Thursday, November 20, 2014

Birds, Birds, and More Birds

Since moving to the farm, we've become somewhat of a bird watching family.  We have a well established yard, with lots of big, mature trees.  We've got lilacs and spruce trees, maple trees and willows.  Plum and Apple trees, as well many others which I don't even know what they are.  When we moved in, the previous owners left us a big bag of bird food, along with a number of bird feeders.  They strongly encouraged us to keep feeding the birds.  As you walk around our yard, you will see many different kinds of bird houses and bird feeders. 
It's been fun to watch all the different kinds of birds come around, and I'm looking forward to having a year under our belts.  We've had migratory birds that stay around for a few weeks, as well as the regular birds that are here year round.  We have a family of owls that have made our farm a home as well, and will often hear them communicating with each other during the day and into the evening.  Those owls, it's always a treat to see, and this year, there were actually 3 babies that hung around as well. 
When we have people over, since the bird feeders are hanging outside our front windows, we often talk about the birds, and since unpacking, I've found my "Birds of Alberta" book which has come in very handy! 

Here's a nuthatch.  They are a funny little bird, with their long beaks.

These evening grosbeaks would swarm our yard.  There'd be 15-20 of them that would fly into the ornamental plum tree which is close to the bird feeders.  Then they'd squabble and fight over the food on the ground or in the feeders.  Their yellow color always catches my eye.
This female Downy Woodpecker is around lots these days, along with the male, who has a bit of red on it's head.  I suspect we'll see them all winter long.

The beloved Great Grey Owl.  This is one of the babies, and when we went for rides in the summer, it'd follow us, flying from fence post to fence post, tree to tree.  One night we took a walk through the woods, and our cat followed us.  The three baby owls (which are still huge!) sat perched up in the trees, watching the cat.  And the cat, in turned, sat and watched them.  I think that they were both thinking, "I can take him!"  No one made the first move though.  We were surprised to see that our kittens didn't get eaten by the owl...

The chickadee.  We see dozens of these at a time, and they are a staple in our yard.  They flitter around, all day, eating whatever they can find.  Our cats seem to enjoy a nice chickadee sandwich every once in a while.

So there you have it.  A few of our bird sightings around the farm.  I'm excited to learn to identify more of them as time goes on...

Monday, November 17, 2014


Here are a few random notes from my little corner of the world:
1.  Way back when, in another place and another time, we had some sheep.  Last spring, we had the sheep sheared, along with the other families in our 4H club.  Once they were sheared, we had a whole lotta wool. (duh!).  Anyhow, one of the other mom's had a great idea, and she took the wool down to Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs.  Once the wool was there, it was graded, and then we got to decide what we wanted to do with it.  Our family ended up getting a whole lotta duvet's made with our wool, and this week, thanks to my Dad, the duvet's arrived!  We were pretty excited to get them onto our beds, and wow, was I ever pleasantly surprised at how warm they are!  Especially nice, since it's been down to -30C this past week.  We ended up selling the sheep before we moved, but it's nice to have a little reminder of them in the form of a cozy, warm, duvet!
2.  I have seen the light... I picked up a wild rag for myself at Farmfair this year.  It's beautiful, and silk, and most importantly....WARM!  And it dresses up my Carhartt's just a wee bit.  I'm in love!
3.  We had a big burn pile that we've been waiting to burn, until the snow fell.  Well, last week the snow came (boo!), and so we got to burn our junk.  Now before you think I'm crazy for burning this wonderful outbuilding, (it's small.  I promise!), you must know that we tried to move it first.  And it completely fell apart.  Completely.  Unfortunately, we had nothing else we could do except burn it.  Boo for me!  Thankfully, we have a few more!  Art had the great idea of dousing it with gasoline, and then shooting an arrow of fire into the building, so that it would ignite immediately, and our minds would be blown with how amazing Art was.  That idea was an epic fail... but at least we finally got the thing to burn!!

