Farmgal’s Photography – May 23rd 2019

sorry folks I tried to upload these yesterday but the net was wonky and refused to work with me.. its a new day.. nope they will not load.. so be it.. its a flash back photo day! Lets go back.. back to may 2011..

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Chick, Turkey Pullet and Ducking Updates.

Chick update 3 weeks in.

Meat Chicks..  HUGE!, feathering out.. going though a crazy amount of food and water and I am starting to see the difference in regards to the choice to sit down more.. I also have had my first chick this week that is having a leg issue.  Its not broken but its clear limping.

I also find they bunch harder together then my own chicks tend to do so.. However I am asking finding they are interested in greens when its added to their area to give them something to nibble on.. I am going to introduce a dust bath area..  They are doing well.. but they are different.

Brown Egg Layer Hatchery Female Chicks -3 Weeks in

All growing well, feathering out nicely and they are good size chicks, happy, active friendly, all over their pen and into everything.. very smart girls..  I am just pleased over all with them.. the group of them is very steady.. no runt, all so even in their growth and habits.

Mixed Flock Chicks- 5 Weeks

No longer needing extra heat and while they are more feathered out, they are smaller, taller but leaner then the Brown Egg Layers.. Mix of colors and types.. its so clear looking between the two that they are mixed vs a breed 🙂

Turkey Pullets – 3 weeks

Growing well, getting taller and feathers starting to come in nicely.. they are healthy and bright.. they are chirpy as turkeys tend to be.. when they are a bit bigger, I hope to safely introduce them to Whistle the Turkey hen and combine them together. I am pleased with their health, growth and temperment

Ducklings-1 week

11 healthy black and white ducklings. Hatched here on the farm and more coming, I am aiming for 60 ducklings ideally.. These are a lovely group of ducklings and they are being raised by a hen.. Growing well, all even in size at this time.. I should start to see a difference in the next couple weeks with the males growing faster and bigger compared to females.

I have three more hens sitting on nests and ideally they will hatch out approx. another 30 ducklings this spring.

Overall, I am very happy with how the chicken, turkey and duck plan is coming along..

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Gal in the Garden Series – Kitchen Garden Update

The long weekend has come and gone and we had amazing weather,  our first hot/muggy day, black flies have arrived and a crazy amount of rain overnight.. to this we were able to get a lot of work done..

My hubby moved a couple tons of sub-soil and then another ton or more of top soil and then mulch lol.. I am cut down bad plants, directed and did garden things waist high.. so grateful for higher longer tools that allow me to still stay busy in the gardens.

The front section of the kitchen garden is backfilled, created and top soil leveled and the bones of the gardens for plot 1 and plot 3 are done and plot 2 if fully planted and the small circle garden is made and planted! Here is a full series of photos to show you different stages 🙂

Plot 1 being built.. below, plot on first row of the coming agains and the fruiting bushes, there are honeyberries and blueberries bushes. and the first of the walkways in. and the front area is seeded into flowering lawn mix.

Plot 2 is a single 3 foot plot, where as plot one is a 6 foot by 22 foot bed.

Ok so second level of annuals for kitchen plot one is in, plus the start of the end plantings on both end of plot one.. Single plot two is now built and fully planted..  there is lovage, rhubarb, two clove current bushes, assorted herbs and edible flowers as well as chives and garlic chives and it connects to the raised brick strawberry bed at the end.

Next we put in the circle small round garden with the walk around it, it might not look like much now but when its fully filled in and in bloom its going to be very pretty indeed. The photo below shows it in regards to the new built and extended rock garden at the corner of the deck.

Then came the biggest challange to date.. Plot 3.. you see it had so many trees and stumps pulled out of it, the drop off was crazy.. at its highest point, we had to do the sub-soil refill between 12 to 16 inches just to bring it level to the down slope of the yard, without even looking at blocking at the back of the plot or top soil fill..

This plot is 22 feet long by 7 feet wide.. It looks so easy in the photo.. but hubby put in hours on sunday and then as I was helping at a local 4h club most of Monday, he worked on this all day to have this ready for planting with me when I got home late Monday afternoon.

