Saturday, November 29, 2014

First Snow!

We were completely shocked this morning to wake up to this!

My parents are visiting and this sure made it seem like an early Christmas. 

I went out to take some photos but only made it as far as the duck house before my camera battery died!

Victoria wondering whether she needs to give Zoey a good peck on the nose.

Time to come back to the warm hay!

Hay...HEY! Who's that in our house??

Everyone has headed to bed for the 4:30. It's already starting to get dark!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Docks, Ducks, Dogs

Nathan and Brandon built us a dock! Well, technically a wharf since it's on land. It is awesome! It will be nice in the spring when the sun comes out (those are some brilliant dogs walking on the ice) to sit out there. The dogs are going to love jumping off of it, and I'm sure the ducks will hang out up there, too. They built it in one day! Very impressive.

We are still in search of a farm name. We really need to come up with one so we can start marketing our pork, etc. Website, logo, signs...they all hinge on that perfect farm name. I think this is one area where our perfectionism has not gone away. We've both come to terms with the fact that farm buildings, etc., are all about function and not necessarily form. The name, though...that has to be perfect. We keep thinking of a name and then mulling it over and deciding it isn't quite right. We even bought a domain name, then returned it, then bought another, and returned that, too! 

On another note, Nathan was on his way home the other day and when he was about a block away, he thought to himself, "hey, turkeys on the side of the road! funny.". When he got home, he noticed a distinct lack of "GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE" and quickly realized they were our turkeys, out for an adventure. When he ran down the street to get him, they all ran towards him, snoods a swingin'. 

Turkeys vs. Ducks.

Wandering turkeys doesn't work so well with our turkeys for Christmas plan, so this morning we trimmed their flight feathers. No more big adventures, turkeys! In the two days that we had them confined, the males started really going after each other. They seem to do much better out foraging and being turkeys. I did read something interesting, though, while looking up the reason for one of the turkeys' swollen wattles (from fighting another male); one site said "don't worry if you see a male seemingly choking on another male's snood during a fight - this is normal". Errrr. Nobody said turkeys weren't entertaining.

Look at the size of that snood!!

We (well, mostly me) are debating whether to keep a turkey or two longer (they go to the butcher Dec 17th) to eventually turn into a bunch of turkey sausages. Mmmm.

And also mmm, I made this last night. Our butternut squash, roasted and stuffed with pork sausage, apple and chanterelle stuffing (our own pork). It was really tasty.

The dogs have been enjoying the cold fall weather and so have I - there was so much less mud to deal with! Now it's back to the typical wet November.

The puppy is the only smart one, here.


Duck protector:

Duck protector..and duck stalker:

Ten year old Abby is in fine form:

Notice the turkey photo bomb - they follow us all over the farm:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fall Fun

Look at what we found!

All of that mushroom hunting finally paid off with 3 lbs of chanterelles. It was pretty exciting to find so many at once...and I don't even like mushrooms! Actually, I'm starting to like them more and more. Maybe it's because finding them was so damn hard...

We've had a whole lot of rain lately but with a few sunny days thrown in. It has been nice seeing all the grass come back, though. The manure that we spread seems to have done a good job so far and that field is looking particularly improved. 

This photo is from a few weeks ago - those brown spots are all green now.

We moved the sheep and goats to the upper pastures since they are very gravelly and dry. The lower pastures would just become mud pits over winter if the sheep were constantly walking over them. This way we could also easily split Thomas/goats in one area and the ewes/lambs next door. When they share a fence like that, they don't mind being separated. It's nice to be able to walk in amongst the ewes again without worrying about being rammed. It also means we've been able to let the ewes and goats into the driveway to do some tidying up.

Saul strutting around.

That photo was pre Oprah shearing. She still had that woollen toupee that stubbornly wouldn't fall we cut it off.

The driveway! So new and exciting for everyone!

We have to be on constant guard duty...or those strawberries and raspberries would disappear in about 0.01 seconds.

Guard duty. What a hardship.

Yummy fall grass.

Ram lamb back when I could still lift him:

The turkeys are getting so big and hilarious. They "reflex gobble" whenever the dogs bark or if you hit something with a hammer. They also gobbled at every runner who ran by in a recent half marathon along our street. 

I swear I wasn't playing with his snood....

Our friend Brandon came and visited the last two weekends and helped us out a bunch. We moved the greenhouse from over the aquaponics to over one of the garden beds. It was great...until a HUGE windstorm almost flattened it. Luckily Brandon came back the next weekend and helped put it together again.

Greenhouse, version 1.0:

Greenhouse, version 2.0:

I raked our big pile of compost flat and seeded it with rye. It's a bit late to plant the rye, I think, but hopefully it will still germinate and we can till it in before planting in the spring. 

Goat snuggling:

The pond has filled incredibly fast and it's at least 3 feet deep in most places. 

We started letting the ducks out for supervised pond time. They waddle out and head straight for the pond, eat a bunch of duckweed, then waddle back out and come back to their house for some grain. It seems to be working well (so far!). We clipped Victoria's wing so that she can't fly over any fences.

Yup, pond is still full of duckweed:

Dogs have officially discovered the joys of a fire: