Yesterday we had a solar array installed by Viridian Energy Co op which should have us carbon neutral on our farm, in the store and workshop. We had hesitated to move forward on this long planned project but finally took the plunge and feel really good about it. Another green initiative is the return of the new pro form feed sacks, which are a #5 recyclable. We have a tote for you to put them in and we will be recycling it when full.
In the meantime Constance has been farming the land and it’s an oasis out there! Great meat and veggies that you can buy with confidence, that she sells through the store and farm markets.
You can order directly from Constance, text or call her at 778 922 2822 or
e mail her at Ilovethisfarm@gmail.com.
We are hosting Tahn Towns from Healthy Horses this Thursday June 23rd from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.
We will be open our usual hours
To celebrate Easter, Spring and that life here on Vancouver Island is good, we will have some great specials & savings this weekend only on feed and supplies.
Certain feeds will be $2 off a bag, come by and see what they are.
Certain farm hardware supplies will be discounted 10%
Check out our facebook page for clues on what the discounts are on.
Spring means baby animals and we have a few of those to!
Quick up date on the goings on around here. The horses keep us busy every day, playing “tetras” with them, making sure every one gets a chance to stretch their legs and roll in the mud. We have reached that critical “3 week” window on our first in foal mare, Valentine. The camera is up and we are keeping a sharp eye on her.
The yearlings are developing wonderfully, becoming monsters some days, a good thing I think, as they really develop the bodies and minds of runners, just a bit hard on us!!!!
Our sows were both bred this week by Angus so hopefully we’ll be seeing piglets in June.
Patsy cow was delivered by us to her new home with the gents at the Fickle Fig. I’m sure they will produce some great food with her milk after she calves in the summer, we also returned her cousin, Ferdinand, to the crew at Ten Acres. We love having a truck and trailer that can do the jobs needed by small farmers.
2 of the 3 mares in Vancouver have been bred and will return home this week.
The chickens are starting to pick up egg production, and the orders for Aprils influx of young birds are flowing in. We are almost sold out on the layers, still meat birds left at this point though they are also going fast.
Keep trying to get things planted, weeded and pruned, but must admit that is an area of least importance. The book keeping is pretty intense at this time of year and
attention due to the many deadlines I mustn’t miss!
In the mean time we keep providing great hay and straw to our clients, another beautiful big load [36 tons] filled the barn today, so with that, I will go soak in a bath before finishing off [ie checking all animals and doing a late night feeding]the bedding pellet truck will be here at 7 in the morning and that comes around far too quickly
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.
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. Not 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.
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, of special importance was Annie the naked neck chicken, hatching 7 babies at the regal age of 9!!! 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.
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] Hard 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, 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!