Monday, July 30, 2012

That's a start ...

Our Melba apple tree has 4 apples growing.

I just took 2 cassis fruit in our cassis bush.

And I got all this in the black raspberry bush (this one was there when we arrived, so it might be around 10 years old). I will probably make berry mustard with it.

That's a start!

In the name of ...

There is one thing that I find harder and harder ... naming things, well not things but animals.

With the quantity of cats we have let say that's a bit hard to name them all.

I've just found one for the two newborns, the little girl will be named : Mousse and the third born, a boy born with 8 fingers on each paw will be named Patou (a bit like "paw-y") but in French.

I really want them to have a name that fits their personality and how they look. Maybe it's a bit too much, but I like it that way.

I never thought that one day I'll be having enough animals to have "nameless ones"! Maybe this is what happened to Rihanna (hahahahaaha!)

*rolleyes*


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Surprise!

Husband was grilling on the barbecue this weekend when some round red thingy attracted him in a bush nearby.

Surprise! We have black raspberries on the front yard!

Yum!

Also, let me introduce you to a cat I've never been able to take in picture. Ladies and Gents, here's Auguste

He is the father of Isis and Moutarde. Unfortunately Isis and Moutarde's mother is ... gone :-( Though, strangely when he is there he takes care of the girls, he spent like 30 minutes grooming them yesterday. What a nice poppa!

We Might Have a Room Soon

Last Tuesday, I accompanied my parents to Ikea.
I was not aware, not ever looking for anything when I saw this:
My jaw dropped, especially when I saw the price: 30$
It was exactly what I was looking for.
Since I moved here, I know exactly how I want the room upstairs to look like. I found an armchair in a thrift store that I really wanted in my room, it is blue, green and yellow in tartan. So I knew I wanted my room white and blue at least. I also plan to weave a matching blanket with the craft group.
When the rabbits will be all set outside (we are like 50% there) and when the new hens will be there too (75% there) we will start destructing the walls upstairs (as we turn the entire 4 tiny little rooms into a big one of 18X19). I can't wait really! :)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Community

I think one of the major reason why nothing is going well these days is simply because people don't believe in community anymore.

Individualism has rotten everything.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Shame!

I am ashamed right now! So ashamed.
One of the main reason why we left our hometown is because we won't feel at ease and accepted in our life project. We used to have a 3000 square feet garden in town and everybody would check us like freaks. We also wanted to have animals, so we moved.

I am not very following news in general, when I decided to move here, I turned out the switch, I wanted to think about other things.

Some days ago though, probably knowing that I would feel totally connected to the topic, someone talked to me about these people: http://www.lepotagerurbain.com/

Those are people from the town I used to live in, living a fight that I would probably have to fight if I would have stayed there.

In a nutshell and for those who can't speak French. Those two people have planted a garden in their frontyard. They asked the permission to the city through a telephone conversation and, as it happens a lot in the "marvelous city of Drummondville". They have been told something that would after that be different. (happened to me plenty of time). So they have been told that it was ok for them to plant a garden (or something else than turf) in their front yard even in the part that "belongs" to the city. After some times, of course, the city wanted them to "correct the situation" and to put grass instead of the luxurious food they are growing.

Ridiculous?

Ohhhh yeah it is.

I mean come on, this is vegetable we are talking about, not weeds, not pot, Veggies!

And I've seen it through my own eyes, those people are taking good care of the place and it's simply beautiful.

Not only do they want to get rid of the veggies, but they also fining them 300$ a day for that "crime".

So today I am ashamed of the place I am coming from. Ashamed to see they are treating good people who want to follow the new food revolution!

Some people are complaining, of course, to them a small front porch with begonias and hostas is the way to go ... but ... when this happens and price will start to skyrock, I would love to see them try to eat an hosta!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dumping Complex

That post will probably seem weird to most of you, or maybe I'll be lucky and I'll be read by people who like me, share the same feeling.

