Well The Weather Outside's Been Frightful

January 31, 2020

Well the weather outside's been frightful ...

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I was once told "you know you're a farm kid when: the weather report comes on and your whole family goes silent".  It's absolutely true, farmers always have their eyes to the skies.  This was impressed upon me at a very tender age.  I can remember a drought year on the prairie as a kid when we prayed daily for rain, and the day it finally came my Dad stripped down to his ginch and jumped around on the trampoline in pure happiness ...not a word of a lie, and not easily forgotten!  (scarred for life! lol)The truth of the matter is, that as farmers we do our best to plan and prepare for whatever may come, but weather is one element of those plans that we simply cannot control and is often one of our greatest challenges.January whipped us with -40 degree temperatures for over a week, then only days later we were buried under a foot and a half of snow with howling drifting winds, and now as I write this, it is pouring down rain and melting everything into a skating rink.  Oh the joys!I'm happy to report that all of our animals have 'weathered' it well.  (I know, I know, bad pun.)  The cold was definitely the most challenging as our tractor and vehicles did not want to start, and we fought daily to get things going.  Rick and I spent 5 hours on one of those frigid days thawing and repairing our winter water system for the cows.  (That's a day I don't need to repeat anytime soon!)  But we came away from it with all of our fingers and toes intact and a new appreciation for -20 degree days!In the words of John Steinbeck:"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."



Here on the farm, we use our slower months in the winter to run all of our numbers, lay out our grazing plan for the new season, and make plans for the year ahead.
(*Hint - new products are in the works here ...stay tuned for more details!)
Working inside isn't usually my first choice, I'm a fresh air and open spaces kinda girl, so I've looked for ways to make doing my paperwork more appealing.  A couple of years ago I gathered together a whole bunch of recycled items that I found here and there and renovated our office space so that it was a more inviting place to work.  It has worked really well for me, on cold days, I love 'going to my office job' after morning chores are done, with a cup of rose-hip tea and a 'lara ball' (my daily indulgence, it's a mixture of stewed dates, cocoa, chopped dark chocolate, peanuts and peanut butter - Sophie's creation and my weakness.  We call them 'lara balls' because they're a knockoff of the "Lara Bars" that you can find in stores.)  With those elements in place, I'm then ready to tackle whatever's on the list for that day.  (I'm a compulsive list maker, and a red letter day for me is when all the items on the list get crossed off.  And yes, I'm the kind of person who writes something on the list after the fact just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off.  Yeah, I'm that kind of crazy! lol).  

Anyway,  It's my goal to spend the winter months working diligently on all the paperwork that goes along with running our business so that I can get ahead of it and during our warmer seasons I can be outside as much as possible.But just in case I fooled you into thinking I've got it altogether ... check out the pic below.  It got so cold here that the back rooms of our old farmhouse (where the office is) were near freezing!  I moved all of my papers to the kitchen (much closer to the woodstove) so I wouldn't turn blue.  I had so many stacks of paper on the table that for a whole week I wouldn't let any of the family sit there to eat meals!So there, now you know what real life looks like here, dead tulips and all! :)  



Our family chose to do a 'no refined sugar, low carb' diet for the month of January.  It went really well and other than falling off the wagon completely yesterday for Sophie's 17th birthday (which included lasagna, garlic bread, birthday cake, and chocolate), we managed really well.  Cutting refined sugar out isn't necessarily all that hard for us as we simply replace it with Grady's honey.  The carbs were a bit more of a challenge but there's so many great websites out there with fantastic keto/paleo/whole30 food ideas that we found ourselves trying lots of new recipes that we really loved and hardly missed the bread or pasta.  It's definitely something we'll keep on with and make those 'carb heavy' dishes a treat now and then.

How bout you?  Have you tried a keto/paleo/whole30 diet?  What was your experience?








Yesterday I spent some time sitting in the ICBC office as I waited for Sophie to take her Road Test.  From my vantage point I could see the 2 year old son of a friend of mine rubbing his face all over the window of our local buy low grocery store.  It started with him just rubbing his nose on the cold glass while his Mom was preoccupied at the till but soon he was rubbing his whole face all over the glass, tongue and all. 

 It was hi-lar-ious!!!  

I'm still laughing at the memory of it.  

Kids do the darnedest things!

So there I sat, waiting for my 17 year old baby, ruminating on the fact that age 2 to 17 goes by in an absolute heartbeat.  17 years ago on a snowy day in January, we welcomed our Sophie into the world.  She was born with a head full of bleached blonde curls that had all of the nurses oohing and aaahhing, a sunny disposition toward her family and a fierce 'don't mess with me' stare for anyone she didn't know (that's how she earned her nickname "Porcupine").  She's a cooking and baking fool (yes she made her birthday cake in the picture above), a hair dresser extraordinaire, a tough as nails farm chick, a loyal friend, a mother hen to her brothers, and an absolute joy to her parents!

 Today, I am reminded to treasure the moments because the moments become the days, that become the weeks, that become the years, that make up a lifetime.  If we live the moments well then Lord-willing someday we will be blessed to look back with gratitude on a lifetime stuffed to the gills with the love of those we treasure!

(Oh and PS. she passed!!!!)

Joy Stephens

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