Thursday, 31 January 2013

An Irish/Hungarian Supper

Our unexpected guests are still with us.

They arrived over 3 weeks ago looking for a farm work stay.  They have been staying at Dwyer's Farmhouse and we have been providing them with meals.  I have been making all the usual fare here...homemade pizza, taco/nacho night, roast beef, spaghetti, roast meat bird etc.  I even cooked them moose one was quite good....nothing like venison.   The desserts have been pies, cakes, buttertarts, brownies, cookies etc.  I even introduced them to my Cake in a Jar....which they wanted to post home but decided against it when we found out the cost of shipping!

In exchange of the boarding and meals they have been working for us.  We have them doing all sorts of things....washing, plastering and painting walls....hauling water to the sheep and chickens....feeding horses....mucking out the barns....washing dishes.  They are excellent workers.

It has all worked out really well.  The children are enjoying them...they have learned many new card games and have heard many fascinating stories about the people in Ireland!

They have been introduced to many of the locals as they tag along with us or our neighbours.  They have been to a 4-H square dancing meeting, a hockey game in Eganville, the library (many times), a party at our neighbours hunt camp and a family birthday party....where they went for a skate!

They have now experienced two January thaws.....and temperatures that felt like minus 43 degrees Celsius.

They decided that they wanted to thank us for the experience that they have had here.  So, last night they cooked an Irish/Hungarian supper.  We were treated to many dishes including shepherds pie and langos....the kids LOVED it!  Dessert was turogomboc, walnut slice and a trifle.  We were stuffed.

This was our first time participating in a farm work stay experience....and I'm so glad we did it!


Wednesday, 30 January 2013


We love barbie.

I know that if she was real she wouldn't be able to walk or breathe.

I don't care.  I loved playing with Barbie when I was small and I turned out alright.

In this house Barbie can round up a whole herd of cattle.  In an evening dress.

Sophie has suggested that we get some farm clothes for her.....but honestly I don't know where I'd find any.

Barbie and Ken drive around in a camper.  Sometimes they go to Mass.  Ken has to go to work.  Today they were driving by and I heard Sophie say that they were heading to school.  Lydia told her that they couldn't go to was raining.  Sophie just said, "Well, tell Barbie to put on a bathing suit then."

Later on in the day Barbie destroyed the mean man that was going to get into her house.  Sophie told me that Barbie has super powers.

Barbie keeps these two little girls busy for hours and hours.

Thank you Barbie!


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

More Calves....

At this time of year you can't keep me out of the barn.

I fall in love with all the sweet new calves....

This is Midnight's Sister...she has a heart on her head!  I think we should call her "Lovey".

This wee white Charolais calf is from Johanna's show heifer "Deena".  Deena was expecting this calf while she was in the show ring at all the local fairs this past summer/fall.  It's her first calf and she is an excellent mom.

Sophie with one of the twins.

This photo is my all time favourite!  I'm not sure what I said to this calf....

But if it could talk....what do you suppose it would say to me?


Monday, 28 January 2013


Terry got a surprise when he went out first thing this morning to check on the cows.

The cow that calved yesterday evening before we all went to bed, calved again during the night!


This one was born first.

And this one was born second.

We checked on them several times during the day today.

They were warm in the barn....while the snow came down outside.  It snowed all day.



Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunday Fun

It was a beautiful day today.  The temperature was around -11 and the sun was shining.

We took a walk through the fields with the sleds.  The snow is well crusted now and it's perfect for sliding.

Sophie screamed the whole way down the hill.

They had a skate on the pond and then we built a fire for supper.

Hot dogs always taste so much better roasted over a fire.

Our unexpected guests are still with us!

The days are short and it was dark before we had dessert finished.
Roasted marshmallows between chocolate chip cookies......YUMMY!
Our fingers were getting a little numb so we headed inside for a game of cards.
Good times.  Good memories. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Midnight's New Sister

Yesterday was Midnight's Birthday.  Midnight is Jack's show calf....from two years ago.  It was his first 'show calf'.  I don't keep track of the calves' birthdays...but written on our calendar on Jan.25 in Jack's printing is 'Midnight's Birthday'.  It is not to be forgotten.

