Friday, June 26, 2015

Ryan gosling makes his debut

I tried to remind myself a couple of weeks ago, that it is against policy to "help" poultry hatch out that are having troubles.  Sometimes those babies are ok, but it's much more likely that they will have bent legs, or low weight, or are just weak animals.  It's not good breeding policy to help them along.  It's so tempting though.  Just a little help getting the cap off...and it'll be fine.    Things weren't so fine for Ryan gosling...4 healthy goslings hatched in a nest that had been slightly plundered earlier, and had a egg break all over the remaining eggs.  With a big, hot goose on top for a month, things got a bit stinky.  Still, 4 strong goslings emegered.  Their Toulouse Goose mom wouldn't take them out for water or food though, and I thought they were all getting endangered.  So, intervention #1 was to take the remaining 3 eggs, and set them in the incubator.  One had started to hatch, and the gosling had made the first hole.  The next day...no change.  I didn't feel like I wanted to lose a gosling without trying to help out a bit, so I carefully finished taking the lid off the egg.  Things didn't look quite right with the little guy, so I left it overnight to sort out.  In the morning, there was a fluffy gosling, with long, long fluffy silverish golden down...and no good eyes.  Ryan seems to have caught an infection in the egg, and his eyes did not develop properly.
He had no idea he was blind, or that it was a problem...he cheerfully sat in my hand purp-purpping away.
So...I put him in a fish tank, and headed into work at the nursery.  Ryan was an instant success with staff and students.  John Jr. aptly and excellent named him Ryan gosling.


Ryan is pretty big for the little fish tank now, so he's spending his days in a cage on the lawn.  He can eat grass, feel the warm sun, and hear his fellow poultry on the grass.  His chicken friends with excellent hairdo's: Gretch and Spitz, hang out with him sometimes.   He is still happy to sit in my hands, and is growing well.  Now what??? He won't be able to join the other geese.  He walks in circles, and they amble over several acres a day.  He's got two admirers willing to give him a home, so we'll see what happens.  Interviews tomorrow to find the perfect home.  I'll miss him, but with so much going on, he's better off where he can get personal attention.  Ryan will post an update, when he's made a plan.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Down the Garden Path radio show

A big thanks to all the folks who tuned in to Janet's guest appearance on Joanne Shaw's radio show this evening; "Down the Garden Path".   We had a lively discussion about keeping backyard chickens.  In the next little while I'll be posting some new chicken photos for inspiration.
 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Great Winter Migration

When the weather outside is frightful, the fire really is delightful! All of the cats, dogs, and people of the family migrate down to in front of the fire during the winter, because everywhere else you have to bundle up in a hat and heavy sweater!


This is a picture of the typical pile of animals in the living room at winter time, minus one or two of the cats who were in the bathroom on the heated floor...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

We Have The Power!

In November or so we finally got the solar panal hooked up to the grid and generating power! Now it follows the sun most spectacularly, except when it isn't sunny. A.k.a most of December. But that doesn't matter as long as it's up and running and ready for the sun to come out when it gets warmer!

This is the panal just slightly tilted and following the sun near the end of the day


However, this wasn't a smooth road... our solar panal seems to have some personality issues and tried to commit suicide a couple times! The most memorable was when the switch to stop it if it's turning all the way around was broken, and the people installing it didn't put the back-up switch in because "the switch never breaks!". We found it with the cords wrapped all the way around the main shaft of the panal, straining to keep following the sun and bending some of the huge metal bars that hold it together. After at least 8 anxious minutes of steering the panal back to it's upright positioning (it moves very, very slowly) and turning it off of tracking so it wouldn't commit suicide twice in one day we were able to go in and call the repair guys. They came out, appologized perfusely, and fixed the panal, this time installing the back-up switch! Now we're good to go, unless the solar panal finds a new way to break itself....

...And the goats are back!

We thought the goats were gone for winter, but one day we got a call saying that they had to come back. Their winter home was too big for them (so it got cold) and the water wasn't running so carrying water out for them was a big job. Now they're back with us to stay.



We did get the book "Storey's guide to Goats" for Christmas, and it's a great series for people wanting to get livestock of any kind. Now we have some more idea's for forcing the goats to behave, namely making them a big enclosure to play around in!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Goodbye Goats (for the winter)

Today the goats got shipped off to their winter retreat... otherwise known as the vet's barn. Since Woolard has been so bad lately (and not in the endearing way) it wasn't too sad to see him leave, knowing that he'll be back in the spring. And that I won't have to keep a close eye out for any signs of head-ramming while doing chores or simply walking through the barnyard! We were planning on moving the goats in the "goat transporter" (otherwise known as the pig transporter) with some palates in the back of the truck to make them a cozy home in the barn, but in the end we put the palates in the trailer because it is really hard to get the goat transporter onto the trailer with only two people. Lifting the goats into the back of the truck also proved to be a make-work project: they did not want to be lifted and they did not want to be in the truck. However, with some bribing (grain) and some quick working of the tailgate, we got them shipped off to their new home.


Since I didn't take any pictures today, I'll just put an older picture of the goats up.


This is the goats being bad, as usual... Eating a shrub that they shouldn't be. By the time they were done with it, there were no more leaves on the shrub... hopefully next year it will revive and we'll block it off more carefully!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A picture of the Pigs

Angelina (the mother of the five piglets) is the biggest black pig, Hock and Hammy are the two smaller black pigs, Gwen is the orange one (the Tamworth that we kept) and you can just barely see one of the piglets behind one of the boys near the back.

A couple weeks ago we sent three of the pigs in, and we are currently working on building an over winter house for the remaining pigs.

Baaaad Goats!

