Thursday, May 21, 2009
The weather has been crappy- think I'm kidding? We seriously had snow flurries at least twice in the last week...ummm HELLO??? I thought it was May.
So for the last week between the wind and the snow and the greyness we've been inside a lot!
I don't even know how to write about this, for the last 3 days I've been debating if I should even post it because I don't even want to talk about it.
But our little puppy Mack,
the one that we'd had for exactly a week on Sunday, got the bright idea to go visit the buffalo that live across the highway. He didn't make it back across the highway.
I've been in tears quite a bit about it for the last few days. I know I said I needed to harden up about life and death in a farm setting...but I just can't seem to harden up about dogs. And to be honest right now I'm mad!!!
Within the week that we had him there was a sorts of behavior changes already happening. He was quickly learning not to jump, even on Nathan. He was obviously watching Maggie and realized you could chase after Nathan and then cut him off and herd him in one direction to show him that you caught him instead of just pushing him down.
He was sitting better.
He was coming to his name.
He was really starting to shape up and look like he might be an excellent dog for around here! And then in an instant he was gone.
I was so mad, We'd taken him for a walk through the big back field only a day or two before, and when we'd walked home along the highway he hit the dirt (literally) every time a car went by. He was scared of the noise. I'd said to Chris at the time too "good, don't comfort him, the more scared he is of the highway the less likely he is to go near it"
Sunday, May 10, 2009
He has beautiful coloring, and he and Nathan are becoming fast buddies
We've been looking for a good Acreage puppy for awhile, I knew I wanted something with size and this morning right in time for a Mother's day pick up I found this ad
"3 Month Old Bull Mastiff-Cross Puppy To Give...
Hello, my puppy's name is Mack, he's 3 months old, he's a great lovable dog, brindle in color, I also have another 4 year old dog that does not seem to take to him. I am sometimes away for long periods for work and am afraid that the puppy may get injured. Please give him a good loving home and he will be yours for free. Must come pick up, ..."
We went and got him within the hour. I mean with a face like that you knew he had to come home with us.
It turns out he's Old Bull Mastiff crossed with Bloodhound- so when I said I wanted a big dog, I found one. According to wikipedia blood hounds males can be 80 to 110 lb, although some individuals can weigh as much as 160lbs
and bull mastiff 110 to 130 pounds .
So Mack is going to be a BIG MACk.
Miss Maggie was so excited, when Dad came around the corner carrying Mack...she could hardly wait for him to get put down so they could "meet"
They've been doing pretty well together, although I think Maggie forgot about puppy energy.
And of course Nathan is thrilled to have another dog,
...and I think Mack is a little nervous, because he was getting beaten on by the other dog we was living with. But they are finding there groove, there in the kennel together in the mudroom tonight, so that ought to bond them pretty quickly too.
Although, Mack is a puppy. And we've notice he seems to have some bad habits like JUMPING on people. Considering he'll probably be over 100 pounds, that's going to be my first puppy battle. As well a making sure he comes when he's called. The last thing I need is to be chasing a dog that won't come back to me over 30 acres!
But overall is was an awesome Mother's day- getting to add this new member to our family. And then getting to spend time out in the SUN with everyone, made for a fantastic day!!!!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Nathan playing in the garden with his new letter blocks...he's funny with them, they're actually quite heavy so he moves them one by one around the yard.
He needed them in the garden tonight, because that's where the action was! I finally got all the plants I bought at the farmers market in (before they withered and died on the deck)And then tackled the "other" plants that were already there, but most look a little worse for wear at the moment
Friday, May 8, 2009
but the story gets very sad from there.
I responded to an ad for a bottle feed billy goat on kijiji. My thoughts on this were, if an animal is bottle fed, it views you as it's mother and would be much easier to handle.
Now I'm not going to deny that honestly- all the signs were there...if we'd been paying attention and not in such a rush to "get our first farm animal". If I'd thought through all the reading I've done about even other animals I would have caught theses signs and never taken this little goat home.
