Lucy! 💕

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Spring is here....calving season has begun.   With the arrival of calves comes a little stress.    The sight above often drives me crazy, I mean how do people get in and out of the door😉, however at this time of year its a regular occurrence and necessity as he does barn checks at different hours of the day or night.

Steve loves spring!  He loves all that it has to offer.   New growth, new arrivals, fresh starts.  

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He’s very passionate about his herd, and gets a little anxious when calving season comes along each year. We have 50+ cows that are expected to calve within a 6-8 week time frame.   

The first couple of calves to join us in 2019 did so completely effortlessly, they are healthy & happy and running around, cute as can be! 

Often in calving season there are so many things that can and do go right, but on the flip side there are so many things that can and sometimes do go wrong, unfortunately.

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On Sunday Steve went out to check the cows first thing in the morning.   As I’ve mentioned before, in our home Sunday is a “day of rest.”   As I’ve also previously mentioned the animals still need to eat, so Steve headed out to do a few chores, the calf check and then the plan was to head to church for the 10:30am service as usual. 

As I was getting ready, and helping the boys to do the same, my cell phone rang.   It was Steve in a bit of a winded panic.   He was asking for help in the barn, as a cow had gone into labor with what appeared to be a set of twins.  The first twin was out, born backwards.   He was attempting to give it mouth to mouth to kick start it’s life, however struggling with mama who was in “protective mama bear” mode and not very happy with Steve.   He was able to feel a heartbeat for about 15 minutes, but his efforts were unsuccessful.   The second twin was also coming backwards, which is not something you want to see.   Steve was able to help and pull it out so it didn’t ingest anything in the birth canal, and it was a successful delivery!

Because stuff like this never happens when you are hanging around the farm with nothing to do, we went off to church without him once he gave the okay.  He continued his rounds and came upon a calf that had literally just been born as well.   He noticed it wasn’t getting up to get that first crucial drink from mom.   He attempted to hold it up, however it’s front legs were crossed and didn’t want to uncross when left to try to stand on it’s own.   

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Steve gave enough time for the calf to attempt things on its own, and then he had to intervene.  So he grabbed a bottle, and milked the cow to give it that first important drink of colostrum.   The baby was hungry and a willing participant which is sometimes half the battle.

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It becomes a wait and see game with these little gaffers.  Much like the human versions, they often just need a little time.   In the mean time, Steve does everything he can to give it a fighting chance.   As much as this is a “business”, it is still a lifestyle, way of life, where there is a lot of compassion and empathy.    Steve now watches the calf (which he named Lucy😉) around the clock, milks mama, and bottle feeds her every couple of hours.    He provides her with every opportunity to succeed, its up to Lucy to want to fight!    Just yesterday (Wednesday), Lucy made her first attempt to get up and stand....a big success.   Steve was there to see it, and likely has a video to prove it...haha. 

Steve is good to his animals, and some of the cows have been with him for 12+ years.   Each year they give him a healthy calf, and they wander the pasture fields content and happy!   He knows each mama personally, takes notes on each of their births, how they handled it, any assistance they needed.   He watches them, jumps in and helps them whenever required.   He never gets bored of checking for new calves, monitoring their progress, and finding out the gender.  

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As I’ve said before he loves his farm, and he loves his cattle.   He goes to great lengths to ensure they are healthy and happy always.   Yes they serve a purpose, but while they are here with us they live their very best life that we can possibly offer them!

“The Most Treasured Heirlooms are the Sweet Memories of Family”❤️

 

Farming is a 365 kind of a job.   Animals need to eat, they don’t take time off for holidays, or special occasions.   There is always something that needs doing, or to be looked after.   Taking time “off” or getting away from the farm for any extended length of time proves to be difficult most of the time.  We  have many different moving parts in our farming operation, all of which occur during each of the different seasons.

Thus there is never a perfect time to get away!

For the first time since meeting Steve 12+ years ago we took a week long, uninterrupted family vacation!  I know, if you know Steve that is VERY hard to believe!    Now we have been away for a weekend here or there, or a 3 day camping trip in the summers, but never a full week, just the 6 of us.

During March Break, all 6 of us boarded a plane and headed to Florida.   For the littles it was the first time on a plane, to say they were excited is an understatement.

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It takes a ton of planning and preparing ahead of time to be able to get away from the farm, for a week.   We had to rely on friends and family to keep things afloat for us.   Of course they did a great job running our operation in our absence.   Both Steve’s parents helped a great deal on the farm and in the store, Nolan spent everyday here busily tackling the daily chores.  Kylie helped out by also working in the store.   A family friend stayed at the house, looked after the dogs and the comings and goings for the week.   We had people on call to help with various tasks. Everything seemed to run fairly smoothly for the most part, only a few quirks and glitches along the way, which is to be expected.   All of the animals were healthy and happy, the store seemed to operate without a hitch, and the house was spotless upon our return!  Thankfully the snow also stayed away so the snowplowing route didn’t have to be tended to. For Steve all of that meant a very BIG sigh of relief!

Steve was anxious about leaving his cows, as calving time was due to begin right around now.   While we were gone, 2 cows calved and had healthy babies.  Nolan and Papa Clare did a great job of keeping an eye on them.   A very big blessing!

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We had a great week in Florida.   We had beautiful weather, sunny, warm, blue skies.   We had time to relax, lay by the pool, swim, go for bike rides, eat, play multiple hands of UNO, tackle Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom at Disney, and just rest.   More then that we had a chance to have uninterrupted time together as a family.   We had time to just be ourselves, laugh, joke, pester, have some great conversations and enjoy!

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Michael J. Fox 

 

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My heart is so very full!  As I reflect on the week, look through the pictures and remember the fun, I am so thankful for the special time we had.   With the current age of the kids, who knows if this will be the first of the last family vacations, as everyone moves in different directions.   Who knows when or if we will get away again.   I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity that was given to us, to do this.   Time is fleeting, it seems to be moving more quickly each time we turn around.   

In some blended families a significant age gap between the kids can sometimes be a recipe for disaster.   I love how these four love each other.  Of course the bigs can get annoyed by the littles at times, but that’s just part of being siblings in any family.   They really do get along well, the bigs look out for and after the littles, and the littles love to have their attention and interaction.   I love the memories they will have from this week spent together.

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A vacation for this family is kind of like hitting the jackpot, rare. It’s not something that Steve was 100% comfortable with. After spending the week away, disconnected from the everyday, he realized the value exponentially! It’s good to get away, recharge and regroup and come back feeling ready to tackle all things! With Spring upon us, the busy season within reach, it couldn’t have worked out to be better timing if we tried, to take a break from the everyday. So we are ready for Spring, we have made some great family memories, and enjoyed a much needed rest!

A big shout out to the ones in our world who are always willing to lend a hand, who keep things running when we can’t, who love and support us! We have an awesome “village” of people and we couldn’t be more thankful for them!

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“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.” unknown

Here’s to strong women 💜 May we know them 💜 May we be them 💜 May we raise them 💜

“International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on March 8th every year in honor of their remarkable contribution to our society.   It’s a day when we celebrate the amazing social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women!”

I’m sure everyone celebrates this day for different reasons, it means something slightly different to different people.   I wanted to take some time to recognize some of the women in my life.   

We all have women in our lives who influence us.   Some of those are wonderfully positive, some of those are sadly negative.   Mothers, Stepmothers, Mother- in- law’s, Sisters, Grandmothers, Aunts, Cousins, Friends, Co-workers, Neighbours, Teachers...the list can go on and on.    

So many different ways for different women to influence our lives.   I am lucky enough to have different women in my life who bring so many different dynamics. 

My mom.   A woman whose been through a divorce and started over, has raised 3 kids and worked hard to do so.   I have watched her face adversity many times over.   Her work ethic is strong and so admirable, always working to support us and herself.   Perseverance: “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.”   My mom has persisted through many trials and tribulations, not always coming out on top, but always picking herself up and dusting herself off, and trying again.   She’s tough.   If I can say anything it’s that she has taught me to be tough, to push through, and to conquer things, on my own.    While we haven’t always seen eye to eye as I’m sure lot’s of mothers and daughters can say, I am thankful for the life lessons she has taught me, and the values she has instilled in me to make me the person I am today.    Strength, courage, persistence, determination, tenacity and resiliency are some of the things that come to mind when I think of her and recognize her on this day! ❤️

 

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My Step-Mom.   “A woman who is the wife or partner of one’s father after the divorce or separation of one’s parents.”   Around the age of 8, my parents split up.   Not to long after that my Dad met someone whom he introduced into our world.   Since then she, with no “biological” children of her own, has loved and accepted us as her own.   The path I walk now as a Stepmother I attribute partially to watching her walk that path for a large part of my life.   There was no hesitation for me to jump into a relationship with a man whom had children, as I had watched someone else do the same.   During that time, I have watched as hard work and hustle has grown a sought after career.   A career in the nursing field that she has dedicated herself to, and her hard work has been recognized throughout.   Her character, grit, determination, dependability, dedication and reliability are some of the things that have made her successful in her career, and some of the things that I want to recognize about her today. ❤️

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My Mother-In-Law.    “How blessed we are, how fortunate we’ve been.  That you are his Mother, and also my friend.”    Truth.   In the world of farming often times a Mother-In-Law is more involved then in an average relationship.    When I met Steve, his wife had left him and he was on his own.  His mother had naturally stepped up and helped him pick up the pieces of his life and get himself back on track, which only grew their relationship more.   While this can make things a little more difficult at times, it is something that I have grown to understand as I’ve had children of my own.   When I look back over the years that we have been together, I see her unwavering faithfulness and loyalty to her son.    I see her dedication to her family, and the unending love she has for everyone in it.    Having the opportunity to witness her dedication and commitment to her husband, my father-in-law, has been of great support to me as I’ve grown in my marriage and continue to each and every day.   Hearing her stories of balancing family, farm work, and “off” farm work throughout her life, is something that encourages me and part of why I want to recognize her on this day. ❤️

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My Sister.   It’s funny how some relationships change over time.   When you look at your relationship in the different seasons of life, it can be so drastically different.   When we were younger we argued often as siblings can do.   I would say it changed when I had moved out, met Steve, and we had children.   My sister is the best Auntie in the world.   She has taught me so much about children…about teaching them, hearing them, and better understanding them.   She set her sights on teaching fairly early on in life.  She has fought hard to get to where she is today, worked tirelessly with steadfast determination to end up in her dream career.   It hasn’t always been easy, but she knew what she wanted and she did what she needed to do to get there, while maintaining her character, and dedication to family and friends.   She gives 110% as a teacher, has the very best interests of her students, wanting them to succeed and grow to be kind, compassionate children.    She carries that into her responsibility as a Mom, unconditional love to those she loves.   Today I celebrate her drive, compassion, kind heart, and responsible, ambitious, admirable character. ❤️

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My Neighbour (adopted “grandma”).   “Family isn’t always blood.   It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs.   The ones who accept you for who you are.   The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”   How many people can say they are blessed by their neighbours?!   So often you hear of pesky, annoying neighbours, or neighbours who come and go.   We have been so lucky to have the same neighbours for as long as Steve has been alive.   This lady has taught me many things over the last 12 years that I’ve been around.   She is a faithful, loyal, loving and encouraging wife.   For 57 years she has stood beside her husband in good times and bad, during the highs and lows.   She has been a stay at home mom, a farmer’s wife, a teacher, a friend among many things.  When I think of her today, I know when we need her she is here.   She is quiet, quick to listen, thoughtful in her speech, and always there to lend a hand. ❤️

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My (step)Daughter.   I hesitate to call her that, as by definition she is my “stepdaughter”, but I would never want her to think that she is anything but a loved member of our family.    I too have walked the road she is on. I can relate to the feelings, thoughts, and emotions.   I used a familiar saying to title this post “Here’s to strong women.  May we know them.  May we be them.   May we raise them.”   This girl has grown so much in her strength, in her character, in her resiliency.   She is feisty, and fierce and is proving to be a force to be reckoned with.   She is strong in her faith, driven and determined to succeed.   As I watch her maneuver some of the toughest years of her life, I see perseverance and humility.  I see the ability to make mistakes, to own those mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes.   I see her forgiving nature, and ability to seek forgiveness.   Perfection is not the desire, nor are there unrealistic expectations.   Today I honor her gentleness, warm heart, responsibility, integrity, courage and strength. ❤️

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It’s not lost on me, how truly blessed I am to have such inspiring women in my world.   At times I know I take it for granted, and I appreciate days like this one, that draws our attention to those in our circle of influence.   Days that force us to pause, reflect and acknowledge the true depth they bring to our lives.    We say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to support and encourage us to become the very best versions of ourselves.    I’m so thankful that God has provided me with these women.   We aren’t always at our best, and when one relationship is struggling as it will, there always seems to be another one there with their hand outstretched, ready to pull us out of whatever darkness we are in.   Embrace the good and the bad, for tough times seem to be what strengthens relationships. I have valued all the things I’ve learned so far from each of these women, and look forward to walking the road laid before me with them in my corner.

I admire each of these ladies for many different reasons, but the one thing we all have in common is being strong woman who deserve to be celebrated!   Happy International Women’s Day to all of the strong, independent, unique, courageous women in my life! 💕 

 

Eight Years Ago.....

Yesterday we celebrated a special day here in the Bloomfield home! Mason is eight years old!

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Mason is the oldest of our two boys, and is also the 3rd child in this blended family of ours.  Eight years ago we were blessed with the first of our two children together.  When I met Steve I wasn’t even sure I would have the experience of child birth.  While I was lucky enough to gain two children from the beginning of our relationship, the idea of adding to our crew was uncertain. 

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Steve was at a point in life where he thought he was done having children, having made a fairly permanent decision in his first marriage, it was quite unlikely he would have any more children.  However, life threw some curve balls, and here we are today. 

I remember when I met Steve he was very open and honest about the fact that he couldn’t have anymore children, and I was okay with that.  I loved him enough that I felt we could live very happily as a blended family of 4.  Not long after the relationship was considered “serious”, and the talk of marriage began, the idea of children began to take shape.  Steve is very much what many refer to as being a “kid person”.  He loves them, he has a way with kids, and it wasn’t long before the idea of a small surgery was on the table.   

After we got married in 2007, we spent a couple of years living life, spending time with Nathan and Hayley, learning and growing together.    In the fall of 2009 Steve agreed to make not only a large financial investment but a pretty big physical investment on his part.    The procedure was not covered by OHIP, and was a huge risk as there was no guarantee it would work.  The worst part of all for him (besides the obvious discomfort) was the idea of being bed ridden for 10 days afterwards.  Let me tell you it was a painful time for all, as Steve does not sit still very well, likes to be busy, and feels the weight of his responsibilities daily.  We were thankful to have amazing friends and family that helped us with chores, snowplowing and farm work. 

