Tomatogeddon

Way back in June, on the Summer Solstice, we had frost.
I had planted my tomatoes about a week or so earlier.
Peppers too.
And then BOOM!!
Killing frost on the first day of summer.
*sigh*

Well, as it turns out, not every tomato plant died, some have bounced back, but no where near in time to get a decent crop off them.
I will have some nice green ones though, so that’s okay too.
But in the meantime, the shelves are looking very bare of tomato products and we cannot have that.

So when the local mega mart put their cases of roma tomatoes on sale, guess who asked her Hubby to bring some out to the Farm?
Yeah, that’d be me, because I’m stupid and didn’t have enough food going into jars.
😂😂😂

But tomatoes are something we love here, and we go through a lot of tomato sauce and pizza sauce…because we live where pizza delivery isn’t an option and we like pizza. 😉

100lbs came home.
So my days have been filled with roasting the tomatoes, running them through the food mill, making the sauce, canning the sauce…

In case anyone cares, 100lbs of tomatoes makes roughly 10 gallons of tomato sauce.
With about 3 gallons of the juice left over after roasting.
That doesn’t get wasted.
After all, it’s tomato juice.
So I drink it.
Some years I freeze it for later on when I make the green tomato wine, but this year the freezers are already short of space, so that’s not an option.
So I’ve been enjoying beer and tomato juice at the end of the long canning days.

I have a 5 gallon pail of sauce left to put in jars.
That’s tomorrow.
Today we’re working on the greenhouse.
Being September long weekend already, we’ve got to get our butts in gear and get it up.

I’ll finish tomatogeddon tomorrow…
And then we’ll be back at Rooster Rehab until all the roosters (and turkeys) are done.

It’s Raining!

First of all, like the title says, it’s raining.
We had some rain last week that really helped, and now we’re in for just about the entire weekend full of rain.
So while I’m frustrated that it makes butchering difficult (got 18 more cornish to go…turns out I can’t count,
I kept missing 2 of them 😂😂😂), I am happy af for rain.
And I’m praying it’s in time to save our pasture.
And our Hay Guy’s yield.
And doesn’t eff up our straw supplier’s harvest.
*sigh*
But rain, right now, is a good thing.
😉

First jars of chicken are ready for the shelf.
Only 85ish more to go.
😂😂😂

This year I’m trying to do them with a bit more stock in them.
Last year they were jammed full of chicken with as little stock as I could safely get away with.
Which was great when I opened a jar for Hubby, but not so great when I opened a jar for the old Calico cat.
Yep, I fed the damn cat home canned chicken.
A. Lot.
But when you’re the feline equivalent of 128 years old, you eat whatever the eff you want…and she wanted home canned chicken.
It always had to have stock with it though and she drove me nuts screaming when the liquid ran out…so this year, a little more juice and a few extra smaller jars of just stock to supplement when the bigger jar runs out.

Before the rains came, I headed into the garden to pick beans (canning those tomorrow) and pull some weeds.
‘Round here not even the weeds go to waste.
First bin of them went to the geese.
They get crazy excited over weeds and cut grass.
They’re gonna be my garden clean up crew this year.
I figure they should do a great job of eating down everything left once we’re done.
I will have to protect a few things, like the black currants, the chives and the grape vine, but they’ll have tons of stuff then can eat and enjoy.

2nd bin went to the turkeys.
It was mostly thistles and those white turkeys sure love thistles!
Thistles are good for liver health, so they can have as many thistles as I can give them.
This year I’m going to try turkey liver.
I hate liver.
Really, really hate it.
But it’s because growing up all we ever had was over cooked, grainy af, vomit inducing beef liver and onions.
And when it was put in front of us, we got nothing else until our plate was clean.
Even if it took days.
I uh, learned to fast for long periods of time…real young.

But now as an adult, who is trying to work a little harder on nose to tail eating (not that livers or other offal were ever wasted…we’ve always found someone who wanted those bits) I’ve committed myself to trying to eat poultry livers.
I have a few duck ones in the freezer from our last duck days.
I just couldn’t convince myself to try them.
Yet.
I’ll get there.

