Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Take Off

The garden is finally taking off.  It is sooo late in the season but better late than never I guess.  Have I made that statement before?

Peas, Onions, Potatoes

Peas, Beans, Root Veg
Buckwheat!


All but 4 beds planted.

Anyone want a satellite dish?

The front of the house is my next project.  We have to leave a footpath to the front door and a wider path so a vehicle can get to the septic tank.   The rest of the space will be raised beds.  These ones I'm going to make lasagna style by putting paper or cardboard over the grass and layering biodegradable materials on top such as manure and leaves.  By next spring it should be ready to plant.

Anyone want a massive old lilac?  Bring a backhoe and it's yours.

Barn Hop

Friday, June 24, 2011

Human Body Curriculum

We did a bit on the human body last year.  This year we are going to go a little more in depth.  I bought Basher: Human Body: A Book With Guts for our spine.  I like the Basher books, they are a fun read with cute pictures.  I also picked up an activity book called Easy Make and Learn Projects: Human Body.

I went through both books and came up with this lesson (chapters?) list;

Lesson 1:  Human Body
Lesson 2:  Cells
Lesson 3:  The Brain
Lesson 4:  Nerves
Lesson 5:  Eyes
Lesson 6:  Ears
Lesson 7:  Nose
Lesson 8:  The Exterior
Lesson 9:  Bones
Lesson 10:  Muscles
Lesson 11:  Respiratory System
Lesson 12:  The Heart
Lesson 13:  Circulation
Lesson 14:  The Digestive System

From there I did lots of searching, on Google and our library site to find books and links for us to explore for each subject.  Then I added my findings to a chart like this;


and so on.

The links are numbered and organized in my bookmarks like this;


Once the suggested activities, book etc are ticked off on the above chart for a complete lesson I'll give dd1 a sticker to put on this chart;



I know, I know, learning is it's own reward.  Still, nothing wrong with a little extra fun.

This is the format I'm using for most of the subjects.  There are a few that I'm doing a little differently, math and science for example.  We're going quite a bit more formal this year at dd1's request and to do that I need this kind of organization.

I'm looking forward to the fall!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Companions

Companion planting is really important for getting the most out of your space and making the work of gardening easier on yourself.


I had planted the space beside my greenhouse with grapevines set a couple of feet apart in a row.  The area between and underneath the vines has since grown in with grass and weeds.  I have no plans to keep weeding this bed, nor do we use chemical weed killer.  I also don't want to rely on gas fueled weed trimmers to keep the weeds down around my plants.  So how do I keep this area weed free for the grapes?

I Googled until I found a list of plants that are companions for grapes.  Thyme, oregano, chives and clover were on the list for their insect repelling abilities.   I don't need any more clover so that's a no.  Of the three remaining suggestions, oregano is the one that I find fills in the fastest and most dense.  So in went the oregano. It's also a perennial so won't need replanting year after year. 

Grapes and Greek Oregano
Soon enough this bed should be full of oregano.  No more weeding and lots of yummy Greek food in my future.

Farmgirl Friday

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sittin in the Sun



I was just sitting out in the sun earlier while the kids played in their little fishy pool. A friend had just been by to show us the leis she made out of daisies and clover from her yard. They were fantastic! The bar has definitely been set for the Luau costumes. I'm so excited about this party! For myself I had been looking at a 50's hibiscus cocktail dress on Ebay. It was gorgeous but maybe a tad formal so I bought a gorgeous navy and white sarong instead.  The seller has a huge variety of sarongs and pareos. There's a video on Youtube that shows you the different ways to tie them.

In addition to having everyone stand around looking gorgeous in their luau gear, Limey and I are planning a bunch of little contests for both the adults and kids.  Closer to the party we'll send out a schedule for them so you don't miss out on your favourite party game.

So far I'm thinking;

tug o' war
hoola hoop
sack race
limbo
pineapple bowling
beanbag toss into a cutout of a tiki mask

Any ideas for summer party games?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interesting Search Terms

I noticed recently that Blogger has a stats page.  One of it's features is that it records what people search to get to your blog.  Here's some interesting ones that led some of you here.

