SaFarmi Read along

Friday May 29th – Sunsets are wonderful on the farm and in the barn!!
** Do a scavenger hunt with your kids. How many pigs can you see? What do the cows use to get a massage? What colour are the smallest animal you see on our farm?**. Answers – 5, Yellow Brushes, Yellow

**Please stay in your vehicle at all times** (Unbuckle and buckle up permitted)

Take selfies and photos from inside your vehicle and tag us in them!

Please, please – Always keep your vehicle moving at least a little so we can avoid a traffic jam. – No reversing and watch out for cats and dogs!

#1  Entry and Barn Front:

On the right, In the first pen we have 3 little piggies born March 12. They have a solid house not made of straw, we sure hope they stay safe from the Big Bad Wolf! Thor and Thaddeus are in the next pen. They are our pot bellied pet pigs and are our household composters!

Next you will see Gourd our mini horse who is full of energy…check out his last video later on facebook! Gourd is a 2 year old male gelding who might think he’s a dog because we take him and the dogs on our walks together!

Our sheep Rosie (7 years old) and Rosebud (5 years old) have just had their spring haircuts, they are chillin’ on one of our hayride wagons. When these two are hungry in the morning, they are super loud and let the whole barn know!

On the left, the Goat Park is filled with a variety of pet goats. If you don’t see them they might be hiding in the tunnels.  Now look to your right under the overhang of the main barn to see Smokey the rabbit and her bunny ‘bandits’ born in March. 

We have a lot of barn cats playing inside in the haystack. Today we put some kittens out for you to see with momma Wickham! These kittens were born March 29th.

Check out the 4 new 10 week old kid goats in the doorway. These guys named Pistachio, Peanut, Pecan and Walnut are still being bottle fed.  At some point now you might spot our 2 Border Collie dogs.  Sophie and Squishy are the dogs names and they keep all of our animals safe from any coyotes that show up on the farm.

#2  Barn Side: 

You will drive around the old silver silo.  These silos were used on farms to store the food for all of the cows during the winter time.  Ours has stairs inside so we can get up to the hayloft.  Be cautious around the side of the barn.  The cats jump out the windows and cross the road to get to the grass and ditch for daily mouse hunting. Stop at the sign and wait for vehicles exiting the barn!  When it is safe drive straight ahead and look through the doors and windows to see 3 of our egg laying chickens and then Fluffy the rabbit with her baby bunny. 

Behind door openings 2 and 3 look for the calves inside the barn. Our dairy calves get milk for 3 months by which time they have tripled their size!  The calves in the first pen (opening #2) are 1 & 2 months old.  The calves in the second pen (opening #3) are 3 & 4 months old.

Moooving along you will pass the manure pit that runs underneath the barn. This is where we store the waste from our cows. We fertilize the fields with all of the manure from the cows and other animals. It is food for plants!! Nutrient recycling! We were closed on May 5th so we could haul over 250 000 gallons of this manure out to the fields to help grow our summer crops.

#3  The Pantry:

The big green marshmallows are round bales filled with grass for the cows from our farm fields.  Every morning we feed 2-3 of these round bales to the cows for breakfast.  

On the trailer to your right is Betty – a Belted Galloway (Panda Cow) and her little heifer calf Boop.  Betty is 10 years old and her calf is 2  months old. They are a type of beef cattle that originated in Scotland. The green barn behind houses our young stock, cows that are between 4 and 24 months old.  Some of these cows will go to pasture at a neighbour’s place when the fields are dry enough. A pair of barn owls also make their home in this barn, you won’t see them in the daytime, they will be in their nest box taking care of business at this time of year! 

As you head up the hill on your right say ‘Hi’ to billy goat Mao with his great horns.  He is a 4 year old Alpine goat buck and our prized breeding fella! A female goat has a gestation of 5 months so if Mao has done his job we should have baby kid goats just before we open our Pumpkin Patch in October!

#4  Bushside Drive:

This native forest is filled with wildlife. We see coyotes, deer, squirrels, many species of birds, and have even seen a few bears over the years. Last summer a red tailed hawk nested and raised young in one of the closest trees to the driveway! Currently, Thimble berries and salmon berries are flowering. It looks like Erin’s Mother’s Day 2017 Rhododendron is blooming too. We have an additional 8 acres of this sloped bush that is backed by almost another 100 acres of forest owned by a few other neighbours.

The fields opposite the forest are grass for the animals and a very bare Pumpkin Patch for you guys! The grass fields on the farm were cut and harvested May 7 & 8th. The round baling machine picks the grass up from rows and makes a bale just before it wraps it tightly in plastic. This is how we make grass silage on our farm. We have 40 acres on this farm and then an additional 160 acres next to Fort Langley. It really has been a busy month, in addition to the 100 acres of round bale silage we harvested we also prepped and planted 25 acres of corn for the cows food next year. The pumpkin field was cultivated  last weekend to get ready for seeding. The pumpkin seeds are planted in late May/early June. In 2019 we planted sunflowers so our visitors could see the Summer Splendor of Sunflowers at Sunset. We also planted a mini corn maze for people to enjoy during October when the Pumpkin Patch is open. Look north to see the snow capped Golden Ears Mountain.

