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.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
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!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
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!
❀

Meat Chickens Have Arrived

Back when Hubby, The Kid and I were thinking about how many meat chickens to order, we thought we’d settled on 50, like last year.
And then, something picked at me and told me that wasn’t enough.
I’ve been alive long enough to have learned to listen when my gut says something to me.
So I ordered 75 of the little nuggets.
And 10 white turkeys.

I figured with the success of our Narragansetts from last year, I oughta be able to get 10 whites to Freezer Camp size.
I sure the eff hope so, because things have not been going well with my Narragansetts I hatched this year.
My excitement over 16?
Dashed, because we’re down to 5…and may very well lose them as well.
Fuck.

Y’see, turkeys are very delicate.
Yep, even heritage breeds. Even though the heritage breeds are tougher than the whites, they’re still delicate little things.
As we were awaiting hatching, we evicted the ducks from the brooder, gave it a deep cleaning, sprayed it down with cleaner, thinking we were good to go with our poults.
Welp, as it turns out, there was mold starting in the floor.
I say again…fuck.

Turkeys are susceptible to mold.
Even when us humans don’t know it’s there, have no fucking clue it’s there…turkeys will be doing great, bopping around like crazy birbs, eating, drinking, pooping beautiful turkey poops…and then just drop dead.
Because their little lungs are that effing delicate.

So after the loss of 6 we thought “huh, this is more than just weak poults not making it”.
Hubby and The Kid whipped off another brooder like the last one I showed y’all…metal floor for ease of cleaning, fresh new walls, lid that’s easy to lift for air movement and a door for easy access that doesn’t let heat out…
Then, The Kid and I put fresh straw in, and I crawled into the old brooder to catch our remaining poults.
That’s when I found the mold…under the straw, the wood was wet. And there were small fuzzy spots.
Fuck.

Now we have the last 5 in the newly built brooder, nothing is in the old brooder until it gets torn apart and maybe refurbished…but it might just be scrap now.
Fuck.
I mean, we can’t really complain about it, if we have to scrap it.
The brooder was here when we bought the place, it’s successfully raised near onto 500 hundred birds…but I hate that I found out this way that there was a problem with it.
I hate that it’s costing little lives.
πŸ˜₯
That’s what kills me.

If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see the size of the white turkeys, compared to my Narragansetts.
The whites are a day old in the picture, the heritage birds over a week!
They’re all getting along beautifully.
I’m actually hoping that the whites will give the heritages enough impetus to keep fighting to stay alive.
There’s really no treatment for mold exposure.
Fuck.
But I’ve got them on high protein feed, clean water with vitamins, a bit of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar twice a day, clean fresh bedding every other day, and today they got some mashed up hard boiled eggs with the vitamins mixed in.
I’m trying my best to make the best of a shitty situation.
While hoping that my turkey hens start laying soon…because goodness knows, the boys are doing their jobs.
The very second I see eggs from the hens, I’m whisking them off to be incubated!

I’m going to bet dollars to donuts, that the second my incubators are full and working on chickens again, that’s when those turkeys will start popping out eggs…and then I’ll end up having to buy a 3rd incubator just for turkey eggs.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Because that’s my life…chaotic, crazy, and always learning.

So Far, So Good

So it took some minds smarter than mine, some finangling, and many trips back and forth to the local small town hardware store…
BUT
The new pressure tank is in!
And it’s working very well.
We do still have an issue with the well pump coming on too often, but it’s now 40ish minutes instead of 6-8ish.
Since a friend suggested it could be the foot valve on our well pump, I did some research on that…it does seem, after all the work done so far, that it could very well be the problem.
Hubby is all for opening up the well head and having a look himself.
I, however, think having a pro come out and do it (plus add the electrical ability to hook the well pump to the generator in the event of power loss) is a good idea. Mostly for the hooking of the pump to generator ability.
Plus, if we can watch someone change the foot valve, then we know exactly what to do next time.
But, we’ll see.
Right now we’re waiting on a end-of-March storm to hit us.
*sigh*
Because March is gonna go out like a lion.
Ah well…it’s March in Manitoba, so no surprises here.
πŸ˜‰

One big surprise we got with the pressure tank repair was this:

Ever since we moved in, we’ve had this mystery pipe sticking out of the ground in the middle of the backyard.
We’ve always thought it had something to do with the septic line…because it goes out past this pipe to the ejector in the pasture. We’ve always just left it alone, not really knowing what to do with it.

