Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Changes come to Torhaveen this Spring 2015

Spring signifies birth, change and new beginnings. And so, this spring of 2015 is especially significant as many big changes have come to our lives on Torhaveen Farms.

For those close to us, it was not a surprise, but to our many extended friends in the agricultural and homesteading movement, customers included, the news of the dissolution of my marriage was shocking.  Many factors played into this decision, and in time it will undoubtedly prove to be the best decision for all involved.

As the farm itself is not owned by my former husband and I, but by one of his parents, and I have been the only partner involved in farming for over a year now, the future of my practice of raising grassfed livestock for private sale is questionable at best.  I will be in touch with my customers soon with news of other sources of beef, pork and lamb that are raised similarly in our area.  If invited to stay on, I may work with another partnership and look at doing seasonal meat such as pork and chicken only, and free-range eggs.

I have had to reduce the horses down by 2 so far, with likely other sales or trades forthcoming. Quarter Horse mare Tyree went to be a competition gymkhana horse and broodmare locally and Belgian mare Tess went to work in the woods and compete in next year's IPM with our former team of Dan & Colleen out near Kingston. All of these former Torhaveen equines have wonderful new homes and are being used up to their potential - finally.

Livestock protection dog Sawyer, returned to the working sheep farm of his birth to join his genetic pack and run freely in fields where fencing required so tires to drag or being tied. He is much happier to be sure!

Rescue cat Maple joined her forever home today, with a long time friend and colleague here at the university.

My three lovely nanna goats Cassie, Sam & Beth moved locally and joined our former ewe Rosie and ram Woody and have loving momma Sabrina to care for them. We are hopeful that Sabrina and her wonderful family may take a few barn cats too.

Alas, the hardest day fell recently when the cattle left the farm.  The older cattle and those unready for slaughter were auctioned before the holidays, the best of my breeding stock were sold to a good professional farmer on the other side of Ottawa where they will calve inside, be fed generously and have a good life on pasture. I am pleased, as they wintered hard this year with the cold despite having warm water, shelter and lots of hay.

I am busy with lambing currently. The sheep too are for sale, and I am finding it hard to wrap my head around this being the last spring with lambs to cuddle - at least for awhile.  If you are interested, or know someone who could be, please text or call me 514-546-7843

I will keep the blog going, but shift it more towards parenting and country life. My kids will always be 'farm' kids, even if that means a few chickens in the yard and a pony for now!

Some photos from our goodbyes and recent moments with the pony and saddle horses that are helping us through this period of transition. Letting the ewes and lambs go soon will be difficult for us, as you can see the children love the sheep.
Good Friday, hanging out with Robin

Tess's long walk down the driveway with her new owner

Out trail riding with girlfriends: best therapy in the world (Pearson was on the pony and Meredith was riding shotgun with me on Penny)

Simone saying goodbye to Sawyer - we were both in tears

Saying my goodbyes to Tess

Meredith and Pearson giving kisses to baby Patrick

Meredith loving her pony

Pearson and Meredith with this year's first lamb, Cindy - born on my best friend Cindy's bday March 25!

Final moments as Cassie's momma

Colleen reunited with filly Tess, proud moment for Ken who raised Tess

Baby Sparkle Sparkle (Meredith's calf) wearing her winter jammies during a cold snap (she wouldn't stay under the heat lamp, so I dressed her up!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taking Advantage of the GREAT weather to entertain friends/customers on the farm!

This past weekend brought sensational weather to Torhaveen Farms!  Trail riding, the Glenngary Pioneer Museum's War of 1812 celebration, last of the season's swim in the pool, repairing of fences and wrangling back escaped cattle... what a weekend!

Here are some shots from the weekend. Thanks to some old friends who came to ride, a new young farmhand that helped move the hay with the tractor, emergency babysitters, good wine and fantastic weather!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome Fall - planning for Winter!

It is officially Fall, and the animals have started to put on their winter coats.  The leaves are turning, and as per usual, it is a race to beat winter.  Second cut is still standing, but we are praying to get some into the barn in the coming weeks.  The kids are back in their regular school routines, and the dogs are sad to see the house empty most days now!

I, Amanda, will be taking a few weeks off tentatively at the start of October, and welcome any volunteers to come and give me help with projects on the farm. Moving/staking round bales, reinforcing fencing, demolishing the old silo, drawing firewood, cleaning stalls/pig sty, oiling equipment, tagging animals for shipping. I will be so grateful for any an all help!

There remain 8 families on the waiting list for pork from this past season whose orders could not be met, who will be emailed shortly with timeframes for harvest.  Other customers, who have already received pork in 2014 will be contacted, so that we can be advised of their needs. The same is true of our beef orders.  I have already contacted the butcher and am awaiting dates for beef. The meat should be ready mid/late November.

Torhaveen Farms now requires a deposit on meat orders. This has had to become the practice, as sadly we have had several clients either leave their meat at our farm for months and months for us to store (Hydro is very costly in ON) or who have had cheques that have bounced. We require 250$ deposit on 1/2 Pork orders & 1/4 Beef orders. Balance to be paid upon pick-up of meat.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Summertime Coming to an End!

It has been a trying summer at Torhaveen Farms, with escaping cattle & sheep, we are reminded again how lucky we are to have good neighbours and a lot of hardwork already focused on replacing damaged fences.

The kids have been busy enjoying riding their pony and trail riding, as have some neighbours, family and friends who visit. Sheep are doing well, with only small predation issues this season.

The gardens could have done better, it simply was not hot enough! But the weeds somehow flourished!

Here are some photos from the summer:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Calving has started at Torhaveen Farms!

The cows were moved into the calving pen early April, and 2 of the expected 8 babies have arrived.

Baby Anna, a heifer calf out of Roanne, arrived during our last snowstorm 2 weeks back.  She is red with a little bit of white, off of our ShortHorn/Dexter bull.  Second, a black bull calf out of our cow Black, off of our Reg'n Dexter bull Mr. Torhaveen Special.  Black is the mother to Roanne.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Can't Beat It - Join it!

Embracing winter; wintertime fun shots from around the farm and area: