Monday, May 30, 2011

Projects Not Projection

It's a case of combing the Yak.  I start out doing a project but before I do that I need to do this and then while I am doing that I might as well as do the other thing which means I have to do something 'bout...
You get the picture.  One thing does lead to another and as the saying goes" " it is often difficult to remember the original objective of draining the swamp when your up to your butt in alligators.."

Case in point: The Animal Shed, formerly know as the blue shed.   We are having a hard time locating weaner pigs.  They are going for 85$ and none to be found!  We located some Tamworths locally but even this Falls batch are already sold out.  The Pig experiment went so well we are expanding the herd.  Ditto the chickens.  I need to find a place to put the three laying hens while the 31 Rhode Island Reds take over the pen. So the Old birds go out to the Chicken tractor while the new birds grow.  With four pigs this year, one female we want to keep in the hopes of breeding, and another were looking for to make five, I need to get some room for bedding.  I've been using hay as it's locally available.  Would love to find a source of wood chips or sawdust but can't seem to locate it.  So I have to clean out the blue shed.  Install a freezer and fridge.  While blocking up the walls of the shed that is really on its last legs I notice that the walls will need reinforcing.  Fortunately I have a pile of 4 X 6's that will do that job.  Oh and I might as well change the chicken roosting area so that the egg laying boxes can be opened from the outside of the pen. That will mean the water has to be moved, and I want to put an outside tap in anyway.  One for the Chickens one for the Pigs.  And put up a fence so the pigs can roam free and dig up the area between the barns..

I know.  I know.  One thing at a time. And really that's the only way to do it.  Multi-tasking is really something I don't buy into any more.  Just serial projects..

And of course there's thinking about opening the barn so I can use it for a milk cow.  And the Icelandic sheep will need a place...

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny so the start of the garden goes in - but first I had better put some ashes in the soil.  Roota veggies need the phosphorus. 

Now if that fence was a hundred feet West I would have room for the Apiary...
Maybe the killer mites I ordered will be in.  Fortunately they're low maintenance.  Release and listen to the death cries of the plant devouring Spider Mites..

Hope your having a great day. One smile at a time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fun With Porkers

These piggies have been handled since birth and are starting to warm up to me.



Despite the rain the wild life is out and munching on the abundant grass.


Seems to be that wet is the season all across B.C. Actually when I looked at the country wide forecast it looks like the majority of Canada is all wet!  Even our friends south of the border seem to be getting drenched.

Were planting as much as we can in the green house.  Harvesting the Roma tomatoes and getting ready for the new crops.  That is if I can get rid of  nasty Spider Mite infestation.  I've tried some natural pyrethrum solutions that haven't eradicated them.  I have even resorted to some rather harsh chemicals.  If this doesn't work I am going to have to get some killer mites that feed on the Spider Mites.  It's an expensive solution but I like that it's organic and the hit team will spread out over the whole green house.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Outstanding In The Field

 Well actually I am sitting.  On a rare sunny day last week I ventured down to see a neighbor and he wasn't home so I decided to demonstrate my horse viewing technique. What do you think,  have I got it about right?



Their guard dog "Bear" was doing yard duty.  Don't know why they call him bear tho.. This dog sleeps outside all winter long.  He has a huge thick coat and once he knows you he is a pretty gentle giant.

Its really been wet around here and all the melt water run off from the surrounding mountains are causing the local rivers to over flow.
 
This is the Endako river.  It's a small river that runs through the middle of this picture from right to left.  The lake is our bid for water front property.  The problem is that field is where the power line for us and our neighbors comes through.  Time to get the big generator checked out.

The Weiner  Pigs are doing well.  I think they were weaned about 5 or more days early but they seem to be doing all right.



This is the Gilt.  She's the friendliest of the bunch and is used to being handled.  The barrows are a bit more skittish.  But  their sister is showing them there is nothing to fear.  Five hours after we got them two of the smallest ones clambered through the gate and made their way to the great outdoors.  The littlest one, a 10 and a half pound lightening fast sprinter evaded dogs and us but returned to the barn on his own by morning. See Jo-Ann's blog for the heart wrenching  details.


"Hmm, that furry butt is pretty nice to snuggle up to.."

The 31 Rhode Island Red chicks are growing fast and after five days have started to develop wing feathers.  some even have tail feathers and feathers on their back starting. 









Boose, the barn cat, likes to keep an eye on them.  They don't seem to be too nerveous.  Maybe because when were not there the top of the Brooder is covered with mesh.

Too wet to plant outside just yet.  They only thing we have growing besides the grass are strawberries and my Aunt Mabels onions She imported these to the Okanagon from her garden in Flin Flon, Manitoba,  and they sure seem to like it here. These were planted last fall and wintered over. 


Ah well time to go to a meeting and return to watch the taped Hockey game.



Friday, May 20, 2011

A little Gardening..

Maybe I should have given it a couple of days of sun before sallying forth with a skid steer to clear the stuff  around the Garden shed before the Move.   The more I struggled the deeper I got.  Even pushing the forks into the ground and using it to try and jack me out failed.  Must be a lesson there.  It was so stuck I was in danger of not being able to get out of the the beast.
Fortunately,  a call to Brother Tom and the excavator pulled the Skid steer out without a hitch.  The problem was the trench we had dug to get power to the greenhouse was soaked with snow melt.  Just a giant mud pudding.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chick Pickup Secrets


First you need a pad to take them back to.  This one is raised up for better chick viewing and consists of pieces of 18" high clear greenhouse plastic that was riveted together to form a circle.  It goes right to the bottom of the tire and is screwed into the tire at the top.  The whole thing sits on a piece of plywood laid on top of some pallets.  There's an electric blanket underneath to keep the footsies warm.  Plastic on that, then newspaper, paper towels and a couple of inches of chopped straw.

