Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Happy Cow Happy Pond Project: Quotes and Plans

I decided to further the rainwater project along by getting a quote from a gutter specialist. I called them out and we walked the property yesterday, visiting the two barns.

Low roofs and a high window make this a challenging install.

The experience was enlightening for me. I realized I might have issues running a solar pump at the chicken barn due to heavy tree cover at the two potential spots I had selected. I have begun to think more on cash flow and the value of each location having rainwater harvesting. I think I have decided to let go of the chicken barn and put my weight behind the cow barn being our target for this year.

Building a Back Yard

When we bought the farm we were stoked about the large pool down in the back yard. Having had the pleasure of living on a property with a pool for the previous few years, it would be nice to continue to have that experience with the kids.

Well, as it turns out, the experience was not as great as we would have hoped...

Monday, 28 April 2014

Operation: Chicken Fort - Fundamental Foundations of our Fortification

We are always looking for ways to maximize the use of our farm. At the end of the day, it is the use of the farm that provides the money which allows us to live here. Some ideas are crazy. Some ideas are good. A few are excellent and need to be pursued.

We are in the business of wholesaling laying hens (layers). We have a supplier which raises them up island. We pick-up our batches four times a year and they are often sold out well before the pick-up date. Cliff and Susan own a number of layers at their place and make a decent profit selling their eggs to local restaurants. Locally grown food is the bread and butter of what we do as a farm, and Victoria is big on it's locally grown food.

So Cliff put forth the idea to have laying hens. We decided on a number which was both manageable and profitable and set to work. We needed somewhere to put them though and we needed it fast as the next batch is arriving in May.

Happy Cow Happy Pond Project : Prologue

I love spring on the farm. It is not just the long-forgotten sunshine that has reappeared, although that is nice. It isn't even the beauty of nature exploding from the ground, though it is magnificient. It is the end of the long slog of blueberry prep and the beginning of work projects that have been hibernating all winter, waiting for the chance to be realized.

Now that two of the items relating to our recommendations for reducing the environmental impact of our cows are being potentially realized, I think it is time to start looking at the big picture of what I am getting myself into...

Saturday, 26 April 2014

How do we make it work?

Most times when we talk about owning a farm with three other families, people assume we all have our own house. We quickly correct that assumption, which then prompts the next most common question...

How do we make it work?

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Happy Environment or Happy Cows? Both?

In our first few months of ownerships, we submitted ourselves to a Riparian Management assessment, courtesy of the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP). This multi-faceted plan allows farmers to have a specialist come by and assess their farm for a variety of targeted areas. In our case, we chose riparian. The Riparian Management Plan was fully subsidized by the government funding for EFP.

Our farm was assessed and despite our fears, we were doing alright. Big things of mention were our horse manure composting and our cow pen. The cow pen was noted as being too close to the water (as in right up to it). The recommended setback for our usage was 30m.

This has been on my task list since. Given that we only have two (maybe three) cattle at a time, we have not pursued it... until now.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


I just got the most fantastic email. It was our EFP adviser informing me that we have been approved for our full amount on the rain-water harvesting idea for both our chickens and cows.

It is our first funded project and the funding will knock a few thousand off the price tag bringing it down to 40% of its original cost.

Next steps: I need to cost out the gutters and other non-funded materials to get a final price tag for the team so we can decide if and when we will do this.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter Long Weekend

Happy Easter everyone. He is risen!

As per usual, we made the most of our long weekend with a flurry of work.

On Friday, Josh and Marc pushed to finish bucketing. Our tenant Grace surprised us by wrapping that up in the evening as Josh and Marc had to make a few hay runs on Friday. I was tied up painting at my rental.

Saturday morning, I popped out to wrap up bucketing and noted it was all done. I proceeded to show epic fire starting prowess and burned down the two remaining piles. Raking is done!

Saturday afternoon we all disappeared from the farm to attend the birthday party for Darren, who has probably been one of our biggest volunteers for our many work parties. I think he has been at every one except one day when he was sick.

Sunday was mostly church stuff, lunches and dinners so we did not do much that day. We need a day of rest you know...

Monday we plowed through shavings and knocked out a third of the remaining rows. We did most of them in the morning with all three guys plus my kids. In the afternoon, Marc and I returned to do another two rows. We called it a day for shavings as we were not sure where we were at on fuel.

We then went over to the area adjoining the cow pasture and pulled up an entire fence. The ground was soft so we made quick work of it. I now have 13 nice fence posts to use for blocking the cows from the pond.

No word yet on my funding. It should be coming soon. Work proceeds as expected.

I am looking forward to May. We are hoping to wrap up shavings soon. Then we can hit some fun stuff. We have a stall or two to repair, plus a chicken coop to build. It should be exciting.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Work Shift

Thanks to some hard work over the weekend, blueberry pruning is now complete. Marc and Josh finished off the last row and started into the remaining raking that needs to be completed. We still have well over half a field of raking, plus shavings for the remainder of field one.

What this signifies is a shift in the work focus on the farm. We are now winding down blueberry prep and are stepping into the spring work project season. We have a number of projects demanding our attention and the game now falls into my realm of prioritizing work based on need, cost, and time.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Work Party Update

I'm about a week or two late on this one. I kept meaning to post up pictures of our work party but I guess I lost track of time...

Way back in the days of yore, about two weeks ago on March 22nd, we gathered the fair folk of the community around us to rally towards one common goal...shavings in field one. Ok. I can't type the whole post like that...
One of the smaller piles at the start of raking.