Monday, March 26, 2012

Stuck in the Muck again: How old should a child be before driving a truck?

I’ve had a little time to contemplate the tale I’m about to tell and the more I stew the events over in my mind the more I wonder how I get myself into these predicaments.

It all started a few weeks back when my darling little girls suggested we visit the river to throw rocks. We hadn’t been down near the water for a while and it was high time we test the thickness of the ice with numerous flying projectiles.

As you see the ice is receding nicely and the little ones had a great time.

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Molly looks a little pained as it was kind of cold still even though Polly shed her winter coat for more Canadian summertime attire.

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We headed home after being gone for way to long as Milly warned us to be back before she had to go some where.

We jumped in the truck with Ringo in the front.

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Here’s where the pictures end as the tale starts to turn muddy. We headed back the way we came which just so happen to be over an increasingly soupy mess of mud and clay. I figured since we got in we should be able to get out. I no more than make it half way to Barnabas and Betty’s Bog when the wheels start spinning and the girls start squealing.

We are stuck. (Some of you may add the word Again.) No matter how much I rocked the truck back and forth there was no way to get that blessed truck out of the mess unless someone pushed.

Now Ringo is tough but he is only seven years old. And the truck does have a choke so if I just set it right the wheels would spin and as long as Ringo could steer I could apply the needed muscle to get out of the mess.

It worked. All too well. The truck started moving way faster than I imagined it would and I saw my children’s lives flash before my eyes. The truck headed straight for the river while Ringo was trying his darndest to steer this wild animal to safety. I tried jumping in the window but Ringo just so happen to veer towards me when I did that and I ended up slamming my head against the door jam. Yes, my son hit me with the truck. I felt like I was run over and stood there in a daze. If it was the NFL I’m sure I would have been carted off the field as a potentially concussed victim.

I said the quickest prayer I’ve ever said while that jumping jalopy missed two or three trees by an inch or two. Too bad the mirror hangs out eight inches. Luckily there was some undergrowth next to the trees so the truck stalled as it slammed into the debris.

The girls didn’t take too kindly being the front row spectators that they were so they quickly fled the hit and run scene and stood back a few hundred yards as Ringo and I attempted to get unstuck from the dead trees. A bit of rocking back and forth and we were on our way. I knew of a secret back entry way that probably wasn’t all that muddy so we headed off that way. It was muddy but we barreled through to the fence line.

Only problem was there is a fence in the way. I had to lift the barb wires up and push the lower ones down while someone drove the truck through. Ringo wasn’t too keen on being the designated driver but I convinced him his second driving experience couldn’t be worse than his first so he reluctantly moved over to the drivers seat.

I adjusted the choke and showed him how to lift the clutch just right and directed him to push the clutch down when he got through the fence. There was a big field in front so couldn’t foresee anything going wrong with my plan.

Well, he headed through just great but kind of panicked as I yelled at him when he went past and he veered to the immediate left and hit a fence post. Broke the sucker right off. Good thing the truck is solid. Didn’t hurt it at all.

I swore the kids to secrecy as we headed home but the first words out of Polly’s mouth as we walked through the door was “Ringo hit a fence post and almost went in the river.”

Darn kids.

 

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I would have gotten away with it. There was only a small amount of dirt on the truck.

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Although I would have had to do some quick thinking to explain the black eye from being hit by the truck.

I’m not sure how I get myself into these messes but I’m sure glad I’m already married so I don’t have to pretend I’m cool. Although, if I wasn’t already married I might drive a bigger truck.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Eleven year old winter scout camp

Spent the past weekend fighting the elements with our 11 year old scout troop. Hiked into a closed for the season provincial park and had the place all to ourselves.

The boys thrived and the leader survived. In the morning the boys were up trying to start the fire. Noodle and I stayed in our toasty warm sleeping bags until we heard the fire crackling. Boy its great to have such wonderful boys in our troop.

Here are some photos of the weekend adventure.

 

Here’s a look at the morning of a scout camp.

Eleven year old winter scout camp

 

Here we are Geocaching as a scout troop.

Geocaching

It was a great time. The boys say they’ve decided to go camping by themselves next weekend they had such a good time.

Hopefully their parents feel as confident as they do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Status update

I have several long posts brewing in my mind that I need to write down but haven’t had time. We are still without a phone. Milly complains incessantly so maybe I’ll get around to setting one up in the next week or so. Email us if you want to contact us. Ha.

We are settling in nicely to our new digs. We haven’t worked on our farm house for about the last month now however. I’m hoping to get material for our loft floor settled and start that up again soon.

I won’t spoil any future posts but just a few hints. We did it again in Barnabus and Betty’s bog. We also had a sad goodbye to one of our Simple Farm friends.

Stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll find the time in the next few days to report in full all that’s happened here.

Molly loves pink and insists on dressing herself. I’m all for it as she does better than I would.

Molly loves pink and insists on dressing herself. I’m all for it as she does better than I would.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What does a cow ghost say?

