Saturday, June 30, 2012

A car crashed next door

Yesterday evening, while waiting for my husband to arrive home from a bit of overtime after his regular shift, Little M and I noticed a small pickup in the alfalfa field next door. I thought it was strange, as there was a guy standing up in the back, and through binoculars I noticed they seemed to be looking up the hill towards the road at something. There were a couple trees in my view, but I didn't see anything on the road, so figured maybe it was a deer or something. I kept my eye on them as they backed out, but then my husband pulled into the driveway and I didn't think anything more of it.

A half hour to an hour later, I was walking back up from the garden, and realized what they must have been looking at. There was a car over the edge on the hill! The driver must have veered off the narrow road and went straight down the hill until the nose of the car got stuck in the bottom of the old irrigation ditch. I ran up to the house and got my husband to call in to dispatch and make sure someone had already called the car in. No one had. So my husband walked over and checked to make sure no one was hurt inside - it was empty and locked, so whoever was driving it had crashed, then locked their vehicle up and left the scene. My husband decided he was going to wait over there until first responders arrived.

Little M and I got loaded up into the stroller and headed down the road to see what was happening. While we were walking down, Fire & Rescue showed up. The first guy on scene made sure that the car wasn't going to start a fire and checked the damage. A couple other fire & rescue guys showed up and kept an eye on things.

You can see the car down the hill, but this picture also shows where the car went off the road, you can see the flattened weeds on its path from the left corner and down into the center of the picture. Scary ride or what!
Then two police units from the nearest town showed up to keep an eye on things (and chit-chat with my husband) until the county deputy made it up. Fire moved on once they established that no one was inside & the car wasn't a danger to the tow truck or any one else. Then the cops all waited for the tow truck to arrive, after having an involved discussion about whether a normal wrecker would be enough or if they would need the bigger vehicle to get the car up the hill since there wasn't anywhere to tie the smaller wrecker off to. While they were waiting Little M and I headed back to the house to get her down to bed, as it was definitely after her bedtime already. Once the tow truck arrived the town cops headed back into town, and the tow truck started the process of attaching to the crashed car and pulling it up.

I didn't get any pictures of the car coming up the hill as it was getting fairly dark by then. But they did get it up and towed away successfully.

I can't imagine the ride down the hill - how scary that must have been. It's pretty likely that the driver was under the influence, and may not really have registered what was happening. Since we moved in here I've always worried that one day I would look out in the winter and there would be a car off the road down that hill, as the road is quite narrow and really has no shoulders at all before you are straight down over the edge. I never thought it would be in broad daylight in the middle of summer! Luckily it doesn't seem like anyone was hurt, so it seems that it all ended well.

We rarely see emergency services actually responding to a scene up our road (we do see emergency vehicles more regularly, but typically they are just dropping by to say hi!), and it definitely caused a bit of commotion with our neighbors. We met our soon-to-move-in new neighbors up the road as we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive, and another neighbor dropped by the house while I was putting Little M down to bed & the tow truck was pulling the car up. Apparently another neighbor just up the road had visitors arrive who mentioned driving by the scene, so she called the other neighbor, who came down to see if I knew what was going on. I know this makes it seem like there are a lot of people further up our road, but in reality there are only 6 full time places and a couple of cabins up past us.

I love that we have great neighbors around us, and that we know them well enough that they aren't shy to stop by after 9 at night to make sure things are ok & get the gossip :) Knowing my neighbors, and having everyone know everyone else's business is very familiar to me - after all I grew up on a dead end dirt road in a very rural area of Ontario. I love that even moving across the country and down into the US, I've still found a place like this where I know my neighbors for a good ways around on all sides.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Monday evening, while my husband was making supper, Little M and I had to rush around collecting chicken eggs, feeding & letting the dogs out, and picking some strawberries for evening smoothies. This storm was fast approaching, complete with flickering lightning and rumbling thunder. We got everything done in the nick of time, and then got to eat supper while listening to the rain pour down.

Nothing like early summer thunderstorms to remind me of growing up back east! Today skies are clear, the ground is drying up after our week of rainy skies, and so far as I know no forest fires have been spotted. Its nice to be able to enjoy the storms and not have to worry about our safety; my thoughts are with those in Florida cleaning up from their weather.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We're getting a pig!

Its official! We're getting a pig :)

Our neighbor E, who watches Little M a couple days a week when the Mr & I's work schedules overlap, has a registered Berkshire sow. This is her first litter. In the past, E has raised pigs purchased as piglets from others, and fattened them up and sold halves. Last year we didn't get any, but the year before we got a quarter, and it was just delicious. After that experience, I wanted to raise a piglet to slaughter size ourselves, but last year with adding the chickens we had enough going on. We were undecided until this weekend when I finally managed to convince the Mr about it.

The past couple of months we've been trying to narrow down where we will put our yard fence in, which has led to thinking on what we will have going on on the rest of the irrigated areas. There are some fences already in place that might be useable for other animals, but some aren't in the best locations. Surveying over the weekend helped us see where fences could go vs. where fences already were, and look at the lay of the land without seeing all the trees and other obstacles that could in theory be removed if they weren't in the ideal spot.

