Wild Wednesday – Coyote Hunting

This past weekend brought warm (very warm) temperatures and blue skies. In February. We weren’t complaining (too much). What’s good for the spring yearning is bad for our farm road. It’s such a love hate relationship with that damn farm road. But we persevered and are back to cold weather, a frozen road and grey skies. I guess you can’t have it all.

Clay has been itching to get out and hunt some coyotes. He hunts coyotes for a number of reasons, mainly of which is to keep the predator population down on the farm to help protect our deer populations and our precious chickens. He also said he would someday make me a coyote blanket, which is awesome because I will then be straight up Game of Thrones Winterfell legit. Eat your heart out Ned Stark.

Anyway, we had some friends join us on Sunday for a lovely snowshoe, some unsuccessful hunting and overall a perfectly gorgeous afternoon.

We saw four coyotes, three moose, a bald eagle and copious amounts of mule deer.

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The mighty Peace River

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The hunting crew

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Mule deer in our yard

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Mule deer on the move because we showed up

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Coyote on the ridge

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Lucky duck

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We had an audience

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Moose down in a gully

I must say, being able to snowshoe, hike and hunt on our very own property with views like this is probably one of my favorite parts of our lifestyle change.

What did you do this Sunday?

~Katy

 

 

A Birthday Well Spent

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Yesterday was my 33rd Birthday, and I must say, with this new life comes a new set of priorities and expectations. Gone are the days of the wild parties and booze for presents (although, I did get some wine so I’m still keeping it real) and welcome are the days of quiet reflection and a heart full of love. I spent the weekend making new friends, spending time with good friends and laugh-laugh-laughing until my stomach hurt. I spent my actual Birthday on the farm, with my critters and my beloved husband. The love was insurmountable as it came in from all over the globe, and everyone pretty much hit the nail on the head as far as presents go. With this simple life brings a sense of needing, not wanting and an appreciation for life and it’s experiences. Here’s a little look into my day:

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I call this one “Dog watching Cat watching Bird”

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The BEST photo bomb of all time

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My chooks got a cabbage pinata for the occasion

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Sake went on a walk with me down to the tack shed (which she quickly disappeared into)

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Along the way, we saw the first squirrel of spring

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I took some oats down to the horses, it was a beauty of a day

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Thor, as always, stoked for oats… I mentioned to my husband we may need to trim Thor’s feet which means some major ground work with our soon to be two-year-old stud

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My sweet boys

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And… another photo bomb

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If you can’t tell by now, our “wild” Fjord stud is quite the baby…. he just LOVES attention and treats

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After oats and pets it was time to party

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This was the most party action I’d see all day

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Tyrion actually came up looking for pets from me, which is rare since he’s pretty shy. Definitely put a smile on my face and I’m quickly becoming smitten with this handsome guy

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Made it into town for a Birthday shot… my how times have changed 🙂

The chickens got a pinata, the horses, some oats, the dogs got to go on a ski and the cat on a walk. My husband and I had supper in town and talked about the garden and we are hopeful to start in early April (one month away!) All in all, a very successful day.

I am so blessed and so thankful, and after such an amazing year at 32, I am so excited to see what 33 brings.

And don’t worry, it wasn’t all full of unicorns and rainbows… Maynard had an issue with his… eherm… boy part that Mom had to fix and then we found out Wyatt has worms. Happy Birthday to Me!

Cheers to getting older, growing wiser and enjoying the simple things in life.

~Katy

 

We’re Expecting!

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The coop on a snowy cold day

And by we, I mean the chickens… Why, what did you think I meant?

I hope I didn’t just give my husband a heart attack…

It’s been a very cold couple of days here in Northern BC. We’ve been having a winter storm with temps down to -38 and lots of snow and everyone on the farm has been hunkered down. The dogs rarely leave the comfort of the wood stove, and I bundle up in my Carhartt coveralls to head to the chicken coop. Yes, that’s right… I own Carhartt coveralls. Who would have thought!

Though the temperature has been depressing, you wouldn’t know it if you entered our coop. With the daylight increased, spring has sprung for the chickens.

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Busy hens and lounging cats… welcome to our coop!

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Miss Georgia in the nesting box

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Josephine the Dinosaur… I mean the broody hen

I had two hens go broody this week. Basically, they are preparing to hatch some eggs. Both Josephine and Georgia were settled down in the nesting boxes at night and when I tried to move them they turned full dinosaur on me. You know, like the one dinosaur in Jurassic park that spit on that guy… like that.

They puffed up, shook their neck feathers and made some type of rattling noise at me. Strange little chooks. Once I picked up Josephine and saw she had “feathered her nest” by pulling out her chest feathers and decorating her nesting box, I knew I had a broody hen. Georgia quickly abandoned her nest after I offered up some treats twice in one day, so I was down to one. Sometimes they aren’t cut out to be mothers.

Well, back to Google I went because I didn’t know what I was dealing with. Do I break the broodiness? Do I let her hatch some eggs? It’s only February so is it too cold up here in the North? So many questions and so many answers.

I had been collecting eggs pretty religiously so I knew she was only sitting on a golf ball, but she was determined as ever to hatch it, so I felt it was a good time to do an experiment and see if we could hatch some eggs. Plus, I didn’t really have the equipment to break her broodiness, so I took the lazy way out. Why not let nature take it’s course?

