Pineridge Icelandics 2007
Two hugely exciting farm events in December. The arrival of our new breed of puppy from San Diego - a Eurasier. Sundog's Hadley arrived at our farm on December 17th and was greeted with considerable curiosity and excitement by all our Icelandics. He must have wondered where he was arriving, but he adjusted quickly to the kitchen, to the stairs in and out, to the snow which he loves, and to the ewe lambs which he met through their fence! The Eurasier is an interesting breed. We are frequently drawn to the various Spitz breeds and the Eurasier is a Spitz type of dog. It is a recent breed introduced by Prof. Julius Wipfel in Germany about 50 years ago and is a combination of crossing the Chow Chow male with large German Wolfspitz (Keeshond-type) females and later crossed females of this breeding with a male Samoyed. The result is a breed with medium and upright coat with amazing colours. We will update with pictures of Hadley as he grows.
The second really exciting event was the arrival of Vindstorna, a new Icelandic silver dapple mare. There are approximately 41 colours in the Icelandic horse breed but after many years of exposure to the various colours, we have decided that silver dapple is our favourite. Winter coat hides the dapples, but they show magnificently in the summer. There are many different base colours of silver dapple which makes it even more interesting, but the manes, tails and forelocks tend to be a similar silvery sheen colour. We now have three silver dapple mares and while breeding silver dapple to a silver dapple stallion doesn't by any means guarantee a silver dapple foal, we will hope for this. We are planning to have Vindstorna evaluated at the Icelandic Horse Evaluation scheduled in Vernon this September, so will be busy training her for that.
Snow was of course piling up throughout all of December. Finally our blue jays remembered that this was a good source of peanuts, while the gray jays are still happy with dog food crumbles. We enjoy the birds so much and have to keep a very close eye on the cats, who are also attracted to them!
Excitement for our little Icelandic sheepdog Isa, who has had four litters so we won't be breeding her any more. Friends of friends of ours had been waiting for a long time to see if we had an older dog available and we've found that Icelandics adjust enormously well to being re-homed where they are a one dog, one family home. When you have a farm and a breeding kennel, there is never enough time for all animals and this breed of dog particularly likes to be with you all the time, which just isn't possible. So we were delighted to find a loving and welcoming home for Isa, where she goes to work with her new owners every day and apparently greats all clients with great enthusiasm. We've noticed with considerable interest that when our older dogs come back to visit, they are excited to be here, but when it becomes obvious that their new owners are starting to pack up their car, no sign of the dog(s), they're already in the car making sure they don't get left behind! They know they are loved here, but clearly understand life is very acceptable to them in their new homes with all the attention they receive.
Of course there are always 'snow incidents', as happened one morning when the front wheel came off the tractor as it was transporting a round bale to the larger group of horses! Some considerable concern at the gate where the horses were waiting expectantly!
I was late this year with separating the ram and ewe lambs and enlisted the help of one of my grandsons and his friend who appreciated sheep with horns for the catch and thought it was an enjoyable challenge to move them all. The challenge increased somewhat in catching the chosen adult ram and keeping the other six at bay while we removed him! Brandon is able to add another item to the number of activities he's helped with for his resume in the future - shows great versatility!
December is always a busy month with Christmas coming and we were disappointed to see that any of our many trees as potential Christmas trees had the appropriate part about 50 feet from the ground! So it was off to Art Knapp's once again. We always look forward to family members coming for Christmas and I think coming to a snow covered farm is exciting and different for our visitors, particularly the children. There isn't an animal here who doesn't welcome the extra attention.
The snowblower is our tool of choice at the moment, being kept busy clearing paths to various paddocks and fields. Snow creates a never ending wonderland of pictures when you're surrounded by trees and mountains. Ice isn't quite as attractive! - although we do have icycles off the edge of the roof that sometimes reach the ground and look very pretty with the Christmas lights behind them and shining through.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL PEOPLE AND ANIMALS!
NOVEMBER FARM UPDATE
November is usually a month of interesting weather. We're conscious of the need to get everything put away before the snow and pathways cleared of buried death traps both for us and any four legged animal who might escape and go for a run! This month didn't disappoint either. Firstly there were several huge windstorms and one really huge one, as you can see by the first picture. We usually move our horses into the lower field at night but there are a lot of trees there, so the sight of this one changed our minds for that particular night. Then there was a lot of rain, which is unusual for us and required the trucking of many loads of shavings to soak up mud, and finally the beginning of snow. Firstly three small flurries, first one November 2nd, which soon melted, then a major snowfall, which was a welcome treat after the -14 the three previous days.