So then we got the back/tallest planting in.. there are honeyberries, blueberries, red currents, assorted shrubs (they are in for the next year or two and then will be transplanted out into the next layer behind this one but they needed in the ground NOW and this works for this year) and then assorted herbs on both ends.

So there is still lots of planting to do in that bed. I have started some seeds early and will transplant out, but a lot of the rows will be seed planted out directly in the next week 🙂 and then the rest infilled once the heat loving plants can finally go out!

And there she is! I will get better photos but its what I got last night.. the front half of the new kitchen garden is built.. some planting left to be done yes, and some minor touch ups here and there but overall, the main bones are all in.. and that puts us around the 60% mark for the new kitchen garden..

I like it! I can’t wait to see if grow and mature over the season and the next years.. Thanks for coming on the tour 🙂

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Farmgal’s Photography May 16 2019

Its a good thing I got some photos earlier in the week as I would not have photos for you over the past few days and I will own up that the lovely sunset photo was taken by hubby.

I have been doing so well in my recovery of my slipped disk in my back combined with my pulled tendon that went with.. at least I was until Monday when I forgot to lock a gate and the horse’s and half the sheep flock got out and had a wonderful time tromping though gardens, knocking things down and  sticking their noses and hoof’s in places they should not be! In getting them back in, I got knocked at just the perfect height sideways twisting just the wrong way by my 200 pound ram.. and all my healing went poof and I have been having a very poorly week since.

However as they say.. on with the show!

I am really loving how the lambs look this year in the cross over with king.. they are knick together really well.. however.. this little one was not to be in this pasture.. they are in lock down while the pastures start growing.. and while I re-seed again.. (please do drought this year!) right now its the other way.. its to wet.. sigh.. weather thought are a heartless bleep

My first moth spotted on May 13th on the farm.. I think it was a pretty one.. no clue what type (anyone want to take a guess?) I am open to learning. its a cute one and I hate moths.. They totally wig me.. its a long story.. one of those kid things.. as a adult I can control my desire to run screaming flapping my hands when they flutter in my face but barely!

I have not been on chore duty for the past couple days, leaving both morning and evening to hubby and extra feeding given as I am not doing my regular lunch checks and top ups.. its just the way it must be with me down as much as I am at the moment..   He smiled at me and said.. there is something on the camera for you.. you missed it last night…

He was very right.. what a pretty sunset 🙂 and look at the leaves coming out on those tree’s.. spring is so slow but it is coming! slowly every so slowly the world is turning green and coming back to life.

flower

This week but not on my farm, the lovely bright yellow was popping.. at my place I have just a few of these pretty’s just starting to show up.. but I can’t wait till they are out in full force.. so many yummy dishes will be calling my name.

 

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Freezer Paper and Reuseable Freezer Tubs

When it comes to meat the answer truly is easy.. use old fashioned brown waxed butcher paper..

The question? Avoiding single use plastic..

This includes the awesome and outstanding shrink rap bags as well as the ones that remove the air and seal..

Totally will own up the fact that both of these work great.. but they are so wasteful and they produce throw away plastic for every single item preserved with them.

If they get to the point that they can figure out a way to use these that are not just one time use plastic and instead replace with something that can do the job and be composted and I will come back around to them.

Till that happens, I am heading over to re-useable plastic freezer tubs and I will also try some freezer grade Silone bags as well.  These are my trial ones.. I have a issue with how small most of these are.. but I will find a way to use the small ones as well as the bigger ones.

There are issue with it of course, its still plastic, it is will take forever to degrade but it has a good history of lasting a long time.. but you can not stack jars in the freezer in the same way and the cost of running freezers is not cheap! Balance in all things.

It means that I will need to do my best to stay on top of my canning and drying at a faster clip for the coming season.. that sounds easy but its not..  The very reason I use the garden freezer is to give me that flex in regards to saving up enough in the freezer until everything has ripened if it happens over a couple weeks or till I have time to do so.

