Here’s to the Broken Ones…

Yesterday we re-lit Cookie’s pyre.
Out here, weather plays a huge factor in everything we do, and last weekend, when we lit her up, the wind came up, and it started to snow.
Keeping the fire burning was more dangerous than leaving her for another week.
Yesterday was a beautiful day.
Cool, but not cold.
No wind.
Quiet and serene.

Hubby pulled out the tiger torch, piled more wood on and around the pyre, poured a little gas for good measure, and lit her up.
Ahh, it was beautiful…for the brief moment before I remembered why we were having this fire.
😥

Friends came out in the afternoon to lend some moral support, tell stories and remember our wonderful Girl.
Have I mentioned we have some incredible friends?
Yeah, we do. ❤
(I’m still hearing about the amazingness of the ribs that were brought out for us last week…Hubby is droolingly in love. 😉 )

Go Cookie, go!

Last night the 3 of us decided a happier bonfire was needed, since it was such a nice night.
We warmed our dinner (home made soup and bread brought by the friends who visited earlier) on the fire, and had a few drinks.

Cookie

At one point Hubby, who has had a hell of time with this…
From his wife and Kid falling apart, to moving her body, doing a necropsy and building and tending the pyre…
As hard as this has been on me to lose her, it’s been as hard on him to deal with the aftermath…
No doubt, I am a Blessed woman to have him.
He’s given me a chance to fall apart and work towards putting myself back together, while having to do some pretty unpleasant things…

Last night, over a roaring bonfire, he stands up, and says:

“Here’s to the Broken Ones. Those horses who are lost until they are found by the Ones who will love them and help them heal.
Here’s to the Ones who find them, and hold tight until their love puts them back together again.”

❤ ❤ ❤

Hell yeah!
Here’s to the Broken Ones…

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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…

4 Years

4 years ago our story began…it was the day we first met.
I loved her the second I lay eyes on her photo.
I knew that she and I were meant to be together.
4 years ago…
I told her “I’ll be back for you. I’m bringing you Home.”

Taken the day I met her…

2 months after, she arrived.
She’s Home.
A Midnight Calico Farm lifer.

Sleepy Girl ❤

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

The same day, Hubby met his Girl…

Oh, Ruby!

Such a character, his Fat Girl.
Patient, willing, always up for a scratching. 😉
A level-headed, calm Girl…
Perfect to lead our little herd.

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

It’s not Gotcha Day.
Nope.
It’s “Damn We Were Lucky to Meet Y’all” Day.
Definitely worth celebrating.
🙂

Believe

Foggy morning in the pasture.

I would say to always follow your dream.
And dream big because my whole career,
including any of the things that I’ve accomplished,
I never thought in a million years that I would be here.
So it just proves that once you believe in yourself,
and you put your mind to something,
you can do it.
~ Simone Biles

Impromptu sunrise photo shoot with BellaPalamina

Blogaversary

Holy Moly folks!
Today is our 4 year blogaversary.
4 years of rambling about this Farm life.
4 years of pictures…we’re just starting to run out of storage space.
Hehe. I may have to spring for a paid account soon. 😉

Here’s a few pictures to celebrate 4 years…

Mr. RainyDay Duck

Such a handsome, cheeky duck.
I’m telling ya, ducks rock!
Chickens are fun, but ducks have way more personality…at least, my 2 do.
That’s why they’re permanent residents. They’ll get girlfriends in the spring, so that we can hopefully have some ducklings to add to our Freezer Camp stores in the Fall.

Mr RainyDay Duck and Sir JazzyHands taking over the chicken coop…

This year’s batch of ex-battery hens have been unpleasant.
They’re mean and nasty bitches.
Even on high quality foods, with lots of greens and straw to play in, the coop treated in case of lice, and ample places to dust bathe, they’re still pecking each other. In too many cases, to death.

So, next year, we’re going with eggie chicks.
And this year’s lot of ex-batts are being disciplined by the ducks.
Sir JazzyHands takes no shit from nasty chickens…he’s not a mean duck at all, but he keeps those egg laying bitches in line. 😉

❤ CoalCat

We have a rule…when kittens were placed in homes, we told folks, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll take them back.
This Coal Cat is a returned kitten, who’s home placement didn’t work out. It’s taken us a few months to reintegrate her into Farm life, and she’s now happily an outdoor hunter cat…who also loves a hella good snuggle with the humans. ❤

“I’m itchin’ my leg, Mama. Don’t take my picture while I’m itchin’ my leg!”
~ Cookie

Poor BabyGirl has had a rough week.
We had some goose hunters out pulling bullshit on the field next to ours, shooting simply to scare the Girls…normally, they don’t care about guns, but when 5 guys shoot before daylight, in the darkness, that scares the bejeebus out of even a well adjust horse.
Once they were wound up, they just couldn’t settle while they jackwangs were shooting. And, of course, they could *see* the Girls running, so even when there were no birds, they shot off rounds just to see them run.
And Conservation was a damn joke to deal with.
😡

The next day, my poor Girl came up lame.
Like 3 legged hobbling lame.
On went the halter, Kid fed her grass while Hubby and I went over that horse with a fine toothed comb.
Turns out she has a stone bruise in her right rear hoof…so epsom salts soaks and a clean hoof were the order for her week. Then, I ran out of epsom salts, so I switched it up to sea salt soaks.
And today, she’s doing much, much better.
Stiff and sore, from compensating for the booboo hoof, but better.
She’s biting Astrid again, so… 😉

And, one of my favorite pics from the last few weeks…

It’s the rainy/damp season, and she gets ouchy.
Some days are worse than others. Some days it’s too hard to get to the beet pulp spot to eat and get her supplements in…some days she’s also a colossal Drama Queen. LOL!
But, because I love her dearly, Hubby is patient with her, even when it’s clear she has her D.Q. crown on.
Here he held her bucket for her while she ate…she was obviously hungry because she had her piggie nose in there before he bent over enough for her to eat comfortably.
What can I say, she’s my special pony, and I love her.