The final gardening was taking place, with bulbs planted and a lot of fleece from past years mulched around my roses and some other plants that looked needy for protection! Imagine my dismay the following morning when I came out to find my fleece mulches nearly all missing! There was a trail of it to the guilty party - Misty, our Great Pyrenees, had it spread all around the outside of her kennel, a nice garden of brown and white fleece.
Remembrance Day weekend saw our daughter Kristi and her partner Alain visiting and giving us a great deal of help, which is so much appreciated on a farm, where there are never enough hours in the day even in the summer, let alone in the winter when hours of daylight are so much less. A splendid little house was constructed for our this year's rams, and as another of our daughters has a farm the other side of the mountain at the back of us, a great family dinner was enjoyed by all of us. Kristi and Alain have an Akita, who was a comparatively small and manageable size when he came here first. He is now 100 lbs. and still growing and had an interesting experience in our top field when he came face to face with our donkeys! I don't think he knew whether to attack or retreat on account of size and noise, but while he was considering his next move, our Jersey cow Butterscotch, the one with horns, lowered her head and indicated it was time for him to go! At this point Kristi, trying to wriggle under the electric fence to retrieve Makwa, got zapped!
One late afternoon when I went to feed the mares and foals, Ljufur, Stella's little colt, wouldn't eat. He came to the feeder but just stood there and that's completely out of character. I kept an eye on him and when I brought some grain for the mares, I brought a little for him which he nibbled at. Then later, while the others were still eating, no sign of him. We have a new winter loafing shelter for the mares and foals and I walked along the back tapping it and calling him, as it's the other side of the fence. No sound, but when I got back to the gate end, there was his little head looking round the corner to let me know he was alright!
Since we now know that Somi will have to be away from the herd again this winter, as he's still a potential stallion, we moved Vindur in with him for company. It wasn't love at first sight on the part of Somi! However, I think he's now decided it's a lot more fun to have a friend than be alone. We have a large inflated ball, so will try that out and see if they play with it - or run from it!
We always have a number of roses in pots on our deck through the summer and many seem to have become annuals even though we moved them to the workshop, which was kept just above freezing, for the winter, so this year we've tried something different. We buried them, lengthwise, in one of the large piles of manure, which at the time was still warm, and will see what happens when we dig them up in the spring. We're hoping that Art Knapp's will lose some of our rose business this spring!
We finally replaced our last two wooden gates with
metal gates, which is a huge improvement. One went on the new winter
barn for the cows and they were very happy to follow the grain bucket
from the top field to their winter quarters. They have about a foot of
shavings to sleep in and I'm sure find it much warmer than the snow
which had begun to fall.
The friends of ours came to see how their new little Haflinger colt Mandel is growing! It was very sad for them that they lost Mandel's sire to colic, but worked out very well that his son looks so much like him and is such a sturdy little chap. He and Ljufur have much fun playing together and will do so all winter before we wean them.
I'm just discovering how much four chickens can drink! When the weather has been -14, I seem to be on a non-stop trip to replace ice with fresh water. They are, however, showing their appreciation by producing four eggs every single day!
An item of great excitement is happening at the beginning of December. We are getting a new Icelandic silver dapple mare, Vindstorna, and have great plans to show her in July and have her evaluated in an Icelandic Horse Evaluation to be held in Vernon next September. Pictures will follow!
October is the month we usually enjoy sun and the gorgeous colours of the leaves turning yellow and orange on the trees and while we did enjoy quite a bit of that, we've also had much more rain than usual, plus two light falls of snow and a considerable amount of fog. However, -8 has been the lowest temperature so far.
This is the month we have quite a number of deer visiting and some have been comparatively tame in terms of not leaping off when they see us. One evening was very scarey as I saw one deer leap over the fence from the farm next door followed by nine successive gunshots and no more deer. We usually have a group of about eight. As it's the hunting season and hunters don't always obey the "No Hunting" signs, I feared the worst but lo and behold, the next morning when my husband headed out to feed the large group of horses, there were all the deer again.
Although finches aren't exactly a farm animal, we have been very fortunate in finding some Gouldian finches, very pretty and becoming so rare in Australia they aren't being exported any more. We also added Long Tailed Grass Eating finches and two Green Singing finches. Since we have long winters, the colour and birdsong they bring to us is greatly enjoyed.
Sadly we lost one lamb this month - we had been told by our neighbour up the mountain opposite that there is a lynx on her mountain and we've also been advised there is a cougar around. So while you do your best to protect everyone, sometimes it isn't possible.
October is also the month for making tomato chutney, canning beets and making apple sauce. We also keep quite a few apples for the horses in the winter.
October also saw the finishing of the new cow shelter for the winter and I know our Jerseys will look forward to snuggling down when the snow arrives.
