Here we are, one of my least favorite months. I don’t like the turn towards cold. As I get older, I’m feeling the cold more and more. And I don’t like it. It’s also the month that my Cookie died. So I tend to be a wee bit…emotional. lol
As of last night, our winter hay is on the yard. So, I am over the frickin’ moon grateful for that. Our Hay Guy is a genuine Good Human. And in this day and age, those sorts of folks are becoming fewer and harder to find. But he’s a gooder, just like the people who introduced us to him. 🙂
And we have hay. So The Merry Mares get to eat.
Next up to get home, straw bales. We have 6 big rounds waiting for us with the same Farm family we bought Sir Oinks A Lot from. This weekend we’ll pick those up. Then we’ll get a couple bags of hay replacer (for those super cold days where the horses need a little extra but oats are too hard for our CinderBella to eat) and our yearly allotment of oats.
Then we’re good for feed for all the animals for a while. We still have the Loop pickups to supplement and we’re so grateful for those. A friend has a bunch of pumpkins for us too…which is gonna make the bippies (our bunch of ducklings we bought in late summer) the happiest of happy bippies. Bippies can strip a raw pumpkin down to nothing in 10.2 seconds. I *love* that I don’t have to cook the pumpkins for them!! Though, I will cook off a couple to freeze for winter for equines. Pumpkin is just as good for horse tummies as it is for dogs.
And, we have some nice weather for the next week, so I’m working on the next garden space… While working on putting the current garden to bed. It’s all happening, just slowly. This nice weather has been awesome for our heat bill…since I haven’t turned the heat on yet. Tonight is gonna be out coldest night of the week, so extra blankets and sweaters and slippers and we’ll be just fine. Even if I complain about it. 😉 Not that complaining will do any good. Winter is coming. I’ll just have to deal with it.
We’re back into a heat wave, with no rain in sight. I think this is the driest I’ve ever seen it. We need rain. Bad.
The heat makes getting things done a little more difficult. I feel like I’m melting. lol So the birds get let out at the hint of dawn, while it’s still (relatively) cool. I’ve been working on weeding the garden early too…which doesn’t happen some days because the sprinkler needs to run to keep the food plants alive and that has to happen early too. Truthfully, I’ve been feeling a bit defeated by our garden this year. At least…until this morning. When I saw that some tomato plants have rebounded from what I thought was certain death in our June 21st frost. The irony, right? First day of real summer and we get hit with a killing frost?
So I was excited to see a handful of tomatoes in the mulch, with several having blooms on them! *swoons* I might get a tomato sandwich yet this year! And this morning, while I was weeding the thistles, I discovered a fair bit of our corn was up…and quite tall already. Just hidden in the thistles. So there’s hope for that too. I planted mostly feed corn (for homemade libations, if y’know what I mean 😉 ) and for the silk. Corn silk is dried for tea for a handful of things, including inflammation and urinary health. I’m happy to find a few stalks coming up amidst my thistles…which I have also been harvesting and drying for teas. Thistle is excellent for your liver (I’m hard on mine 😂😂😂 I admit it). Plus the goose bebes love it! I had hoped to harvest flowers for a mead, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
Stinging nettles will be collected this weekend for stinging nettle beer. I was supposed to do it earlier in the week, but by the time I got the basic chores done, I just wanted to melt…so tomorrow morning I’ll don my gloves and pick a whole bunch of them.
Oh, and we have another house duck…temporarily, of course…
I hadn’t planned on this one coming in, but the hen was in a poor spot when she hatched them, and chickens killed the rest of the clutch off…so we snagged this little and brought her in. She’s been named Oreo. I am hoping this is a hen, because she’s just so darn pretty! And we don’t need anymore drakes…extra boys are Freezer Campers.
And, our final round of incubation is finishing up. Pipping and peeping started in the incubators yesterday. By the end of the weekend, everyone who was going to hatch, will have hatched. And we’ll be done ’til next February. All that’ll be left is the butchering. Which should start in a couple of weeks, as some of our first hatcher roosters are close to size now. Then my weeks will be filled with butcher, process, can, sleep, repeat. Until the end of November or so. 😂😂😂
This weekend will be a fiery hot one, but we still have the final wall of the greenhouse to build, then we put it up… And I have hay to cut. And more weeds in the garden. And a fence line to move. And boxes to flatten and lay out over the next garden area (to kill the grass). And somewhere in there, some sleep… 😂😂😂
We’ll get done what we can, and keep picking at the rest. That’s just how it is. 🙂
I’ve fallen a bit behind in getting everything into the garden. What’s in is growing well though! We’ve had a couple days of really good rains, which we’ve needed sooooo bad!
