destination New Brunswick

Blog moved

Posted on Sun 30 January 2011 at 10:50

I have decided to move my blog to a new home. It can now be found at:

http://pennyhpotter.wordpress.com/

 

 

Summer 2010

Posted on Thu 12 August 2010 at 11:00

Well yet again I have left months between blog updates, so where to start after such a gap?

Well Shane was building a little poly tunel. He got a little help from some friends and it turned into quite an interesting greenhouse type affair.

The Greenhouse taking shape.

The begining of August and everything is blooming.

So far we have had courgettes and strawberries oh and a few green peppers. The corn is almost ready. The tomatoes are just beginging to ripen, but we have had one type which have had some kind of blight and have gone bad on the plant before they got anyware near ripe. The chap at the Co op said it was some kind of desiese that was in them this year. So that was a dissapointment, but the little cherry tomatoes are coming through now.

Actually I started this update a few weeks ago at the begining og August and didn't finish it. Now we are at the begining of September and have loads of cherry toms and have had lots of courgettes from the two plants. All in all very good. the green tomatoes we are picking before they turn bad and have been making chutney...very Mrs Beaton!

We have had a very nice summer all told. the grass has jept growing steadily because of the nice mix of suna dn rain and not being too hot.

Having said that the last few days have been craxzy hot and humid. Yesterday September 2 was 41 degrees with the humidex. Actual temperature 33 dgrees. Undeard of for September.

But tomorrow we have the prospect of hurricain Earl passing through.

So we are expecting lashings of rain and very high winds. we will see what happens.

 

Time for a very overdue update.

Posted on Sat 27 March 2010 at 09:59

Well its been literally months since my last blog entry. I just seem to have gotten out of the habit.

I think that i have not been writing blog enteries so often because canadian  life has become normal and not much is new and exciting anymore. But that is good because it means that we are very settled here and feel part of the fabric so to speak.

Anyway time for an update.

This wnter we are just leaving has been nowhere near as severe as the first two we experienced. I am glad this wasn't my first canadian winter or it might have lulled me into a false sense of security.

There is just me and shane at home now. Luke our youngest son spent most of last year back home with us, living cheap and saving up to spend some time in Mexico. So since the 5 Jan he has been in Puerto Vallata and intends to stay there for quite some time. He will be returning to Canada for a couple of months in the summer and working full time to earn some cash and then is going to return to Mexico for maybe a year or more. He can't stay too long as we only have PR and he needs to make sure that he doesn't lose his residency here. So at some stage he will get Canadain citizenship and then he can come and go as he pleases.

James our older son seems to be reasonably settled in Toronto now. He lost his job last summer and it took him a couple of months to find a new one,which was very unsettling for him. But he is now working for a swedish publishing company and they have much better employee rights practices than his old north american company. He has been at the new job for about 6 months now and has already had a promotion, so its all going well.

We are planning a trip up to see both the boys when Luke comes home in June. We have stuff to take up there for him so we are driving. We have done it before and it really is a very long way. But w are looking forward to seeing them both and us all being together as a family for the first time in a year.

Down on the farm things are ticking along. The winter is a time where most of the animals are confind to barracks. The goats and llamas just will not go out in snow anyway. The horses are fine with it though and spend a lot of nights out with their winter blankets on and then come in when its stormy.

I had a very sick llama at the begining of February. She had a large dose of worms and was loosing condition and was becoming anaemic too. She even had an irregular heartbeat which worried the vet. Now this its my particularly wild llama but in her weekened state the female vet and myself were able to restrain her enough to give her 5 shots and have a thermometer shoved up her bottom!

I thought it would make her much more difficult to hanlde but actually because she had to have some ongoing treatment I have had to handle her more and she has become much beter. It used to take two of us to get her into a headcollar, but now I can catch her up and put it on all by myself. So I am very pleased with how she is improving. She seems to be all better now which is a relief and I can now administer worming paste for them so we should not have a repeat of this overload of parasites again.

Things were not so good for our dog though. I have mentioned in my blog before about Chinooks seizures. Well they got more and more progressive and he would go into clusters of fits that he couldn't properly come out of for 24 hours or more sometimes, and we would have to dose him up with vallium on top of his seizure meds to try and break the cycle. Well it got more and more frequesnt and intense so a few weeks ago we had him put to sleeep. It was really awful. He has been here on the farm with us almost from when we moved in and so has been a huge part of our candian adventure and now he is gone and the house is way too quiet.

He was so good with all the other animals and loved any babies, be it orphan kittens or a poorly turkey chick and would lick them and snuggle them to make them feel secure. He was a natural mum.

We are not rushing into another dog yet. If the right one turns up we might be tempted, but we are not actively looking for now. 

Shane is busy making a small poly tunnel to try and grow some veggies this year. He has an outside garden plot too. I think by the end of last summer I managed to make the goats paddock escape proof. They got out so many times last year that Shan'e garden didn't stand a chance, they decimated it. Hopefully that wont happen this year. We had no escaping in the fall so I am sure that they are contained at last........At least I hope.....

Here is a pic I took in January. Its hard to believe. We have had more snow since then, but we are almost back to green again.

 

Well thats my catch up. I must try and keep this up more regularly. Even if no one else reads it, I enjoy looking back and reminding myself, how much my life has cahnged over the last almost three years of being in Canada. How the time flies.

 

Posted on Fri 28 August 2009 at 10:12

Well we moved the ducklings into the barn last weekend. Hurricane Bill was on the way and we didn't know how that was going to turn out. It was pretty tame in the end, but hey I'm not complaining.

Also we were concerned about possible preditors and 15 vulnerable ducklings.

So now they are all safely ensconced in the barn. Its a shame in a way because it was really nice  to see mum taking them out on excursions and then herding them all back to the nest for a nap every now and then. But its better for them to be safe.

We have offered our neighbour the use of a few acres of our land to run some of his cows on, as we are not using it and its better that some use is had from it.

So in he came in with his tractor the other day and started bushwacking the massively overgrown fields. The previous owner of our place hadn't touched them in years and since we have been here we havn't had the equipment to do anything with it. A lawn tractor and industrial strength strimmer just don't have the muscle.

Its good to see the fields looking decent again.

We are still waiting on a few hundred more bales of hay and our supplier is having difficulty getting it done with the uncertain weather.

It would be nice for once to go through the whole winter without running out and having the stress of finding decent hay at resonable prices in the spring.

I am not sure how much sense this entry makes as I am super tired tonight and waiting for the pics to load has sent me to slepp several times already. So I am off to bed.

Visiting Heron

Posted on Fri 21 August 2009 at 01:56

The last two days we have had a heron on our property.

Yesterday he was out at the front and today round the back by the garage.

He seems to be feeding on grasshoppers in the long grass.

He wasn't at all afraid and I got really close.

Meanwhile Jemima and the ducklings seem to be getting on really well. She is taking them on little excursions round the back of the house to the lawn for a few minutes then they are all bustled back to their nest.

Hurricane Bill is forecast for Sunday night and as yet we don't know how significant it will be for us here in Moncton. I would love to leave the ducks at the front of the house where Jemima has a good routine going and is doing a really good job, but if the storm is going to be severe I would like to get her and the babies into the barn. The trouble is if we do that they will have to stay enclosed until the ducklings are a bit bigger as the chickens may well gang up on any stray duckling and it wouldn't last long. So we will keep watching the weather chanel and make up our minds tomorrow what to do.

The weather continues to be uncomfortably humid and saps me of all energy. I havn't even ridden for a couple of weeks. All I do is feed and water the horses and soak them in fly reppellent. A task which they are very unapreciative of, but does help a little with the huge number of mosquitoes that we have this year.

So we will see what the storm brings, hopefully iwill clear the air and bring some more comfortable westher in its wake.

 

 

 

We have ducklings

Posted on Thu 20 August 2009 at 06:34

Our puddle duck Jemima (actually an indian runner duck) made a nest at the front of our house about 4 weeks ago.Yesterday we noticed ducklings.

 

She has 15 babies in all. She is a really good mum and very protective. She bustles them all back in the nest at any disturbance.

