Thursday, July 19, 2012

If You Build it, Sheep Will Come...

  Or, excuse me while I go Google electric fencing, and pasture raising!

First off,  how is everyone's homesteading situation going? Is everyone else getting annihilated by this horrific heat dyrness brutality?  I'm hearing so many unfortunate stories of farmers already being advised, and having to, plow under their crops. So, so sad.  I'm disappointed when a cucumber plant that I planted from seed dies, I can't imagine investing all of that time, manual labour, and obviously financial input, into financing a crop, planting it, beam as the rich brown starts to fade to a brilliant green, and then watching as the plow churns that same lush green, and all the time/effort/money in represents, back  into the warm soil once again. Farming is not for the faint of heart.  But then you already knew that. 
I definitely think we (I) had our expectations set far too high for our first year on the farmette, and it was making it unenjoyable for everyone (Farmer Dave aka Mr Pretties). So I picked myself up, gave myself a  slap in the face and decided to do what I can do this year, and provided the Mayan's are incorrect, God willing I'll have next year to do more!

So in that line of thought, we really haven't done much at all this year. It kind of makes me feel like a huge slack ass when I'm sitting outside nursing the baby with my glass of iced tea and the neighbours are out there plowing row after row of corn infront of our house. They probably think we're slack asses too. My main objective this year was to get our own vegetable garden planted, and for it to be heirloom and organic.  In my head I also had envisioned delivering wicker baskets to everyone we know brimming with vegetable goodness week after week.  The reality? Hopefully we'll get a few salads out of it LoL  Probably not quite that bad, but we kept it pretty basic (tomatos, cukes, potatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, watermelons, honeydew melons, onions) and our flemish giant rabbit kept it even more basic.  It's a little of a kick in the ass when you spend the weekend putting your teeny tiny heirloom lettuce seeds (all 800 of them) in the ground, water the crap out of them, watch them sprout, then get a bit bigger, then have them almost disappear because the rabbit jumped the fence.  Curse words were exchanged with the rabbit.  He was told in no uncertain terms how fortunate he was not to be going into the crockpot with a bottle red, and only because his 20lb carcus wouldn't fit into my crock pot! Butt head. 

One of the more exciting (to me) things we accomplished so far, is talking the landowners into allowing us to bring in sheep next spring.  I'm not positive we will, I'm still doing the farm math on how long they can eat on pasture, how much it would cost to hay them for the winter, feed, etc... too see if it's financially feasible for us (as we don't plan to use them for meat).  I'm also researching a breed that will be cold hardy, but also produce a warm, soft, strong fleece.  If at all possible, we'd also like it to be a heritage breed.  Because you don't ask to much, kwim?

We also discovered a huge patch of black cap berries, and raspberries.  So fun! The girls and Ethan have been our there each morning with their enamel pots collecting all the newly blackened berries. They are delish, we've been eating them in smoothies for breakfast. I'd love to be all romantic and wax some lyrical magic about the sun warmed berries being such a delight, but truthfully, it kind of grosses me out that they're warm LoL It just seems wrong. I really kind of prefer the cooler ones that were all tucked up in the shade under the leaves, you know, the sun conscious ones ;) We also went from 11 hens and 2 roosters to 2 roosters and 20 hens (and two clutches of eggs under the hens due today and tomorrow), and three goslings.  Goslings make fabulous pets.  They also make a lot of shit on my walkway.  Why did I not expect that?! How many times have I gone to the beach and seen the mass quanitites of Canadian Goose debris?! So something needs to be done about that situation.  I can only tell Farmer Dave that it's 'goose manure tea' for the lawn so often before the fact that it's on everyone's shoes outweight that little anecdote.  I'm thinking they're going to be needing a pen in the big barn with a pool.

So more or less, I guess that's where we're at right now.  The garden is growing, the hens are laying (and hatching) eggs, and I'm hoping to see some white fluffy fleeces out my kitchen window next spring!  We did end up getting and LGD.  But I think he's broken.  We are the only people on this planet who could ruin a perfectly good LGD.  We got Max, a Great Pyrenees, in April.  He was 14 weeks old, so I don't know if he was too old, or if that matters.  He was quiet lovely, quiet, obedient.  He is now six months old and he is attacking our dachshund (who is attacking out chickens), biting the kids, taking food out of our fridge, and all manner of other things he isn't supposed to do.  It isn't his fault, obviously we're just dog training handicapped.  I tell him no, and he gives me the paw completely with his canine version of the finger.  I see how it is.  I spray him with the hose because he looks hot, he goes in the house and rolls in my clean sheets on my bed and takes an afternoon nap.  I'm not thrilled with this game of canine chess we're playing here, I'm hearing a lot of 'check mate' going on. Something needs to be done about this. Maybe a dog whisperer?

