Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Soft Water, Softer Lambs

After almost seven years of putting up with rusty looking bathroom fixtures, a fridge full of Brita Filtered water, using half a bottle of shampoo to wash our hair we now have wonderfully soft, iron free water.  What a thrill.  Drinking glass after glass of sweet, refreshing water straight from the tap.

Our water comes from a surface well a couple of hundred feet higher and a quarter mile away from our house.  It had a very high Iron, Manganese and Calcium content.  Hard water that stained everything.

A relative gifted us his slightly used water softener and we installed it behind a heavy duty iron remover and whole house filter.  16 valves, over a hundred PEX rings, a box of connectors,  elbows, air injector , pressure regulator, over pressure valve  later and we have wonderfully clear water.  No staining.  Tea straight from the tap.

Next is to replace all the traditional copper lines in the house with single run PEX tubing from a manifold system.  All part of the Plan to install a Solar domestic Hot Water augmentation system and subfloor supplemental heating.

Since the four week old lambs are now jumping higher than the kitchen table and have taken to chowing down on any paper or plastic laying about it was time to move them out to the Animal shed.

We just constructed a six by six pen with the scroungers secret weapon: used pallets.  The cabinet holds egg cartons

 A thick bed of straw on a wood floor and every ones snug a bug.

 The pigs are very curious and when we let the lambs out to romp around the barn the pigs stick their noses through the gate to get some kisses.

When their not lounging about.

 The chickens peek through their hen house giving the newcomers a sideways glance.  The lambs will stay in the Animal shed and environs for a month awaiting new quarters in the log barn.  I've got to install water and electricity there and won't get that done until the snow melts.

Just when winter had us lulled into a state of " Spring is just about here!" the temperatures have dropped, hitting -21 in Fraser Lake this morning.  Sunny weather tho so it's really quite pleasant.  One fire a day is keeping the green house nice and cozy.

Boose seems to like the family all being together working in the shed.

It's a group thing!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Bummer Road Trip

The Bummer lambs are putting on weight.

 They are now taking up most of the space in the large dog cage and soon will be moving out to the barn. Right now they sleep in the dog kennel and have the run of the kitchen, where we will be replacing the linoleum!  Keeping them out of the cupboards, cleaning up the after feeding puddles, and replacing toilet paper rolls does add to the kitchen chores!

We had to go to Prince George to pick up supplies and parts for our water conditioning project.  The lambs were still on a four hour feeding schedule so we just piled them in the dog carrier in the back of the jeep and took them with us.

Got some strange looks from people at the Home Depot in Prince George and Tim Ho's in Vanderhoof.  The lambs didn't seem to mind the trip and were nice and warm the whole way.  They even serenaded us with Baa Baa Black Sheep from time to time.  It's not like we had chickens in the back!  Altho, we've decided to take a page from Walter Jeffries, consumate porcine producer and general homesteading Guru, and use an all wheel drive van we have sitting around to work as a mobile chicken tractor and Livestock hauler.

The weather has been really nice lately, hovering around zero.  I am getting by with only one fire a night at the green house.  Last night was a little colder going down to -14C, but after -35C or so, it feels down right balmy, with the small wood heater upstairs keeping the house nice and comfy!

I really appreciate companies that stand behind what they sell.  A case in point is Lee Valley Tools, where we order our gardening tools and wood working equipment from.  I bought a very nice Stubai pickeroon from them.   It's a big help in the fire wood handling department - the best one I've ever had.  In the -35C weather we had a while back I was banging  a block of firewood  that had frozen in the ground and snapped the handle off.

One email to their very responsive customer service department and a gratis replacement handle was shipped to us. A noteworthy fine example of customer service, from a company that doesn't just talk the talk but actually walks the pickeroon..

We're all excited about finishing our water treatment plant today.  Soft water in abundance.  The ability to wash our hair without using half a bottle of shampoo.

More will be revealed..

Hope you run into some great service today. You deserve it.