In the city near my village we have an "Ecocentre" I don't know what the English term for that, but all I know is that this is a place where people would dump stuff that can't be used anymore.
The stuff would then been classified in 8 categories; wood, green remains, waste, metal, plastic etc. You get the idea.

Each time I go to a dump I feel guilty. When I go to this one, it's even worst.
I feel guilty because I haven't been able to find a use to what I am bringing (this morning: three rusted metal barrels and a bunch of contaminated soil that has been kindly left by the former owner).

I also feel angry, angry to see what the others are bringing, I was watching them this morning and I would find used to most of what people would bring.

My heart also stopped when I saw this:

How can someone throw this away???? It was in the bin and sadly it would have been too dangerous for me to pick it up. It was probably too damaged now. But this is an antique, a piece of art.

I just don't get how people can put to waste tons of pretty stuff.

We found a place where we could have pallet wood for free for a long time. That's a great news. That would make us a lot of nice park for the animals to come.
Still, this was meant for the trash ...
Just imagine the amount of money and forests that would be safe if people would reuse or know how to reuse wood!!!

So sad.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Here are the kittens!

Second born - 2 hours after birth

First born - a girl obviously - 2 hours after birth

The mom and her lovely 4 kittens.

I love my Soleil and I am soooooooo proud of her.

I am a grandmother!!!

Soleil got her babies!
Quadruplets!
3 boys and 1 girl (easy to see by the fur color)

More details and pics soon !

9 months

It's been 9 months.
9 months that we've been cleaning the dishes in a bathroom sink.

At 00:01 today, the lovely sound of water was heard in the corridor ... our dishwasher is fully functional!

It's when you don't have it for so long that you really appreciate those type of things.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Could This Be Possible?

Ok, I don't have much to say lately (we are mostly doing the usual - lawn mowing, garden etc) but ... I am super excited about something.

We have a waiting list for our eggs. Yup! A waiting list?!

Could this be the beginning of success?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Two Productive days

We haven't relaxed that much this weekend. On Friday, since I was having my phone appointment with my Seattle's specialist at 6 pm we went to the restaurant. So that was a quiet friday.


Then on Saturday, my parents came for dinner, we had the usual semi-joke semi-negative observation on about everything in the house. But we are getting used to this. Husband moved the dishwasher in the house so we might have one before the construction of the kitchen that is due ... in a while :-(


He also installed a clothline. It wasn't of course the one on that link, but I found that image the other day and I started to laugh so much! I put some clothes on it yesterday and I was sooooooooooooooooooo happy.


He also cleaned up part of the land and the soon to be cut "forest".


I took the time to check that forest on Saturday. Let say that there was nothing really interesting that we could keep besides 3 Acer saccharinum, 3 acer rubrum, 1 Populus Deltoides and a bunch (maybe 6-8) acer negundo. The rest was either dead or too close to the trees that had survived naturally. So with the help of the neighbours (and especially because their mother wants to see on the side of the "forest") that forest will be cut down soon.


We did an interesting discovery though. At the end of the forest, we have raspberries bushes on around 20-30 feet. Which will be interesting to work on and make produce.


I draw a bunch of plans for the future land management. Right now, my biggest question is : Should we have a cow or not. I don't want to have a tons, I just want one, maybe two (her baby) for milk. I am not super fond of goat milk for cheese and I would really love to do my own cheese one day.


If any of you know a lil on cow requirements, especially the feeding needs and pasture please let me know.


On Sunday, Husband and I (but mainly husband as I am not super good in this) started to construct what would be Cayenne's future crash place. Right now she is sharing the cabin that has the hens but we want to fill this with hens so we could sell more eggs to more people (eggs being like our main way to bring people to know us.)


I also started to rearrange part of the living room that is in the former sewing boutique. In the 50's that house was the boutique of the village seamstress. So the place is already arrange (wall wise) so it is separated from the rest of the house. As it has been known that I was a tutor/teacher when I was living in the city and that I was the owner of a business a bit like Kumon, let say that I rapidly got 6 students. So I rearranged that place so I can receive them without their parents having an heart attack while seeing the rest of the house.


