Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I love Spring.

So many photos! I went outside with my good camera and everything is so green out there that it's hard to stop taking photos. Eve on a cloudy day, this is by far the nicest season on the farm...especially when your favourite colour is green!

Even our 'junk' corner is looking better. I shouldn't call it 'our' junk corner, since it was never our junk up there. It is finally almost cleared and the grass is growing back nicely. Even though I think we have done a really good job of getting the grass growing well and managing it with rotational grazing, it isn't enough yet (or possibly at all) for the number of animals we have right now. We have Thomas, 3 ewes and 5 lambs - that is a lot for about 1.5 acres of pasture! We were worried about what we were going to do...but luckily, Nathan talked to our new neighbour who just moved in and he's willing to lease us his back pasture in exchange for some meat! He isn't interested in farming and he has at least an acre, maybe two, of beautiful pasture that connects to our property at the back corner, behind the shed in the photo. Great news for us and for the sheep! We'll be setting up our electronetting down there tomorrow afternoon. Thomas will probably stay up here with Pippa so we can get the lambing season back under control (instead of having them lamb at all different times like they did this year).

I love how the front yard looks now. 

It isn't very goat friendly (as in - DON'T YOU DARE EAT ANY OF THESE PLANTS, PIPPA!) so I've attempted to goat proof it. Pippa doesn't try to get up here when we're down on the farm, and as long as we go in the basement door she doesn't try to come up on the deck. Sometimes I do bring her up and tether her in the front yard to do some lawn mowing, which works quite well. 

I'm not normally overly impressed by pretty flowers, but I love these bleeding hearts (and the Japanese maple behind them!). I had to find some shade tolerant stuff to plant since this bed is north of the house.

Ryan would rather just go inside on a semi-rainy day. Comfy bed, warm, possibility of food...yes please.

Look at what we got!

This year's piggies! They are half Berkshire, but they ended up pink instead of black and white. They're 6 weeks old...super cute!

Front of the house from the lower driveway. 

Zoey was trying to get Pippa to play with her..

Pippa was too busy working on her balancing skills.

Unfortunately, her working on her balancing skills means that every time we bend over she runs over and hops up on our backs. I was trying to take some photos....but Pippa wanted Selfie With Goat.

Peas are flowering!

Hugel beds are looking nice and green...lots of weeds but also lots of veggies and clover.

Pear, apple and plum trees that we planted in the fall. 


Oh, sorry - was I not paying enough attention to you, GOAT?

Sticking together, always

Zoey would like me to post this photo where she looks like a lovely, intense, coordinated young lady, before I post the following series.

I was taking some photos of the ducks on the dock, now that I can finally get closer to it. The pond has been receeding slowly. 

Ducks yelling at Zoey for coming over to the dock. By yelling I mean hissing and head bobbing. 

Ducks cannot BELIEVE that dogs ignored them.

"How DARE YOU not listen to Queen Victoria"

Possibly should have listened to duck warnings. Next thing I know...

Oh, the shame!

The indignity! With ducks watching it all unfold!

Just pretend like nothing happened, Zoey. Walk on by.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Goat has no boundaries.

 Goat cannot be contained via any method known to mankind. Every time we think we have her securely fenced in somewhere...she meets us by the front door when we get home. 

Goat seems to think she is some kind of dog/human hybrid. 

My sister and her friend visited this weekend and we put them to work...but there was still snuggle time on the way to a hike:

Beautiful view on this one.

So nice to see those sheep out there grazing. So far our first round of pasture rotation worked well and the grass sure grows fast at this time of year.

That little weedy looking leaf behind the radish is horseradish sprouting!

Radishes pretty much ready to eat

Pretty little lettuce

Some seedlings staying nice and warm in the hoop house.

This apple tree looks good - thanks to its ugly but functional protective fencing!

Blueberry bed - hope we get lots of berries this year!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grass Farmers

We've been super busy again and the blog was neglected! Last Friday Princess Leah had her lambs - twins, one boy and one girl, just like Oprah had. She had them fairly uneventfully. Nathan just had to assist by straightening the ram lamb's leg. The only eventful part was that I wasn't present! Sigh. I have to take some photos of them tomorrow. 

When they were just a few days old we let the sheep (lucky Thomas included) out to graze our carefully tended grass. We have 4 areas set up for rotation in the bottom section of the farm, and another 2 at the top. Our front yard might not be ready this year since it turns out winter rye is a lot harder to turn in by hand than I had thought...we will get our pigs to do it and then plant grass after that. The lambs are hilarious to watch out on the fresh grass. All 5 (!) of them race around in the morning and evening while their moms and dad pay them no attention whatsoever. Pippa went in today for a sheep social. I left the gate cracked so she could leave if she was getting beat up. She is too quick for any of them to ram her, but she left when I was out of sight to follow me.

We also let the meat chicks (and Copper Marans layer chicks that are with them) out into their 'chicken tractor'. They were too big for their brooder and it has been beautiful out, so we made the decision to start them on grass even though we hadn't figured out an enclosed and moveable 'run' area for them. We had originally planned on enclosing them in electronetting, but we realized that newly feathered chicks are way too small to be safe from flying predators. We mostly figured that out after a raven killed one of our 3 month old layers when we went inside for a few minutes one evening :(

So, we needed to protect the meat birds from daytime predators - hawks, eagles and ravens. We ended up using the frame from last year's chicken tractor (the one that we couldn't use as a nighttime coop this year because it wasn't mink or raccoon proof) with bird netting attached to it. It gets connected to the predator proof coop on wheels where they get locked in at night. Tomorrow we have to work some more on those bike wheels - there is too much weight on them for how they're connected, and they're bowing in. 

It got tested first thing this morning. I was drinking my coffee on the other side of the farm and I saw a hawk fly down and land on the pvc pipe! I couldn't believe it...it just sat there for a good 10 seconds while I tried to get Ryan to hurry outside and give it a good scare. It flew off before he realized it was there...

Meat bird season means chicken grain left behind in the grass! 

 Pippa has fully integrated herself with the dogs. They just act like she is one of them.

So nice to see the sheep on GREEN pasture again!

We had fun doing some demolition with our visiting friends this weekend. The old coop at the top of the farm was such a disgusting eyesore. In one day we tore it down, piled the scraps, took a lunch break at the farmer's market and then had a huge bonfire to burn the scrap wood.

Demolition is fun!

Miss Victoria is proving to be a very smart and tricky duck. She disappeared one evening just before night lockdown. I was really worried...but there she was in the morning, taking her daily swim. Hmm. I kept a close eye on her all day and she stuck around. The next day she disappeared mid day for a few hours but was ready for bed in the evening. We realized she must have a secret nest, but we couldn't manage to keep an eye on her long enough to figure out where she was going. Then tonight, she actually escaped the duck yard just before lockdown and disappeared. Nathan shone the flashlight under the water tank house (the big blue shed next to the house) and sure enough, there she was. We managed to get her out and she was sitting on 18 eggs! She had an assorted variety...chicken eggs, duck eggs, light eggs, dark eggs...I guess she doesn't discriminate. We're blocking off access to that area and we'll have to make her a nice secret-seeming nest box...somewhere that is slightly more accessible!

Transplanted daffodils from their strange location at the back of one of the pastures:

Mini mower:

Asparagus coming up!

My pond helpers - every time I go do something near the pond, the girls are all over it:

Farm panorama!