Thursday, September 10, 2020

Happy (belated) Labour Day!!

Hello dear friends, Labour Day has come and gone and now it feels like fall!  We managed to squeeze in a family dinner outside, and should have some exciting happenings around Lake Ophelia in a couple of weeks!

Here is pretty Abby on the stone wall.  That seems to be her preferred perch of late, perhaps because it allows her to keep an eye on the house, the driveway, the road and the sheep all at the same time.  Very clever.

For Labour Day we had a taco dinner.  The weather was not at all promising which was so disappointing.  After the heat of late it was cool, damp and cloudy and we badly wanted to eat outside and then just before everyone arrived the sun came out and it warmed up.  To keep my mother warm we tucked her into a big comforter in an Adirondack chair which she found very amusing.

We are all worried about a second wave of COVID as the schools are starting to open.  As the weather gets cooler we will need to scale back our social activities which is sad for us as we love having guests at the farm.  My mother is 87 years old and we dont want to take any chances!

We had a fire to make sure that my mom would be warm and for the rest of us it was great fun.   We stayed out well past dark and gathered up all of our outdoor candles for lighting.  Great food, drink and conversation!  And all three dogs enjoyed the extra attention as well.

The next day we were back to our little family.  We sat at the fire pit again and this time Willow enjoyed the comforter.  The dogs enjoyed the peace and quiet.

I caught a glimpse of Drakk and Holly's garden from our breakfast deck.  Although I made this garden last year I just saw it from this angle for the first time and liked it.  A couple of hours to finish edging, weeding and mulching and it will be all done.

A sure sign of fall is crab apples on our flagstones.  Some of the leaves are starting to turn and the weeds at this stage are putting up a pretty weak effort.

Another trailer load of mulch ready to be spread over freshly weeded gardens.  I hope to keep this up until late fall.

The last of the round bales of hay are lined up and ready for use.

A new piece of garden art for the koi pond.

The sheep love these windfall apples.

Our mama duck inexplicably passed away.  We already had a duck statue so decided to make her a resting place in a garden.  We have just started to build this bed and it will be ready for the tulips and daffodil bulbs that will be arriving in October.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy weekend!  Thank you for stopping to visit.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Late Summer

Hello dear friends, it is already approaching the end of August and I am wondering where the time has gone.  I took a little stroll yesterday with my camera and have some photos to share with you.  As always, our farm is a work in progress!

Our koi are doing well in our koi pond.  They are still growing!  And some have beautiful colouring.

We still have so many unfinished projects including the ledging for the koi pond.  Eventually the liner will be hidden under flagstone and the hoses will be hidden from view as well.

Some of our pond plants.

Abby waiting (impatiently) for something fun to happen!

A fun metal sculpture for the pond.

Our rooster is still in his element!  I can hear him crowing as early as 4:30 am.

We seem to have a chipmunk invasion.  They have tunnels all around our chicken coop.

This year we are tying some different laying hens. These are Columbian crosses and Azure Blues. The Azure Blue hens will guessed it!  blue eggs!

COVID-19 has changed so many things for all of us.  One of many changes was not being able to shop at garden centres earlier this year.  When the garden centres did open there was a very limited selection of plants available.  Even our seed order was delayed so by the time we received it, it was too late to plant most of them.  

I am so pleased with this shot!

It has been very hot and dry.  Many of the perennials are suffering and even some of our trees are showing signs of heat stress.

I had wanted to paint my little garden shed this year....but havent.

Thankfully all of our hay is baled and waiting!  Our big round bales are lined up and ready for use.

I have been working on Drakk and Holly's garden this year.  This is one of my favourite statues.

We have barely used this area this year!  

The pergola from the opposite direction.

Our little waterfall garden.

Lucy to the rescue!

Abby to the rescue!

Grapes appearing on the arbour at the vegetable garden.

Everyone loves sheep pictures!

The ram is "in the mood!"

Thank you for visiting and wishing everyone a safe week!


