A weekend away

K and I had a wonderful, well-earned weekend away from the farm. Leaving our zoo in the capable hands of our good friend, we headed off to explore more of Nova Scotia! Our destination was Brier Island but we took our time to enjoy the drive, stopping in at Annapolis Royal for lunch and some sightseeing at Fort Anne where we checked out a really old cemetary (the oldest grave we saw was from the early 1800s) and just generally enjoying the scenic route all the way down the coast. 2 ferries later we arrived on Brier Island and spent the night at a wonderful B&B; Brier Wood Farm aka Hooking By The Sea. As we were enjoying our delicious breakfast, our host (Victoria) came running to tell us that her mama alpaca had just given birth so of course I grabbed the camera and took some brand-new-baby photos. Such a neat experience! I really like alpacas and it was so sweet to see her first steps and first nursing! We also got to make friends with the rabbits, chickens, sheep and a miniature horse who call the farm home. (K says I’m not allowed to plan vacations anymore because I booked us in at another farm… I still don’t see the problem! I had a lovely time and came home with more yarn! haha… We both also got to experience what chickens are like vs crazy Guineas and have agreed that chickens really seem quite mild and friendly after owning the hooligan trouble-makers that chase our vehicles and worship the tractor God!)

Then we were off to do some whale watching which was the highlight of the trip! We saw probably about 10 or so humpback whales. Mostly they were “logging” (sleeping!) but when they did wake up, we got a bit of a show. One of them got curious enough to lift it’s head right up in front of me. I’ve been whale watching several times before but I never get tired of seeing them!

The funniest part of the weekend is when I almost came home with a rabbit. I still feel kinda bad about not scooping him up, but was assured that he is doing just fine where he is! Obviously he had been someone’s pet and been dumped out on the side of the road. I made K stop so I could see if it was alright, and when the bunny didn’t run off, but rather came to see if I had treats I didn’t know what to do! I phoned the owner of the B&B and she got quite a giggle out of me! Vicky: “Is it a two-toned rabbit?” me: “yes, yes it is…”  hehe… It was probably for the best that I didn’t just scoop him up because our drive home on Sunday night was way too long to have had a stowaway. Traffic was closed on the highway due to an accident at one point and our total drive time turned into about 9 hours. It’s not officially a roadtrip until you’re fighting over a map and running out of fuel with nothing but skittles and chips left for sustenance! :)

We were both pretty exhausted when we finally reached home but it was a wonderful weekend to remember!

Goofy birds

I never thought I’d be a bird person! But these two characters are sure the talk of the farm! :) Their antics and adventures are turning me into that person who talks non-stop about her birds. I should’ve taken this video more to heart! I spend so much time watching them, shooing them away from the garden, and taking photos of them, it’s getting kind of ridiculous. K is just as bad! (although he’ll deny it!!)

They’ve been surprisingly good about coming home to their coop at nights which was a relief because when we released them that first day to free range, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever see them again. I had nothing to worry about! If you leave the shop door open for a few minutes they come a runnin’ to sit up on K’s truck or hang out in the rafters. I sure got a good giggle out of them sitting on the truck and refusing to leave… it’s not my vehicle that they’re pooping on after all! ;) They spend most of their days wandering the yard, chattering away, and getting into mischief. The dogs and cats tolerate them but we have had a few close calls with the dogs/cats trying to herd or hunt them. That’s slowly getting better as everyone gets used to each other.

They are goofy creatures! They seem to think that the tractor is their Great Leader and the lawn mower is a close second! They’re constantly planning raids on my garden so I’m also the crazy bird lady who has to shoo her birds away from her vegetables! The folks working on our arena project have been highly amused by it all and grateful for the tick-eating-habits of Things 1 and 2! The poor dogs have each had a few ticks, and I pulled one off of me too which is totally gross, and Al (the fellow running the excavator) said that he had a few ticks on him as well so everyone is totally in favor of increasing the guinea flock! (except for maybe K… what with the bird poop on the truck to explain to his buddies and all…) No matter how noisy or pesky they are, they eat ticks and I like ‘em! We’ll soon be building a new coop and bringing home some more.

It’s funny how a couple of ugly birds can be so entertaining!

 

Dig, Dig, Dig

Summer isn’t going to be the best blogging season because we’re rarely in the house, but it’s raining today so I feel a blog post coming on!

