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Archive for December, 2014

More Plowing

It is a good thing I started learning how to plow snow with my tractor.  Today was the third day I woke up to a another dump of snow.  It makes for lots of work plowing, but also some beautiful walks once the plowing is done.

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We were walking in a tunnel of trees.

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I have to say the yard is looking pretty good…a big improvement from the first time I plowed.  Can you see any ridges?  I can’t!

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Even the road looks amazing!

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Okay, okay, I cannot lie.  Yesterday was my second day of plowing and before I could finish my yard I broke a chain on the tire.  That was the end of my plowing, at least until the chain is fixed.

Lucky for me John Deere and Brother Tom are still on the job.

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Thanks to them the yard, driveway and road is once again in tip-top condition.

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Not Pretty And Too Soon

We have had a few snowfalls over the past days, nothing too much, just a few inches here and a few inches there.  It snowed most of the morning today.  This afternoon I decided it was time to try out the plow.

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Old Massey started up right away and after a bit of practise raising and lowering the blade, raising and lowering the bucket I headed out.  I was going to clean up the yard!

The first swipe wasn’t too bad…it actually looked like someone had plowed.

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It wasn’t easy figuring out how far down the blade should go.  Sometimes it was too far and I picked up a little dirt.  Sometimes it wasn’t far enough and I didn’t get much snow.

The most perplexing question was what to do with the pile after I had made a few swipes.  I used the bucket to push it off the yard.  That too involved a fine balance between having the bucket too low or too high.

It took me an hour and half to make my way over the whole yard.  I was done…in more ways than one.  My knees ached from pushing the clutch and the brake in and out, my neck was sore from looking back most of the time, watching where the blade was, and I was covered in snow.

It wasn’t pretty but it was done.

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Yes I know…those ridges are not supposed to be there.  I will do better next time!

There will be a next time, probably tomorrow.  The snow has continued to fall.

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It won’t be long and my ridges will be hidden under the new snow.

My first attempt at snow plowing, not pretty and obviously too soon.

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Christmas Eve

My day began with putting the final decoration on the Advent Christmas Tree.  There are no more spaces…no more days left before Christmas.

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Are you ready?

The morning also brought a welcome snow storm…the fields were getting a little bare.  There is nothing like a walk with the dogs in falling snow.

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Odin loves the snow.

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Emma likes the walk but not getting snowballs on her feet.

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Ah…but after the long walk, there is nothing like a comfy nap.

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The snow ended and by early afternoon it was a completely different scene.

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Brilliant blue skies and sunshine.

It didn’t last long though, by late afternoon the mist was creeping in,

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until the sun was hidden and we were completely enshrouded in a silent, white world.

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Now the sun has set, the mist has cleared (mostly) and the crescent moon is up, shining on a beautiful Christmas Eve.

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All the best to you from everyone at Morris Brook Farm.

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Not This Year

Last year when I took my Christmas tree down, I had the thought that next year I won’t have a tree.  I will just put lights around a window and hang my decorations on the lights.  I really don’t need or want a tree in my little house.

That was the plan, and up until yesterday that was still the plan.

Something happened over night…I woke up this morning and I just knew.  Of course I was going to have a tree. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a tree.  It’s a tradition.

After chores and breakfast Emma and I headed out.  We walked through the woods for an hour and a half, looking for our tree.

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Then all of a sudden, there it was.

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It wasn’t perfect, but it was perfect for us.

I noted where it was in relation to the road so I could find it again.  We walked back home, got the truck and the saw, and went to bring it home.

The afternoon was spent trimming and decorating.

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The little red house has lights in the window.

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The tree has even put Emma in the Christmas spirit…I caught her checking out the stockings.

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A Christmas tree is a tradition for me, and sometimes it is okay to break from tradition…but not this year.

 

P.S.  I bought a new camera and just noticed that the date and time is being stamped on each picture. (Not even the correct date and time!)  I think it takes something away from the picture…I am going to change the settings.  So for now…try to ignore the date stamp.

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A little while ago I was given a bag of beets.  Those beets have been resting in my fridge ever since, I often looked at them and thought “Hmmm…I should cook those beets”, but that was all…just a thought.  I have never really been a big fan of beets.

The other day when I saw them in the fridge I had a new thought “I have to do something with those beets!”.  So off to the internet I went, looking for a simple soup recipe.  I found one, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/beet-soup/ and tried it out.

