Damage Report

Well.
So that happened.
It was blowy, snowy, icy, and down right gross out for just about 48 hours.

We lost power for at least 18 of those hours.
We got a massive amount of snow dumped on us.
Then we got another massive amount blown in.
lol
This is Farm Life.

But…

Last weekend, we brought home 6 big round straw bales.
That was fun.
2 loads, but only a few miles away from us.
From some damn fine folks that we appreciate doing business with.
We knew the storm was coming, so we cleaned brooders, and gave everyone a thick bedding of straw to snuggle down into.
That was Monday we did that.
Then Wednesday, we renewed the straw so that when the storm blew in that night, they’d have even more bedding.
Mares got their own straw bale to rip apart, nibble, and sleep in.
They did just fine.

But, we didn’t know we were going to lose power.

Most of the birds were fine.
Bippies (youngest ducks) did great.
Chickens were all good.
Big ducks got a little stir crazy and started picking feathers on tails.
That gets remedied with meat.
Poultry are omnivorous raptors.
They eat meat.
I know people don’t like to hear/know that, but it’s true.
And once they have the craving, only a good feed of it will settle them down.
This is why we keep things like rib cages from deer and have a freezer specifically for freezer burnt meats. Because this happens when birds can’t get out to forage for bugs, snakes and small rodents, and they’ll turn on each other. Even with a complete feed.

So, as I said, most of the birds were fine.
I did however, lose turkeys.
😥
None of my year olds.
But a couple 9 month olds and about 8 of the youngest ones.
It’s crushing.
When the power went out, the littles just couldn’t stay warm enough, even with mounds of straw to snuggle into. Especially in the over night.
This morning I pulled out body after body and started a fire to put them in.
My heart aches.
Worst part is, there was nothing we could have done to change things.
It is one of the shittiest things about farming…losing lives, and knowing you couldn’t change it.

Today was shoveling day.
Hubby used the tractor to clear the driveway, the path to the hay, and to drop a full round straw bale into the turkey yard.
The Kid and I shoveled.
And dropped straw into places we shoveled out so birds had somewhere to sit out of the snow.
We have more shoveling to do.
But for now, coffee.

Cookie
Ima Midnight Tuxedo
May 21st, 2005 ~ November 13th, 2017
🖤🖤🖤

Down Sizing

This past weekend we got the news that our regular feed guy did not have good returns on his fields.
Which means, he doesn’t have as much to sell to us for feed for the birds for winter.

Now, we had already been discussing downsizing some of the birds, simply because the bulk of our feed money is going into The Merry Mares.
Hay prices are…well I don’t know exactly what’s doing with our regular Hay Guy.
He says things have been real bad (that was back in July) but he didn’t say he wouldn’t have for us.
I’ve been looking and trying to get bales elsewhere, just in case.
One of our other connections had an entire field of hay stolen.
That’s the new thing this year.
Stealing hay.
Hell, she didn’t even get it cut!
They came, cut and baled in a 24 hour period.
Which means it’s either gonna go up in flames or it’s going to mold.
Either way, if they sell the stolen bales, the person buying is fucked and if they try to use it themselves, their animals are gonna suffer.
What a fucked up year.

My straw connection has bales for me.
In fact, she says she has a fair bit extra, so if we had to use straw and supplement with grains and hay cubes, we’ll be able to do that and keep The Merry Mares healthy.
Her prices have gone up…almost double.
But, we also have to consider the low yields on fields, the rising gas prices, repairs to equipment, etc.
It all adds up.
I will not begrudge someone needing to make a living.
And you know, both my straw connection and my Hay Guy have been fucking awesome with us.
I have no complaints about them at all.
Besides, that’s the joys of having money eating shit machines.
In years like this, you pay through the nose to keep them.
But realistically, there’s no market for aging mares who haven’t been ridden for years and who’s only job it has been is to be pretty. Besides, I told them all that they’re here for life.
That’s it, that’s all.

So we’re downsizing where we can.
That’s with birds.
But the good thing with that is, birds are food.
I’m going to go through my hens and take out the aging girls (except for a choice few older gals who will get to die of old age.) Once I have an idea of how many older girls are going, then I’ll see how many roos will stay.
I want to keep 40 hens, so that means 3 roos.
Frank, Blue and probably Darryl (or is it Larry?).

