The farm house

The farm house

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Selfish Self

Ah, Christmas has come and gone and I sigh a very selfish sigh of relief. This post is about my selfishness.

On Christmas eve afternoon, my husband picked up my Mother and drove her to our house. Her license was taken from her when she suffered a stroke 2 years ago. She has since suffered a TIA and another stroke in her sleep to which she did not tell a doctor nor went to hospital. My Mother lives by herself in a remote location. One must also go down and up a steep hill to get to the house. My Mother believes that one day she will drive again as her  car, bought a few months before the stroke awaits on the hill.

My Mother complains of solitary confinement but does not want to move. She complains that she can't get out or do things as she would like and that it costs to have a volunteer driving service(paid for mileage only) to take her to appointments. Her cousin who lives nearby drives her for groceries once a week or as needed.

She asks my husband to open canned goods for her as her hands are "useless". She returned a sleep apnea mask to a clinic as she could not manage the straps so it was useless to her. Since she can't prevent her sleep apnea, she requested I call more frequently so that if she dropped dead, the cat would be looked after. Let's add the same conversations and questions repeated frequently as short term memory has been impaired.

But there is nothing wrong with my Mother: so she believes. The doctor recommends she move to the city-she refuses. I had great difficulty watching her this Christmas as it is painful to see someone decline in health when a lot of it is due to their own stubbornness. I am a miserable daughter as I have refused to help with a few things or requests as I was hoping that someone would see that it is an inconvenience for others to come and cater to the needs of someone who is too obstinate to accept the inevitable.

So after entertaining and seeing that all her needs were met during her stay, something she said, near had me across the dining room table ready to choke her with whatever utensil was in my hand.
She didn't know if she could eat an animal that she was on a first name basis with. What? Did you hatch it? Teach it to eat and drink? Feed it and make sure it wasn't too hot or cold? Move it to different locations? Make sure it was transported properly to it's final destination? No, you did not. And yet I am willing to share what my hard work has provided for all who are sitting here. The meat in the store that you seem to enjoy doesn't get there by accident. I am not a murderer. I know how to be self-sufficient. I grow much of my own food, bake my own bread, can spin and knit garments. If there ever was a zombie apocalypse, I'm ready.

By the way, it was the best friggin' turkey I ever ate. And now, I am knitting for myself as I appreciate the finished products as much as my finished food.

A la prochaine.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Turkey Day

Monday was turkey day. I can giggle a bit now but at 8:30 am on a flippin' cold day, catching large, powerful birds that fly with a sore back, tendonitis and a "helper" who is afraid of touching animals other than cats and dogs, well makes for a bit of a stressful time. We only had a few birds left to bring in to the processing place, so I figured it shouldn't take long lo load them all. The buggers are heavy and because they can fly they can just leap from out of your arms if you don't hold them correctly.

My oldest son was my helper. He is very much a city boy and hates helping with this sort of thing. I'm using the word help very lightly in this scenario. I felt bad for the turkeys as it was cold and they very getting a bit riled up and I had hatched and raised them all. After tackling them gently so that they don't get injured my sympathy waned. Yes, it actually did. I don't know what that means psychologically but they were loaded into crates with small openings. Unlike the chicken cages, these ones don't latch. So, we had to put something on the tops to prevent a head from sticking out from time to time. Baling twine is a tool around here, so we tied the lids with that.

After this is where I needed son most as we had to load the crates into the back of the truck. I had put feed bags down as there was a few inches of snow back there. We loaded, my back screaming after the mornings' events and I realized I need to cover the turkeys as it was frightfully cold and it gets colder while driving them... off I go to find .. what exactly? All my tarps are in use. The dog's blanket needed a wash so, the turkeys arrived styling for the inspector.

Not sure if I will be doing turkeys next year...selling poults is easier, eggs too!
These are the breeding trio-they are still with us. None of the females lived to slaughter day....

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Poor Octavia!

Well, once again what a week. If you are superstitious, yesterday was Friday the 13th. My bad luck has been running all year long. So, the 31st being the reverse of 13 would be a good omen?? We'll see. Meanwhile, on Thursday the 12th, a frigid day and it continues to be so, little Octavia broke her foreleg. How she managed to do it we can all speculate but I did not see her do it but saw a dangling limb and a lamb who was not weight bearing.

What to do? I knew something was wrong but how severe? Best to call the professionals on this. The vet arrived as the last call after 3:00 pm that day. Sure enough a confirmed fracture. While I waited for the vet to arrive, I observed that Octavia was shivering. Could be shock, pain, cold any or all of the above. So, I put a wool vest on her as I had nothing smaller to fit her. Remember a while back, I had posted a vest I had knit using wool from another project and I had not steamed the wool after unraveling and it created a lumpy surface on the back of the vest? Well, Octavia
sported a lovely cabled wool vest no less for her first vet visit.

As you can see above, she was made as comfortable a s possible while the sedation wore off. We had to come inside for the cast to cure properly and it didn't hurt to warm her up. Today is still cold and a winter storm is sneaking up on us. The wind is picking up and not many people are travelling on our road even though the holiday shopping is on full tilt. I am going through hay like water just to keep all the critters warm- far too cold for December. It makes me cringe for January.

Now to make some bread and bake it before the power may go out??? Horrible thought in this cold weather but an absolute reality when they are calling for high gusts and snow....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It Starts Now...

It's here. The culmination of so much effort and I am not disappointed. All my wool is now roving and skeins. Soon, it will be online for purchase and then the fun begins.I now have a better idea of how much things cost for the next processing. My spot is already booked and if it took 2 months to complete what I've sent off, I should have it all back in time for Fall fairs and the busy knitting season.

Patience has been required for this leg of the journey. Now to get the website up and going...2014 had better be an improvement. I have tried doing things differently in order to get a different outcome and things are still dismal. So, perhaps it's just a time issue?Sadly, we live in a time where we are so dependent on utilities to make our way through life. I would be happy in a cabin with a woodstove and candles and a lap full of knitting. This blog would be a journal entry on good ol' paper.

My Christmas knitting nears completion and then I begin my knitting again. Finishing some pieces I have started and maybe a few new ones. I should attempt designing a few items to use my own wool. I have some ideas on some new skeins for processing. Yup, certainly an adventure...

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Second

Today is Monday. Middle son has exams at college and I am alone, cleaning and wondering how to make ends meet. It's the last month of the year and accounts need to be put in order. Difficult to do when a) You're not employed   b) Your spouse, after 27.5 years has had to change companies, taking a reduced rate, return to previous company where they no longer wish to pay his departure rate....a loss close to $800/month.... There are moments when I panic and wonder what is the purpose of all this? What is the life lesson? So, once again, Christmas will be a dinner with whatever I've knit for gifts, once again.

The Canadian horse will have to be sold and the Quarter horse can be a "free" companion...Oh yes, it's certainly not what I want to do but I see no alternative. It won't be a quick sale but.....

My oldest son has also announced his move back to the city-less income for us or really? All his electronics plugged in, his visits to the city, driving him to work and back on weekends..may work out to even in the end. It's just not where I thought I would be at this stage of my life. So as I hear a few doors closing, I'm wondering what's behind the doors that should open...it had better be good.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December First

December has finally arrived!! As much as I am not looking forward to the holiday season, November had me pinned to the mat. I've been ill and many of my plans have fallen apart and I must think up new ways to achieve my goals.