We have had some big projects underway and nearing completion now. The most exciting of all is that we have a proper sand ring! It’s a thing of beauty!! Pictures say it best so here’s a gallery of the conversion from grass to sand ring:

The dogs really love the new sandbox! Cinder (the yellow lab) thinks it’s just the best place for playing frisbee!

Unfortunately we haven’t been able to ride on it yet because the horses have all gotten sick with some sort of cold/flu. They’ve had snotty noses and a cough for about a week now. The vet was out and they were given antibiotics which seems to have helped. They’re on the mend but not ready to ride yet. Hopefully they’ll be back to normal next week and we can have our first rides! :)

The arena project gained momentum and before we knew it, we had the fellow with the excavator clearing out brush behind our barn, taking down old trees, digging ditches and a pond! The pond and ditches are technically part of the arena project because we needed to get the drainage right to keep the ring dry and useable. The pond gives the water a place to go so it’s not making our yard soggy. (Plus Cinder is really pleased with her new swimming hole!) and we had planned to clear space out behind the barn to make a horse path connecting the front of the property to the back paddock. Al and his excavator have made quick work of a job that would’ve taken us years and years to complete. It’s been an amazing transition! The space behind the barn is useful now instead of being overgrown and swampy. He has cleared off the top soil, taken the pathway down to clay and sloped it to get the water running off into the creek that borders the property, removed stumps/debris so that we can burn and be rid of it, and he’s also collected the useful trees into piles to be used either for firewood, or the ones we wanted to save are being moved and replanted in different areas of our property. The horses will have a lovely, reasonably dry, shady trail under the trees. I’m so excited to get working on fencing and it will be a very big day when they get turned out there for the first time!

With the new pond, it feels like a park. The birds and trees are so serene. I can just see us putting in a gazebo and enjoying BBQs with our family and friends. I can’t say enough about how great this whole process has been and how much closer we are to what we’ve been envisioning since we moved in. The new park under the trees will be so much fun for training our young horses with natural obstacles. Before long we’ll be getting into competitive trail riding!

It’s all coming together and looking like a real horse farm now!

Nervous ticks!

The insect control division at Silver Horse Ranch has been established! Introducing Thing 1 and Thing 2! They might not be much to look at but their resume is impressive when it comes to eliminating all things creepy and crawly! Bugs of all types be warned! (I hope the ticks are nervous! K certainly is! :) ) Team Guinea Fowl are on the scene!

 

I have zero bird experience (and I don’t even like birds! but I like ticks even less!) so the fact that they found the perches last night and are still alive and in the coop this morning is a pretty great success!

We may need to extend it and give them more run space which is gonna be tough considering they’re trying to escape if I open the door! We need to keep them contained for at least a month or so until they learn that this is home and where the food is. K already had quite a chuckle at me trying to encourage them to use the perches last night. They’d been in there a few hours and were still on the ground and the only thing I know about them is that they need to get up higher to roost for the night so in all my brilliance decided I would try to encourage them to go up… almost had one escape on me.  I should’ve maybe taken the hint when I went to pick them up and the folks had to scoop them out of a cage in a fishing net, and asked me how secure the door of my pet carrier was that these are basically wild birds that we hope will stick around and be useful. It’ll be interesting!

I will now be investing in a large fishing net! That’s something I never thought I’d need to say!

Sleep!? What’s that!?

Wowsers! It’s been a month since I posted here! How on earth did that happen!? The sun came out, everything is greening up, and that means we’re fully into the farm-projects-kicked-up-a-notch-or-ten mode!

Quick health update: My eye is slowly healing, no thanks to my surgeon who has been nothing but an insensitive ass during my followup visits! The short version is that the day post-surgery when I began getting sharp pain in my eye and went back to see him, he opted to removed the contact lens that was protecting my eye from the sutures (I have never worn contacts and thought maybe it was aggravating things and told him so… which made him decide to take it out) not telling me that this would make things 100 times worse! Within 45 minutes I was in agony! It felt like a million paper cuts on my eye! Then he pompously came back in the room, said he knew it would happen and only took the lens out to prove it to me. A big “I told ya so”… except that he hadn’t actually told me it would be that miserable! Or I wouldn’t have let him take the lens out in the first place! The pain was so bad that I couldn’t open either of my eyes by that point and the surgeon plus another doc couldn’t pry my eyelids open enough to put the lens back in, so he just sent me home with ointment and painkillers. It was a rough couple days after that before things started to improve. There have been a few other issues with him all kind of similar to that which I won’t bore you with, but needless to say I’m not impressed. Happily my eye seems to be healing fine in spite of the lack of post surgery care. It’s still red and somewhat scratchy (one suture refuses to fall out!) and if I can get one of my docs to put me on prednisone to shrink the mass that is still behind my eye, things will get a good deal better!

