About White House Stables

Fast Horses - Slow Food. Farmer with a passion for breeding fast thoroughbred horses, jersey cows, rare breed pigs and heritage chickens. Trying to take care of the environment and working at that now to ensure my children and grandkids have a habitable planet.

2015 Thoroughbred sale

As I swelter still in this never ending summer, we are starting to put things together for the upcoming thoroughbred sale on September 9th at Thunderbird Showpark in Langley.

The yearlings are brought into the barn every day to stop their coats getting sunburnt, they enjoy the routine, not having to compete for their grain ration and able to have at least one good snooze, I often catch them  asleep flat out. The vet has been and run Coggins tests, updated vaccinations and confirmed the gelding status of our lone boy. We tidied them up and took pictures of them to advertise them on the notice boards at the track and for my online followers, they are posted on facebook https://www.facebook.com/WhieHouseStablesFarm as well as on the thoroughbred page on the web site.

I had 2 wonderful days at the races with my sister visiting from England, something very special to share especially on the day Stan raced and won his first lifetime start in a stake race! We spent the month eating fabulous homegrown meals, she was amazed at the seeming never ending supply of food we produce.

Silkes birthday supper

Silkes birthday supper

The front field is currently very productive with all Heathers vegetables she has growing for her CSAs and the N Saanich farm market as well as our ducks and chickens foraging the pasture areas before they get harvested next month along with the turkeys.

Almost summer

What a whirl wind this spring has been, we have just got to the end of our foaling season with 5 gorgeous babies, 3 colts & 2 fillies safely on the ground. Last years babies, now stunning yearlings are entered in this falls CTHSBC sale at Thunderbird in September.

Last baby has arrived

Last baby has arrived

The farm animal numbers never seem to decrease, even though we vow to reduce our workload. We are really enjoying flocks of ducks and geese, something new for us to try, feeling they are a more sustainable form of meat production and will save on the weedeating and mowing in areas the cows, horses and donkey can’t get to. The results have been encouraging so far, though we spend time fencing instead of weed eating. Actually we rarely use a weed eater, Norman is a master with the scythe, so last night our “Friday night date” was on Pats driveway, him scything , me pointing out all the plants buried in the grass and weeds, so they didn’t get sliced! The cows, Bella and Patsy, following us and swallowing everything that came their way.

Angus, our wonderful Gloucester Old Spot boar, is digging an area in the “Nile Valley garden” ready for planting some heat loving plants. He took his time to reach maturity and breeding age [we should have realised that would happen, the old breeds belong to a time when Flavour and Temperament were important, not like todays model of industrial production of fast growth not flavour.] He has been out in the community meeting some lovely sows and producing some great cross breds. We now need to find some lovely pure bred GOS sows that are unrelated, to keep this great rare breed going in Canada. Liverpool University in the UK have a breeding herd of GOSs and there are some in the USA, but moving pigs over borders is an expensive and difficult thing to do.

Angus the Gloucester Old Spot boar

Angus the Gloucester Old Spot boar

The plantings of the fall are doing great, we added lots more food trees, plants and bushes over the winter, so it’s an exciting time seeing what thrives and how much water retention we get with the swales and healthy soil. It’s been frighteningly dry here, so I’m hopeful that this will help us keep producing food into the future.

Sasso meat birds pasturing in our front field

Sasso meat birds pasturing in our front field

Talking of food production, as well as all the stuff we grow, this year Heather Verdin has joined us, she is developing areas of the front field for more vegetable production and is offering a limited number of CSA food boxes for 20 weeks over the summer. Her farm name is Honey Beet Farm at White House Stables and she can be reached

Kentucky North

Kentucky North

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The dappled mares with their foals at foot and pregnant again!

IMG_0873 directly through her web page http://honeybeetfarm.com/

Year End

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to reflect on a fabulous year on the farm with all the exciting things that have happened.

First and foremost thanks and Happy Christmas to all our loyal supporters of our various endeavors.

Today in the midst of winter storms,  cancelled ferries, news of power outages and flooding, I went to check on the new water collecting installation that went into our front field this fall.

food forest planting

food forest planting

It was looking great and as always I got sidetracked,

Hatchet & Seed, guiding all the volunteers through the process, thanks Tayler and Solara

I picked our very first crop of cranberries [Never imagined that happening] and made sauce for this years Christmas dinner! I also picked carrots , onions and potatoes that the heavy rain last night made visible. All this in a t shirt and sunshine. IMG_3919

Our horses are happily  furry & muddy and we appear to still have 5 pregnant mares, with our first foal due mid February and 3 more before Mid March and a break before our last mare, Precious, due late May. The weanlings, Sarah and Picasso, get along great, playing hard, eating lots and growing into very impressive specimens!IMG_3644

The chickens aren’t so thrilled with the heavy rain, but bless them are still producing a steady though not overly abundant supply of eggs. We picked up our turkey sausages, pepperoni, etc from the butcher, making us popular with our loyal customers! There aren’t a lot so don’t miss out, we’ve been doing lots of taste testing and  they are as good as ever!

The Christmas village was installed in the shop to the delight of magi-cat, Hugo,IMG_3669   who immediately caused avalanches to create chaos from the carefully placed scene. The local pony club kids, here for a lecture on horse feeding, put it all back together, but the cat didn’t stay out! so we’ve left it as the “Christmas village scene after being hit by multiple avalanches!”

Sadie just birthed 11 piglets for her new family on Hornby Island and Silke will be following suit soon.

We dried up Bella the Jersey and plan on starting the process again with Zenyatta but are enjoying a break IMG_9953from that daily routine as there aren’t enough daylight hours.