 

Porcupine

Posted on Wed 19 August 2009 at 09:41

We had this little visitor to our barn a couple of days ago.

He was just sitting in the barn large as life. He didn't seem atall fazed by us.

Luckily the dog was up at the house and didn't encounter him. We are only just putting the smell of skunk behind us. Porcupine quills embeded in the dogs face is something we can definately do without.

 

Still skunked!

Posted on Tue 30 June 2009 at 09:32

This morning the dog still smells of skunk. I wasn't expecting anything different really. Tea tree dog shampoo is ill equiped to deal with it. I have been looking up recipes on the internet to hopefully banish it.

He just can't understand why nobody wants a cuddle this morning.

Skunked

Posted on Tue 30 June 2009 at 12:10

My dog just got skunked.

We had just got back from having supper with friends and Shane let the dog out for a final pee.

I was in the house checking my emails and of course BE, when I noiced a funny smell creeping in. First it smelled like burnt toast and then had strong grapefruit tinge to it. I didn't immeditatley recognise it as skunk as the only time I have smelled it before is from road kill which to me smells like burnt rubber.

Shane let the dog back in and he was wet. I thought he had been swimming but he doesn't usually go down to the pond in the evening. Then I noticed that he was mainly wet on his head. Then I noticed he smelled really bad.

We tried to get him in the bath but he was all worried and scared and he is 86 lbs and has a dodgy hip so getting him in the bath was not an easy option. In the end armed with shampoo and a big spunge we took him out to the hosepipe.

He was really goood considering that I had to get his head all soapy and rinse it off really well.

So now he is out on our balcony and I don't know if we managed to rid him of any of the skunk smell cos my house stinks.

Anniversary

Posted on Sat 20 June 2009 at 11:19

We celebrated our 25 wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago.

WOW a quarter of a century together. Yes it does feel that long.....not really, its amazing how fast 25 years has elapsed.

It was a bit weird that we were not together as a family for this anniversary, but our older son is in Toronto and as we know the canadian holiday allowance isn't that long. James is saving his for a trip back to the UK later this year. 

Luke (our younger son) is back with us for a few months having decided that Toronto is not for him. He is saving up to go to Mexico for a while and then will probably look into moving to Halifax. He is a surfer and Lawrenctown beach has some pretty good waves. Also Halifax is way cooler than Moncton, when you are 22.

So he arranged (with the help of a few friends) to throw a BBQ party for us.

Playing football with canadian friends. Shanes in goal showing them how it should be done......I think.

We had the party at our house as we have plenty of space for such get togethers. There must have been 50 people in all. But everyone brought food and drink and we didn't do a thing. We have been here just over two years but have made some really good friends and they supplied all the food and drink, and yummy chocolate cake. My love for chocolate has been noted amongst our canadian friends.

Also we have rented out our new house already!  A young couple with a couple of children are moving in over the weekend and have signed a lease for the next year.

Another new car

Posted on Thu 18 June 2009 at 11:30

Well actually its not new and its not a car.

Its new to us and its a 1999 Dodge Ram!!!!!!! Feels like a monster truck to us.We will be able to haul our  hay this year so we won't have to get it delivered.

And we need to haul wood from doen on our land to be chopped up for the wood stove.

We also closed on the new house today.  I am showing people around it from tomorrow.

We had a good response to our add on kijiji for it so jhopefully we will get it let this weekend for the 1 July.

I have a new horse boarding with me just for a month or two. He is a race horse.

Standardbred (buggy racing) not thoroughbred (with jockeys).

He has come down from Ontario for a few weeks rest and some grass to help him put on some weight as he's a little on the lean side at the moment.

He is called Boomer and he's a real gent.

I have more to say but its late so I will try and catch up with this tomorrow.

 

 

New House

Posted on Wed 3 June 2009 at 01:37

With so much going on last month I nearly forgot to mention that we are buying another house. A rental property. Last year we had some money in the bank tied up in a one year bond at 3.85%. This year they are offering around 1%. So we decided to look for a little house to buy and rent out intead. At least it will give us something each month.

Its really up together and well looked after. It has 3 bedrooms, one on the main floor and two smller rooms in the eves. Very cute.

