Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cramping my Style

 We've had a sudden elevation in temperature.  In one day it rose over 20 degrees.   No need to dress like this for a sojourn to the animal sheds:

 It is now hovering just above freezing.  In January.  That means that our driveway and local parking lots  have turned into curling rinks.  Time to take measures.  Like putting on crampons to walk around the yard.  Normal boots, no matter how good the soles are won't ensure a vertical stance.  Not on Ice lubricated with melt water.

We got these several years ago and the are the cat's meow for this weather.  They are vibram soles studded with replaceable screw in studs that mount on the soles of our boots with velcro straps.  We got them from Lee Valley a Canadian supplier of high quality woodworking and gardening tools, with a no questions asked return policy.

The increase in temperature means no more wood fires required in the green house.  A day of sun, even partial sun, keeps the green house toasty all through the night.  I am going to have to install automatic ventilation soon.  We've been losing seedling due to a combination of overheating and probably having the air too dry.

Fortunately just before this thaw I managed to get all of the driveway's snow banks pushed back.  It was getting so I didn't have enough room to plow the snow off the road, which was getting narrower and narrower.  Now you can land a 747 on it.  And when all that snow starts to melt it will melt off the road or into the ditches and keep the gravel driveway from washing away.  I still have a mountain of snow to move from around the yard - enough that it has me lusting after a snow bucket for the job.  I have a normal dirt bucket but it doesn't hold near as much snow and will probably take several days to shift the white stuff.

I cleared a path to the pen for the piggies and they took some took some tentative steps out into the weird white stuff.  After about an hour we came back and noticed their snouts all scrubbed pink and clean from rooting in the frozen ground.

All the roofs have shed their snow loads.  In the case of the animal shed a welcome site.  The roof doesn't instil a great deal of confidence in me and I always breathe a sigh of relief when the metal releases the snow.

Jo-Anne went with me to shovel out the path and grounds to Chief Joseph's sweat lodge.  Hope to be having one soon - a relaxing respite in the winter.

My Mac has been having some problems lately.  Key's sticking, that kind of thing.  Not sure what the cause of it is..

This weeks projects include the ventilation for the green house and getting the local library's network switched over to new computers - a job I thought would be fairly easy but soon realized all the computers have different sets of hardware and require keeping the network running while I transition from Windows XP to Window 7 machines.  

Sometimes I just feel like sitting back with my lap dog and watching some mindless T.V.

Hope your tongue isn't hanging out all week!

Friday, January 14, 2011

This January seems to be making up for last January's lack of snow.  

The tire garden is covered .

The dogs enjoy playing in the snow.  But don't seem to be chasing mice as much as last year.

The boler sits, comfy, but a bit forlorn, wistfully hoping for another trip.

The abandoned root celler is quietly waiting for spring and maybe a rebirth.

The path to Grandmas, and the woodlot took a lot f plowing to clear it.  Chains on all skidsteer tires too!

Honest it doesn't feel like we've been incarcerated.

It would be a lot of shoveling to clear all the paths .  And more on the way.  A friend gifted us a bag of purple spuds.  Taste delicious.  But they are purple. 

Just sitting around waiting for the snow to stop so we can start clearing it.  According to the weather channel that will be around the end of next week.  Just may have to do one before just to keep the place clear.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Chickens Like Snow Cones

It's not that they don't have plenty of fresh water, they just seem to like the crunchy coolness of snow.  We first noticed it when we went into the pen to collect eggs.  The would gather around and peck the snow off of our snow boots.  Now they raise a fuss when we come through the door.  They insist that job one is to give them a handful of snow.  Particularly the hard top crust.  And we thought the piggies could get vocal around meal time..

Jo-Ann smoked a beef brisket  and made baked beans for new years day supper.

The Before
The After
 We used my son in laws rub recipe. Perhaps a tad too much  Cayenne for some but I think it's just right.  A fairly long process - like twelve or thirteen hours at  225C or so.  It was cold enough that I had to put insulation around the smoker to keep the temperature up.  We also smoked a bone for the doggies.

  They know something wonderful is in there but we haven't given it to them yet.  First I have to cut it in half to avoid any disagreements.  We didn't put any rub on the bone of course, not that Cleo would mind.  She is a true Omnivore and will eat anything from Bananas, through ju-jubes to moose meat.  With an occasional tidbit of pig poop thrown in. It's all good.

They piggies are growing like crazy.  They seem to like their diet- especially warm meals cooked on the heater.  Yesterday they tried freeze dried chicken with rice and cracked wheat hot off the griddle.  I can tell when it's especially good as they won't interrupt the repast for a nose scrooch through the bars.

Yesterday I hadn't latched the gate to their pen and when I returned later in the afternoon the gate was open, a garbage can I use to hold pig feed in, knocked over with lid still intact.  And both pigs still inside the pen demanding supper. The force field obviously doing it's job.

"Dad, I'm bored.  I need an iPhone so I don't have to listen to those yappy chickens all day!"

Hope your not bored this week.