Weed Tea

No, no, no, not *that* weed…
Nah, ’round here we’re not exactly 4:20 friendly…not that we care if someone else uses, but I have violent reactions to it in all forms. The scent of the smoke causes me to vomit and I really dislike vomiting.
😂😂😂

Nope, when I say “weed tea” I mean pulling your weeds out, chopping them up, covering with water, and fermenting them.
Whyever would someone do that?
Because, m’dears, that is fertilizer for you plants!
Free fertilizer.
From plants you want to get rid of…
See?
This really is a good thing.

Here’s a basic run down of how to do it:
Turn Your Weeds into Nutrient-Rich Fertilizer
Go ahead and click the linky to read…I’m too tired and lazy to write it all out…
But where she says use a tight fitting lid, I don’t bother.
I have a few extra recycling buns lying about, so I just use one of those:

I will say, it stinks.
Bad.
But it works.
I’ve done compost tea many, many times, and had excellent results.
In fact, back in the city, with regular applications of compost tea during fruit set, I noticed an increase of almost 1/2 a bushel on our dwarf apple tree.
That’s pretty damn awesome.
And this year, I’ve been using the nettle fertilizer on the medicinal plants (mullein, hyssops, calendula, etc…) and had fantastic growth from them.
This weekend, I’ll be hitting the tomatoes with it…

The only downside (aside from smell) is that I have to apply it with a watering can.
That’s a bit of a pain, but it is what it is. I don’t really mind wandering through the garden with a watering can. It’s kinda relaxing. And really, it only need doing every couple of weeks, so it’s not like it’s a huge time sucking chore.

And the real bonus?
Used as a spray on the foliage, it help deter and destroy aphids.
Oh damn!!
If only I had known, and had some made, back in the spring when the aphid infestation hit my pepper seedlings and the result of my treatments killed them (my peppers, not the damned aphids) all off…🙄🤦‍♀️
So I’m going to make sure I have a jar of the stinky juice to keep over winter, with having indoor plants that’ll need feed boosts and (hopefully not) treatments for aphids.
Plus it uses weeds.
We all have weeds that need to be pulled.
Why not use them to our benefit?
Seems like a no brainer to me…

Peppers

Back before I started my tomato plants, I had an aphid infestation in my peppers.
There was some treatments done, and then there was the last treatment that fried them all.
There were many tears, because the poblanos were the strongest, nicest, pepper seedlings I had ever grown. But, shit happens (as they say) and they were all lost.

Today we wandered into the nearest small town to look for some parts for our bbq, and discovered the local greenhouse was clearing out their plants.
So I did a thing…

A 6 pack of red peppers, a single cayenne pepper (I’m the only one here who likes spicy), and a mystery tomato…they had half a table of them…bit of an accident led to a whole bunch of tags going missing, so they were selling ’em off as “mysteries”. 😂😂😂
Worth a buck, if you ask me.
And then, the pots.
The lovely woman running the greenhouse tells me I can take whatever I want because they’ll likely get tossed anyways…so I grabbed all the pink pots/trays.
I like pink.
I like growing plants.
I like pink plant pots.
I like *free* pink plant pots.
🤷‍♀️

So today I’m planting peppers.
And working on weeding the garden.
And waiting for the next round of the rains.
It’s a good day.
🙂

C’mon Spring!!

Astrid’s coat tells me that Spring is here:

She all but frickin’ exploded with glee yesterday as I used my glove to scrub some of the loose winter coat out…it’s muddy AF out there in the pasture, so I’m trying to remember the shedding blade when we go to feed their pails of beet pulp, but I only have 2 hands and there’s 3 mares and everyone is itchy, itchy, itchy and wanting to be groomed soooooo bad!

Well, next week that oughta get easier.
We’ve got another round of moisture falling from the sky this weekend.
Like, wth??
For some reason Mother Nature thinks she should make up for 4 years of drought in a few months time…
But next week, we’re looking like this:

And if those temps actually happen?
(That’s celcius, btw)
Then the water is going to soak in nicely.
And what doesn’t soak in should run off as the ditches finally open up properly.
Then?
Then the grass starts to grow.
The mares are already out in the non-flooded spots nibbling the tender shoots…and yeah, I know I should keep them off of it, but frankly, I can’t.
It’s the only high ground they’ve got other than a space that would (if fenced) be a teeny corral that barely fits the 3 of ’em.

