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Archive for December, 2013

Good Morning and Merry Christmas Day!

It is a beautiful morning here at Morris Brook Farm.

IMG_0001_2The sheep enjoyed a breakfast of carrot shavings.

IMG_0001The cows received some unexpected grain with their morning feed of hay.  Although Olivia is not interested in rolled barley any more.  Strange cow…maybe it’s a pregnancy thing.

IMG_0001_1I woke up to a wonderful surprise.

For as long as I can remember I have had a little hibiscus plant.  I do remember that the last time it bloomed was at least 12 years ago.  I was living in a small town called Merritt.  I have moved 4 times since then and the little hibiscus did not bloom in all that time.  I often thought of just throwing it out…what good is a flowering plant if it never flowers.  I moved it outside in the summers and back inside in the fall.  I trimmed it and watered it and packed it around with me every time I moved.

A while ago I noticed it was developing buds.  I was amazed.  The thing with hibiscus flowers is that they only bloom one day.  The come out in the morning and by evening they drop off.  I had no idea when the buds would actually blossom.

IMG_0001_3This was my Christmas morning gift.  What a sight…after 12 years of greenery.

I guess the message is don’t ever give up!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

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As a person ages, they (whoever they are) tell us how important it is to stay active.  They say we should have aerobic exercise to get our heart rates up, walking, running, hiking, biking etc.  They say we should do stretching exercises to stay flexible, and they say we should lift weights to maintain our muscle mass.

I enjoy walking and yoga so I have those two covered but lifting weights has never interested me.  I used to make an annual donation to the local gym with the best of intentions of going in and working out on those weight machines.  As you can imagine, my shadow never darkened their doors.  Then I bought my own set of colorful weights.  3 lbs, 5 lbs, 10 lbs.  I looked up routines…you know…3 sets of 10, gradually working up to heavier weights.

Those weights are currently working really hard…holding down the tarp that covers the couch on my deck.

Just never did get around to using those either.

However…since moving to Morris Brook Farm I have found myself doing weight work without even thinking about it.  Packing firewood every day certainly counts.  And yesterday I had a real workout.

The hay for my sheep is stored in one bay of my pole shed.  I move the hay to the sheep’s shed so it is closer to feed them on a daily basis.  So every so often I have to move bales from the pole shed to the sheep shed.

Yesterday I moved 23 bales!  These bales must weigh at least 50 lbs so I figure I moved 1,150 lbs of hay.  Now I know for some of you, that would be a drop in a bucket.  For me it was a milestone.  I used to struggle to move one bale.  Then I could move more than one but I couldn’t lift them very high.  Well yesterday, I moved them relatively easily, and I even lifted them where I wanted them.

IMG_0001This country life is good for me…I am getting stronger.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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When I moved to Morris Brook Farm my dream was to have animals.  That dream has come true, I now have sheep and a cow, and it has been everything I dreamed of.  Friendly animals greeting me every time I go outside.  Sheep following me out to the fields and grazing peacefully with the cows.  The sound of a gentle moo or baa when I am working in the yard. Sounds lovely doesn’t it?  And it is.

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However…there is another side to this story.

A couple of months ago Pritchard, the ram, joined us.  He settled in fine even though he was more skittish than Cotton and Callie.  Everything was fine for a week and then I noticed he was limping.  I kept an eye on him for a day and soon realised I would need to do something about it.

The question was…what to do?  All I had ever had to do was make sure the animals had water (even if it was slightly frozen).

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They also need food…grass in the summer and hay in the winter.

IMG_0001Once in a while they get a special treat, leftover veggies or some rolled barley.

IMG_0001That is all I had to do, and in return they lived their lives peacefully on the farm, full-filling my dream.

Now all was not well…Pritchard was limping and I had no idea what to do. I felt incompetent and foolish for thinking I could raise animals.  What did I really  know about caring for animals?  Absolutely nothing!

I have always been a pretty independent person and asking for help is not something that comes easy to me.  In this case, I had no choice.  I couldn’t ignore Pritchard’s limp and I couldn’t help him on my own.

I phoned Carla, the woman I had bought Pritchard from, and explained my situation.  She was wonderful!  She showed up the same day with her bag of supplies.  Pritchard remembered her, and also remembered the rope she carried and wouldn’t let her get near him.  I suggested she stay out of sight and maybe I could catch him.  Ta Da! It worked…tempted by a bit of hay he allowed me to get the rope around his neck, and then Carla came in the pen and we tied him to a tree.

Carla checked his foot and leg, and then showed me how to check it and what to look for.  We couldn’t see any sign of injury or infection, so concluded that he had a minor sprain.  I was to watch him in the days ahead and see if he improved.

He did…I was so relieved.

I realized how unprepared I was.  I didn’t even have a proper rope, nothing to tie the sheep up if I had to.  I had never had a rope on Cotton or Callie.  When they were little I could just grab them and hold them, but now….not so easy.  They are big, and strong.

I went shopping.

IMG_0001_1Here is the start of my animal husbandry supplies.  A proper rope, a smaller lead rope with a built-in nose halter, clippers to trim their feet (so far Pritchard is the only one who needs this), and a bottle of Betadine for small wounds. (Hopefully not from my hoof trimming!)

It is not much, but it’s a start.

The next step is to start getting them used to the rope and halter so it is not so traumatic when I have to use it.  I will let you know how that goes…

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We have had some very cold weather here over the past two weeks.  Nights down as low as -26 C and days when it didn’t get over -16.  My days (and nights) have been spent keeping the fire going…or I should say fires.

The water trough for the cattle began to freeze and every day it froze a bit more, and every day I was able to break less and less of the ice.  The hole for the cattle to drink was getting smaller and smaller.

IMG_0001_4Brother Tom got creative and went hunting for an old stove…and found one too!  He set it up next to the trough, we lit a fire and it didn’t take long for the water to stop freezing.

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I can’t say it actually thawed an awful lot…but it stopped freezing.  Over a couple of days we were able to chip a lot of the ice away and now that it has warmed up the stove is working like a charm.

Several times a day I was greeted by the sheep when I went to give them fresh water and top up their hay. They have not been bothered by the cold weather at all.

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Look at those spooky eyes…are they really sheep or are they aliens in sheep’s bodies?  And just look at those dirty knees!

We haven’t been walking much…Emma’s feet get too cold.  Odin however is in his element.

Today it warmed up to -8 and with a skiff of fresh snow on the ground there was no keeping us in.

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The road was perfect for walking on…and the views were spectacular.

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It was a little cloudy and everything had a soft, misty white covering.

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So beautiful…

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and so quiet.

It was good to be out and about again!

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