Good Mouser

We disturbed a whole nest of mice one day cleaning out the barn.  Luckily this friendly guy was there to nab a few of them for us!  A little hard to tell in the picture, but he’s got three of them lined up in his mouth!  He then set them down and caught more!



Male cats aren’t always the best mousers, so I hope he sticks around!

Breaking in the new stuff

One of the reps I follow on Twitter posted a pic of a seed wagon that a farmer was selling. It looked quite useful, so I went to check it out!  (thanks twitter!)

Yesterday, I brought it home from Stouffville with the new truck.. it’s first towing-a-farm-wagon experience!  Set the cruise at 65 (km/h not miles!) and it trailed like a charm!

Here’s the new truck:



that pulled the wagon:

seed wagon


Previously, we used a pail to fill the seed planter from the wagon, so the auger will be a nice relief on the back, as well as being a little speedier!


Milk Machine

The March Break week turned out to be a pretty busy one!  Being away Tues. and Thurs. taking my daughter to see Universities didn’t help any!  Add in the fact that both groups of ewe lambs seemed to be in the thick of lambing this week and I seemed to be constantly ‘trying to make room’ for all the little lambs.

One thing we ended up doing was making a fairly large group of ewe’s and newborn lambs, rather than having them in individual pens for a day or too first.  Between that and having several birthing difficulties, we ended up with half a dozen lambs that were either orphaned or just not thriving. We fired up the milk machine I bought last fall – our first use of it- and after a day or two of playing with them, all but two lambs seem to have it figured out!  It is so much easier than trying to bottle feed them on any kind of a frequent schedule like they should have, when the machine just keeps automatically mixing up more when ever they need it.  I like it!


Why I love my Smartphone

A certain Agri-guy who is a pretty tech savvy dude, and prolific tweeter, has stated he doesn’t really want a smartphone.  I am therefore inspired to write down why I don’t want to be with out one!! (I seriously would rather forget my wallet when I leave home, than my phone…)

Sooo… top ten things I do with my smartphone:

1- Weather: as a sheep and crop farmer, it is great to be able to look up weather at the moment you want to know – from how cold it’s going to be over night – to the radar image of how long I have until it rains and my seed corn is going to get wet.  Up to the minute (ok, so it’s a 10 min delay) is awesome!

2- Spreadsheets: yes, I use excel spreadsheets on my iPhone. and it works fine.. Data entry is never that fun on a phone, so I don’t really do it, but I keep livestock summaries as well as crop/field data in spreadsheet format on the computer. I simply put that onto the iPhone, and I can look up who that ewe is, or what variety of seed I planted in that field, right when I want to know.

3- Calculate stuff: lots of phones have calculators, but I also have an app for calculating spray volumes, in Litres per Acre (a distictly Canadian unit of measure!!) as well as a unit conversion app, and even a GPS app that measures how far I’ve gone from one point to the next, or number of acres enclosed within a loop I make!  One trip around the outside of the field, and I know how big it is! (not as accurate as a GPS in the tractor, but still close..)

4- Flashlight: This is not the reason I bought a phone, but the app that turns my camera flash into a (surprisingly bright) flashlight, is absolutely great for those ‘I just need to see for a minute’ situations.  And, of course, it’s always with me, so it’s handy!

5- Maps: I’m a pretty good-with-directions guy, but the map feature with the GPS you-are-here dot is actually quite handy when you’re heading to a meeting in a town you’ve never been to before.

6- Camera: Those of you who follow this blog, are benefiting from the increased ease of having a camera on the phone.  And yes, every phone now has one, but I like the ability to shrink and email them to the home computer, all ready to blog!  I also use it for taking the written records from the barn, to the computer at the house, without having to bring the stinky book home, or forget to take it back!  Not to mention sending the picture of that broken part to the wife so she can pick one up and know what the heck she is trying to get!

