Thursday, 25 October 2012

Fall 2012

So here I am, finally back from months away from the blog.  You'd think my life was exciting that I had no time to blog.  Well, life is busy for sure.  Oh, I have so much to write about.  Where do I start?!

I'll start with dad.  My father, Ted Ozon, died on August 30th at the age of 86.  I could write for days and days and days telling all about him.  Dad died at home and all his children, my siblings, were around him in his last months and days.  He had a peaceful death and the most beautiful funeral I have ever attended, thanks to the wonderful priest in our parish, Fr. Fred Brown.  Thank God he was in no pain during his palliative period, and we certainly celebrated and continue to celebrate his life and legacy. Here's to you, dad!

Today, it's a miserable, rainy, wet, cold day out today so I will not be outside doing anything with the hobby farm.  Some jobs I HAVE to do before it gets too cold are: clean out the henhouse, insulate it, and patch up the hole that the chickens use for a run.  I usually close it off during the winter and they are housebound unless I open the big door.

A few days ago, I went to the henhouse and found one of my older hens dead as a maggot on the floor.  It was in the same position Dick, my poor old rooster, was in when he was fading away after Rodney had attacked him months ago.  Luckily, Dick was nursed back to health and made it, but this poor hen, a black one, well, her time must have been up.  I "disposed" of her in the woods out back and returned her to the earth from whence she came!

Speaking of coming from the earth, my family have recently discovered we qualify for Indian Status!!! There was never any doubt we have deep roots in the west coast of Newfoundland where dad's mother is from, but we have two lines of "indian" blood in us!  More to come on that subject later!

The biggest dilemma I am faced with right now though, is a rat problem in the henhouse.  Anyone have suggestions?  Ideally, I would like to lift up the hen house, wrap it in a fine metal mesh, burry it down a few feet, and keep traps in the henhouse that the chickens couldn't get at, but, I am not Hercules, Rockafeller, nor am I Fanny Farmer, so I need a simpler solution.  Rats put me in the horrors!  The thoughts of them creeps me out.  If I had a dog, they might be deterred.  I heard Terriers are rat killers.  There's enough stray cats around but not sure if rats are afraid of them.  I'll tell ya one thing, if I see one near the house, the hens are gone.  Now, the rats have a good supply of food so there is no need to come near the house.

I promise, I will write more often and keep this blog up to date.

Pictures to Follow!

Well, I have not written here in a long while, I know, and so much has happened since February!  I have many photos, but there are five hundred million cords that go into my computer and hook up to various cameras and electronics, and I cannot, for the life of me, find the one for MY camera with all my hobby farm pictures on it.  SO, that means I will have to post the pictures later.

Now, lets talk roosters.  As I was saying, I have three.  Dick, the original, and Rodney and the white silkie, who hasn't got a name yet, and maybe never will have a name, came to me at the same time.  Last summer, I bought two silkie chicks and two Ameraucana chicks.  One of each turned out to be roosters! That was all well and good, when they were little, but oh, what a racket they are causing now.

I went to the henhouse the other day and Dick was cowering almost completely under the hay on the floor, barely moving, and obviously very scared.  I thought he was dead, but I could see his body move as he breathed.  I poked him and he got up and wobbled over to another corner.  His head feathers were all plucked off!  His comb was bloody and looked like it was chopped off completely.  OR hacked off! I was horrified.  It looked like something had attacked it.

RODNEY!!  It had to be Rodney, because the pen is fenced and nothing can get in.  Well, I'm sure a cat could crawl up over the fencing, but I had a sneaking suspicious that Rodney was the culprit!

I retrieved the dog kennel from the other shed and set it up in the henhouse.  I filled it with hay and water and placed Dick in there away from the other hens.  I had to do what I can to a) let him die in peace, or b) help him recover, if that was possible.

My next step was to deal with Rodney.  He was going to the big house!  I have a second garbage box someone gave me, so I got my nephew, Mitchell, and his friend, Mitchell, to carry it out back for me, into the chickens' pound to place Rodney in there.  The garbage box wouldn't fit through the gate entrance to the chickens' pound, so the boys had to precariously balance it on TOP of the gate and gently lift and lay it over the fencing inside the pound.

I then had to CATCH Rodney!  Mitchell and Mitchell tried to catch him too but I managed to grab his tail feathers and hold him enough to put him in the garbage box.  He wasn't pleased.  He hissed and made noises I didn't know chickens made.  It was scary.  I gave him hay and water and a bit of food, and left him there until I could figure out what to do.

