Canadian Thanksgiving

Well, that’s in the books for another year.
We don’t actually celebrate it, so for us it was just another weekend of trying to get things done before winter. More roosters need doing, but we were getting hammered by rain so that got put off.
We did get some yard clean up done between rains.
Plus we got the roosters separated so that we can just get up and go on the next not-rainy day.

That was supposed to be Saturday, because the next 3 days after today is rain, and today is a Loop pickup day so we need the 2nd fridge for some of that stuff…
Oh, but then this morning?
I get the text that our pig is ready to pick up.
Awesome, right?
Absolutely!
But now Saturday is pick up the pig and process it day…because we pick up the pig live, bring it home and do all the work here.
Saves us a couple hundred dollars doing it that way, and we are very happy with the family that raises the pig for us.
They have the same #HappyFoodTastesBetter values that we do.
And they have a better porcine set up.
So I am happy af to buy a finished pig to put down in the Fall while focusing on poultry on my Farm.

But the work…
O.M.G.
Like I said, I’ll sleep come winter.

Garden is still producing.
With the rains over the next few days, we shouldn’t frost, though we’re hovering awful close to it.
I am hoping that it holds off a wee bit longer, since my peppers are not ripe yet.
I really, really don’t want to buy poblano or paprika seeds next year, so I need those dang peppers to ripen!
The beans are being left now to grow seed for next year.
What ever is out there will get harvested after the frost and further dried to seed for the yellow, Painted pony and Royal Burgandy varieties. The pintos will just be left and tarped over. I have a *lot* of pinto seeds. lol

And carrots and beets can be left for a couple weeks yet, since they’re underground.
Thank goodness, since I am not ready to pull them yet.
So as soon as I see a frost warning, I’ll pick the peppers, tomatoes and ground cherrys, then let the plants die off. Once the bean seeds are harvested and the beets/carrots too, we can tarp the entire space and let her go to sleep for winter.
It’s coming fast.

In the meantime, we’re just going along, trying to get as much done as possible.
Butchering, building, and trying to stay sane.
😂😂😂
That last one in the toughest one.

Here’s Homer J…who, it has been determined, is a hen.
YAY!!
So next year we’ll have Homer J bebes.
I’m very happy she’s a hen. She’s growing into a beauty of a duck (not that you can tell with all the mud on her), and she’s my pal. 😉
Today we’re working on the winter duck coop so Homer J and everyone else can have a nice warm space to snuggle on those
c-c-c-old winter nights.
🙂

Oreo The Duck

Once upon a time I saw a picture of a duck in a cupcake paper liner dress.
Ever since then, I have had this urge to do a photoshoot with a chick or duck or turkey in a dress.
Finally, we had a chance to make it happen with Oreo.

Seriously, like how cute is she???

And then we tried the Yule cupcake paper on her…

And it made the perfect necklace for her…

And finally, Daisy Mae had to get into the shot…because cats are a bit jealous that The Kid has these 2 ducks she’s raising, and Daisy Mae feels like she’s being replaced.
😂😂😂
The joys of “first child” syndrome.

She’s quite the little ducky fashion model, that Oreo is!
😂😂😂

Melting

We’re back into a heat wave, with no rain in sight.
I think this is the driest I’ve ever seen it.
We need rain.
Bad.

The heat makes getting things done a little more difficult.
I feel like I’m melting.
lol
So the birds get let out at the hint of dawn, while it’s still (relatively) cool.
I’ve been working on weeding the garden early too…which doesn’t happen some days because the sprinkler needs to run to keep the food plants alive and that has to happen early too.
Truthfully, I’ve been feeling a bit defeated by our garden this year.
At least…until this morning.
When I saw that some tomato plants have rebounded from what I thought was certain death in our June 21st frost. The irony, right? First day of real summer and we get hit with a killing frost?

So I was excited to see a handful of tomatoes in the mulch, with several having blooms on them!
*swoons*
I might get a tomato sandwich yet this year!
And this morning, while I was weeding the thistles, I discovered a fair bit of our corn was up…and quite tall already.
Just hidden in the thistles.
So there’s hope for that too.
I planted mostly feed corn (for homemade libations, if y’know what I mean 😉 ) and for the silk.
Corn silk is dried for tea for a handful of things, including inflammation and urinary health.
I’m happy to find a few stalks coming up amidst my thistles…which I have also been harvesting and drying for teas.
Thistle is excellent for your liver (I’m hard on mine 😂😂😂 I admit it).
Plus the goose bebes love it!
I had hoped to harvest flowers for a mead, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Stinging nettles will be collected this weekend for stinging nettle beer.
I was supposed to do it earlier in the week, but by the time I got the basic chores done, I just wanted to melt…so tomorrow morning I’ll don my gloves and pick a whole bunch of them.