We have two stallions, Sleipnir and Fleygur, and as I've mentioned before, we always leave a mare with them to keep them happy. We had had Mugga in with Fleygur for breeding for quite a while (Icelandics pasture breed) but Mugga didn't appear to like Fleygur, who is actually a very kind and gentle horse. Krafla was in with Sleipnir. We had both mares preg-tested and found that Krafla was at least four months pregnant and Mugga hadn't caught, so we decided to change the mares.
Krafla is a very agreeable horse and the first time I threw hay into the feeder for her and
Fleygur, Fleygur stood back expecting to get kicked off. After a bit he ventured towards the feeder and soon found that Krafla was pleased to share. In the other paddock, Mugga had decided that she liked Sleipnir and was pleased to share the feeder with him!
We have read that in Iceland some stallion owners have found that certain stallions simply will not breed a mare of a specific colour. In our case Mugga found something about Fleygur that she didn't like.
We were able to arrange for family members to feed everyone for two feeds that enabled us to go to The Mane Event in Chilliwack. It was a huge treat for us both to be able to be away at the same time and I have never seen so many horse related products for sale in one place ever! I could have spent the three days just looking around. There was also such a pretty Highland pony for sale and it was probably a good thing that it sold before I could follow it up! It's also a treat for us if we get to the coast to be able to visit family and see our grandchildren.
Part way through the month the dump truck load of shavings arrived for the winter and they were very welcome as they do such a good job of soaking up mud and firming it up for the animals' feet. The driver did say how much he appreciated us ordering them before the snow was on the ground, as apparently it was last year when he arrived! If only the rain would stop, and rain at this time of year on a reasonably continuous basis, is unusual.
We ended the month going to Fitjamyri Icelandic Horse Farm where our geldings Teigur, Solvi and Garpur had been during the year for training. They are home here for the winter and are listed on our Horses For Sale page. As long as the snow keeps away, I'll try keeping their training updated.
This is the time of year that is one of the most beautiful with all the leaves on the deciduous trees changing colour, largely shades of yellow and orange in this area. It is also the time that when you hear things zinging down onto the tin roofs of various shelters, you know to watch out because the squirrels are hurling pine cones down to hoard away for the winter.
We started September with a visiting Iceland dog, Denali, coming from Washington to be bred to our dog
Kolur. The Harvey family has one of our dogs and Scotti very kindly brought a new little female puppy, Tofra
Kolbra, back from Iceland for us as her family was getting one of Kolla's brothers. It's always upsetting for dogs to leave their homes even for a short time but we tried to make Denali's stay as enjoyable as possible.
September is also the month that we start winter preparation and get ready for the onset of snow. Hay is being stored and my husband and one of my grandsons have been busy putting up a loafing shed for our mares and foals for the winter and another small barn for our Jersey cows and calfs for the winter is planned.
We had a visit from the family whose Haflinger stallion Mandl had sired our Haflinger mare Christa, resulting in a lovely little colt, see June Farm Update. Very sadly Mandl had succumbed to colic at the vet's barn, so we were very delighted that Christa's little colt, Mandel, will be going to his sire's farm in the spring.
September was the month of the Salmon Arm Agricultural Fair, with very interesting historical displays of early tractors and haying machinery, many old farm implements, cattle, horses, sheep, sheep shearing demonstration, goats, llamas, alpacas all being shown, a horse show, and all round a great tribute to various agricultural pursuits.
It was time for sheeps' feet trimming and this is where the Icelandic sheeps' horns come in very handy for catching them! A sheep squeeze is really useful too as the sheep are amazingly strong and it can be quite difficult to hang on to them and trim feet without getting kicked.
We also decided, rather late I think, to take our silver dapple mare Doria to Fitjamyri Icelandic Horse Farm, where they have two silver dapple stallions, to try for a breeding and if successful, also hope that we might have a silver dapple foal, although there is no guarantee with this.
Our large animal vet came to geld Somi and preg test three of our mares. We've been very fortunate with all our previous geldings not to have had a horse that was cryptorchid, but unfortunately Somi is, so we will have to arrange shortly for him to have the necessary surgery.
Happily Dr. Flock confirmed that Krafla is pregnant and there is a 50/50 chance that Embla is. Mugga is not, which was a surprise, but much nicer to know than spend a year trying to decide if a horse looks any heavier, particularly one side than the other!
My husband started working with two of our three year olds doing groundwork in our round pen. We have to try and take advantage of the weather for this before the snow comes. Both Tyra and Heidi did well.
With the loafing shed finished for the mares and foals for the winter, work is now underway for a shed for our Jersey cows and calfs for the winter. Maybe we'll be lucky this winter and snow will be a long time coming.