We close on it on the 18 June and hopefully will get tenants in for the 1 July.

Its a bit of a worry getting good tenants that wont abuse the house or plant a grow op in the basement.

Still you have to take a chance sometimes.

 

May..... spring is here.

Posted on Wed 3 June 2009 at 12:46

May has been a busy month. The snow has gone the grass is growing and all the back log created by winter has to be dealt with.

We have been busy fencing a new pasture. This is our first attempt at electric fencing. We are fed up with our the horses abusing the post and rail that we have.

Treacle and Toffee helping.........NOT!

The horses are enjoying the grass.

Also we had to change our car. We are buying a truck this year as it will be helpful  to pull hay and stuff, and we planned to change our van for something else next year. We had it all figured out.............

Then some silly woman not paying proper attention at the roundabout (traffic circle here) whacked straight into the back of us. "I thought you were gone" she said.........clearly not!'" said I.

The cop that came along to write the report said that there were incidents like this every day at the roundabout. Some canadians have a lot to learn about traffic circles. She had been looking at the traffic on the circle waiting for a gap (while drinking her Timmys) and floored it when she saw a spot. Unfortunately she didn't look to see if the car in front - me had already gone...grrrrrrr.

Anyhoo our insurance wont be affected cos it was her fault, but they have written off the van, so we had no choice but to go out and by a different car.

So we have bought a 2003 Ford Focus estate (station wagon here). Its really nice and drives well,but I miss my comfy old Dodge Caravan, although this should be better on gas.

We bought our Turkeys to raise for the table again this year. We have 20 this time. Thats double what we had last year.

We have had our first loss already though. One of the little turkeys got out under the door and got in with some chickens. They ruffed her up a bit and Shane found her in the morning floppy and cold on the floor of the chicken pen. We brought her up to the house and warmed her up slowly and tried to get her to drink a bit, but she died in the afternoon. Seems a bit odd trying to save the life of a turkey just so you can fatten her up for the oven.

Shane has been busy getting his garden ready to plant.. He wants to grow lots this year.

I will post pictures as it grows bigger, if the goats don't eat it all first. They took out quite a bit last year.

We really must get a goat proof pen worked out!

 

More Snow!

Posted on Mon 6 April 2009 at 07:58

When I posted the comment in my blog concerning the March 24 storm, hoping it was the last one, I was dead wrong.

This last Monday we got a dumping of 35cm of snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To add insult to injury we lost power (for the first time this winter) at 2:pm, just as I was going to water the animals. I used what was left in the outdoor trough and thought the power would be on shortly.

Wrong!  We got a flicker of power at 6pm and then it went out again. By 8pm we had to resort to using a bucket on a rope lowered into the barn well to draw up water ffor the animals. Because the bucket was a little too large for the gap it ment we had to bale it out with a small sauce pan to fill up other buckets. What a lark.........not.

Shane saw the power compnay trucks up on the road and went to ask if there was any news but they were unsure of the problem and were going from pole to ple chacking them out. He couldn't give us any time frame for when it might end.

The best thing we have done to our house is to install a wood burning stove. Every canadian house should have one. We were able to boil water all day... a must for our cuppas. And using a dry frying pan we knocked up some very nice grilled cheese sandwhiches.

We then lit all the candles and I started to read the latest Dick Francis novel that my son bought me at least a year ago and so far I havn't had the time.

Anyhow we got the power back at 10pm just as we were going to bed. 8 hours we were out in all.

I

The snow although deep and heavy was short lived and has all but gone, taking with it much of the underlying packed snow that was still there from before.

I really do hope that this really was the last big winter storm......but I am not banking on it!

 

Hay Crisis!

Posted on Sat 4 April 2009 at 10:48

Last year towards the end of winter we ran short of hay and had to buy more in. This year I was determined that this would not happen again and so bought in plenty of hay last summer. That in itself was a bit of a job as it was a wet summer and good hay was in short supply. But I got all that I ordered and was content that I would have more than enough to carry me through.

