Sunday, December 27, 2015

Homesteading 101

A few months ago I wrote an article and sent it to several magazines, including the one that had bought an article from me last year.
But I got rejection letters from all of them.
Saying it was informative, but more suited to a blog, not a magazine.
I'm not sure why. One of them the writing is exactly like this one.
Oh win some, you lose some.

So I thought I'd post it here for all of you to see. 

Homesteading 101

We've been called crazy, we've been told we've lost our minds. Some people actually say they admire us.  My friend keeps telling us to keep it up, Agenda 21 is coming. If you don't know what Agenda 21 is, Google it.

What are they talking about? Homesteading,  while holding down full time jobs. Homesteading, the new buzz word.  Yes, my husband and I both work full time outside the home and we homestead also. That's why people think we've lost it sometimes.  Well...most of the time.
It's hard enough homesteading when one doesn't work, works part-time or even works seasonal.  But throw in 45+ hour work weeks with crazy schedules and kids and we sometimes wonder ourselves why we do it.

I can tell you why we started doing it. Back in the day it was actually cheaper to do it that way. I am the ultimate tightwad.  We started off with a few laying hens and meat birds. Feed was cheap.  Guess what?! Feed is no longer cheap.  When eggs come on sale for $1.99 a dozen, you wonder why you're still mucking out the chicken coop on a beautiful ,summer Saturday morning instead of heading out to the beach. 

Then there comes a time when you start to think of what you're putting in your body instead of saving your money for your children's inheritance.  Because honestly, what are they going to do with all that money you're going to leave to them? Buy expensive organic produce at the local farmer's market? We might as well teach them how to do it for themselves.

Homesteading from a kid's point of view is well...depends how old the kid is. Our son loved the animals when we was younger. When a piglet would die he would cry for days.  He'd love to help clean the goat stalls, pick up the eggs from the chickens, plant his own little garden.  Now that he's a teen  I'm lucky if he asks if the goats have kidded yet.  But I know someday all the hard work and knowledge will become invaluable to him.

 I hope.

To us, homesteading provides us with clean, good quality food. We know our animals are happy and healthy. No factory farms here. My husband is good at making things easier for us. Automatic waterers and feeders make life easier. Raised beds for the veggies instead of plots of land help with the weeds and the sore backs. Prevention is also key. Keeping your animals in top physical and mental condition helps with avoiding vet bills. That goes for equipment also.

Good homesteading is also knowing your limit.  How far are you willing to go mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. Use common sense, I know common sense is almost becoming extinct but it's still out there.  At the moment we have several goats, laying hens, meat birds, fruit trees and 7 raised beds for the veggies.  I, not my husband, would love to have fibre goats (even though I don't knit) and another 10-15 dairy goats.  Not going to happen.  We are almost at our limit with time, finances and land.  

The only other thing coming on our property in the next year or so are bees.

 But it's easy to get off track. I know, been there, done that.  It's good to write down your goals. Otherwise you might become like Sophia in that old sitcom The Golden Girls and digress.

Looking back throughout the years, reading old posts on my blog, I wouldn't change a thing.  We've learned so many things like, even though you only need a litre of goat's milk a week, she's still going to give you five litres a day. So deal with it! We also learned that we  are not full time cow people, but that's another article.

And we're still learning things every day. Like just this spring, I learned that a 150 pound goat that doesn't want to go on the milking stand, actually weighs 500 pounds when you try and pick her up!

Some days I look at my husband and tell him that we are selling everything and moving to Halifax in an apartment where someone else can grow everything and we'll buy it. Then I can keep our apartment clean and go to the gym to keep fit instead of pitching 150 bales of hay. He lets me rant for a while and then I go to the barn where I sit and hear the goats munching, burping and farting and think, "Man, this is the life!"


Last year while at work I was listening to the local radio station.
It's an english radio station and it's not really local.  
It's about an hour away. So our Home Hardware store doesn't advertise on it because there's three more localler (if that's a word) Home Hardware stores around it.

There's one small convenience store that does advertise on it and I just love their commercials.
One of the employees changes his voice and personality to make fun of the boss
and advertise the specials of that week. 
It's really funny and gets your attention.

I thought I wish our store could do that. 
But the only radio station we would be able to advertise is the local french station
which is just up the road from my house. (and most of our customers are english and don't understand a lick of french.)