Everyone who has goats will tell you that they are bad. Honestly, I have never met anyone who doesn't say this. It was cute at first, when it was just Woolard being bad in a little boy way... now he is just being mean. He is especially fond of headbutting people who come to close to him, or just anybody he sees in general... He is still awfully cute though!
This is a picture of Woolard eating the tulip tree on our front lawn... which was not really appreciated! It was really funny though, because he has his feet on the one branch and is trying to reach up and eat off of a branch above him... it didn't work too well!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sorry Folks

I have been very busy recently and haven't had time to post anything... now people are saying that I should start blogging again so I'm going to attempt to oblige. No promises though. But, I am, however, going to start posting just pictures if I don't have time for anything else so then at least you'll be able to see all the animals.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goats!

A while ago we decided to go through with the plan and get some goats! You can't just get one goat because it would be hopelessly lonely, so along with the boy we got a slightly younger girl to keep him company.


We brought them home in the ever useful dog cages, then got them settled comfortably in one of the chicken houses comfortably outfitted with a thick bed of straw with access to a small fenced in area beside the barn.

This is a picture of the girl goat (as of yet she doesn't have a name) in the back of the truck. You can just see the boy in the cage behind hers.

No Posts!

Okay, I know I haven't posted anything in over a month.... but now that it's school time again and my schedule is more regular, I will try my hardest to keep on top of it! So starting right now, I'll catch up on everything that has happened this summer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We have Piglets!

About a week ago Angelina gave birth to 5 healthy piglets; 4 girls and a boy! It (of course) happened at midnight so the pictures I have aren't great but here is one of a newborn piglet.

The piglets were all born without complications, and Angelina has been a great mom! She fiercely protected them from the other pigs who were very curios and did not understand what was going on!

This is a picture of the 3 piglets that were born at the time nursing.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Piglets Soon?

Lately Angelina has been acting differently. She digs burrows and runs away from the other pigs. Also her nipples are getting bigger. We think it's probably because she's almost ready to give birth. This being said... WE ARE NOT READY!!!! We still have to build a different pen to keep her away from the other pigs and a burrow for her and her babies. Hopefully my next post on the pigs will be how well the birthing went!

All the Babies of Summer

This time of year is always really busy for us because there's always a lot of young animals. Right now the main thing we have is DUCKS! There are ducklings EVERYWHERE you look! They are mostly Muscovy crosses and are all different ages because they've just been hatched by random ducks in the barn.



There are also two ducklings with "shower caps" which make me laugh. Sadly they don't have much function. Whatever. As one (wise) farmer once said, "you have to have pets"!



We also ordered some chicks that we've had for a week or two now. There are some Ameraucana's and some Rhode Island Red's. Today we're putting some other (younger) chicks and quails into the same pen. Hopefully they'll get along okay because right now they live in my room which is not a good place for chicks.



The turkeys that were in our basement now live outside as well. The chickens are looking great! The latest thought is to try showing them for fun! It would definitely be interesting at least...

The Next Animal for the Farm!

Last time we went to Buca (the restaurant we sell our eggs to) the head chef was in the mood for goat. We, of course, couldn't resist the idea of MORE animals so we surfed kajiji (a small farm owner's best friend!) and found a farm willing to help us start a herd. A couple days later we were on our way to the farm! It was an epic all-day road trip that took us all day. At the goat farm we got to meet our potential goat (Although now we're pretty sure we are going to go through with it) who we are assured really is the best. Goats have a body temperature much higher than people, and some are really fuzzy and tame so they are really nice to pat. We were also told that this is the year of the "W" so all goat we want to keep should have a name starting with that letter so any goat farmer we talk to will know how old they are when we talk about them. So now we need some help coming up with a W name for our billy! Any suggestions? This is a picture of the goat we're getting. He isn't one of the tamer ones, and it was really hard to get a picture of him because he kept hiding in the shadows. This was the best picture we could get of him. He's the one in the back with the darker brown head.


Goats are wily creatures apparently, and if there is a way to get out of the fence, they will. Not for any particular reason, just because they can. This was proven to us by the farmer who showed us some kids who had broken out and were busy eating pine trees. Some other useful information she (the farmer) shared with us was that contrary to popular belief, goats actually are picky eaters, although they do eat things most other animals won't, like trees and thistles.


She took us out into the fields to meet her goats. She has 2 herds which each have about 25 goats including the billy (only 1 per herd), mothers and daughters. The boy kids are separated from the herd when they are younger because they are either eaten or sold to other farms. In one of the herds there was one little kid that had to be bottle fed because his mother wouldn't nurse him. He is much tamer than most and was bleating for food!

After learning as much as we could, we left with intentions to go back soon and take a goat home!

SO BUSY!!

Well I haven't posted anything for months... Oops! But now its the summer! So hopefully I'll keep on top of it all!

Friday, May 7, 2010

HAWK!

Last night when we went to put the ducks to bed in their house they wouldn't go in. So we took a look into the house and what should we find, but a HAWK sitting on the perch. The only way it could have gotten is was to crawl through the door the ducks go through, making us think that it isn't a completely wild bird. This hawk has been eating our ducks for almost a year now, so we decided that it couldn't keep eating our livestock. We somehow managed to get it into a cage and set it up in the summer kitchen. Then for the rest of the night we called around trying to figure out what to do with it. Here are some of the options people gave us:
1) Shoot it ( D: )
2) Let it go
3) Try to scare it away from coming back to the farm (which is unlikely to work) or,
4) Drive it really far away and hope it can't find its way back
We opted out of the first two options, and since everybody we asked said the hawk wouldn't stay away even if we did a whole bunch of stuff making the farm seem unattractive so eventually we decided to drive it as far away as possible. The next day we had a hawk release "party" at Factory 163 (for more information about Factory 163 see www.factory163.com) and let the hawk go.

Sadly the story doesn't end here because the hawk did come back... We think. Otherwise within 2 days of the hawk leaving, a different hawk showed up which is a bit unlikely...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A... Rabbit?

I never really thought Titania was a good hunter. This was all changed by what she caught today... We were eating lunch, looking out the window, when suddenly we notice Titania. With a bunny bigger than her head. And she was moving towards the dog door! So we all rushed towards the other end of the house (and I grabbed my camera on the way!) in the hope to stop her before she brought it inside. We were too late. By the time we got to the back door, she was already in the house, upstairs, in the middle of my room! I took a picture of her with the bunny in her mouth before I would let anyone try to take it away from her.