I wasn’t expecting too much, it is a very simple recipe with few ingredients.  It called for a topping of sour cream, but I didn’t have any so I used some yogurt instead.  The first spoonful was a surprising burst of flavour…and the rest of the bowl went quite quickly, paired with some Cheese Baking Powder Biscuits.

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If you have beets to use up…check out this soup, you won’t be disappointed!

I have had bags of wool hanging around the house now for almost two years.  I have washed some and carded some, but like the beets in the fridge, the bags of wool have stared at me for too long.  I decided it was time to really make an effort at working with the wool.  I had lots of options, I could wash more, card more, learn to spin or learn to knit or crochet.  The first week I tried a little of everything, the knitting was the easiest.  I could read the book (I love to read) and follow the instructions and actually produce something recognizable.

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The spinning was the hardest (and therefore the easiest to set aside and ignore).  Trying to coordinate my foot treadling, my right hand holding the wool tight then loose, and my left hand feeding the wool to my right hand, was just hard.  Very hard, and seldom produced anything looking like yarn.  Most evenings the spinning wheel sat quiet, staring at me and daring me to try again.

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Why is it so hard to learn something hard, and so easy to tackle something easy?  We like to feel successful, and it is easy to put the time into something that yields quick results, harder to stick with something that is really challenging.

I am not giving up though, now that the hat is finished (not perfectly but I can wear it) I am taking on the spinning wheel.

 

 

 

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The past weeks have brought winter to my door.  Cold temperatures and snow have changed the morning chore routine.

First stop is the chicken barn.  Every night the chickens are locked in now. I close their little door and stuff insulation in front of it.  Their water freezes overnight, and in the morning I throw out the block of ice and give them a fresh drink.  They also get a healthy breakfast, chopped up lettuce and whatever leftover vegetables I may have.  This morning it was spaghetti squash…they liked that, it may have reminded them of summer worms.

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Did you notice there are only four chickens eating?  Did you remember that I have five chickens?  Well sometimes it seems like there are only four and a half chickens…

Here is the half a chicken…still sitting hunched up on the roost, where she seems to spend most of her days.

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The half a chicken is Nervous Nellie, the runt.  Poor Nellie, ever since she was a chick she has been hiding under the chicken barn, chased by the others, but never hurt.  Growing up under the chicken barn, she spent most of her time crouching down, and that is how she walks around now, always a little hunched over.  She doesn’t seem too bright either, and…she hasn’t started to lay eggs.  Maybe she never will.

Sometimes I get frustrated seeing her just sitting there like a lump on a log.  The other day I was talking to Sister Mary and I mentioned to her that I was thinking I would have to put Nellie down.  There was a silence on the other end of the phone line…and I realized Sister Mary thought it was the end of the life line for Nellie.  Not so…not as long she is healthy…what I meant was that I would have to physically put Nellie down on the floor so she could eat some breakfast too before the others gobbled it all up.  So that is what I do now, gently pick her up off the roost and set her down by the breakfast bowl, and just like that…there are five chickens again.

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The wonderful thing is that even with the declining daylight hours and the cold -20C temperatures, I have continued to receive four lovely eggs every day.  Amazing creatures!

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Once the chickens are settled it’s off to the sheep.  They too need a fresh bucket of water every morning to replace the frozen one, and a generous helping of hay.

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Look at that face…who wouldn’t want to be greeted by that every morning!

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My faithful companion follows me around the yard as I do the chores, patiently waiting at each gate.

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The cows water supply is the most challenging.  A little bucket will not do for them.  I have strung a thick water pipe along the fence to the trough.  There is a short hose that I use to run the water into the pipe, which I remove every night and bring into the house so it doesn’t freeze.

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The water in the trough freezes every night.

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I can usually break it with a stick or an axe and then scoop the ice out and refill the trough. Eventually we will have to bring the wood stove back up and use that to keep the water thawed, but not yet.

Once the water is ready, it is down to the feeder to check the hay supply.

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The cows tend to push the hay from the sides into the middle of the feeder, then they complain because they can’t reach the good stuff.  I climb into the hay feeder with a fork and push the hay back out to the sides.  I am very popular with the cows when I do that! Here is the view from inside the feeder.

Birdie and Brie…

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Olivia and Lily.

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After that it is back to the house, chores all done.

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Winter brings new work to the farm, but it also brings a rest from summer work.

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The garden is asleep, all tucked up under a blanket of snow, dreaming of spring.

 

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