turdacres


goats in coats 2014 edition

This morning we woke up to this:

looks like minus 10!

looks like minus 10!

This am, both of the goats were shivering. Time for the coats.

sydney can't believe she got the coat too.

sydney can’t believe she got the coat too.

We checked on them later, and alas, the Dongo was still shivering. Time for a new tactic. Enter the sweatshirt.
(Note for Mom: for Christmas next year, Roppongi probably takes a large not a medium, but maybe with 3/4 length sleeves!)

she probably takes a large--but with 3/4 sleeves!

she probably takes a large–but with 3/4 sleeves!

She looks a bit dashing in that shot, don’t you think?
But no, she was glum. This pic captures her mood.

we probably should have trimmed the sleeves for her.

we probably should have trimmed the sleeves for her.

She knew what was coming, the big blue sheet went on over top of the sweatshirt.

We did manage to cheer her up a bit though, with her favorite winter treat–hot molasses water. Mix about a tablespoon of molasses into about 3 litres or a gallon of water. Some people say that their goats really like the water hot and not warm. Today I tried that, and sure enough, Roppongi drank most of the bucket. They love it, and it’s a nice energy boost and vitamins for them.

In other winter news, note to self–this is why they made plastic chicken waterers.

galvanized waterers are not practical for winter!

galvanized waterers are not practical for winter!

I always wondered why people made the plastic ones, the galvanized ones would seem to last much longer. I like this nice big one in the summer in their run. It’s big so I don’t have to keep refilling it. Our plastic one was leaking last night, so I had to use the galvanized one, and lo and behold–you can’t get the frozen ice chunk out of it in the morning. ARGH. So we went out and bought a new plastic one today.

Other than a few small gripes, we’re all doing ok in the big cold. Just waiting it out until tomorrow. The kids had no school today, and they’re on a two hour delay tomorrow. But it should be up to the 40s maybe by the end of the week. Whew!

Advertisements


big surprise in the coop: possum!!
January 5, 2014, 6:06 pm
Filed under: chickens | Tags: , , , ,
ugly guy

ugly guy

We’re waiting for that big freeze, but today was pretty mild. I wasn’t that surprised to see that the chickens were at the gate and wanted to go out of the run for a tour around the farm. I let them out, and then decided to take a look at the coop. I opened the door to see this surly bugger!!

Ok so he looks a little less frightening in the coop.

little drowned rat-like thing

little drowned rat-like thing

He wasn’t moving too fast, so I closed in the coop and then got my camera! He showed me how he can climb.

dude you missed the door

dude you missed the door

Chased him out of the coop and he headed up to the corner of the run.

Up the fence he went

Up the fence he went

He can fit through a teeny 2 x 4 inch fence. With some coaxing he showed us how…

squishy but he made it.

squishy but he made it.

I couldn’t figure out how he made it in in the first place. But then I noticed the tracks. Along the side of run, must have come through the fence at this roost. Walked across the roost and then jumped down and made his way straight into the coop.

Litte feetprints in between my boot prints.

Litte feetprints in between my boot prints.

We think he’s rooming under the woodpile near the coop. His mother or father was probably the killer of poor spanky. Poor chickens have seen so much. Good thing is that apparently possums don’t carry rabies too often, though they do carry a disease that is bad for horses and birds. They don’t hibernate, and we have seen them occassionally in the middle of winter.

You just get the sense that we’re constantly beating back the wildlife around here. Earlier this winter we ended up killing some mice in the barn. And we trapped groundhogs and raccoons. It’s just a constant struggle to keep everyone safe.



happy new year it’s cold out!
January 4, 2014, 8:44 am
Filed under: farm, goats | Tags: , , ,

Here’s some pics from trip to the barn this morning.

that's cold. but supposed to be even colder in a few days.

that’s cold. but supposed to be even colder in a few days.

pretty morning light

pretty morning light

sydney aka polar bear

sydney aka polar bear

need more ice in my bucket!

need more ice in my bucket!

Roppongi doesn’t like the cold so much. She was a little bit shivery this morning, and wouldn’t come out. If she gets worse, we’ll have to pull out her goat coat!

roppongi would not come out

roppongi would not come out

We’re expecting temps to fall to minus 12 on Monday. Yeesh, wish us luck on that one. We’re not in the midwest or Edmonton you know!! We can’t handle it!



spanky
November 25, 2013, 12:08 pm
Filed under: chickens, spanky

Poor Spanky chicken. I did you wrong.

Spanky March 9, 2009-November 20, 2013

Spanky March 9, 2009-November 20, 2013

Some sad times here at the Acres. We were away for awhile. We knew it would be a big deal to leave the place for so long, and that it’d be trouble when we got back. But we went. And just three days before we got back, disaster struck. We don’t know the whole story I think, but apparently something was casing the coop, and eventually it got into the run. And Spanky, dear sweet Spanky, was the one it took.

pretty bird with a sweet voice

pretty bird with a sweet voice

Spanky was high up on the pecking order. Usually I thought she was the top bird, but at some point I think Bubbles took over. Spanky had the sweetest prettiest voice of all the birds. She was absolutely no trouble at all. Our best layer, and the biggest bird. She was the fastest runner. She wasn’t a lap chicken, and the hardest to pick up but she was always first over to get a treat. Poor sweet Spanky. I feel so bad that I didn’t protect her from a horrible fate. We were smug about our chicken fort knox. But we let things slide, and there was a way–whatever it was found a way.. to get into the run.