Monday, July 27, 2020

Early Summer At The Farm

Hello dear friends, here I am again after a long absence!  I hope everyone is staying safe and well.  My COVID-19 work schedule has changed somewhat and I now alternate days between home office and my office in the city.  Otherwise work keeps me busy and I dont have nearly as much time as I thought I would have to share pictures and stories with you.  So here are some random images.

I recently read an article about inaturalist in a magazine and downloaded the app on my phone.  As a "citizen scientist" I am able to take photos of animals, reptiles, plants, insects etc and upload them to the app.  Yesterday while mowing the lawn I nearly ran over this little creature.  When I returned with my phone I had quite a hard time finding it as it had moved to some debris and was almost impossible to spot.  I took pictures, uploaded them and learned that this is a Wood Frog.  What fun!  Try it!

It has been HOT!  The humidex this evening is still 37 degrees Celsius.  Very uncomfortable for us, the pets and the sheep.  It is however not to hot to have a glass of wine at the koi bar!

An early morning view towards the vegetable garden and greenhouse.  The vegetable garden is my husband's project.  Perhaps next year we will repair our greenhouse and be able to use it to start seedlings.

I cant remember what this old piece of machinery is supposed to be.  It doesnt look like it has any useful life left in it.  I do like this picture though!

This is a very big project for this year.  Lake Ophelia has been almost completely overgrown with bullrushes.  We estimate that the water in the middle of the pond is only about 6 feet deep.  I have asked a contractor to visit us at the farm to see if he can dredge the pond, expand it significantly! and then regrade the entire area.  Some of you may recall that Lake Ophelia is not actually a lake but a farm pond, and Ophelia was one of our yellow labs that enjoyed sneaking off for a quick little swim.  We named the pond after her.  Now that businesses are starting to re-open we are finding that many contractors are extremely busy and having trouble fitting in new business.  I really hope that we can have this project done before the winter.

We have been struggling with predators this year.  Coyotes have killed several of our lambs and even though we have miles' worth of electric fencing to protect the sheep coyotes can still find a way in.  To protect the sheep Abby the German Shepherd and I take a walk every evening to bring the sheep to the barn so we can lock them up.

A Green Frog visitor at our koi pond.  We feel that we dont have as many frogs this year as in previous years.  We suspect that the herons that visit Lake Ophelia are taking them along with the large goldfish that we have had for many years.  The price we pay for the herons is no frogs and no fish!

This sky looks painted.  For a brief period of time that evening we had an eerie red glow in the sky.

This is also a green frog spotted at Lake Ophelia.

This year we are trying to raise turkeys again.  We have raised them a few times over the years.  This is a heritage breed called Orlopp Bronze. These turkeys are housed in a rolling cage which gives them protection from the elements and (hopefully) predators while allowing them to be moved to fresh pasture each day.  We find these turkeys are more flavourful that the turkeys sold at the supermarket with a denser meat.  They also take much longer to cook!

The sideroad on the way to the highway.  I like to say it is the only good part of my commute to and from the city!

Henry has settled in very nicely.  Our neighbour however reports catching him looking in her windows.

Earlier this year we were surprised to find one of our Muskovy ducks sitting on a nest. Her first clutch of eggs didnt hatch but the second did.  Ducklings must be some of the cutest creatures on earth!

A view towards our kitchen deck.  The false weeping cypress in the foreground has made an astonishing recovery after we dug it up and replanted it in the same spot with lots of additional compost.  Last year we thought it was going to die but a quick consultation with the nursery convinced us to try replanting it in much amended soil and now it is much happier.

Our koi pond still has some cosmetic work to be done!  The stone wall needs to be finished and flagstone placed along the top of the wall.  This particular view looks rather resort-ish!

And here is our darling Willow.  She has had her 14th birthday and received a clean bill of health at a recent vet visit.  Such a sweet and kind old soul.  We are so happy that she is able to live out her days at the farm doing typical dog things like being comfortable on the furniture.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit!  Have a safe week!