Saturday, August 31, 2013

Terrific Horse Property For Sale

I know that some of the readers of my blog are looking at relocating to Nova Scotia. Many people retire here and some are posted with the military or the RCMP. Whatever your reason for calling NS home, it can be a daunting thing to find a new home for your family, especially if you're moving with your equine friends. If you are moving to the Annapolis Valley with horses and looking for a ranch, read on!

Our friends Carl and Tina have raised their family in a lovely spot just outside Middleton, NS for several years now and during that time they've made some huge improvements not only to the house but to the property. Tina and several of her children are horsey people. So you know that their focus has been on providing a suitable place for their horses and ponies to call home. And now YOU could call it home, as they are offering the property for sale at $149,000.

Our family took riding lessons there and the riding ring is fantastic, even in the nastiest weather you can have a safe enjoyable ride. It's sand underfoot so never a problem with drainage or clean-up. There is a hge run-in and the property backs right up to the old railway (no tracks anymore) so you have literally miles and miles of riding trail available. Access is very easy, the property has 10 cleared and fenced pastures and also tons of woodland, 35 acres! It really is a horse lovers delight. Just back in your trailer, unload into the arena and then throw open the doors to the paddock! What more could you ask for?!?!

Tina has kindly given me a description and pics. Take a look and if you're interested please don't hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment, and I'll pass along your contact details. Or call me at 765-3819

A quick rundown of the property first.  We have 10 acres of fenced pasture, and an

additional 35 acres of woodland. There is a beautiful pond that never goes dry full of

goldfish, painted turtles frogs and lily pads.  There are flower gardens, raised veggie beds,

fruit trees and bushes, and many ornamental shrubs, including a huge lilac bush in front of

the house.  

There is an old barn on the property that we use for hay and equipment storage.  This barn

is conveniently located next to the road so you can drive your truck and trailer easily up to it

to unload your hay.  It holds 1200 bales in the loft, and depending on how much room you

need for tractor ect., could hold easily another 600 bales downstairs. 

The new barn is only 5 years old, and it is gorgeous.  It has a large tack room, 5 box stalls, a

60 ft run in shelter, and a 35 X 60 indoor arena with excellent sand footing. 

The house has 3 bedrooms upstairs plus a laundry room and bathroom.  The main floor

has a den, another bedroom, a large living room and a large eat in kitchen.  Both the living

room and the den have fireplaces, the one in the living room has an insert installed. There

is also a porch, another bedroom, and an office (playroom) and a bathroom on the main

floor.  The house has wide plank wooden floors, pretty much though out.  This house is

200+- years old, really don't know, but it has a lot of character.  It has a cement block

basement, which replaced the original stone one.  It has a "Wood Doctor" furnace and hot

water radiators (the beauty old kind) though out the house.  There is a large deck on the

back of the house that overlooks the backyard and 60 ft sand filled round pen. 

We are 13 mins  from the town of Middleton, and 10 mins from the horsey capital of N.S., Lawrencetown, that has an awesome old style exhibition.  There are miles and miles of trails as the back of the property is right on the old railway line, which, of course has the tracks removed and is used only as trails.

We are asking $149,900.

Are Oil and Gas Companies really trying to save the Earth?

Admit it, you've seen at least one advertisement in which an oil or gas company is telling us about how 'Green' they are. How they're working with us to save the planet. Everything from developing new technologies to recycling their office papers. But how much is real and how much is just a bunch of hype designed to distract us from the fact that these are billion dollar corporations making money from our dependance on fossil fuels? It can be really hard to figure out what's real and what's a smoke screen. Now don't get me wrong, there have been great developments and research done in alternative energies like tidal power here on the Bay of Fundy and wind power too. But not every project or idea is what it's cracked up to be.

Exxon's Definitely Real Ideas To Save The Planet by TheKidsTable

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Should Poor People Grow Veggies?

Apparently not if you live in subsidized housing the the USA. Despite efforts of Mrs Obama to grow a garden on the White House lawn and other urban growing projects designed to encourage community gardens, a small 4 year old girl and her disabled mother are being ordered to remove their little vegetable garden in South Dakota.

The story is basically this. The little girl and her mother live in subsidized housing as the mom is severely disabled. They live on a very meager budget as you can imagine. So to provide fresh vegetables for her child and some fun and practical gardening skills, they planted a small garden in their yard area. According to the USDA Rural Development Agency they are not allowed to grow a garden in landscaped areas of their rental. Can you imagine? Some of the most vulnerable members of society are being told they can't help themselves by growing vegetables by the very agency that's responsible for Rural Development. Surely a garden would qualify. We're not talking about a neglected weed patch, we're talking about a small plot outside their back door. The management company of their unit told them to remove it because the USDA has rules about these things. Rules. Not laws. Rules.

