Tag Archives: seeding

Fence update

So fences do take a long time.  Especially when you can’t devote your entire life and essence to them.  Like us.  I’m still taking a course at UVic (the last one I need for a specialization in French Immersion), and so spent most of last weekend getting one of my assignments done and hanging out in Cumberland with some friends.  Plus there have been hiccups.  Like fence posts coming out of the ground, even when we thought they were tamped.  Like not having level ground to start with.  Like sword ferns.  Sword ferns are beastly DEVILS to get out of the ground!  And life in general.  Life is a bit of a hiccup.  But guess what.  Guess who’s got a fence?  That’s right.  We do.  Minus a couple of gates, but really, as long as it keeps the deer out, it’s a fence, right?  Who needs to get in?

It was supposed to rain all day yesterday, but it didn’t, thank goodness, because our power was out thanks to the wicked wind storm Sunday and Monday, and I find it harder to be productive inside when there’s no electricity for music, and when it’s harder to distract yourself by baking cookies and the like (Jer’s about to bake some cookies.  Yay!).  So we got the fence “done”.  Today, however, it’s pouring, and windy, so our friends who were supposed to come over from Hornby aren’t.  So what do you do on a rainy, windy blustery day when you’re on spring break?  Paint.  That’s right, you paint.

We painted over the red upstairs in one of the lofts last week, and decided on a couple of paint colours for our kitchen.  I guess we’re going with a beach theme, although we weren’t planning on it.  The brown wall, which I’ve ALWAYS hated , is going a bright teal (called Beach Towel).  All of the other walls in the kitchen are going beige.  Light beige, but definitely not white.  It’s called Moroccan Sand.  So far we got 1 coat on half of the brown/teal wall, and then we stalled because we started talking about taking down the loft.  I got excited because I thought we could just start swinging a sledgehammer, but it sounds like there’s a bunch of prep work, and that’s boring, so I’m writing a blog post and then soon will get back to painting.  Jer started baking cookies, so it seems like we got bored of painting.  Shocking.  But the wall is BLUE and I look forward to seeing it with a couple of coats on.  Yay!

Other exciting and big things I don’t really feel like extrapolating on are

  • the teachers’ strike – get informed before you become too opinionated, because neither the government nor the union are doing a good job of getting the issues out
  • the dentist – SUCKS and is bloody expensive, especially because my teacher benefits are only 60%, and not 80% like most other reputable employers
  • power outage and trees down – not surprising for 110 km/hour winds – someone told me it was 130 km/h at the Comox airport.  That be some speedy winds!
  • starts!  Jer’s got one of the living rooms full of started everythings.  Broccoli, kale, celeriac, onions, chard, tomatoes, leeks, and probably a million other things.  Some have even sprouted!
  • did I mention we got the fence done?
  • we still don’t have a dog.  Boo.
  • we also no longer have a Millicent.

Who’s a farmer now?

I thought Monday was pretty exciting.  I mean, seeds and 18,000 feet of baler twine?  That’s exciting.  But then the school day on Tuesday ended with a whallop – a student threw something at one of the overhead sprinklers and broke it and black gross 25 year-old water sprayed out of the pipes for a good while until the fire department came to turn it off, while we waited out in the field.  My students decided to do a rain dance.  I still haven’t figured out why – maybe they actually like their school and didn’t want it to burn to the ground?  Maybe I should ask them….

And then today had a whole lot of fantasticness.  First, we got the rest of our mail-order seeds.  Or most of them at least.  I had a bit of a philosophical moment about seeds and the amount of genetic material that’s in these 2 boxes that came in the mail.  And not only genetic material, but the amount of possible food they contain!  We’ve got something like 1500 spinach seeds.  Do you know how much SPINACH we could grow?!  And that’s 1 package of seeds!  I think Jer ordered over 100 packages.  There’s a lot of potential energy in these 2 boxes, and that’s really exciting, but it also makes me a little nervous.  I tend to get nervous when there’s important things around that I don’t want to mess up.  Like all of the seeds for Jeremy’s first farm season.  It would suck if I dropped a bucket of water on them.  Or something.

Second, we got a phone call about our fence.  It’s in!  Jer’s going to come with me to the ferry tomorrow, and go and get it in Bowser.  How exciting.  And also a little nerve-wracking.  Plus, it just makes my bones and muscles hurt trying to think about how heavy a spool of 6 and a half foot tall, 330 feet long fence is.  I bet it’s heavier than a really fat cat.  Heavier than the Guinness Book of World Records fat cat.

Third, we’ve got crocuses up in our garden.  And BLOOMING.  And the daffodils are up, and tulips too.  The nettles are starting to show up – we’ll be eating them in droves in a couple of weeks – and the sun isn’t setting until well after I get home from work.  Le sigh.  Le happy sigh.

Seeds! and more baler twine than you could…

More baler twine than you could shake a stick at?  Than you could use to tie an infinity of sticks together?  18000 feet of baler twine.  Five and a half kilometers of baler twine.  That’s what the lady gave me when I asked for some.  So that’s what I bought.

