Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas morning, and the PJ's.

There's nothing like seeing little kids on Christmas morning, and the way their eyes light up when they see the tree (and more importantly what's under it of course).
The kids were great. They waited patiently for Liz to make breakfast, breakfast was then inhaled, and the three families dispersed to our various areas to open our individual presents in our own parts of the house. After some play time with the newly acquired presents, we had a nice lunch and then gathered in the main living room for the farmily present opening! These were mostly presents that would wind up in the playroom as 'general' toys, and the concept was surprisingly understood. There was some apprehension the younger boys might not understand that the present they just unwrapped was technically for everyone, not just them, but we needn't have worried. Wrapping paper flew, and the babies happily sat down and played with the nearest toy while more was unwrapped. The last presents opened were matching Christmas PJ's that Katie made from scratch for all the kids, and after a little struggling (who wants to get changed while there are toys to play with, right?) all the kids were proudly sporting their PJ's. They were already a wriggling mass of Christmas joy (heh) and we desperately wanted a photo of them all wearing the new PJ's, but weren't sure how to get them to sit still. They are, after all, mostly under 3. So, after some pleading, and eventual bribery, the kids all had candy shoved in their mouths to make the photo happen. And it did! They may not be smiling, but it's still a pretty fun photo anyways. It's all about making memories, and being able to look back at this photo 5 years down the road and say "I can't believe you were all that SMALL!"

Liz made a simple but tasty breakfast.

The Godbeer kids sitting down to enjoy! Think Ethan might be a *tad* excited?

Elijah understands the need to clean up before we unwrap gifts. Very thoughtful.

Hannah and Ethan wait patiently for the first gifts to be handed out. Gabriel? Hello?

Jon starts the presents!

Ethan patiently began opening this big box...

...which quickly devolved into this madness. All good fun though!

Jeremiah shows off the new digger he unwrapped!

At one point Evelyn was dutifully handing presents out to the kids...until she got to her brother and wouldn't hand it over. Heh.

Elijah might have enjoyed his candy cane a little *too* much. That look says "you ain't taking this away from me...."

Charlotte was also a sticky red and green mess after her candy cane!

Evelyn shows off her pink tutu that Auntie Laura made for her!

Amidst the new food and kitchen toys. The babies all looove playing kitchen!

Elijah and Charlotte, newly changed into their PJ's.

The older kids join in the kitchen fun..

These blocks were also a hit. They're a little more versatile than lego, and have some neat parts you can build onto for some interesting creations!

The Farmily kids, 2012! Merry Christmas everyone!!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well, to the wonderful tunes of Charlie Brown's Christmas, we set out to decorate the Christmas tree this evening before the kids went to bed, and...well Christmas arrived. It went amazingly well! Only one ornament broke, and it was completely an accident, not from goofing around or being crazy with the ornaments. We call that a win! Here are the photos from our evenings' entertainment.
Charlotte, and her collection of decorations at her reach. Hehe!

Most of the bottom of the tree looked like this.

Elijah, jumping in.

"That's better mum, now I can SEE the ornaments on the table!"

Ethan, in deep concentration getting that ornament on.

Success! Back for more...

Evelyn and Charlotte mostly just emptied the boxes for us. Thank you ladies...

"I want THAT one!"

Gabriel with one of the giant stars Katie and Marc had kicking around.

Jeremiah found the candy canes! It will be interesting to see how long it takes one of them to remember they're there and try to eat one...

The crew!

Another shot of the crew.

Viola! Our beautifully decorated Christmas tree, all ready for the 25th. Now the question the Farmily ready for the insanity that will be...Christmas day?? Stay tuned to find out! (haha)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

If it was colder, we'd be buried in snow!

