Canada’s Ag Day 2018

Today we celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day!!

Agriculture isn’t only the industry that employees me. It is my families business, it is the way we choose to lives our life and raise our little girls. It is also the way in which we connect to our country and the world.

In agricultural we are always learning, inventing, adapting and growing to become more sustainable, more environmental and more productive.

Thanks to minimum till practises we save more than 170 million letters of fuel from being burned annually in Canada.

Since 1987 soil erosion in wheat production has decreased by 50% in corn production 69% and in soybean production 49%.

In 2014 Beef production contributed $51 billion to Canada’s economy and cattle thrive on grasslands where crops would not.

Canada is the worlds largest producer and exporter of durum wheat, which is used for making pasta! Canada is also the worlds largest exporter of lentils, both of which my family is proud to grow!

Canada is the worlds second largest exporter of malt barley, some companies even love our malting barley so much they have moved their breweries here!

Recent increase in Canola biodiesel use is the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off Canadian roads because biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 99% over gasoline.

My family is proud to farm and we are proud to be part of the 97% of Canadian farms which are family owned and operated!!

Happy Ag Day Everyone!

If you enjoyed the stats in this post head on over to Agriculture More Than Ever’s website for these and many more!

 

The Big Sin Tax Debate

Should a sin tax be added to meat? This is what PETA is currently pushing for claiming meat, poultry and fish are just as bad for the human body as smoking cigarettes. I personally would be horrifically sick if I tried to become vegetarian or vegan. My body needs red meat and animal protein and performs better with than without it.

I find it sad that there is so much of the wrong information out there currently being made sensational by multi million dollar lobby groups like PETA. Almost half the people voting on an online survey believe a lady they do not know when she says that there should be a sin tax on meat. Claiming vegans don’t get diseases and cancer at the same rate other ‘meat eaters’ do. Therefor vegans should not have to foot the extra burden of everyone else’s healthcare. And when I say meat eaters she is also referring to taxing poultry and fish because it’s all equally bad and that is where all the E. coli outbreaks come from in her mind. I can’t count the number of times veggies have been recalled due to E. coli and many times contamination is traced back to workers unwashed hands, especially in meat processing.

I do not have anything against people choosing to be vegetarian or vegan. I love that we live in a country where most people have access to so much food and are not struggling to feed their families that they can choose their diets, this is not a reality in many places. What I have a huge problem with is food shaming and that is exactly what this is. If we have the stance that fed is best when it comes to formula or breast milk for our babies why do we suddenly start putting down others choices when it comes to food? How is the mom feeding her children organic only better than the mom who buys what she can afford? Should one feel better about her decisions than the other? No. Should one feel she is the cause of her children’s health problems? No.

I kindly ask you to take the time to speak to the agricultural experts in this discussion. Reach out to the farmers and ranchers and talk to them. Discuss your worries or fears with them, I guarantee they will take the time to talk to you and to help you find links to articles actually based in recognized science because they want a chance to tell their side of the story.

A Boxing Day to Remember

Boxing Day left the farm at 5:30am and drove 6.5 hours to look at a combine header in Manitoba. We bought the header, got stuck trying to get it out of the Quonset and then had to wire trailer lights in -40 and start the journey home. We had planned to make it half way and stay the night in Regina. We made it 90km outside our halfway point and blew a tire on the header transport.

We were on the side on the highway in -40, did I mention yet it was -40 ūüė≥ trying to change a tire and it’s gotten dark. We had the wrong jack and couldn’t get the transport high enough to take the tire off. My father in law makes custom wood furniture and the stain sample blocks were in the truck so we used them to block up the header and rejack. After beating on the tire for 10 minutes we got it off only to realize the spare we had didn’t fit. During this whole process I was blown away by how many vehicles didn’t slow down or change lanes to give us space. We put the blown tire back on and slowly drove on the rim, speaks flying till we found an approach where we were able to leave the header just off the highway on a grid road. That all took us 1.5 hours and we wrecked the rim in the process.

We spent the night in the Regina as planned, first thing in the morning went to a tire shop with the old rim and bought 2 new rims and tires so we would have a spare. Got back out to the header and realize the new tires don’t fit either ūüė° oh and it’s still -40. At this point I put a call out to Ag twitter while my husband started calling equipment dealers trying to find a rim. Thanks to my tweet we had a farmer friend meet us in under 2 hours and lots of other messages with offers to help! By 1pm we were back on the road heading to the Regina to pick up the brand new rim we tracked down and get a tire put on it. Huge thanks to Danny for coming to our rescue and for Youngs Equipment to sourcing the only Macdon rim in Regina for us, thus allowing us to have a spare in case we blew another tire.

