With the excitement of starting up the incubators for the years comes the forgotten knowledge of what the 3 days of hatching is really like… Exhausting. Once the first chirp starts, there’s excitement. Yay, we’ve got chicks! But then…as more come out of their shells, the *loud* chirping starts. And the scrabbling, jim jamming around…at all hours. Then, throw in Daisy Mae, who has to tell me she can hear the chicks in the incubators. At 2am. *sigh* Yes cat, I am aware that there’s birds chirping in the house. Quite. Aware. Thankyouverymuch.
So here we are on day 2 of hatching, running low on sleep, just waiting for tomorrow morning when we can take aaaaaallllll da little birbs out to the brooder and start again. 😂😂😂 And so it will go, every 3 weeks from now until the beginning of July.
Happens a lot with equines and cameras. I had a plan for a photoshoot this past weekend, because our Sable and our Kid both turned 20 on Friday. Now, keep in mind, my Kid hates having her picture taken. But I keep saying, at least 1 time a year she has to do a photoshoot of some sort with Sable. Because she ain’t getting any younger and she’s already retired with arthritis and one day, we’re gonna have to face the worst decision ever.
Until then, though… Pictures.
So I had a plan (I ain’t sharing what it is yet, because we’re gonna try again). But then the wind came up, and snowmobilers were zipping up and down the road (can’t blame ’em, it was a lovely day out and their season will be ending soon) and her herd mates were being colossal dinks…
And this is how my plan ended up…note, this was *NOT* a part of my plan. At. All.
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.
Yeah, today is thankful Thursday. I’m not feeling extremely thankful today though…
It’s cold. It’s day I-don’t-even-know-any-more of extreme cold warnings. Which means it’s much colder than typical for this time of year. I guess Mother Nature is catching us up for the nice weather we had back in December and January. There’s always a cost, right?
So that hay we’ve been doing so well on? Blowing through a bale every 3ish days. But mares gotta eat, or they don’t stay warm. A cold horse in this weather dies. Not on my fucking watch, if I can help it. So eating my Merry Mares have been. And then there’s the waterer…*sigh* I feel like it’s always something, know what I mean? The winds were savage for a while, and the damn thing kept freezing over. And then it froze at the spigot. That means standing there in the freezing cold, with a hair dryer to thaw it…with 3 toddlers dying of thirst, even though I just brought them buckets of warm water from the house to drink, but they be dyin’ and I be cryin’ because my hands are cold and I’m hopin’ I can get the water running before the hair dryer conks out… *sigh* Get horses, she thought… It’ll be fun, she thought… Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. 😂😂😂
Egg production is waaaaaaay down too. Where I was getting 50-60 eggs a day, now I’m getting 8. If I’m lucky. People want eggs. I don’t have much eggs. I’m just barely making regulars and that’s because I had some stocked up from last week…but now we’re low because 8 effing eggs a day. 60ish hens. But they’re eating and drinking and trying to stay warm. Ain’t so easy even with a heat lamp and deep straw.
Today we found we’d lost a duck baby. Again it’s the cold. We can feed ’em, we can make sure there’s fresh water, and draft free coops and heat lamps and damn if some aren’t gonna just die on us anyways. But ya sure feel like shit when it happens.
And then, just to cap off the craptastic shitstorm that is February, I have to go to the dentist. While to some that’s not a big deal, for some of us it is. I have a tooth that has to come out, but need a dentist that won’t make me wear a mask (got that) and will let my Hubby in the room too (can’t do that yet…fuck the govt, because it’s their shit restrictions) because y’all….this woman does not do well without her support person… So I get to stay living with this fucking thing until the shitty restrictions open up enough that I can have my person in the room while having the dental work done. Looking at the way the hand wringing from the “experts” is going, that oughta be sometime in 2037. Think I’ll just tie a string to the tooth, tie the other end to Ruby’s halter and give my girl a big ol’ smack on the bum…that oughta yob that fucker right out of my mouth. 😂😂😂 And if I die, they can list me as a covid death.
I guess I should still be thankful… My Hubby is still working and is able to get his teeth fixed (thank goodness! he’s had problems with his mouth since I’ve known him). We have plenty of food in the house. The house is warm. We’re still able to share our bounty with those who need it. All in all, as frustrated and cold and tired as we are, we’re still grateful for all that we have.