God had big plans for us as the procedure was a success and by June 2010 we were expecting our first child together!  Nathan and Hayley were excited to welcome a new addition to the family.  Mason was born in February, and after a few complications during pregnancy and immediately following, we were able to bring him home a week or so later.  Nathan and Hayley welcomed him into the fam right away, loved on him and pitched in when & wherever needed.  They didn’t skip a beat, and never looked at him as anything other then their brother. ❤️

We have been so very happy to watch him grow over the last 8 years. You hear it all the time usually from the older generations who have gone before us…they really do grow so fast, and change so quickly! It has been a joy to watch him become his own person, to watch all of his firsts, both good and bad. To watch his successes and his struggles, to wipe his tears and receive his smiles and hugs.

I often look into his blue eyes and remember what a gift both he and his brother were from our Almighty Creator. The fact the procedure was a success in and of itself is amazing, and the fact that we were able to conceive not once but twice without complication is not taken for granted. We are thankful on not only the good days, but the bad days too, for the gift of all 4 children in this blended family.

So as we celebrate a birthday, we also celebrate the beginning of our blended family life.  We celebrate the high highs and the low lows, the good and the bad, the happy and sad.  A blended family is not always easy, its hard.  We have learned so much and are no where near finished walking this road.  Just when you think you have it all figured out, you find yourself at a fork in the road, making a steep climb, and experiencing some thrilling descents.    We look forward to watching the 4 of them follow the path God has laid out, with eager anticipation and at times anxiety too.    In the end we hope that each of them are healthy, happy, kind, caring, compassionate and honest human beings.  That strive to make a difference in this world each and every day, big or small! 💕

Celebrating Canada's Agriculture Day!

Since it happens to be Canada’s Agriculture Day today, I thought I would share about our farm.

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When we tell people we “farm” for a living the assumption is that we either have cash crops or livestock or a mixture of the two. What most people don’t realize is that there are many moving parts within our “farming” operation.

We run 640 acres of land, that is a combination of land owned and land rented. On that 640 acres we grow a combination of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. We also pasture cattle, and grow hay on some of that farm land.

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On the cash cropping side of things, corn & soybeans are planted in the spring, and harvested in the fall, winter wheat is planted in the fall once soybeans have been taken off, and then harvested the following summer.   Soybeans and corn are alternated each year to get the best use of the nutrients in the ground.   Once the crops are harvested we sell them and receive a cheque for them.   Some farmers will “store” their crops to play the markets and try for the best price possible.   We are able to forward contract our crops, which means we can lock in a price for a portion of our crops prior to harvest.  Often, in our case we need the cash flow and sell the remainder of the crop once it has been harvested, as we would also have to pay a “storage fee” to keep the harvested crops, since we don’t have storage of our own.   So we receive one cheque a year for our corn, one cheque a year for our soybeans and one cheque a year for our wheat.    It can be difficult to budget on a monthly basis when income is like that.

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To supplement the cash crop income, we also provide custom cutting, baling and wrapping services. We own both a round and square baler, and a wrapper. So we have a clientele base that will call us to cut their hay, bale their hay or straw, and/or wrap their hay or straw. This keeps us busy from about June through to October, sometimes into November. It is a very weather dependent service, as you “make hay when the sun shines”, as they say! The wrapper is used when hay is baled wet, and needs to stay moist without molding. This is a nice option to have when the weather doesn’t cooperate and the hay gets rained on. Horses don’t typically eat wet hay, however beef cattle are not quite as picky.

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As I mentioned we grow hay on some of our acres. We are also in the business of selling hay and straw by the bale. We deal with a number of horse customers, whom buy our bales to feed their horses, or use for bedding in the barn. We have a couple of tarp barns that we have had constructed on the farm over the last couple of years that are filled with hay and straw to sell over the winter months, when we have no other source of income.

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In the spring, summer, and fall months we also provide lawn maintenance services to commercial properties in Ilderton. We cut & trim the grass, clean up flower beds, etc. This is typically done on a weekly basis. In the winter months we provide snow removal services for commercial properties in Ilderton as well.

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Our on farm store has been operating for the last several years.  We sell the bulk of our cattle through the store in the form of meat products.  However we do sell some live, fat cattle through the local Denfield Sales Barn, once they are fattened and finished.

We provide a BBQ service, where we cook large roasts on a big outdoor cooker for large groups or events.  We generally use 25 lb roasts, supplied out of our own beef of course.  The cooker is wood burning, and the beef on a bun tastes amazing!

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Of course we also have our farm store, which is open year round Thursday, Friday and Saturday where we sell beef, chicken and pork products. We have a local supply of cheese, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies. During the months of June through to September we are also found at the Ilderton Farmers Market, where you can purchase our meat products out of a freezer right on site.

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As I said there are many working parts here on Bloomers Family Farm! At various times of the year we need many hands to make it all work. It provides many opportunities for the kids to get involved, and learn responsibility, and work ethic. All of these different avenues keep things interesting, and the operation running smoothly (for the most part:))!

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It’s a nice feeling to have the opportunity to do different things and not be stuck in the same ole status quo stuff each and every day.    Things change seasonally, some are definitely more exciting then others, and some you look forward to with great anticipation while others you are thankful to have, and to also move on from.

We are thankful each and every day to have our operation, and what it provides for us.  The small farmer is becoming more obsolete as the years go by.  We feel very blessed to be here today able to do what we love, and hope to continue growing, and evolving this dream!

Celebrating today, Canada’s Agriculture Day!  Thankful to be farmers, and provide the services, and products that we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into!

As they say “If You Ate Today Today Thank A Farmer!”👨🏼‍🌾

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Raising up kids...Farm Style!

I’ve referenced the joy of raising kids on a farm before, in my mind there is really nothing better and I’d love to share with you why it is I feel that way!

 

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So true!

You have probably heard that old familiar saying “were you born in a barn?!”....it’s often in the context of someone being messy, dirty, leaving doors or windows open, etc.   To me there are definitely worse things!   Young or old, I think you can learn some of the most important lessons in life “in the barn”.

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1. You learn about life and death in the barn.   The kids have been able to experience the beginning of life from the birth of many animals right here on our farm, to end of life through miscarriages, premature deliveries, pneumonia, heart attacks in chickens, natural born predators, old age, etc.   They also know, understand and appreciate that we raise animals to feed people and in order for that to happen we have to ship them and they end up at the butcher.   

2. You learn that hard work builds strength and character, and kills no one.    All the children have at one time or another complained about the chores or tasks they have been given.   Never are they asked to do something that they can’t accomplish, and once they put their minds to it they are darn proud of themselves for completing it.   While they may complain, they are definitely learning that hard work pays off.   They take pride in their work, and the strength they realize that have.

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3. You learn respect, love and compassion.   When taking part in chores around the farm each of the kids have developed respect for what their father and grandfather have done and do each and every day.   They learn quickly to respect the animals, to show love and compassion to each of them.   I have seen all of them go to great lengths to rescue a lost kitten, help Steve pull a backwards calf, bottle feed calves and lambs, bed down pens to keep them warm, and various other tasks.

4. You learn to fail, and keep on keeping on until you succeed.   Each of the kids have learned through doing.   I think some of the best life lessons can’t be taught but have to be learned through experience.   When tasked with a chore that didn’t go as expected, the kids have had to try again, and sometimes again after that to succeed.   They have also had to leave a failure, learn from it and try again the next day.   We learn by failing, the important thing is that we actually LEARN the lesson from the failure. 

