Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh it's spring?

 photo goatsblog_zps1d0e88d2.jpg

As usual, spring has decided to give us a little taste of all the seasons at once. It's been fun... mostly.

Today it's snowing, and the goats wanted nothing to do with heavy rain that turned into heavy wet snow, so they stayed inside where it was dry, and warm.

 photo flavmudblog_zps746b955c.jpg

Flavious however took full advantage of the mud... he loves it. At least this time it's not manure... he also loves that.

Things have been fairly busy here. Breakup brings lots of mud and makes it hard to get around the farm - it's not a good time for visitors, or a good time for us to have to leave the farm for any reason since most of our road is usually waist deep in mud or washed out. We were not sure if it was going to be much of a year for maple syrup, but although late compared to the past several years, the sap did run we started boiling right after my last post.

 photo walktomudblog_zpsba452f1b.jpg

This was the road to the sugar shack, and a perfect example of what I mean by "breakup" and not "driving the roads." Just a wee bit of a mess.

 photo maplebucketblog_zpse033159d.jpg

We got a surprising amount of sap, and it ran really good for a while.

 photo boilblog_zpsed1ddfb8.jpg

The guys boiled for 5 or 6 days straight. It's a big and looong job. Although usually we stay in the sugar house boiling until midnight or later, Kevin quit by about 7:30 each night so he could get some rest. I wasn't as involved as usual this year because of my health, but it was Jim's first time ever making syrup and he was quite excited to be able to help and be a part of it.

 photo canningblog_zpsf0c32c61.jpg

Bottling is a huge job... half of it got done in the sugar shack and then we moved the operation to the house, to our sun porch, where Kevin and I finished it the other day. We got 4 gallons of syrup which for us, is plenty. We could have got a lot more, but we do this for fun, so when the exhaustion kicks in or other projects need to be done, it's time to stop. The syrup this year is the best we've ever made - we've made lots of good syrup before but this is the darkest richest syrup we have made, and the maple flavor is nice and deep.

 photo plantingseedblog_zps9d1e303c.jpg

Once the syrup was finished it was time to get out and seed our hay fields before all the snow went - it's best to seed them when it's still wet in the spring. We bought a little seeder for the ATV and we seeded about 15 acres... our fields are small pioneer fields that were cut out of the forest, all spread out over our acreage... a few of the best ones we cannot reach since with our machinery - they were build for horses and still only accessible by them, or by foot. They haven't been used since 1952 for hay until we cut them last year. A couple of them already have a lot of timothy in them but they need to be thickened up, which takes time... we are hoping at least some of the seed will take though and give us a little more bulk this summer.

 photo deeryardblog_zpscc08eb55.jpg

The absolute best news that I have is that the deer have come back! Never in the past decade have we spent a winter without our deer friends until this one. The heavy snow, ice, and cold temperatures caused the deer to all yard up together after Christmas, mostly for protection against the predators... we haven't even seen a deer or deer track since then. Not on our property, but also not in this area at all. A few days ago Kevin spotted some tracks nearby and within a day the deer started to show up, Deer Norman, our buck, included. It was a huge relief to see them, and know they are OK. They won't stay long now since they always move on in the spring, but we are enjoying having them around daily now again. We missed them terribly. It's been such a long and strange winter here with my health, Kevin's health, the deer being gone, and such long lasting bitter cold... We, like a lot of you, sure are glad to be on the backside of it.

 photo lavender1blog_zps83f17c7e.jpg

My bottle baby Lavender is doing great, and growing like a weed!

 photo bottleblog_zps0ad1d365.jpg

It's hard to believe she's only just over a month old, she's double the size of the other kids!

 photo wallysunblog_zps252b5bdd.jpg

And cute little smiling Wally is doing great...

 photo hickoryblog_zpsb73f6282.jpg

All of this years kids are doing really well. I cannot believe I ended up with FIVE boys this year and only one girl, but I expected as much since most of my does give me opposites every year, but still - that's a lot of boys! Hopefully later in the spring or early summer I'll be able to find all of them really good homes. This guy, little Hickory is so precious, he loves to snuggle.

