Let’s Walkabout on the Farmy today!!

The water in the swimming pool is freezing.  I know this has nothing to do with anything but I like the image! Yesterday was a little warmer so it was a good day to  get back to basics, go on the walkabout and bring you all up to date on the complete lack of events on the farmy.  The fields are empty.   This is John on our little tractor reclaiming another three acres from the high fructose corn syrup corn field, this will go into good grass, clover and alfalfa.  Some we will make into hay with the old/new haybaler.  The world is taking on that  early winter sepia look, which will slowly morph into the late winter sepia look. 

Most of you know that we are all about the simple life.  Growing our own food.  Raising our own animals for meat, milk and manure.  Living a simple frugal farming life out here on the prairies.  It is a lot easier than you think.  Using then reusing everything that comes onto the property.  Very little is wasted or thrown away.  In the long run we should be able to feed all the animals, and ourselves, with what we grow.  Daisy’s milk is a very important part of all this. So shopping off the property will be brought down to the absolute minimum.

This is called sustainable.  We are also aiming for self sufficient.  But as you all know I prefer the words ‘old fashioned’.   I really do not like labels at all! There are too many rules when you accept a label and I hate stupid rules.

We heat the house with a wood-stove that we also use for cooking.  If it is really cold we just wear an extra item of clothing or three.

Here is Daisy the naughtiest cow on the prairies. She is an Ayrshire and very tall even for that breed.  She is pregnant and her calf is due in late May.   A cows gestation period is nine months and one week. Then (all going well)  she will be the milk cow. She is getting fatter so she has not jumped any fences lately. John and I are buying each other a milking machine for Christmas.

All the manure and dirty straw from the barn is hauled out and spread on the fields and gardens to fertilise them and build them up. Yesterday being a warm day, I mucked out earlier, and laid fresh straw in Daisy’s quarters. So naturally she came outside and had a sleep in the filthy corner of the field on all the manure.   Such a cow. Sigh. 

Behind Daisy is Queenie, my little Hereford Heifer.  She  will be the mother of my beef herd one day. She is about eight months old but I think she is a midget.   Herefords are low to the ground but sweet good Queenie is frankly the shortest cow I have ever seen. I have sheep bigger than her.  She is so tiny and so good natured. 

You will remember that Houdini hatched sixteen chickens not long ago at the wrong end of the season, well there are not many left now. We had hawks out here for a bit. I know there is a hawk if the guineas make a big row.  They literally stand below the hawk, who will be perched on a fence post, or in a tree and they scream at it. But they were too late to save the chickens. That and an early week of terrible cold  and we only have a few left.  You will remember that Houdini will not stay in the coop so she and the rest of her flock are free range and sleep in the rafters of the barn. But the farm life has life and death, it is part of the cycle.

The laying chickens are in their own coop quietly moulting. I shall not show you, as they look quite quite dreadful with their feathers dropping out.  In anticipation of the Big Freeze their big door is closed now, and their little coop doors have been opened to the run and they come out into the fields in the afternoons to mooch about.

Here is Mama the policeman. She is the boss sheep. She is probably pregnant (hard to tell with a sheep until she is closer to her date). She has been hanging out with Hairy McLairy the ram for a few months now.  Sheep are pregnant for five months so  I think  we can look for lambs sometime  from February on.   Last time she had four lambs (quads) which was a bit of a surprise. I am rather hoping she will not do this again. But whatever she does I will make sure you hear all about it, when it happens.

There.  Today I shall muck out the calves quarters. I only do this on days that are above freezing. You see (ahem) the manure freezes solid when it is really cold. Then it is not an easy procedure.  Plus I get terribly cold when I work out there for too long and it hurts when you get that cold. So today is poopy scooping day!  The chickens get more straw today as well, they need a good deep litter in the winter.

You all have a great day. Bring your gumboots if you are dropping in, it is murky!


