In 2016 we will be teaming up with Mile End Farm to offer meat birds and layers at four weeks old (no longer requiring artificial heat). Our first order will start arriving April 7th, 2016. The meat birds are Sassos’, a European breed developed for free ranging. For layers we will have the red and black Bovans’ (guaranteed girls) as well as a few unsexed grey Plymouth Rock.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
directly through her web page http://honeybeetfarm.com/
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.
It was looking great and as always I got sidetracked,
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.
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!
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, 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.
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.