Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strange Companions

We were trying some leash training with the dogs. As we were half way down the driveway I turned and noticed Boose, the shop cat, trailing behind. What surprised me was she could clearly see Cleo who is obsessed with chasing her with us. She lagged about 12 meters behind and went a kilometer down to Savory road and then half way back up before I picked her up as we passed a cow. Photo op.

About five minutes later I handed the leash to Jo-Ann and turned slightly to put Boose back in the Shop. Cleo came from behind me and lunged for Boose, my right hand between a hissing cat and a set of formidable canine teeth. One of which went right between my two large knuckles.

A couple of hours later Cleo was trying to run down a new calf and chased it, the calf shrieking for its Mom, across the front pasture until the whole herd turned and charged towards Cleo - at which point she seemed to hear our yelling and returned to the house.

We are back to the books on this one. And continuing with walks hoping to convince Cleo that she is part of a bigger family. A couple of episodes of " The Dog Whisperer" are probably not going to help.

Any suggestions out there?

We are having a wonderfully, Lazy Sunday, just catching up on emails. Yesterday we tore apart the right hand drive on the skidsteer to figure out why it was only being driven on three tires. Fortunately it turned out to be a broken rear drive chain - a relatively simple and inexpensive fix. As soon as I can get the required chain links. Hopefully in the next few days. In the mean time Brother Tom has volunteered his skid steer for a couple of days to help out with some yard work, wood gathering, and clearing out the Red Shed in preparation for its transmogrification into green house.

Hope your day is peaceful.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Horseing Around

Our neighbors dropped by yesterday between thunder showers.

They were on their four legged ATV's checking on the cattle. They had to bring the Doggies back which were very interested in what they were doing. Their comments about the dogs were telling: The black one ( Cleo) was really good, the Blond one (Xena) wouldn't listen. Sounds about right - we've noticed some changes in Xena lately - were attributing it to the teenage years.

The garden is doing well despite the ridiculous, near zero, weather. Last nights supper included some additions from the Garden:

Today I am going to have to chop some more kindling. I am pretty sure that I will have to light the fire a few more times.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When One Door Closes..

We got the shop's garage door up and working! It sure makes getting things, like the skidsteer, in and out of the shop a whole lot easier!



We've had the blue plastic on so long it is startling to look out the window and realize that it's not there anymore. The inside appears to have grown:

Before:

After:

It has been very cold lately. Like -1 in Fraser Lake. The local potato grower in the valley below us has lost his entire spud crop. We've had to light a fire in the small upstairs heater a couple of times now. And we've had to put coats and hats on to go on the morning walk.

But the garden grows. We had a feast of baby Turnip greens last night.

The latest flowers to come up are Columbine and Camomile. And the Doggies are managing to walk through a herd of cows without any chasing..

Tonight I'm off to a bit of a celebration in town. There will be cake.. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Slow Dancing



Sometimes you just have to dance like no one's watching..

On the Skid

Jo-Ann and I spent the day re-installing the main hydraulic filter and rebuilding the skid steer's carburetor. It was the first time I had done that and was very relieved when the skid steer started up with some new vigour. After a bit of cursing mechanical designers and the lack of a forth joint on my arm and 10 inch fingers with extra swivel joints. I don't suppose I will ever know the answer as to why a bolt can't be moved in the design stage 1/4 of an inch so a normal socket will fit. I guess the one about a mechanical engineer's revenge upon finding a mechanic messing with his wife..
But the good news after another 75$ refill of hydraulic oil:
Nice to have it running again. When it's not working it can really slow things down around here. Now to figure out how to set the idle.

On our morning walk we noticed the Saskatoon berries are forming. It looks like it could be a bumper crop this year.

The Girls like to oversee the garden work from the shade at the back of the shop

Today we tackle the garage overhead door. Now that the skidsteer is not hunkered down in front of it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Sweet Day

We sorta took the day off. Other than doing the usual chores. I cleaned up the shop so I can work on the skidsteer and we planted sweet potatoes.

