GFM Network News

The two middle red triangles in the above diagram are acceptable for livestock/manure compost sites. The top triangle is outside the property line (not acceptable), while the lower triangle is a site that is too close to the farm homestead.

Composting is a simple natural process

Experts provide advice on proper procedures and precautions

As the new year starts to unfold we usually take a few minutes to look over our successes and failures of the previous year. Our family attempts to learn from mistakes in order to move forward productively. Our attempts at composting had their challenges but with the help of professionals, the problems are resolving. There […] Read more

A gray fox — good at climbing trees.

Foxes and wolves are always on the hunt

A tree-climbing gray fox is a new name on the predator list

Predator loss is a reality all classes of livestock are susceptible to. Many with cattle do not have as big of a worry as those with sheep, goats, and poultry, but this pasture season was bad all over. Conversations with livestock producers across Canada showed us there is also a new threat around. Red foxes […] Read more

Start with good stock — stay healthy

Some diseases are hard to fix — the best approach is to avoid them

Raising livestock for a living means that they have to be productive. They must reproduce, be healthy, and not be labour-intensive. Nobody makes a profit raising sick animals. The University of Guelph and Semex have been moving forward studying this from a genetic standpoint. This is exciting because with the increase in prevalence of Johne’s, producing healthy […] Read more

Nature’s fly control program

Parasitic wasps won’t eliminate flies, but can reduce numbers

With the arrival of spring comes the new crop of flies. Since experiencing fly strike last year, controlling the fly population is more of a priority. Last summer we began to notice not only were sprays not working as well as they used to, they are getting harder to find. This is due to tighter restrictions […] Read more

Using wild edibles on our farm

Plants that are often regarded as ‘weeds’ can actually be beneficial

A few years ago we started to learn how to use more herbs and “weeds” around the farm. The one that totally surprised our family was purslane (Portulaca oleracea), or as we call it, wild portulaca. It is very invasive, so if left to grow it needs boundaries with border edging. It’s worth keeping around […] Read more

Pepitas are the seeds from an oilseed pumpkin variety.

Pumpkin seeds with no shells

Pepitas are loaded with nutrition and have no hulls

Growing up, pumpkin seeds were a once-a-year treat. As a child there was the confusion of whether they were to be shelled like a sunflower seed or just chewed. Personally, the hulls were a bit too fibrous, but once you got inside, those seeds were very yummy. As an adult I noticed that there were […] Read more

It’s amazing how fast chicks learn to scratch and peck.

Planning for a new season of what to plant and grow

Winter evenings are spent going over catalogues and making those decisions

Farmers have a hard time with winter. A part of us just wants to be in the dirt. Basically farmers want to farm, and this starts very young in some people. In an effort to keep our two-year-old grandson from “farming” in our houseplants this winter we did a small experiment with a house farm. […] Read more

Insulated tarps and a heater made tractor repairs possible even when temperatures dipped to -30 C.

The learning value of fixing a tractor

There’s no point looking at the negative — STAY POSITIVE

Our family has managed to almost bring another production cycle to a successful close. There are a few things we have learned and a few that we are still learning. One of them is how to start a tractor. Our tractor is reassembled but not moving. Thankfully there are very kind diesel mechanics in this […] Read more

This raw coloured fleece will be processed to produce a skein of finished yarn.

Getting a handle on fleece marketing

Opportunities appear to be there for all grades of wool

In December 2015 we announced we were on our way to realizing our dream of producing dual-purpose sheep. Our first black ram (Clun Forest X), our purebred Rambouillet ram, and our Fredrick James (Suffolk cross/Rambouillet) were going to work. The goal was to produce acceptable meat lambs with wool that was pleasing to wear. Personal […] Read more

Suddenly our life had changed

Would you be prepared if serious illness affected a family member?

People talk about life-changing moments. Some are good, like the birth of a baby; others are hard, such as the death of a family member. Over the years our family has seen a few but never as intensely as May 4, 2016 when my husband started getting ill. It was nothing remarkable. Our whole house, […] Read more