destination New Brunswick

Life in the Deep Freeze

Posted on Mon 19 January 2009 at 08:07

To say this past week has been cold is an understatement!

It has been below minus 25 every day and one day down to minus 30 something with a windchill of minus 40 something.

I dress up pretty warm for the barn but any exposed flesh feels like its burning as you feel it actually freeze.

We lost the water to the barn on Saturday of last week and it only came back this morning Monday.

The above is my method of transporting many buckets of water down to the barn three times a day!

Our well at the barn is good down to about minus 17 or 18 but lower than that it just freezes solid.

Well today dawned at minus 1 and felt positively warm by comparison. The water was flowing and we were back in business.

We had had a few cm of snow through the night and some freezing rain but by 10:30 am it was clear.

 

Random thoughts

Posted on Sun 11 January 2009 at 01:20

Well it has been a little chilly of late. We are down to the minus teens now.

I shouldn't complain because by and large its been warmer and much less snowy so far this winter than last.

Shane bought a new snow blower from Canadian Tire and its hardly had a work out yet. Still after the gruelling experience of an unreliable snow blower and the tons of snow we had last year, he was taking no chances.

Here is a pic of the handsome and effiiant beast. The snow blower that is not the husband.

On a different subject, I thought I would show you an interesting house I saw while out and about.

Never in a million years would you get planning permission in the UK for this errr extension/loft conversion????

Though not for a moment do I think this one has the relevant permits!

It is one of many strange and wonderful sights you will come accross in the wilds of the NB back country.

Well there is not much going on right now. This time of year on the farm is about doing the chores you need to do in respect of looking after the animals and then retreating to the house to curl up with the computer (how times change. It used to be a good book) by the wood stove.

 

Llama drama

Posted on Thu 18 December 2008 at 03:18

We were forecast snow today, and sure enough right on cue mid morning it started.

We had a funerel to go to in Riverview at 2pm, so I got all ready. Shane went down to water the beasts, and cameback up saying...."I cant see the llamas anywhere and the gate is wide open!

Slight panic.... the llamas have the run of 25 acres (although rarely stray out of sight) and the gate which gives then access to the road is open!

Quick change out of good clothes into barn clothes ensues and we set off down the field to see if we can find them. Just as we get to the bottom of the first field they pop their snowy heads round from behind a bush and look at us with curious expressions.

They seemed pleased to see us though and were happy to walk back up to the barn, to be put to bed out of the snow.

Usually at the first sign of inclement weather they make a bee line for the barn, so why they were wandering around in the snow I don't know.

I don't know how the gate was left open?  I know that I shut it after the morning chores. Someone may have been looking for us to buy eggs while we were out in the morning and left it open. Its disconcerting.

With all the snow on the road the llamas could have caused a terrible accident if they had strayed up onto it. It is a busy road even on snowy days, being the main route down to Fundy.

On  a different note, I got bitten by a horse the other day! I have been around horses on and off since I was about 10 and can count on less than one hand the occasions this has happened.

I have a horse that boards at my barn, who is sour to say the least. He is a trail horse that came from a dude ranch and is probably a little jaded. He is great to handle, very light in hand will move over and back at the drop of a hat, but allways with his ears back and in a resentful manner. I think he was trained by the old school possibly.

His owner (she is 13) and family have spoilt him rotten since they got him and will shovel apples down his throat at a rate of notts.

I don't feed my horses by hand as in my opinion it breeds disrespect. They get to expect treats and will mug you to see what you have for them.

He is always on the lookout and if you have nothing just puts his ears back at you.

I always watch out for him as even though I am the hand that feeds, he seems to hate me.

The other morning I fed them in the field as usual and put their hay out. He was right by the hay feeder and as I picked up his finished bucket and turned away he lunged at me and bit my on my back up by my shoulder.

What shocked me was that it wasn't a nip, it was a full on nasty bite that pulled my sideways!

I threw his feed bucket at him (he was wearing a rug so no fear of harm) and proceeded to chase him all over the place. I wouldn't let him back to the hay feeder till I said so.

Boy was I mad. What a miserable neddy.

Happy looking soul isn't he?

This is a pic from last year. As you can see he wasn't any happier then!