Mooooooooooo. I thought that up while milking my cow tonight.

Just thought I’d share.

Here’s some pictures of my good friend Ferdinand. He is quite friendly and uses me as a scratching post while I milk Rosebud every night. He’s not as friendly to Ringo as Ringo tries to ride him whenever he can. Ringo chases him around and around the pasture in an attempt to perch on top. Ferdinand isn’t too impressed with him most of the time but he does seem to like to have a play mate occasionally.

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Mooooooooo

new house 035 Mmmmm. Your hand tastes like milk.

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Why are you soooooo close to me. Back up or I’ll Mooooo at you.

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That’s better.

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Where’s that dang kid? He always sneaks up on me.

Confessions of a part-time farmer

I need to confess something that’s been bugging me for the past little while. To tell you the truth, real truth, even after all the creatures we’ve collected over the past year and all the new things we’ve learned, we are still not farmers. Not really. I have gum boots and a cow coat that may smell the contrary but I’m not sure we’ll ever be classed as true blue farm folk. I mean what kind of real farmer puts a leash on his cows and walks them to their new pasture. If I was a real farmer wouldn’t I saddle up my old trusty horse and send my well trained cow dog to herd the animals down the road?

You see, I have a job. A good, full-time, sit at your desk all day type of job. And it’s real difficult to be a real farmer if most (OK, I’ll be real honest) all of our income comes from my regular off farm job.

And unless we cut all ties with my current job (I really can’t see that happening) and make a go at farming full time we will always be part-time farm folk playing around with farm-like animal.

I really should look at our motivation for building a simple farm.

The main reason we have ventured into all the farm like activities we have is because we think the food we can produce is far superior to the food we can purchase otherwise.

That’s it. That’s the motivation. I can spout off a dozen other reasons:

1. Self sufficiency

2. Live closer to nature

3. Give our kids real work

4. Get out of debt

5. Self worth

6. Live closer to family

7. Learn about caring for animals

8. Get to drive a truck (the Yota is technically considered a truck)

9. Get to shoot a gun

10. Get to stay in shape

11. Learn about what our ancestors went through

12. Be in a position to help friends and family as needed.

(I struggled getting a dozen but you get the drift)

But our main reason of trying to be farm like people is to produce our own high quality food. If I could purchase food from people that would grow it like we do I think I’d do it in a heart beat. It certainly would be easier. I do like being around animals and I really like harvest time. But it sure is a lot harder than simply paying a reasonable fee for quality food. If you really count all the expenses including labor involved in producing quality food the price paid to buy quality food is relatively small.  (Most consumers never consider the amount of labor needed to produce the food they eat. Unless you are a big time farmer with lots of equipment that cost thousands of dollars there is a lot of labor involved.)

Maybe it being hard is the whole point. If I wanted easy I’d still be eating bland carrots and peas from the unnamed grocery store that caters to the masses.

Maybe that’s also why I like sharing our adventures here at The Simple Farm blog. I suppose many of you will look at the things we do and say “if they can do it surely we can?”

Which is very true. There’s no doubt in my mind that anyone can produce a portion of their own food no matter their circumstance.

There’s no way you’d consider us real farmers but here we are with three cows and a bunch of chickens. Maybe one day I’ll buy that horse and dog and pretend I’m going on a cattle drive. Just stay off the sidewalks as I don’t really know how to steer horses and my dog will probably chase cars rather than cows.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Moving the chicken coop to a new pasture

I made waves in Glenwood yesterday when I took my cows for a walk.

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Noodle took a picture of us as we went by and posted it on his facebook page. I guess it’s not every day you see someone moving cows like this. What do I know about moving cows. This is the best way I could think to go on a cattle drive. I drove the truck and my pets followed on a leash.

Well, tonight we moved the chicken coop to it’s new perch. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. We hooked it up to some chains and pulled it through the middle of town. Man am I glad I live in a place where people can see a chicken coop pulled by and everyone just waves and says “Look, there goes Doug and his coop.”

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Hooking up the coop to Greybeard’s truck.

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Ringo was a big help with the chains.

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Molly gets the best seat in the house.

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I guess other than the chickens that we left in the coop. When I pulled the coop off one chicken flew out from underneath. Milly thought I ran over the poor thing but it escaped in time.

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I hope Dancing Queen and Greybeard don’t look too closely at their lawn. It’s not too dug up but there are a few skid marks going right through their beloved lawn.

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Milly was taking pictures as I did all the heavy lifting. I don’t think she thought it would work.

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Looks like a pretty solid building. Way better than the cow barn I moved yesterday.

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Milly is taking pictures of us going down the road. You can see the skids scraping away. They were still mostly there when we made it to our new location.

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Our building looks rather small compared to the sky scrapers in our little home town. But it’s a palace for all the chooks.

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I thought that since I made such a big spectacle yesterday I’d at least document it for everyone today.

Surely I can’t be the only uneducated city folk to take their cows for a walk and drag their chicken house through the middle of town.

Please tell me I’m not the only one in the world to do such silly things?