Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Duck Duck Goose

Through Handbook of Nature Study blog we were given a project idea to look at the differences between ducks and geese. Since we have both, we brainstormed and went out and looked....photos are by August. Text by the boys!

The beaks of ducks are brownish grey. The beaks of geese are orange. The chinese geese have a humungo bump on top of their heads.

The feet the ducks are brown. The geese feet are orange.

Our female ducks are brown. Our male ducks have a green head. The chinese geese males have big bumps on their heads and they are white. Our other geese have brown spots all over them.

Geese only lay in the spring and early summer. And the ducks lay all year round. Ducks eggs are smaller than geese. Geese eggs are humungous.

Our biggest geese are scared, our ducks are scared too and our chinese geese bite a lot. None of them are friendly.

Ducks eat slugs and geese don't. Geese eat grass. Ducks do too.

Geese are bigger than ducks.

Strawberry Mama writing now:
One chinese female goose and the ducks have started laying. I didn't expect goose eggs until the spring.....Yesterday the boys found two shellless eggs....so we boiled them up and they ate the easiest to peel hard boiled eggs ever!

Our chinese geese are pretty aggressive. We have all the geese fenced in right now as we have cover crops planted. The last cover crop we planted was munched. As soon as they are established we will let them all go....hopefully to take down weeds and grass all over the farm. The one strawberry patch(1/2 acre) they all have access too looks pretty good!

We have one female wild mallard that hangs with our gang. She stays her distance but doesn't seem to be going anywhere.....could be interesting in the spring. August id'd her in his bird book.

Great challenge for the kids! Thanx!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Dance with your Dinner....Joel Salatin....again!

"I have to go pick up dinner. I just love Qua111y Foods! I can pop in and I don't have to cook!"
Says a friend to Hubby and I as we were grabbing a Java at the local supermarket in between sessions of, you got it, Joel Salatin, LIVE in Courtenay!
The man himself spoke to a bunch of us here yesterday. What a personality, aura, intelligence, mind and speaker.
Our first session with Joel was pretty cool - about 45 people sitting around some tables for an open discussion with Joel. We all introduced ourselves talked a bit about our interests. Many said food security. When he asked about food security Blackwater came up. Scary stuff. What about the new bill (510) going thru in the states where the FDA can go on any farm and shut it down if they are not farming using science based methods. Many say this is an anti organic farming law. Joel said any law that Monsanto is for he is automatically against. He saves a lot of time reading legislation this way.
Can we feed the world without corn? And yes, we can. Processed food actually costs more than organic food if you look at the weights involved. For example, tonight, again on our break we saw a family of 4 (one toddler, one baby) spend $19 for dinner at QF, buying crap at the cafe. They could buy one of our chickens for that, and it would last 2+ meals, and have money left over for some yummy veggies. But they would only see that they were paying $4lb for our chicken.
I'm such a Joel Junkie that I had nothing big to add but appreciated the man's intelligence and ability to answer even the most vague question in an interesting manner.
Ironic that my friend was buying her take out dinner as we were on our way to the second part of Joel Day in Courtenay. Dance with Dinner. Connect with your food. Know how it's raised. Know what it ate. Know how it is prepared. Prepare it! Know your farmer.

During Dance with your Dinner Joel spoke of our disconnect with food - kids who don't know that carrots grow in the ground. How at 4 pm 75% of people still don't know what's for supper (me some of the time - that's why I made yummy tomato sauce...) How 25% of meals are eaten in the car. (Only if I buy ham and cheese croissants from Comox Valley Bakehouse on the way to swimming from piano.....) How we spend an average of 20 minutes in the kitchen preparing and cleaning up after meals. (Ok, I feel like I spend my life in the kitchen......so I have no idea where this stat comes from!) How our average food item travels 1500 miles. In 1900 the number was 100 miles. How some kids don't even know what a pot is....they just open boxes and microwave their dinner. Or like my friend, pick up take out at the supermarket. And let me tell you, not much at that store looked appetizing to me - Overcooked, overfried, overfoodcolored, sitting for overlong. YUCK.
Here in the Comox Valley there is a real grassroots movement of parents and people to meet the farmer, buy at the farmers' market and buy local. It is the buzz. Hopefully a long lasting one and not a fad. Gardening is huge here and in Cumberland, the small village near my home there are community gardens run by kids with moms supervising. Our farmers' market is full twice a week at the a field with live music, baking and of course coffee. I love going for the atmosphere. I love seeing all the farmers.
All in all an interesting evening but perhaps the wrong talk for the group of people who were there....We are already converted, we know all the shocking data - What is the next step?? How can we change the world and the attitudes of our fast food nation?