So, remember that “wtf is this line?” in the house?

There ya go, just in case you forgot…the “wtf is this line in?”
Welp, we know what it is now.
The general consensus was that it was to the hydrant and horse waterer, so the guys hooked it back up into the system…because horses gotta drink, y’know?
So they get everything hooked up and yel that they’re turning the water back on.
Okay, I figure I’ll pop out to the hydrant and make sure it’s working.
I step out on the deck and yell “Uh, guys!! There’s water spewing out here!!”

Turns out the mystery pipe in the yard is actually a rough in for another hydrant!!
And that’s what the “wtf is this line?” goes to. The shut off valve to it was actually shut off…well, seized closed…but still!
We can have another hydrant, putting water *closer* to the poultry and the garden.
That was a wonderful surprise, to be sure.
And that means we can get rid of the hose hook up on the house… that for some dumb assed reason ran *through* the water softener…really?? We needed soft water for the garden?? *sigh*
Oh the stories I could tell y’all about this house….
πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ™„

Anyways…

So this summer, that pallet fence is going to be ripped out.
It’s done it’s job. That *was* the pig yard for the years we raised them.
This year it’s going to be converted to the permanent duck yard.
It does get a bit wet and sloppy in the spring, but, ducks like that, so it’s a good spot for them.
We have to build a raised section of that yard to put their house on, and then fence it all off.
And we’re going to expand it with another yard and gate, so that once the hens are sitting on nests, we can send the boys over to they “bachelor” area and let the girls make with hatching out the bebes.

In the meantime, we’re just happy for water flowing, ducks laying eggs, and friends and family who’ve been able to help.
Next thing to work on…brooders for turkeys and meat chickens.
Those are coming in just 4 short weeks…

Finally!

We have emerged from the polar vortex!
And I am happy about that.
Boy am I happy about that!
Weather sure has been challenging humans across North America this month.
I feel for those caught up in patterns that they don’t normally deal with.
It’s easy for those of us with cold experience to sit back and say shitty things (please don’t do that, ‘kay?) but the fact is, even we get slammed with hard-to-deal-with weather.
So before you make some joke about Texas or any of the southern States dealing with cold and snow and no power and frozen pipes, remember, “there but for the grace of God go I…”
We just came out of -50*c weather…imagine if we’d lost power!
I can’t even.
So just try to remember to be kind.
That’s it.
Don’t be shitty and be kind.

Today, as I type this, we’re at -13*c.
After the past 2 weeks that positively t-shirt weather.
And I’m thankful for it.
So are the horses, the hens, the turkeys and the ducks…oh and the cats.
It was so bad there for awhile we were feeding jar after jar after jar of wet food to them, just so they had enough.
Normally a 1/2 pint is a good supplement to their kibble.
They went through a case of 12 in 2 days!
But, food keeps furnaces stoked, and wet food helps keep kitties hydrated.
So I feed ’em.
πŸ™‚
But it also means we’re running low on homemade cat food, so Hubby went and bought a few big cans to have on hand, just in case.
And come fall, I’ll just do a few extra jars, bigger jars, to make sure everyone has enough.

Meat birds are ordered.
I added an extra 25 meat chickens, so we’ll be getting 75 chickens and 10 turkey poults.
So. Many. Birds.
Though chicken math means it’s really not more than 12.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
And I’m thinking I might fire up the incubators this weekend.
If I start this weekend, I can get 2 full hatches in before the one hatch that needs to coincide with the arrival of the meat birds.
I ain’t downsizing the amount of birbs I hatch, let me tell ya!!
Hatching out as many as I possibly can.

Hubby brought home the first bag of potting soil yesterday.
And a pouch of fava bean seeds.
I’ve never grown fava beans before, so I had to read up on them.
Turns out the entire plant is edible, so yay for that!
And with today’s trip to the post office, I’ll have the seeds I need to get the garden going as soon as I can.
Whew!
It’s gonna be a lot of beans, tomatoes, carrots, peas and beets this year.
Stuff we eat a lot of, stuff I can a lot of for winter.
As excited as I am to get growing, I’m tired just thinking about the work too.
lol

Ooooh, I told y’all I was pondering extra apple and saskatoons?
Yup, those are ordered too.
The Food Forest is expanding!
And for the last few nights, I’ve having vivid Dreams about cutting hay.
Oh, I can’t *wait* to get scythe in hand and cut hay again!