It is a slight worry cos I have never met such a misreable git of a horse and I think there must be a reason. Maybe he has physical problems that make him feel ill  - although he shows no signs of ill health. He eats well and keeps on weight easily enough. I just don't know.

Well all the horses are in tonight cos of the snow.

Shane will be able to play with his new snow blower tomorow for only the second time this winter in the morning.

 

Entering our second winter

Posted on Tue 9 December 2008 at 10:15

This winter is proving to be more of a headache logistically than the last one.

Last year it just got cold in November, snowed and just kept on like that all winter. It was a dry cold.

This year we have had cold and snow, but the first lot melted and the fields turned to horrible gooey mud. Then it got very cold and the horses were hobbling about because the mud had frozen into hard spikes.

With the up and down temperatures I am encountering odd problems. We had a bout of rain, followed by snow and then it turned cold, so when I got the horses in for the night I struggled to undo the buckles at their chests. The moisture from the rain had frozen them solid.One I couldn't undo at all and had to pull her rug off over her head.

Mud glorious mud!

Looks lovely, but it was minus 20 out there this morning!

So after minus 20 this morning it is meant to be plus 9 tomorrow!!!

Closely followed by 25 to 30 cm snow on Friday.

What is going on??? Its weird.

We have had two viewings on the hous. Actually the same person viewed it twice, but nothing came of it.

Its not unusual for a Hobby farm to sit around for quite some time here. There are locals who would love to buy it but havn't got the funds.

It has to be someone who has both the funds and the desire to look after 25 acres plus.

They are out there, but they don't seem to come along that often.

Certainly we wil be here until the spring I should think, probably next spring too.

We will have to wait and see.

 

 

Moving

Posted on Mon 3 November 2008 at 09:56

We have put our hobby farm up for sale!

Since our boys moved to Toronto a year ago we have struggled being so far away.

When you have animals it is very hard to get time away and with the distances involved it is both costly and time consuming to make the journey.

We managed one trip back in May and have paid for the boys to visit, but its very expensive.

So we have decided to move closer. We are looking at the 1000 Island region/

Its about 3 hours east of Toronto, so we wont be living on top of them, but we will be able to even pop over for a day or a weekend without major expense and upheaval.

We have listed it now as it could take a long time to sell as Farms do not seem to sell overnight round here.

We love this area and NB is a very nice place to live.

There is good potential for us to earn a living form our farm, but we really can't stay so far away from our boys.

And so we have started the ball rolling and we will see what happens.

 

Our rescued kitten has not only survived but is running the household now.

Somehow I can't see him living in the barn.

We have called him Boots.

While we wait to see what happens with the farm we are busy battening down the hatches for winter.

My brother in law and his family have just been over for a visit. The day they landed back in London they had to scrape snow off the car.

Weird!

Kittens

Posted on Mon 6 October 2008 at 09:50

For the last couple of days we have been hearing a kitten under the hay in the bottom barn.

Today when we went down his mewing seemed fainter. On investigation he was discovered on the barn floor all cold and floppy. I took him up to the house and spent an hour or so with him cuddled up on me and after that put him in a box on a towel and with a towel on top of him in a box near the wood stove to get him warm.

As usual the dog helped out and looked after him too. The kitten thinks Chinook is his new mum.

I think the kitten is around 5 weeks or so. It can eat  cat food and lap cat formula.

By tea time he was quite perky and is all over the place.

 

When he is stronger and a bit older I want him to live out in the barn, but he is begining to get his feet under the table.  We will have to see what happens.

I am poorly with my first real Canadian cold

Posted on Fri 19 September 2008 at 03:59

I am poorly - otherwise known as sick in Canada.

Several times I have used the expression poorly if someone has been sick only to be met with blank looks.

Also the use of the word fortnight is rarely recognised. And don't tell your son or husband to go and put on a jumper in front of your Canadian friends or they will think that he is cross dresser. A jumper here is a kind of pinafore dress as far as I can ascertain.

We may speak the same language, but actually we don't.

Its fun to find out what the differences are though.

Anyway my cold has me up at 4:00am forcing down an imported Beechams hot lemon.

Thats one tip for those still to make the move over here. Bring much medication - Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc in  your container or luggage.

