The Gardening Begins…

It’s a little chilly out there today, but we’re in full on working in the garden mode now.
The ducks and TD (TallDuck the sweetgrass turkey who thinks she’s a duck) are going back to their yard today, now that flood waters have receded enough.
Then, I start hauling loads of straw to mulch the areas of the garden where grasses tried to take over.
We garden no-till, so straw is my best friend at this time of year.
🙂
Next week I can start planting out my onion sets, my spring garlic and any cool weather seeds…beets, carrots, fava beans, lettuce, spinach, and the like…
We are absolutely going to get a few more nights of frost, so I’m not even thinking about my tomatoes going outside yet.
Soon I’ll start hardening them off tho…

The medicinal plants are doing much better, now that they have their chance under the grow light:

There’s been a growth explosion since this picture above too, so for that I’m glad.
And the reseeded mullein is starting to grow too…mullein is going to be a big one for harvesting (I hope!) this year, since it’s main usage is for respiratory issues. So between what I seeded this week, and hopefully what grows in the the winter sowing jugs, I hope to have an ample supply!

The stinging nettles are up.
Nettles are a nutritional powerhouse, and an excellent medicinal.
Last year I was sad because I thought we didn’t have any growing…then I realized, we have them literally all over the Farm, but the birds (turkeys mainly) were getting them before I found them…and then when I did find them, they were big and older.
Now I know *exactly* where the best stands grow and the turkeys are still in the garage, so *I* get to them first!

And the rhubarb plants are coming back, as well as my asparagus and the honeyberries survived being buried under 5 feet of snow, and the apples trees…well they took some damage, being buried under drifts of snow, but they’re budding and I think they’ll be okay.
So, all in all, we’re getting onto growing season, albeit a wee bit late, but now the spring/summer work begins.
Days of hauling straw, planting, mulching, weeding and maybe even some watering…
I’m looking forward to longer days outside in the sunshine.

I’m still working on the garden expansion out front too…cardboard down, bedding from the duck house next, some rotted horse manure than another layer of straw and finally topsoil.
I haven’t ordered the topsoil yet, but that area is going to be for the peppers (that survived 🙄🤦‍♀️😭) and some tomatoes, so I’m not in too big of a hurry for the dirt.

And just now, after moving ducks, I checked more of the winter sowing jugs and lo…there is growth in quite a few of them!!
For that I am excited.
Later on, I’ll go out with my list and see whats germinated and perhaps (like the plant nerd I am) share some pictures.

Oh, I am so grateful for spring!!
Winter this time ’round was way too hard and we *need* the growth of Spring to rebalance ourselves.
🖤🖤🖤

C’mon Spring!!

Astrid’s coat tells me that Spring is here:

She all but frickin’ exploded with glee yesterday as I used my glove to scrub some of the loose winter coat out…it’s muddy AF out there in the pasture, so I’m trying to remember the shedding blade when we go to feed their pails of beet pulp, but I only have 2 hands and there’s 3 mares and everyone is itchy, itchy, itchy and wanting to be groomed soooooo bad!

Well, next week that oughta get easier.
We’ve got another round of moisture falling from the sky this weekend.
Like, wth??
For some reason Mother Nature thinks she should make up for 4 years of drought in a few months time…
But next week, we’re looking like this:

And if those temps actually happen?
(That’s celcius, btw)
Then the water is going to soak in nicely.
And what doesn’t soak in should run off as the ditches finally open up properly.
Then?
Then the grass starts to grow.
The mares are already out in the non-flooded spots nibbling the tender shoots…and yeah, I know I should keep them off of it, but frankly, I can’t.
It’s the only high ground they’ve got other than a space that would (if fenced) be a teeny corral that barely fits the 3 of ’em.

So while the rain falls this weekend, I’ll be transplanting tomatoes.
My seeds have come up fantastically, and I have a whole bunch to up pot.
Got a few peppers to do the same with…and I have to restart my poblanos.
*insert grouchy face here*
I ended up with an aphid infestation.
I had originally used a vodka/peroxide mixture to spray the soil and plants down.
Every couple of days and finally got rid of them.
Or so I thought…
Little green bastards came back with a vengeance and in one of the gardening groups, neem oil was suggested to me…welp…I suspect I did something wrong when spraying the plants because all but 2 (of 35) have died on me…and I’m not sure the last 2 will survive.
😭😭😭
I’m a fair bit gutted about it.
But, as always, I’ll just give ‘er a do-over and try again.
Thankfully, I have more poblano seeds, and I winter sowed a container of them…those I should be seeing some sprouts in very soon!Especially with next weeks nice weather.

