Using What You Have

I’m a firm believer in using what you have.
Whether it’s re-purposing something, or fixing it, I believe that throwing money at things is not always the best plan.
In fact, in Farm life, throwing money at things is the fastest way to become a broke FarmHer.

Take my pig and chicken yards…

All re-purposed materials, except for the main henny coop and fence posts.
The posts we bought the first year here, when the plan was fence the entire 80 acres.
We haven’t got that far yet, and so we used some of the posts for the food animal yards.

Chicken yard is a mixture of found-at-the-dump stucco wire (I found a 3/4 roll in the metal pile and fished it out right quick!) and chain link fencing that was from my Mom’s place in the city.

Pig yard is primarily pallets, which are, thankfully, free.

Pig house, and meat chicken house are built from skids and scrap wood that Hubby was getting free from work.
So, aside from hauling it home, the only cost into the shelters that have housed food animals for 2 years is maybe $20 in screws.
Pretty darn good, if you ask me.

This year’s pigs have an extra added bonus to their fence…
Bacon Makers…

For the past couple of years, we’ve been given medium square straw bales by a friend…they’re dirty bales he can’t use, and would have to burn, but, so long as we haul them away, we can have them.
This is what we’ve been building the shelter extension for the horses with, which makes winters so much easy on our Sable.
Come spring though, we have to figure out what to do with them…

This year? We put them around the pig yard. And it’s been perfect. Gives the piggies extra shade, Daphne uses them to (safely) watch the pigs, and it’s also something that the pigs can reach through the fencing to chew on.
It’s a winning situation all the way around.
And, next year, when they’ve broken down a little more, we’ll replace them with new ones, and turn these bales into smudges for the horses…and you’ve seen how popular smudges are around here. 😉

And then, this past winter, when Hubby hit a hard poo lump with the tractor, and ended up cutting a hole in the trough, I showed y’all my simple fix, that made it safe to still use for hay feeding.
Once the heat hit, we had to figure out some other fix, or we’d be looking at a new stock tank…which, if any one’s interested, runs about $300. If we could fix it, that’s $300 we didn’t have to spend.

One day, Hubby’s grocery shopping, and he sees a can on the clearance rack. It’s for a flexible spray rubber product.
Well, for $5, he takes a chance and buys it.
And then, using a cut open beer can, he made a patch to cover the biggest part of the hole…so, $5.10 later, we have a fully functional, safe water trough that give the Girls an extra 250 gallons of water.
Yup, totally worth it.

Oh, and the left over part of the can?
He used to fix the chicken waterers that had rusted out on the bottom.
Yeah, so, we didn’t have to pony up another $50 each for those this year either. Which was kinda nice. 😉

But, my real pride and joy for re-use, re-purpose, re-create ideas is this:

Putting Hubby to work…again.

That’s an old pressure tank that some one threw away at the dump.
I said to Hubby “You could cut that in half and we’d have 2 pig feeders”
He says “Yup I could. Shall I load it into the truck?”

And into the truck it went.
It’s been cut, and now we have to spray paint the inside with a metal paint (hello Rustoleum 😉 ) and he has to smooth the edges so that no piggies hurt them selves.
We will then have 2 good-sized feeders for piggies.
With little cost, just some elbow grease.

At the end of the day, I think we can approach this whole Farm/Homesteading thing 3 ways…

  1. the “throw money at it until it sticks” method (which, quite frankly, is what we do with the horses, because horses are money eaters)
  2. the “use it ’til it dies, and then fix it one more time” method (of which I am a huge supporter and practice myself 😉 )
  3. or a mixture of the 2 methods.

