Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Amazing book!

Gabor Mate. Need I say more?
In the realm of Hungry Ghosts.
A must read for everyone, including those contemplating parenthood either biologically or thru adoption.
An insightful book that sheds light on the demons of our past (childhood), present (who we have become) and future (our children we are trying to do our best by).
Forgiveness and/or understanding. Many many Aha! moments.
Empathy and concern and sadness for those caught in it shopping, alcohol, narcotics or food
New understanding of the roots of addictive behaviors...
As the co author of Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers with Gordon Neufeld, Gabor reiterates the importance of attachment parenting and connecting with your kids.
Describing his early childhood, Gabor sheds light on my own mother's beginnings....
I cannot emphasize enough what an amazing read this book is. I haven't even finished it yet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weeding weeder geese!

So we have 14 geese. I know I know we said we wanted 6 - 8 - but the farm we got them from wanted to get rid of them AND we only got 2 females in our first bunch.....We have a couple earmarked for the freezer......

This is the strawberry field where they have been......

Can you tell where the fence was??
We moved them today to the second half of the field (you can see a second cost free old trailer we have ... er .... had plans for........)

Did you know geese poop every 12 minutes?

When we first put them in the field we didn't electrify the fence.....big mistake. It didn't take them long to learn they could both walk over it and/or push through it. It only took a couple of days of electricity to teach them to stay in.....A couple still braved the shocks to get out, but soon tired of that trick. We are relieved as we need to be able to contain them.
Geese don't like least until they ripen!
They certainly mowed the grass down....(this is the field with the runaway cover crop......)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What my kids get up to....

What do my kids get up to in a typical couple of days......

Well August wanted to make paper from grass. He got the idea out on the field where he saw some grass from last year in lying down in sheets that look like paper. We talked about the Egyptians and papyrus and the next thing I know he wants to make paper....he brought some in and ripped it up and left it in water. So of course I get online and look up how to make paper.

I'll do a post on this when and if it works out.....

Needless to say, we got grass, we made caustic soda....we have some grass and caustic soda sitting in a pot on the stove waiting for a wood screen with wire netting......

Hotwheels anyone?
No!? How about Meccano??
Build a fire?? (and make a complete mess in the yard)
Dig up maple sell!

A chalk city with properties, crosswalks and roads.
Jungle gym, fort building, swinging.....

Ropes between trees anyone?
Trampoline games. They've invented many, this one involves chalk,
properties and scorekeeping....
Buttons. Who knew the $3.99 bag of buttons at Walmart could bring so many hours of entertainment. Games, trading, make believe (buttons are alive you know) sorting, name it!
And these are the things I could take photos of this evening
(yes my house is a mess!). I'm just scratching the surface. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 26, 2010

Finally chickens!

We spend a lot on eggs. The boys can go thru 2-3 dozen a week and we have been meaning to get some laying hens. Llast year we got an old run down trailer for cheep and thought it would convert easily into a great little hen house. Easy peeasy! NOT.

August and I scrape out old cracked caulking to try and make it waterproof. And don't even ask me how I feel about tube #2 of silicon that turned out to be faulty and DID NOT DRY, so I am now in the process of RE SCRAPING OUT AND RE CAULKING......

Hubby tears out the insides,
ripping more and more and more out as he
discovers a lot of water damage and rot.
He frames in new walls...and a new floor....


August got to work and built a ramp....
August and I put up wiring (look behind him) to stop the chickens escaping!

I cut some alders down and Don Fashioned a roost. It's on hinges so I can lift it up and clean underneath it. The floor is lino and the walls painted with latex bullseye 123. You can see a home made feeder waiting for my girls. We use pine shavings as bedding. They are stored in the toilet area.

The girls spent a week in our pony trailer waiting for their new home. They got out and flapped and flew.....we decided some wing clipping was in order! You can see the upside down bucket-homemade waterer in the background! (and August's ramp!) They are busy eating grass and chickweed and dust bathing. So far (knock on wood) we have no escapees!

