Finding Joy in the Things We Do

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Farm Boy 

Spring has sprung! Just kidding, it snowed 5 inches last night. But I guess that’s the North’s equivalent to a March shower. Thank goodness it turned into a gorgeous bluebird day and all faith was restored in knowing that spring is just around the corner. Although I realize that many of the people I follow on instagram should go ahead and suck it because they remind me constantly that spring actually exists right now in other, nicer, prettier places (not that I’m bitter. My husband told me I sounded bitter, and I had to remind him that, well, yes, I am bitter). All I want in life is a greenhouse that I can putter in during these low temps, but noooooooo…. I don’t even have a south facing window to spare anymore because I have what I like to refer to as Hurricane Toddler living in my tiny indoor space. I also have chickens living in my spare room… You know, normal people springtime problems. Le sigh.

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The roommates got some fresh air today and the ladies got some gossip material…

My last post was all about the many things we have to do on our goal’s list for this year. After creating this list, I noticed something… it all weighs a little heavy on my mind. I love planning and doing and working hard, but with the addition of our son last February, life has taken a new twist. I find myself wanting to surround myself with the things that bring me joy more often. It also could be due to the fact that I celebrated my 35th year on this planet recently, but life is just too damn short to be worried and stressed all of the time. Can I get an Amen?!

So I sat down and made a list of “things to do” of another kind – one that focused on my emotional being rather than the logistical reality that is our homesteading life. Because it’s all related, and I needed to start looking forward to our tasks instead of feeling heavy and dreadful. Dreadful. I like that word. Fun to say. Sucks to be.

Anywho… here’s the list:

  • Grow
  • Enjoy
  • Explore
  • Be present
  • Be kind
  • Listen
  • Practice patience
  • Find balance
  • Encourage
  • Laugh
  • Breathe deep
  • Celebrate Spring
  • Savour Summer
  • Focus in Fall
  • Welcome Winter
  • And my most favourite – DON’T DO “MORE”… DO “DIFFERENT”

This was huge for me. I’m always pushing myself to do more. I run a homestead and work a real job, so I’m always needing to do more, to be more… unless… Maybe I don’t. Maybe the key is to not “do more”, just “do different”. Take the things that don’t bring me joy in my everyday life and replace them with the things that do. Sounds simple right? Alas, not always so. Because life has a way of being a cock blocker and keeping you from happiness… and by cock blocker, I mean running defence on my frisky rooster Beatrix because he was being a dick today… or something like that.

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Sometimes life gets in the way of how you thought your day was going to go…

It’s the small things in life that make all the difference and the small changes I’ve made have already lightened my load and brought me joy. I don’t need to plug-in to social media for too much time looking at too many things that make absolutely no positive impact on my life whatsoever… I’d rather be cuddling my son or hiking with my dogs (and cat) or training the chickens who live in my house. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I just make sure I am present and practice intention in making those decisions. You know, like doing yoga instead of drinking wine at night. Hahaha…. just kidding. That would be ridiculous. I can definitely do both of those things and have them equally me joy. I haven’t lost my mind completely. Yet.

Using this model I began to reshape our 2017 list of Goals to emphasize and focus on bringing more joy to the farm and spaces we live in. Things started to pop out – like how the acre garden has been too much work and not enough joy. Solution – creating a better and more useful space for me to spend time down there, especially with a toddler. Farm chores can be a hassle, so now we are brainstorming ways to make them more efficient… easier for us to accomplish them while enjoying the work we do. I realize this is no new concept and that there are a hundred ways to go about it, but for me, this has been a revelation and I am joyfully looking forward to the work at hand and ahead. And sharing it all with you.

So even though this morning brought 5 inches of fresh snow, the afternoon brought sunshine and blue skies, so me, my son and all of our critters set out and found lots and lots of joy.