Geese will go to Freezer Camp.
I had hoped to be able to keep them, but…
They’ve been complete assholes to the ducks (they were in the duck yard) and have been picking at new growing wing feathers on the duck hens.
The geese aren’t lacking anything, their just dicks.
😂😂😂
We’ll get more in the spring.

Turkeys will be whittled down to Oscar, Dingus, Emma, 12, 13, and at least 5 other hens.
The boys do best with 4 hens minimum each.
So 8 hens (for sure) and the 2 boys will stay and they’ll easily replenish the flock come spring.
I had thought about keeping a white hen, from the hatchery turkeys.
Those hens do get kept for breeding, but as I thought about it, I worried whether I’d be allowing not-so-hardy genetics into my flock.
Yeah, I might get interesting colours, I might get a faster growing bird, but I might also get the worst of the whites too…
So nope, all whites are Freezer Campers.
In my littles flock, there are 4 Sweetgrass turkeys and the rest are Narragansetts.
6 of that flock belong to a friend.
She’s the one who gave me the Sweetgrass eggs.
I want to keep 1 of the Sweetgrass for my flock, so we’ll have crosses that way, and Sweetgrass are hardy like the Narragansetts, so that works.
Size wise, they’re the same, so it’s just going to be colours that the Sweetgrass will bring to the genetics.
I’m not dead set on pure Narragansetts, so that’s a good thing.
I want hardy, decent layers/mothers, pretty, and tasty.

And then there’s the ducks…
Well, we did just buy 19 bebes, then had another 8 hatch out, so we have a lot of ducks.
😂😂😂
But, we have drakes going Camping, and any drakes in the 19 we bought will go Camping too.
By the time November rolls around, we’ll know who is who and who’s not staying on.
Hens (for the most part) will stay.
We have 4 older gals, the foundation 4, who will be kept because they hatch clutches happily.
Hell, they’re trying to hide nests now!
Ya, no…no nests allowed now!
And the younger hens have been doing just as well too.
Plus, out of those 19 we bought, there should be a few hens, and it’s always good to bring in new bloodlines every few years. Once their coop is renewed (Hubby is working on that and the greenhouse at the same time…the Man is *busy*!!), we’ll see how many fit and go from there.
We have 2 drakes that stay on, Cricket and PoopMachine.
Drake (our main guy) should be staying too…we know he *works* 😉 and then we have Howard and another 1 who looks like Cricket. The Cricket look alike is being replaced with PoopMachine.
We try to keep 4 working drakes, but can go down to 3 if we have to.
That gives us a hen flock of 15-20, depending on space.

So we’re eating bird this winter.
That’s always been the plan, but some of the ones I had originally thought about keeping (space permitting) are now on the table.
And y’know what?
I’m not going to feel bad about that.
Thing is, birds, as much as we enjoy them being here, are food.
For us, for the cats, for the dog.
The rule is they get to live a good life being birds, then when it’s time, they feed us.
That’s just how it is.

Happy Food Tastes Better.

Cricket the Duck. He’s a handsome fella!

Babies!!

There’s been a bit of a baby explosion here this week.

I have repeatedly been told that muscovy duck hens left alone will hatch tons and tons and tons of chicks…
Well we’ve had a few clutches hatch out, but nothing like the “you’re gonna be over run with that many hens!!” like I’ve been told…
Truth be told, because we eat our extra drakes, I *want* to be over run with ducklings.
I’m still waiting for that…

In the meantime, there’s kijiji.
It’s a Canadian buy/sell site where most farm folk list their extra animals for sale.
Welp, after a couple of beers I decided, the other night, to scan the livestock section…we’re coming into fall and lots of folks try to sell off extra animals so they don’t have to winter them.
Often, those animals go much cheaper than they would in the spring.

And so when I saw week old muscovy ducklings for $5 each, 21 of them, I contacted the seller…who said if I took them all, she’d charge me $80.
So we met up and made the duck deal in a Walmart parking lot.
😂😂😂

When we met up with the seller, she did say she could only catch 19…that’s okay though, because $80 was still a great deal for 19 ducklings.

