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This and That

Well we had a burst of winter, and then spring showed up and melted all the snow.  Emma and I were back out walking on bare ground.

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It was so nice after all that snow. Then this morning it came back, although not as much as before.  So there we are, out walking in the snow again.

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The sheep flock has shrunk back to its normal size.  The lambs have all moved on, some sold and some in the freezer.  All that are left are my old faithful ewes, Cotton, Abbie and PJ.

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It is so nice to have the flock smaller.  Theses three greet me gently at the gate, and eat hay out of my hands.  It so much more enjoyable than being bombarded by five rambunctious young ones, pushing and shoving with no manners at all.

The chicken flock has gone the other way.  There are now ten chickens where there used to be five.  Remember these little ones?

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Well they are all grown up now.

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They turned into four hens and one handsome rooster.  I have named him Redford, for his good looks and his beautiful red feathers.

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The downside of the chicken flock is that currently none of the hens are laying eggs.  The new ones haven’t started yet, but I am expecting them to any day now.  The five old hens are getting pretty old and I am thinking they would do better soaking in a nice hot bath in my soup pot.  So…the day is coming when the chicken flock will be downsized to a more manageable number too.

On to another topic…what is wrong with this picture?

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This is the box that holds my batteries.  The batteries that store my power that runs my house.  This box is empty!

After only one year, the batteries failed.  They stopped holding a charge and I was having to run the generator twice a day just to keep the power on.  Fortunately they were still under warranty so I was able to replace them at no cost.

However, the installers won’t be here until tomorrow, so I have spent the week relying on good old Genny to keep the lights on.  She really does a great job and I haven’t been inconvenienced at all.  In fact,  it is kind of refreshing to only have, and use power when you need it, and not 24 hours a day.  I checked my emails and did anything I needed to on the computer in the morning and in the evening.  Same with lights, I didn’t need them during the day.  The most noticeable thing is the silence.  We don’t realize the noise that surrounds us all the time, the humming of electrical appliances.

Today is the last day of November and I finally got one of my Christmas cakes made.

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I am late this year, usually they are made around November 11th.  Tomorrow I will make the dark cakes, while the electrical gurus install my new batteries and turn the noise back on.

Happy December everyone!

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Remembrance Day

In memory of those who served…

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Thanks, Dad.

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Snow and Sourdough

It just keeps coming.

After the last big dump and freezing temperatures we had one day for a good long walk.

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The conditions in winter have to be just right for our walks.  Odin and I can walk anytime, but not poor Emma, with her long hair and sensitive feet.  If it’s -10 or colder her feet get too cold and she can’t walk for very long.  She ends up just standing, and lifting one foot, then another. If it’s 0 degrees or warmer, the snow is so soft it balls up on her hair and she ends up with great big snowballs.  One day for a perfect winter walk, and then the weather changed.

It warmed up to just below freezing, and yesterday it snowed all day long.

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We are back to shovelling those critical paths.

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Where is my driveway?

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Thank goodness for John Deere…I am sure he will be here before the day is out.

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Housebound by snow, I couldn’t think of anything better to do than bake bread.

A few weeks ago I went to a workshop on baking sourdough bread.  We were given a sample sourdough starter and  I have been faithfully feeding it ever since.  Yesterday was a perfect day to try it out.  I mixed it the night before and let it sit out in room temperature overnight

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Looked pretty good the next morning.  I added the rest of the ingredients and made my loaves.

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Spelt flour and a few sunflower seeds for crunch.  I let it rise for a couple of hours and popped it in the oven.

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Ta Da!  Fresh homemade sourdough bread.

Tasted delicious for lunch with a bowl of soup.

I hear it’s supposed to be raining by next week…..

 

 

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Still Here

Time to catch up and let you all know we are still here!

I surprised myself by not writing about this just after it happened, but it was such a tense and unsettling time, I couldn’t bring myself to post about it.

A couple of days after the last post of Scenes of Summer, a forest fire started near us.

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The summer had been very hot and dry, and fires were breaking out all over the province, so we had talked and planned and prepared as much as we could.  When it happened here, it was very surreal.