The every day stuff is really expensive here.Compared to 24p a pack of 16 you will pay a few dollars.

Everyone who comes from Britain brings us drugs.

There is another expression. Drugs. Its ok if  a friend asks if you have any drugs. They are often not soliciting for narcotics, but may just have a headache.

I tell you the average Canadian needs a short course in the English version of English before they holiday over in Blighty. They run the risk of arrest or worse.

Things on the farm are good. I have been riding my little mare who is improving all the time.

The chickens who went through a lean laying time duing the hotter humid parts of the summer are now laying great guns. Also the 100 day olds we bought back in the spring are laying now too.

We have sold a few of the young uns, so we probably have in the region of 150 in total now.

We do an egg delivery round on a Friday morning. We deliver locally and as far as Moncton for $3 a doz.

We also have a cooler in our front porch with an honesty box and people stop by and pick up eggs as they please.

It tends to work well. We probably loose a little but not enough to notice at the moment.

On the subject of honesty, we were walking through a really nice subdivision the othr day. The houses are in the region of $400,000 upwards. On the open porches are some really nice patio sets with embroided cusions and the like. They wouldn't last two minutes in most areas of the UK.

Its sad to think that, but its true.

The holiday accommodation is almost done.

 

Shane & Chinook put the kitchen cupboards together for the Hol apartment.

The kitchen area taking shape.

The lounge/kitchen/dining area with the two bedrooms off.

Its all way past this stage now. I will take some more pics when its all ready.

This is Jill's response to having a nice hose down after riding. A good roll in the nearest dirt patch.

Luckily she scrubs up pretty well.

The turkeys are all but ready to be dispatched. we shall be sorry to see them go as they are quite good fun. Shane is struggling with idea at the moment.

He would make a good vegitarion if he didn't like meat sooooooooo much!

These are not named individually. They are collectively known as turkey dinner.

They are more rewarding to raise than the meat king chickens who just sit and eat and do nothing else.

The Turkeys lke to grub around and lie and snooze in the sun. They really enjoy it when the goats are in with them for the day. They used to sit in them when they were smaller. Now they are rivaling them in size.

Anyhoo its probably time I should try and go back to bed to try and sleep.

I am going to be a cowboy

Posted on Tue 29 July 2008 at 11:50

My Shetlands have gone!

I sold them back to their origional owners down in NS. The have always said they would have them back if I wanted to sell them.

I just havn't had the time to do anything with them and they are too expensive to keep just to look at, so I called her and she came to get them within the week.

Good job really as I think I might have changed my mind if she hadn't.

I have bought a western saddle with some of the proceeds. Just a cheaper synthetic one as I really want to learn to ride western.

Been thinking about it for a while. Its more relaxing than english and less enrgetic and I figured that it would suit me fine. At my time of life.

I have ridden in it twice now and am begining to get the hang of things. My mare (Jill) is more comfortable with whole no contact thing.

I will post some pics when I have some.

 

The icecream is rubbish this year although we have had some holiday makers from Ontario. Alberta and New England. So its not all been bad.

They have also brought out 2 new flavours which I love. Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait and Black Forest Cheesescake.

I am eating rather more than I am selling. Not so good.

 

The Holiday accommodation is nearly finished. I reckon we will be completely done by the middle of August.

I have to get a website sorted out and find out about if I need any Government inspection to let self catering accommodation. Being NB I suspect there will not be too much officiladom involved.

 

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr The taxman

Posted on Mon 7 July 2008 at 11:26

A few months ago a letter appeared in  our mail box informing us that the uk tax office were going to look into our last tax return.

We would have to send a large box of business records back accross the Atlantic having at great expense having already shipped them here once.

It cost $150 to send it.

Several weeks later we were pleased that he only had a few questions to ask us and these we could explain with no real effort.

But he also wants us to fill in a very large household income and expenditure form. It covers severel pages and all this information is for a 20 month period for parts of 2004 and in to 2006.

I can't remember what  my council tax bill was back then let alone what I spent on haircuts, gas, electric,meals out, groceries.

We kept all our business records because you have to but all our old phone bills mortgage statements and car insurance stuff etc all got burned. They would have no relevance for us in our new country.

