Ducklings Round 2

Back in the spring I had bought a trio of muscovies…a replacment drake (because Donald was infertile) and a couple of hens…
I paid a fair bit for them, but spring is prime time for adding new blood to flocks, so people charge more.
That’s more than fair…if I wasn’t happy with the price, I wouldn’t have paid it…just in case anyone thinks I’m complaining about the seller. I absolutely am not. I know spring is premium price time and I needed a drake. 🙂

Well after a few slow starts and 2 eggs not hatching in the incubator, our muscovy ducks are delivering.
Last week we found Ripple’s 8 ducklings hatched.
Today we have another 9 or 10 more…

Don’t you be lookin’ too close at my babies, human!!

Oh, I’m lookin’!
And I’m wondering if those 2 chicken eggs are gonna hatch or if they’ve gone rotten.
🤢
🤮

All those fluff butts!
😍

I’ve got 2 more hens sitting on nests that should be hatching in the next week or so.
I hadn’t planned on over wintering quite so many ducks, but when the babies happen the babies happen.
Good thing we have a duck coop just about ready to move them all in to!

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays
🙂

Editing to add…
The final count for this hens hatch is…11!!
Eleven baby ducklings.
Pretty darn awesome.
🙂

It Finally Happened

This has been a couple years in the making.
We’ve been waiting what feels like for. ever.
We’ve been wanting this to happen for so long.
And finally…

This is Ripple…one of our muscovy hens.
Isn’t she a beautiful girl?
Look beside her…

There’s a scrap of something bright, bright yellow there…
Do you see it?

Do you see now?
🙂

Ripple has hatched out ducklings!!

It’s late in the season, yes.
But after the eggs I stuck into the incubator died (but were well formed) we knew our new drake was working…before winter though, I needed confirmation that spring would give us ducklings. Otherwise, I’d be looking for a new drake. Again.
So when Ripple decided she was sitting a nest at the end of July, we let her.

There’s 2!

There’s a couple more eggs under her that might hatch yet…

There’s 3!
You can just see the hint of a 3rd duckling under her.
🙂

Good job, Mama Ripple!

If that doesn’t make getting the duck house in place for winter that much more urgent, I don’t know what does!!
😂😂😂

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…

Monday Morning Roundup ~ August 31st

Since my last post, the beans have exploded.
I’ve been (hahaha) picking and canning and picking and canning.
Today I’m picking again, since we’ve had 2 days of rain, and I can SEE the damn beans from the gate, mocking me, telling me that they’re growing bigger and bigger by the second and I’d better get in there and get them picked before it’s too late!
😂😂😂

I might be tired and a bit weird this morning.

One of my pails of beans from last week

I bought yellow bean seeds during the lockdown.
In a fit of irrational rage…because some friends in the US had posted in their local stores, seeds and gardening supplies were roped off and not allowed to be purchased because they weren’t “essential”.
So when I saw seeds in our small town grocery store, I bought them.
Even though there was no sign saying I couldn’t.
No one telling me they were off limits.
I was simply irrationally angry for those who *couldn’t* make that purchase.
I ended up buying a lot of seeds…and mailing a whole bunch of them out to people because fuck anyone who says a garden and growing food isn’t essential.
👿👿👿

Anyways, I still had a good amount of yellows to plant, so I did.
And the green beans are pinto beans we got as feed for our chickens last Fall.
I planted a few in pots in the house to see if they could be used for fresh eating, and yup, tasty as steamed beans when young.
So I planted a whole lot of the them too.
Plus I have a 50ish lb sack of them for the next few years.
😂😂😂
It’s a good thing we really like beans.
But, free food is free food, right?
I mean, the beans were given to feed the chickens.
Well, I fed chickens cooked beans all winter and *still* had enough to grow for us.
And still have more to grow for us.
No complaints from me, I tell ya!

This past weekend we started putting meat chickens in the freezer.
We had, earlier in the summer, an incident…
A coyote decided we were growing some mighty fine looking meaties and decided to help themslves to our birds.
*sigh*
It happens, sometimes.
This was our first huge loss.
As in, all the birds ear marked for sale were now gone, and most of our personal eating birds too.
Fucker didn’t even eat much of ’em.
Just killed them for fun.
😥
But that’s nature, and now we have to re-do the meat chicken house so it doesn’t happen again.

I was lucky enough to find someone getting rid of some meat birds she raised though.
The abattoirs are busy, and she couldn’t get a slot booked and didn’t want to butcher them herself…so she sold them.
I snapped up 20 of them.
I would have loved to have taken the entire flock of 80, but the money just wasn’t there.
Ah well.
20 to go with the 15 I had left made it so that I could get some in my freezer and fulfill my promised birds.
Left me nothing for sale, but at least the people I promised birds to got theirs.

Next up, another round of roosters.
Plus I have several older hens who are ready to go into the soup pot.
And then there’s those ducklings I bought, who are growing like freaking mad!
So we’re gonna be okay this winter, just not as flush as we had thought.

Last week we had this young lady traipse through the Farm…

😍 So pretty! 😍

Lucky girl that hunting season hasn’t opened yet…otherwise she’d have been going to Freezer Camp.
😂😂😂

And then, while we were doing chicken butchering on Saturday, Hubby got a call asking if we wanted some wheat for the chickens.
Um, yeah!!
So we got the back of our truck filled to over flowing with freshly combined red wheat.
And now I’m searching for a grain mill, because I feel like making wheat beer, whiskey and wine are gonna be necessary…and after malting, I have to crack the grains to do it.
So that’s my next purchase…because homemade booze is a good thing.
🙂

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.

