Monday Morning Round Up ~ April 12th

It’s snowing!
😂😂😂
We spent the weekend getting ready for this storm, because it’s been predicted for almost a week and we knew we had to get things ready…

Hubby finished re-furbishing the former pig house.
Our last pigs were savages.
Literally.
The big male was chewing on the wood sides for fun.
They had toys, endless food, giant stumps to throw around and he still loved to just chew the wood off the side of the shelter.
He was something, that boy…and he was the *nicest* pig of the 3.
The girls were crazy assed bitches.
I have never been quite so happy to send animals to Freezer Camp as I was those pigs!

Anyway, Hubby got the shelter re-furbished, wood on the sides and a new door…then he fixed the gate to that yard and it’s now the permanent duck yard.
We didn’t replace the pallet fence yet, but it’ll be fine for another year yet.
Then we moved ducks.
How did we get sooooo many ducks??
😂😂😂
Oh.
Yeah.
It’s because we let the hens sit nests.
Speaking of…
Our best mama hen, Ripple, has 22 eggs under her.
Fingers crossed that she hatches them all (or most of ’em).
She seems to have adjusted to moving her and her nest fairly well.
We initially left her in with the turkeys, but turkeys is assholes and they were beating her up, trying to force her off her nest. 😡
So Hubby and The Kid caught her and moved her in with the rest of the ducks…gave her the eggs she was sitting in her own little space, and this morning, even with the storm wailing around outside, she was happily chirruping at The Kid whilst sitting on her new nest.
We are hopeful.

Then everyone got new straw.
We’re working off the last round bale we bought in the Fall for the horses…so that means wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load moved to the poultry houses.
But it works well, even if it can be time consuming.
We just do what we have to, to make sure all the critters weather the storm safely. 🙂

Hubby pulled a new bale of hay out of the garage.
We’re at that point in the year where we start using the ones we have stored for next year…but because weather is so odd (she said while looking at the snow/rain coming down outside her window) we pull 1 at a time.
We pay way too much for dried grass to waste *any* of it!
And never, ever think I am disparaging our Hay Guy!
Oh. Freakin’. No!
He makes amazing hay that keeps my Merry Mares fat and sassy throughout the coldest of colds and wettest of wets, and he stands behind his product.
No complaints from me.
But I won’t waste a stem of it if I can help it, because hay is a precious commodity and that’s all there is to it.

Chicks got another light…
Thankfully we had an extra, so now they have 3 heat lamps…but really, there’s a lot of them, and they’re 3weeks apart in age and the Little Red Shed isn’t insulated…so we give ’em heat lamps to cuddle under…and everyone was doing awesome this morning.

Speaking of lights, my grow light is up and over my tomatoes now.
The peppers have been growing gangbusters, so are in need of transplanting. Especially the Shepherd peppers, where every single seed seems to have germinated and they are packed into their little cells.
lol
No complaints, I love roasted red peppers, so I’m happy to grow many, many peppers.
This year the plan is to smoke a bunch, dry them and grind them as spices for winter.
That’s part of the reason for the diversity in heat levels too…

And today we’re watching the precipitation come down.
Maybe we’re not too chuffed about it being snow, but it’ll be melting by Saturday and the land needs the moisture.
Like I wrote last week, Lake Midnight never appeared this year, that’s how dry it’s been.
While that seems awesome, that means not enough moisture in the land to get a good start on the growing season.
And here, the growing season isn’t just the garden, it’s the grasses that we eventually cut and feed to the animals too.
Nothing was greening at all. Just brown, dry and crunchy.
This will change that.
And hopefully, our May 1st celebration can include a Beltane fire.
We didn’t get to have our Samhain Ancestral Fire because of crazy wind and weather, so I am hopeful that this moisture will give us the chance to celebrate Beltane with fire.
As it should be.
🙂

A Wee Bit of Rain

It’s sooooo dry this year.
Lake Midnight never even appeared.

Ducks in Lake Midnight

^^^^
That’s what our pasture normally looks like in the spring.
The arrows at the top are pointing at the fence posts that define the pasture’s border…
Yeah, we’re usually wet, wet, wet this time of year!

