Wednesday 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween

Monday 29 October 2012

Walking at the beach

I try to get Cyrus into town to walk a couple days a week, he adores meeting people and new dogs.  Today was windy and dark as we wait to see how much of the coming storm touches us in Southern Ontario.

Morning pleasure

Perhaps not a pleasure, more a necessity, haven't been sleeping well the last few weeks...probably months, seems to go in cycles.  This is both an enjoyed and much needed morning ritual.

Friday 26 October 2012

Slow Mornings

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Working girls

Plymouth Rock Barred Hen

The ladies gathering to see what I am up too

Columbian Wyandotte Hen
The hens, I don't have to say chickens anymore as we know now that they are all ladies (hooray the fellow I obtained the newly hatched chicks from was 100% correcting in choosing me hens) are mostly all laying now.  I average about 5-6 eggs daily, with Fall upon us the laying will naturally slow down, before we really got started.  But, such is the seasonality of laying hens, they are not machines, their hormones are governed by the seasons and the changing quality and length of light.  I hope they continue to lay occasionally throughout the winter and I know things will really gear up next Spring and Summer.
Buff Orpington Hen in the Nesting box

The mornings eggs
I was able to photograph one of the Buff Orpingtons busy laying an egg in one of the communal nesting boxes.  She looks so pleased with herself, I am sure she feels that the entire clutch has been produced by herself.

Plymouth Rock, not too pleased with me removing eggs

Have you ever seen a chicken blink?  No you say...well neither had I until I noticed a film over the eyes of the hens in some of my photographs earlier this year.  Check out the photo below of the same hen pictured above.
Some people call this the 'third' eyelid, technically it is called a nictitating membrane it is used to clear the eye of debris, or to add moisture (Blink is my technical term) while allowing the chicken to not lose it's vision.  Important stuff if you are a prey animal and everyone is trying to catch and eat you.

Monday 22 October 2012

October Leaves

 October leaves on branches, the wood pile, even on the Kale

Saturday 20 October 2012

The Looking Glass

Love catching moments of the dogs when they don't notice I am looking, like Cyrus on the porch step, he loves things that fly, birds, bugs, butterflies, anything will do.  Doesn't need to chase them, but loves to study them.

Eventually he always catches me looking

Friday 19 October 2012

Thief captured

We have some old fashioned roses around the property that grow wild like weeds.  In the Fall they produce loads of rose hips which I was thinking I would collect to make a jelly with.  Times are busy and I keep forgetting to do this, I started to notice that that 'birds' were eating the rose hips as the numbers were dwindling.  Not birds after all, look who I spotted out the window this afternoon helping himself to some vitamin C. 


Ya just don't mess with this face, the schnauzers here all know that...Cyrus is learning, boys are a little slower on the uptake.  Fiddle, however, is a very consistent teacher :-)

Thursday 18 October 2012


 The last few weeks any extra time on my hands has been spent painting the out buildings.  This is our new chicken coop.  It incorporates both new and reused items.  Structure and siding is new, doors and window we recycled.  I am pretty pleased with how it turned out,
A different view showing the side of the chicken coop, that is the ladies little door to the run.  I painted the rabbit barn & garden shed to match the Chicken coop. 

Monday 15 October 2012


I like the personality of Cyrus, he isn't overly clingy, he gives me space while keeping an eye on me, works for me.

Saturday 13 October 2012

October Frost

 I suppose, frost can be killing or beautiful, all depends on how you choose to look at it.  This morning we woke to the heaviest frost of Autumn 2012.  After letting the hens out this morning I hurried back inside to fetch the camera and capture some of the frosty delights.
It looks like the end of the peppers, most of the tomato plants have flopped, the Kale & Swiss Chard is defiantly standing.  It will be interesting to see what else comes back to life, most of the herbs were hanging on the the ground except for the sage & rosemary.  My fall peas looked a little sad, I am hopeful they will perk up, they still need to pod up and they have tons of flowers on them, fingers crossed.  All in all I am not that disappointed to see the garden wind down, my pantry and freezer is full and it's time to put the garden to rest.  Today, is garlic planting day, once done with that I will pile all the compost that my rabbits have been producing this summer onto the raised beds and say goodnight to them until next Spring.
Time for brisk Autumn walks with dogs, warm stews in the slow cooker and fires in the wood stoves, Autumn is my favorite of all seasons.