If we were still in England we could have found most of it but moving oversees is a time to do a life laundry.

So its all gone and I am paranoid that he will think it strange that we haven't got anything concrete, just best guesses for everything.

Anyone know what car tax was then?    cosI don't.

So I am stressed out.

We are honest hard working people who always paid our taxes and I have this horrible feeling (maybe unjustly) that the tax man will think we have been salting money away for years and then escaped to Canada to live a life of luxury. I wish! And then sting us with some huge tax bill.

They have had years to do an inspection, and they have to leave it till now.

The other thing is that every year we paid over 100 pounds to an insurance that our accountant offered to cover her expenses should we be inspected.

Guess what, she never offered it to us last year and being here and getting on with iur new kife we didn't think anything of it as we had ceased to do business in the UK.

So on top of everything else we will have to pay her a fortune too.

 

On a good note the sun is out here and we have had wall to wall sunshine for the last few days and its set to continue into the weekned.

 

Been Busy

Posted on Sun 29 June 2008 at 02:33

Its been a while since I last wrote on my blog, but we have been really busy.

We managed to get time away to visit our sons who are both now lving in Toronto.

Some good friends looked after the farm for us, which is no mean feat, as they both work full time.

We took the car as we had a lot of the boys stuff to take with us and we wanted to visit friends in Gananoque (1000 Islands are) Ontario along the way.

It is a 14 hour drive from our home in NB to my friend in Gananoque. We did it in one day taking it in turns to drive.

We stayed a couple of days and as my friend runs a riding school I had a couple of very hard but much needed riding lessons.

Then we headed the 3 and a half hours to Toronto. The best thing we have bought recently was our GPS.

The boys live right downtown in Little Italy and I don't think we would have found it without the help of our Tom Tom.

I have always enjoyed visiting Toronto, but after a year spent in lovely sleepy NB I felt really overwhelmed for the first day.

It just seemed so busy and bustling.

I had to parralel part for the first time since I came to Canada and I got  a parking ticket.

The boys have a nice apartment in a leafy street.

Even though it is a big city, it has a definate neighbourhood feel about it.

We met loads of their friends. Meeting up for coffee or going out for desert.

One of the nice things about Canada is that young people don't always have to be in the pub.

We spent 4 days in Toronto and then headed back to my friends in Gananoque for a couple more days before heading home.

It was quite a road trip for us as we have never driven anywhere further than Bournemouth to Yorkshire in the past.

Our preference in the future will be to fly I think.

 

Since we came back we have ben very busy on the farm.

We took our meat birds to be dispatched last week.

It acually wasn't that bad. Meat kings are bred just to eat and get big. There is a possibility of their legs breaking under the weight of them if they get too big.

Ours all ended up from 4 to 6lbs.

I don't think we would raise meat kings again, we would prefer next time to go for a more natural slow growing dual purpose bird.

Hark at me sounding like a seasoned chicken farmer!

 

I have been working with my paint mare as much as time alows.

she is western trained and has just done trails but is still very green.

I however know nothing about western riding (although I really want to learn) and she knows nothing about being ridden english.

My first attempt tp lunge her was a failure. so I had to get a helper to lead her for me for a few sessions. She has now picked it up and is going nicely.

When I first rode her she went around with her head in the air, afraid of the bit. so I changed bits from a french link to a straight bar nylon bit. She loves it and is now going forward into a contact quite happily.

I havn't schooled a horse for over 15 years so I am a little rusty, but she is a really nice and genuine mare and I think she will make a very nice horse.

We opened the ice cream last Saturday but the weather has been indeifferent this week so we are not that busy.

 

We are also converting our basement into a self catering holiday apartment.

Now its just the two of us here we hardly ever use downstairs.

It is a nice big room with two bedrooms. We are making a bathroom and putting in a small kitchen.

We are also putting in a wood stove to make it cosy, plus we have 5 acres of woods so we have plenty of fuel for it.

Its a walk out basement so its nice and light and we are going to make a deck outside too.

We are just outside Riverview (moncton) and on the road to Fundy Park. So I hope it will appeal to those who want to be well placed to explore the area.

Today is really miserable and rainy, thats why I have had time to update my blog.

