Sunday, November 23, 2008

Torn Ear
The other morning I got up around 6 AM and something barked at me outside our bedroom window. I knew it wasn't Max because he doesn't yap, he woofs loud and clear. This was "yap yap yap." I thought maybe it was one of the beagles a neighbour is missing from hunting season, but nope, it was a fox! He has been here every morning looking for the chickens. Since we've moved them into the barn and Max lives there too, the fox is not overly pleased. When we were back in the nursery yesterday we saw signs of a big buck, so I hold out hope that Torn Ear is still around somewhere. I haven't seen him since before hunting season. Deer Norman is here and seven of our does. But that's it. We'll see who shows up when the cold comes. It's been about 26F for the last few days steady - it stays the same temperature day and night. It's warmed up a bit tonight however. We've had some snow flurries during the day but nothing hits the ground and they are very brief. No rain yet thankfully. I hope we just go straight to snow and skip the rain, freezing rain, and all that yucky stuff. My barn is working great and warms up wonderfully, I've been pleasently surprised every morning when I get up there with my work pants on, my coat, hat, gloves... I can take most of it off and not be cold at all. We spotted a Porcupine on a hike the other night. They really are so adorable, as long as they stay away from my dogs. He was patient with me and let me get lots of pictures. I was also able to get a nice picture of our house since we were in the marsh with the argo - it's unusual for me to get a picture of our house at this angle. It's coming along well. It's still a work in progress and there is so much to be done.


I know, it's early! But we found our tree yesterday. We hiked back to the nursery, an area where there are just dozens of Spruce and Balsam trees of all different sizes. We found this one and knew it was the one. However, we only brought the handsaw with us, no rope. And on the way Kevin managed to nearly break his nose and pass out after a bad incident with a dead branch. So we took turns dragging the 11 foot tree through the beaver floods, snags, and juniper bushes... uphill. It was quite a trek, especially this time of year when the cold gets in your lungs. But we managed and got the tree back to the mule so we could haul it home. We didn't damage it too badly thankfully. It's still on the back porch and waiting for it's place in the front room. I always look forward to getting our tree each year, we go out hiking together, pick a tree, and bring it home together. I save a piece of each tree every year. I'm grateful now for the memories and know I always will be.


Our mule is fixed, and all is well with the world again. The Argo works great. We can't wait to try it out on snow, and of course we don't have any yet. So we'll see. Maggie and Gobbles the turkeys had to be relocated today and are now living with the sheep. After a year of living with and getting along with all the other chickens, they suddenly changed their minds and started attacking the chickens. So they have been relocated, which they didn't appreciate, but I'm sure they will adjust just fine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This is day three without our mule... the fan belt broke on Friday and we didn't discover it until Kevin tore it apart Saturday. Of course, no one was open on the weekend. This afternoon Kevin worked for a few hours on it and got it all put back together, but after taking it for a short ride tonight to bring some feed to the barn, it doesn't look good. It appears there *may* be another problem. So we'll have to look at it again tomorrow.

We went to North Bay the other day and got our Argo - it runs great. It's not as fast as the new ones, but we don't need it to go fast - we just need it to float. We haven't taken it in the marsh yet to try it out. The guy who owned it used it only for ice fishing. But we've run it around a bit and it runs just fine. It's nice having a windshield and roof when we need it too.

It started snowing about an hour ago. A light wet snow. Tomorrow Kevin is hoping to get two of our biggest trees in tomorrow. A big Maple and a big Oak came down, one a few years ago, and one last winter. They are the biggest trees we have to tackle so far.

We don't have many deer left. We heard the hunters around took several spikes, and we haven't seen any of ours. Deer Norman was here Friday but not since. We have some does, and one fawn who lost his mom. There just are not the deer left in this part of the country that there used to be. Out of the 7 does we have seen this fall steadily - only 1 has a fawn. I don't mind people taking deer for food, but I do mind people taking them all, which seems to be the way a lot of people think. You just cannot abuse natures resources, and expect them to continue to be there for you and your children in the future.

We are having one of my favorite things tonight - beer braised beef. It's delicious. It's a simple crockpot recipe and it's so good with mashed potatoes and green beans or peas. I'll have to share the recipe. It's a keeper.