The title says it all, it's been raining a lot these days around here. But, after almost an entire summer without it, I think we're all content to live with it for a while.
We start pruning today, so let the season of cold and wet afternoons begin! It's times like these that we appreciate the hot-tub again. After not using it for the summer months, we forget how nice it will be to jump in after a chilly afternoon hugging a pair of pruning shears!
Other than pruning, there are still some odd jobs here and there to get done, but the biggest project we have recently completed was renovating part of our large barn into a band 'jam' space for some co-workers of Katies! It required some framing, insulation and drywalling, along with some carpeting and a little electrical work, but overall the project went quite smoothly, and the band hopes to be able to move their stuff in as quick as possible. Go team for finishing by December 1st! A lot of hard work went into making that happen.
As for the household, we bundled up the kids after lunch today (it was pouring rain) and headed down to the field to pick out our very first household Christmas tree! Bryan and Lynn had planted Christmas trees on certain parts of the property several years back, and we are lucky enough to be reaping the rewards. So, we trekked down there, soggy boots and all, (the kids had to jump in every puddle imaginable, and they may have taken their own puddles home with them later) and carefully selected which tree would be the lucky tree to decorate our living-room. Now, a smart move here would have been to measure out our ceiling space before selecting said tree, right? Nah. Winging it is way more fun. As a result, the ceiling above the spot we had picked in our living room for the tree to sit was too low, and we mis-judged how big our tree was by a long shot. It's taaaallll. Beautiful! But tall. So, after some living room shuffling, (and some tree-shortening) it now sits proudly in front of the large bay windows for all to see. See for yourself!
We still need to decorate it, and we're hoping the kids can handle the responsibility! We'll need a few chairs to reach the top, that's for sure!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Katie's Entry

Sorry this is late in arriving - Katie dutifully sent it to Liz....who kind of forgot about it for a while. Whoops! Here is an entry Katie wrote back in October (my bad) about the excursions of getting our cows and pigs off to the butchers, and general good times!

As the meat of out labours (... somehow that doesn't sound inviting...) rests in the capable hands of our butcher, we can now look back on the insanity which was October 14th and laugh. I'm sure that anyone from a larger farm would read this and think to themselves "They only had to round up a few pigs and a couple cows?? That's NOTHING!" Well, to us, it sure was something! 

The animal transporter guy was due to show up at 10:00 am, so Jon and Marc were out there in the pig pen bright and early rounding them up into a trailer so they would be more easily herded into the back of the truck. It really doesn't sound hard, but until you've tried to get a 300lb pig up a ramp and into a trailer, think again. Oh, and to make it even more fun the sky chose that particular day to release the last 4 months of pent up rain on us unsuspecting hog herders. The pigs were super happy wallowing in their mud puddle until Marc and Jon came in with the trailer, rain gear and a strong resolve. The pigs had other ideas. After almost 2 hours and a bunch of pig wrestling, they had all but one in and settled. 

Along come Laura and I with 6 of the 7 kids (Elijah was at his grandparents because Josh and Liz were in the Caribbean) to watch the fun, innocently thinking that they would be wrapping up by now. We watched, and admittedly laughed at, them chasing the one last lady who just would have nothing to do with getting up that ramp. She even took Jon for a bit of a ride getting in between his legs and taking off! I really wish I had had my camera. I'm not sure what possessed me, but after this I went in there too, perhaps in an attempt to be one more body to direct it from running in pretty well any direction but toward the trailer. 

After watching us for a few minutes the kids were starting to get soaked, and the babies were losing patience. Laura, super mom and muscle woman that she is, heaved Evelyn in one arm and Charlotte in the other, for a total of about 50lbs of wet squirmy babies for a good 20 minutes, and got everyone back to the house for hot chocolate. The kids sure loved all of the puddles they got to splash in on the way back to the house! 

 I really don't know how they had done this for an hour and a half already, but after not even half an hour, I was exhausted and soaked to the bone. I honestly don't even remember what we finally did that succeeded in getting that last pig in there, but we did it. It would have been quite comical if it sauntered in there while we were off taking a breather, but I think it was actually a combination of luring it with food and walking slowly behind it with a stick while some of us held plywood and gates to act as a funnel. Whatever it was, it worked. Now onto the cows. Shoot. They are MUCH bigger, and even all three of us are no match for even one of them if they get riled up. So this time it was a game of smarts. Cows are not so smart you see, so we opened the gate to the small pasture and they wandered in and happily ate what was left of the little grass in there while we made our plywood and fence funnel again. By this time the transporter had arrived and maneuvered his big truck strategically into place at the end of the funnel. No where to go but up the ramp! Hazzah! Once that was all set up we basically walked around them until they began to move in the right direction and gave them even less places to go by having someone wherever they turned. Slowly, they made their way into the truck, rather easily. But anything would seem easier than those darn pigs at this point.  