7- the Phone: it’s just a really good phone!  But mostly, it’s the depth of the contact list.  I have everyone I know on there, and it’s easy to find them, and it syncs back to my (microsoft) computer address book, so it’s up to date.  You just never know when that person you never call, is the person you need to ask one quick question right now!

8- Google Calendar:This is mostly due to the wife being organized.. but we have a google calendar set up for each member of the household.  It syncs automatically with my phone, and she puts alerts on the ones she thinks I’ll forget!  So if I have to pick up a kid from something, it beeps at me just before I have to leave (because I do get wrapped up in what I’m doing and forget what time it is!) or if I get home, and don’t know where anyone is, I look it up, and it’s usually there.  It is something we all find very helpful

9- Prices: From the noon hour tweets from the local elevator, to looking up whatever future prices I like to know.  When some one says “what’s the price of corn today?” I don’t have to remember, I just look it up!  This also applies to livestock prices, as well as gas station prices -I love my new ‘Gas Buddy’ app!

10-OK, so 10 isn’t really enough ’cause of all that other fun stuff: between facebook and twitter, online banking, angrybirds, eBooks, or that iHandy Level, there is just a tonne of stuff that is available to me.  I don’t use these alot, but every once in a while…? definitely worth it.

In the end, it’s like anything you buy.  Whether it’s worth  the price of admission depends on how much you use it.


P.S. Ironically, after writing this, we went out for diner, and I forgot my wallet! (but I had my phone!)  My dear darling wife had to pay…

A Day of Triplets

Yesterday seemed to be the day for triplets..  There was one set when we got there in the morning, all curled up together and looking quite cute. (and a little goopy still)

During morning chores, another two ewes lambed, one with triplets and one with twins.  The afternoon saw another set of triplets born, and then overnite, one of my older Dorset ewes (who don’t normally have triplets) had, you guessed it, triplets!

Some of them are pretty small, but so far they seem to be fairing well.

Funny how the only triplets I’ve had this season, all came on the same day..


Winter Wonderland 2.. or maybe 4

So this ‘Winter’ it seems to snow and melt, and snow and melt… we managed a White Christmas when it snowed Christmas Eve, but it melted Boxing Day before snowing a wonderfully pretty snowfall in the afternoon today.

The sheep were nice and quiet over the holidays.. no lambs born at all, so it has been a very nice quiet holiday for us too.  (and we may still be able to get some pens finished before we need them for little lambs!)

Us on our way home…

Death by coyote

Tuesday morning found us with 3 dead sheep in our yard.  After Dad had gone on to feed some hay in the barn, he looked out again only to see one big healthy coyote back looking for more!

Had to call into the compensation board, and then to our resident ‘best shot around’ Rob Brown from Tara Hill.

The next morning, Rob was able to track a couple of them to the south, hopefully he scared them enough to keep them at bay for a little while!!

Shearing !

A bunch of these ewes are due in January. It makes it better for lambing if there is no wool to get in the way and last year I waited until the first week of Jan. to shear them.  Having a couple of the first ones sheared give birth before the last ones were finished is cutting it a little too close!! So this year I started before Christmas!

Ruco Braat from Bailieboro came on Tues. and we sheared 133 of them.  Not bad for a days work!

Here’s a before and after pic.  Don’t they look nice and smooth once they’re done! (and a little bit funny!)


First snow of the season, and it suddenly added up to making things look pretty white!

Glad that we finished all our field work! Now we just have to get everything put away.. after this snow melts!

Soybeans are doing great

The soybeans are coming off quite nicely, although we ended up unloading into a bin here at home, because the scale quit working at the local grain elevator. (what a headache for them!!)  They seem to be running around the 50-55 bu/ac range which is really good.  (and yes, the combine auto header is following the ground like it should!)

We also got the kids roped in to doing a little cultivating after school, so Grandpa got the one field planted back into wheat, and should be able to get the next couple today…

Gotta love this beautiful weather!!