Amazingly - September 30th - and we still had a very few humming birds at our feeders. Prior to this, August 12th was the last day they've been here. We've been looking for the grey jays to return for the winter although there will be competition for their food as someone dropped a black cat off at the end of our drive and it produced one little black and white kitten, cross eyed and bandy legged, but very appealing and his favourite food is that provided on our deck rails for the birds!
Finally hot and sunny weather, although we always appreciate rain as it keeps the pasture green for just a little bit longer. However, the time for hauling water was upon us as our well, although really deep, doesn't produce enough water for all our animal and garden requirements through the summer.
We had been taking advantage of our neighbour's empty farm to let our sheep out for grazing and they often made their way up to Bonnie's, where there are two large ponds in addition to grass that isn't used at the moment. Sadly on August lst the return count showed one little black and white ram lamb missing and when my husband went to check, he found clumps of black and white fleece in the vicinity of one of the ponds. There are always coyotes around but it was the first time we had had this experience. What wasn't welcome was the fact that the A-Cat got stuck in the edge of the pond and the tractor was required to pull it free! One of the many unplanned events on a farm that take up time not allotted for that!
We picked up Embla from her second try at having her bred to a silver dapple stallion. She had never had a foal before she left Iceland, so it is possible that we left trying to breed her just a bit too late. We'll keep our fingers crossed though.
We were also aware that there was a black mother bear and her bear cub wandering around. We didn't ever see them together, always separate, so were careful to keep a watch for them. There were quite a few deer around also.
The hot summer weather isn't the time to do very much with our Icelandic horses and it is the time that they seek out shelter. In the winter the more snow and wind there is, the more they like to be out in it playing and running, but they look for trees and sheds to get out of the sun when it's hot.
We also had two more of our grandchildren visiting from the coast and it is always a fun trip for children who don't usually get to visit and work with farm animals. Other friends who have two of our Icelandic sheepdogs were here in August and it's always interesting to us that although the dogs remember our farm and apparently get excited when they know it's getting close to getting here, when signs of packing up are happening, they're in Judi and Bruce's car, or our daughter and family's car, in a flash!
Another item to check in August is knapweed. It is a most noxious weed with a huge taproot and it is just essential to remove and send to the dump any clumps that we come across. We live about a thousand feet higher than one of my daughter's and her family, and they have a considerably greater knapweed problem than we do. Also interesting are the different species of birds we each have due to the elevation difference.
Hay and straw is now being brought in to prepare for the winter. It's surprising what a shortage of straw we often encounter, so this year we made sure provisions were made early.
Great evenings sitting outside at night in August. As we don't have any close neighbours, it's always pitch dark and the sky looks like black velvet with many diamonds scattered in it - and almost complete silence! No traffic noise, no sirens, just the odd animal noise. How lucky we are!
The July holiday weekend was one of the most exciting ones I've ever spent as I participated in an Icelandic Horse Schooling Show, the first time in my life I've ever done that, and yet spent so many of my childhood weekends watching gymnkhanas and local horse shows in England, but didn't have my own pony or horse then, so couldn't participate. The weather co-operated, there were many participants, Bernie Willis from Alaska was judging and coaching and it's hard to find anyone better than Bernie at that job. He shares his knowledge so willingly and you can always learn a lot from him.
I'm always very fortunate to be able to leave the farm for a week in July to go to The Alders, a resort located in Merville (between Courtenay and Campbell River) on Vancouver Island, four miles off the Highway, nothing but beach, a big reef with oysters, clams in the sand, a number of cottages at the beach and no television! We have been going there for about 30 years now, first with children and now grandchildren and are so lucky that after all these years, it remains as it was 30 years ago. I always feel guilty leaving my husband with all the work but try to make up for it when I get back. This year the weather was hot and sunny every day. My favourite time every day is first thing in the morning when everyone else is still fast asleep and I can settle with my horse books and coffee in peace and quiet with a marvellous view!
We were still able to let sheep roam free at this time but more and more coyotes were around and we had to use our Great Pyrenees Misty to keep them at bay.
July 23rd was a busy day - our farrier and his helper arrived around 7, followed by some excavating equipment to start digging a new exit area from our basement. Problem with big winter snowfalls and a metal roof is that thawing against the metal roof results in ice forming there and slipping onto the next roof level, which results in an ice version of Mount Everest through the winter, a little close to the cats' winter home for comfort. So hopefully we won't have that concern through the winter, nor the spring thaw flood in the basement in he spring!
Then to the horses' feet! It was an adjustment for our horses as they've had the same farrier for years, but he has moved away and we had to make a change. Nearly all the horses behaved very well but one of our geldings was nervous about the new approach, but all went well in the end and the day went quickly!
