Saturday Morning Plans

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…

Enjoy the weekend and the weather folks!

Monday Morning Round Up

What a week last week was!
Hatching, weeding, canning…

I’m still weeding the garden.
I’ll forever be weeding the garden.
But, the weeds come out easily because of the straw mulch between the rows.
I need to get more straw down to smother them, but I’ve run out of bales for that…I’m working on using some of the older, more composted bales, but that’s slow going and I am but one human. 😉

Canning…
We did a round of roosters last weekend, so once the carcasses were cleaned and I made soup stock, I picked off whatever meat I missed, put it in jars and covered it with stock. 90 minutes in the pressure canner (quart size jars) and voila!! 5 meals of ready to use chicken on the shelf.
Good for soup, stir fry, sandwiches, fajitas…or whatever tickles our fancy at the time.

Hatching…
No pics yet.
I have to do that yet.
But
13
We had 13 turkeys hatch.
So now those little dudes are bopping around the brooder, eating, drinking, pooping, being cute…
All in all, it’s slightly more than a 50% hatch rate (I had 2 dozen eggs) but when each poult is going for $15 each, my $70 investment in eggs paid off with 5 hatching.
13 puts me way out ahead of the game.
Now I can clean up the incubator and put it away ’til next year.

And then yesterday, we did a thing…
😂😂😂

I keep talking about food security, especially in these uncertain times.
It’s a huge reason why we’ve hatched out as much poultry as we have.
Because somewhere in the future things are gonna go sideways again.
And I aim to make sure me and mine are well fed.

So when I came upon an ad for muscovy ducklings at a ridiculously cheap price, I said to Hubby “Wanna go on a road trip tomorrow?”
Next thing you know, we’re picking up these guys…

4 of ’em are 6 weeks old, the other 10 are 3 weeks old

The boys will grow out, enjoying life, eating bugs and grass and grains, and then go to Freezer Camp.
The girls (if there are any) will join our flock of muscovy ducks to produce eggs/chicks next year.

Ain’t they cute?

This year we had 2 hens go broody.
Nothing hatched though because they were continually stressed by chickens trying to steal their nests.
Grrrr!!
So we’re working on another yard for ducks, where the girls can nest without worry of the chickens annoying them.
Actually, we’ve popped the duck over into the once-was pig yard.
And they seem to be doing well there.
For winter though, they’ll be back into the main coop and then go back as soon as we can move ’em to the pig yard come spring.
I aim to be over run by muscovy duckling next year.
I keep hearing how they’ll do that if you don’t collect eggs.
I’m looking forward to it!!
🙂

Oh, then I stopped in at our favorite Pumpkin Farm.
The owner had made a post about having pickling cukes for sale, so I asked her for 10 lbs.
My cucumbers never make it to jars.
We always eat them as fast as they grow.
So with the chance to support a local small farmer, and all around good person, I jumped at buying 10 lbs.
That’s my job for tomorrow.
Today I realized I used the last of my pickling spices when I made pickled beets last year, so I have to get Hubby to stop and pick some up for me.
Tomorrow I make dill pickles.
Yum!!

And now I’m off to continue weeding…which includes clearing the weeds out of the spot where we’re building the greenhouse.
Because weeding never ends.
🙂

Turkeys!!

The chirping started, oh so quietly on Wednesday.
So quietly that I, in fact, thought I was hearing things, that it wasn’t happening.
I heard a quick burst at 8:30am and then nothing…’til later on in the evening.
Next morning??

Holy. Moly.
Several voices had broken through and were chirping.

Today?
Almost a constant song from many voices!

There’s a good amount of ’em in the incubator.
Not sure how many yet, because I don’t want to compromise anyone who might still be working on breaking out.
Today is only day 29…turkeys take 28 days.
By tomorrow morning, we’ll be ready to get them out into the brooder.

I’m good with keeping them inside another night yet…even if the chirping will drive us nuts.
Turkey poults are so much louder than chicken chicks!!
But, I am happy that we have many voices.
Fingers crossed I can raise them well and that we have a few to keep as a breeding pair(s).
🙂
I hope to take some pictures of them this weekend when we do move them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally got my gate up on the garden.
YAY!!
Not the gate I wanted…

But it’s the gate that I got…
We had it here from another project that it didn’t get used for, so we figured putting it up on the garden was the best plan.
And it does the job.
Easy to open one handed (like when I’m trying to empty the compost pail from the kitchen) and keeps out the feathered assholes who think that garden produce is for chickens.
🙄🙄🙄

I will be painting a sign that reads “Witch’s Garden” to hang on it. 🙂
Plus, I finally have a home for this super cool owl carving…

The owl will be the garden guardian.
If only the owl would weed…
😂😂😂

First round of roosters is done.
If it wasn’t supposed to be blazing hot this weekend, we’d be doing more.
But, hot Saturday, rainy Sunday.
I will not complain about the rain though!
We’re dry and crispy and definitely in need of moisture.
Thank goodness for that hose and sprinkler for the garden.
I’ve sure been making use of it.