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5. You gain confidence in yourself and your abilities.   As each of the kids have been tasked with different responsibilities it is amazing to see the smiles and the confidence that they come away with after each chore.   I have heard each of them say they “can’t”, and Steve tell them they “can”.  Whether its learning to drive a piece of equipment, lifting a small bale of straw, cleaning out a pen, gathering eggs, problem solving or trouble shooting when things don’t go as expected, the confidence they exude afterwards is priceless.

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6. You learn to love the outdoors.   Spending time in the barn, on the farm, or in a tractor makes you appreciate the great outdoors, and the different seasons we get to experience.  The kids have all spent a lot of time outside, and know pretty much every square inch of this farm.  Between helping with chores, and exploring they have and continue to utilize the space and their imaginations.

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7. You get to spend time with older relatives and family members.   This one is priceless.   The kids have memories and experiences that they will value forever that can only come from time spent with the older and wise people in their lives.   Family Farms have the advantage of working intergenerationally.  Our children have the blessing of seeing and spending time with their grandparents often on a daily basis.   Not only do they have their grandparents pouring into their lives, but neighbors who are just like grandparents that have invested time and love into them.   They get to learn valuable life lessons from those that have lived this life before them.    

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8.  You learn to appreciate the value of a dollar.   The little ones haven’t come to this realization yet, however the older ones can definitely appreciate it.   They can understand the sweat and work that goes into each dollar earned.   

9. You learn patience.   The kids continue to learn that you don’t always get what you want when you want it.   Often times you wait for dinner until chores are done, or you learn that we can do certain things in certain seasons when it comes to events and activities.   When learning to operate equipment patience is a must, as becoming rambunctious can be costly.   Waiting for animals to birth their babies can also teach patience, as they come when they are ready, and you better be prepared for anything.

10. You learn where food comes from.   You see first hand where your food comes from, what it takes to raise it or grow it, and appreciate  the blood, sweat and tears that goes into getting it to the table.

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The list could go on and on, so many great things can come from being raised on a farm.   As with anything there are pros and cons, but for us, for our family the pros far outweigh the cons.   I love seeing the kids learning not only about the farm, but about themselves and what they are capable of.   They surprise us everyday with their abilities and strengths!  

I have said it before and will say it again, I wouldn’t trade this way of life for anything!

What do you want to be when you grow up??

I was reminded this week of a topic that we get asked about on a fairly regular basis...do we think our kids will carry on with the farm when they grow up?

Mason & Steve working together in the mini-ex.

Mason & Steve working together in the mini-ex.

I follow Sandi Brock~ Sheepishly Me, on Instagram, and interestingly enough, she mentioned this exact thing last week in one of her posts.   We have a very similar take on this question.

Heading out the barn! Great advertisers sporting their Bloomers hats!

Heading out the barn! Great advertisers sporting their Bloomers hats!

Steve has always said that he would LOVE it if he had the opportunity to work with his adult children running the farm operation in the future.   Whenever we do any business planning it is something that is definitely in the back of our minds.   However, it is not something that we pressure any of them into.   Our hope & desire for each of the four of them, is to have happy, healthy careers doing WHATEVER they love.

While there are many positives about working together on the farm, which we have experienced already… working together as a family on a farm every.single.day is not always sunshine and rainbows.   It is hard.   It can be a major source of stress, heartache, disappointment and upset.   As with anything, there are highs and lows.   Over the last handful of years, we have learned many things about working with family, lot’s of amazing eye-opening lessons.   One of the biggest take-away’s for us from the parenting aspect, has been the idea that our children should gain experience working for someone other then ourselves for a period of time.   This isn’t something we came up with on our own.   After many, many conversations with other farming families, those that have went before us and have lived/experienced it, we realize the value in this.    

It can be very hard to separate the line between parent/child, and employer/employee.    It can be hard to leave the “workplace” at the workplace, when the workplace is at home.   Expectations on both sides can be on opposite sides of the spectrum.   The gains to seeking employment away from the farm can be such a character building experience.   It’s good to work for different personalities, to see what you can work with and what you can’t.   Learning how to problem solve, and deal with conflict when it isn’t your parent can be a very different thing sometimes.   Starting at the bottom and working your way up the ladder, rather then starting at the top of the ladder builds strength, character, integrity, work ethic, drive, ambition, etc.

 Steve was able to see the benefit of working elsewhere before coming home to farm full time.    It gives you a whole new perspective and appreciation for what you have the opportunity to do, and perhaps not such a sense of entitlement in some cases.

It’s a family affair!

It’s a family affair!

Nathan & Hayley are helping their Dad to pull a calf that was trying to come out backwards during labour.

Nathan & Hayley are helping their Dad to pull a calf that was trying to come out backwards during labour.

Last day on the farm for these chickens. Mason is helping catch the chickens to transport to the processing facility.

Last day on the farm for these chickens. Mason is helping catch the chickens to transport to the processing facility.

The farming industry has changed so much, there are so many streams involved anymore.   At times it can be tough, or pretty much impossible to keep up with the changing trends, markets, skill sets.   Having a degree or diploma in something can be such an asset to the family farm, as well as an option to fall back on or go along with farming, should it be your career of choice.    

With that being said, there are so many professions, and careers in the world today.   Is it our expectation that the kids will all choose to stay put....no it’s not.   Farming can’t just be a “paycheque”, it has to be a “passion”.   It will never pay off if your heart isn’t in it, and it will never pay enough if you are just looking to bring home a pay cheque.   It could be a miserable existence if you do it for the sake of your loved ones, and we don’t wish that on any of our children.    Farming is a lifestyle, a way of life. It’s not a 9-5 job that you can disconnect from, walk away, and pick it back up the next morning.

Wyatt is the door guy when we load chickens! He likes to keep a safe distance from them as he’s still a little leary at times.

Wyatt is the door guy when we load chickens! He likes to keep a safe distance from them as he’s still a little leary at times.

We have had many conversations with the kids, spent many hours talking between the two of us about the future.   It’s something we have agreed is 100% up to them to decide, and we have been very clear that we will support whatever decision they make.    Steve didn’t start farming with the intention or goal of leaving it for his children, he got into farming because of a passion, and desire to PROVIDE for his children/family while doing what he loves.   I have said it before and I will say it again, there are so many amazing advantages to raising a family on a farm, but we certainly are aware of the big, wide world out there.   Life is to short to not love, enjoy and embrace what you want to do in life! 

It’s a tough world we live in these days.  So much pressure, so many options, so many decisions to be made.   If the kids don’t farm, it won’t be the end of the world....just the end of an era.   We cross that bridge when we come to it.   If 1 or 2 of them want to farm, great!  We support each one of them in their career paths.  

One thing we know for sure...we are excited to see where God leads each one of them in this life!   

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How hard can it be?!

It’s been 11 years and almost 3 months since I officially became a “farmer’s wife”.

To you that may mean just about nothing, but to me that means holy cow a lot has changed!!

I remember being asked if I was ready to not only take on the role of a farmer’s wife, but to do it as a second wife. At the time I had no idea what was being asked of me. I was sure I had my eyes wide open and was prepared for the future as Mrs. Steve Bloomfield.

Let’s just say that the last 11 years and 3 months has been an eye-opening, sometimes thrilling, sometimes scary, often times unexpected ride!

