In celebration of Canadian Agriculture Day!
Proud of our family’s contribution in growing food and ingredients for you!
Beyond that beautiful sea of yellow canola blossoms, within the bluff of trees on the horizon, is home.
Our house. Our farmyard. The place we plan, dream and hope. Where we’ve made, and are still making memories. Where we watch the weather. Wish for rain, for sun, and for both in the right amounts, at the right time.
My husband’s great-grandparents and their family came from Scotland and settled here over 90 years ago.
June 2021 will mark thirty-two years of it being my home. Thirty year-two years of marriage and farm life — of learning and adapting, of challenges and rewards. I fell in love with my farmer and this vast, beautiful prairie landscape. We raised our two children here, cultivating values which have enabled them to follow their dreams.
This photo evokes many memories and emotions. Among them — gratitude and pride in being part of a family farm, caring for the land entrusted to us by our ancestors, growing food for Canadians and people around the world, all while making a living on the land we love.
Some people see dirt, but this is soil — a living, dynamic ecosystem. The foundation of farming. Caring for it is crucial for growing healthy crops, now and into the future.
Farmers work with agronomists and soil scientists to make decisions which will create and keep our land healthy. We are continually learning how to best do this by testing our soils, choosing proper tillage techniques, rotating the crops we grow, incorporating organic matter, reducing compaction and loss of nutrients.
Education is ongoing and when we know better, we do better. Soil type, texture, structure and density vary from field to field and farm to farm, so techniques to care for it will also vary. But ultimately farmers strive to be stewards of the land and do our very best to care for the soil that sustains us all.
Hands down, one of my favourite farm pics to date.
Like the majority of my photos, I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. I was out for an evening walk with our dog, and as the sun was setting, my farmer stopped to make sure he had enough canola seed and fertilizer in the seeder (planter) to finish the field he was working in that night.
The light was magical, the cool spring air was still and rich with the scent of freshly worked soil. This photo elicits so much emotion. It speaks to the dedication and determination it takes to farm. To the advancements we are fortunate to have compared with our ancestors. To how my life has been enriched by living here, being a part of our family farm and this amazing industry.
Wheat in the early stages, months before it turns into the iconic waving fields of gold many people envision when they think of this crop.
As farmers we do all we can to ensure that our crops stay healthy and flourish over the growing season. But despite our best efforts, we also need faith, hope and optimism. Ultimately, Mother Nature holds the key. The right amount of rain and sunshine are beyond our control, as are hail, frost or other adverse weather conditions that can damage or destroy our crops.
But at this point, I choose to see the potential of this ‘food in progress’. I like to envision a healthy crop of wheat being harvested, then finding its way to flour mills around Canada and the world. A small portion is always reserved for my pantry, to be used in the cookies, cakes and muffins I like to bake.
Miss Sage, sitting attentively in our truck, waiting for the tractor and seeder (planter) in the distance to come around the field to where we are parked. We had brought lunch out to the field for my farmer. Sage knows he’s in there, and also knows there’s a good chance he’ll share a bit of that lunch with her!
She is our second dog — both were city-dogs who came from owners who were moving and looking for a good home for their much-loved pets. Both adapted to farm life well — lots of space to run and play, long walks and even tractor rides.
A wonderful transition for them, but so much more for us. Yes, they warn us when someone comes into our farmyard, but they also provide companionship. And when things go wrong — whether it’s machinery breaking down at a critical time or crops being damaged from drought, hail or flooding — our farm dog plays the role of counsellor. Either with a goofy smile and playful greeting, or simply sitting silently beside you, guiding your hand to the top of their head. That, along with unconditional love and joy they bring into our lives makes them an invaluable member of our farm family.
Up until 11 years ago, cattle were a part of our family farm. Our herd was small, only 30 to 40 cows and calves. This time of year would be filled with the excitement and challenges of cows giving birth.
But there came a time when it no longer made financial sense to keep our small herd. We either had to acquire more animals, which meant a large investment in them, shelter, equipment and more pasture, or sell our herd and focus solely on the grain and oilseed part of our operation.
Economically, it was an easy decision. Emotionally it was difficult. Cattle had been on our farm for generations. It requires dedication and a love for animals to work with them. And there are always those extra special animals who form an exceptional bond with you. There were many mixed emotions the day they left our farm.
I’ve walked countless miles on this country road — almost always with camera in hand. It’s exercise, but it’s also a moving meditation. A time to clear my mind and reset. A time to focus on what’s around me. To capture moments and memories — of crops growing, native flowers in the ditches, butterflies, birds, wildlife, the ever-changing prairie skies and in the winter snowscapes and drifts.
Last October, we had a day of sunshine, scattered showers and temperature swings. I didn’t have high expectations for photos with the growing season over and the unpredictable weather. But as the sun and rain clouds grappled for dominance in the sky, this rainbow arced over our farmyard, behind the bluff of trees. No pot of gold, but a beautiful surprise that brightened my day and made for a memorable walk. Views like this are one of the side-benefits of farming and living on the Canadian Prairies.
A September evening during harvest. The sky made a beautiful backdrop for the silhouettes of grain bins and trees in our farmyard. A peaceful look for a very busy spot that time of year.
Harvest is the ‘red carpet’ event of farming. The combine (harvester) in the field gathering crops is the ‘star’ of the show.
The farmyard is where all the ‘backstage’ hustle and bustle happens to keep the show going. It’s where equipment is stored. A place for repairs, maintenance, refueling, organizing. It’s where the crop is hauled to by truck, then unloaded into storage bins until it can be sold.
It’s where everything harvested is double checked for moisture content and quality. Where samples from each truckload are collected and kept to share with the Canadian Grain Commission and companies who buy our crop.
When harvest conditions aren’t ideal and the moisture content of a crop is too high to store safely, this is where it is ‘dried’. Using a grain dryer adds to the hustle and bustle with extra steps, time and cost. But when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s a neccessary step to ensure crop quality.
The farmyard is where plans are made and days are organized. It’s a place of frustration when things go wrong and gratitude when everything runs smoothly.
This ‘backstage’ is often overlooked during harvest, but it’s the driving force behind the show. And while I do love a beautiful combine silhouette shot as much as the next person, I was happy to capture our farmyard in this magic evening light. 🙌
Harvest is an exciting time of year as you reap the rewards of a full year of planning, working and hoping the weather is favourable. Not only to grow healthy crops that yield well, but also weather which allows you to quickly and efficiently harvest those crops in top condition.
This photo captures both the beauty and significance of harvest. The setting sun is over top of the “hopper”, (the part of the combine where the harvested seeds collect after they have been separated from the stems and leaves of the plants). One of my favourite harvest sunset shots to date.
This old black and white aerial photo shows our farmyard four generations ago.
My husband’s great-grandparents settled here in 1926, a second move after immigrating from Scotland in 1922. They wanted a farm with trees, good drinking water and soil without stones. This site fit the criteria to make living and farming here better.
Much has changed since then, but reminders of our past remain with some of the buildings repurposed or repaired. The barn loft was lowered and became our machine shed. Old steel wheels and pieces of harrow bar grace my flower beds and garden. Picture frames have been made from discarded barn windows. Our kitchen table and chairs are crafted from wooden barn beams.
It’s important to remember our history. To look back with gratitude on the hard work, determination and resilience of our ancestors which ensured we too could farm, make a life and a living here.