110 Comments on “Let’s Walkabout on the Farmy today!!

  1. I so look forward to hearing about life on your farm, although I live in the middle of two small farms like yours. Maybe it’s the incredible space around your farm that is different. France is big, but the mid West is ..well .. a lot bigger. As usual a lovely post, and I love the chicken pictures.

    • It certainly is spacious! I long for stone fences and hedgerows but my eye can see SO FAR here, it is strangely restful. thank you Roger.. c

  2. The words ‘old-fashioned’ are exactly what we use ! Nothing we do today is new or original, organic,permaculture,etc are just words. Our Grandparents were living this way quite happily without ‘tags’. Love your farmy, everywhere looks so flat. Lj & E

    • Exactly and we cannot easily fit in these labels, I use organic methods but if Daisy were to get an infection i would use antibiotics without hesitation. Stupid rule! Old fashioned suits us very well, and also we can make it up as we go along!! c

  3. Even my hubby is hooked on your posts now. He’ll want to know if that’s the car that runs on veg oil. Is it? :). Happy mucking out! xx

    • The car that runs on vege oil is a little VW! and yes (sigh) I must get out there, in fact i have my coat on already!! c

  4. What a wonderful post – I enjoyed our little walkabout! Life is always busy for you, but I guess you wouldn´t have it any other way. Your hens and chickens are so different from ours (and what a handsome cock you have if you don´t mind em saying!). They look dfferent, and ours moulted at the end of summer – they looked like victims of an atomic bomb. Now they´re all plump and feathery again and are looking good. And as for little Queenie – maybe she just needs some high heeled hooves?!

    • LIKE PAN! That is what she needs! I shall mention it to her. If ever there was a cow you could have in the kitchen it would be Queenie. She would be very careful. She is such a treasure. Unlike some other loutish cows we know!! c

  5. Mucking is part of a perfect (above freezing) day in my world. Oh, how I miss it! Grateful my neighbors let me hop the fence and help with their farm.

    Lovely photos and a fun post, once again.

    • pity you are not closer, you would be most welcome to jump the fence here. and you are right, it is quite a satisfying job.. if you do it often! c

    • She and i seriously hope so. Though being so small makes her a pleasure to work, I just lean on her and she moves sideways for me. I lean on Daisy and she just looks at me! c

    • Doggie poo is more foul by far, i cannot bear that job. I would do three barns before taking on doggie poo patrol! c

  6. I love these walkabouts, Celi. You could take that pic of John out in the fields and place it near Zia’s home and no one would know the difference. Heck, you could place it anywhere from Texas to Saskatchewan and no one would know. Not so your farm, though. Your house, hearth, and animal family make it a home — and a warm one, at that.

    • amazing isn’t it, this huge expanse of flat land. When it was covered in grass it must have had the most tremendous effect on the air quality of this hemisphere. like an enormous cleansing air filter.. c

  7. You certainly do paint the most wonderful vision of your life and you do say it’s easy…but I believe you work very hard for what you are passionate about. I admire your lifestyle and always enjoy coming here to “visit” with you. Have a beautiful day!!

    • It is fun spice, i get up early and walk to work singing out to the animals and laughing. It is true. it is easy! c

  8. I like the term old fashioned to describe what you are doing. Although in some senses i am a ‘material girl’ as I like tripping off the Paris and look at shops wherever I am, I do think that some where deep down there is a longing in most of us to return to a simpler way of life.

    • Actually the way we farm IS not that much work really, in the summer it is just opening and shutting gates, the winter is a bit more work and then when we are lambing it is MENTAL and sleepless! Then we add the calves!! But pasture raised animals are fairly easy to manage and not nearly as smelly as their corn fed cousins!! I think when I start milking it will feel a bit busier! nice to see you ronnie! c

  9. Does it get dark as well as cold in your winters Celi? What sort of latitude are you at? The UK is currently receiving a vigorous assortment of hail, snow and sleet and has been for the last two days. I just want to hide under the duvet, and then I read your post and see your lovely photos and feel all cheered up by your good humour and observations 🙂

    • Not as dark as the UK. I remember when i was working in London leaving at 8.30 in the dark and returning at 3.30 in the dark, here the sun is setting at about 4.30, or 5. but it is light by 7am.. I really should take more notice. It will get colder in Jan/Feb and then the days are longer and lighter so it is a bit crazy. But You get those long long summer days too and we don’t so it works out i guess. c

  10. I can’t imagine a swimming pool freezing! Love the pics of all your animal, old fashioned is a great lifestyle but lots of world. We are just working up to getting some chicken and bees which will be very exciting.