A good thing that will happen shortly is the arrival of my roving and wool. Many dollars later...more than I thought...I will need to calculate if I can even cover the expense of sending processing and having it mailed back. A prime reason why it's important to support your small producers, not just at Christmas but year round.

It has finally warmed up and it is snowing again ever so lightly. After posting, I need to drag the hose from the basement window and fill the horses' trough and the sheep buckets. I may as well do it while it's warmer! Lugging water the past few days has been a royal pain in the ---. Heated buckets could eliminate some of the issue but there is not enough power to the barn and with Hydro costing what it does, well I refuse to give them another penny of my hard earned money.

So the countdown has started. I must finish the gift knitting as in knit the 2nd sock and mitts to make pairs! Shawls and scarves need to be blocked and that will be that!

A couple of Sundays ago, I learned to make Artisan bread. A bit different from your traditional white loaves. I will be baking some today. While driving there, www.heritageharvestfarm.ca I really was amazed at how many little villages are still occupied. What I mean is, it's more difficult even with all the technology to live in these small places as we must really on vehicles and fuel to get around usually for employment and services that are no longer available in the small centers. Many places don't have a shuttle service etc.....I still enjoyed the sights of mature trees, old architecture and amazing churches with ancient grave markers.

Here are a few photos of the big snowfall- you would think the world can only be seen in black and white!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Experimentation

Remember how I said I was going to "experiment" with bread making? I did, in the basic white bread format and the results were not the best but far better than previous attempts. Yes folks, there is hope. The yeast packet had an expiry date of October 2013 so, maybe that was what prevented a fully risen loaf?? The loaf consistency was more like sourdough and still edible and quite tasty if I might say.

Yesterday, I decided to take another stab at this bread making challenge. Well, this time it worked!! Two loaves of nicely risen white bread. Now, I am looking forward to adding fruit, perhaps some herb bread...The sky is the limit.

Now for another experiment... Shortly after Mr. Guinness arrived, Vanessa from Both Boys Barn offered me some eggs to hatch-buff brahma banties they were, and I accepted. They were a bit on the old side but I was up for the challenge. So, plugged in the incubator yet again(now you're thinking, "wow does she ever stop hatching?") Then, she forgot to bring them. Oh! Well the incubator was ready to go, so, while cleaning the barn I found a few eggs and thought, "Who knows?" what the heck. I also chose some of the dark brown eggs from my lavender Marans hen. I even took a few from the fridge.... So hatching day is officially tomorow. The experimentation part here is, old eggs, refrigerated eggs and eggs that were not heated for 7 hours during the power outage: 7 hours of no power, simply a blanket put over the top in order for the heat to not escape so quickly.

Today, there are 3 eggs chirping and pipping. At least one is from the fridge as I marked it with a "F" so that I would know... Goes to show you, don't give up even when you think all is lost. The mother hen who hatched the chicks under the porch still has 2 of the 3.. They are getting quite big now and she has decided to stay in the barn while the nights are quite cold now. Their survival also shows me that despite all the hoopla about feed, they are getting by on what mother hen shows them to eat and me throwing a few handfuls of whatever feed I have the most of onto the barn floor. No doubt attracting mice which are sometimes found floating in the water bucket of the ram pen. Who needs a barn cat??

So, we wait and see what comes from these experiments. This time, I feel it is a good thing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November News

Halloween is over and a new month has begun. We've already experienced a wicked wind storm that left us without power for 7 hours. We have bottled water on hand but watering the critters can be a creative endeavor when there's no power to the water supply! A generator is now top place on my list of "things" to get if I ever get ahead once again.

On the Sunday before Halloween, Tina Connolly from Fat Duck Acres and myself went out to Clayton On to learn how to make our own goat milk soap! Tina will be getting some sheep this Fall, in fact they should arrive soon. She hopes that they will be bred in order for her to milk  after the babies arrive.

A very scenic and winding drive led us to Anita Dworschak of Wildrose Country Homestead. There were a few varieties of goats to greet us along with the tell tale odor of male goats on site. Not my cup of tea that smell. I am grateful that sheep just smell like wool!

I decided to try my hand at cold press lavender scented soap. Well, I think next time I will reduce the amount of fragrance as I find it to be a bit much as it cures in my studio...now moved to staircase to basement. It's doing well there fending off any cat litter smell etc... So soap making takes time. Like many things, so don't think that you can just whip up a batch and then use it-Oh no, it takes 6-8 weeks to cure!! Good to know if you are contemplating making some for an occasion or for sale...

I am still awaiting my processed wool. I am eager to see the quality...2 ladies are being bred this Fall and I figure 3 lambs for April which will bring us up to 15 sheep!! Wow! It's almost like chicken math: you get a few and the next thing you know they're everywhere. I just hope I can continue with my sheep as our financial scenario has changed drastically and continues to do so...that's for another post.

Tomorrow will be the one month anniversary of "Guinness"s arrival. I adore his personality. He has filled in a bit, not so ribby and his spine isn't quite as sharp. I do believe he needs his teeth floated. That should be a great help as we head into the grass-less months. Once his teeth are filed, he will be better able to chew hay and the supplement he will need to get him back to being fit. A good sign is that he is growing a winter coat!

Now I'm off to experiment with bread making. I love fresh baked bread but never seem successful, which is why I say experiment. Who knows? It could turn out today....What are you doing today?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Up And Down Kind Of Week...

On Monday, we experienced a lot of rainfall. So much so, I had to put extra tarps on the turkey tractors and come evening, discover that water was dripping in my living room!!! It came in not where I expected. So, a couple of calls were placed locally-no success. So, I called my cousin who has taken over from my uncle who passed away a year ago at a large roofing firm in Ottawa. On Wednesday morning, a chap from Ottawa came out to inspect, diagnose and patch a few things...free of charge as I was family!! Wow!

Before the rain came into the house, another surprise had occurred that day.
Say hello to "Mister Guinness" , that's what I'm calling him. He is an emaciated former racing thoroughbred bound for slaughter last Thursday. I took a chance and a friend trailered him here, between downpours. So far, he is a wonderful boy, a mild cribber. I will allow him that given what he's been through. So now, I hand graze him in the afternoons and let him eat as he needs it. I will be looking for a rainsheet for him as I think he will need it. I warned my neighbour of his condition as he is so thin. If anyone driving by complains, I will gladly explain that he is now eating, thank you very much. The sad thing is, I could fill my paddock with horses in the same situation. This guy was sold at auction and bought by a meat dealer. I had to peel off his auction sticker. I will need some help reading the tattoo on his lip to correctly identify him and his age.
On Tuesday, we brought the truck in for a diagnostic- we knew it wasn't going to be good.On Wednesday, while the chap is checking my roof, I'm out in the barn watching Clover deliver a lamb!! Oops! I told hubby that worms don't cause udders to grow! Fat belly yes, but not like that! So, a single ewe lamb named Octavio was born while I'm running to the house then the barn and then deal with the phone call from the garage. Did you know a brand new transfer case costs $2000! The truck is still at the garage as we ponder what to do. Luckily a friend lent us her car. Sadly, her daughter was involved in a school bus accident. Seriously, a strange week for many of us!!
This is Octavia!
Mom Clover and baby are doing well!