More on Joel to come. So much buzzing around in my head.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Every minute counts.....

My youngest woke up wonky today. Screaming instead of asking, screaming instead of anything really, screaming when he fell and bonked his head - that cry wolf syndrome thing. Really really frustrating start to a day.

But here I am, and as far as I know here I am for awhile. Thank you soooooo much for that whoever or whatever is in charge.

The worst I feel is tired or hungry. Thank you soooooo much for that whoever or whatever is in charge.

The most I have to worry about is if my kids are ok, my garden chores are done, my house is tidy enough, or if the animals are fed. Thank you soooooo much for that whoever or whatever is in charge.

I look out my window at the farm I love everyday while doing piles and piles of dishes or folding piles and piles of laundry (ok that's only every couple of weeks.....) Thank you soooooo much for that whoever or whatever is in charge.

I have a great husband and partner. We have great kids and a great life. Thank you soooooo much for that whoever or whatever is in charge.

A friend, not a close one, but someone I know has just been given the news that her breast cancer that she thought was cured has spread to her ovaries and lymph system.

Someone who never came close to deserving this, like anyone does.

Someone who has a wonderful husband, small son and a life.

Someone who is inspiring and kind.

Someone who is strong and good.

She didn't ask to but she has given me the gift of each and every minute of my day.

Life can be so short, don't waste it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Journey to the end....

Today was the day, the turkeys go in. Lucky for hubby he is away elk hunting. Which left me and 20 fat fat turkeys to get in a trailer that I can't back up to the abbatoir. Lucky for me, the woofs we have right now are quite capable!

Yesterday we penned them - no food......
And this morning when I got up at 6:15 am I could see out my bedroom window that my interior lights were on in my car....yep dead battery and no jumper cables to be found. Neighbor lady and sometimes farm helper (free labour) was over helping (she can back trailers up) so the two of us set off on a hunt. The tractor's battery was also dead (kids playing with hazard lights) and she went back to her house to get our farm truck (and look for cables) that her hubby sometimes uses.....
The battery was really dead and Cedric, woof from Belgium, industrial engineer, was figuring out alternatives when NL showed up with truck and cables.....Truck started and the loading finally began. Easy peesy just herd them in....right? Wrong!!!

Turkeys have a sense of doom I guess. They also don't like plywood ramps and dark spaces....So we figured out we had to carpet their ramp!
See the cool double layered pony trailer? Cedric announced to me earlier in the week there was no way 20 fat turkeys were going to fit in our small pony trailer. Um, right. "I'll build a removable second layer" Thank you Cedric. The boys went in below.....

But we had to push them in.......one by muddy poopy one.....
That finished.....

We had to catch and carry the ladies to the top bunk. Yup, heavy, poopy, heavy, upset, heavy, muddy, heavy, strong, heavy turkeys hand placed on the top bunk.....

Even a net to prevent turkeys flying er plopping out the back as we drove off to the abbatoir.....NICE job Cedric!
Wonder what people thought as they passed me on the highway.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do I have the balls....

Do I have the balls? (Be sure to read the article in this link!)

I've read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food,
I've seen King Korn, The world according to monsanto, Patent for a pig, fed up, food, inc.,....etc...etc.....
I can and garden...
Hubby hunts...
We grow our own meat birds and have layers...
We have pigs....


We drink coffee.
I love chocolate.
I love cheese.
I shop at Costco and Superstore....

I have some changes to make. Do you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What one finds in the camera.......

