Canadian Thanksgiving

Well, that’s in the books for another year.
We don’t actually celebrate it, so for us it was just another weekend of trying to get things done before winter. More roosters need doing, but we were getting hammered by rain so that got put off.
We did get some yard clean up done between rains.
Plus we got the roosters separated so that we can just get up and go on the next not-rainy day.

That was supposed to be Saturday, because the next 3 days after today is rain, and today is a Loop pickup day so we need the 2nd fridge for some of that stuff…
Oh, but then this morning?
I get the text that our pig is ready to pick up.
Awesome, right?
Absolutely!
But now Saturday is pick up the pig and process it day…because we pick up the pig live, bring it home and do all the work here.
Saves us a couple hundred dollars doing it that way, and we are very happy with the family that raises the pig for us.
They have the same #HappyFoodTastesBetter values that we do.
And they have a better porcine set up.
So I am happy af to buy a finished pig to put down in the Fall while focusing on poultry on my Farm.

But the work…
O.M.G.
Like I said, I’ll sleep come winter.

Garden is still producing.
With the rains over the next few days, we shouldn’t frost, though we’re hovering awful close to it.
I am hoping that it holds off a wee bit longer, since my peppers are not ripe yet.
I really, really don’t want to buy poblano or paprika seeds next year, so I need those dang peppers to ripen!
The beans are being left now to grow seed for next year.
What ever is out there will get harvested after the frost and further dried to seed for the yellow, Painted pony and Royal Burgandy varieties. The pintos will just be left and tarped over. I have a *lot* of pinto seeds. lol

And carrots and beets can be left for a couple weeks yet, since they’re underground.
Thank goodness, since I am not ready to pull them yet.
So as soon as I see a frost warning, I’ll pick the peppers, tomatoes and ground cherrys, then let the plants die off. Once the bean seeds are harvested and the beets/carrots too, we can tarp the entire space and let her go to sleep for winter.
It’s coming fast.

In the meantime, we’re just going along, trying to get as much done as possible.
Butchering, building, and trying to stay sane.
😂😂😂
That last one in the toughest one.

Here’s Homer J…who, it has been determined, is a hen.
YAY!!
So next year we’ll have Homer J bebes.
I’m very happy she’s a hen. She’s growing into a beauty of a duck (not that you can tell with all the mud on her), and she’s my pal. 😉
Today we’re working on the winter duck coop so Homer J and everyone else can have a nice warm space to snuggle on those
c-c-c-old winter nights.
🙂

It’s Fall Y’all

September 22nd, and so far, so good…we have not had a frost.
We better not for a bit yet.
I figure after hitting me with frost on the first day of Summer, Mother Nature owes me a long, warm Fall for things to ripen on the plants, before finishing the garden with a killing frost.
I’m hopeful.
I know better than try to demand *anything* of Mother Nature.
😂😂😂
Plus, we’re still working on building.
Building takes all 3 of us, so that only happens on the weekends.
Which is why The Kid and I are in full on butchering mode from here on ’til all the birbs going Camping are done.

Today it’s the geese.
I’m so done with their shitty geese attitudes.
Hey, they’re fun!
They have all sorts of hilarious idiosyncrasies, but…they’re dicks.
And I’m sure that’s because we didn’t handle them enough from the time we got them.
If we decide to get a small flock of them next year, that will change.
But for this year, they’re going Camping.
Still the best 5 turkeys I ever spent.

Then this weekend, we’re doing roosters and the white turkeys.
It’s time for those turkeys, it really is.
They are big, big, birbs.
And getting them into the freezer will cut down the feed bill immensely.

