Mary-Ellen Zands

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since Sep 01, 2015
Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Mary-Ellen Zands

We are having a major issue with snow and ice on the roof.  Since yes it snowed again!  All last night.  Yes it looks like a winter wonderland but now I’m getting tired of this.  It was supposed to rain all night, that didn’t happen.  Spent the last 2 days on the metal roof of the house. Shoveling ice and snow off.  Afraid of the rain that’s in the forecast. On the news the last couple of days, they are talking about all the roof cave-ins in the area.  Don’t need that extra headache!  Trying to be proactive.  On our metal roof, we had these brakes installed at the bottom edge. Because we didn’t want the snow coming down in huge heaps and blocking the entrances to the house and damaging the trees and gardens that are close to the house.  
Well now we can’t get into the house via the garage or the garage door.  The piles of ice and snow are about 8feet high!  

Another problem on the north side of the house is ice curls.  They come crashing down on the deck and do a lot of damage to the kiwi vine and structure that are growing there.  Of course to the deck too. We’ve had to rebuild reweld metal structure from last year when it became all mangled.  So hopefully now I can stay on top of it by attacking the curls piece by piece from the bottom.
1 week ago
I’ve done the bucket idea to catch some rats. It worked great the first night!  I know that while they were drowning they were shouting instructions to all their fellow beings.  Never caught anymore.  They knew what would happen to them. Since they had the play by play the night before!  Did the same in the chicken coop while our chicken coop was being inundated by rats.  A barrel with a hole in the lid and a pipe down through the hole. The bottom of the pipe was smeared with peanut butter and the bottom of the barrel had water in it.  Again worked great the first night!  Never again though.  
Invited the neighbor children to come practice their shooting skills in the early evening and we took out many many rats. This was maybe 5 years ago when we had a major problem!  I should have just called the Pied Piper of Hamelin with his flute!  

Even tried to meditate them gone!  Asking them gently to leave, that we couldn’t possibly live under the same roof.  Of course they had other ideas....

Has anyone ever had problems with mice chewing holes in the ceilings?  I hear them scurrying all night over my head.  Sometimes though it seems like they want to see where they are, so they chew a hole through the gyp rock.
1 week ago
Just a few more nice day shots from yesterday. Today’s snowstorm makes yesterday seem like a dream.  There are tulips and crocuses  just waiting to pop up under all that snow.  First it all has to melt hopefully not too fast.
1 week ago
I’ve tried to reply to Cécile but my computer keeps going down.  Maybe the snowstorm and our provider.
Yesterday was the first day that I could say wow maybe spring is on its way.  First time I could bring iPad to the cows without the battery dying because of the cold.  Easier to send you all the pics. So yes Valentine (our little calf) survived that terrible weather.  I know his jacket helped.  The jacket was so big on him I really had to tighten all the snaps and the velcro.  Yesterday I loosened everything because he had grown so much, his mama wasn’t too happy with me fiddling with her son. So Mama did not abandon her boy.  As my roommate said she would because of the jacket.  
In that cold snap 2 weeks ago we built a shelter with straw bales for Valentine to get out of the wind. Unfortunately the bull seemed to love those new digs and the heat it brought. Calf used it a few times.  Today we are in another snowstorm. Mother Nature isn’t finished with us yet.  I’m hoping this will be one of her last hurrahs!  

So Cécile to answer some of your questions; the donkeys I inherited from my parents when they sold their farm.  They are in retirement (the donkeys of course) at 27 and 35 years of age.  I sold some donkeys over the last few years because I didn’t have time to train them as I am the caregiver to my elderly parents.  We used to ride our oldest donkey.  He is great!  I wouldn’t do that to him now.  They are Sicilian much smaller than the standard donkeys. My parents bred donkeys and sheep for 30 years.
Yes we have electricity in the chicken coop for their heat lamp and they need a light for their 14 hours of daylight in the winter.  Otherwise we wouldn’t get any eggs at all.  The best solution I’ve found for the chicken water is a 9 inch rubber tub with a brick in it, sitting atop a big cement block.  The heat lamp with cage is right above the water.  So the chickens and ducks can just get their heads in between to drink and the ducks can’t take a bath. It’s easy to clean and I throw the rubber into the snow a few times a week and fill it with snow and clean it scrubbing with my boots.
1 week ago
This is what we woke up to Wednesday.
1 month ago
Well I’m not new to winter, but this winter is especially a difficult one.  It took me 5 hours to dig out the donkeys and the chickens. Just to get to them was a feat!  Yes chickens love snow!  I have containers that I fill for them. An hour later they are empty. For them snow is like styrofoam they can’t stop attacking it.


Driving in winter slush is the pits.  You really have to go slow!  If you don’t and an oncoming car is a little in your lane, you will be in the ditch.  Our roads have been solid ice for the last month and you just need to take your time.  Better to arrive alive than not at all!  

Just had a calf yesterday outside. 2 choices get the calf a coat or dig out our calf hutch.  Tried digging out calf hutch. It’s under 4 feet of snow. Did that but bottom of hutch is incased in 1 foot of ice so that was a no go. It went to -18c last night.  When I checked this morning the windchill was -26!  So I went out as soon as the sun was up this morning to check if there was life in the field. Sure enough the jacket I had put on the little bull calf was a success and he was alive!  

Yes I would love to have a Vancouver island winter!  I could handle 2 weeks of snow!  This is not fun anymore. Yes global warming, but could use a little more warmth here in winter. It seems like another start to an ice age in our neck of the woods. Of course our summers are the other extreme.  
1 month ago
Very sun sensitive so I try not to garden between 1100-1600. I had some carcinoma on my face and it was quite the surgery to remove it. My friend who lives in southern Texas slathers on the sunblock everyday even if she covers up. She has had several skin cancer spots removed in the past and she is paranoid of getting a melanoma. She became very sick a few years ago and it was titanium poisoning from all that sunblock she'd been slathering on. She still does she just knows the symptoms to look out for. I won't use the stuff.
I tend to side with Dale,that wearing it would be an attractant for dust and earth. I would look a mess! Not that I give a .... I already look quite the mess when I come from the garden.
2 years ago
Congrats! We caught our first swarms last year too. This year I plan to make a swarm lure. Much less work, and hopefully easier to transfer to our warre hives. We also had swarms in the most difficult places. Top of the teepee in the garden about 12 ft up. Another time in the chain link fence, which was also difficult removal.
Hope your hive thrives and survives next winter. Just make sure you don't harvest honey this year!
2 years ago
Last years harvest was amazing!
2 years ago