But for now, I’m just thankful for the warmer weather, that we made it through the coldest snap we’ve had in a very long time, and that Spring is coming.

Our 3 chubby monkeys, who are doing so well this year…even with record breaking cold!

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.

It’s That Time Of Year

Oh boy oh boy…
I’m soooooo itchy to get things going!
The only thing keeping me from firing up the incubators is the darn cold.
*Still* under an extreme cold watch.
It’s been 10 days straight.
That’s just crazy.
Hopefully tonight it’ll end…tomorrow?
Soon. It’s gotta end soon.

But here I’m thinking about ordering my meat chicks.
In fact, this week I have to buy layer feed again.
With this cold, the birbs are blowing through feed like crazy.
Like.
Crazy.
3 25kg bags typically go 2 1/2-3 weeks.
Pfft.
I think we’re at a week and a half, and we’re gonna need for this weekend.
So, yeah…effing cold.
When I place my next feed order, I’ll order my meat chickens and 10 white turkeys.
Now that I have a better grasp on raising turkeys, I figure I should be able to raise the whites.
Hopefully.
Looking forward to putting a whole bunch of turkey into the freezer.
🀀🀀🀀

And once the order goes in, Hubby has his orders for building.
We need a whole separate brooder for turkeys.
The biggest thing we did wrong last year was not keep them in the brooder with high protein feed longer.
My Narragansett crew did ah-mazing staying in the brooder for almost 4 months before getting outdoor time.
And I tell you, they are hardy af!
This cold snap, they’ve been out doing turkey races over the snow drifts like maniacs!
So hopefully they breed and lay like nuts come spring time, because we need more of them. πŸ˜‰
But whites are a raise for meat, short season bird only.
So they’ll spend a good long time in the brooder, then get some outdoor free ranging time away from chickens before going to Freezer Camp.
And we can’t have them tying up the brooder that cycles chicken chicks through it throughout the summer…which means building work for Hubby…well, all of us, really.

Then we needs a shelter in the old pig yard for ducks.
We’re changing that yard from pigs to the ducks full time.
We’ll rip out the pallet fence, replace it with stucco wire, and put up some windbreak boards as well.
We’re looking at making it the year round duck yard, so we have to account for the snow that blows in there.
To go with the new shelter (that we’ll be able to lock ducks in at ight to protect them from coyotes) we’re planning on a few broody boxes…that can also be closed up at night to protect broody ducks and their eggs from predators.
This is the design I’m thinking about:

Image shamelessly stolen from Google.

I want to make those fronts removable though, so that once ducklings hatch, Mama Ducks can take them out and teach them all the things bebes need to be taught.
But those fronts would be easy to close up to protect everyone too…

And it’s almost time to start pepper seeds.
I just need a bag (or two) of potting soil to get going.
Peppers take longer than tomatoes to start, so they’ll be going in the next week.
Than ground cherries.
If the damn things will ever germinate for me.
πŸ™„
They are sooooo tasty, and supposed to be super prolific. But I can’t get even 1 seed to start.
Stupid things.
I’ll try again, because I have the seeds, but I might through them in the garden and see if they’ll volunteer if nothing happens indoors.

And that’s where we’re at.
I’m itching to get busy, but it’s not quite time, and we’re not quite ready.
Sooooooooon, though.
Very, very soon.
πŸ™‚

Ruby says this cold snap is equine excrement. I agree.

Oh Look…It’s February

Welp, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?
New year, then all of a sudden it’s February.
And yet, it still felt like the longest January ever.
We sure enjoyed the nice days we had.
Didn’t care for the crazy cold ones though…of course, I never do, but I recognize that our climate needs that cold time for the Earth to reset Herself for the coming growing season.