So while the rain falls this weekend, I’ll be transplanting tomatoes.
My seeds have come up fantastically, and I have a whole bunch to up pot.
Got a few peppers to do the same with…and I have to restart my poblanos.
*insert grouchy face here*
I ended up with an aphid infestation.
I had originally used a vodka/peroxide mixture to spray the soil and plants down.
Every couple of days and finally got rid of them.
Or so I thought…
Little green bastards came back with a vengeance and in one of the gardening groups, neem oil was suggested to me…welp…I suspect I did something wrong when spraying the plants because all but 2 (of 35) have died on me…and I’m not sure the last 2 will survive.
😭😭😭
I’m a fair bit gutted about it.
But, as always, I’ll just give ‘er a do-over and try again.
Thankfully, I have more poblano seeds, and I winter sowed a container of them…those I should be seeing some sprouts in very soon!Especially with next weeks nice weather.

Every year I find there is some sort of challenge and every year I find myself reaching the point of Que Sera Sera…this year I hit that point much sooner than normal.
Between craptastic weather, the killing of my peppers and the septic pump replacement, I’m just…

At least there’s another 4-5 weeks before our last frost date, so the poblanos might have a chance to start up again in time…if not?
Que sera sera.

Almost April

Winter decided to give us one last kick this weekend.
Cold af.
Last night was -24*C.
Brrrrrr!!
So yesterday was a day of adding more straw for the ducks, chickens, and turkeys.
Fat arsed mares got another bale too…they probably could have made Monday, but eating keeps horses warm so we just fed ’em. Mostly because if I blanket the one who needs it most:

Then the other 2 beat the crap out of her because she “doesn’t look right”.
🙄🤦‍♀️
So we feed them.
It’s easier than trying to separate Sable from the other 2.
The joys of a 3 horse herd.
*sigh*

So my next round of peppers are up.
Well, some of them.
I planted some orange and yellow pepper seeds and some alma paprika seeds.
Paprika seeds aren’t showing yet, but the o/y are up.
Those were freebie seeds out of peppers we got in a Loop pickup.
Birds enjoyed demolishing the peppers and I took a few seeds to try.
You never really know what you’ll get with grocery store saved seeds, but I have the space in the garden so it’s worth the try to grow them.

Friday is tomato seeds starting day.
And some medicinals/flowers.
Since I’m not 100% sold on the whole winter sowing thing (I keep getting told to “trust the process” but my brain says it can’t work…) I want to start some of the more important things inside…like mullein, yarrow, calendula, and bee balm…they’re all for drying, tinctures, and teas for the home apothecary.
And of course, we can never grow too many tomatoes. 😉

This past Friday Hubby brought home onion sets for me…

I had complained to him at lunch that I had used my last garden grown red onion for yet another jar of pickled onions 🤤 so clearly I was going to have to grow *more* onions this year. Next thing I knew, he brought me 2 1/2 lbs of onion sets.
As soon as the garden soil is workable, they’ll get planted.
As well as the other cool season crops.

Next week tho…
I’m going to head out front of the house and dig out the raised boxes that have our asparagus and rhubarb in them. In a semi-normal year of snow, they would be poking their heads out right about now. Well, I have 2ish feet of snow sitting on top of them, so I’ll dig them out a bit and let the sun finish the job.
If all grows well, I should have enough rhubarb this year to make a round of wine/shine.
And to share with someone who really likes rhubarb for baking…myself, I’m not a huge fan, but I do like home made alcohol, so…. 😉

Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.
Spring is slow af this year, but with the amount of snow, that’s probably for the best.
Either way, spring is coming and we’re so ready for it!
🙂

Quiet Days

These are the quiet days before the spring work begins.
I have that whole list of things to get going as soon as the snow starts to melt…and with a call for -2*c next week, it looks like the melt may start soon.
Of course, it’s only March and well, there’s always chances of snow storms right into May around here.
(aaaand, as I’m writing this we’ve come under a blowing snow advisory and are in a white out…because of course we are)
😂😂😂
Remember last year…I had a hard frost on June 21st.
Thankfully some of the peppers and tomatoes survived, though I sure didn’t think they were going to.
It was good that I felt too defeated to pull them and replant, because some bounced back and gave us a decent crop.

