The Summer (Wildfire) that never seems to end…

As I write this I am coming to the end of my SIXTH WEEK since the evacuation from 100 Mile House. I am still staying with my sister’s family in Surrey and my horses and chickens are still being housed at a stable in Delta BC. My pigs were in Kamloops but we moved them closer to home and they are staying safe and sound to continue growing until it is time for them to be  butchered.

I’m in a bit of an odd situation though because while my property is actually located in the community of Lone Butte, my mailing address is in 100 Mile House and was included in the initial evacuation order. That order was rescinded 13 days later and then three hours later the communities south of highway 24  which included my residence in Lone Butte, as well as Watch Lake and North Green Lake were put on evacuation ALERT. This particular alert is for the Elephant Hill Fire. Which is still, six weeks later burning out of control and destroying homes, livelihoods and neighbourhoods. AND much closer to my home than when the alerts & orders first came out.

This has been a long and exhausting experience with as yet, still no end in sight. For those who may be unaware, this year has been unprecedented in the amount of land that has been destroyed by forest fires. Our province has  been under a government ordered state of emergency since early July. Firefighters from all over the world have been here for weeks to bolster the crews, while RCMP and military personnel have been on the ground assisting people who have to evacuate their homes and then providing security for neighbourhoods, communities & towns. I am not alone in my profoundly heartfelt gratitude for these brave people.

However, I am exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Like many others I am fed up too. I’ve been second guessing myself continually and have, in fact thought about heading home a couple of times. My head & heart tell me I should just suck it up and take the chance and go home, but my gut is saying no. Wait. And each time that I’ve thought “Well I’ll just go home tomorrow and see what’s up”  there is a flare up on the fire. So I stay where I am with my animals and hope and pray daily that this will end soon. One way or the other – because having everything hanging in limbo is wearing exceptionally thin right now.

Oh – and assistance that is supposed to have been there weeks ago from the gov’t via red cross disaster relief is not exactly forthcoming. I’ve been in touch weekly, followed all instructions faithfully and still getting the run around. I realize that there were a lot of people that needed and applied for assistance at once – I am ONE if those, but many have already been home and received all three levels of assistance, while I’m just waiting for the first round. I am not bashing any volunteers – and I do understand that some things take time – but this entire situation from the initial response to the wildfires through to information sharing and red cross funding assistance has been (and continues to be) very poorly executed. It seems as though our political leaders and media are more concerned with photo ops & the latest tweets from the idiot in office south of the border -than with the real emergency that is still unfolding in our province. Oh – and Mr. Horgan & cohorts – the province of BC DOES NOT END AT HOPE.

In any event I am through ranting. I just want to be able to go home, safely. Without fear of having to uproot my animals yet again because the fire is still active and growing in my direction. Breathe, Laurie, just breathe… You, the Dogs, cat, chickens and horses are all fine.

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Of Wildfires & Evacuations

#cariboostrong
I’m no stranger to the perils of living rurally in our beautiful and very heavily forested province. However for the past two weeks my beautiful area of the province has been steadily disappearing due to unprecedented wildfires.

The town I live in was put on evacuation order last Sunday and I voluntarily evacuated my animals & I to the coast. As of this writing we have been out of our place for a week. During that time the wildfires have been raging out of control and evacuation alerts and orders have now affected more 37,000 people. Routes in and out of the affected areas have been constantly open or closed because of the fires. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been burned and pretty much everything from Prince George through to the Okanagan regions are under notice of some sort. In essence, a third of our province is on fire. It is certainly the worst fire season and conditions that I have ever seen. And having lived rurally most of my adult life, I’ve lived through some pretty harsh fire seasons, even working as a forestry fire fighter in my late teens and early twenties. I’ve never seen anything like this.

Once the adrenalin rush of trying and then succeeding in getting emergency transport to the lower mainland for my horses and chickens and the pigs moved to Kamloops, I’ve been in a state of flux. Actual news (not gossip or hearsay) is sporadic now and even a week later I can dissolve into tears randomly as I read posts of the amazing people who have stepped up to help evacuate animals, deliver supplies to those still manning the fort at various communities, and those offering accommodation for evacuees. Strangers one and all – who until this horrific event occurred had no reason to wonder or think about one another.

I’ve always been somewhat sympathetic to the plight of refugees but now to some extent I can relate to the emotional upheaval so many have suffered; the shock, the disbelief, the hopelessness, the fear & uncertainty, the anger & frustration and the absolute numbness that you deal with minute by minute, in such a crisis. Then there is the hope; the one tiny spark that keeps us all moving forward.

And yet for me – it’s only been a week. It’s likely to be a few more before I am able to return home. At this point with fires still raging out of control in the South Cariboo – like so many others – I’m stuck helplessly waiting, watching and praying that my home is still going to be intact when this is over. I’m not overly attached to any particular thing, so if my place doesn’t make it, I won’t be devastated – but I will be sad, because I love my home. And the thought of having to start over is really tough and not something I look forward to.

However, like my friends and neighbours and others throughout the Cariboo – we will forge forward and we will be stronger for it. We are already stronger because of the amazing outpouring of love, support and prayers from people of all walks of life and from all over our amazing country.

We are all one.

We are a community and a community where love trumps sacrifice & tragedy.

We are  #cariboostrong

As Spring Settles in to Summer…

Things have finally settled into warmer (read that as HOT) weather, it is surprising at how quickly everything has dried out – considering how wet it has been so far this year.

The greenhouse has exploded as have all the outdoor plantings. We’ve been eating from the garden for a couple of weeks now and I’ll be harvesting the first zucchini later this week. We moved the horses onto our neighbours pasture a few weeks ago and they really seem to be enjoying it. Until they met four other horses that were moved onto the other half of the neighbours pastures. It made for an interesting few days as much whinnying, snorting, posturing and running occurred until they worked whatever it was out. Certainly educational for me to watch the herd dynamics. Its been just over a year since our boys came to live with us and became the only two horses on the property rather than being part of a small herd of 4 or 5. Which turns out to have been good practice for them, since we are now looking after a friends horses while she gets herself relocated and her property set up for her house and her horses.

The new horses arrived on Sunday evening amidst some pretty strong winds and it took them a fair bit to settle down. Of course having the pigs racing around and playing in their ‘pen’ and the chickens jockeying for position for the night in their coop – I can’t fault them for being a bit uneasy. But by yesterday morning things were calmer and quieter. The new horses are a huge draft gelding and two mini’s – a mom & year old daughter. The baby is proving to be a bit of a challenge and a brat and she & I had some discussions yesterday about the inappropriate use of the chicken coop fencing as a butt scratching tool. The discussion itself ended with me spending the bulk of the morning putting hotwire up around the chicken fence…and her prancing off to pout. I’m just about fed up with hot wire and fencing for now – since I’ve spent three full days raising the height of the wire fence to keep the birds from flying out, stringing hotwire up around the almost 5 acres my horses are pastured on and now around the coop. Stringing the wire is relatively easy, it’s trying to get the charge from the electric unit to the actual fencing that has been the most challenging. Since I can’t dig or pound posts or grounding rods into the ground, its tough to get a good connection. It has also meant that I haven’t been able to finish painting the chicken coop, muck out the pig pen or properly weed the garden & raised beds. Housework has been limited to just the very basic basics too.

I’m also puppy sitting for a friend and I thought it would be great practice because we are getting a puppy in the late fall. Long story there  – the short version is – our pup was supposed to be here end of June. There weren’t enough males in the litter and we didn’t want a girl so now we have to wait for the next breeding to happen. Same father different mothers but from the same bloodlines…

10 week old puppy Jasper was dropped off Sunday afternoon and both Tank & Lacy  refused to interact with him, no matter how hard he tried. The cat, Jemiah hid until I brought her in for the night. She is still really unhappy with this new intruder and has been hanging out in the bedroom, venturing out only to eat, drink or go outside to hunt and hide.