Now we have just two chickens left, Bubbles and Knuckles. Traumatized I’m sure by all that happened. I’m not sure how they managed to be spared. We’ve reinforced every inch of the run, and got the trap set out. We’ll keep a closer eye on them, and hopefully we only need to learn that lesson once.

So horrible. You were a good chicken, Spanky, and I’m sorry you went in such a terrible way.



fall garden = dahlia time!
October 11, 2013, 7:41 pm
Filed under: dahlias, favorite plants, gardening, goats | Tags: , , , , ,
Dahlias spilling over onto the walk

Dahlias spilling over onto the walk

I do love me some dahlias! This year they seemed to take forever to get going. Maybe I planted them a bit late? Maybe I didn’t give them too much love. Certainly I didn’t spend too much time staking them!

Oh well, they’re still nice.

dahlias and verbena bonariensis

dahlias and verbena bonariensis

Even with a half finished pathway. These orange ones  on the left are Maarn.

IMG_0673

This one is new this year. Pretty huh? Might be Awe Shucks? But I’m too lazy to bend down and look at the tag.

This one is snowflake

This one is snowflake

IMG_0684This is some little sweetie romaine lettuce, with strawberries.

fall kale planting

fall kale planting

Here’s some red russian kale. Yum! Along with a container of soapy water that I use to capture stink bugs. Not so yum.

IMG_0686

And here is one sweet goat, having a rest under the big oak tree. She’s so cute! She likes this spot because it’s the highest in the paddock. Silly goats with their height thing. She’s also a digger and she’s made a little sand pit over there , dug up all the grass.



end of the season
October 10, 2013, 6:19 pm
Filed under: gardening, goats, tomatoes | Tags:
IMG_4141

end of the tomatoes!

Yep, it’s finally the end of the season. I’m watching the birds eating crabapples, and turkeys wandering across the yard. Everyone is packing it up for the season.

I picked the last of the tomatoes. Green ones for goaties! We’ve had a couple of nice pasta dinners with fresh tomatoes chopped up with basil and cheese. Yum! So I guess I’m ready to say goodbye.

IMG_4140 When your plants look as bad as this one–you’re ready for them to go. I took them all out, and put them on the burn pile. Of course the burn pile is now in a goat paddock, so anything remotely edible is gobbled right up. I didn’t think goats should eat tomato plants, but they seem to enjoy nibbling them. They’ve also had a heyday eating the squash vines (who likes those? no one I thought!)

At any rate, we’ve got our last fall lettuces and peas in, and enjoying the dahlias in full bloom!



utility update: big storm!
October 9, 2013, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, utilities | Tags: ,

Well almost a month ago, we got the big one. The storm we’ve been waiting for–you know, the one that officially blocks the road and takes out all our power lines? Yeah, that one!

For some crazy reason I was at the gym when it came. The storm didn’t look so bad from there, but on the drive home I noticed a LOT of debris on the roads. I had to drive over some trees too.  Then, I came to our street, turned in, and there it was.

Image 2

big tree across the road

Image 3

can you see the power lines in that mess?

I climbed on over it, and walked to the house. On the way I noticed that another pole was damaged, listing really! Cracked down to the bottom.

Image

see that tilty pole back there? not good!

And then the kicker, the pole at the top of the line…smashed into many little pieces..

Image 4

pile of rubble=utility pole

I was not too happy, as we had had an outage in the summer that last for a couple of days and it was a much smaller set of damage (a transformer down the street I think). This one was the big one. And all the work we’d gone through to get the lines raised in the paddock, erased. I knew we’d have to start from scratch.

Yeesh. Amazingly they had the power back on after 24hours. Our phone line continued to work with the tree down on it! Poor me, I had to be out of town in NYC for the weekend, and when we came back, we had power, but alas, our phone was gone, and…the line was ominously just lying on the road!?!

It stayed there for about a week, slumped over our utility paddock fenceline, not connected to anything. I kept calling about it and finally someone came in and got the phone back online.

And then, the calls began. AKA the verizon circus. You can’t call and request a lineman, no they will always send a technician (guy who can’t fix anything) first. So…call, automated endless wait for a customer service agent. Explain the problem. Half of the time they drop the call while transferring you to the repair line. Explain the problem. Get a service appt. Wait. Guy comes out –oh it’s the technician. I can’t do anything, i’ll call it in for a line man. Nothing happens! Repeat.

Today was a first, we actually had two service people come out–first one, you know this…a technician (can’t do anything). But then a second one showed up (guess the first one did call it in, thanks dude!), second one was a “troubleshooting technician”. He had a little bucket truck, but not the big ones that can stretch the lines. He said he thought it was weird all the comments about needing a bucket truck (odd that my story gets written down somehow, and they still can’t fix it), but added to the story–he thought he was looking at the line from the barn to the pole (WHAT? we don’t have a phone line going to the barn??) so he couldn’t fix anything either. Verizon really looks like a bunch of dopes. Wasting everyone’s time–are they gov’t employees or something??! Just a big circus. And I’m too tired to tell you about how their attempts to get us on FIOS fit into all this. Another time? luckily for you, dear reader, probably not!

So far, it’s been 2.5 weeks since I called about raising the line. It’s actually gotten lower now at 6.5 feet (I can touch it with my hands, and i’m not that tall, than it was when we initially called about it several years back. We’ll have to see what happens, but until then the paddock is not usable. It’s a safety issue, and it really needs to be addressed. Hard to believe we got over 13 feet clearance back in the day. I hope they’ll fix it all back up.