There is no point in opening the ice cream and its too wet to do anything with the ponies so we have lit the log burner and we are gong to cook one of our chickens for friends tonight.

 

 

 

 

Progress with the llamas

Posted on Sun 4 May 2008 at 06:29

On Monday (tomorrow) we have 40 point of lay hens being delivered. To accomodate them we have to move the llamas.

We managed to shuffle Fabian accross the gangway into the new stall. We have put them in a small stall for now so that we can handle them more easily.

The goal is that we will be able to lead them about in a few days. Watch this space!

Also the man at the feed store has promissed to come by next week to do their feet.

If he doesnt come then I really will have a go myself.

I have been brushing Fabian a little over the winter but never managed to catch Tasha to do it.

With them both in the small stall however I managed to catch her easily and spent some time grooming her. She was surprisingly good.

The llamas looking lovely after their grooming session.

The meet birds have been moved to bigger lodgings as they are growing soooo fast.

They are two weeks old now and twice as big as the laying hen chicks.

This is Cosmo helping out as I muck out the stables.

she is the only chicken that has a name as she is the only one that looks different. She has white feathers down her back.

 

Time to get busy

Posted on Wed 30 April 2008 at 10:29

Now that the snow is finaly on its way out, there are a hundred and one things to do.

Lots of fencing as we need to get the horses out of their winter paddocks and into new ones to take advantage of the new grass that is begining to emerge.

 

We have 150 new chickens, bought as one day olds. 50 of them are meat birds this time

This will be are first foray into raising anything to eat. We will see how we manage when it comes to the time to take them to the abatoir. Killing and preparing them ourselves is simply not an option. We are much too squeemish.

 

These are the meat birds. (above)

And these are the new laying hens.

I have had a little success with the llamas.

They have been out from their enforced captivity for a few weeks now and are enjoying being outside much of the time.

The are however completely at home in the barn now and come and go as they please.

I have been catching Fabian up and handeling him a little over the winter so he is less stressed now when being touched.

Tasha as anyone who has read previous entries will know has been a nightmare. I have tried on occassion over the winter but to little effect.

Anyway today I decided that I have to start working with them everyday. I started with her today.

I enticed her into the barn and shut the door, then followed her around with my hand on her back. she was not very happy and kept trying to get to the door. eventually I managed to get an arm round each side of her neck and slip a lead rope onto her headcoller.

I thought she was going to kick off (she definateky thought about it), but then she calmed down and was actually ok.

I feel really pleased. Of course this could just be a one off and tomorrow she may trample me into the ground, but hopefully we will make gradual progress.

Their toe nails are hideously overgrown and need urgently trimming.

A chap from the feed store has been prommissing to drop by and show mw how to do it and also worm them, but one thing you have to get used to in NB and possibly Albert county especially is the laid back lifestyle.

He has been prommisising to do this for at least two months now and still nothing.

Anyway I have scoured the internet and also have a good book on  llamas and think I may well have to have a go myself.

I will let you know how it turns out, when I eventually get up the nerve to give it a go.

 

On a different subject, we have finally managed to get a family Doctor.

Shane had to go the walk in surgery for a repeat prescription and while talking with the Doc she realised we didn't have one and offered to take us on.

I just went to see her yesterday for the first time and she is really nice so we are very happy. We were on some sort of list to get a doc, but I don't think we would have got one that way.

She gave me a Tetanus shot yesterday as now we have a farm, its kind of sensible. Havn't had one for over 20 years so I was well due.

Today my arms is painful and a bit stiff though. I don't think the llama wrestling helped.

I have also started playing with the ponies again.

This is Smartie wearing a saddle and bridle properly, for the first time. she was really good and laid back with the whole thing.

I won't tell you how long it took me to learn how to tie a synch knott. Thats the girth that keeps the saddle in place. Again the internet is a wonderful tool. There aint nothing you can't find when you need to.

My synch tying is obviously working as  I have tried it out riding the little pony I got to give lessons on this year. I didn't end up under her tummy so its all good.

I havn't ridden regularly for over 10 years so at the moment I am rubish to say the least.

I have my paint mare to get going too, but I have discovered that she doesn't lunge, so I will have to go right back to basics with her.