Last month we sold 36 dozen eggs.
No joke, the hens have been blasting them out.
For which I’m glad because I’m sure I gave away that many eggs too.
See, we’re still in “code red lockdown” here.
And no matter how I feel about that, I know that for some that means putting food on their tables is that much harder to do.
Not everyone is “lucky” enough to be considered “essential” by our oh-so-benevolent govt πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ™„ and not everyone has the ability to work from home.
I am always and forever a person who will hand food off to people who need it when I can…and I try to make sure it’s done in a way that it doesn’t look or feel like charity.
No one wants be treated like a charity case.
But I’ve had extra lately and a few people have come to my attention about needing, so Hubby and I have been porch dropping bundles of food when we can.
I don’t say any of that for accolades. I don’t want that.
I just want people to be able to eat.
And if they can, pay it forward when they can.

Anyways, we sold a lot of eggs.
And from those sales, I shared half the money we earned with Can Praxis.
Now, another thing this entire pandemic thing has done is beat the crap out of fundraising for groups that rely on donations.
Can Praxis uses equine therapy to help veterans, first responders and their families manage PTSD.
They rely on donations a lot.
I am happy to have been able to send them a little money.

Now, once I get things settled out with my credit card…
Oh yeah, some douchnozzle stole my credit card number and went on a shopping spree last year and I’ve been working on getting it straightened out…in the mean time, I have no credit card to use to purchase my seeds for the garden. Joy! But thankfully the credit card company has been easy to work with and hopefully in the next couple of weeks it’ll all be sorted…
But until then, this months egg money over and above feed costs is going into *MY* food security…aka my seed order. lol
Once that’s done, I have another place in mind (or 2 or 3) to share our egg money with to help others.
❀

In other news…
4 weeks.

It’s 4 weeks until we start the incubators.
Whew!
And then the work begins.
We have to build a couple more brooders.
Plus we have to build a couple broody boxes for the duck hens, so that when they decide that it’s time for bebes they can do so without being bothered and are safe.
We’re looking at the end of April for meat chicks and white turkey poults.
And then there’s turkey eggs to hatch as soon as they start laying…
So yeah, brooders to build.
Thankfully the source of free building materials is still an option and Hubby has been stopping every darn chance he gets to pick things up.

Oooooh….and these 2 big boys joined our flock just over a week ago…

LemonChicken giving the 2 new boys the what fors and whys of the poultry yard…

Ain’t they handsome?
😍
They are Lavender Orpingtons.
Big boys, to breed more size into our next generation of birds.
Just like our Orpington/Wyandotte cross boys.
Big roosters with good meat to bone ratio.
Eventually I want to only be buying meat chicks to raise for sale and we eat chickens from our self sustaining flock. (We’re close to that now, just need a couple more breeding seasons to perfect my crosses.)

Yesterday was Imbolc.
That means we’re officially half way through winter.
Yay!
It also means that the nags got them the next round straw bale to explode and enjoy.
When that happens, they also get to run…because fat mares gotta get a little exercise and thy sure do know what the shakin’ of the tractor bucket means…prance, dance, run like mad whilst posing for The Food Lady to take pictures.

Running through my Capture52 “landscape” shot…brat! lol
Yeah. Tell me that Palomino doesn’t know aaallllllll about performing for the camera while running around! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So we’re at…waiting for seeds so I can start seeds…waiting for March 1st to rev up the incubators…waiting to collect enough building materials to build brooders…waiting for spring weather to get the first walls built on the greenhouse and the herbal/medicinal garden beds built…and rhubarb! Gotta get me a rhubarb plant…but gotta wait for spring.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
That’s my life folks, hurry up and wait for the busy season to start, and then the busy season hits and we don’t have time to think.
It’s all good though.
Don’t think I’m complaining. I’m not.
The only thing I’m complaining about is the impending ass numbingly cold front headed our way this weekend…oh and the govt, because I hate those bastards. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Worth a shot, doncha think?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday. πŸ™‚

Chonkey and Chubby

April 28th, 2020 we picked up 50 meat chickens from the local feed store.
Like other years, the plan was to grow them out, slow and steady, to butcher weight.
We do that by letting our meaties run with our layers.
Why?
Because the meaties learn how to be chickens, not just eating and pooping machines.
It also means we have very few losses due to heart attacks or leg issues.