Anyways, we did 12 roosters.
So we have 6 meals of breasts, 4 pkges of ground chicken and 5 jars of chicken with stock.
And I’ve got at least another 4 dozen roos to be done before winter hits.
Just wait…soon the bean will be producing (because holy moly, flowers!!) and I’ll be canning every darn day.
Or, it’ll feel like it.
But, winter is coming and I’ve got some baaaaad feelings about this one.
So I’m just gonna keep working on my food stores, saving as much money as I can, and making the garden expansion/greenhouse build top priority.
I feel like we’re gonna need as much set up to be self sufficient as possible.
And I certainly don’t think we’ll be able to rely on anyone but ourselves.
:/

At the end of the day though, I hope those niggling feelings are wrong.
Don’t think so.
Planning like they aren’t.
But hopeful they are.

August 1st

Welp, this summer is going too fast…and too slow at the same time.
August 1st already.

We have blossoms all over the yellow beans, so there should be a decent bean crop.
Hubby picked up a new hose and spray nozzle for me, so I can now run the hose aaaaaallllll the way from the hydrant to the garden….they’re at opposite ends of the Farm yard.
*sigh*
We have a hose hookup on the house, but for some reason, the outdoor hose hookup is *after* the water softener.
Yes, because I want soft water to use on the plants.
🙄
So I don’t use that water line…can’t anyways, because we had to cap it off after it burst one winter (shut off valves, people!!! Use frickin’ shut off valves!!) when the lines froze…
Either way, no real loss.
And I have a new hose, with a sprinkler.
🙂

My almost-dead-might-as-well-plant-the-survivor tomato plants have blossoms on them.
There’s 2 ropreco paste tomatoes, who are supposed to be prairie hardy.
Clearly, these 2 are, because they went a month with nothing but rain water and in full blazing sun before I decided to plant them proper….and now, after roughly 2 weeks, they’re blooming.
Heh.
Tough as hell, survive through damn near anything…that’s tomatoes I’m gonna save seeds from (yep, they are an heirloom variety) because *that’s* the kinda toughness I need from a tomato plant in my garden. 😉

I have zucchini fruiting, and I’ve gotten a decent amount of Lamb’s Quarters put up for winter too.
Gotta love them edible weeds! 😉

Tomorrow is lock down day for the turkey eggs.
We take out the turners, do a quick candle to see how things are developing (fingers crossed for a good hatch…*please* let it be a good hatch!!), adjust temp./humidity and then close ’em up and wait for chirping.
Later this weekend we’ll play switch around with housing on some of the later hatches that haven’t been fully integrated with the main flock.
But first, today is Rooster Rehab day.
It’s time for some of the boys to full fill their destiny as sausage.
Which will make *a lot* of the hens happy.
There’s all too many roos running around out there right now…but we knew that wold happen with hatching out so many chicks.
But that’s a part of our self sufficiency.
Extra roos feed the humans and felines for winter.

Check out the Farm Instagram for pics.
Still haven’t had Voldemort out for fresh images, just my phone camera.
But you can see pics there.

Have a great (long) weekend folks!
🙂

Chickies!!

I originally set 24 eggs in the incubator…

(phone pic)

At day 7 I candled and found 3 not fertilized, which left me with 21 eggs.
And then the pipping started on day 20 (I forgot to candle again at day 14).
It took everything I had to *not* open the incubator until day 22…

On the morning of day 22 we prepped the brooder, got a bin ready to transfer from incubator to brooder, and opened her up…

18!!

Of my 21 eggs, 18 hatched.
So we whisked them off to the brooder and I closed up the incubator for another 24 hours…in case those eggs were just slower to hatch.
Turns out they weren’t fertile.
So they went to the piggies.
🙂

And now, here some sneak peek pics of the ones who hatched:

Look at them!!
🙂

Interesting mix…
Our rooster’s sire is (I’m told) pure Ameraucana, hen an easter egger…so him with our easter eggers and our Browns and Columbian Rock Xs made some interesting mixes.
Whether or not I get more coloured egg layers from any of the hens (if there are any lol) we’ll just have to see.

Little cheepers…

What a funny little spot on this one’s head!
😂😂😂

So now we feed ’em and watch ’em grow.
Hens will stay on as layers, roosters will go on to become fajitas.

And round 2 of eggs, 24 again, is in the incubator.
After that hatch, I’ll put it away ’til spring.
I’d love to keep hatching, but we have to be sure whatever pullets we get are big enough come the cool/cold season so they can be in the coop with the older hens safely.

So after this round, I won’t set any more eggs until mid-March.
But I’ll be on the look out for other egg varieties…turkeys, ducks, guineas…just because I can.
🙂

There’ll be more pics in a bit…we’re busy getting ready for The Kid’s grad this weekend. Once that’s done, and we’ve recovered, The Kid and I have a specific photoshoot in mind for these balls of feathery cuteness.

Day 18 in the Incubator

We’re in lock down now…
Day 18.
Fingers crossed for a good hatching!

(phone pic)

24 went in.
At day 7 candling, 3 that were not fertilized came out (and went to the pigs).
I forgot to candle at day 14, and it wasn’t dark enough this morning when I removed the turner to candle, so…just hoping most, if not all hatch.
Truthfully, I’m hoping for *any* to hatch.
I’m ready for peepers!
(as ready as I can be)
🙂

Oughta have pics this weekend of what hatches…and what doesn’t.

Our Muscovy Flock

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

This was taken on their first day here…

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

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

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

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

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