Monday, June 20, 2016

My heart is full!

Puppy kisses are the best!

So we had the "Homes with Woofs" fundraiser here on Saturday and it was amazing to see so many people coming out to support us. And we were SO excited to have Carol Anne Meehan (of 1310 Radio Ottawa) and Alan Neal (of CBC Radio's All in a Day drive show) here to judge doghouses. They are both wonderful, so much fun and easy to talk to! Today Alan Neal aired his interview with me on CBC's All in a Day (Podcast isn't up yet but I will link to it when it is) and Carol Anne Meehan posted TWO great videos from the event. Watch them if you want to learn more about us and the farm, and see many of our animals and friends!

Carol Anne's extensive interviews with us and others at Homes with Woofs:

Hilarious video from the designer doghouse judging:

As well, two of my photographer friends were there, Ian Highway (whose photos I will post jsut as soon as I get five minutes to process them!) and Deborah Wilson, who took these beautiful photos (copyright Deborah Wilson, please don't download them).  Ian and Deborah both donated items for the auction too. Great (and talented!) people!

Beautiful Saul

Sweet Monty. Hard to believe he is only 4-1/2 months old.

Cute cupcake made by Vicky Tyo-Grenier.

Enjoying the ponies and donkey

My godson and his Dad having a moment with sweet Monty.



My friend (and riding instructor!) Rose from Havencrest Farm offered pony rides! That's Gordon's Fjord horse Sandy on the right.

Many of our dear friends made BEAUTIFUL, DELICIOUS cupcakes for the event!

Meanwhile, Finney was freaking out over Sandy and Skor (Rose's pony daring to venture onto our property!

There goes my godson on Skor, with Rose leading him.

What a fantastic day! I felt so supported and the beautiful things people said about us on the interview video made me cry. Enjoy! More photos to come.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bees, puppy, cat!

First off...


Monty is such a good boy!

The cuteness is helping keep me sane as I get ready for the Homes with Woofs fundraiser being held at the farm this coming Saturday from 1 to 4 pm!

Do come if you're around! My friend Deb Steckly of Just Cats will be here, hooray!!

So, last Friday I moved six beehives from behind the barn to out in the field. They were facing the spot where we plan to put in a sand ring for our horses.  Bee stings and horseback riding don't mix! So even though it isn't a great time of year to be moving hives, my friends Pierre and Luc helped me get the job done.

Me and Pierre in the Kubota while Luc..

...sits on three beehives in the back! You know, so they wouldn't slide off.

Needless to say, we moved at a snail's pace.

Luc took care of the smoker, too!

The hives are all moved, but I took this pic this evening after catching TWO swarms today...

...instantly taking me from seven hives to nine (two hives aren't in this photo.)

First I found this swarm when I went for a walk. It was easy to catch. I trimmed back the Manitoba maple sapling it was in, and whacked the whole clump of bees into a hive box under the tree, then put the lid on.

Because I succeeded in knocking the queen in, the rest of the bees marched in too! Even all those ones I accidentally knocked on the rocks, oops.

Bees are very gentle when swarming. I wore my bee jacket but didn't get a single sting.

Then no sooner had I gone into the house to change out of my sweaty clothes but Luc came running up to tell me about another swarm on the fence in the horse pasture!

This isn't huge, but it's bigger than it looks in the photo. Another easy catch...

... I just used my bee brush to sort of sweep everyone into the box in a clump. Once again I got the queen in on the first try, hooray!

Hopefully there will be no more swarms this week!

I came back to visit Monty...

I think Henry the pig used to live with a dog. He really likes to hang with Monty.

Monty is excellent with the goats and pigs. He's still learning that cats are not to be chased, not even a little! But he's a very good boy and I have confidence in him.

I started clicker-training him today and he is SO smart! He learned to touch my hand on command in five minutes or less. He really is a lovely dog. He seems quite content with his goats and pigs. I think he will mature into a great livestock guardian dog but I know we have lots of work and training ahead!
And Keaton... quite happy just to be amongst the flowers!

Do join us Saturday if you're in the area. We're about an hour from Ottawa, an hour from Montreal, and 30 minutes from the Massena NY border crossing. I am very excited that Alan Neal from CBC's All in a Day and Carol Anne Meehan of 1310 News Radio will be here as celebrity judges for the designer doghouses!!

