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.
🖤🖤🖤

Lucy Goosey

We have a crazy amount of overland flooding going on right now.
I did say that Lake Midnight was going to make a comeback this year, and boy freakin’ howdy, has she!!

The duck coop is flooded.
Ducks are currently living in my garden.
More than half the pasture is under water.
We watched Ruby go through one of the deeper spots the other day and it was up to her chest…granted, she went through a shallow in the willows, but even before she got to the low, she was up past her knees…and she’s no shorty!
My backyard is, literally, lakefront.
The big field is covered.

But the frost is letting go and it’s slowly starting to soak in…and the ditches out front are flowing…at least they’re flowing away from us as far as we can see. Haven’t driven into the next municipality to see if their ditches have opened up…our field ultimately drains into a creek via the ditches down in the next municipality. We’ve been on the phone with them, trying to explain that those 10 and 15 foot snow banks *they created* over the winter are hindering the ditches from opening and letting the water flow away from all of us…
*sigh*

Anyways…

Meet Lucy Goosey…

Lucy will be staying with us for a month or so, while she sits on her nest.
I’m just hoping Astrid doesn’t notice she’s out there…Astrid is notorious for egg eating.
I’d hate for Lucy to loose eggs to a horse!!
😭

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.

The Aftermath…

This is where we’re at…
That’s my house in the background and yup, the water from the field across is coming up over the road.
And we still have a ton of snow to melt on our yard.
But, my sump pump is working, my effluent pump is working and the animals are doing alright.
So, I’m trying to be optimistic.
The weather is…welp, depends who you listen to.
Some forecasts say another Colorado low coming this weekend (that’d be 3 weekends in a row!) but others say a light drizzle over the weekend.
I’m voting for no more rain/snow ’til this all soaks in.
Here’s hoping Mother Nature listens to me, for once.
😂😂😂

Well…That Was Fun…

NOT

It seems weekends lately, instead of being the break from Hubby’s daily grind and being times of building/farming jobs, have been the times that Mother Nature is taking to beat the crap out of us.
Blizzard last weekend.
This weekend?
Torrential rains.
Roughly 75mm in 36ish hours…that’s about 3 inches…on land that hasn’t let go of the frost yet, so *nothing* is soaking in…
Then freezing rain.
And last night?
Blowing snow.
😂😂😂

And d’y’know what makes it allllll the more fun?
The ejector pump in the septic tank went.
That was Thursday.
Right before a huge rain storm moves in, because when else would your grey water pump crap out???
😂😂😂

We have a new pump sitting in the livingroom.
Had it since Friday…after calling all over the damn place to find one in stock (because pumps are in short supply right now) and then having to beg the place to hold it ’til we got there in the Big City after not finding anything at a closer hardware store.
But yeah, we got it.
And then it sat.
Can’t replace the pump while standing in a foot of water.
*sigh*
Now, it seems that the switch is what’s gone (according to my Bro who is our mechanical/engine smart guy) so a straight replace now (because we already spent the $$$ on a new pump) then a repair on the switch (if possible) to have a back up.

Oh, and yesterday??
No power.
So no sump pump running either.

Today we have power.
Today the sump pump is pumping every 20 minutes or so.
Today we swap out effluent pumps.
And try not to curse Mother Nature too loud…lest she fight back.

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.

April 10th

It’s mud season.
It’s goose season.
As I write this, we have just about 2000 Canada geese on the big field.
And we can’t shoot a one of ’em, because shooting season for C.G.’s isn’t ’til November.
*sigh*
But we do get to listen (or ignore) the panicked cries about Avian Flu.
Again…*sigh*

Listen, I get that it’s an issue.
But with this many geese around, and with all the song birds, short of never letting my flock see the light of day, there’s really no stopping my birds from coming in contact with anything from wild birds.
*Especially* when Lake Midnight has returned.
😂😂😂
There is so much water on my field, and in my pasture, and so much sno to still melt…and because Ma Nature has it in for us this year, a predicted 30-60cms of snow coming by mid week.
😂😂😂
So….yeah.

But, if any of that water gets a chance to soak in, the pasture will grow gangbusters.
Until then, we get to watch the poor Merry Mares fumble about in the slop.
They have their high and dry spots, but they’re restless.
It’s spring, they want to run and buck and play…they want green grass and long naps in the sunshine…but they got weird weather shifts and mud and hay.

This stupid ass:

Ruby

Slipped while running around with her herdmates today….not a full on drop, but enough to tweak her fat back. *sigh*
And unlike my complete suck of a palomino granddaughter, Ruby is not a fan of back rubs and massages.
At least, not unless you make her think it’s her idea.
Which means sharing a beer with the bitch, while grooming and then sneaking over to a massage.
😂😂😂
I can’t even with this mare sometimes…
But, by the time I was done massaging her back, and drinking what she left me of the beer, she was moving better.
Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep her from getting too stiff and sore, but I suspect we’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow.

