Well That Was Fun…

Except for it wasn’t.
😦

We weathered the storm.
It was a mighty one, to be sure.
We lost power Friday morning, after losing internet a few hours before that.
I crocheted a whole lot.
Got a blanket about 1/3rd done for The Kid.
We sat under blankets to stay warm.
Had buckets of water for the necessities.
Watered animals with water from the rain barrels.
Poultry stayed locked in their coop.
Horses ate a whole lot of hay…and beet pulp and oats and alfalfa cubes.
Plus Tums for Sable, to keep her tummy happy.

When all was said and done, we had power back on by Friday evening, though there were a few blips and outages for another day or so.
We had a lot of snow.
Way more than a 1st snow storm should drop.
But, by the time we were able to get out to assess any damages, it was already melting.
And melting fast!

Pawing through the melting snow…

I don’t actually know how much snow we got, because of all the winds.
Holy. Moly.
It was windy like crazy, and the snow was wet and heavy.
I do know in the pic above, it had melted down by a 1/3rd (or more) already when I took that.

The week ahead looks nice though.
Thank goodness.
Because the date is set for porcine Freezer Camp.
I’ll be happy when it’s over and done with.
This round of pigs, while growing amazingly well, have had their challenges.
So much so that we’re thinking of taking a year off of raising pigs.

We have an opportunity to put a yearling steer into a pasture with a couple others and it won’t cost us anything for feed.
It means we can grow out a beef for the cost of the steer only. And because we do our own processing, we won’t have to pay those fees either.
We’re thinking of doing that next year.
And I’ll put all my other time into the poultry.
Meat chickens, and incubating eggs.
So we’ll still be able to fill the freezer very well.
I just need a year without pigs.

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πŸ™‚

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Storm’s a Comin’

That’s the big news this week in weather.
There’s a storm coming.
Rain?
Snow?
Both?

Either way, we’ve had yesterday and today to prepare and get a few things done before it hits.
Yesterday I finally cleaned out the tomato cages from the garden.
I had just left them after the rains drowned anything that hadn’t burned up in the drought.
Kinda just gave up, I guess.
But, in order to get the garden fully put to bed and prepped for next year, they had to come out.
So, done.

Today I weeded around the strawberries.
Can you believe the damn things are blooming??!?
I was stunned.
But with all the rain, and with the thick mulch around them, they’ve been happy little plants.
I pulled out all the weeds, and fed those to the pigs.
Under the mulch…oh my…*swoons*…there is this gorgeous black, rich soil, with so. many. earth worms.
*This* is what I was trying to create.
Every where I mulched heavily is the same.
So about half the garden.
No till, just dig, plant, mulch.
And the weeds that did come up, came out easy peasy.
So even though I was frustrated with my garden, and we really didn’t get anything from it, the no till route *did* work.
Which means I’ll expand it next year.

Then came this…

😍😍😍

It’s only 53 cloves.
My budget was teeny for seed garlic this year, so I had to be sure that I found a variety that will grow well in the climate, and be a tasty delight.
This was what I found.
10 bulbs gave me 53 cloves.
And now all 53 cloves have been planted.
Into that gorgeous rich soil.
I am hopeful for a bountiful garlic crop come spring.
Which, of course, will expand next Fall.
53 heads (assuming they all grow) is just not enough.
πŸ˜‰

Finally, I spread a good layer of mulch over both garlic and strawberries.
It’s not quite as much as I’d like, they’ll need more before winter truly sets in.
But when I get my hay delivery, I’ll get a few small squares of straw…for mulching the berries/garlic and for the brooders come spring chick season.

Tonight we’ll pull out the tarp for the garden, move some straw to the pig yard, fill all the feed bins, and transfer the feed we keep in the horse trailer to the Little Red Shed.
It is, after all, meant to be our feed building.
And then, I think we’ll be as ready as we can be for this storm.
Next week it’ll all melt and we’ll continue on with winter preps.
Because that’s just how the weather works here.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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Dreaming

It’s been another wet few days.
Feeling like I need to build an ark.
Or put up a sign that says “send dry weather…and more beer” at the end of the driveway.

