Things That Got Done This Past Weekend

You know the saying…
Winter is coming.
Which means we have to prepare.
It’s not just about food on the shelves, and meat in the freezer.
It’s also making sure we have feed for the animals and prepping for next spring’s new beginnings.

Hay!!

Our hay was delivered on Saturday.
Hubby stashed a few bales in the garage, so that come March, if we don’t need them, they stay there ’til next year.
Hay is never, ever wasted here!
Who knew that dried grass could be, would be, such a precious commodity!
When I think of all the times I cut mine in the city, with no thought about *what* I could have been feeding it to…
I could have easily fed a nice little backyard rabbits for meat colony off my city lawn…and no one would have been the wiser about us raising meat in the city.
No worries about that now though…

With hay, came my 4 small straw bales to go in this:

chick brooder

It’s out and ready for renovations…it’s just too tall, the door too small, and really, really heavy overall.
😂😂😂
Hubby’s gonna cut it down in height…prolly to just under the window.
That way it’s a step in as needed but can mostly just reach in to feed and water chicks.
Because in spring, chicks is coming.
Meat chicks, and hatched chicks.
I’ve got my eye on the 2nd incubator, so we’ll have 2 running at once for more chicks.
And then I need a 2nd brooder box for ducklings.
I plan on ordering 10 pekin ducks when we order our meat chicks.
I’m still hopeful that the muscovies will actually produce chicks for us come spring, but if they don’t I want a back up plan for ducks.
We’ve found we really enjoy duck meat and I refuse to buy it, unless I’m buying from another small farmer like us.

Anyways, after Hubby renos the brooder, it’s going in the Little Red Shed…which needs to have the holes in the side and roof fixed and ridge cap put on before winter…soooooo fingers crossed we can get that done, or moving the brooder in there will be a colossal waste of time.
:/

But we got this done…

tarp on the garden…

I was given a bunch of starting to breakdown flax straw bales, so I spread them out under the tarp, on top of the weeds, to rot and compost…it’s a soil building thing. 😉
The tarp will stay until shortly before planting time is to begin.
Then it’ll be replaced with some thick ground cloth, which I’ll plant through and mulch over top.

closed up the compost bins…

So those compost bins…
Got them from a friend when she moved.
I had them in the city myself and left them for the new owners…who then got rid of them. 🙄
I shoulda brought them out here.
But this fall, we discovered those bins make *amazing* poultry houses.
Yup, when the ducks were in the garden working on weed control, they overnighted in the compost bins.
It was awesome!
Now they’re closed up for use as actual compost bins.
And I’m on the lookout for anyone getting rid of more of them.
I can’t believe how well they worked as poultry houses!

So that was a bunch of things off the “Winter is Coming” list…
Plus I made english muffins, fed the chickens a bunch of scrambled eggs and slept. As much as I could. lol

And finally, a picture of Astrid…

Astrid

Our Little Red who thinks she should eat eggs.
🙄
Why?
Well, because the chickens have been sneaking into the horse shelter and laying them in there.
That *must* mean the eggs are there for her to eat, right?
Astrid thinks my rules against horses eating eggs is bullshit.
She likes eggs and she wants to keep eating them.
I says “You leave them damn eggs alone, you damn horse!”
All while laughing my ass off…
😂😂😂

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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. 😉
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???”
😂😂😂
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.
😂😂😂
I laugh and say, “no babies here…that’s a food baby!!”

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

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Deleting Old Posts

That’s what I did yesterday.
After much searching, I found a website that takes posts and turns them into a .pdf.
I did that a while back with a couple years worth of old posts.
Now, I’m working on deleting the posts and images (which means there might be a broken image here and there, if I reused one in a newer post).
This way, I have space for new images to go in new posts.
Because I refuse to go to a pay-to-blog platform.
It’s just not gonna happen…and I didn’t want to move to a whole new blog while trying to encourage followers to come along.
Naw.
Easier to save and delete.
Well, as easy as something so darn tedious can be.
😉

The positive part though, is new images…and they are *much* faster to upload with space!
Which is good, because I managed to get out with the camera Saturday morning, and a bit yesterday too.

Sable

Funny thing is…I’ve been waiting for a Saturday morning sunrise like this for a few weeks now.
I’ve an idea in my head I want to shoot, but need this light and Hubby.
Where was he Saturday when the light looked like this??!?
In a tree stand, hunting deer.
🙄🙄🙄
Fingers crossed we can get another chance before the snow flies and stays.