Later that same day, Rodney was still clucking in the garbage box.  No rooster crows like he normally does, but just clucking.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Well I'll be a Monkey's Uncle!

I have THREE, roosters!!!  It's true!  I was minding my own business, washing the dishes, peering up towards the henhouse a few days ago and I see a white silky chicken on top of the young Ameraucana!!!  I thought, "that's odd." Then it hit me, maybe one of those fluffy white silkies is a rooster!  There hadn't been much egg production from all them young ones so that would certainly explain it.  So before it got too dark, I ventured up through the snow, camera in hand, and sure enough (well, as sure as I can be), I sized up the two white silkies, and it had higher, spikier tail feathers, and a different shaped body compared to the other silkie!  No wonder there is such a racket in the henhouse all the time!  Three roosters throwing their weight around trying to impress the ladies.  I did take several pictures but when I tried to download them to this blog, they disappeared and photos that were taken three years ago and I guess put on my computer, miraculously showed up on my camera again!  If I tried to do that, I'd never be able to.

So it's mid winter and the chickens are all surviving.  I only get to see them about every three days. The door is open a crack since the weather warmed up slightly so they can get in and out during the day, but they tend to stay inside.  I'm only getting about 2-3 eggs a day out of 8 layers but I don't want to force them to lay with artificial light.  Maybe when spring comes, I'll invest in two more chicks to add to my brood.  The oldest hens are now going on their fourth summer so egg production might not be that great this year.  We'll have to see.

I'll try and get the photos of the silkie rooster to post soon.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


Christmas Tree at Bohol Bee Farm. Made from coconut fibre.
Christmas is over and this past Christmas was very different than any other I have spent! I took my boys to visit their father in the Philippines!!  What a trip.  The flight there was crazy!  St. John's to Toronto. Toronto to Seoul, Korea (13 hours long), and Seoul to Cebu!  And even then, we still hadn't arrived at our destination! On top of all the travel, there is 12-hour time difference with us losing half a day in travel. Phil met us in Cebu where we stayed in that city for two nights, then went on via passenger ferry to Bohol, the island where he lives. As soon as we got into the airport, we could smell the difference from Canada and Newfoundland.  I had jeans on and very quickly rolled them up and took off my socks.  The temperature when we arrived was 29 degrees Celsius.  It was 2 degrees Celsius when we left St. John's!  A musty, humid smell hit us as we deplaned.  That scent tickled my olfactory nerve until we were settled all snug in our seats on Korean Airlines on our return home.

Two days in the city of Cebu were spent shopping at the mall, mostly. There is a nice big modern mall with all the latest in fashions and brand names much like we would get here in Canada. The only thing was, Large size in the Philippines, is not Large size in Canada! I felt like an Amazon woman there, and although I am no twiggy, I would rate myself as "average" by Canadian standards.  Prices were not much different than here, although the currency is in pesos and my old brain had to rely on my young sons' brains to convert currency for me.  They were getting pretty good at it after a very short time, especially Graham, who is like Mr. Krabs for loving and handling money!

Day two saw us taking the two-hour ride on a passenger ferry to Bohol. The Super Cat ferry! Reminded me of the ferry from Fortune to St. Pierre.  It was smooth and comfortable.  Lots of ships we passed along the coastline, some small fishing boats.  I noticed a good few pieces of Lots of trash in the water.

When we arrived in Bohol, Phil had his vehicle parked there so we all piled in (and I mean "piled) his Isuzu two-door SUV. There were the three of us, Phil, and his girlfriend. I was a little concerned about three of us jammed in the back, but in the Philippines, it seems no vehicle travels with less than 10 people in or on it, yes, I said ON!  Out came the camera as I started snapping photos wildly of what I was seeing!  Motor cycles with families of 4 and 5 on them, no helmets!!  Some side-riding like Lady Godiva herself. Babies in mother's arms, toddlers jammed between mom and dad and the sacks of rice or satellite dish they were also carrying!  It was amazing!  I soon realized that safety standards are not what they are in Canada.

I did take notice of the infrastructure as we drove to Phil's place.  It was difficult not to!  What caught my eye were the electricity lines running through the city where we arrived on the ferry.  It reminded me of my father's workshop in his basement of the family home.  He saved every cord, wire, string; anything that could possible used for something else. There were piles of wires and cords in his workshop just hanging on nails or hooks, tied up like ponytails.  The wires running along the streets in Tagbalaran looked like strands of hair tied up carelessly with twist-ties hanging down in front of buildings, drooped like Christmas garland on staircases.  That was just the beginning of the difference in infrastructure I noticed, compared to here in Canada.

