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.

Rainy Saturday

Today was supposed to be meat chicken processing day.
Last night however, we had a raging down pour.
No complaints here though.
It was a hot, hot week and it was getting dry and crispy again.
So we definitely needed the rain.
But it messed with getting meat chickens done.
Ah well, gives ’em another week to enjoy life as a chicken. 😉

We’ve moved chicks around again.
We had 40 chickens in that orange tool racking for a couple months now.
Now they’re big enough to join the general population of birds.
Since we took out another dozen roosters last week, we have more room in the meat chicken house and the layer coop for them to move into.
So it’s time to get them free rangin’ like the rest of the birds.

Next up today, now that the drizzle has stopped, is to get the ducklings moved.
They’re doing well and growing like crazy in their space, but we need to rotate them around the grass…so they can enjoy fresh grass and their poop can fertilize the ground. 😉
Rotational grazing for ducks.
Gotta love it!

Then yesterday we picked up some more wood for the greenhouse build.

We have a pile of windows now, a bunch of 2×6’s to get started and I have to dig the 4×4’s we have out of the lumber pile.
The walls will be built on pressure treated 4×4’s on gravel.
Then inside I’ll build raised beds on either side, which will work as seed starting areas in spring and growing spaces through summer and fall.
Lots of work coming up to get it done for use next spring.
But we’re working on it when we’re not butchering.
Then once our big field is harvested, we’re starting the garden expansion permabeds.
lol
I’ll sleep in winter.
Hopefully.
😂😂😂

Oh, I finally took some pictures of the turkeys!
Just pics with my phone.
Haven’t had much energy to use Voldemort for a while now, so he’s been sitting…but I figured at 2 1/2 weeks old, y’all should get to see what a bunch of cuties these poults are!
😍

13 adorable little faces.
😍

That little white one!!
😍

3 from above

Ain’t they something?
😍

So now we need to think about how we’re gonna over winter ’em.
At least half of them, anyways.
Because I want to have a breeding flock, but it won’t be all of them.
Some will be freezer campers, but we won’t know who until much later in the year.
For now, all they have to do is eat, sing, poop and grow.
😍

Other than poultry wrangling and butchering, I’ve been weeding the garden.
Surprise, right?
lol

I have to say, with all the weeds, I’m missing kinda having pigs to feed them to.
But the Cornish meat birds are eating a lot of them.
😂😂😂
Their little hooting sounds they make while running over as fast as their little legs will bring them is hilarious.
It’s once of the best parts of my day, seeing those happy little chicken faces come barreling at me for thistles and garden weeds.

If we can build another pen next year, we’ll probably do pigs again.
By that time we’ll be out of pork and need to grow a few out.

I’m still hopeful for sheep though.
Definitely need something more for meat and I really want a dairy animal.
If I can find a dairy ewe or 2 (or 3 or 4) that can fit into our Farm, I’ll be happy.
I don’t care about wool.
There’s more than enough people shearing and selling wool in the province, so I’m not interested in getting into that.
Obviously if I had a breed that needed shearing it would be done for the health of the animals, but fiber is so low down on my list of wants it really doesn’t matter.
Milk and meat are my 2 top priorities.
After that, it’s horns for Hubby.
😂😂😂

That’s next year though…
Right now I’ve enough on my plate without adding another animal to take care of for winter.

Our Muscovy Flock

I’ve wanted ducks for a looooong time.
I never quite convinced Hubby that we needed ducks until a friend mentioned her work had a pair that needed a winter home…
And then we got ducks. 🙂
That’s how Jazzy and Rain got here.

This was taken on their first day here…

And then over the winter, our Jazzy ended up with a respiratory infection that he couldn’t beat, no matter how much treatment I gave him, and we lost him.
It was only a few months without his partner-in-crime before Rain followed Jazzy into the great duck unknown.

