Tag Archives: hornby

Orwell underwater

So I cut down a tree.  It was my first one.  Here’s a stop-motion animation of the event!

Jeremy said that when I wrote on facebook  that I’d cut a tree down,most people would think I was cutting down a Christmas tree… he said that I should say I fell a tree instead.  So I did that too.  I fell me a tree.  It was a maple.  It was scary as heck, and my muscles all hurt, but it was exhilarating and awesome and I’m proud of myself.

Meanwhile, Jeremy hung Imagecurtains.   Aren’t they pretty?  We should be proud of him too.  This is obviously not true.  Jeremy taught me how to cut a tree down, and was taking pictures of me while I was doing it.  However, he also DID hang curtains this week, to try to keep some of our lovely warm air in our living space, and not vent it out through the holes in the windows.  ImageHe also put in a new fancy water tap, so that our water doesn’t taste like stinky sulfur!  Yes, we planned on putting it in immediately after we moved, but it’s in now, and isn’t it nice?  Especially when the camera is focusing on the clean utensils in the background?


Underwater, of course

We went to the distillery on Hornby on Saturday.  It was…

(I couldn’t figure out what adjective to use right now, so I looked on my “farm mac” – all of the keys are a really dirty shade of brown – thesaurus for another word for cool and it’s informal options are “trendy, funky, with it, hip, big, happening, groovy, phat, kicky, fly”.  I don’t like those.  Points to someone who can find me that right adjective.  It’s certainly not “groovy” or “fly”.)

I felt like the still belonged in an Orwellian underwater H.G. Wells undersea space odyssey journey.  It was one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.  Apart from my puppy, obviously.Image


Less pretty these days than normal, as she is in a “rolling in poop twice a day” phase

  The company was founded by an Icebreaker Captain and an organic chemist… you should go.  It’s the real deal.

So is roasting sausages over a bush fire.  They were delicious.


It’s almost December. You’re allowed to sing. I promise.

ImageThis log has a piece of flagging tape on it from when part of our fenced-in farm area was a path through to Dusty Road from our house.  We flagged the path off because I was perpetually getting lost.  I get lost less now.  Not a lot less, but less.  It was a little sad to see it burning,

And, finally, I dug up my gladiolas.Image  They were diseased with thrips this year, so we’re hoping to treat them and have better luck next year.  Any advice?


Photo post, as promised

This gallery contains 27 photos.

After yesterday’s somewhat lackluster performance, here’s a batch of pictures from most of July.

He’s back…

Remember when Ozdick ran away?  It’s been really hard on me, and we’ve even started looking at new cats.  But I don’t want a new cat.  I don’t really like cats, I just like Ozdick.  He’s my puppycat.  Or he was.  Until he ran away.  But then yesterday our neighbour came by (with a lovely loaf of bread baked with the whey she’s getting now that her goats have given birth and she’s milking them – can you HEAR the jealousy in my voice?!) and said that they have recently adopted/discovered the cat that’s been living in their barn, and they were wondering whether it was our cat-gone-missing.  Jer walked over yesterday to see if he could find the mystery cat,  but he brought Mia with him so there was no cat to be found.  However, when I got back from working on Hornby, he told me and we went walking through the woods between our two properties pretty quickly, meowing the whole way there.  And, sure enough, as soon as we got within earshot of the barn, Ozdick started meowing back.  It makes me tear up even now.  Who ever knew I would be such a suck for a cat?  Anyways, he followed us home, although he was pretty hesitant when he got to our driveway.  We hung out for a good hour, and then Mia came outside and he bolted.  I was pretty sure he’d be gone, and I was (coming close to) accepting that he was going to be our neighbours’ barn cat, and that would be a pretty good life for him.  He’s a great mouser, he loves to be independant, he’d be warm and dry, they love cats and said they would feed him… but he didn’t run away.  He stuck around the outhouse, and then we took him out to the garden and I guess he spent the night out there somewhere because he was still there in the morning.  Plus, he was still there when we got back from an awfully long day in town today.  So we’re back to feeding him, and Jer is giving me 1:3 odds now that he’ll stay.  That’s better than the 1:9 odds I got last night.  We’ve been talking about building a shelter for all of our farm tools out in the garden, and if that’s where the Dickface wants to be, then we’ll build a shanty quicker than we were anticipating, but we’ll do that for him.  He’ll keep the vole population down in the garden, and he’ll probably stop a bunch of the birds from eating our berries too (yes, he may eat some of the birds, but mostly we have robins in the garden, and sometimes you just have to accept that).  I’ll keep you up to date, but for now, we have a cat again, and I’m pleased as punch.

We harvested most of our garlic yesterday.  It’s lovely and beautiful and pungent.  We’ll start selling it this week or next, but we’re going to be keeping most of it for seed.  Garlic seed is ridiculously expensive, so we’re just going to slowly build our own stock.