Every year I find there is some sort of challenge and every year I find myself reaching the point of Que Sera Sera…this year I hit that point much sooner than normal.
Between craptastic weather, the killing of my peppers and the septic pump replacement, I’m just…

At least there’s another 4-5 weeks before our last frost date, so the poblanos might have a chance to start up again in time…if not?
Que sera sera.

Not Much Goin’ On

Got through another blizzard.
Rain/snow comin’ this weekend.
Feelin’ like the winter that never wants to end.
Donkey horse did this to herself:

I’m sure she had one helluva headache after that.
She sure was grumpy with me when I poked and prodded it.
lol
Someone had to poke at it and see how bad it was.
😉
Good thing it’s not fly season or sunburn season, otherwise she’d be even unhappier with me.

This week I’m firing up the incubators.
No chickens this year.
Got no roos left.
Sadly, in the hellacious winter of 21/22, I lost all my roos to shitty weather and a respiratory infection that blew through my coops like crazy.
So only turkeys.
And a few cross bred ducks…and guinea fowl…both of those I’m picking up from a FB friend who asked if anyone was interested in some to hatch out.
Um, yeah!
Haven’t managed to have ducks hatch in the incubator (came close with a couple muscovies but they quit a week or so before they were due) and never had guinea fowl, so, for free eggs?
I’m willing to give it a try.
Now we let our duck hens do the work, because muscovies love, love, love to hatch bebes.
And aside from late season nests, I’m happy to let them.

I’m currently up to 15 turkey eggs to hatch.
Today we discovered, much to my chagrin, that one hen we thought was a hen turned out to be a tom.
So Oscar (my main tom) has only 6 girls instead of 7.
I’m just hoping that the newly discovered tom stays subservient long enough that we can get him to a better size for the freezer.
2 breeding toms is plenty and I don’t have enough hens to give Dingus any right now, so keeping a 3rd tom is just not gonna work.
Plus, toss in the whole avian influenza thing going on, selling a live bird right now is more of a pain in the ass than normal…plus, we like turkey, and we let these jerks breed so we can eat the extras, so…

Tomato seeds are popping up through the dirt.
I’m getting ready to sow a few more.
Only have 36 little cups (though each cup has more than 1 seed in it and I’ll pot up any extras that come up from those multiples…except for the San Marzano…I only had 10 of those seeds, so 1 per cup) and that ain’t going to be nearly enough tomatoes for us.
Tomatoes is like beans…I could plant an acre of ’em and that *might* be enough for us.
😂😂😂
All my other seeds that I ordered, have come in.
Hubby is just picking up bits and bobs here and there when he’s at the feed store or the hardware store.
Mostly adding to the carrots/beets supply of seeds.
We go through a lot of both.

And that’s us.
We’re just waiting on spring to really and for truly get here.
And for hands in the dirt/building season to begin.
YeeHaw.

Almost April

Winter decided to give us one last kick this weekend.
Cold af.
Last night was -24*C.
Brrrrrr!!
So yesterday was a day of adding more straw for the ducks, chickens, and turkeys.
Fat arsed mares got another bale too…they probably could have made Monday, but eating keeps horses warm so we just fed ’em. Mostly because if I blanket the one who needs it most:

Then the other 2 beat the crap out of her because she “doesn’t look right”.
🙄🤦‍♀️
So we feed them.
It’s easier than trying to separate Sable from the other 2.
The joys of a 3 horse herd.
*sigh*

So my next round of peppers are up.
Well, some of them.
I planted some orange and yellow pepper seeds and some alma paprika seeds.
Paprika seeds aren’t showing yet, but the o/y are up.
Those were freebie seeds out of peppers we got in a Loop pickup.
Birds enjoyed demolishing the peppers and I took a few seeds to try.
You never really know what you’ll get with grocery store saved seeds, but I have the space in the garden so it’s worth the try to grow them.