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But everyone loves a cuddle ❤

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Chicken chores

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Between starting work and cold temps I hadn’t spend time with these guys in a few weeks, so today it was oats and encouragement

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My father-in-law caught 16 wild horses this weekend and they are in the corrals adjusting to life on the farm

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This group of geldings from last summer returned to the farm, which brings us up to 32 horses on the property – the spring roundup has begun

How do you find joy in your everyday life or work?

~Katy

2017… And so it begins.

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Reminiscing about greener days on the farm

I almost just shot a coyote!

My god… how life has changed. But if a creepers gonna creep on my flock, I’m going to have to take them out. Just call me Laura Ingalls effing Wilder. No, don’t do that. I don’t think she’d approve. Plus, I don’t know if she’d actually shoot a coyote, but it’s 2017 baby, and this farm girl’s got a gun!

Hey all! It’s me, y’know that sweet sweet blogger you’ve missed hearing from? I can officially say that I completely failed all of you in the year of 2016. Like, seriously. I had three blog posts. Three. Ugh. The worst. But I’m back! And better than ever! Well, I don’t know about the better part, but definitely back. More prepared maybe. After having a kid, I seem to have snacks on me at all times so that is an improvement.

In the past, I’ve started the year out with a recap of our past years goals, how far we’ve come and what life is looking like for the New Year. I did a great recap of 2016 already, and for the most part it covered our goals and accomplishments. You can catch up here if you missed it. You will see in our current list of goals and aspirations, we seem to have lost our minds and decided that we can, and should do all of the things.

Who needs sleep anyway.

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“We do Mom. We need sleep. The baby is mobile and he is everywhere!”

I’m headed back to work a real job in March so things should get so busy that we’ll be taken down a few notches, but for now, here’s our list:

  • Install deck railing and child gate – we attempted to get this done before winter hit in 2016, but it just didn’t happen. But we need to get on it because we have the busiest little boy on our hands and he is just raring to get out there.  So definitely #1 on the list.
  • Landscape and clean up the farm for the family reunion – Every three years, my husband’s family has a family reunion, which is awesome! We were, um, voluntold a few years back that our farm was picked to host the family reunion and we were very excited… when it seemed so far away. Now, it’s here! In July.  And we have some things to do. The theme is Pioneer Days though and I am already planning a pack horse race so… it will be a good time regardless if our farm is presentable!

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    Luckily, I know a decent landscaper ❤

  • Honeybees – this is happening this year. Even if we just have to get some bees and learn the hard way. It’s happening.
  • Horses – Currently we have 20 horses on the property: 12 mares, 4 geldings, 3 colts and 1 stud (Thor is back!!!) We’ve been keeping everyone fed and the colts are finally weaned. They are hanging out with our stud horse Thor and learning that humans aren’t so scary… which means we’re actually managing our wild herd! My father-in-law is brining hay across the river to the remaining wild ones and we plan on bringing more across this spring. We still don’t have an exact count of how many total there are, so we’ll just have to keep catching them.
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    So. Fuzzy.

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    This little one is very friendly and just wants to be loved by me

  • Garden – Oh, the project that just keeps on giving…
    • Organic Certification: Our commitment to producing crops organically is going to be official! Clay and I decided to go pesticide free on our commercially farmed 88 acres of farmland when we moved onto the property, so the first summer would have been 2014. We need a minimum of three consecutive years of no pesticide use to qualify and plan on having certification by 2018. We are initially going to certify our crops and have plans to move into certifying our poultry, eggs, honey and any other products we may venture into on the farm. So. Exciting. We will continue to practice organic methods of fertilizing (compost, worm tea, cover crops) and pest control, as well as continue to strive for a permaculture balance on the property as a whole. Organic certification will mean that we are going against the grain of the farmer’s and fields around us to provide a healthy ecosystem for our family, our critters and the wildlife that share this land. It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time and I’m beyond thrilled to be learning and living the process.

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      The grass and weeds had a very healthy year in 2016. I promise you there is food in there somewhere!

