Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Walk Through The Back 40

After the obligatory farm chores and a couple loads of laundry, plus usual puttering about, the afternoon suggested itself to an activity more relaxed in nature. The meat birds tasted the great outdoors for the first time. The sheep, cow and chickens happily free-ranged between the front and back yards. (At least mowing the lawn wasn't going to be in my future!)

A walk was definitely in order.

I was still wearing my rubber boots, and decided to grab my camera (just in case).

I ended up taking gazillions of pictures. The teeth-with-wings, although about, let me be. That in itself was an omen of good things to come!

Majority of the old apple trees on our farm are still in bloom and the air was positively heavenly with their scent. Wild blueberries are in bloom as well, and I know this summer will be a busy one.

Come August, blackberries will be the flavour in our favour.
Walking along our woods road, I wasn't surprised to recognize signs of trespassers. As long as the deer stay out of my garden, I enjoy knowing that they consider our back 40 their home. Until the fall at least, when I will regard them as a welcome addition to our winter meat supply. Does it get any more natural than that? No worries that deer will be full of growth hormones, or that they were feeding on chemically enhanced fields or feeds.
Yes, I love the country life. It's not always easy, I admit. Well-paying jobs are much like hens' teeth, unless one is willing to travel an hour or more to the city. As an example, here, the noble craft of a carpenter pays barely half of what the city tradesmen are earning. Doesn't sound fair, eh?
It is too high a price to pay for cleaner air, safer surroundings, and tranquility?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Does My Garden Grow?

Not so well. This is about a quarter of my garden. I've been weeding by hand, preparing for sowing in a more natural, albeit labour intensive manner. See, the plan was to get as much of the deep rooted weeds out by hand so they're less likely to come back, and not pollute the air with our ancient tiller. That's where the good plan stopped. For one, the teeth-with-wings arrived (more commonly known as black flies), and the second, and bigger problem came to light when man/child and hubby were messing with the tiller to get it going. Apparently, it gave up the ghost in quiet solitude, leaving behind it's rusted carcass for me to dispose of.

My favourite tool? This sucker works great. If I'm careful, even dandelion roots don't stand a chance. See that container on the left of my favourite tool? Full of weeds that have suffered my wrath! On the right is an old car mat that I use to sit on to save my back. And I don't get as filthy either. Now, it is true that I gave up the weeding for the time being, to get caught up on laundry. AND...
I ACTUALLY spent all weekend with my least favourite past time: housework. The house was in a desperate need of an overhaul. See, I would clean out a spice cupboard here, load the dishwasher there, fold the occasional pile of laundry while the rest lingered... It all adds up. Oops! I swept, and wiped, and scrubbed, and folded... Oh my! And the garden is still waiting. Maybe I'll get back to it... Tomorrow.
To answer Dorothy's question, the meat kings are all doing fantastic. I kept them in the house in an aquarium for a week, after which they got evicted to the barn to an unused rabbit cage, draped with a towel since that same night there was a major frost. They survived it though. Wings are almost completely feathered out, there are feathers on their backs, breast and a bit on the necks. So far, so good.
Today, I picked up the turkey chicks. Geez. I remembered how stupid the adult birds are but I forgot about the chick stage. They kept ignoring the feed plates, and instead just pecked at the walls of the aquarium. Eventually they figured out where the water was but I had to show each and every one where to get feed. Duh!
Knitting? Yes, a bit. I have to graft the toe closed on the first sock for my daughter (in miserable slippery cotton, bleh!). I've been knitting face cloths to use up some of the cotton stash.
I have been so good with this whole yarn diet thing. Not one single skein of yarn purchased since January 1st!! I am so proud of myself. This weekend my daughter informed me that I should be on a fabric diet too. This from a 7 year old. I suspect she may have been talking to daddy! But in all fairness, I may have a box or a dozen full that hasn't seen the light of day for "a while".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Free Range

Will you check out the size of that egg?! Definitely a double yolker! A chicken coming to the end of her laying cycle; next stop: soup pot.

These three followed me to the back door.

"Got grub?"

It has been very cold and rainy since the early cherry bloomed. Finally good news! Clear blue sky for the first time in over a week.

And I was worried that my cherry trees wouldn't get pollinated!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This is Day 2 (yesterday) of this chick's life. I will try to keep a record of the development of feathers and plumage (daily with any luck). Bound to be some cute photos.

I picked up a dozen Meat Kings from the Farmers' Co-op. So far, they are all alive and well. I chose to feed them non-medicated chick starter. I hope to raise them somewhat slower than is actually possible. This should prevent leg problems and untimely death.

At the bottom of the picture are my tomato seedlings. I have Lemon Boy, Brandywine, and Tiny Tim. It may seem like I started them rather late, but past experience has proven that February is rather early. Last year was much too wet to plant them out when they were ready and the year before was so cold that by the time I started to harden the tomato plants, they were already in bloom and some were even pollinated! The best way, by far, of judging when to plant out is by soil temperature, not the tradition May 24th weekend. Soil thermometers are not expensive and with the shift of weather patterns, it's better to be safe than sorry. Some thermometers even come with a guide of ideal temperatures for specific plants, to save you time researching it yourself.
Day 3. I was a bit camera happy this morning. Took lots of pictures while the chicks were out of the aquarium so I could clean it. They thoroughly enjoyed then temporary freedom on the kitchen table, even stretching their wings and attempting flight. There is no major change in feather development. The chicks are getting lively and eating and drinking well. Promptly after filling up, they snuggle up for a nap, resembling a fluffy yellow blanket.

I would swear that this chick is thinking "What are You looking at?".

