Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday in Pictures

Last day of the pigs.  They had their "appointment" today.

The geese don't mind the snow

The new flock of ducks.  The mallard is on the far left.

The geese decided that the fences are down and they are allowed in the garden. 

Quickly harvesting the leeks.  Also picked the kale, carrots and parsnips.

The Plymouth Barred Rocks in their new pen


Friday, October 28, 2011


Our freezer is full.  The meat birds and one goose were brought to the mobile processing unit yesterday.  Husband and I had to get up at 5:00 am to get the hens into some cages to bring them to the processor.  With an hour's drive we were the first to arrive at 7:30am only to be met by a friend who was the second to arrive.  It was quite a surprise running into her there as she drove into town from McBride - who would have thought we would have made the appointments on the same day.

The unit was interesting and full of stainless steel - since we were the first people there we got a tour!  I was very happy to see on one of the signs "Make sure to treat the animals humanely" 

Upon arriving home Husband went out to feed the geese and the gander promptly nailed him.  He was bitten quite hard.  I think the gander was afraid he was next in line for processing.  Of course when I went out the gander was as gentle as usual with me (goose love).

I don't think that I mentioned that we sold all of the Americauna chicks that we hatched in the spring.  Our intention was to keep them, but after having the Plymouth Barred Rock and discovering how calm they are, we decided that the flighty Americaunas are not our preferred breed.  So, I placed an ad on Kijiji and sold them all for $10 a piece about 2 months ago and I am still getting inquiries from people wanting to buy them.

We have been in a quandry as to what to do with your old laying hens.  I mentioned it to one of my clients and they said that they would take them even though they are already three years old. Once they build their henhouse I will deliver the hens and Lucky.

The Barred Rock are great and the rooster (the other 3 went to the processor) has begun crowing.  It sounds so funny sort of like a muffled trumpet.  We have one teeny tiny hen in the batch and she is about a quarter the size of the others, but she is tough as nails and is always the first to the food and water.

Tomorrow I will be cleaning out hen house and outside pens and moving the Barred Rock into the side where the old layers are to get them settled.  The have not begun laying yet, but at least they will be in the side with the nest boxes.  The old layers will go on the other side until my client's are ready to accept them - it shouldn't be a problem without the nest boxes as they are only laying 2-3 eggs a day with the darker days.

At the end of July the fox ate Donald our drake Khaki Campbell.  The duck hens seemed so lost without him, so I began looking around for another drake.  On Kijiji someone had advertised a FREE Khaki drake, but to get him I would also have to take a Mallard hen.  They joined our flock at the end of September and seem to be doing very well.  At took a liitle bit to get them acquainted with our existing hens, but they get along rather well now.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Leeks; the Forgotten Vegetable

Our leeks did very well this year.  Obviously a vegetable that likes lots of water.
I have never seen such large leeks grown here before

 Tonight's side dish is Braised Leeks from the "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook by Sally Fallon

Braised Leeks

6 medium leeks
2 cups beef stock
1 cup grated Gruyere cheee (which I don't have so I will use some Parmesan)

Trim ends of leeks and split lengthwise.  Rinse well and set ina pyrex pan.  Bring beef stock to a boil and pour over leeks.  Bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour or until the stock has reduced and leeks are tender.  Sprinkle on cheese and melt under broiler for a few minutes.  Serve immediately

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm Back

I know that I have been absent for quite some time.  It has been a busy and stressful summer.  First off, we have had the most rainy summer I have ever experienced.  This led to numerous problems situations that we have had to work around: 

First off we did not get the barn finished as we had intended as our property is mainly clay and to try to work around in the mud was just no fun.

With the barn not finished our animals have had to reside in makeshift pens and were shuffled several times to different areas.  Husband did finish the portion of the barn that hooked to the hen house, so we were able to get some permanent quarters for the geese and ducks. The old duck half of the hen house was taken over by the new laying hens (Plymouth Barred Rock).  The upper portion of this 'barn section' can now house the hay, and we managed to get most of that out of the garage (yeah! more room)

The pigs have been moved three times now.  One earlier post shows what should have been their permanent pen.  Unfortunately with the relentless rain the entire area became a huge mud pit with the muck reaching the pigs bellies in some places.  We worried that they would become ill or get some kind of foot disease, so we moved them once again.

Most of the garden didn't get weeded on a regular basis because it was just too wet and the water was sitting in the pathways.  A lot of our garden plants did not produce this year because of the weather, yet some did surprisingly well.

I seem to have made quite a bit of jam this year - grape, black currant (from our gardens) and apricot (from a coworker's brother who lives in the Okanagan).

We had several sets of visitors over the summer.  My penpal from Germany and her husband came to stay for a few days during their holiday to BC and Alberta.  It was so great to finally meet her!

It took me three months to get our rental house finished and it was listed for sale last Friday.  With that complete I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief.  I think that has caused me the greatest stress - trying to get the house repaired, painted and updated (Thank you Dad for all your help!) and the continual discovery of more damage caused by the last tenants not noticed on their departure.

We managed one day as a family holiday in which we travelled to Barkerville.  We all love visiting the historic gold rush town of Barkerville.

Husband and I also managed to get away to Kelowna for a few days in September.  It was a holiday for me but he had to work.  We drank lots of great Okanagan wine.  I know that most people don't associate Canada, or specifically British Columbia, with wine but we actually produce top quality wines in the Okanagan region.  I did a lot of walking around the hotel, downtown and the lake.   The weather was surprisingly good - rain overnight, overcast in the mornings and sunny and warm in the afternoon.

Husband also started a new job over the summer.  He has more stress but will not be out on the road as much which is a good thing because I always worry.

So that was about it for my summer (or lack thereof). Hopefully next year we will actually get some sunshine.  Now onto winter....

Friday, October 21, 2011

First Snow

Yes, you read that correctly. We had our first snowfall this morning. Luckily it did not stay and the sun came out in the afternoon.

I thought the pigs would be interested in the snow being such curious creatures, but no they were much more interested in the pail of donated apples