Monday, January 31, 2011

Auctioning off Computer Time

If you assumed that my lack of posting was due to having a new baby in the already crazy house, you would be partially correct.  You would be even more correct however, if you guessed that my lack of posting is due to a lack of computer access because the farm manager has been completely consumed with an online auction.  Finally, this morning, his anxiety was laid to rest as Barnyard Organics became the proud owners of a second hand compost turner.  And if you assumed that computer time would only be taken up by an online auction in which the bidders could see each other's bids, you would be wrong.  This was closed bidding, but that apparently doesn't stop a bidder from checking the site obessively, brooding over the bid, hoping (in vain) that some computer glitch might magically reveal other bidders offers, etc.  Anyway, as I said, thankfully, life in the office can return to normal, now that the auction is over and the compost turner has found it's long lost owner.

The next thing on the agenda is to organize it's trip home from Dartmouth and then the subsequent evenings spent in the barn, tinkering and fixing and taking apart and puttering about.  There is nothing like a new toy on the farm, and to be honest, one won through an auction seems to feel even more gratifying. 

Life with the new baby is going well.  Thayne is very easy going (so far) and seems to have settled right in amongst the chaos, calmly watching the world (and it's toddlers) rush past (stopping for the occasional head pat, soft-spot-poke).
There's been a few storms since I last posted and the snow is starting to accumulate, although according to my family members in NB, we've got NOTHING on them.  Word on the noon radio show today is of a couple more storms on the way.  Let 'er come, as they say.  And admittedly, the weather between the storms is actually quite lovely.  Crisp and wintery, but not burn-your-face-off cold or anything.  The evenings have been particularly nice lately.  Thayne doesn't even notice that we're outside as he's bundled up in his carseat in the wagon to go to chores. 

The sheep are doing well.  The mothers are starting to look a little wore down as their lambs are getting bigger and greedier.  I need to get some more probiotic to get them back into shape (and not skimp on the creep feed).  The next batch due to lamb in March/April are starting to fill out, which is good, since they were looking not so great back in December.

And of course, after committing 20 dozen eggs to the ACORN conference, the chickens decided that this cold weather was not their cup of tea and have implemented a boycott, by stopping laying.  We were slow/late getting the heat lamp in there during the cold snap and I correctly worried that a couple days later they would quit.  Let's hope we can kick start them back up again soon.  Warm porridge some morning maybe?  Suggestions welcome.
Well, 2 of three kids are napping. I'm off to get the third (the eldest and most difficult) off to the same fate in the magical hopes that I may myself get to nap too!!!  weeeehoo!

Hope this finds you well rested.


Friday, January 21, 2011

The new Arrival..... Thayne Frederick Bernard

Hi All faithful followers it has finally happened this morning at 7:30 am Sally gave birth to our third child.
A healthy and well fed little (somewhat little )boy.
I am writing this shortly after the picture of Thayne and I and I think I feel as tired as I look.

post again soon

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tick tock tick tock

Just waiting...Today is the 'official' due date, although that apparently means nothing to my babies, who prefer to make a fashionably late entrance, usually a week late.  Nothing like anticipation I guess?  Anyway, much more so with this one than the previous two, I am more than ready and anxious to be 'done being pregnant'.  Sleep and comfort elude me and the usual anxiety that accompanies giving birth hasn't even crossed this radar.  Just get it done!!!  Every little twinge makes my wishful thinking brain think that maybe the show is getting on the road, but nope...nothing yet.  Stay tuned.  I haven't posted anything in a while for a couple reasons; mostly because there isn't much going on at the farm these days.  This is slow, quiet time for Barnyard Organics and I have to say I'm really enjoying it.  Besides being meeting season, the farm itself has settled into a nice routine of regular chores and puttering jobs, but there isn't that spring/summer/fall sense of urgency.

The other reason I haven't written much is because I keep hoping that the next post will be a birth announcement.  SURELY, after this one...?

