Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Did The Cornish Giant Cross the Road

To get to the tractor!  Scratch for delectables, feel grass between their toes,  build up those drum sticks, fertilize the field - lot's of reasons really.  And they are all important to building a plump, chemical free, juicy, tasty freezer filling chicken. Need I say more?

Here's the Chicken Motor Home.  They quite liked the ride down the road, over the gate, and into the pasture.
The Chicken Tractor: the pile of wood is just waiting for the wood storage balcony to be built.

Always great to sit around and admire our handiwork after the project is done!


Last night we stood on the balcony transfixed with the light show surrounding us. Spectacular against a backdrop of dark purple. Great streaks of energy criss crossing in mesh patterns.  Walls of light.  The darkness punctuated by sizzling bolts seemingly giving Joseph's mountain some primordial shock therapy. Acupuncture by lightning.  A blood red glow low to the Southwest,  not the latest fire but an illusion created by a crescent moon peering through smoke. After the show- a drenching of rain.  The first real moisture in a month.  As I stood listening to the drumbeat of the downpour I could hear the fields soaking it up.  Almost a sighing of thankfulness after a month of no rain.

No reports of any new fires.  But there is a haze of smoke on the mantle of Joseph's Mountain across the valley.  The trailers are hooked to vehicles, only a precaution. But I may just buy a fire pump this week.  The backpack sprayers I have hanging in the storage shed are only useful for containing small fires and it's been several years since we've had to use those.

I am considering purchasing a T-9 Dozer from a neighbour.  He says it's very helpful around the garden and want's to build a direct road across our adjoining fields between our houses.  To make the daily coffee breaks more efficient.

A little paint and some WD-40 lubricant and it would be as good as new.

I love barnwood.  For one, it's wood!  No plastic.  It's reusable and it has a beauty all it's own.  Here's one of my favorite uses for it as window trim.


The top board reminds me of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night:


Interesting too, how we spend fortunes on paint to cover outbuildings to protect it from the elements.  Yet look at the patina on the barn logs after 70 years.  The logs are still sound.  I even saw a commercial product for sale in our local hardware that purports to do the same thing only quicker.

Hope you are having some starry nights.  It's the Perseids Meteor shower after all! Enjoy.




Sunday, August 11, 2013

Turkeys

Just finished the summer version of the Turkey Palace.  It's set in about a quarter of an acre behind a stucko wire fence.




They sure seem to like it.  Next year were considering a Turkey Tractor, a mobile big enough to cart over our pastures.

While Jo was in Britain some erstwhile volunteers and I whacked about 60 chickens.  Most of them Cornish Giant meat birds that we grew in a Chicken Tractor, ala, Salatin.  Thing I've learned:

Lots of help is required

Water temperature = 147 and it's critical

A prewash speeds the process


First time I've tried that on such a scale.  Went so well were about to do it again with another fifty.  Astonishing birds.  I have never seen anything grow so fast.  They are delicious also.  We had our first one three meals ago.  A nine pounder.  We let them grow a little large.  This was a load of hay, 100 bales that Brother Tom and I pulled into the yard.  It's waiting for the hay elevator to get a motor and some barn mods to make it into the loft.

It's been a busy summer.  And a hot one.  Last night it was 24C at midnight.  Pretty warm for these climes.  It's very dry also.  No moisture to speak of in a month.  This has caused the forests to be tinder dry and the sound of fire fighting bombers and helicopters have been filling the skys.  The smell of smoke is in the air, particularly at night.


Hope your having a great week.  We are trying to get all the work done before noon so we don't have to work in the afternoon heat.  Remember that around here, 32C is blistering to people who wear thermal underwear for six months of the year.

Hope your rolling in the daisies!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm Back!

Haven't been posting anything for a while.  A combination of moving to different technology - tablets and hand helds  and having my Laptop getting a keyboard replaced.  All nice and spiffy now. But the spell check is not working in Blogger so that should make it interesting.

