Monday, January 30, 2012

Evening


Getting ready for bed tonight... 

Sammy says, can we get ready for bed now please?

 Max was excited for his Birthday dinner - he turned four today

 Flavious is thinking "I better get something special too!"

the turkeys were huddled up and ready to go inside where it was warm

 Lambie is asking Horace "is she coming?" Lambie, the white ram is blind.

snack time?

Izzie and her new best friend, Flavious

Happy Flavious

Jack waiting for his bedtime treats


After work today, we are pretty tired. So tired, we can't even keep our heads from just hitting the table.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ice and lots of it

 For a few days now we've been dealing with a lot of ice which has been slowing us down and making things difficult for getting around outside, but it's been managable. A couple of times I've crawled to get to patches of snow so I could stand up again, but nothing horrible.

Yesterday I had someone coming to the farm to buy chickens from me and I knew there was no way they could make it in our mile long lane of solid ice. We have a four wheel drive dual wheel pick up truck and we can't drive it... plus at least we know the road. For someone who doesn't, they don't know the bad spots, the winding turns, the beaver floods, the drop offs...

  the base of the driveway, it would be great if you had a pair of skates!

So around 4 PM I loaded up eight birds and drove out the lane, very slowly. It was bad, but I was alright in the ATV. I met them at our first gate and as soon as I got there I was glad I told them not even try coming in the road - they were in a little tiny car.
We loaded the birds in their car, chatted a bit and then off they went. I got the mail which we hadn't checked in a few days, and noted how nicely the township road had been sanded... and then I headed for home. 

For most of the way I was fine. I spun out a couple of times, but not in any place it was dangerous. When I was almost home, the mule slid sideways and into the snowbank that was on the side of the road. I wasn't really stuck but there was absolutely no way to get traction, so I used the remote control for the winch to pull the mule out, you need to be able to press the button and keep tension on the cable so it will come out at the same time. It took about 10 minutes to winch it out and it wasn't a big deal. Once I got home, the mule couldn't make it up the hill to the house to park it, so I got out of it and just left it where it was by the garden. When I started to walk up the hill to the house, I fell twice. I was able to break my falls so I didn't really hurt myself. But I was getting pretty annoyed by now.

Once I got home, I took the little dogs outside for a pee and I had to walk across the driveway to the goat yard gate, so I could give Flavious his dinner. I did that and on the way home, without even knowing it was coming, I fell hard and fast. Thank heavens the little dogs were not close to me. I let a cry out without even knowing it and poor Norman came running over to me panicking, licking my face, and crying. Douglas just panicked when he saw me on the ground and started running around in circles.

If I'd fallen on my butt, I would have been fine, that's what that cushioning is for after all... but I didn't. I fell hard on my back. It was one of the worst falls I've ever taken because I didn't slow myself or brace myself at all. I crawled over to the truck, so I could use it to pull myself up and then I slowly walked the rest of the way home.

This morning I woke up a lot more sore than I expected I would be, and once I managed to drag myself out of bed, (which took a lot of self talk and wild promises to myself of freshly ground hazelnut cream coffee and banana bread...) I noticed right away it was freezing rain outside. Oh joy.
 the pond this morning (with Torn Ear standing by the garden ,I didn't even see him!)

the sumac's by our front deck

There was water on top of the ice, and it was freezing making it about 10 times more slippery than it was last night. Me and the dogs headed outside... I slid but kept grip on the porch rail, so I didn't hit the ground. Norman did fine since he walked right up against the house (and lets face it, if he slips, he doesn't have far to fall) but Douglas fell once and then figured out he should go where Norman is. After they had their pee, and I had a couple cups of coffee, I tried to figure out how I'd get to the barn without breaking something. Kevin told me to just wait, but I couldn't, I had to get the animals taken care of.

It wasn't easy. All the snow had a layer of ice on it now, which made everywhere a dangerous place to walk. So I crawled. I took a couple steps in the snow.... It was slow going. Once I got the goat yard fence I used it all the way to the barn to hold onto... I would have fallen several times without the fence to hold me up. The trouble is, all the fences, gates, trees, everything else was covered in ice to, so when you grab something your hand slides right off it if you don't have a good enough hold of it. 

Once I got to the barn I knew I had to put Izzie the cow inside because she'd break a leg if she stayed out, if she ventured out of her run in shed it would be horrible. So I put her inside and left all the animals inside giving them triple rations of food because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get back or not. They were fine, dry, pigging out, and relaxing.

