The farm house

The farm house

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chicken Day Approaches...

Last night was a busy night,... an eventful night. The meat birds are scheduled for processing Thurs. am. We must bring them inside to be on a strict diet of water for 36 hours and on clean bedding. Sounds simple enough right?? Well, Cornish cross chickens must be the stupidest creatures on the face of the earth. They are in it for the food and that's it. Every year I remember hating this part- getting them inside. They smell, don't cooperate and they are heavy and yes, they do bite...

This was done after we moved the sheep. The reason for moving some sheep was to provide a cleaner area while one pen is being cleaned out. What I had forgotten in my haste to get them moved was that like cows, sheep can climb but are reluctant to drop down.

This meant, nobody was coming out in a hurry causing much stress for my husband, who, does not always understand the queer ways of animal instincts. In the end, I had to enlist the help of my youngest son. From the time I summoned him to come help and the time he came out to the barn, we had heard some cracking noise. My husband and I both turned our heads to see what was happening and a huge branch from a maple tree fell!

Husband says: "Great, more work to do..." I replied, "It can wait-it won't be going anywhere."Luckily our hay had been delivered just minutes before this happening. Sheep were moved. They then behaved as if everyone was new and head butting one another...Silly sheep

Then the meat birds. I took out a few that were slow movers in order to get the chicken tractor closer to the barn.Daylight was fading.
I had to stoop in the chicken tractor, take them out individually which meant being hunched over a lot, take them out and walk them into the enclosure inside the barn. I am dripping with sweat and the buggers are heavy and uncooperative, flapping about and squawking as if I was trying to kill them-not me and soon enough.

So it's after 9pm all is secured, everyone watered and I head for the bath as the chickens smell.

This am, I am a bit stiff from that workout. I'm not sure if I would fare any better if I were in any better physical condition...perhaps if I were a bit younger??

By the way, the new ram's name is no longer Elvis but Maverick in honor of James Garner who passed away the weekend we obtained him.
Maverick and his posse.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


There are thunderstorms occurring off and on today. Thus, my work is more geared to the inside. I am prepping my fleeces to be sent off. That is, I'm deciding what I want done to each one and then wait for it all to come back.There is a reason why 3 sheep just won't do-volume and thickness. What if I want 3 different weights in 3 different colors etc??? This should keep me busy for a few minutes. Also,since none of the boys are no longer in school, why are there no pens in my office?? I suppose they'll turn up in the land of lost change and mismatched socks...

Yesterday while my world was warmer and drier I took a few photos to share while there is still something blooming in the garden!

A bee hard at work!

I think these are Elderberries??

A lily that is brighter than your typical Day Lily.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Here we Grow Again!

Soy beans have been planted in the field across the highway, to the east of the house followed by corn followed by more beans. I know this because I can see what is to the front and a bit on the east side of the house. Having to run through all these fields to catch the new ram that got loose provides one an up close and personal view of the local agricultural landscape. And it was muggy. Corinne from Alpaca Tracks was kind enough to help load and trailer the four new Shetland sheep to my farm and then was super supportive by helping myself and my husband run through the fields to catch the new guy.

A good Samaritan driving along stopped to somewhat corner the ram with her van. He then decided to go through the field there behind the house. An OPP officer stopped to see if all was well. I asked if he had a tranquilizer gun? He grinned, said no and then patted his rifle positioned between the 2 seats. Too terminal I said. But if I can't get him home before the sun goes down, it may be an option. I then told him to  not even think of breaking out the ticket book. I said I was insured for the livestock, explained what happened. Meanwhile, ram had crossed the road. I suggested the officer take the road and come down the right of way from the next concession and perhaps flush him out. He said sure- I don't know much about catching goats. I said that's a ram- sheep- not a goat. And thank you.

Off he went. I saw the SUV turn down the farmer's right away,the dust from the tires and gravel road billowing in the air. The ram did turn and head towards our place. I admit I was almost in tears, yelling here sheepie  come here Elvis and shaking a plastic coffee canister filled with grain. No crying- that's not productive,I must change his name, Elvis will not do for this very reason; if my husband doesn't divorce me now, -he's a keeper..All these thoughts going through my head as I am jogging through the beans. I've never run so much in the last 3 years!!! Hubby and Corinne were ahead of me. I ended up near the corn field,heard some cracking and wondered and waited. Then I heard my chickens making a  ruckus followed by my dog barking- He must be in the yard!! Hubby followed him into the coop but the hens were flying and the ram was off again!! Into the horse paddock where two horses rounded him up and then Corinne and my husband coaxed him around the corner to where he should be. I appeared at he far corner and we did get him into the electronet area. He then tried to make another run through the fence that was not on but we were getting to. His horns got caught in the net but he was ok, so was the fence.

Now all 4 are in their quarantine area. The ram settled right away when he saw his friends. The poor ram did not know where home was so kept running. As frightening and frustrating as that was for the humans, we all understood that and worked together. Supportive friend are an incredible asset! Thank you Corinne and Barry.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Due Date : August 7th

Look at that! On the down slide to another month! My garden is thriving despite its wet, rock start! Tomorrow the sheep will arrive. Not the ones I originally agreed to purchase but different ones Shetlands none the less. The other 2 require a road trip and the vendor is pushing now.(biting my tongue)

This past week, I have made an effort to not complain about things. It is in interesting process and I have seen positive results. Will continue to work on this "skill".

Meanwhile, Dahlia-the poor ewe I bought last year with horrible fleece because she came with the others is most definitely pregnant. In fact her due date is Aug 7th as  she jumped the gate on March 15th!! Beware the Ides of March. Hubby's concern is a repeat of Misty, which nothing can foresee ringwomb.I called the vet to see if I could purchase an individual dose of a vaccine that is to be given to sheep approx.3 weeks before lambing.I am trying to ensure a successful outcome...They don't sell individual shots. I thought I would ask as it's kind of off season for the rest of my flock to purchase a jug if it were available. Which it is not. In fact, back ordered for over 3 months! Really?? There are  plenty of commercial flocks around that breed year round....where are they getting their supplies??

Well I gazed into "Teddy's"aka Dahlia's(her fleece last year made her look like a teddy bear so I call her Teddy) eyes and asked myself why must these things be so complicated? Misty was staring at me,poor Misty whose udders are still swollen after her c-section delivery of the dead twins. Almost telepathically, I hear in my mind"because you wouldn't learn anything and you are the learning type"

In my next post I will show you a when she arrived and after a year's difference in Dahlia"Teddy's" fleece. Night and day. A slight change in diet and now we suspect her limp is arthritis. She's been standing more often which is great because how can a lamb nurse from a ewe who lays down a lot?? I will buy bottles and milk replacer just in case...Will be calling the vet about Misty also- we've milked her a bit with difficulty and still big udders....Ah yes, another lesson to be learned. Thank you sheep.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Almost Midway!!

Wow! So far July is proving to be more of a whirlwind than June and I am coping very well! Fleeces are almost ready to be sent off to become closer to someone's ideal knitting companion.

Yesterday, I learned how to weave a stake and strand basket. I have to say, basket weaving is far more difficult than I ever thought!! I have vines growing on the side of the house and I will see what I can accomplish with those at a later date.

Fleece hasn't been the only thing I've been picking. This year, there seems to be quite a crop of blackberries!

This what's left after making a double batch of scones. Today is a wonderful day for baking or jam making as it is not so incredible hot and humid.

This evening I will be checking out some sheep. There will be a story to follow on this topic and how it came about. Hopefully, there will be some happy ending...

I've also received news that the Fibre Fun festival on Wolfe Island has been cancelled. I was looking forward to that...Now, let's see if all my wool comes back before that was scheduled to see if fate is at hand!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Goodbye June, Hello July!

Hello Folks! It's July and it's summer and it's been hot and hectic around these parts!! Many things are happening but first let's get caught up! Last month I helped count inventory at the local feed store-5 days of fighting illogical entries. After the first day I gave in to the fact that logic was not to play a role in this adventure. Find the item, find the category and count. One of the evening s during that week, I did some bookkeeping for a friend.End of quarter for HST is coming up so to give her a general idea of what to expect to either remit or expect, I did a trial balance sheet. I texted her what she would pay and she launched into a tirade that has me thinking, find yourself another bookkeeper!! She wanted to know why she would have to pay so much... did I put the receipt for her ride-on mower in?? Yes there is more but at the time I wished I could reach through the phone and bring her face close to mine and say:" Not my effing problem"! Crude but so apropos for the rant 6 texts as to why she should have to pay. It's also the type of language that she responds to... I laugh now because, well, it is her problem!

Last month also saw my article for the
Ontario Sheep magazine published!! It's brief and desperately needed in a forum of commercial"meat" sheep land. The day after receiving my copy of the magazine, I received an email message from Carol Precious of Chassagne Farm. Her Father In Law was responsible for bringing the first shetland sheep to Canada. just said that she liked the article!! I was thrilled to hear that from someone who knows the breed so well.

I am still skirting fleeces but the end is near. I plan on shipping them next week in hopes that they will return before the Fiber fest on Wolfe Island.

I've also been offered a flock of Shetland sheep...more on that another post!