Friday, October 14, 2011

another first

This is a much more welcomed "first".... our first egg from our new chicks. I guess they're all grown up now.
I was just thrilled to find this today. Took me right back to 12 years old when I was in 4H.

One thing I DON'T remember about chickens is how nasty they can be. These guys are deliberately very, very tame. Not afraid of me at all, but a few of them have been taking some pretty good pecks out of me lately. I can see why some people are afraid of chickens. All I can say is.... we eat the mean ones first!

Geez, do you think you could get any closer to the woodstove, there, Blackie?
This is a much better viewing position.
Oh, and by the way..... the only thing worse than watching a cat eat a mouse is cleaning up the carpet after it barfs it back up. Charming.

first snow

Oh good. Something for me to worry about while Art drives to 100 Mile House today (about a 7 hour drive). Good thing we got those studded snow tires put on the other day.
I know this will be melted as soon as the sun comes up, but how many idiots are out there with summer tires still on and speeding down the highway? I'm glad Art has the "SPOT" on, so I can track his trip. Just makes me feel better to see him continuing to move down the road.

Monday, September 12, 2011

bringing in the winter's wood

This is what we've been doing for the past 4 or 5 days. A couple more to go. Yesterday was a good day because I have learned to pick the trees up with the skidsteer and move them to where Art cuts them up. Here I have a few all laid out. That pile in the background is about 1/3 of what we need it to be.
Cleo is guarding the stray pieces from those pesky calves. Coz you know how they can be.
Just a cute pic of Jack, lounging about.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a new day on the farm

Now that the cows are back for the summer, Xena is introducing herself.
And making sure they don't make off with any of the fence repair supplies.
We are boarding Sara and Kevin's dog, Lucy, and she's not so sure what these critters are.
Yesterday, we added to our menagerie four more weaner pigs (yes, that's spelled right.... "weaner" as in they've been weaned from their mother..... not "weiner" as in a hot dog). They are a welcome addition because they are very unique little guys. Not just the regular old pink pigs, but colourful black and red striped and one kinda orange with spots. I LOVE them! I have learned that the striping is a trait of wild boar, so they've got some interesting background to them.
They are one week younger than the pinks we already had, so are a tiny bit smaller.
This one is my favourite. Something about polka dots!
Our little pink gilt did spend some time putting the newcomers in their place, just so there was no misunderstanding about who the boss was. But once that was established it was time for a nap in the sun. After all, it was a long day.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

in memory of Dad

My Dad passed away last week. He'd been in failing health for some time and just kind of slipped away after Mom passed 4 years ago. This is the two of them on a New Year's Eve sometime in the 1970's.
Dad was not much of a gardener, and although my Mom tried her darnedest to turn him into one, it just wasn't his thing. Even so, I spent a couple of afternoons this week planting flowers while I thought of him. I don't know which would represent him best, so I planted a little of each of all the seeds I had.
As it turns out, a friend of ours in Vancouver passed away on the same day, at nearly the exact same time. His name was Randy Rask and he worked with Art at the City of Vancouver. He was a really nice guy. Full of life and laughter. So, I planted some seeds for him, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a pig's tale

I know that I am behind with my posting and I really do want to do a catch-up. There's much to tell and pictures to show, but first I want to tell you a story.... a pig's tale.

A few days ago we got a call that our weaner pigs were ready for pickup. It's about 2 weeks early, which concerned me a little because, although I'm no expert, I'm pretty sure they shouldn't leave Mom until 6 weeks old. Off we went to Topley, which is about 100 km away. When I first saw the piglets, they did indeed look small and were still suckling, but the farmer assured us that they were also eating food. So, we selected the 4 we wanted (3 boys and a girl) and brought them home.
The last pigs we got weighed around 30 lbs, so we decided to weigh these guys. Don't be alarmed. I'm not hurting this little fellow.
He weighed in at 16.5 lbs, and the others ranged from 10.5 to 18.5 lbs. Way too small! This picture shows how tiny the runt is in comparison to his siblings. About the size of a rabbit. The brown one at the top is the little girl.
Here are a couple of videos of their first day with us. The girl always seems to lead her brothers.... and I love those curled ears.Because they are so small, we worried they could squeeze through the sty gate, so I blocked it in by weaving an empty feed bag through the bars. Everyone was snug-a-bug, so we went in for supper.

A couple of hours later, I could hear the dogs barking in the distance. That usually means they are chasing deer or crows or something. Art went out to call them and quickly came to get me. One of the piglets was out in the field and Xena and Cleo were circling it. They were barking, the pig was squeeling, but mostly it was just a lot of noise. No harm was being done. By the time Art got there, the pig was so happy to see him it ran into his arms. Good girls, Xena and Cleo for keeping it contained! In all of this, I'm not sure what Lucy was doing (we are boarding Sara and Kevin's dog right now). Oblivious to the excitement, anyways. As Art was returning the fellow to the pen, he noticed that another pig was missing.... the runt. OMG! It was clear that my "block" had not worked. I really should have known better. These are pigs after all. Clever little buggers. What I had NOT thought about was the cat door. That's how these two got outside. It's a wonder they weren't ALL out.

