Sprinkle a Little Love Wherever You Go

Sprinkle a Little Love Wherever You Go

Oh February, that blasted month in the middle of Winter, after Christmas and New years, where you’re fighting off the Winter blues. Where the weather is frigid and frightful one day, then verging on a Spring teaser the next. It’s that month where Mother Nature can’t decided what to do next, and the longing for Spring sets in.

February is also the month of love. Valentines’s Day brings cookies and cards and chocolates. It means holiday baking is in order, of course! Bring forth your best recipes for sugar cookies, it’s on! I must admit, today consisted of Nat King Cole crooning over the vinyl on my record player, as I danced around the kitchen decorating heart shaped cookies. What can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic! And when the fridge is brimming over with cartons of farm fresh eggs from the ladies, I had to make some kind of a dent in the stash.


Along with kitchen dance parties, this weekend was all about me, and I took full advantage. I read an entire novel in 24 hours. I can’t remember the last time I took that much time to read a book I was digging. If it’s not on your list, you need to check out “The River at Night” by Erica Ferencik; I couldn’t put it down! It was just what I needed. I received my first essential oils in the mail, so I took some time to read up on those, and start using them in my daily routine. I am looking forward to learning and growing in this oil journey I’ve started on.  I worked away on my sock (yes singular still), knitting away the afternoons. I am sure to be finishing it up one of these days in the near future, or so I hope.

It was great having such a relaxing weekend but let’s be honest, I’m missing my Oilfield Man. Last weekend my husband Dan was off, so we got to spend some quality time together out exploring in the newly fallen snow we received. We got around two feet of snow over two days and it was so much fun trekking out back and cutting new paths through the bush. We snow-shoed for over 2KM, according to my google Fit app. I was impressed, and even broke a sweat, all bundled up for the elements. We had a great day out exploring in the woods and getting outdoors.

Everyone on the farm is surviving this sudden onset of ‘Winter Weather’ and all the snow Old Man Winter seems to be sprinkling over us lately. The Donkey Boys may be buried up to the knees, but they’ve kept clear a well worn path from their shelter, to the feeder, to their water bucket. Keeping their hooves cleaned out is an important daily task at chore time, so that the snow doesn’t compact up and under their little hooves.

The Three Little Pigs are keeping toatsy in the Pig Haus this Winter, and venture out only for food and water. Amidst noisy complaints on their end, they eventually snort and grunt their ways out of bed for dinner. Dan has kept a nice clear path for them through the snow to the waterer and back again. Life is tough when you are a miniature pot belly pig and the snow banks are taller than you are!

The chickens have all been keeping well during the cold and snow we have been having. They have even still been gifting us with any where from four to seven eggs a day! We appreciate it ladies, keep up the good work.

Even the ladies have been surviving the cold, getting to come in on the odd evening to spend a few hours sleeping by the wood stove. I am quite alright with their company. They even venture out with us for our snow shoeing adventures. Lily keeps up but Sophie follows along at her own pace.

We are excited to announce we will be adding a new little addition to our four legged family here on the farm. At the end of March we will be welcoming home a new puppy! We are so excited for our little bundle of fluff to arrive. His name is Hank, and he is a Pyrenees/Bernese/Maremma cross. I am sure the ladies are going to teach him the ways and they will be the best of friends.

When time allows, I am still playing away with a couple of quilt quilts I had, practicing and getting to know my machine. I have completed two baby quilts now, and am hanging on to my final kit for a special occasion.

We also have a new home brew we have been working on.  As always, there is something on the farm always being brewed and we enjoy playing around with some new creations. When we visited Ontario in September we brought home a case of Maple Syrup. We wanted to try a Maple wine or, Acerglyn, as it referred to. We bottled our first batch last month and are anxiously awaiting to try it out!

We are patiently awaiting Springs arrival here on the farm as the Winter days blow by. The sun is setting a little later, the sun rises a little earlier and its light is starting to carry with it a little more heat. We will enjoy these last weeks of Winter and look forward to what the Spring will bring with it’s new beginnings!








A Winter’s Reflection

A Winter’s Reflection

The week between Christmas holidays and the beginning of the new year is always a week for reflection. It’s that in between time, after building up so many expectations over the holiday season for it to all be done in a day. It’s the lead up to the new year, which brings hopes for new beginnings and the fruition of new dreams and plans. This year especially, we find ourselves in the middle of a deep freeze, where the only thing to do is snuggle up by a warm fire and give thanks for all we have.

Christmas is always a busy season, as we find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Christmas shopping, holiday baking, decorating for the season. This season Dan and I kept with our little traditions, and headed out to the bush to cut down our very own Christmas tree from our own land. After several rounds of our property out back, we had found the perfect one. My lumberjack, equipped with his chainsaw, fell our new tree. We loaded it up into the truck and brought it back to the house for alterations to ensure it fit into the house. What was cut off the tree was used for firewood for the season, making sure that nothing was for waste.

After the tree was placed inside our little Kitchen nook the decorating began. Each equipped with our decorations and a hot rum toddy, we were busy making the tree our own for Christmas. I love each year reliving the memories and old stories each decoration has to offer and reminiscing as we hang them on the tree. This year’s tree was one for the books!