After that I let everyone run after her. She dropped the bunny (which turned out to be fine!) and watched us as we tried to catch it. We grabbed a butterfly net (that just happened to be lying around) and shut my door so it wouldn't have free range of the whole house. Eventually we caught it and put it in a shoe box. Then we took it outside and let it run away. This is a picture I took of it right when we let it get out of the net. It sat on the grass for a couple seconds, then bounded away! Finally we have an animal story that ends happily!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spring Fur and Feathers Show

I can't believe I completely forgot to write about this! The spring fur and feathers show was last weekend. We got up at 5:30 to get there (ick) and brought a variety of birds to sell, including: Pompom (a black banty braham), Rusty (a orange-ish random rooster), 2 Araucana crosses, a dozen Ameraucana hatching eggs, 2 Ameraucana roosters, and a pair of Black Jersey Giants. Sadly, we only sold the eggs and one of the Ameraucana roosters. Hopefully we have better animals by the fall show!



Now onto the fun stuff; what we saw and bought!

The very first animals we got were a pair of buff ducks because we really like the one we got in the fall last year. They are very pretty ducks, although so far they don't seem to want to interact with the other buff duck which is a bit of a problem.

Next we got a Rhode Island Red chicken, mostly because it reminded us of a children's book called "Oliver's Chickens", which is a very cute book! She is a really pretty burgundy colour, and we've already named her Ruthy. Not the most original name, but it alliterates which I find amusing.

We also got another girl quail because Quincy (the boy quail we already have) is pulling all the feathers out of the 3 girls we have for him. Apparently 3 girls to 1 boy isn't a good ratio so he needs more!

The last thing we got was an American Buff goose. This was a bit of an adventure because they were un-sexed, and we really don't need another gander! Luckily we managed to guess which one was a girl. The only reason we know this is that when we brought her home and introduced her to the other animals, she immediately went over to Carter and they've been inseparable ever since! It was love at first sight for them... The only problem is that Carter is VERY protective of his new girl, and is being even more argumentative than ever!

More new birds

Yesterday morning (very, very early) we got some new animals! We got 18 turkey poults, 3 Jungle fowl chicks, and 3 Silver Splash Cochin's!


Birds have an uncanny ability to look dead when they are sleeping. I always have to check their still alive; they get me every time! Turkey poults are always really cute, then again, most baby animals are cute!


Jungle Fowl chicks always have a little bandit mask that makes them look like they're up to no good. They're relatively small chicks, mostly because they are relatively small chickens. We got these guys because we seem to be all out of Jungle fowl roosters... And surprisingly enough, it's hard to breed chickens if you only have hens! Hopefully these chicks will sort out our problems and soon we can hatch our own Jungle Fowls.

Cochin's are the newest variety of chickens at our farm! We saw some this year at the fur and feathers show, and decided we had to get some! We waited to get ours from an actual hatchery, instead of at the (slightly overpriced) show. These are some really funny chicks! They are going to be HUGE and have fluffy legs! Hopefully they work for us, and as soon as they're fully grown I'll put more pictures and information on here about them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kaslo the Puppy has... One ear!


This is a picture of Kaslo. As you can see, one of his ears has decided that it is going to stick up... The other one hasn't quite made up it's mind, and is usually down but occasionally comes up. Now he looks really funny, and not very scary with his awkward asymmetrical look! We really hope that the other ear will go up; we even tried to tape his other ear up. We couldn't get the hang of it though, and we didn't want to hurt him so we didn't even attempt to glue them up together. Hopefully it will fix itself out, and we won't have a "guard dog" that makes people laugh!

Names for the Pigs

We have decided on names for the pigs! Angelina is the name of the big sow, and the 2 little boys are going to be called Hock and Hammy. The hock is the part of the leg right above the hoof, for those of you who aren't well acquainted with the parts of the pig. I think it's cute! Although there are other people who disagree with me and think it's not funny at all. Oh well...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Eating Like Pigs

In my last post about pigs I showed some pictures of the pigs eating. Well now I've gone out and taken a video of the pigs eating.
*WARNING-You may not want to watch this right before you eat!*

video

Aren't pigs dainty eaters... This happens twice a day rain or shine (although the pigs don't really like the rain) It starts off with them squealing loudly when they feel that they're entitled to their meal. Next comes the eating of the feet (you'd think they would learn that they don't get fed when they try to eat our feet...) and then the pushing and shoving when they try to put their head in the bucket of food before it's in the trough. Apparently they're starving and need to eat right that second, but it makes it hard to get the food into the buckets and not on their heads! And finally they get to eat. Very noisily. And rather sloppily. Of course the sow (Angelina) gets the most food, not only because she's bigger, but because she's the most aggressive and tries not to let the other pigs near the food.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Solar Project

About a week ago we signed a contract with Solar G to get a huge solar panel! 2 days after that they came and dug a big hole. The next step was filling it with gravel and then today they put the base in and poured all the concrete.


This is what the solar project looks like so far. We have to wait for the concrete to set and then the Solar G people will come back and start the next step!
I have always wanted to write my name in concrete or put my hand print in or something. Well it turns out concrete is toxic or something and burns your fingers. Luckily somebody told me this before I shoved my whole hand in. As for writing in it with a stick something that somebody else pre-chose, well that's just not as fun! Oh well... Maybe one day when I'm rich and famous...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Heroic Battle

Well I hate to say this, but today Carter (the goose) actually did something useful! What a surprise...
This afternoon our neighbor's dog(s?) came into the farmyard and were trying to eat some nice tasty ducks. Luckily Carter got in the way and (for once!) beat up something that wasn't human! He got a bit hurt in the process too though; feathers were all over the yard. But wait, there's more! Asha (who is usually suck a wuss) came to the rescue as well! She got in a fight with the dogs because she didn't want them to eat her goose! So she ended up saving Carter! And since Carter proved that he is actually good for something, I don't feel the need to get rid of him anymore! Well I never thought I'd see the day that I'd say that...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dog vs Turkey

I've been meaning to put this on my blog for FOREVER but have never gotten around to it... Well today I'm finally doing it! This is my first video so *fingers crossed* hope it works!

