Tuesday, August 31, 2010

good fences, good neighbours

Since moving to the farm we have been discussing fencing. What kind? Where to put it? When to start? etc.  Rod has been hesitant thinking maybe we don't want animals on the farm so who needs fencing. Whats a farm without animals????  He and Zach would like an iron horse but Talia and I want one that is flesh and blood.

Once the barley came off the field and we saw 8 acres of grass discussions turned to maybe we should get a goat or two to help keep the grass down.  Well, with coyotes running through the area at night it isn't safe to have animals that aren't fenced or have a barn to live in.  Can't put animals in the original barn - thats for equipment. So the question is, if we have goats where will they live.  The plan became to tie them up in the field during the day and then move them in to a pen at night.  We were able to track down a large dog run that should keep them safe but also give them room to move around.  OK, shelter taken care of now all we need is goats.

Now to convince the husband that we need to work on a fence.  The first thing is to research cost of materials.  While searching on KIJIJI (I love kijiji) I found a farmer who had fence boards he was taking down.  He would sell them to me for $2/board.  That is a real steal of a deal considering they are solid oak 1x6x8.  So off we went to view the boards and the next thing I know we are the owners of 127 oak boards.  No fence posts to hang them on but this is a start.

trailer load of fence posts
 Next, run into Paula at the grocery store and start talking about the new place.  Paula and her husband also live in the country.  They have been boarding horses on their property for years but now that the horses have both died the fencing has been taken down so the farmer can plant more crop.  What are their plans for the fencing?  To get rid of it.  Perfect.  Negotiations are made and we head for their place to pick up posts and wire to make more fencing.  Well, those posts are huge.  They came from old telephone poles. Not the regular posts you would put in for fences but great for corner posts.  The posts take up all the room in the trailer so another trip will need to be made for wire and a few extra posts.

Paula and her husband take us for a walk around the property and happen to stop at their old play centre that they recently dismantled.  Do we want it?  Of course!  It will save us building a new one for the grandkids to play on at the farm.  How about the chain link fence?  Sure, we will find some where to use it.  Maybe around a chicken coop? (hint hint)

All in all a very productive week for construction materials.  Now, when are we going to start building that fence?  Anyone want to come help?   Maybe by next spring I can actually have some animals on my farm.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I scream, you scream we all scream for ICE CREAM

Mmmm, ice cream. 

I'm not a big ice cream eater.  Its not that I don't like it, I just don't crave it like my husband does.  He would love a bowl of ice cream every night.  I usually save it for special occasions.  For his birthday I splurged and bought Kawartha Dairy ice cream, where the first ingredient is CREAM.  They had some wonderful flavours - white chocolate/raspberry, chocolate/peanut butter, royal gold, etc.  I thought it was a wonderful treat until last night.

Last night I had a heavenly ice cream experience.  We have a new ice cream shop in town and my visiting teachers decided it was time for a treat so to the ice cream shop we went.  If you have ever been to a Marble Slab Creamery you know what a pleasure trip it was.  The line up in the store was 30 people deep. They were still lining up behind us too.  Good thing the place is open until midnight!

For those who have never experienced a Marble Slab Creamery WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?!?!?

There are so many flavours to choose from and so many toppings you could go every day in the summer and probably still not try all the combinations.  https://secure.xo.com/marbleslab.com/menu/   My first experiment was BIRTHDAY CAKE and SKOR bar in a waffle cone.  Mmmmm.  My VT's tried Key Lime with Graham Cracker and Swiss Chocolate and  raspberries. 

So when you place your order the server scoops your ice cream and places it on a scale.  Don't want to over or under serve your customer.  From there the ice cream is placed on a SLAB and your toppings added on top.  The ice cream and toppings are then blended together with a spoon and paddle until well mixed. Creating a smooth ice cream, just like you get when you stir your ice cream at home.  You then choose the kind of cone - plain waffle, dipped, etc. Or if you are on a diet (ha!) you can have it in a cup.  After that you eat and enjoy. 

So the next time you want to go out for ice cream, check and see if there is a Marble Slab near you. I know where I am going the next time my husband get the urge for some fancy ice cream.

Monday, August 16, 2010

to sleep, perchance to dream

Are you a dreamer?  I dream nightly, usually more than one dream.

Night time is when we are supposed to sleep and rejuvenate our bodies and minds.  How can that happen if you spend the whole night dreaming?  I often wake up more tired than when I went to bed.  I used to think it was because of the crazy hours I kept with getting up for papers at the 'crack of stupid', and then taking a big nap in the afternoons.  But it has been 2 years since I gave up papers and I am still having crazy sleep.

Falling asleep has never been the problem, it is staying asleep.  I will wake up at least once maybe 2 -3 times most nights. Sometimes it involves just rolling over and falling back asleep. Other times I need to actually get out of bed, wander the house and maybe even find a new place to sleep.  In the old house that place was the family room.  I would lay on the couch and listen to the loud ticking of the clock.  It would finally lull me back to sleep.   Since moving to the new place we don't have a couch to sleep on so that option is out. 