Along with the Christmas tree came the decorations around the house and of course, Christmas lights outside. While the lights had been strung well before the world froze up and grew frigid, decorations around the house were continually popping up through out the season. Some of my favourites are my old set of snow shoes, the old kids toboggan and an old pair of wooden skis that make an appearance each winter. Our home felt ready for the holidays!

Even the farm yard was feeling festive as we hung wreaths around the garden fences and along the feed shed. If I could, each animal on the farm would have their own Christmas tree to boot. Perhaps next year!

Another holiday tradition is all the holiday baking that takes place on the farm! From my Mom’s Bits and Bites recipe that is always a hit, to of course chicken sugar cookies (because when you are a crazy chicken lady, chickens are always considered Christmasy) and even trying something new with home made turtles! It is safe to say there were probably a couple of extra pounds gained all around here on the farm over the holidays!

Along with home baked goods, there were also lots of home made / hand made goodies that were put together on the farm for gifts. A holiday tradition of gift giving from the farm includes a basket of home made items, canned preserves from the garden and a bottle or two of home made wine. I always feel like one of Santa’s elves leading up to Christmas as I knit away a stock of dishcloths to give as gifts. Along with the dishcloths comes a jar of my home made laundry soap, which is an absolute must here on the farm that I use year round! Baskets are packed with canned goods, and even though we didn’t have the most successful year with the garden we were able to add a couple of extras including canned peaches from out trip to Ontario and grape jelly from our passing through Manitoba.

While we had made a conscious effort this year to take a step back from spending and to not go overboard for Christmas, we still got pretty spoiled. I am so excited to start into some new quilting projects, while listening to some vinyl on my new record player, while Dan flies his new drone outside!

While we have had our fair share of struggle this week, dealing with temperatures here on the farm dropping well below -30 degrees Celsius, everyone is surviving and there is a light at the end of this cold, cold tunnel! Fresh, dry bedding for the donkeys, accompanied with a heat lamp to get through the drafty nights has kept the Donkey boys from becoming icicles in the back pasture. We even had some Christmas fun and a mini-photo shoot as the boys prepared to try out for Santa’s team for next year.

The three little pigs probably have the best house on the farm, with all three walls and the floor being insulated. My three boys keep toasty warm snuggling in the cold weather. The hardest part is getting them to come outside for dinner!

Of course we can’t forget about the chickens! While they do have an insulated coop, we try to stay away from too many extra means of heating during the Winter months. The coop is wrapped in plastic to  help protect from the wind and weather, and the nesting boxes get extra insulation along with a strip of heating tape. The chicken waterer is heated as well, but even so sometimes requires a chipping out of ice and a refill of warm water. Morning porridge and lots of extra treats high in protein help the ladies to get through the cold snap. We musn’t be doing too bad, because my lovely ladies are still providing us daily with farm fresh eggs!

Even the ladies (our farm dogs) are surviving this cold snap. While they really do fine in the cold and have a dog house filled with straw to escape to, there are still some frigid nights when they get invited into the house. Especially when Mr. Burch is away working! The last couple of nights us ladies have been holding down the fort. I really do love these two big goofy dogs and all the company and protection they provide!

I can also finally share my first quilting project as it has been gifted to a sweet little boy for Christmas. It may not have been perfect, but for my first baby quilt, I was beyond excited with how it turned out!

As we look towards the new year coming, there are so many things that we are thankful for for this past year here on the farm. This year I married my best friend, and we proclaimed our love from the mountain tops. We watched as our little farm grew before our eyes, as we added more fences and our dreams for this land grew. We traveled across Canada on a roadtrip that was so near and dear to my heart. I signed the bill of sale on my very first new vehicle purchase and brought home my own new truck.

We look forward to 2018, to all the new and exciting adventures we will find through out the year. To all the new animals we will welcome here on the farm, to using all the new knowledge and wisdom we have gained for our gardens and fruit trees. We look forward to the buzzing of Spring here on the farm as we await the arrival of our new bees we ordered this winter. We are so excited to watch our little farm grow and to learn and build on it each and every day. We are so blessed and so we welcome the new year with open hearts and wondering minds!


A new thing we are starting this year, our year of reflection, is our little “Joy Jar”. Each time something important, life changing or just exciting happens, we will write it down and add it to our jar so that this time next year we can sit down and reflect upon all the wondrous things that have happened in our lives. I can’t wait to see what all this little jar will hold for us!

Wishing the happiest of New Year’s to our friends and family, far and wide. We will be seeing you next year!!



This Wild Winter Heart of Mine

This Wild Winter Heart of Mine

Here on the farm, November has shown us the many sides of Winter. From that first beautiful blanket of new snow laying untouched on the ground, to the crisp  and crunchy days when the temperatures reach below minus 20 degrees celcius, to the the complete opposite, with days of rain and slush and ice. Our first month into Winter, and we have been shown it all.

