Off the beaten path...

We are a local, family owned, community-minded fruit orchard and small animal farm located near Saskatoon, SK. We raise sheep, goats, heritage chickens, alpacas and miniature donkeys.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We are Thankful!

Wow!  We have had a great and crazy summer and now fall and thanksgiving  is already upon us!

First the not so great news...  our orchards is still struggling due to the excess amount of water we have had in our area.  Some trees are still ok, the black currants seem to be flourishing, but most of the other trees have been stunted by the moist conditions.  We hope that next year, with new berms and maybe drier conditions the trees will continue to grow.

Now the good news.... our flock of sheep continues to grow!  We have about 100 in our flock right now.  Fall lamb will be ready by the end of October, and we continue to sell it at the Saskatoon Farmer's Market on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Our critters have not only expanded in numbers but as well as variety!  We still have some pygmy goats on our farm, and we have added alpacas and miniature palomino donkeys.  Our heritage breed chickens continue to lay us the best eggs we have ever tasted, and our ducks have inhabited the nearby slough, and now call the barn home.

 I am continuing to preserve and come up with and try new canning recipes, however, since we have started selling bread and baking at the market, I find myself doing more baking than canning.  Our jams and pickles continue to be popular at the bakery and at the markets! 

Our continued diversity has prompted us to rename our farm from Fruition Orchards to Old Trail Farm.  Anyone who has driven past our farm yard (on purpose or by accident) will know why! At the end of our property is an old trail and at the end of that trail is where Old Trail School used to be.  This is the school my dad and his brothers and sister attended.   My sister and I called this "roller coaster road" but the hills seem to have gotten smaller over the years :). It is an old summer road that hasn't been used for some time.  It's grassy and beautiful and it is our favourite place to take a long walk. 

We are thankful for so many things on our farm:
We are thankful for Nathan!  We have had the luck and luxury of having a full time helper this year at the farm.  Nathan came to us as a volunteer and agreed to stay and work and live with us for the summer.  He has been a great help with farm chores, as well as helping at the markets and in the bakery.  He's become a member of the family, and our kids are dreading the day that he leaves us.  We hope to keep him on a bit longer as we get ready for winter at the farm, then gear up for the Christmas season at the bakery.
 Calvin, Frances, Parker, Lily, Keith and Nathan at East Trout Lake.

We are thankful for WWOOFers!  We continue to host WWOOFers on our farm and we have had a steady supply of help from them this year!  They help us with everything from cleaning out barns, watering and feeding animals, weeding, picking, sorting, hauling...  they also help us with house chores, child care, and the list goes on and on...  we have been very fortunate to have such great WWOOFers help us.  We couldn't have accomplished everything without them this year.
 Our WWOOFer, Florian, from France, with Lily and Parker in the dune buggy he fixed for us! 

We are thankful for our families and friends that have supported us in our work on our farm, even though they may not understand why we do it.    It is a labour of love for us.

We are thankful for healthy children and a top notch school (Ecole Providence in Vonda) that shows our children the importance of community and diversity.

We are thankful that we are able to provide ourselves with food for our table, and that we can help others who cannot do the same. 

We hope everyone has had a productive and thankful growing season. 

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