|Pulled up the blind this morning & what did I see? A whole lot of white. I was so glad that Boot has the early chore detail!|
This province is aptly nicknamed "the windy province"..... Canadians are well known to politely understate things, eh? Most definitely MB also has other (less flattering) nicknames, but today we'll just stick with windy. I guess. The forecast is calling for between 20-30 cm (8-12") more snow accompanied by a sharp drop in temperatures to about -20*C (like, 4*F).
That's without the windchill factor, which only adds another layer of suck to the already sucky level of winter at any given time.
When I was on the racetrack I was turned onto a fantastic line of gear called Under Armour™. Under Armour is a line of sports garments & accessories that lives up to the name 'armour'; it is made of an advanced stay-cool fabric in a variety of fits (compression, fitted, or loose) which reflects heat back to the body, wicks away moisture, resists pit & crotch funk, & stands up extremely well to even daily washings. Hand to God, from my extensive experience.
I'm not getting paid to rail on about all the virtues of the product line, so this is all I'm going to say about it, but that's a recommendation coming from a lot of hard-working athletes & all-weather adventurers of the Great White North.
- In the Chicken Coop Cara, Dorianne, & Ed-Lewis have now flown the coop - and by 'flown', I mean that all the old biddies are now free ranging in bird heaven. My worries about the nastiness & potential evils of birds in general proved to be unfounded; the coop was quick to clean & easy to keep sweet smelling, the hens did not destroy every inch of ground in their spacious run, they did not 'stink up the area', they ate what was put in front of them, & their output was above satisfactory. Additionally, all of us found their soft cluckings to be an enjoyable sound, and cats & dogs alike quickly picked up that the chicken run is off limits, period. We enjoyed all their tasty eggs, & I'll sure be sorry to have to buy eggs for the rest of the winter, but our present coop is not at all suited to over-wintering birds in what is shaping up to be bitter weather again now. That said, we will definitely be getting laying hens again in the Spring.
- In the Rabbit Shack things are good - and by 'good', I mean that rabbits tend to do quite well in colder weather; better than in hot & humid weather certainly. We have the last 14 growers out there (scheduled to go to freezer camp asap), & my original breeding trio + one homebred baby doe that I am keeping to breed on. After this last harvest of growers, we will have put a total of about 70 lbs (give or take) of absolutely delicious, lean, heart healthy, homegrown meat into the freezer. We are thanking God for that meat, believe you me. The old house is solid enough that the lick bottles haven't yet begun to freeze up, but that's soon about to change... so, that should be fun. Not. At this point I would say that rabbits have been a resounding success for us; I wonder if my tune will change after 3 or 4 months of winter? Updates to follow...
- The Pig Sty is still home to Chops & Schnitzel, much to my dismay. I say that only because these two mixed breed hogs are a real pair of pigs - and by 'pigs', I mean that these two epitomize almost every negative thing you could think of about housing the species, short of being escape artists, & Thank Gawd for that, at least. Compared to the pair of sweet-natured, easy going, tidy & non-destructive Berkshire hogs we had last year, these aggressive, slobbery, fencerail-hanging mongrels will not be missed in any way & can't get into the freezer fast enough to suit me. Before the holidays, Mr Shoes & his buddy Anthill Dave will put a few bullets between some eyes (our 2 + 1 of AD's) & do the butchering here at the 4Shoes for the first time. Last year we hauled our hogs an hour away to a small slaughterhouse with a good reputation for humane treatment of animals... to the tune of $850 (not including the gas). But, sadly, we are convinced that the meat we picked up did not come from the 2 beautiful tender young pigs we had delivered to them. Once bitten, twice shy (as the saying goes) & so now the slaughter/butcher task falls to Mr Shoes & we'll keep most of that $850 in our pockets.
- The Riding String is of much the same opinion as mine of this turn in the weather - we were all 4 of us hoping for a pleasant extended Fall... bringing us all the way to Spring. Obviously, not happening. Between scheduled meals, the horses are kept busy pawing through the snow for snacks while giving the serious side-eye to the other beasts of the fields, namely those dang cows. The horses seem to look upon the cattle as beings only slightly elevated from mud & they resent that the cattle free feed on hay all day long + get so many extra groceries. I can see in their eyes that they are relishing the thought of a day in the future when they might get the chance to practice their mad cowponying skillz on the shrimpy little crap-machines.
- The Bull Pen... I would say that, for me, cattle in general thus far has been more of an adventure in what-the-frack-was-I-thinking?!? It seems that I was the only one woefully unprepared for the disgusting, filthy, stinky living conditions in which these cows seem happiest - & here I was more worried about having chickens! There were beef cattle on the farm growing up, but they were the business of the adults. Aside from the summer that I was 7 & knew no better than to just do it when I was instructed to get right next to him & spray aerosol medication directly into the eyeballs of a 2000+lb bull (who wasn't above charging, stomping, & probably goring to death any adult who attempted entry to his corral during the course of that particular malady), I had little to do with them. *Sidebar: Apparently (to my parents) having 2 daughters made 1 relatively expendable, under certain circumstances. Oddly, I never felt a bit threatened by that bull & he was a perfect gentleman for me twice a day for weeks on end. But enough about questionable parenting & livestock practices for now.* I am used to a very tidy barnyard; I've always forked up horse apples regularly & felt a deep sense of satisfaction in keeping it clean. Whelp - with just these 2 baby heifers in there, that is all out the window. Since the cattle arrived, I've kept up my barnyard picking tasks, much to the amusement of anyone else who has ever had a thing to do with cattle. Now that the cold & snow are going to make regular cleaning up an impossible task, I just know that I'm going to be seeing frozen cowpies as far as the eye can see...*sigh* Lucky for Crispin, Lucy & Ethel, Mr Shoes has a much more positive long term outlook on the venture than I & the equine collective.
- Cats in the Cradle, or more accurately the straw stack. Those two lazy fools are holed up tight, packing on the pounds, & planning nothing much else in the near future. They still think the Temptations Treats should keep coming though.
- Dog Day Afternoons, or more accurately, every hour of the day with the exception of potty breaks & the occasional emergency outing to chase... I don't know wth. Maybe a feather or a snowflake (Manic MinPin). Of course, Saint the Good Shepherd still makes her rounds a few times a day & howls out her warnings to the local predators that they would be wise to make a wide berth, cuz she's got it covered here. Thankfully, shite weather seems to cut down on the threats enough that 10 year old Saint can keep a mostly good enough eye out from the inside of the window panes (though maybe not the back windows today...).
|*Click for this cute Penguin's story*|