    • You will love having the bees Allison, I find them endlessly fascinating and so much to learn!! My hives are all in hibernation now, hope they have enough honey for the winter!! c

  11. Thank you so much for this post dear Cecilia, how enjoyable to read and to watch… Lovely Daisy, she is great again… and I loved this policeman! Seems that soon you will be crowded… Blessing them all… Have a nice day, with my love, nia

  12. So sorry to hear about the little chickens..but as you said, that’s life
    Thank you for the walkabout..my daughter was setting next to me and she was so impressed with the chickens and all the animals you have.
    She says you are lucky to have such a fun life 🙂

  13. Nice pics and descriptions.

    Born and raised on a dairy farm here in Northern Vermont, 20 clicks south of the Quebec border.
    We also heat with wood culled from the land– ash (the best) oak, hard maple, cherry, apple. The old saying about the wood heating you twice is certainly true — once when you cut and split it.. the other when you burn it.

    Sure looks flat out there Around here all the cows have two legs shorter than the the others from grazing on the sides of the hills.

    Our spread is pictured in the header photo at my blog:

    Merry Christmas

    • well then Queenie would like it there, she is so close to the ground that she would just roll! Though she is not a dairy cow so maybe not. i shall pop over and look at your farm Jim! c

  14. I love your animals. Oh, it is true… there is nothing worse than trying to shovel frozen poo! Last year there was a month in winter, when the only thing I could do in the chicken palace was to add more straw over the top. 😐
    Ahhh, the joys of farm life.
    ~ Lynda 😉

  15. Jen needs to muck up our yard too, but my poo doesn’t make for good fertilizer, so we donate it to ‘keeping the garbage collectors employed’ campaign.

  16. Great pix – I do love the almost sepia field and green tractor 😉

    Talking of cold swimming pools, I went waterskiing in Cornwall (Mounts Bay), on Christmas Eve, when I was about 17 – it was a beautiful sunny day, but the water was so cold that I had to wear 2 wet suits!

  17. I really enjoyed the walkabout round your farmy Celi, felt like I was right there with you! It must be a very satisfying life, in spite of all the hard work involved. It’s a shame about losing all those baby chicks, but I guess that’s part and parcel of life on a farm.
    The photos are great!

    • i went to california for two weeks last month and they mostly went west during that period, John works all day so the barn flock was unguarded, which was a bit sad. But yes as you say that is part and parcel of farm life.. c

  18. I want to come and live with you on the farm. I have experience mucking out pens. However, I will have nothing to do with the chickens. I promise, I can learn how to care for sheep.

    Your photos, as always, are splendid. Love that one of Mama the policeman (ahem, “woman”) peeking through the door.

    • She was great this time round wasn’t she, usually her black eyes and black head are very hard to shoot, It is the eyes i am after in each shot, this time we got Mama for sure!! and yes of course police woman tho (just quietly) she looks like a police man here, don’t tell her I said so.. c

  19. Did you dream you would capture so much attention being a Farmerette? What you are doing is soooo valuable. It makes me proud to know you!

    • Oh that is such a lovely thing to say. Farmerette .. Yes that is ME! And no, I never imagined that people missed the land this much, and i am really honoured to have so many readers mucking in. it is a treat for me! c

  20. Your chickens look almost benevolent today! Are they happier in the winter time? I had a bizarre brain flash of the flock of them eating popcorn and watching soap operas while the snow moves in. Anyway, my Spud is now defending his flock of happy chickens from swooping baboons with a blow-gun. (They may have been watching a bit too much Human Planet over the weekend.) Lovely pics, C. It’s always so wonderful to see this bits of your farm!

