Friday, September 14, 2012

Farm Day

We love visiting the farm.  There’s always something new for us to see and do.  We’re fortunate that we get to visit my sister’s farm throughout the year.  Their farm is a grain and seed farm with a few chickens, ducks, guinea hens, pigs, goats, cats and a dog.  There’s also a traditional country garden (in other words it’s HUGE), several flower beds, an orchard and a vineyard.  Of course there’s fruit - she is my sister after all!
These were actually last year's pigs - this year's are pink!
Our visit this past weekend came during a brief gap between harvesting the wheat and oats and harvesting the soybeans and corn.  In other words, all energy was focussed on work around the yard rather than in the fields.   The list of chores for Saturday included picking and juicing grapes, gathering peppers and tomatoes from the garden and moving the goat fence so the goats can roam on greener pastures.  What was just another ordinary day of chores for my sister and her family was a day of adventure for us.
We began by joining other friends and family for the annual grape harvest.  The harvest involves snipping grape clusters off rows upon rows of cold tolerant grape varieties.   My sister’s brother-in-law has an even bigger vineyard just a mile down the road where we picked more grapes.  In total, there’s about half an acre of grape vines to be harvested (about 700-800 plants).  After picking buckets and buckets of grapes they were taken to the processing room where they were pressed into juice and will later be turned into wine.  And no - we did not stomp the grapes with our feet!  For a closer look at the process check out this slideshow from the 2009 grape harvest.

Once the grapes were under control we picked a few bushels of tomatoes.  There was way more tomatoes than my sister or any of us could use - so I brought them to the city and donated them on behalf of my sister and Fruit Share to Agape Table.  They were so excited to get all those boxes of tomatoes for their chili and soup lunches.

We also picked a few red hot peppers.  There were enough to fill two 10 Gallon pails.  That's a lot of heat! My sister shares her garden with some friends who know their way around hot peppers and who love spicy Indian food.  We spent a bit of time lacing up these peppers for me to take home.  These pepper will last us 3 years!

 Finally, we turned our attention to the goats.  These friendly and curious climbers are always a big hit.  In addition to feeding them, we got to experience putting up a fence (my nephews think it’s funny that we actually wanted to help and thought of it as a ”fun experience”).

Usually my sister would do this job on her own - having 7 friends to help and joke around with made it hardly seem like work at all.  The kids loved taking turns driving the quad.

What a day!  A big thank you to my sister and her family for always making us feel welcome and allowing us to explore a little bit of farm life.

If you’d like to visit a farm but don’t have a personal connection like we do, take advantage of Manitoba Agriculture’s Open Farm Day.  On Sunday, September 16 you can explore several farms throughout Manitoba.  You’ll get to meet farmers, see their operations, participate in fun activities, ask questions and enjoy a lovely Sunday drive through our beautiful countryside.  

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