DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 .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.

Friday, June 30, 2006


This Canada Day and Fourth of July Weekend, both will be celebrated in our home. V, the fair Floridian is here for her first Canada Day. I have many fond memories of American holidays in my years living in new England.

We put up our flag and installed the above bell which used to be the dinner bell on V's grandfather's farm in Pennsyvania. It is a lovely addition to our farm. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Strawberry Season

Don't you just love the strawberry season. Veronica went with friends and picked three baskets of berries at Lone Wolf Farm. She has made 29 jars of jam. (Once she starts she can't stop herself.) We have yet to make blueberry, chock cherry, raseberry jam or several other jellies, high bush cranberry, haw, rosehip, jellies etc. Our shelves will be full for sure.

For now we will be eating strawberries with cream or whipped cream from Daisy. Could life be better! Posted by Picasa

Activities About the Place

This is our new Rouen hen we acquired to keep the Muscovy drake company after the death of his mate. They are spending more time together and romance might blossom.

Our thirty new laying hens arrived. They are beginning to lay small eggs which will get bigger as they mature. They are all red. They have yet to find their place in the pecking order.

Each day the rooster leads them out into the yard. Each evening he give a thrashing to any hen who is not back in the henhouse on time.The older established birds dominate in the hen house taking up the prime perching sites leaving the new hens on the floor or clustered together on top of the nesting boxes. It is interesting to watch the emergence of the "new (world) henhouse order". With controlled violence and sexual dominance the rooster keeps order. He is enough to make any dictator sit up and take notice!

Rocky our top hat rooster ( on the nesting box in the picture) is accepting in the henhouse. He behaves himself inside and lets on he is "gay". As soon as he is outside he is off chasing a hen. If the boss rooster sees him Rocky get chased around the yard. He is a cocky fellow who struts his stuff around the yard finding romance where he can out of sight of the big fella!

Our duckling we incubated are growing rapidly. The are free in the yard now. The move about together "as one".

This is Megan, with a hand from Tiffany, milking Daisy. Megan loves animals and keeps several rabbits as pets. She is quite fearless around the animals and wants to try everything in the care and feeding of them.
The girl's visit reminded me of the good times years ago when Megan's mother and Tiffany's oldest sister spent a lot of time on my farm. Those were wonderful times. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some Wild Flowers About the Place

Wild Iris by the river

Devil's Paint Brush, never far away

Wild Roses near the bridge

Bird's Foot Trefoil, by the road (an agricultural legume escapee) Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 19, 2006

Porcine Nursery

No this is not our Ruby ,the Duroc pig , with her litter! She has a way to go yet. These new born delights are from a friend's Hampshire pig. It is her first litter and all 8 are doing well. The little black headed one we have agreed to take in exchange for a boar piglet from Ruby's litter.

"V" is all a flutter and cannot wait for Ruby to have her litter.

We have had some much needed rain for our garden although some improvements to our plumbing system has allowed us to install some automatic sprinklers in the vegetable garden.

I think all the garden is planted at last, except for some second crop peas and beans. Here is the list of what we have planted:

3 varieties of potatoes ( a red, a white and Yukon Gold) 3 varieties of corn ( 2 varieties of sweet corn and popping corn, my one vice)
several varieties of peppers, hot and sweet, including penis peppers, V's passion in the pepper family
2 varieties of radishes
2 types of beans,
cabbage, red and white
Brussel sprouts
3 varieties of tomatoes
2 varieties of pumpkin. giant and a pie variety
Squash: butternut, zuccini, acorn, hubbard
cucumbers for pickling
a variety of other herbs
giant sumflowers

I think this is the complete list although our next pass by the store's seed display may see us buying some more seed.

With our short growing season, but our long daylight hours and hot weather, things will grow rapidly from now on. I will be in a battle with weeds (which also love my fertile garden) and Colorado potato beetles, which are after my potato and tomato plants. I am determined to win this battle this year using several methods of control.

Haying has begun. I am helping a friend in exchange for enough hay for the Winter for my few animals. I think food security for the Winter is assured for the people and animals on our farm. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 11, 2006

In Memorium

We had an unexpected death in the barnyard family. The Moscovy hen I found dead with the drake sitting alongside. I suspect she was grabbed by one of the dogs although she was unmarked.

The Muscovy's have not been a part of our yard for long. They came as a pair and were constantly together.