Of the other turkeys, the 5 of 16 who survived out initial issues in the spring (unbeknownst to us, mold in the brooder) 4 were hens, 1 was a tom.
Well, I can’t keep 3 toms.
Oscar and Dingus are my 2 breeding boys.
Jake was odd boy out.
So he was on the block…until we got our water line fixed and I promised a breeding pair to Joe the plumber.
On Sunday, Jake went to his new home, with a hen from his age group, at Joe’s place.
I think Jake will be very happy there.
After that, I have the littles that hatched out in June to finish growing out.
6 for a friend, then I’ll choose my extra keeper hens, and the rest go camping.
Unless Joe wants another hen to go with his current pair.
But we’ll see what happens between now and the time they get to size enough to run with the bigs.
Once the whites are done, that will happen sooner…those darn whites are just too big to let the littles run with the whole flock…they don’t understand their strength or bulk.
All in all, I don’t think the whites are cost effective (I’ll know better when I have an idea on carcass size), but they’re a lot of fun.
I mean, turkeys are just fun to raise.
I would raise them, the whites, again.
Next time though, I will give them more scraps and veggies as options, earlier.
These guys were freaked out by watermelon.
But they love, love, love hard boiled eggs.
But scrambled eggs are scary.
And bread/bakery stuff?
It’s gonna kill them. Jump up off the ground and murder them.
I call them my stupid children for a reason…
lol
So yeah, having them less picky feed wise, especially with Loop as feed supplement, would be soooo nice.
But I can work on that next year. If we order whites.

Once all is said and done, everyone who needs to be in the freezer is there, then I’ll sit down and run the numbers, figure out what was worth doing, what needs changing and, if we have a white turkey or two for sale, what the cost will be…
I *know* it’s not going to be anywhere like grocery store prices.
Ain’t no $0.99/lb birds here. Ever.
But, well raised food shouldn’t *be* that cheap.
The only way we get food that cheap is by cutting corners, or by raisers and growers losing money.
Well, neither is a good answer to me.
Sorry.
Food is life, and we need to be willing to pay what it’s worth.
And yes, I do understand that some cannot afford my prices.
At some point though, I think we need to shift our perspective on what whole, good nutrition is and what it’s worth.
My turkeys might go for what some feel is an unreasonable price, but if you make the most of the entire bird, you’re coming out ahead.
A friend mentioned, last time she was here, she got 50 meals for herself and her husband from a 25lb turkey. 50!!
That’s what we have to return to.
Slow food cooking, hands on preparations, no more convenience (or make our own convenience) foods…
Real.
Whole.
Well raised.
Humanely dispatched.
Beak to tail feather consumption.
Not just the choice parts and toss the rest.
That’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable. It’s not ethical.

I’ve said it many times, and I’ll keep saying it…
I will shout it from the rooftops!

Happy Food Tastes Better

And I guaran-damn-tee my food animals are happy right up until their one bad day.
The way it should be.

It Has Begun…

Last week we ran a Freezer Camp for the cornish meat chickens.
The ones we did could have used a bit more time to bulk up, but we’re going ahead with getting them done by the end of this week.
And it’s the last time I’m raising cornish chickens.
I’m so done with these guys.
The last few years, the quality of chick seems to be declining.
I don’t know why, and I’m not accusing the hatchery of anything.
We just haven’t had them grow as well as they should and this year we’ve had far, far too many broken bones.
Not just legs either.
And then with last week’s thunder storm, we lost more than 15 of them because they piled up on each other in the coop (even though the coop was wide open and they were free to come and go as they please) and smothered each other.
So, out of 75 chicks, once I finish butchering them this week, we’ll have 35 birds.
That is ridiculous.

Meanwhile, my home hatched roosters?
Not a single loss.
28 in the bachelor pen and when the thunder was rumbling, they were screaming right back at it.
😂😂😂
So next year we’re focusing on home hatched/raised birds.
No more cornish meats to die on a whim or because a fly farted too close to them.
Hardy dual purpose backyard crosses, bred for size, flavor and hardiness.
And maybe we can encourage people to come back to eating slow food through our breeding program.
The roosters are best cooked low and slow…they’re crockpot food, not fast frying.
But that long slow cook extracts all the nutritional goodness out of them, so it really is the best way.
For when we want bbq, I remove the breasts, brine or marinate them, and then roast the rest of the carcass.

So I hope we can encourage people to embrace slow food (which with the prevalence of instapots these days, doesn’t even need to be slow) and move away from the supermarket chicken.
Who knows…we’ll see.
We simply can’t bear the financial losses that go with cornish anymore.

