Here are some updates 'round the place...
May 17, 2010: Well, well...we certainly have a good start on the year already!
Gettin' yer hands dirty is my kinda sport, so tilling up the East Point pasture, was just another feather in our caps. If life gives one poop, compost it! Rick hauled barn contents down there last year for composting and we had some really perfect conditions for tilling. This area is in need of soil rejuvenation as it is basically a gravel bar left over from when the Clearwater River ran here, ages and ages ago. I am now looking at the veg garden and where the ewe barn use to sit, will probably get to that this week or so.
My mother-in-law warns here in Alberta that one never plants tenders before
June 1st and she is SO right! Since Rick has screened in his
"man" porch (40' x 16'), there has not been too much cold making its
way inside. We will have to acquire a nice tomato plant and some Martha
Washington Geraniums again this year. We were harvesting tomatoes right
into the late fall last year and the flowers just never seemed to stop! Rick
has purchased hummingbird feeders this winter, so will see how that goes as
far as making them stay...lots show up but always move on.
June 20, 2010: Hummingbirds are using the
feeders! You may hear them buzzing around, right into the late evening.
July 4, 2010: Been here now for twelve years.
Seems like just yesterday that we were planting shelterbelt trees and here the
caragana is, higher than the fence. Wild roses are in full bloom, the "July"
flowering lilac bush is budding out, and the veg garden is going to get some
heat this week (corn will be happy)...sounds good. Torrential downpours, sometimes
mixed with hail are "normal" for this time of year.
July 5, 2010: Well what a pleasant surprise
this morn. What lay waiting in the "cleaned yesterday" Blue Fawn Call breeding
pen...well two of the most perfect, green duck eggs, nestled in a new nest!
"Thank you girls & boys, thank you!"
This spring, both March and May, we have done two canine colour
presentations. One in Caroline and one in Rocky Mountain House. Makins and HyBlade,
students, teachers, and myself all had an excellent time! How's that for fun
with a lil' dog hair...round our house, that's a "condiment!"
Several articles have been published already this 2010 year.
The Combs and Wattles in the Chantecler Chicken article was featured
as centerfold in the May 2010 issue of the Feather Fancier and the
article Poultry Rations is on the front page of the FF July/August
combination edition. Chantecler Fanciers International is publishing
the Chantie article in installments, first one arrived at the end of June 2010.
Yeh, Alberta, "If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes!" To dress for success, you have to follow the lead of some of the kids; toque, shorts, and flip flops...ready for anything! Snow, sun, the flood...too much water either from the waterbombers puttin' the forest fire out or the return of another 100 year flood, for the second time in seven years...arggh!!
July 5, 2010: June was a WET month, July is
starting off the same but supposedly we are going to get some heat. The cherry
tomatoe in the porch has one green "pimple" of a tomatoe started and it sure
could do with some warmth.
June 22, 2010: No more waiting for the Ram
Pasture to dry out to run the dogs (tho we did get a tiny sprinkle in the p.m.
to wet down the dust)...conditions are perfect and the barn swallows just luv
it...dogs running stirs up bugs to feed their hungry broods. Lilacs (brought
some in the house to put on the butcher block--Rick says it smells like a "bus
load of ol' ladies" in the kitchen now...use to take my flowers to my place
of work, but flowers don't fair all that well on a school bus like they do in
an accounting office! VBG), Silver Buffalo Berry, and Flowering Crabapples are
all blooming, next will be the Alberta wild roses. Lettuce, peas, beans, potatoes,
chard, and spinach are all up in the veg garden, Nasturtiums are poking thru
in the mailbox planter...Summer is here! Pond Fish are enjoying the warm weather;
every evening, we can sit by the pond and watch them leap with glee.
