Monday, July 21, 2014

Lots

As in a large amount of things.  I was going to do this post a week or more ago.  After the Friday when I made lots of jam.  Probably the most jam I've made in a day.  Eight different kinds.  Which made about 80  jars of various sizes, which would have been 90+ cups.  Days like that I think, wow, imagine if I could do this every day....

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 For some reason my back wasn't complaining like it usually starts to do, and I guess I was just of the mindset that I was going to get it done.  It probably didn't hurt that I had a good book to read while I was doing some of the stirring.

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Since I've taken so long to do this post, I have another 'lots' to add.  I`ll stick it here since it relates to the jam. We made a flying trip to Oliver last week.  Left Tuesday evening, to avoid driving in the heat. When you are driving in a non-airconditioned car with three dogs, you have to pick your travelling times.  It wasn't too bad, but we hit the Keremeos valley around 9pm, and it was very warm there.  Some of the fruit stands were still open, so we stopped at our favourite one that has a special table where they put 'jammers', as they call them.  Got 30 lbs of peaches there, and then stopped at another stand and got 8 lbs of apricots.  Once we went over the Richter Pass and dropped down into Osoyoos, it was actually a bit cooler, which was surprising, as Osoyoos can be one of the hottest places in Canada.  Anyway, the next day we drove from Oliver up the highway a few miles and scored on cherries, peaches and apricots.  All 220 lbs of them.  This picture isn't including the 38 lbs we got the night before.

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Paid between 40 and 60 cents a pound for all of them.  We spent the rest of that day in the air conditioning (the outside temperature hit 40 C, 104 F that day) processing that fruit for the freezer.  We did take one break in the afternoon to dunk ourselves and the dogs in the lake.  The apricots are easy to do, the peaches a bit harder because you have to blanch them first to get the skins off.  The cherries are really just the pits to do, really:(  We had two hand pitters, one is good, the other one we gave up on.  Cherry juice splatters every where.  We ended up having to bring 100 lbs of fruit back with us, to deal with here, including 30 lbs of cherries.  I got smart here at home and covered a lot of things up with tea towels before we started, so I didn't have to move a lot of stuff, or wipe it all off after.  I looked in the mirror after finishing the cherries, and I looked like I had chicken pox.  Cherry juice splattered all over my chest and up my neck and under my chin (I was wearing an apron). Some of the apricots weren't ripe enough, so a few of those to do today.

And the other 'lots'are these.

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The new hens are in full lay.  Their eggs are rapidly increasing to full size.  They have been out in the whole field for a few weeks now.  Every previous Sunday market we have sold out of eggs early, and lots of our regular customers weren't able to get eggs, even when we took 30 dozen. We didn't even have a sign up that we had eggs for sale, enough people just know.  Remember how I have talked before about the supply and demand for eggs, and how often the supply and the demand don't match up.  Yesterday we took 40 dozen eggs, thinking that this time probably we would have enough for everyone.  Well wouldn't you know it, this was the first slow egg day at the market.  We even put our signs out, and were only able to sell 24 dozen.  Weird.  Thankfully I am going to Abbotsford's farmers market this coming Saturday, so will have that extra option for sales.  Hopefully this is just a blip in the egg business, but when you are getting 8 dozen a day, they fill up the fridge pretty fast.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Evening's Excitement

We were out picking raspberries on Friday night, just before it started to get dark.  After a bit we could hear the woosh woosh of a hot air balloon.  Larry asked me if I was going to get my camera.  I said "no, I have enough pictures of the Re/Max balloon".  Eventually we could see it just behind the cedar trees along the road, about 150' away.  It seemed to be stalled there and bobbing up and down.

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A balloon, so close....so I did go and get the camera.
It was hoving over the corner of the field just across the road from us.  We wondered at one point if they were going to try and land on the road, and heard some discussion about the power lines.

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It did land just inside our neighbour's field, just across the road from our driveway.  Maybe one of these days we will actually get one landing in our field, and will get to collect our cheapo bottle of champagne.  A balloon has now landed in the field across the road, and in the fields either side of us.

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Who is that guy in the baggy shorts and long black socks? He looks like an old fashion boy scout.  At least he wasn't wearing dress shoes to go with those socks.  And I definitely wouldn't let him go out in public wearing them, or any more public than in front of the few neighbours that wandered up to see the balloon..  I told him this morning that they did nothing for me.  Poor guy, he probably thinks the same about some of the things I wear, and is too kind to say anything to me.

