Monday Monday

Not much going on here…just shoveling snow, watching the peppers grow, remembered that I have paprika pepper seeds to start…I got so focused on my poblanos I forgot about the paprika ones…for shepherds, I’m relying on winter sowing.
They either will grow or won’t.
But poblanos and paprika peppers are for winter spice mixes, so I’m pretty intent on having great crops of those.

We’re looking at a week of above 0*c daytime temps, so there’s a lot of drifts that need paths cut through them…we’re going to have melting start and falling through a 5 foot drift is not ever a good time.
I’m really just too old for that shit.
😂😂😂
So over the next week I’ll work on digging paths through them.

Hubby gets to fix the overhead door on the garage this week.
Fuck sakes.
If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.
As he was trying to pull a bale out for the nags, the back tire of the tractor sank in snow, he shifted unexpectedly and knocked the control arm for the loader, which sent it up to smack the door, popping it off the cable/reel…in short, it took 3 of us to get it closed and now it won’t open because both cables are off and the springs popped.
But…it’s a fix we know how to do, just need a new roller and time.
So that’s this week, then he can get the tractor out and finish clearing the driveway.
Again.

See?
Just a little bit of snow.
😂😂😂
It’s all good tho…
Just 6 more days ’til spring, and like I said, above zero temps this week.
The melt will start, and we’ll be fine.
Last night we had the chance to bbq, with wobbly pops and music.
So morale is better today.
We haven’t done that since the beginning of December due to weather.
So yeah, it was a very welcome evening.

Turkeys in the Garage

So my turkey coop disappeared this past weekend.
Not even joking.
It has been taken by the snow.
The 1st blizzard hit us Thursday evening.
Brought us 10 cm blowing in at 70 km from the north.
Then, that settled down, and the blizzard warning ended.
Oh, but Mother Nature wasn’t done.
Friday She decided to toss another blizzard at us…with *another* 10 cms blowing in from the south.
😂😂😂
And Saturday, just for good measure, She gave us another 5cm…blowing, but not at blizzard wind speeds.
So all told, we’ve gotten 25ish cm of snow via blizzards in 3 days.
That’s about 10 inches of snow.
Plus the however many inches that blew in overland.
(I swear, I’m planting as many trees as I can, every single damn place that I can!)
On top of the multiple feet we already have.
😂😂😂

So in between blizzards, we go out to take care of the animals (because that has to happen no matter the weather) and discover the turkey coop is gone.
Hubby gets in there and digs out the first opening he can find, because y’all….my birds were in there and we sure couldn’t leave them!
Then, in he climbs so that he can pass out these stupid birds to us (me and The Kid).
Listen, turkeys is stupid. There’s no sugar coating it.
They are my idiot children.
Fucking Oscar is going to fight Hubby about being passed out this hole…the 40lbs of dominant tom bird trying to fight to *stay in* his coop.
Stupid, stupid, bird.
But we get them, and the ducks in with them, out.
Sadly, we lost The Kid’s one drake, Oreo.
Oreo was a good duck, who was going to make beautiful bebes come spring time with my HomerJ…but alas, Mother Nature said “Nope.”

So now we have the ducks in the duck coop with the rest of the ducks, and fresh straw, with tons of food and water…and a heat light.
They’re good.
But we have to get the stupid birds from one side of the yard to the other, into the garage, as the blizzard like weather is ramping back up. Over drifts here, there, and fucking everywhere.

Now, in better weather, I can shake a pail of feed and my idiot children will follow me everywhere.
But they won’t do that in crazy winds, or when they’re already in trauma mode (because some guy shoved them out a hole they didn’t want to go out of)…we had to carry the damn fools.
So the hens were fairly easy.
Upside down them and carry ’em by their feet.
They don’t like it, and you can’t do it for long because their weight will dislocate legs, but a quick dash (as fast as my little legs would take me over hill and dale) can be done.

Oh but my Oscar Meyer Wiener (because one day, when he’s done making turkey bebes, he’s gonna be a hot dog 😂😂😂)…I had to carry that asshole all cuddled up while he shrieked his turkey rage at being relocated.
He hasn’t gotten over Dingus being taken away and is convinced that we ate Dingus.
We didn’t.
Dingus has 1 turkey hen in the chicken coop with him, because Oscar hates him as much as he loves him.
Simply, Oscar refuses to share hens and beat the crap out of Dingus, so they can’t be in the same pen/coop.

So now, we got the 7 hens and Oscar in the garage in a cage that was supposed to be for bottle lambs next month. I might have to bring bottle lambs inside….sheep don’t smell as bad as birds.
But then, Hubby might make me live outside.
😂😂😂

All I can say now is…
C’mon spring!