So, I am off now, I will put some clothes to put on my clothline.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Irony

That will be a personal message today.
I didn't really know if I talked about this here. Probably not.
Since I was born, I was suffering for plenty of little disease.  I got everything from all the diseases ending in -itis (sinusitis, bronchitis) to more severe one. I had a hard case of mononucleosis, epilepsy ... I fainted sometimes. Anyways, it would be easier to say what I didn't have than saying what I had.

My parents tried everything during the first years of my life. We went to every doctors, no one could tell what was the problem with me.

As an adult, I also tried to get better 'cause my symptoms would go heavier each years. By the time I was 25 I was told my bones have aged to the point they were 45 years old ... That I was having more and more arthritis and that constant pain that would later be named Fibromyalgia.

In 2009, my system crashed down. I was in a deep depression, the pain was constant and I couldn't take it anymore.

We decided to try another lifestyle (homesteading, or wannabe homesteading) I started to feel better everyday.

Though, even if my situation was improving, I was still having major episodes of my disease. I would sometimes not be able to do things for days.

I tried again to find something to help me out, I found nothing.

One day, I found that clinic with the help of a friend, and ... I've decided to go. The approach is trying to find food allergies who could bring all my symptoms.

I received my results last Thursday.

I am allergic to eggs.


...... The irony.


(I am also having a yeast infection in the digestive system, some pseudomonas, and I am allergic to a bunch of other things. But, I'll get better! At LAST !!!! after 33 years !)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The System

I knew it before, but I am sure of it.
Being a farmer, the way that I am, is fighting against a system, a system that even if it's fighting us and won't let go before major problems occur, is followed and even loved by most of the people.

We chose to produce things the way our ancestors did for tons of reasons.

Life as itself doesn't need human intervention to produce. Of course, you can prune, you can water, you can trim, but it doesn't need to be boosted by some kind of chemicals to produce. A tomato is a tomato and even if you let the plant grow by itself, you'll have a tomato at the end, maybe not as much as if you took good care of it, but still you'll have one.

Though, people nowadays are used to have a Pantone 186C tomatoes, same color, same form as the tomato they ate 2 days before. Grocers choose tomatoes for the clients like they would choose the logo for their next ad campaign. I remember a conversation I had with my neighbour about the day a grocer pointed him a tomato on a billboard saying "bringing me that and nothing else". My neighbour was producing 20000 tomatoes a year. He gave up.

Reason? Simple.
You can't produce a tomato like that without using chemicals and genetically modified stuff.

When I bought my apple trees in April, to the question asked by my provider, when not knowing much about apples, I answered Cortland, all she could tell me was:

"Are you sure?"

Cortland apples are popular. The market loves them. But to be able to have a nice and beautiful Cortland apple like the one you are eating everyday, your trees as to be chemically treated ... 15 times a year.

15 times!

Still want that piece of apple pie?

We don't know that. Well, or we know, or we pretend not to.

Recently when I discovered all the shit that was in my hens feeder I stopped feeding them with hormones. Of course, hormone fed hens produce more eggs and produced a lot of bigger eggs.

Do I want steroids in my eggs?
No

Today when someone told me with a point of disappointment :

"Well, can I take 2 dozen of your eggs 'cause they are really small!"

I understood that I too was now fighting the system.

Full Moon of Hell

Yesterday night, the moon was full.
To most it's just a regular event. To the common farmer it's like hell.
I once heard a police officer saying that this day would make people crazy.
It does exactly the same with animals.
Last night, around 9, I was not feeling so well (disease - will probably talk about it one day) and I decided to go outside to breath some fresh air.
As I was walking down our land I could see a big orange spot moving on the third section of the land (our land is divided in 8 sections, I'll be back to it soon too). That was a fox, in his mouth, what would look like an innocent rabbit going to its death.
My heart made 3 jumps, could that be Coton or Neige my white rabbits? From where it was, probably not. But it could really be one of my fellow farmer neighbour. I ran to the garage and took a shovel. I am against arms so ... that's all I got.
I tried to advance on the land to see where it's den. Don't get me wrong there, my plan never was to kill, the showel was more like ... a safety thing in case the thing would attack me (not very probable I know!) but still ... better safe than sorry.
I never found it.