Thankfully while I was feeding rabbits, Kevin showed up with the mule. He had pulled it out from where I left it last night, and was able to drive up the road to the barn. He waited for me and then helped me to the mule and then drove us home. Such a sweet man, he said he came with the mule because he was worried I had such a hard time getting to the barn, that I might just stay there and then who would cook him supper?

Once we got home it started to snow like crazy within a couple of minutes and that's what it's doing now. Which is good - snow is good. I really don't care if we get five feet of it, snow we can easily walk on, plow, shovel, we have equipment for it. For ice, it's a lost cause for the most part.

 the road up to the house yesterday

Two days ago - it was fairly nice out. I wanted to check my trail cameras but didn't think the ATV would fair very well with the ice, and I didn't feel like getting stuck, so Douglas and I went for a walk and checked the two closer cameras which are about 1/2 mile from the house. We needed the exercise anyway. It was easy to walk where there was snow. Off our trails in the bush the snow was deeper, it came up to just below the knee... but on our trails there was hardly any.

 Douglas ready to go

why are we taking a break here?

There wasn't much activity on the cameras so I pulled both of them and Douglas and I moved them to new locations.

come on lets run!

Douglas checking out the wolf tracks

 These were not fresh, they were there before it rained earlier this week

even the deer were slipping a bit

on the way home it was really pretty out, quiet, peaceful. We had a really nice walk together.

Two days ago Deer Norman showed up with only one antler. Kevin searched a bit for it but it was almost dark when he went out and very slippery so he gave up. Yesterday morning we saw Deer Norman still holding his one antler, when I headed outside for my morning chores.


Not three minutes later because all I did was walk out the door, start the mule up and turn around, I saw him looking like this:


I dropped everything I was doing right away because I knew that antler had to be close by. I searched the yard first and it was no where to be seen. With the ice and frozen snow I knew the antler would be easy to spot since it would be lying on top of the snow and would not have sunk into it when it dropped. 

I checked the edge of the yard and the marsh and walked through the raspberry bushes at the edge of the yard the wild turkeys usually sleep in. No antler. When I was coming back to the house, Deer Norman ran suddenly to the left of me and went up the trail that goes past where the little dogs do their business. Past there, there is a tree that he usually lies under in the winter time. It's directly across from our bedroom window.


Sure enough, there is was. 

 After my chores were done, Kevin and I headed out to look for the other one. We had seen him within 2 hours of loosing it, so we had hoped it wasn't too far away. We were right, it wasn't. It was lying on the other side of the creek to the right of the chicken coop at the base of a tree. I could see it from far away because it stood out so well.



So now we have Deer Norman's antlers from this year as well, a pair. Here are Torn Ear's antlers, Deer Norman's and the one antler we have of Leo's. We'll likely never find Leo's other antler, and the spike buck was gone for two days before he showed up without them so who knows where he was. I'll likely find more antlers in the spring when I can get out hiking more, but we won't be able to tell whom they belonged to, like we can with these antlers. 


 It's till snowing but we need a lot more snow than this to make it not so slippery outside. Hopefully the snow keeps falling overnight. We need to get out and get feed and a couple of people who had appointments at the farm are just waiting for the road to clear up. Usually the worst time of year for our road is break up in spring. Hopefully we won't be dealing with this much longer. I quite like winter, when it is winter. The warmer temperatures this year and ups and downs is what is causing us to have to deal with rain and so much ice in January... there was a time when that was unusual for here, but now it seems to be becoming the norm.

Now, I am resting. Now that most of the chores are done, it's time to rest, my body is not terribly pleased with the recent treatment of it. In a while I'll make some spicy noodles and pork for dinner. It's easy and it will warm us up for sure.

We have been very fortunate to been awarded a blog award from our friend Wilma and are very grateful for it. We were also given a blog award from our friend Anne a while back, and I will catch up and share those awards and pass them on as soon as I can. Thank you both so much!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turkeys on ice and life jackets


We woke up to temperatures sitting around 0 C, so 32 degrees F. There was a mixture of rain and ice pellets falling from the sky. It was really slick out - but amazingly both the Wild turkeys and the deer were not worried about the pond and both were out walking on it this morning. 


Buttons was also here this morning when I went out to start my chores...


He was really slipping and sliding on the ice....  But he made it without falling over... unlike some of us...


Someone else who was also slipping? Douglas. But that's because he always chooses to run and not walk.


On the way down to the chicken coop I noticed there was somebody standing behind it on the hillside. 