However I took on an extra horse to board. I didn't want to take on another horse but he was rather sprung upon me. The people who own him had taken him away in the spring after I had asked them not to feed him titbits in the field as it was not fair on the other horses. I asked them to bring him into the barn away from them if they wanted to give him treats. I had asked this of them not to be awkward, but it is a real safety issue to train horses to expect treats and have them scuffling with each other to get themat the field gate. Also both myself and my other boarders owners do not feed our horses many treats because it can engender distrispect and lead to them biting. The horse in question is such a biter and is always trying to take chunks out of me.

Anyway they took him away to a different barn up the road and I was not sorry to see him or them go. After 4 months however the barn owner delivered him back to their house (in a subdivision) and tied him to a tree on their front lawn and left him there, where his owners fond him when they got in from work, and subsiquently walked him to my barn and asked if he could come back.

So I had another horse and so ended up around 400 bales of hay short. My supplier had some extra hay and we have had to collect it in our mini van. We can get 12 to 16 bales in the van depending on their size. The farm is in Sheopdy which is a good half hours drive away, so collecting this extra hay has been a both time consuming and expensive business.

Poorly Horse!

Posted on Sat 4 April 2009 at 10:14

This last week has been quite eventful, so I have only just had time to think about adding it to my blog.

Last Friday we got down to the barn to find that the horses had somehow got the gate open and been in the barn. Apart from obvious hazards like pitch forks and brooms and stuff, Shane keeps the chicken feed (dry pelletts) in a closed plastic dustbin in the main barn for convenience.

The horses had got into this and eaten the lot. Not sure how much was in there, but way too much for them.

I kept an eye on them through the morning and it soon became apparent that my horse and one of my boarders had eaten some and were feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

I called the vet after a while for some advice and he was of the opinion that it should pass through in time but if they were to develop very painful symptoms to call again.

Both girls here comsiserating with one another, about their over indulgence.

I went to check on the horses at 9pm to find Nisha (above) lying down in the field looking very uncomfortable.

she was a little sweaty and was in obvious pain. It took me while to make her get up but I managed it. I put her inside the barn and called the vet to come out and have a look at her. He pumped some mineral oil and eloctrolites and anti gas medicine into her stomach and gave her a painkillng shot too.

She began to look a little better within a few minutes, but not by much. I finally left the barn at 1:30am and dozed on the couch until 4:00am and went down to check on her. She was looking much better, so I took myself off to bed for a few hours sleep.

It was all very scary, especially as this is not one of my horses. I have no idea how the gate got opened. The frost heave here is bad and gate latches stop lining up after a while and I have had to tie everything up with string as a back up.

Anyway she is better and so no long term harm done.

Needless to say Shane has moved the chicken feed to a different part of the barn!

 

 

Spring in the Maritimes

Posted on Tue 24 March 2009 at 10:54

Well its now officially Spring as of last Friday. Yippee!!!

We were begining to see the signs. Snow was melting and the days were warming a teeny bit. The barn roof was dripping and water was seeping into my barn as the thaw progressed.

Then I woke up this morning and we are back to the 4 ft snow drifts in the drive and around the barn.

Shane set about clearing the drive with his nice shiny new snow blower, but it tried to eat a shovel that had got buried in the snow and is now broken!

So we are hoping that  this is the last significant dumping of snow for this winter......but this is the Maritimes so ya never know.

Poorly Dog!

Posted on Thu 19 March 2009 at 12:02

WE woke up to stange noises coming from the laundry room at 5:30am yesterday. I went to investigate and found our dog Chinook having a seizure. Its the first time I have seen one and it was really frightening and worrying too.

It lasted about 2 minutes I think and it took him a few minutes to come out of it. Then he was really hyper and exitable for a while. He had lost control of his bladder during the seizure. Heis a big dog and it was very early in the morning so there was a lot of urine and he was covered in it.

Consequently my floors got covered in it. I tried to sponge him off as best I could but it wasn't very effective. All I can say is thank goodness for hard wood and tile. We had to mop the house twice before we felt it wasn't smelling like a mens public bathroom anymore.