But I approached my boss about doing it on the french station anyway.
He loved the idea!
So I approached the radio station and they loved the idea also. They had been hoping some of their advertisers would do something like that.

So with that Agnes and Bernadette were born...I mean created.
Two elderly sisters.
My friend Susan works with me and she's also Acadian French like I am.
So she's Agnes and I'm Bernadette.

People love listening to the commercials on the radio.
We're not like the other store that makes fun of the boss.
That's going a bit too far and disrespectful.

But we're not opposed to insulting each other while we advertise what's going on at the store.
Like two little cantankerous old ladies are apt to do.

Then for the staff Christmas party, our boss approached us to do a little skit, to put faces to Bernadette and Agnes. And this way, the rest of the staff can see what we do.

That led to our P.R. person asking if we'd do "commercials" for the store's Utube account.

So here's our first two ads.

I hope you enjoy them. 

Have a Blessed Day

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Two weeks ago we had to make an extremely hard decision.

It all started on a Sunday morning when I brought Emilie outside to pee.
She walked down the two steps on the deck and then just sat there.
She wouldn't move. Which is very strange for her. She's the hyper one.
Gone like a bolt of lightning usually.

So finally I got her to pee. 
But when I came in I noticed that she was kinda dragging her hind legs.

I knew exactly what it was. IVDD

By the afternoon, she had no life in her back legs at all.

So I figured that since Simonne had had it the year before I would just make sure Emilie had plenty of kennel rest and I would bring her to the vet ASAP for steroids and cortisone shots. 
6 weeks later all would be well like it had been with Simonne.

So Tuesday Dave brought her to the vet. I couldn't get her in on Monday, but they said as long as she was kept quiet in the kennel she would be fine another day.

Her appointment was for 11:30. 
At 11:35 the vet called me at work.

It wasn't the same as with Simonne.
Simonne still had had feeling in her toes, Emilie had no feeling in her toes. 

At all.

The diagnosis was not good.
Surgery would not help. It was too far gone.
That fast.

We could have gotten a wheelchair, but she was miserable and her entire body was curved and stiff.

We made the decision to euthanize her.

We cried all day. All three of us.
We still miss her.
The house is way too quiet without her.
Simonne misses her.
Simonne sticks to me like glue now.
She was always clingy, but now she's by me constantly.
She's never really been alone before.
I don't think she's liking it.
But she'll have to adjust.

Emilie doing what she loved best, crawling into sweatshirts.

Have a Blessed Evening.

Farm Update.


It's been awhile.

Everyday I think, 
"I'm going to blog today."

Then it's bedtime and I think 
"Crap. I didn't blog."

Or I'm in no mood to blog. Things have happened during the day and the mood has passed.
I need to be in the mood to write, probably like any other writer.

So I'm in the mood to write so you might find several posts in the next few days to bring ya'll up to speed on what's been happening.

First things first.

The farm.

Everyone is pretty ok on the farm.

In my opinion I have too many chickens at the moment. I'm getting too many eggs and for some reason no market for them.

We sent one of the wethers to freezer camp.  That's what we have them for, but it's still hard to do.  Jamie keeps telling me that I have to toughen up (strange, this coming from a kid). But my heart is tender when it comes to animals. I keep saying that I could become a vegetarian.
That's kinda hard in a family of meatatarians. 

We're keeping the other wether for a bit longer. But he's got to go soon.

The twins, Kevin and Stuart were doing well and fitting in well, when Kevin got sick.
It started with a lung infection that would not go away. When it finally went away he started with skin infections. Contagious skin infections that should have gone away on its own.
But after months and months of treatment and it just kept getting worse. We had to make a decision.
He had to be put down.  The vet thinks that because he was smaller than his brother, he might have had immunity issues to start off with. Then when he had a lung infection it was the last straw with his tiny ,immune system.  With the vet's help, we even tried fixing him from the inside out. Trying to fix the underlying problem.  But it didn't work.  We think he was too far gone. 

So Kevin is running in greener pastures at the moment.

While the vet was here one day for Kevin, I asked if he thought Peanut was ready to breed the girls because I found he wasn't looking too "bucky".

The vet said that I might have to look for plan "B" for this year.  
We were devastated. And so was the rest of the goat community in the area that counts on our Alpine buck for breeding. We were all thinking that we were going to have to deal with airplane ears next spring (yes we are goat snobs).