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Steve and I met on a blind date in March 2006. We were set up by my best friend, whom met Steve through her place of employment. Life was good. Steve had been previously married with 2 young children, at that time, 2 & 6 years old. For a lot of people that would be a red flag, for me having divorced parents at a young age, with a stepmom who was/is a very present part of my life for the bulk of it, it didn’t cause me any concern at all. Steve was working hard at building his farm, a dream of his since he was a young boy. I had no idea what that would/did entail. Having spent a large part of my childhood living in a rental farmhouse on a working farm, I assumed I had it figured out. That paired with having a grandfather who was heavily involved in agriculture most of his life, made me feel like I had a strong sense of what it took to be a farmer. Oh the naivete!

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I remember shortly after Steve and I met, I came out to the farm one day to visit after having finished my shift at the Grand Bend Fitness Centre (which was what I graduated from college in, Fitness & Health Promotion). I wish we had a phone with a camera right then….keep in mind this was 12 years ago. I arrived in my gym attire, cute black tights and matching top, cute pair of runners, not really what you would call “farming wear”, and hopped in the tractor to ride with Steve while he fixed fences in the pasture field. I climb in the tractor and begin talking, he makes a comment about me closing the door since I was sitting in the buddy seat, to which I crack a joke about enjoying the fresh air with it open, just as he is driving through a gate that the door happens to just graze and it shatters into a million pieces. The entire door was completely glass. Soooo not a great first impression as his Dad wanders over to check out the situation. One moment neither of us has ever forgotten, but one that has given us many, many laughs.

As I mentioned Steve and I met in March 2006. We got engaged July 1, 2007, and were married October 27, 2007. I remember the day we got married he was out in the yard at the farm working on a tractor in the morning. At the time I didn’t understand, but now I do. What farmer gets married in the fall, of all seasons?!? All I wanted was a beautiful fall wedding with the pretty colours. Steve did what he had to to make it all work, and in the end it poured rain all day anyway, so he was off the hook! Rain is something I have come to appreciate exponentially!

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It didn’t take long for me to realize I was in over my head just a little. Taking on a man with two children, an ex-wife and a growing farm operation, was a lot! Is it something that I regret?? Absolutely not. Is it something that has challenged me to my core?? Absolutely! When I look back over the last short 11+ years, which at times have seemed like the longest of my life, I can’t believe how much I have learned.

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I know the women who have been married to farmers for years, who are reading this are probably thinking “dear, you have a lot to learn”. I know they are right. I am excited to see where we go from here. Where God leads us in this life together.

Here are just a few of the things I have learned so far as a “Farmers Wife”;

  1. Love the rain!!! Rain has become my very best friend. Rain makes our crops grow, without it there are no crops, there is no money to pay bills. Rain allows me time with my husband, at certain times of the year. Rain makes our farm beautiful. The flower beds, the green grass, the pastures that feed the animals we raise, the crops that grow big, strong and vibrant.

  2. Patience! This one I am still learning. There are days I’m sure Steve wonders if I am ever going to master this one. I have to be patient with him during the busy seasons, patiently await the growth of the crops to pay the bills, patiently wait for animals to grow to service the store needs, be patient with the irregular routines, and sudden change in schedules.

  3. Lack of Control. Farming is anything but controlled. We are at the mercy of the weather a lot. We can’t control how the crops grow, when the sun shines, when its time to harvest. We can’t control when the animals get pregnant, have their babies, lay their eggs. We can’t control when equipment breaks down or when rented land gets taken away. I can’t control when Steve has to “make hay when the sun shines”, even if it means going to events alone or simply missing them.

  4. Book keeping. I have no formal training, or background in book keeping/accounting. It’s a learn as you go approach around here. I have become very resourceful, and good at making phone calls to get answers to questions. I have developed a great relationship with our accountant whom we talk about our families and farm struggles with regularly. I have learned a lot and continue to learn a lot about farming through the lens of Quickbooks, and all things book keeping!

  5. House wife. One of the biggest lessons I learned at an excelerated rate was being the “mom” of the house. When you marry a man with children there really is no honeymoon phase. You step immediately into a role of “care giving”. So I learned on the fly how to manage a home, on a farm, with children, and a full time job. The kids were great, they warmed up to me right away and things ran smoothly when they would come to spend their time with us. It is a big change going from being single to being part of a family! I have loved the opportunity and blessing of making a house our home over the years.

  6. Get good and comfy with debt! One of the biggest shockers when I assumed the book keeping role from Steve’s mother, Wendy, was the debt load. To a 25 year old, who did have school debt of her own, farm debt was intimidating. The constant turn over of equipment has gotten easier to handle, the mortgage payments for the farm have become the norm. Paying off farm debt is not likely something I will ever completely see in my lifetime, unless I have a millionaire relative somewhere who plans to write me into their will! haha

  7. Get used to receiving directions by farm names. When asked to deliver something to a field, pick someone up from a field, etc directions are never given by using left and rights or road names typically. No, the directions are given by farm names. And usually those farm names are not the current owners names. So whenever we are out driving around, and Steve insists on giving me the rundown on the farm, who owned it, who operates it, what’s grown on it, etc I better be listening up!

  8. Don’t ever mix up hay and straw. One of the biggest pet peeves of a farmer is when people call hay, straw, or vice versa. Just don’t do it….enough said!

  9. Pray! Pray for rain, pray for the rain to stop, pray for the livestock, pray for the crops, pray for safety, pray for your family, pray for success, pray for lessons learned, pray for life!

One of my favourite shows on TV when I was growing up was Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. In fact I own all the seasons on DVD and still watch it today. I grew up wishing to live in that era. I just loved the idea of the family homestead, the love, the hard work that went into everyday life. In some ways I think I loved the simplicity of things, while it seemed to be tough living, it didn’t have the complexities of today. Now I realize I am comparing to a TV show but it was the idea that I loved I guess. I’m a bit of an old soul, I suppose that may be why I find myself married to someone a decade older then me. :)

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But in all honesty I have loved the highs and lows of being married to a farmer, whom lives and breaths this lifestyle. I would not and could not ever ask him to walk away from it, it’s in his blood, and that means it needs to be in mine too. I have so much to learn. What I have really grown to love about this life is the continuous view of God’s glorious creation. I am constantly in awe as I watch the crops poke out of the ground, as I watch a calf being born, as I watch the farmer tend to and care for their animals as if their own lives depend on it….because they do. I love the constant change, the change of seasons, the change of pace, the change of scenery. I love to watch the growth all around me, and within me, the growth of our children, the growth of our dreams. And of course I love the view. The view every morning the sun rises, and every night that it sets. I couldn’t ask for it to be any other way.

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New Year's Resolutions?!

I have never been a person who liked to set New Year’s Resolutions, or when I did set them, I wasn’t all that great at following through with them. Over the last couple of years, I have become better at sitting down and doing some goal planning. As I have mentioned before, we have lot’s of dreams for our farm & business so goal planning has been kind of fun!

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This year was no exception. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on life in general over the last couple of months, and the goals we want to set for ourselves in 2019. As I mentioned last week, 2018 was a year of transition for us, in both a business and personal way, so looking forward to 2019 to get moving on some new goals!