November brings a special season with it as well, as hunting season opens and closes with the month. Here on the farm, we are blessed with all the wildlife that passes through, perhaps even making our land their home. With several trail cameras set up around our property, we get a first hand view of some of Mother Nature’s creatures in their own habitats. We have a particular doe and her babies who we see on both cameras habitually. They come and go through out all hours of the day and night. Having does around brings in the bucks when rut season begins. We had several different bucks on our cameras this year, some who needed some growing yet and a couple who would have done well in freezer camp. While we put in some solid weekend hunts this season, we did not bring down a buck this year here. I am thankful for the time I spent outdoors, listening and watching the world unfurl around me. There will always be next season!

20171119_123014-01We are not going into the Winter months empty handed however. Our hogs were sent off to butcher and returned to fill our freezer. I don’t think we could fit another pork chop or loop of sausages in the deep freeze this year. We are thankful for this meat, for the pigs we raised and loved here on the farm, who will feed us along with our family and friends. I am happy to know where my meat is coming from and how it was raised.

The rest of the critters on the farm have hunkered down and settled in for the Winter months ahead. While the chickens don’t wander out much in the snow, they keep busy in the run of the coop where they still have access to their dust baths, food and open space. The nesting boxes stay toasty warm with the insulation and heat tape, and we are still collecting a couple of eggs daily from the ladies.

The three little pigs have a trail worn from the door of the Pig Haus, out to the water dish and feeders and back. They also don’t do much exploring in the snow, but would rather spend their winter days snoozing in their nests of straw. They are quick to wake up when they hear the latch on the gate open for dinner time though!

It seems the donkey boys are the least phased of our creatures by the snow. Their shaggy winter coats keep them warm as they paw around to find the grass hidden under the snow. They have a well worn path to the feeder where they have access to hay daily and fresh water in their heated bucket. I often catch Sophie and Lily out visiting the boys, eating up all the tasty treats the boys leave behind for them. No, I don’t accept kisses from our lovely farm dogs anymore!

The coming of the Winter months means that the holidays are not far behind. I am in a full knitting frenzy here at the house as I get dishcloths ready for gifts again this year. I have a total of nine completed, one on the needles and a lot more balls of yarn waiting in my yarn basket. I am eager to get dishcloths finished up so I can return my other winter knitting project that I started last year, my first pair of knit socks! Cozy winter days beside the woodfire are the perfect atmosphere for knitting. I’ve also completed my first major project on my sewing machine. Sorry no sneak peeks, stay tuned post Christmas!

Winter days make the perfect days for crock pot suppers. We finished up our last venison roast, have done several of our roosters and I am anxiously awaiting my favourite winter dinner, chicken and dumplings! And none of these would be complete without a lovely pairing of home-brewed wine. The last of our summer batches have been bottled and labelled and are ready to go out to the wine room. The last batch was rhubarb and raspberry, which will be absolutely scrumptious to sample in a couple of months. The last bits of canning and preserves were also added to the pantry, and I don’t think another jar would fit. From jellies, apple butter, apple sauce and fruit preserves to pickling and chutneys, we should be stocked up for another season of giving.

The snow and cold means it’s also time to break out the Mukluks. My Manitobah Mukluks are my go to winter footwear for any and all Winter adventures. From walks in the backyard, breaking out the snow shoes or trips to town, they are a mandatory for footwear. I have so much fun snapping pictures as well to submit for the fun hashtag #mocmonday on Insta!

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We make sure to take time to enjoy the company of one another too, as Dan and I both find ourselves extremely busy in our work lives. Our weekly adventures to the city for hockey games are the best date nights. While the poor Oilers may not be crushing it this year, we still love showing up to cheer them on and enjoy in a ceasar (or two). One of these days, my fingers are crossed we’ll be the lucky winners of the 50/50 draw!

Time for ourselves is also important, so settling down to watch a movie, getting cozied up in new winter sweaters or getting lost in a good book are not unheard of. Accompanied with a good cup of coffee or a glass of whiskey, we are ready here on the farm for this Winter.


Wild is the Music of Autumn Winds

Wild is the Music of Autumn Winds

Autumn slipped away in the dead of the night, leaving behind the barren tree branches naked of their leaves. She blew a kiss farewell to all creatures who scrambled through the brush, the last call for foraging. And in the morning when the world awoke, their eyes were greeted by Winter. No time was wasted as she painted the world white, and the frigid chill in the air was a sure sign she was here to stay.

While we have definitely settled in here for the long haul of the Winter months on the farm, there was so much left of Autumn to share with everyone. So before the pictures of the snow fall appear, and we talk about wood fires and temperatures dropping to twenty below, let’s take a step back and recap October.

October was a busy month here on the farm as we played catch up from our September holidays. There was garden harvesting to be done, fall clean ups and animal prep for the cold to come.

Before we had left for the East, we had tarped over our tomatoes in the raised beds in a hopes that should there be frost while we were away, the tomatoes would be saved until we could return home to pick them. It worked! While most of the plants themselves had started to wilt and turn to brown, we salvaged the tomato fruits and laid them out to ripen on newspaper in the man room off the garage. It was a slow process, but I would say over half of what we picked turned to a brilliant red and was used up. Whether it be in a home cooked sauce, canned for salsa or even turned into chutney, we were lucky to not have them go to waste.