Tessa arrived yesterday from the museum. Boy, is she in for a surprise. Someway, somehow she will be going for training as she gets away with far too much. No more, or you will be sold!! And last but not least, a broody hen has found her way under the verandah and this morning, I could hear scratching but no cat, chicken anything around. So I looked through the lattice and found hen and a few chicks!! Poop! It's getting cold and how will I get them out?? So for now, I slip some chick starter and some water under there- I hope they can find it as there is only the one spot where I can slide things under....Never a dull moment here!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Notice Anything Different?

Cats !
Pretty in pink.
The last of the Nasturtiums...the only flowers left in the front garden. Don't the leaves remind you of lily pads?
Lola, the buff Silkie eagerly brooding no eggs in the box of straw.
Horse Chestnuts, which are poisonous to horses

Well, the thing is, a friend has lent me her camera!! Much better photos and lovely colors to boot! It is Fall here and you wouldn't know it as the weather is spectacular! I am cleaning out the sheep pens. Slow progress as helpers are few and far between and my back and hip are telling me " only a few loads please!"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Has Arrived!

Yes indeed, Fall has arrived. It's 9 degrees Celsius here not factoring a windchill and yes, it's windy. We received a huge amount of rain last night. Monday, I will be figuring out how many bundles of shingles to buy for a certain section of roof.... I swear, it;s one catastrophe after another here.

However, the good things are the fleeces have been sent off to be spun !! Expensive parcels to send but I did not have a car to bring them in. (second item on Monday's list)
 This is some of the weird and wonderful stuff you can find in a fleece!! If you zoom in, you will see some cat kibble! This fleece  fallout belongs to Andy, a wether from Booth Boys Barn! I also found hay cubes in this fleece, which after questioning Vanessa, must have found their way into the fleece while being stored in the feed room. Let's just say, I know why spinners like to purchase roving. Hours and hours of skirting... dirty sheep.

Seraphina has found herself a comfy spot!

The leaves are turning some vibrant colors here. A few days ago and this morning, I heard and then saw the Canada geese flying overhead. I love early Fall and all the colors and wonderful smells it provides... wet leaves and smoke from nearby backyard fires, a faint sniff of wet wool and a sniff of very fresh cool air. Soon Tessa will be back home as the museum prepares to close down for the winter and I prepare my barn for the oncoming breeding season and then winter. It is important to get things organized before they happen as weather often interferes with progress. Picture mucking out sheep pens with a snowstorm and you must wheel it all out to a pile, and the snow gets deeper. Not, I choose to be the ant, not the grasshopper.

Now, off I go to finish designing a sock pattern. It's a wonderful day to knit!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Neglect...

Well, where does the time go? It's September 13th, a Friday at that! Almost half way through the month and....I have Christmas knitting on the brain.- don't hate me, learn from the experience here.

However, put all the knitting on hold because guess what I've been doing??

I've been skirting and washing fleece; so much of it I smell like sheep. I can assure you that each and every one has their own distinct"aroma". So, I can truly believe that is how they identify one another. A friend dropped her 3 fleeces off here sot hat I can send them with mine to be commercially turned into hanks and roving. I have polled some spinning friends and they prefer roving as, let's face it, with roving, the work has been done. I can assure you that skirting is very labor intensive. The lesson here is don't wait so long to do them all. But, in my defense, I had some done and then it was too hot to even consider touching so much wool!

I'm looking forward to trying some of my own wool to knit something... Recently, before the skirting and washing fleeces took hold of my life, I have discovered some really interesting and lovely shawl patterns designed by Judy Marples. I found her patterns on Ravelry and you can also find them  at www.purlbump.wordpress.com They are simple to follow and very stylish. I've certaily put a dent in my fingering weight stash to knit up a few. Yes, they are that straightforward and I am happy with my results. i started with Amberwell and I had to read the book by D. E. Stevenson after that; what a prolific author!

I apologize for the font changes..it would seem that the blog pages don't see eye to eye with my computer...

So, a couple of fleeces to go and I'm no longer neglecting the "Christmas" list of knits. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August Is A Shooting Star...

August is, the month for hay cutting, harvesting some crops, corn on the cob and meteor showers. This past week has been amazing for viewing this phenomenon. Many August nights in my youth I've spent gazing up into the sky, waiting, watching and marvelling at it all.

Now that I'm older, I can still say that the best way to view the shooting stars is from the hood of a car or truck. Although older is also heavier and now I don't dare scramble up onto the hood of any vehicle for fear that I may leave more than a footprint behind. Growing up, I would visit my Father's family in Saskatchewan. Open Fields are great viewing areas. The fields with their unobstructed views become auditoriums in the evening.

Whether viewing in the east or west, none of us were astronomers and could only identify the most popular constellations. It did not hamper the entertainment value.

August is also fair time locally. I do not frequent them but they do have a lot of the old fashion content that it should have. I don't go on rides, nor do I like country music so spending $20 to simply peruse the vegetables, jams etc is pretty steep. My boys usually go as it is a social thing for them. I am not helping with the horse show this year and it's nice to see some other folks becoming involved.

August is my planning month for things that I want to see taken care of before the colder weather arrives instead of being surprised by snow. It is a long way off but, theses things are out of our control...
much like the changing of the leaves that is occuring to a few of my maples. Beauty and sadness in one dose:it also leaves me in awe, much like the shooting stars.

Friday, August 2, 2013

What Is Going On??

This morning, I was awakened by the dog barking at something it had seen outside. Too early to feed the critters, so I caught up on some online forum reading. In the manner of minutes, I near spit out my coffee a couple of times. Here is why:

SELLING EVERYTHING
It is with great sadness that I am announcing that all of my barn animals are for sale.
I need to part with all my feathered and furred friends by the end of September.

I have had a successful career in the services part of banking from 2001 to 2010. I got it in my head that I could help our clients more by going into a lending role (sales) and have really struggled over the past 3 years.

I had a good talk with my manager and last week with her manager and it was “suggested” that I accept a demotion to a starting position (non sales). This change in position will have a significant impact on my income.

I have done the math and I can not afford to continue to live on the farm. (We currently rent out our house and rent a small 2.5 acre house with barns.)
As y’all know, these birds do not support themselves. (Nor do they generate income!)

I have set in place a 7-10 year goal of finding a property similar to what we are currently living on. (Our landlord wants WAY too much to purchase the property)
At that time I will start again and try and build the sustainable small farm that I have been working for the past 2 years to create. 

WOW! This is from someone from whom I bought hatching eggs!! 

Another post elsewhere: Update Summer 2013

However, we are currently in the process of growing new young chicks to replace our own home flock which we have kept for egg production for ourselves. So as of the fall 2013, we will be looking to rehome about 3 mature (2 yr old) breeding groups each of both partridge and white birds, each consisting of a rooster and about 7 or so hens.

If you might be interested in buying of or more of these groups, please inquire with us re price and availability. Please note - we do not ship. These are for sale on a strictly farm pick up basis.

