My Bee’s are ordered! Mason and Leaf Cutters

Native Bee’s are Awesome. New Genetics coming by mail to join my local populations of Mason and Leaf Cutter Bees here on the farm.

My orders are in and on the way, I have big plans in regards to my Mason and Leaf Cutter bee’s  I will be increasing the size of our local population and I will also be working with local private larger scale gardeners and also community gardens in placing houses in their areas.

If all goes well, I will have Native Mason and Leaf Cutter Bee Coons available for sale in the winter/early spring of 2020 for across Canada. More on that at a later point.

Here is what I am so excited about! I ordered in a viewing house so that I can take lots of photos, and short video’s for you over the season.  You can take the clear wall off and properly clean and use this year after year. I will be looking into the gear needed to get us the best viewing and photo in this regard, I have a great Macro on my new camera for photos but I am might need a different plan in regards to getting a good quality video or two.

I have had these wonderful amazing bees working hard on the farm for years now and I firmly believe that the mason bee and the fact that you can control and stagger its hatching times is a huge part of THE answer in regards to unstable climate change in regards to small homestead/gardener when it comes to early spring pollination needs.

 

 

 

Posted in Native Bee's | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Snow pack and Cellar Windows

Snow Pack and Melting Out

That was just one little snow storm on top that hutch that had been cleared off totally before that storm and there has been many of them, Mid-March and I have a massive snow pack on the farm..

Even with the melting we have had, the touch of rain to sink it down, its still ranging between two to four feet in most area’s, I have around a 12 to 16 inches of fencing showing.

Honestly my pasture critters could just walk over the fence if they really wanted to, thankfully they are happy to wait on the other side and have their hay, feed and water hand delivered to them 🙂

When we head out to the area’s that don’t have trails on them, you need to wear snow shoes or you will sink in, cut your legs up and have a heck of a time indeed.

The snow pack has for the first time covered up under my deck way past the Cellar window and I have a water seeping in under the window ledge.

One more thing to add to my spring fix it list.

I had been watching the sump pump and worrying about a few other areas and instead the water is coming in at a unexpected place.. huh.. I have a feeling I will not be the only one that has a few huh moments this year.

We will need to cut chanels into the area to help drain the water away from window ideally, but it will be a bad job as there is not even room to be on your knees, maybe we can crawl in on our bellies and wiggle under to dig out a small narrow drainage channel till it melts down enough to be below the sill.

Only two more days before the spring road weight limits come on and soon enough I expect the country will have the closed road signs delivered and waiting to be set up when needed. I fully expect flooding out by the creek this year..  It will make my road so quiet for a bit and I look forward to taking some interseting flood photos as well..

Here is from our last big spring flood year!

Posted in At the kitchen table | 3 Comments

Master Rain Garden Course

What is a Master Rain Garden Course?

I am taking a six week Master Rain Garden Course and I am greatly looking forward to learning more each week, so far I have come away with pages of notes, a great respect for Zoom as a way to hold meetings and homework each week.

I had done a ton of research in regards to rain gardens with most of it being done in the states as it hard to find active information in regards to Canadian sources and certainly even harder to find it at the scale I wanted to work with.

The biggest thing so far is the difference in size and depth, the modern rain gardens are far more shallow (which allows for far different plants to be used in the planting of it) then what I was reading about

Now it would be very fair that the “rain garden to be” that was dug last fall by Farmer R and Dear Hubby while I was on a fishing boat in the middle of a lake on a much needed weekend away is WAY! to big..  even for when I redo the levels.

Its pretty much set up to be made into a small pond to be honest with the overspill leading to a area that is perfectly suited as a rain garden.

I could have it refilled and made into a series of rain gardens and that is something I am still mulling on.. once I am finished my classes, I must have my project designed, worked, planted and finished within six months to get my paperwork.

On the flip side, I am very excited to cut in mini swale lines though a problem pasture and have them lead to a properly done large shallow rain garden that collects and works to help refill out main house shallow well.

I am greatly enjoying many new little things in regards to working with these rain gardens!

 

 

Posted in Garden, Rain Garden | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Purr Pride got a present

I love my farm cats and soon enough they will be spending more time outside then inside as the weather warms up, still sometimes you just need to give them a nice present.

I had been looking and waiting for a sale to come on for a big old cat stand and they pet store prices are just way to high, I could not do it!  However If you are willing to put it together yourself, I found a amazing deal on amazon, including free shipping to the farm for a faction of the cost of the same type from the pet store.

