Gal in the Garden Series – Working with “dead” top soil..

It looks so pretty.. that big huge mound of top soil.. so black and rich!

Two loads of 10 tons each have arrived on the farm this year so far.. and its easy to work with, its good quality top soil.. and let me tell you compared to the 99 cent “black soil” in the bags, its for sure much higher quality.

Having said that..  compared to healthy soil.. its pretty much dead..

Not a worm, not a bug, not a seed to be found in it..

At least things want to grow in it.. seeds sprout really well from it..

Having said that..

  1.  It has no holding power in regards to moisture.. water flows though it like nothing I have seen..  It dry’s out fast.. it needs ground cover, it needs bulk and lift. Some beds are getting straw cover, some beds are getting wood mulch cover and some beds are getting wool covers.. All of them have the same purpose.. help keep moisture in.. and start giving things a place to start in getting some life to these soils.
  2. They all need a layer of compost added to them and worked in..  This fall all the gardens need a at least two inches of compost added to them and lightly turned in and then turned in a again in the spring..  (The pototo garden and the corn garden’s are the different ones here.. the corn garden is going to get compost added as a side dressing earlier this year and then it will get turned in after harvest time. The potato garden will get very rich soil used for hilling up that will then be dug in with just a light rabbit manure top up)
  3. Where does that leave me right now.. backfilled with clayish sub soil.. dead but fluffy and pretty is as pretty does top soil..  Lots and lots of compost tea’s..  Comfrey leaves, nettle tea’s, manure tea’s.. in certain area’s light layers of rabbit poo..
  4. Small amounts of living soil moved over into tiny pockets in the gardens to “seed” the soil
  5. Cover crops.. green cover crops.. a lot of area’s have been covered with clover blend, these will be cut very high with a mulching blade to put it all back to the soil for composting in place.

I can see that it will take me a couple years at a min to turn this new soil into fully alive working soil that is top of the line.

What about you.. have you started with poor soil or “dead” top soils or working with sub soils and needed to work with them to create a living soil?  Got any tricks? Tips?  Got a favorite cover crop? Got a favorite Mulch?

 

Posted in Gal in the Garden Series, Garden | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Freezers.. Lets talk about Freezers Baby!

First let me say that owning a freezer is awesome and some thing that far to many of us take for granted.

There are all kinds of freezer owners..

Freeze with the fridge owners.. this freezer used to be quite small but honestly now that you have side by sides or fridges that are now 3 to 4 times the size they used to be.. they can have freezers that can hold the same amount as a small apartment size chest.

These kind of folks tend to have them STUFFED full and they ask me things like.. how much cubic space does half a lamb need 🙂

The next you have the apartment freezers.. they tend to be the size of a good bar fridge, many a little bigger and chest freezers.. if you are living frugal and carefully.. this is most likely the freezer that I would recommend everyone try’s for..

Its got enough room in it that with careful packing you can get your meat sale cycles, some frozen veggies, room for all kinds of small scrapes to be stores for making soup stock or if you are making double portions, freezing the second half for later cooking and or reheating.

All while having the least costly output, still fitting in your smart or smaller car and costing very little indeed on your power bills if you have a new energy smart.. plus they go on sale at all the bigger stores at least twice a year.. They will give you flex.. and we need flex more then ever if we want to buy frugally in these every raising prices.

Next.. the family sized freezers.. if you have more then two people, if you garden, if you buy half a pig and a quarter of beef from the butcher to save more money.. then you are going to need to step it up and get a bigger freezer..

These can range from 3 to 5 times the size volume wise from the apartment freezer.. the average family size tends to end up in the basement.. the big family size tends to end up in the garage..

If you can have it end up in the basement.. the heat in winter will add to your room when the motor runs and the cool of the basement in summer will keep it from running more often.

These ones are little more hmmm..

One.. they can cost a good amount to buy new and if you get a old one.. it will last forever but it will suck back the power like its going out of style..  there is reason so many folks upgrade and offer the big old ones for free.. just haul it away.. ya and pay and pay on the power bills.

Two: watch out for food getting lost.. the bigger the freezer.. the more the odds are that you are going to have to stay on top of things or.. you will be eating from the top and wasting food in the bottom parts..  Nothing worse then finding two or three year old truly freezer burned (as in your money is burned away!) food..