-he had cloudy eyes (which is never a good sign in any animal)
- he was the only goat in the barn that wasn't wearing an ear tag (Chris noticed this, I didn't look close enough at the other babies to notice)
- he was having watery poops in the car even on the ride home- and excessively here when he got out and all night
- his owner wasn't keen on writing a bill of sale or even giving us his parents names, saying that the pid numbers only applied to sheep so far (umm no)
- there was 2 other kids butting us, and chewing on our pants the entire time we stood in the barn, who I assumed were at least a week older than "or little guy", but apparently the owner referred to them as his sibling as one point (thus he was the runt of the litter and way more lethargic and not as alert as these two -hmmm...another indication there was probably something seriously wrong?but like I said I didn't hear the comment and assumed he must be much younger than the other 2)
Anyways It was a very hard day on us, First our little buddy didn't take very much milk this morning and I was really worried about him getting enough. As I said he was pooping a yellow runny fluid, and was covered in it this morning. So I ended up giving him a wet and soapy rub down this morning with a towel, hoping to get some of it off...but he seemed to have less energy than even the night before and didn't protest to much.
Slowly throughout the day his energy decreased and decreased to the point he laid down on the barn floor and couldn't get up under his own strength.
We force fed him a bottle trying to get anything into him, trying desperately to get his strength back.
In the end we, and our little buddy lost the battle.
I threw the stupid goat bottle across the yard I was so mad.
I felt guilty (still do) that maybe I had not taken good enough care of him...but after hours of discussion with Chris about all the "signs" I really truly think we have "greenhorn suckers" stamped on our foreheads. and pretty much got taken by a farmer who came across as really "nice" and helpful, and just didn't want to have an extra chore of bottle feeding. When in fact, I really think he knew that this little goat was never going to make it, and if he could get some sucker cash out of someone for it, better than nothing.
maybe we did some things wrong- I by no means claim to be experienced, but I honestly don't know what more we could have done...and I think, thinking back, he was already showing a lot of signs of being sickly. I think we may have been fighting a losing battle before we even knew we were in a fight.
Regardless of how or why. It was sad. It was a baby animal, and it was hard on both of us to watch.
I'm sad that it happened, but I also think it will make us a little better, and cautious in buying any other livestock from now on. The excitement of getting a cute animal is overwhelming...you just want to take it home, but in this case the heartbreak just isn't worth it. I still don't know that we will be able to pick out all signs of a sick animal, but I think we'll be much more aware and looking for anything that doesn't seem right. So even though it was a very sad and heart wrenching experience, and it was horrible that it happened with our first animal. In some ways, I think it may have been a lesson better learned right away...not that it's okay to lose the animal, but I think we may have quit and moved back to the city if we had lost an entire flock of sheep and lost them all or something.
And I guess if your going to live on a farm you have to get used to life and death...still not easy, but not everything is going to make it. no matter how much you'd like every story to have a happy ending
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I named her Chevy- which I think could work for either a boy or a girl just in case were wrong about the sex
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
But I think I've come up with a plan!
You see more than one person was concerned about me becoming a "farmer' that I don't have the heart to part with animals and I would end up with dozens and dozens of pets. everything from chickens to cattle.
but I think I may have just stumbled upon the solution to this.
all three can be raised for fibre, which is harvested from the animal, and you still get to keep your "pet"
The alpacas and the sheep will need the PID numbers that I was talking about in an earlier post. but the rabbits (I think- unless they are being raised for meat) don't require the PID. just rabbit hutches...oh and smart me, I even have a book on how to build rabbit cages ~ can you guess what Chris new job is going to be on his next 4 off?
I have a couple e-mails out to the English Angora breeders I could find in web searches...so we'll see where this new train of thought goes.
Monday, May 4, 2009
A few days ago we started pumping out the rather large "pond" that had formed in the low spot of the backyard. And it was enough water that it actually took a few days to drain out. But the pump accidentally got left on when Chris went to work last night, so by this morning it was all virtually gone.- the pic is me moving the pump to deeper water (in my fashion farm boot~I'm sure the neighbors are laughing behind my back, but I love 'em) and then having to chase my helper back out of the water, he really needs to know what I'm up to all the time. And hey! any excuse to get in a puddle is always a good one for him!!!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Now to her credit, she is amazing if your outside with her, she watches Nathan like a hawk, she doesn't let me get more that 30 feet from her if we go on walks, before she doubles back to check on me.
