Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gratitude- Year 2012 in a nutshell

Winter on the farm
 As the Christmas holidays approach, we've started to do a lot more reminiscing about this past year for us. As many of you know, this was only our second year doing poultry, our first year with turkeys. It is also our very first year on our own farm. In a few words: amazing, but tough. Being very honest and upfront, we will openly admit we probably took on too much in our first full-on farming year. We did the very, very best that we possibly could in an effort to farm responsibly and raise you the best quality birds that we could, alongside our grain and herb production.

The grain is a lot lower stress than the poultry for a variety of reasons. It was also immensely successful this year!! It's our third year doing the grain, so we feel a lot more comfortable with it. Day to day its much less work than the poultry. It helps that we had just a stellar crop of grain this year. We might not have said that enough or made it clear enough, but wow, creamer crop!! We're giving about 1.5 kg's to every shareholder every other week. It feels really good to know we did so well in one aspect of the farm, despite the losses we saw in our turkeys. (Really goes to show why diversification is so critical!) 
Daniel swathing Red Fife

John Mills and Daniel unplugging the combine!
Ducks enjoying the grass
We do everything we can to provide the best lives for all living creatures, be it  the bees and bugs or the poultry and other creatures on the farm. Compared to growing grains or vegetables,  when something effects their well-being it is a truly emotional experience.  It's also not as emotional- the wheat can lodge or we can have a lot of weeds, but that's nothing compared to facing death and disease in an animal.The birds were looking really good, except that we still lost too many turkeys, even after our high hopes after thanksgiving. And based on the advice of a local poultry vet, we were forced to decide not to butcher any of our own turkeys this year for sale because of the disease problems we had this year mixing the turkeys and chickens. Then the night of December 8th a large owl got in our barn. The donkeys, trouble makers that they sometimes can be, have learned that if you just push hard enough, the hook will come loose on one of the doors and they let the owl in while they helped themselves to some grain. It killed many chickens until Daniel chased it out of the barn through a door the next morning. On the other hand, ducks have been our saviors this year as we have lost almost none all year long and their growth rate was fantastic. We are loving our ducks!!

Mike Kozlowski and Daniel mixing some concrete foundations
As we reflect on this year, a major theme is coming to our minds. Gratitude. We have seen so many generous people come forward, making it possible for us to do what we do. You hear old-timers talking about how farming communities are all about support- coming together, helping the neighbor who's barn burnt down by combining his crop for him. You hear all kinds of stories of friends, families and neighbors supporting each other in times of need. We have seen that this year in our own lives. And we cannot thank these people enough!! It is encouraging, and it keeps us going in those rare moments when we feel like quitting. These people also literally make it possible for us to be here- literally! So, we want to thank-you all from the bottom of our hearts for being the amazing people that you are. From family that helps us repair water leaks in the house and install electrical friends and shareholders that come out on a Saturday to help us weed or build John Mills, whose partnership keeps us afloat, and provides resources that we could not have done without and his friendship and belief in us....thank-you John!!...our neighbors that made sure our dog came home safely when he ran away and that bartered with us and went out of their way to help cultivate our friends who barter with us and show the support they do....we could go on and on.
Kyle Lawrence helping us build our first hoophouse!

Rik helping with the horseradish sortng
 And last but not least, our shareholders.We thank you so much for your support this year. We know we would not be here without you! We understand that as shareholders you put a tremendous amount of faith in us, putting money into our hands so early in the year and that God-willing the season goes well and we provide you with food at the end of the season. For this year we did our absolute best, and as we have said before, we have learned so much this year!! We had a lot of success, and many challenges as well. It can only get better from here on in.

We have many plans to for the 2013 season, and are constantly planning and plotting on what we can do differently, better. What new things we can introduce, what things we should scale back on. Ultimately, we hope to put a little bit more flexibility into our poultry CSA system, in addition to scaling back from what we did this year to give us a chance to fine tune the system with less stress.

In regards to things we're adding...We've also decided to offer a vegetable share for the 2013 summer season to Red Deer, which we're very excited about. More details to come on that in the new year!

On that note I will bring this blog post to a close. I started to feel like this blog toast was sounding like those over-the-top wedding toasts. But we really wanted to take a minute (or so) to express the overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the support we've received from all our friends and family this past year. Like we said, in two words, this year has been tough and amazing. Which is probably what we can expect from the farming life in general. And really, we wouldn't want it any other way. At the end of the day, the hard work makes everything that much more rewarding!

Desiree wishes you happy holidays as well!

So, thanks so much to everyone. We love you and thank-you!!!We wish you lots of peace and joy in the upcoming holidays. We hope you can in turn find a sense of gratitude for your friends and family that make your life what it is.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!


  1. Hi Daniel and Anna, thank's for your blog. You really took on a LOT this year and you did an amazing job. There's always things that don't work out in life like you had planned. You can't always do everything perfect. But you didn't give up, and worked so hard to make everything work. I want to wish you all the best and God's blessings for your next farming year. Love you lots. Rik

  2. Reading this has been rather inspiring, as I've been wanting for some time now to set up a farm somewhere in Alberta. It's an extremely daunting prospect and the least of which is that I have yet to find the land that is suitable enough for our wants and needs. But when I read this, it gives me hope that there is still a chance to move to Alberta despite the increasing real estate sales, as it's not only a matter of finding the suitable land, but having a reliable broker at your side.

    Hansen Land Brokers