Oh, and we have another house duck…temporarily, of course…

I hadn’t planned on this one coming in, but the hen was in a poor spot when she hatched them, and chickens killed the rest of the clutch off…so we snagged this little and brought her in.
She’s been named Oreo.
I am hoping this is a hen, because she’s just so darn pretty!
And we don’t need anymore drakes…extra boys are Freezer Campers.

And, our final round of incubation is finishing up.
Pipping and peeping started in the incubators yesterday.
By the end of the weekend, everyone who was going to hatch, will have hatched.
And we’ll be done ’til next February.
All that’ll be left is the butchering.
Which should start in a couple of weeks, as some of our first hatcher roosters are close to size now.
Then my weeks will be filled with butcher, process, can, sleep, repeat.
Until the end of November or so.
😂😂😂

This weekend will be a fiery hot one, but we still have the final wall of the greenhouse to build, then we put it up…
And I have hay to cut.
And more weeds in the garden.
And a fence line to move.
And boxes to flatten and lay out over the next garden area (to kill the grass).
And somewhere in there, some sleep…
😂😂😂

We’ll get done what we can, and keep picking at the rest.
That’s just how it is.
🙂

Maybe I’ll go have a nap with Ruby…or a beer.
Prolly a beer is a better idea.
😂😂😂

Poop Machine

A week or so ago, we had a clutch of ducklings hatch.
Right in the midst of the last ridiculous heatwave.
Most of the ducklings did awesome.
One however, was having troubles right out of the shell, and MamaDuck was busy with the other 6 ducklings.
Since I’m a firm believer in giving life a chance before culling, I scooped bebe duck up and handed him/her off to The Kid.
She’s a talent when it comes to nursing duck bebes to health…

It was touch and go for a day or two.
We weren’t sure the duckling was gonna make it.
And then, that dang baby decided their main goal in life was to shit on the couch.
Every.
Damn.
Time.
It got onto the couch.

And so the duckling has earned itself the name:
Poop Machine.

😂😂😂

Yes, we’ve named the fuzzy ball of duck fluff…Poop Machine.
And they answer to it.

Today Poop Machine got to play in some water and learn a bit about swimming…

And that was the capper to a Sunday morning of hot, sweaty farm work…watching the duck learn about playing in water.
Life is good.
🙂

On Food Security, Good Friends and Turkey Eggs

It’s been blazing hot here the past few days, with gale force winds.
So I’m a little slow.
We’re all a little slow.
The heat weighs you down, and then the wind strips all moisture out of your body almost instantly.
Lots and lots of liquids going in the past few days, I tell ya!

Working on getting seeds into the garden before the rains come.
Always chasing the waterers for the animals, making sure they have enough to drink.
And trying to stay on top of the “what’s for dinner?” moments.
I’m tired.
😂😂😂

But, it’s a good tired and I’m not complaining.
Much.

Last week I had chance to connect with a friend who’s working on her own family’s food security.
This is something that comes up a lot around here (in case no one’s noticed) because I’m pretty darn passionate about good foods, well raised foods, and not being beholden to any govt for getting access to that food.
So in this conversation, we talked about the space they have for growing food animals, compared to ours.
We’re not doing pigs this year.
Might be a year or 2 more before we consider it.
She and her partner have access to low cost culls, and have space to grow them out.
We have many, many, many birds.
😂😂😂
So. Many. Fucking. Birds.
And so we thought that bartering pork for birds was something to consider.
As always, I worry about making sure that all parties are happy.
I never, ever want to be in a barter situation where someone feels shorted…especially not with a friend.
But I think if we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement (and I do believe we will 🙂 )then I love the idea of bartering.
It builds community (and Lady Bless us all, we so need that in society right now!) and it gets more well raised foods into more homes. Done well it’s an excellent thing!

And then she says to me…I have 12 heritage sweetgrass turkey hatching eggs…are you interested?
Um…
YES!

Last night another friend dropped them off here…and her and I discussed how her daughter’s new home had so many rhubarb plants that could become wine to share amongst us all.
Yup, bartering for food/wine is a damn fine thing.
😉

Tonight the eggs will go into the incubator.
And whatever comes out in after 28 days will be split between two Farms.
I, uh, might be a little bit addicted to hatching turkeys.
😂😂😂

Oooooh, and just because it’s amazing, and finally happened:

That my friends, is our very first laid right here on Midnight Calico Farm Narragansett turkey egg!!
And yup, it’s going into the incubator with the sweetgrass turkey eggs.
🙂
My excitement was (still is) over the moon last night.