So, not much farm news, besides the fact that this batch of lambs is growing as fast as I've ever seen lambs grow.  There are two ram lambs who are over 35lbs already and looking REALLY good.  I am very pleased. Atta boy Duncan!
Mark's parents received a gift certificate for Christmas for a sleigh ride with a local company and took the opportunity last weekend to take us all out for a ride.  It was a beautiful day and the freshly fallen snow was just like a postcard.  Here's Lucy enjoying herself and reveling in being 'right by the horsies!"

 All else is pretty quiet.  We've had some pretty cold days and with my energy level being at a low, getting outdoors, let alone staying outdoors, seems like a more daunting task than I'm willing to tackle, so we've been a bit housebound.  The favorite dress up game since Christmas is "Shepherds" which involves some pretty simple costumes (see below) and some plush sheep.  You'd have to be a pretty wily coyote to get past this vigilant duo.

Looking forward to the next post, which will surely carry something more exciting than this one!!

Hope this finds you fending off the January blues (I find that discounted Christmas chocolate helps!) and maybe enjoying looking through the bright colours of seed catalogues for the spring!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Play in Four Acts

Farmers have proven to be one of the most philanthropic members of society, volunteering to sit on numerous boards, committees and organizations.  For a group of people whose jobs don't really have set hours or regular schedules, this can be challenging, and inevitably means a shuffling of the usual routine from time to time.  Certain times of the year, there are more meetings than usual because it may considered a 'slow time' in the farming world (ie. right now) and easier to get a bunch of farmers together at once.  This play is one example of what can happen on the occasional meeting night for one farmer.  It would be well-performed by daydreamers who are saving up all of their pennies to someday live on the farm of their dreams and want to experience what 'it's really like'.(That said, in retrospect, I wouldn't trade it for the world)

Chores, When Dad's Away.

Act 1, Scene 1
The father of the house is rushing to get out for his evening meeting and is already running late.  Three individuals, the mother and two children, sit on the stairs, trying to get themselves bundled up for chores.
Father: Ok, I'm outta here.
Daughter: I can't find my boot!!!!!!
Mother: Just look around Lucy, it's here somewhere. Mark, you'd better go, you're going to be late.
Father:Yeah, I know, ok, I'm gone.
Daughter (having a fit):MY BOOT IS GONE!!!!! wannnnhghhhhhh!!!!
Son (having a fit-seemingly wanting to go with Father): wannnnhhhh!
Mother: Lucy, enough! We'll wear your rubber boots, we'll find your boot tomorrow. Oh MARK! Don't forget to take eggs!  Maybe someone at the meeting will want some!  WILSON, SIT STILL!!!! Lucy, get a kleenex,wipe your face and stop whining.

Scene 2
It is a snowy, blowy night with not a star to be seen in the sky.  Dark, cold and miserable, even the farm dog is hiding out in the barn, rather than waiting for his usual after-supper bone on the doorstep.  

Mother: Ok, let's go.  Lucy you lead the way, Wilson you hold my hand.
Daughter: Wahhnnnn...the snow is DEEP! The wind is COLD!  It's DARK!
Son: wannhhhhhhhh
Mother: Ok, I know it's cold, but the faster we go, the sooner we'll be done. Let's go.
Son (a screaming dead-weight lump on a log): wannhhhhhhh
Mother gears up a sled which the dead-weight son immediately rolls off of and refuses to move, with the exception of the odd foot kick or arm throw in tantrum mode.  Daughter continues to fuss and whine in the foreground.
Mother tries to open the door on the old half ton in the yard in desperation, but the doors are both frozen solidly shut.  Van is gone to meeting with Father. Legs are the only mode of transportation to the farm-not usually a problem, until tonight.  
In a fit herself, Mother throws son over her shoulder and grabs daughter by wrist, hauling both of them through growing snow drifts with a strength that can only be found deep within an impatient, tired, 8 and a half month pregnant woman. 
Daughter: You're hurting me! My toes are COLD! Wannhhhhh
Mother-silent but deadly.