I wasn’t kidding when I said this weekend was gonna be cold, but I think Mother Nature done outdid herself! We are currently sitting at -31*c, feeling like -45*c at 11:30am. Yikes! And it’s looking like it’s going to last for a few more days yet. Gross.
But that’s winter on the prairies in Canada. Cold. A.F.
The horses have blazed through a bale in 3 days. Yeah, that’s normally a 8-10 day thing…but they stay warm by eating. And eating they have been! Plus they get their daily pail of yummyness…and we’re adding oats too…but of course, our poor CinderBella has problems with her jaw, right?
So oats don’t really soften in the pail of beet pulp and it’s been getting hard for her to finish her pail before it freezes. Yeah, it’s that damn cold! So I’m on the hunt for a complete feed that I can add to her pail for that extra ooomph they need come cold snaps, that’s 1. easy for her to chew/breaks down in the soaking water (beet pulp has to be soaked for horses to eat) b. has no soy or alfalfa in it so I can give it to Astrid too and 3. is economical. *sigh* Dietary issues with equines. That’s my life. lol I thank Epona for my easy peasy lemon squeezy gimme beer ’cause Ima slightly alcoholic fat girl Ruby. That painted bitch is so easy to feed and I’m so grateful for that! Whatever feed I find, she’ll eat noooooo problems. 😉 ❤
So with this cold, the urge to order the seeds I need for the garden were strong. Driving me bat crap crazy strong. lol So I had a discussion with Hubby about using his credit card to place the order…he said “it’s in my wallet…do what you need to do.” So I did. But when I logged into West Coast Seeds, I found that half my shopping cart was now sold out. Which made me panic again. *sigh* My brain is so very broken some days. I grabbed my stack of seed catalogs, and used the goooooo! to find someone who had the seeds I wanted. I finally hit on McKenzie Seeds. They had everything except for the johnny-jump-ups and the ancho pepper seeds. Score! So I ordered what I needed. Then hit up a local nursery to find my rhubarb…and then made a list of plants from there I want to add to the medicinal garden areas. 😂😂😂
Oh and a friend wanted to order from the Prairie Shelterbelt Program, which give us access to a lot of trees for a lot less than local nursery costs…and she asked if I wanted in on the order so that we (along with a few others) could keep admin and shipping costs down.
So in May I’ll have 10 Siberian Crabapple trees and 10 saskatoon bushes coming. I haven’t figured out 100% where I’m putting them yet, but since they’re in the 12″-24″ size range, I can pot them up for a year or two if I have to… Food forest, here we grow!!
Today Hubby is clearing the driveway. Hopefully with the crazy stupid winds it won’t blow back in. Ugh. The wind really is the worst. The cold you can work in, but combine the cold with 70km/hr winds? You just can’t dress warm enough for that. So he’s just doing a quick pass so that hopefully he can get out in the morning for work. 😂😂😂 We’ll just have to see what happens.
Fuck I hate winter. I understand and recognize Mother Earth’s need for all of Her seasons, but I don’t have to like this. This dog however…
She’s a special one, this nutcase. She likes the cold, she likes the snow, she loves her log. 😂😂😂
Welp, that escalated quickly, didn’t it? New year, then all of a sudden it’s February. And yet, it still felt like the longest January ever. We sure enjoyed the nice days we had. Didn’t care for the crazy cold ones though…of course, I never do, but I recognize that our climate needs that cold time for the Earth to reset Herself for the coming growing season.
Last month we sold 36 dozen eggs. No joke, the hens have been blasting them out. For which I’m glad because I’m sure I gave away that many eggs too. See, we’re still in “code red lockdown” here. And no matter how I feel about that, I know that for some that means putting food on their tables is that much harder to do. Not everyone is “lucky” enough to be considered “essential” by our oh-so-benevolent govt 🤦♀️🙄 and not everyone has the ability to work from home. I am always and forever a person who will hand food off to people who need it when I can…and I try to make sure it’s done in a way that it doesn’t look or feel like charity. No one wants be treated like a charity case. But I’ve had extra lately and a few people have come to my attention about needing, so Hubby and I have been porch dropping bundles of food when we can. I don’t say any of that for accolades. I don’t want that. I just want people to be able to eat. And if they can, pay it forward when they can.
Anyways, we sold a lot of eggs. And from those sales, I shared half the money we earned with Can Praxis. Now, another thing this entire pandemic thing has done is beat the crap out of fundraising for groups that rely on donations. Can Praxis uses equine therapy to help veterans, first responders and their families manage PTSD. They rely on donations a lot. I am happy to have been able to send them a little money.