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One of my goals was to get back into reading and spend more time doing it. Reading is fuel for the brain, you can learn so much from a book, newspaper, website, blog, etc. Last week I shared a book I just recently finished called “I Used to Be So Organized, Help for Reclaiming Order and Peace”, and I am just finishing another book by the same author called “Doing Busy Better, Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest”. They both touch on the idea of balance. I don’t know about you but I find that idea almost impossible. I find when I am strong in one area of life I am weak in another. You just can’t be on top of everything all the time. One of the take away’s from both books was the idea of “just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean you should always say yes to doing it”. No is a hard word for a lot of people. No is a very hard word for me. I like to take on projects, events, activities, etc because they give me a sense of fulfillment or something. What I have realized after reading these two books, is that always saying yes can often mean a sacrifice somewhere, and that sacrifice is often your family life.

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That leads into another of our goals for 2019…Family First! Why do we as a society believe that our schedule always has to be jam packed with “stuff”?! Why isn’t it okay to have dates on the calendar with absolutely nothing on them…blank….a white box?? Steve and I have had numerous conversations about our kids, schedules, and priorities. Within our goal for “Family First”, is getting back to good old family dinners around the kitchen table. That was always a big priority for us, but as we get “busier” it seems to be the first thing to slip. Sitting around the dinner table together is where we often learn the most about our kids lives. It seems to be the place where they divulge the most about their day, their friends, any trouble they had. It’s the place where they get our undivided attention, no devices, no tv, no interruptions. It’s a valuable time in our house, and one that we don’t want to sacrifice. It was one of the things we talked about when I quit my job to “stay at home”, as being important to us.

You’ve heard me say many times that living on the farm has it’s highs and lows. One of the not so high, highs, would be the “schedule” or rather lack there of. There are no set times for the work day. Steve doesn’t go out and work your typical 9:00-5:00pm. One thing that was new to me when I met Steve was the idea of not working on a Sunday, having always worked in retail in one form or another it was something I simply just did not consider. The Bloomfield family as a whole has always honored Sunday as a day of rest. Another of our goals for 2019 is actually to get back to honoring that day as a day of rest. It’s so easy to get caught up in the status quo of shopping, yard work, house work, office work, etc, on a Sunday. I’m certainly not here to judge anyone else for how they spend their days, but for us taking a day to rest, spend time with our kids and just relax is super important! I used to think that because Steve worked some pretty crazy hours, Sundays were for us to “catch up”. We would get busy with house projects, yard work, errands, etc and my reason would always be that I only get his undivided attention on Sundays to get these things done. What I have learned is that not only do we need the physical break, but the mental break as well. When we actually rest on a Sunday, it sets the week up to be a much better, more productive one. So we are going to work on setting that day aside for rest, relaxation and family time!

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There are many advantages to being self-employed, with your business at your home. On the flip side there are also disadvantages to that. Living where you work can often mean there is no clear line between “work life” and “home life”, they often just blend together. Farming is very much a way of life, rather then a career, or job, making that line even blurrier. Another of the things that I took away from the two books mentioned above, was the idea of “Being versus Doing”. So the idea of “I am what I do”, “how I feel about myself is connected with how well I perform”. “When your identity is grounded in your accomplishments, it creates a never-ending cycle of pursuit”. Well hello, that was like walking into a brick wall. Not exactly how either of us want to be. Thus I bring you to yet another of our goals for this year. As I wrote about at the beginning of this post, “No” is a hard one for both myself and Steve. When asked to help out, volunteer, give of our time, tackle one more thing on the to-do list, we more often then not say “Yes”. We seem to have forgotten the essentials and the idea of “Being”, rather then “Doing”. We want to “be present” in this life we live. So our goal is to go back to the basics. To cut out all the things that fill our time, to cut out the “doing” that defines us, and focus more on the “being”. I will come full circle, back to the beginning of this post. Family First, cut out the extras, focus on our family, be diligent in making time for what’s important and if there is extra time left over, give of ourselves to things that WE feel are important. It’s okay to say No, especially when yes would be at the expense of your family.

We are both excited to see what 2019 has in store for us. We will continue to work on putting our family first, attempt to cut out the road blocks, enjoy this life, because as we have learned far too many times already, this life is too darn short. Our kids are growing so fast, and we don’t get a do-over, so we want to be as present as possible, and learn from our mistakes. We have some pretty lofty goals, but in the end they will all be worth it, if it means having a peaceful family that is happy, healthy, and well- adjusted. With kids that grow up knowing what is and is not a priority and of the utmost importance to us as a family unit. As I said before I am certainly not here to judge others, and I don’t pretend to know or have all the answers. I’m simply sharing what I have learned at this stage in life, and where we are hoping to lead our family.

I hope you have a great week!

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It's the New Year already?!

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You guys, I’m not sure where the time has gone this year! I can’t believe it’s January already!

I had the best of intentions in 2018. As I scroll through the blog I am reminded that there was so much I wanted to do, so many projects that I wanted to complete. However life happens, and I would have to say that 2018 was a year of transition for us. A year of transition in all aspects of our life, personal, family, business, friendships, church, kids, seasonally, etc. We never know what God has in store for us, and this year was no different. In January when I looked at the calendar I had goals set that I wanted to reach, again both personally and in our business. Some were reached, some were tabled, and some flat out failed. However as the story goes, we pick ourselves up and dust off and keep on moving.

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I read a book in December titled, “I Used to be so Organized”. It has been an eye-opener for me, a bit of a reality check of sorts. I have always tried to be organized and on top of things. I like a neat, organized home, I like calendars and To-Do lists, and staying on top of things. When Steve and I decided that I should quit my job to stay at home and help on the farm, over 8 years ago, it was because we planned to have children, and it was one of our major priorities that I stay home with them. That was important to us then, and is still important to us today. With that was the idea that I would keep the home organized and running smoothly, which has had it’s ups and downs as most things do. One of the “transitions” that happened this year was training others to work in the store, to help out when needed. We enlisted the help of Steve’s mother, Wendy, daughter, Hayley, and a family friend, Kylie. The two teenagers alternate working on Saturdays, and have done an amazing job. It gives them both a little spending money, and reinforces customer service and social skills. Wendy helps us out on some Thursdays and Fridays when I am running kids to appointments, activities, meetings, or volunteering at the school and/or church. It’s been great having these lovely ladies to help me out, so I can return my focus to the family, our home and the farm. One of my goals for 2019 in the business is our OFFICE! I want to get things back on track in bookkeeping, organization, social media and this…the blog. I’ve had so many ideas in my head and would like to have the time to follow through on them. So while you may not see me in the store as often, I am busy behind the scenes working this business of ours! And you will still be greeted by some lovely, smiling faces in the store! A win-win!

We are excited to close the door on 2018, and run through the door of 2019! Possibilities are endless, and we are looking forward to God’s leading in our lives this year.

Of course we can’t forget to shout out a big Thank You to all of our amazing customers, to all of you who have followed along as we navigate our life here on the farm! To all of you who support our business, and buy local, straight from the farm. To all of you who come back to visit us time and time again. We appreciate the support, the kind words, the reviews, the word of mouth recommendations, and all the love! We know we wouldn’t be here without all of you..

Sending out wishes for a happy, healthy, safe New Year!

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How can it be....the most wonderful time of the year again...already?!

Well here we are, busy preparing for our most favourite event of the year….again! It doesn’t seem like we are 10 months into the year already, that 2018 is beginning to wind down already. This year has really flown by!

None the less, we are rapidly approaching our 5th Annual Christmas Open House, it’s equally as hard to believe that we are nearing our 5th season of kicking off Christmas with our Open House.