Thank your for your interest in, and patronage of our heritage poultry over the years! 
Last summer, we made the realization that due to the time, expense and many government hassles associated with having and running a small farm, we have sadly pretty much been driven out of the business of raising and selling heritage poultry.
So, what's a gal to think?? I've suffered the job change-still am. All the folks flocking(pun not intended) to the whole homesteading, sustainability lifestyle should do some research. As I have said to many before, farming is a business. Big or small. If it does not generate income or add to the business plan, dump it. So, how do people end up liquidation their stock in the first place? Think business model. Too big too fast, start up costs was more than budgeted, no return or very little return on investment...
For most small holders, a job loss is the biggest kick in the pants. Many folks I know can't make their farm their sole source of income. Reality check, how much are municipal taxes, hydro, heat and feed for one month?? That would be for me, a commercial laying operation to get close to paying that.I haven't yet touched on what the province allows one to do or have to be a small flock or farm gate sales business.
So, self sustaining food wise for part of the year- sure. It can be done. winter is a challenge. Unless you can, freeze or have a root cellar you buy your food elsewhere. Groceries can be expensive but relatively speaking, eating is the cheapest thing you can do...


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July; How Many More ??

Here we are, nipping at the heels of August. The days are cooler and a bit shorter and the sky is not as brilliant as it was a few weeks ago. ( the yellow is because the blog would not let write anything.. so this how I got around it.) It seems that we wait so long for the warmer longer days and suddenly, they are numbered and fading. Especially so if the previous weather was unpleasant. However, what can one do but shrug it off and continue living one's life?

On Friday, Vanessa from Booth Boys Barn came over and took away a few roosters. Sadly, roosters can be undesirable as there really needs only be a few to a flock. However, due to my fascination with color, I kept a few too many. It was time to select a few to find other homes. The problem is a creation of my own. I know full well that their fate may not be a pleasant one. I only hope, if it was to be so, that it was quick. One of the roosters was J.J.- my very first hatchling who became aggressive. I realize now, I should have done this-shipping off of roos much sooner. My guilt prevented me from it . In exchange for my stock, Vanessa gave me one of her hens "Buffy", who took to the place right away,  a welcome addition.

So, Karberry Farm is still filled with color but I must say, it is far quieter. I am liking this far too much. I still have quite a few roos but some are for breeding purposes and not just for a color whim.

I have started some Christmas knitting. I hate to admit it but in order to have something completed, one must plan ahead. I've discovered that some knitting, plain or boring does have it's rewards. While watching something educational or for entertainment, there is a certain comfort knitting some stranded mittens in a not so complex fair isle pattern or a garter stitch shawl with short rows creating a ruffled edge. I agree with challenging oneself to learn different techniques and varieties... but if they are causing grief, forget it. Life is too short to start a pattern over and over... Put it away and knit something else. There are many other patterns to choose from and my time is of value to me. As summer starts to fade, it makes me wonder how many more summers I have left to enjoy? And the key element here is to enjoy everything!

Here is what I"ve been working on: A lace scarf using sock yarn. It's not blocked. Easy to follow!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday,...

This not having a camera to take decent photos is getting to me. Missed moments.. I can only store so much in the already crammed recesses of my mind. I could convey everything I felt fascinating to you using words but that would then be a novel and way too long...and probably as boring as____________.(fill in the blank.)

 Recently, I discovered that selling chicks was a quick way to make some extra dollars. But not that many dollars. It fits in with a farm "business model". Farming is very much a business. Every creature here should earn it's keep or contribute to it's own survival. So, what does that say about keeping horses? They're not called hayburners for no good reason. The fact that I have one at a museum leaves me with a certain chill about the future of these animals in these tough economic times.

Last night, I trashed a knitting project. Yup, took a look at it and was totally dismayed at the look of it. Now, this was something I worked on a few rows here and there and there you have it: wonky stitches that look like, well.. not very nice. I pulled the needle out and started thinking. We're on the last stretch  of July...yeah, you know where I'm going with this. Think colder weather and the most stressful time of the year. I have not started anything for that. Perhaps I should....just think on it...or make a worthiness list....or not!!!

 I am stuck at home again until the truck is repaired-again. The curse of it all is I have no chocolate in my stash. On the job search, still nothing except employers thinking that they can trick me by saying why don't you join our sales team ? In other words, access my database from my previous sales work= NO MORE COMMISSIONED SALES. In fact the last person who tried that I did send an email  asking if it was not an administrative position that was advertised??? The 2 promising ones I saw yesterday, well I could not proceed as a user agreement would not open and another would not accept the password I had just created...karma.

Must skirt more fleece......

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?? (in my mind)

I've been asked by my oldest son on a few occasions,if I could meet a celebrity, "Who" would I like to meet?..My answer: "Dead or alive? "For this exercise we will stick to the living: much easier to contact for the time being. Well..like anything, that would depend very much on my mood. After some thought on the matter,one person comes to mind. Someone with whom I believe I would surely enjoy an evening discussing, conversing and laughing..

For certain, one person would probably do most of the discussing and that would not be myself. This celebrity has done so much, that one evening would only whet my appetite for all the creativity he has to offer. Yes it is a man. A man who is still alive and is struggling with the demons of sometimes ending it all. Depression is a very real disease. I occasionally flutter around the cusp of that bi-polar monster. Scintillating, fascinating and humorous are words that I would use to probably describe how all ensued.

Now, since this is Blog and I am  at the helm of how things go, I think this is a fascinating topic and encourage everyone to think on it.It's not as daunting as" You're stranded on an island and you have but one book to keep with you: which one is it??" Oh the pressure....Doesn't keep up at night but again, being a mutable person, it is a difficult decision. I need a book for all seasons, all moods etc...

My dinner date is not impossible but highly improbable as I, little(not so much in girth but in height) middle aged me,does not socialize in the same circles as said celebrity. Wouldn't it be a hoot if he could read this?? ..and subsequently laugh. My recent admiration for this man came about when watching an episode of "Who Do You Think You Are". I have been researching my own family tree and have come upon a few roadblocks. So far nothing terrible has occurred, to my knowledge except for an estate being misappropriated and every generation after that, poor but hard working and enjoy a glass or two or three...

His family story did have some very unpleasant surprises. His sensitivity and determination to find out a bit more, knowing that the outcome could possibly be terrible had me sold on his being just like everyone else-human. It is in these moments that the celebrity stops being and the true person you are comes out. There is little to be done in the way of hiding anything so deeply rooted.

Alas, I will not be waiting by the phone to ring or running to the mail box for my invitation.Nor will I be stalking the man in hopes of this opportunity to come to realization. In my mind, the event has already occurred and I will cherish the moment always. Oh, my dinner date was Stephen Fry.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stranger, Not So Much Danger...

The other day, after I discovered the little surprise, a man came calling. He had been turned around with some misguided directions, saw the egg sign and thought"Why not ask here?" So, he asked about eggs, asked for directions and was completely mesmerized by the chickens and the cats. So much so, he wanted to take a look about. Why not? Sure, if this was the city I would be thinking he was casing the place. So, he even took a few photos as he toured. He also showed me some pics of his cats on his camera. Physically he reminded me of my Father yet not so much with the cat love though.

