Friday, October 30, 2015


We had a busy day yesterday lying on the beach and snorkelling with turtles...

Oh, did I forget to mention we are on vacation in Hawaii?? Updates when we get back next week and find out how things went with our awesome farm sitters!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fun Weekend

We had some farm visitors this weekend!

Loic is so so good with Zoey (and she's good with him!). They would play fetch endlessly if we let them... Loic even did some field agility with Zoey!

Pippa and my dad spectated. 

Meanwhile, Maelle was being super gentle with Darla.

Awww, nice petting!

The farm visit ended in tears, but only because Loic didn't want to leave yet! On Saturday, he and Nathan carved a Minion pumpkin while Erika and I took Maelle to the spa for a haircut.

Meanwhile, Pippa ate. My parents and I built that new feeder in the top barn. It works perfectly! All made from found materials, as usual.

Tired boy and his farm dog snuggling.

This hammock swing provided an afternoon of entertainment!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Duck Duck Duck Tomato!

Nathan finished pulling all of the tomato plants out of the garden and the ducks were very happy to eat the fallen tomatoes. These sisters were fighting over every little cherry tomato even though there were about 20 on the ground! 

A super cute 10 yr old girl came and picked up two of the ducklings (the blue and white one above and her almost identical sister) for her 4H project. She also took Silver the drake. I only want to keep one drake and I thought it would be nice to keep Victoria's male duckling from this year. He's the one eating the tomato in the photo below. 

Bossy ducks telling Ryan to back off from their tomatoes!

Zoey and Lucy had a full zoom-y chase session around and around the ducks. The ducks didn't really care. Zoey was jumping over them and Lucy was racing around them.

 My parents came to visit overnight to pick up Lucy. They might end up with a Pippa in their car!

Who, me? I wasn't eating the last green leaves on the plum sapling...not me!

I dropped the two ram lambs off to the abattoir today. They were both pretty big - they barely fit into the large dog kennels in my car. We're keeping the last ewe lamb for a few more months since she is still small. One of the ram lambs burst his kennel open in the back of my car! Luckily he settled down back there and rested instead of jumping into the front seat. Abby and Zoey would not have been impressed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Afraid of chickens?

 Probably not the farm to visit...

Incoming!! Always wondering whether I have something yummy for them.

Duck house expansion is complete! The ducks are finally starting to use it. Before they were acting like the new part of their house was going to eat them...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Underneath a mess...

I know I've posted some before and after shots before, but I was looking at the photos we took when we first saw this farm and was amazed again by how it looked before..I'm sure glad we were able to see through the mess! 


Now: Looked better in the spring and before a certain naughty goat stripped those raspberries bare!

This one is

Now with our stairs up to the driveway. Eventually that oil tank will go and we'll repaint the outbuildings. 

This is our current project. Before:

We'll still use it for chickens or turkeys when need be, but we're turning the run into a seedling house with all the windows lying around. 

I always liked this before picture - nice spring grass (but you can see it was over grazed and lots of brown patches in the pasture).

Hard to tell but the grass looks much better now:

Pond? What pond? At this point we didn't even realize that there was water in all that brush.

That's a big drop off after the dock, now!

Just a mess...

Chickens favourite spot out of the rain, now:

The potential garden:

Became this!

The worst corner of the property:

 Turning into a nice little pasture!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Some forgotten photos

Nathan took this lovely photo during our overnight trip to Tofino in the winter:

My mom watching the sheep a few weeks ago

Zoey watching the sheep...always

 One of these things is not like the others! But oh so naughty and funny...

The sheep will move when Zoey or Ryan are asked to herd them. Pippa pays no attention and usually runs with or behind the dog instead of with the sheep...

She is so short and wide!

This is a typical morning scene...ready for chores!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Any bucket will do

Go away, kids - Mama's taking a bath!

Can't get any privacy around here...

And also, is there a competition for the worst moult of all time? 'Cause DoZ wins, wings down.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Number 24

This is only post 24 for this year...that's down by half the posts each year. Unacceptable!! I'm going to try and update every other day with at least a photo for the rest of the year (do you hear me, self? update the blog!).

Last weekend I renovated the chicken coop. I'll have to take some photos of that today. The ground and bedding was nice and clean because of the post-mink repairs, but I took down a bunch of boards we had up to divide the coop back when it was smaller. I also changed some roosts around so that nobody would get pooped on at night. Unfortunately, chickens are creatures of habit and even though there are more roosts than before, 6 girls have gone on strike and started sleeping in the nest boxes. Did I mention that chickens poop a lot at night? Nest boxes don't make the best beds if you want to find clean eggs in the morning.

Yesterday I decided that the duck house needed an addition put on it. We currently have 10 ducks - the original 4 plus 6 ducklings. I have a home lined up for one of them, and we'll probably try to sell at least another 2 of the girls (5 girl ducklings altogether) but for now they needed more space at night. The older ducks boss the younger ones around for 20 minutes before they settle in and go to sleep...and then when the door is closed they all snuggle up together! Funny ducks.