We are really looking forward to things this year! As with any business and event, we have some changes up our sleeves to improve things, and keep it exciting.

We have a great lineup of vendors, an appearance both days by Santa, great live music provided by local Jay Rovillos, and some great treats, refreshments and food!

Follow our Facebook page for updates, sneak peaks and more leading up to the event.

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Looking forward to the season and seeing everyone!

Can’t wait to see you out for our 5th Annual Christmas event! Please invite your friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers!

Can’t wait to see you out for our 5th Annual Christmas event! Please invite your friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers!

New Arrival!

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind around Bloomers Family Farm!

For the last couple of years Hayley, along with her friend Lindsey, has been involved in the Ilderton 4H Sheep Club.  When they first started out they purchased a lamb in March/April, worked with it throughout the spring and summer and then participated in both the Western Fair 4H Show, and the Ilderton Fair 4H Achievement Day.   At the Ilderton Fair they would sell their sheep in the Open Sale.

 

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Last year they both decided that they would venture into the world of Breeding Ewe’s....this meant that they didn’t sell them at the Ilderton Fair they brought them home with them and borrowed a Ram (that they named Ronny), with the hopes of having baby lambs.    If things worked out then the girls could produce their own 4H animals, and not have to spend the money purchasing them from someone else. They could also raise the animal from birth, get to know it, grow with it and work with it earlier on, to hopefully have a successful show year in 4H.

 

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Ronny with his ladies!!

 

This venture opened a whole new world for this farm....sheep are not something that we have ever had, so we are learning as we go!   We have done lots of research online, in books and through social media by watching videos and reading posts by various sheep farmers.   Thankfully we have friends and acquaintances who have been in the business of sheep farming for many years, and have been very helpful! 

 

Ronny arrived mid October, so 152 days from that time, we assumed if they got pregnant, they would lamb sometime during March Break (March 12-16).   Hayley was quite excited that she might be able to be around when it happened.  

 

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Both these lovely ladies have grown significantly over the last couple of months.   There has been much discussion about procedures, and plans for the arrival of baby lambs throughout the weeks!    

 

As per usual in the farming world, nothing ever usually goes exactly as planned.   On Saturday this weekend, Steve was gone to hockey with the little boys, Hayley was gone for the weekend, I was getting ready for a baby shower and Wendy was working in the store.   A typical, busy Saturday around here.    

Wendy came to the door very quickly to let me know that Clare had just went into the barn and found a baby lamb had just been born!!!  Yikes!! These “exciting” things always seem to happen when Steve is off the farm, and that isn’t often, thankfully.   So I quickly changed my clothes and headed out to see what had transpired. 

 

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We are excited to welcome a little boy, whom the girls decided to name “Curious George”, to the farm!!!  Mama and baby are doing very well!   This little guy is strong, he was up and standing quickly and found his way to nurse shortly there after.   The cutest little lamb!  Curious George is from Lindsey’s sheep, Hayley is anxiously awaiting the arrival of hers, whom looks ready to pop any day now! 

 

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So here we go on the next adventure on Bloomers Family Farm!  Be sure to follow along with us!

The most wonderful time of the YEAR!

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I can't believe it is that time of the year again already!!!  I'm not sure where the time has gone! Now that the Ilderton Fair and Thanksgiving are past us, we are in full on Christmas Open House mode!

We have our lineup of wonderfully, amazing vendors ready to go, and are making plans to make this the best Open House yet!

Join us on Friday, November 10, 2017, the store will be open at 10:00am regular business hours, but will remain open until 9:00pm that day.   Our fabulous vendors will join us from 5:00-9:00pm.   Or you can join us all on Saturday, November 11, 2017 from 10:00-5:00pm, or better yet join us both days!

We will have Christmas décor & giftware, meat specials, draws & giveaways, treats and warm drinks!   There will be lot's to see, all while embracing the "Country" Christmas feel.

Make sure to add this event to your calendar, and plan to come out and see us!

Find a list of our amazing vendors on our Facebook page and listed in our "event"! 

Fall = Ilderton Fair!

Not only does September mean the start of school, but in this neck of the woods it also means the excitement of Ilderton Fair is in the air!   For our family Ilderton Fair is almost as good as the Christmas season, we get so excited as we anticipate the arrival of the fair each year!

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We generally only close the store for holidays, and Ilderton Fair is no exception.   Because we close the store on the Saturday of Ilderton Fair every year, we thought we would give you a look into why we are so passionate about it.

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Our family is involved in the fair in many, many ways.   Steve and his dad, Clare, have been both volunteers and board members with the Ilderton Fair for years.    They along will many, many other amazing volunteers give hours upon hours of their time to help make the fair as successful as possible.

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All 4 of the kids are involved in the fair in one way or another.   Both of the "bigs" (Nathan & Hayley), are involved in a local 4H club, beef and sheep respectively.  On the Saturday both of these 4H clubs hold their achievement day.   The bigs work all summer on their animals preparing them for the achievement day at the fair.   It's a great experience for them, and a nice way to end the club each year.  

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On the Friday night of the fair, Nathan participates in the Beef Show and Sale.  We are very thankful to our butcher Trevor Edwards of Zurich Meat Market for supporting Nathan and buying his steer this year!   On Saturday afternoon once he has finished his 4H achievement day Nathan participates in the calf scramble.   Crowds of people come out to watch this event and cheer on the kids who get up enough nerve to "throw their hat in the ring" as they say.   Nathan has also begun to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and help out wherever and whenever he is needed around the fair.  He was able to help out during the tractor pull and demo derby, and helped with set up and tear down over the course of the weekend.    Steve is also involved in the 4H achievement day as he has been a leader for the 4H Beef Club for the last number of years.   He enjoys working with the kids and their animals, and spends most of his Saturday at the fair, in the barn helping to make things run as smoothly as possible for the 4H club.  

                                                                                                                

 

Nathan attempting to put a halter on a calf during the calf scramble.

Nathan attempting to put a halter on a calf during the calf scramble.

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 Historically Hayley has also sold her lamb, however this year after a suggestion from her dad she decided to try her hand at a breeding ewe.   This meant that she would show her ewe for the 4H achievement day but it came home with us this time.   She is currently in the process of having her ewe bred by a ram, whom she named Ronny, and is hopeful for some baby lambs some time in March if all goes well.    A very exciting venture for her and the farm this year!

 

 

Hayley and her "partner in crime" after their 4H achievement day show.

Hayley and her "partner in crime" after their 4H achievement day show.

The "littles" (Mason & Wyatt), have begun their involvement in the fair by following in big brothers footsteps of participating in the mutton busting!   A major event throughout the weekend of the fair, one that draws crowds of people to watch, definitely a must see attraction!   Aside from that they just love to "live" at the fair, cheering on their siblings, and taking in all there is to see and do.   It's great to have such an amazing event right in your own backyard, in a wonderful community!

The "littles" and their buddy proudly showing their earnings after participating in the mutton busting!

The "littles" and their buddy proudly showing their earnings after participating in the mutton busting!

We (Bloomers), were fortunate enough this year to be able to donate the prize to the winner of the Baking Category in the Homecraft Department, with the highest number of points!  Congratulations to Shannon Dewan!

We (Bloomers), were fortunate enough this year to be able to donate the prize to the winner of the Baking Category in the Homecraft Department, with the highest number of points!  Congratulations to Shannon Dewan!