Barley has finally got his eyes on Butternut, Biscuit is still on the run, but he's been courting Butternut so that's a good sign. He's so funny acting like a big guy when he's so small still. He struts around and acts like the boss, which in some ways he is, but he's still such a little guy. The chicks are doing great, the Barred Rock thinks she is a house chicken. She loves the dog and actually follows him around! It's hilarious. And I think we figured something out about Max last night. We have been having problems with him chasing the sheep and goats. It just started about a month ago and he's been with them since 3 1/2 months. But before that, for the first 2 weeks he was with the rabbits only. Tahiti, one of our Angoras was out in the barnyard last night, as she sometimes is. She never goes anywhere and always comes back to the barn. She's only out if I am there. Anyway - Max licked her, and never once tried to chase her or play rough at all. He just licked her and ran off to play with his toys. I think because they are the first animal we exposed him to on the farm, he has bonded to them over all the other animals. He goes from cage to cage each morning sticking his face in their cages, licking them and making sure they are alright.

He's good with the sheep and goats, but he has to get over this chase/rough play thing. One of our problems is that none of our animals rough him up back. Our buck and ram are bottle raised, and Braveheart the ram is blind. The ewes are gentle, and even our does are too friendly. Maybe once Barely gets bigger he'll put Max in his place. And hopefully Max will outgrow his puppy stage at some point. He's just an oversized puppy right now. It might take him two more years to get over it, but hopefully he will one day. He's a great boy, just still learning his place in the herd.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This & That

I had to share this picture. Yes those are chicks in the kitchen investigating the pumpkins. These two guys were the babies we got when we picked up Barely the buck a week ago. They are a riot. Of course they have a house to live in, but they break out as often as possible to explore.


These are two of the New Zealand boys we got in March from the Barrie Humane Society when we took 23 in. If I haven't mentioned it before, we have a lot of rabbits. We do not breed rabbits, or raise them for meat, we have a few dozen rabbits who were at some point homeless or abused. Several of the baby Flemish Giants, and a couple of the NZ's passed away in the months after they arrived here, and we recently lost Firefly, the mama New Zealand. But we have 14 of them still, all whom are healthy and thriving. These boys are so much fun and so curious. They are not full grown yet either!




So who says a woman cannot do a "man's" work? I gotta say, using the maul is not an easy task. At least I definately need to build up muscle. But I really enjoy it actually - even though it hurts like heck the next day in your shoulders. I'll get stronger as I use my muscles more. We have a fair amount of wood in but need to start hauling in more rounds so they are stacked up in the wood yard and ready to split in case snow stops us from getting out to log. However, if we get the Argo, we can still get out to places we cannot get the tractor or Mule. But it's better to be safe than sorry. It was warm again today, 60 F.

Nibs, my first rabbit, who started everything, is 10 years old now. He is doing fairly well, but he's slowed down a lot and his breathing has gotten worse. He enjoys sleeping with Norman the Chihuahua in the sunshine a lot, and of course his captain crunch cereal.




So It's election night in the U.S. so we are watching. I'm sure almost everyone is. It's kind of hard not to.



We went to town today to run some errands and resupply the animal food. I'm using more rabbit food than I thought. Of course, we do have an awful lot of rabbits. On the way home there was an old Lab on the highway running down the middle of it. He was overweight and clearly having problems in his rear end, I'm glad no other cars came. The hunter who lost him pulled over to the side to call him to his truck. I can't imagine he's using that dog for hunting, but who knows. I'm just glad no one hit the old dog.



We are kind of behind in work right now since we've got too many other things going on. Thursday we are headed to North Bay to pick up an Argo track vehicle. That's about a 6 hour round trip or more. Then we've got to go to Washington, D.C. and Syracuse NY - but I can't complain about Syracuse, my favorite used book store is there so I'll be able to load up the truck with books to help get me through the winter. I buy a little bit of everything in there, mostly natural history and nature related books, but I also grab random novels. Some turn out to be good reads, and sometimes I get books that I wish I hadn't. But I just pass them on to our local used bookstore. A little poetry, a little biography, a little cooking, a little gardening.... my idea of heaven is a nice big neverending used bookstore full of goats and dogs! But it is going to be a lot of driving in a short amount of time. But we'll recover! I'm just grateful for this wonderful November weather we've been having and hope the rain holds off as long as possible. I'd rather just go from this weather to winter and skip all the rain, the damp, and the ice. Snow, I enjoy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008




