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, 


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.



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,
Mommy & Daddy


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 🙄

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!

Taking care of my Babies

A couple of weeks ago we had our first set of twins calves on the farm! One twin was doing great from the start and the other one had a bit of a tough time making it into the world and needed a little extra care and attention.

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The second night we had to take her away from her mom and bring her into our warm shop to get fluids into her and keep her temp up.  The next day she was sick with scours, she had bad bacteria in her stomach that was making her sick and giving her the runs. We started treatment and brought her sister and mom into a stall in our tarp barn so that we could keep them all penned up together while continuing to treat the sick twin.  We treated her with antibiotics for 5 days and tube fed her when she was to weak to nurse from her mom.  My girls gave her snuggles and my oldest brought her doctors kit over to the barn in order to make her all better.

By day 3 of treatment ‘Dopey’ as we named her was up and walking and trying to nurse from her momma. By day 4 she was frolicking around in the pen with her sister and on day 5 after her antibiotics we opened the gate and let the trio out of the barn and into the pasture with the rest of the herd.

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There are few things that put a smile on my face as big as seeing a sick baby healthy and happy! As a mother I will do what ever I need to do to make sure my girls are taken care of when sick.  If there is something that they need in order to get better, like antibiotics I will not withhold that from them, same goes for my animals.  Without antibiotics and proper treatment it is very likely that little “Dopey’ wouldn’t have made it through the first week of her life which would have been a devastating loss.

We are lucky to live in a day an age where we have selection and choice when it comes to what we eat and where we get our food from.  What I struggle with is the misinformation out there and the fact that a large number of individuals would rather buy meat that has never come in contact with antibiotics then allow me to take care of my herd.  All drugs have a withdrawal period and that is strictly adhered to, this means that there are no an antibiotics in the meat you buy no matter how that animal was raised. It also means that Little Dopey gets to live.

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Confessions of a Mom who wants to work

I’ve been struggling for a while with the whole stay at home mom gig. When people found out how close we were having our girls (16.5 months) those that had been there said the first year would be a fog but once we made it through it would get so much better. Honestly I didn’t find the first year all that hard, sleep depriving yes but a struggle from day to day no. Our youngest is almost 1.5 years old and our oldest is getting closer to 3 than 2.5 and I am finding this so much harder. They both have their own amazing and challenging personalities. They are developing their egos, testing their boundaries and I feel like my soul is slowly dying.

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I feel like a horrible human being, and a complete failure as a mother because being home with my girls is making me the opposite of happy, which is how I’m supposed to be feeling. I should be grateful and appreciative of the fact that I get to stay at home with my babies and not go back to work but I’m not. I’ve done some research and I don’t think I have postpartum depression because I am not struggling in any other aspect of my life, just with being at home with my girls. I have been keeping this to myself like a dirty little secret, too scared to share it with the world because how dare I have these feelings and emotions and still want to call myself a good mother.

Recently I left home for 1.5 weeks and went to do SPFX work on a TV show in Calgary. That’s a 6 hour drive from where we farm. For those who are just joining me I worked in the film industry for 10 years before falling in love with a farmer and becoming one myself. I had closed that door and didn’t really entertain the idea of opening it until my old FX boss messaged me with a job offering. My reaction to having that offer made me realize how much I missed that part of my life and my husband was so supportive, telling me to go without even one thought to how hard that would make his life. There were a couple crocodile tears shed as I drove away and then nothing but excitement. I worked crazy long hours all week, the way we always do in film and loved every second of it. I didn’t think of my girls much or miss them. I revelled in reconnecting to that part of me that had been put on hold for the last 4 years.

What they don’t tell you about when you are pregnant is all the guilt that suddenly descends on you when you become a mother. The fact that I didn’t miss my girls or think about them 24/7 while I was at work wracked me with guilt, just another thing to point out how much I am failing as a mother. I had been home less than 48 hours and had a meltdown. I posted a video in my moms group (if you don’t have one find one! seriously such an important tool for surviving) I was crying about being overwhelmed, because being at home with my girls makes me frustrated and angry and then I yell and feel bad about being a horrible mom and about not wanting to be a stay at home mom. They helped me accept my feelings as normal and encouraged me to loose the mom guilt monster attached to my back. I have realized that I am a better mom when I get to walk away and come back, wether or not that is for work, exercise or girls night. I had a blast returning to film and am hoping to make it a fairly regular occurrence. I can’t take a full show but the odd week here or there is 100% doable.

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I wrote this because I want everyone who has ever shared or struggled with the same feelings as me to know that they are normal and that they should not be ashamed or feel guilty. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world especially when they are young. We are sleep deprived, they take and take and take without knowing how to show their appreciation or give back and we are constantly trying to live up to unrealistic standards in our societies. We live in an age where perfection is splattered across our lives everywhere, internet, magazines, movies, advertisements, photoshopped everything. Pictures and stories are staged and airbrushed and no one wants to share the bad and the ugly only the good. Its like we tiptoe and push ourselves so hard to keep up with the unrealistic expectations of society. If you want to be a stay at home mom and are fulfilled by doing so that is amazing, honestly I wish I had it in me. But if you are like me and feel that working and spending time apart from your kids makes you a better mom embrace it. Get that guilt monkey off shoulder and give yourself a pat on the back. You are an amazing women, you are strong, multifaceted and you are passionate, never doubt that you are enough ❤️

Career opportunity vrs mom guilt

I am packing tonight and oh so excited to be doing so! I’m not going on trip or anything fancy like that but I have taken 6 days of Special Effects work on a TV show in Calgary! And that my friends is much more exciting in my books! I haven’t done any film work since 2013 when I officially moved out to Saskatchewan and started farming with my man. Don’t get me wrong I love farming and am so passionate about it but film is my other passion. On top of the excitement I am racked with mom guilt because I’m leaving my girls for 8 days and my baby girl will officially be weened. We have been slowly cutting out breastfeeding but me suddenly leaving means it’s for sure over and I’m sad about it. I also feel guilty because I’m not nursing her as long as I nursed her sister but I need this for me so I’m battling through the guilt. I hate to admit this but as much as I love my girls and being home with them I also feel like it is sucking my soul. I know I am so lucky to have spent the last 2.5 years being a farmer and stay at home mom but it is something I have really struggled with. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom and I know I am a much better parent when I have time away to recharge. So I am starting small with 8 days and hope to pick up other week long stints in film as the year goes on.  I hope one day my girls can understand why I occasionally went away for work and feel inspired to follow their own dreams ❤️

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