Aside from shitty forecasts and a ton of geese, we’re just plugging along.
On the 13th I start collecting turkey eggs for the incubator, the end of May is when the other hatchery birds arrive, and the seedlings are doing well.
So here’s hoping for a super extra awesome growing season, both garden and meat animals, because *whew*, I think things are going to get a lot worse yet, before we start seeing any sort of getting better…if we do…but I’ll keep my little dark thoughts to myself for now. 😉
All I can say is this…
Don’t put off putting up extras where and when you can.
‘Kay?
Just…
Don’t.

Duck Shit

Yup, that’s what I’ve been up to…
Shoveling duck shit/bedding.
Last week we flipped the top of the duck coop open (it’s on hinges), kicked every birb out, and I shoveled it out.
Twice.
I did that twice.
Then, everyone got a dose of ivermectin on their backs, right on the skin (I hate trying to get through those downy feathers to find skin, but the ivermectin has to go right on the skin to be effective) and they also got a 3 day course of penpro (antibiotic).
They had a respiratory infection that just wasn’t clearing up, so after a quick discussion with our vet, I dosed every damn duck (and T.D, a sweetgrass turkey who is convinced she’s a duck…so her name is TallDuck) in the coop.
Today, I am optimistic that everyone who is left will pull through just fine.
Today was their 2nd round of the ivermectin, and they’ll get one more in 7 days.
I’ve also had my second round of the ivermectin, because it is inevitable that I wear some while dosing ducks.
Muscovy hens are bitches when they don’t want to be handled.
Damn, them girls got some *fight* in ’em this week…and that’s a helluva good sign.
Means they’re feeling much, much better.
And everyone’s feathers are looking better, and they’re eating us out of house and home again…
And they’re running The Kid over when she opens their coop.
So, all good stuff.

I just feel like a shitty duck owner because it took this long to get them dewormed again and far too long to get them antibiotics….my Kid lost her foundation drake, Cricket:

Cricket the Duck. He’s a handsome fella!

And let me tell you…there’s nothing worse than listening to your kid’s sobs of heartbreak because an animal she loved died…
Problem was, the weather beat the shit out of us mercilessly and there really was no way (besides ivomec in water pails) to deworm them, and I didn’t put 2+2 together on the resp. infection until the sneezing didn’t clear up with clean bedding.

So now we’re just doing everything we can to keep the last 17 ducks going…
Fingers crossed, and a whole lotta ducks shit shoveling, and so far, everyone is good.
They’re having meetings and trilling and cooing and wagging tails (which are growing back in) and the drakes are starting to get *that look* and the hens are giving them the okay wags…

And for the record, Poop Machine (yep, that’s his name) thinks this hands on health care is complete duckshit. He ain’t liking it one little bit.
😂😂😂

In other news, the snow is finally melting.
About damn time.
The chickens and turkeys are doing well.
Oscar is dancing and prancing and the hens are squatting.
Next week begins the collection of eggs for the incubator(s).
Hopefully we’ll have a bunch of little Narragansetts running about come May!
Then any hens can be put with Dingus when they’re older.
Right now he only has 1 girl and she keeps calling for Oscar.
Fucking turkeys.
😂😂😂
But Oscar is the dominant tom, so all the hens who have been in with him (and Dingus’s girl was before the great garage move) want to stay with him.
Problem is I can’t keep the 2 toms together, or Oscar kills any hen who shows interest in Dingus.
Turkeys are misogynistic bastards.
Tasty bastards tho…

Down to my last 4 bales of hay.
The Merry Mares are going through roughly 1 a week…yup, still doing the put a whole bale out thing…just because the snow hasn’t melted enough that I can portion feed again.
But as the snow recedes and more ground is showing, they’re finding tasty bits to nibble.
Once the frost is out of the ground and all the melt soaks in, it’s take a day or two of warmth and the grass will explode into growth that they won’t be able to keep up with.
I am so hoping for an excellent hay season.
We need one after the last few years.

But, Mother Nature is gonna do whatever it is that She’s gonna do and we humans are just going to have to deal with whatever She throws our way.
Again.
I just hoping for good growing and harvesting weather.
It’s all I can do.

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!
🙂

3 Weeks

In 3 weeks I’m going to traumatize the turkeys.
Again.
In 3 weeks they’ll get a deep cleaning of their hut (with weekly spot cleanings in between now and then) and deep, fresh straw added.
Then, in 3 weeks, I’ll start collecting eggs for the incubators.
Right now the eggs are being washed and eaten (because yummmmmmmmy!!).

Right now, my brooders that Hubby built me last year are all under snow.
So we’re not ready for itty bitty birbs.
Yet.
But in 3 weeks…
We’ll be closer to getting them ready.
So I’ll set eggs, and in the 4 week time it takes for turkey eggs to hatch, we’ll have those brooders ready for bebes.
Which is good, because at the end of May I have:
10 pekin ducklings
10 lavender orpingtons
10 black giants (regional variant of Jersey Giants)
5 white geese
and
25 white turkeys
to pick up from the feed store.
So yeah…Ima need those brooders.

And by the end of May the muscovies will be laying and hopefully some of the hens will be already sitting nests. If not, then soon.
I can’t wait for aaaaalllll the leetle bebe birbies to be here!
😍😍😍