Monday, February 18, 2019

February Stroll

Hello dear friends, today is Family Day in the Province of Ontario and while it is not a holiday for all employers I have taken a day off work today to work on our master bedroom.  It is a cold but beautiful sunny day and we had about 10 cm of light fluffy snow overnight.  For a break I am taking a little walk outside.  As I haven't posted for a while I thought you might enjoy a little stroll in the February sunshine!

I have been saving and drying some grapefruit shells.  I then made a suet out of rendered pork fat and birdseed.  After 24 years at the farm however for the first time our bird feeders have been discovered by red squirrels.  One of the squirrels actually chewed a hole in our poor red barn bird feeder!

The first view on the way out the door is our garden privy which is nestled in the snow.  We normally use the privy to store our trash and recycling but as it can get a little awkward to get to in the snow it is currently closed for the winter.  

Let's start by going through the garden gate.  As we already have a list of projects that need to be tackled this year I am not sure that the "Secret Garden" which is planned for the other side of this gate will happen this year.  

Let's go through, shall we?

Make sure the gate is latched please!

There is Lucy, wondering where we are going.

Let's head to the chicken coop.  Last fall we added two roosters to the coop.  Ben is an Orpington and Jerry is a Bantam.  Several years ago we had a rooster named Henry and enjoyed the ambiance of a crowing rooster but once he passed away we didnt replace him until now.

Willow is on patrol!  She knows exactly where the chicken coop is.

Although it is sunny today it is quite cold.   I couldn't take any good photos as the cold air entering the coop when I opened the door created too much steam!  This is Ben.

Now off to the barn to check on the sheep.  We have several lambs in the barn and all are doing well.

On the way back from the farm we have a view across the grove to the little garden shed.

These skates were purchased at a thrift shop and I painted them with gold paint a few years ago.  For next year I would like to purchase additional pairs and decorate them with faux fur and hang them on the stonework on our portico deck.

Abby loves the snow!  She loves to "help" clear the driveway, mostly by attacking the snow shovel.

A bright and sunny view down our country road.

And our snow covered sign at the road.

I hope everyone enjoyed that quick and refreshing break from painting wood trim.  Thank you so much for visiting!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Living Room at Christmas

Hello dear friends, I am happy to report that as I drive home in the darkness I have noticed that many homes still have Christmas trees standing and lit!  As I have only taken down one tree so far this makes me happy.  :)  I still have many trees standing in various rooms and think that leaving them up until the end of January should be perfectly acceptable.  So before we reach the end of the month I will try to take some photos to share with you.

While shopping for something else just before Christmas we somehow ended up with yet one more tree to add to our collection.  For those that are counting we have a total of 10 trees decorated and lit is year but really we should only count trees that are at least 6 feet tall....so it is really only 7.  I know that there are some of you that support me on this.

Decorating a Christmas tree is exhausting.  Just ask our darling old Willow!

These crocheted snowflakes are almost 30 years old!

Since this tree was a last minute purchase we had to make room for it.  Poor Abby the German Shepherd puppy wondered where her kennel went...but knows that at this time of year we all have sacrifices we must make.

Lots of trees require a respectable collection of ornaments.  Over the years we have added some special ornaments including this spun glass pear shaped ornament.

Or a snow encrusted glass ball.

This old silver tea pot has been repurposed as a vessel for greenery.  Over the years the pot has developed cracks and finally the hinge holding the lid in place broke.  I love the warmth and glow of polished silver and love to keep these pieces around for impromptu arrangements. 

And finally this sweet little stopper was a Christmas gift.  How sweet!

Thank you for visiting and wishing everyone a lovely week!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas Touches In The Dining Room

Hello dear friends, the Christmas season has already started here at the farm!   Our first dinner with friends has come and gone as has the family Christmas dinner which was held last weekend to accommodate my brother's travel plans.  We will be having a small Christmas dinner here on Tuesday with my mother with two more family events scheduled before heading back to work in January.  We have even managed to fit in some visits with other friends in this busy holiday season!  

Friends, I very often over-think and over-plan festivities at the farm!  While I never feel properly prepared we are always delighted that our guests feel so much at home and have such a lovely time while visiting.  This year is quite busy for us so I have enlisted the aid of Willow, our sweet old yellow lab. I believe that Willow may be looking for new recipes to try.  Or she might be looking for ideas on how to decorate the farm for the holidays.  Or, considering her breed, she might just be looking for comfortable dog beds. 

I somehow ended up  with quite a few ornaments that didnt make it into trees this year.  As we were waiting for guests to arrive we added some of the ornaments and lights to a crystal vase and fruit bowl.  I like it!

The dining room fireplace mantel is decorated for Christmas.  The year we installed an antique plate rack and plates above the fireplace.  I must ask my mother about the history behind some of the items that traveled from Europe to Canada and are now reside in our farmhouse.

Some of you may recognize the stone wall in the dining room.  For some 150 years this was an exterior wall in our old stone farmhouse.  After starting major renovations four years ago this stone wall is now an interior wall in several rooms including two bedrooms and the kitchen.

The dining room is the last room that will be finished.  When we designed the addition we wanted a formal dining room that would comfortably seat about 10 people and would be roomy enough for our formal dining room furniture.  The new dining room is approximately 12 by 20 feet and although it still needs wood trim and wood flooring we have been using it frequently.  We have lots of room for our 7 foot tall Christmas tree.  

A little table-scape.  We have been using red floodlights to illuminate the stone house at Christmas which gives a pink shade to our lace curtains.  They are actually beige.

 Another view of the dining room mantel with a small St Nicholas. 