When Terry returned to bed last night...or should I say early this morning...the alarm had went off at 2am....he let me know that Midnight's mother had had her calf.  It was a girl and it was already up walking around and it had already sucked.  So, he figured that it must have been born before midnight.

That would mean that Midnight's mother had calved another calf on the same date.  Midnight and her sister share the same birthday.

I was so excited I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs and baked a cake!  Time to celebrate!

Just kidding.

I just said, "That's nice."  And I went back to sleep.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Calves and Cold

The temperature is beginning to moderate.  I don't know what it is out there but Jack came in this morning and said it was nice out...he said it wasn't cold anymore.  I think it might be -25.

Luckily we only had 3 new calves born in the last 2 days/nights.  All are doing well.

I caught myself fiddling with the alarm at 3am this morning.  I had awoke and thought that I had set the alarm for 3am...for Terry to go out AGAIN and check on the cows.  As I was fiddling with it, he awoke and wanted to know what I was doing.  I was checking to see what time the alarm was set for...and to make sure that it was still set.  He told me that I had set it for 4am.  I honestly don't remember it even going off at 4am...but it must have.  It also went off at midnight. 

The Wednesday night sleep was all broken with the alarm going off several times as well.  That was a very cold one.  We had 2 calves born during the night.  Terry brought them into the mud room for a bit to make sure that they would warm up.  I was mixing a colostrum bottle at 3am....just to make sure they got a good start.

So glad that the temperature is warming up.  

I need to get to town and get a new hair dryer.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My Hair Dryer Saves the Day...AGAIN.

It's cold here....ridiculously cold at the moment.  The temperature was -30 something this morning and then there's the wind chill.

Terry was so busy covering water bowls and checking on cows last night that he totally forgot about our well to the house.

Johanna got half way through her shower this morning and the water just stopped.  It froze somewhere between here and the well.  The poor girl....her hair was full of shampoo.

Terry took my precious hair know the one that's always saving newborn calves lives....out to the well.  The boys went to the barn and threw down some cover the well.  There is very little snow here thanks to the thaw that we got, and when there is no snow, there is no protection.

Meanwhile, the girls and I dropped to our knees and said a few decades of the rosary.

The water was running again within the hour!  Oh happy day!  I didn't care that it was freezing outside...we had water.  I can't live without water!

Johanna got back in the shower and then Terry drove her to school.

My hair dryer is amazing.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

New Calves and My Hair Dryer

We all become midwives at this time of year...for cows.  The boys and I have learned what 'she's bagging up' looks like.  We know the signs before the cow is going to calve.  And with temperatures like this...-30....we are checking the cows every hour during the day.  The alarm went off at 1:30am last night just so Terry would get up and go out to check on them.

Just yesterday Jack went out by himself to check on them in the yard.  We had put all the cows outside to have a good drink. When he came in, the front of his coat was all wet.  He announced that the tan cow had calved and not to worry....he had put her and the calf in the barn.  He just wanted an extension cord and the hair dryer.  He was going back out to dry it off.  A couple hours later and the calf was sucking well...all was good.

Don't even get me started with the hair dryer....he was using my NEW hair dryer.  I had to buy a new one because mine was at the barn....because the one in the barn was worn out....AGAIN.  But now the one in the barn was worn out...and so my new one was needed. We buy several hair dryers a year.  I bet the hair dryer industry has no idea that farmers are even using their product.  The hair dryer is saving the life of a newborn calf here all the time.

Note to self....put 'hair dryer' on the shopping list.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Marshmallow Dips

It rained again last night and then the wind howled and I mean HOWLED.  When we awoke this morning the ground was covered in a sheet of ice.  We went to Mass and then I came home to have an 'inside' kind of day.  Terry and the boys went out...and Johanna too....but Sophie, Lydia and I stayed in.  I went out once to dump the compost but I nearly flipped on the ice and the wind was back howling again.  The temperature dropped this afternoon and it's going to get cold this week.  We are to have 3 days of really cold....I think it's to be -30 at night and only highs of -25 during the day.

