Sunday, December 29, 2013

Nova Scotia Ice / Snow Storm 12 22 2013

Here's a video William made of the ice storm. At least the beginning. We got more ice and another foot of snow on Christmas Eve and after we shoveled everything and went to bed it snowed more so it was a very picture perfect White Christmas.

Here's what it looked like early Christmas morning... and then it got windy and snowed a whole bunch more. But the road got plowed out soon enough and our friend brought his snow blower over and dug out the driveway. It's always great to have a friend with a snow blower :) To give you an idea of the depth of the snow so early in the season, those little bushy things in the yard are the small cypress trees along our driveway and you can only see the top 12 inches in this pic. I'm not sure that at the time of writing this we can see them at all but it's going to rain tonight after it stops snowing so it will all melt down. It's going to be warm for a couple of days before the deep freeze sets in later in the week after New Years. Sure glad all the animals are indoors and that we have a nice warm house.

Sheep in the Barn by William

William made a quick video for his YouTube channel about our sheep so I thought I'd post it here. It is getting increasingly difficult with the freezing rain and deep snow we've experienced so far this year to get to our barn at the farm so with the help of a friend and her trailer we hauled the sheep down to the house at the bottom of the hill where we're living at the moment. Now all we have to do is shovel our way to the single detached garage to feed them. It previously housed sheep and horses so the owner doesn't mind at all :) Steve and the boys also spent a good part of yesterday rounding up the stray turkeys and poultry in the barn up top and they've moved down here also. It's way simpler to have them near a source of power and closer for water. No more carrying 20 litre jugs 400m across the frozen wasteland through a foot of snow, so as you can imagine Chris is very happy because it's his job. If you want to see more videos by William keep an eye on his YouTube channel at Willy B's World of Awesome where you can see the creative endeavours and terrible acting skills of our children and their friends, lol. Watch, share, like. Support young artists.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Winter is here

Nova Scotia is at that variable time of year when the short days can bring a mix of snow and frosty ground or windy warmer and wet weather. All of which bring challenges to farmers. On the one hand the warmer weather is nice if you can stay out of the wet and wind but it turns everything soft and muddy so driving around the farm is challenging. However the frosty ground is fine to drive on except the roads can be slick and there were a few times last year when it was tricky to get up the hill to even get to the farm gate. Of course on those days there were several feet of snow around too and it was January so the dead of our winters here. Our really wintery weather tends to settle in around Christmas and the worst is the end of January. Spring can be very variable with warm days one week and snow the next so a greenhouse is a great way of extending the season as I've written about before.

Our winter plans have to factor in our flock of sheep, our poultry which include laying hens and turkeys, and the pigs. Now the pigs are easy as they have been constantly escaping so the time has come to think about calling our friend Tim the butcher and having them processed. After their last break for freedom and a good roam around the farms near us, it was decided to call in the 'Dad' who simply blocked off their outside exit and confined them to the pig shed. No more pushing under the fence. They should be good there for the next little while. Then Tim will come do his thing and we'll be smoking bacon, making sausage and giving pork as Christmas gifts :) I want to make up a nice batch of English Bangers (sausages) and somehow deliver them to my father. It's only a problem because of the distance but I think it would make a great gift. We haven't made sausage since our last pigs were processed in BC and it was fun. I think we're going to stick with some basics recipes for breakfast sausage, bangers, mild Italian and maybe one spicy, haven't decided yet. But don't worry I'll keep you posted and have lots of 'how to' pics and maybe a video.

Most of our laying flock is now located underneath our back deck. Have you ever wondered what to do with that space? Well it's already got posts so we boarded and wired it all in and then covered the wire with 6mil poly to keep out a lot of the wind. Of course the roof is going to leak since that's what a deck is designed to do, and hanging plastic underneath can lead to pools of water that rip off the plastic. Your choices are to use a batten system in the undersides of the joists and make sure the water can run down and out without any build up, or plastic above on the top side of the deck. We don't use our deck in Winter so it's easy to just plastic the deck but it does make it virtually impossible to walk on as it's more slippery than ice. Trust me, I know!! I don't think there's room under there for the turkeys but we'll make it work.

The sheep of course love to be outside but they still need some protection from the harshest weather and the wind. Ours aren't a super hardy breed like the Swaledale and other hill breeds that live outside almost their whole lives, so we need some protection for them and it also gives us an easy place to keep their food and water. We've decided to move them into a single garage that's separate from our rental house but still in the same yard. It housed sheep previously so a thorough cleaning is needed but then it should be great. Just gotta move out the barrels of wheat and the oven and we'll be good to go. In the nastiest weather it will be great to have lights and power and to have them so close to hand. We'll get the addition finished and the mobile home ready for our family to live in over the winter and then move everyone, man and beast,to the farm in April. I can't wait to finally be on our own homestead full time!

Well I have to get going and start on the garage/barn. Have a wonderful day everyone!