Saturday, January 31, 2009


I was getting on such a roll, blogging. Then I had a really unhappy incident last week, and it kinda put me on the skids. One of my milk cows, Shelly, a beautiful, young brown swiss girl, passed away after being down for nearly a month to the day last Sat. I'm still having a tough time processing it and typing it. The whole saga can be found at the Keeping a Family Cow boards . I'm not sure I feel like typing it out right now. Basically, I went out Christmas morning to milk, nice and early. Shelly was down, and couldn't get up. Even after a roller coaster month, which I may not have survived without the support of all the wonderful people on the KFC boards, when we tried so many things, and when I truly thought she would recover-we lost her.

To most people, who don't happen to spend a good deal of time with their heads pressed against a cow's flank, it probably doesn't seem like that much of a loss. But spending that much time with an animal, especially a beautiful, kind animal, who's milk nourishes your family, you get very close to them-probably closer than many people are with their dogs. And her loss hurts every bit as much as when I had to make that horrible decision last September and take Sabu, our German Shepherd girl, Leroy's and my first "baby" in to be put down. I'm still crying as I type this post (and this isn't something I'd readily share-but it tells you how deep this hurts).

Shelly was a sweet lovely cow, who loved all "her" calves, and was an awesome nurse cow, as well as a super milk cow. She wanted to be in movies one day, I'm sure, due to her affinity for the camera-I swear that cow understood english, and you'd just have to mention the camera and she'd be right there, posing. Not to mention if you brought it out! Then she'd call all her foster calves over, convinced they should be in the shot too!!

Anyways, I miss her dearly. I know stuff happens when you're dealing with livestock. But, even when you know this stuff happens, it's hard when they leave such an impact on you.

Rest in peace, Shelly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bathing Buddy

Yes, that photo is exactly what you think it is-a miniature horse in a bathtub. Yes, in OUR bathtub! How? You might ask? Well, reasonably simple, really. We just put a halter on him and led him, up the few stairs into the house, down the hallway (yes, we put down mats and towels to prevent him slipping on the lino tile floor!) and into the bathtub (again, with towels to prevent slippage.) We used a few carrots (his favourite!) to help tempt him, but all in all, he was a pretty willing participant. Why? You may also rightfully ask? Well, Buddy has a chihuaha complex-he thinks he's bigger than he is (at least, he's right when it comes to his attitude!) He also thinks he is still a stud. Or at least he did, til one day he escaped thru the space between our gate and fence (which I didn't realize he could do, having already blocked the space under the fence he'd previously escaped from). Buddy then proceeded to get into the pasture containing our stallion and mares, and, more than likely, started hitting on the mares. Nickels' mares. Not a good idea. Now Nickels happens to be an extremely laid back stallion. Extremely. But he's still a stallion. And a lil pipsqueak like Buddy hitting on his mares has to tick any stallion off. The evidence that Nickels is a marshmallow at heart really shows in the fact that Buddy is still walking this earth-being that Buddy is about 300 lbs to Nickels' 1200 lbs!! But he did chew him up very badly, causing a nasty infection on Buddy's back, where all the hide is now peeling (yes, it is nasty!). I have been treating Buddy, and he is healing very well. However, his sores were looking pretty nasty (and I won't mention the smell!), and I needed to clean him up. But you can't very well bath a horse outside when it is -30C out. Nor in the garage. And spot cleaning wasn't working either-he needed a good shower. So, I thought-they train mini horses as guide horses and bring them in the house. Besides, Buddy isn't much bigger than our German Shepherd and I wouldn't hesitate to bath her in the tub-so why not? I have found animals to become much more trusting and manageable after an injury, when they see you are trying to help them. Buddy has been no different-in fact, he's a totally different horse, and becoming a pleasure (rather than a menace) to be around. He was totally co operative, and really seemed to enjoy his warm bath.

(Yes, I did bleach out the tub well after he was finished! : ) )

Afterwards, I kept him in the house for most of the day, til I was able to find my hair dryer and finish drying him off super well. He was then blanketed in his cute red and white striped wool blanket, and put back out. However, he now thinks he should come right in the house all the time, instead of staying in the garage, when I bring him in for his daily treatments!

Just another small snapshot into mi vida loca, here on the farm!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Champagne Birthday!

Tabitha had her champagne birthday this year! (of course, as we couldn't celebrate with champagne, due to her age, and my pregnancy, we settled for sparkling apple cider instead!) That's right, on January 4th, my lil girl turned 4! Already! Can you believe it? I can't!! I keep thinking of her as the teeny sweet lil baby girl we brought home from the hospital-where did she go? In her place, I have an absolute lil dynamo! She loves animals of all kinds, especially baby ones, and is always up for helping me to bake. She's also tough minded, stubborn and independant as all get out. And just the prettiest thing you've ever saw! She's Daddy's girl, and not afraid of anything! She's the one going "faster, faster Daddy!" when we're out ski dooing, and it doesn't matter how many times Buddy the mini horse bucks her off, she's back on, showing him who's boss!

