3 days) with some poults or she won’t return…and if she doesn’t return, I’ll assume a coyote got her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Garden is growing well.
Pulled out all the pea plants and harvested those.
Now I’m replanting for a Fall crop.
Still working on weeding and mulching…that’s gonna happen until everything is pulled out.
Beans are flowering gangbusters.
Same with San Marzano tomatoes.
Other tomatoes are a bit behind, but, we’ll see what happens.
My stinging nettles are ready for their next harvest…I’ll be cutting them severely to harvest for teas, tinctures, and fertilizer.
They’re tough as hell plants, so I don’t worry about them coming back next year.
Once I do that, I can open the gate for The Merry Mares to go back into the front pasture.

Mullein is ready for harvest too.
I ran the still for my tincture base, so I’m ready to get that going.
I feel like the mullein tincture is going to be an important one this winter.
That and the elderberry syrup…and hyssop cough syrup…
Not interested in getting into any political/world debates, just feel like I need to do everything I can to take care of mine.
No one else in this world is going to, I sure the hell am.

Haying is rolling along too…
There’s a lot of grass out there to get cut still.
The feed she dis filling nicely with hay bales.
The stuff that got rained on too many times has entertained the ducks and geese immensely.
We used it as bedding for them once it finally dried.
It was too dusty for the Mares, but perfect for a bunch of crazy birds to dig through and poop in.

Fall is coming.
So is winter.
It’s getting busier, with us trying to get everything done we need to get done, plus anything extra.
I hope that winter will be less of an asshole to us this year.
Fingers crossed.
😂😂😂

Borage and Other Garden Stuff

I had winter sown some borage seeds.
I waited a long time to finally see the wee teeny seedling come up.
And then I forgot about it in the container for a while.
Finally, I got around to putting it into the garden…not in any particular spot, just in a “oh, there’s a space, let’s plant something there!” spot.
I had no real expectation of it doing much of anything…

Until this morning when this greeted me:

So, now I’ll let this plant self seed for next year.
One of the things about winter sowing is that the plants that *do* come up and produce are best to save seeds from (or let self seed) because they’re acclimatized to your micro climate.
Since my micro climate can be incredibly harsh (even though we’re zone3 over all, my micro climate can oft times be zone2) anything that acclimatizes here (that we can use) will be encouraged.

Other goings on include:

Volunteer tomatoes coming up all over the place.
There’s easily 6 of them, maybe more in the weeds….shhhhh, we won’t talk about the fact that I’m behind on weeding…
These are from composted tomatoes from Loop.
Who knows what kinda tomatoes we’ll get from these plants, but if they’re tasty, I’ll save seeds from them and give them another shot next year.
There’s also a whole lot of ground cherries coming up…I was warned that growing them once typically means having them forever…that’s fine with me!
Ground cherries are delicious!
So having a whole bunch of volunteers come up is awesome.
I hope to have enough to make a batch of wine with them.
I think they’d make a very tasty wine.

And the mullein (and a few other of the medicinals) are growing beautifully.
They’ve been getting a weekly application of the stinging nettle tea, so they’re just about ready for a small harvest…enough that thins them out nicely and gives me enough for winter tinctures.

Plus, the stinging nettles, that some lovely horse 🙄🤦‍♀️ decided to munch the beautiful tops off of, are ready for another harvest, and to made into a tincture. As well as more dried for winter teas.
And the bonus is, the stems will be chopped and fermented into fertilizer.

Slowly but surely, we’re getting things done.
🙂

The Gardening Begins…

It’s a little chilly out there today, but we’re in full on working in the garden mode now.
The ducks and TD (TallDuck the sweetgrass turkey who thinks she’s a duck) are going back to their yard today, now that flood waters have receded enough.
Then, I start hauling loads of straw to mulch the areas of the garden where grasses tried to take over.
We garden no-till, so straw is my best friend at this time of year.
🙂
Next week I can start planting out my onion sets, my spring garlic and any cool weather seeds…beets, carrots, fava beans, lettuce, spinach, and the like…
We are absolutely going to get a few more nights of frost, so I’m not even thinking about my tomatoes going outside yet.
Soon I’ll start hardening them off tho…

The medicinal plants are doing much better, now that they have their chance under the grow light:

There’s been a growth explosion since this picture above too, so for that I’m glad.
And the reseeded mullein is starting to grow too…mullein is going to be a big one for harvesting (I hope!) this year, since it’s main usage is for respiratory issues. So between what I seeded this week, and hopefully what grows in the the winter sowing jugs, I hope to have an ample supply!

The stinging nettles are up.
Nettles are a nutritional powerhouse, and an excellent medicinal.
Last year I was sad because I thought we didn’t have any growing…then I realized, we have them literally all over the Farm, but the birds (turkeys mainly) were getting them before I found them…and then when I did find them, they were big and older.
Now I know *exactly* where the best stands grow and the turkeys are still in the garage, so *I* get to them first!

