Farm Days: Hello June

Farm Days: Hello June! An update on Happiness By The Acre family farm

 

Winter vanished in days, and then so did April and May!

As usual spring in Alberta is a flurry of activity. We’ve been busy planting out the market gardens, building mobile chicken coops, fixing watering systems, setting up irrigation, and getting corrals set up. We’ve got 25 laying hens in the gawky pullet stage, and cows on the way in the next week or so. A flurry of activity! Thankfully we have our hired hand, Lachlan, who has been an absolute work horse while Marcus runs around wrangling paperwork to parts sourcing.

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Farm Days: Planning

Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm

 

Farmers talk about an “off season” and a “growing season”. And yes, it’s true that there is an “off season” of sorts, I’m finding with each year that our off season is still busy. Busy planning & prepping for the next growing season. In part, it might be because we have been starting our small farm from the ground up. Quite literally. There was nothing already in place to begin our farm except for the land. Not even perimeter fencing or a road. And don’t get us started on the soil itself…

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Farm Days: We’re Hiring!

Wanted: Garden Gnome to work on a small Alberta farm

It’s true! On our farm biz side of life, we are HIRING! We are currently looking for a student*, or garden gnome, interested in working on our farm. We deliver product to Calgary and the surrounding area, as well as are opening a trust-based on-farm store in 2018.

Primary job duties will revolve around the market garden and orchard. A great deal of the job is weed identification and manual removal; but plenty of opportunities for general labour, washing and bagging vegetables, and chasing cows or chickens will present themselves.

Pop by the website for more info!

And if you’re just interested in visiting our farm or coming out for the day to lend a hand, definitely contact us! We’d love to hear from you!

*This is a grant supported job for students. Highschool or postsecondary. Trades and vocational schools work fine too, as does upgrading

Roots & Connections

Roots & Connections: One story of how our past finds its place in our present

 

Throwing it waaaay back today. A glimpse of my sweet mama as a child {circa 1950ish}, in her Grandpa’s greenhouse.

Sometimes I don’t really think about how far back my “green thumb” roots go, but it hit me one day standing in the fields this summer on our farm. And I remembered some old photos of my mom in the family greenhouse.

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Farm Days: Storm Watching

Farm Days: Life in a Trailer ~ The story of starting a small farm in Alberta

 

It’s a very different “home sweet home” these days.

A 27′ trailer, our five-year old, my husband and myself, plus two cats. All born and raised in the city. Add in a small generator, some patio furniture, a catio, and a fire pit. Now a good heaping of sweat, dirt covered hands and feet, and laughter. A dash of faith, stewardship, and creation care.

It’s our recipe for the summer.

Good enough is perfect, everyday.

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Into the Ground

It’s almost been a full week since our Happiness By the Acre Tree Planting Day out on the farm. Still feels like we’re recovering here or maybe it’s just that we’re still “on the go” so much that last weekend feels like a blur. I’m hoping that things get a little less hectic in the coming weeks, not just for my sake, but for Sammy’s. He sure has been a trooper, but some of the craziness is taking its toll.

We had an AMAZING turnout for the Tree Planting Day!! Loved that so many of our friends brought their little kiddos along too! It was a great way to share the day and build some of our first memories of the farm. We really appreciated each and every effort made by our volunteer team, big and small. There is NO WAY we could have gotten this project done without the help of family and friends. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! We will not forget the smiles or the sweat that went into planting our one acre of food forest.

Food and hand wash station (we tried to keep everyone hydrated and their bellies full)
Food and hand wash station (we tried to keep everyone hydrated and their bellies full)
This is the first event I've made a real effort to do "low impact". We used real plates, napkins & utensils (no disposables), mason jars of cold water in the cooler, and as much locally sourced or homemade food as possible. It was tricky, took a bit more work, and I cheated a bit here & there (hello broccoli salad & cans of pop), but felt super satisfied by the end of the day. Only a half full bag of garbage to throw out after feeding more than 15 people :-)
This is the first event I’ve made a real effort to do “low impact”. We used real plates, napkins & utensils (no disposables), mason jars of cold water in the cooler, and as much locally sourced or homemade food as possible. It was tricky, took a bit more work, and I cheated a bit here & there (hello broccoli salad & cans of pop), but felt super satisfied by the end of the day. Only a half full bag of garbage to throw out after feeding more than 15 people 🙂
The kiddos got much use out of these. We put them on tree watering duty. SUPER helpers!
The kiddos got much use out of these. We put them on tree watering duty. SUPER helpers!
Volunteers got to choose a tree to adopt. We've measured each tree and will send growth updates over the coming years. (Little Rylin did so well amongst all those boys. She even had fun picking up dirt, a first for her).
Volunteers got to choose a tree to adopt. We’ve measured each tree and will send growth updates over the coming years. (Little Rylin did so well amongst all those boys. She even had fun picking up dirt, a first for her).
Super helpers Joanna and Soren with their hazelnut tree!
Super helpers Joanna and Soren with their hazelnut tree!
Little helpers here & there! Thanks boys!
Little helpers here & there! Thanks boys!
We hope everyone had as much fun as Shauna! She's anxious for us to get moved out to the farm so she can come visit. Looking forward to it too, Shauna!
We hope everyone had as much fun as Shauna! She’s anxious for us to get moved out to the farm so she can come visit. Looking forward to it too, Shauna!

Hundreds of Happy Trees

400 hazelnuts tucked into a trench awaiting Tree Planting Day
400 hazelnuts tucked into a trench awaiting Tree Planting Day

Have I mentioned our crazy plan of planting an acre of food forest out on our “big farm”? And when I say “crazy”, I mean it’s driving us a fairly crazy. Wowza! Hubby started feeling in over his head about two weeks ago and we’re seriously in the thick of it now! This is all a part our of Happiness By the Acre adventures.

We had 400 hazelnut trees arrive last week. We’ll be picking up 400 raspberry bushes, and a few dozen apple & pear trees at the end of this week. Yep, that’s over 800 plants to be planted. Oh boy…

That's what an acre of land looks like. Now picture it covered in a beautiful food forest (or food savannah as Marcus keeps correcting me)
That’s what an acre of land looks like. Now picture it covered in a beautiful food forest (or food savannah as Marcus keeps correcting me)

So we’re organizing a Tree Planting Day! On Saturday, May 24th, we’ll be trying to get ALL those plants into the ground out on our farm near Carstairs. If you’re interested in lending a hand & spending some time out in the country this weekend, let me know or check out our event page on Facebook. We’ll be providing tasty treats and cold drinks. Come for an hour or come for the day! Kids are more than welcome.

Sammy_with_shovel

This is your chance to be a small part of our family farm history in our very first project. And as a thank you to all the folks who come out to lend a hand, we will be letting each volunteer adopt a tree of their choice. Attach your name to a bit of history. Get your picture taken with your little tree and we’ll send you growth updates as the years progress. Plus you can pop by and check on your tree the next time you visit the farm.

I hope that some of you can join us on Saturday! If not, we could sure use some extra prayers to see this project through.

I’ll be sure to post photos from Tree Planting Day and let you know how it all goes. Until then, we’ll be continuing to run around a little crazed, checking things off the to-do lists, and praying for plenty of sunshine, and more importantly, that we can find a bobcat operator with an auger to dig 800 holes by Saturday. Oi!