They do not keep stats on it, but I think that wasted food out of freezers on a yearly base while not as high as wasted fresh food is still up there..

Then comes folks like myself.. a blend of newer, older, chest, and upright..  farmers, gardeners, meat producers and so forth.. we own a number of them.. do you sell farm gate meats? Needs its own freezer and its own placement ideally.

Do not even think about storing it in the same freezer as your own home grown/home processed meat freezer..

Got large crops coming in and have to time to process.. tomato’s, and so much more.. put it in the freezer till the heat comes down.. till the more time is there..  We turn our freezers on and off as required..

I currently have one large upright freezer, its a meat freezer overall.. and I have one large chest freezer.. its a meat freezer and then its a catch all freezer as the needs flex and flow..

Then I have two med freezers.. one fruit, one veggie

Its the first day of summer today!

Somehow its fitting that we are doing a stock count.. we turned on one of the smaller freezer and we have emptied the bigger chest and the upright and turned them off to thaw out and get cleaned out.

I have to admit that I only do this once a year.. maybe others do it more.. but I do it when my food counts are at their lowest.. this is spring.. when we are using up the last of the fruits and veggies before the new harvests come in.. when we eating up the older meats or canning them up to make way for the summer and fall butcher times.

I would do it more if it was really needed but I know a friend who does it 4x a year and I just do not do it that often.. What about you? how often do you go though your freezers, that is in general about once a month for me.. and a big sort about every couple months but take it all out.. turn it off and clean it.. ya.. once a year!

How many freezers do you have? What is your favorite way to use them to be frugal?

 

Posted in Food Storage | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Rhubarb Fruit Blends – Canning 2019

The biggest rhubarb crop is coming off and I am certainly noticing the difference in the cool wet spring and the fact that I did not feed my rhubarb plants last year. I will give them some extra feedings but I can’t add compost at this point to them.

 None the less two huge massive bowls came in stuffed full and when all prepped out.. they filled both of the jumbo fridge smarts (these are big enough that they replace my crisper drawers in the fridge) plus one large regular fridge smarts.

So as the next years crops are all up and coming.. its time to get the last of the frozen fruits that had not been eaten in the fruit/veggie freezer out and used.

We are doing 5 batches of different kinds of Mixed Rhubarb fruits.  Different fruits cook down at different rates.. but on average each batch makes 8 to 10 pints.

We have Rhubarb-Raspberry Blend.

We have Rhubarb-Strawberry Blend (the favorite for a lot of folks)

We have Rhubarb-Mixed fruit blend (using up all my mixed bag sizes of these.. Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Cherry

We have Rhubarb- Blue Berry Blend

We have Rhubarb-Strawberry-Blueberry- Ginger Blend.

What I love about the using the rhubarb as the filler is that it makes up 60 to 70 percent of the jar, its such a productive plant and it sure makes the smaller fruits go a lot further in the jars that’s for sure.

Felt good to put up 44 pints worth of fruit.. that’s 88 sides of fruit for hubby’s lunch.. 🙂 I need to put up for approx. 225 working days (thankfully he has his one teli-work day a week)

As I wanted to save just a touch more per jar.. we canned the fruit this year into the quart jars and hubby will transfer his daily portion to take to work.. this saves us the cost of the extra pints lids by half..

Other then the rhubarb-raspberry blend which takes more sugar, I was able to cut down on the sugar needed to preserve the fruits. Still enough of course to be safe but its lightly sweetened.

Only 137 days worth of work fruit put up to go! LOL

It feels great to be canning but at the same time, I am finding myself needing more breaks then normal and some of the lifting things are really pushing me.. so I am finding work arounds.. in some cases that means asking hubby to lift things up on the stove and remove it off the stove before or act work if he is not home..

in other cases it means me moving things in a smaller pot to empty the bigger pots till I can lift them..  but man I have to tell you.. I don’t think I ever realized just how much my bigger pots weight until I was hurt..