4.  I have curtains hung.  In my office.  And they are pretty. 

4.  We have four 4H steers.  This little guy is Ellie Mae's.  His name is Lulu (such a masculine name, I know!).  The steers are an Angus/Simmental cross.  They are turning out to be very friendly.  The first few days, they were a little crazy, but they've settled down quite nicely.  The Girls have been working hard at taming them, and we've started halter breaking them as well.  Good fun!

5.  I made yogurt.  From scratch.  And it was delicious!  My neighbor taught me how, and I'll be eternally grateful.  Because let me tell you, 4 kids eating yogurt almost every day really adds up!

5.  This is Molly. 
This is Molly, outside our house. 
This is Molly, outside our house, in November. 
This is Molly, outside our house, in November, with no snow. 
This is Molly, outside our house, in November, with no snow, and GREAT hair.
Molly has great hair.

6.  The Girls' roped again this year, and it was the first time for Ellie Mae to join in the fun.  She came in 5th, which meant she got a prize, which she loved, and now she wants to do it again next year.  She looked awfully cute with her Daddy, waiting for her turn.

7.  The three younger girls, getting ready.  It was a great event this year, once again.

8.  We have realized that we have a rooster.  We were only supposed to have hens.  Now to figure out which one is the rooster, so we can wring his little neck.  Let me tell you, friends, its a tough gig being a man in this house... 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Livin' The Dream

True to my word, as stated in my last post, I said it'd be a while before y'all heard from me again.  And I did not lie.  But here I am today, finally posting again.... Truthfully, I don't know how often I'll be checking in, but for our families who have been anxiously awaiting an update.... here it is!

I haven't even uploaded pictures to my computer, that's how far behind I've been, but if any of y'all are on instagram, I can be founds as thegoerzengirls, which will give you more pictures of our new life on the farm.

This summer has truly felt like we've been livin' the dream - although I'm not gonna life, a few times, it's felt like a bad dream....

The reno's are 90% done.... but isn't it always that last 10% that almost kill us?  Our kitchen is in, boxes are mostly unpacked, and we've been working at making this home feel like, well, home!  And it's coming.  I don't have any pictures on the walls yet, but that's a coming.... hopefully soon.  I'll try and get my photo's uploaded, so I can have some good "before and after" pictures.  'cuz let me tell you, friends, the differences are astounding!

While we have been slaving on the house, we also made some progress on the land.  We had someone come and hay our pastures this summer, which was great, because now we have hay for the winter for the 6 horses which we have acquired over the last few months.  "6?!" you may be saying... yes, 6.  But to be fair, one of them is a miniature.... so it's really only 5 1/2.  And there are 6 of us, so we can all ride together.  Which has been so, so great.  The girls are loving having some good ranch horses to ride out in the pasture, and they are hoping to work on their "cow chasing" skills this year too. 

We also have replenished our laying hens, so we are anxiously awaiting these girls to start their egg production.  We went with a couple of different varieties of chickens this time, and are looking forward to having white, brown and green eggs...

Lastly, we are also working on (another) big project....acquiring some livestock.  We've been renting out our pasture to a local farmer who has put a good number of cows on it for the fall, and this year, the Girls are starting with a new 4H club, and are super excited about doing a beef project.  So we are in the process of finding some steers to buy for them to feed through the winter, and then sell in the spring.  We're hoping, come spring, to also buy a few bred cows to start our own herd, but for now, this is a great start. 

It's been nice, now that fall is here, to get into some sort of routine.  We are well into the throngs of school, which has been great, and finding our way into as to how to best structure our lives around our commitments.  With the Girls being in two 4H clubs (long story...for another time....), as well as church and school commitments, it makes for a bit of driving, but it's all good.  We try to plan one (very) full day in town, and then usually have to jot in on another evening or two, but it's working.  We've had an Indian summer around these parts (after 2 days of snow in early September, which scared the pants off all of us!), and it's been glorious to see our farm in the throes of autumn.  Such a beautiful season, which different trees changing color at different times. 

