Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Round Up ( Jan. 24-30)

 Last year (like the Christmas before last) Hubs got a retro arcade plug and play game. Which has Pac Man on it. After Dad showed him a few times, Pac Man is about the perfect skill level for a 4 year old. He would have played for hours if we let him. Needless to say it disappeared that night, to come out another day. But it was fun to watch how much a game that we grew up with could still be so much fun, to someone who's never seen it.

Meow meow, somehow managed to worm her way into the house today.
Actually I kept seeing her sitting in front of the goat barn spying on them through the crack in the door. It occurred to me she's not actually that interested in the goats, she's probably after their heated water. Which means the dog water is either frozen or Jasper's being a jerk again, and won't let her anywhere near it.
So she got let into the house to make sure she had access to water.

Speaking of the Dog's guess who's also in the house tonight?
The temps have dropped drastically again. But with all the melting in the last week all the melting has caused some massive humidity. When Maggie met me in the driveway tonight she was soaking wet and covered in frost at the same time. Considering the temps are suppose to drop to minus 29 tonight our buddies are getting treated to a rare night inside. No Coyote duty tonight. Yippee!!!

Actually the whole week has been pretty wrecked, since everyone has come down with one heck of a cold!
Poor little monkey spent an entire day miserable on the couch.
(it's so strange when he goes from 60 to 0 instead of the other way around)

My only big project around here this week was the start of the operation de-clutter the kitchen. I've decided it's time for a massive overhaul, where everything in the house MUST have a permanent home or be re-homed! So far these are the donate boxes just from the kitchen cabinets. We're closing in on 2 years here, and most of this stuff has sat untouched in the cupboards the entire time. I don't know if it's just cabin fever, or if it's the fact we have "normally" moved at least once in every 2 year span up until now. The moving always forced a de-junking, and without it I had to wait for the urge to purge.
- Not bad so far-

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crazy Melty

My heart was singing today.
The sun was out.
We hit + 5.
Everything was melting.
I was hopping town to town running errands and getting my work done for the week.
But I made time to splash in a puddle.
(Hubby was not to impressed since he was walking beside me during said puddle splashing, and may or may not have gotten a little wet)
But a puddle. a PUDDLE!!! I was so happy how could I not jump in it?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday Round Up (Jan. 17-23)

Okay so I'm a day late with this one...

But it was kind of an interesting week around here.

* The weather finally broke, and we've seen plus side temperature a couple of days.

* The Goats are nuts for this weather, running, jumping and butting heads at being released from the barn (two weeks straight in there would probably make anyone nuts)

* Maxxie the Beagle has also spent the last two weeks cooped up in the house, we've been throwing her out the front door and she comes straight back after her business. Of course when it warmed up on Saturday I was leery about continuing the practice, but gave it a shot anyways. After 3 minutes when there was no scratch at the door I went to call her. She was on the range road down past the driveway. No amount of whistling or calling would bring her back. All of a sudden she took off like a shot right in the direction of the highway. By the time I got my boots on and ran all the way to the highway she was across it and in the Buffalo paddock across the road. CRAP! Someone was watching over both of us this time. She responded to my whistle finally, and thankfully there were no cars coming when she mad her mad dash back across the highway for me. Maggie had come out to see what all the commotion was about and actually herded Max back to the house. After getting knocked into the snow a few times by a dog 20 times the size of you running full steam to the safety of the house suddenly seems like the best idea "you've " had all day. So Miss Maxxie is back to going in her dog run during outside time. Beagles and their noses, shesh!

* Our land finally made us some money! Hopefully not the last. But we got a cheque this week for the seismic work that was done. It was good feeling to have some money back, since it seems like most of the time we just are shelling it out to live here.

* After a week of crazy kids I found its great therapy to take a 4 year old outside and chuck him into snow drifts. Watching him have to fight his way through snow is not only amusing but a great way to exhaust him! Yup, another mother of the year award for that one I''m sure.

