Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Winter is here!

No snow...yet...

I have had little time to sit down and continue blogging on this site, but I am aiming to change that. Life is busy and not just because of the farm. Work, farm, family, life....yikes!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Updates - Busy Season

Long time, no blog.

Sorry about the distinct lack of updates. I took all the kids to Edmonton a week ago to visit family and take a vacation. Haven't really sat down to post some more.

I brought my parent's canoe back with me and it is now resting on the dock I built, waiting to be used.

Expect to see some info regarding my DIY canoe rack soon. I am scoping out plans and should have some ideas soon.

Friday, 26 July 2013

It has begun!

Alright, well technically we started the season on Monday, but I have been too busy to post.

Blueberry picking has begun, which means many a late night in the garage bagging the previous days berries for the freezer.

The kids have been making a killing on blueberry iced tea. We have had a lot of visitors on their way to or from Kilarney lake, stop by for a refreshing drink. They are really enjoying running the stand.

We also had our first day at the Sidney market. It was a rousing success. We are on the north side of Fourth Street, every Thursday until the end of August. Stop by and grab some tasty blueberries or some pepperoni.

It was also a success for our latest round of jams and jellies, as well as our blueberry vinegarette. We sold a fair bit, making the evening almost as profitable as the whole day leading up to it.

Thanks for the support!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Building a Lemonade Stand (Part 2)

I managed to find some time this week to get out with the kids to give the stand a good coat of white paint. After the first coat, I hit the jackpot and noticed some cedar roofing/siding in our wood pile. I threw what I could on and here is where we are at:


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Building a Lemonade Stand

My daughter wants an iPad. Wow. Kick in the wallet. Not going to happen.

My daughter wants to earn money to buy an iPad. Better.

Hannah is determined to save up for her own iPad. She has been saving money from the Tooth Fairy (seriously, when did it become $5 a tooth!?). She has been collecting cans and bottles and helping me sort and count them. She has been selling iced tea or lemonade when we have our busy customer days.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Journey to the Farm

Having wrapped up my story of our journey into this wonderful farm life, I have gone back through and updated the posts with the links to the rest so you can follow through without having to navigate all over the blog. I apologize as I missed Part 8 and then posted it a week after 9 and 10. Hopefully it was not too confusing. Here is the table of contents, so to speak ;)

Part 1: An Unexpected Conversation
Part 2: Gathering Community
Part 3: End of the Line
Part 4: The Fifth Element
Part 5: Intermission
Part 6: Timing is Everything
Part 7: Planning Community
Part 8; Smooth Move
Part 9: Come to the Land of the Ice and Snow
Finale: Enjoy the Silence

I hope the read was as exciting as the journey itself.

I have also opened commenting up to anyone. I will keep it that way until I start getting the spam bots.

Journey to the Farm (Finale) - Enjoy the Silence

Finale: Enjoy the Silence

Once we had settled in that first night, we spent time hanging out and playing games and unpacking our kitchen and dining room. I had an opportunity to step out on the deck in the brisk evening air. It was still light out. I looked across our little valley and marveled at the peace and tranquility around us. I wish I had taken a picture.

Picture this though. You are on a deck overlooking a valley. All around the valley the mountains rise up, covered in trees. No other civilization is visible, not even the city lights. The entire scene is covered in a fresh blanket of pure white snow. Not a sound is heard from wind, man, or animal. Silence reigns.

It would eventually sink in, but I still couldn't fathom that this was now our home.

Journey to the Farm (Part 9) - Come to the Land of the Ice and Snow

Part 9: Come to the Land of the Ice and Snow

Our date of possession was upon us...and so was our first snow of the season. Living in Victoria is nice for the mild winters. We rarely get a lot of snow. This year was one of those exceptions. The day before we took possession, it started to snow. It was supposed to come down heavy overnight. This was cause for worry.

Marc and Katie were moving from their place in Cobble Hill, over the Malahat, which is the main highway connecting Victoria to the rest of the island. They had the moving truck and without them, moving would be slow going as we only had a pickup. We did not want them to have to drive that beast in the mess that was coming.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Another year as a nation...however, our second as a Farmily.

