Monthly Archives: November 2011

Kelly Is Pregnant Again!!

I know it’s kind of surprising to hear this. 

She’s getting older, but apparently everything’s still working.  Secretly I was kind of hoping that this wouldn’t happen again for her.  She gets so grumpy when she has her babies, it can be almost dangerous to be around her.  She has been known to run at people and try to hit them when she has a new baby….me included!  I’ll admit I felt a little hurt when she ran at me and tried to bash me with her head.  I do a lot for her!

There’s no avoiding it now though, Kelly has a new baby on the way.  She’s due sometime next spring, so I might as well get excited about helping her if she needs it.  Thankfully, she’s never needed help with any of her other babies so we all just give her some space for a few days until she calms down and will let us come and check on her.  Have I mentioned that she’s kind of crazy?

She hasn’t got the best genetics either.  If you’ve ever seen Kelly you know that she’s pretty short.  Short and grumpy, that’s our Kelly.  However, even though she’s quite vertically challenged, her offspring seem to grow very well.  They all have grown to be taller than her, and even though some of them are still a bit shorter than their peers when they mature, they are all strong with a good amount of muscle.  I have to admit that even though she’s short, Kelly has great calves.  Nice calves aren’t often found on one as short as Kelly.

Kelly is a cow.  No really, I’m referring to a bovine creature, not my friend and fellow blogger Kelly.  Isn’t it funny that we happen to have a cow named after her?  Most would be insulted by this, but Kelly (the person) sees the humor in how the cow came to have her name and I think she’s OK with it.  If she’s not, it’s too late now; the cow has been Kelly for about 5 years.

Kelly the cow came to have her name one spring day when my son and I were driving around checking on our calves during a snow storm.  Kelly had already calved and upon our approach she picked her head up and stared very intently at us….daring us to come any closer.  She had to kind of stretch her neck way up to look at us; I think it was her attempt to look bigger and more intimidating.  It worked.

Kelly the cow.

 

My son said, “I don’t know why, but that cow reminds me of Kelly”.  Well let me tell you, I didn’t care about the why.  That was just the funniest thing ever and her name stuck instantly. 

She definitely doesn’t fit in with our herd very well.  She’s short and kind of funny looking – I’m talking about the cow here….  I’m sure we would have sent her down the road a few years ago, but I think her name is what keeps her on our farm.

So congratulations old girl on getting knocked up once again!!  I hope that you will  wish us luck as we calve out Kelly the cow again this spring.  It’s always an adventure!

“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Author of “Women Who Run with the Wolves”

<Terra>

 

 

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Girlie Western

On  a tour down south recently, I picked up a book called One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. It is a work of historic fiction taking place in 1875 when the American West was being settled. The novel is based on the journals of May Dodd who was a participant in an assimilation program where white women were sent to marry into the Native population. The premise was this program would bring the two cultures together with the resulting children.  Of course, the women chosen for this program were disenfranchised to say the least. There are many interesting characters, adventures and observations of womens’ place in the days of the early west.  It is an entertaining, as well as informative read, particularly if you are interested in westerns.

– Kelly

“Frankly, from the way I have been treated  the so-called ‘civilized’ people in my life, I rather look forward to residency among the savages.” – from the journals of May Dodd

We Won, We Won

 

The Celebrity Chefs at Lloydminster's second annual Harvest Feastival

We just received some fabulous news about Harvest Feastival. Corinne at the Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Association had submitted Feastival into a competition put on by the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (C.A.F.E). The convention was in London, Ontario last week and Harvest Feastival was declared Best In Show, Small Fair!  According to the C.A.F.E. brochure , “The Best of Show Award recognizes a new event, program, concept or technique introduced to the public.” We could not be more pleased. It is a great event to be part of and great to get national recognition. Feastival could not happen without all our excellent sponsors and volunteers. Last year we had the support of the Saskatchewan Association of Ag Societies (SAASE)  and this year the County of Vermilion River. Producers that have participated over both years are The Cheesiry, Lower Shannon Farms, Trinity Farms  and Kathy’s Greenhouse. Other contributors including Emjays, Flying Rabbit Fruit Farm, Elk Valley Farms, Aaron Hougham, Darlene Pickford, Chris Hooper and Beetnik Borscht. Kudos to all.

