Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Season’s Greetings!

                From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!  We hope that you and yours are well.  We want you to know that we are well and managing these strange times.  Increasingly each of us is personally touched by COVID 19, whether ourselves or someone we know.  Know then that you are not alone – despite the isolation we are all experiencing.

Not much has changed on the farm as a result of COVID 19.  The sheep and chickens, dogs, llama and goat haven’t noticed.  The biggest change is that the opportunities to sell my wool and wool products have all been cancelled.  There are no guild meetings and no fibre events.  I have sold a number of fleeces through the website, but my sales are very low this year, for sure.  The (frozen) lamb sales have been excellent and once again we are sold out.




Just as Ontario was entering lockdown in mid-March, Son, Thomas, came to the farm to stay with us.  We had no idea he would be here for a full four months.  It was a nice long visit.  He enjoyed a few daily chores – collecting eggs and vacuuming the back hall.  He cooked a few meals and helped with other meals.  He helped with outside jobs such as bringing in wood for this winter.  He found a satisfactory fishing hole a mile down the road.  He played his harmonic A LOT.  And, he worked at his desk solving Math problems.  Thomas is well and we look forward to his visit for Christmas, likely for another extended stay.

At mid-April the lambs arrived.  There was one traumatic birth that required the Vet but all recovered (including me!).  We had 24 {25 actually} live lambs (plus one dead / stillborn triplet).  There were no losses over the summer.  My freezer lambs dressed out very well.  We had some health issues last year that we managed better this year and the results were very positive.




As anticipated, our first grandchild arrived at the end of April.  Born in Amsterdam, Leonora Michaela Jeffery-Ernst arrived on April 26th at 7.6 pounds.  Daughter and new Mother, Stacey, and her husband, our son-in-law, and new Daddy, Moe, are wonderful parents.  We were scheduled to visit at the first of August.  D.R.’s employer, the Canadian Military, forbade travel.  By the time July came around my flight got cancelled.  Rather than re-book I decided to just wait.  We have regular video calls and daily photos and emails.  It is exciting to watch her grow.  As this is our first grandchild, we don’t really know what we are missing.  We do however really look forward to meeting Leonora in person.  Usually Daughter and her husband come for Christmas but not this year.




Both of our jobs have continued.  Working at home has had challenges for each of us, from technology to just plain working differently.  We have each experienced various work-related stressors as we have adjusted to this new way to work.  We have not cleaned closets and sorted stuff.  We have not taken up baking bread or any new hobbies.  We haven’t undertaken renovations because we have not had any extra time.  It’s been crazy-busy just keeping up with the new world of work.

We had a bumper crop of maple syrup for the second year in a row.  This is one of D.R.’s annual projects.  This year he bought a new burner apparatus and is currently looking at adding more equipment. 

We also had a super veggie garden.  It got warm early and we planted early and then it got silly hot.  I found asparagus seedlings this year and was so pleased to finally begin a patch.  We lost a bunch in the drought time of our summer, but a good portion survived and is mulched up for the winter.  For the first time, this year we planted Acorn Squash and Pie Pumpkins.  The squash section of the garden reminded me of Jacks’ Beanstalk.  Tomatoes, zucchini, beans, chard, herbs, peppers, onions, celery and leeks did well.  Roots don’t seem to do well but we have learned of one really happy spot for them.  Otherwise, in the big garden the voles and moles devour all that is underground – the hidden part of the iceberg, so to speak.

Working at home put our driving time back into our day and this was great.  It also afforded us the ability to provide the aging Beau dog, our house dog of 12 years, with greater attention.  He had a very good summer.  When summer was over, he’d had enough and began to quickly decline.  We helped him leave this world on September 1st.  He was about 14 ½ years of age; or, 98 in human years.



Each of us recently purchased new cars.  It was time.  My car was 11 years of age, a good ripe age for a car.  D.R.’s car was a bit younger but was going to need extensive repairs / upgrades.  I purchased another Honda Fit while D.R. moved from the Mini to a Honda Civic Sport.  We are well balanced since one is white and one is black, and having owned one of each in the past, neither colour is easy to keep clean.  Our road was the subject of extensive work this summer and the gravel is now gone and we have a hard surface – and the cars stay cleaner.

D.R. has been teaching karate again.  The newest part is he’s teaching online, so you can join in on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.  He is looking forward to spending more time on this after he retires in February.

In 2019 we spent a LOT of money on fencing the perimeter of the pastured land of the farm.  We have just had a small fencing job done.  The dilapidated fence at the driveway was replaced, two new gates installed along with a new line of fence to create a permanent paddock in which we keep the ram in summer. 

The mild Fall has been WONDERFUL.  We might now be ready for Winter but enjoy any mild weather sent our way.  The sheep are still eating pasture which reduces our feed costs for the Winter.

 Be well. Stay safe.  Find JOY in the Holiday Season. 

 


 


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