  • big boob june from the grocery store
  • truffles not dug up by pigs
  • NSFW photos
  • segst
  • throw a cheese party and invite me
  • love poo
So am I weird for having these keywords in my blog or are you weird for searching them?

Surprise! More Animal Photos

It took almost a year but we finally have a decent number of Buff Orpingtons. We just picked up these 10 weekers a couple of days ago. They are very calm and collected.

Two beautiful roos.

Three gorgeous hens.
I'm still amazed at how fast the geese are growing.  When I feed them, they stomp all over the little ducks with their big clumsy feet.
We renamed the biggest goose Hercules.

The pigs are growing well. Bully is still the biggest. The other 5 are all the same size now. If you stand too close to the gate they'll come over and chew on your pants. I've seen them nibbling on the odd hen that sneaks into their paddock.


We pretty much have all the animals we wanted.  I still want to switch out the goats to Nubians and get some sheep.  I have to wait a until next spring to grow my goose flock.  The Australorps will be ready to breed soon and it won't be long before we can hatch out the Orpingtons.

Fun, fun fun!

Barn Hop

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Frankenchicken Sees the Light

We moved the meat chickens outside this morning.  Actually we did a test run last night by putting 5 outside.  I wanted to make sure they weren't all going to die from exposure. 

Limey removed the hutches from the old chicken tractor and put a tarp on top to keep the wind and rain out.  He put the tractor in the paddock where we are currently keeping the baby ducks and geese. 

Honestly I didn't think that the Frankenchickens would actually walk around and eat something other than their chick builder.  When we moved them from the brooder to a bigger indoor aviary they still wouldn't move beyond their food dishes. 

I was wrong.

Look, they can walk!


The chicken at the back is actually eating the grass.
Well this is encouraging.  Maybe we can grow them out a little longer now.  I'm still a little paranoid that they will die of a heart attack at the 8 week mark.

How do you grow your meat chickens?  Any successes with free-ranging?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What's Growing On

The greenery is finally taking off here on the farm.  Most of the garden has been planted and lots of stuff has sprouted.  Let's take a walk shall we.

Lots of potatoes, onions and peas.

Onions, peas and root veg.

Bush beans.

Pear Tree

Apricot.

Coffee Chicory.

Tomatoes taking over the greenhouse.

Artichoke hiding amongst the tomatoes.
8 out of the 13 beds in the front have been planted.  Our old goat paddock has been planted with corn, melons, cukes, squash and pumpkins.   Once that stuff has grown in well, I'm going to let the chickens in there to eat up all the pests. 

How's your garden coming along?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Luau/Tiki Music

As much as I like popular music it's fun to keep on theme for a theme party.  For our tiki/luau party I've been compiling a list of Hawaiian and beachy tunes.

Here's what I have so far. 

  • "My Girl" Temptations
  • "This Magic Moment" Drifters
  • "Under the Boardwalk" Drifters
  • "Escape" Rupert Holmes
  • "Hawaiian Sunset" Elvis
  • "Blue Hawaii" Elvis
  • "Ku-U-I-Po" Elvis
  • "Rock-A-Hula Baby" Elvis
  • "Almost Always True" Elvis
  • "Moonlight Swim" Elvis
  • "Ito Eats" Elvis
  • "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" Drifters
  • "I've Got Sand in My Shoes" Drifters
  • "Coconut" Harry Nilsson
  • "Grapefruit Juicy Fruit" Jimmy Buffett
  • "Margaritaville" Jimmy Buffett
  • "Volcano" Jimmy Buffett
  • "Day-O" Harry Belafonte
  • "Kokomo" Beach Boys
  • "Good Vibrations" Beach Boys
  • "Help Me Rhonda" Beach Boys
  • "I Get Around" Beach Boys
  • "Fun, Fun, Fun" Beach Boys
  • "Surfer Girl" Beach Boys
  • "If You Want to be Happy" Jimmy Soul
  • "Summertime Blues" Eddie Cochran
  • "Up on the Roof" Kenny Lynch
  • "Summer Holiday" Cliff Richards
  • "Wipe Out" The Surfaris
  • "Sea of Love" Del Shannon
  • "Surf City" Jan and Dean
  • "Feelin Groovy" Harpers Bizarre
  • "Groovin" The Young Rascals
  • "Sugar Sugar" Archies
  • "Don't Worry Be Happy" Bobby McFerrin
  • "Oh I Love You So" Preston Smith
  • "Na Ka Pueo" Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
  • "Lei Hinahina" Keali'i Reichel
  • "Kaleohano" Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
I'm still looking for stuff by Don Tiki and Don Ho.  Beach themed movies like "Blue Hawaii", "Cocktail" and "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" are good for inspiration. 