I don't think there have been many days that have gone by, since we've moved, that I am not  extremely thankful for this new farm.  Even when we were working every night until midnight, Art and I would look at each other and say, "Living the Dream!".... It has been many years in the making, and we are excited for this new chapter in our lives. 

And now, I must go.... it's 15 C outside today, and the Girls are I are heading out to get a ride in.  We have to take advantage of this beautiful weather, because knowing Alberta, it could snow tomorrow! (actually, the weatherman is calling for a gorgeous weekend....but you get my point!)

I will leave you with a few of my Instagram photos, copied on here, so you get to see a tiny piece of my world...

Out of the (many) outbuildings on our farm, this one may be my favorite.  Note the birdhouse above the very cool old door.... Not sure I'd want birds flying above my head like this, but whatevs...

On of our pastures close to the house.  There are currently about 30 cows in this pasture, and from our bedroom window, we look out to this beautiful sight.  I wonder if it'll ever get old?!

The Girls.  With a few of the horses.  Since this picture, we've acquired 2 more horses....

My kitchen.  This is most definitely the "after" picture.  I promise you, the "before" picture will make you want to cringe....
That's all for now, folks.  Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everything Changes

Well, it's been a full couple of months around here, and it's going to stay that way for at least another few.... Here's the scoop:

After over 2 years of relentlessly looking, we (finally) found ourselves some property!!  We bought a small farm about 45 minutes south west of where we currently live, right smack dab in the middle of nowhere!  We couldn't be more thrilled, and we are knee deep in the middle of moving.  The couple who owned the property before us are in their 80's, and retired, but couldn't keep it up any more.  They built the house on the property, as well as planted all the trees, shelter belt, etc.  The property is very well maintained, but the house definitely needs some updating, as do the numerous outbuildings. 

We took possession last week, on my birthday (Happy Birthday to me, for the rest of my life!!), and my folks came out to help start ripping things apart.  We got all the doors and trim pulled out, the carpet ripped up, a few walls ripped down and doorways expanded.... heck, we made a giant mess!  We are having a beam put in the ceiling today (turns out one of the walls we started to rip out was a load bearing wall...oops!), a new tread of stairs are being made (they were the stairs of death!), and the concrete is being poured for a shop tomorrow.  We should have the shop built before we move in on June 7th, and next week, the hardwood flooring in the house is being laid.  It is exciting and nerve wracking and exhausting and exhilarating.  The land is really very pretty, with a creek running through the property, everything is fenced and cross fenced and all set up for cattle and horses.  After much dreaming and planning, it looks like we are going to be starting on our next adventure!

With all that going on, you'll have to excuse my lack of posting over here.  Truth be told, the only reason I'm writing a post today is because I'm procrastinating.... I really don't love packing!  We've been out at the farm every evening and the whole weekend since we took possession, and then during the day I try and get more stuff packed at home here, to take over to the farm.  I keep reminding myself, "In another 2 months, it's going to be awesome!!"  I am looking forward to keeping y'all updated on our new adventure once we get in and settled....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Good Gravy, It's Friday!

Hello, friends.  It's Friday today.  That in itself calls for a celebration.  In real life.  But here are some other reasons I have to celebrate:
1.  We swear by Bogs boots for our girls.  They are warm, waterproof, and wonderful.  This week, we went for a walk outside, in the glorious, spring-like weather, and by the time we were done walking, Molly had wrung out her socks about 4 times.  I'm not even exaggerating.  She had told me prior to our walk that her boots leaked, but, being the good mother that I am, I didn't believe her.  I thought maybe she had gotten snow in them?  Alas, I was wrong.  Again.  And I felt fairly terrible that her feet were so cold and wet after the long walk in the bush.  (Heck, her toes were like little raisins!)Now all of that isn't reason to celebrate, but this is:  I called the Bogs company, and explained the situation, that this is the second year for those boots, and they have holes.  The company asked me to send them a picture of the boots, and promptly responded by email.  They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they are replacing her boots.  For free.  And I don't even have to pay for shipping.  Molly even got to choose, out of about 5 different styles, which boots she wanted.  So I say a big "Hooray!!" for the Bogs company.... you have won a long time customer because of this.
2.  We went for a long walk the other day.  It was warm and glorious and we saw deer and evidence of  Moose (read, Moose poop!), and Hannah found a deer antler.  We walked through a creek bed with snow past my knees and took our jackets off because it was so warm. 