Was moving the Jersey Buffs and finally got to show Rick an example of some of their ingrained heritage turkey survival instincts. The grass was deep over by one of my shade planters and a hen started to make an alarm call. "Pop, pop, pop!," sounds jest like popcorn popping. So I went over to have a look see. Well, she was giving the alarm call alright, alarm for "SNAKE! Great big coily BROWN SNAKE!" All the hens gathered on round, ready to do battle...the POP call was missing an "O" as it was a pile of ACDog POOP! Bust a gut. Silly thing is, is that all of our turkeys have never EVEN seen a snake in any of their lives....not even a garter snake. Well the girls just won't move and the other birds were starting to stress, so I grabbed a dog poop pail and the trowel from Foamey's kennel and removed the "offending" yet "mesmorizing" snake so the hens would quiet down and move along. People can make all the jokes they want about turkeys being dumb, but with a internal "toolkit" like these heritage guys come hatched with, who can say dumb to a predisposition to identify potential troubles. A little off, but hey, maybe they were just voicing their disgust over somebody crapping in THEIR yard. Have to have a talkin' to the hired help about clean up duties being lax...oh yeh, I guess that's my fault too. Shuckee darn, and slop the chickens...five dogs runnin' round and I missed one. Sheep beans will be the turks NEXT complaint, "Clean up, pasture nine!"
Rick has been putting the sandblaster to good use. He's done up a whole bunch of '28 & '36 truck parts, even four wigwags got blasted, primed and painted. His butter churn is the latest of his projects and looks pretty darn spiffy now, sittin' in his porch...Churn that! LOL And this eve, had our most favourite dinner of all...BQ'd hotdogs and hamburgers on Rickie's porch with the dawgs begging for handouts. Sure could get use to this high end falootin' style of livin'. :-D
June 18, 2010: Finally some more appropriate
weather, besides rain in June (can't believe the flood was FIVE
years ago today!). For the most part we have had sunny weekends. The May Day
blossoms are done, Lilacs will start up soon and the Saskatoons are in full
bloom. Veg garden was planted some time ago, had moisture to germinate...bring
on some SUN please...jest a little tho! No more covering up the plants in the
porch; geraniums look fine. No sign of hummingbirds at the feeders yet. Bluebirds
and Barn Swallows are feeding babies, and another set of Buff American goslings
have hatched out and are being guarded and cared for by mommy and daddy goose.
May 27, 2010: Received over two inches in
moisture (combination of first snow then rain) this past week. The "May"
Day (more a June tree here) tree has started to blossom and the Dolgo
"wants" to bust out, but the flowers may just rot if it does not warm
up a bit (zero this morn!). The Lilacs down the driveway got hit hard and are
suffering some frost damage but look like they will be OK. Gotta be tough to
live in the Rocky Mountain Foothills--what don't outright kill yah, makes you
May 21, 2010: After listening to the drone of trucks/trailers heading for the
forestry reserves yesterday while it rained "cats & dogs" all evening, Rick tells me
it snowed north of Rocky. May long weekend pretty much guaranteed flakes on the rodeo
May 17, 2010: It was 32 Celcius in Rocky on Saturday when we
went in to pick up parts for the grader. Rick just called, rain scheduled for
the long weekend. We are a little behind here in the Rocky Mountain Foothills
(April showers brings spring flowers?) but the rain will be most welcome. Watching
the pastures turn greener and the tree leaves bustin' out. Been carefully watching
the grasses grow, the Jacobs and goats (llamas too) will welcome the time out
on the greens. The swans have been nipping grass for the past month but the
geese are all on nests, so have not been out on the grass, that will come shortly
tho, babes in tow.
We get frost and snow here ALL year round. Every single month of the year can
see snow blanketting the ground. Yes, even in July and August (brought Makins
and her pups home from the University of Saskatoon from a BAER hearing test
in 2001 to a snow storm in August!). You gotta be hardy to make it here. Ah,
but you DO get two seasons here (spring and fall last for about the blink of
an eye, so don't really count!), winter for seven months and then CONSTRUCTION
We once again made the pilgrimage to the Vintage Vehicle
Spring Swap Meet--we SO look forward to that, even resting up for it. As always,
we did very well. Acing some original 1928 truck advertisements for framing
along with a 1935 Maple Leaf truck ad too, Rick found two original taillight
housings (they do not even make reproductions of these!) and at Bob Jone's table
(nice to see Mr. Jones there again!), Rick actually found not one but TWO original
taillight lenses! Whooohoo! I packed along my decrepit example of a 1928 horn
and found a rejuvenated one there for sale; horns ARE getting harder to come
across all the time. Picked up several fuel sediment glass bowls (one even has
an original brass filter), a radiator splash guard (for the atrocious price
of $5!), an original 1928 Chevrolet (Canadian version!) manual (so much MORE
info than the US reproduction version!), a tire rim, and a tire tool, jack and
handle rounded out the bounty. There was a pretty 1928 Chev car there for sale
too; always neat stuff!