We would have been duckless, but last fall, a local woman was selling off some of her extra stock…turns out muscovy hens really like to lay eggs. And hatch them.
So when the woman posted a blowout sale where hens were selling for $2 each (normally upwards of $20-35!) I jumped at the chance to buy 5 ladies.
And then we worked out a deal for drakes for both our freezers…but out of the drakes we got for our freezer, Hubby and I decided that 1 might have to stay.
Duck eggs are grand, but bbq’d duck is better!
One thing we learned this winter, after putting a bunch of ducks into the freezers of 2 homes, is that we really enjoy muscovy duck meat.
So having our own little flock of laying/hatching/duckling raising birds is no bad thing.
1 step closer to self-sufficiency, I says!

This handsome fellow is the drake we kept…and the brown face of one of the ladies. 😉

And here he is with 4 of the ladies…the 5th is just out of frame.

Now that we have ducks eggs being layed, hopefully one (or more) of the ladies will go broody and sit to hatch some.
And then y’all will get to see duckling pictures.
🙂

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!
😉

November

Here we are, first week into November.
Hard to believe we’re there already.
I feel like getting ready to hibernate for Winter, and yet, there’s still so much to do.
Like, right now, I’m writing, but I should be out cleaning and re-bedding the chicken coop. That’s my plan for this afternoon.

But, for now, a chance to catch y’all up on things here…

We’ve finally finished putting the meat chickens in the freezer.
In running the numbers, it was definitely worth doing more chickens, than last years small amount. It was, however, too late in the season to start 50 chicks. Next year, we’ll start them earlier.
I plan on getting eggie chicks, so doing meaties early won’t be a big deal…we’ll do them together.

Since there’s only 3 of us to do the butchering, we can’t do all 50 in one day.
I wish!!
But no, we’re not fast enough for that. So we broke it up into 3 different days. Which, truth be told, worked out well, because we took out all the biggest ones in the first round, which gave the others a chance to grow. Second round, same thing.

Of the 50 chicks we ordered, we lost 3.
1 to a piling incident.
1 to the mean nasty bitch hennys.
1 to a heart attack…which is an unfortunate possibility with Cornish Cross birds.

Turns out we had gotten 51 from the hatchery, because my finished numbers show we processed 48 birds.
9 stayed whole as roasters.
39 were parted into breast, legs/thighs and wings, with backs and necks saved for soup fixings.
Feet were fed to the dog…who ate soooooo many feet. And feathers. I swear, that dog is going to sprout wings, she ate so many feathers. Weirdo.
Livers were saved for friends who enjoy them.
Hearts, gizzards and trim bits were bagged and frozen for winter cat food.

In total, we got 141.1 pounds of meat for our freezer.
Factoring in initial cost of chicks and feed, not including time, infrastructure or butchering supplies, our winter chickens cost us $1.24/pound.
So, really, not too bad.

Next up, comes the pigs.
That starts this weekend.

I think the ducks will be happy to no long have the pigs as neighbours.
And, to be brutally honest, I’ll be happy to no longer have to care for pigs.
Pigs are cute and fun when they’re little.
Once they get this big (they’re around the 200-250lbs mark) they’re butts.
Oh, they have their moments, like with the straw…but man, I’m just tired.
I had thought of wintering some, some year, but I don’t think so.
By November, I’m just done.
LOL!

And then there’s this duck:

Indignant Duck is indignant…and wants me to know it!!

Y’see, we’ve run out of time to get the duck house installed before hard-core winter hits. There’s other things that have to be done before and there is only 3 of us…
So, the ducks have been bunking with the hennys in the insulated coop.
Now that the meaties are gone, we moved the other poultry in there.
Which is why I’m supposed to be cleaning it… 😉

Ducks are not happy about change.
Rain especially.
He’s been rather insistent that he shouldn’t have to sleep with “those stupid girls”. We won’t discuss that the hens have been bunking in the temp. duck house anyways. Still…he doesn’t want to be in the coop with them.
So nightly “put the birds to bed” has been even more fun, with the ducks running away and refusing to go in the coop.