There’s 5 boys, and 1 hen here.
The smallest one just above the Farm logo is the hen.
I have researched and learned that white hens are often kept for breeding purposes in big barn settings.
So I figure I’m going to keep her and see what happens.
Either she’ll mate and lay or she won’t.
If she does, it should add some size and maybe some speed to the growth of poults…or maybe she’ll only add a different colour shade to the next gen poults from her.
If she doesn’t, we’ll send her to Freezer Camp in the spring.
But she’s already doing the sit down and flirt thing with Oscar, so I’m hopeful. 🙂

The boys will all be going off to Freezer Camp soon.
They’re at 16 weeks now and just about the size of Oscar and Dingus.
For reference, Oscar and Dingus are a year old now and are just about 35lbs each.
Yeah so, you can see the whites grow a lot faster.
If we could keep them going, the white turkeys (Nicholas turkeys) have been known to make 70lbs live weight…which is why the toms aren’t kept for breeding.
It’s all A.I.
Yup, someone in the world has the job of extracting turkey semen and artificially inseminating hens.
😂😂😂
Can’t say it’s a job I’d want, but I guess someone has to do it.
How else do ya get those cheap turkeys at the holidays??
But seriously, I much prefer my Narragansetts who do the joyful deed themselves and quite proudly.

Monday Morning Roundup ~ August 31st

Since my last post, the beans have exploded.
I’ve been (hahaha) picking and canning and picking and canning.
Today I’m picking again, since we’ve had 2 days of rain, and I can SEE the damn beans from the gate, mocking me, telling me that they’re growing bigger and bigger by the second and I’d better get in there and get them picked before it’s too late!
😂😂😂

I might be tired and a bit weird this morning.

One of my pails of beans from last week

I bought yellow bean seeds during the lockdown.
In a fit of irrational rage…because some friends in the US had posted in their local stores, seeds and gardening supplies were roped off and not allowed to be purchased because they weren’t “essential”.
So when I saw seeds in our small town grocery store, I bought them.
Even though there was no sign saying I couldn’t.
No one telling me they were off limits.
I was simply irrationally angry for those who *couldn’t* make that purchase.
I ended up buying a lot of seeds…and mailing a whole bunch of them out to people because fuck anyone who says a garden and growing food isn’t essential.
👿👿👿

Anyways, I still had a good amount of yellows to plant, so I did.
And the green beans are pinto beans we got as feed for our chickens last Fall.
I planted a few in pots in the house to see if they could be used for fresh eating, and yup, tasty as steamed beans when young.
So I planted a whole lot of the them too.
Plus I have a 50ish lb sack of them for the next few years.
😂😂😂
It’s a good thing we really like beans.
But, free food is free food, right?
I mean, the beans were given to feed the chickens.
Well, I fed chickens cooked beans all winter and *still* had enough to grow for us.
And still have more to grow for us.
No complaints from me, I tell ya!

This past weekend we started putting meat chickens in the freezer.
We had, earlier in the summer, an incident…
A coyote decided we were growing some mighty fine looking meaties and decided to help themslves to our birds.
*sigh*
It happens, sometimes.
This was our first huge loss.
As in, all the birds ear marked for sale were now gone, and most of our personal eating birds too.
Fucker didn’t even eat much of ’em.
Just killed them for fun.
😥
But that’s nature, and now we have to re-do the meat chicken house so it doesn’t happen again.

I was lucky enough to find someone getting rid of some meat birds she raised though.
The abattoirs are busy, and she couldn’t get a slot booked and didn’t want to butcher them herself…so she sold them.
I snapped up 20 of them.
I would have loved to have taken the entire flock of 80, but the money just wasn’t there.
Ah well.
20 to go with the 15 I had left made it so that I could get some in my freezer and fulfill my promised birds.
Left me nothing for sale, but at least the people I promised birds to got theirs.

Next up, another round of roosters.
Plus I have several older hens who are ready to go into the soup pot.
And then there’s those ducklings I bought, who are growing like freaking mad!
So we’re gonna be okay this winter, just not as flush as we had thought.

Last week we had this young lady traipse through the Farm…

😍 So pretty! 😍

Lucky girl that hunting season hasn’t opened yet…otherwise she’d have been going to Freezer Camp.
😂😂😂

And then, while we were doing chicken butchering on Saturday, Hubby got a call asking if we wanted some wheat for the chickens.
Um, yeah!!
So we got the back of our truck filled to over flowing with freshly combined red wheat.
And now I’m searching for a grain mill, because I feel like making wheat beer, whiskey and wine are gonna be necessary…and after malting, I have to crack the grains to do it.
So that’s my next purchase…because homemade booze is a good thing.
🙂

Holy Moly

What’s with all the spambots lately??
😂😂😂
I’m gone for a bit and my spam filter catches 239 spam comments.
WOW!!
Kinda crazy…

It’s been chilly and rainy here.
And rainy too.
Did I mention the rain?
lol

Well, it seems we’ve gotten a couple seasons worth of rain in the past week or two.
I mean, we could use the moisture in the ground going into Fall, and my haying spots look amazing…I may even, if it stops raining for longer than an hour, get another cut before a hard frost sets in.
Fingers crossed!!