Now, once I get things settled out with my credit card… Oh yeah, some douchnozzle stole my credit card number and went on a shopping spree last year and I’ve been working on getting it straightened out…in the mean time, I have no credit card to use to purchase my seeds for the garden. Joy! But thankfully the credit card company has been easy to work with and hopefully in the next couple of weeks it’ll all be sorted… But until then, this months egg money over and above feed costs is going into *MY* food security…aka my seed order. lol Once that’s done, I have another place in mind (or 2 or 3) to share our egg money with to help others. ❤
In other news… 4 weeks.
It’s 4 weeks until we start the incubators. Whew! And then the work begins. We have to build a couple more brooders. Plus we have to build a couple broody boxes for the duck hens, so that when they decide that it’s time for bebes they can do so without being bothered and are safe. We’re looking at the end of April for meat chicks and white turkey poults. And then there’s turkey eggs to hatch as soon as they start laying… So yeah, brooders to build. Thankfully the source of free building materials is still an option and Hubby has been stopping every darn chance he gets to pick things up.
Oooooh….and these 2 big boys joined our flock just over a week ago…
Ain’t they handsome? 😍 They are Lavender Orpingtons. Big boys, to breed more size into our next generation of birds. Just like our Orpington/Wyandotte cross boys. Big roosters with good meat to bone ratio. Eventually I want to only be buying meat chicks to raise for sale and we eat chickens from our self sustaining flock. (We’re close to that now, just need a couple more breeding seasons to perfect my crosses.)
Yesterday was Imbolc. That means we’re officially half way through winter. Yay! It also means that the nags got them the next round straw bale to explode and enjoy. When that happens, they also get to run…because fat mares gotta get a little exercise and thy sure do know what the shakin’ of the tractor bucket means…prance, dance, run like mad whilst posing for The Food Lady to take pictures.
So we’re at…waiting for seeds so I can start seeds…waiting for March 1st to rev up the incubators…waiting to collect enough building materials to build brooders…waiting for spring weather to get the first walls built on the greenhouse and the herbal/medicinal garden beds built…and rhubarb! Gotta get me a rhubarb plant…but gotta wait for spring. 😂😂😂 That’s my life folks, hurry up and wait for the busy season to start, and then the busy season hits and we don’t have time to think. It’s all good though. Don’t think I’m complaining. I’m not. The only thing I’m complaining about is the impending ass numbingly cold front headed our way this weekend…oh and the govt, because I hate those bastards. 😂😂😂
Huh. Seems I’ve not posted yet this year. Guess it’s time change that, right? 😉
Alright, so our Christmas was quiet. Pretty much like our Christmas has been ever since we moved out here. We don’t put up a tree (2 kittens who would climb/kill it and a dog who…well, let’s just say a tree won’t work with Daphne and leave it at that 😉 ) and we don’t really do much different. Chores still have to be done, animals have to be fed, equine excrement still has to be scraped…so yeah, we cleaned up horse crap, and did all the usual daily stuff. Then simply enjoyed family time. And we had a good time using our ever growing shooting berm. 😀
New Year’s found us fighting to stay awake. New year’s day we dealt with the upset tummy of a Palomino Princess. Colic is no fun at anytime, but it was one of the colder days and that made it even worse. Of course, the weather bouncing all over the place is what led to her colicking, so it wasn’t much of a surprise. Thankfully, it wasn’t a case where she needed veterinarian intervention. Whew!
Then the last day before Hubby had to go back to work came, and we had a massive wing BBQ. Just because we could. And then we ate wings for 3 days, because we cleaned out 2 years worth of wings from the freezers to cook up. 😂😂😂
Now we’re just going along, happily enjoying the beautifully unseasonably warm January weather. I’m loving that the chickens can be outside all day long. I’m loving that the horses aren’t stuck at the troughs eating, eating, eating to stay warm. I’m loving that a bale of hay that normally goes 7 days in winter is going 10-12 days. I’m loving that we have a nice covering of snow without being under 8 feet of it. 😂😂😂
One of our biggest complaints about our Farm is the lack of trees. Yeah, we knew it when we bought the place, but I don’t think we realized how much we’d miss those trees. Bald assed prairie land is freakin’ c-c-cold!! Colder than bush land because of the wind. It also makes it damn near impossible to do much shooting with anything other than the shotgun or pellet guns. That’s frustrating. And so, this past month, Hubby and I discussed what would go into building a berm for practice shooting.
