Bacon Seeds

The bacon seeds have arrived!!

3 (not so) little bacon makers…

1 boy, 2 girls…

They’re Berkshire crosses…suited to outdoor living.
8 weeks old as of yesterday and running right around 50 lbs.
Here’s hoping they grow well and big before they go to Freezer Camp in the Fall.

🙂

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Now We’re Getting Busy!

Remember how I was complaining that we were in the “hurry up and wait” holding pattern?
Yeah, we’re out of that and working our butts off to get things going for growing.

We picked up the last of the garden seeds I needed to get for planting.
Now we’re at the “pull wire ’round the garden” stage…Hubby already put in the posts around the garden, and we were right on track to pull the wire fencing…until we discovered that we were out off cable ties.
I know, it’s crazy to think that anyone on a farm would run out of cable ties, but it happened, and we stalled.
Hubby stopped and picked up a hundred of them, and we’re ready to pull fencing…that’s going to happen this weekend, so that I can start planting things like carrots and peas and beets…because until the fence is up, I can’t plant anything because of asshole-not-supposed-to-be-free-ranging chickens. 😉

Lemon chicken…she does what she wants.

Once the fencing is up, we’re good to go.
Plus, I have to build a gate, but we can use temporary measures for a day or two until that’s done.

The meat chickens are 2 weeks old now…and eating like crazy.
Between them and the replacement eggies, they’re going through pounds of feed a day.
We’ve had very little losses too this year. 5 meaties and 1 eggie.
After last year’s fiasco, we made sure to change things so that everyone did better this year, and so far, so good!
We have a huge brooder that came with the garage when we bought the place. It has it’s failings (it’s 5 feet tall and the door is too small for any normal sized human to climb through), but those can be fixed later on. Right now Hubby climbs in, morning and night, to refill feeders and waterers. Once this batch of chicks moves off to the poultry yard, we’ll change the design of the brooder and install a bigger door for ease of getting into.

We’re also hoping to build another brooder in our Little Red Shed.
Oh!
Have I not shared about the Little Red Shed??

Our new feed shed…

Hubby made a deal for the shed, but the catch was we had to move it roughly 5 miles.
To do that, a friend of Hubby’s from work came out with a crew, loaded it up and brought it home to us.
Sounds easy, but it took some work, and it was pretty amazing seeing this building being hauled down our road!

So now, Hubby and I are discussing turning 1/2 of that shed into a chick brooder with different sections for different ages and breeds.
Why?
Because for Mother’s Day…
I GOT AN INCUBATOR!!!

Now I’m just waiting for it to arrive, so I can take a bunch of our Easter Egger eggs and try to hatch them out.
Of the 18 EE chicks I bought last year, 5 were hens.
LOL!!
Not that having a whole bunch of roosters to grow out is a huge deal, because they simply go to Freezer Camp.
We kept one, and he’s been diligently fertilizing eggs every chance he gets. So, since none of my hens are showing interest in hatching eggs (and I was so hopeful after the one in the Fall decided she was going to!) I began looking for a cost effective incubator.
When I found what I wanted Hubby said “Ok. Go ahead and buy it. Happy Mother’s Day.”
😀

Also on the list of things to get done for growing season…

~ Clean up around the fruit trees/bushes.
My currants and honeyberries are poppin’!!
Huge growth so far on both, but I need to clean up the grasses underneath and around them, and put down a mulch to keep the weeds down. And add some rotted manure for fertilizer.
Apples and pears are a little slower, but still doing well…maybe this might be the year to get some fruit? I’m hopeful!

~ Give the horse shelter a deep cleaning.
Hasn’t been done since February and we’re now at that stage where it needs to be cleaned out to the dirt and have fresh straw tossed in for the summer.
Besides, I’ll need the rotted manure compost for the Fall to add to the garden.

~ Time to prep the straw bales for the straw bale gardens.
I’ve got the 5 big bales to grow in, so I’m going to do that. But they have to be “seasoned” first and that takes about 2 weeks of watering and fertilizing.

~ Get the piggies!
This weekend, hopefully, we’ll go on a drive to pick up 3 little piggies who will grow into our winter bacon/hams/chops/stew.

And soon it’ll be haying season, because I will continue to cut hay every chance I get. Those small bales I put up have come in handy soooooo many times!
And, there is still talk about getting a calf to grow out for meat.
I had a chance to do so this year, but just ran out of finances…
Sometimes, no matter how much you want something, you have to weigh what would, in the end, be the better investment for the farm.
This year I had the choice of adding an incubator, chicken plucker, and a high quality pair of hoof nippers for Hubby, or a calf.
Yeah, I had to go with the 3 investments in self sustainability this year. :/

And, of course, once the garden produces, canning season ramps back up.
*sigh*
This is the stuff I love.
This is what I dream about all winter.
Getting things growing and getting things stored and put up on the shelves and in the freezer for the next winter.