Now I have weeds galore…but a lot of the weeds are Lamb’s Quarters, which is awesome, because they’re edible. Last year I put a whole bunch of them into the freezer (after we ate a lot too) for winter use. This year, I’m hoping to save some seed from them, and instead of buying spinach seeds, I’ll plant rows of Lamb’s Quarters. Free food is the bestest foods. 😉
Speaking of… We had another round of pinto beans given to us. Last year we grew many, many pintos. They were wonderufl eaten as a green bean and canned beautifully. Well, we still have a lot fo the growing ones to plant for a few years (I’ve been sharing them with anyone who wants some to grow too), so this round? I decided to expriment cooking with them. Y’see, the fellow they come from gets them from a farmer, for his birds. But they’re not cleaned, and I was hesitant to cook them for us. I don’t know why. I buy bags of wheat from our local farmer to process for beer and bread, so, I don’t know what made me hesitate on the beans.
But last week I soaked a bunch of pintos with some kidney beans and made a crock pot full of pork and beans (after having made a huge pork roast with many left overs). And we’re still alive. 😂😂😂 Of course, Hubby tells me afterwards that the guy he’s getting the beans from has been feeding them to his family since the beginning…and I’m over here not…
So now we have an abundance of beans for eating as well as planting. Once the garden is done, and the yearly butchering is done, I’ll put up a few dozen jars of pork and beans. Just because it’s nice to be able to pull something off the shelf for a quick and easy meal.
As for the garden, today we’ll get the rest of the beans planted and tomorrow the tomatoes transplanted. I’ll stick a few other things in here and there…but that should do it. I was hoping to get a few rows of feed corn in (whiskey makin’s) but we’ll see what’s left for room after the beans go in today. Might not be room this year.
On the waterline front, we’ve had a couple businesses out for quotes to fix our leak. 1 was someone I really, really don’t want to work with. Um, vibes were horrible, and yeah…I’m not a fan of misogynistic old farts treating me like garbage…and wanting to way over charge me because he’s “doing me a favor”. Uh, no. You’d be doing your job.
The 2nd company, we’re just waiting for his quote and when he can get to us. Drought has made things very, very busy for well companies. But this guy…yeah, I’m happy to work with him. Thoughtful, knew his stuff, respectful and friendly…and his helper was the same. So yeah. Just waiting for this to go forward. And then we hope it will be a straightforward fix. But who the hell knows what he’s going to find once he starts digging. So, wish us luck that this is an easy peasy dig up and fix then fill in job.
Finally, I’ve sharpened up the scythe, because it’s time! It’s haying time. My first task is to cut in the front pasture where we haven’t allowed the nags to go yet. It’s long and tall and they much prefer to eat it after it’s had a first cut off…if the grass is too tall, they’re not so interested in it. So I grab a first cut for hay and then we turn them out to enjoy.
Lazy girls, lounging around while their Food Lady is working her rump off to put food up for them for winter. 😂😂😂
I knew it! I just…knew it. That nice weather last week was lulling us into a false sense of security. Mother Nature said “oh, yeah! Go right ahead and plant out your tenders…your tomatoes and peppers and pumpkin starts…I promise, I’ll take care of them!” And here we are. Shivering because I’m too damn stubborn to turn the heat back on. It’s currently +3c with the wind it feels like 0* So had I planted like I really, really wanted to, my tender plants would be toast. 😂😂😂 Nice try Mother Nature. But not this year. I fought myself for a few days and then said “Wolfie, honey…it’s only the 3rd week of May. You are gonna get frost. Be. Patient.” Well, glad I listened to myself, because, here we are. Frost last night, frost tonight. But my carrots, peas, and beets are planted and I’m ready to go on onions, radishes, greens and a few other cool weather crops. Then I can look towards the warmer days/nights ahead for the plants and the beans and corn.