Yes, it does seem very heavy handed and it goes against what so many people are trying hard to promote like kitchen gardens and community food programs. My goodness it just seems to be one story after another this year about people having their veggie patches removed. It's silly rules like this that make me glad we're moving into the country in a few weeks, into a relatively liberal county. Of course there are rules to govern things like burning garbage and building homes, but they are willing to listen and the rules show a lot of common sense. What's that old saying? "There's nothing so uncommon as common sense". Seems like some common sense could prevail here.


They get to keep their garden! The management company have agreed to build some raised beds for use by all the tenants. That's a step in the right direction. Now if only more people could be encouraged to get growing.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dietary Choices

 Many of you know that Steve is a Vegan and I am not. While our whole family eats a lot of veggies, some of us still love chicken and bacon. Among other tasty meat products. So I thought I'd give all you readers out there a chuckle by posting my rationalization for eating beef.

Do you think it's better to eat the grain or to feed it to cattle and then eat them? Food for thought :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Zucchini, Blessing and Curse!

Yes, It's that time of year when everyone who put a few dozen zucchini seeds into the ground is now scrambling to figure out what to do with the monstrous green giants in our veggie patches. Or yellow giants if you grew Gold Rush. If you're smart, you've been picking them when young and tender but no matter how much you look under the leaves there's always a few that get away and grow to enormous and hard skinned beasts. I found this lovely pic on google, that just says it all  :)

If you've left yours too long because you were busy or on vacation, don't despair. There are still plenty of delicious ways of using them in baking and for meals. Our family favourites are chocolate zucchini cake (omit the oil and add a cup of grated zucchini) or stuffed zucchini. This last one is super easy and can be made vegan or vegetarian. You cut your zucchini in half lenghthwise and scoop out the seeds inside. Next you fill the cavity with your favourite stuffing or even a box of Stove Top if you're not used to baking from scratch (my kids like the cornbread one). You then put the top back on and bake it in the oven until the zucchini is tender, usually under an hour. You can also wrap in foil if you like or if you are a microwave cooker you can wrap in plastic and nuke for about 10 mins. Today we're trying something different by stuffing it with the meat/rice mix we traditionally use in cabbage rolls. Here's the recipe:

2 cups cooked rice
2 beater eggs
2 lbs ground beef or ground pork
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup finely chopped onion

And the sauce that we're serving over the top of the slices of zucchini once it's on the plate :

2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
8 oz can of tomato sauce (or the rest of the can if you've taken out 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Just heat slowly over medium heat and serve over your sliced zucchini.

Using up your surplus doesn't mean boring food, it means using your ingenuity and maybe giving some to your unsuspecting neighbours, lol. Just include a recipe and a ribbon and you've got a lovely gift. Enjoy the bounty of summer, it will be over before you know it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Canadian Drive-By / Random Acts of Kindness

How many times have you done something nice for someone just out of the blue? Has someone done something for you too? Isn't it a wonderful feeling? It's like the spirit of Christmas all year long.

In this often depressing, selfish and dreary world it's wonderful to witness those random acts of kindness that give us back our faith in the goodness of humanity. And today I've had a couple of different stories come across my desk I wanted to share. My friend Jean posted a video about her son just stopping to help someone stuck in a wheelchair and then another story about someone paying for a fee at an airport. I know that in years past I've paid for the person behind me in the line at Tim Hortons (coffee shop) and I've had people leave me small gifts anonymously. One Christmas we got a delivery of presents for our whole family dropped off by a man in a Santa Suit who could sure run while yelling Ho Ho Ho. See, there are good things happening in the World, you just need to find them or do some yourself.

Here's the video and the article link. Both well worth reading. Whether you are here in Canada or anywhere on planet Earth, doing something anonymously or selflessly is just a wonderful example to our children of the way the world could be if we put other people first. Kindness, it's learned.

Hardening off the Turkeys

It's time to think about making the move for the turkeys from the brooder out to the big world of the barn. So I'm heading over there in an hour or so to re-do some slatted walls that were originally only meant to keep sheep at bay. Since the barn currently has tools and half a loft of hay in it we want to make a small area for the turkeys that we can expand over time and keep them out of the rest of the stuff. The advantage of the barn is that it's fox proof and will help the turkeys get used to living outdoors while still having some protection from the extremes of weather. Right now they are still under the heat lamps in the brooder but we've been cutting back their heat gradually as their feathers come in and we're almost ready to turn the heat off completely.

