Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gone Rogue

The other day, Adam happened to catch our neighbor out and about and stopped to mention that he had spotted a bobcat in our field, just to give him a heads up.  Jeff replied with "speaking of strange animal sightings..."

The neighbors to our left also seen Jeff out recently and stopped to chat for a few minutes.  The neighbor said "Hey, check out this really strange bird that wandered into our yard the other day.  Maybe you know what this is"  and whipped out his camera phone.

Jeff replied with "Um...yeah.  I'm pretty sure that's one of Liz and Adam's chickens."

Apparently Amadeus was NOT carried off by something, but is out for an extended walkabout that appears to include tours of the neighbor's yard.  We now have rogue chickens roaming the wilds.  We're keeping an eye out for him but are hoping that he eventually finds his way back home. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today we have a meeting with Damascus Township's Sewage Enforcement Officer to discuss what to do about the waste water issue so that we can *hopefully* get approval from the township to start the mill.
Wish us luck!

We met and finally had the chance to explain to him what a fiber mill actually is, as he was very confused.  No decision made yet, but he's going to do some research and get back to us within the week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Other Side

The other day, Adam was doing some weeding around the house.  When he had a full wheelbarrow, he took it to the compost pile to be dumped.  And there he noticed a yak pile.  It wasn't on the compost pile itself, but near the pile.  And it was fresh. 

Adam walked the fences, but everyone was inside, munching away.  No signs of where this fresh pile of yak dung could have come from.

A few hours later, he found his culprit.  Niobe.  Outside the fence, eating happily.  When she saw him, she got a little huffy in a "you weren't supposed to be out here right now" sort of way, turned around and stomped back into the paddock.  Through the electric fence.

Yes, that's right.  The yak has figured out that the bottom wire is not live.  So if she times it correctly, she can stop over the bottom wire, duck under the first live wire and make it to the outside.  If she's fast enough, she barely gets zapped.  We've watched her not only figure out how to do this, but to plan ahead between the ticking of the electric fence so that she can make it through between the zaps.  Our yaks does math.  We're a little terrified. 

This went on for another day or two, with Niobe sneaking out and Adam catching her.  Each time, she didn't even have the grace to look guilty.  She would flounce (seriously, this yak flounces) back inside the fence and defiantly give him the look the says "You can't stay out here forever.  As soon as you go inside, I'm going right back out."

So now we have a yak smart enough to come and go as she pleases.  That was bad enough, but the very last straw was when we woke up to find yak poop in the driveway.  Not only was she escaping, but she was coming ever closer to the house.   At that point, I started fully expecting to look over one evening and see a fuzzy yak head peering through the window, watching Master Chef with me. 

So this week Adam and his brother in law Josh have been out every night stringing barbed wire above and below the electric wires.  The other five yaks couldn't care less, and mostly ignore them.  But Niobe is livid.  She stands there and stares at them, grunting angrily the whole time they're working.  Plus, she's now frantically trying to eat ahead of the new fence line, so every morning Adam finds new piles just beyond where he finished the night before.

Apparently, the grass really is greener on the other side.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Random and Zombies

Today is one of those days at the end of one of those weeks.  In addition to losing Amadeus, Niobe keeps escaping the electric fence and is driving Adam completely bonkers.  It is always a bad day when you discover that your bovine are smarter than you.  In his defence, she's apparently some sort of evil genius yak.

We have been battling Damascus township for six months to get approval to put the fiber mill in.  First we have to get a conditional usage permit for the mill as the land is zoned rural residential.  In order to do that, we have to have an approved plan for the wastewater coming out of the mill.  Despite my best efforts to convice the sewage enforcement officer that fiber mill waste water is essentially what comes off a sheep when it rains, they stuck to their guns on the "no commercial waste on rural land" rule, so that meant to spraying it on the fields.  They wanted us to put in a sand mound, but that apparently requires getting a perc test, which apparently requires a backhoe, which raises Adam's blood pressure alarmingly.  Finally someone had the brilliant idea to see if the building is hooked up to the exisiting septic tank, which could then have the waste water run to it and simply be pumped more often.  Fantastic!  The only problem being that we had no idea where our septic tank was.  We have four pipes and one metal detector, four sewage guys and one very large hole in our yard, but have located the septic tank, which is indeed hooked to the shop.  Now we just have to get township approval, which will hopefully be easier than the rest of this process was.