Now, as I mentioned before,Maggie has been sleeping in the mudroom since the first night we were here. But the previous owners had dogs as well, although the dogs were about half her size, anyways they cut small dog doors through the mudroom and garage walls to give the dogs access.I showed maggie these holes when we first got here and she had no interest in even attempting them.
But,Chris came home from work one morning last week and accused me of leaving Maggie out all night. I guess she was waiting on the driveway for him. That's when we realized that she's skinned up enough to squeeze through the dog holes. Now most mornings it's a guessing game if maggie will be waiting to to be let out, or already gone.
Of course once she was letting herself out anyways without the chain, and seemed to still be on the property...the chain seemed a little pointless.
So for about a week now, we've been letting her go a lot without being tied up. and she seems to be coming back from her adventures whenever she's called. She hasn't yet gone near the highway, and the only real complaint is she keeps crossing the gravel road to play in the trees on the neighbors side (but they don't live anywhere close so I assume It's not a huge deal)
So it seems that the slow freedom approach is working- she now pretty much only goes chained when we leave- for fear that she'll try to follow the car. I can't think that will last much long either, when we went to town today, she managed to force the chain clasp somehow and was waiting for us on the driveway when we got back.
So I guess she's acclimatizing to this farm life pretty well too!
The previous owners left a box full of potatoes downstairs- and as yo can see they're already sprouting, I knew I should probably cut them into chunks, but my Mother in law reccomended smaller chunks than I was thinking with only one or 2 "eyes" per piece. She also said to put them into the ground right away, and when they are about 8 inches or so, to create hills around them... (again more stuff I never knew)
I went into town and got a bunch (39 to be exact) of seed packages, they we're 3 for a dollar at the dollar store,so I'm not totally sure what kind of quality we'll be getting, but since I knew the garden was going in late I didn't want to spend a million bucks on seeds that might not work anyways.
From there we zipped over to Peavey Mart- Which is quickly replacing Wal-mart as my fav. store (gasp) but seriously, Their prices are way better than any of the other stores that carry the same kind of stuff...the chicken wire on the right of the pic for example? reg. 15.99 vs.17.99 at home hardware- plus it was on sale for only 12.99 so a 5 dollar a roll differnce.
Anyways I picked up some carrot and pea seeds at Peavey Mart as well as two types of onions. And then we got the driveway reflectors so Chris can actually find our house in the dark. lol. As well as a ton or at least gallons and gallons of white barn paint for the fence I want to do out front (and hopefully the window frames, and some touch ups on the out builings as well).
Speaking of paint~ that's another example of Peavey Mart pricing- We'd priced the big 5 gallon bucket at Home hardware as well as ace hardware on saturday>HH started at $99 and went up. Ace started at 135 and up. Peavey mart? on sale for $5 dollars off making it 64.99 but their regular price is still only $70. seeing why I'm totally falling in love with peavey mart yet?
Saturday, May 2, 2009
We we're excited because the previous owner was true to his word and showed up with new gate (Yay- no more plywood gate to the outbuildings) and put them up today to replace the gate~ which were actually pieces of their horse trailer that they took with them.
Daddy and Nathan nailed the few boards that were falling off in the one front paddock
and this....has been an issue since the snow melted and I realized what it is...
So I bought a rhubarb plant
2 raspberry plant
and some chives.
I have plans to go into town and get seeds and fence paint this week, so hopefully the garden will be in soon.
The issue of whether we're going to the auction is solved!!!
I thought I'd look up some more info on sheep, and the different breeds etc. before making any bad decisions about animals spur of the moment.
Came across Alberta lamb producers website.
which actually seems like a good resource, but it set me off on a massive hunt that had nothing to do with sheep tonight.
In the news section of the website I came across an article about "Is your livestock operation legal?" which mentioned how a Premise ID number must be provided for every transaction or transportation of all "recordable" animals. On January 1, 2009, regulations requiring premise identification became law as part of the ANIMAL HEALTH ACT.
meaning we cannot buy any of the animals ie. sheep, alpacas, llamas, or cattle (plus a ton of others) until we obtain a Premise ID number. since all bills of sale must now include the premise ID of both the buyer and seller.
