6 Years

Not a long post, but a sweet post.
As of 9:00am, Midnight Calico Farm has been in existence for 6 years.

Some folks have been with us from the very beginning.
Some folks have joined us in the later years.

We’re happy all of you follow us.
Many of you are like family.

Thanks for being here.
Hope you stick with us as we continue to grow.
πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

“I be rollin’
My back is itchy…oooooh, feels soooo good!!”
~ Sable

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Gosh It’s Hot

Hotter than balls…
Hotter than a nun’s…
Hotter than Hell…

Yup, it’s hot.
And I’m trying not to complain, because the alternative is cold…

Colder than a Witch’s…

So yeah, the heat is okay right now.
But some rain would be nice.
We’re not as dry as last year (so far) but we’re not where we should be. Once again, the garden is getting minimal watering.
The weeds are doing great! πŸ˜€
In among them, though, the rows of food crops aren’t doing too bad.
Beans are up and seem okay, same with carrots.
Damn barn swallows have been pulling out my beet seedlings.
Jerks.
Tomatoes…well, let’s just say I’m hoping for a tremendous sale on them again this year like we got last year. I’m not sure I’ll have much of anything. :/

Of the orchard…

2 apple trees have fruit on them…one has more than 20 apples!
So excited for those!
We planted that tree the year we moved here and this is the first year we’ve got fruit on it.
The honeyberries are done fruiting for the year.
I ate several big handfuls of them.
Nom!! πŸ™‚
And then I took cuttings in an attempt to propagate some more.
Fingers crossed they take!

Currants didn’t produce berries this year (even though they flowered) but are growing like crazy. They’re only 2 years old, so growth over berries is fine with me.

Pears seem to be decorations, because even though they keep growing, I’ve never seen flowers on them.
*shrug*
Fine. Trees are good no matter what, and they’re already established, so I’m not changing them out.

Chickens killed the strawberries I was gifted.
Jerks. 😑

Speaking of chickens…

Meaties are growing like crazy.
Another couple of weeks will see them going to freezer camp.
They’ll be 9 weeks on Tuesday.
We feed them soaked barley/wheat chop, which is not as high of protein as grower or layer feed.
Means they grow a bit slower, but, they’re also more active and they don’t drop dead of heart attacks, like CornishX are known to do.
So instead of 8 weeks, our birds grow for 10-12 weeks.
I prefer health over fast growing, personally.

Oh, and we bought a chicken plucker.
πŸ˜€ <— my face knowing I don’t have to hand pluck this year!!
It was listed for sale in a local Agriculture group and a friend gave me the heads up it was there…with a bit of back and forth, the seller and I made a deal (she was flippin’ amazing to deal with!!) and we got another super useful tool for the Farm.
So. Happy.

Eggies are growing too…learning free ranging bad habits from the current egg laying assholes. πŸ™„
Why I ever thought I’d be able to train the new ones to stay where they belong, I don’t know.
Wishful thinking?
Or plain stupidity.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Ah well.
Free ranging is fine during the day, and they’re learning to come back to the coop at night, so hey…happy chickens make happy food.
And we like eggs from happy chickens.

The 18 from my first round with the incubator are growing soooo well! Almost ready to move them into the poultry yard, after we integrate the meaties and eggies with the older birds.
And next weekend the next round is due to hatch…

All the eggs my broody duck were sitting on turned out to be duds.
So no ducklings…but we’re going to have to cull one of the hens.
She’s a mean little bitch who beats up on one of the nicer hens.
In fact she beat on her so bad one night in the coop, we’ve had to separate the injured one for a few weeks.Β  We did learn the injured one is great with chicks…so she gets to stay (the other 3 hens are fine with her) and the mean one will become burger.
There’s no room on my Farm for mean animals…and it’s certainly not a trait I want passed on when breeding resumes.

Then there’s the pigs…

Wow.
So they are 13 weeks old tomorrow and easily approaching 100lbs.
They have more than doubled in size since we got them…and they have until November to grow!
I’m really enjoying these ones.
Being Berkshire crosses they are much better suited to hot outdoor life. They love to play in the hose, and lay in the water pan, and flop belly down in the wallow…they’re friendly and curious and quite fun, actually.
I know by the time we’re getting close to freezer camp, I’ll be ready for them to go, but for now, I’m enjoying them.