I am using my anti-slip and stress mats on the floor to give a helping hand there..   There will be at least another rhubarb harvest or two yet and I still need to split one and move both parts into the new garden area and make a detailed post on it. (I have not forgotten that, I just have not done it yet as the area they are being moved to is not prepared yet)

Still getting the hang of Instagram.. but if you want to see more photos or in this case a photo of each of the fruit blends.. feel free to pop on over and check them out..

https://www.instagram.com/farmgal1800

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Pineapple Tidbits Canning 2019

If you get your flyers.. check them over well and watch for SALES!

In this case Large Pineapples were on sale for 1 dollar each..  now I will admit that normally they are extra large for 1 and that I get one and half pints per pineapple.

This year they were listed as large and I only got one very stuffed full pint per pineapple canned up.  However I also changed things up a touch this year and hot packed instead of cold packed.. which meant I also got 4 quarts of pineapple juice for fresh summer drinking at 50 juice to 50 percent water.

As I really do not want to waste anything.. the cores were saved, cut up into pieces and then put into the grinder and then into the dryer..  They gave me a stuffed full pint of dried pineapple bits that are perfect to be mixed into homemade tea blends to add that hit of fruit to the tea’s late in winter.

The tops and the skins where given to laying chickens to give them some fresh things to play with in their pen but most of them went to the sheep.. which love their pineapple skins and this wonderful as fresh pineapple is considered by many to be a very mind wormer..

Now I am not sure any of them eat enough to have this effect as the whole flock of adults each enjoyed their candy while the lambs all looked a little shell shocked.. with a WHAT IS THIS! lol

Still even if it helped on the worming even a touch.. wonderful indeed.

As I had not been doing much canning due to my back, I didn’t buy my normal 48 which normally gives me 60 pints for the year..  but I did much better then I expected and I will watch for more sales and ideally get more of them put up..

I used the mega Tupperware fridge smarts to hold the pineapple between me getting it ready and me canning it and it worked perfectly!  I had a few days between and no loss in quality at all.. where if I can it sitting at room temp.. they would have over ripened.

When the jumbo come back on sale again, I am going to pick up another two to go with the two I already have.  Right now they are both full of prepped rhubarb in the fridge waiting for me to make and can mixed fruit blends to put into the pantry.

There is a big sale on the fridge smarts this week.. ends in like three days.. the set of 4 are 55% percent off..  Find someone local who sell it and get a set or two.. it will save you money in the long run if you use them!  If you can’t find anyone local.. throw me your email in a comment here and I will hook you up on this sale! (I will not publish your comment, just use the email to get back in touch with you..)

 

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Gal in the Garden -Corn Garden “roughing it”

So what is a gal going to do when she really NEEDS to plant out a extra corn garden of 240’s seeds but she is out of already prepared and planned garden space??

Follow the high hoe tracks from last fall and use that semi cleared area and finish clearing the planting rows.. and work on the rest as we go!

I love seeing finished stunning garden beds as much as the next person. I like to see fully bedded down rows.. but lets get real..

Its not always that easy.. sometimes we need to break new ground.. Sometimes we need more planting ground now and when its all done by hand.. We need to get creative.

Now there are few issues with this garden that I should talk about right off..

First this area is normally a golden rod patch and they are going to come back with gusto! I mean.. crazy like.. do I will be doing a lot of standing over the patches and re-working that ground big time until the corn gets to high for me to do it and then we cross our fingers and going to have to let it go.. Having said that.. we are going to drop tin sheet down each side of the garden to help hold back the wild on each side of the garden as well as create a heat sink for the corn on this very cool summer so far.. if it really heats up.. we will remove them if needed at a later point.

Second, this ground is NOT rich enough at all for corn and its not been properly prepped at all! so after the corn is up.. we will side dress each row with some compost to add a little bit that way but the bigger push will have to be done with the waterings. I will need to be more proactive on making compost tea’s and using them on this new garden.

Third, we are really late getting this corn in.. its just fact.. if we get a hard sharp frost early in the fall.. we honestly could have a problem.. however, I am going to cross my fingers and toes and hope for a normal frost timing in which case we will be good.

Here is hoping! If you don’t make it.. you will not be able plant it

If you don’t plant it.. there no chance of crops

Take the risk’s if you want the chance of the rewards..

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Gal in the Garden Series : Dry Creek Bed “Rain Garden”

Happy Father’s Day..