He was thoroughly enchanted with it all. Admitted he was from the city. I asked which one. Same city I'm from I told him. He was a bit surprised and I knew this by the lifting of the eyebrows. So, here I am, showing another person about the yard. For a few minutes of my time and theirs, I've managed to make someone happy even if it is only for a few minutes. It's an incredible thing as he was a stranger after all.

The boys being home this summer has curtailed my computer time. The problem with this is not so much the lack of Blogging time and Ravelry time etc... but the fact that it's my bloody computer and I should be able to be on whenever, 24/7 if I so wanted!! We do not have satellite tv, so youtube, netflix renting movies etc...there is the entertainment. Meanwhile chores are piling up and I refuse to do anymore washing of towels if I don't even get to use one!!(buggers) Washing dishes and as I do them a stack of dirty comes out of nowhere!! The issue is they are all old enough to know better and are getting away with murder. So, today, I knit, spin, sit my butt in front of the computer for however long as I wish. "Buy your own! " I exclaim.. followed by "If you don't like it, pick a door. There are many to choose from here and watch it doesn't hit you on the way out!!" Can you feel the love?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What A Wonderful Surprise!!

This morning, while moving the chicken tractor, I noticed a hen out grazing. She wasn't far from the meat birds. Thing was, I hadn't let the chickens out yet..They usually come over and try to eat the meat birds' feed while I'm moving the tractor about, so less trouble if they wait until I'm done. If you recall, I had been given a bunch of hens from the owner of the last 3 sheep I had purchased. Well, I hadn't seen her for ages. I thought she had been eaten by a predator. It happens. She and a few friends had taken to perching in the trees at night, much like turkeys do...

Sometimes my hens sneak out from under the bottom of the coop and I soon expected to see a few more of the smaller ladies joining this one. But wait, what is that sound? I've heard it just recently , in the house as my eggs are hatching 3 days early!! Well, look at that! She hatched some chicks!! All on her own. After I completed the feeding and watering and relocating of the might meats, I slowly approached to check them out. Holy cow!! There are about 15 of them!! Mostly look like Mom, who is black but there was a brown striped one and a silvery grey with white...Hmm. And here I am with an incubator full that looks to be a successful hatch this time around... 6 so far... I am not complaining. I am tickled pink that I finally have a hen that can do what Nature intended for her to accomplish!

Here are a few with Momma hen in the background.


Her nest is located in the base of a tree trunk. I am so glad to see the little ones as just 2 night prior, we received a real soaker around midnight that lasted some time and flooded a few fields. It also resulted in me going out at night trying to get the might meats to higher ground. I was wading in inches of water...sadly 1 chicken did drown. It was then I decided that I was not attempting a third batch this year. Too many losses within this first batch already.

On a knitterly note, I am knitting a shawl, almost completed another.. and washing Misty's fleece. I have half done... you certainly do lose a lot after skirting and washing. It is an amazing color. Too bad I don't have a decent camera too capture it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July? Where Is The Sun??

It's July. Looking at the color of the sky, I'd say November or February. As it stands, I don't like theses shades of grey with all the shades of green. I much prefer the greenery highlighted by sunlight...these moments are few and far between this Spring..oh yeah, it's Summer now!! Who knew?? Well, things must still be tended to, although challenging to clean eavestroughing and paint fences when rain is imminent or forecasted for the next 4 days...

It surely is a contrast to last summer and is it any different in the end result? So, not a farmer by trade, I have observed enough to come to the conclusion that one , like investments, must diversify in order to gain more profit in case crops don't yield or die off etc... So, in my corner of the world, if you are fortunate enough to hold a milk quota, you also do crops. The milk quota pays the bills, the crops keep everyone fed...it's more complicated than that but you get the idea. So, I feel badly for the folks who sell Farm CSAs. You buy a share and in return you get vegetables...So far. Strawberries are the only bumper crop I've heard of, besides mosquitos!!

So here's a pic of something not entirely green and not grey!

I still have some fleece for sale. I will be contacting the Mill to see how far down the waiting list I am....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Vintage Weekend

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon at Upper Canada Village on behalf of the Ottawa Knitting Guild. Other tables were set up to display rug hooking, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild, Bobbin Lace, needle felting, ..there was also a large walking wheel and a quilt display that was pieced by some folks in South Dundas.... Ironically, I knew people from every boothe except bobbin lace. But, I went over for a few minutes and they kindly showed me how it was done!!Bobbin Lace making is another craft that needs more folks in order not to disappear.

Rare Breeds Canada was also there and we know each other well. I find that if you have a critter that is considered rare, you often have another. So, today Tessa was loaded up and sent to Cumberland Village Museum. What a beautiful spot!! She is spending her time there with a Clydesdale mare named Misty.

Tessa decided to start pacing and showing off her floaty trot and suddenly came to a stop. Stock still, head raised and staring off in the distance. She was listening to the sound of an outdoor mass being held at the park . A few folk complimented me on her appearance and it was then that I decided that I should breed her to keep those genes and bloodlines going before she gets too old. I was also inspired by a Canadian at Upper Canada Village yesterday who was with her 10 day old foal. So, I had better save some pennies for that!!


Misty from Mountain Meadows Clydesdales



The mares listening to mass!



Monday, June 17, 2013

My New Web Logo!

A few weeks ago, a lady had come by to purchase some eggs. While here, she asked if she could take some photographs of the animals and farm, but specifically the chickens. Well of course I said. I understand how sources of inspiration can come about and anything to help an artist-I'm in.

We began chatting and I mentioned how I was a bit conflicted on a website logo for the farm. Well, she takes photos and then sketches them and also paints them. So, she said in exchange for the privilege of the photos, she would sketch something.

She returned this weekend, with some photos for me and a sketch. She has also painted and exhibited some featuring my chickens and Tessa.

So, what do you think? I briefly told her what I would like and here it is. I was very impressed. By the way, it's Liam's head on the left.
Her business name is Paintings To Order and her name is Carrie Keller 613-774-1906 she's in Winchester. www.paintingstoorder.com she said there is something funky happening with her website so maybe call or email  paintingstoorder@yahoo.com

I am very pleased. So now, no excuses to get started on the website!! But I need to go to the feed store!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To Fleece Or Not To Fleece...

The weather here has been less than acceptable. However accept it we must as we can't change  the weather. We can change our destination. My destination of late has been indoors due to all the rain. I have realized that I may suffer from SAD-seasonal affective disorder. I need light and lots of it. I can't thrive in an office without a window or work in a basement.(done both) So, with all the gllom and doom of the clouds, I seek out my studio with skylights. I also seem to be attracted to the heatlamps for the turkey brooders like a moth to a flame. The turkeys are in my studio. I have 14-fingers crossed that there are no more losses.
Everyone and everything seem to be moving at a sluggish pace...including my cleaning of fleece and knitting.

I currently have 1 fleece that's almost entirely skirted and needs a few washes. The color is quite unique: 3toned start from taupe brown to chocolate brown to blonde tips. Wonder how that will spin up?? I'm debating on what to do with the fleeces..Sell them? Have them processed? Sell the processed end product? Keep it all for myself?? tough choices....