* But the biggest news around here was the final demise of  Evil Cat. I hadn't seen her or even heard her in about 3 days. That's pretty normal around here, she seems to disappear as soon as the weather warms up, so I didn't give it much thought. But Chris borrowed my Van for a run to town, and before he hit the highway he realized he was out of windshield fluid. He popped the hood to add some, and made a bit of a gruesome discovery. Guess who had crawled onto the engine block to take a final nap?!?!
Hey after all the havoc that cat has caused around here, I'm not even going to pretend I'm sad. The only gross part about it is I'm not sure I haven't been driving around with a dead cat under my hood for three days. Ewwww.

* And my MIL is nearly done the first "goat coat" from the sweater pattern I sent her this week. Apparently she's knitting them in bright orange and bright green. No chance of losing a kid in the snow! I can't wait to see them.

Freaky dog

The other night I was off to put the goats "to bed". It was already dark and I was actually kind of relieved when Maggie decided she was going to accompany me on the round of chores.

I fed the goats first, and they were happily munching away on oats and hay cubes. So I snagged their water bucket and headed off to refill it. I noticed that Maggie was no longer with me, but I wasn't too concerned.
Although, I wouldn't leave her alone with the goats for extended periods of time (mostly because I think she'd find a way to help them escape). I've watched her before, and the only thing she wants them to do is stay together. So the worst case I figured was she'd herd them all to one corner of the barn.

A minute later, I realized something wasn't quite right. There was two goats standing at the barn door "yelling" at me. And Maggie was nowhere in sight.

The dog had kicked all the goats off their food and was busy chowing down.


Since when to Dogs eat these things?

Oh right it's Maggie the chow hound. I'm not always sure she even tastes what she's eating.

Although, I've notice since she heads for the feed shack as soon as I'm done to make sure I haven't dropped anything. It's the hay cubes she's after.

Weirdo Dog!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Haybale jumping

Not such a hot idea!

During the snow storms I've been bundling up Nathan like crazy and taking him with me to feed the goats, if the wind isn't too brutal.

The plus side to this is is he makes the perfect weight on the sled to hold down all the loose hay that needs to be dragged from one side of the yard to the barns on the other. ***Note to self: next year if you buy big round bales put them near the barn, dead grass is the least of your worries in -40 weather***

The downside is, super snow pants and having nothing but your eyes exposed makes you superman against the cold. Heck you'd stay and play outside all day if mom let you.

So the other afternoon he insists I help him up the hay bale while I'm tearing it apart. We have 5 sitting together, so the game soon became jump from one to the other. Land in a puff of flying snow and repeat!

Meanwhile I'm raking apart the bale thinking..." I wonder if I should allow this? is there a chance he could slide between them? No, Your just being the paranoid mom."

About 5 minutes after I had this internal dialogue. Guess what happened?

Yup, he slide right in between two. Luckily, he's old enough to have some self-preservation instinct.  He threw his arms out and held onto anything he could keeping his shoulders and head above the crevasse he was sinking into.
I couldn't reach him from where I was standing, so I jumped down, ran to the other side. Where I could grab him by the back of the jacket, a scruff of the neck kinda hold. He was jammed in pretty good. But my heartbeat was pounding, and I'm sure the adrenaline was pumping. A few good tugs, and I had him, and I was tumbling backwards into the snow in a cloud of snow and hay, with the flailing of legs and arms.

Oh yeah, I'm sure I'll be nominated for mother of the year for that one..

Friday, January 21, 2011

spring? soon????

Look what arrived in the mail (Thursday)

The chicken catalog from the hatchery we ordered from last year.

I was so excited.
Not really about getting chickens. I'm still not sure if I want to do more this year. Especially not meat birds, since we still have something like 14 birds in the freezer.
I'm seriously thinking about doing some exotic bantam breeds, and then trying to hatch chicks...well see...

But what I was really, REALLY excited about, was the idea that you can start ordering in SPRING is around the corner. (knock on wood)

Actually our weather finally broke tonight. One of the weather networks actually reported us a 1 degree tonight. 1 DEGREE - Like on the plus side. Not the minus.
Of course its about 4 days overdue from when the said we were suppose to get it, so I'm not going to hold my breath, when they way it suppose to be like this for the next 5 or so days.