Been wondering about the whole farming thing.  Attending a lot of of courses and reading the farmers messiah, Joel Salatin.  He's been an amazing inspiration.  Here's our new chicken tractor based on his design.  This one has adjustable trailer wheels cuz I was too lazy to build his simple lift and puller.  I will do that when I build some more tractors.  This one comes with a built in spilt feed cleaner!
    As you might be able to tell.  This lot's about ready for some processing.  I am getting an urge for baked chicken!  Had a couple of roosters fall prey to what I think was a fox.  Last night all the dogs and I slept out on the veranda to keep a watch.  Well, I tried to sleep.  The Doggies serenaded me all night long!  But no casualties.  I'm hoping that fox learned his lesson!  

Back later with more.  But right now theres five weiners that are squealing for apples!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Penned In



Back from a trip down south.  While I was away one of our Sows decided it was time to bring forth some new piggies into the midst.  So Jo-Ann, with the help of some friendly neighbours got to handle the event.



Fortunately, we've kept track of all the breeding dates of the five sows we currently have and can figure out when they should farrow.  Job last before I left was to get Peg the Pig into a farrowing stall we had built.  In a hurry we just screwed a pallet across the back of a stall to make a safe area for the little piglets.  Complete with heat lamp it makes a pretty comfy place with no danger of the Mom laying on the piglets.


We lost five of the litter of eight.  A pretty tough blow.  The cause seems to be that the piglets got away from the mom and got too cold.  The culprit is suspected to be too much hay.

Picking up from that tragedy we have been building new stalls with farrowing rails.  We're waiting for the next four sows to give birth and as their due dates come up we put them in farrowing stalls.  It's still plenty cold outside and there wouldn't be any suitable place for them yet.





The farrowing rails inside keep the piglets from getting squished.



The rails were made from recycled logs that we used for the pen in the 80 year old hand built log barn.  Reuse recyle.... that's our motto. And you can't beat the price.  Speaking of which.... can you believe it cost $15 in screws just to screw the thing together!?! 

This shows the piglet creep area at the back of the stall.  Mamma can see 'em, but she can't get at 'em.




This  is the 2 x 4 walkway over top of the creeps, so we can walk along the back without going into the pen.  They are removable.  We can lift them up and hang heat lamps down to warm their little butts.  Nothing says comfortable like a warm butt.


No butts about it!  Hope you're having a great week!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Snow Storm



It's April 6th and I am sitting at our kitchen table at 8:30 in the morning.  It's a struggle  to see the trees at the Southern edge of our front property due to a blinding blizzard.  This has been going on for two days now.  A couple of days ago we were congratulating ourselves over getting through another winter and planning on putting away the long johns, and how it looked like the balmy days were here again.  Plus 10 temperatures.  Mother Nature may have taken slight at being taken for granted.

The three bird feeders off the front balcony are filled with Juncos, their feathers all fluffed up against the driving Eastern snow.  It's only -5c but it seems a lot colder.  It's certainly long john season again.  For a while anyway.

The snow will put a bit of a damper on the pig feeder project.  I was hoping to get that done before my trip to the coast.

It was mud season a couple of days ago so I built a couple of pallet walks to the green house and barn.


I can never get enough pallets and the pictures will give you an idea why.  Jo-Ann even bought me a book on nifty pallet projects: Wood Pallet Projects by Chris Gleason, filled with inspirational ideas.  Keeping with my theme of recycle and re-use there isn't much that can't be built with a little ingenuity.

My four main recycle items are glass windows, tires, pallets and five gallon buckets.

The glass is perfect for shed projects and hot boxes.  We grow food and flowers in the truck tires.  Pallets are used from everything to walkways to furniture, and five gallon buckets are used for animal feeders and grain.

The house sure smells nice.  Filled with the wonderful aroma of dog food.


 Oh, I know, but this dog food is made with 100% organic beef chunks, some added pig lard, oats and barley. No crap.


 The doggies love it, and it's sure a lot better for them than the packaged cardboard, fortified with entrails and chicken feathers kibble that comes in those cool looking bags.