#5  Peek-a-Boo:

Look through the trees towards the neighbour’s horse barns to the left, you might catch a glimpse of a few new foals with their moms in the pens outside. Just before you turn right there is a big pile of branches and brush. Every year on the farm trees fall down and branches break off. We pick them up so we can still farm the land without damaging the tractors or the machines. Now that’ll be a big bon fire … someday!!

#6  The Watering Hole:

The irrigation pond was not here originally, we dug it 10 years ago to help water our fields in the summer. It is also used for fun, of course! (Winter and Summer) Several years ago we put in 50 tiny goldfish, there are now several hundred.  Keep your eyes peeled, they are usually at the surface in the middle of the day.  We ‘share’ our fish with Great Blue Herons, a Kingfisher, various diving ducks and muskrats…!

#7  Grown Fresh:

With all of our spring fieldtrips and birthday parties cancelled due to Covid-19, the circle veggie garden and the landscaping around the house are the extra projects we are getting done this spring. The garden is planted with strawberries, garlic, cabbage, carrots, radishes, peas, beans, corn, bok choy, potatoes and onions. Tomatoes, cukes and peppers are in the greenhouse.

#8  The Tribute:

Look left past the newly planted little orchard and you will see the round door of our house. Always a conversation piece, this door has a story… 5 years ago our eldest son passed away suddenly at 16.  At that time we lived and farmed at our old site. We came here often to harvest feed for the cows and for respite from life. Our son had always wanted to build a hobbit house in the knoll that now holds our house. 3 years ago we built on that spot and as a nod to him, we gave it a true hobbit door, made with wood from this land.

#9 Pasture

On the hayride trailer to your right you will see first time momma Portia and her new kid Crackerjack born March 26th. Portia, along with any other white goats you see here are Saanans, a dairy goat breed. We don’t use them for milk here, just for pets.

On your left there may be some cows on pasture. April-Sept/Oct, depending on weather, our dairy herd has the choice of being inside or outside.  Often, during the heat of the day, they will be inside. The barn is like a 5 Star resort hotel. It has a 24 hour buffet, cooling fans, spa brushes, and their beds get made 3 times per day. Yes, they like to stay inside on hot days! Many sleep outside at night in the summer.  They receive most of their feed in the barn.  Our cows eat 75% forage (grasses, legumes), and 25% cereal grains.

#10  The Kitchen:

On the right, concrete blocks and tires? No, we do not run a tire shop but we do reuse old tires! These are bunker silos to store feed (corn silage) that we grow for the cows to eat.  The tires are used as weight to hold down the covers on the feed. Just before you enter the barn look right and you will see the corn silage pile.  We feed 10 cm from the front of the pile every evening to the cows for supper.

#11  The Finale:

Main barn, remove sunglasses. Don’t worry about your exhaust we have the curtains open and the fans on! 

On the left is the milking herd of Holsteins (black & white), Jerseys (small, fawn coloured), Brown Swiss (grey/brown) and Ayrshire (red & white). They get milked when they feel like it in a robotic milking machine (blue & silver) at the far end of their pen. They average 3 milkings per day, by choice. In the centre of this pen you may see 2 gates that go up and down as cows go into the grain ATM to get their daily cereal grain portions. These gates protect them from others who may try to steal their food!

On the right are the ‘Ladies in waiting’ or ‘dry cows’. They are resting and not giving milk (dry) before they give birth.  Everyone in this pen is due in the next 75 days. The calf pens are next on the right.  These calves drink powdered milk that is mixed by a blender automatically when they are hungry and in the feed station.  You might be lucky enough to see it mixing and feeding! They eat hay, grain and water by the time they graduate out of this pen at 4 months old. They are full grown at 2 years! 

Our milk is sold to Dairyland and to Punjab foods. We ship 3500 L every 2nd day.  This is what a typical dairy farm in Canada looks like inside and around their farms.  We are a small farm and we milk 55 cows here.  You can visit us for a guided, hands on tour of the Dairy Farm another day when it is safe for us to offer that tour.

Next on the right is the hospital pen where cows go if they are sick, injured or in need of a maternity pen. In the first pen of the hospital is Biluk, a 3 year old Jersey cow and she gave birth to Bongo on Saturday!! Glee the Holstein cow is in the other pen with her heifer calf Glimmer, born on April 27. She is also joined by a Brown Swiss calf Brielle, born on May 4th, and Artie the black Holstein bull calf born April 27. Glee is a great cow with a calm nature and produces a lot of milk! These calves will drink up to 12 litres per day when they get older, and she will peak in production at about 60 litres per day! In the back pen is Spring who gave birth yesterday at 11AM. She is also 3 years old and it`s a bull calf!!
On your left before you exit the barn you will see Cruella the rabbit who has prepared her nest box with her own hair so she can have babies very soon. The little chicks next door to her were hatched on May 25th. Remember to say good bye to any cats sleeping on the hay.

#12  Goat Park:

Say goodbye to the goats in the goat park!  Please pull all the way around the goat park and re-buckle all your little Safarmi tourists.  If you pull up to the right others can pass on the left to exit. Thanks!

Our regular tours always leave time for questions, unfortunately with this type of social distancing tour, answering questions becomes difficult. If you have any questions you are welcome to e-mail us. dairy@eagleacres.ca

Or, come back and visit us when our regular tour programs resume again.

Thank-you for your visit! Be safe. Be well. Be kind