In between it all, I sneak out at sunrise to take pictures of the Merry Mares…because sunrise is always going to be my favorite time of day to take their pictures.

Ruby

Sable…with Astrid behind her.

Here’s to busy summer days…and rain as needed.

Bacon Seeds

The bacon seeds have arrived!!

Just about 6 weeks later than last year.
But, life happens.
We were getting close to drought conditions right around when we normally would get piglets, and I was concerned about bringing more livestock onto the Farm without being 100% sure I could keep everyone watered and healthy on the well.

So, we waited.
Then we got amazing rainfalls (that took out my garden a time or two) and now we’ve had good, regular rains (which have been helping my garden…and the weeds in it!).
That eased my worries about water.
Then, we just had to wait for schedules to align to go pick these guys up…that was yesterday.

Behold, our cute little bacon makers!

Bums!

We brought home 6 little baconettes to grow for as long as possible before winter hits.
🙂

Piggie Pictures

Sometimes, I catch the piggies being really, really cute. Like, waking up from a nap.

Emeril

Emeril

He had flipped over the trough, dug up the ground it was sitting on, and was laying in the hole, sleeping.
He was rather upset that I filled the hole with rotting hay and put the trough back on top of it. lol

Nigella

Nigella

Nigella is our pushy piggie. We have to watch out for her when filling the troughs. She likes to try to push the cup of food out of our hands. Now, I don’t even wait for her to try, I just give her a smack on the bum and make her wait until I’m done before letting her into the food.
It might sound cute, her being that eager for food, but right now, she’s only 50ish lbs. Soon, she’ll top out around 200-250 lbs. It’s not going to be so cute then. So, like the horses, I establish the rules early. I’m the Food Lady, and if you want to eat, be respectful.
I think, however, Nigella will be the first one to be invited to Freezer Camp.

Anthony

Anthony

Anthony is my little sloth piggie, and he’s still a cutie. He stands for back rubs and comes when I call him. Mostly, he just loves to lie in a mud wallow. 🙂

So, we’ve had the piggies now, since April 28th.
They’ve almost doubled in size. We’ve gone through 50lbs of hog grower feed, 50lbs of All Sport that we’d bought last year for the horses, but they didn’t like, and about 100lbs of assorted veggie/fruit/bread scraps.
I won’t know if piggie growing for meat is a worthwhile endeavor, financially, until butcher time. But, so far, I’m having fun with them…even if they are a little more work. 🙂

One final picture to share today…

Felix in the Pasture wmMy pal Felix…he loves coming on pasture walks with me. ❤

Our Week So Far…

Well, so far, so good.
Weather has been lovely, pasture is drying up, piggies are growing steadily, and my Cookie and I have been doing our springtime refresher.

Y’see, this is our 3rd Spring together, and after those hard, cold winters, we tend to need to get reaquainted with one another. She needs to remember how walk on a lead line politely, how to stand when I ask her to, how to give me her feet, how to just enjoy being groomed.
I have to remember to let her figure things out in her own head, how to let her go at her own pace, stop trying to force her ahead in the “schedule”…in other words, I have to remember to be patient with her.
She’s a special Girl, who needs just a little extra special care.

This week has seen a couple fantastic sessions.
She’s doing very well.
She’s smart Girl, and once she gets what I’m asking, she’s willing.
She is, however, far too used to not being handled…remember, she came to me as a 9-year-old broodie with very little handling.
And a whole semi truck load of issues.
We’re still working through those. I think, some days, we’ll always be working through them.
But, the more time she spends here, the less time we have to spend on basics, and the farther along we get…so, this summer, I plan to push her right out of her comfort zone by putting the surcingle on her. That’ll come over The Kid’s summer holidays, just in case she loses her shit and tries to kill me. I want another person on the Farm to call 911. 😉

That’s later though…now, we’re just enjoying time together, while I remind her what I expect of her, manners wise. And, we’re going to continue gate work, coming into the yard, and going into Hubby’s workshop to stand.
Y’see, coming up this summer, she’s going to need to have her teeth done. As much as I’d like to take her to the vet to have it done, trailering her ain’t gonna happen this year…probably not next year. Hell, it may never happen.
So, the vet has to come here. She has to be comfortable in a place where the other 3 can’t be pushing up on her, or him, while she gets her teeth floated. And, she has to be comfortable in a place where she can be drugged up enough to have them done.
I have my work cut out for me.