Yesterday our internet was out, so it gave me a chance to catch up on a few things.
Not sure why it was down, but I had left a message at the office to let them know.
I don’t get cranky with our provider because the guys who run the place are decent humans.
(we know how few there are of those in the world!)
I just leave a message and let ’em know.
If it’s something on their end (usually) they have a message on their voice mail letting folks know.
If it’s not them, they get back to me pretty quick.

So I cleaned my kitchen, bottled a little wine, pulled out the water distillation machine, did some distilled water for Hubby’s snore machine, mighta ran some mixed citrus wine though for some mixed citrus shine, might not have either because we wouldn’t want to do anything that ain’t legal, now would we?
😉
Today I have some odd bagged mix of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries to get into a pail to ferment.
I follow one of those cheap groceries/food waste reduction apps, where you can buy boxes of fruit for $5. I buy a box or two a week, just to make bags in the freezer of mixes for wine.
That’s where I got the random citrus and mango (I forgot there was a half dozen mangoes in the pail too) to make up the stuff I bottled yesterday. I find the cheap boxes are a great way to do small batches (with a lot of notes on how and what so I can recreate anything I really liked) before putting a whole bunch of $ into a big batch.
Then I edited a whole bunch of pictures I took last week.
With the cold that has been, it’s been darn near impossible to get out with the camera. By the time chores are done, I just don’t want to go back out, y’know?
But last week I managed to go capture some shots of the nags, and a few of the outdoor felines.

Once the blowing snow shit is done, Hubby is stopping at the local hardware store to grab a dozen t-posts and another couple rolls of stucco wire.
These are the cheapest, and easiest, things to make fences here.
Especially when we’re holding in (or out) poultry.
The current duck yard may get converted to the lamb yard (if the fucking snow ever melts) because of the wood posts…but we may choose another area too. We have an abundance of wood posts on the yard, so building another space for sheepies, while leaving ducks where they are is fine too…we’ll figure it out.
First we just need spring.
12 more days.

Aaaannnd…
I ended up losing internet yet again while writing this.
So now it’s Wednesday morning and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and the truck is stuck in the driveway so we have to get her dug out so Hubby can get into to work tomorrow…
BUT
My peppers are popping!
I planted 36 cups of poblano peppers and more than 75% are popping up out of the dirt.
Yes, that’s a lot of peppers.
Yes, I will have many, many poblanos if they are get to producing.
That’s the plan.
Smoke ’em, dehydrate ’em, grind ’em.
Bam!
My own seasoning as a part of our winter spices.
So yeah.
I’m excited af.
My peppers are popping.
😍
🖤🖤🖤

Mid-February

Alright, so we’ve made it past the middle of February.
We don’t do the Valentine’s thing here.
I don’t need a corporate day of spending money for Hubby to “prove” he loves me.
Nor I that I love him.

Pfft.
The fact that he doesn’t run screaming away from the Farm, and that he freezes his ass off to clear snow for my nags is proof enough for me.
And for him?
Always cold beer, hot food, and a little lovin’ on those nights we don’t fall face first asleep into our pillows.
😂😂😂
Hallmark ain’t got nothin’ on us.

But, getting past that annoyance of marketing frenzy means only 32 days ’til Spring.
I’m starting pepper seeds this weekend.
Poblanos and shepherds.
Peppers just take so long to germinate.
Tomatoes will get started in about 5-6 weeks.
Well, those that I’m starting in the house.
I have winter sown a whole bunch of tomatoes, and will do a few more containers this weekend.
Same with some of the peppers.

Now one of the good things about that annoyance day, is yesterday we got a Loop load.
YAY!!
With truck problems, I had to find others to take our pickups because the rental car couldn’t take the loads.
(For anyone who missed it…Loop is the local food waste recovery program…we sign on to pick up out dated, short dated, not for human consumption food from grocery stores that would normally go into the dumpster…instead, we (and other farmers) get it to feed to our animals), but finally, we are back to getting our pickups.
Yesterday was Valentine’s cake day.
My fat, fat horses are gonna *love* them some cake.
😂😂😂
Outdoor cats scored a bounty of lamb.
Those little fatties are doing great too.
I’m glad, because outdoor life can be rough on felines.
All my kids are upwards of 6 years old now, and doing very well.
The only one who wasn’t born here is our Maxamillion:

Maxamillion!