She requested pizza and chocolate cake for her birthday this year. I need a LOT of pizza to feed this crew (already!) so I opted for doing a homemade one. Tabitha and Wyatt really enjoyed helping me to top it with mozz cheese, pepperoni, tomato slices, chopped green pepper, and pineapple tidbits.

Then I made my favourite chocolate cake recipe, from one of my all time favourite cookbooks, ever, given to me by Grandma Bailey. It's called "The Best Little Cookbook in the West" by Irene Mclaren, and it truly is! I did a double batch of this cake, baked it in two 9"X13" pans, and did up a custard filling, which I sandwiched between the two layers.

I used the frosting recipe from the same cookbook, but added a little milk to thin the chocolate part.

Everyone agreed it was one of the best cakes I've made! And Tabitha sure enjoyed getting to decorate her own cake!!

Table for three! Enjoying their pizza!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


In keeping with my current retroblogging theme, I'm sharing an interesting incident that occurred this summer.

It was later in the evening, and I was heading into the hen house to pick eggs and feed the birds. Many of the silly things were huddled in the outside run, and it was fast nearing dusk. I commented to them what dumb birds they were, that they should go in immediately-why their death waited outside for them, from damp or owls!! If only they could have spoken, they would have told me how they'd rather take their chances out there, thank you very much!!

When I opened the door, a frightful sight greeted me!! MANY of my beautiful, heritage breed (read expensive!) young replacement layers, whom I had babied most of the summer, were massacred, on the floor of the henhouse. My eyes had barely adjusted to the shock, when I became aware of a flapping noise, coming at me. I quickly backed out, and slammed the door shut, then peeked back in. Much to my surprise and utter amazement, this sight greeted me:

My initial impulse was to rush in and wring the dang thing's neck right then and there, but-well, how often do you see a hawk sitting in your henhouse? So, I made sure it couldn't escape (who would believe me if it got away before I got a snap of it?) and ran for my camera.

I should also have taken a shot of the horror laying on the floor in front of me-while I don't think I will forget it that quickly, it would help illustrate the impact to you, dear reader.

You see, I don't think I would have been near as upset if this bandit had taken one or two birds for itself (all things have to eat, I suppose)-but it did in about 10, and left them on the floor of the pen. Why??

Oh, guess I should share how it got in too!! The only way it could have entered the henhouse-was to swoop down thru the small part of the outdoor that wasn't covered with net (ran out of netting, darn it all!) and walk into the coop just like a chicken!

Cleverly devious, that one!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baby Talk!!

Our newest baby is on the way!! 19 weeks gestation u/s pic shown here.

Seeing as I am playing catch up by retroblogging this week, (don't you just love that term?) It makes posting late entries seem-well, stylish or something....Oh wait-maybe that's just me! : )and also, b/c I haven't announced yet to the blog about our impending new arrival (though most likely everyone who reads this blog already knows, esp as we're over the halfway there mark-LOL!) I'm going to celebrate by posting last years critter baby pix! Especially as the weather has really moderated here lately, causing Jesse to run in yesterday yelling "Mommy, Mommy! Spring is coming!"
(Besides, who doesn't love pix of babies, no matter what time of year it is? : ) )

Ok, first, let's talk about the human baby!! Yes, our 4th little one is due May 12, 2009! We're very excited, even Daddy, once he got over the shock!! Jesse keeps holding up 4 fingers and telling Daddy "we need a van, Daddy, 'cause there's gonna be 4 of us now!" (Mommy thinks a van would be nice too-no more squishing Wyatt with her (growing!) tummy while buckling Tabitha in, not to mention, more room to haul goats and chickens! )

Jesse and Tabitha have decided this baby will be a girl. After how much fun it was not knowing what gender Wyatt was (though somehow Jesse knew-he insisted the whole time that he was getting a brother!!), I decided I didn't want to know. Ok, well, maybe just a teensy lil bit-I'd love to be using this time to be knitting up a bunch of pink and purple soakers and longies, and sewing cute lil dresses if I knew for sure we were having a girl! But, anyways, baby made it easy for us, by having his/her back to us during the u/s-no way to know for sure! This lil one knows how to keep us in suspense! Even from when we found out s/he was on the way!!

We were VERY surprised to learn this baby was on the way, LOL!
I'd realised that I'd been feeling a bit "spacey" on one Sunday in September, while at work, and kind of emotional too. Come to think of it, I'd been narcoleptic type tired the whole week!
Then that same day, after a lovely meal at my Mom's, as I was leaving, I felt like I was going to throw it back up! Weird, I thought, must be going too hard, maybe I need to slow down and rest a bit. Then I got home and was going thru emotions, rapid fire. Leroy asked (brave guy-or is that foolish?!) when I'd be finished with PMS for this month, 'cause it seemed like I'd had it an awful long time. I looked at him, deer in the headlights style, running dates thru my mind. I then started counting days on the calendar. Then went and took a test, which immediately turned positive, to my surprise! I took it to him, and all he could say is "what's this? what does this mean?" After I explained, he spent the first few months wandering around in shock, muttering "4 kids, 4 kids" over and over, poor man, LOL!!