There is a Premise ID application form on the government of Alberta website. But I'll have to call on Monday for some help filling out all the information. Since it requires information like maximum herd capacities for the land...and to be honest I have no idea how many head of cattle or sheep or pretty much animal could be supported on 30 acres.
- so the application form is going to be like 5 pages of mind numbing information...and then you get to snail mail it to them, and wait!
I LOVE GOVERNMENT RED TAPE.
Friday, May 1, 2009
There is an auction of Exotic Birds and livestock close by, and I really want to go.
But with no trailer or truck buying something will be nearly impossible unless we can get it delivered.
We are also expecting the "old owners" to show up some time tomorrow (probably around the time the auction starts) to pick up the rest of their junk...I mean stuff. And we kind of want to be here for that- since they wandered off with 2 of the pasture gates last time they were here. The promised they are bringing other gates and will hang them this weekend so we can't be to upset (I guess they were actually using panels off their horse trailer as gates) but I think we want to be here to ensure that everything happens as it suppose to be.
But I'm still torn between wanting to be here to supervise and the "fun" of going to an auction. We've only been to one ever, and they are pretty exciting to me...plus I have a soft spot for them since that's were we collected Miss Maggie from.
But then I was on Kijiji this morning looking for another dog, and came across these guys...
Aren't they the cutest?
2 young male alpacas-best part? FREE
so I did some quick research
apparently ALPACAS are raised for their hair- which contains no lanolin- so is hypoallergenic.
They also only cost about the equivalent of a dog to feed.
They do well when mixed with sheep or goats, and you can comfortable have between 5 to 10 per acre- making them a perfect acreage pet/animal.
but the awesome news for us, is that they are supposedly really easy to transport....
"They are stress resistant, load and travel calmly and can be transported in the family mini van, station wagon, utility vehicle, or horse trailer. Some breeders have been known to transport their alpacas in small planes. Once enroute, the alpaca lies down and enjoys the ride."
COOL- another use for a Minivan!
anyways, I guess the owner already has someone coming out to look on Sunday, so we we're asked to call back Sunday and see if they'd been "adopted" or not. So we probably won't end up with these cuties, but the research was worth the time and kind of interesting anyways
Thursday, April 30, 2009
It's even equipped with a heat lamp already. So minor repairs, Kicks butt on having to start from scratch (was that a pun? chicken scratch???)
The outside run area of the coop
Nathan and I exploring the outside parts
...and Nathan demonstrating how the chicken can move from inside to outside!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
We took possession of the acreage yesterday at noon. And it's been an event filled time ever since.
Nathan and Maggie are in absolute heaven running around checking out everything. They'd be thrilled to spend all day every Day out there playing and exploring and climbing and carrying on. which is great except that we need an extra pair of eyes. Because the moving van still needs to be unloaded, and it's hard to carry boxes and watch what those two are in to.- but we're getting there. We're back to take the last of the stuff from the condo today...and then everything should be in...not unpacked mind you, but at least in.
Our night was chaotic last night.
Nathan loves running around outside, but wasn't to thrilled about the house...or sleeping in the house. In fact he was down right temper tantrum. It took us 5 hours to get him to go to bed, only to have him wake up 2 hours later screaming again.
I think we didn't bring enough of his toys in our first trip, so he wanted to go "home" to his toys, and his stuff. He kept asking me all night..."boots" "coat" "car ride". Not to mention its pitch black at night...so we ended up leaving his light on all night just to calm him down.
and then on top of Nathan, freaking out, Chris goes outside at about 1 am. and there is coyotes howling in the next field...and there's our city dog fast asleep.
She came in and slept in the mudroom after that.
but were having some serious problems figuring out what to do with her.
If she's not chained up, or being watched she wanders off to go "exploring" but if she is chained especially outside at night...she's pretty much coyote bait...especially since she can obviously hear them but doesn't seem to think it might be a problem in the least.
I'm thinking we may have to find a dog that has already lived on an acreage or farm and adopt it to give Maggie some boot camp training fast!!!