And then…

Last night, Hubby picked Rain up and put him in the coop.
Oh. My. Duck.
The world was ending, Scary Guy Walking touched him, Rain was Going. To. Die. He was so traumatized.
The next morning when I let everyone out, he chased me around the poultry yard, trying to bite and peck me, quacking his fool head off…he went from playing “trauma duck” to being full on rage-y “Indignant Duck”.
Ducks are incredibly expressive.
It did not help at all that I was laughing at him.
😀

Check out my “hard keeper”…

Remember I said I was happy with Sable’s condition this year?
Just look at the picture…

Holy fat Palomino!

Yay!
Fat, sassy, and happy as can be!
Yeah, she looks pregnant in this shot. lol
But seriously, she’s doing really well, and I am so happy for it.

Basking in the Fall sunshine…

Astrid’s back to 98% health.
I’m still liniment-ing and stretching her daily, just to be sure. She’s been trotting and playing, so that’s one less worry for me.

Ghost and Gabrielle

This ^^^ is my poultry helper crew.
They’re sitting in a sandbox that was the ducks’ pool for a while, but is actually The Kid’s flowerbed that never got set up when we got out here.
Now, it’s the feline viewing gallery.
Feline cheering section?
That Ghost is so adorable…and so flippin’ fat now!
I’ve been calling him FatGhost.
I love him dearly, though. ❤

Finally, a lovely shot of our Ruby, dozing in the sunshine…

Blogaversary

Holy Moly folks!
Today is our 4 year blogaversary.
4 years of rambling about this Farm life.
4 years of pictures…we’re just starting to run out of storage space.
Hehe. I may have to spring for a paid account soon. 😉

Here’s a few pictures to celebrate 4 years…

Mr. RainyDay Duck

Such a handsome, cheeky duck.
I’m telling ya, ducks rock!
Chickens are fun, but ducks have way more personality…at least, my 2 do.
That’s why they’re permanent residents. They’ll get girlfriends in the spring, so that we can hopefully have some ducklings to add to our Freezer Camp stores in the Fall.

Mr RainyDay Duck and Sir JazzyHands taking over the chicken coop…

This year’s batch of ex-battery hens have been unpleasant.
They’re mean and nasty bitches.
Even on high quality foods, with lots of greens and straw to play in, the coop treated in case of lice, and ample places to dust bathe, they’re still pecking each other. In too many cases, to death.

So, next year, we’re going with eggie chicks.
And this year’s lot of ex-batts are being disciplined by the ducks.
Sir JazzyHands takes no shit from nasty chickens…he’s not a mean duck at all, but he keeps those egg laying bitches in line. 😉

❤ CoalCat

We have a rule…when kittens were placed in homes, we told folks, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll take them back.
This Coal Cat is a returned kitten, who’s home placement didn’t work out. It’s taken us a few months to reintegrate her into Farm life, and she’s now happily an outdoor hunter cat…who also loves a hella good snuggle with the humans. ❤

“I’m itchin’ my leg, Mama. Don’t take my picture while I’m itchin’ my leg!”
~ Cookie

Poor BabyGirl has had a rough week.
We had some goose hunters out pulling bullshit on the field next to ours, shooting simply to scare the Girls…normally, they don’t care about guns, but when 5 guys shoot before daylight, in the darkness, that scares the bejeebus out of even a well adjust horse.
Once they were wound up, they just couldn’t settle while they jackwangs were shooting. And, of course, they could *see* the Girls running, so even when there were no birds, they shot off rounds just to see them run.
And Conservation was a damn joke to deal with.
😡

The next day, my poor Girl came up lame.
Like 3 legged hobbling lame.
On went the halter, Kid fed her grass while Hubby and I went over that horse with a fine toothed comb.
Turns out she has a stone bruise in her right rear hoof…so epsom salts soaks and a clean hoof were the order for her week. Then, I ran out of epsom salts, so I switched it up to sea salt soaks.
And today, she’s doing much, much better.
Stiff and sore, from compensating for the booboo hoof, but better.
She’s biting Astrid again, so… 😉

And, one of my favorite pics from the last few weeks…

It’s the rainy/damp season, and she gets ouchy.
Some days are worse than others. Some days it’s too hard to get to the beet pulp spot to eat and get her supplements in…some days she’s also a colossal Drama Queen. LOL!
But, because I love her dearly, Hubby is patient with her, even when it’s clear she has her D.Q. crown on.
Here he held her bucket for her while she ate…she was obviously hungry because she had her piggie nose in there before he bent over enough for her to eat comfortably.
What can I say, she’s my special pony, and I love her.

