September 20, 2014

the gardens

We had a bit of light frost a few nights ago, but before that happened, I took all these lovely pictures! Many tomatoes have been harvested and are ripening in paper bags and on a shelf beside the window. We picked all the squash, cucumbers and pumpkins. If another frost comes, we have huge tarps at the ready to protect the ground cherries, lettuce, and remaining tomatoes. The growing season this year was so short, that a ton of our tomatoes are still green and will likely never ripen, darn it all.

September 13, 2014

September (:

Our hen Foo Foo went broody, so we just let her do her thing and she ended up hatching out two chicks of her very own. The three of them are currently living in our kitchen in the rabbit hutch. It's a bit cold outside so we are giving the little ones a few weeks to strengthen before we move them out to the chicken ark. Foo Foo is a very good mama and it has been a lovely gift to have them right here in our living space so we can watch her cuddle the chicks, teach them and interact with them. You don't realize, until you take the time to observe, that even a chicken seems to love her babies. Motherhood is amazing, really.

The boys, doing what they do all day!

The old girls are settling in nicely (: I had to shear Magpie (black ewe), as I couldn't get her burrs out. There was basically a wall of them amassed on her chest and shoulders, the poor girl. It was a riproar of a time too, let me tell you! She kicked and leaped and tried everything to get out of her shearing session, but Jason held on to her tightly, and I clipped as quickly as I could. Afterwards, you could see in her eyes that she felt much better. She was agitated when she first arrived here at the farm and I mistook that for her demeanor, when really it was just a bunch of burrs at the base of her wool, prickly right against her skin. Now she is a super snuggly sheep, and she lets me pet her all over. She even licked my nose and buried her head into my shoulder to give me a sheep hug. So sweet.

Here Jude is holding Ollie's chicken. She is very tolerant and lets both the boys 'catch' her. Jude declared that he loved her, and wanted to give her a new name and so he called her Beautiful Leaf (:

Eggs collected in the afternoon.

A quick dinner on a busy night for two hungry little boys!

Yum yum sand cake banquet!


Outside tea

We love caterpillars!

A dapper grasshopper

After harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers and cucamelons, we had a little feast on the picnic table. Jude, who has said many a time that he hates cucumbers, ate 3/4 of one! Ollie ate the little yellow tomatoes (:

September is flying by at a rapid speed, it is true. I don't quite know how we got to this point. Summer was so fleeting, and already I am clad in layers; the air is chilly, the house is chilly! 
I am not ready to be cold yet. Hopefully there will be more warm days to enjoy!

September 10, 2014

Corn harvest!

This past weekend, we harvested a quarter of our Red Flint Heirloom Floriani Corn.
Now, it is hanging from the kitchen ceiling to dry. We will grind it to use in place of flour, making flatbreads, cornbread, pizza dough and such. Our son Jude has celiac, so we have all gone gluten-free, and growing our own safe grain is one of the best things we have done, I think! I say 'we' but really, Jason did all of it. 
He planted 300 seeds by hand, weeding periodically, and also putting up a fence halfway through the season to keep out deer and sheep. Quite a few stalks were knocked down by something, so we started stationing the dog (Matilda) outside from dusk until dawn to bark away the marauders. She did a great job! We never lost any more stalks or corn once she started helping out.
We also had to eradicate stinkbugs from the corn, as they cause a lot of damage. There were quite a few of them, but we squished them. We will harvest the remaining ears in the coming weeks - There is going to be a ton of corn hanging from the ceiling! It reminds me of the gorgeous kitchen illustrations from the Brambley Hedge books. I have studied those pictures many, many times and wished my kitchen could look so warm and well-stocked (:

August 28, 2014

Exciting news!!

We have two new ewes on the farm! They are icelandic sheep!

Their names are Magpie and Sweetgrass! 
They are older sheep, retired from breeding but were looking for a loving home. 

We fixed them up a lovely stall of their very own in the barn (:

I kept them in for three days and spoiled them with treats and affection. I wanted them to understand that this is their new home, and that it is a happy, safe place. Here the chickens are saying hello under the door.

And then, on the 4th day, I let them out with the other sheep. Here, Sweetgrass is enjoying the sun on her face (: They explored the property in little bits, and if they were startled by something, ran back to me. I was very happy that they acknowledged me as their shepherdess (: By the end of the day, they were travelling around the pasture with the other sheep, looking like they had always lived here (:

We all love the morning pasture sunlight.

I knew Sweetgrass's wool reminded me of something! 

These ewes came to us from a lovely Ontario icelandic farm and I am so looking forward to working with their wool next year! I am NOT, however, looking forward to getting all those burrs out. Sheep and burrs definitely don't mix! I cut down as many burdock plants as I could find in the pasture, but there are so many in other places that frankly, I give up. Next year I will coat the sheep. This year, I am letting go (:

I'll just love them! That's what sheep are for around here!

August 22, 2014

a walk in the August forest

St.John's Wort, harvested from the wild and ready to be made into tincture


Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus)

Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Wild Oregano

And when we got home, pizza!

As the days turn a bit cooler, we are finally able to explore our beautiful woods. The mosquitos and deer flies, for the most part, leave us alone and we can wander slowly if we like, stopping to examine the myriad of forest creatures and natural wonders along the way. There is the most wonderful 'mossy place' which we love to visit, as the moss is soft underfoot like a squishy carpet, and everything is bright green and so lush! I have always loved moss, and mushrooms too, and I photograph these things perhaps more than anythings else wherever I go.
We found wildflowers on our walk; toadflax, viper's bugloss, heal-all, St.John's wort, bee balm and wild bergamot and we harvested a bit of the S.John's wort to be made into tincture. We will transplant some of the toadflax and heal-all to our shady garden spot as well; How nice it will be to have these growing closer to us!
We were likely exploring in the woods for 2 1/2 hours which is a good amount of time for the littlest travellers! We stopped frequently so they could sip a bit of their orange juice which Ollie gallantly carried the entire time in his backpack, and when we returned home, we made some delicious (gluten-free) pizza!
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