I think I have bitten off more than I can chew for this summer. There are just so many animals that need time and training and I am not sure that will be able to keep up with it all.

It will be fun trying though.

Spring has Sprung

Posted on Fri 21 March 2008 at 11:59

Well yesterday was the first day of spring!!!

Yeah right. Ice pellets followed by several hours of freezing rain. Followed up today by snow and high winds.

Yesterday I got the three big horses in at 7:30am as the ice pellets had already started and there they stayed until 8:00am this morning. It still wasn't a great day to put them out. Strong winds and snow, but they would be climbimng the walls if I kept them in much more. 24 hours straight is enough. I think they will be in again tonight anyway so they need some time to have somne fresh air and freedom.

The paddock is a little slippery thanks the freezing rain, but the snow actually helps that so they should be ok.

The ponies have a big shed to get out of the weather,but surprise me by still choodsing to be out despite horrible weather.

The ponies bad hair day. Freezing rain wreeks havock with ones hairdoo.

With our land being on a slope it makes it very slippery when trying to get to and from the barn.

It really is an ice rink. Salt doesn't really seam to touch it.

I am not sure how much detail you can see, but I took some pics of the effects of the freezing rain.

A tree bends over under the weight of the ice. They make amazing creaking and cracking noises as the ice envelopes them and they move around in the wind.

This fence was competely dry the day before. Now the freezing rain has just encased the bars and dripped down to form icicles.

You can see how the ice just moulds itslef around everything.

The ice shows up well in the lights from the house.

These are just a few views of the pretty but evil freezing rain.

I hope they are the last I will be posting this winter. Oh no that should be spring!

Our New Life In Canada

Not a daffodil in sight

Posted on Thu 20 March 2008 at 11:37

So we are well into March now and we still have a white outlook all around.

However I think today may begin to change that. The much promissed March storm seems to be with us.

We started the morning with ice pellets and I brought the horses in around 7am.

Now it is around 11:30am and it has settled into the evil freezing rain!

At some stage it is set to change to rain.

The last two days have been georgeous. Sunny and clear.

That in itself should have alerted me to the impending storm. It seems to have been the patern through the winter. Bright still conditions, followed by major storms.

 

We have been doing some contract cleaning for a friend lateley.

This week we have been cleaning in Dorchester prison.

Our job has been to clean walls, floors, outside of cells, common seating areas and prison guard offices.

We were working in the psyke wards.

The top floor was ok. They are the long term low risk catagory.

But the other floor we worked on held the acute catagory.

We had escorts wherever we went and the guards on this floor were really careful that no accidental meetings would take place.

We cleaned the outside of the cells and the inmates were all inside. That was kind of weird.

Most were asleep (thanks to meds I should think), but some would come up to the window and watch us.

It is a very depressing place and I am glad to be finished there.

On a more cheerful note, the llamas were realeased from their winter captivity yesterday and went out into the sunshine for the first time in about 3 months.

 

Because we had so much trouble getting them to come inside out fo the severe weather we decided to shut them in for a couple of weeks to start with, but with the frequent storms the doorway got snowed over and we couldn't get them out anyway.

It was different for the horses who we could lead in and out, but as my llamas are pretty unhandleable (that might be a real word) we just had to leave them in.

Well yesterday we dug out the doorway, (about three feet deep) and opened the door.

They were cautious at first, but eventually went out onto the frozen snow and had a nice afternoon in the sun.

I was glad to see this morning that tey were back inside and so we will now leave them to come and go as they please.

 

The llamas enjoying the sun.

 

Goats

Posted on Fri 22 February 2008 at 02:58

Kijiji is a terrible and adictive place.

We look on it daily for such things as farm equiptment and the like. But of course the animals for sale is a big draw.

Last week there was a pair of 3 yr old goats. Brothers for $50.

They had been saved from slaughter the year before by a lady who now has too many animals for her two acres and was anxious to get the boys a nice new home where they wouldn't be eaten.

We went to see them last Sunday and were smitten on the spot. they are both so friendly and funny. The owners have already got 7 children and have another on the way, so their animals are all child friendly.

the goats were called Toffee and Dozer but that didn't seem to go for us so we have changed Dozer's name to Treacle.

