Archive for October, 2009

More news from the farm

October 28, 2009
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Using the tractor to move the house

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Tiny house in its final resting place

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Planting our first crop, garlic!


Jeremy arrived yesterday after his trans-Canadian trip in our Toyota Yaris. He seemed a little tired and dissheveled but otherwise quite invigorated by his big, successful trip. We let him rest up for a bit, fed him some locally crafted pizza and beer, and then today we put him to work! Along with my computer and few other bits of our goods and chattels, Jeremy also brought us a couple of pounds of Glen Valley garlic for eating and planting. Jeremy then dug us a garlic bed, unearthed some compost from a long-buried pile of horse manure and hay, and planted the garlic. It is quite exciting that we will have a crop coming up in the spring!

The goats were moved into another grazing area today. It was fenced only with electric wire so there was a bit of a leap of faith required in keeping the goats enclosed – the wire usually keeps them in as long as they are not too tempted by what is outside the wire, or as long as they are not spooked or started enough to make them run through the wire. Well, we discovered that one strand of wire is not enough to keep the goats inside, either that or the honeysuckle was just way too tempting for goats behind any fence, and we ended up adding another wire to keep them inside. They truly enjoyed eating the weeds of NB and we hope they have opportunity to eat more before the snow starts to accumulate.

We ate lobster this evening. Jeremy decided he needed to eat regional specialities on his trans-Canadian trip. Of course, I don’t need too much convincing to sit down to a feed of lobster! It was as wonderful as it always is and it was fun taking Jeremy through the steps of successfully dismembering and consuming a whole lobster.

We’re working on trying to get our house in order after unpacking all our stuff. It is a bit overwhelming and there’s so much to do outside as well, it’s easy to forget about the inside of the house until it’s the end of the day and, believe it or not, the mess is still there! We are also taking care of details like applying for NB medicare, insuring and registering vehicles and changing our drivers’ licences. Boring, eh? Oh well, we’ll have something exciting to talk about soon!

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Will arrives on farm!

October 26, 2009
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Will pulls into the farm driveway

Will arrived on the farm just before noon today. I am so happy to see him and he is so happy to have arrived! The truck did really well, the house held together and Will survived the days of driving. I think he is feeling a great sense of accomplishment for having made the big trip and I’m so proud of him, too!

I had driven to Notre Dame, a nearby town, this morning to pick up some good organic fair trade coffee for Will, knowing he’d be dying for a good cup of coffee after 7 days of truck stop and Tim Horton’s coffee. Well, as I left the shop and headed out to the car, I saw this little house drive by – it was Will! I jumped into the car and took off after him and followed him all the way to the farm. He stopped at the side of the road to take a picture and wondered why this crazy woman stopped behind him instead of driving by. Of course this was me so we had our first reunion right on Route 115!

We managed to get the tiny house situated on a nice site on the farm though we had to use the tractor to pull it into place. We took the truck on a back route to avoid low hanging power lines but the ground was a bit slick and we ended up having to pull the truck out and then tiny home with the tractor. The good news was that the tractor started first time and everything got pulled into place without mishap.

Will is here and the farm is now complete!

October 25, 2009
brand new goat milking stand

brand new goat milking stand

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

October 25, 2009

Hi all you readers of the blog. I have been so enjoying reading the comments you’ve been sending. Thanks for reading our stuff, checking out our pics and following our progress!

Since I’m doing the “thank yous” I’ll also send out a great, huge thanks to my parents for all the help they’ve been giving me getting settled in at our new farm. I arrived to a sparkly clean house with a fridge full of food; they’ve taken me places, loaned me their vehicles, pounded nails, stretched fence, cooked me dinner every evening this week and even took me fishing! Wow, I feel truly privaleged and I think this all goes way above and beyond the call of parental duty. Mom and Dad are in for free veggies and goat milk for life at this point!

The goats are still doing well but are ready to get out of their fenced paddock and into a larger grazing area. It’s been tricky managing them because the boys and girls are sharing the same grazing space but I can’t keep them together (those boys, you know). So I lock the girls up mid afternoon and then let the boys out to get some exercise and eat some grass. This isn’t ideal but will have to do till we get some more construction done.