I went back home and tell husband to take a big glass of water ... pee was needed. Yeah that's the disgusting part but one of the thing that turn foxes off is ... human pee.
Husband and I went out again and took Cayenne with us. We were trying to check for clues on the land where the fox appeared again with another rabbit! I went mad! I started to scream with my shovel waving in the air. It ran.

We went to see our another neighbour, good for him it was not his rabbits. Still, someone has rabbits stolen.
I was coming back from the neighbour when I saw Soleil, the walker, waiting for me lying on the sidewalk. At first I had a lil moment of freaking ... what if she got hit by a car. No she was just there waiting.

"Soleil, don't do that, you might get hurt!" I said.

The moment I said that, Soleil looked at me and crossed the street!
My heart almost stopped again.
I achieved to go an pick her up on my neighbour yard.
I was bringing her to safety when a cat that I've never seen popped out of no where in the drive way, behind him, Paul (one of the gray cat) was gladly telling it to ran away from the top of its 5 months and 2 pounds! Like take someone your size for Pete's sake.
The intruder and Paul crossed the street in a hurry, of course a car was coming but was nice enough to slow down. I would have too considering that I was waving my flashlight like crazy in their direction (the cats one of course).

I managed to bring Paul back but as I was crossing the street, I could see Baptiste and Tom (Paul's brothers) in the middle of the street but like 50 feet farther.

Paul jumped out of my arm to go and see his brother.

Camille, (another cat, spiritual daughter of Soleil) saw the lil fellas there and since she is about their ages and so willing to be part of the game, she told herself "hey, let's go party!"

I was having 4  cats in the street now running like crazy.

Soleil who was still not far, decided to come and see what the fuss was all about. Little did I know I now had 4 cats in the street and Soleil near the sidewalk.

I was desperated to bring them back, when I realize that the fuss was about a dead bird that was "smashed" on the concrete. Husband that was now trying to help, took my shovel and came to pick up the bird, as I was trying to take the "kids" back to safety.

That's when she acted.
I couldn't believe my eyes, Soleil brought Camille to the sidewalk and was on the process to bring back the others to safety. I was like that cat is just too good to be true.

Any ways, I was able to take Paul and Tom and put them in a cage for a moment so they calm down...

Baptiste took the bird --- EW!

It was a crazy night, but this morning, we still have 9 cats, 5 rabbits, 1 dog, 11 hens and 3 roosters ...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hens - what I learned - Part 1

There is one thing that I hate about our project is the lack of information that are reliable and Quebec friendly.
There are tons of books on Homestanding, sadly they are all written in an american aspect. We, in Quebec, have a very bipolar weather. We have very hot and very humid summers (from 20 C to 45 C - and this can happen in a day) and very cold winter (well we are supposed to have very cold winters but since 2010, I've rarely seen the -35 C, that used to make us tough cookies). American books never really deal with that perspective.

I am super novice when it comes to hens (and when it comes to a lot of things to be honest) but I grab some amazing info through the words of Bernard Desourdy. The guy is amazingly colorful, he calls himself big mouthed, but geez, what a wonderful man! First, he knows everything about hens, he breed champions tons of time (you should see that house that is full of trophies of any kinds). Second, he is willing to share his knowledge to all proven of having good intentions.

So I've learned several things about hens that I want to tell you.

1. Those are hens, not cats, not dogs, hens. You don't cuddle them like a cat, and you don't pet them like a dog. Of course, you can pet a hen but you have to do it with the back of your hand, not your palm.

