Happy, muddy pigs.

Farm life: what a year it has been

As we head into a new decade I think it’s fitting to reflect on the year I’ve had and everything I have learned from life on the farm. What a whirlwind it has been.

At the beginning of the year we had a lot of snow on the farm. It was cold. Luckily, we had access to a side-by-side with a plow, and the trusty old tractor with a rear blade. After the first few times clearing snow, it became rhythmic and methodical and actually quite fun. Having a solid plan for snow clearing made everyone’s lives easier. Unfortunately, the side-by-side has since been sold, so our tractor will have to seriously step up to the plate this season.

The cold became an issue when we ran out of propane. One of two sources of heat. Although we heat the house with wood as much as we can, propane is our backup. So when the wood stove dies down at night, the furnace kicks on and the house stays warm. When you’re out of propane it’s a full time job to keep the fire going. Waking up when it’s five degrees in your house makes it especially hard to get out of bed. Those three days were the longest of my life! Lesson learned.

As March and April rolled around, the weather started to warm up and the snow started to melt. Our driveway was a massive puddle at one time, and then it would freeze and essentially become a skating rink. I have to say my least favourite time of year is when the skies are grey, the snow is melting, and my boots are relentlessly muddy. The pigs don’t seem to mind one bit though.

Easter weekend was fantastic. We had a big old family style feast on Friday and the sun was shining. I was even able to waltz around the farm sans jacket. We sat around the dinner table laughing and eating and generally really enjoying one another’s company.

The next day, we packed up our stuff and went camping. We were blessed with fantastic weather and a quiet campground. It was nice to get off the farm and enjoy some time to ourselves by the lake.

As spring really sprung, things were truly joyous around the farm. Plants and flowers started popping up out of nowhere. This was a very welcome sight. We started planning, purchasing and planting seeds for our garden. We did a major clean up across the entire farm. We took the boat out on the lake and went fishing and I caught one of the biggest trouts of my life. Everything was so alive and vibrant and lovely.

E and myself originally planned on planting our own small garden, for our own personal consumption, but we were talked into joining the bandwagon on the acre plot of fenced in land. This, my friends, was no easy feat. Tilling and preparing the soil, planting hundreds of plants, and maintaining the garden was a full time job. None of us had time to give the garden the attention it so deserved. That said, we were very successful and I am grateful that we had that opportunity. Next summer, however, we will be sticking to our much smaller garden in hopes of regaining some free time to go camping, fishing, and hiking.

Summer absolutely flew by. We got sheep. We got more pigs. We raised and sold 150 broiler chickens. We had a Texas longhorn for a short period of time. We got more laying hens. We had water lines to set up. We had pigs escaping. We had a bottle-fed lamb in the house. We acquired three horses to board. Things were, shall I say, a little chaotic.

We did manage to camp and fish a few times and towards the end of the summer E and I scored ourselves a (free!) camper. It’s a Vanguard, so I named it Vincent Van Guard. It was, and still is, in immaculate shape! We could not believe it. A family was giving it away on Facebook and we were lucky enough to be the first ones to message them. All we had to do was pick it up. It fits perfectly in the back of the old Ford truck and we will continue to benefit from it for many, many years to come. Just another reason why I love this community. To the people whom we got it from: thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

It was around that time when I purchased a compound bow and my love of archery truly blossomed. Evenings became time for target practice and I took full advantage of the longest days of the year. The sunsets on the farm are absolutely breathtaking in the summer and all year round.

All summer long we enjoyed farm-family dinners, typically on Sunday nights, with the bounty of the farm. We would sit on the front porch after a long day of hard work and bask in the evening glow of the sun, a cold beverage in hand, before sitting down to the table on the wrap-around porch. Those moments make life so incredibly rich.

We travelled to Penticton to visit with friends. We explored the Bull River and Wild Horse River areas endlessly. We found a little sandy beach spot by the farm, along the Kootenay, that we named Corey’s beach. I would take my dog Ollie there any chance I got. I soaked up as much of summer as I could but as always, it was gone as fast as it arrived.

Fall brought along more delicious weather, along with some rain, and the mentality of preparing for winter started to set in. We spent many weekends collecting firewood, chopping it and stacking it. We harvested every last thing that we could from our garden until frost came knocking.

We went on some beautiful fall hikes on our favourite trails and along the Wild Horse River. I thoroughly enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with my family and friends in Ontario. We started preserving our harvests and spent many weekends making food that will last us through the winter.

Speaking of winter, here we are. At the end of December, the end of 2019. The end of a decade. There are so many things that I am grateful for that took place this past year. Thank you, 2019, for everything you brought, good and bad. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings and I hope you’ll continue to follow along. I wish you all a fantastic holiday season, go spend some time with the ones you love most.

Photos by Corey Bullock.

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Our Easter dinner feast featured the biggest, most fluffy Yorkshire Pudding.

Piglets, aka Bacon Bits.

One of our many delicious farm-to-table meals.

Almost every day in the summer I was able to fill a bowl up like this.

‘Vincent Van Guard’, our new-to-us camper.

Many weekends were spent gathering firewood.

I call this photo, juxtaposition. The view from the Fort Steele area is something else.

A sunset one night on the farm in early December.

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