Lacy does every thing she can to avoid the up and has let him know that she doesn’t want to be bothered. Of course – being only 10 weeks old – he forgets that lesson pretty quickly and keeps on trying. He’s had more success with Tank- since Tank will just lie down and ignore the pup as he climbs all over him tugging, chewing on and barking at him to  get him to play. Neither dog is impressed but they will get over it.

I’m not so sure I will though! It’s been  seven years since we had a puppy around and I’ve forgotten how energetic they can be. This isn’t a bad thing, because Jasper is really a super sweet beautiful tempered dog. It does make me question the sanity of taking on a puppy at this stage of the game. We’d really like to have a pup here to learn from Tank and to some degree Lacy too, before they get too old or ill to do so. At 10 Tank is really showing his age and in the last couple of months has been having a harder and harder time to get up & down and shows a marked increase in limping and stiffness. Of course it doesn’t help that he chases after the local fox at speeds I didn’t even know he could do. Poor old fart comes back barely able to walk. And Lacy isn’t much better especially since she had a hip/knee injury last year that has really affected her gait. It doesn’t stop her though. If it is possible for dogs to sulk, then Lacy is doing a fine job of it. She’ll come around but it will take her a few days and I’m sure that by the time she does, Jasper will be going back home with his people when they get home.

The pigs have more than quadrupled their size and are now going through a 50lb bag of feed every 2-1/2 days. The fox got a couple of my laying chickens so I picked up a couple of already laying girls on Friday and they are all settling in together now. Also very interesting to watch the chickens as they interact and move around their run during the day.

This weekend I’m finally taking the PAL course so I can legally carry a rifle when I go hunting with my brother in the fall. And somehow the days have been flying by and I am busier than ever. And for the first time I am kind of happy that my business is slow right now. I’m not sure how I could fit it all in if I was working with clients all day along with all the ‘stuff’ that has to be done around here.

But busy it is and happy I am 🙂 Except for the 3:30 or 4:00 am wake ups… have you seen how beautiful the sunrises are?

The Continuing Evolution of Self

My personal journey through fear began when the day before my 19th birthday I went for my first ever trail ride at a small resort in northern BC where I was working for the summer. The wrangler had saddled my horse a big 16H tall palomino and we started off around the staff bunkhouse. The cook at the time came out of the bunk house, shook out a towel and caused my horse to spook. The horse bolted, took off around the  bunkhouse and bucked, reared then threw me off over his shoulder. I landed on my head, heard bones crunch as I hit the ground. I rolled to get out of the way and it took twenty years before I remembered that the last thing I saw was a hoof coming down to my face before I passed out. When I came to, my boss, the wrangler, and a fuel truck driver were standing over me and wondering if I was dead. They had seen the fall and thought I’d broken my neck. I startled them when I yelled at them to “get me up!” They were reluctant to move me but I just knew that if they didn’t get me up I wouldn’t ever be getting up. So they did. My boss’s wife helped me into the bunkhouse bathroom where she helped me clean up a bit – there was blood everywhere – I’d lost a front tooth and later turned out had also broken my nose, shattered and pushed teeth up and into my jaw. Until a couple of years ago – anytime I was even near a horse I would freeze, break into a sweat, my breathing would become erratic and I would shake like a leaf and be in a panic state. Anything that ever emulated the feeling of going over the horse’s front end – bike riding, motorcycle riding or even sitting on a swing would cause the panic to come on.

Over the years I’ve found that life is full of big and small challenges that we face daily. Because I’ve always loved horses and always wanted to be able to ride them, my biggest challenge has been in pushing through my own fears and to get over my terror of actually riding a horse.  It’s taken me 36 years to get to that point.