Info here: Homes with Woofs

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Welcome Monty!

Look who joined our family yesterday!

This is Monty! He is 4 months old and is here to live with and act as guardian dog for our goats!

He was born and bred on a goat/cattle farm in Alberta. My friend who is a sheep farmer took his sister, and both dogs flew in together yesterday.

As you know, most of our animals are rescues, but we wanted a true working dog to guard the sheep, with good breeding and parents who are livestock guardian dogs. So after much agonizing, we got Monty.

He's a super pup, smart and not hyper. Already good with the goats who are not shy about putting him in his place. For the most part he is only interacting with them while on his leash, and he has a pen in the pasture so he can be with them (confined) when he is not being supervised.

He needs more time to get used to the pigs and cats, but I feel confident he will come around and I an working on training and basic obedience.

He is super-adorable and not afraid to use it to his advantage!

This is Gordon's first puppy ever, and he is pretty excited about it! He came home from work yesterday and MOnty was here.

Kevin's not shy about teaching Monty goat manners!

I think this little guy will fit in great here. I will do my best to train him well, and sleep better knowing we have Monty keeping our goats safe from coyotes. Eventually we'd like to add a second livestock guardian dog, but one thing at a time!

If you'd like to learn more about Maremmas, check out this link!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Doghouses! Cool stuff! Pony rides! Come to Homes with Woofs on June 18!

So, helping organize THIS is what has been keeping me insanely busy as of late..

My friend Peggy Blair runs this fundraiser every second year, and this year she chose us and our rescue animals as the beneficiaries of the event! So on Saturday, June 18 from 1 pm to 4 pm, we will be holding Homes with Woofs here at the farm, with custom-made doghouses up for auction and celebrity judges Carol Anne Meehan (of 1310 News Radio Ottawa) and Alan Neal (of CBC Ottawa's All in A Day radio drive show) awarding ribbons to the best creations.

I listen to Alan Neal pretty much every day and am amazed he's coming to be a celebrity judge. And Carol Anne Meehan is wonderful too! We are so lucky that they both agreed to come! I am also so fortunate to have the friendship of Peggy, who is not only a powerhouse of organizational skills, but also a realtor, former lawyer, and a best-selling author. Her latest book Umbrella Man is being launched next week. If you want a good summer read, check it out! Peggy also has a thing for our pig Henry. :) When Henry was down in the dumps last winter, she brought him a giant teddy bear to cuddle up to.

Peggy goats 5

Peggy and the triplets last winter

We are having a silent auction with some AMAZING items, plus a BBQ, pony rides (no, not on Finney. We don't need children being bucked across 86 acres!) and of course, plenty of rescue animals. If you are in the area (we are an hour from Ottawa and an hour from Montreal, 30 minutes from the Massena, NY border crossing), we'd LOVE to see you! Please cross your fingers for good weather, but we have enough outbuildings that we can keep dry if it does rain. The auction will be in the barn.

If you'd like to learn more, visit the Homes with Woofs website. If you want to volunteer, or donate things for the silent auction, just email me at the address in my profile or contact Peggy via the Homes with Woofs site.

Among other things, any money we raise will help pay for the fencing for the goat pasture we just put in, as well as veterinary care for the animals (like Luc's neutering next Thursday!) feed (approximately $750 a month for grain for pigs and goat and the birds, and several hundred a month for hay) farrier visits, and everything else that goes on around  here (and I'm not even factoring in the 16 rescue cats!)

We are IMMENSELY grateful for Peggy's support, and the enthusiasm and support of so many other people for this event. Just for example, a bunch of my friends are baking and donating more than 10 dozen cupcakes for the event. I have some truly wonderful people in my life and you will see many of their names in the sidebar of the Homes with Woofs website. I am overwhelmed by the response to this event. I feel very grateful and humbled. Yes, Gordon has a good job, but we still put a huge amount of our money into our beloved animals, and it really touches my heart to see how people want to donate, help and just be there. Makes a girl wanna cry!

Also I am blessed to have amazing barn help in Robert, Jackie, Bernie, Kim and Kevin, who come to do daily chores, which spares Gordon and me at least four hours of work a day (so I can spend more time studying poetry, writing poems, sending them out, and having them rejected, bahaha!) Until last fall I was doing most of it myself, and I can't lie, some days I would just sit on a hay bale and cry. (I think all farmers with animals do that once in a while!) But most days, it's a blast, even though I now smell constantly of goat.

