Sunday, August 27, 2017

Early Sunday at the Farm

Hello dear friends, it certainly feels like summer is winding down at the farm.  The days are a little cooler and the nights are much cooler!  We have had 2 nights of single digit temperatures here which make for wonderful sleeping weather.  It is nice to have the cleaner fresher air flowing through our old farmhouse.

Some of the leaves have just started to change colour.  As we have many sugar maples here at the farm we can expect a riot of yellows, oranges and reds once October arrives.

Although it wasnt on the list of things to do I discovered a can of paint that I had left in my garden shed last fall.  I started by painting the door and posts of our chicken coop and since we have had a few dry days I might try to paint some more of it this week.  

I love this echinops.  By the time I returned to the house for the camera the sun had moved just a little higher so I missed being able to photograph the flower heads with rising mist is the distance.

There is still mist in the distance over this old gate.

This old girl is wondering when the farmer is getting up to take the flock across the road to their lush pasture.

All of the cedars are being weighed down with seed heads.

Frau chicken is laying an egg.

This Frau chicken is enjoying some of the grass clippings and weeds from yesterday's gardening activities.

The highbush cranberry is filled with berries.

Yay!!  I finally have phlox that survived being eaten by marauding lambs!

This little garden is almost finished.  The statue is in memory of Jessie, one of many German Shepherds we have had here at the farm.

Now we are coming around to a different side of the house and looking down the lane towards the barn.  We planted this cedar hedge many years ago.

This is along Ash Alley.  The sheep are grazing on the other side in Crab Apple Grove.  Unfortunately Emerald Ash Borer has now been detected in our area and although we have often talked about it we still havent come up with a succession plan for these trees.

Another view of Ash Alley.

A pile of old cedar rails that I am sure we are planning on using for something!  I love the mosses growing on the rails.

The koi pond is still in the shade of another large ash tree.  By late morning the pond will have sun and by mid afternoon the pond will be in full sun.

I believe this to be the work of a wren.  I have discovered another collection of little twigs in my clothespin bag!

I hope you enjoyed this little before breakfast stroll.  Today's project is to continue with painting the second floor windows of our stone farmhouse.  In between the garden will appreciate some more weeding!  

~Thank you for visiting!~

Monday, August 21, 2017

Balcony Views

Hello dear friends, today I am sharing some photos of our second floor balcony.  The balcony opens from the second floor master bedroom and measures about 12 X 12 feet.  I originally had the idea of having a balcony after looking at photos on Carolyn Aiken's lovely blog  We worked closely with a designer when planning our major renovation and this is what we came up with. 

The floor of the balcony is a waterproof membrane that is designed to protect the wiring that runs underneath the flooring.  The floor of the balcony forms part of the covered veranda below.  The membrane is a very light colour and in the sun it is blinding!  We added an indoor/outdoor carpet to cut down on the glare.  

Willow is very good at trialing furniture.  The arm chair is very comfortable.

The love seat is also quite comfortable.

This rather dark shot shows the balcony from the inside of the bedroom.  It is lovely sleeping with the door open at night although the sound of the waterfall in the koi pond below took a bit of getting used to.

We can look down to the koi pond.

Or we can look out towards the chicken coop.

Here is a view from the chicken coop back towards the house.

Walking towards the front of the house looking back.  The balcony gets early morning sun and doesnt get full shade until late afternoon.  We didnt appreciate how hot or bright the balcony would be during the day and were disappointed to not be able to use it until the evenings.  Then we thought about getting a huge off-set umbrella and while the balcony still is very bright and hot we get so much more enjoyment from it.  

This is a view from the balcony looking towards Willoughby gate (and the new driveway which is not visible from this point.)

Looking back towards the original house.

A view towards one of the sheep pastures.

I hope that you enjoyed this little refreshment break.  Now back to work!  Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Building a Koi Pond!

Hello dear friends, although the koi pond isnt quite finished I thought I would share some photos of what we have done so far.  Last year we were offered 5 young koi from a friend that has a pond in the city.  Over time the fish in the pond have been reproducing and growing in size and it was time for them to get rid of some.   So....we brought them home and as so often happens at the farm a new and urgent project became a priority!  Every year at the farm we buy ornamental fish for our waterfall pond,  In the fall we transfer them to Lake Ophelia where they easily over-winter in the deep water.  In the spring we observe schools of gold fish living happily in the pond, getting larger each year.  Because Lake Ophelia is completely self contained there is no danger of the fish escaping into waterways.

The photo below shows the beginning of the new pond which is adjacent to a series of decks that run around our house.  We wanted to be able to view the koi from the seating area, and we wanted to be able to keep the koi close to the house year round.  This pond is almost 5 feet deep at the far end and is approximately 12 X 17 feet.

After building the framework the pond was lined with a heavy pond liner.  

We have an old rubble stone farmhouse and the area that we live in has lots of rocks.  The outside of the pond wall is being enclosed in a rubble stone wall.  The view below shows the pond from the upstairs balcony.  You may notice that we have added railings around the edge of the deck in order to comply with building code requirements in our area.  One of the railings has a shelf which we are referring to as our "bar".

We sometimes see Chantalaria gazing intently into the pond.  On occassion I have seen her delicately drinking water from the pond but we wonder...would she ever try to catch a fish?

When the pond is finished we will add flagstone to the top of the pond to hide the liner.

We have added different plants to the water garden and transplanted some of the bull rushes from Lake Ophelia to help purify the water.  Hint! : that is not a good idea.  It turns out the the silty soil that the bull rushes had been growing in made a terribly murky mess of the water in our new pond.  A candid conversation with the helpful sales person at Ace Hardware allowed us to see the error of our ways.  😢  Now we know that in future we need to either use special pond soil or we need to use containers that do not allow the soil to leach into the water.  Even with a large filtering system running it has taken weeks to try to clear the water up.

In addition to a filtering system a large pump continuously circulates water.  We used flagstones to create a waterfall and love the sound of the water.  The pond also has two bubblers which provide oxygen in the water and prevent the water from freezing over completely in the winter.  We also have a little resin duck floating in the pond that has a little water spout in its' beak.

This water lily was a transplant from Lake Ophelia.  Before that it was a transplant from a neighbour's pond.  We also had a yellow lily however it did not survive one of the winters.

We also have water hyacinths which are annual plants.  In warm climates these are invasive species but at the farm they are in a very enclosed area and once the temperatures drop they will freeze and die.

Some of the koi at feeding time.  By feeding them in the same location every day they quickly learn where to come for food.  We love watching them.

Our fish have also been busy starting families.  Here is a very young fish.  When small they seem to be all eyes!

I hope that you enjoyed this quick update.  We have also been working on the waterfall garden as well as trying to finish the work on the new master bedroom and master bathroom.  I will have some photos to share soon!  Thank you for visiting and enjoy the rest of your week.