Then yesterday, knowing that below zero overnight temps. were coming, Hubby cleaned out the maceration tubs.
What is a maceration tub, you ask?
Well, it’s a bin that holds whatever skulls and bones we want cleaned and a whole lot of water.
That’s it.
Nothing high tech or fancy.
Just bins/barrels/tubs of bones and water.

We had Cookie’s skull and bones finishing cleaning…because our warm weather doesn’t last long, it can take a little longer here to clean a skull.
I *should* invest in a fish tank heater to speed thing up a bit, but we don’t keep the tubs anywhere near an electricity source.
If you’ve ever smelt a working maceration tub, you’d understand why they aren’t real close to the house.
😂😂😂
Anyway, Hubby pulled Cookie’s parts out and we had a bit of a surprise…

😍😍😍

We were a bit surprised, to say the least. lol
So after I grabbed the camera, I hit the skull cleaning forums on FB.
And it turns out this is nothing to panic about.
It likely happened because I didn’t change the water enough…though a deer leg in with her *didn’t* go black like this.
🤷‍♀️

She may stay darkened like that.
She may not.
She’s ready to go onto degreasing – which is exactly what it sounds like.
Bones hold fats in them, and after maceration, they go into a water/dish soap combo to soak, which draws out the grease.
If this isn’t done, your bones could get stinky (prolly will) and might start to break down as the fats get gross.

If the colour holds through degreasing, then she’ll be left like that.
I could put her into peroxide for whitening, but I love the way she looks dark, so if it stays, it stays.

Hubby also pulled out the giant tarp and tossed it into the garden.
It was too windy to spread, so there’s still that to do.
Hopefully we’ll have a day this week to get that done.
Honestly, I’m ready for spring, seed catalogs and planting the new garden.
lol
I know, I know.
The land needs to sleep first.
I do know that.
I just don’t want to deal with winter.
I will…but I don’t want to.

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🙂

Cats…and Chickens?

Right now, I feel like I should be swimming.
We’ve had another 55mm of rain here in just a few days time.
The water paths are filling up…that’s actually okay, because the past few summers, they’ve been dry.
Which has been good for The Merry Mares’ feet, but not so good for the water table.
6 of one, half dozen of another, if you know what I mean.
😉

It’s been a lot though, in a short period of time.
And we all keep wondering how amazing the hay crops would have been if we’d gotten this 3 months ago.
And in case anyone is wondering, that coffee money y’all keep giving me?
1. Thank you again.
2. Goes into the hay fund.
Because when I make any money on Farm stuff, that’s where it goes.
It is one of our biggest expenses, but them nags, they’re lifers here so we pay it with a grin…well, sometimes a grimace.
Life wouldn’t be the same with out ’em though.

Saturday we did have a bit of a break from the rain.
So Hubby fixed the heater fan on the truck, took the air conditioner out of the window (BOOOOOOOO!!!!) and made a run to the potato farm.
I literally cannot in my garden space grow enough potatoes for us for winter.
That Hubby of mine does love his spuds.
So we get from the potato farm, because 50lbs is $10 (that’s the ugly cull ones…I don’t care about looks, neither does Hubby).

While we had a break in the rain, I took the chance to go around the Farm and take some pictures…
The best of the day was this one:

Xena and BokBok

Xena was not a happy feline, having to share her food with the chicken.
😂😂😂
Greedy chickens sure do love to eat the cat food though.

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6 Years

Not a long post, but a sweet post.
As of 9:00am, Midnight Calico Farm has been in existence for 6 years.

Some folks have been with us from the very beginning.
Some folks have joined us in the later years.

We’re happy all of you follow us.
Many of you are like family.

Thanks for being here.
Hope you stick with us as we continue to grow.
🖤🖤🖤

“I be rollin’
My back is itchy…oooooh, feels soooo good!!”
~ Sable

Now We’re Getting Busy!

Remember how I was complaining that we were in the “hurry up and wait” holding pattern?
Yeah, we’re out of that and working our butts off to get things going for growing.

We picked up the last of the garden seeds I needed to get for planting.
Now we’re at the “pull wire ’round the garden” stage…Hubby already put in the posts around the garden, and we were right on track to pull the wire fencing…until we discovered that we were out off cable ties.
I know, it’s crazy to think that anyone on a farm would run out of cable ties, but it happened, and we stalled.
Hubby stopped and picked up a hundred of them, and we’re ready to pull fencing…that’s going to happen this weekend, so that I can start planting things like carrots and peas and beets…because until the fence is up, I can’t plant anything because of asshole-not-supposed-to-be-free-ranging chickens. 😉

Lemon chicken…she does what she wants.

