Friday, August 26, 2016

Good-bye to two great roosters...

This week is kind of sucking... we have lost two great roosters!

Errol Flynn

Lord Gaga

Both these boys died this week. Errol was ill the day he died, looking as if he'd had a stroke, but Lord Gaga just seemed to pass away in his sleep last night.

They were both six years old. They, along with Beaker (still clucking!) were our first roosters. We got them along with some female chicks back in July 2010. There was only supposed to be one rooster in the batch, and we were told we could exchange any extra roosters, but the three of them were so nice, we decided to keep them all. The three boys were devilishly handsome and real characters. It's not going to be the same without these two (and I will be casting a lot of nervous glances at Beaker!!)

Back in 2012, Errol Flynn won the rooster crowing contest at the Harvest Festival at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dunvegan, ON. You can read about that here!

Magnificent Lord Gaga

Errol as a youngster

Errol inspired some of my art, too...

Rest in peace, you two. You were the best boys!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

There are still plenty of good people in the world...

These arrived this weekend...

...a really kind woman named Sharron saw my wish list on the Bee Meadow Farm Facebook page and offered me some pears and apples from her overloaded trees. The pigs, goats, ponies, horses, donkey and birds ALL love these!

Then today Sharron brought more fruit, AND our friends Nick and Kim stopped by with a load of apples from their trees...

We now spend a sizeable chunk of our weekly grocery money on fruit and veg for the animals, so these were such a great donation!

Juliet the Runner-duck cross was pleased!

So was Jackie the Pekin duck. 

Here's Genny waiting for HER apple...

So when I'm feeling down in the dumps about the seemingly rampant ugliness in the world, I will think about kind people who bring fruit for our rescue animals! I do believe there are many good people out there. 

But this guy isn't always good...

...he is, however, frigging CUTE! Monty is six months old now and HUGE. He is really doing very well looking after and living with the goats and pigs. I have to remind myself he's still a puppy. Sometimes he wants to play with the pigs and goats, and that's a no-no, so I tell him to quit it and try to give him something else to play with. But overall he's a smart, good dog and we are so pleased with him.

Here is is, keeping an eye on things!

One of these things is not like the others... of these things just doesn't belong!

Handsome boy! But he really comes alive at night. He's definitely a night-shift worker. It's amazing how he quickly he springs into action when he hears the coyotes start howling. His instinct is a fantastic thing.

And next to the goats, we now have a new horse pasture...

Finney and Saul have been hanging with the big horses, Sandy and Roo! It's really cute.

And Patrick, our newest pig addition from the SPA de l'Éstrie in Sherbrooke, Quebec, is fitting in really well...

He is such a cute guy. Apparently he went through something like six homes before coming here. He was in foster care for a year before this with a wonderful woman, but her three pigs just refused to accept Patrick. Here he seems to have made friends with Henry and Jersey, and everyone else is fine with him too. I told Patrick that this will be his last home, and he has nothing to worry about now.

Hard to believe August is drawing to a close... hope you're all having a good summer!

Friday, August 19, 2016

We have another artist at the farm...

So I wrote this post two weeks ago, left it as a draft, then forgot to post it. So here you go! Better late than never...

This summer, I have a great 13-year-old kid helping out with chores once a week. He is amazing: a hard worker who  always has a smile on his face. The goat pens are so clean after he finishes with them that *I* would be happy to sleep in them. And last week, he made art in their supper bowls!!!

Yes, a beautiful and tantalizing mix of dairy ration, cattle starter, goat grain and black oil sunflower seeds. Those goats don't know how lucky they are!

Meanwhile, here's Queen Daphne looking down at her new minion, Bert...

She has somehow muscled her way to the top of the pecking order and is now herd queen. She's not very pleased with Bert, but the other goats are being kinder to him now. He is a surprisingly tough little dude. We are really smitten with him!

But let's not forget this gentle soul...

Saul is very tolerant of my selfies! He really is the sweetest creature. 

And he loves his cats...

...although he does love to nibble tails...

...which, strangely enough, the cats don't usually appreciate!

And look who's still hanging in there...

Tristan has really slowed down this summer and spends a lot of time sleeping, but he seems content. One of his favourite things on earth is Tim Hortons coffee cups with dregs of coffee still in them! And his good buddy Shawn is happy to provide them. Among other things, Shawn looks after our garden and keeps it looking beautiful. He also runs a CSA called Stonefield Acres which is doing great in its first year!

And he is always kind to Tristan. Tristan loves Shawn back.

Meanwhile, down in the goat pasture...

Henry is sleeping with the fishes. Literally, because there are three (no doubt alarmed) goldfish living in the goats' stock tank!

He does have a selection of pig pools, but apparently this one was more enticing! 
The goldfish are in there to eat mosquito larvae and also help keep the water clean.The pig is not helping.

After his refreshing dip, Henry took a mud bath...

If that's not a happy pig, I don't know what is!

And there's Daphne again, keeping an eye on Monty and Bert.