This is a video of my turkey (George, who you can read about in my very first post!) with his little turkey minions, and Asha. Now for the story line... George really doesn't like dogs. Actually, George isn't really fond of anything but other turkeys. And, well, since we give him food, he'll put up with us too! And then there are the little turkeys. They think that George is the greatest! They will follow him everywhere, and do whatever he does. He doesn't really like them, but they can gang up on him (and have in the past) so he'll put up with them as well, but only because he's at loss of what to do to get rid of them. And last, the other star of the show, Asha can be seen trying to play with George in this video. He wants to beat her up actually, but luckily she's too fast for him to do any real damage. This is one of my favourite video's (even though it isn't great filming on my part) because it's so unlikely. I mean, how many people have a dog being chased by a turkey, who has a swarm of baby turkey's following it? It just doesn't happen that much!
video
I tried to shorten the clip (cut off the beginning because the filming is horrible) but none of the applications I tried to open it on seem to have that function! If anyone could explain how to do that it would be great...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roadtrip!

This Monday we undertook an epic road trip to get some pigs. It was more than 5 hours both ways! We got a pregnant sow (yes, we actually went through with this!) and 2 little boys (that we will be eating). They (especially the sow) did not want to come home with us. And they protested loudly about it. The next day (when we were getting them into their pen because we got home really late) the sow got to walk into the yard from her cozy pig transporter. The boys, however, had spent the night in the back of the truck and decided that they liked it there and didn't want to get out. Especially when they realized it meant them being carried. Now I know where the expression "squealing like a pig" came from! They were REALLY LOUD! Luckily we got them into the pen all right and they then decided that it definitely wasn't as bad as they thought it would be, so they started to eat some grass right away. The sow also started to turn up the soil (very pig like I must say...) We also (well, the farmer we bought them from) found out that the sow that he thought was a "maybe purebred big black pig" was actually a pig with papers! She is registered in the national breed registry, and her piglets are actually worth quite a bit of money! So instead of eating them, we may end up pre-selling them all to make some money off of this investment! For once! Anyway, back to the topic of the actual pigs, another one of those expressions "eating like a pig" is also true! These pigs are GROSS when they eat! They spew food everywhere and get covered in icky. I have some great pictures of them eating in the trough (legs in, completely covered in food!) and dripping food everywhere while they chew with their mouths open. I put some of the best on here.

On another topic, they need names. Well, some people would disagree with that. They say "why name something you'll eat?" What don't they understand about being able to bond with your pig (while it's alive...) And a name makes it much easier to talk to a pig. Not that you really need to... Hmm... I guess they have a point!
Anyway, we need names for the pigs (and preferably ones that have something to do with cuts of meat!) We're thinking of calling the sow Angelina (big celebrity, lots of kids!), and I have friends that want to call one of the piglets Wilbur... However the pigs are black and we're planning on eating them, which doesn't seem like the best thing to do to a famous children's character that ended up living happily ever after... So... Suggestions would be great!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Prospecting of pigs

This year we might be getting a big, black, PREGNANT sow!!!!! So we would have to help deliver the piglets, and we'd have to get the boy pigs castrated! That would be an... Interesting learning experience! This way we would have quite a few piglets, as well as a breeding stock that we would have to take over winter. Since we had such luck with the Tamworth's we would still do a couple of them just to compare the meat(?) and because we like them anyway. It has been very hard to find piglets this year though! Which is why we want a pregnant sow as it is a lot better bang for the buck (we hope) and a lot easier to come by. Hopefully this way the pig hut we have will be big enough for the one (or three) pig(s) when it is still cold, and by the time they get too big, it won't matter! This is the new plan, although some people aren't overjoyed with is, it seems like the best course of action, and therefore plausible to happen! I will post more when we reach a final decision and are sure of which pigs we're getting!

A very tiring new lifestyle!

This new home and lifestyle is very tiring for Kaslo! After trying to keep up with the other dogs on the walk, he'll come home and just crash for a while! Also meeting so many new people is very tiring as well! Here are some really cute pictures of Kaslo asleep :)
The first picture is of him is after his first big romp outside. He went up onto the porch and collapsed at the door and proceeded to try to eat the mat. Apparently being tired doesn't stop him from wanting to eat everything!

The second picture is him after his first night here. He's been really good about sleeping through the night, and gets up at about 6:30 every morning, which is not ideal, but at least after you take him out and give him something to chew on, it's possible to go back to sleep. For me anyway...
The third picture is him after a very long and tiring walk where he came in and fell asleep right away on his bed, and was too tired to really care how much I moved him around! I put his little pig toy (which isn't really meant for dogs but so far even though he's not always supervised (*GASP*, yes and we even read the label!!!) he hasn't choked on it. And survey says he probably won't!) under his leg and took a bunch of pictures. This is one of the ones that turned out best. I think it's really cute!
Anyways, I'll keep posting more pictures! Maybe next time I'll put him in a little shirt... Or not, maybe that's just too mean for his manly pride? Any comments?

Friday, April 2, 2010

The arrival of Kaslo

On Tuesday we brought home our new puppy, Kaslo. Aside from throwing up in the car, he's doing fine here! He's almost house trained, and doesn't have many accidents. He gets along really well with the other animals as well. I've been taking tonnes of pictures, as per usual, and most of the ones from the past few days are of him, and how he's interacting with the other animals.



Asha is slightly put off by not being the "baby" now. She is constantly trying to but in whenever we try to pat Kaslo, and jump on our laps to get the attention for herself. She treats Kaslo a bit like she treats the cats, by licking his head. She must thing that he's a cat because she gets very confused when he tries to jump on her and play with her. She tries to play "tag" with him, but he can't run as fast and gets really tired easily.