The real key is, to know when it’s time to use each method.
Either way, you gotta get your hands dirty…a little soil under the nails…or it’s not going to work at all.
That’s what helps make a successful Farm.
🙂

Garden 2017

Y’all remember how last year my garden, due to circumstances beyond our control, became a giant plot of weeds?
Not that we wasted anything, those weeds fed pigs for the summer, but still, it was hard on the ol’ FarmHer spirit to not have a garden going.
In the fall, with the last cutting of pig feed, we started covering the area with old plywood. Stuff we had lying around, but wasn’t good enough for building with…well we discovered that the soil underneath the wood was lovely. Still a bit of grass and weeds, but nowhere near as bad as last year.
Problem was, we didn’t have enough to cover the whole garden…takes a lot of wood to cover a 24×40 foot garden!

Ahhh…but we are nothing if not adaptable to the situation. 😉

The yellow/brown grass is where the wood was…

You can see though, that there is some really good grass growth on the side…*sigh*

So, the space that was covered by wood is about 12 feet wide, and the full 40 foot length of the garden. Even our powerful little tiller was having a rough time with the full grassy area…and so, what we’re going to do is this…

I’m going to plant everything I can in the 12×40 foot space, mulch it heavily with straw, and be happy with a space that is 3 time the size of any garden I had in the city…

Then, while the one side grows, we’re going to use our ever renewing composting manure pile to cover the other side, and then, we have a huge hay tarp we bought…back when I had visions of actually tarping our hay…but that never happened because, seriously, more trouble than it’s worth. You want hard on a marriage?!? Try tarping hay together…I wish I was kidding about that. :/

We’ve had this tarp sitting, and we figured now we’ll put it to good use. It can cover the side that’s too weedy right now, and then, once the growing season is done in the fall, it’s big enough to cover the entire garden.
We’ll start fresh for the entire space next spring. 🙂

See?
Adapt, overcome, move forward.

Tilling my soon to be garden space…

Sable looks on with interest…

As he was tilling, Hubby had to stop periodically to untangle roots from the tines of the tiller…he’d toss them off to the side, and our (definitely not) starving Sable had to try to reach them so she could eat them…

“I am wasting away here, Dad….
I am but a shell of my former gloriousness as a beautiful horse…
Soooooo hungry…
Can I has those roots please??”
~ Sable

While Hubby used the tiller, I put the scythe back to work, and cut the entirety of the rest of the garden, in prep for adding compost and covering.
Like last year, those greens did not go to waste…

The Kid forking green food to piglets…

As usual, when yard work is happening, Daphne ran around like a maniac…nothing this dog does is at low speed. She just runs until she flops down, dog tired.

Having a rest in the long grass…

When we were finally done, and I walked into the house, this is what I found:

Daisy Mae and Odhinn

He’s always complaining about Daisy bothering him…she’s not even 2, he’s an old man at 15. But that doesn’t stop the snuggles when cats need naps. 😉

Monday Morning

With a busy week ahead.
This coming weekend, we are sending the first of our 3 piggies to freezer camp. Like the Peepers, we’ll do this ourselves.
While I’ll be sad to see them die, I am looking forward to having more home-grown meat in the freezer.

3 piggie bums...

3 piggie bums…

Once the pigs are all butchered, we’ll spread some cover crop seeds in there, so that when the piglets arrive next spring, there will be some delicious greens growing for them. 🙂

Getting a thoughtful look from Anthony...

Getting a thoughtful look from Anthony…

I also have some sewing repairs that I have to get done before winter…ugh. I put off the zipper replacements too long. Didn’t want to do them while it was blistering hot and now, we’re looking at needing some of the in-between jackets…which, of course, are the ones needing fixing. Surprise!

But, I also want to get a start on getting some fresh pasta noodles in the freezer. At least a couple of bags, before the piggies get in there…I don’t know what kind of room I’m going to have, once the pigs are done. And, there’s fat to render for lard!
I was given some by a couple other friends when they got their pigs done. Mmmmm, lard!
Makes me look forward to bannock and chili in the winter. Nothing better than coming in from freezing your ass off working outside and smelling chili in the crock pot and bannock in the oven.
*drools*

This guy likes bannock and chili too!