And this summer, our young friend Bethany will be back to help out! She's a great girl who has a really nice way with the animals.

And speaking of amazing, there's Luc. Gordon and I really don't know what we'd do without Luc. He's here most days lately, working on a million things. He has been renovating our old granary, but he also just put in all our new goat fencing, built GOAT MOUNTAIN, is fixing up our barn (and built our box stalls in 2014) and a million other things. Nothing is too much trouble for him. He pretty much does it all around here. He once did a faceplant in the mud trying to catch Button the pig for me! Now that's sacrifice. 

Luc and two of his goat friends, with the beautiful granary in the background.

 He also helps me with the animals all the time (he grew up in a family of dairy farmers), trimming goat hooves, holding Daphne while I massage her backside with Shapley's Original M-T-G (don't ask!), corralling a reluctant donkey... you name it, he's done it here. He was there scratching Daphne's back through her difficult labour, and let's just say he was there for an incident that involved a long tube, Penny's hoo-ha, and puffs of air blown gently through the tube into aforementioned hoo-ha. Oops, I believe I was not supposed to speak of this incident... oops.

Whenever I ask Luc for help with anything, his response is always "No problem!"  Gordon and I really don't know what we'd do without his help, or the help of his partner Debbie, who is not just my hairdresser but also my awesome friend. Luc and Debbie are the kind of people who will stay with you in a cold barn all day into midnight (on a Saturday!), have a picnic on hay bales, then help you and your vet through a goat's terrible labour, dead kids, and C-section. I don't know if you can appreciate how special that is, but let me tell you, it's damned amazing.

Okay, before I cry, I need to go do some beekeeping. But please, if you would like to come to Homes with Woofs, we would LOVE to see you here! It's going to be a great day. If you're on Facebook and haven't checked out the Bee Meadow Farm page yet, here's the link.

Enjoy the weekend! And if you haven't already, listen to me babble on about the animals in the Pawdcast I did with the OSPCA last week!

Me and my boyfriend Saul.

Friday, May 27, 2016

My little polydactyl man!

Unseasonably hot here today... 31C/87F in the shade, ugh! Too much for me, too soon! I had to work with my bees this morning and it was really hot and sticky.

But Redford doesn't mind the heat!

Well, hello!

Redford was our first barn cat. He showed up in 2014. I worry about him like I worry about all our outdoor cats. We always had indoor cats until he came along, but a rat explosion in our barn has been pretty much cured by our magnificent barn cats. A bad rat problem in 2014 is what finally made us break down.

I try to treat the barn cat crew as if they were house cats (same food, love, affection, vet care, warm places to sleep), with the exception that the barn kitties bunk in the barn at night. But the odd time, Redford or Emerson (the other barn cats don't do this!) stays out for a night and worries me sick. There's no easy way around it; outdoor life is risky for them. I do my best to make sure they are locked in at night and then I just cross my fingers. I wish I had some tiny GPS trackers for these guys!

I still cats they are the best thing for keeping a barn vermin free. Poison is so dangerous, and traps are ineffective when you've got 100 rats running around. The cats do an excellent job of keeping the rats away. I am all for barn cat programs that adopt out otherwise unadoptable cats to farmers for vermin control. 

But I  think any of our barn cats could  easily be indoor cats! 

Talk to the paw!

He knows how to relax!

Ticks are going to be bad this year. I pulled two off him yesterday. I seem to be removing ticks from cats on a daily basis now.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Go cuddle a cat (unless you're allergic, in which case, cuddle something hypo-allergenic!)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The goats of GOAT MOUNTAIN!

The goats are having an absolute blast on Goat Mountain. Look at my beautiful Daphne!

Luc, creator of Goat Mountain, put several flat rocks on it. The goats love these perches and often take a nap on them. Or like Daphne, just flaunt their gorgeousness!



My sweet Roise

This is why I frequently smell like goat these days!!

Little Debbie

I admit it. Goats have stolen my heart!

Hawkeye, Genny and Debbie. Mama and twins. The little family units tend to group together. All the kids, even the triplets born January 9, are still nursing! I think the mamas naturally wean them somewhere around five months.

Genny and Daphne

And Geoff thinks he owns this thing!

Annabelle begs to differ.