Our old man has helped raised many a kitten that wasn’t his.
He came from the local Humane Society as an “outdoor only, unsociable” cat.
Ha!
He’s my buddy who follows me all over the Farm, and loves to sit in my lap for morning coffee on the deck.
He was only “antisocial” at the shelter because in 2 weeks time he’d been brought in, neutered, sent out on adoption trial, brought back, then shunted off to the “barn buddy” program.
It took me all of 2 weeks to convince him that life was good here and his belly would never be empty.
That was 8 (almost 9) years ago, and he’s been my best buddy ever since.

Where was I?
Oh right…the cats scored a bounty of lamb for their next few meals.
Max sure does love him a lamb chop!
My picky cats tho…they prefer their meats cooked.
Unless it’s liver. Liver they gobble raw.
I have to fry their meats in a bit of butter (leaving them rare) and then put it out for them.
Spoiled rotten cats.
But, they do hunt and they keep the rodent population near non-existent.
Considering we’re surrounded by grain fields, that’s pretty awesome.
So I will not complain about my “please cook my lamb for me Food Lady” felines.
😂😂😂

So that’s it.
Mid-February.
Mother Nature is kicking our ass with all the snow She shorted us the past 4 years.
And we’re dealing with it using alcohol and rage.
Sure ain’t any winter weight being gained here…anyone who wants to get in a helluva workout, let me know. I have snow every where you can shovel.
Cardio and weights all in one!
😂😂😂

All Out

All the plants are out of my house.
Not necessarily planted, but moved out to the garden and this afternoon, I’ll put in whatever I can.
And then it’s down to the weeding, watering, mulching and whatever Mother Nature decides she’s going to do…oh, and fucking cats.

This morning as I’m moving the plants out for the final time, I notice my zucchini is gone.
They were lovely seedlings passed onto me by friends…they were growing beautifully.
Up to 6 leaves and happy, happy, happy.
And then this morning?
Gone.
WTF???

Yeah so, I had started some pumpkins in the house.
I set those outside in the garden first, then went back for the tomatoes.
I guess I didn’t latch the gate…or she climbed the fence.
Either way, I came into the garden to find this asshole:

…eating the pumpkins.
Seriously.
Eating the pumpkin leaves…
WTF??

And then I look down to the end where the peppers are and see this one…

…lying on the pepper plants.
I say again…WTF???

And then, just to add a bit more insult to injury, Coal walks over to Trouble, does the nosy kitty kiss thing with him, looks straight at me and starts munching on a pepper plant.

*sigh*

I may have lost it right about then.
Screamed like a maniac at the cats.
Chased them out of the garden.
Threatened to make slippers from their lovely furry fucking hides.

And now the weather can’t decide if there’s going to be gale force winds, or if there will be no winds, or what it’s doing.
All I know is, it’s June 18th and the tomatoes are not coming back into the house.
They can live or die as they see fit.
Grow, don’t grow, what the fuck ever.

But I’ve had my first harvest of Lamb’s Quarters.
And I’ll be harvesting more this weekend with weeding.
And today I’ll be emptying the one incubator.
Some turkeys have hatched, some chicks have hatched.
And on Sunday the other incubator goes into lockdown with 41 Narragansett turkey eggs in it.
Then, one last round of eggs for the year.
It’ll be a big set…97 eggs.
And once those hatch, it’ll be mid-July.
Which makes it the last one.
I am so good with that.

But for today, all I have to do is get things in the ground.
Rains are coming this Sunday, so I want everything done and in.
I’m so very close.

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Feline Friday

Transplanting Seedlings

I’m quite excited that my peppers are at the point of needing to be transplanted.
This is exciting to me because, even though there is snow on the ground outside, the garden will soon enough be filled and growing.
The problem is always those seedling trays.
What on Earth is with them blowing holes in the corners all. the. time?
I get it, they’re not the sturdiest of plastics, but why doesn’t someone make a sturdy, hard plastic version?
I have said I would happily pay more so that I don’t have to re-buy them every season or two.

Yesterday, in our nearest small town, Hubby went into the hardware store to see if they had seedling trays.
Well, they did, but for some strange and ridiculous reason, they had drainage holes in the bottom.
Um, does the manufacturer (in this case Jiffy) even understand the usage of the trays?
*sigh*

But, The Kid and Hubby came up with a fix, so that I can get the peppers transplanted:

Yeah, that’s a drawer.
And that’s gonna work out juuuuuuuust fine!
But this is what manufacturers need to do.
Make us trays that are rugged and sturdy like this drawer.
We serious gardeners would *happily* pay more for them.
And let’s be honest, not having to ditch those flimsy ones every year or two and replace them would be a helluva lot better for the environment.