This guy likes bannock and chili too!

The outdoor cats will be very happy with the butchering too…like the Peepers, there will be no waste, because what we don’t eat, the cats will. Some we’ll let them binge on, other parts will be ground and frozen in pre-portioned amounts for winter feeding.
That, to me, is a bonus…not only is the Farm feeding the humans, but, we can make raw cat food as well.

Oh you silly hennys!

Oh you silly hennys!

Mondays are “toss a bit more straw down in the coop” day…and then the hennys notice and get all mad at me.
“The hell, Food Lady! You wrecked our home, we must redecorate!”
Keeps them entertained. 😉

And then, there’s the Girls…

Interesting sleeping position...

Interesting sleeping position…

Sable sleeps in the oddest ways.
She stayed like that for a good 10 minutes. I don’t know how it was comfortable. Funny Girl.

Astrid looking lovely as her winter woolies grow in...

Astrid looking lovely as her winter woolies grow in…

Ignore the poop piles in the background. I haven’t had a chance to get out with the wheelbarrow and pick them up yet.
It’s on the list for this week.

And finally…my helper as I lay in the grass taking pictures of the others…

"Hey Mom. Whatcha doing?" ~ Ruby

“Hey Mom. Whatcha doing?” ~ Ruby

Have the very best day y’all can manage, my friends.
I know it’s Monday, and that ain’t always easy.

Monday Once Again

Monday has crept up on us yet again.
Okay, it came running at us full speed and bowled me over…Mondays don’t creep ’round here. LOL

So, busy week ahead. I have a couple of sewing projects to do, the usual animal care and a load of pictures to finish editing.
Yes, I’m slow. 😛

Yesterday, I went out to the big field, and cut some canary grass for the pigs…and the 1200lb pigs. Because you can’t cut that grass and *not* share with the horses! This is the stuff Cookie sticks her giant fat head out of the pasture to eat, ripping her mane out into a cute mohawk while doing so.
Next year, I fully intend to cut it for hay, that’s how much the Girls love it.

Hubby brought the truck and trailer out into the pasture, so I could load it up with what I cut…and yes, I used the scythe to cut it. I’m getting good with it, and I haven’t cut myself again either. That’s a win! 🙂
Since I had already tossed a couple of fork fulls to the Nags, Hubby let the Kid drive the truck beside the fence, so I could toss the grass over onto the trailer, while he kept horses out of the truck’s way. However, once the Nags figured out there was more going on the trailer, well, you can imagine what went on then….or you can have a look at the pictures. 🙂 Taken with Hubby’s spanky new cell phone (because he needed a new one too, even though his did not fall into pig shit).

The Paints are positive this is for them!

The Paints are positive this is for them!

What a (not so) lovely burrlock you have there, Ms Astrid!

What a (not so) lovely burrlock you have there, Ms Astrid!

This jerk! Gotta watch her...she has a love for chewing paint of vehicles. Cars, trucks, the tractor, the trailer...brat!

This jerk!
Gotta watch her…she has a love for chewing paint of vehicles. Cars, trucks, the tractor, the trailer…brat!

As you can see, everyone is in very good shape. Coats are getting fuzzy, and they’ve got a good layer of fat on ’em for the impending winter. They are also very happy to tell anyone who will listen that I am starving them.
LOL
Cats, horses, pigs…all will happily tell you they haven’t eaten in days, and the Food Lady is mean. At least until someone isn’t feeling good, and then, all they want is for the Food Lady to make it better.