I don’t think we’ve ever been under a burn ban from the municipality this early…at least, not as long as we’ve been here.
So last night’s drizzle that 1/2 filled a 55 gallon rain barrel and left us puddles on the drive way was very welcome!
The mud?
Not so much.
But it’s not so bad that I have to be worrying about the horses’ hooves.
When you get water like that ^^^ thrush treatments happen a lot!
The last few years have been on the drier side so much that I haven’t treated anyone for thrush in almost 2 years.
Good for their feet, not so good for growing their food.

So fingers crossed for more rain at just the right times.
Both for garden health and for the hay fields.
I’ve been Dreaming about cutting hay for months now.
Oh how I miss the movement, the quiet swish of the scythe, the turning and raking and the baling…
Soon.
Soon.

After the snow forecast for Monday melts.
😂😂😂

Fall is Coming

Seems like no matter how hard we try to catch up, we just keep getting farther behind.
I think that’s the way of things, no matter what though…

So we’ve shortened the list of things to do before winter a bit.
I had planned on a massive garden expansion into the 70 acre field for next spring.
I just can’t do it.
There’s not enough time or manpower (womanpower?) to get it done.
However, don’t think I’ve given up on expansion plans.
Oh, no!!

I planted into straw bales the past 2 years with marginal success.
This year was better than last year, but now the bales are far too broken down to use as a straw bale growing area.
Right beside those bales, we put a couple black plastic compost bins that have been working as homes for chicks/ducklings.
Now that those birds are ready to move into the main poultry yards, the bins can go back to their rightful uses for compost…but I’m left with an area chock full of straw and bird manure…what to do…what to do…

Oh!!
I know, I know!!
😂😂😂
Since the straw bales are *right there* and they’re too broken down to move with the tractor, I’ll take out the chick/duckling yards, breakdown the bales to cover the manure areas, then cover with composted equine excrement to create a long(ish) wide(ish) permabed ala Zach Loeks

That will get covered with plastic for the winter, so it can marinate and cook and be ready for spring planting.
It’s not as big of an expansion as I was hoping to do this year, but, we can only do what the 3 of us can do…and this, Kid and I can do in a day or two.
And we can always add on later as well.

I’m also working on propagating the grape vine I was given…as it turns out, it should be pruned this fall, so with pruning comes the chance to start more. Fine by me. 😉
I think I’ll give another go at propagating the honeyberries as well…because one can never have too many honeyberry plants. lol
And I’m taking a hard look at my black currant bushes too…😂😂😂
One can never have too many fruit bushes, I’m telling ya!!
What I really need to do, is figure out where on the property to put some raspberries.
Someone where they can just go wild!
I love raspberries, they’re expensive to buy, and I have space.
I can remember my Grandmother Kate’s patch as a child.
It was massive.
She’d give us kids a pail, send us into the patch and tell us not to come out until we needed another bucket to fill.
I ate so. many. berries.
😂😂😂
Pooped red for weeks!
I need a patch that big here.

Besides, raspberry plants are more than just berries for food.
Berries for wine, leaves and berries for medicine.
The goal is to grow as much medicinal plants as I possibly can…and one native to my climate.
So there’s been *A LOT* of studying going on for me.

The more I watch the world around me breaking down, the more I see people acquiescing to restrictive demands, the more I hear people demanding mandatory vaccination once a “safe” covid one is released, the more I think about dropping right out of society.
I don’t do submission and I don’t do forced medical procedures.
And I’ve had more than enough emotional manipulation to last 37 and a 1/3 lifetimes.

So, the more I can work on self sufficiency the better.
I suspect that in the next few years, there will be an underground market up and running to fulfill the needs of those who aren’t buying what the talking heads and powers that be are selling.
I mean to be on the ground floor of it.
To be fair, many of us small farmers are the basis of that sort of market anyways…I do think it’s just going to expand as people resist more and more.

