Saturday Morning Plans

Today we have a whole lot of work on the schedule.
I mean, it’s a Farm, so when don’t we?
But this weekend is the weekend where we get a lot more done in the garden.

We live on flat, bald arsed prairie.
I fell in love with the place because it was what we were needing when we were looking for a famr…but if I were to do this again?
I mighta kept looking.
We have very few trees (most we planted ourselves), we’re surrounded by grain fields (our big field is leased out to a local guy…same guy we get the bulk of our feed from), and we have the shittiest neighbour across the road (but those happen everywhere, so there’s no saying we wouldn’t have had one somewhere else).

But, we wanted out of the city, we needed somewhere close enough MCFHubby could get to work everyday, and we needed something set up for horses…so really, this was perfect.
And I do love this place.
Challenges and all.
πŸ˜‰

So, our work for today…

The biggest challenge with the garden has always been wind.
Bald. Arsed. Prairie.
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Last year, we tried something that seemed to work pretty darn good though!
We’ve had to fence the garden to keep those asshole birbs
out…because chickens, y’know what I mean?
So what we did was hang plastic aaaaaallllll around the fence, to make a makeshift hoop/greenhouse.
In essence, we created a less windy, teeny bit warmer micro climate with the plastic.
Then, what tomatoes that I didn’t forget about were planted around the edges, next to the plastic.
Well…
Said tomatoes went in super late, were almost half dead, but they rebounded and gave us enough for a few really tasty sandwiches.
And so, we decided that we needed to renew the plastic this year…since we had only jim-bob slapped it up last year and it came undone on 3 sides.

So that’s the main task today.
Get that plastic back up.
Then, lay down the landscape fabric/weed barrier that we plant the tomatoes through.
That way, when Mother Nature quits setting us those frost traps…I mean seriously, I’m looking at the weather, including overnights and thinking about putting tomatoes and peppers out…and then I remember that it’s only May 15th.
Nope, not falling for it!
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But I can get 90% of the seeds in.
Pretty much everything but the beans and the corn. Though I can probably get the feed corn planted…it typically goes in earlier, but I’m not 100% sure where I’m putting that yet, so no big deal if it waits. That’s my whiskey makin’ corn. πŸ˜‰

But first, feed store run and a trip to the dump.
Hoping there might be some good stuff we can recycle from the dump.
I love “shopping” at the dump!
It really is a case of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.
Last few times have been pretty slim pickings.
I think that has to do with our smaller, closer dump was closed by the RM (so yay, more bloody garbage dumped
on back roads by pigs πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ™„) and more people have to go to the bigger dump by the nearest town.
Plus, building material prices are through the roof, so people are scrounging more and more.
But, if you don’t look when you’re there, you’ll never find anything.

Then we have to move chickens around.
This becomes a bi-weekly task in the summer.
The meaties are ready to come out of the smaller brooder in the Little Red Shed, and move to one of the brooders MCFHubby and The Kid built.
Man, them little birbs grow like mad and are little savages!
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They get so excited over food…even if you just fed them an hour previously.
But that’s how cornishX are.
Once we get them so that they have outside space/time, they settle down on eating every dang thing in sight.
And, once outside, they can eat bugs and slugs and weeds and be happy little hooting and eating machines.

And finally, if we have any energy left, there’s 3 mares who need some attention paid to their hooves.
They’re overdue for a trim, and today looks like a lovely day to work on some feet.
But, we do have to get the food production stuff done first.

And Ruby can have a nap while waiting for her turn…

Enjoy the weekend and the weather folks!
❀

16!!!

It’s just a quick shot with my phone, but so far 16 poults have emerged!
I’m pretty darn happy with that.
Considering we keep having help from Daisy Mae with the cord being knocked out, and the humidity was a bit wonky near the end…still…16 poults.
Yeah, that’s good!
Fingers crossed for a good amount of hens this round, so that we can add them to Oscar and Dingus’ harem…any boys, unless they’re perfect/awesome will be Freezer Campers.