This is the time for raspberry and cherry picking and we're fortunate to have a number of farms close by where we can do this. Also nice to be able to freeze the raspberries on cookie sheets right away and make the jam on a snowy day in the winter! Problem for cherry farmers this year though as we had more rain than usual and many cherries split and were being enjoyed by wasps.
So the summer goes on with many days where the temperature is over 100 degrees. The only time for working with the horses is early a.m. and in the evening as it's really too hot the rest of the day and the horses seek out shelter from the sun under the trees.
Humming birds still very active and baby Grosbeaks are now busy at our feeders. We're watched Downy Woodpeckers taking individual black oil sunflower seeds from the feeder and carrying it to a tree trunk where they break it open to get the seed out.
June and July Farm Update
The way the time flies by on a farm in the summer is unbelievable. We began with lots of very welcome rain in June but then the heat came and by the time all daily chores are done, a lot of energy has also gone when the temperature is up over 100. The early rain played havoc with a good many garden items and things like our hanging baskets and certain other plants and flowers didn't really recover well from the lack of sun, so will look forward to more colourful days next summer.
A non-farm event was the Creative Chaos Craft Fair which is usually the first weekend in June in Vernon and has a tremendous number of crafters and is always such a fun and interesting trip as there's something for everyone there with a huge variety of crafts. I left with a number of barnwood frames of various sizes and just need the time to paint the pictures to fill them now!
This is the time when the sheep can be sprung free for grazing and there is a large area for them. Our next door neighbour's 100 acre farm has been empty for a couple of years now and the sheep had got into the habit of wandering up to Bonnie's, but unfortunately it is just too far away from our farm and we lost three to coyotes, so they have to stay closer to home now.
Our first excitement in June was to head to the coast to pick up our new Iceland Sheepdog puppy arriving from Iceland. We were very fortunate that Scotti, who had previously got a puppy from us, was travelling from Washington to Iceland to pick up a puppy from the same litter and very kindly brought Kolla back for us. She is a very pretty little puppy, similarly coloured to our Alfadis (daughter of Rof and Kappi), so carrying the chinchilla gene which should leave to some very pretty puppies two years down the road when we start breeding them.
While waiting at the border, we made the mistake of checking our cell
messages and there was one from my daughter, who was picking up shavings for
the arrival of her meat chickens, to let us know that when she arrived at our
farm one of our stallions (Sleipnir) was out, as our neighbour's Percherons,
from the top of the mountain opposite, were visiting and one was in heat!
Nothing you want to hear more than that when you're about five hours from
home! However, never really having jumped before, Karen watched Sleipnir sail
like a bird over the fence around our house and garden, and was able to let
him in with our two expectant mares, where he stayed happily until we got
home, with the Percherons on the other side of the fence! Getting everything
back in order again wasn't quite as straightforward, but eventually the
Percherons headed home, and Sleipnir followed the tractor back to his
establishment and Krafla!
Mid-May we loaded our silver dapple mare up once again for a trip to Fitjamyri to be bred to Ari, a silver dapple stallion there. Last year's breeding was unsuccessful, so we're trying one more time. There was a slight holdup when my husband opened the trailer door to see a large and very active wasp's nest hanging from the roof in the front! Due to the fact that Embla was in standing heat, this also attracted the attention of our faithful stallion Sleipnir! - all added to the fun!
Next excitement - Monday, June 18th - when I came out early to feed, Christa (one of our Haflingers) had had her foal, a lovely little colt. They were kept separate for a few weeks, but then we put them in with Stella and her colt, which makes much more fun for the foals since the mares have no interest in playing with their offspring! Both Stella and Christa are great mothers though and look after their foals very carefully.
This is the first year our 22 treed acres at the back of our property have been fenced so it has been a great opportunity for the horses to wander through there and feed. There are deer, bears out there and at least one moose, but everyone appears to be co-existing well.
Somi, our yearling possible stallion prospect, learned a lesson about rakes! I had just finished cleaning out his paddock and was heading out with my rake and shovel in the cart when he decided to pick up the rake from the tine end. Of course the handle shot up and whacked him in the face, scared him so much that he forgot to let go of it, and it happened again! Following that I rescued the rake! He's stayed away from it since then.
Towards the end of June, my son Paul and his family, Tracy, Evan and Chloe, arrived for a visit and offered very welcome help! Evan arrived with a marshmallow shooting gun and I was so pleased that he came and asked me first if it would be alright if he shot at my sheep with it!!
We took our stallion Sleipnir fra Arbakki to Fitjamyri Farm for filming and listing For Sale. We have two stallions, Sleipnir and Fleygur, and have decided we really only need one. This is always a difficult decision when you've had a horse for many years, he's produced great offspring, is always kept with a mare and is such a friendly horse.
