Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time Just Keeps Flying By!!

I always intend to update the blog... but you know what they say about good intentions! ;)

Anyhow... lots of stuff going on around here these days.... we planted all our seedlings that we ordered back in February. We ordered about 140 seedlings, some eastern white cedar, some white pine, some spruce, some sugar maples and some honey locusts. Those all got planted.

I also bought some cedar hedging to put across the front of the property.... I don't remember how many I got total, because I bought some at different times, from different places... but likely around 25.

When I picked up the seedlings, I also bought 5 willows... we also bought some very baby trees (yep, that's the technical term!) about 200 1-2 inch balsam fir seedlings... we planted those in pots for now and many of them are showing signs of new growth... obviously there have also been some causalities with those, but that's not surprising. We'll see how they do over the summer, I might plant them for real in the fall. We also sold a few pots of these ones right around earth day... that was entertaining :)

We also got a 4ft spruce for free off kijiji that I planted on the front lawn in the spot we had planted a tree we got from the city last year that didn't survive. We'll see if this one survives!

I've actually got a flower garden... its the one Jess and I dug last summer and planted annuals in.... now this year it looks more like a real garden.... its got a forsythia bush in it and a diablo ninebark (that I got from Mom and Dad last time I went home, Thanks!!) I bought 4 lilies to go in and they've been blooming like crazy ever since they went in the ground.

I also got a bunch of perrenials from Mom and Dad when I was home, some hostas, forget me nots and other things that I can NOT think of the names of at the moment. I also got some ferns and some varigated grass and a few other really invasive plants that I didn't put in my garden (ok, some snuck in here and there) I mostly planted those at the front near the cedar hedging, they can grow crazy there and save me from having to mow an awkward area.

A few weeks ago we got 4 laying hens from a lady about an hour away that was downsizing her current flock so she could start raising some different more exotic type chickens. They are Plymouth Barred Rock hens, about a year old and they are laying really well. We usually get 4 eggs a day, sometimes only 3 if one takes the day off and after the first 2 days, they've been excellent quality eggs, perfect everytime!

They are also very delicious and we've been enjoying them! The chickens have a 4ft x 8 ft mini coop... its actually the goat "cube" shelters modified for chickens. We added a floor and its on "skis" so it can be moved around by the lawn tractor. Though, we moved it the other day and the lawn tractor alone couldn't actually get it started, Shawn had to give it a shove to get it going! Such a surprise that we would build something heavy! ha!

They also have a 4ft x 12ft outside run area that's covered in 1/2 inch hardware cloth so nothing can get in easily and eat 'em. So far, so good. We also let them out daily for a little while to "free range" and eat whatever... they eat grass, bugs and they LOVE worms.... they also go crazy for grapes! They are becoming more adventurous in their free ranging, so we watch them carefully and hang right around, I don't want them to head for the road! ;)

I've always been a bit afraid of chickens... scarred as a child, I was! I'm still a bit freaked out by them, but its getting better. The other day while "free ranging" the hens decided it was a good idea to go behind the red and white sheds and peck around.. there are burrs bushes back there and a couple of them got burrs stuck to their bottoms.... that night, after they'd gone to roost, Shawn went in and plucked the one off the roost that had the most burrs and I picked them off... handling chickens at night works ok, as they are kinda sleepy and stupid... but this poor girl did wake up while having them removed and was moving her feet near me and that kinda freaked me out a bunch! We got it done though and put her back in the coop and she went back on the roost and made noises to show her irritation. We'll try to keep them out of there from now on... we tried removing the burr bushes, but its a tricky spot to work in and we weren't succesful.

If you remember our electric fence experiment from last year (5 strands of electric, 3 strands were wire and 2 were electric rope)... we felt that was a failure... Ernie just went under it (even though the bottom strand was under 9 inches!) even though he'd get shocked, he'd still keep doing it. They both got tangled in it a couple times and got zapped repeatedly until we could turn off the fencer and free them. It got to the point they didn't like to go over there anymore... then the electric fencing unit died for unknown reasons and we returned it.

Anyhow, so we removed all 5 strands of electric and left the posts in. They we started putting up chainlink on those posts... we had gotten some chainlink off kijiji last spring/summer and then we got some more at the Restore not long ago. We didn't stretch it for real, just by hand, since our tposts would not be able to hold that kind of tension. When we ran out of chainlink, then we started using some of our pagewire we got the first year we were here and we're doing 2 layers of that, with the stays offset to make the "holes" half the size.

We've been putting the goats out there daily (even though weren't not actually finished putting up the 2nd layer) for a short time... so far the fence seems to hold them. They really prefer if we just sit in the paddock with them while they eat.... Ernie and Bert are still a bit freaked out about the electric fencing, even though its all gone. They are getting better though. Today I put them in there while I cleaned out their shed, that was a huge deal for them, me not being in sight and they were ok with that.... progress!

We also extended that paddock to go down to just this side of the swamp area... they must have about 1/2 an acre now... with LOTS of grass... soon we'll build a small, temporary shelter in that paddock for them... there's no natural shade or shelter of any sort there and it can get awful hot, so we definitely need some sort of shelter for shade. It'll just have a stone dust floor, I'm actually getting a load of stone dust tomorrow, so we can get started on that part whenever there's time. Hahaha!

Its quite the adventure when I lead the little animals from the shed to this paddock... Ernie and Bert wear rope halters... the sheep prefers a regular dog collar and leash (he loathes a halter!) and I've been putting a collar and leash on Grover. Ernie and Bert generally lead well and aren't too bad on their own... the sheep likes to lollygag behind and eat whatever he can on the walk over, so I always have to pull him along. Grover... well, he's a sweet goat and we like him, but on a halter or in a collar, he's a bit of a butt head.

Part of the problem is that if he touches Ernie or Bert, they beat the snot out of him... the other part is that if the sheep touches Grover, Grover beats the sheep up! Plus, even though we've made the walk back and forth a few times now, they all like to try to run in different directions, at different speeds. I can not even imagine what the people on the road passing by must think I'm doing... some sort of demented goat and sheep dance! Stupid animals.

This past weekend we bought a new light fixture, a chandelier off someone that advertised on kijiji (we LOVE kjiji!!). Its quite beautiful, its black with a wrought iron look and white glass shades. I put a pic up in the FHH album. It replaced that butt ugly red ceiling fan in our bedroom.... the new light fixture matches our black metal bedframe very well... its almost like decorating or something!!! ;)

Today I went to a place not far from here that grows and sells asparagus right from the farm. I was all excited, thinking we could maybe find some decent local produce... we'll have some for supper tonight, so I don't know if it will be good yet or not.... but I damn near had a heart attack about the price!! They charge $4.50 a lb!! I bought 2 pounds, just because I was there and would've felt awkward not buying it, but unless its super wonderful, I doubt I'll be going back.

I was also at Farm Boy today and they had Canadian asparagus (that's how it was marked, no idea where it was from!!) for $2.49 a lb. I'm sure where I used to buy it in Southern Ontario it was around $3 /lb! I don't understand how this local place gets away with selling it for so much and I have to GO to their place (which is not on my way anywhere else, its a specific trip!).

I know the produce around here can be pricier compared to KW, but come on.... I think that's a bit ridiculous! As I said, it better be very good to justify the price... for that price, I should get gold plated asparagus, or at least asparagus that doesn't make your pee reek! Something!

Anyhow, all is well around here... just busy... but we do bring that on ourselves! :)