Ice Storm 2018 Ontario Ottawa Area

Well, the ice storm arrived and we were without power for three days pretty much..

We got ICE!  It snapped power poles like they were toothpicks, it brought down tree’s and ripped roofs off and more.. We lost a number of tree’s in the pasture, part of the sheet metal on the big barns roof and a huge part of one of our big grandfather tree’s, that thankfully missed the deck and the old part of the house but if it had fallen different, it could have struck the house easily enough

The prep work for the farm worked very well and thanks to dear friends we got a helping hand on a few other things that were needed including being asked over to have a hot shower and to get a hand on getting our sump pump running again.. Grateful!

I was grateful for the warm feather quilts made by the Hutterites made by our friends that helped keep us warm and for the wool blankets gathered over the years from our local farm sales and second hand shops. The biggest issue we had was trying to dry out the outdoor gear between chores.. Thankfully we have extra’s to use as needed. Mom’s little dog enjoyed her time on the bed and on the couches with her blankets, she was not quite as pleased to be wearing a baby lambs coat for the worst of it, but she gets cold easy and it helped keep her body heat in.

As always the Ecozoom stove is outstanding.. four little tiny sticks an you can boil a gallon of water, cook a meal and with the Shuttle Chef, you can hot water on demand, I really must get another one, so that I can keep hot water for drinks, washing etc in one and a meal ready in the other. You would be hard pressed to do even a faction of it with a regular fire with 1/4th of a standard wood stove piece of wood.  the kindle cracker comes in very handy for this as well. I used pre-cut and pre-dried pine for the stove during the icestorm. That is the joy of the properly done kettle stoves.. little fuel for big payout!

Well, I had better get back to the farm, how was your weekend? I did learn of some gaps in my preps for ice storms and I will try and figure out what I want to change or add and update more once I settled on what!

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Slow Start to the weekend.

Well, the storm is certainly coming  but its been slower to start then they said for our neck of the woods at least. We are close to a full day behind what they said it would start, I am ok with that, it has given us time to do more prep work and it also gave me rest time We have stuffed all the outdoor rabbit hutches as full as possible to keep the rabbit kits protected from this bitter wind and cold.

I needed to move my big boy Jack, the buck goat, normally this just means leading him with a bucket of grain or at the worst grabbing his set of horns and helping lead him to were we want him to go.. but yesterday he had gotten himself in a bit of a pickle and the easiest way to get him out of it and back to his stall was to help lift him over a gate.

Normally I would have had the head-front and hubby would have had the rear but as my darling man is off the lifting area, I had him shake the bucket with grain so that Jack would stand up on the gate to get to it and then I lifted him up and over it.

Dang that is one heavy big buck and once he got his front legs down to the ground, and had the ability to really do so.. he kicked out with both back legs and his feet nailed me, one just under my jaw and into the jaw (felt like I took a nice upper cut punch) and the second hit me in the lower throat area..  They went red and swollen pretty much right away and it gave me a heck of a headache for most of Saturday.

I got the rest of the chores done and then I took some pain meds, something to help bring down the swelling and I went to bed.. hubby looked after the house, the dogs and made a lovely hot supper. I was grateful for the rest.

I woke up expecting something and we just had a tiny bit of snow, so the morning went well but by lunch the winds and some freezing rain was coming in.. we did the last round of chores hours early as the radar shows solid color coming in.  I will be working in the house for the rest of Sunday

Farm Gal Tip of the day.. When your canned fruit is starting to get lower in numbers, extend it by making lots of Jello fruit salads or desserts. A little fruit in a bowl of jello goes much further then eating fruit alone 🙂

 

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Great Week Indeed

The walking onions are just starting to poke up out of the ground, I have a few patches of them that need to be thinner out and replanted out into a new area.. that is something that always makes me smile when I see that.. you can never have to many onions on the farm

So many big and some smaller new from last year Comfrey plants starting to show themselves. Most of them will be used for fodder (livestock feed to the sheep and goats, and a smaller amount to the rabbits and the chickens) with the rest of the extra being used in the garden or the food forest as a cut and drop feed.

I need to split out and replant a number of my horseradish plants, these are not used for the roots but for the greens for fresh and cooked eating. One of the easiest greens to grow in the gardens and they make outstanding dried greens for the kitchen as well

Not much nettle growth yet but they are there and starting but many of them are only a inch or two at this point, a few might be three inches but lots of growth to go on them before I will be able to start even smaller harvest amounts. I always find it interesting that some of the nettles come up purple in the spring and others come up green

This week has been a good one, I have had visits with friends, have had laughs and more, I have worked on this and that on the house and in the yards.. I am working on the basic plan of keep up on the chores, keep up on the basic’s in the house and then find a way to do 15 to 30 min each day to do extra farm-yard work,  garden work and extra more in-depth house work.

