DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Milking Miss Daisy

Meet Miss Daisy (Pronouced with the appropriate southern drawl). She is the latest addition to our farm family. We purchased her from a local mennonite farmer who culled her from his herd because of her infertility problem. ( In the reality of farming a cow that is not pregnant will soon be heading for the slaughter house.) We rescued her and will give her a less stressful life for a while. She is a very large yet quiet cow.

Daisy is very patient with a couple of amateur milkers learning on the job. I used to occasionally milk my beef cattle who were not pleased with my efforts. Did you know a cow can kick sideways! Daisy is a pleasure to milk and "V" and I will get better.

The reward of our efforts.

Our first product, two gallons of milk. We will be scrambling to use four gallons of milk a day. The calf, Lucy, we are hand feeding, will get some. The sow, Ruby, will enjoy some as will Ben, the dog and the cats. We hope to make, butter, ice-cream, yogurt and cheese. Real cream for our coffee and fresh whole milk will be a daily delight. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

Our Outing's Destination

Our little trip to the bush turned around at Lower Goose Falls on the Sturgeon River. It was lovely as the water flowed through a narrow spot in the river and dropped over a granite ledge. The is a wonderful spot to camp, swim, fish and frolick later in the season when it is a little warmer.
We were alone today until we were about to leave when a four wheeler couple showed up. It won't be long before canoe trippers portage here on their way down stream to River Valley and perhaps beyond to Lake Nipissing and the French River. If one desired one could travel all the way to the Rocky Mountains and even the Pacific or Arctic oceans. . . .Imagine!!! Posted by Picasa

A Trip to the Bush

It was a lovely day at last. The lilacs finally came into full bloom and filled the air with their fragrance.

"V" (as she has come to be know locally) and I headed out for a little tour of the bush. We went about forty miles up the bush road seeing no other traffic. Lot of forest, rocks and water vistas before us.

Overlooking Manitou Lake.

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Ideal moose pasture, but alas, there is no moose to be seen

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Our New House Guests

A box of pleasant pheasants! Only four of these will stay with us.

Where is Waldo ? The two little pheasants look like they go on the wrong subway car.

A plethora of poultry! We have 90 chicks in a corner of our kitchen chirping up a storm. They are pullets and cockerels of a meat variety of bird, which will be ready for the freezer in about 15 weeks weighing 6 and 8 pounds respectively. In three weeks, half of them will go to their owner leaving us with the other half to raise in our shed and not in the kitchen.

In the meantime, their cheery chirping greets us daily! Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 22, 2006

Getting Anxious

Some of our tomato plants waiting to be put out in the 'good earth'.

A couple of more tomato plants keeping the penis pepper plants company. . . .waiting.

And . . .still more on every windowsill.

Yes, that is snow on the Victoria Day Weekend. Burrr.... the temperature was 1C. It is cold and damp. I like to think the heavens are sending confetti to celebrate the Queen's birthday on this anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth. (Shifted to the weekend from the 24th so make a long weekend. Such self indulgent shifting of holidays for our pleasure is one of my pet peeves.)

I think of all the cottagers opening their cottages and camps this weekend suffering the cold. . . serves you right. And, then there are campers. . . .burrr. At least, they will be allowed to have an outdoor campfire. (If they can finds some dry wood.) This ia a good test of their survival skills!

I shall just stay warm by the woodstove and enjoy the lush green vistas and listen to the grass growing and the sandhill cranes complaining. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Our Latest Member of Our Farm Family

This porcine beauty is a pregnant Duroc sow we acquired yesterday. After being manhandled by three of us into a crate on our trailer, she arrived her in her new home beside our calf. She has settled in nicely and will be better treated here than where she was. I don't approve of manhandling livestock. I figure one must be smarter than them and ways to use their natural behaviour to control them. I guess I am the "hog whisperer". Eventually, our pig will be on a pasture behind an electric fence.

Duroc pigs have red bristles, which do not always show in photos. The above photo I enhanced to bring out some of the redness.

This pig will deliver us a litter at the end of July and the beginning of August.

On the way to get her a moose stepped out into the road in front of my truck. Luckily, I was able to slow down enough to avoid her. That makes 7 moose I have seen in the last six weeks. Veronica is surprised at the number or wild animals we have seen this spring: moose, bear and deer. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blackfly Season has Arrived

I failled to tell the fair Floridian about the blackflies in Northern Canada. These biting flies that swarm about your head can be annoying. I suggested Veronica might want to wear the headnet. It is not glamourous but effective. My son, Parker, could never stand the bugs and often wore one for the three worst weeks of the Blackfly season.

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She made me put on the headnet to I could look ridiculous, too. With the netting pushed back, I rather fancied this Taliban turban look. Of course, I am too cheerful a person to be confused with the rather dour Muslims. I have learned to "love" the blackflies.