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They left enough air in the balloon to float it over the gate and onto the side of the road.  It is not as close to the power line as it appears.

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It probably took less than 15 minutes to get the balloon all packed up and put away. 

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 By that time it was getting too dark and we had to finish picking the raspberries this morning.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Different Kind of Clothesline

Last Saturday was a 'free' day, ie no farmer's market for me.  Meredith and I went out to some garage sales.  We had a lot of fun.  Didn't spend a lot of money, I think the most I spent on one thing was $3 each for a couple of big mats.  Kind of like huge shaggy bath mats.  I was just going to get one to put on Calli's bed, but ended up getting both.  They are rubber on the back, but I have since found are not water (urine) proof like I hoped.  Anyway, they have a good weight, are kind of shaggy, and figured that Calli couldn't move it when she tried to scratch it around, and I could throw it in the washer.  The other one is at the back door.  Meredith got an awesome beach type umbrella that tilts, and a very small heavy stand for it to go in, perfect for her little balcony, $8 for both.  Of course other odds and sods, and maybe my best buy was 5 ink cartridges for my Epson printer.  They are Epson cartridges, so the ink doesn't run when it gets wet, and were $2 for 5 cartridges.  The two black ones are a couple months past their expiry date, and the coloured ones are more than that, so we'll see how they go.  They will probably be just fine.

Here's one of my 25 cent purchases.  A cute little basket that hangs on the clothesline, and it was full of clothes pegs.

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Except this isn't a clothesline.  It's my 'make do with what I have' way of protecting the blueberries from the birds.  I have lengths of 10' wide drapery fabric hung over a wire, and clothes pegged together.  There were two robins out there the other day having blueberry dessert before I got the line up, and the starlings would join the party any chance they got.

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There's a real blueberry farm just down the road from us, less than half a mile away,  complete with propane cannons and 'birds in distress' sounds.  I'm just thankful we are not any closer.  As it is, some mornings when that first boom goes off, I'd swear it is just at the bottom of our driveway.  

Here's our bird scare device, except I think the birds are so used to it that it is just decoration now, one missing glass eye and all.

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When you look on the shady side, you can see the berries through the fabric

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The berries are ripening nicely


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In the other row there are just a few bushes, so they are individually draped in fabric.  One bush goes for the camouflage look.

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There just might be some blueberries to take to the market this weekend, if we don't eat them all first.

Monday, July 7, 2014

It's All in the Name


I saw this in the flyer for one of our local grocery stores.  I've never heard of it, but of course I googled it and the reviews are good.  I think I'm going to have to try it, I love coconut.  And with a name like that....how can I not try it.  I don't think Luna is going to get any though.....but maybe I'll share it with Larry, or not:)


I had posted this on Facebook, and someone's mind went a totally different direction than mine.... wowzers!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Canada Day

My American readers will be celebrating their country's day on July 4, but here in Canada we celebrate Canada Day on July 1.
My dog club did it's usual demo at the Canada Day celebrations at Heritage Park in Mission, B.C.  It's about 20 minutes away, across the Fraser River from where we practice in Abbotsford.  We've being doing this demo for years, and every once in a while the question surfaces as to why we aren't doing one in Abbotsford.....and we come up with the same answers....It's a nicer location, there's a huge off leash area and a creek for the dogs, and we get an honorarium for being there.
It seems July 1st is more often than not, a scorcher of a day.  It got to 33 C or 91 F, and was our first hot day of the summer,  but there was a bit of a breeze, and the mosquitoes were pretty well non existent where the demo was.


I often think that the course we run is simplified too much, but this year we changed it up.  A tricky handling course for the masters dogs, and a simpler one for the beginners and advanced.  You will notice two different coloured number cones at the obstacles.
The first obstacle was the tire.  Now Luna used to have issues with the tire, and would run under it at times, especially if it was the first obstacle.  But, I thought she got over that long ago.  Not unusually, I was proved wrong.  All. three. times. She ran under that tire at the start of every demo.  I went out there between demo 2 and 3 and worked her with the ball and she jumped that tire every. single. time.  At the start of demo 3 I showed her the ball, and the little brat gave me the paw and ran under the tire again.  And took the same off course tunnel all three times (obviously I didn't adjust my handling enough to sort that out)  Did you know that in agility almost all errors are the handler's fault?:) 



Pretty well airborne


Pushing those poles out of the way.