Kiri isn't quite sure what to think about about the puppy... She decided to ignore him for the most part, and occasionally steal his kennel (which used to be hers) and eat his food. She doesn't appreciate being played with, and will growl and grumble to us about him, although her bark is much worse than her bite!




The cats don't really seem to like him, although that's not surprising as they never really like dogs at all. They all have been making themselves scarce for the past couple days, and try to stay out of "bouncing distance" in which they are in danger of getting bowled over by the very energetic puppy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A new puppy!


Very shortly we will be bringing the newest member of our family home... A chow-shepherd, shepherd-lab cross puppy! He is 8 weeks old, and a boy from a litter of 7(or so) puppies. These are some (not very good) pictures I took of him when I went to go meet him. I'm sure I'll take lots more pictures when he comes home later today! He is very "chewy" and was trying to eat our pants! Apparently the smell of chicken poo is very appetizing for him... He is very energetic, and loves to play "tag" with the other puppies by running around with a water bottle or a stick. This should make Asha happy, as that's her favourite game too. We're really hoping that he is well received by the other animals. Kiri, however, is very reclusive and doesn't really like any other dogs. Asha likes to gently nibble on the cat's heads, so hopefully she won't think that the puppy is her new chew toy... We don't think the cats will be very thrilled at us, as they're not that fond of small jumpy things that try to chase them. The only problem with getting a puppy now is that it was really short notice, so we're barely ready to bring him home! There's still very chewable objects laying around the whole house which will need to get squirreled away to unreachable places before he gets here and decides that he wishes to teeth on "the economist". Another problem is that we don't have a name for him! So far the names we've come up with and sort of like are Tarak, Adair, Stoke, and Kazlo. And puddles... but that doesn't really count. We're pretty sure that we're going to call him Kazlo (because you have to admit, Kazlo and Kiri sounds really cute! I'm not sure where Asha fits into that... Asha, Kiri, and Kazlo just doesn't have the same ring!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well... you know it's spring when the barnyard turns to goo...

It isn't officially spring time until you step into the barnyard and almost fall because of the slippery mud. It doesn't even have to be an almost... I've fallen down in that goo before! It was not a pleasant experiance. This is probably the earliest that the yard has defrosted and turned into a sea of mud. Thanks global warming... And as unhappy as we are because of the mud, the ducks are exstatic! They love the warm weather, the flowing water (and the puddles for that matter), and even the mud. Wherever you can see mud, you can see little duck footprints. The ground is literally covered by them! As soon as I take a picture of it I'll make sure to post it.

Pictures!!!

I finally found my camera so now I'm trying to put a picture onto every post! Look at some of my older posts to see pictures of the animals I've described!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Death in the Family

On Monday February 22 Amaroq passed away at the Breslau Vet clinic after suffering a heart attack. Roq has been in the Family so long that I can't remember a time when we didn't have him. This year Roq was turning 14, which is really old in dog years. As a puppy Roq loved to chew. He would chew up anything that came into his path. He was also very energetic and loved to run around. Most of all, Roq loved the snow, so it seemed kind of fitting when it finally snowed the day he died. During walks in the winter, Roq would jump into snowbanks and bury his nose. During his last year you could tell that he was getting old though. His fur was tangled and he could barely breathe. He seemed like he was in pain, and it was time for him to go. We will all miss him lots, and even in his last days you could tell that Roq was still the puppy we brought home all those years ago.
This post is in memorial of Roq, a great dog and our family. If you have a favourite memory of him please post it in a comment!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We have a new card reader!

We recently got a new card reader (the other one seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth) so as soon as I can find my camera, I will update all of the pictures. Soon (hopefully) almost every entry will have a picture!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bacon's Bacon

I keep forgetting to write about things as they happen, so here in the consensus on Bacon's meat. Everybody loves the meat from Bacon because it is really tender and juicy and yummy! The bacon is a big hit, and everybody who has tried it so far has asked for more! The pork loins are also really good, especially because the chef of the family has done some great dishes with them. They have been enjoyed by many guests, and there's still more because Bacon was such a big pig! We also made guanchale for the first time, which is the cheek of the pig seasoned and hung in a cold room. It turned out really well, and is really good when it's cooked and added to other foods, like soup or salads as it is really salty. Bacon produced a lot of sausage as well (over 70lbs!) so we eat that occasionally too. One of my favourites with the sausage is a disk of polenta that has been fried with a slice of sausage on top and a dab or creme fresh with basil on top. It makes a great appetizer, and lots of people have enjoyed it! We have yet to try the ribs (which will probably be my first time ever eating ribs) and I'm looking forward to it! I will post more as we try more of the different types of meat!

The Hawk

I thought that I had blogged about the hawk before, but apparently I haven't? I think it might have just been in the post about the turkeys though. Anyway, just to clarify, the hawk who eats our chickens in regular intervals has a friend now... I guess that word is getting out that we're the best place to eat around here. I had always hoped it would be for people though. We really don't appreciate the hawks eating our animals actually, and would like it if they would just go away. Sadly they don't seem to understand us, or if they do they just don't care. Either way, we have decided that we need to use force to get rid of them. Or at least scare them off for a long time. The problem is, they only come once every couple days, and it's usually when nobody is home, so we come home to a nice dead animal laying in the yard. Yay... But that's not really what we want to see when we come home. Someone proposed that we got someone to shoot the hawk. However, we don't really like the idea of shooting something like that, especially because we might just injure it and that would be no good. Then someone suggested an alarm system that would make a loud noise at them. As good as that seems in theory, it isn't very practical because how would you set that up? Any other suggestions are welcome, because this is really a problem for us. We do not wish to have a gourmet hawk feeding restaurant...

More about Matt

Matt is now really fluffy with mostly black fur except for his silver cheeks and ruff. He still sneezes a lot, but he's on medication so hopefully that will go away. And then even I may like him! Who knows... I will post a new picture of him as soon as I find a way to get my photos onto the computer (the card reader seems to have vanished off the face of the earth) because he's pretty cute now! We're still trying to pawn him off onto friends, but don't mind having him in the house as much anymore. Hopefully he will be completely cured of his ickiness soon, and won't snot or breath funnily at all!

