Hen and Chick Plants.

On mothers day I got two of the cutest little pots of hen and chicks and they have been going crazy trying to make more babies and they needed to be transplanted out and into much bigger area’s..

We have had a busy day and will have a busy evening but we are under a heat warning and I am in the house for the two hour heat push, so transplanting and working in the house seems just perfect.. The high for today is 38c  which is a 100 F.. that is plenty hot enough for us 🙂 We are watering some newly transplanted bushes and seeds and such so that they don’t suffer to much.

Two little pots made up all these once I got done with the splitting out and transplanting them out.

and now all the babies that might or might not grow up into small chicks that will all then need to find a home LOL

Hubby says that the square one looks a little sparse, I say.. let them grow.. let them grow, they will fill in the space and then some I am sure 🙂

I am amazed what two little on sale 1.99 plants have given me.. Thankfully I got all my planters from Church Basement.

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Changes.. Around the Kitchen Table.

We have been working hard this week taking down the older dog runs, While we are leaving up one, the one that is closest to the house for our hounds. However we used to have a number of pens in a row. They have been used for the dogs and other livestock over the years. However with the downsizing on both the size of our house pack and the downsizing of our smaller livestock means that we do not need these pens in that location.

Some of the wood will be re-claimed for other project’s (waste not want not), some of it will be burned and the wire and such will be hauled to the farmers dump. I find it interesting that we have a farm “related” dump in our county.  You are allowed one farm wagon load per year and then you have to start paying but the cost is very fair.

This area was built up with a very thick gravel pad under the pens to create excellent drainage and to provide a no dig area. What this means is that after its all cleaned up and raked down, it will be a perfect new parking spot for our vehicles on the other side of the house. This will be a very good thing 🙂

Speaking of Changes, my regular readers will know my mom moved in with us last fall. I was very excited to have mom come to the farm. Mom decided that she was not ready to live in someone else’s home and that she missed her friends, her doctors and her local knowledge of where everything is. This spring mom moved into her own 2 bedroom apartment in Red Deer back in Alberta.  At this time.. little wee Paris is staying with us and I have to admit that I very much enjoy having the moppet around. She is a excellent lap dog, sweet as they come.

Well, had better lock things down, we have a warning out for a possible thunderstorm and high winds coming in.. it should hit in the next few hours and I just want to make sure everything is prepared as much as possible.


Posted in Life moves on daily | 2 Comments

The National Loaf


The National Loaf

From: Ministry of Food – Jane Fearnley Whittingstall

Makes two loaves
1 ½ lb wholemeal bread flour*
1 ½ tbsp salt
1 ½ tbsp dried yeast
1 tsp honey or treacle (two teaspoons)
450 ml tepid water (about 2 cups)

1, Mix together all the ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes until you have a soft dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel, and leave until dough has doubled in size (around 2 hours).

2. Knock back the dough, give a short knead then cut into two equal pieces. Place in 1.5 litre loaf tins (8 X 4 X 3 loaf pans), allow to rise for a further 2 hours.

3. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400° F) then bake loaves for 30 min. To test the loaves, turn them out of their tins and give the base a tap; if it sounds hollow, they are ready. Allow to cool on a wire rack. *use a food scale for best results

Well, I made it and like those during wartime, I don’t like it.. bla.. its a dull thick bread.. Hubby said and I quote “chewy” I normally make all our own bread and I like heavy breads so I am not sure why this one did not work in the way I thought it would?

I think its because I always use milk, eggs and of course fat in my breads. I find this bread to go stale very fast. I can see what it would be used in a lot of way in meals to not so much stretch this bread as to try and cover some of the blandness of it.

As far as I can see as long as I use the whole wheat bread and keep in my rations I can make my own breads in the challenge and that is just what I am going to do on my next baking day.


Posted in Canadian Wartime Food Challange | Tagged | 4 Comments


Rat information below! So we had rats on year two of living on the farm in the big barn, it was a challenge to remove them but with traps, bait and my hunting farm cats we were able to bring the population down and out. I have always know that there might be a rat or two in the area, but when you never see a burrow or find a dead rat.. I  was happy.. over the years I have seen a rat tail or two on the smaller size left by the hunting farm cats.

Then this was found left by the cats under my picnic table, the issue with this that its a BIG male.. this set off alarm bells to say the least.. where there is a male this big, there must be females as well.  Then we lost a duckling, gone.. then we had some chicks killed, we moved them into even more careful smaller more protected placing in the Croft and then we lost more ducklings.. Grrr..   We set live trap baited with a chick body that had been killed the night before, I expected a weasel or coon to be honest.. I didn’t expect another BIG male rat.

