Monday, August 7, 2017

Archibald the baby bull calf

So milly and the kids went away for a family reunion and I got nominated to stay home and take care of the chores. I guess that’s what kind of happened. I did end up doing all the chores but the truth is our Jersey (Honey) was about to calve and I didn’t want to leave her to birth on her own. As you all know I am a gentleman and would never leave a lady all alone to deal with a thing of such importance.

I knew Honey was getting close. She was agitated with me and ran away whenever I got close. Usually she likes me rubbing her tail and patting her all around.

Whenever Honey put a foot down fluid would escape and she looked like a watermelon was about to escape out her rear end.

I’d been telling Millie for about 6 months that I’d clean out the cow barn before the new calf came. So I thought I better hurry and do that or I would end up being a liar and face the ever so uncomfortable “I told you so” that comes when I don’t listen to my wife. I went up and shoveled out manure and hay and then spread the contents at the base of some trees. I swear that no more than 30 mins went by and I looked down the hill and this is what I saw.


I thought “How Rude”. Here I stayed home from a family vacation and Honey didn’t even have the decency to let me watch her give birth. I’m pretty sure as I left she thought “oh good, that nosey guy is gone. I’ll get right down to business now”


Even though I was completely ready in case I was needed/wanted probably the best motto for birthing (of any species) is to JUST GET OUT OF THE WAY.


I called and told Millie and the kids we had a new bull calf and the kids immediately wanted to name him Archibald for some reason. Millie agreed and then asked if the cow shed was ready for the new inhabitants. I of course said I had the barn cleaned out in plently of time for the new resident.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tools I’ve used on the farm UPDATE

We’ve been on the farm for about 5 years now. I’ve slowed down a lot of my prolific posting and have been mostly doing instead of talking about doing.

We’ve kept things fairly simple over the years. We aren’t into big expensive machinery. We are not big time farmers. We tend to lie on a small time homesteader approach. We don’t have that much money to go around buying everything we need. We accumulate and improve as we can.

This post was done back in 2011.

I thought I’d update it a bit as it’s interesting to see where we’ve come from and what we’ve thought important enough to buy and use.

Often used tools as of 05/05/2011
Chainsaw – We have lots of trees we need to clean up. Will use for gathering wood for winter.
Toe rope – Used to pull trees out
Fencing pliers
Wire stretcher for fence
Truck – Borrowed mostly. I just registered a 1978 Toyota truck my dad gave me 2 years ago. Should do until we get rich from farming and can get a big truck.
Computer – To look things up online for instructions on how to do things.
Crescent Wrench
Bucket – For water, collecting things
Gas Can
Additions 11/09/2011
Post hole digger
Water hose
Water trough and/or bucket
Volcano oven
Post maul
Tool belt
Tarps galore
Additions 12/29/2011
Pocket knife- a must have. I used it several times a day
Chains - to drag things
Steel barrels- Store things in and haul water
Gloves - I usually get 3 pairs for around $20 from Costco
Winter clothes - It fun being outside when you are warm.
Gum boots
Hand saw
Tarp straps
Gun – I have a .22, shot gun, and a 30-30. We have some dogs roaming the place so I keep the 30 – 30 close just in case.
Draw knife – To peel logs
Wish list in 2011
Chainsaw of my own. I’ve borrowed Greybeard and Elvis chain saw in the mean time. Bought this right off. Have used it immensly over the years.
Electric fencing equipment – Need to get shortly for chickens and goats. Bought several different variations. I’ve come to rely on a plug in fencer as the solar ones always fail at some point.
Tractor with rototiller, lawn mower, and plow. Still wishing.
Big 4x4 truck – March 2017 -Still have my 1978 toyota. Still wishing for a big truck.
Backhoe – Ya right.
Heated water trough – You can buy a heater for like $30 at UFA or any farm store. Way worth it for winter time.

UPDATE – March 2017

Bail tarps – for small square bails. Don’t need them for big round bales if feeding fall hay over the winter.