 So there we have it. Sunday's animal round-up complete, one day reprieve then it on to catching 150 broiler chickens at 5:00am on Tuesday, and picking up 300+ layer hens Tuesday evening for sale on Wednesday. Oh the life on a farm. Somehow though, even with all of it's crazy adventures, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love it here. Some days it isn't easy, but that's what makes it interesting. Keeps us all on our toes. I was thinking the other night as I was falling asleep, how did I go to bed in the house every night alone, aside from a sleeping Jeremiah, at our old place when Marc was doing night shifts at the bakery? No one else within 300 meters maybe more. I have gotten so used to having people around all the time, that the life we left behind seems so lonely and isolated now. No, I wouldn't trade this for anything. Meadowbrook Farm is my home, and I love it.


Saturday, 6 October 2012


Wondering if we fell of the face of the earth? Expired as the last blueberry fell? Fear not, we are still here, and carrying on!
The end of blueberry season was a welcome relief for most of us, in the same sense as how you feel after a long day of work and you finally get to sit down and breathe. It was satisfying, and extremely productive, and we all got a great sense of what customers like and buy in terms of the other products we offer. Now that we've de-briefed, we are sitting down and looking at new and exciting ways to bring our farm business, and continue keeping our valued customers happy!
The house has settled more or less back into it's usual routine, and as our weather stretches on with all this sun, the kids are enjoying some extra time on the deck and running around outside before it starts getting too chilly. We're still having to tell them that, unlike the summertime, they probably don't want to go running out onto the dewey back deck in nothing but their bare feet right after breakfast, and it's a concept that will probably be learned the hard way. Soon, snow will be falling, and they will forget all about chalk on the back deck and will be too excited about making snow angels on the front driveway to care!
Something fun we did in early September was to throw a Harvest Festival, to bless and show our appreciation for many individuals who made this season possible for us. We invited our pickers, our neighbors, and anyone we could think of who pitched in and helped the season flow smoothly. Here are some shots from the evening of activities!
Musician Trevor played his guitar and filled our little valley with some wonderful music for the start of the evening!

Liz drove the tractor around the property and did hay rides for the kids and excited adults. Who doesn't love a good hay ride?

Our food tent, and Fanny hard at work getting those delicious hot dogs and hamburgers set up.

Liz spent part of the afternoon beforehand picking sunflowers and making these flower arrangements for the tables as decorations. Not too shabby!

Katie, getting some much needed grub.

We had a bouncy castle set up for the kids - they had a blast!

Over-looking the main set-up and stage. Amanda played us some beautiful piano music for the evening.

The hay bales worked quite well as seating! Not even that pokey!

Elijah, enjoying dinner.

A little better view of the food tent, and it's decorations. I'm not sure Susan or Fanny left that tent much!

Charlotte, just hanging out!

It was really great to see everyone mingling, and getting to know each other better. That's what it's all about.

We had a blueberry pie eating contest!! Marc spent the night before making these little tasty treats, and we had a prize for whoever could finish theirs the fastest. You could use your hands, or not, it was up to you how you got it down!

Josh didn't win, but he seemed like he enjoyed his, at the very least!

This was Jacob's expression more or less when he *thought* he had won, and when forced to swallow the massive amount in his mouth before being declared winner, was out-paced by Aaron. Poor guy...extra points for outfit preparation though!

Aaron, who GREW UP on this farm and has therefore had years of experience when it comes to blueberry pie eating, won the contest. Who saw that coming? ;) Here he is holding up his prize. (It's a game.)

The kids might have come in last, but certainly not for enthusiasm! What a bunch of monkeys.

Evelyn even got to try some of daddy's delicious baking. Not a piece went to waste!

Something else fun we did was hand out prizes to some of our pickers. There was the prize for 'fastest returning picker', and 'fastest new picker', and we also gave out a prize for 'most enthusiastic'.
Overall it was a big success. As with any event, there are probably things we will do differently next year, but we had lots of people tell us how wonderful it was to feel appreciated, and to have a chance to talk and meet people in a less official and crazy time like blueberry season. 
So now what? Now we wait until the leaves have turned red and fallen, and the boys can begin the long and chilly process of pruning all over again. They feel confident that they have a good handle on it this year, with experience behind them and also being able to see the bushes during the summer, and see where they should have pruned differently. We have faith in you, boys! Liz has said she wants to give it a try and some point, so time will tell if she's a good pruner or not. You never know until you try!
Last but certainly not least, our farm will be growing by one more next April. Yes, Liz and Josh will be expecting their second, making the adults seriously out-numbered by little rascals next year! Heck, we're already out-numbered. What's one more?