Monday, March 31, 2008

Farmin' - Part 2

My wonderful father reminded me that there was something I had forgotten about in my last post. That, of course being the rest of the kajillion chickens.

Yes, this farm is also a chicken farm, meaning chickens that end up as supper are raised in great big barns for about 6 weeks and then the chicken catchers are called in (seriously, they are called chicken catchers) and they come with their chicken Zamboni and take them to be butchered. There are three broiler barns over at S&K's place. There is a main floor and an upstairs in each barn, and each floor has about 15,000 birds. If you do the math, it adds up to around 90,000 chickens. So you see there really ARE a kajillion chickens on this farm, not just the 12 or 13,000 I told you about before. You may think 90,000 birds is a lot, but think about how often people eat chicken. I bet you are having chicken tonight. We are. (It's Shake&Bake, And I helped!)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Farmin'

I know. Only 2 posts in March...I'm definitely not keeping up with the Joneses.

I have been reading a lot of blogs though. And enjoying them.

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And now, without further adieu....

Welcome to our home. We live in the stix.



Our trailer. And our car. It's a Corolla! I wanted to show how close we live to the train tracks, but I couldn't get a good picture, because IT WAS SUNNY! The tracks are behind me in this shot. The addition on our trailer holds our laundry/storage room. The next window to the left is our bedroom, and the opposite end is the living room. It's nothing special, but we like it. For now.


The view (on good days) from our living room window. Actually, this was taken from a walking path between our road and the Fraser River, but we CAN see these mountains from our place if it's clear out.

And here is the view from our kitchen window when we have horrible wet snow. It's not like prairie snow. It's heavy and sticky, and it's usually only -2 out when it snows, which makes leaving Glen Valley (where we live) almost impossible. In the distance in this photo, although you can't really see them, is the hog barn and the layer barn (where the eggs are layed!!). Right now there are about 500 hogs in that barn, although as of May or something there won't be any! The farm got their last shipment of wiener pigs a couple weeks ago. Everyone is glad.


Back to sunny days...this is the Fraser River, looking North Eastish. (It flows to the left, toward the pacific.) Abbotsford is 57m above sea level, but we are lower than that ( I don't know by how much) and the river moves up and down with the tides. We can especially see it in the summer months. Sometimes we see seals in the river too.

Our house is about 1.5 km from the in-laws, which is where the dairy is, but there is also a barn at our address, and that is where the cows that aren't producing milk (dry cows) and heifers (cows that haven't had a calf) are kept.


Oh wait! This is my birthday cake that Kylie made for me, not a cow!



The calves live in the white plastic domes called hutches over near the dairy.


The milk that is fed to the calves is milk from cows that have recently given birth, or from cows that have recently been medicated. Colostrum and medication chemicals can't go into the milk tank.

"I want more!!" I actually like the calves, because they are still pretty cute. I have yet to see one being born...maybe in the summer I will try to see that. Sometimes if they are really hungry and know milk is coming and if they see you walking by the hutches, they will break out. In fact, one time Dan came home from a morning milking and said a calf was standing in the middle of the driveway when he got there. Like in front of his parents house. He just picked it up and put it in the back of the truck and drove it back to it's hutch.

Ok, Milking!
My favorite milker.
This is the milking parlour. Cows get milked twice a day, once at around 4:15AM and once at about 3:30PM. The guys are milking about 94 cows right now. There are an additional 40 or 50 dry cows. Ten cows can be milked at a time. They come in through a door on the left (not pictured) and then line up in two groups of 5. Their butts get backed against the wavy metal part and then Dan wipes off their udders, dips each teat in iodine and then puts on the milking unit. The milk goes into through those tanks, then is piped into the milk tank, which is behind me from where I was standing to take this photo. Dan can usually finish the milking and parlour cleanup in about 3 hours.


I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "Erica, you've talked about hogs and calves and cows, but what about chickens? Aren't there chickens on the farm?" Well to you I say YES! There are chickens on the farm. There are about a kajillion of them....

(photo removed)


This is from inside the Layer barn. Chickens are startled by bright light, so you can imagine how funny me and Dan thought it was that they ALL would stop squaking when the flash went off. This picture doesn't really do justice to how many birds there actually are. There are two layer barns, and each barn houses about 12 or 13,000 birds. Yes, TWELVE OR THIRTEEN THOUSAND. It's pretty incredible to see actually. It's also fun to see the eggs being collected. If you ever come over, we will try to go see it.


There is an identical stack on the opposite wall. One side is from barn 1, the other from barn 2. Those pallets are about 5.5 to 6 ft tall. 30 eggs makes up one flat.

What farm tour would be complete without introducing the dogs? This is Angus, only one of the four that live on the farm. The other are Rosco, TinTin and Marlie. They've formed a pack.

Hope you enjoyed the farm tour '08!

Friday, March 14, 2008

in a nutshell

This morning I realized I STILL know all the words to Allstar by Smash Mouth. I don't even know how I know all of them, but I do. Guess who was playing it on their computer, loud enough for me to feel the bass over in my office...yep, you guessed right!! But really...Smash Mouth? Who has listened to that since the late 1990's?? Not that I'm any kind of authority on music....

In other news, here are two things that Dan and I are looking forward to:

We're going to Mexico!!! We leave April 4th and get to spend an entire week playing in the sun. Well, hopefully it's sunny. We didn't do any weather research, or rather, I haven't, but we're going to the Caribbean side so probably it'll be fine. We're staying here, and I think it'll be a great time! I hope we can go to the Mayan Ruins. I don't really know what those are, but it sounds exotic and educational and like it would be interesting and cool.

Also, we will go to our first "real" concert together in August. You have to understand, we've never lived in a big city together or gone to free shows or what have you in all our dating years. Dan saw an ad in the paper yesterday that said Jack Johnson was playing at UBC this summer, so today Dan bought tickets. We know, not a hard core show, but still should be a good time. It's so far away still..I'll probably forget to blog about it by then, so I thought I'd tell you now!

And here is something for you to look forward to: I'm planning on doing a blog post all about the farm, complete with pictures!! I know you can't wait. Calm down, it's coming soon to a computer near you.....

Monday, March 03, 2008

and then there were six...

Well, these two got engaged on Saturday! You can read the whole story here.
Congratulations! We can't wait for the big day!!
Love Dan & Erica