I have not seen any rats in the day time, I have not seen any rats in the evening but they must be there! The war is on! Ah.. I hate rats.. more traps coming soon and I must find their nests! I know there must be females with pups somewhere. I did hear from a fellow farmer that they are also having issues with rats this year locally just up the road.  

Have you ever had a issue with rats? What is your favorite rat trap? I do not want to use poison on the farm, I am willing to do live trap, glue traps, snap traps and so forth. Ideally I want to help create a good hunting area for my farm cats. 

The Norway Rat , (Rattus norvegicus) is also called sewer rat, brown rat, water rat, wharf rat, and gray rat.  As an adult, the Norway Rat can weigh between 12-16 oz. with a body length of 6-8 inches long. The nose is blunt with small ears, and small eyes. Its fur is shaggy and coarse with variation in colors. The tail of the Norway rat is shorter than the head and body combined, and scale-like.

Norway Rats will leave a mark as they drag their tails between their feet. Using unscented baby powder or flour can be dusted in areas of suspected activity. Lightly use the powder in these areas. Norway Rats can leave gnarled hole about 2 inches in diameter. The holes have rough edges. Their preference is to gnaw on wood but will gnaw on electrical wiring causing damage. Rat burrows can be found along foundations, or beneath rubbish and shrubbery. If the burrow is active it usually clear of vegetation. Rat runways are smooth and well packed. Indoors, these runways are free of dust and dirt.

Norway Rats will eat a lot of types of food but prefer proteins and carbohydrates. Food items from a house-hold garbage can provide these rats with a balanced diet. They will eat meats, fish, cereal grains, livestock feed and fresh fruits. Norway rats that live outside may feed outside or enter buildings at night daily for food and return to their outside habitat burrows after feeding. These rats will kill and eat various small reptiles, mammals, birds and insects.

Norway Rats Habits and Biology

The mating and gestation period is about 22 days. Female pups reach sexual maturity in 2-3 months with an average of 8-12 pups per litter and 4-7 litters a year. The young rats are naked and blind at birth, with their eyes opening in about 9-14 days. Adults live about a year and prefer to live in colonies. They may breed all year long, but breeding peaks in the spring and fall of the year. Breeding will decrease during hot summers or cold winters for outside colonies. The average rat lives in Burrows

The Norway rat prefers to live in underground tunnels or burrows. New rat populations have short (between 12-20 inches long)of burrows, but as the population grows and they mature, the burrows are enlarged. They can have many burrows interconnected, forming a network of underground tunnels. These ground burrows usually have one central opening that they use for an entrance or exit, and a couple of holes that are used for escaping. Several distinct rat families may use the same runway and the same food and water sources, sharing an extensive burrow system.

As the rat population increases and if food/water sources are limited, fighting will begin as they defend territories. These fights will result in dominant rats that are the first to feed. Rats prefer to feed at night and are mostly nocturnal. The subordinate rats are forced to reside in a section of the burrow that is further from the food/water sources. These subordinate rats will feed and be active when the primary dominant rats are not active. That is why you may see rats during the day time, which indicates a large population.

When using rodent baits in burrows and outside, the dominant rats are often killed first, with bait shyness developing in a few “smart” rats. As with other rats, Norway rats are suspicious of changes in the environment. This suspicion makes baiting or trapping a little tricky. It may take a few days of undisturbed bait or traps to be trusted enough for them to approach them. See rat baiting tips while using bait stations..

Nests and Territories

They can be found near food sources such as barns, granaries, silos, and livestock if found on farms. If found in urban areas, they can be found in the ground in yards or any available ground space. In most cases, they will be found in underground tunnels but may also live inside buildings their whole lives. Norway Rats can enter homes during the night, seeking food, then return to burrows. If found inside, Norway Rats usually are found nesting in crawl spaces and basements, but may be found in attics and ceiling areas if the population is large.

These rats range from 50-150 feet from their nests. Under duress these rats can travel up to 300 feet daily to obtain food and water.

The Norway rat’s nest may be built from a soft material such as paper or grass. If necessary, the Norway rat will climb a structure to enter a building. The Norway rat is also an excellent swimmer.

Expect most Norway rat activity during the night. Their peak times are either just before dawn or at dusk. If their population is large or if they are disturbed, you can detect activity during the day.

Information on these rats thanks to Do it yourself Pest Control.