But what goes with running a Freezer Camp is the inevitable roasting of backs/necks/carcasses, making bone broth and then the canning of the meat bits and broth.
That’s where I am today.
On the roasting part.
So the house, even though it’s hot af again, smells like delicious roasted chicken.
Needless to say, we’re having some sort of chicken dish for supper tonight.
😂😂😂

The garden is ramping up well.
Beans are producing.
I have the rows of royal burgundys to pick and can. Same with the yellows.
I have to get more mulch in around the pintos…they’re starting to blossom, and the weeds are fighting hard to take over.
So I’ll pull weeds, feed the geeses and mulch, mulch, mulch.
We had a small meal from the Painted Pony beans.
They were tasty, but I was disappointed with the strings. I hadn’t realized how tough the strings on them were.
So I’m on the fence about growing them again.
Love, love, love them for the name and provenance (named for the American Paint Horse…and we know how Wolfie feels about them APHA gals, right? 😉 ) but if they’re tough and stringy, I’ll find a better heirloom bean for us (royal burgundys).

I’m eating radish seed pods like crazy.
Nom. Nom. Nom.
I did not know before this year how damn tasty they are!
I’ve marked out a few plants that I’m going to let seed pods dry on so that we have radish seeds for next year, but aside from those few, I’m eating, eating, eating.
The black radishes are huge.
Size of my fist and bigger.
So I plan to ferment some.
Fermented radishes are yummy.
Really, really, yummy.
And easy to do.
But we’ve never had huge ones like this that I could ferment…and we’ve always just eaten them from the garden with salt, or in potato salad. Now I have enough to ferment.
That’s on the list to do this week.
Might even sneak a beet into a jar with some radishes.
*drools* I love the idea of fermented radishes and beets together.
Hopefully it tastes as good in real life as it does in my head.
😂😂😂

And now off to work for me, because I have 19 chicken carcasses in my oven waiting for me…but to finish the post with a picture of my APHA gal…because no matter what, I will always love her and will never have a day where I don’t think of her. ❤

❤ Cookie ❤

The Most Exhausting Time of the Year

This weekend we’re running our first Rooster Rehab of the year.
😂😂😂

Exhausting is the correct word for it.
But my first and second hatches have resulted in 28 roos currently in the bachelor pen, with a few extra wandering with the cornish meat birds…oh, it’s time for the 28 to go Camping.

Somehow, after a huge Loop pickup last week that has stuffed our 2nd fridge to bursting while the birbs, cats and Daphne have been eating like Kings and Queens all week, I have to find space to let the roosters we process rest for a day or two before parting for the freezer.
Lady Bless, I think I need a 3rd fridge for birb feed!

But, I’m sure not complaining!
The animals are loving this extra feed, and I’m loving keeping the food out of the landfill.

The funniest thing though, has been the turkeys with their watermelon.
😂😂😂
So after they nearly killed me for strawberries and raspberries, I really thought watermelon would be just as exciting.
I mean, how could it not be, right?
Well…as it turns out, watermelons are terrifying.
The turkey are beyond sure that it wants to kill them.
They circled it for a few days and decided “Nope, not eating that”
😂😂😂

Scroll through ^^^ so you can see how wary the turkeys were of that killer melon.
OMG.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
I ended up shoveling it up and giving it to the chickens…who demolished it in seconds.
😂😂😂

Anyways, I still have a bunch of produce and breads to dole out to the birds, and because it’s been sooooo hot, I have it stuffed into the spare fridge…where birds need to rest after butchering.
It’s a good problem to have, having more food than space.
Just means that the birds will be eating more produce this weekend, so I can fit Freezer Campers in for a bit.