By this point it’s 3:30pm and we make the call to spend another night in Regina so that we can safely drive home during daylight the next morning. Luckily the Grandparents had the girls as they would not have fared well on our trip. What an adventure we ended up having! My heart is full knowing that I am part of the agricultural community, a community so amazing that it comes together to help out fellow farmers no mater the day or the temperature!

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I am a farmer, I am struggling and I’m not alone

Last night at 1a.m, I read an American article on farm stress and suicide rates (link at the bottom of the page) .Part of why I was still up at 1am is that I am stressed, so extremely stressed about our farm, farm bills, personal finances and supporting my little family not just financially but mentally as well. If I am stressed about all of the above, my husband’s stress levels are through the roof and he is starting to hit a wall.

As I sat thinking about why the article upset me so much other than the obvious reasons I realized that at this moment in time; when it comes to farming I feel like I am digging my own grave to follow my dreams.

This was my 5th harvest, that’s how long I have been farming. I am still new at this, although my husband was farming before I came along. Since I came to farming every year has gotten harder for us to make it work. Every year we dig our hole a little deeper and add more stress to our load. Every year we think we won’t be able to make it another year and then somehow we scrape enough together to get next seasons crop in the ground. I don’t want to say how many times we have talked about the possibility of having to sell land to continue on and how detrimental that would be to our mental wellbeing.

One thing that has added to my personal struggle is the realization that when I try to reach out to friends who are not farmers or in the agricultural industry for support they do not understand my stress, my anxiety or my fears and this only adds to my feelings of isolation. In 2016 we had a 10 minute hail storm come through during harvest. We should have been in the field combining but our fields were too wet to get machines into from the insistent rains we received that year. In 10 minutes our crops were destroyed and I was devastated. I reached out to an online moms group as I didn’t want to show how upset I was to the world. They tried to support me and I love them all for trying but until you have been through that you just cannot commiserate. It is not the same as having hail damage your summer garden.

I am a proud person, I do not like asking for help nor do I like airing my personal failings to others; however my feelings, my struggles and my emotions are all to common in our industry. Below are stats from a Guelph University study on farmers. It is because of these stats and the knowledge that suicide rates are twice as high in farmers in the USA than war veterans, and that in France a farmer commits suicide every 2 days, every 4 days in Australia and once a week in England that I am sharing my own struggles. You are not alone and I am here if you need someone to talk to or a shoulder to lean on. Saskatchewan farm stress line 800-667-4442

35% of farmers are suffering with depression
40% of those with depression wouldn’t seek help
45% of farmers are living with high stress everyday
58% of farmers are living with anxiety

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/06/why-are-americas-farmers-killing-themselves-in-record-numbers

Happy 2nd Birthday R

Dearest R, ‚Ä®

This morning you turned two, over night you magically transformed from my not so little baby girl into a sparkling eyed toddler.  I know the next few years are going to be rocky.  You will be establishing yourself as your own being with a big and bubbly personality that is uniquely your own.  I already know that you are going to be stubborn and strong willed as you come by those traits honestly and I hope that we can navigate those waters without too much turbulence.


Your Dad and I are so honored that you chose us to be your parents.¬† You have kept us on our toes from an early age, from walking at 10 months to climbing and running at 11 months.¬† You rounded out our little family and have brought so much adventure and mischievous joy to our house.¬†¬† You have taken to farming and farm life with a zest that would have impressed your Great Great Grandpa Emmanual¬† (he homesteaded our farm over 100 years ago).¬†¬†You are our strong little 5th generation farmer and we couldn’t be more proud of you.‚Ä©‚Ä©

I hope that over the coming years you keep your curiosity, your sense of humor never diminishes and that you continue to find happiness and amazement in the little things.  Dream big my darling, there is no such thing as reaching too high or too far.  Take the road less travelled or better yet create your own path.  Your Dad and I will always be here to catch you when you fall or to help you find your way when you think you are lost.


Love forever and always,‚Ä©Mommy & Daddy‚Ä©

Evening Misadventures 

Most days I feel we should have a camera crew documenting our farming adventures. There is always a rodeo, a run away, someone gets stuck, something breaks down or critters escape. On the best of days we may be combining all of the above options into something that resembles a chaotic choreographed ballet.

For a couple years we have been talking about moving a water hydrant that is in a really awkward spot by our tarp barn and about 80 feet away from the pig pen. This fall we finally stopped just talking about it and put a plan in motion. The last couple days my father in law has been digging a new trench using our bobcat and tonight was ready to actually lay the new line and do some plumbing.

I showed up after nap time to see how they were making out and found my husband 12 feet in the ground cursing about how he would never want to be a plumber. I wandered away to feed the pigs and returned when the sun was starting to go down to lend a hand.

We got the new line laid in and the hydrant reattached. Now the metal pipe that makes up the hydrant is a specific length so that in the winter the water can drain out and keep it from freezing. Well the end of the tench behind the pig pen was not 10 feet deep so we discovered the hydrant will now be 6 feet above ground. Okay we can cope with this we will just need to build some steps.