As I write, the sun is toying to make an appearnace or make us plead to come out for just a little longer.I've also discovered that while sequestered due to weather, I need a camera to take much better photographs for the blog and I could use with a laptop- my very own, nobody, under pain of death touch it, device. All 3 boys, my husband and prodigal son's girlfriend are all trying to use some kind of digital devices and argue about who's next etc...Buy your own I say to them yet I know I will have to pull it out of thin air...kids...

I am currently knitting a blast from the past. It is the Sunburst Pullover by Norah Gaughan, featured in Interweave Knits Summer 2002!! I remember attempting it once before, but never finished. If it works out, and fits properly, it will only require just over 4 balls to complete!! A very frugal consumption of wool indeed. Should be done this weekend.*(*good intentions lead to.. which is why I don't like to give deadlines)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tessa Will Be A Museum Piece!

It is now incredibly hot. It is mindboggling how one morning you need a sweater and the next, you feel as if the biggest oven in the world is preheating your buns. Today is one of those "hot, sticky" days where you don't even need to move and you break into a sweat. So, not much woollie things happening here. I've knit a few rows while watching the computer shows until someone needs to get on and play games....

Today, I was asked if I could lend my horse to the Cumberland Village Museum for a heritage display. Why not? This way folks can see the real thing and find out about the history behind the Canadian Horse. For those of you whom have never heard of them, here is some information and History about them. So, they are repairing some fencing and my darling will be off to be a horse in a different field so that people can gawk at her. Which leaves me with 2 horses. In fact I was thinking I should downsize as any income I earn is through the sale of fleece, eggs and poultry. Not enough to live on but keeps me fed for a while. I enjoy tending to the animals(ask me when all the water buckets are frozen) I've decided to not look for employment anymore as I was wasting a lot of time and being frustrated by my lack of success. Now, the warmer weather is here and really, life should be less expensive in the warmer months.

Totally off topic, here's a pic of Fingal, taken by my friend Tina who popped by on shearing day. 2 days later, she announced she had bought goats!

He is now on his way to becoming a wether...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shearing Day Is Upon Us

May has almost come and gone and once again, I fail to Blog as regularly as I would like. Then again, who wants to read about me venting on such topics as banks, insurance companies and Revenu Canada: All in league with the Devil!!

So far the weather has been predictably unpredictable. One day you are sweltering, the next you must layer as who knows if it will snow or bake you yet again...

So 2 turkey poults have hatched. I made a hatcher for just such occasions and after much careful planning, discovered I needed 1 more heat lamp. Wouldn't you know it- I can't find one that clamps on..They are all suspended lamps. So I kept them in the hatcher. Now the 5 buffs from the auction are feathered enough to not need so much heat. The lamp is now on the poults in their own brooder. Tomorrow chicks are due to hatch... then more turkeys  and meanwhile I was given 14 chickens and a rooster and I feel very over run!!!

What is bogging me down of late is no funds and children and no time to knit... Kids can be a blessing but in this case I'm willing to help pack for all three. And the locks will be changed. Prom is tomorrow for the youngest. I'm still unsure if he will even graduate... a story for another day.

Oh, the best news for last... SHEARING DAY IS SUNDAY!! This Sunday, May 26th- Late afternoon is the time I was given. So if anyone wants to see how it's done, possibly buy some fleece and watch me have a meltddown as I don't handle shearing day nor the farrier visits very well. Animals can be unpredictable. If you come and bring your dog as often peopl do when driving in the country, please keep it on a leash. Last weekend a friend brought her two little rats dogs to my farm, let them loose and one entered the coop terrifying one of the hens resulting in her death a few hours later. Not pleased and told her so. She said she felt bad and no offer for compensation!! Well, don't hurry back and keep your little rats dogs home.

If and when the weather improves, I will try to post a pic of the bunny! Very soft, pretty and large. I would have her out on the grass but it's too wet. Lots of rain in a short period of time. Now I must try to find out how to get the oven to work again after the power failure due to the storm last night.At least the stove works! Small miracles= smiles!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cold snap!

I took a walk around the property this morning and discovered that I have more lilacs than I thought. I was pleased to find violets growing too-missed the trilliums completely, oh well. As you can see in the photo, a new project is under way. This is some wool, very much like Briggs&Little that I had purchased some 7 yrs ago when I went to The Spring Tonic hosted by Mabel Corlett in Kingston with my dear old friend Joan Dawson. I do miss Joan especially now that I've taken up spinning as she was sure I should give it a "whirl". What a enabler gal!We seem to have hit a wall with the warmer weather. I've already lost 1 meat chick. It's been so cold, they pile up on one another to stay warm and sadly one succumbed to the trampled feet. I believe today is the last of the cooler weather. I've hung up sheets to keep drafts out of the chick coop thus making it a real "peep show" to see if they need water and food. I can't accommodate another lamp out there but then again, who figured it would be this cold in May? Here I thought we would start later when it is relatively safe...sure.

Miss Broody is doing a great job sitting on her eggs-well the eggs. The older hen is helping. When Miss Broody comes out, old hen sits for her. Tag team hatching!! Fingers crossed they will hatch as the turkey hens have ceased laying. Meanwhile I have 8 turkey eggs due to hatch Saturday, followed by 20 or so more in the next few weeks. I purchased 2 more thermometers because I could not understand why I was having such a low hatching rate. Turns out, the first thermometer reads too high so, the eggs were too cold. All is settled with a digital thermometer. I have made myself a hatcher- the turkeys go in tonight so they won't be disturbed as I must turn the other eggs in the incubator until their turns are up. I have high hopes for this hatch!!

Sheep are doing well and I must say the first twins are huge, very tall girls! I received an email from the previous owner of the new ladies. She is moving back to the city hence why I was able to purchase her sheep and we will be acquiring her chickens and....and angora rabbit!! I know nothing about them so it will be interesting. We will pick them up this weekend. Hubby is already trying to pawn off the rabbit. I insisted by saying, let me try it first!! Her name is Bluebelle, a blue satin angora who prefers her privacy.hmm... must learn how to pluck a rabbit... I can add the fluff to my spinning. I do believe it would take a few rabbits to supply enough for a sweater!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Broody Day!

On Thursday, we picked up our "meat" chicks. They are so small, fluffy and cute, you sometimes forget that they will be dinner some day. Fortunately for them, they have no personality whatsoever. Layers on the other hand, have plenty! My brooder was set up and awaiting 31 yellow fuzzy butts.While removing them from the box, I discovered that the little beggars could walk right through the bottom slats of the wire panel I had so diligently put into place. So, yell at husband who is getting a bag of layer ration for the "big" birds to "get some boards please, they are escaping!! I scooped them up, placed them back in.. repeatedly until the boards arrived. Housed next to them are the chicks that hatched in March who are a good deal bigger and seemingly terrified of the yellow escape artists

 Boards are put in place, chicks are eating and drinking and I am contented with that sight enough to continue with making supper. After we had eaten, I went to check on chicks as the weather had turned colder and I want to know that there is sufficient heat for them. sure enough, some had escaped again leaving the older chicks huddled in a corner, terrified of the little yellow marauders. The floor is apparently but not surprisingly uneven and the chicks scooted under the boards. So, rounded up some more wood and placed it all along the boards to reinforce any means of exit. They are only a day old!! They live for about 12 weeks and become so heavy that they barely can walk. I believe sometimes it is a kindness to dispatch them. After they grow all their feathers in, they will be put into the chicken tractor and eating grass, bugs, grain...living the life of a chicken.