❀
Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays.

It Has Begun…

Seed starting space is still at a premium.
So I work with what I have…for now.
Peppers are started.

Only 6 varieties…

I wanted to plant so many more.
But these 6 will do for this year.
Spicys with the poblanos, Anaheims, big Jims, and jalapenos.
Sweets with the shepherds and red bells.
The shepherds are a first for me…last summer our local mega-mart (Superstore) had cases of them on sale.
They do every year.
Last year was the first year Hubby managed to get them before they sold out.
They’re a long, sweet red pepper that tastes like candy when roasted.
Oh. My. Dog.
I did jars and jars of pressure canned roasted red peppers.
So damn good!!
And then I thought “huh, wonder if these are open pollinated?”
Off I went to ask the google…because the peppers themselves come from a farm in Ontario (one province east of me) I figured they grow fairly decently in our climate.
I worried briefly about them being greenhouse grown, ’til the farm itself posted images of rows upon rows upon rows of pepper plants….so I took a chance and emailed them to find out where they sourced their seeds.
Stokes!!
And they’re o/p.
So guess who saved a whole lot of shepherd pepper seeds?
That’s right.
This woman did.
πŸ™‚

peppers!

So 2 trays of those, 2 poblanos, and one each of the rest. b
That’s my peppers started.
And my new grow light will arrive when Hubby gets home today.
Squeeeee!
Ima little happy about extra lights. πŸ˜‰

And then, because I have so much time on my hands
πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ™„
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I decided to do one more thing with seeds this weekend…

With a recycled bag to act like a wee greenhouse, recycled peat pots, and a recycled mushroom tray, I figured I’d stick a few chokecherry seeds in to see if they sprout.
I saved them from the mash that made the chokecherry wine, and popped them into the freezer to mimic our crazy cold winter.
Now, we’ll see what happens.
I have nothing to lose if it doesn’t work, and everything to gain if it does.
In my opinion, that makes it worth trying.
πŸ™‚

First Week of March

And we’re marching right along.
Heh.
See what I did there?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I promise, I’m funnier in person.
Or, maybe I’m not.
πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

So I’ve booked 2 dozen turkey hatching eggs for the end of the month.
Why?
Uh….why not?
So I have 2 toms and 5 hens.
The hens should start laying soon…and if their shrieking songs are any indication, it will. be. soon.
But the lady I got the eggs from last year moved far, far away and chances to get eggs from her again this year dwindled…until we found out that she’s still finishing up the relocation of her family (to an amazing property in the bush, surrounded by wildlife, huge areas to forage and so much space for growing her own food…I’m teensy bit jealous. πŸ˜‰ ) so is back in the area once a week for a few more months.
So I jumped at the chance for a couple dozen eggs, since she had added new genetics last year, meaning I could hatch and run the new hatches with my current turkeys.
Hopefully, by the time we get eggs from her, my hens will have popped a few eggs out so I can add those to the incubator too.
I know the boys are dancing up a storm and there has been some turkey lovin’ goin’ on.
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We’re half way through the incubation for the first 80 chicken eggs.
So. Exciting!
I get excited about them hatching until the work of taking care of the chicks comes along.
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I’m a bit like a little kid like that.
But this is what we have to do to make sure there’s food in the freezer for next winter.
I mean holy crap, it’s not even spring and I’m already planning for winter!

And like every other year, thoughts move towards “what else can I grow”.
We have enjoyed having pigs for the summer…well, until these last ones.
Those effers were scary. 😳
And I’m not one to be scared by animals.
But watching them hunt chickens, stalk the cats and a time or two stalk Hubby, well…as much as I want pigs again, they have to be manageable for The Kid and I.
So we’re thinking potbellies.
Smaller, easier to handle, and if we get a boar and 2 sows, a renewable resource.
πŸ˜‰
We’ll try them out and see how they work for us.

LemonChicken enjoys the droppings off the hay bales.