    • CSA Farm Boxes: A long-term goal of the farm is to become a community supported agriculture (CSA) operation. Basically this means that people in our community will invest in shares of our farm and crops at the beginning of the season to help us buy the supplies we need and then, in return, will receive a share of our harvest throughout the harvest season. Eating local at it’s finest! So this year I want to commit to selling 5 boxes per week for 10-12 weeks… gotta start somewhere!
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      2016 dinner harvest

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      I am planning on getting some of my preserves tested this year so I can offer them through my farm boxes at the end of the season

    • Set-up small greenhouse, prep, dress and mulch 100′ beds, install drip lines, manage pathways, work on grass issue, plant 5 fruit trees (pear, plum, apricot, honey crisp apple x2), plot 2 fruit tree guilds in the food forest, fix raspberry bed and prep remaining 100′ beds on west side of acre garden. All while keeping a small child from burning and overheating in the open field…there’s going to be a lot of dirt eating this summer. Yup.
  • Chickens – my small little flock needs some filling out and my egg basket needs more colour (did you know that egg colour is addicting?). As of now I have 1 rooster and 9 laying hens, a mixture of green and pink eggs mostly with one blue one thrown in for good measure. I received an incubator for Christmas this year (thanks Mom and Dad!) and have my first set of eggs incubating as we speak! If all goes well and I don’t absolutely kill all of them, then I will be hatching many many more. Eggs on order include: Black Copper Marans (dark brown egg), Ameraucana’s (blue egg), Silkies (small white egg), Blue Isbars (green egg), Cream Legbar (blue egg), Icelandic (tinted white egg), Lavender Orpington (light brown egg), Wheaten Marans (dark brown egg), Olive Eggers (olive green egg) and silver and blue laced wyandotte (light brown egg). I think I can officially claim that I’m a chicken farmer…. or a crazy chicken lady? Same difference in my book 🙂 We are also embarking on the world of turkey ownership this year… it could go either way. They could be super awesome, sweet and fun to have on the farm or I could have to face one down and hit it with a shovel like that one time I was 12 at my friends house. Could go either way…

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    Current egg basket. Just set 24 of my gals eggs in the incubator and expect a hatch on February 28

  • Cabin – there is much to do in our 16×20 cabin on the property. After meeting with the bank regarding the build of our dream forever house it’s been determined that we must live in the cabin for up to 12 months during the actual building process. That means me, my husband, our toddler and 2 large dogs will be moving in and living that REAL homesteader life. So yes, much to be done in the cabin. But stoked to be planning our dream forever house!

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    Work in progress…

I suppose that sums it all up. Seems doable, and if not, definitely a lesson in patience. I must say, I can’t remember a time when I have ever felt more fulfilled with my daily life or with where I am. It truly feels as if we are in the exact right place at the exact right time. And with the state of the world today, it feels good to be connected to our land, our family, our community and our happiness. 2017 will be a year to learn, grow, be kind and over all else – love.

What’s on your plate for 2017?

~Katy

Farm Life with Baby

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Garden helper

So apparently, I can’t do it all.  I apologize, as you all seem to get the brunt of that. Life has been amazingly good, but oh so busy and it seems that sitting in front of a computer in my office area does not make it high on the priority list these days. I’m saving for a laptop to change those ways hopefully soon, but until that day, pardon my manners and allow me to attempt to catch you up on what’s been happening on the farm. So.Many.Things. I suppose I’ll start where our biggest challenges began this summer. Managing a new baby on the farm, getting stuff done and keeping our sanity. We seemed to get at least two out of those three things accomplished.

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He fit great in my baby K’tan early on, but quickly out grew it. We moved up to our Mountain Buggy carrier and really enjoy it.

