Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baby Turkeys!

We got our new turkeys this afternoon and the adorable little guys and gals are in a brooder where they are warm and have free access to food and water. They will still need to be under heat until they are feathered out and have enough body fat to stay warm on their own, so maybe another month or so.

We have a few Beltsville White and two dozen Broad Breasted Bronze crosses so next year we'll hopefully be able to breed our own turkeys and spread the love for these fun and beautiful birds. They are smarter than their big meaty cousins and we've found they are healthier too. Here's what they'll look like in a few months.

 Ours will be out running on pasture with access to the barn for food all day. At night they'll be locked safely inside and have the use of natural perches. I'll be sure to take some pics as they grow. 

Well I've got to go check on them and then get some sleep. Have a good night everyone.

Why Be Self-Sufficient? Why Farm in Nova Scotia?

People all over the western world are leaving cities and opting for a quieter and simpler life in the countryside with a few acres and a dream of financial and food independence. It's true, and it's been happening for years. Back in the 70's it was the Hippies, then the 'back to the land-ers' followed by the modern versions of both. And here we are, in 2013 doing the same thing. Do I hate shopping at the grocery store? NO!! They sell chocolate! But would I rather raise my own food and trade with my friends and neighbours, of course yes. Not only for the health benefits but also because of the food security and financial savings. No physical savings though :)

So I'm wondering this:

What would happen if one meal you eat each week was raised in your own backyard? Just one meal. Hey everyone has to start somewhere.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Brilliant Movable Chicken House and Turkeys Are Coming

This is the best and most thoroughly thought out design for a portable coop that I've ever seen! So I just have to share it with you. I'm definitely going to build one like this some day, and if money was no object I'd buy one! Anyways let me know what you think.

We're gearing up for a lovely flock of turkey poults so I was out today checking on my brooder lamps and getting some nice bottom wire so I can have a warm, dry and secure brooder for my poults when they arrive which may well be this week. My little chicken brooder won't cut it size wise and you should never use chicken equipment with turkeys to prevent the spread of a nasty disease called blackhead. So everything like feeders and waterers will have to be disinfected and dried. These turkeys are going to form the backbone of my free-range flock and we'll hopefully breed our own poults (that's a baby turkey) each year. Yes, we'll have both meat turkeys for sale and breeding trios as we get going, at least with any luck. In BC we raised Nicholas White and Broad Breasted Bronze varieties with the whites being both dumber and bigger, but there's really something smart about a bronze or wild turkey and they're just hardier because they're not bred to grow at crazy fast rates. These ones I'm getting are a BBBronze cross so they should be good foragers and fun to raise. I Love turkeys, they really are a hoot!

We will be free-ranging our turkeys in much the same way we do with our chickens, except they'll also have access to the barn and a fenced field run. Turkeys are great foragers and also very curious so they are both fun to raise and profitable on pasture. Of course we'll still get them off to a good start using crumbled feed and heat lamps but once they are feathered and ready for the outdoors we'll raise them naturally on pasture and provide clean water and pellet feed inside their barn. Turkeys raised outdoors are far happier and healthier, and it fits in with the philosophy of ours that we should be stewards of the land and care for our animals properly. So our turkeys will be outside as much as they want during daylight hours and securely housed at night.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Free Chicken Feet Anyone?

Here's a funny pic and tweet I saw today. Oh my goodness, how amazingly far removed people are from the food they eat. I thought it was funny...and another lady was 'horrified'. Anyways, here's the pic.

But the very best part really is the response of twitter readers who realize that this is an over-reaction to say the least. This 'News' story actually made it around the globe and makes you wonder what the world is coming to when Monsanto can hire a private army and it's hushed, people die from war and disease or poverty all over the planet and yet a piece of chicken in a packet of chicken makes International headlines. this is such a 'First World' problem. Like breaking a nail or fighting with your teenager about what clothes to wear, or the temperature that we want the house kept at. Such frivolous things in comparison to wondering how you are going to eat tomorrow and keep a roof over your head. I count my blessings that I have a safe home and loving family. I may not have everything I would like but I'm doing pretty darn well!

Bees and CCD- Colony Colapse Disorder (or where are all the bees?)

I actually had a few minutes between chores and helping a friend move (thanks to the wonderful hard work of my 3 sons) to skim through some online news. Some gave me a chuckle and some didn't. I came across an interesting article about bees and thought I'd re-post the link here for anyone who is interested. We're all dependent on bees and their pollination of everything from our berries to the almonds used to make milk. I think it's time I took the tops off our hives and see how the girls are getting on, it's time for a new box or two I think.


