Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Making Hay While The Sun Shines....

....or....it's not really raining much..
Actually it's silage, a chopped mixture of peas and Barley, or wheat in this case. The silage provides a high quality feed for the cattle in the winter months ( like the next five..) It takes a lot to keep them going. Walter, my neighbor, has a large silage pit that is lined with concrete blocks. It's about 50 by 100 feet. It's filled now and we're making another pile, no blocks and right on the ground. This takes a bit of finesse with the tractor.Yesterday when I pulled up to drop another load I noticed the tractor laying at a precarious angle on the side of the pile and Shannon, Walt's daughter, walking around. She had a stain on her pants that she attributed to spilled coffee. If it was me the stain wouldn't have been just coffee. No harm done tho, Walter came and pulled it out with a big 966 Loader that he has.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chop Wood Carry Water

Chop Wood Carry Water, the title of a spiritual book I read some time ago that stressed simplicity. But we use a lot of wood and that's a lot of chopping so we went out and bought an electric wood splitter. Woo Hoo! It was just a little 4 ton capacity one, but it's not having any trouble reducing the big 14 and 16 inch pine rounds we have to fire and furnace wood.

It handles anything up to about 20 inches long, which is good for our furnace. We could use two foot rounds but they get quite heavy when they are off the 16 inch butt of a house building log. A fellow was commenting to me that if the wood's good it's just as quick to chop it with a maul. Maybe. And if you have a lot more energy than I do. I came home the other day and Jo had cut up half a cord of wood for the shop. And she sure can't handle the large splitting maul, or wedge and sledge hammer. Anyway it's sure made splitting the wood a lot easier. And we have another three or four cords to split up, to do us for the winter. We just got our Hydro bill and they still owe us a $167.00 from last winter. That reflects an equal billing plan and our change to primarily use the wood side of our electric/wood furnace. And of course the fireplace upstairs.

The trees have all changed colour. Most of the Aspen are yellow, some with a red tinge. It happens quickly after the first fall frosts. Quite a breathtaking fall view from the veranda.

After lunch I am off to haul silage for a neighbor of ours. Trying to get it in before the rain or worse, the snow, ruins it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

UFO slighted!

An Ultimately Fun Object was spotted over our East pasture.

It was eerily quiet, with some sort of giggling sound in the background. After amazing the onlookers it attempted communication with the dominant intelligence in the crowd. Xena seemed to talk to it for a few minutes, although it seemed much longer, and then the saucer disappeared into our storage barn. And here's the weird part: it never came out! We checked inside as we were storing a new rock saw carriage but found nothing that looked like the flying saucer. But I suppose an advanced civilization capable of interstellar flight to an Endako field would pretty much have transmogrification powers at its command. The next time we get a clear night I am going to put a foamy outside in a field and spend the night, ensconced in eider down and with Xena the wonder watch dog, gazing up at the Milky Way and waiting for their return.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Frost


This was a picture that gave Jo-Ann a bit of a stir before she snapped it.
At first glance it looked like the infamous funnel cloud. But no, just a weird atmospheric phenomonem.

Today was the first frost. In Fraser lake it was -3c this morning. It was a beautiful day yesterday and a clear night. The milky way is stunning here on a clear night.

We got to try out the new Chicken Coop yesterday. I had planted a couple of eggs in the two nests and they attracted another 8 eggs. I was somewhat surprised as I thought production would be down after the move. I got a kick out of this picture. Jo-Ann snapped it when the chickens peeked around a corner to see what the Dog commotion was all about.