Bowman is growing fast and keeping us on our toes. He decided to crawl at 6 months and hasn’t stopped moving, and now it’s a whole different level of parenting around here. The dogs have warmed up to the idea of having him mobile – well Wyatt mostly tries to poach his food and Maynard has become a full duty Nanny, which includes 20 minute check-ins, constant face/hand/area clean up, warning growls in case of intruding baby snatchers and judgmental stares if he thinks I’m being neglectful of the cries coming from the nursery. I finally understand the whole “pit bull nanny dog” title. So there’s that. The chickens seem curious and the cat is super tolerant. He also loves to hitch rides in the stroller on our walks. The horses too are curious, and nothing brings a smile to Bowman’s face faster than one of the animals. All in all, life has continued on the farm and our little one fits right in.

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Under our shade sanctuary, Maynard on guard. Oh the easy days of him not being mobile.

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Chickens!!

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New lap in town.

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Big smiles, all around.

In the beginning, we were unsure how life, let alone farming life would happen with a baby added to the mix. It seemed… overwhelming I guess, to haul around a little person and get what we needed to accomplished done, especially outside and safely. How would we get chores done? Plant the garden? Tend the animals? Harvest? There was so much to do, and we lead such busy lives, how could we possibly do it all?

Well for one, I started drinking coffee. That helped.

But as I said before, even with coffee, we couldn’t do it all.  That was the first thing we had to accept as new parents. It just wasn’t feasible to get it all done. I also had to relax a bit more on my level of perfection I’m used to. I had to learn to live with the weed infested gardens (very weed infested), the un-washed floors, the piling up paperwork in the office, the un-sent birth announcements (sorry) and the un-made beds (just kidding… I’m not an animal). Not an easy task for me, but with practice, patience and a few tears, I learned to let go. I also had to maximize nap time. That was huge. On nice days, our baby monitor could reach most places around the house or he would sleep outside. On rainy, stormy days I got a hell of a lot of canning done. Prioritize and maximize people.

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Like, a lot of canning. This is only the half of it.

Baby wearing has been a lifesaver for both of us. Yes, that’s right, my husband (proudly) wears his son, often.  It frees up our hands to get chores done and is also a convenient way for me to ride with him in the SxS. We also relied heavily upon our Pack n’ Play, our stroller and a shade gazebo we put up on our deck. The days get very sunny and hot in the summer and it was imperative that I had a sanctuary for the baby as well as the dogs and me. We also made adjustments so I could have some garden areas closer to the house which made it easier to tend and gather dinner supplies. It all worked out to be a great system for us.

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Tractor chores!

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Swing with a view.

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My garden supervisor, well one of them. I actually have 4 – two dogs, a cat and a baby. Why can’t any of them help weed! On a side note, that weed infested bed right there was calculated as a total loss until the end of the season when I pulled 50 lbs of beets and 30 lbs of carrots out of it.

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He’s an excellent harvest helper.

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Fencing with Dad

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And an even better egg gatherer.

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Summertime naps.

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Supervising Dad build me my kitchen garden.

As we did more, we grew more confident and learned new ways of doing things. We also learned that our little guy is definitely a farm kid. He went with the flow for most things and took this lifestyle in stride. Our productivity went up and we started to get more things done. We also took time to enjoy ourselves, our new life and our newest family member. I think that was the most important lesson of all. We went on hikes, to parties, swimming, on picnics, lounged in the sun and even went on  a quad trip into the mountains for the long weekend. And you know what? The farm thrived! The gardens produced, the animals were happy, projects got started and finished and the weeds lived happily ever after. It was a glorious summer and we took full advantage, and it turns out, living our life with a baby isn’t hard. It’s just our life, except now we have to remember to pack diapers.

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Ready for our 6 hour trip into the mountains. It poured rain on us the whole time and he didn’t cry or fuss once. That’s our boy!

So we adventure on and head into the winter months! We have lots of travel coming our way and I hope to update you more on our busy busy summer soon. Have a great day and remember, keep love in your heart and kindness in your thoughts, rise to meet your challenges, remain optimistic that anything can be done and never, ever underestimate the power of coffee.

~Katy

2016 Goals

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Our backyard

We’re baaaaaaaaack!

So apparently we’ve been through some sort of Space-time Continuum here on the farm. Like seriously, what day is it?