I built a feeder for the goats today. I’d tried feeding them grain in plastic bins but they are just so hard on things, especially fragile plastic things. So after they trashed one bin, I realized stronger structures were required. I built a small trough that should be strong enough to withstand goat abuse. I mounted it to the wall and then stood back to admire my work. Well, within seconds one goat had jumped up on it, another was chewing on the 2 x 4’s and a third was scratching herself on it (a full body scratch that is) and I realized that this feeder’s days were numbered. When you have goats in your life, it often feels like you are struggling to stay just one step ahead of the goats! I’ve made an alteration to the feeder to at least keep the goats from jumping on it, though the chewing and scratching continues. I’m actually quite proud of my efforts and will try and get a picture of it on this site.

We had very mild weather this morning (up to 17 degrees C) and when I got up this morning, the house was colder than outdoors. I opened up a couple of windows to try and warm the house up (!) and then enjoyed the warmth and sun the rest of the day, though it was very windy. Mom and Dad and I went smelt fishing in the afternoon but no fish were biting. I haven’t been fishing in ages and really enjoy it. We’ll have to go out again on another nice day.

Will should be arriving tomorrow afternoon, all things going well. Hopefully nothing else will fall off the truck before he gets here! I am very excited about seeing him again and I have to get some special Will food organized: good coffee, chocolate, maybe some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and definitely some meat! I have this huge list of things to do but I’ll wait for him to recover from the drive before presenting it!

I’ve been playing my fiddle for an hour or so a day and enjoying the acoustics of the house. The fiddle seems to really like the climate as well, it stays in tune really nicely and seems to be making a nice sound. I haven’t connected with the St-Antoine fiddle group yet (they meet Monday evenings) but will soon. There is a music store in St-Antoine but they didn’t have my brand of fiddle strings. They were more of a “rock and roll” music store, if you know what I mean!

Well I won’t overwhelm you all with news. Until next time!
Al

Around Lake Superior

October 24, 2009

Truck showing the wear and tear

Truck showing the wear and tear


Made it to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Only 2,000 km to go! I noticed that the tail-pipe was hanging down a bit and then looked closer and it was barely attached to the muffler. I took this piece off before it could fall off on the road and possibly cause an accident. I was tempted to leave it by the roadside to lighten the load a bit but stuck it in the back of the truck instead. Went around the northern end of Lake Superior yesterday. Incessant hills, up and down and some snow and wind but road conditions were OK. Hope to make it past Ottawa today. — Will

October 23, 2009

Our fancy goat fences

Our fancy goat fences

Dad working on the fancy new goat enclosure

Dad working on the fancy new goat enclosure

Goat enclosure made using all materials found on-farm

Goat enclosure made using all materials found on-farm

Medusa peering out of her new pen

Medusa peering out of her new pen

Medusa and Nessie looking outside and Gem just has to get into the shot!

Medusa and Nessie looking outside and Gem just has to get into the shot!

Still heading east

October 22, 2009
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Only 2,936 km to go to the farm (out of 5,632 total start). I passed the longitudinal centre of Canada just past Winnipeg, Manitoba. I figured that since I started near the west coast and am going to the east coast that this might be near the half way point on the trip. Alas, I still have more than half way to go. I’m think the eastern-most point in Canada is in Newfoundland, the western-most is probably out on Vancouver Island.

I slept last night in the tiny house, just parked it out in back of a restaurant where there where several other trucks parked. It was comfy even without any heat.

I saw a semi truck who’s driver had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel and missed a curve and ended up (unharmed but apparently stuck) in the middle of a field of grain.

I also passed by the world’s biggest teepee in Medicine Hat, Alberta (I was OK with just seeing it from the truck). The sign upon entering the city announces that it is the “Gas City” due to the copious deposits of natural gas in the area. Sorry, but I don’t think I would want to live somewhere called the gas city. The name Medicine Hat comes from the english translation for the blackfoot word for the eagle tail feather headdress worn by medicine men.

It was nice to start seeing wooded areas in Manitoba after the plains. The northwest part of Ontario was really beautiful with a different lake after every little hill I would go over. Until next time, thanks for reading. — Will

The Goats Arrive!