We celebrated in farmily style by getting stuff done. Our new sales area is almost complete and we managed to gather a ridiculous amount of firewood, thanks to the kindness of the development next door. We always seem to get a lot done despite the fesitvities that come with most long weekends.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 8) - Smooth Move

Part 8: Smooth Move

I must have made at least a dozen trips to the liquor store for boxes. Each time I would gather up anywhere from 6-10 (sometimes more). Moving a family is a lot different than moving by yourself. When I came to Victoria, I packed the essentials in my car and just went. Another load of things came up with my parents the next year. Done. We were starting fresh and I didn't have a lot of furniture.

Moving a family requires a bit more thought. As adults, we can get by while we unpack. The kids may need that special toy or blanket at any given moment. Now moving three families into one house. This is the beginnings of madness.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Building a dock ... my DIY Experiment: Part 4

Part 4: Finishing Phase 1 and 2

I managed to get out the next day and finish off phase 1. Phase 2 was going to be a walkway onto the dock. I managed to wrangle some materials to start the skeleton of this.

Here is what the dock looked like after phase 1 was complete:


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 7) - Planning Community

Part 7: Planning Community

Coming into the home stretch, we had decided that we would not spread out between the three houses at the farm. We decided to take community to the next level and all live in the main house. It was over 5000 square feet. But we still needed to figure out how to live together in this space.

Building a dock ... my DIY Experiment: Part 3

Part 3: Finishing the frame and adding planks

Sunday was another nice day. After wrapping up a few necessary farm chores, I rounded up all the older kids and headed down again. I took all the same items as the previous day as I might need them.

Once I was down there, I decided I would put another 2x6 on the inside of all of the posts. I put a chunk of post at the end on the right side to space it out properly. I used my level to keep the two boards level. 

After completing this, I proceeded to go through my remining 2x6s and cut boards. The length needed was approximately 53 inches, so I was able to get two planks per board for the most part. The excess I used to pick off split ends. After using them all up I realized I would need another 5-6 boards to complete the job. The kids were good but it was time to go in. 

Building a Dock ... my DIY experiment: Part 2

Part 2: Building the frame

This weekend was very favourable for me. I enjoyed a wonderful morning of worship workshops with Worship Victoria, then had time to spend out by the pond with the kids building my dock project.

On Saturday afternoon, I had a few hours where Hannah was with her grandparents, Charlotte was napping, and the boys were in my charge. I threw on my swim trunks and grabbed the boy's their boots and headed down to the workshop.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 6) - Timing is Everything

Part 6: Timing is Everything

Life had just begun to settle back to a normal level for us. We had started to put thoughts of the farm behind us. Tyler and Melissa were doing well and his treatments were starting. We were just about to move back into the renovated barn we had lived in for most of our time as a family. Then we got another phone call from the seller's agent from the farm.

Laura came to me after she got off the phone and told me what was happening. The buyer's who had outbid us were not looking like they could remove their subjects. Now I am not privy to what the specifics were, whether it was a case where the sellers were not happy with things and did not want to extend, or if the buyers just couldn't close the deal. Either way, we were advised that the sellers would be entertaining backup offers. What an interesting turn of events. My stomach turned at the thought of getting on this roller coaster ride again. I anticipated the next heart break.

Monday, 27 May 2013

One man's trash - Finding new uses for old freezers

I mentioned in my stories that this farm of ours does not meet my expectation of a farm. I am from the prairies where farms are rolling as far as the eye can see. That being said, our peaceful little valley can seem quite big sometimes when we consider all the things we need to maintain.

We recently had a batch of pigs which went to slaughter in late April. The past month has been booked up with visits, events, and other work projects and so we had not been out to tidy up.

I was out by our cow barn, which serves as a holding pen for livestock before pickup, as well as a storage area for hay and any grain that does not go in the silo (mostly food for the pigs). I stopped by the barn with the truck to load some more hay for our horses. While I was climbing up to open the top doors, I noticed our pig grain had been invaded by rodents.

Journey to the Farm (Part 5) - Intermission

Part 5: Intermission

The seller's agent called Laura up to advise that another party had made a better offer and that they would be continuing negotiations with them.

We were floored. We had been going back and forth verbally and were at the point of agreement. We knew that another party had been interested, but had yet to move. We hung our heads and went back to our daily lives, looking forward to another chance at this dream.