It seems like only yesterday I was 8 months pregnant and reminiscing to the slow pace our lives once were in 2015. Fast-forward 5 months and holy.crap. Things have gotten very interesting at Canadian Acres.

After such a long absence, I started to get subtle (and some not-so-subtle) reminders that people missed the blog. But as so much has happened in these last few months, I honestly didn’t really know where to begin. So I’ve decided to start where I meant to last January, which is to review the goals we set for 2016, plus give you a short review on how our lives have been over the past few months. Sound good? Good, because I don’t have any time to argue with you. Shit’s gotten real, and the one thing I do not have time for is extra time. Also, some days I have trouble finding time to get pants on. But that’s besides the point.

When Clay and I sat down together to map out our 2016 goals on a quiet, non-hectic day in December, we wanted to keep things short and simple since we knew our lives would certainly change once our new son entered the picture. You know, make sure we didn’t over extend our expectations because we couldn’t possibly get it all done with a baby. Hahahahahahaha. Anyway, our list promptly grew and grew and although we’ve almost murdered each other a few times, we’re actually figuring out how to make it all work. Mostly. We’ve definitely had to readjust our level of expectations, especially the day-to-day. And we’ve definitely had a steep learning curve. And we’ve definitely felt absolutely nutso and insane and cried for an hour over an egg we dropped on the way back from the chicken coop while carrying the baby. Well maybe that last one was just me. But mostly, mostly, we’re very much making it work 🙂

So…. here’s the list and a review on what’s been accomplished thus far:

  • Birth and bring home a happy and healthy baby boy:
    • Success!! On February 24, 2016 our son Bowman Tuchodi Peck was born. I went into the hospital on my birthday, the 23rd, for a routine check-up and never left. He was two weeks early and delivered by C-section as I had pre-eclampsia (which is *SPOILER* how Sybil dies in Downton Abbey which didn’t freak me out at all!!!) We were the parents with the car-seat still in the box at the hospital. It was scary and real and crazy and amazing. And then we came home and never slept again. But I’m happy to report that he is the greatest baby on the planet and by far the most handsome human being I have ever laid my eyes on. We just took him on his first camping/Hot Springs adventure and it was awesome.

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      My heart

  • Wild Horses: capture and bring at least one wild horse from across the river to the house (I literally wrote that down on our list… boy was I naive)
    • So, funny story. On February 21, my father-in-law went across the river and through the woods to feed our wild horses. He found a few lingering in our corrals set-up and decided to catch them. So three days before our son was born, 10 wild horses showed up at the house. This is my life people. I was obviously thrilled and very very slow at getting down to see them. We were officially in the business of horses. The corrals held up, though we added one extra rail around the top and after that, more horses just kept showing up. We’ve had anywhere between 10-35 horses on the property since, had one major branding, one horse cutting, four babies born and too many stud fights to count. I will write more in depth on this in a later blog. I guess you could call this goal accomplished.
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      First day on the farm

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      First baby born this spring

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      Timber’s brand TT

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      First branding on the farm – 24 horses

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      Thor, our wedding present stud finally, FINALLY got some time with the ladies… they were impressed I think. He chased them around the fields for days like this and we laughed and laughed

  • Finish hanging the gates in the corrals: Done
  • Chickens: Keep them happy and add a few to the flock
    • For the most part we’ve kept this up. We’ve lost a few to predators this year, but they are a free-range flock so I suppose that’s bound to happen. There has been some talk of perhaps getting a Livestock Guardian Dog in the future (and goats!!) so we will have to see how that turns out. But the chickens live great lives and always keep us entertained.
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      New baby on the farm

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      Clay built me double doors in the coop which I love! I also set some Welsummer eggs (that I did not have luck with) but the ladies kept hatching their own so we had baby chicks this spring

  • Finish fire-pit area:
    • This was a two-year project for us as we collected all of the sandstone by hand off of the property. We have some pretty amazing date nights around here. Clay spent a good portion of a week getting everything measured out, some weed barrier laid down and the stone all placed in sand. It turned out spectacularly. I spent most of this time trying to figure out how to do farm chores with a 2 month old.
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      Working on the fire pit

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      Ta-da! 