So yes, it came in a big old flat box, it took a bit to get together and it took some time to arrive, all things I was more then willing to have happen to give the farm cats a big old cat stand at a very reasonable price point! So far I have caught up to three cats using it at the same time, but of course only Miss Leeloo was in it when I went to take a photo!

Posted in farm | 6 Comments

Thermos Shuttle Chef – Ways to use it!

I have owned my Thermos Shuttle Chef Unit for coming on eight years now.

See here for my first overview of it when I got it.

See here for my five year overview of it!

One of my favorite was to use it is to make some of the best homemade yogurt ever!

Honestly if you make tons of homemade yogurt, I would recommend getting one of these just for that. It takes less space then the fancy little power run yogurt trays, It would take less energy then running a heat pad or even boiling the water to put in a cooler (all ways I have seen folks trying to keep their yogurt culture at the right temps to make a nice quality thicker yogurt)

Today however I am going to be showing how to make a nice big pot of Beef Barley stew with my Shuttle Chef. If you have never seen one before I have done a little 2-part video for you.. The above video shows you the outer part of the pot, with lid and handle

Into the inner thermal steel pot we go!

Beef Barley Stew Recipe for my Thermos Shuttle Chef Pot (1 Gallon size)

  • 2 pounds Stewing Beef
  • 1/4 of dried diced onion
  • 1/4th a cup of dried minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/8th of a cup of montreal steak spice mix
  • 3/4 of a cup of Pearl Barley
  • 6 cups of mushroom broth stock (can easily also be beef broth)

I timed it, it took at med-high heat 2:23 to bring it to a boil and I simmered it with heat on for another 3 min and then extra heat at the simmer for another five minutes and then lid on and into the outer pot. That’s it, there will be no more energy output required to finish cooking the stew (the system should be closed for at least 3 hours now) and it will continue to hold the stew at temp for up to another 5 hours if needed.

I will be serving this over lovely rice with some fresh diced and wilted greens at the very end!

 

Posted in Food Production and Recipes, Sheep Milk, Soups and Stews | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dogwood Week 10-Hometown

I will own it, I did try to get down to my favorite spot to take my picture for my home town but the gates were locked and the snow is 4 plus feet deep and you can not get into the park, never mind get the view of the South nation that runs though..

Weather.. what can I say.. Its winter here!

So this is another view of something in your town that amuses me.. I find it funny that the local vet has a rooster weather vane up there on top of their building!

Posted in photography | Tagged | 4 Comments

Lambing Update March 10th 2019

In regards to the most part lambing has been going really well this year, other than the “tiny twins and their mother” that lambs have all been born healthy and strong.. No stillbirths, no weak starts to the lambs, no help needed in regards to lambing out.  Momma’s all bonding well, lots of milk and active fast growing lambs.

Maude’s lambs are Massive and both ewes and sadly both are non-staying, due to the fact that they have extra teats.. Something I had not seen on her before but she had always thrown me rams before, so I do not know if she throws more often than not. She does not have extra’s herself and perhaps when crossed with a different ram, it will not show itself but I certain will now be aware of it in her line.

Pardon the bit of manure on this little ewe but just so you can see what I am talking about.. Now the issue with these should be clear enough, a ewe only has two milking quarters and regardless of if these two little front teats are giving milk or not (many do not) if a lamb latches on, it will typically get 5 to 10 percent of the milk available and keep trying hard on it, where just behind that teat, is the good teat with lots of milk just sitting there waiting and not being properly used.

While I know there are some folks that are not as picky. I am. I do not hold back or breed from ewe’s or nanny goats that do not have proper bag placement, good teat placement and shape. I will not sell them either, they are freezer camp when they reach the right age.

It’s a ewe lamb year for sure.. we have currently Seven ewe lambs and we had 4 ram lambs. Areo had twins, I was not expecting that, she has twin ewe lambs, both good size, the first-born chocolate lamb with the white head is bigger then her white sister but it’s not because there is anything wrong, it was just the space in momma and she is eating really well and growing well.  Photo of her below.. Her big Sister is A1 and she is A2..

Now in regards to the “tiny twins”

Sadly they are no longer with us, the smallest one H2 had a rapid onset lung infection (which is very common in such a tiny lamb, all it takes is a bit of fluid from birthing or swallowing wrong and the problem just grows from there)

H1 however was a bit different, I was pleased with his strength, his willingness to take the bottle, however hidden under that seeming good news was a very deadly issue. I had noticed that his cord was a touch swollen, it had been dipped and left pretty long. I was concerned that it was the bedding that was a touch to damp that was not helping this, so I moved them over to a soft pad under the puppy pads so that all piddles would be soaked up and they could easily move to a dry spot to rest on and the littles ones cord dried like normal.. Not so H1’s, I treated it again and went, I think infection, so he was given a antibiotic treatment as was H2 in the hopes to help on this.