I’m a firm believer that in order to be the best facilitator I can be – I need to have experienced and worked through my own fears, trauma and issues, before I can truly be effective in helping others through theirs.  As part of a huge learning curve for me to certify in working with the horses and people with trauma in a modality called Equine Facilitated Wellness, I’ve experienced my own therapy sessions. After four sessions of the program, I knew that I needed to have my/our own horses in order to continue my training. The goal has always been to eventually get on my horse and ride, but I made the choice to take my time to do it. So over the past year I’ve been spending time daily with our two wonderful geldings, Gold Rush & Floyd, getting to know them and learning to just ‘be’ in their presence.

The past two weeks have seen the biggest change in me – I felt that I was finally ready to start riding. Since my own boy Gold Rush (Gold), is wise and crafty, I didn’t want my first time up on a horse in many years to be on him, so the trainer I am working with offered to let me ride one of her ‘school’ horses. So I did, with her help. Her horse is a big 16H high Standardbred, which means he is REALLY tall and quite different from my  sturdy quarter horse Gold. Coincidentally he turned out to be the same size and shape as the horse I had my  major wreck on as a 19 year old kid. My trainer walked me around her round corral so I could get used to the feeling of being in the saddle – which is what I had asked of her.  That session was about fifteen minutes long during which I had several flashbacks to my big wreck, had a bit of an emotional breakthrough and worked through the sheer terror of being on the back of a horse.

Later that week our trainer worked with both my hubby & I for our first riding lessons on our horses. My hubby Tom is brand new to horses, is a natural animal whisperer and has wanted his own horse for years. Tom has taken to riding very easily and it has been great to see him developing a bond with his boy, Floyd. Of course he was able to get right on, follow the trainers suggestions and make it look oh so easy. Then it was my turn and through some comedic moments where I fell off. (I forgot to re-check and retighten the cinch so that when I started to swing onto the saddle it slipped sideways). I landed hard on the ground and lay gasping for breath because I was laughing at myself. I wasn’t nervous and after regaining my breath and tightening the cinch I got on Gold’s back and with our trainer leading me around I rode my horse for the first time. I had a few moments of panic but was again able to work through it and after about 15 minutes called it a day.

Yesterday, we had another set of sessions and I was able to watch Tom work through some issues with his boy Floyd. Mainly a poorly fitting saddle that made us try swapping saddles before Floyd settled down to being amazing under saddle and he and Tom had a great lesson. It was like watching magic happen as they began to work as a team. It gave me a great sense of peace and hope.

Then it was my turn. I wasn’t actually afraid at all, no nerves, just saddled Gold, climbed up and had our trainer walk him around the yard once before asking her to just let me have the reins. With that shift in energy, Gold tried to test me by refusing to do as I ask. But I worked through it, gently but firmly letting him know that I wasn’t going to be put off by his insistence on stopping. My ride lasted about a half an hour and I felt amazing. I did it! I conquered my big fears and rode my own horse. The sense of accomplishment is unbelievable, and I am looking forward to today’s session where after we try a couple of different style saddles, I hope to ride around most of our 10 acre pasture.

On so many levels this a huge turning point, both personally and professionally. Personally because I have faced and conquered my own trauma and professionally because I KNOW how it feels to go through the program and feel I am now more able to help my clients work through their own issues.

The take away from this:

In order to facilitate changes in your life – you need to be READY to commit to your own healing, find the support of someone you feel comfortable enough with and trust to work with you through your deepest, darkest fears. It can be done. And the freedom you feel afterwards… defies words.

 

 

 

Is there anything more peaceful?

… than to watch the sun rise while listening to the morning songbirds?

As I write this – the morning sun is just gaining strength and the gentle pink and lavender sunrise is giving way to the golden rays of morning sun. The sky is brightening to its’ incredible pollution free blue and a variety of songbirds have been serenading since just before dawn. By the way – I’m not referring to our rooster who starts heralding the morning at 4am!