We made cabbage rolls this week, but substituted chard for cabbage.  It was fantastic.  We’ve also made ice cream a couple of times and it is SO good.  So so darn good.



First swims

Often firsts are the hardest, and then once you get over that hump you wonder what took you so bloody long.

We were in Courtenay for the Vancouver Island Music Festival on the weekend and it was bloody hot.  Not as ridiculously hot as it’s been in past years, but because it was 13 degrees out last week, 25 felt pretty much unbearable.  So we went swimming.  In the glacial water of the Tsolum River.  If you could call it swimming.  It probably took us 20 minutes to get in.  It wasn’t so cold that you jumped in and out, but we certainly didn’t stay in for long.

Today, however, after we worked for a couple of hours in the morning (and had a luxurious early-afternoon nap), we went swimming.  We went down to the lake, and jumped in.  And it was perfect summer swimming weather.  We could have been in the lake for HOURS.  Plus, we took Mia with us and she swam, maybe for the first time.  She was great.  She’s great.  Swimming is great.  We’ll do lots more for that.  Probably tomorrow.

Tomorrow one of my oldest friends ever is coming to visit with his lovely wife and their twin daughters.  I can’t wait.

Other highlights of today include tomatoes and corn and squash that grew like mad over the weekend, dinner with lovely friends, drooling all over my hand during my nap, and watching a cicada (we think?  care to correct us?) crawl out of it’s shell in the greenhouse.  Tres cool.

And the canning season begins…

Blog writing sure does seem a boring activity when the weather forecast contains 7 balls of glowing sunshine.  I kept meaning to get around to it last weekend, but there just seemed to be too many things higher on the priority list.  Like setting up my hammock and lying in it.  So, now that the forecast calls for 6 days of rain, and Jer’s off at the first farmer’s market of the season (more on that in a minute), I’m ready to give ya’ll an update.  Because you really do need one.

1.  A bunch of our chicks hatched!  10 of them to be precise, but 1 died before it was fully out of it’s shell – we don’t really know why (side note – there’s a varied thrush gathering worms at my feet and they sure are a beautiful bird) and another was born with a bad leg/foot, kind of like the one in the first round.  We think those eggs both came from our red hen, so we won’t incubate her eggs again.  So we had 8 little baby cute as anything chicks.  Until the Tuesday or Wednesday night, when Mia decided to, for the first time, leave the front room where she hangs out, head on into the kitchen, pluck one of the couple-of-day-old chicks out of it’s warm rubbermaid bin and eat it.  Except she left it’s lifeless corpse on the area rug by her bed.  So maybe our dog isn’t perfect after all.  So now we have 7.  And they’re cute and lovely and funny and active and fantastic.  They’re WAY more fun than the 28 meat birds, who have grown into big ugly poo machines.  Their bodies are growing too fast for their feathers, so they’re still half skin-pink, and they honestly look like walking chicken breasts.  In their first 25 days of life they have gained almost 2 and a half pounds, and they stink.  So far, however, they haven’t annoyed me, and I don’t mind the whole process and we’re thinking about doing it again in the fall.  I’ll let you know whether that’s actually going to happen AFTER we chop off their heads and disembowel them.

2.  Jer’s gone to market!  And not in the way that the meat birds will be either, thank goodness.  He’s gone with radishes, rapini, bok choy and pak choi and some braising greens.  He’s got a batch of rhubarb ginger jam (the canning season has officially begun!) and a batch of rhubarb squares.  He should be home in half an hour, and we’ll see how it went.  I, on the other han, stayed home to love my puppy, weed the carrots and make…

3.  Mango chutney!  Cases of mangoes are on dirt cheap, so I picked up a couple with the intention of freezing and drying them.  But one of Jer’s good friends was up last weekend and mentioned mango chutney, which I’d never made before but I love, so I said to myself “what the heck? seeing as canning season has begun, I’m going to make some mango chutney.”  and I did.  So there.

4.  It’s amping up to be another big weekend.  We’re off to Hornby tomorrow for a Fish and Bird show, it’s Denman Island’s 25th annual pottery studio tour, and so far, it’s still sunny.  I’m applying to jobs as soon as they came up, and I had 1 interview last week but didn’t get the job – a bit of a bummer, but it’s still early and I’m not worried yet.  New flowers are blooming every day – our irises are getting close! – and school is starting to wind down (and get even crazier by the day).  It’s too sunny to post pictures now – I have better things to do – but I’ll get them up during that week of cloudy raininess in the forecast.

