Officially Summer

So I missed the Summer Solstice.
So, happy Summer!
Life has been busy.
Okay, so when isn’t it?
Turkeys have hatched.
10 from the replacement incubator, with 14 chicks.
Today we’re taking out the ones who hatched in the big incubator.
I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in there.
There were 41 eggs, and there’s a whole lot of jim jamming and singing in there…
Then, Saturday we fire up for the last hatch of the year.
(I may have said that already…days blend when it’s all animal chores and weeding 😂😂😂)

I’ll be hitting y’all with a whole bunch of Instagram posts for images, just because it’s easier today to link to them than to upload into WordPress…aka I’m lazy.
😂😂😂

Garden is doing pretty good.
If you ignore the fact that on the Solstice night we had frost that took out my tomatoes. And most of my peppers.
Fuck.
Ah well.
Greens and beans and carrots and onions are growing well.
I’ll just watch for the local mega mart putting cases of roma tomatoes on sale again…I’ll get food in jars yet. 😉

So y’all know I’ve been going on and on and on and on about a greenhouse.
Y’all are probably sick to damn death of hearing about it, but not seeing any action.
Well shit comes up, ‘kay?
But…this weekend the build begins!!
We’ve been collecting old windows, and buying new lumber as we can, and then last week…

In this local gardening group, a woman posts how she has these plastic rolls she wants to get rid of, probably good for a greenhouse, if someone wants them, come get them for free.
I expressed interest, explained what we do here and how a greenhouse is a massive asset to our operation.
She says to me “all yours!”
So I send Hubby to her place in the Big City to pick it up…
(and ain’t he handsome? my giant bearded bastard… ❤ )

Remember, you can click the arrows on the side of the image to scroll…you do not have to go to Instagram to see the images. 🙂

Uh yeah, so that’s 1 roll of 32ft x 150ft greenhouse poly.
Like, for reals, proper af, last 4-5 years, UV treated, poly.
The 2nd roll is a plastic tube that we’ll cut open and use for smaller hoop houses.
What an amazing gift!

So this weekend, once the final brooder has the top hinged on, and the last of the turkey poults in it, we start the greenhouse.
Holy. Fuck.
Next year I might actually have tomatoes!
😂😂😂

As for the garden itself…

Some of it, I’m on top of the weeds and mulching.
Other parts are a hot mess that still need weeding and mulching.
But it’s always a work in progress.
It’s doing awesome this year though, and even with the loss of the tenders, I’m not going to complain.
🙂
Besides, I’ve been picking massive amounts of lamb’s quarters…

Yup, they’re weeds.
But, they’re edible weeds.
And I love me some free foods.
I love me all the free foods!
Tastes like spinach, excellent in salads and on pizza.
And free.
Did I mention that part?

And finally, an offer of free trees fell into my lap and I happily scooped up 25 free trees.
10 willows and 15 poplars.
So now I’ve added tree planting to the list of things to do this weekend…along with weeding, mulching, building, and cutting hay.
Because YAY the first bales of hay go up tonight and the next round is cut down and drying.
Tomorrow morning I cut the next area, and then onto the access road on the side of our property and they the edge of our big field.
Rains have been good to us, so this year’s hay crop oughta be decent.
I oughta be able to put up enough to sustain a ewe or two for winter…

😉

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday
Even with the challenges, I am incredibly thankful for the life we’re building here.

Finally!

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.

Our 3 chubby monkeys, who are doing so well this year…even with record breaking cold!

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.

Hot and Sweaty

July.
Amirite??
😂😂😂

So it’s hot.
Hotter than normal.
But one of the side effects of hotter than normal, is that we’ve had some good downpours.
YAY.
We sure did need them!

So this week I’m back to cutting hay.
Not ’til Friday though, because we have a couple more days of rain in the forecast for mid-week.
My small hay “fields” look good though…I’ll know more once I get cutting, but I think we’ll do okay with my work this year.
*fingers crossed*
I still have 2 bales put up from last year for the Merry Mares, and I made sure our Hay Guy knew with our last delivery last year…”Let’s just get this out of the way now…yup, I’m gonna need hay next year.”
LOL!!
But there’ll be no horse shopping for me this year…I don’t anticipate any extra hay over what I typically order, because so far the year hasn’t been great.
I had been hoping to bring my herd back up to 4, even if it was only a mini, but that’s just not in the cards for this year.
Oh, there’s plenty of equines out there to be had, but I ain’t taking on another if I can’t feed ’em.
That’s just how it is.