The vet was very nice and explained the possiblities to us and we left it that we would wait to see if he has anymore and how often and how long the duration they are. He did coment that his teeth are pretty brown and not in good shape. Chinook is only 2 yrs old so they should be much better than they are. Also he has a canine tooth missing and his nose is bent. He thought that he might have had some sort of virus very early in life that had affected his devleopment and that could include his brain.

When we got back from the vets we decided that he needed a bath. Getting an 82.5 lb dog into a bath when he really doesn't want to and being careful not to hurt is bad hip (he has a displaced hip just on one side) is no mean feat, but it was accomplished and he now smells lovely and looks shiny too.

He is a farm dog from deepest Albert County and I suspect that the gene pool might not be as varied as it might be. But he is a great dog, excellent with all the other animals on the farm and he has been with us virtually since we got here. We hate the thought of anything happening to him. I wasnt really ready for another dog when we got him. Readers of my blog will know that my 14 yr old dog from England died just before he was due to fly out to be with us here. But Chinook is very affectionate and has wormed his way into my heart. I didn't realise how much until this happened.

So we are still a little shocked and keep wondering if or more likely when it will happen again.

Here is a piccture of him on a lazy spring afternoon. As you can see he has his paws well and truly under the table! Or in this instances sprawled all over his favorite chair.

This one shows him in all his imperfect glory. Missing tooth and bent nose.

So we will just have towait and see what we are dealing with.

On a more cheerful note, we are into some plus temperatures and my horses are spending their second night out without their rugs on. They are much happier to go naked. I wont be holding my breath though, we are not out of the woods yet and I suspect they will be back in the rugs before the week is out.

See how much of a maritimer I am becoming. I don't take anything about the weather for granted here. It can change on a sixpence......or I should say a dime.

We are staying in NB

Posted on Sat 14 March 2009 at 11:27

We have come to a decision about our proposed move to Ontario.

After much discussion with our boys and between ourselves we have decided that we are going to stay here in NB and not move to Ontario after all.

We really need to put down roots and get on with our lives. So this year we are going to work hard on the farm to get it into shape. Improve the barn and fields and maybe get a few more horses in for boarding.

To this end we have have decided to invest in a tractor. We have 25 acres and a wheel barrow and a ride on mower is just hopelessly inadequate. So last week we went to a farm show held here in the Moncton Collusium. We drooled over the nice shiny new tactors and learned much about the size and type of tractor we will need to do the jobs we need it for.

So we are on the lookout for a good used tractor and maybe a small utility vehicle as they are invaluble for poo picking in the fields and ferrying stuff about.

We are also putting the finishing touches to the aprtment we have made and will advertise it as a self catering holiday aprtment.

The major stuff is done and it just needs some furniture a cooker (stove in Canada) and some cutains and soft furnishings.

I feel better now we have made our decision . We are nearly two years into our new life in Cannada and have started to get settled. We have some work and we have friends here. If we uprooted and moved to Ontario we would be starting again from scratch.

So I can't wait for the grass to come through so I can get on with training my project horse. She has had months off due to the weather so we will have to go back some way in her training. But she is a smart cookie and picks things up quick.

All I need now is for all the snow to melt........sooooooooooooon.

The longest part of winter.

Posted on Sat 14 March 2009 at 10:46

I have decided that the last few weeks of proper winter seem to be the longest.

You get a day or two of above freezing temperatures that cause a little thawing and raise hope in the heart that spring is waiting in the wings, only to be followed freezing rain and snow and way bellow freezing temperature. Spring feels so close and yet so far away.

At the end of February we had a large dumping of snow.

My horse paddock has turned into a skating rink which is not good for the horses. Its a good job they don't wear shoes or they would be sliding around all over the place.

The begining of March brought two days of freezing rain.

We didn't have it too bad in Moncton although it was enough for the horses to stay in the barn for 24 hours straight.

The Sackville area had power outages and down towards the Fundy National Park it was quite severe too.

This is a scene from the road to the Fundy Park at Shepody. All the trees and bushes were weighed down with clear ice and glisten like sparkling diamonds in the sun.

The picture really doesn't capture what a beautiful sight it is. But it is really destructive.

I hope Spring is here soon. I am heartily fed up of my warm but hugely unflattering winter barn wardrobe.

 


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