Being raised on a farm

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I love this picture! It’s not often I take the time to reflect on the life we have chosen to give to our children.  Part of that is because I grew up in this lifestyle.

Being raised on a farm doesn’t come without its sacrifices for our kids.  Your parents can’t take “sick” days from taking care of the livestock.  During the spring months there is not much time for anything other than preparing the seedlings to start, getting the garden beds ready to plant, fertilizing the soil, repairing pasture fencing, and fixing/maintaining the farm equipment and animal housing.  In the summer there is no summer vacation as every day the animals need to be fed and barn chores need to be done.  The animals do not “sleep in” so that means neither do we.  Weeds are a weekly family project in the garden beds, the lawns need frequent cutting, the pastures need to be trimmed down to keep the weeds down. Fall is spent harvesting, preserving, freezing, and selling the extras of things we have grown.

But the sacrifices allow for life lessons preparing these kids for their futures.  They learn responsibility, compassion, empathy, determination and the circle of life very early on.

They learn to respect the earth and animals with a very deep connection.  These things provide them with the reward of food grown from a seed, fresh eggs daily and freedom to enjoy the simple things like riding a horse through the beautiful woods.

It also prepares them for their later teenage years.  Both of these kids have been driving and working farm tractors, 4 wheelers, snowmobiles and a golf cart since they were 3 years old.  They understand the power a machine has and the dangers involved with a careless decision.

They can prepare their own meals, make bread, can vegetables and fruits, and make pies.  In other words, they will be able to feed themselves for the rest of their lives without assistance if need be.

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All of this makes the vacations and trips they do get to enjoy even better.

And the time we spend on our boat, camping out in our cabin on the farm, enjoying family time around our nightly bonfires and making lasting memories is where I find my happiness.

And that sums up why I love the above image explaining why being raised a farm kid is the best gift ever!

 

 

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Back to school blues

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Every year at this time I get the blues.  When summer ends and school starts the thoughts that go through my mind drag me down.  Another fun summer of carefree kid days gone, another family summer vacation done until next year, the kids will be another year older next summer, I WILL BE another year older next summer….and so on and so on.  How can anyone be happy at the return of the school season???? I LOVE my kids being home!!!

In carrying on the tradition of feeling sad and sorry for myself for a few days, I hid myself in garden chores, baking and barn work.  Slowly I am returning to the happy person I usually am, but it’s a battle that’s hard won!!

Here are a few recaps of the wonderful times we had this year so far:

Tons of time sleeping in our cabin and spending time as a family

A GREAT book for summer reading, bonfires every night for heat in the spring and to cook on…and a few date nights on the boat!

Fun in the barn with friends, farm work, canning, late night selfies and sandboxes were all enjoyed.

So goodbye Summer of 2016 and welcome Fall and Winter.  Only 13 1/2 weeks until Christmas Vacation…..but who’s counting….me…yes me me me!!

 

 

Vacation!!!

Saturday we are leaving for a week to Wainfleet, Ontario.  It’s a beautiful place which I shared last year in this post: Summer Recap

This year my niece is working so it’s been a bit of a struggle trying to get things organized for the animals and farm work.  But hopefully it all works out well with the juggling of people and if not, we are only 35 minutes away and I can zip home if need be.

I have a special book I have been waiting, very impatiently I might add, to read while away. I shared about the book here: An Honest House .  I have to admit I have “sneak peaked” into the book a few times and have had to force myself to put it down!!  The reviews have been wonderful and are adding to my anticipation!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I look forward to sharing some pictures from our vacation and my own personal review of the book!!  Tina

 

A Walk in the Woods

Saturday morning was beautiful for a quick 4 mile walk through the woods on our property and some neighbors.  Below are some pictures to share….

Heading down our main dirt trail and took a trail heading to the west.  It’s a twisty turning trail that heads directly down to the creek.