Another "oops"

A couple days ago I found the newest button quail laying dead in the corner of the cage. And I don't mean that it was sitting really still (because button quails never do that), it was actually dead. We think that it was because its beak had overgrown, so it was long and curved, so it couldn't eat properly. Especially when the food gets low in the dish (which is my fault). We also noticed that it had really long toenails, so now we're going to try to cut the nails of the other quail. We'll see how that goes when we get to it... Luckily I have learned my lesson though, so next time we see that one of the quails has an overgrown beak we're taking it to the vets...

Snik the Snake

A couple days ago we found a snake in our basement. It isn't very long (probably about 20cm) and only a centimeter wide at its longest. Since it's winter, and it should have been hibernating, we thought that we would have to keep it and take care of it or it would starve to death. We put it into an aquarium and gave it a piece of pipe to hide in and went to the nearest pet store to get some food for it. They told us that we should get a mouse to feed it so it didn't learn to hunt and wouldn't bite us (I think we may have forgotten to mention that it was wild to begin with). The mouse was tiny, dead and frozen. They told us to heat it up in a warm pot of water before we fed it to the snake. First of all, ICK and second of all, it probably wouldn't even eat it because it is used to live animals. Instead we got some crickets, which is much more like the food it would get here in the summer. It was really cool watching the snake hunt because it gets really still and some people who saw it thought that it was dead. Except then it suddenly lunges forward and eats the cricket! Most people won't hold it, even when we assure them that even though it can hunt there's no way it's going to bite them. It feels really cool, almost like silk. I named the snake Snik, although so far the name isn't really catching and most people just call it "the snake".

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Christmas Time!!


Merry Christmas to everyone!! Since I still don't have a card reader, I'm not going to be able to put on any new pictures for now, but if I can find one, I'll put up an old one in another post. With a story of course!

On a more farm-y note, I'll talk about life on the farm . Basically, it's never fun to have animals (especially chickens) in the winter. The water freezes over, and we have to haul it all out by hand becuase the hoses don't work when water freezes. The chickens don't like the cold, and spend most of their time inside huddled together in an attemp to stay warm. The adventurous ones (in other words, the stupid ones) who do go outside often get frostbite on their combs and toes. Thats never fun to deal with. The turkeys -who always complain anyways- come up to you when you go out, and seem to say "why is it so cold out?" like they blame you for their discomfort. If the runner ducks don't get to wash their faces in water, they get bad eyes, which makes them look really bad, especially the white ones. Nothing exciting really happens in the winter becuase all the chickens stay cooped up inside, so I probably won't have much to say when it's cold out (not that I've been updating much anyway).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Ducklings!

Last night we found some ducklings wandering the barn, so we took them inside so they wouldn't freeze to death. They probably hatched from a nest under the hay bales, as we weren't expecting them to show up at all! It's amazing how fast ducklings grow, as the other ones (that we hatched in our incubator) already dwarf the new ones!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shipment of Birds

We recently shipped a bunch of birds, including all of our meat birds (the White Rocks), a couple spare ducks, and 3 of our turkeys. The meat birds are now in our freezer and mostly sold, as well as the ducks, and the turkeys are already eaten! We recently had Thanksgiving (a bit late) and we had our own turkey. It was quite good, but a little small for our family (these turkeys didn't get very big). We sold the other 2 to Buca, an amazing new restaurant in Toronto that also buy duck eggs and is opening soon!

New Duckies!

We put some duck eggs in the incubator a while back, and we had a really good turnout! Now we have ducks to our ears in 2 dog kennels in the basement! There are roughly 27 ducklings, and they are mostly runner ducks, although there is one calico one that most definitely isn't! They go through tonnes of food and water (ducklings are very messy drinkers) and will have to be moved to a bigger house soon. Sorry I don't have a picture! I still haven't found my card reader...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Fur and Feathers Show


Today was the fur and feathers show! This year we got there fairly early (around 7 in the morning) and brought back 10 new pets! We got 4 new quail to replace 2 of the ones that were eaten, 3 khaki ducks, 2 Harlequin ducks, and 1 Pekin cross that is buff coloured. They got to come home with us in a n old dog kennel, and in this picture you can clearly see that they aren't used to being near to people... They were "yelling" at me and smushing to the back corner as much as they possible could.

Gourmet at Stone Meadow

Last night Stone Meadow Farms hosted a fundraiser for the Guelph Youth Singers. It was a big success, and 38 people attended! Some of the menu items included; A Muscovy duck mole (kind of like a stew) with a chocolate spice sauce, our own Tamworth pork, 3 kinds of hot sauces made from very local tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos to go with our 3 colours of tortilla chips, and corn and wheat (white and whole wheat) with the regular fixings! The night was a lot of fun, and the food was really good, so thank you to everyone who came! We raised a bunch of money for the Guelph Youth Singers thanks to you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Goodbye Piggies!

Our Tamworth pigs (bacon and DaLoiney) have been shipped to the processor. Bacon walked right up into the trailer and ate the offering of watermelon, but DaLoiney wasn't going to go without a fight... she ran all around her (big) pen, dodging everyone who tried to get in her way. We tried to fence her in, but she got around the corners every time. Her crowning glory was like a trick out of dog school... We have a chicken catching net that we thought would at least slow her down, but she came up to it and jumped through it, clearing the sides and ripping straight through the netting! We were all impressed and decided that we were never going to get this pig into a trailer, so Bacon left that day, and DaLoiney only left today. I wish I had gotten a video...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Matt the Catt

Matt is not our cat. Or at least some of us say that. He "blew in" the lane and we found him covered in matts meowing at us. We kind of adopted him, took care of him and cut all the matts out. He looked really bad for a while and his fur was grey with spots of black in it. He is growing quickly and his fur is now all black, but he's still really "clingy" and he sneezes a lot. Ick. Now he's just as big as Mercury and just as much of a pinhead as Titania! He is really cute, and lots of people like how he stretches up to hug you when you pick him up!