This past summer though, we lost the bulk of our meaties to Wile E Coyote, who was convinced he needed to kill as many as he could, but eat only a few.
We never did catch him.
So ol’ Wile E may yet return…

But Chonkey and Chubby were 2 of our survivors.
And when you’re a meat chicken who survives a coyote ripping through your home, and then go on to grow big and strong, The Food Lady begins to wonder if you oughta stay on…

And then, the craziest thing happened!
Chonkey:

Laid. An. Egg.

How do I know it was her?
Well, chickens have this very distinct “song” they sing when they lay an egg.
I had just collected eggs 10 minutes earlier and then got distracted with the garden, only to hear the egg maker song again.
So I walked into the coop to find Ms Chonks in the basket, in the position…
I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes.
There stood this giant CornishX meat chicken, screaming out the egg maker song (think Norwegian Death Metal sung by a chicken) and ploop! Out comes this smallish cream coloured egg.

Well!

So when butchering was happening later on that week, clearly Ms Chonks was *not* gonna go to Freezer Camp.

Then, we had this other CornishX…she was smaller, always getting picked on, and kinda sweet.
She was *always* at my feet when we were butchering, and I made sure to give her choice bits every chance I got.
She ended up in a crate for some healing time after the brown layers (known as Mrs. Cluckingtons) decided they should pick a giant hole in her butt.
Seriously, the Cluckingtons are first rate assholes.
There’s a good reason why I culled aaaaallllll of them out of my flock.
Fuck the Cluckingtons.
Mean bitches.

Anyways, this young Cornish hen stayed in that crate for nearly a month, on high protein feed, being babied and pampered…until her hind end was 100% healed and feathered in.
Then we let her free, so she could readjust to flock life and free range again.

She just recently was given the name Chubby…because she’s a big girl, and because she too is staying on, having begun to lay.
She still gets fed special treats when we’re butchering.
She hangs around my feet until I give them to her.

As we get closer to the time we fire up the incubators, I’ll take the Mdms and put them into a pen with a rooster.
One of those big Orpington/Wyandotte cross boys.
With a couple other hens.
5 hens to 1 roo is pretty good.
Then, all those eggs these girls lay will get hatched.
Just to see what we get.
Stay with us into 2021 to find out!

πŸ™‚

Ugh, Chickens

Brrr, what a chilly morning!
May 30th and we had frost last night.
So glad I hadn’t gotten the tomatoes in the garden yet!
Next week though…that’s gonna be the big push to get them in.

There was a little bit of worry with a couple cold night whether the turkeys and meaties would be okay.
Their house has no heat, no light, no way to add heat/light.
So we gave them fresh straw to bed down in, kept the cross breeze door closed and hoped for the best.
This morning I was met with turkey songs calling for food.
And everyone was juuuuuuust fine!
I kinda figured they would be.
Everyone is feathered out, and they’ve been off heat for a few weeks now.
But I worry.
The very last thing I want is to lose a bird because of my foul ups.
All was good though, so much singing this morning, and so much happy with the filling of the food pans.
πŸ™‚

I finally managed to get out and take some pictures this morning.
30 days into May and I finally had the energy to use my camera.
lol
What can I say…it’s been busy, I’ve been exhausted.
That’s just life.

On my way into the pasture, I found this:

Oh look, someone(s) been hiding eggs.
This is my shocked face…but not really.

I had my hands full of the camera, so I’ll go out later and collect them.
Typically I float test to see how fresh they are.
If they’re iffy I hard boil them for the birds.
If they’re scary old, I just break ’em into a pan of grain and feed the birds.
If they test ok, we eat them.
Waste not, want not.

Today it’s sunny.
Our local dump has reopened after being closed due to SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus. πŸ™„
So this weekend is clean up of the farm yard, prep the garden, and straighten up the basement after our weekend of fun with the hot water tank last week.
Plus I have to set up with my Bro a day where he can come help Hubby replace lights down there.
When we moved in there was florescent lights there…now the ballasts are shot and they have to be replaced.
We have from our city house a set of light fixtures we were going to use there…we’ll use them here, with super bright LED bulbs, instead.

Oooooh, and the ducks!
Holy eggs in nests.
We have one broody girl sitting on a nest of 20.
We have another nest started with 12 in it so far.
And we have a horny teenaged drake who’s *loving* having 6 hens to hump.
So, fingers crossed.
Again.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And somewhere along the way, I need to get out and pick more dandelions for wine.
I’m getting there.
Slowly, but surely.
πŸ™‚

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Sunny.