I’ve always been an early morning person and it is my favorite time of the day. The gentle hush that is so unique to the early morning interrupted by a robins’ trilling, the cheerful sounds of chickadees, sparrows and our tree swallows; the staccato rat-a-tat- of the woodpeckers, the strident calls of the herons, cranes and geese from the estuary. This is the symphony that greets me each morning. I’m able to enjoy that first cup of coffee while listening to theses sounds and watching the dogs run, with noses to the ground, as they follow the trail of whatever nocturnal visitors passed through the property last night. Mornings like this remind me so much of my mom, when she used to sit outside and soak in the tranquility. This was her favorite time of day too… and I really miss sharing it with her; she would have loved it here.

Anyway, this morning dawned bright and warm – starting out at +6C – which is as warm as we reached for a daytime high only a few days ago. The weather forecast is for sunshine and really warm temperatures and I am so happy to finally see that after this past week (month) of wet and chilly days.

It’s been fun this past week to try to identify all the different migratory birds that have arrived and spend part of each day at our pond. From the resident pair of mallards to the baffle heads and cinnamon teals, and a variety of songbirds that I haven’t been able to see well enough to identify in my bird identification book. There is also the croaking of frogs and the distant chorus of coyotes to add to the daily morning symphony. Nature in all its’ glory.

The Baffleheads & Cinnamon teals: these images are stock – I couldn’t get clear enough pictures with my camera.

This Victoria day long weekend will see us doing more work around the property, brush clearing and burning, clean up and more garden area prep. I expect I’ll be making several trips to the local landfill site since this is our first spring here and each passing day we find more and more that needs to be cleaned up. A bit frustrating but also great, because with each new day the place is looking better and better!

Wishing you all a wonderful long weekend… enjoy the sun!

Spring Time Cariboo

They say that if you don’t like the weather – wait 10 minutes. And it is certainly true of this year. As I write this it’s been snowing for the past three hours. Barely sticking, but just enough to make everything gross and slimy. It’s so horrible that the chickens haven’t even bothered to come out of the coop yet.

My burst of spring baby fever has just about run it’s course and things are settling down now. The piglets are in their pen and growing. They are pretty funny to watch as they pop up from sleep and run around and around then root around and dig. It hasn’t taken them long to respond to the sound of my voice when I enter their pen. The cat is not too sure what to make about them and it was only yesterday that she actually went anywhere near their fence, where she sat and watched them for about half an hour.

Last week I ended up building a make-shift shelter for the chicks and although it wouldn’t pass any contractors inspection it is solid and keeps them warm. On Sunday I opened up their coop so they could get outside and get some sunshine and they were quite happy to be out and checked their little mini run out. Since their feathers aren’t all in yet they’ll have to stay pretty much inside unless the days are warm. But I’ve made sure that they have a safe, decent sized run to be in outside until they are big enough to be around the hens.

We spent the weekend  re-fencing  about 500 feet of perimeter fencing as well as closing the front acre off for a ‘front yard’ to keep the chickens out of my garden areas and the dogs out of the ponds. It was a ton of work because the fence line was so overgrown with trees and brush and the old fence was literally falling down with a lot of small trees growing into it.  So at least the worst of it is done for now and the neighbours dogs and other wildlife can’t get into the pasture on that side. We still have a large portion to fence off in that area, but we need to cut and clear away several trees that fell across the fence last fall and winter. We’ll do the rest of the fencing around the property perimeter over the next few months, but it is 10 acres and we have a lot of clearing and cleaning up to do first.  It is unbelievable at how much ‘stuff’ has either just been left where ever it fell or was buried by the previous owners. Old vehicles- an old car, lawn tractor, wood stove, two milk vans, a camper van and all sorts of vehicle parts, motors & axles strewn about the property – not to mention random pieces of metal, broken tools and furniture. It’s a bit overwhelming but I have the next six months that I can plug away at it. Since we’ve decided we will probably buy this place next year – it is worth my time and energy to start getting things cleaned up now.