But doing chores tonight wasn't half bad. So no complaints.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A pattern and a confession

Last week I mentioned how I was going to sign up for the goat hypothermia class with Kathy at HMFF?

The class was up and rolling as of Monday. Today we received an e-mail detailing the pattern for Kathy's ever so cute little lamb/kid coats.
Which I promptly forwarded to my MIL



This is the confession part...

I can't knit

*double GASP*

Yeah, I know. I have all these great plans that may or may not include getting animals like sheep, alpacas, and angora rabbits. Maybe even some angora goats.
All fiber animals.
And yet I myself can't knit.

Growing up I can remember my mother knitting me exactly one sweater. I also remember getting yelled at if you talked while she was doing this. "BE QUIET I NEED TO COUNT!!!"- My super crafty mother got right stressed out by knitting. In fact after she finished the sweater, I don't recall seeing her ever knit anything else.
This is probably why I have no idea how to knit.

I was absolutely in love with a Patons pattern  called Sally Secretary Monkey. I bought it and begged my MIL to knit me one. Which she did and I got got for Christmas. Awesome gift!

My favorite part is her little high heels.

Anyways, I can't knit. I've made my confession I feel better.
Okay not really.
One of my goals for 2011 is to learn, at least be able to knit a scarf by the end of the year? We'll see.
I don't suppose you could just raise fiber animals for the fun of raising the animals and barter/sell/trade all of the fleece/fur/wool???
Yeah, probably not really the point.

But right now I've talked my MIL into making me a couple of little goat coats. Because I've learned 2 very interesting facts from the workshop so far.

1) Kids can get hypothermia at any point in the year. They go from being inside Mom at a comfy 103 degree F. temp. to being dropped on a barn floor at whatever the temperature outside is sitting at.

and number 2 has nothing to do with why she needs to knit them for me, but it was an interesting fact about goat coats I thought I'd share.
2) They need to be made from Acrylic yarn. -because you can't use real wool. A baby animal can't smell even slightly like another animal to a new mom.
Something I totally wouldn't have thought of, pretty interesting huh?

just one more website to get addicted to

The Canadian Goat Network is a newly created Socialgo network, with a layout much like facebook.
With different forums, upcoming events, and goat breed groups.
It's just starting up, but already there's a ton of great advice, articles and a recipe for making brie cheese.

The Canadian Goat Network

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meet Your Maker

The event name made me laugh.
Its an event where food producers and food buyers can find each other, put on by the Capital Region Local Food Initiative.

I'm excited they have such events already taking place. Too bad we don't have any "real products" yet!

Keynote speakers
A local lunch
Six speed networking session to connect growers, processors, buyers and distributors
and capital corner- meet face to face with financiers.

Sounds like an excellent way to spend a day and build some connections. Hopefully they will be having this event again next year, when maybe we'll have some sort of product to actually market...

Friday, January 14, 2011

more whining

I'm sure about as tired of hearing about the nasty cold as I am living in it.
But seriously its -27 C right now. With wind chill its -38.
I feel like I'm never going to warm up again

It would be nice not to have to be dressed like this every time we go outside. Just sayin'
We're definitely about function over fashion now!

chicken myth articles

Barbara Foreman is writing a series of articles entitled "7 myths about Urban Chickens" on the Mcmurray Hatchery Blog.

In the first article she published yesterday, she is trying to dispel the myth that Chickens carry diseases communicable to human. ie. The avian bird flu.
Apparently many experts and even the CDC think that the solution to the Avian flu may actually be backyard or smaller flocks. Since commercial raising of chickens usually has such massive amounts of birds housed in less than adequate space, and and all diseases can run rampant.
It stands to reason that smaller flocks, especially small well cared for flocks will be better cared for, housed and fed. Therefore being much healthier and more resistant to diseases.