Away we went, with our bounty.
And when we pulled into our driveway, we though “huh, we’re almost out of shavings” so Hubby and I planned on a quick trip to the feed store for another bundle of them, so that we could clean the empty brooder (we finally got the cornish meat birds butchered last week) and put these 19 babies in there…
As we’re transfering them to the bigger crate with shaving in it for a temp. holding pen ’til the brooder was cleaned, The Kid yells “duck baby!!” and runs off…I’m thinking “what the hell??”
And it turns out one had hatched while we were gone and had escaped from Mama.
Huh.

So she catches him, and puts him in the house with another one that she had found earlier in the week.
That made our 21 ducklings. 😉

Then this morning, I step out to feed the cats (always before the chickens get out, because otherwise the chickesn steal the outdoor cats’ food) and I see the duck Mama in the puddle (from our leaking well line that has yet to be fixed even though I have been all over every damn company within a 30 mile radius to come help us…fingers crossed this last guy, a local plumber who has been right on top of all my questions adn is booking his excavator guy to come do it, can make it out and get it done…) with 2 little yellow balls of fluff.
Huh.
So there’s more of ’em.

THEN!!

My brother gets here to check on his old car stored here, and as I come out to talk to him, I see 5 little balls of fluff following Mama Duck and an angry chicken clucking at the extra bebes to come back to her…and when Hubby comes out he says there’s 6 balls of yellow fluff in total.
So it turns out that this duck and chicken co-sat the nest and so far have hatched out 8 ducklings.
It’s really late in the year for ducklings.
And chickens can’t be trusted.
So we’ve cleaned out the brooder in the Little Red Shed and duck babies will go there…

But wait!!
There’s more!!

This is Lefty…

Lefty listened to all my yelling about if chickens are going to hide eggs here, there and everywhere, then they should at least come back with some damn chicks!
So she did.
😂😂😂

In 24 hours, we’re up 32 babies, bringing our grand total for poultry this year to…

10.

That’s it, that’s all.
We only have 10 birds.
That my friends, is how poultry math works…and why I’m the head and founding mother of Poultry Anonymous.
To think, I don’t even really like birds.
😂😂😂

July

Oof, we made it to July.
Holy moly it’s hot!
We’re in the midst of a heatwave as I write this…though, by the time I hit publish, it should have broken.
I hope.
It’s been waaaay too hot!
Like beyond what we normally get in July, hot.

It’s been “get in the trough with your dog and an ice cold beer” hot. 😂😂😂

And we’re dry.
Drought conditions again.
I got my 1st cut of hay 1/2 done.
Baled and put up in the garage.
Got the rest of 1st cut to do this week, and then we start rain dancing for reals…again.
So that hopefully I can pull a 2nd cut.
I’m hoping out Hay Guy has been having an excellent harvest.
I haven’t heard from him, and with him, no news is good news.
It’s when he texts a month early and says “you guys need hay this year?” that I lose my mind.
He knows we need hay, he knows how much hay we need, and I never consider adding a new hay eater without checking to see if I can get more from him.
I’m still Dreaming of sheep.
But I’m also hoping that the price doesn’t go up again this year.
I will understand if it does, and I won’t bitch, but I’m hoping it doesn’t…

In other news…

Pinto beans got a replanting today.
They were very sparse coming up and I’m pretty sure it was due to lack of watering.
So new round planted, and new sprinkler hooked up to cover more of the garden in one watering…I hate moving the sprinkler. 😂😂😂 It’s such a pain in the butt.
But, if we want a whole lotta beans for the shelves, I have to suck it up and move the sprinkler when watering.
Greens are in need of thinning.
Radishes are growing gangbusters.
Onions too…
Lookin’ like I might have to make a huge batch of potato salad to nom nom nom on next week.
That aside, garden is getting weeded, watered and mulched on the daily.
Goose babies are gobbling down every weed I give them.
Turkeys are wandering the yard, sadly calling anyone to bring them a pail of weeds…because The Food Lady is mean and won’t let them into the garden.
*insert sad turkey face here*

Our first muscovy ducklings have hatched.
Somehow we ended up with a house duckling…
Well, it was because it was +38*c and baby came out into the heat and wilted.
All the others with MamaDuck were beetling around doing great, but this one wasn’t.
So, I brought baby inside…I like to give life a chance before culling.
And as I write this, I hear that duckling chirping up a storm, trying to convince my Kid that it has to sit in her lap and no where else.
😂😂😂
Babies tend to get spoiled here.