    • and wonderful of you to drop in! Bless Spud.. that Human Planet aye.. he will be quite the adventurer when he is older! c

  21. Hope your weather today wasn’t as gray and drenching as we had. The animals seem to thoroughly enjoy it, though. I bet you did, too. Right?

  22. Outstanding pictures as always, darling; I suppose it helps to have such a stellar crew of beasties to show off for you. They’re all exquisitely beautiful, no-matter-how-impish-they-may-be-from-time-to-time,-not-to-mention-any-names-Daisy. Actually, who can blame Miss D for going out on her own when you’ve stolen her best sh**! And Mama sheep’s portrait is simply breathtaking. So happy to get a chance to tour the farmy again!

    • Ha ha stolen her best sh** indeed.. Thanks Kath, I suspect they are beginning to pose when i go walkabout with the camera.. everyone was looking suspiciously scrubbed up that day! c

  23. I understand about the freezing.. but will now never complain about mucking out our dog run! I love Daisy.. a girl after my own heart, jumping fences and such, she is looking for greener pastures and then realizes they don’t exist and is content at home. My favorite photo is the one you took of Mama, standing in the doorway… beautiful!

    • I will Jed..she is lucky to be your favourite cow.. do you think she is getting bigger, I will get a better shot for you next time so you can decide! c

  24. I remember my grandmother telling me they used to farm, grow everything they ate, heat the house with the wood stove, use the cast iron.. iron on the stove to straighten their clothes.. yes I remember all of these stories and I relive them here on your blog :). I love coming here

    • I would have liked to have met your grandmother, there is so much wonderful info going on in the brains of the oldies! c

  25. Takes me back! I’ll be 80 my next birthday, and still remember clearly the fun I had on my uncle’s dairy farm, watching my two boy cousins milk the cows (by hand in those days, squirting milk straight from the cow’s bag into the mouth of a waiting cat sitting at hand), riding in the back of the truck with the boys and the big milk cans, which were tied down under a tarp and then delivered to the Richmond Dairy–on and on. Those were indeed the days–of which I’m the last survivor, though the memories are very alive. Thanks so much for this. I’m deeply happy to know the life hasn’t been modernized out of existence!

    • I am desperate to train a cat to catch milk on the run like that. Such an image! I hope you drop in often Ann as there may be problems I encounter that you can solve with those memories of yours. I am not going to milk by hand, there is only me running the farmy until John retires and I just don’t think I will have the time. So we will get a second hand machine. Though it must be wonderfully simple to just skip the machines! c

    • i enjoy the walkabout posts too Mandy, they remind me of what we are all about!! I made the mint jelly last night from your recipe and it smells awesome, i shall taste it in a few days and let you know.. so far so good!! c

  26. Thank you SO much for taking us along! I love your life, C. Mine is much easier, with only house pets and chickens. But I do dream of someday owning a proper farm. I love working outside and being with the animals. I long for goats, but as we live in the “city” (though you can hardly tell) it’s not allowed unless you have a minimum of X acres.

    Hard work is either your forte, or it’s not. You my lovely are a very hard worker and your spirit shines because of it. Just remind yourself of that while you’re mucking out. xo

  27. Just love seeing the images of the animals…all the images are gorgeous…the pool, John on the green tractor in the sepia field. Daisy looks quite pleased with herself on that manure, and Mama does look like a policeman! I used to spend a lot of time around horses when I was a kid, and one of the things and the smells I miss the most is the manure and mucking out the stalls…I know that sounds funny, but every time I smell that smell, it reminds me of those great times, those wonderful animals and participating in a simpler and more earthbound endeavor.

    • barns where animals eat their natural diets always smell good.. I would love to have a horse but we just do not have enough room, everything has to have a purpose on a tiny place like this! c

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