Oscar is the auburn tom in the back.

Chick Days

This year my incubators are staying off.
Aside from the odd turkey eggs, that is.
The last few years I ran them constant from February to the end of June.
Hundreds and hundreds of leetle birbs hatched.
This year?
Oh I just can’t do it.
We need to overhaul some coops, and bring in new bloodlines.
I could look for new roosters now, but the coops aren’t set up for a quarantine area, and there’s just too much snow to build something.

Instead, I ordered from the local hatchery some Lavender Orpingtons and some Black Jersey Giants.
Both dual purpose, large sized breeds.
So with 10 of each due to arrive on May 31st (with some white turkeys, a handful of geese, and 10 pekin ducklings) we’ll begin the rebuilding of our egg/meat flock with dual purpose, hardy breeds.

I will say, our flock had been doing great, until the wild and crazy weather patterns bounced all over the place. We couldn’t keep the moisture down in the coop, and that led to respiratory issues, and even with treatment, we still had too many losses. 😦
So yeah…
Coop overhauls will happen this spring, before the leetle birbs arrive, and then we’ll go from there.

Meanwhile, Oscar is a dancing fool for the ladies.

Oscar is in front…our lovely auburn Tom

And I’ve been getting eggs here and there.
We’ll see if any are fertile (next time I have a fried egg sandwich 😂😂😂) and in the beginning of May, if there’s signs of fertility, I’ll set some in the incubator.
If I can get a few more of the Narragansetts hatched out, I would like that.
But I’m not buying hatching eggs for them this year.
Maybe next year, if I can make the deal work with my Hatching Egg Lady. 😉
She also has Lavender Orps and Black Copper Maran chickens, so next year I might splurge and buy a few dozen of those eggs as well, to continually bring in new genetics.
And, like us, her family eats extra roos, so she’s not breeding them to be little birds, but big, hardy dual purpose producers. Like the breeds are supposed to be.

So all of that to say, I’m excited because yesterday I officially ordered our spring chicks.
36 days to spring.
I am ready!
(I hope)

Imbolc

We are now, officially, at the midpoint between winter and spring.
Yeehaw.

We here just finished another blizzard.
Wherein we gave The Merry Mares an entire bale of hay.
It took Hubby 4+ hours to clear the snow from the gate to get the bale in to them.

Today he’s been clearing snow from the driveway…
That started at 3am so that we could get the truck out and up to town to get her into the mechanic’s shop.
Broken cv axle.
$25 part.

**edit…I heard wrong…part was $225…but still…overall still cheaper than we expected and done in a days time…so, no complaints.**

Plus she needs new lug nuts.
The lady on the phone explained it to me, I’m not a truck person so I didn’t get it, but apparently the metal of the lug nuts can swell and make taking them on and off as needed difficult.
Best thing to do is replace them
*shrug*
Okay then.
But the bill looks like it’s going to be substantially less than we were expecting.
Thank all that’s frickin’ good and holy in the world for that!

Frosted Samsquanch 😂

So now we’re just waiting for the call to go get the truck.
And praying for no more blowing snow or falling snow.
Just melting snow.
Because we have no place left to put snow.
So…yeah.
No. Snow.
😂😂😂

So Far, So Good


I told y’all how we moved the turkey poults out of the one brooder, into a new one and how we were still losing them…
Welp, so far, we’ve managed to stop the losses.
From 16, we’re down to 5 Narragansett poults, plus our 10 white poults.
So far, everyone is doing very well.
I am…cautiously optimistic.

So, aside from the brooder change, what did we do?
Hard boiled eggs.
Yup, hard boiled eggs are a miracle food for poultry.
They’re power packed nuggets of nutrition that give baby birbs an excellent boost.
Thankfully, my chicken hens have been laying like mad, so having extras to feed my turkey kids is no problem at all.

I take 3 eggs, hard boil them, peel them, mush them up, add in a little poul-vite (it’s a vitamin mix for birds), a small pinch of brown sugar and water to make a slurry.
Put the bowl down in front of those chicks and watch ’em gobble, gobble, gobble it down!

Plus they have fresh water and gamebird feed (with 28% protein) at all times.
So I am very hopeful that the last 5 of the ones I hatched will survive.
If they don’t now, it’s not because I haven’t tried damn near everything!

In the meantime…

Gardening has begun!
The grape plant has been uncovered from her long winter nap.
The garlic is getting uncovered tomorrow.
And MCFHubby brought this home for me:

Onions, asparagus and rhubarb.
All of which can (and hopefully will) be planted this weekend.
Yes, it’s early before the frost date for us, but this is all stuff that can go in early.
I’m also hoping to prep the area(s) for carrots, beets and peas.
Again, cool weather crops that can get started soon here.