Although the highlights of last night for me,
was hearing 2 owls in the trees across the road,
being able to see stars again
and finding out the back of one of the out buildings is already set up for chickens...complete with nesting boxes, heat lamps and perrches...I was absolutley in heaven with this little discovery (it was too snowy, and unaccesiblle every other time we've been there to see this little hen house) This means I won't have to put ou a big outlay of cash to build anything...it looks like with a good clean out and a few minor repairs to the chicken wire we could be up and running with come chicks right away...so happy!!!
Monday, March 9, 2009
I mentioned in my dog days of summer post that I really wanted a male dog. Chris and I have gone back and forth about a dog vs. a puppy. I've been scouring kijiji looking for both. We've missed 2 dogs by hours, and I'd sent off an e-mail to an ad about 6 puppies a few days ago, but hadn't heard anything so I afraid they were already gone...
but tonight I got an e-mail back from the owner. The puppies won't be ready to go until the end of April. she's excited that we'll be taking one to an acreage, she told me I could come out next week and take a look, have a cuddle and have my pick out of the litter.
I'm so excited!!!!
I found Miller Hatcheries a hatchery with 2 Alberta locations
This was the first time I heard about beak trimming on Chickens.
I guess it...
It stops cannibalism, saving lives and annoyance
It stops fighting - the birds is literally disarmed
It stops feather pulling - preserving a good grade of bird
It stops feed wastage - birds can't pick so they receive a balanced diet
It stops egg loss - a major plus for the egg producer
It stops the nuisance problem of toe picking.
Beak trimmed birds tend to be quieter - fear of other birds is eliminated
I also checked out UFA the farm supply store, and found out they carry all the fencing supplies I think we might need for sheep. As well as the feed, and waterers and fed for chickens. They also had a link for miller hatcheries- which has got to be a good thing.
Another website I thought was a good resource for sheep was sheep 201 ~ a beginners guide to raising sheep
which has a ton of links to explain sheep fencing, handling, different breeds and more resources than I can even fathom right now.
and the website sheepandgoat.com which is affiliated with sheep 201.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Murray McMurray Hatchery
will actually ship out day old chicks (although they are in the states- so I may have to look for a closer to home source)
but they also have a great resource section with all these cool books- there is even a book on how to build your own chicken plucking machine.
Although I'm thinking baby steps right now this is the book that most interested me...
I like the fact that it sounds like it will be about farming on a small scale. Most of the books I've seen expect that your going to start out with entire herds of cattle or hundreds of chickens....
so the fact that its backyard- makes me think it will be talking smaller scale animal care.
I managed to reserve this (although I'm on a wait list) and about 12 other books from the library last night on line. I'm hoping to get some reading done about, animal fencing and needs before we get out there, since the idea of getting sheep to keep the grass under control this summer keeps coming up in our household. The problem is I know less about sheep than I do about chickens!?!?
The little girl who current lives there, has had this cat since it was a kitten and has always put it in the doll stroller. So the cat loves this, and would sit waiting for another ride whenever Nathan stopped pushing.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The only Acreage relate conversation I really had was with my Dad, about dog or dogs.
I'm convinced that a Male dog will be a little more territorial, and more aggressive to strangers, so to feel safer I'd like to add a male dog to our family.
I've been told the younger you get them, the more likely they are to be territorial, and protective of the family.
I'm a little concerned about training another dog.
So far we have raised a total sucky, and I'll be anyones friend if they pet me dog.
She's gentle and sweet but I really don't see her being any "protection" or even intimidating for that matter.
I'm concerned about raising a second dog to be the same way.
Basically I would like a dog that will hang out around the house and be racing to meet any cars that come in the driveway while barking and carrying on, so people will think twice about getting out of their cars.
But I need to be able to call them off immediately
and ... I've met other Farm dogs that will stop such behavior as long as the person cruising in calls the dog by name...which would be excellent if I'm not there when someone we do know shows up!!!
~Any suggestions on how to get such behaviors out of a new dog?
My other concern is for Maggie (our dog already) as well as a new dog...I'm really not sure how to convince any dog to stay just on our land? I've noticed Dogs don't get a fence concept- if they can get through it, it's a minor inconvenience but not really a boundary...so there is another doggy concern
If anyone has any ideas of how to train (or re-train in maggies case) a farm dog, to do these types of things I'd be grateful for advice?!!?
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Guide to Growing your Own Food