We were putting birds to bed, and when I got to the turkey yard, my Kid says “I have a present for you” and puts this egg in my hand…
Oh there is no mistaking turkey eggs.
None whatsoever.
They are unique (among my birds at least) and so very beautiful.
I may have cooed over it like Gollum cooed over the One Ring.
😉
It should be fertile…I’ve been watching the boys do their jobs for the past few weeks…hell, when we were working on the plastic around the garden, I was cheering Oscar on as he made the rounds with every hen in the yard.
😂😂😂
Horny teenager turkey.
If these birds start producing a lot of eggs, I’ll be looking at a 3rd incubator just for turkeys…and another brooder.
But y’know, we’ll eat really well.

And in duck news…
There are many, many duck eggs lying around.
Many of ’em.
And I’m willing to bet even more we cannot see.
Muscovies are notorious for hiding eggs and coming out just about a month later with a whole bunch of littles behind them.
Based on the chirruping and berating we’re getting from some hens, there’s quite a few of our 21 girls thinking about hatching eggs.
So we’ll cross our fingers to start seeing bebes in the next couple of months.
For the record, I’ve tried incubating duck eggs and have had no luck at all.
Followed all the directions and still had quitters.
So I’d rather let the hens to the job.
Means 1 less incubator I have to buy, because muscovies are a 35(ish) day hatch, where chickens are 21 and turkeys are 28. 35 days is a long time to tie up an incubator for no return. 😦

But if we have an abundance of hens hatching, that will give us some ducks to barter as well.
And steak birds is good eating.
😉


Happy Tuesday

Today I am happy.
Tired, but happy.

You see, since March 28th, I have not been able to upload a single picture to the blog.
I’ve been having to link to Instagram to show y’all pictures.
Today, for some reason unknown to me, I decided to try to upload a few images.

KABAM!!

It worked!

So, now I’m going through any pictures I’ve taken the last month and trying to do a mass uploading, just incase WP decides that I shouldn’t be able to again…

Today you get Cricket, the happy muscovy duck:

Why is he happy?
He doesn’t know.
He’s a duck.
😂😂😂

Ducks and images aside, gardening is getting underway.
This past weekend, I rejigged the small raised beds in the front yard.
There are 9 ~ 3’x3′ beds.
Well, were.
Now there are 3 ~ 3’x3′ bed that are much deeper.
I took out 6 of them, stacked them on the other 3 and made them more usable.
A good heavy layer of rotted horse manure in the bottom, some straw over top of that and then topsoil.
And lots and lots and lots of watering in between.
Then yesterday, I planted rhubarb in one and asparagus in another.
I have room in the asparagus box for more crowns, so next time MCFHubby is at Canadian Tire, he’ll grab another pouch of them for me…and Thursday, he’s going to a friend’s to help split an established rhubarb for us.
So I’ll have 2 rhubarb plants.

And anyone who knows me is doing the quizzical doggy head tilt, because I don’t like rhubarb.
But, I like the *medicinal properties* of rhubarb…

Plus there’s wine, sooooo, yeah.
😂😂😂

Next up, prepping the spots for peas, and getting those planted.
then we’re onto parsley, carrots and beets.
While hathing more chicks…because we like eating chicken.
😂😂😂

I set another 80 eggs on the 1st.
And I don’t know what the ducks are doing, but I’m hoping to see some duckling action happening soon.
We have so many girls going broody, but no one is sitting nests yet.
Our Ripple abandoned hers after we moved it…we knew that would be a possibility, but we couldn’t leave her getting beat up by the turkeys.

Speaking of turkeys, my 5 left from the hatching are doing great!
Same with the 10 whites in with them.
Eggs every day for breakfast and tons of gamebird feed in their feeder 24/7.
Finally, they’re all growing gangbusters!
Thank goodness!

Now I just need my full grown turkey hens to get on with the laying.
They all have the tell tail sign that Oscar and Dingus are wooing them, but we haven’t seen any eggs yet.
They might be like the ducks though…the ducks did nothing for laying/broodiness until their 2nd year.
Eh, we shall see, right?
In the meantime, there’s no shortage of chickens to eat here.
😂😂😂

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday

A Little Jaunt

Yesterday was the first day we all left the Farm for errands in just about a year.
It’s been mostly Hubby, sometimes I go with him, but The Kid has 99.99% of the time stayed home.
Yesterday we all went for the drive.