I thought I'd share some animal updates with you. Max is now 8 months old and his neuter date is offically set for December 1st! He's successfully caught a skunk in the barnyard and kept many trouble makers at bay. We've had tons of bear sign around - but they haven't been near the barnyard. He is having some trouble with the chasing of the sheep, and goats, but mostly it's naughty play. Ahhh the teenage years. When he was younger he would sleep with the lambs, and never chase anyone.... I have faith he will calm down and grow up... eventually.

Our goats are doing well. We have added an 8 month old Nubian/Boer buck to our family. His name is Barely - and he was bottle raised so he's sweet as can be. For now anyway. He follows us everywhere. He puts a smile on my face every morning - the girls do too, but he's just so cute. He's still so small. The farm where we got him was delightful, I'm so glad we met the couple that own it and all their animal family. It's hard to find down to earth nice people nowadays - even in the country. They gave us a Barred Rock chick and a Buff Orphington. They lost their mom and were getting picked on badly. They are in the livingroom right now quite enjoying themselves. We have two stalls in our barn now and Kevin built an awsome coop in there for the chickens, I love it. I think they like it too. It's so nice having all the animals in one place - I know I will appreciate it even more this winter. It's going to make carrying water and doing chores in the bad weather, so much easier. I'm actually looking forward to it! With everyone in one place, I can work in the barn no matter what the weather. The girls are all doing well, and Bucket and Hilda are getting along with Biscuit and Butternut just fine, but they still sleep in pairs in their stalls at night.

I've taken to calling the barn the "Taj Mahal." Seeing that it's an expression of Kevin's love completely, because it's not something he really wanted to be doing! Although the real Taj Mahal was build after the woman it was built for had died. So it's a little different - but to me, it's just as good as the real Taj Mahal!

Argo's and wreath making


Once again I have neglected to update the blog. This is such a busy time of year on the farm - but it's starting to slow down. Most of our major projects are finished and now we can just work on getting our wood stacked up. We do most of our wood harvesting in the winter - we enjoy the work and being outside, but we do need an emergency stash and to pile in as much as possible. If this winter is anything like last year - we'll have a hard time getting out in the bush when we usually have no trouble. We couldn't go anywhere for months last year because it was an impossible task to open the trails. But we may have a solution this year... with the Argo. It can handle the snow and it also gives us access to parts of our property we cannot access because of the marshes and floods, and ponds. I must admit - it was fun to drive and goes almost anywhere.

We had snow a week ago - and a bad storm. We were in the city running errands and getting our plow for the tractor fixed. We came home to find out that one of the local beavers had dropped a tree across our lane. Luckily we had a chainsaw with us! Except... that it wouldn't start. So Kevin had to walk the mile into the house anyway to get the other chainsaw and the tractor. The winds were awful and blowing snow and ice. As soon as I got in from chores that evening - the power went out, and stayed out until 7 the next morning. For the past few days it's been fairly warm, about 50 F and sunny. It's cold in the evenings and the frost stayed almost all day today and we had ice in the water buckets until afternoon.

I spent the afternoon today working on wreaths. I finished up my first one - a Juniper wreath and I love it. This picture was taken before it was finished - I filled it out some more and added pine cones. I'm working on a Cedar one right now. I enjoyed gathering materials this afternoon and working outside in the cool fresh air. They are pretty simple to make - but there is definately an art to it. I'm making a list of other craft projects I want to do now and this winter, so I can get supplies next time I'm in the city. I'm really, really hoping to try my hand at quiliting this winter, even if it is just a dog quilt! I just love quilts and would love to be able to make them myself. I need to work on my knitting as well, and have a whole list of projects I want to do. Those are things I enjoy about winter, having more times for crafts. And I'm always able to catch up on writing and reading. I've been stacking up winter reading all summer and have on more trip to my favorite used bookstore which is in Syracuse New York, next week for another load.



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