The Book Of The Farm - Henry Stephens / Victorian Farm

All of my long time readers know that I love the BBC series Victorian Farm. Great watching for cold winter nights and for both farmers and history buffs alike. The series was so popular it spawned all sorts of other 'farm' shows including Wartime and Edwardian versions, all equally interesting an available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

But I wanted to write this little post to let you know that I've got you a real treat! One of the major sources of farm wisdom that's used ont he show is a book written by Henry Stephens in 1849 called "The Book Of The Farm" and it's basically a manual telling you what to plant when, how to care for your livestock and draft animals, basically everything you would need to know. Now you might be wondering what that could possibly mean to us modern day organic farmers in the technology era. And that's a fair question. So I have a question for you.

Is everything old new again?

In many cases it is. Interest in quality food and goods over mass-produced items. Organic and sustainable farming practices, natural remedies, observation of your farm and lands. All this knowledge and wisdom is out there for us to benefit from, especially with the use of google and other search engines online. I mean, here you are on your computer reading about a farmer in Nova Scotia Canada when you may be thousands of miles away. But what if your computer went away and you had only books? My goodness you could buy a lot I'm sure, but this book is really comprehensive. And better yet, It's FREE!

The original book came out in 3 different editions and was recently revised by the BBC and Alex Langlands so it's available in a nice keepsake version. But if you've got some storage space I'd recommend loading a copy into your computer and saving it for interesting reading and to see if there are ways you can improve your farming based on ancient knowledge. It's these handed down traditions in farming that make it so wonderful. Since the book has been out of copyright for many years it's available for a free download in many formats including


I'm happy to be like the farmers of old and share information with you all. I hear so many interesting comments and questions that I'm looking into finding a new blog host or a way to have a forum for discussion here online. Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We Got Our Permits!

Steve drew up a set of plans for our additions by hand and I submitted them for approval, fully expecting a call telling us what changes need to be made. But Lo and Behold, they said they were approved as is! Yay!

So construction begins Friday 19th July at 10am officially.

Funds are sorely limited of course so it will be done as money allows. Steve has 2 days off work and we'll be building the foundations and floors initially. Hey, it's a start! Then once that's been inspected it's on to walls, roof and electrical. So, things are happening!

The boys are keeping busy loading hay for me and making movies. Here's the link to William's latest project:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Building, Painting, Scrubbing

Here we are now into July and I haven't written a single word for months! I will now slap myself on the wrist as I'm sure many of you would like to do, lol.

Here's where we're at. The mobile home is on site at the farm and it's basically stripped on the inside (which is how we bought it). We're scrubbing it all out and then painting the walls and ceilings so we at least have a fresh canvas to start with as it were. The girls have decided that they will paint one wall light green (picture green grapes) and the opposing wall lavender. I'm not sold on the idea but I did manage to find some fabric for curtains that will allow them to at least pretend to coordinate, lol.  Anything is an improvement on a bad maroon paint job with forest green blinds.

William and Jordan decided on a light blue colour for their north east facing rooms and due to the special super durable paint we got it took a lot of experimenting in the paint store before we decided on the right shade. It's now officially named 'WillyBee Blue' in the computer. All the prep work is done, the base coat is finished, and as soon as a bad patch of wall panel is replaced I'm ready to put the final coat on. I expect there will be enough paint leftover to also paint the bathrooms. Some of our paint is recycled paint from LOOP, a Canadian company, and so far no complaints, and the rest is Scuff-Proof from Home Hardware. I don't know if they all carry it but it's very durable and scrubbable paint in a farmhouse is a big plus in my opinion. Especially with my children :)

It's a struggle to spend money wisely when renovating and our paint choices reflect that. We were able to buy our Scuff Proof for $25 per can instead of the usual $60 and LOOP paint at WalMart retails for under $16 per gallon. Sure it's only got limited colours, but since I was using it for ceilings (white) and as primer over maroon pretty much any colour would do. Their Butter colour also looks nice so I'm doing that for my living room. We'll see how it all turn out and if I want something different then no problem, I'll just re-paint!

The floor plans for the mobile additions are done and submitted to the County Building Officer for his approval, we should hear this week and then construction can begin! We have a plan for the cabinets we'll build in the kitchen and I hope that by the end of the week we will have at least the girls room finished and can move furniture in there, it'll give us some more room to work in the shed :)

I'll get some pics for you tomorrow and add them. For right now I have to get going, the boys are going to youth camp tomorrow and are busy doing laundry and packing. William starts his new job tomorrow and due to the cancellation of the Military doing Basic Training, Chris is looking for work again. Looong story, better left for tomorrow.