I am still waiting to hear from the local greenhouse to let me know when I can pick up my plant order from them. Though, with the cooler temps. I’m happy to let *them* baby my plants a little while longer!
So my food production for today included putting 40 turkey eggs into the incubator. To go with the 19 I set last week in the small incubator. The eggs in the small one though, are being split with another farm. I think mentioned this already, a friend had Sweetgrass turkey hatching eggs, and I set them to hatch. Well, I also had 7 of my Narragansett eggs ready to go in, so all in they went. Our deal was to split whatever hatched from the Sweetgrass, but I figure the whole set is fair to split. Since I have extras in the big ‘bator, I have no issues whatsoever counting my 7 Narragansett into the split deal.
My hope is, as always, for an abundant hatch. Of the eggs in the big incubator, all the hens will stay on for eggs/hatching. Any boys will have the most excellent of life before going on to Freezer Camp. I hope that of the ones going to Freezer Camp there will be enough of them to offer a few for sale (after we take care of family and friends). We still have people interested in well raised, home slaughtered birds, and I would love to have more to offer for sale. And that’s why hens are staying on…our two toms Oscar and Dingus need more girls (5 hens to 2 toms is not ideal!) and welp, food is not going to get cheaper or easier to get. Especially well cared for, well raised, happy food. I want to be you #HappyFoodTastesBetter dealer. 😂😂😂
And my other food production thing today was the finding and very much enjoying Les Stroud’s website for his latest project: Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest
Les had a show years ago called “SurvivorMan”. He was dropped off in remote locations, just him and his cameras, for 7 days. And he had very, very limited tools to work with. I really enjoyed the shows. Now he’s exploring foraging, hunting and using all that he finds. I’m telling you, it’s one more piece in the puzzle, foraging is. So I’ll be binging that for a while. Testing recipes where I can. Soaking in the knowledge. Trying to stay warm for the next couple of days.
Today we have a whole lot of work on the schedule. I mean, it’s a Farm, so when don’t we? But this weekend is the weekend where we get a lot more done in the garden.
We live on flat, bald arsed prairie. I fell in love with the place because it was what we were needing when we were looking for a famr…but if I were to do this again? I mighta kept looking. We have very few trees (most we planted ourselves), we’re surrounded by grain fields (our big field is leased out to a local guy…same guy we get the bulk of our feed from), and we have the shittiest neighbour across the road (but those happen everywhere, so there’s no saying we wouldn’t have had one somewhere else).
But, we wanted out of the city, we needed somewhere close enough MCFHubby could get to work everyday, and we needed something set up for horses…so really, this was perfect. And I do love this place. Challenges and all. 😉
So, our work for today…
The biggest challenge with the garden has always been wind. Bald. Arsed. Prairie. 😂😂😂
Last year, we tried something that seemed to work pretty darn good though! We’ve had to fence the garden to keep those asshole birbs out…because chickens, y’know what I mean? So what we did was hang plastic aaaaaallllll around the fence, to make a makeshift hoop/greenhouse. In essence, we created a less windy, teeny bit warmer micro climate with the plastic. Then, what tomatoes that I didn’t forget about were planted around the edges, next to the plastic. Well… Said tomatoes went in super late, were almost half dead, but they rebounded and gave us enough for a few really tasty sandwiches. And so, we decided that we needed to renew the plastic this year…since we had only jim-bob slapped it up last year and it came undone on 3 sides.
So that’s the main task today. Get that plastic back up. Then, lay down the landscape fabric/weed barrier that we plant the tomatoes through. That way, when Mother Nature quits setting us those frost traps…I mean seriously, I’m looking at the weather, including overnights and thinking about putting tomatoes and peppers out…and then I remember that it’s only May 15th. Nope, not falling for it! 😂😂😂 But I can get 90% of the seeds in. Pretty much everything but the beans and the corn. Though I can probably get the feed corn planted…it typically goes in earlier, but I’m not 100% sure where I’m putting that yet, so no big deal if it waits. That’s my whiskey makin’ corn. 😉
But first, feed store run and a trip to the dump. Hoping there might be some good stuff we can recycle from the dump. I love “shopping” at the dump! It really is a case of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. Last few times have been pretty slim pickings. I think that has to do with our smaller, closer dump was closed by the RM (so yay, more bloody garbage dumped on back roads by pigs 🤦♀️🙄) and more people have to go to the bigger dump by the nearest town. Plus, building material prices are through the roof, so people are scrounging more and more. But, if you don’t look when you’re there, you’ll never find anything.
