Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tuckered Out

Thomas went for his first ATV run, which after 10 minutes turned into an ATV ride. He's a little pooped out!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Lost my favourite hen this morning. I noticed #3 seemed slightly out of sorts last night (although I couldn't put a finger on what was wrong with her) and her comb had flopped over. Didn't seem like a big deal, but I found her dead on her roost this morning. Very disappointing, I have no idea what happened to her.

I also noticed one of the turkeys has a nice slice around his tail, probably from big-bruiser rooster. So we're getting our butts in gear about sectioning off part of the coop (although that means hanging an extra heat light),  then I can put our little chickies (who are still in my house) back in the coop.

The only upside is that the compost is working well. We had one of our sickly red-stars die late last week, and I was able to dig a nice big hole for her in the compost. I only got about 2' this morning as I went for the other side of the compost which isn't as high. Composting carcasses is a good way to dispose of dead poultry. You don't want to do it when you suspect a communicable disease, which might survive in the compost & spread back on the field. 

The OMFRA has some great pdfs on how to compost deadstock. Either good or bad, you can get full skeletons back out of compost if you leave the deadstock in for a specific amount of time. I have heard many stories about people composting horses to preserve the skeletons.

(Blog note: sorry this was supposed to go out yesterday, someone got distracted and didn't press send, so it is actually Saturday today)

Thursday, January 5, 2012


As a true and patriotic Canadian, I feel like I'm not complaining about the weather enough.

I never thought there was a combination of rain & snow that could actually make me yearn for the bitterly cold years we've had the last 2 winters, but I've found it.

The entire barnyard is a skating ring covered by about 1" of snow. So I look like a penguin while gingerly carrying feed (or eggs) back and forth with my arms out for balance. I'm quite sure I'd get my chores done very quickly if I just strapped my skates on to do it.

The horses both have a lovely thick coat on them, but it's much harder for all of us to endure those -35C with windchill nights, when it was -8C a day before. -15C is about my limit for enjoying the weather, anything past -30C and I'm hiding in the house.

I love winter, I really enjoy getting bundled up and going out to work outside. You reach a really nice internal temperature where you're just warm & cosy instead of sweaty, sticky and gross.The fresh snow gives the farm a beautiful and very clean look, and there is no mud.

But I hate ice. Not only is it far too dangerous for me to take the horses out for a ride, but I've noticed they are sticking to well worn paths in the paddocks.

The goats, are even staying inside the barn!

Right now, I'd take just about anything else over the weather we've been having so far. With 6C (!!!) temperatures forecast for tomorrow, at least the rain has been called off, looks like it's not going anywhere.

3 more months till spring...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Water, Plan B

A.k.a. What I should have done in the first place!!!

After having to haul about 20 pairs of buckets Christmas Eve to the water trough in the paddock, I was starting to question why I wanted to leave the tank where it was. Although still being filled by snow melt and the occasional rain-storms we're still getting, it was proving to be a huge PITA to get water into especially since my hose is hopelessly frozen into the ground. Also we had a huge long extension cord run across the yard to keep the de-icer plugged in.

I should mention after our first snow storm the horses or cows knocked down the electric separating their paddocks so they're all together again (and happier for it; I caught them all having a big nap in the hay today, one big happy herd!)

Sometimes you need a day or two away from a problem to get your head on straight, and so Plan B... 

DUH!!! We move the water trough to the back of barn where it is 10' from the water connector in the cow-section of the barn and 10' from an electrical outlet!! There is even a connection here with a switch where the old automatic water tank (sadly rusted out!) was plugged in. We don't need the switch because the de-icer has thermostat.

Now I only need to thaw out a 10' hose when it freezes despite being emptied out (in fact I'm storing it in the shop). If I can't get the hose running I only need to move buckets 10'. While the pump in the yard is a frost-free, the handle has still frozen down a few times with all the freezing rain we've been getting. The tap in the cow-section has heat tape on it & not only doesn't freeze, the water coming out that's stored in the tap is just warm enough to melt off anything on the top of the hose too.

Can we have summer back?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cook: Pâté

(First of all, this has absolutely nothing to do with why I was sick over the weekend. Let's just get that cleared up first!)

Having requested all possible bits of our cow back from the butcher (and I intended to try and get even more for next time) I was then faced with these lovely little packages of meat with such tasty sounding names as "liver" and "heart" on them. My mother was a big fan of the 'don't tell the kids what it's made of' school of thought on the more exotic dishes. Which all in all I think is a really good plan.

I've always loved pate enough not to want to ask what it was made of, and honestly after finding out after years of eating it, put me off even then. But I'm slowly learning how silly it is to be squeamish of these lovely dishes that have been made for hundreds of years, passed on because they are delicious.

So for Christmas dinner, my little brother the chef & I made beef liver pate, recipe from:

Beef Liver Pate
500g beef liver (you can substitute lamb’s fry), cut into pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
(We used a few dashes of dried Thyme & Rosemary)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
*because I killed my food processor a few months ago, I added a bit of cream & used my blender. 

  •  Saute the liver and onions in a couple of tablespoons of the butter until the livers are browned and the onions are tender.
  • Add wine, garlic, mustard, herbs and lemon juice and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has gone.
  • Cool and blend to a smooth paste in the food processor along with the rest of the butter. (This is easier if the butter is not fridge cold!)
*This is the part where I added a bit of cream & used my blender instead, it was slow going & the blender started to heat a bit... but it worked!*
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Check the consistency of the pate. If it seems dry and crumbly rather than smooth and creamy, add more butter.
  • Put pate in a shallow dish and press the cracked pepper onto the top of it.

I thought it was just delicious! Even between about 6-7 people only half the recipe got finished off so the rest is in the freezer for next time.

In fact it was so good I bought a book called Odd Bits, How to Cook the Rest of the Animal by Jennifer McLagan. So far it's been a really interesting read, I've never had anyone so thoroughly convince me I must try pig ears (as in those things I'm always feeding the dogs!) once in my life! I'll have a full review of the book once I finish reading through it, I'm just into how to cook brains right now.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Little New Years Fun

In celebration of the new year I'd like to offer a few of the strangest things ever searched for on google that gave people links to my blog:

"whoops down it goes"
goat with one horn" or "one horned goat" also "goat with 1 horn"
(Harry is very popular, although his grew out)

"thoroughbred here's lenny"
"heating greenhouse with chickens"
"it's uncomfortably warm in here"

and my favourite
is it good to leave boots out in the rain?"

Most of those were not people who actually stayed to read the blog, so I hope y'all found what you were looking for! Happy New Year! 

Jan 1st, take 2

The plan was to start blogging again Jan 1st, but I was side-lined with the plague all day, so my New Years resolutions will have to be a day late.

The farm is running really well right now, so except the hundreds of little projects we have in mind for next year, I've been trying all week to come up with some real resolutions for the coming year.

  1. I will take more time out to ride the horses. Now that we've got things settled down I will take an afternoon off every now & again to go out and ride!
  2. I will try at least one really adventurous dish this year (more on that later)
  3. I will grow a kick-ass garden this year. I missed it SO badly last year when we were moving mid-season, we did grow a little something, but I am so excited for the upcoming year. The kids are really excited too, the living-room is littered with seed catalogs & the boys are helping me pick out some veggies & flower. 
I'd like to add that we're going to try to make some money this next year, but we're not expecting any profit for at least our 2nd full year. Starting a farm is a very expensive undertaking!