It’s quieter here on the farm. Not the peaceful quiet of the winter but the busy quiet when the farm closes and there is more work to do than we could imagine but we all want to just go camping. That quiet. I sit in the field and pick the last of the season’s berries and hear the killdeer flying overhead. The parking lot is empty. The gates are closed. It is so hard to understand how quickly a season comes and how quickly it leaves again. And all that is left are memories and mistakes and sighs of thankfulness. And we carry on and move to the next task and the next job and it really never ends this cycle does it? It’s just life. We make the most and best of what we are given.
Our days are filled with dehydrating berries and canning beans and picking peas and all that stuff that the kids really don’t appreciate! As I was walking into the house the other morning, before the kids appeared from their beds, I heard a buzzing, really loud like, not at all the sound of a single bee. I looked up to spot a massive nest in the tree. I am still not sure how we all missed their building! Between the never ending saga of cows escaping and neighbours calling, of owls and fox stealing my precious birds, of barn swallows swooping and kitties born, somehow we miss things around here!
Summer is getting whisked away! Hope you all are enjoying every bit of sunshine:)
Beautiful berries. Sleepy littles. Skies of rain. There are indeed sunny skies ahead. The blond is almost turning white on these little farm kids’ heads. They just don’t want to miss a moment. The pigs squeal, the goats are forever trying to eat the shirts of their visitors. And the quiet call of the alpaca turns the head of the inquisitive child. As the rooster crows, the ducklings scuttle in and out of their place in the barn running for the pond and back again. It’s a good life. For us. For them. Even if goats are forever escaping and horses find grass on the other side of the fence. Berries abound here still and picking will continue this next week. And the goats will still climb into wagons and strollers with or without consent.
A happy customer sent me this one!
The sky is grey. The wind is blowing. It’s not cold but it is enough to chill you. It’s enough to want to grab a cup of tea and snuggle up with a good book. One of those lazy rainy days. It’s quiet. Kind of peaceful here at the farm. It has been a blessed blur of busyness around here and not much rest. The season is short. At least the season of people and picking and long hours and little sleep. Of missing my baby time. But missing laundry time too which is not at all something to miss. Thanks mom.
We are still so new to this. And we are trying to please and fill our farm with kindness and a family atmosphere and offer an experience to those who are looking for the adventure of berry picking and farm and fresh country air and a little quiet. But the reality has oh so quickly sunk in that I guess not everyone looks for the good, not everyone finds the wonderful experience we are so trying to create. And we will keep learning and changing things to be better but we will never be perfect and we will never be able to please everyone. I have to laugh at how everyone compares one farm’s berry taste to the next. Yes, I would have to say it depends most on variety and whether you like that variety or not. We all plant different plants and varieties and we all have different tastes. I actually sat down and tried about a dozen strawberries of one variety. You know what? Some of them weren’t sweet. Like at all. And then there were the ones that tasted like there was sugar on them already. So incredible. So funny. We didn’t create them. We didn’t make them. We are just trying our darn best to grow them the closest to nature that we possibly can without the intervention of any nasties. We are seeing what variety grows well and produces well and tastes amazing. We are working and growing and trying and it all takes time.
So thanks for being in this adventure with us. We love our farm. We love our family. And we are loving the beautiful people we have met that are in this with us. Truly. Thank you. For being here and trying to heal here when it hurts and sharing your family with ours.
I can feel it this last week. The crisp night air. The chilly mornings. The poplars are turning yellow, the garden’s bounty is fading. But we love fall. We love sitting around the fire outside roasting marshmallows, watching the kids play. Then there is school…I am not sure if any of the kids would associate any kind of love to that word. And hunting…well that is just plain obsession with certain men in our household. Maybe the animals can feel it too. The last of the warmth. Maybe that’s why all the antics. They are becoming escape artists, some of these animals. The cattle were relentless in finding their way out of the pasture and into my yard. One certain little heifer is still pushing my buttons. She should just be thankful she’s too small to butcher! At one point the pig was following the horse who was following the train of wayward cattle while the alpacas took exception to the train and bolted to finer grass way back yonder! If my mess of weed infested gardens were not bad enough, the pig kept finding his way through his pen and into my onions. Needless to say the onions were dug up prematurely. At least I didn’t have to dig them up?! And I am desperately trying to get my hubby to agree to the purchase of a milking cow. These disobedient farm animals are not helping my cause. He is still saying no. I’ll keep trying.