So there we are.  Next up, we're looking into bringing in a Tamworth pig, or two, for our freezer, and some family.  Getting the wet dog out of my GD bed, having Mr Owen who is already four months old, stop nursing every 30 seconds of the day, and cross our fingers for some farm fresh salad.  Because that's everyone's goal, right? Salad?

Hope everyone got a touch of this cool weather and rain that we're looking at today, we all deserve it!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Got SO Much ccoplished While MIA...

... Is what I would like to be saying right now! Truth be sold I have go so much of nothing done it's depressing.  Okay, that's a tad dramatic, but it is fairly irksome.

   So far, into our first spring living on the farmette we have.... cut the lawn.  The least farmy chore ever.  We have one acre of grass that needs to be cutting, seemingly on a bidaily basis! I would love to fence some of it off for livestock use, but alas, it's not our lawn really, so we can't be doing that.  Instead we bought a lawn tractor because that would make managing the amazon out there tons easy.  Or, it could just make it more of a pain when we have to run around ordering new tires because one bent right away, then finding someone to fix it when it started backfiring, etc... etc... all in all I think we've devoted a full 24 hours to the lawn tractor, and this does not include the part where it is actually cutting grass (which seems to be a smaller fraction that the time it spends not cutting the grass....)  I suggested we just buy a pair of ewes to do lawn duty, but, My. Pretties hasn't come around to that idea, just yet.  Give it another broken spark plug, or a fuel pump crack and I'm sure we'll see this grass plenty dotted with fluffy white sheep. He should have listened to me when I suggested this plan three months ago.

   We've come to find that our barn is inhabited by insanely nasty raccoons and their kits.  They will not allow us to enter said barn.  Essentially I'm paying rent on a house for us, and a barn for my homies the raccoon family.  Aren't I generous?  I thought so too.  And stupid. But that's neither here nor there.  Our chicken coop is attached the the raccoon barn.  This has raised concerns about putting the chickens in the coop (they currently reside in the garage still.  What? Don't yours? Oh.  You park your car in yours?  That sounds nice...) and in addition, our coop needs a crap ton of work done to it to make it liveable, which we haven't been able to do yet.  It needed to be done three months ago.  And we're supposed to pick up ducklings this weekend, so it needs to get done stat.

  I marked out our veggie patch and started shaving the grass off it.  Mr. Pretties interrupted me and it still isn't finished.  He's making claims of picking up a rototiller this weekend and getting it done before I have a mental breakdown about it.  I hope he is.  We need to be planting in a couple weeks and I need to put the fencing up and install the rain barrels at the foot of the beds. I tried to stick with heirloom seeds for the garden, and since I hear they're more difficult to grow, I'm a little worried.  But I really didn't want to do hybrids, or the like, so we'll just cross our fingers, toes, eyes, whatever.

   So we'll see what we shake out this weekend, hopefully little Owen's wrap comes in the post this morning so I can wear him all weekend and be a bigger help than I have been with only one hand in the past ;) I'll come back and let you know how it goes.  I wanted to post some pictures, but someone, dropped my new camera and it's DOA.  Add that to this weekends list, replace camera.

  Have a great Mother's Day weekend!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

And Baby Makes... Woah!

First things first, here is Mr. Owen, the newest LP around here:

   Unfortunately Mr. Owen did not get to be a homebirth after all, which I thought was totally fine.  Then again I thought pretty much anything that involved me being released from the hospital was a plus.  You're having an eye lash plucking and eye gouging party? And it's not at the hospital? I am SO there! However, over the last two weeks (TWO weeks!!! Already!!!) I've realized I'm becoming increasingly (as in the opposite of decreasingly, which would be something a normal person would be experiencing...) disappointed with this tid bit of fact.  It's almost as if I hadn't realized that this was so and then reality decided to press send on his iPhone with this:

Reality: Hey Jenn, this is reality calling!
Jenn: Oh hey reality, so great to hear from you! FYI my Unicorn Farts came in the mail the other day, so eat that!
Reality: Right... Anyway, I just wanted to take a second to touch base with you re: Owen and all your hopes and dreams via the homebirth.  That you didn't have.  Because you were at the hospital instead...  You ARE aware of this, am I right?
Jenn: Uh... Ofcourse I am.... Yeah... Oh... Ugh... *Insert Wicked Witch melting into a puddle of green ooze scene here*

