Gearing up for Growing Season

Whew!!
We made it to April!
I swear, this felt like the winter-that-wouldn’t-end.
And we’re still not out of the woods, because there’s a chance of snow tomorrow with big wind gusts.

Here though, we’re working on garden plans, meat animal plans and building plans.

3 of my 4 large straw bales are in place and ready for conditioning.
Those will get the vining plants…cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini and maybe a type of winter squash, like butternut or acorn or something…haven’t decided 100% yet.
That’s going to leave the garden for tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beans, peas, lettuce, onions, spinach and beets.
I try to grow a lot of the things we eat the most.
I don’t grow a huge variety of things, but I’m always willing to try new things, if the family will eat them.
Even with as much land as we have, there isn’t space for things that we’re not going to eat (or can’t be fed to animals).

Yesterday I ordered 36 tomato plants, to go with the 40 pots I planted with seeds.
I also ordered a grape vine.
Friends are going to split their strawberries this year and I’m lucky enough to benefit from that…mmmm!! I’d love to have my own huge strawberry patch!
Definitely something to work towards. I definitely have the land for it!

Pepper seeds are starting to pop up.
Slowly, but still coming up.

Hubby cleaned out and fixed up the large brooder in the garage a few weeks ago, so we’re ready for chicks at the end of this month.
We’ll be getting 20 eggies to eventually replace the hens we have now, and 50 meat chicks.
If all goes well, and everyone grows well, that’s a lot of food for the freezer.
We had some issues last year, and we’ve worked to correct them, so to cut our losses.
Even though we’re raising the meaties for food, it is our duty to make sure we’re doing so in the very best way possible, so that they are happy, healthy birds until their last day.
Happy food tastes better!

Canning has begun for the year, with 14 pints of dried chickpeas done yesterday.
Next week I’ll send Hubby to the mushroom plant and do those again. Didn’t take us long to eat the jars I did after Christmas.
No joke, we love mushrooms here!
πŸ™‚

And sunrise is coming so much sooner.
I’m loving the earlier days, and later evenings.
I’m feeling ready (almost) for the growing season.
Excited to get my hands in the dirt.
Longing for harvests to line the shelves with food for next winter.
Because winter is always coming.

As the days grow longer, the night temperatures are slowly rising to above 0*C.
When we have at least a week of above 0* overnight, then I can put my Cookie back into maceration to finish the last little bits that need to be done.
I hope she will be done in time for the fall, so I can work on the travel photo series I have planned for her. ❀

For right now though, we’re waiting for the final melt, for Lake Midnight to soak in, for the pasture to grow, for the frost to come out of the ground so we can get to work in the garden.

And Ruby?
She’s working hard on that food baby belly and napping in the sunshine. πŸ˜‰

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Can’t Sleep

The past few months have been odd for me, sleep wise.
I’ve never been a good sleeper. Always lived with some level of insomnia.
These past few months though…
Between Daphne deciding she is going to bark all night long for no good reason, my Kid turning 18 and my anxiety over having an adult child, and the weather…
Sweet merciful crap.
If I’m lucky, I’m getting 2, maybe 3 hours.
And that’s in the recliner, because the stupid dog *doesn’t* bark if I stay in the livingroom.

Y’see, she has to be crated at night.
She destroys everything she can get her face on otherwise.
Like rips things to shreds.
So, she sleeps in her crate. Well, she *supposed* to sleep in her crate.
But the second I lay down in bed (because Hubby goes to bed long before me) she starts.
Whining, then barking, then howling.
All.
Night.
Long.
She’s seen the vet. She’s 100% healthy.
She’s been given a kong toy filled with peanut butter. Doesn’t work.
She’s been left loose. She destroys things, including furniture.
We’ve moved the crate to our bedroom. She still barks, screams and howls.
The crate is the correct size for her.
She’s just a canine asshole.

So I’m sure my (even more than normal for me) lack of sleep is adding to my anxiety levels.
And then of course, there is money.
Isn’t there always? lol
But starting this month we lose $275/month in income.
And I’m having to figure out a way to replace that, while still working on the Farm.
That doesn’t help sleep or anxiety.

Plus, I fell while trying to help push Hubby’s truck out of a snow bank. Fucked up my shoulder. And my knee has been shot for a while now…
And it’s been soooo cold here, I’m always freezing.
Guys, I’m falling apart here!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Still have my sense of humour though, so things ain’t too bad.
I’ll get things figured out, one way or another.
I’ve got some newer Equi~Gems made, so I can update the sale page.
That *should* be done in the next week or so.
I’m chasing sunlight for the best pictures.
πŸ™‚

For now, here’s a couple of shots of our Painted Unicorn…
She’s been working her magic in posing for me.
πŸ˜‰

She looks so pretty!
❀

What’s a Ruby photo shoot without that tongue stuck out in at least 1 shot?

