Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Chicks are Growing!

Chicks are starting to scratch around outside the henhouse.
 The Silkies are very fluffy now. They are funny to watch. In the evening, they all jump up to roost on a wall in the hen house, and the white Silkies sneak in between the two Ameraucanas to get the warm spot.  They do not like being on the outside.  Reminds me of when I was younger and there were a dozen of us sleeping in the one bed. No one wanted the outside then either.
The two Ameraucanas. I think the one on the left might be a rooster!
 I was at the Farmers Coop yesterday to get more hay and feed, and asked the experts there if I could tell whether the chicks were male or female at this point.  They told me that if the comb is really red, it is probably a rooster.  The one on the left above has the beginnings of a red comb! I ignorantly asked if I should be able to tell if they were male by turning them over and looking at their anatomy!  They laughed at me and said all the organs are internal!!! I had been doing that and indeed, they all look the same. I noticed the older rooster I have mating with the hens and I cannot figure it out!

The brown colours in these chicks are very pretty.
Chicks braving the big outside world.

The four young ones stick together.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Update on Plants

The beans in the smaller garden are not growing as good as the ones in the bigger garden.  I think the bigger plot is more fertile because last year, I put the remnants of the goats manure, plus old hay, plus chicken poop, plus compost in there.
Carrots on the left, with potato plants sprouting close to them. A few bean plants are growing on the right.

The carrots were slow to start too, but they look pretty healthy now, even though they are kinda smothered by a few scattered potatoes that had been left in the ground from last year and are growing in random places.

Here is one pumpkin plant out of six seeds I planted.  However, this plant may produce quite a few of pumpkins.  Lets keep our fingers crossed on that one.

Lone pumpkin plant (and lots of weeds).

Now the potatoes, well, they look lovely.  I usually rotate the area where they are planted so as to avoid potato scab and other diseases.  My friend from PEI, who surely knows all about potatoes, had never seen anyone plant potatoes like I did.  I have no idea how I got this method in my head, but it is how I have always done it; what I do is dig trenches about a foot wide every two and a half feet or so.  I have always planted the potatoes IN the trenches, not on the mounds, with the rationale being, as the plants began to grow, the mounds of soil would be used to hill up the plants.  What I do is push the mounds down gradually as the plants grow, until eventually, the mounds become the trenches.  Has anyone else ever heard of this!  If so, I would like to know, or even know other ways of planting. 

Gorgeous potato plants.

I think I was told that many years ago by someone who knew more about gardening than I did, and I just believed it.  Anyway, it has worked for me for many years and I will likely continue to plant them that way.  I am a creature of habit and not good with change.

I almost forgot about the garlic I planted.  I got the bulbs from Gaze seed. Actually, I had forgotten to pick it up and the garlic was an after-thought so my friend gave me money to buy the bulbs.  I have planted garlic cloves in the fall previously, but this year I planted them around the middle of June.   I had given up hope and even forgot about the garlic, when yesterday, I  saw two beginning to grow.  That is two out of about 12 cloves I planted. In PEI a few weeks ago, they were already selling the garlic curly stems at the farmers market!

The strawberries are beginning to ripen now and every day, there are four or five juicy red strawberries.  They are not very big but they are tasty.  I planted them about 5 years ago when I bought them from Ross Traverse.  Last year when I had goats, they chewed the plants to pieces before any berries came out, so this year, it was nice to see a  few berries.  Some berries have been picked at by either slugs or carpenters.  Lots there though.

Finally, here is a photo of the walkway I had started two months ago!  Only now getting around to half completing it.  I still have to get more large rocks to place on the edges of the walkway to give it more support on the sides.  Each patio block weighed a lot and I could barely lift one.  I did manage to set them in place.
Starting the walkway; crushed stone and some sand on top.

Blocks in place, but I need more large rocks for the sides.

I think that patio needs a hot tub!!  I sure could have used a hot tub tonight after all that brutal, heavy lifting today!

Many Hands Make Light Work

Gail painting the trim.

Alysha mowing.
Last weekend, Gail and Alysha came by wanting to walk the Signal Hill trail but I complained that I had too much to do around the yard.  Well, they offered to help me, so we went for the walk and then came back to mow, paint, etc.  The old shed, which is now the hen house, was built 20+ years ago when dads house was standing where my house now stands.  It was built out of wood from Aunt Margs house which was about 100 years old when it was torn down.  Needless to say, the wood was very old, dried out, and rotted in some places.  So, I decided to paint it to make it look like new again - sort of!  I only got around to doing the trim (black).  Next week, I will get Brian to get me a deal on paint at his work and paint the white parts.

Gail helped me paint, while Alysha tried her hand at mowing.  I was even able to weed the gardens.  Thanks girls.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Dead Chicken

When I arrived home from PEI at around suppertime, I went to check on the chickens and saw a dead white Leghorn in the hen house!  The water bucket was tipped over and dry as a bone so I am guessing it died of dehydration. There was a small amount of water in the henhouse, but  it was quite hot while I was gone.  Poor thing.  The boys insisted that they ensured the chickens had water!!  Survival of the fittest.

