Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden Work

Husband took the week off to work in the gardens and around the acreage. There is always so much to do in the spring and clean up the mess after the snow has melted. It is hard to imagine now that only three weekends ago we still had snow covering most of he garden.

Some things that Husband (and some by me) accomplished:
•Tilled the garden
•Brought tomatoes into the greenhouses
•Hooked up the electrical wiring to the barn
•Installed one of the iron gates at front of property
•General clean up of propery
•Put in bedding plants
•Weeded beds and berry garden
•Planted garden
•Built planter boxes
•Fixed fence around garden
•Planted flower beds and boxes

Garden freshly tilled

Large greenhouse waiting to be planted

Small greenhouse with two variety of tomatoes. (The white cloth is the row covers for the cabbages)

Husband had better luck starting some of the tomatoes this year. The Purple Russian only produced one plant and a few fruit last year. I manages to save a few seeds, and this year started five plants.

Glacier tomato plants all died last year. We had a few seeds put away and were able to start five plants this spring. We are keeping our fingers crossed that all will survive and fruit.

The chicks are three weeks old and it was a nice weekend so I brought them out into the sunshine. Right away they lay down and stretched out their wings to sun themselves.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gourmet Dinner at Home

This was a long weekend for Canadians as today was Victoria Day celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria (for our country's British heritage)

Husband, Son and I spent most of the weekend outdoors weeding, cleaning and getting the gardens ready for planting. We took breaks to talk to the pigs helping them get used to us and their new environment. The neighbours also brought their young children over to spend some time with the goslings and to see the piglets... there's nothing cuter then seeing toddlers with animal babies!

Daughter had a project to complete this weekend for her Foods 9 class - to cook and present a gourmet meal. How wonderful to come in after the garden work, have a hot shower and then be served a beautiful meal. Here are the photos documenting her meal... and it was delicious!


Table Setting

Mozzerella and Sweet Basil Bruschetta

Main Course
Savoury Chicken Bake
White Wine Asparagus Risotto
Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Diabolic Cheesecake with Sliced Strawberries

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Pigs Have Arrived!

Thursday afternoon Husband and I drove to the next town to meet up with the people who were selling the piglets. We waited in the Co-op parking lot not knowing who we were meeting, or what they were driving. As we waited Husband made a comment wondering if this is what drug dealers feel like when they're waiting to make an exchange.

After about 25 minutes a silver pickup truck roared up next to us... they has obviously seen the dog crates in the back of our truck with which to transport the pigs.

They had a wire dog crate containing six piglets as they were meeting another buyer as well as us.

Pigs were grabbed by their back legs and ferried over into our crates. We expected a lot of squealing but only one protested... probably because they were fast asleep by the time they arrived at the Co-op.

When we got home and hour and a half later the pigs were fast asleep again. After getting the pig ark filled with hay Husband began to unload the piglets into their new pen, only to have one escape between the fencing slats... they were a lot smaller than he had anticipated when building the fence. So we ran around trying to catch her, looking like a bunch of maniacs I'm sure. Once caught and secured, we had to fix the fencing so that they wouldn't get out again. When all four pigs were in their new home Daughter had names for them all within a few minutes. We now have Boris, Delicious, Bacon and Miss Piggy at the acreage.

The pigs are very skittish but are beginning to slowly get used to us. Son was even able to scratch one's back as he fed them today.

So, our adventures in pig raising has begun!

Posted on Homestead Barn Hop #14

Home Tour

I'm so excited!  Our home tour is up on the Home Sweet Home blog... check it out here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Husband was 'down south' on the weekend and brought home a present for me...

... a big box of rhubarb. Now, husband's favorite is Strawberry Rhubarb pie, so it makes me kind I'd wonder who the gift was really for.

Filling for pie (enough for 2 large pies)
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon (or there abouts because I don't measure)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (as above)
8 c rhubarb cut into pieces
4 c slices strawberries
mix all together and fill pie shells and then top

Pie crust  (enough for 2 large pies and tops)
6 c flour
2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
Mix in a bowl

1.5 c water
1.5 c lard
Boil in a pan until lard is melted and stir vigorously into the flour mixture

Divide into balls and roll out.

Can't wait until I can bake these pies with our own strawberries and rhubarb!  Everything tastes so much better from the garden!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Since we picked up the goslings it has been raining.  Hey, at least the snow is gone now (other than the odd patch) and we have some green grass!

Sunday afternoon was a beautiful 22c and Son and I took the goslings outside on the lawn to get some fresh air and stretching...