Today is Mother's Day and I have a broody turkey hen. I decided to let her sit and sit on some eggs I had collected. So, I ventured into the pen, gently put the collected eggs on the straw. I was greeted with hissing noises from the hen. Kind of scary when you see how big their beaks are...! I used a stick to roll a few closer to her. A few were swallowed up right away under her belly.- A good sign. I guess she felt she'd had enough by then and left the nest. Poop! But wait, the older more experienced hen comes over, covers the eggs up with straw. Miss Broody hen is eating and drinking. I am doing things in the barn, pretending to take no notice of what's happening. Miss Broody having filled herself up then returns to the nest. Could it be that easy?? I figure, since they are a Heritage breed, let them do what they are supposed to do and encourage some hatching in the natural way...28 days from now, there may be peeping in there!

Totally unrelated, here is a photo of Ray, my best mouser.
 He is a huge and seems very lazy but very careful as to how he expends his energy. The most recent present he brought to the porch door was a rat! That'll do cat, that'll do.

Monday, May 6, 2013

To Put The Clothes Out ToDry, Or Suffer The Consequences!

Ah, it would seem Spring just waved to us and Summer just moved in! It's that time of year once again when it's a real "crap" shoot to put your clothes out to dry as some fields are being fertilized. Yup, so dry the clothes in the dryer and close the windows or suffer the consequences. Heck, it's only a couple times out of the year.

My youngest son and friends believe it is warm enough to swim in the quarry. I asked the boys who just showed up here if they did not have classes this afternoon?? Apparently a few teachers are away and the teens are blowing off steam. After all, in a few weeks, they may never see one another again.

Graduation is filled with hope and promise of things new different and exciting. But I can see with a few of the students that it will be a difficult time for the few that have grown up together, attended the same schools, same buses and now forced to make decisions that they may not feel entirely ready to accept the outcome.

Jobs out here are few and far between unless you are farming and or have a vehicle.Many "Grads" will be home for summer and then leave for school in order to have a chance at securing a decent paying job. I wish them all the luck. It also means that I have a few months to convince my youngest that he should apply to college- he can car pool with his brother and friends....

Prodigal son is back and we are driving to Ottawa frequently so he can see his girlfriend. And people ask me why I have a big house? Well, when I close my eyes , I see a vision of a girl living here too, a young man fixing vehicles in the driveway and another who is constantly coming and going...they will never leave...
So, until they do, I need all the space in order to loose myself in the haunted house.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Forgive me if I'm posting this a little late but since the weather has been amazing I've been out cleaning the front flower garden. It's the one seen in the photo above. Unhuh,it doesn't look that large until you have to tend to it...I figured a couple of hours- try a whole day. Next is picking up fallen branches and twigs and tilling the vegetable garden, and do everything else that I always do.

My new sheep have arrived and I'm tickled pink. I took a huge risk but putting the new girls in with my rams. One should quarantine new arrivals. However, since the ladies are in with the boys, the boys haven't bumped a gate or climbed or head butted anything except one another. They just needed different friends!!

This is Clover- she's white despite how the picture shows her..

This is Misty aka Tansy aka I'm hard to catch!

This is Dahlia- she is very tiny. Not sure what the story was about that...her fleece is a golden brown.
So here are 3 ewes with breeding potential. I have some time to decide which direction I wish to take all this fiber business. What I do know is that too big too fast = disaster. I don''t want to become a huge farm as the appeal of it lays with staying small, local and manageable and to keep the Shetland breed from becoming a rare breed again.

If I finish my well intended gardening tomorrow, I may just have time to spin. I will take the wheel outside and enjoy the day. I hope you enjoy yours also!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day, No May Pole Here... Just Chickens....

Alas, May has arrived and with it some well awaited greenery! Not much flowering here except my forsythia.

Last night I put away the winter clothes. Not because I'm so convinced I won't need them for a few months but because I've lost that extra closet space and needed to put the suitcase and bag into the attic. While going through the bag, I came across my ticket stubs from my knitting trip to Ireland. Ironically, the group is heading to Scotland tomorrow! Sadly, I can't count myself as one of the travelers yet again as this whole " working" for a living has me befuddled. I can't find a job anywhere. /i'm not aiming to become a CEO just something to help pay some bills and keep the critters fed. Pretty simple in theory but the result proves different.

So no Scotland but who knows where next year's trip may be? I've already been to Scotland, would love to discover more but perhaps Iceland or Faroe would do the trick or Wool week in Shetland! Now that would be awesome. I will need two jobs for that....

The farmers are out doing fieldwork while the weather stays warm and dry and I am doing the same in my yard. Consequently, the knitting falls to the wayside. Perhaps this afternoon, I will pick up a vest that was started and begs to be finished.
The vegetable garden waiting to be tended.

On Saturday I went to the bird auction with the intention of buying chicks on a very limited budget. Again it was a miserably cold day and not many chicks were available. I had bid on Silkies and a few other things. Bidding fever was in the air and when starting price is your budget, no deal. So, I walked around again and saw someone had put some Buff Orpingtons in for bidding. Given where they were from, they probably booked their lot # ahead of time and arrived late as they were not there when I walked around earlier. So, I got chicks! 5 Buff Orpingtons for $15 and they must have hatched the day before they were sold because there were no feathers on the wings- just fuzzy gold fluff. I was delighted with my purchase.
Here are some pics of last year's purchase that almost ended badly if you've folowed the blog for that long...
One of the Australorp roosters enjoying the morning sun.
Australorp hen in the shade.
They are all doing very well. The roosters suffered a bit of frostbite on their combs as their combs are quite large. The turkeys are due to hatch next week. Fingers crossed that May brings better results for the hatch.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

And That's All Folks!

Last night Clarice gave birth to twins. Hurray! I was becoming worried as she was so big but she has lots of fleece. I witnessed the birth of Fiona. By then I had spent enough time in the barn and went inside for supper. I returned to the barn to find a ram lamb had been born and quite large to boot. Then I turned my attention back to Fiona. She is so tiny!! Well, she's up and eating so here's hoping for the best. The other 2 lambs from 6 days earlier look huge compared to the new lambs. Goes to show you how much growth happens in a few days.
Fingal(ram) is on the left by the water bucket and Fiona is to the right.
Upon further discovery this morning, Fiona is a dark brown!! Genetics are such a complex thing. I never expected this coloring from Clarice. So I looked into her background-this is where having a registered purebred stock is important as the information is there. It turns out that Clarice's sire is the culprit providing the Holstein cow look.
Clarice and babies this chilly am...
Thus, lambing season has concluded at Karberry farm. I am delighted to have 2 sets of twins!! And being able to see a twin from each birth being born. Bittersewwt after losing my favorite horse and a 3rd chick hatch with mediocre results. At least the bird auction in South Mountain is this Saturday. I will try to get some chicks and hopefully not frozen like last years!!