While I do love some things that are dried for certain things, its not the same as frozen fresh and then enjoyed in different ways..

The biggest change will be in saving tomato’s, I will have to process them in smaller batches or find larger freezer tote that I can cut and just add the fresh on top till its full and then go for it..

Are you trying to reduce your single use plastic and if so what is you plan for replacing Freezer bags? I am certainly open to idea’s but please don’t tell me to use milk bags etc, as I do not buy “store” things to recycle them in this way.

 

Posted in At the kitchen table, Food Storage, frugal | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Fruit Tree’s Nut Bushes and Pond Edging

Good Morning Folks..

I hope you had a great weekend! We had good weather for the whole weekend, I mean it was spring, moving between to cool, cold with wind and then hot with sun..  Having said that.. we were above 6 and no rain/hail/snow and the winds never gusted more then 40 ish at the worst.

So as far as I am concerned.. the weather was GREAT!

Saturday morning I left a sleeping in hubby to head to the city as a friend of mine is moving and had a special discount “downsizing”  sale happening including some of her rewards as she sells Tupperware . * she is my main Tupperware gal.. We became friends before she started selling and she totally gets me.. I say.. I like this but not until its on sale and she knows I do not want a party 🙂

Anyway I had expressed a interest in the freezer system (I am trying to find a way to use less freezer bags, I already use the brown waxed freezer paper for all the meats. However its proving harder to find a way around plastic for the fruits and veggies.

Years ago I could use and wash and dry and reuse the good quality freezer bags but the last couple years they are making them with less quality and they often leak or split to the point you need to thaw them in a dish expecting them to leak and they certainly are not going to be used again.

So picked up full set and some extra’s to try out, I will test them hard and report back on it at a later point, I also picked up a few extra because they were amazing sales and I wanted try a few.. but 80% of what I got is all for freezer use

How are you working around plastic and freezer use? I know they are looking at a silicone bag that can be used in the freezer but so far I have only seen the stand up ones and they are costly yet and they would be very hard to stack in a good way in the freezer.

Then I got a real surprise and it awesome but I will get to that in its own post later this week 🙂 Did a bit of plant shopping and then stopped and had a visit with a friend of mine on the way home for a hour because I could and I adore them and don’t get to see them often enough!

After I got home, hubby and I got busy.. we worked for the whole afternoon on the kitchen garden area. First I finished up the new rock garden area. We had worked on moving the rocks and dirt and got the cedar pathway around it first.

Then we got the new spots all planted up with a mix of come again’s and annuals

Moving on to the Kitchen Garden Plot 1 with flowering lawn extender.. So Kitchen Garden Plot 1 is 32 feet long and six feet wide.. flowering lawn extender is 8 feet long and six feet wide.  Both of these plots have been raised and leveled with top soil.. around 30 plus wagon loads approx. to do so.

To the gravel walk way side we have added in Six fruiting bushes (honeyberry and blueberry) a mix of spring/summer/fall flowering plants.. one is edible, one is medical and one is just native bee plant.  I also have some lovely cosmo’s that will get planted on the closest to the walkway for this year in a off-set  planting in order to fill in that space this year as there is lots of room for plant growth and infill in the line.

The back side of the plot is a nice cedar path and this is a double bed, as I can reach three feet max from both pathways.  Into the first two rows went green onions and shallots, the rest of the garden plot will be planted this coming week.

Hubby asked me to leave a extra front plot area in case of backing up or turning of tractors or other things, he did not want the garden to run right to the drive way.. so we kept the garden plot 1 to come down and match the end of the raised strawberry bed.  We did the back fill and I have spread a flowering lawn mix. I have a lot of seed to use this year as I want to remove all the bare soil in the yard.. if I don’t plant it, nature will and I would like to nudge it in the direction I would like it to go 🙂

I am quite hopeful this will work, I made sure to dig out anything I did not want before top covering and leveling the area and then seeding it out.. I will be faithfully watering it and hope to have a crazy blooming pollinator feeding area there..

The end of that garden will go into large flowering plants and at the front of the garden is strawberries and wild violets..