The fence is a cheep Electric netting with some plastic chicken wire attached. We need to fence them as they can't wander our strawberry patch during strawberry season!! We bought the wrong sized netting so had to make do......We will be moving the hens around so we need a portable fence. In the background you can see the pig house!

Hubby even fashioned nesting boxes under the counter for my girls. I figure I can put some boxes on the counter if I need more!

The boys and girls frolicking in the field!

Happy Hens exploring their new home!

The first night when we closed the girls in all 15 were jammed in the nesting boxes. They'd never seen a roost before!!! I had to block the nesting boxes off and we had to place the girls on their roosts for a couple of nights. Now we have 13/15 sitting on their roosts to sleep!
It's a nice portable hen house, but it would have been faster and easier to start building it from scratch. However, the end product is easily moved and warm, it has electricity, and will do nicely for the girls over the winter!
Did I mention hubby was at the feed store today enquiring about turkeys????
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Elderly Parents...

Wow, there's a loaded topic title...I'm in the middle of dealing with my 83 year old father whose health is failing fast. I've been trying for 4 or so years to get him to consider moving to a seniors' residence. This would eleviate his loneliness and my worry....a double bonus. He doesn't eat properly, clean properly, he can't see, can't hear, can barely walk, can't cook - oh the list is long. He's at my house 1-4 nights a week. He eats, sleeps and well sleeps. After one intervention with my dad I had him weeping on the phone. It was a truly horrible feeling. I can't go into details but believe me the situation is YUCK. After another mini crisis (my father is a retired doctor and I caught him writing his own prescriptions......which I CAN'T believe - the pharmasist obviously owes my dad for something...) I finally had to go in and see his doctor, a man our family has known since I was a kid on a social basis. I said told him that it is very very cruel to leave it this late and make me the meanie. He said to me "No, it's cruel that he's blaming you for getting old." He has been trying to get my dad in to see him for a year but my dad is avoiding him as he knows where it is going. Obviously writing his own prescriptions (quintuple bypass 12 or so years ago and mulitiple other problems) allows him to avoid going in.....I'm to expect tears, manipulation, guilt trips and so on. This sucks. I bet it sucks more to be my father.

I promise never to do this to my kids.

Did I mention my mother is 14 years younger?

I hereby declare my sister gets to deal with her.

Life goes on.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Olympic Fever

I was so totally sick of the olympics as we wound up to the opening ceremonies. Money being cut for everything everywhere and we're paying millions for a sport extravaganza. The athletes are not the average joe, they have trainers, chefs, physiotherapists, and etc. The money involved is incredible. The parents either had money to support their kids to become skaters/skiers/whatevers or sacrificed a lot to ensure their kids continued training. The sports are not accessible by all, more by the haves as opposed to the have nots.
I go to Zellers and they ask me to donate money to the athletes when I'm buying stuff.
When I was dissing the olympics a friend said to me, "Well the government pays for doctors to train so why not athletes?" Well, that doesn't even make sense to me. Doctors save lives and keep us healthy (if we choose to eat and exercise right) and athletes ski fast. How is that possibly the same thing?
I'm ticked.
And then the games started....
And I got swept up in the fever, the feeling, the joy...
I was walking my dogs up on the ski hill just after the games started and a kid around 15 says to me from the side of the road where he was building a jump....."Hay, did you see the mens moguls??? It was awesome!" This was a kid that most likely would not have spoken to me under normal circumstances.....I'm not cool.....this was my first little inkling that there might be more involved than I thought.....
Hubby had tickets for hockey games, so off we went.
The ferry was full of people wearing canadian flags, hats, shirts, younameits.....
Everyone was happy...
The atmosphere in Vancouver was electric.
I found myself in tears watching the athletes.
I'm such a naysaying geek.
It was SO MUCH FUN being at the games!!!! (And don't ask about me trying to get in to the hockey arena with not ONE but TWO pocketknives........)
We scared our children while we watched the US-canada hockey game on TV.....yelling and screaming.....
My kids LOVED the closing ceremonies, so I loved it too. What other country could mock itself? The huge flying moose, floating beavers and lumberjacks running around in canoes???? They were entranced.....and then NEIL YOUNG!!! Wow.
Ok, and I have to say this, the torch was a torch, not an advertisement for BC Bud. I can't look at the torch without thinking DOOBIE.
Not that I know what a doobie is.
Are the olympics sustainable? I really wonder. The cash output by hosting countries has got to have some effect, I think, at some point???
So what do we have left over? A bunch of happy canucks with some really big bills to pay. Was it worth it? Remains to be seen I guess......