That same night, I was driving out Logy Bay Road and saw a panicked black cat zoom across the road from ditch to ditch, then zoom back across, then back the other way!  As I slammed on the brakes, I felt the thump of running over something! The cat!!  It is a horrible feeling!  I stopped on the way back from picking up Graham, and there was no sign of a cat!!  Maybe they really do have nine lives!  There was no blood or guts on the road, and nothing on my vehicle.

Pet cemetery!!!

Dead Chicken

When I arrived home from PEI at around suppertime, I went to check on the chickens and saw a dead white Leghorn in the hen house!  The water bucket was tipped over and dry as a bone so I am guessing it died of dehydration. There was a small amount of water in the henhouse, but  it was quite hot while I was gone.  Poor thing.  The boys insisted that they ensured the chickens had water!!  Survival of the fittest.

That same night, I was driving out Logy Bay Road and saw a panicked black cat zoom across the road from ditch to ditch, then zoom back across, then back the other way!  As I slammed on the brakes, I felt the thump of running over something! The cat!!  It is a horrible feeling!  I stopped on the way back from picking up Graham, and there was no sign of a cat!!  Maybe they really do have nine lives!  There was no blood or guts on the road, and nothing on my vehicle.

Pet cemetery!!!

Monday, 25 July 2011


Llamas and Sheep

Playing frisbie on the beach.

If I were queen, this would be my throne! A John Deer!

Road leading  out of the cottage.

Friends since Grade 4!
What a trip to PEI! It is such a relaxing, peaceful place to visit. My friend, Laura Lee, is the most welcoming host ever. She and her family housed and fed me for five days in their beautiful cottage by the beach. All her siblings came from all over to be with their mother on her 75th birthday. I have been pretty much a part of their family since I was in Grade 4 and became friends with Laura Lee.  I thought her family was so cool because they had instant hot chocolate, not the kind we had to drink made from cocoa and sugar and canned milk! I had hippy brothers who had black lights in their rooms and egg cartons on their ceiling.  She thought that was very cool.  I thought it was super cool that she had her own room, and own bed!! in her basement next to her two older sisters room that was divided by a blanket hung from the ceiling.

We came from two very different families but with a lot of similarities too, and we remained friends since 1974; true, good friends, a that.  Thanks, Laura Lee, for one of the best trips I have taken yet!

In the photos above, were llamas we passed on the road with sheep grazing in the background. Farm animals and farm life are just so appealing to me.

Five Sisters Lavender Farm in PEI
 One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to this lavender farm. It was on the side of a soft hill overlooking green fields and an old farm house. There were rows and rows of lavender growing. The owner, Carol, had a potting shed which was the gift shop that was filled with lavender everything, from jelly, to syrup, to soap, to oil, tea, sachets, everything lavender!  It was wonderful. On the other end of the shed, was where the horse was kept and the barn smell from the horse, mixed with the lavender scent was perfume for the soul! There was also a Fairy Trail through the woods there too, with a narrow grassy path to follow and all kinds of trinkets, charms, fairy things hanging in the trees all along the path.  Benches were strategically placed along the path for anyone who wanted to stop and take in the sights and sounds, or just sit and think. It really was a spiritual place and like I said, a most enjoyable part of the trip to PEI.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


I've been sitting in the Halifax airport for over four hours now, and oh, the wildlife here!  On my way to PEI where there are definitely greener pastures. However, there are some wild, wild chickens here in the airport.  For instance, this one lady and her husband who had matching plaid shirts.  Odd to see that in a 70+ year old couple but at least they won't lose each other.

Then, this other couple, the wife was, how would you say, very large! She was obviously feeling very warm, as she fanned herself with her hands, and fanned her loose, knee-length skirt to cool herself off.  Trouble was, legs were sprawled and she exposed herself every time she fanned!  The man across the aisle from here was surely entertained.  She continued to pick her feet, put on her socks, shoes, adjust her boobs in her bra, and I believe she lost her glasses down her cleavage!  Her husband left for a few minutes, then came back with three bars which she studied carefully, then chose the Crispy Crunch bar while stuffing the Oh Henry into her bag.  Her husband was eating an Eatmore bar and she took a bite of it.  Then, she shoved the whole of her bar in her mouth in one shot!

Once she was satiated, she began to work on her "Puzzles to Exerise the Brain" book for which she needed a pen, and plucked the pen right out of her husband's hand without asking as he was doing a crossword!  This seems like a dangerous breed to me and I think I had better steer clear.

Going to finally board for PEI soon.  Can't wait to see the potatoe fields, beaches, calmness of PEI.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Going Away Again!

I am embarrassed with all the travelling I am doing!  I NEVER travel.....or at least, haven't much until this year!  I was stressing about getting the lawn mowed before I left and came home today and Graham, God love him, had the whole front lawn mowed for me.

When I pulled into the driveway at 5, there he was, red as a beet, sweating bullets, trying to dump the grass from the bagger in to the wheel-barrow with the flat tire, and then raking the clumps of grass with the old iron rake, instead of the plastic fan rake.  He was so pleased with himself for helping me. Also pleased he was getting 25 bucks for doing the job too!