Then I started counting the days.  Maggie came in heat first.  21 days after, no heat! 
A week later Azelle came into heat. 21 days heat!!! And with Azelle this meant that she had completely healed from her difficult delivery.

So this means that we will have babies next spring with NO AIRPLANE EARS!!! Woohoo!!
I cannot wait to see what cute babies we'll have next year.

So I guess Peanut's looks are deceiving.

We're not sure about Cait yet.  I haven't seen her come in heat. So I'm not sure if Peanut did his duty before I could even notice she was in heat. Or maybe she hasn't come in heat yet.

I'm hoping for the latter.

So that's the update for the farm.
Pretty boring stuff. But at least you're up to snuff on that.

Have a Blessed Evening

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Digital Photography

I've always said that digital photography was for the picture crazy farmer.
I'm sure I took 30 pictures to get a few good ones.

Today it seemed like it was Peeper and Bear that
wanted to ham it up. 

I could not get them out of the camera lens.  

So if you can't beat 'em...join 'em!

Peeper, get away from the camera!!

I'm king of the stump!

Bear!!! I'm trying to take a picture of Peeper.

Look lowly dog, get away from my stump.  I'm the king and you're just my lowly servant.

Stuart shyly peeks out.

Then Claude gets into the action.  Looking over my head.

Bear!!! Get away from the lens!

Oh my word!!!

Have a Blessed Evening!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Grape Jelly

This year our grapes were plentiful.  So that means grape jelly!!

I figured I'd share my grape jelly recipe. 

4 cups grape juice
1/2 cup water
7 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid certo

Put juice, water and sugar in a pot. Make sure it's a very large pot.
Bring to a hard boil.  Boil for 1 minute. Add Certo and boil hard for another minute.
Don't panic, it's going to rise to top of the top, but that's why you have a large pot.

Pour into hot sterile jars

Make sure you scrap off the foam on the top and discard.

Wipe the jar with a wet to clean the rim.

Add the hot sterile caps

Then screw on caps just fingertip tight.

And here's your jelly.  It makes 9- 250ml jars.

Then you start praying that the lids pop. Because if it doesn't then you don't have a seal. And unfortunately you'll have to eat it all right away....darn.

Have a Blessed Evening

p.s. Thanks to my helper for taking the pictures.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ta Dah!!!!

So! How ya'll like it?!

Pretty awesome I would say.  

Yes, I'm talking about my new blog layout.

I'm so proud of myself....

for finding someone that can actually do it for me.
Ha Ha!
Almost got ya!

I can't do that. 

Are you kidding me?!

I found out that my new helper is a blog and website wiz!

So guess what I put her to do?
Revamp my blog and website.
She's still working on the website cause there was a lot to fix in that one.
But when it's done I'll let you guys know and you can go and check it out.
She's even putting a recipe section!!

Ok, so what's up with these funky weird pictures I've got here.
Well since this year I planted some heirloom variety seeds, that means I can actually save the seeds.

This is my first attempt at doing it.

By mistake (or just sheer laziness) I let my bok choi go to seed.
I was going to gather the seeds before they dried and dry them inside but my friend Alice
at Ouest Ville Perennials told me to let them dry on the plant outside. Then bring them in.
So that's what I did.

They look a bit nasty, but these are bok choi seed pods

These are just the pods in a bag.

I shook the bag and here they are!

Bok choi seeds.

All ready for next spring planting!
I can't wait!!!

Come on spring!

Oh yea, I have to go through autumn and winter first.

Have a Blessed Evening

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ahoy!!! I see land!

It doesn't look like much...but it's ours.

It took 6 long months...but it's ours.

11 more or less acres.

Every year we see in the local newspaper land tax sales.
Property sales of people who aren't paying their taxes.
They haven't paid them for 2 years.

So every year there's some in the paper.
This year we thought we'd give it a go.
See how it works.
We had a little bit in the bank and like Dave said, "they aren't making anymore land"
It's hard to get land...well affordable land anyway. 
An investment.

So on a cold March day we marched into the municipal office for our first tax sale.
It was a bit intimidating at first, since most of the bidders were 
wealthy, seasoned landowners and business people.

We had our eye on three pieces of land.  We actually won two!!!!
But even after the land sale, the property owner still has 6 months to come up with the money.
In my opinion, if you're two years behind in your taxes, you shouldn't be given another chance.
But that's me, I'm mean like that. ;)

So after a month or so, we lost one of the properties. Bummer.
It was my favourite one. 