H1 peed at just right the moment for me while I was checking his cord and I just stared, as he was peeing out his cord area instead of his man part.. well no wonder if was never drying out, showing signs of infection and not healing up despite what I was doing. It was sending the infection and rot up into his wee body though that cord..  Because they are side by side, everything looks right from the topside when he was going.

Its my understanding that they can also have this kind of infection in the cord if birthed poorly or in dirty conditions but I know that this was not the case as they were born in a jug on clean straw.  Part of the reason we clip and dip is to help prevent this type of thing from happening even with everything else being normal.

Poor little wee baby..  I have had sheep for 15 years and I have never had seen this before and hopefully I will not again.. After some more reading, checking in with some of my trusted mentors and vet.. everyone was in agreement that when the full case was laid out that the most humane thing would be to help H2 cross over.

A hard choice to be made but it was the right one for sure.

 

 

Posted in sheep | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Cooking with Copper Pans

Last year we got some new Copper wear as a Christmas Present.  A big huge copper cooking square pan and a Copper Crisper with copper tray. I put them up and kind of forgot about them, I decided this week I would bring out the crisper tray to see if I could in fact crisp/cook the veggies with lots of flavour but without the extra fat I normally do.

It works out very well, the herbs added great flavour, the tiny bit of broth I had used as my liquid held up quite well with the veggies used.

This morning Hubby asked me to make Sunday Flapjacks on this snowy (very snowy) day and so I thought hmm.. that big square pan could cook four at a time,  it says its non-stick, lets give it a try..

Pro’s

  • Size -the square really allows you to make four nice size pancakes where I can only get 3 smaller in a very close in size rounded pan
  • Non-stick -for sure, these flipped and slide around perfectly, I did a nice dippy egg with nothing and it will take a touch of work to figure it out perfectly for timing but it was really good!
  • Heat- It was a beautiful even heat on this pan when cooking, I did not feel that there was any cooler spots, when you are making pancakes, you can easily find the spots that are not cooking cool and those cooking fast.
  • Weight- I normally use a cast iron pan and its has to be noted that the copper is by far lighter in weight.

Con’s

  • The pancakes browned but compared to normal, the browning was spotty and it was by far a lighter golden in color.. they were beautifully cooked though but they did not look like my normal Pancakes would.
  • Handles heated up, so the handles have part covering and even they felt warm but the metal part of the handle that led to the covered part, I touched it and wow.. it gets really hot, its not copper either, it looks like a steel part, I would not want to handle this pot without mitts and I consider this a big old Con, honestly the point of having a nice long handle is so you can adjust without needing to always grab the gloves.

I did cook in the oven copper tray this week, I did a mixed veggie and it worked great, they cooked faster by almost 8 minutes over my normal glass pan and I did use a little broth but no fat and just some extra herbs on the veggies.  I was very pleased at being able to enjoy the veggies but being able to reduce the fat in regards to roasting the veggies.

I will keep trying this in regards to different types and will see if its worth its own post in the future.

Do you cook with Copper Pots? Do you use the new Cooper Non-stick? Have you tried the air crisper for the oven?

 

 

 

Posted in Food Production and Recipes, homestead | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Great Pruning Workshop

Thank you Laura from Fine lines landscape and Design for a very interesting and informative pruning workshop.

I have a little sample video from the workshop, Laura is talking about what happens when you get two main leaders that form a V which is a weak spot on the tree.  You want a U which is very strong.

I will be showing you how to “create” a U in a future post and Video.  I will break down the main points into sections and show one main point as I prune each different kind of tree in my own yard.

We will be starting the plums this coming week, I need to get all the pruning done between now and the end of march and trust me when I say I have a good amount of pruning to do, however the falling down knee or more deeper is not my idea of fun.

I will be working with the hard fruits first and then moving over to the soft fruit bushes and then the canes after that in April and for some things right into may!

Today is the first day that it truly feels like spring, the sun has a amazing warmth to it and its plus 1.. now I know that plus 1 might not seem like much to you.. but trust me.. as cold as it has been, no wind, warm sun and plus 1 feels amazing today!

Posted in Food Forest, gardens | Tagged | 3 Comments

Happy International Women’s Day.


Happy International Women’s Day..

I always struggle a touch with days like today. I was lucky enough to be born in a 1st world country, I am standing on the shoulders of some truly strong women that made it so that in the country I was born in, I can own land, I can vote, I had the same right to education as my brothers. I can earn a degree or a trade ticket. I have a legal right to drive  I can choose to marry or not, I can choose (if the fates allow) to have children or not.