  • Cabin: Clean-up for summer guests, install septic tank
    • The cabin is nice and clean for guests and now sleeps six. We have a propane stove and fridge and a large bear rug covering one wall. The septic tank remains on the to-do list for this summer.
  • Garden:
    • Get whatever we can planted with a newborn
      • So far we’ve planted flowers in all of the house beds, a small kitchen garden in the hugelkultur bed Clay built for me last summer, 100-ft of potatoes, 150-ft of onions, 36 asparagus crowns, 75 strawberry roots. beer hops and numerous amounts of veggies in containers on the porch. I still have some planting to do, but I call all of that a win.
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        Clay and our friend Liz prepping the garden

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        My wonderful helper planting asapragus

    • Kill as much grass as possible
      • Last year we really struggled with the amount of grass that came up in the garden. This year we are focusing on killing the grass bastards with lots of black plastic, sheet mulching and wood chips. The struggle continues.
    • Focus on one guild of the food forest at a time
      • This years goal is to plant one large guild under one fruit tree of the food forest and see how that goes. I have plants and plans, but we’ll see how time factors in over the summer.
  • Honey Bees:
    • I have always fancied myself a bee charmer (I’ve never been stung) and it’s been a dream of mine to be an apiarist some day, even if it just means I can say that word more often. This year, we received a beehive as a gift and we will be taking a bee course as soon as the weather cooperates. We were scheduled for May 28th, but then it snowed so… welcome to the North.

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      My legit bee keeping set-up

  • Install clothesline: fingers crossed for this summer.
  • Continue landscaping: y’know, in our spare time.
  • Install deck railing: since we will soon have a mobile baby and our house is less than baby-proofed.

Whelp, I think that’s it. See, were are totally sane and within reasonable expectations… The real test has been how to keep the baby safe, warm and alive during all of these things and so far, so good. Sleep is overrated (NOT) and we’ve only had one “oops-we-fell-asleep-and-left-the-chicken-door-open-so-a-fox-massacred-a-few-in-the-night” incidents.

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Oops

We left the dog’s 2016 goals to them this year, which basically consists of not getting attacked by wolves. Once again, so far, so good.

~Katy

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Practicing our tummy time!

 

2015 in Review

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2016, it is upon us!

As Clay and I sat down to draw out our 2016 goals, we had mixed feelings on how we did on our 2015 goals.  I was disheartened as I felt with a full-time job and a pregnancy, I wasn’t up to the standard we’re used to. But after some time and reminiscing, it seems we actually accomplished a whole lot in 2015 and should be proud of what we could get done between long work hours, 40 minute commutes and growing a fetus.

So here it is… our list of goals we started with in January of last year and what we did and did not do, plus some extra items that got squeezed in there along the way:

