I never really played with dolls...

... until our son came along.  Since then, I've become more intimately familiar with my more feminine side.   Tutus, stretchy pants, fancy dresses and wigs. And yes, dolls.

Perhaps you remember Frida, or "Mad Eye" as we know call her. I wrote about her eye transplant some time ago. Well, it would seem that "Mad-Mouth" Finn has had a go at her, and sadly things did not go well.

The Boy wanted to do some facial reconstruction mock-ups, and so we worked a bit of magic and came up with this:

So much for visualization.

In a laughing fit of sadness, we temporarily turned our attention to a recent gift given from Auntie Tara.  It is a DIY sock monkey from The Sock Monkey Show in Halifax.  Auntie Tara said she picked out the brightest colours she could find, and The Boy has been hounding me ever since.

Tara warned me there would be some sewing involved, but I had no idea that attention-to-detail was also warranted.  We'll leave you in suspense no longer.

Behold the Majestic Western Nova Scotia Sock Monkey!

"That is the ugliest sock monkey I have ever seen in my life!" The Boy said, once again laughing light-heartedly. It has, nonetheless, joined the pack of "Guys" on his bed and is now having a rather philosophical introduction to Mrs. Pinky Mouse (who is also a new addition to the family).

Hrmphf.  Good thing he's gotta lotta life ahead!

PS -  That monkey has gone to dinner with us, been on the trampoline, met Little Dan and is now singing some kind of meow-meow song in the bedroom!


We have a winner!

We have a winner in the "Name the Horse" competition!

Here's a clue:

Think you know what it is? Take a guess by leaving a comment!


A cock, two weaners and a Dick

There seems to be a theme running through Occidental Acres this spring, but I can't quite put my finger on it... 

Well, it's been a busy month here at Occidental Acres, Nova Scotia, my homestead, out there on Fundy Bay.  OA has a new rooster for our girls as Flink was WAY too hard on them. The new roo is a Buff Orpington (we have three BO hens and they are far and away  Laur's favourites), a bit more mature and has been really good for the girls. They all LOVE him - particularly our two small Golden Comets who were getting picked on by the other hens.  He has restored the pecking order and those two Comets will not venture far from his side. The three BO hens we have also adore him and together, those five snuggle at night. It's quite funny actually.   He is a big dood, and we call him Big Chicken - he has an amazing vocabulary and the hens hang on every word he says. Except when a duck flies by, then they tell him that he's over-reacting.

 He's missing a few tail feathers from altercations at his previous home, but they are growing out nicely and he'll present a rather majestic picture once he's all back together again!

We've noticed a marked drop in ticks this year, probably owing to the chickens and particularly the Guinea hens. They seem to have really eaten a lot!  Of course, I had three crawling up my neck saying Happy Mother's Day on Sunday, but that was because I was waaaaay out in the field finishing up my fencing and the birds don't go that far from home.

The most exciting news is that we've brought a giant Percheron home.  I'm super excited and a bit scared as this is my first horse! I love the big breeds and have been jonesing for a Percheron but never in a million years thought one would come my way.  He's 18hh and his name is Dick  As you can imagine, ribald jokes abound.  I'm pretty sure we'll be changing it! We're thinking Little Dan, but we'll see what sticks.

We've also been fencing like crazy for the two little piggies that came home last week (yeah man, weaners. Say it with me now! Weaners!), Berkshire/Tamworth crosses. One is red with big ears, the other is black with smaller ears - they are cute, but they are also food and so far I've managed to keep an emotional distance from them.  So, we put an electric fence energizer out in the field which required approx 500' of hand trenching to bury the wire... then we strung the wire (three strands because I just copied my friend Gerard's set-up, not realizing his was originally fenced for lambs.  Pigs only really require one strand... but live and learn!).

Two weanling pigs (weaners) - both Berkshire/Tamworth crosses, both female.  I call them Pigger Dhu and Pigger Roo

The top portion of my pasture has now been completely fenced. I divided it in two because the top dries before the bottom and it makes sense to rotate the fields, particularly with a big guy eating all the fresh grasses. I now have 2 three-acre pastures for Little Dan.  Next big project is a run-in shelter/barn for him for the winter. Once that is completed I'm sure there is a cow on the horizon. I'd love to see a miniature Belted Galloway, but that's just me. They are so gorgeous.  Highland might also be a decent choice for us.

The third project requiring hard work has been a new coop for the chickens. We will be getting some meat birds at the end of the month and want to keep them in the current coop and run. Our laying hens will then be moved to the new coop.  The new coop will have a winter-proof run for the girls so they can go out during the winter and not have to face 17 feet of snow.

We currently have seven laying hens and get a half dozen eggs (on average) per day. We sell two dozen a week for $3/doz, paying for their own feed, specially since they don't eat much during the summer as they are free-ranging for bugs and seeds. We're trying a different meat bird this year (Meat Kings were last year's bird) as the genetic mutants we had last year freaked us out. They grew like monsters and could barely walk by the time they reached a good processing weight. This year's birds are called Sasso and they are originally from France. They are a meat bird, but grow a bit slower and can actually walk around and free-range for a good portion of their diet (rather than laying down, panting with their heads in the feeder).

My understanding and appreciation of farming continues to deepen - lots of work for little money, but you do it because it's what you like to do.  It's also often quite dangerous (yes, we've done some stupid YouTube moment-type things).  We've been running since the weather turned (only a couple weeks ago.... sheesh what a hideous winter!) and there will be no break until the weather turns again late fall.  Lots of landscaping to do, run-in/barn building, more fencing (the bottom pasture and along the brook), then moving the pigs to new pasture a few times during the summer, of course haying and gathering this winter's wood (Little Dan will help me get to the places I can't reach with the tractor) and a whole slew of things I can't yet imagine!

Aaaaaand of course there will be lots of horseback riding!

... and that's the news from Occidental Acres, where all the women are strong, the male things are good-looking and the child is above average.