June is also the month we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first humming birds!
May is such a busy month, with the snow finally gone and all the spring cleanup waiting, that it's already mid June and I realize I forgot the May update!
The first really exciting event was waiting for us on the morning of May 8th. Stella had had her little foal during the night and he was dry, alert and jumping around by the time we came to check. He is such a pretty pinto colour, at the moment still basically grey and white, but the grey is likely to change. Stella, his mother, was our first Icelandic and having bred her every other year, this is her fifth foal, three being pintos, one chestnut and now this little chap grey and white pinto.
Next spring event was putting ear tags on the lambs and on some of the ewes. The first applicator didn't work with the tags we were sent so off we had to go to get a new set of both. This is never an enjoyable job, most particularly with the little lambs whose ears are still soft and fragile and can tear if they pull their heads away quickly. My granddaughter who was holding the lambs couldn't bring herself to
Then came the time to de-horn our Jersey heifer calfs. First check showed that they were still too small, but a couple of weeks later and they were fine. You wish you didn't have to do this, but if you have cows with horns, who are very gentle but not keen on flies, you know that a swinging head with long horns isn't too desirable! The sheep squeeze turned out to be a splendid holding place for the calfs and with a heavy dose of cream round the base of their horns to stop any burning of the skin, the job didn't take very long and they were on their way again.
As the second ram to go in with our sheep was quite a gentle ram, we left him in with the ewes all winter with the result that our lambing was spread out over a slightly longer period than usual. Our last two lambs were born in May and are such pretty little spotted lambs, one a badgerface.
Finally grass for everyone but although we have a large area and perimeter fencing and there's masses of grass for the sheep, they've decided they'd like to explore where our road leads to, which is extremely tiresome and I think more fencing may be required!
Our chickens are growing fast and we're looking forward to them starting to lay. What passes as a "large" egg in the store is very far from the size egg our chickens lay and we're spoiled having our own eggs.
I'll add pictures of birds, flowers and hopefully some of our butterflies for the June update. We are also looking forward to the arrival of our Haflinger mare Christa's foal and our puppy's arrival from Iceland.
The beginning of April arrived with a great deal of warm and strong
winds, which had a remarkable thawing effect on the snow, which just seemed
to vanish over several days without major flooding and huge lakes
everywhere. The snow was higher than our garbage cans, so there was a
considerable amount to go!
It was a busy time with our litter of puppies who were due to go to their
new homes following their vet check and first set of shots. Our
granddaughters were here at Easter time, so the puppies had a lot of
attention and were sung to regularly. One was leaving as a companion to
another dog of ours on a sheep farm in Oregon. Another heading for the
chilly spot of Churchill, Manitoba, one to Whistler, where it might be a
cross country skiing companion, another to Calgary and another to Pitt
Meadows, while Alfadis remains with us as a new member of our breeding
We had a sad but not unexpected event at Easter
time as one of our first Icelandic sheepdog arrivals from Iceland
did not wake up on Easter Sunday morning, after a struggle with
cancer. Lukka came to us as a puppy from Iceland in the summer of
'96, was an exemplary mother and a very loyal and loving friend and
companion to us. She made many families in north America happy with
the lovely puppies she produced and we will miss her sorely. It is
pertinent to leave a picture of her in her happiest role as a mamma,
although she did have some memorable experiences sending our
neighbours' cattle home when they got through the fence, and moving
our horses for us, usually when we hadn't asked her to!
April is always a busy sheep time with shearing
and lambing both happening. Shearing is always an interesting event
and our grandchildren are ready to assist. We have to be sure,
should it rain, that all sheep are sheltered for the preceding
couple of days because wet fleece gives off a chemical that causes
problems for our shearer. This year we were lucky and it was a warm
and sunny period. The amusing time is when the ewes are returned to
their lambs about half the size they had been and it takes a little
while for the lambs to decide who their mother really is! Until they
do, confusion reigns! Hauling the rams is not an easy job and it is
certainly convenient that all but one of the sheep have horns!
One interesting lambing story from last Sunday morning. I've had problems
with ram lambs being born in the past because they arrive with fairly
pronounced horns at birth and it's sometimes quite difficult to ease the
head out. This was different though - when I went out to feed, I could hear
an unusual noise and I thought it was coming from the rams so headed there
first. It wasn't.
So next I headed for the ewes and they all came running except one
sitting/lying down, so I knew that was the problem. When I looked, there was
a lamb's head and one foot sticking out and clearly everything had ground to
a halt and it was stuck and I assumed also that it was dead.