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The hen house has been full of busy bodies since the girls went broody, everyone is up in each others business

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Like really up in each others business…

It takes 21 days to hatch an egg, if everything goes just right. We have cold temps working against us, but I figured I could set up the nursery under the heating lamp to help things out. Google said it was easiest to move a broody hen in the evening so I prepared the nursery yesterday during the day to make sure it was ready. I piled up a bunch of new clean straw in between two feed bins under the lamp and to my surprise, Beatrix my rooster began to prepare the nest for me. It was the darndest thing… and ridiculously adorable. I’ve never seen anything like it. He got right in there and turned and groomed the straw, all the while making cooing and clucking noises. He was very proud of himself. Such a good Dad-to-be. Apparently this is a sign of a good rooster… I knew he had it in him.

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Beatrix nesting

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Stella was very interested in what was going on

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Well, then everyone had to come check out the new digs

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Quite the to do

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Sake was the first to try out the new nest… I hope I don’t have a broody kitten on my hands

After shooing out the crowd that had gathered to inspect the nursery, all I could do was wait until night fall.

Evening came and I snuck out with a basket full of eggs I had been saving. 9 in total – 4 orpington eggs and 5 olive egger eggs. I arranged them delicately in the nest and moved Josephine over to see them. I made sure to wear gloves because broody hens love to peck and bite! She hesitated a bit and had a slight panic over being outside of the nesting box, but then she began to eat a little and I figured I should leave her to it. She was either going to sit on them or not. I don’t know how long she was off the eggs, but when I returned a bit later, she was up again. I scooped her up and settled her on top of them and she settled right in. A good sign.

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Our pretty eggs

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Setting the bait… a nest full of real eggs to sit on

This morning I ran outside like a kid on Christmas and she was still on the nest!

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Morning in the nursery, she looked pretty content… or maybe she’s just giving me the goose eye…

Chickens stop laying eggs during their broodiness, so I am down a layer but hopefully it will be worth it. I can candle the eggs in about week to see if they are developing and get rid of any eggs that may not be good. Candling basically involves holding the egg up to a flashlight and seeing if an embryo is forming. Since Josephine is a first time mom, she could abandon the nest at any time or worse, kill the babies when the hatch so this is going to be an interesting adventure. But I’m all for learning something new!

Now all we have to do is wait…. No easy task for a over bearing chicken lady and an anxious first time father.

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No Beatrix, they haven’t hatched yet

Wish us luck!

~Katy

 

 

 

Why I will never boil another egg

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Our lovely assortment of eggs

As light begins to come back to us through longer days, our gorgeous hens have upped their production of eggs. As of now, we have 8 full time laying hens: 4 olive eggers (green eggs), 1 mixed breed (tan egg), 2 blue orpingtons (light brown and pink eggs) and 1 black orpington (light brown eggs). We have yet to find 8 eggs in one day, but they are starting to consistently lay 6-7 per day which adds up very quickly. So I find myself with an over abundance of eggs and there have never been more frittatas made.

Since my husband loves hard boiled eggs I attempted to keep at least a half a dozen in the fridge at all times. Though, our eggs are so fresh, they didn’t peel very easily. In fact, not easily at all. By the time you got the shell off, you’d have half an egg left. After researching (google) I found out that this is common among farm fresh eggs, which is concerning since I never seemed to have the problem with store bought eggs… Makes you wonder how “fresh” they really are. Someone suggested adding baking soda to the cooking water. Okay, let’s do that. Once again, a peeling mess and now the eggs tasted a bit like sulphur. Gross.

What to do. What to do.

One night on instagram, a fellow chicken lover posted a method that involved steaming the eggs instead of boiling them. She claimed it worked like a charm on her fresh eggs, so I knew I’d have to give it a try.

And folks, I will never boil another egg again.

Not only did they peel like a dream, they were beautiful and tasted amazing. I had to give the girls a high five for their hard work and this new discovery… although they were confused by the gesture. Thus is life on the farm.

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High five anyone… anyone…

Perfect Steamed Eggs:

  • 1 dozen eggs (or however many you have. We just have a lot. Like, a lot.)
  • Large pot with steamer insert, filled with about 1 inch of water
  • Bowl of ice water

Bring the pot up to a boil and carefully add eggs. Cover and let steam – 6 minutes for soft boiled and 12 minutes for hard boiled. Remove and add to ice water for 15 minutes. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days or eat immediately. Easiest to peel under cold running water.

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The magic of a steamer basket

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Our gorgeous shells destined for the compost bin

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The prettiest peeled eggs I ever did see

Eggs for days people. Eggs for days.

~Katy

 

Weekend on the Farm

This weekend brought cold temperatures and sunshine for us on the farm. The winter has proven a formidable nemesis for chores, and we find it hard to motivate ourselves to bundle up and head out into the weather. Alas, we must, so we do… but we make sure to keep the wood stove stoked and the tea kettle on the ready.

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These Pine Grosbeaks are my favorite new members of our wild bird crew

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1-DSC_0081 We had two coyotes in the field on Saturday… Clay grabbed my .243 to make sure they didn’t find the hen house. Wyatt did not bark

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The very prepared hunter after he missed his targets

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We had to jump ol’ whitey to get him to start, but he finally did and we took a bale of hay down to the horses

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Clay hauled in some wood to replenish our stack

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We groomed some ski trails around the farm with this nifty groomer Clay built. Maynard sure does love to mess up all those pretty tracks we lay down… but he has so much fun we can’t help but let him

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Kindling was on my to do list and I got to use my gorgeous Alaska axe

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Fluffy butt Friday

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My handsome rooster Beatrix

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Good to know that Sake likes chicken scratch

There you have it folks, a little peek into our weekend. I hope you enjoyed yours as much as we enjoyed ours.

~Katy