We've come to the conclusion that sheep may be our animal of choice (I've always wanted to raise sheep, and do the fleece to knit process all myself!), but a couple of cows or a pig or two might cycle in too. Next year I'm hoping we'll be able to buy a lamb to raise and slaughter, and see how that process goes, which will give us a better sense of whether sheep farming is something we want to get in to. Raising a pig or two a year, or even having a sow and selling piglets occasionally, might be something we would consider down the road too. But for the next couple of years, I suspect raising a piglet or lamb here and there to slaughter will be plenty of additional work on our plates.

In the more near future though, we've got about 5 weeks until our already castrated little male Berkshire piglet is ready to come home. Hopefully that is long enough to get ready! We'll need a nightime secure pen with some shelter from the elements, a larger area for foraging, a feeder, a freeze-safe waterer, a normal waterer for the summer months, and a place to store bulk food for him. And likely some other things that I haven't yet thought of or learned about!

Yay for the next step in our journey on this land!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Surveying our Property

Well we had a busy weekend, and one day spent almost the entire day outside surveying our property. I borrowed the survey equipment from work, and we set up the total station and went to town, mostly getting topo shots (ground surface elevation), but mapping out our buildings and other features as well. It was exhausting, especially given that the weekend was also devoted to beginning potty training with Little M, but we felt very good about what we accomplished.

For those of you wondering why we were getting detailed survey, I'll import our points into AutoCAD software and be able to create a surface layer of our property, which will let us better plan fence locations, the new garden & chicken coop area, and scheme about where we might want a barn to go in the longer term :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On adapting to our new schedule

Remember a month back when I shared the exciting news on the job & home fronts? Do you remember how it that post I definitely stated that when my husband's shifts change around it takes me about a month to get used to it, and that what with his schedule for the first couple of months, it would likely be a sort of crazy next 4 months? Yeah. I guess I remember saying that... But I've got to admit that based on how frazzled and frustrated I've been with how things have gone this week, I clearly didn't take my past-learned lessons of slowing down for the first month (or these four), to heart. Oh Mama...
So how about I do a little re-set here, okay? :) Perfect. Ahhh. Ok, there, that little bit of extra grace that the first while on a new schedule allows is exactly what I needed this week! This week of longer than normal, but going to become the new normal, hours at my job due to taking one day a week off to stay home with Little M, so that she only has to go to daycare 3 days a week. This week of having not had the forethought to menu plan yet (normally we menu plan for the entire month in the first couple days of the month, or if we have our acts together, before the month starts... is this really the 13th?). Yeah. Combine those two things with the mister last minute needing to stay a bit later than planned at work, so not being able to be home a bit before Little M and I, to start supper, let the dogs out, etc.... Yeah... :P

At least this is my Friday though! And really, the week went great: we all got fed (even if it was by deciding last minute to make perogies from scratch. For the first time ever. Yeah, don't ask me where the going-easy-the-first-while was on that one!), and the dogs all behaved themselves (both in their kennels and out in the yard, which is a small miracle even on the best of weeks!), Little M seems to be having a great week both at daycare & at home (should I mention a naked episode in the garden which involved a little surprise package deposited in the middle of the raspberry path and eagerly pointed out?? ahem...), and to top it all off we all made it to work, daycare, jeep appointment, first aid training, and etc, roughly on time!

So really, I just need to take a deep breath, think back over what has gone well (thanks for bearing with me on that one ;) ), and realize that life with this new schedule only gets easier from here on in! The other thing I need to do is dive back into using my household notebook a lot more seriously. I've still been keeping things up to date in it, like the daily egg count, the menu plan (when its been made!), and the yearly goal progress. But I haven't been as diligent at keeping my to-do list written down in it, which forces me to keep it to 10 items and anything else gets bumped to the next day. I think with this new schedule, a reminder to keep it simple and a record of what is important is exactly what I need to help me stay positive and content with where we are in our lives right now!

What about you? Do you use a daily to do list? Does it help when you only let yourself put 10 items on your daily list? Do you find it takes a couple weeks (or a month!) to adapt to a change in your significant other's work schedule? Whatever changes & challenges you are dealing with in your lives right now, I wish you good luck with them and remember to just keep on keeping on! :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our West Maui Vacation

I was sorting through pictures trying to decide which to post, and really, there was just too many neat ones... First I thought I would do scenery shots, then I thought I would post about the bird species that we saw (all introduced mind you!), then I figured I'd do a critters post for birds & inverts & mammals. But then I figured I'd just pick a few of my favorites in each category. I tried for ten, but came up with twenty, so here are my favorite shots from our Hawaii trip, and some generic ones to give you a sense of the habitat.

Keep in mind that really all we did (apart from a drive up the west coast around to the top of the island, and a drive down the west coast to the bottom of the island) was snorkel and walk on the beach. Oh, and eat lots of great food (hello rowing machine!). So we didn't really see all the touristy sights, or really have many photographed adventures, since most of our adventures were underwater, where we didn't take the not-waterproof-at-all camera. So basically what I'm saying is that these shots are my favorite pictures from the trip, but snorkeling to see the colorful coral reefs & associated fish, turtles, and octopi, well that was really the highlight.