I am very pleased with the work that got done, we are under a ice storm warning, we had a amazing day, this afternoon was sunny and I put in a couple hours of extra chores it was plus 9, that is the about as nice as we have had. It is to start raining today, which is to turn to snow and then we are under a ice storm warning for late Saturday and all day sunday and into Monday.

And then they say it will change to rain and that its going to really! rain so we will see how it all goes. I have lots of work to do in the house so as long as we do not lose power, it will be a productive weekend.

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A little Lamb Love

Big Female (single) at the back, then first born set of twins, Ram Lamb in the middle an his sister at the front, with a touch of Jada a yearling goat rear end

Only one of the second born set of twins, they are both ram lambs, and no photos of the newest yet, they are out of the wind, safely tucked in the jug, nursing an growing

man, the drought year 2016 an the flood year 2017 has done a job on my pastures.. and will need to hire again this year to have the pastures dragged

Let me check out this big new world with my nose I can learn much by smell as well..  she is so darn cute! her brother is sweet as well

 

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What a clean up needed!

I went out to take photos of the main garden and then decided that a short video to show just how bad it really is would work so much better.

The bones of the garden are still there, the rich soil and the pathways are there, even if overgrown at the moment.  This is the worst garden that I will be working with.  Its not the same as starting from bare soil by any means but its still going to be a rough go on it.

Let me know if you liked having a little video to go with, since I upgraded the blog last year I can post them much easier. I also have a new data plan, so I could do a short one once or twice a week if folks liked it?  I thought it might be fun to show how this garden goes though the season.

The perennials will be the fastest to clean up.. clear out the pathways, and bed them down well.  Dig out all the new babies and pot them up, use them,  Sell them or gift them away. they can stay in the pots until later in the season.

Then over the next six weeks I will do as much food harvesting as I can while I clean up, if not for house use, pretty much everything other than fleabane can go to the big barn, the little greens and the young budding branches will be much-loved from the new momma’s and the pig will be happy to eat any roots I want to send his way.

I need to set up an electric pen for him to come out a dig and eat on a patch of thistle roots this spring and turn the soil for me to heavily re-seed it.

Then it will depend on the weather to large point on how much early soil working I can do, how much early season planting can happen, however I will need this garden fully working and planted out in the next six to eight weeks.

 

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March Challange round up 2018

Well my March Challenge didn’t go as expected, nothing quite like getting derailed. Hubby and working the farm plus lambing and voila.. add in the flu for me an no time for posts, no time to be creative on meals, I wanted them simple, easy and salad at every supper and fresh fruit in the house for daily use for hubby’s healing needed.

I spent 36 dollars on the third week for hubbies needs and I spent 29 in week four, I didn’t go crazy and I was a good girl in the fact that I eat canned or fruits, I kept all meats, egg and milk from the farm..  Also all the green onions you could want in top form.

Dang fruit, veggies and bread are crazy costly! I have to admit that I really was unhappy about buying bread but I just have not got back into the bread making like I should be since my mom moved to the house.

We had another set of twin lambs born in the barn overnight, they were not there on last check and were there on morning chores. I moved the last set of twins out of the jug and into the momma-baby pen and moved the new mom and babies into the jug after a bit of freshening up. Still pretty new and pretty hollow but bonded.

Everything is was frozen this morning, now we have a sleety wet rain with mud being tracked. I am well enough that I am making five hours as my max up before I need a rest. Hopefully that will be extended soon.

My mom is quite sick in Alberta, viral pneumonia and such.. she has been sick and on meds for a while now and going back to the doctor today for another round of help. Part of me wishes that she was hear so I could give a helping hand and part of me is glad she is not hear and didn’t get my flu thing on top of her current illness.

Hubby is slowly, very slowly getting better. He did go to work for three days this week with one teli-work day.  I think that he is back to work now full time but still off the farm chores for another six weeks.

Everything is shedding out their winter coats, grooming the dogs daily at this point trying to keep the amount of hair needing to be cleaned up in the house down and if you walk by the horse’s they will shed half a horse on you!