One of the other things we were given last pickup is honey.
Honey doesn’t go bad, but, in order to sell it in stores, it does get an expiry date, and stores can’t sell it past that date.
I, however, can still use the amazing containers of raw unpasteurized manuka honey we were given for our Palomino Princess. Y’see, honey is what I use for any cuts, scrapes, and booboos on our mare.
See the link below for why:

Honey in wound care

It’s perfect for healing those wounds without any scarring.
Thank goodness, or our Girl would be one big walking scar!
😂😂😂

The other type of honey we were given is golden paste honey, with tumeric in it.
Now this…this is valuable stuff for a horse with arthritis…especially that Girl who has an arthritic tmj which makes eating difficult in some weather conditions.
Golden paste is touted as excellent for treating arthritis in horses, dogs and humans.
Welp, we shall see how our Blonde Girl does on it.
All this honey and it’s perfect for her!
Plus, it’s not in the landfill.
I call that a win-win situation.

In other news, we had found 2 abandoned, don’t know where they hatched, can’t find any sign of their hatching anywhere, ducklings in the duck yard one night this week.
So we brought them inside.
One has since succumbed to injuries (because hens are assholes, and will happily kill baby ducks) but the 2nd is strong and loud. And kinda dumb, because he/she keeps getting their head stuck in the sides of the cage they are in.
So we’ve named him/her Homer.
😂😂😂

This weekend is also “clear out all the old eggs from all the nests we know of” weekend.
It’s late in the season now, and I don’t want any more surprise hatchlings.
Did I tell y’all about the hen who hatched out a clutch of ducklings??
Yeah so there’s 9 week old duckling in the brooder int he Little Red Shed.
*sigh*
So many birbs.
So much potential tastiness.
And 12 the Turkey is sitting on another nest.
I’m taking those away from her too…
No more turkeys this year!
I’ve got a brooder full that hasn’t gotten outdoor time yet because of the damn smoke from the wildfires.
No.
More.
Poults!
(she said with a quiet longing to scoop up the eggs and put them in the incubator)
😂😂😂

So there we have it…busy af, as usual.
And taking eggs away from birds who want to have babies.
That’s my life right now.

How are the rest of y’all doing?

Oh, plus here’s a picture for Feline Friday:

Maxamillion!

Catch more Feline Friday posts over at Sandee’s place, Comedy Plus.

And have a great weekend folks!
🙂


Catch Up

So it’s been a while.
Mostly because we’ve been busy.
Chasing after a few hundred birds and keeping them alive and well in sweltering heat and smokey conditions has left us…

Exhausted.

Up at 4am, passed out in the chair by 9pm and up again at 10pm to get all the birds into their safe beds for the night…there is no such thing as getting them to go to the coops before it’s dark.
Birds are assholes that way.

Yesterday we picked up 10 freebie roosters.
They’re in a quarantine bachelor pen until they’re big enough to go to Freezer Camp.

Today we (well, mostly MCFHubby) moved Ripple the Duck and her 5 abducted children out of the meat chicken house (she was sitting her own nest in there with 2 other ducks…1 duck’s clutch hatched before Ripple’s, so Ripple stole her ducklings and abandoned her own nest) and then closed up the front side of the meat chicken house to become the next bachelor pen.
From here on out, as we put chickens to bed at night, we’ll scoop up roosters from the first hatcher group and put them in there. They are just a few weeks away from going Camping, and are starting to crow and enjoy their testosterone…which means their jumping on every hen they can catch, no matter the size. And that means off to the “boys only” area.

Yesterday I had to cull a couple of cornish that had been too badly “used” by those teenaged roosters.
*sigh*
This really is the worst part of raising roosters for the freezer…that line where they are nice young boys to when they turn into horny teens who’ll hump anything is a fine one…and sadly, these 2 birbs paid for me missing it.
But, I was able to save their carcass to put into the crockpot to feed the elderly house cat who shrieks endlessly day and night for her roasted chicken.
At least there is that.