Friday is tomato seeds starting day.
And some medicinals/flowers.
Since I’m not 100% sold on the whole winter sowing thing (I keep getting told to “trust the process” but my brain says it can’t work…) I want to start some of the more important things inside…like mullein, yarrow, calendula, and bee balm…they’re all for drying, tinctures, and teas for the home apothecary.
And of course, we can never grow too many tomatoes. 😉

This past Friday Hubby brought home onion sets for me…

I had complained to him at lunch that I had used my last garden grown red onion for yet another jar of pickled onions 🤤 so clearly I was going to have to grow *more* onions this year. Next thing I knew, he brought me 2 1/2 lbs of onion sets.
As soon as the garden soil is workable, they’ll get planted.
As well as the other cool season crops.

Next week tho…
I’m going to head out front of the house and dig out the raised boxes that have our asparagus and rhubarb in them. In a semi-normal year of snow, they would be poking their heads out right about now. Well, I have 2ish feet of snow sitting on top of them, so I’ll dig them out a bit and let the sun finish the job.
If all grows well, I should have enough rhubarb this year to make a round of wine/shine.
And to share with someone who really likes rhubarb for baking…myself, I’m not a huge fan, but I do like home made alcohol, so…. 😉

Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.
Spring is slow af this year, but with the amount of snow, that’s probably for the best.
Either way, spring is coming and we’re so ready for it!
🙂

Mid-February

Alright, so we’ve made it past the middle of February.
We don’t do the Valentine’s thing here.
I don’t need a corporate day of spending money for Hubby to “prove” he loves me.
Nor I that I love him.

Pfft.
The fact that he doesn’t run screaming away from the Farm, and that he freezes his ass off to clear snow for my nags is proof enough for me.
And for him?
Always cold beer, hot food, and a little lovin’ on those nights we don’t fall face first asleep into our pillows.
😂😂😂
Hallmark ain’t got nothin’ on us.

But, getting past that annoyance of marketing frenzy means only 32 days ’til Spring.
I’m starting pepper seeds this weekend.
Poblanos and shepherds.
Peppers just take so long to germinate.
Tomatoes will get started in about 5-6 weeks.
Well, those that I’m starting in the house.
I have winter sown a whole bunch of tomatoes, and will do a few more containers this weekend.
Same with some of the peppers.

Now one of the good things about that annoyance day, is yesterday we got a Loop load.
YAY!!
With truck problems, I had to find others to take our pickups because the rental car couldn’t take the loads.
(For anyone who missed it…Loop is the local food waste recovery program…we sign on to pick up out dated, short dated, not for human consumption food from grocery stores that would normally go into the dumpster…instead, we (and other farmers) get it to feed to our animals), but finally, we are back to getting our pickups.
Yesterday was Valentine’s cake day.
My fat, fat horses are gonna *love* them some cake.
😂😂😂
Outdoor cats scored a bounty of lamb.
Those little fatties are doing great too.
I’m glad, because outdoor life can be rough on felines.
All my kids are upwards of 6 years old now, and doing very well.
The only one who wasn’t born here is our Maxamillion:

Maxamillion!

Our old man has helped raised many a kitten that wasn’t his.
He came from the local Humane Society as an “outdoor only, unsociable” cat.
Ha!
He’s my buddy who follows me all over the Farm, and loves to sit in my lap for morning coffee on the deck.
He was only “antisocial” at the shelter because in 2 weeks time he’d been brought in, neutered, sent out on adoption trial, brought back, then shunted off to the “barn buddy” program.
It took me all of 2 weeks to convince him that life was good here and his belly would never be empty.
That was 8 (almost 9) years ago, and he’s been my best buddy ever since.

Where was I?
Oh right…the cats scored a bounty of lamb for their next few meals.
Max sure does love him a lamb chop!
My picky cats tho…they prefer their meats cooked.
Unless it’s liver. Liver they gobble raw.
I have to fry their meats in a bit of butter (leaving them rare) and then put it out for them.
Spoiled rotten cats.
But, they do hunt and they keep the rodent population near non-existent.
Considering we’re surrounded by grain fields, that’s pretty awesome.
So I will not complain about my “please cook my lamb for me Food Lady” felines.
😂😂😂

So that’s it.
Mid-February.
Mother Nature is kicking our ass with all the snow She shorted us the past 4 years.
And we’re dealing with it using alcohol and rage.
Sure ain’t any winter weight being gained here…anyone who wants to get in a helluva workout, let me know. I have snow every where you can shovel.
Cardio and weights all in one!
😂😂😂

All Out

All the plants are out of my house.
Not necessarily planted, but moved out to the garden and this afternoon, I’ll put in whatever I can.
And then it’s down to the weeding, watering, mulching and whatever Mother Nature decides she’s going to do…oh, and fucking cats.