By the time I'd brought hay in for the others to get them out of the way,
the moorit ewe was on her feet too and faster than I am! So it took me a bit
of time to separate her until she went into the lamb shed and I could shut
her in. Then I caught her and tried to ease the other foot out but it just
wouldn't come. By then she decided to lie down, which was a big help because
it gave me both hands to work with.
I simply could not get the other front foot free so eased and pulled and
pulled and finally the lamb shot free, to all intents and purposes limp and
dead. Once before I had a bit of a similar experience so I cleared its mouth
and began swinging it back and forth by the hind legs. I'd read to do this,
while at the same time making sure you didn't hit a wall with the lamb!!
Anyway little noises started from its mouth and I rubbed it and swung some
more and the ears wiggled and lo and behold it began to breathe. I was most
amazed, as was its mother I think. So here's the picture of a fine start to
a Sunday morning! It will have to be a special little chap because he really
did return from the almost gone!
Grass has now started to grow so cows and their calfs have been sprung
free from their winter quarters and are enjoying the freedom of running in a
New birds have joined us and the month went out on April 30th with the
arrival of the first humming bird! Violets should be along soon. We have a
new greenhouse, but still have to keep nearly everything inside as frosts
are still here most mornings. Hopefully May will be really warm.
Getting ready for some foal arrivals, though it looks as if two of our
breedings may not have succeeded. This is always disappointing but there
must be a good reason for it.
Now that the snow is starting to thaw, there are so many cleanup jobs that I had forgotten that March was at an end! We had much more snow this year than for many years and as our farm is on a slight slope, when there's a big snowfall, the runoff seems to decide the best way to go is via our basement! I actually thought we might need a boat this year, but as we had everything up on pallets ahead of time, plus a new utility pump, after the initial flood, the water seemed to re-route itself, which was very welcome.
We encountered a scours problem with our calfs at the beginning of March and while two responded well to boluses, the third, my very favourite Maria, did not. They just didn't work for her. It happened that we were going to Vernon to check on three of our Icelandic geldings at Fitjamyri for training and I asked if they had had cows in Holland. The answer was yes, and they had cured their scours problems many years ago with plain yogurt. Needless to say it was purchased on our way home and we gave it orally by syringe - and it worked!! What a relief. The snow is nearly gone where the cows are, so this week the calfs will leave the barn to join their mothers outside during the day.
We have two very exciting items that were planned in March. We will be getting a new Iittle female Icelandic Sheepdog puppy, Kolbra - call name
Kolla) from Iceland at the beginning of the summer. We always try to keep a wide genetic base in our breeding program, which we have done in the past by bringing puppies in from Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Portugal. Once we saw a picture of Tofra Birta
Freyja, we fell in love with her and my husband really hoped Monika would sell her! However, we were so lucky that we contacted her just when she was thinking of breeding her. Our dog Alfur was bred by Monika when she lived in Norway, so it's very nice to be able to keep the connection.
The second exciting item is that we are going to get a blue dun silver dapple mare from Lukka at Langhus Farm in northern Iceland. The current plan is to have her bred to a silver dapple pinto stallion and bring her to our farm in the future. We really do like the silver dapple colours and have two silver dapple mares here now, Doria and
Embla. Doria had a very pretty little colt last summer and Embla was bred to a silver dapple stallion last summer, so we hope for a healthy little foal.
We have a Swedish friend who has Icelandic horses, also an antique business and visiting her farm where her antiques are shown in her barn and her stables is a really exciting event. Eva was at an antique show in Kamloops in March and just to visit is to start you thinking about how to decorate areas at your farm with antique wooden tables, wooden flower containers (square with sloping in sides), and many other things!
When I go out early in the morning now the birdsong is deafening. I always have news seeds, peanuts etc. on our deck rails by about six, but in the cold weather it was often 8 before any birds arrived. Not any more. Our grey jays were missing nearly all of March and we thought they had left until we researched only to find out this is when they nest and their fledglings often appear while snow is still on the ground. Sure enough this morning they were back when I was putting the seed out.
Hooray for April and warmer weather - and no snow!
Snow has continued to fall fairly steadily throughout February and we're already looking at increasing our sump pump numbers for the spring thaw. We live on a slight slope and it does seem as if the spring runoff from further up the road makes its way steadily through our basement! Meanwhile the huge increase in snowfall over the last few years and the fact that we normally don't use our horse trailer during the winter, resulted in some massive digging operations to enable the tractor, which also got stuck, to pull the horse trailer out of the snow because we did, in fact, need to use it!