Then on sunday, we switched gears.. as the bare root fruit order had come in and needed to be planted out.. which is just what we did..  A whole new short row in the front top fruit yard and back fill on the long rows and a one whole new row..  While I can fit one more smaller fruiting tree in and of course lots of smaller fruiting bushes.. and backfill on shrubs and so flowers BUT otherwise, this area is now full.. That only took many years, we planted our first fruit tree’s in that are a 15 spring ago.

I could not bend to help hubby but I could do other things and use the gripper to hold the little tree’s or bushes in plant for him.

After a break and some food, we started on the pond.. the first thing we needed to be done was rounding the slope sides.. and then we planted them with bushes and then seeded out but there are more plug coming as well as more natural backfill plants from the my yard and more local ditch ways over the growing season.

Got a few more plants done in the food forest and chores and then new ducklings hatched out and needed to be moved to their grow out pen. (more on them on their own post)

We were not able to get all the plug order planted so 16 plugs were potted up to hold them steady until we are able to get their area’s prepped and ready and then get them planted out. I could tell you that I slept well but in truth I had to wake up and stretch and walk and move a couple times during the night..

Totally worth it!

Posted in Gal in the Garden Series, Garden, gardening, gardens, Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all my readers.. and a huge Thank you to my Dear Hubby for always making this day special for me.. I am so blessed that you so willingly share you home with all our special “four legged fur covered” purrpots and hounds that allow my mothering to come out in full force.

Thank you love for all your encouragement and faith in me that I can do whatever I set my mind to and for being my rock always!

Thank you for making me a mother..

Wishing you all a good day today!

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged | 4 Comments

Chicks have arrived.. 1st of May..

The Farm-Hatched Chicks are coming on three weeks of age.. they are a barnyard mix, seven chicks hatched out from under momma hen.

Last week, we headed out bright and early to pick up the hatchery chicks, 50 meat chicks, 12 brown egg layers and 10 turkey pullets. They arrived on time and in a good shipping box…

Hubby shook his head at me as I checked everything single chick or pullet and dipped their beaks at least twice, checked beaks, checked legs, checked feet on each one..

I had mixed feelings during this process..  all the chicks were perfect.. as a breeder, I know that not all the chicks hatched perfect.. I paid good money and I got good value that part is true.. but its like I said to hubby.. I have a gut check on what happened to those that did not make the grade.

Of course, then I had to shake my head and give myself .. FG.. stop it.. you know that you cull and put down your own hatched chicks that do not make the grade. I am that hard nosed breeder that says.. Cull.. dang it..

Its such a strange thing, I think its because I know I do it with respect and care and I have heard that is not the case or perhaps not the case for the ones I bought from.. this makes me uncomfortable.. I am ok with that.. I think I would give myself the eye if I did not feel that that way..

But with a few things to note..

First the Turkey pullets were NOT day old’s they already had colored feathered out wing tips, they were somewhere around 2 to 4 days old at a min.. when introduced to food and water then clearly had been eating before shipping.

Second, I had two laying hen chicks that were dull, they just were off, I marked them in the box and I was not wrong.. One of them went down in the first day (I am positive something was wrong with it internally as it tried to eat but choked and gagged when doing so) the second one however recovered and is doing well.

Now on to the White Rock Meat Chicks.. those quote franken birds.. I have read about them but never raised them, never owned them..

The first thing I noticed is that they are active bright happy chicks, I do not know why but I had it in my mind that they would be dull chicks, or slow chicks or just different somehow..

The one thing they are is crazy friendly.. most little chicks are naturally ekkk until they learn your voice and that you are a force of good in their world. These little WRock have been some of the friendly chicks I have ever worked with.. they just declared me awesome from the moment they meet me.

I did lose one of them in the first 36 hours, at first I thought it was rapid onset pasty butt which had me checking everyone else but it was just the one chick and It prolapsed and had passed away when I found it..