This morning as I’m moving the plants out for the final time, I notice my zucchini is gone.
They were lovely seedlings passed onto me by friends…they were growing beautifully.
Up to 6 leaves and happy, happy, happy.
And then this morning?
Gone.
WTF???

Yeah so, I had started some pumpkins in the house.
I set those outside in the garden first, then went back for the tomatoes.
I guess I didn’t latch the gate…or she climbed the fence.
Either way, I came into the garden to find this asshole:

…eating the pumpkins.
Seriously.
Eating the pumpkin leaves…
WTF??

And then I look down to the end where the peppers are and see this one…

…lying on the pepper plants.
I say again…WTF???

And then, just to add a bit more insult to injury, Coal walks over to Trouble, does the nosy kitty kiss thing with him, looks straight at me and starts munching on a pepper plant.

*sigh*

I may have lost it right about then.
Screamed like a maniac at the cats.
Chased them out of the garden.
Threatened to make slippers from their lovely furry fucking hides.

And now the weather can’t decide if there’s going to be gale force winds, or if there will be no winds, or what it’s doing.
All I know is, it’s June 18th and the tomatoes are not coming back into the house.
They can live or die as they see fit.
Grow, don’t grow, what the fuck ever.

But I’ve had my first harvest of Lamb’s Quarters.
And I’ll be harvesting more this weekend with weeding.
And today I’ll be emptying the one incubator.
Some turkeys have hatched, some chicks have hatched.
And on Sunday the other incubator goes into lockdown with 41 Narragansett turkey eggs in it.
Then, one last round of eggs for the year.
It’ll be a big set…97 eggs.
And once those hatch, it’ll be mid-July.
Which makes it the last one.
I am so good with that.

But for today, all I have to do is get things in the ground.
Rains are coming this Sunday, so I want everything done and in.
I’m so very close.

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Feline Friday

Almost There

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.
😂😂😂

Farm Stuff

Loooooook…

Just look at my pretty, pretty hatching eggs!
😍😍😍

Hatching eggs

There are blue ones, pale green ones, a couple pinky shaded ones, a super dark olive green one and some lovely speckled browns.
Fingers crossed they hatch well and give me some more coloured egg layers.
Incubators go today…I’ve just got to finish collecting today’s eggs and then they get fired up for round 2.

My chicks from the last hatch are growing like crazy.
I will admit, I have been worried about them in the brooder in some of the more oddball weather moments…but after we lost the initial two, everyone else has been doing very well indeed.
So 43 going forward from that hatch.

Garden wise, the peppers are up and looking good…
We have sweet red bells and jalapenos.
Not a lot of either one this year, because for just our use, I’m the only one who likes peppers.
Next year that may (or may not) expand, depending on interest.

peppers

And this morning I was greeted by these little beauties:

tomatoes!!

Just a small assortment of variety this year.
Ropreco pastes, brandywines and bush beefsteaks.
Smaller plants, but heavy fruiters and short seasons.
We don’t have a long growing season here, so I’m adapting our plant selections to that.
All of them are heirloom, so I can save seeds for future use.

We’re still planning a makeshift greenhouse build for this year.
Fingers crossed.
It ain’t gonna be pretty, but hopefully it’ll get the job done…while we plan for a better one down the road.
Wind is our biggest issue, after funds.
Building something that can stand the crazy prairie winds is going to be a challenge.
We’ll do what we can though, because that’s just what we do.
😉

Garden Seeds

Now that it’s January, it’s time to get serious about what seeds I need for the spring garden.
Time to pull out the catalogues and figure out exactly what I want to grow, where it’s going to go and how much seed I need to order.