Posted in At the kitchen table | 4 Comments

Pruning.. this is not pruning, this is cutting out the fungal.. ouch!

Well hubby and I spent a couple hours this morning, I would like to say that we pruned the plum tree’s but really we just cut them down to bare.. Its a good thing that they are tough tree’s and I expect that they will recover.

I will post photos over the season as they recover and so forth..  While this bush might have enjoyed a light pruning this spring, it was certainly growing well and was covered in flowers and then so many baby plums.

I whimpered to cut everything down around the tree’s and I will be planting something under them to the drip lines but first we had to cut it all down.. clear it out, dry it and rake and burn it.  We needed to take out the effect fruit, leaves and branches.

Did not get a before on this one, but it had a bit more left on it then the other big one did.. So far the smaller younger tree’s are not showing nearly as many issues, so they were given a much lighter pruning as well. But I will be going out weekly to check and prune if required.

A more advanced showing of the fungus effecting the fruit, soon it would turn grey and start to give off spores. I got this all done before that could happen..

Only one way to deal with all these off-cuts.. Everything needs to burned off course!

And on a side note.. our potato’s are all planted now 🙂  Here is hoping that this mornings work yields results, I can’t see us having much of a crop next year, as plums grow on two year or older wood.. but at least it gives us a chance to get this under control.

Posted in Life moves on daily | Tagged | 4 Comments

Striving for Victory -Eating on the Ration

I snagged the information and rules that hip roof barn has on her blog .. My own writing will be on the slant. This gives me the base line.. I will admit that next month, I am going to see if I can over the next few weeks, dig out the rations for Canada. I know from my last wartime challenge here on the blog that there was differences between the two countries.

However for the rest of this coming month I will follow the same rules as the ladies. I know that Hip Roof will be reading this.. do I need to make my own dozen of dried eggs or can I use my own fresh farm eggs?  

Rationing was brought in to ensure the fair distribution of food to all citizens. It ensured that everyone got an equal share of available resources. One of the benefits of rationing meant that items subject to rationing would be available. Another benefit was that regardless of one’s status in life, everyone had equal access to basis, nutritious food. As a result, the health of the British population improved dramatically.
Ration amounts fluctuated throughout the war. 1942 was one of the hardest years in terms of rationing. These are the rations we will be following:

Per Week

Bacon OR Ham-4 ounces
Sugar-8 ounces
Butter-2 ounces
Margarine-4 ounces
Cooking Fat-2 ounces
Meat-(Beef, Pork, or Lamb) 1 shilling and 2 pence or $4.00 in 2018 Canadian Dollars
Tea-2 ounces
Cheese-3 ounces
Preserves (jam)-1 pound per month
Eggs (fresh)-1

Per Month

Eggs (dried)-The equivalent of 12 eggs per month
Milk (fresh)-3 pints (1.7 liters) per month
Milk (dried)-The equivalent of 4 pints (2.25 liters) per month
Sweets & Chocolate-12 ounces a month

Ration points-20 per month

Ration points
20 per month

Some items were rationed according to points. The amount of points needed for these items could vary wildly from one week to the next. I have combined information from various sources to determine the points H and I will need to purchase various items.

Here are the amount of points needed for common items available to shoppers in wartime Britain.

Not everything was rationed. Vegetables and locally grown fruit was not subject to the ration. Gardens cultivated as part of the Dig for Victory campaign helped feed families.

Food foraged from fields and hedgerows, such as berries, were also not rationed. Bread was not rationed, even though shipping wheat from North America put the lives of sailors at risk and took up cargo space that could be used to transport soldiers and munitions for the war effort.

However, only the “National Loaf”could be sold by commercial bakers and white flour was not available. Fish, sausages, offal, and game such as rabbit, and chicken were not rationed.

However, these items were often very hard to find. Other imported items such as bananas could not be bought for any price.

The Rules:

We will not exceed our rationed amounts.

We will use World War 2 recipes as often as we can but we are not limited to using only recipes published during the 1940s. We can use modern recipe so long as it uses ingredients that would have been available in Britain in the 1940sl

I will be doing the same.. as long as it uses the food, I will create my own recipes

To emulate the requirement to register with our supplier, we will shop at only one store. Since my little grocery store is often hit by hoards of hungry tourists during the summer, I figure that only relying on my store will help simulate food shortages. Of course, we will be carrying our groceries home in our reusable shopping bags!