I was given some produce that we were able to can…well kind of. Of all things I had a jar explode in the water bath. I have never had that happen before. A mess of boiling water and beans & a perfectly sheared glass jar. We decided to freeze the rest…and order a pressure canner! Relish, pickles, salsa…we are thankful for what actually worked out this year…and the generosity of dear friends & family who shared their gardens with us.
We are still selling and picking and eating corn! We actually sold our first pumpkins yesterday. I am hoping to get some pictures up of our biggest pumpkins out in the field. I am struggling with the taking pictures part…since some blessed child left my camera in the rain earlier this summer…we won’t mention any names. But cameras don’t hold up well in torrential rains, or even just rain showers. Well, life is never dull here anyway. And our baby? Already 3 1/2 weeks old. But we can’t remember life without her already.
Yes, these little bunnies managed to escape too…but with the help of a little blonde accomplice.
Isn’t she pretty? I’ll definitely keep trying;)
This, our oldest son said , was a true piggy back ride!
Phew! We made it…our first week. We have so much to learn and we have learned so much! We are so excited to see how much support there is for our farm. We had some very busy days and had to switch up some things already to allow us to run more smoothly. We truly are a family farm. It is our immediate family and two of our nephews working here. And we’re thankful they are family…they are kind of forced to come back each week;). It truly has been more than we expected and we are just plain grateful. We are looking around
at the weeds and are already planning for the years to come. Years when our littles won’t be so little. When we can see the laundry room floor again. Okay, not that many years away! This week has been fun, it has been exhausting, it has been amazing for our entire family. To watch our kids interact with people, completely man the petting farm, help carry orders, pick berries and get up the next morning excited to do it all over has been a joy. A complete joy.
We have been watching all these plants start to bloom and grow. It is amazing to see and better yet amazing to taste. I think we have all been grabbing the red strawberries as we work in the fields, tasting the first fruits of all our labours. Because truly this is a family affair. Right down to our three and six year olds in the fields picking off the blossoms of the plants just planted. And so we are hoping to be open this weekend for our first picking day! We are now taking orders for prepicked too. And in the midst of all these blossoms and strawberries we have added to our family…a little cocker spaniel named Percy. He is adorable and sweet…and pees on the floor even though we just took him outside 30 seconds before! He is only ten weeks old but I for one cannot wait until he figures that one out! At least the floor is being spot cleaned…a lot! We also have little ones to add to our petting farm…more on that tomorrow though. Lots to do in preparation for our opening…lots we won’t get done that we so want to. But I am trying to remember this is just our first year…there is time to grow!
This lady is a dreamer….a sort of hopeless romantic with more ideas and passions than time. I would knit more, sew more, bake more, paint more…just create more in general if I didn’t have so darn much to do. You know, those people (like my mom) who bounce through life with 6 hours of sleep? Ugh, I long for that. To wake up on my own ready for the day at 6, ready to conquer and complete! Maybe one day, but for now…the never ending laundry and cooking and cleaning and homeschooling have me dreaming! So, one thing at a time…or maybe a few things!
First off, I am so excited to add fibre to our little haven. I have contacted a farm and am very hopeful to add angora goats and baby doll sheep to our alpaca mix! Hopefully in the near future but we really are all at the mercy of a breeding regime. We are also looking into tending to honeybees…it would be great to have our own swarm of pollinators. Ask me again after my first sting, I may change my mind on that one. But the thought of bees and honey and our own plants being more prolific as a result of them sounds worth it!
I am an avid reader and so am pouring over books on all subject matters, trying to educate myself and see where to go next! Speaking of which…anyone who likes to read of others’ farming ventures might enjoy Sylvia’s Farm by Sylvia Jorrin. I am still looking for the sequel, I enjoyed this one so much!