The tractor work around the pond is all done and we blocked it off from chickens and ducks to seed it in pasture grass. Hopefully some will grow before it gets too frosty! You can see the almost-completed duck house addition here and the pond filling up! You can't really tell how deep it is to the left of the dock but it's at least 8-10 feet there.

Sheep are back there enjoying their morning hay. There is still lots of grass this fall for them which is nice. 



Little Survivor with mom, Penny. Definitely a boy...look at that stance!

This is what happens when you throw an old hot dog bun off the deck in the morning.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Not again!

I keep meaning to update this blog and then things happen and I get busy and by the time I sit down to update it, so many things have happened that I've lost track!

The biggest project that we did in September was having the pond dug out. We've been trying to figure out a way to have more water over summer for the garden, and also to keep that area by the water from flooding. Last winter we had water/mud from where we built the dock all the way up to the duck house. The swales might have helped a bit, but the level of the ground was all so low that we would have had to dig them the whole way to the pond. Instead, we got a little excavator in to dig down as far as he could (without sinking!)to make us a deeper pond  and pile all the fill on the bank. Then we've had a friend come with his tractor to pull the fill across and build up the bank. We'll probably do a soil test and then plant some grass (or maybe just wing it and go with the old 'plant and see' method that we usually employ). The biggest challenge, as usual, will be keeping the chickens away from the impossible to resist grass seed.

The ducks and ducklings love the new deeper pond. It hasn't rained a ton yet this fall, but the pond's been filling gradually. I think it's supposed to rain a week straight soon so it should almost fill then, and we'll have about 8 feet of water in the deepest spots!

The ducks have all been really good about putting themselves to bed, but they seem to go on strike about their coop if they don't have pristine bedding. Last night, I hadn't topped it up in 4 days, and with 6 ducklings and Victoria in there at night, it was mucky (Silver, Deedee and Rosie have been choosing to sleep with the chickens because Victoria bosses them all out of Duck Inn and away from her ducklings, usually). We got home after dark from dropping some friends off at the ferry, and no ducks to be found...great, especially after what had happened the night before (more about that in a second). We found them in the deep part of the pond, just floating around happily. It took some rocks thrown in the water behind them to get them out and then they all 10 marched in a pouty line back to the coop.

After putting them away, we counted the chickens and 2 were missing. Up until 'the incident' on Friday, we hadn't had any stragglers for months. We gave up after 20 minutes of searching in the dark and finding nothing. This morning, one chicken was there by the coop in the morning but the other was still missing. I came inside to have my coffee and heard a funny noise at the door to the basement - almost like a knocking. When I opened the door, there was the missing chicken on the top step. I guess she chose the safest night the house!

The reason for the freaked out chickens that don't want to sleep in the coop is that we had another mink attack Friday night. This is pretty much exactly a year since the last mink incident. I guess fall is a bad time for them - less food, colder weather, and they come looking for new homes. I have a feeling this one had been under the pump house for awhile, because Abby was racing out every morning and going right over there excitedly (Ryan is so excited all the time that his racing around tells me nothing, and Zoey just goes wherever the fun is). I really thought the coop was bombproof. We've got 1/2" or 3/4" hardware cloth everywhere, the door is tightly sealed and double latched, and the floor has a buried skirt of hardware cloth on the inside that goes in 2-3 feet all around and then is joined by sheets of wood, and all weighed down with rocks. wasn't enough. When we woke up on Friday morning, a mink had killed our hen Frost and 7 out of 8 of her 2-week old chicks. It was awful. They weren't even eaten - just killed. So sad.

Frost and her sister, Penny, had shared the nest and were raising the chicks together. It was so much fun to watch them take them out to forage...and unfortunately, Frost was the better mother. Penny is still taking care of the surviving chick (new name Survivor - very original) but she doesn't sit on him to keep him warm at night. We have to put her in a little dog kennel with him so that she doesn't leave him, shivering, while she goes up and roosts with her buddies!

On Saturday we were on a 2-part mission with our friends Paula and Ross. 1 - cover the entire coop floor in connected 1/2" hardware cloth, just in case that's how it got in and 2 - trap that damn mink. Part 1 went well, and as we pulled up the wood that was in the middle of the coop, we found a bajillion rats. That isn't an exaggeration. We uncovered 2 nests and rats of all sizes and ages. It was nuts. They had tunnels going every which way, and my guess is that the mink has been eating rats and also used their tunnels into the coop. They tunnelled under the hardware cloth and then up between it and the wood planks - I hadn't thought that would be possible, but apparently it was. As were were finishing up the new hardware cloth floor, the dogs were going nuts at this one corner of the pump house every so often. At one point Abby crawled underneath and I heard the signature scream of a mink.... he was still there. Nathan looked under and sure enough, there he was in the corner. Nathan flushed him out, the dogs were released from where they'd been waiting on the field, and Ryan caught and killed the mink in under 5 seconds. It was pretty awesome to watch - that dog is the perfect farm dog.

Fingers crossed that the coop is finally completely mink proof...

Phew, that was a long update! Photos will have to follow in another post.