Goodness are they muddy beasts and so much pasture clean up is required..  I swear they laugh at me when they greet me at the gate after a fresh mud roll.. Their Bromance is going strong. I had to laugh at them when I came out with halters, they were both so excited to see them.. clearly they are looking forward to doing ground work and going for walks. They have had their spring worming. I have been just going out and grooming them free style but maybe I will halter them up and do a tie and groom just to give something new to it.

The weekend is to be warmer then now but still below freezing. However next week appears to be more normal spring temps.. or so they say now.. we will see..

 

 

 

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We got lucky!

We might have a number of smaller branches down but the farm got very lucky, while we did have to tie a number of things down. Compared to other places that this storm moved though, we really did get lucky.  In one City, Cranes snapped and came down, in Ottawa roofs were ripped off, power poles were snapped down, 100,000 plus out of power across the storm area. We had some area’s with white out conditions and had a 50 car pile up on a highway. You get the idea.. so the fact that we only had the lights flicker a few times, and that the winds blew down lots of smaller branches means we got off lucky indeed.

The cold moved in overnight and its now -21 with the wind chill and that wind is still everywhere. I am geared up in winter mode again I even put the regular knitted hat away and hauled out the muskrat hat.

Interesting tidbit of info for those that don’t live in as cold of a area as we do.. the RCMP use muskrat fur hats for their staff

www.cbc.ca/news/politics/rcmp-mounties-muskrat-hats-1.4327556

I found a older Canadian Made Muskrat hat at the local church second hand shop and I snapped it up for a mear dollar.

I will be honest I thought they would charge me more but nope.. I got it for a dollar.  It is without a doubt my warmest hat in the house, its also the best one for wind and my ears..

The only issue with it is that my hair does not fit under it, you have to lower the pony tail so it will fit and you can not stuff your hair up and under it. I know from having lived in the Artic of Canada that while frowned at by some folks.. goose down and fur and hide is without a doubt one of the warmest things you can wear in truly bitter cold with bad winds.

Having said that, I am also glad that I can find these type of things at the second hand shops and give them a new working job here on the farm or when I am in the bush. I was and will be again grateful for its warmth later today as I go out for round two of outside chores.

Everyone stay warm and safe today.

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The wind she be blowing today

Wow, the winds are here today, woke up to a white slushy sort of freezing raining world.. Thankfully not a frozen world as we could finish filling the big 50 gallon water drum that I had hauled to the big barn for when the temps do come into the freezing over the next few days.

We did the regular farm prep work once the first storm passed this morning, chores and moving the vehicles out from under the tree’s to the safety of the end of our lane, so far nothing but smaller branches have come down but still always better to be safe then sorry on that one.

They are a warning of power outages and I have friend and the radio already reporting them,  but so far here on my little farm, we still have power. Its been a laundry day, always a good thing to do when you are having a quiet day.  Boy if things could stay on the line, think of how fast they would dry 🙂 but I am using the dryer as I am washing things that the hounds and purrpots sleep on and so I want the hair off in the dryer.

The weather has me pining for true spring which of course means plants and gardening, I have to admit that I have not been dreaming about the garden in the normal way for me. I think in part because I am just not sure how many of the gardens I am going to have working for me this year. We let a lot of the gardens just run wild last fall and hubby had said, its ok, we will get it all cleaned up in the spring.

Normally my man is my power horse on the farm and he loves to work in the gardens, he is the big double digger, the hauler and pen cleaner, I am more the turner, weeded, planner, water person and the inter-planter and of course the processor.

He is trying to tell me that he will have full rights back mid may from doctor but I think just because his broken bones are to be “just” healed mid may does not mean that he is going to be at his normal work load in may. Which means that I need to look at this longer term in planning.

I am starting this process with four things in mind

a) keep it as simple as possible, so that I can keep up on it as much as possible. Now what that means is that I might be doing things like doing a dig-flip line around some of my smaller gardens that are vertical. Normally we might do three feet or four around them, because they produce more, they are also a lot more work to do it that way as most of them need at least three season planting.. so I figure I will start with the planting row, and then do a dig-flip line that is easy to keep hoed  and put a full season crop in the middle of the row and seed the rest with flowers. This bed is a great example.. two climbing crops per season, plus a full row of other crops in front of it, then heavily bedded down as the walk way

b) farm some of it out.. no reason for me to need to do all my starts this year, I have limited space and time. I decided to go with a local gentleman for my tomato’s and peppers. I will still be doing my own slips for sweets and regular potato’s.