 photo horacedogsblog_zps66d1e256.jpg

The dogs are missing the snow but adjusting. Horace, my Black Welsh wether thinks he has special control over them, seeing they drop at his feet whenever he walks by... ;)

 photo turkeysblog_zps4dd82749.jpg

The turkeys have been very busy strutting their stuff... showing off for the girls... and everyone else too...

 photo sunporchblog_zps1bfd9457.jpg

And we had all been enjoying the warmer weather, until today. On the weekend I even got to sit outside and work on some jewelry for a while... the boys were so happy to be out on the porch again.

 photo geeseblog_zps44ab7140.jpg

I've managed some short hikes...

 photo IMG_3720blog_zps37b8cd0b.jpg

Which I have enjoyed immensely... I look forward to being strong enough to take four or five hour hikes again like we used to but it feels so good to be able to get out and about a little bit.

 photo IMG_3732blog_zpsef37a0f3.jpg

Kevin made an amazing find the other day! Just behind our sugar shack, in one of our hay fields he found a Timberdoodle, AKA Woodcock, sitting on her nest! She jumped up and flew in front of him and he saw there was one freshly laid egg in there. It's incredible. They are my favorite birds, along with the Whip-poor-Wills... it's amazing how much their feathers look like leaf litter and the ground, they blend so well..which they have to, it's hard to believe they just lay their nests out in an open field on the ground. I have been waiting patiently for the male who lives at the creek outside our bedroom to come back, in the spring evenings he calls (meeps) for the ladies and I love listening to him. These guys are really difficult to spot, so I was so excited we were able to find this girl actually sitting on her nest. In about 20 days she might have new babies too.

It's cold this evening and we are all tucked in by the fire just waiting for this to pass. I took advantage of the cold and made a huge pot of soup and the wood stove is roaring away.

I'm glad April is here... even if she is pretty moody :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Welcome Wally!

 photo WALLY_zps3e71cfcb.jpg

Yesterday, April fools day, also my Papa's (Grandfathers) Birthday, Beatrice, my last pregnant doe delivered this adorable little boy into the world!

I had a rough night, I was up crying most of it, and then in the morning, the cutest, happiest, healthiest, little guy was there, and it just made everything better. Look at that face - I mean, seriously!!

He's so sweet, so gentle, so round. He's quite small too - although you can't tell from that picture. Beatrice is a Saanen but all my girls were bred to my Pygmy buck. This little guy, whom I named Wally, after my Papa, is short and squat, like a Pygmy. His black nose is adorable too. I'm in love. I know, I'm in love with all of them, but he's a real cutie.

 photo kissingwally_zpse9544519.jpg

AND he's a snuggler! Which makes him even cuter. He loves a cuddle, and lets you smother him with kisses in between his naps.

Beatrice is such a great mom too.

We've had a weird few days here. The sap did start to run. On Tuesday we had a pretty good day around here, the sap started to run, the sun came out, and I felt fairly good even. I had a productive day, but still did not over do.

 photo blog1_zpse8752beb.jpg
The dogs and I even got to sit out in the sun for a bit and just soak it up... it was heavenly. It felt so good. Don't let this picture deceive you - we are 14 feet up on the deck and it's been shoveled, all our snow is still here! But it felt so good, and it felt like... spring for the first time yet. The dog were so happy to be out on the deck. 

Since then, I've had a rough couple of days unexpectedly but I'm getting through. Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post and just your support, it means a lot to me. Someone asked me whether I had considered or believed in holistic means and also Essential oils - I couldn't write back to you because your email wasn't listed but I wanted to mention here that yes I do believe and use both. :)

Lately since my whole routine is still off, I have mostly been taking pictures with my phone which I carry with me in case I get in trouble and need someone to come get me, if I am alone at the barn or wherever. I post a lot on Instagram but I realize not all of you see those pictures, so I thought I'd share some here from the last few days. I miss my camera though, and I have been starting to carry it more often, at least when I am more in routine, which I hope becomes more often than not sometime soon!