Gosh It’s Hot

Hotter than balls…
Hotter than a nun’s…
Hotter than Hell…

Yup, it’s hot.
And I’m trying not to complain, because the alternative is cold…

Colder than a Witch’s…

So yeah, the heat is okay right now.
But some rain would be nice.
We’re not as dry as last year (so far) but we’re not where we should be. Once again, the garden is getting minimal watering.
The weeds are doing great! πŸ˜€
In among them, though, the rows of food crops aren’t doing too bad.
Beans are up and seem okay, same with carrots.
Damn barn swallows have been pulling out my beet seedlings.
Jerks.
Tomatoes…well, let’s just say I’m hoping for a tremendous sale on them again this year like we got last year. I’m not sure I’ll have much of anything. :/

Of the orchard…

2 apple trees have fruit on them…one has more than 20 apples!
So excited for those!
We planted that tree the year we moved here and this is the first year we’ve got fruit on it.
The honeyberries are done fruiting for the year.
I ate several big handfuls of them.
Nom!! πŸ™‚
And then I took cuttings in an attempt to propagate some more.
Fingers crossed they take!

Currants didn’t produce berries this year (even though they flowered) but are growing like crazy. They’re only 2 years old, so growth over berries is fine with me.

Pears seem to be decorations, because even though they keep growing, I’ve never seen flowers on them.
*shrug*
Fine. Trees are good no matter what, and they’re already established, so I’m not changing them out.

Chickens killed the strawberries I was gifted.
Jerks. 😑

Speaking of chickens…

Meaties are growing like crazy.
Another couple of weeks will see them going to freezer camp.
They’ll be 9 weeks on Tuesday.
We feed them soaked barley/wheat chop, which is not as high of protein as grower or layer feed.
Means they grow a bit slower, but, they’re also more active and they don’t drop dead of heart attacks, like CornishX are known to do.
So instead of 8 weeks, our birds grow for 10-12 weeks.
I prefer health over fast growing, personally.

Oh, and we bought a chicken plucker.
πŸ˜€ <— my face knowing I don’t have to hand pluck this year!!
It was listed for sale in a local Agriculture group and a friend gave me the heads up it was there…with a bit of back and forth, the seller and I made a deal (she was flippin’ amazing to deal with!!) and we got another super useful tool for the Farm.
So. Happy.

Eggies are growing too…learning free ranging bad habits from the current egg laying assholes. πŸ™„
Why I ever thought I’d be able to train the new ones to stay where they belong, I don’t know.
Wishful thinking?
Or plain stupidity.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Ah well.
Free ranging is fine during the day, and they’re learning to come back to the coop at night, so hey…happy chickens make happy food.
And we like eggs from happy chickens.

The 18 from my first round with the incubator are growing soooo well! Almost ready to move them into the poultry yard, after we integrate the meaties and eggies with the older birds.
And next weekend the next round is due to hatch…

All the eggs my broody duck were sitting on turned out to be duds.
So no ducklings…but we’re going to have to cull one of the hens.
She’s a mean little bitch who beats up on one of the nicer hens.
In fact she beat on her so bad one night in the coop, we’ve had to separate the injured one for a few weeks.Β  We did learn the injured one is great with chicks…so she gets to stay (the other 3 hens are fine with her) and the mean one will become burger.
There’s no room on my Farm for mean animals…and it’s certainly not a trait I want passed on when breeding resumes.

Then there’s the pigs…

Wow.
So they are 13 weeks old tomorrow and easily approaching 100lbs.
They have more than doubled in size since we got them…and they have until November to grow!
I’m really enjoying these ones.
Being Berkshire crosses they are much better suited to hot outdoor life. They love to play in the hose, and lay in the water pan, and flop belly down in the wallow…they’re friendly and curious and quite fun, actually.
I know by the time we’re getting close to freezer camp, I’ll be ready for them to go, but for now, I’m enjoying them.

Like today…
Hot as balls.
So I turn the hose on to fill the mud wallow.
George comes out of the shelter to flop into it.
Ginger and Sophie come to the trough to eat the fresh food I had just given them and George just looked too hot to bother with food…so for fun, I tossed the 3 chicken eggs I had with me into the wallow beside him.