Anyways, that might be a little too much for some of y’all.
That’s okay. 🙂
I try to keep it light, but freedom, while sometimes a scary thing, is very important.
But anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about that. 😉
At any rate, here’s a link to one of my very favorite Claire Wolfe pieces for your enjoyment:
What’s an Outlaw to Do?
It’s well worth the read.

And finally, a picture of my Ruby…
We had been given a whoooooolllllle bunch of grain screenings for the chickens.
As Hubby was working on getting it into storage bins, he mighta left a feed tub unattended for a wee bit…

“nom, nom, nom…gotta eat as much as I can before the DadGuy notices!!”

Enjoy the weekend folks.
I’m off to run a Rooster Rehab Camp.
🙂

September 1st

How did this happen??!?

I’m not ready for September!
I’m still cutting hay…2nd cut started this week.
I’m still working chicken butchering.
I’m still canning veggies.

We still have to finish a coop for the turkeys for winter.
Hopefully a duck one too – but then can go with the chickens like last year if necessary.
Plus I want to work on the garden expansion so that next spring it’s just plant and grow.
And we still have to get the greenhouse built.
😭😭

I don’t know how we’re going to get it all done.
But we’ll do our best to get as much done as possible.
The coop for the turkeys is 90% built (was originally for ducks, but ducks went in with chickens) it just has to be placed and doors added.
The garden expansion can wait ’til spring if necessary…it’d be easier if it was done in the fall but if it can’t be done soon, well, we’ll adjust.
But the greenhouse…
I’ve *got* to get that done so that we’re good to grow seedlings come March/April.

So enough whining out of me.
Off to work I go…but enjoy this cute photo I took on our road last month…

Rainy Saturday

Today was supposed to be meat chicken processing day.
Last night however, we had a raging down pour.
No complaints here though.
It was a hot, hot week and it was getting dry and crispy again.
So we definitely needed the rain.
But it messed with getting meat chickens done.
Ah well, gives ’em another week to enjoy life as a chicken. 😉

We’ve moved chicks around again.
We had 40 chickens in that orange tool racking for a couple months now.
Now they’re big enough to join the general population of birds.
Since we took out another dozen roosters last week, we have more room in the meat chicken house and the layer coop for them to move into.
So it’s time to get them free rangin’ like the rest of the birds.

Next up today, now that the drizzle has stopped, is to get the ducklings moved.
They’re doing well and growing like crazy in their space, but we need to rotate them around the grass…so they can enjoy fresh grass and their poop can fertilize the ground. 😉
Rotational grazing for ducks.
Gotta love it!

Then yesterday we picked up some more wood for the greenhouse build.

We have a pile of windows now, a bunch of 2×6’s to get started and I have to dig the 4×4’s we have out of the lumber pile.
The walls will be built on pressure treated 4×4’s on gravel.
Then inside I’ll build raised beds on either side, which will work as seed starting areas in spring and growing spaces through summer and fall.
Lots of work coming up to get it done for use next spring.
But we’re working on it when we’re not butchering.
Then once our big field is harvested, we’re starting the garden expansion permabeds.
lol
I’ll sleep in winter.
Hopefully.
😂😂😂

Oh, I finally took some pictures of the turkeys!
Just pics with my phone.
Haven’t had much energy to use Voldemort for a while now, so he’s been sitting…but I figured at 2 1/2 weeks old, y’all should get to see what a bunch of cuties these poults are!
😍

13 adorable little faces.
😍

That little white one!!
😍

3 from above

Ain’t they something?
😍

So now we need to think about how we’re gonna over winter ’em.
At least half of them, anyways.
Because I want to have a breeding flock, but it won’t be all of them.
Some will be freezer campers, but we won’t know who until much later in the year.
For now, all they have to do is eat, sing, poop and grow.
😍

Other than poultry wrangling and butchering, I’ve been weeding the garden.
Surprise, right?
lol

I have to say, with all the weeds, I’m missing kinda having pigs to feed them to.
But the Cornish meat birds are eating a lot of them.
😂😂😂
Their little hooting sounds they make while running over as fast as their little legs will bring them is hilarious.
It’s once of the best parts of my day, seeing those happy little chicken faces come barreling at me for thistles and garden weeds.