Then we have to move chickens around. This becomes a bi-weekly task in the summer. The meaties are ready to come out of the smaller brooder in the Little Red Shed, and move to one of the brooders MCFHubby and The Kid built. Man, them little birbs grow like mad and are little savages! 😂😂😂 They get so excited over food…even if you just fed them an hour previously. But that’s how cornishX are. Once we get them so that they have outside space/time, they settle down on eating every dang thing in sight. And, once outside, they can eat bugs and slugs and weeds and be happy little hooting and eating machines.
And finally, if we have any energy left, there’s 3 mares who need some attention paid to their hooves. They’re overdue for a trim, and today looks like a lovely day to work on some feet. But, we do have to get the food production stuff done first.
And Ruby can have a nap while waiting for her turn…
Busy weekend as usual. We now have 3 brooders! Hubby and The Kid have been on a building spree. Thank goodness, because the meat chickens are going to need out of the coop in the Little Red Shed very, very soon! Those nuggets grow fast. 😉
And then this happened too:
This time it was easier to link to the Instagram post… That’s our 1st Hatchers, in their new little yard. 🙂
Just a couple of garden stakes pushed into the ground through some stucco wire and bam! Birbs can be outside. Scary, scary, scary at first. But we put their food out in the yard and that was enough to convince them to hop out and check out the great outdoors. So their well on their way to becoming free rangin’ assholes. Just the way we like our chickens…even if I do bitch about ’em. 😂😂😂
And now some outside world stuff…
Our province has gone batshit crazy. Again. Locked down again, and they just closed schools. I guess they’re not done destroying the small businesses who’ve had to close, yet again. And their not done destroying the mental health of kids yet. And screw the folks who can’t afford to stop working to be home with their kids that are too young to be left alone, because we’re “not allowed” to have people in our homes or on our property. Listen, I get that the virus is real, but saying that one life lost is too many while destroying thousands more is flat out ridiculous. But, I have my suspicion that the school closure is an attempt to force the shot on those who might not want their kids to get it. I really, truly hope that I am wrong on that…really, really, really hope so…however, the timing and the fact that the school closure was announced on Mother’s Day, 2 days *after* the businesses being shut down was announced…it’s too coincidental in my books. Especially since the time frame where the kids should be heading back after this shut down just happens to coincide with the time frame where our province is opening up eligibility to everyone 12 and over. So, I suspect the medical discrimination is just over that hill there…and I suspect like good little citizens, the bulk of my province will happily medically discriminate against anyone who doesn’t force it into their child, lack of studies be damned. It’s funny as fuck to me that suddenly alllllll the people who’ve chanted the mantra “my body my choice” for years are now saying the shot should be mandatory. Huh. Pretty sure if I had no say in your medical decisions previous to the year the world lost it’s mind, you have no say in my medical decision now. Or ever.
And isn’t it interesting how that’s the big topic now, when you run into someone? “Oh hey, get your shot yet” The looks I get when I say “Nope.” 😂😂😂
And before anyone starts with the screeching about me being an “anti-vaxer”, just don’t… 2 things I live by: 1. my body my choice 2. informed consent That’s how it’s supposed to be. We own our medical decisions for our meat suits, plain and simple. If that bothers anyone, well…🤷♀️
And… Oh and this is a big one… Do not even dare to try the whole “if you don’t get the shot, you shouldn’t have access to health care” bullshit. Canadian health care is not supposed to discriminate against people for their life choices and who gets cared for. So really, take that shit and fuck off. Way the fuck off. Besides, Hubby and I have paid into that health care system for our entire working lives, and that health care has paid for other people’s choices that we may not have agreed with, and at no fucking time have we tried to have them stripped of access to care, just because we didn’t like their life choices.
So fucking remember that, when you say people who “don’t act right” should lose access to health care, ‘kay? Everyone pays in here, everyone has access to care. Whether you like “how they act” or not. Simple as fuck.
And that’s enough of that. Because I’m trying to keep that shit out of this blog, but sometimes, the frustrations ooze out…and damn if this ain’t my place, so I’ll write what I want.