Mummy, can we play in the pig food?
Mummy can you take a picture? **You take the camera August....**
So there I am on the phone in the background....NO IDEA they are still taking photos....
The series is pretty funny....lots of death and dying.....

There are a lot of photos along this vein......I got a good laugh!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Local Potato Field

I watch the potatoes growing on a farm that is right next to a main road in our town. The farm has a history in the valley and was home of one of the valley's first farm markets. Through family problems, divorce and etc the farmer went bankrupt and the farm was sold to a charity that maintains the land for waterfowl and leases out the farmland to local farmers to use.

Today I drove by and I could SWEAR it had been sprayed with a herbicide. The potato vines were totally dead dead dead and brown. Weeds around the field were dead too.

Google is a great thing.

Potato Vine Herbicides

Herbicide Application and Remarks

Potato Vine Kill

Des-I-Cate Rate: 0.75 to 1 lb ai/A (1.5 to 2 gal/A)
Time: Apply 10 to 14 days before harvest.

Remarks: Use higher rate during cool or cloudy weather or when vine growth is heavy. For ground applications, the addition of 3 to 5 gal/A of diesel fuel or 1 pint paraffin- base herbicidal oil for each 20 gal total spray may increase speed and overall vine kill. No wetting agent or emulsifier is required; endothall will emulsify diesel fuel or herbicide oil. Add diesel oil last to avoid possibility of forming an invert emulsion.

Caution: A restricted-use herbicide in Oregon. Do not use high rate, diesel fuel, or other oils if soil moisture is low or temperatures are high, or stem ends may discolor.


Diqual Rate: 0.25 lb ai/A (1 pint/A) or up to 0.5 lb ai/A (2 pints/A) in a single application.
Sequential applications may be made, but do not exceed a total of 0.75 lb ai/A (3 pints/A) per season before harvest. Idaho, Oregon, and Washington special local needs labels (ID-960014, OR-960034, WA-960028).

Time: Make last application at least 7 days before harvest.

Remarks: Do not apply more than 0.5 lb ai/A (2 pints/A) in a single application. Apply with a nonionic surfactant at 8 to 16 oz/100 gal spray mix. Allow at least 5 days between applications. Do not apply through any type of irrigation system.

Caution: A moderately toxic herbicide that requires protective gear for handling and
Follow all use restrictions and precautions given on label. Do not apply to drought-stressed potatoes. Make last application at least 7 days before harvest. Do not feed forage from treated potatoes to livestock. AND HUMANS CAN EAT THESE POTATOES????


Gramoxone Extra Rate: 0.25 to 0.47 lb ai/A (0.8 to 1.5 pints/A) + nonionic surfactant at 16 to 32 fl oz per 100 gal spray mix

Time: Make last application at least 3 days before harvest.

Remarks: Apply in 50 gal/A water with thorough coverage.

Caution: A restricted-use herbicide. Follow all restrictions and precautions on label. Do not apply more than twice with a minimum of 5 days between applications. Do not apply to potatoes within 3 days before harvest. Do not use paraquat if potatoes are to be stored or used for seed.ARE YOU KIDDING ME.....AREN'T ALL POTATOES FOR EATING, STORING OR SEED???? Do not pasture livestock in treated fields. WHAT ABOUT THE WATERFOWL THAT WILL SPEND THEIR WINTER THERE???--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sulfuric acid (93%) Rate: 17 to 28 gal/A

Time: At least 5 days before harvest.

Remarks: This material is not as dependent on temperature or other environmental conditions as most other desiccants.

Caution: A restricted-use herbicide. Sulfuric acid is very caustic. Protective clothing including dust/mist filtering respirator, chemical-resistant headgear, protective eyewear, chemical-resistant boots, and waterproof gloves must be worn. SPRAYED RIGHT BESIDE A MAIN ROAD AND RIGHT BESIDE THE PLANNED FUTURE FARMER'S MARKET!


Enquik Rate: 20 gal/A diluted 1:1 with water for 40 gal/A
Time: No specified time; allow adequate time for skin set.
Remarks: Must be applied diluted. Surfactant must be added. This material is much safer to user (less caustic to skin), but is as corrosive to cotton, nylon, and some other materials as sulfuric acid. Consult label for full directions.