God has a funny way with timing. At this exact point in time, we received another phone call, which made everything to do with the farm vanish from our thoughts. Our friend Tyler was in the hospital and they were going to take him to surgery for a tumour.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Building a Dock ... my DIY experiment: Part 1

Part 1: Dreams and Plans

For a while now, I have been eyeing our pond and wondering how hard it would be to build a dock for it. I'm thinking of a small dock, no longer than 8-10 feet out. Something to tie a canoe to. I don't own a canoe. Details...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 4) - The Fifth Element

Part 4: The fifth element

We still wanted to have a fourth couple in the mix. We needed a fourth couple to make this work. Luckily, I had been mentioning their names up until we had been ready to give it up. Josh and Liz. We were all friends. We were all around the same age and stage in our lives. We felt comfortable leaning on each other when times were tough. Why not? As an added bonus, Liz and Katie are sisters, and Liz and Laura were close friends from childhood. It made sense. Now the one catch. The money.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 3) - End of the line

Part 3: End of the line

When we first sat down as a group of prospective owners, we introduced the other two couples to the idea. We talked about how it would look for living arrangements. Two families in the big house, one in the smaller house. We started to dig into the details of how it would work. Once we started talking details, we decided to take a big step back and just go see it.

As a group, we travelled a few kilometres from Cliff and Susan's place to visit the farm. It was interesting to me. It definitely did not fit my prairie flavoured vision of a farm. We were able to take a quick walk through the main house. It was huge. The thought of more than one family in this house did not see quite as strange.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Innovating and recycling

Maybe it is some sort of brainwashing from my time living here, or maybe it is how I am wired. I seem to be getting more and more excited about reusing things. I built a garbage pad, mostly out of reclaimed 2x4s that someone had discarded in a pile somewhere on the farm. I'm planning to build a rickety dock for our pond using more reclaimed stuff.

I just started mulling over a recent issue that I noticed. Our bags of grain which we use to feed our pigs, get left out in the barn between batches. Normally, with two visits per day, two cats, and a few traps, we have little issue with rodents getting into them. Well, they have been completely unattended for several weeks and now I can see the evidence of little paws and mouths making a mess of them. So the search began...

How do I store bags of grain without using a hopper or silo?

I came across a brilliant solution. Old freezers.

Journey to the Farm (Part 2) - Gathering Community

Part 2: Gathering community

Once I returned home, I sat down with Laura and Cliff and we started talking about their next big idea. Four families, one farm. As a former prairie dweller, I envisioned rolling fields and long days in the sun. I was skeptical that we could afford this and still have the time to maintain it. I asked to see the property.

We loaded up the Saanich GIS map service and zoomed in on the little slice of heaven that would one day be ours. It was a 20 acre blueberry farm nestled at the end of a road in a valley. Our potential neighbours would be 55 acres of undeveloped forest on one side, and Mt. Work Park on the other side. Blueberries? I had never imagined farming blueberries. Mind you, I am from the prairies and the climate doesn't favour a lot of fruit produce. I began to spin the possibilities in my head as they explained it.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 1) - An Unexpected Conversation

In this series of posts, titled "Journey to the Farm", I will attempt to weave the tale of our experiences leading up to our new life as farmers in community. I hope that you enjoy the ride.

Part 1: An Unexpected Conversation

This crazy ride began a little less than two years ago. It was mid-July. I was on Thetis Island for a Church retreat. It was a beautifully sunny day and we were waiting for the ferry to come and take us home from a relaxing weekend. I decided to call my wife, Laura, to let her know we were on our way back.

She was over at her parents house, as is typical for summer weekends. The kids were playing in the pool or running around in the yard. Meanwhile, Laura and her father, Cliff, were scheming. Normally scheming is associated with some insidious plot. For these two it meant they were thinking outside the box about how to do things. In this case, they were thinking about ideas which revolved around owning a larger property where multiple families might live together. It was about then that I called.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Welcome to the Farm

My name is Jon Godbeer. I am a city boy. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. I spent most of my adult life living and working downtown. I moved to Victoria, BC in 2007 to start a family. In a few years, I went from being a single guy to a husband and father of four, I came to know God, I bought my first house, did my first renovations, moved three times, went through half a dozen jobs (in a good way), and it just keeps coming.