The other 49 are growing.. man do they feather out fast and they are just eating machines, they adore their feeders and waters but they do explore their space, they do play with their toys, they do like to nip at the greens put in the pen and they like their grass clumps..

In a nut shell, they like and respond to things like a “chick” does.. this makes me happy, I worried a touch that I might find myself unhappy having chosen to raise them as I have heard so many stories about them being these slow things that eat and sit and that’s it..

So its lovely at least now to see them come running for their greens, and being very happy sounding chicks.

however they are growing so fast, they are feathering out at fast rate and they have huge breasts on them even as week old’s and such massive legs and feet.. they are the big foot of chicks..  I have never seen such big feet on such wee babies.

I will try and get you photos.. I will split the biggest (males) from the smaller (females or slower growing) at the three week mark and run two pens of them..  so they have more room per bird as they grow and so I can keep a closer eye on them, smaller numbers allow me to see things faster.

The turkey pullets and the older and younger laying chicks are in their own pens..  It’s been cool enough that we have had to run two heat lamps in the one pen just to give more space and avoid crowding.. Its been better during the day but they are sure using their lamps in the evening and night.

This has added to my chore time a bit and I have added in a third check mid day for the first week. that one is just a peek more then anything.. just listening gives you a lot of answers and peeking in without opening pens to see how they are doing..

 

 

Posted in Chickens | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Farmgal’s All Seeing Eye 2019- April 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

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

Ordered in a good amount of wildflower seed mix for ground cover for the new meadow, the new picnic area and the for around the fruit trees and for the “lane” as well as some smaller area’s in and around the different garden areas. Cost 184.. including tax’s and delivery costs.

Total spent so far on the above $1,164

Training or Education Cost 2019

April 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 is ready for butcher as well.. its on the list but the weather must get better.

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 April (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 – $322
  • Vet Costs- 0
  • Ferrier Costs- 0

Returns

 

*14 lambs, they are not returns until they are either keep back replacement value in stock for the herd or until they are sold as farmgate or until they are farm butchered and return yield to the farm in terms of filling the freezer or pantry. so while they arrived this month, they can’t count on this month.  If I could count them.. they would run around 200 each to replace per what I am seeing on Kijji at the moment.. would it not be lovely to have that 2800 bump to my final numbers but that would be the lowest return rate I could get for them, and that would not be a good thing for the bottom line in the end!

22 dozen Eggs (at 5 dollars a dozen, which is the average cost for farm gate eggs Mix of chicken/duck eggs) – $110.00

  • a number of hens are sitting as are three duck hens on full nests of eggs, which slowed down the amount of eggs coming in just at touch.

Chicks – 7 Natural Hatched Chicks.  Laying Barnyard Mix, Straight run. 5 each (average local prices for day olds) – $35

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.

Garden- April was such 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- 20.00

Bark Harvest  from Prunings

Cherry Bark – $90 (Took the amount of dried bark and weight it, then compared to two local sites on what they sell for per oz to figure out value)

Cramp Bark-$ 160 (see above)

Plants – Cuttings Started into new plants and  their value.. based on if I had bought the same size starter plants from Ontario Native Plants, after I add in tax and shipping costs

15 high bush Cranberry – 8 each – $120

5 Gooseberry – 12 each- $60

  • 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)

In the Red by $3697

Honestly I am not worried, I know that the farm “saves” us money and that we get a yield back on our investment in a big way, plus we know how the animals are raised, the food grown and the processed.

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, Garden, homestead | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Farmgal Photography May 9th

Two mated golden finch pair in the yard.. bright flashes of yellow here and there..

The rare and hard to find on the list bobolink and mate sang for me before heading to the hay fields

grackle male

Total of three mated pairs of common Grackles

three pairs so far of swooping tree swallows.. they come early morning and evening and feed over the new dront  pond.

western wood peeweeone adorable western wood peepee mated pair,, they are working on a nest in the brown shed, i hope? to share them sitting, hatching and raising their babies..

So much singing and breeding going on the front pons.. there are going to be thousands of baby toads coming, i have never seen so many breeding pairs.. i always have a healthy toad population on the farm.

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