Like today…
Hot as balls.
So I turn the hose on to fill the mud wallow.
George comes out of the shelter to flop into it.
Ginger and Sophie come to the trough to eat the fresh food I had just given them and George just looked too hot to bother with food…so for fun, I tossed the 3 chicken eggs I had with me into the wallow beside him.

Well…

You would have thought I’d thrown the bestest toy ever!

He spent the next 10 minutes rooting in the water/mud for these eggs, squealing happily and wagging his tail.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
This is why I love raising my own meat animals.
They should have the chance to have that kind of fun/excitement in their lives before becoming food.
❀

As for us humans…

The Kid graduated grade 12…

And Of course she had to pose with her Sable for pictures…Sable just wanted the cookie Kid was holding.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Hubby got injured at work, ending up with a couple stitches in his hand. Dork. πŸ™„

And me?
I’m hip deep in cutting hay.
‘Tis that time of year, and it’s looking like I should get a decent cut.
And if we get some rain, I may even get a good 2nd cut.
Fingers crossed.
πŸ™‚

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.
πŸ™‚

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

Look at them!!
πŸ™‚

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!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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.
πŸ™‚

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.

Birthday Pictures

A couple of weeks ago, my Kid and her horse turned 18.
If you remember from last year, I mentioned how we didn’t have an exact age on Sable, only an estimate of between 14 and 20ish…so, we arbitrarily assigned her the same age and birthdate as her human.
That way, the 2 of them can celebrate together.
πŸ™‚

This year was 18.
Ain’t nothin’ makes a Mama feel old like her baby turning 18…
But I thought we oughta have fun with it, so the pair of them got new toques and scarves, and enjoyed coffee and Timbits together.

“I can haz deez treats??”

Once Kiddo opened that box, there was no stopping the Palomino from eating!

“Mmmmm, some coffee would be good with my treats!”

She enjoys sticking her tongue into the cup waaaaay too much though! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

“Um, hello…any of those left for Unicorns?”

Ruby was rather put out that there was none left for her.

“Hey Astrid, I think we got ripped off!”

But at least they got to enjoy the empty box.
πŸ˜‰

Can’t Sleep

The past few months have been odd for me, sleep wise.
I’ve never been a good sleeper. Always lived with some level of insomnia.
These past few months though…
Between Daphne deciding she is going to bark all night long for no good reason, my Kid turning 18 and my anxiety over having an adult child, and the weather…
Sweet merciful crap.
If I’m lucky, I’m getting 2, maybe 3 hours.
And that’s in the recliner, because the stupid dog *doesn’t* bark if I stay in the livingroom.

Y’see, she has to be crated at night.
She destroys everything she can get her face on otherwise.
Like rips things to shreds.
So, she sleeps in her crate. Well, she *supposed* to sleep in her crate.
But the second I lay down in bed (because Hubby goes to bed long before me) she starts.
Whining, then barking, then howling.
All.
Night.
Long.
She’s seen the vet. She’s 100% healthy.
She’s been given a kong toy filled with peanut butter. Doesn’t work.
She’s been left loose. She destroys things, including furniture.
We’ve moved the crate to our bedroom. She still barks, screams and howls.
The crate is the correct size for her.
She’s just a canine asshole.

So I’m sure my (even more than normal for me) lack of sleep is adding to my anxiety levels.
And then of course, there is money.
Isn’t there always? lol
But starting this month we lose $275/month in income.
And I’m having to figure out a way to replace that, while still working on the Farm.
That doesn’t help sleep or anxiety.