As for the rest of the Farm…

Garden has been loving the rain.
Weeds are huge.
In among the weeds my beans are starting to flower.
I found some strawberry plants on sale at the local grocery store.
$1.94 each and they were huge already!

Holy cheap berries to add to the garden!!

I seriously couldn’t pass them up, it was too good of a deal.
So since my asshole chickens 😉 got to the others, I snapped up 4 of them. Planted them ASAP, mulched heavily, and so far, so good.
They’re inside the garden fence, so chickens can’t get to ’em.

Added a new apple tree to the Farm, in honour of a good friend who lost her last battle with cancer over the winter.
She was an avid gardener, so a tree just seemed right.

Also bought 2 black currant bushes on sale…
We love the end of season clear out on fruit trees/bushes, I tell ya!!
🙂

My honeyberry cuttings!!
We. Have. Roots!

Loooooook!!!
Roots!

Okay, so only 2 cuttings of the 15 I took ended up rooting…but that’s okay! 2 is better than none, and they’re good strong rootings.
Since berries are done for the season, I popped out and cut another 1/2 dozen. We’ll see if I can get any of those to take.
Any that do will spend the winter inside being babied, until the spring thaw, when they’ll go out to expand the Food Forest.

And finally, we’re into the home stretch with the meat chickens.
Whew!
In the next couple of weeks we’ll be looking at sending them to Freezer Camp. That’ll take 43 beaks off the feed bill.
And it will add a whole lot of meals to the freezer/shelves for winter.
Then in the Fall all we’ll have for poultry is whatever roosters I hatched out.

So, in short…
Life is busy.
Hot.
Sweaty.
But we’re getting things done, and it all looks like things are going according to plan (may it stay so…).
🙂

On Cussing and Banana Bread

I’m making banana bread today.
I have 4 bananas left from the bag of 17 I bought at Wal-mart last week…yep, you read that right. I bought bananas at Wal-mart.
If you know me even a little bit, you know, when it comes to Wal-mart, I’m not a fan.
I think the quality of their products is lesser (which is why it’s often so cheap) and I don’t like many of their corporate practices.
Oh, and it’s always busy, and I have problems with crowds.

But…

Their clearance section in the produce and bread aisles absolutely rock!!
My point. 17 bananas for $1.
Yeah.
I have 4 left…
I ate 7, 3 went into an angel food cake dessert, and 3 went to the chickens. For $1.
I’m seriously considering clearing out a clearance rack of bananas to make a batch of banana wine.
For today though, it’s going to be a banana bread day. 😉

Last night, I was working on editing my Yule photos.
On New Year’s Day, we finally managed to get decent enough weather that I could make the attempt to create what I was envisioning.
There is this photographer I follow on FB, Aneta Novotna…super talented, gorgeous images of amazingly gorgeous horses…well, she did a shoot with a fjord horse, a christmas tree and a santa hat…it was gorgeous. I mean, I was gushing at the beauty of it. I still am!
And, I really wanted to recreate the idea here at the farm.

Well, instead of an insanely beautiful horse with a perfect tree, I got this:

"Hey Mom, you put apples on the tree??" ~Ruby

“Hey Mom, you put apples on the tree??”
~Ruby

And that’s when the cussing started…

Now, I know cussing is something that bothers some folks. Around here, and well, anywhere there’s livestock, cussing is a way of life.
I don’t mean that every second word is a swear, but there are times that they just come out…kinda like yesterday’s blog post when I said people should just “slow the fuck down”…I know I didn’t *need* to swear, but at the same time, it gets the point across.

Here we have my Hubby on the side of the highway, in the frigid cold, and cars are zooming by, not slowing down, not moving over…guys, that’s my world there! I get it, people are in a hurry, gotta get to work, gotta do this, gotta do that…but 30 seconds to slow up and ease over to the other lane so that the guy stuck on the side of the highway can do what he needs to do and then get home safe isn’t going to end your world. But, if you’re not careful, your actions could end mine. All for the want of 30 extra seconds.
That, my friends, warrants a “slow the fuck down”…
Oh, and he did get the tire changed safely, with the help of my brother, who got up at 4:35am and went out to help him.
He’s a good human, that brother of mine.