So as you can see we are very invested in our local fair, we love to support our community and the hard work of the many volunteers that pull it off every year, rain or shine!   If you haven't had a chance to visit, be sure to make a point to come on out next year and see what you've been missing!  

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Hayley and her friends playing the Bubble Soccer!

Hayley and her friends playing the Bubble Soccer!

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We are so thankful to all of our amazing customers for understanding our desire to support our community!

Chicken Freezer is full...now what?!

Our chicken freezer is FULL again!   We are often asked how to cook a whole chicken.  We prefer to cook whole chickens rather then pieces as you get more "bang for your buck"!  Instead of paying a higher price for a single boneless/skinless chicken breast you can pay substantially less for a whole chicken and get multiple meals out it! When you use a whole chicken you not only get lots of meat for the whole week but you can use the carcuss for some really good chicken soup broth!  Yum!

We will usually cook up a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and cut it up to put in a big ziploc bag so we can easily and quickly use it for various meals throughout the busy week, such as fajitas, chicken stir fry, chicken pot pie, chicken ceasar wraps, etc. 

I've included a great and easy whole chicken recipe!  Enjoy! 

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Whole chicken weights vary in size from 5 lbs to 8 lbs usually.

Contest Time!!!

We are having a contest/giveaway!!!  

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To enter all you have to do is head on over to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/BloomersFarm, and post a picture of you or a friend/family member cooking or enjoying a Bloomers meat product, at the bottom of our post explaining the contest. 

The contest closes on Friday, August 4th in the morning, just in time for the Civic Holiday weekend!

 The prize pack up for grabs is Bloomers Ribeye steak for 4, BBQ sauce, baby potatoes, and Caesar salad mix with all the fixins....a full meal to enjoy over the long weekend!

 Here are some examples for you to enjoy....haha 

It's ALWAYS BBQ season around here!! 

It's ALWAYS BBQ season around here!! 

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Bloomers Patties on the grill! 

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Some BIG roasts being cooked, 25 lbs each to be exact! 

 

We can't wait to see the pictures of our wonderful customers enjoying our products!!  So get snappin those pics this weekend! 

 

A common question..."hanging weight vs dressed weight"

Buying a side of beef, whether it’s a quarter, half or whole animal, can be an economical way of filling the freezer and supporting local farmers.   However the whole process can be a little confusing for any first time customer.  So here’s a detailed explanation of how it works!

The first stage of processing is called “Live Weight” (also known as “on the hoof”, or “hoof weight”)
It’s just as it says, the live weight of the animal before processing.   This is the least commonly used method with direct to market meat sales because most farmers don’t have scales on the property, such as our farm, (or the desire to load a 1200 pound animal into the chute to try and weigh them).   This weight measurement may also calculate in shrink.   Shrink is what the industry refers to as the amount of weight the animal loses through natural processes during handling and transportation to the processing facility.   If the animal was to be weighed before shrink, the customer would be paying for hoof weight that has already “exited the body”.

The next stage of processing is called the “Hanging Weight” (also known as “on the rail”)
This refers to the weight of the beef as it hangs in the butcher’s cooler once the head, hide, feet, organs and blood are removed.   Since most every butcher bases the processing fees on the hanging weight, it is the most widely used measurement by direct to market farmers.   This is the weight measurement we use when selling a side of beef.  

The final stage is called the “Cut & Wrap Yield” (also known as “package weight”)
This refers to the actual weight of all the packages of individual cuts of meat that you will put in your freezer.   When the carcass is broken down into recognizable cuts, there is some loss when cuts are deboned and fat is trimmed away.   The carcass yield will also depend on the types of cuts you selected for your side (especially the amount of boneless cuts you choose).   

During each step of processing, some weight is lost.   It is very important to keep this fact in mind when trying to calculate exactly how much meat your share contains.   When figuring out the cost of a quarter, half or whole side of beef, we take the Hanging Weight provided to us by the butcher and multiply it by the current price per pound.

If you are at all interested in purchasing a quarter, half or whole animal we are currently booking into mid to late September, so let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some days you win....some days you lose.

This time of year on the farm is a very, very busy one.   With all of the rain we had in the spring it made for a shorter time to get things done.   We went from planting corn, to planting beans, to cutting, raking and baling hay.   New this year is the addition of a bale wrapper which we offer as a custom service to our clientele.

2017 Tube Line TL5000AX2 Surface Wrap- purchased from Huron Tractor

2017 Tube Line TL5000AX2 Surface Wrap- purchased from Huron Tractor

Two weeks ago today we had a beautiful but super hot day!   Everyone was working like crazy with lots of customers having cut hay and wanting it all baled dry at the same time before the next rain came.   Papa Clare was out in the field picking up our own bales, Steve was operating the Square Baler, and Nathan was running the Round Baler, all in different fields.

The last thing any farmer wants to hear is the word "fire".    It was just after dinner time, the little boys and I had dropped Hayley off at soccer practice and were on our way home.   We drove by a field close to home and saw Daddy and the big square baler in the field.   Mason suggested we take him some supper so we zipped home, wrapped up some hamburgers and stuff and were on our way back down the road when we saw him coming towards us.   We assumed he was hungry and being close to home he decided to pop in to grab a bite to eat.    After turning around and having him follow us up the laneway, we very quickly realized that something was not right.   He came flying up the laneway and jumped out of the tractor and into his truck, only sparing a moment to yell that the baler was on fire.   My stomach sank as by process of elimination I realized it had to be the round baler he was talking about.    The boys and I quickly decided to follow the cloud of dust down the road to see what we could do to help.   

Upon turning onto the Bear Creek road just off Ivan Drive we saw the big plumes of black thick smoke and knew that things were not good.    We reached the field just after Steve and Papa Clare, and found Nathan dirty, sweaty and shaky.  

You see, Steve's panick was not for the sake of the baler, but for the sake of his son.   Things like this happen on a farm, we aren't the first and we certainly won't be the last.    When Steve heard the words "baler is on fire" cross Nathan's lips his first and foremost concern was for his safety.    He told him to get away from the fire, all 3 of them having called the fire department.    Nathan acted quickly, calmly and rationally in the heat of the moment.   He ejected the bale from the machine, he opened it up and tried to take out the dry hay which he knew could ignite things.   He attempted to put out the fire and when faced with the realization he couldn't, he lowered the jack, unhooked the hydraulic lines that connected the tractor to the baler and he quickly drove it out of harms way.   While we commend him and are proud of his fast thinking and actions, we took the opportunity to remind him that we pay insurance on the equipment so they can be replaced, but we can not replace his life.    Nothing is more important then the safety of our loved ones.

We are so thankful that we only lost a piece of equipment that day, that we had a mother/mother-in law at home who was fervently praying to our Heavenly Father for the safety and protection of Nathan.   That we can use this as a teaching moment and a little dose of reality.    Farm accidents happen all to often, and we need to make sure we learn from them and do our very best to avoid them.

Things like this happen so quickly!  The baler being just over a year old, and having been well maintained and looked after, shouldn't have caught fire.    But something as simple as a bearing getting too hot, or a stone caught in the wrong spot can change things in an instant.    We are thankful for the local fire department who knew exactly the field we were in with just saying the name of it, and the friends and neighbours who show their care and concern when things do happen.    We are back up and running and looking forward to the remainder of a great hay and summer season.  

So while we may have "lost" a piece of equipment that day, we "won" when Nathan was spared from injury or worse.   We thank God for each and every moment he gives us, whether good or bad.

Enjoy this week!