The weather is warming up and the chickens are wandering around the yard again.
No matter how hard I try, those dang birds just won’t stay in their yard!
But they have fun picking through the bits of hay that fall all winter when we feed the Merry Mares.
And they find any voles that might be coming out into the sunshine.
Plus they steal cat food.
Because chickens is jerks.

the mares mooning me under the full moon…

The northern lights have been crazy active!
I keep trying to go out a photograph them, but I really don’t think my heart is in it.
When trying to take pictures, I don’t get to enjoy them as much.
I’ve just been enjoying my glass of whiskey and watching the lights.
In a world gone mad, it’s been a pleasure to enjoy the magic of their dancing with a fine sipping whiskey in hand and cats in my lap…
Because I can’t sit anywhere without cats in my lap. I ain’t complaining about that though…I do love a feline lap warmer. πŸ˜‰
Last night it was Max, Trouble, Xena and Coal all vying for who got to sit in my lap.
4 cats don’t fit so well, no matter how hard they try.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

My big chubby monkey…
Daphne…because she’s hard to photograph, and y’all don’t get to see enough of her. πŸ™‚

Food Security

I have been writing this post, in some form or another, for months.
I keep shelving it, because…I don’t know…
In a previous blog, in my city life, I wrote about food security a lot.
This isn’t something new to me.
This isn’t a new sudden fad laden passion.
Food security has been an issue on my radar, on my plate, for quite literally years.
And I’m gonna say this point blank now…

Y’all got to get right with your food supplies.

Not now, but yesterday.
I ain’t even kidding when I say there’s some scary shit going on with the food supply and it’s going to get way worse before it gets better.
Abattoirs are shutting down due to covid.
Even a brief shut down creates a shortage until they get caught back up.
It also leaves farmers in limbo with animals that need to go into the food system.
If there’s no where to ship them to be processed to hit the store shelves, what do you do?
Especially when the next round of animals is coming up to go into the slot where your to-be-shipped animals are?
It’s a delicate dance, getting enough food out to the masses and disruptions cause massive issues.
Now, this is a huge problem with centralized abattoirs.
When you shut down smaller plants across the country to create bigger plants in only a few locations…well, shortages can happen easy effing peasy.

Now, I’m sure some are out there saying “well, eat less meat”.
Sure.
But you all realize that the bulk of on farm workers when it comes to vegetable/grain harvesting is migrant workers right?
Even in Canada?
Which is why we had such issues with veggies on store shelves over the summer, because covid made getting the migrant workers here an issue.
Yes, yes, yes, Canadians *could* do the jobs.
But, let’s be brutally honest here…
1. Many Canadians are not willing to do the back breaking work in the fields.
Like it or not, that’s just how it is.
2. The pay ain’t great. Again, like it or not, the pay just isn’t as good as it should be.
And we’re ***ALL*** responsible for that.
Why?
Because no one wants to pay enough for their fruits and veggies that would be the equivalent of a fair wage for workers and farmers both.
So, cheap food for consumers has a cost.
A human cost.
I’ve said it many times…cheap on the shelf ain’t cheap.
Someone, or something, is still paying the cost so you can have cheap.
πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

So I’ll say it again:

Get right with your food supply.

Get to know local farmers, plant a garden, grow everything you can, put up as much as you can, buy local, support local, investigate the 100 mile diet.
Honest to Dog, you can’t afford not to.

Chicken pic just because…

πŸ₯ΆπŸ₯ΆπŸ₯Ά

Holy.
Frickin’.
Moly.

I wasn’t kidding when I said this weekend was gonna be cold, but I think Mother Nature done outdid herself!
We are currently sitting at -31*c, feeling like -45*c at 11:30am.
Yikes!
And it’s looking like it’s going to last for a few more days yet.
Gross.

But that’s winter on the prairies in Canada.
Cold. A.F.

The horses have blazed through a bale in 3 days.
Yeah, that’s normally a 8-10 day thing…but they stay warm by eating.
And eating they have been!
Plus they get their daily pail of yummyness…and we’re adding oats too…but of course, our poor CinderBella has problems with her jaw, right?