...and the odd nibble of grass.  I'm surprised at how fast they can run... only a few weeks old and they can out run me (though most things probably could)  They like to follow and we have to watch our step lest we squash them.

At this stage the goslings are so adorable, but we have to remember eventually they will be Christmas dinner.... hard not to get attached though.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This year we have had an influx of mice We noticed it when the snow melted and saw all sorts of tunnels in our new grass, plus the small gnaw marks on our shrubs.

We also see them around the yard and scurrying to hide under he front deck. Kaiser, our dog, tries to catch them and when they disappear he takes huge long sniffing breaths trying to discover where they went.

Daughter let out a scream the other morning when she got out of the shower... a mouse was in the hallway just outside the bathroom door. I have had two traps set up but no luck yet.

Friday, May 13, 2011


We are amassing poultry this week.

The chicks we hatched are now a week and a half old. Of the 16 eggs (I miscounted them as 17) six actually hatched and another ten formed but didn't develop all the way. Daughter was brave and opened up the unhatched eggs.

On Wednesday I placed another 16 Americauna eggs and 10 Khaki Campbell duck eggs in the incubator. I'm going to turn the egg more often to see if that will increase the hatch rate.

The kids and I went out to the farm I visited last week to pick up our three goslings. They are so cute and just want to be held.

And where should all these babies end up? The garage of course!

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This is so cool!  The above portion of the post was written and uploaded from a new app on my iPhone (there really does appear to be an app for everything!)  Now I can actually blog while I'm out and about!

The video above is from the day we brought the goslings home.  As you can see they just want to sit in Daughter's lap.

Today I ordered 25 Barred Plymouth Rock and 25 Frey's Special Dual Purpose from Frey's Hatchery in Ontario.  I just found their website yesterday quite by mistake as I was looking a the Northern BC Poultry and Small Animal website.  I was pleasantly surprised when I called them this morning as their prices are very reasonable (rather good in fact!)

Posted on Homestead Barn Hop #13

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Field Trip

This afternoon I travelled out to a farm close to my area of town to visit a lady whom I met via the Alberta Chickens Etc forum.  It was a great visit!  I got to see her various breeds of chicken, a variety of ducklings and chicks. goats, geese, llama, dogs, cats and exotic birds.  So much fun!

I learned a lot and got to ask questions of someone well acquianted with chicken breeds and hierarchy.  She suggested we nurse Cockzilla back to health (he was looking much better today by-the-way) let him completely grow his feathers back, then remove Lucky and reintroduce Cockzilla to the hens.  If all goes well then to cull Lucky out of the flock.  Her reasoning is that you don't want to get rid of a rooster with a good temperament and keep one that is a brute.  I feel much better now as both Husband and I really like Cockzilla and didn't want to have to kill him.

I also got my fill of goats (or almost).  Two of her goats are so friendly they just kept coming to me for head rubs and eventually just leaned their bodies against me.  The smell of their pens brought me back to my childhood spending time at the neighbour's goat pens.

Unfortunately her goose eggs did not hatch yet, so I had to come home empty handed.  I did see the large African Geese and was slightly startled as to how noisy they are.

The time went too fast.... three hours later I had to get home, though I could have stayed longer for more wonderful conversation with her and her husband.  It was so nice to actually speak to people who have such similar interests and opinions as I.  They also told me about a small group of hobby farmers that get together every so often and the next time they have a meeting they will invite me along.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cockfight #2

I'm feeling bad.  Really guilty and  bad.  This morning I went out to the hen house to let the birds out, feed and water them.  I always open up the doors to let them into the outdoor pen first and I noticed that Cockzilla didn't come out.

I went into the hen house and saw him cowering in the corner on the floor.  He wouldn't move when I tried to shoosh him out, so I pick him up.  He was completely battered and bloody.  All his new feathers were picked out, one eye swollen closed, covered in blood and I think he may have a broken wing - he looked half dead.  I'm almost crying as I'm writing this as I feel so guilty for putting him and Lucky together again.  I never would have thought that they would fight like that at night in the dark.  I assumed that once Lucky had asserted his dominance yesterday while they outside that would be it - chickens working things out themselves.

I can only feel for poor Cockzilla - first losing his number one status somehow over the winter, and then having to suffer being beaten up.  I know it is farm life and the animals have to make their own pecking order - it is not up to us to decide just because we may favour one over the other - but I hate to see an animal hurt or suffering.

He is now back in the large brooder box in the garage.  He was drinking when I left for work this morning.  I don't know what we'll do... He can't go back to the henhouse, perhaps the most humane thing is to cull him.  I hate the thought as I really like him,.  I'm very sad.

The lesson I've learned is only one rooster in the flock.