Hubby said he wanted to make the dry (most of the time) creek bed on father’s day as his big project..  So that is what happened..

First we needed to create the outline.. then the deepest area was dug 6 inches deep, the outer wider area’s are four inches deep and the widest edges are 2 inches deep..  Dig, Dig Dig!

Roots needed to be dug out and removed and the ground flattened on the bottom of the “creek” then doubled layers of weed barrier fabric was laid in.. the biggest rocks went in first and to help hold it in place (as the wind was moving it around) this will help slow down any plant growth in the river while still allowing the water to move freely though it.

More Big rocks and then came the river stones..  about half a ton of them give or take 🙂 This leaves us with another half ton of the river rocks to use in a different spot to collect the water from and move it to the pond at a later point from the other side.

This creek collects from one side the house, from the driveway and from across the pasture.. it leads down and around the rain garden and then moves from the rain gardn to the overflow which takes it directly into the pond itself..  which has a overflow on the back of it that leads to the wetland area in the food forest.

Did the math on the pond and it can hold just shy of 7000 gallons, the rain garden can hold 1500 gallons and the creek can hold 300 gallons before would overflow its banks.. If I got my slopes right and the grades right.. it will never overflow its banks, it will move down and fill the rain garden, and when that hits the full second level, it will move into the pond and if the pond is full It will move from the pond into the wetland.

I will admit to putting the hose one and trying it out.. worked well on the test run..  and its a nice feature in the year for sure..  The banks will be cleaned up and then planted into a assortment of plants that will focus on feeding the pollinators and very much also encourage dragonflies to come and breed in the yard.. the more Dragonflies.. the less mini-vampires..

Hubby seemed pleased with what got done.. I am looking forward to seeing how looks once it gets its banks done.

 

Posted in Life moves on daily | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Friday Rambles around the Table -Food/Floods

I have just a few more days to get my corn planted.. and trust me.. I want my corn planted! Each day more goes into the ground..  35 pounds of seed potato’s are in the ground now.. the major planting area’s are going.. tomato’s, peppers, sweet potato’s, cucumber plants and more are in.. five kinds of beans are in..

Still to go.. root veggies.. Corn.. and I am not taking chances this year.. while we will do some fresh eating more things are going to be canned, dried.. I would like to say frozen.. I really do.. and we will have our fruit and veggie freezer.. but I have so much meat this year that I am hoping to hold frozen so that I can have the most flex in how the meals are prepared.

 

Never mind that within the last year fresh fruit and veggies are up 12 to 20 percent.. and that average everything is up 3 to 8 percent.. HANG ON TO  YOUR HATS!

We ain’t seen nothing yet..  the floods in the mid-west, the droughts and the tariff’s are about give our Ag Sectors a smack down like we have not seen in a LONG time.. yes I know that the here in Canada, there are 150 million this and 100 million this funds all being gifted out to keep the farmers on their land and their bills paid..  They should be.. 40,000 Canadian farms are being effected in regards to the current China ban on rape seed oil sales. Pork is next.. and you think that is the end of that.. wait! They are just starting to flex and get the point that they can mess up global trade in a big way..

I remember write essay’s in the 80’s in school that Global trade on works when we are all “flush” as soon as hard times come it will fall apart.. and believe me.. with what is coming down the climate pipeline.. its going to fall apart.. trade deals be dammed.

I expect that you will see programs happening in the states as well.. and I am happy to see it to be honest.. we do not need more people losing their farms..

Locally the farmers are as behind in their fields as I am on the farm.. depending on the crop between 3 to 5 weeks and there are fields that still can’t be gotten into.. they can try this and they can try that but for my local area if the corn is not in by the 15th.. that’s tomorrow, they can claim insurance..

But the local farmers are doing everything they can to get those fields planted.. because as they said to me.. with so much unplanted, so much under water.. everything single thing we can produce will effect our bottom line.. both in higher priced sale’sand in higher priced costs.

I am listening.. I have been asking this farmer and that.. and I am already adjusting plans on the farm.. We will be heading into winter with very lean breeding programs, very full pantries and freezers..

We had a Haying window.. and I watched with both understanding and also the feeling of o “Bleep” as so many fields went uncut because they needed that time to plant.. and also as I watched what was coming off being put into silage for the cows..