Well…

You would have thought I’d thrown the bestest toy ever!

He spent the next 10 minutes rooting in the water/mud for these eggs, squealing happily and wagging his tail.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
This is why I love raising my own meat animals.
They should have the chance to have that kind of fun/excitement in their lives before becoming food.
❀

As for us humans…

The Kid graduated grade 12…

And Of course she had to pose with her Sable for pictures…Sable just wanted the cookie Kid was holding.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Hubby got injured at work, ending up with a couple stitches in his hand. Dork. πŸ™„

And me?
I’m hip deep in cutting hay.
‘Tis that time of year, and it’s looking like I should get a decent cut.
And if we get some rain, I may even get a good 2nd cut.
Fingers crossed.
πŸ™‚

A Little Catching Up

Beans are in.
Over 500 seeds this year…what can I say? We like green beans. πŸ˜‰
Straw bales are planted.
I put my peppers in one, with zucchini seeds.
The rest are pumpkin, melons, squashes, sunflowers and cucumbers.
Tomatoes start going in today.
Fingers crossed for a huge bounty. πŸ™‚

Pig babies are growing very well!
I sure like these guys…we only had to lock them up at night for a few days, then left them loose in their yard.
They happily put themselves to bed when they’re tired, and haven’t even once tried to push the fencing.
YAY!!
At 9 weeks now, they’ve grow a good 10 or more pounds since we got them, and are now starting to enjoy the morning slop bucket.
Y’know, the left over bits of coffee and table scraps that get put together for the morning meal.
And, then there’s the things I’ve saved over the winter for them…cream that’s gone bad, pastries that didn’t get eaten, left overs that were right on the edge of going blech but weren’t good for the poultry (we don’t feed human food to the poultry in the winter *unless* they are outside…on those too cold days, they only get the layer feed because it makes less mess in the coop.), small amounts of ice cream that were left too long in the freezer…
I am hopeful for explosive growth on these guys!

(phone pic)

Hubby made a couple of feeders from an old pressure tank…just cut it in half, plop it down and add food.
Works very well!!
And it was free. We love free stuff!
Check out BokBok helping herself to the pig food…I love that these pigs are so laid back that they’re fine with sharing food with the chickens.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Meat chicks have been evicted from the brooder.
They’re now outside in the meat chicken house (with the few eggies I ordered) with more room and time outdoors.
They’re growing like crazy too.
5 weeks old today and I think we’re on track for Freezer Camp by mid July.
I’m easing them off the grower feed onto soaked/fermented grains.
We found that with the fermented grains they grew a bit slower but we didn’t have problems with them dropping dead of heart attacks…that’s always a possibility with CornishX chickens.
But we get them outside asap, make them have to move around for food and make sure they’re acting like chickens.
Not eating and pooping lumps.
It cuts down on early death by a lot.

My incubator is 11 days into it’s first running.
I candled the eggs on the 2nd.
Took out 3 that were obviously unfertilized (holy did the pig babies love those eggs in their grains!!) leaving me 21 still cooking.
Some were super obvious that there was chick development going on, others like the dark green shelled eggs were harder to tell…but the air pocket looked right, so I left them in.
I’ll candle them again on the weekend, just to see how things are going.
Then, by the 14th/15th, we should be seeing chicks hatching.
Fingers crossed.

Next project on the go…

We have sooooo many dandelions.
I refuse to spray them.
This year I’m making mead. And wine.
So this past weekend, I picked a pail of flowers, and then spent a couple hours taking all the petals off the green parts.
I have to do one more pail to have enough for a gallon batch of mead. That’s all I can do right now because I only have enough honey to do a gallon…

And then I pick as many dandies as I can to make as big of a batch of wine as I can.
The mead will be named after Odhinn.
The wine will be my Palomino Princess white.
I sure hope they both turn out tasty.
πŸ™‚

And finally, even though I haven’t had a chance to use my camera (other than a quick couple of shots of the pigs when they came home) for a few weeks, I have a pretty of Ruby to share, because there needs to be at least 1 horse picture in this post.

She is such a funny girl…what a way to sleep!