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. 😉
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.
🙄
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.
🙂

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

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!

🙂

December Already…

You wouldn’t know it, looking out my window.
It’s sunny and cool, there’s not much snow, and today is Rooster Rehab day.
I’m grateful for the nice weather.
Not only because I can take out more roosters from the flock, but because I’m just happy for nice days.
We don’t get a lot of those right now.
So I’m trying to find a bit of peace and happiness wherever I can.
Plus this nicer weather means The Merry Mares aren’t gobbling through the winter hay supply like it’s endless.
😂😂😂

Last week we butchered 3 of the turkey boys.
Welp, Narragansetts win for flavor!
Holy. Moly.
This ain’t your grocery store bird, lemme tell ya!
So we’re pretty okay with our breeding flock, now more than ever.
I still plan to raise some whites, but now it’s just to prove I can.
Not that I’m stubborn or anything.
😂😂😂

Aside from running the Rehab today, there’s not much new here.
We’re still plugging along, watching the world burn around us, trying not to get caught up in it.
Egg sales have finally caught up, and I’m making some of Alton Brown’s aged eggnog this weekend.
At least I’ll have that to sip while the world continues to lose it’s collective mind.

Here’s a picture of Astrid in the early morning light, just to make you smile. 🙂

End Of November

As we slide into the end of November, I realize I’ve missed a few milestones this year.
It’s been the kind of year where it’s all fucked up and the things that were important before, while not any less important, slip past because of all the crazy and fuckery *waves hands* out there.

So, what’d we miss?
Well, back in August I turned 48.
The Farm turned 7 2 days later.
October made 7 years that we’d met and put a deposit on The Painted Ladies.
October was also 7 years that we met the women who run the Rescue that all our horses came through…and in the past 7 years, they’ve become very much valued friends.
Hallowe’en was the first time the whole Farm family (the 3 of us) were a part of renewing the spiritual protections on the Farm. Normally it’s just me, this year, though it was all of us…I was quite happy with that. 🙂
November 13th made 3 years since I lost my bestest girl.
3 days later made 7 years of being Home for The Original 3.

And now we’re moving on into December shortly.

I’ve ordered the first of my seeds for next year’s garden(s).
3 types of tomatoes, hardy tough tomatoes, good for a brutal growing micro climate like ours.
2 types of peas…both shelling, but one has an edible pod…I found a recipe for pea pod wine, figure I’d order these peas and give it a shot.
And a yellow bean for canning…because we can never have enough beans here. 😉

Next up, I’m working on saving for the next seeds I need…beets, zucchini, carrots, more beans (royal burgundy beans…purple pods, super prolific, grows amazingly well here), some ancho peppers and edible flower seeds (nasturtiums and johnny jump ups) and anything else that I can add food or medicine wise.

Last week we had the chance to go out and do a little shooting…Hubby had to sight in his deer rifle (and we all had a chance to shoot her) so we did a little plinking too…gave me a chance to shoot this:

That’s the rifle I inherited when my parents died.
43 years old, that thing is.
Bought by my Dad for my Mom’s birthday in 1978.
Pretty sweet to be able to (finally) take her out.
🙂

And then we also pulled this out:

Bought for The Kid just before we bought the Farm, and she was teeny.
It’s teeny, and cute and a lot of fun to shoot…even if it’s teeny.
😂😂😂

All in all, it was a nice chance to a. do something that needed doing, and b. get out and have some fun as a family.
Now we’re back to work…this weekend promises at least 1 nice day, which is good because I’ve got at least 10 roosters to send to Rehab.
Hubby’s still chasing whitetails, so hopefully we’ll have deer in the freezer too.
And the garden…I’m Dreaming about the garden, mostly because I want winter over with, but also because I haven’t finished cutting down last year’s plants (like the beans) mulching, and pulling the tarp over.
This week.
Hopefully.