2.  When socialized properly, hens - even roosters, can become amazing pets. You have to win their trusts ... each day!

3. You can feed a hen everything --- but EVERYTHING that is not eggs or meat. You should see them eating mac and cheese!

4. It's not true that a hen lays a egg a day. It's true if you "boost" them with hormones (mainly the "nourriture pour poules pondeuse - aka toxic poison that is on sale at all the COOP in Quebec). When you boost your end, you force them to lay eggs. Is this really what you want? When you force them to lay, you tired them. After a while, your hen will become tired, without feathers and full of hormones. After 2 years you can kiss her byebye.

5. A well treated and well fed hens can lay good eggs until the age of 5!

6. NEVER EVER give a hen eggshell (some say it gives them calcium) yeah it does. But would you agree to eat your own ovaries? Plus, if you give them shells, they are more inclined to eat their own eggs.

7. If a hen starts eating her own eggs, set her aside, and fed her all the shells you can find (hens one only) plus her regular food. Just like you would react after being fed all you can eat ice cream for three days, you might never want to eat ice cream again (or not for a long time).

8. Hens and rabbits, don't match. Never put a rabbit in the same park as a hen. The hen will kill it.

9. You can give oyster shell to your hen for calcium. (one that are on sale especially for that)

10. When you are a newbie like me, you go to the coop for your hens ... at the "journée poussin". Just like us you'll be offered "red hens" and "white hens". FYI the red ones are called "Warrens" and the white ones are called "Leghorns". If you are a beginner and have no choice to go there to buy you hens (they are somehow expensive) take the Warrens. For a beginner this is an easier birds. Leghorns are somehow nervous birds and they are way less sociable then Warrens. The coop also assure you than the hens are 20 weeks old ... sooooooooooo not true. I got a hen this year that started laying eggs a week ago (that would made her 12 weeks old or so!). If you can go to a specialist breeder go for it. We bought Anconas, Uccles and Sultan from Bernard and I really like the Anconas, that's a very good breed for Quebec.

11. Bloody stains on the eggs? Don't panic, it's just your hen first egg. (you should have see me freaking out)

12. 4 times a year you can vermifuge your hens using like the tip of your pinky size of a garlic. Do this for 5 days and prepare yourself for the day after shitting .... ewwww (btw this is just for hens, never try on another animals this is toxic)

13. Hens should be treated for fleas twice a year.

That's about what I learned.

More pictures and crazy ideas ...

Here are some pictures of the kittens, Baptiste, Paul and Tom.
They arrived on June 24th.
Tom (left) and Paul (right) eating

Tom (left) and Paul (right)

Baptiste

Paul

Baptiste

Soleil (the mile walker)
When the pictures were taken, Tom wasn't in love with me like he is now so I wasn't able to take him so we could make a close up. Now Tom L.O.V.E.S me ... but really. He climbs on the door the see me working in the kitchen. Even husband is not that obsessed!

I got a strange idea that is not so strange after all ... Cayenne has fur, tons of it, it's look wooly. I think I will spin it and try to knit with it.

I'll keep you posted.

Since the cat vid was a hit ...

video...here is part two.

I just have 10 minutes ...

But I want to take those 10 minutes to tell how much happiness I feel right now.
I was talking to a friend this morning, and I wanted to tell her how happy I was, I realized that I couldn't find words.
Being here is all I've ever wanted. All that work is hard, but I don't see it as work. I see it as life.

Yesterday night, Husband and I spent the night studying several books. We study a lot. I realized too that writing here was like a way of processing the info.

I think I will soon write lil articles about my discoveries. I know that for some it would be probably common sense and things they know for so long but to me it's all brand new.

I also want to thank 1stman. Your comments mean a lot to me. When someone comments, it tells me someone reads, it's like my message in a bottle, is read. Thanks for commenting.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

I am probably the only person in the world ...

... who walks her cat down.

video

The Infinite Subject

Tonight, I was having dinner at my parent's home with my parents, 2 of my uncles, 2 of my aunts and my best friend. I suddenly realized during the dinner how infinite the subject of what we are living is. We talked about it for all the evening and it never got boring. There is something exquisite and infinitely poetic in what we are doing. some people were intelligent enough to see it.

I have a passion burning inside me when talking about my farm.
I am born again.