But to finish it out, I’ll share a picture of Ruby from the weekend…
Being all pretty and crabby af because I woke her from her nap. 😂😂😂 I was *trying* to take pictures of her half buried in the straw pile, snoring her fool head off…but when she heard me open the gate she got up, hoping for treats. Because that’s what a Fat Girl needs. Treats. 😂😂😂 Have a great week folks, and don’t let the bastards grind ya down.
Remember how I said I wanted to add a rhubarb plant to the Farm’s food forest? Not because I like it (I don’t really) but because medicinally, it’s a good thing to have growing here. There must be a reason every farm wife and baba had one or two plants growing…and I don’t think it was just for the baking! 😉
So Hubby had found one for sale at the local hardware store, and snapped it up for me. Then, a friend in the city messaged me to say her neighbour had one to split and if I was interested, we could get some of it. Um, yes please!
So this past Thursday, Hubby went over to her place and split this massive rhubarb plant… What he brought home was an incredible bounty of plantable roots/crowns!
So now, where I wanted 1 or 2 plants, I have… 11!! Plus a gallon sized bag of rhubarb in the freezer, because I pulled all the stems that were on the crowns he brought home…I’ll save that for a small batch of wine. 😉
So I planted 2 big crowns straight into the main garden bed, put 4 smaller ones into one of the raised beds out front of the house, potted 4 for myself to add to the next garden expansion project, and potted 2 to give to another friend who was looking for some. Plus, I still have a few smaller crowns that I plan on potting, so that if anyone else near me is looking for some, I’ll share those with them.
But I’m not complaining about having so many plants. I’ll definitely find a use for them. Even if it’s just making a rhubarb syrup to add to moonshine. 😉
First thing off the hop…fonts are weird on WP this morning. Maybe it’s just me, but in my posting block page yuckiness (I can’t be the only one who hates the way the new posting system works, can I?) the fonts changed and it’s weird. I don’t like change. Especially when it happens without warning. (Like change often does…😂😂😂)
Also, today is day 18 with the incubators. Today I take out the turners, bump up the humidity and wait for the sweet sound of “chirp, chirp, chirp” to start. By this weekend, we’ll have chicks! 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll start saving eggs for the next round… I can only run one of them for the next round though, because in 2 weeks I have turkey eggs coming and they need 4 weeks to hatch, compared to chicken’s 3 weeks…I need the turkey eggs to hatch at the same time as the arrival of the white turkey poults. I’m sure I’ve blathered on about this before…heritage birds of the same species in with meat birds helps the meat birds learn *how to bird* so that the meats are much healthier…as long as they think they are hatchmates. That is very important, because if they are introduced too far apart, it becomes difficult to integrate them. There is too much $$$ wrapped up in my turkeys to chance the poults not integrating well. This is my experience. Others may have different experiences, but this has worked very well for us. And so I have to leave one incubator free for the arrival of 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs. Squeeeee! 😀
Finally, for Wordless Wednesday, my lovely sleeping beauty, my chubby Painted Unicorn, Ruby…
And we’re marching right along. Heh. See what I did there? 😂😂😂 I promise, I’m funnier in person. Or, maybe I’m not. 🤷♀️
So I’ve booked 2 dozen turkey hatching eggs for the end of the month. Why? Uh….why not? So I have 2 toms and 5 hens. The hens should start laying soon…and if their shrieking songs are any indication, it will. be. soon. But the lady I got the eggs from last year moved far, far away and chances to get eggs from her again this year dwindled…until we found out that she’s still finishing up the relocation of her family (to an amazing property in the bush, surrounded by wildlife, huge areas to forage and so much space for growing her own food…I’m teensy bit jealous. 😉 ) so is back in the area once a week for a few more months. So I jumped at the chance for a couple dozen eggs, since she had added new genetics last year, meaning I could hatch and run the new hatches with my current turkeys. Hopefully, by the time we get eggs from her, my hens will have popped a few eggs out so I can add those to the incubator too. I know the boys are dancing up a storm and there has been some turkey lovin’ goin’ on. 😂😂😂
We’re half way through the incubation for the first 80 chicken eggs. So. Exciting! I get excited about them hatching until the work of taking care of the chicks comes along. 😂😂😂 I’m a bit like a little kid like that. But this is what we have to do to make sure there’s food in the freezer for next winter. I mean holy crap, it’s not even spring and I’m already planning for winter!