Heading up the trail from the creek I see a neighbor has put up a new tree stand.  There are make shift bridges along the creek like the one above.  This bridge actually gets moved every year by the creek and they have to reset it, as you can see they have done.  Another neighbors trail that we have helped to maintain for years is in a low spot and is always full of water.  It’s a great spot for polywogs!

After the long low spot you head down to their bridge that is build out of railroad ties.  Perfect for the weight of horses and four wheelers.  Up the hill from the bridge is an old tire marking a property stake.  You can see the spring rains have kept these trails wet!  You continue on this trail and it leads you in a circle back to our property connecting to the open field.

Look closely and you can see the Man and Boy’s double tree stand for hunting.  It’s a special spot where a little boy has gone with his dad to share in a hunting trip!  Just past the stand I saw this poor broken robins egg on the ground on the trail heading back to the middle of our property and the arch where you know to turn.

The old pool deck serves as Grandpa’s tree stand as he can no longer climb into a tree.  We moved it back to an area he can drive to on the 4 wheeler and still enjoy time hunting.  Turning from there to the watery trail leading up to our bridge.  Once across the bridge turning to the east the creek overflows and when it dries up, lush grasses grow.  The bridges in the lush grass serve for 4 wheeler or walking access to the east trails.

Heading up the east trail towards the house completes the “loop” we call it.  There are many little trails that run off the main trail but if you follow the main trail you will come to the opening of our back pasture.  There is an old farm implement that was abandoned back in these woods and when we cleared for the new pasture, I insisted on leaving it where it was put to rest.  I wonder how much work it did and who left it back there in the middle of an over grown field.

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And we have come full circle to the back of our little cabin in the woods heading home.

I’ve walked these trails and woods since 1972 and I was 6 years old.  Each trip is a new adventure with downed trees, new sites, water and animals.  I will never outgrow the excitement of walking in the woods!!

Farm Happenings

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Blue and Oreo finally enjoying a sunny day

Spring on the farm is one of the busiest seasons.  It is the time for cleaning up the winter mess, prepping the gardens for planting, fixing up all of the animal pastures/enclosures that have weathered the winter snow and ice, starting all the seedlings in the greenhouse, spring hockey, jv soccer, varsity softball, work, meals, and trying to have a bit of fun inbetween.

Here are some of the things we have managed over the last week (not including meals which will come in a later post 🙂 :

If you have followed along with my Facebook Page…Chasenchanceranch, Disco foundered in January and has had a rough road over the last 2 months.  With aggressive treatments he is on the mend thankfully and even had his mane trimmed as he always has for riding and showing.  Even if he never makes it on the trails again, we are beyond grateful to have him comfortable and not in pain.

The baby chickens coop has been completely netted over the fencing and roof so there is never another hawk issue and they can be free and go in and out of their coop at will.  We have owned this property in my family since 1972 and have never had an animal lost to a hawk until this year.  It was a very hard life lesson for the kids to handle, but we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of all the animals!

The bunnies have a new run attached to their house so they can get some exercise and play during the day.  Meanwhile the “Chicken Brigade” travels the yard making sure to keep the bugs to a minimum!

Pops of color from the spring perennials are starting to liven up the grounds while some plantings are thriving in the portable greenhouse.  If you do not have primrose in your garden, I suggest you invest in some.  They are a very hardy spring plant and have beautiful green leaves during the summer when not in bloom.  They bloom in early fall as well and add great color.

Spring sports are underway.  The boy (in red) at his first jv soccer practice, the Teen Queen practicing catching and throwing for Varsity softball, and the boy playing in a jv hockey game.  Our nights are busy after work for sure!

The cabin is being set up for the summer to live in, the awning is up on the house for some outdoor dinners, morning coffee when not sleeping in the cabin, and rainy days when we play board games under it.

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This robins nest is in the eave of the cabin.  We have to leave it as it contains these cute little eggs and a hopeful robin mommy!