I did purchase some non-vehicle related items (there are some good non-vehicle
antiques finds to be had!); a pair of blue glass ducks, some Wade figurines
to add to my growing collection, plus a made in "Occupied Japan" Mallard drake...I
already have one inherited from my grandmother but this one is different but
obviously made by the same outfit...what a catch! Last year, I bought the pair
of blue Mandarins.
July 5, 2010: Ever diligent, Rick has sandblasted
a mess of 1928 Chev parts. He's got four "wigwags" cleaned, primed and painted.
The glass reflectors sit waiting to be installed. I already mentioned that he
is working on the two horns and he says he is almost finished blasting all the
wheel bolts/nuts. Some of this seems quite tedious, but the work chugs along
and we both can see the efforts are all worth it. The trucks are going to be
Those people already waiting on fall birds will be delighted to hear that the incubator is sterilized and whirling away. Yes, I have dragged my feet this year about getting an early start but must say, I am REALLY looking forward to the hatchlings now.
June 18, 2010: Just a TON of baby chickens
and more hatching daily... Bantam Wyandottes (Blue Laced Reds, Blue Laced Whites,
Silver Laced, Golden Laced, Partridge, Silver Pencilled, Whites, even got Self-Blue
this year PLUS a special little one, Gomer looks like a BLUE
Pyle, but he probably won't stay this way).
The weather was nice enough, we could set up some pens and
let the chicks out on the lawn to enjoy themselves. One Chantie chick found
a dandelion bud and the chase was on! Rick tossed in a few more and the chicks
decided the novelty had worn off.
July 5, 2010: The hatchlings are growing
strong, big and I do have to laugh at some of their outfits; the partridge Chanties
are getting their junvenile barred plumage, some of the Wyandottes are tickle
me cute with their checker board plumage patterns, Brahmas are feathering up
enough you can start guessing genders, the MDF Booteds-some are putting on the
cutest white dotty dots- and the White Booteds are seriously vivid, and the
turkeys are feathering out in pleasing colours and patterns, hinting at what
they will look like as adults! The Appleyard, Crested, & Hookbill ducks
are getting big and serious about life in general. Bantam Ducks are in four
separate growing groups...from day olds onwards. With the nicer weather, I have
put some of the older Chanties in a transition pen in the Deuce Coop...get them
ready to go out in the Veg Garden Bird Building. We will be following the advice
of some of the oldtimers and placing an adult Chantecler Rooster in amongst
them to "keep the peace." Works great with an older "uncle"
keeping an eye on silly fights over dominance...pecking order so to
speak! The Red Chanteclers are really magnificentt...I wonder why more people
do not raise this variety, they are gorgeous!
Bracing myself for the second set of chicken hatches; new matings, different pedigrees than the first hatch. Sure didn't take them long to moult and get back into laying condition; throwing eggs at me constantly..."Good girls!" Bantam production is pretty much an egg a day from each hen in the Deuce Coop. Two BLR Wyandottes have gone setty, so no eggs from them, jest a loud complaint and a few pecks for good measure when I collect up Wyandotte (a.k.a. "whiney") eggs. :-p
The heritage turkeys have been amazing...I have heard others say these birds are "seasonal layers" HA! Only season they know is one all year long! Another repeat from last year...tho eggs started a little more sensibly (not mid-January like in 2009!) about March and we have had a constant flow though all the hens have taken a break to go setty on and off. We like that, so continue on ladies. We would really like them to not lay so often as we figure it is hard on them.
Some of the ducks are moulting, yet some are still laying, so I will continue to collect and set but do look forward to tearing down the breeding pens and letting everyone out on the grassy lawns to chase bugs, nip grass and sleep in the shade or paddle puddle duck in their pond. Freedom to be in a big bevy, now that is certainly something to QUACK about!
Putting up this website "relevant to the birds"
has been a very rewarding endeavour. It has left me scrambling trying to get
photos together and organized. Yes, I do take lots of pictures, but it seems
that when the birds are at their best, taking photographs is the furthest thing
from our minds. I will continue to strive to do better and do the birds justice.
Look out for more pictures seeing as I got the basic skeletal structure up and
In the meantime, bust a gut and go on and see these ones!
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Updated July 5, 2010
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