Monday Morning Round Up

What a week last week was!
Hatching, weeding, canning…

I’m still weeding the garden.
I’ll forever be weeding the garden.
But, the weeds come out easily because of the straw mulch between the rows.
I need to get more straw down to smother them, but I’ve run out of bales for that…I’m working on using some of the older, more composted bales, but that’s slow going and I am but one human. 😉

Canning…
We did a round of roosters last weekend, so once the carcasses were cleaned and I made soup stock, I picked off whatever meat I missed, put it in jars and covered it with stock. 90 minutes in the pressure canner (quart size jars) and voila!! 5 meals of ready to use chicken on the shelf.
Good for soup, stir fry, sandwiches, fajitas…or whatever tickles our fancy at the time.

Hatching…
No pics yet.
I have to do that yet.
But
13
We had 13 turkeys hatch.
So now those little dudes are bopping around the brooder, eating, drinking, pooping, being cute…
All in all, it’s slightly more than a 50% hatch rate (I had 2 dozen eggs) but when each poult is going for $15 each, my $70 investment in eggs paid off with 5 hatching.
13 puts me way out ahead of the game.
Now I can clean up the incubator and put it away ’til next year.

And then yesterday, we did a thing…
😂😂😂

I keep talking about food security, especially in these uncertain times.
It’s a huge reason why we’ve hatched out as much poultry as we have.
Because somewhere in the future things are gonna go sideways again.
And I aim to make sure me and mine are well fed.

So when I came upon an ad for muscovy ducklings at a ridiculously cheap price, I said to Hubby “Wanna go on a road trip tomorrow?”
Next thing you know, we’re picking up these guys…

4 of ’em are 6 weeks old, the other 10 are 3 weeks old

The boys will grow out, enjoying life, eating bugs and grass and grains, and then go to Freezer Camp.
The girls (if there are any) will join our flock of muscovy ducks to produce eggs/chicks next year.

Ain’t they cute?

This year we had 2 hens go broody.
Nothing hatched though because they were continually stressed by chickens trying to steal their nests.
Grrrr!!
So we’re working on another yard for ducks, where the girls can nest without worry of the chickens annoying them.
Actually, we’ve popped the duck over into the once-was pig yard.
And they seem to be doing well there.
For winter though, they’ll be back into the main coop and then go back as soon as we can move ’em to the pig yard come spring.
I aim to be over run by muscovy duckling next year.
I keep hearing how they’ll do that if you don’t collect eggs.
I’m looking forward to it!!
🙂

Oh, then I stopped in at our favorite Pumpkin Farm.
The owner had made a post about having pickling cukes for sale, so I asked her for 10 lbs.
My cucumbers never make it to jars.
We always eat them as fast as they grow.
So with the chance to support a local small farmer, and all around good person, I jumped at buying 10 lbs.
That’s my job for tomorrow.
Today I realized I used the last of my pickling spices when I made pickled beets last year, so I have to get Hubby to stop and pick some up for me.
Tomorrow I make dill pickles.
Yum!!

And now I’m off to continue weeding…which includes clearing the weeds out of the spot where we’re building the greenhouse.
Because weeding never ends.
🙂

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.

August 1st

Welp, this summer is going too fast…and too slow at the same time.
August 1st already.

We have blossoms all over the yellow beans, so there should be a decent bean crop.
Hubby picked up a new hose and spray nozzle for me, so I can now run the hose aaaaaallllll the way from the hydrant to the garden….they’re at opposite ends of the Farm yard.
*sigh*
We have a hose hookup on the house, but for some reason, the outdoor hose hookup is *after* the water softener.
Yes, because I want soft water to use on the plants.
🙄
So I don’t use that water line…can’t anyways, because we had to cap it off after it burst one winter (shut off valves, people!!! Use frickin’ shut off valves!!) when the lines froze…
Either way, no real loss.
And I have a new hose, with a sprinkler.
🙂

My almost-dead-might-as-well-plant-the-survivor tomato plants have blossoms on them.
There’s 2 ropreco paste tomatoes, who are supposed to be prairie hardy.
Clearly, these 2 are, because they went a month with nothing but rain water and in full blazing sun before I decided to plant them proper….and now, after roughly 2 weeks, they’re blooming.
Heh.
Tough as hell, survive through damn near anything…that’s tomatoes I’m gonna save seeds from (yep, they are an heirloom variety) because *that’s* the kinda toughness I need from a tomato plant in my garden. 😉

I have zucchini fruiting, and I’ve gotten a decent amount of Lamb’s Quarters put up for winter too.
Gotta love them edible weeds! 😉

Tomorrow is lock down day for the turkey eggs.
We take out the turners, do a quick candle to see how things are developing (fingers crossed for a good hatch…*please* let it be a good hatch!!), adjust temp./humidity and then close ’em up and wait for chirping.
Later this weekend we’ll play switch around with housing on some of the later hatches that haven’t been fully integrated with the main flock.
But first, today is Rooster Rehab day.
It’s time for some of the boys to full fill their destiny as sausage.
Which will make *a lot* of the hens happy.
There’s all too many roos running around out there right now…but we knew that wold happen with hatching out so many chicks.
But that’s a part of our self sufficiency.
Extra roos feed the humans and felines for winter.

Check out the Farm Instagram for pics.
Still haven’t had Voldemort out for fresh images, just my phone camera.
But you can see pics there.

Have a great (long) weekend folks!
🙂

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.