We really like sweet potatoes, but our zone 3 climate means growing them takes some special care. We managed to get some slips and a book from a sweet potato guru Ken Allen. He's forgotten more about sweets than I will ever learn.

The slips look a little worse for wear, having been shipped from Ontario and I could almost hear them sigh with delight when we got them in the specially prepped tires.

I was surprised to learn how much heat the sweets take. And that's one thing we have learned to do around here is heat up the vegie's with our re-tired garden.

We planted them in slits in the plastic and then sealed the slits with sand to keep the hot air in.
The water coming from the hose is very warm - sweet potatoes, actually most veggies, don't much like bathing in ice cold water. I will be working on a water pre-heating system. ( other than several lengths of hose left in the sun) to do the rest of the garden.

I was surprised to see a tomato and the start of a brocolli head.

Thinning the radishes I managed to gorge myself on the red succulent goodness.


Well O.K. that was in my mind. I did wolf down one itsy bitsy one. I learned the only way I know how that radishes don't transplant worth beans.

Hope your having a great day and that your garden is a victory.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden Update






The re-tired garden is coming along. The spuds are doing great. Probably has something to do it the handful of bone meal that we placed under each one:

These are the spuds in the "little tires" The bag full of spuds experiment.
Brassicas are doing well. Cabbages, Broccoli appear to be happy campers:

some of the tomatoes, unfortunately, didn't do well with the near zero temps of a week ago. but they do show signs of bouncing back. A gardener's hope springs eternal.

A crop I can always count on, Lamb's quarters, an easy weed to pick but a prolific grower. Fortunately quite tasty with a bit of oil and vinegar.

We are starting to thin the turnips. I do it in several stages to make sure that the ones I leave are going to be strong.


the onion sets are up and running. I had a sneak taste preview: ummmm goood.



Today's project ( and the last couple of days) is getting shelves into the revamped Fuel Shed, so I have a place for all the stuff in the Red Shed so that I can transmogrify it into, well - either a garden shed or a green house. Not sure yet. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Cows Come Home to Roost

Just as I was going down the driveway to get a new sawblade from the hardware store in town I had to move over as the cows were coming up. Our neighbors were herding them onto the property. The gates having been cow proofed in the nick of time.


These are Belgian Blue cattle, they have meat that is so fat free it has less cholesterol than chicken.

Nice to see them on the pastures. Or the Barbecue..

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gate Progress

We took the weekend off to watch "The Longest Day" and a "Band of Brothers" marathon. We needed the time off and we also wanted to observe D-Day.

We slept in until 7:30 a.m. A big difference than Friday when we got up at 4 a.m. to beat the heat while we worked on the lower, Savory Gate.

This first pic is of the West side of the Main Gate at the house. It was a whole lot of work as we removed the cattle guard and dug it out to clean the ditch under it. And then filled the sides back in with old railway ties and added a 20 inch culvert to the drainage ditch we had dug earlier on the East side of the road. And we did it on the hottest day so far this year. Upwards of 30°C. It sure felt great to have it done. Painting later. The vertical slats are from the outbuilding that was built around the trees. We kinda like the look of the wood so I will just clear coat it. The posts go Hunter Green and the rails are stained white. The posts have LED lights attached to the tops.

So it took about a week to complete three sets of gates. The Savory gate will have a couple of 2 X 6 three bar fences to add to it and make it look a little nicer than the barb wire. That will happen soon, but probably after we do some mechanical repairs to our skid steer and install the main shop overhead door.

Here's a before:

and after:
Looking towards Savory Road:

Jo-Ann looked a little worse for wear, but happy to be done, when we finished at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Strawberry Update

We added some decorative rock to the strawberry patch. They are doing well but needing daily waterings.

Garden wise we added another seven squashes, four to replace ones that got hit by frost on the night I decided to leave the covers off.. The spuds in the large tires are starting to come up and most of the the other veggies are sprouted and up and running.

We're working like fiends to get the gates completed before the cows come home to roost.

We're taking this weekend off so I can watch war movies and celebrate D-Day.