In other news, tomorrow is day 25 for the turkey eggs.
Tomorrow we take the turners out of the incubator, raise the humidity and wait…anxiously, for the turkey chirp, chirp, chirps to begin!
Still haven’t seen any eggs from the girls in the turkey yard, but that’s okay.
Last night I had to carry 3 of them back to the yard because they thought they should escape and go to bed with the chickens.
🤦‍♀️🙄
Um, no my poor silly birbs.
What I did notice is that they have the tell tale signs on the backs of their heads that Oscar and/or Dingus are doing their job(s). So hopefully soon, but even if not until next year, that’s okay too.
Good breeding stock is worth the time and investment, and these guys are quality birbs.

It Has Begun…

Seed starting space is still at a premium.
So I work with what I have…for now.
Peppers are started.

Only 6 varieties…

I wanted to plant so many more.
But these 6 will do for this year.
Spicys with the poblanos, Anaheims, big Jims, and jalapenos.
Sweets with the shepherds and red bells.
The shepherds are a first for me…last summer our local mega-mart (Superstore) had cases of them on sale.
They do every year.
Last year was the first year Hubby managed to get them before they sold out.
They’re a long, sweet red pepper that tastes like candy when roasted.
Oh. My. Dog.
I did jars and jars of pressure canned roasted red peppers.
So damn good!!
And then I thought “huh, wonder if these are open pollinated?”
Off I went to ask the google…because the peppers themselves come from a farm in Ontario (one province east of me) I figured they grow fairly decently in our climate.
I worried briefly about them being greenhouse grown, ’til the farm itself posted images of rows upon rows upon rows of pepper plants….so I took a chance and emailed them to find out where they sourced their seeds.
Stokes!!
And they’re o/p.
So guess who saved a whole lot of shepherd pepper seeds?
That’s right.
This woman did.
🙂

peppers!

So 2 trays of those, 2 poblanos, and one each of the rest. b
That’s my peppers started.
And my new grow light will arrive when Hubby gets home today.
Squeeeee!
Ima little happy about extra lights. 😉

And then, because I have so much time on my hands
🤦‍♀️🙄
😂😂😂
I decided to do one more thing with seeds this weekend…

With a recycled bag to act like a wee greenhouse, recycled peat pots, and a recycled mushroom tray, I figured I’d stick a few chokecherry seeds in to see if they sprout.
I saved them from the mash that made the chokecherry wine, and popped them into the freezer to mimic our crazy cold winter.
Now, we’ll see what happens.
I have nothing to lose if it doesn’t work, and everything to gain if it does.
In my opinion, that makes it worth trying.
🙂

Farm Stuff

Loooooook…

Just look at my pretty, pretty hatching eggs!
😍😍😍

Hatching eggs

There are blue ones, pale green ones, a couple pinky shaded ones, a super dark olive green one and some lovely speckled browns.
Fingers crossed they hatch well and give me some more coloured egg layers.
Incubators go today…I’ve just got to finish collecting today’s eggs and then they get fired up for round 2.

My chicks from the last hatch are growing like crazy.
I will admit, I have been worried about them in the brooder in some of the more oddball weather moments…but after we lost the initial two, everyone else has been doing very well indeed.
So 43 going forward from that hatch.

Garden wise, the peppers are up and looking good…
We have sweet red bells and jalapenos.
Not a lot of either one this year, because for just our use, I’m the only one who likes peppers.
Next year that may (or may not) expand, depending on interest.

peppers

And this morning I was greeted by these little beauties:

tomatoes!!

Just a small assortment of variety this year.
Ropreco pastes, brandywines and bush beefsteaks.
Smaller plants, but heavy fruiters and short seasons.
We don’t have a long growing season here, so I’m adapting our plant selections to that.
All of them are heirloom, so I can save seeds for future use.

We’re still planning a makeshift greenhouse build for this year.
Fingers crossed.
It ain’t gonna be pretty, but hopefully it’ll get the job done…while we plan for a better one down the road.
Wind is our biggest issue, after funds.
Building something that can stand the crazy prairie winds is going to be a challenge.
We’ll do what we can though, because that’s just what we do.
😉