I’ve planted all my containers and spread them in the yard around an old wagon front axle and a couple of old falling apart mini wagons. The smaller wagons were in really rough shape so I fixed them up and spray painted them black and they look great. Now I just need the weather cooperate so I can get the raised planters I want to build finished and planted with veggies. The plan for them is lettuce, chives, onions, garlic, carrots & a few potatoes. But not until we are past the threat of frost. I’ve been moving the smaller flower containers inside the greenhouse or the house at night and covering the bigger ones with crop covers to keep them from freezing. So far it seems to be working out.

The flowers consist of petunias, pansies, geraniums, bacopa, lavender, lilacs & hyacinthe and I transplanted all the naturalized columbine to around the fence. Delphiniums, nasturtiums and sunflowers have been started inside and are just waiting to be moved outside. Hopefully after the long weekend.

I Love Spring

I love spring and this year I’m really enjoying being able to putter around outside, cleaning up the yard and watching all our critters. Grooming the horses or watching the chickens and their antics can make me lose hours in a day, and I have to say I can’t remember being quite so content.

Although we are dealing with one of the coldest and wettest springs on record, I’m getting out and getting a lot of outside work done. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve managed to get all my seedlings into the greenhouse with only the cucumbers freezing. Everything else is growing – slowly – but growing. There was a lot of old sheet metal and crap left over from previous owners & renters and that is all now gone from the front of the property. That’s meant that I’ve been able to  see what was previously planted and now transplanted things where I want it to go.

There was a big push to get the pig shelter and pasture built and while we finished the fencing last weekend, I managed to get the hotwire put up on Monday. When Tom gets home this weekend, we only have to put in the grounding rod then hook up the electric fence and then pick up our little piglets. I’m really looking forward to having them here and know that it is going to be a HUGE learning curve.

On Wednesday I picked up 10 chicks to add to our small flock. I only wanted 6 hard to find Black Copper Marans but got talked into taking the last 4 Americaunas that the woman had. So now the babies are safely ensconced in our big corner shower and the dogs and cat have taken turns watching them.

At night when the chicks get really active, Tank (our big retriever) rushes into the bathroom to stand guard and watch them carefully. The cat is not sure what to make of them at all and seems to be more scared of them than interested in playing with them. The chicks have to stay inside until they get al their feathers in and that’s ok because I still have to build them an ‘addition’ to the chicken coop, once it gets moved. We’re on the list for 4 turkey poults too – but they aren’t due until the end of May, so that gives me a few weeks to get the new addition done.

Yesterday I got lost in the local nursery and then spent the afternoon planting my containers. The hanging baskets are safe but I have to keep the containers inside until we get the chicken coop moved into it’s permanent home in the pasture, and not the front yard. Otherwise the year-old hens are in them and digging them up.

And then to round the week out, our Bernese Puppy was born on Thursday! 18274696_1669689836673821_2021686762492423123_n

I’m ever so grateful and quite content, even though with all the heavy yard work that I’ve done, I’m rediscovering some muscles I’d forgotten that I have.

Spring has Sprung

They say that if you don’t like the weather in the Cariboo – wait five minutes.

That has certainly been true so far this year. Slowly, ever so slowly spring is unfolding and it has been a busy time around here. Over the last few weeks we have been preparing for our piglets to arrive amidst varying degrees of snow, rain, hail, wind and sun. In spite of the unseasonably wet and cold temperatures the ground is finally drying out.

The chickens are all laying now, although the Lavender Orpington girls are alternating every other day. Black Copper Marans chicks and also waiting to hear about a few turkey poults. If all goes well all the new poultry babies will be here by mid-May. Our piglets will be available May 7th, which gives us another week to get their pen finished. This week I built their shelter and although it isn’t pretty it is more than sufficient. I am impressed with my efforts, because I’m not a builder and with some big physical limitations, I did it all by myself. 🙂  There is a still a bit of work to be done before it is completely done but it’s a start.