With that said, here are my fav shots :)

 The trees were totally different than what I'm used to, and so many of them were in bloom with gorgeous flowers!

The area we were in was fairly dry, although higher up it was often raining or obscured by clouds. There were what I assume were sugar cane fields alongside the road here, I think this one had just been harvested.

 Totally neat trees!

 The ocean! Don't let my long sleeves fool you, it was hot there the entire time, but I didn't want to get sunburned - this shirt is a spf shirt, light but sunblocking.
Little crab guy. There were lots of these guys along the beaches, they would come out if you stood still for long enough. They had little holes that they hid in most of the time.

Cool tree shot.

 Sea turtle! Our first night there were 4-5 turtles playing/eating/swimming right beside the shore where we were eating dinner. Super cool! We ended up swimming with sea turtles later, but since we didn't have an underwater camera, these were our best shots of them.

 Again neat trees, hills with clouds/rain in the distance.

Us on the grass near our resort complex.

 Out in front of our resort at very low tide. It didn't look like much from a distance, but we saw lots of cool things up close.

 Like this little octopus!

 Pretty butterfly on a beautiful tree.

 On our drive up the west coast. We came back to this bay later - amazing snorkeling! We saw our 2 live turtles here while we were snorkeling :) And another octopus, and so so many pretty fishes! :) It has a rock/coral beach, so no sand, so it was tricky to get in and out of the water, which is why the tourist ships are anchored, so that people can get in without going across the rocks. We just toughed it out. Really, it wasn't hard at all!

 More forest-y habitat up the northwest coast. Really cool little valleys, but we didn't see any hiking trails marked, and didn't want to venture into private property, so we just looked from the roadway.

 We saw the sunset every night. It was spectacular every night. :)

 Neat eel thing we saw dead on the beach one day. I don't know my eels, but this thing had wicked sharp little teeth! I would be scared to have it coming at me in the water, that's for sure!

 Anole. We saw lots of these guys, and one gecko. The anoles would come out and bask on the edge of the sidewalk in the evenings when we were going for walks. Quick, but cute! (although introduced!)

 More habitat shot. looking up into the hills. The development was really focused by the beaches/shoreline.

 Looking northwards from our resort. Palm trees & development. And big waves!

I love this shot. Tropical.

There were so many pretty flowers to be seen!

We had a blast in Maui, if we ever go back we'll go to Hana so we can explore the eastern side more. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vacationing without my small child

Well we've made it safe and sound to Hawaii, and it is really quite beautiful here! We're staying on Maui, near Lahaina & right by the beach. I've got to admit right now that I've had, and still have, mixed feelings about this trip. You see, we've left Little M at home with Grammy. For five whole nights. My husband and I have each left her for about that long before, but at different times, so that one of us was always with her, sometimes with Grammy with us to help out a bit.

Since I'm going on about leaving my small child behind instead of going into details about our vacation, let's continue to chat about it, shall we? Little M is almost 2.5. She loves her Grammy, and is quite comfortable staying at Grammy's house, although up until this trip she'd never done it overnight alone. They've got all sorts of fun things planned, in fact, her days might even be busier than ours here in Hawaii! They went to the Pacific Science Center yesterday, have a dress-up play date with one of her second cousins today, might go to the zoo later this week, and will visit great grandma & grandpa too.

These are all things I wish we were doing with her, and I also wish she was here with us. Everytime we see another young family, we think of her, and miss her dearly. And while we both admitted (me before we left & my husband around the 24 h away mark) that we should have brought her, at the same time, she's having a blast there, and we are getting to do things here that we simply wouldn't be able to do with her here.

Together, we've gone in the hot tub both nights we've been here, we've gone snorkeling once, gone out to eat several times, flipped through maps and bird guides often, slept in both morning (although due to the 3 hour time change I'm finding myself away local time before 6 - but since that is almost 9 back home, that qualifies as sleeping way in to me!). If we had Little M along with us, we would be able to do these things, but not as a couple or to the same extent. Generally we've been able to be more selfish than I can remember being in a long time, because we don't have all the additional duties that comes with being responsible for a small child, 3 dogs, 13 chickens, a large garden, a steady job each, etc.

It's been wonderful to connect with my husband and dream for our future. To remember that we valued each other & intended to be together for the long haul even before we had Little M in common. To think about where and when our next vacation might be, with Little M along for sure. To start talking more seriously about when we will start trying for another child. To decide on the most logical order for our next few projects around the house & property. And even though it's been hard yearning for Little M as much as I have, I know that if we hadn't planned this trip as a childless trip we wouldn't have come to Hawaii. And I'm loving vacationing here!

Pictures to come when we get home, as apparently I forgot the camera download cord on the table at home (oops!).

What about you - ever left your (small) child(s) with the grandparents? Ever got to where you were vacationing and wished said grandparents could fedex your small child to you? Ever realized that vacationing alone really was pretty sweet even with missing your small child? :) And if you don't have a small child, even if you are yearning for one, please, enjoy your childless vacations! :)
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