If we can build another pen next year, we’ll probably do pigs again.
By that time we’ll be out of pork and need to grow a few out.

I’m still hopeful for sheep though.
Definitely need something more for meat and I really want a dairy animal.
If I can find a dairy ewe or 2 (or 3 or 4) that can fit into our Farm, I’ll be happy.
I don’t care about wool.
There’s more than enough people shearing and selling wool in the province, so I’m not interested in getting into that.
Obviously if I had a breed that needed shearing it would be done for the health of the animals, but fiber is so low down on my list of wants it really doesn’t matter.
Milk and meat are my 2 top priorities.
After that, it’s horns for Hubby.
😂😂😂

That’s next year though…
Right now I’ve enough on my plate without adding another animal to take care of for winter.

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.

How is it Only Tuesday??

It’s been a long week.
It feels like it oughta be Friday already.
But, it’s only Tuesday.
😂😂😂

The past few days have been aaaallllll about weeding.
Weeding the garden, weeding the flower bed in front of the house, weeding the hay fields (aka as my front lawn…😂😂😂).
Weeding.
Weeding.
Weeding.

But at least the chickens are loving the thistles I’m pulling out.
Oh yeah, that’s the bulk of the weeding.
Pulling thistles as tall as me in some places.
So.
Much.
Fun.
NOT

Has to be done though, because I’d like to avoid using chemicals to kill the thistles and they are trying really hard to take over.
So I gotta pull ’em out.

As for the front of the house…
We *had* 4 trees there.
I don’t know why people think planting a tree right next to the foundation of their house is a good idea.
It’s not.
Really, it’s not.
Well, we had 3 planted by the previous owner and a pop up out of nowhere lilac that appeared last year.
Now?
Gone.
The front of the house looks so clean and open now!
Not some jungle mess of weeds and half dead trees.
So another project of having to regrade beside the house, and graveled over to keep asshole chickens from dust bathing there, has been created.
It was hilarious the first morning we let the birds out and a handful of hens ran out to go hide under a tree to lay their egg…and there were no trees there!! 😂😂😂
If chickens could look stunned, these ones did.
Maybe now it’ll be easier to find the eggs those feathered assholes are hiding.

And this weekend we start sending roosters to Freezer Camp.
It’s time.
The first hatchers are getting big and getting to the point that they’re pissing off the hens.
So, off with their heads.
We’re also relocating the ducks to the pig yard.
No pigs in there, and only a 2 sided shelter, but a couple of the duck hens have been sneaking out of the poultry yard and hiding in the long grass overnight, so we’ll give the 6 of them an entire yard of tall plants to noodle around and play in.
They’ll be much happier…at least until the Fall when they have to go back into the main coop.
Turkey eggs are doing well, I suppose.
I mean, I haven’t candled to check them, so I’m assuming they’re developing and rolling right along.
Sunday they go into lockdown, and by he 6th I should have poults.
Fingers crossed!!

And then we have to figure out how we’re gonna winter any we want to keep.
But y’know…we’ll figure something out.
😂😂😂

‘Til then, Ima just gonna be weeding.

It’s the Weekend…

Not that that means much here.
Work doesn’t stop just because it’s Friday, know what I mean?

This weekend is gonna be a back breaking one.
Tomorrow, we have 5 cubic yards of 3/4″ limestone being delivered.
Let me tell you why…

It all started with those feathered assholes.
Y’see, when your chickens free range (whether you want them to or not) and do whatever the hell they please, sometimes they create problems.
Like around the foundation of the house.
Because under our deck is dirt with a bit of gravel.
If you know chickens, you know this is exactly where these assholes want to dust bath.
*sigh*
Which means they’ve dug holes beside the house and we have water getting in from the low spots when it rains.
It also makes it easier for rodents to find their way into the house.
And THAT make me very un-fucking-happy.
So, instead of sending every single feathered asshole to Freezer Camp, we’re clearing out the mess under the deck, re-insulating the spots that need it, putting up more metal to protect the insulation and covering everything in gravel that is not attractive at all to chickens to dust bath in.