October 22, 2009

We worked hard Wed. afternoon to finish up all the goat facilities, expecting the goats to arrive late that day or early the next. My Uncle Peter and Aunt Bert (Mom’s brother and sister-in-law) joined us; Peter finished pounding the last few staples in the fence, Bert helped Mom clean out water buckets and hook them up, Dad finished the milk stand and I attached horse feeders to the walls (for salt and minerals). What a team effort!

Afterwords we took a walk down to the river to enjoy the sight and sound of fast-moving water. The trail is downhill from the farm and a bit wet and slippery in places but we made it with no mishaps. It was another beautiful day: cold but clear and sunny and the forest is lovely. I’d seen four deer grazing in a neighbor’s field earlier that morning, another lovely sight.

That evening I gave Jimmy, our goat transporter, a call on his cell phone to see where he was and when he was expecting to arrive at the farm. I didn’t hear back from him till I arrived at my place later in the evening and learned that the goats should be arriving about 3:00 a.m.! Well, it turned out that Jimmy’s estimate was right on the money and at almost 3:00 a.m. exactly, the big truck and trailer pulled into the driveway. The goats seemed very happy to leave life on the road and settle down on solid earth again. They were pretty hungry and got right into the hay . I left them for the night at about 4:00 and then tried to get some sleep myself. It wasn’t easy because I was still worrying about them and whether they were really okay! Goats are creatures that do not show discomfort until they are at death’s door and my concern was that I’d get up in the morning and find they’d dropped dead overnight!

I think I get my worrying gene from my Mom. The next morning they were fine. I gave them more hay and water but what they really wanted was to go outside and check out the grass. They loved our overgrown weedy paddock and spent a good day wandering around, checking it all out and eating lots. I milked Nessie and Keehay that afternoon and they are still milking well. Thank you Jimmy for continuing to milk them on that big trip!

The boys don’t have a paddock of their own so I locked the girls up mid afternoon and then let the boys out to graze for a bit. We’ll have to keep doing this until Will arrives and helps me fix up the horse shed, the building that will eventually be the boys’ long term home.

Will phoned this morning and told me he was in Winnipeg. He sounds good and seems to be managing the long days of driving quite well. My hero!

Till next time…

Day 2 on the road

October 21, 2009

Lunch Stop in Golden, BC

Lunch Stop in Golden, BC


I covered about 700 km over the Rockies from Kamloops, BC to Strathmore, Alberta. Kind of slow going over the mountains. It will be flat for a long stretch now. Not too much interesting about driving for hours and hours looking for good coffee and for a place to eat that is not too bad. — Will

progress at the farm

October 20, 2009

Wow, I guess Will does the nice pics and I write the big bits! I took some pictures on the farm this morning with Mom’s camera but left the camera at the farm. Maybe tomorrow I’ll figure out how to post a photo.

Today Mom and I finished the fencing. She stretched fence and I pounded in staples. We were visited by one of our new neighbors at this time; Delbert Hicks is one of the many Hicks who live in the area. Delbert is a retired farmer who still keeps some cattle and miniature horses. The horses are very cute, we drive past them regularly and one little stallion races us alongside the fence – too cute for words because he’s such a little fluffball and seems to take the racing so seriously!

I started building the milking stand yesterday and got the platform finished, danced on the surface to make sure it would support an obsequious goat, and then retired for the day. We finished the stanchions today and Dad is now hard at work crafting the platform for the feed bucket. Dad is determined to figure out complex angles and create the octagonal effect we had on our milk stand at Glen Valley. He seems to be enjoying himself so I’m leaving him to it!

I walked around our farm then followed the path through our neighbor’s properties this morning and was treated to the sight of four deer, grazing in the open field. As the wildlife count increases, my desire to fence in important spaces grows proportionally. Deer are beautiful but very hard on gardens!

Will is on the road and I’m thinking about him a lot. He’s a very good driver and sensible enough not to drive when he’s tired, so I don’t worry about him at all – really!

This is all for now and tomorrow I’ll try and post some farm pics. Stay tuned….