So, now the hunt was on for our missing little runt. Who knows how long he'd been out for and who knows where he could possibly be. There are a million places for him to hide. I searched the area of the barns, while Art ventured to the house and garden. We asked the dogs to help us and I thought Lucy's extra good sniffer (she's a Coon Hound) might come in handy. Soon, I heard Art calling that runty was near the greenhouse and was headed to pick him up. But, just then Lucy caught the scent and took chase. We tried to call her off, but she would not listen. They both raced across the open field, but you know.... that little tiny pig was like greased lightning. Who would have thought something so small could run so fast. Out-ran Lucy and managed to lose her once they hit the treeline. I finally got Lucy to break pursuit and come to me. I had to tie her up and gather the other dogs. Then Art and I went searching. For hours and hours we searched. Acres and acres we covered. Until darkness came and we had to stop. I cried my heart out and we were both resigned that he would not make it through the night. If the coyotes didn't get him he would die of exposure. I felt horrible beyond belief, but had to put that baby's fate in God's hands.

I had a terrible night's sleep and could hardly wait for first light to continue the search. Hoping upon hope, I got up around 5:00am and taking Xena with me, went out to the barn. I had set the cat door.... just in case he came back.... to swing in, but not out. When I got to the barn, the cat door was broken. What the? I went inside, but no sign of runty. Suddenly, a grunt... which scared the hell out of Xena. That little tiny exhausted, frightened piggie had come back to the pen. He was hiding behind a table and Xena's sniffing around must have startled him. I have no doubt whatsoever that a miracle had occurred. All the odds were against this guy. He is way too young and tiny to survive alone, especially out in the wild. And he had run so far from the barn, it must have been a marathon for him to get back, especially when it was all entirely unfamiliar territory to him. He'd only been here about 6 hours before all this happened. I know that pigs are highly intelligent and I've read that they do communicate with each other, so maybe he called out and his siblings helped guide him back.

Why the cat door was broken, I can't figure, but quite frankly, I don't care.

Monday, March 21, 2011

more on moosey babe

Here is the video I took of the moose calf we encountered on our road. It shows how slippery the ice really is. And she was clearly getting quite annoyed with us. I wish I had thought to turn off the heater, which is blasting away.

I've been vacillating about posting this because about 10 hours later I went back to find that she had died. Something must have happened to her Mom for her to be alone like that and the baby could not survive without her. I know that nature can seem so cruel sometimes, but I'm glad I got to meet that little girl... even for a few minutes.

moosey babe

8:00 on Saturday morning, this little girl was in the middle of our road (there's that squiggly sign in the background, indicating our driveway is just ahead). She seems to be separated from her Mom for some reason and did not want to move out of the way.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

last cries of winter

This is Sue's little dog, Sprocket. He came out to see us as we were collecting wood. He's not too crazy about the sub zero temperatures.
The other day Tom called to say he was plowing out the guy who lives in the valley below us. Had to use the telephoto lense to get this pic.... can you see him down there?
We drove down to check how he was doing. If you look directly above the snow blade at the bare patch just above the trees (way off in the distance) you can see our house.
Here's a more zoomed in shot.
When the job was all done (some 6 1/2 hours later.... long driveway), there were horses and a donkey by the house. Funny looking guy, this.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch.... Cleo's looking for where Xena buried that bone.
Kermit's just hangin' around.
Xena asks "does this ice field make my ass look fat?"
The greenhouse will soon be visible again from behind the mountain of snow piled up in front.
Look what has popped up in the lettuce patch (inside the greenhouse, of course). What a thrill.

Also.... check out Art's blog for other stories and pics.

And, lastly, to change the subject.... I recently was in Victoria and brought home a family heirloom. These were amongst my Mom's belongings and I remember her loaning them to me to wear at Art's and my wedding. I didn't pay attention at the time, as she told me who they had belonged to, but all these years later I found them again. My auntie Roberta was able to tell me that they are from my great grandmother Barriskell. Such a treasure!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

take a drive to our house

For those who have never been here, I thought I'd show you the lovely drive up our driveway. For those that have been here, but not seen it in winter, enjoy the snowy view....

Starting at the "squiggly" sign on Savory Road, enter our driveway at the bottom gate and travel uphill 1 km. Don't mind the cracked windshield... those are common in these parts. The tall "cross" at the second gate is not a cross, but a weather station and flag pole.

And then, just for fun, let's go back down again....