We got the sprinklers going on the buildings, trucks loaded with everything we couldn’t leave behind, and equipment moved into the middle of the field.  While we were doing what we could, the planes were flying above us.

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One after another they flew, a very welcome sight.

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A police car pulled into the yard with lights flashing and said we were on evacuation order and to leave.

We weren’t quite ready to leave, and the fire was moving north and not east towards us, so we stayed.  The evacuation order was lifted four days later, so we were much more fortunate than many others in the province.

A week later another fire broke out in our area.  The entire summer was spent watching and waiting, wishing for rain that never came. It was hot, hot, hot and dry.

Emma took to the water.

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It was unseasonably warm right up the end of September.

October arrived and so did hunting season.  Yes, three years ago I started hunting.  Some of you may not understand, and not want to read about it but it is part of my life now.  Lucky for you, I didn’t get a deer yet this year, only some grouse, but be forewarned…if I am successful there will be pictures and stories.

This was the year all my “great” nieces and nephews started school.  No they didn’t all start this year, but the youngest are all now in Kindergarten.  Lucky for me that means professional days for the teachers, and this October the four “greats” that live near me came and spent the day at the farm.

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It was a great day for all.

The lambs have grown from this

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to this.

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Yesterday morning I woke up to discover winter.

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From 0 to 15 inches overnight.  First thing to do was make some critical pathways.

To the woodshed, the hay barn, the generator shed,

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the chicken barn and solar panels,

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and most important…

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I have two hay feeders in the sheep pen now.  One is not enough for 8 sheep.  It never fails though, this is how they eat.

7 gather around one,

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and Cotton, the matriarch gets her own.

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One resident of the farm is enjoying the change in the weather.

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Odin is in his element.

This morning it was -18 degrees.  Brrrr especially when it comes so sudden and unexpectedly.  It caught me unprepared, but not completely.

I am very happy to have this.

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So after the floods this spring, the hot, dry, fiery summer and now the sudden attack of winter, we are still here.

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Happy to be on Morris Brook Farm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walks through the daisies.

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Cooling off in the lake.

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One batch of new chicks.

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Three weeks later, another batch.  Eight new chicks in all.

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Garden flourishing.

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Lots of homegrown food.

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Lambs growing like weeds.

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It is getting hard to tell them apart from their mothers.

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Here comes the hay.

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Lessons for the next generation.

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The three musketeers.

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It has been a good summer so far.  Everything growing and doing well.

Hope you are enjoying your summer days as much as we are!

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Babies

That’s it…we are done.  All the babies are here.

Olivia had her calf, another fine-looking boy.

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He looked like Jack, so that is what we called him.  Jack 2.

Then it was Birdie’s turn, and she had a lovely little heifer.

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What a colorful pair.  Brother Tom’s grandson Jace named her Hope.

Last, but not least, Lily had a little boy.

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Look at that face, and those long, white eyelashes.  We just had to call him Patch.

I thought that was it for babies this year, but then one of the hens decided she wanted to try hatching a few chicks.

She did a good job too, these four showed up yesterday afternoon.

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We have had some pretty warm days here, but the animals are adapting.

I had to walk out and check on Paddy the other day.  I wasn’t sure if he was sleeping with the sheep, or if he was dead.

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Henry was having a hard time getting comfortable, but finally found a position that worked.

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I hope you are all enjoying the summer as much as we are!

 

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Shearing Day

One of the advantages of the cool spring is that the sheep have not had to suffer hot weather while still wearing their winter coats.

Yesterday afternoon I got the call.  The shearer was on his way.

I called the sheep in from the field, they are so good about coming when called.  I put them all in the barn, babies too and closed the gate.

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They were very patient, just relaxing while we waited for the shearer.

He arrived, got set up, and lucky PJ was the first to get trimmed.

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The others all stayed back out-of-the-way, and watched the show.

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It didn’t take long for a haircut and a pedicure.

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What a difference.  I always worry a little bit that the sheep are getting too fat, but every year once they are sheared, I can relax.  It wasn’t fat, just lots of wool.

It must feel so good to have those big winter coats off.

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And now I have three bags full of wool…again.

I really must get spinning and knitting…

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