I don't think I've ever beat myself up after a delivery.  I've always been happy with how things went down, and most of all, how things turned out (ie. we got to take home a healthy baby - for which we are forever thankful) and never really thought back on it with anything but those warm fuzzy feelings that you like to replay in your head from time to time.  Good stuff.  This time I'm disappointed about being referred back to the hospital (thank you pregnancy induced hypertension) for an induction (with my midwives - yay!) and THEN for getting an epidural.  I've had one 3 out of 4 previous deliveries, never thought much of it, and now I'm all 'You frigging wuss! What was that about??  If you already feel like you're being ripped in half, what's another 90 minutes of feeling like you're going to be ripped in half?! Honestly!!' which is hurting my psyche. Or whatever.  So I'm not sure what those internal affairs are about, but I'll let my mental being and emotional being sort that out.  I'm sure we'll all be on the same page in a couple weeks.  Or something. I'm also sorting out my emo issues concerning the fact that in four short weeks my midwifery care will come to an end.  I, however, am not ready for it to come to an end. Ever. I tried to tell Mr. Pretties about this dilemma this morning but was unable to verbalize these feelings without choking up and getting teary eyed.  I decided I'd just talk about it with myself.  In my head.  Where I probably wont cry about it.  Okay, I probably will, but only in my head and I wont feel like a huge tool.  So to sum things up, our baby is deliciousness wrapped in a blanket and we are loving on him big time.  Unfortunately (wow, this post has a lot of unfortunately's... how unfortunate for you readers!) with each baby we bring home, after I swear I will never care, or deliver another baby, I get one step closer to understanding why the Dugger's have as many children as they do.  I am not comfortable with being that close.  I'm making an appt with a psycologist, or therapist, or mental ward on Monday to sort through these concerning thoughts.  Hopefully they have wifi there so I can tell you about it.

In addition I think I've found my calling in life (luckily this call did NOT come from a small voice inside my head.  I don't think). Which is kind of a big deal because I've always had the insecurity of not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Except I grew up.  Which makes people look at your funny.  Or like you suck. Or both.  Usually both.  I went through school, took something that I knew I could tolerate for the most part and that would pay the bills, and left it at that.  I always knew I would eventually go back to school for something, I just wasn't sure what it was yet.  There have always been situations I wanted to implement in my life.  I am a huge fan of antiques, antiquing, and selling antiques.  This is something we still do on the side, and will always be a passion.  I believe at some point, possibly years down the line, participating in antique markets will become a reality.  I'm excited about that, but now is not the time for this experience.  I'm also wildly addicted to anything agricultural.  We're going to homestead this house as much as we can, and fully plan to purchase a full out farm in the next couple years.  But I feel that homsteading will be a nice counter part to the new plan.  I want to go back to university and become a certified midwife.  MmmHmm.  A midwife.  For some reason this option didn't show up in my options booklet back in highschool.  Then again, even if it did I doubt it would have earned a second glance from my 18 year old self.  Such a true testament to the ever evolution of the human mind and what it holds near and dear.  I registered last week to upgrade a few of my science courses and hope to apply next February.  Only 30 applicants are admitted to this fabulous program each year, so I'll be crossing my fingers.  I think this would be an excellent direction for our family, and compliment all of our other goings on nicely.  I've ordered some really great 'memoir of a midwife' type books and cannot wait to read them!  And just think, now that we're done building our own family, I could move on to helping others add to theirs (not in the way. obviously) and how glorious that would be!  I think preparing to register for a four year program in midwifery is the final peak in becoming crunchy.  I think if my 20 year old self met my 28 year old self, she would drop dead.  On one level I'm so thrilled that I'm finally coming into, my own, and on another I'm deeply disturbed by just how much one can change in a handful of years (yes, eight years IS a handful!) and truly hope that's all the change I'm going to have for a while. 

How's everyone else doing out there?  Is everyone still experiencing the early spring, or have you been bombarded by a second wind of winter too?  We're expecting snow tonight.  Last week I had to go out and buy the LPs new shorts and Ts.  I guess the weather needs to come into it's own too ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You Know Your Marriage Is Awesome When

Jenn: What if I applied for the Midwifery course in February?
Mr. Pretties: That would be great! Except... no offense... but, you're not really a sympathetic type person, and, well, not that nice either...
Jenn: ......................

Please. Try to contain your jealously of our (non) awesomeness.

I think Mr. Pretties but still wounded that I pointed out our now matching post partum bellies (we had a baby last week!! Woo!! Don't want to type about it until we name him though! Doh!!!) which I thought was quite obvious.  Evidently, it was only obvious to me...  I guess that's where my non-sympathetic and not nice personality came into play.  Maybe, just maybe, I'm only nice to those who are having babies...  and seeing as Mr. Pretties is not, has not, and is unlikely to do so in the near, and not so near future, he would not be in the know about this fabulous feature I hold.  Just saying.

