March 25, 2015


Remember back in the day when I was always dreaming of pretty things? Those days have not ended!

Though I have moved significantly away from consumerist pretties that I used to drool over, there are still some things I would love to own.... only these days instead of frilly dresses or cool wall hangings, they're farm related!

If you're ever interested in what to send this girl for a holiday (Solstice is coming!!) or birthday (October 20th! plenty of time to save!) head over to my Farm Wish List and send me a pretty :) or better still, check out my Fun Stuff Wish List and send me something awesome and not (overly) (extremely) farm related but just for fun!

The best sound in the world.

can you see the little flakes falling?

Do you ever get the feeling that there is just that one thing that must define your existence? When you bake that perfect loaf of bread? The ribbon you get for your prized pooch at the obedience show? The cold beer you crack Friday night after a long week of work?

Mine was this morning. That one moment that just sang 'Shelly' loud and clear was while I was at work sorting through the morning's inventory freight this morning.


The first blessed honk of those beautiful beige, white and black honkers that derive their namesake from this wonderful country this season.

That sound to me means Spring is so close you can almost taste it. The long (seriously, guys, NWO winters begin in October and end in May, don't kid yourself this is a LONG season for us!) cold winter is almost behind us and summer, gardens, mosquitoes, camping, kayaking and sunburns is approaching.

It's a little hard to believe that spring is on it's way, especially on a day like today when the snow is falling and the temperature is following it down below zero... but when I heard that distinctive honking I was out the door and looking skyward as quickly as I could. I saw three geese.

I can't tell if they were stragglers or scouts but they were as real as the snowflakes landing in my hair.

And Chickens too!!

So besides the recent whim to get honey bees I also decided to enter the chicken industry. Specifically the egg business.

When I was reading about bees I kept hearing “Bees are easier to keep than chickens” and that got me thinking; well that’s great, I’ll get bees because they’re easy… but I’ve already been helping my neighbor look after his chickens so why don’t I try some of those too?

Although I started this a couple weeks ago, I was worried. Usually you talk to the hatcheries at the beginning of the year to talk about getting birds (I want some pullets ready to lay), but when I contacted the nearest feed store that sells not only day olds but also older birds and different breeds (heck they even get geese and ducks!) they said it wouldn’t be a problem. So I put my name in for six Isa Browns! Then came the fun part…

I’m still on my parent’s property so I now need to find a way to keep these little cluckers safe from predators and transport trucks (since we’re on the corner of those two highways).

I googled the heck out of “Chicken Coop Designs” and came up with my own rough idea for a design then went to visit Claude for some much needed insight. He offered a couple experience based suggestions and helped me dig some treated lumber out of his snow covered yard.

To date I have a floor and one framed wall completed. I was supposed to take a couple of old windows (from a previous home renovation) to the farm to plan out a couple more walls but (as you’ll read) I decided to ride my horse over instead. No room for windows on that ride!

Like a complete dolt, I forgot to pack my phone when I was at the farm making the coop, so I’ll have to take some photos before I do any work next time so I can share the progression. I don’t know about you, but the construction of pretty much anything at the farm interests me more than it probably should.

March 24, 2015

It's a work in progress

The boyfriend and I went for a trail ride with my neighbor (Claude) all over his property a couple weekends ago and let me tell you… it was amazing. It was a great experience for both of us (us being me and my boyfriend, but also me and my horse!) and I'm much more comfortable with my horse now... so much so that Max and I went solo over to Claude's to deliver some light bulbs for his Audi on Sunday!

Max was a champ!

He didn’t quite want to stand still in the driveway to be tacked up but I’m not too fussed about that just yet, it’s still pretty early in the year and he’s been retired since the summer before last. Perfection isn’t a requirement for me anyway. When he was all dressed and I had my delivery pocketed I jumped on (and he started walking… that IS something I’ll be working on, I prefer a horse that waits to be asked to move). When my feet were finally in the stirrups we headed down the driveway. Mum’s horse called out from their paddock but Max didn’t care.

His ears pointed forwards as we headed down the road towards Claude’s place. He’s typically a pretty quick walker (he’s well over 15 hands, it’s to be expected!) but he seemed to slow down a bit and enjoy the strangely warm March day.