Earlier this year I found these little gold acorns at a gift shop.  We added them to champagne flutes and martini glasses on the mantel.

This glass bird ornament was supposed to be part of a larger ornament which broke.  I have hung it from an antique decanter.

I found little glass reindeer a couple of years ago and love how the reflect on a mirrored tray.

Over the next couple of weeks I will share more pictures of some of our Christmas decorations.  

~Thank you for visiting!~

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Preparing for Christmas

Hello dear friends, thank you for those of you patiently waiting for me to post some farm updates!  We have had a busy fall and with a recent snowfall I am shifting into Christmas mode.  Our celebrations will be more subdued than usual this year but we will extend the holiday season by hosting dinners for friends on alternate weekends.   We love to serve great food and wine with people that we have not seen in far too long!

Christmas decorating is underway.  I have been adding to our collection of Christmas trees and as we get closer to finishing our never ending renovations I will be able to put more of them up.

We have 2 small trees on either side of our front door.  After some reflection I think that they need some additional ornaments.

Earlier this year I bought a small metal sign that says "Please Close The Gate".  At the time we didnt actually have a gate but now we do!  And here it is lit and with a dusting of snow.  My very handy husband built the gate a few weeks ago.  One more project done!

A little burst of snow created some beautiful scenery.  This is the terrace area adjacent to our dining room.  The stone wall holds the waterfall garden that has appeared in other posts.  At this time of year the waterfall is not running and the fish have been moved to the koi pond to overwinter.

This festive tree is on the veranda on the side of our old stone house.

Here is a peaceful early morning view towards the barn.  

We have not had any time to enjoy the little gazebo this year but I thought it still deserved a tree.  

There is still much work to be done decorating the trees in the house.  I will be able to share more photos shortly!

~Thank you for visiting~

Friday, October 12, 2018

Puttering in the Fall Garden

Hello dear friends, traditionally my husband and I like to take the week of Canadian Thanksgiving as a vacation week.  We usually enjoy good weather and take advantage of the time to try to get some garden clean up done.  This year I refrained from ordering vast quantities of bulbs and instead I am focusing on preparing the gardens for next year.

A view of the little garden privy from our kitchen deck.  This little utility structure holds our recycling and trash.

We have several fenced pastures for the sheep.  These sheep are in what we call the "rams' pasture" which is just behind the section of lawn we call "The Grove". 

Several years ago we toured an organic farm.  We wanted to learn more about best practices for farm operations that wanted to focus on ethical farm practices including animal welfare and following the principles of organic farming.  We learned about housing chickens in "rolling cages" which allow the chickens to be protected from predators and the elements while being moved to a fresh section of pasture daily.  

I spotted this little "Please Close The Gate" sign at our local hardware shop.  As it happens we still need a gate for this area but I am told that one should be built shortly!

We have been enjoying fabulous fall colours.  This is a view down our country road.

An interesting fungus on one of our large maples.

A view of our old farmhouse from the road.

This arbour is a bit of an orphan at the moment.  We originally built it many years ago to form an entry from the driveway to the walkway to the house.  When we started our addition we needed to move the arbour and we havent had a proper home for it since.  Over the summer though I have been doing some creative staring and I think we have found a perfect home for it!  Next year we will move it.

We have many types of fencing on our farm.  This is a very old section of page wire fencing that runs along an old pasture along the road in front of our farmhouse.  After a great many cases of escaping sheep we built new fencing that restricts the sheep from this part of our property.  Over the next couple of years we will need to rebuild this fence as we have plans for this part of our property!

A view of our old farmhouse from the road.

The side of our old farmhouse.  The stone building on the right is the original farmhouse which dates to the early 1850s.  The addition on the left was started 4 years ago.  The exterior is finished but we are still working on the interior.

We have gone from summerlike weather just a couple of days ago with temperatures close to 30 degrees Celsius to high winds and daytime temperatures dropping to 10 degrees today.  The winds are sending the leaves flying!

When we moved to the farm over 20 years ago we had several elm trees.  Within a couple of years most of our elm trees succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease and we needed to hire an arbourist to safely cut the trees down.  We were surprised over time to find that some elms were self seeding.  This elm sprouted in our shrub border about 10 years ago and seems to be doing well.

This blue spruce was a transplant from another garden.  It has had some close encounters (and some very close) encounters with the crew that mows our lawns and is a little the worse for the experience.  After some creative staring this area will be expanded and become a memory garden for two of our greatly missed German Shepherds. 

This old apple tree is a hollow shell of its' former self.  We cant believe it is still standing.  After each wind storm we expect to find it toppled over yet here it is, still standing!

A week ago we had a ceremony in honour of my late father for close family members.  We purchased this tulip tree from a local nursery and have planted red tulips to symbolize his birth country which was Holland.

This large stone marks the resting place of our very first ewe.  Over the years we have raised hundreds of sheep here at the farm and it all started with April!  This green plant at the base of the stone is Aegopodium, a terribly invasive ground cover.  As an experiment we fenced this area and added some of our laying hens hoping that they would forage through the area and kill the ground cover but it is possibly too late in the season...we will have to try this again in the spring. 

A curious ewe.

A view towards the back of our old house.  The large tree is an Autumn Ash.  As with all ashes in our area it is only a matter of time before they fall victim to the Emerald Ash Borer.  We have had this tree for about 20 years and will need to think about other trees to replace it.

A slightly different view of the back of our home with the barbecue area and the gazebo.

Sheep swarming one of our farm tractors.

A view of the koi pond.

As the temperatures fall the koi will start to become less active.  The koi will spend the winter in this pond.

After this little photography break it is time to get back to working in the garden!  Thank you for visiting.