February 13th was very exciting as Raf (Grimsnes' Rof), bred to Kappi, duly had her litter of puppies, three little boys and three little girls, all very healthy. Following is a picture of Raf and the puppies soon after they were born and another picture taken today (Feb. 27th), showing the puppies at two weeks, and hopefully you can see that all their eyes have opened today. It will be interesting to see how their colours change within the next few weeks.
It became fairly obvious on Sunday morning, February 18th, that this would probably be the day for Butterscotch's calf to arrive. She was quite anxious and really didn't want to go outside for her early morning feed, but would have been happier to stay inside. We kept a close eye on her all day, letting her back inside quite early in the morning and separating her from Sabrina's calf, so that the colostrum would be safe for the new calf. Sure enough some time between 5 and 6 o'clock, a new little heifer calf arrived - Butterscotch was very proud - and the calf soon struggled to its feet but was not interested in drinking.
We had our nephew, his wife and their two sons visiting from England, combining the visit with a skiing holiday at Sun Peaks and enjoying an introduction to farm life. It was the case that Richard said he thought his most 'never-to-be-forgotten' memory of the trip was digging out the horse trailer!! It was exciting for the children to see the new calf and the puppies.
After the calfs were a couple of weeks old, we decided to get a Jersey bull calf for several reasons. Jersey milk is very rich and can often be a little much for one calf/one cow, we also needed an unrelated bull calf for future breeding and finally, as Jersey cows become very dangerous as they get a little older, we enjoy Jersey meat very much and it enables us to produce our own meat. We brought our new little calf home last Friday, left him in the horse trailer overnight and I bottle fed him with not a huge amount, so that by the time we went to add him to the heifer calfs, he was well and truly hungry and neither Sabrina nor Butterscotch objected to his persistance!
We have some horses together in quite a large group and it is interesting to see how the round bales are delivered to them!
We took our gelding Solvi to Vernon, where he is starting his training, and brought our gelding Vindur home with us. Also we were very happy to hear that our silver dapple mare Seria fra Nyjabae had been sold and has gone to her new home.
Again the birds are always waiting for us to come out in the morning and two more are added for everyone to see. The first is a Downy Woodpecker a really pretty little bird and they look so sweet going up and down the tree trunks. The second group of birds are Grosbeaks, who always travel in a fairly large group and all come to eat at the same time.
More snow is forecast - it's so hard to picture ourselves sitting on our deck in the summer when now we have to dig a pathway off it!
... to be continued in March.
January 2007 Farm Update
Start of a New Year
The beginning of a New Year is always an exciting time on
a farm. Planning for fine weather work is always interesting and challenging
and for those who really also enjoy gardening, the seed catalogues are great!
However, it is also a time when useful items like the wheelbarrow get replaced
with a toboggan, which takes hay across deep snow even better than an A-Cat
The first arrival of 2007 at our farm was a new German Shepherd
puppy Heidi from Abbott’s German Shepherds in Arizona. Very sadly we had to
have our German Shepherd Zoe put to sleep just before Christmas, as her cancer
had not responded to surgery. Heidi is already making an impact and growing
We are looking forward to the arrival of two
calves from our Jersey cows Sabrina and Butterscotch in the spring. Time
of arrival is a distinct improvement over the arrival of Sabrina's calf
the first year we had her - January 26th, just after midnight, in the
middle of an Agassi/Sampras tennis semi-final live from the Australian
Open in Melbourne and in an absolute blizzard at our farm. The cows were
warm and dry, which was more than I was after repeated 'between sets'
visits to the barn!
|Next arrivals should be four
|three from our Icelandic mares,
Stella fra Icelandic Horse Farm,
Embla fra Efri-Laekjardal,
and Krafla fra Neora-Seliand,
and one from our Halflinger Christa.
Later our lambs should be arriving from our Icelandic sheep
and our new Icelandic rams. This is always an interesting time as the little
ram lambs are born with fairly prominent horns which, even with liberal use
of KY jelly, have resulted in some somewhat drastic pulling. It never seems
to disturb the ewes however.
Finally about mid February we expect a litter of puppies from
the breeding of our Icelandic sheepdog Grimsnes' Rof from Denmark and Kappi
It is also a time of the year when many normal farm activities
are slowed down or stopped due to the snowfall of that particular winter.
This year we had had more snow by the end of November than the whole of last
winter. If it warms up a bit, maybe a little riding can happen but it is a
time when a covered arena would be really great.
As the snow continues to fall we are also kept really busy continuously refilling
our birdfeeders, of which we have
many. We assume, as a result of changes in the climate, we were visited this
summer for the first time in12 years by Steller's jays and Grey Jays, who
have so far remained
with us during even the coldest -30 days. However, the colder, snowier and
windier the weather, the later in the morning they arrive to feed.
… to be cont'd