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FEBRUARY FARM UPDATE

February was a month of snow and more snow and more snow! Not many places for the dogs to run and the smaller ones would have completely disappeared had they gone off the paths. What didn't help was the fact that the snowblower packed it in some time in February, so if the tractor couldn't get there, it was a question of digging or jumping!

The beginning of February did have the excitement of Canada beating Spain in the Davis Cup!!

Our neighbourhood watch (animals) friends advised us that there were several cougars roaming fairly close to all of us, so when I went to feed the horses the farthest away from the house, I was usually accompanied by our Great Pyrenees Misty, who would have alerted me if I needed to retreat quickly! Fortunately nothing at our farm.

Fleygur was still struggling to be able to put his hind leg to the ground for more than a couple of minutes, but, as with all Icelandics, he was so patient and uncomplaining about his discomfort. Not many breeds of horses would have stayed without struggling when we were cutting his leg free. Icelandics are known for their pain tolerance, which sometimes has a negative benefit as it isn't as obvious that there's a problem as with some other breeds of horses.

Our Australian Spotted ducks were going through a period of major confusion when they jumped into their tub for a swim, and went for a slide instead! There was a battle for first spot when I cleared out the ice and replaced it with warm water - at least a quick dip for most of them!

The birds were keeping us busy making sure their seed, suet and net supply was ongoing! The porch was jammed full of plants overwintering and I can now report that the effort wasn't worth it as I kept rose bushes well alive and growing until the spring when most of them left this world for greener pastures!

We have had snow since October, so are really looking forward to the spring!


FARM UPDATE - 2013



JANUARY

The year 2012 flew by with huge amounts of outside work to be done and my Farm Update suffered accordingly. However, I understand that quite a number of people look forward to it, so while I'm starting the year a little behind, I'll try and become more efficient as the months fly by!

This winter had more snow than all but one year in the eighteen years that we've been here, and now that we're actually getting towards the end of April, it has, of course, turned into one of the greatest mud years! Deep snow looks really pretty but is just a huge nuisance for getting around. The quad doesn't like it, so won't run through it and the snowplough decided it had had enough and packed it in, so thank goodness for the tractor! - the disadvantage being that as it ploughs the drive etc., the pathway through gets narrower and narrower as the winter goes along, accompanied by more heavy snowfalls! We are just around a corner on our road and the pile of snow was so high that you had to be almost in the road to see if anything was coming. So reminds me of the T junction of my brother's road in England where there is a convex mirror on the other side of the road so that when you get to the junction you can see if anything is coming from either direction - a very fine invention!



January 1st had a memorable start! Our neighbour Marjorie, who has her farm/rescue farm near the top of the mountain opposite us phoned just after six a.m. to say that her horses were missing! They always come here but hadn't heard our Great Pyrenees Misty barking, so thought they might not have arrived yet. Wrong! Marjorie came flying to the porch to tell me to bring wire cutters as one of our horses was down. It was, of course, our stallion Fleygur as one of her mares always comes into heat around the New Year time and this year was no exception. Fleygur had tried to get out to her. He was spending the winter with Krafla in the area that we used to keep our cows as there is a nice shelter there, which I thought they would both enjoy. Anyway he tried to get out, got the wire wound around his right leg and was cast against a bank and a tree - fortunately not completely upright on his back but over on a slight angle. We freed his leg but it took some considerable effort to get him over into a position where he could try to stand up and three goes for him to be able to stand up as the circulation was gone from his injured leg and he couldn't get his balance. He was shivering a lot but warm blankets for a short while soon took care of that and the minute hay arrived, he was busy! Once again it is just amazing with Icelandic horses how well they treat being in a compromising situation. No struggling while we cut his leg free and only a huge effort on his part to get up and keep his balance.

I was very sorry to have to call the vet at the crack of dawn on New Year's Day, but also so grateful that Fleygur wasn't cast bolt upright or we might have already lost him. He had a lot of stall rest from then on. To begin with could only put the tip of his hoof on the ground but as time went by he started to put his weight on his foot and finally was able to support it normally. Such a fortunate outcome and such a brave boy!

Had an exciting call from Sandy! I had met her at the Sorrento Farmers' Market a couple of years earlier as she was there with her sheep fleece, yarn and sundry knitted products. I was particularly interested in items knitted from chunky wool that she had spun. But time went by and I didn't get back with any fleece, however, Sandy needed some to make little sheep for one of her grandchildren's classes and couldn't find any! She had come to the right place as I have been very unpopular for not getting organized enough to do anything with my fleece except mulch all my plants, which is a huge waste of Icelandic fleece! So Sandy left with some roving that I had had made at the mill in Alberta and I had an early New Year's call to say she had already spun it!! So I have now achieved one lovely warm mat to go beside the bed, as, having grown up before television was invented, my mother and I spent many nights driving my father mad with the clicking of our knitting needles! 



Knitting does seem to be coming back again - perhaps because people are finding that synthetic products don't just produce the same warmth as wool and I had such a good example of this myself. Years ago I had hip replacement surgery and accidentally my left foot was paralyzed in the surgery. So there were lots of physio trips and while I used to go first thing in the morning, by then I'd fed outside, cleaned out the cows and done a bunch of jobs, with the result that my left foot was so cold, it took the physio half an hour to warm it up before she could do anything! Then I remembered that when I came to Canada I brought my old fur lined Clark's boots and lo and behold, ten minutes in them and my foot was warm as toast, whereas absolutely nothing else seemed to work! Also my physio did ask if I could possibly leave cleaning out the cows until I'd been to her!

We made some new additions to our farm in 2012, i.e. Australian spotted ducks, heritage Chantecler chickens, originally raised by the monks in Quebec, and heritage Bronze Ridley turkeys. So it was really amusing watching the ducks expectantly head for a little swim in their tub - and arrive on the ice!

I had an early trip to the coast as my friend Judi, whose picture you will have seen in many past Farm Updates as she did huge amounts of helpful work at our farm and who I worked with for many years at SFU, was battling a return of cancer and I was really looking forward to a visit with her. We had a lovely lunch with many of our friends from SFU - a great heritage that so many friendships were formed from the years of working together. I was lucky as the Coquihalla was closed the day before I went, but open with lovely scenery for my trip.

I also visited my daughters and grandchildren - Kristi, Alain and family have an Akita, Makwa, and we were all going to an Akita breeder in Maple Ridge as they were looking at getting another dog. It's always interesting to see other dog breeders homes and how they set everything up for their dogs. Another Akita, this time a female, was added to their family from this visit. A very pretty little girl.


Discovered at the early feed that Vindstorna, my very favourite silver dapple mare, was lame. No idea why and couldn't find anything obvious, but removed her from the group and put her with Krafla in a small paddock with a big shed. Not covering so much ground in fairly thick snow seemed to improve it quite quickly.



The chickens were enjoying their winter treat - cabbage on a string! The snow is so deep that if they were outside, they'd disappear immediately!

We saw a fascinating documentary - The Last Dogs of Winter - which told the story of the Canadian Eskimo dog. It was a breed we had wondered about including at our farm before we decided on the Eurasier. The numbers of this dog in Canada have dwindled so significantly. The first big downsize, I gathered from the documentary, was when the government decided that they didn't want the Innuit as a nomadic people, and when they were the Eskimo Dog (Qimmik) was their mode of transportation, pulling their sleds wherever they had to go. When the Innuit were moved to settlements, many of the dogs were culled. We are still interested in this breed.



We ended the month with messages from neighbours about cougar sightings, but we were fortunate and didn't receive any visits.