And like every other year, thoughts move towards “what else can I grow”. We have enjoyed having pigs for the summer…well, until these last ones. Those effers were scary. And I’m not one to be scared by animals. But watching them hunt chickens, stalk the cats and a time or two stalk Hubby, well…as much as I want pigs again, they have to be manageable for The Kid and I. So we’re thinking potbellies. Smaller, easier to handle, and if we get a boar and 2 sows, a renewable resource. 😉 We’ll try them out and see how they work for us.
The weather is warming up and the chickens are wandering around the yard again. No matter how hard I try, those dang birds just won’t stay in their yard! But they have fun picking through the bits of hay that fall all winter when we feed the Merry Mares. And they find any voles that might be coming out into the sunshine. Plus they steal cat food. Because chickens is jerks.
The northern lights have been crazy active! I keep trying to go out a photograph them, but I really don’t think my heart is in it. When trying to take pictures, I don’t get to enjoy them as much. I’ve just been enjoying my glass of whiskey and watching the lights. In a world gone mad, it’s been a pleasure to enjoy the magic of their dancing with a fine sipping whiskey in hand and cats in my lap… Because I can’t sit anywhere without cats in my lap. I ain’t complaining about that though…I do love a feline lap warmer. 😉 Last night it was Max, Trouble, Xena and Coal all vying for who got to sit in my lap. 4 cats don’t fit so well, no matter how hard they try. 😂😂😂
We have emerged from the polar vortex! And I am happy about that. Boy am I happy about that! Weather sure has been challenging humans across North America this month. I feel for those caught up in patterns that they don’t normally deal with. It’s easy for those of us with cold experience to sit back and say shitty things (please don’t do that, ‘kay?) but the fact is, even we get slammed with hard-to-deal-with weather. So before you make some joke about Texas or any of the southern States dealing with cold and snow and no power and frozen pipes, remember, “there but for the grace of God go I…” We just came out of -50*c weather…imagine if we’d lost power! I can’t even. So just try to remember to be kind. That’s it. Don’t be shitty and be kind.
Today, as I type this, we’re at -13*c. After the past 2 weeks that positively t-shirt weather. And I’m thankful for it. So are the horses, the hens, the turkeys and the ducks…oh and the cats. It was so bad there for awhile we were feeding jar after jar after jar of wet food to them, just so they had enough. Normally a 1/2 pint is a good supplement to their kibble. They went through a case of 12 in 2 days! But, food keeps furnaces stoked, and wet food helps keep kitties hydrated. So I feed ’em. 🙂 But it also means we’re running low on homemade cat food, so Hubby went and bought a few big cans to have on hand, just in case. And come fall, I’ll just do a few extra jars, bigger jars, to make sure everyone has enough.
Meat birds are ordered. I added an extra 25 meat chickens, so we’ll be getting 75 chickens and 10 turkey poults. So. Many. Birds. Though chicken math means it’s really not more than 12. 😂😂😂 And I’m thinking I might fire up the incubators this weekend. If I start this weekend, I can get 2 full hatches in before the one hatch that needs to coincide with the arrival of the meat birds. I ain’t downsizing the amount of birbs I hatch, let me tell ya!! Hatching out as many as I possibly can.
Hubby brought home the first bag of potting soil yesterday. And a pouch of fava bean seeds. I’ve never grown fava beans before, so I had to read up on them. Turns out the entire plant is edible, so yay for that! And with today’s trip to the post office, I’ll have the seeds I need to get the garden going as soon as I can. Whew! It’s gonna be a lot of beans, tomatoes, carrots, peas and beets this year. Stuff we eat a lot of, stuff I can a lot of for winter. As excited as I am to get growing, I’m tired just thinking about the work too. lol
Ooooh, I told y’all I was pondering extra apple and saskatoons? Yup, those are ordered too. The Food Forest is expanding! And for the last few nights, I’ve having vivid Dreams about cutting hay. Oh, I can’t *wait* to get scythe in hand and cut hay again!
But for now, I’m just thankful for the warmer weather, that we made it through the coldest snap we’ve had in a very long time, and that Spring is coming.