-Kelly

Spread Your Wings and Fly

 If you have children you know that from the time they are born, we parents have many hopes and dreams for them and for their future.  Our first child has been very energetic and enthusiastic about life right from the start.  He likes to give everything a try.  We have always envisioned him travelling and experiencing the world, going out and connecting with people everywhere.

Exploring

So, it just makes sense that when he came to me at the age of 18 with a plan to travel overseas, I told him that he was crazy.

When he persisted and added that he would be travelling with his 19-year-old cousin, I told him that I didn’t think this was a good idea.  It was scary enough a few years ago, when we learned that the two of them were in the same grade 12 Chemistry class…..imagine the damage they could do if we unleashed them on an unsuspecting foreign country!

A great embassador for Canada.

Of course he was right – I was being unreasonable.  What could go wrong when two teenaged  farm boys hit Ireland with the intention of a few months of touring pubs, the Guinness Factory and the Jameson’s Distillery??  What could possibly go wrong when my son who cannot wake up to an alarm or make his own lunch gets on an airplane and flies across the ocean to another country where he knows no one?

I asked him if he would wait and leave after his 19th birthday so that we could celebrate together….because that’s what every 18-year-old boy looks forward to….celebrating his 19th birthday with his Mom.  That idea was shot down instantly and repeatedly.  I could see that his mind was made up, so I decided to change my attitude.  If you can’t beat them, join them.

I actually prefer the quote ‘If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten’ by George Carlin.  However, in this case it seemed inappropriate.

I came around to his way of thinking and I did my best to get excited about the amazing adventure that my son and my nephew were embarking on.  My sister-in-law and I drove them to the airport, kissed them goodbye and told them that we would see them at Christmas.  There were no emotional goodbyes.  At this point of no return I wanted them to leave us feeling strong and secure in the knowledge that we were excited for them and that we knew that this was a great idea.  I truly felt that way, but also I secretly thought that security would stop them and make them come home with me that day.  That never happened.  Apparently airport security has no problem with boys travelling overseas alone.  Even if they can’t make their own sandwiches or fold their own socks.

Walking their brother into the airport.

They contacted us when they landed in Dublin.  I was thrilled to know that they had found the correct airplane and that they were in the country that they had planned to be in on that sunny October morning. 

In the following days and weeks we heard stories and saw pictures of the boys touring not only pubs and the Guinness factory, but also castles and ancient ruins, farms and cathedrals.  Their Facebook pictures showed new friends from various countries, and videos of them having a great time.  The texts I received from my son have almost always started with ‘Hi Mom – Guess where I am!’ and have almost always ended with ‘I am having so much fun!

We have only received one call that started with ‘Mom I have a problem’….

As you can imagine, I pictured lost passports, stolen money, illness and injury.  Turns out that the ‘problem’ was a lack of hostel vacancies in the town they had arrived in, forcing them to rent a suite at the Marriott.  Oh the tragedy!!  They enjoyed a night of wearing plush hotel robes and hopefully bathing before returning to their real world the next evening of sharing rooms and stories with other travellers in the much more affordable hostel rooms.

Our son’s 19th birthday arrived on 11/11/11.  I made his birthday cake and spoke to him on the phone.  He told me that he had met up with our friends’ cousins who live in Ireland, and that they were having our boys over for supper that night at their farm.   Another local had befriended the boys and he was making our son a birthday cake at his newly opened pub conveniently located just a few blocks away from their hostel.

It occurred to me that I was really happy that our son hadn’t listened to me.  I am truly thrilled that he is experiencing such amazing things at this young age.  He worked hard to raise the money he needed, and without the trappings of mortgages and full-time employment he is free to go and spend it all exploring the world…..as long as he keeps enough in his wallet to return to college in January….

So here it is, my one time only, written admission that he was right and I was wrong.  It will never happen again, but in this case he was correct.  It is good that he left when he did, it’s fantastic that he’s experiencing life in other countries first hand, it’s thrilling that he’s making friends and connecting with people who not only live in other countries but in some cases don’t even speak his language. 

And, speaking to him from across the ocean on his 19th birthday made it feel even more extra special, because we know that he is out there living his life in a way that we have always hoped and dreamed that he would. 

Happy Birthday buddy, stay safe, and we’ll see you at Christmas. 

Packed and ready to go!

“The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.” – Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist.