Then we approached our first hurdle.

To be fair, I think most obstacles when riding are more something for me to overcome, not my horse. Max does seem pretty chill about a lot of things.

So the first issue on the trail (read: road) was that the neighbour’s dogs were out.

Smack between our driveway and Claude’s is another house with two large dogs that (although I’m sure they’re friendly) like to roam the road (you can tell because with the current melting snow you can see LOTS of dog piles littering the road and ditch around their home). During this ride I could hear them before could see them. A large white and a large black dog approached the road as Max and I passed but thankfully all they did was walk along their lawn adjacent to the road, and barked.

I was worried about what would happen, would they come after us, would Max bolt? Should I get off and walk passed until he got used to those animals? Naturally… he was completely unaffected. I took the hint, let out a sigh and continued on.

Cue the next hurdle: Claude’s dog was off his leash.

I was less concerned about this development because I’d been over to Claude’s place a couple times with Max and he’s met Munchie before, not to mention his reaction to the other dogs we'd just passed. Of course the beautiful Caucasian Shepherd mix ran right down the driveway (Max wasn’t too sure about that welcome but did keep walking with a bit of encouragement), barking and jumping to meet us.

We made it without incident, I delivered my bulbs and more importantly, I think Claude thoroughly approved of my method of transportation. So much so that he asked me to go riding after work on Monday (rescheduled for tonight (tuesday) since I had a meeting after work Monday).

I'm really lucky that my horse isn't heard bound and doesn't mind leaving without his paddock-mate... Mum's horse (Zaira) on the other hand.... I was gone for a little over an hour and when I came home she was dripping sweat. She hadn't stopped running the fence line the whole time we were out.

We're going to have to work on that.

The Bees are Coming!

On Wednesday night I participated in the inaugural meeting of the Cloverbelt Beekeeper’s Association.

A few months ago (and don’t ask me why, but I just did) I had a whim that I wanted to be a beekeeper this year.

I honestly can’t tell you where this idea came from. Yes, I knew a girl I went to school with in high school had gotten herself a few hives, but besides liking the photo she’d posted on facebook I hadn’t given it a second though. Heck, I don’t even really like honey (bring on the masses…). But I do know the benefits of having pollinators on a farm and I know that everyone is always looking to buy “real” honey.

Since I don’t have my own property yet, I really don’t want to start getting livestock yet, what better way to get into farming than 10,000 of my own critters? Some accounts I’ve read have declared bees easier to take care of than chickens so I decide that was my project this summer.

I’ve contacted a bee farm in Manitoba which is probably going to provide me with bees better suited to my cold NOW climate as opposed to bees from Ontario… which means Southern Ontario (since apparently NOW doesn’t exist) and should be able to pick up a couple nucs in May! Just that simple!

Well actually it’s a bit more complicated. I’m trying to do it properly so I’m applying for an OMAFRA license and I’ve joined the Ontario Beekeeper’s Association. I’ve acquired some boxes from a friend (but they’ll take a little work to get ready) and am in the market for hive and beekeeper equipment.

Fortunately almost two dozen people (both noobies and current and past beekeepers) were at the meeting this week so I will have plenty of human resources to pull knowledge from!

I’m pretty excited to start preparing my hives for the new tenants and can hardly wait to get the bees home!

March 23, 2015

Soil and Crop meeting and much to consider!

This past week I attended a local Soil and Crop meeting and learned just how much more I have to learn about agriculture in this area! We talked about soil pH, tillage, white mold and so many other things, I think my $25 membership will be well spent.

All that talk of land and soil got me thinking…

I did some thinking about the property and decided that (considering all the work that was needed) I wouldn't be putting an offer in there just yet... but don't worry, I haven't given up on a property, just not that property! 

I did go check out another property this weekend. 78 acres with a trailer and a (less than ideal) garage and small shed. I'll be checking out the land once the snow melts more (yes, we still have snow at the end of March...) but I'm not too hopeful, it looked like a lot of swamp… not so good for farming.

I’m keeping my ears and eyes open though (and the community is crawling with my spies!!). I’ve been hearing about a lot of residents and summer residents in the area who are thinking of selling property so if the perfect opportunity comes up, I’ll be ready!