Next we work on re connecting the water for the pigs and since I’m the tallest I’m the one attaching the hose to the hydrant and turning it on, I should also mention it’s completely dark by this point. Well it’s cold so the hose is frozen. At this point I hear something and look down to see a pig had managed to get under the fence into the trench. Get the hose off so my father in law can work on thawing it out and my husband gets into the trench to grab the pig and passes him out to me. I return him to his friends and go to reattach their water hose which is now ice free. I took my jacket off before grabbing the pig so I didn’t end up with it covered in mud and my jacket is still off. Get the hose on and turn the hydrant on, well now the hose has a huge split in it and I’m pretty much in a freezing cold shower in a thin hoodie in subzero temperatures. I’ve got my glasses on and their covered in water so I’m fumbling around blind with a hammer trying to hook the hammer on the hydrant to turn it off while getting soaked.

We get the water turned off and go to work putting flax straw into the trench to act as insulation and making a new hose as the pigs still need water, by this point we are using the bobcats lights and cell phone flashlights to see. New hose made and connected my father in law demonstrates to the pigs that it’s working again and they start fighting over the water. Remember how the one pig got into the trench?! Well now they are all jostling around the same area and in danger of also sliding under the fence and ending up in the trench we should have filled with dirt before turning their water on. My father in law is yelling, my husband is running to the bobcat to start filling the trench with dirt and I am running for the pig pen as fast as I can to get myself between the 22 pigs in danger of ending up in the trench ūüôĄ

Ten minutes later we are all back in the farm house wet, muddy and ready for supper!

Our Whirlwind of a Summer

I apologize for disappearing this summer, upon logging in today I realized I have not made a post since May 2nd! This blog is all about catching you up on the whirlwind that has been our lives this summer.

Right before seeding (we started end of April) I came across the most beautiful 1920’s character farm house on twitter. The house needed to be moved before July 1st as the couple who owned the farm yard were going to start building on the foundation. I retweeted it and tagged my husband in it jokingly commenting “wouldn’t this look great in our new yard?!” Fast forward to June 23rd and we had that gorgeous 1920’s farm house sitting on its new foundation, a foundation we built ourselves.


During seeding I pulled all the river stones off the fireplace and with the help of my in laws demolished and cleaned up a 7 ton chimney. We plan to have a fireplace in the house but keeping the existing fireplace and chimney added way to many costs and challenges to our project, because they were not original to the house I wasn’t heartbroken over removing them. In 6 weeks we burnt the dilapidated house down in our yard, had a basement dug, with the help of family and friends poured our footing, built a wood foundation, poured our concrete basement floor and moved our new ‘old’ house! Before this project I knew nothing absolutely nothing about building a foundation! My Dad said “Megz we cant build a basement, we don’t know how to build a basement and it has to hold a house!” I replied “that’s okay we will figure it out as we go!”


With our new ‘old’ house settling on her new foundation it was time to move onto the next jobs on our list. My husband became very busy with in crop spraying and we started haying. July was also the only month I had in which to plan our wedding which took place on our family farm on August 5th! During July we worked on many of the things that made our day so special. My mom and I sewed lace from the bottom of her wedding dress onto the flower girl dresses for our girls, my Mother in law was busy with getting the farm yard ready and had flowers and plants started in spring for that day. With the help of my Dad and my Father in law we wired the tarp barn (after putting a new roof on it as the old one blew away in March). I then took on a bunch of Pintrest projects, we made wagon wheel chandeliers using mason jars and wagon wheels that were off Great Grampas wagon. Hand painted a sign for above the bar and all the signs for on the road, we built a bar and a stage for the band and hung twinkly lights everywhere. We also made all the burgers for the wedding bbq using our own beef and we made our own midnight lunch using ham, turkey and pulled beef all raised on our farm.



We were so blessed to have such an amazing day surrounded by family and good friends.  It was a bit of a trek for most of my of my family and friends and we so appreciated everyone putting in the miles to make it out and then helping us get everything organized once they got here! We had a simple small ceremony in the pouring rain at the back dug out on the family farm. Our girls rode miniature ponies down the isle and we did a hand fastening ceremony using a ribbon of Elliott tartan to celebrate my Scottish family history.  My diamond engagement and wedding bands belonged to my Dads Grandmother and my simple gold wedding band belonged to my Moms, Mom. My husbands wedding band was made using a silver 2 pence piece by his dad when he worked over seas on drilling rigs. After our ceremony we had a lovely bbq on the deck followed by a barn dance to the musical styling’s of Saskatoon’s own Longshot! All  in all it was perfect and we wouldn’t have changed a thing!


We started harvest and pickling the week after the wedding and that has kept us busy right up until now! I have more posts in mind to write and I promise I will not keep you waiting as long as I did this last time!