While the rains have been coming down, we’ve still been busy.
Ducks are laying eggs like crazy in the garden, and every day we have to search for them.
And every so slowly, they’re getting the weeds taken down there too…they’re not as good at it as I thought they would be, but still…they’re doing some of the work for me. 🙂

With the sloppy muddiness of the pig yard, we’ve managed to use up almost all of the moldy hay that’s been sitting around.
Y’see, when we have hay that we can’t feed to The Merry Mares, we set it aside for the spring pigs.
We’ve had a couple years worth accumulate (sound like a lot, but it’s not really…our Hay Guy is awesome about having a high quality product…sometimes though, we get lazy about tarping in the wet seasons, and the bales suffer) and these pigs are loving it!
We toss it into the shelter and they roll around in it, bury themselves, happily eat any moldy parts…pigs love eating gross things. lol And if there’s mushrooms growing, even better!! No joke, pigs super ❤ mushrooms.

And then there was that sale on carrots…

I’ve been looking for carrots to put up ever since my crop died.
Finally, a local mega mart had a smokin’ deal on local grown carrots.
50 lbs later, I’m filling jars with carrot coins, and diced carrots.
Pressure canned and ready for winter eating.
Plus 10 lbs sitting in the basement fridge for soup…canning soup will be coming in the next couple of weeks and carrots store nicely in the fridge.

My shelves are getting full, I’m running seriously low on jars and it’s a good thing.
This makes me a happy FarmHer for sure.
🙂

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Feel free to buy me a coffee.
🙂

Thanks to all of you who’ve bought me coffee!
Your generosity has been greatly appreciated.

Day After Thanksgiving

For us Canadian folks, that is.
Today we go back to work…when you work from home, do you ever not work?
It feels like I’m always on duty.
Well, until I pour a glass of wine.
😉

Busy weekend:
A run to the city for beet pulp for the Nags. And groceries. And a trip to the bank. And the Dollarama…it was a whole day of errands.
Wine maintenance…bottled my green tomato, stabilized my apple, and it’ll get sweetened and bottled next weekend. Then I’ll start a concord grape batch, as well as another green tomato.
Washing the 10 million carrots from the garden…yes, it does take forever to scrub all the dirt off the ones going into jars!
Washing, blanching and freezing beet tops.
Kicking at the sewing repair pile…oh, goodness!
So.
Many.
Repairs!
But, the pile is a little smaller today than it was yesterday, so that’s a good thing.

And today?
Today I’m roasting chicken backs and necks to make a few batches of soup to can tomorrow.
While canning carrots today.
And prepping pork bones for soup on Thursday.
And then I get to take it all down to the shelves in the basement and put the jars in some semblance of order.
It’s a lot of work.
But, it’s so worth doing!

We have no nearby restaurant to order “convenience” foods when I don’t want to cook after a long day.
If I don’t have quick and easy foods on hand, then I have to do something more involved.
That’s fine when work is done before dark and we’re just the normal level of tired…but, winter is coming.
That means long hours moving snow, and taking care of animals.
That means a fast and easy heat up of a jar or two of soup, thickened into stew, with a chunk of bannock or cornbread makes everyone feel better.
So, as much as it’s a pain right now to get all the jars done, it will be worth it later on, when I’m dog tired and just gotta reheat something.

I have to admit, I love having the canner going again.
I hate water bath canning with a passion.
Ugh.
I did 14 quarts of pickled beets this year, and vowed to plant the beets sooner next year, pull them out sooner and pickle sooner, so that I can do the processing in the yard with the turkey fryer.
Water bath canning in the house is just gross.
But, the pressure canner?

😍😍😍
I refuse to do tomatoes any other way.
Yes, they can be waterbathed, but why??
So much faster with the p/c, so much less boiling water, so much easier!
Plus, the p/c gives the option of being able to do low acid foods.
IMO, it’s a Farmer/Homesteader must have tool.
Plus, there’s the joy of being able to can up your own chickpeas and kidney beans (if you like them). Personally, I love opening a jar of chickpeas and just eating them…or adding them to a hot bowl of rice, or an omelet…and you can never go wrong with tossing kidney beans into any tomato based sauce or soup!
Yum!
Canning your own is so much cheaper too.
I buy a 4 lb bag of dried beans/chickpeas for under $5 and get a guaranteed 16 pint jars (equal to 1 store-bought can), often more.
Yes, there’s the time and energy put into doing them, but still comes out to far less per jar than if I was buying cans.
And, I know exactly what’s in my jars.
🙂
So, even if I did pay more to can the beans, that itself would be worth it to me.
With that, I’m heading back to work, coffee in hand, because the canner is ready for the next load.
Full steam ahead!
edited to add: there’ll be more photos soon…for those who only come to see pictures of the animals 😉
check out the instagram feeds in the sidebar too, both the Farm and Photography page are there!