Plus, I fell while trying to help push Hubby’s truck out of a snow bank. Fucked up my shoulder. And my knee has been shot for a while now…
And it’s been soooo cold here, I’m always freezing.
Guys, I’m falling apart here!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Still have my sense of humour though, so things ain’t too bad.
I’ll get things figured out, one way or another.
I’ve got some newer Equi~Gems made, so I can update the sale page.
That *should* be done in the next week or so.
I’m chasing sunlight for the best pictures.
πŸ™‚

For now, here’s a couple of shots of our Painted Unicorn…
She’s been working her magic in posing for me.
πŸ˜‰

She looks so pretty!
❀

What’s a Ruby photo shoot without that tongue stuck out in at least 1 shot?

Mid-February Warm Up

We’re almost 1/2 way through February.
Today is a balmy -8*c.
Compared to last week’s deep, deep freeze, this is positively t-shirt weather!
I, of course, celebrate days like this with open windows and loud music…and a few pictures.

Ruby decided to have a nap in the straw bale.
Those ears tell me she wasn’t happy about my disturbing her with the camera.
After all this time, she oughta be used to it.
πŸ˜‰

And then I captured this little one…

Fluff!!

This feline showed up in the Fall and moved into the garage.
S/he had a grand time chewing on a pig head that was left in the grass after butchering through the winter…
S/he also was enjoying meals in the garage during the coldest of days.
As always, when a newbie shows up, whether they arrive on their own or are dumped here, everybody eats.
And, once the weather settles out a bit more towards spring, we’ll trap this one and take them to the vet for spay/neuter and a check up.

Still trying to wait patiently for Spring.
This round of nice weather has me antsy to start getting things going, but I know it’s too early for plants, and there’s too much snow for building.
So I’m working on props for my Kid’s b-day photo shoot with her horse.
In 1 week they turn 18.
That needs to be marked with photos.
πŸ™‚

Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2018

Every New Year’s Eve I try to do a recap post.
This year, I’m revisiting Ashley Sisk’s Memories Dreams and Reflections prompts.
Yeah, the post is from 2015, but the prompts are the same.
And they’re a fun way to see what 2018 was like here on the Farm…

So, let’s get to it, because this is gonna get long.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Me

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know, I’m behind the camera 99.9% of the time, so there’s not too many shots with me in them…but this one I took for an Instagram challenge, where I had to show myself in the midst of a farm chore…

Ruby’s dainty hoof…

What better than a foot/hoof selfie with Ruby?

I Love You

How could I not love these 3?

Kid and her Sable ❀

And this…I ❀ this image…and these 2.

Still Laughing

MCFHubby and Astrid

It started out as a normal ride…and ain’t little Miss Astrid just the prettiest damn thing ever?

But then, things went a wee bit wrong…
See, that lead rope got tangled in the bail, Hubby pulled and the end snapped poor little Miss on the bum…

And then, as she tried to go forward, Hubby squeezed with his legs trying to hold on, while pulling her head around…and Astrid said “Listen, I had enough. Get. Off. Me.”

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Okay, so it wasn’t funny ’til we knew they were both okay, but we’re still laughing about it, because mixed messages with equines all too often means eating dirt.
Oh and Hubby ate dirt…

Winter Wonderland

January 28th, 2018
First day I picked up my camera in months, and finally started to become myself again.

Beautiful Girl ❀

Astrid having a nap in the snow of our winter wonderland.

Birthday

So May 21st was supposed to be a Certain Girl’s 13th birthday.
I had planned out a shoot a year prior for it, and well, even though she wasn’t with us anymore, we went ahead with it anyways…

We let her herdmates enjoy the carrot cake in her honor…

He mighta smooshed it into her muzzle a wee bit…being it’s a cake smash and all… πŸ˜‰

Ruby’s turn…

And then Hubby set the cake down, so all 3 could enjoy it at once…

“CAAAAAAKKKKEEE!”

Friends

2018 was a year of getting to do some great photography work with friends…

Shaila of Pugtail Photography

The Cream 1/2 of Cookie’n’Cream Photography

We shot train robberies together…

Gentle giant Clyde, meeting one of his adoring fans…

And we shot images for a calendar…

Oooooh, scary ghost!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, collaboration wise!

