Thursday, 31 May 2012

Summer is here!

Sometimes, it feels a bit like the calm before the storm.
The blueberries are growing ever bigger, and the crop is looking promising. The bees continue buzzing around, doing what they do best, and we wait patiently for the fruits of their labor. Literally!

Meanwhile, since there isn’t a while lot to do in the fields these days, Marc has been busying himself with mowing, weed-wacking, and working on his newest project, the pig area! That’s correct, Meadowbrook Farm is getting some pigs!
Marc did his research, and brought it to the business meeting several weeks ago, and we all voted to do a trial run. We’re starting small, just 4 piglets to start off with, but they’re due to arrive on the fourth, and we won’t lie, we’re a little excited. Marc and Katie designed and built a shelter for them, and after some red paint, you would think it was there all along. They will be hanging out near the cows, in a lush green pasture just waiting for those cute little noses to start exploring.
With the cooler weather, the house-hold has been mostly inside, entertaining children and tackling some of the housework that may have been ignored when the weather was so beautiful. When the weather was nicer, Marc spent a couple days cleaning and filling our pool! It’s going to be a life-saver once the weather turns hot for longer periods.  Pool party anyone?
Unfortunately it's still a little chilly! We obtained some solar panels, thanks to Liz and Katie's dad Mike, and we hope to set those up soon. 
Liz has been working on a fun project recently, which is running around the property and the house with a video camera! She hopes to put together enough footage of entertaining farm and farmily goings-on that she can make a mock reality show episode or two. Watch for a preview here, and maybe a video tour of our farm!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Coming to Life.

Meadowbrook is buzzing.
Our bees arrived last week, and they have set the fields humming with their wonderful pollinating skills. Blueberries, here we come!

The bees aren't the only things roaming around our little farm. Liz spotted some baby geese paddling along the pond the other day, and at times the birds and frogs can be deafening. Spring has certainly sprung!
Marc has been hard at work around the farm as well. The grass, although not high on the priorities list when blueberry bushes are concerned, still needs mowing, and now that the bulk of the work (for now) is done in the fields, he has moved on to other projects around the place. A big job he recently tackled, with the help of Jon when he could, was to clear away some of the brush from along the edges of the fields. These bushes can hide berry stealing birds, so it was important to try and clear away as much as we could. And who knew there was a fence hiding under there?

The Farmily has taken full advantage of the nice weather as well. Last Friday, Katie, Laura and Liz packed up the kids and headed to Island View beach for some much needed vitamin D. We couldn't have asked for better weather - the water was calm, and it wasn't too hot. The kids immediately grabbed their buckets after wolfing down their lunch, and went to hunt some crabs. Here are some shots from their adventures on the rocky shore!

Yogurt? What yogurt? I'm done.

Charlotte relaxes in her carseat.

Elijah, the maharajah, takes a cat-nap in the shade.

Evelyn, the goof, just finished eating her lunch!

Jeremiah: "Come on!" Ethan: "Ewwww." (He's been stopped by some offending seaweed.)

The offending seaweed. Apparently a beach deal-breaker. At least for a while...

Evelyn and Elijah, having some cousin bonding time under the umbrella.

Gabriel, looking slightly worried. Maybe his crabs escaped?
There they are!

Unfortunately, our beach trip ended on a sour note, with Elijah scaring everyone to death by not breathing for several seconds, and then was later admitted to the hospital when it happened again after dinner. Some antibiotics, and 5 days in the hospital under observation, and he's right as rain. Thank the Lord!
Elijah and Liz got home just in time for 'chicken Tuesday'. Marc drove up with our hefty chickens at 7 in the morning, and arrived back home with...the chicken. We knew we were in trouble when we opened the first box and weighed the first chicken in at....10.08lbs. Liz reminded everyone that she wasn't kidding when she said we should have advertised them as turkeys! Most people were quite forgiving. Thankfully, the chicken leftovers make excellent soup!!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Josh Upton's Entry

Well, here we are!  This is Josh's blog entry for our Meadowbrook blog.  I have been here almost 4 months now with my wonderful family (Liz and Eli) and my wonderful family (the Godbeer's and McIlveens).  I was surprised at how normal it all seemed so quickly.  At the same time, I am still learning so much about how to work a farm and how to get along in a house of 13 people.

What specific stories to tell?  Or, should I stick to the general?  General first, I suppose.  Bryan and Lynn have been incredible mentors.  Not only do they give us all kinds of information, they help out, AND they loan and give us all kinds of things we need as new tasks come up.  Pretty awesome!  Life in the house runs pretty well.  We husbands definitely leave more than half of the housework to the ladies, in stereotypical fashion.  They do so much for us, and we try to be grateful (when we notice...).  We, in turn, try to do what we can.  It seems like enough, most of the time.  I know for myself, it's difficult to balance job work, house/family work, and farm work.  There's a lot to be done!  

One thing that I DID get done was a set of gravel steps leading from the outer property up to one of the blueberry field entrances.  It was a slippery muddy slope all winter and ever since I first saw it, I wanted to put steps there.  Being good friends with Aaron, Bryan and Lynn's son, who used to live on the farm is valuable for more than just having his companionship.  Once I mentioned the steps he confided that people slipped going down that slope often.  I hadn't done that yet and I planned not to!  It took me around 2 months of near-constant trying and I finally got the gravel on site for the project.  The next day, my friend Dave helped me put in six BEAUTIFUL steps.  This was one of those rare times when what I imagined came out pretty darn close to what became reality (as opposed to when I try to draw (I have Liz for that anyways.  Why would I need to draw?)).  Yes, I savor this small victory.  And yes, it is sweet!

Speaking of sweet, I am really looking forward to blueberry season!  Probably because I don't understand yet how much work it is going to be.  In September I'll think "Ah, poor naive Josh of May 5th.  How young and free and unawares he was."  I think it's okay to be condescending, as long as it's only to myself.  I do plan to eat as many blueberries as I can handle, though.  I wonder if it's possible to get a blueberry gut.  I aim to find out!

It has been such a great ride so far.  I still find myself driving home and thinking "Hey!  I own a farm!"  I correct myself "I own part of a farm" (Yes, I'm not just critical of others speech.  I give myself a hard time too.)  Still, even dwelling in the realization that I own part of a farm is a pretty joyful place to be.  God has been so good to us to this point.  I can't wait to see what He has waiting around the corner.