It was Torn Ear and a friend, they had been lying down on the hillside behind the barn and I woke them up, I'm sure they didn't appreciate it. 


It was a busy afternoon full of the usual chores, lots of manure being hauled and laundry being done. But not much of anything else getting done today with this weather.

I appreciate everyone's kind words and support with my last post, I know many of you have been there. Even though this winter the weather has been quite good and I enjoy a lot of things about winter, it still does make everything else tougher as well. Things are still not quite right here, balance has not been restored. When things are in balance on the farm, the animals, the humans, everything is calm, and things flow without drama or troubles... when the balance is off, things don't flow.

I'm hoping I'll be able to restore the balance the best I can, we'll all feel better once that's done. With this winter being so warm it's actually put us behind in work, we thought we'd have a lot more time to get things prepared before the sap starts running and before spring arrives and things turn into real chaos here... with us planning on leaving the farm early this spring and for a bigger trip than ever, we are starting to make lists and dozens of them to keep us in line.

Fortune passed away yesterday morning, very peacefully. I'll miss her terribly though, she's been in my life for so long and with the animals who are always happy to see you, reliable in their actions, you get so used to them always being there to be the first to greet you, to always be happy and looking forward to their day, wondering what kind of fruit they might get.

She was a great friend, and I'm grateful for the years I had with her and the friendship, I'll never forget her. My first Flemish Giant rabbit, she taught me the wonders of the breed, those big giant ears and feet, and the loving personalities that most of them have. Now only four true Flemmies remain in our herd, Yukon, Peter, Crabapple and, Miracle. Crabapple is just a few months younger than Fortune and the last rabbit I have from the original group of four that came to the farm first. Ferd and Bandita are Flemmie crosses but much smaller than the purebreds.

Up at the barn, my turkeys were sliding around too.... as they rushed over to see me... they love barn cleaning day, they tear it all up and root through all the manure making sure nothing good is left behind. They are a very efficient clean up crew, that's for sure.

One year, I even caught the Wild turkeys eating the small dogs poop in the yard. At first I thought that was really gross, and then it dawned on me, look at all the work they are saving me right now!


Whoa... wait, watch where you are doing! After a couple of them slid, they decided they better slow down and watch their footing...


This evening, Douglas is relaxing... (Norman is passed out.) and everyone in the house is pretty quiet.


 Douglas is kind of looking like he is the one who hauled a dozen loads of manure today.... 


I am trying to fold laundry and do some shopping. I don't really like shopping, I do like shopping online better than in a store, at least it's a lot calmer and quieter. The days are getting short and not only has Douglas outgrown his old harness, he also doesn't have a life jacket. In order for him to be able to go fishing this summer on his Uncle Buddy's boat in Valdez, Alaska, he needs a life jacket. Norman is an old hat. He got his first life jacket in 2008...

As you can tell from these pictures, he just loves it... loves it like I love hauling cow manure!



He has however made very good use of it. He's been jet boating on the Tanana river, and he's been both salmon fishing and halibut fishing in Prince William Sound.  Last time in AK we didn't make it to Valdez because we were preoccupied with our land, and we really missed it. We cut our trip a little short, but that won't be the case this year... we are planning on much more time.


Norman is a happy fisherman, especially since his Uncle Bud got a new boat, one that even has a couch in it for him to relax and a kitchen for him to "crumb" in. 




Douglas has calmed down a lot now that he's over two years old - he was just a pup when he went to Alaska the last time and he had a lot to learn about camping, being in the bush, and just being civilized in general.. like how to not smash peoples china while in their houses. He's over that now, thankfully.

So I'm searching for his life jacket. Of course, he's not going to be swimming or loose on the boat, but I like to cover all my bases. I found some really cute ones with nautical designs and everything, but I think we should stick to the bright orange one that you can't miss...and I don't want Norman getting jealous. I look forward to seeing Douglas reaction when he sees stuff like this while he's out fishing:

and this....


Norman's reaction? He couldn't care less, he's mostly just interested in any fish we pull into the boat and whether or not he can sniff and if he gets to eat any of it or not. 

The harnesses are much more difficult, so many colors to choose from... it might take a while. Norman lucked out... he's stretched his old harness all out of shape, so he gets a new one too. I'm sure he doesn't care, they hate harnesses, even the nice plush ones because at home, they don't need them. They tolerate them but find them really annoying. However harnesses say one thing to them... camping.

Meanwhile everyone else continues to sleep and snuggle. Hopefully I'll be able to join them soon.

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