To top it off, today is one of those nasty, cold and wet days that makes you want to crawl under a quilt and not come out again. 

But to prove that this week hasn't been a total waste, I proudly present- one finished Christmas present.  I mean, it's barely September, so that should count for something.  Right?  Right?
These are fingerless gloves knitted in Zombie from Lizard Toes, for Martin, being modeled by Martin.  He helps Adam out on the farm and helps me run to physical therapy and other assorted errands during the week, in addition to keeping the house from exploding around us.  He is also not a fan of surprises, so he picked out the yarn and the pattern and tried them on during the knitting process.  Not suprisingly, they were exactly what he wanted.

One down, a mind numbingly large amount of projects to go.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Earlier this week, we noticed that Amadeus was missing.  We didn't think much of it at the time, as the chickens are all free now and spend most of their days holed up under the lilac bush or trying to get into the most inconvenient spot possible.  Also, Amadeus is known for getting lost in his own coop, so we weren't terribly concerned and figured he would eventually wander home.  However, as the days passed, it became clear that he is not just walking in circles somewhere in the tall grass.  And given our beloved idiot's inability to see the food right in front of his beak, much less anything swooping down on him, it's a good possibility that he was carried off by something.  Which makes it a sad day here on the farm.   We know it's a possiblity when you live in a rural area, and we've certainly seen our share of coyotes, bears, foxes and bob cats, not to mention the million red tail hawks that circle the yard.  It just doesn't make it any easier when it happens.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I'm really happy to report that Storm is doing much much better.  She's responding really well to her antibiotics and she and Nim spend most of their days, quite literally, bouncing off the walls.  I swear it sounds like elephants doing handsprings in the mudroom, but whenever I peek in, I get a "Who?  Us?" look from both of them.

Every night we have to wrap her up in a "Bunny Burrito" in order to give her the medicine. 

Some nights are pretty good.  Some nights she just puts up a pretty good fight.  I think that's also a good sign, because she definately has enough pep to protest being syringe-fed pureed carrots.  I think we're out of the woods now, but she's going to stay in the house until she's done with her medicine, just to make sure. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010


It is a hard truth about raising animals that sometimes, even with the best of everything, bad things happen.  The animals can have a lot of love, good food, clean environments and still get hurt or sick. 

Two days ago, as we let the bunnies out to hop about for a little bit, we noticed that there was something wrong with Storm.  She was bopping around just fine, and didn't seem to be in pain, but when Adam picked her up to put her back in, there was something wrong with her "girly" parts.  She was red, swollen, bleeding and things were definately not right. 

Yesterday we took both girls into the vet and found that Storm had somehow managed to tear the skin in that area.  Even the vet was stumped.  We don't know whether she had an accident with her sister (bunny nails are very sharp and the girls like to sleep in a dog pile) or maybe got caught on some of the mesh wiring in her cage.  Either way, we had a pretty hurt bunny on our hands.   The biggest concern right now is fly strike, since flies like to lay eggs in open wounds so we wanted her in the cleanest possible place to make sure that didn't happen.  Luckily, our house has a mud room is never used so the room was thoroughly cleaned and made bunny friendly.  The girls now have the run of the room so Storm has room to spread out and rest.  We were also given antibiotics and pain medicine to keep her comfortable while she heals. 

The good news is that this morning she seems to be responding really well to the medicine.  She's up and hopping around the room with Nim and the area is much less red and irritated.  Nimbus is also taking good care of her sister, and I'm sure her company helps.  We're hopeful that she'll keep improving and keeping our fingers crossed.