It wasn’t our best year for the garden by any means, but we learn and appreciate it even more for that. We had only a couple of zucchini survive, a handful of cabbage, some carrots and onions, a few cobs of corn and a couple of pumpkins. But let me tell you, we will never go hungry because can we ever grow potatoes! We had planted six rows of potatoes in their own area of the yard, and we couldn’t keep up with digging them out. I think its safe to say, we’ll be eating potatoes all winter.

Gardening doesn’t stop in the Fall either. It’s the opposite of Spring gardening when you are breaking the ground and getting ready for new life. In the Fall, you cut back the dead plants, spread your fertilizer source and let the Winter prepare the soil for new life again come spring. A day was spent cutting back flowers, hostas and grasses. Cutting everything back from little garden circle of happiness was bittersweet. I had so enjoyed the sunflowers and wildflowers that had grown over the Summer months. But even in the last breaths of life, wildflowers are just so beautiful. I am excited to see how the circle will grow and fill next season!

Fall brings with it some bittersweet moments on the farm as well. Since Spring we raised seven hogs who would be for butcher. While I go into each year knowing this, so far it hasn’t made the task any easier when butcher time comes. I spend my Summer months caring for the pigs, feeding them each morning and night, watching as they run about the wooded pen they had this year. I am so thankful that my freezer will be full for the season and that we have helped to also provide for our friends and family. But I don’t participate. Not yet anyways. Perhaps as the years go on that will change. But for now, I am just happy to know that I raised them with love and care and that there is now pork for a year in my freezer.

But that is why we have an array of animals here on the farm to love! We were on the ball this year and were able to get the chicken coop winterized before the snow hit. We cover the run of the coop with plastic for wind protection, run heat tape around the nesting boxes with insulation to cover and keep them toasty and have to plug in a heated waterer. We also have heated waterers for the pigs and donkeys which are plugged in as speak. The chickens have all been moved to one coop for the Winter season and we said goodbye to all of the roosters. The three little pigs have lots of straw in the Pig Haus to keep them warm and the donkey’s also have straw bedding laid down in their shelter. Everyone on the farm is ready for the cold and snow!

We’ve also been busy catching up on all of our Home Brews. We tried out first ever batch of apple cider, with apples we had collected over our holidays across Canada. It is now in bottles and should be able to taste test for Christmas! We also bottled our first  batches of fruit wine, including one of rhubarb and one saskatoon berry. We sure are excited to try them out!

The chill in the air also means its time to get back into the knitting! If I am to have dishcloths ready for Christmas gifts its best to get a head start. I always have so much fun trying out new patterns and seeing how all the colours come together. Once I get a stash of dishcloths I am itching to get back to knitting my first pair of socks which are still on my circular needles from last winter. Who knows, maybe there will be time for a blanket or two , or even an attempt at a sweater! I’ve also got a new favourite spot for knitting, on my comfy cozy sheepskin rug by the wood fire. It was perhaps my favourite purchase of our whole holiday! I’m also trying out my hand with my new sewing machine and making my first ever quilt. Stay tuned for the final project!

For Thanksgiving we made a special trip with friends to the local corn maze. It was such a fun day of getting lost, sipping on hot chocolate and of course feeding all the animals at the petting zoo. And while we may have wound up stranded on the side of the highway in our friend’s “Wittalbego”, it honestly couldn’t have been a more fun day spent with any better people. If I was going to be stranded, it would be with them any day!

Halloween wrapped up the end of the month, and while we don’t get trick or treaters out in our neck of the woods, we always pop in to see our god son’s costume and drop off some halloween books. He was the cutest little troll and his mom Jackie put in lots of work to their costumes. I look forward to those days for us, especially incorporating the animals on the farm into the pictures. My mom even sent me some old photos of my kick ass costumes from when I was little, she did a great job too!

We look forward to a little quiet time here on the farm as we make our way into Winter. Everyone is ready for the cold and we can finally relax and enjoy each other’s company. With little projects here and there to finish up and the beginning of hunting season, I feel like this will be a great winter!



The Burches Cross Canada Trucking

The Burches Cross Canada Trucking

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”  –Miriam Adeney


On the Labour Day long weekend in September, Dan and I packed up the truck, hooked on a trailer and pulled out of the driveway for a three week trip that would take us across four provinces in Canada. This would be the longest period of time that we’d been away from the farm, and I was a little bit nervous to say the least.

I had scoured online ads and Facebook groups looking for a “Farm Sitter” for months before the trip. I was being very selective on who was going to be taking care of our critters while we were away! A local girl in highschool came out for an interview, and then once again to do a run through practice. I had made up signs in the feed shed with instructions on feeding, how much and who got what food. We left emergency contact numbers and names, and also had some close friends who popped in on occasion just to double check all was well on the farm. With the animals in good hands, it was time to hit the road!

