Spring and Summer

Spring and Summer

Since this is a farm blog, I have tried to leave out a lot of personal details.  Trying to do that has been quite futile, I must say, and has led to either some very boring posts or simply just a lack of them.   Not that our farm is all consuming of our life (well it shouldn’t be), but it is interwoven with our life and therefore it is hard to separate farm topics from personal topics.  Although we have been very busy this spring and summer, I have also had a small case of writer’s block.  I am not sure I can classify myself as a writer because of writing these short blog posts!   A few months ago, a child that had been in our home for almost a year had to leave us.  It was a very difficult time for our family (still is actually), and I couldn’t write about it at all for a time.  However I felt it would be very difficult to write a post and not mention anything.  Therefore I didn’t write at all!  Of course our extra bed wasn’t empty for long.  That is the way of foster parenting.  It isn’t easy, but it is what God has called our family to do and we are privileged to be able to love so many special children. Each child that comes into our homes becomes one of us, when they leave there is a unique child-shaped-hole in our family that will never be filled.  They have become a part of our family and we know that in some small way, we have become a part of these children.

No more personal stuff…on to farm business.  So of course we have more chicken problems. We have lost at least 15 hens to predators.  We moved our chickens further from the house so that they could forage better. We hoped their feed consumption would decrease.  We also purchased an automatic door that opens at sunrise and closes at sunset to help prevent predators and maximize foraging.  I took a video of it in action, now I just need to figure out how to post it! The dilemma we are in is that our neighbourhood fox was quite smart and waited for dawn in order to come visit.  It was a great hunting strategy for him.  He could wait by the door until the sun comes up and it would very neatly open up and our poor stupid, unsuspecting birds hop right out into his reach! We have also had daytime visits from a coyote which is frustrating considering we have 2 dogs that are supposed to be doing something besides eating and sleeping.  Mike decided that enough was enough and got up at dawn and waited for the fox in an upstairs window.  He showed up right on time and it is safe to say that he will not be prowling around here anymore. I have pretty much given up on the whole thing, but Mike patiently goes on.

Our rainwater collection waterer. The rainwater is collected from eavestroughs into a barrel and then into this pipe with nipple waterers.

This is our rainwater collection chicken waterer. The rainwater is collected from eavestroughs (not yet installed!) into a barrel and then into this pipe with nipple waterers.

Our mobile coop is quite a distance from the house at the moment.

Our mobile coop is quite a distance from the house at the moment.

Our 'ChickenGuard' automatic door opener.

Our ‘ChickenGuard’ automatic door opener.

 

Other spring farm chores have included lots and lots of fencing, feeding baby lambs  and of course gardening.  We also said good-bye to our horse, Major, this spring.  He is going to Alberta to work on a sheep ranch.  We were too busy to give him the attention he needed and he had a problem with eating things he shouldn’t! The last example, was him eating the honey frames, wax and all.  Sheep and cattle chasing was another of his favourite pastimes.  We hope that regular work will keep him busy and help stop the annoying habits.  The kids, especially, were sad to see him leave.

Starting seeds.

We didn’t start a lot of seeds this year. Most of the vegetables were direct seeded into the garden.  One tray of tomatoes and one of corn was started in the house.

Feeding the lambs took so much time! Thankfully we are done with that now.

Feeding the lambs took so much time! Thankfully we have kids to help with that. Even they were getting tired of doing it at the end though.

Mike shearing the ram. We left it a little late because we have been busy. The poor thing was getting hot.

Here is Mike shearing the ram. We left it a little late because we have been busy. The poor thing was getting hot. We had never done it before and it took some practice.  Thankfully we only had one sheep to do.

Building the Fence

When building a rail fence, we need 4 rails and 5 pickets per panel.  On a good day, the kids and I drag them to Mike and he builds the fence. On a busy day, he gets to do it all himself!

 

Garden harvest has started with herbs and garlic.  We have been drying the herbs for winter use in the kitchen or for making our beeswax body care products.  We hope to have soap available this winter as well.  The garlic harvest went well and has been selling quickly.  Let us know if you want some.

Mike moves the cattle daily to fresh pasture.  For awhile the low rainfall had as worried if the pasture would last the summer. Thankfully some good heavy rains are helping the grass to grow back fairly quick. The heavy rains also came with lightning which unfortunately killed 2 young calves. The dry weather has also exacerbated some health problems in the herd.

The beef herd moving over the swamp to new pasture.

The beef herd moving over the swamp to new pasture.

 

Our family takes a day of rest and worship on Sunday.  If we are at home, we always take a walk to the back of the property.  It is a wonderfully refreshing time when we get to leisurely walk and enjoy nature and our farm without the pressure to be working.  Till next time…

Our youngest hiking with his 'walking stick.'

Our youngest hiking with his ‘walking stick.’

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Written by Vanessa White


Website: http://welshhill.com

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