Oh well. This must be where they get the saying, "You win some, you lose some."
Ok, maybe not.

So Friday we got the official letter stating that the property was ours!!

what to do with 11 acres of wooded land.
I want to get it clear cutted and put goats on it!!!

No, not really.  

I do want to clear cut it, but to plant Haskaps.

Dave thinks I'm nuts.

He's not sure what to do with it.

So, dear'll have to stay tuned to see what's going to become of our
newly acquired land.
Just a head's up.....
this could take a while.

Have a Blessed Day

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Red Shed

Every once in a while you come across something so fantabulous that you have to share it with someone.

I'm sharing this with you!

The Red Shed!

Yes, I'm thinking of becoming a restaurant critic.

Ok, not really.

But Dave had heard of a little place on the Yarmouth Waterfront that was good.

So we were in the area a few weeks ago and decided to try it.

Jamie and I had the fish tacos and Dave had a poutine. The people with us had the clams and chips.
I can't even begin to describe how good the fish taco was. 

It was made with shredded haddock and all the flavours just melded together. It also came with a hot sauce on the side.  Word of advice...the tiny little container of hot sauce they give you is more than enough for two people. made my eyebrows sweat.

Dave said that the poutine was great also.
The only downside it that they're only open in the summer.  I'm not even sure if they're still open at the moment.  BUT I HAVE GOT TO FIND OUT!!!

I need one more feed of tacos!

Oh and the service was awesome. That helps a lot.

So what more can you ask, out of this world food, great service and reasonable prices.
You Gotta Eat Here!

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Flower Power!!

I know ya'll come to my blog for the awesome goat pictures

But for once we are going to have a change of pace.

No goat pics



Just tranquil pictures of my flowers around the property.

So sit back and enjoy the peaceful 

flower pictures.

Flamingo Willow

Dianthus...I think


Snow pea flower



Bee Balm

Different colour Bee Balm
Tree lily
Tree lily (these lilies are taller than I am)

See now wasn't that soothing.

Ok, I couldn't leave without one picture...

The Minions!

Have a Blessed Evening!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lack of Communication

After 22 years of wedded bliss
(it was our anniversary last week)
you'd think that we'd be able to finish each other's sentences.
And if my brain worked like a normal person's that would probably be true.

But my brain is not that of a normal person. It's mine.
It doesn't stop, even for one millisecond.
While I sleep I'm still thinking of things. 
It never stops.

Where was I going with this....

Oh yes!

Twenty two years!
You'd think that when I tell him just half of the story, he'd know what I meant.
Honestly, I shouldn't have to explain everything....right?

That's how I ended up with 45 chicks.

Dave loves auctions. Me, not so much.
I'm an over-thinker.
 When you're in an auction you can't think things through. You have to act instead of think it to death.

So we went to the cattle sale a few months ago.
Nothing was catching my eye. (well except the mini donkey, it stayed there.)
So then Dave is like, " Look at all these chicks. Do you want some?"

Me-No, I don't need chicks. We just hatched out a bunch. We don't need any.....
Him-Are you sure?
Me-Yes I'm sure.
Him-Are you sure, did you see the boxes of white chicks over there?
Me-Yes, I saw them, but we don't need anymore chicks
Him-Okaaaayyy. Well if you see something, just write the tag number on this paper.

So I wandered around and then wandered to the chicks again.
Stupid me.
Three boxes caught my eye. 
Stupid me. 
The white chicks.
Stupid me.
So I wrote down the numbers and gave them to Dave.
Since I have no patience and the brain for the auction itself, I went to visit the donkey.

He was such a cute donkey and there was a mini horse also.

I got back to Dave after it was done and he proudly announced that he got all 

Holy catfish Batman!

I only wanted one box.
Didn't you realize that? 
I only wrote the three numbers in case you didn't get the first box, bid on the second. 
If you don't get the second box bid on the third.

But don't get all three!!!

And that's how I ended up with this

45 chicks.

They're mostly grown now.  But now I have to figure out who's pullet and who's rooster.
AND find homes for them since I don't have room for all that.

But in my defense, we've been married for 22 years.  You'd think he would have known that I didn't want all three boxes. Am I right ladies?! 
Help me here!