First up we met up with a friend so she could get some delicious farm fresh eggs from my asshole birds.
That was a lovely visit…we hadn’t seen her for more than a year, between life schedules and then this *waves hands* stuff going on…but it was so good to see her. ❤

Then off to see the Lady with the turkey eggs.
Holy smokes, this woman is living the Dream!
Moved from a crowded once country turned citified area to a 1/4 section farm where she can see elk off her deck most mornings. So exciting! She’s a really cool lady, and I’m super happy for her and her family.
And when I found out I could still get turkey eggs from her this year, I jumped at the chance.

DaisyMae Flerkin helps incubate the eggs. Notice the candling light is on…DaisyMae *always* turns that damn light on.

And then from see the Turkey Egg Lady, we went into the big city to get a new well pressure tank.
Our well pump has been coming on every 20 minutes or so…which is not normal and not good.
After posting on Facebook for ideas, we checked/fixed the leaky toilet and the leaky water softener and that didn’t change things. So a friend’s son, who is a plumber and former farm boy, said the next thing is the tank, because it sounds like the bladder has a leak.
To be fair, another friend, who just recently had her pressure tank replaced, said the same thing.
So now we have a new pressure tank, and Hubby (with the assistance of The Kid and I) will set about to replace the leaky one with the new one.
Wish us all luck.

And finally, we were given some more feed seeds.
Beans, and some feed corn.
Pintos, and navy beans.
Those got put into the “we’ll plant these for food for us” pile.
And then there was the bag of feed corn.
Um, yes please!
I don’t actually have to tell y’all why I might want to grow feed corn, do I?
Knowing that I love to do home brewing?
Yeah, so I now have enough feed corn seed to do a very nice plot of corn.
That may or may not become a lovely alcohol in the fall/winter.
😉

Seeds!

And the duck girls have started to lay…we’re taking the eggs away for a bit, just because it’s still chilly at night, but in a few weeks, we’ll leave them for the hens to start to sit, so we can have many, many bebe ducks.
Fingers crossed!
🙂

Duckling Update

This mild winter we’ve been having has been very good for our ducklings.
Very good indeed!
Instead of being stuck inside on crazy cold days, they’ve been venturing our into the yard, and they’re now mixing at will with the adult ducks and the turkeys.

Today, we double checked leg bands on everyone.
The last thing we want is anyone to have issues because their bad is too tight, so we try to check every week or two. Since it was so nice out, we caught up all the birbs, chickens too, who have bands and checked them, replacing as needed.

And then, as I was collecting eggs, I discovered an unlikely chicken hen pop out a green egg.
I was not expecting this girl to be a green layer. She’s a rather unassuming gold colored hen. But I saw the egg come out of her and it was green, so…so I caught her up and banded her.
That way I know who she is come time to separate out Chubby, Chonky and a rooster…then I can grab her and put her in with them (plus at least 1 more hen) so that the cornish girls aren’t the only objects of the roo’s affections.
Oh, and while banding her, I discovered she has feathered legs/feet.
Interesting.

But back to the ducks…

We have 2 mature drakes, and 11 mature hens.
Of the 14 ducklings we bought in the summer, 6 turned out to be girls.
All except 1 boy went to Freezer Camp.
Not too shabby.
Then we had 2 clutches hatch successfully, with 19 between them, and our lone duckling from a 3rd hatch where 2 died and 1 survived. That is The Kid’s duck, Cricket.
We did lose 1 duckling for unknown reasons, so we are at 19 duck babies.
Well, now they aren’t quite so baby-ish ad we’re beginning to be able to tell who’s a boy and who’s a girl.
If we’re 100% right, we have 12 hens hatched out and 7 drakes.
Of the drakes, only Cricket will stay.
So all told, we’ll have 23 hens and 3 drakes once culling is done.

Gotta say, that’s a darn fine late season hatch, to get so many hens!
That gives each drake roughly 7 hens each for springtime duckling making.
So now we have our fingers crossed for a bunch of the girls setting on nests…and I’m starting to look seriously for crates, bins, barrels…anything I can make places where the girls can hide out in their yard to sit a nest.
My hope is for many ducklings to grow over the summer.
Hopefully we’ll get to see the prolific hatching nature of muscovy hens this year?
Damn, I hope so!!