In between rain and hail showers I’ve started transplanting rhubarb out of the pig pen area and been doing a LOT of yard clean up.

There’s still a lot of work to do and I’m chipping away at the small stuff then when Tom is home on the weekends we do some of the heavy stuff – fence line and brush clearing so we can re-wire the fences to make it safer for all our animals.

Last weekend I moved all my  seedlings out to the greenhouse and so far they are all doing pretty well especially considering that we’ve had a couple of night that fell below freezing – again. These pics were taken before I got everything planted.

 

 

I’m off to  check out to see if my girls have finished laying yet today… they start at 10 am and go through until about 2:00 pm…

 

Spring has sprung and the Mud has riz

The shoulder season between winter and the greening of spring has always been my least favorite time of year. The mud is always nasty and no matter what you do – it is everywhere. I used to think it was awful when we had huskies however, it is worse by far with the horses. Not to mention EVERY time the dogs or the cat (or even me) come in there is mud tracked in. Vacuuming happens at least once a day, followed by sweeping. I’ve given up washing the floors unless I can’t get the dirt up with the vacuum, thank Goodness for laminate!

Here’s a picture of the horses this past weekend – and they’re actually quite clean in these picture. As of today, Floyd (our paint) is more mud than white and Gold Rush is almost exclusively mud brown instead of his pretty dun colour. 😦

After the farrier is done today, I am finally going to be able to get out and re-plastic the greenhouse so I can get things ready to move all the seedlings out. Before I do I have to pick up some kerosene for a heater that will be in the greenhouse to keep the plants alive until it finally gets warm enough for them overnight. The spaghetti squash and zucchini are already blooming and I doubt I will move them out of the planter boxes they are in – but they are overtaking the living room.

and then here are the tomatoes, broccoli, kale & peppers

Now I am off to catch the boys and get them closer to the house so I don’t have to chase them down when the farrier gets here.

Please spring… warm up soon!

On to the NEXT Big Project

Or at least that was my intention for this morning. Until it started to snow – again.

I know that this is only the second day of spring and that I live in the central part of the province, And yes, I know that I still have 2 feet of snow in the yard…but…

A girl can still dream – can’t she?

Well – the new chicken coop is as done as it is going to be until things warm up and I can paint it, but until then it is sitting in our front yard and covered in a tarp. It is on skids so we can move it into it’s permanent home once the snow is gone. The new chickens are here and settling in nicely – in fact I am now getting about 2 eggs on average a day.  The girls are all under a year of age, so I expect egg production to pick up in the next few weeks. And our beautiful Lavender Orpington rooster has now found his voice and is serenading the ladies quite regularly. I ended up with 4 Americauna hens, 2 Lavender,  1 Buff and 1 black Orpington hens. I’m now on the hunt for a couple of Black Copper Marans hens and the rainbow of eggs will be complete – for now 🙂

So the next project…We have a really old single pane glass greenhouse that needs repairing and some of the window have to be replaced because they are broken. I need to fix the windows and that is the goal for the next few days if it warms up a bit more. I am researching the best and most cost effective way to heat it until our days and nights are warmer and once I decide on how to do it I’ll be transplanting all the seedlings I started last month. I’m stunned because I’ve never really had much luck when starting plants from seeds – but  as you can see from the following – I’ve got a veritable jungle on my hands.

and these are just the squash, cucumber and zucchini. The dining room table and my dog grooming table are covered as well with Roma Tomatoes, chives, parsley, red and yellow peppers, broccoli, kale & lettuce. although the broccoli and lettuce are looking leggy and thin, everything else is doing better than I expected.

And now, because it is snowing heavily, I am going to curl up with a book and a cup of tea and enjoy the quiet and the warmth of a fire. And plan. And dream. And hope that this slow thaw will hurry up and get over with – at least around the house – because I hate the mud that gets tracked in by the dogs, the cat and even me every time one of us comes inside.