Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stampede!! And a Contest.

No, we're not going to Calgary in July, although it would be great to break out my hat and boots for what amounts to a 10 day Stampede party each summer. Gosh I miss that!

We had a stampede here at the farm and consequently a death. Graphic pics follow so be warned. Sorry if you're reading this blog for the first time and this is the introduction you're getting. Stick with us! We said we'd be honest and let you know the good and the bad things that happened, well this would just be one of those accidents. I think our wwoofer is a little traumatised by the whole thing.

The escape artist black faced sheep we have called Houdini got out again, and when the guys opened the gate to get her back in the field, the other sheep got out. Sheep milling around in a small area is never a good idea, and with basically 44 hooves running and stomping around, you just know someone's coming off worse for wear. Usually it's my toes. Well, poor Frosty the rooster was found dead when the sheep went back in the field after eating my roses to stubs (bloody sheep!)

Eulogy for a Rooster.

Poor Ol' Frosty. He was a good Rooster.
Frosty lived a good and adventurous life free-ranging here at the farm from the day he hatched until Monday afternoon. He was one of the original roosters who survived the great cull of '13 by hiding behind the woodpile until the butcher had left. He survived again in '14 by being the only 'nice' rooster and gained the name Frosty for his refusal to enter the coop at night and thereby getting frostbite one cold blizzardy February day when we couldn't catch him. He was friendly, loved his ladies, and we'll all miss his gibbled walk and strangled cries as the sun rises each morning. Love you Frosty, have fun in Heaven! We'll miss you buddy.

Today is another pouring rainy day. It's steady now but was absolutely chucking it down earlier when I was out. It's hard not to get wet. The ducks loved it this morning but by noon were safely back in their house enjoying the dry bedding I'm sure. The stream/pond is back so they at least are enjoying a paddle in the yard whenever they want until it dries up again.
Sausages in Batter on the stove.
Watching them root through and dig up bugs and beetles is fascinating and also somewhat gross as they snort mud and water out of their nostrils. I think the rain is supposed to stop sometime tomorrow which is great because I've got several dozen raspberries I'd like to plant in the garden as well as peas and lettuce. The soil will have cooled down again with this wet weather so I'll have to wait a week or more before I can get beans in just in case they rot in the soil. It's the same with corn, you need warmth so that they sprout before they just rot out. I'll probably aim for a dry week in mid June for beans and corn. Then I'll underplant the corn with squash once the corn is about 6 inches high. If you plant at the same time the squash have a tendency to smother out the growing stalks so I'm just giving the corn a little bit of a head start.

It's cool in the house, being a high of 8 degrees today, so I lit a fire and cooked lunch. Toad in
Comfort food on a cool wet day.
the Hole! Yum! For those of you who aren't English, this would be sausages cooked in Yorkshire pudding batter. Now making this in the oven is a snap. Bt since I still don't have a working oven I decided to try it on the top of the woodstove. And it worked after a fashion. I heated the stove up first for an hour, used a lid to keep the heat in but it fogged up a lot so I vented it regularly. After all was said and done it worked but wasn't as puffy as usual, it was delicious, and used no electricity. I just served it with gravy and lots of carrots. We were so happy to have a nice warm lunch and be sitting in the warm kitchen that I totally forgot to take a photo of the finished product before we scarfed it down. It was cooked enough, but only half puffy and not browned on top. Still delicious though as evidenced by the fact there's not one crumb left over!

It's at least dry in the greenhouse where the chicks are hanging out suntanning under their heat lamp. I've got my tomatoes about a third potted and ready for sale and the rest I've been procrastinating. It looks like I'm going to have extras so I propose a challenge to you all, my lovely readers.

Contest closes June 6th, 2015. But feel free to comment anyways :)

Write to me and tell me the 3 most important things you have learned, or 3 things you would like to learn about homesteading and I'll enter you in a draw for a dozen of my best plants. Peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Sound like a good deal? Now I realize that many of you will read this after the end of June and I'd still love the feedback. Or if you win and live far away (hello New Zealand and India!) I'll send you seeds so you can grow your very own plants for next season or a gardening book. I know some countries don't allow me to mail seeds. I'd love to meet fellow Annapolis Valley Farmers as well and also get some more ideas of what you'd all like to hear about. Life at the farm can sometimes be just more of the same old same old so you're helping keep me inspired. Either comment on the blog or email me. I can't wait to hear form you!