Now I have nothing against Silage but its not hay.. and when I am buying I buy hay.. this means that for me..  and from my suppliers.. so far.. no first cut..  I am not short and my pastures are growing and I have seed for the pastures that will go out over the next few days as well.. but none the less.. I would like to see that first cut coming off SOON.

We have rows of pumpkins and squashes planted and growing but I am thinking it might be a very good idea to see if I can get another row in of squashes that can help be used as feed for the laying chickens.  I have a good amount of sunflowers planted but I think I need to plant more yet.. I can get the smaller faster Black oil Sunflower seeds in and harvested in time yet.. as long as I can get them in this week..

but the biggest push is get more roots in.. I need to get more root veggies in both so that I can put up a two years supply into the pantry but also because I want them as extra feed for the sheep flock..

So from a homesteader view.. I can’t say this loud enough.. plant more food, food for you, food for those you care about, food for your livestock.. look at how you can find ways to put higher calorie producers.. (put down the salad greens!) and plant the sunflowers for the higher calories in the oil/seed.. Put down the green peppers and to a point the tomato’s and plant the potato’s, the roots, beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips..  We can get our micro’s from sprouting.. but we are going to need to be growing the calories!

Don’t have the space.. ask to see if a homesteader will share crop with you if you will give a hand?

Live in town and have a small garden.. look at beans.. look at root veggies..  I still want you to think calories.. Grow climber beans up your fence this year and put up both fresh and dried..

Ok, so lets say you do live in town.. watch for the sales.. they will be there.. but they are not going to be as cheap as normal.. its not going to get better.. so suck it up, buy the half bushel box’s and the bushel box’s and put that food up for when that prices is going to go much, much higher..

And now we get to down the grind..  got very limited money.. already getting most things from a food bank.. staring at your food budget with a hard blink and a possible tear in the eye..

Sales, Sales, Sales of course!

but here is my best advice .. STOP holding things fresh.. I mean you can hold a few things fresh if you know you are going to eat it for sure in your menu plan.. and there are things out there now that are worth investing in (like the current sale happening for the Tupperware fridge smarts) everything else.. preserve it.. YES I know I am asking for a  little bit of work.. but trust me on this one..

One of the biggest things I am seeing happen is that the food quality is going down while the food costs are going up.. you know what I am talking about!? This means that our skills and ability to preserve the food we get becomes even more important.

Freeze it..  Dry it.. Meal Prep it and then freeze it.. Cook it and put it into reheat.. Can it up..  Waste nothing..  almost everything can be used in making soup stock.. think outside the box.. use up the odd bits..

Now I am not going to tell you stop eating meat.. ( I eat meat, I think its got high value in our diets) but I am going to say.. protein can come from milk, milk products, eggs, beans and pea’s..  Don’t fall for this silliness of “no-meat meat” for Bleeping Beep sake..

IF you are choosing it because of health or personal choice in life style.. then I say go for it.. but otherwise, we need to stop them in their tracks..  as much as possible..

If you are going to eat non-meat protein.. great.. beans, peas are waiting for you in the stores.. if you want milk based proteins or any Fowl Eggs.. great.. but please don’t punish the very hard working farmers by falling for this “hot” new meat replacement made from plants.

I have been shaking my head so hard..  so many folks I know that are totally into whole foods and healthy eating are suddenly.. hey.. I buy this mass produced meat-less burger on its white bun with its limp lettuce and thin tasteless tomato and its side of GMO contracted potato’s with side of plastic tomato paste and of course that sweet tea (with more sugar in it then flipping coke does) and pat myself on the back! and look.. they even have a paper straw (depending on where you are buying from)

WTF.. Marketing at its finest!

Truly those this is just going to drive up the split between haves and have nots..  Those who have land.. make the time.. put the call out locally.. see if you can share the work load.. see if there are folks that would like to trade time for food and don’t you DARE undercut your fresh garden produce..

I have had three people this week ask me if I am going to be selling plants, selling garden produce and or selling farm extra’s..   I will sell extra’s if there are extra to go.. but not before I put up that extra years worth of us..

I will be selling plants next year.. I know that and I have told them so.. sorry they are sad that its not this year but that’s just how it work..  I can only do so much and this year is the rebuild year.