I have to figure out how to do this.. as I am on a farm and if I was on a farm in the country during the wartime, I would have slightly different rules. However for the next three weeks, I will follow the same rules. However given what we are allowed, I am going to pretty much just be eating off the farm and the land itself.  Wild game was considered free while it was harder to do in England. They were given breeding rabbits and so I will keep in line, we will only have eggs from the hens and we will eat rabbit meat. As a farmer, while a certain standard would be meet.. there would also be a little grey market happening..  I am going to be the bad girl in this challenge LOL

Both H and I have families to feed. To keep things simple, when we prepare food that will be shared, we need only account for our ration in shared meals. For example, if I make macaroni and cheese to share with The Man using 3 ounces of cheese, I need to subtract only 1.5 ounces of cheese from my rations, not the whole 3 ounces.

Same here, hubby will join us in meals but he will also get extra’s on the side that I will not.

To comply with rationing rules, we cannot carry our ration amounts forward from one week to the next. In other words, if we did not buy our 3 ounce ration of cheese in Week One, we cannot buy 6 ounces of cheese in Week 2. However, if we do not use all our rations for the week (once purchased) we can save it. In other words, it will not go in the trash or compost once the week is over.

Agreed and will follow this rule as well.. 

Since only the National Loaf was available, it will be brown bread only for us this month.
With only a few exceptions, such as Birds Eye Custard, processed foods were not available to women on the home front. This month, we will avoid the consumption of processed foods.

I have not made a national loaf yet but it will be happening this weekend.. and no processed foods.. (this really sounds like fun right?)  In keeping with my hosts of this challenge, I will be trying to take photos of our meals daily and keeping an eye on my weight as well.


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War time Rations (and Eating off the farm)

As some of you know a couple Canadian Ladies are doing a great wartime challenge this year and I have been very much enjoying reading along.. We have finally gotten to a point that I felt I had the time to join in. I have been quietly keeping to the challenge in regards to the clothing for the past two months. I have only bought second hand clothing, I have been mending and making due.


I have also been losing weight and I have found it a challenge in this regards, something that I think would in fact have been reflected in the wartime itself.. with the limits in place, I know that folks would have also been finding their weight down and their cloths would suddenly be to large and wearing out in a different way.. Belts only go so far..

But now we are getting in food.. both eating in terms of rations and growing to feed your family and working with others to grow community food (example the community pig). As some might remember, I did a 30 day challenge in regards to War Time Foods and how they related to both N.A. and in detail Canada.

I am not going to write out each day, but I will put a link up here to the search form that will let you work your way back though the days.. So much information learned and shared in those day’s back in March of 2015.. 

That brings us to now..  The Culinary Historians of Canada are working on a program coming soon that I will joining in. I live very close to what is now a very tiny village but it was quite active as a training area at the time.

Join a WWII Research Group

With the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WWII upon us in 2019, CHC vice-president Samantha George is seeking participants in a WWII food working group. Open to all, it will likely be divided into smaller, more focused groups with interests such as the home front, field rations or naval fare. Samantha is in Oshawa, Ontario, but hopes to hear from anyone who’s interested. She invites you to contact her at samantha@culinaryhistorians.ca.

I normally really like to do a eating off the farm challenge and have for years in March as that was always the “starving month” when the food storage was getting lean,  your birds are not laying, the milking animal is dried up and growing the new baby and forage is something you dream about when the snow finally goes..

But this year, I am going to be looking at doing more in line with wartime rations (for myself) and a combo of living off the farm for both myself and hubby. I have never done this type of challenge in the push of summer..

I am still working on the total rules but overall, I have the general worked out and will provide more details soon enough.. I just need to see what I want as a give.

Example, I know what give already.. If a crop fails me on the farm, I have the right to buy my replacement food to re-stock my food storage for my standard 2 or 3 year supply in my pantry. I refuse to allow a learning curve or a living challenge to deplete my food stores.

Having said that I am still trying to figure out if that means I don’t get to eat any of it until I end the challenge or if it means I need to try and figure out what “we/I” would be allowed per the ration coupons during the challenge..

I am still figuring the details out in the small tiny real life fussy ways of how it will work.  I have a few things that I need to plant yet to finish off getting everything that I was to plant for the wartime garden.  I would love to tell you that I have a single garden that looks as pretty as their picture but the truth is I have it scattered into a number of my different gardens but I am pretty close to getting the right size and amounts planted, so at least that is a good starting point..

If I wanted to be really there, I would have so much liked to have planted their garden and then planted “my” garden for what I would want for a wartime garden.. they are not the same, some overlap but not near as much as I would have thought.. this surprised me to be honest.

