Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back In Business

A couple of months ago, we picked up some more laying hens.  We were told they were pretty close to 19 weeks, the age when they start laying eggs.  Unfortunately (for us), the chickens were a bit younger than we were told, so the Girls have been patiently waiting for these silly girls to start laying.  Just this week, they started.  First, we had 1 or 2 eggs, and then suddenly, it's been 6-8 eggs per day.  The Girls are thrilled to be back in the egg selling business, once again! 

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...