In 4 years of writing this has been my most popular post…
They Don’t Need to Understand

Or, if not my most popular, my most read post.

So here’s to 4 years, and darn near 500 posts.
We’ll probably do something to celebrate 500…maybe a giveaway of a print? Or an Equi~Gem?
We shall see.
I welcome y’all’s input.

Now, can we all chant “4 more years!! 4 more years!!”…because that just makes me giggle. 😉

Labour Day Weekend

How, oh how, can it be September already?
I feel like I’m going into Fall kicking and screaming.

“I don’t wanna get ready for winter….waaaahhhhhhh!!!!”

*sigh*

And yet, the signs are all there.
The cooler nights.
The geese are coming back.
Combines on the fields.
Horses are getting fuzzy… 😥

I’m not ready for fuzzy horses…last night at beet pulp time, Bella said she isn’t either.
Ah, but we have no choice. Time marches on, and away we go towards the coming winter.

This weekend has been a busy one.
Hubby worked Saturday, came home to take The Kid back to the city for back to school shopping.
Grade 11, this year.
Once more, where is time going?!?
How can I be okay with watching my baby girl handle a 1200lb animal, including jumping, and yet, be so on edge with her handling her Father’s truck??
It’s not that I doubt her skills.
She’s had a good teacher…
It’s the fact the she’s grown up enough to be legally allowed to take the truck out.

*sigh*
Damn that Father Time. 😉

Yesterday, Hubby worked on the winter duck house.
We cobbled together a quick shelter when we realized that putting them in the coop with the meat chickens wasn’t viable.
Now, we need to put together an insulated coop (with a heat lamp) for winter. Still don’t know genders, but that’s okay. In spring we’ll figure it out, and we’ll add whatever gender we need to get baby ducks.
Hubby is building a good-sized coop, because we’re all pretty darn enamored with ducks.
And we all like duck meat.

Ducks ❤

Seriously, how adorable are these 2?
Rain (front) always has an opinion…I have to admit, I love that.
I love an animal that you can have a conversation with, and I can totally do that with Rain.
Jazzy (back) is much quieter and a little more wary…s/he is warming up slowly, but is still uncertain of this crazy person who keeps trying to pet her/him. LOL!
Today, I had them both nibbling grain out of the feed scoop.

Speaking of feed scoops…

This one:

😉

Has learned how to lick the pig grain out of their feed scoop.
Now, nobody panic…the pigs eat a crushed wheat/barley mixture as their primary feed. Nothing that can harm a horse in any way.
In fact, Sable gets anywhere from 1/4-1 full cup of this grain mixture a day in her beet pulp.

Yesterday though, she had the pleasure of eating it from the scoop, once I was done feeding the piggies.
Just a few licks, as a treat. 🙂

“I like apples…”
~ Cookie

I’m so loving this taken-from-below set of images.
The Girls look so different from that angle, and it’s an absolutely fun set. I’ve got a few more I’ll share over the next few days…

With the forest fires, the high winds from the North, and our own smudges for bugs, we’ve had a few fairly smokey days…the haze on the image above is only 1/2 from the smudge fire.
It’s been hard on The Kid, and Cookie has been coughing a bit too.
😦

And then, there’s my MaxCat, who in one frame sums up my feelings for today…

“Really? You want me to what now??”
~ MaxCat

I’d love to crawl back into bed with a good book and a big bowl of bbq chips. Not to be though. As always, there’s work to do. And, I don’t have any chips.
We’ve actually managed to break the chip addiction in the house. Haven’t bought a bag in near onto 3 months.
Whew! That was a hard habit to break!
Anyways…
Onward and upward.
Winter is coming.
Boo.
😉