  1. Okay, here goes :D
    3 things that I have learned or want to learn about homesteading.
    1. You can never have too much fencing or too many fence poles.
    2. This one is for my husband. You must endeavour to aquire ALL possible tractor implements. During this process you must build a massive building to house said implements.
    And for #3. I want to build a Mini Food Forest. The design phase is killing me though.
    Perhaps you'd like to build one for inspiration.

    1. in alberta we made a very random mini food forest. My kids took our seeds and planted the all over the woods by the ravine behind our house...lol

  2. Hi! I was directed to your blog via a Facebook post, and thought I might join in the fun. The three most important homesteading things I have learned over the years have been

    1. How to process wood for burning in the wood stove. It was important to know how seasoning affects the wood that I burn, and what types of wood to use for hotter or longer lasting fires.

    2. How to make soap. This is more of a hobby, and I have made both hot process and cold process soaps, but I do not sell it, and would have trouble using the amount of soap you can make in one day. It is nice to be able to make it without some of the commercial additives though.

    3. I am the most proud of this one. Learning to use a pressure canner! Living in the Annapolis Valley means that there is a seasonal aspect to produce pricing. I am not so much of a gardener, but being able to preserve 100 pounds of parboiled carrots in the fall (bought in bags as seconds for cheapy cheap) means there are carrots on the shelf all winter. I also learned to make some simple soups that can well or are used as starters for meals in the colder months.

    Three homesteading things I would love to learn are

    1. Hobby beekeeping. I have 100 mature blueberry plants that I think would benefit from 1 hive sitting down in the field. I really don't know if this is something a person could do as a hobby, or if it is just too labour intensive. (I love the look of those new FLOW hives, but they seem a little pricey)

    2.Again with the Blueberry plants. Pruning advice.

    3. Advice on how to get rid of all these Black and Red ants. I am pretty sure the hill occupies 2 full acres. I have tried the Borax mixture. It works but in such small areas that it is not really effective.

    I enjoyed reading today's blog, and I will scroll through your past entries. Toad in the hole for me is an egg cooked in the cut-out centre of a piece of bread.

    Thanks for the Contest!


    1. i would like to make soap to...i am at the melt and pour stage with my castile soap.

  3. I am not a farmer, but i am trying to grow as much food for our family as possible in our yard :) WE are in the one day we will own our own phase :)
    three things I would like to learn are:
    1. how and when to plan and plant
    2. what grows well in the valley will minimal skill and what i should not waste effort starting from seed.
    3. how to store and preserve to last until next season

    I would also love to kids garden tips

  4. 1 start small. only do what you can manage.
    2. Grow slowly.
    3 be sure to grow things you like to cat/ can preserve.

  5. I have always wanted to do a veggie garden, I think homegrown is the way too go, but my trouble, I don't even know what's best to plant and how much to plant of each to keep us going all summer. Maybe a guild on what veggies are the easiest to start with to help build up a newbies confidence before jumping all the way it!

  6. I tried to post once already, but I don't think it worked. Anyway!
    My family always did gardens, but I never paid much attention to the details of the process, as a child. My enthusiastic husband's family were non-gardeners, but he's determined to learn. Our main goal in doing our own vegetable garden is to save money (and also get good organic food) ... but I worry that we may give up if the learning curve proves to be less than cost-effective.
    1 - What veggies grow well as neighbors ... and which ones do not?
    2 - What kinds of veggies attract what kinds of pests (particular here in the Valley)? And how to do prevent infestations?
    3 - When is the best time to plant which veggies? Back in Alberta, I'm pretty sure that we always had our gardens planted by May long weekend. Are we already too late? Or is this normal in Nova Scotia?

  7. 1. Plan before buying
    2.Fence before buying
    3.Research before doing


    1. Phil. Would you email me please? You won the contest. :) I agree with your comments but not sure how you'd fence before buying. I definitely agree that fencing is very important. I'd say that sheep escaping the fences is the cause of 75% of my farming frustration.

    2. I think Phil Meant : research 1st, , then plan, then draw a plan of the fence so you can figure out what you need and can figure out an estimate cost for the fence.