Well, I hope I have found a solution to my problem.  After talking to a friend who is studying to become a doctor with an interest in naturopathy, I have started taking a natural hormone -- MELATONIN.  What a wonderful non-drug.  I still find I will wake up at night (usually to go to the bathroom) but falling back asleep is almost instantaneous and my sleep feels deeper and more relaxing.  And the dreams have slowed down!!! Usually only one dream at night and it is just before I wake up for the day.  What a joy!

They say you shouldn't take melatonin continuously. You should take a break every 3-4 weeks.  Well, I took a break this past weekend and the dreams were back in full force.  So, I guess I will continue to take my little white pills for sleeping and plan my "dreams" for the weekend when I don't have to get up early for work. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Smells I love

There are so many smells out there in the world.  Some make you gag - like skunk, rotten vegetables, dirty diapers, stinky shoes, wet dog, etc.  Others make you feel happy and bring comfort. I much prefer the happy smells.

Some of the smells that make me happy are:
fresh mowed hay or grass
new born babies
roast cooking in the oven
the air after a rain storm
laundry hanging on the line

We have always had a clothesline.  Up until we moved we have used the umbrella style.  Out on the farm we have the long line for hanging out the laundry.  I love this style the best.  The clothes are able to wave in the wind and they dry faster. There have been days when the first load is dry before the second load is on the line.  OH, the smell of clean laundry.  It smells like fresh air and sunshine.  Sometimes I will hang up blankets even if they haven't been washed just so they can get that fresh air and sunshine smell.  I have even pulled blankets out the the closet months later and can still get a wiff of that wonderful smell.  It is especially great if it happens when the weather is cold and you can still smell summer. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

oats and beans and barley grow

OK not oats but beans and barley. 

combining barley
This spring we had 8 acres of barley planted by the farmer down the road. The previous owners had rented out the land and they had corn and beans.  We don't plan on growing crops and didn't like the idea of 8 acres of dirt so we had the farmer up the road plant 8 acres of pasture grass with barley over top as a nurse crop.  We have been watching the barley grow and wondered how the grass was doing underneath.  Tuesday night our farmer came down and determined that the barley was ready to be harvested.  He said he would be back early next week to take care of it.  What a surprise we had when we came home last night to find the combine sitting in the field and half the barley already mowed.  Before I could even get supper on the table our field of barley was finished.  Thanks Al and Phil for harvesting our barley.  Hope you are back soon to bale the straw.

Merrill Barley

And yes, the beans continue to grow.  I only picked one row last night. I guess I will be picking the rest tonight unless I can find someone who wants to help.  I also picked and shelled peas. I got about 2 cups off my few scraggly plants.  Rod doesn't want to grow peas anymore but I think I will try convincing him  next spring to put in a few more rows. The weeds kind of choked them out this year. 

Talia has been busy cleaning the old chicken manure and straw out of the barn. That girl is pretty handy with a pitchfork after all these years working in horse barns.  We have a nice pile that we will be able to spread on the garden this fall which should add great nutrients to the soil.   We should have a great garden next year - more beans to pick!!!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A day at the beach

With yesterday being a holiday it was time to PLAY not work on the farm!  We convinced Poppa that we needed to make a trip to the beach (our first one this summer).  We rounded up family members and a few friends and off we went to Long Point, down on Lake Erie.  Sauble Beach is our usual beach but we decided to be adventurous and try somewhere new.

sliding on the sand pile
We all had fun playing in the waves and the sand.  My greatest joy was watching Gracie play in the sand castle that "Uncle" Robert had built.  It was really just a huge pile of sand with a moat and wall around it.  She watched Robert step over the wall but since she is so much shorter she decided to slide over the wall.  That was the beginning of her sliding in the sand.  She would climb on top of the sand pile and slide down the other side.  This must have gone on for over 1/2 hour of her climbing and sliding.  She was giggling the whole time.  She didn't even care that her face was covered with sand. 

sandy girl
The boys took turns pouring water into the moat.  The expression on her face when the water would "disappear" was priceless.  She would then turn to the lake and say "lots more water".  At which time the boys would start filling the moat again.

Sisters and Friends, the best combination
Amber and Talia are always taking picture of themselves and usually making funny faces.  This time they were serious and actually captured a great picture of the two of them.  Can you tell they are sisters?

Zach was a great sport and let the boys bury him in the sand.  Robert then used his artistic talents and turned my son and the pile of sand into a muscular MERMAN.
Zach in the sand

I am so glad we took the time to play together as a family.  We will have memories of a fun day together.  When we got home there was grass to mow, trees to trim and storage shelves to build. The chores didn't seem so bad after a day of play.