Ride on Lawn Mower – Bought a John Deer z645 about 3 years ago. Best purchase ever but now we mow like 5 acres of land.

Water hoses – Have heaps of these to water trees, water cows, irrigate garden etc.

Pitch fork – Clean up manure etc.

Grain Shovel – Clean out stalls. Spread mulch, etc.

Wheel Hoe – Best thing ever for a garden. We bought one of these: Best investment ever.

Water heater- Cheap to buy at UFA type stores:

Feeder buckets – For feeding treats, mineral, bucket feeding calves.

Dehorning pliers – Ya, yuck but necessary.

Casteration pliers – More yuck

Happy Hands

I’m not sure how these hands got so dirty but doesn’t Ringo look pleased.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Fancy logo

I don't spend all my time milking cows and shoveling manure although I probably enjoy it just as much as my regular work.

I've been wanting to get a logo designed for The Simple Farm for a while now and finally took the time to get one of my guys to put some thought into it.

This is the view we have out our window. It's really a view of my neighbors barn but I don't mind making that barn famous. I told my designer to make it somewhat like this picture.

This is what he came up with.

I think it's awesome. Milly says the sun is in the wrong spot. I told her to imagine it's an egg yoke not the sun. 

I wish I was talented so I could do stuff like this. All I'm any good at is shoveling manure.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Still here

I’m not sure if anyone is still monitoring our progress but we are still here.

We’ve had a lot of good things happen this past year. We still have pretty eggs.


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Our house is still improving. As you can see we have a balcony and a back porch now.

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We’ve built a cow shed. It’s not too fancy but is a big improvement on what we had in the past.

As you can see the 1978 Toyota is still moving. My kids like to remind me that I’m older than this beat up truck.

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The kids are growing and unfortunetly so am I. ha.

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I’ll try to update more. I thought I’d just put something out here to get the writing flow going again.

Somehow this blog has over 200k page views. Drop me a comment if you happen to be one of those viewers. I’m always interested to see who’s trolling us.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Update on the farm

It’s been a while since I’ve updated anyone on our activities. I actually posted this last year but found the photos didn’t come through so I thought I’d post it again.

Here’s a few things that happened last summer.

Little chicks were born.

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We had a calf and the kids called her Molly. Yippee. Another milk cow.Nov4 001

Tomato’s were great this year. We had around 150 lbs of them.Nov4 140

Beets were plentiful as well. Probably too plentiful. We’ll need to plant a few less rows than this year.

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I have a friend in California that gave me some pepper seeds that were heritage to his grandfather in Italy. I’m happy to report Papi Tomato that your grandfathers peppers are now being grown in Canada.

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Carrots were great. We got around 500 lbs of them and they are sweet and delicious.

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I know what you are thinking. How in the world do you store that many carrots? We learned this trick from an old Gypsy man that traveled through our area and for a meal and a nights lodging shared with us all his mysterious secrets.

His name was Google. He’s a great guy.

We used to use sand but sand is heavy. I’m a weakling and can’t handle heavy loads anymore so we use saw dust instead as shown below.

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Our kids are often cranky during the summer as all we do is work. See Ringo’s I hate summer look below.

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We love having cousins over as they are easy to trick into thinking doing stuff like carrots is fun.

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Millie is usually the carrot stacker as she’s much more detailed than I am.

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I’m the digger and Polly is the hauler.

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Lots of radishes.

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And around 1200 lbs of potato’s.

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We did do some fun stuff this summer as well.

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But all in all I’m looking forward to another long winter.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Picking Peas

We’ve had a good garden season so far. I don’t think we’ll ever get rich off of peas as all we’ve harvested is around $30 worth at Costco but they taste wonderful and it’s nice to have such great food at our fingertips.

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I’m surprised we have any peas left as most of the kids that visit our place snack wildly on the pea plants.

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That’s a big bowl of peas.