Secondly you got to find some chicks.  Who would have thought they come in the mail.  These are Rhode Island Reds, a dual purpose variety.


We dipped their beaks in the water, which was laden with sugar to give them a lift.  They started drinking right away - and even figured out how to use the feeder.  The sugar water made for some weird looking straw camouflaged chicks. Some gentle picking and they all are pretty fine now, and on regular water. 


Next you gotta introduce them to the rest of the members of the family:

'Cuz you know they are going to be curious:


The trick is to keep them warm.  Very warm.  It was so cold yesterday I had to use two 250 watt infrared lamps and light a fire to get them to 32C.  Once they warmed up we just left one lamp on and they seemed to be fine.  No huddling under the light and no hanging around the edges.  Chicks gone wild!

Next project is to prepare for four weaner pigs we're picking up Saturday.  Make a feed trough, clean out the pen.  Get some starter rations.  Also building a large movable Chicken Tractor.  Oh, and putting the garden  in.  Busy week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rambling


You know, I've felt like that. 

 Went to change the tires on the Focus yesterday. Time to take a chance with summer tires.  The wheel nuts were the cheap kind, pressed on metal to make them look cool.  But any torque, and I needed lots of that, and they twist right off reveling a dinky nut underneath.  Down to Brother Tom's to use his 3/4 inch impact wrench.  Rounded off the nut, put on nut remover and used a strong arm - to break the stud off.  Ah well replacement parts ordered. Maybe Monday.


Cleo likes yogurt.  Well who doesn't.  The trick is getting that last little bit off of the bottom. With out using your fingers or a spoon. 

On our walk yesterday we heard something behind us - on the way back and look who has been following us.  Without alerting the dogs.  Now that's some trick.  As soon as Cleo saw Boose,  the wandering cat,  she assumed the down position.  She gets a chicken treat for that! Boose must walk with a pretty light foot as there were no signs of tracks and the road was still damp. 

Boose does like to go for walks but has  nothing against using a Sherpa for the steep bits back to the camp!  She does, after all, have to conserve her considerable strengths for her anti-mousing duties.


Hope any load your carrying today is as light as this cat!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Progress Not Perfection

Back home after a sojourn to Vancouver Island via my Granddaughters home.  Got to practice some Grandfatherly skills.
Jeez, look at this, no need for supplemental electrical tape...
Brought home a truck and trailer full of stuff from Jo-Ann's Dad's place as he has moved out of his house to an assisted living arrangement.  Did I mention I scored a great table saw.  Now with the high tech fence I have been waiting to place on a suitable saw..  I bet those kitchen cupboards will practically build themselves!  And check out the hat!  Always wanted one of those..

 Quite a contrast from the Coast with its flowers, Cherry blossoms in bloom and shirts sleeve weather.  We had one day of brilliant, warm sunshine and went for a walk on a local dyke.

There is still patches of snow clinging to Joseph's mountain and the doggies will have an ample supply of refreshing snow cones on their morning walks for at least another week.  I haven't had to put any supplemental heat in the green house  for the last week a definate sign that Spring Progresses.  And further evidence:  some people call these weeds, I call them a delightful yellow surge of Spring!

We have a new house guest, Lucy the Coon Hound.  She's on spring break from my Daughters place in Coquitlam and sure seems to be enjoying the Endako Doggie Park.  Cleo and Xena are in awe of her digging prowess.  There's a hole at the base of a Squirrel tree we pass on our morning walks that goes half way to China.

Would you look at that girl go!
Project wise we are clearing the last of the winters flotsam and jetsam and preparing the tire garden for planting.  Part of that is skidding our equipment shed next to the Green House and joining them with a balcony.  Some place to sit and watch the garden grow.  We're installing a heated water irrigation system for the Garden and Green house.  Basically running our very chilly spring water into three, black painted, 400 litre plastic holding tanks plumbed together and then through a pump so that the plants get watered with solar heated tepid water.  The oldsters tell me this was done by a previous gardner with prodigious results.  In this climate I need all the tricks in the book to get a crop before the snow flies.

Finally got one more bucket list cross off .  How to sharpen a knife.  Or Axe, or anything with an edge - scissors still being tricky.  I took a two night course at a local community college taught by a very knowledgeable shop teacher.  It's a simple but very effective method that uses various grits of wet dry sandpaper to produce an edge you can shave with.  Guests are now warned before picking up a knife in this house.  And the morning meat cutting chores to make doggie food seems to go a lot faster.  And safer.
At last, sharp knives abound!
Finally one for Sara:  I know you said that Lucy didn't like her bed, but here's proof she's changed her mind.

Cleo: Ah you go and sleep in that cushy bed I think I'll just watch the cat door for some feline action..
Nothing like a nice fluffy, Sheep skin covered bed  in front of the fire place to curl up in and plan tomorrows episode of Dogs in Adventure Land..

Hope your day is an adventure also..