I Was Inspired

Inspiration was hard-fought in 2018.
But I managed a few inspirational (to me) images…

This was my “Until We Meet Again” image…

It took a bottle of whiskey and a whole lot of tears to create.
Afterwards, my heart was so much lighter.
I just really needed a way to express my grief and say goodbye.
This was it.
❀


And then for Hallowe’en (and ultimately the anniversary of her death) Hubby helped me create this image.
Cookie’s skull, in sunlight, under our tree.
❀

Spring Fever

Chicks!

The perfect photographic depiction of spring fever…18 little balls of feathers that lived in my bathroom for a few weeks, ’til they could go out to the coop.

Travel or Vacation

Having started an Instagram account for Ruby, The Painted Unicorn, we found a toy to represent her as we traveled here and there…because The Painted Unicorn Ruby has to stay home and guard the beer and food, while DecoyRuby goes out and is social. πŸ˜‰

Summer Days

Gone fishin’

Friend Will’s giant fish. πŸ˜‰

The Palomino Princess at sunrise…

Getting her teeth done…

Bird watching

A Day in My Life

Sunrise photoshoots…


Staff meetings…


Dogs with sticks…


Finding stray nests…

16 eggs!!

Feeding baconators…

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Bobbing for apples…


Getting sick babies well again…

Drugged for x-rays…

And photos taken as the sun sinks down…

All Smiles

I just can’t help but smile at this one…
She’s sleeping, snoring, licking and running all while flat out.
❀

Autumn Harvest

look at all the tomatoes on there!

Helper chicken

Garden tomatoes…

Our garden did it’s best since moving here.
So many tomatoes, beans, beets, carrots…
As well as other yummy things.
It was a prosperous growing season for sure!

Home


This just says “home” to me…
There’s no words to explain why. It just does.

Celebrate

Yule pictures!
πŸ˜‰

Let’s Do It Again


Let’s nap in the grass…


Doze in the rising sun light…


Enjoy the splendor of an early sunrise…

I Miss You

Always and forever…

❀

Until we meet again…

❀

I will miss you until the end of time.

“Oh! Hey Mama…whatcha doin'”
~Cookie

There is never a day where I’m not thinking of you.

Beautiful

This…

And this…

And this…

Dress Up

Aside from Yule pictures with the lights, I don’t think I did any dress up kinda shoots with my animals this year.
So, for this one you get Dukey…an elder mini gentleman who lives at West Wind Stables.

See?
How adorable is he?

Macro

I got nothin’ macro from this year.
Not sure I even used that lens for anything other than a few portraits.
This one is an older shot, trying to convince Cookie to wear a Canada Day headband.
It didn’t work.
πŸ˜‰
But those whiskers…and that muzzle.
❀

“So scary smelling. Can’t let this any closer to me. Sorry Mama.” ~Cookie

Holidays

The holidays can be rough, y’know?
Especially when you’re a famous unicorn.
That’s why you have your very own masseuse…or in this case, a cat-sseuse…to massage out all those tight, achy muscles while your herdmate tried to push in and get a little sumthin’ sumthin’ for herself.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


And then, once everything’s loose, it’s time to go to work…them pretty holiday photos ain’t gonna make themselves happen.
πŸ˜‰

My Favorite

My Remembrance Day shots…


For the simplicity, the beauty and because I let myself just follow my camera.

Don’t Ever Change

Don’t ever change, my RubyGirl.
You keep your headstrong, boss bitch attitude.
It’s one of the main reasons I love you and why I love working with you…and it makes for grand photos!

Just Because…So There!

Hopes and Dreams

As always, we have big Dreams here at Midnight Calico Farm.
This past year we got a little closer to stocking the pantry shelves to acceptable levels, as I got back into canning.
While our pigs didn’t grow as well as we’d hoped (they arrived way too late for them to get as big as we like them), I did find a fantastic deal on Muscovy ducks, both for the freezer and for eggs and meat next year.


I hope y’all will stick with us, as we grow and learn from our mistakes.
And I promise, I’ll try harder to put up posts more often.
Life has slowly returned to center.
It’s been a long road.
I’m ready for 2019.

Happy New Year!

πŸ’–πŸ–€πŸ’–