  • The Garden:
    • This was one of our major goals of the year, and I must say, we worked our tail feathers off for this one. And to be honest, we could not have gotten near where we are today if my good friend Laura hadn’t sacrificed a week of vacation to come be our farm hand for a week – THANK YOU LAURA!!!1-IMG_4279
    • This included: Months and months of planning, sketching and plotting, fencing roughly 1 acre of land with 8 foot elk fence, digging and installing a 300 yard water line from our well, down the hill into the garden, rototilling the whole damn thing, multiple times with multiple machines, planting 15 fruit trees, 10 fruit/nut bushes, 10 raspberry canes and multiple perennials in the start of our food forest, creating 15 4′ x 100′ raised beds, implementing soaker hoses and planting most of them, and growing a mass amount of food for our first, very dry year.  I attempted to keep all of our beds mulched with straw but this was difficult because the grass and the weeds put up a good fight, but our little garden wouldn’t be discouraged! Sake and I ended the garden year by planting a mess of garlic bulbs so I’ll be happy when spring arrives.1-fencing 1Waterline1-IMG_4605harvest
  • The Corrals:
    • This was the other “major” goal of 2015 and has been in the works for the past 2 years. Remember all of those logs we had to peel? Well they’ve finally been put to good use! With the help of some family and friends, the corrals have been built with half of the gates hung. These babies are ready to house our wild horse bunch that we will (hopefully) soon  begin to transport from across the river. Canadian Acres is wild horse ready! Although the nightmares have started regarding wild horses escaping into our neighbors fields… lord help us all.IMG_7148 IMG_7146
  • Horse Management:
    • This was a goal we didn’t necessarily get to other than feeding during the winter. But I feel like getting the corrals done is a big first step!
  • Yard Landscaping:
    • We spent many summer weekends on this project and Clay built me some beautiful flower beds, one large one that we turned into a hugelkultur bed, an archway with stone path to the fire pit, we gathered stone from around the property to fill the fire pit patio area and planted/grew some grass in the front of the house. Clay did a lot of level work and I planted some perennials on the west side and the front of the yard.finished arch
  • Lattice:
    • We found a deal on white lattice, installed it around the bottom of our back deck and it looks beautiful! It also gives the chickens a secret, cool hangout in the summertime that they just seem to love.
  • Harvest:
    • I had enough energy to put away some food for the winter. 60 lbs of saskatoons in the freezer, 2 batches of smoked salmon, strawberry jam, blueberry peach preserves, dill pickles, pickled beans and carrots and a wild rose, plantain & calendula salve. Wish I had gotten more done in this department, but thus is life.saskatoons 211863331_10153601638502959_4713058634279907157_n 11811440_10153562589107959_8584941880818532417_n
  • Full-time Job:
    • At the end of March I got a full-time job as the Business Manager at the local Cultural Centre in town. It’s a great place to work and I really enjoy my co-workers, but it has definitely put the word “busy” in a whole new category.
  • Extra Project: Clay built a large woodshed that wasn’t originally on the list, but is coming in handy during this cold weather.IMG_6849
  • Extra Project: We got pregnant in June, found out in July and I’ve been dragging my homesteading ass ever since.

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Goals we planned for but didn’t accomplish:

  • Clothesline –  Not this year, but I’m optimistic for this spring when we’ll have plenty of baby clothes to dry!
  • Install gutters on house – this should be interesting come break up and with a new baby… hopefully things don’t get too slippery.
  • Rain barrel watering system for house area and chicken waterer – there’s always 2016.
  • 50 year plan plotted out on map – maybe someday.

All in all, I feel like we did pretty good. Thank goodness the major garden work got done before I got super tired in my first trimester.  It is important to keep up with our goals and at least write them down for we have so much to do on the farm, and well, in life.

My family members often ask – how do you find the time to do all of these things? And I have to chuckle to myself because I guess we don’t look at it that way. We don’t have TV, we don’t like to sit idle, we like to work to exercise. We try to focus on building a life that keeps us active, on this beautiful land and living life to it’s fullest. Plus, with a view like ours, it hardly feels like work. Though, this 20 pound belly I’m carrying around can put a damper on that quickly. 12119090_10153697948357959_6322904418634194563_n2016 is all about new adventure and new challenges and we are oh so excited to see how we handle it this time. Stay tuned for a list of our very realistic and not-overwhelming-at-all goals for when baby Peck arrives in March…. are we really dumb brave enough to try cloth diapers?

And because I always love to hear, what goals did you accomplish last year?

~Katy

All work and no blog makes Katy a…

Pregnant lady.

Yep, that’s right folks. We’re expecting, and I don’t mean a hatch of chicks this time. Life has been FULL of work, farm chores, gardening and sleep these days and I will admit to blatantly ignoring all of you.

For that I apologize. But seriously though, I mean like a lot of sleep.