Once the fencing is up, we’re good to go.
Plus, I have to build a gate, but we can use temporary measures for a day or two until that’s done.

The meat chickens are 2 weeks old now…and eating like crazy.
Between them and the replacement eggies, they’re going through pounds of feed a day.
We’ve had very little losses too this year. 5 meaties and 1 eggie.
After last year’s fiasco, we made sure to change things so that everyone did better this year, and so far, so good!
We have a huge brooder that came with the garage when we bought the place. It has it’s failings (it’s 5 feet tall and the door is too small for any normal sized human to climb through), but those can be fixed later on. Right now Hubby climbs in, morning and night, to refill feeders and waterers. Once this batch of chicks moves off to the poultry yard, we’ll change the design of the brooder and install a bigger door for ease of getting into.

We’re also hoping to build another brooder in our Little Red Shed.
Oh!
Have I not shared about the Little Red Shed??

Our new feed shed…

Hubby made a deal for the shed, but the catch was we had to move it roughly 5 miles.
To do that, a friend of Hubby’s from work came out with a crew, loaded it up and brought it home to us.
Sounds easy, but it took some work, and it was pretty amazing seeing this building being hauled down our road!

So now, Hubby and I are discussing turning 1/2 of that shed into a chick brooder with different sections for different ages and breeds.
Why?
Because for Mother’s Day…
I GOT AN INCUBATOR!!!

Now I’m just waiting for it to arrive, so I can take a bunch of our Easter Egger eggs and try to hatch them out.
Of the 18 EE chicks I bought last year, 5 were hens.
LOL!!
Not that having a whole bunch of roosters to grow out is a huge deal, because they simply go to Freezer Camp.
We kept one, and he’s been diligently fertilizing eggs every chance he gets. So, since none of my hens are showing interest in hatching eggs (and I was so hopeful after the one in the Fall decided she was going to!) I began looking for a cost effective incubator.
When I found what I wanted Hubby said “Ok. Go ahead and buy it. Happy Mother’s Day.”
😀

Also on the list of things to get done for growing season…

~ Clean up around the fruit trees/bushes.
My currants and honeyberries are poppin’!!
Huge growth so far on both, but I need to clean up the grasses underneath and around them, and put down a mulch to keep the weeds down. And add some rotted manure for fertilizer.
Apples and pears are a little slower, but still doing well…maybe this might be the year to get some fruit? I’m hopeful!

~ Give the horse shelter a deep cleaning.
Hasn’t been done since February and we’re now at that stage where it needs to be cleaned out to the dirt and have fresh straw tossed in for the summer.
Besides, I’ll need the rotted manure compost for the Fall to add to the garden.

~ Time to prep the straw bales for the straw bale gardens.
I’ve got the 5 big bales to grow in, so I’m going to do that. But they have to be “seasoned” first and that takes about 2 weeks of watering and fertilizing.

~ Get the piggies!
This weekend, hopefully, we’ll go on a drive to pick up 3 little piggies who will grow into our winter bacon/hams/chops/stew.

And soon it’ll be haying season, because I will continue to cut hay every chance I get. Those small bales I put up have come in handy soooooo many times!
And, there is still talk about getting a calf to grow out for meat.
I had a chance to do so this year, but just ran out of finances…
Sometimes, no matter how much you want something, you have to weigh what would, in the end, be the better investment for the farm.
This year I had the choice of adding an incubator, chicken plucker, and a high quality pair of hoof nippers for Hubby, or a calf.
Yeah, I had to go with the 3 investments in self sustainability this year. :/

And, of course, once the garden produces, canning season ramps back up.
*sigh*
This is the stuff I love.
This is what I dream about all winter.
Getting things growing and getting things stored and put up on the shelves and in the freezer for the next winter.

In between it all, I sneak out at sunrise to take pictures of the Merry Mares…because sunrise is always going to be my favorite time of day to take their pictures.

Ruby

Sable…with Astrid behind her.

Here’s to busy summer days…and rain as needed.

Cheering on the Winnipeg Jets

Hubby is the hockey fan.
Ruby is a beer fan.
For every playoff game the Jets win, Ruby gets a beer.
Her first was on the 15th…

“Jets won their game, here’s a beer for you.”
~ Hubby to Ruby

“Nom nom nom…I like beer!!”
~ Ruby

“Don’t give any to Astrid!!
Pour it all in here!!”
~ Ruby

“Geez DadGuy…she’s spillin’ the precious all over the place.” 😡
~ Ruby

The Jets also won their game last night, so Ruby will get another beer tonight.
She’s rather happy with this arrangement!

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.