This was not the case even a hundred years ago and it is NOT the case across the world. Millions of women do not have the same rights I listed above.. It’s not even truly the case in some ways within my own country, I have seen it first hand over the years.  I had a girlfriend that at the age of 16 was introduced by her parents to the man they approved over her marrying, She was not interested in this older male but I watched as she was pushed into it.. I remember her being cold and needing a new winter coat and her mother looking at her from across the kitchen table and say.. well, if you go n a date with him, he will take you shopping and you can get a new winter coat.. she was married to him by 17

I am a true Canadian mutt, my family background brings together, English, German, Scottish, Norwegian, I can track parts of my family to the early 1800’s here in Canada.

I am told over and over again by “the media” that I had the least hard path, I am old enough and seen enough first hand that I know that my skin color and eye color has given me a leg up in some ways.

Having said that, I have lived “across the tracks” and all that goes with living there, I have a learning disability that today is known and understood but not back in my day, in my day, they did a test and told my family, that I would never finish school, that I would never learn to read or write, that I would make a good wife and that I might learn to do the grocery shopping if I could learn how to use a calculator. That I could be a good worker and womb.

I sat though meeting after meeting in school, while my mother fought to keep me in regular classes (sometimes that battle was won and others not) and that I learned different, while the teachers and the principal said, she is slow, she needs to go to the slow room.. she will never graduated.

So today while I give a nod to all the strong women, I am going to send a special thank you out to Mrs. Laden and Mrs. Coop

Mrs. Laden was my grade 6 teacher and when I arrived in her class, I had grade levels testing out in 1 and 2.. and she talked to me, she listened when I tried to explain and she did something that no one else other than my mother at the time did..

She believed in me, she said.. I don’t think you are slow, I think I can help you learn to read if you are willing to work with me..  she arrived to school early every morning to work with me for a X minutes, I worked on things after school with her, shortly there after, she talked the history/math teacher into giving me 15 to 20 minutes during the lunch hour.

She figured out how to teach me and that year was an amazing, I learned how to read and put that information in my head and retain it, I learned how to write things down in a way that I could read my own writing back to myself and I moved 2 to 3 grades worth of learning in that year..  Still behind but no where I like I had been..

Grades 7 to 9 where in many ways bad because I struggled so much, my mom worked at cleaning house for Vicki F a retired teacher to give me lessons, and she was good but she never got me the same way as Mrs. Laden did.. however with what I had learned, I was able to just fail, I would skim by at 51 percent, which tended to be the teachers just pushing me though the system.

The second big Nod and change happened in Grade Ten, they made me take the lower routine of 13’s and they put me in the only lowest grade science class they could and it was all I needed but I begged to get into Biology (I love it) and finally said, if I fail, I fail but at least let me take the first year class..

Mrs Coop asked me to stay behind on the first day to talk to her, I thought for sure, she was going to kick me out of that class.. She asked me to do something things on the board to explain the process and then she smiled at me and asked me if I had ever been tested.

I sighed and explained that yes but that I didn’t feel the official results reflected the truth and she said have you heard of dyslexia and I said no, and she said, my son has it and so do you..

She explained it and I remember thinking.. WOW.. that makes so much sense, so many things just clicked that day and I finally understood so many things and with that she began to teach me after classes on how to find and understand how my own thinks connected and how I fixed things in my head before it came down on paper.

I spent all of high school with a big fat Zero in regards to spelling, grammar and structure. I could read and understand at university level but I still wrote at a grade five or six level.  I finished school the first time with the 33’s and then I went back for a second year to take my 30’s (thank you so much for multiply choice, because those I could get 95 to 100 percent on)

I got a note in my English provincial final test, I had gotten 100 percent on the multiply choice and I had written my essay and then I had gone back and self-circled all my mistakes and then I slowly with the time left, started looking up the words and correcting them.  The note back said, that they had never seen that before and that I had not missed a single mistake when I self-corrected my own work.

It was so kind of them to send me that note back though my teacher, So today I lift my glass to the women who worked with what must have been considered a very difficult child in their class room..  Thank you to the four that saw what I was in the moment, and who saw what I could be.. Bless you!

It was funny both how far I have come and how much it is still very much with me.. So I will lift a second glass to all my readers, I KNOW that there are times where I write it and it makes perfect sense to me at the time it was done.

The next time I read it.. perhaps not so much LOL Bless you all for sticking with me all these years despite my spelling/missing words/structure issues and my love and over use of ….

 

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 4 Comments