Trouble is you have to explain what treacle is as the canadians don't know.

Toffee (left) & Treacle

We brought them home loose in the back of our Dodge Caravan. They were as good as gold and didn't even poop.

the next day I introduced them to the large horses, but kept them on lead ropes just to make sure they weren't about to join the horses in the field and get trampled.

But they seem much too sensible for that, so after a while I left them loose and they followed me around the barn all morning while I got on with my chores.

The dog is fascinated but cautious with him and they are well able to keep him at arms length, which is where they want him to be.

Meanwhile Chinook has become best friends with Tigger the boss barn cat.

The snow has begun to melt at last.

We had a long rainy day last week, which helped a lot. We can at last drive down to our barn and a lot of the ice has gone.

There is always I am told a March storm, so I know we are not on the home straight yet, but spring really is on its way.

More weather

Posted on Sun 3 February 2008 at 11:25

We have been waiting for another delivery of hay for the past few weeks and we were down to around 10 bales. Baring in mind that we use 6 a day the situation was getting desperate.

We managed to tie the farmer down to Thursday as a delivery date, but our long driveway to the barn would have to be clear for the truck and wagon to get down to the barn.

The snow blower has yet again broken down and we had no way of moving the snow.

Our friend who is a heavy duty mechanic called in after work on Tuesday to fix the snow blower and for once couldn't fix it.

He said not to worry he would return the next day and revive it.

When he returned the next day, he brought in the big guns, one of the big toys from work. A skid steer.

Anyway after several hours and a few times getting it stuck on the ice they cleared the drive and we got our hay delivered on Thursday just in time to beat the next storm, which came in on Friday night.

It started to snow about 8:30pm, just as I was getting the horses in for the night.

It was forecast to turn to several hours of freezing rain during the night.

And sure enough when we got up on Saturday the whole of the driveway was covered in 3 to 4 inches of pure ice.

 

 

 

This is a close up of a piece of  a gate.Y

ou can see why an ice storm is so dangerous. The ice just moulds itself around everything it touches.

If it goes on for long enough it brings down power lines.

Fortunately we didn't have it that bad - this time.

 

We spent the afternoon breaking up ice in the top of the friveway so we could get the car out and were completely exhausted by the end of the day.

I keep telling myself that winter is nearly over. Just a few weeks more and spring will be here.

I hope.

 

Winter is hard work!

Posted on Sun 20 January 2008 at 10:49

We have had several more bouts of snow over the last few weeks.

It has been hard going as we have a big circular drive which extends down to the barn and a work shy snowblower.

It all looks very pretty on a bright sunny day, but has its challenges too.

We live on a gentle hill but it means that when we get any thaw it melts accross the drive and then freezes solid leaving us a downhill skating rink.

The horses seem to adapt very well to most weather conditions.

We have had a pretty varied range of weather over the past few days.

On Friday we went from a bright sunny morning  to blowing snow mixed in with freezing rain by lunchtime.

Then it changed to rain and +4 centrigrade, whereupon snow melted and then froze solid overnight.

The chickens continue to provide us with eggs.

We actually got 23 eggs from 23 chickens the other day!!! A full house.

Smartie and Puzzle enjoying the sun and snow.

The ponies enjoy the snow on the bright sunny days and resemble wooly mamoths right now.

When they loose their winter coat I may well be able to stuff a mattress!!

Inside we are keeping cosy by the wood stove. Putting it in has been by bar the best improvement we have made on the house this winter.

 

Tonight it is going to be down to minus 25 or some such figure.  Thats cold!!!

 

 

Eggs!!!

Posted on Wed 19 December 2007 at 09:23

For the last two weeks the chickens have started laying.

We have 23 hens and we are getting 19 to 21 eggs a day most days. Some are huge and a lot of them double yokers.

I don't know if the sizes will regulate once they settle into a patern.

They all seem to be ridiculously proud of themselves and make quite a racket when they've just laid an egg.

They are free range, but at this time of year that means loose in a large stall and a run around the whole of the barn on mucking out day. If you open the hatch to the field they look at you like you are completely barking.

At one day old

As young chickens

Our first half dozen

 

We have Snow!