Sing out loud the Northern Ontario Anthem, The Black Fly Song,;ttBLAKFLY.html

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Progress

I have been turning on old shed into a chicken coop using old stuff around the farm. Here are some nesting boxes out of the coop I built in 1980 for Parker's flock of 100 hens. At age 12 he had a business. "Parker's Poultry." Now these boxes will serve our 40 laying hens. Dom't throw anything away. . . .you might need it again! Notice the old planking on the walls. Here in the North the hen house has to be insulated for the Winter. On the south facing wall I installed an old picture window out of my library. A little passive solar energy will be nice. I can also watch the hens without going in the coop.

We had a second trip to the livestock auction with some friends. I thought we might get a young pig. We got some more rabbits and chicken, Veronica just had to have. While i was catching up on my sleep as we watched the larger animals being auctioned, I caught a glimpse of Veronica bidding on a calf. Lucy is her name. How to get her home was a problem. I thought she might fit in the animal cage I brought for a pig.
At the loading dock the gal from the SPCA nixed that idea. It too a trip to the lumberyard and some hasty modifications to our trailer to satisfy her.
Needless to say, after buying the calf we had to pass on some pigs that would have been perfect for us. Next time! I really must keep a close watch on Veronica at the auction. I think she has gotten the hang of it and really enjoys it.

We bought some fertilized duck eggs at the auction and we are trying to incubate them. 28 days will tell if we made a good deal.

The expansion of our vegetable garden in underway. Some planting can be started as soon as another neighbour comes with his big tiller and tills it all. Our frost free date is June 15 in these parts so frost sensitive plants will have to wait for early June. I have an attic room full of plants growning under lights, a kind of third story greenhouse. It will be good to get them planted outside. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My Muscovys

I love Muscovy ducks. They are a dry land duck and won't be seeking out the river to play in. They are as meat "bird with with big breast" (sounds like a homely British wench). They are good mothers. I hope this pair decide to start a family. They also eat lots of flies. When I had cattle they earned their keep eating flies in the barn.

I am busy refurbishing a shed to make a chicken coop for the 30 egg layers we have coming , in June. Later this month I will have 20 meat birds arrive in the form of day old chicks. It will be fun to see little chicks grow into pullets weighing 6 pounds and cockerels, weighing 8 pounds at about 17 weeks. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hot and Dry

The other day, as we were installing our new animals in their housing a water bomber showed up. There was a fire on the next farm. We had noticed the smoke but they had been burning stuff there for several nights cleaning up the place, so we thought little of the smoke over that way. Apparently, the government forest firefighting people did think something about it.

The plane made two passes and dropped water on it. This largely put it out but later a helicopter brought in a crew to put out hot spots. They stayed for a day camping out and making sure it did not flare up.

It was a modest affair. Fighting forest fires is one of the toughest jobs. it is heavy exhaustive work in the bugs, heat, smoke, dirt. The shifts are long , mostly boring occasionally terrifying. A young person's game!
This small crew was made up of a forty-ish fellow, and a young man and woman in their twenties.

This was a job well done. There are hundred of fires in Ontario each year mostly small affairs but occasionally conflagrations lasting weeks and burning ten's of thousands of acres.

Right now the bush is very dry as it is slowing greening up and we are in need of rain. There is a ban on all outdoor burning. I had already done some around my place. I am always very nervous as I have a history of burning the wrong things down. My father was called "firebug Robinson" as he never hesitated to start the neighbourhood fire for a community celetration and he loved to burn leaves around our place. I try not to follow in his foot steps!!

I do miss my outhouse and the old cabin across the river. The fire up the hill at the back of my place was exciting. And, then there was the time I had to call the volunteer fire company out as they were sitting down to their Easter dinner! Hmmmm! ,stop me if you see me with matches. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Trip to the Auction

Yesterday we made the trip to the livestock auction, a two hour drive from here. Being on the road early we were treated to the sight of two moose by the road, a first for Veronica and along with the bear we saw the other day and the 24 sandhill cranes in a field near the house she is starting to think she is in the wilds.

We were on the hunt for some specific critters for the farm, in particular a buck for our doe rabbits and some muscovy ducks.

I gave Veronica some brief lessons in auction behaviour, warning her not to make any jesture during the bidding unless she intended to bid or we could end up buying something we didn't want. Also, I warned her to not show too much interest in an item ahead of time as the owner might be near by; and, the price might get bid up highter. We also determined an upper limit on the items we were interested in ahead of time so we would not get caught up in the exciting bidding. She deferred to me to do the bidding. All in all we got what we wanted. We got the muscovy's, the buck, a couple of interesting rooster the Floridian fancied around the yard, two additional does the same breed as the buck, New Zealand Giants, and a peacock!!!!! Yes a peacock.. . .What momma wants mamma gets. I just missed out on a pair of guinea fowl which I had my heart set on. There will be another day. All in all it was a beautiful day with a clear sky and the temperature reaching 80F.

Me with our lovely buck rabbit. The does will be smiling soon and we will be on our way to establishing a small rabbitry.

One of the roosters we could not live without.

Our Peacock. Just a year old. It will take several years to develop it tail feathers. It is a male and now we (I mean, she) wants a couple of females.