We've been fortunate to have a good year, despite a record drought in the summer and unpredictable weather for the rest of the year. It's pretty much true that when you farm the most important things in life are health (yours, the family's and the animals') and the weather.
The weather impacts everything. Too much or too little rain can ruin a year's worth of hay or grain for feed. High winds take off roofs and damage outbuildings, and deep freezes affect the body condition of pregnant girls. It's pretty challenging to adequately describe the stress that the weather can have on your neighbour farmer. A bad weather affects the price of everything we buy on the farm and in turn affects the price the consumer has to pay for our goods. The lucky farmers meet their customers face to face at a market or at the farm stand and can explain why their products cost what they do. I guess my message would be once again to try to buy local, support your local farmers and know that your purchase power makes a difference in their family's household economy.
We had a great lambing year. I was able to sneakily keep back 7 lambs that show great promise in both fibre and confirmation. We didn't have any crias this year, but we have 5 girls bred for next year so follow us on Facebook for some great updates during the summer of 2019.
Breeding of the sheep is almost finished and then the boys will go back to the boy paddock. It will be nice to have fewer areas to clean, supply water to and haul grain for. We'll have some purebred Romney and Icelandic lambs this year, plus some exciting crosses.
We were so lucky to have Kelly reach out to become a volunteer. Kelly recently returned to Ontario from Alberta, leaving her sheep farm behind so she could come home to help with her parents. She's been such a welcome addition to our farm - not only can she help us with daily husbandry but she's been taking over some of our markets, which frees us to do more than one market at a time.
We also had a summer intern this year. Nat is applying to vet college and wanted some large animal experience. She jumped right into toes, teeth and needles with intelligence and common sense, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. We're hoping she returns next summer, and more so hope that once she becomes a vet she lands a job at our beloved Dunnville Veterinary Clinic so she can make regular visits.
Our 100% wool blankets from MacAuslands Woolen MIll came in time for the summer markets. These are lovely blankets (no one does it better than them) and we have Queen and lap size in stock.
December 1st we had our FIRST open house! It was an excellent adventure, despite the terrible weather. People came out to take photos with the critters (Monkey, Sarah and Mikey got their fill of grain!), drink coffee and cider and so some holiday shopping. It was a family affair, and we were once again so grateful for the support of our families and Kelly!
We have just finished our last market of the year (the wonderful Maker's Market at Christ's Church Cathedral in Hamilton) and so are happy to be fully unpacked. We will be open for Christmas shopping on the weekends until Christmas, and then will take a lovely break until the New Year.
LandMade returns Feb. 3 at the Gladstone Hotel this year, which will kick off our market season.
We wish you and your family Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all the joy and happiness of this festive season! All the best for a wonderful holiday and for 2019.
Mel and MIchele