Titania

Titania is Mercuries littermate. They look quite a bit alike, except Titania is smaller, has more brown in her fur, and has a brain the size of a pin. She always loves to be picked up and cuddled. She and Mercury are very different cats; she is also a great mouser, but she is a lot more outgoing and will "myahrah!" at anyone near her! Some people love her because she is very funny, but some prefer a more intelligent cat. I am one of those people. Other than that shes a great cat! She is a good mouser and a great cuddler!

Mercury


Mercury is a barn cat from a different barn in our neighborhood. Especially when he was younger, he was a purple-ish colour with mauve pads on his paws. He is a great mouser, and loves to eat them on white duvets! He is incredibly sweet, and loves to snuggle. In fact, he gets into such raptures that he starts drooling on you! He's also shy, and the most people usually see of him, is a blueish-purple streak as he runs by! I know you shouldn't pick favourites of your "children", but Mercury is my favourite!

Shaylee

Shaylee was a tortoiseshell barn cat from the barn of the same neighbor I got my fancy pigeons from. She was a great cat at first... but later we found out that she had some disorder so she went crazy. We ended up giving her to somebody who wanted to take care of her. We were all sad to see her go, but we knew that it was for her own good

Anemonie


Anemonie or "the Princess" is fluffy white with black blobs. We got her on the way to our cottage by accident; there was a "free kitten" sign so we went to check it out. There were lots of fluffy, cute kitties! Anemonie and another little boy were my favourites. My family also liked a little grey girl, but she wasn't playing, she was just laying in a box. We settled on Anemonie and went to our cottage. A couple days later when we were coming back to pick her up and all the others were gone!! They had kept Anemonie just for us. We took her home and she adjusted quickly to our house. She especially liked this scratching post we have that has a knot hole in the bottom. We first took her outside on a leash and she loved it! Her fur grows longer every year and she has the attitude of a princess. (hence the nickname) I love Anemonie, and if she's in the mood, she's quite cuddly! She is a great cat.

Rainy

Rainy was an orange stripey barn cat... Yes, I know that the name isn't very good, but my mother promised me that I could name the cat. I wanted to call him rainbow, but my mom couldn't picture yelling "Rainbow" out the door. So we settled for Rainy. Rainy was an energetic kitten like most are, and he broke his leg once. It was hard to keep him from running around. Sadly our house was in town by a road, and Rainy died when he wasn't very old because he got hit by a car.

Stevie and Splinter


Stevie was a rescue cat from the barn beside our house that got torn down. Her brother, Splinter was also rescued with her and went to live with "the cousins". Stevie was not an outdoorsy cat that liked to eat and sleep and sit on you. She was rather fat, but we all loved her. Stevie died when she was 12, probably because of all the extra fat in her body. She got put down at a vets office and we took her home and buried her in our new backyard. Splinter lived with our cousins for most of his life. He was really mean and would swipe at you if you went near him. Due to some complications, after Stevie died he ended up coming to live with us. By this time he was partly senile and had decided that he didn't hate everyone anymore... now he wanted to have all the attention on him. He was the cat that just kept going and long overstayed his welcome in our house. He died at the age 18 a ratty old mess, and got cremated in our own fire pit. Not many people missed him. This is a picture of Splinter.

Asha


Asha is our "baby" dog! She's a German/Shiloh Shepherd which means that she is bred to have good hips and a flat back. Asha is slightly neurotic; she is fixated on light and shaddows. She'll stand with her tail wagging and her toungue slightly out. I call it her "shaddow face" even though she likes lights more. At first we let her play with them, but it got worse so we try to discourage her from that now. Asha has tonnes of energy, and she's very skinny even though she eats over 4 cups of food a day! Asha likes to lick peoples faces and sit on their laps, especially mine! She's our 70lb lap dog. She's very smart and learns quickly. I LOVE German Shepherds and reccomend them to anyone who likes big energetic dogs who love to do whatever you're doing.

Kiri


Kiri is a Finnish Spitz, which is a small, orange hunting dog. She is really good at hunting small rodents, as well as the duck eggs laying around the yard...On a good note, she has very shiny fur! Kiri is a very "licky" dog. We think it's because she likes the saltiness of your skin. She has a funny voice; she goes "woowoo" and "wohhhwno" She also has a very "ruhf"-ish voice. Kiri isn't great with other dogs, but her bark is way worse than her bite! Some people think that Kiri is a cat in a dog's body... I think that she's a dog, but whatever... genes don't mean that much do they! I recommend Finnish Spitz's to people who like big, docile cats... and lots of kisses!

Roq



Roq is a malamute cross, so he looks somewhat like a husky, but in browns and yellows. Roq was a bouncy puppy who has been with us for 12 years. He's coming to his end though... he has difficulty breathing and is showing his age. Roq loves to run and be active. He also has a taste for chickens... not the best quality for a dog on a farm, but we had him from before we had chickens. He was a rescue dog as well. I like malamutes, but he's the only one I've met. I recommend them to anyone who likes adventures, ski-joring, and he's also good with children!

Emma Dog

Emma was a German Shepherd who came as a full-grown dog from the humane society after she had puppies. She was a great dog who fiercely guarded the family. She also guarded her food... when I was very young, I got into her food and she bit me right around the eyes. My mother took me to the hospital, where she was sure they would try to take away her dog and her child... they actually commented on how gentle Emma had been. She could have crushed my skull if she wanted to. Sadly Emma died of old age. We buried her on a colourful piece of cardboard in our backyard. We all miss her but at least she died of old age, not a medical reason. She was a great dog and I love Shepherd!