That trailer load was split between the piggies, who got a great big pile to play in, eat and sleep in yesterday, and the horses, who got another huge fork load this morning to munch on. Later this afternoon, I’ll go cut more, so that once Hubby’s home with the truck, I’ll get him to drive out and I’ll fill the back of the truck, then transfer to the trailer once back in the yard.
And now, off to work I must go.
Enjoy the day, my friends!
🙂

The Days Are Getting Shorter

I feel like I’m losing hours, falling so far behind, not even remotely ready for winter. Winter is coming.
*sigh*
If only moving to a warmer climate wasn’t so expensive…of course it’s not nearly the $200K that some of Canada’s MP billed the Canadian taxpayers for, for a move from Toronto to Ottawa, that our smarmy PM excused by saying “They only followed the rules set out by the previous gov’t” like somehow ripping off taxpayers is excusable just because he personally didn’t make the rule…what an ass.

Anyways…

Last week, the Peepers went to Freezer Camp.
Yes, there are pictures.
Yes, there will be a blog post.
I’m working on it. lol

The hennys have moved into the insulated coop, that also has supplemental light. I’ve been giving them some fermented grains as well (which they are all over like flies on a manure pile!) so as they adjust to the new house, new light and extra interesting food, eggs have dropped slightly. Down from 16 a day to 12. Still plenty for us, and some for sale.
It’s so nice to have a little $$$ coming in that the Farm is making. Even if it’s just a little bit! 🙂
It’ll grow, as we do.

Only a few more weeks for the piggies too.
They’ve had a major growth spurt…it really seemed like they got huge overnight! Here’s a picture of them, from Monday…

3 (not so) little piggies!

3 (not so) little piggies!

Took the picture with my phone. In fact, it’s the very last picture I’ll ever take with that phone, because a few moments later, I dropped it into the pig yard. Right into a puddle of slop/shit.
Suffice it to say, the phone stinks like you cannot even imagine, and I need a new one. Won’t have that until Friday. I coulda had one sooner, but I was picky about the one I wanted and the store didn’t have it in stock…so they had to order it from another location and I’m stuck with Stinky Pig Phone a little bit longer.

By the end of October, the piggies will be in Freezer Camp. So, I have 3-4 weeks (we’re going to do 1 pig the 3rd weekend of October, and the other 2 the next) to feed them, keep them happy and healthy, and help them grow as big and meaty as they can. 🙂
Which means a 4th and final cut on the garden weeds to feed to piggies, then we’ll cover that with some scrap wood for the winter.
Hopefully, come spring, the wood will have kept the emerging weeds down, so we can till, rake and burn in preparation for planting.
I love that the over grown weeds were basically turned into bacon, but next summer, I want to grow bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. LOL!

The other big thing we have to do before winter sets in is get our hay and straw home. Once that’s on the yard, I can relax. I know it’s there, being held for us, but until it’s here, where it’s easy to feed to the horses, I won’t be ready.
*sigh*
I don’t think I’m ever going to be ready for winter…hay on the yard or not!

Right Place at the Right Time

My camera is almost always in hand on the Farm.
If not in hand, close to hand, so that I can capture things that just happen…Spontaneity in photography is a lot of what this blog is about. 😉
Of course, I do miss capturing some things, some times, but still…I catch all the good stuff I can.

Like yesterday…
I went out to take a picture of Anthony Piggie in her blankets:

"What? I like a blanket while I nap in the sunshine..."

“What? I like a blanket while I nap in the sunshine…”

She looks like she needs a good stretch, a scratch and a coffee. LOL!
Kinda how I feel in the mornings…but this was mid-afternoon for her. 😉

To capture that shot, I had to go into the Henny Yard for the right angle. While I was there I checked the waterers and found the hens were needing. I lined them up, turned on the hose, and while I was waiting for things to fill, I did the daily egg hunt. I noticed one henny was still in her nest, but had just stood into the laying stance.
I went for my camera just in time to capture the egg being layed…

Here it comes!

Here it comes!

Egg2

Egg3

And it's out!

And it’s out!