Dear Blogosphere

I’ve been a bad friend.  It happens sometimes.  You get so excited about having a new friend, and you do everything with them for a week, a month, a couple of months.  Then one week you only see each other twice.  The next week, you’re back to obsessively hanging, but soon, it happens again.  Then, all of a sudden, it’s been 3 weeks since you’ve talked, and then it feels awkward and weird and strange and you’re almost embarrassed to make the first phone call.  And then another couple of weeks go by, and you’re officially embarrassed to dial those digits.  Sure, you may have made tentative facebook dates, but nothing concrete.  So another couple of weeks go by, and you miss your new old friend, but life is busy, and you’re embarrassed, and you get over it.  Kind of.

And then you run into your new old friend and you remember how lovely it once was.  Or their name comes up in conversation with a mutual friend, who asks why the two of you, once joined at the hip, haven’t talked in a couple of months.  Or, it’s the holidays, and you pick up the phone, and swallow your silly shame, and apologize (although it’s no more your fault than theirs), and you make a date and you realize that life would go on without them, but it won’t be as fun or as enjoyable or as lovely, and that you should really try harder, because friends are awesome.

So blogosphere, I’m sorry I’ve been a bad friend, and I’ll try to make it up to you.  Lots of folks over the holidays said I needed to try harder (although you weren’t trying very hard either), so I’m going to do that.  I know it will be easier when the sun starts making an appearance back into my life, so I can take pictures to show you, but until then, I’ll try to take some on the weekends, and I’ll at least get a couple of words up here every so often, and we’ll hold hands and skip down the street and everyone will be happy again.

As for news, I’m just going to write a list, because there’s lots.

  • Jer’s been cutting down trees like a maniac, trying to clear an area for future farm – garden in 2 years, but PIGS in a couple of months!
  • We planned out shelves for our bedroom yesterday, and I think he’s going to buy the wood this week, so that our clothes don’t live in suitcases and boxes (and, in the spirit of honesty and forthcomings, on the floor).
  • We spent Christmas in Calgary and were royally spoiled, but I don’t think we received a single present that wasn’t thoughtful AND useful and it was lovely lovely lovely to see my family.  My brother bought HIS first house at the end of 2011, and moves in in the spring of 2012, so my parents now, officially, have 2 grown-up children, which I think makes them very proud.  Not that they weren’t before, but it’s pretty special I think.
  • We did a THIRD Christmas here, on Denman, with Jer’s mom and siblings, and were spoiled rotten again, and are so grateful.  We are some of the most fortunate people I know.  Surrounded by love from friends, and family, and the land that surrounds us.
  • An old university friend and I have reconnected because he’s been up here helping another Denmanite build his house, and that’s been a lot of fun.  Hopefully he comes back in the New Year, and we can continue re-envisioning that relationship.
  • After 3 days away in Victoria, we came home to 15 eggs.  Way to go ladies.  Some of the hens (Fred and George mainly) are still unsure as to where to lay their eggs.  Maybe because they’re unsure of their gender identities and don’t want to be seen nesting.  Often they lay their eggs while they’re roosting (so while they’re balancing on a stick, where they sleep), and they we find them cracked in the morning under the roosting bar.  You’d think it’d be pretty uncomfortable to squeeze out an egg while balanced on a stick shoved in between a bunch of other hens, but it’s happened 4 or 5 times now.  Silly Fred and George.  The black ladies, Bertha 1 and 2, lay really big eggs, and we got our first double yolker from one of them as well.  For a while, they were also confused about where to lay their eggs, even deigning to put them on the sawdust pile at the shed for a day.

I’m sure I’ve missed loads, but this is a good start.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures, and the holidays.  Jer and I are a little bit stunned by the New Year, and hopefully I can put together a more meaningful post about new beginnings soon, but for this one, my only goal was to pick up the phone and dial.

Plumfest 2011!

Holy plums. Well, holy produce is more accurate, but plums are on my mind. The farm we’ve been working on has a pretty awesome orchard, and the yellow plums are falling off the tree. Dan is too busy to pick them, so we’ve been going nuts. Plus, Jennifer came up today and brought her lovely dehydrator with her. So not only is Dan feeding us for the summer, he’s feeding us for the winter as well! Plus, we’ve already canned 1 small load of beans, and will do a bigger load imminently. I love preserving. Sigh.

So that’s some of the happy news.   Other news?

On the ant front, they seem to be gone. We find one or two every day, but they seem pretty discombobulated and confused. They certainly aren’t like these ants.  We’ve bought drywall, and Marc and Adam helped us bring it into the house.  The room doesn’t stink quite as much anymore, and we’re slowly adapting to living in constant chaos.

On the farm front, we’ve got baby zucchinis on our plants, and lots of other things are competing for our own first harvest.  The arugula is in the running, as well as some kale.  Everything’s growing quickly with this latest hot spell, and we’re all enjoying the sunshine.

Other than that, things are normal as usual!  Except, of course, for the insane incredible unbelievable phosphorescence.  There’s not much else to say about that.  You either know what I’m talking about, or you don’t.  If you don’t, I recommend figuring it out.  It’s worth it.  It’s WAY worth it.