If you have any suggestions for my playlist, leave them in the comments.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Escape!

I nearly had a heart attack this morning when I noticed the pigs were missing from their paddock. The electric fence was down and they had pushed through the wire fence into the goat paddock.

We got it back working for the pigs but the goat paddock is off until Limey's next day off.   The weeds have grown up quite a bit around the fence so it needs wacking back down.

It was funny seeing the goats interact with the pigs.  They weren't particularly impressed with the situation while the pigs loved playing around in the tall grass.

The lawn tractor is stuck at the back.  Battery won't recharge.



Practice

My camera is still dead. Canon apparently doesn't give advice over the phone. They will however diagnose and fix your camera for $150. Yeah, no. I'm going to spend $10 on a new battery from Ebay and see if that works. If not I'll reevaluate then. In the meantime I found dd1's old Powershot to use for the blog.

 Barn Hop

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Partay!

I started planning my tiki/luau party yesterday.  I usually send paper invites for my parties but this year I'm using Evite.  I emailed the first batch of invites last night.

Here's a peek at how it looks.  Pretty cute I think.


I spent most of the evening searching for songs to play during the party.  My favourite so far?  Coconut by Harry Nilsson.  How have I never heard this song before?!  It's awesome.  Here's Kermit the Frog's version.



We were going to do a pit roast pig but for financial/time reasons it's not going to happen this year.  Instead I'll make up some heritage ham and something goat related, curry maybe.  The food is going to have a Polynesian theme so that'll be interesting. 

I've also been brainstorming games for the party.  I want to have a bunch of little contests like hula hooping, limbo, best costume etc. 

I'm so excited.  I've always wanted to throw a big outdoor bash but our previous backyard wasn't particularly accessible.

If anyone can point me in the direction of stores that sell luau/tiki party supplies please let me know.  The dollar store in Greenwood doesn't have much and the shipping from Oriental Trading is just way too much.   I need a little bit of decor and lots of prizes!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Progress in the Herb Garden

While Limey planted pumpkins and corn yesterday, I continued toiling in the herb garden.




There was a ton of broken down hay in the goat paddock leftover from winter. I moved a bunch of it to the herb garden to lay in the paths. It's pretty thick so it should block the weeds. I added a third bed and replaced some of the failed herbs in the other two.


I still need to find some chives and dill to plant as mine are nowhere to be seen.


I finally got around to planting the ailing shrubs that I bought ages ago.  They had been burnt in the greenhouse and had been sitting around neglected far too long.  Limey weedwacked the mess that was against the house so I could plant them there.

He left one shrub for me to identify.  It's thorny so maybe a rose?  


I have quite a few different herbs planted now.  Still,  I'll be needing to place another order in at Richters to fill in the rest of the beds.  

What's growing in your garden today?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ducks and Geese

In bird news today, our muscovy hatch was a bit of a failure. Kaylee laid some eggs in the loft of the barn but couldn't get up there consistently so she gave up on it. Zoe 2.0 hatched out 10 and only 3 survived. Inara had about a dozen eggs and none hatched. She gave up on them the other day.

This morning I received a phone call from an acquaintance who was overrun with muscovy babies and wanted us to take some off her hands. So we did.  Here's our thirty new babies.


Paddock 1 has officially been designated as the nursery.  We have baby chicks, geese and ducks in there now. 

Speaking of geese, our American Buffs BABIES are now bigger than our adult muscovy ducks.  They are so adorable.


Sadly we lost a blue rooster today. He got into the pig paddock while we are out and we're assuming he died from the heat/dehydration. I guess he didn't notice the bantams drinking out of the pig bucket. It's a good thing we had two blue roos.

