Friday, January 30, 2009

"Alfie": Two year old Jacob ram

Before the renovation project

Images of January life at the farm

January events

We accomplished quite a bit this month given that the first half of the month we were all still in post-Christmas resting mode.
Henning built two new sheep feeders which will double as deviders for lambing pens.
Tomasz got the hi speed working properly so we can all be on-line efficiently.
Tom and Henning dismantled and cleaned out the furnace and cleaned the stovepipes.
I ripped out all the ratty shelving in the laundry room.
We got the chainsaws fixed and the guys have brought in about three more cords of dry elm.
The washing machine was repaired and is functional once again.
Tom patched all the nail holes in the sunroom and is painting the entire room.
Henning is making portable lambing enclosures and a stall for Alfie.
We made sausage for an entire day.

Our communal farm suppers

We gather around the kitchen table every evening for our supper. This is preceded by henning going out to put the sheep in the barn for the night. Lately we've been renovating so the place is usually in a certain amount of upheavel during the day. But by fivish everyone is ready to settle in for a drink while I finish cooking the evening meal on the woodstove. These are some of the dinners we have had since we arrived at the beginning of January.

Roast pork with colcannon
Chili with garlic bread
Tourtierre with colcannon
Club sandwiches with pea soup
Grilled sole with brocoli
Grilled salmon with salad and brown rice
Grilled sole with mushroom risotto
Rotini with tomato sauce and smoked sausage
Linguine alfredo with shrimp & scallops
Chicken and pasta casserole
Polish sausage with homemade saurkraut
Grilled sausage with pan-fried potatoes and vegetables
BBQ ribs with coleslaw
Perogies with coleslaw and red cabbage
Last night we had appetizer of sledzie which is pickled herring in sour cream with red onions on rye bread and a shot of vodka. Tomasz engineered that one.
And about ten more dinners which I cannot recall at the moment.
In the morning we usually have gruel (oatmeal) which Henning prepares. Once or twice a week we have bacon and eggs or waffles or pancakes. This morning we had freshly smoked bacon which was picked up at Reiche's when Tom and Henning delivered the lambs. A sad morning!

January at the farm

Sunday, Jan 25:
A brilliantly cold sunset with rosy skies and the first stars out at five pm. Henning took Mikail back to Peterboro to catch the bus, so I went out to feed the sheep and put them in the barn. Dottie was heaving and puking and kicking and leaping…all I could think was that she’d had an overdose of minerals which Henning had put out last night…so I immediately pitched tonite’s ration into the snow…Alfie is harassing Dottie and the whole barn seemed in a nervous mode…came back in and had a drink and went back out at 5:45 and Dottie seemed fine so came back in again and I’ll go back out again in half an hour (7 pm) and take another look. Looked up some possible causes on the internet and of course, there’s half a dozen different things that could be going on. Let’s hope its just that she’s about to lamb…although I don’t know about the frothing and puking part…although it certainly works for humans about to give birth!!!

We are having perogies for supper. Mikail slept out last night in the bush at minus 23 and hadn’t shown up yet at 8 am so Henning went out to look for him. We had a few suppositions about what could have happened…turned out he just slept in.

Tom and I went to Wilno to pick up some stuff at the café and process a couple of credit card deposits. I feel detached from the café and yet it all seemed so familiar in the sunny morning. A bottle of linen water in the gift shop had frozen and exploded…we were trying to figure out where all the glass and ice had come from! Went up to Pete’s and had some tea with him and Ritsuko and picked up two boxes of pork to bring back here to the freezer.

Back out to the barn at 8 and again at nine and Dottie seemed fine both times. So to bed and hope for the best.

Monday Jan 26: Out to the barn first thing and everyone seems okay. Had to look around for awhile before I found the coffee can I flung at Alfie last night when he was harassing Dottie. She’s out in the feeder, happily eating away.

Tuesday Jan 27: Did the feeding this morning, as Henning has to be in Ottawa for an appointment and was in a hurry to leave. There wasn’t a round bale started and they are piled two high so had some trouble getting enough hay loose to fill the feeder. The bales are too heavy for me to get them down from the second tier. Hard enough to roll them when they are down on the barn floor. Everyone seems chipper and happy. A beautiful blue sky day and mild this afternoon…all the icicles dripping and thawing. Went into town to visit Ma and Pa this morning and was back by noon. Brought out a couple of buckets of fresh water and the little buggers had broken into the hay shed so had to chase them out and rewire the snow fence and get it all propped up again. They know when they are doing something wrong and scurry off looking very guilty. Went out after supper (which was lateish as I put my frozen homemade tortierre in the woodstove oven at 5 pm and it still wasn’t really hot at 6:30) and checked the barn and one of the black ewes….a Pip, as in Gladys Knight and the Pips) is definitely getting a big udder. And that is a sign of incipient lambing. Went back out and checked again before I went to bed but nothing more dramatic happening. Tomorrow we make a pen to hold Alfie so he can’t harass them if they are lambing. He’s far too attentive to any sort of unusual ewe behavior.