Monday, April 28, 2014

Water II

Then Israel sang this song; "Spring up, O well and sing it's praises"  Numbers 21:17

This weekend we managed to clean out the 3 working spring fed watering troughs. It was very messy work. During attempts to siphon water out of one I managed to get a mouthful of the filth from the bottom and promptly vomited up my breakfast.

There was about a foot of silt and sediment and accumulated detritus in the bottom of each trough and it required a lot of work to get it out. I did manage to save some of this black gunk to spread on the garden. I have heard mix reports about its effects positive and negative on gardens. We will see. 

I also visited the spring above crab-apple pond. It too seems to be silted up and filled with detritus. I know that Bob and Aunt Sandy have both worked to keep this spring clean but I am thinking that it too may need an overhaul and thorough cleaning. I have a soft spot for this little spring because if has a fairy tale quality about it. It is set off the trail 12 metres or so and is formed from a cutting set back into the hill. I can easily imagine the princess Sabra collecting water to bath George's wounds received from fighting the dragon.

There is another spring on the farm which has a similar quality about it on the other side of the ravine near the driveway. The water comes out of an old pipe set into the rock and is collected in a small stone cistern before over flowing down into the ravine. We cleaned this out a bit in the winter and we hope to make it a summer picnic spot. We can move the most freely around the farm in the early spring, before the hay gets high. But we can get to this spot via the road and woods.

Water is precious and an important part of farm life. We hope to be good stewards.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Growing up in Australia I think I have a better appreciation of the importance of water than many who grew up in wetter and greener climes. Water was also very important to Louis who had live for a while in Arizona. There are three working ponds on the farm and 5 in need of repair. There are two wells that are covered and not currently in use.

The repair of the ponds is a long term project. One project in the near future is to get pumps put in the wells so we can use the water. Getting water to the animals over the winter was a frustrating chore as most of the time we had to fill buckets in the bathroom and carry them to the barn. This is not sustainable in the long term and was barely adequate this year.

For the last week I have been getting water from the 'twin' watering troughs below Snake Pond. Aunt Sandy has been keeping the algae cleared off the top but leaf matter has built up a lot from the bottom. These troughs are closest to the house and barns and we hope to keep the lambs near them rotationally grazing. I thought I'd just use a metal rake to scope out the muck. Good theory. But it is very difficult to scope out and the water quality has deteriorated quite a bit.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Today began with a steady drizzle and one of the boys home sick.

We sorted the middle boys' summer clothes. I am feeling blessed as it looks like the kids and I are good for clothes for the year. After two years of crazy clothes years - me being pregnant and then finding out we were having a girl(!) of all things, and not having quite enough for our oldest guy. Now it looks like we've hit a it of a sweet spot. Hoping to finish drawing up my yard sale wish list and put all the winter and unwanted (this season) clothes away. Tomorrow. Before the mess is the spare room overwhelms us.

We had an exciting afternoon letting the chicks and ducklings enjoy some sunshine. It has been a bit complicated as our rooster wants to kill the baby chicks. So today, we tried to lock him up, but he evaded us. Our next thought was to put the chicks in our makeshift hog panel enclosure in the veggie garden. This sort of worked. The chicks can squeeze out though. We wanted the ducks to free range, but they wanted to stay in their springhouse/coop. They finally were removed and the springhouse got mucked out before the baby birds went back to bed.

We got a call from a friend that we could check out lambs today for the boys' projects. We've only had poultry & feeder hogs so far. After an early dinner and gumboots put on all around, we went. The sheep are suffolks. We enjoyed seeing some gorgeous week-old twin lambs. Everyone had lots of questions for the shepherd. We looked at the bigger lambs which are almost two months old. We agreed on a manly looking whether  for IW and a sweet looking ewe lamb for EJ. Paid for now and we'll pick them up 'slick-shorn' in time for weighing-in at a local show. We are all excited for lambs to join the crew and nervous about testing out our ideals against the old-standard methods in our area. Thankfully we have dear friend who owns or manages over 1000 sheep in Australia who is consulting with us via skype and facebook and two good mentors here who know the showing drill and have been great resources.

Now the peepers are peeping and the kids are all asleep.