And with the nicer weather comes our weekend bonfires to end the nights.  This was the “big one” as we burned up all the branches from around the yard and a few pallets.

And that’s part of the week in review!  Tonight is the first Varsity softball game…Go Lady Eagles!!!

 

Beginning of 2016 in review

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Sid in the tree and little golden Henny in the hut

I once shared that for some reason “even” years are not my friend.  It always seems during even years things seem to pop up more often than normal to give my world a little shake!

Shortly after the new year we lost our little Bantam rooster, Sid.  One day he seemed to stop crowing but was eating and still enjoying his roaming time outside.  The next day he was in rough shape and died a few hours later.  Two days later his closest companion, also a bantam hen, Henny, who was born and raised on our farm for 8 years died during the night after showing no signs of a problem.  UGH…I was prepared for the worst with something going through our flock and cleaned as much as possible in the winter.  Luckily it’s been 3 weeks and the regular size hens are all healthy.

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Two weeks ago one of the horses started showing signs of pain in his hooves. After a vet visit and X-rays he has a broken tip of his coffin bone in one of the hooves and he is foundering with a possible pituitary issue.  He has special wooden shoes on and is taking all sorts of medication.  He’s on rest but his brother comes and eats with him to keep him company.

The boy has been sick all week with a cold, sore throat and now cough but there have been some bright spots.

The ice pond finally has frozen and we have had many visitors and fun skating!

The boy finally learned how to blow a bubble and the Teen Queen’s basketball team is undefeated for the season and has won the Catholic Schools Varsity girls Championship!!

Here’s to more bright spots in 2016!!

Summer Recap

Living on a farm with animals, property, gardens, a pool, and grounds to maintain makes for a rare opportunity to take a vacation.  This year the opportunity arose for us to get away from our farm for a week stay in Long Beach, Canada in the beginning of the summer and at the end of the summer, countless boat trips on the Niagara River and Lake Erie, days and days spent at our local County Fair, and a few “date” nights for me and the man of the house.

This was made possible by my niece being back in the area as she is more than capable of handling all of our animal and farm work.  Couple her with my 72 year old mother who can care for the pool, gardens, and dog and we were able to have some much NEEDED family time away from the house.

I won’t bore you with hundreds of pictures and tons of details….ok…maybe a few.  We kicked off our summer right after the Fourth of July weekend by heading to Long Beach in Wainfleet, Canada.

 

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Our beach spot 

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This is a beach area and that is it.  There is literally nothing but a beautiful beach, one restaurant, a local marine shop that serves only the catch of the day fresh out of the lake, and a cute little putt-putt course.

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We treasure this area in Canada as the man and I both had spent time there when we were kids with our own parents/family. We first rented here in 2006 when our children were very young.  The cottage we rented is directly on the beach in a very private family owned area.  The family has owned the property and cottages for generations.  The picture below is of the main house built in the 1800’s.  You can see the house hasn’t been lived in or taken care of for years, but the granddaughter of the original owners (who is in her 80’s) has decided she is going to refurbish it.  I so want to be a part of that project!!!!  I did ask her if she would save the door (yes the partially boarded up white one on the second floor) for me.  She said she would.  I LOVE that historic piece!

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This is our cute cottage we stayed in while there in July.  There is no WiFi, there is no TV, there is no telephone.  But it is full of special family memories we created that will last a life time!

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We enjoyed our stay so much we rented the cottage next door to it (which was the one we stayed in in 2006) for the end of August.  This trip was extra special as we were able to celebrate the boys 11th birthday with some friends and family and we let the kids each have a friend stay with us for a few days and rented jet skis.  Even my niece and mother came for a few visits as this little paradise is only a 35 minute drive from our house.

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Here are a few pictures of our Island hopping on our boat and our local county fair.

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A big thank you to my niece, Brittany, and to my mother for the wonderful gift of “getting away” they provided for us this summer!!