I am not one to personify animals for I think they have a dignity all of their own and do not need us to read human behaviour and feelings into their activities. BUT, the drake spent the whole day by it's mate as if in mourning. Even when I moved the hen up on some haybales out of reach of other animals, the drake joined her for a day and night.

The next morning I buried the hen when the drake was momentarily distracted. He seems lost without her. (oops, a personification!!)

Friends are giving us two female ducks in exchange for a rooster so he will have company soon. And, it won't be long before our 18 Pekin ducklings will be joining the barnyard crowd, also. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 09, 2006

What to do on a Cold and Windy Day

It has been rainy and windy today so we sought an indoor activity close to the stove. We made cottage cheese and butter with our Daisy's milk. Both turned out well. "V" seemed really pleased with herself. She asked if I would make sweet tea biscuits, as I often do.

Hummm! warm tea biscuits with our own home made butter, a hot coffee by the fire. Life can have it's simple pleasures.

Now to find a yummy way to use the cottage cheese.

They are calling for frost tonight so it is time to cover the tomato and pepper plants and say a little prayer! Posted by Picasa

Poultry in the Kitchen

One of our later ducklings doing the backstroke into the world. I love their eyes which always seem to express wonderment.

Here is our kitchen poultry corner just after we moved 90 chicks out which were just over two weeks old , getting feathers and beginning to flutter over the barrier we kept them behind. 50 went to a neighbour for whom I raised his chicks to this age. The other forty went to my barn (I use the term loosely) where they will join the cow, Daisy; sow, Ruby and calf, Lucy . Hopefully they will enjoy the large brooding enclosure I built for them. (It got cool and damp last night. . .Damn! I worried about them
all night but they were fine this morning)

For a few days, we will keep the duckling inside but they have already outgrown their small cage.

Then we will be able to really scrub the corner and get rid of the last of the hen house smell of the kitchen. It was fun while it lasted.

Over the years. I have had pigs and goats and calves in the house on occasion. The cold weather and an inadequate barn make it necessary. Luckily, I have a spacious house . Anyone who is looking for a farm property get one with a good barn first. I fell in love with the river crossing my land and an antique cookstove in the kitchen. The priorities of a dreamer!!!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Make Way for Ducklings

I loved that children's story, Make Way for Ducklings. I discovered it when I lived in Boston so I was familiar with the sights and sounds of the story. Mother duck lead her ducklings up Charles Street from the Charles River to cross Beacon Street into the public garden and the pond there. She later took them back. People took the time to let them pass unmolested.

I now have my own parade of ducklings. So far we have eight and are expecting some more. I took the above picture of the incubator just before I removed the hatched ducklings. It has taken two days to hatch out this many. In the next day, I hope for several more.

Life is full of little 'wonders', (miracles if you prefer). The hatching out of fowl is certainly an example of the wonder of life forming. From a single cell, over 28 days of careful control of temperature and moisture it emerged from the shell a living creature of flesh, feathers, beak and feet (big feet). Not only that , they can go for three days without food or water as they absorbed the egg yoke which continues to nourish them. With a quick introduction of what is water and what is food they are off an running toward a life as a mature duck. I will have to substitute for a mother offering them feed , protection and shelter. I just hope they will not imprint on me and want to follow me everywhere around the property. Then it will be a daily, "Make Way for Ducklings." Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Sad Tale

It was with some hope and a determination to do what we could, we responded to a neighbour's request that we take in this young calf and try to nurse it back to health.

It was a week old and was doing well to survive this long. The mother cow refused to feed it and managed to kick it and break it's leg. The neighbour, who has a large cattle herd had given up on tending for this calf. They had been hand feeding it but not getting enough milk into it as it turned out. He said we could keep it if we nursed it back to health.

Initially, although thin and with a broken leg the calf seemed strong enough to lie in the approriate position although I was concerned it has signs of dehydration.

Not having electrolyte, we fed it milk boosted with molasses for some quick energy. It took two quarts of this mix and we started feeding it another similar amount when it went in convulsions and died on our kitchen floor. I had seen this sad result may times before when I had a cow-calf operation. It is deeply disappointing to have failed an animal so dependent on you. This calf was failed by our neighbour who I wish had given it to us two or three days earlier.

Death on the farm is a reality you live with along with the joy of new life.
Currently, we are watching ducks hatching out in our incubator. We have been tending these eggs for 28 days since we bought the 24 fertile duck eggs at the livestock auction. I guess we got the real goods this time. Hopefully, most will hatch out. Two so far and action in two more eggs at the moment. Stay tuned. Posted by Picasa