I cleaned up at the door...that's one place that always seems to need a cleaning.  We read some books and made a new puppy house out of a box for Sophie's stuffie puppy "Twinkle" even has a roof and doors and windows that open and close.  She was quite happy with the job I did on it.

Supper came and I was just feeling lazy.  We had this and that.....leftovers that needed to be eaten!  Then dessert came and we needed a treat.  I hadn't any baking made.  Then I thought of the white and dark chocolate slabs and marshmallows I had bought before Christmas.  I thought that we would have marshmallow dips as a treat over the holidays but we just never got around to it....there were too many other treats to eat!

The kids were thrilled when I pulled out the chocolate.  While we waited for the chocolate to melt, I did the dishes and Johanna prepared all the different 'dips'....chopped almonds, crushed graham wafers, smashed peppermints, coconut and sprinkles.

Then the dipping began....


I think my favourite was the white chocolate with coconut....or maybe the white chocolate with almonds.....or maybe...
They were all amazing.
I got a belly ache.
My sensitive teeth screamed.


Friday, 18 January 2013

New Nesting Boxes

We bought some more hens and a rooster on Wednesday.  They were listed on kijiji and we just couldn't resist.  Not only were they selling the birds, but the feeder, the nesting boxes and some feed as well.  The price was right so we bought it all.

Kijiji would be our most viewed website.  Actually, it may be a toss up between kijiji and the weather websites....there are two of those.  You can't depend on need to double check the weather.  But seriously, kijiji and the weather...that's all we need on most days.

The nesting boxes are a fancy kind that I had never seen before.  They are made of plastic...and they look quite cosy.  We had always just made our boxes out of wood.  These new ones would be easier to clean.

The boys decided that they needed to put them up yesterday.  It wasn't going to be as easy as I thought.  The boxes were designed to be put on a flat wall.  The inside of this hen house is logs.  I told the boys that they could figure it out....and I'd stand around and give them moral support.

Grady measured and sawed some boards.
The hens wondered what all the fuss was about.  Aren't they all pretty in their zebra stripes?

Grady measured and hammered.

Jack hammered.
The rooster crowed.

The girls provided lots of moral support while he hammered some more.

Then Grady drilled on the new boxes.  And the girls stayed close...almost a little too close.... to give moral support.

Sophie inspected their work.  She thought the boxes were dandy.  The boys did it right.

The boxes needed some straw.
Get to work girls!  Lay some eggs!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Ice on the Pond

There was a severe, record drought this past summer.  The little pond that we have in the field by the house completely dried up....which was actually normal.  But this past fall the pond didn't come back...not even when we did get some rain.  As it got colder, the kids were disappointed when they realized that there would be no pond to skate on this winter.

But, luckily, the temperatures climbed just enough this past weekend to melt some snow.  That and along with some rain brought the pond back.  Jack even created a bit of a dam to keep the water from flowing away.

They have been watching and waiting and checking the pond all week. 

This morning was perfect.

Sure it was -30 with the wind chill....

But I couldn't stop them.

And actually, with the beautiful sunshine it didn't feel all that cold.


Monday, 14 January 2013


Jack has already picked out his 'show' heifer for this year.  Her mother was a first calf heifer.  The calf was born in a field at our place and then we moved her and her mother to graze on the fields at Dwyer's Farmhouse for the summer.  We weaned her off of her mother in November.

Jack has had an eye on her for a while.  He got a halter on her on the first of December and has been working with her ever since.

He has decided to call her 'Twinkle'.  When I asked him why he said that it was the only name he could think of.


She has a tremendous amount of hair.  I was thinking of names like 'Woolly' or 'Fluffy'.....or even 'Presley'...because Jack says that she has hair like Elvis.

He combs her everyday....or I should say 'styles' her hair.

It's long....

Her back end is woolly too....
She's woolly all over....even on the legs.
She seems to love it when he combs her.  Look at her stretching out!
I guess Twinkle isn't such a bad name when I think about it.  I'm sure she will 'shine' in the ring!