Some tips for getting your birds ready for the outdoors:

--Get them used to the changes in temperature slowly by decreasing heat from 250 watt, to 150, to 100 and then 60 over the space of a couple of weeks. Then have heat only during the night if it's very chilly. Of course you don't start this process until they have feathers at 4-6 weeks.

--Make sure to use the same feeders and waterers to avoid any confusion for the transition time. Continue with the starter crumbles to make sure they have lots of energy to stay warm for the first week or longer if the weather turns nasty.

--If they have gotten used to going to bed when you turn on a light, consider having a light for them when they're moved. Keep the routine similar.

--Have good dry bedding ready for them to use and limit their area for the first week to a pen or other safe structure. Remember, turkeys and chickens at this age have suddenly learned the joys of flight and can get themselves into all sorts of interesting dilemmas if possible, so cover their pen on the top also. (Then you won't find turkeys peeping at you from the workshop shelves half way up the wall).

--Have a nice dry sheltered place for them to roost. Nothing gets chilled faster than a wet bird.

--And watch them. Pay attention to them and see if they appear happy, alert and drinking.

Our turkeys consist of a couple of little Beltsville White and some Eastern Wild x Broad Breasted Bronze. It's amazing to watch them grow and we're excited to see them explore the outdoors, they're so fun to watch! Turkeys are also amazing grazers and will forage for a good portion of their food if allowed to roam. Free-range turkeys, coming soon to Humblebee Farm!

Piggy Smile

What a great idea! A farmer from the Netherlands needed a way to keep his pigs cool and happy so in addition to a wallow (muddy watery pool) he added one extra feature. I'd say it's a hit!

Looks like fun for anyone!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How Much Regulation is Too Much?

We're in the middle of a 5 year building plan at Humblebee Farm. Greenhouses, root cellars, mobile home renovations and eventually a cottage are all in the plans. And we live in a county that while it's getting stricter, is still pretty relaxed about things like strawbale housing and cordwood. Yes, both are approved in Annapolis County, NS. But despite the relaxed atmosphere and helpfulness of the people in the planning office, they still have basic things to abide by like the electrical code and Canada Building Code. But what if you want to do something different?
People find ways around the regulations by building summer cottages/cabins and living there year round. Or by building a 'garage' with a suite above and living there. For us it's a fine line between being honest and building what we want to build. My root cellar is a good example. I'm sure there aren't regulations yet about it, but what if I called it an underground house? Or my emergency shelter? Would structural requirements then have to meet current codes? I understand that codes are there to keep people safe but some of them are archaic and unreasonable. What's the recourse then?

Many other countries have rules about building your own home and let you do what you like as long as you're not building for others. I guess they figure you'll do a good job on your own house. And that's true. So many people these days cannot afford a conventional mortgage or the standard 3 bedroom house their folks grew up in. Houses no longer cost the equivalent of a years wages, they cost 5-10 years wages. And in the meantime people have to eat and feed themselves. I'm not saying that everyone should just be let loose in the woods with an axe and told to build themselves a cabin but if they have the know how and help to do a good job then I believe there has to be some way of letting a person build their own home on their own land if they want to.

You've probably seen internet pics of Charlie and Megan's house before because it's beautiful. And now that it's finished the local planners want it torn down. It sits on private property and the neighbours do not mind (it's his parents). So if you read the article I'm linking to and feel moved, please sigh the petition. All the pics on this blog today are from Charlie and Megan's home. Sorry the video format won't work very well with the blog template :(

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Forgiveness on a sunny Sunday

It's the August long weekend here in Canada and though it's not a Stat holiday in Nova Scotia, most people do in fact have Natal Day off work. So we have Steve home for an extra day! Yay! Hopefully we'll get lots of work done tomorrow. But as for today, we have lots of things to keep us busy from the animals, to helping our neighbours and meetings at Church. But one thing I'd like to share with you, since I'm trying to get back in the habit of sharing a spiritual message on Sundays, is how important it is to forgive people who wrong us.

No matter how wonderful and charitable we are, there are always going to be people in this world that hurt us. Some do it deliberately but many times it's unintentional. When we carry around the hurt feelings and the anger we're not doing anything against those who wronged us, we're just bringing ourselves down. So I'd like to encourage you to let it go. Let go of the frustration and hurt. Just learn the lesson and move one. It's a happier way to live your life, and I promise you that if you forgive others you'll feel better about yourself too.