A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Choose Organic

I am an organic food consumer and an organic food producer.  Because of this, I sometimes get a lot of flack.  From my friends, my family and even people I hardly know.  Yet still...whenever I can I will choose organic.  This is my choice...others make different choices...but often I get questioned about why?  or challenged...in the form of "what is the point of buying organic when it is only 85% of the ingredients?"  or "you know that fields that are considered organic get pesticide blown onto them from neighbouring fields"  or "why would you pay double just because it is 'organic'" or "you wouldn't be able to buy it at the grocery store if it wasn't safe to eat".

In my twenties, I started to learn about food industry practices, specifically the treatment and handling of animals.  We stopped eating animal products for about a year, until I got pregnant and food cravings drove me back to meat.  After the birth of my first daughter, we began to educate ourselves about what is in all of our foods.  We noticed huge differences in her behaviour when she ate certain foods, mostly those with significant additives and coloring.  I began to read and devoured books like "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and "In Defense of Food" and later "Nourishing Traditions".  The more I read, the more passionate I became about what I fed my family.  One of the major reasons we decided to move to Horsefly, was to start gaining more control over our food supply by producing as much of it ourselves as we could. We have grown chickens, pigs, turkeys and a variety of vegetables in our garden. It is very satisfying to be able to skip entire sections of the grocery store!

Intuitively I know organic is just better...even if it is not perfect but I don't always have the facts at hand to answer questions or the eloquence to articulate my passion.  Recently I came across the Ted talk given by food advocate Robyn O'Brien .  I found her presentation so inspiring.  Please take some time and check it out.

I was wrestling with whether or not to raise chickens this year and if I did, if I really wanted to fork over double the feed costs to raise them organically again. After hearing about the corn and soy manipulation in that video, I have all the more conviction to avoid conventional or even 'natural' feeds, since they are made up of a large proportion of these ingredients.

A big Thank you to Robyn O'Brien, Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, Eliot Coleman, Helen and Scott Nearing and (less famous but inspiring to me personally) Rainer and Gigi Krumsiek, who have generously shared their knowledge, experience and wisdom and keep the rest of us inspired.

New goats!

Meet Rosie and Gaston...
We picked them up last week-end from Hunny-Do Ranch in Quesnel.  Rosie is the little doe with horns and Gaston is our new buck.  Originally we went to just get him because we have had a tough time deciding if we wanted to borrow a buck or not for breeding Faith, we decided it was just easier to have our own so off we went to pick him up...but then we met Rosie.  She is bred and due to kid in a few months.  She is quite adorable... it is difficult to get a shot of her because she is always right behind me.  She loves people and cries when she sees us outside until we come and give her a scratch.
This morning I noticed that Faith is really loving Gaston, so I am hoping that means she is in heat and we should have kids in five months or so.  Here she is wagging her tail at him...
I find the barnyard romancing so very funny...here is a picture of Hvitkarr sniffing one of the ewes...
This is how ram's say..."hey baby...you smell goooood"!

And this is little "Shadow" our first lamb of the season...he and his momma have rejoined the flock and seem to be doing fine.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Third Hotspot Progress

This week's hot spot in Simple Mom's Project Simplify is the kid's toys or clothes.  Since we did a big sort out after Christmas of their toys, I decided to focus on the girl's clothes.  For the past few months the girls have been getting dressed out of laundry baskets in my room...the laundry just didn't make it up to their rooms.  Their drawers were filled with clothes that either didn't fit anymore or that they wouldn't wear.  So this week I spent one morning with each of the girls going through their clothes.

I really wish we had taken a before picture but this is the after picture of the closet they share...previously it was stuffed with clothes that didn't fit anymore and I couldn't even get the door closed!
 So the results of this week's work are...
three bags of clothes going to storage for the girl's next sizes...three bags gone to the dump ( a combination of garbage from their rooms and clothes that are stained, torn, etc) and two full bags being handed down to our little cousin Julia!
It is amazing how light our house is starting to feel...it is so nice to be able to do a load of laundry and send the girls upstairs to their rooms to put it away. 
Two more hot spots to go!  I wonder what will be next...for me the next spots would be crafty stuff (the kids and mine) and oh some day I would love to tackle the sheds outside...some day, but definitely not today :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Good Start

I have been itching to get my house organized for Spring, but as usual things come up and must be dealt with, so I am a little behind but today I made a good start!  So the first challenge in the Simple Mom Project Simplify was the master closet...Erich is out of town at the moment so I couldn't really get him on board, but I did manage to tackle mine.  Here are the before pics...

Before I post the after pics...the picture above is where I usually get my clothes from.  The hanging part of the closet has basically contained clothes I rarely to never wear so I don't even go in there and then my dresser (which was difficult to get a photo of) was full of old and stained T-shirts so I don't usually go in there either.  Now the after pics...

Admittedly I have a few pairs of pants in the laundry still but this is basically my day to day clothes, and now that I got rid of all those clothes I rarely wear, I can put my 'town' clothes in my closet!
T-shirts and long sleeve shirts are in my dresser...and these are headed to the Share Shed, with one bag of those worn out or stained shirts going to the dump!
So while I was revelling in the glory of my organized closet, I thought I would get started on this week's challenge which is to organize the 'paper' in the house.  A couple of months ago, I organized my desk and came up with this little clutter buster...

It works pretty well as a stopping point for paper until it either gets used, taken action of or filed away permanently.  It works fairly well as long as I check my to do file regularly!  Still things accumulate in nooks and crannies in my house so I thought I would start at one corner and work my way through the house.  Here is the corner in my kitchen...before...

Things seem to pile up here...it is kind of a landing spot because it is right beside the front door.  I also keep magnets on the fridge so I put school newsletter etc. there and the odd piece of artwork for display.  I decided to get rid of the magnets and put newsletters etc. right into my little clutterbuster...so out went the magnets.  I decided to keep the calendar because the girls like to keep track of things and it is helpful to keep Erich in the loop with upcoming activities.
I also cleaned the fridge and microwave while I was there...ick!

Tomorrow I will be collecting up the paper stuff from around the rest of the living room, dining room and my bedroom.  I can't wait to see what next week's hot spot will be!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Lamb of 2011

This morning I went out to do my chores and found this little surprise in the barn!  So nice when it happens this way...the little fellah was dry and already feeding.
I haven't had a chance to get in there yet...Mom is already stomping her foot at me, so I will have to be careful.  For now, they are bonding in the maternity suite...away from the other curious ewes.  The goat has already been in to check them out...she is leaving them alone though.  So all is well...Zara is next.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Spring" Cleanse

Even though it is still snowing at the moment, and the four feet that has fallen over the course of the winter shows no signs of disappearing or perhaps because of that...I am gearing up for some spring cleaning.  One of the blogs I follow...Simple Mom has just launched "Project Simplify"... the challenge is to pick one 'hot spot' in your home and declutter/simplify/organize it by the end of each week for five weeks, with some great suggestions by the blog author.  Click on the button below to check out the project

I may even be brave enough to post before and after pictures...stay tuned!