3.  I mentioned earlier the spring-like weather we've been having, and it has been absolutely glorious this week.  Until yesterday, the first day of spring... when it was -10C with blowing, cold snow...and last night, when it got down to -20C.  But let's not dwell on that.  Let's instead remember, with fondness, the melting snow and jacket-free days we've had around these parts.
4.  After our walk, we had a bit of a picnic.  You read it correctly.  We had a picnic.  In the middle of March.  Glory be!  You can see the wet jeans (and toes!) that everyone had, but it was worth it, friends.  A great day, that's for sure!

5.  Have I mentioned yet that it's Friday?  That means two whole days of time with the ones I love the most: my family!  We have no plans, and ample time for relaxing and having some fun.   Hooray!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Second (and Third) Surprise

On Saturday, the older girls are I were at our 4H district speeches, helping out (our club was hosting them).  In the middle of the day, I received a text from Art, with this picture:

It seems as though Abby's sheep had her lamb....s!  She had twins!  Abby was over the moon excited... and was so anxious for the speeches to be over so we could get home to see this face...

It's a good thing that our high temperature was around -30C on the weekend - perhaps the coldest days of the year?  Of course we're going to have lambs then.... doesn't it always work out like that?!  No  matter - the lambs are looking good, regardless.  Abby bundled up extra warm and has spent hours out there with her 2 little ladies.  She sings them to sleep, makes sure they're drinking and staying warm under the heat lamp.

She was pretty darn excited to see these lambs arrive - especially since waiting so (im)patiently for the last 3 weeks since Hannah's lamb was born.  And I am pretty darn excited for these twins because maybe, just maybe, I'll get to see some money back from this project?  Time shall tell...

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Morning Off?

The times that I am child-less are few and far between.  Going to town?  I've got the kids.  Running errands in the city?  Kids are in the back seat.  Have to pop into Art's office?  You guessed it....the kids are along...
So when I get a chance for a few hours during the day to be out and about without my pretty little ladies, I feel  And excited.  And out of sorts (if I'm being truthful!)  
A retired teacher in the area has started doing some writing workshops for home schooled kids, and since we know her well, we - actually I, decided that it would be good for The Girls to participate in such a thing.  It's nice because there are different sessions for the workshops, so we can pick and choose what works for us.  For this session, every other Monday morning, for 6 weeks, The Girls go and write.  Which means that I have me some kid-free time.  On a Monday morning.  It's....amazing.
Now if I was good, I'd probably drop The Girls off and go right back home to get some tasks done while they're gone.  But I'm not.  So instead, I usually head into the big city to go and browse around a few second hands store.  The thing with second hand stores is that sometimes you score, and many, many times, you don't.  It turns out that the last two times I've gone, I've scored.  And by scored, I mean "Found cool stuff for cheap".  I usually look only look in the housewares, and am always on the lookout for old tablecloths that have some sort of embroidery on them, or cast iron anything, perhaps some milk glass? 
Last time I went, I found a primitive looking table runner.  This week, when I went, I found a beautiful old tablecloth...I can hardly wait for fall to use this beauty!

First thing I did when I got it home was put in through the wash.  Now, it's sitting on my kitchen table, laid out to dry.  It looks a wee bit small in this picture, but what you may not realize it that my kitchen table is massive.  It would look great on the diagonal, or even better spread over a beautiful old harvest table.  Perhaps even on my kitchen island?  We'll have to see....