Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Getting There

Or, why are we the Ingles?

   I so badly want to write all these wonderful things about 'farm life' and because I can't (you know, because we're currently buried under a wasteland of snow and COLD again) I feel like I have nothing to write or contribute to anyone (ha!) reading right now.  Which is not right.  I also feel like I can only share all the wonderful Little House on The Prairie thoughts I have about it.  Also, not right.  This is my blog and I don't want anyone reading to think that everything is cozy fires and homemade cookies all the time.  And trust me, with fours kids (And another on the way), 13 chickens, three cats, a dog (and another on the way), it isn't. It so isn't.

   We're going through a the motions right now of deciding what we want to get from this experience.  I am very good at deciding what want from things, and Mr. Pretties is very good at agreeing and going along with those plans, but I would like very much for everyone in this family to take something away from this experience by achieving something that's important to them.  Let's just get this out there, Mr. Pretties is not the farmer in this family.  This was probably not something he ever thought he would be doing at any point in this life (come to think of it, that probably applies to a lot of things he's agreed to do with me, starting with having a brood of five kids LoL).  His grandparents farmed, but his family is mostly removed from such things.  This does not, however, mean that he is not open to the experience.  He's just not sure what exactly he wants from it, whether it be dairy cattle, a beehive, a wood working shop, who knows! But I don't want him to be so tied up in doing things for my interests that he doesn't have anything for himself.  It's something we're working on.  I would also like the kids to feel like they're achieving something and have something to call their own and be proud of.  It's something we're starting to discuss, I don't know if perhaps having their own gardens is what they would like, or to have a certain breed of chickens that are their own to show, our oldest is going Wednesday night to meet up with a riding coach to see about riding lessons for her, and then she wants a pony.  I do not want a pony, at this point, as I would like to see us with animals that are contributing to the farm (unless she wants a draught pony... of a fell pony...) but it's something we can plan for in the future. 

   So we're at the stage where we need to decide who wants to do what, what is in the budget to do this year, and what needs to be tabled for next year and start doing it.  I still have to order my vegetable seeds!!  We're also in a position this year where we're in a house that while it has had quite a lot of work done on it recently, there is still a lot that can (and should, and will) be done to it to meet it's full potential.  So far we've been white washing the floors upstairs (trust me, they were awful, and I take reassurance that when we have the time and money we will rip up the tile up there and sand down all the floors and have them restained), ripping out garbage laminate flooring that the previous owners used as puppy pads apparently, repairing doors, and getting ready to repaint pretty well everything in this house.  If we can get all this done we'll can concentrate 100% on outside this year and get all the annual gardens cleaned up, the barn cleaned out, the 'secret garden' cleared out (pigs anyone?), the veggies in (and preferably growing...) and the coop up and running.  We're just having trouble taking it a one piece at a time, making a plan, getting it done, and moving on to the next.  We're too busy seeing the whole picture and freaking out because 'nothing is getting done!!'.  But we'll get there, and we'll get done what we can.  Ideally, I want everything done, and done yesterday.  Realistically, I'll be happy if we get the coop built nicely, the veggies in, and the house interior  repainted.  That would work for me for this first year.

   Also, it's funny how you try to conserve on heat when you're trying to keep the oil man away.  We use our woodstove regularly, but we're also finding it spendy (to the tune of $300+ a month in addition to oil) because we've been buying it in dribs and drabs because we haven't found anyone who wants to deliver it yet.  I woke up this morning and the thermostat happily let me know that it was 56 degrees.  Yikes.  It's also funny how balmy 66 degrees feels after waking up to a 56 degree house.  Or how down right hot, let's open the windows, 70 degrees can feel with the woodstove fully cranked.  When I used to read on Cold Antler Farms about waking up to temperatures like that, wearing sweaters to bed, and being thrilled by a 65 degree house, I couldn't believe it.  I'm happiest when our house is 72 and I'm wearing a sweater.  But realistically, I don't find these new norms unpleasant! We just throw extra quilts on the beds at night and I wear a sweater to bed anyway.  Not to mention the three cats and a dog that sleep on the end of it ;) And the woodstove does a nice job of sending the heat right up the stairs off the kitchen keeping the littles bedrooms nice and toasty.  This all seems a little rustic to us right now, but I love this new norm and I can't wait to see what other things we'll be adjusting to and how much we enjoy them! 

   We're also looking into a livestock guardian dog for the chickens, kids and whatever else we end up with, does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone ever used a St Bernard as a LGD?  Please share!!!

1 comment:

  1. we have a Great Pryenees (sp?) / St. Bernard mix livestock guard dog. Looove him! We've only been full-time farming for a couple of years, and we've yet to lose any livestock to predators. the downside, is that *we* lose a lot of sleep due to him lol. I'm not sure if it's just our dog, or if it's the breed, but Charlie barks A LOT!! so much so, that we are sometimes up a few times checking around outside. His "shift" starts around 9:30 pm and goes til the sun comes up lol .. we are getting used to his different tones in his barking, and our indoor dog will go crazy if she hears Charlie's bark change from a 'normal' "OK guys, I'm on my watch".. to "OK guys, get out here NOW" lol

    Charlie is tied up all the time, so that might make a difference on how much he barks .. we adopted him from friends who moved to another province, and Charlie was 5 yrs old at that time and had never been trained to be off lease.. so now whenever we try, he just trots away from the property , so he stays tied up lol

    we will definately buy another dog like him, after he dies.. but we would train it from a pup to be a LGD that roams the property.

    Charlie is our gentle giant.. he is such a softie when it comes to children, chickens, and cats.. he didn't like the sheep much when we had them, because it drove him crazy when they head-butted each other.. he would bark at them, I guess thinking they were hurting each other.. so we moved them to where he couldn't see their head-butting games ha

    and I guess it's not ALL cats he likes.. just our barn cat.. because he goes balistic at stray cats when they venture on the property .. oh and gray jays too.. he hates them! they can't even land in a tree near him without him going crazy.. blue jays, chickedees,and woodpeckers are fine (he even shares his food with them all) ..but not gray jays lol