Have a Blessed Day

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Girl's Dorm

We've got a new building! I little barn, just for the girls.

Well at the moment it's every man errr...goat, for himself/herself.
I'm trying to train them to go into each of their pens.  It's only the first two days....
It's going to be a long summer.

I think it needs window boxes and curtains!

Claude and |Peanut scoping out the new pens.

Bear wondering why he's not allowed to stay in.

This is the goat's view.

The old goat house is now our hay barn.  No more little tarp barn for the hay.
 Our hay will be safe this winter!

I'm also awaiting some teat tape from Hoeggars. I'm desperate.  The kids have been weaned now for almost two months and when I put them together again. They went right to where they were before weaning.  Not happy!

I need the milk because at the last cattle sale we bought this...

Have a Blessed Evening.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Nothing is ever normal here on Spring Peeper Farm.




This morning I was three minutes away from going live on
 CTV Morning Live when the phone starts to ring. 

Who on earth calls at 7:12am?
So I scream (yes, very professional I know) to Jamie,

He answers the phone, listens and then hangs up and runs BEHIND ME, 2 minutes before Cyril Lunney says " And now we have Lisa Doucette our correspondent from Concession..." in his PJ bottoms and no shirt. To see what is outside.
Then he says, " Norman (our neighbour up the road) says there's a dead chicken on the side of the road if we want it. The meat is probably still good."



"Good Morning, Cyril!"

120 seconds later I'm off the air and go see what Jamie and Norman were talking about.
There on the side of the road is one of the neighbour's chickens.  It wasn't there an hour ago when I did the morning chores. And I would have noticed it since I passed right by it with Emilie for her morning ablutions.

It must just have happened when Norman went on his morning walk. He would have seen it.
So I Facebook my neighbour (no I don't call there, we're in 2015, you Facebook people now) and tell her...Another one bit the dust :(

We're both sad.

Then I go to put my clothes on the line and there's another white chicken on my lawn.  
NO WAIT! The dead chicken is not there anymore! It's the dead chicken!

Holy Moly! 

It's risen from the dead!

This deserves a PHONE CALL to the neighbour!!!

"Your chicken has been resurrected!"

"Do you think you can catch it?" she says?

So I go out and catch her.  I brought her home. Not sure if she's going to survive, but at least she might have a chance.

Dave came to visit me after he was done work today.
I told him the story of the Lazarus chicken.
He said," You're going to blog this aren't you?"


Have a Blessed Evening.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why did the chicken cross the road....

Last week while I was planting my onions, my neighbour's chickens came to visit me.
Just two of them.
Never happened before.
I didn't mind.  It was kinda funny and cute.
One of the chickens went back home a little while later and never came back.
But this little white hen started visiting everyday.

Little White hen yesterday...notice the green grass!

She would even follow me around.  I didn't mind her being there. She was cute and respectful of my veggie gardens...unlike my chickens that have been under lock down till my veggies are grown high enough to fend for themselves.

So every morning the little white hen would come running to see me. Then when I went to work she would go home.  I called her the Renegade Chicken!

She broke the rules and let everyone know..


To visit her neighbour. 

 I know it was driving my chickens to distraction.
"Why is she allowed to roam OUR territory and we're not!" they would cackle.

I was very concerned about the renegade chicken. I called my neighbour to tell her.
I told her I didn't mind her being there...

but we live on a blind crest and people LOVE
 to drive 30-40km faster than the posted speed limit...

 I was afraid that she was going to get hit.

My fears came true.

The house across the road is where she was from.

This morning as I brought Simonne to do her morning ablutions

 I saw the poor little white hen in the road.

She never had a chance.  It's so sad.

I don't even think she seen what hit her.

Rest in Peace little white hen.

Thanks to you we now know the answer to the riddle...
Why did the chicken cross the road.

Have a Blessed Evening.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Spring has sprung.


The garlic is growing, and the reason for the tomato cages is because...

The chickens are free range again. And they'll eat every little green thing they see.

Daisy is "over the moon!" about being outside again.  
It doesn't look like it, but take my word for it...she's happy.

And Peeper is singing the praises of no snow, well not much snow anyway,  longer days and warmer temps. Hallelujah!!!!! Everyone is in a better mood.

Only in Nova Scotia....two weeks ago it was -2 degrees Celcius at 7am and +26 at 5pm.

Gotta love Nova Scotia.

Have a Blessed Night!