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I do do some printing practice with my kids ... in a very relaxed manner with Handwriting without tears (awesome) which has very little boring practice. Learning a letter is seriously a neat little process which can involve playdough, magnetic stamping board, writing in cornmeal, very little written practice and an easy to understand lesson and terminology....I digress....
So the other night we had some friends over and the questions start...."So is this the table you sit down and do school with the kids?" "And what does your school day look like?" and "How many hours a day to you work with the kids?" to name a few.....I really hate getting into it, but somehow we got onto the fact that I won't be teaching them cursive unless they ask me to. The looks of horror I got were funny. I actually wasn't sure what hubby's position on cursive was until I said to the ladies, "I mean, really, how much is the next generation going to use cursive?" and he muttered "Never" under his breath (he never writes.....)
Seriously these three women were discussing this with me felt that the kids need to be able to read cards....CARDS??? A thing of the past! eCards. "They need to read Christmas cards" From whom? I don't send Christmas cards anymore, I'm lucky to send out a Christmas letter. Computers. Our kids will be the digital generation writing with their thumbs. I'll teach them to type before anything else, they'll probably type better than they can print for crying out loud. "They need to sign their name..." Ok, hadn't thought of that one, but seriously that is the only thing hubby writes and it's not legible. (And by the time my kids are grown up it'll be all debit cards and more cheques.....) One of the ladies who has a 14 year old schooled son says the only thing her son writes is his name. So there, and he's schooled.
They certainly didn't hear me that I'd teach them if they asked. I said it would be 50:50 that they asked, but Don felt it would be a 10% chance they asked. One lady said to me "I just loved learning to write in school" I had to agree, as a girl, learning to print the perfect letters and then learning cursive as a challenge I enjoyed.......I really believe boys are made differently. Both men at the table (and the 14 year old son) had been in remedial printing/writing classes. Pretty good proof for my theory.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Life is growing!

Lots happening on the farm, most of which is weeds growing ARGH! Ok, that's not all GARLIC is growing too!
The weeds we're trying to take care of - we got geese yesterday. Yep, we have 8 geese penned in part of the top strawberry field. They eat grass. Lots of grass. They are vegetarians in fact. We have lots of grass growing in that top field. (Long story basically along the lines of the pesticide/fertilizer/cover crop guy recommended a cover crop to us that we didn't realize had to be killed with round up. Now EVERY and I mean EVERY bit of root ground up in the rotatiller grows, quickly.......) We are hoping the geese cut down on our labour and that they love Italian Winter Wheat! I've been working on the better half for a couple of years to get geese...and like pigs, I prevailed! (And the looks, curses, sighs and rolled eyes as we were building a pen were very very similar to the day the pigs arrived and had to put in the puppy pen.....)
Now to convince Don to get 8 or 10 goslings by post from the adventure by itself! I want chinese geese. I want to train the little suckers on exactly which weeds they are supposed to be eating, and apparently it can be done....their momma's teach them what to eat! (They HATE strawberry plants BTW) Did I mention that I hate weeding?
And the best of it? EGGS! Our strawberry plants bear great huge eggs. Geese don't even make a nest!!!! It laid it in the middle of the plants! It's huge....
And that chicken egg is farm fresh and bigger than a store large!