And then there’s this silly horse…
Who thought that she should eat that plastic non-apple, and in less than a second, had that thing in her mouth and was trotting away, while I yelled at her “Drop that ball you stupid fucking bitch!!”

Yep. Livestock inspires cussing.

Thankfully, she did drop it when Hubby walked towards her and simple said, low and growly “Ruby…”, and ploop, out came that ball…and into her mouth he went with his hands, to make sure she didn’t have the wire caught in there.
Again, thankfully, she didn’t. Turns out, after reviewing the images (D90 is 4.5 fps) we saw that the wire had come off when Ruby pulled the ball from the tree and flipped back into the snow.
Some frigid digging later and we found that…Yay!
That ended my attempts at a pretty, serene and relaxed, decorated tree photo shoot. 😉

We did leave the trees out in the pasture for the Girls to nibble and play with. They’ve been having fun with that. Hopefully, they’ll do when I can get to my camera. If not, well, I’ll just have to enjoy it for all y’all. 😉

One more shot from the tree attempt:

My Old Ladies...

My Old Ladies…

They were just having a moment, my Old Ladies were. ❤

 

For more images by the talented Aneta Novotna, check out her galleries here.

K is for ‘Kay…I’m Lost!

I thought I had only missed one Alphabe-Thursday post recently.
Nope, turns out I missed two.
I thought we were on J, but instead we’re on K…
‘Kay. Turns out I’m lost.
LOL!

Here’s a whole bunch of pictures I’ve been wanting to share, but haven’t gotten to…enjoy while I go find myself. 😉

Pop up poplars in the pasture.

Pop up poplars in the pasture.

This is in the front pasture, where we’ve closed The Girls out of for the past 3 weeks. In that time, the grass has grown immensely, and these 3 trees have popped up out of nowhere.
The tallest one is about 3 feet tall…gives you an idea of how fast poplars grow! They don’t, however, last as long as a pine or a spruce, so planting more is always a good thing.

Poplar cutting

Poplar cutting

This one is a cutting off a stump of a poplar we had to take down last summer. Unfortunately, it was planted in a less than ideal place…trees near a septic tank is never a good idea!
Well, since we haven’t gotten the stump out yet (I feel like I’ve shared this before…maybe I have? Maybe it was just on Facebook?) these branches started to grow. This one lone cutting survived the marauding horde of kittens.

"I iz kill dis for u, Food Lady"

“I iz kill dis for u, Food Lady”

Helpful little Grey. Killing my trough skimming net.  Hard to skim scum when there are giant kitteh made holes!

Xena Rake Biter

Xena Rake Biter

I have no words to explain what Ms Xena Pena is doing here. lol!

2 black and white ones

2 black and white ones

This is an older shot already…you can see how teeny Felix is. Hubby snapped it with his phone. We were introducing my big black and white one to my small black and white one. Of course, Sable had to see too. 🙂

Catnip

Catnip

Amazingly, with 13 barn cats running around, my catnip has survived this far…next year it will get its own raised bed, with a chicken wire cage around it for protection.

Golden Spice Pear

Golden Spice Pear

Gemini Apple

Gemini Apple

The 2 fruit trees above, Hubby picked up at a pop up greenhouse that was clearing stuff out 1/2 price. He also bought a 3rd, a Prairie Sensation apple. $25 each, and all are over 6 ft tall already!
The ones I bought last spring (this is the 2nd summer here) were 3 ft tall, and I paid $35 each.
So, when Hubby saw these, he jumped at them. They’ll be producing fruit much sooner!

All the pretty colours!

All the pretty colours!

It’s my Equine Rainbow. Makes me smile.

Now a few pictures from Paul and Toosh’s yard…

Poppy

Poppy

Another version of the poppy

Another version of the poppy

Butterfly on Bee Balm

Butterfly on Bee Balm

Can you see who's hiding in there?

Can you see who’s hiding in there?

Oh, hello, Mr Bunny!