Mid-February Warm Up

We’re almost 1/2 way through February.
Today is a balmy -8*c.
Compared to last week’s deep, deep freeze, this is positively t-shirt weather!
I, of course, celebrate days like this with open windows and loud music…and a few pictures.

Ruby decided to have a nap in the straw bale.
Those ears tell me she wasn’t happy about my disturbing her with the camera.
After all this time, she oughta be used to it.
πŸ˜‰

And then I captured this little one…

Fluff!!

This feline showed up in the Fall and moved into the garage.
S/he had a grand time chewing on a pig head that was left in the grass after butchering through the winter…
S/he also was enjoying meals in the garage during the coldest of days.
As always, when a newbie shows up, whether they arrive on their own or are dumped here, everybody eats.
And, once the weather settles out a bit more towards spring, we’ll trap this one and take them to the vet for spay/neuter and a check up.

Still trying to wait patiently for Spring.
This round of nice weather has me antsy to start getting things going, but I know it’s too early for plants, and there’s too much snow for building.
So I’m working on props for my Kid’s b-day photo shoot with her horse.
In 1 week they turn 18.
That needs to be marked with photos.
πŸ™‚

C-c-c-cold Redux

Ugh.
Right back into the deep freeze.
And it’s looking like we’re stuck there for the next week.

But the horses are doing well…
In fact, they’re happy as equine shaped clams with their latest oat straw bale.
There was a bit of silliness as Hubby brought it into the pasture.
Scary noisy thing (yeah, the tractor is terrifying…dorks) bringing a big thing towards them.
Led to some running and bucking and general silliness.

Once it was down, the net wrap cut and we left the pasture though…
They were in there like 3 dirty shirts.
πŸ˜‰

nomnomnom

Astrid!
Behave!

I’m so ready for spring…

Hardy Prairie Womanβ„’

This life…

Lemme tell ya, this life ain’t for the faint of heart, the princesses, the women scared of getting their hands dirty.
Aww hell no.

Yes, I chose it.
Yes, I’d choose it again.
And again.
And again.
And again.

But holy sonuvafuck…
This life can be *hard*.

I ain’t whining. Did that already. πŸ˜‰
I ain’t looking for sympathy. Got that already. πŸ˜‰
I’m just sharing a day in the life of a Hardy Prairie Womanβ„’.

We had a crazy cold snap.
And the septic stopped working.
So Hubby called the septic fellow, who couldn’t get to us until the next day…it’s always in the cold snaps that things decide not to work, amirite?
Next day, he comes out and, in seconds, gets it working…seems there was some ice in the hose that goes to the line to pump out the grey water…or something.
It’s worked ever since.
Fingers crossed it keeps working, since we’re back into another f**king cold snap.
The great thing about our system is when grey water is pumped out, it comes out above ground, so we can *see* when it’s working properly. Thank goodness!!

And now it’s sooooo cold, and with only 3 horses, the waterer has been freezing over on those crazy windy nights.
Ugh.
I wasn’t smart enough to bring out a hammer or screwdriver to punch through the ice, so my hand is black and blue from…punching through the ice.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
But you do what you have to do to get things going, right?
I mean, 3 thirsty over sized toddlers wanted water **NOW** not when I could get back with something to bash out ice.
And I couldn’t chance Sable trying to break the ice with her hoof.
So, I just have to get through this cold snap, and then I can open it up and see what’s going on…

We’ll just keep on keepin’ on.
It’s what we have to do in this weather…
Though I will admit to having a bit of a breakdown (I seriously considered turning in my “Hardy Prairie Womanβ„’ card) with the septic issue…I mean, this is our 6th winter here, can we not have at least 1 where all works without trouble???
But, it’s getting better, the fixes easier, and nothing backed up into the house this time.
There is that.
At least I had the chance to bottle 2 batches of wine.
Pretty sure I’m going to need them over the next week or so.
πŸ˜‰

Yesterday, our Jazzy, Sir JazzyHands McDuck died.
Our weather has been bouncing all over the place, and he came down with a respiratory illness.
Quarantine and treatment, unfortunately, did not help.
Our Good Duck has gone on to the other side.

Chunky Monkeys

It’s been a bit of a dull winter for photos, so this past weekend Hubby suited up, pulled out the tractor, cleaned some πŸ’© and then made the Merry Mares run.

Okay, so he doesn’t *make* them run, they just know the game…he shakes the tractor bucket, they get silly, (running, bucking, kicking and rearing) and I take pictures.

Then, when it’s all done, there’s rub downs for sweaty horses and maybe a cookie or two.
And wine for the photographer. πŸ˜‰

Is it time for cookies?
We’re ready for cookies, y’know…