Happy New Year
Its been an interesting and busy year on the farm. Looking back its hard to know where to start, so I think I will start at the beginning. It was a cold snowy winter and we were all very happy when the days started to get longer and the snow started to melt.
We had the kids in hockey so the weekends and a lot of evenings were spent at the various rinks in town. When the kids got a chance they went snowboarding or skiing on the local ski hill. Peter, Matty and Petra snowboarded while Henry, Georgina and Willy went skiing. Both Henry and Georgina went skiing at school and Willy had no fear and just raced down the hill with John trying to catch up to him. I even tried skiing one day. The girls and I made it cross country skiing a couple of times through our fields and the back pasture. Once we packed a picnic complete with a tablecloth to put on the snow.
|Matty and Peter|
We were very happy that we had released the bulls the summer before a bit later so that the earliest calves expected after March 23rd and not earlier because it was still very snowy out come mid-March. In fact, John had to take the tractor and move the snow out of the maternity pen for the end of March. One of our cows had misbehaved in 2010 and had jumped in with the bulls early and had an early calf on March 10th. As the cows hadn't been moved into the maternity pen yet, we moved the calf and tried to move the mom cow. Well she wouldn't have that and bolted east into our forest and pasture. John and Peter tracked her half a mile away, but couldn't convince her to come home. She showed up later that night, but wasn't interested in being re-united with her calf the next day. The girls and I had taken the calf and were bottle feeding it, so we just decided to continue. The calf was healthy and did well. Shortly after we started feeding this orphan calf, John was reading the Bargain Finder and saw that the dairy had steer calves for $50 again. We asked the girls if they wanted to try raising some dairy calves as they were feeding my Angus calf anyways. So spring break found us driving out to the dairy in Vanderhoof and picking up three steer calves: 2 Holsteins and one Jersey cross: Charles, Dalmatian and Chocolate.
Calving season was a lot of fun with a total of 32 calves born, the majority in the three weeks after March 23rd. I had a premie born that we kept in the house a couple of days until it got its footing and the girls raised him as well. They put a lot of effort and time into their calves and they are all looking great!
|Cow and calf fall 2011|
The kids were also in Judo and Matty and Petra earned their blue belts, Henry his green belt, Georgina green stripes for her orange belt and Willy orange stripes for his yellow belt. They didn't go back to judo in the fall, there just didn't seem to be enough time for it.
In May we decided we were going to have a bigger, better garden than 2010. We thought we would be smart and start some seeds early. We planted lots and lots of seeds, and it took until July 10th to finish transplanting all of the seeds. John took his tractor and got us manure and used his rotovator and dug a garden expansion for us. We turned over the old garden and we were well on the way to making a lot of work for ourselves!! It was a wet spring and summer and cooler too. It was great for all the berries, but the cooler weather slowed down the growth in the garden and many of our vegetable plants did not grow big enough to harvest. We did manage to grow a lot of different things: lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, red cabbage, green cabbage, peas, sugar peas, carrots, beets, tomatoes, kale, beans, cucumbers.... Our apple tree produced a lot of apples, the Saskatoon berries and black currants had bumper crops. Sitting here inside on a winter's day it's hard to imagine the kids outside picking berries. We went to the local U-pick berry farm and picked over a hundred pounds of strawberries that we froze and made into jam!
In the summer, Peter got day 20 day old turkeys that he raised. He has kept a large Tom and four hens as breeders to produce more babies for next year. We brought the rest of them in to a government certified poultry processing facility. We cooked a 29lb home raised turkey for Christmas Dinner and it was delicious!
Matty, Petra and Georgina bought 3 large rabbits in early September. They are a cross between New Zealand Giants and Flemish Giants so are nice and big. They had their first babies born on Dec. 21st and are just little wiggly babies in the nest for now. Matty started riding Tango our appendix gelding in the summer and Georgina bought herself a really nice older Arabian mare. Georgina and Willy would climb up onto Satin's back and she would happily walk around her pen with them on board!
|Willy and Georgie on Satin|
|Matty on Tango|
Buckhorn Lake Rd. There was a lot of hay, but it was no joke getting it off the field this year. We found a young tomcat at our Buckhorn house and Tommy now lives in our hay barn.
|Peter and Tommy|
|Working in the hay loft|
|Hottubbing (with rhubarb leaf hats!)|
This fall the kids have been kept very busy with their animals, school and hockey. They are all doing very well at school, Peter is in grade 11, Matty and Petra in grade 9 and Georgina in grade 6.
|Georgina with her 8th place ribbon for cross country!|
|Georgina and John, paintball fun.|
All the best to everyone in 2012!!
|Spirit our Borean Angus Bull|