Hi, I’m Ash! Welcome to the Farm. My husband Clay and I own a 160-acre mixed farm in northern Alberta. Over the years we have learned A LOT most of it the hard way.
Have you ever wanted to live on a farm or grow your own veggies or raise your own animals? Don’t know where to start because you didn’t grow up on a farm? What does it take to start a farm without previous farming experience 1000 km's away from family? It takes a lot of chick flick cowboy movies, romance novels and very unrealistic expectations.
When we bought our farm 8 years ago, neither of us had been on a farm before, but people have farmed for millions of years, and I’ve read plenty of books about ranches, watched lots of western movies (minus the gunfights), how hard could it be?
We thought we knew what we were getting into... boy were we wrong!
Everything I knew about farming sounded so romantic. With the handsome cowboy doing all the farm work single-handedly while riding miles and miles of fence line on horseback. Roping & branding cows, cattle drives, and breaking horses too wild to be ridden, camping out under the stars with not a soul around.
Meanwhile, the beautiful heroine would be lounging around the mansion, before she would roll out of bed around 11, then set off to ride her horse. Dressed in her expensive boots, fancy clothes. with immaculate hair and make-up, of course always looking gorgeous. When her handsome rugged cowboy with his tight Wranglers, sauntered in for a beautiful dinner harvested off their land & prepared by the staff, (who also wash the dishes, clean the house, watch the kids and do all the laundry). After dinner is for relaxing for the rest evening on the front porch of their huge mansion, sipping a glass of wine.
What a life! Sign me up!!
You can imagine my shock when I realized that was not how it actually goes. In real life, things are a bit different from what I had imagined. The handsome cowboy rides an ATV to go check cattle, not a horse. He smells like a man who has been out working hard all day with a mixture of cow manure thrown in, not sweet like he just stepped out of a rose garden. The beautiful heroine has not been on a horse since before she had kids, as she is now a chicken and scared to get hurt! Her hair probably hasn’t been brushed today, and makeup is used as a tool when necessary to cover up the bags under her eyes from lack of sleep, & too many early mornings. Designer boots and fancy clothes are a thing of the past. Mud boots without leaks are the new designer.
The dinner part is true. You will never have a better meal than one that comes from the land that you have planted and harvested yourself. An animal that you have raised, and you have complete knowledge of how it got to your dinner plate, somehow makes the meal taste far superior. Unfortunately, the staff and mansion are a few years and a few million dollars away, so I try my best to cook healthy meals for my family using as many things grown close to home as I can. I am not a chef, I am a busy mom who wants to know where my food comes from so I can cook healthy meals for my family, while still not spending a lot of time in the kitchen... after all, I still have the laundry to do.
Porch swing? Relaxing? Is the hay baled? Is that fence fixed? Did you check that Heifer? Is that same pig out again? Did the chickens get moved? Have the kids been fed? Did the garden get weeded? Does anyone have clean socks for tomorrow?
Without both people actually working on the farm, there is no way the cowboy would have enough hours in a day to do all the work alone. I’m also sure the beautiful heroine would be the beautiful divorcee’ if she just laid around all day allowing him to do all the work!
Although it's not always easy, or fun. We, like everyone else, have bad days, we have really bad days, we have days we ask ourselves why we are doing this.... Then we have dinner. We know without a doubt everything about the animal we are eating, whether it is beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. We love this life we have chosen for ourselves and we are excited for the future as we continue to evolve into a more sustainable life.
We started this out of passion for knowing where our food comes from, and we hope to ignite the same passion in you. Get to know your food. Get to know your farmers.