 

 

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 10 Comments

Farmgal’s All Seeing Eye 2019- May Update

Do you make money?
Ya but what did it cost you to raise that chicken?
But if you had to buy it, what would it be worth?
What do you spend to have what you have?
But it does not cost that much to keep those critters?
Why does it cost you so much to raise that lamb?
Why do you spend so much on seeds?
Its got to be cheaper to just buy it in the stores.
Ok folks.. I am going to break a unspoken homesteading rule.. I am going to talk numbers! AHHHHHH.. run for the hills.. stats, data.. hard costs.. Hauling costs, Butcher costs and more.

LOL, no really, now that I am done poking fun at things, lets get to the meat of things.
Those are honestly real questions I have been asked over and over again.

So the first thing we have to do is get a full grasp on what I have on the farm as of Feb 2019

(if you want to see the list for
Jan, Here is the link to that post
Feb Here is the link to that post
March Here is the link to that post

We started the new year here on the farm with..
3 dogs (two farm/house dogs and one adorable house dog)
6 cats (mix of outside farm cats only and indoor/outdoor farm cats)
2 Geese (bonded)
1 turkey hen
21 Adult chickens (breeding pen of four purebred) the rest mixed breed
12 adult ducks
2 adult breeding rabbits
10 Grow out rabbit kits
3 goats – Two Does and One Buck
1 pig
13 sheep
14 new lambs on the farm, 16 born, 2 passed. (Lambing is now done)
2 horse’s

Coming into May.. We Currently have on the farm

  • 3 dogs (two farm/house dogs and one adorable house dog)
  • 6 cats (mix of outside farm cats only and indoor/outdoor farm cats)2 Geese (bonded)1
  • turkey hen Adult
  • 12 Growing Turkey pullets
  • Adult chickens (breeding pen of four purebred) the rest mixed breed
  • 12 Dual Purpose brown laying hens
  • 7 mixed breed chicks
  • 49 White Rock Meat chicks
  • 9 adult ducks
  • 11 Ducklings
  • 3 adult breeding rabbits
  •  5  Grow out rabbit kits
  • 3 goats – Two Does and One Buck
  • 13 sheep
  • 15 new lambs on the farm
  • 2 horse’s

We have a number of duck hens sitting on nests, we have a number a couple chicken hens that are crazy broody.. I am not sure what I am going to do with the chicks hatched yet.. sell or raise for meat.. I don’t think I need any more chicken.. most likely sell..

what a surprise number 15 lamb was.. sneaky.. sneaky momma sheep, she had a heat right after lambing and five months later.. surprise.. a new single ewe lamb.. Shakes head..  my breed can do that.. its rare but they can breed out of season.

Ok, so to make things a little easier to see, anything that changed from month to month or is new is in the slant.

Pastures
Gardens
Hard Fruit Tree’s
Cane Fruit Garden’s
Soft Fruit Bushes

Another 10 yards of topsoil $210, 10 yards of cedar mulch 620 and a ton of river rocks 90..  plants another 310.. and hired help to get things in and made.. 680.. (ouch and worth every penny)

 

And that’s it! Unless its sale that is so cheap I can not pass on it.. NO MORE on plants.. no more on yard..  Now we make it work!

However, I still have one more already paid order coming in..  so that will go for next month totoal.

Total spent so far on the above $3074

Training or Education Cost 2019

May was a flip it month, no training costs as I was teaching instead.
Total Spent to date 230.00

This is my first year that I am totally pulling back on raising extra farm gate meat for sale.. the meat raised on the farm is for our own farm use only. If this changes, I will make notes on that. This will change, we have more lambs born this year then we will need for our own freezers but I have not decided on how many will go for farmgate sales.
One lamb booked for farmgate sale so far..
Eggs however are open for farm gate sales.

All milk/milk products are for on farm use only!