For our racing fans, our luck continued this year at the track with our runners winning 1 in 3 starts and averaging 67% in the top 3, racing in Arizona, California and British Columbia. Racing this week is our 2014 Stakes winner Hollywood Miss [pictured as a foal on our main banner] at Golden Gate on Dec 11th.

Next year we’ll never get any work done as we’ll be glued to the live racing feeds from the various tracks when our largest number of horses reach racing age, potentially a dozen or more horses could be running.

Happy New Year to all.

Fall is here

It’s been harvest time on the farm, starting with the thoroughbred sale in September where we send our yearlings to start the next phase of their life. IMG_9829Not the best of sales for us, more of a buyers market, but we had 5 lovely horses that I’m sure will do us proud on the racetrack, as it seemed they all found brilliant homes.

Stanley with Robert his new owner

Stanley with Robert his new owner

On returning home we weaned Sarah Schwarzenegger, Mascaretta is acting as grandma, and now we’re waiting for the right moment to wean Picasso, who is getting quite independent.

Next up were the turkeys who provided many great Thanksgiving turkey dinners, there are a few left in our freezers for anyone thinking ahead to Christmas. All our young pullets sold and it will be next spring before we have more young birds for sale. The farm saw a big hatching amongst our own chickens and ducks,IMG_9779 of special importance was Annie the naked neck chicken, hatching 7 babies at the regal age of 9!!! IMG_3621 Unfortunately the ravens are causing us a lot of grief, stealing eggs out of the laying boxes in the hen house and a high rate of attrition amongst the chicks. Annie only has 3 babies left! Hawks are also a possible cause with the chicks.IMG_3600

In the meantime we have been madly harvesting apples from the orchard, and all sorts of veg from the many gardens. The heritage tomatoes are fabulous as are the Egg plants [aubergines] IMG_3611Hard to keep up with everything so we are looking to reduce the work load. We have sold Silke & Sadie, our 2 pregnant pigs. Sarah will remain whilst we see if she’s still fertile. Also looking for special homes for our beautiful jersey cows, Bella,IMG_9138 Zenyatta and Patsy. We love the milk but it’s time to change direction slightly, and that’s not possible with all these animals around.

In the feed store we now have a full line of Non GMO poultry feeds, Pro Forms Natural Harvest line, from 26% turkey starter to 15% finisher  made from proteins all sourced in N America, that went into production in September, something that we and are customers are very happy about. The certified Organic feed is incredibly expensive and some of the inputs are coming from as far away as China and India, which doesn’t make sense to me.

The Washington hay supply is coming in regularly and we are seeing lovely low sugar on our hay tests, the quality is great this year, We just unloaded 35 tons of 3 string timothy that average only 17 bales to a ton [you figure out how heavy each bale is!!! so I think I’ll go soak in a bath with epsom salts!

 

April in action at White House Stables farm

We have a very busy month with twice daily milking of Bella, our beautiful Jersey.Daily  handling of our lovely Second In Command foal, Sarah who had to graduate to the next size up halter, she is growing so big! Her mum Serengeti Sunrise, had her 2nd ultrasound exam to confirm her pregnancy on Thursday, a heart beat is seen at 30 days, amazing. Precious is looking enormous with just over a month to go before her expected foaling. We will be picking up our 3 mares from  Roads End Farm on my return from Toronto, for the Canadian sovereign awards, April 11th. I’m looking forward to see how racing & breeding in the biggest jurisdiction in Canada  compares with what is going on here in BC and of course on our farm here on Vancouver Island.

Watching various feathered birds sitting on eggs, having seen the first clutch of ducklings through it’s first vulnerable couple of weeks. 400 Chicks arrive on April 27th for sale to our customers, both layers and meat types.

Patsy the heifer calf is racing around her mother, Zenyatta, thriving on all that great milk being produced and reminding us of how Zenyatta earned her name, calves can run very Fast! Talking of running fast, Hello Frankie runs today at Santa Anita, and Hollywood Miss is expected to run in the opening day stake at Hastings. Andallthatitmeans has been working steadily at Golden Gate for his return to the races, we’re waiting to see where he will be entered….

Food from grass

Food from grass

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White House Stables 2014 foals

On a very beautiful warm, still evening at 2am on Feb 2nd Serengeti foaled a beautiful healthy filly. We’ve called her Sarah, in honour of Sarah Hughes a young friend and volunteer who was here that night to witness the magic. It also seems to fit in an “S” theme, Mum Serengeti, Stanley, last years colt and his full sister Sarah….

Nature is amazing equipping these early foals with wooly fur coats to cope with the vagaries of February weather. Mum fed her well in utero too, as she looks to have a great layer of fat covering that little body.

Sarah, 12 hours old

Sarah, 12 hours old

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2014, Whats new on the farm

We have sourced a fabulous line of portable panels that compliment our unique range of quality products. These panels are strongly made and priced very well,  from under $100 to over $200 a panel depending on the weight of steel used and length of panel. Portable panels allow you piece of mind when keeping livestock away from trouble, and you can adapt to the changes made as animal populations change in species, size and temperament over the years. A 50ft round pen with 15 ten foot panels and a ride through 6 foot gate will cost you only $1800.00, mesh  10 foot panelsRide through gate8 foot panel construction of panels

NEW

 

Find us on Facebook 

At some times of the year you’ll actually be able to keep up to date on the daily farm happenings, especially when it’s dark in the evenings!!!!

 

Our new hours are 9 – 5 Friday and Saturday and 11 – 4 on Sundays

Weekdays by appointment, Call ahead 250 656 8701. or by chance.

We really appreciate all of our loyal customers who have been able to adjust to the new regime, we have been able to keep on top of the many aspects of the farm, whilst being your local feed store and supplier of farm fresh food on weekends.