Friday, April 30, 2010

Want vs. Need

As I lie in bed at night with the boys to calm them to get to sleep, a constant battle emerges....whose turn is it to have mummy hug them, who gets to put their arms and legs where and whose back gets rubbed, what song gets sung.....this is supposed to be relaxing guys.....I digress. I put my glasses in my pocket and inevitably a leg is thrown over me and I say AGAIN (you'd think I'd learn) If you break my glasses it will be very expensive to replace them, pleeeeeeease move your leg.....
August: So, mummy, do you think that the little bit of plastic and metal in your glasses is worth all that money?
Me: Nope.
August: So, mummy, why do they cost so much then?
Me: I go off on a tangent about monopolies and stuff and obviously I was being asked a rhetorical question because this came out next.....
August: So, because you NEED the glasses they can charge more and other things you NEED cost more, but plastic crap toys made in China that you WANT but don't NEED are cheap so you'll buy them anyways......what do you think mummy?
The wisdom of children.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A warm spring day.....

Woo Hoo Spring is Official Here! The ASH Berry Boys having their yearly mud bath!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poultry farm?

What would you do if you had a slug problem? Like a serious slug problem. Last summer we had a problem with botrytis (mold) on our strawberries. The slugs were part of the reason...they travel from berry to berry sampling, sampling and spreading....
So today after discovering that my peas-that-have-not-germinated have and are leafless, we brought out the slug bait (Certified organic and safe (?!)...)......which works in a personal veggie garden, but on 3 acres of strawberries????
Truly sustainable and organic solution??
Hubby got online....usedcomoxvalley or something like that.....
We've got 6 khaki campbell ducklings arriving next week. I hope they're hungry!
Ducks love slugs. I hope they love LOTS of slugs. And I mean LOTS - at dusk the slugs just came out of everywhere, it's freaky....One staff strawberry picker we had carried each and every one off the field and saved them, others picked them into their "moldy" berry buckets and fed them to the pigs, slugs were a serious issue last year.
I chatted with the farmer providing us with the ducklings (ever tried to get OFF the phone when you're chatting with a farmer??) and I got an earful....I asked if they ate as many slugs as Indian Runners....he said "Well I don't have a slug problem..." I guess my question is answered then. He went on to say that they lay an egg a day every day of the year. His are free range but sleep in a small shed. They lay their eggs before he lets them out in the morning at 9. He herds them in at night and locks them in to prevent loss to predators.
Since my dogs appear to be chicken friendly now, (Thank you Joel Salatin, zapping collar appears to have worked after 2 training sessions.....) what's a few more birds running around the farm.....
Did I mention hubby ordered 50 broilers and 25 turkeys....arriving on the 30th....
We have..I mean he has to get building, we have some poultry sheds to get up and runnning...He's blaming me of course. I don't remember ordering them.....

On a side note we just moved the geese and chickens and it appears to stress them out. We aren't getting the geese eggs we were for awhile and the chickens laid 3 shellless eggs! One survived the fall and we ate it! Apparently they don't like being shut in and hauled to their new pasture......Research tells us it can also be put down to new layers and growing pains, but our best day was 9 eggs and today we only got 5, yesterday 3 and 3 we think there is a link.
The ladies' new pasture is partly where the pigs were last year and I noticed that the ladies had eaten up some egg shell fragments left over from last years compost fed to the to be on the safe side I roasted up the eggshells I'd been putting to one side and ground them in the foodprocessor and spread them for the chickens - who gobbled them up.....So the extra calcium will be good I think.... Hubby thinks that if we'd had the birds since they were young and they were used to being moved it wouldn't be so stressfull to them.....

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Isn't farming fun? Ask me in a month.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Double Double.....

My girls have started laying......lets hope our double double stays a double double!
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Holdy was talking to K, the amazing german woof who is back for the 4th time before she heads back to Germany, and he told her some interesting things.....

"you know, the ancient egyptians stuck a pointy thing up the nose and pulled out little pieces of brain, and then they could go to the grandpa was burned.....I just want to be buried when I die...."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

random photos found in camera

Ok, plugged in my chip today and found some unexpected pictures......
My youngest loves to act to the camera, I have pages and pages
of photos of him in different poses...

See that cute black kitty with the suspiciously fat gut??
Overexposed fried goose egg.....

I'm getting ready, maybe today......

Ms. Pacman anyone.....

Our cat had kittens....4 little cuties....

Have I mentioned we have a couple of arcade games in the house? This one hubby bought for cheap to put an 'all in one' in (you know Frogger, donkey kong.....well I don't know since I'm not a gamer....but anyways....another project) ....and it turns out we love the game! 3D tetris AKA Blockout.....and you can play against each other...It's a great time waster......

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

We did it! Paper!

We made paper! It was easy.....
After seeing some grasses from last year decomposed, flattened and dried in sheets that looked like paper in the field, August said, "Hay, what is this, it looks like paper!" (Some weird freak of nature had sheets of "grass" bleached and paperlike....)
I said paper can be made from grass....of course he wanted to make paper.
He grabbed a handful of grass (Winter Rye to be exact - and I only know this as it's our cover crop.....) and stuck it in water.
There it sat for a few days.
Momma got on the puter.
The internet is a wonderful thing.
Unscientifically, without measuring anything, we made paper from scratch!
Step 1: Pick grass, cut into 1-2 inch pieces, blend in food processor - the ONLY blend we did.
Add to pot with water.
Cook on stove for a little while - an hour maybe 2.
Step 2. Take ashes from woodstove.
Add water. Let sit.
Filter off some liquid (caustic soda)

Took awhile - sieve and filter clogged a lot.
Took clearish filtrate and poured into grass mixture.
It started foaming immediately. (Caustic soda breaking down cellulose)
We cooked a bit and then left sit on the stove for a week or so.
Stink doesn't describe the smell.

Wash grass fibres.....poured grass mixture into sieve, put grass back in bowl, filled with water and repeat....until the water is almost clear.....

The delay on the stove was caused as I realized we needed a fancy wood framed screen thingy to lift the paper fibres out of the water....
until I figured out I could use a bacon grease splasher stopper. (Technical term)
We put the bacon screen (bend handle up) in the bottom of the big stainless steel bowl (oops have I forgotten to mention everything MUST be stainless steel??)
Poured grass/water mixture in carefully. We let it settle a bit, stirred it around gently to even it out, and then carefully lifted screen out......
Turned upside down on to some clothe diapers on a cookie sheet
Let dry in front of woodstove.

Unbleached paper!
It's a little wrinkly but definately paper.
Very very cool!
Helpful websites:
Paper making (Caustic Soda instructions)
PS I'm not kidding with how I did it. Totally slap dash and it worked!!!
Kind of the way I follow recipes..........
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