Friday, December 24, 2010

Blogging 'cause I'm bored....

Actually, I think it's more because I am looking for reasons to NOT go outside right now. We are in a heavy rain and wind warning for today. Everything is already lakes and puddles from the last couple of days, but we are supposed to get another 20-30 mm of rain in the next 8 hours or so. Ugh. I will definitely be doing indoor jobs today. Like cleaning the mud off the floor from all the mucky little paws that go in and out each day. I am super-busy this season. Luckily, most of the dogs I have in are awesome, and get along with others quite well. Only 3 sleeps, and a bunch go home. I have to admit, I am pretty tuckered from all the activity! But, I think I have pulled in enough money to buy the car, and that was my goal. I've been turning away dogs for ages now. I actually had a few people call yesterday, wanting to bring their dogs in RIGHT THEN. I hate turning away business, but I had to! I apologized, then politely suggested they book by October next year. I don't know of any kennels or in-home services that aren't completely booked up. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute!!

Ok, I just had a daycare dog show up that I didn't know was coming... guess I need to start working again.

But first, I need to do a little update on chickens.

I first put a light in the Dorking coop over two months ago. Finally, for the last 2 weeks, I am starting to get eggs again. AND my other chickens are laying even better now. I am getting a minimum of 2 doz eggs a day now. Plus, I had my first blue egg the other day! That was exciting, and long-awaited. The blue ones are from the 5 birds I got from Amanda this fall. I had actually given up hope that I would ever get any blue ones. So, YAY for me!! It will be fun to give everyone some unique coloured eggs this spring with my shares.

Also, I officially sold my first share that comes with a deposit cheque. I have lots of people on the list, and will be sending out the contract in January, but it's kind of cool to get that first REAL one for this summer. I can barely contain my excitement for this spring! It's not going to be easy, I will have a crapload of work to do, but it will be sooooo worth every moment!

Off to work now.... have a great Holiday Season, everyone.... from all the crazy dogs and people at the Crazy Dog Farm!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Solstice

Well, we have gotten through the longest night of the year. I am really more stoked than I should be, looking forward to more daylight again. Is it really that exciting?? I guess it must be!
One thing I have never, ever understood. They say that this is the first day of winter. Huh? I don't get it. For me, this is the MIDDLE of winter. We have the possibility of snow in Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb. Therefore, the middle of winter is NOW. We have 2 months left, then we start thinking it feels like spring.

The seasons, according to Kelly (forget societal conventions!!)

Nov-Feb = Winter
Mar-May = spring
June- Aug = Summer
Sept, Oct = Fall

Of course, this can vary a bit according to the weather, and may change over time as climate change affects our world more and more.

I love living against the grain;-)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cars and other things...

First of all..... only 3 sleeps until the winter solstice!!!! These days are getting way too short. I hate having to exercise dogs in the dark!

The last few weeks since my car died could have been really, really hard. Instead, they were relatively easy. Thanks to some wonderful people who just stepped up and volunteered to help out. First, I had a client loan me her 'work' truck. Which was a 2006, REALLY nice truck. I had forgotten how useful a truck could be! I got lumber with it, and bigger loads of cardboard, and really made use of it while I could. Then, a good friend of mine who was going away for the holidays, loaned me her car. The truck went home a few days ago, but I had the car, so there really hasn't been any long time where I was without transportation. I also found a cheap car to buy. I will be picking it up just after Christmas. It's definitely not my dream car, but the guy who owns it has babied it... it has newer brakes, and newer tires, so at least I should feel safe in it. The only downside, is that it's an ex cop car, so is a gas guzzler. I've never had a gas guzzler, and I'm not looking forward to it. It only has to get me through the next 5 months or so, then I can sell it and get a little SUV. Gotta get a car for the dogs! I would get a  truck, but it is not heated or air conditioned for the dogs, and that just won't do.
I just got word yesterday that I have been approved to get $300 from the government for my old crappy car. It is just getting scrapped. It is an incentive they are offering to get older, less 'green' cars off the road.

It is after 7:30 am (just waiting for another dog to come in) and I am FINALLY seeing a glimmer of light outside. The sun just takes forever to come up...

The lumber I purchased is being used to make the rest of the little beds for fruit trees. I have decided my goal this year is to get the rest of my orchard in. The sooner in, the sooner I can start getting my own fruit. If the beds are all made and ready, I can just go buy one little tree at a time, so it will be easier on the budget. I am getting so close to being done!

Dead Fowl Day

One of my white turkeys inexplicably died today. It was looking a little peaked yesterday, and was stone dead this morning. I started with 10 of them... now I am down to 3. This last one bothers me the most, as I have been feeding it for months! I know it happens, but when you only have 3 turkeys left, it's just kind of sad. These ones are booked into the processor at the end of Jan. My Blue Slate Heritage turkeys are looking really good, and they go in the beginning of Jan. Tastyyyy.....!

A chicken escaped again today. They are getting out a lot lately. Don't know why. I have been able to rescue all of them before a dog killed them... except for today. This one died. Reckless and the whippet, Blitzen double teamed it, and got it before I had a chance to do much of anything. Stupid birds. Why don't they just stay where they are supposed to??!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fruit Orchard continues....

Yesterday I went and got 2 new fruit trees. Quite a while ago, when I had a bit of extra money, I bought myself a gift certificate at my favourite garden center, just so I could get some trees this winter. I ended up getting the Bing Cherry I was after, but they didn't have my Fuji apple, so I settled for a Golden Delicious for now. I am getting closer and closer to having my entire orchard planted.... I originally wanted 4 each of apples, cherries, pears, and 3 plums, plus 6 or so hazelnuts. I have expanded that plan a bit... I am going to end up with about 6 apples, and also a peach tree. I want to have lots of fruit in a few years, as my plan is to expand my CSA shares to include a 'Fruit and Veggie' share, or just a Veggie share, to give people an option. The fruit one will be more expensive, of course, but I think will be popular. I always have people asking if I have fruit and berries. Plus, I am hoping I will always have extra for the chickens, and maybe for pigs if I do those one day, too.