It may be an interesting series of articles she has planned...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


As soon as we managed to tunnel our way out of the snow, we were faced with an entirely new problem. The temps. have dropped drastically, with most days ranging between -24 to -30 during the day. With wind chills, its been feeling like -38 C more than once.

Late last night, I had to go in to Edmonton to pick up Chris coming back from Fort Mac. The Van wouldn't start. There was no way it was turning over. I cussed a blue streak. Then I plugged it in for about 45 minutes and crossed my fingers (that's a story in itself since it took me about 4 tries to find a extension cord that would both reach and fit the plug). I was venting on Facebook claiming I was ready to give up and move to Florida.

But honestly, the worst fight of this cold snap has been the animal water.

Cars can be coaxed to life.
Snow can be trudged through and packed down. (or in the worst case shovelled)
Hay can grudgingly be hauled.
Heat lamps can be run 24 hours in the barn to keep the goats snug.

But try as I might I can't keep the water from freezing.

We have heaters similar to this one that float in the water pail. They are supposed to keep the water thawed at the very least. With the temps. as cold as they are, these beauties are freezing solid, right in the middle of a giant bucket shaped ice cube.
I'm at the point where I just make a trip to the barn several times a day with HOT water hoping to melt the ice a bit, and give the goats enough water to drink for a few hours at a time.

I was glad when Chris came home and could break apart the ice, freeing the heater (for all the good its doing), and making the bucket able to hold a maximum amount of water. Tonight, we're going to try an experiment with 2 heaters in the same small bucket. I hope that 2 heaters will be able to keep the water above freezing.
I'm not sure how else to fight this battle at the moment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Workshop sign up.

Oddly only days after I wrote the post about losing Larry to what I think was hypothermia. I got an e-mail from Kathy at Herbal Maid Fiber Farm asking if anyone would be interested in a workshop on Hypothermic Resuscitation. It's more for lambs and kids, since lambing and kidding season is about to start. But she's promising a pattern for a knit/crocheted kid coat, Instructions for making an incubator barrel for your nursery, pictorials on how to resuscitate a hypothermic newborn and more.
I sent off an email expressing my interest. If I'm going to be stubborn and stick with this goat deal. I have to start looking to the experts for more info!
Plus I took the goat milking and Cheese making classes from her last spring, and thought they were excellent.
She doesn't have the workshop listed on the website yet, but if anyone else is interested all of her contact info is there. Just shoot her an email and let her know.

some goat humor

epic fail photos - Hand Washing Station FAIL
see more funny videos

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture I just had to share.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

V is for Victory

At least it feels like a victory.
I managed to get the entire driveway shoveled yesterday. By myself. Yes just me and a snow shovel. We still haven't invested in a snow plow.
My back, my arms and oddly my thighs may never forgive me but I did it.

The Gate to the house. Luckily it was very powdery, dry snow so it was easy to move and lift. But still not a fun chore.

 Can you see how it comes up to Maggie's chest? it was super deep in some places and not bad in others. Kind of like the back yard where it was anywhere from the top of my boots to mid thigh. Depending on how it had drifted. That's one of the problems with getting so much snow with a wind at the same time. Maggie made sure she was out to supervise all the work being done on the driveway. Even when Nathan was out "helping" which consisted of throwing snowballs at Maggie and trying to get her to let him ride her through the drifts. Poor dog puts up with so much from that child.

The front of the van and the accumulation beside it. I've heard we got at least 40 cm over the 2 major days of the storm. And obviously a few cms more in the scattered flurries that followed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The drifts are piling up.

Somewhere behind this drift is the goats. All Snug and warm I hope.
But so much for all the tracks and path I laid down yesterday.
Another day of slugging through snow drifts

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow wall

I opened the front (mudroom door) to literally a wall of snow this morning

That's my rubber boot front and center that comes up to my knees. Notice how much higher the snow is? Yeah past my waist. FUN!
I'll give you it's not that deep everywhere out there.
The garage and mudroom entrance is set back about 4 feet from the front of the house. The house and the deck must have acted as a snow fence all night. The snow and wind swirled it all nicely into one big drift directly in front of the door.
It's been snowing since at least 8 last night and hasn't stopped yet.
Although it may not be this deep everywhere I have already lost the benches on the picnic table out back. You can only see the table top still.
Dragging hay to the goats was fun. My paths are all gone. The snow was to my knees.
Heck. It's a good work out right?