Every year I’m anxious for this time, and now that it’s here, I’m ready to get things going…
So.
Ready!
🙂

Chicks and Chickens

I love this time of year.
Spring brings new life on the Farm, and new hope for a prosperous year ahead.

Our first round of eggs has hatched.
I initially set 80 eggs between the 2 incubators.

In the small incubator was all the blue and green eggs I was able to collect before starting.
22 colours and 2 browns.
Of those eggs, we had 20 hatch.
1 died in the shell, and the last 3 weren’t fertile.

Chicks in the small incubator…can you tell who’s going to be the trouble maker in this group?

In the big incubator I set 56 eggs.
1 was tossed due to having cracked in collection…those frozen eggs can really fool you with the cracks sealing back up when thawed.
In total, we had 24 hatch out.
5 of the unhatched were viable.
1 of those died shortly after pipping, the other 4 died in different stages of development.
The last 26 eggs weren’t fertile.

Don’t mind the phone pics…it’s too hard to use Voldemort when the chicks are still int he incubators. 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with 44 little chirp chirps this round.
Considering those eggs were collected during our polar vortex cold snap that darn near snapped us all, any life coming from them is amazing and makes me happy.

Now the small incubator has 24 greens and blues in it, due to hatch in 2 weeks time, while the big one awaits the arrival of turkey eggs sometime next week. 🙂

We’ll keep running the incubators until mid-summer.
Last year my last hatch finished the first week of July, and with excellent Fall weather, we were able to put all the extra roosters in the freezer. Fingers crossed for that kinda luck again!
This year though, I want to keep better track of how many roosters we butcher.
That way I know if I have to up my hatching game next year.
I will say, I am considering a 3rd incubator just for turkeys…though, I have noticed lots of folks will run chicken eggs in an incubator with turkey eggs.
I might try that. We’ll see how my turkey hens do when they start laying…if I get a lot of eggs from them, I might just spend the money for a 3rd.

The current crop of hens is happy as can be with Spring weather too.

Dust bathing…

They sure do make a mess of the lawn.
😂😂😂
This is just outside the gate to their yard…because heaven forbid the jerks stay in their yard and dustbath in there…oh no, that would make too much sense!
And if there’s one thing chickens ain’t got, it’s sense!
😂😂😂

They’re so funny…

😂😂😂

Last Day of February

Ever have one of those months where all you can think is “holy shit, I made it!”??
Yep, that was February for me.
😂😂😂

But today is the last day, I’m almost ready to fire up the grow lights…
Oh.
Wait.
So I’m sending Hubby out on a mission tomorrow. Because my stand for growing seedlings isn’t big enough.
And I always end up with some in the library window, with a hanging lamp that doesn’t have enough light to keep the plants from getting long and leggy before planting.
Thanks to the google, I discovered the Home Depot here in Canada has a led light fixture that is a grow light.
Probably designed for the folks who want to grow pot (because that’s legal here now) but hey…it works for us gardening folks.
So I’m sending Hubby out to buy me one tomorrow after work.
And then, if that works, I’ll send him back for another 2 of them.
And we’ll build one of the shelving units we have in boxes in the basement and hook up lights for 3 shelves and then I’ll have 2 plant stands and 4 shelves to grow seedlings!
Not that I’m excited about growing seedling for the garden or anything…
Oh no.
Not me.
Not even a little bit.
😂😂😂
Okay…maybe a little bit.

We’re a week into the first round of incubation.
I haven’t candled the eggs yet.
Maybe tonight, if I remember.
Not sure how many are going to be good…I had to collect for 6 days before I had enough, which is longer than I like to collect eggs for.
After that polar vortex ripped through here, the hens were withholding eggs like crazy.
Down from 60ish a day to 8…if I was lucky.
They’re on the upswing now, which is good because in 2 weeks Ima need aaaaallllll the greens and blues they’ll give me.
I always collect as many of those as I can for hatching, then fill in with the browns.
Those genetic egg pictures tell me my big roos from brown eggs crossed on blue and green egg layers should give me more green eggs…
I love me some colour in my egg basket.
😉