The first leg of our journey was taking us to Manitoba, where we would be making a weeks stop for Dan’s family reunion on his mother’s side. A pit stop for the evening was made in Saskatoon where we met up with Dan’s brothers for the rest of the trek. The next day it was on to Falcon Lake, which lies on the border between Manitoba and Ontario.

We arrived at Falcon Lake in the mid afternoon, giving us day light and time to unpack the truck and make ourselves at home in our cozy little cabin. We were right on the lake, with our own dock in the water, hot tub on the deck and wood burning stove. Each family had a designated cabin to stay in, and a main lodge where group dinners and family events were to be held. After unpacking, throwing a couple lines into the water off the deck, Dan catching his first and only fish of the week, it was time to head to the Lodge and meet all of Dan’s Aunts and Uncles I had heard so much about.

It was a busy, fun filled week, getting to know Dan’s family and spending time playing games, canoeing the lake, hiking the trails and eating way too much good food! Each night dinner was prepared by one of the families and it was never disappointing.  Mornings came with fresh scones or cinnamon buns always, and a whole morning was designated to making pies! I think I probably gained back any weight I had managed to lose leading up to this point.

One quiet evening, Dan and I snuck away from the group to enjoy some time to ourselves down by the water as the sun set. I had a feeling it was going to be special evening. Seeing the Northern Lights has always been a dream of mine. I have seen bits and pieces in the sky here and there, but that night sitting by the lakeside was magical. It began with wisps in the air. I was wishing we would see them, and just like that they started to dance across the skies in brilliant greens. The still, black lake was the perfect reflection of their brilliance. It’s a night I won’t forget.

After a week at the cabin, it was time to be hitting the road, this time, heading East to Ontario. We were off to spend the next couple of weeks with my family at my Mom and Dad’s.

First order of business when arriving was finding Dan some sweet corn to indulge in. Was he in for a treat! Then it was off to my favourite little farm for a visit, Mapleton Organics. We had fun wandering around looking at all the critters and indulging in some unique flavoured ice creams. Dan tried the Dandelion and I, as usual, the Lavender.

We spent an afternoon at a new local brewery that had recently opened in Blyth, called Cowbell Brewing Co. It was a self guided tour through the brewery followed by lunch, and a couple flights of beer for tasting. Right up our alley!

Our next adventure took us to Niagara-on-the-Lake. While it’s a little busy, the quaint, historic town and beautiful homes make it so worth the visit. Not to mention all the wonderful little wineries along the way! We made a stop at Rosewood for some honey mead tastings, a stop at my favourite, Caroline Cellar, where the Plum wine is always a must and had lunch at the most beautiful historic old barn. The Cesar served here was basically a meal in itself! A stop at the local cheese store was also on the agenda, for their famous Guernsey cheese curds. We made a pit stop for fruit on the way out of town, bushels of peaches and pears for canning! Then it was on to Niagara Falls!

While Niagara Falls is mostly a huge tourist trap, Dan had never been before and it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. So we made a stop and lucked out with a fairly calm day for tourists. We meandered along, taking in the views, seeing the Maid of the Mist below and finished with a drive up Cliffton Hills on the way out of town.

After some day trips here and there, it was nice too just to hang around the house with family. Mom and I got creative with our #eggvignette, playing around with the farm fresh eggs we had brought with us and all the beautiful fall leaves. We spent an evening over at my brother Kenzie’s new house, staying up until all hours of the night around the fire with him and his girlfriend Alexis. Mom and Dad threw us a lovely “Wedding BBQ”, and we got to spend the day catching up with my Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and Grandma. Mom and I even found the time between it all to preserve and can 25 jars of peaches and pears that we had brought back from Niagara!

We made sure to take Dad out for a day of fishing, and while we may not have caught any big “lunkers”, we didn’t come home skunked. Tiny little basses was all that was biting that day. But spending the time by the lake watching the sail boats roll in and walking along the river banks was refreshing.

Like always, time flies when you’re having fun, and before we knew it, it was time to be packing up the trailer and heading back West. We took a couple of extra days to drive back so that we could make some pit stops along the way. We made several stops along the shores of Lake Superior, walked along the beaches and dipped our toes in the water.  We made sure to stop in Wawa and snap a selfie with the giant Canada Goose.

Our last stop in Ontario was to a sheep farm we had passed on the way through the first time. We purchased a sheep skin rug from the shop along with a gorgeous wool sweater, and paid the extra $4 to tour the farm. Weren’t we in for a treat! Baby donkeys, Emu’s and Elk! The farm tour may have been my favourite part!

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In the town of White River, Manitoba, we stopped to see the monument for Winnie the Pooh. It was here in this small town in Manitoba, that the beloved childhood story began when a hunter rescued an orphan bear cub. The bear cub was sold to an army soldier who kept her until he was deployed on mission. The bear, named Winnie after the soldiers hometown of Winnipeg, was placed in the care of the London Zoo. It was here at the zoo the author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin fell in love with the bear, starting his beloved children’s book Winnie the Pooh. It was an important stop for me, and even though it was pouring rain, we tracked down the statue for a picture. I always loved Winnie the Pooh as a child, and my Dad has called me Pooh Bear since I can remember, even to this day!