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We have so many beets and zucchini that we don’t know what to do with them all. We are dehydrating beets now and Rosebud is getting fat on all the beet greens. We are about a week away from her calving so the milk is going to flow right during harvest season.

There’s never a lack of work here on the farm. Anyone want to get rid of their teenager for the rest of the summer we have plenty of manual labor for them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Beautiful time of year

It’s that time of year that every thing is green and the garden is growing rapidly.

Rosebud is due at the end of July so we’ve dried her up and she is taking a break. Because of that we’ve missed out on the delicious spring milk but it’s also been nice to not have to milk every day.

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Our garden is up and we are anxious to start eating radishes and onions. We planted about eight rows of potatoes so think we’ll get between 700 and 800 lbs again like we did last year. We used our last box of potatoes from last year as seed potatoes for four of those rows. But now we are out of potatoes so can hardly wait for mid July when new potatoes are ready.plaster workshop June 2015 119

Tomato’s are our white whale. I plant them most years but we never get anything from them. I started them inside this year in the hopes of giving them a head start. Hopefully they’ll produce.

I also planted seeds I got from my friend in California. Big Papi sent seeds that had a heritage of Italian to Iowa to San Diego decent. They are growing and we’ll let you know if San Diego peppers grow in Canada.plaster workshop June 2015 121

Peas are doing good and carrots are barely up as well.plaster workshop June 2015 120

Now that the garden is planted we have a whole lot of weeding to do. I’m glad I have our wheel hoe and three kids.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clay Plaster Workshop with

We had a great two days of learning and working out here on The Simple Farm. We had Ashley and Heather come over from Penticton, BC to teach the class and work with us to apply American Clay to our home. We also went through mixing your own clay and working with clay paints. The possibilities are absolutely endless and now my head is spinning thinking of all the other projects I want to work on in the next few years. Greenhouse, cob oven, small straw bale office, outdoor shower, bath house, clay artwork and sculptures, etc. I better stop.

There were eleven students registered for the course and students came from as far as Nova Scotia, Edmonton, Fernie, and Calgary to our little corner of Southern Alberta to participate in the course.

I was very impressed with the projects, ideas, and desires of all the students. There were many reasons everyone travelled from all over to take the course. Some were planning on building their own straw bale home (even if it was for their dog, ha.), others were looking to remodel their home and wanted to consider using more natural building products in the process. It was amazing to see so many people come together from all areas of life but have so much in common.

We even had Ringo participating in the course. He wanted to make sure his room was done right. He’s a ten year old boy and we were rather nervous to let him do any finishing work but after a while I decided that it’s only a wall and it is his room so we let him have at it. it took him quite a while but the kid finished the main wall in the room and it actually looks better than my finished product. So if you have the skills of at least an ten year old boy (he is magnificent but he is still ten) than you can apply clay plaster.

Here are some pictures of the event.

We met a bunch of new friends and had a great learning experience in the mean time but I think the biggest hit of the event was our outdoor shower (everyone had a shower buddy to adjust water temperature and turn on or off the water) or the homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookies that were devoured (I made 9 dozen cookies and they were all gone in two days).

I enjoyed seeing one of the participants boy running around trying to catch one of our chickens. I am missing a chicken so wondering if he smuggled one home in the back seat of his car. Poor parents. Our chickens eat wheat, bugs, and grass. You can keep the chicken as long as you let him sleep with it and paint his toe nails.

After going through the process of preparing for this workshop and seeing how much we accomplished in a very short period of time I’m really happy we did the workshop.

Ashley and Heather are wonderful teachers and were very encouraging in the process. We weren’t building an alternative structure such as a straw bale or an adobe home but we still felt like the project we choose was a valuable learning experience and transferred well to all the projects mentioned.

We’d love to see any pictures or videos people took during the course.

Thanks for all the hard work everyone that was at the event.

If you find my lost chicken send her home. We miss her terribly.