Off to clean the room for the prodigal son. He is moving back in this weekend. So far, the worst thing is having lost a closet for my winter clothes..... kids!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Strange Noise Came From The Barn Last Night...

Last night I fell asleep before putting the dog out for the night. Sadly it's one of those skills that only I have in this household and totally irrelevant on my resume. So dog paws at the bed and nudges my arm. It's 1:30 am.
I make my way out to tie her up and make my way back to the couch where I lay down.. just for a few minutes. My short nap is interrupted by my dog's barking. Fine, better bring her in before she wakes anyone up. As I attach the leash to her collar, I hear a sound. A sound very much like a cow would make. Not surprising as there are dairy farms everywhere here. But wait! That sound is coming from the barn and I don't have cows. Oh my! Could it be a ewe in labour??

I put the dog in the house; look around for a flashlight. Of course none of them work. I grab a tealight hurricane lamp, light the candle and off to the barn I go, just like in the olden days. I hear the snicker of a lamb! I get to the light, turn it on and the ewe is washing off the lamb. She lets out another cow sound and I can see she's somewhat uncomfortable. She turns and I see a sack coming out of her backside. Oh, my another baby to be born!! I see the ewe push and the lamb's head emerges from her body and then flops onto the straw. The ewe stops licking the first lamb and then works at removing the sack from lamb #2. This ewe did not look pregnant. Every day I ask the other one if she's ready to drop her baby?
First born, Elsie, on the right-all black. Esme on the left, not sure what this color is yet!!

Esme is a very curious lamb. She likes to wander and Elsie sticks close to her Mom as seen here.
This was most certainly a special event as Shetlands just seem to pop these suckers out while you're not looking! So, after the excitement,I returned to the house satisfied that "B' is doing a great job with her new babies to find husband ill. He kept me up. So, I did the dishes, cleaned, did morning chores, finished cleaning the small coop for the chicks to go into as the incubator is about to erupt with the next hatch.(there's an egg rolling in there now!!) Cleaned the back of barn where the horses think it's the W.C., swept the barn floor, called the bank and a few companies ref the extra $250 they took out my account causing the payment to be returned and consequently not having enough funds for other payments....I hate banks, insurance companies and revenue Canada and Hydro one. I am ready to go back to pioneer days right now.

I am now exhausted and looking forward to arrival of more lambs. But I won't stay up to watch.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good bye Miss Moon...

The sun is poking through the clouds; a gentle breeze is blowing. The birds are singing their Spring songs. There is nothing different to indicate that I've just lost a good friend. The tears keep welling up and my rovong eye looks to find a glimpse of grey out in the field. It is an exercise in futility looking out there and the crying too for that matter. She was picked up this morning. I am left with memories and an undescribable ache. I know it's selfish but it's how I feel and may feel for some time.

I am very grateful for having had Moon in my life. I could not have asked for a better companion.
Rest In Peace old friend...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April At Last!

Dear Followers,

I apologize for not keeping you up to date with the last most exciting part of chick watch! A photo was posted on Facebook of a chick... but that's where it ended. My Mother's health took me for a loop and then I also was ill and still not feeling great. Mom is much better but there is a lesson to be learned. If you suspect something is wrong with your health, be persistent until they figure out what's wrong.Her physician ignored a complaint she'd made awhile back. She demanded a referral. Physician refused. A new doctor came about, sent her for tests. While waiting, she called an ambulance and was admitted to hospital where a different doctor listened and found out that there was indeed a concern and she was then sent to the Ottawa Heart Institute- one of her arteries was completely blocked. She underwent the necessary procedure and is now recovering. But holy crow, I guess you need to be fully aware of everything medical or suffer much pain and loss of quality of life befrore they may consider you may be right!

Today is my first day at the computer, playing and, yup still searching for work. I did have 2 interviews last week and still waiting to hear. I fear if neither of those work out, it will be burger flipping for me. Oh, yes I did submit an applicant for a particular fast food place- if I'm hired remains to be seen.

So, of all those precious eggs, I have 10 lively chicks. 1 died while pipping. So, 9 from first batch and 1 from the 2nd...I have placed another 12 eggs in the incubator of my own. Chances are that they will all hatch. Goes to show you what your local post provider does to a box marked FRAGILE- I've witnessed it, so it's not me trying to be nasty.. merely an observation of what goes on behind the scenes.
Chicks are cute, but they sure are messy and grow so quickly.
Here they are, huddling in the corner as I startled them while lifting the top of the brooder!
I took this photo this morning as I needed to chnge their water.


As you can see with the chick in the foreground, feathers and a tail have appeared!2-3 more weeks and they will be covered with feathers. Another interesting thing is that the colors sometimes change!
Now guess what's been happening here?
One of the turkey hens has started to lay!! I have now collected 3 eggs. I can keep them up to 10 days, so I may have to put them in the incubator sooner as a test run. Now, here's the question: knowing what I do about chicks and how quickly they grow, how many turkeys do I wish to hatch at any time? Sure there is a market for poults but if they don't sell, I need to house all these turkeys!! The plan is that they will become dinner- cruel but let's face it folks, the meat comes from some place and I would prefer knowing it was well taken care of and fed properly... a rant for another time...
No lambies yet but looking out the window, I wouldn't want to be a critter outside giving birth even with the sun beating down in all it's glory. The windchill is something most unpleasant!

I suppose I could try skating on what was once part of my pasture?It's nice to see the geese flying about again and gathering in the fields. The wild turkeys are not so prominent lately. I suspect they are nesting... So folks, enjoy the day.. you never know if you'll be ill tomorrow....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 20...Welcome Spring!!

Well here we are!! The first day of Spring!! A frigid albeit sunny one at that. Last night I stayed up late hoping to hear a chick peeping from inside the incubator...no such luck. I fretted thinking I may have a bum hatch. But wait, it's only day 19!! No more turning twice a day for these chicks. So this morning I believe  I saw a small peck on one egg and a bit of rustling. It does get quite noisy in there when some egg start rolling and knocking into others!! That could be later this evening and tomorrow morning. Hubby has yet to "fashion" a special lid for my brooder so that when the chicks get a bit bigger they won't be able to fly out so easily. So he did not want to hear any peeping just yet!

Day 20 8:55 am
As you can see in the photo, nothing special happening . Not all the eggs due to hatch are visible.
Above is a pic taken this morning of some herbs that I am growing and of course what house with knitting or yarn about is complete without a feline friend about? That is Sally on the couch absorbing some rays. I love this room as it has wonderful natural light. On the table that is not visible is about  a half completed  1000 piece puzzle. I love doing puzzles as it is very much like meditating, much like knitting but the brain is thinking at a different level. It is also an exercise to encourage and continue the practice of patience which seems to escape many...

Knitting studio/nursery
In the background there are geraniums that I brought in from the garden last Fall. They are flowering. There are 4 total and one of them was from 2 summers ago!! So, don't think I'll be buying hanging baskets this year. I've decided to start herb farming. I have some in my garden but this year, there will be plenty and if all works out, I can sell some to the lovely people who buy my eggs! I really need to finish cleaning my coop and the nursery are for the hatching chicks but I would prefer a few more warmer days.

There is always something to do here....off to knit and listen to the incubator. Enjoy the day my friends!