I also saw my neurologist and have had my diagnosis of MS confirmed based on my most recent MRI showing a new and active brain lesion. So they’re planning to start me on medication this summer. I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of meds, and trying not to freak out about the cost! Fingers crossed that most of it will be covered by insurance somehow!

On the farm front, we’ve been working non-stop on projects! It’s really paying off! Our place is looking fantastic :) Sometimes I have to just remind myself to look up! look around! and soak it all in! We are so fortunate and enjoy such a great lifestyle even if it is a ton of work. We love our home and all the chaos that goes with it :)

Things that have been accomplished in the last few weeks:

- Dug up, and planted a veggie garden. Put in the posts to fence it off and are getting started with the planks/wire for it now. I love it! Can’t wait to see what grows! There’s something about putting in a few seeds and growing food that I’m always excited about!

- Built a fence along our driveway so we can graze the ponies out there. We have a ton of grass that we’d rather not mow, and 5 always-hungry ponies so it makes sense! K built a gate for the end of the driveway, and used Sherman (tractor…. yes it has a name… I should do a post about the naming of our vehicles one day!) to drill post holes so I could put up the line between us and the neighbor. It’s very nearly ready to use so that’s great progress!

- my Mom was here for a visit (not much of a vacation for her I’m afraid!) and it was whirlwind of house projects. We did a bunch of gardening, tackled the insane mess that was the basement (I’m not exaggerating! We literally were using the whole basement as a pit to store the million boxes we had from moving in plus all sorts of other misc stuff we hadn’t figured out what to do with yet. It was hard to navigate through it all) and managed to not only clear out the clutter, but set up some space for storing tack/horse supplies, and found the only developed room down there to start setting up the home gym. We even got a good start on putting together the horrible machine (my weight machine has a nickname…:) ), and if that wasn’t enough we also finally finished painting the kitchen! Bye bye red and hello yellow! It looks so much bigger and brighter now!

- We did get the seed out on the pastures and I’ve been keeping an eye on the results. It’s alive!!! but still very short. We may need to get a soil sample tested and see about fertilizer, but I’m not unhappy with how it’s growing. The new grass/alfalfa is still too tender to let the horses out there yet so they’re still mostly eating hay with some short turnout on sacrificed grass areas like the riding ring (we’re gonna dig that up soon anyway), plus they get to eat the stuff growing in the other paddocks they’re not usually in, and like I said, the grass along the driveway will be ready to use too!

- We’ve had a few different people out to talk about the arena project and I’m feeling optimistic that we have someone lined up who will do a good job at a reasonable price. Just waiting to hammer out the details now. I did get a chance to ride the other day since things have dried up and will keep making use of the grass ring until then. It’s not horrible as long as I only walk/trot on it. I can get a lot of groundwork and light training done which considering the herd hasn’t done much for a year, is all they really need right now anyway.

- We converted the old rabbit cage that was left here by the previous owners into a bird coop… it’s not fancy but I think it’ll work! Watch this space to see what I end up bringing home to put in it :)

Oh, and did I mention I also got a job?! I’m officially employed again! I’ll be working as a clerk in the health region. Much like my old job. I’m very much looking forward to it! I start in a couple weeks and will just be working casually so it’ll fit well with my schoolwork. I’m also starting my summer university course next week. I’m sure glad I had a month off school to get all this other stuff under control! It’s just flown by!

Pictures from around our pretty little farm for your viewing enjoyment!

 

The moment it clicks… part 2

Image

Copyright: Cubicle Cowgirl Photography

Copyright: Cubicle Cowgirl Photography

Where there is a murder of noisy crows, you’re likely to find an owl and that’s exactly how I found this guy! This is a Great Horned Owl that I photographed back in Alberta. There were a few that used to live in my area and a couple years ago I was really fortunate to find a nest. I returned every week to photograph the little family and it was an awesome experience. My best shots from the owl nest are below.

All photographs are my own creations and protected by copyright law. Please respect my work enough not to copy, save, re-post, or use my images without permission. I can be contacted at cubiclecowgirl@gmail.com should you wish to request permission.

Copyright: Cubicle Cowgirl Photography

Copyright: Cubicle Cowgirl Photography

Copyright: Cubicle Cowgirl Photography

Copyright: Cubicle Cowgirl Photography