Some work with the tractor, some too-moldy-for-the-garden straw bales and a whole lot of horse crap. Well… Turns out this is something we can do. And we waited far too damn long to do it!
So, last week, before the snows came, Hubby got started on building the berm. And The Merry Mares have continued to keep up with their contributions. After they decided they had to “inspect” his beginnings…
Goodness knows, them nosey mares have to inspect every little thing to make sure we humans are doing it right. 😂😂😂
It’s another warm one here, though no where near as bad as it’s been the past few days.
Last night we got an amazing down pour of rain.
It’s made everything growing perk up a lot.
5 days ago I planted just about 800 bean seeds in the garden.
Whole rows popped up overnight.
I’m so happy to see that!!
Tomatoes and peppers are outside (not planted yet) and came though a-ok.
Only downside is the pressure is killing my head.
I’m sitting in the air conditioning, drinking beer and trying to ignore the migraine trying to rip my head off.
I’m also editing a few pictures I took today.
We popped over to the local horse Rescue to take some shots.
So I’ve got those working, as well as a few of the mares here.
Because how can I take pictures of other horses and not my own?
I’m actually marveling over how well our CinderBella (Sable) is doing this year.
2 years ago at this time she was so sick…we had no idea what was wrong and honest to Dog, I wasn’t sure she was gonna pull through.
I spent many a night praying to Epona for clear guidance on whether to let her go or not.
Thankfully, as we were reaching our financial limit, Epona said “It’s not her time yet, she has more to do for Me” and our sweet mare made an abrupt turn around.
I cannot express how grateful I am for that turn around…to this day, we still don’t know what caused the infection that made her sick, or even where exactly it was…we know she has arthritis in her TMJ, but that shouldn’t/wouldn’t have caused the infection.
Either way, she’s been running at anywhere from 95-100% heathly since.
She is such a special horse and we are so lucky to have her in our lives.
Like my oh so creative title?
So I’m a little tired and brain fogged.
It’s all good.
Still working on getting the garden all in.
Thankfully what I’m planting now is root crops so they can go long in the fall without problems.
If carrots and beets catch a hint of frost, it’s no biggie.
So, since my last post…
~ Peas and bean shave popped up in the straw bales.
~ We lost the last 2 turkeys.
~ I got myself on a waiting list for 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs. They’re a heritage breed and I figure if’n I can get ’em to hatch, we’ll see about keeping a couple hens and a tom to create a self sustaining flock.
It might work, it might not.
At this point, I’ve only got time, effort and a wee bit of money to lose.
If it works, I’ll have invested less money into the 2 dozen hatching eggs than I lost on the 10 turkey poults who died on me.
~ Tax returns *finally* made it.
~ Hubby got new tires for his truck.
~ I caught up on all the bills.
~ And it looks like this weekend we’re gonna be toting pails of gravel under the deck to stop the asshole chickens from dust bathing right beside the foundation of the house.
😡 😡 😡
~ We also redid the plastic around the garden, with more wood supports to protect it from being shredded by the wind.
~ Finally got hinges to get my gate built and put up too. It’s gonna be a wood gate, painted bright yellow with some silhouettes on it.
~ It’s almost hay time. As in, I just need Hubby to fix the point on the 2nd scythe (it’s longer than the ditch blade I had, but not quite a hay blade…but still, floats through the grass like a dream compared to the ditch blade!) so I can get ‘er done. It’s literally a 2 minute job for him…I just have to remind him. 😉
~ I was given an old, well established grape vine to transplant into our food forest.
A friend and her partner wanted to get rid of it, and after some scheduling difficulties, the vine made it here.
So far, so good, it’s putting out shoots *everywhere*…I am hopeful and excited, because it’s apparently been very prolific in it’s previous home.
I’ll give it time to adjust here, then next year I’ll look at doing cutting to make more vines. Grape vines are a grand thing for a wine maker. 🙂
~ Sunday Hubby and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. Together for 27…
~ Yesterday he turned 50.
I think we might be getting a little old. 😉
But not so old we can’t do this Farm thing.
So it seems the theme for this summer is going to be the same as the last few dozen…
Winter is coming.
Gotta get the work done.
Here’s a pic of the 3 stooges having a nap in the early morning light:
Have a great day folks, I’m off to get back to work.