But we had fun:) and I managed to prevent a teeter fly off  (That's when the dog launches itself off the end of the teeter before it hits the ground.)  Another one of Luna's favourite tricks, if I don't remember to yell 'EASY' in time.  There has been a time or two she flew off the end of that so fast, the board hadn't even started to tip.  There's a reason we say Luna is short for Lunatic.


And then there is reliable old Jake.

Look, I can fly!



The teeter is NOT Jake's favourite obstacle

I had some really nice runs with Jake, aka Mr. Reliable.  I had some fun runs with Luna aka Lunatic.  I thought was going to die in that heat after two runs almost back to back in the first demo.  The dogs did fine.  We took them in the creek a few times, and we had pools for them to go in.  Jake and Luna were never hot enough that they wanted to lay down in the pools.  They mostly dozed on the cool grass in the shade between runs.  It was a fun day, with lots of good food.  
We all take food to share, mmmmm.

All photos courtesy of friend Marilyn W.  Thank you!



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chicken Day

Yesterday was chicken day.  Tuesday of the previous week I had got a call (finally!) from the hatchery to say that I could pick up my 55 'ready to lay' pullets yesterday morning.

The work started the evening before though.  We got one coop cleaned out, and much of the other one.  Then after dark we carried the forty or so hens from the north coop and added them to the 27 hens in the south coop.  Both bunches of hens came here in the Spring of 2013, about a month apart.  Luna was beside herself with the excitement of it all.  She's not really interested in the chickens when they are out loose in the field, but if you start handling them, she wants to be right in the thick of the action.  Jake and Calli couldn't give a hoot.

Yesterday morning I got out there reasonably early and finished cleaning out the north coop.  We  realized rather too late the evening before that working in a dusty chicken coop was NOT the best thing for Larry's recent cataract surgery.  So a couple of hours later, I had the coop finished, taking all the roost and nest boxes out and hosing everything down, and then leaving it to dry in the sun.

We headed off to the hatchery.  Usually we load the back of the truck with assorted dog crates and chicken cages, which only fit in in a certain order, and are a pain in the arse to pile in and out of the truck.  So this year we tried something different, that we had seen someone else do.  We put hay in the back of the truck and just put all the birds in there loose.  It worked well, but it would have helped the clean up if we had put a tarp down first.  We have the base for the fifth wheel hitch bolted to the bed of the truck, and hay kept getting stuck under it as I tried to hose it out.
As soon as we got home, Luna was on high alert.  I know she doesn't look like it here, but trust me, she was.

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She didn't leave that truck the whole time it was parked in the shade while we got the chicken coop back together and set up for the new hens.

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It was all very exciting.  We backed the truck as close to the coop as we could, but were still ten feet or so away.  We didn't really have a good plan for getting them into the coop, since they were all loose.  In the end I had to climb into the truck and pick them up one at a time and hand them to Larry who carried them to the coop.

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Birds flapping around.....it all got too much for Luna and all of a sudden she came flying over the tailgate.

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She never once tried to touch any of those birds

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Even when they started flying around (see the one over my left shoulder)

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Or even when I put one on her back.  She just kept her eyes on the ones in the corner

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Eventually they were all safely ensconced in their home sweet home, and a few hours later a lot of them had ventured outside.  That was nice to see, as sometimes they can take a day or two to start going out.

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We'll keep them in this small pen for a week or so, so they have a chance to get things figured out and adjust to their new environment, and then the gate will be opened.

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We spent the rest of the day catching or herding previous inhabitants of that coop back to their new home.  There are three persistant ones that are at it again today.

Some of the new girls look fairly close to dropping that first egg, but lots won't be at that point for a few weeks yet.

Hurry up girls, we have customers waiting!

Update - one of them laid an egg today:)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Another Attempt

We took the dogs for a swim at the lake about 8 o'clock this evening. There was a dark and fascinating cloud formation coming over from Mt. Baldy way.  Like many of those black threatening clouds that we see around Oliver, it just dissipated and nothing came of it.
A couple of families of Canada geese sailed by to see what all the splashing was about.