How's everyone doing out in blog land?  Is everyone getting spring this week?  We're ready to till up some soil and make some gardens over the next couple weekends - good stuff!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Who Needs A Mood Ring?

Or how I can determine my current mood via Kijiji...

I probably visit Kijiji once or twice a day (obviously my vices in life are online places inwhich I can spend money, atleast in my head) usually for either livestock, antiques, a new farm dog, or, rarely, fluffy cats.  When the fluffy cat searches start showing up in the internet history we have a problem.  It's time to bust out the liquid Prozac, or something. I noticed today that I was searching for cats on Kijiji, and then ventured over to PetFinder to look for more when that failed.  And I thought to myself, what on earth is wrong with me?!  Then I remembered.  We are a one vehicle family until next weekend.  Both of our families live a fair distance away from us now.  These items alone are total non issues.  But the biggest little had a really rough go at the last school she was at and spent the first half of grade one sans friends, anyone to eat lunch with, or to talk to.  This was tough (read: devastating) for all of us.  So we were super relieved when we moved here and the kids in her class were fantastic! Within the first week in her new class she had three friends and her first invitation to a friend's birthday party.  She was beyond stoked.  She coveted that invitation for weeks.  We RSVP'd. She showed everyone.  We discussed what we would buy as a present and what she would wear (not only was this a party, it was a Monster High DRESS UP Party!!!).  Then. Friday night happened. Mr. Pretties, god rest his soul - I mean god BLESS his soul, haha, yeah...*cough* moving on...  announced that he signed up to work overtime on Saturday (today) and wasn't that great.  Sure, I mean it's always fabulous when I say 'Hey, Mr Pretties don't forget the little has a b-day party of extreme importance going down on Saturday so clear the day...and whatever you do, do NOT sign up for overtime.' and then you come home and announce you're going to work and all of the littles excitement is dashed. I'm stoked! Who wouldn't be?1And you know who else I think would be stoked?! The little.  So why don't you go outside and let her know that the party she's been coveting for the last four weeks is now a no go.  Let me know how blowing up that rainbow works out for you.  He forgot.  Straight up. And there was no way to back out of work and no one else could take the little to the party. It was tragic.  I might be over exaggerating, but seriously, it felt (feels) tragic. 

No one explains to you that being a parent means spending a fair amount of time wanting to punch yourself (or your spouse. just saying) in the face repeatedly to distract yourself from the all consuming acidic guilt of disappointing your children.  And the more children you have the more opportunities you have to experience this great pleasure.  Over and over. So needless to say we feel like vile puddles of the worst parents ever and I've found that this directly corresponds to how I use  (abuse?) the internet.  Th is is how I rate my moods based on Kijij searches:

Antiques = Woo!! I love this house so much I'm going to pretend that I can totally afford that $1500 jam cupboard that we'd have to drive to Quebec to pick up!! Wooooo! Think of all the sweet ish I could put in that puppy! I'd have to buy more antiques just to put them in the cupboard because normal stuff wouldn't be good enough!

Livestock = Yay me! We live somewhere where these things are a real possibility! Who wants a cow?! Me! That's who!! Mozzarella, Farm Cheddar, Riccotta, butter... I'll be kicking some regular dairy ass! Hazzah!!!

Fluffy Cats = Boo... Can't quite pull myself up off the floor of suckingness. Man, a jam cupboard would be heavy. And I'd probably have to paint it, or put something in it. That sounds like a lot of work. I'd also have to go out in this craptastic weather to milk the cow, and I'd probably just spill the milk on the way back to the house... I don't even like cheese... but fluffy felines! I don't even have to get out of bed to enjoy that, and they totally don't care if I don't get dressed ever again, and they're free. Free fluffy balls of happiness. I'll take a dozen. But I'll need them delivered as I can't get out of bed, or get dressed or anything...

Friday, March 2, 2012

You Have To Know It's Going To Be A Bad Day...

Or... Why do I want to buy a product called 'Unicorn Farts'?!

I love Etsy.  Really love.  I used to sell there quite a bit.  I used to buy there quite a bit more.  But this pregnancy has made me indecisive (that may or may not be the biggest understatment ever typed by human hands) which has seriously hampered my ability to purchase things online, particularly on Etsy.  I probably lurk Etsy everyday atleast once, because you just never know what farm/chicken/french country/vintage type thing may have been listed in the last, oh, hour.  But I can't purchase.  I can put stuff in my cart, I've had a cart full heirloom veggie seeds that I've thinned and thicked out so many times the cart is ready to explode.  But I cannot utilize the 'Pay Now' or whatever that button is that arranges to have large sums of my money turned into large sums of someone else's and a happy jaunt to the mail box.  I just can't.  Not that I don't intend to purchase, I just intend to do it 'later, after the littlest is napping...'  I obviously have issues.  Have I mentioned I can no longer answer my phone either? It's getting pathetic.