Seeds/plants and plant productions are open to a point for use in farm gate sales
Photo sales directly related to the farm or farm critters will count towards farm income, however photography sessions and or sales not related to the farm or the farm critters does not count towards it.
The first thing to go will be the yearling sheep now that they are getting nice and big, they are ready to be done.. as I was growing them for my own use I prefer them to be larger/older then the “average” lamb. I very much like hoggart (over one year in age, but not older then two years of age)

The Pig.. O yes the pig.. This was part of the reason I got so quiet on the blog.. The big Pig is done.. and we are currently pigless which is so weird but all the house scraps are now going to the birds and touch to the rabbits. The pig really gave a massive yield and I went with local farmgate sale prices and then after I tried to work though sales.. I decided that a flat rate of 4 dollars a pound is really low balling it in a totally unfair way.. in part because of the way my pig was raised.. no GMO, no soy and limited corn, fresh food stuffs and the fact that if you go to the store.. you sure are not paying 4 dollars a pound for over half the cuts from this big guy..  I finally settled on 4,000

This does mean that I am counting some things at finishing prices and I am ok with that.. I still can’t believe that 4 little pork BBQ sticks are costing 5 dollars at the store.. or that right now for good quality pork chops they are 6.45 a pound.. but so be it..

The intend is to grow less meat overall, but a wider kind of types and increase the amount of fruit/veggies/herbs we are growing. I can raise livestock at a rate on the farm out pace’s our own needs very easily. This is something that I need to pull back on!

So the out costs this month are in

Ok so here is our numbers for May (it was a good month in terms of better weather, less hay needed to keep everyone in good shape, straw from the month before made two plus months in bedding, no vet or ferrier costs)
Hay Costs – $300
Straw – 0

Feed Costs – $489 The meat chicks are eating crazy amounts now and I had to buy the mineral licks and the milking rations as well as lamb rations.. so the costs go up.. plus I needed to buy extra feeders that could hold much larger amounts of feed.. but it all counts

Vet Costs- 142  (one of the farm cats had a infection in its paw, vets checked, treated, boosters and rabies given as well as antibodics for said foot)

Ferrier Costs- 0

Returns

20 dozen Eggs (at 5 dollars a dozen, which is the average cost for farm gate eggs Mix of chicken/duck eggs) – $100.00
Ducklings – 11 Natural Hatched Meat Breed Ducklings – Straight run day olds- $77 (but they will be grown out and butchered at feathering time.
Milk- Sheep- Regular Milking of Sweetie this month.. average a quart a milking.. -682 for local amount of whole sheep milk if bought from the store.

See PIG Above -$4000

Garden
– May was still a slow month, I only just started being able to do some small wild forage harvesting in the very last week of April. Foraged on the farm in the food forest yard.

Foraged greens- 40.00
Rhubarb- 22 pounds at 8 dollars a pound if I had to buy it in the store (4 dollars is the local farmgate sale prices) 176

  • Jan income $105
  • Feb income $95
  • March income $220
  • April income 1,277 (* first month I got more return value then I did output.. YES)
  • May income 5,078

And with the pig butchered and the gardens starting and the milking/eggs and babies arriving.. we really had a good earnings this month but with the costs spent on the yard and extra’s at the vet and feed stores ..

Still in the red at 1,370..

I am so happy to have a year to a year and supply of pork not bought at local store prices! wow.. just wow.. what is with the cost of meat right now!

Sorry this took longer to get out.. but I am not giving myself hard deadlines on when it gets out.. I am just making sure it does get out!

I have tried to do a hard track year but things keep getting in the way.. the last time I did a full hard track year and was successful at doing so ALL year long was a while go.. I need to do so this year and get a firm grasp on where we were, and where we are.

However having said that, in many ways we are starting a lot of the yard/gardens over again because of what happened last year. This will means many things will be up in the air in regards to what can and will get done.

Throw in the fact that we are in for a wild weather ride and we will see..

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 2 Comments

New Fencing, Reuse and friendships

A couple weeks ago, I put out a call on facebook to see if I could plan a day to work on my worst fencing area. The big heavy milled Cedar posts where in place but not backfilled..

The older fence had had repair job, after temp repair job done on it.. It was a hammered together and logs tied on in regards to making it hold just a touch longer.. But while it was holding in the horses and the adult sheep.. the lambs.. those little Bleep-Bleep were getting out and I am in no shape to go chasing down lambs even with the sheep dogs help..

They are still learning how to bunch and without momma’s to lead them.. they scatter and something that would take 5 min with the adults can turn into hour or more of me moving them up and down the fence line. NOT FUN!