"If I make like I'm thirsty, but play in the water instead, maybe she'll leave me alone, and I won't have to work."  ~Cookie

“If I make like I’m thirsty, but play in the water instead, maybe she’ll leave me alone, and I won’t have to work.”
~Cookie

Nah, that didn’t work. I give her a few minutes to play and goof off, then it’s time to work. Going back to that water pan every now and then is her reward…do well with what I’m asking, and I give you a play break. It’s works for her. 🙂

"You exhaust me, Woman." ~Cookie

“You exhaust me, Woman.”
~Cookie

Both Monday, and yesterday, this is what I was left with after we were done…a giant sleepy baby, relaxed and happy.
That’s exactly what I want. 🙂

And now…a piggie picture!

This is Anthony.
Anthony has put on 2 lbs since Sunday.
Anthony eats, sleeps, poops and sometimes plays…especially when I spray him with the hose.

"This trough makes a good pillow...plus, I can eat in my sleep."

“This trough makes a good pillow…plus, I can eat in my sleep.”

Happy piggies are tasty piggies. 🙂

Day of Rest

I’m told Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest. I’m not sure how that works when living on a farm, having livestock and working from home. Day of rest? That normally happens when I get sick. Thankfully, I haven’t had any “day of rest” sicknesses in a while. (knock on wood) With spring finally happening, there is far too much to do for resting!

Last night, Hubby and I bottled our black cherry wine, plus got our hard pink lemonade stabilized and clearing (bottle in 2 weeks….yummy!!).
That was after a day at the stable, feeding the Girls, making supper (hooray for crock pots doing 85% of the work), and cleaning the kitchen.

I was also going to do tomato and pepper seeds….oh, did I mention how I had started the seeds back on Spring Break? And how I forgot to water them, being busy and them being in the basement bathroom, and everything died? And how I have to re-start everything?!?
No?
Okay, well, I just did.
*sigh*

No rest for today either, because we’re working on the pig yard. Yup, we’re getting piglets. Just moments ago, I confirmed our request for 4 piggies. 🙂 Pick up is supposed to be next Saturday, so we have some work to do! Mmmmmmm, a summer of raising piggies, and in the fall, they’ll go to Freezer Camp.
Oh, my smoker is going to be busy! 😀
I’m looking forward to it.

And now, onto some pictures…
Friday’s Hunt this week had the prompts, Starts with Q, Week’s Favorite, and At Rest.

Q is a tough letter…until I realized I had 3, probably 4 “q” in my pasture…
Quarter horses!
Most obvious is Astrid…she’s a grade quarter horse (meaning not registered with the American Quarter Horse Association) from Saskatchewan. How she ended up at auction in Manitoba and ultimately picked up by Rescue I don’t know.
Actually, I don’t care.
It put her on the road to us, so the how’s and why’s don’t much matter.
We’re happy to have Little Red here. 🙂

"Oh, hello. Got any treats for me?"

“Oh, hello. Got any treats for me?”

Playing in the mud...

Playing in the mud…

Little Girl makes a low, quick turn and pours on the gas to chase Cookie...

Little Girl makes a low, quick turn and pours on the gas to chase Cookie…

She sure does love muddin'!

She sure does love muddin’!

She’s also a great big sweetie at times too…

Kisses and snuggles with a friend. :)

Kisses and snuggles with a friend. 🙂

This week’s favorite are a few. No surprise there!

This one…

Later Cookie.  Enjoy your nap.  <3

Later Cookie.
Enjoy your nap.

And this one…

"I'm so tired, Mom..."

“I’m so tired, Mom…”

Yeah, can’t help but love those. 🙂
And then there were these two…

Oh Ruby!!  Should I just call you Mud-a-Roo?

Oh Ruby!!
Should I just call you Mud-a-Roo?

Cookie wasn't quite as bad as Ruby...but then, this is after I took the huge clumps of mud off her eyelashes.  Dork. <3

Cookie wasn’t quite as bad as Ruby…but then, this is after I took the huge clumps of mud off her eyelashes.
Dork. ❤

And then there’s this one…

Biiiiig yawns!

Biiiiig yawns!

Not from last week, but still a favorite. I figured since I shared pictures of everyone else, I couldn’t leave Sable out. And, since the pictures of the others weren’t terribly flattering, it’s only fair to give you a yawning horse face for Sable’s picture. 😉

Thursday, I looked out the front window to see this…

Erik the Viking at rest.

Erik the Viking at rest.

I’ll be honest, when I tapped the window and he didn’t so much as flick an ear, I got a little bit worried. I thought maybe he’d died. I grabbed the camera and Daphne, and out we headed to check on him.
Turns out, he was just having a good nap…

Still at rest, but kinda grumpy we woke him.

Still at rest, but kinda grumpy we woke him.

That face! Hahaha!! Just a little pissed at me for waking him up. I told him he was lucky I cared enough to make sure he was still alive. He didn’t care. 😛

Then there’s this guy…

Something about napping beside my garden boxes appeals to the cats.

Something about napping beside my garden boxes appeals to the cats.

We’ve named him Toby.

Sharing with Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.