That means a whole lot of buckets of gravel filled, hauled to the guy under the deck, where he dumps them and rakes it out to the depth we want.
It’s gonna be a lot of work.
And it better keep those jerk birds from doing this again.
Or they become soup.
Not even kidding.
😂😂😂

It’s also gonna be really effing hot while we do this, and I wish we had bought a pool.
I do think we’ll set up the sprinkler a time or two.
Which oughta please Sable to no end…that horse and water…
Of course, there will be copious amounts of alcohol for when the work day is done.
And maybe a bonfire if the wind allows for it.

Ruby says the excessive heat is bullshit…
I says she’s right.
😂😂😂

And on the subject of feathered assholes…
Next week will see chirping in the incubators.
Aside from potentially hatching turkey eggs, this will be our last round for the year.
Otherwise we have to over winter too many birds, while they get to edible size.
We’ll be well over 200 birds hatched out this season, so I’m sure we’ll have plenty of roosters for Freezer Camp.
My first round alone has more than 20, so I think we’ll be okay for chicken for winter.

Anyways, butchering chickens is a task for a much cooler time, a few months from now.
Right now, we have to focus on fixing the damage them stupid birds have done.
Yeehaw.

Stay cool friends, and enjoy your weekend!
🙂

July 1st

Happy Canada Day!

It’s another warm one here, though no where near as bad as it’s been the past few days.
Last night we got an amazing down pour of rain.
It’s made everything growing perk up a lot.
5 days ago I planted just about 800 bean seeds in the garden.
Whole rows popped up overnight.
I’m so happy to see that!!
Tomatoes and peppers are outside (not planted yet) and came though a-ok.

Only downside is the pressure is killing my head.
I’m sitting in the air conditioning, drinking beer and trying to ignore the migraine trying to rip my head off.
:/

I’m also editing a few pictures I took today.
We popped over to the local horse Rescue to take some shots.
So I’ve got those working, as well as a few of the mares here.
Because how can I take pictures of other horses and not my own?
😂😂😂

I’m actually marveling over how well our CinderBella (Sable) is doing this year.
2 years ago at this time she was so sick…we had no idea what was wrong and honest to Dog, I wasn’t sure she was gonna pull through.
I spent many a night praying to Epona for clear guidance on whether to let her go or not.


Thankfully, as we were reaching our financial limit, Epona said “It’s not her time yet, she has more to do for Me” and our sweet mare made an abrupt turn around.
I cannot express how grateful I am for that turn around…to this day, we still don’t know what caused the infection that made her sick, or even where exactly it was…we know she has arthritis in her TMJ, but that shouldn’t/wouldn’t have caused the infection.
Either way, she’s been running at anywhere from 95-100% heathly since.
She is such a special horse and we are so lucky to have her in our lives.
💛💛💛

I’m Meeeelllltting….

Yup.
Melting.
It’s really hot.
We’re under a heat warning.
Hubby put in the window a/c yesterday.
Someday, I will splurge and have central air conditioning installed in this house.
Shoulda done it when we bought the place, but put it off and it never got done.

Should also buy a pool once day.
An above ground one that we can use to cool off on these blistering hot days.
Of course we’ll have to keep Sable from breaking out of the pasture and using it…that horse does love her a place to wash her feet, I tell ya!

All we can do it keep the animals watered, us watered and try not to melt.

Almost the whole garden is planted…except for the peppers and tomatoes and a few seeds.
I put a massive amount of beans into the main garden, to go with the ones in the straw bales…which are growing amazingly in this heat.
Most things are mulched to protect from weeds.
And I just gotta stay on top of the watering.
Tonight we have the potential for a thunderstorm with a lot of rain.
Wednesday is supposed to rain.
Pasture looks good still, even after these few days of blazing heat.
Mares are tired of bugs.
I’m tired of being hot and tired.
😂😂😂

But it is what it is and we’ll just keep on keepin’ on…
How many more cliches can she use???
lol