Garden is growing well…

I pulled out the garlic, because the tops had died right back. Not the greatest of crops, but better than last year, so I’m happy. A few more pics here:

And more garden pics here:

And the goose babies are growing like crazy.
Eating garden weeds and grocery store salads from the Loop pickups like crazy.
They come running, singing everytime they see the recycling bin of greens coming.
They did not care for the strawberries, but that’s okay.
The turkeys tried to kill me for them
😂😂😂
Literally, tried to knock me down to get the strawberries from me.
Who knew turkeys would be so…excitable for berries???
Next task is to make a safe yard area for the turkey babies to get some outside time.
They’re growing leaps and bounds and really need to start getting outside. But, their brooder was moved into the turkey yard (where it’s supposed to be) and I have to create a smaller yard within that yard for them to come out and the big birbs can’t be dirty rotten assholes to them. 😉

We have 7 ducklings that were hatched this year that are growing nicely.
2 are still house ducks (Oreo and Poop Machine) but once MCFHubby builds them a smaller brooder for on the deck, that will change.
We also have a smaller coop that was given to us when a friend left her Farm, that we’re fixing up a bit that can become a duckling space.
It’s all the time thing, right?
Hubby is working long hours and it’s hot and it’s hard to get things done…but we’re doing what we can.

And I’m cutting grass every damn place I can for hay.
Last weekend we heard from our Hay Guy, asking if we need for the winter…
Um, yes please!
But the drought here is so prevalent, I am worried af that he won’t have for us.
That means I’m searching for other options and praying that there’s enough money to afford them.

It’s been a scary year for owners of hay eating animals.
Worse than the last few drought-ish years.
Like it’s still July and for us to hear from our Hay Guy now???
Terrifying.
Not even kidding about that.
😥
But we’ll figure something out…It’s not like the nags are going anywhere.
Even if it *were* a possibility, every horse owner in the province is in the same boat, so the only place they could go if we had to get rid of them is to auction…that means a trip to the meat truck.
And that is **NOT** an option.
So we’ll figure something out.

We’re still plugging away on the greenhouse.
Still trying to find someone to come fix our leaking well line.
Still working on the newest garden space.
Working, working, working.

Food Security

I have been writing this post, in some form or another, for months.
I keep shelving it, because…I don’t know…
In a previous blog, in my city life, I wrote about food security a lot.
This isn’t something new to me.
This isn’t a new sudden fad laden passion.
Food security has been an issue on my radar, on my plate, for quite literally years.
And I’m gonna say this point blank now…

Y’all got to get right with your food supplies.

Not now, but yesterday.
I ain’t even kidding when I say there’s some scary shit going on with the food supply and it’s going to get way worse before it gets better.
Abattoirs are shutting down due to covid.
Even a brief shut down creates a shortage until they get caught back up.
It also leaves farmers in limbo with animals that need to go into the food system.
If there’s no where to ship them to be processed to hit the store shelves, what do you do?
Especially when the next round of animals is coming up to go into the slot where your to-be-shipped animals are?
It’s a delicate dance, getting enough food out to the masses and disruptions cause massive issues.
Now, this is a huge problem with centralized abattoirs.
When you shut down smaller plants across the country to create bigger plants in only a few locations…well, shortages can happen easy effing peasy.

Now, I’m sure some are out there saying “well, eat less meat”.
Sure.
But you all realize that the bulk of on farm workers when it comes to vegetable/grain harvesting is migrant workers right?
Even in Canada?
Which is why we had such issues with veggies on store shelves over the summer, because covid made getting the migrant workers here an issue.
Yes, yes, yes, Canadians *could* do the jobs.
But, let’s be brutally honest here…
1. Many Canadians are not willing to do the back breaking work in the fields.
Like it or not, that’s just how it is.
2. The pay ain’t great. Again, like it or not, the pay just isn’t as good as it should be.
And we’re ***ALL*** responsible for that.
Why?
Because no one wants to pay enough for their fruits and veggies that would be the equivalent of a fair wage for workers and farmers both.
So, cheap food for consumers has a cost.
A human cost.
I’ve said it many times…cheap on the shelf ain’t cheap.
Someone, or something, is still paying the cost so you can have cheap.
🤷‍♀️

So I’ll say it again:

Get right with your food supply.

Get to know local farmers, plant a garden, grow everything you can, put up as much as you can, buy local, support local, investigate the 100 mile diet.
Honest to Dog, you can’t afford not to.