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

Well Now…

Yesterday I had planned on doing a photo shoot that I’ve had in mind for quite some time now. I figured while Hubby went off to work (booooo for Saturday working, but yay for o/t $$$), I’d prep what would be needed…
Unfortunately the 70km/h wind gusts put a kibosh on that.
*sigh*
When the wind gusts start out like that at 4:30 in the morning, you just know plans have gone awry.

So, I made the coffee, had the shower, and went to log into the Facebook…only to discover a 72 hour ban for posting something against community standards.
Well, okay then.
Normally when that happens, whatever the post was just gets removed.
Musta really upset some folks…
Thought I’d check and see if messenger was still available to me.
There I learned that I had apparently deactivated my account, but could still use the app. without reactivating my account.
Huh.
Well, since I had been offline since the night before, I’m pretty sure I hadn’t deactivated anything.
So, I’ve sent an email to the Facebook to see what, actually, is going on.
Knowing them and how slowly they respond to emails, 72 hours will have come and gone before I hear anything.
In 72 hours (or more) I’ll know if I actually had a ban in place or if I was hacked. 😛
Which is why the Farm Page feed is missing on the side bar…because when my account got locked up, the Farm Page got unpublished.

Meh. Whatever.
FB is a cesspool right now anyways.
Even if I can’t recover my account, it won’t be a huge loss.
Anyone who wants to can follow me here at the blog, or I can just start a new page. We’ll see how interested I am in 72 hours.
Though, one of the things I will miss are the Ag groups.
There’s a lot of good info, a whole lotta laughs, and some great people who really understand the inappropriate sense of humour that is needed to live Farm life. If’n I lose my account, I’ll definitely miss those bitches. 😉
And the Farm Page.
I’ve done a lot of networking and followed some other great small farming/homesteading pages.
I’ll miss reading those adventures. :/

In the meantime, I have work to concentrate on here.
Taking the time suck that FB is out of my day oughta make for some super extra work getting done. LOL!
It’s already given me more time for photo editing, and that’s a good thing for y’all. That means I have more images to share here…which leads me to my storage here. I’m at 80% usage for images. I’m getting to the point where I have to think about either starting a new, free blog and linking to this one, or going paid.
If I go with a paid account, I just keep on going here.
But, I have to decide if it’s worth the $60 a year to do so.

Decisions, decisions!

I’ll think about it, and in the meantime, y’all can look at Ruby in all her unicorn glory, having a nap in the sunshine. With her 2 trusty side kicks, Astrid and CoalCat. 🙂

Farmiversary

3 years.
3 amazing, glorious, wonderful yet difficult, trying, faith testing years.
That’s how long we’ve been here on Midnight Calico Farm.
It all started because of this one…

Cookie, m'dear, it's all your fault!

Cookie, m’dear, it’s all your fault!

Oh, Hubby and I had always talked about moving to the country. Dreamed about it. But, until I saw this Girl ^^^ sitting in Rescue, waiting for her person, it was just that.
A Dream.
And then I saw her…and I said to Hubby, we need a farm, because that is my horse. She’s mine, no one else’s, she belongs to me, she belongs with me. So, we either get land, or we have to pay to board her. Either way, I’m getting that horse!

That made the search become real, more earnest…no more half-hearted “Well, maybe we should check that out” stuff. We needed to find something! That’s how we ended up here…and I chased after getting my Girl Home to me.

Of course, 1 horse normally doesn’t do well alone. So, when we went to see Cookie, Hubby chose this character…

Ruby

Ruby

Oh, and she’s a character alright!! 😛 Fits right in here at our crazy little funny Farm.

And then…when we weren’t looking for a 3rd horse, we had only gone out to visit with these two and finalize payment, we met this sweetheart…

Sable

❤ Sable ❤

She chose us. Or, more like she chose The Kid.
She knew who she wanted, she knew who her person was, and thankfully, we listened. Our lives would not be the same without her. She is an amazing mare!