Act 2
The scene is the chicken coop; first stop on the chore menu.  On this night of nights, all three waterers are completely empty and have apparently been this way for at least an hour or two as the hens all scramble to get outside for a feed of snow as soon as the door is open.  Mother is clearly impressed.  Son is continuing his tantrum outside the coop while the daughter has smartly taken cover in the main barn, 'sorting' sockets, wrenches and other tools, all while still whining.  Mother enacts the icy walk from the hen house to the main barn and back again, referenced in the previous blog entry, twice.  She also gathers 42 eggs, all the while thinking of the 15 dozen that are currently taking up space back at her house.  No dialogue in this scene with the exception of Son's screams, Daughter's whines and Mother's muttering curses.  At the end of the scene there is a scurry of chickens and fluttering of feathers as they are not-so-gently herded back into the hen house for the night.  

Act 3
The scene is the sheep barn.  Son is continuing his fit like a real trooper, this time inside the main barn, throwing himself around in a slushy puddle near the door.  Daughter decides to break the whining for a brief moment to 'help mommy' with the sheep.
Mother (perusing her flock as she feeds the grain, mutters to herself): Yep, the tiny one is still tiny and the fat old ewe is still just fat, not pregnant at all.  (Insert expletive)
Daughter: Black sheep? Where is the black sheep Mommy? Do we have a black sheep?
Mother: No Lucy, FAT sheep.  I thought she was going to be a mommy, but she's just fat.
Daughter: Like you Mommy, with your fat belly with your baby?
Mother sighs: Yes.  Yes, just like me.
During this dialogue the mother is trying to squeeze around the large round bale in the alleyway that was designed without a pregnant girth in mind.  It is also a new bale, so is really much too heavy for her to unroll to feed.  Again, in a fit of strength that only a tired mother of 2.5 children can summon, she rolls the new bale onward and feeds the bleating crew.  Son in the background continues to cry.  Daughter is reluctant to leave the sheep barn and resumes whining when she realizes that the trio must now trudge out to the cow barn.
Daughter: My toes are cold MOMMY!! I have to PEE MOMMY!
Mother: You'll have to wait.
Daughter: I CAN'T! I have to PEE!
Mother looks out the window and sees that grandparents who live on the farm, are not home.
Mother: Well, if you can't wait, you'll have to just pee in your snowpants, we can wash them.
Daughter, realizing her quest for a grandparent visit has been foiled, ups the ante on the whining.
Son assists by raising his own volume, and pitch.

Act 4
After a desperate struggle to get out to the cow barn, amidst newly forming drifts, blowing ice pellets, two crying children and a armload of grain, mother and two children make it to the side door to discover that it will open just wide enough for them to get in, but not really wide enough for numerous forkloads of manure to successfully exit the building, as per usual practice.
Mother:(insert muttering expletives here)
Son: wannhhhhh
Daughter: wannhhh!!! I wanted to do the water!!!!
Mother: Rosie's not on her chain Lucy, she's too cranky for you to be in here on your own.  Tonight I'm going to do the water.
Mother continues to fork manure, unsuccessfully away from the doorway outside the barn while Rosie patiently waits for her grain.  Poppy has decided that tonight is not chore time at all, but rather play time/rodeo and is chasing the Mother around and around, kicking and jumping.  For the first time, both kids stop whining and begin to giggle.
Mother attempts to herd Poppy into her nighttime pen, but the rodeo continues for several minutes.  While frustrated, the mother takes a moment to enjoy the fact that both kids are not screaming for once this evening.  That wears off quickly and anger sets in.  The fork ceases to be simply a vehicle for manure and becomes a weapon.  Poppy gets into her pen, Rosie gets her grain and the trio head homeward.
 The trek home is as 'fun' as the trek over and can either be re-enacted or simply remembered fondly.  The scene ends with all three slumped in the front hall in a pile of wet, cold clothes, tears and snot.  

There is something to be said for solidarity.