It ain’t easy being the horse with arthritis in her jaw…poor dear. ❀

So oats don’t really soften in the pail of beet pulp and it’s been getting hard for her to finish her pail before it freezes.
Yeah, it’s that damn cold!
So I’m on the hunt for a complete feed that I can add to her pail for that extra ooomph they need come cold snaps, that’s 1. easy for her to chew/breaks down in the soaking water (beet pulp has to be soaked for horses to eat) b. has no soy or alfalfa in it so I can give it to Astrid too and 3. is economical.
*sigh*
Dietary issues with equines.
That’s my life. lol
I thank Epona for my easy peasy lemon squeezy gimme beer ’cause Ima slightly alcoholic fat girl Ruby.
That painted bitch is so easy to feed and I’m so grateful for that! Whatever feed I find, she’ll eat noooooo problems. πŸ˜‰ ❀

So with this cold, the urge to order the seeds I need for the garden were strong.
Driving me bat crap crazy strong. lol
So I had a discussion with Hubby about using his credit card to place the order…he said “it’s in my wallet…do what you need to do.”
So I did.
But when I logged into West Coast Seeds, I found that half my shopping cart was now sold out.
Which made me panic again.
*sigh*
My brain is so very broken some days.
I grabbed my stack of seed catalogs, and used the πŸ¦†πŸ¦†goooooo! to find someone who had the seeds I wanted.
I finally hit on McKenzie Seeds.
They had everything except for the johnny-jump-ups and the ancho pepper seeds.
Score!
So I ordered what I needed.
Then hit up a local nursery to find my rhubarb…and then made a list of plants from there I want to add to the medicinal garden areas. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Oh and a friend wanted to order from the Prairie Shelterbelt Program, which give us access to a lot of trees for a lot less than local nursery costs…and she asked if I wanted in on the order so that we (along with a few others) could keep admin and shipping costs down.

Done!!

So in May I’ll have 10 Siberian Crabapple trees and 10 saskatoon bushes coming.
I haven’t figured out 100% where I’m putting them yet, but since they’re in the 12″-24″ size range, I can pot them up for a year or two if I have to…
Food forest, here we grow!!

Today Hubby is clearing the driveway.
Hopefully with the crazy stupid winds it won’t blow back in.
Ugh.
The wind really is the worst.
The cold you can work in, but combine the cold with 70km/hr winds?
You just can’t dress warm enough for that.
So he’s just doing a quick pass so that hopefully he can get out in the morning for work.
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We’ll just have to see what happens.

Fuck I hate winter.
I understand and recognize Mother Earth’s need for all of Her seasons, but I don’t have to like this.
This dog however…

This dog and her log love the cold weather…

She’s a special one, this nutcase.
She likes the cold, she likes the snow, she loves her log.
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Turkey Day

I think it’s kinda funny that on American Thanksgiving I’m butchering a couple turkeys.
I’m Canadian, so our Thanksgiving was last month.
None of my turkeys were ready then…but now?

So, we have 7 toms.
That means, as they’re maturing, there’s a lot of dancing and gobbling and trying to figure out the whole mating thing.
Having 6 hens, well, that’s waaaaay too many boys to be strutting around and hopping on the girls.
Sadly, earlier this week, we lost a hen to over enthusiastic toms.
Now we’re down to 5 hens.
So it’s time to get real about who gets to stay on as a breeder and who gets to go to Freezer Camp.

Hens stay, there’s no doubt about that.
But only 2 toms get to stay…and of those 2, if they start being too much for the hens, I’ll take one of them out later.
The good thing is, my feed bill will thank me.
5 toms eat a lot of food!
And the family will thank me because 5 toms is a lot of food for us.
πŸ˜‰

The blonde fellow will stay, and one of the other bigger boys.

The rest of the toms will feed us.
That’s just life on the Farm.