Egg5

And, that’s where eggs come from.
Pretty cool capture, if you ask me. 🙂

6 Days…

When I realized it had been 6 days since my last post, I started singing “6 Days on the Road”…the Sawyer Brown version, just because it’s fun. 😉

Let me catch you up on what’s been going on around here…

Mostly it’s been yard work…still cutting and putting up small bales of hay. I’m getting a cute little pile in the garage. Like I’ve said before, it’s not much, but sometimes, all you need is a little bit of hay to keep an equine face busy while you work with them on other things…or you just need a little hay for them to pick at while the grass grows in spring. That’s what this is for.
It’s handy to have small amounts for those times.

This past weekend it was finally dry enough to get our septic system fully repaired. Thank goodness. That was a hefty, but extremely necessary, repair. And, this should last us many many years…especially since we have a fence around the end unit to protect it so that it can’t be hit with a tractor…which is what happened to the one we had fixed *before* we bought the place. The damage was long-standing and near the frost line, so, realistically, we’re lucky we got 2 1/2 years out of it before needing to have the repairs done.

I’ve been working on edit 3 photos sessions that I need to get done.
1. The demos we watched at Cloverdale Forge.
I’ve shared a few from the set, but I still have 20 or so more to finish up.
2. Jousting. From the same day, we went from the Forge over to the Medieval festival and I have 40 or so images from the jousting to finish.
3. A portrait session I did with a friend from the Stable…this one I want to get done so bad, because the images are **gorgeous** and I can’t wait for her to see them…I gave her this as a teaser shot, but really need to sit down and get the rest done…
KB1 bw wm
And then there are the pictures of the animals here!
For example, I have the following series…animals playing in water…

Daphne goes all in savage when playing in the hose!

Daphne goes all in savage when playing in the hose!

Did you know piggies like to play in the stream fro the hose?

Did you know piggies like to play in the stream from the hose?

Nigella has a drink from the hose.

Nigella has a drink from the hose.

Washing her face a bit.

Washing her face a bit.

Rinsing out her mouth...

Rinsing out her mouth…

Just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. :)

Just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. 🙂

And Ruby…

"The Hell, Dad!! Don't spray me!!"

“The Hell, Dad!! Don’t spray me!!”

Oh, I told y’all about piggies and bags?
Here’s Nigella having a munching good time:

"My bag."

“My bag.”

"Whut? Pigs like toys. This my toy."

“Whut? Pigs like toys. This my toy.”

I missed when the 3 of them each grabbed a piece and started shaking their heads side to side like dogs…oh, it was funny! lol

Another picture of Ruby. Just because she’s pretty. 🙂

Ruby Portrait
Finally, one of Sable and Ruby racing.

<3

Later this week, I’ll share some shots The Kid took of Astrid while I was scratching her back. Astrid really gets into the scratches and back rubs, let me tell you!
I’m also hoping to be able to share some Lawn Pony shots with y’all. When we take Cookie on another excursion into the yard, I’m going to get The Kid to photograph it..
Y’see, Ms Cookie had her very first experience coming out into the yard a couple weeks ago. It was really hard for her. Gates are terrifying, and she was sure she was going to have to go somewhere. She didn’t know where, but she was sure she was leaving. *sigh* Poor damaged horse. lol
When she finally got to go back into the pasture, she darn near lost her shit. Actually, she tried to run me over to get through the gate, which led to a lesson in manners and how to *politely* return to the pasture.
Finally, she figured it out, listen to Mama and you’ll get back there sooner. Act like an ass, and you’re stuck outside the pasture…where something might get her and eat her or take her away. 😉

When she finally did walk back in politely, she waited ’til the gate was closed, spun and went straight backwards until the end of the lead rope. There she half reared and honked like a goose.
I promptly died laughing at her.
She just thought I should know that yard was scary and she could have died. If I really cared about her I wouldn’t make her do that ever again, because “coulda died Mama, I could HAVE DIED!”

Recovering Lawn Pony, back in her pasture...AKA The Drama Queen.

Recovering Lawn Pony, back in her pasture…AKA The Drama Queen.