Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Call Before You Dig!

Lucy's vantage point for the whole event. Needless to say, she thoroughly enjoyed it.
This entry is mostly for the benefit of my family back in West Branch who are keeping close tabs on our basement-water situation over here. I mentioned that a guy was coming to put in some sort of ditch to help run the water from the backyard, away from the house and down to the road ditch. The day they came to have a look, Mark, being the prudent man that he is, began to dismantle and move the playset and sandbox that take up residence in direct line of the ditch. My garden was also in direct line of the ditch, but I, being relaxed girl that I am, didn't worry about my perennial bed of asparagus (my three year investment from which I harvested maybe 12 spears this spring, for the first time!) and my large patch of gladiolus bulbs until one morning at 8 am, I answer the door in my housecoat, glasses still on, child in a diaper at my side, to a man driving a dozer through my hedge.

So, while he was backing up, ready to push again, I was running around like a little rat, trying to snag all the gladiolus plants that I could. You can see at the feet of my shadow in the picture above, that I managed to get most of them. (By this time I am dressed and decent by the way).
Below, is what is left of my hedge, although as Mark said, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We actually still have quite a bit of it left.

This is the final product in the backyard and although it's a poor representation, there is quite a nice slope running from the house into the ditch now. And the ditch runs right down to the road, out in front of our front flower bed.
The asparagus and a few glad bulbs were not the only casualties however. I picked up the phone after the dozer left to discover that somehow, the line had been cut during the whole process. Right where the farthest chicken is, in the above shot, our phone line ran just under the surface of the ground and underwent a bit of a nip and tuck you might say. Thankfully Aliant came just a couple hours later and fixed it, but who would have thought our phone line would be in the BACK yard!? As far from the road as you can get really. Now we know I guess?

That's all for today. Just a yard work update for the Wilsons in West Branch. The next step is that they same guys are going to bring out a back-hoe to dig up the dry well and depending on what we find, we'll likely drop a large pipe down to it to be able to check the water level and potentially drop a pump down to get the water out of the hole and away from the yard. Here's hoping!!! Will let you know all the misadventures of that trial as well!

Hope this finds you well.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Showing off the sign and the fam

Ever since we had Wilson, and then when we got the new sign, we've been saying we needed to get new pictures, since all of our old ones only have Lucy in them. So, finally, the other day on the spur of the moment, in the snow/rain and cold wind, we decided that since we had the skills of Bobby Jo Hickey of Old Mill Photography, we decided to update.

Here's just a couple of the results, along with our new profile picture to the left of this post.
Things are relatively quiet here. Had a nice day of warmth here (for a change), carved a couple pumpkins and laid around in the sun like old barn cats. It was nice. The long range for this week is looking nice, so Mark is hoping to get in to the soybeans, but no one is holding their breath.
On the home front, we had a company (and conveniently family friends) come to look at our back and front yard to tell us what we had to do to keep water away from our basement this spring and the first move is going to be them coming in with some sort of heavy machinery to dig a ditch from our backyard, down the side of our lawn, out to the road ditch. This is to help get rid of the snow that accumulates on the backyard with no where to go.
This doesn't solve the problem of what we think is the dry well filling up because there's not enough grade to the road and the water has nowhere to go. The house should have been built up farther off the ground to start with, but there's not much we can do about it now. And apparently, not much we can do at all in fact, except suffer. When the guy is here to dig the ditch, he's going to dig up the dry well, check it out and see if there's anything that can be done to improve the problem. I really don't care what it takes, because I am NOT sucking water out of my basement again. Last spring, I had a 16 month old, a big pregnant belly and spent three days in rubber boots, with a shop vac acting as an extra appendage. A great way to ring in the spring!

Anyway, gotta try and catch up on some sleep. Wilson is STILL getting up for a mid night snack every night, and no matter how quick it is, it breaks up a good night's sleep pretty nicely.
Hope all is well wherever you are!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Moose on the Loose- and I don't mean Mark

It's been so long, which means that once again, I have lots to say! A lot has happened since my last post, although here at the farm, things are running at a pretty even keel while we wait for it to dry up a bit (along with every other farmer on PEI) so we can begin soybean harvest. It has been a good opportunity for Mark to spend some time getting things working A-1 before combining again and finishing up some of those little jobs that get put off.
We sent our last batch of chickens for this year and have just a few left in the freezer. It's been a really great year and we don't anticipate having too much difficulty selling what we have left. While they're not a huge hassle, it has been nice to not have to be out in the fields on these cold cold mornings filling water buckets and feeders. (Mark will probably snicker at that comment, as I very seldom found myself in that position this summer; it was mostly he and Wendell, but I can sympathize can't I!?) Looking forward to next year and having the first bundles of little yellow puff balls huddling under the heat lamps again.

Some big excitement around here has been the release of the annual Federation of Agriculture's "Faces of Farming" calendar which showcases farmers from the across the Island. The photographer was here in the spring while the lambs were still cute and took some pictures of Lucy and the sheep but we never heard anymore. So when the calendar came out we were delighted to see little Lucy Bernard on the front cover with this shot;Photo by Alanna Jankov

And then this was December's picture;Photo by Alanna Jankov
Although I love them all, obviously, my favorite of the ones they took is the one I put at the top of the post. I couldn't be prouder! Especially because it's not contrived at all, Lucy really is that comfortable around the sheep and loves being in with them that much, which is so great. Anyway, if you want a calendar and can't find one, or are "from away", let us know and we can make sure you get one.

In other news, Mark and I took some much-deserved time away from the farm and kids and went to a wedding of some fellow NSACers down in beautiful Sherbrook, NS. It was quite a drive, but my parents were kind enough to meet us in Aulac to take the kids which saved us a lot of time there, and then we were able to take our time, using some back roads to get us there. It was the most perfect weekend for it because despite of heavy rains on the way down, the drive back was sunny and perfect. The colours of the leaves were amazing and it's always nice to go somewhere you've never been before. The wedding was nice and it was good to have some laughs with old friends. On the way home we stopped at a favorite place of mine; the wentworth waterfall. I'm not sure the real name of the place, but it's obviously gaining recognition, since when we stopped in there was a steady stream of people, cameras in hand. Off one of the dirt lanes as you drive along the old Wentworth highway, up a little trail through the woods, is the most beautiful waterfall. It seems like too often, I just say, "Oh we don't have time today, we'll see it next time." But it's really worth taking the old way, when the water is running hard and fast like it was over the weekend.

Finally, after a great night away, we went to my home, West Branch, NB to see our kids and my family and have Thanksgiving dinner! West Branch always has some interesting story on the go and this time was no exception. There has been a moose taking up residence with Mom's sheep for a week or more now and I was glad that it was still around when I got home. You can easily spot it in the field along with Mom's llama and flock of sheep.
My brother was able to actually touch it and over the weekend, a couple of my nephews went down to see her and she let them get pretty close, as these pictures prove. If you can't tell by now, she's not exactly normal. Apparently she has some kind of brain disease, and she's not in very great body condition, but evidently she is still functioning in other ways because a bull moose has been around, sniffing and following pretty adamantly. My mom saw the two of them courting around the pasture until she noticed only one and found the female hiding up in the sheep feedlot area. Typical, my brother said. haha. Anyway, we'll see what happens with this story, as Mom says the sheep don't really mind her, and now she obviously knows her way around the place.

Well, that's enough excitement for now, from here. It's good to be back on red soil, even if the frost was the heaviest it's been last night, and the air has a very distinct, "goodbye autumn" feeling to it.
Hope all is well in your corner of the world!


Moose photos by Daniel Shortall and Jake Wilson- thanks!