 photo WBRAVEHEART_zps0129d5f0.jpg
Here's me and Braveheart, my blind ram last week. He's still my baby, even though he is 250 pounds now. 

 photo WLAMB1_zps136e8ca8.jpg

There are few things in this world that can compare to that kind of love... maybe nothing can compare actually... 

 photo WBOTTLE_zpsfc7cb0c5.jpg
Little Lavender my bottle baby is growing like a weed!

 photo WOUTSIDE_zps47493372.jpg
She's a real character too! She's a real cutie. That's Puffin beside her, almost a year old! And the Pygmy babies from this year are the same size as her! She has grown out, but not up at all. She's so adorable.

 photo WCHICK2_zpsfed14294.jpg
A couple of days ago, Jim helped me clean the chicken coop out, which made me feel very good. It was warm out, although grey, and the girls had fun outside while they got a full house cleaning. 

 photo WPUG_zps02a02e71.jpg
I got in a short walk with the boys too, which they loved - minus the wet feet.

 photo WHOUSEMARCH13_zps689a783f.jpg
As you can see, we still have a lot of snow. We have had snow into April before but this is certainly some of the most we've had in recent times. If you go anywhere we have never shoveled or plowed, like in a field or the bush, you'll still sink up to your waist.

 photo WMAXSLEEP_zpsfb7b99fb.jpg

We are all anxiously awaiting it's departure. Except for Max. He loves it.

 photo WBUCKLING_zpsb9dd4b54.jpg
This years Pygmy boys are growing up, and more adorable all the time. Look at the red mustache :)

 photo noel_zpsb81e1450.jpg
I started just briefly on spring nail trims and Noel, one of my Mini Rex was up first this morning and she was not pleased about it either... 

 photo yukon_zpsf1462822.jpg
Yukon, one of bottle babies, was all for it though. A while ago when I was up to the barn after a time away because of my health, he felt the need to completely spray me with pee to mark me. He has never done that in 5 years and I've had a lot of rabbits too and only had that done once before. Now that he sees me everyday, he's much happier and marking me by rubbing me with his head instead of spraying pee all over me, which is nicer for me, I'll admit.

 photo WHOTCROSS_zps69f9edbd.jpg
I managed to get some Hot Cross buns made the other day too, something I've been craving for a while. I love them toasted and smothered in butter - and hot out of the oven works too!

Yesterday I drug myself to the barn to milk and then spent the entire day in bed. Today was a little better. I managed to get my milking done and also some chores with Jim's help, and I also managed to get a big tray of cabbage rolls made and into the oven before taking some time out to rest.

On days of the year that I remember my loved ones, well I remember them everyday, but certain days in particular, I honor them, I do so by making something they just loved to eat. My Papa loved pierogi, but he also loved cabbage rolls. In a few more days, on the 9th, I'll make one of my mothers favorite things, funnel cakes. I do this every year as a happy way of remembering them through smells, and tastes, and also it's something that made them happy, and thus, me. 

Kevin and Jim have managed to collect about 100 gallons of sap so tomorrow they will likely start a boil. It's going to be a super short run, and we are hoping for a gallon or two. More would be great but it seems unlikely - we'll be happy with anything at this point. The birds have all returned, the Goose has claimed our still frozen pond, I saw 6 Great Blue Heron's fly over yesterday and the Red Winged blackbirds are in the yard. So spring is here, even if it doesn't really look like it yet. :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

March...

 photo IMG_3635blog_zpsf68ba6d5.jpg

I started writing this post two weeks ago. It's been open on my laptop and I have tried to come back to it a couple of times without success. It's been a rough couple of weeks again. I've been really struggling as this goes on, but I'm trying very hard to just take one day at a time. I tried to go out with Kevin to run some errands a week ago after days stuck in bed in misery, and I ended up in the ER.