Since then, Astrid has joined us…

Astrid

Astrid

We’ve added 19 laying hennys, 15 meat chickens, our million mile an hour Farm dog Daphne, 3 piggies and a whole herd of cats.
We have a huge garden (that hopefully next year I will get planted on time!), fruit trees and bushes, and a huge field that we hope will yield many geese this year! Especially since we leased it out and the farmer planted wheat…geese love wheat…and we love geese to eat. 😉

We’re still working towards bison…that is the ultimate goal.
A small bison herd.
A good foundation bull, a handful of well-bred cows, and calves to grow into eventual Freezer Campers.

We’re getting there. This life, it’s a work in progress.
You have to love it to do it.
And we do!
I hope you all love to follow us and will stick with us for the coming year(s).

Happy 3 to us!
😀

M is for Mowing

We have our 2 year Farm anniversary coming up this weekend.
August 16th makes 2 years for us here at Midnight Calico Farm.
It’s been a bumpy, lumpy, amazingly awesome, quietly heartbreaking, wouldn’t-change-it-for-the-world ride.
And we’re going to celebrate!
We have friends and family coming out for a bonfire/potluck/grand old time. That means we actually had to cut the grass. Now, when we cut the grass, we do it with the tractor and 6 ft mower…

Mower...it's there, in the grass. Really, it is!

Mower…it’s there, in the grass. Really, it is!

Hubby, Daisy(the tractor) and the mower, working on taking that grass down.

Hubby, Daisy(the tractor) and the mower, working on taking that grass down.

It wasn’t as long this time, or I’d be turning and stacking it for hay. I did that last summer, when we had grass to my hip. Dried it and stacked it in a loose hay stack. Let me tell you, it was a life saver for the first 2 weeks we needed hay. We hadn’t bought our trailer yet, our Hay Guy was still busy in the fields, and my Girls were hungry…hell they were bordering on hangry!
So, between the 800lbs or so we put up and the beet pulp I started them on, we made it through until our Hay Guy could get us a load on our (new to us) trailer.

Of course, with Hubby pulling out Daisy and the mower, we have to make sure the Marauding Horde is safe, so Kid and I went on a kitten wrangling spree.

9 kittens shoved into Daphne's kennel.

9 kittens shoved into Daphne’s kennel.

Unfortunately, they’re at the age where when they get scared they don’t always run. Having a little body hunker down when the mower is out is a very bad thing. So 9 little bodies had to go into the kennel, while Mama Cat was calling at the door, worried we were doing something bad to her babies. She was very happy to get them back once the tractor was put away. 🙂

And then, there’s my  riding lawnmowers…

Ooooh, the excitement!! Daddy opened the gate to the front pasture!

Ooooh, the excitement!! Daddy opened the gate to the front pasture!

"Oh boy, Mom! This is awesome!"

“Oh boy, Mom! This is awesome!”

"Nom, nom, nom...can't talk...eating..."

“Nom, nom, nom…can’t talk…eating…”

Now that we have the gate in, and I’ve been working on gate skills with them, by next spring, I do believe our riding lawn mowers will be able to cut the grass for us. After I put up some hay, of course! 😉

M is for Mower, both tractor powered and equine.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.

Manitoba Pet Expo

2015 MB Pet Expo FB Timeline-Cover
We will be there! We’ve got a table to hawk our wares…if you’re in Manitoba, come on out and see us. We’d love to see you!
If you’re wondering what we’ll have, here’s a peek at the work I’ve been doing the past 2 months…

Cards

Cards

Big bin 'o' cards

Big bin ‘o’ cards

Raw Rubidium

Raw Rubidium

Tools of my trade

Tools of my trade

Some finished pieces

Some finished pieces

Still have to make the display cards for the jewelry, finish packaging the greeting cards, and put together the display for our table.
I’ll have a few pieces of raw material to work as well, should anyone be curious about (part) of the process from raw to finished. Some of the process is proprietary, so I won’t do a fully finished piece, but folks will be able to see some of the process. 🙂

2015 MB Pet Expo Poster Color

Sharing for Wordless Wednesday with Crafty Spices, Blog Paws, Create With Joy, Mama to 5 Blessings, and BeThere2Day.

Don’t forget to go to our Results! post and vote on Cookie’s gemstone name. Voting ends tomorrow at Midnight!