In other news TIKI PARTY!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unctuous

Did I ever tell you about the time I ate pig's feet?

It was a month or two ago that I finally got up the courage to pull the trotters out of the freezer and cook them up.  There were two options for the feet.  I could either cook them in a way to plate them as feet or I could cook them and chop up the meat before plating.  For obvious reasons I chose the latter.

I don't remember what recipe I used but the basic method was; shave, boil, mix, bake.





The longest part of the job was getting the hair off the feet.  Singing the hairs did not go well.  Shaving worked but it took forever.  After all the time spent prepping the dish, I was expecting to be wowed.

While looking up recipes for trotters I noticed that the only thing people could say about them was that they were unctuous.

Here's the definition according to TheFreeDictionary.com;

unc·tu·ous 
adj.
1. Characterized by affected, exaggerated, or insincere earnestness: "the unctuous, complacent court composer who is consumed with envy and self-loathing" (Rhoda Koenig).
2. Having the quality or characteristics of oil or ointment; slippery.
3. Containing or composed of oil or fat.
4. Abundant in organic materials; soft and rich: unctuous soil.

That doesn't sound promising does it?

After the feet were boiled and the meat (and I use that term loosely) was mixed with herbs and packed into ramekins, Limey was starting to get a bit put off.  "But it'll be unctuous!" I exclaimed.  Surely we wanted to experience something unctuous?  Limey just shrugged his shoulders, so into the oven it went.

Now I want to point out that it did taste fine.  It was a pretty generic meat taste, nothing particularly great or gross about it.  But the texture?  Oh it was unctuous all right.  Although at that point I was convinced that the word was actually an onomatopoeia.  I'm pretty sure that when I briefly held that trotter gunk in my mouth and then stuck out my tongue to let it slide back out, the noise I made combined with the sound IT made when it suctioned back onto the ramekin sounded just like

"Ungh-shhh-eww-ush"

Farmgirl Friday

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sick Days

If you have to take a sick day this is the perfect kind.  It's dark and dreary with the Weather Network calling for rain.  The house was miraculously clean this morning so all I had to do was feed the kids and milk the goats before plopping down on the sofa to drown my sick sorrows in the net.  The kids will spend their sick day reading.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bits and Bobs

  • We're sick again.  I think we need to live in a bubble.
  • The tomatoes in the hoop house are huge!
  • We have two 4x130' beds planted, just another 11 to go.  
  • The clay is so bad that it looks like my soil is full of rocks.
  • We're thinking about selling goat cheese but regulations are getting tighter.
  • Half of our quail hatch survived.  Half either hasn't hatched yet or died (spraddle legs) after hatching.
  • Half of the one duck's hatch died.  Somebody (the broody chicken?) pecked their heads until they were bald and bloody. 
  • One our new rabbits is proving to be quite the dud mother.  Off with her head!
  • We're in the market for a bigger freezer.  Anyone have a 25 cubic foot freezer they want to part with?
  • Hydro bill made me cry.   What do people who don't try to conserve energy have to pay?!
  • Rhubarb jam, rhubarb bread, rhubarb pie.  I might be sick of it now.
  • Also in the market for an all in one colour laser printer.  Any recommendations?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

9 Months

Ds is 9 months old. He's crawling, cruising and getting into things he shouldn't. One thing that he's particularly fond of is chillaxing with his dad.

I'm jealous. He doesn't snuggle with me.



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strawberries and White Chocolate

I've been checking out ice cream makers since we started milking goats. The cheapest I could find was $89 which I just couldn't bring myself to spend. The other day I happened to walk by a display of them on sale for $40. Who can pass up that kind of a deal? Not me apparently.

I gave it a whirl last night and for breakfast I had the loveliest strawberry and white chocolate goat milk ice cream I have ever tasted.


Frankly I'm surprised Limey didn't eat it all after I went to bed. He has the annoying habit of scarfing down an entire container of ice cream in one sitting before anyone has a chance to taste.

Yes Limey, I'm still bitter about the chocolate ice cream you stole from me last week.