This little guy is an angora goat kid (a stock photo). The first pic is a baby doll sheep (also stock photo).
The next thing on the pressing agenda is the vintage trailer redo. We are in the midst of a complete redo to a vintage trailer which will allow for a resting place for our little kiddos this summer as well as a field office. I will have before…well actually during…and after pictures when it is complete which will be soon! The jury is still out whether we are in fact a little crazy to attempt this, but I am hopeful the end product will be just what I have envisioned (or have seen on Pinterest!!).
And our crazy, busy life? I am not complaining. We love this family of ours.
Oh, and one more thing…we do have someone coming home very soon! And one little girl who is just so excited!
Time goes by so fast…and sometimes that is a good thing! It seems to be warming up here, perhaps winter is giving way to spring?! At least for today it feels like it, and we will just enjoy what we have today. The snow is sticky, the animals all seem a little happier. We have added so much to our farm, and have plans for more. Our alpacas did really well over the winter. We were careful to monitor them a few times a day in the minus 30 degree weather and they were warm and happy inside the barn. The ducks were happy to join them…and they are happy to find a puddle today. They were on top of the woodpile earlier, I just wish I have seen them waddle up and down, I am still puzzled at how they managed! Even the tractor seems to want to come out of its winter sleep! We are anxious to get on it and start working around here again. Today is the first day that we have seen the geese back. New life came early here this year. And we are so thankful that the winter gave us some warm days. We had a little black calf born the beginning of January on one of these warmer days. We were then surprised to have a little dun calf born a few weeks later…on another one of those days. Both little guys are doing great. We always look forward to the slower days the fall and winter bring us…and now we are all looking forward to the business and warmth the spring and summer offer!
The kids had a great time selling pumpkins this past weekend! And while they were there, the two biggest boys decided to try their hands at carving pumpkins! We always have good intentions to let their hands get messy, and the floor…but then we get busy and it never seems to happen. Imagine then my surprise when regular texts updated this seventeen year old madly carving away…for two hours. So his ability to have patience is revealed. They both won a prize, which is always welcome, but especially hockey tickets. In this house, that is a bigger deal. And I love that our oldest daughter had such a fun loving spirit!
On a not so nice note…we lost one of our ducks this past week. Mr. Useless (actually his name is Duke but goodness, that one year old dog sleeps far too much) was apparently napping, still or again we are not sure, when the likes of some fox or coyote crept quietly in to snag the poor thing, and left without a trace…or a bark from the dog. So I went on a puppy quest in my frustration to find a more reliable watch dog, but decided to give him one more chance. He really is sweet and cute…albeit not earning his keep these days.
The dreariness of the grey skies and the chilling raindrops seem unending. But we all know that soon the clouds will let go of those white flakes, in hopes of covering the brown of the grass with its white blanket. And it will be welcomed. At least for a time.
A big, big thank you to everyone that came to visit us and buy our pumpkins! We are so excited for next year and all the plans we have…bigger pumpkins, mini pumpkins, white pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn…that is just what we have planned so far! I am sure as we sit around the fire this winter, dreaming of the spring, we will have even more ideas! We are saving the last of our pumpkins to sell at the Heritage Arts Centre in Stonewall this Saturday as part of the REACT pumpkin carving contest. Our kids have done well manning the old hay rack full of pumpkins. That old hay rack was here when we bought the place from Mr. and Mrs. Cramb, over sixteen years ago now. I am planning on doing a history page very soon! We are so blessed to still be in contact with their daughters, learning the heritage of the land!
My kids are trading their roller blades in for skates these days. Rec hockey has started, as has public skating. The littlest daughter is dreaming of us watching her twirl around the ice on TV one day! Maybe we need to get her started…keep fanning those dreams, those five year old dreams. I find as they turn seventeen, they learn reality. So why no let them dream. Who knows, maybe one day.
And first birthdays…how could we forget first birthdays. Happy Birthday little man…this guy brings smiles and laughter from us all each and every day.