Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I met with the insurance adjuster at Maria Street yesterday. What a mess. He is going to send a building inspector and a contractor to analyse and give an estimate. I think he wants to know if part of the problem is old; that the toilet was leaking for a long time before it let go. If that is the case it is partly our problem for not having fixed it before it failed. I wish Warren had met with him. He knows so much more and could have answered questions better than I did. We will see what happens.
We have been cutting trees and throwing them in for the goats. Lennie has developped his own way of stripping the leaves. He starts near the stem, clamps down and moves toward the branch tip, leaving a bare branch behind him. Yesterday we cleared just inside the field. Took down four trees, all birch. We will leave any healthy maple and clear out 90% of the birch by next spring. The field will be cleaner, clearer, with less flies and mosquitos by next summer.
My chickens are caged until harvest is over. I cleaned the pen and added a wheelbarrel of sand the other day. Oscar the pig has a blanket that he wraps up in every night. I wonder if the guinea pigs would do the same if given the chance? When the harvest is done I am going to try letting Oscar loose. Bill & Ethels pigs run loose and they say that the pigs stay within a reasonable territory. They get along peacably with stray cats, chickens, ducks, etc...
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Last couple of weeks
Monday of Labour Day weekend found WB working and Heather and I cutting goat toe nails with Bill and Ethel. We worked hard and enjoyed it immensly. I resisted bringing home any more goats. On arriving home we had a call from Francine, our neighbour in Montreal. There was a big problem with Maria Street! The toilet on the second floor had leaked, the ceiling on the first floor and the floor are ruined, the water continued through to the basement, pulling the ceiling down there too. With the help of Francine and Howie we did some clean up, installed two dehumidifiers, and drank some wine. What a day: five hours driving, six hours physical labour wrestling goats, two hours carrying wet plaster and mopping.
Wednesday and Thursday I started harvesting and preserving some of the garden. I made tomato sauce with forty tomatoes and lots of other good things. I made a pickled beets and onions recipe that I can't wait to taste. Heather and I went to the War Museum in Ottawa. I worked Tuesday and Friday. Quite a full week.
Both Heather and WB are working this weekend. There is a raft of things that I want to do. Must get started and above all I must avoid iwin.com.
P.S. The new baby goats name is Ramble.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Having fun with the animals
As I word I daydream about the utility room that I want to have in my barn (when I finally get a barn). I want:
- Concrete floor
- Hot and cold water
- Deep and shallow sinks, side by side, with waterproof counter on either side
- Fridge (for medicine and perishable foods), washer & dryer (horse blankets, etc...), dishwasher (for chicken food dishes, etc...)
- Cupboards and storage for tools, feeders, etc..
- A work bench for fixing things
- A sound system so that I can hum along as I work.
I am using the bedding from the guinea pigs, as well as used bedding from the animal shed, to fill hollow spots in the acre that the goats and horse live in. When I took the wheelbarrow in they all had to check out if I was bringing in food. When I dump the bedding Lena always has a good roll in it. Mr. Tumnus loves the wheelbarrow. He jumps in. I move it an inch or two. He jumps out. If I don't make off with it he jumps back in. We played this game for ten minutes or so. Noah knew we were playing. He did not want to jump into the wheelbarrow, but each time that Mr. T did, Noah did a bounce, bounce, bounce run ending off in a high twisting leap. He has really filled out, his horns are growing, he looks magnificant.
I put a 1/2 bag of bedding in the corral for Oscar. It was the second time that I gave him wood shaving for bedding. The first time he approached slowly and checked it out. This time he surprised me. He ran at the pile and threw himself into it and rolled. He did this over and over with his little tail turning round and round like a wind up handle.
About eleven at night a storm blew in. We brought the animals into the shed for the first time in a month. I leave them out if it drizzles all day, but Lennie does not like lightening and thunder, and the goats hate being soaked. They crossed the yard and went right to their places as though they had been coming in every night. The first drops started as we left the field, and by the time we had them settled it was coming down in buckets. Only WB and I got really wet.
Tomatoes and eggplant are ripe. Cucumbers and squash are ripe. I don't like the type of turnip I grew. I mowed part of my lawn and took care of things yesterday. Life is good.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Burning my ass
I stopped at the Tim Hortons yesterday to let someone know what had happened. I wanted to make sure that, if someone asked for a cardboard tray as a replacement for the cup holder that their care did not have (as I had), the staff could tell them that it was not a good substitute - not stable and not safe. It was hard even to enter that store, talk about instant conditioning. The staff was not concerned. No one even wanted to talk to me. So later I wrote an email to customer service at corporate headquarters. I asked about training of employees and accident reports. It seems to me that if they want to take advantage of brand recognition and the smearing of a good reputation among the various franchises that they have to keep track of product safety. They cannot improve the safety of a product and help customers avoid accidents if they don't keep track of how frequent they are and how they occur.
For the record: hot coffee and driving do not mix. I will not go back to that particular Tim Hortons, but I will still frequent the one on Main Street in Hawkesbury. Some stores are cleaner than others, some have more competant, caring staff. I will walk out of any store that pays more attention to the drive through clients than to the clients who enter the store.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Tonight we are going to Morrisburg to help Bill Britton celebrate his 60th birthday. On our way we will pay a visit to Upper Canada Village and walk around together. There are many parts of it that WB has not yet seen. WB and Heather are both working on Saturday, so I am not sure what I will do.
Must get on the search for hay in quantity. Bill was kind enough to sell and deliver a large square bale of hay, but I would like to get ten round bales delivered and find a supply of small bales that I can go and get five-ten at a time. The round bales I can roll into the field and it helps keep the animals from getting too bored. I also need to get a shelter built before winter comes. I must move Oscar's pig pen into the larger field so that he and Lennie have a chance to get used to each other safely. Lisa, Lena, and Mr. Tumnus have very poor coats this summer. I will not get any wool from them. Noah, on the other hand is majestic, covered with long silky locks. His personality is changing too, he is getting pushier and more sure of himself as time goes on. He is quiet enough and so used to being patted that I can rub the sleep from his eyes, but if I am struggling with the bag of hay I have to watch him and be ready to shout and push him away. My hens are finally laying eggs again after the shock of having their pen moved. My fishpond is clear and there are two frogs among the golden fish. The grubs that ate holes in my cabbage have produced the prettiest white butterflys. My eggplant plants are 3" high with surreal light purple flowers and deep purple fruits.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Ceiling orange, walls green, & floor red
The orange of the ceiling is slightly yellower than caramel. The walls are a yellowy apple green, very bright. The floor is slightly darker than a deep 1940's lipstick colour. The wooden airplane propellor is, so far, the only touch of wood in the room. This is restful as the rest of the house is a wood panel and ripped linoleum palace. Oh well, a room with only one piece of furniture in it - that will not last long. But, it is beautiful.