I need to add some more roosts. The ones I build along the side of the Coop aren't being used. Probably too cramped. When I looked in after dark last night I saw four of them roosting on a cable I put in to hold the water and feed cans. Talk about a bird on a wire.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chicken Rustlers




We finally finished the chicken run which connects the tractor to the chicken house. the tractor moves around the run and connects to the blue plastic pails that are one the end and sides of the run. What fun trying to rustle up 10 chickens and a rooster. We were going to try it at night with headlamps but thought that might look a bit like an alien abduction to them. And trying to catch chickens in the dark, well... It was a two person job thats for sure. They had a lot of running room in the barn and a couple of them were Olympic class runners and hurdlers. The Rooster turned out to be quite the high jumper. Once they were all moved out to the tractor they seemed to settle down and enjoy the grass, bugs and sunshine. I hope they get a week or so of that before they have to spend there time back in side. I suspect egg production might be down for a day or two. Couldn't really blame them. But it's hard to reason with chickens.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

New Family Members

Yesterday, the Home-on-the-hill gang grew by a couple of additions. Boose, a five year old female Calico cat, and Wasi, a four week old male grey and brown tabby kitten. They were having a free cat sale at the Vet's when we took Xena in for her shots yesterday. Boose,(Carrier Indian for "cat") was abandoned and looked a little ratty for a Calico but the vets nursed her back to health and when they found out I was looking for a shop cat they offered her up saying she was a little hard to handle. When I went to her cage she came running to me. The vet had a towel to pick her up with as she was scratched the last time she was handling Boose. I went in and the cat practically jumped in my arms and I put her in the cat carrier. I have her set up in my shop while she figures out that it's going to be her new home. Not that she is having any trouble fitting in. I spent some time with her yesterday in the shop. She checked it all out and comes running whenever I come into the shop. She spent an hour sleeping on my lap. The shop mice are going to be in for a surprise tonight.

Wasi (Carrier for "lynx") lost his mom in a car accident and still needs to be bottle fed. He has a voracious appetite and is just starting to feed on cat food mixed with formula. He seems to be settling right in. Xena insists on giving him licks. The other cats don't want anything to do with him. I think that will change tho.Anyway, I am waiting for the road crew to arrive. We are going to spend Saturday and Sunday adding gravel to the hills and wet spots in the lower road.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fall is here


Actually I think fall happened around mid August with the day time temperatures of around 10c. Night time now its falling to 4c, with reports of frost in the valley a couple of days ago. The fall colours start at the ground level with the rose and berry bushes turning yellow. The grass in the fields is losing it's summertime green and starting to brown up. The hummingbirds are gone and we see ducks and geese using Pond, James Pond as a stop over. The Sandhill cranes are still here. I think they are late stayers. We have seen a lot of coyotes fattening up on grasshoppers and field mice and Saskatoon berry bear poop is all over our roads and paths. Mushrooms are every where, all different sizes and shapes.


Jo-Ann has been taking some great pictures of them with her digital camera.

Were putting away the winter's wood. I am going to go up to the Pond where we have about 30 acres of now bug-killed pine that is pretty much perfectly dried out and try a trailer load or so this winter. I put a fire on in the blue shed the other day to warm it up so I could finish painting the chicken run. We haven't had a single month this year that we haven't had the furnace or the fireplace on to take a night time, and now, daytime chill off the place.

Assuming I get the chicken run done today I will start work on converting the Red Shed to a green house and winter chicken coop.



The old thresher is going to the museum in town. Apparently were waiting for them to build a shed for it.

I was pricing out grow lights on the internet because I want to have an all winter crop. Now thats a bit of a sticker shock. Something tells me their not catering to the guy who wants to grow a couple of tomato plants and some lettuce for Christmas dinner.

Xena is starting to thicken up her coat. I think she knows something about the coming winter..

Saturday, September 01, 2007

First Ascent of Mt. James

Our friend Rockey named our pond: Pond, James Pond. We named this local Peak after the pond. This was the first known Ascent of Mt. James. After several days of reconoitering various routes we took the technically demanding West route, definitely not for under-equiped novices. After considerable effort Xena and I summited. We spent several breathless minutes admiring the stunning vistas before considering the rappel back down the shear sides to the safety of the low lands.

But then we just decided to walk off. Of course Xena jumped...

Bear With Me

Yesterday on our walk around the North side of the place we came across these bear scratch marks. They are over eight feet high on a poplar near the creek. They are higher than I can reach so that has to be a Grizzley that was passing through. They were fresh marks maybe less than a month old.