Our last stop on the journey may have just been my favourite of the whole trip (sorry family!). Dan and I spent the night in his childhood home town of Gimli, Manitoba. We stayed at the resort his mom had once worked at, visited Tergesen’s, the gift shop that he had so many memories of as a child and walked along the pier taking in all the sail boats. We skipped across to the next town of Sandy Hook and drove by Dan’s childhood home, his old school and Winnipeg Beach. It was such a special day to spend seeing all of his memories from childhood. We stopped at the local coffee bar for drinks, and then it was back onto the highway for the final leg of our journey home.

The last day of driving was spent with one goal in mind, getting home! And what a beautiful sight it was pulling the truck into our driveway that day. While we had so much fun with our families, exploring each others home towns and making our own adventures along the way, we had been away for too long. Pulling into the drive, being greeted by smiling, wiggly dogs, roosters crowing, pigs snorting, and donkeys braying really just made it all sink it, we were home!

The Sunday of Summer

The Sunday of Summer

When I wake in the morning, the sunshine is no longer greeting me through the bedroom window. I stumble through the darkness, hitting the light in the closet and finding my chore clothes. I slip into my cold jeans and pull on a sweater and make my way outside to greet the day. You can feel the cool now in the morning air, that fall chill that is lifting with the morning dew.

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This is my favourite time of day, when the world starts to come alive as the sun crests over the horizon. First comes the crow of the rooster greeting the sun, and alarming the farm yard there’s movement in the early morning hours. This is followed by curious snorts of a little pig snout, telling his brothers and sisters that food is on the way. The chorus erupts with squeals and barks of hungry hogs. The next pen over is filled with grumpy pig groans as the three little pigs wait (not so patiently) for their breakfast to arrive too. The last note on the morning air is the loudest, as the donkey boys give the finale with a loud bray of morning welcome. The barn yard is alive and awake.

This particular morning, after feeding is done and waters are topped off, I stand to appreciate this land we have tamed and the sweat and tears we have put into all the pens and out buildings holding our many farm animals. I marvel at the way life falls into place and how with hard work and determination, dreams do come true. My thoughts are broken as low overhead four whooping cranes pass by in flight. The beating of their wings on the air and the call of their whoops beyond beautiful for words. My heart is filled with joy and gratitude for this life I am so blessed to live.

There is no doubt that fall is in the air, peeking it’s head from around the corner. It is true that the month of August is like the Sunday of summer. That last little glimpse. The end of one and the beginning of another.

And I am totally OK with autumn making it’s way in. It is, after-all, my favourite season of the year!

The summer has been a busy one here for us on the farm. It brought with it many changes and challenges, but here we are, we survived! We were able to find a dry day or two, between the days when it felt like the rain would never stop, to get the rest of our fencing done. This meant we could move over the hogs to their own enclosure to grow until fall and move the donkey boys from their winter pen back into the back pasture on the grass. We set up an area with electric fencing that they have full range of, and I have to say, they are loving life. Who knew these two donkey boys could make one girl’s heart so full of love. Most sunny evenings I can be found out fraternizing with my boys, enjoying a cold drink, reading a book or just goofing around. My shadows are never far behind. I even made flower crowns and was able to snap a couple quick photos before they became snacks. These boys are always up to something and there is never a dull moment with them around.

2017-07-29 11.31.37 1.jpgThe pigs are loving their new pen too. They have a large area now in the bush they are inhabiting. They’ve wasted no time in turning over as much ground as possible. We call them our bush hogs. They are growing like weeds, on a diet of pig chop and apples that we received. They’ll stay in the bush pen until later this fall when they make the trip to the freezer. While some don’t agree, you just really can’t beat knowing where your meat is coming from and that it was raised with love and treated humanely.

There was excitement this past week during evening chores when we got to the chicken coop. The Little’s we purchased in the Spring as babies have started to lay, and there is a blue egg layer! I had had my fingers crossed that we would get some new colours in our egg basket. Along with the beautiful blue we also are getting a new fun green. Now to wait for our Olive Eggers to lay! From the thirteen babies we brought home this spring, eight have turned out to be roosters. With the ladies looking a little worse for wear, we made the decision to cull most of our roosters and give the ladies a chance to get their feathers back before the winter creeps in with the cold. Even old faithful George didn’t make the cut and he joined the others at freezer camp. We processed the birds and used our new chicken plucker which worked like nobody’s business. We are getting that freezer full again.

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This hasn’t been our best year for the garden, whether it be that Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating, or that our seeds didn’t sprout like they should have. While some things are doing better than others, we really can’t complain when we have anything at all to be able to harvest. It was another year without peas but our beans exploded. Our lettuce was a no show, but we won’t be planting it in the same row next year. Our corn has grown tall-ish and has cobs starting and tassles growing. There is a lack of cucumbers, but the beginning of zucchini. We may or may not get brussel sprouts, but our beets and carrots are there growing under ground, or so I hope. I have three cabbage that are absolutely beautiful and I am rooting for them as they will be the first cabbage we’ve had from the garden. Our dill has grown and is starting to flower, along  with our other herbs that are nearly done and gone to flower. We have tomatoes starting to ripen on the vine and more celery than we know what to do with.