I had two sets of friends offer to come give hubby a hand! Grateful beyond words for their help in all ways..  the best part..  These are the type of folks that pulled the heavy massive spikes out so they can be reused.. that everything was taken out in such a way and stacked.. everything was saved..

Sure some of the older posts are not going to cut it in pasture but they can be used in the gardens, the wire is the same.. I will find a use for it.. I loved watching these down to earth folks “know” that I was going to save it all..

There was no.. burn this, there was no.. haul it to the dump.. nope.. not these folks.. it was where do you want the wood stacked, where do you want the wire rolls placed..  wonderful! A bucket held all the nails and so forth.

The posts were backfilled, the new fence went up (I had snagged a one day sale at the TSC this spring for really good sheep fencing at 200 off per roll.. online order only and deliver to the store)..

I love that this fence was stretched in a new fence tightening way that I had not seen before and I love learning things, learning ways that require no extra tools, that is all hand done but rocks it out for the end quality.. o ya! Thank you!

As often happens in farm work parties.. the sex’s split..  sure the ladies did some hands on work don’t get me wrong there.. but as there were little ones around and drinks and food to be prepared and served, we just naturally move into different working parties.. there is flow back and forth.. still when there is enough hands.. Its just a natural shifting that always seems to happen.

One more bigger item off our need to do list..  There are more posts and more wire.. another day! There was sharing of food, of plants, of compost and the farms gifts..  there was stories and laughter and so much sweat!  Many hands made much lighter work for all..

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 5 Comments

The KITCHEN GARDEN IS MADE!

This has been a total labour of love and there are final touches to be done.. I will talk as I go.. but the last beds are made and planted.. the paths are all in.. and now we are in the live and learn and re-touch up as needed.

This photo does not show a couple plots its the best I can do yet.. all of the plots are now planted out into their bones and some already have their back filled lines of short season plants. some still need extra onions sets and little baby radish rows and little plots here and there of beets and turnip and salad greens in and around the bigger plantings.

Plot 1 was the first plot done and its fully planted out but it needs a weeding this coming week and then mulching around the tomato’s yet. I am also thinking about putting in a log edge just on the down side of this bed and edging it out like I did the round garden..

Plot 2 and Plot 3.. Plot 2 is just rocking it.. needs a tiny bit of weeding but much less then plot 1 does.. Plot three is loaded.. but don’t worry as soon as the broccoli heads up, that layer will come out of the bed and that narrow row will go into beets (just little baby ones for pickling).. The peppers were being whimps so they got the first mulch done so that I could try and get them to hold their water better and to reflect off at least some of the heat from the sun on them.

Everything else in that bed is doing well but I will admit that while the “top soil” looks great, its not really alive yet, it needs biomass added, it needs compost, I have started working with it and hopefully by the end of the garden season it will be much better.

My poor little plot 5..  some of those plants really need a cage Already or to be staked (bad playing cats) and I will for sure add in the wood edges to this one and then it will get a full layer of comfrey leaves and then mulched down over that.. this bed still has room for something else in that 4th spot in each staggered out planting.. but I am not sure what is going to go in there yet.. time will tell

Plot 6 and 8 are mirrow imagines of each other around each of the tree’s huge stumps.. some of their plantings are the same as well. Others are quite different

Ok, Plot 7 however is between them and is sqaure and done with some matching but mostly is its own plot..

The round garden was not holding up on the sides at all.. so it needed a bit of a re-work, top up with soil and mulch.. so much better

The strawberry raised bed is rocking it.. and it had its first big weeding this week and this week I will get it straw covered.. we are in full bloom second week of june, so should have our strawberries only 4 weeks later then normal.. still we are going to get them and that is what I am want and need to have happen.

This is the fresh eating strawberry house bed.. 54 plants total Above today.. below a few weeks ago.

Its sure come along nicely since it was planted last month

The rock garden is filling in as I knew it would.. I need to give those wild violets a trim and dry those greens for medical use at a later point in the year soon before they overwhelm some of the smaller flowering plants.

What a difference a month can make. See when it was planted compared to now..

Posted in Gal in the Garden Series, gardens | 6 Comments