All we can really do now is take things one day at a time and one step at a time. Appointments take time. Treatment options (which I hope become more available) take time. So it's useless to try and rush through. I am going into a little gentler time of month in the next few days, so hopefully I'll have a few good days before I'm at the start of this cycle again. Kevin has also taken ill, so it has been a time of focusing on keeping our farm and household running the best we can, and trying to take care of ourselves at the same time.

The weather has been... nuts. It's been warm and melting, freezing again, raining, snowing, sleeting. You name it. The sap has run maybe twice and both times were very short runs giving us less than half a bucket of sap, not nearly enough to even bother boiling. It's been an unusual spring here compared to the past several years. It has been a very strange winter here, one like I've never seen. We have not seen a single deer since New Years, and we always have deer into April with us. We haven't found a single deer track. The winter was cold, and harsh. And here we are at the end of March, and we haven't even been able to boil one pan of sap because it hasn't run.

Today it's raining, which I'm grateful for. I am keeping the wood stove going, and after chores was able to get some Hot Cross bun dough made, so that is rising by the fire. We have been waiting on a delivery of feed all morning, they have to leave the feed a mile from our house because they cannot drive our lane, so I have been anxious worrying that it would get wet and ruined, but it arrived safely and Jim picked it up for us and brought it home.

All of the animals are well, thankfully. Everyone is anxiously awaiting an improvement in the weather. They are inside today, where they are warm and dry. All of the babies are doing great and growing like weeds, they have all doubled, maybe tripled in size!

My last pregnant doe, Beatrice is due next week. She's getting very close. It will be a lot nicer for this little kid coming into the world now, at our usual time of year, than it was for the surprise kids that came so early in the cold.

I have a bunch of pictures to share but I'm so not organized right now. All of these pictures are from the last two weeks all on different days so please bare me with, you'll see mud, snow, ice, and a mixture of everything in them :)

I am excited about the changing weather, and I am finding a new level of patience I didn't know I had. Yesterday I had twenty minutes where I had zero pain - none. I have not had zero pain since one partial day in August and I was still taking meds from my surgery then. It was a miracle, I felt like I had been transported to a different body. I hope it was a message that good things will come in time and with the right path forward. It didn't last very long, but it was a huge blessing.

Here are a few pictures from our March...

 photo IMG_3641blog_zpsb000931d.jpg



 photo stormblog_zpsd678946d.jpg



 photo IMG_3601blog_zps76239dc8.jpg


 photo IMG_3610blog_zpsb0ac9ad1.jpg



 photo IMG_3617blog_zps4a4e4786.jpg



 photo IMG_3620blog_zpscb53dc3e.jpg

Little Miss Sunshine, AKA Puffin was sure enjoying sunning herself...

 photo IMG_3622blog_zpsbdad81d5.jpg

And trying to look taller than she is...

 photo snowblog_zpsb1ef32db.jpg

more snow, after a bunch of it melted...

 photo goatsblog_zpsff6a5c66.jpg

Kevin had to come and plow the barnyard a bit so everyone wouldn't be standing in snow... they appreciated it...

 photo bulrushbarnblog_zps86982df1.jpg

Especially the short ones...

 photo sugarshackblog_zps4648fe85.jpg

The sugar shack asleep in the forest...

 photo babyblog_zps93940685.jpg

Lavender has been spending more time in the barn - during the day, so she can play with the other babies. When it's too cold for them to be outside, they get the run of the place inside and love climbing on the hay.

 photo babysleepblog_zps35f5e6f7.jpg

And then the rest of the time, she relaxes in the rocking hair.

 photo foamymilkblog_zps1710b13a.jpg

I have really been enjoying having fresh milk again... there really isn't anything better...

 photo freshcreamblog_zps950ab3cd.jpg

except fresh cream... it's like gold to me...

 photo rolliesleepblog_zps619c4e19.jpg

And the boys, they are staying warm by the fire, waiting for it to warm up so they can get back outside for another expedition.

I apologize for falling behind on blogging, and also a lot of your blogs. It's not on purpose and I don't plan on making it long term either. It's been a slow month, focused on rest, going through the motions... survival.

But the time of renewal is coming.
Related Posts with Thumbnails