All this rain has left me plenty of time to dream about plans for the Farm though.
My biggest 2 wants are:

  1. a couple of water totes ~ and I’m hoping to make that happen in the spring.
    If we get another dry, dry, dry summer like the past 2, I really want as big of a water collection system that I can manage. While at the same time, we’ll continue working on building our soil to be able to hold water as much as possible.
    On that line, I’m reading The Drought Resilient Farm by Dale Strickler…it’s an interesting read and I’m quite enjoying it.
  2. a greenhouse.
    I can’t tell you how long I’ve wished for a greenhouse.
    For as long as I’ve been a gardener for sure!
    Found some interesting and fairly simple plans here: The Seed Guy pallet greenhouse.
    😍😍😍

So I’ve put some feelers out, looking for the cattle panels used in the greenhouse, and looking for a good source for food safe water totes. There are a ton of the totes out there, but not all are safe for water for gardens or drinking.
We use rain water to water the majority of the animals (only the horses’ trough is fed from the well) so it’s incredibly important that the totes can be used for potable water.

And that greenhouse…
Hubby and I talked about making one side of the garden (which is currently 26’x40′) the greenhouse part. So taking 9ish feet off the 26′ side, and then making the greenhouse as long as we possible can.
Then I could have a whole bunch of space for tomatoes and beans (likely just pole beans, but maybe some bush ones too), leaving the outsideΒ  roughly 16’x42′ for things like carrots, beets, onions and garlic. As well as some other assorted things like squashes and pumpkins. πŸ™‚
And probably bush beans too…because even if they’re in the greenhouse, there’s never enough beans in our world.
LOL!!

Plus, Hubby and I just talked about adding extra smaller greenhouses like this in different spots of the yard.
We have a spot between the house and the pasture gate that, right now, is a catch all spot for building materials. It’s kinda ugly looking and I don’t like it.
But it’s a great spot to put up a couple 9’x12’ish greenhouses to grow food in.

That’s what I’m thinking about today, in between rounds of rain.
Making this Farm grow more and more food for us…and then, hopefully, having enough to sell.
❀

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Pigs

Can I just tell you how huge these guys are??
These are the biggest pigs we’ve raised.
I figure they’re rapidly approaching the 250lb mark…and they might make 300 if we wait long enough.
Though, I’m not sure how much more energy I have for pig keeping this year.
LOL!

(phone pic)

This is how small they were when we brought them home…

3 (not so) little bacon makers…

They were around 45ish lbs.

Here’s what they look like now…

In the first picture, they’re eating from a feeder Hubby made from an old pressure tank.
He cut it in half and ground the edges so nothing was sharp, and there you go, pig feeder.

In that bottom picture?
They’re standing eating from the same feeder…but YOU CAN’T SEE IT because that’s how big these guys are.
I’m pretty happy with the growth on these guys.
Definitely happy with how hardy they are.
Not so happy with their chicken eating tendencies.
Or their destruction of their shelter.

But it’s a trade off, right?
Grow huge, well and fast and be butts, or slow growing gentler pigs.
Eh.
I can deal with butts.
They still behave fairly well for The Food Lady.
Everybody loves The Food Lady.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

But, by the end of the month, I’m hoping to send them to Freezer Camp.
Because shortly after that, deer season begins, and I don’t want 3 huge pigs to deal with when we have deer to get packaged for the freezer too.

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πŸ™‚

Cats…and Chickens?

Right now, I feel like I should be swimming.
We’ve had another 55mm of rain here in just a few days time.
The water paths are filling up…that’s actually okay, because the past few summers, they’ve been dry.
Which has been good for The Merry Mares’ feet, but not so good for the water table.
6 of one, half dozen of another, if you know what I mean.
πŸ˜‰

It’s been a lot though, in a short period of time.
And we all keep wondering how amazing the hay crops would have been if we’d gotten this 3 months ago.
And in case anyone is wondering, that coffee money y’all keep giving me?
1. Thank you again.
2. Goes into the hay fund.
Because when I make any money on Farm stuff, that’s where it goes.
It is one of our biggest expenses, but them nags, they’re lifers here so we pay it with a grin…well, sometimes a grimace.
Life wouldn’t be the same with out ’em though.