Anyway, hopefully the back will be done by the time I get back - then no more travelling for me..............until September, maybe!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hot Tubs!!!

Gail and I were at her friend's house yesterday and she offered her hot tub to us! Never been in one before, besides the large one at the Aquarena and wow! I now want one!  It was soooo relaxing, moreso than I thought it would be. Just trying to figure out how I can make my hobby farm compatible with a hot tub!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Wild Roses

I walked around Quidi Vidi Lake after supper today and came upon a wild rose bush with fresh blooms. Aren't they just the nicest scent in the world!  I plucked a young blossom and inhaled its smell during my walk. One bush I found on the side of the lake by United Sail Works, had the sweetest, most fragrant roses ever! I wish I could capture that same scent in a bottle of perfume.

Monday, 11 July 2011

What is that in my pocket!!
 I had better watch where I put the eggs when I collect them!  Yesterday, I collected the eggs and put them in the pocket of my apron.  Today, when I was picking up that apron from a rail, out popped an egg that luckily, landed on the rug and did not break! About a month ago, I had laid one in my pocket--well, I did not LAY the egg myself, I PLACED it into my pants pocket.  When I came inside, I was leaning up against the sink and SQUISH! It broke in my pocket and there was slime and shell everywhere.  Who needs the Easter Bunny with me hiding eggs in queer places!!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Silkie Chicken

Full-grown Silkie

Isn't it gorgeous!  Let me tell you some of what I have learned about Silkies. They have black skin and the meat is black too.  In some parts of Asia, their meat is used for medicinal purposes and is believed to have some sort of healing powers. Soup is made from the black meat and black bones. Aparently, they have a fifth toe as well!

Silkies don't lay eggs as abundantly as other breeds commonly found around here, but they apparently make great pets because they don't mind being handled, unlike the other chickens. They are also known to act broody towards other hens' eggs and do a lot of "baby-sitting" or "egg-sitting" for other hens.

Mine are starting to get a little fuzzy and I can't wait until they grow fluffy like this one in the photo.  It is weird to see the thick feathers on their feet.  

My brown chicks are Ameraucanas.  They have a beard, no ear tufts, and a pea comb (small and close to the head).  They lay blue and green eggs.  I just can't wait for those!  One of my hens began laying bluish-coloured eggs last fall but I haven't seen any since.  I think those came from a chicken that my nephew gave me which he found in his friend's back yard in "town."  It was only since that one came into my hen house that the blue eggs started appearing, so I am assuming it was that one.  There is no difference in the egg quality or colour inside,  just the different colour shells.

Stay tuned.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Update on the Chicks

The chicks will be spending their second night in the big hen house in a dog kennel. The white one in front is a Silkie and is beginning to get its fluffy feet and head feathers.  The brown ones are much bigger and are Ameraucanas.  So far, they all look like females to me.  They all snuggle together to keep warm and safe.

Gail and I in the middle and on the right! Noah made paper dolls of us, or maybe voodoo dolls!  Dont we look  happy there in Ottawa!

On our way to see Katy Perry!

Oh, the Heat!

While we were driving around Ottawa admiring the gardens and landscapes, Gail said to me, "Joan, you would have some garden if you lived here." And that I would, but then I got thinking, it is so hot in summer in Ontario that you would have to do all the heavy chores before the sun shines too brightly, or in the evening. The heat is sweltering there and while the soil is less rocky and easier to garden in, I'll take the rocky coolnes of Newfoundland any day. At least here, we can go out on a cool day, start digging or working and work up a sweat to warm up and work comfortably.

Anyway, the chicks are growing fast. They were beginning to hop out of the box I had them in so I transferred them to a large dog kennel that I put in the hen house. Now they will get used to the barn and older chickens, and the seniors will get used to the chicks. Before long, I won't be able to tell which hen is which! I will post a few photos later this evening.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

House Guests

I read somewhere once that house guests are like fish -- they start to smell after three days. Well, looks like my time is up here at Lynn and Barry's! A little more than three days, but we don't smell that bad. It'll be good to get home and back to the cool weather. Too hot here for me and I know I would never be able to live in a hot climate. I am accustomed to the RDF of St. John's. At home, working out around the yard warms me up and it is comfortable then. Here, it is too hot to do anything.

Anyway, can't wait to see my boys, my chicks, chickens, and young crops tomorrow. Thanks Lynn, Barry, Audrey, Sue and Paul, and Kathleen for making our trip enjoyable.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Happy Canada Day!

Gail and I are supposed to be heading out this afternoon to Ottawa! We may or may not get there! However, the yard is all taken care of for the next week. Graham mowed the front lawn for me yesterday and I must say, he did a good job. He knows how particular I am and wanted to make sure I paid him the 20 bucks I promised! Just gotta remind them to give the chicks food and water while I am gone.

Gonna leave my farming self behind and enjoy the big city self with shopping at Ikea, a visit to the casino, and do big-city-folk stuff for a few days. There'll be fireworks in Ottawa tonight when we get there!

Happy Canada Day!