Well, I had better get back to my evening.. the bugs are biting.. but I have a few more things to do before the sun sets.. Have a great night y’all

Posted in Canadian Wartime Food Challange | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Plum Crop! “GONE” Plum Pocket have arrived to the farm!

All those amazing flowers, the plum bushes were loaded, and I was worried about pollination to the point that I gave a helping hand with a feather.

I was very excited to see that we had many wee green baby plums, mainly in the area’s I had given a hand to.. Whoot! right.. nope.. headed out in a break in the rain and I see spotting on the leaves and then I look at my plum and go WHAT??

you can see the damage to the leaves and see that dark spot on the bottom of that plum.. that is the fungal infection showing itself and it will go in and cause the baby plum to grow in size and then if I let it (which I will not) it would  get longer, go grey and puff out the spores to infect the tree again.

Google search and facebook message to some of my awesome garden girls and Plum Pocket Fungal attack happening on my bushes and fruits..  Total loss for the year.. The infection must have happened last year..

So now we have a few things to do.. Prune and prune hard, all effected area’s need to be cut off, the under ground raked clean, all the things taken off need to be burned and then this fall and next spring, I will need to do a copper fungal spray..

Its part of the issue that it stops the fruit from setting stone inside.. such a loss.. but at least it does not kill the plum bushes, and with care and work.. it does appear that I can fix the issue.

I am still reading up on that one.. to see if there are other choices on that or not.. but so far.. if I want to clear it out and make it happen properly.. looks like Copper spray will be needed.

Anyone dealt with this before on their own plums? If so, I would love to hear what you used? What was your success rate?



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Purge or Declutter Update

The big bin is filling up. We first moved all the bigger items including things leftover from the reno’s over the past year.

Then we started moving out things that were broken or had not been used in any way for years. (trust me, if I have not found a purpose or pulled something apart in three to five years to re-use in some way for the farm its not going to get used)

I have hit my goal of 365 items for the year of 2018 and am going to just keep going. I have gone though my cloths and those that are in good quality have been washed and sent to the local second hand shops. Those that are farm strained, some have been cut into rags, but the rest are going in the bin.

We started in the book cases.. o my.. boy is it harder to get rid of books, but we have been able to get rid of about half of them, which for us is a lot but we agreed if we have not read it in the past three years and its not a reference book. then its time to let them go.. some will go to the second hand shop but some of them are going to the bin.

I hit my house in a big way, and I am going though each drawer, cupboard. If its not been used in the past year, it gets the eye. If its not been used for two or more. its going into the send out box or the bin.

We have the bin for three weeks and I intend to send it back full to the brim and have a much cleaner slate to deal with in regards to my outbuildings and in my own home.

Strangely despite the fact that I am happy to have the work being done, I am not settled yet.. far from it.. I am working on that each day. Its my own issue in this regards that I need to work on and with.

Its harder then you would think to let things go..

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Grandpa’s Weeder Review

“I bought this myself with my own money and I get nothing back for giving this review ”

So on the weekend, we went to Lee Valley tools, we had a gift card that was burning a hole in hubby’s wallet lol We went looking for more info on how to build bee hotels.. (more on that later) but we came home with two new garden tools to work with..

The story goes that this design was made before the world war but then stopped being made as the metal was needed for the wartime effort.

So the idea is simple, you push it in, lean back on the leaver and pull it out by the roots.. the guy at the store said it works really well for thistle..

I wanted it for the wild parsnip! It works.. that is the simple answer.. Yup.. it works! It does work on Dandelion’s and Thistle (I was very pleased it for the thistle.. so good for that one for sure. As you can see above, the first year wild parsnip came out like a dream.. Its easy on the back, the leg and such.. great little tool, and I spent 15 min popping things out, I can see that if you did a bit a day, it would add up very fast!

However, for the bigger two year old plants or the burdock plants.. it will take them out, but only by popping off the bigger tops and the top of the bigger root. Still it would set them back in a very big way!

Now it rained over night and into this morning so its possible that the ground is just a touch to wet today.. but I had to grab a stick and help clean out the plant from the teeth each time to get them to drop. If that is always the case, I will just carry a tool to deal with it, its just that you do not want to touch the wild parsnip oils.. so I had hoped I would just be able to make it let go without touching the tool itself.

If you are even slightly off your center it will not work as well but once you get the feel for that, it goes fast and well.. I like it.. I can see myself using it a lot in the wild parsnip battle..

4 out of 5


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