Saturday we did have a bit of a break from the rain.
So Hubby fixed the heater fan on the truck, took the air conditioner out of the window (BOOOOOOOO!!!!) and made a run to the potato farm.
I literally cannot in my garden space grow enough potatoes for us for winter.
That Hubby of mine does love his spuds.
So we get from the potato farm, because 50lbs is $10 (that’s the ugly cull ones…I don’t care about looks, neither does Hubby).

While we had a break in the rain, I took the chance to go around the Farm and take some pictures…
The best of the day was this one:

Xena and BokBok

Xena was not a happy feline, having to share her food with the chicken.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Greedy chickens sure do love to eat the cat food though.

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Holy Moly

What’s with all the spambots lately??
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I’m gone for a bit and my spam filter catches 239 spam comments.
WOW!!
Kinda crazy…

It’s been chilly and rainy here.
And rainy too.
Did I mention the rain?
lol

Well, it seems we’ve gotten a couple seasons worth of rain in the past week or two.
I mean, we could use the moisture in the ground going into Fall, and my haying spots look amazing…I may even, if it stops raining for longer than an hour, get another cut before a hard frost sets in.
Fingers crossed!!

While the rains have been coming down, we’ve still been busy.
Ducks are laying eggs like crazy in the garden, and every day we have to search for them.
And every so slowly, they’re getting the weeds taken down there too…they’re not as good at it as I thought they would be, but still…they’re doing some of the work for me. πŸ™‚

With the sloppy muddiness of the pig yard, we’ve managed to use up almost all of the moldy hay that’s been sitting around.
Y’see, when we have hay that we can’t feed to The Merry Mares, we set it aside for the spring pigs.
We’ve had a couple years worth accumulate (sound like a lot, but it’s not really…our Hay Guy is awesome about having a high quality product…sometimes though, we get lazy about tarping in the wet seasons, and the bales suffer) and these pigs are loving it!
We toss it into the shelter and they roll around in it, bury themselves, happily eat any moldy parts…pigs love eating gross things. lol And if there’s mushrooms growing, even better!! No joke, pigs super ❀ mushrooms.

And then there was that sale on carrots…

I’ve been looking for carrots to put up ever since my crop died.
Finally, a local mega mart had a smokin’ deal on local grown carrots.
50 lbs later, I’m filling jars with carrot coins, and diced carrots.
Pressure canned and ready for winter eating.
Plus 10 lbs sitting in the basement fridge for soup…canning soup will be coming in the next couple of weeks and carrots store nicely in the fridge.

My shelves are getting full, I’m running seriously low on jars and it’s a good thing.
This makes me a happy FarmHer for sure.
πŸ™‚

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Thanks to all of you who’ve bought me coffee!
Your generosity has been greatly appreciated.

Ducks in the Garden

I know, I know…

I kept saying I was going to stick the ducks in the garden when it was all done.
I said it last year.
I said it in the spring, thinking they’d help with early, pre-planting weeding.

But, it never got done.
Until now!!

Behold…ducks in my garden!

There were a little put out by this move…

Brown duck is accusatory duck. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

But then, they discovered the seeds on the long grass and started eating…

‘Kay, maybe not so bad…

They have 3 places for shelter…the 2 compost bins, which are empty, with the doors off. And a crate that they’ll all fit into if they choose to cuddle together.

Donald…yeah, well, my Hubby named him.
He’s a handsome duck.
And he likes having 5 wives. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And then, the girls found the pool…because ducks have to have a pool!

Oh the excitement!!

Splashy splashy…

So they’ll stay in the garden for a month or so, eating weeds, bugs, and fertilizing.
Then we’ll move them back to the coop when the weather turns towards colder.

Sharing with the Simple Homestead bloghop hosted by Oak Hill Homestead.

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πŸ™‚