I have room for eight trays on my shelves in the porch, so we will see what gets a head start, most of the garden this year will be planted directly in ground. the above photo was when I went to pick up some amazing started plants from Aster Lane.. She rocks! at finding the coolest plants to sell to garden folks.

c) I am going to be willing to fallow gardens as needed, I will do some direct weeding or wild plant harvesting in them as needed, otherwise, I am going to compost them deeply and put cover crops on them as needed and just let them fallow this year!

d) I am going to plant the bigger gardens into larger plots of canning produce then I normally do and then I am going to bed it down. Normally I like to create a lot of smaller plots and really mix things up.. but this year I am going to do some of the garden or gardens into bigger plots of the same type of plant, examples instead of doing a square loose raised bed with carrots in small rows,  I am going to do two longer rows and bed down better them.   It will change things up in the terms of how I can weed a bit this year and will work better with the plan to plant larger amounts of canning goods.

The next biggest will be to get everything I can out of my perennials.. Rhubarb and my fruiting bushes an canes are all going to get extra care this year as I need to focus on getting the best crop I can.

I am looking forward to my sunflowers this year, do you grow sundflowers and if so, for yourself mostly or for your critters?

Getting the raspberry cane babies moved into a new longer row for production this year is a must. I want to put up a lot more of them this year, both the early, mid-season and the late season ones hopefully will all produce this year.. I only got one crop of middle on the drought year and a short crop but really amazing flavour in the mid-season producers on the wet year and the birds didn’t let me get any of my late season.

What is your main goal this year in the gardens? What is the one thing you always plant?

 

 

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At the kitchen table..

I had a very productive weekend in a many ways but we also took time to sleep in, time to rest, this was something we both needed and while I didn’t get all the homework on my to do list done, I did get some done and all the needed things done.

This morning, the alarm went off and I was up and going, I felt a touch tired and sore, I have little tiny bruise’s all over my legs these days as I have little bangs while working the chores and more. Thankfully they heal fast which is good.

Called and booked the youngest purrpot on the farm in for her spay. I like my farm cat vet very much, he is also a great cow vet.

I was prepping for the farrier and in truth a touch worried as my boys were out of their regular trimming due to everything that had been going on health wise at the farm. Hubby had cancelled my last trim as I was sick and then we missed the next one and so we were two behind and the horse’s feet where showing a bit of overgrowth, one boy had some flaring showing and they all had some chipping showing.

I was all caught up and decided to stop for breakfast and coffee.. well that did not sit right and the next thing I knew I was having the flu effects (you know what I mean).. NOT good..

I was I can do this! and explained nicely just in case I needed to hand over the lead rope and run for the bushes. Thankfully the boys were both outstanding in getting the job done and it turns that thanks to them getting regular care, it was not nearly as bad as it could be.. this trim and the next will bring us back to normal.  That was great to hear and we are moving to our shorter trimming between times as we are coming into riding season.

After that I headed down for a rest, which I clearly needed as I was out for four hours like it was five min. I made a pot of rice, something bland for myself and something for hubby to put leftover stew on top of for a slightly different meal for him tonight.

Ah, Rice.. you are a great meal extender and I have to admit that I adore my rice cooker. I really wondered when I got it as a gift from hubby..  If you like rice and you have ever thought, hmm.. worth it..  it does more then rice as well, you can do all different kinds of grains with it.

Nursing a big cuppa of chia tea and early to bed tonight that’s for sure. Tomorrow is a new day!

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Sniff Houseplants Before You Buy!

Been noticing this as well.. so many plant pots without dranage included. Great advice as always from the laidback gardener

Laidback Gardener

20180403A www.etsy.com & laoblogger.com .jpg Always treat plants in designer pots with suspicion. Give them a sniff before you buy them! Source: www.etsy.com & laoblogger.com, montage: laidbackgardener.blog

These days, horticulture seems to have taken a huge step backward. Garden centers now currently sell plants in “designer pots*,” really cute ones, but without drainage holes, something they would never have considered even 10 years ago. Cacti and succulents bear the brunt of this mistreatment: the very plants that can’t take soaking in water even for short periods are now sold in pots that don’t allow excess water to drain away. What a horror!

*Who designs these designer pots? Certainly not horticulturists! A good gardener would never consider growing plants under such perilous conditions!

Often these plants are already rotting when you buy them. And usually when rot sets in, it ends up killing the plant … but that can take months (succulents do everything slowly, even dying)…

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