Friday 12 October 2012

Add this to the list

The, 'Things my dogs have killed post' back in 2008 has a new addition, ruffed grouse.  Yep, Hope decided to do a little Fall hunting in the yard.

I think this kill was super exciting for Hope, she has been obsessed with the chickens since they resided as tiny chicks in the spare room this Spring.  The grouse is about 1/3 the size of my chickens, I have no doubt that size doesn't matter and Hope would be just as happy to do the same to my chickens if given the opportunity.  So much for the theory that Standard Schnauzers were originally bred as an all purpose farm dog.  Not sure how Hope's genetic line slipped through history as I don't know many farmers that would of kept a chicken killing dog on the farm.  Perhaps the schnauzer was locked in the barn with the large livestock to work on ridding it of mice and rats?? At least that is my theory.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Country Mornings

Friday 5 October 2012

Giving Thanks

It is the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  Wishing only the best to our fellow Canadians. Hope the weather is nice and we are all able to get out and enjoy the Autumn leaves.  The drive to the forest this morning was stunning, if the rain holds off those leaves might stay on the trees for another week.  Cyrus enjoyed his first forest walk with Hexe and friend Patti who brought her girl Hilde, whom Cyrus has a major crush on.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Hey, that ain't natural

Yep, our all natural boy is due a little unnatural intervention.  Cyrus is teething and it was time to tame those ears some.  The new boy is sporting some lovely tape.  Other then a little chin & head rubbing he has reluctantly given into the new experience. 

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Autumn Garden

Today's harvest from the garden, this is typical of what I am getting 3-4 times a week the last couple of months.  Plant production is beginning to slow for a few plants like peppers & tomatoes, others are just gearing up from my late summer planting of second crop beans, turnip, my peas should be ready to pick by the weekend, not to mention a ton of romaine and Boston lettuces, Swiss chard and a few beets.
One of the huge successes for me this year was the eggplant, from the six plants we started from seed I have so many eggplants that I cannot keep up with them, sad to say a few have gone straight from the vine to the compost heap.  I would plant again next year, but 2-3 plants will be plenty for us. All the heritage peppers and tomatoes that were not eaten fresh have gone into canning or the freezer, any that were left on the vine too long went to the chickens, those girls love them some tomato!
Fennel also thrived this summer in the garden, I let a couple go to seed to add to the spice jar, nothing was wasted on the fennel, what didn't make it to our table went to the rabbits, they are crazy for the wonderful anise taste of fennel, I had no idea.
We learned a lot this year, mostly about limiting the number of tomato plants in a bed, the heirloom varieties need room and a couple of them completely took over the garden, I know we have missed a lot of tasty tomatoes that were hidden in the middle of the bed, either I didn't see until too late or just couldn't get to without destroying the plants around them :-(
I learned to love Kale!  This plant is amazing, most every seed germinated in the Spring and I still have a bed of the Spring Kale going strong, I harvest it every week and use it so many ways, everyone has heard of Kale chips by now, they are wonderful, I have grilled it on the BBQ, blended it into morning smoothies, wilted and added to salads, topping for pizza, into soups, it makes a lovely side dish when wilted in butter or olive oil and tossed with a little balsamic vinegar.  My favorite way to enjoy is to make a Kale Pesto wow!  Toss with some fresh pasta, a few cherry tomatoes and you have one amazing dinner.
This years drought & heat made gardening a little more challenging then anticipated having to get out daily and water.  It didn't do any favours for the lettuces and greens like spinach, arugula or corn salad, much went to seed or was too bitter to really enjoy, my rabbits think I planted it mostly for them.  Early potatoes were wonderful but I lost my late season crop to the weather, stressed by the endless heat and lack of water then the skies opened, blight set in and that was the end of the potatoes.  Again, I learned some valuable lessons on potato growing and look forward to doing better next year with a little more planning.
I have one last thing to plant this year and that is garlic, my bulbs have just arrived, I need to get them in this month, there are not many vegetable plants that do best when planted before our Canadian Winter.
As much as I am looking forward to relaxing indoors this winter after a very busy, labour intensive summer, I know I am going to miss walking out to the garden, pulling a fresh tiny tomato from the vine and popping into my mouth, you just cannot beat that.
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