I'm thinking I should have picked up more milk when I was in town last. We may be snowed under for the week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

All I have to say is….”Somebody LIED to me!!!!”

So you may have guessed by the post More Goat issues. We had another traumatic goat problem. Our new goat “Larry” died, and were pretty sure it was from exposure. I.e. Hypothermia. AGAIN!!!!

I’d left the evening chores for Chris to do when he came home from work.
He walks in the kitchen looks at me and says, “So how long has Larry been dead?”
I was so mad I could barely respond to him.
Partially at him for stating it so abruptly, for thinking that I may have known and left this discovery for him to find and deal with…but mostly I was pissed at the goat, at us, at the situation, again.

Let me say that in most of my travels, readings and seeking of “expert opinions” the one common theme is that goats have very minimal shelter requirements. The lady we bought most of the goats from told me she’d had 2 small bucks stay in a large doghouse all winter.

So why is my goat frozen stiff in my barn?

That’s right, he was inside this time. In the barn and frozen.

Most articles I’ve read say that a lot of the time goats require only a 3-sided shelter. They need only a place to escape the rain, snow and wind. Yet here I am with the barn that we went out of our way to patch up, insulate and repair, and it’s not enough?!?!?

What the heck is going on?

I swear there is no other time I have been so close to throwing up my hands, admitting we don’t have a clue what were doing and putting this place up for sale.

There is nothing like losing 2 animals, quite literally within a month of each other to the same thing? I wanted to scream. I wanted to sell the rest of the goats, because we may be unfit goat owners.

On closer examination of Larry, we realized he had a completely unfit coat for our weather. The rest of our goats have their beautiful goats, and if you lift the hair they have an undercoat of hair as well. They look shaggy. They are warm. They are Alpines that seem to be able to survive in our severe climate.

Although I think Larry had some Alpine in him, his floppy ears were a dead give away that he was a cross. And whatever he was crossed with must not produce the same kind of undercoat that the other goats do. You stuck your hand through his coat and you touched skin. It was like sending someone outside in –28 degree C weather in a spring jacket.

Chris had mentioned before that Larry wasn’t as shaggy as the others. I wrote it off. Maybe he’d been a total inside goat his whole life. Just let him adjust to the cold he’ll grow a thicker coat like the others if he needs it!

What was I thinking?

I should have gone out there and put the “goat coat” on that animal.

I didn’t know.
And my ignorance has cost us yet again.

I’m stumbling blindly right now. There are so many things I don’t even know where you’d find the “answers” to when you don’t even know to ask the question. The worst-case scenarios could be endless.

I don’t know right now what the next step is. I don’t know where were headed from here.
Do we try again with another male goat?
If we do it will be a purebred Alpine, or something equally hardy.
Do we sell Romeo?
He can’t continue to bunk with the girls, but no companion in his own barn and own field may kill him too.
Do we sell them all?
Admitting maybe goats are harder to figure out than we thought.
Right now I don’t know…

Monday, January 3, 2011

Anyone surprised that Oil/Gas companies have no manners?

This is what greeted us at the end of the driveway bright and early January 1st. Apparently were ringing in the New Year with explosions. Not the fireworks kind either.
I haven't been impressed with these guys since the start. Less than a week after the water test, they showed up. Opened whatever gates they wanted to. Rode Quads across the field. And gave us absolutely no warning they were there. It was the dogs that alerted me actually.
This time again. We didn't even get the courtesy of a quick knock on the door.
"Hi, we're here"
Nope too much to ask.

We left for the afternoon, so I never figured out if I could actually hear the explosions or not.
But they better hope they don't want to drill on our land.
There will be some mighty big changes before they are allowed back here again.