<Terra>

Distracted Driving

I am distracted by all the new driving laws.  Don’t get me wrong, they are important, this is not a blog to complain about the rules, it’s a story about how easily distracted….and possibly senile…..I am getting to be.

When I was a young teenager and had just begun driving, around 10 years ago…*cough* *cough*… the only rule that I needed to remember was to keep my car under the speed limit.  This was generally not a problem when you consider that I was driving a 1962 Ford Fairlane with a ‘three on the tree’ transmission.  If I could get that baby revved up to a fast and furious 35 km/hr we were flying!   Believe me, when you learn to drive in a car like that one you can go on in life and confidently drive anything from a tractor to a mercedes.  Every new driver should have the opportunity to drive a car like that.  Texting while driving would not be an option.  By the time you revved it up, popped the clutch and turned the big red steering wheel (without power steering), to get around a corner your hands were too tired to do anything else.  I did develop my ‘knee steering’ skills so that I could do all of that while eating a Big Mac.  Ahhh – the Big Mac.  I remember when I could eat a Big Mac and still fit into my pants…. beautiful memories, but I digress.

So, as a youngster my worries with driving were few.  My car could barely go the speed limit, so speeding tickets weren’t a problem.  However, a few years into my driving experience, seatbelts were made mandatory.  The outcry from my friends was loud and ineffective.  They tried lobbying with stories of how seatbelts had actually been responsible for deaths in accidents, injuries that were more severe than if the seatbelts had not been worn.  All of this fell on deaf ears, and the seatbelt law was in place.  I didn’t care.  ‘Old Fordie’ had no seatbelts.

 So, in 1987 with this newly introduced law, drivers now had to check their speed and their seatbelts whenever they saw a police car……or the even more greatly feared – ghost car.  Which was only a ghost car for about 5 minutes in our small town before everybody was spreading the word about the new ghost car – it’s a tan colored four door sedan with no hubcaps….watch out everybody! 

Fast forward to today.  Our vehicles are equipped with not only engines that can go much faster than the speed limit and seatbelts, but also DVD players for movies, cell phones for apologizing to the kid we left stranded, heated seats to start our butts on fire, mirrors so we can curl our hair while driving, laptops for facebooking, sunroofs, underglow packages, radar detectors, satellite radios and more.  We no longer just need to watch for police cars and ghost cars, but now we have random trucks on grassy knolls taking photo radar pictures giving us tickets that we cannot talk our way out of.  No wonder we needed a distracted driving law!

A few weeks ago I was driving along on a stretch of road that circles our city.  It’s a well known place for the photo radar trucks to sit on the grass and snap photos of unaware speeders.  It was early morning and the road was nearly empty so I had a clear view and no photo radar trucks were on the horizon.  With our newly implemented distracted driving laws, I had equipped myself with a hands free phone attatchment so I was safe from prosecution for talking on my phone.  My seatbelt was safely holding me in my seat.  The radio was set to my favorite station.  Lipstick and hair taken care of.  I was good to go.  No distractions here.

When I saw the police car ahead, I thought of how lucky I was to have my hands free set in my ear.  Seatbelt – check.  All’s well…..but he still turned on his lights and whipped a U turn behind me……he must have gotten a call and will speed past me.  I pulled over to let him go past.  He pulled up to a stop behind me.

Well now I was really excited!  They must have started a reward program for good driving.  He probably saw my hands free set and my seatbelt and wants to give me a prize!  I had heard of the police having ‘caught you being good’ blitzes before and this must be another!  Thrilling!

“Where are you off to in such a hurry?” he asked.  My stunned silence wasn’t the answer he was looking for – but in my defence, his question had caught me a bit off guard.  That and the fact that this officer appeared to be 12 years old and I was fighting the urge to scold him for pulling me over.

“You were doing 87 in a 60” he told me.  “WHAT?!?” was my reply.  It seems that I have become programmed to slow down when I see the photo radar truck parked on the grass, but not when I see an actual police car.  “I am on my way to the pharmacy to pick up eye drops for my daughter – she has a serious eye injury” was the best I could do.  Lame.  It even sounded lame to me.  Just so you know, don’t try to use eye drops as an emergency to get out of a speeding ticket.  It gets you looked at funny.