At the beginning of the pregnancy I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I had never been more exhausted in my whole life and I was seriously slacking on the amount of work I get done each day. Unacceptable! I mean, I could barely even climb a mountain during our Tuchodi trip… what the hell?! I stilled climbed it though… one or two. If something was wrong with me, I wanted to be sure I went out of this world on a mountain.

So here we are… the picture perfect family…1-DSC_0280-001

16 weeks in and counting!! Realizing that life, especially our life, will never be picture perfect… and that’s the way we like it 🙂

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Just when you thought this picture couldn’t explain things more… look in the tractor 🙂

Winter is looming and with it brings more time spent indoors, so I promise as I gain some sanity and more energy to spend more time on the blog… I’ll re-negotiate these terms when March hits and all hell breaks loose.

~Katy

 

The Young and the Nestless

eggsIf you know me in my new farm life, you know that my life is never without chicken drama, most of which I refer to as The Young and the Nestless. It is a never ending cycle of broody-bitchy hens, obnoxious egg songs (some hens actually “sing” after they lay an egg, although it’s less of a song and more of a hey-I’m-being-murdered sound), a cat who thinks he’s a chicken, and too many roosters for one person to handle. I even got rooster sperm on my arm once trying to save a hen from a gang-bang. That’s right. Rooster. Sperm. On. My. Arm.

Lately, the drama has gotten real. My chickens free range during the summer months which means they are unsupervised on the property most days. Not only does this mean my newly planted perennial beds are forever mussed, it also means there is a chance of egg hiding. Add in ridiculously warm sunny weather and a stifling hot coop and you get no eggs for days.

After two weeks of getting one egg a day (thanks Izzie), Clay and I searched and searched and searched for their hidden stash to no avail. I even tried to bribe my so called chicken-cat into telling me where this elusive nest was. The dogs were no help and I figured I’d have to do some sleuthing (slash stalking) to find the treasure. The game was on.

Of course, the hens were immediately on to my plan and just gave me the run around… and the goose eye. Come on ladies, don’t I do everything for you? Don’t I feed you and give you snacks and fresh water and straw and struggle snuggle you any chance I can get? They weren’t having it. At least I knew I wouldn’t be dealing with more chicks since they all headed into the coop for the night. They’ve successfully tricked the two broodies in the coop who are confused as to why they have no eggs to set upon. Georgia and Florence – give it up ladies, you’re being broody for no one.

Sunday afternoon I was ready to give up… My biggest fear was that some adorable fox would happen upon this magical stash of easter eggs, devour them, go looking for more tasty treats and run away with my chicken-cat to have fox-chicken-cat babies that would show up in season 3 reeking havoc… typical chicken farmer stuff y’know.

But then I heard it… someone was being murdered someone had laid an egg and they were singing their song! I rushed outside and found Georgia, curiously off of her broody horse, heading for the bushes. She was on the search as well so I put Maynard on point and headed into the depths of our chicken yard. And then I found her. Betty, setting atop a pile of eggs. Hooray! The search had ended and now, now I was in the loop. I waiting impatiently for Betty to do her thing and promptly scooped up 25 eggs. 25 eggs! The ladies were busy.

maynard and georgia

Maynard facing off with Georgia… don’t worry, Georgia always wins

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Following the fluffy butt

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A-ha!! Jackpot! Poor little Betty was the victim of the gang-bang saving… nasty roosters tore her skin so bad I had to super-glue her together. We’re just waiting on a good molt to get her feathers back… Learn something new everyday folks!

A friend recommended I do the water test by floating them in water – if they stay at the bottom they are good, if they float to the top they are bad. I was happy as could be. I had solved the chicken drama.

In retrospect, I should have known it was too good to be true. Rookie mistake in taking all of the eggs off the nest. Turns out they didn’t want me in the know and now I have no eggs in the coop and no eggs in the outside nest. Damn. The search continues. At least the chicken-cat is still with us and the broodies are back in the boxes. I’ll take what normalcy I can get.

Until next time folks, beware the rooster sperm… beware.

~Katy