Saturday, March 27, 2010

Second weekend at the Red Canoe Cafe and still cleaning and polishing and sorting and moving things around. Tom is refinishing a set of twin beds from the family home in Elmira and they will go into the "nun's room". The "nun's room" is our term for the bedroom at the rear of the main building which has twin beds and an almost austere atmosphere. Nuns have actually slept there also! But mostly it attracts sisters or friends travelling together who want a simple inexpensive room they can share.
Chilly weather today. I am using up the wood in the greenhouse so there'll be room for planting seeds later next week. Am going to try the hotbed technique with composted manure from the chickenhouse and then a layer of organic growing medium on top.
On the farm front...we're waiting for Lulu to give birth to her piggies. Henning worked in the barn for two successive nights until well after midnight finishing off the farrowing pen. It's a fortress like work of art built of reclaimed lumber from the old granary with a creep along one side and clever side benches to provide a refuge for the piglets when good old Lulu flops her 400 lb self down for a nap. She's one giant sow at this point...the other morning she just lazed around in her hay nest completely uninterested in getting up to start her day...all she needed was a tv and a box of bonbons...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Re-opening Red Canoe Cafe for 2010

Finally back in business at the cafe this week. So much to up the ravages of winter, putting up the signs and replacing lights and hanging art and replenishing the supplies. Just getting the building warmed up is a major endeavor, although the sunshine this March has been a godsend. Trying to make it home to the farm every couple of nights to collect eggs and look after domestic life there. Henning takes good care of the animals and works long hours in the barn and the least we can do is clean and cook and keep the home fires burning when we are there.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ian Tamblyn performs at the farm

A wicked blizzard played havoc with the audience for Ian Tamblyn's house concert here in February. However, those who did brave the storm were treated to a great evening of music and we all had a very good time. A lot of baaaaad sheep jokes, some Scotch and a late night ensued!

Lots of brown eggs

Freshly washed brown eggs waiting to be sorted and put in their cartons. Our 23 hens have laid well all winter and I've ordered a dozen new ones to arrive in April. Our egg hatching went well last month and yesterday we moved eleven chicks into the henhouse from their brooder bin in the sunroom. They are in their chicky condo with the heat lamp and are feathering out nicely. Interesting colours and patterns as our rooster is a splendid looking fellow!
The new gander, now named Clemence, seems to feel right at home. Perhaps he knows us from up at Pete and Ritsuko's. Piggies are also all doing well. The big reddish ones are Goldie and Spot and the little guys are just known as the boys. Henning is working madly to finish a new farrowing pen for Lulu who is due by the end of the week. We have a household pool going as to how many piggies she has. We also have pools on the weight of pigs going to the abbatoir, the number of lambs born and all sorts of other farm drama. Tom won the weight pool with his estimate of 190 and Big Red was 198.
Tom cleaned out the chicken house over the past two days and trailered all the manure over to the pile in the barnyard. I picked up rubbish in the yard and did a bit of raking, washed a couple of barn windows, moved the chicks and dusted cobwebs in the henhouse. It has been the most incredible weather this March...endless sunshine and warmth. Today it clouded over and has been snowing fitfully all afternoon. Wood stove burning all day, Tomasz made tandoori chicken and saffron rice for supper and an egg fritata for breakfast. Tomorrow we have to leave early for the cafe as it will be chilly there again with no fires going since Sunday morning.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hatching chicks

Was loss than successful in my first chicken hatch with eleven chicks surviving out of over two dozen. Last fall we hatched ducklings with no difficulties so was surprized that the chickens were more problematic. Not sure what went wrong but suspect that eggs got too cold in the henhouse before we gathered them and set them aside. Have another batch on the go and see how these do. The eggs that did hatch made for lively and colourful chicks...they are doing well under the lamp and providing some amusement for the cats.


Spring on the farm

One more day till the spring equinox. Weather has been gloriously sunny and warm and the barnyard and fields are almost bare. Twenty lambs so far...all of them variations of black and white. Five sets of triplets this year and an early start to lambing and one record day where we had eight lambs born during one day. We had our share of losses also, with Fairy having a dead lamb, Black Face losing two of her triplets in some undetermined mishap (found them wedged into a corner of the lambing pen) and one of Freckles triplets similarly found dead in the pen one afternoon (suspecting Carmelita's horns). We're still waiting for the six youngest first lamb ewes...hopefully all will go well with them and soon.