This is Miracle the Rooster…and nice side eye from that black hen there…🙄

See? Big rooster.
This guy’s name is Miracle.
He came to us a year ago on NYE with 2 other boys and a group of hens.
A friend needed to rehome her birds and asked if I was interested.
Yup!
Now, this guy and his 2 brothers were originally called Larry, Darryl and Darryl (google it if you don’t get the reference 😉 ), but this summer and fall we had no end of trouble with that damn coyote.
Bastard got the other Darryl and we thought got this Darryl too…
Until the evening (because that stinking coyote was brazen enough to be picking my birds off in the middle of the damn day!) and we were bbq’ing and my Kid goes dashing off the deck yelling “rooster!!”
And I’m like “wtf?!?” as she runs to the pasture fence, climbs over, then climbs back with this rooster in her arms…well, he was short some tail feathers and he was definitely in shock, but we couldn’t find any other injuries on him.
So we banded his leg and re-named him Miracle because it’s a damn miracle he got away from the coyote!
Lemme tell ya, he’s a lot more careful how far he lets his hens go and he sure does make sure they listen and scuttle their feathered butts back to safety the *second* he says so…
He’s a lucky boy to still be alive and he knows it!
Hopefully he teaches the other roosters to be just as diligent with their ladies.
(though thankfully we haven’t seen Wile E since the last time we fired shots at his rear end…)

So we’re ready for March.
Looks like it’s coming in like a Lamb, and I’ll be expecting it to go out like one too.
Either way, we’re ready for spring, for building, for gardening, for the growing season overall.

And maybe a nap or two too. 😉

It’s That Time Of Year

Oh boy oh boy…
I’m soooooo itchy to get things going!
The only thing keeping me from firing up the incubators is the darn cold.
*Still* under an extreme cold watch.
It’s been 10 days straight.
That’s just crazy.
Hopefully tonight it’ll end…tomorrow?
Soon. It’s gotta end soon.

But here I’m thinking about ordering my meat chicks.
In fact, this week I have to buy layer feed again.
With this cold, the birbs are blowing through feed like crazy.
Like.
Crazy.
3 25kg bags typically go 2 1/2-3 weeks.
Pfft.
I think we’re at a week and a half, and we’re gonna need for this weekend.
So, yeah…effing cold.
When I place my next feed order, I’ll order my meat chickens and 10 white turkeys.
Now that I have a better grasp on raising turkeys, I figure I should be able to raise the whites.
Hopefully.
Looking forward to putting a whole bunch of turkey into the freezer.
🤤🤤🤤

And once the order goes in, Hubby has his orders for building.
We need a whole separate brooder for turkeys.
The biggest thing we did wrong last year was not keep them in the brooder with high protein feed longer.
My Narragansett crew did ah-mazing staying in the brooder for almost 4 months before getting outdoor time.
And I tell you, they are hardy af!
This cold snap, they’ve been out doing turkey races over the snow drifts like maniacs!
So hopefully they breed and lay like nuts come spring time, because we need more of them. 😉
But whites are a raise for meat, short season bird only.
So they’ll spend a good long time in the brooder, then get some outdoor free ranging time away from chickens before going to Freezer Camp.
And we can’t have them tying up the brooder that cycles chicken chicks through it throughout the summer…which means building work for Hubby…well, all of us, really.

Then we needs a shelter in the old pig yard for ducks.
We’re changing that yard from pigs to the ducks full time.
We’ll rip out the pallet fence, replace it with stucco wire, and put up some windbreak boards as well.
We’re looking at making it the year round duck yard, so we have to account for the snow that blows in there.
To go with the new shelter (that we’ll be able to lock ducks in at ight to protect them from coyotes) we’re planning on a few broody boxes…that can also be closed up at night to protect broody ducks and their eggs from predators.
This is the design I’m thinking about:

Image shamelessly stolen from Google.

I want to make those fronts removable though, so that once ducklings hatch, Mama Ducks can take them out and teach them all the things bebes need to be taught.
But those fronts would be easy to close up to protect everyone too…

And it’s almost time to start pepper seeds.
I just need a bag (or two) of potting soil to get going.
Peppers take longer than tomatoes to start, so they’ll be going in the next week.
Than ground cherries.
If the damn things will ever germinate for me.
🙄
They are sooooo tasty, and supposed to be super prolific. But I can’t get even 1 seed to start.
Stupid things.
I’ll try again, because I have the seeds, but I might through them in the garden and see if they’ll volunteer if nothing happens indoors.

And that’s where we’re at.
I’m itching to get busy, but it’s not quite time, and we’re not quite ready.
Sooooooooon, though.
Very, very soon.
🙂

Ruby says this cold snap is equine excrement. I agree.

It’s Here!!!!

The new incubator arrived last night…

Can’t I haz the big box?

Yeah the box is huge.
The incubator is huge.
It can hold 56 chicken eggs, so I shoulda realized how huge it was gonna be.
D’oh!
That’s okay.
I have a spot for it, as well as the first (smaller) incubator.
This year‘s hatching is about to start!
🙂

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