Chicken pic just because…

Down Sizing

This morning while I did the chores, I marveled at how fast things were being done lately. Then I realized it’s because were down to 3 coops for the birds, in just 2 yards.

The turkeys and adult ducks in one coop together, the young ducks who aren’t ready to be in the big duck coop in another, and the main chicken coop.
I must admit, it’s nice to have everyone together, making things go faster.
Especially since we’re haying the nags now.

At one point in the summer, we had 8 coops (temporary and permanent) going at once.
That, my friends, is a lot of birds.
😂😂😂

For next year, though, I need a couple more bachelor coops.
This year we had too many roosters boys in one place a few times, and that can lead to fighting.
That was usually in the days leading up to butcher day, because the last thing you want to be doing on butcher day is chasing roos…so we separate them a few days (up to a week) before.
I’d rather have a couple smaller coops/yards that they can have more space and freedom with a yard so that they’re happier.
Being raised for food doesn’t make them any less deserving of excellent care.

So that’s another task added on for winter/spring.
With hopes of building a bigger/second layer coop as well.

One thing we learned with this year is that people are more interested in local foods.
I’m telling you, I cannot keep up on egg orders.
I used to post 15-20 dozen for sale on a Monday and be sold out by Thursday, or sometimes have left overs…
Now?
Backlogged.
I don’t even have a chance to post eggs for sale.
People are messaging me to get on a wait list.
So…my plan?
More laying hens.
😂😂😂

I can have up to 300 laying hens to be able to still sell farmgate.
Once I have 301, I have to be a part of the local egg monopoly.
Thanks, but I’m not interested in that…so I’ll be hovering around the 280 mark for hens…eventually.
Once we have coops built for them.

So for now, we’ve downsized.
But soon enough, we’ll be upsizing.
🙂

Tomorrow…

Tomorrow we fire up the incubators.
I’ll have collected the last of the eggs I need to run 2 full batches.
In 3 weeks we could have as many as 80 chicks.
Depending on fertility.
There’s too many roosters in the coop right now, so I know just about every hen is getting a little lovin’.
😂😂😂
If the weather holds, there will be at least 5 less roos next weekend.
I have to count how many boys there are for sure.
I know the 3 big orpington/wyandotte cross boys are staying.
Everyone else is going to Freezer Camp.
That’ll give some of the “favorite” hens a chance to recover and regrow feathers where the boys have been a bit too exuberant.

But that’s next week.

This week, tomorrow, we set eggs for hatching.
And start pepper seeds.

Today?
Today we rest.

Ruby

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Recover
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Random Chicken Picture

Today is Friday the 13th.
Tonight is the full moon.
It’s also the Harvest Moon.

I am hoping that it’s nice enough tonight that I can get out and take some pictures of the moon.
Weather network tells me it’s supposed to be clear, so fingers crossed!

In the meantime, here’s a random chicken picture.

They’re both from my first ever hatching.
White one is a rooster. Handsome devil, but not likely to stay in the breeding program.
The other one, well, not sure if that’s the hen or the roo…we’ve got a few with colours like that.
I still haven’t decided which rooster I plan on keeping out of the 2 hatches.
We easily have enough hens for 2 boys, so we’ll keep a 2nd for extra hatching eggs come spring.
Next Fall, we’ll look for new blood and swap out at least one of the boys.
Or, sometime during hatching season, I’ll buy some eggs from someone and hatch out with hopes of getting a new rooster.

We’ll see when the time comes.

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee.
🙂

Glamour Shots

What do you get with a 3’x5′ mirror and a whole bunch of chicks, varying in age from 1 week to just about 4 weeks?

Chicken glamour shots.
That’s what you get.
🙂

Berg’s brown laying chick…

Columbia Plymouth Rock X Red chick…

C.Rock X and Berg’s brown in the back…

This is one of the 18 easter egger chicks we got a few weeks ago…I don’t know breed other than that.
Hen or rooster?
I’m sure someone with more bird experience than me can tell, but I don’t know. 😉 It’s just cute…in an ugly bird sorta way. lol