A look into the past

When we first moved to the countryside, our main priority was to get really familiar with our surroundings and “map out” the local businesses in our vicinity.

We knew nobody in the neighbourhood.

First day we moved in, we had a black out. We actually drove back to the same supermarket we used to shop at when we lived in the city. Picked up some candles, flash lights, and a good heater. Everything was still in boxes and we did not have the strength to go through them looking for our little space heater and some candles. We set ‘camp’ on our living room floor. We stacked the two mattresses we had on the mattress box and covered it with any and all blankets we found in a hurry. Being beginning of April, in Canada, the weather outside was still mighty cold, so we also dressed up with a few layers of clothes we unpacked and went to bed – we pretended we were truly camping in the woods.

The blackout lasted about 30 hours, and the next evening we had electricity running again. It felt nice the first night, to sleep in the living room, and watch out the big windows into the darkness, that we slept the second night under the same arrangements…and so on, for the rest of the week.

We were home!



Fast forward two and a half years…

Knowledge is power!

Both Mitchell and I (farmer Joe and farmer Jane, as our ‘next door’ neighbour calls us) learned so much in such little time. Mostly because we always had to come up with solutions on a whim. Our background involved growing up with different animals, but neither of us were ever hands-on to overcome a difficult situation.

Together we built our 3 coops and a decent size dog house (big enough to fit “the adult” Maya and Zeus) – all of different sizes. Mom was in town for a couple of months that first year and she helped with the extra pair of hands to hold this and that. We enclosed and area of about 48ft X 48ft with 16ft fence panels. The area became the chicken run on one side, and dog “play and comfort” area on the other side.

Raising chickens hands-on forced me to learn as much as possible about their behavior, diseases, and the awful chicken math 🙂 The most chickens we had at once was about 120 plus 50 meat birds. It was absolutely magnificent to watch them grow from day old to adult and slowly develop a personality. They would bicker and nag every time feed time was delayed, and I would reply with a gentle “sorry” and hurry my butt to get the food spread out for them.

Related: The white dogs live outside

Mom came back last winter too and she helped with some of the winter choirs. We had great chats over morning coffee, house cleaning, coop cleaning, and chick wing’ trimming 😀 those rascals would fly pretty high and the dogs hated that! 

Getting our dogs was another learning experience in itself. There was a lot of research done about all breeds we had in mind and the dogs had to fit with our little hobby farm and our schedule. Nobody was coming for a free ride 😉 All three dogs have their duties and perform jobs in their own ways. We appreciate their dedication to us and the farm and reward them with lots of love, belly rubs and well deserved treats! Feeding them a balanced diet was a priority as well as a challenge we faced at times. All three dogs changed both Mitchell and I in ways we wouldn’t have known it could be done and only another animal owner would understand the feeling.1902961_n


The cats fulfilled the purpose of micers. There’s nothing more to say about them other than they came as “a package” with me at the farm and there’s plenty for them to do. while they desperately try to stay away from the dogs’ sight. 

And they got fatter on the farm too – the good life they live! They could be fast asleep in the basement or upstairs and I would open a bag of shrimp and as I would clean them, both would serenade me to drop some on the floor lol the Great Dane would sit and wait for her share. full house!

Related: Animals are a long-term commitment

We learned a lot about where our food really comes from and made it our goal to start raising our own as much as possible and cook from scratch every time. And so I learned a few new recipes and new ways to cook meats. Online videos and my dad were very helpful in teaching me proper ways to process our chickens. We got to experience the circle of life and we definitely appreciate our meat a lot more now. I was fortunate to learn about pork meat and to practice my skills on a half pig we got from a local farm. You can read about our experience here.

Looking back at it all, this started with a drive by in the country side, while on our way to a camp ground for Canada Day long weekend. The “what if” wheels started spinning in Mitchell’s head and as he would say “can you imagine” and “wouldn’t you like if” my mind would venture back to grandma’s backyard filled with animals – a perfect picture I wished for us too!

Related: There’s a reason for the madness

We took a leap of faith and dove into the unknown. We took advantage of any advice we received and expanded on it. We made great connections and created deep relationships into our community. We are now in the position to recommend people and places 🙂 Small towns do that to you!

2015 is now over and more adventures await us in 2016!

I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones all the best in the New Year and here’s a toast to future accomplishments!

‘five year’ mark here we come 🙂



One Thought on “A look into the past

  1. Pingback: Broody-broody-chick-chick II - Caledon Acres

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