July farm report

It’s been uncharacteristically hot in the Skeena Valley for several weeks, and everyone is trying to stay cool, including the meat birds. LW is butchering chickens this week, so these ones’ days are numbered:


This one took its last breath yesterday morning in what we refer to as the killing cone:



Our friend’s daughter came to visit for a couple of weeks and we put her to work. She drove the tractor while Chris picked bales,



helped paint the machine shed,


and collaborated on a rail fence (we used small logs rather than splitting big ones):




LW cut her oat crop into a Mohawk. She baled the outside edges for straw and left the middle to be combined for feed.


The bales are neatly stacked and tarped in anticipation of the rain we’ve been promised for tomorrow.



The vegetable garden is coming on strong. We’re picking peas, beets, zucchini, onions, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, and lettuce, and the beans and carrots will be ready to pick any day now.


For the first time ever, the corn was knee high by the 4th of July. Now we just need to find a way to keep the crows from destroying it.




The Saskatoons are ready to pick if we only had time. As much as we love them, berries on the roadside never seem as urgent as the canes planted in the garden. We know the bears will enjoy the Saskatoons we don’t get to, and we need to stay on top of the berries in the garden so as not to invite bears in! We have plenty to keep us busy this year: the raspberries are just coming on, gooseberries are starting to turn, and blackberries are still a month removed from ripe.





LW built a new fence for the pig pens this spring, but to our sorrow, our piglets never arrived and the pens are unoccupied. We’re even sadder about the implications for the freezer.



Meanwhile, the geese are entertaining but incredibly messy. It’s early days yet for the turkeys: they’re still scrawny.



Thanks to plentiful spring rains and lots of summer heat, the rye is tall and golden with large, plump heads. And we never get tired of the view.



11 Responses to “July farm report”

  1. Debbie Meek

    Love the photos showcasing all the natural beauty surrounding you, but they also depict all the dedication and hard work you guys have put in to enhance all that you started with. You have my admiration. Awesomeness at it’s finest.

  2. Christy Wood

    Thank you for that great blog entry. I fully enjoyed reading it and your photographs were amazing, how well they captured the essence of your farm.
    The last photo is especially stunning.

    You have captured the peace and calm of life, but also we are made aware of the amount of work that must be done on a property such as yours.

    Again, thank you for sharing.
    Christy (Judy and Joe’s Daughter in Kamloops)

  3. Diana Z

    Thanks for the farm tour! You must be super busy this time of year with all those animals and crops and gardens to tend! Your vegetable garden and corn field look huge, and the machine shed is a piece of art! Did LW build it?

  4. commatologist

    Thanks, everyone. I confess to using the editorial we in this post. In the spirit of full disclosure, LW is responsible for every bit of work you see in the photos above – with much-appreciated help from family and friends. Christy, your dad was Chris’s mentor and such a patient teacher. His spirit is felt all around us on the farm and his presence is greatly missed.

    I have about three designated jobs on the farm: I help plant the potatoes, I dunk the new baby chicks’ beaks in their water the day they arrive, and I hold the turkeys down in the killing cone when their number comes up. LW does everything else. I honestly don’t know how she does it, but I love the results.

    Diana, yes, she built the machine shed last year. It will eventually get doors across the front. She’s already wishing she had made it bigger.

  5. Diana Z

    “I dunk the new baby chicks’ beaks in their water the day they arrive” – lol! That sounds like a mighty important job! You crack me up! 😀

  6. commatologist

    It’s crucial and requires a high degree of skill! 😉

  7. Nola

    Thanks for a great farm report, Les. So much work, so much to show for it. Been thinking about you guys. Hope you are getting rain to keep the fires away. I sent a picture of the corn to Rob. That was his experimental crop this year – 100 acres. Size matters, he will be jealous. It has been a challenging farming year on the prairies.

  8. commatologist

    Hi Nola! Much-needed rain arrived last night and we’re supposed to have a few cool, wet days. May all the fires soon be under control! Fortunately, none are near us at the moment.

    Chris will smile at the idea of Rob being jealous of her corn! Hope conditions on the prairies improve.

  9. matilda magtree

    Impressive! And a beautiful way of life, I’m thinking. Honest work. And I love all those smiles in the face of it. An inspiration to me and my wee patch of peas, etc. (;

  10. commatologist

    Carin, it is a truly beautiful, peaceful life. I feel blessed.



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