And the rhubarb plants are coming back, as well as my asparagus and the honeyberries survived being buried under 5 feet of snow, and the apples trees…well they took some damage, being buried under drifts of snow, but they’re budding and I think they’ll be okay.
So, all in all, we’re getting onto growing season, albeit a wee bit late, but now the spring/summer work begins.
Days of hauling straw, planting, mulching, weeding and maybe even some watering…
I’m looking forward to longer days outside in the sunshine.

I’m still working on the garden expansion out front too…cardboard down, bedding from the duck house next, some rotted horse manure than another layer of straw and finally topsoil.
I haven’t ordered the topsoil yet, but that area is going to be for the peppers (that survived 🙄🤦‍♀️😭) and some tomatoes, so I’m not in too big of a hurry for the dirt.

And just now, after moving ducks, I checked more of the winter sowing jugs and lo…there is growth in quite a few of them!!
For that I am excited.
Later on, I’ll go out with my list and see whats germinated and perhaps (like the plant nerd I am) share some pictures.

Oh, I am so grateful for spring!!
Winter this time ’round was way too hard and we *need* the growth of Spring to rebalance ourselves.
🖤🖤🖤

Oh Sable…

Remember back in the Fall I said I was harvesting as much of the broadleaf plantain weed/herb on the Farm as I sustainably could?
No?
Okay, here:

Plantain is edible, and the young leaves are delicious in salads.
But the main reason I harvest it is for it’s other, well known, use.
To help cuts/scrapes heal.

I dry it, then when I need it, I powder a leaf or 2 in my mortar and pestle, then mix a small amount of raw honey in until it’s a paste.
Then I clean the booboo and coat it with the (not so tasty) honey concoction.

Today I did my first (and hopefully last) ice cut of the season:

Oh Sable…

Not as bad as some she’s done.
Of course it always looks the worst on the Palomino Princess.
And it’s superficial.
It’s from running through drifts of snow…as I said in the Instagram post above, the skin on horse legs is thin and delicate. And cold is not kind to thin, delicate skin.
It can be cut by the sharp crust of an icy snow drift rather easily.
But with the plantain goo, it heals beautifully.
Which is good because our BellaHazaBooBoo needs that goo far too often.
😉

And, just because this past summer I had 2 plantain plants that I could harvest from, I bought seeds in order to plant some in the medicinal garden.
It’s handy to have on hand for humans as well and equines.

Melting

We’re back into a heat wave, with no rain in sight.
I think this is the driest I’ve ever seen it.
We need rain.
Bad.

The heat makes getting things done a little more difficult.
I feel like I’m melting.
lol
So the birds get let out at the hint of dawn, while it’s still (relatively) cool.
I’ve been working on weeding the garden early too…which doesn’t happen some days because the sprinkler needs to run to keep the food plants alive and that has to happen early too.
Truthfully, I’ve been feeling a bit defeated by our garden this year.
At least…until this morning.
When I saw that some tomato plants have rebounded from what I thought was certain death in our June 21st frost. The irony, right? First day of real summer and we get hit with a killing frost?

So I was excited to see a handful of tomatoes in the mulch, with several having blooms on them!
*swoons*
I might get a tomato sandwich yet this year!
And this morning, while I was weeding the thistles, I discovered a fair bit of our corn was up…and quite tall already.
Just hidden in the thistles.
So there’s hope for that too.
I planted mostly feed corn (for homemade libations, if y’know what I mean 😉 ) and for the silk.
Corn silk is dried for tea for a handful of things, including inflammation and urinary health.
I’m happy to find a few stalks coming up amidst my thistles…which I have also been harvesting and drying for teas.
Thistle is excellent for your liver (I’m hard on mine 😂😂😂 I admit it).
Plus the goose bebes love it!
I had hoped to harvest flowers for a mead, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Stinging nettles will be collected this weekend for stinging nettle beer.
I was supposed to do it earlier in the week, but by the time I got the basic chores done, I just wanted to melt…so tomorrow morning I’ll don my gloves and pick a whole bunch of them.

Oh, and we have another house duck…temporarily, of course…

I hadn’t planned on this one coming in, but the hen was in a poor spot when she hatched them, and chickens killed the rest of the clutch off…so we snagged this little and brought her in.
She’s been named Oreo.
I am hoping this is a hen, because she’s just so darn pretty!
And we don’t need anymore drakes…extra boys are Freezer Campers.

And, our final round of incubation is finishing up.
Pipping and peeping started in the incubators yesterday.
By the end of the weekend, everyone who was going to hatch, will have hatched.
And we’ll be done ’til next February.
All that’ll be left is the butchering.
Which should start in a couple of weeks, as some of our first hatcher roosters are close to size now.
Then my weeks will be filled with butcher, process, can, sleep, repeat.
Until the end of November or so.
😂😂😂

This weekend will be a fiery hot one, but we still have the final wall of the greenhouse to build, then we put it up…
And I have hay to cut.
And more weeds in the garden.
And a fence line to move.
And boxes to flatten and lay out over the next garden area (to kill the grass).
And somewhere in there, some sleep…
😂😂😂

We’ll get done what we can, and keep picking at the rest.
That’s just how it is.
🙂

Maybe I’ll go have a nap with Ruby…or a beer.
Prolly a beer is a better idea.
😂😂😂