Just before we left the city, I noticed a building under construction. Workers were up 7 or 8 stories high, wearing flip-flops, hanging off buildings with no safety harnesses, out on the edges placing rebar. I don't know what the work accident rate is but I would be interested in knowing if there is a Workplace Health,  Safety, and Compensation Commission there and how that works!

Roads in the Philippines are poured concrete and really just one lane wide.  Vehicles just veer off to the side if another one is coming toward yours.  AND, I forgot to mention, there really seems to be no rhyme or reason to traffic. It's every man for himself.  There doesn't seem to be many accidents, but traffic just flows in and out, weaves through, passes are made on the inside or outside, wherever there is room, and drivers are courteous in that they barmp (is that a word?) their horns just before they pass someone.  As a result, there are horns barmping constantly.

The vehicles themselves, are all small three-cylinder tiny vans or what look like old smart cars to me.  I can't remember their name but Phil, if you are reading, you can help me out here.  Phil did tell me that many cars and whatever they are (vans cut off, trucks? I don't know) came from Japan or other parts of Asia, and the driver's side was on the right, but were modified to be left-sided driving.  Consequently, all the mechanisms for operating the vehicles are backwards, such as indicator lights, wipers, etc.  So, if you wanted to turn left, you flicked your indicator as if it was turning right!!  Glad I didn't drive there much.  I wonder about the clutch! Forgot to ask about that.  Phil??

Finally we arrived at Phil's place which is rural Bohol.  It kinda reminded me of Logy Bay, but a bit like cabin life, something like the community of Ocean Pond.  Phil has a new modern house built last year by a local contractor.  He was away for some of its construction and found a few flaws upon his return.  Well, the contractor didn't know what the fuss was about.  Isn't everyone 5 feet tall? Why does the bathroom mirror need to be any higher?

Who needs hot water in the kitchen?  The contractor didn't see a need for such a thing.  And, I must have stubbed my toe a dozen times in Phil's house with each room having a two-inch difference in floor height between rooms!  Phil says he has to go to the back of the house through the kitchen to turn on the lights in the front rooms of his house!  It was a lovely house though.  Most houses in his neighbourhood are newly built with many expats living nearby, but the older, already established homes on the island mostly had grass roofs, no solid foundations, and not painted bright colours like the newer ones.

As I mentioned earlier, there were animals all over the place in Bohol.  In the mornings, there was the lovely howl of roosters all over the place.  None quite so sweet as my own Dick at home.  He has the nicest crow.  A real classic cock-a-doodle-doo!  The roosters of Bohol sounded like they were going through puberty.  Maybe it was the heat!  Cock-fighting is fairly popular there, and we did pass by some roosters that were tied by the claw up on a stick out in the middle of a field.  It appears that roosters used in cock-fights are not to be around hens at all, so they are tied on away from other poultry.  I didn't get to see a cock-fight, and heard they are quite disturbing, but I would like to have witnessed one for my own interest.

Chickens were everywhere too, crossing roads flat out.  They are true free-range hens!  The chickens are all smaller breeds than I have seen here.  Chicken is a big part of the diet in the Philippines, as is pork.  We did see pigs in many yards too.  Most of their meats are roasted.  Every house seems to have a BBQ pit of sorts.  In fact, every few hundred feet on the side of the road near houses, there are small BBQ pits as if they are vegetable stands.  Phil told me that people often cook things in these pits, and sell meals to the passers by.

(this is as far as I got with the Philippines trip.  More to come when I get around to completing.  Stay tuned)

In order to link my trip to my hobby farming blog, I have to talk about the animals we saw on the trip! Well, there were chickens, goats, cows, and pigs everywhere we went, it seems.

Geographically, the Philippines is not that far from the equator so needless to say, it is quite hot there.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Why did the chicken cross the road?

.........Because it knew I was in the Philippines and wanted the perfect picture for my blog!!

Chicken crossing the road right in front of me in Bohol, Philippines!
I couldn't have asked for a better picture if I had asked the chicken to pose, itself!  Went to the Philippines for Christmas to bring my two boys to see their father, where he lives, and boy was it an eye-opener for me! Chickens! Every ten feet, there were chickens scrambling (not eggs).  Pigs galore too, and cows grazing outside the door of my rented room!  I have tons more photos to come so stay tuned!