Oh, hello, Mr Bunny!

Finally, one of my flowers…I didn’t plant these, the former owner did. I’m just enjoying them. 🙂

Lily

Lily

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.

A is for Apple Blossoms

This is the second time I’ve joined in to Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock.
I so enjoyed the last round that when Ms Jenny asked if folks wanted another one, I was quite happy to wave my hand in the air and say “Oh, Oh, Oh! Yes, please!!” 🙂

While there was a whole lotta stuff going on out here last week (I’ll fill y’all in on that later on this week), today’s post is just for the letter A.

Apple blossoms. Of the 6 apple trees we planted, 4 have come back this year, and 2 are in bloom already. The other two are just setting leaves, so will likely bloom later.
My Honeycrisp apples, though, don’t look like they made it through the winter. 😦 We’ll leave them for now, just to see if they come ’round, and watch the greenhouse sales. Maybe we can replace them on the cheap near the end of the planting season. Personally, I’d love to get my hands on a couple of the 4 in 1 apple trees. 4 different varieties grafted onto 1 root-stock. Would be awesome!

Odyssey Apple Blossoms2015The apple trees are small, so after the blossoms are done, I’ll hose off any little apples that form. That way, the summer growing period won’t be focused on fruit, but on overall growth.

Apple BlossomI can’t wait until my mini orchard is producing apples and pears!

A is for Apple Blossoms.

Sharing with Alphabe-Thursday hosted by Jenny Matlock.

X is for e-X-citement

Yes, I know, I’m stretching it. 😛
Honestly,  I had wanted to go find a xylophone for Sable to play, but…um, that just didn’t happen. I had to get creative with an “x” word then.

The big e-X-citement around here is the installation of the new garden boxes/bed.
Last year, on July 1st, my garden flooded out. We had this insane dump of rain, the pasture was barely visible, the Girls were almost knee deep in water, and my garden (which was already 75% planted) was gone under water.
This year, we resolved to move the garden and build raised beds. Thankfully, Hubby’s work offers up scrap wood for the workers to take home on a rotating basis. He’s brought home much scrap wood! Enough to, with the help of a few pieces in the wood pile that was already here, build 9 3×3 foot beds, plus our main 40×24 foot area.

Whew, it’s been a lot of work getting them done, and our e-X-citement has been installing them.

Several of the raised 3x3 footers...

Several of the raised 3×3 footers…

A few more of them...

A few more of them…

These are placed in between the apple and pear trees. I figure there’s easily enough space in between for beds. I mean, it’s going to be a while before we see fruit of them anyways, why have dead space? Can’t let the horses graze there, they’d just destroy the trees, but, I can grow food there. And the more food I can grow (and put up for the winter), the better.

Augering holes...

Augering holes…

In the “W” post, I showed you one side of the main bed…here’s Hubby using the tractor to dig the holes for the posts. No way are we going to dig them by hand! And really, we have this tool at our disposal, so why not use it?
Once we have the bed in place, I’ll share some pictures of that. 🙂

Of course, with all this going on, it’s bound to attract the attention of the animals. The e-X-citement is just too much for them to resist…

Sable ExcitementSable had to come see what all the noise was about…and then she was disappointed she couldn’t reach the tractor. lol! She has this love affair going on with it…well, she really just wants to chew the paint off. Goober!

Ruby ExcitementThis was all so exciting to Ruby that she had to stop and poop. Hahahaha!!

Sunset CookieCookie was coming over to get a little shedding done…I had the shedding blade in hand to scrape away at who ever wanted it done. Surprisingly (and to my e-X-citement!) Cookie was more than happy to let me get rid of some more of her winter coat.

Astrid No ExcitementAstrid just wanted to eat the green bits coming up.

Ninja DogDaphne had the fun and e-X-citement of being sprayed with the hose, and playing Ninja Dog. That’s where she barks and flips and scrambles out of the way of the water jet…it’s a game she loves to play.

And finally, with the noise and e-X-citement of the tractor making holes, my MaxCat decided that he needed to protect me from the scary, noisy thing.

Lying on my foot.

Lying on my foot.

That’s my Max, he guards me from danger and scary things every chance he gets. 😉

X is for e-X-citement.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.