In 4 years of writing this has been my most popular post…
They Don’t Need to Understand

Or, if not my most popular, my most read post.

So here’s to 4 years, and darn near 500 posts.
We’ll probably do something to celebrate 500…maybe a giveaway of a print? Or an Equi~Gem?
We shall see.
I welcome y’all’s input.

Now, can we all chant “4 more years!! 4 more years!!”…because that just makes me giggle. 😉

Labour Day Weekend

How, oh how, can it be September already?
I feel like I’m going into Fall kicking and screaming.

“I don’t wanna get ready for winter….waaaahhhhhhh!!!!”

*sigh*

And yet, the signs are all there.
The cooler nights.
The geese are coming back.
Combines on the fields.
Horses are getting fuzzy… 😥

I’m not ready for fuzzy horses…last night at beet pulp time, Bella said she isn’t either.
Ah, but we have no choice. Time marches on, and away we go towards the coming winter.

This weekend has been a busy one.
Hubby worked Saturday, came home to take The Kid back to the city for back to school shopping.
Grade 11, this year.
Once more, where is time going?!?
How can I be okay with watching my baby girl handle a 1200lb animal, including jumping, and yet, be so on edge with her handling her Father’s truck??
It’s not that I doubt her skills.
She’s had a good teacher…
It’s the fact the she’s grown up enough to be legally allowed to take the truck out.

*sigh*
Damn that Father Time. 😉

Yesterday, Hubby worked on the winter duck house.
We cobbled together a quick shelter when we realized that putting them in the coop with the meat chickens wasn’t viable.
Now, we need to put together an insulated coop (with a heat lamp) for winter. Still don’t know genders, but that’s okay. In spring we’ll figure it out, and we’ll add whatever gender we need to get baby ducks.
Hubby is building a good-sized coop, because we’re all pretty darn enamored with ducks.
And we all like duck meat.

Ducks ❤

Seriously, how adorable are these 2?
Rain (front) always has an opinion…I have to admit, I love that.
I love an animal that you can have a conversation with, and I can totally do that with Rain.
Jazzy (back) is much quieter and a little more wary…s/he is warming up slowly, but is still uncertain of this crazy person who keeps trying to pet her/him. LOL!
Today, I had them both nibbling grain out of the feed scoop.

Speaking of feed scoops…

This one:

😉

Has learned how to lick the pig grain out of their feed scoop.
Now, nobody panic…the pigs eat a crushed wheat/barley mixture as their primary feed. Nothing that can harm a horse in any way.
In fact, Sable gets anywhere from 1/4-1 full cup of this grain mixture a day in her beet pulp.

Yesterday though, she had the pleasure of eating it from the scoop, once I was done feeding the piggies.
Just a few licks, as a treat. 🙂

“I like apples…”
~ Cookie

I’m so loving this taken-from-below set of images.
The Girls look so different from that angle, and it’s an absolutely fun set. I’ve got a few more I’ll share over the next few days…

With the forest fires, the high winds from the North, and our own smudges for bugs, we’ve had a few fairly smokey days…the haze on the image above is only 1/2 from the smudge fire.
It’s been hard on The Kid, and Cookie has been coughing a bit too.
😦

And then, there’s my MaxCat, who in one frame sums up my feelings for today…

“Really? You want me to what now??”
~ MaxCat

I’d love to crawl back into bed with a good book and a big bowl of bbq chips. Not to be though. As always, there’s work to do. And, I don’t have any chips.
We’ve actually managed to break the chip addiction in the house. Haven’t bought a bag in near onto 3 months.
Whew! That was a hard habit to break!
Anyways…
Onward and upward.
Winter is coming.
Boo.
😉

45

I thought it might feel different.
I don’t know why.
But I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday.
45 doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal.

Yesterday, with help from The Kid, this happened:

I love that my leg and her left front are at the same angle.
I love my “appaloosa” spots on my foot.
I love that little spot of white peeking through on her left hind.
I love the background.
All in all, it turned out better than I had hoped it would.

It was a mess, this shoot, to begin with.
From time to time, I forget prickly mare is prickly.
I can’t just walk up to her, snap a lead on and say “Here’s something new to do, let’s do it right now.”
That’s not how she works.
I know this, but sometimes, I forget. I get so focused on the end product that I go in hot and ready, and she’s like “Um, nope.”
Sometimes, she’s so good at doing the “normal horse” thing that I forget, she’s anything but…

And then, there was the Other 3…
I wanted this shot at ground level, so The Kid needed to be on the ground. The Other 3 wanted to see what she was doing down there.
*sigh*
So Hubby had to hold them off, while The Kid shot the image, and I called directions.
It’s a wonder we got anything good.
Breathe deep.
Embrace the Chaos.
LOL!!

I’m happy with the final image though, and there are a few more that, with a little post production tweaking, will be just as good.
All in all, it went well, and I got what I was wanting.
Hopefully, that bodes well for the year ahead.
🙂