Archive for October, 2015

Warning for Brother Tom:  I know the thought of me driving your tractor makes you all twitchy.  Looking at pictures might be too much, you may want to skip this post.

I have my own tractor, a nice little Massey Ferguson, but it is not big enough to lift the round hay bales, so when it is time to feed the cows, I borrow Brother Tom’s John Deere.

The first sign of feeding time is when the cows greet me right outside the yard first thing in the morning.


Little Jack sure doesn’t look like he is going hungry.


Even the sheep seem to know that something is up.  They watch closely when I walk by.


Yes…the feeder is completely empty.


The first thing I do is close the gate behind me when I walk over to get the tractor.  The last thing I need is six cows and four sheep following me around and getting in the way.  It doesn’t take long before they have lined up at the gate watching.


There he is…good old John Deere, just waiting for the opportunity to do some work.


He starts no problem and away we go,


down to the corrals where the hay is stored, stopping just in front of the gate, perfectly lined up.


He waits patiently while I unwrap the hay.


Then it’s time…can I get in there and get a bale without driving over that snow mobile?


No problem (so far), in I go and get lined up in front of the bale.


The bales are sitting on their bottoms so I have to tip them over using the spike or the forks before I can pick them up.


This usually takes me a few tries, I get it tipped so far and then when I try to remove the spike or forks it flops back.  Today was a good day though, it flipped over quite nicely.


There it is…all ready to be picked up.  I line up again, lower the forks and go in for the grab.


Got it!

I slowly back out of the corral, watching closely for that snowmobile.


This was a very good pick up…probably the best ever.  Usually I am off to one side or it doesn’t feel completely secure.  Today it is on very tight,


perfectly centered too!

Off across the field I go, the cows watching intently as I approach.  I stop just in front of the gate. (this drives them crazy)


This is where I cut the twine that holds the bale together.


It is best to have it cut and ready to drop into the feeder before I go through the gate.

A little bit of hay falls off,


and this I throw to the cows across the fence


Hopefully it will keep them occupied long enough to allow me to get through the gate and to the feeder.

Wishful thinking, before I can get to the feeder and raise the bale up,


the cows are there trying to eat.  They do move out of the way though and I am able to lower the bale into the feeder.

Ta Da!


Happy cows and sheep!


PJ looks like she is going to climb right in.  Here is where the cows will stay for the rest of the day, moving away only to have a drink or a nap.  The sheep eventually go back to grazing.

Once the bale is in, John Deere and I make our way across the field and he is tucked back up in his spot.

IMG_0001_6 There he sits quietly, waiting for his next job.

Okay Brother Tom, you can open your eyes now!

Read Full Post »

I didn’t think I would ever write this post.

This was something I didn’t want to share.

A mistake, a failure, a sign that maybe I wasn’t as capable of living this lifestyle as I thought.

I had doubts…big doubts.

It was the day before Thanksgiving.  I was hosting the family dinner and was expecting over a dozen family members and friends the next day.

I was low on water and decided that I should refill the tank before I had a house full of people.

I turned on the UV Filter system…you remember the UV Filter system?


I wrote about that in the post below.


I hooked up the hoses, and turned the water tap on and refilled the tank.  It felt so good to know that I had lots of water for the days ahead.

I was almost finished when I went into the kitchen and poured myself a big glass of water.  I raised the glass to my lips and began to drink…and stopped!

The water tasted horrible…really horrible.

You know that feeling you get when something is really wrong? The hair stands up on the back of your neck and your skin feels all prickly.  That is how I felt.  There was something wrong with my water…and I had just filled my whole tank.

Of course my first thought was that I had poisoned myself. My second thought was I would have to cancel Thanksgiving dinner.

That’s when the doubts hit.  What was I thinking?  I was going to take creek water and treat it successfully and use it every day?  What made me think I could do this?  It wasn’t going to work.  I didn’t have potable water…you have to have water to survive.  I couldn’t stay here…I would have to move back into a town or a city.

I have to confess I had moments when I thought that was what I was going to have to do.  I was crazy to think I could live here in this beautiful, peaceful place.  There was a price to pay for living here…and that price was responsibility.  It was my responsibility to provide everything I needed.  I was afraid I wasn’t up to the task.

I called Brother Dan, explained what had happened and asked if he could bring enough drinking water for everyone for the next day.  As usual with Brother Dan, that was not a problem, and he also had some suggestions.

I probably should have changed the filters.  The recommendations that came with the system suggested changing them every three or four months, but that is for continuous use.  I only use the system once a month or so, so I didn’t think I would have to change them yet.

This is creek water though, and contains quite a varying amount of sediment.  Maybe I need to change them more often.  Maybe I made a mistake.

Two weeks have gone by now and my doubts are gone with them. I didn’t poison myself, the water is still safe to drink it just tastes awful. I am not as concerned about conserving water as I usually am.  I want to empty this tank of water out as fast as I can.

I have new filters ready to install.


I have been buying bottled water for drinking and cooking.


As soon as I can I am going to refill the water tank using the new filters.  Hopefully that will solve the problem and I will have learned that I need to change the filters more often.  If that doesn’t solve the problem, then I will continue to use bottled water for drinking until I figure out what the problem is, and what the solution is.

Yes I could move back to a city or town and let someone else be responsible for my drinking water. I could let someone else be responsible for heating my house and providing my electricity. That too will come with a price…the price of not living here.

This is my home…I will and can do whatever it takes to stay here.


My very first post was about doubting my ability to live here.


I have been here four years now, and on some days I still have doubts.

It is on those days I need to remember the pack rat!

Read Full Post »

Do you remember these fluffy little ones?


Look what they have changed into.


Two very colourful roosters who are just learning to crow,


two sleek black beauties,


one soft grey with a hint of orange on her breast,


and one very unique black bird with mutton-chop whiskers.


Do you remember the painting fiasco?


I wanted to paint the chicken barn and the generator shed, but this was as far as I got.

I have been staring at that strip of green paint for a year now.  The other day I was walking through the field looking at the sheds and I just knew what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t paint.

Cedar siding!



Now I only have one more big decision to make…what colour to paint the doors?

The white has to go but what colour should it be?

Read Full Post »