Un-quiet but fine.


It’s been a hectic year so far….we just spent our Thanksgiving long weekend tackling the last of the big outside projects – winter can hit anytime now.

The last of the small wood is tucked under the porch – this does not need to be split, the big splitting wood is stashed under the overhangs on the barns. We generally burn ten cords a year – I always breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all in.

Managed to squeeze in a quick batch of soap – still working after all these years on technique- but it’s soap and it cleans 😊

Managed some beautiful tallow from our steer we put in the freezer….turned some into candles, will make soap with some, and likely grind some for steamed puddings.

Cured some egg yolks – despite downsizing our layer count, we still have too many eggs.

Canning canning canning. This batch – beef stock.

That is about half a batch – we go through a lot of beef stock (and chicken stock)

Despite the late spring, then the lack of rain, then the days of forest fire smoke – the garden produced very well.

This photo was taken around nine o’clock in the morning….yes – smoke can make it seem like night time.

More garden bounty

Had a get together (the first one in White Rock, this one in Penticton) with family and friends to remember my mom. She’s now next to my brother (my dads ashes – I spread at the top of a mountain many years ago).

I sometimes wonder at the purpose – why am I still here? This sometimes muddles my mind – probably more than it should – trying to find some meaning to it.

The arrival of our new Jersey heifer – due in February. Daisy- our other jersey was off being bred and is now home – due in April. Bruce has determined running out of butter/milk, possibly cheese during dry up can now be avoided πŸ˜‚. I say ‘have fun milking two cows honey’.

Hay for the cow (we buy it, not grow it).

Bruce gutted a room at the end of the barn and purpose built a room for all my bee ‘stuff’. It’s amazing how much bee stuff one can accumulate without even trying 😊

A trip to my visit my daughter near Edmonton – canola crops always bring back memories.

Another trip to catch up with my son – camped here as it was close to where he picks up his logging truck for work.

Sahra, Sam. A sad but inevitable day as we said goodbye to the drafts. They are in their prime – Bruce’s knee has never healed well enough to work them on foot. They need work – a friend found them a new home where they’ll have work every day. This was very hard on Bruce…..but he wanted more for them than to stand about in a field being pasture potato’s.

What I do when I’m sitting still πŸ˜‰

This year was a lot about rebuilding….rebuilding things on the farm that were sorely in need of repair – the chicken barn, and at the moment the floor in the big barn. Rebuilding my health – physically (managed to lose a very much extra 25 pounds) by simply being able to get outside to do physical things, not to mention that being at home I can’t graze on junk because there simply isn’t any to graze on. Mentally – I still find it a bit of a struggle to be at home – I’ve always identified myself by my job and how much money I can earn. I’ve had to learn to put value on the abilities I have on the farm. Work in progress I think. My own cross to bear – we’re budget minded enough we can do fine on Bruce’s income alone. Still – it’s odd not to be depositing a pay check.

I’ve always had an un-quiet mind…..have spent many years thinking I needed to fix it. Slowly coming to realize that my un-quiet mind makes me who I am….and I’m fine with that 😊

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About valbjerke

Farmer, Transmission Rebuilder, Self Sufficiency Nut. Like the old school way of doing things. "Fast is fine - accuracy is final" (quote by some way back famous gun-slinger - likely just before he got shot dead)
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10 Responses to Un-quiet but fine.

  1. DM says:

    Loved the update (and pictures) Having just canned 20 quarts of tomatoes/onions/peppers myself yesterday, I can’t imagine the amount of time/ energy that goes into what you do. Your garden produce makes me jealous. πŸ˜‰ Having grown up heating with wood myself, I appreciate what goes into having 10 chords stacked and ready to to….. I hear you too when you talk about having to say good by to the horses… you guys want what’s best for them, and sometimes animals really do become an extended part of the family. I had to say goodby to my 650 pound gilt pig several years ago….my buddy Jim actually came over the day I loaded her up on the stock trailer..she was heading to the butcher shop…but that all goes with it. Really enjoyed this update Val. DM

  2. avwalters says:

    It sounds like you’re hitting your stride. Who says you’re not working? You’re just working on your own, and for your own. It sounds good to me. Too bad about the horses, but we do what we can. And, I’m just a bit jealous, a whole room for bee equipment. It does accumulate, doesn’t it?

  3. barnraised says:

    Wow, you have been BUSY!

  4. steveknife says:

    Great pics! All the things my wife and I did, well except bee keeping. We have friends who do that so it’s worked out well.
    I remember coming in and seeing the table covered in milk containers. We had cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese oh the list goes on!

  5. J > Very impressed with your canning and prepping generally for winter. And that’s after down-sizing somewhat?! It makes me realize how fortunate we are with our climate – certainly with regard to frost and cold. Despite being on the same latitude as Newfoundland, winters are very mild here, with snow being very rare, and frost unlikely to be more than a few mornings with a light skimming of frost or ice on the windscreen of our vehicles. That means we don’t need to lift carrots, parsnips and so on for winter : we can pick them as and when we want them. In fact they are still alive and might even be growing slightly – in essence they are fresh and taste fresh. That’s a lot of work saved. The downside of that is, I really like preserving, and having stores ready for the worst that winter can throw at us (which hear is wind and the destruction it causes, not least to power lines!). Tioraidh an drasd’!

  6. DM says:

    Just watched an update last night about that lady who lives in Russia (Agafia Lykova) /her family was discovered in the early 1980’s) and I thought of you and Bruce…. then I scrolled through this last post with all the pictures and bounty…and amount of effort it takes to make provisions for winter…What’s happening in your corner of the world? I saw from the earlier pictures, you should be having a cow freshen up before too long…Really random question…You don’t have any electricity correct, or do you? I told my wife, I thought you didn’t. Here today in the Midwest, we are supposed to get hit with an ice storm and maybe 6 to 8 inches of snow… DM

    • valbjerke says:

      Actually we do have electricity, though we are able to do without for the most part. The exception would be our well, which is at 400 feet (no pumping water from that depth by hand). We have a generator that can run the well and the barn should we have heat lamps going or heated water buckets in the winter. 😊 and yes, one cow to freshen in a month or so, another in May.

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