Caution: Do not mix sulfuric acid and urea to make this solution. Use the premixed solution.

CAPITALS are my words and bolded only were on the website.

I am horrified. I understand potatoes are sprayed after harvest as well to stop "sprouting". I will be buying organically locally grown potatoes from now on. And making more of an effort to increase my harvest. I have no idea how many I will have but my fingers are crossed......

And since most of the lables say don't let livestock in what does this mean for the waterfowl (swans, canada geese and ducks) that spend their winters on these fields???

I will take and add photos to this post tomorrow.

Canadian geese foraging in the field next door. You can see one herbicided potato field in the background....BROWN. This photo was taken from the main road in town at a stop light. Pretty cool main road with a farmer's field next to it eh?


See the burned weeds and the ones that were missed at the edge of the field. I pulled over beside the road and took the picture out my passenger window.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Too quiet on a rainy Sunday afternoon....

Last week the boys found a pipe in the ground that came from nowhere....it just started....(I don't want to ask how they found it....)

So after Daddy dug around a bit trying to find out WHY it was there he left it.....it sat there for a couple of days, (Daddy has now gone elk hunting.....)
Until today...when two cousins and one neighbor boy came over on a rainy Sunday afternoon....
Hmmmmm What should 6 busy boys find to do??? Rivers, canyons, dams.....
"MUMMY! We dug out the WHOLE pipe!!!!!"
Yep the whole thing.....

And then set it up where they could get a hose into it.
I got SOOOOOOOO much done in the house.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tis the season......

For canning.....
and here is my start....
I've done 4olbs of cherries, 60 lbs (minus what the kids ate) of peaches and 7 jars of tomatoes
The valley suffered from the cold wet spring, bad pollination and now a dire lack of apples....I've got 18 jars of apple juice left from last year and may not get the 100 jars or so more that I need to make it thru the winter...
Tomatoes are just starting and I have a whole shelf to fill up.....I picked more 45 pounds and started a batch of "Family Secret Tomato Sauce".
The smells wafting through the house are almost making me swoon!!!!!
Me and Barbara. The work now is the fast food of winter....
That's what I tell myself anyways.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Tax Dollars at work....

This happened here this week:

Tomatoes and Dahlias!

The overhead flights are non stop as the big industry in the area comes close to harvest......Good thing mine are in the greenhouse. My TOMATOES that is......


A thing of beauty....

We are so happy with how it turned out this year.....
Wouldn't this make a great puzzle?
I'd love to grow garlic for a living.....
As of right now we've broken even and have paid for our organic seed garlic....
Now to convince hubby to buy some MUSIC garlic to grow next year!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Our third year growing pickling cukes...
(Jar of fermented pickles...)
A very cold wet june and a bumper crop of slugs put a damper on our pickle patch....
A late start but wow they keep on coming....
Everyone else in town is done and we have a bumper crop on the vines....STILL!
I pick every other day (usually with Woofs!) and quite frankly am getting tired of seeing pickles.....but I still have to fill this empty shelf in my canning cupboard!
And the shelf waiting for more tomatoes......
So much for camping.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A couple of things....

A couple of things I'd rather not repeat....
Removal of an impacted wisdom tooth buried up in the darkest depths of my jaw. Still hurting. Been a week. Ow.
116 Meat birds in one coop one rainy Monday morning. Lots of poop. Lots of slimey poop. Holey shoes (crocs). Can you say "go down faster than the blink of an eye" Not pleasant. One farmer chick flat out in chicken shit. Not fun.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The secret ingredient....

Oh how I complained to everyone who would listen

(and to everyone who probably didn't care to listen......)

My beans were not growing.....
but now.....

It has become the secret ingredient - above TACO meat - with chopped beans....

I have sooooooooo many beans....so far 17 one gallon ziploc bags.....I blanch and freeze on cookie sheets....
and more and more coming.....I guess the plants were growing massive root systems when it was too cold in June to grow up....
And the neighbors have already taken some....who else can I call????
I see lots of chopped bean filler in all our food this winter.....Posted by Picasa>