With the start of the garden harvest happening marks the beginning of canning season! Using the oven, I was able to dehydrate the herbs growing in our herb garden tubs. I have jars of dill, mint, basil, chives, parsley, oregano and sage. I am excited for mint herbal tea this winter! We had an overload of apples on one of ours trees and to save any of the branches from snapping we thinned them out a little. With the apples picked I made my first ever small batch of Maple Bourbon Apple Butter. Mmmmm! We’ve done a small batch of pickled beans to start with and I am sure there will be lots more to come. Today with our plethora of eggs we’ve had collecting in the fridge, I used up nine cartons and made the first batch of pickled eggs for the season. And one of the best parts of canning and preserving, is the labels. Can’t wait to share what I’ve come up with this year for our labels!

Where the garden has been lacking my flowers have been thriving. While Dan just loves all my flower we don’t eat, he can’t help but appreciate their beauty. In front of the vegetable garden we have two wild flower patches to help draw in the bees.  Around the house we have several flower beds filled with perrenials. And this summer, with the help of an idea from Pinterest of course, Dan dug me out a circle garden which has come to be called my flowerchild garden of happiness. Around the circle is planted sunflowers, wild flowers and poppies. It is my favourite place in the yard and is buzzing with life right now. I am sure next year it will be even more developed and we have the perfect thing to sit right in the middle, our new bee hive! We were gifted a flow hive as a wedding present from our close friends and we are so excited to try our hands in the apiary field next Spring.

Summer has also been a time for collecting berries here on the farm. We stumbled across a large patch of raspberry bushes out back along our cut line in the bush. We were able to collect 8lbs of berries from out back and used them to make a batch of our own raspberry wine! We’ve also used Saskatoon’s collected from Dan’s dad’s farm to make a batch of Saskatoon berry wine. I think it will be absolutely delicious! The other batch of wine we have going at the moment is a rhubarb wine from our rhubarb patch here. We have had so much fun playing around with our wines this summer after all of our practice with kits. It’s just too bad we have to wait so long to sample them! We look forward to maybe getting to make honey mead from our own farm honey next year!

Throughout the business of the season we have been sure to make some time to have fun as well as work hard. I started a new job at the beginning of August and the change made for a week’s break before starting. Dan also had time off and so we used it to do a few things we’d been waiting all summer for. We took a day trip to the Calgary Zoo. I had been asking Dan for years to go and we had never been able to make it work. We had a blast and couldn’t have asked for better weather that day. My favourite was probably the new penguin exhibit. It felt like the Arctic with the ambiance and lights. The penguins were so much fun to watch gliding and swimming through the water. Of course we also found pigs of several different varieties. My next favourite was the meer cats. They were so adorable and so funny to watch!

We found a day to get down to our favourite fishing spot on the Pembina river and although the rain followed us down there, we didn’t let that stop us! Dan caught three jack fish and I was there for the moral support. We made it back to the river during our week off and threw the canoe in for a float. It took us five hours from bridge to bridge. We made a couple pit stops, fished for a little and even got in a canoe nap. It was a great day and a great voyage along the river in the canoe.

Finally we were able to get around to celebrating our marriage with our friends and family here in the West. Over the long weekend we hosted our “I Do” BBQ. It was a great weekend filled with great food and great company. We had a pig roast, cooked up a ham, deep fried two of Dan’s dad’s turkeys and had the most beautiful cake to cut. Followed by bonfire and lots of drinks for many, it was a beautiful day for Dan and I. We are headed to Ontario in September and will take some time to celebrate with friends and family there as well.

As the summer winds down, we are so thankful and blessed for what life has brought us in the last couple of months. We look forward to the fall and settling in to a new routine around the farm. Garden harvests, more canning and even a vacation for the two of us. We are headed to Manitoba for the September long weekend for a family reunion and then we are continuing on to Ontario to visit with my family for a couple weeks. I am so excited to be able to share this with Dan!





Go Wild , For a While

Go Wild , For a While

We’ve become strangers to nature. And the best way to live longer, healthier lives is to re-wild ourselves by returning to nature whenever we can.


What a wondrous and ever so beautiful time of year Summer is. How lush and green and full everything has become with sunshine, heat and evenings showers. How wonderful is it to watch the plants pop their heads from the ground, and raise their arms in praise of the sun as they stretch towards its beaming face. To hear the chatter of birds and squirrels busy in the yard, of birds and bees buzzing about in their busy hastes. There is so much to see and be heard in the days of summer.

Life has sure been busy here on the farm with the coming of the summer months. Keeping waterers full and fresh is a number one priority as the heat moves its way in during the days now. On occasion we do like to add an electrolyte and vitamin supplement on those days were the heat seems to be unbearable. This gives everyone an extra little boost and helps to keep away any kind of heat stress or fatigue. Shade is also a big part of fighting off the heat and we make sure that everyone has a shady place throughout the entire day to be able to retire to.