We have been getting the torrential rains again the last while that we had last fall. My driveway is flooded again, and everything is just soggy, muddy, and gross.

I got my favourite seed catalogue in yesterday, and starting planning my order already!! I love thinking about spring! The catalogue is from West Coast Seeds. ( ). They have non-GMO, non-treated, and quite often certified organic seeds. They are also on the West Coast, so they have varieties of veggies that will do well here. I am going to try a few new things, and grow wayyyy more of the same as what I did last year, so stay tuned! I am salivating just thinking about all the yummy things in the garden!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Horse is Back!!

Yay! Katrina brought the horse, the ponies, and my little goat back the other day. I have soooo missed having them around! You should see them, though... they are all FAT. It looks like I have two goats in one goat body. I've never seen Burley so chubby! He looks good and healthy, though.

It has been doing the torrential rain thing again... just like last year. My driveway is floating away again. I looked in my well, and the water is only about 6" from the electrical box. If it hits that, I'm assuming everything will short out, and I won't have any water.... lets hope the rain subsides for a bit. I wish Mother Nature would spread the rain out through the year a bit, so we would get some drops in the summer when we really need it!

Only 12 more sleeps and then the days will start getting longer.... I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

On the Farm Front...

One thing about being car-less, is that I am actually staying at home more and getting some work done here and there. Admittedly, I have been lazy on the farming front lately, not getting much done. When I get really busy on the dog boarding side, I can't seem to get much done around the farm. I am making plans on how to start making a living from my farm faster, so I can cut down on the dog boarding sooner than later. I know that sounds terrible, as dog boarding is my livelihood, but 16 hours a day, 7 days a week gets a bit much sometimes. I worry that I will burn out.

So, I got to work the other day and almost finished my new turkey/brooder coop. The shelter part has been done for months, and is where I am keeping my heritage turkeys and my new Dorking chickens for now. They really, really need to get outside to forage, though. I finished the fencing part (except for one small stretch where I ran out of stucco wire) and cut the lumber for the door. I just need to be able to get one more roll of stucco wire, and I can finish the run completely. This coop I am designating next spring to a 'brooder coop'. I am actually planning ahead for once, instead of just getting in chickens or ducks or turkeys willy-nilly, whenever the mood hits me. I have contacted my suppliers of chicks and poults for next spring, and have arranged to get everything in the first week in May. This will get my turkeys ready BEFORE Christmas next year, and I'll only have to brood once, instead of all the time. I am quite proud of all this forethought;-) It's not like me! I have had several people asking for turkeys and chickens for next year, and I want to actually make a bit of money on it, so I am trying to treat it more like a business, than something I do just for fun. I have even had an order for some ducks in the fall! I am also planning on keeping 3 heritage turkeys for breeding next year, so I don't have to buy poults each spring. I've got that planned, too, so stay tuned!

I am also making plans to increase what I am doing in the gardens. Originally for this year, I was going to do 20 CSA shares. I am upping that number to 30. With my current car-less situation, I need to change things up, and get ahead for once, instead of barely keeping up. I am working on one online seed order. I am ordering enough seeds so I can fill at least 40 shares, so I will have enough produce left to do some farmgate sales. I am going to find a good used fridge, and build a double-gate system, so I can set up farmgate in the old storage truck at the front of the property. It is equipped with electricity and lights, so won't be too difficult to do. I think building the double gate system will be the most challenging part of this venture.

I am determined to make a success of this farm, even if it kills me.

Oh! my meat chickens went in to get processed just before my car kicked the bucket. Couldn't have been better timing... my freezer is full for the winter now! I have enough chickens to get me through the next few months, plus I have been busily harvesting veggies for winter consumption. All my planning paid off in the gardens this summer! I have tonnes of kale, mesculin, lettuce, leeks, carrots, and am still getting broccoli off my plants. Dinners have been quite delicious lately, and almost 100% grown at home.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Death of the Crappy Car

Well, my crappy car gave it up yesterday. I knew it was coming, but it is still scary for it to actually happen. I really, really wish it could've waited until May, when I get my CSA share money, and could buy a better one. Now, I have to scramble and figure things out. I will most likely be carless for a while. Which means I don't get to any Christmas parties, no more agility or flyball, and I have to figure out how to get into town once in a while to go to the bank, etc. The only downside to living in the boonies... you really, REALLY need good transportation.

I am, however, extremely grateful that my car kicked the bucket close to home, and didn't leave me stranded on a dark, rainy highway somewhere. I actually managed to drag it home, so it's in the driveway, awaiting it's fate.

So, now I am stuck at home for a while. Just think of the gas I will save, and the work I will (hopefully!) get done around here!

I was expecting to be a basket case when this happened, but I am handling it pretty well so far. I may have a freak out in a few days when I start to run low on dog food or groceries, or need to get to the bank.


Update on Compassion Farm

There is good news on the Compassion farm front. The city of Lantzville has succumbed to the pressures of society (this is a GOOD thing!) and given Dirk and Nicole an extension of 180 days for their farming. In the new year, they will be holding meetings, etc, and looking into having the bylaws changed or amended! We're not there yet, but things are looking promising. People from all over the province and country are waiting in anticipation to see how everything folds out. Other districts are already looking into getting laws changed now, BEFORE there is an issue that comes up. I will keep you posted on future developments!

Flooded Driveway

Flooded Driveway
Too much RAIN!