Cricket from a month ago…he’s considerably bigger now and looks like he’s going to be a blue pied in colour. Hard to know 100% ’til after his first full molt.

One More Thing Done…

The gate is now hung on the turkey/duck yard.
Instead of being leaned on the posts and braced with a stick.
😂😂😂
Hey, we’re innovative here!
Sometimes things need a little ingenuity before being finished.
Especially when we didn’t have hinges for a week and quite honestly, I didn’t want to leave the turkeys cooped up in their coop for that long…see what I did there?
Cooped up in their coop?
😂😂😂

And now that the turkeys and ducks have decided that co-habitating in the new duck house is okay, we have the brooder coop free…well, it was free.
Now it’s housing 19 duck babies who aren’t quite ready to integrate with the rest of the flock.
And Mama Ripple didn’t give 2 duck shits about seeing her ducklings again.
😂😂😂
She’s already flirting and dancing for Drake so they can get to workin’ on the next clutch.

Next thing to get done is to run cords for the heat lamps.
I ordered new ones from Princess Auto (one of my favorite stores ever!) so that we can heat the 3 coops (ducks/turkeys, ducklings, and chicken coop) when the temperatures drop.
Plus have an extra for the brooder come spring…because y’all just know once March 1st hits, the incubators get fired up and we start this hatching/growing thing all over again.
Here’s hoping we don’t have to replace the outdoor plugs.
It’s one of those things that’s been on “The List” but has yet to get done…and Hubby is not a fan of electrical work, and trust me, a licensed electrician is *not* in this Farm Girl’s budget right now!
So we’re hoping the plugs don’t keep popping their breakers.
Fingers crossed.

Oh!
And my light colored turkey boy has been figuring out his dance moves.
😂😂😂
He keeps doing his mating dance for the ducks hens, not the turkey hens tho…I think he likes his girls short, fat and weird looking. lol
But that he’s figuring out his moves now means he’ll be ready once the hens are receptive, and that’s a good thing.
So fingers crossed for many, many fertilized turkey eggs for hatching!
😍😍😍

Today’s next task is cleaning the kitchen so I can rinse the pork bellies that have been brining so that I can fire up the smoker tomorrow and have bacon…and see about hanging a tree stand for Hubby to hunt out of tomorrow and Wednesday.
Since all the Remembrance Day ceremonies are cancelled (#fuckcovid) he might as well go out and see about putting some red meat in the freezer.

Ruby’s face says it all about how we’re all feeling here at the Farm…

Duck Update

The ducks are well.
They’re now in the same yard as the turkeys and the 2 species seem to be getting along pretty darn good.
*knock on wood*
The other day when I sat down to take pictues of the turkeys, our drake (whom I’ve simply been calling Drake) took exception to my being there…

He was hissing and wagging his tail and side eying me the whole time.
😂😂😂

The girls, however, weren’t terribly worried.
They were more interested in seeing if I had some food for them…

Oh hey, Food Lady…got anything we might like to eat?

The 2 hens we bought in the spring have blue eyes…it’s kinda cool. And it makes it easier for me to know who they are. The whites look so similar.

Remember back in August I bought those 14 ducks off the local buy and sell page?
Well, 6 went to freezer camp.
I have 3 more drakes to go, and we have 4 lovely young hens to add to the flock. (and yes, if you math that out, we’re short one…we lost a bebe in the beginning 😥 )
2 whites…because I guess I needed more white ducks to get confused by…a black and white pied…

black and white pied with one of the new whites…who actually has a hint of chocolate to her…

And a chocolate pied…

awww, cute sleepy duck hen…

Now don’t yell at me if I have those colour names wrong.
I *think* that’s what the colours are called, but I’m very open to my being wrong. We’re not a breed for colour Farm, so I haven’t researched it beyond the simple basics. 🙂

That gives us 10 hens to 1 Drake.
Plus the 18 ducklings and Cricket.

Cricket

Now little Mr Cricket…he gets to stay on as a breeding drake.
It’s become obvious that Cricket is male.
And, we have 4 unrelated hens, with goodness knows how many hens who are half siblings in the brooder with him.
The standard seems to be 5 hens/drake.
So, even with just the 10 we have now, having a 2nd boy to work come spring is needed.
By the time spring rolls around, Mr Cricket will be quite interested in young hens…
And to be fair, he is a favorite of The Kid’s.
He’s become her pet, and I try not to chop the heads off of pets.
😂😂😂
But, like every other animal here, he’ll have a job.
Only horses get to be pretty and eat money. 😉

Cricket and TroubleCat