The farm house

The farm house

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, 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!