Well, here we are, just days away from the end of 2019! What an epic year we had on the farm!
Lets dive in!
At the beginning of this year we said goodbye to our beloved geese. They moved on to greener pastures and bigger ponds to flourish with even more geese. We wish them well but the farm was moving in a different direction and we were so lucky to be a stepping stone for them in the meantime.
We then added more chickens to our laying flock as our egg sales increased throughout the year. We now have a steady list of customers who enjoy our free-range eggs on a regular basis and keep us sold out weekly.
The spring of 2019 brought 2 mini donkeys to our farm. Molly who is 12 and her freshly brewed baby, Griff. Adding equines to the farm was a big step for us even though they are pretty small. Much preparation and research was needed but we are so happy that we made the jump and welcomed them to our farm. Molly is an independent, wise girl who doesn’t have much time for shenanigans where Griff is full of piss and vinegar even after being gelded. We are enjoying watching Griff grow and settle into his new home with his mum.
While the mini donkeys were still unpacking their bags, I carried our first lamb into her stall to settle in. Lemon, the Suffolk sheep came to us from a neighbour and instantly melted our hearts and opened up a huge can of worms… or should I say can of sheep? Long story short, Gussy & Gordy (our first 2 baby doll sheep) joined Lemon to keep her company. Then came Gaga, Gracy and GG the female baby doll sheep, and just like that, our flock was complete! If you ask Greg, he would agree that as much as I love all of our kids, those damn sheep tickle my soul like no one else can. Their personalities are aboundingly lifelike and I enjoy any moment I can get with them.
This year brought many projects to the farm that we started once frost broke in the ground. Fencing went up, upgrades to the barn, French drain, more additions to my ever-growing garden, finishing contractor jobs in our shop and running hydro and water to the barn. Its so nice to have most of those projects complete however it makes room for much more to come next year.
We also traded our compact tractor for a skid steer instead. Our farm is small and a skid steer gets around better in tight spaces. We also plan to add a no-till method to the garden to reduce compaction on the soil so that made many of our implements unnecessary.
The saddest day of the year was when Rae, our beloved handicapped piggy, died in my arms suddenly. We are still unsure of how she left this world but if I can imagine her running free in flowered fields with no leg or joint problems then it helps to heal the pain of loosing her. We are grateful that she found her way to our farm and that we could show her the love she deserved for just a small piece of her life.
The summer was all about the bees. Hesitant to add them, nervous to keep them and paranoid they would all die. They buzzed all summer long and made wonderfully sweet honey from our garden. We did end up loosing one hive in the late fall but the other seems to be hanging on. Fingers crossed they stay strong and make it to spring.
The fall of this year we were gifted Tucky. He was a dog boarding client of mine who needed a forever home. His health was declining rapidly so we jumped on it to quickly give him a second chance and within a couple months his health had drastically improved. He lost almost 30 (much needed) pounds, he regained muscle, energy and his coat now shines with the sun. He is finally living the life he deserves full of walks, chuck-it tournaments and endless hours swimming in the pond. Although adding another dog was not on our radar, life will only give you what you can handle so we found a way to make it happen.
My farmacy garden was abundant this year with all the medicine we could grow to stay healthy. We even enjoyed our homegrown foods in our Christmas dinner which was very rewarding. Each year the garden grows stronger and gets bigger and it is awesome to see where it started and how far it has come. That garden of ours is the lifeline of this farm and each year it serves us longer and longer into the following year.
So, what is to come for 2020?
I don’t think I’ve been so excited for a year to get here before. Big things are coming and I’m bursting with anticipation!
Without giving it all away or spoiling it before its ready here are a few things we are looking forward to sharing.
The garden is getting a face lift! We will be adding perennials, herbs and flowers for drying, distilling and dried teas. Expanding more of a medicinal garden is something I look forward to elaborating on and sharing with everyone and learning more ways to heal people with plants is always fun for me.
Big changes have already begun in the personal growth department and although I’m still fairly private, perhaps I could start to share my story on the topic and how I’ve drastically changed my health, diet and lifestyle.
In terms of projects, there are not many on the list at this point however that doesn’t mean we are smooth sailing. Farm projects seem to pop up and accumulate pretty quickly. Hopefully in the spring we can extend our fencing into the meadow to increase the size of the grazing pasture for the kids. This opens up more rotational grazing options and other species of plants to munch on.
Something Greg might be a little too happy about in 2020 is the plan to NOT add any more animals to the farm. That’s a tough one because we really can’t plan for something like that however we are reaching our max on the farm because we let our animals graze all summer so we need the space to grow pasture. As of right now we are at our cap for their grazing space and I do not want to jeopardize that for them. I will be looking for a couple kittens in the spring to add to the barn as mousers and we are hoping to add more chickens, but a different kind of chicken, stay tuned.
2019 was an epic year for Gilly Farm!
We are so grateful for all of you who read and enjoy our farmstead.
Thank you for coming here today and I wish you all a Happy New Year! May it be fully loaded with awesomeness and abundance in all the right places!