We save all our pork fat.  Jo-Ann makes lard from it.  Beat's Crisco hands down!


Hope you're doing well, and the snow shoeing is just for recreation!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bolting

The spinach, that is.  I've become resigned to the fact that I am unable to grow spinach in the green house.  Even in the winter time it gets too warm.  I planted spinach several weeks ago and when I checked yesterday it was six inches high and starting to bolt.  As I have suspected for a while now, I can grow tomatoes or lettuce in the same green house during the winter months but not both..

We've just had over a foot of snow fall in mid March.  And it looks like it's not over yet.  It's time to start putting plastic covers on the tire garden and melting the snow.  As soon as I can work the soil, perhaps in as little as a week, I can start planting spinach and lettuce outside.

I haven't been doing much on this blog as of late.  We have decided to become an actual, farm and so have been setting up our business.  Our Website is www.savoryfarm.ca.  We also have a Facebook page.  I have been astonished at the business it has brought in.  Hopefully we'll be able to fulfill all the requests for weiners and full grown feeders in a month or so.  It sounds like it's going to be a busy spring.

What is our operating philosophy to be.  Well, I've been reading a lot of Joel Salatin lately and talking with some local organic farmers.  That should tell you the general direction were taking.  The organic food market in B.C. is largely untapped and local organic suppliers cannot get enough B.C. farmers to supply them and are going as far east as New Brunswick to replenish their stocks.  That's the Atlantic seaboard.. Clear across the country.  Like shipping lettuce from New York to California!

The hoops to garnering a certified organic status seem prodigious at times.  A process that can take as long as three years.  We're hoping it won't take that long as the land we have, probably a hundred acres of tillable soil, hasn't been used for anything but cattle grazing for the last twenty years or so.

Anyway stay tuned.  It promises to be an exciting year.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

King of The Hill

The doggies love that game.  All the hillocks around the yard, remnants of the winter's snow plowing operations, have little doggy platforms at the top.  Great places to hang out and survey the fields. 


We're over wintering two boars and five sows.  Hoping for lots of weaners come spring.  They do love to prance around the one acre field the renovated barn is in.  I installed a motion sensor yard light and was surprised last night to see it cycling on and off.  I had forgotten to close the door to their barn bedding and they were out galavanting under the stars.  The girls like to go over to the blue shed where Polka Dot, our full grown boar, resides to chat him up. 

We're pretty sure we have three sows bred now.  As they come into heat we bring them over to the Boar's compound and let them spend a night or so together.  Actually, there's no need to bring them there as they will already be smooching him through the fence.  The blue spots on the sow below isn't a skin disorder,  its vegetable dye.  We're using different coloured dyes to distinguish between them.  Once they are bred they get a name.  So far we have Peg, Matilda and Polly named.  Next up are yellow and red, tentatively Mabel and Linda.  


The sheep are enjoying their new spacious quarters in the renovated log barn but really enjoy coming out and playing with the dogs on a sunny day.  Who is King of the Castle now?!


I loved the shredded daikon we get when we have Sushi at a place near my Daughter's in Coquitlam.  We could never figure out how they did it.  Turn a daikon into long tasty shreds.  We even asked them but it seemed to be a closely guarded secret.  But, ah-ha, my daughter managed to find the machine and sent me one for Christmas.  Not having anything exotic like Daikon in the local stores, I tried it out on some sweet potato.  Delicious stir-fried with some veg.  We plan a trip to Prince George or perhaps Burns Lake to score some Daikon so I can make a facsimile of "Crack Sushi"....  something we named a dish that consists of Tuna soaked in hot sauce on a bed of shredded Daikon.  My Tuna will have to be canned, as sushi grade fish is hard to come by in this neck of the forest.  


Our newest equipment purchase.  The two wheeled barrow upside down on the top of the Jeep.  Aptly named the ShizaWagon,  Jeez I've bought cars far cheaper than that thing.  But it is way easier to use than a single wheeled barrow.  


Remember now, you've got friends keeping an eye on you!