Posted on Mon 17 December 2007 at 09:23

Its been a while since I updated the blog. We have just been so busy trying to get jobs done before the winter weather started to kick in.

 

Anyway we failed misrabley as we are already on our second winter storm of the season and we still have loads of jobs to do.

We now have two extra horses to care for. My new paint mare (Jill) and the new lesson pony (Princess).

They did not come without their problems. Jill arrived and because we have one gelding here she immediately came into season and pestered him until he was mounting her.So I had to move her in with my two ponies, who are both girls.

Then the new lease pony arrived. She started by being scared of every one especially Jill who was a bit of a bully with her as she was the only horse newer than she was.

So Jill had to move back in with the big horses, but by this time she had settled down a lot and was not pestering the gelding with her tarty attentions.

Now two weeks later Princess has gone from being scared of everyone to being boss of the pony field.

 

Meanwhile we have had two goodly sized storms for which we were very ill prepared.

We have a snow blower that we bought second hand but come the first snow storm it wouldn't work.

we had to dig out our driveway. It took us 5 hours to get it clear enough to get the car out to go and get some snow blower supplies. After changing the plugs putting in stabelizer and new gas it still wouldn't go.

We have since taken it to the menders and it is now working. Yay!!!

 

I have also done a lot of mucking out sas we have had the horses in a few night due to the storms.

We are working on clearing out a large shed in the pony field to give them a shelter. Just one of the jobs we had hoped to complete before the winter storms.

If we can get it done it will mean less nights where the ponies have to come into the barn.

Apparantly we are in for a winter like the good old days - yippee

 

Bought a new Horse

Posted on Wed 21 November 2007 at 11:10

I have decided that I am going to teach english riding next year. I used to teach in the UK (although not for some time) and there seems to be a need localy for english (as opposed to western, not the instructor actually being english) instruction.

I don't have an all weather riding arena so I will be teaching in a field, although I will get the school letters put up.

I will only do it in a small way next year as I havn't got the facilities or equipment (no jumps or anything), to take on more advanced riders. If it goes well I will look into getting an all weather school built.

So I am looking for a few horses.

I went to see a lovely 14.1hh 5 yr old mare last Saturday who is unimaginitively named Jill. She is western trained, but everything in my price range seems to be. English trained seem to go for more.

She arrives on Saturday.

So I will be doing a bit of reschooling. I thought that if I don't get the interest in lessons then I will reschool anything I buy to english and sell it on.

Took the dog to be fixed 2 weeks ago. You would never know he had even had an anesthetic, never mind had his bits removed, the way he dragged the veternary nurse out from the back. "restrict his exerscise and keep him on a leash for 2 weeks" they said.

Fat chance - three days of being on a lead around the barn and shut in the house a lot lead to him shredding lots of things he shouldn't, including another toilet brush and holder. I only buy them at the dollar store so that I am not too out of pocket by these episodes.

Anyway on the 4th day he was let loose and he didn't come to any harm.

Llamas are still confined to barracks. We are feeding them by hand from a bucket and trying to win their confidence a bit. We need to make a permenant shute into the barn before we let them out so that we can get them in when the weather is bad.

My gateway into the field with the shelter is very deep and muddy almost unusable. Its not been too bad as it has been frozen for a few days, but we are forecast 2 days of rain which will mush it all up again.

I have other fields but only the one has a shelter.

I am off to saint John on Friday to see a lead rein pony that is up for permenant lease. She is 11.3hh so a little bigger then my Shetlands, but is 8 yrs old and well trained. Hopefully she will make a good lesson pony.

Still got loads of outside jobs to try and get done and we are trying to get on with the new duplex and get at least the upstairs apartment let by January. We lost 2 days on it. First the pump to the well at the barn broke and we had to get a new one fitted and then we chose to get a wood stove fitted in our lounge and squandered a day doing that. Its made the house so cozy though that I think that it was time and money well spent.

Both our boys are gone now. James started his new job in Toronto yesterday and is quite keen. He has an apartment in Litle Portugal to move into on Dec 1.

Luke is in Mexico getting brown and snorkeling and body boarding and loving every minute.

It feels strange without them, but we talk on msn and James calls, so its not too bad yet. On the other hand they have only been gone just over a week so its hard to tell.

 

 


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