Dealing with mosquitoes, snakes, skunks (and chickens)

We often say we don’t need to go away to vacation because everything we need is right here. Unfortunately that includes the pests

Dealing with mosquitoes, snakes, skunks (and chickens)Our four-month-old golden retriever pup, Fergus, has a bee sting on his eyelid. For an animal that yelps every time he’s accidentally nudged, he’s enduring this latest assault without comment. We were on the way to the vet anyway, to get a shot. Seems he’ll have to be on Benadryl for a day or two…

Summoning up the courage for the biggest question of all

The room was silent. All you could hear was the puppy protesting his exclusion from the gathering. But my daughter knew this day was coming

Summoning up the courage for the biggest question of allHe’s been preparing for this moment for months. Just as he does before a championship match, the professional fighter plans ahead by marking the date and moving backwards on the calendar. Sometimes he has weight to lose to drop him into the next class. He often has skills to work on, muscle to build, reflexes…

The Farmwife’s confession: a gardener I am not

When I married the Farmer and he said he always had a vegetable garden, I bit off a little more than I could chew

The Farmwife’s confession: a gardener I am notAfter 10 years of marriage, I have decided it’s time to come clean. I’ve made a confession to the Farmer. For many years I have been doing something just to make him happy – because I thought it was part of what he expected in a farmwife. However, despite my feigned enthusiasm and efforts, I…

Fergus has a shocking experience in the barnyard

Our puppy was in the barnyard sampling disgusting delicacies and developed a digestive issue. I was up several times a night, changing puppy pads

Fergus has a shocking experience in the barnyardWhen our puppy Fergus first arrived on the farm, he was quite overwhelmed. All the sights, sounds and smells filled his senses and he spent hours sitting on the front porch, surveying his new kingdom. Occasionally, he would summon the nerve to hop down the big set of stairs that his little legs could barely…

Our farm a magnet for weary city people

People come to smell the honeysuckle, to hear the geese honking their way up the creek, to feed a cow an apple, and to nourish their souls with friends

Our farm a magnet for weary city peopleThe farm is a retreat for city people. It’s a place to try out your new rubber boots, go for a hike in the forest and get back to nature by feeding a cow an apple. At our farm on any given Sunday, you can fill your belly with home-cooked food, and nourish your soul…

Canada at age 150 still has some maturing to do

While it’s okay to be a proud Canadian, we need to understand our past, including our misunderstanding of First Nations people

Canada at age 150 still has some maturing to doI’m a proud Canadian. I’ve represented my homeland in 10 countries in Europe, two in Asia and the entire eastern seaboard of Australia. I’ve been law-abiding, easygoing and polite, as our Canadian reputation outlines. Canadians are well accepted wherever we travel in the world, and I’ve been treated well. I have, however, been put on…

While the Farmer is away, the livestock will play

The animals know they can usually find me at the kitchen sink. So they position themselves across from the kitchen window and stare in order to get my attention

While the Farmer is away, the livestock will playAnimals have a number of ways to communicate with us. On our farm, if no level of barking, whinnying, clucking, braying or mooing will get them the attention they seek, the animals will come looking for us. They know they can usually find me at the kitchen sink. So they position themselves directly across from…

A dad’s power on children is magical

You’re the No. 1 man in your child’s life at the beginning and although someone may some day take your place, those formative years are extremely important

A dad’s power on children is magicalFathers, don’t underestimate your power. You have the ability to influence a young life without saying a word. Your child will be watching your every move – studying your facial expressions and second guessing everything you say, searching for hidden meaning. You’re the No. 1 man in your child’s life at the beginning and although…

The bear will have a tall skinny Americano to go please …

As urban sprawl intensifies, we shouldn’t be too surprised when displaced wildlife decides to take a tour through town on their way to a new place of residence

The bear will have a tall skinny Americano to go please …Residents of my small town had mixed feelings when they learned a few years ago that a complex of big-box stores would be developed at the edge of town. Small business owners worried that customers would be lured away from their shops and their businesses would fail. Others argued that by having more local choices, residents…

Taking stock down on the farm

In the wake of drought: struggling to raise calves, dreaming of a simple horse-boarding operations and preparing for the onslaught of ankle-pecking chickens

Taking stock down on the farmLast year, sun worshippers were pleased to see no sign of rain for weeks on end in eastern Ontario. Spring faded into summer without the seasonal showers and intermittent storms we’re accustomed to. After a few weeks without rain, however, farmers began to worry. When we reached drought conditions, those in the business of agriculture…