Speaking of babies…this is 12…who just happens to be broody and sitting on about a dozen turkey eggs.

And just for knowledge’s sake…in case you ever wanted to know, broody turkeys stink.
O.M.G.
S.T.I.N.K.
Stinky, stinky, stinky.
I thought maybe it was because she hadn’t been off the nest in a while, but nope.
Emma tried to go broody in the duck yard, where she was outside all the time and oof…same stench.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know if anyone else’s turkey hens are like this.
But my broody turkey stink.
*insert vomiting emoji here*

There is other news, but it’s going to have to wait for another post…the chores and the need to water everyone is calling…
🙂

Damage Report

Well, so if Thursday’s thunderstorms were delightful, last night’s storm was frightful.

The day was beautiful for the most part.
Hot and melty, which always means there’s a chance of a thunderstorm.
I went ahead and cleared out a few of the small garden beds and planted my hot peppers.

After chores were done, I had a few minutes to have a coffee, before Hubby got in with groceries.
Well, The Kid and I watched the wind whip up and just as it started to rain, we figured we should go put the birds to bed.

Aaaaannnnd just as the last bird house was closed the wall of water hit us…

After the storm…

Before the storm the ground wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t showing any puddles. Everything from Thursday’s storms had already soaked in…last night it came down so hard and fast, the ground didn’t have a chance.

My crappy cell phone picture was taken about 10 minutes after the storm passed. The ground was already absorbing the moisture, so as much as you can see, there was more.

Preliminary reports are that we got just about 35mm of rain in about 45 minutes.
That’s a lot of water in just a little bit of time.

Today, I’m seeing what kinda damage we’ve got…

Good news first!

All the animals are fine.
No injuries on mares.
Everyone’s legs are good, might have a sore back or two from running about in the mud and muck, but that’s easy peasy to handle with liniment. 🙂

Chickens and ducks are just happy to be out of coops.
Ducks were mad we made them go to bed early last night, but today they’re enjoying the puddles and earth worms all over the poultry yard.

All outdoor cats are accounted for.
Wet, a little grumpy, but everyone came to the deck for breakfast and pets.

Daphne just wanted to play in the puddle this morning…lol
And indoor cats, well, they just slept through most of it.

Sump pump has been working without issue.
Thank the Gods of Electricity!!

Now the not so good news…

Water in the basement from 2 spots.
The ground has been so dry for so long, once the water came, it couldn’t hold it back. No damage to anything, just wet spots.

Had a leak in the master bedroom…there’s a spot on the side of the house at the roofline that needs repair to the siding/metal roof.
Guess what we’re doing tomorrow?

And then, there’s my poor garden…

I had put in 13 of my tomato plants on Thursday.
I thought I lost them after that storm, but it looked like they held on, and with a bit of tlc, would be fine.
Not today.
Done. Gotta replace ’em.

Hot peppers?
What hot peppers?
There is no sign whatsoever that I had planted hot peppers.
Gotta replace them too…

Pasture is still under some water, so I’ll have to keep an eye on hooves. We made it this far without thrush, hopefully we don’t get hit with a round of it now.
But, even if we do, I have treatments that can put a stop to it fast.
And, tomorrow, I just may do a pre-emptive treatment, just in case.

All in all, we got hammered, but as always, we’ll pick up the pieces and keep going.
At least now I don’t have to worry about the pasture drying out and dying off too soon. The land really needed the water.
Rain barrels are full for when we do need to water the garden, and to give the chickens.
I’m not frantically worrying about the state of my well in drought like conditions.
The burn ban in the area should be lifted.
Once the water soaks in, the wheat on the big field ought to be just fine.
And everyone came through the storms healthy…

Can’t ask for much more than that.
Well, I *would* like to hit it big in the lottery, but that’s a whole different discussion.
LOL!
😉