So some how I ended up logged onto my dear friend Etsy this morning (does anyone else find themselves on the Etsy home page and have no idea how they got there, don't remember typing in the address or conciously thinking they'd like to be there?!) and there was exactly what I needed without even running a search. Unicorn Farts. I snapped that puppy up and threw two in my cart (I seldom buy more than one of something, but I was quick this morning - could not chance one of the littles tossing it in the dryer/garbage/out the window/in a diaper) and slammed on that 'Buy It Now'  button while images of skipping to my mail box (which is no less than 500 miles away from our house) while rainbow sparkles trickled from my feet, finding the little red flag up and waving at me, throwing back the little door as golden beams spilled out of box interior where a perfect little package laid waiting, encasing what would no doubt be the much coveted Unicorn Farts.    But what's this?  What is the computer screen trying to tell me?  It's saying something along the lines of 'Aww... too bad, we have just single handedly dashed all your future hopes and dreams.  All of the Unicorn Farts lip balms of Etsy have already been purchased by those far more awesome than yourself.  There will  still be skipping to the mail box of golden glory, but it will not be by you.  But, while we're on the topic, would you like to mark this item as a favorite instead, so it can be a constant reminder of the epic fail that is your purchasing ability?' Umm... I'm going to go with no on that one...

When this typeof  situation brings tears to your eyes, you have to know it's not going to be a good day. For you, or anyone else in your immediate vicinity.  And you should probably think about Googling 'therapy' in your immediate local area. Just saying.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's Buried In The Yard...

Or... the conversations I get to have because we live here.

Yesterday afternoon was one of those super sunny, non-artic type days that fool you into thinking spring is just around the corner.  Today, on the other hand is one of those days where it is snowing, the wind sounds like we've relocated the house directly under Niagara Falls, and it's cold enough in my house to not want to know what temperature it is outside.  However, back to yesterday! So the littles wanted to go out and play, and the littlest little needs my aid in this department. So out we went.  When Mr. Pretties got home from work we did a walk around outside, in the bush, the barn, the corn field adjacent.... you know, the usual.  So as we were doing our own thing (Mr. Pretties trying to organize the random piles of wood around the property and me complaining because I'm too fat and ackward to be milling about in the brambles) Mr. Pretties and I had the following exchange:

Me: Hey Dave, remember when I said I wanted to replace the kitchen sink with an antique cast iron one?
Mr. Pretties: Uh huh...
Me: Great! Grab a shovel, I just found one buried in the yard!
Mr. Pretties: ......................

Love it.  I think Mr. Pretties thought this was another example of my extreme sarcasm, or off the wall humour.  He did not however, think that we had an old cast iron sink stinking partially out of a bunch of tree remains at the end of our property.  I love that about having sprawling property, you just never know what you're going to find!  So far (you know, in the last month) I've come across an old wagon part, a rusted through trough, numerous rusty oil cans, an enamel pot with a hole in it, an antique javex bottle, and a stack of windows from the original barn.  And we don't spend that much time outside right now, as I said: Artic. Weather. Have I mentioned we still have not received our oil delivery?  And that we're heating this old house with only wood (okay, and two electric oil heaters, I know, bad homesteaders, bad!) which is costing us a small fortune.  Because we're dumb and keeping picking it up at the grocery store until we can find someone willing to deliver the wood here - and that appears to be no small feat around here!  We've been doing a lot of character building around here with these new situations.  So far my character is huddled in a corner beside the woodstove with three pairs of socks, two pairs of pants and four sweaters.  While debating the feasiblilty of puchasing a king sized electric blanket, making a tent out of it, and proceeding to live inside it until we find a more efficient way to heat the house.  Mr. Pretties however, has brought it to my attention that we frequently lose power in the evenings due to the wind and that in the case the heated tent would no long be a heated tent.  On to plan B!  It involves having a woodstove installed in the livingroom so that our one small stove isn't busting it's rear trying to heat the entire house, which is impossible.  It also involves and EcoFan if I can ever locate one.  I got laughed out of two TSCs last week when I went looking for one because I was in the wrong season.  Apparently I thought I was in winter, but I was mistaken because as we all know winter is over and it's time to start buying lawn seed and patio furniture. Duh!

In other news, one of our white silkies is broody again!! Hoohoo!!!