Fish



I've had WAY to many fish to put them all in seperate blogs! When I was younger, we used to have a whole bunch of guppies. They bred like crazy, and we gave some away to friends so our tank didn't get to overpopulated. I've owned some Chinese Fighting Fish. The first was blue but died when a house sitter took care of him for a while. A while later I got a multicoloured one that I called Aurora. I also got a girl in the hopes that they would breed. They didn't. Aurora got fin rot and died, and the girl died shortly after. I've also had angel fish and a variety of small fishes that didn't really make much of an impression on me. Of all fish, I think that plucostomusses are my favourite. You may know them as algea eaters or sucker fish. I've had 3 in total (Costa, Costa ii, and Creature) and they are great fish... plus you don't have to clean the tank very often. The other fish I've had were supposed to be something they weren't. They started out small and brown and grew like crazy into huge, orange aksdofghad that ate every other fish in the tank. I called one Smeagle. I didn't like them, but that was mostly because they ate my other fish. They were very pretty... The picture in this post is them. It was mostly just to get their colours, which didn't work well in a video. It turns out to be the only picture of them because they died while we were on vacation. I say good riddence...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pigeons

The pigeons I mean when I say "pigeons" are the kind that you see everywhere... parks, the city, basically everywhere you usually see pigeons. So as I mentioned in the previous post about fancy pigeons, my only regular pet pigeon was found by my neighbor. I named him mottle because with his yellow baby fluff, and grey-green feathers he looked (hem) kind of bad. Mottle grew to be almost full sized before he vanished. As you may have noticed on your own, pigeons are really tame. They make great pets if you like birds.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fancy Pigeons


A couple years ago, I got 2 fancy pigeons from my neighbor. One was brown and one was white. They are the most beautiful birds I've ever owned! They have big feathers on their feet a crest-like thing, and a swirl coming off their beak! I named the brown one Gregory and the white one never really got a name... sadly my Rouen duck (Bryce) pecked her in the neck so she died. Gregory lasted for a while but he was lonely, so my neighbor managed to find an orphaned pigeon on a road, so Gregory adopted him. Gregory couldn't really fly so well... we think that the pretty fluffy feet somewhat slowed him down. He loved to fly up and sit on our roof even though he had to really work to get up there! We aren't sure where he went... our best guess is that he got carried off by a hawk and the other pigeon (his "child") followed him. I really loved the pigeons and I think they make great pets!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guinea Pigs

I once had 2 Guinea pigs... this is their sad story. I got them at a pet cetera. At first they lived in my room, but that didn't go so well. Then they moved into the bathroom. That also didn't work so well. They then got moved into the basement and into an old huge fish tank. We don't really go into the basement that often, so we were starting to forget about them. We moved them outside in the summer. They got out once, but then they didn't run away so we started letting them out every day. Then one day, Angus didn't come back. A while later, Gylbert didn't come back either. We think that it was probably hawks, as we've seen them take chickens before. I didn't really like Guinea pigs, but that might just be because I didn't spend the time to tame them very well.

Button Quail


Button quails are miniature versions of quails. They come in a variety of colours such as light blue, dark blue, and brown like a regular quail. They are very skittish, and will drop some feathers if you pick them up. I got 2 of mine at the fur and feathers show 2 years ago, and then another this year. They lay brown eggs with brilliant green insides. The only way to tell the males from the females, is that males have a bigger white "bib" than the females. They are very small, and don't eat or drink much. I recommend them to anyone who is interested in very small birds, or very small eggs.

Quail


I purchased 4 quails this spring at the fur and feathers show. At first they lived in the basement, but when it got a bit warmer, they went outside. Sadly, our dogs got into the cage and all the quails scattered. We only found one immediately and later that week, we found another one! They lived in the basement again for a while, then went outside again. They lay eggs crazily, and now we sometimes add a complimentary quail egg or two in a dozen eggs! I would recommend them to anyone who has something to do with small eggs, or if you're just looking for a really cute small bird that gets tame!

Tamworth pigs


This year we decided that we wanted to try out pigs. We contemplated a couple kinds, but decided on Tamworth pigs when the only place to get the other ones we wanted was in the United States. Tamworth pigs range in colours from orangish, to slightly purpleish. They have big ears that look a bit like a dogs ear. We got 2 of them, both girls and called them Bacon and DaLoiney. We picked them up in the back of our pickup truck, which was fairly simple. Getting them out was the problem. We had a ramp, but it was short, so it was really steep and the pigs didn't want to get out of their comfy straw in the truck. We got DaLoiney out by pushing at her, but Bacon didn't want to get out. We eventually managed to get her out of the truck, and she ran down the ramp squealing. They live in a semi-forested area where they root around in the dirt and lie in the shade. They also have a little house that they go into when it rains. Since I haven't tried their meat yet, I can't recommend them based on that, but they are very nice pigs; we can go in and pat them if we want to!

White Rock Chickens

White Rock Chickens are the commercial chickens you can buy at most grocery stores. They have the "perfect" yellow chicks that look like they just walked away from the Easter Bunny. They are bread for quick growth and lots of white meat. They actually grow so fast that they are subject to heart attacks, and never get enough feathers to cover their entire pink body. They waddle around and have very thick legs to support their mass. We get them because lots of people prefer them to other chickens simply because that is what they're used to. I don't really like them because they are so boring, but they do grow quickly and have lots of meat on them.

Barred Plymouth Rock chickens

Barred Plymouth rock chickens are another one of those breeds where the person who named them had no creativity... they have "barred" or stripey black and white feathers so they look like the perfect jail-bird! They are dual purpose birds, although their meat is somewhat tough. They lay big brown eggs almost every day in their first couple years of life. After that they make really good dog food. The chicks are black with a little white cap. I recommend them to people who want good egg-laying chickens.

Aurucana Chickens


Aurucana chickens are very variable. They come in a variety of colours, and lay brown, blue, or green eggs. We've had pretty good luck with them; the chickens are pretty hardy and their eggs are pretty. We have some old brown hens that lay one huge, misshapen egg once a week, and some younger ones that lay blue-ish green eggs. The younger ones are pretty, with multi-coloured feathers with a combination of black, brown, and white streaks. I recommend them to anyone interested in them.
This picture is an Aurucana (or Americana?) rooster.