We have made some additions to our little farmstead, adding seven little piggers to the bunch. These pigs will be raised throughout the summer months and then butchered to fill the freezer come fall. We have also had some interest from friends and family, hence having seven mouths to feed this year compared to four last summer.  While it’s hard to not get attached to the little snouts and curly tails, I find peace in knowing that they will be raised with love and care here on the farm before they serve a bigger purpose of feeding families. They currently are taking up residence in a blocked off portion of the pot belly pig pen. They will stay here until we get the last bits of fencing done, and then they will be moved across the way to clear the bush and become forest dwelling pigs until fall.

Our three little pigs are doing well, and this past week marked the one year adopt-iversary for the three brothers. Who knew one could have so much love for three little pot belly pigs! They greet me at the gate every morning and evening as they wait for dinner. They accept a scratch here and there from me. They really have come such a long way from the day we picked them up at the rescue.

With the completion of the fencing we will also be able to move our donkey boys out onto pasture. We had been letting them free range the back yard at their leisure when we were home on the weekends, but after several strawberry plant casualties and the loss of my sweet pea planter, this plan has been rethought! It wont be long now until they can be out on the green grass in the pasture and not perusing about the lawn leaving little presents as they go.

Our chicken littles are growing like weeds and the divider has been put up in the chicken enclosure so that they can get out on the grass and meet the other flock through the fence. I am afraid we have too many roosters in the bunch, as at least four or five are heard trying out their cock-a-doodle-doo’s in the evenings. If they can’t be sold as additions to someone elses flock, we may end up having a large batch of chicken soup! Here’s hoping the rest are hens, because I sure am excited for some blue and green eggs this fall! The rest of the bunch are happy to be out ranging in the enclosure, picking on grass and bugs and lounging around. We are on an egg surplus at the moment, getting almost a carton daily! I can’t even sell them fast enough as they are laying. I think this means there will be a big batch of pickled eggs in the near future!


We’ve been busy bees ourselves working in the garden. While sometimes starting your own seeds and seedlings can be a challenge and some times heartbreaking after so much time and work, seeing the growth and reward from the ones that survive helps you to push on. Our garden seems to be doing good thus far, in need of a little weeding TLC, but so far we have most of everything coming up in our rows. We added a little fence along the sides from old tamarack posts we had sitting here on the farm. We refer to it as our donkey deterrent. It adds character and along with our new ‘re-purposed’ gate, everything seems to be really coming together. 


Along side the garden I have little herb gardens planted in old wash tubs I found in my travels. Fresh basil, parsley, sage, chives and oregano. Our mint has come back with a vengeance this year in our old tire rim we planted in the ground to keep it contained to one area. Our rhubarb patch was full until I found a recipe for rhubarb cordial and have now become addicted to rhubarb mojitos! We also are trying our hand at our first batch of purely home made rhubarb wine! I couldn’t be more excited to see how it turns out!

I’ve also put some more time into our flower beds this summer, digging out some older flowers that had started to take over and replacing them with some perennials that are going to grow beautifully over the years. We had a sale at work on half wine barrel planters and so two of those came home with me to make planted decorations at the end of the driveway by the gate. The side garden has so many baby hollyhock coming up, I am so excited for them to fill out and grow tall. Some of the plants are reseeded from the plants last year and some are from seeds I got from my Mom. I am so curious to see what kind of colours pop up! Besides the front flower beds, I had also seeded my wild flower beds in front of the vegetable garden and my ring of sunflowers. While not as many seeds have sprouted as I had planned, I still think it will be beautiful and the wild flower mix around the outside is starting to fill in as well.

patioI had a little make work project I decided to start this summer that I am finally finishing up and couldn’t be more overjoyed to be finished. I had started collecting pallets from work and thought that I should build myself a little backyard oasis, and create a pallet couch on the deck. Arranging and placing the pallets was the easy part. After a quick coat of stain and a little table creation, the couch was there and an umbrella placed.

19534300_1186254484853373_3650309519667363840_nCushions was next on the list, and this turned out to be the most tedious part. They are finished now, they look and fit great. I know there is going to be a lot of time spent out enjoying our creation, so I am happy in the end we stuck it out! I have a long list of books to be read this summer, and I am thinking this is going to be the perfect spot.

19425262_129519674296359_1502284662838394880_nAmidst all the hustle and bustle that the farm life has brought for us, we always try to take time to be able to enjoy ourselves and our hard work. We finally made it for a little drive out to the back corner of our property to check on our trails cams and to just get away and enjoy what nature has to offer. It is so beautiful out back right now, the paths are hardly recognizable overgrown with grasses and wild flowers.


We stopped along the way to gather a wild flower bouquet full of tiger lilies, daisies, blue bonnets and indian paintbrush. And when we finally remembered to sit down and see what was caught on the camera, what a busy spot we found we have back there. From spotty fawns to budding bucks and bull moose, it was a real spectacle to capture it all on camera. Perhaps my favourite was the picture of the cow moose and her calf. How blessed are we to live on this beautiful land we call home with a front row seat to all the beauty mother nature has to offer.