So my prize that day was a nice old fashioned speeding ticket and a scolding from a 12 year old police officer.  I must have reminded him of his mother because now he wanted to have a visit.  “So, what engine have you got in this?” he leaned on my window and asked.  I replied with my classic….’do I look like someone who knows the answer to that?’ face.  It involves smiling demurely, tilting my head down and raising one eyebrow.  I actually do know the answer – it’s a V6, but I was in a hurry for those eyedrops and wanted to cut my little visit with this toddler short.

The moral to my story is this.  Don’t be distracted by the distracted driving laws.  The police will stop you for other things too – like speeding.

As I got into my Jeep in the pharmacy parking lot, I put on my hands free phone earpiece….I set my radio to my favorite station….mirrors in the correct position….put on my lip gloss before starting the car…..pulling out of the parking lot, checked my speed…..and realized I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt!

It’s all too much sometimes.  I think I will just hire someone to drive me around.  You can call me Miss Daisy.

“Sand was dribbling out of the bag of her attention, faster and faster” – Sarah Blake, author.

<Terra>

 

 

2nd Annual Harvest Feastival

Harvest Feastival before the crowds arrived....

It was a fabulous evening for locavores and foodies alike. Where else can you go to try roast goose with balsamic berry sauce and quinoa, or beef sliders and homecut fries? Maybe your tastes lean towards lamb curry and homemade artisan bread? Or perhaps bison tacos with homemade salsa? We can’t forget the Chicken Dum Gai and wild rice. The vegetable selection was amazing with borscht, split pea soup, beet salad, roasted pumpkin salad or spaghetti squash with parmesana sauce. The grand finale was Very Berry Crepes, with sour Saskatchewan cherry, haskap or strawberry filling. There was also sheep cheese for appetizers and a beverage station. We were so disappointed to not have local wine this year from the Living Sky Winery at Biggar, but it is really a good news story as they had sold out.

Getting food tokens ready for our Harvest Feastival guests

The purpose of the Lloydminster Harvest Feastival is to showcase local producers and provide a venue for consumers to connect with them. There was great support from the County of Vermilion River to help achieve this goal. Amanda Amundrud of the soon to be open “The Root, Community Emporium” was another strong supporter, and our local producer group continues to expand. Back again this year was John Acton’s Lower Shannon Farms from just north of Lloydminster. They provided the beef for the sliders. Their greenhouse will soon be up and running and next year we are hoping for tomatoes and cucumbers from them.

Making hundreds of little beef patties

The Cheesiry from Kitscoty brought their artisan sheep cheese to Feastival again this year. Last year they had just started their enterprise and this year they recently had two new additions to their family – twins!  A baby boy named Koss and a baby girl named Soffeah. It’s clear that Brian and Rhonda Headon of the Cheesiry are very busy, but as well as being our cheese contact, their other enterprise ‘Hedge Haven Farms’ supplied the chickens for Feastival as well.  

Another great young couple were new to Feastival this year, Alex and Veronika Magdanz of Trinity Farms. They grow many animals and vegetables on their farm just south of Lloydminster. The roast goose, pumpkin and spaghetti squash came from them. Trinity Farms also has a vegetable box delivery program in Lloydminster. How easy is that? It comes right to your door! Veronika also baked the fabulous artisan bread which was made from grain grown in our area.

Jason and Julie Anderson of Kathy’s Greenhouse, north of Kitscoty, expanded into vegetable production this year and provided potatoes, beets, carrots and onions. The bison came from Elk Valley Ranch, Frank and Donna McAllister from Kitscoty.   The lamb was raised by Chris and Rob Hooper at St. Walburg. The berries for the desserts came from Emjays Prairie Berries near Andrew, AB and from the Flying Rabbit Fruit Farm which is south of St. Paul, AB.  So much can come from so close.

Making berry sauce for the second annual Harvest Feastival

Of course there is no way we could do this without the fabulous chef at the Lloydminster Exhibtion – Rob Hofer – and his wonderful staff; Bernice, Bev and Anne. An added bonus for us this year was actually having the opportunity to work in the kitchen with them. Nothing like whipping up 500 sliders, or making four types of berry sauces, not too mention the crepes from Grandma’s special recipe. And that is just what we helped with.

Making berry crepes

We are also so grateful for the skilled and entertaining celebrity chefs and our other volunteers who kept the food coming and the tables cleared. It was a great evening where people could wander around eating, drinking and visiting. Truly our favorite kind of event.

The Celebrity Chefs at Lloydminster's second annual Harvest Feastival

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.” Julia Child.