In like a lion…

March arrived with its reputation intact – howling wind and rain ushered in the first day of the month. It has been a long, cold, wet winter on the Far Side. February ended with yet more snow, but it quickly melted away. Despite the low temperatures, the crocus, snowdrops and primulas have popped up. The … [Read more…]

Additions and losses; farm math

A new year often brings change. Some people initiate change through resolutions. Others – like me – just embrace what life brings as things evolve.  Some changes, though, are better than others. We ended last year with the addition of a grandson and a grand-dog. Huey (the dog) is quite a handful. He’s a nice guy with … [Read more…]

A new life

In the waning days of the year, we became grandparents for the first time. Our grandson had a difficult entry to the world, but is a calm and peaceful baby. We are filled with love and gratitude for the tiniest member of our family. Difficult entries to the world aren’t limited to humans – we’ve … [Read more…]

Beauty in the dying days

The leaves have fallen, lying in damp clumps. Cooler weather and rain have brought on a bloom of mushrooms and lichen. Plant stalks have withered and tumbled over in the wind. But wherever you look, there is beauty in these dying days. The photo with this story is of a dead holly leaf. Photographed by my … [Read more…]

Batten down the hatches!

The west coast of Vancouver Island is well-known for its storms. Powerful windstorms build in the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Alaska, and batter the Island. In my memory, the worst storms have been in March and November, but they can happen at any time. Although the Far Side is protected – facing Juan de … [Read more…]

Tough decisions

A couple of weeks ago, we sent six lambs to the abattoir. They had reached market weight and we had customers eager for lamb. We also sent two older ewes to the abattoir. This is a first for us. The mature ewes we processed had been with us for a while, but one of them repeatedly … [Read more…]

Preserving the harvest

I grew up eating home-preserved food; Mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen with a pressure cooker and we all learned to pack jars with salmon, crush fruit for jam and blanch tomatoes for canning. We even canned salmon while camping! Some of my friends are spending a lot of time harvesting, canning and … [Read more…]

Seasons

Some people prefer to live somewhere that has obvious seasons; hot summers, dramatic fall foliage, cold and snowy winters, and a clear shift to spring. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the seasonal shifts are more subtle. I prefer that, because to me it is symbolic of how our human lives change. We are born, … [Read more…]

Managing the unexpected

In a perfect world, ewes are introduced to the ram based on when you want to have lambs born. Ideally, your new lambs are born around the time your pasture is starting to grow vigorously. This ensures lots of feed for your growing flock, keeping your hay costs down. In the real world, gates don’t get … [Read more…]

Rural life

When we moved from the city to the country in 2011, we were looking for land. I wanted more room to grow things, and Robert wanted to have a vineyard and sheep. As an introvert, I was also looking for privacy and somewhere more quiet and peaceful. We found good land, and it is private, … [Read more…]