Monty is doing well. He is 5/1/2 months old and is now acting like an ass at times as he enters adolescence, but overall he's doing well and is quite the charmer...

He gets busy at night, barking at coyotes and keeping an eye on things!

Daphne likes to keep an eye on things too!

And here's the other latest addition...

...Patrick the pig! We let him out with the herd for the first time yesterday and he did very well.

I feel pretty lucky to have all these beautiful animals!

Thursday, August 18, 2016


So I seem to have this new thing about waking up at 3 am and ruminating for an hour until I can finally get back to sleep again. Today I decided to get up and do something rather than lie in the dark worrying about animals, so here I am at 4 am doing a blog post. Hopefully I can get some more sleep after this.

Last Sunday, I participated in my first-ever Extreme Cowboy event (novice division.) I hadn't done anything like this  before, but last Friday my riding instructor Rose conned me and two other women into entering the class. Then on Saturday, we practiced at her place for two hours. Sunday morning was the event, right after we FINALLY got some rain... which turned the ring into a mudbowl...

Nonetheless, the show went on! Rose offered me her wonderful horse Bonnie to ride, and I accepted, because Bonnie has participated in Extreme Cowboy events many times before and I figured it would be good if at least one of knew what she was doing!!

Before things began, everybody from all the classes came together and we walked the very-wet course.

And of course, I got picked to go first in my class. Sigh. And then Rose told me should couldn't stand in the middle of the ring and remind me which obstacle was next...

I think Rose was trying to reassure me here, but it wasn't working. Nonetheless, I soldiered on!

And surprisingly...

...things went very well! There were very obstacles to deal with, including weave poles, a bridge, a banner on a swivel pole that you had to turn, and bales of hay that you had to sidepass over.

Bonnie and I did a perfect sidepass over these hay bales.

It's not a particularly easy thing to do, so it really helped that Bonnie had done it before. I think we got bonus points for this one. :)

She would not, however, walk over this tractor-tire bridge set-up. That's my fault... I got too fixated on the object, and then so did she! I think only one person in my class managed to get his horse over this.

Fortunately we didn't have to try the teeter-tooter...

...but Rose managed it just fine!

And I even managed a smile!

And now I own a plaid shirt, too.

I had a great time and can't wait to try more of this. And guess what? I came in second place!:)

Okay, I'm off to try to sleep some more... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sooo hot...

So I spent four straight days in mental anguish because I thought this guy was dead...

Archie disappeared Saturday and didn't show up again until late last night.

I spent a lot of time roaming 86 acres of farmland, calling his name. I waded through soybeans, walked through the cornfield next door, and drove through the woodlot. Nothing.

I sent him mental messages to come home. I cried a lot. I figured for sure he was dead and I regretted my decision to have any outdoor cats after years of having only indoor cats (with an outside cage which is still used by the indoor cats!)

Then last night we went out for supper and I told Archie (in my head... what the hell, it was worth a shot!) to get his ass home and that I would turn on the big floodlight for him when we got back from supper so he could see his way home if he was lost.

So we got home around 9 pm, and I turned on the floodlight. A few minutes later, who do I hear meowing as he saunters out of the woods next to our house?

Yep, Archie. He has lost weight but otherwise seems fine. And I can't deal with this crap, so we intended to expand the cat cage network we've already got so the cats that aren't officially barn cats can just stay the hell inside. Only Redford and Emerson do any wandering from the barn and it would be really hard to lock them up given all the people going in and out of the barn. They are usually home for supper. But I'm not cut out for this "disappearing cat" crap! I am just grateful Archie is home and he can stay the hell inside or use the cat cage from now on. 

He was initially a sort of barn cat who moved into the house so there was some laxity about his comings and goings, but that's that. He doesn't want to go out in winter anyway. If he wants some fun, he can spend a night in the barn partying with his buddies in there!

Meanwhile, we are in a drought here and the crops around us are failing. The cornfield next to us is pretty much toast. They will still use it for silage but it won't be as nutritious. Our rainfall amounts have been way down since April. My trees are suffering and my perennials are dying but at least I don't have to worry about crops. Today was stinking hot and tomorrow it's supposed to be 35C/95F with a humidex making it feel like 42C/107F. This is the hottest, driest summer I can remember in my lifetime. I worry about our well but so far it's hanging in there. But other wells around here are failing. My friend Pierre is having water trucked to his house now.

And I worry about the animals all the time when it's like this. The pigs know how to keep cool, though...

Dahlia wallowing as Jersey chills out in the pool.

How's the mud, Dahlia?

And here's our newest porcine addition, Patrick...

He's very sweet! He is finally starting to hang with the herd and the others are being mostly kind to him now.

Little Bert likes to hang with Patrick too!

After mud baths, Jersey, Bert and Patrick wandered off down to the pasture.

Doesn't Patrick have a nice smile?

He's a cutie for sure!

Patrick and Jersey

We're doing rain dances here. Stay cool!