Our first mail-order seeds arrived today.  Corn and beets and spinach and some heritage tomatoes.  Millicent laid an egg that’s actually edible, although still not very good, but we’re feeding her lots of calcium, and I bought oyster shells (because smashing them ourselves takes a lot of time and they’re cheap to buy pre-smashed) today, so she’ll be getting those pronto too.  We’re giving her 10 days from the first day she gets as many oyster shells as she wants.  If she’s still not doing her duty, Jer’s putting her in the pot.  I’m fighting for her though.

Raccoons are not my friends.

Life got hard around here for a little bit during the cold snap – the ugly things got uglier (our pipes burst, so we had no water for close to a week, and so on), but we muscled through.  Some of the beasties didn’t make it through so well though.  As in a lot of the beasties.

As you may remember, we got ducks.  3 of them – a drake and 2 hens.  They ran away, and then came back.  Then one of them, the pretty one I picked for her looks and not her smarts, got eaten, probably by a raccoon.  So we got a new one, and our other hen ran away again, so we were back to 2.  Then our old hen came back and our new one got eaten.  So we were back to 2.  Long story short, 2 became 1 became none.  I feel like a bad duck owner.  I feel like a bad take-carer-of-my-flock.  So we’re not getting any more animals until we’re more prepared.

Millicent seems to be doing a little better.  She laid something that was a mixture between an egg and a half-cooked-egg-white.  I never saw it, but Jer said it was GROSS.  Kinda like after birth.  You probably didn’t need to know that.  Anyways, she’s been laying in the nest now, and although her eggs still aren’t hard, they’re edible now and hopefully she’s got her weirdness out.  However, half of Fred and George (Frorge?  Gred?)  is NOT doing well.  She may have the flu.  I think she does have the flu.  She huddles herself into a ball and we actually brought her in for a night.  She’s having a tough time, and we’ll see how it goes, but we may end up ‘putting her out of her misery’ soon… sad.  Totally.  But she’s pretty sad right now.  So we’ll see what we can do.

As for happy things, our garlic is coming up, seedy Saturday was a lot of fun, and our water pipe is 100% buried now.  Our maple trees have sapped out close to 400L of sap now (coffee made with sap isn’t awesome.  Tea, oatmeal, soup, and pasta made with sap?  TOTALLY AWESOME), and we’ve got about 4 L of actual syrup, and another 4 or 5 are close.  Our blackberry wine that we started this summer is in it’s (hopefully) final racking, and is lovely and strong.  AND I’m almost done knitting another pair of socks.  Yay!


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.

And the rhubarb experiences it’s first ranching…

It rained a lot the week after we got here.  A lot.  It was great for our potatoes and our beets and carrots and squash, but it wasn’t quite so great for our spirits.  Mine especially I think.  I’ve learned to accept and live with the winter rains of the coast, but the summer is the pay off.  The summer isn’t supposed to involve endless cups of tea and wishing you could light the woodstove.  But it did last week.  And that’s okay, because it didn’t rain yesterday until the late afternoon after I had gotten enough sun for my red-headed skin, and after a little trip to the beach and a big game of tetherball between Abe and Jeremy.  On that note, if you ever want to amuse a 3 year old, a tether ball is a good option.

Jer’s gone off to town today to restock some of our provisions and to start asking some of the important questions about insuring wood stoves.  He’s also going to buy a ladder and maybe even a weed whacker.  Ooo… big purchases!  Last week we got a wheelbarrow and a lot of poop for the garden.  Nadine also just left after a lovely visit, so I’m having my first lazy morning on the porch in the sunshine since we’ve moved.  I’ve got lots of things I’d like to get done before Jer gets home, but that can wait, because setting up this blog was on the list as well (we should all take this time to thank Marc for not only encouraging us to set up a blog, but also for naming our farm – for a while we thought it would only be a temporary name, but I think we may paint a sign over the next couple of weeks – it’s going to stick!).

There’s lots of news to catch up on since we’ve moved, many of which include lovely visitors.  We really are some of the luckiest people around, not only to have the opportunity to have this house and this land, but also to have fantastic friends come and visit and stay and help.  Lex, Nora, Marc, Jennifer and Juniper started us off, and have since been followed by Rachael and Nadine, and Christy and Abe and Margaret.  That’s a lot considering we really only moved 2 weeks ago.  Wow.  Other big news is that we’ve fenced both the front and back (or house and farm) gardens, cleaned the house good, pulled out a piece of drywall in the laundry, weeded, dug, and planted a LOT of vegetables, ate some funny cookies by accident, and have started working at another farm on Hornby.  Dan, the farmer there, seems to have taken a liking to us and is willing to help us out with anything he can, be it knowledge or contacts or local info.  Great.  We’ve tried to get chickens, but it’s a little late in the season, so it’s a little trickier than we were anticipating.  We DID, however, harvest a batch of rhubarb for jam and cake, AND enough huckleberries for a wild huckleberry pie.

More to come, and photos too.  Very soon.