What’s Happening on Our Farm
Wian moved some of the young cows up to the yard to sort them for spring calving. Calving will start mid April and go until end of May or so. We are really looking forward to it. Calving, a time when the meadowlarks and robins return, is one of my favourite times of year.
The highlight of our days and weeks has been delivering food to people in Brandon and Winnipeg. We can’t visit with people they way we use to and have had to develop a new strategy for physical distancing, but we feel close to everyone.
There is a growing comfort in the resiliency of the work that we do and some discomfort in the reality that our days have changed very little while others lives (for now) have changed so much.
We are still able to work and grow and provide food. Our supply chain is quite local. The grass for our cattle grows here. We purchase grain from the neighbours for the pigs and chickens. The mineral we use for our chickens comes from a local colony (although they do have to source some of the ingredients beyond borders). We have a local butcher shop 30 minutes from home that does all of our processing for us. Of course, we do rely on things from afar (egg cartons, paper bags, butcher paper, fencing supplies, some manufactured equipment, parts to fix equipment etc) but they are still all available. Fortunately, we are in the business of producing food that often travels 100s of kms not 1000s.
Resiliency for our farm comes in the form of diversification, production principles that are healing for the land and take advantage of solar capture, and producing food to feed our (local) community.
Our customers have expressed concern for us, however, it is diversified direct to eater farming system like ours that produce food for people that I suspect will be ok. We are used to some risk (weather, predation, price fluctuation in feed grains etc) and have already built some risk mitigation strategies into our farm. The biggest risk for us is that one of us becomes ill, unwell or injured or that relationship on the farm suffer making it difficult or impossible for us to do our work. This is always a concern, even before the pandemic.
We know that overtime we have to work to build our farm team and build in resiliency on the human resources front. So much of what we do is about the land, the animals, food and community and we know that we also have to take care of our people here at home.
We were concerned with the prospect of not having full time seasonal farm labour this year. We had anticipated having someone from Germany but understand that that is not possible now. We do have some part time local help but without full time help will be taking on some extra work. In future, we may try to run a farm employment co-op program for local students interested in agriculture.
I am posting farm photos and updates on our Facebook Page if you want to see what has been going on. Here is a poem I posted recently. It is one of my favourites.
“The Peace of Wild Things”
by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.