In other news, how about those Ottawa Senators?! They are one game away from winning the Eastern Conference play offs. Then a fight for the Cup! GO, SENS, GO!!! Watching the play offs has been a perfect time for knitting on the blanket. It's coming along, slowly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Artsy Fartsy

I love this photo. Last rays of sun passing through my daffy, turning ordinary into extraordinary.
Today, I picked up the first dozen Meat Kings from the Co-op. Instant reason to smile.
Did I ever tell you that my favourite colour is yellow? I rarely wear it. It's so much nicer on chicks and flowers!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Open your Eyes

You must go here if earth matters to you, if sustainability is starting to guide your conscience, if your body, health and general well-being are your priorities. Don't wait. We've all waited too long as it is. I may be only directing you to another blog, but trust me on this. It's one that should be read. It may seem like a variation on the "reduce, reuse, recycle". Keep reading. Look at the links. Check out 3.4.07! Did you know how much harm our environment endures just for our wont of jeans?! Who knew how much we harm ourselves for the sake of soft skin or pretty nails? Why are Health agencies only concentrating on cures instead of preventions?

To be totally honest, I am getting tired of reading labels. Truly. But! Where are the labels on the cosmetics or shampoos or lotions warning us that some ingredients are actually cancer-causing? Are wrinkles worth it? It's difficult to fight wrinkles if you're dead!

I picked this daffodil this morning. Almost the middle of May. Sure, it may seem late in the season for it. My tulips haven't bloomed yet either. There is a natural explanation. I don't fertilize with chemicals. The flowers are allowed to bloom in their own good time. So I have to wait longer. No big deal. I have bouquets of pussy willows in my vases. The lilacs are only starting to leaf out. I can wait. Do you like my vase? Reused! Any little bit helps.

Please.... do your part.

Knitters... that link above? Gives a whole new reason to pass on those acrylics. I will use what I have. Or pass it on to someone who can put it to good use. But I will try harder to do my part. Now. And for our future.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Catching Up

See this? Actual finished knitting. There has been a request made for a matching skirt, plain, straight, nothing "funny" or fancy. There goes that plan. I even had the coordinating colour and everything. This top will hopefully pass the water test. It's really light, not a natural fibre in sight, which might mean that it will dry fast and maybe even alleviate a need for a store-bought bathing suit (those things never fit properly anyway). I have lots of this yarn so how hard can it be to knit up a bathing suit or bikini for a 7 year old?

Isn't that cotton pretty? I cast on 66 stitches on 2.5mm needles, thinking I'd get a fine fit for myself. That's as far as I got on the cuff before realizing youngest off-spring will be enjoying a new pair of pretty socks soon. I didn't have it in me to start again. It's crochet cotton, quite fine, shiny and soft. Lovely for spring and summer. Lucky girl.

I finally finished the man/child's socks. He wanted knee-highs. He got knee-highs. Never seen a kid so happy about a pair of socks. Very gratifying. Especially on Mother's Day. I guess I'm not such a bad mother after all. Until I tell him it's time to turn the PS2 off because it's a school night and almost bedtime... Sometimes, there really is no winning.

In exchange for the socks, these are a couple of the pictures he thought I'd enjoy:

Now that Fang is gone, Sugar had to find herself another buddy. Thomas seems to have the right fit (and tolerance level).

The cats may have had "help" getting those beer bottles...

In other news, all the bovine and ovine have been marched out of the barn and into a "holding field", with short passes to mow down grass that I don't believe I should have to deal with yet on the front and back lawns. The chickens are free ranging and dealing with any bugs, or so I tell myself. The black flies are starting to hatch although I've not needed any heavy duty weaponry against them . Yet. All in due time. I have been having problems keeping the sheep in. They just jump the fencing as they please. Hubby put in an extra strand of wire and made the fencing higher, but that only deterred them for a couple days. The cow and heifer seem to be the only once with any common sense. But apparently I may be lacking in that department too. Earlier today when the sheep jumped the fence, I got fed up and even let the cow out. She stayed close to me where I was working in the garden. Lots of chewing for her on the grass surrounding the garden. Even though I went so far as to unplug the fencer, Fudge never left the field. She hollered for her mother but never went to join her. Well trained animal. May just have to keep her this fall instead of filling our freezer. Now, the sheep have a ring leader. There is one that is semi-obedient, but not under Maria's influence. As soon as Kenny (the ram lamb) is old enough to be done with mama, she's a goner. OMG, she drives me crazy.
Getting on with the story.... when hubby and the eldest came home from the woods, he asked me why the sheep were getting into the barn. Looking for grain, the pigs. So I went and locked them in. I was royally ticked off. At least I wouldn't have to worry that the neighbour would shoot them if they wondered off. Uh huh. This evening, as I started this entry, I couldn't quite understand why the cow kept bawling. She had feed. Maybe she was in heat, I thought to myself. Went outside and saw: the sheep wandering around the main pasture like they owned the place. No wonder the cow is upset. They're eating fresh while she's getting last of the bailed stuff. They can thank my lack of ambition this evening for their continuing lives. They may not be so lucky tomorrow. Milk re-placer is not that expensive!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I found it...
And you thought there was no such place, huh????

Dedicated to all those that ever needed a paddle.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I still feel crappy. Not so much anymore like a train wreck but not too far off. The sun is out. Fluffy clouds in the sky. Sheep out and about trimming the lawn. No current pictures because husband is away and has camera. Huh. I thought it was my camera.

Your Wrath Quotient: 49%
Ouch! You've got a bit of a temper going on there, don't you?
Just make sure to keep your revenge fantasies just that... fantasies only! Much Wrath Do You Have?

I don't have any finished knitting to show off. Knitting has stalled. Not as easy to knit lying down as you'd think.

I'll show some pictures from last week. Just enough to keep you entertained.

Snowflake, don't stick out your tongue at the nice people! Where are your manners? (Lamb's name courtesy of youngest off-spring.)