For tomatoes I’m looking for a short season roma seed.
The past few years I’ve been lucky enough to hit on great sales of cases of Romas from the next province east of us, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll catch that every year.
And we go through *a lot* of tomato products when we have ’em. 😉
So a Roma that grows on a bush, fruits heavily and fast is what I’m after.
That’s my main thing I want with tomatoes.
I have saved seeds from sandwich ones that grow well for us here (when conditions are right…and we’re working on that too!)
I just have to remember that my season is short…so looking longingly at those different colours that take up to 100 days to ripen?
Waste. Of. Time.
Until we get a green house built.
(Friday’s LottoMax is $70 million…a win there would be nice! 😉 )

I’ll need carrot seeds.
Onion sets.
Beans…
Back in November, we were given a whole pile of pinto beans.
I figured I’d toss a few in a pot and grow them out before spring to see what we get…they’re likely hybrid beans, which means they’re not going to grow true to what the parent plant was…but, I won’t know if I don’t grow some out.
I’ll order purple bush beans for canning…because we *love* canned beans, and I really cannot grow enough of them.
And I may order some yellow beans too, just for prettiness in the jars.
Everyone loves to eat pretty food!

Beets is another one I’ll need to order.
Plus the various greens…lettuces and spinach, maybe some swiss chard for “cabbage” rolls.
And cucumbers, zucchini and some sort of winter squash.
I still have pumpkins and pepper seeds.
And really, there’s only 8ish weeks until we start pepper seeds, sooooo…it’s not like spring is really that far away.
(thank goodness, because I’m ready now! lol)

The key, as always, is to try to get enough to grow enough for the families we grow for, but not order things we won’t/don’t eat.
not always as easy as it sounds, when the winter seed catalogue “I gotta have” hits!
😂😂😂

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee…or some seeds. 😉
🙂

Cleaning Out the Garden

Hey, hi there!

Can you believe we’re mid-September already?
This summer…just wasn’t long enough, I tell ya!
I’ve started the garden clean out and it just feels wrong. 😦
Saturday we have a chance of frost, so things have to start coming out.
The last 2 days, I spent picking tomatoes and pulling the plants out. And the clean up crew has been having a grand time with tomato plants!

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Excuse the picture quality…everything is from my phone, because Voldemort doesn’t come outside when I’m working in the garden. 🙂

chicken in the tomato jungle…

She was not impressed that the jungle kept getting smaller and smaller!
😂
😂😂

Every year I try to pay attention to what grows well for us and what doesn’t.
This year we planted some Roma tomatoes that we bought through a friend’s sons school fundraiser.
Well, let me tell you, these plants were fucking awesome!!!
Check this out:

look at all the tomatoes on there!

I had to cut branches off to get to the tomatoes inside the growth of plant. Like they were so bushy and dripping with fruit.
Awe. Some.
So, they are a definite for next year’s garden.
Especially when you factor in that I didn’t do any watering, because our hose doesn’t reach. And, we had a drought this summer…
Imagine if they had regular watering!!
Oh, and if the stupid chickens hadn’t eaten so many…
Yeah, Romas are a must.

All told, once my plants were stripped, I have 5 5 gallon pails of tomatoes.
Some I’ll let ripen, some are ripe so we’ll eat those and many of the greenies will become wine.
Yum!

I thought my green beans were done and was leaving them to go to seeds for next year.
Hahahaha!
They’ve had other ideas.
Oh, some have big fat pods that are no good for anything but seed, but there’s a ton of pods that are good for eating right away.
I picked just about 2 pounds last time, and it looks like I’ll get that again.
Fine by me.
🙂

And then, that Daphne had a digging frenzy last week.
Why?
Because she’s a dog, and she can.
But she found this:

how cool is this??

It’s broken and dirty, but with a little elbow grease, I think I can fix it up. I think it’ll be perfect hung over the back door.

And finally, a picture of our Sable…

Whatcha doin’ CinderBella?

This is from way back in July, when she wasn’t feeling so good.
She’s always been a waterbaby, so we didn’t think too much of it…until we talked to her vet about and we all put 2 and 2 together.
Ms Merry Mare was trying to make herself feel better by cooling her hooves.
If it ever happens again, I’ll be sure to pay better attention to her overall demeanor, instead of just shaking my head at her antics.
It’s all we can do right?
When we know better, we work to do better.