I'm extremely amused by my due date. You see, we have quite the pattern going (and won't it be cool if this baby keeps it?!). See, we have birthdays in January (Tabitha), February (Leroy and I), March (Wyatt) and April (Jesse). This baby is due in May. My babies have a habit of being about 2 days late-which means that this baby could be born on the 14th. So were Jesse and Wyatt, with Tabitha being born on the 4th. Mine's on the 24th. Only Leroy is the oddball, being born on the 9th-LOL! All of my babies have been born on the birthdate of someone I know. There is a very special person I know with a birthday on May 14th! Another interesting pattern-Jesse (oldest) was born on a Mon. Tabitha (2nd) born on a Tues. Wyatt (3rd) born on a Wed. Guess what day of the week May 14th falls on? Perfect, no?! Sooo-I guess we'll see......

(Yes. A stylish mirror shot of myself, at 23 weeks pregnant! Please ignore the messy bedroom background.....)

Ok, I know this one is really old, as Penny is over a year now, and this was when we first got her. But-wasn't she a sweet baby, being snuggled by my lil man?

First nurse time. You can see Neena is loving on her new lil boy!

Close up. He's got his Daddy's star!

A slightly older version. He is named Ulmers Nickels Ursa, and has gone to live with Laura and Wayne Henkel of Hightimber Horses, where he will be used at stud!

This is proud mama cow, Shelly, who LOVES photos. All I had to do to find out where her calf was (I knew she'd had him!) was to bring out the camera and say "ok girl, where's that baby?" She moo'ed, and took me right to him!

And isn't he a sweetie? He kinda reminds me of a (huge) fawn, all curled up there!

A barn full of newborn baby goats! This was only from TWO mamas! (We had LOTS of triplets born last year!)

A housefull of baby goats! (I swear I didn't lay them out like that! Silly critters!!)

Miss Tabitha and her "baby", Swiper! His momma didn't want him (she's like that-she only picks one out of her multiple births to love, and strongly objects to the others. Poor Swiper. However, he actually fell into a soft spot that way. Originally destined to be dinner (for someone!) he is instead Tabitha's pet, and so therefore not up for grabs.

Newborn baby goats are soo ADORABLE!!

Newborn baby goat finds the milk bar!

What could be more peaceful than a Momma pig feeding all her lil ones? (In case you haven't noticed, I LOVE nursing photos!! : ) )

A herd of new little piglets! I just LOVE the wild colours!!

Mama kitty and her sweet, colourful little litter!

Tabitha and Wyatt enjoy a new little Bronze Turkey poult.

A bunch of em!! We run the turkey poults with the broiler chicks, 'cause the chicks are beneficial in teaching the turkey poults to eat and drink, and where to stay warm. There are about 250 broiler chicks, and 30 turkey poults here, if my memory serves me right. Doesn't really look like that many, though, does it?

Here are 50 of my heritage breed chicks-a mix of Auracanas, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons and Dark Brahmas.

This is Buster, Gabi's foster calf (whom it turns out she didn't think much of, so the kids and I ended up pail feeding him a lot of the time. The kids got pretty attached.)

Gotta love lil baby bums!! Wyatt looks soo comfy here!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Things I love.....

Ok-this post was intended to be written on a hazy lazy summer day, when everything seemed right with the world, and I pulled out my camera to capture a few snapshots of some of my favouritest things in my little world.
(I did add in a few wonderful extras from other days! : ) )
But, of course, I didn't get around to posting just then-too busy enjoying the weather! : ) So now, what better comfort for a chilly snowy day, than to remember summer's goldenness?
Without further ado-here are some of the things I love best!

Farm kids-and goats!

(pictured here: Jesse, Tabitha and Buckwheat the buck goat)
Healthy, happy "Pastured Poultry" out on grass

Clean cloth diapers hanging out on the line

Farm kids working together
(Jesse and Tabitha, pictured here, painting bee hive components)

Bee hives full of beautiful, busy bees, working hard
(far off view-plus stray chicken)

(landing view)

(inside view-can you spot the queen?)

Helping Mommy with chores

(sheesh! You'd think all these kids do is work around here! LOL!)

Oh-but we have fun too!! Look!

(A wagonload of ADORABLE!)

A trusted friend, with a precious load (Ol' Kye, with Jesse, Tabitha, and Wyatt)

German shepherds, young and old (Penny and Sabu, enjoying each other's company)

A growing garden (with actual rows!)

Growing children...

Fresh milk and cream and eggs, oh my!

(Look at how much cream is on that milk!! From Gabi!)

(the one on the right is a double yolker!!)

A barn cat, on the prowl

A mother hen, with chicks she waited so patiently to hatch!

A beautiful Brown Swiss milk cow, with foster calf at side

(Gabriella and Buster)

A farm boy and his tractor, working hard!(Wyatt LOVES his tractors!)

The End!!